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Posts tagged ‘Software’

31
Jul

Google makes it even easier to test Android apps


Moto G

For developers, allowing the public to evaluate apps before general release is paramount — it helps weed out the bugs that could derail an otherwise successful launch. Both Apple and Google offer the capability, but TestFlight features have only been baked into iOS for the better part of a year and Android owners have typically had to jump through a number of hoops in order to sign up. With that in mind, Google has made some welcome changes that take the hassle out of the process.

First up is a new open beta option that lets developers share a link and let you sign up with a single click. No groups, no step-by-step processes, just follow the link and start testing. Next up is email testing. App makers conduct a private test, but can choose to share their creations with participants via email. Similar to an open beta, click the link and you’ll immediately be opted-in.

Creators can still use their old Google+ communities or Google Groups, but they’ll now have the option to move across to an open test without losing their existing user base. For developers that like to give their apps some air before unleashing them on the world, the extra choice will be welcome. If you enjoy testing apps, it means you’ll still be able to try out cool new features, but it’ll now be easier to do so.

Filed under: Cellphones, Tablets, Software, Mobile, Google

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Source: Google Android Developers Blog

31
Jul

Windows 10 is up to 14 million installs already


Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi is checking in with a Windows 10 status update, revealing that the OS is already on some 14 million devices. He noted that not everyone who reserved an upgrade has gotten it yet, but says the rollout will continue in phases over the next few weeks. While whether or not you can upgrade to Windows 10 may still be in question, we have information to help decide if you should with our FAQ and review. Of course, if you’re one of the millions already in the door, you can just let us know how the new experience is working so far.

Filed under: Software, Microsoft

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Source: Blogging Windows

31
Jul

Pocket invites you to try beta features, starting with recommendations


On the heels of last month’s collaboration with Mozilla, Pocket has even more tools for you to try. In fact, the save-it-for-later repository wants you to test new features before they officially arrive in the app or on the web. Pocket’s Beta Channel will give you a look at what the company has been working on and the chance to offer feedback. The program is available for Android, iOS and web versions of the software and there’s already a new feature to put through its paces. First up for eager testers: recommendations. The tool puts a second feed next to the list of items you’ve chosen to stash, pulling in “top content from the billions of items saved to Pocket.” The app then makes selections for you based on your reading habits so that the chances of you missing something good are drastically reduced. Recommendations is just the first feature that’s coming to beta testers, so if you opt in, expect to see more new items soon.

Filed under: Internet, Software

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Source: Pocket (Medium)

30
Jul

Office Mobile apps are now available for Windows 10 tablets


Have you already installed Windows 10 on your trusty slate? Well, Microsoft released its mobile productivity apps for the new shiny new version of the OS, too. Touch-friendly versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint are available for download from the Windows Store. The new version of OneNote is available as well, but it’s pre-installed on Windows 10. On top of those gesture-friendly interfaces, the apps play nice with OneDrive for easy cloud-based storage and save changes automatically so you don’t have to worry about losing any work. Of course, if you want the productivity suite on all of your desktop and mobile devices (especially when Office 2016 arrives in September), you’ll need to splurge for an Office 365 subscription.

Filed under: Software, Microsoft

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Via: Mashable

Source: Microsoft

30
Jul

A closer look at the Edge browser in Windows 10


A closer look at the Edge browser in Windows 10

In 18 days, Internet Explorer will turn 20 years old. But rather than celebrating with a new version, as it did for birthday number 15, Microsoft will be shoving IE away into an obscure folder with other legacy applications — you know, like Paint. Though the browser will live on, mostly for the sake of enterprise users, it will only receive security patches going forward (read: no new features or design changes). Just as important, it will no longer be the default browser in Windows. That honor now goes to Edge, a cleaner, leaner browser that makes its debut on Win 10. Microsoft hopes that with the name change, fresh design, smarter features and improved performance, Edge will be enough to convince people to set aside whatever negative impressions they may have had of Internet Explorer.

Getting started

Look and feel

There’s not much to Edge’s design, and that’s a good thing. As in Chrome, there’s just one bar toward the top of the screen that doubles as the address box and search field. Nearby are self-explanatory icons for forward, back and refresh. Up in the upper-right corner, you’ll see four icons, which allow you to mark up a page (more on that later) or share a page (more on that later as well). The icon farthest to the left is where you’ll find your favorites, browsing history, downloads and your so-called Reading List, which I’ll tell you about shortly. Meanwhile, the icon all the way on the right brings up various settings, including the ability to swap out the default white theme for a black background. (I prefer the stock light one, but that’s just me.) Lastly, there are buttons just to the right of the address bar for adding favorites and entering Reading View. As with everything else here, these icons are exactly where you’d expect them to be, and even if you’re a first-time user, it should be obvious at a glance what these buttons are for.

