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MeteoEarth: Enjoy the Graphics, If Not the Weather
September 27, 2013
You know those fancy, animated weather visualizations that you get on the local television news broadcasts -- the ones with the 3D drill-down dynamic graphics that make it appear as if the meteorologist is directing the clouds? Well, you can now get something similar on your Android device. MeteoGroup is a European producer of weather-in-motion graphics that it supplies to broadcasters.
ZevenOS' Neptune Distro: Linux the Way You Want It
September 25, 2013
If you are looking for a really decent, snappy and lightweight KDE distro that installs easily onto a flash drive, check out ZevenOS' Neptune. Our Picks and Pans column has been devoting considerable time lately to playing with countless Linux distros. Rarely have I found truly bad distros -- after all, Linux is Linux.
Google Keep: Note-Taking and Checklists, Done Well
September 20, 2013
Some years ago I decided to eschew paper. It was part of an effort, with which I was obsessed at the time, to become more nomadic. I felt then, and still do to a certain extent, that accumulations of paper were restrictive, because they forced you to always return to the place where the paper was in order to refer to things -- and live your life. One reason we have offices.
OpenPGP Studio Keeps Prying Eyes Off Your Personal Data
September 18, 2013
GoAnywhere OpenPGP Studio is an easy-to-use, cross-platform desktop tool by Linoma Software that protects files using the OpenPGP encryption standard. Why opt for this relative newcomer instead of other, more mature open standards-based encryption solutions? If for no other reason, OpenPGP Studio is "pretty good protection," which is the basis of the OpenPGP standard.
PanicGuard: Nice Idea but Not Ready for Prime Time
September 13, 2013
Here's an app that should bring peace of mind to any late-night solo worker, exerciser or neighborhood watch patroller. It's an ingenious combination of personal alarm, tracker and alert creator that uses sensor and other components included in the average smartphone, such as the speaker, to sound an alarm. The GPS and other location services are used for tracking.
Wireless Aside, Cr OS Linux Delivers the Best of Two Worlds
September 11, 2013
The Cr OS Linux distribution is an interesting blend of the Cinnamon desktop with a special edition of the Chromium Web browser. The approach Cr OS Linux takes gives you a taste of Linux Mint with a chaser of a not-quick pure Google Chrome OS. Cr OS is a fully functional Linux distro. It has its own repository and package manager to provide software updates.
Lost Droid Takes Stealth Seriously to Secure Your Phone
September 06, 2013
Having recently had my bicycle stolen -- after having a set of wheels pilfered in a previous year -- I was getting mad and, to quote the 1976 movie Network, I was not going to be taking it anymore. I decided to beef up my security both in general and on the replacement bike in particular. I was going to invest in some security tech.
CherryTree Takes the Pits Out of Pruning Your Notes
September 04, 2013
Keeping track of my bits and pieces of information across several computers running Linux and Microsoft Windows has long been a problem. CherryTree is a sweet solution that keeps my information local and cloud-free. CherryTree is an outliner-style hierarchical note-taking application that features rich text and syntax highlighting. It stores data in a single XML or SQLite file.
Light Flow Lets You Pimp Your Notifications
August 30, 2013
For years, manners have been defined and documented in easy-to-learn rules classed by geography and culture. For example, in some countries it's acceptable to make abundant noises when eating, whereas in others, eating is a matter to be taken with the utmost seriousness and is performed in stony silence. Then along came the jangling cellphone.
Zero In on Research Control With Zotero
August 28, 2013
With countless high school and college students heading back to school at roughly this time of year, now is a good time to get acquainted with Zotero, a great cross-platform tool for collecting, organizing, citing and sharing research sources. I have spent considerable time working in academic settings helping students manage their research assignments.
Snapchat Adds a Splash of Spontaneity to Sharing Photos
August 23, 2013
A few weeks ago I looked at Burner, an Android app that creates anonymous, disposable phone numbers for your smartphone. Android app Snapchat is in the same arena in that it, too, provides privacy for smartphone users. The difference, however is that this app uniquely deletes MMS-like multimedia messages once they've been viewed.
Gotta Access Linux Files? Paragon ExtFS Delivers the Goods
August 21, 2013
ExtFS is a cross-platform application that can make using Linux much easier in multiple-OS platforms. As much as I try to stay exclusively in the Linux OS world, every so often a work situation arises that puts the comfort zone of staying with Linux to the test. When I absolutely must cross the Great Divide, Paragon's Universal File System Driver in ExtFS comes to my rescue.
