Why Should You Switch From Qwerty To Colemak Keyboard Layout

If you’ve been using a computer for some time, you’d be familiar with the term ‘qwerty’ –  That’s the first six letters on the most popular format of the keyboard layout in use.

The qwerty keyboard layout was introduced more than a century ago and while almost all other forms of technology have improved drastically since then, the same can’t be said for the keyboard arrangement we use.

Continue reading “Why Should You Switch From Qwerty To Colemak Keyboard Layout”

Forget Passwords, Scan QR Codes to Login

Passwords play an important role in any internet user’s experience. After all, it is the most universal way to authenticate a user online. Wether you want to check your email, log-in to a social network, banking or any other website, chances are that you will have to set up an account and verify yourself every time you log into the site. In a study conducted by Microsoft it was found out that an average internet user has about 25 accounts online that require passwords. Internet gurus have always advised to use separate passwords for each account but if you adhere to that advice, it can become almost impossible to remember the correct password associated with each of our account.

Uniclau is a web based startup that can revolutionize the way users enter their password and it makes apt use of the device that is always with us – our mobile phone. The use of a cell phone to authenticate a user is certainly not new, and we had earlier reviewed the use of mobile phone to make your google account more secure.

With Uniclau you can do away with the hassle of remembering the username and password for any of your online account. To use the service, visit the Uniclau home page and install the uniclau extension for your browser and also the application for your iPhone or Android phone. Once that is taken care of, open the application from your phone. First time users will be prompted to set a pin and their email address which will have to be verified.

Installing the extension on your browser will display a QR Code next to the login field whenever you visit a website. All you need to do is scan this code from the uniclau application on your phone. For the first time for every website, you will have to enter the username and password associated with that account on your phone. For every subsequent access, scanning the code will automatically log you into the website on your browser.

 

Since scanning the QR code from your phone is all that is needed to log into a website, it can become risky if you ever lose your phone. However, that is also taken care of and a pin needed to start the application ensures that only an authorized person can use the unicalu app on the phone. In fact, added security measures such as defining friends and saving a PUK code can even protect you even when you lose your phone or your associated email id gets compromised.

Overall, uniclau is an impressive service that can remove all the woes of incorrect password attempts due to different password for each of our online account. Having said that, the service can also be slightly annoying at times as it occasionally displays the QR code when there is no login field on the page. However, I am pretty sure that upcoming updates will fix the problem.

So, if you have a working internet connection on your smart phone and a long list of passwords to remember, Uniclau is certainly the way to go.

How do you prefer to manage your passwords ?

Manage Your Android Phone From PC

Android phones are gaining popularity thanks to the huge number of applications available that let you do almost anything from playing a casual game to managing your bank account with a phone. We have already covered some of the best free and paid applications for android phones. Now lets take a look at 2 more free applications that let you take complete control over your android phone, from a computer.

With memory capacity of our phones increasing exponentially, managing all your files, folders, music, applications on a few inches screen is no more convenient. This is where Wondershare MobileGo for Android comes into play. Install the free software on your windows computer and you are set to explore your device from a much broader prospective, quite literally.

Connection to your phone can be done through a USB cable or Wi-Fi although you need to install the android counterpart to connect via the latter option. Once connected, the interface is extremely neat and user friendly. The first thing you will probably notice is the screenshot of your phone. The two buttons underneath it can be used to save the screenshot on your PC or to refresh the screen.

The large green and blue buttons on the right of your phone screenshot lets you perform 1 click backup and restore of your phone’s content. You can back up your contacts, sms messages, calendar entries, call logs, playlists and the apps on your phone.

Separate icons for Music, Videos, Photos, Contacts, SMS and Apps are provided so that you can manage them individually. Some of the features include the ability to set your ringtone, add or edit contacts, send SMS’s and installing or uninstalling apps. Adding or removing files to or from your phone and memory card can also be done effortlessly.

Overall, Wondershare MobileGo is highly recommended for anyone looking for an easy yet effective android management tool. However, it has one limitation – your phone must be with you in order to connect with your PC.

To be able to control your android phone remotely, try Phonedeck. Although it does not provide as much control over your phone as in case of Wondershare MobileGo, yet it is good for those who often forget to carry their phones with them. To use Phonedeck you need to create an account, download the mobile application and sync your phone with the phonedeck cloud dashboard.

