Archive for the ‘Computers and Internet’ Category

#RIPTwitter

Posted: February 6, 2016 in Computers and Internet
Tags: , ,

An update from Jack:

Original Article:

Big news in the social media world today. BuzzFeed reports that Twitter plans to implement an algorithim for its news feed next week. This is similar to what Facebook is already doing. Instead of displaying tweets in chronological order, as Twitter does presently, Twitter would display tweets based on what it wants you to see.

Many users are upset about the change. They have voiced their opinion with the hashtag #RIPTwitter.

The algorithm is an attempt to make Twitter more popular again. They have less and less users these days. The theory is that if Twitter were to show more interesting content, people would come back more often. However, the unique set of features that Twitter offers is what draws its current user base. Removing these features would seem to drive many of the current users mad. Twitter has long been a source for instance news and information. Removing the “instant” factor of Twitter makes it much less interesting.

Our mission: To give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers.

– Twitter

Will the algorithm be a new barrier?

 

If you have been watching your task bar lately, you may have seen this logo in the taskbar.

windows10logo

Clicking on this logo opens a new window with an option to reserve your FREE upgrade.
windows10iscomingPersonally, I have been using the Windows Technical Preview for a while, and Windows 10 brings in many useful features. Multiple desktops and a redesigned start menu are new in this version.

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More snap features are now available. If you haven’t heard of snap, this was a feature that allows you to drag a window to the edge of a screen, and it will snap to that half of the screen, automatically resizing the window to fit. Now windows can be snapped in quarter sections, and Windows will automatically suggest a second window to snap after snapping a first.

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Windows 10 also comes with Cortana, Microsoft’s version of voice recognition software that helps you get tasks done quickly. Unfortunately, I have not been able to try it out, as the beta version of it is not available in Canada, because apparently we speak a different English than the Americans…. 😦

Clicking the register button simply asks for your email address to get a confirmation message. Windows has set the release date for July 29th. Once it is released, Windows 10 will automatically be downloaded to your computer and installed.

Windows 10 is a free upgrade for Windows 7 and 8.1 users.

Windows 10 is coming

Posted: January 17, 2015 in Computers and Internet

Windows is currently working on it’s next-generation operating system, Windows 10. What happened to Windows 9 you ask? Well I don’t know. They just decided to go all the way to ten.

Windows 10 brings back a start menu that the desktop users are used to, blending the metro tile look of Windows 8, and the start menu of Windows 7. Windows 10 also brings multiple desktops to Windows, something Mac and Linux users have had for quite a while. Metro Apps, which are apps downloaded from the Windows Store, can now be ran in Windowed mode, rather than full-screen all the time.

Windows is working on a voice-recognition system dubbed ‘Cortana.’ Videos show users being able to use their voice to do common tasks, like searching the web, checking the weather, setting reminders, and calling people on Skype.

Though a release date has not been set yet, Microsoft has an event for January 21, 2015, where more details about its next operating system are expected to be announced. Windows 10 is currently available as a free preview until mid-April. You can download your copy from the Microsoft website. I would recommend that you would not install it on the main computer you use, as it is still in development, could fail, and you could lose all your data.

There are ways, of course, to install the Windows 10 preview alongside your current operating system, so that you don’t have to replace your current system with Windows 10 if you just want to try it out. I shrunk the partition on my hard drive and made a second partition onto which I installed Windows 10. One could also create a virtual drive in Disk Manager and then mount it during the install process, allowing them to install a copy to a virtual drive in your computer. However you choose to do it, back up your data first. You wouldn’t want to lose that.

Hopefully, Windows 10 will encourage users to upgrade from Windows 8, 7, or even XP. Adoption of Windows 8 has been hesitant, as many users do not like the new start screen. Users of Windows 7 should consider upgrading, as mainstream support just ended last week (January 13, 2015), though extended support for Windows 7 will still be available for another 5 years. Users of XP should definitely considering upgrading as no updates have been issued for the operating system since last April!

That’s all for now…

Have you ever lost or broken your phone, bought a new phone, and then didn’t have any contacts? Not fun. However, there are a number of ways that your contacts can be backed up so that you can retrieve them later. It’s easy and takes minutes to set up. Here are a number of different methods to keep your contacts safe.

sync contacts private1. Use Google Contacts.

If you have an Android phone and you are logged in to your Google account, you can sync your contacts to your Google account. When you are in your Contacts/People app, you’ll have to go into the settings and choose “Merge with Google.” This will upload all your phone’s contacts to Google’s servers, and new contacts will automatically be synced with your Gmail address book. If you lose or break your phone, when you log into your Google account on a new Android device, your contacts will be there as well.

