In this episode, John and I will be covering our Top 5 Products of 2012, and the Top 5 Apps of 2012. Stay tuned and enjoy!
Hosts: Kenta & John
You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today I had the chance to go visit a Microsoft Stall where there were many Surface RT tablets on display with Touch covers. After playing with them for as long as I could without being pressured into buying one, I would like to share some thoughts about using the Surface RT:
Firstly, the Windows 8 operating system with the ‘Modern’ interface is even better with touch, and it was already very satisfying using it with a keyboard and track pad on a laptop. Whilst the snapped view feature was not particular easy to manage on a non-touch system, on the Surface RT, it was very intuitive and natural. It also seemed very convenient to have certain applications, like calendar or Skype, to be snapped on one side. The snapped view is fixed at 320 pixels, which is about the same width as a Windows Phone. Whilst this is not optimal, as a user may want to adjust the size of the snapped app, it does make the job of the developer much easier.
Whilst I previously commented on how the Touch Cover was a very innovative idea. I was always skeptical of the ease of use. After trying it out at the Microsoft stall, I can definitely say I am pleasantly surprised. It was very easy and comfortable to type with the Touch cover, and the accuracy was amazing. It also didn’t take very much effort, much like typing on an on screen keyboard, but even better since it is possible to feel the edge of the keys. The track pad also made it easy to navigate around the screen instead of reaching out and tapping the screen if the user is already focused on typing. Due to the practicality of the Touch Cover, I have no doubt that the Type Cover will be even better. The Touch Cover also deals with unintentional input very well.
The VaporMG case also felt very solid to the touch, it made the device very sturdy, and strong. It didn’t make me feel like I would have to get an external case for it if I were to own one. Despite the fact that it was a tablet, it was lighter than I expected, which made holding it even more comfortable. However due to the widescreen aspect ratio, it makes the device feel clunky to hold in portrait orientation. But in vertical orientation, the screen was beautiful to use.
When the surface was first announced, it was said that the kickstand feels solid and posh, like the sound of a high-class car door closing. And after trying it out physically, I can confirm that it sounds and feels very sturdy and elegant. The magnetic ports that are used for charging and for attaching the covers are also very strong. Whilst I was expecting the cover to be lightly attached, possible causing the cover to fall off easily, the cover was actually required some, albeit small, effort to pull off. But when putting it back on, the snapping back onto the device gave the same sturdy feeling as the kickstand.
The device that I tried out was only a Surface RT, and hence does not have the ability to run any x86 programs that existed previously. However, the RT still has the desktop – the RT versions of Microsoft Word, Excel and Power Point exists there.
Since I do not want to be limited to only windows RT, and I am quite a heavy user, the sales suggested that I wait for the Microsoft Surface Pro. The Surface Pro is expected to come out this month (… there’s only 20 or so days left in January), with price points competitive to Ultrabooks. The 64gb model is priced at US$899, whilst the 128gb model is priced at US$999.
Will you be getting a Windows 8 touch screen device? Have comments or Questions? Let me know below, or email me at Janice@plomonet.com
Recently, Microsoft has under gone many changes in their user interface to make them more “modern” looking. Outlook, SkyDrive, Windows 8, Office and many more have all had a facelift for a better and more unified interface. Rather than carrying all the previous baggage of memories and negative connotations, Microsoft’s new logo, along with all their recent changes, have placed them as the “cool” kid on the block.
Microsoft’s new logo still sticks with their traditional windows and colours, but with a more “modern” twist. This makes their logo align better with their recent offerings.
For a more detailed explanation and background history of Microsoft’s Logo, feel free to look at the Official Microsoft Blog.
Microsoft is pushing hard with their new “modern” user interface in all websites and products, and they are slowing changing all their logos to the new Logo. All this change in logo and interface demonstrates Microsoft’s faith in Windows 8, which is open to the public on October 26th.
Comments or Questions? Feel free to post a comment below, or email me at Janice@plomonet.com
I am sure we have all been there before, whether it’s the purchase of a new computer or having reverted your existing computer to factory settings, the dull wall paper and lack of programs leaves much to be desired. There are many programs that have become standard and common place among computer users, programs such as itunes, chrome, flash, Skype, adobe reader and more. Installing each program individually becomes quite the hassle, leading to time being wasted on programs which you already use.
A remedy to this problem that I have stumbled upon is Ninite installer, a online service which allows computer users to install a vast number of software at once. Installing programs through Ninite begins with the Ninite website, where users select the programs that he/she wishes to install, a installer for the selected programs is then downloaded which can be run to install all the programs specified at once.
