Category Archives: Software

Bitdefender Total Security 2014 Review

Bitdefender Total Security 2014 Review

Computer security software now comes with plenty of fierce competition and only a few issues mar my experience with Bitdfender Total Security 2014 to lessen my recommendation.

Ease of Use, Performance:  2/5
Look & Feel:  3/5
Features:  3/5
How much I enjoy:  3/5

Recommendation:  2/5 Stars

Bitdefender Total Security 2014

Bitdefender Total Security is your all in one security suite including anti-virus, firewall, spam filtering, credit protection and all around computer protection. Bitdefender has a lot for your money and the antivirus is the start to a good set of security programs with top protection.

Bitdefender has been awarded top protection and removal from for its antivirus software that is the feature of Bitdefender Total Security. Other features like credit protection include a wallet to guard your passwords and credit card numbers as well id theft protection.

Bitdefender Total Security follows along with other companies by dropping a yearly designation for their software and simply calling each product what it is. Once Bitdefender Total Security is installed everything is available from a main home page or from a widget that can be opened on your desktop.

One feature of having to open the home page and then working through a few pages to get to the feature I wanted could be annoying when I simply wanted to scan my computer. Other times for side features like parental controls I could see having to search for but main update and scans should be a one stop shop in the widget or the home page.

Bitdefender Total Security Scan

Bitdefender worked fairly well on my system and I did notice a bit of a slow down when running scans but nothing that really took away from my experience. Gaming with the gamer mode worked well and easily is a plus in their favor but other features and even company support was problematic.

I have no complaints at all for setup and installation as I had no problems when installing Bitdefender Total Security on two systems. Uninstall went fairly well but I did not notice the first time when the uninstall asked if I wanted to install a quick scan app when i was uninstalling their software.

I was rather upset with the program after a few days of dealing with customer support on a couple of issues that I just don’t agree with. One issue was after submitting a support ticket and then trying to find that ticket I had to actually ask support about my ticket in order to find anything about it.

Customers are not allowed to view their own support tickets and there is no way to find out what you have submitted to them other than to email or call them on the phone. I find this odd that your own support tickets are not listed in your account but it would be a hassle in some situations. If a business has more than one person dealing with computers and several issues come up they have no way of knowing what has been submitted and what has not.

Bitdefender Events

Another issue I had was with ID Theft Protection which is a good service if it gives you some sort of information if there is a problem but I could not get an answer on the issue I found. I signed up for the service through the installation and on one computer I got a credit report alert that says “A change in your credit report has been detected.”

What does that even mean? Does it mean that a new credit company has checked my credit or it could mean someone has opened a new credit card in my name. There is no further information and I would have to pay for more information if I wanted it by subscribing to their full Id Theft Protection.

When you click on the View Reports button form the home page of Bitdefender it takes you to a full page ad to enroll for more ID Theft Protection. This does not open to a report but to an ad from the company ID Watch Dog that is actually doing the ID Theft Protection for Bitdefender.

Another issue I came across when trying to do some troubleshooting of a game is there is no way to completely turn off Bitdefender Total Security or pause the protection. You need to go into each section like firewall or antivirus and turn that off but the base program is still running in the background.

ID Theft Protection View Reports

I wanted to completely turn off Bitdefender and not have it run at all and the only way I found to do this was to uninstall it which is not much of a solution. I could not even remove the autostart feature and not have the program run at startup when I booted my computer because it would not allow me to disable the Bitdefender program.

It’s these issues that make me not recommend Bitdefender as a security software suite above other just as capable security suites from other companies. While independent testing and checking out my own downloaded virus files went well its other issues that really have me shaking my head.

I found some other issues where customers are automatically signed up for renewal wand it has been a hassle to stop the automatic renewal or to get a refund after their credit cards are charged. I think customers deserve the choice to renew their subscription instead of having to find out it has been charged to your credit card and having to try to get a refund.

Several customers complain about not having some kind of easy way to remove this automatic charge from their account and have been charged for another year. I just think that they should prompt you whether you want to renew your subscription instead of doing it automatically as a matter of business.

It’s all a part of good customer relations that I find Bitdefender is lacking so I would just go with another software solution for your internet security. I just had to many hassles with Bitdefender Total Security and do not agree with some of their policies and customer support features.

I just cannot recommend Bitdefender Total Security as issues like lack of support for features and customer service need to be better. Bitdefender needs to work on customer service and getting clear information to their customers when they do offer features in their software.

