ebook

Free eBook: The Complete Windows 7 Shortcuts list

ebookThe Windows Club has just released a free eBook titled, “The Complete Windows 7 Shortcuts”.

Apart from an exhaustive list of more than 200 common and new keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7, this eBook contains introductory discussions on basic keyboard usage, organization of keys, typing & editing, creating custom shortcuts, etc.

The actual list of shortcuts covers the following areas:

  • General Windows functions keyboard shortcuts
  • Dialog box keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows logo key keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows Explorer keyboard shortcuts
  • Ease of Access keyboard shortcuts
  • Magnifier keyboard shortcuts
  • Remote Desktop Connection keyboard shortcuts
  • Keyboard shortcuts for MS Paint
  • Keyboard shortcuts for WordPad
  • Keyboard shortcuts for Calculator
  • Windows Journal keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows Help viewer keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows Media Player keyboard shortcuts
  • Internet Explorer keyboard shortcuts
  • Windows Media Center keyboard shortcuts

The eBook has been authored by Nitin Agarwal, a Windows 7 enthusiast and is available in both PDF and XPS formats with fully linked content index.

You can grab the eBook from here.

Portable encryption systems – keeping your USB / flash drive data safe

Flash drive securityUSB-based flash drives are a part and parcel of everyone’s life these days. Not only they are dirt cheap, they provide  substantial storage, making them extremely handy tools for carrying around large amounts of data, including personal  and official  information of sensitive nature.

What’s worrisome is that the data on an average flash drive is grossly unsecure and can prove to be a tremendous source of data leakage both from the personal front and an organization network if the drive falls into wrong hands.

Because of their tiny sizes these devices are prone to being lost or misplaced or worse yet – easy targets for thieves.  Both TechRepulic and PCWorld provide lengthy discussions on the kind of damage such an action may cause to an organization.

Good news is that there are numerous commercial and free / opensource solutions (both software and hardware based) to securing your flash drive data. This article attempts to provide brief overviews of the most well-known ones with an emphasis on those which are free and readily available to everyone. In each case, portability is the key criteria, as that’s what USB drives are for.

Hardware

Hardware ChipTo begin with,  hardware-based data protection systems (for flash drives) aren’t all that prevalent yet with not many viable (read inexpensive) options for the mass consumer market. For most part, these devices are targeted towards the SMB (Small and Medium Business) and Enterprise market.

Although dubbed “hardware-based encryption” these flash drives employ a dual layer of software and hardware to secure your files.

These drives come with two partitions – a normal partition for publicly viewable data and an encrypted one for all your sensitive information, with the ability to set the size of this partition (as a percentage of the total flash drive capacity) at will. All data flowing in and out of the latter is encrypted / decrypted on-the-fly using AES-256 by an encoder chip (hardware) built into the flash drive. To access this special partition one needs to provide a password. This authentication mechanism is where the software part comes into play. The whole process is transparent to the end user and doesn’t cause any noticeable loss in data transmission speeds.

Note that the authentication software (in most cases) is Windows compatible only! Hence, on other platforms (Mac, Linux etc.) your encrypted partition cannot be accessed.

Did you know…

even if you ever lose your USB stick it will take someone with a very powerful computer at least 100 years to decrypt the data using brute force?

The drives also sport automated self-destruct systems that securely wipes out  data on the encrypted  partition after a certain number of attempted break-ins. This effectively counteracts any brute-force cracking attempts, although you can give up all hopes of recovering your data. But then again – “Better safe than sorry”.

Some of the vendors offering hardware encryption based USB Flash drives are:

Among these, the drives from Kingston, SanDisk and Verbatim have been awarded the FIPS 140-2 Level 2 certificate issued by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), which validates the USB drives for use with sensitive government data. Recently, a potential security hole was discovered in the drives from all three vendors – but that was primarily due to poor coding of the software counterpart. The actual encryption system still remains stands strong. Besides, patches have already been rolled out by all three vendors rectifying this problem.

If you’re the  paranoid kind and / or are strong on security these are the drives for you. But be prepared to shell out a thick wad in the order of $100 – $500 depending on the make and capacity of the drive.

Software

The pure software encryption systems have a couple of distinct advantages over their hardware counterparts:

  • They can transform any given USB disk into a secure storage location
  • Most such systems allow you to set a preferred cipher (encryption routine). Besides the default AES Blowfish, Twofish, DES, Tripple-DES etc. are also offered.
  • And finally, they come much, much cheaper than the hardware variants. The price range starts from “free” and goes up to $50.

