Goodbye Fake Facebook Apps — Microsoft Will Finally Police Fake Misleading Apps

I want to throw my arms up and cheer! Finally, the days of searching for Facebook and finding dozens of fake Facebook apps are hopefully behind us. Microsoft is finally making it against the Windows Store policy to make apps that are titled and have tiles to mislead customers into thinking it is an official popular app or game. Continue reading

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

Rabbids Big Bang Store Pic 1

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

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

Get Paid Apps and Games for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Xbox for FREE!

Bing Rewards

With the introduction of Windows Store gift cards, you can now put money in your Microsoft account balance and use it to get paid apps in games in Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, or the Xbox Store. Well, did you know that Microsoft is giving everyone FREE gift cards? It’s True! All you have to do is use Bing search!

 

Every time you search on Bing, you will get points. These points rack up, and you can use them to get gift cards that you can use to get paid apps and games from the Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, and Xbox Store (both for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One). You will see various gift cards. But the good news is that redeeming these gift cards puts money in your Microsoft Account that you can use to get apps and games from any and all stores. For example, if you get a Windows Phone gift card, you can use that card for Windows Phone apps or even Xbox One Games. Conversely, you can use your Xbox Gift Card to buy Windows 8 apps! You can also mix and match.

You have to first enable Bing Rewards. Once you do, you will start earning points for searching. If you are a new user, you can do some starter quests to get lots of points quickly.

Click here to join Bing Rewards and star earning points

Please note: If you click the link to bing rewards above, I may get a one-time bonous of some bing points. This post is NOT an advertisement of any sort.

Get Plants Vs. Zombies FREE on the iPhone within the Next Few Hours

I know we are a Microsoft focused site, but a good deal is a good deal. The ever popular game by PopCap, Plants vs. Zombies is being given away for FREE for the next few hours at the time of this writing! So, if you are reading this, grab it now if you have an iPhone, iPod, or even an iPad. This app goes is usually sold for $2.99, but it’s free now! Grab it while you can!

Description

***APPLE’S APP OF THE WEEK – NOW FREE!***
Winter is fading away, and spring is quickly approaching… just like that horde of zombies!
Dig into one of the most popular games ever on iPhone and iPad. Discover the joys of pelting zombies with peas and mulchifying zombies all around your house. Best of all, it’s free!
WINNER OF OVER 30 GAME OF THE YEAR AWARDS*
“Truly ingenious” – New York Times “Titles this good don’t come around often” – Destructoid “Editor’s Choice – 9/10” – IGN
Plants vs. Zombies™ was spawned from the fertile minds that created Bejeweled®, Peggle®, Zuma® and Bookworm®.
Get ready to soil your plants as a mob of fun-loving zombies is about to invade your home. Use your arsenal of 49 zombie-zapping plants — peashooters, wall-nuts, cherry bombs and more — to mulchify 26 types of zombies before they break down your door.
Game Features:
50 FUN-DEAD LEVELS Conquer all 50 levels of Adventure mode — through day, night, fog, in a swimming pool, on the rooftop and more! Replay levels in the all-new Quick Play arena.
NOT YOUR GARDEN-VARIETY GHOULS Battle zombie pole-vaulters, snorkelers, bucketheads and more. Each has its own special skills, so you’ll need to think fast and plant faster to combat them all.
SMASHING FUN Try to survive all 9 unique levels as you battle zombies hiding in vases. It’s smashing fun!
SMARTER THAN YOUR AVERAGE ZOMBIE Be careful how you use your limited supply of greens and seeds. Zombies love brains so much they’ll jump, run, dance, swim and even eat plants to get into your house.
FIGHT LONGER, GET STRONGER Earn 49 powerful perennials and collect coins to buy a pet snail, power-ups and more.
GROW WITH YOUR GAME Earn 44 awesome achievements and show off your zombie-zapping prowess.
COIN PACKS Need coins for great new stuff? Buy up to 600,000 coins right from the Main Menu.
MORE COOL FEATURES – Full Retina display support—zombies have never looked prettier. – Compatible with iOS 4 multi-tasking. – Loads of performance enhancements and bug fixes.
*Original Mac/PC downloadable game.
Discover More Plants vs. Zombies Fun: Follow us on twitter.com/PlantsvsZombies Find us on http://www.facebook.com/PlantsversusZombies
More Apps from PopCap: BEJEWELED®  – Match sparkling gems in the world’s #1 puzzle game. PEGGLE® – Clear the orange pegs in this epic blend of luck and skill. BOOKWORM® – Feed your appetite for fun in THE brain-tickling word puzzle game. CHUZZLE® – Slide and match cute, cuddly — and surprisingly explosive — furballs. BEJEWELED® BLITZ – Enjoy one minute of endless gem-matching awesomeness.
POPCAP MAKES LIFE FUN Follow us on twitter.com/PopCap Find us on facebook.com/PopCap Visit us at PopCap.com

