Category Archives: Software

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Pen Showcase NYT Crossword Puzzle App Released

A while back during Surface Pro 3 launch Microsoft showcased a special Crossword App from NYT that perfectly showed why Active Pen is not a pushover on a tablet. Doing Crossword puzzle on a tablet with a pen gives such a natural feel to it. It is like writing on paper. With handwriting recognition, a technology that Microsoft leads its competition decades ahead, the app can easily transcribe your written letters and numbers into digital formats that can be used in the crossword.

Following is the App description in the Store:

The best crossword in the world is better than ever! Enjoy the same puzzles printed in the daily newspaper on the only mobile crossword app built by The New York Times.

The New York Times Crossword is free to download, and all users get unlimited access to the daily puzzle and calendar archive for 7 days. After that, subscribe for full access to The Crossword on Windows 8 and at NYTimes.com.

PLAY ANYWHERE

Your subscription now gives you access to The Crossword on NYTimes.com at no additional charge! Just connect or create an account in your account settings and Play Anywhere. Your Windows puzzle progress will be saved and available on the web and vice versa!

DAILY PUZZLE

It’s the same puzzle that’s printed every day in The New York Times newspaper. All daily puzzles are available the previous day at 10p EST with a subscription, so enjoy Tuesday’s puzzle on Monday at 10p! Practice and learn how to solve the puzzle on Monday or Tuesday or challenge yourself with even harder puzzles later in the week.

PEN

If you have a Surface tablet, you can solve the way crosswords were meant to be solved: write directly on the puzzle as you would in the newspaper!

PAST PUZZLES

Subscribers also enjoy nearly 20 years of classic puzzles from our archives.

MODERN PUZZLE FEATURES

Solve puzzles that include new tricks like rebuses, highlighted or underlined squares, and more!

Feedback? Suggestions? Issues? Please contact us at NYTCrossword@NYTimes.com or from within the app itself. Your feedback is important to us and we’ll do our best to assist you.

Please note: subscription to The New York Times Crossword does not include access to any other New York Times products, including but not limited to NYTimes.com or mobile news content, e-reader editions, Times Premier, NYT Now, or any other apps.

Given the quality of this app, I am actually surprised New York Times is making it free of charge in the Store. This is rather unexpected, except if Microsoft delivered most of the man-hours on the app of course.

If you have a Surface Pro or any Windows device with a Pen, this was made for you. I guess Dell Venue Pro is gonna become a treasure now for Crosswords addicts who own the cheap device. Although if you don’t own a pen, you can still use the app with touch or also on a desktop as usual.

Go download the app now, courtesy of NYT and Microsoft I’m suspecting. Download via the following link:

Credit: Windows Store
http://apps.microsoft.com/windows/en-us/app/nyt-crossword/18fde24c-e748-482a-b2c1-e5a877e017b5

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OneNote Power-User Tips – Part 2

I have decided to publish my compilations of tips on efficient use of OneNote. I published Part 1 a few weeks back.

  • On low-powered x86 devices like Dell VP8 use the OneNote MX only, even if you could install the Desktop version. Desktop Apps are not battery efficient avoid using them on these devices if you could.
  • OneNote MX doesn’t allow you to attach files for now. But it allows you to use or access attached files. So attach needed files via OneNote Desktop then let it sync to OneNote MX and use them there. (File attachment now supported with latest updates to OneNote)
  • Keep High Volume, Low Access Notes only online and on principal devices. Create a low volume version that you can have on all devices from which you can move sections and items to the Online Archives.
  • Keep an eye on your OneNote size, move sections out for very large volume OneNote into new Notebooks
  • Make judicious use of Sections to organize thoughts and Categories
  • Keep number of Notebooks on low capacity tablets to absolute necessary, sync has cost for data if you have mobile data connection.
  • Identify mobile data connection on your tablet as Metered Connection so OneNote doesn’t sync on that connection. Sync preferably on WiFi only. This is important if you’re using your smartphone as WiFi Access Point to your tablets etc.
  • If you’re not sure of Sync times, choose to sync manually by turning Auto-Sync off in the settings.

You may not realize it, but OneNote comes with a powerful OCR built-In. This is one of the area where OneNote separates itself from competition.

  • This can come in handy when you need to get data out of a picture, and it is a boon to students who exchange screenshots etc. Right click on any picture and choose Copy Text then paste to any app or in OneNote itself for further edits. You’ll notice mis-recognition here and there depending on the quality of the text in the picture, these you have to manually correct.

