Zapier SMS: 5 Cool Things You Can Do

Zapier’s automations allow you to receive alerts when specific conditions are met. The potential for these tools is nearly limitless and are utilized by people ranging from individuals that want to streamline certain aspects of their life to business owners with dozens of Zaps that all but run their business.

One of the most powerful features of Zapier is the SMS integration. Through this tool, you can send out SMS messages in response to a number of different situations and conditions. It’s particularly useful because of how wired people are to their phones. A study shows that 83% of millennials open text messages within 90 seconds of receiving them.

Compare that to how often emails get ignored and you have tremendous potential at your fingertips. If you’re looking for ideas on how to use Zapier SMS services, check out these options.

1. Receive Zapier SMS Alerts for Google Calendar Entries

Nothing is quite as awful as a last-minute reminder that you have a meeting or event that you have not prepared for. It’s too easy to ignore calendar alerts on your phone, and the email reminders often meet the same fate.

On the other hand, you can set up Zapier to alert you to upcoming Google Calendar events. Zapier monitors your Google Calendar for upcoming events and sends you an alert ahead of time so that you aren’t caught completely off-guard. 

For this to work, you will have to grant Zapier access to your Google Calendar account and connect a phone number through SMS by Zapier. 

2. Receive a Text When You Gain a Twitch Follower

If you’re an up-and-coming game streamer just starting out in the world, you’ll want to focus on growing your audience. Of course, this is easier said than done. While Zapier may not help you appeal to the masses with your Fortnite skills, it can keep you posted whenever you gain followers.

You can create a Zap that will send you an Zapier SMS message whenever you receive a new follower on Twitch. This can keep your phone buzzing all evening long if you’re having a great run, but it’s also a good way to keep an eye on your follower count after you upload streams and are dealing with real-life chores.

You will need to connect your Twitch account to Zapier for this.

3. Receive Notices for Important Emails

If you’re the type to ignore your inbox because it gets full too quickly, connecting Zapier’s built-in email parser to an SMS messaging service can help. If you tell the email parser to monitor for particular keywords that would denote an important message (deadline, assignment, due date, etc.), then you can automatically detect these emails and receive a text alerting you.

A Zap like this helps you stay on top of your workload no matter how busy you are. It also helps ensure you don’t miss important emails just because they arrived in your inbox amidst a storm of spam.

4. Send a Text When You Upload a Video

If you are a content creator or an instructor, you might want to keep your followers or students updated when a new video goes live. While there is always the option to subscribe to a channel, a text message can be the personal touch you need to reach out to viewers.

Here is where it gets a bit tricky, though. While SMS by Zapier is a great tool for messaging yourself, you will need to sign up to one of the other messaging services on Zapier to send texts to numbers you do not own. Each of these services has their own set of guidelines, so make sure to familiarize yourself with them before you start.

You will need to create an account with the messaging service of your choice (Twilio is a good place to start), as well as link your YouTube or other video platform account to Zapier so that the messages will go out automatically. 

As a side note, you can use this same Zap in reverse to monitor specific YouTube channels for new content. 

5. Text Your Workout Partner When You Finish a Workout

It’s much easier to stay in shape when you have someone to work out and cheer you on, but it’s not always so easy to remember to let them know you worked up a sweat. If you want to keep yourself accountable to your gym buddy, you can do so by linking your workout app to Zapier.

Strava is a solid choice. Whether you ride a bicycle or go for a run, you can set up a Zap that monitors Strava and sends off an Zapier SMS when you finish an activity in Strava. This is a good way to keep your gym partner informed and motivate them to keep up. 

Zapier SMS Limitations

While Zapier’s integrated SMS service is powerful, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, Zapier can only send up to 15 messages per hour, and you can only send messages within the US and UK.

In addition, you can only send messages to numbers that are verified and fixed to your account. Messages are limited to only 153 characters in length, too–and any message going to the UK will be overridden with a UK number, regardless of its original number.

These protections are in place to prevent people from abusing the system and spamming messages to others. However, if you wish to reach out to people that are not on your list, you can do so through one of the other messaging services available on Zapier. 

