Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 Review

Introduction


It has been about six months since Synology launched the Beta program for the new DiskStation Manager (DSM) 6.0 and we’re so very close to an official release. Today I’m taking a closer look at just this new operating system and will show you the new improvements and features.

This review is a little special for me as my NAS reviews normally focus a lot more on the hardware side of things as well as the performance. It isn’t that I don’t show the user interface and features, but there isn’t room to dive as deep into the system as there is today where I’m focusing on the operating system and apps alone.

There are a lot of new great enhancements in DSM 6.0 and one of the best is one that you’ll barely notice as a normal user because it’s going on behind the curtains. The new OS has been upgraded to a 64-bit architecture on compatible models. This will not only allow for a better overall performance by utilizing the modern CPUs a lot better, it also supports over 4GB memory allocation for one single process to deploy large scale applications.

Synology also took some of the previous built-in features and modularized them into packages instead. This ensures better system maintenance and update flexibility. The Modularization in DSM 6.0 includes Storage Analyzer, Hyper Backup, PHP, Web Station and Text Editor, Log Center with basic built-in functions in DSM and extensive functions via package download, WebDAV, and Snapshot Replication.

DSM 6.0 brings a lot of enhancements for both home users and enterprises alike. The High Availability Manager server is now able to handle split-brain errors a lot better and it doesn’t require a full data replication anymore to get back up and running. This can save you from valuable downtime and thereby profit loss. It also comes with improved upgrade efficiency and cluster binding, and best of all, it also supports Docker DSM

Backup and replication got new features too and some things got moved around to accommodate the new add-on packages. Any existing setups will automatically be moved to the new locations upon upgrading, so that’s not something you need to worry about. CSP support got added to the security features in order to prevent XSS attacks while TLS and SSL profiles can be adjusted according to your browser capability and settings. Another nifty new security feature is that you can add and manage you most frequently used devices as trusted devices that don’t need a verification code every time you log in.

There are several new and pretty awesome features in DSM 6.0 beta, where on of them is the Docker DSM. Businesses can create a multi-tenant environment with flexible resource control and secure isolation. All Docker DSMs run independently from each other and provide additional features such as live migration. Synology’s multi-version backup provides snapshot and replication to one or more remote sites, up to every 5 minutes, and block-level incremental backup and cross-version deduplication is also included. You’re well covered here.

The SSD cache feature allows you to use up to 12 SSDs now, but that amount is naturally for the big enterprise models and the home-use NAS don’t come that kind of drive-bay amount. When SSD cache is enabled on a volume with advanced iSCSI LUNs, the performance can be improved up to 30%. You can now use different SSD models to create an SSD cache.

This is truly an upgrade that worth the shift from 5.x to 6.0 with the amount of features added, and I’ve only mentioned some of them up until now. The search feature won’t just search file and directory names now, it can also search the files actual content as well as meta tags to find just the thing you’re looking for. You can use 802.1X network authentication for wired networks and organize your firewall rules into different profiles.

There’s also a new Spreadsheet feature with co-editing, historical versions, tag, and file sharing link as part of Note Station. Offline editing, one-click email clipping, and instant table-chart conversion is also part of the deal. Apple Watch users can now enjoy the Note Station even more as it is now compatible with the Watch. Owners of an Apple Watch can now check notes directly on their wrist, or create new notes via voice input.

MailPlus server comes with active-active architecture, load balancing, and content filters and allows you to have a great mail solution running right from your own location. The clients are browser- and mobile-based and feature physical mailbox, virtual labels, auto-filter, and sticker.

Cloud Station Server and Cloud Sync now provide users with flexible synchronization of files within specified subfolders in addition to shared folders. Small file syncing has now become over 8 times faster than before which is great as those small files often come in big groups. Synology also revamped the Video station for this new version. It now supports offline transcoding, on-screen buttons, and Windows 10. DS Audio got Apple Watch support now too, to allow users to select songs, playlists, and broadcasts directly.

Amazon to Restore FireOS Encryption in Spring

Just one day after it was discovered that Amazon had stripped the option to use encryption on devices powered by their FireOS 5 operating system, Amazon has announced that the feature will be returning in a software update “coming this spring.” Originally Amazon had reported that they had removed the feature due to lack of usage, however, the issue became big news with the current debates raging on over the subject.

Fire OS 5 has lacked encryption since its release in the autumn of 2015, however due to how quietly it was removed, the change was only noticed when the rollout of the OS to older devices took place. This removed the option of encryption even on devices that had originally shipped with the feature from an older version of Fire OS. As expected, this news did not go down well with many consumers, especially the most security conscious users, many seeing it as them giving up the fight for encryption and privacy before it had even begun for them.

Amazon re-adding encryption to Fire OS 5 is hardly surprising. The backlash against disabling the feature on any device using the OS could cost them both in reputation and profits. Also, as the feature was removed before the FBI/Apple encryption battle began, there was far less attention to its presence, which has now become an issue considered in the tech community worldwide.

For many, the lack of encryption would have been a deal-breaker in the purchase of their products. Are you glad to see Amazon reversing their course on the topic, or would you have bought an Amazon tablet regardless?

Google Experimenting With Recommended Articles in Chrome

When people hear search engine there are a few that jump out at them, with many instantly going straight to Google. The popular search engine has helped create everything from the web browser Chrome to self-driving cars. One of their latest endeavours will be to recommend articles directly into your web browser.

