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The Best Free Websites and Tools for Making Your Own GIFs

GIF Making Resources heroPostmodern Studio/Shutterstock.com

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a GIF must be an entire conversation! Create your own custom GIFs using these awesome websites and apps, then share them with your friends in chat or on social media.

GIFs are fun to use in any kind of conversation. They’re great for laughs and do a better job of expressing emotions than plain text does. After all, you can say you’re excited, but a GIF of a happy puppy or your favorite TV show character being excited really drives the point home.

Here are our favorite picks for the best apps and websites for creating all the GIFs from images, video clips, and other sources.

Where to Make GIFs from Your Desktop

You can make a custom GIF using images or videos stored on your computer’s hard drive, or create a new one live with your friends or your cat using your webcam. Even if you don’t know how to make a GIF, these websites make it easy to create one in minutes.

Giphy

Giphy web GIF makerGiphy

With Giphy (Free), you can make your own GIFs on the website and on your iOS or Android device. From Giphy’s homepage, click on the “Create” button at the top, then you’ll be on the GIF Maker page, ready to get creative. Giphy gives you the option to make a GIF out of a photo, video, existing GIF, or using a URL from YouTube, Giphy, or Vimeo.

For GIFs created from videos or URLs, you can select the duration and trim your clip. For those created from images, simply select the ones you want to use from your hard drive, then Giphy will automatically connect them together as a GIF. You can switch up the order each image appears in then decorate your GIF with stickers, filters, a drawing, or add a colorful caption. Before uploading your GIF, you can add a source link and relevant tags, which will make it easy for others to find your GIF! It was also recently announced that Facebook purchased Giphy for $400 million.

GIFS.com

GIFSdotcom web GIF makerGIFS.com

GIFS.com (Free) lets you create GIFs from video URLs or files from your computer. You can source content from Instagram videos, Vines, YouTube videos, Facebook videos, and other options. GIFs can be up to 15 seconds long and uploads up to 150 MB. Once you’ve thrown in a link, you can select GIF’s start time and apply other edits to the clip like cropping the image, adding a caption, or even blurring or inverting the image if you want to add an artistic flair. For captions, you can add a general caption, or go frame by frame for extra precision, and customize fonts, font color, alignment, and even add a border. You can add effects, like a Thug Life filter, Pokemon stickers, or other images. It’s easy to personalize the GIF you make, and you add on tags to make it easier to find, and you don’t need an account to make a GIF.

MakeAGIF.com

MakeAGIFdotcom web GIF makerMakeAGIF.com

With MakeAGIF.com (Free), you’ve got plenty of choices for sourcing your GIF material. It works with photo and video files from your computer, lets you upload content from YouTube or Facebook, or allows you to take new photos or videos with your webcam. This website has an impressive GIF editor that gives you granular control over start and end time (and GIF length) down to hundredths of a second, as well as adjustable GIF speed. You can also add simple captions or choose a sticker from their small gallery to put on your GIF.

MakeAGIF.com also offers a Premium Membership option for $11.95 per month, which gives you access to lifetime GIF storage, high-definition GIFs, personalized watermarks, faster editing and uploading, and removes annoying ads. You can try this out with a three-day free trial.

and then i was like…

and then i was like... web GIF makerand then i was like…

Cartoons and random animals are cute, but you are adorable. With and then i was like… (Free), you can make GIFs of you (and your friends and your cats and doggos) to your heart’s content using just your webcam. That’s right, no Shocked Joey reaction GIFs here—just whatever you bring to the table. All you need to do is record for three seconds. Once you do, you can move the sliders to adjust the start and end time, and toggle a few of the other limited editing options, like reversing the video, creating a back-and-forth loop (like Boomerang), and speeding up or slowing down the video. And voila! Go share it with your friends!

Where to Make GIFs from Your Phone or Tablet

If you need to make a GIF but you’re away from your computer, you can still make a GIF on the go right from your phone with one of these cute easy-to-use apps.

5SecondsApp

5 Seconds App GIF maker app5SecondsApp

Many GIF maker apps limit you to three seconds of video, but 5SecondsApp (Free) gives you, as you may guess, five whole seconds to do your thing. And it’s simple to use, so you can easily create, edit, and share your new GIF with your friends within just a few minutes. The app can make a GIF from both videos or photos you have on your iOS or Android device, or you can add effects to existing GIFs you’ve downloaded. 5Seconds has a really good selection of effects you can add to your GIF plus it allows you to add text or stickers then share your new creation with your friends and followers with just a few taps.

Imgplay

ImgPlay GIF maker appImgPlay

It’s super easy to make a custom GIF (or meme) with ImgPlay (Free). You can use images and videos stored on your iOS or Android device, edit an existing GIF, import images from cloud storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive, or create a brand spanking new one with your device’s camera. Once you’ve got your media selected, you can crop the GIF’s frame, trim its length, and adjust its speed until it’s perfect. You can then add multiple text boxes with customizable text, add colorful filters to it as you would on Instagram, and export it anywhere once you’re done. So easy!

GIF Me!

Gif Me! GIF making appGIF Me!

