Networx, the Bandwidth Monitoring Tool Guardian of your Internet Galaxy

As a frequent user of the Internet while going to MICO University College, I know the importance of having my computer running in tip-top shape.

I have to be very vigilant in order to prevent my computer from getting viruses without using anti-virus (Deer, 2014, May 7). Aside from my regular maintenance routine (Deer, 2013, August 6) to keep my computer in tip-top shape, I also have to from time-to-time remove Trojan and rootkit viruses using bootable Linux OS (Deer, 2013, December 12) and a host of other software.

One of those tools that help me sport a potential infection is Networx, a Bandwidth monitoring tool that helps me track the upload and download traffic on any type of Internet connection be it dial­up, ISDN, cable modems, ADSL or Ethernet cards. 

Networx Bandwidth Monitor – How to install a Bandwidth Monitor

I personally use Networx Bandwidth Monitor to keep track of suspicious traffic  on my Broadband Internet connection, such as from a Wi-Fi enabled (Deer, 2014, April 23) Digicel DX-250 Modem as well as my Wi-Fi Connection.

Not only does it track this particular metric for your computer but it also does it for other network connections, such as the upload and downloads traffic on my Broadband Internet Wi-Fi Router.

To install, go to the Networx Bandwidth Monitor download page. Once downloaded, you’ll be guided by the installation to enable a Desktop toolbar that gives you a graph that allows you to see your upload and download traffic in real time.

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You can preset a series of visual and audible alerts and program it with your upload and download limits so that you don’t exceed your ISP’s Data Caps. It can also be programmed to start every time you turn on your computer, making its function fully-automated.

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It can also alert you when your network connection is down or when unauthorized persons are accessing your Wi-Fi based on increased in traffic in a manner similar to a software package (Deer, 2014, July 20) called Who’s on my Wi-Fi. 

Networx Bandwidth Monitor – How to use a Bandwidth Monitor to prevent Virus Attacks

Once it detects suspicious activity based on the parameters that you set, it can be programmed to shut down your computer to prevent any damage to your computer software as well as access to the Internet.

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It can then generate a chart representing incoming and outgoing traffic and store the traffic data in a log file.

This log file stores daily, weekly and monthly bandwidth usage and dial­up duration, all of which can be exported to a HTML, Microsoft Word or Excel file for detailed statistical analysis.

So if you want to keep track of any possible network intrusions on your computer, installing Networx Bandwidth Monitor is the best way to becoming a Guardian of your Computer’s Galaxy to protect it from intruders online.

Here’s the link:

Networx Bandwidth Monitor

References:

  1. Deer, L. (2013, August 6). Tips and Tricks on how to make your computer run faster. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/tips-and-tricks-on-how-to-make-your-computer-run-faster/
  2. Deer, L. (2013, December 12). How to remove Rootkit Virus or Hidden Folder Virus using Bootable Rescue Discs. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/remove-rootkit-virus-hidden-folder-bootable-rescue-discs/
  3. Deer, L. (2014, April 23). How to configure the Wi-Fi on your Digicel 4G Broadband Modem. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-configure-wi-fi-on-your-digicel.html
  4. Deer, L. (2014, May 7). How to Use Portable Anti-Virus Programs to Remove Viruses from smartphones and Tablets – Fantastic Five Portable Anti-Malware and Anti-Virus Programs on a USB Stick. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/05/how-to-use-portable-anti-virus-programs.html
  5. Deer, L. (2014, July 20). How to Secure your Wi-Fi Router – Who’s on My Wi-Fi is a good Software that asks a simple Question. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/07/how-to-secure-your-wi-fi-router-whos-on.html

 

 

US$199 Amazon Echo with Alexa is Ground Zero for iOT push into Home Automation

Many of us as Jamaicans are very forgetful. We often have chores and tasks to do but we constantly forget to add them to our to-do list. Maybe it’s because we don’t have the Amazon Echo (Carnoy, 2014), one of the latest products from Amazon that’s like having your own personalized robot.

