When reporting on PC shipments, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be bad news these days. However, the latest PC shipment news from Gartner can’t really be described as bad, more like out and out disastrous.
Shipments in Western Europe totaled 11.9 million units in the third quarter of 2013, a decline of 12.8 percent from the same period in 2012. The drop relates to all PC segments. Mobile and desktop shipments fell by 14.5 percent and 9.8 percent, respectively. PC shipments in the professional PC market shrank by 8.3 percent, and the consumer PC market plummeted by 17.1 percent. Tablets, naturally, are to blame, although Windows 8 and 8.1 have a part to play in the collapse too.
Inori Aizawa, the official mascot for Internet Explorer (in Singapore at least) is an Anime heroine who spends her time fighting against the dark side of the web.
On her official Facebook page she describes herself as a personification of Internet Explorer, and the parallels between her life and the browser are clear. "When I was younger", she says, "I used to be a clumsy, slow and awkward girl. However, just like the story of ugly duckling, people told me that I have really matured and changed over the years. I feel confident in my abilities now, and I'm eager to show you what I can do. Why don't you get to know me a little better?"
One of the (many) complaints people had about Windows 8, was how unnecessarily awkward it was to shut it down. Windows 8.1 makes that aspect of things much easier. You can still go through the Charms bar, but you can also now right-click the new Start button and shut down, or sign out there.
There is another method though, and that’s to use the "Slide to shut down your PC" option. This isn’t activated by default, but it’s easy to summon, and you can create shortcuts for it.
Although Microsoft made upgrading from Windows 8 to 8.1 easy and free, the process has to be done through the Microsoft Store. If you want an ISO version of the OS, and don’t have a TechNet or MSDN subscription, you need to engage in a little trickery, which is straightforward enough, but not ideal.
As someone who once bought a brand new Advent laptop with Vista on it, but without any discs I could use to reinstall or repair the OS in the event of trouble, I know how frustrating not having a physical (or digital) copy can be. Newegg is currently offering a "Windows 8.1 Back-up Media disc" for pre-order that could potentially save the day.
NetMarketShare's monthly operating system statistics always make for interesting reading and analysis. For example, a month ago they showed Windows 7's growth was outpacing that of Windows 8. That was, naturally, just a blip, but in October -- the month that Windows 8.1 launched -- Windows 7 managed to make further market share gains.
There are other interesting things about last month's share statistics. Windows 8.1 -- which NetMarketShare has included since the Preview version launched -- is up, as you'd expect, while Windows 8 drops. Combined, the two operating systems see an overall rise, but the growth is slight.
The Lumia 1020 is famous for its camera. The Nokia smartphone offers a 41 MP shooter with Xenon flash, Zeiss lens and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization). It’s capable of producing photos at a whopping 7712 by 5360 resolution and recording 1080p video at 30 FPS.
Apple’s 8 MP iSight camera on the iPhone 5s is much weedier in comparison, although it does have some tricks up its sleeve, including a sensor that increases the area available for pixels by 15 percent. But even so, pitted head-to-head you’d expect the Nokia phone to win easily right? Apparently not. According to Laptop Mag, it’s Apple’s new phone that takes the crown.
Running can, at times, get rather boring (especially treadmill running). I’m a huge fan of the Zombies Run app which helps keep runners like me going for longer by providing an unfolding story in-between your music tracks, and also offers numerous modes (like Radio, Race and Supply) for when you’ve listened to all of the available chapters.
A bit of variety is always welcome though, and Runtastic is muscling in on Zombies Run territory with what it’s calling Story Running.
I like unusual games, and the original Papa Sangre really appealed to me. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s essentially a sound-only game for iOS in which you listen for 3D audio clues as to where you are and the direction you need to be going in. The follow up, The Nightjar (featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch), added more of a story to the proceedings, and now in time for Halloween, Papa Sangre returns.
