Category: utilities

ASCOMP Software Backup Maker 7.4 Showcase

Main Window

Backups and archives are a key piece of retaining our digital lifestyle; both professional and personal data chains and items. We keep all of our documents, photos, and records in binary format, instead of pen and paper. One bad electrical overload, physical shock, read/write error, electromagnetic exposure, and you can lose everything. These are real-world risks and can strike without warning. One needs to take steps to mitigate these dangers and ASCOMP Software’s Backup Maker 7.4.

The newest changes to this program include a System Tray notification of the Backup status. This keeps you aware of the status of your backups, the last one completed, successful/unsuccessful, and the date code. You can then start and new backup with a few clicks. This pairs well with the enlarged Main Window for easier readbility.

Also, you can now terminate/end/cancel a backup, if the backup has started before you are ready. This is helpful, as having to resort to using the System Task Manager to force stop the program. This can cause system and software instability, and make backups corrupted. This is not a safe variable to occur.

This software can be purchased in several tiers. The levels are Private (One User, on up to 2 computers), Company (2-5 Users, on 5 computers, and Update (incremental updates, after the initial two years of updates have elapsed, for an additional 2 years). The prices are in order $25.00 USD, $50.00 USD, and $15.00 USD, respectfully. Great prices for a lightweight and extensive backup program. Vhexk them out, and tell them I sent you. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

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Bolide Movie Creator HD 4.0 Showcase

A while back, I wrote about how a program from the fine folks at Bolide Software had introduced a fine, quality video editor/creator for easy use. They have continued to iterate since that initial review, and they have brought great improvements, and have yet kept the cost quite reasonable. The name of this great piece of technology is Bolide Movie Creator 4.0.

There are many changes that have come to the program. One I like is the ability to convert a video file to an audio file. This would be a great boon to an individual or indie podcaster, that makes/records the podcast episode in video form, and needs to transcode the show to audio for content delivery network (CDN) podcast catchers. I have debated making video reviews or even podcasting down the line, so this would be a great aid in this regard.

Initial Open Window With Timeline 
Effects Window

It has some overhauling of the Effects system, as you can now modify the Start/End of certain Fade transitions. You can now make changes with right-click of the mouse, instead of relying on the keyboard commands alone. The changes are fairly extensive and are varying in their degree differences to prior versions. If you are interested in the full list, check this list here.

Transitions Window

The great thing that is happening at Bolide Software is that they are running a Valentine’s Day Special. You can get this program or one of their others for 30% off. That is off the regular price of $39.95 USD. Either on sale or not, this is a great value, as their competitors run in the near one hundred dollar range (USD). You can purchase it directly from them at this storefront. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Audials AG Audials One 2019 Review

Streaming media is a growing aspect of our entertainment portfolio. We depend on the web to watch our movies, listen to our music, follow our podcasts and connect with the media that we consume. Such connectivity can be convenient, but it has the downside of requiring the person to be online. Many tools have come along to mitigate this issue, but one of the kings of the genre is Audials AG, and their flagship family product Audials One 2019.

Streaming Music Capture Sources

This all-in-one suite supports the recording of many sources, with the highlight being that the music search engine, now has the power of Spotify. This change allows people to search across multiple platforms to find the music they love and then simulcasts the playback for offline playback/recording. This works for both Free Accounts and Premium Accounts alike. Now you can stream from Apple Music, YouTube, Pandora, Google Play Music, and Spotify for your favorite artists, and be able to listen to them away from the Internet-connected device. While I am new to Spotify, the potential for this to make music media creation and library organization a vast improvement, not seen since the advent of iTunes and the iPod.

Video Streaming Services supported by Audials One

While audio is a vital aspect of our online media consumption, the video seems to have trumped its importance. Many of the modern video streaming services allow for offline downloading for certain titles and services, but not all of them. Here is where Audials One comes to the rescue, as it allows you to record the video titles for later viewing, as you watch them. You can set the format you need, and follow the onscreen prompts, and then start your program, and enjoy. This is an excellent tool for all of your media streaming needs.

