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Git is one of the most famous and secured version-control systems created by Linus Torvalds in 2005, primarily developed on Linux, which supports other OS, including macOS, Windows, BSD, and Solaris. All the repositories of Git are equal, making it one of the best version control systems. It has a web-based hosting service called GitHub. It is globally popular with developers uploading their code on GitHub now and then to showcase their credibility on any particular technology. Even employers look up to Github as a virtual resume highlighting a person’s potential.
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Web development, programming languages, Software testing & othersVersion Control System
VCS is not a deployment system where you don’t have to change or replace any other part of your toolchain when using version control. A version control system records the changes you make to your project’s files. This is what version control is about. It is as simple as it sounds.What is Git?
Git’s popularity in the development community largely depends on the fact that the content can be stored and tracked regularly. It allows you to periodically add new codes to the stored code and maintain a history of each change passing through.
Other version control systems do not store branches and tags in history, making Git’s level of tracking unique. But there are other alternatives to Git, which many companies use as the version control system to keep their project safe on the cloud repository.Alternatives of Git
As in the above section, we have gone through the introduction of Git. Now we are going to learn about the Git Alternatives:1. SVN
Apache Subversion, known as SVN, is a software versioning and revision control system distributed as open-source under the license of Apache. The subversion project was founded by CollabNet in 2000 to create an open-source system based on CVS (Concurrent Version System) with fixed bugs and some new features.
Branching and tagging in SVN
Subversion uses the inter-file branching model to implement braches, which deals with a separate line of development and tagging, which adds labels to a repository to be tracked in the future.
Below is a reference to how an SVN project with more than one feature would look like:
Advantages of SVN:
SVN is faster than others.
It supports the versioning of binary files.
It adds transactional commit (all or nothing).2. Concurrent Version System(CVS)
CVS is a version control system used worldwide, with the help of which one can capture the history of source files and documents. It’s used in many production software projects as well.
CVS works under the RCS topology, which stores files and handles multiple revisions of a single file.
How does it Work?
CVS is a central system that keeps track of the changes committed and avoids conflicts between the server and the client versions of the data. However, in the case of any disputes, individuals propose and adjust the changes accordingly.3. Perforce
The client-server architecture of Perforce allows one to make changes on a local disk and then submit while the other could update the repository with their files. A central repository shares the data; if a submission fails, it returns to its previous state, allowing for a fresh submission.
Advantages of Perforce:
Perforce merging is better than Subversion or Git.
Perforce has excellent customer support.
Perforce allows combinations of Subversion’s repository revisions with individual file revisions.
In the case of multiple change lists, however, Perforce is better than SubVersion as there is no involuntary commitment when a file is moved from a default change list.4. Mercurial
Mercurial also eases the transition between tools, much like Subversion. It helps in creating aliases and makes them a pleasant interface to use.
Advantages of Mercurial:
Minimizing reliance on server backups, users can find a complete copy of the repository on their local systems.
It works online and offline, which means the work could be continued even without an internet connection, and changes could be committed to the local repository.
Revisions in the Mercurial version control system facilitate the organization of changesets, enabling the branching and merging of code, which proves challenging in SVN.Trends
A company should adopt some of significant changes in Software Release Management.
The first trend is adopting agile practices at the core, including automation allowing sprint and Iteration planning and retrospection of all data for a successful release. Moreover, companies should invest time and money in automation to ensure relevancy in the stories and features of the sprints.
These days teams need to test their products in multiple environments before the release, which glorifies the importance of cloud platforms in production environments. Most products today, from operating systems to Internet browsers, support different platforms that make testing essential in all situations.
The popularity of distributed version control systems like GIT, Mercurial, etc., resulting from the flexibility it provides for teams to work on different levels, makes it easier for individuals to keep a self-contained repository on their system. A developer could work offline without the necessity of a privileged master repository.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Git Alternatives. Here we have discussed the basic concept, trends, and the top Git alternatives. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –
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Introduction to OS Alternatives
Operating System may be defined as the interface between the user and the hardware. It is the software that turns on right after the system gets started. So technically, it’s the kind of software that starts working before all the software. An OS consists of various fundamental or basic files that help in booting the system. Additionally, it has some system software that facilitates the communication between the user and the hardware device.
