Stardock is running a Tis the Sale Season sale that lets you nab most of their Windows customization apps on the cheap.
Atooma makes automating your Android simple. Unlike other automation apps Atooma has a simple interface that can have you up and running in under 5 minutes. [Read more…]
Two companies are hoping to unleash the power of Android apps, allowing you to run them on any platform. The companies intend to provide a host environment for the Android apps to run pretty much anywhere you want. Both companies products work a lot like Wine on Linux, which allows Windows programs to run inside Linux without installing Windows or using a virtual machine. [Read more…]
Few devices know more personal details about people than the smartphones in their pockets: phone numbers, current location, often the owner’s real name—even a unique ID number that can never be changed or turned off and the Wall Street Journal dove in and found out just how many secrets they know and what they’re doing with it.
The Journal‘s report exposes much of what we already suspected, or outright knew but didn’t bother thinking about: iOS and Android apps are having a field day with your personal info. More than half of the 101 popular apps they tested sent your UDID to companies without your awareness or consent. Nearly as many sent your location, and a handful even sent along demographic info and other personal details to advertisers.
It’s a small sample size given the hundreds of thousands of apps out there, but it’s hard to imagine that the most prominent names just happen to be the most aberrant. And the list of worst offenders also reads like a roll-call of must haves: Pandora. Angry Birds. Netflix. Shazam. Yelp.
And yes, it makes perfect sense that apps that deliver location-based information would need to know your location. But the extra step of passing that on to marketers is something a user should at the very least have knowledge of, and should ideally be able to opt out of. Not everyone enjoys highly targeted ads so much that they’re willing to compromise their privacy to have them on their phone. The makers of TextPlus 4, Pandora and Grindr say the data they pass on to outside firms isn’t linked to an individual’s name. Personal details such as age and gender are volunteered by users, they say. The maker of Pumpkin Maker says he didn’t know Apple required apps to seek user approval before transmitting location.
iOS apps shared more data than Android apps, on the whole—somewhat surprising given the rigidity of the App Store approval process compared to Android’s looser environment. And there’s really nothing you can do to stop it.
There’s something Apple and Google could do, though: create privacy policies. Make it abundantly clear to users what information apps are going to take, who they’re going to send it to. And if you’re feeling really generous this holiday season, give us a chance to opt out.
For the full chart—and to get educated about who’s spreading your info—head over to the Journal‘s damning interactive graphic.
A portable app is a computer program that you can carry around with you on a portable device and use on any Windows computer. When your USB flash drive, portable hard drive, iPod or other portable device is plugged in, you have access to your software and personal data just as you would on your own PC. And when you unplug the device, none of your personal data is left behind!
I personally have a large memory card on my Windows Mobile phone… so I can use something that I always have with me anyway as a way to carry around software. Pretty handy…
So let’s start with the mac daddy, the PortableApps Suite:
PortableApps.com Suite™ is a complete collection of portable apps including a web browser, email client, office suite, calendar/scheduler, instant messaging client, antivirus, audio player, sudoku game, password manager, PDF reader, minesweeper clone, backup utility and integrated menu, all preconfigured to work portably. Just drop it on your portable device and you’re ready to go.
All versions of the PortableApps.com Suite include the integrated PortableApps.com Menu (pictured at right) and the PortableApps.com Backup utility along with a set of custom icons, an autoplay configuration, folders and a quick start shortcut. In addition, the packages include:
- Mozilla Firefox, Portable Edition (web browser)
- Mozilla Thunderbird, Portable Edition (email)
- Mozilla Sunbird, Portable Edition (calendar/tasks)
- ClamWin Portable (antivirus)
- Pidgin Portable (instant messaging)
- Sumatra PDF Portable (PDF reader
- KeePass Password Safe Portable (password manager)
- Sudoku Portable (game)
- Mines-Perfect Portable (game)
- CoolPlayer+ Portable (audio player)
- OpenOffice.org Portable* (office suite)
– Writer (word processor)
– Calc (spreadsheet)
– Impress (presentations)
– Base (database utility)
– Draw (drawing)
*Note: The Light Suite includes AbiWord Portable (word processor) instead of OpenOffice.org Portable.
Portable apps doesn’t have it all… so let’s look at some of the rest:
Most other portable software can be found at PortableFreeware. While most people can get away with the PortableApps Suite there are a few things missing that I consider crucial to your portable arsenal.
- Truecrypt – TrueCrypt creates virtual encrypted disks within a file and mount them as a real disk. It supports a full range of encryption algorithms, including AES-256, which is used within the government for information as high up as Top Secret classification.
- NotePad++ – Notepad++ is one of the few source code text editors that supports folding. In addition, it features multi-language syntax highlighting, auto-completion, regular expression search/replace, macro recording and playback etc. This is my preferred FREE text editor, it’s fast, light, and easy to use. And let’s face it… how often do you really need a full blown Word Processor when on the run. If you’ll need one, plan ahead and take your laptop!
- CCleaner – CCleaner is a system optimization and privacy tool. It removes unused files from your system and cleans traces of your online activities such as your Internet history. Additionally, and most importantly to me, it contains a fully featured registry cleaner.
- uTorrent – µTorrent is a small BitTorrent client that uses very little system resources. This is my favorite BitTorrent client for the desktop, and while I wouldn’t suggest you run it full time from a portable USB device it could be handy in a pinch if you needed to grab something that requires a torrent download.
- Foxit Reader Portable – Ok look, PDF’s suck. I hate them… seriously. More than that I hate Acrobat Reader since it’s a huge bloated application that takes forever to launch even on a fully modern PC. Having said that, there’s a LOT of PDF’s out there. Enter Foxt Reader which is a small and fast PDF viewer that is compatible with PDF Standard 1.6. Don’t think you’re limited to only the portable version, there is also a desktop version… ditch Acrobat for good!
- 7-Zip – Oddly absent from the portableApps Suite is a compression utility. 7-Zip is a file archiver that supports just about every compression format you can think of.
- FileZilla – A really good portable FTP client.
Just a note that most all of these portable apps can be integrated right into the PortableApps suite menu. The PortableApps.com Menu can automatically add apps in PortableApps.com Format. Just download the file you’d like to add (like FileZilla Portable, for instance). Then, in PortableApps.com Menu, click Options – Add a New App – Install and then select the FileZilla Portable .paf.exe file you just downloaded. The PortableApps.com Menu will automatically install it to the proper location for you.