Windows 8.1 now available, brings many new features to the table

Windows updates have so far only been the kind that fix “security holes”, but Windows 8.1 branches away from the usual way MS does things and adds a whole lot of new features to the OS.

Windows 8.1 now available, brings many new features to the table

Windows 8.1 now available, brings many new features to the table

Microsoft Windows 8 gets a new lease of life, with the Windows 8.1 update that went live last night across Microsoft servers. The update should show up in the Windows Marketplace and if it doesn’t, we suggest some patience as the rollout is happening sequentially.

Windows 8.1, just like Windows 8, is a fresh departure from what we have come to think and see of Microsoft Windows. Windows 8 in of itself was radically different in terms of user interface and user experience, but Microsoft takes it up a notch with this new update, which is less “service pack” and more of a powerful boost of features. Windows 8.1 is a downloadable update that add a host of new features to the operating system, something that’s a long departure from the updates we’ve seen in the past. Earlier, all Microsoft dished out was updates that fixed things in the “back,”Windows 8.1 brings a lot of new things you can actually see.

We’ve been using Windows 8.1 from the day the Preview Build was released, and while it was somewhat buggy (especially the search), it seems that Microsoft has ironed out many of these gaping issues. In case you’re wondering what exactly is new, well, here are five new features of the update that we feel you might like instantly

The Start Button is Back!
First, it’s called the Start Tip. It’s a neat little Windows logo at the bottom left of the screen (where the Start orb used to be) that takes the user between the native desktop and the Start screen. While this is one of the most common uses of the Start Tip, what is little known is that right-clicking on it shows up a menu with the most useful set of options that were often accessed from the old Start Menu.

Snap View
Earlier in Windows 8, you could only Snap two applications side by side, but Windows 8.1 beefs up this feature significantly. Now, You can Snap as many windows together as you want, but in order to maintain the right visual aesthetic, there is a minimum requirement of 500 pixels (width) per snapped window. A full HD monitor will easily snap 3 windows while a monitor with a horizontal resolution of 2560 could snap up to 5. If you use a dual (or triple) screen setup, then the number rises even further! Perfect for an over-caffeinated junky like yourself no?

Bing Search Search Bing Bing Bing Search Search
The search feature in Windows 8 was alright, but what wasn’t so great was how the results were populated. You had to select what type of search result you wanted and that was rather annoying. With Windows 8.1, search gets a major upgrade, with all the results being shown in one place (with the possibility to segregate by type). However, search isn’t just scanning through your system for files, but also the web for any relevant information. For example, if you search for anything that’s Emma Stone on your PC (let’s say you had a few images you can’t find) and hit search, hitting the return key would bring up a new window that will not only show results from your system in one column, but also neatly populated web pages, and any media results you could need. The power to search for anything and everything from your desktop? Yes please!

SkyDrive and Skype
Windows 8.1, unlike its predecessor, comes pre-loaded with SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage solution and Skype, the popular VoIP program. Earlier, the two programs had to be individually downloaded and then configured, but now with them being built into Windows 8.1, they both work off the single Windows ID you use to log in. While this is great for those who’ve been using a unified ID across the various MS services, it can be a little troublesome for those who have SkyDrive signed up on a different account and use a different account to sign into their PC.

Boot to Desktop
During the build-up to the launch of Windows 8, many a times this feature popped up. It first popped up something that will be a part of Windows 8, then as a feature that was being dropped from Windows 8. This back and forth continued for quite some time, until the launch of the OS and boot to desktop was NOT an option. Disappointment ensued, but Microsoft wants you to turn that frown upside down. Windows 8.1 brings Boot to Desktop as a feature. All you have to do is right click on the Navigation bar at the bottom of the screen (in desktop mode) and click on Properties. Then you choose the “Navigation” tab and click on the first option under the Start Screen section.

Windows 8.1 is a free upgrade for those who are already on Windows 8 (or the Windows 8.1 Preview Build), but will cost money for anyone upgrading from an older OS. The good thing about purchasing Windows 8.1 outright is that it is a full license, unlike the “Upgrade” license that was introduced with Windows 8. IF you are unable to see the update in the Windows Store, you can click here to go directly to the download. Just a word of caution though, installing the update will erase all your programs and will require you to re-install everything, but your files WILL remain intact.