Currently still in testing, the new feature is not available for public use or even beta but would see a list of articles recommended based on your most-visited sites. Recommended articles would appear on the new tab page for their Chrome browser, meaning that opening up a new tab could bring to a site you never even thought about visiting before.

Currently, the feature can only be uncovered by reading the tickets on Chromium Code reviews, something which VentureBeat has done with amazing detail. Amongst the discovered tickets the feature (currently known as “ChromeReader” or “Morning Reads”) uses a hard coded set of search parameters, meaning that everyone would see the same results no matter what they visit or see. This will obviously be changed before its release and would be required for the “snippets” to become something most people would use.

Snippets would include everything from a few words in the header to a brief description, with recommended features being changing how often they would fetch snippets and information based on how much power your device has or what time of the day it is.

There is no knowing what you might find on the internet, sometimes a quick ten minutes at your computer can turn into 20 minutes of YouTube videos of cats playing music before you realise what you were originally going to do.

Do you think that a new feature like this would help you? Would it just be a gimmick to give Chrome another feature on an already impressive arsenal?

ASUSTOR NAS Adds Comprehensive Search App QuikFynd

ASUSTOR’s latest NAS feature could be one of the most useful features yet to be added, but it does come with a few things that you should pay attention to before you get too excited. The new feature is called QuikFynd and while it sounds like a frying pan from IKEA, it is an awesome search feature for your NAS.

The first thing that might come between you and the usage of QuikFynd is that it is limited to the x86 based models. This is however a logic limitation as it is a feature that requires some proper performance in order to deliver a workable experience. Also, most ASUSTOR NAS are X86 based, so users of ASUSTOR 2, 3, 6, 31, 50, 51,61, 62, 70 series devices combined with the latest ADM 2.5.2 version and onwards can now find the comprehensive search app QuikFynd in their App Central.

“With data become digitized in exponential amounts, businesses and individual users alike, all face the problematic task of accurately searching for items from amongst thousands of files and terabytes of data. QuikFynd provides a convenient search solution, allowing users to quickly search for target files stored on their NAS according to content, file name or tags.”

After installation, users can open the dedicated interface from the ADM desktop and begin searching or use one of the mobile apps that also should be available now. You have the full privacy of your files as everything is stored on your own server at home.

There is one more thing with ASUSTOR’s QuikFynd that you should pay attention to. There are two different versions of this feature, a Lite version that is free or a Pro version that you’ll need to pay for. Both versions offer search by names and meta-data tags, streaming over local networks, search history, recent items, access from a browser, and access from mobile apps. The Pro version also allows for full-text search, location details from GPS tags, search text within images, stream to remote devices, and result-highlighting.

ASUSTOR is letting you try the Pro version for 3-months without costs, but after that, you’ll have to pay either $20 for a year’s subscription or $60 for a lifetime subscription to the QuikFynd Pro features. As previously mentioned, the apps can be found through your App Central within the ADM and you can find all the details and subscribe on the official website.

Comedy Team Uses Only The Prius Backup Camera to Create Movie

I don’t know why nobody has come up with this idea earlier, or maybe they have and just realised how stupid it was. And while it is kinda stupid, it’s also quite impressive and funny at the same time. So what is? Well, someone actually went along to use just the Back-Up camera in their Toyota Prius to make a feature film. At least, that is what it appears like, but I don’t think that it is entirely true.

The Mommy Sketch Comedy group of Los Angeles, CA released a new YouTube video that appears to be a behind the scenes of the first feature film shot entirely on Prius backup camera. I do however think that the video is all we get in this regards, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny to watch. It might even give someone the idea to do just that for real. After all, we have seen films created entirely with iPhone’s and other similar gadgets, so why not a Prius Back-Up camera.

The Mommy Sketch group consists of Andrew Heder as a writer, director and improviser and Ryan Kelly as a writer, director, editor, and improviser. Other than this sparse info, the group doesn’t provide much information on themselves. The do have more videos around, but they aren’t that many yet. The group appears to be relatively new with the YouTube channel just about a half-year-old.

The 6 minute behind the scenes video will teach you how to frame your shots from the backseat, how to deal with a crew member suffering from a donut-induced coma, and how to avoid running your cast over. All relevant skills to have, at least in this case. I won’t spoil more of it before you watch it except to say, I hope you don’t have a fear of directors wearing scarfs.

iPhone 7 Rumoured To Be Waterproof!

We have all dropped our phone, some of us have been lucky enough to pick up a functioning phone afterwards. Some of us, however, have been less than lucky, dropping our phone into a puddle or a cup and seeing that water cover the device. After a night in rice in the airing cupboard, we’ve all wished we just had a waterproof phone. It looks like that may be the case for the new iPhone 7 though.

Tests reportedly conducted on the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus have shown that they are apparently virtually waterproof (we at eTeknix do not recommend testing this with your own phone), while the iPhone 7 is set for release later in the year it is also set to bring along several new features.

With dual rear cameras and optical zoom, fingerprint recognition on the main screen and wireless charging, it could soon see you enjoying a whole new experience with a device which could even get rid of that little home button at the bottom of your phone. Another rumoured feature is that the iPhone 7 could be completely waterproof, a feature which will come as more of a relief to some than it will to overs.

Are you looking forward to the iPhone 7? Have you ever dropped your phone in water before? In the meanwhile enjoy this video of someone dunking iPhones in water.

