Wireless Wednesday: Let’s Talk About Windows 10

This week for our Wireless Wednesday post, we wanted to take a closer look at the Windows event that took place today. PC Mag published a great round-up article that includes everything you need to know about what’s new with Microsoft. Take a look–

Windows 10: Cortana, a New Browser …and Holograms?

In Windows 10, Cortana is coming to the PC, the browser is getting a refresh, and there will be holograms.

Microsoft today provided an early look at what consumers can expect in Windows 10, from Cortana on the desktop to a totally revamped Web browser, dubbed Project Spartan. Oh yeah, and holograms (seriously).

When the OS does make its debut (in late 2015), Windows 10 will be a free upgrade for those currently running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1, Executive Vice President of Operating Systems, Terry Myerson, said during a press event in Redmond.

Meanwhile, Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, promised that “gaming on Windows 10 will be more social and interactive,” thanks to the Xbox app, which will be loaded on all Windows 10 devices.

Microsoft first showed off Windows 10 in the fall during a small, business-focused event. It took a different approach than in the past, opening up an early build of the OS to developers in order to get feedback. Since the launch of the Windows 10 preview, 1.7 million developers signed up to test out the OS, installing it on more than 3 million devices, Myerson said today. They shared more than 800,000 pieces of feedback on over 200,000 topics, “and our team is really embracing this feedback and leaning in to this open development process,” he said.

That feedback has helped inform some of the features Microsoft showed off today. Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of the Operating Systems Group, stressed that everything on display today was in the early stages, but “it’s our psychology now to involve people in that development process.”

Cortana on Windows 10

Among the things he showed off was Cortana on the PC. Microsoft’s digital assistant has been integrated into the desktop, where she will live—listening, learning, and serving up tidbits of information she believes you will find useful.

You can summon Cortana by voice (“Hey Cortana, will I need a coat tomorrow?”) or type a query, Belfiore said. The more you use Cortana, the smarter she will become, though you can edit what she knows about you.

Cortana will also play a role in Microsoft’s new browser, currently codenamed Project Spartan. Right-click on an item displayed on a webpage, and ask Cortana for more information about it. She might also pop up unannounced to tell you that the restaurant whose website you are browsing has menu items that work with your diet.

Project Spartan

Project Spartan, Belfiore said, features a new streamlined user interface that fits in with the design landscape of Windows 10 and puts the focus on the content of a webpage. With Spartan, you can draw or write notes on a website (using a touch screen or by typing on a keyboard), which can then be shared or saved to a program like OneNote.

Microsoft also wanted to improve the reading experience on Spartan, so it features a reading mode for a standardized view of Web content, as well as built-in support of PDF files.

Belfiore also showed off the apps that Windows 10 users can expect, all of which will have a similar look and feel no matter what Windows 10 device you are using (PC, tablet, or phone).

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint will be included on all Windows 10 phones and tablets, he said, and provide a “highly rich and complete experience,” like the familiar Office ribbon and wireless printing.

Redmond has been working on a new universal app for Outlook, he said, which will allow for easy email organization: swipe left to delete, right to flag – no matter which device you’re using.

Belfiore also demoed revamped apps for Calendar, Photos, People, Music, and Maps, which will include – among other things – automatic photo album creation, music support in OneDrive for playlist syncing, and Cortana remembering where you parked your car.

Xbox Windows 10 DVR

On the gaming front, meanwhile, Spencer showed off a DVR function that will let you record gameplay – including the previous 30 seconds, in case you want to remember a particularly epic play.

Every Windows 10 PC and tablet will have the Xbox app, according to Spencer, who talked up the power of DirectX 12. Power consumption is cut in half when compared to DirectX 11, he said, which is important as mobile games continue to soar in popularity.

“None of this is possible if we’re not getting adoption from studios,” Spencer said; Epic has already signed on, and the exec said today that Unity has also adopted DirectX 12.

Holograms? Holograms!
The most unexpected part of today’s press event, however, was Microsoft’s introduction of Windows Holographic, a hologram-based virtual reality offering intended to bring you “beyond screens, beyond pixels, and beyond today’s digital borders,” Redmond said.

Those equipped with the Microsoft HoloLens will be able to see and interact with items in front of them – from a screen displaying Netflix movies to a model needed for work. Microsoft had researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) describe how Holographic has been used in their Mars rover work.

