Category Archives: programs

Tech Gumbo: Five Cool Software

I will be sharing more regularly some resources I find on the Internet for PC users. Today’s share is from a Youtube channel, Tech Gumbo, who provides reviews of various useful programs:

Rainmeter
A desktop skin for Windows that adds interactivity or animations as well as addons for functionality.
https://www.rainmeter.net

Fences
This provides a tool to corral icons into groups with a label to help organize the desktop.
https://www.stardock.com/products/fences

FolderMarker
This programs changes the color of desktop icon to sort and organize them on the desktop.
http://foldermarker.com/en/folder-marker-free

F.lux
This adjusts the monitor color hue to help you sleep. How does it work? It switches the hue to a warmer yellows, adjusting to the time of day.
https://justgetflux.com

WindowBlinds
This programs changes the ‘skins’ of desktop themes. Although Windows has various themes, WindowBlinds adds more choice and variety.
https://www.stardock.com/products/windowblinds

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Free versions of software

Did you know there are many free versions of software out there that can replace costly programs? Just bear in mind that some don’t offer the same features, or in some cases are not as intuitive to learn as others. They are free, however, so download and try them out. I even use both paid versions and free versions depending on the features I like.

GetTheFreeVersion.com provides some comparisons

free version

Other sites to consider (and bookmark):

ninitehttp://www.ninite.com– lots of downloads to choose from, many of which are ‘must-have’ software like antivirus and security, to video/photo editors, to other useful programs.

Need a new reality? Try Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

One of the best entertainment you can get with your tablet or smart phone is the wonder that is augmented reality. This provides fun, education, and wonder to our otherwise boring reality life.

What is augmented reality? Augmented reality is supplemental reality, or things added to reality via smart phone or computer, to add enhance perception. Unlike virtual reality, which changes the entire perception, augmented adds to the reality to that we already perceive. Things are added, not replaced.

Technology needed: You will need technology to ‘see’ the augmented reality, and this includes Virtual Reality headsets, or smart phones, or tablets. You will also need the apps/programs.

iPhone/iPad

Android

Programs/apps

Tomsguideaugreality

You may have heard the hype with Pokémon Go! which lets you physically go into the real world and hunt Pokémon via a smart phone.  At Tom’s Guide, you can see 17 of the best augmented reality apps.

What you’ll find is not only games, but helpful information in the real world, similar to Google Glasses. The apps imposes a HUD (Heads-up Display) via your camera, adding information, links, and interactivity to the world. You can read/view/interact with your environment from ads in magazines to park monuments, to reading in foreign languages.

I’ve used SkyView app (IOS) before, which is a virtual sky you can explore day or night. This explores the night sky even if its not night, and shows you in real time where the sun, moon, satellites, planets, and stars are located using the phone’s GPS. It’s great for stargazing, and I remember once being able to watch a solar eclipse that happened on the other side of the world via this app.

Try them out and add in comments your thoughts and experiences. Ask questions if you like, and let me know if you liked this post.

Portable apps for the Personal Computer

portableappPortable apps are application that are small enough to work off a flash drive, which enables users a means to work off an external drive.

Why use a portable drive? I own a Windows Pro tablet, which doesn’t have a very large hard drive. Portable apps allow me to use programs without having to install them because I’m working off the flash drive.

I can also share programs with multiple systems. I can switch between the tablet and my desktop PC.

Since the programs are smaller, you can also use these versions if you don’t like the software taking up lots of space on your hard drive.


Some suggested apps:

Portable browsers. You can use Chrome or Firefox easily off a drive, so you can store  your book marks and settings.

Chrome by Google

Firefox by Mozilla

Office Suites. Similar to MS Office, LibreOffice and OpenOffice offer word processing, spreadsheets, and presentation within the software suite. All fits on a flash drive too.

OpenOffice

LibreOffice

Messaging. Need to chat online? Use the following program to chat and manage your network of online social messaging service.

Pidgin– Chat with AOL Yahoo, MSN, and ICQ users in a single app.

Security.  Use this to scan computers with a flash drive.

ClamWin  On the go anti-virus software.

KeePass securely stores passwords.

Graphic Image Editing or Viewing. On the go editing of photos and images.

FotoGrafix is lightweight editor. Easy to learn too.

Infranview works with lots of formats, so you can view the graphic. This includes a few editing features as well.

Sound, music, and video. Here are some apps to create and edit sound as well as video.

Audacity is an easy to use sound recorder and editor.

VLC video player. This doesn’t edit or create, but allows you to view many different format of videos. If you have problems opening a video file, this can help.

There are so many more portable apps you can use, there are only ones I’ve used and can verify are useful, but if you visit PortableApps.com, you can find many more programs to select.

Upgrade to Windows 10?

I’ve been getting a number of people asking me about Windows 10. I’m signed up for the upgrade, which is a free upgrade for those who have Windows 7 or Windows 8. Here is a video by Digital Trends that explains the Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade;