Sponsored Ad

75 Best Free Alternatives to Paid Software 2017

Best Free Alternatives to Paid Software

Now, Say goodbye to Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Office Software. From their productivity to entertainment and beyond this – we’ve piled up the best free software of 2017 for you. Free download and freely use these softwares without hesitation. Here you can download best free image editing software, best free photography software, best free video editing software, best free productivity software, best free office software, best free messaging software, best free music software and best free utility software. Enjoy your required software from the following lists completely free of cost.

Image Editing

Pixlr – Fully functional alternative to Adobe Photoshop. (Web, Windows, Mac)
GIMP – Another Photoshop alternative. (Linux, Mac)
Paint.net – GIMP for Windows (Windows)
Seashore – Basic image editing with layers, textures, gradients and more. (Mac)
ImageOptim – Image utility that compresses your images for the web (Mac)RIOT – Batch image compression for Windows (Windows)
InkScape – Professional vector graphics editor, replaces Adobe Illustrator (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Pinta – Another great Illustrator alternative. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Canva – Makes design ridiculously easy with templates for infographics, banners, newsletters, and more. (Freemium, web, iPad)
Pixlr-o-Matic – An app with fun, quick and easy effects that is a joy to use (Web, Windows, Mac, Chrome, iOS/Android)
Photoscape – Fun and easy photo editing software. (Windows, Mac)

Photography

Polarr – Great alternative for Adobe Lightroom. (Web)
Shotwell – Photo manager with powerful organizational and RAW support features (Linux)
Picasa – Google’s photo organizer and editor is actually great, if a little bloated (Everywhere)
RawTherapee – Complete solution for all your RAW needs. (Windows, Mac)
FSpot – Full-featured personal photo management system (Linux)
FastStone Image viewer – Fast, stable and user friendly image browser with basic editing features
Irfanview – Lightweight image viewer and editor with batch processing abilities.

Video

Playback & Entertainment
VLC – The video editor everyone loves. Super fast, plays almost every video format, and has many other hidden features – from video format compression to streaming podcasts. (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)
Pluto TV – Forget Netflix and cable, Pluto TV is your new best friend. With over a hundred channels – from Cats 24/7 to Science to Baseball, Pluto TV combines the variety of web content with the leanback experience of TV. (Everywhere)
(Disclosure: I currently work at Pluto TV)
Miro – Just like VLC and also open source, with a beautiful interface. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Kodi (formerly XBMC) – Your personal home theater. (Windows, Mac, Linux, Android, iOS)
Editing
OpenShot – Fully featured video editor, alternative to Final Cut Pro/Premiere Pro. (Linux)
Lightwork – Professional grade video editor (Freemium, Windows, Mac, Linux)
Miro – Video convertor that converts almost any video format
Blender – Powerful video and animation editor with exhaustive documentation.
Handbrake – Indispensable tool that can convert and compress any format (Windows, Mac, Linux)

Productivity

Productivity ToolsWunderlist – The best task-management app ever, period. (Everywhere)
Pocket – Found an awesome article but don’t have time to read it? Add it to Pocket with one click and read it later. (Everywhere)
OneNote – Microsoft’s free and powerful note manager (Windows/Mac/Android/IOS)
Evernote – A must have at this point, Evernote is your personal-everything manager. (Everywhere)
Trello – Project management software that will supercharge your productivity, (Web, iOS, Android, Win 8)
Pomodoro One – A free time management tool using the famous Pomodoro technique. (Mac)
Howl Timer – A time management tool with customizable time slots.
Sunrise Calendar – Beautifully designed with numerous integrations (including Google Calendar and Evernote). (Mac, iOS, Android)

Office Software
Google Docs – A complete alternative to Microsoft Office in the cloud. Say goodbye to crashes and lost unsaved documents. (Web)
LibreOffice – Downloadable alternative to MS Office and Google Docs (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Atom.io – Hackable text editor from our friends at Github. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Sublime Text – The best text editor ever. (Freemium, Windows, Mac, Linux)
Foxit PDF Reader – Great alternative to Adobe Acrobat Pro. Create, convert, and edit PDFs. (Windows, Linux)

Messaging

Slack – Say goodbye to email. Slack is a one-stop solution to all your messaging needs in and out of the workplace.
Adium – Cross platform IM client.
Pidgin – The ‘universal chat client’. Works with everything from Google Talk to IRC.
Telegram – Alternative to WhatsApp. (Android, iOS, Windows Phone)
Skype – Free video and audio calling.
Viber – Just like Skype.
KarmaBox – A tiny utility that sites in your menubar and notifies you when you get new reddit mail. (Mac)

Music

fooBar – My favorite personal music player ever. Don’t be fooled by the not-too-pretty interace. foobar is the fastest, most lightweight and customizable music player available. (Windows)
Spotify – Ad-supported free music streaming. (Everywhere)
Audacity – Create, record, edit and remix music. Your personal home studio. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Pandora – Like Spotify for radio.
Rdio Radio and on-demand streaming, available in more countries than Spotify and Pandora.

