Category Archives: apps

Could You Have a Toxic Relationship with Your Smartphone?

It’s the elephant in the room no one wants to talk about: our devotion to and dependence on our smartphones. For most of us, our children included, smartphones have become an appendage; a limb of voracious digital consumption and social obligation that keeps us scrolling, refreshing, swiping, and responding with no end in sight.

Any friend or psychologist would encourage us to rid ourselves of toxic relationships that hinder — even threaten — our emotional and physical well-being, but what if that relationship is with a smartphone? Would you be willing to give it up (or reset the relationship) if you knew it was toxic?

Researchers are increasingly debating the impact of the smartphone on our emotional well-being, and the debate often returns to striking a balance between the ethical design of technology versus corporate profitability. One of the most compelling arguments is that of researcher Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist, on a crusade to inspire people to stop clicking and start caring about how technology is intentionally designed to shape the behavior of the people who use it. Harris has launched a nonprofit called Time Well Spent. His viral TED Talk proposes a renaissance in online design that can free tech users from being manipulated by apps, websites, and advertisers as the race for user attention increases.

From Facebook notifications to Snapstreaks to YouTube auto plays, Harris argues that our online behavior is anything but random. Instead, our thoughts and feelings are being carefully manipulated by technologists behind the scenes persuasively competing for more and more our attention.

Not convinced you among the tech lemming crowd? I wasn’t either. But the discussion got me thinking and inspired me to make some specific changes to test my smartphone dependence.


5 Ways to Drastically Reduce Smartphone Dependence

  • Turn your phone to grayscale mode (google how to do this – it’s amazing)
  • Turn off all push notifications (reclaim your attention span).
  • Park your phone in one physical location (stop carrying it everywhere).
  • Stand up when you use your phone (no more getting cozy for hours).
  • Ban your phone from the bedroom (get an alarm clock).

I made these changes for a week and here’s what happened.

Not as interesting, right?
Grayscale mode, iPhone.

Absolutely no fun in sight for the first three days. Initially, I felt overcome with a sense of vulnerability, panic even that suddenly, somehow, I wasn’t in control of something. I felt an overwhelming need to check my phone every 15-30 minutes. That time gradually increased to about an hour by the third day. Not having my phone nearby, I was sure I’d miss out on something important. For the first few days, I constantly felt as if I had lost something and I’d get up and wander around before realizing my phone was docked safely in the kitchen — just like when I was growing up and had to physically walk to the kitchen to use the phone. I resolved to check my phone once every three hours rather than carry it with me from room to room. When I did check it, surprisingly, the world had not collapsed without my attention to it. I found an average of three texts (two from family with non-critical comments, and usually, one discount text from a retailer).

Because I turned my screen grayscale (wow, what a game changer!) I didn’t feel the anticipation of checking social media, scrolling, reciprocating, uploading, or commenting. My phone in the grayscale mode made using it stale, almost irritating. I realized looking at my phone in grayscale that I being overly influenced and pulled by pretty pictures and all the colors, sounds, links, and prompts, which had come to own my attention. Sadly, I was giving my time to this relationship without any meaningful, lasting benefit coming back to me. I was in a toxic relationship, and something had to change.

By the end of the week, I felt awesome, empowered almost. I had successfully distanced myself from a toxic relationship and redefined it on my terms. I also realized something profound: There’s an unspoken cost to unbalanced technology use I’m not willing to hand over any longer, and that is my time.

When I parked my phone in the kitchen, banned it from the bedroom, and refused to sit down with it, I noticed patches of extra time magically appear in my day. What could I do with all the time I once poured into my phone? As it turns out, quite a lot.

I’m keeping my new habits, and I’m encouraging my family to do the same for a good reason. Here’s what we know: Kids are spending more time on digital devices than ever before, and that trend has no reason to reverse. Anxiety disorders linked to social media use is at an all-time high. Also, researchers are confirming the link between technology, depression, and suicide among youth.

I’m not willing to just go with the flow on this one. There’s just too much is at stake.

Take the challenge: Are you willing to take specific steps (like the ones listed above) to rethink and redefine your relationship with your smartphone?

Let us know the highs and lows of your experience by commenting below. We’re cheering you on.

