Archive for category Facebook

Best SMS alternatives for Android Messages

The Android Messages app from Google is a great resource to stay in touch with all the folks you care about via SMS. However, it may not be for everyone. Maybe you don’t care for the new Material Theme. Or you just want to venture out and try new things. Either way, we’ve put together a short list of SMS apps that might be worth an install.


Pulse SMS is one of our favorite apps by the great dev team at Klinker Apps. They’ve been at it for quite some time and you may remember the first attempt at SMS with EvolveSMS. Pulse updates that effort with a Material-inspired UI and some slick features.

There are many offerings with Pulse and we’ll try to hit the high points. You’ll password protected, private conversations for those super secret texts. The app also has full GIF support, inline web previews, custom color schemes, and even delayed sending of messages.

And those are just the free options available to anyone with Pulse. If you want to take it a step further, you can opt into a few paid options to add things like automatic backups and desktop sync. The desktop sync offers a great way, and head to head competitor to Android Messages, to text while on a standard PC or tablet. The paid tiers are $0.99 per month, $1.99 per quarter, or $5.99 per year. If you can spare $10.99 you can just get a lifetime subscription and get it over with.

Check out Pulse free on the Google Play Store.


Textra is an old favorite. I feel like the SMS app has been around forever now and it’s still a solid offering to handle your texts. Textra big push is customizations. You can tweak the interface and settings to really be a text app specifically configured for you.

Notable mentions of these custom options are over 180 theme combinations, GIFs, and 21 different text sizes. Almost every detail can be altered to your taste. Want a specific bubble color for each contact? Check. Want that same contact to have their own notification sound or vibrate? That’s there as well.

While Textra doesn’t have a desktop solution, it has made sure it’s compatible with services that cover this space like Pushbullet and MightyText. This is a nice touch to make sure the bigger screens are covered for texting without the need of your phone even though Textra doesn’t offer it in-house.

Textra is free via the Play Store with ads or a one-time in-app $2.99 purchase to remove them.


Handcent might be one of the first apps that can claim to be an alternative to the defaults on Android. The app launched way back in 2010 and has literally been adding features ever since. As you’d expect, it’s a lot of additions. Its chocked full of customizations much like the other on this list.

Chat bubble colors, LED color, vibration pattern, and ringtones can all be changed via the settings of Handcent. It also has group chats and an encrypted private mode outside of normal texts. Wrap all this in a Material design and you have a solid SMS option.

Handcent takes that same framework to your other devices as well via Handcent Anywhere. This allows you to continue your conversations via PC, Mac, or tablets. This is handled through a web app via your favorite browser.

Handcent can be had for free via the Google Play Store with pro options being added by in-app purchases.


Ever wonder who’s really “listening” and want to add some privacy to all your text messages? Well, Signal offers just that. The SMS newcomer is security focused on end-to-end encryption.

This can include your SMS as well as newer chatting over IP like Whatsapp and Hangouts. The app also allows for groups chats and uses your existing number at login instead of PIN sign-in. Phones calls are present as well when you need them.

What about the desktop? While tablets are not currently supported, Signal does offer web-based and native desktop solutions for pretty much any operating system. PC, Mac, Chrome OS, and Linux are all available.

Signal is free via the Google Play Store.

Facebook Messenger

Facebook is not one we always think of for texting. The company’s Messenger app has a pretty loyal following for IP-based chats, but it can also do standard SMS. Facebook added this optional feature a few years back and many find it the all-in-one solution for all their messaging needs wrapped in a single app.

While the company doesn’t offer SMS for desktop, you can use the webchat options as well as the other bells and whistles from internet messaging. You get video calls, emojis/stickers, group chats, and even mobile-to-mobile payments.

Facebook Messenger is free via the Play Store.

Mood Messenger

Mood Messenger is another great looking SMS app to add to this list. The design of the app seems clean, but the real draw is customization. Much like the others, Mood Messenger wants to allow the user a multitude of options to tweak the interface.

With these options, you’ll find chat bubbles, individual ringtones and lights, custom fonts, and over 100 themes. Another nice addition is type indicators that let you know when your contacts are working on a response. Mood also allows for private messaging with full encrypt and the ability to hide the entire chat behind a password key.

Mood Messenger is free to download from Google Play Store.

Chomp SMS

Lastly, we have Chomp SMS. If you can’t tell, there’s a trend with all these apps…user freedom. Chomp prides itself on not being boring and letting you change almost everything about their experience while sending messages. While it includes all the “standard” stuff of most alternatives, it does offer a few that stand out.