Utilities

Everything Search – The fastest search for your computer, ever. Find anything in miliseconds. (Windows)
Flux – Protect your eyes by automatically adjusting your screen’s brightness according to the time of day. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
Dashlane – The best password manager ever made – it is an even better alternative than its many paid counterparts. Nothing is stored in the cloud and everything is encrypted – and the best part, it’s all cross-platform. (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)
Ccleaner – The best tool to clean your computer, manage startup programs, and so much more. An essential. (Windows, Mac, Android)
BetterTouchTool – This will change your life. Open apps, close tabs, dock windows, delete files – all without lifting a finger from the touchpad. If you had to get only one app for the Mac, let it be this one. (Mac)
TreeSize – Scans your computer and visualizes exactly where and which apps are using up your disk space. (Windows)
DaisyDisk – Like TreeSize, except for Mac. (Mac)
Alfred – Search files and web, open apps and so much more. (Mac)
7-Zip – Zipping and unzipping software that is truly free – no nagging trial periods. (Windows)
The Unarchiver – 7-Zip for Mac. (Mac)
Calibre – Complete e-book manager, convertor and reader. (Windows, Mac, Linux)
App Cleaner – Completely uninstall apps and their hidden files with one click. (Mac)
Rocketdock – Get a Mac OSX-like dock for your Windows computer. (Windows)
Rainmeter – Completely customize and transform your desktop with skins, weather forecast, app launchers, quotes, and more. (Windows)
FileZilla – The best FTP client. (Windows, Mac)
Dropbox – The essential file backup solution. (Everywhere)
Memory Clean – Keep your RAM use under control with one click. (Mac)
coconutBattery – Track your Macbook’s battery health. (Mac)
Jing – Capture screencasts or screenshots and share them instantly. (Windows, Mac)
FastStone Capture – Image capture with a full-page (scrolling) screen capture feature. (Windows)
Enjoy the above software and never forget to share your experience with your friends.


Image Credit: it.pinterest.com

Source: unlearner

Kevin Durant shares his 'rock-bottom' moment after signing with the Warriors

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant opened up about hitting an emotional low point after signing with the Golden State Warriors last summer in an article for San Francisco Magazine.

In the days following the announcement of his decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder, Durant and his agent, Rich Kleiman, traveled to China for a tour sponsored by Nike Basketball. During the week-long trip, the negative responses about his decision to leave OKC weighed on him.

"Because I truly had invested everything I had into the people I played for ... and for those people that I know and love and trust to turn their back on me after I was fully invested in them, it was just ... more than I could take. I was upset," he told Jon Steinberg of San Francisco Magazine.

"That was before I met anybody from the Warriors and dove into the culture. I was basically on my own," Durant said.


He then detailed a moment from a hotel stay in China, when he called Kleiman's room and grilled him about letting him make the decision to sign with the Warriors.

"That hotel was rock bottom," Durant said.

Despite this self-professed low point, the Warriors forward shared that, by the time he joined Team USA for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, he had started to place things in perspective again. And reassurance from his peers played a big part in his turnaround.

"In my profession, that's the only thing I care about. So when I was talking to Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and they were like, 'Congrats, man, do your thing,' and Paul George was like, 'Congrats, man, I am happy for you,' and Kevin Love was like, 'Shoot, do what you gotta do,' that eased my mind a little bit, because I want that from my peers."

Durant went on to average 25.1 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists in his first season with Golden State.

Source: espn   

Ventriloquist Darci Lynne Farmer, 12, Breaks into Sobs as She's Crowned Champion of America's Got Talent

Crowned Champion of America's Got Talent

Darci Lynne Farmer is the winner of America’s Got Talent!

After 52 million votes were cast, host Tyra Banks announced the 12-year-old singing ventriloquist as the champion of season 12. Farmer, who becomes the second ventriloquist to win the NBC reality competition show, burst into tears, hugging her rabbit puppet Petunia as her two brothers rushed the stage to congratulate her.

Farmer became the third female act to win America’s Got Talent in 12 seasons.

A big highlight from night two of the live finals was when the Oklahoma native performed with her “idol” Terry Fator, who won season 2 of AGT with his puppet, Winston the Impersonating Turtle, and signed a $100 million five-year contract with The Mirage hotel in Las Vegas.

The pair performed “Anything You Can Do” from Annie Get Your Gun.


During the first night of the live finals on Tuesday, judge Simon Cowell was so blown away by her performance of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” with Petunia and shy mouse Oscar that he predicted her as the all-around winner.

“I think you’re gonna win,” he said.

Weeks ago, during the audition process, Farmer impressed judge Mel B so much that the Spice Girl member chose her as the recipient of the coveted Golden Buzzer, sending Farmer straight to the live shows.

“I was very, very shy but America’s Got Talent has given me a voice and more confidence than I could ever have,” Farmer said in her video package before she made the top five on Wednesday.

Farmer beat out nine other finalists including singers Kechi Okwuchi, Evie Clair, Angelica Hale, Chase Goehring, and Mandy Harvey in addition to comedian Preacher Lawson, dog trainer Sara & Hero, and dance troupes Light Balance and Diavolo.

In addition to the title of season 12 champion, Farmer also wins $1 million and a headlining gig at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from Sept. 3-4.

Source: people

Someone Made a Fake Equifax Site. Then Equifax Linked to It.



Equifax’s website about its breach of customer information, left, and a fake version, right, that a software engineer created to draw attention to the company’s lax cybersecurity.

People create fake versions of big companies’ websites all the time, usually for phishing purposes. But the companies do not usually link to them by mistake.

Equifax, however, did just that after Nick Sweeting, a software engineer, created an imitation of equifaxsecurity2017.com, Equifax’s page about the security breach that may have exposed 143 million Americans’ personal information. Several posts from the company’s Twitter account directed consumers to Mr. Sweeting’s version, securityequifax2017.com. They were deleted after the mistake was publicized.

By Wednesday evening, the Chrome, Firefox and Safari browsers had blacklisted Mr. Sweeting’s site, and he took it down. By that time, he said, it had received about 200,000 hits.

Fortunately for the people who clicked, Mr. Sweeting’s website was upfront about what it was. The layout was the same as the real version, complete with an identical prompt at the top: “To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, click here.” But a headline in large text differed: “Cybersecurity Incident & Important Consumer Information Which is Totally Fake, Why Did Equifax Use A Domain That’s So Easily Impersonated By Phishing Sites?”

