5 Wicked Cool Tools for App Developers

Are you considering creating your first mobile app? Or are you a hardcore programmer who is always on the hunt for cool coding treats you can integrate into your app development strategy? There are numerous innovative tools being created to help programmers create better apps. From app analytics tools to pixel measurement tools, today's application developers have a host of innovative resources at their disposal. Check out the following five tools for app developers to see which ones you can use to improve the performance of your mobile app creations.

Torchpad

For app developers needing to create wikis for their team members, Torchpad offers an incredibly helpful tool. Torchpad integrates with GitHub and Flavored Markdown. Users can easily create a private wiki for their team using Torchpad's drag-and-drop interface and tree format structuring tool. Torchpad offers multi-person editing and real time permission controls. Currently in the beta testing stage, Torchpad is a handy tool to increase team collaboration and facilitate group understanding of project status updates.

Calq

Calq offers customized analytics tools for mobile developers. Available features include checkout analytics, retroactive action monitoring, conversion funnel identifiers, and real time customer interaction monitoring.

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ScreenLab

ScreenLab offers heat maps and data analysis for app developers. Users can compare potential audience interaction on a variety of different device sizes to maximize app layouts. Programmers are able to use ScreenLab for five free app tests per month, with paid plans available for enterprise users.

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Pixel Winch

For app developers needing to test a variety of layouts, Pixel Winch offers a helpful imaging tool. Still in beta, Pixel Winch lets users upload specific app components in order to measure their formatting across a variety of screen sizes and resolutions.

Ringo

Ringo lets programmers integrate two-way audio support into their mobile applications. Customers are able to connect with app support personnel via one-way video conferencing (support personnel are on-camera) and carry on conversations to rectify any customer support questions. Similar to Amazon's Mayday support tool, Ringo offers app developers a handy way to increase user engagement and boost download satisfaction ratings.

These tools for app developers are just some of the innovative resources being created by entrepreneurs within the mobile application space. Which of these app creation resources do you think you will be integrating into your app development workflow?

Setting up Remote Desktop on Microsoft Windows Computers

Remote Desktop is a Microsoft technology that gives a user the view of the desktop of a remote user. Microsoft developed Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) during the development of Windows XP and since then all the new versions of Windows have included a remote desktop client. This technology will help users get their system issues resolved by a technician who can see and work on their desktops remotely. In this article, you will learn more about this technology and see how it can be set up on various versions of Microsoft Windows.

Remote Desktop on Windows XP

Right-click My Computer icon on Start menu -> Click Properties -> Click Remote tab.

Under the Remote tab, you have an option labeled 'Allow users to connect remotely to this computer'. If you check this box, it will let anyone remotely connect to the computer.

Now, you need to make sure that the Remote Desktop client is installed in the computer. Follow these steps to install the RD client.

1.     Go to Control Panel from the Start menu

2.     Open Add or Remove Programs section

3.     Click on Add or Remove Windows Components

4.     Click on Internet Information Services -> Details -> World Wide Web Service -> Details

5.     Put a check on Remote Desktop Web Connection

6.     Click OK and close all dialog boxes

Remote Desktop on Windows Vista and Windows 7

You can turn on the computer's remote desktop feature from the Computer Properties dialog box as in Windows XP. Under SystemProperties , click on RemoteSettings and then click on the Remote tab. Here, under the RemoteDesktop section, select the second radio button.

Under the Remote tab, you have Remote Desktop and RemoteAssistance options. There is a slight difference. Remote Assistance lets you receive help from a technical support person remotely with shared access to your desktop. Remote Desktop allows you to connect to your office computer from home and work on it as if it is in front of you. The remote computer that you are working on displays a blank screen at this time.

Firewall configuration is done by the operating system automatically. However, if you are running a third party firewall, you may get a warning message when a remote connection is being made. You have to allow it in order for the Remote Desktop to work.

Conclusion

Remote Desktop connections have become common. With this technology, receiving and giving assistance and working remotely have become easier than ever. Many companies have started using this technology to give technical support to customers. However, when you are not using the technology, it is safer to keep the settings turned off. The steps mentioned in the article will help you turn off the Remote Desktop.