Bitdefender Website

Bitdefender @ Amazon

Antivirus wins top awards from
Full Protection Suite is pretty easy to use

Customer Support needs some work
ID Theft Protection is not worth it
Cannot look at Support Tickets

No way to pause or turn off full program

Adobe Premiere Elements 12 Review

Adobe Premiere Elements 12 Review

Adobe continues to produce a mediocre video editing product in Premiere Elements that has good features but brings good computers to their knees with crashes and system freezes. Ease of Use, Performance:  2/5 Look & Feel:  3/5 Features:  4/5 How much I enjoy: 1/5 Recommendation:  2/5 Stars Adobe Premiere Elements 12 Premiere Elements 12 would be a great video editing program like its big brother Premiere Pro but lack of smooth video editing on what is supposed to be supported Windows systems ruins my experience. Premiere Elements 12 does have a good organizer that is also used by Photoshop Elements but the similarity between both Elements programs ends there. Premiere Elements 12 continues the same fully featured program as previous editions but systems running slower and crashes do not make this a welcome release. I have had problems with previous releases of Premiere Elements and this release just continues the same problems even on new computers. Adobe Elements Organizer I had little to no problems using the organizer and selecting clips and videos as well as moving them around in files so I have no gripes about that part of the program. The organizer can help when you have numerous video clips and keep things neat and tidy but video editing can be problematic. Video editing is another question as my system slowed down and crashed numerous times on two different computers with more than the system requirements that Adobe lists. I am using a 3 GHz processor and 16 gigabytes of memory while their minimum is a 2 GHz CPU and 2 GB of ram. Autocorrecting Video Clip Video editing is pretty straightforward if you are used to the program and some if its small quirks but I found other programs that worked better. Adding video clips is as simple as can be but editing them down takes patience and some work while other factors can be troublesome. I really like the cut tool right on the marker where your video is currently at but other features seem intentionally difficult or simply unintended. Most of the issues I was having and smaller problems were corrected in patches while the crashing still happens and my system is sometimes brought to a standstill. Rendering Video Editing, adding clips and using tools like text for menus, changing speeds of clips and just about everything else I did worked well overall but the program just drags my system down. I had to continually render the video to ensure things stayed smooth and often crashes would have me restarting my computer and starting an edit from a previously saved spot. I have no problems with this type of behavior in Premiere Pro and even used the same video clips to make sure I was not having a problem from the hardware used to capture video. I have Premiere Pro CS5 installed on the same computer which works just fine but Premiere Elements 12 just crashes too often to be a usable tool for video editing. Guided Help Video editing should not be a system drain and while I do not have a top video editing system my computer handles Premiere Pro and other editing programs just fine. Premiere Elements is still not worth paying for due to this system crashing and freezing up on me. Many features of Premiere Elements work just fine but Premiere Elements 12 just continues to be a problem even though I am using a new computer with different video than I did on previous editions. I just cannot recommend Adobe’s newest release of Premiere Elements, the program continues to have bugs or problems and I can use other programs without the hassles. Premiere Elements 12 @ Adobe Premiere Elements 12 Review @ Pros Video editing works most of the time Organizer handles video clips well Cons Crashes and freezing system

Photoshop Elements 12 Review

Photoshop Elements 12 Review

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 brings a great new feature with Adobe Actions for script like editing while the main features of professional image editing remain a standard of the program.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

Adobe Photoshop Elements 12

Adobe Photoshop Elements has been and continues to be the best low cost photo editing program that has both image editing and a powerful collection of tools that are user friendly. Photoshop Elements 12 also has an extensive organizer that allows you to keeps things nice and tidy no matter how many photos you have.

Photoshop Elements 12 is still a packaged program that you can use for both MAC and Windows computers and has a full set of features. Still a packaged program may seem a bit odd but last year Adobe took most of its popular programs and went to a subscription based system.

Many of the popular and expensive programs are now purchased through a subscription service where you pay monthly or yearly while Elements continues to be a standard package. Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are still a standard deal but only Photoshop Elements gets my recommendation again this release.

Check out my upcoming review of Premiere Elements 12 to see why you should avoid that but Photoshop Elements 12 does get at least my begrudging recommendation. Photoshop Elements 12 still has some great features and works extremely well for simple to advanced image editing and organizing but a few problems do creep in.

Adobe Elements Organizer

Photoshop Elements 12 requires an internet connection to activate the product before you can begin to use it as a regular program. If you are not connected to the internet the program will behave like a trial version and work for thirty days then tell you to connect to the internet to continue using it.

