Imagine yourself competing in the geekiest of all game shows, facing off against the geekiest of geeks—those characters of pop culture whose intellectual excellence you aspired to as a child and still seek to emulate in present day. Could you hang? Could you hold your own in such rarefied company, matching wits with the best of ‘em? Sadly, we can never know that, but Maximum PC’s annual Geek Quiz is a pretty good indicator of brain power in its own right. And you don’t even need to be first to the buzzer or frame your answers in question form. So what’s stopping you, smarty pants? It’s time to get your Quiz on!
It’s been almost two years since we last looked at a security product from PC Tools—PC Tools Antivirus Free Edition—and the experience left such a bad taste in our mouths that we knew exactly how Will Ferrell felt when he was forced to lick a pile of white dog doo-doo in the movie Step Brothers. Yes, it was that bad.
This time around, the experience was measurably more palatable, which is to say it was a lot less like eating dung and more like ordering from the value menu. At $50 for a one-year license, PC Tools will protect up to three PCs and ranks as one of the more affordably priced security suites we’ve dined on this year. If your Google-fu is up to snuff, coupon codes abound, knocking the price down by as much as 30 percent. That comes out to only $35, folks, making this the poor man’s security suite. As such, PC Tools stuffs a comparatively meager feature-set into the box, consisting of an antivirus scanner, spyware module, anti-spam controls, and a firewall. Noticeably absent are some of the side entrees other security vendors embellish their AV suites with, including parental controls, file shredders, identity safeguards, cloud storage, and various other garnishes.
It was bound to happen sooner or later. If you're one of the many, many people contributing to making the World Cup one of the most Internet-draining events yet to occur, then you're probably deaf. No, really. I speak, of course, to the ever-present vuvuzela horn--that clarion call of annoyance that's the subject of countless Internet memes and angry messages between soccer fans worldwide.
Obviously, a freeware solution is in order. And while you might not have expected it to come from a company like Stardock, creators of the popular Impulse download service, Fences, WindowsBlinds, and other such useful system apps, the company has nevertheless dug deep to develop a solution for your auditory woes.
There remains a legion of XP users who regard Redmond’s nearly decade-old OS as the holy grail of operating systems. And before Windows 7 emerged, we would have agreed, but what XP loyalists seem to forget is just how susceptible to Internet threats their beloved OS was in the early days. Sure, it came with a built-in firewall, but before the second Service Pack, it wasn’t turned on by default, and it was never able to monitor outbound traffic.
Enter Comodo, a company that built a following among enthusiasts for its excellent firewall. A lot has changed since then (including much better firewall integration in Windows), and it would be a mistake to peg Comodo as a one-trick pony. Comodo’s full-fledged security suite is more of an anti-malware stallion, and if overall scan speed were the Kentucky Derby, this would be the thoroughbred to bet on.