How to choose a Cloud service

As a technology user, it comes a time when the services you use have grown in numbers, so you may end up with: a Dropbox account, a Gmail account, a Facebook account, an Evernote account, Twitter, Instagram, Yahoo, even an Apple account (if destiny turn the back on you 🙂 ), forum accounts maybe, and the list goes on. That’s a lot of passwords to remember. Of course you can have the same or similar password for all the apps but may be a serious risk in case of an identity theft. If an account gets hacked, you can lose all your other accounts.

 To solve that you can use:

  1. An app that can manage all your passwords.
  2. An ecosystem of apps and devices, like Google, Windows, Apple etc. The benefits of that approach is that you have a single account for all of your data, platforms, services and the tight integration of all your software between your devices: desktop, laptop, phone, tablet and so on. Eg.: You start an email on your laptop, you go out, reach for your phone, open the email application and boom, your draft is there and you can continue typing.

For what i have seen around internet involving everyday technology users, people split in two main categories with the associated top priorities:

1. Open people – likely to use and ecosystem.

– they are the majority of internet users these days and i’m not talking only about Facebook, Instagram and online games user, i am also talking about power users that really know their way around internet.

– they don’t care too much about privacy or how the service providers use their data. That doesn’t mean they are unaware, simply they want to get the job done fast.

2. Aware people – likely to use decentralised services:

– they care for their online data privacy. Not like they have something to hide, they just don’t want anybody to know their everyday life.

– they don’t want to have all the eggs in one basket. Lots of accounts for different services is better than 1 account to rule them all. If 1 account gets hacked, the others will be pretty much safe.

– they let fractions of their life with each service provider. Facebook will get the family stuff, Dropbox the work files, Evernote the planning, Gmail the emails.

– they don’t put their World Domination plans in the Cloud.

Now, what if you have a Windows desktop, an Apple phone and a Linux laptop?

You will try to use a combination of cloud based ecosystem and cross platform apps to sync the data between devices.

That is, you can access your Google/Microsoft account from any device using a web browser or the corresponding desktop/mobile apps.

So, what i recommend:

– an ecosystem account like Google/Microsoft/Apple, frequently changing the password – Good for speed, integration, getting the job done.

– multiple accounts for different services – Good for privacy, with proper management it will get the job done.

In the end, remember this:

  1. Nothing is free.
  2. Don’t put anything online that you will regret after a security breach.
  3. Don’t put anything online that you wouldn’t want a stranger to get access.
  4. Personal things are not things you put on someone’s pocket. If you do that, be sure it’s someone you trust.
  5. BACKUP data on DVDs or other online services.
  6. SD cards can get epic fail! Don’t think if it’s on your phone that you treat with care it will live forever.
  7. Go outside more! Don’t waste your life in front of a screen for unimportant things.
  8. Have fun!

How to optimize performance on your Android device

Device used: Motorola Defy Plus (MB526)

When you buy and Android device, it will run as smooth as velvet, but as time passes, and you install more apps, more background services will run because those apps will synchronize, check for updates etc.

My device have 512 MB of RAM and a 1 GHz Cortex-A8 TI OMAP 3620 processor and things were getting heavy and the device started to move like a slug.

What have i tried:

  1. I installed Advanced Task Killer Free – the app have a very low footprint, it installs a shortcut on the taskbar and i made a habit to swype down the notification panel, tap on the app and tap on kill processes and boom, RAM freed.
  2. Things were not getting as smooth as i wanted because i wanted besides a RAM booster, an app that can also clean junk files (and yes, an Android device will get lots of junk files that occupy space) and i searched on the internet ways of how to boost performance of an Android device and i came to 2 apps: NQ Android Booster and Clean Master.
  3. I enabled first NQ Android Booster, an app that won numerous awards. It has this big and simple Optimize button that can free RAM in a breeze. It also have a data plan watcher that requires you to set in the settings the billing date, maximum traffic and how much have you used by now and it manages all in the background and warns you when you’re about to finish the traffic in your data plan. The second great thing is a battery manager where you can set different presets that are also customizable. What i have found also great is the widget that enables you to do lots of things in one widget: boost the RAM, enable/wi-fi, enable data, dim the brightness of the screen. The thing is, after a few days with NQ Android Booster, my device was working like hell so i tried Clean Master and i am now, the happier Android device owner in terms of performance.

