Video Demo: New Store Experience in Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft is releasing a major update to Windows 10 This summer, called the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This update brings a slew of new feature, and one of them is an overhauled Windows Store. Here is a video demonstrating the new Windows Store experience. Not that this is a preview and you will notice some slowdowns in the demo. I expect this to be fixed by the final release. Continue reading

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

Windows Store Passed 150000 Apps Mark


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

VLC Media Player for Windows 8.1 Release Imminent

VLC Passed Windows Store Cert

The Modern (aka Metro) version of VLC Media Player has passed the Windows Store certification! VLC Media Player is a very popular media player, known for its ability to play a large number of video and audio format without needing to install additional codecs. Essentially, if you can’t play a video or audio on your PC for any reason, installing VLC media player and opening the media using it will possibly allow you to play it. Continue reading

Windows 8.1 Update 1: Multi-Window Taskbar Thumbnails for Windows Store (Metro) Apps

We kicked off our information about Windows 8.1 Update one with new taskbar features coming to Windows Store apps, namely the Jumplists and media controls. Today, I want to share with you another neat feature I uncovered. Windows Store (metro) applications running in multiple Windows show up in the taskbar as multiple windows. This behavior is the same in Desktop Applications since Windows 7. It is nice to see that it is being included in Windows Store applications. Continue reading

Microsoft Talks about New Office Word Web App Features and UI

New UI Jan 2014

Microsoft yesterday published a new blog post discussing new features and user interface updates to Microsoft Office Word Web App. As you know, this is the web version of Microsoft Word, offered free of charge to everyone. The update includes a fresh new look and feel, footnotes, and even a new way to interact with Word and get things done! Continue reading

Tweetium, A Full Metro and unique Twitter client in the Store


Via the news reached us that Tweetium has been released in the Store. Tweetium is not just another twitter client. It is a unique experience that is true to the Metro principle. This is what the official Twitter app should have been as far as I am concerned. Continue reading

McAkins Online App Updated With Improved UI

McAkins Tile Wide v2

Preview and Install

Hi folks! It’s Nazmus here, reporting to you that we have updated the official McAkins Online app. The update (now at version is in certification with Microsoft and should be rolling out to you in the next few days. If you are running Windows 8.1, you will get the latest version automatically. If you are on Windows 8 or have turned off automatic app updates in Windows 8.1, you will need to manually update this app from the Store.

So what’s in this new update?

The most noticeable thing is the new look and feel. The app sports a cleaner, more beautiful design. The colors are pleasing to the eye and the entire design follows the Windows 8 design language. Gone are the gradients and unnecessary clutter!

The new update sports a new tile design that look cleaner and fits right in with your Start Screen! The tiles are live, so you will be notified of your latest posts without even having to open the app!

We fixed several annoying bugs, including the NaN bug that prevented content from showing up on the home page. We also made some performance improvements.

Check out the screenshots below to see what the new version looks like.

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Why Metro UI Doesn’t Have a Name (Original Article from Summer 2012)

I had originally written this article as a guest-post on on August 2012. To see the guest post, please click here.

Montreal Metro Sign

According to Microsoft, Windows 8 is “a bold reimagining of Windows, from the chipset to the user experience.” This reimagining, then, brings a completely new user interface to Windows 8, an UI that is a    complete departure from any previous versions of Windows. And since the first unveiling of Windows 8 and throughout its public preview releases, this new UI has been referred to, by the community, as the Metro UI because it follows the Microsoft’s design language that was known as the Metro design language. Microsoft itself referred to apps running on the reimagined Windows 8 platform (WinRT) as Metro Style apps. Why, then, isn’t the term “Metro” ever referred to in the operating system itself? More importantly, why does Microsoft officially refuse to name the new, reimagined, user interface?

According to Paul Thurrott in Windows Weekly podcast episode 274, when asked, Microsoft personnel would gladly call the classic desktop as the Windows 8 desktop, but they would never call the new UI by any particular name. When asked explicitly what the name of the new UI in Windows 8 is, they just called it Windows. So basically, we have the Windows desktop and, simply, Windows, and not desktop and Metro. At first, this seems quite strange because why would there not be an official name to the new UI in Windows 8; I will admit that I was quite confused by this as well. However, given some time to think about this, I am able to understand what Microsoft is trying to get at.