Podcast Directory

It is of note that this program that allows you to subscribe, stream, and record your podcasts. I have used many podcast clients, and this interface is fairly standard and reminds me Stitcher interface on phones/tablets. As of this juncture, it does not support password-protected podcasts, but I do that is added in the future. This would be able to allow one to listen to many feeds that are behind paywalls.

Online TV Feeds

This program also supports the option to record numerous online tv stations feeds, that are up for grabs. I tend to use my Roku player for many tv feeds, but having a way to do this for my desktop tv viewing is nice. it might be nice to watch my local news and my PC, while I am working.

Media Conversion Window

I have covered many media conversion programs in the past. This program is quite well done, and if you want it for the previous features, you cannot beat the price with this inclusion. This will do both audio and video conversions, and make it compatible with your devices.

In conclusion, I have used this program for over five years, and so I know it well. This version is the best yet, and I know it will only improve, with each iteration. My primary experience is using this for online radio recording feeds, but I have never been disappointed. I know that for around thirty dollars (USD), you can have a very involved, full-featured software suite for online media library and recording software. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

Ashampoo Burning Studio 20 & 2018 Edition Review

You may recall that I have reviewed the flagship burning suites from Ashampoo, a while back. Now they have released two, updated replacements, entitled Burning Studio 20, and Burning Studio 2019, which is now free (originally $29.99 USD). They make great gifts and would be an excellent gift to give one’s loved ones. Let’s dive and see what they have to offer.

Burning Studio 20 Box Art

Burning Studio 2019 offers you more of the same from prior versions, but it has highlights that stand out from the crowd. One I want to mention is that if you own a late-model of a vehicle, it now supports over 1,600 templates to make some compatible discs for playback on the road. If you want CD-A audio, that displays the metadata of the song that is playing, you cannot go wrong. It even allows you to make discs that have special cases for car radio modes.

One, other feature that I want to highlight is that in today’s world, keeping you data secure and safe is a top priority. Many devices and storage devices allow you to set passwords to keep prying eyes out of your data, but optical media has lagged behind. Now, with this iteration, you can add password-protected dialogs to keep you discs being read by anyone. This is akin to having a password on an archive file (.zip, .rar, and ,7-zip, etc.), and works just as flawlessly. If you have sensitive data, definitely use this to keep them protected.

As for Burning Studio 19, it has the same backbone as the family of the Ashampoo Burning Studio family. It has many features carried forward from previous versions and is a solid product. As this was the previous paid version, it would pay you to try this version out, if you are on the fence for opting for a paid, up-to-date version of this software. In fact, it is a free upgrade, if you are using an older version of the program. You would be hard pressed to find a better product for this price point.

As this year draws to a close, getting close to Christmas, and New Years, many new memories will be made. You owe it to yourself to keep these memories safe and accessible. These are vital and irreplaceable, so back it up, and maybe keep this in mind for this said purpose. Until next time, Merry Christmas, God Bless, and a Happy New Year and keep on techin’ . . .

Software Showcase: ASComp Synchredible 5.101

Software Showcase: ASComp Synchredible 5.101

The age of backups and the online hacks is upon us, and as a result, making incremental backups and file syncing has taken on a renewed importance. As I have stated prior, a backup is when you make two copies, outside of the working copy, and place them in, two different areas for redundancy. If you just make a single backup copy, it is an archival copy, but not truly backed up, as you do not have a safety net, as the primary copy can fail/become corrupted. If that happens, and the original fails, you are out of luck. Keeping track of the copies and their various locations can be hassle, if you rely on manual methods, human error can occur, and things left in the lurch the result. A better approach is to utilize an automatic method, so all copies and their corresponding updates are kept current. The marketplace is crowded, but a fine, simplified, yet feature-packed program to handle heralds from ASComp Software, called Synchcredible 5.101.

