What's that? Another music streaming service? Another one?! You could be forgiven for having this reaction to the news that Dr Dre's Beats Music is now available for iOS and Android; this is a market that is already rather saturated, and music lovers are not exactly short of options when it comes to picking a service to satiate their audio needs. So any new service vying for attention has to have something rather unique to offer if it is going to stand out from the competition.
Beats Music does have a unique selling point. It is a service that is about more than just streaming music, it aims to deliver the right music according to the time of day, what you are doing and where you are. Is this sort of stream tailoring enough to win over music fans? Only time will tell, but Beats Music certainly has a fight on its hands if it is to wrestle users away from the existing services that have been established for some time.
Now that CES 2014 is completely out of the way (although there was still time for me to pick my favorite tech from the show), it's back to business as usual. For many a company, business as usual means security issues, and Microsoft suffered at the hands of The Syrian Electronic Army. Again. The earlier security issues at Target were found to be far worse than first thought, affecting an estimated 100 million customers, and a potential security flaw was identified in Starbucks' mobile apps. For the antivirus side of protection, Kaspersky's Internet Security was named product of the year by AV-Comparatives.
Hoping against hope that new tech isn’t embraced for the sake of embracing new tech, I pondered the need for curved screens. In the mobile world, KitKat started to roll out to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and also announced the company somewhat deceptively named Galaxy Tab3 Lite, which is in fact no lighter than the non Lite version, other than in terms of hardware specs.
Translation has become a big thing for search engines. If you use Chrome then you have likely seen a translation option pop up when you click a story that isn’t in your native tongue. But Google is not the only one that can do this -- Bing too has translation capabilities.
Now Microsoft's search service is upping its game, announcing new features to its translation engine. The update is available for both Windows Phone and the desktop.
The Enterprise edition of Windows 8.x has a feature called Windows To Go that lets you create a working version of Microsoft's tiled operating system on a USB memory stick. You can boot into this and be instantly up and running in the new OS from any computer. Which is great -- provided you have the Enterprise edition of the OS and a "certified" USB drive. If you only have the standard version of Windows 8.x then the option isn't available to you.
But there is a very easy way you can build a personalized and bootable copy of Windows 8 or 8.1 on a USB drive, for use anywhere. All you need is a USB 3.0 device with at least 13GB capacity (it will run on a USB 2.0 memory stick, but slowly), a copy of Windows 8.x (either an installation disc or an ISO -- you can get the Windows 8.1 ISO by following these instructions but you will need a Windows 8.1 key), and a free partitioning program. Here's what you need to do.
One of the most memorable presentations given at CES this year saw Samsung showing off its latest curved screen TV. Sadly for the tech giant it was Michael Bay's on-stage brain fart that most people took away from the talk (if I can just leave you with the delightful image of taking away someone's fart with you...), but Samsung would much rather we concentrated on the display technology it was showcasing. It excited a great many people, and for some it is seen as the way ahead and something we could see a lot more off. I sincerely hope we don't, particularly on the desktop.
Why? There are lots of reasons that I am opposed to the idea of curved screens, particularly when used for TVs and monitors -- smartphones are slightly different, but I'm not too keen on that either. Curved screens are not really a brand spanking new technology; there have been curved cinema screens for a number of years now, and I can see the benefit of the curve in this setting. Used in a theater the curve eliminates the problem of trying to find a seat right in the center because it matters far less where you are in relation to the screen. Everyone gets an equally good view of the action. It is a democratizing technology. So why am I down on it?
The Windows Club has released Ultimate Windows Tweaker 3.0 for Windows 8 and 8.1 users. The lightweight, portable freeware tool makes it easy to tweak various aspects of Windows that usually hidden away or require access to Registry editor or Group Policy Editor.
The new release sits alongside the previous version, Ultimate Windows Tweaker 2.2, which requires Windows Vista or 7.
It seems that these days it is not enough for a laptop to just be a laptop, or a tablet to be a tablet. I'm not talking about the strange new breed of devices that are capable of running Windows and Android, or the rumors that handsets running Windows Phone and Android might see the light of day (haha! Can you imagine?). I'm talking about the devices that seem to be trying to become best friends with Michael Bay, transforming between multiple modes.