Once that is done, log into the phonedeck homepage from any browser, irrespective of where your phone is, to manage it. The activities tab will show you your recent activities and you can filter it according to missed calls, incoming and outgoing calls or only sms. The contacts tab displays all your contacts in alphabetical order and you can view the contacts and merge or delete them. The Insights tab is an interesting addition as it shows you statistics such as number of calls or sms’s made in a week, month or year, the average call duration and top contacts etc.

The top bar contains a search bar and icons for sending SMS’s or making phone calls. The last icon (present on the right) shows the battery status of your phone and also contains a ‘Locate this phone’ function which triggers a soft ding sound on your phone even if it’s in the silent mode.

All in all, both MobileGo and Phonedeck are excellent android management tools. While the former demands that you have the phone with you to manage it, the latter requires a working internet connection on your phone. Because of the differences, both the tools will satisfy consumers of different needs and requirement.

Do you use any computer application to manage your phone? Do let us know which management tool would you prefer for your phone?

Make The Most Of Your Dropbox Account

Cloud storage is all the rage these and when it comes to cloud storage, Dropbox is one service that needs no introduction. Being one of the most popular online backup services, a lot of people use it to store their pictures, videos, documents and almost all types of files. Useful as it is, the dropbox service can be extended to much more than just a regular file storage service with the help of these free web based services.

Perform automated actions on saving files

Wappwolf is an automator for dropbox which means that you can have certain actions performed automatically when you drop files to specific folders in your dropbox account. A lot of actions are available such as automatically upload pictures to your facebook or google+ account, convert files to pdf or ebook, zip it, email it and many more.

Backup Your Website or Blog

Ask any webmasters and you will know how important it is to keep a backup of one’s website. My BackupBox makes this process automated by scheduled backups to your dropbox account. All you need to do is connect your account from where you want to transfer the files. Available options include FTP, SFTP, MySQL, Dropbox, Box, Skydrive and Google Drive. Once you set your source and destination, you can choose for a one time transfer or scheduled transfers on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Receive Files Publicly

Emails are not the most convenient means when it comes to receiving files, especially large ones. DropItToMe allows users to receive files from anyone directly to your dropbox account. Register with the site and set your upload password get your file upload url for your DROPitTOyourname page. On visiting this link users will have to enter the upload password before uploading a file. This prevents any unwanted upload from unknown users.  File size of upto 75 MB is supported by the service. Check the screenshot which shows the page for uploading files into my dropbox account.

Save files directly from a url

If there is an online file that you want to store into your dropbox account then downloading it to your computer and then transferring it to dropbox is unnecessary hassle. You can easily overcome it by using SideCloudLoad as it lets you save a file directly from its url into your dropbox. All you need to do is enter the file url and your dropbox credentials.

Save Emails and Attachments

If saving directly from url or receiving files publicly is not enough for you, this service can save your email attachments into your dropbox folder. Visit SendToDropbox and connect your dropbox account to get your @sendtodropbox.com email address. You can share this email id with anyone and all emails and attachments received at this address will be saved into an ‘Attachments’ folder in your dropbox account. Also, you can add the sendtodropbox email address to the forward list in your existing email id so that all emails and attachments sent there are also saved into your dropbox account.

Do share with us if you use any cloud based services for your storage needs and if you found the above services useful. If you haven’t started using Dropbox, yet, get your free account here. Don’t wait !

Best WordPress Plugins to Boost your Blog !

WordPress, without a doubt, is one of the most popular and widely used content management system in existence. From its start in 2003 till today, wordpress has been used my millions of sites. Various factors including easy setup, seo friendly nature, ease of use, security, huge number of themes and plugins contribute to its success. One of the most applauded features of wordpress is certainly the support for plugins and the immense number of plugins available. Take a look at some of the free wordpress plugins that can help you make the most out of your blog.

Mobile Friendly Version

Gone are the days when blogs were only targeted for desktop and laptop users. If your blog does not support a mobile version, chances are that you are losing on a lot of quality traffic. The Wptouch plugin is an excellent plugin that automatically converts your blog into a mobile version when viewed on a mobile device.

Site Backup

Keeping the backup of your entire site can be very handy while recovering data loss. The BackUpWordpress plugin makes this task automated by taking a backup of all your files and database every day. You can even have a copy of the backup mailed to you.

