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All posts tagged "software"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Microsoft Skydrive Features Enhanced

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 AM

"Microsoft just announced a few small but interesting updates to its cloud storage service SkyDrive. Just like your desktop, SkyDrive will now offer a recycle bin that allows you to recover files you may have accidentally deleted."

If you are using Microsoft's Skydrive cloud storage service you may have noticed a change of late. Their new recycle bin feature allows you to delete and restore files with a few simple clicks. They have also announced that a new Excel-based web survey tool will be included in their Skydrive offering. More details are available by clicking on the Read link.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Top Five Desktop Music Players

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:48 PM

"The best desktop audio players organize your playlists, help you keep your massive music collection easy to search, and even sync with mobile players, among other things, but which ones excel in all of those areas?"

LifeHacker's readers were recently asked to nominate desktop music players they thought were the best. Based on the number of votes, the top five choices were Foobar2000, MediaMonkey, Winamp, iTunes and MusicBee. Each program has strength and weaknesses.

Out of the five, I've tried Winamp and iTunes. Winamp was faster and worked well for me but since I am a part time iPhone user, I am unfortunately tied to iTunes. Since it was a hassle maintaining two separate programs I eventually dropped Winamp.

Click the read link to see the full details of the five music players listed.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Have An Extra $500? Build A Dream Media Center

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 04:00 PM

"Between the Blu-Ray player, cable box, laptop, and everything else hooked up to your TV, your home theater situation is a mess. Here's how I rolled all those devices into one awesome media center-the media center of my dreams-for under $500."

Who wouldn't like to have the perfect Media Center working effectively at home, all for under $500? Over at Lifehacker they've made a list of ingredients, written out the recipe, and added some anecdotal information to help you get it built, up, and running. Their claim is that the recipe will enable you to play all of your ripped or downloaded movies, TV shows, and music, your DVD and Blu-Ray discs, Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Prime streaming (depending on your geographic location, of course), plus nearly any other streaming channel you can imagine. In addition, they claim you will be able to play any video game you can install on a computer, from old school emulators to modern PC materpieces. Ok hobbyists, let's get cracking.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Are you Ready for a Wireless Audyssey?

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:30 PM

"The new Wireless Speakers are cut from the same mold, but feature redesigned drivers and Bluetooth functionality -- not to mention a snazzy matte white with glossy black finish. $250 snags you pair of speakers, each loaded with two .75-inch tweeters, a duo of three-inch woofers and a dual four-inch passive bass radiators, and all of which are aided by Audyssey's BassXT, EQ and Dynamic EQ DSPs for pushing sound out."

While there are options such as AirPlay or Squeezebox, another option for streaming music is through Bluetooth. Many smartphones and tablets come with this capability, and allow you to pipe your favourite tunes through something more substantial than speakers that are the size of your fingernail. Though with other solutions, including things like uPnP, I imagine that the only benefit of streaming through Bluetooth would be better battery life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Microsoft's $14.99 Windows 8 Upgrade Offer Registration Now Open

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 10:30 PM

"If you bought a PC preinstalled with Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate on or after June 2, 2012, just go to and register. We'll send you an email with your promotion code and purchase instructions when Windows 8 Pro is available."

Did you purchase a Windows 7 PC on or after June 2, 2012? If you did, make sure to head to Microsoft's site and register with their $14.99 Windows 8 upgrade offer. If you are eligible, you will be able to purchase a copy of Windows 8 Professional to install on your Windows 7 PC for the discounted price of $14.99. Regular upgrade price for Windows 8 is $40.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Logitech And Skype Team Up On TV Cam

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 10:00 AM

"The TV Cam HD is compatible with any HDMI-equipped TV, and can use either Wi-Fi or ethernet to hook up to the internet. The device is pre-loaded with Skype-running on what we're not quite sure-so you can just use it to log in to your existing account and make video calls, or proper phone calls using credit."

