Tag Archives: Techtronica

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Windows 8.1 RTM Adds A New Desktop Friendly Feature Since the Preview

Windows 8.1 Preview came with a handful of new features that made it easier for desktop users to use the OS, including boot to desktop, combustibility of the start screen to appeal for the desktop usage scenario, and better multitasking. Windows 8.1 RTM adds to the list. Thanks to our friends at Into Windows for discovering this feature.

In Windows 8.1 RTM, Microsoft added the ability to return straight to the desktop after closing metro apps. Currently, if you close all metro apps on screen, you will be taken back to the start screen. In Windows 8.1, you have the option to set it so that once every metro app on a monitor is closed, you are automatically taken back to the desktop. This is useful if you use the desktop primarily and open metro apps once in a while. A good scenario is that you double click on a photo on File Explorer and are taken to the Photos app. Once you close the photos app, you will be returned back to File Explorer; neat!

You set this option from the navigation tab in the Task Manager properties, the same place you set the boot to desktop. Here’s a picture (via Into Windows).

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Source: Into Windows

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YouTube for Schools Helps Educate Students In the Classroom

Over the years since YouTube has been around, hundreds and thousands of educational videos have been spawned across YouTube with hundreds of different subjects and in many variety of languages. As a result, YouTube has an educational version of its service, where it provides thousands of proven education videos from a variety of well regarded instructors. Introducing YouTube for Schools.

These videos revolutionized education in that students no longer needed to rely only on teachers and books as they learned. If they missed a lecture, didn’t understand the teacher, students could go home and watch these educational videos and catch up with their studies. Another benefit that raised from these videos is that students didn’t have to be shy to have the “instructor” repeat him/herself. The student could easily rewind the video as many times as they wanted. Given that these videos came from a variety of teachers, students could essentially choose the type of teachers they enjoyed and/or understood the best.

Given that some students are audio or visual learners, educational videos on YouTube was a great benefit, as they allowed students to take advantages of animations and sounds as they learned. It would not be surprising if students saw these videos as a replacement for their textbooks as a means to efficient learning.

Here’s a video that talks about the benefit of online video for learning.

However, many schools tend to block YouTube from the students for the fear of students wasting time online. I cannot blame them; there are lots of videos on YouTube that will definitely waste the students’ time and hamper good education. Given that YouTube is also a social networking site, students can just as easily loose track of time, getting bogged down to commenting and sharing. Unfortunately, blocking YouTube also means loosing access to great, rich, educational videos that can really help the student.

This is where I think such a feature is very good for students and institutions. This educational version of YouTube hides comments and related videos and only displays educational videos. This eliminates all fears the school administrators have while, at the same time, let students engage in the educational videos.

To get started with the YouTube for schools, an administrator or a teacher needs to set up a school account for YouTube by going to youtube.com/schools.

Let us know what you think about this move.

Check Out Crash Course GO! Xbox Game for Windows 8

The popular Xbox 360 arcade game, Dorito’s Crash Course has now been ported to Windows 8 as an Xbox Game! It costs only $1.49, but there is a free trial available.

Description

“Crash Course Go is the Windows 8 version of the highly successful game for XBOX Live, “Doritos Crash Course”. It’s about a game-show game like no other. Run, jump and swing your XBOX Live Avatar through a physics-based world and complete the courses as quickly as possible. Each trial is filled with over-the-top obstacles you must overcome to achieve the fastest time and compare it to your friends on Leaderboards!
It’s a TV Game Show The game takes place in an over-the-top TV game show with bright colors, studio lights, explosions, audience cheers and heckles. Animations and sound effects are over the top!
Rhythm and Momentum Your Avatar is alive under your thumb. Controlling your Avatar with a thumb stick feels natural and instinctive. The player doesn’t need to learn how to control their Avatar, it feels natural and responds in the way they expect; jump, bounce and climb from one obstacle to the next in one smooth rhythm.
Friendly Competition and Bragging Rights In Crash Course you race your Avatar and post your best time on each course. Then, see your course times on Leaderboards, and see the positions of your friends. If you are higher up the list, you can brag, if you are lower down the list, you have incentive to beat them.”

