21 June 2013

NeoCities: A New Kind Of GeoCities For A New Kind Of World

tmp748

For most WWW veterans, myself included. The very first website they parked in the world wide web was thanks to GeoCities.  And when I mean Geocities, I meant the one from late 1995. In all its still Mid-Nineties glory. In my case, back then, part of my internet time routine meant firing up Mosaic and Netscape Navigator 1.0. Starting NetMeeting and then loading up Geocities. Not without also launching a text file where I had written down my most important or newest website addresses to check. Ah, simpler and slower, a lot slower times. Where any browsing routine worth having was forcedly measured in afternoons or nights given the very limiting speed of your connection and the limited amount of power might in your computer. I mean, no better context to it than saying that you thought carefully for 5 seconds before visiting a website. Specially if you had found it in a directory and it had the warnings “image heavy” and “long page track” in a write up description. And if you did decided to load it. you could click in and go to the fridge, serve a glass of Pepsi and return before it had finished fully loading the page.

But that was the past and now everything is as fast as you can have it. And so it is NeoCities.

Also, even if Geocities actually still exist, just that only in its Japanese version and Angelfire is still chugging along. They are not  as free as Neocities is.

NeoCities.org Main Page Screenshot

NeoCities is a simple and easy to use basic web host. One that gives you 10mb of webpage hosting with no strings attached. You own it, you decide what to do with it. And with the promise of keeping it uncensored and as anonymous as possible.

You sign up in a very simplified way very reminiscent of the original GeoCities and the you find yourself in a very barebones dashboard that reminds me of the original Blogger.

NeoCities.org Dashboard

It is all very Neo-Retro when it comes to NeoCites. And I like It a lot. I get it, I embrace it. I think it really unites the forced simplicity of the innovated past of the original GeoCities with the chosen simplicity of the present. Meaning, that it is simply out of not just nostalgia, but out of principle, design vision and economic viability.

That stays clear with the index.html basic editor with it is very Web 1.0 kind of editor. Even if the dashboard already carries out the promise of introducing a visual editor.

NeoCities.org Index Basic Editor

Finally, you can also enjoy of some old fashioned web directory style browsing in the browse page of Neocities. Which also has the visitor counters for all the displayed addresses.

tmp7E7E

I of course grabbed the http://AvatarX.NeoCities.og address and out principle. I plan to put something in it.

NeoCities is a very neat web project and wherever you feel nostalgic of the web 1.0 days or you just want a free web host to experiment and run wild for a bit. This is then a site you need to check out.

Also, if you want to keep it free and good. See if you can donate to it. As of this writing there were still 59K site slots available up for grabs. They accept Paypal. But more importantly you can also donate in Bitcoin.

Linkage

NeoCities.org

 

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20 June 2013

Microsoft Photo Editor Portable Enhancer Patch

Microsoft Photo Editor Logo

Back in Appatic early days, I posted about Microsoft Photo Editor Portable. Something I had originally found in a forum somewhere around 2007 I think. If not earlier. To read all about it and to get it, check that post

Microsoft Photo Editor Portable

Well, a few months ago, while Appatic was still in hiatus. Norman Iscove wrote me saying he had a patched version of the MPE executable that enhanced it for modern use. Removing common issues and limitations in it. Issues and limitations that are simply results out of this been such an incredible old App. This patched version from Iscove adds the following:

  • Ability to handle large photo file sizes
  • Restoring app window after minimized
  • Ability to handle high zooming in factors in 32 bit displays for editing

And the best part is that using this patched MPE executable don’t affects its compatibility. It works in any Windows OS from Windows 95 to Windows 8.

Microsoft Photo Editor Portable

In order to upgrade your current MPEP, just download this patched executable of Photoed.exe and extract it in the MPEP folder, wherever you may have it. When the system tells you if you want to replace the old file with the new one. Accept the change. Alternative you can just erase the old one first and then just drop this new one in. That would be pretty much the only thing you need to do. After that, just enjoy it.

Linkage

Microsoft Photo Editor 3.0 Patch

 

via App Submission 

 

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14 June 2013

Focusatwill: Timed Concentration Improvement Via Easing Background Music

Focusatwill.com logo

Focus@will is a web app hybrid of mood setting radio and a pomodoro-like technique leveraging GTD timer rolled into one.

Focusatwill.com screenshot

And…..I found it works quite well actually! Have already wrote a post while using it and this very post is being written while using it. 