 

What We Hope to See at CES 2016

CES 2016 is rapidly approaching and there’s no doubt that many of the leading technology manufacturers from all around the world will be there, showing off their latest wares. CES is no stranger to huge product launches and reveals, but without many hints at what we will actually see at the event, which is due to kick off in the first week of January next year, here’s a quick run down of what I’m hoping to see. Of course, these aren’t so much predictions, as wishful thinking, but I like to think I’ve been going to CES for long enough to make an educated guess of how things will go down.


Cheaper 4K Displays

This one is obvious, some of the first 4K displays in the world were first seen at CES, then the year after, we saw them finally dropping down below $1000 both in the home cinema and desktop display markets. Panel production is quickly ramping up and the hardware is becoming more consumer friendly by the day, with increasing levels of content and more so, 4K gaming capable PC hardware.


Ultra HD Blu-Ray Players

Ultra HD is coming, with the first prototype player being shown at CES 2015 and Computex 2015. The format officially launches in January and discs will be available at retail, so that means we need consumer ready players and CES is the perfect launch pad for them. Expect all the big names, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and many others to have something ready to show off and bundle with their 4KTV ranges throughout 2016.


VR

Oculus, Vive, PlayStation VR and about a dozen others are set to fully launch throughout 2016, so you can bet they’ll all have something to show. We’re nearing the end of the first wave of development for consumer VR and that means they’ve got one big show to say “we’re better at this than the other guy!” Personally, I’m thinking Oculus will be the front-runner, but Vive is certainly the strongest contender to take them down a few pegs.


Wearable Tech

Smart watches, clothes, shoes, glasses, the list goes on and on. There’s no doubt that the market is crammed with wearable tech right now, but for me, even the most recent wearable tech such as the Apple Watch and well, any smartwatch actually, has done little to excite me or make me feel compelled to reach for my credit card. This year, I’m hoping to see something really worthwhile in this part of the market. Lighter, faster, more features and longer battery life, that’s where this market needs to go.


Everything Else

Faster processors, more powerful graphics cards, new feature packed motherboards, innovative CPU coolers, kick-ass PC cases and so much more, this much is pretty much a given for any big technology event. What we will see will no doubt features dozens of amazing products and you can rest assured that we’ll be there in Las Vegas bringing you the latest.

What are you hoping to see revealed or launched at CES 2016?

Thecus Adds System Failover Feature in Firmware Update For ThecusOS 5.0

Network attached storage is great and with plenty of bays and drive arrays you can build yourself a system with great redundancy, but that is little good if the power or network connection goes out on the NAS. When such a scenario happens, you’ll need an active failover feature and that is just what Thecus added with a firmware update for the ThecusOS 5.0.

By utilizing System Failover, users will be able to create data, network, and system redundancy and thereby minimize disruptions in the workflow. The Thecus System Failover feature is a fault tolerance process that creates mirrored data volumes. With at least two Thecus NAS available, data is copied by schedule and all changes are mirrored between the two NAS systems. While the second NAS is not visible, it communicates with the primary NAS and takes over to become the primary NAS in the event of a power or network failure, a scheduled maintenance, or other unforeseen circumstances.

This new feature isn’t just for large companies, small and medium businesses rely more and more on their storage and any downtime is critical. With two Thecus NAS systems, you get a great redundancy at a fairly low price.

System Failover is available now on the following Thecus NAS models:

  • N16000, N12000, N16000PRO, N12000PRO, N16000V, N12000V, N8900V, N8900PRO, N8900
  • N6850, N8850, N10850
  • N7710, N7710-G, N7770-10G, N8810U, N8810U-G, N8880U-10G, N7700PROV2, N8800PROV2
  • N2800, N4510U, N4510UPRO, N4800, N4800ECO, N5550, N5810PRO, N7510

Weigh an Orange with Huawei Force Touch Tech

WAIT! I genuinely have not lost the plot with this article, but Chinese multinational and telecommunications company Huawei might just be walking that tightrope after using its new Mate S Smartphone to see how heavy an orange is at the IFA in Berlin.

The company used its Force Touch Tech within the new phone model to convey the fruits weight on stage at the event. The phone judged the Orange to weigh 280 grams with observers feeling this might not be pinpoint accurate considering an average orange would weigh around 200 grams. What is clearer is that Huawei might have stolen a march on Apple who have introduced Force Touch on the new Apple iWatch and are rumoured to be considering developing the tech for the iPhone.

There are still a few questions to be answered, namely, what would be the heaviest object you would be able to rest on your phone? Imagine the lawsuits if consumers decide to weigh a big bag of sugar and end up splitting their new phone in two. Other new features for the Mate S include the second generation “Knuckle Sense Feature” It reads like Sideshow Bob has designed this, but stick with me; apparently this uses the input from the user’s knuckles for different functions. So how does that work? Glad you asked, no idea, apparently as a quick launch feature the user can assign a letter to an app and then launch said app by drawing the letter with a knuckle at any point.

Pressure sensitive screens are a compelling evolution for mobile devices, Huawei’s features might seem gimmicky, but at least it’s open to debate with the aim of seeing where this tech will lead to. Perhaps Huawei would have made a bigger statement by weighing an Apple instead of an Orange, or a marshmallow, or Lollipop or an Edge of something, or an actual Fox.