With GIF Me! (Free), you can import videos, images, and GIFs from your iOS or Android device or create new photos or videos with your camera. The app lets you alter the image sequence for photo-sourced GIFs and adjust its animation speed before you add other edits. You can add captions, borders, and stickers to your new GIF, and even apply a fun colorful filter to make it pop. GIF Me lets you export your GIF creations to social media and even to Giphy to share with other GIF enthusiasts.

GifGuru

GIFGuru GIF making appGifGuru

GifGuru (Free) is a great Android-only GIF-making app that’s powerful and easy to use. If you’re making a GIF from photos on your device, you can add over 200 images into a single GIF, which is way more than any other app. You can also adjust the aspect ratio of the GIF, control its speed and, of course, add stickers, captions, and filters so it looks just right.

If you’re making GIFs from video files, you can crop and trim the video, or apply other basic edits for up to 50 frames. GifGuru also lets you search for GIFs from Giphy and edit or add effects to any of those GIFs before saving or exporting as well, from adjusting the speed to flipping the image and compressing the GIF size. GifGuru’s editings are powerful and user-friendly.

GIF Maker

GIF Maker GIF making appGIF Maker

GIF Maker (Free) works on iPhones, iPads, and iMessage, and lets you create GIFs from photos and videos already saved to your device, create new memes, and make Boomerang videos for Instagram. Or you can use your device’s camera to create new videos or photos to then turn into a GIF. Once you’ve selected your media, you can adjust the speed and add captions, filters, stickers, and emojis.

You can also upgrade to a Premium subscription for $9.99 per month, $59.99 per year, or for life with a one-time payment of $99.99. Upgrading gets you unlimited GIF and meme creation, premium fonts, stickers, and filters, and removes ads.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42774/the-best-free-websites-and-tools-for-making-your-own-gifs/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

Razer’s First Try at a Set of “Lifestyle” Headphones Is Pretty Sharp

Razer Opus headphones side viewCameron Summerson

The Opus is Razer’s first foray into “lifestyle” headphones. With a surprisingly understated design, these are made to wear anywhere and anytime. They have ANC, are THX-certified, and cost $199. Overall, they’re solid—but if sound quality is your primary concern with headphones, they may leave you wanting.

To look at the Razer Opus is to know exactly where the inspiration for them came from They have a similar aesthetic to the Sony WH-1000MX3 everyone loves—the ANC and power buttons are even in the same place. They also come with a very similar case and fold up in a very similar manner to fit in said case.

Of course, there are plenty of differences between the two. But it’s hard to look at both sets without at least making some comparisons.

Speaking of button placement, here’s the rundown. The left cup is where the power and ANC buttons are, along with the 3.5mm jack (for wired play) and the USB-C charging port. The right cup houses the volume +/- buttons, with a play/pause button snuggled in between them. You can also use this to switch tracks: a double-click moves forward one track; a triple-click goes back.

Sony WH-1000mxRazer Opus

Left: Sony WH-1000MX3; Right: Razer Opus

My biggest annoyance here is with the volume buttons—the button towards the front lowers the volume, the one to the back raises it. That feels backward to my dumb brain, and I get it wrong every time. The headphones also feature autopause when you take them off.

Once on my skull, the Opus are impressively comfortable. The ear cups are around-the-ear, so they don’t smush the top of my ear into the side of my head. They’re also comfortable with glasses on, which I appreciate because I have to wear those stupid things when I’m working so I can, you know, read. The band and cups are both made of a “plush leatherette foam” according to Razer. I agree—it’s plush as hell and equally as leatherette. They’re comfy.

The earpads on the Razer OpusCameron Summerson

And then there’s the sound quality. It’s been a while since I’ve used the Sony WH-whatever, but can remember the big, bold, full sound quality they produced. Well, the Opus doesn’t have that. They sound good, but I wouldn’t call them great—especially not with ANC turned off. There’s a noticeable change in sound quality when you toggle ANC, and it’s honestly sort of jarring. To the point that, if I didn’t know better, I would think I was using a totally different set of headphones.

With ANC off, there’s a spike in the midrange and a drop in the low end, making these sound “rounder” than I’d like. Toggle the ANC on and the low end jumps dramatically, almost to the point where they sound muffled. What’s interesting is that this is a temporary spike—it seems to level out after about 10-15 seconds, but still retains a much more defined low end than with ANC off. This peak and valley transition is a subtle change, but it’s something I definitely noticed every time I enabled ANC. So, to be clear, I think they sound much better with ANC on.

Speaking of, the ANC on these headphones is very good. It’s easily on par with or better than everything else I’ve tried in this price range (or even higher). It does a great job of blocking out a wide range of frequencies. No complaints there. Razer says you can get 25 hours of battery life from the Opus with ANC active, which falls in line with my tests. I imagine disabling ANC would bump this to the 30-35 hour figure, though your mileage will vary depending on volume level and the like.

