April 7, 2011
Well, after months of uncertainty, broken promises and missed deadlines, Microsoft has finally delivered the first major update to Windows Phone 7. There was of course the pre-NoDo update, which was received, or not as the case may be for many of you, but didn’t noticeably change much back in February.
So, was it worth the wait for the Windows Phone 7 ‘NoDo’ update? Most notably, of course, the first update brought with it copy & paste functionality and there isn’t really a lot to talk about with that, is there? Well there are two disappointments in this relatively simple feature, and the first isn’t hugely irritating, but is a little strange. And that is the omission of the standard ‘Cut’ feature, which is so commonly associated with copy & paste. But who am I to complain, shouldn’t I just be content with the latter for now?
Well, another irritation I’ve found already is that an item on the clipboard can only be pasted once before you have to re-highlight and copy again. It doesn’t harm the actual function, but it seems a little counter-productive.Continue reading »
April 7, 2011
E-books are the future. They’re handy, they’re small in comparison to audio or video files, and they’re often cheaper than their physical counterparts. There’s one issue with the whole Kindle eBook market right now, though. DRM.
The music industry tried it and fell flat on its back in the process before realising that consumers would simply turn to piracy. Hollywood still struggles to figure out just how consumers want to watch content they’ve legally bought, and in many cases you may buy several versions of the same film.
Unfortunately, it seems as though Amazon Kindle publishers are enforcing the same restrictions on their customers. When you buy a book for the Kindle, you can only use it on the Kindle or a Kindle app for one of your devices. Now that’s hardly fair, but there is a way around it!Continue reading »
April 6, 2011
Towards the end of last year, we took a look at Nuance’s PDF Converter Professional 7 for Windows, and found it to be a very capable piece of software when editing and converting PDF documents, although a little work was needed on the OCR technology within the program.
Fast forward a few months, and we’re using PDF Converter for the Mac, which does a similar job to the Windows version of the application, although it’s been extensively ‘Mac-ified’ in the porting process. It commands a price tag of £80 – £20 more than it does on Windows – but can it match up to its Windows counterpart or is this a case of style over substance? Let’s take a look!Continue reading »
April 5, 2011
There comes a time in the development cycle of any major software release that rumours start to emerge all over the web as to what is to be expected. Apart from maybe Apple, Microsoft commands one of the greatest presences amongst the rumour mills in the technology industry. So, as it draws nearer to the release of the successor to Windows 7, the fastest selling operating system in history, it is inevitable that people will start talking.
So, here is the most recent rumour circling the web. Windows Live and SkyDrive, Microsoft’s leading cloud services, are going to be deeply integrated into the OS as a whole, further fueling the cringeworthy “to the cloud” TV marketing campaign.Continue reading »
April 3, 2011
The option key – also labelled ⌥ or alt on many keyboards – on the Mac keyboard is something of a mystery to new Mac users. Most people have no idea what it does, but it’s actually one of the most useful keys you’re likely to use. With the option key held down, you can access a lot more information and features on your computer that you’d otherwise spend a long time looking for. Here are some of the best…Continue reading »
April 3, 2011
Haven’t you heard? E-books are all the rage nowadays! The Kindle is selling like wildfire, and remains the best selling product ever on Amazon, whilst Apple’s iPad attempts to close the gap between dedicated reader and all-in-one portable. Of course there are a plethora of other e-book readers on the market as well; the Barnes & Noble Nook is a big hit over in the States, and the Sony Reader is moderately popular closer to home — we did a roundup of the best e-book readers available a few months back, so if you want a closer look at a few more options, you should check that out.