Microsoft to unveil new Windows Surface tablets on September 23

Microsoft released invites for the forthcoming Surface 2.0 event on September 23rd in New York City.

Microsoft to unveil new Windows Surface tablets on September 23

Microsoft to unveil new Windows Surface tablets on September 23

Microsoft is expected to unveil the next generation Surface tablets at an event in New York City on September 23rd. The company has already sent press invites to the media, though the software giant hasn’t made an official announcement about what it will put onstage.

According to rumours, Microsoft will unveil the Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets — both will be the revamped versions of the existing Surface RT and Surface Pro models. Reports suggest the company will not be launching the rumored Surface mini at the September 23 event.

The Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 will include a two stage kickstand, however both tablets will be very similar to the current models. Microsoft will also be upgrading the new Surface 2 Pro tablet to Intel’s new Haswell processor, along with 8GB of RAM onboard. The Haswell upgrade will significantly improve the battery life with up-to two hours of added usage to the Surface Pro 2.

Microsoft sends invites for September 23 event

The Surface 2 will come with Windows RT 8.1, although the company plans to do away with the ‘RT’ name from the actual device. The tablet is expected to feature a 1080p display, with Nividia’s Tegra 4 processor. Battery life on the Surface 2 is expected to be around 8 hours with a new Power cover accessory for both tablets that is expected to boost the battery life through a built in battery in the keyboard cover.

It is highly possible that both these devices will be showcased at the September 23rd event, along with a new power cover and a new Docking station accessory.

Source: TheVerge

Lenovo ties up with SweetLabs to bring Start Menu back to Windows 8

Clearly, the World’s No.1 laptop manufacturer has decided not to wait for Windows 8.1 update that is due for release on October 17.
Lenovo ties up with SweetLabs to bring Start Menu back to Windows 8
A lot of Windows 8 users had complained about the lack of the Start Menu in Windows 8, but till now, no one really had done anything about it. At least as far as OEMs were concerned. Now, Lenovo has decided to tie up with SweetLabs, a startup that has made the Pokki software for Windows 8. Pokki brings the Start Menu back to the Windows 8 desktop, in a similar layout to what users have seen in Windows 7 and earlier OS versions.

Lenovo, at the moment, is the world’s no.1 laptop manufacturer, having overtaken HP in the second quarter of 2013.

In a blog post, SweetLabs’ delight at the deal is clear, “We’re excited to announce that the #1 PC maker in the world, Lenovo, will be shipping Pokki on new Windows 8 devices worldwide! In other words, you’ll soon be able to buy a brand new Lenovo laptop or desktop with our full Pokki software suite integrated and ready to use out-of-the-box!Everything our hard working Pokki squirrel creates – from the Start menu to the modern desktop apps, to the app store and the new game arcade – is all about making the PC experience better for users, as well as helping developers get their apps in front of the right users.”

Lenovo will first install Pokki computers that will have English language set as default, but will eventually be installed on all Lenovo machines globally. SweetLabs is currently working on adding more languages to the Pokki software. The blog post says, “Even though Pokki has only known one language (English) up until now, we know that for the majority of our loyal fans and users, English isn’t your first language so we’re adding additional language support as quickly as we can.”

SweetLabs Pokki software brings the Start Menu back to the Windows 8 desktop

After receiving much criticism and feedback from users regarding the different desktop experience on Windows 8, Microsoft recently announced that the 8.1 update will bring back the start menu. This update will be available free to all Windows 8 users, from 17th October 2013.

Best Adsense Alternatives – Ad Networks That Really Pays You

Possibilities are you’ve heard of or at least utilized Google’s CTR-based marketing network– Google AdSense if you make money from your website or blog.

Google Adsense has, if we may, 2 distinct sort of publishers. Those who continuously get regular monthly cheques from Google, we call them the delighted publishers. The others, the not so delighted publishers.

