Bitdefender Virus Scanner Review

One of the biggest discussion points between Mac OS X and Windows users is a claim that Mac simply can’t get infected with a virus. This was actually one of its strongest selling points for many years, which brought much needed initial attention at the times when Windows struggled with viruses and malware. Time has proven that Mac OS X is actually immune to virus attacks, and it’s much safer than Windows in those areas. Still, it can get infected with malware, which could exploit your browsing habits and your personal information, which should be a big concern.

The main difference between the way how Windows and Macs can get infected is that you can only get infected on your Mac if you download and install an application which comes with malware code. This means that you need to type in your password during installation, which opens up root access. You can avoid this by installing apps from trusted sources, like the Mac App Store, but most of us like to explore on our own and try to find an application which finally proves to be malware infected. This is why there are some antiviruses specially made for Mac OS X, using which you can target and eliminate malware code.

In this article we’ll review Virus Scanner, by a well-known Bitdefender, which you can download from the Mac App Store for free. This antivirus could be considered as a light version of Bitdefender’s Antivirus for Mac, which is a premium product. We are reviewing 2.2 version of Virus Scanner, which weighs 121MB if you use Mac App Store to download it.

Virus Scanner is a nicely designed application, which comes with Mac-friendly interface design. The main window will show you when the last time you performed a scan was, and it will give your four large buttons which represent four different types of scans. By clicking on one of these buttons, an automated scan will begin, even though you can use Preference pane to set-up options for each of them.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner is able to do a four types of scans: critical locations scan, entire system scan, as well as running applications and custom locations scan. This pretty much covers all of the areas of Mac OS X, so it should be sufficient to catch any malware. Bitdefender also says that a list of virus signatures is being updates every hour, which means that you should be always up to date against the latest threats.

On paper, this antivirus should be a perfect companion for your Mac OS X. But, once you start using it you’ll see that things are not as advertised. Many users complained about crashes, which I also experienced, up to the point where it was very annoying. Also, specialists who tested efficiency of this antivirus were not very satisfied and gave it only a mediocre grade.

Bitdefender Virus Scanner is a helpful free antivirus, which performs nicely up to some point. There are some bugs and crashes, but you might not even encounter them, if you’re lucky enough.

TuneUp Review

If you’re a Mac user, there’s a pretty good chances that you’re using iTunes as your default media player. Even more, if you’re using an iOS device, there’s no better way to sync all your digital contact, than to use Apple’s own iTunes.

Ever since the first version of iTunes became publicly available, which was 11 years ago, every new Mac came preloaded with this application, which comes as a part of iLife suite. Also, you probably won’t find better alternative, since this application is a media hub for audio and videos files, iOS applications, books, and gives you access to online store. Yes, because of all of this, you probably have quite large iTunes’ library file which automatically stores all your digital content. And this is when things can become tricky and sometimes very time-consuming.

Having your iTunes library neatly organized is always a good idea, since it makes this application perform better and it gives you better overall aesthetics. Since it does take some time to organize all those files by yourself, there’s an application which can do this for you, automatically. It is called TuneUp, and is made by TuneUp Media. It can be purchased through Mac App Store for $50, or you can subscribe for $40, annually. Currently it comes with a discount of 20%, so it’s good time to purchase it in case you’re interested.

TuneUp is actually an iTunes extension, which opens up and sticks right next to iTunes’ window. It basically offers four tools named: Clean, Cover Art, DeDuper, and Tuniverse.

Clean is used to fix mislabeled songs from your library. All you need to do is to drag a song onto TuneUp and it will find all the information automatically, like name of a song, artist, release year, genre and more. You can also use analysis tool to check your entire music collection for any wrong information, which could be replaced automatically. I’ve found this tool very helpful, and works really well. Some users experienced mislabeling, but this raises the question if they’ve set the bar for TuneUp too high. I’ve good pretty large song collection, and TuneUp found all the right information.

Next, Cover Art replaces just like you would imagine – your songs’ cover art. Just like the rest of the information, it embeds new cover art into a song, so you can see it when you transfer it onto your mobile phone or mp3 player.

DeDuper is trademarked name for a tool used to check for duplicates. It also gives you options to fine tune your search as well as the given results. This tool works very well, and I’ve had no problems whatsoever.

Finally, Tuniverse is used to show you additional information about the song that’s currently playing, like lyrics and artist’s biography. You can also find concert dates and such information. It’s nice to have this tool, even though I haven’t found it essential.

In overall, this is a perfect tool for optimizing your iTunes library, and could be essential for someone with huge number of songs. It does the job very well, but I think it would reach much more potential users if the price is a bit lower.