It would be just as easy for phishers to create their own versions of the Equifax page, and that would be bad news for anyone entering the information required to enroll in identity theft protection: their surname and the last six digits of their Social Security number. (In Mr. Sweeting’s version, the form was disabled so that no information was saved.)

“Their site is dangerously easy to impersonate,” Mr. Sweeting said in an email, noting that he had created the site solely to draw attention to the weakness of Equifax’s security. “It only took me 20 minutes to build my clone. I can guarantee there are real malicious phishing versions already out there.”

“It’s in everyone’s interest to get Equifax to change this site to a reputable domain,” he added. “I knew it would only cost me $10 to set up a site that would get people to notice, so I just did it.”

In a short statement on Wednesday, Equifax said all posts containing the wrong link had been deleted.


“We apologize for the confusion,” the statement said. “Consumers should be aware of fake websites purporting to be operated by Equifax. Our dedicated website for consumers to learn more about the incident and sign up for free credit monitoring is https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, and our company homepage is equifax.com. Please be cautious of visiting other websites claiming to be operated by Equifax that do not originate from these two pages.”

What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.
You agree to receive occasional updates and special offers for The New York Times's products and services.

An Equifax spokeswoman, Marisa Salcines, did not respond when asked why the company had created a separate website rather than a subdomain of equifax.com.

That, cybersecurity experts said, was the key mistake. Phishers cannot create a page on the equifax.com domain, so if the website were hosted there instead, it would be easy for users to tell that the page was legitimate.

“You would think that would be the obvious place to start,” said Rahul Telang, a professor of information systems at Carnegie Mellon University. “Create a subdomain so that if somebody tries to fake it, it becomes immediately obvious.”

“Equifaxsecurity2017.com,” on the other hand, looks so unofficial that Mr. Telang said even he had been unsure at first whether it was safe to enter his information.

Mr. Sweeting explained in his email that a Linux command, “wget,” allows anyone to download the contents of a website, “including all images, HTML, CSS, etc.”

“It was super easy to just suck their whole site down with wget and throw it on a $5 server,” he wrote. “It currently has the same type of SSL certificate as the real version, so from a trust perspective, there’s no way for users to authenticate the real one vs. my server.”

Mr. Telang said Equifax’s actions suggested that the company had never anticipated or planned for a data breach.

“If you don’t have a plan in place, you will find different ways to screw it up,” he said. “Equifax is just a perfect example of that.”

All of the incorrect tweets ended with “-Tim,” indicating the name of the Equifax employee who wrote them. The Equifax spokeswoman did not say whether any disciplinary action had been taken, and Mr. Sweeting said he hoped the employee had not been fired.

“They probably just Googled for the URL and ended up finding the fake one instead,” he said. “The real blame lies with the people who originally decided to set the site up badly.”

Source: nytimes

Some iOS 11 issues show early adoption pitfalls, others are just growing pains


iOS 11 has some bugs to be fixed, but a mature platform has longer term problems.

Apple's new iOS 11 software for iPhones and iPads rolled out yesterday, but its adoption is slightly slower than that of its predecessor, and as is often the case, various issues have been reported by early adopters.

iOS 11 had been installed on just over 10 percent of supported devices in the 24 hours after it went live, according to data from Mixpanel. That's slightly slower than adoption of iOS 10 at launch (which was just over 14 percent after 24 hours). Tech wisdom has long held that people are generally wise to hold off installing major new OS releases until a couple of iterations in. However, Apple has always prided itself on its users' rapid adoption rate of new software releases, citing it as a metric in past conference keynotes and reports. This is still a good pace of adoption for the industry, but a handful of issues could explain the slower movement.

In fact there may be one big issue, and a few smaller ones. Most of the issues are likely to be resolved in a short time, but there are a few that we'll have to get used to. You've probably already read about the Apple Watch Series 3's LTE connectivity problems—that's an example of something that will get fixed for later adopters. What follows are some of the iOS 11 problems on iPhones and iPads.
Disabling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi in the Control Center

In the previous version of iOS, tapping the Bluetooth button in Control Center—the one-stop shop interface for basic phone functions like brightness, volume, and connectivity—completely disabled Bluetooth on the phone, but that is not the case in iOS 11, perplexing many users. According to our tests and a support document from Apple, disabling Bluetooth connectivity from Control Center only disconnects currently active Bluetooth pairings and prevents new pairings until it's re-enabled. But the Bluetooth hardware is still going. The same is true of Wi-Fi.

Apple implies in its support documentation that this is to ensure that some of what it may consider core iOS services like AirDrop, AirPlay, Apple Watch, Apple Pencil, Continuity, Instant Hotspot, and Location Services will continue to function. In a vacuum with no user expectations, this could be a reasonable design decision. That's because Bluetooth's battery impact is negligible when it's not actively used with another device, so keeping those services alive while still allowing the user to avoid connecting to nearby devices and draining the battery life doing so will produce the best outcome for the majority of people, though edge cases may exist.


However, those user expectations are a sticking point. To Apple's credit, it clearly outlined this functionality in its support documentation, but iOS users have been trained since 2013 to believe that tapping that Bluetooth button in the Control Center will turn Bluetooth off completely. That is no longer the case, and for a company that at one time made a lot of noise about intuitive user experiences, it's a surprising choice to make this change without more clearly signifying it in the user interface.

