Welcome to the Fully Featured Web Version of the Windows Store

Ladies and gentlemen, this was unexpected. We now have a fully functioning web version of the Windows Store! We can finally browse, search, and explore apps directly from the web browser without actually needing a Windows 8 PC. I will note right now that this is not officially by Microsoft; it is a third party web app. However, it works like a charm (no pun intended).

Metro Scanner

This website is really cool; it’s called MetroStore Scanner. You can check it out here: http://metrostore.preweb.sk/

Unlike the Windows Store app on Windows 8, this site shows worldwide apps. You can search apps from any part of the world, even if it is not available in your country. Of course, you can filter by country or category. On the picture above, for example, I am filtering out everything but Games form worldwide. According to the website, the total worldwide app is 25,405!

Of course, that 25 thousand plus apps are not all available for your country. So if you want to find relevant apps for your country, make sure to filter it by selecting your country.

Credit goes to Windows 8 Core for pointing this out

Source: MetroStore Scanner

Star Chart – Solar System Explorer Update and a 75% Discount!

Star Chart, a massively popular astronomy app on Windows 8 has another major update, which adds the ability to explore the solar system in a very cool way! It also ads real time planetary positions of Earth and all other planets in our solar system. So, the position of the planets you see when using the app will correspond to their theoretical position at the date and time set on your PC. Of course, you can fast forward or rewind time and observe the orbit and rotation of the planets react It’s very cool! Check out the screenshots below for a visual representation of the new features.

Also, this week, the week of Thanksgiving and Black Friday, Star Chart is 75% off of its original price. The app is six dollars, but at the time of this writing, you can get it for one and a half dollars. If you want to get it, now is a great time! Anyway, here’s some screenshots that I took. Below that, I included the developer’s description and a download link for your convenience. Enjoy!

Screenshots

With this new update, we can now have a closer look at each of the planets. This is Earth, but you can see more planets to choose from on your left.

Here, we are looking at the moon. You can pinch to zoom or rotate with your finger. Yes, it works with the mouse as well.

You can zoom out and see the solar system as a whole. Try fast forwarding time and watch the orbit around the sun at super speed.

Here’s another neat little feature. You can play “movies”, which basically adds horizontal film strips on your screen and automatically pans around the solar system for a lean-back experience. Turn off your lights and enjoy! :)

Description

*** Special Discount this week only. Over 75% off! ***
Explore the wonders of the Solar System with Star Chart, the definitive star gazing and astronomy app. From our own star – the Sun, to the moons of Jupiter and rings of Saturn, Star Chart gives you a virtual window into the visible universe.
Make the most of your powerful Windows 8 Augmented Reality enabled device and hold it up to the sky. Star Chart will tell you exactly what you are looking at! Augmented Reality (AR) mode is available on tablets, laptops & devices with accelerometer and digital magnetometer sensors.
Alternatively, explore the universe from the comfort of your desktop to learn about the wonders of our solar system and beyond. Visit the planets, explore their rings and moons, learn about the constellations, discover majestic Messier objects, and travel both forwards and backwards in time.
Using state of the art GPS technology, an accurate 3D universe and the latest high-tech sensor functionality, Star Chart calculates – in real time – the current location of every star, planet and moon visible from Earth and shows you precisely where they are; even in broad daylight!
Want to know what that bright star is called? Point your AR device at it – you might just find out it’s a planet!
Want to know how the night sky appears to people on the other side of the earth? Well just point your AR device down!
Want to know where your star sign is in the sky? Star Chart will tell you all this and much more.
So point your Windows 8 AR device at the sky and see what’s out there!
————
Escape Velocity and Escapist Games will update Star Chart regularly, so please send us your feedback and feature requests to scwin@escapistgames.com

Like us on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StarChart
Visit the Star Chart website: http://www.starchart.info
View Star Chart tours: http://www.starchart.tv
Follow Star Chart on Twitter: StarChartApp – twitter.com/StarChartApp
Also follow our latest developments: twitter.com/EscapistGames

Features

  • Explore our beautifully rendered Planets, Moons, Rings, Stars, Constellations, Messier objects and much much more.
  • Just point and view. Hold your Windows 8 AR enabled device up to the night sky and peer directly into the universe.
  • Sit back and enjoy tours of all the planets, as Star Chart shows you views of our Solar System that you have never seen before.
  • Shift forwards and backwards in time by up to 10,000 years.
  • Share your beautiful screen captures, astronomical discoveries and night sky viewing with your friends, with the help of Windows 8 Share.
  • A powerful and dynamic search function lets you search the entire night sky, utilising the new Windows 8 Search.
  • Supports dynamic device orientation viewing. Allows you to view the night sky with your Windows 8 screen at any angle.
  • Accurately depicts all the stars of the northern and southern hemispheres up to magnitude +10 – a total of over 120,000 stars!
  • Explore all the planets of the Solar System, their moons, our Sun and our Moon.
  • Features all 88 constellations, with intricate constellation imagery based on the beautiful artwork by 15th century astronomer Johannes Hevelius.
  • Includes a complete re-mastered and high quality Messier catalogue of exotic deep sky objects.
  • Select anything in the sky and get facts on what you are looking at, including distance, brightness and exact position in the sky.
  • Very powerful zoom function lets you view the sky in extra detail.