Voxer Gives Push-to-Talk a Multimedia Makeover
August 16, 2013
Voxer Pro Business turns your smartphone into a walkie-talkie. Smartphone walkie-talkies are not new, of course -- Nextel, which got swallowed by Sprint, used to offer a unique push-to-talk, or PTT, walkie-talkie cellphone feature called "Direct Connect." Nextel's simulated half-duplexing service mimicked walkie-talkies but ran over spectrum similar to that used by cell networks.
Netrunner Sprints Ahead of the Linux Distro Pack
August 14, 2013
"Enigma" may be the nickname of the latest release of the Netrunner Linux distro, but there's actually nothing enigmatic about it. In fact, Netrunner 13.06 -- also known as "Netrunner 5" -- delivers one of the most satisfying out-of-the-box desktop experiences I have had in quite some time. I spend an inordinate amount of time testing and using different Linux distributions.
This Watchdog Is Android's Best Friend
August 09, 2013
If you find yourself bashing away on your Android device and maxing it to the hilt with numerous background-running apps, there's a good chance you've encountered freezes and slowdowns. As PC makers can attest, we're using our Android and other newer devices as laptop substitutes these days, and thrashing phones and tablets in the process. However, there are tools to help manage the maxing-out.
UberStudent Pushes Users to the Head of the Class
August 07, 2013
Looking for an everything-included Linux distro designed for people who are just transitioning to Linux? Need an OS specifically tailored for students? Then look no further than UberStudent. I have used countless Linux distros, many with features for specialty users such as writers, artists and musicians. None of them had the user experience you get from UberStudent.
Zeebox Serves as Tonto to Second-Screen Lone Rangers
August 02, 2013
If you read my columns regularly, you'll know that I'm a second-screen proponent. For those unfamiliar with the dual-screen concept, it suggests that tablet or phone often accompanies big-screen television watching, resting on the viewer's knee and acting as a two-way, interactive, Internet-connected screen. Where the concept breaks down, however, is that no one really knows how second screens are used.
Korora Linux: More Than Just Another Fedora Clone
July 31, 2013
Korora Linux has the potential to grow in popularity among users looking for a better, more user-friendly Linux distro that reaches beyond Fedora's enterprise appeal. Korora 19, released on July 2, is an interesting Linux OS based on Fedora, the community version of parent company Red Hat's Enterprise Linux. Korora is packed with lots of additional packages, however.
Sleep as Android Analyzes You In and Out of Soft Slumber
July 25, 2013
Here's another app that takes personal analytics to the maximum. I've already looked at Android workout app Runtastic Pro, which allows for elaborate analytics to be run on exercise routines, conceivably enabling a honed fitness regimen. Well, here's an app that lets you do the same kind of in-depth data-crunching on another element of life: sleep patterns.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Free Video Streaming Tools for Firefox
July 24, 2013
Despite the convenience of mobile devices, the desktop browser can offer the most satisfying video experience. This is partly due to the copious screen real-estate and processor power. In addition, however, Firefox has a long history of solid video-related add-ons including search, downloaders, replayers and bookmarking apps. Today we take a look at the top five free video streaming tools for Firefox.
With Porteus in Your Pocket, You're Good to Go
July 24, 2013
Don't think that a live version of a Linux desktop with the ability to save configuration changes is better than an operating system fully installed to a hard drive? Think again. Its persistent memory feature, unlike regular live distro sessions, lets you carry a complete Linux desktop with all of your files and special application settings in your pocket to run on any computer.
gReader Pro Offers a Snappy RSS Experience
July 19, 2013
Google Reader was popular for a reason: It was fast, and it allowed news fans to rapidly assimilate news, synced cross-device, using a super-efficient visual RSS headline-only scan. The lack of lofty white space in the Google product and the crammed-in text housed in tightly packed headers are unusual among newer magazine-style and visually rich apps.
All Things Appy: 5 Best Augmented Reality Apps for Android
July 17, 2013
Two genres of augmented reality tools are prevalent on the mobile device. The first is geolocation, which uses built-in hardware sensors and phone features like the compass and GPS chip to create a heads-up display -- think movie fighter-pilot cockpit, where the plane's instrumentation is superimposed on the windshield. The second is a vision-based AR.
JOE: Old-School Text Editor Teaches New Lessons
July 17, 2013
Joe's Own Editor is an endearing text editor that brings old-school charm to any Linux distro. Do not mistake being old-school for being outdated: JOE has been in use on the Linux desktop since 1988. It is a standard item in most repositories and is readily available in the Synaptic Package Manager as well. Unless you know about JOE, however, you will not be drawn to it, because it has no fancy GUI.

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