SEO

Anyone who wants to make his blog successful needs to have an effective Search Engine Optimization technique. Thankfully, there are a lot of plugins available that make the job easy for novice bloggers to experts. You can choose any one of the plugins from SEO Ultimate, All in one SEO or WordPress SEO by Yoast to cater to all your optimization needs.

Speed Up Your Blog

Cacheing and compressing techniques are often used by bloggers to render their pages faster on the internet. The WP Super Cache plugin generates static html pages that are faster to load and the WordPress Gzip Compression plugin enables gzip compression. You can even install the WP Minify plugin to further boost loading times.

Social Sharing

Social media is a great tool to popularize your blog and a lot of plugins are available in this category to suit your needs. The recommended ones are Digg DiggSharebarAdd This and Sexy Bookmarks and you can install any one that pleases your eyes.

Security

Securing your wordpress site is an absolutely essential step if you take blogging seriously. Two highly effictive plugins that help you secure your blog are Bullerproof Security and Wordfence Security. It is recommended to install only of the security plugin to avoid conflicts between the plugins.

Commenting System

If you use the default commenting system, you can easily become a victim of innumerous spams. Askimet is one of the most popular spam prevention system available. As an alternative, you can install Disqus or IntenseDebate to get an advanced and feature rich commenting system for your wordpress blog.

Contact Form

Contact forms not only makes your blog look more professional, but also avoids the need to share your email id publicly online. Contact Form 7 is one the simplest yet most effective contact form plugin available for wordpress.

These are only some of the vast number of plugins available. Do share with us what other plugins you think are absolutely essential for any wordpress blog.

Get All Round Security For Your Android Phone with Avast

Security is one area where no compromises should be made, be it for a personal computer or a mobile phone. Android developers too, have understood this very well which is why there are a lot of security applications available in the android market (now, Google Play). Among all the alternatives available, I found Avast Mobile Security to be an excellent (and free) security suite that outperforms many of its paid counterparts.

With features such as virus scanner, privacy advisor, application management, web shield, sms and call filter, firewall and anti theft, one can be completely at peace after installing it on one’s android device. Let us discuss the features in detail.

Virus Scanner

The most basic feature of any security application, this can be used to scan the installed apps and the memory card. Users can even schedule automatic scans on their desired day and time.

Privacy Advisor

Android users often complain that installing applications can result in compromising your private information on the phone. Avast privacy advisor shows you all the potential privacy issues along with the list of applications causing it. Examples include applications that can track your location or access your messages, contacts etc.

Application Management

This is a very simple yet handy tool that shows you all your installed applications and the currently running applications. The list can be sorted according to name, size, memory or CPU usage.

Web Shield

Accessing the web from your device exposes you to a host of threats such as phishing scams. Avast web shield automatically integrates with your default web browser and warns you whenever it detects a potential threat.

SMS and Call Filter

If you’re tired of all the marketing calls and SMS’s on your phone, the SMS and Call filter will prove to be a blessing. Create customized groups and then opt to block incoming or outgoing calls and sms’s at your desired days and time. Simple, yet effective.

Firewall

The Avast Firewall works only on rooted android devices and can be used to block all or selected applications from accessing your WIFI , 3G or data network.

Anti Theft

If the thought of losing your android phone gives you nightmares, then the anti theft feature alone will make you fall in love with the avast security app. To begin with, the anti-theft application can be both renamed and hidden so that any unwanted user does not know of its presence on the phone.

The application also gives you remote control over your phone via SMS commands. Every SMS command begins with your set password and this message is never displayed on your phone. With SMS commands, you can lock your phone, turn on a siren, locate the phone, make calls and SMS’s and much more. In case of a SIM change, the new phone number, along with the phone’s location, is sent to the pre defined numbers on your phone.

Some advanced options, such as to prevent USB access to the phone, forcing the data connection to remain active, and the ability to install or uninstall apps are also present but they require the phone to be rooted.

Conclusion

Avast! Mobile Security, without a doubt, performs exceptionally well and is certainly a must have application for any android phone. Moreover, it also defies the general convention of paid apps always being better than free ones.

Download Avast Mobile Security for free from Google Play.