Download from the App Store

Audiobooks 8 – Listen to Thousands of Free Audio Books on Windows 8

Audiobooks 8 is an application for Windows 8 that allows you to download and listen to thousands of free audio books that are in the public domain. There are books in a variety of categories and languages. The readers have done a fantastic job in reading them well. Best of all, any and all books are for you to listen to for free. You can even distribute and share them with anyone.

Description

Listen to audiobooks on a fast, easy-to-use Windows 8 application. You’ll have access to an expanding multilingual collection that contains over 6000 free audiobooks categorized by genre and language.

Audiobooks 8 allows the user to download and play audiobooks or to stream them without download.

Features

    • Search audiobooks
    • Download and play audiobooks
    • Stream audiobooks without download
    • Share audiobooks with other applications
    • Pin audiobooks to the start screen
    • Listen to audiobooks while the application is in the background
    • Use system media controls to control the audio playback
    • Get information about the currently played audiobook via Live tile

Download it here: Audiobooks 8

Play Black Mesa, a Complete Half-Life Remake, Now! It’s Free!

Black Mesa ScreenshotWhether you are a Half-Life fan or have never played Half-Life you are in for a treat. Today marks the day Black Mesa is released to the world. Black Mesa is a complete remake, with hugely improved graphics, original new sounds, and new voices, of the famous Half-Life, that was released in the late 90’s. Half-Life was a revolution in first person shooters and gaming in general, introducing new ways of integrating story in a first person shooter games. When I go back and play the old game, I keep realizing just how impressive the game, even today, is. Continue reading

Get Free, University Quality, Computer Science Classes with Udacity

udacity logoIf you are interested in taking a computer science course, to satisfy a curiosity of how certain technology works, or want to learn a new programming language, you are in luck! You can now get free, high quality, university level education on some introductory computer engineering courses and programming languages. This is made possible by Udacity.

Continue reading

Get 5GB Extra Space for Dropbox for Free; Here’s How!

Dropbox LogoThere is a new, beta, version of Dropbox has been launched that can now import pictures directly from your camera, phone, and external drives, like USB flash drives. To encourage users to test this new feature, Dropbox will offer your 500MB extra space to your current Dropbox account for every 500MB images you import from your camera. Continue reading

Will We Use Cloud Storage To Host Our Primary Data In The Future?

Storage In The Cloud

We are in a world that was beyond imaginable just a few decades ago. By providing access to global information, to people all aroundCloud-Storage the world, and to a vast number of multimedia, the internet has gained grounds to becoming an integral part of our life. But consuming content isn’t what the internet is all about.

The internet has proven to be a valuable means for us to store our own data. This is often referred to as storing data in the cloud. The cloud is basically a fancy name for the internet. As CNN puts it, “the cloud is just a fancy term for all the computers — other than your own — that are connected to the internet.

Companies like Amazon and Google maintain huge networks of computers that are stored, row after row, in secret warehouses all over the world. These machines hold data that computer users don’t want to store on their own hard drives. Think about all the photos you have on Facebook; any documents you’ve stored with a service like Dropbox or Mozy; or all of your Web-based e-mail. Those files are stored somewhere out in the cloud instead of on a personal laptop.” (Sutter)

As the internet becomes more prevalent in our lives, and as portability becomes more important, storing our data in the cloud becomes more convenient and reliable. As such, in a future not too far from now, our primary means of storage will be in the cloud.