If you've ever wanted to use your TV as a Skype-compatible device then this product may interest you. You'll need an HDMI-equipped TV to connect this device to, but as long as you have a Wi-Fi or ethernet connection to your TV you will be all set. Simply log in to your existing account and make video calls, or proper phone calls using credit. If you get a call while your TV is off it will still ring, alerting you that someone wants to Skype. Some expect that this sort of capability will be built into future TVs, but if you just bought a new one and plan to keep it for years to come, this option may be very attractive.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Review

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 08:00 AM

Product Category: Photo Post Production and Library Software
Manufacturer: Adobe
Where to Buy: [Full version] [Upgrade] [Digital Download Windows] [Digital Download Mac OS X] (Affiliate)
Price: US$149 for Full, US$79 for Upgrade.
System Requirements: For Windows: Intel® Pentium® 4 or AMD Athlon® 64 processor, Microsoft® Windows Vista® with Service Pack 2 or Windows® 7 with Service Pack 1, 2GB of RAM, 1GB of available hard-disk space, 1024x768 display, DVD-ROM drive, Internet connection required for Internet-based services. For Mac OS: Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, Mac OS X v10.6.8 or v10.7, 2GB of RAM, 1GB of available hard-disk space, 1024x768 display, DVD-ROM drive, Internet connection required for Internet-based services.
Specifications: Partial Feature List


  • Easy to use but powerful workflow
  • Good results are fast to achieve
  • For Nikon users: Proper colours, finally!
  • US$149 price point is hard to ignore


  • Slow, slow, slow. Performance issues are present
  • Expects to be the centre of your workflow; stepping out of it can make things awkward
  • It is slow. It bears repeating. Are you sure you want to use that D800 with this?

Summary: Adobe's Lightroom has reached version 4, and we take a look at its two main modules, and how it works for one of the last holdouts against it. There are some performance issues, but it is capable of some great results. The performance issues cannot be overlooked that easily however, and it does cost the software some points in overall usability. The new price point makes it a relative bargain for many, however. Read more...

Friday, June 1, 2012

Windows 8 Release Preview Reviewed

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:31 AM

"It's a bold attempt to build an Apple-proof operating system with modern visual elements via the risky Metro design language. It's a salvo in the war for tablet relevance. It insists that touchscreens matter, and it sets the stage for upcoming versions of Windows Mobile."

Windows 8 is one of the biggest changes to Microsoft's operating system to date. The Release Preview was made available for download yesterday. To help you decide is you should make the jump to Windows 8, CNet Asia has published their review of the Release Preview. If you have a spare computer or are daring, download the Release Preview and install it. I've been running Windows 8 since the Developers' Preview and it's been pretty solid for me.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Streaming Prime Instant Video to Xbox 360

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "The Competition" @ 01:49 PM

"You can already stream Prime Instant Videos on your Kindle Fire, your PlayStation 3, your Roku, and hundreds of other TVs, Blu-ray players, and set-top boxes. Today, we're excited to announce that the Xbox 360 joins the fold."

About time! And you can also set up a "wait list" much like the que you set up in Netflix. Too bad they don't have it set up for iPad or for Apple TV but at least you can watch it on your Mac. Personally, the more they add to Xbox 360 the happier I get since it means I'm that much closer to getting rid of Dish Network. I'm almost there actually, between this and Hulu + and Apple TV, along with the iPad apps I use I pretty much can get all I want except for sports. And for that I can always go to a bar or a friends house, sports are more fun to watch in groups anyway right?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Metro Style IE10 Gets Flash... Sort Of

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 09:07 PM

"Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 will include a bundled, integrated version of Adobe Flash, and the Metro-style browser will support the use of Flash on a limited number of sites."

According to Within Windows and, the Metro style version of Internet Explorer 10 browser in Windows 8 will include an embedded version of Adobe Flash. Microsoft had previously announced the Metro style IE10 will not have support of plugins and since the Adobe Flash version destined for the Metro IE10 is integrated and embedded, they are still technically within those parameters.

The version of Flash on Metro IE10 will not be able to play all flash pages. Sites will have to be included on a whitelist in order for the site to work on the Metro IE10. If they are not on the whitelist, users will have to view it in the desktop version of IE10.

PicFrame For Making Photo Collages

Posted by Michael Knutson in "Apple Software (OS X)" @ 02:30 PM

"PicFrame helps you combine multiple photos into amazing looking frames that you can save to your computer or share to Facebook. With 34 adjustable frames, rounded corners and plenty of patterns, you will always have a unique look."

I added this to my iPhone a few days ago, and a version is now available for Mac OS X. More from the App Store:

"Since PicFrame was released on the iPhone and iPad we have often been requested to create a Mac version for people to use on their desktop, well here it is! PicFrame on the Mac is just as easy to use, select a frame, drag and drop your photos in, tweak the border size, give the photos rounded corners, add a color or pattern, resize the adjustable frames and save the photo or share it to Facebook.