There’s not much to Edge’s design, and that’s a good thing.

By default, the favorites bar is hidden, which goes a long way in making Edge look cleaner than any version of IE that came before it. (You can still show the favorites bar if you really want it.) Out of the box, the page you’ll see every time you launch the browser is Microsoft’s own MSN portal (can’t fault the company for promoting it), but you can easily change this in the settings so that you see a specific web page or even just a blank page. That would make Edge look even cleaner upon boot-up than it already does.

It’s worth mentioning too that in addition to having a minimal design, Edge was designed to scale well, so that regardless of the device you’re using or how you choose to resize the window, the contents of the page should scale smoothly as you move from a big window to, say, a narrow one. I generally found this to be true, especially with sites like Engadget (ahem) that were designed to be responsive. Still, there are limits: When I snapped Edge in so that it took up half the screen, some websites, like nytimes.com, were cut off, requiring me to scroll from side to side. That said, I think we can all agree that Edge is more responsive (and mobile-friendly, and touch-friendly) than the desktop version of Internet Explorer ever was.

Fun with settings

I’ve already mentioned a couple things you can do from the settings menu — change the theme, for instance — but it’s worth going over the other options at your disposal. As you might expect, there’s a way to import your favorites from another browser — a particularly handy feature for those of you who chose to do an in-place upgrade from Windows 8. What might surprise you is that even if IE was your default browser in Win 8, Edge won’t automatically import your IE favorites when it becomes the new default browser. So, you’ll have to manually import them. Ditto if your previous default browser was Chrome or Firefox or some such. Not a big deal; just FYI.

While you’ve got that right-hand menu open, you can open an InPrivate browsing session in a separate window, whereby all of your cookies and browsing history will be deleted once you close the tab. As with other browsers, Edge looks slightly different in this mode, as a way of making it easy to tell when you’re browsing in private and when you’re not. In particular, InPrivate sessions are marked by a blue box in the upper-left corner of the window, which you wouldn’t otherwise see in a normal session.

From the options menu you can also adjust the zoom level, print, Pin something to the Start menu, access developer tools, send feedback and open something with the legacy Internet Explorer browser. From the “Settings” tab, specifically, you can do things like clear your browsing data; change the default search engine; change the color scheme in Reading View; adjust the font size; show the home button; block pop-ups (they’re blocked by default); enable Do Not Track; turn off Flash, search suggestions, page prediction and SmartScreen Filter; and choose to always use caret browsing. As for privacy, you can set up Edge so that it doesn’t offer to save passwords and so that it doesn’t save form entries. Got it? Good. Have fun, tinkerers.

Cortana

Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana is an ever-present figure in Windows 10, anchoring everything from the Start menu to, yes, the Edge browser. In Edge, you won’t be able to speak voice commands to Cortana, but you’ll benefit from the same underlying technology that makes her so smart (and that allows her to personalize the experience based on your apparent interests). In particular, you can ask Cortana certain things and she’ll display answers from within the search bar, without you having to open a page. For example, you can type in unit or currency conversions, get a simple weather forecast or look up stock quotes.

All told, it’s similar to what you can do with Spotlight Search in OS X on Macs, except that Microsoft’s had less time to flesh it out, which means right now, at least, it can’t handle quite as many queries as Spotlight can. That means, while Cortana can understand all of the above kinds of searches, she won’t give you sports scores or maps. In any case, I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft later endowed Cortana with additional skills; the company has been known to make ongoing improvements to Bing (the search engine underlying it all), and I can see why details like this might not have been a priority for day one, when it was just trying to get a final and stable version of Windows 10 out the door.

Reading List and Reading View

The idea of a “reading view” is nothing new: Safari has it and even Internet Explorer features something like it. So I’d be going overboard if I acted like Microsoft was reinventing the wheel here, but still, it’s worth a closer look anyhow. The benefits of Reading View are the same as ever: that you can read your stuff at full-screen, with no distractions like advertisements and pop-ups from other apps. It’s a convenient feature, especially if you’re reading on a touchscreen device and would like to be able to move through pages in a more finger-friendly way. Most sites will support this, although a publisher does have the right to disable Reading View, ostensibly because they would rather readers see ads (ya know, assuming they haven’t already been filtered out by an ad-blocker).