You can schedule texts to contacts and Chomp can even pull information from your calendar to wish someone a happy birthday. Another nice addition is being able to pin contacts to the top of your conversation list. It also doesn’t have a desktop solution, but does play nice with 3rd party apps like Pushbullet to fill this gap.

Chomp is available from the Play Store.


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How to create a legacy contact for Facebook

Death. The one thing that none of us can avoid. It’s coming for all of us and it’s the last thing that any of us will do, too. Surely, it is the last thing you really want to think about.

Do you know what else you probably don’t want to think about? What happens with your social media accounts when you pass? Yes, we’re talking about your words, pictures, and legacy.

For many people, social accounts become a place of memorial and remembrance. Visitors often stop by accounts of those who have passed away simply to share a memory or experience. Others use it for grieving or moving on. For whatever reason, your social media account is important, even after you’ve departed.

Facebook is still the largest network on the planet and things don’t look to change anytime soon. As such, the chances are very high that you’re signed up for an account. Whether you use it actively or just for logging into other apps and services, you probably have a Facebook profile. Do you have a Legacy Contact?

What is a Legacy Contact?

Facebook has an option tucked away in its settings which let you decide what happens with your account should you die. Called the Legacy Contact, it’s where you choose a family member or friend who can manage your account when you pass away.

What Can a Legacy Contact Do?

Once someone notifies Facebook that you’ve passed away, it will memorialize the account and the legacy contact can do a number of things. For instance, they might want to write a post at the top of the timeline, update the profile picture, or respond to friend requests.

Another key feature of the legacy contact is the ability to download an archive of photos, posts, and profile information shared on Facebook. There are a lot of options available to the legacy contact, but one thing they cannot do is log on as you or see your private messages.

Ultimately, it’s truly up to you what happens to your Facebook account once you pass away. If you want, you can have Facebook delete your account altogether. But, if you want to create a Legacy Contact, it’s pretty easy to do. We’ll show you how to do it from your mobile app.

How to Create a Legacy Contact for Facebook

  • In the app, open up the main menu; it looks like three horizontal lines and is in the top right corner.
  • Under Settings & Privacy, tap on Settings
  • Under Account Settings, tap on Personal Information
  • Tap on Manage Account and follow the prompts to activate and add an account.

Should you wish, you can remove the Legacy Contact at a later date. Additionally, you have to remove them if you decide that you would rather have Facebook delete your account.


Android apps to make your Pokemon Go experience even better

Pokemon Go is huge. Yes, in fall of 2018. In fact, the game is as popular now as it was upon its launch some two years back. It’s a money-making monster and people can’t get enough.

Why is Pokemon Go so popular now? There are plenty of reasons. For starters, there’s no fewer than 350 Pokemon available to catch. New characters are added all the time and the fourth generation appears to be on the horizon. Then there’s Community Day, regular events, friends, trading, and more.

Ask some of the more savvy or long-term players how they were able to hit the high 30’s or level 40 and you’ll find a common thread. It’s not entirely about grinding or paying for advantages.

Indeed, there are a number of ways to gain an upper hand on catching Pokemon or leveling up in Pokemon Go. We’re talking about apps. Chances are high that the guys you find occupying gyms and taking down raid bosses are using other apps.

We’ve gathered up some of the best apps you can find to enhance your Pokemon Go experience. Installing one or more of these is sure to help you not only learn more about the game itself, but how to take advantage of it.

Discord – Chat for Gamers

This one might sound familiar to you as it’s used for much more than Pokemon Go. Really, it’s not so much of an app as it is a service that works across platforms. This just happens to be the Android client of the popular tool.

Many of the loyal players in your area are using a social network to communicate with each other. This is the preferred means.

Is a raid about to go down? Share the location and details with people in your community so they can coordinate a meet-up. A rare Pokemon spawned in the middle of a parking lot at 1AM? Let your buddies know where to get Lunatone before it goes away.

A lot of groups have broken their Discord group into channels with information sharing, friend codes, gatherings, and more. If anything, use it as a way to monitor the goings-on without having to be physically present.

Discord is free to download and use; an account is required to log in. Also worth noting is that many of the Pokemon Go groups are private and/or invitation only.

GO Ranger – Unofficial Field Guide

Given there is always something going on in the game, it can be difficult to keep up. Which Pokemon types are spawning more now? What’s the difference in Field Research and the various rewards? Which Pokemon can be shiny?

GO Ranger is an excellent resource for all things Pokemon Go. Not only does it provide you with the answers to the aforementioned questions, but it also keeps track of plenty of things, too.