Main Features:- 34 adjustable frames- Support for up to 5 photos- Rounded corners- Change the border size- Zoom and drag the photos around- Easy color picker for border color- Multiple patterns to use for the border- Ratios 1:1, 3:2, 2:3, 4:3, 3:4, 16:9- High resolution- Share to Facebook- Drag and drop photos into the frame "

Pretty nice for a couple bucks on each platform ... and really, really easy.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

How To Make XBMC Easier To Use

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 09:00 AM

"So you've created a kickass, play-anything media center with XBMC, but it's a too hard for your less tech-savvy friends and family members to use. Here are a few ways to make your home theater PC so easy that your four year old could use it."

XBMC is a powerful media platform, but it's not always the easiest thing to use - especially for the "regular" types of users who weren't the ones to set it up in the first place. This article walks you through some of the ways to optimize the whole experience. Worth a read!

Tags: software, xbmc

Multiple Computers Controlled With ShareMouse

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 12:32 AM

"If you have more than one computer at your workspace, ShareMouse will let you control them all with a single keyboard and mouse, as well as copy and paste text between them and drag files back and forth."

If you're looking for a simpler way to use a single mouse and keyboard across multiple computers, and found Synergy a little too hard to set up, ShareMouse is worth a look!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Microsoft Welcomes You To Your Home

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

""More than a decade ago, Microsoft execs, led by Chairman Bill Gates, were touting a future where .Net coffee pots, bulletin boards, and refrigerator magnets would be part of homes where smart devices would communicate and inter-operate. Microsoft hasn't given up on that dream."

Desktop computers, check. Laptops, check. Gaming console, check. Mobile phone, check. Home automation... it looks like Microsoft is intent on offering services for every aspect of your life. Their latest innovation comes to you in the form of HomeOS, a home automation system. Home automation is nothing new, and there are numerous specialized companies ready to offer you fancy, expensive automation systems so you can stand outside your home constantly turning your lights on and off from your phone. If you have an appetite for tinkering, there are more home grown solutions such as LinuxMCE, that while it handles media streaming, also integrates with many other things such as automation and security. Apple is slowly approaching this sort of service as well though right now, it seems mostly just focused on media.

I think that HomeOS could go really well, especially if it integrates with Windows Home Server. It would not make sense if you needed two separate servers to handle your home server-like needs. I have to wonder if there is a great use for this, as them young ones seem to be living a much more mobile lifestyle than before, and whatever you have at home is not as relevant anymore.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Windows 8 DVD Playback Will Require Extra Media Center Pack

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 07:00 PM

"Here is something interesting, you may already know that Microsoft plans to sell Windows Media Center as a separate paid pack, but now the company has just revealed that Windows 8 will also stop the support for DVD playback."

If you want to watch DVD movies on your Windows 8 computer in the future, you will have to get the Media Center Pack or the Windows 8 Pro Pack. The basic consumer version of Windows 8 will not include the ability to playback DVD movies. Microsoft's reasoning behind the omission is that more and more consumers are getting content from streaming sources so DVD playback is no longer on the top of the required capabilities list. No word on the pricing of the Media Center Pack yet.

Adobe's Creative Cloud Subscription Service - Worth It?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"Today is a big day for Adobe. Not only is the company officially unveiling the next versions of virtually all of the applications in its Creative Suite, but Adobe is also launching its Creative Cloud online offerings. This marks a major change in how Adobe is selling and marketing its flagship product: while the company will continue to offer a shrink-wrapped version of CS6, it's also introducing a subscription service with this update. For $49/month with an annual subscription or $79/month for month-to-month memberships, users can now get full access to any CS6 tool, including Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro and AfterEffects. The suite will also include Adobe's new HTML5 design and development tools Muse and Edge, and will be deeply integrated into the company's tablet apps. Users will be able to download and install these apps on up to two machines."

Adobe recently announced the newest release of Creative Suite, the sixth version (CS6). As shown in the graphic above, there are numerous feature enhancements across all the products in the suite. Upgrading even one of the Abobe apps can be an expensive proposition for most people. Personally, I have a copy of Photoshop that is a few revisions behind, but would like to upgrade it. It is probably a good time to do so from a functionality perspective. What is intriguing with this latest release of apps, is that a new option purchase option is available. Called Creative Cloud, this new purchase option is actually a subscription service. For $49/month (US) with an annual subscription or $79/month (US) for month-to-month memberships, users can now get full access to any CS6 tool. For me, this is an incredibly tempting offer.

