Alternative App Stores for Linux

"It's clean, sleek, and does what it says on the tin; however, as a FOSS enthusiast you might be looking for something different. If that's the case, then we have for you a list of alternative app stores for Linux that will help you get the software you need instantly."

Android 4.4 vs. iOS 7

"The reason both iOS and Android are the top is solely because of their amazing operating systems. That's why no Apple vs. Android fight is complete without a comparison between their operating systems. So, here we are with a sweet comparison between Android 4.4 KitKat and iOS 7."

How to Install Netflix on Linux

"As omnipresent as Netflix is, it is not officially available on Linux yet. Thankfully, though, developers have come up with unofficial versions of the app. In this article, we'll show you ways to get Netflix working -- using these unofficial versions -- on your Ubuntu or Fedora desktop."

Ubuntu Phone OS vs. Mozilla Firefox OS

"Other minor players are also emerging; however, the ones most people are watching out for are Ubuntu Phone OS and Mozilla Firefox OS. These two operating systems, which offer completely different approaches to mobile computing, are almost ready to cause a disruption in the mobile market. But which one is the better of the two? Well, let's find out."

Get the Flat UI Look on Your Ubuntu Desktop

"If you're a Linux user, you might have noticed that your Ubuntu setup doesn't really live up to the flat trends. While some elements of Nautilus have moved in that direction, it isn't really the "look" you're looking for. Thankfully, in the Linux world, there's an answer to your every prayer."

Creating a simple Android app that calculates the amount of tip you have to pay at a restaurant is easy. Creating a fully functional messaging app with third-party integration, not so. Android app development is such a big area that the possibilities for you are practically endless. You can create very basic apps that make you enough money to pay your rent and then you can create those big apps like Snapchat, which make you a billionaire. Android marketplace isn't just an app store anymore; it's a playground for showcasing your best abilities and creating something valuable for millions of mobile users.

That said, good apps do need some extra effort, some manpower, and more importantly some solid tools that help speed up the process. That's why today we've listed some of the best tools out there for helping you create your next big Android app. These will help you get through some of the most common hurdles that show up when you create, deploy, and test your app. 

Android Studio

This is the most basic stuff you'll find in an Android developer's repertoire. Android Studio replaces Eclipse as the official IDE for Android and comes with all the libraries and developer tools that will help you create your app right from scratch. The whole bundle works across all major operating system platforms. The huge download also gives you access to a version of Android system image for the emulator. This means that you can write your app then test it right on your desktop. You won't even need an Android device at any stage of the development process.

Titanium SDK

If you have strong aversion to Java and prefer coding in languages like HTML, PHP, JavaScript, Ruby and Python, this SDK is for you. Instead of sticking to a native SDK like Android SDK, you can develop apps for multiple platforms at the same time. In other words, you can create apps for iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows from the same codebase. If you are a small business or a budding startup that needs to get apps up and running across multiple platforms, Titanium is a great choice. It has been used by many developers from around the world and many apps are created using it. 


The default Android emulator, despite being distributed by Google, itself happens to be quite slow and buggy. Genymotion remedies that problem by providing a blazing fast Android emulator that does much more than what the default Android emulator does. Moreover, apart from providing an Android emulator, Genymotion also provides more than 10 virtual devices so that you can test your app across all the major platforms out there. If your app or game has special features that make use of the motion sensors or requires connecting to a big display, Genymotion handles that too by providing specialized features to test your app. If you are developing a small app, the default emulator is good enough. But for big apps that need to be deployed to millions of users (in case of startups, etc.), there's nothing better than Genymotion out there.


Much like Titanium, Rhomobile lets you build apps for multiple platforms without requiring you to become a Java ninja. What makes it so special is that Rhomobile focuses more on enterprise clients. We've already written a lot about Enterprise apps on Android and if your next app is one then Rhomobile might come in handy. You can code in HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and Ruby yet be able to deploy a single app across multiple platforms. The basic suite is free but if you're a company then go for the Silver or Gold plan depending on your needs.


If you are building a big app that needs to be tested aggressively, Ubertester is a service that will definitely come in handy. It lets you organize and monitor your app's beta testing process much more efficiently. It doesn't matter if you have 4 or 400 testers Ubertester gives you a lot of flexibility, which the usual testing process doesn't allow. You can send OTA updates (much like Google does) to your testers and get quick feedback. Among other features, Ubertesters also allows you to do in-app bug editing which comes in very handy if you are reiterating on the go. Overall, it is a great service for testing and improving your Android app.