Top Ten Security Apps for Your Android Smartphone

As Android rose in popularity, the security issues affecting the mobile operating system also increased rampantly. Today, there are millions of Android devices out there and over 1.4 million apps. Among them, many security apps are available that provide such features as virus protection, firewall, theft protection, and remote data security. In this article, learn about the best security apps you can install on your Android smartphone.

1. Ahnlab V3 Mobile

Ahnlab V3 Mobile is one of the best security apps for your Android phone. It has been rated as the best security app by AV-Test.org, the top independent organization that tests security software for desktop computers and smartphones. V3 Mobile provides key features such as anti-theft protection, anti-spam, encryption, and network management besides virus and malware protection.

2. Avast Mobile Security

Avast Mobile Security is very trustworthy in the antivirus and security domain for Android devices. This is a comprehensive security solution with malware protection, firewall, network meter, vulnerability finder, remote locking, and remote data wipe. The app is highly popular and has been downloaded from Google Play anywhere between 100 and 500 million times.

3. Bitdefender Mobile Security

Bitdefender is a highly popular security software provider for desktop computers. It provides also a mobile security solution for Android devices. Bitdefender Mobile Security has been downloaded nearly 5 million times from Google Play. It provides certain new features as well, such as WearOn (mobile security for your smart watch), malware scanner, app locking, privacy advisor, and anti-theft.

4. AVG AntiVirus Security

AVG provides free antivirus for your smartphone. AVG AntiVirus Security is highly popular and has been downloaded over 100 million times from Google Play. Major features include automatic scanning, killing non-responsive apps, monitoring battery consumption, anti-theft, securing files and contacts, and anti-phishing.

5. Avira Antivirus Security

Avira provides a free app for Android smartphone security. The app provides malware detection, anti-theft protection, identity protection, call blocking, and message filtering among other features. Using Avira's device administration dashboard, you can manage up to five Android devices online.

6. ESET Mobile Security

ESET is a popular mobile security app. ESET has released a new version recently with a revamped user interface. ESET antivirus is a very trustworthy malware detector with over 99.7 % detection rate. The app also provides automatic scanning, on-demand scanning, anti-theft, and remote lock. A few premium features of the app include online management of stolen devices, phishing detection, call blocking, etc.

7. F-Secure Mobile Security

F-Secure is another popular security solution for your Android phone. Key features include application privacy, banking protection, safe browsing, anti-theft, identity protection, call blocking, parental control, and app scanning. The app enjoys over half a million downloads from Google Play.

8. Kaspersky Internet Security

Kaspersky Labs provides antivirus and internet security applications for desktops and mobile devices. Kaspersky Internet Security enjoys nearly 10 million downloads from Google Play. Important features include anti-phishing, anti-theft, real-time scanning, privacy protection, remote data wipe, etc.

9. G Data Internet Security

G Data provides a free antivirus and internet security app for your Android device. The app provides advanced scanning options, anti-phishing, parental controls, call and SMS filtering, password protection for apps, contact hiding, etc. The app has a detection ratio of 98.3 % at AV-Test.org.

10. McAfee Antivirus & Security

McAfee provides a popular antivirus and internet security app for your smartphone. The app enjoys nearly 50 million downloads in Google Play. Threat detection ratio is close to 98.3 %. The features of this app include malware protection, device locking, alarm, uninstall protection, call blocking, Wi-Fi security, safe browsing, etc.

Conclusion

Android is a Linux-based mobile operating system. However, unlike desktop Linux distributions, a large number of viruses and malware target Android. It is inevitable that you secure your smartphone with an efficient security app. Also, ensure that your security app is updated frequently.

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How to Install Android APK Files on Your Kindle Fire HD Tablet

Many owners of the Kinde Fire, Fire HD and HDX tablets get disappointed when they find out that they cannot install apps directly from the Google Play appstore. Amazon has its own appstore, so it's only natural that it won't allow easy access to a competitor on its own devices. But don't despair. You can still install Android apps from non-Amazon sources if you can get their APK files.

