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Introduction to Computing - David Evans

The first million years of hominid history produced tools to amplify, and later mechanize, our physical abilities to enable us to move faster, reach higher, and hit harder. We have developed tools that amplify physical force by the trillions and increase the speeds at which we can travel by the thousands.

Computing is the ultimate mental amplifier.

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Desktop Utility Software

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Objective   10/11/2017

Documentation on popular utility software.

What IS Utility software ?   10/11/2017

from Wikipedia

Utility software is system software designed to help analyze, configure, optimize or maintain a computer.

Utility software usually focuses on how the computer infrastructure (including the computer hardware, operating system, software and data storage) operates.

  • Anti-virus utilities scan for computer viruses.
  • Archivers output a stream or a single file when provided with a directory or a set of files. Archive utilities, unlike archive suites, usually do not include compression or encryption capabilities. Some archive utilities may even have a separate un-archive utility for the reverse operation.
  • Backup Software can make copies of all information stored on a disk and restore either the entire disk (e.g. in an event of disk failure) or selected files (e.g. in an event of accidental deletion).
  • Clipboard managers expand the clipboard functionality of an operating system .
  • Cryptographic utilities encrypt and decrypt streams and files.
  • Data compression utilities output a shorter stream or a smaller file when provided with a stream or file.
  • Data synchronization utilities establish consistency among data from a source to a target data storage and vice versa. There are several branches of this type of utility:
    • File synchronization utilities maintain consistency between two sources. They may be used to create redundancy or backup copies but are also used to help users carry their digital music, photos and video in their mobile devices.
    • Revision control utilities are intended to deal with situations where more than one user attempts to simultaneously modify the same file.
  • Debuggers are used to test and "debug" other programs, mainly to solve programming errors. Also utilized for reverse engineering of software or systems.
  • Disk checkers can scan operating hard drive.
  • Disk cleaners can find files that are unnecessary to computer operation, or take up considerable amounts of space. Disk cleaner helps the user to decide what to delete when their hard disk is full.
  • Disk compression utilities can transparently compress/uncompress the contents of a disk, increasing the capacity of the disk.
  • Disk defragmenters can detect computer files whose contents are scattered across several locations on the hard disk, and move the fragments to one location to increase efficiency.
  • Disk partitions can divide an individual drive into multiple logical drives, each with its own file system which can be mounted by the operating system and treated as an individual drive.
  • Disk space analyzers for the visualization of disk space usage by getting the size for each folder (including sub folders) & files in folder or drive. showing the distribution of the used space.
  • Disk storage utilities
  • File managers provide a convenient method of performing routine data management, email recovery and management tasks, such as deleting, renaming, cataloging, uncataloging, moving, copying, merging, generating and modifying data sets.
  • Hex editors directly modify the text or data of a file. These files could be data or an actual program.
  • Memory testers check for memory failures.
  • Network utilities analyze the computer's network connectivity, configure network settings, check data transfer or log events.
  • Package managers are used to configure, install or keep up to date other software on a computer.
  • Registry cleaners clean and optimize the Windows Registry by removing old registry keys that are no longer in use.
  • Screensavers were desired to prevent phosphor burn-in on CRT and plasma computer monitors by blanking the screen or filling it with moving images or patterns when the computer is not in use. Contemporary screensavers are used primarily for entertainment or security.
  • System monitors for monitoring resources and performance in a computer system.
  • System profilers provide detailed information about the software installed and hardware attached to the computer.

7zip    open-source file archiver  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia    7zip
Open Zip & RAR Files With 7-Zip [Tutorial]

7-Zip is a free and open-source file archiver, a utility used to place groups of files within compressed containers known as "archives". It is developed by Igor Pavlov and was first released in 1999.[1] 7-Zip uses its own 7z archive format, but can read and write several other archive formats. The program can be used from a command-line interface as the command p7zip,[8] or through a graphical user interface that also features shell integration. Most of the 7-Zip source code is under the GNU LGPL license; the unRAR code, however, is under the GNU LGPL with an "unRAR restriction", which states that developers are not permitted to use the code to reverse-engineer the RAR compression algorithm.[9][10]

Antivirus software   10/11/2017

from Wikipedia

Antivirus or anti-virus software (often abbreviated as AV), sometimes known as anti-malware software, is computer software used to prevent, detect and remove malicious software.[1]

Antivirus software was originally developed to detect and remove computer viruses, hence the name. However, with the proliferation of other kinds of malware, antivirus software started to provide protection from other computer threats. In particular, modern antivirus software can protect from: malicious browser helper objects (BHOs), browser hijackers, ransomware, keyloggers, backdoors, rootkits, trojan horses, worms, malicious LSPs, dialers, fraudtools, adware and spyware.[2] Some products also include protection from other computer threats, such as infected and malicious URLs, spam, scam and phishing attacks, online identity (privacy), online banking attacks, social engineering techniques, advanced persistent threat (APT) and botnet DDoS attacks.[3]

Email    a method of exchanging digital messages  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia

Electronic mail (email or e-mail) is a method of exchanging messages between people using electronics. Email first entered substantial use in the 1960s and by the mid-1970s had taken the form now recognized as email. Email operates across computer networks, which today is primarily the Internet. Some early email systems required the author and the recipient to both be online at the same time, in common with instant messaging. Today's email systems are based on a store-and-forward model. Email servers accept, forward, deliver, and store messages. Neither the users nor their computers are required to be online simultaneously; they need to connect only briefly, typically to a mail server or a webmail interface, for as long as it takes to send or receive messages.