The neatest aspect of Ninite is that it does its job as advertised – taking away all the hassle that usually comes with installing things. There is no need to click though installation menus or having to make sure you are downloading the latest version. Everything is automated once the installer is imitated. In addition, Ninite also skips through the junk, so you won’t be installing any unwanted toolbars. Programs are also installed in your computer’s language and the best version is always installed, 32or 64 bit regardless.
Ninite is free and no sign up is required. Ninite currently only works for installing programs in Windows and Linux.
On Monday, June 18, Microsoft had a very hushed, short noticed press event in Los Angeles, where they announced the Microsoft Surface – a 10.6 inch tablet running Windows 8. There will be two versions of the tablet – Microsoft Surface, and the Microsoft Surface Pro. The Microsoft Surface will run Windows 8 RT, and will run on Nvidea ARM chip. This means it will not be able to run traditional window applications. It is intended for more leisurely use whilst still being able to run productivity applications such as Office. On the other hand, The Microsoft Surface Pro will run Windows 8, and will run on an Intel chip. Because of the Intel chip, it would be able to run legacy Windows applications as well. The Surface Pro is intended to have capabilities parallel to ultrabooks in the market currently.
The Surface is made from liquid magnesium; a technology Microsoft has named VaporMg – pronounced Vapor Mag, for magnesium. Microsoft claims this allows the Surface to be lightweight, permanently scratch and dent resistant, as well as be very durable. Microsoft also says that it has integrated two Wifi receivers to the top of the Surface to make it a device with the best Wifi reception. The Surface RT is 9.6mm thick, and 13mm thick with the touch cover. The Surface Pro is approximately 13 mm thick, and with the Type cover, makes it less than 2cm in total. More details of the specs can be found on the new Surface website, and the keynote announcement is below:
Most tablets announce nowadays are frequently compared to the Apple iPad, and no doubt the Surface will also be compared. However Microsoft really worked hard to innovate and polish the design to stand out from existing tablets.
One of the most innovative features is the Cover– a tablet cover that also doubles as a keyboard, a seemingly obvious design idea but very innovative. There are two versions of the cover. One of the covers is the Touch Cover, which puts a full QWERTY keyboard and track pad onto a solid 3mm pressure sensitive cover. The other cover is the Type Cover – which also puts a full Qwerty keyboard and track pad, but each key can be physically touched and pressed down. There is a wide range of colours available. Although no one outside Microsoft have tested the keyboards, Microsoft officials claim to be able to get over 60 words per minute on the keyboard. I personally think it is an ingenious idea of Microsoft to do more on the cover, making it more valuable and simpler for users to be productive on a device type that traditionally only consumes.
The other innovative feature is the integrated kickstand. Whilst many smartphones now have integrated kickstands to allow video watching on the small screen, tablets tend to rely on cases to standup, despite being even more suitable to watch videos on. With the integrated kickstand, Microsoft makes entertainment consumption even easier on the Windows 8. The surface is also designed around the angle 22º, with edges kickstands and even cameras angled to make it simpler for users.
Although Microsoft has yet to announce a precise price, it has mentioned that the Surface will be price-competitive with other tablets running on ARM (such as the Apple iPad) and the Surface Pro will be price-competitive with ultrabooks at the time it is released. The Surface RT would be available on the same day as the general availability of Windows 8, with the Surface Pro arriving another 3 months afterwards.
Are you as inspired by the Microsoft Surface as I am? Comment below or email at Janice@plomonet.com
June 19, 2012 in Android, Business, Business, Computers, iPad, iPhone, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Mac, Main Blog, PC, Phones, Product, Slideshow, Tablets, Travel, Travel, Travel, Travel, Travel
So summer is here and the sun is shining, but now you have a terrible dilemma. You want to be outside but the electricity is inside, so what do you do? What if I told you, that all you had to do was strap on a backpack and you would be good to go? I know you may be thinking “Awww, it’s summer; schools out, I don’t wanna wear a backpack.” Just hear me out. Samsonite developed a very light weight that makes a great travel bag, laptop tote, or overnight rucksack. Introducing the Samsonite Solar Powered Backpack.
While the Solar Backpack clearly lacks creativity in name, Samsonite obviously chose to spend that time on the actual product. Time well spent, in my opinion.