Import Slides from PowerPoint:

  • If you search for this topic online you’ll get various hits all mentioning to import slides via PrintOuts or the so called “Print to OneNote” feature. Since Office 2010, you can actually copy and paste slides directly into OneNote.
  • There is a bug in OneNote MX that will prevent you from pasting more than one slide from PowerPoint. The first slide in your selection is always pasted. I have made this known to Microsoft, lets hope they’ve got a fix for it.

Watch out for Print-Outs, they’re top-heavy and costly in terms of space: Original PDF file:

PrintOut OneNote file container of the same file:

The original PDF file of 2.54Mb size in now a humongous 25.9MB folder of printouts. Now that OneNote MX supports file attachment, you don’t need to printout anymore unless you need to annotate. Printouts will make your OneNote database unnecessarily large, thereby affecting sync efficiency.

I will continue to update this list with new entries as they come to mind. You can also pass your favorite tips to the community via comments below.

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Updated! Posting to WordPress Blogs with OneNote Only

Credits: PGSRamblings

Windows Live Writer is god-tool to all Bloggers, no matter your file and rank. That is the first tool you install after installing any OS upgrade. Windows 8 is no difference to this rule, except there is a problem. If you decide to go the route of mobile computing and minimalistic blogging on the go, there’s no way to do that with Microsoft Surface or Surface 2. These are pure ARM devices that doesn’t allow you to install any other Desktop apps except for the ones that came with it from the factory.

So you can’t install Windows Live Writer, bummer you said. No buying of Surface for you. Well I have good news for you. Whatever your reason will be, lack of Windows Live Writer will no more be your excuse.

Those that follow me on Twitter know my whining to @Automattic every once in a while about the lack-luster WordPress app for Win8 they dropped in the Store about two years ago, and promptly forgotten about it. It hasn’t received a single update in two years. In this App, you’re practically limited to basic editing, and no local attachment of pictures. Yes, you can add internet pictures, but anything local is burst. I have begged them to fix this app to no avail.

Then I started thinking critically, this is the 21st Century, live should be easier than this. For me, I have moved from Desktop Apps to fully mobile experience. I don’t install Desktop apps on any of my x86 Tablets, (Have about 3 of them), I can’t install on MS Surface that I love so much. I have gone the green route on my Desktops, so the less Desktop Apps the better.

Then I remembered something from the young days of WordPress, they allow you to publish to your blogs by mail posts. Ok, lets check if it still exists in the 21st century, and there you are! It’s still a supported feature!

Now don’t get me wrong, this is a glaring security risk, WordPress gives you a mail address to which you could mail anything and it will get published immediately. Therefore, if anyone should get hold of your address book, they can basically publish to your blog. But that is less frustration if you can manage the security of your devices. Now, let’s check if that mail feature supports full HTML markup. Picture and all. Voila! It does.

So, there it is, WordPress problem on Windows Metro solved. We have a better tool in Windows 8 that is far better than Windows Live Writer, it is called OneNote. I don’t need to tell you about OneNote, it is an app that any Information junkie should be using. Period.

Now suppose I could compose my blog posts in OneNote, with its rich writing experience, spell-check, and formatting experience, I could just press the Share to button, select to Share to Windows 8 Mail App, select my Blog WordPress mail address and presto, a blog post. I am in paradise!

I used the above technique to post the McAkins Online Article below:

Open Share Charm, select to share to Mail App:

You get the full OneNote article in the Share Pane. Remove the OneNote Title metadata and Mail Signatures as shown in Yellow below. WordPress will use the Mail Subject line that has be entered for you by OneNote, you can of course change the title here.

Press the Send Mail button and you’re done. Your post is live within half a minute. One disadvantage to this is that the posts are published under “UnCategorized” or default category. Also there are no tags, no excerpts etc. You have to login to WordPress to do these updates. But at least, you now have the chance from OneNote to Publish in no time.

[UPDATE] What a joy, please neglect above strike-throughs. You can use shortcodes in your mail to specify all necessary tags and category information, and delay or set posting time! Just scroll a bit down on the page and read all about it.

Of course this is a temporary solution till Automattic decides to update their WordPress client in the Windows Store. We just have to bear the little risk that if anyone hack your addressbook, they also have access to your site publications till you change the publish email address for your blog site.

(For those waiting for my second treatise about OneNote, please consider this as the second publication. I wanted to show you also the workaround on how to attach files to OneNote, but that is already a supported feature in OneNote now. My excuse for being late with that.)

