|Category||Developer – Flash – Security|
|Rating (out of 5)||[rating:4]|
SWF Protection is a tool for Flash Developers to ‘protect’ the .swf (flash movie) files that they produce.
It encrypts and obfuscates the swf file, including images, multimedia and ActionScript to offer an extra level of security against hacking and cracking.
SWF Protection works with Flash v6, v7, v8, v9, v10 as well as ActionScript 2 and ActionScript 3.
SWF Protection is only available on Windows (sorry Mac and Linux users!) – 98, ME, XP, 2000, 2003 Server, Vista and 7. It is also available for use on both 32-bit and 64-bit machines.
On their own website, the developers of SWF Protection say:
“SWFProtection can stop all Flash decompilers, thus helps you protect your valuable design, hard working andintellectual properties from being stolen.”
SWF Protection is a good tool at a Flash developers disposal to add an extra layer of protection to their flash movies. Piracy and cracking have always been big things but they are ever increasing in importance as the numbers of hackers and hacking organisations ready to crack your software and its protection increases.
Piracy of software can cost a business a substantial amount of money – and in some cases can even cause new businesses or small developers to go out of business.
No type of software protection, no matter how expensive or who it is developed by, is going to be perfect and 100% foolproof. That is not the aim of protection and security software. The aim is to make it sufficiently difficult that it is not worth the time, effort and resources required to crack the application.
The main aim of SWF Protection is to ‘protect’, as much as possible, the SWF files which, without any protection, are particularly vulnerable to ‘Flash decompilers’ and decompilation tools designed to take the compiled SWF file back to its original source code (well, near original source code anyway ;)).
There is a free ‘trial’ version which doesn’t appear to have any restrictions but it will watermark your Flash movies after protection. To have no watermark present on your protected Flash movies you can upgrade to the full version, which is currently priced at $69.95 (approximately £44.54) for a personal license and $99.95 (approximately £63.64) for a commercial license.
|Category||Multimedia – Audio / Video Conversion|
|Rating (out of 5)||[rating:4]|
FLV Crunch is a handy audio and video conversion tool for the Mac OS X operating system. It can convert both audio and video files from one format to another.
It can accept the following formats for input:
FLVCrunch is an excellent lightweight tool for converting audio and video files from one format to another. DPS Computing recently discovered this handy little tool while converting Windows Media Audio files (.wma) to MP3 files.
Now, unfortunately on OS X, Adobes Media Encoder does not cut it if you want to input or output .wma files (this is only included on the Windows version of Media Encoder). However, this lightweight tool has hit the nail on the head. Don’t let its small size fool you, this really is a formidable tool.
Small, lightweight and low memory usage are all positive points of this piece of software. It can also convert many audio files in a matter of seconds.
For any developers out there, both software and web, this is a must have tool to have in your collection.
And without any doubt the best thing about FLV Crunch is…… that it is completely 100% free! Therefore, although Adobes Media Encoder can be used for many formats (just not .wma on OS X), FLV Crunch is comparable and doesn’t come with the huge price tag associated with the Adobe suites!
|Category||System Development – UML Modelling|
|Rating (out of 5)||[rating:3]|
ArgoUML is a freely available, open source, UML modelling tool which is popular with system developers and is used to create diagrams based on the Unified Modelling Language (UML). It can create Use Case Diagrams, Class Diagrams, Sequence Diagrams, Activity Diagrams and many more. While still garnering much support, it is coming under fierce competition from rivals such as the developers of Visual Paradigm who offer a product of a more commericial standard.
ArgoUML is a great tool for UML modelling, however it does have its limitations. Firstly, its support of the newer UML 2.0 standard is, well, non existent. Despite this, a lot of developers can cope with it being compliant to UML 1.1. Something which appears to become increasingly annoying as you use it however is the bugs that are present and the features that are missing from the software. Simple activities like copying and pasting cannot be completed, which can leave many a developer completely frustrated. Some menu options and buttons are displayed but are only part functional, or completely missing altogether. In addition, Argo allows you to include things in your diagrams which are not legal in UML.
However, it does and continues to do well as it is not a product developed by a huge computing company but a community driven open source project. It’s main rival at the moment is Visual Paradigm who offer both a commericial and a free ‘community’ edition.
|Category||Multiple OS – Web Browser|
|Rating (out of 5)||[rating:2]|
Mozilla Firefox is a web browser available on multiple operating systems and has been a long term rival to Microsofts Internet Explorer. Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s this popularity was ever increasing with many experts tipping the web browser to eventually overtake Microsofts Internet Explorer in terms of market share. Numerous exploits and non standards compliant development of Internet Explorer were two of the reasons for IEs decline.
Mozilla Firefox unfortunately looks to be heading down the wrong path. Once hailed the new dawn in Internet browsers, the late 2000s and early 2010s have not been good for the once revolutionary browser. While still maintaining a fair portion of the market share (for the moment), Firefox is becoming increasingly unpopular with computer developers and experts. One of the big reasons for this is the browser becoming increasingly more bloated and becoming more increasingly prone to lock ups.
Other browsers now such as Opera and Safari are offering better performance now than Firefox and unless things change, it is likely that Firefox will continue to decline.
Another issue brought up by users is the ever increasing amount of updates for the browser (sometimes only days apart) and the increasing incompatibility of add ons with different versions of the browser which, as expected, will no doubt be contributing to a decline in the number of users using the web browser on production machines.