Windows 8.1 New Features

Windows 8.1 Carries New Features
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 07:00 AM PDT
In view of endless debate over Windows 8 and the confusion because of its new features, Windows took a little while to come back with a worthy answer. With its newer version, Windows 8.1, it has few things to present to its critics.
Windows 8.1 Carries New FeaturesThe Return of the Windows Start Button
While this feature was always a part of Windows since its beginning, no one liked the idea of Windows 8 not having this feature. The Windows button in Windows 8 only looks different and has touch capability, but it can be accessed when you press the Windows key on your keyboard.

Users did not like this, and so, Windows has placed the button where it is more visible. It’s believed that users will like this for more than one reason. They’ll know it’s there because they can see it, and they will also have the option of using the touch screen option.
Windows Also Introduced the Hands-Free Mode
Windows has created a brilliant array of apps that has pleased most users. It has even created recipe apps that collect recipes from top chefs so that you can learn how to cook great meals. However, how would you read through the recipes and flip pages when your hands are full of cooking materials?
Well, you don’t have to touch your screen with Windows 8.1 if you have your web cam on. All you need to do is wave your hand over your page on screen, and the page will turn. Your web-cam will pass on the signal via the Hands-free app.
Universal Search
Previously, the ‘search’ option on the right side of your screen always existed, but it was never quite visible. Now you can do so much more with it because it is Universal, and allows you to search Bing as well as your folders, applications, and files, in one box.
You Now Have Updated and New Apps
Similar to the smartphone and the tablet, Windows 8 and 8.1 both have apps. These apps are quite different from the regular ones you come across, and they are available through your touch-screen. Microsoft has offered you the ability to use your computer as a tablet because these items are available on your touch-screen.
Windows deserves much credit for designing them, and they are all highly useful. To name a few, there is a scientific calculator, a Health and Fitness application that can monitors your exercise and diet, a Reading List, where you can save your reading material and updates for current apps.
Windows Now Gives You 3-D Printer Support
Microsoft claims Windows 8.1 is the first operating system that functions smoothly with desktop 3-D printers such as the Solidoodle and Makerbot. These 3-D printers will use an API and a driver, similar to that of a 2-D printer.
All these new features have been pleasing Windows lately, and Windows seems to be getting things right. All the criticism that they faced in recent months will lose its intensity with each user trying out 8.1
Jelly Bean Overtakes Gingerbread
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 06:00 AM PDT
Jelly Bean is now used on just under 38% of all active Android devices. The latest figures show which versions of Android are actually being used in the real world, have been published by Google. This new data shows that Android 4.x, which includes Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly bean, runs on over 61% of devices, while Jelly Bean itself (Android 4.1 and Android 4.2) runs on just under 38% of devices.
jellybeanovertakesgingerbread
This is the first time that Jelly Bean has taken the lead from the Gingerbread operating system, which has stayed active even though it has been superseded several times. However, Gingerbread's use is in decline, at the beginning of this year Android 2.3 was running on just under half of all active Android devices and Jelly Bean had just a 10% share. Ice Cream Sandwich was popular with just under 30% usage. If we skip forward six months in time, now Jelly Bean is king having taken the lion share from Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich.
Google generates these numbers based on "data collected during a 14-day period ending on July 8, 2013″ and use Google's new counting method. Since April 2013, the data now contains the number of devices that are used to visit the Google Play Store, rather than any device that simply checked-in to Google servers. Google have said that this is a more accurate way to count the users who are actually active in the Android sphere.  As for the rest of the field Android 2.1 and 2.2 are still used on 4.5 % of devices while Android 1.6 Donut and Android 3.2 Honeycomb barely register at less than 1% (0.1%). The reason for Gingerbread's longevity is likely because of its low system requirements. It is still possible to buy low end Smartphones running Gingerbread today. Since it can run on devices with only 256MB of memory and it doesn't need a very fast GPU then for emerging markets it is still a very viable option. How long it will remain that way is unclear, however the fact that Jelly Bean has finally taken the lead coupled with Android 4.x runs on over 61% of active devices, it seems that the end is almost upon Gingerbread…Ah well, it had a good run.