This short article is catered for the latter team. Publishers have the tendency to search for an alternative for all types of reason. Below’s a list of contextual advertisement networks like Google Adsense, suggesting they reward you monetarily when site visitors clicked the contextual advertisements showed on your website.

Basically– they are the Best AdSense alternatives. We hope you discover them helpful.

Best Ad Networks – Adsense Alternatives

We have actually not utilized many of the advertisement networks below in the past. This is an effort to bring and find to your awareness more choices of contextual advertisements publishing. We recommend you to hang around thoroughly having a look at even more information (advertisement efficiencies, advertisement size/format, payout limit, repayment technique, online testimonials, etc) of any specific advertisement network you mean to make use of on your website.


When publishers come to find for an Adsense alternative, Chitika is most likely one of the leading selection. Chitika’s advertisements are search question steered, that indicates your site visitors will certainly not see the advertisements unless they are entering the website using online search engine.

Even with being among the most well-liked AdSense alternatives, Chitika’s advertisement efficiency are still a little bit on the reduced side for the majority of publishers. Publishers should certainly have a top quality website and make an application for Chitika’s Silver degree or Gold degree advertisement school in order to see rise in with regards to profits.

Yahoo! Bing NetworkYahoo! Bing Network

This brand-new advertisement network is a partnership of 2 of the most significant online search engine on the web, and it ought to not be perplexed with Yahoo’s alreadying existing YPN and Microsoft’s adCenter. Publishers of the Yahoo Bing Net handle their advertisement facilities by means of

Among the benefits of Yahoo Bing Network compare with Google AdSense is maybe its potential to permit publishers to tailor their advertisement spaces in regards to design (dimension, shade, forms) so it mixtures much better with their corresponding website.


Kontera utilizes the in-text advertising and marketing model. In summary, in content advertisements do not use up extra advertisement areas, instead, they examine your website’s material and transform appropriate key phrases or expressions in to hyperlinked content advertisement.

Kontera is based upon a CPC model, in yet another words publishers make money when site visitors click the advertisements. The advertisements personalized, that indicates you have the ability to modify the colour of the links, regulate the thickness of content hyperlinks and even limit transforming any kind of particular key words in to a content advertisement.


Clicksor has a selection of various sorts of advertisement styles. The 2 well-liked ones you might intend to consider are their content advertisements (Google AdSense similar) and in-text advertisements (Kontera similar).

Clicksor’s payment term is Net 15, and you could select cheque or Paypal repayment choice as long as your profits go over $50.00.

vibrant mediaVibrant Media

Much like Kontera, Vibrant Media is yet another advertisement network noteworthy for their in-text advertisements. Lively Media has actually just recently released 2 kinds of advertisement styles for added income flows, specifically the in-image advertisements which incorporate content advertisements within pictures, and show advertisements which deals with a Cost per-thousand Impressions (CPM) model.


AdSide’s banner advertisement style looks really much like Google AdSense with one exemption– it has a thumbnail left wing side of each row of advertisement.

AdSide advertisements focus on greatly on United States, Canada and United Kingdom site visitors. It could function for you if you have an amountful of web traffics coming from these stated areas.


Infolinks is yet one more in-text advertising and marketing network. If the existing in-text advertisement network is not carrying out well, they could likewise be thought about an excellent alternative.


LinkWorth is an industry for offering and purchasing content connects. They have great deals of items to meet numerous sort of needs from marketers and publishers. Blog writers have the ability to generate income from their blog sites offering content web links in different means on their marketers and blog sites have the ability to obtain first class back links and website traffic for their website through content hyperlinks which inevitably aid them produce even more company from their web sites.


You have the selection whether to instantly accept advertisements that will certainly show up, or you could be emailed every time a deal is made and you by hand authorize. Does not make use of any kind of advertisement room so could be utilized with various other advertisement networks. 2 advertisement kinds readily available, textlinks inside the material and connected textlinks that show up inside of the sidebar.