I was one of the beta testers for the new game, and I’m pleased to report Papa Sangre II is a massive improvement over the original. The rebuilt binaural processing Papa Engine does an amazing job of recreating a 3D soundscape in your mind and the addition of actor Sean Bean’s vocal talents, a choice of control systems and some inspired levels -- one moment you’re escaping a burning house, the next shooting ducks in the dark -- combine to create a very rewarding experience.
When you install an app or desktop program in Windows 8.1 it gets added to the Apps screen. From here you can add it to the Start screen by right-clicking to summon the Customize menu, and then selecting "Pin to Start". You can also "Pin to Taskbar" if you want regular quick access to it while working in the desktop.
The Apps screen, which you can set as your default view, can be ordered by Name, Date Installed, Most Used, or Category -- to make it easier to find the apps and desktop programs you want. You can also have desktop programs show up first when the Apps screen is sorted by Category. To do this, right-click the taskbar and select Properties. Click the Navigation tab and tick “List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by category”.
Security research firms frequently test browsers to see how good they are at protecting users from malware and phishing attacks. The results show you how secure (or otherwise) the latest versions are, but don't give you any real indication of how well they might perform in the future.
Identifying trends in performance is important, particularly for companies thinking of switching browsers, so NSS Labs evaluated the security of Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox and Safari by aggregating results from phishing and socially engineered malware (SEM) attack tests conducted between 2009 and 2013.
Windows 8.1 is great. But at the same time it -- and its predecessor -- is based on a slightly flawed concept. It's built on the idea of a one-size-fits-all operating system, but in order to get it to work across tablets, desktop PCs, laptops and hybrids, Microsoft has had to make various compromises. A bit like trying to make one suit fit four people with different body shapes.
Windows 8.1 (like Windows 8) fits best on tablets, but tweaks had to be made to ensure it runs on smaller screen sizes. Windows 8.1 works well on standard PCs, but you can almost feel Microsoft's disapproval when you're controlling the OS with a mouse and keyboard -- "But that's not how it's meant to be used!" As a desktop user there are various elements of the new OS which annoy me, but none more so than the Calculator app.
I know a couple of people who have been victims of identity theft, and while they didn’t lose anything financially, there was a lot of work required afterwards to clear up the mess and put safeguards in place to ensure it didn’t happen again. What was amazing to me was that the thieves were able to do things like open store cards with information that was not only false, but incorrect (an entirely fictitious date of birth, for example).
A new infographic from Experian looks at the dangers of identity theft both on and offline, and provides statistics that show while most of us are aware of the risks, few of us actually do enough to properly safeguard our personal information. The findings probably won’t surprise you.
Microsoft is hoping to appeal to serious musicians and remixers with a new add-on for its tablet range. The Surface Music Kit is a backlit cover (called a Blade) that plugs into the Surface keyboard port and replicates the sort of hardware buttons typically used by a music producer or performer.
When you connect the Music Cover, it will install the companion app automatically, providing you with access to all of the building blocks of a song -- templates, drums, bass, keyboard, vocals, and so on. You can use it to create new music but it’s particularly well suited to remixes and mashups.
Yesterday was unquestionably the day of the tablet. Nokia unveiled the Lumia 2520, its first Windows RT 8.1 slate, Apple announced the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, and Microsoft’s Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 went on sale.
It was unfortunate timing for Microsoft. On a day when Steve Ballmer and co. would have hoped people would be talking about Surface, they were salivating over Apple instead. The fruit logo company inflicted more damage on Microsoft than just drawing focus for a day however.
Despite being billed in the press as an iPad event, Apple announced much more than just the iPad Air and new iPad mini today. As well as improved hardware it revealed its OS update Mavericks would be free, and the giveaways didn’t stop there.
Its iWork productivity apps -- Pages, Numbers and Keynote -- and its iLife creativity apps -- iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand -- have been redesigned to take full advantage of OS X Mavericks and iOS 7, updated to 64-bit, integrated with iCloud and made entirely free. They’ll come bundled with new Macs or iOS devices. If you’re an existing user, and running Mavericks or iOS 7, you’ll be able to update to the new versions. Not planning on buying new hardware and not an existing user? You’ll still need to pay to get them, I’m afraid.