I uninstalled NQ Android booster, because i found it a big memory hog, BUT, and hear me, i say BUT, you guys having those new and powerful quad-core, 1000-core processor devices with tones of RAM, please give NQ Android Booster a shot, the widget is awesome and the simplicity of the Optimize button will save you. It just doesn’t do the trick on my device.

I also uninstalled Advanced Task Killer Free, not because it suck but because Clean Master does what Task Killer is doing.

So my setup for a smooth Android experience:

  1. Turn OFF, GPS, WI-FI, Data, Bluetooth, if you’re not using them.screenshot_00008
  2. Tap Menu button > Settings > Display > Brightness, uncheck automatic and set the brightness to around 25%. Again, it works ok for my device.screenshot_00028 screenshot_00030 screenshot_00032
  3. Go back to Display settings and tap Animation and set it to No animations. You wont get the animations when you navigate to the device screens but you will notice a boost in speed.screenshot_00034 screenshot_00035
  4. Also on Display settings, go to Screen timeout, and set it to 30 seconds or 15 seconds.screenshot_00039
  5. Exit the Display settings and enter Battery & data manager > check Data saver. It will save you data plan traffic. Beware: on data you will not be able to install apps, the Play Store will wait for a WI-FI connection, so if you want to install an app, make sure to uncheck that.screenshot_00051screenshot_00049
  6. Go back to Battery & data manager and go to Battery Mode. Check Maximum battery saver.screenshot_00055 screenshot_00057
  7. Now setup Clean Master:screenshot_00101
  8. You get those four buttons: Junk files is used to clean those junk files, Standard is for starters, Advanced enables you to chose what to clean and it also scans more stuff then Standard mode so use it it wisely.screenshot_00129 I don’t use Privacy and App Manager. Memory boost gives you a list of all open apps and a Clean button to close those apps. Also here, on the upper right corner you have an icon with a house and a plus sign, tap that to place a widget on the screen for a cool Memory boost widget button. That way you don’t have to go in the app to boost the memory, just tap the widget.
  9. Tap the vertical three points on the upper right of the up and go to Settings. Those are my settings and work great for me.screenshot_00101 screenshot_00103 screenshot_00105 screenshot_00108

So to summarize, all i did was play with the Settings of the device (Display, Battery & data manager) and setup Clean Master and that’s it, those are all the apps that keep my device snappy.

Again, i’m not saying other apps are bad, the apps i’m using do the job well on my device. Any suggestions are welcome!

Have fun and enjoy!

Google Android fails (or not)

In the past months i’am using an Android smartphone and i’m trying to see the in and out of the software. For me is the best OS, that’s why i bought one instead of an iOS or Windows Phone smartphone but adding in the desire of Google to know everything about everybody lead to some great fails in my opinion. Some will consider fails, some can say it’s arm twisting, some will say it’s Google’s business model and strategy, or some may say it’s their freakin’ business and they do what they want with their OS and if you don’t like it get something else, all this i consider being fair points of view.

Like many others in the world, i got disappointed in Google because they want to know absolutely everything, period. And they very pushy about this, here is why:

  1. As you search more and more on Google, you will get as time passes, the same results even if you’re searching for variations of a topic;
  2. A friend told me he searched once for a washing machine or something, for his mother and for months, all the adds he saw were all with washing machines. Ok, i searched, maybe i bought it, i’m not searching anymore, screw the washing machine;
  3. When you search for a driver, the first links are with websites that first request you to install some obscure driver scanner and through that you should install the driver you want. Wouldn’t be normal to get the official driver page as the first results?;
  4. Android: In the Favourites, Most likely contacts there is ALWAYS the only contact i have on Google+ and i call him once in two weeks. In the Frequently contacted, he is ALWAYS in the first 5, although there are more then 5 contacts i call more frequently;
  5. Android: You can’t add birthdays in the calendar but you can when you sync your contacts and calendar with Google;
  6. Android: If you don’t use the stock browser and use let’s say Firefox, and don’t use the Google Search and you use DuckDuckGo, if you have turned on Google suggestions i think it’s like using the Google search. Even if you tap on other search engine link, typing in with that option on, it’s sending the request to Google and receiving the suggestion;
  7. Putting on the best Google proof vest may protect you, but that doesn’t give you the certainty you’re invisible.

There are many flows and limitations in Android but i’m pointing out the most annoying for me.

