What happens when an industry gouges its customers for years, and then technology comes along that allows consumers to circumvent the gouger? Customers leave in droves is what happens, and it’s WhatsApp and its ilk that are enabling the exodus. If you’re unfamiliar with WhatsApp Messenger and its brethren, they’re text message alternatives that don’t rely on mobile-to-mobile SMS technology.
Acer’s Smart Display DA220HQL is a 21.5-inch all-in-one touchscreen released earlier this year that runs the Android operating system with a wireless keyboard and mouse and has the potential to change your desktop computing habits. The more I use it, the more adept I get at working in a touch and swipe computing environment that I am not holding in my hands.
The Great Little Radio Player is a perfect example of how great things can come in small packages. This robust Internet radio station streamer does not burden system resources and packs a powerhouse of listening pleasure immediately after installing it. It’s so fine-tuned that it needs no configuring to use it, but you can still tweak a few pleasantries to make it feel more at home on your PC.
If there’s one app that has been synonymous with an innovative, high-quality Twitter experience in the Android environment, it’s Joaquim Verges’ paid Falcon Pro. One of the killer features in Falcon Pro is its ability to live-stream a Twitter timeline.
As Linux distros go, French Mozillux looks a lot like LXDE-based Lubuntu. But don’t be fooled. This year-old OS, which targets both beginners and intermediate users, offers a surprisingly comprehensive selection of installed software for users with a wide range of interests. It’s easily as flexible and usable as Puppy and Knoppix, yet leaner and more family-oriented than most young distros.
The fashion and beauty industry is fast-moving, and apps are a good way to keep track of developments, because app content lead time can be significantly shorter than for print magazines. This week’s All Things Appy takes a look at the must-have apps in this genre for the Android platform, including apps to buy the gear, track trends, and social network with like-minded fashionistas.
If you’ve used any of the free tracking apps — like Google’s My Tracks, which records your path, speed, distance and elevation change while you exercise and then maps the route, charts elevation and speed, and tots it all up in a set of statistics — you’ll understand the concept behind Runtastic Pro. Runtastic Pro additionally promises to help you reach goals and track health improvements.
The Linux desktop has an impressive list of good music playing apps, so choosing a favorite title is a difficult task. The decision almost always comes down to personal taste rather than feature sets or GUI. Exaile ranks high on my player list for what it does not have. It spares me having to traipse through a bigger-than-needed set of features. I can be intimidated by too many tweaking options.
Google has refreshed its music app. It’s a big deal, because Google has introduced custom radio and an a la carte music streaming service, All Access, for an introductory price that’s $2.00 cheaper than a la carte streaming leader Spotify. You can try the service free for 30 days, and if you start a trial by June 30, it will then cost $7.99 a month to continue.
Midnight Commander is one of those original computing tools that keeps getting better with age. It may be old school, but its file managing capabilities keep it at the head of its class. Midnight Commander is a text-mode file manager that runs in a terminal. It uses a two-panel interface and a subshell for command execution. It is reminiscent of the Norton Commander file manager.
I often run into issues playing video media on mobile devices. It’s haunted me since the days of Windows Mobile on the Palm Treo — remember those early smartphones? Believe it or not, it’s still an issue years later with current tablets and smartphones. The problems that I’ve encountered have generally manifested themselves as either the file not playing or audio and video being out of sync.
Gnome-Pie could be one of the best user interfaces for accessing menus on any Linux desktop. It is a radial visual application that keeps your hands on the keyboard or the mouse to quickly launch any application. Launching frequently used programs could not be easier or more fun. Gnome-Pie brings functional eye candy to the menu interface.
My first question to the desk clerk at a hotel in a strange country is no longer, "What time does the restaurant close?" It’s more often, "Where I can get a SIM card?" $2-a-minute voice and $10-a-megabyte Internet roaming in many parts of the world make acquiring a local card a must. I recently had a pleasant first morning in an Egyptian town center haggling for a data-only 3.75G SIM card.
The latest release of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distro, version 13.04 or Roaring Ringtail, comes with a big yawn factor. I get a growing sense that the company’s rejections of users’ criticisms of Ubuntu’s native Unity desktop portray Canonical as Microsoft in a penguin suit. Regular Ubuntu users of previous versions will be satisfied with the new release.
The latest release of Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux distro, version 13.04, or Raring Ringtail, comes with a big yawn factor. I get a growing sense that the company’s rejections of users’ criticisms of Ubuntu’s native Unity desktop portray Canonical as Microsoft in a penguin suit. Regular Ubuntu users of previous versions will be satisfied with the new release.
With tablets possibly on track to overtake PCs within a few years, one might wonder just how that’s going to happen. Can tablets really perform as well as PCs in professional environments? I for one am still unpacking my laptop when it comes to power applications like imaging. Well, Adobe claims it now delivers its core Adobe Photoshop functionality in an app for Android tablets.
As the geek world drools over the first 13-megapixel smartphone camera — the Android-driven Samsung Galaxy S4 — we take a look at the current state-of-play in the must-have camera app genre for Android. Ready, set, go. Occasionally an app comes along that blows everything else away.
Pencil is an advanced drawing and animation tool that creates traditional, hand-drawn 2D animations and static sketches. Think of this animation/drawing application as an Etch A Sketch with colored sand on steroids. Pencil creates both bitmap and vector images. Finished animations can be exported as a PNG image. Animated sketches can be exported in several handy Flash or Movie file formats.
If you are looking for a fast, reliable, trouble-free, lightweight PDF viewer, and you stumble upon xPDF in your distro’s app listings — keep stumbling. Chances are it will not run on your Linux configuration. In theory, xPDF is a promising alternative to PDF viewers available for the Linux desktop such as Adobe PDF Viewer, Okular and Evince. It is a fast and light application that does not exhibit sluggish performance.
Chicagoans and Bostonians, you have a new way of hailing a cab. It’s called "Hailo," and it lets you grab a taxi by app command, rather than an arm raise at the curb. Hailo is coming soon to New York and Washington, D.C., and already is available in Toronto and several European cities. Hailo is different from some other taxi apps in that its relationship is with the individual driver, not with an entire fleet.