30 September 2011

A World Of Windows or Things You May Have Not Known They Ran A Windows OS

Windows 8 Start Icon

The Windows Embedded Team put out this video in their YouTube account recently and it is awesome, because i had been looking for a video like it for years.

 

Demostrative Video Of Windows Embedded Out In the Everyday Life


It shows examples of appliances out in the everyday life that are running Windows, but not the Full-On Desktop Windows most of you got in your PC. But instead all are running a Windows Embedded OS.

What you will see in the video behind the scenes ranges from two branches of Windows Embedded operative systems:

- The Compact Branch:

WEC7 and the previous version still called Win CE in its 6.0 R3 in several permutations as are for example:

Handheld Console
Point Of Sale
Operative Instructed Terminal

With many other being custom made out by third-party sellers. Whether they happen to be Microsoft Partners or not. As there are even some that get gutted and re-stuffed with a layer of Java software taking the reigns.

Which you can find in anything from a refrigerator to your car, and passing from things like vending machine, a price checker, a set topbox, a pass control point, etc, etc, etc.

- The Standard Branch :

Windows XP Embedded and WES 7 being the ones running the show on this branch.
And these can be found in smart HD-TV's, Terminal Manager Consoles, High-End TopBoxes, Industrial Slate PC's, MRI Console Computers, Health Care Data Modules, etc, etc.

This modality gives out a customized, tuned, tightly controlled, tightly managed and super resilient version of the regular version of the Windows OS you have in your desktop.

Now just as a final note about how spread Windows Embedded really is:

You may have heard about how Desktop Windows is officially installed in around 1.1 billion computers. If you add the pirated and no longer supported versions of windows released so far up to now, you would get well over 2 billion computers.

Well over 2 billion is also the number mobile phones still in some form of use.
Sounds like immense and unbeatable numbers don't they?

They aren't.

Windows Embedded is running in over 3 billion things out in the world. To a point where Microsoft is not the one coming up with that numbers as they only track the legal installs of these that they now around 2 billion. But if we count industrial and commercial piracy rates of Windows Embedded into question. Then you have the real number must be at least 3 billion.

How is that for World Encompassing?

Linkage

World of Windows Embedded       <—This  resource site also got a interactive version of the video above.

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via Next at Microsoft.

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29 September 2011

Microsoft Is Now One Step Closer To Android Patent Licensing Domination

samsung-microsoft-logo


As of September 28 of 2011, Microsoft revealed they had made a patent licensing agreement with Samsung, regarding Android Patent Protection

Samsung signs Microsoft patent licensing deal to cover Android devices | ZDNet

Mary Jo Foley over at ZDnet beautifully -- as always , so read that post too-- reports on the news of what was inevitable to happen. Once the news of the last set of licensing deals with Acer and ViewSonic were revealed a few weeks ago, the writing was on the wall for Samsung, and it read:

"Paying now would be better"

And Today that has been officialized. Carrying Microsoft domination over Android Licensing just to 3 big moves from being Game Over:

1.- Motorola

Which Microsoft is suing. And in the general known impression that they had the lawsuit win in the bag to begin with. Add the licensing deal announcements so far and there is really no way Motorola can win in the end, even if they won the lawsuit in course.

2.-LG

Not very popular in the U.S.A, but everywhere else around the world LG is huge and their Android Smartphones are also everywhere. Samsung giving in will probably seal the deal for them. I expect a sort of announcement regarding LG any given week now. LG has also been a OK Microsoft partner in the past.

3.-Lenovo

They got their cheap A1 Android 2.3 Slate in the pipeline. And i as hell doubt they are going to risk it with Microsoft. You see, when HP under Apotheker ruling severely damaged the big and long standing Microsoft-HP partnership. Lenovo and others like ASUS and Samsung raised their hand to Microsoft and asked for a Hi-Five. Microsoft agreed to that. They are now very big Microsoft partners. I also would expect a sort of announcement before or close after the launch of the Lenovo A1 regarding licensing.

There are other moves for Microsoft like ASUS and MSI. But as they are also good Microsoft partners now, but they are not as strategic as the other big blows. They could very well wait at the last minute or could have already signed under discretion.

Oh and if you think that i am missing Amazon. I don't, they signed a yet undisclosed, not-publicized agreement with Microsoft like a year ago.

In resume, stay tuned because Microsoft is continuing with their avalanche-like momentum in Android Patent Licensing. And it is not just for show and some monies.  Is for a lot of show, money and whatever it occurs to them next.

Linkage

Microsoft and Samsung Broaden Smartphone Partnership

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If you would like to read on a broad perspective of Android. I recommend you taking a look over here.

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28 September 2011

The Path Of Android: Origins, Past and Present

Well, a very quck look at it. Otherwise i would need to write a whole book to fully live up to that title

Android Andy

 

I have been reflecting and thinking about Android lately. Something that is not the norm for me. As am not an Android user. I am a WP7 user (HTC HD2 FTW!).

My thoughts about Android have been mostly about how it is falling lower and lower into the ground in regard of what its principles, ideals and goals originally were. Just as its sales continue to rise into the Sky by the aggregated summation of the Android powered device ecosystem.

