Selasa, 03 Maret 2015

TechSource: Google Inbox Review: Does Google Finally Reinvent the Age-old Webmail?

TechSource: Google Inbox Review: Does Google Finally Reinvent the Age-old Webmail?


Google Inbox Review: Does Google Finally Reinvent the Age-old Webmail?

Posted: 03 Mar 2015 04:45 AM PST

Despite having a complete dominance over the webmail market, Google has repeatedly tried to reinvent the way email technology works. Whether it's the defunct Google Wave or the more social Google Plus, the search giant has made numerous attempts to revolutionize this technology. However, despite its valiant efforts, email still works pretty much the same way it used to work ten years ago. Many people, despite the surge of alternative messaging platforms, haven't been able to get rid of their beloved inbox. Furthermore, in enterprise settings, email still is the backbone of communications across various departments. In short, email is here to stay and yes, Google knows that.

That's why, instead of reinventing email, Google is trying on a new strategy. They are trying to make your email usage more productive. Google's latest endeavor, titled Google Inbox, is a new app by the Gmail team. Its goal is to help you use your inbox to get things done. Let's take a look at this new app and see whether it is here to stay or turn into another axed project.


Google Inbox: What is it?

If you are a productivity fanatic, you must definitely have heard the buzzword "inbox zero."  It's the bragging right of individuals who aren't that burdened by the barrage of emails that land in their inbox every day. While there are many strategies to manually achieve that coveted inbox zero, Chrome extensions being one of them, many users still find it difficult to handle their inbox effectively. This, in turn, leads to the perpetuating problem: people are being controlled by their email instead of them being in control.

Google Inbox aims to fix this issue by organizing your incoming emails into "bundles" so that you can see only the stuff that's important and sweep away the rest. Today, your email inbox isn't just about mails from co-workers, bosses, and friends; it also includes newsletters, promotions, purchase receipts, unsolicited spam, and much more. Thus, instead of focusing on the emails you need to reply to urgently, you end up checking a hundred different things that are irrelevant to your workflow.

By bundling your email into categories like Purchases, Updates, and more, you can quickly get to emails that matter to you the most. Another great thing about these bundles is that you can sweep away all the emails in that category by a simple click. So, let's say you have about 100 promotional emails that you don't even want to see, you can simply click on the double tick marks and voila, all the messages in that bundle get archived. 



Email as a To-do List

While there are some amazing To-do list software out there, Wunderlist and Todoist -- for example, Google Inbox promises to be strictly an email tool. And yes, it does live up to that promise. What Google does is that it integrates the to-do functionality into your inbox as a simple add-on feature rather than it being the showrunner. This means, by clicking the check mark you archive away all the emails you've worked on and then move on to the most important ones. In a way, this adheres very strongly to the GTD approach that was quite popular a few years ago. So, in a way, the To-do functionality makes it easier for you to focus on the most important things in your inbox and take away the rest.


So, Can it Replace Gmail?

Well, it is a strange question because Inbox isn't meant to replace Gmail. Inbox is designed to take Gmail and make it into a productivity powerhouse. Whether you are buried in a barrage of promotional emails or you spend your Sundays chasing the coveted "inbox zero," this email app will help you sort through the mess a lot quicker. It won't write your mails, nor would it do your dishes, but it will definitely make you spend fewer hours in the "just checking my mail phase" and move you closer to a pristine neat inbox.


Conclusion

Google Inbox is definitely here to stay. It is meant to be a booster pack for your email and yes business customers are already seeing the appeal to it. While it may not replace your webmail just yet, but we won't be surprised if it does so a couple of years down the line. 

Rabu, 18 Februari 2015

TechSource: Best Android-Based Messaging Apps for Enterprises

TechSource: Best Android-Based Messaging Apps for Enterprises


Best Android-Based Messaging Apps for Enterprises

Posted: 17 Feb 2015 09:30 PM PST

When it comes to Android, there is never a dearth of messaging apps. From WhatsApp to Line, you can switch to pretty much any messaging service, whenever you want. However, if you are running a company, there are many factors involved before you add a messaging app in the mix. The same solutions that teenagers use to keep up with their buddies won't work amongst your employees. Can be quite frustrating, don't you think?