The trick to all this is to approach Windows 8 in a fundamentally different way. That is, we must not think of Windows 8 as having the Metro UI on top of the Windows 7 desktop, but rather, we should approach Windows 8 as having the Metro UI as the primary UI with desktop as the secondary option. Conceptually, Windows 8 is Metro plus desktop, and not the other way around.  Technically, Metro is not primary nor secondary because both desktop and Metro is part of explorer.exe. But if we conceptually see the Metro UI as the primary Windows user interface, there is no need to really call it anything but the Windows UI. For instance, we don’t call the UI in Windows 7 the desktop UI or the Aero UI, but, rather, we call simply call it the Windows 7 user interface. This is the same with Windows XP, or Mac OSX. We call OSX’s Aqua user interface by, well, OSX user interface. The same principle applies to Windows 8, if we consider metro to be the primary UI. Metro, then is the Windows 8 UI, and because the desktop is now secondary in Windows 8, the classic Windows UI in Windows 8 is given a name of “desktop”.

Paul Thurrott does bring up a valid point that term Windows 8 UI is time bound, whereas something like Metro is timeless.  That is, when, say, Windows 9 is released, the term Windows 8 UI will make no sense. I completely agree with this argument. I believe the proper name of the Windows 8 UI is Windows UI. In Windows 7 and prior, for example, the tem Windows UI represented what is now the classic desktop. There was no need to call it Windows 7 UI or Windows Vista UI because the UI paradigm was the same in these versions of Windows. Because the UI paradigm is changing in Windows 8, the metro UI in Windows 8 is being referred to as “Windows 8 UI” rather than simply “Windows UI” for differentiation. However, I do think that in the future, the new Metro UI will simply be referred to as the Windows UI. I believe in the future, when we hear the term Windows UI, we will think of what is now called Metro and we will refer to the classic UI as the desktop. Similarly, we will soon refer to Metro Style apps as Windows Apps and the traditional Windows apps as Desktop Apps.

Windows 8 is as much a transitional OS as it is a reimagining of Windows. Hence, terms such as Windows 8 UI or Windows 8 Apps are only temporary, which will eventually be replaced by broader terms such as Windows UI and Windows Apps. Metro, or Modern, or whatever they are calling it these days may be still referred to the design language itself, just like Aero or Aqua is.

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).


Source: Into Windows

Yes, Microsoft was right to Deprecate the traditional Desktop


Yes, Microsoft was right to overhaul the traditional desktop in preparation for the future. Recently ASUS announced their 21:9 monitor, the PB298Q Ultrawide 21:9 Panoramic Monitor your are seeing here above. Other manufacturers have been announcing Ultra-wide and 4K monitors. The first thing that comes to mind seeing all these influx of ultra-wide monitors is that the traditional Desktop will be hideous on these monitors. This is just but the beginning folks, it will not end with 21:9 real-estate, but you will eventually end up with Wall2Wall monitors. I am talking of your complete living room wall as one gigantic monitor. You can have a taste of it with projectors at the moment, but projectors will not provide the kind of experience we are going to be having in about a few years.

Can you then imagine your traditional Windows 7 Desktop on such a UI, it will be ridiculous. The thought of interacting with mouse and all on such displays becomes ridiculous. You will quickly conclude that yes, Microsoft was right in preparing us for the future in which your monitors will now be you Windows to the world; pun intended. The partitioning that Windows 8 brings to the UI makes more sense with these kinds of displays than the traditional desktop. You can divide such a wide estate into sections and have apps running there. Take my word for it, now you only have vertical partitioning in Windows 8 displays, very soon, as monitor heights increases like we are seeing now for display widths, horizontal partitioning with be introduced in which you can stack your applications also vertically. Imagine a stock-ticker kind of app running at the bottom or top of your screen, or a weather app stacked vertically with a photo app. Yes, we’re going to be blown away by our future vista, believe me. The Metro UI will then make perfect sense.

Windows 8.1 – The Subtle Improvements

With the new announcement, the internet is buzzing with the discussion of the major features of Windows 8.1. Therefore, I will not reiterate the things you may already know. Instead, I want to focus on some subtle changes in Windows 8.1 that you may have not known. There are many subtle improvements in Windows 8.1, but on the leaked build I am using, they are not yet enabled. There are other minor changes that I am not going to discuss yet because they are incomplete and will be refined further in future builds.