Back when Android started. Its original goal was to take on Blackberry, Symbian and Windows Mobile in one go. The design of the original Android OS 1.0 and the prototype hardware devices certainly reflected that in strides. Then the iPhone happened. And thanks to the mistakes and missteps of the mobile industry the previous 2 years to its introduction. The iPhone just had no contest as the first consumer focused high-end Smartphone.

What happened was that the iPhone had a full opening for a whole year. But Google then recognized that thanks to the state of their Android OS development. They were the ones closest to be able to respond to it.

Responded they did with a redesigned Android OS that learned from iOS 1.0 and from the iPhone 1, while still not forgetting about how the rest of the Smartphone market worked. Then for some reason Google decided to pretty much copy up Windows Mobile strategy. While most don't remember and many Android Zealots do not want to remember. At one point for a very brief time. Windows Mobile got to be the #1 high-end Smartphone platform. Then Blackberry quickly took the lead out of Windows Mobile. Nokia at the time was too content with being #1 of the mid and low end. They just didn't cared. So much they didn't cared even with the release of the iPhone One. That they didn't revived their All-Touchscreen Smartphone prototype from 2005.

That is right, Nokia had the iPhone before Apple. Theirs was what now some of us know as resistive-assistive. But it was besides all that just like the iPhone hardware-wise. Others had their all-touchscreen smartphone prototypes too all the way back to 2005 in similar conditions. LG had what eventually would become the LG Prada that was announced in late 2006 i believe. HTC had the HTC Touch prototype (called clio i think). And Sony Ericsson -- No, really -- had a similar prototype based on their really cool P line (remember the P990?). That had taken stuff they had learned from Clie PDA's. But in the end they all acted slow as hell. Didn't wanted to compromise, and in general just feared to change the status quo of the times. a deliciously profitable status quo.

Microsoft of course is also the largest to blame here. As they had botched what was a pretty amazing -- for the times -- Windows Mobile update codenamed Photon. Which was going to be called Windows Mobile 7. But as cool as it was. It had the very same development problem that Windows Longhorn had. It was over ambitious. way ahead of time and close to impossible to execute in current commercial hardware. But Microsoft was keen and possibly completely blind to the very fresh at the time scenario that was the reality of the Windows Team, as they just had over a year before having to call it quits on longhorn and started over into what would become Vista. And blind they were, as Microsoft stupidly tried to make Photon on top of an unfinished Win CE 6.0.

Meaning that basically it was just a hacked up Win CE 5.0 with too much stuff forced down its throat. And long story short while the software was mostly operative. Because of the core for the OS was unstable, unfinished and patched. It leaked memory like crazy (think Firefox 2.0) and used too much CPU (think Firefox 1.0 ) over time. Making it impossible for it to work. And that is why there was a WM 6.1.x (not officially named that) and WM 6.5 (with 3 releases).

The problem? many hardware partners were waiting on photon to pan out. As they were having similar problems with their versions of Symbian. Back when, i kid you not, there were as many variants of Symbian as there are linux distros.

Then here came Google. All bright-eyed and stuff. talking out loud that they had just what the industry needed. They would give hardware makers something that was like Windows Mobile, but FREE, Open Source!, NON-Windows, Very Google.

But that Google also wanted to change the world. That they would do it by giving more control to the user by retaining more control themselves (so nice of Google) of how Android devices were used and sold by the carriers, not by what they could had in them.

This part you already know very well how it panned out. Google had to backtrack, too to a spin their backtracking with the release of the nexus one. Started gaining enemies. Started abusing their power with the supposedly Open Source of Android.

But more importantly? The past started to catch up with them on how they managed to develop that redesigned, more-iOS-like Android OS 1.0 so fast.  Like, unnaturally fast.

All thanks to Java. All thanks to Sun Microsystem dying. And when the SUN was blacking out. Google mistakenly decided to not lend a hand and license Java. All for mere 400 million for a whole 10 years. Or so one rumors goes. But with the official stance going that there was another deal for 100 million for 3 years. One that dictated that Google had to collaborate with SUN. Google then just decided to wait for the SUN to go supernova. Not counting with an Oracle coming in to the rescue. Yes, that last part is sarcasm.

An Oracle controlled by a very powerful Business Wizard. With the rest of that part of the story now being decided in court.

Microsoft on the other side of the story. Just looked at Android and said:

"We will charge for our patented tech, thank you very much"

Something that may not make sense for many of you Android fans. But you also don't understand how many deals Google actually did -- More like had no choice but do them -- with Microsoft for many tech parts. It is not just ActiveSync and Exchange i assure you. Microsoft knows perfectly what is that they are charging for. Part of Google knows it too. But of course that it cannot say anything about it. Otherwise why you think Google has not made but snarky petty remarks at Microsoft collecting their monies?

They instead apparently decided they would also copy a lot of Metro Design, Many more of Windows Mobile old strategies and stuff like that. I mean the look of the  Web Android Market? the new mobile one? C'mon!.

And now to the point. YES, finally, i know.

Android Today is not the Android of yesterday. Certainly nowhere near how Android was supposed to be. It is no longer even really Open Source on the eyes of many, not just the FSF. And the most successful Android Devices?  Happen to be the ones that have forfeited their Google Heritage, or the ones that stray from it. First the Nook Color, then the Vizio Slate, now soon the Kindle Fire. With others like that also in the way.