There are really 2 methods to generate cash utilizing Reachli. One is with your social networks and the various other is with In-image advertising and marketing. In-image advertising and marketing essentially transforms your alreadying existing pictures int advertisements that when clicked, create profits for you, the website business owner. You’ll be given a solitary line of javascript to embed in your website to begin creating income when you’ve gone via the tutorial.

Amber Update on the Lumia 920: A First, In-Depth Look

The much awaited Amber Update for the Lumia deivces is yet to arrive for Indian consumers, but if you’re eager to know how it fares, we’ve got the scoop for you.

Amber Update on the Lumia 920: A First, In-Depth Look

Microsoft and Nokia have been teasing the GDR2 and the Amber update for quite a few months now and with the release date being so close, the Lumia owners have just been salivating to get the update.


The GDR2 update from Microsoft brings updates to the Windows Phone 8 OS such as Data Sense while the Amber update is Nokia’s own “value addition” to the GDR2, bringing features like the Glance Screen and Peek.

We got our hands on the official update and here is what the update has in store for you:

Data Sense
This is a nifty little updater courtesy Microsoft, which will come to every phone that gets the GDR2 update. The app essentially monitors your data usage. The app lays out the data consumed over Wi-Fi and cellular data separately, which is great if you want to monitor your data consumption. What’s great, however, is that the app lays out every single app’s data consumption incredibly neatly, and separated by Wi-Fi and cellular data. 
Lastly, you can set a data consumption limit to make sure you don’t go over your monthly data limit. You can even set the date on which your data cycle resets and in case you end up using up more than you should, then Data Sense can disable the use of cellular data altogether to save your phone bill from blowing up.

Glance and Peek
One of the most excitable features about the Amber update was the Glance option being added to the Display settings. The Glance screen, once enabled, will display a live clock along with missed notifications. However, the best part is being able to wake the phone up with just two taps on the screen. The feature is extremely handy in case you need constant access to important information. However, the feature does consume battery, so Nokia came up with a work-around.
The Peek feature takes advantage of proximity sensors built-into the Lumia devices. Now to save battery, we simply enabled Peek from the Display settings, which turns off the Glance Screen, but allows you to bring it up by simply waving your hand over the phone. We tried waving our hand at various heights, but found that the feature works best when the hand is waved within an inch or two of the phone. Even if this isn’t the final build of the feature, it still works incredibly well.

The Amber update from Nokia finally enables the latent FM radio chip that’s been chilling in all the new Lumia phones (save for the 820, sorry folks). The radio can be accessed from the Music App, as the option now appears at the main menu, right under Podcasts. One thing we should point out though, like all phones that have the radio feature, the phone requires the use of headphones as an antenna, so if you’re using a set of cans whose cables are Kevlar coated (V-Moda) or are just generally of a thick gauge, you might have some trouble getting optimum reception.

Shutter Button Customization
Up until now, Windows Phone 8 did not allow the physical shutter button to be re-assigned to anything but the stock camera app. With the GDR2 and Amber update, the camera button can now be reconfigured to launch Nokia’s Smart Camera app that comes with the Amber update. Once Nokia releases the Pro Camera app, the one on the Lumia 1020, the physical shutter button could be reconfigured to run that too. While we do like this little flexibility, we would have really preferred if we could have the physical shutter button launch any camera app, even those downloaded from the Windows Phone Store such as Pro Shot.

Display Colour Profiles
Adding more customization to the phone, specifically the display, Nokia’s introduced “Lumia Colour Profiles,” a way to set your own colour temperature and saturation level for the screen. This is great for anyone who likes to have a specific colour grade to their display. Photographers who like their colour to be absolutely pin-point accurate are definitely bound to be excited by this little feature, as are we.

SMS and Call Filter
Up until now, there has really been no way of avoiding calls from unwanted elements, unless you dished out money for apps since no mobile operating system has the feature built-in. Apple’s iOS allows you to block all or select calls after a particular time, but there really is no real solution to filtering calls and messages. Nokia aims at changing that as they have included a “Call+SMS filter” setting, wherein you can set add your unwanted contacts to a “Blocked List” and from there on, calls or messages from those numbers. Trust us when we say this, it works SO VERY WELL!

