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Justin Stravarius

I am an Internet Junkie who loves technology and computers more than anything. In whatever little time I can squeeze between my movie and TV show marathons, I write. You can follow me at @stravarius for nerdy outbursts and rants.

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I believe in the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned”. That’s because it has worked well for me in the past. Way back in 2010 I was making a decent amount money, but at the end of every month I’ll end up wondering where it all went. I don’t usually splurge on clothes, electronics and I‘m not someone who buys stuff on an impulse.

Yet, there was a big gaping hole in my bank account by the last week of every month. Frustrated, I decided to keep track of all my spending and see what eats into my earnings. Thankfully, I bought an iPhone 3GS at that time and the awesome Moneybook app helped me track every penny and reign in my spending.

It’s my opinion that a mobile app is the best way to keep track of your expenses rather than a desktop or web app. You always have the mobile phone with you and there is very little chance that you forget to add an expense while on the go. However, using a desktop app can have its own merits besides offering a bigger screen real estate.

Direct connection to banks, better organization, advanced reports are some things worth mentioning. That’s exactly what Koku 2 promises to deliver. Let us see if it outweighs the experience of using of my trusted companion Moneybook!
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Mobile Computing is becoming more and more common these days, with Apple leading from the forefront. With the MacBook Air and Retina Display MacBook Pros being the headline Macs these days, it’s extremely comfortable to own a portable computing device rather than a desktop. Security becomes a paramount concern with such devices as they are prone to loss or theft when carrying around.

Even when using an iMac, data security is vital to keep sensitive information private. Using Filevault for encryption is one way to go, but it encrypts the entire drive. If you plan to secure only certain folders, you’ll have to look at third party alternatives. And there are quite a few free and premium apps that help solve this problem.

I’m a vocal advocate of TrueCrypt, yet, I found Espionage’s offering very interesting. Is it as good at securing my Mac and simple to use as they promise? Time to check it out!
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The attention span of people is way shorter than it used to be, and it only seems to be getting worse. Waxing poetic about stuff isn’t an effective measure if you are in a quest to reach out to a wider audience (to be precise, the younger audience). Pictures and videos seem to do the trick, though.

When you are writing a tutorial, blogpost, or a book, screenshots at regular intervals for sure will increase the chance of getting the message across quickly. Video walkthroughs are even better. There are many free and premium tools that can help you with both the tasks. Voila is one among them and I hear good things about the app all the time.

A new version of the app went on sale recently, and I grabbed the opportunity to check for myself how useful Voila actually is.

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After email, the PDF file format is the one that many users complain about, a lot. The file format is now ubiquitous and each one of us end up having a handful of them for either personal or professional use. PDF files are extremely light weight, keep the document structure intact and in most cases can be accessed even without a specific app installed.

The locked down nature of the PDF format is a major bottleneck though. It’s tough to add notes, annotations or to search the contents of the PDF files in your hard drive. But, it might not be a problem going forward. Turn your collection PDFs into a functional and searchable PDF library with the help of FingerPDF. After the break let us see how exactly to do that!

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Timeline apps make teaching and learning so much fun. When I say teaching and learning, I am not just referring to a classroom environment. Timelines come in handy whenever you plan to transfer knowledge – sales presentations, reunions, board meetings, family gatherings etc.

Earlier, I had the opportunity to review a timeline app and I was thoroughly impressed by the concept as well as the app. Aeon Timeline is a similar tool for creative and analytical thinking. It claims to be different from the rest of the crowd by equipping you with tools to create more than just one dimensional timelines. Time to check it out!

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Couple of months ago, a movie studio obtained a John Doe order and got a bunch of popular video sharing and torrent websites offline. I found this highly repulsive in two significant ways. First, they were retarded enough to leave YouTube from the list and got Vimeo banned instead. Raise your hands if you’ve ever watched a pirated video song or a movie on Vimeo.

And second, as a proud citizen of the largest democracy in the World, I found this a gross violation of my freedom and an extension of the Great Firewall of China. That’s not a proud title to wear around your neck. Such infringements occur time and again even in highly democratic countries.

Not knowing that there are so many ways to sidestep these stumbling blocks is a mistake from our end. One of the most efficient and trustworthy services I have discovered in the last year is TunnelBear. After the break, let us see how you can enter the open Internet by just flicking a switch!

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The thing that I love the most about Google Docs is its no frills interface. I’m a vocal advocate of the app and thanks to it, I haven’t used Microsoft Office in the past three years. But, Google Docs isn’t perfect either and has a bunch of quirks that haven’t been addressed properly by Google so far. Offline access and multi account login are two that top my list of gripes.

A couple of weeks ago, I got the chance to review Google Drive for Mac. Unfortunately, it didn’t offer either of the two above mentioned features. But, the app is a step in the right direction. Not discouraged by the launch of an official client, the developers of Collections have ventured with a Mac app of their own to help you organize your cloud documents locally.

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The smartphone revolution has made it extremely simple to document our life, every step of the way. In a lot of ways, it’s a good thing. Thanks to the crystal clear lenses in our pockets, we can forever capture cherishable moments not only as pictures, but also as videos with impeccable resolution (at least compared to what we’d have used a decade ago).

Over these years, a ton of apps and services have come up to help people organize their digital media. Managing images has never been easier, and from Picasa to iPhoto, there are so many nifty apps to help deal with our mountain of images. But what about all the shaky, blurry and perhaps the random good enough videos? That’s what Clipstart is for.

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I am a big fan of history. There is so much for us to learn from the past and do the necessary changes for a better future. If it weren’t for the boring prose and illustrations in the text books, I would have showed more interest in that subject. Making people visualize a timeline is painstaking and you might need an app like Timeline 3D to ease things a bit.

Timeline 3D makes it easy for you to present historical events in a way that reveals connections and clarifies relationships. With the help of this app three dimensional timeline charts of world history, family trees, fictional events or business deadlines can be brought to life with very little effort. Follow me after the fold to check out this gorgeous app!

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Mac is a dream platform for designers. Depending on how many complex features are needed to get the job done, there are a myriad of apps available for designers. It goes without saying that a designer has to handle everything from an exciting new mobile app interface to a boring brochure. Usually, the latter design need not be as ground breaking as the former and not every aspect of it has be built from the ground up.

Be it an office party, garage sale or a freelance catalog, you might never know when you will have to whip up a quick flyer or brochure all by yourself. Swift Publisher is desktop publishing app for Mac that can help you with all your design and layout needs. Come, join me after the fold to test its chops!

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