Android Today is now becoming more of just a Brand. It will depend on how Google deals with it the next 6-9 months, if they let the future of Android be taken away completely from them. If we will see a full divergence on what Android powered actually means.

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About The Kindle Fire

amazon.com logo

The time has come and Amazon has made their big announcements on the new release for the Kindle Line. One that had a big Punch. The fist behind that big punch now officially unveiled as the Kindle Fire.

Kindle Fire screenshot

Previously i did a post about the at the time yet to be named Kindle Slate, derived from the scoop by +MG Siegler at Techcrunch. And from that post i feel the need to quote the final part of it:

What i do expect is that MG had got the price not entirely right. As in that i think there could be 2 prices:

$150-$199 = Ad Supported / Opted in User Advance Tracking

$250 = No Ads, No Advanced user tracking and an Amazon Prime Subscription.

or if there was meant to be a single price, it will be just $199

The reasons i believe that could be what will happen are:

1 - The hardware is paltry as hell. The cost of making these must not be higher than $75 - $90 bucks. Why the hell are you charging $250 for this thing Amazon, if it is going to be a Amazon content driven Cloud PMP?

2.- Otherwise where is exactly the edge of this against the B&N Nook Color?

3 - Lenovo just announced a quality Android Slate for $199! Amazon could revise the price based on this.

4 - Anticipation of B&N cutting the price of the Nook Color $50 bucks this fall.

5 - $250 is just too much for such a limited device instead of just buying Lenovo's $199 Android Slate that wont have any of the limitations of the Kindle Slate and can also access everything the Kindle Slate will.

And guess what? I was right on the price i set if there was only to be a single price for the Kindle Fire. $199 is what Amazon will be asking for the Kindle Fire.

What i have yet to fully understand is why everyone is acting like if Amazon is going to lose money on the hardware? They are not. Not at all. They went and did some extremely smart cost cutting measures in the way they executed the hardware and software for the Kindle Fire:

1.- They took a ride on poor RIM and scooped up the same hardware company that they had outsourced The Playbook hardware design. Essentially Amazon Outsourced the hardware design of the Kindle Fire on a basis of the Outsourced design of The Playbook. Somebody better call Xzibit.

2.-They took what is considered the most quickly customizable and stable point of Android for Smartphones (2.1) and made it their own by removing everything Google out of it. And since Amazon got their Android App Store. There is nothing Google can do about it.

3.- They took the most widely available internal parts, configured and tuned them.
The result? a $199 Kindle Fire that will be cheap, well performing and even good looking.

But again. Even if they didn't had done what i mention above. How on earth would it be over $199, if the Lenovo A1, that is basically a reiterated Galaxy Tab 1 is also going to be $199? That was my point.

Now, on a quick resume of what Amazon is offering with the Kindle Fire:

A slate that looks like The Playbook -- which looks great actually -- With the internals of a year old high-end Android Smartphone.  Running a remodeled and modded Android 2.1 UI-UX that got many iOS 3.0 inspirations. That will perform great, have a good enough battery life and more importantly will give you access to all of the Amazon content (Kindle Books, Music,Movies, Apps, Magazines,Games) you could possibly need, plus the magic of the real web.

All for $199.

If that is not a winner, then i don't know what else to say. Or what you do think?

 

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26 September 2011

gbrainy 2.03 For Windows

gbrainy logo

It took over 5 months for a new Windows version of gbrainy to appear. But now version 2.0 of gbrainy is finally here, with the following updates and changes when compared to the last windows release,  that was the  1.65 version:

User interface

  • Integrated question and solution in the same game space (a long requested enhancement)
  • Theme support. So it  is now possible to have different themes.
  • New default notebook theme that has a more happier look (see screen capture)
  • Vertical / Horizontal toolbar orientation. By default the toolbar has vertical orientation. This is great since most of the computers have 4:3 screens and allows to use more space for the game area.

Game experience

  • Better answer handling. All the games have been enhanced to be more flexible when accepting valid answers.
  • Better rationale explanations. An explanation for solving the game has been added to a dozen games that were missing it.
  • Fixed many verbal analogies that caused sometimes confusion or that were difficult to translate.

Localization

  • Internationalization fixes: including allowing some strings in plural, better concatenation of some strings, etc.
  • Proof-reading of gbrainy's English by a native speaker during a few hours. As a result 20% of strings have been enhanced for better grammar
  • Ability to run gbrainy in English ignoring the translations (for languages in which translations are not completed)
  • Several translations were updated as bugs were fixed
  • Added Esperanto translation

New games

  • As usual some new challenges: 4 logic games, 1 calculation game, 6 new verbal analogies

Other

  • Mono 2.10 support
  • Fixes assembly versioning
  • Over 20 bugs fixes
  • Updated translations for many languages
  • Added Mono.Addins.Gui 0.6 strings for L10N
  • Removed libgnome support (deprecated lib)

 

gbrainy for windows 2.03 screenshot

As you can see from the aggregated (Linux version gets released more often) summary of the changes. It is a huge updated compared to the last available Windows version.  gbrainy 2.03 works in all the currently in support  Windows OSes. Meaning XP, Vista and 7. 