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Web development, programming languages, Software testing & othersWhat is an Operating System?
OS is used in every device that needs to perform any function. If you are very new to this topic, you will be amazed after knowing that electronic devices like a smart refrigerator, internet router, smart TVs, CCTV and so on are being operated by the help of the operating system. Linux is the most commonly used OS in these electronic devices.List of OS Alternatives 1. Microsoft Windows
This is the GUI(Graphical User Interface) based OS developed by Microsoft back in 1985. In actual terms, it is the graphical interface of MS-DOS. The very first version of windows was 1.1 that had facilitates the disk partition feature through the graphical interface. The web browser was first used in the 3.0 version of windows that made the internet easily accessible to the users.
The windows are very popular and covering a large user base due to its simplicity in the graphical interface. It is designed by taking care of nontechnical users. The GUI is designed over the DOS which means it actually runs the commands in the DOS but due to the GUI the user is kept unaware of what’s going on behind the scene.2. MAC OS X
Another best OS Alternative is MAC OS which was developed by Apple Inc back in 1984. That is just a year before Windows was developed. It is the second most widely used operating system and being used by 6.375 of the OS users. The first desktop version was out in 2001 and it was MAC OS X 10.0 and the next version 10.1 came right after the first version release.
It also offers a very interactive graphical interface and most of the features that Windows offers. The Apple laptops come with pre-installed MAC OS which couldn’t be changed. Though it comes with good features, it’s somewhat costly than Windows. It is considered a highly secure OS due to its feature to detect the threat and response accordingly feature.
As this operating system runs in only Apple laptops, it cannot be installed in normal laptops easily. For instance, we can run Windows or Linux-based operating system in a Lenovo laptop or desktop but if we need to run the MAC OS than in such case one has to buy an Apple desktop or laptop.3. Linux
Similar to Windows and MAC OS, Linux is also an operating system that has some additional features. Based on the users’ requirements, there are several versions of OS like Ubuntu, Kali Linux, Parrot Linux, Mint Linux, and so on. Linux is also well known for its command lines interface and it’s also loved by hackers because of the pre-existing tools in Linux, specifically, Kali Linux.
A Linux OS is comprised of Shell, the bootloader, daemons, the kernel, and the applications that make Linux more efficient. Linux is widely used in servers as they are cost effective as compared to windows. It offers a highly secure platform where users can store their crucial data. It is very useful when it comes to making things done very efficiently in a very short period of time due to its quality of fast processing.
The Linux operating system is also a base OS for several distributions. Even the most popular mobile phone operating system “Android” also uses Linux as its base OS. The trending technology called IoT is also implemented using Linux as its the common operating system that is used by several smart electronic devices. From a programmer or developer point of view, we should be preferring windows but as per network admins and security executives’ view, it’s the most important operating system.4. Feren OS
Feren operating system is based on Linux mint and hence possesses some of the functionality that is held by a mint version of Linux. This OS comes with inbuilt tools like Feren them and GMP image editor which usually doesn’t come pre-installed in several Linux versions. It provides the GUI interaction platform and also offers the terminal that works the same way a Linux terminal works.
Feren OS does need a bit of well-configured hardware to work smoothly as it comes with some of the important applications. In some of the CUI based Linux distributions, we usually require to download tools for every task like for editing photos, for changing the outlook of the interface, but in this operating system the important applications are made already available and the additional or other software could be installed easily.5. Peppermint OS
Peppermint OS is another best alternative for Ubuntu or Linux-based operating system which is available in both 32 bit and 62 bit. It is a very lightweight operating system and hence needs fewer hardware configurations to work on any system. Even 512 MB RAM is enough to run this OS. It doesn’t come with lots of inbuilt system software but definitely one could add numerous software as per their requirement.
It also offers a Microsoft office suite that is not available in lots of different versions of Linux. Using this we can edit the office documents the same way we do in windows. It provides the shortcut to lots of applications like Google Drive, Gmail and so on and while opening such an application, it will open as a web page where there will be no option of the address bar. When working with the inbuilt shortcuts, it simply opens an instance of the browser rather than actually opening the browser and its such functionality makes it very fast to use.