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The US$199 Amazon Echo is basically a Internet connected speaker that taps into AWS (Amazon Web Services) Cloud to deliver a Personal Assistant that can help you in much the same way Apple’s Voice Assistant Siri eliminates the need to touch (Deer, 2014, March 4) your smartphone in Apple Carplay, their in-Car entertainment solution.

Only this device is made for the home and may signal Amazon’s first push into the home automation business. Available via invite from Amazon for Amazon Prime members for US$99, you can also purchase it for US$199.

So how does this AI speaker work? You may be surprised at how simple it is to forget that Alexa is a machine.

Alexa the machine – Internet Connected Speaker tells jokes and makes Shopping lists

The 23.5 cm (9.25 in) vertical cylindrical speaker contains seven (7) omni-directional microphones embedded in the top with a ring LED (Light emitting Diode) light at the top.

Available only in black, the ring LED Light lights up with a blue colour when you speak the name “Alexa” or “Amazon” to get the system ready to accept your voice commands, reminiscent of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It also acts as a manual volume control, allowing you to turn the volume up or down by twisting it either left or right.

To get the system started, you first have to connect the speaker to your home Wi-Fi Network using the Amazon Echo app for Google Android or Apple smartphones. From that point on you can begin using Alexa (as she prefers to be called!) just by simply speaking her name.

Her voice sounds a lot more soothing compared to Siri’s somewhat sarcastic laden voice and this natural feel will gradually make you want to call her “Alexa” rather than “Amazon” more often.

You can ask Alexa basic things like the time or even set an alert to remind you to complete tasks, make basic queries about the weather or general facts as well as add items to your shopping list for your smartphone. Not only is she a walking encyclopedia, she also has a sense of humour, being capable of telling jokes.

You’ll gradually notice thought this article I’ve stopped calling the device “Amazon Echo” and instead refer to it as “Alexa”, as to me this is more than just a disembodied voice carrying out my commands; it feels and interacts like a real person at times.

Alexa the Dj – Amazon Echo does Streaming Music in a personal way

Being an Internet-connected speaker, you can also pair it via Bluetooth to your smartphone and play music to it just like another cylindrical Bluetooth Speaker I had reviewed, the Mars by Crazybaby (Deer, 2015, January 4) Levitating Bluetooth Speaker.

Despite the presence of the seven (7) omni-directional microphones, it does as yet come with the functionality of acting like a speaker phone by being paired with your smartphone.

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However, you do get a remote control with a built in microphone, allowing you to get personal with Alexa even if you’re too far away from her to hear you. The seven (7) omni-directional microphones also have excellent noise-cancelling capabilities, allowing the user to control the device even if the music from the speakers is turned up very high.

Alexa, will eventually get to know everyone in the family by voice and can distinguish their voices against a background of other noises so as to faithfully execute commands. Alexa’s strong suit seems to be music, not surprising as she’s basically an Internet-connected speaker and microphone.

Compatible with Amazon Music, iHeart Radio and TuneIn, you can have Alexa generate playlists of your favourite music or streaming Radio station (Deer, 2015, February 16), with the option to control the volume of the music being played via voice commands.

To use other Streaming Music Services like Spotify or your Google Music Locker (Deer, 2015, February 25), you have to connect to the Amazon Echo in Bluetooth mode and stream your music to the device. But when it’s in this mode, Alexa retreats, making Amazon Echo into just a regular Bluetooth-connected speaker. 

Amazon Echo has limitations – No Battery. No Google or Bing Search and needs a virtual Equalizer

Also, interestingly, the Amazon Echo has no battery option, so taking it outdoors like a regular Bluetooth speaker (Deer, 2014, December 9) such as the Samsung Level Bluetooth speaker is out of the question.

Also, if you move the Amazon Echo out of range of your home network and introduce it to another Home Network, you’ll have to repeat the setup procedure, even if that network is open. Amazon Echo also seems to be tapping the Cloud a lot, so having Broadband Internet as the source or your Wi-Fi Router is a necessity.

You also may find the lack of Voice search of Google or Bing a bit annoying, as most of the facts that Alexa quotes to you are taken from Wikipedia (Deer, 2015, January 11), possibly Wikipedia Zero’s API.