I have yet to check if I need to update the original review of Gbrainy desktop version. But you may still want to have a look at the original post:

gbrainy- A Game App To Exercise Your Brain

Apart from the desktop version. Gbrainy also got a online web version that has also been updated.  Will also be checking if the original post about it needs to be updated. But in the mean time you may also want to have a look at that one too:

gbrainy Online Web Client

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Linkage

gbrainy 2.03

 

via Jordi Mas blog 

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24 September 2011

About The Idea Of Amazon Buying Netflix

Amazon.com logo            netflix logo

Or more precisely as MSN Money asks it:

Could Amazon Buy Netflix?   <--  somewhat implying that they could.

NO  would be  my answer to such idea.

At least i don't see why Amazon would spend 6 billion dollars or more in buying Netflix when their already in place Amazon UnBox is yet to fully integrate the acquisition of iLoveFilm. Without mentioning that both are already quite geared to movies, just as Netflix.

If Amazon were looking to buy something.  They would instead go and buy Hulu.

Why would they go for Hulu and not NetFlix?

Because Hulu means TV.  A segment where they are weak.  And if we talk TV, Hulu is where is at.

Even Google agreed to that, as even they went  all for it and bullied their way in with a out-of track power bid, that left Hulu owners with a bittersweet taste. One Hulu owners hav not yet even decided if they like or not.

My point? 

Why would Amazon go and spend 6 billion or more for something that overlaps with what they already have, instead of 2 to 3 billions for something that complements what they have?

I think they wouldn't. It is known Amazon did bid for Hulu. But It is still unknown if Amazon was the one that submitted a 2 billion bid for Hulu or not. It is also still unknown if that was their limit. If it was and they retired from the bidding at that level. That means that was the highest amount they were willing to spent. An amount that is not even a third of what they would need to buy Netflix, something that like I said, they don't actually really even need right now.

At least that is the way i see it. Because lets remember they also didn't bid – or bid high enough in case they did -- for Blockbuster when it was an actual steal.  A steal DISH network, -- Blockbuster's new owners -- say it is already benefiting them.

So yeah, the answer is NO, because it just would not make any sense at all.

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23 September 2011

Online Warning Label Generator

warninglabelgenerator.com logo

 

Warning Label Generator is a free, quick and easy way to generate warning labels online. Warning Labels that at first would appear are only good for amusement goals.  But that on close inspection actually does make for a good way to easily generate Warning Labels you can print in sticker paper and use for better labeling dangerous stuff around the house.  Specially,  if you got small kids.

warninglabelgenerator.com screenshot

The reason why I say they serve for both serious and amusing goals, is that it does got all the right label formats and warning symbols that are used for producing all of the Warning Labels, you could possibly see in real life.  Be it Warning Labels in chemical products or in the top of electrical boxes, and so on and on.

In order to try it out, you only need to load up the site and follow  5 simple steps:

  • Step #1: Choose a warning label...
  • Step #2: Choose a warning symbol...
  • Step #3: Type in your warning message...
  • Step #4: Click “Generate Warning Label” Button…
  • Step#5: Save your Generated Warning Label.

And that is it. In just a minute you will have your Warning Label. You can also click the Back  Button in your browser to correct your label if you were not satisfied with the resulting label at the first try. The page does preserve what you have already selected.   Simple, but really well done online tool. The only thing I wish it would have, is that it offered different font sizes for the Warning Label message text.  Other than that, Warning Label Generator  works the way it should and does it great.

Here is an amusing one I generated to test the site.  One that could be very well used by some big blogs for when a comment thread goes out of control:

Real Size Example Warning Label

 

Linkage

Warning Label Generator

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Samuel L. Ipsum: Placeholder Text With A Samuel L. Jackson Twist

Samuel L. Ipsum logo

Placeholder Text Generators years ago were just that. Placeholder Text Generators. But now, it looks like targeting for  novelty and entertainment value is the way to go for many of these online tools. A good example of that being Lorizzle.

Samuel L. Ipsum site screenshot

Samuel L. Ipsum is a Online Placeholder Text Generator that channels Samuel L. Jackson in his very famous portrayal of Jules Winnfield from Pulp Fiction. 

With that meaning there will be a bit of swearing in the placeholder text you generate. but if you like the novelty idea of this placeholder text generator, but do not like the idea of it having swearing in the generated text. The site also comes with a “Lite” version, that only serves paragraphs without swearing, but that are still from Jules Winnfield. Making it possible for anyone that reads them to still hear Samuel L. Jackson voice while doing so.

But if you are still not sold on the whole idea and you just want classic Lorem Ipsum placeholder text. The site also comes with a version that just generates that kind of text too.

In resume  Samuel L. Ipsum is a neat novelty online tool on it own. Just that it delivers an extra cool if you happen to be a Samuel L. Jackson fan.  To what I wonder……Who the hell isn't?

Linkage

Samuel L. Ipsum 

Samuel L. Ipsum Lite

Samuel L. Ipsum Classic Ipsum

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21 September 2011

QRals: Online QR Code Generator

qrals.com logo

QR codes are now everywhere. from purchase tickets to ads, and even at some supermarkets as an alternative to flyers with “The deals of the day”.  As they are a easy to link of to all kinds content just by pointing and shooting at them with the camera of your smartphone, your slate or even your laptop webcam.