Mobile Convenience

flash_driveBefore looking at why our primary storage method will favor the cloud, it is important to take a look at where we stand, at the time of this writing, in regards to how we store data. In the 1990’s, people didn’t see the need to carry gigabytes of data in their pockets; but now, this is a common reality. We have reached a point where we want to have access to our data from anywhere, not just in a static desktop machine at our office desk.

Andrew Kantor, technology writer of USA Today, notes, “being able to carry a ton of information in a two-ounce package is…a necessity. We’re not only a more mobile society, but we’re also an almost entirely information-driven one. Data are everything — names, addresses, documents, images, music, video — and we feel the need to take it with us.”

“Being able to carry a ton of information in a two-ounce package is…a necessity.” 

So it is not surprising that having access to our personal and professional data is important, and that’s why many are carrying portable storage devices like USB flash drive and smartphones storing documents, music, and movies. However, storing data in these portable devices have its downfalls as well.

The biggest headache is the scattering of data. People storing data in multiple devices, portable or not, fall in the situation of having some data in one device and some other data in another device. Sometimes, it is difficult to remember where a particular data is stored. What’s worse is that data are not easily synced across devices. For example, one may have a Word document on two devices; however, if he/she updates the document in one device, that document isn’t updated in the other device.

Another problem with portable devices is that it has to be carried around. If one, for example, forgets to bring his/her USB flash drive containing essential data to work, that person does not have access to that data. Storing data in the cloud solves these issues, making it a much more convenient experience.

Cloud Storage You Can Access

It is, therefore, no wonder that cloud storage has gained such popularity. Companies like Dropbox are making storing data in the dropboxcloud as seamless and convenient as possible. PC Magazine author Edward Mendelson explains what the primary purpose of Dropbox. “Dropbox stores synchronized files in the cloud so they’re available at any machine on which you’ve installed Dropbox. You can also reach your files through a Web interface from any Internet-connected system.”

Essentially, Dropbox does what a portable storage device does. It gives the user access to his/her files from any computer using simply a web interface. However, unlike the portable devices, users do not have to carry anything around when using Dropbox.

Another plus for Dropbox is that it syncs the same data to the devices that the user specifies, as long as the devices have an internet connection. Thus, one can have his/her data stored on his/her personal devices as well as having that data available through the internet. And when that person makes changes to a document in one device, that document is updated across all his/her devices. This clearly resolves the syncing problem that portable devices created.

Mendelson also mentions that Dropbox takes the extra step to preserve earlier versions of the users’ data. This means the users does not have to do this manually, as he/she might have had to do if relying solely on portable storage devices. This makes it really easy for someone to undo errors, and all the processing for preserving these earlier versions happens in the background, in the cloud.

Dropbox also lets users sync the same data on their mobile phones, as stated on their own website (“Can I access”). Dropbox is not the only service around. Other competitors, like Microsoft Skydrive, and Box.net offer similar services to the users. Services like these offer gigabytes of storage absolutely free for the users, with paid options for additional storage space.

Benefits & Convenience

With all the benefits of online storage, it is not hard to see where the world is heading. People are storing more of their data in the cloud, and companies are investing more on companies offering cloud storage (Kopytoff). According to The New York Times, 60 percent of adults with internet access have at least two devices that can connect to the internet.

60 percent of adults with internet access have at least two devices that can connect to the internet.

 

As such, services offering cloud storage is seeing a boom in the number of users. For example, Dropbox has 25 million users uploading 300 million files a day! Box.net has six million users while another service, called Mozy now has three million (Kopytoff). This increase in the number of users is not coincidence as online storage has clear benefits over just using portable storage devices. It is only logical to assume that these numbers will go higher in the near future.

Privacy In The Cloud?

With all these benefits, where does cloud storage stand when it comes to privacy? While sites can get hacked and data can be stolen, this is nothing new. One can more likely loss his/her flash drive, say, by accidentally dropping it on the street. Another possibility is that an unprotected PC may be hacked and the data stored on that PC can be stolen. Stolen data is a possible risk when storing data anywhere, not just the cloud.

A possible way to secure data is to encrypt it. According to dictionary.com, encrypting data means “to cipher or encode” it. Encrypted data is essentially scrambled data that cannot be unscrambled without a password, which the owner of the data creates. Thus, only those with the correct password can access it. So, encrypted data stored in the cloud, or a personal device is very unlikely to get hacked because those who steal that data can’t read it.