 

toni page birdsong

 

 

Toni Birdsong is a Family Safety Evangelist to McAfee. You can find her on Twitter @McAfee_Family. (Disclosures). 

 

The post Could You Have a Toxic Relationship with Your Smartphone? appeared first on McAfee Blogs.

New iOS bug can crash your iPhone,iPad or Mac by sending a single character

This single-character message could crash your iPhone, Apple to fix the bug soon

Looks like Apple’s woes doesn’t seem to end. Last month, it was the malicious link dubbed as “chaiOS” text bomb sent through Apple’s Message app that could freeze the iOS or macOS operating systems and ultimately crashing the iPhone, Mac or iPad.

Now, a new security vulnerability that involves sending an Indian language character (in Telugu) to devices has been discovered in Apple’s latest operating system (iOS 11.2.5) that can cause your iPhone to crash and block access to apps, like iMessage, WhatsApp, Outlook for iOS, Gmail and Facebook Messenger or make them inaccessible. The iOS bug also affects built-in Messages app on macOS and the Apple Watch, as well as the App Store and Safari.

According to Italian Blog Mobile World, who first spotted the bug say that the vulnerability crashes the app in which the character appears and can send the affected device into recurring reboot. Moreover, upon restarting the devices, the users will be unable to open the Messages app, as it will try to load the character but refuse to function properly. The only way to make to your iMessages work properly is to delete the entire conversation with the bad character by having someone else send a text message to the app that is crashing.

Apple has acknowledged that the iOS 11.2.5 has a serious bug and it was working on to fix it. “While iOS 11.3 fixes the problems, Apple said it is planning to release an iOS 11 update soon that will address the crashes before the iOS 11.3 release in the spring,” The Verge reported late Thursday.

While the public beta version of iOS 11.3 is unaffected, Apple in the meanwhile has already fixed the bug in the latest betas of current versions of its operating systems, such as iOS 11, macOS High Sierra, watchOS 4, and tvOS 11.

Until Apple releases an iOS 11 update, it is advisable not to open any message received with the symbol and delete the message.

Source: The Verge

The post New iOS bug can crash your iPhone,iPad or Mac by sending a single character appeared first on TechWorm.

Top 10 Photo Editor Apps For Android in 2018

10 Best Photo Editor Apps For Android – 2018 Edition

Over the years, not only have the smartphones evolved but also their in-built cameras. Thanks to the advancement in technology, several high-end smartphones these days have higher resolution cameras which in turn has reduced one’s need to possess a digicam or a digital camera. Several smartphone owners look to spend a little more on these devices, which are not only convenient to carry around but also lets one take pictures instantly on the go, or during outings or occasions.

In spite of having smartphones with higher image sensors and good optical image stabilization (OIS), there are times when you are looking to click that perfect picture from your phone but it still doesn’t turn out right even after a dozen attempts? That’s when photo-editing apps come to your rescue.

While there are hundreds, maybe even thousands, of photo editor apps available, in this article we bring to you the best photo editing apps for Android that can be downloaded free of cost and be used to enhance the beauty of your favorite pictures.

Note: Even though the below mentioned photo-editor apps for Android are free, there is no guarantee that these may not cost you down the line via in-app purchases.

  1. Adobe Photoshop Express

Adobe Photoshop Express is an image editing and collage making mobile application from Adobe Systems Pvt. Ltd. You can avail some of the basic image editing functions, adjust aspects such as contrast, exposure and white balance in one-touch, removes dirt, spots, dirt and dust, allows to add text, borders, frames, has over 60+ professional looks and advance corrections and various other adjustments. You can also select from a range of dynamic effects such as Nature, Black and White, and Portrait.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Photo Editor By Aviary

This app offers some of the standard features of a photo editor that includes rotating, cropping, correcting, which can be achieved by one tap auto enhancing feature. It also contains a large collection of easy-to-use editing tools such as custom photo filters, frames, graphics, and overlays. The app also has a cosmetic tool to remove flaws and blemishes from any photograph. The image correction feature can help you to fix the photographs that has been burnt by over flash or even those that were clicked with a dusty camera lens.