The Razer Opus appThe settings menu in the Opus app

There’s also a dedicated Opus app that allows you to toggle the EQ with a series of presets:

  • THX: This is the preset designed specifically by THX for the most accurate and balanced overall soundstage.
  • Amplified: This offers a bump in the lower midrange, which I personally hate. But if you like low mids, then you’ll like this setting.
  • Vocal: Bumps the 350 Hz and 3k Hz ranges to amplify the human voice.
  • Enhanced Bass: This bumps the 100 Hz and 300 Hz ranges quite a bit, as well as the 10k Hz range just a bit. This amplifies the low end while also balancing the treble a bit. To my ears it just sounds more muffled.
  • Enhanced Clarity: A massive bump to the 1k, 3k, and 10k Hz ranges, with a drop in the 100 Hz range. Basically, more treble, less bass.

The biggest downside is that there isn’t an option to manually set the EQ. Hopefully this is something Razer can build into the app in the future, because I’d love to be able to drop the 1k range just a little bit. Overall I feel like these are too heavy on the midrange across all settings, so I’d like the option to cut some of that out.

The Razer Opus folded and lying flatCameron Summerson

All in all, the Opus is an interesting product from Razer, as they lack any of the branding that you’d normally find on a Razer device—there isn’t a triple snake logo in sight. I like the understated look, and while the sound quality isn’t great, it’s still quite good. If Razer tweaks the apps to allow user EQ settings, that would help.

The $199 price tag is nice, as it undercuts the $349 MSRP of the Sony WH-1000MX3 by a good margin. That said, you can often catch the Sonys for $275 on sale (we’ve seen them as low as $230). If sound quality is your primary concern, then it may be worth waiting until you can grab the Sonys for the lowest price. But if you’re in a hurry, the Opus are far from a bad choice—and if Razer makes the EQ tweakable in the app, they’ll be even better.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42523/razer-opus-headphones-review-good-not-great/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Cameron Summerson

11 of the Best Photo Editors for Android

Mobile Photo Editors r.classen/Shutterstock.com

Over the past few years, phone cameras have managed to jump from serviceable shooters to flat-out great. They may not be able to match the quality of something like a DSLR camera, but for most people, they’re more than enough. And, while plenty of stuff already goes on behind the scenes of your phone’s camera to increase image quality, even the best photos can use some touching up—and that is where photo editors come in.

What to Look for in a Photo Editor

Before we dive into the list, here are some general categories you can judge photo-editing apps on.

  • Tools: Toolsets vary from app to app, but you want to ensure that the app you download at least covers the basics: cropping, color grading, and filters. Some more advanced apps can offer tools like merging images, special effects, and auto-enhancements, but that depends on how deep you want to go with your edits.
  • Focus: With how deep the world of photo editing is, some apps choose to only focus on one aspect of it, while others try to be all-rounders. You can find great apps in both of those categories, but what’s important is making sure that the app’s focus matches up with your use case.
  • Easy Sharing: Chances are, if you’re editing a photo on your phone, you’re doing it to post on social media sites or to share with friends. Most apps make this as simple as tapping the “Share” button, and we made sure that all the apps we selected offer that simplicity.
  • Additional Features: Some apps take things a step beyond photo editing and provide additional features to make the app more versatile. This can range from social elements (like publicly sharing your images with other users of the app) to features like camera support (being able to take photos from the app itself) and video editing. None of those are necessary for a photo editing app to have, but are nice additions regardless and will be noted as such.

With all that said, let’s look at some apps.

The Professional Choices: Adobe Photoshop Apps and Adobe Lightroom

Just like in the desktop photo-editing market, Adobe is a huge player in the field of mobile photo editing with four great apps.

PhotoshopAdobe

Photoshop is one of the most powerful photo editors on desktop, and when you’re trying to translate such a complicated program to mobile it can be difficult to do so without making it feel bloated. So, Adobe actually has three different Photoshop apps, each covering a different section of the photo editing process: Photoshop Express, Photoshop Fix, and Photoshop Mix.

Photoshop Express is a general-use editor, including filters, simple effects, and collage editing. If you want to get deeper into fixing your photos, then Photoshop Fix gives you access to a ton of tools for retouching and editing your photos. Fix is where you can do things like smoothing out faces, adjusting lighting, and warping parts of the image. And finally, there’s Photoshop Mix, which is pretty simple—it allows you to cut out and mix parts of various photos.

You can use all three of the apps together to create some fantastic images. Perfect the look of your image in Fix, then crop and cut it in Mix, before finally using Express to add it to a collage or add some final touches.

All three Photoshop apps are free. But they can also be used with a Creative Cloud subscription (starting at $9.99 a month for Lightroom and Photoshop access) as well to transfer projects back and forth between desktop and mobile—perfect for professionals who need to do some editing on the go.

LightroomAdobe

Lightroom is focused on making the photo editing process as simple as possible, so photographers can spend more time actually taking photos than looking at an app on their phone. You can use simple sliders to adjust everything from the contrast to color grading, or use various presets that match your tastes. Lightroom is surprisingly powerful despite its simple design, and can even be used in conjunction with the Photoshop apps listed above for some more in-depth editing.

Lightroom is free to download, but if you want some more features like cloud storage, selective adjustments, and a healing brush, you’ll need to pay $4.99 a month or $59.99 a year for Lightroom Premium.

ios_badge.svgandroid_badge.png

Free and Simplistic: Snapseed

SnapseedGoogle

Snapseed is the simplest route to in-depth photo-editing effects. It’s made by Google, so the UI has the same “simple but powerful” feel that a lot of Google’s apps do. Snapseed boasts a large and varied toolset of effects and they’re all extremely tweakable, so you can make your image look exactly how you want.