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The program has a very standardized GUI, reminiscent of most Win32/Winx64 programs, with a simple button/menu system that is easy to use/operate. A systematic wizard that walks you through the process, with various settings that can be toggled, greets you as you enter the program. You create a task, and name it, without much hassle and the processes are very intuitive. I have a master backup drive, which is an external USB hard drive that has a 4TB capacity. You can elect to have your file/folder syncing to be automated and run on a schedule, without needing to activate it manually. k9hpghFor someone like me, who has my computer function as a gaming rig, blog hub, office machine, and so many more roles, I run this task as a manual process. It is easy adding tasks and running these processes, without complication, and error. It could not be much easier. In fact, the process is quicker, smoother, and less intensive on computer resources, than just using the file copy and paste functions built into the operating system. This program can tell you what has changed, what will be created and/or placed on the destination drive, before any files are synced. This can tell you what will be needed in space and file structure, prior to confirming the action.5eetyp

The very fair starting price point of $25.00 USD is a nice value for a program such as this, and well worth the cost. Not unlike my, other German software firms, they stand by what they sell/create, and their attention to customer’s needs. I know that if you try this program out, along with the other programs on tap there, you will be pleased. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Snap 2018 Showcase

Ashampoo Snap 2018 Showcase

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Just two months ago, I brought to your attention the top-tier screen capture software utility by the fine folks at Ashampoo, called Snap 10. Today, I can announce that a new 2017 entry-level version, entitled Snap 2018.  This program is still filled with all of the features that you loved from the prior edition, coupled with a couple of improvements, and newfound features in to have at your disposal. If you need to grab images from your screen, this is a fine, basic program to meet that challenge head-on. While I will not rehash what I highlighted before (as you can reference my prior articles on this site), I wanted to showcase some of the newest features, which might resonate with you, my faithful readers.

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Not unlike the full suite of Snap 10, they have added support for 3D Games screen capture. It works very similarly to the version contained in the Snap 10 and is an excellent version for non-professional gamers. If you have ever wanted to capture your exploits and share them with the world, you no longer have any excuse, as this is now in the palms of your hands. This is a way for disabled people to share their passions with the world.2058ff4

The other aspect that I want to highlight, today, is they have added more additional screen capture sizes. The main area of improvement is how they have focused on more fixed window sizes. The importance of that can be found in the renewed focus on 4K gaming and the breakthrough movement of VR. As widescreen, high-resolution gaming has come into its own, within the last decade, and the companion growth of YouTube and/or Twitch.tv streaming. The needs of the aforementioned streamers and audience, requires proper aspect ratio images and videos to embedded elements for their production needs.  Knowing that your capture program will capture them at a fixed window size that will match the source makes the process seamless. In short, a vital key component for 21st Century eSports and gaming viewership.

25a8dwpIf you adore Ashampoo products, you will like this as it continues their fine tradition, for great, free programs. You cannot beat the price, and that is not something that you can deny. As always, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 Showcase

Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 Showcase

As with any flagship product from the house of Ashampoo, you know that they will always give you the best to offer in whatever they make, and Backup 11 Professional is no exception. The days that have seen dominance from Roxio and Ahead in HDD and disc backup programs have been surpassed by cloud storage models, and more competitive pricing from their competitors. Gone is the time-frame when a backup program suite has to cost $99.99 USD and above, with a lack of full integration in the operating system UX and seamless Windows System Restore compatibility. In addition, hard drive partition formats have moved away from FAT32 and NTFS to advanced 64-bit UEFI/GPT file systems, where very long file names, dedicated restore partitions, and secure boot environments are the basis for 21st Century computing in its second decade of operation. These require new HDD backup solutions, and Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 covers its customers on all of these fronts; for less (especially if you are a prior customer, as you can qualify for significant discounts).