Thank you theverge for providing us with this information.

Star Wars Battlefront Scraps Single Player in Favour of Multiplayer Gameplay

I always used to play the single player campaign in all Battlefield series. It might not have been the best, but it was enjoyable and something to do to pass the time. But since the upcoming Star Wars Battlefront title was announced, no word about its single player campaign was released to the public.

I know the title in question is not Battlefield, but I was hoping to see a single player campaign that follows the Star Wars storyline a bit. However, the latest information coming from Pete Moore, EA’s COO, tells that they scrapped the single player mode and are solely focusing on the multiplayer bit.

Moore says that nobody is playing the single player campaign in games focused on multiplayer gameplay and he emphasizes that they encountered the same problem when developing Star Wars: The Old Republic. He stated that “people don’t play the single player on these types of games”, but still leaves a back door opened to make single player available in a sequel, should there be demand of it.

I don’t think people would mind the title not coming out with a single player campaign since everyone will rush for the multiplayer feature from day one, but it would have been nice to have one for those of us who want a story strapped to the Star Wars title. What do you think?

Thank you TechnoBuffalo for providing us with this information

Redditer Discovered Hidden Feature in iOS 9 and Mac OS X El Capitan

We got a lot of information out of what to expect from iOS 9 and El Capitan this fall at Apple’s WWDC in June. Even so, developers are said to be good at discovering Apple’s ‘hidden’ new features, but this time around, it seems that one of them, who I think is actually useful, was actually discovered by someone else.

A redditer going by the name of homeboi808 seems to have stumbled upon a feature who went on unnoticed so far. On both iOS 9 and El Capitan, if you tap on a flight number in either the Mail, Messages or Notes app, the OS’ will work the flight out and give you a flight path overview, along with all information about that flight. This includes arrival, departure times, possible delays and even airport terminal details.

It seems that Apple has added a built-in feature that detects and reacts to gestures when it finds a flight number. However, that needs to adhere to the actual flight number style, so don’t expect it to do the same with just anything you type in. Even so, the flight number needs to be valid in order to get information about it.

Even so, the feature is really helpful when you’re expecting to pick someone up from the airport or are planning a journey. Getting up-to-date information about your flights is a must from my point of view. What do you think?

Thank you BGR for providing us with this information

Witcher 3 Gets Mod Support With New Tool

Those of you who were eagerly awaiting to mod CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 should be interested in this. The developer has announced that it released a new tool, named ModKit, which grants you everything you need to mod the title as you see fit.

ModKit seems to come with a lot of options, from modding the appearance of in-game objects with texture import and export, to making your own scripts and fiddle with the gameplay mechanics. I haven’t modded anything in a long time, but the tools given here are almost everything you need to change the whole game. If we are to talk about something more complex than this, we are already talking about a fully fledged game engine development kit.

However, ModKit is not an actual mod editor or game engine, but a set of tools to get you started. But with all these options and features offered, I think more experienced modders will surprise us with their craftsmanship in no time. I personally can’t wait for the first one to be released!

You can download ModKit from here, but we also want to hear about what you think. Are you excited for the upcoming mods? Will you test your skills too? Let us know!

Thank you Tech Report for providing us with this information

OneDrive Can Finally Sync Shared Folders

The long-awaited option to synch shared folders on OneDrive is finally here. Microsoft finally started to roll out an update that allows users to sync content in shared folders and have it pushed to other users as soon as the files get synced.

Up until now, Google Drive and Dropbox took the lead in sharing folders and making it easier to collaborate with other people on the same projects. I personally preferred Dropbox so far due to the fact that it synced files and delivered the updated files to colleagues almost instantly (depending on the internet speed, of course). However, as Microsoft wants to integrate OneDrive in its upcoming Office 2016 suite, changes needed to be made.

Besides, synching folders in OneDrive was one of the top upvoted features in Microsoft’s feedback forum, so it was bound to be implemented sooner or later. You may not have the feature yet, but Microsoft is said to have started gradually rolling out the update to users. Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10 and Mac OS X will get the aforementioned update, and yes, it seems that Windows 8.1 will be skipped. OneDrive Director of Product Management, Angus Logan, tells that Microsoft is focusing on Windows 10 and this might be a way to ‘force’ users to update to the latest Microsoft OS.

It seems that Microsoft is moving one step closer to helping businesses collaborate and make it easier to share and sync files, but is it enough to get you to switch to OneDrive? We like to know what software you are using to share folders. Is it Dropbox, Google Drive, or will you switch to OneDrive in the end? Let us know!

Thank you PCWorld for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of macitynet.it

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade to Windows 10 Today

Introduction


The launch date of Windows 10 has finally arrived after an extensive Beta testing period for users in the Windows Insider Program. Microsoft’s latest operating system is designed to be light on system resources and implement the Metro user-interface in a less obnoxious way. Windows 8 was heavily criticized by Microsoft customers, game developers and even Valve who became so concerned, they pushed their own Linux-based operating system. Microsoft’s strategic direction was too focused on mobile devices and tried to implement touch functionality at the expense of Desktop PCs.

Microsoft made a catastrophic error in trying to enforce full-screen applications through the Metro user-interface. As a result, it was extremely awkward to arrange multiple Windows and the OS felt pretty cluttered. Furthermore, navigating to newly installed programs, the Control Panel or advanced settings seemed counter-intuitive and hidden behind too many sub-menus. The end result was a terrible operating system for power users or customers opting for a traditional keyboard and mouse control scheme.