The Read link article has all the details about the new edition of Creative Suite, and the new subscription service. Once you've had a chance to read it, drop back here and let me know if you think the subscription service is a good deal.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Keeping Your Digital Life in Sync

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"If you're wedded to one platform, it's a good bet you already have a tool that keeps your life synchronized and organized pretty well. For those of us who have to deal with multiple platforms, multiple computers and mobile devices with multiple operating systems, and work with people who use different ones than we do, there's Fruux, a free service that keeps your to-dos, calendars, and contacts in sync on almost any platform. Think of it like iCloud for the rest of us."

Way, way back, I was introduced to Outlook and Microsoft Exchange and loved it. The beauty I saw in it was the ability to have Outlook on multiple computers, and they would all synchronize with each other. Later, this would be expanded to include Windows Mobile and a web interface. It was wonderful to be able to have multiple devices all talking to each other (or in this case, a server) so that I had all my emails, contacts and tasks in one place. You could say that this was sort of like a hint at what cloud computing could offer.

Now, you'll find similar services through Google, Apple and Microsoft, but for a wider range of services and platforms but support across your iPhone, Transformer Prime, Linux Desktop and Windows laptop can prove a bit tricky. I have seen similar services in the past with a more business oriented flavour, but with Fruux out, it suggests that there still is a large enough market out there that we do not have to sit in a single camp for full syncing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Google Drive to Offer 5GB Storage

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM ree-launching-next-week-for-mac-windows-android-and-ios/

"Sometimes we get lucky, and today is one of those days. I got a draft release from a partner of Google’s upcoming Google Drive service and it gives away a wealth of information about how Google plans to take on the incumbent Dropbox. The short story? 5 GB of storage, and it launches next week, likely on Tuesday at"

Cloud storage seems to be pretty hot these days. With long time storage providers like Dropbox and Box, it looks like Google is finally jumping into the fray. Is what they provide good? Time will tell. I think it will partly be a matter of how well integrated their offerings are and how it plays with other applications. I do wonder just what Google will do with the data you store though, as I suspect, much like most of their offerings, they will use it to data mine everything about you, but for 5GB of free storage, off the bat, instead of after referrals, it is tempting.

This does raise the question about cloud storage in general and where it is heading. It looks to become much more generic, and could pose a threat against more specialized storage providers such as imgur. If Google also better integrates its other services with it, it could also compete against companies like Evernote as well. The next few years will prove to be interesting to see who wins out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Can the iPad Replace a Desktop for Photo Editing?

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Articles & Resources" @ 10:07 AM

"Since Apple’s first iPad came on the scene in 2010, people have wondered if tablets could stand in for computers. Few would argue they’re not up to casual tasks like Web browsing and emailing, but what about the more demanding ones? What about, say, photo editing? Until recently, that was firmly out of the question. The graphics and processing power of even the top tablets couldn’t hack it. But now, with the new iPad, I’m not so sure."

Everyone likes to chase technology, I suppose, but really, editing photos on a potentially 6-bit screen on an OS without a visible file system, being limited in toolset due to lack of input depth (multi-touch isn't everything), and having limited software that might be nice to use (Snapseed, iPhoto), well, I'm going to pass on this for my serious work for now. I still think the devices need a lot more power too, especially given the new DSLRs are coming out with ever increasing mega-pixel count.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Want to Run an App? There's a Router for that!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"The Linksys EA4500, EA3500, and EA2700 -- the "A" designation being short for "app-enabled" -- look like models in the earlier E Series but have more-powerful hardware and support Cisco Connect Cloud, the next generation of Cisco Connect software. The EA4500, for example, looks exactly the same as the original Linksys E4200, but the differences inside are significant."

While I love the idea of apps for a home router, I do not know if it will find much success. Apps for home server type machines have been tried before. Windows Home Server offers apps. Various other NAS devices also offer the ability for apps. None of them have found any significant success. I think the primary reason for this is that while there are benefits to hosting your own apps, most people have taken to the cloud as their main computing resource. With people being so mobile these days, why have something at your home base that you have to maintain when the cloud can do it? I certainly see value, and do run a lot of server like apps out of my home, but I do not think it will appeal to most people.

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