The app allows you to share their photos across all the popular social media platforms. There is special focus feature wherein you can use the Tilt shift effect. Other in-app purchases are available for additional effects such as frames and stickers, otherwise this is a free app.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Snapseed

Created by the developers at the Nik Software Inc. and integrated with Google+, this free app has a clean and easy-to-use interface. It features options that allows you to modify depth of field, perspective, curves and brightness. You can also edit pictures using swiping gestures to choose different types of effects and enhancements. Alternatively, you can also opt for an “automatic” adjustment of color and contrast.

The list of special effects and filters includes Drama, Grunge, Vintage, Center-focus, Frames, and a Tilt-shift (which resizes photos). By using the Tune Image feature, you can adjust the background components such as white balance, shadow etc. Snapseed 2.0 introduced new filters such as lens blur, glamour glow, HDR scape and noir, while also reformatting the tools section with a clearer user interface. It also saves your personal looks to apply them to new photos later. You can directly share the images on social networking sites like Facebook and Instagram.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. PicsArt Photo Studio

PicsArt is one of the most popular photo editing apps in the Play Store that is easy-to-use and attractive. You get loads of tools, effects, collage maker, camera, free clipart library, millions of user-created stickers, and drawing tools. The app provides you with unlimited options to manipulate any photograph using variety of features like borders, stickers, masks, clip art graphics and many more. PicsArt enables you to take and edit pictures, draw with layers, and share their images with the PicsArt community and on other networks like Facebook and Instagram. It also supports raw photos and you don’t need the in-app buys.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Pixlr Express

Pixlr by AutoDesk, also known as Pixlr Express, is a powerful photo editor for people who believe in quick editing of the photograph. One of the best one-touch enhance tools, it has some of the advanced features such as cosmetic editing tools to remove blemishes and red eye, teeth whiteners, smoothen and brighten any photograph along with quick cropping and resizing. You can create photo collages with a variety of choices for layout, background, and spacing. Also, it has Auto Fix feature that allows to balance out color in one easy click and various photoshop effects such as pencils, posters, water color, and many more. It also provides a feature “Frequently Used” settings that can be used for editing the photograph at a much faster speed. You can share photo directly with friends through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or email.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. AirBrush

AirBrush is an easy-to-use photo editor app that can easily give a stunning look to your photos. It includes basic editing tools like crop, stretch, blur, etc., and user-friendly retouch tools. It has tools like blemish and pimple remover, teeth whitener, brighten eye tool, and cool, natural, radiant filter options. You can also trim, reshape and increase your selfie or photo. It also allows you to edit your selfie before taking the picture with real-time editing tools. You can instantly share your pictures to popular social sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat right from AirBrush!

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Fotor Photo Editor

Fotor is an all-in-one photo editing toolkit that includes the ability to enhance photos with a one-tap tool for your convenience. It includes tools such as crop, rotate, brightness, contrast, saturation, exposure, vignetting, shadow, highlights, temperature, tint, RGB, etc. It has enhanced camera
with six photo-taking modes, with features like Grid, Big Button, Burst, Timer, Stabilizer, and Square. The ‘Enhance’ function, complete with ‘slide on screen’ capability, allows for rapid adjustments in details and gradation. You can easily customize your photography to different lighting situations, allowing for the alteration of saturation, brightness and contrast using the ‘Scene effects’ feature. The app allows you to share their photos across all the popular social media platforms.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. PhotoDirector Photo Editor App

PhotoDirector is a simple and easy to use photo editing tool that allows you to quickly and easily add effects to your mobile images. It lets you remove an unwanted person or object from your photo, adjust saturation, tweak the tone, apply one-click photo presets, or even add HDR effects, to create vivid, stunning images on the go. Anyone can achieve outstanding, DSLR-like results in a matter of seconds with PhotoDirector. You can edit, adjust and then combine your favorite photos to create beautiful collages.You can share the edited images on Facebook, Flickr and more.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Photo Effects Pro

Photo Effects Pro is an easy and fun way app for those who like to play with filters, effects, stickers, and things like that. It includes basic editing tools like crop, rotate, saturation, flip, contrast, brightness etc. It has more than 40 filters and effects such as Autumn, Twin, Contrast, Pencil, Blackout, Engrave, Desaturate, Border, Desert, Draft, Displace, Reflection, G & B, Shadow, and many more. It allows you to add to add text, stickers, and frames as well. Photo Effects Pro has the ability to finger paint on your photo to make it something unique. The ‘artwork’ feature allows you to customize your images by feeding photos through an artificial intelligence as the styles of famous artists. You can share the pictures on most popular social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr and others.