Intego Antivirus Review: Powerful But Feature-Limited

Intego Antivirus is designed for macOS–a fact that immediately sets it apart from others, primarily because there are so few anti-virus software options for Mac

Many people have the wrong belief that Apple machines cannot get viruses. This is not the case. Initially, the macOS user base was so small that few cyber criminals bothered to write viruses that could target Apple machines. Another reason is that it is based on Unix, which means it is a “sandboxed” system. In other words, a virus would be trapped in a specific part of the operating system.

Now that macOS has grown in popularity, it is more frequently the target of cyberattacks. However, due to the structure and format of the machine, you need a specialized antivirus to ensure your system is covered. That’s where Intego comes in. 

The first thing to note is that there are two versions of Intego: one for Mac called VirusBarrier X9 and another version called Intego Antivirus. This review is for the Mac version.

Installation and Setup

The installation process for Intego’s VirusBarrier X9 took a bit of time and required a restart after installation. The issue arose when it crashed at the restart phase and the entire machine had to reload. However, beyond that one hiccup, the program worked flawlessly afterwards. 

Once installed, VirusBarrier X9 asks for deep-level permissions. As a virus scanner, it needs this access in order to fully scan the system.

On Intego’s website, there are two bundles that include VirusBarrier X9: Intego Mac Internet Security X9 and Intego Mac Premium Bundle X9. The Mac Internet Security bundle includes VirusBarrier X9 and NetBarrier X9, while the Premium Bundle includes ContentBarrier Secure X9 and Washing Machine Secure X9. 

The Intego Mac Internet Security X9 bundle is the more affordable option for single-machine users. 

Performance

Intego VirusBarrier X9 has the basic features you’d expect from an antivirus program. You can schedule scans at specific times, enable safe browsing to protect yourself from potentially dangerous websites, and perform quick scans and more in-depth full scans. 

The Quick Scan option performs a faster, more surface-level scan. Depending on the size of your drive and the number of files, it can be done in less than a minute. 

The Full Scan takes significantly more time to perform, but is much more thorough. It scans every drive and file it has access to. When the scan completes, VirusBarrier X9 will warn you of infected files. If it finds none, you will hear a ding and see the message, “Your Mac is safe.”

You can also enable Real-Time Scanning that will constantly monitor your system for threats. It provides three options upon finding an infected file.

The scanner will either ask you what to do, place the file in quarantine, or attempt to repair it. You can choose which of the three best suits your needs at that moment. 

You can set aside Trusted Files (and folders) that will not be scanned by Intego. This is one way to protect privacy, particularly if you have sensitive files you would rather not have a third-party program pass over. It’s also an easy way to avoid error messages on programs that trigger virus warnings without cause.

At least once a month, you should update your malware definitions. To do this, select the text in the top-right corner of the VirusBarrier X9 interface to check for updates to not only the software, but the definitions–in other words, the keys that the program looks for that tells it a virus or malware is present. 

VirusBarrier X9 gives the ability to detect a wide variety of malware, but you can also choose what types of files you want it to look for (or not look for.) For example, most macOS users won’t need the program to look for Windows malware, but it doesn’t hurt to leave it enabled just in case.

You can also choose to scan with low priority, which allows you to use your computer mostly as normal while the scan occurs, but it can increase scan times. The option to remove the quarantine marker allows you to tell VirusBarrier X9 that a file is safe so that it doesn’t warn you about it again. 

How It Compares

VirusBarrier X9 is a powerful program with an intuitive interface, but it isn’t the only option out there. 

Bitdefender Antivirus for Mac is another popular option. It has a lower face value than Intego at $30 for the first year, but covers only 3 devices versus Intego’s 5. It includes a VPN for more secure web browsing, as well as Time Machine protection—something VirusBarrier X9 does not cover. 

Kaspersky has been a name in the antivirus game for as long as the software has been around, and its Mac software backs that up. At $40 per year for 1 Mac, it carries a slightly higher price than Intego, but it includes a number of interesting features including an encrypted browser for online transactions.

Higher-tier versions of Kaspersky include features that would appeal to parents, including “bad content” blockers and trackers for mobile devices. 

