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USERS RATE ‘CREEP FACTOR’ IN NEW PRIVACY-SECURITY PRODUCT GUIDE

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Today’s Linux platform accommodates a number of really good financial applications that are more than capable of handling both personal and small-business accounting operations. That was not always the case, however.

Not quite 10 years ago, I scoured Linux repositories in a quest for replacement applications for popular Microsoft Windows tools. Back then, the pickings were mighty slim. Often, the only recourse was to use Microsoft Windows-based applications that ran under WINE.

Classics and Fresh Faces

The best of the Linux lot were GnuCash, HomeBank, KMyMoney and Skrooge. In fact, depending on the Linux distro you fancied, those four packages often comprised the entire financial software lot.

In terms of features and performance, they were as good as or better than the well-known Microsoft Windows equivalents — MSMoney and Quicken. Those Linux staples are still top of the class today. Their feature sets have expanded. Their performance has matured. However, Linux users now have a few more very noteworthy choices to chart their personal and small business financial activities.

In a change of pace from the usual Linux distro reviews, Linux Picks and Pans presents a roundup of the best financial apps that make the Linux OS a treasure trove for your financial needs. These Linux apps are tools to handle your budget, track your investments, and better organize your record-keeping. At a bare minimum, they will help you become more aware of where your money goes.

One development with the growing catalog of money management software for Linux users is the cost factor. Just because an application runs on Linux does not mean it is free to use. The lines have been blurring between open source products and Linux packages with free trial periods or reduced features unless you pay to upgrade. This software roundup includes only free, open source products.

If you are looking for an app only to track your checking and savings accounts, you will probably find the applications in this roundup a bit too advanced. For maintaining your bank account registers, you can find a variety of spreadsheet template files for LibreOffice Calc and Microsoft Excel on the Internet. Yes, you can get Microsoft Office apps for Linux now! They are cloud-based, and you need a Microsoft log-in such as a free Outlook.com mail account.

Cash In with GNUCash

GnuCash is an advanced financial program and one of the few money apps that an accountant using Linux would relish. It is a powerhouse personal and small business finance manager. It comes with a steep learning curve, though.

It is a double-entry accounting system. GnuCash tracks budgets and maintains various accounts in numerous category types. It has a full suite of standard and customizable reports.

GnuCash has the look and feel of a checkbook register. Its GUI (graphical user interface) is designed for easy entry and tracking of bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. The easiness ends there, however, if double-entry accounting is not your comfort zone.

If you do not have an appreciation for formal accounting principles, be sure you spend considerable time studying the ample documentation. Learning to use GnuCash is not overly difficult. It is designed to be simple and easy to use. Its core functions, though, are based on formal accounting principles.

For business finances, GnuCash offers key features. For instance, it handles reports and graphs as well as scheduled transactions and financial calculations. If you run a small business, this app will track your customers, vendors, jobs, invoices and more. From that perspective, GnuCash is a full-service package.

There is not much that GNUCash cannot do. It handles Check Printing, Mortgage and Loan Repayment, Online Stock and Mutual Fund Quotes and Stock/Mutual Fund Portfolios. Create recurring transactions with adjustable amounts and timelines. Set an automatic reminder when a transaction is due. Or postpone a scheduled payment without canceling or entering it before the due date.

The latest stable release of GnuCash is version 3.3. Most Linux distributions come bundled with a version of GnuCash. Often, it is not the most current version.

Feel at Home with HomeBank

Compared to GnuCash, HomeBank is a much easier personal accounting system to use. It is designed for analyzing your personal finance and budget in detail using powerful filtering tools and charts, and for those purposes it is an ideal tool.

It includes the ability to import data easily from Intuit Quicken, Microsoft Money or other software. It also makes importing bank account statements in OFX/QFX, QIF, CSV formats a snap.

Also, it flags duplicate transactions during the import process and handles multiple currencies. It offers online updates for various account types such as Bank, Cash, Asset, Credit card and Liability. It also makes it simple to schedule recurring transactions.

HomeBank is more than a simple ledger program. It uses categories and tags to organize transactions.

For example, this app handles multiple checking and savings accounts. Plus, it automates check numbering and category/payee assignment.

