Category Archives: Windows

macOS New App Release – Invoices 3.1.1

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Product Announcement – Tension Software of Milano, Italy has released Invoices 3.1.1, an important update to their app designed to create, manage and print commercial invoices on the Mac. Using Invoices users can create commercial invoices with just simple click operations inserting pre-made values.

Invoices allows to have a pre-made list of:

  • Customers
  • Products and services as a custom long free-form text description
  • Products and services as rows of a multi item invoices with automatic calculation of total based on quantity and prices introduced
  • Bottom notes where to specify payment methods and others
  • Private note for internal purpose only

Invoices is smart in creating and making your invoices:

  • Invoices are created with customizable date and unique serial per invoice
  • Data input is easy, fast and error proof.
  • Can manage track number and order number
  • 2 different value of taxes can be applied to total
  • 2 different tax ID can be used for customers
  • It can assign VAT values based on the customers automatically (very useful as example for VAT in Europe if customers is in another country or outside Europe)
  • It can change on the fly price, discount, quantity of product items you are going to insert in item based invoices
  • Invoices can be printed with custom company logo and header
  • Page format A4 and USA-Letter are managed in native way
  • Free form text descriptions and items by row invoices can coexist in the same document
  • Invoices can be searched and sorted early by year customers and many other values
  • Data used for input can be sorted and filtered before inserting for an easy to do input
  • Invoices can have layout with customer on right or on left with position ready to be used for mail shipment
  • Invoices can be seen as they will be printed and zoomable at different values
  • Generated invoices are easy to print using your printer
  • Import/Export functions to import form TSV and CSV values and export in many formats included custom formats, all with a wonderful native and easy to use Mac interface
  • Generated invoices are easy to save as PDF (for email sending)
  • Full User Guide in PDF explaining in details how to use it, accessible under the Help menu.

Invoices is easy to use and adjustable to any country requirements:

  • All the label composing the printed invoice can be customizable in the preferences according with your language.
  • You can generate final invoices with only labels in your language.
  • Tax ID and Tax percentage over total are customizable and optionally usable, you can set it in accordance to your country/state rules.
  • Settings are different for different documents, so you can have different set of values for different companies you manage.
  • Numbers, currency, money amount, date are all customizable in accordance with your settings.

Invoices is document based, users can manage as many company as they like, one for document and in a document they can manage all the invoices of a single company for all the years. If users need to keep records also of credit invoices for a company, as example, they can simply create another document to manage them.

Invoices is Apple CoreData native, it can manage a very very large amount of data with no problems at all. Invoices is fully optimized for macOS 10.12 Sierra.

New in this release:

  • Now allows up to 3 decimal number in Tax %
  • Improved visualization of decimals numbers when value is < 1
  • Bug fix quitting with opened documents
  • Other minor bug fixes

System Requirements:

  • OS X 10.10 or later
  • 64-bit processor
  • 7.6 MB

Invoices 3.1.1 is just $34.99 USD (or an equivalent amount in other languages) and is available through the Mac App Store in the Business category.

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Today is “World Backup Day”

If you have an electronic device (computer, phone, tablet), chances are that it can be backed up. Today, World Backup Day, serves as a reminder that you should be backing up those devices on a routine basis.

Backing up your data means making a second (and a third copy is recommended) of all of the data on your device. The 3-2-1 strategy is best – always three copies of your data, data stored on two different media, and one copy off-site.

You should backup because loosing data is not as uncommon as you might think. Devices can be lost or stolen. Or they may simply suffer a hardware failure. Increasingly too there is the threat of the data on your device being held for ransom.

Start a habit today of making routine backups. You can even go to the World Backup Day website and take the pledge to back up your data.

DON’T Plug in Just Any USB Drive!

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We have been aware of the threat of USB devices with auto-run malware for some time. More recently a worse device has surfaced, a USB Killer. This sounds like some fictional device you would see in a movie, but it is real.