This is one of the handful of iOS 11 adoption pains that probably won't go away with future updates, but it's important to note that it's still possible to turn off Bluetooth. Apple's documentation says—and we confirmed this by testing it—that disabling Bluetooth in the Settings app really does turn it off. Furthermore, we tested the Airplane Mode button in Control Center and found that tapping that did indeed disable both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. There are now essentially more options for users when it comes to managing wireless activity on the phone, but the implementation is confusing at best. In the end, it's unlikely to be a significant inconvenience to most users, but it's worth knowing about it regardless.

Outlook, Exchange, and Office 365 e-mails might not send

There's an issue with e-mail that is much more serious. Users relying on e-mail accounts hosted on Outlook.com, Office 365, or Exchange Server 2016 might receive an error message when trying to send an e-mail in iOS 11: "Cannot Send Mail. The message was rejected by the server." Apple and Microsoft have both stated they are aware of the issue and expect it to be fixed in a future iOS software update.

Naturally, Microsoft says you can work around this by switching to its own Outlook mail app for iOS. But if you want to stick with what you're already using, you'll be waiting for a patch. These are very popular mail servers, so it's surprising that this issue made it to the final launch. But surprise or not, this supports the argument that you should be cautious before adopting a major new OS release on a device you depend upon.
The big one: 32-bit app support

As we mentioned when iOS 11 launched, this update drops support for 32-bit apps, so several of your old apps may stop working when you upgrade. iOS 11 will refuse to launch them with an error message saying, "The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11." Whether you're using iOS 10 or iOS 11, you can find a list of currently installed apps that will stop working by opening the Settings app, then navigating to General, About, and Applications. For some users, of course, there will be very few or even no unsupported apps, but for others it could be dozens.

Apple started warning developers to update their 32-bit apps and recompile them for the 64-bit architecture some time ago. For some apps, this could be easy to do. Others could run into unexpected problems. In any case, the reality of the world of mobile apps is that many are not supported after they initially launch—especially games that are not based around online services, like Sid Meier's Pirates! or Costume Quest. Whether they're working independently or within an organization, app and game developers move on to other projects. In some cases, game publishers may have completely disbanded the teams that made games and there is no one who holds the responsibility of keeping things up to date with new iOS developments.

The list of soon-to-be-broken apps on my phone shrunk significantly in the weeks leading up to iOS 11's launch, and some of the stragglers may yet get updated. But others never will. This issue, then, is both a growing pain and an early adoption problem. On one hand, you can expect the problem to get a little bit better over time as more apps are updated. But on the other, some apps that are lost will never be found again.

Apple didn't handle all of these issues perfectly. The Exchange bug is particularly problematic. But to some degree, we're seeing Apple struggle with many of the same problems in iOS that Microsoft, for example, has dealt with in Windows for years.

That is to say that some dosage of conservatism becomes necessary with a mature platform. Breaking common use cases (Exchange), fighting against established user habits and expectations (Bluetooth), and discontinuing support for old technology (32-bit apps) are all problems platform owners have faced before in a mature marketplace. And for better or worse, the smartphone marketplace is now as mature as it gets. So as Windows users have been saying for a lot longer than the iPhone's single decade: pick your upgrade timing carefully, and maybe wait for a couple of patches.

Source: arstechnica

Tillerson meets Iran's Zarif, no shoes thrown


New York (CNN) Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he and Iran's Foreign Minister "didn't throw shoes at one another" at their first meeting, but he added that it isn't clear whether they will be able to agree on the future of the Iranian nuclear deal.

Tillerson spoke to reporters after a United Nations meeting of countries involved in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, and one President Donald Trump has excoriated.

The 72nd annual General Assembly meeting at the United Nations was dominated by concerns about North Korea's nuclear program and the fate of the Iran nuclear deal, which Trump declared "an embarrassment to the United States" and has indicated that he wants to abandon.

The "Iran deal was one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into," Trump said in his first address to the UN.

On Wednesday, Trump told reporters at the UN that he had made a decision about how to proceed when he next has to certify in October that Iran is in compliance.

Iran's Rouhani pushes back on Trump
Tillerson said Trump has approached the decision of whether to stay in the Iran nuclear deal in the "right way," and has been "very deliberative," listening to a variety of viewpoints.

"I think the time has come for a decision to be made," Tillerson added. Trump "has not shared that decision (about the future of the deal) with anyone externally," including British Prime Minister Theresa May, who asked, Tillerson said.

The top US diplomat said his first opportunity to shake hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif left him with the impression of a "well-educated, very sophisticated" man.
He said that at the meeting there was "a good opportunity to meet, shake hands" and "the tone was very matter-of-fact, there was no yelling." He added with a chuckle, "we didn't throw shoes at one another."

"Whether we can agree, that's another thing," Tillerson said.

The leaders gathered at the JCPOA meeting had an "open and candid exchange," Tillerson said. It was "not a technical discussion," he said, "it was a political discussion."


He reiterated the Trump administration's concerns about the deal and Iran's behavior writ large, and said the administration is planning further steps to address that behavior without falling out of compliance with the deal.

While everyone around the table agreed Iran is in technical compliance with the deal, Tillerson said the US believes Iran is not in compliance with the spirit or expectations of the deal.

"I found it useful to hear their perspectives," he said of his fellow members, "and I hope they found it useful as well."

He added that US allies are looking "more carefully and seriously" at ways to push back against Iranian aggression.

"We also have been making the case to our allies that, 'You share our concerns about Iran's behavior. Please join us in sending that strong message to them. You're not violating the agreement,'" Tillerson said. "We believe they're looking more carefully and seriously at that as a means to push back on this other behavior of Iran's that they agree with us is unacceptable."

Speaking after the meeting, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, made clear that European parties to the deal aren't interested in revisiting the agreement, which took two years to finalize.

