Software can roll back system if it crashes
I could have used PowerQuest's SecondChance ($69.95) software a few weeks ago. I downloaded a piece of freeware and during the installation process, it made my entire system go haywire. I worked with two Microsoft techies for more than an hour and a half to unravel the problem.
Never again, thanks to SecondChance. This utility is what's called a "rollback" program. Once installed, it takes periodic snapshots (called checkpoints) of your entire system. If something goes wrong, you can restore the system to the way it was before disaster struck.
You can create checkpoints manually or have them regularly scheduled. When you install SecondChance, it runs in the background until it's needed. SecondChance allows you to view all of the changes made to your system between checkpoints so you can restore specific files if you want.
It may not be the answer to all of your system woes or mean you'll never have to suffer a surly tech again, but it's nice to know that if need be, you can quickly roll back the clock on your computer.
Information: 800-379-2566 or www.powerquest.com.
Wireless networking kit is fast and easy
We've reviewed some excellent home networking solutions over the past year and each is better than the last. This is the case with Webgear's Aviator 2.4 Wireless Networking Kit ($199.99), a fast and inexpensive way to network the computers in your home.
The basic kit comes with two PC cards and two pass-through ISA adapters, so it can work with a desktop machine and a laptop, two laptops or two desktops. Additional PC cards are available for $124.99 and ISA adapters for $59.99. With street prices for the basic Aviator 2.4 kit running as low as $170, you're better off buying a second kit if you have more than two systems to connect.
The Aviator 2.4 uses the 2.4GHz radio spectrum and can theoretically deliver up to 2 megabits per second at distances up to 1,000 feet in open space. Like all manufacturer's ratings, this one is probably inflated. What you do get is very fast data transfer rates throughout an average size home or small office. If you're used to Ethernet connections, the Aviator will be a step down, but for the rest of us who are used to pokier (and more expensive) wireless systems, this is definitely a speed boost.
The Aviator 2.4 has been criticized for having a difficult setup. Compared to other systems that are nearly plug-and-play, it requires several extra steps and reboots, and WinProxy, the otherwise excellent Internet sharing software, is less than intuitive.
Still, the Aviator 2.4 has plenty going for it. Hopefully, Webgear will realize it has to improve the out-of-box experience if it wants to truly be the wireless network for the masses.
Information: 408-271-9888 or www.webgear.com.
For more hardware reviews and computer news, check out www.streettech.com.