You may be wondering: What's an APK file? An APK is a kind of archive file used to distribute Android apps. APK means an Android application package. Since the Kindle Fire tablet doesn't have the Google Play appstore, adding APK files yourself may be the only way you can install apps from the Google store.

WARNING: Installing third-party apps may invalidate your Kindle Fire warranty and/or cause problems on your device. If you follow these steps, you agree that you understand the risks involved and that you are solely responsible for for the consequences.

 ES File Explorer allows you to access the Kindle Fire Download folder

Step 1: Enable third-party app installation.

By default, Kindle Fire tablets do not permit installation from unknown sources. You need to change this setting if you want to install APKs yourself.

  • On your Kindle Fire HD, drag down the top navigation bar.
  • Go to Settings > Applications.
  • Tap On next to Apps from Unknown Sources if it isn't already highlighted.

Step 2: Get APK file of an Android app you want.

Now that third-party app installation is enabled, you need to obtain the APK file of the Android app you want to install onto your tablet. But where do you get APK files? You can download them from various websites on the Internet - at your own risk. Files from APK websites may or may not contain malware that could harm your tablet or computer.

Another, safer option is to download an app from the Google Play appstore using an Android device that has the Googe Play app on it. Make a backup of the app want; the backup file will be in APK format. Once you save the APK, copy it to your Kindle Fire tablet.

[Warning: Just because you get an app from the Google Play store doesn't guarantee it is free from malicious software. Always scan fies with an anti-virus and anti-malware program.]

Step 3: Copy the APK file to your tablet.

The quickest way to copy an APK file to your Kindle Fire is to send it to an email address that's been added to that tablet. To set up an email account in the Kindle Fire HD:

  • Go to Settings > Applications > Email, Contacts, Calendars.
  • Tap Add Account.
  • Enter email address. Tap Next.

Amazon will ask permission to access your email, contacts, calendars and profile. If you agree, tap Accept.

When setup is finished, you can go to your inbox or tap Add Another Account to register another email account.

Now go to your other computer or device and open a new message. Attach the APK file, and send to the above email address.

As an alternative, you can transfer the file from your computer to your tablet via a USB cable. You will need a removable storage device such as a USB flash drive.

  • Connect the tablet to your computer with the cable. The smaller end attaches to the same slot you use to recharge the tablet.
  • Locate the APK file on your computer.
  • Copy the APK file to the desired folder on your tablet.
  • Properly dismount the tablet from the computer.

Step 4: Install the APK file.

Now you have the APK file on your Kindle Fire tablet, it's time to install it.

If you emailed the file to yourself:

  • Open the message when it arrives.
  • Tap the attached APK file to launch it.
  • You will be asked if you want to install the APK file. Review the permissions and if you still want to install the app, proceed.

 If you copied the APK file:

  •  Use a file explorer such as ES File Explorer.
  • Browse to the folder where you have saved the APK file.
  • Tap the file. Review the permissions and if you still want to use the app, finish the installation.

If the app is compatible with your Kindle Fire tablet (and hopefully, it is), it should now be ready to use. You will find it in your list of installed apps.

Tips and Warnings

  • Turning on third-party installation may void your Kindle Fire tablet warranty! Try this at your own risk!
  • Not all Android apps you can download as APKs from the Internet will be compatible with your Kindle Fire tablet. Research each app first to ensure it will work properly on your device.
  • Get APKs from trustworthy sources only.
  • Review permissions requests before you install an app. If you are not sure it is safe to grant a permission to an app, do not install it.
  • The above instructions do NOT add the Google Play store to your Kindle Fire tablet. You will not be able to directly install apps from Google.
  • You might not be able to obtain updates for the APKs you download and add this way.
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Top Instagram Plugins for WordPress

Do you want to maximize the potential of your Instagram images and videos by integrating your visual creations into your WordPress site? There are a number of extremely useful plugins you can use to add visual content to your site while expanding the reach of your social media images. Check out the following selection of popular Instagram plugins to see if you can find one that would be perfect for your site.