"There is no need to reopen the agreement because it's fully delivering" and Iran is abiding by it, Mogherini said. "This is an agreement that prevented a nuclear program and potentially prevented a military intervention," Mogherini said. "Let's not forget that."

She said that, "it's not for one party or the other to certify this." That's a job for the International Atomic Energy Agency, "with its technical independent role" to verify that Iran is sticking to the agreement.

And referring to the brewing nuclear crisis with North Korea, Mogherini said, "we already have one potential nuclear crisis, we definitely do not need to go into a second one."

Tillerson was asked what message North Korea should draw from the US attempt to renegotiate an agreement that has already been settled. Tillerson is conducting what he calls a "peaceful pressure" campaign to try to force Pyongyang into negotiations.

"We would take a very different view of the nature of the North Korea agreement," Tillerson said, pointing out that there are few similarities between the two countries. "The threats the same, but the nature of the agreement is going to be quite different."

Tillerson was asked later whether he could have a similar discussion with a North Korean representative.

"I don't know whether I could have the same kind of matter of fact discussion with North Korea because we don't know how their means of communication and behavior will be."

Tillerson said there also is evidence of fuel shortages in North Korea following the passage of new UN Security Council sanctions.

"We have some indications that there are beginning to be evidence of fuel shortages," he said. "We knew these sanctions were going to take some time to be felt." And looking forward, he said, "I think we'll see latent evidence of the impact of other sanctions in place."

CNN's Elise Labott and Michelle Kosinski contributed to the report from New York

Source: CNN

Puerto Rico entirely without power as Hurricane Maria hammers island with devastating force

Hurricane Maria hammers island

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria delivered a destructive full-body blow to this U.S. territory on Wednesday, ripping off metal roofs, generating terrifying and potentially lethal flash floods, knocking out 100 percent of the island's electrical grid and decimating some communities.

With sustained winds of 155 mph at landfall — a strong Category 4 storm and nearly a Category 5 — Maria was so powerful that it disabled radar, weather stations and cell towers across Puerto Rico, leaving an information vacuum in which officials could only speculate about property damage, injuries or deaths.

"Definitely Puerto Rico — when we can get outside — we will find our island destroyed," Abner Gómez, director of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, said in a midday news conference here. "The information we have received is not encouraging. It's a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its path."

The entire island experienced hurricane conditions, with 20 inches or more of rain falling, often at torrential rates of up to seven inches per hour, leading to reports of raging floodwaters and people seeking help to escape them.

The storm, having passed through the U.S. Virgin Islands earlier, made landfall on the Puerto Rican coast near Yabucoa at 6:15 a.m. It was the first Category 4 storm to strike the island directly since 1932. By midmorning, Maria had fully engulfed the 100-mile-long island.

Hurricane Maria brings extreme wind and rain to Puerto Rico
Hurricane Maria made landfall early Sept. 20 in the southeast coastal town of Yabucoa as a Category 4 storm. It's one the strongest hurricanes to ever hit Puerto Rico. (The Washington Post)

Winds snapped palm trees, shredded homes and sent debris skidding across beaches and roads. Recreational boats sank in San Juan's marinas. Across the island, residents reported trees downed and blocking roadways. Far inland, floodwaters inundated homes that had never before flooded.

In San Juan, the capital, Maria shook buildings and blew out windows. Residents of high-rise apartments sought refuge in bathrooms.

First responders, including a fire-rescue team deployed from Fairfax, Va., had to ride out the storm for hours before emerging to help people. In the meantime, calls to emergency services went in vain. A family in the southern coastal town of Guayama, for example, reportedly pleaded for help as they were trapped in their home with rising water. In Hato Rey, a San Juan business district, a woman sought assistance as she was experiencing labor pains. "Unfortunately, our staff cannot leave," Gómez said at the news conference. "They will be rescued later."

Macarena Gil Gandia, a resident of Hato Rey, helped her mother clean out water that had started flooding the kitchen of her second-floor apartment at dawn.

"There are sounds coming from all sides," Gil Gandia said in a text message. "The building is moving! And we're only on the second floor, imagine the rest!"

Farther west, in the community of Juana Matos, in the city of Catano, 80 percent of the structures were destroyed, the mayor of Catano told El Nuevo Día.

"The area is completely flooded. Water got into the houses. The houses have no roof," the mayor said. "Most of them are made of wood and zinc, and electric poles fell on them."

William "Brock" Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told The Washington Post that rescue and recovery operations are poised to help the U.S. territories — and had significant resources already deployed in the area as a result of Hurricane Irma, which hit the region just days ago.

"Right now we're in wait-and-see mode," Long said Wednesday afternoon. "We know that St. Croix took a tremendous hit, and we know obviously Puerto Rico took the brunt of the storm. Once the weather clears and the seas die down, we'll be in full operation."

Satellite images showed that Maria became disorganized, without a defined eye, and weakened as it moved slowly across the high terrain of Puerto Rico. Late Wednesday afternoon, the center of the vast storm exited the north coast of the island, its peak winds having dropped to 110 mph as a dangerous but less powerful Category 2 storm.

As Maria journeys across open Atlantic waters, it is expected to reorganize and gain strength. It is moving parallel to the northeast coast of the Dominican Republic, heading toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the southeast Bahamas.

Fishing boats with severe damage at Club Nautico in the San Juan Bay. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)

The storm track and atmospheric conditions suggest it will stay offshore of the U.S. East Coast and eventually curve northeast and out to sea. But forecasters warn that it is too soon to say with certainty that the U.S. mainland is in the clear.

Southern New England already is dealing with pounding surf and powerful wind gusts from Hurricane Jose. That storm could help in keeping Maria away from the coast by drawing it to the northeast. If Jose weakens too quickly, Maria could drift closer to the East Coast by the middle of next week.

