Archive for the 'Other Software' Category

Create Your Own Mobile App With Yapp

Monday, December 31st, 2012

TabletYapp is a service that allows the average person to create a professional-looking mobile app for events such as weddings, birthday parties, book club meetings, reunions, fundraisers, retreats, etc. It integrates with many of the features of the mobile device, allowing messaging, maps/directions to the event, photo sharing, etc. Once you create the app for your event, it can be shared with others after they install the YappBox app. Looks like a pretty nifty tool, and it’s free (they make money by offering premium services for a fee).

Thanks to Donna for this link.


It’s Official: No More Adobe Flash For Mobile Devices

Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Adobe LogoIn a follow-up to this recent Chad’s News post, Adobe has pulled its Flash Player from the Android store. Thanks to Steve Jobs, it appears that HTML5 will be the delivery system of choice for multimedia content. Adobe still has plans for Flash, and it’s fully supported on PCs, but this is pretty much the end of it for mobile devices.

(via Kim Komando)

Why You Should Use the exFAT File System on Your Flash Drive

Saturday, August 11th, 2012

Hard DriveexFAT is a file system, similar to FAT32 or NTFS, developed by Microsoft and released to the mainstream in Windows Vista SP1. It’s primarily intended for Flash drives, as opposed to magnetic hard drives, and has the added advantage that Apple Macintosh computers with OS X 10.6.5 or later support it by default (which is not the case for NTFS). Based on the linked article, you should probably use NTFS for standard hard drives and exFAT for Flash-based devices, and just completely forget about ever using FAT32. exFAT will work with Windows XP if you install update KB955704.

Thanks to Josh for this link.


Did Your Computer Survive the 2012 Leap Second?

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

ClockI remember having to deal with leap seconds from my time in the military when I worked with satellites, but I never thought they’d affect down-to-earth things like websites. Yet that’s exactly what happened when an extra second was inserted at midnight on the evening of June 30th. Linux and Java didn’t handle the transition very well, causing affected systems to hang and thrash. As a result, several major websites went down briefly. Google, being on top of things like this, had its own plan for dealing with the leap second: the leap smear.

Link #1:…
(via Slashdot)

Link #2:…

Plausible Deniability

Saturday, June 9th, 2012

CryptoSo you’ve got something on your computer that you don’t want anyone else to see. To this effect, you’ve encrypted the hard drive. But then you’re put into a situation where an official requires that you unlock the computer so they can inspect the contents (this could happen at a border crossing, for example). That’s where Plausible Deniability comes into play. It’s a feature of TrueCrypt, where you have two hidden encrypted volumes on the same disk partition, and the password you enter determines which one you actually see. So you enter the decoy password, and it unlocks the decoy partition which contains no sensitive files. The other hidden partition appears to be empty space containing nothing but random data. Note that this probably won’t prevent a computer forensics expert from realizing that you have a hidden partition, but the casual observer will probably be fooled.

(via TechRepublic)

What is DPI Scaling and Why Should I Care?

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

MonitorMany modern computer monitors have such a high resolution that things like icons and text are getting too small to read without reducing the overall resolution. And what’s the point of having a high-resolution monitor if you can’t use it at its maximum resolution? The situation is further complicated by the fact that today’s LCD monitors have a native resolution at which they look the best, and if you lower the resolution to make things larger, you may degrade the quality of what you see. Microsoft is aware of this issue and has created the DPI Scaling tool to fix it. The tool allows you to tell Windows to increase the size of text and graphical elements. The linked article explains it in more detail and gives instructions on how to use it under Windows 7, but DPI scaling is available as far back as Windows XP (it’s part of the advanced display settings).


What in the World is LibreOffice?

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

OpenOffice BoxMany Chad’s News readers are probably familiar with OpenOffice, the free alternative to Microsoft Office that was originally owned by Sun Microsystems (and then Oracle after it purchased Sun). But have you heard about LibreOffice? According to the linked article, LibreOffice started out as a free, open-source version of OpenOffice that was created when Oracle didn’t seem interested in continuing OpenOffice development.

Should users switch from OpenOffice to LibreOffice? I can’t say. (Here at the Chad’s News Network Command Center, we still use StarOffice 5.2, the precursor to OpenOffice.) But a quick view of the OpenOffice website shows that Oracle has donated it to Apache, so it’s no longer under Oracle’s control. The linked article doesn’t seem to take this fact into account.


How the 1956 AT&T Consent Decree Shaped the Birth of Unix and the Open Source Movement

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Geek InsideThe creation of Unix at Bell Labs was a revolutionary moment in the history of computing. It has shaped the future of the field, and set in place foundational elements of the modern open source movement. The linked article describes how the Unix revolution was dictated, in part, by a 1956 anti-trust consent decree between AT&T and the US government. Who would have thought that such a small footnote in history could have a significant impact today, over 50 years later?


NORAD Releases Santa Tracking App For iPhone and Android

Monday, December 5th, 2011

ChristmasNORAD is well known for its Christmas Eve tracking of Santa’s progress across the world, but this year is the first time you can use a smartphone/tablet app to track him. It’s named “NORAD Tracks Santa” and is available for the iPhone/iPad and Android devices.


Say Goodbye to Adobe Flash on Mobile Devices

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Adobe LogoRemember how Apple flat out refused to allow Adobe Flash on iPhones and iPads? Well it appears we are witnessing another legacy of Steve Jobs. Adobe Systems has decided to stop developing Flash for mobile devices. From their statement: “We will no longer continue to develop Flash Player in the browser to work with new mobile device configurations…. We will of course continue to provide critical bug fixes and security updates for existing device configurations.” Adobe will instead focus on HTML5 technologies and Adobe AIR. The article doesn’t mention Adobe Edge, but I think that will probably play a part in this new strategy.

(via Kim Komando)

The Beginning of the End for Adobe Flash

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Adobe LogoAdobe Flash is used all over the worldwide web and will continue to be popular for years to come. That being said, however, Flash will eventually be replaced by HTML5 (and its successors). This process is being hastened, in part, because Apple refuses to allow Flash on the iPhone or iPad. Even Adobe has seen the future and is embracing it—they recently released the beta version of a animation development tool that uses HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. It’s called Adobe Edge.

(via TechRepublic)

Computer Kicks Butt on Jeopardy

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

WatsonIBM’s “Watson” computer wiped out the human competition in the first match of Jeopardy (aired on Tuesday, Feb. 14th). Watson scored $35,734 compared to Ken Jennings at $4,800 and Brad Rutter at $10,400. Keep in mind that Jennings won the most consecutive games, staying in for 74 matches, and Rutter is the all-time money winner at more than $3 million. Long the stuff of science fiction, Watson is a significant step on the road to computers that can respond to natural speech.