The idea is a sound one and they based the making of this  app on common neuroscience knowledge and a study. They have a very detailed FAQ that answers pretty much every single question you may want. So I will link to that at the end too. But the very essential facts about it are as follow:

Focus@will gives you 7 different kind of background music to choose from:

  • Classical
  • Focus Spa
  • Up Tempo
  • Alpha Chill
  • Acoustical
  • Cinematic
  • Ambient

Once you choose a genre, you set up a timer for the task you may want to do. For example in the case of this post i set it up for 19 minutes.  Once you set up the time, you click play button so the music starts playing and the timer starts counting down. And the general idea is that this music is truly background music. It drowns the surrounding distractions with music. The music is designed to strike a balance in not been too boring and not too exciting. This is achieved via tempo, modulation and simple sound waves selections.  Or in layman terms the music is never too complex or too simple. Don’t goes too fast or too slow. Its goal is to stay suspended in a middle ground.

The fact background music works to relax you is as old as the rise of New Wave, Spa Time Outs and Chillax Music CD's.  Meaning it has been a commercialized idea for almost 30 years now. What this web app does is taking the idea of chillaxing into forcing you to get things done.  “Chillaxing” as much of a buzzword it is. Refers to when you are relaxed enough to hang out and enjoy of pastime activities and not too much for you to fall asleep. Which is why many waiting rooms, elevators and dentists offices adopted it at one point.

Focus@will is a freemium web app and it gives you 3 weeks of unlimited free use and after that it will give you up to 100 minutes of usage a day from what it seems. That is not clear enough. Will find out later as I intend to continue use this. Since I found it pleasant. Which is why I am writing about it. I tested out in IE10 and it worked. So it will also work in Windows Phone 8. However, unfortunately it don’t works in IE9 or IEM9.  Which means you will not be able to use it in Windows Phone 7 or the Xbox 360. Just so you know. The app itself works well, the background music is good for the purpose it was selected for and the freemium terms at first look, do look good too. Recommended for those looking a GTD motivator app with a different take on things.

Linkage

Focus@will FAQ

Focus@will.com     <—Homepage

 

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Path Taking A Page Out The Hi5 And Tagged Book Of User Acquisition

Path App Logo

According to Valleywag. There is enough evidence to suggest with a pretty good level of certainty that Path is using several spamming techniques and buying Facebook Advertising to acquire users; which is a bit ironic. Since Path is that app that provides you with a personal and private (in theory) social messaging network via their mobile app. App that has yet to reach Windows Phone or Windows Metro for reasons only David Morin knows.

Did Path Cheat Its Way to The Top?

It is an amusing read, so check it out. Also one of the times where a headline ask a question and the answer is YES! What I have to add on this is that the techniques they are using are almost a carbon copy of how HI5 and Tagged managed to pass over the 100 million registrations. Eventually they even gained enough momentum that they were quite relevant in many countries. Including Mexico. That I can affirm as very true. But then Twitter kept creeping into the mainstream, Facebook kept growing, Google chipped in with Google+ and Mobile Apps took on a lot of relevancy. Then as they were on a downfall, eventually they became one company with two brand fronts and pseudo-pivoted by adding social gaming features that are quite annoying and pointless.

Anyway, from years ago, i remember been spammed on an almost daily basis by both every time someone in my contacts lists had joined into one of them.  Such a thing is only possible if they spammed the entire address book of each new user. At one point I even remember receiving a few SMS ads for HI5.

Apart from that, if you ever visited a popular MySpace page or at that time the still popular Bebo or Netlog you would see without fail an ad for Tagged or HI5.  Path just took it up another notch by apparently even paying for in-app ads for other social apps.  How do I can know that? I remember seen one of those, in a Windows Phone app, which is kind of bizarre given that the damn app is not on Windows Phone or Windows 8. These odd results in ad targeting are probably not entirely Path fault but of whatever company or companies they hired to do campaigning for them. Which highlights how easy is to burn money and not get excellent results. Even then, they have managed to get over 10 million users on board which is remarkable given how saturated both the social messaging networks and private messaging app spaces are. Ok, WAS remarkable until you see how much they are spending on acquiring users.

The takeaway from this story is that not everything that looks successful is actually a success. Path is just like that neighbor with the fancy house, car and clothes that actually don’t owns anything and could end up homeless within months if they ever lost their job. Only that in this case it ends with an app stepping into software oblivion.