If you think this is not a problem I do know people who have laptops they use for personal use but do not connect them to the internet. Customers are also complaining about this on the Adobe forums because they have volume licenses and are needing a way to install them on numerous computers.

During this activation it is required for each license to input an Adobe ID which means for every computer you want to install it on you would need to create a new account using separate email addresses. The forum thread about this had someone trying to install Elements 12 on 50 computers which would be a huge task to create 50 separate accounts using 50 separate emails.

I’m not sure if the individual resolved his issues or went to another program but it is this kind of basic design carelessness that Adobe has me scratching my head about. It’s like the company is trying to lose customers and the newest edition of Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements is no different.

photoshop image editing at its fiinest

Photoshop elements once you get past the installation and activation does work well and continues to be a very user friendly program. When you first open Photoshop Elements you are given a Welcome screen with choices for image editor or organizer.

On the Welcome screen is also a setting to have the program open either editor or organizer in the future as well as display or hide the Welcome screen. If you decide to hide the Welcome screen you can always go the help menu to return to it as well as having the option on the menus to open the other part of Elements whether you’re in the organizer or editor.

The organizer is a handy to keep things neat and tidy with simple to use controls and a filing system that allows you to organize but also store images in the cloud. The organizer can search your system and try to automatically organize images according to media type, people, places and events.

Adobe has brought their Revel cloud based storage to Photoshop Elements with easy album and image upload and retrieval on other devices like tablets and phones. Other organizer features include easy tagging, map location of images and even a quick edit feature.

Using Adobe Actions

Image editing using the main editing section ranges from basic to about as advanced as anyone would want for semiprofessional photographers with cropping, content aware fill and actions being the range. Simple cropping, red eye removal and filters to change images from vibrant colors to black and whites are basics of image editors nowadays and Photoshop Elements has been a standard for this for years.

Advanced features where the program can copy parts of images and move them while keeping the image around the moved object a part of the background works well when you want it. Some features are not going to be used much and some are more common but all the features I have tried in all the versions of Photoshop Elements have worked without many problems.

Actions is a new tool that is a great way to edit and improve images using other peoples scripts or lists of edits or you can create your own. Actions are a list of image edits like crop, create layer, add a color fill to the layer and then change exposure.

You can record a list of edits into an action and save that action for future use in image editing but it takes some work to get an action that works well for you. This can become a time saver in your work flow when you have numerous images to edit and have the same tasks to do on each one like I do for my product reviews.

Actions do not work all on their own every time and sometimes you do have a little tweaking and adjusting to get them to work for some of the steps. I am very impressed with this feature and can easily see how it can make editing easier and you can find a wide range of actions online for free and ones you have to pay for.

Photoshop Elements 12 continues to make your image editing an easy task but also continues to add features that make your job easier as well as more enjoyable. While some features like the activation may be a killer for some Photoshop Elements does continue to be a great image editor and organizer.

I still recommend Photoshop Elements 12 as a great image editor for easy editing and a fully feature program for enthusiast and novice photographers. Photoshop Element 12 is available from Adobe directly as a download or from retailers like Amazon as a package for about $70.

Photoshop Elements 12 @ Adobe

Photoshop Elements 12 @ Amazon

Easily edit images
Plenty of great features
New Actions simplifies editing

Internet connection & Adobe ID Account required for installation & activation

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 Review

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014 Review

Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the basic level of computer protection against viruses, spyware and other malware with top of the line protection at affordable prices.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  4/5
How much I enjoy:  4/5

Recommendation:  4/5 Stars

Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014

Kaspersky has released another year of security software with the same names and only a year designation to distinguish the yearly changes. Kaspersky Anti-Virus is the basic level of protection against malware like viruses and spyware with Kaspersky offering up top rated protection for your computer.

Anti-Virus 2014 from Kaspersky has anti-virus, spyware and other security features at its core with security its main focus without other features. The security features include the common ones but also rootkit, exploit and screen locker protection from ransom ware attacks.

Installation is fairly straightforward with the system needing an update to ensure you’re using the most up to date security Kaspersky offers. Once installed you should run a full system scan to ensure your computer is clean and this extends to any extra hard drives.

Kaspersky Vulnerability Scan

You can also run a vulnerability scan to see if your system is vulnerable to attacks or threats through the operating system or through other programs. The vulnerability threat could be things like internet explorer not being up to date with current security updates and should be taken care or for full security protection.