As far as modus operandi goes, both hardware-based and software-based systems are virtually alike – except that, for the latter, the functionality of the hardware encoding chip is taken up by an additional layer of software. The same software that handles authentication is also responsible for encoding / decoding of the encrypted partition and a portable copy of the same is usually placed on the USB drive in order to avoid re-installation issues when working on a different PC.

USB EncryptionAnother added advantage is that one can create multiple encrypted partitions on the same USB drive. These so-called encrypted partitions aren’t “real” partitions, per se. Rather they are encrypted files that serve as containers for your data and are mounted as separate partitions by the software on-demand. Hence, it is possible to create as many of these partitions as you wish – each dedicated to a different kind of content (or as you see fit) – the only limitations being the total capacity of the flash drive and the availability of drive letters (on Windows). Like the hardware version, these data can be read from / written to these partitions on-the-fly.

Well-known commercial tools for this task are:

  • Encrypt-Stick – Employs Polymorphic Encryption. $40/license.
  • WinEncrypt CryptArchiver – Can choose between AES and Blowfish. $18 to $50/license depending on edition. A free edition – which limits volumes to 25MB – is also available.
  • I-Secure Key – Pricing and features are not clear from their website, but a fully functional trial version is available for download. This isn’t an encryption software per se and utilizes TrueCrypt behind the scenes to create and maintain the encrypted volumes.
  • Master Voyager – Apart from creating encrypted volumes on USB drives, this tool is also capable of creating encrypted CDs and DVDs. $70/license.
  • Discryptor – A pretty robust application with a strong set of features (and a lot of excess baggage like Parental Control, Employee Monitoring etc.) Licenses can range from $85-$2500 depending on edition. A free but limited Basic edition is also available.

And finally, onto the free and opensource ones.

  • TrueCrypt – Perhaps the best that there can be in this category in terms of features (and pricing). This utility offers support for unlimited encrypted volumes (as long as there are drive letters to mount on) and can encrypt entire existing partitions. The recent versions support something called Hidden Volumes where your actual data resides with a Fake counterpart stuffed with junk data to provide you with “plausible deniability” – in case you are forced to give-up your volume password to an adversary. Supported algorithms: AES, Twofish and Serpent. Probably, the only one to work on both Windows & Linux. Here is an excellent tutorial on using TrueCrypt. Advanced users will benefit from this tool.
  • Rohos Mini Drive – Easy to use portable application targeted at newbies. It creates hidden, encrypted volumes and can run on a guest computer without Administrative rights using File Virtualization technology. Caps the storage volumes at 2GB. Has virtual keyboard for protection from keyloggers. If it’s your first venture into the world of encryption, I recommend this utility.
  • SafeHouse Explorer – Another great utility with a similar set of features as Rohos. This tool presents you with an ever-familiar Windows Explorer like interface which you can use to drag & drop files and folder into the “private storage vaults”. Sports a graphical password strength meter to help you choose a good master password. A cool feature is the creation of self-executing click-and-run encrypted volumes. Recommended for basic users.
  • USB Safeguard – A free, lightweight and portable utility that works in drag & drop mode. Also features a safe-surfing mode that one can use while browsing from an internet cafe. Also a good recommendation for basic users.
  • FreeOTFE – A no frills yet powerful and portable opensource utility that supports numerous hash (including SHA-512, RIPEMD-320, Tiger) and encryption algorithms (including AES, Twofish and Serpent) in several modes (CBC, LRW and XTS) – providing a much greater level of flexibility than a number of other (including commercial!) OTFE (on-the-fly-encryption) systems. Has support for Linux volumes (Cryptoloop “losetup”, dm-crypt and LUKS). Works on PCs without no Administrator rights and has a PDA version too. Intended audience: both basic and advanced users.

Before I end, I’d like to mention this one other way which helps you encrypt data in a similar fashion without the aid of any third party software. This system utilizes the native data encryption mechanism of NTFS and works only on Windows-based computers. Online Tech Tips has a step-by-step tutorial on this. Be advised that this method limits your read / write activities to the encrypted partition on the originating computer only unless you are ready to export and carry around your EFS certificates.