It's not really a new concept. We've already looked at Lenovo's Yoga 11S which can be bent into four different positions. The same company also has the Flex range which has fewer Transformer-like capabilities, but is still more than just your average laptop. At CES 2014 Toshiba decided to up the ante, taking the wraps off a 5-in-1 device.
The start to any new year is always slow, and 2014 is no different. As the tech world struggled to shake off its New Year hangover, it was a pretty quiet week. The pace should start to pick up again, though, as CES is just around the corner!
The New Year wasn't the only cause for celebration; it was also Linus Torvalds' 44th birthday. Tablet makers were popping the champagne corks as it was revealed that such devices were among the most popular Christmas presents. Microsoft was also celebrating Windows 8 gaining a 10 percent market share, but Windows 7 also continues to grow in popularity.
Great news for fans of Windows 8 and 8.1, Microsoft’s divisive operating system has finally claimed 10 percent of the desktop market. According to NetMarketShare, which monitors such things, in December Windows 8 lost 0.01 percent share, but Windows 8.1 grew by 0.86 percent. Windows 8 now has 6.65 percent of the market and Windows 8.1 is sitting on 3.5 percent, bringing the OS’s combined share to 10.15 percent. Great job Windows 8.x.
However, as seems to regularly be the case, the new operating system’s gain was dwarfed by that of its elder sibling. Windows 7 put on a growth spurt that’s nothing short of stunning.
Well, that's another year out of the way! It's customary at this time of year to make resolutions... for some people at least. It's something I've always shied away from, but this year is going to be different.
I don’t smoke anymore, I don’t need to lose weight, and I'm unlikely to take over the world in the next twelve months. But when it comes to tech, there is room for improvement, so here are my New Year's resolution that I will, truly, try to stick to.
Being slightly late to the party when it comes to posting my list of favorite tech kit for this year means you'll probably have seen some of these things on other people's lists too -- blame spending Christmas in an internet free zone.
But hey, this is very much a personal thing, so these are my particular selections and the reasons why I've chosen them.
Microsoft has released Project Siena, a Windows 8 app which allows anyone to create Windows 8 apps, no programming skills required.
Building the interface is as simple as placing, moving and resizing assorted objects on your page: images, videos, buttons, lists, checkboxes, whatever you need.
The finished version of Windows 8.1 has been out for a couple of months now, but if you’re still using the free preview build, time is running out. Windows 8.1 Preview and Windows RT 8.1 Preview are both set to expire on January 15.
Upgrading from the preview to the final GA release is very easy, and there are a couple of ways of doing it.
It's that time of year once again. Approaching the end of another 365 and a quarter days cycle puts us all in a reflective mood. It's not uncommon to look back at what has happened in the previous 12 months and pick out the highlights of the year. It's also quite common to look forward in anticipation of what the coming year might have to offer. But how about something a little different, something a little more downbeat? What have been your lowlights and disappointments? There's no need to end the year on a high, after all!
I am one of those people still devastated at the loss of Google Reader. Both as a journalist and as someone who simply devours news from all manner of sources, this was my go-to service for getting my daily -- well, hourly… oh, OK, five minutely -- fix of headlines from hundreds of websites. Double disappointment came when I thought an ideal solution was to be found in Feedly, but slow updates and a pricing structure I found objectionable meant that this soon fell by the wayside. Disappointment number two. Still, it helped me to discover InoReader -- every cloud, and all that.
So Windows 8.1 is finally here and although it is a massive improvement over its predecessor (I recently had to install Windows 8 on a laptop and couldn’t believe how bad it is in comparison), Microsoft’s new Start button really isn’t what a lot of people were hoping for.
If you want to enjoy the benefits of the new operating system without being bothered by the Modern UI there are lots of alternative third-party options available. And when I say lots, I mean it. Some cost money, others are free. I’ll list my favorite three and then suggest some others to try if those don’t appeal.