Avast’s Mac software has anti-ransomware features built into it and will also probe your Wi-Fi network not only for weaknesses, but also intruders. It also uses real-time updates to protect against phishing sites.

The NetBarrier software bundled with VirusBarrier X9 helps track network activity and provides you with a way to not only see where the traffic is coming from, but block it. You can also set up multiple profiles for when you’re using your machine at home, at work, or on a public hotspot. 

Compared to many of these tools, Intego Antivirus lacks features. On its own, VirusBarrier X9 is a dedicated antivirus program that will absolutely help protect your machine, but it needs the bundled software to be a competitor against bigger names. 

The Internet Security bundle is a solid option for users with a dedicated machine, but anyone that has children will want to look at the Mac Premium Bundle for the full range of software to help protect your children—and your computer—from threats on the web.

We have negotiated a 50% discount for anyone wanting to buy Intego. Simply buy using this link to get Intego for only $24.99!

12 Best Free Android Calculator Apps and Widgets

No matter what you study or do for work, you probably use a calculator to perform a few tasks on a daily basis. Unless you prefer the feel of an actual physical calculator, the best solution is to use an Android Calculator app. 

While your Android phone has a built-in Calculator app that’s capable of performing basic functions, sometimes you need to solve specific math problems that are beyond the default app’s capability.

Whether you need a Calculator app for solving scientific math problems or to use it as a budgeting tool on your smartphone, here are the best Android Calculator apps and widgets that you can download and use for free. 

Calculator by Google

If you’re just looking for a simple alternative calculator app with a pleasant design, try Calculator by Google. 

The app is free and has no annoying ads in it. Calculator by Google can solve basic math tasks, but nothing too scientific. When you start using it, the app feels much faster and smoother than your built-in calculator.

It calculates in real time before you even press the Equals button. Calculator by Google is a good choice for those looking for a regular calculator app to use at school, or a clean calculator app with an intuitive UI. 

Calculator ++

If you’re looking for something a little more complex, Calculator ++ will do the job. The app has two different modes – Simple and Engineer – that you can use depending on your needs. Calculator ++ comes with a variety of functions, an ability to create graphs, and has a history log where you can access all your past calculations. 

Desmos Graphing Calculator 

Desmos Graphing Calculator is the best choice for those looking for an app with extensive graphing capabilities. The app doesn’t have a basic calculator mode, but it can instantly plot any equation on a graph. Desmos Graphing Calculator allows you to plot multiple functions and then adjust them using sliders. The app also has example graphs to get you started. 

RealCalc Scientific Calculator

For the fans of old school physical calculators, RealCalc Scientific Calculator has a design that resembles the traditional look of scientific calculators used at school to perform math tasks. 

RealCalc has two Calculator modes: Traditional and RPN (Reverse Polish Notation). You can use RealCalc to perform every scientific function possible. Some other features the app includes a history log, unit conversions, binary, octal and hexadecimal calculations. 

ClevCalc – Calculator

ClevCalc is a series of multi-purpose calculators that you access in one Calculator app. There’s a General Calculator that you can use for basic math tasks. However, the other modes are where this app truly shines.

Aside from the Currency Converter, ClevCalc has calculator modes that can help you with the Discount or Tip calculations, work out the Fuel Cost, and even perform the health tracker functions like Heath or Ovulation calculations. 

Financial Calculators

Financial Calculators is also an app that comes with dozens of different calculator modes, all tailored to specific financial goals. You can use Financial Calculators as an expense tracker, to figure out your loan interest, to calculate the amount of taxes you owe and more. 

CalcNote – Notepad Calculator

CalcNote is another great Android calculator app for managing your finances. The main feature that makes it stand out on the list of other calculator apps is its Notepad-like interface, where the problems appear on the left side and the calculations – on the right side.

Aside from managing your account and calculating tasks, you can use CalcNote to solve advanced math problems and instant calculations appear as you type. 

HiPER Scientific Calculator

If you’re looking for a digital replacement for your chunky scientific calculator, HiPER scientific Calculator is one of the best options out there. 