QRals.com screenshot

QRals is a free online QR Code Generator. It can be used to deliver up to 11 kinds of content. All possible just by filling out a simple form and then just clicking a button. Making it not only really easy to generate a QR code, but also really fast. 

QRals QR Code Content Options

  • Text
  • Link
  • E-mail
  • Call
  • SMS
  • MeCard
  • BizCard
  • Paypal
  • GeoLocation
  • Wifi
  • Bookmark

Once you have filled the form for the kind of content you want to deliver with your QR Code.  Just click the “Generate” button in each case and the left side of the page will refresh with the new generated QR code. Then you will be able to take it  with you by saving its unique QR Code Link or by downloading a capture of it as a image file. The supported image formats are .PNG, .GIF and .JPG.

In my quick test of QRals, all of the QR Codes generated worked as intended. If you need or want to generate QR Codes, it is a good, easy and free tool for you to do so.

Linkage

QRals

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20 September 2011

Pixus: A Sleek Cross-Platform Adobe AIR Based Pixel Ruler For Your Desktop

Pixus Logo Icon

Desktop Pixel Ruler apps are always helpful from time to time. The problem is that there are not really that many worth using on a regular basis.  Previously I had wrote about the self explanatorily titled Pixel Ruler from Mio Planet. A great little app minus the fact it is  not exactly modern looking and that it is Windows Only.

Pixus is a Cross-Platform (Win-OSX-Linux) Adobe AIR based Pixel Ruler app for your Desktop, made by Jam Zhang. With many things going for it, starting with the fact it looks good too.

Pixus screenshot

Features

  • Measure the screen objects in pixels using both mouse and keyboard control.
  • Preview your design with skins and presets.
  • Multi-screen support.
  • Auto update.
  • Quick Guides .
  • Toggle guide color by pressing Spacebar.

 

tmp7ED4

 

But Pixus don’t just looks good, it also comes with all the basic functionality you would expect from a Pixel Ruler App. Plus advanced features like Auto-Updating, Multi-Monitor support, Design Templates and full mouse and keyboard control. All of these features can be found to be fully explained and detailed from the also very sleek App Control Panel, all within the app.  Making it is use easy to pick up right away for anyone.

The only requirements to run this app at optimal performance is to have Adobe AIR 2.5 or newer installed.  Otherwise you should be able to run it without any problem in Windows, OS X and Linux (Ubuntu or Suse). Very Recommended.

Linkage

Pixus Info

Pixus                                          <—Direct Download Link

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12 September 2011

My Snipping Tool: Windows 7 Alike Snipping Tool For Windows XP

CodePlex Logo

I got a thing for Snipping and Capture Apps. Something that should be more than demonstrated by now,  as I have previously posted on How To Install the original Microsoft Snipping Tool for XP Tablet into any other Windows XP Edition. And also have posted on two alternatives for it, if you don’t want to go all the way and do that. Well, I got yet another Snipping Tool alternative for Windows XP, well worth a look too.

My Snipping Tool screenshot

My Snipping Tool is a recreation of sorts of the Windows 7 Snipping Tool.  It don’t looks exactly the same but replicates all of the most important and basic functionality in it. It was made by Cesar Parra as a learning exploration, and then put out in CodePlex.  I downloaded it, Tried out in Windows XP and Windows 7 and I think it is pretty good.  So I decided to post about it.

Cesar Parra’s My Snipping Tool is based on the work made in Jay’s Snipping Tool. And I believe he really did improved on it. As this one acts in a more alike fashion to how the Windows 7 Snipping Tool actually works.

tmpDBAD

While it got a very basic feature set. It is good for quick snips and it makes for a better alternative to the original Microsoft Snipping Tool than both Snippy and Jay’s Snipping Tool. Pretty much the only things missing for  to be really great, would have been built-in basic editing commands for the snips and for the App to be Portable. But hey, it is free and it works great. If you are using XP, it is really worth to give it a try.

Linkage

My Snipping Tool 1.0                   <—Direct Download Link

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Netflix Now Available In Mexico & Latinoamerica

Netflix logo

Today, like many others, i got the Netflix e-mail letting me know that Netflix is now available in Mexico. At a cost of $99MXN ($8USD) a month.

Netflix Mexico alert email

I have previously used USA's Netflix. So i am quite familiar with it already. But i am sure that Mexico's version will be more like Canada's version in terms of available content. Which from what i have read is not great, even if everything about it’s usage is still exactly the same as the USA version . But because of the pricing being very right for Mexico and they offering you the first month for FREE to entice you using it just like they did in the USA, There is really not much grounds to complain at all.….yet.

In my case, for really unknown reasons I will not question yet , it seems i could be getting the first two months for free. Which now makes it a no-brainer and really worthwhile for me to try it out right away!

Will be checking it out later today, hoping that if not great it still gets to be a very good experience.

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08 September 2011

Google Bidding In Big For A Chance To Acquire Hulu.

 Google Logo              Hulu Logo

Peter Kafka over at  AllThingsD got a great post on the news of  Google going in bidding for Hulu. From the reports i have read on this news. He is the only one that points out how Google's bid is not a straight forward one. Meaning that yes, Google is bidding for Hulu but for a whole other kind of deal. A bigger deal.

The question then is why?