Daisy Disk Review

In order to keep your Mac running just as fast as the day you bought it, you need to do some regular maintenance. The good news is that Mac OS X already comes pre-loaded with some maintenance operations which are being executed in the background, so you won’t even notice them. Still, it is always advisable to look for a specific maintenance-oriented application which could provide you all the necessary tools in one place.

Your maintenance routine should also include reorganizing your files and deleting applications and files you don’t use anymore. This is a good thing in many ways, since this can speed up your computer, help Spotlight become much more snappy, and you will surely benefit from a larger free space on your hard drive. You can do this on your own, if you have the time and if you’re familiar with the way Mac OS X is organized. For those who would like to make this task much more fun and easier, there’s Daisy Disk.

Daisy Disk is a utility which scans your drives and shows you visually how much space is taken on your drive, by showing you sizes of groups of data. This information will be displayed through a visual circular map, which is very easy to use. When you find a file that you don’t need, you can simply use a small icon located within Daisy Disk to remove it permanently.

Daisy Disk welcomes you with a small window which shows a list of internal drives, as well as mounted external disks like USBs, FireWire and Thunderbolt drives, as well as network drives. This means that you can use this application with any hard drive and easily remove files you don’t need anymore. Welcome window will also show you how much space is occupied on each of them, and since changes are real-time, you can eject and mount any number of additional drives.

In order to begin, press Scan button and Daisy Disk will do the rest. Needed time to completely scan you drive depends on its size. 100GB of data is being usually scanned in about 10-15sec, so this process is quite fast. After that, the main window will appear.

Daisy Disk is quite simple and straightforward. You will see a circular map which will show your whole hard drive, and there’s also a vertical bar on its right side which is used to show you a legend of colors which are present on a map. Now all you need is to hover over a certain color on the map, and it will show whether those are your personal files, or perhaps music, movies, pictures, applications, or system files. All of these files are actually present on the map, but they are differently colored. So, in order to find large and obsolete files, simply dig through a group of files. Finally, drag a file to an appropriate icon and Daisy Disk will remove it automatically.

Perhaps it seems a little bit confusing on a first sight, but Daisy Disk is very intuitive and you will learn how to handle it a few minutes only.

Mint Review

If you ever searched for a financial-related software which could help you review your money flow, you’ve must have stumbled upon Mint.com. This is a website which provides financial management, like tracking bank accounts, credit cards, investments and loans. It is most popular because of its simple and intuitive interface, which presents financial information in a graphic manner, using charts and graphs. We can all agree that this way, many information seem more understandable and this is where Mint succeeded.

Since Mint was acquired by a company who develops Quicken, which is probably the most used financial management solution for Mac OS X, this website became much more popular. Now it has the ability to reach almost every US bank in order to download transactions and it also gives some features of an online banking. According to newest statistics, Mint is currently serving over 7 million users, which is a huge base.

Since Mint.com is web-based solution only, it does not have a desktop client. This is mostly because web interface is accessible from every possible operating system, which gives this website a big advantage to start with. This also has its downsides, since you always need to go online and login to Mint.com in order to get to your account. This is why a while ago, Mint published its desktop client which is actually a notification center of Mint.com. This application is called Mint QuickView and it very successful among Mint users and it was awarded by Apple as one of the Mac App Store Editor’s Choice Award for 2012.

The most important thing to say is this this is not a desktop client of Mint.com. This is simply a very small application which will be positioned in a status bar and which is made to give insight into your current bank balance. On the other hand, even though it seems like a simple Mint.com notification app, it still gives you very detailed insight and some helpful reports.

Once you click on a small Mint icon in your status bar, a large floating window will appear. Design of this window is very beautiful and it elegantly integrates into Mac OS X. Information is presented in a graphical manner, just like you would expect from Mint. You can see your current bank balance, your credit card balance as well as detailed spending report. Below that you can find six latest transactions. This is the main window which will pop-up each time you click on an icon, or each time your bank balance changes. This is not all. You can also get several other reports like your net income, and you can also check all the budgets you’ve previously set up.

Mint QuickView is an excellent addition to Mint.com, which solves the problem of going online to track changes. It delivers all of the needed information in a graphical manner, and notifies you of any change.

Maintenance Review

Everybody wants his or her computer to be trouble free and fast like new. However over the years, as we install hundreds or thousands of apps, the operating system seems slow. It keeps the temporary files, caches and many other files even after we uninstall the apps from our Mac. So to make it fast as before, we need to clean the unnecessary garbage from our computer. Here comes Maintenance, a tool to clean the junk and keep the operating system as new.  Maintenance is a small app, but it does lots of things from cleaning your Mac to permission repair and even execution of routine maintenance scripts.