And the best part? Snapseed is completely free—no reason not to try it out.

android_badge.png

General Purpose: Pixlr

PIXLR123RF Limited

Pixlr is a great in-depth editor. It features more complex tools like merging images and double exposure, but it still keeps things simple enough to not be overwhelming. There are even plenty of templates and presets for novices to use to show them the capabilities of the app as well.

Pixlr is free to download, but if you want to remove ads and add more tools like stickers, overlays, and an additional 150 fonts, you’ll need you to pay for the premium subscription, which is $1.99 a month or $11.99 a year.

android_badge.png

Varied Tools: PicsArt

PicsArtPicsArt

Picsart is a photo editor filled to the brim with effects and tools. There are over 3,000 tools in the app that range from complex effects to simple cropping options. You can add text and stickers, use templates, and even do some light video editing. It also includes “Daily Challenges” that task you with a specific photo-editing objective if you’re looking for some inspiration.

Picart is free to download, but if you want to get rid of ads and gain access to some more advanced features, you’ll need to buy the “Gold” subscription, which is $3.99 a month.

android_badge.png

Simple but Stylish: Polarr

PolarrPolarr

If you prefer to make simple but impactful edits, Polarr is the app for you. It may not boast thousands of effects like Picsart, but the features it does give you are powerful and can lead to great-looking images. You can also apply filters, overlays, and use auto-enhancements, so that way the app does some of the work for you.

Polarr is free to download, but you won’t have access to some advanced features (like overlays). For the full Polarr experience, you’ll need Polarr Pro, which is $3.99 a month or $19.99 annually.

android_badge.png

Social Editing: Fotor

FotorEverimaging Ltd.

Fotor is another great editor with plenty of features, including various effects, in-depth tools to edit things like color and lighting, and the option to create collages. But beyond that, and what makes Fotor special is its social component.

Fotor focuses on sharing photos with other users of the app, and even holds contests for users to participate in—you can even win prizes. Not everyone is into that, but if you are, it can provide some nice variety and motivation for your photo editing. You can even sell your photos on the app (but Fotor does take a hefty 50% of all profits).

Fotor is completely free.

android_badge.png

Camera Plus Editor: VSCO

VSCOVSCO

VSCO can act both as your photo editor and your camera app. Even with this split focus, it still manages to pack in an impressive photo-editing suite. You can apply filters, adjust color grading, and add frames and borders to your images. It’s not as deep as some of the more powerful apps we’ve listed above, but it’s still enough to enhance images without needing to switch to a different app after taking your photos. It also includes some video-editing features as well.

VSCO is free to download, but you can also pay for its membership ($19.99 a year) to gain access to 200+ presets for photo editing, some advanced video editing features, and weekly photo challenges.

android_badge.png

Best for Editing Portraits: Airbrush

AirbrushMeitu (China) Limited

Airbrush focuses on making sure that your selfies and portrait photos look as good as possible. You can smooth out faces, brighten eyes and teeth, remove blemishes, add in special effects, and adjust depth. With such powerful tools, your photos will look better than ever with Airbrush.

Airbrush is free to download, but if you want to get rid of ads and gain access to some more premium features (like adding backgrounds and more facial retouching tools), it’ll cost you $19.99 a year.

android_badge.png

Best for Black and White Photography: Hypocam

HypocamIOAPPS

Black and white photography is trickier than it appears. It’s important to get the tone, texture, and angle of a photo just right or else it’ll look like a cheap filter. This is what Hypocam focuses on, giving black and white photographers a specialized toolset—nothing more, nothing less. There are even large collections of sample photos from renowned photographers to give you a boost of inspiration.

Hypocam is free to download, but there are various filter and texture packages available as in-app purchases.

android_badge.png

The One You Already Have: Google Photos

Google PhotosGoogle

Google Photos may not boast the same in-depth tools or advanced effects of the apps we’ve already talked about, but it should by no means be disregarded. It includes the most basic tools, like lighting and color-level adjustments, along with the ability to draw on images, crop images, and add filters. While the photo-editing features in the app are simple, they’re still good enough to do some quick edits to your photos. And, considering Google Photos comes preinstalled on most Android phones (and is free regardless), that’s about as much as you can ask for.

android_badge.png

Built-in Editing: Instagram

InstagramInstagram

While it may seem strange to rely on Instagram’s included photo editing, its built-in editor does have some nice features and effects that are difficult (or impossible) to find in other apps. It also covers all your basic needs of color grading, cropping, and filters. You don’t even have to post the photos to save them to your phone (although, it does require a bit of a workaround).

And, as you probably already know, Instagram is free.

android_badge.png

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42053/11-of-the-best-photo-editors-for-android/
Proactive Computing found this story and shared it with you.
The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

The Best Free Microsoft Excel Alternatives

Microsoft Excel Alternatives heroRawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

Spreadsheets are ubiquitous: people use them every day for tracking inventory, budgeting, data tracking, and a million other things. And, while Microsoft Excel has been the go-to spreadsheet for years, there are other (free) alternatives you might like more.