Development Of Windows XP: An Introduction & Overview

In this video, I provide an overview of the development of Microsoft Windows XP. This is the introductory video to an entire video series I have made which explores the development of XP. The development process began with Microsoft Codename Neptune in December 1999 and ended with the release to manufacturing of Windows XP in August 2001. Continue reading

IE Dev Channel Home Page

Internet Explorer Dev Channel and more for the week of June 16, 2014

Internet Explorer Dev Channel and more for the week of June 16, 2014

A lot happened this week. Microsoft releases Internet Explorer Developer Channel. Facebook Beta for Windows Phone gets a big update. Surface Pro 3 is now on sale. Amazon announces a phone about which I couldn’t care less. Let’s get to it! Continue reading

OneDrive Splash Screen

OneDrive on Windows 8.1 Updated with New Features for Desktop Users!

One of the updates for Patch Tuesday on June 10, 2014 was for Microsoft OneDrive. This update brought significant UI update for desktop users. Let’s check it out. Continue reading

Windows Phone File Manager “Files” now in the Store

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Microsoft jumps the gun and released the Windows Phone file manager simply called “Files” today in the Windows phone store instead of waiting till June as we’ve heard earlier. Everyone knows MS is working on the file manager, there have been a few tweets even a few weeks past from top program managers informing the world, and the general consensus was this will break in June. Well here we are 30th of May a day earlier, the file manager was just tweeted by the head himself, our beloved Joe Belfiore says as follows: Continue reading

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Making OneNote MX Better – Part 1

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Some people have recently discovered Microsoft’s OneNote and within no time it has become a tool of choice to organize their lives. Rightly so.

As for me, I was using OneNote when it was first known as the Clipboard in Microsoft NetMeeting. Believe it or not, in those days even long after NetMeeting died, I would install NetMeeting just to use its clipboard. It was so easy to use as a digital-scratch book; to dump your daily experience and for those rare moments in life when a lamp lights up on top of your head.

It was joy then to see, when the NetMeeting people branched out the Clipboard as a standalone app that we know today as OneNote. It has become the joy of my life, both professionally and in private life. I just can’t imagine life now without OneNote. Oh yes, for those of you that don’t know your history and swear by EverNote, OneNote was there when they lifted the idea to create EverNote.

So enough of history. This post is about making OneNote MX better. I was a fan of OneNote for Desktop, all of its iterations, but I have moved fully over to OneNote MX. That is the Touch-enabled version of OneNote for Windows 8 Metro interface.

The reason I prefer the MX version is simple. I am a multi-device person, I love OneNote ubiquity to death. Therefore I have lot of my personal and professional Knowledgebase on OneNote. I do a lot of casual reading thus on my tablets. Secondly, I am gradually weaning myself off of the Desktop. It is history. Desktop environment sucks battery life on mobile devices. The less desktop apps you have running the longer your battery life.

So here is OneNote MX rocking my life, but I miss a lot of the features I’ve come to depend upon in the Desktop version as follows:

  • Documents and Media Attachments:

Figure 1: OneNote Desktop with full Inserts.
Figure 1: OneNote Desktop with full Inserts.

  • Audio/Video Inserts with Time Sync
  • Password Protected Notes creation and consumption
  • Ability to add Caption to pictures

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Figure 2: The New Store as example of Picture with Caption

 

Those are Desktop version features that I miss the most, I am sure you can think up a few for yourselves. Now unto feature requests for OneNote MX:

  • Support Ink Stroke smoothing on ALL devices. On Dell Venue 8 Pro, Dell has improved inking a thousand times than when it was released. But it’s still a joke compared to Wacom strokes. This can be helped with stroke smoothing. If the Wacom Bamboo App can smooth strokes on my 8″ device so should OneNote MX.
  • This one is for all Bloggers who are suckers for OneNote:

Please add a Plug-in or something to export a OneNote MX page to WordPress.com, essentially making OneNote a LiveWriter replacement for Windows 8. Please do it! We don’t need another LiverWriter MX App or something, with just a little tweak, OneNote should be able to export to WordPress etc. It can’t be that hard right?

  • There is inconsistent Drag-to-make-subpage with touch and mouse. You can with Mouse, you can’t with Touch. Please fix. Make Promote/demote subpages easy with both touch and mouse.
  • All my notes now reside on OneDrive, I can’t easily see the size of my notes. I keep very large KB Notebooks, I need to know the size of individual notebooks. Please add property button to Notebook appbar to see size of notebooks.

