Tag Archives: windows

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IntoWindows.com – Great Windows 8 Resources, Tips, and Tutorials

This post is not a sponsored or promotional post. Rather, the goal of this post is to direct you to information that you may find helpful, informative, and interesting. I want to share with you IntoWindows.com. This is a fantastic place to get some great Windows 8 related tips, tricks, and tutorials. They sometimes even suggest new Windows 8 apps, like we do! Some tutorials on the site are basic, and perfect for those new to the latest version of Windows while others are advanced and provide huge benefits. Some of the advanced tutorials include being able to refresh or reset your Windows 8 PC without requiring the install disc, being able to add custom start screen wallpaper, and running Antroid natively on top of Windows!

If you love technology, and you love Windows, you owe yourself a visit to the website. I know I learned a lot of neat things from there!

Check out intowindows.com

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Exclusive Report – Windows “Blue” Drops 1366×768 Screen Resolution Requirement to Snap Apps

“Blue” is an update to Windows 8 that will bring patches and new features to Windows 8. We have discovered a hidden gem in “Blue” that might interest you. As you may already know, Windows 8 has two special requirements in regards to screen resolution of your device. In vanilla Windows 8, you need to have a resolution of 1024×768 to run metro-style (aka Windows 8 style) apps. However, if you want to be able to snap apps side-by-side, you will need a higher resolution of 1366×768. With the “Blue” update, however, Windows 8 will no longer require a resolution of 1366 by 768 to snap metro-style apps. As long as you have a screen resolution of 1024 by 768, you can snap metro style applications. In the video below, I demonstrate this behavior. As you can see, I am, indeed, running my PC at 1024×768 and am still able to snap apps.

We will have more blue coverage on this site, so stay tuned!

Mega Update to Naturespace — You Can Now Relax Even More!

Store 4

We blogged earlier about a relaxation app called Naturespace. It is an app to help you relax, featuring some soothing music and sounds. Well, a couple of days ago, this app got a huge upgrade, featuring even more sounds. Here’s the description from the developer.

 

Description

Welcome to Naturespace Holographic Audio, creators of the finest 3-D audio recordings of nature, now on Windows 8! The sonic accuracy of our recordings are so convincingly real that they create an immediate positive impact on your state of mind. Under headphones, the 3-D experience quickly engages the mind and triggers a lasting physiological sense of safety, peace, and tranquility. Over speakers, it creates highly detailed ambiences that elevate the mood in any indoor space. From the calmest of evenings to the most intense thunderstorms, our spatially accurate recordings will transport you like no other.

Naturespace is unique. It’s not just about nature’s sound, it’s about nature’s space. All 3 dimensions (including height) are accurately reproduced, providing the listener with a true “being there” experience under headphones. The impact that spatially accurate outdoor sound has on the brain is astounding; it is immensely relaxing and entertaining. Whether you take a 5 minute vacation to a gentle evening by a lake, or an extended stay underneath a powerful thunderstorm, Naturespace provides the brain with the sense of openness and vastness that is so important to a balanced state of well-being. Naturespace is a spectacular catalyst for creative visualization and imaginative exploration. Just put on your headphones, and close your eyes. You’ll see!

We are a dedicated team of audio engineers and artists with a unique vision and a singular goal: to change the way the world listens to sound. We invite you to experience our work and welcome your feedback. For the latest information and to connect with us directly, please visit our Facebook page!

Features

    • Includes 17 pristine holographic spaces
    • Extremely long tracks are seamlessly looped for endless hours of listening
    • 30 additional spaces available for purchase, allowing you to customize your library based on what you enjoy
    • Beautiful and elegant user-interface designed exclusively for Windows 8

You can download it from here.

Download from Windows Store: Naturespace: Relax Meditate Escape Sleep

With over 35,000 Apps, Windows 8 has in Two Months what Windows Phone had in One Year

Count Cover 2012

Greetings readers! Today, we hit a new milestone. The Windows Store has over 35,000 apps worldwide. Reaching this number of apps took Windows Phone one whole year; Windows 8 has reached it in merely two months since release. According to Win Rumors, Windows Phone was released in October of 2010, and in October of 2011, it had over 35,000 apps. Windows 8 was released on the October of 2012, and, now, in December of 2012, we have passed that milestone.