This operating system could also be considered as the OS with the simplest user interface as some of the features that could add complexity has to keep abstract. In simple terms, this OS will simply give you what you ask. It won’t offer you several options to choose from. Normally users rarely use this OS but if someone wants to use the operating system in a very low hardware capability then it is definitely the preference to use peppermint.6. Solus OS
For the users who are new or proficient in Linux, Solus is one of the various options to move with. It is another Linux-based operating system that gives a pretty close view of the other Linux-based operating systems. It comes with Firefox selected as the default browser to handle users’ internet-related queries. It has its own package manager and repository and is hence very different from other Linux distributions.
It is comprised of a very decent user interface together with the efficient functioning of the terminal. In this OS, the bottom bas show the running application, and the apps could be the switch from there which is opposite to that of other Linux distributions. It has a notification area that shows all the notifications generated by the system and next to the notification section, it has the quick application access area as well.7. Parrot Linux
Parrot Linux is one of the best versions of Linux spatially used while working with networks. One can easily recognize this operating system by having the look on default terminal text colors as it is comprised of green and read texts. The parrot Linux is sort of a command-line interface-based operating system as a maximum of the things in this OS could be done using the terminal.
This distribution is designed for the purpose of penetration testing and is hence very effectively used in cybersecurity. In most of cyber forensic cases, Parrot Linux is used as the best OS due to its inbuilt tools that are mainly developed for investigation purposes only. The latest version of parrot Linux is 4.5.1 which was released on last of January 2023.
Parrot Linux also has some of the important tools which are used in Kali Linux. In organizations, parrot Linux is very frequently used in SOC operations, especially to exploit the vulnerabilities existing in the network. It works pretty the same as Kali Linux. The good part is, it comes loaded with lots of useful tools used in ethical hacking so the user will not require to add extra software in order to perform penetration testing.8. Kubuntu
While we are talking about several versions of Linux, Kubuntu is the os that we must know about. It is an operating system that gives the taste of Ubuntu OS and is popular because of its particular feature to stand out of rush. On the other hand, where usually the operating systems use the GNOME desktop environment, the Kubuntu OS uses KDE Plasma Desktop.
As its user interface is almost the same as that of Ubuntu, the same way it also matches most of the functionality offered by Ubuntu. Due to its lightweight, it is potentially very strong in terms of fast execution. Though it is considered a bit better than Ubuntu the fact that it is produced after ubuntu could not be belied. It doesn’t need a system with a very high configuration to get installed. If you actually want to have a look at it, you can use virtualization to get its exposure.Conclusion
There are several alternatives to OS that could be used per our requirement. Through Windows is the most used OS due to its easy-to-use interface, some other OS could also be used as its alternative. Just to summarize in straight words, if you are very much concerned about the security part then prefer to use either Linux or MAC OS and if there is a requirement to have non-technical users work in the decent platform then go with Windows.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to OS Alternatives. Here we have discussed the basic concept and top 8 OS Alternatives with their pros and cons. You may also look at the following article to learn more –
Introduction to Siri Alternatives
It was originally introduced by Siri Inc., as an iOS app on the App Store. After seeing the popularity it was acquired by Apple on 28 April 2010. After the acquisition of Siri Inc., by Apple, all the development effort for launching Siri alternatives on BlackBerry as well as Android phone has been canceled.
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Web development, programming languages, Software testing & othersWhat is Siri?
Siri is an intelligent digital personal assistant that comes along with Apple devices such as iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, etc. Siri stands for Speech Interpretation and Recognition Interface. The functionality of Siri is to use a natural language user interface to answer general questions, suggest alternatives, perform actions by delegating user requests to the Web Services.
Siri is actually a computer program that assists you in your daily activities. This software adapts completely to the individual user’s usage as well as preferences which comes from using continuously. It returns the results that appear to be individualized.
The voice of Siri is available with a different accent as well as gender combinations. It is available in Arabic, English, Dutch, Chinese, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, German, French, Japanese, Finnish, Italian, Russian, Thai, Turkish, Portuguese, Norwegian, Finnish, Italian, Malay, Korean and Spanish languages.