With all these e-books floating around our digital devices, where do we store all of our content? If you buy a book for the Kindle, your purchase is forever linked to your account in the ‘Available downloads’ folder of your device, but what about e-books you have previously owned or recently acquired outside of the Kindle or B&N store? For those books that aren’t stored in a digital locker somewhere, you can use calibre, an open source e-book management system – an iTunes for e-books, if you will – which is available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.Continue reading »
April 3, 2011
If you’ve ever wanted to learn another language but don’t really know where to start, you may want to take a look at Babbel: an online service that teaches users a new language from a large number of options. Accompanying the website is the Babbel iPhone app, which is available for free from the App Store. Putting my language skills to the test, I decided to grab the app and see how I fared with a bit of español! Did the app help? Is it useful for someone looking to learn a new language? Let’s take a look!
Note: This is a review of the Babbel iPhone application, and does not include any of the additional features you can find on the Babbel website.Continue reading »
April 2, 2011
In 2007, Vista brought us many restraints in the form of additional security measures. In 2009, those restrains were loosened somewhat with the introduction of Windows 7, but make no mistake: User Account Control is still in full force for those running the latest operating system to come out of Redmond.
If you want to give yourself a little more freedom, or simply take charge of your own cyber security, Windows will take it upon itself to provide you with annoying alerts from the taskbar to let you know that something is wrong with your system security. Fortunately there is a way to change this behaviour, so let’s take a look how it’s done…Continue reading »
April 2, 2011
Many people complain about the dock in Mac OS X for one reason or another, but I’ve always liked it myself. Maybe it’s because I never used Mac OS 9 before OS X came out, or simply because the Start menu began to bore me.
Despite this, it isn’t perfect. A pet hate of mine in Leopard is the behaviour of the dock when you minimised a window: it places itself next to the trash can on the right hand side of all your folders. Not only does this make the dock ridiculously large when you are working on a lot at once and have a few windows minimised, but it also looks unsightly.Continue reading »
April 2, 2011
Of all the things that make their way on to the App Store, a new iPad app delivering your daily dose of news is unlikely to catch much attention. After all there’s only so much you can do with the news, but Sky News has managed to come out with something not only capable of giving you the day’s stories, but something that feels refreshingly different.
There are too many companies willing to follow the latest trends without sticking their necks out for something different, something that can change the way you interact with an application. Admittedly, when you first open the Sky News application your first reaction may be one of slight bemusement. Windows Phone 7 users will feel right at home with the modular, tile-like, design of the application, although it took me a little longer to feel truly comfortable in finding my way around, with a completely different layout to the Sky News iPhone app.Continue reading »
March 25, 2011
It has been rumoured for a fair while now, but in a move that might prove catastrophic for many competing Android tablets, RIM has announced that it’s forthcoming dual-core, 7-inch PlayBook tablet will indeed run Android apps, despite it running an exclusive operating system created specifically for the PlayBook, by RIM.
So what does this mean, exactly? Well, it includes native C/C++ development support, HTML5 as well as the controversial Flash platform, alongside Adobe AIR support. Put simply, this means you, as a PlayBook user, will have access to more than 200,000 Android applications, on the provision that the developers opt into the ‘quick and easy’ porting procedures.Continue reading »
March 24, 2011
Despite the chancellor’s finest efforts, petrol prices are higher than Charlie Sheen ever was, and people will look for any way possible to save a few pence per litre. Thankfully, some generous Windows Phone 7 developers came up with this: Petrol Price Finder UK App.
The name is outrageously self-explanator, rendering any description of the app entirely unnecessary, so let’s cut to the chase. Exactly how useful is it?
I think the answer to that question would most probably be ‘quite’. As the app delivers on the promises made in the name: it finds you petrol prices, but it is lacking in some key functionality right now, that could make this an extremely handy tool.Continue reading »
March 23, 2011
You may have seen, and you may have fumed, at my not so subtle rant about Microsoft’s new mobile OS, Windows Phone 7, and how, well, it sucks. And in the interest of fairness, I think it’s about time I balanced the scales with a full blown appraisal of all that’s great about it.