CardDAV and CalDAV Protocols Support
Windows Phone users have been cowering under Google’s threat of cutting off ActiveSync support for quite some time now. What this meant was that once support was cut off, users wouldn’t be able to sync their calendars or contacts to their Windows Phone devices. However, with the GDR2 update, Microsoft has brought CardDAV and CalDAV support to Windows Phone devices, thanks to which you can continue syncing your contacts and calendars from Google. Also, you can now receive business cards over text messages.

Closing Thoughts
The Amber update running on our Lumia 920 brings with it several major updates, all of which we have discussed above. They all work very well, given that we are running the final version of the Amber Update (or at least final up until now). The one thing we have definitely noticed is that ever since installing the update, our battery life has improved, even if just slightly. Even with the Glance Screen and Peek feature on, the phone is lasting us an entire day (if not just slightly more) with our usual barrage of WhatsApp, Facebook, about 3 hours of Phone calls and an incessant need to constantly fiddle with the phone. 
While the Amber Update has started rolling out across various countries and carriers, it is yet to make an appearance on the Indian device pool. We are hearing the update could be coming to the phones by the end of August, but there is no official date for the rollout yet. However, once it does become available, we will surely be the first to let you know.


Xbox One to allow developers to self-publish games

Microsoft says ability to self-publish games won’t be available at Xbox One‘s launch but will be added during the console’s first year in the market.

Xbox One to allow developers to self-publish games

Xbox One to allow developers to self-publish games

Microsoft has announced that game developers will be able to ‘self-publish’ using the Xbox One console. This means that indie game developers can publish their games directly on the Xbox Live games marketplace without the need to rely on established publishers or restricting their games to an indie-specific channel like the current Xbox Live Indie Games store that serves Xbox 360 users. However, Microsoft also clarified that self-publishing wouldn’t be a feature at the time of the Xbox One‘s launch in November this year but will be added during the console’s first year.

According to Microsoft, an Xbox One user would only need a free copy of the Unity 3D engine along with the console to be able to develop and publish games on Xbox Live.

Polygon quotes Marc Whitten, Xbox Corporate Vice President, “Our vision is that every person can be a creator. That every Xbox One can be used for development. That every game and experience can take advantage of all of the features of Xbox One and Xbox Live. This means self-publishing. This means Kinect, the cloud, achievements. This means great discoverability on Xbox Live. We’ll have more details on the program and the timeline at Gamescom in August.”

Microsoft’s announcement elicited mixed responses from developers. There was optimism from the likes of Kevin Dent of Tiswaz Entertainment who said to Polygon, “I love it. If you want to put a swear word in there, I f*****g love it. If they’re going the route of iOS where anyone can publish — where some kid in Ohio can make the next Angry Birds in his mom’s basement (just to throw in a stereotype), this is brilliant news.” Jamie Cheng from Klei Entertainment, the developers of the indie smash-hit Mark of the Ninja gave a slightly more sober reaction to Polygon. “I think the real test will be the discoverability of the games on the (Xbox Live) dashboard. The gauge of a healthy channel is the success of the middle — it’s not enough that a few games are hits, there also needs to be a wide base of developers that are making a decent income. This lowers the threshold and allows more developers to jump in and take risks.”

However, there were also developers like Brian Provinciano, the creator of Retro City Rampage, who didn’t think the ability to self-publish was worth dealing with Microsoft. “After my experience working with them to release on Xbox 360, I have no interest in even buying an Xbox One, let alone developing for it,” he said to VG 24/7. “The policy changes are great, but they don’t undo the experience I had. I’m not ready to forget what I went through. Working with Microsoft was the unhappiest point of my career. Policies are one thing, but developer relations are another.”

This announcement is an indication that Microsoft is steadily trying to make amends for its disastrous Xbox One launch. Microsoft has already given up on unpopular features like mandatory Internet checks every 24 hours and no support for used games. But it still needs to do a lot more if it intends to win the war against the Sony Playstation 4 that is also scheduled to launch in November, this year.

Sources: Polygon (1), VG 24/7