Safe computing 🙂

Create one-click disk images of USB Sticks & MP3 Players with USB Image Tool

Have you ever felt the need of backing-up your flash drive entirely? I mean keeping a backup of the stuff you’ve got on your USB Disk maybe as easy as just copying it all off to a folder on your hard drive – but how about a nicely compressed single-file image… something similar to the partition backup images created by Norton Ghost, Acronis TrueImage and the likes?

Here’s this tiny (97KB compressed) freeware utility named USB Image Tool that lets you do just that – minus the bulk and complexities of the above mentioned programs. The tool helps you create exact images of your USB memory sticks or MP3 Players (which are mounted as USB drives). Talking of MP3 Players – think of the ability to alternate between pre-defined sets (images) of music with the help of this tool.

Here’s a quick run-down of the features…

  • Create image files of USB drives
  • Restore images of USB drives
  • Compressed image file format (using XZip 1.3 routines)
  • Display USB Device information
  • Maintain a list of your favourtie images
  • Single click backups and restores through an extremely simple interface

USB Image Tool Screen-shot

The tool requires .NET Framework 2.0 to operate  – so make you sure have it installed.

Incidentally, if you are still in the habit of using those frail little floppy disks, you can very well take the help of DiskXS – a similar tool by the same author, to create backup images of your disks before they decide to give up on you.

Get USB Image Tool here.

iSpring Free: Convert your PowerPoint presentations into Flash for sharing on the web

If you’ve ever wanted to share PowerPoint presentations on the web but cursed at the lack of of a way – iSpring Free can do it for you for free! It’s this really cool plug-in that inserts itself into PowerPoint and provides you with a button that creates a flash-based sideshow at a single click.

iSpring Free

And not just that – in case you wanted to incorporate flash animations / movies into a normal PowerPoint presentation, iSpring Free can do that for you as well. The free version doesn’t offer much in the way of choices – for that you’ve to go Pro. iSpring Pro offers a horde of custom transition effects,  animations, sound syncing, embeddable hyperlinks, custom slide-show player etc. However, for our daily use, this is by far one of the best options.

There are quite a few online services like SlideShare which convert as well as host the slide-shows for you – but then again, there’s a question of branding. All such hosted presentations come branded with SlideShare’s logo. With iSpring Free you’re totally free to brand it the way you like…

A quick remedy to speed up / resume your file copy process in Windows

The default file copy method in Windows (any given version) is severely handicapped. First and foremost – it’s SLOW. The probably the worst part of it is that there’s no way to resume on error. Supposing your file copy operation throws up an error (say, due to some problems while reading the source) – you don’t have any method at your disposal to get rid of the problematic files/folders and resume with the rest. On most occasions the error will cause the entire source file list to be deselected and you’ve to start right from scratch !!

This gets particularly nasty when you’re copying a particularly complex selection of files and folders. Upon aborting it’s invariably that same Ctrl / Shift + Click routine all over again. This is where two nice little freeware utilities can help you go a long way. Both the tools create hooks onto the default copy operation of Windows and automatically takes charge whenever you’re copying or moving files.

The first one is TeraCopy – a freely downloadable tool from Code Sector. I came to know about this tool while discussing about CubicExplorer. Now that I’ve brought it up, CubicExplorer is this awesome , feature-rich tabbed file explorer that I’ve been using for a long while now. It can do about a hundred different things that you’ve always wished in the default Windows Explorer but never got. This brings to light a very important question – has MS entirely stopped on furthering the development of their file explorer?? Through all these versions of Windows I never saw a single change except for the eye-candy! Anyway, more on CubicExplorer later – as it deserves it’s own post. Back to the topic.

TeraCopy Compact View
TeraCopy – Compact View

TeraCopy Expanded View
TeraCopy – Expanded View

Here’s what TeraCopy can do for you…

  • Copy files faster. TeraCopy uses dynamically adjusted buffers to reduce seek times. Asynchronous copy speeds up file transfer between two physical hard drives.
  • Pause and resume file transfers. Pause copy process at any time to free up system resources and continue with a single click.
  • Error recovery. In case of copy error, TeraCopy will try several times and in the worse case just skips the file, not terminating the entire transfer.
  • Interactive file list. TeraCopy shows failed file transfers and lets you fix the problem and recopy only problem files.
  • Shell integration. TeraCopy can completely replace Explorer copy and move functions, allowing you work with files as usual.
  • Full Unicode support.

None of the features, I believe, require any further explanation. Code Sector has a Pro version of the same too – available for a nominal licensing fee – but with a horde of extra features.

