Get a Sneak Peak at Chrome’s New Material Design Makeover

It is no secret that Google is planning to polish the UI of their popular web browser, to bring it in-line with the company’s material design aesthetic. As it turns out, the facelift could be here sooner than thought, with the latest stable version of Chrome featuring several optional features that allow some of the tweaks to be enabled early.

The changes aren’t drastic, with the majority of the browser’s minimalist UI being very similar. Overall, icon borders have been thinned down and the bookmark icons have been switched from their old yellow ‘folder’ look to plain gray icons. The old ‘hamburger’ button used to view the menu has also been switched to 3 vertically arranged dots with a more dynamic visual when opened and closed. The address bar has also seen a reduction in its font size, along with a darker, more obvious icon for sites being securely accessed via HTTPS.

Other parts of the browser have taken more significant changes, looking far more similar to the Material-style interface used in the Android operating system. The downloads menu separates each download as a card, with more obvious links for showing the download’s location and an ‘X’ button being present to remove the card. The settings menu’s overhaul brings in new fonts and colour to the page, with all of the settings being present on one page and links allowing the user to easily find the correct section. The toggle buttons and drop-down menus will also be instantly familiar to an Android user. Chrome’s PDF viewer has also been a part of the overhaul, with a new top bar and a set of circular buttons, both of which remain hidden until mouse movement towards them occurs.

To try out these changes for yourself, head to chrome://flags in the browser and set the following drop-down boxes to Material: “Material design in the browser’s top chrome,” “Enable material UI for PDF,” and “Enable Material Design downloads.” Meanwhile, the preview for the Material Design settings menu can be found at chrome://md-settings.

While these changes to Chrome are still in development and thus, still subject to change, it is nice to see Chrome home getting a facelift after so long. These aren’t the only changes planned for Chrome either, with a dark theme for incognito browsing, similar to that of the mobile version and a new video player interface. All of these changes and more could be ready to go live for as soon as Chrome 50, only two stable versions away.

Valve Improves Dota 2 Reborn and You Can Play the Beta Now

The long wait for Valve’s latest Dota 2 title, Dota 2 Reborn, is now over. Despite the many bugs and features which are not fully functional just yet, fans and curious gamers can now play the beta version alongside Dota 2 on Steam.

Dota 2 Reborn brings a lot of features and improvements to its predecessor, including the Source 2 Engine. What this means is that Dota 2 will have a lot of rendering improvements, performance optimizations, higher fidelity content, and not to mention enhanced physics. Valve says that they will further improve cloth and simulation physics in the future too, but they are still awesome as they are now.

Other improvements can be seen in the UI, having Dota 2 Reborn come with a new and improved interface. Players area able to quickly and efficiently search for matches, stay in touch with their friends through newly added party and chat features, as well as see the what your friends (or enemies) are up to.

Now we all know how frustrating it is to have problems connecting or maintaining a connection to a server sometimes. This is why Valve worked hard to offer more reliable network connections through a new backbone and relay protocol. In addition to the latter, a lot of effort has been put into DDoS protection and we know that is a major problem nowadays.

Last but not least, Custom Games is also a nice addition to the series, having it come with better developer tools for modders. While regular users get to play other modes and maps made by fans, modders get the chance to expand their ideas a bit with new tools. The new Hammer Level Editor lets you quickly prep your map, while the Material, Model and Particle editors help shape it to look how you imagined it to be. Also, Valve now offers better debugging with their new Developer Console.

More details about the latest title can be found on their website here, or if you want to get straight into the action, you can do so by following the steps below:

  1. Install Dota 2 if you haven’t already
  2. Start up Dota 2
  3. Go to the Play tab and select Dota 2 Reborn Beta
  4. Click Install to begin your download

Windows 10 Apps to Be Easily Compatible With Any Interface

With Windows 10 being Microsoft’s biggest project to date, the company is working toward making the user experience as universal as possible for all the devices that will run it. This includes mobile devices, desktops, and consoles, enabling a feature set that works anywhere it’s accessed. Microsoft rolled out the SDK preview for Windows 10 on Monday, giving developers to start updating and creating apps for Windows 10 platform. Despite the release, the process won’t be so immediately accomplished, but those developers in the Windows Insider program will have the best chance getting started.