Maria was the most violent tropical cyclone to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years. It had raked St. Croix hours earlier, just two weeks after that island was the only major land mass in the U.S. Virgin Islands that was spared Hurricane Irma's wrath. Maria also produced flooding in St. Thomas, an island that Irma hit.

In the French island of Guadeloupe, officials blamed at least two deaths on Maria, and at least two people were missing after a ship went down near the tiny French island of Desirade. At least seven deaths have been reported on the devastated island of Dominica.

Del. Stacey Plaskett, who represents the U.S. Virgin Islands in Washington, said St. Croix had been a staging ground for relief efforts after Hurricane Irma devastated other parts of her district before Maria's eye skimmed the edge of St. Croix on Tuesday night as a Category 5 storm with winds of 175 mph.

The damage has yet to be fully assessed, but in a sign of the possible devastation, Plaskett said the roof of the local racetrack blew into the runway of the airport, complicating relief efforts.

This is what the eye of Hurricane Maria looks like
NOAA’s GOES 16 satellite captured a close view of Hurricane Maria’s swirling eye on Sept.19 as it made its way to Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands. (NOAA)

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Wednesday afternoon imposed a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for the general public, which will continue until Saturday.

"Resist, Puerto Rico," the governor tweeted earlier as the storm blew in. "God is with us; we are stronger than any hurricane. Together we will lift up."

Speaking on NBC's "Today" show Wednesday, Rosselló said, "This is clearly going to be the most devastating storm in the history of our island."

Buildings that meet the island's newer construction codes, established around 2011, should have been able to weather the winds, Rosselló said. But wooden homes in flood-prone areas "have no chance," he predicted.

The last hurricane to make landfall in Puerto Rico was Georges in 1998. Just one Category 5 hurricane has hit Puerto Rico in recorded history, in 1928.

Broken windows at an apartment in the Ciudadela complex of Santurce. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)

Puerto Rico's vulnerability to tropical cyclones has been driven home in the past two weeks as first Irma and then Maria have howled into the Caribbean. The back-to-back nature of the storms has had one minor upside: Some 3,200 federal government staffers, National Guardsmen and other emergency personnel overseen already were in Puerto Rico when Maria approached.

President Trump praised FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security for "lifesaving and life-sustaining" work in the islands, and he sent his thoughts and prayers to "all those in harm's way," according to a White House statement.

The federal recovery effort, FEMA administrator Long said, will attempt to restore power to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands as quickly as possible but in a way that makes the grid less vulnerable to similar disruptions. The power grid, he said, "is a fragile system in both territories. It's going to be a long and frustrating process to get the power grid up."

In the lobby of Ciqala Luxury Home Suites in Miramar, a neighborhood in San Juan, Maria Gil de Lamadrid waited with her husband as the rain and wind pounded the hotel's facade. The door of the hotel's parking garage flopped violently in the wind.

Hurricane Maria passed through Puerto Rico leaving behind a path of destruction. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)

Gil de Lamadrid had spent the night in the hotel after evacuating her nearby 16th floor waterfront apartment. But even in a luxury hotel room, Gil de Lamadrid could not evade flooding. On Wednesday morning, water began seeping into her room through the balcony doors.

"I'm feeling anxious," she said.

"For me, it's an adventure," he said. "Something to talk about later."

By midafternoon, the gusts had become less frequent, and lashing rains had eased. Soon residents emerged to survey the damage from a storm for the ages. Some walked their dogs.

"The hotels, they lost all the windows, they had structural damage even on concrete," reported Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo, a freelance photographer working for The Washington Post, as he surveyed the tourist area of San Juan. "Trees are without a single leaf."

In Miramar, residents began clearing the roads of larger trees. One man walked down the street wearing only a T-shirt, shorts and a fedora hat, beaming despite the rain. "I was bored," he said.

The Nieves Acarón family decided to walk their dogs just before nightfall.

"He couldn't last any longer," Adriana Acarón said, pointing at her dog, Toffee.

She had been anxious throughout the storm. With cellphone reception down, she had not yet heard from her mother-in-law, who is 83 and lives in an area where a river reportedly overflowed its banks.

"It didn't stop for hours," she said of the storm. "I could feel everything. You could feel things flying at your window shutters."

Residents of San Juan take refuge at Roberto Clemente Coliseum, the biggest shelter in the island. (Photo by Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo for The Washington Post)

In the San Juan district of Santurce, residents used machetes to cut branches from trees blocking the road. The sidewalks were rendered impassable by downed trees, metal roofing and power lines.

Anton Rosarios, 81, looked over what remained of the front of his wooden house, the walls of which had collapsed, exposing the interior. He said he was hoping that FEMA would show up: "They are the only ones who can help fix this neighborhood. God willing, they will be coming to help us soon."

The home of his neighbor, Vitin Rodriguez, 55, had lost its roof, and all of his belongings had been ruined by Maria. A tree had fallen and crushed his car, and he said he had no way to check on the status of family members.

Further down the block, a small crowd gathered at an emergency shelter, as residents checked on friends and neighbors, some of whom had ridden out the storm playing dominoes.

"It's important to help, to give a life to people who don't have homes because of the storm," said Eudalia Sanata, 46, one of the four employees of the shelter. "Look, there are even a few dogs here. Dogs are part of the family, too, and no one wants to leave their family out in the rain."

Hurricane Maria slams into Puerto Rico as Category 4 storm

The storm carries the potential to cause widespread destruction along its path, including some areas battered earlier by the huge Hurricane Irma.

Achenbach and Somashekhar reported from Washington. Daniel Cassady in San Juan; Amy Gordon in Vieques, Puerto Rico and Brian Murphy, Jason Samenow and Angela Fritz in Washington contributed to this report.