This is a huge and unprecedented milestone. Windows Store continues to be the fastest growing app store, and it makes sense. Windows is sold in hundreds of millions each year, making it the biggest platform in terms of market share. There is absolutely no reason that developers won’t flock to this platform. As Microsoft MVP Richard Hay likes to say, “It’s Windows, developers will develop apps for it.”

We are getting this number courtesy of the third party Windows Store tracker known as the Metro Store Scanner. That website tracks newly released and updated apps and the latest app count. Note that the 35,000 is the worldwide app count. You will certainly see less apps on the Windows Store. The amount you can browse and download depends on your country. The US market has 22,703 apps, which is stall a big amount. Your country may have more or less than that amount.

This the Third Party Metro Store Scanner Page
This the Third Party Metro Store Scanner Page

In the US, there are 18,469 free apps, and 4,233 paid apps, making a ratio of 77% free apps and 23% paid apps in the US market. Again, your country can have more or less apps.

App Count 2012

What we don’t know is if the 35,000 thousand apps include apps that Microsoft or the app publisher might have taken down from the store. If it doesn’t, the total number of apps published will be much more than the 35,000 amount.

While the app developers doubted the feasibility of making apps for the Windows Phone due to its small market share, we are not seeing this trend in terms of Windows 8, and reasonably so. Also note that total number of apps doesn’t mean much because we are interested in quality apps. We will continue to feature apps that are truly quality apps, so be sure to stay tuned on this site! As always, you can follow @McAkins and me, @NazmusLabs, on twitter.

Sources:

Metro Store Scanner

Win Rumors

Windows Tip: Turning off Windows Store Notifications

Windows 8 Store
If you want to turn off the notification you get every time you install a new app, it’s easy to do so. When you install an app from the Windows Store, the Store will send a push notification on the upper right corner with the message “[name of app] has been installed.” You can click the notification to launch your new app. If you do not want to see that notification but don’t want to globally turn off notifications for all apps, you can do so from the Windows Store Settings charm. Continue reading

Want to Filter out the Junk from Windows Store? We’ve Got an App for That

http://wscont1.apps.microsoft.com/winstore/1x/f1f7881b-5ed4-4704-b82f-5bc93ad6d634/Screenshot.58154.1000001.jpg

It’s inception all over again, and this time, it invaded the Windows Store. We now have an app for Windows Store that might as well act as a second Windows Store. Yes, you heard it right. Meet the “Great Windows Apps” app. This app will filter out the junk from the Windows Store and present you with the apps that truly stand out and are worth your time, and bandwidth.

If you, like us, regularly check the Windows Store for what’s new and exciting, you might notice it’s hard to do with the massive amount of junk we have coming in. So, try this little app to help you discover great app. The sad truth is that this is what we had expected out of Microsoft in the first place. Windows Store should be sufficient to find great apps, but it is not. This app will do that job.

Description

Great Windows Apps is a directory that is focused on quality and empowers you to discover great apps.

Windows 8 is beautiful. Microsoft have created an operating system designed for the future and it really looks great, particularly when you use it on modern, touch-driven hardware. This great OS needs great apps!

This alternative store implements strict quality rules to feature only the finest apps. Reviews and ratings from around the world are combined and apps that are poorly rated, or don’t meet basic eligibility criteria, are not included in our listings.

Great Windows Apps also aims to improve visibility for apps in a number of other ways.

Much mystery surrounds the way that Microsoft pick apps for their spotlight slots, and even which ones are featured as “new releases” and “top rated” apps, when the apps that are listed in those sections do not actually appear to be related to their release date, nor their rating.

This app generates true new releases and true top rated listings, to allow users to discover the apps they want, rather than being spoon-fed a handful of selected apps by the Windows Store.