HomeBank can schedule transactions with a post-in-advance option and makes creating entries easy with transaction templates, split-category entries and internal transfer functions. It also offers simple month or annual budget tracking options, and has dynamic reports with charts.

The current version is 2.2, released Oct. 10, 2018.

Welcome Uncle Skrooge

Skrooge resembles Quicken with its dashboard-style graphical user interface, or GUI. It looks less like a banking ledger. The design is much more user-friendly. Skrooge goes where the other financial apps don’t.

The tab structure gives Skrooge a more appealing look and feel. Each task — such as filtered reports, ledger entry and dashboard — remains open as a tab line along the top of the viewing windows under the menu and toolbar rows. This keeps viewing open tabs one click away to see the Dashboard, Income vs. Expenditure report, various pie categories, etc.

Skrooge is no slouch when it comes to features. One of its strong points is the ability to grab data from other money applications so you do not have to set it up from scratch.

It imports QIF, QFX/OFX and CSV formats. It can handle exports from KMyMoney, Microsoft Money, GNUCash, Grisbi, HomeBank and Money Manager EX.

Other features include advanced graphical reports, tabs to help organize your work, infinite undo/redo even after a file is closed, and infinite categories levels. You also get instant filtering on operations and reports, mass update of operations, scheduled operations, and the ability to track refund of your expenses.

Skrooge also automatically processes operations based on search conditions and handles a variety of currencies. It lets you work with budget formats and a dashboard.

The latest stable version is version 2.16.2 released on Nov. 4, 2018.

Easy KMyMoney Doubles Down
KMyMoney makes using double-entry accounting principles. It could very well be the Linux version of Quicken that actually is easier to use.

The user interface has a look and feel that is familiar and intuitive. This money manager is one of the original made for Linux.

The KDE community developed and maintains this money manager app. Although it is a part of the KDE desktop, KMyMoney runs fine in most other Linux desktop environments.

It supports different account types, categorization of expenses and incomes, reconciliation of bank accounts, and import/export to the “QIF” file format. You can use the OFX and HBCI formats for imports and exports through plugins.

What gives KMyMoney an edge, at least where usability is concerned, is its friendly user interface. It is a comprehensive finance-tracking application that does not require an accounting degree to use effectively.

Even if you have no prior experience with money management software, KMyMoney is a win-win solution. The interfaces used in most other Linux finance and banking tools are much more cumbersome. KMyMoney has a much lower learning curve.

KMyMoney is a capable and useful tool for tracking bank accounts and investment results. Not much effort is needed to set it up and learn to use it efficiently.

Oddly, it is as if the Linux version is a separate product. You cannot get it from the main website. The Linux version is available on Sourceforge.net.

The latest release is version 4.6.4. Get KMyMoney here.

Grisbi Masters Simple Entry Accounting
Grisbi Finance Manager is functional and uncomplicated. It is an ideal personal financial management program.

Much of the credit for that assessment is due to the accounting entry method that relies on debiting one account and crediting one account. It is populated with an impressive set of home finance features, including support for multiple currencies.

The feature set focuses on best practices for handling Accounting, Budgeting and Reporting. You can create multiple unlimited accounts, categories and reports.

One of the essential features that work is Grisbi’s clear and consistent user interface. Another design feature that makes Grisbi work so well is its customization. You can tailor transactions lists, trees, tabs, and a lot more to your use.

Grisbi uses a tab-based interface for its menu system. This makes the controls easy to operate. It is built around using multiple accounts, categories and transactions. You can back up and archive your records effortlessly, and use the built-in scheduler and file encryption tools.

Importing and exporting data has an Achilles’ heel: You cannot export to non-QIF and non-CSV formats. Real-time updating is a drawback as well. You can’t. There is no local help file, and an account is unrecoverable if the user forgets the password.

My only real complaint about using Grisbi is the unnecessary challenge to learning how to get the most out of it. Do not bother downloading the 259-page Grisbi manual unless you are fluent in French. For speakers of other languages, that makes for a steep learning curve. You are totally on your own.

The current stable edition of Grisbi is version 1.1.93, released in December 2017.

Buddi Does It Simply
If you crave simplicity but demand budgeting awareness from your money management software, Buddi could be the hands-down banking tool for you. It is a personal finance and budgeting program.

