Category Archives: Tech Reviews

Review: The 6 best password managers

Posted by on 25 May, 2017

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Thanks to the continuous barrage of high-profile computer security scares and reports of cloud-scale government snooping, more of us Internet users are wising up about the security of our information. One of the smarter moves we can make to protect ourselves is to use a password manager. It’s one of the easiest too.

A password manager is an excellent first step in securing your online identity, helping you increase the strength of the passwords that protect your online accounts because it will remember those passwords for you. A password manager will generate a unique strong password for every account and application, without requiring you to memorize or write down these random strings of characters. These strong passwords help shield against traditional password attacks such as dictionary, rainbow tables, or brute-force attacks.

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Review: The 10 best JavaScript editors

Posted by on 17 May, 2017

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JavaScript programmers have many good tools to choose from—almost too many to keep track of. In this article, I discuss nine text editors with good support for developing with JavaScript, HTML5, and CSS, and for documenting with Markdown. Why use an editor for JavaScript programming instead of an IDE? In a word: speed.

The essential difference between editors and IDEs is that IDEs can debug and sometimes profile your code, and IDEs have support for application lifecycle management (ALM) systems. Many of the editors we discuss here support at least one version control system, often Git, so that criterion is less of a differentiator between IDEs and editors than it used to be.

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Review: Tableau takes self-service BI to new heights

Posted by on 12 May, 2017

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Since I reviewed Tableau, Qlik Sense, and Microsoft Power BI in 2015, Tableau and Microsoft have solidified their leadership in the business intelligence (BI) market: Tableau with intuitive interactive exploration, Microsoft with low price and Office integration. Qlik is still a leader compared to the other 20 vendors in the sector, but trails both Tableau and Power BI.

ed choice plumInfoWorld

In addition to new analytics, mapping, and data connection features, Tableau has added better support of enterprises and mobile devices in the last two years. In this review, I’ll give you a snapshot of Tableau as it now stands, drill in on features new since version 9, and explore the Tableau road map.

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Business chat review: Slack vs. Teams vs. HipChat vs. Yammer

Posted by on 10 May, 2017

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Business chat has come into its own, with Microsoft debuting its Teams system for Office 365 in March and Google promising to deliver Hangouts Chat for G Suite later this year. What had been a market owned by niche technology companies—Slack for its Slack for Teams and Atlassian for its HipChat—suddenly became an arena for the 800-pound gorillas of office software, Microsoft and Google, as they each seek to own the whole collaboration and communications experience within an enterprise.

But being big doesn’t mean being better. Despite the new competition, Slack remains the undisputed champion of chat, the only service that gets it (almost) all right. A near-equal to Slack two years ago, HipChat has fallen behind and seems to have little momentum behind it.

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Review: Outlook Groups is now a pain on all platforms

Posted by on 9 May, 2017

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Outlook Groups is supposedly the core of Microsoft’s Exchange-based collaboration experience, integrated in its Outlook email, calendar, and contacts client. It’s meant to provide shared calendars, shared notes, shared files, and shared messages (handled by Outlook as if they were emails) to members of a group—sort of like SharePoint for humans.

But it’s been available only to Windows Outlook and Outlook Online via a browser since its September 2015 debut. Starting in late April, Microsoft began enabling Outlook Groups for Office 365 accounts’ Outlook clients on MacOS, iOS, and Android (if you have the most recent Outlook versions). Thus, Microsoft finally opened its core collaboration tool to users on all the major OS platforms, unifying Outlook group messages, Outlook group calendars, OneDrive shared files for your group, and OneNote shared notes for your group.

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BlackBerry is really back this time, thanks to the KeyOne

Posted by on 4 May, 2017

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Here’s a surprise: BlackBerry is back with a new smartphone, and it’s pretty good.

I know, I know, you’ve heard this before. Several times over the last few years BlackBerry has tried to make a comeback and each time it’s come to nothing, so what’s different now?

For the first time, the iconic BlackBerry hardware keyboard has been married with Android in the BlackBerry KeyOne. Combined with several software apps from BlackBerry, the KeyOne is worth a look if you’re shopping for a new smartphone, particularly if you spend a lot of time on email, social media, or messaging.

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Review: The 6 best JavaScript IDEs

Posted by on 3 May, 2017

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JavaScript is used for many different kinds of applications today. Most often, JavaScript works with HTML5 and CSS to build web front ends. But JavaScript also helps build mobile applications, and it’s finding an important place on the back end in the form of Node.js servers. Fortunately, JavaScript development tools—both editors and IDEs—are rising to meet the new challenges.

Why use an IDE instead of an editor? The main reason is that an IDE can debug and sometimes profile your code. IDEs also have support for ALM systems, integrating with the likes of Git, GitHub, Mercurial, Subversion, and Perforce for version control. But as more editors add hooks to these systems, ALM support is becoming less of a differentiator.

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Network monitoring tools: Features users love and hate

Posted by on 1 May, 2017

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Managing the health of the corporate network will directly affect the productivity of every user of that network. So network administrators need a robust network monitoring tool that helps them manage the network, identify problems before they cause downtime, and quickly resolve issues when something goes wrong.

Five of the top network monitoring products on the market, according to users in the IT Central Station community, are CA Unified Infrastructure Management, SevOne, Microsoft System Center Operations Manager (SCOM), SolarWinds Network Performance Monitor (NPM), and CA Spectrum.

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Microsoft .Net Core: Finally ready for prime time

Posted by on 26 April, 2017

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It’s risky and often foolish to rush into a new software development framework, programming language, or technology platform too early in its lifecycle. Beyond the usual issues of too much hype and too little stability, new tech tends to lack staying power. You might end up investing precious time and effort into learning the ways of a tool that becomes abandoned or, worse, eliminated. It happens more often than you might think.

So if you have resisted the adoption of .Net Core, no one could blame you. When “ASP.Net vNext” was announced in 2014, its advantages—modular, small footprint, more speed—were immediately interesting to every .Net developer. When the first release candidate of .Net Core arrived the following year—supporting cross-platform .Net development, hosting ASP.Net on Linux, and open source code—the new platform became even more compelling. But it was also very alpha, with showstopping shortcomings.

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NoSQL grudge match: MongoDB vs. Couchbase Server

Posted by on 20 April, 2017

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Choosing the right database for the job can be a daunting task, particularly if you’re entertaining the full space of SQL and NoSQL options. If you’re looking for a flexible, general-purpose option that allows for fluid schemas and complex nested data structures, a document database might be right for you. MongoDB and Couchbase Server are two popular choices. How should you choose?

MongoDB combines the benefits of immense popularity, support for simple graph searches, and the ability to perform SQL queries via a BI connector. Couchbase has its own large community of users, a performant key-value architecture, and a SQL-like query language capable of navigating nested document structures.

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(Insider Story)

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