The interface of Maintenance app is simple. It lists the important functions, which a user requires most. The interface is divided in three sections named Maintenance, Cleaning and Rebuild and they list functions respective to that category. So, you can maintain, clean your Mac and rebuild your system’s services. You just select the operation and your job will be done. It will certainly help your Mac to run a lot smoother.

The Maintenance section contains two things, permission repair and execution of maintenance scripts. The permission repair takes a long time around 15 to 20 minutes depending upon your hard disk. The maintenance scripts execute BSD scripts and these clean your log files and temporary files too. It will definitely help your Mac.

The Cleaning section has five options for various works. These are for cleaning system, application and font cache, system logs and temporary files. These things should be cleaned regularly as they take lots of space in your hard drive and may slow down your system. This section has now more importance as Macs have SSD in some models. After cleaning, you will notice that, some applications are taking more time to start. This is because, it has to rebuild the cache once again.

The final section is Rebuild. It also has five options to rebuild various things such Spotlight and Mail index rebuild, Shared cache rebuild, LaunchServices rebuild etc. It deletes the current Spotlight index and indexes once again. All these tools are very helpful in system optimization.

The application Preference window has four options. You can change the interface, behavior of app such as cleaning for all users or current user (Administrator account required), restart options, application updates. In advanced tab, there are options for S.M.A.R.T status check and also volume verification for any errors.

Maintenance app is very helpful to maintain your Mac. With its no frill interface and clear options, you can carry out many operations that includes unnecessary file removal, permission repair and many more. The execution of maintenance scripts and repair permission takes a long time, but it is worth it as your system will be lot smoother after that. It also includes a help file, which will greet you at the first start. It has clear instructions for the app. If you are new Mac user, then you should take a look at it. The app is available as free of charge and available for all Mac OS X versions from Tiger to Mountain Lion. The Mountain Lion version is in beta version, but it works well.

Cocktail Review

In order to keep your Mac running at its peak performance, you need to have a certain maintenance routine. The truth is that Mac OS X comes with some preloaded operations which automatically run, in the background. These tasks are being performed on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. Still, these tasks are not enough to keep your Mac running smoothly, and this is why there are some very popular system utilization applications which take care of those complex maintenance scripts.

One of those applications is called Cocktail, and this is one of the oldest applications of this kind, which has been around for quite some time. Many professional IT writers as well as software developers agree that Cocktail is certainly one of the “must have” applications, which will help keeping your system error-free.

Cocktail is so popular because it approaches overall maintenance from several different angles. It targets your disks and system files, on various ways. Still, it gives your sleek and elegant interface, which could be easily used even by someone who’s not familiar with how Mac OS actually works.

Speaking of disk maintenance operations, Cocktail offers wide range of scripts. It can check SMART status of your disks (which stands for Self-Monitoring, Analysis and Reporting Technology). It also scans and repairs permissions, which could solve a number of problems with errors in your applications and Mac OS X as well. It also allows you to enable/disable journaling, spin-down times, and Sudden Motion Sensor, which is something that only a few applications offer.

Cocktail also takes case of your system files, and it does the job surprisingly well. You probably won’t find any application which features so many different options and ways to maintain your system, all in one place. Some of these features are: running built-in maintenance scripts on demand, rebuilding Spotlight and Launch Services database, purge inactive memory, optimizing RAM memory management, modifying Time Machine settings and much more.

Besides disk and system files management, Cocktail manages files written by a user or different applications. These are various types of cache files, corrupted preferences, invisible DS Store files and more.

Finally, besides all those maintenance features, Cocktail also offers you a way to customize some settings which are inaccessible otherwise. For example, by using Cocktail you can customize look of Finder, Dock, login window and some other system service interfaces. You can also disable skeuomorphic leather skin in Calendar and Contacts, which will satisfy a lot of users who are complaining about this issue. There are also a lot of hidden settings in Safari, Mail, iTunes and QuickTime which Cocktail opens-up and lets you modify them.

It is very clear why this application is so popular, and why it lasts for so many years. We can surely say that you currently won’t find any system maintenance application which features so many different and helpful options, all in one place.

You can download Cocktail’s demo from its official website, which will run for a limited amount of time. Then, you can purchase a license for $19, which is a pretty good deal.