Windows 8.1 alleviated some of these concerns but kept the garish Metro system and Microsoft were unwilling to admit defeat. Many users derogatorily refer to Windows 8 as “the next Vista” and refuse to upgrade from the highly acclaimed Windows 7 operating system. Given the amount of disdain Windows 8 received, you might be a little perplexed about not upgrading today. However, there are a number of factors which you should take into consideration before upgrading.

Slow Download Servers


As with any digital product launch, the download servers are being hammered and resulting in extremely slow download speeds. This can create a rather frustrating experience as the queues grow and Microsoft struggles to keep up with demand. Perhaps waiting a few days is a more cogent option so you can download the update when the servers aren’t overpopulated. Also, the free download only applies to existing customers. Subsequently, you cannot legitimately acquire an ISO from a fast mirror and apply the update yourself. Personally, I would perform a re-format of my existing operating system, then install Windows 10; unless you have a boot SSD and few programs, this may take a while.

Windows 10 Could Suffer From Undocumented Compatibility Problems


Despite undergoing a thorough Beta testing phase, Windows 10 hasn’t been adopted on such a widespread scale. This means various third-party programs, games or hardware could experience teething problems. For example, older printers using a Parallel to USB converter might no longer work until the manufacturer releases a fix. Of course, this is a very small percentage of people but emphasizes what kind of problems you might run into. More commonly, many older games could become unstable or fail to detect the platform being used. It shouldn’t be a major issue due to Windows’ compatibility mode, but it’s something to be wary of.

Additionally, mods or unofficial game patches are untested and it’s sensible to let others be the guinea pig. Another factor to take into consideration is the amount of old games like Wing Commander which already struggle on modern operating systems. Windows 10 is brand new, so the amount of threads with information to get the game running will be minimal. Hopefully, the Windows 8.1 fixes work on Windows 10, but this is still an unknown entity.

DirectX 12 is Here, the Games are not


In terms of potential, DirectX 12 is one of the most revolutionary changes to PC Gaming in over a decade. This new low-level API reduces CPU overheads and theoretically increases the performance of games by an estimated 20%. However, there are no games on the market able to leverage this extra performance and it’s up to developers to begin supporting the new API. Realistically, this could take at least a year before modern games are reworked to use DirectX 12.

A large quantity of older games were produced by defunct studios and unable to implement DirectX 12 functionality. I highly doubt this could be done by a modder since the engine needs to be reworked. The data on DirectX 12 is quite new and we need to wait until the API has matured before analyzing its significance. Make no mistake, DirectX 12 will be a monumental change, but gamers shouldn’t expect to see this anytime soon.

Windows 10 Will be Free for a Year


It’s remarkably easy to get into the hullabaloo of a product launch and be disappointed by the final result. There’s no need to rush if you want to upgrade because Windows 10 will remain free for an entire year. As such, you could wait a month to see how well the operating system has been received and until the launch bugs are patched. Perhaps Windows 10 doesn’t offer enough of an improvement from Windows 7 and isn’t worth the hassle of learning a new visual style. This will be fairly prominent with those who aren’t technically minded and struggle to navigate around an operating system.

The Metro UI Still Exists


For all Windows 10’s posturing about returning to its Desktop roots, the Metro UI is still an integral component, albeit in a less obtrusive manner. In Windows 10, clicking the Start icon brings up the familiar Start menu. Unfortunately, this takes up a lot more space as the Metro icons are positioned adjacent to the Start menu. Once pressed, the menu can take up to 50% of your screen space instead of the narrow 20% seen in Windows 7. Microsoft’s ideology revolves and integrating all their services together including mobile, PC and Xbox. This sounds like a good idea, but I strongly believe Microsoft should release two versions of Windows 10; a Metro-based tablet edition and PC version which drops the Metro UI completely.

Windows 8 or 8.1 users can download an invaluable tool called Classic Shell which removes the Metro UI and replaces it with a simple, yet customizable Start menu. I’m surprised Microsoft didn’t take greater notice of this software which creates a much better experience than Windows’ 10 default setup. While the tool should work on Windows 10, this is just another example of how previous operating systems can be made more intuitive than Microsoft’s latest effort.

Final Thoughts


Windows 10 is shaping up to be a highly successful release, as Microsoft attempts to transfer individuals from older operating systems through the free upgrade incentive. Despite this, launch dates are always marred with a wide array of problems. In this case, the servers are almost at breaking point and I wouldn’t recommend downloading the update right now. Furthermore, DirectX 12 games could be some time off, and the Metro user-interface is still an integral part of the user-experience.

There’s no need to rush out and instantly download the update either as the average user will not majorly benefit from upgrading today. This doesn’t apply to technology enthusiasts or tweakers who want to play with the latest operating system. I’m still wary about the lack of mature drivers for unusual peripherals and wonder if they will work without any complications.

Microsoft has hinted that this could be the last version of Windows formally released. After that, Windows could possibly become a service platform which evolves without reselling the operating system as a product revision. Windows 10 is here and you should definitely upgrade, but now is probably not the best time for everyone.

Twitter Removing User Backgrounds

Twitter has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of the social media revolution; the ability to tweet updates to millions of followers has revolutionized the world as we know it. But, have you noticed something slightly different about your profile? No, ok, moving on. Seriously though twitter has seemingly removed wallpapers from users home and notifications timelines as of Monday 20th July 2015.

