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I have already written an article on MacHider, so the readers may ask why again? Well, in the previous one, I just pointed out a few basic features of MacHider, however, in this one; I am going to elaborate things as well. Let’s talk about a couple of advanced features of MacHider in this article that were not mentioned in the previous one.

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AutoHide Groups

When you run MacHider for the first time, you should notice the AutoHide Groups feature right then. For each of the individual custom groups that you have created, you can toggle the AutoHide feature on or off.

If you run MacHider, the groups with the AutoHide option enabled, will reveal the contained files automatically. However, as soon as you close MacHider, those files will get back to their hidden status. If you need to access groups of hidden files at a frequent basis, this feature can prove to be very useful.

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Security

It is advertised by the app that it doesn’t modify any of the files that it hides. Well, you don’t need to worry about file corruption as it seems. Now, let’s discuss a bit that how secure MacHider actually is. If you hide any specific file, MacHider then creates a hidden folder to which the file is moved with a reversed file name (This is probably done so that it doesn’t show up in the spotlight). There is a password feature which protects your files from being accessed by other users.

On a nutshell, I will suggest my readers to give it a try. The app is good at what it claims to be doing. It works well in keeping some of the sensitive files out of the intruders’ sights. Don’t think of it as a security tool, it isn’t. It works well to hide your files and for that, it is definitely top notch.

Do you use podcasts to be informative on a big range of interests and topics? Well, if you are subscribed to a dozen of podcasts, managing all of those can prove to be a time consuming task. Many prefer the podcast manager of iTunes, however, that’s good enough only for a handful of podcasts. An advanced version of the same is Instacast which comes with better options for playing, managing, interacting with or synching the various podcast subscriptions between your devices.

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I remember trying out Instacast in its beta stage. The app is now available in its full version for a price of $19.99. However, you can opt for the 14-day free trial if you wish as well.

The main user interface of Instacast has three columns: you will find a list of all your podcast subscriptions in one, you will find the downloaded episodes for each of the subscriptions in the other and the larger column is for displaying the notes and some other relevant information as well.  You can sort the podcast subscriptions by episode, recently played, title, favored and unplayed. The episodes, just in the very same way, can be sorted by these criteria too.

There are 5 built-in smart folders inside the app as well and you can keep track of the most recent, most downloaded, unplayed, recently played or favorite podcasts through those. You can download the individual podcasts if you wish. Alternatively, it is possible to stream them to your MAC as well. I personally liked the streaming feature as it let me not store any unwanted videos/music files in my system.

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The playback controls of Instacast are similar to that of iTunes. However, the backward and forward buttons you see are not for skipping between episodes, but, it lets you skip forward or backward in a selected podcast.

Do you want to be more organized, at least when you surf through your Linux system? Well, here is a simple Linux note taking app for you called GNotes which lets you to link one text to another, thereby turning the researching process into an inter-weaving database which you can easily reference at a later point of time. Doesn’t it sound like a personal desktop wiki?

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With GNotes, you can easily outline whatever thoughts you have and store those as well. The linking feature lets you to find these thoughts at a later time as well. If you often forget some of the best ideas that you ever had, GNotes is definitely an app that you should try out.

Once you launch the app, you will be able to see all of your notes. If you wish, there is an option to sort those into Notebooks. You can use the search feature to find the note that you have been looking for as well. If you wish to create a new note, just click on the “Create New Note” and you’re done. A simple note will appear in front of your eyes. Type whatever you want to inside the same and then click at the button at the top right corner for adding the same in a specific notebook. If you wish to link a note, highlight a phrase and hit the “Link” option.

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To be honest, I use the linking feature to create a type of personal database. Remember, that if you type name of a specific note in some other note, automatically, these two get linked.

The source code of GNote is available from Gnome Live and you can get it from distro’s package manager as well. The installation instructions are available in numerous distros too.

I have already talked about Windows 8 synching features. However, I have more information to share with all of you on this and below, I will do the same.

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A question that engulfs minds of most of the users is that what happens if a user logs into a new computer? Well, in those scenarios, Windows will automatically download the settings that are tied to your Microsoft account and set up your new computer accordingly. Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Metered Connections

You can control synchronization process over the metered connections. The mobile networks are set as metered by Windows 8 by default. If you disable this option, you will not be able to sync on networks where you will be charged for the amount of data which you use. This will reduce the mobile data and thereby help you to save some cash.