Point to be noted here. While TeraCopy does significantly boost the file copy speeds – this is applicable only to the larger files and folders. There’s this added overhead of firing up TeraCopy’s engine (everytime you copy/move a file), which actually degrades performance for smaller files and folders. At least that’s how it behaved on my system.

Now comes the other contender – Copy Handler, the free and open source sibling of TeraCopy. I came across this much later although it came as a very pleasant surprise. It can do everything that TeraCopy does, PLUS MORE. It’s simply packed to the core with tonnes of features and tweaks.

Copy Handler - Small View
Copy Handler – Small View

Copy Handler - Full View
Copy Handler – Full View

And here’s a list of the main features…

  • Copying data at rates up to 6-7 times faster than standard MS Windows copying (when copying data from one partition to another on the same physical hard disk).
  • Allows full-control over the copying/moving process by pause, resume, restart and cancel features.
  • Fully customizable – over 60 detailed options – from setting language (multiple languages) through auto-resume on error, shutting down system after copying finished to very detailed and technical (customizing copy/move thread – buffer sizes, thread priority, …) ending on sounds on specific events.
  • Multi-lingual support – with more new languages appearing everyday, since the translation process is quite easy.
  • Provides detailed information about copy/move process (current file, buffer sizes, priority, progress by size and visual bar, status, current and average speed, time elapsed/left etc.)
  • Can automatically resume all unfinished operations when system restarts.
  • Limits the number of simultaneously processing tasks (copies/moves) thus reducing system overhead. Instead, tasks are set into a queue and are processed in order it was inserted into queue.
  • Integration with system – adds additional commands to context menus of folders and drag & drop menus.

Phew! That’s quite a list of features. I wonder what the creator(s) haven’t thought of including yet! I used these tools for a week each and my conclusion is that Copy Handler does perform a lot better than TeraCopy – both for small and large files. And with all the tweaks you can make it turbo-charged – which isn’t really possible with TeraCopy.

Why don’t you give both TeraCopy and Copy Handler a try – and share your views with us?

LC ISO Creator: Probably the smallest (and portable) no-frills ISO maker

Here’s a quick pointer. If you want an CD/DVD ISO Image Creator that does just what it’s intended to do, you should try this fantastic freeware named LC ISO Creator.

It’s this incredibly tiny download (14kb compressed) and runs straight out of box – i.e. no installation is required. It doesn’t require any crappy driver installation either. This can make it an invaluable addition to the PortableApps Suite.

LCISOCreator Screenshot

The interface is very minimalistic and doesn’t sport any Settings or Options dialog. It took me around 9 minutes to convert a 3GB DVD into it’s ISO counterpart – pretty good for such compact coding. It even support Unicode. Your only qualm might be that it cannot handle copy-protected disks. Who cares! There are plenty of specialised tools for that.

This one’s headed straight for my PortableApps folder on my USB key.

AllBootDisks: Your ultimate resource (direct downloads) for Windows boot disks

AllBootDisks LogoI can’t live for long without re-installing my Windows. It stems out of this habit of downloading all the junk in the world and trying them out. Of course, this is quite necessary for me to be able to write decent reviews of the various cool tools that I keep mentioning every so often. The end result is that my system bogs down to a crawling pace at an exponential rate due to all the residual junk. Besides, I love the feel of a freshly installed copy of Windows. So there…

On some of these re-installation phases I’ve come up against hard brick walls, namely, scratched installation disks rendering them unbootable. Or at times I’ve rendered my hard-drive unbootable while trying to do (and learn) some low-level editing of the MBR (Master Boot Record) which was further compounded by that unbootable Windows installer disk. Whatever be the case, one always needs to be able to access the Windows partition to backup certain crucial configuration files and data prior to the clean install. Trust me, there’s always a need for that. And having access to the boot partition is quite necessary for this.

That is where AllBootDisks come in handy. If you’re in dire need of a Windows boot disk, this is the perfect place to look for one. They’ve got ready-to-download-and-burn ISO images of all possible versions & variations of Windows starting from WIndows 95 and even for MS-DOS. Windows 98, 2000, ME, NT, XP Home, XP Pro – to name a few. All you need is access to a friend’s computer with a CD burner and a net connection. You’ll have your boot CD up and running in a jiffy.

So, now you know where to look for if you’re suffering from booting horrors. Simply chant AllBootDisks.