Whatever your reason is for using a spreadsheet, odds are you’ve used Microsoft Excel at some point. And, while the software is more than capable of handling anything you throw at it (even Grandma’s knitting patterns and your little brother’s Minecraft building plans), Excel is expensive and even lacks a few features that would make it more usable. Thankfully, there are plenty of free alternatives available, many of which are just as powerful and easy to use.

What to Look for in a Microsoft Excel Alternative

Free spreadsheet software should be just as powerful as paid options and come stocked with all the tools you need to spreadsheet your heart out. Here are the most important features good spreadsheet software should offer, and why they’re important:

  • An Intuitive Interface: Spreadsheets are designed to handle complex tasks, but that doesn’t mean that the software itself should be clunky or difficult to use. The best Excel alternatives have a clean modern look and smart tool organization, and are stocked with a ready artillery of built-in formulas, functions, and templates. The software should also have cross-platform support, so you can access them anywhere.
  • Live Collaboration Support: If your team needs to work together through a spreadsheet, it’s imperative that the software supports simultaneous collaboration. Likewise, the program should also be able to track who makes what change when, and to allow you to lock down individual cells (or the whole document) so no unwanted changes can be made. It should also let you set the spreadsheet as read-only and enable other permissions for users.
  • Powerful Functions and Formulas: Whether you’re tracking warehouse inventory, handling accounting for your department, or creating charts from data for an upcoming presentation, your spreadsheet software has to have a wide variety of formulas at the ready. Basic options for simple math are a given, but if you need something more advanced like statistical or logical functions, or the ability to create a custom function, the software should be able to handle those as well.
  • Dynamic Visuals: Not that looking at thousands of cells of text and numbers isn’t a ton of fun, but charts and graphs are a little easier on the eyes. Visuals let you see data at a glance and are a must-have item for presentations. Good Microsoft Excel alternatives support dynamic charts and graphs that update in real time as your data does, and should allow for extensive customization so you can make your visuals look and work exactly how you need them to.
  • Advanced Features: Most people probably won’t ever bother with the advanced features found in most spreadsheet software like custom macros, filters, pivot tables, conditional formatting, or the ability to compute and analyze large data sets. However, it’s nice to know that those features are there when and if you need them.

Best Cloud-Based Excel Alternative: Google Sheets

Google Sheets websiteGoogle

Google Sheets (Free) has become as well-known as Microsoft Excel. Google users already have access to this app, plus its ability to integrate with other Google products (like Google Forms and Google Data Studio) makes it easier for you to stay on track while working on your projects. Sheets also saves everything you create to the Cloud, so you’ll have access to your spreadsheets from any desktop, iOS, or Android device.

The software is easy to navigate and use with its clean and minimal appearance. Support for simultaneous collaboration is great for teams, and it even has a built-in group chat area wherein everyone on your team can talk about the document as they work. You can comment on cells and set specific user permissions for individual cells or the entire document. A robust Sheets Help section is also ready to help in case you have questions.

Sheets has tons of built-in formulas, as well as plenty of pivot tables, conditional formatting options, and templates that can save you time and effort. It contains robust customizable charts and graphs for visualizing your data, which update dynamically as your data does. Google Sheets also stores granular documentation of changes and supports versioning.

Best for Apple Users: Apple iWork Numbers

Apple iWork Numbers websiteApple

Apple’s version of Excel, iWork Numbers (Free), is available to anyone with an iCloud account (which includes PC users), but the mobile app is only available for iOS users (sorry, Android). Numbers, of course, supports the Apple pencil, so if you’re working from your iPad, you can make notes and draw diagrams manually. The app also supports real-time collaboration, showing you real-time edits, and lets you save and export documents as Excel files if you need to work with anyone using Excel. If you need to keep an important document secure in Numbers, you can lock it down with a password, Touch ID, or Face ID.

In Apple’s true minimalistic form, Numbers’ default is a blank sheet instead of a grid (like Excel and its alternatives provide), and its features are sparse and minimally represented. You can easily add charts, tables, and other content as needed, or choose a template with which to get started. Numbers has over 700 customizable shapes you can fashion for data visualization, as well as plenty of options for adjusting the way fonts, tables, and cell borders look. The app’s tools can handle complex functions and formulas, and its Smart Categories feature provides table organization and summaries for deeper insight into your data.

Best Open-Source Excel Alternative: LibreOffice Calc

LibreOffice Calc spreadsheetLibreOffice

Calc (Free), part of LibreOffice, is a robust spreadsheet program for Windows, macOS, and Linux users. Though the software doesn’t have the beauty and flash of the other alternatives, it’s open-sourced, meaning you have access to much more functionality and the freedom to customize pretty much anything. If you don’t want to start with a blank document, choose a free template to work off of.

LibreOffice Calc has native support for Excel files. You can also customize its appearance so it only shows you the tools and features you want to work with, and its handy keyboard shortcuts make it easy to quickly navigate its interface. The software’s built-in wizard helps you create visualizations from your data and use other advanced features, making it easy to use for new and veteran users alike.