Twitter confirmed that users will now see a stark all-white background in place of their usual customized backgrounds, when viewing their profile, ntifications, and main timeline. A Twitter spokesman stated that “background images are only available where logged-in users will see them publicly i.e. Tweet pages, list pages, and collections pages.”

Safe to say people did not take this well and voiced their opinions on, yes Twitter, with one person pointing out that this was similar to the actions of Myspace before its decline. This decision is also not entirely new considering the social media giant did start to remove backgrounds from new users as of last year, only difference this time is that they have rolled out this idea to everyone.

It seems rather odd and pointless to artificially create a storm over a feature which could so easily have been kept. Whether consumer’s care enough about this news is another story, considering for example Facebook has also had multiple redesigns ranging from the popular to the awful and still retained a significant number of consumers, only time will tell.

Thank you Mashable UK for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of El Dia

Take a Look at a Leaked Version of Cortana for Android

Microsoft announced in May that it will roll out its personal assistant, Cortana, to Android and iOS. As the official launch is getting closer, so are the leaks it seems. Word is that a pre-release version of Cortana has cropped up last weekend on various websites.

It is said that the standalone Cortana app is already running smoothly on devices and is compatible with Android 4.1.2 and later OS versions. There have been some problems with getting it to work on some handsets, but that is bound to happen as it is a leaked version and not the official app. However, you can at least try it out before you decide if you actually want to get it for your Android handset.

People who had a chance to test it out say that it performs “as expected” and if you got a chance to test Windows 10 Preview for PC or Phones, then you most likely are familiar with what Cortana can do on Android or iOS devices too. There are some minor differences, like Cortana not being able to get content from emails or listen for music, but there were bound to be some restrictions in place. Compared to the integrated version on Windows Phones, the standalone Cortana for other OS’ requires permission to get access to pretty much everything, so if you don’t have a way to provide it, the app will not be able to use the external information.

Microsoft plans to launch Cortana for iOS and Android next week. They say it will hit the US, UK, Chinese, French, Italian and Spanish markets at first, followed by Canada and India in the following months and then the rest of the targeted markets by the end of the year. The company chose this approach due to the fact that it also wants to personalize the user interaction with Cortana. For example, the Japanese market will feature Cortana bowing by default to show signs of politeness, while the UK market will house a Cortana that expresses the well-known British humour.

You can download the leaked version of Cortana for Android from APKMirror. I already have a Windows Phone device, so if you have an Android handset and choose to test it out, don’t forget to share your thoughts with a comment below!

Thank you Sci-Tech Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of PCkoloji

Adobe Moves Feature In Photoshop

Adobe have been synonymous for patches and updates to current software which has often annoyed users, this includes the servicing twice a month of Flash Player which has become a hackers dream and feels somewhat dated since the arrival of HTML 5 into browsers as standard.

In Photoshop CC 2015 Adobe have moved a feature by the name of “Save for Web” If you use this feature and have wondered where Adobe has moved it to then it’s under File – Export – Save For Web (Legacy) In a Blog post, Stephen Nielson who is the Sr. Product Manager overseeing Adobe Photoshop has written the following.

“Because Save for Web is built on the former ImageReady product (now discontinued), the code is too antiquated to maintain and develop new features”

This feature will still be kept as of now, but will not be developed any further with the aim being eventually moving users over to the new Adobe Generator workflow feature for exporting image assets from Photoshop. According to Adobe, all scripts which have been created will still work after this update, although knowing Adobe, anything could happen. if you’re a shortcuts kind of person then this remains the same, ctrl + alt + shift + s for Windows-based users or cmd + opt + shift + s for Mac.

Thank You Adobe Blogs for providing us with this information

Image Courtesy of Royal Wise

Google Chrome Is Ready to Stop Draining Your Battery

If you stopped using Google Chrome on your notebook or smartphone, then you most likely did it because of its battery draw rate. Nobody wants to see their battery go from 100 to 0 faster than an F1 racing car and Google finally saw that their browser really had a big issue.

The search giant is said to have made a few changes to its Chrome browser involving Flash content. The browser is now able to turn off unimportant content and improve battery life on mobile devices and notebooks.

Google is also taking a smart approach for Mac users. They now see that when someone focuses on a browser tab, it means that he or she is interested in that particular web page and not the dozens more opened and running alongside it. What I’m talking about is an ancient feature, already present in other browsers, which makes foreground tabs take priority and shuts down content in background tabs. But this does not mean you can’t still listen to your YouTube or SoundCloud songs in background tabs.

The browser will also see an improvement in terms of CPU usage when running in the background, going down from 0.3 to 0.1 percent. While this does not mean a great deal, I can tell you that 0.1 percent battery usage is the same amount all mobile device applications use in the background. This includes your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Mail and so on.

It is said that the new battery improvement features will be made available for the beta version of Chrome in about six weeks. Chances are that it will hit the stable version in twelve weeks, provided that no big issues crop up.

Thank you TechSpot for providing us with this information

Google Can Now Choose the Right Smartphone for Your Personalised Needs

It’s hard to se your mind on just one smartphone when you have so many to choose from, isn’t it? The good news is that Google can now do that for you, but of course it will only display its now Android handsets. If an Android phone is what you want to buy, then give Google a chance and let it show you some of its suggestions.