HiPER allows you to perform all of the basic scientific calculator functions, as well as use a built-in unit converter, and some other features like graphing capabilities, permutations, support for derivatives and integral operations and more. No matter what size of device you use the app on, HiPER Scientific Calculator has a layout that will fit it best – Pocket for smaller-sized smartphone, Compact for regular size, and Expanded for tablets. 

Photomath

Photomath is a calculator app with a pretty specific function – help you solve handwritten math problems using your smartphone’s camera. So if you have a complex equation written down and don’t feel like typing it into the app, Photomath can help you solve it in seconds by identifying the handwriting and delivering an answer. 

Among the mathematics equations that Photomath supports are algebra, trigonometry, derivatives, integrals, logarithms and more. 

Stylish Calculator Free – Calcu

If the look of an app plays an important role for you, try Stylish Calculator. It uses a colorful design and allows you to customize the calculator’s interface with a number of themes. 

To access all of the Stylish Calculator’s features, swipe up or down on the screen. Some of the features available include the history log, memory keys, various math functions, and more. 

CalcKit : All-In-One Calculator & Unit Converter

For anyone searching for a calculator app that can do it all, CalcKit is a great option. This calculator app features over a hundred different calculator modes and unit converters. There’s also a customizable scientific and RPN calculator and a floating calculator widget. CalcKit is a perfect app for solving any math task, no matter how big or small. 

Scalar – Most Advanced Scientific Calculator

Scalar is a powerful calculator app tailored to more advanced users looking for an app that allows them to use scripts in their work. Scalar uses a math scripting language which users can use to write scripts, speed up the calculations, and accelerate their workflow. You can also use Scalar to create customized function charts that you can then share with other users online. 

Choose the Best Calculator App For You

Each of the apps listed above offer unique features and functionality that makes them stand out and outperform your default Android calculator app. Choose the one that suits your needs and requirements best.

What calculator app do you use on your Android smartphone? What’s your favourite feature of this app? Share your experience with calculator smartphone apps in the comments below. 

5 Best Music Recognition Apps to Find Similar Songs By Tune

It has happened to everyone: you’re shopping for groceries and suddenly you realize you’re bopping along to the music playing over the speakers. You whip out your phone, but your app can’t identify what the song is. The music ends, and with it, your peace of mind—as you wonder for the rest of your life what the song was.

When you hear a song you like, you need the best possible music recognition app to help you find what it is. These apps will tell you the name of the song with just a few seconds of listening, help you find where to buy it, and much more.

SoundHound

SoundHound makes it easy for users to find exactly what button to press to identify music: a great big orange one right in the middle of the app. If you’re pressed for time (like if the song is almost at its end), you can just say, “OK, Hound” and you can tag the song within the app.

One feature that really sets SoundHound apart from the competition is its ability to identify music based on humming or singing the song. If you aren’t able to identify the song in time, try humming the tune to SoundHound. It gives you a second chance to identify that catchy beat you heard.

It includes the ability to tag songs so that you can purchase it later, view the lyrics, and more. If you’re interested, SoundHound also has its own voice assistant, but it doesn’t stack up against either Google Assistant or Siri.

SoundHound is free and ad-supported, but if you want to get rid of ads, you can purchase the premium version (called SoundHound Infinite) for $7. There’s not much point in doing so other than removing ads, however.

Shazam

Shazam is one of the most popular music recognition apps out there. It’s packed with features to help you identify music you hear, as well as discover music from new artists you might not hear about otherwise. 

The Country & City Charts make it easy to find music from around the world. You can even tell Shazam to play music and just jam out to the mix it provides. Shazam can also make a playlist for you based on the music you’ve identified previously.

As for identifying music, Shazam has two modes. The first is what you’re most likely familiar with: just tap to identify the song. The other mode is a lot more interesting: Auto-Shazam. Rather than tapping the button, you long press to activate Auto-Shazam.

Auto-Shazam will automatically listen for and identify music, even if the app isn’t open. While this isn’t the best option all the time, it can be a great option if you find yourself in a place with unfamiliar music that you enjoy. 

Shazam is free to use, but is supported by ads. If you want to go ad-free, you can do so for $3. 

MusicID

MusicID is a lesser-known app that doesn’t pack as many bells and whistles as bigger names like Shazam, but it does excel at identifying music. MusicID is a great choice for users who prefer minimalism, as the app provides only the basic information without much else on screen.