Features

    • Winner of the Unlock Xbox competition and with over 4 million worldwide downloads, Doritos Crash Course arrives on Windows 8 to take its swift and intense levels on the go!
    • Play through 25 exciting platformer levels across 5 different locations
    • Control your XBOX Avatar in fast-paced, funny, obstacle courses
    • Compete against your friends and family to get the best time on the leaderboards!
    • Race along the original Doritos Crash Course tracks and also the ones introduced on Doritos Crash Cource City Lights
    • Play the way you want to!  Beat your new records by either touch screen, keyboard or gamepad
    • By storing your progress on the cloud, you can continue playing Doritos Crash Course Go on your peferred Windows 8 device
    • Challenge yourself into collecting all achievements, medals and records on each one of the game levels

Download it here: Crash Course Go!

Check out screenshots below!

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Top Three Programming Tools Every Team Should Have

Most of my programming these days involves two other people working together with me on the same project(s). Without these tools, working together would be much tougher. So here are the top three programming tools every team should have.

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How to Delete the Windows.old folder after a Windows Upgrade or Reinstall

If you have upgraded Windows or reinstalled it without formatting your hard drive, you may notice that there is a Windows.old folder on the C drive (or a your primary hard drive partition). This folder contains files from the previous windows install. The folder is used to back up potentially important personal files or to roll back to the previous OS in case of an installation failure. However, the folder takes up large amount of disk space. If you have personal files in there, you can move them out of the folder, but everything else is pretty much useless. You will want to delete that folder to save disk space. But you need to delete it properly, and we’ll show you how to do just that!

Note that if you are on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 (or their server and ARM counterparts), most of the content of the folder will automatically be deleted after some time. But you might still want to do a full cleanup. You cannot simply delete it like a normal folder, as Windows will block you from doing so. You will need to use Disk Cleanup.

This will clean up the Windows.old content completely and give you back large amounts of disk space. However, we must launch disk cleanup as an administrator. Follow the steps below, it should work.

Try these steps (in exact order) to remove the Windows.old content:

If you are running Windows 7:

  • Step 1: Open the Start Menu and on the search box, type “Disk Cleanup”
  • Step 2: Right-click on “Disk Cleanup” and click “Run as Administrator”. You might need to click “Yes” or type your password. Please do that.

Please go to Step 8 below

If you are running Windows 8 or Windows 8.1:

  • Step 1: Go to the desktop, either by clicking the desktop tile or by pressing “Windows Key” + D on your Keyboard.
  • Step 2: On your Desktop, open the charms. If using touch, swipe from the right edge. If using a mouse, point mouse to lower right corner and pull up. If using the keyboard, press the keys “Windows Key” + C.
  • Step 3: Click the “Settings” charm.
  • Step 4: Click on the “Control Panel” option.
  • Step 5: On the control panel Window, click on the search box and type “Admin”.
  • Step 6: On the search result, the first item should be “Administrative Tools”. Click on “Administrative Tools”.
  • Step 7: When the “Administrative Tools” folder opens, find the item that says “Disk Cleanup”. Right click on that item, and click “Run as Administrator”. You might need to click “Yes” or type your password. Please do that.

Please go to Step 8 below

 Steps 8-10 works for Windows 7, 8, and 8.1:

  • Step 8: On the “Disk Cleanup Drive Selection” dialog box, click OK. Wait for Disk Cleanup to search your hard drive. When it finishes searching, it will pop open the Disk Cleanup Dialog Box.
  • Step 9: You will see many entries to check off. Please find the entry that says “Previous Windows Installation”. Click that. You will see how much disk space you will be saving. If you want, you can check off other items too to clear up even more disk space!
  • Step 10: Once you checked off the items, click OK to start cleaning your heard drive. This will delete the Windows.old folder and its contents! Warning: Anything on that folder will be deleted!
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The Dearly Departed iPhone 5 is Discontinued

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The iPhone 5 is discontinued.

