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Microsoft Office HopTo app hops onto the iPad

iPad owners tired of waiting for Microsoft to launch a version of Office for the tablet now have yet another option.

Released Thursday, HopTo is a free iPad app that lets you view, edit, and create Word documents and Excel spreadsheets, and view PowerPoint presentations. The ability to edit a PowerPoint file is slated for an upcoming version.

You can view PDFs and a wide array of image files, including JPGs, PNGs, TIFs, and animated GIFs. You can listen to MP3s, iTunes M4A files, and other music formats. I was also able to play QuickTime video clips.

You can access … Read more

Review: Human-to-Cat Translator plays back random cat sounds

Human-to-Cat Translator allows you to record your voice and play back any number of random cat sounds or play the cat sounds, manually, on your phone. The result will vary in its amusement factor depending on who is listening and how often it is used; but the cat sounds are varied and there are a lot of them, so if the joke plays well or if your cats enjoy it, this app could be a fun addition to your iPhone.

When you load up Human-to-Cat Translator, you get a telling warning. If the app drives your cats too nuts, use … Read more

How to send greeting cards right from your iPhone

Until recently, I was a fairly regular customer of Apple's Cards app, which allowed me to choose any photo in my Camera Roll, add it to a greeting card for just about any occasion, write a personalized message, and get it printed and mailed to the recipient(s) of my choice -- all for just a few bucks.

Convenience, thy name is Cards.

Or so it was, until Apple quietly and unceremoniously pulled the plug back in September. I'm bummed, because the app helped me out of many a last-minute oh-crap-I-forgot-so-and-so's-birthday jam.

Thankfully, there are alternatives. Apps … Read more

Netflix, YouTube gobble up half of Internet traffic

Netflix is still the Goliath, and YouTube is only getting bigger.

In general, video and audio streaming continues to eat up the greatest traffic of any category on virtually every network reviewed by Sandvine, which runs fixed and mobile data networks worldwide and reports on what is taking place on them.

In North America, Netflix and YouTube are the main traffic culprits, according to its twice yearly Global Internet Phenomena Report. Combined, they account for 50.31 percent of the downstream traffic during the peak part of the day.

By comparison, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu garnered just 1.61 … Read more

Review: Desk UnPDF Converter for Mac converts your PDF files into other formats

Desk UnPDF Converter for Mac is designed to solve the longstanding problem of editing PDF files in a native word processor. By stripping out PDF formatting and converting the text into RTF for Windows 97+ or Open Office, this app allows you to then open and edit those files more easily. While there are certainly some limitations in terms of the formatting, layout, and style of the finished document, it works well.

When you open UnPDF, you can start converting documents right away. Just load any PDF into the software and then select how you want it exported. You can … Read more

Get the KitKat keyboard for Android 4.0 and up

KitKat, the most recent version of Android, brings features as sweet as its namesake to the new Google Nexus 5. Among these, you'll find a new phone dialer, Caller ID, true full screen, a new Hangouts app, and printing abilities.

To use all of these new features, KitKat also has an updated Google Keyboard. This keyboard is very similar to the version released on the Google Play Store, except the swiping line color has changed, you can glide over space to insert it between words, and some upgraded emoji are included.

If you have Android 4.… Read more

Kixeye moves to mobile, shows free-to-play done right

SAN FRANCISCO -- Walking through Kixeye's headquarters here in downtown San Francisco, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in the offices of a triple-A studio.

Military sound bites blast out of the speakers of its bunker-themed elevator waiting hall, a space awash in glowing red light and protected by an actual armed guard. Once inside, old-school arcade machines pop up around every corner, and row upon row of vertical code-filled monitors are paired with white walls of concept art for one of the many titles in the development pipeline.

The company is still very much a startup; … Read more

Enable offline dictation in OS X Mavericks

Apple's Dictation service offers a quick way to enter text into practically any application's text input fields simply by speaking into your computer's microphone.

This service was introduced in OS X Mountain Lion, but it required you to speak text and then stop the dictation service so the audio sample could be sent to Apple's servers and converted into corresponding text. This requirement made the useful service somewhat inconvenient, especially for entering longer paragraphs.

In OS X Mavericks, Apple has changed this by offering Dictation as a local service that runs on your machine, instead of … Read more

Review: Organize Me Personal Task Manager & To Do List is option packed

Organize Me Personal Task Manager & To Do List is a powerful organizational tool for your iPhone that allows you to keep track of various tasks, save photos and voice to a note, and more. While there are some issues, namely with the interface and the lack of labeling amid so much iconography, the app works very fast and offers a large number of options -- surprisingly so for a free app.

When you open the app for the first time, you are greeted with a tutorial screen that offers to show you how to use the majority of the … Read more

Aaron's computer rental chain settles FTC spying charges

Imagine getting set up with a rent-to-own computer only to later find out that the retailer was surreptitiously snapping Webcam photos of you and recording your keystrokes via spyware. As bad as this sounds, it reportedly happened.

Atlanta-based Aaron's rent-to-own computer chain has been accused of knowingly installing software onto its computers that secretly monitored its customers. The Federal Trade Commission caught onto the Aaron's alleged tactics and filed a complaint against the company earlier this year. On Tuesday, the chain agreed to settle with the FTC.

According to the FTC's complaint (PDF), Aaron's software tracked … Read more