Category Archives: Apps and Utilities

Downdetector shows outage information for websites and services

Downdetector shows outage information and status for widely used websites and services such as  mobile and internet service providers, social media sites, banking and financial services, etc.    This includes:

Android custom distributions (ROMs) for smartphones and tablets

Android custom distributions (ROMs) are replacement operating systems for Android smartphones and tablets.  This allows users to customize older devices that may not have available Android updates and extend their service life.   This may erase data and void your device’s warranty.  Available security updates are usually based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).  More information is at

Google Meet, Skype Meet Now and Facebook Messenger Rooms video meeting tools

Google, Microsoft and Facebook all announced changes or updates to their video meeting tools in April 2020.   These are alternatives to the popular Zoom video chat software.

Video meeting tool Google Meet is now available free of charge for all users.  This will be a gradual rollout within the next few weeks. Users must sign in with their Google account, but Meet works entirely in a web browser and does not require downloads first.

Skype Meet Now is a different video meeting tool which does not require a sign-up or installation.  A unique Meet Now link can be requested from Skype or a web browser.

Facebook has also announced its new meeting tool – Facebook Messenger Rooms. Invited attendees do not need a Facebook account to attend the video meeting and downloads are not required. Rooms is not end-to-end encrypted. This is in addition to their Facebook Workplace and Facebook Work Groups services.