Originally an ASCII text-only communications medium, Internet email was extended by Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) to carry text in other character sets and multimedia content attachments. International email, with internationalized email addresses using UTF-8, has been standardized, but as of 2017 it has not been widely adopted.[2]

The history of modern Internet email services reaches back to the early ARPANET, with standards for encoding email messages published as early as 1973 (RFC 561). An email message sent in the early 1970s looks very similar to a basic email sent today. Email had an important role in creating the Internet,[3] and the conversion from ARPANET to the Internet in the early 1980s produced the core of the current services.

Popular email platforms include Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail, Outlook, and many others.

Wikipedia Comparison of email clients

Network-based email was initially exchanged on the ARPANET in extensions to the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), but is now carried by the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP), first published as Internet standard 10 (RFC 821) in 1982.

In the process of transporting email messages between systems, SMTP communicates delivery parameters using a message envelope separate from the message (header and body) itself.

Servers and client applications

Messages are exchanged between hosts using the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol with software programs called mail transfer agents (MTAs); and delivered to a mail store by programs called mail delivery agents (MDAs, also sometimes called local delivery agents, LDAs). Accepting a message obliges an MTA to deliver it,[52] and when a message cannot be delivered, that MTA must send a bounce message back to the sender, indicating the problem.

Users can retrieve their messages from servers using standard protocols such as POP or IMAP, or, as is more likely in a large corporate environment, with a proprietary protocol specific to Novell Groupwise, Lotus Notes or Microsoft Exchange Servers. Programs used by users for retrieving, reading, and managing email are called mail user agents (MUAs).

Mail can be stored on the client, on the server side, or in both places. Standard formats for mailboxes include Maildir and mbox. Several prominent email clients use their own proprietary format and require conversion software to transfer email between them. Server-side storage is often in a proprietary format but since access is through a standard protocol such as IMAP, moving email from one server to another can be done with any MUA supporting the protocol.

Many current email users do not run MTA, MDA or MUA programs themselves, but use a web-based email platform, such as Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo! Mail, that performs the same tasks.[53] Such webmail interfaces allow users to access their mail with any standard web browser, from any computer, rather than relying on an email client.

FileZilla    cross-platform FTP application  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia    FileZilla
How to Use FileZilla (FTP Tutorial)

FileZilla is a free software, cross-platform FTP application, consisting of FileZilla Client and FileZilla Server. Client binaries are available for Windows, Linux, and macOS, server binaries are available for Windows only. The client supports FTP, SFTP and FTPS (FTP over SSL/TLS).

FileZilla's source code is hosted on SourceForge and the project was featured as Project of the Month in November 2003.[3] However, there have been criticisms that SourceForge bundles malicious software with the application; and that FileZilla stores users' FTP passwords insecurely.

History

FileZilla was started as a computer science class project in the second week of January 2001 by Tim Kosse and two classmates[who?].[4] Before they started to write the code, they discussed under which license they should release the code.[4] They decided to make FileZilla an open-source project because many FTP clients were already available, and they didn't think that they would sell a single copy if they made FileZilla commercial.[4]

Gpg4win / GnuPG    email and file encryption  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia Gpg4win
gpg4win Encypting and Decrypting
PGP / GPG Encryption by Tony Bemus

Gpg4win is an email and file encryption package for most versions of Microsoft Windows, which uses GnuPG public-key cryptography for data encryption and digital signatures.

The original creation of Gpg4win was supported by Germany's Federal Office for Information Security,[3][4] however Gpg4win and all included tools are free and open source software, and it is typically the non-proprietary option for privacy recommended[5][6] to Windows users.

GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG or GPG) is a free software replacement for Symantec's PGP cryptographic software suite.[5] GnuPG is compliant with RFC 4880, which is the IETF standards track specification of OpenPGP. Modern versions of PGP are interoperable with GnuPG and other OpenPGP-compliant systems.

