Stories by Liane Cassavoy

SocialShield helps protect kids on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter

SocialShield isn't cheap. At $10 per month or $96 per year, this Web-based social network monitoring service costs significantly more than some of its competitors. But it also delivers a lot more, too, especially if you're using it to safeguard children who use more than one social network.

Keep an eye on kids' Facebook shenanigans with MinorMonitor

If you have kids of a certain age, chances are, they're on Facebook. A lot. Connecting with friends you may--or may not--know. Talking about things you may--or may not--understand. Keeping them safe can seem like a daunting task, but it's one that's a lot easier with the help of MinorMonitor. This free, Web-based app competes with pricier solutions such as SocialShield and ZoneAlarm's SocialGuard, and does an admirable job of alerting parents to potential threats.

HootSuite manages your social networks

The average, everyday Twitter or Facebook user likely won't have much need for HootSuite, a Web-based social media management application. But power users -- especially those who rely on and manage multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts for their business -- may find this tool indispensible. HootSuite is available in two versions: a free (but ad-supported) plan that allows access to five social networks and two RSS/Atom feeds, or a $6-per-month unlimited plan that allows access for one extra team member. (Additional team members can be added starting at $15 per month.) The cloud-based service runs on any Web browser, and the company offers mobile apps for the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry platforms.

Patch software with free Secunia PSI

One of the biggest security threats out there doesn't come from malicious hackers or online identity thieves. It actually comes from you, the innocent PC user and your out-of-date software. But you can put an end to that threat with the free Secunia Personal Software Inspector (PSI), which identifies and helps patch the problematic programs you may be running.

Latest VoxOx Beta

It's no secret that managing your contacts and communications has become a full-time job in itself. But the latest version of VoxOx, a free service that works in conjunction with a free application, certainly can make the job easier. VoxOx unifies most of your contacts and your communications services, allowing you to stay in touch with (almost) everyone, almost all of the time.

Top 10 iPhone annoyances -- and how to fix them

The Apple iPhone is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of device. The people who won't buy one love to talk about how much they hate it. And although some iPhone fanboys won't admit to a problem, other people who love it (including me) often find themselves complaining about some frustration or another. Here's a list of ten of the most common iPhone annoyances, and what you can do to fix them.

Move your iPhone media files freely

Apple's iTunes software offers a great way to manage the media content you'd like to get on and off of your iPhone, most of the time. But there are times when you may not want to use iTunes to transfer files to and from your iPhone -- like when you're using a computer other than the one with which you typically sync your phone, for example. It's times like these when Xilisoft's iPhone Transfer app ($20, free demo with limitations) can come in very handy.

Motorola announces three new Android phones for AT&T

The onslaught of new Android smartphones continues, as Motorola has announced three new models that will soon be making their way to an AT&T store near you. The new handsets -- the Motorola Bravo, Flipout, and Flipside -- all will be available in time for the holidays, at prices ranging from $80 to $130.

RealPlayer Beta

RealPlayer, the venerable (if oft-maligned) multimedia playback software is back with a new beta. With the latest version of the software -- it's number 14, but is simply being called RealPlayer -- RealNetworks has enhanced the player's mobile capabilities, smartly taking aim at Android, BlackBerry, and Nokia phones that lack the native media syncing solution that Apple's iPhone and iPod enjoy with iTunes.

Study: We're holding on to our cell phones longer

If you're sick of buying a brand new cell phone every other year, you're certainly not alone. Consumers are holding on to their phones for longer than ever these days, according to the latest survey from J.D. Power and Associates.

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