The search giant has just launched a website that allows Android users to choose the best smartphone tailored for their needs. Judging from the website, Google is using its own data processing algorithms to get the best results possible. This means it will ask you a lot of questions, however you may choose to answer only the basic or go deeper and give it more details for a more tailored result.

The initial questions involve how you normally use your phone, namely for taking pictures, calling, texting, using social media or listening to music, and so on. By selecting a feature, the website will take you to another page where it asks how long you are using the latter features for. If you do it right, Google will predict the best results for your needs.

I personally received some pretty neat ones, including the Nexus 6 which I was eyeing for quite some time. So to be fair, it really does lay down some solid results should you wish to use it. However, bear in mind that the website will show phones available only in the US, but you will figure that out yourselves when it asks what mobile carrier you are using.

All in all, you may skip the carrier selection and go straight to the smartphone results. Even if it misses some European or other phones available in specific markets, it does give you a general idea of what you need to choose to best suit your needs. If you want to give it a try, visit the website by clicking here.

Thank you Phonearena for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Android

PayPal’s One Touch Feature Expands to Other Non-US Markets

PayPal introduced the One Touch feature last year when it first rolled out to mobile devices in the US. Retailers who already had a PayPal payment feature could switch automatically and allow customers to make payments without the need of entering their passwords again. This was ideal for people who wanted to quickly check out their products, but it was available just for mobile.

A month ago, PayPal launched the feature for the web in the US. This meant that you could log into a website, place everything you wanted in your basket and then quickly make a PayPal One Touch check-out. While no official stats have been disclosed, the feature seems to be so popular that PayPal now wants to make it available in other markets too.

The company said that it will make their One Touch feature for web available for Canada and the UK at first, but more countries are on the list. The mobile version is said to also be live in Australia, France, Italy, Sweden and Spain, with more countries being considered for the near future.

The move also comes after Apple announced that it is expanding the Apple Pay feature to the UK, so it’s likely that PayPal wants to join its service with Apple’s own payment feature once it gets released in other countries. Still, I think we will have to wait a bit longer for people to actually get comfortable with paying in stores with their iPhones.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information

Apple Pay Will Be Available in the UK Sooner than Expected

Apple is going to announce something the UK will look forward to at its WWDC, among other annual things the company usually reveals each year. But seeing how digital currency is favourable in both US and UK, we might see Apple announcing the introduction of Apple Pay in the UK.

It is said that there have been multiple attempts in introducing the latter technology, but so far it was met with conflicts within the industry or lack of interest from consumers. But Apple is not about to back down from a 40% smartphone market dominance in the UK just yet.

The company has been in talks with banks and retailers to kickstart the Apple Pay feature release in the country and we might see it in action this summer. It would make sense for them to force Apple Pay into consumers’ lives given that the UK has a big market for digital purchases.

Statistics show that iPhone users are big spenders and prefer digital currency compared to paper money. Last year, £2.3 billion digital purchases were recorded in the country and the number is likely to increase this year. But we also like to hear your opinion. Are you an iPhone user? How likely are you to use the feature once it is available?

Thank you The Telegraph for providing us with this information

Facebook Wants to Give You More Information on Contacts with New Caller ID Feature

Social media giant, Facebook, has been busy as of late, providing users with more and more features to help them in their daily activities, as well as make them stay and enjoy their social media platform for longer.

We’ve seen that one of their biggest achievements as of late was to make the Messenger app web-based, so they provided users with access to the Messenger platform on both desktop and mobile, provided you don’t already have the app installed.

One of their latest achievements was to bring news articles directly in your feed, so you will have access to your friend’s activities as well as know what’s going on in the world too. I know it’s a bit of multitasking to do and you might even end up mixing your friend’s selfie with a volcano eruption, then you ask yourself what he was doing there in the first place, before realising you were reading two things at once. But hey, we all get used to it in the end.

Facebook’s latest addition is the CallerID feature, which brings some more details about contacts and who wants to connect with you. This is done by having the app display an even bigger photo of the contact, more details about how related you are with him or her and “much more”, as Vice President of Messaging Products, David Marcus, stated. The feature is said to already be available for Android and iOS users in the US, UK, France and India. So will this be of more help than just asking your friends about who is trying to connect with you? We will see.

Thank you Sci-Tech for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of FrAndroid

Traffic Alerts and Alternate Routes Now Available in Google Maps

If you are planning to take a trip in the near future or are already on the road, you might consider taking a look at what Google Maps has to offer. The search giant has just updated its maps app with a new traffic alert and alternate route feature.

The new features will aid users on the road by providing some more details and alerts for unusual traffic conditions, road congestions, and even suggestions for alternate paths to take. But lets expand a bit more on that. Once you enter a destination, the app can now work solutions around roadblocks and warn you of upcoming congestions.

To make it easier, once the app knows you are heading towards heavy traffic, it automatically offers some alternatives to save you some time. If you still choose to go and stay in line with the others trapped in traffic, the app will also offer you an estimated time you will be stuck there. The latter might be neat, but why get stuck in traffic in the first place?

While the above might seem something that you see in most apps today, there’s still a key feature that makes it stand out. Aside from the alerts and suggestions, the Google Maps app will now tell you a ‘why’. By that I mean that the app will tell you why the road ahead is blocked or why it decided to give you this alternative route and not another one. Pretty neat, huh?

