Category Archives: Tools and Tips


LastPass Password Manager

Anybody that has accounts on multiple websites has probably suffered the frustration of having to create complex passwords for every website they frequent. Adding to the frustration is of course having to remember all those passwords. Worse yet, some of us use the same passwords for multiple sites, thus increasing the risk of being hacked in multiple places if one site password is compromised. Please tell me that you don’t do that. ūüôā

LastPass**** is here to help ease your password pains.

LastPass is a multi-platform and online password vault¬†that takes most of the hassle of managing passwords off your shoulders. I’m amazed that more people don’t know about this service, especially since it’s largely free.

Here are some of the great things about LastPass:

  • Remember only one Master Password to unlock LassPass, and let LastPass remember¬†the rest for you.
  • You can use LastPass online…meaning you can access your password vault¬†from any web enabled computer you trust.
  • LastPass supports all the most popular browsers and allows for “automagic” login to most websites. (I’ve had a few instances where the site used a popup for login or an Adobe Flash form, and LastPass did not recognize these as password forms, but it’s pretty¬†rare).
  • LastPass recognizes when a new website is asking you to register a password, and provides a simple to use strong password generator to keep things simple.
  • LastPass is not only useful on computers, but also on¬†Tablets and Mobile phones via the LastPass App. Now all your website passwords are synchronized across all your devices. (Note: There is a small annual fee for Mobile device use.)

In a nutshell, we find LastPass to be an extremely useful utility for managing the many website passwords we accumulate, and the level of functionality is amazing for a free product. The small annual fee they ask for supporting mobile devices is very small indeed compared to the daily usefulness of this tool.

One note: Despite my confidence in their security, encryption capability and stability as a company, I am still not willing to store my bank passwords with any third party, including LastPass, and I suggest that approach to others. Better safe than sorry.

LastPass Receives a Somertech Score of 9 out 10, for usefulness and utility.


WPS Office – Microsoft Office Clone

If you haven’t guessed already, WPS stands for Writer, Presentation and Spreadsheets, which should further tell you what this program suite is about.

Having installed and briefly looked at these applications, I am somewhat astonished that Microsoft has not aggressively pursed legal action against the makers of this software. It is a complete rip off of the Microsoft Office 2007 user interface.

Having just discovered this suite, we haven’t done a battery of tests yet, stay tuned for that, but we did evaluate file compatibility with a few Microsoft Word 2010 files, and found there to be no issues in our brief test.

So, for businesses strapped for cash that need a functional and FREE alternative to the core Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) , WPS Office might just be the ticket. It looks and feels exactly like Office, so users should be able to adapt almost instantly. However, we will update this article in the coming weeks after a more complete evaluation can be performed.

Unrated at this time.




Zello – Walkie Talkie App

For the small businesses that long for the old Nextel push-to-talk phones of years past, there is a relatively new App called Zello, that turns your smartphone into a push-to-talk walkie, reminiscent of the now extinct Nextel Motorola phones.
A certain carrier still offers this service with their carrier branded app, but Zello isn’t shackled to a particular carrier and also works across phone brands and platforms. Which is perfect for employees that bring their own devices to the workplace.

‚ÄĘ Android, iOS, Windows and BlackBerry phones are¬†supported

Businesses can opt for the Zello for Business service which is free for the first 5 users, and as of this writing  $6/user/month there after.

Receives a Somertech Score of 9 out 10, for usefulness and utility.

Zello Screenshot_2015-11-30-22-25-36



PangoBright Screen Dimmer

If you are like us, you’ll sometimes find¬†yourself working on your computer late into the evening, and wishing that you had a reliable and simple means of dimming the screen on your Windows Laptop or Computer Monitor.
Well, disturb your mate no longer. PangoBright, is a great little utility for reliably adjusting the brightness of your Windows computer monitor, especially useful when working in the dark.
This utility is very small, coming in at only 110 Kilobytes, stays out of the way when not needed, and sits in your Windows tool tray at the ready when you do, and best of all, comes at our favorite price of $0.00.

Receives a Somertech Score of 9 out 10, for usefulness and utility.