Buddi ignores the complications of other features that make more in-depth money applications harder to use. It is aimed at users with little or no financial background.

Buddi’s user interface is based on a three-tab concept built around your accounts, your budget and your reports.

Buddi runs on any Linux computer with a Java virtual machine installed. The only drawback with this software is its legacy nature. The latest version, Buddi 3.4.1.14, was released on Jan. 14, 2016.

Use Money Manager EX for Lightweight Reliability
Money Manager Ex is easy-to-use personal finance software. Use it to organize your non-business finances and keep track of where, when and how your money goes.

Money Manager includes all the basic features you need to get an overview of your personal net worth. It helps you to keep tabs on your checking, credit card, savings, stock investment and assets accounts.

You can set reminders for recurring bills and deposits. Use it for budgeting and cash flow forecasting. Create graphs and pie charts of your spending and savings with one click.

Two factors make this application an unbeatable personal finance tool. You do not have to install Money Manager EX. Instead, run it from a USB drive. It uses the nonproprietary SQLite Database with AES Encryption.

Several features make Money Manager EX intuitive and simple. It has a wizard to simply create accounts and start to use the program. You can use multiple currencies for each account to have more flexibility.

Categories tell you the reason for an expenditure or income received. Clear displays show all expenses and income. You can divide and highlight them with different status indicators. You can search, filter and sort by every field to have a clear understanding of bank accounts at any time.

Special transactions can be set up in order to have the transaction entered into the database at some future date. They generally occur at regular intervals based on a schedule.

Budgeting and Asset tracking are easy to do with Money Manager Ex. You can undervalue or increase every asset value by a specific rate per year, or leave them unchanged. It is a snap to set up a budget for any time interval.

One of the best features in this lightweight money management application is the ability to store all related documents to every element type (transaction, account, asset) so you always have quick access to invoices, receipts and contracts.

The latest stable release of Money Manager EX Desktop is 1.3.3.

Bottom Line
These seven money manager applications for Linux offer a wide range of features and user interfaces. Some are good starting products for users with little or no experience with this category of software. Other titles give you all of the tools to manage your household and your small business.

I deliberately avoided ranking these Linux products. I also suspended the usual star rating for each one in this roundup. All of them share two things in common. They are all free open source applications. They are all stable and very workable, depending on your money-tracking and management needs.

Some of them are easy to set up and use. Others are more involved and can be frustrating if you are not familiar with accounting procedures.

Want to Suggest a Review?
Is there a Linux software application or distro you’d like to suggest for review? Something you love or would like to get to know?

Please email your ideas to me, and I’ll consider them for a future Linux Picks and Pans column.

And use the Reader Comments feature below to provide your input!

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Mobile Phones

These are the improvements Samsung has made to the Galaxy Fold

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Samsung delayed the launch of the Galaxy Fold after some of the review units it handed out last month failed. The device was supposed to be released in the United States on April 26 and a week later in markets across Europe. That didn’t happen and the company still hasn’t confirmed a new release date.

It took back all of the review units and said that the display protection would be improved. A new report out of South Korea details the improvements that Samsung has made to its first foldable smartphone.

New report details Galaxy Fold improvements

According to the report, Samsung has tucked the protective layer on top of the display into the body. This will not allow the user to peel off the layer. The display on some review units had broken for precisely this reason. The users had removed the protective layer on top just because it looked like a screen protector. Samsung did say during its press briefings for the Galaxy Fold that this layer is not to be removed. It would be a good idea to tuck the layer into the body so that customers don’t try to pull on it absentmindedly.

There was also a small gap at the top and bottom parts of the hinge. Substances like dirt or lint could get in and lodge beneath the display, causing lasting damage. The report says that Samsung will reduce this gap to prevent foreign substances from getting in. We had also pointed out that the company needed to place warning statements prominently about the protective layer on the packaging itself. While that wasn’t the case on review units, the consumer units will have more warnings.

These improved units are now reportedly being tested with mobile carriers in South Korea. Samsung is expected to announce a new Galaxy Fold release date this month. The handset is said to arrive in June. Samsung mobile boss DJ Koh has also said that the company will confirm a new release date sooner rather than later.