GnuPG is part of the GNU Project, and has received major funding from the German government.[6]

Immunet    community-driven antivirus application  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia    Immunet

Immunet is a free, cloud-based, community-driven antivirus application, using the ClamAV and its own engine. The software is complementary with existing antivirus software. On 5 January 2011 it was announced that Immunet had been acquired by Sourcefire.[2][3]

The application is free of charge, and claims to be fast and to provide up-to-date protection against threats.[4] Virus signature files are stored in the cloud, not on individual computers, so update downloads are not required. Once a virus is detected and blocked for one user, all other Immunet users receive the same protection almost instantly. The software is noted for its ability to allow individual users to easily author their own signatures.[5]

MD5 Checksum    cryptographic hash function  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia    MD5 Checksum

The MD5 algorithm is a widely used hash function producing a 128-bit hash value. Although MD5 was initially designed to be used as a cryptographic hash function, it has been found to suffer from extensive vulnerabilities. It can still be used as a checksum to verify data integrity, but only against unintentional corruption.

Like most hash functions, MD5 is neither encryption nor encoding. It can be cracked by brute-force attack and suffers from extensive vulnerabilities as detailed in the security section below.

MD5 was designed by Ronald Rivest in 1991 to replace an earlier hash function MD4.[3] The source code in RFC 1321 contains a "by attribution" RSA license. The abbreviation "MD" stands for "Message Digest."

The security of the MD5 has been severely compromised, with its weaknesses having been exploited in the field, most infamously by the Flame malware in 2012. The CMU Software Engineering Institute considers MD5 essentially "cryptographically broken and unsuitable for further use".[4] Despite this known vulnerability, MD5 remains in use.

Comparison of cryptographic hash functions
Hash function security summary

Network enumeration   10/11/2017

from Wikipedia

Network enumeration is a computing activity in which usernames and info on groups, shares, and services of networked computers are retrieved. It should not be confused with network mapping, which only retrieves information about which servers are connected to a specific network and what operating system runs on them.

Network Enumeration is the discovery of hosts/devices on a network. Network Enumeration tends to use overt discovery protocols such as ICMP and SNMP to gather information. It may also scan various ports on remote hosts for looking for well known services in an attempt to further identify the function of a remote host. The next stage of enumeration is to fingerprint the Operating System of the remote host.

Nmap    Network Mapper  10/11/2017

from Wikipedia    Nmap (Network Mapper)

Nmap (Network Mapper) is a security scanner, originally written by Gordon Lyon (also known by his pseudonym Fyodor Vaskovich),[2] used to discover hosts and services on a computer network, thus building a "map" of the network. To accomplish its goal, Nmap sends specially crafted packets to the target host(s) and then analyzes the responses.

The software provides a number of features for probing computer networks, including host discovery and service and operating-system detection. These features are extensible by scripts that provide more advanced service detection,[3] vulnerability detection,[3] and other features. Nmap can adapt to network conditions including latency and congestion during a scan. The Nmap user community continues to develop and refine the tool.

Nmap started as a Linux-only utility,[4] but porting to Windows, Solaris, HP-UX, BSD variants (including OS X), AmigaOS, and IRIX have followed.[5] Linux is the most popular platform, followed closely by Windows.[6]

Shell    is a user interface for access to an operating system's services   10/11/2017

from Wikipedia

In computing, a shell is a user interface for access to an operating system's services. In general, operating system shells use either a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (GUI), depending on a computer's role and particular operation. It is named a shell because it is a layer around the operating system kernel.[1][2]

The design of a shell is guided by cognitive ergonomics and the goal is to achieve the best workflow possible for the intended tasks; the design can be constricted by the available computing power (for example, of the CPU) or the available amount of graphics memory. The design of a shell is also dictated by the employed computer periphery, such as computer keyboard, pointing device (a mouse with one button, or one with five buttons, or a 3D mouse) or touchscreen, which is the direct human–machine interface.

CLI shells allow some operations to be performed faster, especially when a proper GUI has not been or cannot be created; however, they require the user to be familiar with commands and their calling syntax, and to understand concepts about the shell-specific scripting language (for example bash script), which may prove difficult for those with little computer experience. CLIs are also easier to be operated via refreshable braille display and provide certain advantages to screen readers.

Graphical shells place a low burden on beginning computer users, and they are characterized as being simple and easy to use. With the widespread adoption of programs with GUIs, the use of graphical shells has gained greater adoption. Since graphical shells come with certain disadvantages, most GUI-enabled operating systems also provide additional CLI shells.

Wikipedia Graphical shells

Graphical shells provide means for manipulating programs based on graphical user interface (GUI), by allowing for operations such as opening, closing, moving and resizing windows, as well as switching focus between windows. Graphical shells may be included with desktop environments or come separately, even as a set of loosely coupled utilities.

Most graphical user interfaces develop the metaphor of an "electronic desktop", where data files are represented as if they were paper documents on a desk, and application programs similarly have graphical representations instead of being invoked by command names.

Wikipedia List of alternative shells for Windows
Wikipedia Comparison of Start menu replacements for Windows 8
Wikipedia Comparison of command shells




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