Yes, i’m using an Android phone and yes, i’m doing what i can to avoid Google services but i don’t go extreme on that and i don’t suggest getting paranoid over that, if a service will really make my life easier, i will use it. If some people or organizations really want to know something about you, trust me, they will.

The majority of people with a normal life don’t bother putting their life online, they don’t do anything wrong, they don’t have anything to hide and hey, you’re more interesting online then in real life.

On the other hand, if you plan on bombing something, opening a Facebook page to post your progress for that, might not be such a good idea.

Getting to know Linux [Ubuntu]

[I’ll be focusing on Ubuntu 10.4 with Gnome]

Linux will be frustrating at first for Windows and Mac users but it’s ok, the greatst journey it’s not the easiest journey.

So what are some basic things to get you going with Linux?

Most used applications/alternatives:

Windows Explorer / Find – Nautilus

Winamp or iTunes – Rhythmbox / Amarok

Internet Explorer / Safari / Opera / Firefox – Firefox / Opera

Windows Media Player / bsPlayer etc. – VLC or any frontend to MPlayer

Microsoft Office – Open Office (can edit MS Office files)

Yahoo Messenger / MSN Messenger / Facebook – Empathy / Pidgin

Skype – Skype for Linux or Empathy or Pidgin via plug-ins

Photo organize/view like ACDsee / Irfanview – F-Spot / g-thumb

Nero burning ROM – K3B / Brasero

Specific applications/alternatives:

  • The mighty and cried for Adobe Photoshop – The GIMP (it’s very powerful and if you’ve worked alot with Photoshop around version 7 and CS1, GIMP will be child’s play) – can edit .PSD files.
  • Corel Draw / Adobe IllustratorInkscape / Xara LT – can export / edit .CDR and .AI files.
  • Adobe Lightroom / Aperture – darktable (still in development but very very promissing)
  • MAYA, Softimage XSI, 3d Studio Max, Houdini, Lightwave, Cinema 4DBlender / Maya, Softimage XSI, Houdini and we hope for Lightwave CORE
  • AutoCAD – QCAD, VariCAD
  • Google Earth – Google Earth for Linux
  • Picasa – Picasa for Linux
  • There are many more Windows apps that can be run on Linux with WINE from www.winehq.org

You can do almost anything you can do on Windows or Mac OS with the same ease. One common thing to Mac OS is that it is build on Unix so the terminal (command prompt) and commands are the same like Linux.

Lots of people are scared about the Terminal and the fact that using Linux is like knowing tones of text based commands and arguments to do even simple tasks like watching a movie but this is not true; one thing i really don’t understand is that even now, on the internet, you will get instructions how to do tasks that you can do visually, only by Terminal.

I mean, why if you have a .targz archive, you open up Terminal (Linux Shell), navigate to the location or the archive using cd /path/to/archive and then doing tar [flags] [tar file], when you can simply open Nautilus File Browser, go to the folder wjere the archive is, right click and Extract Here.

Stay tuned …

Internet is full of rubbish

The Internet is full of rubbish, and i really mean it! My feeling is that 70% or more of the Internet is pure redundant, good for nothing rubbish.

Did you ever wonder why there are:

  • 12.900.900 results in Google for “how to install ubuntu”
  • 85.200.200 results for “cats”
  • 10.700.000 results for “install apache”
  • 106.000.000 results for “how to download from youtube”
  • 228.000.000 results for “top results in google” 🙂

I will use the Ubuntu example here: Why do you have to put on a website a “how to install ubuntu tutorial” if it is on the Official website, i mean…There is this company “Canonical” that makes the free, open-source operating system Ubuntu, one company, who researches, develop, invest, upgrade this OS and i think that they are the ones to tell you how to install this OS, and if you go to http://www.ubuntu.com you can find install instructions, so why do i nead 12.900.899 more websites to tell me that?

Ok, the “cats” is understandable, because there can be different cats but come on……Apache is just one server and there can be like 1000 different situations based on operating system you are installing, hardware architecture, additional modules, but don’t you think 10.000.000 websites to tell yoy that is a little too much?

Why people can’t get together and put information related to one topic in just one place where can grow and become the ultimate resource center for that topic instead of scattering the same info on million places? (like http://www.wikipedia.org for example)

This website is not intended to be like gazillion+1 website that tells you the same thing instead we will try to give you critical tips and trinks and point you to great existing resources.

So…have fun!!!