Its voice translation capabilities are also in need of improvement, as it does from time to time makes mistakes in translating commands. This is noticeable especially when you requesting information that may not be on a web resource that its AWS cloud is tapped into.

The Speakers also has a problem reproducing certain frequencies and the Amazon Echo app has no Digital Equalizer to allow you to manually adjust it for different types of music. Thus some songs with high frequencies or low driving base may experience vibrational distortion.

This is because the speaker sits on the ground and is thus some of the sound is being absorbed by the surface it’s placed on, with the vibrations causing distortion in the music. The fact that the speaker is just one big speaker instead of several to at least give a stereo effect, makes some Dolby-Digital compatible tracks sound incomplete coming from a uni-directional speaker.

Amazon Echo with Alexa Voice Assistant – Ground Zero for Amazon’s iOT push into Home Automation

Other than these flaws, for US$9 for Amazon Prime users and US$199 retail, Alexa Voice Assistant on the Amazon Echo is a treat the kids will enjoy and your wife will love, as it’s like having your own personal robot.

Powered by AWS with the ability to improve your online shopping experience with the Earth’s Most Customer Centric Company, look at the Amazon Echo as more of an investment in the future of IoT (Internet of Things) and home automation for future Amazon products that may be centered around Alexa.

References: 

  1. Carnoy, D. (2014, December 11). Amazon Echo review: Amazon Echo talks the talk, but still needs a little work on walking the walk. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/products/Amazon­Echo­review/
  2. Deer, L. (2014, December 9). How Samsung’s Top 7 Christmas Gift List can make Christmas unforgettable. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/how-samsungs-top-7-christmas-gift-list-can-make-christmas-unforgettable/
  3. Deer, L. (2014, March 4). Apple to launch CarPlay at Geneva Auto Show in Geneva, Switzerland – Siri Voice Assistant and Primesense bring Hands-free Remote Control Revolution to The Grand Budapest Hotel. Retrieved from http://mythoughtsontechnologyandjamaica.blogspot.com/2014/03/apple-to-launch-carplay-at-geneva-auto.html
  4. Deer, L. (2015, February 16). How to get Streaming Jamaican Radio Stations. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/02/16/jamaican-radio-stations/
  5. Deer, L. (2015, February 25). How to stream 50,000 Free Songs from your Google Play Music Locker to your smartphone. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/50000-free-music-google-play-music-android-apple/
  6. Deer, L. (2015, January 11). Wikimedia Foundation partners with Digicel for Wikipedia Zero. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/wikimedia-foundation-digicel-wikipedia-zero/
  7. Deer, L. (2015, January 4). Mars by Crazybaby Levitating Bluetooth Speaker Levitation Produces good vibration free sound. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/mars-by-crazybaby-levitating-bluetooth-speaker-levitation-produces-good-vibration-free-sound/
  8. Deer, L. (2015, January 4). Mars by Crazybaby Levitating Bluetooth Speaker Levitation Produces good vibration free sound. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/mars-by-crazybaby-levitating-bluetooth-speaker-levitation-produces-good-vibration-free-sound/

 

US$300 Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless headphones unique Touch Interface in Wireless Mode

Sennheiser is going Bluetooth Wireless with the Urbanite XL Wireless (Carnoy, 2015), converting many of their beloved Wired models, such as the Urbanite XL.

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Priced at US$300, they kinda expensive but live in the same price range (Deer, 2015, May 9) as US$280 Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone. It carries over many of the design cues of its wired cousin, even retaining the option to switch back to wired functionality with a port for a 35mmm Audio jack.

Available only in black and made mostly of plastic with metal hinges, the Urbanite XL Wireless is sturdily built. It folds up into a compact portable form factor and fits well into its somewhat cheap -looking carry pouch. 

Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless – Headphones with smartphone Touch Interface for Music

Aesthetics aside, the Urbanite XL Wireless is functionally perfect with some unique, almost smartphone-like controls. Whether in its Wireless Bluetooth mode or wired mode, controlling your music is achieved with the tap on the side of the headphone. Tap once and the music pauses or plays, depending on what state it was in originally.