Alas, farewell iPhone 5. We barely knew thee. As the world reels after Apple’s announcement of the new iPhone 5C and 5S, we’ve now learned the fate of their predecessor.

This comes as a shock because there have been reports that the 16GB version of the iPhone 5 would live on. Instead the iPhone 4S will become the infamous free phone as the generations move on.

I suspect this is because the iPhone 5 and 5C match almost in everyway (the 5C does excel in some areas and is a little thicker and heavier.)

Well thanks for the memories iPhone 5. It’s been fun!

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Get ready for the Apple iPhone Event liveblog

Apple is going to brighten up everyones day….(hint hint)

The greatest moment in the history of ever is about to begin tomorrow. The Apple iPhone Event will be today at 10am PT/1pm ET from Cupertino, CA. We will be liveblogging the event and also post multiple articles about the products, their specifications and colours (ooh…shiny).

We are looking extremely forward to this event and will be even better when we bring it to the readers like you.

Check out our LiveFeed. :)

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The Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch Wants Your Time

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Earlier today, Samsung announced what is considered the first major smart watch; the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch. Samsung, being in a long running competition with Apple, seems to have finally beat Apple to the punch. But what benefit could this smartwatch have on an ever growing technological world?

Perhaps this taps into the dreams and fantasies of our youth of wanting to be like James Bond or some other super spy who could do almost anything with a simple watch. Though lacking the qualities that would make this smartwatch super spy worthy, there are features to the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch that do catch the eye and bring us closer to those childhood dreams.

To begin, Samsung is calling their new smart watch the Samsung Gear. Seems a little cliché but that’s okay, it’s a watch right? Samsung announced that the Samsung watch will have plenty of capabilities such as being able to take photos, answer calls (when connected via Bluetooth to a Samsung device), and run certain applications that would make this almost enticing to get. There are many other interesting things to do such as being able to SnapChat, which of course in our world of video/picture messaging, is very important.

I do find though that despite the cool features and near super spy appeal, there are concerns on how well this device will function. Regular watches are often worn as accessories and usually have a level of protection offered by being mechanical or semi-mechanical time pieces, bringing in the idea of a non-water-proof watch might be a little off setting for those who like cool tech but love to take on the elements.

Other concerns would be the battery life. As stated in Business Weekly among other news sites, having to charge this watch every day would require you to take along extra chargers and docking stations just to use this while on the go.

Other than those concerns though, Samsung doesn’t fail to deliver a decent product. Making it to the front of a market before Apple is a good accomplishment by any company standards, but the real test of how well this watch preforms and whether Apple will release their own smart watch, well that will take time.

To give an honest estimation of the success of the Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch, I would say it will sell because it is the latest gadget and let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to seem like a super spy answering calls on their watch? I do plan to acquire this watch in the near future (perhaps on debut) to give you an in-depth report of the actual functionality and usefulness of the Gear. Until then, below are listed the basic stats that Samsung released today for the gear.

 

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch:

Processor clock speed: 800mhz

Memory: 4gb

Screen Size: 1.63 (type: Super AMOLED with gyroscopes and accelerometer)

Batter life: roughly a days worth of regular use

Other features: S Voice, camera (called Memographer)

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On YouTube Now: Russian Red Army Choir Sings Adele’s Skyfall

And there was much joyful weeping in Mother Russia as its own fearless soldiers lead the people in a very solemn, but yet enjoyable rendition of Adele’s Oscar-winning song Skyfall. The song was featured in the opening title sequence of the 23rd James Bond film installment that aptly goes by the same title.

In the video, the Russian Red Army Choir sings Adele’s Skyfall with such conviction that it would even touch the heart of the Russian president himself if he weren’t off tranquilizing Siberian tigers or biking with his gang.