Because Google perfectly knows that it is not the favorite company to bid in for Hulu. The content holders in Hulu are not exactly friends with Google. If they could, all of them would publicly say they disdain Google. But disdain even more Google entering the TV biz. Things they said by action only when they cut out their content from Google TV. Both the stand alone content by network website and via Hulu.

Many then went up in arms saying that that was a jerk move from the content holders. All but forgetting that the first jerk move was from Google by not negotiating with the content holders to begin with.

Hulu content members position at this point is one of sheer apathy for what they believe are not serious enough bids. The way they have shown this emotion is by leaking out that they were thinking of just don't selling at all.

I originally put that Hulu bidding had to be around 1.5 to 2 billion before the numbers were actually reported. Later on these were the numbers being reported as the bids. What that proved was that those bidding did their value projections right on. But maybe too right-on for Hulu partners taste. I suspect that just because Hulu is in essence a Tech Startup kind of property.  they expected a Tech Startup kind of valuation.

How is that?

In common aggressive (because many are gunning for it too) business acquisitions, you take the projected net profit a company (if private) is going to make for the year you are in, Then you multiply it by 3 -- or 2 when there is no need to be too aggressive -- and sum whatever money and assets value the company got into a number. Or in other cases you take out money from that number if the company got debt. It is clear that Hulu bosses wanted a 5x multiplication instead. As it is done with many many Tech Startups. And that is where i think they are insane because Hulu while a tech property, it is still a very simple kind of business and one that comes with a immense caveat:

Everything depends on content rights agreements and the terms for these. And because of that volatile high risk and glaring caveat that fights off with whatever potential Hulu has. There could just never be a Tech Startup kind of valuation.

What is to Google to own Hulu?

Everything if they want to Google TV to have a chance in the short term . But only if they can get very long term content rights agreements, with solid terms on them.

 How much then is Google probably be offering for Hulu as a way to lure the Hulu Owners in?

My educated guess? Twice of what any of the two figures that have been bid already. Making theirs a out-of-track 3 to 4 billion dollars power bid.

Should Hulu go with it?

HELL NO

Google is not really a partner for they to get in with. It would be better to use this out-of-track power bid to make those making regular bids to rise their game or go home. And also to cause a counter out-of-track power bid from Microsoft.

Otherwise their two only wise and predictable moves would be to add another billion to what Google is offering in order to sell or just play to fake honor and say that Google bid goes against the terms they would like to sell in and close the "auction" declaring no winners.

Now let's see what Hulu bosses do and if this Google move does brings out Microsoft into the game.

Hey, that cliffhanger alone is better than your run of the mill soup opera for those interested in tech news.

Linkage

Google Goes Big With Its Hulu Bid

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07 September 2011

Timerrr: Online Countdown Timer

Timerrr.com logo

 

Timerrr.com describes itself as an Online Countdown Timer, which is true. But unlike other online timers,  Timerrr looks and works by virtually simulating a Kitchen Timer.

 

timerrr.com screenshot

 

In order to use timerrr, just load the site and move the dial of this virtual kitchen timer with your cursor.  Click the green start button and see it countdown the minutes and seconds, while at the same time moving back the dial to zero.

 

tmpC4C6

 

Once Timerrr reaches zero, you will hear a “Ding” sound just like you would with a real world kitchen timer.  As a notification guide, it will also start counting up to let you know how long it has been since the time you set up ran out.

 

tmpE755

Overall, Timerrr got a very nice design, comes with very clear information of why you would like to use it and it is directly visible in the body of web app site.  But what I found more impressive, because it is not something I see often, more like very rarely.  Is that it comes with a series of usage guides :

All of these guides are a great way to make their case and clear out any “What I am supposed to do with this?” reaction a user could get. I commend them for their thoughtfulness on that.

Only detail I will criticize about Timerrr is that in IE9, the sound notification does not always works. Meaning that most of the time nothing is heard when the Time runs out. That is a problem and that needs to be corrected. Other than that, it does what it must do, in the way it has been clearly designed to do it. 

Timerrr works in all the latest browsers. For XP users however, you will not be able to use IE for it, as it don’t supports IE8.

Linkage

Timerrr.com

 

via App Submission

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06 September 2011

Twitter and Bing Renew Social Search Partnership Contract

 Bing logo          Twitter logo

Something i had said was a done deal for months already weeks ago.

Google let the contract with Twitter expire, and i believe that it was because Twitter wanted more money from Google than from Bing.  Something that would make all sense in the world as Google holds 60%+ of U.S.A Search Marketshare versus the 30% Bing got thanks to powering Yahoo Search too.

Many instead insisted that that had to do with Google Plus launching. But i don't think that was the sole factor, just one of the factors.

Why i was completely sure that Bing would renew the contract and also that it had to been accorded to renew months in advance?

This renewing deal is not just about Bing.

Microsoft is using Twitter too for Windows Live. And Windows Live is what powers the built in Twitter support in WP7.5 (mango) and the use it also gets across MSN sites.

On top of that, Bing is just not counting on using Twitter for their regular search, but it is also going to be using it in some fashion in Bing Mobile Search. This means not just WP7 but their Mobile Bing Site and Bing Apps in iOS, Android and BB-OS too.

Clearly making their partnership renewal all that more of a given. One thing that Google had in·advertently caused by they deciding not to renew their Twitter deal, is to have pushed a better negotiation position for Microsoft with Twitter in this contract renewal and partnership extension.