Source: https://www.sammobile.com/2019/05/15/improvements-samsung-made-galaxy-fold/

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Hardwares

Huawei’s Honor 20 might just feature 4 rear cameras

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Honor is in the final stages of preparation to launch the Honor 20 series, and they are surely going all out for this one. Even though they have managed to keep a solid lid on the information around this phone for a while, we have gleaned in the past that this device could feature four camera sensors on the back.

It seems the brand has confirmed the same in a new taser image which states ‘Fantastic beauty, four photos.’

Of course, this is as vague as it gets, but it could be what we are thinking too. If this were to be true, there is a high chance we see the massive 48MP sensor from Sony be the main camera to be supported by a 16MP super wide-angle lens, and two 2MP cameras – one for depth sensing and the other being a third sensor for detailing, maybe.

These cameras will, no doubt, be something to look forward to. Likewise, they could have one of the best Night Modes to expect – given that the president of the brand shared a Night Mode picture from one of their upcoming devices once but blurred it out for effect.

For now, we have the leaks to rely on for other possible specs.

Going in line with other massive units for this year, there s a high chance the Honor 20 carries a 6.26-inch camera with almost perfect bezel-less screen, save for the hole in the screen. 6GB and 128GB configurations will help this phone give many other units on the market a run for their money, and the in-house HiSilicon Kirin 980 chipset will keep things going.

Perhaps one of the most impressive arrangements is the fingerprint scanner being on the power button, since the phone doesn’t have one the back nor under the screen (this is an LCD screen, so that’s understandable).

With Android 9 Pie coming with it out of the box, it remains to see which one of these specs are correct, and what we might have missed.

Source: https://www.naijaandroidarena.com/huaweis-honor-20-might-just-feature-4-rear-cameras/

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Mobile Phones

Samsung insider teases breakthrough phone design coming in the second half of 2019

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A Samsung insider who is perhaps best known for sharing details about brand new phones well ahead of their official announcements is back teasing that some sort of breakthrough smartphone design is coming in the second half of the year. It’s unclear at this time whether he’s talking about a Samsung phone or not, but the leaker did say recently that Samsung will be among the companies to deliver this brand new design.

Ice Universe is the leaker in question, a constant presence in smartphone news. He posted the following Galaxy Note 7 images on Twitter teasing that a “better-designed phone” is coming later this year.

View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter
View image on Twitter

Ice universe@UniverseIce

Why do you prefer Galaxy Note7? Is it because of its excellent design? Fortunately, I kept some photos of it. You will see a better-designed phone in the second half of the year.

The Galaxy Note 7 represents Samsung’s biggest disaster to date. The phone was very well received, but then Samsung had to deal with a plethora of battery incidents, from explosions to fires. The phone was recalled and ultimately canceled, and Samsung had to deal with all the blowback. The Note 7 recall actually forced Samsung to delay the launch of the Galaxy S8 in early 2017, as it was still investigating the Note 7 and putting additional safety measures in place to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

No matter how great the Galaxy Note 7 design may have been, it’s still a 2016 phone, and smartphone design has come a long way since. The Galaxy S8 was Samsung’s first phone with an Infinity display. That screen morphed into the Infinity-O screen of this year’s Galaxy S10, which is what we expect to see on the Note 10 come August.

Samsung (and everyone else in the business) has tried to continuously increase the size of the screen at the expense of the bezels. Some did with it notches, pop-up selfie cams or slider phones. Others put two screens on the phone. And Samsung created hole-punch displays. The first foldable phones were also unveiled earlier this year, with one of them stealing the show back at the Mobile World Congress in 2019. So we already have smartphone designs better that are miles better than the Galaxy Note 7.

How could Samsung or anyone else further perfect the smartphone design? The only thing nobody has done is to sell a phone with a selfie camera placed under the screen. That would be the perfect all-screen phone design, and something we expect to see in stores in the not-too-distant future. But is it ready for 2019?

Ice Universe seems to know something we don’t, and he’s not sharing more details about it. However, since he’s teasing it with the help of Note 7 pics, it’s easy to assume Samsung is behind this new handset design, and that the Galaxy Note 10 could be the device he’s referring to.

Source: https://bgr.com/2019/05/15/galaxy-note-10-design-vs-android-and-iphone-leaker-teases-innovation/

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