Thursday, March 6, 2014
There are a lot of apps out there that can send text messages using your voice, including Google's own in-built Voice Actions. However, not many read your incoming messages out loud when they arrive.
Do not drive and text! Play safe!
In this post we will review several Android applications to read your SMS aloud and free you from checking them visually on the go.
1. SMS Reader
SMS Reader from Adroit Developers is an application that automatically captures incoming SMS and reads it aloud for you, while you drive or in any other occasions.
It supports the following additional features.
1. Read previous SMS's.
2. Read Caller name whenever you receive a call.
3. Delete SMS.
4. It can read text in 5 languages English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
5. Enable/disable reading SMS
6. Enable/disable reading Caller name.
7. Adjust Reading speed.
8. Send quick reply right from the popup window that shows SMS.
Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (1000 installations).
2. Sonalight Text by Voice
Text by Voice allows you to safely text while you drive entirely through voice. There's no need to touch or look at the screen at all. Text by Voice will automatically read incoming text messages aloud and give you a chance to respond. You can also set an auto responder for incoming text messages, and have Text by Voice start automatically when you start driving, and make calls hands-free. Text by Voice lets you compose texts on the fly. It runs in the background so you can use other apps at the same time. Drive more safely with Text by Voice.
Rating: 4 out of 5 (1000 installations).
3. SMS Reader
Another SMS Reader from Braun Android is designed to read incoming text messages to you. It also announces caller names for incoming calls. You don't have to look at the screen anymore.
Open the app for Preferences or add the home widget to enable/disable reading. The preference dialog has a basic view to quickly change reading options. It also has an advanced view for more personalization.
With the home widget you can quickly switch through the most frequent reading options. Just tap on the widget and it cycles through silent setting, announcing names only and reading out the full text.
By default only the sender/caller name is enabled (for privacy reasons).
Rating: 4 out of 5 (1400 installations).
4. DriveSafe.ly Free SMS Reader
Drive Safe.ly free SMS Reader, developed by iSpeach.org, allows you to listen to your SMS and email messages. DriveSafely reads text messages, SMS and emails aloud and lets you respond by voice (with Pro version). iSpeech Text to Speech (TTS) will speak your SMS while driving.
Cost: Free (limited functionality)
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (7000 installations).
5. SMS Listen
When you receive short messages, the SMS Listen, android application developed by Zhang Bo, will read them aloud, including the sender identification and the message content. It can also read the entire list of the received messages.
The app also can inform you on identity of the incoming callers. Auto SMS reading can be turned on or off. Delay time can be set to avoid ring voice conflict.
Seven languages are supported by default: American English, British English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Chinese. Other language is also supported if it's supported by system speech engine.
Some of the features are not enabled automatically, but can be activated using points, which can be acquired for free, or by payment.
Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (1500 installations).
6. Read My SMS
Read My SMS, developed by Kostadin Tonev, is an ultimate messages reader for your Android device. Equipped with clean user-friendly interface and lots of custom settings, this software is great addition for any application collection. Voice-To-SMS is also supported, which means that you can reply to the received SMS messages with your voice.
Rating: 3.6 out of 5 (200 installations).
The Listen my SMS application from AAndroid has been created to improve the drivers’ safety by limiting the visual interaction between the driver and the phone by reading all incoming SMS. The notification icon will let you know when the application is running.
In the free version, you can adjust the pitch and the speed of the voice. If you want more settings and adjustments, review the commercial PRO version. Free version also has advertising. If you want to get rid of the ads, just buy the PRO version.
Rating: 3.8 out of 5 (100 installations).
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
One of the biggest players on the market of remote desktop software – LogMeIn – has decided to suspend its free option for the Remote desktop operations. Starting January 21st, 2014, if you want to use LogMeIn to log into a remote computer, remotely control it, retrieve files, or perform other actions, you’ll have to charge your account with some money.
LogMeIn Pro accounts start at $49 per year for now. That price represents a half-off discount for existing customers.
While another good alternative service Crossloop has recently been shut down, we still have good free services to use. So, if you do not need such access for commercial purposes, and you do not need it on a daily basis, you may be fine with keeping up with free alternatives.
Here are a few of the alternatives you may try:
* Chrome Remote Desktop: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/chrome-remote-desktop/gbchcmhmhahfdphkhkmpfmihenigjmpp?hl=en
* Teamviewer: http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/windows.aspx
Original review: http://freeware4review.blogspot.com/2009/01/remote-computer-desktop-control-with.html
* Join.Me: https://join.me/
Surprisingly, the disconnected free version of LogMeIn does not affect so far another free product from the same company. It is lightweight and does not have too many features, but might work for you.
* PocketCloud: http://www.pocketcloud.com/
Monday, February 10, 2014
If you do not like Skype, you may find competitive products for free instant VOIP communication.
Ekiga, formerly GnomeMeeting, is a free, open source, multi-platform softphone, instant messaging, and video conferencing application, supporting some of the most popular internet telephony protocols (SIP and H.23).
* Ease of use with a modern GUI (Graphical User Interface).
* Audio and Video free calls through the internet.
* Free Instant Messaging through the internet with Presence support.
* Audio (and video) calls to landlines and cell phones with support to the cheapest service providers.
* High Definition Sound (wideband) and Video Quality up to DVD quality (high framerate, state of the art quality codec and frame size).
* Free of choice of the service provider.
* SMS to cell phones if the service provider supports it (like the default provider).
* Standard Telephony features support like Call Hold, Call Transfer, Call Forwarding, DTMF.
* Remote and Local Address Book support: Remote Address Book support with authentication using the standard LDAP technology, Local Address support in Gnome (Evolution).