We also spotlight the top developers and always allow you to see “more apps by this developer”, when you discover an application that you like.

Features

  • Super fast browse and search
  • Completely free with no ads
  • True “Top Rated” and “New Releases” sections
  • View more apps by a developer
  • Discover as yet unseen apps
  • See reviews from around the world

Source: Windows Store

Naturespace – Let Yourself Relax a Bit

Store 4

There always comes a time when we deserve to just sit back, take off our shoes, and forget everything for a while. Relaxation is essential, and we have a Windows 8 app just for that! This app plays various soothing music and sounds that will help you relax your mind. It is even useful to play in the background while you work. Yes, the sounds continue to play even when you switch away from the app.

I will let you know that there is a bug in the app that causes the volume to be reduced automatically occasionally. However, you can go back to the app and change the volume back to the level you like. But, still, it is an annoyance. The number of relaxing tracks are limited for now, but the developer promised more tracks will land with a future update. There will be an in-app store that will allow users to accuire more tracks. However, that feature isn’t implemented yet.

I’ll leave you with the official app description from the Windows Store. Enjoy!

Description

Welcome to the world of Naturespace Holographic Audio, creators of the finest 3-D recordings of nature’s most beautiful moments, delivered on Windows 8! The sonic accuracy of our recordings are so convincingly real that they create an immediate positive impact on your state of mind. The 3-D experience under headphones quickly engages the mind and triggers a lasting physiological sense of safety, peace, and tranquility.

Naturespace Holographic Audio is the world leader in 3-D sound recordings for headphones and immersive, highly detailed listening over speakers. From the calmest of evenings to the most intense thunderstorms, our spatially accurate recordings will transport you like no other. We are proud to offer you a complimentary Windows 8 preview into a world of sound like you have never heard before.
Naturespace is unique. It’s not just about nature’s sound, it’s about nature’s space. All 3 dimensions (including height) are accurately reproduced, providing the listener with a true “being there” experience under headphones. The impact that spatially accurate outdoor sound has on the brain is astounding; it is immensely relaxing and entertaining. Whether you take a 5 minute vacation to a gentle evening by a lake, or an extended stay underneath a powerful thunderstorm, Naturespace provides the brain with the sense of openness and vastness that is so important to a balanced state of well-being. Naturespace is a spectacular catalyst for creative visualization and imaginative exploration. Just put on your headphones, and close your eyes. You’ll see.

We hope you enjoy the free consumer preview of our app. In the next few months Naturespace will continue to grow on Windows 8. Please watch for updates including our vast catalog which will become available for purchase inside the app very soon.

Features

  • First 3-D      audio app designed specifically for Windows 8
  • The most      efficient way to relax, meditate, escape or sleep
  • Seven free      audio tracks
  • Vast in-app      catalog of over 80 unique tracks available soon

Beautiful and elegant user-interface

Here are some more screenshots!

Download from Windows Store: Naturespace: Relax Meditate Escape Sleep

Why Metro Apps on a Desktop or Laptop

If you have been following McAkins Online, you know that we are dedicated to bringing to you the latest from the Windows Store and are here to feature some great Metro Style (aka Windows Store) apps for you to check out. But the question remains is why should you care about Metro Style apps, especially if you are using traditional, non-touch, desktop or laptop? I want to take a quick break from featuring apps to talk about why you might sometimes want to use Metro Style apps instead of classic Windows Desktop apps even on traditional hardware. We believe that if you understand the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop apps for some occasions, the content of this site will be of even more value to you.

I want to discuss some of the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop versions of similar apps by covering some key areas. But before I get to that, I will quickly brush through the most controversial topics in regards to Metro Style apps. There is ongoing debate about Metro Style apps being fullscreen and optimized for touch make them unusable on desktops and laptops without touch and a productivity killer. This is a heated topic and one that needs more than a paragraph for discussing. I will hold of discussing this topic in depth for another time. All I will say is that some apps work great on the desktop, with mouse and keyboard, and others work better in Metro, like Netflix, games, and painting apps. Again, I will be talking more about this topic alone in the future. For now, putting the fullscreen issue aside, let’s talk about how Metro Style apps offer advantages in other areas that might make some more compelling than their desktop counterparts.

No System Degrading Over Time

One problem that has plagued Windows since beginning of time is that the system degrades over time. While the problem has gotten significantly better since Windows 9x, it still exists. Today, the biggest cause of the system degrading is the installing and/or uninstalling of many software over time. This happens because as you install desktop apps, these apps can make changes to the registry, add files to various places in the system, and add services (sometimes unnecessary ones) that take up system memory. Some apps have hidden startup files that slow down boot files. And we are only talking about the good apps. Because desktop apps are not curated, you might install a malicious app pretending to be good but one that significantly damages the system after being run. This problem still exists for desktop apps in Windows 8. Installing too many desktop apps can cause system performance to be reduced, performance that might not be regained even if you uninstall all of your desktop apps.

Metro Style apps do not suffer from this issue—at least not in a significant way, if at all. When you install a Metro Style app from the Windows Store, they are curated by Microsoft. Thus, you won’t likely be installing malware. Secondly, Metro Style apps won’t change the system registry, add startup files, change system files, or anything else that might damage the system. All this is because Metro Style apps acquired form the Windows Store don’t have the right to mess with system files. You can install as many Metro Style apps as you want without slowing down your PC.

Clean Uninstall (No Leftovers)

When you uninstall a desktop app, chances are that it is not completely wiped from the PC. Some files associated with your app still might remain on your drive. Registry items created by the app when installed and run don’t always get removed when uninstalled. Some desktop apps install additional apps and services that might continue to run in the background even if you uninstall the app. For example, if you install iTunes, you can opt in to install QuickTime player with it. However, if you uninstall iTunes, QuickTime remains installed. You have to manually go and run the QuickTime installer.

Metro Style apps uninstall cleanly. No traces are left when you uninstall these new apps. They won’t leave hidden files lurking in the system nor install additional apps or services. So, you can install and uninstall lots of Metro Style apps as many times as you like without degrading your system’s performance.

Security and Sandboxing

Windows desktop apps in Windows 8, like those in previous versions of Windows, are not Sandboxed. This means, desktop apps have access to other apps and system files. Though this is less of an issue with modern security measures in place in Windows, it’s still not as effective as true sandboxing.

Metro Style apps are sandboxed from one another. They can’t directly touch the system or other apps. They communicate with the system and other apps mainly through the Windows 8 contracts. If one app is misbehaving, it can be more easily contained if it is a Metro Style app. Also, I will say it again because it is so important: Metro Style apps are curated by Microsoft, so you will likely not get a malware on your PC if you download them.

Updating

The Windows desktop apps are Win32 apps that have been conceived in the early 90’s. They are dated, and it shows. There have been layers upon layers added to Win32 apps to make it play along with modern time. One such “layer” is terrible update mechanisms. Back in the 90’s, software updates through the internet wasn’t common; thus, Windows didn’t have a built-in mechanism to automatically update all Win32 apps from the internet. As we entered in to the modern era, each developer built its own updating system on top of their Win32 app. This meant that updating each app was a different experience and a cumbersome process. The Windows OS still doesn’t provide an integrated way to updated most modern Win32 apps.

Metro Style apps, on the other hand, was created for today’s era and with software updates in mind. The Windows OS handles updates for all Metro Style apps. They are seamless and painless. They don’t require downloading EXE files or running an app updater with admin privileges. The Windows Store makes the process easy and automatic.

Conclusion: Metro Style Apps Provide a Better User Experience

We looked at the many ways in which Metro Style apps are much better for you and your system in terms of performance, security, and seamless updating. The big point that should be taken from this is that you don’t have to be afraid to try lots and lots of Metro Style apps. Go ahead and give all of our featured apps in this site a try because your system won’t degrade in performance. If you don’t like an app, you can uninstall it easily. The same cannot be said for desktop apps. We don’t want to install and uninstall too many desktop apps for performance and security concerns.

The one tip I would give when deciding whether to get a Metro Style or a desktop app is to ask yourself if you really need this app for regularly. If so, you will likely be keeping this app and you trust the app. So install the desktop version if you like. Good examples of this are Office, Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Visual Studio, After Effects, etc. However, if you would like to try an app or want to use an app less often, you will likely want to use a Metro Style app. Examples of these types of apps can include bandwidth measuring apps, format converters, web video downloaders, etc. Installing too many desktop apps that you won’t use regularly is not worth the performance downgrade. Also, if you are likely to uninstall an app or are concerned about malware, definitely download a Metro Style app from the Windows Store.

Well, I hope this can give you some insight on how some apps and utilities might be better suitable for you as a Metro Style app than a desktop app. With that, I conclude this article. We have some more great Windows Store apps we would like to show you; so stay tuned on McAkins online for updates. Some apps that are not blogged about on this site immediately are mentioned on the McAkins Online twitter account. So be sure to follow @McAkins. You can also follow me on twitter @NazmusLabs.

Have a great day and keep surfing!

YouTube RT – A Must-have App for Music Lovers and Surface Users

If you love listening to YouTube videos in the background, in cases of music or podcasts, for example, then you might have noticed a short-coming in the metro version of IE10 in Windows 8 and Windows RT. If you play YouTube videos or audio from, say, Pandora, and you switch away from IE to another app, all audio stops. To listen to web audio in the background you must use IE10 on the desktop. This is very annoying for tablets, like the Surface because the desktop is hard to use with touch. Luckily, we have an elegant solution for listening to YouTube in the background without going to the desktop. Meet YouTube RT.

The biggest reason for me to recommend this YouTube app over any other is because it keeps playing the audio even if you switch away from the app. Almost all other YouTube apps fail at multitasking this way. In addition, this app embraces the metro design language and has an overall polish to it. As an added perk, you can even download YouTube video for offline viewing! There are some other neat features that I detail in the Pros/Cons section later in the post.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so there are some screenshots!

 

As you can see from the screenshot above, you have various download options. In addition, can add videos to your “Now Playing” playlist for a lean-back experience, change streaming quality, or exit in or out of fullscreen mode. We’ll get to that in a bit.

 

Here, the video keeps playing even when I switch away from the app. You can see the name of the video and the uploader when you use your hardware volume keys while in another app. Very handy.

 

Another cool thing this app does is it keeps playing the current video even when you browse YouTube or do a search. On the screenshot above, notice the mini playback controls while I am browsing.

 

Finally, here’s a screenshot of playing video in non-fullscreen mode. Here, you can view video description, related videos, rate and comment on the videos, etc. You can also click on the uploader icon and check out their latest uploads, subscribe, and other standard stuff. There are a lot more that I didn’t take a screenshot of, including the download manager.

Now, before going any further, I will let you know this is a paid app, with a free trial option. At the time of this writing, the app costs only $2.49. Note that I will take extra care when recommending a paid app for obvious reasons. I want our readers to be confident that you are paying for quality products. I always recommend trying the app before buying, and will rarely recommend apps that doesn’t offer a free trial. So go ahead and try the app before deciding if you want to buy it.

Finally, let’s summarize the pros and cons.

Pros

  • Good YouTube streaming experience, with multiple streaming quality options
  • Play YouTube video in the background while working on other apps.
  • Video keeps playing when you browse YouTube; offers search suggestions.
  • Download YouTube videos in various qualities to your PC
  • Connect with your Google Account to see new subscriptions, favorites, watch history (They also appear on your live tiles)
  • Like, comment, and favorite apps. Make playlists and watch multiple videos in a row automatically
  • Your settings syncs with your Microsoft Account. No need to reconfigure when installed on a new PC.
  • Well implemented Snapped view

Cons

  • Paid app (try before buying)
  • Occasional crashes
  • Videos are cached. They take up large disk space over time. The only solution I found is to uninstall and reinstall the app to clear the cache.

There you have it. You can download this app from the Windows Store! YouTube RT

Source: Windows Store