In resume the only surprising about this news is that they decided to break out the news via a Twitter Conversation.

 

tmpFF83

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05 September 2011

App Submission Guidelines

Appatic.com Logo

Over 3 months ago, I posted about new options of contact and information here at Appatic.

Now I can say that these have got a modest success. I have received a lot of things via email from those. From feedback to inquires about ads, but most importantly a bit of App Submissions.

Unfortunately, from the over 50 app submissions I have received so far, only 7 will be posted about. Something I plan to finally start doing now.  If you are wondering why there has been such a low success rate and what took so long, lets just say that I will gladly take most of the blame on that. As when I added the Submit Your App page and form, I should have added guidelines to it too.  So mea culpa on that one.

But there is a positive outcome about the experience and my mistake. As because of the submissions I received, is that I have now formulated the following App Submission Guidelines for Appatic. Which will also be added to the Submit Your App page. These also should reveal what exactly went wrong and how the success rate got to be less than %15.

 

App Submission Guidelines

Before submitting your app to Appatic please take in count the following Guidelines:

I.- Check that the App you are submitting has not already been posted about before.  Something that is just a Appatic Blog Search away.

II.- Appatic is a Blog geared for Windows users. Because of that, i will not cover Desktop Apps that are only available in OS X or Linux.  I do got no problem mentioning them or even linking to app versions for non-windows OSes, just like I have already done so before.  But a Desktop App has to have a Windows version for it to be posted about.  This same rule applies for Mobile Apps, If they don’t have a Windows OS version (be it WM6+ or WP7) then I will not cover them.

III.- If you are submitting a web app. Be sure it works in at least one current Internet Explorer version.  Because no matter how modern or clever your web app is, it should be able to work in at least IE9.  NO EXCUSES.  Otherwise I will not post about it.

IV.- When submitting you desktop app, make sure it actually works right.  Also take in count that I install and test every single app I post about in XP and 7. If it is a Windows 7 only app, make that evident at your website or tell me about it in your submission.

V.- If your web service site or web app site happens to also host a blog that competes directly with mine. Am not posting about it. Sorry, that is just common sense.  But if you want to purchase an Ad Square, I am more than fine with that.

VI.- Don’t try to tell me how to write about your app.  If you want your app to be written about in a certain way. Submit for a Sponsored Post instead, Only rule there is that it cannot be an auto-review. It has to be an Info Post about the App.

VII.- If your App is in Private Beta, then you have to give me invite codes or a invite link for me to give to readers. If there are no invites for me to give out, there is no point for me to post about it here in Appatic . As then no one that gets interested in trying it out, will be able to do so.

VIII.- I  fully respect embargoes.  Just don’t forget to remind me about the end date if it has been over a month -- or simply a good while – since i have seen and tried out your App. 

IX.- Once I have posted about your app, I will gladly keep posting about the updates (when applicable) or be equally glad to keep updating the blog post about your App.  Just chime in and leave a comment in the original post I did about your app to let me know. 

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Now that this has been updated, Please keep your App Submissions coming.  Thanks you.

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04 September 2011

On Amazon's Kindle Slate

*one of those not very Appatic posts*

amazon.com logo

Greg Kumparak from Techcrunch Gadgets (previously crunchgear and mobilecrunch) got this nice and rational enough blog post -- that everyone should read -- that i happen to mostly agree with, about MG Siegler scoop about how he has seen and played with what is going to be Amazon's Android 7-incher Slate.

That in turn is not really an Android Slate at all. As Amazon decided to take Android 2.1 and fork it, add their own UI-UX to it, cut it off from anything Google and then infuse it with everything Amazon. All at the palatable and tentative price of $250.

A price that instantly made everyone remember about the Android derived Nook Color from B&N.

Since MG Siegler could not take pictures of this yet to be Amazon Slate. Greg Kumparak took MG descriptions and made a mockup based on it:


tmpC372


Siegler said that it looked like the Blackberry Playbook in terms of the slate frame and that everything else was just nothing more than a launcher app. Something that after imagining only lead me to conclude that this particular Slate will be the first high profile true Media Slate. Because while the iPad is more about consumption and iOS is not a full-on OS, it is still a mature and fuller OS than what this Amazon device is going to be. Amazon is dumbing down things even more to the point of being able to call this device an appliance.

This new device will be more like the Zune HD. Amazon's Kindle Slate is pretty much also the first Cloud PMP.

Amazon:

Books, App Store (with their approved apps), Movies, Music, Amazon Billing System, Prime Subscription, etc.

Oh, and a browser. as they are nice. Or more likely they just figured that removing that would cause a big stir.

Because Amazon just not only forked Android. They stripped it down to its essentials. They are not really building it up, they just transformed into something else. Turning an Android into a Robot.

Downgrading the smarts to focus it in a few bunch of tasks.

I would say they even went further that B&N did with the Nook Color, where android was just cut up from evolving, censored and walled up to B&N approved apps and content. But it was still Android. Just a gimped one. A bit that made +Danny Sullivan furious in a very amusing way.

Do i think Amazon Kindle Slate will be successful? OH YES it do too. Why?

