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.
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.
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 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.
"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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since time immemorial, the Windows computer has been subject to RAM issues — in particular, the issue that there’s generally never enough. RAM is the fast-accessible headspace, or breathing room, in a personal computer that’s used by programs to do their thing, as opposed to hard drive storage that’s usually used for slower, mechanical file storage.
The latest release of Linux Mint 15, nicknamed "Olivia," tries really hard to reach new design goals but is marred by a series of petty flaws. The latest rendition of Linux Mint’s flagship desktop environment, Cinnamon 1.8, is ambitious but immature in its execution. If you choose the new MATE 1.6 desktop instead, you get a very workable GNOME 2 fork that may not be worth wallowing in yesteryear.
Music management programs for Linux often leave me wanting more — more flexibility, more file type options, more friendliness towards large song collections, etc. Guayadeque, on the other hand, is a music player that proves that less can be more. Guayadeque is light on system resources but still manages to offer much more in the way of useful features.
If you’ve ever hesitated when giving out your phone number to someone, Burner may be for you. The app provides disposable, short-term phone numbers that you can use if you feel the need for some number privacy and don’t want your real number known. Use the temporary number, or "burner," for as long as necessary and then "burn" it when you’re done to eliminate excessive interruptions in your life.
SolydXK is a Debian-based Linux distribution that offers a choice of two desktops: Xfce and KDE. It is a very new Linux OS, but do not push this new kid aside assuming stability and performance need a lot of maturing. In fact, SolydXK is already a solid and very impressive distro. It has more polish and smoother performance than many older Linux OS counterparts.
Here’s an app that re-invents the TV guide — and yet is about as far from the newspaper TV listings of old as you can get. Boxfish, available at no charge in the Google Play store, shows what’s trending on TV by indexing every spoken word on TV — live. The idea behind the app is that you should be able to find out what’s happening on television live and then choose what to watch.
After a hiatus of more than two years, the developers of Debian last month released a major upgrade. That surely came as good news to fans of this granddaddy Linux OS, but the new Debian 7 "Wheezy" may not be worth the wait if you are happily using more popular Linux options. I feel somewhat like a turncoat for saying that about Debian Linux — I should be revering its 20-year-long lineage.