5 Best Calendar Apps for Google Chrome

Posted by jun auza On 9/11/2015
Managing time has become so important these days. You have a meeting at 10 am, then lunch at 2 pm, and a lot of things in between. It is hard to manage so many things in one day. Thankfully, these days we have so many time management apps that it is barely a hassle anymore. As humans, we should be grateful to the wonderful technology we have at our disposal.

Technology, in many ways, has saved us from the hassle of being late to meetings, forgetting important birthdays, and missing out on some great parties. Be it an app, a web-based service, or a nifty command-line trick, never before has time management become so easy. One of the biggest proofs of this advancement is the way our calendars have been reinvented. From simple sheets of papers that we used to hang on the walls to the omnipresent "apps" we carry with us anywhere we go, Calendar has come a long way. If you're a person who lives in their browser, however, nothing comes more handy than these calendar apps. 

So, if you are looking to ramp up your productivity this week, read on as we list some of the best calendar apps for Google Chrome:

Google Calendar

Undoubtedly the most popular web-based calendar service out there, Google Calendar's omnipresence is hard to deny. Be it a corporate meeting or a family gathering, this nifty service makes sure that punctuality will be the last thing you need to worry about. What's great about Google's calendar service is that it allows you to share your calendar with your coworkers and friends. This means that they won't have to call you up every time they want to schedule a meeting with you. They can simply add an event to a calendar and you can choose whether to accept or to deny the invite (much like Facebook events). 

Another good thing about Google Calendar is that it syncs with most of your desktop applications thus helping you access it no matter where you go. This app for Chrome, though almost identical to the web app, lets you have a quick access to the service. 

Boomerang Calendar for Gmail

While this might not be necessarily an app, it does give you some great functionality if you are someone who gets lost in a myriad of appointments and commitments to keep. Once installed, you'll be able to schedule your meetings with just one click. Whenever you get an invite, the extension goes through your schedule and checks for any available spots. If it finds any, it will let you book that spot in just one click. The add-on is pretty simple and straightforward and works quite well with Gmail. 

Zoho Calendar

Zoho Calendar is part of the Zoho suite, a well-known competitor to Google Docs. While neither as popular or as feature rich as Google Calendar, Zoho seems like a perfect choice for those who want to unshackle themselves from Google's huge ecosystem. As far as the UI goes, the app looks pretty similar to Google Calendar, almost as if it is a clone. However, the fonts and many other UI elements do a good job at reminding you that this is a different application you are using. Also, Zoho allows you to embed your calendar on any website or blog. This can be very useful for bloggers who like putting out schedules and future post announcements on their site. 

Apart from being a solid, Google Calendar alternative, Zoho makes itself stand apart from the web giant by allowing you to integrate the calendar with various CRM applications.

Memo Calendar

This app stands apart from others on this list by focusing on simplicity rather than features. Memo Calendar acts and feels much like the memo calendars we used to (or still do) hang on our walls. On each date, you can stick a small note so that it could help you remember something important that you have to do that day. Be it a birthday, a meeting, or an award show, just write it down on the memo calendar and you'll be fine. If you are looking for a simple, clean alternative to Google Calendar, this is your pick.

Sunrise Calendar

Compatible with the aforementioned Google Calendar as well as iCloud, Sunrise calendar is what Wunderlist is to a plain-old to-do list. Gorgeous design coupled with all the essential features you'd want from Google Calendar or any other calendar app, Sunrise is probably the best calendar app out there (Yes, it's even better than Google Calendar). What makes it so special is the fact that it integrates with many of the important services that have similar features built in. In other words, you don't have to open Facebook to check your distant cousin's birthday, Sunrise brings your Facebook Events and GCal events together thus removing the necessity for you to keep checking multiple sites at the same time. Much like Google Calendar, Sunrise works offline and allows you to add maps to a particular event. If you are already using Google Calendar, try this. 


Using Android Apps for Keeping the Family Safe

Posted by jun auza On 8/21/2015
If you have kids, you know how hard or fact impossible it is to wean them off their smartphones. Constant texting, calling, and selfie-snapping are essential elements of the modern youth lifestyle. And to challenge that, is a herculean task. But with every dark cloud there's a silver lining. Similarly, every smartphone brings with it a valuable tool that can assist a great deal in protecting your family.

