Norton Internet Security 2010

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In the 2010 version of its flagship security suite, Symantec continues to build on the unexpected progress it made last year. In addition to maintaining the quick load and scan times, and significantly smaller system footprint, Norton 2010 includes a behavioral detection engine based on both behavior and reputation.

Called Quorum, this new engine doesn't adversely affect Norton's performance--a major concern after years of system-crippling sluggishness. It works in concert with Norton Insight, introduced last year as a whitelist-style guard for ''trusted'' files. By examining your files and how they behave--both locally and when trying to access the Internet--and comparing them with other Norton users, Symantec claims it offers better protection than its competitors. Like its competitors who also have behavioral detection systems, however, Norton allows you to opt out of anonymously submitting your data without sacrificing the protection that Quorum provides. Third-party detection and removal ratings are not available for this new version, but last year's results placed Norton in the upper echelon for efficacy.

The premium services in Norton Internet Security include a firewall, add-on parental controls through OnlineFamily.Norton, Wi-Fi protection for unsecured hot spots, and identity protection including antiphishing tools and browser search result authentication for Internet Explorer and Firefox. Although Norton lacks a searchable knowledge base, e-mail, IM, and phone support are available, as well as the well-trafficked Symantec forums. A single license is good for three computers, making Norton a competitive choice for families with more than one PC. With the trial doubled from 15 days to 30, Norton Internet Security should be a top consideration for any multicomputer family.
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GetGo Download Manager

For users who download a great deal of content, there are always headaches in the process. No matter how fast your computer runs, downloading seems to slow down and complicate matters. GetGo Download Manager proved to be worthy of the task of taming the download process.


This freeware program will not be immediately noticed, as it comes as a command button on your Internet browser. But even then, this program doesn't come alive until users attempt to download music, movies, pictures, or other forms of media. A box will open asking if the user wants to use GetGo to download. From there, they are sent to a screen that shows what you are downloading, how large it is, where it comes from and how long it will take. At the bottom of the screen is a monitor of how much bandwidth this is taking. To the left is a navigation screen to look at all downloads past, present, and on hold. We appreciated the range of options for managing downloads, including picking the download folder, sorting videos into categories, and renaming files.

We were very impressed with the performance GetGo provided, as it lived up to its billing and downloaded media at a much quicker rate than expected. The program is organized in a very intuitive way and does a nice job of sorting out jobs. We highly recommend this program for any user who frequently downloads flash video files.
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Orbit Downloader 2.8.20

Downloading videos, Flash games, and large batches of files is greatly simplified with this freeware download manager, but Firefox users may have difficulty with integration.

Orbit's primary interface is bland, but the basic toolbar and info boxes guarantee everything is easy to find. Orbit shines with Internet Explorer integration. To get a media file, simply right-click a video or photo and choose Download from your context menu. Grabbing a Flash game is even easier. Hover over a Flash file, and Orbit displays a button for a fast download.


Fast and small are key traits of this application. It uses a bare minimum of memory, and downloads are much faster than with a browser alone. Where Orbit shines is its one-button simplicity for downloading multiple files on a site. From there, you can easily filter for file type. Orbit's numerous configuration options make it one of the more flexible download managers available.

Although designed to integrate with the IE, Firefox, Opera and Maxthon, we had great difficulty getting Orbit to work seamlessly with Firefox. We finally gave up trying to get the Flash download feature to work. Nevertheless, anyone downloading large numbers of files will find this freeware indispensable.
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DivX 7 for Windows 7.2

DivX 7 for Windows is a free software download that provides everything you need to watch digital videos on your computer. In addition to playback of any DivX video, DivX 7 for Windows enables you to watch H.264 (.mkv) files, the new standard for true HD digital video. The DivX 7 for Windows download includes:


DivX Player to watch HD videos on your PC; DivX Community Codec and Filters to watch HD videos in your favorite software media player; DivX Web Player to watch DivX videos in your web browser; DivX Converter (15-day trial) to convert to DivX video in one easy step; DivX Pro Codec (15-day trial) to create DivX videos in your favorite video editing applications. Users may purchase DivX Pro 7 for Windows ($19.99 USD) to receive unlimited use of the DivX Converter and DivX Pro Codec. DivX playback is always free.

Quick specs:
# Price: Free to try (15-day trial of DivX converter, 6-month trial of the DivX Pro Codec); $19.99 to buy (Buy it now)
# Operating system: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7


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