Instagram Plugin - Instagram Feed

Offered by smashballoon, the Instagram Feed plugin is one of the easiest plugins to integrate into your site. Both responsive and mobile-ready, this handy add-on lets you customize the size of images on your site. Whether you want to incorporate images into your blog posts or you want to offer your social media images in a sidebar widget, this add-on makes the process simple.

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Instagram Plugin - Yakadanda Instagram

Available via Yakadanda.com, this add-on lets you integrate Instagram images into your WordPress site based upon hashtags. You don't have to settle for self-created photos and videos thanks to this helpful plugin. If you want to offer your readers a responsive-design display of scrolling images, you'll definitely want to consider this add-on for your site.

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Instagram Plugin - Alpine PhotoTile

Offered by AlpinePress, the Alpine PhotoTile plugin is another terrific option to consider. Offering images in tile format, this add-on lets you offer visual eye candy to your readers directly from Instagram. For those who struggle to find engaging visuals to share with their audience, Alpine PhotoTile just might be a match made in social media heaven.

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Instagram Plugin - Simply Instagram

Available via rollybueno, the Simply Instagram plugin offers a number of customizable features. You can change the appearance of slideshow images, add captions, and even display statistics for each image you present on your site. This handy widget even lets your readers instantly follow Instagram photographers they enjoy directly from your WordPress site.

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Instagram Plugin - Instagram for WordPress

Offered by jbenders, the Instagram for WordPress add-on lets you showcase your own photos, the photos you have been tagged in, or even a custom feed you create specifically for your site. Images can be shown in either a grid format or within a slideshow.

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These are just a few of numerous Instagram plugins you can consider for your site. Whether you post frequent updates on a blog or you use WordPress for a static website for your business, adding images from your social media networks is a great way to offer fresh content to your audience. Do you think you will be integrating any of these image tools into your site?

Tools for Developers – 5 Helpful Links to Add to Your Resources List

Whether you develop web or mobile apps, it is crucial to your livelihood that you maintain an awareness of the latest tools at your disposal. From referral networks for developers to recently launched coding tools, keeping track of available resources can have a definite impact on the profitability of your software development business. Check out the following roundup of developer resources to see which ones you can incorporate into your business.

Devcasts

If you are a developer who likes upgrading your skills, check out Devcasts. Offering screen casts on everything from frameworks to databases and languages, Devcast connects you with a variety of informative learning opportunities. You can comment on content you view and socially share screen casts you find informative.

Meeet

Meeet helps connect developers with potential collaborators and employers. You can use Meeet to find a coder to help complete your project or highlight your current projects in hopes of piquing the interest of potential employers.

Developer Agent

Developer Agent offers a social referral network to developers. Instead of having to prove yourself to potential employers or cold-calling on companies, Developer Agent acts as a referring agency for talented developers. Authorized referrers post anonymous information about developers they are willing to vouch for and the information is sent out as a newsletter to pre-registered individuals and companies. If you are a developer who is available for work (remote or in-house), you are going to want to check out Developer Agent.

Stamplay

Stamplay is an absolute must for developers to have in their arsenal. Think of Stamplay like movable building blocks for creating applications. Simply choose the blocks you need and create apps to suit your requirements.  Offering both free and paid options, you can use this handy platform to create the basics of your design and then tweak your creation with your own 'bells and whistles'. You won't have to spend precious time recreating code each time you develop a new application once you discover the power of Stamplay.

Digital Ocean

If you are looking for a hosting solution for the code you create, you are definitely going to want to poke around inside Digital Ocean. You can significantly increase your output by using Digital Ocean as your hosting platform. You can manage multiple domains and can configure your set-ups via a simple-to-use interface. You'll never have to waste precious install time again once you discover Digital Ocean.

These are just five of numerous fresh tools for developers. Staying on top of the latest resources is a terrific way to not only have access to cool new features but to also prove your 'street cred' to employers. Once an employer understands that you can not only code like a mad scientist but you also stay up-to-date on the latest developer tools, you are likely to become the go-to candidate for any upcoming development jobs. How many of these new resources will you be utilizing?