PrivacyScan Review

PrivacyScan

PrivacyScanThe matters of online privacy is currently one of the most important legal questions. Most of us had the chance the read the news about the most popular websites like Facebook and Google, who had to rewrite their terms of use, and to show that they are more transparent on how much our personal data is being collected. No matter how careful you are, and most of us aren’t careful enough, you’ll surely leave a chance for a website to collect some data about you. At the bottom line, those ads you can see all around the web, which are showing your local business are doing that by collecting your location information, without your knowledge. Now, there’s something your can do about it.

PrivacyScanAs you’ve probably heard by now, Mac OS is pretty much immune to viruses. Actually, it’s not completely immune since you can still get infected with a Trojan horse, but it’s incredibly much safer than any Windows OS version. This is why you’re probably not even using a dedicated antivirus on your Mac OS X, since Safari is just enough to protect you. On the other hand, there are several file types which could be stored on your computer and endanger your privacy. PrivacyScan is the perfect application to remove those files and to guard up your personal information.

PrivacyScan is basically a scanner which scans applications which might use your personal details and which tend to leave a lot of cache files on your system. By removing those files you’ll surely notice some speed gains while using those applications.

PrivacyScanThe first time you start PrivacyScan, you’ll have to go through a Setup Assistant which will scan your Mac for those applications which tend to leave cache files. You’ll also have an option to fine-tune it’s settings and to add some applications which weren’t added by default. When you install a new application, which can be suitable for cache file scan, PrivacyScan will automatically add it.

PrivacyScan’s main window is very simple and intuitive. You get a list of applications which are going to be scanned and all you have to do is the press a button to start a scan. It should take long to complete. Now, you’ll get a report on found files which could contain your private information. Simple delete those by clicking on the appropriate button. You’ll see that those files are not only caches, but also history indexes, recent searches and internet sessions information. These are all sensitive data, so it always a good idea to securely delete them from time to time, specially before you decide to sell your computer.

Finally, there’s one more important thing to say. PrivacyScan uses up to 35-pass overwrite procedure of deleting a file, which practically makes it impossible to recover it. This is the safest shredding option available.

LogMeIn Review

LogMeIn Logo

LogMeIn LogoAre you in need of a free application that allows you to remotely access your Apple computer, either using a Mac or a PC?  LogMeIn allows you to quickly and easily access your Mac desktop for free, be it from a Linux, Mac, or Windows computer.  It also allows you to access your PC from a Mac.

A pro version is also available which includes additional features such as file transfers, file synchronization, and the ability to share your desktop with multiple users simultaneously.  For the sake of this review, we will be focusing on the free version.  As for its minimum system requirements, your machine should at least be running Mac OS 10.4 ( Tiger ) for both Power PC and Intel-based Macs and Safari should be on 4.1 or later.  LogMeIn for iOS is also available in case you would like to utilize your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch as a client, although this release merits a separate review altogether.

Installation

First, set up a free account via the LogMeIn website.  After signing up, download and install the program on the computer you wish to access remotely.  You can also do this with as many Macs as you would like.

LogMeIn Installation

The choices that appear afterward will allow you to initialize desktop sharing with a colleague, set preferences, or even share files to name a few.  You will also notice the appearance of a small LogMeIn icon in your menu bar from where you can access some really nifty shortcuts.

Accessing Your Mac Remotely

First off, you will need to go to https://secure.logmein.com/ and sign in.  You will then see a listing of all the computers you have LogMeIn installed on.  From here, simply click on the Mac you wish to access.  You will then be presented a log in page wherein after keying in your credentials, a new window will pop up from where you can now access that computer remotely.

LogMeIn Accessing Your Mac Remotely

Hover your mouse around to get a feel of the remote environment.  Open programs at will as if you were right there and once you are done, simply close the Safari window to end the session.

MacReview.com Verdict:

It is not an everyday necessity for us to be accessing our files remotely although if such a situation does in fact present itself, it is always nice to know that you have a way of doing so.  Personally, there were instances wherein I would use LogMeIn to obtain documents or photos I forgot to bring with me, monitor running applications, or simply to complete stuff on unfinished work I left at home.  Thus, I find it real handy to always have this option with me because one never knows when that critical need for such might arise.

CCleaner for Mac Review

CCleaner screen1

CCleaner screen1Mac OS X has always been known as a rock solid operating system, which needs minimal maintenance actions performed by a user. This was always one of the most prominent features when comparing Mac OS and Windows family of operating systems. One of the biggest reasons why Macs tend to keep their performance levels high over a long periods of time is that there’s a set of hidden maintenance scripts which are scheduled to run on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. These actions will be performed at start-up or in the background while you’re using your computer, so most users are not even aware of them.

