Adobe Photoshop Express is a free, feature reduced app version of Adobe Photoshop and is now available for Windows 8 and Windows RT. Comparing this free app to Adobe Photoshop is like comparing a harmonica to the London Symphony Orchestra, but as a free tool for doing some quick work on your digital images, it's fine. You can save the edited images of course, or send them to Facebook or Revel, Adobe's online photo library. There are additional features available for purchase, as you might expect, but the free version allows you to remove red eye, adjust colors and brightness etc - the basics you would expect. The app was previously available for Android and iOS, so it's nice to see it on the Windows App Store now too.
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Adobe recently launched a new suite of products, called Creative Cloud - a collection of professional graphic design tools - and has run into quite a bit of resistance from users of the previous Creative Suite. Creative Cloud is a subscription-based product; instead of paying a (substantial) one time fee to buy the product, users would now pay a monthly fee. This has ruffled feather to the extent that an online petition has arisen to try and get Adobe to consider reversing this decision. To make matters worse, one of the components of the Creative Cloud - it's sync feature - has not been working properly, and has been pulled for now.
The sync feature, which means files being fiddled with on mobile devices such as tablets or in web browsers stay synced-up with desktops, has been out of action since May 15 at 6:02pm UTC, according to Adobe, but users have been reporting problems since Monday. This means that one of – in Adobe's own words – the "core pieces" of its Creative Cloud "vision" doesn't work.
Our daughter just got a new Ford vehicle, and it comes with Ford's Sync technology. Sync allows you to make hands free phone calls, and to control other in-car entertainment functions by voice commands. In the short time we were with her yesterday, it seems to work well - after a slightly fiddly setup process. It forms a Bluetooth connection with your smartphone (Bluetooth is a short range wireless connection protocol) and allows you to download your phone book to the Sync computer, so that you can just say "Call Mom" as you are driving along, and the "car" will call Mom via your smartphone. While you call, the radio is muted and you can hear Mom through the vehicle sound system. Another feature is that you can control the audio system, which I think is a good move. If you have not been in a newer vehicle recently, the sound systems generally either have a ton of buttons, or some kind of touch screen - either way you are fiddling around and distracted while making changes. Voice control has some real safety implications here.
Larry Ellison is the CEO of Oracle, the company that provides powerful database software to businesses around the world. Oracle also purchased Java in 2010 and has maintained the product since. Oracle's Java and Adobe's Flash and PDF Reader products continue to be the most exploited pieces of software for Windows and other users, despite multiple continuing patches. The security issues have persisted with these products for years now. Mr Ellison still managed to pull in an income of $96 million last year - about $3 per second.
Oh, and a pet peeve - the multi-billion dollar company also tries to make a few more pennies by installing the crappy Ask toolbar by default when you install Java.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ouch! PC sales in the first quarter for Western Europe are down more than 20% over the first quarter of 2012. Both mobile and desktop products suffered, likely due to the poor economic conditions in most of the Western European countries. Only Apple and Lenovo escaped the carnage, and made some gains.
PCWorldThe wide availability of Windows 8-based PCs was again unable to boost consumer PC purchases. Users still wonder about its suitability for traditional PCs, according to Gartner analyst Meike Escherich.
All market segments were affected by the first quarter drop: Mobile and desktop shipments fell by 24.6 percent and 13.8 percent respectively. Shipments in the professional PC market declined by 17.2 percent, while those to consumers decreased by 23.7 percent.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Microsoft looks to be bringing back the traditional Windows Start Button in Windows Blue - which is now officially going to be called Windows 8.1 - and the first release will be a free upgrade and should be here before the end of 2013. So, it looks like Windows 8 users will not be forced to boot into the somewhat controversial Start Page and it's tile icons, but rather have the option of landing at a more Windows 7 - like environment, with a Start Button and a traditional desktop.
Monday, May 13, 2013
Hunting around for music can be fun, and TuneCrawl has a neat way of searching several sites at once - namely Spotify, YouTube and SoundCloud. Your search results are listed in three columns, from which you can listen (stream), share, or purchase the songs you have found. You will need a free Spotify account to be able to stream those tunes.