This looks like any other USB drive, but the hardware is such that seconds after inserting it into a USB port, a disabling charge will be delivered. The USB Killer device charges up an internal capacitor from the 5V power supplied by the USB port. Once the charge reaches a high level (more than 200 volts) the capacitor is discharged back into the port. This process is repeated for as long as the device receives power. The power surge is fatal for most systems. The USB Killer device can then be unplugged and used again and again.

Not only have these devices been designed and tested, you can order one on-line from a Hong Kong company for less than $60. The product is advertised to “test USB ports for vulnerability”. Now at $60 each someone isn’t going to be buying and spreading the devices around, but it is cheap enough that someone up to no-good could purchase and then fry several several devices. How often do you see a laptop left unattended for a few minutes in a cafe?

The manufacturer claims “Our tests reveal that more than 95% of all devices using USB ports will be damaged permanently or completely destroyed by a USB power surge attack.” They do go on to say that “To date [August 16, 2016], the only hardware that resisted … tests was the latest model Macbooks ­which optically isolate the data lines on the USB ports.

If the evil doer is more creative, they can build their own device. I found one YouTube video where a $3 USB device was purchased on-line then modified to deliver a killing charge. Explicit “how to” instructions were given on how to weaponize the device.

What makes this scary and dangerous is that a recent study conducted by the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the University of Michigan and Google indicated that ‘found’ USB drives are often plugged into a computer. In this particular test 297 devices were spread around the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign campus. The result was that they found “that users pick up and connect an estimated 45%–98% of the drives we dropped.

Keep in mind that these USB Killer devices can affect any system with a USB port – computers, TVs, entertainment systems, autos, etc.

How do you protect yourself? If you find a USB drive do not plug it in!


See my other cyber security articles


 

macOS -PrimaveraReader

PrimaveraReader for Mac

Product Announcement – Malmoe, Sweden – Following the great success and market acceptance of the version for Windows, PrimaveraReader is now available to project-oriented organizations and teams working on Mac OS X platforms. PrimaveraReader allows users to open and view project data exported from Oracle(R) Primavera P6 in .XER or .XLS file format.

PrimaveraReader is designed to deliver the well-known view of project information among all parties involved, providing quality of data, interactive views and complete preview of data.

Key product features:
* Complete preview of project data from .xer and .xls files

Open, view and print data from the project schedules without the need of importing it in the database. It gives accurate insights into the project progress by having all calculations for dates, durations and resource assignments on each level of the project, based on a specific calendar assigned to them. Use the Calendar details to get information on working hours for global, project and resource calendars.

* Import custom layouts and user defined filters

In PrimaveraReader users can apply different layouts to group, sort and organize data for better decision making. Besides the default layouts and filters, PrimaveraReader allows the use of your customized layouts exported as .plf files, which saves you time regarding configuration and gives a fully integrated view among the users.

* Display WBS, EPS and OBS views

The software offers additional breakdown structure previews for improving the working environment with visual charts.

* Dedicated customer support

Although the product offers plug & play setup solution, it comes with a dedicated 24/7 customer support.

PrimaveraReader is applicable to all project oriented organizations; from smaller projects to large scale project and portfolio oriented enterprise corporations and is available for Windows and Mac OSX platforms.

The product price remains the same as the Windows version – $249 for a perpetual license, with the cost also including 1Y SMA. Larger organizations can request a quote for a special price corresponding to the number of licenses required. PrimaveraReader can be purchased from the website.

All interested parties can schedule a free demo session for further details or download a free 15-day trial. To find out more about PrimaveraReader, visit the PrimaveraReader website.

macOS -TunesKit Audible Converter

Product Announcement – TunesKit Studio of London, United Kingdom has released  TunesKit Audible Converter, a new DRM cracker for Macintosh and Windows. Unlike its existing Audiobook Converter, and other common Audible audiobook converters that require users to install iTunes to authorize their Audible account before conversion, this innovative new application can easily remove DRM from any Audible audio book by converting the AA, AAX files to unprotected MP3, AAC, M4A, or FLAC formats without account authorization. The conversion speed is up to 100X faster than any other Audible audiobook converters in the market.