Just tap to identify the song. Once MusicID finds the tune for you, it provides the option to buy it on iTunes (although now that opens to Apple Music.) MusicID also allows you to make comments on identified songs so you can remember where and why you identified the song. 

MusicID also provides metadata about the songs. For example, in the Michael Buble song identified earlier, it provides genre, mood, and even the origin of the artist. It’s a great way to learn more about the musicians you enjoy. 

MusixMatch

Like MusicID, MusixMatch is a more dedicated app than Shazam. It focuses solely on identifying songs and providing lyrics, but you can often find the lyrics in multiple languages. As the song plays, the words will be highlighted so you can follow along.

You can connect MusixMatch to your Apple Music library and follow along with the lyrics. If you don’t know a song’s name but you remember a line from the song, you can search with just that information. More often than not, you’ll be able to find a match. 

There are also a host of premium options behind the MusixMatch Premium subscription. For $3 per month or roughly $36 per year, you unlock Party Mode, an ad-free app, the ability to clean up your music library with a single click, and more. 

Genius

Genius is an app for song lovers. It has music recognition capabilities and will allow you to follow the lyrics of the song, but it also has a lot of other features. You can watch videos and interviews with your favorite artists, search for new music, and more. 

One thing to note is that while Genius can identify music for you, it doesn’t save all the songs you’ve listed. It will show the most recent songs, but if you identify a lot of music you’ll want to manually save them. 

You can also highlight lyrics and annotate them to contribute your knowledge to the app. Once you’ve identified a song, you can scroll below the lyrics to find the next song on the album it comes from, as well as similar types of music you may enjoy. 

Canva vs RelayThat: Which Graphic Designer Is The Best?

There are two major barriers when it comes to logo design and branding tools. You are either graphically challenged or time challenged. If you hit either or both obstacles, you should look at rapid design tools such as RelayThat. 

RelayThat is part of a growing tribe of online graphic tools. It joins familiar names such as Canva and Stencil. In short, you are spoilt for choice when it comes to do-it-yourself branding innovations with your own image assets. You just have to decide which online graphic editor suits your skill levels and pocket. 

So, let’s take an inside look at what RelayThat is and what it offers for your in-house design needs. We’ll also compare it to Canva and other similar alternatives. Plus, RelayThat is offering an exclusive 15% discount for Online Tech Tip readers.

RelayThat: The First Look

Like all online graphic tools, RelayThat simplifies the design creation process. On one end, you have the industry standard Adobe’s Creative Cloud and its complicated Digital Asset Management Workflows. Then, you have online alternatives to Photoshop and Illustrator like PicMonkey and Vectr that are far simpler. 

What if you want to make it even more effortless? RelayThat is just such a solution. It can help you start on your branding innovations the second you log on. You don’t need magic design skills. 

RelayThat suggests there’s no right or wrong path to find the perfect design. This introductory video is a quick walkthrough of the tool:

Now, let’s highlight some key features that make this app worth your while:

The Layout Explorer

RelayThat uses a vast template library (the Layout Library) as a starting point. The templates follow the brand guidelines of different industries. There are more than 2000+ smart layouts on offer. 

You can make logos, banners, posters, images, brochures, infographics, business cards, and any other digital asset you can think of. You can also prepare graphics for different channels like social, advertisements, print, and even unique uses like Audio Covers and YouTube stills. 

Responsive Layouts

Browse all the available pre-built responsive layouts and choose one to match your brand. You don’t have to keep up with standard dimensions of social media headers and other layouts. The service supports 50+ of the most popular sizes. 

All assets can be customized with color, font pairing, headline styles, and other presets. 

Idea Presets

Not all of us can combine colors with the eye of a Picasso or even pair fonts for impact. RalayThat’s Idea Presets is a nice one-touch color swapping and font fairing feature. 

Just click on the palettes to choose between different color variations of your starter template. 

The Workspace

RelayThat then helps you put it all together in a specific “Workspace“. Use workspaces to organize all the assets you want to work on for a single brand. 

These can be collaborative folders for your entire team, and you can seamlessly switch between different workspaces for different projects anytime.