To download the free app, click here.

  1. Toolwiz Photos – Pro Editor

Toolwiz Photos – Pro Editor is the best all-in-one PRO photo editor app that offers more than 200+ powerful tools to make gorgeous photos on Android. It has an easy-to-use interface and comes with over 40 Prisma style filters for enhancement of pictures. You can add text, filters, MEME. It has over 10 painting style that includes fire, freeze, crayon drawing, wall painting and more. You can swap faces, brighten eye, remove blemishes, teeth whitener, slim face, adjust saturation, and much more. Other key features include art filters, image tone, image enhance, HDR, art effect, 20+ blurs, free online resources such as 150+ PIP frames, 400+ layouts, 2000+ stickers, and much more.

To download the free app, click here.

Well, these are Top 10 Photo Editor apps for Android on our list. If you feel that we may missed any of the best photo editor apps for Android and should have been part of this, do let us know in the comments section below.

The post Top 10 Photo Editor Apps For Android in 2018 appeared first on TechWorm.

Top 7 Apps for Students

College and high school students often find it difficult to deal with the ever-expanding responsibilities and time. Students have to do lots of things, such as homework, assignments and essay writing. In this situation, custom writing can be a good solution for students to finish their assignments on time. To keep the track of their homework and assignments, you can get the advantage of different iOS and Android apps. These apps are specially designed for the assistance of students.

1) Office Lens (Free for Windows, Android and iOS)

It is an excellent app to take picture of your receipts, magazines, blackboards, whiteboards and documents. With the help of this app, you can take pictures from different angles and the app will clear shadows and glare too. You will get an opportunity to save your photographs as PowerPoint, word or PDFs files.

2) Alarm Clock Sleep Cycle (Free for Android and iOS)

Sufficient sleep is essential for every student, but a rested wakeup is not about the quantity of your sleep. It is all about your sleep cycle and you can set it with the help of this app. This app uses accelerometer and microphone of your phone to analyze sleeping patterns of its user and choose the best time to wake him/her up. The app will choose your lightest state of sleep before waking you up. If you need extra features, you can pay for its premium version.

3) Dragon Dictation App (free for iOS)

Typing can make your wrists tired and cause permanent damage in numerous cases. If you want to avoid this situation, you can get the advantage of this dictation app. By dictating your emails and homework to dragon app, you can save your time and wrists.

4) Student Homework Planner (Free for Windows, Android and iOS)

This planner allows you to stay organized without any trouble. With the help of this planner, you can track your homework and class schedule and get reminders for tests. With its premium version, you can some excessive features of this app.

5) Wonderlist (Free for Windows, Android and iOS)

It is just like a task and to-do list. You can track school projects, college projects or make your grocery list. Wunderlist can sync instantly between your devices, such as computers and tablets to keep you updated. Feel free to set reminders and due dates to avoid any trouble.

6)  Tasker (Android $2.99)

It is a paid app for Android to control your Android phone and set up automation for different tasks. You can use passcode to lock some applications and automatically turn on the ringer of your phone. It allows you to change the button of your camera and automatically record your phone calls.

7) Flashcards Deluxe (Android and iOS $3.99)

Flashcards can help you to study and this app allows you to input information in the app and uploads a table or spreadsheet from your laptop of the computer. With the help of this app, you can consolidate flashcards into categories, folders and decks. Users can get the advantage of its shared library.

The post Top 7 Apps for Students appeared first on TechWorm.

“Who visits your Twitter profile” spam app brings week of chaos

Twitter spam has been around forever, and rogue apps asking for installs in return for a cool feature (to be more accurate, spamming your contacts) is a constant thorn in our Twittery sides. Over the weekend, we observed a new Twitter app doing the rounds and causing a lot of congestion on people’s timelines.

What is it?

