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What Is the Number One App to Install Onto Your Phone?

There really is an app for that.

From social media, to games, to apps that can track your sleep cycle, both the App Store and Google Play Store have just about everything you may need or want in your day-to-day life. The small rectangles in our pockets can carry an extraordinary amount of data, and various applications help us navigate that data in a way that no other generation has been able to do.

But out of the hundreds—no, thousands—of apps on these stores, which is the best? What is the number one most valuable app to have installed on your device?

In my opinion, it’s Google Photos.

Why do I think Google Photos is better than the rest? What makes this simplistic picture app the most important?

Not enough people take advantage of the amazing features Google Photos has to offer, even when it comes pre-installed on some new devices. Here are the reasons I think everyone should have this app installed on their phone, and what makes it so great to use:

  • Google Photos can back up all photos at a high resolution (up to 16MP) at no cost to you.
  • It can back up all videos at up to 1080p resolution.
  • The amounts of pictures and videos Google Photos can back up at this quality is unlimited, which means you don’t have to pay for any additional storage.  
  • Google Photos is available on both Android and iOS, so you can access your pictures on any of your devices.
  • This app will automatically start to back up your pictures and video as soon as you connect it to Wi-fi. or you can set it up to back them up on the go as you take them. For this, you will have to go into Settings > Back up and sync > turn on Use Cellular Data (I would only recommend this for people with unlimited data, as it may end up costing quite a bit, depending on how many photos you take)

To take advantage of these features,when you use the app, make sure your “upload size” setting in your app is set to“High Quality.” If you want to retain a higher resolution and size, you can select “Original Quality,” but your photos will count against the 15GB of free storage that Google Drive allows. Once your 15GB is full, you will have to start paying for extra storage, or delete some of your photos to make room for new ones. And who wants to scroll through a year’s worth of cute dog photos to choose which ones to ax?

To use this application, you must also have a Gmail account. That way, Google can tie your photos on all your devices to you, giving you access to them on any device you sign in on.

Google Photos is a valuable tool for the casual cell phone photographer. With this app, you don’t have to choose between saving your vacation pictures and freeing up your storage. The Google Photos app gives any smartphone user, iPhone or Android, a way to save those memories without stressing about running out of space. The days of desperately mass-deleting old photos can end.

Microsoft asks users to abandon IE6, kinda

ie6_smallMuch has been written about the recent hack targeting Google, but somewhat lost in the shuffle is that the attack specifically targets Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Based on their analysis of the attack, Microsoft’s Security Research and Defense blog urges users to upgrade to a newer platform or enable DEP (only available on Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later).

In their blog post, Assessing risk of IE 0day vulnerability, Microsoft outlines the potential impact on the main OS and browser combinations.

Windows 2000 Windows XP Windows Vista Windows 7
Internet Explorer 6 Exploitable Exploitable (current exploit effective for code execution) N/A
(Vista ships with IE7)
N/A
(Windows 7 ships with IE 8)
Internet Explorer 7 N/A
(IE 7 will not install on Windows 2000)
Potentially exploitable (current exploit does not currently work due to memory layout differences in IE 7) IE Protected Mode prevents current exploit from working. N/A
(Windows 7 ships with IE 8)
Internet Explorer 8 N/A
(IE 8 will not install on Windows 2000)
DEP enabled by default on XP SP3 prevents exploit from working. IE Protected Mode + DEP enabled by default prevent exploit from working. IE Protected Mode + DEP enabled by default prevent exploit from working.

In spite of this, Microsoft still has no plans to drop support for IE6, leaving it up to the individual to upgrade if they desire. Because of this, there are still many major corporations that have not yet upgraded from this now ancient browser – IE 7 was released over 3 years ago.

Even though this event is likely to not change their behavior, if upgrading the operating system is not an option, they should at least consider deploying Firefox and the awesome extension IE Tab for those times when they just have to use Internet Explorer.

Also – Google doesn’t get a free pass here. How is it that the maker of the most secure browser still has workstations running IE6?

Cellphone Tethering: Is it a big deal?

Is a smartphone really that smart if providers put limits on how its data connection is used? Cellphone tethering, or using your cell phone to access internet services on your computer, is in the news because of recent actions by Apple, Palm, and Google.

Apple is releasing their new OS for their phones, dubbed iPhone 3.0, that includes tethering – unless you live in the US because AT&T tethering support isn’t available yet. Earlier this spring, Google pulled all tethering apps from the Android app store at T-Mobile’s request. Palm has sent a polite cease and desist to the “Pre Dev Wiki” website asking for tethering instructions to be removed because they might upset Sprint, Palm’s exclusive service partner in the US. Given that tethering has been available on phones for several years now, why are cell providers suddenly so concerned? Are they worried that customers would cancel their land based internet connections in favor of cellular based ones? Or that tethering would cut into the USB data card market? Read more