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Dell to Enter The Wearable Computing Niche?
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 05:00 AM PDT
With the availability of Google Glass to the general public coming closer and closer, the interest in wearable computing has never been this strong. Of course, the concept has always been a topic of interest for forward thinkers, and it is also a bone of content for those who see a lot of potential danger. But, as much as some people may have closed their minds to the concept, wearable computing is the future of gadgets. And if the whispers about tech icon Dell are anything to go by, the wearable computing niche is really something to look into.
wearable computing
The news is that Dell is looking to enter the wearable computing niche, some say because of the struggling PC market. We’ve heard doomsday prophecies revolving around the death of the personal computer, thanks to smaller and more portable devices. Whether or not the PC will totally disappear within our lifetime, we do know that Dell has not been a healthy company in quite some time.
Add to that the shrinking PC market, and it is only understandable that the brains running Dell are looking at other options. If they want to continue being a top brand, that is.
I do not know a single soul who gets excited when Dell is mentioned, but that does not mean the company may not have anything to add to the game. They might not be as far as Google Glass yet, but Sam Burd, VP of personal computing at Dell, has said that they are “exploring ideas in that [wearable computing] space”. He went as far as to say that wearing a watch on your wrist is “pretty interesting, pretty appealing”.
Of course, we assume that he was referring to the likes of the Pebble and Cookoo watches.
Still, this does not mean that Dell is totally going to abandon the PC. Burd stated this rather clearly in spite of the abysmal financial returns his department has had.
Will Dell be able to make waves – even mere splashes – in the wearable computing niche?
Mozilla’s Smartphone OS Launches in Spain
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 04:00 AM PDT
One of the world's leading Internet browser providers has joined the smartphone business with a new operating system. Mozilla's smartphone OS was officially released in Spain.
First details about the operating system emerged at the Barcelona Mobile World Congress in February and Mozilla has just released the first two smartphones equipped with the new Firefox operating system.
Mozilla's Smartphone OS Launches in Spain
The two smartphones, a ZTE Open and an Alcatel OneTouch Fire, are only available in Spain for the time being. Mozilla partnered with Telefonica on the project, which aims at making available a series of more affordable smartphones to the general public.
The phones will retail for 69 euros or about $90. Pre-paid versions also come with 30 euros worth of credit. Both models will be equipped with standard smartphone features such as phone calls, text messaging, email, maps, camera and Firefox web browsing.
Each of the phones has 512MB internal memory and is provided with a microSD card slot to increase storage space. The smartphones do not feature HD screens, but are equipped with 1 GHz Qualcomm processors and Ardeno 200 graphics cards.
The Firefox OS is open source and developed using HTML5, which Mozilla hopes will appeal to web developers who can easily use the system to create their own apps.
It is not yet known when the Mozilla OS smartphones will be available for U.S. consumers. For the time being, Mozilla is marketing the phones on emerging markets such as Poland, Spain, Colombia, Venezuela and Brazil, markets where the new OS will be a significantly more affordable option than the more expensive iPhones or last generation Android powered devices.
Mozilla executives acknowledge that it will be difficult for the Firefox OS to find success on a market that is 90% dominated by Android and iOS together, but are confident that the low price point and open-source features will make it a popular choice among those loking for an alternative to traditional smartphone operating systems.
What do you think are Mozilla's chances to succeed? Would you like to try out a Firefox OS smartphone?
Wood Battery for Large-Scale Energy Storage
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 03:00 AM PDT
While traditional batteries cater to most of our everyday energy storage needs, they are generally not a feasible solution for large-scale energy storage, both in terms of cost and environmental sustainability. So how about using a wood battery instead?
As strange as it may sound, scientists are researching a battery model that uses wood fibers coated in tin and believe that this could be an efficient and environmentally friendly solution for large-scale storage.