Source: washingtonpost

Mexico had two major earthquakes this month. Here's why

major earthquake in mexico

(CNN) For the second time in two weeks, a powerful earthquake struck Mexico, toppling buildings, cracking highways and killing hundreds of people.

Just like the deadly earthquake earlier this month, Tuesday's temblor caused heavy and prolonged rattling in the capital. Although the two earthquakes struck hundreds of miles apart, they have some similarities, experts say.

The 7.1-magnitude earthquake Tuesday was about 650 kilometers from the epicenter of the 8.1-magnitude earthquake that hit September 8, said Jana Pursley, a geophysicist with the US Geological Survey.

Both earthquakes seem to be a result of the rupture of fault lines within the North American tectonic plate, according to Behzad Fatahi, associate professor of geotechnical and earthquake engineering at the University of Technology Sydney.

Two major earthquakes in the same country within a short span of time may sound rare, but it's not a surprise in such a seismically active region.

"It is not very unusual to get earthquakes and aftershocks occurring in sequence," Fatahi said. "When fault lines rupture, they can induce further ruptures as a chain effect in other parts of the same fault or nearby fault lines."

Mexico City especially vulnerable
The Mexican capital is especially at risk of major earthquakes because of its location.
"The downtown of Mexico City is notoriously vulnerable to earthquakes because of the very soft and wet ground underneath. Its soil amplifies shaking like Jell-O on a plate, and is prone to liquefaction, which is the ability to transform dirt into a dense liquid when sufficiently churned," wrote John Vidale, a seismologist and director of the Southern California Earthquake Center.

CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri said this has been the case for hundreds of years.

"Mexico City was built on what is now a dry lakebed," Javaheri said. "This region about 700 years ago was a very shallow lakebed. The city, one of the most densely populated in the world, is situated directly on top of it. This plays a large role in the intensity and how everything plays out when it comes to shaking."

Tuesday's earthquake struck at a depth of about 33 miles (51 km).

"Anything below 70 kilometers is considered a shallow quake," CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar said. "That's important, because shallow earthquakes often cause the most damage, compared to the ones that are deeper, regardless of the strength. But this also was a relatively strong earthquake."


Pacific Ring of Fire
Both quakes occurred on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a 25,000-mile area shaped like a horse shoe that stretches from the boundary of the Pacific plate and the smaller plates such as the Philippine Sea plate to the Cocos and Nazca plates that line the edge of the Pacific Ocean.

It is one of the most seismically active zones on the planet, and about 80% of all earthquakes strike there, said Hongfeng Yang, a seismologist at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Some of the deadliest earthquakes occurred around the Ring of Fire, including 9.5-magnitude that hit Chile in the 1960s and is considered the strongest one recorded.

"In highly seismic areas such as Ring of Fire, it is possible that two large earthquake occur almost one after another in a matter of days," Fatahi said.

Five tectonic plates -- Cocos, Pacific, Caribbean, Panama and North American -- collide in central and southern Mexico, making the region one of the most unstable, he added.

Aftershocks?
Fatahi said aftershocks can happen minutes, days or months after the main one hits. But in the case of Tuesday's earthquake, it's probably not an aftershock to the massive one earlier this month because aftershocks don't happen hundreds of kilometers from the original earthquake weeks later, he said.

The latest earthquake will probably be followed by aftershocks in the days and weeks ahead, he said.
"However, since two major earthquakes of magnitude 7 and above have occurred in a matter of 10 days in the region toward southern part of North American tectonic plate, significant stored energy has been released from the ground, which means that the likelihood of much larger earthquakes in the region has reduced now. "

The earthquake Tuesday struck on the anniversary of a 1985 Mexico quake that killed nearly 10,000 people. Fatahi said that date is just a coincidence -- unlike hurricanes and other disasters, earthquakes can strike at any time without warning.

"Is not yet possible to predict earthquakes well in advance to avoid casualties," Fatahi said.
People react in Mexico City just after the quake hit. A few moments earlier, an earthquake drill was held in the capital.

People react in Mexico City just after the quake hit. A few moments earlier, an earthquake drill was held in the capital. Two weeks ago, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the country's southern coast.

People react in Mexico City just after the quake hit. A few moments earlier, an earthquake drill was held in the capital. Two weeks ago, a magnitude-8.1 earthquake struck off the country's southern coast.

Mexico City has a system that warns of strong shaking off of the country's coast, according to the USGS. The system consists of sensors that detect shaking from a large earthquake and rapidly determine the location and magnitude.

Since Mexico City is hundreds of miles from the main plate boundary, it gets about a minute or more of warning of the impending shaking.

Earthquakes start deep in the ground and move so fast -- 50 times faster than a category 5 hurricane -- so it's almost impossible to issue a warning well in advance, according to Fatahi.
But there are other ways to save lives.

"Earthquakes do not kill; but inadequately designed and poorly constructed buildings, infrastructure and lifeline systems can," Fatahi said.

The best way to save lives is to design structures that can withstand earthquakes and retrofit old buildings to fit the code, he said.

Source: CNN

At least 139 dead as 7.1 magnitude earthquake jolts Mexico (PICS & VIDEOS)

7.1 magnitude earthquake jolts Mexico

MEXICO CITY – At least 139 people were killed when a strong earthquake struck central Mexico on Tuesday.

The USGS has given an “orange alert”, warning of “significant” shaking-related fatalities of up to about 1,000 people are likely.

It has issued a “red alert” for the earthquake’s likely economic impact.

The capital’s airport suspended operations after the 7.1 magnitude quake, and buildings across the city were evacuated.