It is written in Objective-C and Swift language. The operating system that Siri supports is iOS, watchOS and tvOS whereas platform supported is iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple watch, and Apple TV.History of Siri with Apple devices
All Apple devices that are manufactured in October 2012 and onwards include Siri. The recently released Apple Watch’s operating system viz., watchOS also supports Siri. Additionally, this is also integrated into Apple TV’s operating system viz., tvOS. Siri is not restricted to only devices and is made available in some cars using CarPlay. This feature enables the audio system of the vehicle to act as a display as well as a controller for your iPhone device. This is available on all variants of iPhones available from iPhone 5 with minimum OS as iOS 7.1.How to use Siri?
The use of Siri is really very simple. If you are using iPhone, iPad or iPod touch then press and hold the home button present at the bottom of the device (circle in shape) and say “Hey, Siri” followed by your request. For eg. Hey, Siri..remind me about meeting in the afternoon. This will set a reminder alert on the device and will intimate you at a scheduled time. Image 2 shows you want to set a reminder when you get home using Siri on the iPhone device.
If you are using Apple Watch then you need to press and hold Digital Crown (cylindrical shape button present on right side of watch) and say “Hey, Siri” followed by your request. Image 3 shows you are setting a 30 minute run in the park using Siri Apple Watch device.
If you are using Apple TV then you can activate Siri by pressing home button (circular in shape) present on Apple TV Remote and say “Hey, Siri” followed by your request. Image 4 shows you are searching for action movies in Apple TV using Siri and Image 5 shows the configuration of Apple TV remote.
Most of the people don’t use Apple device since it is too expensive although the quality and experience is best in class. According to research done in 2023, there is 82.8% Android users and 13.9% iOS users. The prime reason for this is that Android is open-source and there are several different manufacturers across the globe.
Now, if you are one the user of Android you may be wondering for Siri alternatives.Top 8 Alternatives for Siri
In this article, we briefly discuss the top seven alternatives To GitHub and the comparisons between them.1. Google Now
Google has already plenty of data since the last decade from different sources such as Gmail, hangout application, google search engine, youtube as well as Android mobile users. Google Now has been the company’s effort to provide assistance to android mobile users with just voice as input. It is similar to what Siri is for Apple devices. It is available as by-default in your Android phone. This personal digital assistant presents information that you might need it. It sends out suggestions which is based on your search history.
Google now even updates you with current traffic details for region near you. The details of traffic also include estimated time from office to home which is accurate. It even provides weather updates for today and even for the next several days. This has been first introduced in Marshmallow version of Android release.
The algorithm and voice recognition that powers Google Now is really awesome. The algorithm is so effective that Google will make out the words in your question and will get back with accurate search results.
The services offered by Google are so much (such as Google Now, Google Voice Search etc) that you may often get confused about which to use. Google Now is more frequently used in all the services offered by Google. It is available as a default search on almost all android devices.
You can upgrade existing Google Now for free from Google Play Store.2. Cortana
Cortana is a digital personal assistant for Microsoft product such as Windows desktop, Mobile OS, Microsoft Band and Xbox one. Cortana is also available for Android and iOS devices.
The best thing about Cortana is its availability across-platform. It was first demonstrated at BUILD developer conference organized by Microsoft in San Francisco in April 2014. You can even send a text message or talk to your smartphone from your laptop using Cortana.
Cortana is in competition with digital assistants such as Google’s Google Now and Apple’ Siri.
Download Cortana for free from Google Play Store.3. Skyvi (Siri like an assistant)
Skyvi literally says “Siri like Assistant” along with its name. It is one of the most simple virtual assistants that are very easy to use for your android smartphone. You can directly make calls, send messages, emails with your voice commands with the help of Skyvi. The simple and straightforward user interface of this app makes it easier to use for newcomers.
However, the problem with Skyvi is that it doesn’t provide news details and do not have an introduction video. There are very few Active Developers for Skyvi. Skyvi is temporarily unavailable on Google Play Store.4. Robin
Robin is a challenger for Siri. It is a perfect alternative to Siri when you are on the road and behind the wheels. It brings you everything that you need while driving. You even don’t have to look at your phone at all.
It provides you with voice directions, accurate GPS locations, nearby gas-refueling stations, and even weather reports. It even provides jokes in order to make you feel good.