Start Screen Tattoos

In Windows 8, you could choose a limited number of static tattoos. The colors the tattoos are predefined and depends on the background color you chose for your Start Screen. In Windows 8.1, you are able to customize the colors of the tattoos independent of the background color of the start screen. You do this by setting the secondary Start Screen color. In this example, I have picked a blue tattoo on a black start screen, and I, then, selected an orange tattoo on the black start screen.

Furthermore, you can also have some animated tattoos in Windows 8.1. This is the closest to the resource intensive “Dreamscene” feature of Windows Vista Ultimate. But these animations on Windows 8.1 are nearly not as resource intensive.

Windows 8.1 Orange Tattooo

Windows 8.1 Orange Tattooo

Open Metro Apps in New Window

In Windows 8, Metro Style apps can only run in a single Window. On the Start Screen, if you right-click a metro app, you only see the options to unpin/pin, uninstall, and tile size options. In Windows 8.1, however, you have a new option when you right click a tile of a Metro App. This option is called “Open in a New Window”. This essentially allows you to open multiple windows of a Metro Style app.

Windows 8.1 Multiple Windows

Desktop Tile Improvements

In Windows 8, tiles of Desktop apps are uninteresting, as they only show the icon of the app with a background tile being a similar color as that of the Start Screen. In Windows 8.1, Desktop app tiles have background colors defined by the primary color of the app icon. For example, Microsoft Word will have a blue tile background, Excel with a green tile color, and Visual Studio with a purple tile color.

Modern File Manager

Windows 8.1 will come with a modern File Manager, labeled as “Skydrive”. I don’t agree with the naming of the app because this “Skydrive” app can do a lot more. Unlike other metro style apps, this app has full system access. If you look at the permission of the app, it shows that the app is trusted and has full access to the OS. For example, the file manager can open .exe files, which no other metro style app can do. If you have downloaded third party file manager apps, you will know that they cannot open .exe and other system files. The “Skydrive” app can open any files and access almost any location of the hard drive.

Windows 8.1 File Manager

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!

Upgrade to the New (Metro Style) YouTube Channel!

YouTube channels are hubs in which an user can upload and present their own YouTube videos. Each user gets their own YouTube channel. YouTube is about to go through a massive update to channels, bringing a more flat, tiled based, layout. Google is calling it One Channel, and  it looks a lot like Metro, in my opinion. If you want to get it, you can enable it for your YouTube channel by following this link:

YouTube One Channel

Excel Viewer from ComponentOne is the Best


Well, today is turning out to be Excel Viewers’ Day! ComponentOne has just release an MX Viewer App too for Excel. This is sizzling hot people, fresh from the press. ComponentOne is a household name in Developers circle. The provide as their name suggest components and modules used by Devs in their apps. You may have been using their components without knowing it. They empower Devs to achieve their goals. So when a company like ComponentOne releases an App, you ought to take notice.

Now that we have different Excel viewers in the Store, the question is which one is best? Well, I am still investigating as we speak, but already my choice goes out to this current App from ComponentOne in terms of speed and function. The Anko solution doesn’t provide active Appbar from which you perform basic activity like copy/paste etc, you can only open file. Also, the ComponentOne solution is far more responsive than the Anko solution. So I am afraid we have a winner in our hand. Please note that all the solutions we have now are very difficult to work with with Touch, you may be more at home working in the sheets with a mouse or a pen-enabled devices. Hopefully we’ll see solutions down the line with fully Touch-compatible viewers. Also note that you may be able to do basic updates in the cells of these viewers, but they will not be saved. Your updates are for manipulations only, i.e. change formulas, tweak parameters etc.

This App from ComponentOne is also free as air; for now. So nothing is keeping you from getting it. Following is the excerpt from the Store:

The ComponentOne Excel Viewer allows people who do not have Microsoft Excel to view Excel workbook files. 
The ComponentOne Excel Viewer is a app that lets you view Microsoft Excel workbook files (xls, xlsx files).
The ComponentOne  Excel Viewer can open Microsoft Excel files but it will not display all features of Microsoft Excel. And any changes on file will not be saved back to the file.

Open Microsoft Excel Files (xls, xlsx files)
Microsoft Excel compatible UI behaviors for you easy to use
Touch friendly support
Provide data analysis functions like sort and filter
Provide UI undo redo functions




Please download this app now and start interacting with your complex Excel files from the Metro interface thereby improving your battery life on your mobile devices. Download via the Source link.

Source: Windows Store