Seven members of the much larger choir visited St. Petersburg’s News Channel 5 to stir the souls of their fellow comrades. 6 soldiers backed up the one lead singer who, with his whole heart, performed passionately.

From other videos found on YouTube, the choir also performs other songs like The Cossack’s Song and Katyusha

Of course the performance went well, but someone please get rid of the cheesy morning show personalities.

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#Techtronica IRC Chatroom Now Online

In an effort to cultivate our growing community, we at Techtronica have decided to do the unthinkable. We’ve set up a (drum roll please) IRC Chatroom!

Now for all you young kids out there, Internet Relay Chat (IRC) is an older form of electronic communication that’s designed primarily for group communication that can be split up into channels (like groups) or private messaging. It’s pretty easy to learn and navigate round.

In an effort to make it easier for visitors, we’ve embedded the chat room right here on Techtronica. You can either click the chat link in the top menu bar or click here.

Now if you want to get technical and want to use an IRC client, follow these instructions:

1)Use irc.geekshed.net as the server you’re going to connect to
2)Join the #techtronica channel by typing /join #techtronica

That’s pretty much it. We’ll update this post to point you to some useful commands that you can use in the chatroom.

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Hard of Hearing? This YouTube Hearing Experiment Helps You Find Out

Do you think you have a hard time hearing? Believe it or not, we naturally lose some of our hearing as we grow older. So it doesn’t matter if you listen to death metal music (that’ll get you to deaf valley quicker) or to the birds chirp outside, our capacity to detect sounds at certain frequencies diminishes.

Thanks to AsapSCIENCE this YouTube hearing experiment can help you find out how well you hear without going to the doctor.

Author’s Note: If you need to see a doctor, this isn’t a substitute. Please see you physician if needed.

In this video, you will be tested to see how well your ears perform in hearing different frequencies. The sounds will start out low but will increase in pitch. It is advised that you also wear headphones to get the best results.

The results are divided into age ranges. So whatever your result is will determine the age your ears seem to function at.

Think you have the best ears? Share your results in the comments!

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TI-Nspire CX CAS Unboxing

 

In this video, I unbox the latest and greatest calculator from Texas Instruments, the TI-Nspire CX CAS. It is a colored screen, computer algebra system with a user interface designed to be similar to that of the PC.

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Facebook: Embeddable Posts

As of July 31st, 2013, Facebook has announced “Embeddable Posts”. If you are familiar with Twitter and YouTube where you can post the embed code on any site you like without having to be a user of said sites

For those of you who don’t know, The posts work in the same way as embeds from Twitter and YouTube. Once your account is enabled, you will have the option to “Embed post.” That will produce a code you can copy and paste into a blog entry or HTML file.

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But the bad news is, it’s only available for a small amount of companies or pages (i.e The British Monarchy, Mashable, Fox News…etc) It allows companies and pages to interact with users even if they are memebers of the site or not and according to Consumer Reports, 72% of Facebook Users have their post settings on Private.

Remember when Facebook introduced #hashtags? Facebook introduced Hashtags in June so users and journalists could track conversations on Facebook about various issues. The new embeds can also include hashtags, which readers can click on to see those discussions. So it is as easy as clicking the hashtag.

How it works

Embedding a Facebook post is easy. The drop-down arrow on news feed and Timeline posts will include an “Embed” option that lets you copy the HTML into any site or blog.

You can share posts from individual Facebook users or pages, as long as the posts are public. The posts will look the same as they appear on Facebook itself—any photos attached to the status update will appear, as well as comments, likes, and shares. You won’t be able to change or customize how the post appears.So you can embed posts with text, pictures, or videos; You’ll also be able to Like and comment, Follow users, Like Pages within the embedded post, and click hashtags and see related content by clicking on a hashtagged post.

 

So what do you all think? Is this a beneficial feature? A flop? Leave a comment below.