Don't worry, the following article will help you pick from some of the best instant messaging solutions that you can incorporate in your company. That too, without having to ditch the Android platform.


Hall for Android

If you are a company that works with a lot of cloud-based files, then Hall is a perfect solution for you. Not only does Hall let you message your co-workers, it can also help you connect to your clients, vendors, and distributors. What makes Hall different from other apps is that it integrates with variety of other services, most notably Dropbox and Box. This means that you can take any file from your Dropbox account and share it with someone who needs to see it. Among other integrations, Hall also works with Asana, Trello, Github, Heroku, Jenkins, New Relic, Pivotal Tracker, UserVoice and Zendesk, thus making it a perfect choice for small startups. Hall also works on desktop so that keeping up with your messages from multiple computers becomes quite easy. 


Cotap is another great business messaging solution that gets rid of the main problem many of these apps face and that is of "friending" the other person first. Instead of going through the process of adding people you already know as a "friend," Cotap lets you connect with people in your company by simply typing in their name. This is accomplished by sharing a common address book among the employees of the company. This means that you can contact "Bob" or "Jane" without needing their permission to do so.  



Yammer

Yammer is a social enterprise network that is aimed at making company communications more productive. Yammer gives you your own inbox wherein you can see the latest happenings in your groups and keep up with your coworkers. Moreover, Yammer also lets you share photos with your colleagues and groups making it easier for you to work on detailed projects. Push notifications, on the other hand, make sure you are always abreast of what's happening in your group.



HipChat

HipChat is a hosted messaging solution for teams, groups, and companies. While not solely aimed at enterprises, HipChat can be a wonderful solution if you are working with multiple teams in the same company. What this app does is that it allows you to create persistent chat rooms along with 1-on-1 chats. You can stay in touch with your schoolteacher or your boss, all within the same window. What's great about HipChat is that it lets you preview PDFs and photos in the messaging window itself. HipChat works across Windows, Mac, iOS, and even Linux. The most attractive part is its pricing. That is, the app is free for unlimited amount of users. Of course, if you want to add more features like 1-on-1 video calling you will have to pay for it. 



Intelli IM - Lync, OCS, GTalk

This app aims to be a one-stop solution to all your messaging needs be it personal or enterprise. The apps syncs across multiple devices and provides push notifications so that you are always aware of what's happening no matter where you are and no matter what device you are using. What's fascinating about Intelli Im is that it does a lot compared to other apps. It does GTalk, Lync, and even Google Talk business without you having to switch to another application. If you are looking for an app that does a little more than you expected it to do, this is a perfect solution for you.

Sabtu, 31 Januari 2015

TechSource: Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca) vs. Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)

TechSource: Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca) vs. Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)


Linux Mint 17.1 (Rebecca) vs. Ubuntu 14.10 (Utopic Unicorn)

Posted: 31 Jan 2015 07:19 AM PST

The battle for the best modern desktop still rages on. Two of Linux world's favorite distributions are often difficult to choose from, especially if you are new to the penguinland. Whether you are a dabbler, a budding programmer, or an ever-curious tinkerer; choosing your first Linux desktop is a tough choice. Asking on the Internet for random people to make that choice for you, adds even more to the confusion. They will give you various answers, from Slackware and Fedora to Ubuntu and Plan 9. However, if you filter their responses to only pick the most popular ones, the distribution deathmatch can boast of only two contenders in the ring: Ubuntu and Linux Mint.

While Ubuntu and Mint both synergistically grown over the years, their progress hasn't been able to resolve the desktop newbie's longstanding dilemma. That is, which of these two is the best for me? Both Canonical and the Mint team have worked quite hard to set high usability standards when it comes to designing their desktops. While Ubuntu boasts of a more modern, platform-agnostic approach toward the PC, Mint leans heavily on familiarity and simplicity. Both approaches have their pros and cons; however, for the confused neophyte, these case points rarely matter. All the user wants to know is, among the latest iterations, which one is the best for her? That's why, we at TechSource have decided to hold a little deathmatch between the newest versions of two of the most popular Linux ditros out there: Mint 17.1 and Ubuntu 14.10.


