ExpanDrive – a network drive for the Cloud

Discovered by chance this morning, ExpanDrive seems to be like to become one of my favorite tools:

ExpanDrive creates a virtual USB drive that connects to all major cloud storage providers such as Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, OneDrive, Openstack Swift, Amazon S3 or your own SFTP, FTP or WebDAV server.

It’s available for Mac and Windows. Basic licence is per user, so if you have multiple machines with different OS you’ll need just one licence. Now excuse me, back to testing for my free 7-days full features trial period…

Loose Leaves for Mac, instantly share what you write in Markdown

Loose Leaves for Mac lets you instantly create lightweight, beautiful, hosted pages from the Markdown you write.

Just select the Markdown you want to share, use the keyboard shortcut (⇧⌘C), and you instantly get back a secure link you can pass around.

Not exactly my kind of app, but could be interesting if you are always writing in MarkDown. Oh, and even if it’s a brand new app you can use it with OS X 10.8 or later … You can get the app from the Mac App Store.

Indipendent Publisher

At last The Indipendent Publisher theme has arrived on WordPress.com. Developed by Raam Dev this template is one of the cleanest and best content focued theme born in these last two years.

I’ve even adopted it on my self-hosted blog, customizing it a little, translating it and planning to suggest a couple of enhancement to its author. Read Raam’s annouce: Independent Publisher Announced on WordPress.com

I enjoy it so much that I couldn’t resist but adopt it immediately … now there are going to be some polish here and there, but I think I’ll stick with it for long time.

Deep dreaming

Deep dreaming

Deep Dreamer is the easiest way to process images and videos with Google’s amazing Deepdream engine.

I first heard of it thanks to my pal Filippo Corti on his Bicycle Mind blog. He first reported of Google’s experiment and research in the image recognition field, then reported this brand net app for OS X platform from the talented team of Realmac Software (currently in Beta status).

What is Google deepdream?

The brain behind Deep Dreamer was developed at Google as a tool to try and understand how neural networks work. Google open sourced the code, allowing anyone with the know-how to create these images. However, setting up the code on a server is not a trivial task. We’ve become fascinated with how deepdream processes our photos, and wanted to make it easy for anyone to explore.

The amazing guys at Realmac Software have also made a demo video of their app:

TripMode, a mobile connection saver for OS X

TripMode

Mobile 3G or LTE data plan are expensive. Here in Italy and in many places of the world, even rich countries … like Switzerland, homeland of today’s app in review.

Here, three developers have decided to put a stop on expensive bills of their cellphone operators and write an app for OS X 10.10 (and later) that will make the user choose what applications are essentials when connected over an Hotspot mode to their smartphone and what not. Most of the time, when on the run we want to quickly check our email or a website and we don’t need a full Google Drive or Dropbox sync.

TRIPMODE is a little great app, that comes at a cheap price ( ~ 8S) and has a nice free mode behaviour that I like to recommend to you. This summer vacations could be the right time to benefit from this software. Let me know in the comments if you’re finding it useful …

Here it goes again. I’ve moved away from a classic, 2 columns, WordPress theme to a single column, responsive one. I will see how it goes.

Twenty Fifteen is a great theme, but I wasn’t able to make the most out of it in terms of “reading pleasure” and ease on the eyes. So welcome Hew

Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0 Now Available

Latest release provides increased security with encryption and improved performance
Redwood Shores, Calif.—Jul 9, 2015

The 5.0 release supports the latest guest or host operating systems including: Mac OS X Yosemite, Windows 10, Oracle Linux, Oracle Solaris, other Linux operating systems, and legacy operating systems. New capabilities in Oracle VM VirtualBox 5.0:

  • Paravirtualization Support for Windows and Linux Guests: Significantly improves guest OS performance by leveraging built-in virtualization support on operating systems such as Oracle Linux 7 and Microsoft Windows 7 and newer.
  • Improved CPU Utilization: Exposes a broader set of CPU instructions to the guest OS, enabling applications to make use of the latest hardware instruction sets for maximum performance.
  • Support of USB 3.0 Devices: Guest operating systems can directly recognize USB 3.0 devices and operate at full 3.0 speeds. The guest OS can be configured to support USB 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0.
  • Bi-Directional Drag and Drop Support for Windows: On all host platforms, Windows, Linux and Oracle Solaris guests now support “drag and drop” of content between the host and the guest. The drag and drop feature transparently allows copying or opening of files, directories, and more.
  • Disk Image Encryption: Data can be encrypted on virtual hard disk images transparently during runtime, using the industry standard AES algorithm with up to 256 bit data encryption keys (DEK). This helps ensure data is secure and encrypted at all times, whether the VM is sitting unused on a developer’s machine or server, or actively in use.

The real opportunity

If what most apps are doing is essentially strapping phones to our wrists and removing most of the functionality (or worse, keeping it), we’re missing the boat. We need to re-think what smart watches are for, and here’s what I think it comes down to: iPhone is alternate reality; Apple Watch is augmented reality.

A really clever statement by Peter Lewis on Medium: Meaningful Design for Apple Watch

Ditch Hangouts for Old Google Talk

Not every new feature is a winner. Sure, Hangouts is a brilliant messenger on Android, but it can be buggy and bloated when loaded in your Gmail. If you’re sick of it crashing your Chrome tab, there is help at hand: you can go back to good old Google Talk.

Hangouts is now the default messenger in Gmail, but you can still use the old view by clicking the little drop-down arrow next to your profile pic in the chat pane, and clicking “Revert to Old Chat”. Follow the instructions and you’ll be back to good old Google Talk before you know it.

Of course, this means you can’t participate in Hangout Calls or group chats, but you can just switch back and forth easily whenever the need arises.

via MakeUseOf: What’s New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out

“Under the hood, most critical software you use every day (like Mac OS X, or Facebook) contains a terrifying number of hacks and shortcuts that happen to barely fit together into a working whole. It would be like taking apart a brand-new 747 and discovering that the fuel line is held in place by a coat-hanger and the landing gear is attached with duct tape.”
Ben Cherry

Who are you gonna call? WordPress!

Who are you gonna call? WordPress!

Thanks to a post by Luca Sartoni on his Facebook stream, I got to know the result of this Electronic Frontier Foundation‘s research on the topic:

Who Has Your Back? 2014: When Copyright and Trademark Bullies Threaten Free Speech

This is the premise:

When somebody wants to silence speech, they often use the quickest method available. When the speech is hosted on a major online platform, that method is usually a copyright or trademark complaint. For many years, EFF has worked with people whose lawful speech has been unfairly targeted by these sorts of complaints. We’ve observed that some approaches tend to work better than others in preventing that sort of deliberate abuse, as well as the casual censorship that comes from haphazard and dragnet approaches to policing online infringement.

Read carefully the rest of EFF post & report!

Who Has Your Back Electronic Frontier Foundation (20150619)