Kaspersky has included top rated anti-virus software but you also have a lot of help with scans for threats like the vulnerability scan as well as a privacy cleaner and browser configurator. The Anti-virus software works well for detecting viruses and other malware as well as removing them when they are detected.

I use independent testing for a basis for my review as well as checking the program myself with infected test files from to check the ability of anti-virus software. Detection is the key with Kaspersky Anti-virus seeing the virus files before it allows you to do anything on the webpage.

Kaspersky Internet Explorer Configurator

When turning off Kaspersky Anti-virus and turning on Windows Defender the opposite is true, Windows Defender allows the page to open and files to be downloaded. Kaspersky Anti-virus does not let you even make the mistake of being able to download detected malware by not allowing you access to the page in this instance.

Kaspersky does a great job of detecting and removing malware including trojans and viruses with a top rating from that tests anti-virus software. Kaspersky Anti-virus for 2014 received a 100 percent for detecting widespread malware while new malware attack detection received a 97 and 98 percent score.

While Kaspersky Anti-virus may not have all the features that other packages from Kaspersky offer it does have the basic protection you need to keep your computer safe and secure. Kaspersky Anti-Virus offers a necessary rescue disc creation tool, privacy cleaner and browser configuration tools while help is always available.

Kaspersky Blocking a Site

If you have problems with installation, virus removal or any other problems with their software email, chat and telephone support is available for questions and answers. I have been using Kaspersky software for years and have not had any major problems with it beyond the automatic fixes that the programs perform.

I have never needed a rescue disc and have never had viruses or malware that did not get fixed automatically by the software even when trying to get infected by visiting suspect sites. You can purchase Kaspersky Anti-virus for individual computers, a 3 PC license for a year and a 3 PC license for a two year period.

I highly recommend Kaspersky Anti-virus 2014 for a basic level of security from malware like virus protection that is top of the line and easy to use.

Anti-virus 2014 @ Kaspersky

Kaspersky 2014 @ Amazon

Kaspersky Anti-virus 2014 @ TopTenReviews

Top rate Malware Detection and removal
Simple to use basic level of protection
available for 1 or 3 pc’s

Customer service could be better

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 Review

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 Review

Kaspersky continues to produce quality security software that is highly rated at independent IT security companies as well as users for ease of use and performance at detecting and removing malware and general computer security.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 is the latest Kaspersky security software suite that includes antivirus and other malware detection and removal. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 includes financial protection, firewall, parental controls and other high end features for security of your computer and online activities.

Kaspersky has taken the industry idea of just updating the same general program interface with the same name with year indications added for reference by reviewers when referring to the programs design date. Antivirus and malware companies have started to just update their programs without major changes to the menus and themes.

Just updating the program and changing smaller things makes sense when you consider they have to continually update the program just to keep up with attacks. Kaspersky and other computer security companies need to update their programs on a regular basis just to combat new malware that are coming out almost daily.

Kaspersky Internet Security SafeMoney

Checking my Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 logs I found three or four updates everyday so the program itself and the company behind it are continually working behind the scenes to protect your computer. Kaspersky has a great reputation and the hard work behind the scenes with their virus and malware detection and removal shows in independent testing.

Kaspersky Internet Security for 2014 has a lot of great features and its ease of use is pretty straight forward but there is always help form the company if needed. Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 has a simple user interface and the continued use of the same one means you will be familiar from version to version.

Internet Security and stopping or detecting attacks like viruses, spam mail, spyware and other malware is not easy but Kaspersky has been doing it for years. Kaspersky rates very high at review sites like Top Ten Reviews or as puts it ”a good choice for protection”.

Network Traffic Report

A good choice for protection is not the free programs that come with Windows namely Windows Defender and in my own little test Windows Defender failed. I tried to download known viruses from and Kaspersky did not even let me open the download file or do anything on the site because it detected bad things before I could do anything.

A large red box opens and I can’t do or see anything on the page once Kaspersky’s program sees it is a virus file, even if it is just a text file. Windows Defender allowed me to download and open all four test files at while Kaspersky did not let me do anything with the site.

AV-Test also checked out and tested Windows Defender against 22 other programs and with Windows Defender ranking 23rd or last place for defending a computer against malware. Windows Defender detected malware in their tests 79 percent of the time while 21 other programs detected 85 percent and higher.