Thanks to the GPS technology many smartphones come built with, you can easily locate your family members on a map and reach them whenever they are in need of your help. This is also a great way to keep track of teenagers when they go out to a party late at night thus keeping you up worrying about them. Furthermore, even when you are in a supermarket or a mall, you can prevent your kids from getting lost by tracking them on a map. The aforementioned safety measures don't come built-in with a new smartphone, however, there are some really good apps that provide those features at a very low cost or for free. Following is a list of few such apps:

Life360 - Family Locator 

Life360 is a well-designed and useful family safety app that is great for small or even big families. Once installed, you can view your family members' locations on a private map along with their display pictures. What's good about Life360 is that it has a "Check-in" button like Foursquare that lets your kids or you punch in their current location. Also, if there is any trouble, you can push the "Alert" button and notify your parents. Among other features, this free app is great for chatting up with your family members while you are away. 

ZoeMob Family Locator

Much like the aforementioned Life360, ZoeMob too serves as a GPS tracker for your family members. What is great about this app is that it comes with a GeoFence feature that lets you receive alerts whenever your family members arrive at school or at home. This is great for working moms who want to get notified once their kids get home from school. Furthermore, ZoeMob also features a family messenger app for chatting with other family members. 

Family Safe

Family Safe is a GPS tracking system that can be used for tracking family members' locations. The application operates on 2 modes: Guardian profile and Protected profile. Under the Guardian profile (aimed at parents), you will be able to add your kids, elders, or any other relatives to your list and locate them on the map. If they're in trouble, you can quickly drive over to them using Google Navigate. There is also an option to call your relative right from the app. Under the protected profile (aimed at kids/elders), you're able to send a quick alert to a guardian signaling any emergency. 

Family Safety GPS Tracker

If you want to track specific members of your family using their phone's GPS tracker, this app is worth a try. It has a unique functionality that gives you your relatives' GPS position at specific predefined intervals. This means that, you can get alerts about your kids' positions every one or two hours and not every minute (which can be quite annoying for both parties). Another good thing the app comes with is the emergency button. Just press the power key (even when your phone is in your pocket) four times and it will sound an emergency alarm. Also, if you want to know your child's location using SMS only (useful for older phones), you can simply send the SMS : REQUEST LOCATION and you'll get the location. Overall, a clean and simple app that does what it says on the tin. 

Family Locator - GPS Tracker

Family Locator is another good app for locating your family members. What's unique about this app is that you can manually set safe or danger zones in the phone. This means that if your child goes into a particular part of the town (let's say the one that's more prone to violence, robbery etc) it will sound an alarm. Similarly, in a safe zone, when your kid leaves a particular zone, it will inform you. Apart from those features, the app has pretty much all the bells and whistles from other Family safety apps like messenger, maps, and real-time location. 

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


7 Best Chrome Apps and Extensions for Coders

Posted by jun auza On 8/03/2015
Whether you are a code ninja or a budding programmer, having a good programming environment is a must. However, with the high amount of time we spend in our browsers and on our Chromebooks, finding any coding tools that are not native is a bit of a daunting task. Thankfully, Chrome with its huge repository of apps and extensions, has us covered pretty well. So, if you are looking for some great coding tools that work perfectly in your Google Chrome browser, read on as we cover the best of the lot. 

Zed Code Editor

Zed Code Editor is a nice, clean-looking code editor designed specially for Chrome. Fully capable of running offline, its dark UI makes you focus on coding and nothing else. What's great about Zed is that it allows you to edit files locally as well as the ones that are stored on your Dropbox or Github account. Zed also supports syntax highlighting for most of the popular programming languages and can complete your code thus saving you the usual typing trouble. Another unique thing about Zed is that it has no tabs, it exists in a simple Chrome window that can be navigated using the goto UI. Built using web technologies like HTML5 and CSS, Zed is probably one of the best code editors you can have not just on Chrome but on desktop as well.


Code Cola 

If you are a web developer, you will love Code Cola. It is a simple little extension that allows you to edit an online page's CSS in a visual way. Once installed, you can treat the whole web as your playground as you edit pretty much any page that you find worth experimenting on. 


Modeled on the famed Sublime Text, Caret is an offline-capable text editor with syntax highlighting capabilities. What is special about Caret is that it is a great companion for users who love their Chromebooks thanks to its syncing capabilities. You can edit a file on your home computer and then you can continue working on it whenever you're traveling. Just hook your Google account to Caret and it will let you carry on where you left off. 