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I do not have to highlight the importance of proper backups and security rollback solutions with mass hacks, password theft, ransomware, and the like splashed all over the front page of news sites, the opening of the evening news, social media posts, etc. People should not pay to have their files decrypted, nor should they trust that the criminals will follow through with their promises to do so. The superior option is to back up your files with Ashampoo Backup 11 Pro, in conjunction with any cloud backup service that you have in usage. This allows you to be able go back to a state of non-infection and/or a snapshot of a baseline image of your system, to always fall back on. While a system backup in of itself cannot decrypt or unlock a ransomware attack (that falls to other security software), it is a vital piece of dealing with these attacks.

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If the prospect of creating, operating, and implementing a backup regimen has been off-putting, now Backup Pro 11 has made improvements to make it more appealing. As O/S environments have changed material design philosophies over the years, and a greater emphasis on human/natural language is at the forefront, win32 (x86) and 64-bit (x64) apps have lagged behind in business software. Ashampoo has come to the rescue, as Backup Pro 11 closely mimics and takes its inspiration from the UX seen in macOS and Windows 10, with the various panels and options seen in the Settings area of those O/S’s. If you can navigate around those areas and computer options, you can easily accomplish this goal.

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One key improvement that operating systems have baked into their fabric is the inclusion of creating recovery media to get back into your system, in the event of a catastrophe. As system builders/manufactures have moved away from including optical drives in their machines. As laptops, and to a lesser extent, desktops have made external HDD drivers, USB flash drives, and dedicated rescue partitions are the contact point for local file access, in place of optical media. The dedicated rescue protocols for the operating systems are designed to update/install/reinstall the operating system alone. With Backup Pro 11, you can not only create a Rescue Medium that takes care of the operating system, as well as additional programs and data support for key things you need to get back in operation.  The process is just as easy as making the operating system versions, but more full-featured and inclusive.

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Bottom-line, you need a backup solution to deal with these pressing threats, and you will be very hard pressed to find a better one than this fine program. If you have never bought an Ashampoo Backup Pro program before, it will set you back $49.99 USD. As I mentioned before, the upgrade price is only $19.99 USD; a deal at any bargain. No different than Ashampoo’s other programs, a demo version is available for trying out the features to see what you need, before you buy it.  Once you join in on this program, you will stick around. Until next time, keep on techin’ . . .

Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

Ashampoo Burning Studio 18 In-Depth Review:

You may recall that I reviewed the flagship burning suite from Ashampoo, called Burning Suite 16, not too long ago. Now they have released the updated replacement, entitled Burning Studio 18, and it is packed with nice features and improved functions. Everything that you loved from the prior entry is here, only better, and easier to use. Now, let’s get into the details, and see what is on offer.

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If you are like me, you enjoy listening to your tunes, when you are out and about. This extends to traveling in the car, and this time of the year, singing along with Christmas music. Many newer automotive makers have vehicle product lines have A/V smart radio receivers are factory installed. This is nice to have, without adding an after-market unit, but it comes with some hurdles. Many different radios can only playback certain file formats while excluding others from the list.

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Burning Studio 18 has a sure-fire way to make it possible to make a disc that will be compatible with whatever device is in the car, and playback is a breeze. The program is designed to allow you to select from numerous presets for radios/playback devices that take the guesswork out of this process, an excellent program feature for 21st Century music disc authoring. This is a must-have feature for disc authoring of today’s digital music.

People this time of year make numerous photos, video, and memories of the holiday festivities. When they sit down to compile the images into a cohesive whole and layout albums, it can be overwhelming and in disarray as to how best to present them to the group. Many have elected to turn them into slideshows and add in music and transitions so they can be shown on the computer and/or TV.

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Since the release of Burning Studio 18, this excellent program has added the support for MPEG-4 H.264/AAC audio-video file formats. This allows you to create state-of-the-art HD videos that give you the sheen of a Hollywood production, yet star you and your friends and family. Now when you add transitions and sound effects, you will how numerous ways to make your memories sparkle.