The details in Robin is maintained on a daily basis. It keeps learning about your behavior and interest on a daily basis and evolves constantly. Download Robin for free (Also In-app purchase available) from Google Play Store5. Jarvis
Jarvis is one of a kind novelty personal digital assistant app that offers many features. Apart from Jarvis using on your Android mobile device, it is also compatible with Android Wear. You can ask him to play songs by name, update your phone’s background, change phone settings, etc. Hence it can be a perfect alternative to Google Voice Search on your smartwatch.
With Jarvis on your phone, you can make a call and send text messages with just voice commands. It can even provide an update for weather and news. You can even control your phone settings such as WiFi, Flash, play songs over Bluetooth, set reminders based on people.
Jarvis currently supports only english language. It is available in two versions : free and PRO version (which is paid). Jarvis can update your home screen wallpaper automatically almost every day keeping it refreshed.
Download Jarvis for free (Also In-app purchase available) from Google Play Store.6. Assistant.ai
Assistant.ai is one of the most popular and widely used virtual assistant apps in the market. It is powered by chúng tôi The home screen of the app shows a depiction of a sexy human secretary, which adds charm to the app. However, her robotic text-to-speech voice breaks the mood sometimes.
Assistant.ai performs tasks, answers questions, notifies you about important events and much more. You can even customize it (for PRO version). It is available on Google Play Store for Android devices, Apple’s App Store for Apple devices and on Microsoft’s Windows Store for Windows Phone.
It is multilingual assistant and is currently available in English, Spanish, Russian, German, Portuguese, Chinese, French, Korean and Japanese languages.
Download Jarvis for free (Also In-app purchase available) from Google Play Store.7. Dragon mobile assistant
Dragon mobile assistant is your own personalized virtual assistant that is present at your service. It is powered by Nuance Communications.
It can send and receive text messages, post facebook and twitter updates, emails and much more – all these using just voice command. You can even set reminders and make appointments. You can even perform task even if your screen is locked by simply turning-on Attentive mode.
You can even create your own voiceprint using dragon mobile assistant so that assistant will be attentive to only your commands and no one else. This is a unique feature distinguishes it from other digital assistants.
In order to make Dragon mobile assistant active, you just have to say “Hello Dragon”. You can even operate it in landscape mode. It uses its own voice dictation engine rather than Google’s engine and hence you can find this assistant does a better job of picking up your voice.
Download Dragon mobile assistant for free from Google Play Store.8. Smart Voice Assistant
Smart Voice Assistant isn’t a ready-to-go solution right from the beginning. First, you go through the list of features you can activate using voice commands and then you can assign your own custom keyboards. You can also assign names to contacts and even to a particular phone number. This may feel like the hectic task in beginning, but once you are done, it becomes quite handy.
There are few requirements of Smart Voice Assistant app which are mentioned below :
It requires good internet connection for most of the languages
It requires Google Search (or Voice Search for Android 4.1 and below)
It requires a text-to-speech engine and text-to-speech language and your device should support this.
Default google’s “Ok Google“ should be disabled.
Your contacts should be synchronized with Google Account.
Smart voice assistant is available in two different versions viz, free and PRO version. The PRO version offers more features and is priced at INR.168.99.
Download Smart Voice Assistant free version and PRO version from Google Play Store.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Siri Alternatives. Here we have discussed What is Siri and how to use it? along with the top 8 Siri Alternatives. You may also look at the following articles to learn more –
When people think of team collaboration tools, they think of Slack. There’s good reason behind this: it has a lot of features, publicity and steam behind it. Though, just because this app is popular, doesn’t mean it’s the best choice for the job. In fact, you’d be surprised to know that there are a lot of alternatives to Slack out there that can compete with it on features as well as pricing and usability.
Which ones are the best? Let’s find out in this list of the top four Slack alternatives for team communication!1. Mattermost
Mattermost is the open-source “host it yourself” answer to Slack. This tool has a lot of the features many have come to expect with Slack, specifically channels, support for file transfers, image support, private groups, private messaging and more.
Those looking for a way to save money and avoid the Slack subscription fee should try out this option, especially since Mattermost has an easy installer and even supports deployment via Docker.2. Rocket.Chat
Rocket Chat, like Mattermost, is an open-source Slack replacement. It has all of the standard “Slack-like” features that most team-chat services have going for them. However, where this app stands out is what it adds to the mix. With Rocket Chat, users get the standard messaging groups, channels, file transfers, etc., but they also get voice messages and video conferences.