How To Make Your Google Account More Secure

Have you ever pondered upon the consequences of losing your Google login information to a malicious hacker on the Internet? However frightful the thought may be, the truth cannot be denied that users often lose their usernames and passwords and this generally occurs because of users accessing their account from public computers which are flooded with viruses, Trojans, Keyloggers etc.

Google’s 2 Step Verification method adds an extra layer of security to your Google account and keeps it secure even when you lose your login credentials. Whenever you try to access your account from an unauthorized device, Google will send you a code via a text or voice message. This code needs to be entered in order to successfully log into your Google account. This way, even if someone steals your username and password, they cannot access your account until they get hold your phone.

2 Step verification can be enabled for all Google services such as Gmail, Youtube, Blogger etc. To set up your additional layer of security go to your Google settings page and click on the edit link next to the 2 Step Verification text.

The next step will be to set up your mobile or landline phone number where you want to receive the code. Once you do that, verify your phone by entering the code that Google will send to your phone.

You will then be asked if you want to make the computer a trusted one. Trusted computers are those which require the Google verification code only once every 30 days. This prevents the annoyance of having to enter the code every time you log into your account from your own PC.

Do not make a public computer a trusted one as it will defy the whole purpose of setting up 2 step verification. However, if you have multiple computers, you can add all of them to the trusted list of computers from your Google account settings.

The last step requires your final confirmation and just a click on the ‘Turn On 2 Step Verification’ button.

Accessing your account after enabling 2 step verification does not change for trusted computers. However, if you try to login on an unrecognized device, a code will be sent to your phone immediately which needs to be entered for a successful login.


Since the 2 step verification method heavily relies on your phone for sending code, there can be problems in situations when you do not have your phone or there is no cell coverage. To counter this problem you can go to your Google account page and either add a backup phone number for your account or download an application (only for Android, iPhone or Blackberry) to generate the code. As a last resort, you can also keep a hard copy of upto 10 verification codes, each of which can be used only once.

To sum up, Google’s 2 step verification method is indeed an effective way to enhance the security of one’s account and strongly recommended for anyone who accesses his account from public computers.

Top 8 Must Have Chrome Extensions

Google’s Chrome is an excellent web browser that has rightfully climbed to the top of the charts as far as usage across the web is concerned. Apart from the speed and excellent feature set of the browser, the thousands of extensions give the browser an edge that is hard to beat for it’s rivals.

Of course, not everyone installs and uses the thousands of extensions available in the library and that is why we have compiled a list of 8 of our favorite extensions that ensure that you get the best out of your favorite browser.

Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is one of the most popular extensions for Chrome and if you do not already have it, high time you download it now! It block displaying ads on a webpage. This makes (most) web pages less annoying and increasing the speed of browsing.

Right Inbox

With Right Inbox, you can schedule automatic emails from your Gmail account. Be it a birthday or an anniversary, schedule emails at your desired date so that you never forget sending an email ever again. It also serves as a personal reminder as you can schedule an email to yourself also.

TabSugar

If you are used to opening a lot of tabs simultaneously, managing them can become a herculean task. TabSugar allows you to create groups and then drag and drop tabs into groups or from one group to another. This reduces the clutter on your browser allowing you to manage them efficiently.

Google Dictionary by Google

The importance of having a dictionary on your fingertips need not be emphasised. With Google Dictionary you can get the meaning of any word in a small pop up bubble by just double clicking on the word. It also translates foreign words in the language of your choice.

Xmarks Bookmark Sync

If you use multiple computers or browser, synchronizing them can be difficult at times. Xmark helps you to backup and sync your browsing data such as bookmarks, saved passwords or open tabs across multiple computers or browsers. Supported browsers include Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Chrome Youtube Downloader

It does exactly what the name says, i.e. lets you download youtube videos in a variety of formats including FLV, MP3, MP4, HD 720p and HD 1080p. Definitely a must have for video junkies.

Smooth Gestures

Although it takes some time getting used to, Smooth Gestures completely changes the way you browse the web. With mouse gestures for almost every action such as reload, refresh, next page, previous page, tab management and many more, it certainly makes web browsing a pleasant experience.

Read Later Fast

Do you often come across a lot of web pages or articles which you wish to read later? Read Later Fast helps you save the webpage with just a right click. You can then browse all the saved web pages and read it whenever you want. Since the pages are saved on your PC, you can read the contents even in the absence of an internet connection.