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Double tap and you advance the track forward, with upward and downward swipes increasing or decreasing the volume. Be careful how you use this feature, as the touch controls are very sensitive and you can accidentally disrupt your flow if you accidentally touch your headphones out of idleness.

Music playback may not be as smooth as expected due to the lack of active noise-cancellation technology like the Beats Studio Wireless and the Momentum Wireless headphones. But the soft material that the cups are made of provide adequate isolation from external background noise while making them comfortable to wear and not hard on your ears.

Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless – Never miss a phone call while jammin’ to your tunes

The dual microphones allow you to make phone calls with a cord in wired mode. That cord has a 35mm jack end and has an inline remote. This allows you to be able to make and receive phones calls even while listening to your favourite tunes. Good to note here the Touch controls only work when the Urbanite XL Wireless is in Wireless mode.

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The Wireless mode is dependent on the batteries, which when fully charged gives you twenty five (25) hours of music playback. The quality of the music in wither wired or Wireless mode isn’t significantly different, possibly sounding slightly crisper and with less lag than the Wireless mode.

This option to switch to a Wireless mode is really for situation where it may be more appropriate to do so, such as when you’re expecting an urgent phone call that you don’t wanna miss. With two years warranty on a pair of headphones that cost US$300, albeit out of my reach, I’m sold on the unique users interface in Wireless mode.

I’d like more variety in colour as well as the use of metal in the design. Otherwise, Sennheiser will find going Wireless by converting wired models and retaining their previous functionality will be music to their ears, as that makes these headphones a hot commodity for any true music lover. 

References:

Deer, L. (2015, May 9). US$280 Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone is a true Wireless Headphone System. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/sennheiser-rs-175-rf-Wireless-headphone-system/

Carnoy, D. (2015, Nay 4). Sennheiser Urbanite XL Wireless review: A dynamic Bluetooth headphone. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/uk/products/sennheiser­urbanite­xl­Wireless/

 

 

 

US$150 Microsoft Lumia 540 Dual-SIM Smartphone is a Middle Eastern Surprise

Peeps living in the Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, Microsoft has a smartphone treat for you! They’ve launched their lowest cost smartphone this Year of the Sheep in the guise of the Lumia 540 (Dolcourt, 2015), costing only US$150 without contract.

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The US$150 Lumia 540 comes in some nice eye-catching colours:

  • Cyan
  • Glossy Orange
  • Demure White
  • Matte Black

This dual-SIM (Subscriber Identification Module), aside from its incredibly low price tag, has an impressively large 5″, 1,280 x 720p HD resolution screen, which is amazingly large for a budget smartphone.

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Powered by a 1.2 GHz Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 processor, this smartphones is packin’ 1GB of RAM and 8GB of Internal Storage, again pretty impressive for a smartphones that costs only US$150.

That measly 8GB Internal storage can be expanded by 128GB using a microSD Card, a pretty hefty upgrade for a budget smartphone. You also get an additional 15GB from Microsoft

OneDrive, albeit you can expand by another 200GB if you sign up for both the Microsoft Enthusiast bonus (Deer, 2015, February 10) as well as Microsoft’s (Deer, 2015, February 20) Free Bing Rewards program.

But where my mind gets blown is the front and rear-facing cameras. The Rear-Facing Camera is a whopping 8 megapixel deal with auto-focus and LED Flash, the 5 megapixel Camera on the front, is a selfie-ready camera ready to take wide-angle shots.

Curiously, this front-facing camera has the same number of megapixels like the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge (Deer, 2015, March 8) which was recently launched in Jamaica at the Pegasus Hotel (Deer, 2015, April 24) on Friday April 24th 2015.

Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe smartphone buyers are truly lucky indeed.