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Data breaches and e-mail scandals make the headlines, it seems weekly. From the Executive Branch of the U.S. Government and the recent election fiasco, on down to local government office being ransomed by hackers, to ordinary people getting their personal computers locked out unless Bitcoin is paid for its release. Now, more than ever, people need solid, controlled environments to backup and secure their data for these and other reasons. Burning Studio 18, and the stable of single and multi-span volume backups/archives. Knowing that you can put your trust in this program, and know that if the worse happens, you can get your data (and to a certain extent, your life) back. This cannot be understated and brushed aside, as a core feature for burning software.

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These are but a few, key features that have been added and/or improved with this edition of the software. I know that if you try this version, you will be very happy with these changes. If you act now (December 2016), you will find that many of Ashampoo’s products are on sale, with significant discounts to be had. As always, the trial version of the program will allow you to try it out for yourself. Until next time, Merry Christmas and keep on techin’ . . .

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Tenorshare UltData In-Depth Review

Our day-to-day lives depend on mobile technology more and more. Our phones are the epicenter of our data, photos, apps, movies, music, etc. With so much invested in these devices, a reliable and dependable resource management system needs to be in place, so you can get to this critical information when your device is inaccessible and is possibly broken or physically damaged. The recovery options for iOS devices has grown for both Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh Operation System(s), in regards to programs and utilities that accomplish this task for average users.

Of the options available, a highly-rated program has risen through the ranks, Tenorshare’s UltData.

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This fine program has you covered, not matter what issue is preventing you from getting into your iDevice, and its key information. No matter if you have dropped your device, and broke it, hung on the boot-up logo, accidental deletion, and many other issues, it can get it back for you. It accomplishes this in one of three ways: retrieval from you iCloud account, restoring from you iTunes Backup, or even directly from you iDevice. Each has their advantages and uses, and which one you ever choose; you will be pleased with the results.

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As someone, who has an old iPhone 4, from 2010, I can tell you that being able to access critical data that has been invaluable is getting back restored photos and notes, along with app data backups. In having an older device, I have not been able to use iTunes to do backup/syncs, without causing errors and problems. Now having an option to use UltData to get these files either from my device or from iCloud, I can feel a peace of mind, in knowing that my information is not too far out of reach.

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Once you initialize the backup sequence, it is well organized and easy to see what is available for recovery. You can easily see your call history, photos, and texts, in real-time, so you can only restore that stuff you want, and not bring back things you do not need, or no longer require. Whatever you recover from your device, you can take those, and re-sync them back into your device to use them, going forward.

 

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In trying to preserve my digital life, recorded on my iPhone and iPad, which covers my entire married life, having software that will help me use my data to migrate to a set of newer iDevices (which I am hopeful that I can acquire sometimes this year), will make this dicey proposition possible, with a safety net. I use my mobile devices, and their features to keep my life focused and on-track. Any prospects of losing this critical information that I cannot get back is something I want to prevent, and having tools, such as Tenorshare makes is a much less probably outcome.

 

Tenorshare_logoYou may be asking yourself, why I should choose UltData for my iOS device recovery options, over other options on the market. The answer is many reasons (some which I have already cited). One standout that you, my readers may find important and treasure for your peace of mind, is that Tenorshare is an award-winning company, with UltData  winning 2016 Golden Award from TopTenReviews.com. This is a nice, prestigious award to win from a reputable software review site, and further highlights the advantages that this software offers your iOS devices, whether or not your computer runs on Windows or Mac.

The entry cost for this peace of mind and tool-set is very reasonable, and scalable, based upon your needs as an individual, family, or if you have an organization or commercial enterprise that would require vast number of device support numbers. The starting tier is a 1-yr. Subscription, which runs $83.95 USD, and includes a license for one computer, one year support and one year of upgrades. The second tier is the Family Pack, $139.95 USD, and is a license for 2-5 computers, lifetime usage, lifetime support, and lifetime upgrades. The top-tier of licenses is the Unlimited License, which runs $699.95 USD and that is unlimited devices, support, and upgrades, and the best value across the board. If you act right now, they are running a 40% off sale that slashes the prices drastically, but only for a very, short time (the sale ends on 07/11/16). As is usually the case, most software I review has a demo/trial version that you can try, risk-free.