CCleaner screen2Even with all of the previously mentioned in mind, in order to get the best possible performance out of your Mac, there are some things you can do. Luckily, there’s a set of applications which provide you these additional maintenance tools and most of them even automatize the whole process. One of these applications is CCleaner, a well-known system optimization Windows application, which was recently published for Mac OS X.  You can find it in the Mac App Store, completely free of charge.

CCleaner screen3CCleaner for Mac is a perfect tool to erase junk files which might affect certain applications and your operating system, which could lead to decreased performance. It basically scans your system for junk files like caches and logs, and presents you a list of files and folder which could be safely deleted. By default, it scans Safari for cache, history files, cookies and download history files. Next, it scans your system for recently opened files list (documents, applications, servers and places), log files and some other unneeded junk files. It also scans applications you might have installed, by automatically scanning their directories in search for caches and logs. For example, if you’ve have Google’s applications like Chrome and Earth, they tend to store a lot of local files so you can use CCleaner to regain some disk space and to speed up these applications. You should know that CCleaner lets you select and deselect specific file types within an application. For instance so you can delete download history files in Safari, but choose to leave your internet history intact.

Besides deleting unneeded files, CCleaner also offers some other helpful tools. One of them is CCleaner’s Uninstaller which helps you uninstall an application. Even though you can delete an application by dragging it into the trash bin, sometimes you’ll end up with  hidden leftover files. CCleaner takes care of that problem easily. Some other helpful tools are ability to repair permissions and to erase free disk space.

MacReview.com Verdict:

Overall, this program is actually quite useful. It’s very small, so you’ll download it in a second. It’s regularly updated, so you expect some new features very soon. The best thing is that it’s completely free, making it one of the must-have system utility applications.

Royal TSX Review

Royal TSX

Royal TSXWhen we talk about RDP clients for Mac, there are not many choices. Now a powerful and full featured remote desktop application called Royal TSX, that was Windows exclusive before, has landed on Mac. This will help administrators very much who had to rely on different clients for RDP.

Royal TSX is plugin based application and easily extendable. It has many important connections built in and they are constantly adding more. The connection configuration is very easy to use. You can see which plugin does what in Properties tab, so that you can enable specific plugins if you would like.

Royal TSX can manage credentials for lot of system, which is a very essential feature. Credentials can be managed by selecting credentials folder and save usernames and passwords of the remote computers. You can provide default credentials in the Connections folder so that you can access the client immediately.

After setting up the credentials, you can use it right away. All the remote desktop hosts are added in Connections folder. You can add a host very easily. Click Add, enter display name, fully qualified domain or IP address of the host, then Save and Close. This is the process if you would like to add more than one hosts. You can even duplicate a host if you another system you want to add has the same host name.

Royal TSX has other features like VNC management, Web connections, and Terminal if you have installed plugins. The Web connection functionality is useful for Sharepoint sites and admin interfaces. If you use multiple systems, you can save the configuration and sync across other platforms. Just save the Document in ‘Merge file on save’ mode and you can share it via Dropbox or SkyDrive. It is cross platform, which means that the document is compatible with Royal TS(Window) and Royal TSi(iOS).

Royal TSX uses Remote Desktop Protocol to connect to Windows computers. It uses FreeRDP as official RDP plugin with support of Network Level Authentication, TLS encryption and much more. The official Terminal plugin is based on iTerm with support of SSH and Telnet. The official Web plugin of Royal TSX uses Webkit as core and helps supports Sharepoint, System Center Web Consoles, and much more. It also can connect to Mac , Linux or Windows computers running VNC or Apple Remote Desktop. No other RDP client provides this set of features. You can encrypt your documents with password for security and it is fully supported with Royal TSX. It uses AES/Rijndael level security which is approved by NSA. Once you have secured the document with password, it will ask for the password when the document is opened.

The app supports AppleScript, so that you can automate repetitive tasks such as connecting to a specific set of connections, build reports containing specific properties of connections, import of connections from various sources.

The application Royal TSX is still in beta for Mac OS X. IT administrators, who will use it first time will see how powerful it is and provide how many features compared to Microsoft Remote Desktop and many other RDP applications. Old Windows users who are familiar will appreciate it to get it on the Mac. Also it will be available for iOS as Royal TSi which will make the sync complete.

MacReview Verdict:

If you are a user who connect to multiple system regularly or switched from Windows to mac, you will find Royal TSX extremely useful and powerful. You can download the beta version or pre-order the final version.