Wednesday, May 2, 2018

New website covers electric skateboards, scooters and unis

Ever since the Segway was launched in 2002, battery-powered personal transportation devices have been exploding into a variety of sizes, shapes and prices.

At this year's CES trade show in January, I saw hover boards, skateboards, unicycles, scooters, and even roller skates that were all driven by rechargeable batteries.

And now there's a new website called Hover Patrol that tracks, reviews, compares and scores many of the better and more affordable e-vehicles.

The website is divided into four primary topics: Hoverboards, Electric Scooters, Electric Unicycles and Electric Skateboards. The articles cover topics such as street-legal electric scooters, reviews of electric skateboards and a look at off-road hoverboards.

Each segment also offers lists of the best brands and models in each category along with advice articles such as "How to Fix an Electric Scooter," "How to Ride an Electric Unicycle," and "How to Build an Electric Skateboard."

The articles are reviews are available at the Hover Patrol website.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

CureYourPC blog has Internet security tips and advice

You can't expect your car to run forever without some upkeep, maintenance or repairs and it's the same story for your personal computer.

If you want to keep your computer humming and avoid disasters, you need to pay attention to things such as virus protection, malware defense, operating system updates and device drivers.

The CureYourPC Blog can help. It posts regular reports about security threats and reviews of software that can defend against them.

On my recent visit to the blog, I found a review of ad-blocking software and an analysis of the Premium version of the popular Malwarebytes program. Other articles offered Internet security tips that for online shopping, tips to protect your online privacy and an explanation of how hackers use "phishing" techniques to get you to reveal passwords and other personal information.

I especially liked an article that listed bad tech habits -- reused passwords sound familiar? -- with advice on how to break them.

Check out all of the articles online at the CureYourPC blog.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

FastTik connects you to nearby friends

You're probably familiar with the Facebook feature that lets you and your friends note if they plan to attend an event in your area. That's a useful feature, but it doesn't go far enough. Not all of your friends will use it and it doesn't tell you if they are actually there when you are.

An app called FastTik fills in those gaps. It shows you all of your FastTik-using friends who are at a concert, ball game or festival when you are there along with others who might be nearby. You can set the feature to connect you with anyone on your Contacts list, with all FastTik users or be invisible.

Once you connect with another app user, you can exchange text messages, make a voice call or even a video call. The messaging and call features a free and they work anywhere in the world using your WiFi or mobile phone networks.

A recent addition to FastTik's communication menu is instant video messaging. Instead of text, you can exchange short video messages using facial expressions. An instant video message is deleted a few seconds after they are viewed and deleted permanently after 24 hours if the receiving party doesn't check it.

Users can also record and send instant voice messages, which are also deleted after they are heard.

FastTik is available as a free download for iOS devices in the Apple iTunes App Store and for Android devices in the Google Play Store. For more details, check the FastTik website, @FastTik_App on Twitter or the FastTik pages on Facebook or Instagram.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Positive Technologies helps lock down business web apps

In the early days of the commercial Internet, putting your business online meant getting an artist to create a digital brochure with a logo, some text ad a few graphics. Interactivity was limited to an email link or a comment box.

Today's online businesses allow customers and partners to order merchandise, enter credit card details or download software. But by opening those digital doors, companies are also inviting trouble in the form of hackers and similar malicious visitors.

Now hardly a day goes by without a report of stolen customer data or ransomware injected through some new web application vulnerability. How bad is the situation? A recent report by Positive Technologies found vulnerabilities in every web application that it tested in 2017 using the company's Application Inspector technology. 

Finding cracks in chinks in a business's digital armor is one of the jobs performed by the Positive Technologies' Web Application Firewall (WAF). The device uses a built-in source code analysis module to detect vulnerabilities and create instant "virtual patches" block any attempts to exploit the specific flaws in the web app code. 

Another product called PT Telecom Attack Discovery focuses on flaws in signaling protocols that allow hackers to intercept calls, track subscriber locations and perform other bits of mischief. The company's SS7 Protection Solution uses a signaling intrusion monitoring system and an analysis module to detect anomalous activity on a wireless network.

For more details about the WAF and how it can protect a business website, check out the Positive Technologies website.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

SecureTribe adds more privacy protection

Now that we know how careless Facebook can be with our personal data, I expect more people will be exploring alternative sharing services that offer a higher level of security.

The recent news prompted me to take another look at SecureTribe, a private sharing app that I reviewed when it was launched last year.

