One for the office, three for the phone

March 1, 2011
William and Patti Feldman review internet security programs

Almost two thirds of computer users have been victims of cybercrime from viruses, Trojans, and other malware that can wreak havoc on a PC. You can protect your business, to an extent, by never giving out company-related passwords and never opening attachments or links from strangers. However, a robust internet security program that defends against as many threats and malicious software variants as possible and has strong firewall protection from online dangers without sacrificing performance should be the basic defense.

For example, Norton Internet Security 2011 by Symantec,, uses several technologies, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-phishing, anti-spam, and smart two-way firewall to stop threats at the point of entry. It also provides network monitoring and identity protection, inspecting websites to make sure they are not fake and identifying unsafe websites and suspicious sellers.

In addition, the solution monitors third party applications and issues proactive performance alerts when an application is hogging system resources so you can make changes to improve performance. An integrated autofix technology diagnoses and fixes common problems. The security suite also offers access to the free tool Norton Safe Web for Facebook, a downloadable toolbar that identifies risky sites before users click on them in search results.

While Norton Internet Security 2011 is unobtrusive, doing its tasks with little or no impact on PC performance, a monthly report on network, malware, and Internet threats it detected and blocked will remind you precisely why you need Internet security in place all the time.

Three for the phone
HVAC Duct Sizer for Android duct sizing software for Android-based phones by Carmel Software,, allows users to quickly size one or more runs of duct using the constant friction method. The application, offering the same functionalities as the HVAC Duct Sizer for the iPhone (see July 2009 column), enables sizing new and existing duct systems by inputting air flow, unit friction loss, velocity, and/or aspect ratio values. Slider controls support a quick increase or decrease of input values. Technicians and designers can also specify additional parameters such as the duct shape, duct material, air temperature and barometric pressure.

InerTrak for iPhone Mobile Time Tracking Software by Inertron Software,, based on the desktop InerTrak, enables a technician toting just a phone in a pocket to automatically keep accurate track of billable time spent on various jobs throughout the day. The user taps to start the timer and taps again to stop it. The user can exit the app while a timer is running and the timer will continue to accumulate. (A red circle icon on the home screen of the iPhone will remind the user the time is ticking.)

The application supports multiple clients and multiple projects within clients. Each project can include an hourly rate and may also include expense items. Users can export the data in CSV format (a plain text file format for storing spreadsheet or basic database-style information) via an e-mail message which can then be imported into another program (such as Excel) on their desktop computer. InerTrak for iPhone can synchronize data with the desktop InerTrak if both programs are running on the same wireless network.

The desktop version, which supports multiple timers running simultaneously, can handle recurring charges (weekly, monthly or yearly) and project notes for any date or for the project as a whole. Also with the desktop version, users can create and print a time card for any project or client and a customizable template facilitates creating and printing invoices. It also has a calendar page that shows a month-at-a-time summary of projects and time worked each day, as well as daily, weekly and monthly totals. The data can be either exported to a text file in CSV format or copied to the clipboard for direct pasting into another program.

Evernote 3.0 for iPhone 3.0,, is a native iPhone application that enables the user to gather and store notes typed in using the phone keyboard and snapshots taken with the iPhone or stashed in an iPhone photo album, as well as text notes, business cards, screenshots and voice notes. Essentially, Evernote 3.0 is an online repository of data that serves as a digital filing cabinet by taking advantage of "cloud" computing. The information is accessible anytime from an Evernote desktop version.

Everything captured on Evernote for iPhone is automatically processed, indexed and made searchable. The solution even has text recognition inside images. Notes can be sorted by date, time, title, notebook, city and country. Users can scroll through in traditional form to see all notes or can turn the iPhone on its side and scroll through an infinite wall of thumbnails. When you locate the note you're looking for, tap and hold it to see all details. The basic Evernote is free for up to a 60 MB upload limit monthly, or $5 a month or $45 per year for a premium plan that boosts the upload limit to 1GB.

Bill and Patti Feldman are freelance writers for magazines, trade associations, building product manufacturers and other companies on a broad range of topics. They can be reached at [email protected].

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Contractor, create an account today!