Rabu, 25 Maret 2015

TechSource: Best Combat Strategy Games for Android

TechSource: Best Combat Strategy Games for Android


Best Combat Strategy Games for Android

Posted: 25 Mar 2015 07:14 AM PDT

Combat strategy games are an excellent amalgamation of two popular genres. This combination provides a well-paced yet addictive gaming experience that can keep you awake all night swiping and poking at your smartphone or tablet's screen.

If you don't mind being a little addicted, then following is a list of some of the best combat strategy games out there for Android.



Clash of Clans

Clash of Clans is one of the most popular combat strategy games out there for your Android device. Completely free to play, this title involves building your village and then turning it into an undefeatable fortress. As you progress towards your goal, you can join hands with other players (or clans) and fight an epic clan war. There are 15 unique units that make up the game, all of them with multiple levels of upgrades. Your goal is to defend your clan at all cost using mortars, towers, bombers, traps, and walls. If you are lucky, you also get to fight the huge Goblin King from time to time. Overall, this is a fun and entertaining combat strategy game which you can either play alone or even with millions of other players from around the world. 



Castle Clash

In this game you hire legions of powerful heroes and lead an army of mythical creatures in your goal to becoming the world's greatest Warlord. With a perfect blend of combat and strategy, Castle Clash has over 30 million users worldwide. The journey toward becoming the world's greatest warlord involves building your own impenetrable fortress, creating an army of wild troops, and then casting powerful spells in epic battles. Overall, it is a fun combat strategy game that takes this genre to the next level by adding the fantasy element to it.



Boom Beach

In this game you fight against the evil BlackGuard by taking your strong forces to a paradise island. This island is invaded by the BlackGuard and it is your job to free the enslaved islanders and then leave the uncharted island. What's more, this hidden island has lot of ancient undiscovered powers that come in handy later on in the game. What stand out in this game are probably the boss battles that help you uncover important clues about the story. Overall it is a fun, entertaining, and addictive combat strategy game.



Stars Conquer

If you are tired of the usual combat strategy games set on ground, then Stars Conquer will give you a somewhat unique experience. Set in space, Stars Conquer lets you build your own base and then turn it into an undefeatable fortress. Of course it is not that easy because you'll have to battle other players from time to time. Thankfully, there are weapons like cannons, MLRS, and missile that make it quite fun to shoot down intruders. Overall, if you are into games based in space, then expect this game to keep you hooked for hours to come.



Defense Command


This game has probably one of the most interesting premises in this list. At the start of the game, the planet is invaded by aliens. Then, the world's military gets enslaved by an Alien Mind Control Device. Yes, the whole world's military! Luckily, however, only one battle squad remains. You are responsible of controlling this battle squad and leading it to an insurmountable task of defeating the alien force and restoring peace and harmony on earth. With unique battle tactics and lots of weapons for combat, Defense Command can be a game that will keep you hooked for hours.



Battle Command

Set in a futuristic world, this title helps you get a taste of military warfare with lots of advanced weapons. With 20 different units to unlock, the game provides a lot of meat if you are into building bases and constructing a solid army that withstands the constant attacks of the enemy. Apart from building a strong base, this game also involves the ability to attack other players' bases thus making the game quite challenging especially in the cases when you get attack by someone new. To avoid that, you can make alliances with fellow players and thus build a stronger base. With both single player and multi-player, this game mixes elements of tower defense, combat, and strategy perfectly to give a great addictive gameplay.


 

Kamis, 12 Maret 2015

TechSource: Tablet Wars Redux: Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air 2

TechSource: Tablet Wars Redux: Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air 2


Tablet Wars Redux: Nexus 9 vs. iPad Air 2

Posted: 12 Mar 2015 04:18 AM PDT

The tablet computer market, despite being dominated by the iPad, is in a constant state of agitation. With Amazon, Samsung, and Google coming out with their own line of tablets, the war for the bigger devices gets more and more intense every year. 2014, though was another one of those Apple vs. Google fights where both parties came out with the best line of products.

Apple released the iPad Air 2 while Google came out with Nexus 9. Both of these tablets are flagship products from two of the most popular tech companies in the world. With Nexus 9, the search giant brings along promises of a polished, Android Lollipop-laden tablet experience that will get the latest and greatest updates. With iPad Air 2, on the other hand, Apple makes sure that the users get the best features from their top-of-the line products into this tablet. A faster processor, lighter weight, and a fingerprint scanner may seem like small additions, but they do make a product that is already ruling the market into a superb all-round device.