Grasping the Mobile First Paradigm

Until recently, the software development world emphasized designing apps and websites for desktop or browser-based delivery. Mobile development was usually treated as an afterthought. Today, many organizations are designing for mobile device users first and adjusting the design for other delivery platforms after the fact. This is the core of the mobile first paradigm.

Why Choose a Mobile First Approach?

According to the Pew Research Center Internet Project Survey from January 2014, 58% of American cell phone users now own a smart device. More than 60% use their mobile device for internet activity, and almost 40% perform nearly all their web browsing on a smartphone. It's not surprising that organizations want to ensure that this rapidly expanding customer base can access online content with ease.

What's the Benefit of Putting Mobile First?

Instead of stripping down a browser-based application and removing many of the most attractive and compelling features to create a mobile version, development teams can ensure that the mobile experience is given the attention it deserves. With a properly designed mobile site as a starting point, developers can add enhancements for devices with larger screens and more client-side resources. The result is a satisfactory user experience across a broad range of handheld and desktop devices.

What Happens When Web Designs Aren't Mobile First?

A highly responsive browser-based design intended for use with full-size screens is likely to require degradation of features to accommodate the limitations of a small touch screen. Developers may also run into performance issues with graphic-heavy sites since images tend to have a long load time or require increased design complexity to load to devices with limited resources.

What's the Downside of Mobile First?

Finding or training software designers who can use mobile architecture as the starting place while keeping the requirements of web, command-line, and API development in mind is a significant challenge. Working with a small screen size as the initial canvas may constrain creativity for developers who are used to working with a broader suite of resources.

How Can You Spot Mobile First?

A design that puts mobile first is feature-rich yet elegantly streamlined. It offers intuitive navigation and very low latency to create a seamless user experience across multiple devices and operating systems. In contrast, mobile designs that are developed as an adjunct to browser-based designs tend to offer slow load times, unresponsive user interfaces, difficult navigation, and missing features.

Network Security 101 – How to Tell If Someone is Stealing Your Wi-Fi Signal

If you notice that your Internet connection slows down just as your neighbors get home from work or school, you might suspect that the folks next door have been hopping on to your network. An unsecured or poorly locked down wireless network is an open invitation, and many tech savvy individuals will take advantage of it anyway they can.

Suspecting your neighbors are stealing your Internet and knowing it are two different things, however. Before you march over to their house and demand they disconnect their gadgets, you need to do some sleuthing and find out if your home network really has been breached.

Any number of things can cause a slowdown in your Internet connection. It might just be that the volume of network traffic shoots up as the people in your neighborhood get home from work and settle in for a night of streaming movies and other online entertainment. Your signal could simply be weak and the speeds slower than advertised. By itself, a slowdown in Internet traffic does not mean your signal has been corrupted or your network security has been breached.

Check Your Router

The obvious place to start if you feel your network signal is being stolen is your wireless router. When  you log on to your router, you should be able to see a list of all the connected devices. If you do not know how to log on to your router, just navigate to the manufacturer website for detailed instructions.

You can also use a number of third-party programs to check for connected devices and assess the status of your home Wi-Fi network. These programs are designed to monitor your network traffic and protect your system from unauthorized access.

Check Your Devices

Once you are connected to your router, you can start looking at the connected devices and look for suspected Wi-Fi thieves. You should be able to identify your desktop or laptop computer by the name you assigned to the device when you first set it up. If you have tablets, smartphones and other devices in the house, the manufacturer name should show up on the list of connected devices.

If you cannot distinguish the devices or are not sure which ones belong to you, the best strategy is to turn each device off one by one. You should see each device disappear as it is powered down or its Wi-Fi signal is disabled. Once all your other devices have been powered down, the only remaining signal should be coming from your computer.

If you have disabled all of the devices in your home and the router still shows activity, you can be relatively sure that someone has found a way on to your Wi-Fi network. You may not be able to trace the exact source of the intrusion, but you can use it as a wake-up call to increase your network security.