The problem is that Reading View is really, surprisingly unsightly. Beautiful, fullbleed photos from Engadget and other sites sit awkwardly in the center of the screen, with weirdly spaced headlines, and all the fancy formatting stripped. No, it doesn’t stop you from reading — it gets the job done — but I’d hardly call it one of Edge’s marquee features. It looks primitive in a way that the browser itself does not. These are, I suppose, the problems Apple was hoping to avoid with its own “News” app in iOS 9, but as we’ve seen, some publications’ stories are crudely rendered there too. Maybe it’s something all the major players should be working on.

Even if you choose to ignore Reading View, as I eventually did, Microsoft has built in a better way to bookmark stories you intend to read. It’s called “Reading List,” and it lives right next to where your regular favorites folder is. The idea is that when you save a story to your favorites, it’s likely to get lost amid tons of other unrelated links. But if you save it to Reading List, you’re more likely to actually read it. Basically, it’s the same pitch as apps like Pocket or Instapaper, except it’s built into the browser, no add-ons or extensions needed. Personally, I like the idea; I find the placement (next to the favorites folder) to be intuitive and I especially appreciate how each story I’ve saved has a thumbnail to help jog my brain as to what the story was actually about.

Marking up web pages

While some of Edge’s design elements might seem like bites off other popular browsers, the markup feature feels unique to Microsoft — a company that’s become synonymous with the word “productivity.” Really, it is what it sounds like: You can write on web pages using your finger, a pen (hear that, Surface owners?) or your keyboard. From there, you can save the page to OneNote or share with a friend. When you do return to the page, you’ll see not a screenshot, but a full working page that’s frozen in time from when you wrote on it. What’s neat is that you can scroll down even below the fold, where you can see parts of the page that might not have been included in your markup.

In a private demo with reporters last week, Microsoft reps were quick to show how Markup can be used when two or more people are collaborating on something — say, making a joint shopping decision. This does indeed seem like an ideal use case. If it were just me shopping on my own, I might not bother with notes written on the screen; I might instead use Pinterest or my Favorites list or Evernote or what have you. But if I needed to run something by somebody for some reason, using Markup would be easier than taking a screenshot and emailing it with comments, and I could leave comments in a more specific way than I could with a Pinterest card.

Performance

SunSpider v.1.0.2 (ms)* Google Octane** Mozilla Kraken (ms)* JetStream 1.1**
Windows Edge 92.73

24,382

1,328.9

133.85

Internet Explorer 98.4

14,080

2,302.97

N/A

Chrome 44 249.2

28,590

1,346.67

159.23

Firefox 39 198.97

25,760

1,330.13

153.77

Opera 30 298.07

27,318

1,410.73

139.87

Safari 8 (Yosemite) 174.27

19,402

2,277.9

133.73

Safari 9 (El Capitan, public beta 2) 125.0

31,119

1,198.0

206.10

*SunSpider and Kraken: Lower numbers are better.

** Octane and JetStream: Higher numbers are better.

Edge generally runs very smoothly, as promised. It helps that with Edge, Microsoft abandoned its ActiveX framework, opting instead for open web standards. This performance boost is borne out in various JavaScript benchmarks, where Edge (and also Internet Explorer) leads the competition by a wide margin. In other tests like Octane and JetStream, Edge didn’t turn in the best scores, but it still landed in the same leagues as other popular browsers, like Chrome. In real-world use, pages and new tabs load quickly. Switching between tabs and adding things to Favorites or Reading List is also fluid.

Wrapping up

Regardless of what you think of IE (and even that’s much better than it used to be), Edge is a good browser. Even if you’re not the sort of power user who would have much use for Markup, the clean design and fast performance alone make it worth a try. Folks who switch between Mac and Windows machines might still prefer the versatility of Chrome, where a single login calls up all your bookmarks and settings. But for people who plan on using Windows exclusively, it’s worth making it your out-of-the-box default for a week before you go ahead and download Chrome or Firefox. You might be pleasantly surprised.

Filed under: Internet, Software, Microsoft

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30
Jul

Twitter’s Windows 10 app shows you top tweets right from the start


Twitter app for Windows 10

You’re going to see a lot of apps rushing to take advantage of Windows 10 post-launch, but one of them will be particularly important if you’re a social networking maven. Twitter has released a new app for Windows 10 right alongside Microsoft’s shiny new platform, and the client is big on discovering content even if you aren’t signed in — you’ll see the top tweets and media in the app itself, as well as on the Live Tile. This certainly isn’t the most sophisticated app (it won’t replace TweetDeck any time soon), but it does offer a lot of the in-line media playback you’d expect in 2015, such as multiple photos, Vine videos and GIF animations. Really, it’s for that moment you decide that Twitter’s website isn’t quite enough for your needs.