Kaspersky Internet Security Detailed Results Report

In this same test Kaspersky caught 100 percent of the bad things AV-Test threw at it which was also copied by two other security software programs. Kaspersky has tested very well in all the reviews and antivirus testing I could find as well as my own tests but I prefer to rely on the experts at independent testing companies for the better results like

Installation and making sure the program is up to date is fast and only takes a few minutes, it is important to allow the program, to update after installing. Updates are the most current attacks that have been found so updating the program and allowing it to update automatically is vital to finding new malware.

The first full scan you run may take a while and you should allow the computer to check all drives on your computers and network to ensure full protection. You should also familiarize yourself with program features and Kaspersky makes this easy with help on their site as well as forums for questions.

AV-Test Results

Using the program for main features and at its default settings works very well and even for online gaming I did not have to make any setting changes. One constant feature is approval for installing programs and a few times Kaspersky did ask me for approval to install some programs or drivers.

Most programs such as Adobe and Microsoft software are already listed as safe at Kaspersky so only smaller program companies may receive a warning about potentially insecure software. Other protection like spam filtering works well and I only received a few false positives with wanted mail going to the junk.

Other security features like the firewall block unwanted intrusion with both incoming and outgoing filters while Safe Money features protect your financial transactions. Safe Money helps to secure financial sites and purchases but you should use the virtual keyboard if you want to ensure no one is using a key logger to copy your information.

I found that the Safe Money does secure sites some but even this is not foolproof so you should use a virtual keyboard which fully hides any keystrokes while entering passwords and usernames. Safe Money works well to help secure information but you need to learn how to use it correctly and in possibly unsecure environments like internet cafe’s you need to use all the security features.

Like many other features if you go beyond the default settings you need to find out how things work but if you can’t find those answers help is available using email, chat or phone calls. Kaspersky has plenty of help starting with a virtual chat using knowledge based answers and continued with chat, email and telephone help from live people.

Kaspersky Internet Security 2014 has a lot of features that work well and even if you do have problems the company does stand behind their product with support and help when you need it. I continue to recommend Kaspersky products with Kaspersky Internet Security being a fantastic security suite that has plenty of features needed for computer safety and security.

Internet Security 2014 @ Kaspersky

AV-Test Results for Kaspersky Internet Security 2014

Top security scores form independent testing
Easy malware removal
Top firewall blocks traffic
Parental control is easy to use
Safe Money works well with added security for finances

Lots of features may require some homework

Lightroom 5 Review

Lightroom 5 Review

Adobe has released the newest version of Lightroom with several new features to Lightroom but the subscription based licensing that Adobe has started using is not part of this release.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features: 4/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Lightroom 5

Lightroom 5 is Adobe’s answer to a professionals work tool for image organizing and editing in the same program that allows users to organize tens of thousands of images. Lightroom has always been about organizing and about being able to edit images quickly but RAW image editing is also available from simple menu choices.

Adobe may have made a mistake by changing most of their software releases to subscription based products but Lightroom 5 is still a boxed package you don’t have to pay for more than once. Lightroom 5 is seeing a bit more front line recognition as a professional photographer’s resource for editing and organizing your images and continues to gain features that are worthwhile.

Lightroom has always been about image editing and organization using non-destructive editing and batch image organization in an easy to use environment. Lightroom has a very different look and feel to it than Photoshop but for a professional photographer who needs an image editor and an organizer Lightroom has been a popular choice.

Working w/ Organizer

Lightroom 5 brings a few new features with an advanced healing brush, upright straitening tool and radial gradient tool for image editing. New organization tools include smart previews, video slideshows, improved book creation and location based organization for better handling your collections.

The image editing tools help to make Lightroom a better tool for photographers to edit and enhance images that need some touching up but not as much as a dedicated program would. The editing features in Lightroom include almost as much as Photoshop but Lightroom has the image cataloging and collection features going for it.

New features that are noteworthy for collections and organizing are the Smart Previews with others mainly being tweaks and improvements to existing tools. The main improvements in Lightroom 5 over the previous version is a few new tools that have been carried over from Photoshop and now being usable to Lightroom users.

To understand why it takes time to add a tool that already exists in an Adobe product needs a little understanding of the difference between Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom is all about work flow while Photoshop is all about image editing without worrying about keeping originals.

In Lightroom you can edit images and organize things how you want but the original images are left unaltered and in the same folders you placed them in. Photoshop alters original images so if you want to save the original you have to make sure you don’t overwrite it when saving your image.