Changing the password should be your first line of defense upon discovering rogue devices on your network. Once your password is changed, the intruder will no longer be able to access your Wi-Fi router using their saved settings. Regular monitoring can also enhance your security. Checking the router connections several times a week will allow you to spot problems before they can slow down your network traffic.

If your router is an older model, replacing it can also enhance your security and keep intruders at bay. The newest routers on the market have advanced encryption that can better lock down your network and make sure you -- and only you -- can access the bandwidth you have been paying for month after month.

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Top 5 Podcast Apps for Android

Do you enjoy consuming audio content on the go? Do you like listening to podcasts while you're commuting to work or enduring long business flights? Consuming content in audio form instead of text is booming in popularity. From venture capitalists and angel investors to tech bloggers and entrepreneurs, numerous individuals are jumping onto the podcasting band wagon. Finding content you want to consume on your smartphone is made easier by a number of excellent podcast management apps. Following are five top Android options to investigate:

Pocket Casts - Full Featured, Beautiful and Simple to Use

Available via shiftyjelly, the Pocket Casts app lets you discover content in both audio and video format. Sort your casts according to genre, listening status (played/not played), or even according to download date.

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Podcast Republic - Search Podcast in iTunes' Collection

Offered by NonlinearSoft, Podcast Republic lets you create play lists, sort your casts into multiple categories, and sync data with your vehicle. Listen to your favorite podcaster while you're driving to work and then continue listening on your Android device once you hit the office.

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BeyondPod Podcast Manager - Sophisticated Download Engine

BeyondPod's Podcast Manager app lets users listen in both online and offline mode. Customize play lists, discover intriguing content, and sort casts in multiple formats. Choose between trending content, recommended podcasts, or content from specific geographic locations.

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Player FM - Cloud Sync on Multiple Platforms

The Player FM app also offers online and offline listening capabilities. Find curated content in topics you enjoy and subscribe to topics as well as to specific providers. Player FM offers cloud sync, catalogue browsing, and episode tracking.

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Stitcher - Change the Way You Listen to Radio

Stitcher is another excellent Android listening app you can consider. Discover everything from comedy shows to newscasts. Features include custom stations, breaking news updates, and social media sharing capabilities.

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Test each of these apps to see which one best suits your listening preferences. Except for Pocket Casts, all of the above-listed downloads are free. Whether you prefer listening to influential tech industry personalities or light-hearted content from talk radio hosts, these podcast apps make consuming audio and video content easy. Which of these downloads will be making it to the home screen on your Android device?

iPad Tools for Project Managers: Moment Diary

One of the biggest challenges for a Project Manager is making sure that all the details are remembered and incorporated when need be.  Changes in direction, on-going decision-making and just who said what and when, can be hard to remember as things get complicated and busy.

One of the best tools to address the problem is the project diary. The project manager is often identifiable as the one who is always carrying a notebook or large diary.  As the technological age continues to develop, this may sometimes be a laptop computer.

The iPad can do even better.  No need to be plugged in (unless you need a recharge) and a lot easier to perch on your knee, it's very much a go-anywhere accessory and doesn't weigh any more than the diary did.

MD -- the Moment Diary -- is a simple but effective diary of notes with a date stamp.  With its  ability to insert pictures and voice notes as well as text, it's very easy to make progress reports hassle-free and very quick to put together.  The search function makes it a breeze finding specific notes again.  You can sort your dates into ascending or descending order, or select a range of dates for export. You can also set 'stickers' to flag important notes (10 stickers for £1.49).

 iPad Screenshot 1

As well as a full calendar, the app has settings for font sizes and colours with on/off for most features.  Exporting is done with an email or by linking from PC or Mac using your browser and the IP address of your iPad.

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Categorisation must be done with an extra tag rather than splitting notes up into topics or books as you might with another app, but this is so like the old project diary or notebook, that it will feel familiar immediately.

Available from the app store for free, this 10MB app from Utagoe Inc will slide easily into the project manager's toolkit