SkyDrive

Whatever files that you store in the SkyDrive are tied to the Microsoft account you use and you can access all of those from the Modern SkyDrive app as well. You can even access those files right from your desktop, but for that, you need to install the SkyDrive desktop app. This does not come by default with windows.

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Sync Data Removal

The Windows 8 Personal Settings website of Microsoft will let you erase all of the synched settings. First of all, the sync setting has to be manually disabled in all of the Windows 8 computers that you use. Next step is to visit the website mentioned above and click on the Remove button to delete all of your personal settings from the Cloud.

According to preliminary reports, Windows 8.1 which will be known as Windows Blue will have more sync options such as open tabs in the internet explorer, layout of the pinned tiles on the Start screen etc.

Previously, I have talked about the basics of Razor Comms. Now, it’s time to discuss more on the same. As you know, it’s a voice chat program and here, I will focus more on how it manages contacts with channels and groups.

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I’ll call it a hybrid approach of managing chat channels. This is unlike the programs such as Mumble or Ventrilo which have a central server and individual channels within the same. On the other hand, for Skype, you need to have a central account and you can chat with different groups or users at the same time. There is no dedicated server as such.

Though similar to Skype, Razor Comms has a central account for chatting and you can create various channels and groups as your wish. A group is a collection of individuals. On the other hand, a channel can be defined as a subsection of a group. Only a few specific members of a group can use channels to discuss things. Creating a group or channel is pretty easy and anyone can create one.

Once you have created a channel and are into it, you can click on the headphones icon (You will see it at the top left side of the main window). This will enable the voice chat function for you. Once enabled, you will be able to voice chat with everyone else who is part of the channel and has enabled the voice chat feature, just like you.

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While using the voice chat feature, you have several options such as self-mute (Your microphone doesn’t register in this case), mute others (If you find someone annoying, you can make use of this feature) or self-deafen (You cannot hear what anybody else is saying after enabling this feature).

Razor Comms definitely has scope of improvement once we start to consider the performance of the same. It hung many times while I was using it and that gets annoying after some time. However, I’ll still let it go as the program is still in its beta version.

Multiplayer gaming has a fast-paced nature and voice communication is an awesome bit of technology which complements it to the core. With voice communication, you don’t need to type out the long messages and you don’t need to sacrifice the game play for real time chatting. Razer which is an established gaming brand already has a new offering for voice communication. Well, the best part is that the program doesn’t cost a single dime. Razer Comms is still in its beta version, but, it already boasts of good enough features to compete with its major competitors such as RaidCall, TeamSpeak, Skype, Ventrilo etc.

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Razer Comms User Interface

As soon as you open the software, the main contact window appears in front of you. This one lets you keep track of your friends, your groups, your conversations, the games that you are playing etc.

The software supports a multi-window layout rather than a single window for maintaining all the elements. It’s definitely convenient to have multiple windows for contacts, conversations, preferences; however, if you cannot manage things well, it can become bothersome for you.

Installed Games – Integration with Razor Comms

This is a high point for Razor Comms as it integrates with not only the newly installed games, but also with the ones which are already there in your system. Surprisingly, even if you don’t install the games in your C folder, the software is still able to look through the installed games. You can directly launch the games from the software itself.

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General Preferences

I didn’t expect much on this front, as Razor Comms is still a beta program. To my amazement, there are number of preferences to fit your requirements. You can get sound and popup notifications. Apart from that, the input sensitivity, volume, push to talk features can definitely be modified based on your requirements.

There’s lot more to talk of Razor Comms which I will do in a later article for sure. For the time being, I’ll conclude here. If you want to share any experience of yours with me and the other readers regarding Razor Comms or any other similar software, please use the comments feature.

Windows 8 has got a lot of synching features. There is promise that Windows 8.1 will have more, but, for the time being, let’s focus on the current synching features available. Make no mistake, each of this synching options can be disabled or enabled manually, depending on your requirement:

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App Settings

In this category, you will be able to sync settings of only certain apps and the purchases made inside those apps. This is limited to the Modern apps and you can only sync the ones for which the developer of the apps lets you to.

Personalize

Through this, you can personalize the settings for the new Start screen and the Modern environment as well. This includes account picture, background, colors and lock screen image. If you enable this, you need to set up the Modern environment only once. Your settings will appear on each of the other PCs where you log into. Similarly, the changes you made in one PC after logging in will appear in the rest as well. Through desktop personalization option, you can personalize desktop appearances such as desktop theme and taskbar configuration too.