Lightroom 5 Image Editing

This means that every time you use Lightroom on an image it will automatically save the images you edit as a new image instead of destroying the original. Lightroom is built from the ground up to account for retaining the original image when you edit and moving a feature from Photoshop to Lightroom means they also have to build the tool or feature over again.

Features that already exist in Photoshop take some time to create for Lightroom so it is kind of exciting for Lightroom users to see features that already exist for Photoshop users. Every new release for Lightroom usually includes a few features that have already been released for Photoshop with tweaks to existing features included as well.

Lightroom 5 opens to the familiar interface that has collections, folders and publishing services on the left side menu. The right side menu has editing features along with some organizing functions and your metadata and commenting choices for more organizing features.

To work on folders or collections you can move images around by dragging and dropping into new or previous folders or collections but collections work a bit differently than folders in Windows. Collections tag photos no matter where they are so images in separate folders can be grouped together for editing or organizing.

Gradient Filter Lightroom 5

This may sound like an odd way to do things but for photographers who work in both single customer and multiple customer work this can be effective. Keeping images in their original folder but being able to organize them into collections works really well for photographers who work with a lot of images.

A good example would be a photographer who wants to do a bit of advertising and sets aside a dozen images from various clients to use in a print or online advertisement. He can label images he uses for the ads that are located in client folders as a new collection and easily find them using the collections in Lightroom instead of saving copies in a new folder.

Lightroom is all about being able to organize large amounts of images so you can easily find what you need as well as being able to jump into some decent image editing. To edit you can choose between quick editing and a more in depth choice by simply opening the develop selection on the menu bar or you can perform a quick change using presets.

Lightroom 5 does an excellent job of professionally organizing images with the option to edit them with some pretty competent tools without going to the extent that Photoshop offers. I highly recommend Lightroom 5 as a standalone image work flow program that allows organization and editing for images in the same program.

Lightroom 5 @ Adobe

Quick and easy image organizing and image editing in one program
Non-destructive editing
Easy to use organizing tools
Good set ogimage editing features

Somewhat steep learning curve

ArtRage 4 Review

Artrage 4 Review

ArtRage 4 is the latest release of the drawing and painting program that is easy to use and has plenty of features for beginner to advanced artists.

Ease of Use, Performance:  5/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features:  5/5
How much I enjoy:  5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Artrage 4

While other painting programs have numerous revisions ArtRage is only on revision 4 but it does stand out from the crowd as an inexpensive paint and artistic program. ArtRage 4 is an easy to use program much like Corel and Adobe’s offerings but centers on artistic painting and drawing instead of image enhancement.

When you open ArtRage you are confronted with a quarter circle of tools in one corner and a color palette in the other for easy use of both. The program is quite responsive and has a unique look but it more than gets the job done for artistic drawing and painting.

I like the assortment of tools like pencil, pen, brush and even stamps but the most unique for me and interesting is the palette knife. I did some fooling around with the program and drew not only free hand but some tracing and had some fun with the various tools and techniques.

Artrage 4 Panels

I would only consider myself an amateur artist as I only took a class in high school but I do enjoy drawing and painting but ArtRage makes it so much easier. I think that is why I like the program so much; it is pick up and play easy without much in the way of a learning curve.

After installation you can quickly and easily start drawing, painting and airbrushing with ArtRage using the corner tool selectors. You also have movable panels for things like tracing, layers and references which you can shrink or enlarge.

The menu holds a lot of functionality but you can also collapse it for a full view of your picture except for the bottom corner tools. You can minimize these as well down to the small panels to get the most unobstructed view of your work with the least amount of interference.

New features include a lot of tablet and touch enhancement as well as a few notable ones like paint symmetry which is a clone type feature. The clone tool works just like Photoshop and other programs where you press Alt and click a spot you want to clone from and then using the cursor you clone that spot elsewhere.

Tracing Artrage 4

Symmetry goes one step further and allows you to paint on different parts of the canvas at the same time with a variety of settings. Both tools are unique and allow you to customize your style and help create a unique piece of art that is all your own.

Other new features include the resource panel but most of the new features are not in the form of new tools but better workflow and just a better program. ArtRage 4 works well and is easy to use for an easy art or drawing program for freehand drawing, painting and other uses.

Artistic tools for ArtRage include pencil, paintbrushes, airbrush, paint straight from a tube and specialty ones like glitter, stencils and stamps. Major features of ArtRage for better drawing and for artistic freedom include tracing, the clone tool, layers and even a variety of paper and canvas.