Features

It is important to understand that Linux Mint, unlike Ubuntu, comes in two distinct flavors. One is Cinnamon, which is a modern and elegant desktop based on GNOME 3. It has all the latest features and the graphical improvements built-in and is relatively heavy on the system resources. In other words, if you wanted features, performance, and eye-candy all packed into one, Cinnamon does that for you. The other flavor is MATE (pronounced as mahtay), which is designed for older, low-performing desktops. It is based on GNOME 2 and while it looks almost as elegant as Cinnamon, it does make some compromises on the graphics front. Furthermore, MATE is based on code that is no longer maintained as regularly as GNOME 3 and this might cause stability issues later on as you upgrade. So, unless you have a really old machine or an unsupported graphics card, Cinnamon would be the way to go. 


Ubuntu, on the other hand, sticks to a modern desktop with a "Dash" launcher. This approach is similar to mobile where a dashboard pops up every time you hit the Home button (which is, in the desktop's case the Win/Super key). Unlike Mint, you won't get choices if your graphics card is unsupported or your system is slow. That said it's not that big a deal even if you are using a 5-year old computer. One can safely assume your desktop will be able to run Ubuntu perfectly well. 


Mint also offers a lot of extra features like domain blocker, privacy settings, full theming and much more.  The most powerful feature of Mint, however, is that it allows its users to customize their desktops in whichever way they want. And Mint 17.1 takes that to the next level. This latest version lets you change your folder colors, file manager color scheme, screensaver, and even your login screen. You can even change the basic theme to whatever color you want. Most of the customization features are missing in 14.10 and it makes the user accept and use the desktop as-is without any built-in tools for customization. The winner is quite obvious here. Note: For an in-depth look on the new features of Mint 17.1, check out the official blog post HERE

Winner: Linux Mint 17.1


Wallpapers, Goodies, and Extras

While the Canonical team was busy focusing on the mobile version of their operating system, the Linux Mint team was busy taking their desktop to the next level. They focused on keeping the changes simple yet relevant. The latest version brings along a completely redesigned backgrounds application that lets you pick beautiful images from not just this release but from earlier releases as well. Moreover, you can even set the wallpapers to change every few minutes thus keeping your desktop looking fresh all the time.
Nemo, the file manager, now lets you set emblems to your folders. Ubuntu 14.10 on the other hand just brings a new set of wallpapers. The default one though remains the same. Well, it at least appears to do so. Overall, there is no noticeable change in Ubuntu 14.10, apart from the list of updated applications. We hope Canonical at least decides to update their icons for the next iteration of the desktop.

Winner: Linux Mint 17.1


Looks

While Ubuntu 14.10 sticks with the same old Unity desktop, Mint 17.1 races ahead with some important changes to their UI part. The desktop now begins with a zoom animation, giving it a more modern feel. Also, the wallpaper-picker is now completely redesigned, thus allowing you to add wallpapers from previous versions of Linux Mint. Most importantly, though, you can now change the color of your desktop anyway you want. Mint 17.1 gives you complete freedom to fine-tune your computer to make sure it suits your preference. From the mouse pointer to the title bars, everything is customizable; and yet, the default theme looks so gorgeous, you wouldn't want to change it. If it continues on the same path, Mint is destined to become the best-looking desktop around. The winner, hands down is, Linux Mint 17.1.

Winner: Linux Mint 17.1


Performance

In my usage, I found Linux Mint quite stable, and in fact, it was more stable than Ubuntu or any other desktop I've used before. It starts up quick, the elements are snappy, and it rarely hangs or crashes. Whereas on the same computer, Ubuntu performed with a slight amount of glitches here and there. Though those were not severe, it won't take time for anyone to realize that Mint is Ubuntu's snappy, stable cousin.

Winner: Linux Mint 17.1


Conclusion

It is not hard to see why Linux Mint is an object of adoration amongst Linux desktop users. While Canonical is focusing on convergence, the Mint desktop is growing to a point where it doesn't look like an Ubuntu-based distribution anymore; it now has its own identity. If the Mint team keeps up this pace while not doing anything drastic, they will surely surpass Ubuntu both in quality as well as popularity. They are already the 4th most popular desktop operating system in the world right now and if Ubuntu doesn't step up on the desktop front, that might change very soon.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.