Cellulose fibers were found to help nanobatteries keep their structure
Cellulose fibers were found to help nanobatteries keep their structure
University of Maryland researchers are testing how a sodium-ion battery could be better for storing vast amounts of energy rather than the traditional lithium-ion batteries. Sodium is not only cheaper and more available, but also harmless to the environment.
One of the biggest obstacles to developing stable sodium-ion batteries so far has been the fact that they have a very short life due to a phenomenon known as sodiation. More specifically, every charge and discharge of ions leads to the anode swelling and the battery falling apart after as little as 20 charging cycles.
But by using wood fibers, Maryland University scientists have managed to create longer lasting nanobatteries. The paper-thin wood fibers were coated with carbon nanotubes to become electrically conductive and then wrapped the array with a tin film.
Given that wood fibers are softer than the stiff bases generally used in traditional batteries, they were able to withstand the sodiation process and the anode's repeated swelling and shrinking. The wood nanobattery was thus able to survive over 400 charging cycles. Even at the end of the battery life, the wood fibers were wrinkled, but still intact.
Scientists found inspiration for the project in the trees. A tree's wood fibers hold water rich in minerals, which makes them ideal for the storage of liquid electrolytes and this makes them an active part of the battery, not only the base.
The wood battery is still in development. Sodium generally does not store energy as efficient as lithium, so it's unlikely to see the technology used in our everyday gadgets. But a sodium-ion battery's cycling performance, cheap raw material and impressive capacity will make it a highly efficient solution for storing large amounts of energy from renewable sources.
What do you think of the new design? Could the sodium-ion battery hold the key for solving a possible energy crisis, by offering large-scale energy storage to virtually every community with zero environmental impact?

[Image via treehugger]
The post Wood Battery for Large-Scale Energy Storage appeared first on TechBeat.
Google Pays Out to AdBlock Plus
Posted: 10 Jul 2013 02:00 AM PDT
Adblock Plus is a popular plugin for filtering advertisements, but it won’t hide Google ads by default. That’s because the company pays for inclusion in a whitelist.
If you have ever wanted to keep annoying, intrusive advertisements off of your computer screen? Then you have probably installed Adblock Plus, a freeware product that has been downloaded by millions of users. What you probably did not know, however, is that Adblock Plus is not as indiscriminate as you would think; though the program hides a number of advertisements by default, advertising monoliths like Google can and do pay Eyeo, the company running Adblock Plus, to keep their advertisements on the company's Acceptable Advertisements whitelist.  By default then, Adblock Plus does indeed display adverts from those who pay and are visible when Adblock is enabled!
Google Pays Out to AdBlock Plus
“Scandalous!” I hear you cry! But the policy is not exactly new.  Eyeo have implemented the Acceptable Ads white list two years ago, back in 2011, partly to prevent the depriving of small websites of valuable advertising revenue.  The move was also pragmatic: as per the Frequently Asked Questions section on the Abdblock Plus website.   Managing a portfolio of white listed advertisements can be expensive and so charging larger companies to participate keeps the Acceptable Ads initiative viable.
The inclusion of a white list in ad blocking software may seem insincere, but Eyeo co-founder Till Faida thinks of it as a way to promote positive change in the online advertising sphere. In a recent interview, Faida suggests the company's philosophy is more about reaching a compromise between internet users and advertisers than shutting advertisers out completely.  Less in your face ads are a start, apparently: the Acceptable Ads policy mandates that advertisements be nonintrusive.
Considering a number of points; the number of small internet publishers that rely solely on ads for income, and the services companies like Google, provide at no charge, Eyeo's policies looks reasonable.  Adblock Plus' current approach allows legitimate advertisements while discouraging harmful ones and in doing so helps.  A greater transparency in these matters is necessary, granted, knowing exactly how much Eyeo charges certain advertisers would be a wonderfully clear beginning, but the balance that Eyeo has struck between internet users and advertising companies is sound.
Windows 8.1 New Features Windows 8.1 New Features Reviewed by Multi Level Marketing on 8:57 PM Rating: 5

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