Ease of Access

You will be able to sync accessibility settings through the same, including those for magnifier and narrator.

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Passwords

Through this, you can sync passwords for certain websites, networks and even for HomeGroup networks. These settings however only sync to the PC you use when you enable “trust your PC” option. This is like enabling a two-factor authentication on the website of Microsoft.

Browser

You can sync your Internet Explorer settings through Windows 8. The history details, favorites and other browser data can be shared between the Windows 8 computers. For other browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, you will have to use the built-in synching features of those.

Apart from the aforementioned ones, you can sync language, file explorer application, mouse settings and many more as well.

I already wrote an article on how to set everything up in Minbox. Now, it’s time to get into some details of the same.

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You can access the app anytime from your system’s menu bar. Just click on the attachment icon button and then start adding files located with Finder. Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop the files onto the application icon. While making a test on the speed, I uploaded files of total size 1 GB. Minbox took around 15 minutes to convert and upload all the files to the server. Remember, the speed of uploading is pretty much dependent on your internet connection and hence, the time mentioned can vary as well. Though the uploading process continues on the background, you will get notified as soon as the process is completed.

Now, let me share a bit of information on a comparison that I made between Dropbox and Minbox. For a similar file size, the uploading took time of 44 minutes in Dropbox, whereas, for Minbox, the same was at below 21 minutes. Minbox visibly looks faster, but, I don’t know if it has anything to do with my system or internet connection.

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The uploaded files can be directly emailed from Minbox and the best part is that you can schedule those emails to be sent at a later time. All the uploaded files are assigned a unique link to a posted gallery. Once the files are posted and are available for download, you will receive an email confirmation, if you have things set up in settings.

Based on the default settings, Minbox will convert the files into a smaller size, however, it can be disabled as well and those can be uploaded in the original full size.

Minbox is completely free of use, as of today’s date. I find Minbox to be extremely useful for MAC users as the user interface is so minimalistic.

When you use the Window 8 computer of yours, Microsoft wants to you be logged in with a Microsoft account. Well, thereby, you get access to Windows Store and other modern apps. Not only that, but, it lets you sync the Windows 8 settings and even some desktop settings as well. This synching process can be completed with help of cloud and your settings will therefore be synched between all the various Windows 8 tablets and computers that you use. The settings will even be backed up with the Microsoft account you use and even when you buy a new PC, the changes will be refreshed for the same.

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If you have a local user account, synching will be disabled, but, not if you use a Microsoft account. You can synch everything or can choose to synch only a few types of settings between your tablet and the computer – the decision is yours.

Open the PC settings app and you should be able to find whether synching is enabled or not. Swipe in from the right or press the Windows key and C together for opening the Charms bar and then choose settings. Now, click on the PC settings option which you will find right at the bottom of the settings panel, that’s how you find the PC settings app.

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Now, choose the Synch your settings option and then you will be able to customize the synching configuration. If you wish to disable the synching of the settings, just slide the Sync settings at the top of the screen to off. If you wish, you can disable only a few types of settings as well and let the others synch as you wish.

Windows 8 synching and de-synching is a rather large topic and it may not be possible to define everything in a single article. Hence, this article will end here, but, I will soon come back with further information on Windows 8 synching procedure.

If you are interested in sending large files over the internet, let me give you all a suggestion. Register for the super-fast Minbox service and the process of sending large files gets even easier for you. You’ll see that most of the email clients, servers and cloud services such as Dropbox have file size limits and the process is often slow to upload files and send.

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Minbox is available as a MAC lightweight app that rests in the menu bar of your system. The makers behind Minbox have made claims that the service is twice as fast as Dropbox. Incidentally, they are behind another popular digital web application named as Penzu.

First of all, there are no file size limits or any limitation on the file type either, when it comes to Minbox. The files are stored on the server for 30 days as well.

Minbox has an incremental registration process and this is to prevent the initial overload to their server. The Minbox app works on Snow Leopard or a later version and the first step is to download the app. When you launch the app on your MAC, you’ll need to complete the sign up process (The process is quick) and this entails requesting an access code.

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To get the access code, you may need to wait for around 72 hours. However, if you decide to promote Minbox through your Twitter account or share the link to the service, the time period for which you need to wait for getting the access code gets smaller.

There are numerous features that Minbox has. However, the process starts with importing your address book to the Contacts list of Minbox. The import has to be enabled through the preferences settings available for Minbox.