With Slack, free users are able to call two people at a time or fork out some cash to call an entire team. Since Rocket Chat is a self-hosted tool, there is no limit in pricing, and you’ll be able to video conference with an entire team free of charge. Those looking to get the standard Slack features with a little extra added in should seriously consider this app.3. HipChat
HipChat is a freemium instant messaging service designed with teams and companies in mind. It supports groups, chat rooms, and one-on-one chat. Features also include chat history, inline images, drag and drop file sharing, and even bots.
The app is very prolific, with support for all of the major operating systems (even Linux), and has the added benefit of being self-hosted. Those looking to jump ship from Slack should check out HipChat, as the features it supports are very similar and should satisfy users of all kinds.4. Flock
Flock is a freemium team instant messaging tool that prides itself on allowing teams to “get work done.” When it comes down to it, this app has the same features that pretty much all Slack competitors have. It gets better, though, because Flock also includes video conferences, to-do lists, code snippet sharing, reminders and more.
If you’ve tried the other three alternatives on this list, and you’re still not happy, give Flock a shot.Honorable mention: Rvyer
Rvyer is yet another great alternative to Slack that we previously covered in MTE. It is almost a clone of Slack, without the price. You can use it for free for team communication, and it also comes with desktop and mobile apps that you can install and be reachable at all times.Conclusion
When it comes to messaging for teams, Slack is the (almost) center of the universe, though it shouldn’t be. It’s over-priced for the features you get. Instead, consider jumping ship to something else. You’ll save money and gain a better user experience. I hope that with this list, finding an alternative to Slack will be very easy.
Would you switch from Slack? Tell us why or why not below!
Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.
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More than a billion people around the globe use WhatsApp to stay in touch, and while people have been looking for alternatives in the wake of some recent controversies, it can be difficult to quit if your friends circle is already entrenched.
Nevertheless, you may want to leave WhatsApp because you’d rather avoid a service owned by Facebook. Or maybe the recent terms of service changes still bother you. Or perhaps you just want to try something new, as each chat service offers distinct selling points. Here are five messaging alternatives for you and your friends.Signal
Signal for iOS.
The easiest transition coming from WhatsApp would be Signal. WhatsApp’s encryption scheme is based on Signal’s work, and many of the same features you’re looking for can be found here. Signal offers end-to-end encryption and you can carry out group chats, video chats, and voice calls. You can also share photos and videos, GIFs, emojis, and more. Signal prides itself on its powerful privacy promise, but it still functions as a modern, full-featured messaging app.
One thing Signal does lack is an equivalent to WhatsApp Web for viewing your chats in a web browser on any device. That said, the service offers a desktop app that achieves similar functionality. Unlike WhatsApp, however, Signal’s desktop app only shows new messages from the point you started using it (thanks to the strict way it handles encryption and privacy). You cannot see older messages as you can with WhatsApp.
Signal also supports disappearing messages if you use that feature on WhatsApp. Unlike WhatsApp, however, you can customize the amount of time before messages start disappearing.
If you want to get started with Signal we’ve got an article explaining everything you need to know.Wire
Wire is a little odd to use, but it gets the job done with video calls, voice calls, one-to-one and group chats. Wire’s end-to-end encryption also uses a ratchet system like Signal and others.Telegram
Telegram is another incredibly popular messaging app. It also supports end-to-end encryption, but as an optional feature dubbed Secret Chats that must be enabled on a per-conversation basis. Telegram’s encryption scheme is also proprietary in contrast to the open source approach that Signal and others take. That means that we can’t know how good (or bad) Telegram’s approach to privacy is, since outside experts cannot examine the encryption on their own terms.
Telegram started life based in Russia but is now based in Dubai.Viber
The last WhatsApp alternative that use your phone number at sign-up, Viber has been around for close to 10 years. It supports video and voice calls, one-to-one text messages, and group messages. Additionally, there’s a feature called Communities that basically offers group chats with few member limits and greater control for administrators.
Viber’s end-to-end encryption, like Telegram, is proprietary; however, the company says it does use the same basic idea of a ratchet system like Signal.
