Friday, September 21, 2012

Looking for my ideal Android music player

I'm still looking for my (not necessarily "the") ideal Android player. It should be able to

  • change tempo,
  • shift pitch,
  • change tempo and pitch while an mp3 is playing, and
  • either
    • have a thumb scroll or
    • come up as an option when an mp3 is selected from a file manager

I need the thumb scroll because I have a folder with 1400+ fiddle tunes. My file manager has a thumb scroll, so it doesn't have to be built into the music player.

I've come across:

  • Audioshift, which doesn't work with Android 4.0+
  • Audio Speed Changer Pro, which has no thumb scroll and does not appear as an option when I select a music file from my file manager
  • Maple, which doesn't allow pitch or tempo to change while a music file is playing.

The search continues!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Sandboxie, Part 2

No, you didn't miss Part 1. It was a part of Safe Computing, for real!, which introduced the notion of using a virtual computer (or sandbox) for safe surfing. But, there are a few assorted comments worth adding, so here they are:

  • If you are surfing the web from within a Sandbox and decide to download a utility, say, the utility gets downloaded, but not to where it appears. For example, suppose you save it to a folder c:\downloads. The sandbox actually saves it to c:\{sandbox}}\downloads, where {sandbox} is the location of your sandbox. You can extract files the sandbox. You can do it manually, but Sandboxie, for example, will tell you that there are files that can be moved outside the sandbox and ask if you'd like it done.
  • A sandbox can be used for things other than surfing the web. You can run programs in it. I often install evaluation copies of products in a sandbox. That way, it doesn't leave junk on my computer when I decide it's not worth keeping. (If I decide it is worth keeping, I install it in the usual manner outside the sandbox.) Also, if it installs additional software either without telling me or because I overlooked a check box, everything goes away when the sandbox is emptied.
  • A sandbox will probably not protect your Facebook account. That is, there are a bunch of viruses and trojans whose object is to gain control of your Facebook account or mess it up in some other way. A sandbox can't help you here. If you start a rogue application within Facebook, it does its damage on Facebook's site. Facebook doesn't know if the program was invoked from a sandbox. It doesn't care. All Facebook knows is that it was instructed to run something. So, it runs something!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Safe computing, for real! (Part 2)

Scammers at work!

If you're surfing the web and, all of a sudden from out of nowhere, something other than anti-virus software that you yourself have installed greets you with a notice that your computer is infected and telling you to download a program to remove the virus, please don't do it. It's a scam. Clicking on the so-called remover is what puts the virus onto your system. It will then take a non-trivial payment to someone to have it removed. The same site that placed the virus on the computer will offer you a program to remove it. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice...uhm, shame on you again. You're not going to get me a third time, but should anyone chance a second time? Maybe better to give the money to a trustworthy professional.

However, if you are using a sandbox as we discussed last time, all you have to do is empty the sandbox as you thumb your nose at whoever was trying to get at you.

Online virus scans

Whenever your computer acts in a way that makes you uncomfortable, or every once in a while just for the fun of it, it's a good idea to run an online virus checker, such at Trend Micro's Housecall. (There are others. Google is your friend.) The advantage of these programs is that they do not reside you your computer, so it's harder for a virus to evade them.

Online program checker

Every once in a while, you may come across an online utility that looks too good to pass up. Some of them are. One of my criteria for whether such a program is likely to be safe is whether the site offering it has another source of income. If it does, then the utility is likely a form of advertising. If it does not, be afraid. There are some precautions you can take. You can type the name of the program into Google along with the word "virus" to see what pops up. Another option is an online program checker, such as Jotti's malware scan. (Again, there are others and Google is your friend.) These free services allow you to upload the program, which they then run against a suite of virus checkers.