There are many new app elements that developers have access to in the preview. One of the more intriguing elements is called Adaptive UX, a user interface that can adapt to any screen, smartphone to desktop screens alike. By adding this to their apps, developers will easily prepare for the update from Windows 8.1 to Windows 10.

Another new element will allow apps to determine how the user is interfacing with it, and  adapt the user experience accordingly. This feature will be more useful with  laptops and tablets that feature both touchscreen ability or keyboard and mouse inputs. When using one or the other, the app will sense which is being used and adjust the interface appropriately. One feature more geared toward the developers, new API contracts which tell them what Windows features are available on which devices, thus being able to modify code “at runtime to deliver user experiences that feel right on the device it’s being run on.”

Source: BGR

Apple Granted Patent for Hands-Free Gesture Control

Apple has filed a patent for a type of gesture control system that it is calling a “3D user interface”. The technology would allow users to control a computing device with body movements alone, with no need to touch a keyboard, mouse, or screen.

The patent diagram shows a person sat at a desktop computer, using hand and arm movements to a webcam to control the device, suggesting the technology is likely to be implemented on Apple’s iMacs, rather than popular touchscreen mobile devices iPhone and iPad.

Analysts for Global Equities Research even speculated that the gesture control system could be a part of a new gaming console or a new iteration of Apple TV.

Source: Time

Dropbox Adapts Web Interface For Faster Sharing

Dropbox has adapted its user interface to facilitate easier sharing on its website. When you log in, next to each Dropbox folder is now a Share button, with the option to either invite people – giving them full read/write access – or send a direct link – even if the recipient doesn’t have their own Dropbox account – to your folder of choice.

These sharing facilities were already previously available, but the new interface gives users faster access to them, and is more intuitive than having to navigate dropdown menus. In the increasingly competitive cloud storage market, with Google Drive, Copy, and Microsoft’s OneDrive all jostling for position, any move to attract entry-level users is a positive one.

Source: TechCrunch

Western Digital Launches WD TV Personal Edition, Featuring Miracast and Remote App

Wester Digital has just announced its launch of the WD TV – Personal Edition, which is described as being an easy to use Wi-Fi enabled media player, able to play any media file stored on USB and network storage devices, as well as any computer on the home network.

“Consumers have increasingly large libraries of disparate personal content types on a variety of storage devices, from portable USB to network attached storage and personal computers,” explains Jim Welsh, executive vice president, WD Content Solutions Business and worldwide sales. “WD’s ecosystem of apps and media players ensures that viewing that content is seamless on all screens, from mobile devices to the HDTV. WD TV personalise the entertainment experience, providing the easiest way for consumers to playback all of their personal videos, photos and music.”

The company says that the WD TV – Personal Edition allows users to enjoy a wide range of personal media, such as photos, videos and music on their home entertainment system, having support for a wide range of file formats, including MKV, MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV and others. The streaming is said to be achieved via USB connected drives such as the My Passport Ultra and My Book product family, cloud and network attached storage drives such as the WD My Cloud product family, digital camcorders or cameras, and any networked PC or Mac computer inside the household.

The WD TV – Personal Edition is said to have an intuitive user interface, allowing users to customise the home page with their favourite apps, setting shortcuts to favourite content folders for quick access, as well as setting auto-run for preferred apps to begin at start-up. In addition to the latter, WD has even added Miracast support to the WD TV – Personal Edition, allowing users to project their Miracast enabled mobile device onto their TV in up to Full HD 1080p. Also, the WD TV includes support for social networks through apps such as YouTube®, Hulu Plus, VUDU®, SlingPlayer®, Spiffy®, Pandora® and Facebook, among many others.