Microsoft HoloLens

All Windows universal apps will work with Windows Holographic, according to Microsoft, which invited developers for Oculus VR, Leap, and Google Glass to “come create holograms with us.”

The HoloLens headgear, meanwhile, includes see-through holographic lenses, spatial sound, advanced sensors, and a built-in, high-end CPU and GPU. To handle the required processing, Microsoft said it “invented” a third processor that understands gestures and voice, and “can spatially map the entire world around us.”

It will run without wires and will not require a connection to a phone or PC. Microsoft promised a release in “in the Windows 10 timeframe,” but did not elaborate.

Meanwhile, Redmond also showed off an 84-inch 4K display, dubbed the Microsoft Surface Hub, which is essentially a huge whiteboard plus video-chat screen for businesses.

Click here to see this PC Mag article in its original context.

Carrot Hunger–App Spotlight

It’s January, and that means new year’s resolutions are still (hopefully!) going strong. But if you happen to have fallen off the wagon, here’s a hilarious new app that might be able to get you back on track. Meet Carrot Hunger–an app that shames you into eating healthier. Check out the article from TechCrunch pasted below–

 

Brian Mueller’s Carrot suite of apps have become popular by sadistically pushing users into better behaviors. The latest is Carrot Hunger, an artificially intelligent calorie counter that will shame or reward you for your eating habits.

The app lets you scan food bar codes and log what you’ve had for the day to keep an accurate account of what you’re stuffing your face with. It will warn you if you are about to go over your calories with an almost Dalek-like feel.

She (I asked and yes, the artificial intelligence behind Carrot Hunger is considered a lady) knows when you’ve opened the fridge and will yell at you if you’ve already had too much. She gets mean if you ignore her, too.

But you can bribe her for a fee. It’s how the freemium app makes money. You make an in-app purchase to keep your minder quiet or face the wrath of a pile of ads.

Sometimes these ads are fake. There’s one that asks if you want fries. if you click it, it shames you for being weak. The app plants these just to taunt you.

Creator Brian Mueller says he enjoys coming up with the sometimes brutal dialogue. A former screen writer who taught himself how to design and code via online tutorials, he believes it’s the humor that works for people. “It’s not just another productivity app. It’s done in a funny way, not just mean to be mean,” he told me.

Mueller shies away from collecting specifics on people for privacy reasons. However, the app does want to know certain things about you, such as how tall you are and whether you are male, female, or squirrel (it asks) to ascertain your daily calories.

The caloric restrictions for weight loss seem a bit austere in my opinion. I should be eating roughly 1800 calories/day to maintain my weight but around 800 if I plan to lose 2 pounds a week. I’m no artificially intelligent weight loss manager, though.

Mueller’s not sure how effective the app is compared to what else is out there, but has heard anecdotally from people who’ve lost 5-100 pounds of weight through the method.

Mueller is also the brains behind Carrot To Do, Carrot Alarm and Carrot Fit productivity and health apps for iOS.

#tbt Winner

Monday can be dull, so why not give away some awesome products? Congrats to our latest #tbt winner Jaden Smith who has won our Sleek cell phone signal booster!

They correctly guessed that the car pictured above was a steam driven vehicle from 1771. The winner’s comment is pasted below–

“Ahh this would be one of my favorite pieces of history right here. The inventor I believe was Nicolas Joseph Cugnot a french inventor. His steam driven vehicle was well known as the fardier à vapeur. His first model came out in 1769 it was a smaller one. The one in the picture debuted in 1771.

It’s great to reflect back to the origins of the car, and look forward now with talk of self driving cars.”

 

Free-For-All Friday

Happy Friday!

We made it to another three day weekend! We hope everyone has a great holiday weekend enjoys their MLK, Jr. Day.

As the beginning of the year gets underway the season for awards begins. 2014 was a year of phenomenal movies, from action to drama it will definitely be a year to beat. This year’s Academy Award nominations were made Thursday morning. Most were not surprising. The list of nominations are below, we want to hear what you think. Were there any movies not on the list that should be and are there any on the list that shouldn’t be?

 

LOS ANGELES — Of the 323 films that were eligible for the Best Picture Oscar, only eight will battle it out for the ultimate cinematic honor, including Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel, which lead all films with nine nominations each.

The Golden Globe-winning Boyhood will also vie for Best Picture (and likely win). But Thursday’s nominations ceremony ended with a few notable snubs, including The Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature, Selma’s David Oyelowo for Best Actor, Selma’s Ava DuVernay for Best Director, Cake’s Jennifer Aniston for Best Actress, Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Gone Girl for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Chris Pine, Alfonso Cuarón, J.J. Abrams and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the nominees at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on Thursday.

Hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, the Oscars will air Feb. 22 on ABC.

Best Picture

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Selma
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Last year’s winner: 12 Years a Slave

Best Director

Birdman, Alejandro G. Iñárritu
Boyhood, Richard Linklater
Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller
The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson
The Imitation Game, Morten Tyldum
Last year’s winner: Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón

Best Actor

Steve Carell in Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper in American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton in Birdman
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything
Last year’s winner: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard in Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones in The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore in Still Alice
Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon in Wild
Last year’s winner: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall in The Judge
Ethan Hawke in Boyhood
Edward Norton in Birdman 
Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons in Whiplash
Last year’s winner: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette in Boyhood
Laura Dern in Wild
Keira Knightley in The Imitation Game
Emma Stone in Birdman
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods
Last year’s winner: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay

Birdman
Boyhood
Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Nightcrawler

Last year’s winner: Her, Spike Jonze

Best Adapted Screenplay

American Sniper
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Theory of Everything
Whiplash

Last year’s winner: 12 Years a Slave, John Ridley

Best Animated Film

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Last year’s winner: Frozen

Best Cinematography

Birdman
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ida
Mr. Turner
Unbroken

Last year’s winner: Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Maleficent
Mr. Turner

Last year’s winner: The Great Gatsby

Best Documentary Feature

CitizenFour
Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth
Virunga

Last year’s winner: 20 Feet from Stardom

Best Documentary Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Joanna
Our Curse
The Reaper (La Parka)
White Earth

Last year’s winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Best Film Editing

American Sniper
Boyhood
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Whiplash

Last year’s winner: Gravity

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida, Poland
Leviathan, Russia
Tangerines, Estonia 
Timbuktu, Mauritania
Wild Tales, Argentina
Last year’s winner: The Great Beauty, Italy

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Foxcatcher
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Last year’s winner: Dallas Buyers Club

Best Original Score

The Grand Budapest Hotel Alexandre Desplat
The Imitation Game Alexandre Desplat
Interstellar, Hans Zimmer
Mr. Turner, Gary Yershon
The Theory of Everything, Jóhann Jóhannsson
Last year’s winner: Gravity, Steven Price

Best Original Song

“Everything Is Awesome” from The Lego Movie
“Glory” from Selma
“Grateful” from Beyond the Lights
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You” from Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me
“Lost Stars” from Begin Again
Last year’s winner: ”Let It Go,” Frozen

Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Interstellar
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Last year’s winner: The Great Gatsby

Best Animated Short Film

The Bigger Picture
The Dam Keeper
Feast
Me and My Moulton
A Single Life

Last year’s winner: Mr. Hublot

Best Live Action Short Film

Aya
Boogaloo and Graham
Butter Lamp
Parveneh
The Phone Call

Last year’s winner: Helium

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper
Birdman
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Interstellar
Unbroken

Last year’s winner: Gravity

Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper
Birdman
Interstellar
Unbroken
Whiplash

Last year’s winner: Gravity

Best Visual Effects

Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Last year’s winner: Gravity

Read original article here.

#TBT

Happy #throwbackThursday!

As 2015 starts we are hit with the possibility of self-driving cars much sooner than expected. Looking back we can see that it hasn’t been that long since we privileged with cars in the first place. While a lot of credit goes to Henry Ford he wasn’t the one to invent powered transportation. The idea has been around for hundreds of years. Tell us who invented the car pictured below and what year it debuted to win a Sleek 4G cell phone signal booster.

Happy guessing!

Wearables: Survey Shows Not as Popular as hoped

Happy wireless Wednesday!

Have we reached the end of embracing new technology? A new survey shows that wearables are not as popular as previously thought. We may still be attached to our electronics but maybe wearing them is where we stop. TechCrunch has the full survey.

If people are looking to Apple and its new smartwatch to kickstart wider consumer interest in wearable computing gadgets, the maker of the iPhone will have a lot of work ahead of it.New research out from the GlobalWebIndex indicates that in a survey of 170,000 adult internet users across 32 markets, only 9% report having a smartwatch, and 7% said they owned smart wristbands. In contrast, among online adults, 80% now own a smartphone.

The proportion of smartphone ownership has reached a new high, but it has not yet overtaken legacy ownership and usage of PCs, which is currently at 91% of all online adults.