These are just a few of my longings for OneNote MX, be rest assured I am passing all these and more to the OneNote Team. I am hoping with this, that more people will make the same request so MS can take it seriously. Just use the feedback button on OneNote Appbar. I hope we’ll see an iteration with time that will bring OneNote MX in par with the desktop version in terms of usefulness; hopefully towards the Gemini release timeframe.

Now this is the first part of my OneNote treatise. In the second part I’ll introduce you to how you can have attachments in your OneNote MX and other little tricks. And in case you don’t know, both OneNote Desktop and OneNote MX are free as Air. You can download and install them with no charge at all, and with OneDrive, your Notes follows you all over the world.

Peace out!

Kinectimals Unleashed

Kinectimals Unleashed in the Store as Universal App!

 

 

Kinectimals Unleashed

Microsoft brings Kinectimals to its platform as universal App! We already have Kinectimals on Xbox Live for all the while, now they’ve debuted as Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Apps. And the best of all, they are downloadable for free! Something for the whole family to enjoy on this Mother’s Day weekend. So guys, go right ahead, download this for our ladies and kids. ;-) Continue reading

Bing Wikipedia Browser (1)

Bing Wikipedia Browser — An Elegent App for your Windows Device

Hi, this is Nazmus, and I recently decided to download and try out a new app by Microsoft called “Bing Wikipedia”. At first, I was hesitant to download it because I wondered “why would I need a Wikipedia app when the website works well enough?” Well, I was pleasantly surprised when I did download the app. Continue reading

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[Deal Over] Free for a Limited Time — Xbox Title Rabbits Big Bang on Windows Store

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Update: The Deal is Officially Over

As part of the weekly red stripe deals, an Xbox title for Windows 8 is downloadable for free from the Windows Store. It is called Rabbits Bing Bang. It’s a puzzle game and worth checking out!.

Here’s the neat part: this game is available in many languages! Here are the languages it supports: English, French, Italian, German, Spanish, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian. Continue reading

Windows Store 3 Home High Res

Windows Store 3.0 – A Major Upgrade (with Screenshots)

Microsoft unveiled a nice surprise at its 2014 build conference: the third major upgrade to the Windows Store! Windows Store was introduced on Windows 8.0 as a software distribution platform. It received a major upgrade that drastically improved its usability with the launch of Windows 8.1. However, Microsoft still didn’t go far enough to make the browsing the Store a pleasant experience as it is in competing platforms. Although there were minor UI enhancements since the launch of Windows 8.1, the third upgrade to the Store truly brings it on par with the app stores of iOS and Android. I am very excited for this and I hope you are too. So let’s see what’s new! Continue reading

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Designing the Windows Folder for the Mobile Era

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Here is a little suggestion for Microsoft Windows Design team to improve Windows for the modern/mobile age. I have been fighting this past week to get my VHD boot device upgraded to Windows 8.1 as I have grown tired of waiting for Microsoft to fix this problem. If you’ve not heard, Microsoft choose to leave out the upgrade of an official Install Scenario of Windows called VHD Native Boot. This is an officially supported Install option for Windows since Windows 7, but without warning to the community, they are not going to upgrade you from Windows 8RTM to any later version if you’re running in Native Boot. Continue reading

Compact Disc

The Future of Software — Freemium and Subscriptions

Compact Disc

The business model for software has seen tremendous change in the last decade. Gone are the days of buying software in large boxes from retail store for a hefty price. Gone are the days when you needed to pay nearly as much to receive updates to the software you purchased. For instance, in the past, if you payed $50 for a version 1 of a software, you were expected to pay another $50 for version 2. In many instances, “upgrade” prices would slightly reduce the cost of the new version, but not by much. Today, with a few exception, that is not how it works. Only a few big name software has been able to hold on to the tradition, namely Microsoft Office and, until recently, Adobe Creative Suite. But even these software makers are moving away from the old model. We are truly moving to a new era in software business. Continue reading

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Windows Store Passed 150000 Apps Mark

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I know App count has lost its meaning, still we at McAkins Online feel we should inform you folks that indeed Windows Store has passed the 150000 Apps mark. Really I don’t know whether to cry or to rejoice as I don’t see the real meaning of bloggers beating the app count to death resulting in the OS Publishers allowing junk apps in the Store just to belong to the number success group. If I may have my take I’ll say let Windows Store have just 5000 App that are highly polished and worth users’ time than having to prune the Windows Store just to find App needle in a haystack. Continue reading