Categories
Android Apps and Utilities Google Operating Systems Smartphones

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

Categories
Legislation

Credit bureaus giving free weekly credit reports now through April 2021

The three major U.S. credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – will now allow Americans to receive free weekly credit reports at AnnualCreditReport.com for a year starting April 20th 2020.   These credit reports were previously only free once a year under federal law.

The Federal Reserve Board announced on April 24, 2020 an interim final rule to amend Regulation D for bank transfers.  Previously, only 6 or fewer bank savings accounts transfers per month were allowed, but this is no longer the case.

Categories
Entertainment Media

National Emergency Library provides eBooks to students and general public

The Internet Archive has made available thousand of eBooks through its National Emergency Library program.  This was done in order to help students, educators and the general public who may not have access to reading materials due to recent current events.

The National Emergency Library can be found at archive.org/details/nationalemergencylibrary.   Frequently asked questions about the National Emergency Library may be found here.

Categories
Programming Languages

GitHub now has free price option for developers

Github now has a free basic option for teams and developers as of April 2020.  More information is at their FAQ and price list pages.

Categories
Legislation

File income taxes for free using the IRS Free File Program

U.S. taxpayers have the option to file their income taxes for free using the Free File Program from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $69,000 or less (2019 tax year requirement).   The tax preparer must start the filing process at www.irs.gov/freefile instead of a commercial tax software website in order to avoid being prompted for payment.

The Free File program is part of an agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax software companies.

Categories
Privacy of Data Security

Avast will end operations for Jumpshot because of user privacy concerns

Avast announced that they have decided to end operations for its subsidiary data analytics company Jumpshot because of public concerns about user privacy.  Avast’s free and paid antivirus software is used by millions of computer and mobile device users.

Categories
Apps and Utilities Cloud Google

Google Drive and Gmail free storage limited to 15 GB

Google accounts start with 15 GB of total storage spread across Google Drive, Gmail, and Google Photos.   Once this limit is exceeded, users have the option of upgrading to a Google One plan.

You may check the total amount of storage currently used for your Google account at google.com/settings/storage.   Google also provides instructions on how to free up additional storage.

Categories
Android Apple Apps and Utilities iOS iPad iPhone Microsoft Office Smartphones

Microsoft Office free apps for smartphones and tablets with 10.1 inch or smaller screen

Microsoft Office apps such as Excel, Word, and PowerPoint are available as free downloads for iOS , Android and Windows smartphones and tablets that have a screen size of 10.1 inches or smallerUsers can view, edit and create new Office format files with these free apps once they login with a Microsoft user account, but they must subscribe to Office 365 to unlock all app functionality.  Free web brower versions of Office apps are also available for users logged into OneDrive.

Students and teachers with a valid school email address are also eligible for the free Office 365 Education version.

Apple device users can run the iWork productivity apps, which includes Pages, Numbers, and Keynote.

Office Apps for Windows 10 Mobile will no longer be supported by Microsoft as of January 12, 2021.

Categories
Operating Systems

FreeNAS – a free open source Network Attached Storage OS

FreeNAS is a popular and free open source NAS (Network Attached Storage) operating system.    It is maintained by iXsystems and uses the OpenZFS filesystem.  More information is available at:

Categories
Training

Lynda.com offers free online training for participating library card holders

Lynda.com, the online learning platform owned by LinkedIn, offers free training through participating public libraries for library card holders through its Lynda Library program.    The library patron must log in through their local library’s digital resources website and not through the main Lynda.com website.  A full list of Lynda.com courses may be found at lynda.com/sitemap/courses.

Users also have the option to link their LinkedIn Learning and Lynda.com accounts.

Lynda.com content is also available using iOS, Android, and streaming apps.