We first noticed this when a number of my contacts using the #FBPE (follow back, pro Europe) hashtag to form networks and make new friends started spamming Tweets similar to the below:

hijacked contact Click to enlarge

The spam reads as follows:

Goooo!! Click for more information:

Who visits your Twitter profile

100% safe, 100% working

Click here, available for iOS and Android

Here’s another one:

another hijacked contact

Click to enlarge

Sign in and download this fantastic app – only available today

Regardless of the spam message used, all the tweets directed people to visit a website located at

checkvisitss(dot)tk

How does it spread?

People click the link and are presented with the below website:

who visits?

Click to enlarge

There’s not a lot to do besides hitting the large “Connect with Twitter” button, and sure enough, doing just that will direct eager clickers to the app install page.

authorize recent visits?

Click to enlarge

It says:

Authorize Recent Visits 24H to use your account?

This application will be able to:

Read tweets from your timeline

See who you follow and follow new people

Update your profile

Find Tweets for you

Will not be able to:

Access your Direct Messages

See your email address

See your Twitter password

In other words, a fairly standard Twitter app permission list.

Tracking the spread

This could have been a bit of a disaster for those on the FBPE hashtag mentioned, which itself is being used to grow follower count and connect with like-minded individuals. Any app claiming to provide information about “profile views” in this situation could have resulted in an accelerated spread, though we doubt they were specifically targeted—it was spreading just fine elsewhere, as we’ll see.

Either way, those on the hashtag quickly figured out it was a scam and took steps to purge it:

app removed

One of the other primary drivers of these spam messages was the below message:

Touch the screen and enter the web – You can know who has visited your profile

This was still actually doing the rounds as of yesterday, with a little over 900 results in a simple browser search before it refused to load any more entries:

lots of spam

Click to enlarge

spam search

What damage can it do?

As with all things, that depends on the ultimate aim of the scammer. Some just want to spam their website; others will pop an advert or 12, and the worst of the bunch may try to have you download and run some malware. At the time of testing, all this seemed to do was promote the app across timelines and encourage more installs, so the main aggravation here is the knowledge that you installed something useless, and then started beaming said uselessness to all of your contacts. Not a great look, however you stack it.

How do I remove it?

Thankfully, this is an easy one to pull off. Head over to your Applications tab in Twitter via Settings and Privacy, and give your apps list a Spring clean:

app control

Click to enlarge

Some of the apps you may find there could be outdated or no longer updated; if that’s the case, remove them. You don’t want to end up in a situation such as this. Once you’re happy with the end result, simply save and go back to your homepage safe in the knowledge that you won’t be posting any more bad tweets (at least, not automated ones).

Elsewhere…

A similar number of campaigns were tracked and mapped out by Erin Gallagher, one of which was making use of the URL ultimasvisitass(dot)tk, with some amazing graphs mapped out across three days using Gephi, the open source visualization program. At the time of writing, some of the URLs in play don’t load and checkvisitss redirects to lasttvisitss(dot)tk which is fully functional and offering up an app install. All of the sites involved seem to be registered through a number of anonymous registration services so there’s no real way to figure out who’s behind this batch of app installs.

No matter how you come across these sites, we’d advise you not to bother giving these apps permission. The “See who visited you” routine has been around for years on Twitter and Tumblr, and going even further back to Myspace. In all cases, none of these things ever seem to work and only serve to annoy, spam ads, or offer surveys.

While it’s useful to find out who’s been on your page, it’s really not worth the effort involved in installing a spam app and alienating all of your visitors from wanting to interact with you.

Profile viewer apps offer much, but deliver little. Move your hand away from the Install button and go about your day. Your social media profile’s reputation will thank you for it.

The post “Who visits your Twitter profile” spam app brings week of chaos appeared first on Malwarebytes Labs.

Researchers find hundreds of easily-breached messaging apps

The security of our personal data is top of mind right now, so the news that nearly 700 apps for iOS and Android were easily exploited to show private messages and calls is troubling, to say the least. Security company Appthority discovered the exploit, dubbed "Eavesdropper," and published its findings this morning. According to the company's research, up to 180 million Android devices could be affected, as well as an unknown number of iOS devices.

Via: Reuters

Source: Appthority