Developed exclusively for Audible users, this unique solution makes removing the DRM code from Audible audiobooks easier than ever. Anyone can use TunesKit Audible Converter without any DRM knowledge necessary. Thanks to the advanced DRM decrypting processor adopted by TunesKit Audible Converter, this smart audiobook conversion tool is capable of stripping DRM from audiobooks downloaded from Audible as well as converting existing DRM-locked formats from AA, AAX to common MP3, M4A, M4B, FLAC, AAC, OGG, AIFF, APE, FLAC, WMA, WAV, M4R, MKA, AU, etc. with original metadata, ID3 tags and chapters preserved.

In addition to those popular audio formats, TunesKit DRM Audible Converter also allows users to choose lossless audio as output by retaining the parameters like audio codec, channel, bit rate, sample rate, and more – exactly the same as original audiobooks. What’s more, it supports audio splitting – users can split a large audiobook into smaller segments according to their own requirements either by time frame or chapters while converting the DRM-ed Audible books.

Another advantage of TunesKit Audible Audiobook Converter over other programs is the super speedy conversion at 100X. Since it doesn’t need to work together with iTunes or any other extra hardware or virtual CD driver, it will convert the hours-long DRM-ed Audible audiobooks within a few seconds only.

TunesKit Audible Converter is available for both Mac and Windows platforms. It’s fully compatible with the latest macOS Sierra 10.12 and OS X 10.8 or later, and Windows 10, 8, 7, Vista, XP as well. It will get frequent updates to support every new upcoming release of computer system and Audible DRM technology afterwards.

macOD -MacHTTP.js

Product AnnouncementMacHTTP.Org of Leesburg, Virginia has released MacHTTP-js Preview for macOS, a full-featured Web server for 21st century desktops and servers. MacHTTP-js is a modern take on the classic stand-alone, desktop computer Web server plus a whole lot more, using current state-of-the-art technology while derived from the core ideas that went into the creation of the original Mac Web server, MacHTTP.

MacHTTP-js eliminates the need to understand arcane command line tools or to be an expert in deploying Linux-based servers. Instead, it returns to its roots as a double-clickable application with a friendly user interface allowing anyone technical enough to operate a text editor to set up a web server or create compelling Web applications on their desktop which can be migrated to public servers.

Implemented with modern technologies like node.js, Express.js, and Electron, MacHTTP-js is designed for upcoming versions to run on multiple different operating systems and computers, from Macs running macOS to Windows 10, various flavors of Linux (Ubuntu, Debian, RHEL, etc.), and even Raspberry Pis running Raspbian or container-based systems like Docker. These other versions will be released as part of the final release of MacHTTP-js, coming soon. This software is a Free Opens Source Software (FOSS) project.

The Preview version of MacHTTP-js runs on any version of macOS that is actively supported by Apple. For more information on MacHTTP-js, or to download the fully functional MacHTTP-js Preview version on macOS, free of charge, visit their web site.

macOS – OnlyOffice 4.1.1

Product Announcement – Ascensio System SIA of Riga, Latvia, the developer of IT solutions for business, today is pleased to announce that they have opened the source code of its ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors, presenting a free and open source alternative to Microsoft Office for Mac OS. ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors is an office suite that combines text, spreadsheet and presentation editors, allowing anyone to create, view and edit documents offline. Being fully compatible with MS Office, the editors support all the popular document formats, including ODF.

The application features all types of formatting options and allows users to edit complex documents as well as easily switch to online mode and collaborate on documents with colleagues or teammates. The collaborating features include real-time co-editing in two modes, reviewing and tracking changes, commenting, built-in chat. The editors also support connecting third-party plugins. Developers can use these plugins to add specific functions they need to the editors.

System Requirements:

  • Mac OS 10.10 or higher
  • Windows (both 64-bit and 32-bit)
  • Linux also supported
  • 193 MB

ONLYOFFICE 4.1.1 is now free and available worldwide. The office suite is available under AGPL license v3. This means you’re able to download and use ONLYOFFICE Desktop Editors without any restrictions. The application can be downloaded from the official website, the source code is now available on GitHub.