 

Download Now: Star Chart

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

iOS Update 5.1.1 is Released and Ready for Install

A minor update for your iOS devices have been released by Apple today. iOS version 5.1.1 is an update to version 5.1 that was released alongside the new iPad. This software is available for free on any iOS devices running 5.1 and 5.0. If your devices is running an older version of iOS, you may or may not be able to upgrade to the latest operating system, depending on how recent your device is. To see if you can get the update, just follow the procedure below to get the update. If you can get the update, following the procedure will get you the update; if you can’t, you will get a notice saying that no update is available for your device.

Continue reading

New Page Theme Rolling Out For Facebook

Wednesday, you might have noticed a change to your Facebook Pages you visit. Facebook rolled out a new and timeline-like theme to their pages layout. As an administrator to many pages on Facebook I can personally say there are many new things that will change the way you use your page and smaller things like profile picture sizes and cover photos. Continue reading

Google Bar Update Released Throughout Google Products! Did You Notice?

Google Bar Update

Google today released an update to its black bar across its web products. Google announced this redesign on November of last year. However, according to Google, they received feedback suggesting to review this redesign. And they did! Enter the Google bar update. 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

A New, Metro Style, Bing Is on Its Way!

Bing is slowly rolling out its new version to certain users. I have been “chosen” as one of the users to get a new update. But the interesting this is that I seemed to have received two different updates of bing in my two separate PCs. On the first PC, the update brings about new animations to the search engine. In addition to the animated wallpaper in the bing homepage, this new update gives smooth transition when you enter in a search query or switch from one type of search to another (for example web to images). Now, I cannot take a picture of the animation update, but I can show you the new update I got in my other PC.

My second PC received an UI update. The new update reduces color and has a “metro” feel to it. This UI seems to be part of Microsoft’s attempt to make the UI across its products consistent. Windows 8, Windows Phone, and the Xbox dashboard all feature the metro style UI. Take a look at the screenshot below; click it to enlarge.

Ne bing with Metro Style UI

Old Bing
This is the old (current) bing

 

As we can see, the new bing takes the attention off itself, as per the metro UI principles. The space is mostly white, and the content shine. You may also notice that some search results are social driven, showing what my friends like on Facebook. Of course, I can always disconnect Facebook from bing if I don’t like social integration with search.

Connecting and disconnecting bing and facebookThere are, however, some UI headaches that I face with this new user interface. For example, on the old bing UI, it was easy to get to other types of search such as News. With the new bing UI, these other types do not always appear on the top. Perhaps they do not appear if they don’t have any content for that type; I am not sure. But it bothers me because it is difficult to deal with UI that isn’t consistent in every search. One would expect the top to always have the same links for easy access, but with the new UI, this is dynamic, and can be unpredictable.

For me, I only get the new UI for web search. If I do an image search or a new search, I am returned to the old bing. So, it is still under development; so, thing can very well be tweaked. I am curious to know if any of you reading this have gotten this new bing. Better yet, did you get another bing update that I didn’t get? Share your comments; I look forward to them. :)

More Apps Released for the XBox 360!

Major Nelson, in his blog, announced that more apps will be coming to the Xbox 360!. In his tweet, he also mentions that YouTube will be one such apps. Here’s the list of the apps that are coming:

  • blinkbox (UK): blinkbox gives access to a wide range of movies online. With more than 10,000 movies titles movie fans can watch their favorite films immediately with no additional subscription required.
  • iHeartRadio (U.S.): Listen to more than 800 of the nation’s most popular live broadcast radio stations from 150 U.S. cities with iHeartRadio.
  • MSN Video (Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Mexico and UK): MSN brings you the latest breaking news, sports, celebrity gossip and more from around the globe.
  • MSNBC.com (U.S.): MSNBC.com bring you the best of NBC News, MSNBC, Fox Sports, Access Hollywood, original programming and more, on-demand and up-to-date 24/7/365.
  • MUZU.TV (Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and UK): MUZU.TV the music video site, offers nearly 80,000 music videos at your command. Brand new releases from the world’s biggest artists, great music videos from every decade, up and coming bands and the latest music news and interviews.
  • Rogers On Demand (Canada): Rogers On Demand provides select TV shows and movies to everyone for FREE. Rogers customers can also catch up on their favorite premium programming anytime, from anywhere in Canada.
  • SBS ON DEMAND (Australia): SBS ON DEMAND is a catch up TV service that lets you watch full episodes, of your favorite SBS television programs.
  • TMZ (Canada, U.S.): Your all-access pass to the latest TMZ entertainment stories and breaking news videos everyone is talking about!
  • RTVE (Spain): Complete episodes from series, news programs, documentaries and the best Spanish audiovisual content from RTVE.
  • Verizon FiOS TV (U.S.): Get Verizon FiOS TV with 26 live channels like MTV, Spike, Food Network, Comedy Central, HBO, CNN and Nickelodeon – with more to come. Plus with Kinect, change channels with your voice.
  • YouTube (Available in 24 countries globally**): From your favorite web original video to gaming tips, a universe of compelling content is available through YouTube on Xbox LIVE.