What Text lacks in features, it makes up in simplicity. Though definitely not as feature rich as the other editors on the list, this one is capable enough to become your default text editor. It has a clean and simple UI and it handles opening multiple files pretty well. With syntax highlighting for most major programming languages, Text can serve as a great, lightweight companion for a budding coder. 


Tailor is an experimental code editor for Chrome. With support for Git, it lets you work on multiple files with full syntax highlighting enabled. Though it doesn't have as many features, it is still a very simplistic, bare-bones app that works perfectly well offline. Though still in heavy development, it will be interesting to watch out for future additions to this project.


If you are a web developer, you'll love Shift Edit. The online IDE lets you develop in PHP, Ruby, HTML, CSS and JavaScript with full syntax highlighting. You can then publish those files through SFTP, FTP, and Dropbox to any location you want. Despite taking a freemium approach to an IDE, ShiftEdit does live up to the expectations many web developers have from a good coding tool.

If you are a developer who spends most of your coding life on GitHub, this next app is just for you. Once installed, you'll be able to collect the useful code snippets you find on a daily basis and organize them according to a programming language, project, or goal. Another cool function of Gitbox is the ability to quickly search through your text files. Just enter your query with a # or a keyword and the results show up instantly. What stands out in Gistbox is its simple UI and easy-to-use layout that makes it a treat to work with. 


How to Doodle and Sketch on Your Android Smartphone

Posted by jun auza On 7/15/2015
As smartphone sizes are increasing, there's a lot more you can do with them rather than just sending texts or playing games. With screens of size 5 inches or more, phablets like the Galaxy Note 4 and the Google Nexus 6 make it possible for you to even write or doodle on your device. This is very useful for taking down quick notes and sketching important diagrams in a business meet. While not everyone owns a Note device, there are many apps that let you make the most out of your touchscreen and use it for sketching or doodling. What's more, if you have kids, you can hand them your smartphone and let them create their own masterpiece. Either way, with these apps, you have a fantastic drawing tool at your disposal.

Sketchbook Express

If you are a professional artist, Sketchbook is a must-have app for you. Developed by Autodesk, this free app provides a set of dedicated sketching tools for devices with screen sizes 7" or smaller. Whether you prefer to capture your ideas on a paper napkin or draw beautiful sketches of people that you see everyday, this application lets you take your creativity to a level that you want. Though the app is for professionals, it can be used by pretty much anyone who has a flair for drawing and sketching.

Evernote Skitch

While not strictly a sketching or a doodling app, it is a useful addition to the list, nonetheless. Evernote's Skitch lets you annotate images and even PDF files so that you can be more expressive with the data you already have. It's a great tool to snap a picture of something, mark it up with your own ideas, and then send it to someone who can help transform the idea to reality. It is definitely worth a try for the creative types.

Doodle Magic

Doodle Magic is an app that kids will love. It is simple, without any extra bells and whistles, and just works. You get to draw on a black background with bright glowing colors, which might seem a bit odd at first, but results in some great artwork if you are good at it.

Doodle Text

If you are someone who likes to have more fun with your photos, Doodle Text is an app for you. Once installed, you'll be able to doodle on your photos, add some funky effects, and then send the picture to your friends. This means that you can draw a moustache, make yourself look like a ninja, or even type in messages for your loved ones. As far as sharing features go, this app has plenty with even an ability to post to your Facebook wall. Go ahead; share your masterpieces with your buddies!

Bamboo Paper

Bamboo Paper is an app with a simple goal: Turn your Android smartphone into paper. Among the apps mentioned in this list, this one is probably the most accurate and the most useful one. With precise inking tools, annotation capabilities, and much more, Bamboo Paper really strikes out as a doodling app that you can actually use in your daily life. Once installed, you can create your own notebooks wherein you can sketch, write, or doodle anything you want. Once you are done, you can share those notebooks with colleagues and friends via Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Infinite Painter

Infinite Painter is an app specially designed for Galaxy Note smartphones that come with S-pen or similar styluses. Once installed, there is a lot you can do with this app. Aimed for creative minds, this app is perfect if you are someone who paints a lot or likes sketching. Instead of frantically searching for a canvas every time you head out, you can have a full-fledged virtual canvas at your disposal. Though using the app on smaller (5 inch or less) devices won't do it much justice, it is still a good investment if you are serious about sketching.

