Author Archives: pcho

PortableApps: Your workspace to go!

Description:
PortableApps is a platform software that allows you to practically bring your workspace almost anywhere. You can install it on any USB storage device, computer, or even a cloud service such as Dropbox. You then install portable versions of the some of the everyday applications you would normally see installed a computer such as LibreOffice and Firefox. What makes these applications portable is the fact that they don’t modify or leave any data and settings on the host computer but instead saves them only in the location where PortableApps is installed.

Usage:
PortableApps has over 300 portable applications to choose from ranging from office suites to games to antivirus softwares. Though not every application that we commonly use is available (for example, Microsoft Office).  However there are alternatives you could use in their place (such as LibreOffice). When you run PortableApps, you are greeted with a display much like the Windows start menu to the bottom right of the screen.
The Start Menu
From here, you can launch, install, and update your portable applications. You can even see how much space you have left if you install it on your USB storage device and explore the content of your USB storage device with a click of a button.

On a USB?:
With PortableApps installed on a USB drive, You can bring your personalized data to any computer. For example, you can browse the internet on a public computer, or on your friend’s computer without leaving your bookmark or history on the computer. All of it will be saved on your USB drive so you can take your bookmarks, extensions, and addons anywhere you go. If your browser saves your tabs before it closes then those are saved as well. For a computer tech, you can also load a bundle of tools to diagnose and fix a wide variety of computer problems, including virus infections, all organized and just a click away using PortableApps. Using PortableApps also mean being able to use programs you need that typically would not be installed on other computers since the program is installed on your USB drive. An example for computer science major is PuTTY. Most public computers typically don’t come with PuTTY installed but with PortableApps, you can load PuTTY along with its saved connections.

On the cloud?:
PortableApps can be useful even in cloud services that sync your data between your devices. Whenever a computer changes the settings for a program, the cloud will sync the settings to your other devices. For example with Firefox or Chrome, your bookmark, history, and extensions are saved and synced between all your devices. Or even when starting fresh after wiping your computer or buying a new computer, all you have to do is grab your files from the cloud service and you’ll have applications ready to use and already configured to your liking. PortableApps can easily update all your programs ensuring that your programs are up to date across all your devices and reduces the redundant task of updating each program for each of your devices.

More information can be found in their official website: http://portableapps.com/

Smartwatches!

Smartwatches are a type of wearables that is starting to rise in popularity. They have been around for a while with devices like the Samsung Gears and Sony Smartwatches but no one really bothered to buy one. In 2012, however, a kickstarter campaign called Pebble appeared which got people to start thinking more seriously about buying a smartwatch. More recently came the Android Wear devices starting off with the Samsung Gear Live, LG G Watch, and Moto 360, and now to be released is the Apple Watch. Throughout the release of these smartwatches, everyone has been looking forward to figuring out how a smartwatch should function. Here we’ll be looking at how each smartwatch works currently.

So far the features of a smartwatch include apps, changeable watch faces, and the ability to display notifications that are from your smartphone.

Pebble:

Pebble at $100 is currently the cheapest smartwatch on the market. Although it isn’t packed with fancy features such as a color touch screen or speakers, it does its job as a smartwatch. The focus of Pebble is the ability to see notifications on your phone from your wrist. Pebble even stores recent notifications so you can look back to them if you accidentally dismiss them. On top of that are a great variety of apps that can be used on the Pebble. Apps such as weather, calendar, controllers for apps or smartphones, games, and much more. Pebble works on both iPhones and Android devices. The Pebble can last up to 7 days on one charge making it the longest lasting smartwatch to date. Overall, it’s a simple smartwatch that isn’t packed with the fancy features of other smartwatches, but it definitely does its job and lives up to the “smart” part of being a smartwatch.

Pebble SmartwatchPebble Time is an upcoming watch featuring a new OS called Timeline. The new OS streamlines information by allowing users to scroll through information such as weather, news, etc. The Pebble Time also features a 64 color display without compromising the battery life and a microphone for dictating replies to messages

Android Wear:

Android Wear has recently emerged into the scene offering color touchscreen displays, integrated Google Now, and for some devices circular displays. Android Wear watches can go from $199 to $300 and works with most Android version 4.3 and up devices. Android Wear is the same Android that runs on Android devices but with a different UI to work like a watch. This enable apps that run on Android devices to potentially run on Android Wear devices. Even so there is a growing number of apps for Android Wear, one including a music player app that allows you to play music straight from the watch as long as its paired to a Bluetooth speaker or headset. Android Wear shows your notifications from your phone and can be easily dismissed on both devices with a swipe. It also can display various information through Google Now’s card system. Android Wear is fairly new and flexible so even if there currently isn’t much it can do, in the future it can adapt to be better.

Android Wear on Moto 360

Apple Watch:

Apple Watch is a new smartwatch from Apple. It is projected to cost $350 and comes in many different models that feature different material builds and design for both the case and band of the watch. Along with a touch screen, the Apple Watch has a button and digital crown (or dial) on the right side of the smartwatch. The Apple Watch connects to only iOS 8 and up devices or in other words, iPhone 5 and newer. The Apple Watch features notification with the ability to do quick replies or gestures to dismiss them, the ability to answer calls and talk using the watch, and, of course, Apps to work independently or collaboratively with your iPhone.

Apple Watch