Sabtu, 17 Januari 2015

TechSource: 7 Interesting Crime-Solving Games for Android

TechSource: 7 Interesting Crime-Solving Games for Android


7 Interesting Crime-Solving Games for Android

Posted: 17 Jan 2015 01:35 AM PST

To summon your inner Sherlock Holmes or Nancy Drew, you don't need to join a detective squad anymore. There are many new games that allow you to solve crimes, catch the bad guys, and prove to the world that there is a master detective in you waiting to be recognized. These games let you play as a detective or a cop for hours and make you rack your brain to come up with clues that will help solve the mystery.

If you are someone who travels a lot, thankfully, most of these fabulous crime-solving games are already available for Android devices. This means you can keep working on cases, fighting crime, and saving the city, no matter where you go.

So, if you are ready to untangle the latest murder mystery in your town, here are some of the best crime-solving games for Android.


CSI (Hidden Crimes)


When it comes to solving crimes, CSI is a well-known franchise. The TV show has millions of loyal fans and its intelligent writing has kept viewers engaged for years. Bringing the same crime-busting thrill to your Android smartphone or tablet computer comes CSI Hidden Crimes. Set in Las Vegas, the game is written by Jack Gutowitz, the writer of the original TV show. Your job in this title is to find clues, analyze the evidence, and finally if everything goes well, solve the case. 



Special Enquiry Detail

In this game, you are responsible for investigating a murder of the daughter of two charity fundraisers. As the game progresses, the list of suspects grows. Leading the case are two smart detectives Turino and Lamonte. The game, much like CSI, involves you investigating the clues and helping the cops bring the criminal to justice. 



Mysteryville 2

When award-winning journalist Laura Winner finds that her friend Bill Witowsky has gone missing, she begins an investigation that takes her to places she'd never thought of. Soon, she finds that the disappearance of Bill is intricately linked to a charity auction the town's priest is throwing. How is Bill's disappearance linked to the auction? Well, that's what you are here for. The game involves you helping Laura solve the mystery by searching all the clues that help her solve the mystery. 



Another Case Solved

In this game, you get to play a famous detective who is responsible for solving a candy conspiracy. Ever since the city has outlawed all sweet snacks, you have to find clues and investigate the real reason behind the ban on candy sweets. What's special about this game is that you get to create your own special detective look with outfits, props, et al. Also, if you are into bragging, this game also supports Google Play achievements. 



Crime Story

Crime Story is a very interesting game that allows you to narrate your own gangsta story. The journey to becoming a mafia boss begins by searching for your kidnapped brother. The storyline of the game alone makes it fun and exciting. You will start from the bottom of the mafia world and you can move up from a common nasty job doer to a respected mobster by eliminating rivals and conquering the town. Your tattoos and scars will help you earn respect from your fellow gangsters. Overall, this is a really good game.



Crime Squad India Driving Game

For Indian Android gamers, this title lets you drive classic Indian vehicles down the streets of Mumbai to help keep crimes at bay. Unlike other crime-busting games on the list, this one doesn't have much of the mystery element to it. The game has more of a "shoot-and-chase" kind of experience. 



Mountain Crime: Requital

In this title, you play a doctor who's visiting a mountain resort. Upon arriving you find the first victim of the mystery. Your job is to investigate the other members of the resort and gather enough clues to find out who's behind this crime. As the game progresses, your character gets further entangled into the whole mystery so much so that you'll now have to worry about saving your life too. Though the game is not free, it's a fun and engaging title that will keep you hooked for hours. 



Rabu, 07 Januari 2015

TechSource: 5 of the Best Smartwatches of 2014

TechSource: 5 of the Best Smartwatches of 2014


5 of the Best Smartwatches of 2014

Posted: 06 Jan 2015 11:10 PM PST

2014 is rightly dubbed as the year of smartwatches. Everyone from Apple to Samsung has tried their hands on coming up with a smartwatch that gives their company a strong foothold in this emerging new market. Be it the enticing watch-based apps or the fitness-tracking features that promise you to keep healthy, this new emerging piece of hardware has taken the tech world by storm.