Last but not least, the WD TV Remote app is said to improve the navigation experience for WD TV users by turning their iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or Android compatible mobile device into an advanced feature remote control for their media player. The company has stated to have made the product available in the UK at retailers and wdstore.co.uk, having a price tag set at £69.99, having the WD Remote app available on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Images courtesy of Western Digital

Warning: Latest HTC Sense Update Reportedly Screws Up Your Smartphone

If you have a HTC and already updated to the HTC Sense Version 6, then you might have already noticed your contacts deleted from both your phone and SIM, leaving the header on your text messages filled with numbers instead of names and your WhatsApp contact list empty. However, if you still haven’t updated to the latest HTC Sense rolled out over the weekend, our advice is to skip it until a fix is available.

Another issue related to the update has been described to be linked to the theme, having it default back to the Green Theme. This might not seem a major issue as you can go into the Settings and change it right back. Not this time apparently, having users reporting that although the theme changes, some loading bars and status messages will still appear in green, having it screw up the user’s preferred theme in some cases.

There have been discussions with HTC Customer Support regarding the ‘failed’ update, where they stated it is already being discussed and investigated. The customer support has also stated that nobody can roll back the smartphone in order to avoid the faulty update, meaning that users who already updated their HTC smartphones to HTC Sense Version 6 can only remain at the mercy of the company and their technical support.

Also, when asked about who was responsible for testing the update, the customer support team has pointed to the developers. This comes as a huge surprise since all software products, especially from big corporations such as HTC, must undergo strict testing cycles performed by a highly qualified Quality Assurance department in order to prevent such issues from occurring. However, HTC might have skipped this step (and we even wonder if they have such a department apparently).

What the HTC Sense 6 should have brought is an updated color palate and multiple themes for the UI, an updated interface and more news sources for the HTC BlinkFeed, an updated and simplified interface for the Camera, Galley and Apps Tray, as well as other features noted on HTC’s page. The company has not released any official news regarding the issues present in the update, nor stated when a fix would be available.

Comodo Internet Security 7.0 Launces in the UK, Backed by a £300 Virus-Free Guarantee

Comodo is a company offering leading solutions in terms of PC/Mac antivirus and malware software, SSL digital certifications, as well as android antivirus and malware solutions. It’s latest product is the all-in-one protection software, Comodo Internet Security Pro 7, which has been recently made available to the UK market.

The all-in-one software is said to be a unique and patented prevention tool for unknown viruses, as well as a detection tool for known ones. It works by inspecting each file attempting to run on a computer and instantly compares the file to its White List and Black List database. In the case of a file not being present in either list, the software restricts its access using Auto Sandbox Technology, keeping the computer clean and virus-free.

The company has also made a few changes to its latest Comodo Internet Security Pro 7 software, including a user interface update that allows tasks to be performed quicker while delivering more information on the current computer status. In addition to the interface update, Comodo claims that it has shortened the Sandbox function’s average process time per file by up to 700%, while adding the ability to reverse potentially undesirable actions of software without necessarily blocking the software entirely.

Also, Comodo has added an advanced Website Filtering feature, allowing website access rules to be created for particular users of a computer and logging each activity when a user tries to visit a website which is in conflict with a rule. Another interesting new feature added is the Protected Data Folder, which keeps each and every file placed inside a ‘Protected Data Folder’ from being read, accessed and modified by applications running in Sandbox mode. The last but not least addition is PrivDog, a software specially designed to suppress any malicious advertisement, while being able to run alongside all major browsers on the market.

What makes Comodo’s Internet Security Pro 7.0 one of the best antivirus and malicious software prevention is the company’s confidence in suppressing each and every virus and malware roaming the internet, including GOZeuS and CryptoLocker, as the company stated. This is why the company offers a $500 (£298.54) money back guarantee, should a user’s computer become infected while using the Comodo Internet Security Pro 7.0.