Zoogmo – A new concept in free & unlimited offsite backups

Zoogmo LogoPast couple of days I’ve been consistently churning out reviews on file and video hostin / sharing services and through the comments left on one such post, I came to know about this brand new concept in distributed offsite backup named Zoogmo.

Almost any given file hosting / sharing / backup service operate under the same principles, i.e. you upload the file(s) to their storage servers under your account name and then distribute it as you wish by granting selective access to your friends, family & co-workers. Zoogmo – which is primarily designed as a backup facilitator – follows a completely different approach. With Zoogmo, you decide who and where your backup server is going to be. It could be anyone from a friend, a relative to a colleague – as long as they have a computer and a decent internet link. More than one person is allowed to participate in this venture and become your backup partner.

How it works

Online BackupWhat both of you need is to register for free at the Zoogmo site and get hold of their backup client. Once installed and run, this software performs a quick scan of your most used & critical documents and adds them to the pending backup list. Files and folders may be manually added too once the client of done with the configuration part. You also need to allocate some free space on any of your drives (HDD, USB etc.) or partitions. This space is going to act as the backup zone for the partner(s) in your network. The last step is to setup a list of your backup partner(s). If you know their nicknames a simple search will suffice. And that’s it. From then on, Zoogmo takes care of the rest silently in the background.

The very first time, a backup may take a good while for completion as there’s a lot of data to transfer (though the Zoogmo client employs a high degree of compression prior to transmitting your data). From then on only incremental backups occur, transmitting only the changes you’ve made to your files. The amount of data you can backup is only limited by the amount of free space allocated by your partner(s) on their computers.

The backups are performed using the idle CPU cycles – so your actual work shouldn’t be hampered at all. If your executable during the backup process, Zoogmo simply waits for it to be restored and resumes from the pending point.

Security

Encryption & SafetyAll you data is encrypted using a combination of Tripple-DES and AES 256 routines – rendering them pretty much useless to the prying eye. In fact, none of your backup partners are able to differentiate between any of the files stored on their computer. The data transmission too occurs through a secure channel between you and your partner(s) thus guaranteeing a high degree of security at all stages.

Chances of Viral Infection

Since all files are encrypted prior to transmission, any kind of file that is prone to a viral infection is rendered useless. Even if your backup partner’s system is infected, logically the infection shouldn’t be able to spread to your files.

Zoogmo recommends that you maintain a list of at least 3 backup partners so that your data is effectively replicated in multiple locations thus providing you with a redundant fall-back mechanism in case one of your partner’s computer goes dead.

Here are a couple of videos that explain the whole process in a lucid manner. Or you can always drop by at their site and go through the FAQs.

While replication servers in themselves aren’t a new concept, the whole idea of a free and open backup network certainly is very innovative.

Am off to find some suitable backup partners. How about you?

Update (15.12.2009): Sadly, Zoogmo is closing down. They will go out of operation end of this year (Dec 31st). I got a mail from them to the effect a couple of days back…

Valued Zoogmo Customer,

We would like to thank you for your loyal support.
Since we launched our backup service in August 2006 we have enjoyed serving you but the time has come for us to close our doors.
We plan to shut down our servers on 31st December 2009 at which point your backed-up data will no longer be available. We suggest that you check out www.mozy.com for unlimited online backup for just US$5/month. If you have any queries about our shutdown, please email us at info@zoogmo.com.

Thank you once again for using Zoogmo,

The Zoogmo Management

Another great startup venture that ‘s going down the drain, most likely because of not enough profitability when compared to the extremely high bandwidth and disk space consumption that a service like this requires.

Better folder navigation with RaimaExplorer – a free multi-tabbed file explorer

When it comes to browsing you drives content, Windows Explorer is possibly the worst tool in terms of ease-of-use. Moving files / folders around different drives and directories is directly proportional to the number explorer copies you’ve to keep running. This is very similar to the problems of Internet Explorer prior to version 7 which sports a tabbed-interface. Nothing can beat the good old Norton Commander style two-pane interface. But a tabbed interface serves the purpose equally well. Hunt for a tool that operates on the same principle brought me upon RaimaExplorer, a freeware file manager for Windows that gives you easy access to all your files and folders.