* Multi platform: Windows and GNU/Linux
* Wide interoperability: Ekiga use the main deployed stantards for telephony protocols (SIP and H.323) and has been tested with a wide range of softphones, hardphones, PBX and service providers.
Developer’s website: http://ekiga.org/
Portable version (from PortableApps): http://portableapps.com/news/2013-10-30--ekiga-portable-4.0.1-released
Jitsi, formerly known as SIP Communicator, is a free and open source program for instant messaging and VoIP. Primarily written in Java, Jitsi supports multiple operating systems and a wide variety of internet telephony and chat protocols such as SIP, XMPP and YMSG. Jitsi allows audio and video calls, instant messaging, desktop streaming, and sharing, call hold, call recording, and encryption for calls and chats (OTR).
Jitsi has placed the service security as one of the main necessary functions for the product development. It is characterized by the following features:
* Encrypted password storage.
* Password protection with a master password.
* Encrypted Instant Messaging with Off-the-Record Messaging (OTRv4).
* Chat authentication with the Socialist Millionaire Protocol over OTR.
* Call encryption with SRTP and ZRTP for XMPP and SIP.
* Call encryption with SRTP and SDES for XMPP and SIP.
* DNSSEC support.
* TLS support and certificate-based client authentication for SIP and XMPP.
Developers’ site: https://jitsi.org/
Instructions on how to install and start using: https://jitsi.org/Documentation/InstallAndSetupOnWindows
Portable version (from Sourceforge): http://sourceforge.net/projects/jitsiportable/
MicroSIP is a portable, open source softphone appfor making calls using the SIP protocol. It allowing to do high quality VoIP calls (person-to-person or on regular telephones) via open SIP protocol. From cloud of SIP providers you can choose best for you, register account and use it with MicroSIP. You'll get free person-to-person calls and cheap international calls.
* Small footprint (>2.5MB) and RAM usage (>5MB) - written in C and C++ with minimal possible system resources usage.
* Usability - user friendly in daily usage.
* Functionality - voice; video H.264 and H.263+; SIMPLE messaging (RFC 3428) and presence (RFC 3903, 6665).
* Compatibility - strongly conform to SIP standards.
* Voice quality - supports best voice codecs: speex@8,16,32kHz, iLBC@8kHz, GSM@8kHz, G.711@8kHz (PCMU and PCMA), G.722@16kHz, G.729@8kHz, SILK@8,12,16,24kHz, Linear PCM@8,16,44kHz.
* Privacy - configurable encryption TLS / SRTP for control and media.
* Portability - stores setting in ini file.
* Multilanguage interface - included localization files for Brazilian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Swedish, Ukrainian, etc.
Developers’ website: http://www.microsip.org/
Download (pick between installer version or portable, which is always recommended): http://www.microsip.org/downloads
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Maxthon browser are not new on the market, and I use various versions successfully for many years, ever since I replaced outdated Internet Explorer on my desktop. However, the new cloud version, recently released, is worth to upgrade.
The new version, Maxthon Cloud Browser for Windows uses a unique, innovative dual-core design that uses both Webkit and Trident. Fast and efficient, our dual-core design displays all web pages quickly and reliably. With its first-place HTML 5 support and ‘out of the box’ features you can‘t get anywhere else, Maxthon Cloud Browser for Windows frees people to share and send files among different devices and platforms, easily.
Maxthon Cloud Services
* Cloud Push: Supports sending text, images, websites/links and tabs to Mac, Android and Windows operating systems.
* Cloud Share: Supports sharing text, images, websites/links and files with friends.
* Cloud Download: Supports downloading files in various formats and uploading them to 'My Cloud' for backup on any device.
* My Cloud Tabs: Lets you pick up where you left off by automatically syncing your tabs to Android, iOS or Mac devices.
* Cloud Sync: Syncs account data (Favorites, Settings and Magic Fill data) to other devices.
* Reader Mode: Makes it easy to view articles by adjusting font sizes and removing ads and other distractions.
* Night Mode: Adjusts the brightness of the screen for low-light reading.
Features that Make Web Browsing Less Annoying and More Convenient
* Magic Fill: Maxthon securely saves the names and passwords of websites you visit and then fills in that information when you return.
* Ad Hunter: Maxthon removes advertisements with one click, and automatically blocks annoying pop-up windows.
* New Session: Users and gamers can simultaneously log into the same website with different accounts.
* Source Sniffer: Extract all photos, embedded videos and audio files from a web page and download them with one click.
* SkyNote: Save and access text notes anywhere, anytime. You can also sync them across Windows and Android.
* "Do Not Track” protects your privacy by preventing ad networks from tracking you.
* Maxthon has a diverse selection of extensions for entertainment, information and social media.
* Extensions are easy to install and manage with just one click.
Easy Screen Grabs with Maxthon 'Snap'
* Click the camera button in the toolbar to easily and quickly capture a screenshot of the entire web page in one click!
Security and Privacy
* Safe site technology identifies websites you are about to visit and lets you know if they are safe and secure.
* Maxthon blocks malicious websites and phishing attempts for you, automatically.
* Easily launch a private browsing session that does not track history.
Getting used to Roboform accounts manager, I cannot consider the browser, which does not support this adds-on. Fortunately, Maxthon Cloud allows using it. It might not appear on the default install, however you may be confident that it works properly with Maxthon Cloud in the same manner in Trident (retro) mode. As soon as you switch to the Retro mode, you will see the lower toolbar (which is Roboform default) at the bottom of the page, if toolbar option is activated in Roboform settings.
Respectable online magazine PCMag rated the new browser as an excellent utility and assessed its strong and weak spots in the editorial review at http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2408060,00.asp