Filed under: Internet, Software, Microsoft

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Source: Twitter Blog

30
Jul

Here’s how you stream Xbox One games on Windows 10


Xbox One game streaming on Windows 10

Microsoft has made much ado about Windows 10’s support for streaming Xbox One games to your PC, but how do you actually do it? There’s a good chance that you can figure it out if you’re reading this, but Microsoft has helpfully posted a full walkthrough in case you or your friends need some help. The gist? You’ll need both an Xbox One controller and an Xbox Live account, of course, but you’ll also need to make sure that the Xbox One is set to allow game streaming in the first place. We could see that easily becoming a stumbling block if you’re rushing to get started. The guide is also a friendly reminder of what you can do once everything is working, such as voice chat (with a microphone) and controlling the Xbox One’s menus. It’s simple enough… let’s just hope that PC-to-Xbox streaming isn’t any more complex.

Filed under: Gaming, Software, Microsoft

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Source: Xbox Wire

29
Jul

StubHub lets eventgoers call an Uber from its app


Ride Hailing Companies-Regulation

People love it when companies make things easier for them, and that’s exactly what StubHub is doing today. If you use the service to buy tickets to events, like a live concert or sports game, you’ll now be able to book an Uber directly from its iOS and Android apps. The best part about this is that, once you’ve purchased a ticket, the StubHub application sends a notification to your device (two hours prior to the event) asking if you’d like to request an Uber. And, similar to Live Nation’s partnership with the ridesharing firm, there’s no need to type in the address to the venue — StubHub lets drivers know where the drop-off point is.

“We’re in the journey to become a resource for users,” says Parag Vaish, head of mobile at StubHub, about the Uber integration. “Previously it [the service] was for tickets, [but] it’s become more social. Going to the events, there are a lot of elements to that.” The feature, which is only available in the US, Canada and UK at launch, should be rolling out to mobile devices shortly.

[Image credit: Associated Press]

Filed under: Cellphones, Internet, Software, Mobile

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29
Jul

Yahoo’s Livetext is a messaging app for the Snapchat generation


Yahoo’s Livetext video-messaging app popped up in Hong Kong’s iTunes store a few days ago, and now it’s rolling out to more locales. The app is the company’s effort to provide software similar to its popular Messenger app that’s appropriate for how people are chatting these days. This means offering a an option that’s similar to Snapchat and the like, but with a focus on one-on-one conversations. With Livetext, you can let the person (no group chats yet) you’re chatting with via text get a look at where you are and what you’re doing. While the app does provide a video stream, it doesn’t include sound. Why? The folks at Yahoo found that enabling sound caused folks to think twice about answering a message and instead wanted to offer “a way to connect that’s quick and non-intrusive.” It might keep you out of trouble in the office, but we’d surmise most folks would prefer it offer at least the option of some audio.

Basically, you can get a look at the person you’re texting with during the convo. Oh yeah, it also doesn’t support links or other media like photos, either. The company really wants users to focus on the texting and video for quick chats rather than on-going convos. In fact, the thread disappears when a session ends, but Yahoo says this isn’t a Snapchat competitor per se, due to its focus on texting. It’s also the first effort from the folks behind MessageMe chat software that Yahoo nabbed last year. The app will go live for Android and iOS in the US, UK, Canada, Germany and France tomorrow and, as previously mentioned, it’s already available in Hong Kong, Ireland and Taiwan.

Filed under: Software, Mobile

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Source: Yahoo

29
Jul

Google Translate can help you with text in 20 new languages


Let’s face it: Google Translate is a handy tool when traveling abroad or reading text on the web that’s written in a different language. The software already offered help with seven languages, and today Mountain View added 20 more. This means that you’ll be able to translate to and from English to Bulgarian, Czech, Dutch, Indonesian, Polish, Turkish and several others. You’ll also be able to leverage one-way translation from English to Hindi or Thai. And all of those are just for printed text.

You can also use the camera on your mobile device to snap a pictures of a sign or text that you need a hand with as Google Translate’s camera mode supports 37 different languages. To put the software to work, though, you’ll have to download a 2MB language pack for each one inside the app. Google also beefed up the voice conversation mode so that its real-time translation works well even on slower networks, which is particularly handy in developing areas. The updates are hitting both Android and iOS apps over the next few days.

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Source: Google

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