Magic Import

Magic Import is a nice feature you can use in a workspace to set up all your site’s assets quickly. You don’t have to individually download each file. Use your site’s URL to grab everything. 

Select the graphics you want to use. Then, use the smart layouts to rearrange them in the workspace. 

How Does RelayThat Stack Up Against Canva?

RelayThat will be benchmarked against the category leading Canva

Canva packs more features, as it is a mature platform now. This can be intimidating and slower for you if you want to jump straight into designing. Both Canva and RelayThat have templates. Canva allows you to start from scratch too and has more features for fine tuning designs. 

Canva allows you to create layouts with custom dimensions. This freedom is great if you have moderate design skills. 

If you’re a design newbie, RelayThat feels simpler for beginners because of its templates-first approach. This simplicity also makes it feel more intuitive. With a single click, RelayThat can mix and match your basic assets and give you hundreds of design alternatives. You can use this feature to create several variations of your original design faster than you can in Canva.

But let’s not mistake it for your average cookie cutter design tool. 

RelayThat, like Canva, is a branding tool that supports a huge library of templates and stock photos. Canva offers free downloads from massive stock photo sites like Pexels and Pixabay. RelayThat isn’t far behind as it offers 3 million copyright-free photos (add 100K icons) to all subscribers. In both, you can upload your own images too. 

Both Canva and RelayThat offer digital asset management features for teams. Canva calls it a Brand Kit while RelayThat gives you Workspaces

But how much do all features cost you?

RelayThat Vs. Canva: Pricing Comparison

RelayThat has two pricing tiers. The Pro plan costs $25 per month. The Enterprise plan is a variable plan based on team numbers. 

Canva offers more pricing options with its freemium model. You can keep working on the free version of Canva. When you want to go Pro, there is a 30-Day trial. Pro subscriptions cost $9.95 per month. 

Take a Look at Other Branding Tool Alternatives

It’s a big space with other online design tools trying to get your attention. Stencil and PicMonkey are two other names you will come across.

PicMonkey

PicMonkey is a solid image editor that works in your browser. It offers templates and design assets for your site and for social, but it’s more of an online photo editor. You can use features like layers, background remover, textures, gradients, filters, and more to customize photos. 

It’s not the best alternative to RelayThat (or Canva) if you want to create many images quickly and without too much effort. Choose it if you want more control but not something like Photoshop with its steep learning curve.

Stencil

Stencil is a capable alternative to RelayThat. It’s also designed for speed and simplicity. Stencil has a huge library of free stock photos, icons, Google Fonts, and templates. You can use 75+ size presets for social media images, web banners, ads, YouTube channel art, blog headers etc. 

Like those quotes images? Search from over 100,000 quotes right inside Stencil and make stunning images with a click. Stencil also supports social media scheduling via Buffer. Choose Stencil if you want to focus on social media with appealing graphics (especially quotes). 

Choose RelayThat for Simpler Design Needs

Now, that you have taken a walkthrough, let’s glance at the Pros and Cons once more:

Pros:

  • Fast and intuitive features allow you to design an image in five minutes or less.
  • No learning curve as you start with pre-designed templates in standard dimensions.
  • Brand management is easier as all assets can be imported and placed on the right templates quickly.
  • One click option to create multiple variations of a graphic with the core brand assets. 
  • Includes a rich library of images and thousands of icons. 

Cons:

  • Lack of customization options is a handicap for good designers.
  • A feature to add new placeholders to the templates is absent.
  • The interface with fixed panels and work area is not customizable. 
  • Font options are limited, with no kerning or extra font effects. 
  • No video tutorials and tips to help the beginner.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5
Ease of Use: 4 out of 5
Flexibility: 3 out of 5

RelayThat is for a certain type of user. But at the end of the day every branding tool is different with different value propositions. 

The best way to know is to try them out. Design a prototype of your brand image on all design platforms you shortlist. This simple exercise will help you drill down to the right design tool for your visuals so you can start work on building a steady online presence.

To claim your 15% discount on a new signup to RelayThat, just put the discount code OTT15 in at the checkout stage. The code is valid until January 31st 2021.