Thank you SlashGear for providing us with this information

Apple WWDC 2015 Could Bring 12-inch iPads and Dual-App View Mode

We are nearing that time of the year when Apple will unveil its stuff at the annual World Wide Developer Conference. Out of all rumours, the most interesting ones consist of 12-inch iPads, dual-app view mode and a multi-user login feature.

Since Microsoft released their Windows 8 and provided split-screen app support for both desktop and Surface devices, Apple has been keen on adding the same thing to their iPads. However, up until now, the feature gave the Cupertino-based company a lot of headaches, which eventually forced them to push back the feature release date.

The latest iOS 9 firmware is now rumoured to bring the aforementioned feature, which might debut at the WWDC in June. Word is that the feature will support 1/2, 1/3 and 2/3 views and could be shown on current iPad models.

Aside from the above, Apple might introduce two new 12-inch iPads codenamed J98 and J99, which could be the long anticipated iPad Pros we heard about in the past. Due to their size, Apple is now rumoured to be working on tweaking the iOS and resizing core apps and features such as Siri, the Notification Centre and others in order to make them display properly on the larger displays.

Last but not least, Apple might even introduce support for multiple users. Similar to the Macintosh OS, users will be able to sign into their own accounts and have access to their own personal apps and files. Rumour has it that the feature will not come with the first iOS 9 build, but since Apple is strongly considering to enter the business and education sector, we might see the feature added in an update by the end of the year.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information

Apple Might Add Transit Maps in iOS 9

Since Google was dropped as the official provider of map data, Apple hasn’t been able to provide users with any Transit data. Word is that the Transit system should have been added in iOS 8 last year, but it was eventually cut shortly before WWDC 2014.

The Transit service is said to give users the ability to navigate bus, subway and train routes from the official Maps app, similar to what other map apps have built into their features. In addition to the latter, Apple is said to alter the icon size inside Maps for users to easily spot airports, subway and train stations.

Apple was faced with a lot of problems regarding the data and small coverage for the Transit feature, so they decided to pull it right before it was announced. Previous iOS 8 betas are reported to present the feature, but nothing eventually landed in the final iOS releases.

This time around, Apple is said to have added more cities, a new push notification feature and perfected its data. This means that we might see the Transit Maps integrated and revealed at this year’s WWDC.

Besides the Transit feature, Apple is rumoured to be working on some indoor mapping project that would allow users to navigate office buildings, landmarks and other indoor points of interest. But the project is still at its early stages, so it’s highly unlikely we will see something like this added this year.

Thank you 9to5 Mac for providing us with this information

Xbox One System Update Adds New Features

The best manufacturers nowadays are the ones who really listen to their customers and what they want to see in products. Microsoft seems to be one of those manufacturers, at least from what we can see in the latest Xbox One system update. It apparently introduced a set of fan-requested features on their latest console.

So what did the company introduce in this update? Let’s have a look:

  • Voice Messages
  • Power On/Off from Xbox One SmartGlass
  • User Selectable Power Mode
  • Dedicated Servers for Party Chat

From what we see, Microsoft focused on providing users with power options to suit everyone’s needs and achieve that balance between having a super-responsive console and a power-saving device. This is nothing new, since it was first introduced a month ago. But this update is said to alter the initial setup experience on the console to enable users to select the preferred power mode.

A second feature added in the update, one that Microsoft points to having 4k votes on their feedback website, refers to the SmartGlass app found on Windows, Windows Phone, iOS and Android devices. The latest update enables the app to turn the console on and off when having both devices connected to the same network.

Microsoft looks be expanding its Party Chat feature as well by rolling it out to more users. The feature was only available to preview members up until now, but Microsoft looks to be expanding it over the coming weeks.

Last but not least, the update brings the highly anticipated Voice Messages feature. This will allow users to send voice recordings to both Xbox One and Xbox 360 friends and parties from the messages app. Pretty cool that Microsoft actually listens to their users and adds what they want to see in future updates, huh?

Thank you Xbox Wire for providing us with this information

‘Tweet-A-Pizza’ Coming to Domino’s This Month

Do you fancy Domino’s pizza and use Twitter on a regular basis? Then you will be happy to hear that the company is looking into techy ways of attracting customers and will add a ‘tweet-a-pizza’ system starting from May 20th in the US.

What all of this means is that users who have a Twitter account will be able to order a pizza just by tweeting the pizza emoji to @Dominos. This will place Domino’s ahead of all other major restaurant industry companies just by adding a way for customers to order their pizza through social media.

However, the decision was no taken on a whim. Statistics show that the company already has more than 50% of its sales taking place digitally, so it was only logical to add such a feature and make it the next big thing. Through this move, Domino’s is likely to take advantage of the publicity and boldness to further increase its sales in the following months.

Twitter has a lot to gain from this as well. Other companies are already using the “Buy Now” service on tweets to promote and sell their products and Twitter can only benefit from all of this by offering their users a way to buy stuff in their social media environment, while also making more profit out of it.

While Domino’s looks to be expanding its technology and offering more purchase options to customers, we are likely to see more companies take the same approach in the near future. Domino’s also mentions that it is already looking into expanding the purchase option to Facebook and Instagram in the future. So what do you think? Would you ‘tweet-a-pizza’ from Domino’s?

Thank you USA Today for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Huffington Post