Calc has a neat tool called DataPilot that lets you import raw data from external databases and manipulate it in your own spreadsheet. You can also create dynamic charts and graphs that display updated data in real time. The software offers flexible cell formatting and robust customization options for text, cells, and charts. In addition, multiuser collaboration in Calc is also possible, but this feature isn’t as robust as it is in pretty much any other alternative.

Closest to Microsoft Excel: WPS Office Spreadsheets

WPS Office Spreadsheets websiteWPS Office

If you’re looking for an Excel alternative that still looks and functions largely like Excel, WPS Office Spreadsheets (Free) is the one to choose. In addition to having a similar layout to Excel, WPS is also compatible with XLS, XLSX, and CSV files, so you can import files from (or export to) Microsoft Excel without issue. WPS Office is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android, and on the web as well (but only as the entire suite); if you want access to just Spreadsheets, you’re still stuck with the entire suite, including the word processor.

WPS has a beautiful modern interface that’s easy to use. It supports track changes and comments, as well as multiuser collaboration with WPS and Microsoft Office users, and it has over 50 keyboard shortcuts for easier navigation. The software supports advanced pivot tables, contains over 100 formulas you can use with your data, and has a what-if analysis feature you can use for finding solutions for data-heavy complex problems. Paying to upgrade to the Premium plan ($29.99/year) eliminates ads, gets you cloud storage, and lets you access the program on up to nine devices (instead of three on the free plan).

Best for Serious Data Analysis: Zoho Office Sheet

Zoho Office Sheet spreadsheetZoho

Zoho Office Sheet (Free) is great spreadsheet software for many reasons, the first of which is its AI-powered data analysis tool, Zia, which analyzes your data and provides insights to help you better understand it. Zia gets rid of inconsistencies and duplicate values, and automates pivot tables and charts that you can then add to your spreadsheet. You can also “ask” the tool questions about your data, or to analyze said data with certain filters in place, and it will help you find an answer.

Zoho doesn’t lack for other features, either, like real-time collaboration for up to 25 users or a chat panel where users can discuss a documents. The audit trail tool lets you see who made a particular change to the document, and Zoho backs up every document with default version backups so you won’t have to worry about data loss. You can lock down the entire document, or just certain cells, with a password, set read and edit permissions, and publish part or all of your spreadsheet on the web.

The app supports over 350 functions, in addition to advanced functions like pivot tables and conditional formatting. It can automate certain tasks, create validations for data entry, collect data with forms, and import data from external sources like a web page, an RSS feed, or an external file. The app also lets you create custom functions and record macros. Zoho is cloud based and can be accessed anywhere.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42195/the-best-free-microsoft-excel-alternatives/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Suzanne Humphries

Facebook Unveils 50-person Video Chat on Messenger and WhatsApp Beta

An illustration of Messenger Rooms on desktop.Facebook

After a short two-week wait, Facebook is launching its anticipated Messenger Rooms video client. The free chatting platform, which can accommodate up to 50 people, is available to everyone on the Facebook website, the Facebook (or Messenger) mobile app, or the WhatsApp beta app. Surprisingly, you can also invite people without a Facebook account to join video chats.

Messenger Rooms are already well-integrated with the Facebook ecosystem. Most people will start video chats through the Messenger client, but you can also share or schedule large chats through your News Feed, Groups, or an Events page. And since Messenger Rooms comes with a mess of security features, it’s easy to limit the number of people per room, lock out strangers, or kick out people that you don’t like.

Facebook is trying to compete with services like Zoom and Google Duo, which are booming in popularity due to social distancing. It’s a smart move—Messenger Rooms is baked into Facebook, and it should appeal to regular people who don’t want to sign up for a new service or download a confusing new chatting client. Plus, Rooms already feels well-polished, and it even has some fun AR and virtual background tools.

Soon, Messenger Rooms will work seamlessly across Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, and Portal (the Facebook smart home device). Facebook is already testing its video chat tool in the latest beta build of WhatsApp, but the company hasn’t announced an official launch date for Rooms on WhastApp.

Source: Facebook, and via 9to5Google

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42735/facebook-unveils-50-person-video-chat-on-messenger-and-whatsapp-beta/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Playmobil’s Light-Up Delorean Will Hit Stores Tomorrow at 88 MPH

A photo of the light-up DeLorean's interior.Playmobil

Back to the Future inspired a whole generation of nerds to pursue scientific insights, to dress up as their favorite characters, and to make movie references that I don’t fully understand. Like these nerds, I wish that I could wake up to find a time-traveling DeLorean in my driveway. But I’ll have to settle for a light-up toy on my desk.

Playmobil is celebrating Back to the Future’s 25th anniversary with a 64-piece DeLorean playset. The set includes parts to build a light-up DeLorean with adjustable wheels, a flux capacitor, and a detailed interior. As far as I know, the flux capacitor isn’t time-travel ready.

A photo of the DeLorean's wheels going into time-travel mode.Playmobil

The Playmobil set also includes figurines to help you reenact your favorite Back to the Future scenes. You’ve got Marty McFly, Doc Brown, Einstein, a skateboard, a camcorder, a case of plutonium, and more.

Sadly, the set doesn’t come with ZZ Top figurines or Calvin Kline underwear. But Playmobil sells add-on toys to help you reenact Marty’s rock n’ roll scene if that’s what you’re into.