RaimaExplorer Screenshot

RaimaExplorer has a multi-tabbed interface that enables you to work with as many open folders as you want – all within the same application window. One might tend to express doubts as to why depart from the long-learnt comfort (read keyboard shortcuts) of Windows Explorer and delve into the messy learning curve of a new software all over again. Fear not, ’cause all those shortcuts work here too. Apart from that, it fully supports Drag & Drop, Folder Bookmarking, Filters, Preview and a horde of other features.

Here’s a quick run-down of the most salient features…

  • Auto-remembering of the View Modes (Thumbnail, List, Details etc.) for each folder.
  • Breadcumb navigation support for each tab.
  • Bookmarking facility of folders for one-click navigation later on.
  • Ability to save a group of folders under one common name, clicking on which opens all those folders in individual tabs. This is a feature I found extremely useful as I keep working with same group(s) of folders quite frequently.
  • Filters for each tab allowing you to narrow down the displayed list according to your needs.
  • A Preview Pane that gives you a glimpse of the content of zip files, image files etc.
  • Customizable toolbars with all the standard navigation buttons.

It’s a very recent entrant in the software scene and has got it’s little teething problems here and there – but all in all, definitely worth a try

Real-time visitor tracking made easy with Reinvigorate Snoop

Site AnalyticsSite Analytics tools are an invaluable companion for any webmaster aspiring to make it really big on the net. Such analytics tools help you study the behaviour of your visitors thereby allowing you to fine-tune your site in order to attract more visitors as well as gain “converts” – visitors who perform an action viz. download something, fill forms, make donations etc. on your site. The resultant improvement in website performance can really give you that upper edge over your competitors. Keyphrases that bring traffic to your site reveal how your site is being found, which search engines are being the most effective in referring traffic and what types of terms are most relevant to your content. Other than that analytics also reveal information on your entrance and exit pages. Entrance pages give your visitors that “first impression” about your site and exit pages show why people leave you site at that point. If you’re serious about your website, the importance of using a good analytics tool can’t be stressed on enough.

When it comes to site analytics tools, the undisputed market leader is Google Analytics. It’s easy-to-use, it’s turbo-charged (packed with every feature you might ever want) and best of all – it’s free. Apart from that there are thousands of free as well as paid services which cater to your analytics needs. Most of them come with a common subset of features along with ones that are unique to each. Quite often a webmaster uses more than one analytics tool to acquire a deeper understanding of all the factors affecting his site’s performance. A simple search will point you to all such tools.

Reinvigorate happens to be a pretty recent entrant in this highly-competitive domain. They’re still in their Beta stage and sign-up isn’t open to public. If you wish to check out their service, you’ll have to enroll yourself in a waiting list. However, the wait period isn’t all that long and averages out to approximately 2 weeks. While the features offered in Reinvigorate are pretty much similar to Google, there’s one that stands out really well – Visitor Path Mapping, or in other words, the route (page-to-page) that a visitor follows on your site.

Reinvigorate Snoop LogoRecently Reinvigorate took a huge leap with the introduction of a brand new tool called Snoop. This happens to be a real-time visitor tracking software that streams your website / blog events straight to your desktop. With Snoop around you don’t need to keep checking on your stats from time to time. Whenever there’s some activity around your site, Snoop immediately intimates you with distinct audio-visual alerts. It’s a pretty tiny utility that is available in both PC and Mac flavours and doesn’t require any installation. It sits in your System Tray and keeps a watch on your site activity as long as you’ve got the Reinvigorate Tracking Code in place. What makes it even cooler is the ability to tag pages and receive corresponding activity alerts (e.g. Purchase / Donations, New User Registrations, Comments etc.). I remember having used such services a couple of years back (minus the analytics part) – but they’ve long since gone Paid. As of now this is probably the only service that offers the best of both worlds – for free.

Snoop Screenshot

Drawbacks

Snoop is still at a very nascent stage. No mechanism exists to maintain/view historical data i.e., as soon as you close Snoop or your connection is lost and you’ve to reconnect – all the old data is gone (of course it’s still viewable at the Reinvigorate site). It’ll be great if all that data is made available offline along with the ability to generate graphs & charts – but then again that beats the whole purpose of the Reinvigorate site. Moreover, it doesn’t save your login credentials. Hence, every time you fire up this application, you’ve to manually enter the details in order to login to the Reinvigorate server. For now, it’s just wait and watch.

All in all I can foresee that this is going to be one powerful analytics tool to contend with. Reinvigorate has raised the standard by leaps & bounds and other vendors will soon have to follow suit or perish in the process.

Give Snoop a shot and let me know your opinion.