We have already covered a lot of enterprise applications on our site before. However, one would never expect apps in this genre to exist on a browser like Google Chrome. But, nothing could be further from the real truth. Google's effort to outsmart even the biggest players in the enterprise market are gradually paying off. Slowly spreading its wings into the business world, Google is venturing into arenas where Microsoft once reigned supreme. While the competition doesn't concern us much, but what has happened, in effect, is that the rivalry is bringing out the best in both companies.

Both Microsoft and Google are trying their best to give enterprise clients exactly what they need, and for consumers, this is a huge bonus. If you are a Chrome user or a Google fan that uses the search giant's services in their company, there's much more you can do with your browser. And, the following applications and extensions let you do exactly that. So, without much ado, here's a list of the best applications and extensions for Chrome tailored for enterprise customers:


With the ability to integrate with CRM's, Contactually helps you manage your work relationships better. The way this service works is that it prioritizes your email contacts so that you can connect with the right person at the right time. If you are into business and are looking to build a network of connections, Contactually might help you take things up a notch. Its email-centric workflow is great for anyone who uses LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to make their work relationships easier. 


Presentme is a great service that lets you create personalized sales messages. Integrated with Google Drive, the app is great for creating personalized sales messages you can deliver to your prospective clients. What's nice about Presentme is that it brings everything together in a neat little place. You can manage your presentations, videos, and other stuff all in one place and focus only on the task at hand. Another great thing about Presentme is that it lets you create full presentations from scratch and then publish them instantly to your clients. This way, you get an uninterrupted workflow that helps you manage things in a much more organized way. 


Whether you have a salon, a small motel, or a big restaurant, you can use BookedIn to accept bookings online. This simple application lets you create your own booking webpage where your clients could look you up and then make their bookings. With web-based scheduling and client reminders, BookedIn aims to be a one-stop solution for booking and scheduling and it does do a good job at it. 


Nutcache is a free multilingual online application for invoicing and time management. If you are looking for something to help you track your invoices, multiple projects, and lost time, this app claims to handle it all. Its web-based interface works great for tracking your time on those big projects. Within the app itself, you can create unlimited invoices and estimates and then track them when they are overdue. If you are more of a budget person, Nutcache also lets you keep an eye on your expenses. One of the nice things about this app is that you can monitor your spending and then bill your clients accordingly. Overall, it is a great free app for small businesses that are looking for a simple and cheap solution.


Insightly is a free CRM and project management application that is targeted towards small businesses. It integrates with Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Apps as well. What's noteworthy about Insightly is how well it handles its integration with the rest of the Google services. Be it client relations or project management, this app works well on many fronts together. The web app itself has a nice, sleek look with a search bar at the top that allows you to search clients, projects and many other things. The tab-based layout then brings it all together in one place making it easier to sort things out.

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

The keyboard is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of a smartphone or tablet. For years, iPhone users had to put up with the default keyboard simply because Apple thought that having third-party keyboards wasn't necessary. However, as soon as they saw the success third-party keyboards were having in the Play Store, it made them reconsider their decision. Now, the market is flooded with keyboards for both iPhone and Android, making this a lucrative field for many developers and innovators.

Furthermore, a keyboard doesn't just involve typing. These days, you'll find all sorts of useful additions to your typing experience. From themes to integrated emojis, keyboard apps keep adding features that differentiate them from their competitors. While there are many such applications out there, only three stand out as far as popularity and performance is concerned: SwiftKey, Fleksy, and Google Keyboard. All three apps are fast, provide great features, and are used by millions of users. So, let's do a quick comparison between the three and find out which one is the best for you.


As far as predictions go, SwiftKey remains the undisputed king. The app is shockingly intuitive and can predict your next word even when you least expect it. In a way, prediction is SwiftKey's USP. Many users have stuck with this app over the years because of its amazing prediction. It reads your writing style and adapts to it thus giving you accurate predictions. SwiftKey can also hook into "Trending Topics" to give you predictions; however, we recommend disabling that option if you are noticing any lags in performance. Overall, SwiftKey's predictions are near to perfect and you can always rely on them even if English isn't your first language.

So, how does it compare to Google keyboard and Fleksy? Well, if we had to rate these two apps with respect to SwiftKey, Google Keyboard would come in at a second place while Fleksy will take the third spot. Google Keyboard is quite accurate and is the second-best choice for many users as far as predictions go. Couple that with Google's mind-reading technology that looks into your usage in other Google apps, this keyboard sounds excellent on paper. However, in the real world, the predictions are not as good as the ones we find on SwiftKey. We find that as we type, occasionally it misses a beat here and there. While that's not something that would make you stop using the keyboard entirely, it's definitely one of the shortcomings of the app that Google needs to improve on.