 

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11 June 2013

Microsoft Xbox One E3 Keynote Full Video

Xbox One Logo

Just in case you didn’t watched it and want to catch it and do so at the best possible quality and performance.  The video is a heavy one as it can go up to 1080p at quite decent bitrate. Whole stream was like 3GB+ for me.  If you are watching it in a Slate, Ultraportable or Old PC. Then I recommend you to close everything else before start watching it so it don’t drops frames.

Overall I think the E3 Keynote was strong, but yet again Microsoft is holding out too many cards until close to the actual hardware retail release. I get it. But the problem is most wont and the Xbox One it is bound to continue under a PR Storm.

Linkage 

Xbox One E3 Keynote Direct Video Link

 

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Microsoft Computex 2013 Windows 8.1 Keynote Video With Timeline Marks, Highlights And Commentary

Microsoft Metro Logo     Computex Logo

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Thanks to Notebook Italia, there is this pretty well recorded video of the Microsoft Computex Keynote. The very same one that made the first introduction of Windows 8.1. Instead of just embedding it here and call it a day. I decided to take a few notes of it since I was going to watch it anyway. So, you can easily decide what parts of it to watch or if you just want to know what was in it. It may have not seen as a note worthy keynote to watch, but there were actually some great nuggets of info to get out from it. Specially if you happen to be an experienced Microsoft Watcher. Which is why I bring you what details out of it are the ones worth reading about in this post. My comments are inside brackets alongside the details or below them.

Also if after reading this post you are wondering why it this Windows OS update is named Windows 8.1 instead of Windows 8 SP1, then check out the linked post within this line.

Timeline

0.00.10 -0.00.58             Presenter Intro

0.00.59 - 0:07.48            Industry Growth & Opportunity on Windows - Presentation 
                                 Nick Parker - Corporate Vice President of OEM Relations

Key numbers and details were:

Windows 8 Embedded is at over 1 billion units ( of past Windows Embedded OSes obviously )  2 billion expected  by 2016

86% of the work handheld device market is running on a Windows Embedded OS

(This likely includes WIN CE 6 R2 and WEC7 )

88% of Point of Sale devices run on a Windows Embedded OS.

(Not much of a surprise really, even Apple Stores used Windows Embedded OS Point-Of Sale devices up until less than 2 years ago)

Windows Phone 8

131% growth in the past 12 months.
145,000+ apps
90% of top apps in other Mobile OSes. 

(Based on previous Microsoft presentations, they meant from the top 100 U.S.A apps in both Google Play and iOS App Store)

50 Languages  
190 Markets   (Same number that Nokia casually has access to. Not a coincidence)

0:08:00 -  0:21:00          Tami Reller  - Chief Financial Officer & Chief Marketing Officer for Windows.

                                            Full on Windows 8 Trajectory Recap

 

The key numbers and details from her presentation were:

100 million  Windows 8/Windows RT Licenses sold up to now

80,000+ Apps In the Windows Store. 94% of them are ARM compatible.   (Today the number is already 85K+)
250 million Skydrive active users  (Since everyone with a Microsoft Account got access to it)
400 million Outlook.com active users 
700 million Microsoft accounts
3200 certified Windows 8 Devices
Touch Devices availability up 6X since launch in late October of 2012.
Selected Windows 8 Slates will come with Office 2013 Home & Student                                                               (More than likely only for the 7-8 inchers)
Support 7" and 8" slate form factors coming
Windows 8.1  will have better portrait  mode support 
Windows RT  will get Outlook RT with the RT 8.1 update.
Support for more chips : bay-trail, Qualcomm 8974 and Nvidia T40 

(Otherwise known as Core i 3rd Gen, Snapdragon 800 and Tegra 4)

More partner opportunity for Windows RT

(Translation:  They cut the price a bit and are adding Outlook RT as already mentioned)

Windows 8.1 will come with a lot more business apps support
Windows 8.1 preview will be available in June 26
Windows 8.1 expands Windows 8 RTM based on the implementation of key costumer feedback

0:21:31 -  0:53:00    Antoine Leblond  - Corporate Vice President for  Windows Computer Software
                                     Windows  8.1 Demo

0:54:00 - 1:06:00     Steven Guggenheimer – Corporate Vice President Developer Platform Evangelism          

                                     Demo Windows 8- Windows Phone 8 third party Apps

1:06:15 - 1:23:00     Nick Parker Corporate Vice President OEM Relations with assistance by Leann Rands

                                      W8-W8S-W8E-WP8- New Hardware showcase demo

1:23:15-1:24:30      Nick Parker Corporate Vice President OEM Relations                                       

                                     Closing words.