The most recent edition of ArtRage is mostly about making a good thing better with a few new features but mainly just a tweaked and updated program. ArtRage is a fantastic and affordable drawing and painting program that is easy to use for beginners and has enough features that professionals will continue to enjoy it.

I highly recommend ArtRage 4 for anyone wanting a drawing or painting program whether you’re an amateur or serious artist.

ArtRage 4 @ ArtRage

Easy to use even for first timers
Geared toward artists


Video Editing with Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate

Video Editing with Corel VideoStudio X6

Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate is a fantastic video editing software suite that includes some great new features like NewBlue Color Fixer and proDAD Mercalli SE Stabilization for professional videos.

Ease of Use, Performance: 4/5
Look & Feel: 4/5
Features 5/5
How much I enjoy 4/5

Recommendation: 4/5 Stars

Video Editing with Corel ViedoStudio X6
Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate is a fully featured video editing software for movie creation using either a fast and quick Movie Wizard or detailed step by step editing where you can change and add effects, titles, chapters and more. Corel has added a few nice features to their latest edition of editing software that helps video creation and adding some finishing touches as well as making things easier to edit.

Working with Titles Corel VideoStudio X6

New features include Motion Tracking where your view will follow a moving object or objects like titles or thought bubbles can follow a moving object while other new features include several effects filters. One handy filter is NewBlue Color Fixer that allows brightness and color adjustments that are easy to adjust and create your own style to each video segment.

proDAD Mercali SE is also a new filter that helps in image stabilization but this filter will vary on your video in how much stabilizing and smoothing to jerky or jittery action when used but I found it worked well to edit out those jerky smaller movements using a biking action video. I tested this filter with a video where I took an action cam on top of a remote control tank then to a bike and then on top of a car and it did a good job of smoothing out the small jerks and bumps but still obviously being action cam footage.

NewBlue Color Fixer Corel VideoStudio X6

Other new features include support for 4X Ultra HD, customizable motion and stop motion, subtitle editor and customizable random transition effects but the NewBlue and proDAD Mercalli filters are a few of the better new features. VideoStudio includes some older but fantastic features in filters and effects while the Movie Wizard is the easy way to automatically create a movie using a set theme.

Corel VideoStudio X6 works fairly well to automatically create chapters and titles but for better control and more of a personal touch editing and making sure your chapters and effects are where you want them the regular editing works great. You have three modes with Capture, Edit and Share as major themes to your interface with each having separate menus and choices for editing for an easier workflow.

Motion Tracking Corel VideoStudio X6

Effects are easy to use and most of the editing features simply open a smaller window or a menu choice to add and alter effects and are added to clips for better control of each effect. You can render the entire movie and change things later like putting the entire video through another filter or effect which will take more time because rendering does take time depending mostly on your computers specifications.

Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate is for Windows computers only and the better your processor and graphics processing power as well as memory the faster your video will be rendered but the program does work on computers with processors as low as 2 GHz. I had no problems with video importing and format acceptance by the program for a variety of formats such as those form cheaper camcorders that use an odd video format that is usually compatible with most software.

Stabilization Effect Corel VideoStudio X6

Corel has done an excellent job with keeping features you need like easy to use automatic movie creation for simple home movies like vacation videos as well as professional videos for websites like mine. Corel VideoStudio has enough new features in Corel VideoStudio X6 with just the stabilization and color filters that it would make a good purchase or upgrade from a previous edition and does have plenty of format and device support to make a fully featured video editing software.

The Pro edition of VideoStudio does not include the NewBlue and stabilization filters but still includes plenty of features and lots of filters and effects for home videos and those vacation movies that cost $80. I highly recommend Corel VideoStudio X6 Ultimate for an excellent and easy to use video editing program that costs $100 and includes all the new effects and filters along with the full suite of video editing features.


Large Selection of Tools and Filters
Two New Tools to correct color and clarity of videos
New Effects Work Easily
Easy Video Editing, Create Full Movies Including Chapters & Titles

No 64 bit support & Windows PC’s Only
Slow Rendering But Not Too Bad

VideoStudio Ultimate X6 @ Corel

Malware Protection Kaspersky Pure 3.0

Kaspersky Pure 3.0 Malware Protection

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 is an all in one security suite that helps provide protection for up to three Windows computers with fully featured antivirus and malware protection along with other handy security features.