Thirdly, the newest of the apps is Fleksy, which is not yet up to the mark when it comes to predicting next words. Sometimes it's too slow (especially on older devices) and sometimes it predicts a wrong word here and there. That said, it's not terrible, especially when compared to some of the lesser-known keyboard applications in the Play Store.

Overall, if you are someone who relies heavily on predictions, SwiftKey is your best bet with Google Keyboard being a second choice.

Winner: SwiftKey


When it comes to actual typing speed, there's not a lot of difference between SwiftKey and Google Keyboard. Both have a sleek design and soft well-spaced buttons that make typing a breeze. However, they both pale in comparison to Fleksy, which is especially known for its typing speed. Holding the Guinness World Record for the fastest typing speed, this app relies more on gesture control rather than pressing keys mindlessly. While on first install you won't find yourself typing an essay on Proust in an hour, you will definitely feel a difference. The difference gets more and more visible as you take the time to learn how to use the app like an expert. Don't worry though, Fleksy has added enough gamification that give you rewarding incentives to learn the keyboard. Overall, if you get the hang of it, Fleksy can be a dream typing machine.

Winner: Fleksy


As far as design goes, Fleksy looks quite stunning with its big keys and HOLO-friendly theme. So does SwiftKey with a fantastic set of themes that you can buy from the market place. However, when it comes to default design, Google Keyboard wins the race with its simplistic material look that appeals to pretty much everyone. While Fleksy and SwiftKey both offer a lot of customization options, the default theme on SwiftKey is no way as good as that on the Google Keyboard. That said, we'll have to contend that both Google's material look and Fleksy's sleek big look are hard to beat.

Winners: Fleksy and Google Keyboard (tie)


SwiftKey comes free for all users; however, if you had to buy new theme packs, you'd have to shell out some extra cash. Fleksy, on the other hand, comes as a trial. This means that in order to use the app fully, you'll have to spend some money. Compare that with Google Keyboard, which is 100 % free, those two keyboards get a little left behind in this arena.
Winner: Google Keyboard

Performance and Reliability:

As far as actual usage goes, Google Keyboard comes out as the most reliable keyboard of the lot. Why? Well, it runs perfectly across almost all devices, newer and older without any glitches. The same, however, can't be said about SwiftKey and Fleksy. SwiftKey occasionally slows down and lags on older phones and Fleksy too suffers from the same fate. If you are using an older phone, Google Keyboard is your only choice.

Winner: Google Keyboard


It's not hard to see why people still prefer the default Google keyboard. It's fast, reliable, and looks really good. SwiftKey, on the other hand, is the second best choice in this arena. Its quick predictions and predictive typing make it quite popular among many users. Last, but not the least, Fleksy is a new entrant, and while it's yet to grow as big as SwiftKey, it shows a lot of promise.

Overall, if you are a new Android user, there's a simple way to choose which keyboard is best for you.

Overall Winner: Google Keyboard because it's still the most reliable and fast keyboard around. 

How to choose:

If you are using an older device: Google Keyboard.
If you are looking for speed: Fleksy
If you are looking for accurate and intuitive predictions: SwiftKey.


5 of the Best Raspberry Pi Projects Out There

Posted by jun auza On 5/05/2015
Raspberry Pi, when first launched about two years ago, became an instant phenomenon. After all, who could have thought of a $35 computer that lets you browse the web and does most of your office work? What is even more surprising is the reception it got from average users. Usually, one would expect a bare-minimum $35 board computer that runs Linux to be popular only among developers or geeks. However, as many as 100,000 Raspberry Pi units were sold on the day of its launch eventually selling more than 2.5 million units till date.

Completely open-source, Raspberry Pi lets you do most of the basic tasks you'd normally do on a full-fledged desktop. You can browse the web, you can create documents, and you can even play music and watch videos. When it comes to desktop computers, Raspberry Pi is a veritable "Starter's Edition."  Since its inception, the project has made common computing available to parts of the world where owning a desktop was once considered a luxury. Moreover, it has also spurred a flurry of interesting projects that take this tiny superboard to a whole new level. If you are ready to show your creative, geeky side, then read on as we cover some of the best Raspberry Pi projects out there.

1. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Low-cost Coding Tutor for Kids

We've already covered a list of the best programming courses out there. However, as good as these courses are, learning programming can be a tough ordeal for kids who need a more hands-on approach to code. Instead of letting them mess up your production computer, you can buy them a little Raspberry Pi box, hook it up to a monitor, and let them code their heart away. A good programming language that's up to this task is Scratch that turns programming into an activity that's geared towards kids, making the whole process fun and enjoyable to them. In fact, this combination of Pi and Scratch can make programming accessible to places where kids who don't have the privilege of owning a computer, thus making it easy to spread knowledge everywhere.

2. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Media Center

Did you just say media center? Yep, there's a lot this little board can do that you won't usually expect it to do. What's great about Pi is that it supports 1080p out of the box with a tiny-but-powerful GPU running behind the scenes. Combine that with the Xbian project, you got a full-fledged media center on your hands. XBian is a small, fast and lightweight media center distribution that is designed for Raspberry Pi that brings the latest of XBMC to your mini-computer. It's a great, cheap investment if you're someone who likes watching a lot of movies.

3. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Car Computer

A very interesting blog post by developer Andrei Istodorescu shows you exactly how you can turn Pi into a PC that sits in your car. This means that you'll be able to watch your favorite movies or TV shows in your car. While that's a perfect idea for a romantic date, just make sure that you're not doing Game of Thrones marathons while driving. The blog post explains pretty much everything you need to do in order to install, configure, and get it up and running. The approximate cost of the parts requires comes down to about $200. However, as costly as that sounds, compared to the $25 board, it's a worthy investment for every geek who also loves her car.

4. Make a Wearable Raspberry Pi Computer

Envious of your Google Glass-sporting friends? Or maybe you're too privacy conscious to try the search giant's latest wearable. Whatever the case maybe, geeks and privacy enthusiasts can make use of Pi to create a DIY wearable that they can brag about to their friends who are busy drooling over Android Wear, Google Glass, and other wearables. While no way near perfect, this project can provide a full-powered desktop computer that you can use wherever you are. Even while walking. Although the cost of this project is about $400, it's a justified investment for every geek out there who wants to have a great learning experience.

5. Turn Raspberry Pi into a Universal Remote

Instructables has another cool guide on turning your Pi computer into a universal remote. Though you'll need some parts to get that working for you, those little investments are worth it if you're a lazy geek who loves to control everything from the couch. Also, it's a great learning experience for anyone who's interested in knowing more about the LIRC or tinkering with electronics. A bit tough to get working overnight, this project can be treated as a huge learning experience more than just a way to create a universal remote. You can also pair this off with XBMC and then create an ultimate media center with remote and everything at a very low cost.

When it comes to smartphones, the recent trends seem to veer towards the notion that “bigger is better.” It all started with Samsung’s Galaxy Note series. At that time, phones looked like boxes of tic-tacs compared to this giant beast they dubbed as phablet (phone/tablet).

While there were other big phones around, the Galaxy Note was the first smartphone that showed the world that using a big phone can actually make you more productive. Then, in just a few years, big phones became the norm. Slowly, but steadily, the size of the average smartphone kept getting bigger. Phones, nowadays, resemble a tablet more than anything else. A screen size of 5 inches of more is actually quite common, the kind of phone that covers the whole side of your face while you talk. The iPhone 6 Plus and the Nexus 6 are two new entrants in this phone-tablet, that is phablet race, aiming to take down the giant Galaxy Note 4.

For any casual user, choosing between these 3 expensive smartphones could be quite an ordeal. That's why, we decided to do a quick comparison between the devices and help you pick the one that's best for you.


The Note 4 comes with a metallic frame with an S-pen tucked neatly at the bottom right corner of the phone. There are curves at the corner, but they're not as angular as the ones found on Nexus 6. This gives the Note a more rectangular shape, making it look professional. Compare that to Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the Note is the first phone that a business user would most likely pick up.

Coming to the Nexus 6, it does look similar to the Note 4 in some aspects, however, the curved edges give it a much more modern feel. At the back, the phone is curved thus making it easier to hold in your hand and also easier to use given its big size. Overall, it looks like a bulked up Moto X. Not that there's anything wrong with that, we'd have loved it if Google had tried something different with this one.

The design of the iPhone 6 Plus is a similar story. It does look like a bulked-up iPhone, and it too doesn't look that bad. In fact, when compared to the Nexus 6 and Note 4, it's the most nice-looking phone of the lot. Its aluminum body with a smooth finish and a ring-styled Home button make it an attractive phone. So, as far as design goes, the iPhone 6 Plus leaves behind Samsung and Google.