The full Playmobil DeLorean set with Doc and Marty figurines.Playmobil

Playmobil’s Delorean toy set costs $50 and is available for purchase starting May 15th—tomorrow. I suggest bookmarking the DeLorean sale page or opting for an email reminder through Playmobil’s website.

Source: Playmobil via CNET

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42625/playmobils-light-up-delorean-will-hit-stores-tomorrow-at-88-mph/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Microsoft Now Blocks Reply-All Email Storms In Office 365 and Exchange Online

A photo of the Office 365 suite.dennizn

Reply-all storms can disrupt a workday or throttle a businesses’ email system. They’re also exceptionally annoying, which is why Microsoft is introducing a Reply-All Storm Protection feature to its Office 365 and Exchange Online email services.

The new Reply-All Storm Protection feature will mostly benefit large businesses or organizations with large distribution lists. According to Microsoft, the Protection feature activates after detecting 10 reply-alls to over 5,000 recipients within 60 minutes. Once these conditions are met, subsequent replies to the reply-all thread will be blocked for 4 hours. Anyone attempting to reply will run into a non-delivery receipt explaining the situation.

Small businesses may not see a benefit from the new Protection feature, as it isn’t configurable. If you don’t have 5,000 addresses within your distribution list, then the protection feature will never  kick in. But over time, Microsoft plans to “tweak, fine-tune, and enhance” the feature to make it more useful to a broader range of Office 365 customers.

According to Greg Taylor of the Exchange team, Reply-All Protection is enabled for all customers now, and does not need to be tested or set up. The new feature has been in the works since 2019, and is already reducing the impact of reply-all storms within the Microsoft corporation, which is famously vulnerable to reply-all storms.

Source: Microsoft via The Verge

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42263/microsoft-now-blocks-reply-all-email-storms-in-office-365-and-exchange-online/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

The 17 Best Mobile Games to Play on the Toilet

16 Quick Mobile Games to Play on the ToiletRobtop Games, ustwo games, Dinosaur Polo Club

Let me set the scene for you: it’s that time of day, and you sit down to do your business. You settle in to get the job down, pull out your phone because you have some time to kill, and … what then? You could endlessly flip through Instagram, scroll through Twitter, or do something actually engaging like play a game. Toilet time has never been more fun.

Mobile games are great for filling up the empty parts of your day like when you’re sitting on the toilet or waiting for the bus (if you don’t want to admit to playing games on the toilet). I mean, you’ve got nothing better to do, might as well sneak in a few levels.

Mobile games have evolved a lot over the years—there are some truly substantial games available on our phones today. And, while those are great, they require a good deal of commitment. That’s not great for our bathroom gaming sessions, so we sought out games that allowed you to quickly save or exit the game without any major consequences.

We also avoided games that have excessive microtransactions. Some of the games on this list will have microtransactions (they’re next to impossible to avoid in the mobile space), but we made sure the games we selected don’t pressure you into paying through gameplay.

Besides that, any low-stakes mobile game available on iOS and Android is fair game—so let’s just get into it.

Puzzle Games

Monument Valley 2ustwo games

Puzzle games make up a large part of the mobile gaming landscape, and they typically fall under the “pick-up-and-play” category, which is great for this list. So, sit back, fire one up, and put your brain to work while you do your business.

  • Monument Valley 1 (iOS/Android) and 2 (iOS/Android): These two top-down puzzle games mess with your perspective to deliver on mind-bending puzzles. Add in some unique visuals and a simple but endearing story, and you have two great puzzle games to work through.
  • Disney Emoji Blitz (iOS/Android): A simple match-three puzzle game with a Disney twist. On top of the standard puzzle solving, you can also complete missions and collect various Disney-themed emojis.
  • Two Dots (iOS/Android): A unique puzzle game about connecting dots to break through obstacles. There are hundreds of levels to play through with some fun visuals, so this is one you’ll be returning to a lot.
  • Wordscapes: (iOS/Android): A twist on classic crosswords and Scrabble, Wordscapes will put your vocabulary to the test.

Score-Based Games

Shooty SkiesMighty Games

These games revive the arcade mentality of competing for high scores. Typically, score-based games have endless modes where you play until you die or get bored, whichever comes first.

  • Ballz (iOS/Android): All you do in this game is bounce balls off of blocks to break them and advance up the endless stages. It’s simple but addictive.
  • Shooty Skies (iOS/Android): In the vein of other arcade shooters, Shooty Skies has you go through endless stages shooting down enemies for points. There are power-ups to find and even a few bosses to encounter.

Strategy Games

Mini MetroDinosaur Polo Club

While strategy games ask a lot of critical thinking and decision-making of you, they can find ways to make that less taxing. After all, you probably don’t want to run a nation as its ruler from a ceramic throne, so these two games are a bit chiller.

  • Bloons TD 6 (iOS/Android): Bloons is a long-running tower defense series. You use various monkey classes to pop “Bloons” as they approach your base. There are plenty of choices to make and even some competitive online elements (but those are completely optional).
  • Mini Metro (iOS/Android): While on the surface, Mini Metro may not look like much with its minimalist visuals, but under those simple colored lines is an intricate game about connecting subway lines.