 

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07 June 2013

PaperKit: A Free Printable Paper Template Generator

Paperkit.net

Clever utility web app show up from time to time and sometimes they are simple but not well designed. Other times they are well designed but overly complex.

PaperKit is a free printable paper template generator and one of those clever utility web apps that is super simple and super well designed. It allows you to generate a PDF file for printing 3 kinds of paper templates:

1.- Graph Paper    

Paperkit.net graph paper screenshot     ?

2.- Dotted Paper

Paperkit.net dotted paper sceenshot      ?

3.- Lined Paper

paperkit.net lined paper screenshot      ? 

Each setting generates the most commonly used kind of paper template for graph, dotted and lined paper. Yet it also provides you with 6 adjustable settings so you tweak the each kind of paper template to your hearts content:

  • Format
  • Units
  • Spacing
  • Margins
  • Stroke width
  • Stroke color

And from the moment you think you have it like you want it. You just need to click the download button in the floating panel and a PDF will be swiftly generated for you. Simple, Easy and Free. I think Paperkit.net is great online tool. One I actually not only tested, but that I have found myself using too.

Linkage

Paperkit.net

 

via App Submission 

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06 June 2013

Why Windows 8.1 And Not Windows 8 SP1?

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Windows 8.1 Is looking like a great update. And the first look video Microsoft just released is a good tease of that.

However one common question in some minds when they see Microsoft is labeling this as a .1 version increase to W8 instead of calling it a SP1 is, well, WHY? What is the kind of thinking that went to doing that?

Something I wanted to laid out from a Microsoft past history perspective.

The likely reason is because here is how "packs" were previously defined in Microsoftie terms:

Service Pack: A cumulus of security and performance updates or fixes.

There have however been service packs that were not just Service packs but also "power packs" like XP SP2 and Vista SP1.

Power Packs: Services packs that included new core features or notable revisions and tweaks.  They were obviously just called Service Packs because saying they were power packs would had been admitting fault. and Microsoft didn't developed a humble streak until post-vista.

Then there were the Plus Packs. Or OS Enhancement Packages. Seen for Win 95, Win 98 and Win XP. And later killed but sort of forcibly spun off as the Windows Vista Ultimate Extras.

Plus Packs were actually for sale or promo bundles.  And consisted of supplemental Microsoft software and swagware.

Windows 8.1 was then not named W8 SP1 because not only that would had not been an accurate reflection of the breath of update it is. But because it didn't communicated this was an expansive update on a new kind of Windows OS from a new Microsoft. Something only a version increase clearly communicates.

Windows 8.1 is in turn a Power Pack and Plus Pack in one single free update.

Personally I am glad they went with that and not with W8 SE.

 

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An Easy Guide To Unbrick And Restore A Dell Venue Pro

I originally posted this in G+ over a year ago. Back then I did so because someone asked for my help on the subject and I had notes on it anyway from the time I had to unbrick my own DVP . But recently someone else wrote me about a bricked Dell Venue Pro and since my DVP 32GB is still going strong and this same guide has now been used to unbrick at least 10 DVP’s that I personally know of. Why not reshare it again? Thought of just linking the guy to my G+ post. But I decided I would port that post to here in Appatic instead. And that is that.

Dell Venue Pro - DVP


This is a heavily extended and more universally accessible version of the most known XDA guide to unbrick a Dell Venue Pro.