Given the massive success of both Android and iOS, it has become easy for consumers to trust big brands like Apple and Google. These mobile operating systems have already become a huge part of our daily lives and having an add-on device that works seamlessly with what we have is a big bonus for not just a tech geek but also for an average user. In 2014, many smartwatches were released, some of them were completely new and some were massive updates to devices that already existed in the market. If you are on the hunt for your next new smartwatch, then read on as we list 5 of the best smartwatches of 2014.


5. Samsung Gear 2

Samsung was one of the first entrants to the smartwatch race. Before Apple or even Android, the Korean giant had ambitious plans to scoop up a market which was still in its infancy. Although with the recent announcements of Apple Watch and Moto 360, their plans have dampened a notch, we still consider Samsung Gear 2 a solid smartwatch. What makes it so special is the fact that it works seamlessly with Samsung smartphones. With a large, crisp display, Gear 2 lets you pick up calls from your phone and read important notifications. The design, though acceptable, presents a brushed metal finish with a leather strap. The specs are good too, with 4GB internal storage, 1 GHZ processor, and a battery life that lasts about 2-3 days. The only flaw with this device is that it runs Tizen, which is good, but not future proof considering where Android Wear is right now. Furthermore, the limitation that the watch only works with Samsung phones is a hard one to overlook. However, if you are a part of the evolving Samsung ecosystem, this might be the perfect device for you.



4. LG G Watch

Though it doesn't look as good as many of the smartwatches on the market, G Watch is definitely a good buy for those who want to get their hands on first-gen Wear. With a slightly lower resolution display of 280x280 and a 1.65-inch screen, this one is a square little unassuming device. It comes with a nice little charging cradle that's incredibly simple to use. It is water resistant and performs considerably well under sunlight compared to other devices. On the negative side, it has a poor battery life, underwhelming design, and lacks support for a wider range of Android devices. Despite its negative aspects, G Watch is definitely a good entry point for anyone wanting to use an Android Wear device.



3. Samsung Gear Live

Another smartwatch from Samsung is the Gear Live, which was released a couple of months after Gear 2. What's the difference? Well, there are better specs, a new wine-red color, lower weight and Android 4.3+ support. It comes with a 320x320 Super AMOLED display that offers a crisp and bright interface.  Most of the specs are similar to Gear 2; however, one thing is dramatically different and that is Android Wear. Even if the Gear 2 had better specs, Gear Live would definitely topple it for the sheer reason that it has Android Wear. Furthermore, its fitness features make up for its terrible battery life and its lack of compatibility with a wide range of Android phones. If you are not a big fan of Samsung's ecosystem and are looking for a nice, feature-packed smartwatch, this one's for you. 



2. Pebble Steel

Pebble Steel still remains a reliable choice for anyone who is looking for a smartwatch that lives up to its name. It's fashionable and thin with a design that is both durable and sturdy. What's different about Pebble though is that it isn't running Android Wear or Tizen for that matter. It has its own operating system and its own ecosystem of apps that make it a worthy investment of your hard-earned cash. Though expensive than the rest, Pebble Steel wins you over with its sheer simplicity, powerful battery life, and ease of use. After all, Pebble has been in this game for way longer than Android Wear or Tizen, and it shows. Pebble Steel offers a refined, mature, and a stable smartwatch experience that is hard to beat. If you own an Android smartphone and an iPhone, Pebble is your only bet right now as it works well with both ecosystems.



1. Moto 360

Moto 360 is an Android smartphone done right. Bridging the gap between technology and style, this affordable smartwatch works just as great as it looks. With wireless charging, the circular watch comes packed with a lot of great features. Made from pure Android Wear, it comes with a 1.56-inch LCD circular display that has a resolution of 320 x 290. The watch frame is stainless steel and along with it you have a matching leather strap that makes it look like a genuinely stylish watch. Moto 360 works perfectly with many devices running Android 4.4+ and is water resistant. Also, Google Now being a major component of the experience works just as smoothly as you'd expect. If we overlook the poor battery performance, Moto 360 is THE smartwatch you should be buying. It's affordable, it looks good, and it does exactly what a smartwatch does.


Written by: Abhishek, a regular TechSource contributor and a long-time FOSS advocate.