As with some other WhatsApp alternatives, Viber offers a desktop app in addition to mobile.Keybase
Finally, if you’d like something a little on the geeky side and can get your friends to go along with it, then we’d suggest Keybase as an interesting choice. Keybase started primarily as a method to prove your identity online. Now, however, Keybase has a multitude of functions such as messaging, the ability to encrypt and sync documents between devices, and share documents and folders with other users.
Keybase’s messaging is more limited than Signal or Telegram. It doesn’t support video or voice calls, and whether or not it gets those features may depend on Keybase’s new parent company, Zoom. Keybase does offer disappearing messages and group chats (called Teams) that Keybase positions as a Slack alternative, however.
Keybase is available for Android and iOS, and there are also desktop apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. We should also note that in Keybase’s announcement of the Zoom acquisition it did not guarantee that the Keybase apps would be sticking around.
And there you have it! Five good—great, even—alternatives to WhatsApp. Each messaging app comes with its own unique character, and with five options there are enough choices here to suit nearly everyone’s needs.
While Amazon has traditionally been a one-stop shop for tech gear, its mid-April delays are making other retailers viable options for getting what you want with a shorter lead time. Online stores like Newegg and B&H are stepping up, alongside (gasp!) actual brick-and-mortar stores like Best Buy and Office Depot.Why you can’t find anything on Amazon
The watchword right now isn’t so much price as availability. According to retail analyst firm NPD, productivity hardware saw “historic” sales increases over the first two weeks of March, as more regions or entire states started issuing shelter-in-place orders. NPD vice president and technology analyst Stephen Baker noted that sales of computer monitors to consumers almost doubled during the first two weeks of March, versus a year ago. Mice, keyboards, and notebook PC sales increased by 10 percent. Businesses are buying, too: Corporate notebook sales were up 30 percent in the last week of February, and then 50 percent for the first two weeks of March.
The buying spree has put a severe and unexpected crimp in the tech supply chain. Notebooks and monitors are still shipping from Amazon, though the company has said it’s prioritizing household goods. A survey of Amazon products PCWorld recently conducted showed a wide swath of tech products delayed until late April, and that’s still the case, generally. We are seeing more short-term availability of tech goods than before, though not on a par with Amazon’s typical performance.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Right now, even products listed as available from Amazon Prime are typically a week or so out in terms of availability.Newegg: A good place to start
Mark Hachman / IDG
Newegg caters more to the hardcore enthusiast than the work-from-home crowd, but there’s still deals to be had.
Like Amazon, Newegg is a storefront for many sellers, and that’s likely why Newegg’s inventory is broader and more available right now across a variety of categories than it is at other retailers. Newegg has built in quite a bit of wiggle room, though.
Unlike Amazon, Newegg doesn’t guarantee its shipping dates. It offers only a window within which “most customers” will likely receive their products. In the example below, for instance, Newegg merely says that “most customers” will receive their webcam shipment within 6 to 16 days.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Newegg seems to have good availability and reasonable prices, but this seems excessively wishy-washy, “Most” customers, in 6 to 16 days?
At least Newegg’s promising you can actually buy tough-to-find products like webcams, which is further than you’ll get sometimes on Amazon or via other retailers like Office Depot. Newegg’s Chow said his company was well-sourced to keep up with demand.Best Buy: Curbside pickup means quick availability
Historically, the showcase for in-store technology has been Best Buy, and its physical locations continue to play a pivotal role. The company is offering either curbside pickup (instead of coming into the store) or deliveries to your home from local warehouses.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Best Buy should probably highlight its shipping options more prominently right now, but it’s doing all right in terms of stocking the tech supplies you need.
In general, though, at press time Best Buy carried a number of USB-C hubs with immediate availability. Notebook PCs were plentiful, available either in-store or within three days if my nearby store was sold out. (Occasionally, laptops were available in another store about 10 miles away.) Best Buy listed numerous monitors, though shipping lead times were about a week. And if you need an HDMI cable—the sort of low-value necessity Amazon is forgoing right now—Best Buy seems to have plenty, such as this Insignia two-pack of six-foot Ultra HD HDMI cables for $40Remove non-product link, either in-store now or within a few days.The big boxes: Target, Walmart
Don’t forget about Target and Walmart. Though the physical Target store’s electronics section is just a sliver of shelf area, the Target website’s Computers & Office page offers an easily navigated arrangement of popular tech products.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Target’s own stock appears to be depleted of many items. But if it leans on Antonline, it seems bound to have it.
