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Friday, October 24, 2014

Google announces Android 5.0 Lollipop

Googles latest version of the Android OS called Lollipop (Gotta love the naming scheme!) is being released officially on November 3rd.

Google has sent a message to app developers to start making their apps compatible with Android 5.0. Of course devices won't immediately have access to the OS as the rollout will depend on the manufacture of your device and your carrier. It's reported that Nexus series of devices will be shipped to retailers with Lollipop.

New features of Lollipop include new lock screen that comes with notifications that won’t force you to open up an app to take action on them. 
So for instance, you will be able to delete email messages from your device’s lock screen or from your notifications center now without having to actually open up Gmail to trash them.

Lollipop also includes whats called 'Material Design' which involves improved graphics, a cleaner design with the use of 'cards', responsive animations and transitions, padding, and depth effects such as lighting and shadows.

TechCruch posted a preview of a Nexus 6 with Lollipop.

Also added to Lollipop is Android TV support, 64bit chip support, Multiple Users across devices (including a Guest User), increased security and longer battery lifetime.

For more information check out Googles Official Lollipop page.

Windows Administrative Tools for Power Users

When I had first installed Windows 8, I found that one of the most frustrating things was the lack of easy access to anything that was power-user-administrative-like.
After installing Windows 8, I found myself clicking the mouse 4-6 times to access these tools.
Granted, you have the Search in the Charm Bar, but that still was not as fast or easy as it should be.
Then I discovered the Number 1 most powerful Windows 8 shortcut for the Power User.
It's Windows Key+X.

Here you can access easily System Information, Device Manager, Power Options and even the Task Manager!

Here are some helpful Hotkeys to make your day a little more smoother.
Using a few of these will save you seconds many times a day and that adds up.
Try to avoid clicking away at the mouse to get from one program to another. Use Alt-Tab instead.
Win+E - Explorer
Win+R - Run
Win+Break - System Info
Win+D - Desktop
Win+Plus or Win+Minus (no shift) - Magnifier/Zoom In and Out
Win+F - Find Files
Alt-Tab - Switch between Apps
Win-Tab - Switch between Full Screen Apps

More helpful Hotkeys
Win+W - Search Control Panel and Settings stuff
Win+F - Search Files
Win+C - Charms (right side menu) then arrows to move and enter to launch.
Win+K - Devices
Win+I - Settings in any app plus brightness, network and other useful system features
Win+Arrows - Snap desktop apps to the sides
Win+(period) - Alternate sides to "snap" Metro Apps. Add shift to reverse it..
Win+PageUp or Win+PageDn - Move full screen applications to secondary monitors.
The Start Screen can be moved as well.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The quick lowdown on Android TV boxes or "Whats an Android TV Box?"

So your sitting in front of your 47" LCD tv screen and got 500 channels available, yet nothing really to watch right? Well....lets just go browse the internet with your TV. Whats that? Your TV isn't internet ready? You have to go on your phone or laptop to browse Hulu or Netflix? Well....we can fix that with a small little device called an Android TV box.

Whats an Android TV box?
Simply put it's a box which makes your 19", 32" or even your 40" LCD TV into a huge android tablet, capable of accessing internet sites, playing movies off of Hulu or Netflix, or even playing your videos from Youtube. There's not real hard definition of what an Android box contains concerning the hardware components, however most boxes contain dual or quad core ARM processors and have 1-2GB of RAM and 6-8GB of storage memory and usually have 4.3 Jelly Bean or 4.4 Kit Kat as the operating system. Some don't even come in the form of a box but a USB stick with the minimum connections.

The connections:
Standard USB (some boxes have two), HDMI,
Ethernet, some boxes have expandable memory card slots.

Wifi, bluetooth, DLNA and Miracast (to play media from your android phone or tablet to the box) is available on most boxes.

Get ready to invest in a BT keyboard and mouse as many customers have issues navigating the on screen menus with the remotes which come with the devices.

As it is an Android device expect the standard apps and utilities that come with Android. Apps such as a browser, photo, email and Google Play come standard on most devices. XBMC which is a well organized media center may be installed as well.

The cost of these Android TV boxes can range anywhere from $50 for a low end dual core to $120 for a top of the line quad core with 8GB of RAM and XBMC pre installed.

XBMC Media organizer

My recommendation? Try a low end dual core Android box first which you can experiment with. If you have fun with it buy all means you can always upgrade and maybe sooner or later say goodbye to your cable TV bill!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Alot of events since the past year

My apologies for not up keeping this for a while. It seems life has been going on since the last few posts ;-)

Back when I temporarily discontinued this site back in October of 2013, Apple had surpassed Coca Cola as the most valuable brand.
Samsung had released a smart phone
And Microsoft released the latest update of Windows, Windows 8.1

Now so much more has been going on in the technology sector.
This past month Apple not only released it's latest iOS of 8.0, but releases it's latest version of it's flagship device the iPhone 6 in two different versions.

In May of this year, Google toppled Apple as the most valuable brand according to Forbes Magazine. It's safe to say the innovation of Google Glass helped the company tremendously.

I'll be following up with more current events & helpful how-tos in the next coming week

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