Ease of Use, Performance:  4/5
Look & Feel:  5/5
Features  5/5
How much I enjoy 5/5

Recommendation:  5/5 Stars

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 Malware Protection

Kaspersky has released the newest version of their complete security suite called Kaspersky Pure 3.0 Total Security for Real Time Malware Protection against viruses, malware and spyware as well as other security features. Kaspersky Pure 3.0 includes malware protection for both real time and scanning as well as other handy tools like password manager and online backup.

Kaspersky Pure 3.0 allows protection for up to three Windows computers and even allows control of those extra computers for virus scanning, updating and other features within the Kaspersky Pure software. This means one networked computer can control all the Kaspersky functions of other networked computers without having to actually go to that computer.

For simple home networks where one computer is in a different part of the home being able to update, run scans or backup your computer is only a few clicks away but the Kaspersky Pure 3.0 offers much more for an ultimate PC security solution. Malware and viru protection is only the tip of the protection you get with secure cloud based storage for backups, secure online banking and shopping, password management and encryption for important files.

Kaspersky PURE Features Malware Protection

Security suites these days are pretty common and keeping people interested in your brand of not only malware and virus protection but other features is what is going to set one program or suite apart form others come time to purchase something. If you can get a password manager, online storage and other features like those offered by Kaspersky in their newest security solution without having to pay separately for them you can get people interested in your program.

Anitvirus and other malware is just the beginning with Kaspersky and they do offer a good range of features for their full security solution in one program with a very simple installation and setup. You can buy Kaspersky PURE 3.0 over the internet or as a boxed set with a simple and quick installation even if your computer is infected with malware or viruses.

You can create a rescue disc for installing and removing malware from a computer that is infected including ransom ware which is a particular virus that infects a computer and tells the owner that in order to continue using the PC you need to pay to remove the infection. Another common ransom ware is a fake FBI warning that says you need to pay because you did something wrong or went to an illegal site and need to pay fines to the government.

I received an infected computer from a relative during the review period for my copy of Kaspersky PURE and used a rescue disc for the program to remove the infection without having full control of the computer. I created a Rescue disc on a USB flash drive to allow me to get into and recover the operating system form the ransom ware and clean out all parts of the infection.

PURE Backup Manager

Once I ran the scans I did not use the program so a quick uninstall removed the Kaspersky PURE program easily so I could install a different program for security that my relative had been using but did not save them from the ransom ware infection in the first place. Sometimes we cannot help ourselves and accidentally infect our own computer by downloading software and installing other things o\n our computers which is probably how my relative got infected in the first place.

Kaspersky is a parent tested parent approved Winner from PTPA Media Awards Program.

While this specific example may not be useful to everyone looking at buying Kaspersky PURE it does illustrate the usefulness of a suite of programs in being able to create the rescue disc for another computer to remove an infection even if you don’t plan on a full installation. Kaspersky has other features that are just as useful on a day to day basis such as the password manager and parental controls which are both great ways to make access as easy as possible while still keeping day to day security always at the forefront.

Kaspersky PURE is yet another greta product and even though I did have some installation problems on a second computer I was able to find answers in the Kaspersky forum to solve my instllation problems and get the program fully installed and running. I now have full control of several computers on my network and can easily ensure I have current protection and can update and scan from any location on my network.

Kaspersky PURE is a greta suite of programs and doe sinlcude the top virus protection that is also independently tested to ensure it works onn current and past infections from several companies including AV Comparatives. Independent testing is important to ensure the company is using the best protection you can buy for your computer security instead of cheating you out of money for protection that is less than the best.

PURE Password Manager

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 is a great security suite and one that is easy to use without having to refer to the company or their website for help but rest assured if you do need help a chat, forum posting and one on one help is available for purchased products. If you are having problems a quick search of their knowledge base may turn up a simple answer but chats and emails may also give you the help you need for particularly difficult problems.

While using the Kaspersky PURE 3.0 program I did not have any problems I could not solve with simple help form the questions already answered in their forums and frequently asked questions. The program has installed easily on a couple of my computers and has been invaluable for my day to day work with simple tasks such as password management


Easy to install and use
Plenty of help and support
all around security features
Extras like Password Manager, Backup & Parental Control


Some settings may overwhelm new users
Password Manager does not work for 64 bit systems

System Specifications

Microsoft Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8
700MB free disc space
Internet Connection for Activation

Further System Requirements available here.

Kaspersky PURE 3.0 @ Kaspersky