Wednesday 27 March 2013

Threats, Choices, Apps.

Social-engineering threats are rapidly growing, courtesy of the security vulnerabilities of sites that regularly use abbreviated URLs. Anyone who's read any Twitter or Facebook posts is familiar with cryptic URLs such asbitly, tinyurl, and snipurl. Because they're shortened to seemingly random letters, numbers, and characters, you don't get any indication of where they're actually taking you. But all too often, we click them anyway.

I don't use shortened URL's on my blog. I use links that can be seen in full prior to opening, by doing a "mouseover" on the link text. Here is a Sample Link Text that links to (http://Narrow-Boat.Com) which is a private domain name that I own. Which is in turn linked to my blog address on blogger. For any link short or long in a webpage, hover your cursor over the link and the true, full address should appear at the bottom of the browser window.

Whether you're upgrading an existing edition of Microsoft Office or adding it to a new system, installing the latest version of Office is unlike installing previous versions. If you expect to insert an installation DVD and run the setup program, as you've done in the past, you're in for a surprise: Office doesn't come on an installation DVD. Whether you buy Office or rent it through Office 365 Home Premium, all installation files come through the Internet. Better hope you have a good connection to the Web.

As Microsoft’s Office has grown bigger and bigger on a version by version basis. I did not have access to freebie versions via my old job once I retired - So I began to wonder whether there’s a freebie alternative. There are only two alternatives that I have found so far. The first is Open Office which I have been using for some time now and I find it to be quite acceptable alternative. The other one is LibreOffice which I have not tried so far. However, both bits of software provide much of the functionality of Microsoft Office and are completely free!

LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, developed by The Document Foundation. It is descended from, from which it developed in 2010. The LibreOffice suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, graphics editor, slideshow creator, database and math formula writer. It is designed to be compatible with other major office suites, including Microsoft Office.

Apache OpenOffice (AOO) is an open-source office productivity software suite. It descends from (OOo), which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. OpenOffice contains a word processor, a spreadsheet, a presentation application, a drawing application, a formula editor, and a database management application. OpenOffice's default file format is the Open Document Format (ODF), an ISO/IEC standard. It can also read a wide variety of other file formats, with particular attention to those from Microsoft Office.

I am still messing around with Android apps. I have discovered one that actually improved my Wifi experience was FarProc's Wi-Fi Analyser. As its name suggests the analyser shows you all available access points in your area. A useful occasional function when you are out on your boat. The app also includes a Time Graph (signal strength over time), a simple list of all Available Access Points, and a Wi-Fi Signal Strength Meter. I have also discovered a number of open access to the public systems when moored near town centres and out of town shopping centres. Many of which are still available late at night long after after the outlets have closed.

Another useful app is Remote Desktop which lets you remote-control your phone and access its contents from your PC. You get direct access even to your smartphone's root file system from any Windows PC, using Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Firefox.

It was only a matter of time before a Android emulator became available for your windows PC.  BlueStacks is a free Android emulator/virtual machine that is still undergoing development the emulator lets you run your Android apps directly on your Windows PC. When it's completed you will be able to use BlueStacks to run Android apps on your PC.  BlueStacks has two components. Cloud Connect that runs on your Android phone and the BlueStacks virtual machine that runs on your Windows PC.



  1. Hi Mike,

    Have you ever thought about making a definitive list of all these apps? I'm sure it would be very useful.

    NB Mary H

    1. Hello Linda.

      There are thousands of Android apps - I suppose browsing on Google play would be the best way to get a feel. I think there is ant least one app for almost everything. Though I have not found one for treacle bending for beginners!




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