If you have ever had an iDevice that has failed on you, you can be sure that this program can give you the best chance to get your data back. I know that once you try this software, you will be hooked on keeping your data safeguarded with the umbrella of programs from Tenorshare; do not forget to tell them that I sent you. As always, keep on techin’!

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

Product Review: Squirrels Reflector 2 In-Depth:

In the multi-device connected world, in which we live, we have the need of the usage of tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices, crossing over with our desktops and laptops; all requiring those to display our content in various screens simultaneously. Options to do this, particularly on the Windows PC side, are few and far between, and this is especially the case, if you are operating a non-jail-broken tablet or smartphone that run iOS operating system. I was unsure how to undertake this task, until I discovered Squirrels, and Reflector 2.reflector-2-1

In my travels and tech tasks, I have found myself in needing to show my smart device’s screen, its apps, and even the audio feed. The best way to access these elements strives from the AirPlay wireless standard, created by Apple, which allows each of their modern technology devices communicate with one another seamlessly and without much fuss. When you migrate over to devices not made by Apple and/or do not run on their proprietary operating system, you run into problems. Many manufactures have come onto the marketplace, and now create accessories and products that work for these devices, but the emphasis is on apps and other hardware accessories, rather than making these devices have AirPlay support for Microsoft Windows.

In discovering Squirrel, and their stable of software titles, I have found the solution to this conundrum. The first part I reviewed last time, AirParrot 2, allows you to transmit from one PC to other PC’s or devices. Its companion/counterpart, Reflector 2, allows your PC to receive signals from other PC’s, and for the focus of this piece, iOS screen capture and mirroring.

I want to stress at the onset of this article, the capabilities to receive other PC’s video/audio signals are quite strong and very versatile. I have had the usage of this functionality in several situations, but what I want to share with you/explore with you is how easy it is to link your computer to your smartphone/tablet, and share that synergy to great effect. I know that you will come to see how vital this will be to your digital life, whether or not you have a disability.3

One usage of this screen mirroring can be streaming or watching games on your PC or home theater system, broadcast from your mobile device. I am fortunate that I have a dedicated streaming device for watching media outlets (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, etc.), but many people do not have such a piece of hardware, and having a software solution that natively supports either Android Google Play or Apple AirPlay standards can allow them to accomplish this task. Trying to watch a small screen is fine for being on the go, but if you want to watch things as a group or media that is more easily understood in a larger scale, using a casting protocol or software applet is the way to proceed. I can see value in this great feature.

If you have a need to control the reception of data gathered by Reflector 2, there are a couple of companion apps that allow for remote control for both corporate and educational environments. The apps in question are called, Reflector Director and Reflector Student. Each of these can be used to either allow collaborative learning in corporate settings or between students in the classroom.reflector-2-2

It is quite nice to share your screen, and watch live, in real-time. However, being able to record what is shared is a vital way to dissipate your information and share your presentations in the cloud, via sites such as YouTube. Thankfully, Reflector 2 has such support built-in, where you can broadcast yourself on the stream, and allows you to also show a mirrored device, integrated into your presentation. You can show yourself, move to a mirrored device in your stream, back to you; all while uploading the video to YouTube Live. I have yet to use this, but in the future, I might move to video reviews, instead of typed ones, that I have been using from day one on my blog.

Bottom line, if you need to seamlessly embed your smart device into your desktop/stream casting device, you need this program. This used in conjunction with AirParrot 2, makes a complete ecosystem for broadcasting and receiving smart device into desktop/laptop environments. The nice thing is that this program can be had for as little as $14.99 USD/computer. If you need a multi-user/multi-device license model, those are available as well. I know that if you try this, you will jump and buy this with no hesitation. They offer their software for Windows and Mac, so the two major platforms for desktops/laptops are supported, along with Android and iOS for mobile devices. You owe it to yourself to have this at your disposal. As always, keep on techin’ . . .