I am especially excited about the YouTube app! I had been dying to see YouTube videos on my 360. I will give it a try once I get home tonight. It seems as though UK is also lucky, as they seem to be able to watch thousands of movies for no additional subscription costs! I am not a cable subscriber, but if you are a Verizon FiOS TV customer, you may also find these new apps compelling.

Nintendo 3DS update & eShop go Live!

After abit of a delay and confusion, the first major update for the Nintendo 3DS is now live and ready to be downloaded. When you turn on your 3DS you will get a prompt and a notification. You can download via the notification.After abit of delay, Nintendo have pushed out their update for the 3DS and made the eShop Live.

Below is the following additions to the 3DS via the update. Also everyone will be treated with a free download of the ’3D Classic’ Excitebike for limited time until July 7th. You can also pick up Pokédex 3D for free too.

-Nintendo eShop

-Internet Browser

-Transfer functionality to move DSiWare from DSi/DSi XL to the Nintendo 3DS System

-Automatic System Updates

-Improved stability and overall performance of the overall system

It is nice to note the features but also some players have been having issues with Ridge Racer after the new update. If you are having these issues, do not fret. They are known by Nintendo and will be addressed in an upcoming Update.

When the update had installed on my 3DS I straight away went to check out the new web browser and to my surprise nothing was really new, just a new UI (which is kinda ok). The only new thing I found was HTML 5 support. Let’s just hope Nintendo add more support for web video playback and other stuff out there in the near future.

After checking out the web browser I went and explored the eShop. You can download you previous DSi Ware Software with ease and see whats out in store for the 3DS and watch game trailers.. In addition Nintendo have added Virtual console to the Shop, which alot of us have been waiting for them to add. Super Mario Land, Tennis and Allyway are the first 3 to be added to the games you can get. Hopefully Nintendo will make the 3DS virtual console page like the Wii one, which the different consoles and game company’s to browse through.

That most of what I can talk about as the rest of the update was Improved stability and performance. I will be bring you and review of Excitebike and Pokédex 3D later this week.

With the Nintendo 3DS update out the way, all we need now is to see what Nintendo has for us later today a E3. I know I’m exited, are you?

Internet Access: Yours, Mine & Egypt’s

Nation in crisis! Egypt has attempted to block all Internet connections, coming both in and out of their nation. Well guess what everyone? That is still impossible, but I do give credit to Egypt for trying. I understand there has been all of this talk about how the USA could do the same but they can’t.

Egypt’s attempt to do so has failed to an extent also, seeing how you cannot shut off satellite Internet. So, what did Egypt do? Egypt’s government has what is called a “hub” it is like a gate between you and the actual Internet. Yes, they closed it but you can’t do that to everyone and like I said earlier, there is still satellite Internet.

Let me give you a little bit of information on this controversy. The Internet used to be ran off of what some refer to as “the Internet backbone.” The government had it and it pretty much managed all the Internet activity in the USA, but that was when it was first invented. Welcome to the new Internet! The Internet is now running off of individual servers. With that being said, every person in the nation would have to literally turn off their servers to get the Internet to actual shut down. So all of these images in your mind of the president of the United States sitting in his oval office flipping the Internet on/off button just see what it does, can be erased. Final thoughts are these:

  • Egypt has somewhat failed at shutting down the Internet.
  • There is still satellite Internet in Egypt.
  • You would have to turn off your Internet (literally) -or- your Internet Service Providers would have to be shut down to have the Internet to even become close to “off.”
  • There is satellite Internet in the USA too, so don’t worry.

Twitter Gets a Face-lift

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Image obtained from Reuters In Edition

 

     While we are still waiting for a maximum character increase for our tweets, Twitter has made some interesting improvements to their webpage interface for users. Twitter has redesigned their whole site to be easier to navigate for its users. The new look is also is being used as a tease to attract new users to join the 145+ million user social network. 

     If you don’t have the new layout now, don’t fret. Users will be given access (starting with a small percentage yesterday) within the upcoming weeks. Unfortunately I don’t have access to the new look at the moment, so coverage is limited for right now. If you have access, we want to hear from you. Comment below on you thoughts and feelings on the new changes