Endless Runners

CanabaltFinji

This is one of the more popular mobile game genres, and for good reason—there’s something to be said about the addictive nature of a good endless runner. Endless runners even have a built-in timer of sorts with levels getting faster and more difficult the longer you survive, to the point where only the most inhumanly good players have a chance of continuing their runs. So, that sounds like a good endpoint.

  • Subway Surfers (iOS/Android): One of the most popular mobile games of all time, in Subway Surfers you run on subways, tunnels, and train tracks trying to escape a police officer. While that may not sound interesting, there is a reason why this game has caught the attention of hundreds of millions of players.
  • Sonic Dash (iOS/Android): Sonic Dash is pretty similar to Subway Surfers, but features everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog. There are also some more Sonic-y elements thrown into the endless runner formula like loop-de-loops and boss encounters.
  • Crossy Roads (iOS/Android): Frogger is a classic arcade title, and now you can enjoy its spiritual successor forever. Crossy Roads features plenty of new obstacles to expand on the simple car-dodging gameplay as well.
  • Canabalt (iOS/Android): Escape a collapsing city in this 2D endless runner. Avoid simple obstacles with just one finger and enjoy the minimalist art style all at the same time.

Sidescrollers

Geometry DashRobtop Games

While most sidescrollers require more active interaction from your end, there are a few mobile options that keep things simple. But simplicity doesn’t bar them from difficulty, some of these games will make you angry, but that’s fine—just try not to drop your phone.

  • Alto’s Adventure (iOS/Android) and Odyssey (iOS/Android): Both Alto’s games feature gorgeous visuals and simple gameplay. Here you’ll ski down snowy slopes enjoying the vistas around you while listening to some great music.
  • Mario Run (iOS/Android): Mario Run was Nintendo’s earnest attempt to translate a standard Mario platformer into a mobile game that only requires one finger—and it definitely succeeded. While Mario Run is on the pricier side, the expert level design you’d expect of Nintendo makes up for that.
  • Geometry Dash (iOS/Android): There are a few different versions of Geometry Dash that feature more (and often, more difficult) levels. This is the original set of levels though—playing them will give you a good idea if you like the reaction-based platforming the rest of the series offers. That doesn’t mean there aren’t difficult levels available here, there are, and they can definitely make you flinch because you could’ve sworn you jumped in time to get over those spikes.

Now that you have these games, hopefully they can make your life a little more fun because staring at the laminate floors of your bathroom is really boring.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/41296/the-17-best-mobile-games-to-play-on-the-toilet/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

Google Duo Adds Group Calls on the Web, a Family Mode, and Link Invites

A screenshot of Google Duo's new Family ModeGoogle

Like all video chat apps, Google Duo is undergoing massive changes to compete during social distancing. Last month, the service boosted its group chat limit to twelve people. Now, Google is expanding Duo group chats to the web, adding link invites to its platform, and implementing a new Family Mode for its mobile application.

Google Duo’s web-based application is still in its early stages. It’s compatible with the Duo mobile app, but it only works with two-person chats. According to Google, the Duo web app will gain group chat support in the coming weeks, with early access for Chrome users.

Along with expanded web support, Google is adding link invites to the Duo platform. Link invites, which you can copy-paste into text messages or group chats, spare you from picking people out of your contacts list before a call. It also gives you the option to quickly invite friends to a group chat during calls. For reference, Google Meet (another Google video chat app) already supports link invites and is currently free for all users.

And then there’s the new Family Mode. Like Apple’s FaceTime application, Google Duo’s Family Mode allows you to draw on-screen and apply fancy effects and AR masks to your video feed. It’s only available for one-on-one calls but should help families have engaging experiences while social distancing. Your “mute” and “end call” buttons disappear when Family Mode is enabled, which should save you from accidentally hanging up on Grandma.

Video effects and AR masks will also work on regular one-on-one Duo calls, starting with a terrifying Mother’s Day AR mask. But that’s the best Mother’s Day gift, right? Transmutation into a flower?

Source: Google

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/42165/google-duo-adds-group-calls-on-the-web-a-family-mode-and-link-invites/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

Google Drive on iOS Now Supports Locking the App With Face ID and Touch ID

Google Drive iOS screenshot

If you store some sensitive files or documents in Google Drive, and you also prefer to access them via an iPhone or iPad, you now have some advanced security options for keeping them safe. The latest update to the Drive app for iOS and iPadOS includes a “Privacy screen” toggle, which will require a biometric scan before opening the app.

The safety feature works with either Touch ID (fingerprint) or Face ID, and users can set the app to lock immediately upon switching or wait ten seconds, one minute, or ten minutes. The feature was added to version 4.2020.18204, which should be in the App Store now.

Oddly, this is a feature that’s entirely new to Drive on mobile. Even the Drive app on Android doesn’t offer it, despite Google’s own mobile platform supporting fingerprint and face scanning natively. But Google’s mobile development teams often work independently—perhaps we’ll see the feature come to Android soon.

Source: 9to5Google

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/41774/google-drive-on-ios-now-supports-locking-the-app-with-face-id-and-touch-id/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

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