Cloud storage is very popular for it convenience. It can be accessed from anywhere and from any device. It also stays synced, so the user does not have to worry about what version of their document they are using.

Finally, as internet connectivity improves and more people have access to the cloud, it only makes sense to store one’s primary data in the cloud for easy and efficient access. In the ever-changing world of technology, cloud storage might very well be an integral part of our lives in the near future.

 

References

“Can I access Dropbox on my mobile device?” Dropbox. Dropbox, 8 Apr. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.dropbox.com/‌help/‌32>.

Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, LLC, 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://dictionary.reference.com/‌browse/‌encryption>.

Kantor, Andrew. “Finding places to carry all your digital stuff.” Editorial. USA Today. USA Today, 3 Dec. 2004. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.usatoday.com/‌tech/‌columnist/‌andrewkantor/‌2004-12-03-kantor_x.htm>.

Kopytoff, Verne G. “Data Grows, and So Do Storage Sites.” Editorial. The New York Times. The New York Times Company, 5 June 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/‌2011/‌06/‌06/‌technology/‌internet/‌06dropbox.html>.

Mendelson, Edward. “Dropbox.” Editorial. PCMagazine. PCMag.com, 25 Mar. 2009. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.pcmag.com/‌article2/‌0,2817,2343852,00.asp#fbid=n6rgw_SyYMO>.

Sutter, John D. “Why cloud storage is the future of music.” Editorial. CNNTech. Cable News Network, 30 Mar. 2011. Web. 17 Oct. 2011. <http://www.cnn.com/‌2011/‌TECH/‌web/‌03/‌30/‌cloud.music/‌index.html>.

 

iPhone 4S Pricing…wait…a FREE iPhone?!!?

Well, Apple made the announcements about its next generation iPhone, namely, the iPhone 4S. It has some pretty nifty features. But what about the price? Well, whether not the new pricing is a treat is up for you to decide. Here they are:

The iPhone 4S

  • The iPhone 4S will cost starting at $199
  • 16GB devices will cost $199, 32GB devices will cost $299, and the, newly announced, 64GB devices will cost $399.
The iPods
  • The new iPods Nanos, which has a few new features, will cost $129 for the 8GB device and $149 for the 16GB device.
  • The iPod touches will be priced like the iPhones, with $199 for the 8GB model, $299 for the 32GB model, and $399 for the 64GB model.
iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS
  • Apple will continue to sell previous generations of its iPhone product line.
  • The iPhone 4 will now cost only $99 with contract
  • Amazingly, the iPhone 3GS will be absolutely free with no contract!
  • Remember that both of these devices can be upgraded to the latest iOS version, namely, iOS5.
That’s it for the pricing! Stay tuned in to Techtronica for more tech news from Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc!

iPhone App Spotlight: Archers

alt

This game is a classic! Its very simple to play, and the controls couldn’t be any easier. The goal? Kill your opponent with your bow and arrows. Depending on where you hit him, he’ll lose more or less damage. A headshot, for example, inflicts a lot of damage. You can play vs. the computer, or vs. a friend.

Oh, and one other thing. Its free!

alt

The controls couldn’t be easier! Tap and drag, as if you’re pulling back the bowstring.
Then lift your finger and watch the arrow fly!

Google Releases ‘Call Feature’ for gmail

Image Copyrighted to http://www.singamuse.org/

Just recently, Google released a new feature for their Email provider (Google Gmail) that lets you call telephone numbers from inside Gmail! Apparently, from what I have read from other news sites, over 1 million calls have been using Gmail in 24 hours! that is a LOT of calls… Imagine someone calling one person 1 million times, that would be severely annoying! Currently, this feature is only avalible to US users of Gmail but will be released worldwide in the future.

 

Image copyrighted to http://www.zdnet.com/

 

Apparently, from what I have read… this feature will be free for the current time… But I am unsure about the future of the calling feature of gmail, But my opinion on this new feature is that Google could easily beat Skype once the Gmail feature is released worldwide… What is your opinion on this, leave your opinions in the comments… I always like to see that the viewer gets to participate in my blog posts… :-)