Winner: iPhone 6 Plus

Software and Usage

The iPhone 6 Plus comes with the latest version of iOS. The operating system doesn't look out of place on the phone and it does work quite well with the 6-inch screen. The same goes for Nexus 6, which is the first phone to come with Lollipop out of the box. It looks quite good on the phone and makes use of the 6-inch screen very nicely. However, when you compared them to the Galaxy Note 4, they both pale out in comparison. Despite having a clunky version of Android known as TouchWiz, the Note 4 surprisingly delivers in the software department. It comes with software that makes perfect use of the S-pen hardware and the large screen. From note-taking apps to "Smart Select" that lets you select important text from an article, Note 4 is loaded with tools that help you get the most out of the big phone. If you're a businessperson, the Note 4 is the best of the lot because of the amazing features geared towards office goers. Even for casual users, Note series of phones have a lot to offer, thus making it an all-round treat to use.

Winner: Note 4


Hardware and Performance

Both the Galaxy Note 4 and the Nexus 6 come with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 processor that clocks at 2.7 GHz. They are also loaded with an Adreno GPU and 3 GB of RAM making both smartphones absolute powerhouses when it comes to hardware. On the other hand, the iPhone 6 Plus comes with a Dual-core 1.4 GHz Cyclone ARM-based processor and 1 GB of RAM. While iPhone's specs don't quite match up to what the Nexus and the Note have to offer, Apple's software optimizations make the smartphone a treat to use. However, if we did compare these phones purely on specs basis, the Note 4 and Nexus 6 would come out on top. Between those two, well, that's a tough choice but we'll have to pick Nexus 6 here since it uses pure Android thus giving it an ability to get the maximum from the chips.

Winner: Nexus 6

Display and Screen

The iPhone 6 Plus screen comes with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 and 401 ppi pixel density. It's about 5.5 inches in size, which is still smaller than the Nexus 6. The Galaxy Note 4 comes with 2560 x 1440 pixels display that has a 515 ppi pixel density. It's a Super AMOLED display that makes the colors stand out and look vibrant. The Nexus 6 is slightly larger in size with a 5.96in AMOLED display that has a resolution of 1440 x 2560. Among the three devices, the phone with the "best-looking" display would be the Note 4. It's saturated display looks vibrant and bright even at odd viewing angles. As for the iPhone 6 Plus, it looks slightly brighter than the Nexus 6 but its display quality is pretty much at-par with these devices. However, if we did have to pick one, we'd go with the Note 4.

Winner: Note 4


The Nexus 6 comes with a 13 MP rear camera with HDR+, panorama, photo sphere, and many other useful features. The Note 4, however, comes with a 16 MP camera with a boatload of features in the camera application (which is typical of Samsung). Samsung's camera captures details quite well when compared to the Nexus. Quality wise, they are pretty much at par, however, the Note 4 camera is a little better than the one on Nexus. The iPhone camera, though has an 8MP shooter, takes surprisingly good photos. Compared to ones taken by the Note 4, the iPhone pictures are a bit warmer in tone. Not that it is a bad thing, but the warm tone gives the photos a much "realistic" feeling. If you disregard the differences in color tones, all three cameras pretty much take pictures of similar quality that won't disappoint you.

Winner: Tie


Depending on where you live, all of the three phablets are few of the most expensive gadgets in the market. You'll find these phones around the $700 range. Also, these phones though expensive, offer some of the best specs around, so they do serve as a good investment in the long run.

Winner: Tie

Conclusion: Which one to buy?

If you are planning to use your phone in the office and for business, the Galaxy Note 4 is the best phablet you can buy hands-down. It has the best specs and the best apps suite that is geared towards office owners and business users. The Note line of products is the best thing Samsung created and it is not a phone that you can overlook. It is loaded with the best specs and features out there.

If you are not a business owner, still the Note 4 is worth considering. But as far as casual work+play devices go, both the Nexus 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are great choices. The big discriminating factor  between them as far as value for money goes is the presence of different operating systems. If you are someone who's already in the Android ecosystem, go with the Nexus 6 as that will guarantee you updates for quite a long time. The iPhone 6 Plus is a great addition to the family for anyone who already owns a lot of Apple products. That said, the Note 4 still remains a solid product that both Apple and Google will have to work hard to take down.

Overall Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 4

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

Best Combat Strategy Games for Android

Posted by jun auza On 3/25/2015
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.



"Action is the real measure of intelligence" ~Napoleon Hill



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