Hits and misses in Windows 8 so far

Posted by Harshad

Hits and misses in Windows 8 so far

Hits and misses in Windows 8 so far

Posted: 01 Jun 2012 03:44 PM PDT

Windows 8 almost ready to serve

With the Windows 8 Release Preview finally available, Microsoft has taken a major step toward putting its chips on the table for its biggest gamble ever. While we may start seeing some of the hardware that will run Windows 8 as early as next week, we know enough about the operating system itself to say what's surprisingly good and what needs help, STAT.

What we liked so far:

  • The Metro interface comes at app icons from a different angle than Apple and Google. Live tiles are actually useful, updating the stock ticker concept for a modern, mobile world. You can create tiles for individual e-mail accounts, or follow updates from specific contacts, and it presents a nearly non-existent learning curve.

  • Semantic zoom is the ability in Windows 8 to access different levels of content via zooming. On the Start screen, zooming out gives you a bird's eye view of your tile groups. In an app, you can zoom out to see different kinds of related content -- in the Bing Travel app, you'll see categories like Today, Featured Destinations, Panoramas, and Articles.

  • Picture password has never failed to impress. Everybody loves it. You create a series of gestures on a photo of your choice, and use those to login instead of a ... [Read more]
  • Quickly delete multiple Facebook messages in Chrome

    Posted: 01 Jun 2012 03:43 PM PDT

    (Credit: Facebook)

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    With all of your private Facebook communication now happening in the Messages area, clutter can build up quickly. Looking at the list of messages you'll see an option next to each one for Archiving. Unfortunately, this doesn't actually delete the message, it just removes it from the main list. If you want to permanently delete a message, you have to open the thread, click a button at the top and then delete.

    Instead of visiting each message thread, check out Facebook Fast Delete Messages, a handy extension for Google Chrome. Here's how to get started:

    (Credit: Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET)

    Step 1: Download a copy of the Facebook Fast Delete Messages extension.

    Step 2: Log i... [Read more]

    The five handiest smartphone apps ever

    Posted: 01 Jun 2012 02:15 PM PDT

    The newly updated Bump makes it awesomely easy to transfer photos to your PC.

    (Credit: Bump Technologies)

    Technology advances so rapidly these days, it's easy to become jaded, to take for granted the minor miracles we can now accomplish using our phones.

    For example, yesterday I met my wife for lunch in an unfamiliar area of town. We were both in the mood for Thai, so I pulled out my iPhone, fired up a certain app, and in seconds found several nearby Thai joints. Ah, but which ones were good and not so good? An abundance of user ratings answered that question.

    How amazing is that? And it's just one example of how select apps can make life not just easier, but also better. Below I've rounded up five that I consider both essential and indispensable. Check my picks, then add your own to the list (in the comments, of course).

    1. Bump (Android | iOS) Because I'm not a mover and shaker in the business world (or even the outside world), I rarely had the need to use Bump's cool contact information-swapping capabilities.

    But last month, the app got an upgrade that makes it crazy-handy: you can now ... [Read more]

    Freeware Friday: Music to your ears

    Posted: 01 Jun 2012 11:25 AM PDT

    Over a decade ago, searching for legal ways to get music on the Internet was tiresome and downright tedious. Fast-forward to today and we're left with more music services than we have fingers, all touting free or affordable ways to listen to just about all the songs you could possibly listen to several lifetimes over. Record labels may still be bickering in court, but now is a pretty darn good time to be able to enjoy the freedom of listening to practically anything you want...all without a court order. Here are five great services or apps to get straight in the groove. (Also check out "Which music service should you use?")

    Rdio is available both as a Web app and an executable application in Windows. Rdio has a healthy library of new and old tunes, so if you want to listen to some Top 40 tracks, then you can't go wrong with this one. In addition to scrobble support from your Last.fm account, Rdio also allows the standard Twitter/Facebook linking thing if you're into spreading your musical gospel. While you play a song, you have the option to buy the song directly for offline listening and sharing. You can also view your listening history as well as recent activity, which is useful for cases when you forget to save a song you liked. Unfortunately, the "downloadable" application is nothing more than a blurry, rasterized renditi... [Read more]


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