Another Source of Tech Information

screen-shot-2016-10-02-at-1-45-23-pm

I saw a article about How-To Geek, an online tech magazine, and thought that it might be something of interest to my readers.  It includes articles targeted at both the technical and general readers.

The site was founded in 2006. Articles are divided into the categories of Windows, Linux, Office, Gadgets, Mobile, Hardware, Apple, and Geek School. This might be a good addition to your ‘tech’ leisure reading.

I have subscribed to their RSS feed so that I get all of their articles in my RSS reader (I use the FOSS program Vienna).

Review of Slack

Updated 3/11/16

slack_rgb

What is Slack? Slack is a collaboration tool for groups that was developed under the leadership of Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield. It allows for synchronous communications from a variety of devices. Messages can be sent to groups or individuals
on a Slack Team. The groups are collected in ‘Channels’ and any message posted to the Channel is readable by any member of the Channel. The Channel members can also scroll back to see what messages have been exchanged in the past.

Channels are organized into both public and private categories, with the private Channels restricting members to be added by invitation only. One-on-one communications between individual Slack Team members are private. The tool allows messages, files,
images, links . . . a variety of information to be shared. Messages are searchable so past posts can easily be found.

Every Slack Team has a ‘general’ channel which all Team members are automatically a member of. Additional channels can be created as needed by the Team. The @ character can be used when writing a message to alert an individual, or all of the members of a given channel of the new message.

Multi Device Group

Slack is a cross platform solution:

  • Web interface from any browser
  • Apps for mobile devices running iOS, Android and Windows Phone
  • Apps for OS X (10.9+), Windows (7+) and Linux

Pricing of the service is available at three levels:

  • Free
  • Standard $8/mo. – unlimited integrations, unlimited searches
  • Plus $12/mo.  – more features above Standard

I have been using the Free account for a few months now and find it to be extremely useful. The Free account is limited to browsing and searching only the last 10,000 most recent messages, but that is more than enough for my use cases. I particularly like that I receive notifications on my Apple Watch when a new post has been made. It is much quicker and easier to glance at my watch instead of getting my iPhone out.

Several of us within the IEEE Central Texas Section have been using the tool and it has been very helpful in planning events. The Capital Macintosh User Group (CapMac) has recently begun using it as well. Even though I was out of town last weekend, Slack let me interact with other on the CapMac board to plan our last meeting. Once you begin to use Slack you may want to reach out to other established, public Teams. You can visit Slofile and there search their database of public Slack communities.

Slack has good information for new users on how they can get started including a brief video tour. Slack can be set up to allow any to join, allow any from a give set of email URLs to join, or join by invitation only.

Pros

  • Has a Free level of service
  • Supports multiple Slack Teams
  • Cross platform
  • Use of ‘channels’ to voluntarily collect similar posts
  • Good ‘Getting Started’ resources
  • Flexibility in controlling participation
  • Large and growing list of public Slack Teams
  • Works with Apple Watch

Cons

  • Wish more integrations were available for the Free level
  • no conversation ‘threads’

I highly recommend this App and service. Whether you choose to use it for your business, club or just your extended family, it is a great and easy way to communicate.

References:

  1. What Slack is doing to our offices—and our minds – added 3/11/16

See my other iOS, OS X and Web Tools articles


System Benchmarking with Geekbench

System Benchmarking with Geekbench

Have you ever wanted to see how well your system performed? Or compare two systems?

One way to do that is an way is with the application Geekbench 3 from Primate Labs. This program is cross platform with version for Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. A free version is available, with expanded versions ($9.99, $14.99 and $99.99) for purchase.

The software can be downloaded from the web site and run on your system. When I ran Geekbench 3 on my 2011 Mac Mini, it took just over 2 minutes to complete the test. Tests are performed with a single and with multiple cores if they are available. Tests simulate real-world use including encryption, compression/decompression, floating point and memory performance. There is a detailed description of each test Geekbench 3 performs on the web site.

Primate Labs provides a reference chart for both Macs and PCs for comparison.

This App is not something I will use every day, but is nice to have in my digital tool box.


See my other Mac OS X and iOS articles