Firstly, we have the UI, which I criticised a little in my previous article, but all in all I’d like to emphasise that I love it. I really do. Yes it has its little flaws and imperfections, but name me an OS, or any piece of software for that matter, that doesn’t and I’ll buy you a biscuit.Continue reading »
March 22, 2011
You may have caught my little rant the other night, or any point since, about why Windows Phone 7 just plain sucks, and a lot of my reasoning was simply because there hasn’t been enough progress since the platform burst onto the scene towards the end of last year.
Now, though, things maybe on the first step to changing, and that’s because the first major update, ‘NoDo’, is now available to most WP7 devices around the world.Continue reading »
March 21, 2011
Back in October, I got myself a Samsung Omnia 7 running Windows Phone 7. The latest and apparently greatest mobile operating system to arrive out of Microsoft. Now here’s the thing: back in October/November-time, I put together a full review of the platform, and all in all it stacked up pretty well for a newcomer.
However, since then the platform has been entirely stagnant, with only one attempt at a software update and that didn’t quite go to plan. But that’s not all, there is so much wrong with the platform it’s hard to know where to start, and it’s been boiling up inside me now for so long, it’s time to get it off my chest.Continue reading »
March 20, 2011
Apple ended last month on a high by not only updating its line of MacBook Pro computers, but also releasing a developer preview of its upcoming operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, for those with a Mac developer account.
I’ve been using the developer preview of Lion on and off since it was released last month, and it has some really great new features, many of which are inspired by iOS and the iPad in particular. Many see this as the first step of iOS and Mac OS X merging together, so is it a successful integration, or are the two operating systems best kept apart? Let’s take a closer look to find out!Continue reading »
March 15, 2011
When the news originally arrived that Nokia and Microsoft were joining forces to make Windows Phone 7 a mobile super-platform, there was a lot of talk regarding Nokia’s app eco-system known as ‘Ovi’. There are maps, widely considered one of the best mapping applications around, amongst others, which have contributed to Nokia’s, admittedly relatively small, smartphone success thus far.
Anyway, pressing on with today’s news, we can reveal that a Microsoft job posting, uncovered by WMPowerUser.com, has hinted, or at a stretch, confirmed, that the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace will indeed by at least partially integrated with Nokia’s offering, meaning that in at least one respect, the experience on a Nokia device will differ from, or improve on, the experience you will get on a device from another third-party, such as HTC or Samsung, two of the first to the table with WP7 devices.Continue reading »
March 13, 2011
It pretty much stands to reason in this modern day, that the more third party apps a software platform has, the better it is. Not only because, in general, these third party applications will add some pretty necessary functionality that the stock OS is lacking, but also, with more developers on-board would have to be some sort of reflective measure of how attractive a proposition the platform is to users.
Anyway, Windows Phone 7 now has 10,000 apps on its.. Marketplace. And whilst that figure is considerably short of the vast catalogues that are housed in the Android Market or the App Store, Microsoft do deeserve some recognition here, because achieving the 10,000 apps in just four and a half months, means it got there quicker than any of the competition.Continue reading »
March 13, 2011
Thought Symbian was dead? I certainly did, especially when the news broke of Nokia and Microsoft’s little get-together, however the rumours circling today would appear evidence to the contrary. Whilst support for the platform must continue, it’s a little bemusing to hear talk of a complete UI refresh when it seemed all but stagnated for so long.
Marc Driessen, Nokia product manager, was the first to spill the beans in an interview with Engadget, revealing details of a previously undiscussed update scheduled for this Autumn. In truth, there has been talk of a Symbian OS UI update for some time, however considering the apparent death of the platform, you would be forgiven for assuming that the official roadmap had, in fact, been scrapped.Continue reading »
March 12, 2011
Whenever news like this emerges, it’s far too easy to compare it to iTunes, with clichéd headlines posing the question, ‘is this the iTunes/iPad/iPhone killer?’. Well, why is that exactly? It’s obviously really, because in so many departments, Apple sets the benchmark. Particularly in the tablet and music distribution industries, Apple is dominant, revolutionary and successful to the tune of billions of dollars.Continue reading »