The iOS app lets users create photo albums for different groups called tribes and it uses encryption technology to keep photos and videos secure. Only members of the designated tribe have the decryption key required to view that group’s album.

Tribes can be public or private. You might create a private tribe to share images from that weekend in Las Vegas and public tribe to share photos of your band or sports team. Check out my video below to see how I set up and used SecureTribe.

This month the app's developers released several new improvements that make the app more secure and useful. For example, users can now include more details in their personal profiles and a tribe owner can see which of their friends 'liked' post. 

A new security feature will detect an attempt to make a screen capture. Images in a private group are for member eyes only and anyone who tries to screen capture will be ejected from the group. Other improvements include easier navigation, faster response times and support for iPhone X.

For more details, check out the SecureTribe website and @SecureTribe on Twitter. The app is available as a free download in the iTunes App Store.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Website turns PNG into ICO for free

Dealing with digital image formats can be a real pain in the pixel.

While JPEG and PNG images are the lingua franca of the online world, there's a multitude of other formats that are either tied to specific software or preferred for certain situations.

Take the ICO format for example. Software developers working on programs for the Microsoft operating system know that their icons, those small graphics that manage and direct the user's experience, should be in the ICO format. But the artists and designers who create those tiny images are more likely to be working some other file format.

That's when the developer needs a good file conversion tool. And now there's a website called Online Convert Free that offers a quick and easy way make the PNG to ICO switch.

Users can select a file from their computer and drag it to a window on the website. If a few seconds, out pops a freshly converted image file ready to download and put to work.

The ICO trick is one of many that the site can perform. It also offers conversions for PDF, PCT, TIFF and other common file formats as well as many more obscure formats. And if you run across a WPG, ARW, DFX or some other mystery formats, the site also offers a helpful descriptions that include lists of the programs that use those file types. 

To try the free conversion for an ICO or other image file, visit the Online Convert Free website.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

miFon beefs up its phone security app

My friends who drive for Uber and Lyft tell me one of their constant worries is the forgotten phone. When a passenger leave a phone in their car, it's big headache for everyone to get the phone located, identified and returned.

The misplaced phone is one of the issues that the developers of miFon tackled in their recent rounds of updates and new features.

I wrote a full review of the Android app last year when I said "no app that I’ve encountered takes tracking, security and recovery farther than miFon."  Now, they've made it even better with a security suite that helps mobile phone owners deal with real-world problems.

A good example is the story one woman tells on the miFon blog about how she used the app to catch a phone thief. Once she discovered that the phone was missing, she checked her email and found a photo -- and location -- of the person trying to open the phone. She made contact and got the phone back the next day.

Another new feature added to miFon is the Family & Friends Locator. It lets users create a personal group called miGroup that tracks everyone in the group. Users no longer have to send each other text messages asking "Where U at?"

Other miFon features include anti-virus and malware protection, the ability to remotely change your home screen lock code, a map that shows the phone's "last seen" location, a quick SOS alert sent to selected phone numbers, and automatic event notifications that will tell your friends when you arrive at a pre-set location.

The app is available as in the Google Play Store. You can download and use the basic version and test the advanced features for free. More details, including pricing for the Pro version, are available   at the miFon website.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

App tracks #deletefacebook movement

Millions of Facebook users were stunned to learn recently that their personal profiles were given to a British company that used the information to support Donald Trump's campaign for President in 2016. According to The New York Times, Facebook gave the data to a Cambridge University researcher who shared it with a company called Cambridge Analytica, which has ties to conservative financier Robert Mercer, former Trump aide Steve Bannon and to a number of Russian businesses.

The news caused an immediate backlash among Facebook users, many of whom deleted their Facebook accounts. The Times reported that the hashtag gained momentum through the week:

The hashtag #DeleteFacebook appeared more than 10,000 times on Twitter within a two-hour period on Wednesday, according to the analytics service ExportTweet. On Tuesday, it was mentioned 40,398 times, according to the analytics service Digimind.

And now there's an app to help people follow the Delete Facebook movement. Called #DeleteFacebook Poll, News & Tweets, the Android app invites users to declare their status - are they in or out with Facebook? - and share the reasons behind their choice.

The app also offers a collection of trending news about the Facebook data issue and the latest Twitter posts that use the #deletefacebook hashtag.

The app is available as a free download for Android devices in the Google Play Store.

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