Some other interesting data points highlighted in GWI’s research:

– Wearables. Within the wearables category, the biggest number of device owners are affluent males in the 25-34 year-old group who reside in the Asia Pacific region. This points to these smaller, portable and more narrowly functional devices continuing their market placement as niche products that have yet to find a groove to appeal to a wider range of consumers.

– Platform ‘wars’ are over and Android won. Breaking out how different mobile platforms are performing in the smartphone and tablet sectors, it’s no surprise to see that Android is firmly ahead of iOS. What’s interesting to see, however, is just how far they have diverged and when.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 15.46.52

We have heard various market analysts point out that Apple’s iPhone sales have seen a big bump in the wake of the launch of the iPhone 6 models, but it’s not clear that the ownership picture as depicted by GWI supports that.

While Android was creeping up quarter on quarter, the difference between Q2 and Q3 noticeably got flatter, which could indicate slowing sales, except that the iPhone numbers appeared to flatten/increase only very slightly.

In other words, if there has been an impact, it will have to be sustained by Apple to show any meaningful shift in ownership. As it stands now, Android’s 54% share represents a 38-point lead over iPhone/iOS, with the gap widening.

Back in 2011, the ratio of Android to iOS users was just under 2:1; in 2014, it has increased significantly to approach 3.5:1, GWI notes.

Whether that divergence will ultimately start to play out in where developers invest their time and efforts will be the really important question for users (and Apple).

– Tablets. In tablets, to me the most interesting point is a historical one: we like to talk about how Apple and the iPad dominate tablets, and while that may be the truth as far as the single brand is concerned, when it comes to platform dominance, Apple hasn’t been in a leadership position since Q4 2011, and really dropped away from a close position in 2013.

– Mobile internet use. GWI says that 75% percent of smartphone users are accessing mobile internet services on their smartphones — meaning a whole 25% are still not. The average amount of time that people are spending on their mobile devices is 1.85 hours/day, up by about 40 minutes on 2012. Because emerging market consumers often replace PCs with phones, they are using those phones the most, on average at more than three hours/day in the Middle East and Africa.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 16.59.33

As you can see in the chart, mobile is used for Internet access far more than tablets, TVs and e-readers, but as with device ownership, it’s not yet passing PC/laptop usage, which is around 90%.

– VPNs, popular content. GWI also delves into what kinds of content is being consumed on the Internet access front, and how users are getting to it. The rising tide of restrictive firewalls in some markets has led to increased usage of VPNs to access the Internet. These VPNs effectively let you appear on the Internet as if you are somewhere that you are actually not. Currently, GWI says that some 27% of respondents, of 400 million users, say that they have used VPNs to go online, with China alone accounting for 150 million people.

Among those users, they are unsurprisingly significantly more avid online consumers of content than those not using VPNs. Google Play scored the highest of all services accessed by VPN and regular Internet users, who would be turning to the search giant’s store not for apps but for video and audio and gaming content.

Read the original article here.

Google Launches Chrome Remote Desktop App

Happy Tuesday!

Staying connected is almost a necessity in our daily life. Being able to access all our files and information is just as important. With a new app from Google never be without full access to your computer at home.

Controlling your computer with an iPhone just got a lot easier.

Google launched an iOS version of its Chrome Remote Desktop app Monday, which allows users to access their computers from their iPhone.

Sign in with your Google account (you can also switch between multiple accounts if you have more than one) to see the computers you’re able to access. Like the Android app, the iOS version of the app requires the accompanying Chrome extension to be installed on the desktop version of the browser.

Once installed, the app works in two modes: touch mode and trackpad mode. In touch mode, the default setting on iPads, tapping on the screen is the same as a left click on a mouse. And in trackpad mode, the default for iPhones, a mouse pointer is visible. Users control the mouse by swiping across the screen and tapping, which simulates a left click.

The app also supports a number of additional gestures in both modes.

The functionality of the app isn’t much different from other remote desktop apps, though Google’s free offering was missing from the App Store up until now. Microsoft makes a similar iOS app, also called Remote Desktop, but it only works with Windows devices.

Read original article here.

#tbt

Happy #tbt!

#CES2015 is in full swing and a highly talked about piece of technology is the new curved screen television. In honor of this we are going back to first tube released. Tell us what year this was first released to public for a chance to win a Sleek 4G cell phone signal booster!

Happy guessing!