Because the Kindle is already a successful and known brand, the price is right, the content is there and this Kindle slate will be as easy as things can or should get. Would be actually shocked if the damn thing didn't sell well.

What i do expect is that MG had got the price not entirely right. As in that i think there could be 2 prices:

$150-$199 = Ad Supported / Opted in User Advance Tracking

$250 = No Ads, No Advanced user tracking and an Amazon Prime Subscription.

or if there was meant to be a single price, it will be just  $199

The reasons i believe that could be what will happen are:

1 - The hardware is paltry as hell. The cost of making these must not be higher than $75 - $90 bucks. Why the hell are you charging $250 for this thing Amazon, if it is going to be a Amazon content driven Cloud PMP?

2.- Otherwise where is exactly the edge of this against the B&N Nook Color?

3 - Lenovo just announced a quality Android Slate for $199! Amazon could revise the price based on this.

4 - Anticipation of B&N cutting the price of the Nook Color $50 bucks this fall.

5 - $250 is just too much for such a limited device instead of just buying Lenovo's $199 Android Slate that wont have any of the limitations of the Kindle Slate and can also access everything the Kindle Slate will.

In my case i would not buy it even if i were in the USA. But i know that many will want it for their kids or as a "not afraid to lose or break" device, compared to other options

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02 September 2011

Windows 8 will still have Media Center in it

Windows 8 Start Icon


Is what a post at the Building Windows 8 Blog revealed

 

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2011/09/02/refl​ecting-on-our-first-conversations-part-2.aspx


Nothing i didn't know for reasons i cannot say. But things i didn't know and was extremely surprised about were some bits of Data Telemetry shared by Windows President Steve Sinofsky"


"Our opt-in usage telemetry shows that in July, Windows Media Center was launched by 6% of Windows 7 users globally with the heaviest usage in Russia, Mexico, and Brazil (frequency and time). However, most people are just looking around; only one quarter (25% of 6%) of these people used it for more than 10 minutes per session (individual averages), and in 59% of Media Center sessions (by these 6% of users) we see almost no activity (less than a minute or two of usage). TV was the most common scenario we observed, and not surprisingly, traditional media (DVD and CD) are less common (and declining over time) than streaming and file-based content"


On one hand it confirms that Media Center has a "hidden gem" feature problem. On the other hand i am now finding out that the 3 countries where Media Center is used the most and in a hardcore way are Mexico, Brazil and Russia.


After thinking it a bit. I think i know why is that. In Mexico, cheap PC TV-cards and Cable-cards use are a big thing. First reason all comes down to people liking to record the shows (a dvd 5 disc here goes for as low as 15 cents of a dollar) and then share them around in such a casual way that many would be surprised.
Second reason is the piracy industry. Mexico and Russia happen to have the most sophisticated pirate industries there are, Just after the one in China. In fact the Top 3 piracy countries are China, Russia and Mexico. Accounting for a shocking 70% of all video and audio piracy in the world as of 2010.


Now it looks like Brazil may be the fourth one. Something that is not surprising as Brazil got one of the most heavy handed taxations in the world when it comes to tech. I wonder if that is also the case for CD's and DVD's. Yet this Telemetry Data from Microsoft appears to mean YES, that is the case or else something is going on at Brazil i don't know about.


Very interesting data in that post and good news for all of us that love Windows Media Center.

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01 September 2011

Lenovo A1 Android Slate

*One of those not so Appatic posts*

lenovo logo


$199!!!


Was the thought running in my mind on a loop during the first few seconds after i read the news:

Lenovo has just announced today that they will be releasing a Android 7" Slate with a starting price of $199.

Lenovo A1 Android Slate

I am sure this news was like an earthquake and that it sent up seismic waves all around the world to low-end and high-end hardware manufactures, effectively turning their day upside down.

Because is certainly not the same knowing that there are $199 Android Slates out there from unknown brands that you know comes with some serious compromises like cheap finishing's, cheap build, cheap internals and a very limited guarantee. And now knowing there will be a $199 Android Slate from a premium brand like Lenovo, that don't has these compromises and that comes with a way better guarantee.

But what exactly does the Lenovo A1 specs are?


- 7" (1024 x 600) capacitive screen,
- 1ghz single core ARM Cortex A8 processor,
- 8gb SSD,
- 3 megapixel back camera,
- VGA (640k or 860K) chat cam,
- SD slot
- micro SD slot
- Wi-Fi
- Microphone speaker
- Android 2.3 (gingerbread)

Which for the sake of comparison are very similar specs to the first gen Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-incher.

With the only differences being that the G.T had a GPS chip (i think) , 3G chip and came with a 16gb SSD. But then if you want to buy a brand new one today, you will be looking at paying $399 for it or no less than $299 for a semi-new or refurbished one with almost no guarantee.

Making the A1 price even more striking, but not as striking as also knowing that there will be 16gb and 32gb versions of the A1 for only $250 and $299 respectively.

How crazy those prices then seem now?

Close to irresistible, even for me that i am not an Android user or an Android fan at all. Point-in-fact as i use a HTC HD2 with WP7.

Yet i can certainly not help being in awe of such a bold move from Lenovo, eagerly waiting for this to be released by the end of September (supposedly) so i can check it out.

For now i will just entertain myself seeing what kind of stir this news from Lenovo causes in the Tech industry.

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