People were feared trapped under the rubble of collapsed buildings as rescue teams rushed to the hardest-hit areas.

Tuesday’s earthquake came less than two weeks after another strong 8.1 magnitude quake left 90 dead in the country’s south, and it occurred as Mexicans commemorated the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed over 10,000 people.

The epicentre of the quake was next to Atencingo in Puebla state, some 120km (75 miles) from Mexico City, with a depth of 51km, the US Geological Survey said.

The highest death toll was in the state of Morelas, where at least 64 people have died. Another 36 deaths have been reported in Mexico City, at least nine in neighbouring Mexico state, and 29 in the state of Puebla to the south.

At least 27 buildings collapsed in Mexico City, President Enrique Peña Nieto said, urging people to avoid the streets so emergency services could easily reach the most affected areas.

Phone lines were down in parts of the capital, and 3.8 million people were without power in affected areas.

US President Donald Trump tweeted: “God bless the people of Mexico City. We are with you and will be there for you.”

Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offered “our friends” in Mexico his country’s help.

Calling the quake in central Mexico “devastating,” Trudeau said on Twitter that his thoughts are with those affected by the disaster.


More pictures and videos

source: dailypakistan

iOS 11 is available tomorrow

iOS 11 by apple
Starting Tuesday, iPhone and iPad customers around the world will be able to update their devices to iOS 11, a major update to the world’s most advanced mobile operating system and the biggest software release ever for iPad. iOS 11 brings augmented reality to hundreds of millions of iOS devices and new professional capabilities improve images in Photos and Camera. Siri is more natural and useful and a redesigned App Store makes it easier to discover apps and games.
iPad Becomes Even More Powerful

Work with multiple apps at the same time using Slide Over on iPad.
The all-new Dock provides quick access to favorite and frequently used apps and documents from any screen and makes it easier to work with multiple apps with Split View and now Slide Over. Drag and Drop makes moving images, text and files between apps easier than ever using Multi-Touch. And Apple Pencil is more deeply integrated into iPad Pro with support for inline drawing and a new Instant Notes feature that opens Notes from the Lock Screen by simply tapping Apple Pencil on the display.

Files makes it easy to access and organize files from one central place.
The all-new Files app provides a central place to access and organize files no matter where they are located — on iPad or in the cloud with built-in support for iCloud Drive as well as providers, such as Box, Dropbox and others.

Immersive Augmented Reality

With new AR apps, users can place virtual objects in real-world scenes.
Hundreds of millions of people can now experience AR apps on iPhone and iPad and view virtual content on top of real-world scenes for interactive gaming, immersive shopping experiences, industrial design and more. These apps deliver high-quality AR experiences using the built-in camera, powerful processors and motion sensors in iOS devices.
Photos Look Even More Professional


New Loop and Bounce effects create continuous video loops for Live Photos.
The incredibly popular and innovative Portrait mode now uses optical image stabilization, True Tone flash and HDR, so every shot looks even more professional. Loop and Bounce effects create continuous video loops for Live Photos, while Long Exposure creatively captures time and movement. In Photos, Memory Movies are optimized to play in both portrait and landscape orientation, and more memories, such as photos of pets or birthdays, are automatically created.

The All-New App Store

Redesigned App Store makes discovering apps and games easier than ever.
The App Store is redesigned in iOS 11, making discovering apps and games easier than ever before. New in-depth features and interviews will uncover the stories behind iOS developers, and the incredible apps and games they create. App Store for iMessage is also easier to access with a redesigned app drawer.

Siri is More Natural and Useful

Siri now offers translation, an expressive new voice and more proactive intelligence to help you through your day.

New voices are more natural and expressive, adjusting intonation, pitch, emphasis and tempo while speaking, and can translate US English into Mandarin, French, German, Italian or Spanish. Siri uses on-device learning to deliver more personal experiences and offers suggestions based on personal usage of Safari, News, Mail, Messages and more.
Send Money to Friends with Apple Pay this Fall

Coming this fall, easily and securely send and receive money from friends and family with Apple Pay right in Messages, no extra steps or apps needed.

Coming this fall with an update to iOS 11 and watchOS 4, Apple Pay users will be able to send and receive money from friends and family quickly, easily and securely. Pay and get paid right in Messages, or tell Siri to pay someone, using the credit and debit cards they have in Wallet. When users get paid, they receive the money in their new Apple Pay Cash card in Apple Wallet and can use the money instantly.

Stay Focused on the Road

Do Not Disturb while driving is a new way to help drivers stay more focused on the road.
iOS 11 introduces a new way to help drivers stay more focused on the road with Do Not Disturb while driving. iPhone can detect when a user may be driving through vehicle movement or Bluetooth connections, and automatically silences notifications to keep the screen dark. Users have the option of sending an auto reply to their Favorites, contacts or recents to let them know they are driving and cannot respond until they arrive at their destination.

More Ways to Navigate with Apple Maps

Look inside malls and airports with new indoor maps.
Coming this fall, Apple Maps adds indoor maps for shopping centers and airports around the world, including: Amsterdam (AMS), London Heathrow (LHR), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), Philadelphia (PHL) and San Jose (SJC).

iOS 11 also introduces lane guidance to help users better prepare for the next turn, as well as speed limits to help users stay informed.

Discover New Music with Friends

Share Music with friends with new features in Apple Music.
Subscribers can create a profile and follow friends to listen to shared playlists and see the music they listen to most. Apple Music subscribers can also begin receiving notifications when friends follow them, new music is released and more — so they never miss a beat.

To learn more ways to get the most out of iOS 11, users can visit the Tips app on iPhone or iPad. For details on how to update iOS devices, visit Apple Support.

Source: apple