These are just a few of our favorite extensions available for Chrome. Which other extensions do you guys love to use ?

Experience Web Apps On Your Desktop with Pokki

If you’re a regular internet user, you’d often find yourself visiting certain websites more frequently than others. Gmail and Facebook are excellent examples of such sites that users keep visiting from time to time to check for updates. This can sometimes get frustrating as users need to open new tabs or windows on their browsers every time they wish to check their account.

Pokki solves this problem by giving you a smartphone like app experience on your windows desktop. By installing Pokki, you can access and stay updated with all your web accounts right from your desktop – with just a click.

To install Pokki, all you need to do is visit the Pokki website and hit the download button on top. Installing Pokki does not take more than a few minutes. Once you have Pokki installed on your computer, the Pokki icon will appear on the taskbar.

All the web apps can then either be downloaded from this icon or from the website itself. An icon for every web app that you install keeps appearing next to the Pokki icon on the taskbar. Sign in and authorize each app to use it. A number next to each icon indicates the number of notifications and gives you real time updates for all your authorized accounts.

The ease of use along with the number of applications available makes Pokki a must have for your desktop. Popular apps include Google Search, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Wikipedia and more. If you are still not satisfied with the number of apps and can code in HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript, you can head over to the developers page and publish your own web app.

The design of Pokki is amazingly good and user friendly. Moreover, it provides users all the controls just like a web browser. This means that one can check mails, send or mark them into folders while viewing ones email account. Similarly, while checking Facebook account, you can view your news feed, notifications, messages, events and friend requests. Since all these and more are only a click away from your desktop, it saves both time and effort to check your account besides adding an eye candy to your work.

All in all, Pokki is an excellent software that brings the best of web experience on your desktop and the only limitation being that it requires Windows platform to run. Do let us know through your comments about how you liked the software and what other apps would you like to see in it.

How To Type Faster On Your Android Phone

Touchscreens have never been the first choice of people who do a lot of typing on their phones. After all, can the tiny keys on a touchscreen phone ever provide the speed, accuracy and ease of a physical keyboard?

Even though touchscreen keyboards can never replace real physical keyboards, we’ve compiled a list applications that will ensure that the days of slow, inaccurate typing on touchscreen phones are gone. These free applications for your android device will raise your typing experience to a whole new level.

Swype

Swype is becoming an immensely popular interface for typing and it claims that users can attain over 40 words per minute with its innovative style of input. The keyboard is a standard QWERTY layout. To enter a word all you have to do is put your finger on the first letter of the word and then slide it forming a path from letter to letter and lift up your finger after the last letter is reached.

Take a look at the path formed to enter the word “quick” :

Swype comes bundled with some phones. For those who don’t have it, you can download it from the official website. There is another popular alternative SlideIT Soft Keyboard for this form of input and can be downloaded from the Android Market for free.

Tio Keyboard

If you are someone who likes the comfort of a QWERTY layout and the ease of large keys, then Tio keyboard is for you. While a regular keyboard has about 30 keys, Top keyboard has only 10 keys. Less number of keys means larger keys and of course less finger movement which results in faster typing.

Learning the Tio keyboard is also very easy as it uses simplified form of the QWERTY layout. Each key is composed of 3 characters according to the vertical layout of a QWERTY keyboard.

 

Tio keyboard not only helps in faster typing but also gives more screen space for your text. All in all, Tio can be thought of as the QWERTY version of the famous T9 format which we all have used at some point of time.

Download Tio from the Android Market for free.

Siine

Siine is a very different way of typing and it claims to be the first icon based keyboard. The keyboard layout is the standard QWERTY form and typing is done in the regular tap to enter format. But, along with the regular keyboard comes icons – for almost everything.

You just need to hit the icon to enter the corresponding word or phrase. Be it the current time, name of month or a call me later message Siine has icons for almost all commonly used terms. And if you have your own special way of calling your friend a “Duuude”, you can add an icon for that too.

This icon based style of writing is surely fast, and can be a bliss of people who tend to use a few common terms more frequently. Download Siine from the Android market for free.

Tip : If you often change the keyboard layout on your Android phone, then going over a number of steps to do the same can be frustrating at times. A desktop widget called Switch Keys can let you choose your keyboard with 1 click from the home screen itself.
 
Which keyboard layout do you use for your typing needs? Do let us know through your comments.