The estimated date of delivery isn’t among the information Target displays in its grid of products, unfortunately. Antonline handles quite a bit of Target’s fulfillment, however, and any Target listing with “antonline” as the partner seems to stand a good chance of being available. We found a surprisingly broad range of monitors available, such as a Dell UltraSharp 24-inch, 1920×1200-pixel LCD on sale for $189Remove non-product link, all scheduled to arrive within 7-10 days.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Walmart usually doesn’t clearly communicate when a product will ship in its product matrix. But it at least does note that you can swing by and pick it up in certain cases.
Fortunately, it usually is, where laptops and Chromebooks were concerned—though, oddly, some of its surprisingly good Motile laptops didn’t have a shipping date attached. The site offered a broad selection of available USB-C hubs, such as thisAnker 7-in-1 USB C Hub AdapterRemove non-product link, even though the category seemed scarce on Amazon. I found a decent monitor availability at my local store, too. Every external hard drive I checked was in stock and would ship within a week, if not sooner.Staples, Office Depot, OfficeMax: Don’t sleep on these giants
Although traditional office-supply retailers carry tech necessities, most enthusiasts shop elsewhere unless they need a printer or an office chair. Adjust that attitude. Just like a bodega or rural market may hold an undiscovered trove of toilet paper, these stores may conceal a cache of tech essentials.
Mark Hachman / IDG
This is a too-common experience at Office Depot/Office Max: A product is only available in store, and it’s out of stock. Why not just tell customers and save them the frustration?
In other examples, I found a few “in-store” pickups that would require a 20-minute drive to purchase, especially in laptops. The general inventory of home-office tech like external hard drives, mice, keyboards was abundant. Monitors, though, seemed to be non-existent, at least among the five options I chose. Printers and especially ink were in stock.
(Be aware that Office Max/Office Depot and Staples also sell paper and cleaning products, similar to the cleaning aisles in your grocery store. Yes, they sell toilet paper; my local stores were completely sold out, but maybe you’ll have better luck.)
Mark Hachman / IDG
Staples currently delivers for free, with no minimum charge. Unfortunately, there’s often a disclaimer that accompanies the standard “delivered FREE in 3-5 business days:” “Due to high demand, delivery may take longer than expected.” How long? Staples doesn’t tell you, at least not on the product page.
I saw decent availability of notebook PCs for delivery (in about 3-4 days) and in-store pickup. Monitors were somewhat difficult to find, though available. Staples offered one-day delivery of computer mice and keyboards, even an antimicrobial mouse-and-keyboard comboRemove non-product link I would have sworn would be out of stock. One-day delivery was typical for external hard drives. USB-C hubs seemed to require about a week for shipping, through they were available.B&H: Crystal-clear inventory and shipping data
We routinely feature consumer electronics retailer B&H in our daily deals, but the company (which is privately held and has one store in New York City, along with a bustling online store) probably doesn’t have the name recognition it deserves. It’s worth checking out, especially in these times of scarcity, as the company seems to have a good handle on its inventory and delivery data.
Mark Hachman / IDG
After shopping elsewhere, you’ll appreciate B&H’s clear statements of when to expect your products, as well as the fairly ample inventory.
B&H’s virtual shelves have been picked over somewhat. While its site listed a bunch of “work laptops,” the low-cost “basic laptops” section featured a number of “out of stock” notifications. Several Chromebooks required a “special order” with 7-14 days to ship. At press time, a few low-cost monitors were available, though most were back-ordered and expected to arrive within a few weeks. There were plenty of USB-C hubs at low to moderate prices, like this EZQuest 8-port hub on sale for $60Remove non-product link.
Note that response time may slow during Shabbat (sundown Friday to sundown Saturday), the weekly day of rest in the Jewish faith; and the entire business closes down for Passover, April 8-16 in 2023. Get in those orders now!Shop around
Many of us have grown used to going to Amazon for pretty much everything. That popularity turned into a liability when eager shoppers cleaned out the inventory of highly desired tech items. It actually hasn’t been that hard to find most of these sought-after items via other sites and even physical stores—perhaps a lesson in growing too dependent upon any one source. Stay calm and shop around…and let us know if you find any TP, will you?
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