When a casual consumer decides to head into the market to buy a new tablet, he's faced with many tough questions. The price aside, the main thing many people worry about is that: does this tablet meet my needs? And for years, Apple's iPad line has answered positively to that question, and noticing that, Google has decided to step up their game and launch their own tablet called the Nexus 9.

Aimed at the general public rather than Android fans, the Nexus 9 is a direct competitor to the iPad 2. It offers pretty much everything the iPad offers with the added bonus of a much freer OS that is Android. This leaves the customers with two top-of-the-line tablet devices to choose from. While we won't accompany you to the store to help you make the choice, we'll surely help you better discriminate between the two products and buy the one that appeals to you the most. 

 

Build Quality:

Both the Nexus 9 and the iPad Air 2 are almost the same weight and you won't feel much difference between them if you were to hold them with both of your hands. The build material, however, differs a lot. Apple's tablet comes with the trademark aluminum unibody finish that not only looks gorgeous but also feels premium and strong. On the Nexus 9's back, there's the matte plastic back; which, though looks good, doesn't quite measure up to what Apple offers to its customers. Even by just holding the iPad for a few seconds one can tell that Apple's tablet offering is way superior in terms of build quality when compared to the Nexus 9.

Winner: iPad Air 2.



Display:

The display on these devices is the top-of-the-line screens you will find in the market. Whether you are choosing a tablet for reading, watching movies, or playing the latest mobile games, both Apple and Google have done a great job at finding some of the best displays. Both have IPS panels with 2048x1536 resolutions on each of them. While Apple's is a 264 ppi display, the Nexus 9 is 288 ppi making the difference between the two tablets marginal. However, despite the high quality of these displays, iPad somehow manages to edge out Nexus 9 by adding some small-but-useful features to the mix. One of the glaring omissions (no pun intended) in Nexus 9 is the anti-reflective coating; something that helps you read books in the sunlight. This feature alone, as Apple claims, reduces reflections by half, thus making it a superb outdoor device. While Nexus 9 is not that bad for reading, but the small feature does indicate why Apple is still dominating the market.

Winner: iPad Air 2


Extra Features:

When it comes to goodies and extra features, the iPad Air 2 manages to edge out the Nexus 9. Its nifty fingerprint scanner does a lot of things other than to provide a one-touch security solution. While the Nexus does pretty much all things okay, it does miss that little X-factor that Apple's fingerprint sensor brings along.

Winner: iPad Air 2


Price:

The Nexus 9 is about $100 cheaper than the iPad Air 2 in most markets thus making it a great budget tablet for the general public.

Winner: Nexus9



Software:

While Android Lollipop looks just as gorgeous as it could ever look, it does fall short when it comes to scaling. The Nexus 9, running the latest version of Android, does look like an awesome tablet, but there's a lot of blank space that's wasted making it look as if the phone's software was just stuck on the tablet. While this is not a big issue, but compared to the iPad Air, the Nexus does lose out a couple of points. iPad with iOS8.1 not only looks good on a tablet but also looks as if the software was made for a big screen. Furthermore, you'll find many apps in the Apple App Store that are designed specifically for tablets thus making the iPad an even worthy purchase.

Winner: iPad Air 2


Usage:

Both the iPad and the Nexus could be used for reading, watching movies, checking mail, and playing games. While Google has the Play Store, Apple offers the famous iTunes Store to its users. iTunes, as many of you know, is one of the most popular content stores out there. While many may choose iTunes over Google Play, it may not necessarily affect the decision of a buyer who's just looking for a good tablet. However, if you come from the Apple ecosystem of apps, music, and games, iTunes will definitely lure you into buying the shiny tablet.

Winner: Tie


Camera:

While both have an 8MP camera at the back, the front-facing camera is where the similarity between the two devices ends. Apple's Air 2 comes with a 1.2 MP front camera while Nexus comes with a 1.6 MP one. The aperture for both is the same, which is f/2.4. However, there's one big difference here. The Nexus 9 camera comes with a flash. Yes, while we don't expect to see professional tablet-wielding photographers anytime soon, having a flash at the back is a welcome addition and it does score Google some brownie points.

Winner: Nexus 9


Conclusion:

While the Nexus 9 is a great device on paper, it does lack the maturity and the premium quality of the iPad Air. Since this is Google's first big tablet, we might overlook some flaws, but they do have to pull up their socks if they want to catch up with Apple in the tablet market. If you have an extra $100 to spend, you should consider getting an iPad Air rather than going for Nexus 9. It offers much more value for money for its high price.

Overall Winner: Apple iPad Air 2


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

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.