Upon opening the app you’ll be greeted with a list of current events. You can see at-a-glance which legendary raid bosses are available and for how long. In the middle of an ongoing festival or event? How about a nice timer that counts down the days and hours?

Hit up the Field Guide for helpful information on which Pokemon can be found in eggs, which might be a Ditto, or what creatures can nest. Moreover, you can see how long you might have to walk your buddy for candy, identify who might be in an upcoming raid, and how to prepare for them. We love how easy it is to figure out who we’ll counter a boss with based on its weaknesses or weather conditions.

The checklists section lets you create and update lists on a variety of topics. On the hunt to collect all regionals, shiny, or a particular region? Easy peasy.  Maybe you want to track those you have available to trade. Whatever you wanna do here is fine.

GO Ranger is free to download but is supported via the occasional display ad.

Silph Road

If you’ve ever played Pokemon Go at a park, you likely noticed that there were particular types that continue to spawn over and over. These “nests” rotate every two weeks and provide players with an opportunity to stock up.

Instead of going all the way over to the park only to find out that it’s Doduo you can save yourself some time and aggravation. Players just like you are sharing their findings with the community and are only too happy to spread the word on the latest nest Pokemon.

The Silph Road app lets you check a map of nests and see which types are spawning. You might have some rare or missing Pokemon just a few miles from you.

Don’t just take from the app, give back, too. Provide your own feedback and insight. How many did you find and how long were you there? Share the information and other players can benefit.

The app also gives you access to the latest in game news and overall research. It’s a great way to learn more about how Pokemon Go works, how to gain an upper hand, or what direction to take.

The Silph Road is free to download and use; you’ll need to create an account or validate with your Reddit account.

Calcy IV

Seasoned players know that Pokemon aren’t just about how high of a CP you can find. No, each one has its own unique individual value, or IV. Using a combination of Attack, Defense, and Stamina, the score determines the overall strength of your Pokemon.

Sadly, you’ve probably tossed away some potent Pokemon, thinking that the low CP meant it was weak. Instead of relying on the in-game appraisal system and trying to guess at power, go with an app like Calcy IV.

This app lets you check the IV levels of your Pokemon, and it does so much more. Use it to learn raid boss weaknesses and possible moves, or how to counter it with your own monsters. Additionally, you can use it to quickly rename your Pokemon for better identification based on a variety of factors.

This is one of those apps that gets better the more you play around with it. It can work as just an overlay atop of Pokemon Go or you could dive deep and really get a feel for your roster and its potential.

Download Calcy IV for free from Google Play and get started today.

Poke Genie – Safe IV Calculator

Ever wonder how much CP your Pokemon will have should you power it up or evolve? How much stardust and candy will you need to max out that Snorlax? Use Poke Genie to figure it out — it only takes a few seconds and can really change the way you’re playing.

Poke Genie is not really all that different from Calcy IV in the big scheme of things. We like the look and feel of this one as it does have a slightly more modern aesthetic. That’s not to suggest, however, that it’s any better than the aforementioned client.

If you’re serious about growing a better roster of pocket monsters, and want a leg up on battles, consider this one.

Poke Genie is free to install but includes advertisements.


Yeah, we’re talking about Facebook. Why? Because that’s where a lot of players go to communicate and organize.

It’s a pretty safe bet that there’s a community or page based in your area. Be it major metro markets, counties, cities, or even townships, there’s probably a group of people convening right under your nose.

We imagine you already have an account for Facebook. Start using it for Pokemon Go and you might be surprised at how much more efficient you are as a player.

Download Facebook for free from Google Play.

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What is two factor authentication?

Two-factor authentication is known by many names such as 2FA, two-step verification, multi-factor authentication, and more. No matter what name it goes by they all have one thing in common, requiring you to take a second step to verify you are the owner of an account.

Many of you have probably gone your whole lives using two-factor authentication without even realizing it. One of the best examples of this is when you make a purchase with your debit card and you enter your PIN.

Believe it or not, that is two-factor authentication in practice. By requiring you to not only have your card but also know a secret PIN code to prove the account belongs to you. If you’ve ever signed into an account online and been required to receive a security code via text, this is also 2FA.

Why You Should Use Two-Factor Authentication

If you’ve never used two-factor authentication before it’s time to change that. In the past, using only a username and password to protect our accounts was enough to make us feel secure. Unfortunately, as time goes on security breaches have become more common. Most times they include your username, password, and sometimes both.