The Comodo Internet Security Pro 7.0 comes with a yearly subscription of just £30 which covers three machines and includes GeekBuddy online support. Comodo’s Internet Security Complete 7 is also available at a £68 yearly subscription, including all of the Pro’s features, plus TrustConnect Wi-Fi/Hotspot encryption and 50 GB of Online Storage. A trial for the software can be downloaded over at Comodo’s website.

Firefox Adds Accounts, Improved Sync and Customizable UI To Its Aurora Browser

Mozilla has announced a few extra features to be added to its Firefox Aurora browser. The features consist of Accounts, a customized UI feature that lets users personalize their interface and an improved Sync feature.

The Accounts feature adds something that is already available in Firefox OS, and that is the ability to sync all personal data including bookmarks, opened tabs, history, etc., and load them on every device that has a Firefox browser and is signed in with the account on which the data was synced to.

The improved Synch feature is designed to help Accounts and the ability to securely transfer all your personal data to the various devices synced. The features added consist of a public key cryptography, a BrowserID protocol, client-side key stretching and end-to-end encryption, all of which are designed to prevent user data falling prey to a hacker in case of Firefox servers being compromised. Firefox is said to include these features into Firefox OS later on.

Another feature mentioned, the ability to customize the Firefox UI, is now available to all Mac, Windows and Linux versions, allowing users to remove any browser buttons, add-ons, as well as drag menus, toolbars and tab bars to fit your preferred visual experience.

All of the above features are now available in Firefox Aurora through and update released recently. If you have not updated your Firefox Aurora yet and want to try out any of the features, you can do it now. Alternatively, you can download Firefox Aurora from the official website.

Thank you TheNextWeb for providing us with this information

Rumors of Second-Generation Galaxy Gear Emerge, To Launch Alongside Galaxy S5

There are rumors that Samsung is looking to launch another ‘redesigned’ Galaxy Gear 2. The first attempt to release a wearable device, aka. the Galaxy Gear, was not as successful as Samsung thought, having encountered numerous issues with their first design.

There were flaws such as poor battery life, not-so user interface, and a bunch of other features were not working properly, leaving many users wonder of Samsung is a good choice for a wearable device. But the South Korean giant is not about to give up on the wearable tech just yet, having set to bring another smartwatch along with the Galaxy S5 handset and the Note.

According to the recent rumors, Samsung Galaxy S5 will be released this year with a different and improved Galaxy Gear 2. While the original duo of the popular Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and not-so-popular Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch did not go that well on the consumer market, Samsung is hoping that this one might just do what its predecessor failed.

Tech Radar reportedly even started on looking into how the wearable gadget might look like. They came up with a OLED curved screen, draped in steel, and neat design. But will it be a game changer for Samsung, or will it just turn out to be another failure as before? Given the strong competition announced on the wearable devices market, another failure could knock Samsung off the wearable market for good.

Thank you WCCF for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Tech Radar

Facebook 4.0 With Brand New Flat UI Available For Android Devices

Since the recent changes we saw on iOS and even Web in terms of UI design, Facebook has neglected the Android version. Facebook needed a new revamp for the Android platform to be able to compete with its “neighbors”, like Twitter and Pinterest, and as it goes we can now have a look at version 4.0. Though the Facebook 4.0 app has not yet been officially released, it shows quite a bit of improvement done compared to the previous version.

Taking a look at the app, we can see a title banner which has been added to the left side of the action bar and also a Search icon has been added to the right side. The 5 icons below the title banner consist of the News Feed, Friend Requests, Messages, Notifications, and the Menu. At the bottom of the page, we see the usual Status, Photo and Check In buttons. Take note that the UI is subject to change, as it did with a previous 4.0 build. The bottom buttons have had changes made to the colors as shown below:

Also, here is an insight of the new permissions you have to agree with (or not) in order to install the application on your android device:

Another thing to point out is that Facebook has server-side control over the UI and can be changed on the fly, depending on what they are cooking up next. Hopefully, we will have a stable version soon. For those of you who still want to try out the 4.0 beta version however, the .apk can be downloaded from here.

Thank you Android Police for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of Android Police