The Solar Backpack goes on like a normal backpack, no surprise there. I found the straps and back to be extremely comfortable, even when carrying a laptop and a few books. Here is where it gets interesting though. The Solar Backpack has a 12v adapter (a car charging port) attached to the front pocket and connected to a solar panel. With this port you can plug in any adapter that you would normally plug into a car and supply power to that device. The backpack works great on iPhone, iPads, iPods, and numerous other portable devices. The smaller devices can be charged in about 4 hours of sunlight, while larger electronics will take longer. One trick that I do is use my USB Power Bank, a portable power pack, and have that connected to the backpack and always charging when in the sun, then I just plug in my devices into that and I can have power regardless of whether I have sun or not.
The only problem I had with Samsonite was that they do no provide a USB car adapter, therefore I had to purchase my own to use with my iDevices.
The Solar Backpack is a treasure trove of pockets. The Backpack consists of three main compartments ranging to the largest, which can accommodate a laptop up to 15.9 inches along with some books, to the smallest front panel which is great for storing all of those gadgets. On the outside you will find a side zippered pocket as well as a mesh water bottle holder, both of which are good sized. The only problem I have noticed with the compartments is that there is no hole in the front one to feed a charging cable out to a device or headphones from a charging device to my ears.
The Solar Panel
I thought I would breifely mention the quality of the solar panel. It is flexible and durable, and it appears that it will be able to withstand a beating, which is good especially if you are a frequent traveler and choose to use this bag as your carry on. The only problem I have noticed is that the both the solar panel and the backpack get quite hot, expectantly so, considering they are black and sitting out in the sun. I just worry that a laptop might get overheated in these conditions, so be careful.
Overall the Samsonite Solar Powered Backpack is a great product. It is very spacious and comfortable as well as durable. The solar technology works great at topping up my devices and I take comfort in the fact that I can now venture outside without having to worry about dead batteries. The only problems I had were the lack of an adapter as well as a headphone hole and, the excessive absorption of heat. The Solar Powered Backpack can be purchased HERE originally for $300, but right now it is ON SALE FOR $134.99!! So get it while its hot! I give it 4.5 Stars because of the minor problems.
Did you get it? Have an app or product you want me to review? Let me know in the comments below.
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The new Ghost Recon launched on May 22nd this year, and it’s hoping to be one of Ubisoft’s best-selling game this year, along with the future release of Assassin’s Creed 3 a few months from now.
This game is known for it’s 3rd person and partial 1st person shooting experience. The concept of the gameplay was very well thought out; the graphics, maps, weapons, characters, etc, were all integrated nicely into this game. Very few games this year had the idea bringing futurism into shooter games (except for the upcoming Black Ops 2), as players may see the game as unrealistic- HALO is a good example.
The multiplayer experience is satisfying owing to the fact that I do see some room for improvement. In my opinion, the gameplay is great, however, it is the user interface, and very minor issues with the menu layout that brings the multiplayer mode down a little. On the other hand, the single player mode is great. The plot, characters, and the missions got me on the edge of my seat numerous times. I haven’t had any problems that stopped me from having fun on this game, and I am looking forward to any single or multiplayer DLCs in the future.
PRESS START. When you read that on your video game, whats then next thing you reach for? Your gaming headphones? Me too. Some great people at Steel Series recently sent me a pair of 7H Fnatic PC Gaming Headphones, and I took them for a spin.
Steel Series did a great job on the design for the 7H Fnatics. The partnered with Fnatic, one of the most accomplished gaming teams, for the entire design. First of all I love the color, the tri-color black, orange, and white combo really work well together. The orange says I’m fun, while the black still says I’m a serious gamer.
Structurally the headphones are great too. The ear cups and head band are super padded and comfortable, which is good for you all night and day gamers. Each side is adjustable so they can accommodate most head sizes.Another great thing Steel Series added to these headphones is the ability to be disassembled into four pieces, if you count the cable. Which is nice if you want to put them in a backpack or suitcase for travel. I also enjoy the hidden microphone. When you need it, simply pull it out; and since it is uni-directional it can be bent in any direction. The cable is braided, so it should last a good while. It also is split-channel, meaning you have to plug in audio output and microphone input separately, which can be taken either way. Personally I was a little disappointed because that means I can’t use them with my iPod for FaceTime or the like; but hey, they are gaming headphones after all.
The Fnatic features a 50mm driver, providing clear crisp sound that is full of detail. I especially enjoyed that when playing a game I really got the true 360 3D experience. Again I did notice that these headphones did not hold up against others in listening to music, but yes I know, they are for gaming. The microphone quality is suburb as expected. So make sure you use the mute switch on the cord if you decide to ask you mother for a sandwich.
The sound cancellation is passive, so don’t expect perfect isolation, but still unless you live in a construction zone all you will hear is you video game.