I’m sure at some point in the past you’ve gotten an alert to update or change your password for a site or service you use. Either due to them being breached or because you used the same username or password on other sites that were breached.

Using two-factor authentication will not prevent this from happening. However, it will prevent someone from using the information in the breach from accessing your account until you’ve had time to update your username or password.

How does Two-Factor Authentication work?

After setting up two-factor authentication it begins the same as any other log in attempt. You start by entering your username and password and then you are forwarded to a page asking for a secondary code. Most times this is sent to you via text but you can also use a dedicated app for this such as Google Authenticator or Authy if it is supported.

The Google Authenticator or Authy apps can take over generating your secondary code without access to the internet and refresh automatically. If you are in an area with a spotty cell signal or internet connection this can be very beneficial.

In some cases, you may come across an app or service that does not support logging in with two-factor authentication. If this happens you’ll need to generate an app password from the original service such as Google. Generally, these can be generated on demand or you can print out a hard copy list to keep track of them.

Are there any downsides to using Two-Factor Authentication?

The truth is, adding another step to the login process is inconvenient. Each time you log into your account you will be prompted for a security code. You’ll then have to wait for the code to be texted to you and enter it before you can access your account. The codes often also expire within a set amount of time, generally around 60 seconds. If you miss this window of time then you’ll have to request another code.

This can be a hassle and we’re often looking for ways to make our lives more convenient not less. However, if you consider the damage that can be done and the trouble it would take to regain control of your account, I think you’ll realize the extra time 2FA takes is worth it.

The other downside is two-factor authentication is still not 100% secure. If someone has access to your username, password, and phone they can still sign into your accounts. There is also still the possibility that hackers can find a way to intercept your texts. It is up to you to ensure your username, password, and phone stays secure as well as changing your passwords often.

Where Should You Use Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is something everyone should use on all of their important accounts. Whether it’s your social media accounts, Amazon, eBay, or Paypal. All of these services provide two-factor authentication. Any account online that includes personal information about you or is valuable to you should have 2FA enabled.

It is important to check how to enable 2FA for each of these sites and any other essential accounts you have online. Any time you hear someone say they’ve been hacked or their account was stolen most likely could have been prevented by enabling two-factor authentication. Below I’ve compiled a list of links to instructions on how to enable two-factor authentication on some of the most common sites.

While it is not perfect two-factor authentication provides another layer of protection between you and those who would try to access your accounts. The more layers you can put between nefarious people and your accounts the better. If you take the time to set it up now you’ll be grateful for the time and trouble it could save you in the future.

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Build voice apps with the Voice, Chat, and Vision Automation Bundle

With artificial intelligence (AI) becoming one of the hottest trends of the mobile market right now (with chatbots), it makes sense that developers would take advantage of it and create apps that put users even closer to something that seems so new and unpredictable. App developers go where the trends are; they develop apps in […]

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Facebook takes another stab at improving the News Feed on Android

Present at Droidcon in New York, Facebook had some good news for Android users, announcing it has improved the News Feed experience. As the type of content people normally share on their News Feed has evolved from mere text, photos, and videos to more complex 360-degree video or Live, the challenge is to be able […]

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Tired of how bloated the Facebook app is? Try these five alternatives

Oh Facebook, the app everyone loves to hate. Yet it has one billion installations only in Android. With Facebook being so ubiquitous and recognized throughout the world, many figure that it is a necessary evil. However, it is notorious in the Android world for being bloated, slow, data-intensive, and battery-hungry. It is the prime example […]

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Sticker Market: Emoji Keyboard lets you get creative while you chat (Review)

Overview If you like to spice up your online conversation with creative stickers and GIFs, then you’ll be glad to know there are dedicated apps out there which offer access to entire libraries of fun stickers. This is the case of Sticker Market: Emoji Keyboard, a fun little app designed to replace your standard keyboard […]

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What you may have missed this week: July 17 – 21 – 911 issues, ads in keyboards, and a new Nexus?

Welcome to “What you may have missed this week” where we give you a glimpse at the news from the week that was. We saw a lot of new and interesting developments this week from the apparently 911 bug in OnePlus and other Android devices to the disappointing leaks about Motorola’s next flagship. But, those […]

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Facebook announces FbStart Apps of the Year winners

Facebook announced the winners of its FbStart Apps of the Year – an event which celebrates the most successful apps that emerged from the FbStart program. Facebook designed FbStart to help startups all over the world build and grow their business. And this year’s Grand Prize goes to SoloLearn (available for Android and iOS) – […]

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