1. Turn off your DVP
2.  Remove Backplate And Battery


If you replaced your SD card (and voided the warranty in the process) please insert your stock SD card at this time. If you have never touched your SD card then never mind and carry on


3.  Leave it like that for a bit while you get the files you are going to need for the unbricking.
4.  Download this Zip file from my SkyDrive: http://sdrv.ms/R077Gp
5.  UnZip it to your Desktop
6.  Check that you have the latest Zune Software. That at the moment of writing this guide must be 4.8
7.  Now check if you have anything called UpdateWPsupportTool installed. If you do, uninstall it and reboot. Yeah, you read right, reboot your PC. If not, then no.
8. Install the UpdateWPsupportTool in the UpdateWP Tool 1 folder in the Dell Venue Pro Unbricking Files folder you just unzipped to your desktop matching your OS version.
9. Done? Return to the main level of the DVPWF folder and open the UpdateWP folder that matches your OS. Be the 32 bits or the 64 bits one.
10. Copy the two files of your OS-matching UpdateWP folder into your Zune folder in the Program Files folder at C:/
11. Return to the main level in the DVWF folder and now move the VenuePro.ffu file to the Zune folder you just moved the two UpdateWP folder files.
12. Ok, Put back together your DVP
13. Now you need to enter the boot loader by holding the volume down (-), the camera button, and only once you have those holding down tight, hold the power button. DO NOT RELEASE THESE until you see the image of a phone, USB cable, and laptop. Something that can take from 5 to 7 seconds.
14. Connect your Dell Venue Pro to your computer with the USB cable that came with the phone or simply an original DVP usb cable. It can take up to 5 minutes for the phone to be recognized by your computer. If after 5 minutes your phone hasn’t been recognized, repeat trying with another USB port.
15. Close Zune Software if it opened and wait 10 seconds as it takes a bit for it to really unload from memory.
16. Once the DVP has been recognized, quickly open up command prompt. If you are in XP just launch RUN from your start menu, type cmd and then hit enter. If you are in Windows 7 or Windows vista then do a start search for cmd.exe, right click and start it with admin rights.
17. With cmd now open, change directory to “C:\program files\zune\” by typing “cd C:\program files\zune\” and hitting enter
18. Then type “UpdateWp /list” and your phone should show up there within 3 seconds.
19. Now type “updatewp /ffu VenuePro.ffu”
20. Hit enter and DO NOT unplug the phone. This process can take anywhere between 3 and 10 minutes.
21. This should work and bring your DVP back to the Windows Phone 7.0 stock state it was in late 2010.


If for some reason it times out while installing or your DVP gets stuck in the dell logo while rebooting. You will need to repeat steps: 1 and 2 while not forgetting to disconnect the usb cable from the pc too. wait 15 seconds and then repeat steps 12-20. Don't get frustrated if your DVP gets stuck in the Dell Logo while rebooting. It took me 3 times and 2 times for the other ones i restored to fully reboot and be well. If you have got to 3 times and it still don't goes through all the way, reboot and retry. You can retry as many times you feel like it or needed

Now that your DVP has been unbricked and restored. you may think this is it and that you are through. Not so. I don't do things half way once i do them. So, lets make sure your DVP is really well and to ensure you will be able to restore as many times as needed or wanted


22. With your now fully restored DVP in hand turned on and now in the start screen. Open your settings, scroll to your "About" section at the bottom and tap it.
23. Check and see if your storage is what it should be. If it shows less than 500mb of storage. I got news for you: Like in most causes of DVP brickings. Your MicroSDHC is either dead or a zombie. Neither case is a good thing so you will need to replace it. If you see into storage and it is 7gb or 14gb or 29gb like it should be then your MicroSD is still OK enough. You can now connect it again to your PC, open zune and update it up to WP 7.5 Mango. Which should take anywhere from 30 to 50 minutes depending your connection speed and your pc speed. You also now have a Mango restore point just in case you need to follow this guide again. If you didn't saw the storage amount you should had seen, then read along.


24. Take out the MicroSDHC card and replace it with an exact match (brand and class) of the stock one it had in the capacity you want. yes, even up to the 32gb one. Usually that means a class 4 MicroSDHC. But first just leave out the DVP cardless and put it back together and turn it on. It should boot just fine even if slower.


Now that you have the new MicroSDHC of your liking here is what you need to do next


25. Turn on your DVP, but remove the backplate.
26. Reset your phone from the "About" section in settings.
27. Keep an eye on it while it turns off and reboots. Once you see the Dell Logo count to 5 and then quickly take out the battery.
28. Count to 5 again.
29. Put in the new MicroSDHC gently in place.
30. Put back together your DVP again and turn it on.
31. Check your "About" section in settings again.
32. You should see the correct storage count and with that you should be done. If for some reason you don't, then you will have to repeat steps 25-31.


33. That is it! You have Unbricked and Restored your Dell Venue Pro!


Please link to this guide if you know someone that may benefit from it. Comment if you used it too.

 

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