What You Get
When you buy the 7H Fnatics you get the headphones of course, as well as the the braided cable with volume and mic control; but they also throw in a 2 meter extender cable, which is very convenient. Overall, these are a great pair of headphones for gaming. The superb sound and comfort definitely move these headphones into the next tier. Just PRESS START to head over to Steel Series to buy a pair for $139.99, which isn’t bad for such a great pair of headphones. I give them 4.8 stars, just because personally I would like to have a single channel cable option/adapter for an iPod.
Did you get it? Have an app or product you want me to review? Let me know in the comments below.
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Over the past few months, there has been a lot of development in the consumer cloud front. Whilst previously the common people were limited to a few user-friendly cloud services such as Dropbox, users now have a wider variety of choices, like Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive.
In my opinion, one of the most important features needed in a consumer cloud drive is the ability to have a designated folder that automatically syncs with the cloud services without any user interaction. Speaking from the perspective of a common user, no one likes having to think about backing up files, and having a folder that backs up without thought is a real benefit. Furthermore, when a disaster happens, such as a corrupt file or undo-able errors, users should have the option to roll back to a previous version of a file and continue working.
Because of the above consideration, the cloud service that I used most previously was Dropbox, as it was the only cloud drive with that feature. Dropbox provides users with 2GBs of free space, which can be increased up to 16GBs by referring friends to Dropbox. There is also a Dropbox application available for Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android, which provide easy access to view and change files. Files can also be downloaded and uploaded through the website. The only main mobile operating system that is not supported at the moment is the Windows phone, however I expect that to be supported as soon as the platform gains traction. Besides the free space, users have a wide selection of plans to choose from to upgrade their account. The biggest memory sized plan gives a maximum of 1TB worth of memory. Dropbox also have a variety of plans for business and educational use. On the Mac, Dropbox also works very well with Growl and it notifies the user when files have been updated, giving users an added sense of confidence that their files are safely backed up.
Even though Google Drive sounds new, it is actually only a rebranding of an existing Google product, Google Docs. Google Docs previously permitted users to upload documents to be stored – this was very similar to Dropbox, but using the website only. With the rebranding, Google Drive now provides a computer folder that automatically synchronizes with Google Drive. Google Drive, at the moment only supports Windows, Macs, and Android — iOS support is in development. Google Drive users start off with 5GBs of free space. Users can upgrade their memory with a wide selection of decently priced plans up to a maximum of 16TBs. Only documents that users upload will be counted against the memory. Google Docs does not count against the users storage. Furthermore, the 5GBs free is only the memory for Google Drive. Users still have their 10GBs of free email storage. Music (10,000 songs) stored under Google Play also does not count towards the Google Drive memory. Image storing in Picasa is also separate. Combining all of Google’s services provide a lot more than 5GBs free for users.
Although Microsoft’s SkyDrive is not new, it has been greatly improved, making it simpler for users to access and store files. With the latest upgrade, Microsoft SkyDrive now syncs folders on a users computers instead of relying users to remember to upload files onto the website. Microsoft supports the operating systems Windows, Mac, iOS, and Windows Phone. At the moment, Android is not officially supported. Whilst other services do not have an upload limit on the application client, SkyDrive has a limit of 2GBs. SkyDrive users start off with 7GBs free. However, if you jumped on the SkyDrive bandwagon before the upgrade, it is possible for you to get 25GBs free. Microsoft provides 3 plans for users to upgrade their memory. Users can get a maximum of 125GBs of storage. Similar to Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive users are also to create Microsoft Office documents through the website. However, unlike Google Drive, these documents do take up space in memory. If a consumer is only starting a cloud service, SkyDrive may be the way to go as it offers the most free space initially.
Although this article is a review of the cloud services, I have not gone into detail about all the cloud services, as I have not used them all enough to give it a fair review. However, some other cloud services that should be considered are: Amazon Cloud Drive, Box, iCloud, SugarSync and many more.
Previously, I would have definitely chosen Dropbox as the best cloud drive. However, with the upgrade to Google Drive and Microsoft SkyDrive, I feel like the best solution is to use all three concurrently to maximize the amount of online storage available. Especially since all three services now automatically synchronizes, and all also have version history. Furthermore, experiment to see what combination of file types work better with each storage space. For example, it may be more appropriate to store large quantities of Microsoft documents in SkyDrive because it can be edited with the online version of Microsoft Office. If only a small amount of storage space is required, I still recommend Dropbox as the cloud storage solution as it supports the most platforms.
Questions or Comments? Ask below or contact me at email@example.com