References

Deer, L. (2015, April 24). The Future is Now as Samsung Galaxy S6 launches in Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-launch-jamaica/

Deer, L. (2015, February 10). How to get 100 GB Free Microsoft OneDrive and win Gift Cards and Giveaways. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/how-to-get-free-100-gb-microsoft-onedrive/

Deer, L. (2015, February 20). How Dropbox users and Bing Search users can get Free 100GB Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/02/20/dropbox-bing-search-free-100gb-microsoft-onedrive-cloud-storage/

Deer, L. (2015, March 8). Samsung Galaxy S6 and Edge at MWC 2015 coming to Mash up Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-and-edge-at-mwc-2015-coming-to-mash-up-jamaica/

Dolcourt, J. (2015, April 15). 5-inch, dual-SIM Microsoft Lumia 540 sells for $150 in Europe, Asia, Middle East. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/products/microsoft­lumia­540­dual­sim/

 

 

 

 

Samsung might make Limited-Edition Iron Man Samsung Galaxy S6

Yes folks, the rumours (Webster, 2015) are indeed true; the popular Marvel character and central character in the latest Avenger Movie “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is set to get a Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge (Deer, 2015, March 9) made in his likeness.

Great addition to your US$180 Egg Attack Iron Man 3 Mark II Magnetic Floating Version (Deer, 2015, January 15), if you’d purchase and modified it as I’d described.

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The now deleted tweet from Samsung’s verified @SamsungTMRW account (Hahn, 2015) displays a red and gold box featuring Iron Man’s mask.

Clearly emblazoned in the image above are the words “Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge” in the bottom left and “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” emblazoned in the bottom right. The text of the tweet read “Coming Soon (*Detailed availability in markets may differ by region)”.

No word if Iron Man will be the only Avenger with his own branded Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge (Deer, 2015, March 8), but this’ll be a very sweet deal that many Jamaicans will be tempted to check out.

Samsung Galaxy S6 with LIME Jamaica – Iron Man will be a hit with fans of Avengers

The Samsung Galaxy S6 has now officially launched in Jamaica at a launch event at the Jamaica Pegasus (Deer, 2015, April 28), held on Friday April 24th 2015.

Already LIME Jamaica is selling (The Jamaica Observer, 2015, April 24) Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone at select stores islandwide. So is it possible that LIME Jamaica will be selling the limited edition Iron Man Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge when this becomes official.

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Samsung will have to move swiftly to ride the buzz created by the Avengers: Age of Ultron that’s smashing Box office records both internationally, in the US of A for 2015 (Mendelson, 2015) as well as here in Jamaica.

Here’s the link:

Samsung Electronics Twitter Feed: @SamsungTMRW

References

Deer, L. (2015, January 15). US$180 Egg Attack Iron Man 3 Mark II Magnetic Floating Version levitates on your Desktop. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/us180-egg-attack-iron-man-3-mark-ii-magnetic-floating-version-levitates-on-your-desktop/

Deer, L. (2015, March 9) Samsung Galaxy S6 and Edge at MWC 2015 coming to Mash up Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-and-edge-at-mwc-2015-coming-to-mash-up-jamaica/

The Jamaica Observer. (2015, April 24). Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge available in Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Samsung-Galaxy-S6-Edge-available-in-Jamaica

Deer, L. (2015, April 28). The Future is Now as Samsung Galaxy S6 launches in Jamaica. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-launch-jamaica/

Hahn, J. (2015, May 6). Coming soon: Iron Man editions of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Retrieved from http://www.geezam.com/samsung-galaxy-s6-and-edge-at-mwc-2015-coming-to-mash-up-jamaica/

Webster, S. (2015, May 15). Samsung: Iron Man version of Galaxy S6 Edge coming soon. Retrieved from http://www.cnet.com/news/samsung-iron-man-version-of-galaxy-s6-edge-coming-soon/

Mendelson, S. (2015, May 17). Weekend Box Office: ‘Avengers: Age Of Ultron’ Becomes Top US Grosser Of 2015. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottmendelson/2015/05/17/weekend-box-office-avengers-age-of-ultron-becomes-top-us-grosser-of-2015/

Deer, L. (2015, March 8). @Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge coming to Jamaica in April 2015 is 64-Bit Octa-Core Best of MWC 2015. Retrieved from https://lindsworthdeer.wordpress.com/2015/03/08/samsung-galaxy-s6-edge-64-bit-octa-core-mwc-2015/