 

 

 

2. Transfer contacts to a new phone via Bluetooth.

Sometimes you’ll get a new phone and need to transfer contacts from an old phone that doesn’t have a method to sync contacts to the Internet. In this case, Bluetooth can be used to transfer contacts between phones. First, pair the phones with Bluetooth. You can do this from your Bluetooth settings menu. Then, in your contacts application on your old phone, look for a setting to send contacts via Bluetooth. Select all your contacts, and press send. On your new phone, you should see a notification to accept the new contacts. Once that is done, you should have all your contacts on your new phone.

3. Sync to iCloud (Apple)

If you have an Apple device, you can sync your contacts to the Internet with iCloud. Look for an enable this option in your settings. Contacts will be backed up to your iCloud account.

Back up your photos too!

Options also exist to back up other things on your devices, such as Photos. On your Android device, open the Google+ Photos app and go to settings and turn on “Google+ Auto Backup”. This will automatically backup all photos on your device, though you can choose certain folders to be backed up if you so desire. Photos backed up online are only visible to you.

On your Apple device, iCloud can be used to back up your photos. Photos backed up are only visible to you.

So I’ve been trying out Windows Technical Preview for the past few weeks. The technical preview became available on October 1st. As with its last few operating systems, Microsoft has released an early beta testing version, allowing users to send feedback to Microsoft about the new operating system. This next version will be released sometime in 2015.

The next version of Windows seeks to introduce a number of new features. First, the start menu is back. The start menu of Windows 7 is blended with the start screen of Windows 8. Users can quickly search for an app, or click on a search suggestion to bring up the Search app.

Windows apps now run in a windowed mode, rather than just full screen, allowing keyboard and mouse users to use the apps more effectively.

Another recent addition that I enjoy is the recent files menu being included in Explorer’s main page. I can find files I just saved/downloaded, without having to navigate to the specific folder they are in.

Windows now supports the addition of multiple desktops. For example, I could have one desktop with a word document open, and another with a web browser open, and then switch between desktops, rather than having to find the app I want in the myriad of windows open on just the one screen.

On the technical related side, it seems Windows 10 will be built similarly to Windows Phone 10 and the next version for Xbox One. This will allow develops to easily make an app for all devices. Rather than having to start from scratch for each app, some of the same code will work between each platform.

Google has finally updated its Hangouts app to include voice calling. You’ll have to download the Hangouts Dialer app first if you have an Android phone.This app will allow you to call people in the US/Canada for FREE! If you have a Google Voice account, you can add funds and also make very cheap international calls as well. Once you download the app, just open it and click on the dialpad icon and place your call.

Hangouts is Google’s chat app. Hangouts users can chat, voice call or video call each other. You can choose to integrate your phone’s SMS with it, and Google uses it as the standard messaging app in it’s latest version of Android (KitKat). 

Some people are concerned about Facebook’s Messenger app, and how it is now required that people use it to view their messages. Rather than having the capability to read messages in the Facebook app, the company has now  made a standalone app for sending and receiving messages . Many are concerned over the apps permissions, which allow the app to utilize certain parts of the phone. Many are concerned that permissions like recording audio and taking pictures means that the app is spying on them. However, many are misinformed about how app permissions work.

Now for myself, I have only had the experience on an Android device, but the permissions are set up by Android. When an app wants to have access to certain parts of the phone, it must declare the permissions it needs to run. These are the same permissions you see when you download the app. The problem comes from the wording of the permissions. It’s a default wording set by the makers of the Android system. They seem very general, such as “take pictures” and “record audio.”

Now once someone starts using the app, they will begin to see why these permissions are necessary. The Messenger app can be used to record audio clips, pictures, and videos, and send them to a friend. Rather than having to open a separate app to take a photo, or record audio, you can do it right from within the Facebook app.

Other’s are concerned with Facebook’s permission to read text messages. Facebook uses this as an auto verify service when you are verifying your phone number. Usually, when a service wants to verify your phone number, they’ll send you a text with a verification code for you to type in. Facebook uses this permission to read your that one text message automatically, so you don’t have to type in the verification code. Again, Facebook isn’t able to make the wording say “read text messages from Facebook.” The only way in is to request permission to your whole contacts list,  because that’s the way that Android currently works.

Overall, people need not be concerned. Facebook is not secretly recording your conversations or anything like that. The permissions are just vague, and need to be explained.For future details, you can visit Facebook’s help site here.