Category Archives: Desktops

Happy New Year

Happy New Year, in the coming months of 2013 there will be a large amount of new tech news with CES13 coming up when big tech companies try to sell suppliers there new products they will make available this year. This brings new tablets, tvs, computers, phones, and lots of other gadgets.
Hope you have a good year, and Tek4.Me will be here to bring you tech news that is useful, while getting things back up and going now that the holidays are over. Were working to get more content every day.

Apple iMac with New Display and Fusion Drive, Mac mini update

The Apple iMac got an update announced todays “event” that improves the display, and storage options. The new display includes a special coating that reduces reflection along with updated NVIDIA graphics. They also updated the processor to include the new Intel chips and put it all in a thinner case. For storage they now include what they call Fusion Drive that is a combination of Flash memory, standard hard drives and special Mac OS software that makes the two drives look as one, along with manages what applications and information is stored on the Flash memory or hard drive based on use.

There was also a small update to the Mac mini that updates the processor with a Intel i5 chip. Both the iMac and Mac mini also have a reduced power usage. The Mac mini is available now, 21.5 inch iMac will be available in November, and the iMac 27 inch some time December. Prices start at $1,299 for the 21.6 inch iMac, $1,799 for the 27 inch iMac, and $799 for the Mac mini all at the base model.

Hands on With Windows 8 Release Preview on a Tablet

With the Windows 8 release looming for October 26th 2012 and Microsoft Surface pre-orders started I wanted to take some time and play with Windows 8 again and see if it made any more since to run. I had installed an older version of Windows 8 on my tablet a ASUS EP 121 that is running an Intel Core i5 with 4GB RAM and has both Touch and a Wacom pin. So this should be a good system for testing Windows 8 on.

After downloading the disk image of the OS I used the Windows 7 DVD/USB backup tool to put the installer on a 4GB flash drive after to install the files on my Tablet. The installer booted and offered to install Windows 8 I changed some settings and pushed the OS to upgrade Windows 7 and all it did was move all of Windows 7 and the apps installed to Windows.old folder.

When the system rebooted it asked me to connect to my Wi-Fi and then login to a Windows account and set the colors of my Start Screen. At this point you are dumped to the Tile interface that is the only real thing Microsoft is showing in all of the advertising of what Windows 8 is. So now on the Start Screen I was showing it to my Wife who is not a techie person and my Son who is 3 and we started looking through the Photos app because it was smart enough to look for photos that are on my main desktop and somehow it had access to them even though the Tablet had not connected to the HomeGroup or logged into my desktop, this may have to do with me being logged into a Microsoft account on my Windows 7 desktop and by logging in with the same user on the tablet that it lets me not have to use my desktops username and password to access files.

With photos showing up my Wife and Son took over and we’re having fun flipping through photos, at some points the app would crash and leave us back loading the app and then thumbnail images of the folders only showed up a gray boxes and would change to a thumbnail if you went into the folder for enough time that it would load every image. This is the first of many times the Tile apps would crash that night, and yes this is a “Preview” but if you are releasing it things shouldn’t be crashing when loading photos over a home network.

I wanted to try out some of my Windows 7 applications that are installed still under that Windows.old folder, after finding my copy of ArtRage Studio and long tapping to pin the program to Start, it opened up just fine and ran in the Desktop mode. This is when I started finding myself using the good old desktop mode more and more. Now that I see it works I install Google Chrome because I like using Chrome and how it works, so Internet Explorer took me to the desktop even though I used the link on the Start screen but whatever and I went about downloading chrome.

For ArtRage to work right I needed to put in my registration key that I had a screen shot of save in Google Drive so I installed the desktop application and went about opening the file in an Explorer window but it wanted to no preview it but open it in the Photos app, only problem is that takes over my screen and doesn’t let me have more than one window open so I can get the code, another fail for pushing me back to the Start tile interface. After long pressing and going to preview it went back to the Start menu and said that another program can open that file and I told it to use the desktop image preview application and got things done.

Chrome was nice enough to install both a Desktop application version and a different version that worked in the Start menu but they are different apps/applications, this is a restriction Microsoft put in making software makers build two different programs, this is another fail because you may have something open a link on the Start tile interface but then you need it on the Desktop and this can’t be done.

I also at this point found out that the driver for my Wacom pin was not working right from what was pre-installed and I had to find the Windows 7 drivers and after a restart the pin worked great.

So it’s getting more frustrating to use but I went ahead and loaded the Music app, but for this app it didn’t know to look on my desktop for music and couldn’t find anything I had, but sure did want to sell me music thanks for that, not really the preview was ok but not what I wanted. So I went ahead and though good time to setup the tablet on my HomeGroup because mentioned something about joining to show my music, cool so after going through to another interface and back and forth with the onscreen keyboard that you have to change views to get a number I was connected to my HomeGroup and could see my desktops music in the Desktop mode and if I was to load a specific file in the Music app it would play one song not a folder full. So thinking as I do I added my music library from the desktop system to the local music library and then things started showing up in the Music app.

The Music app does not do good with lots of files, I was able to crash it doing almost anything now, if I play all it will shuffle through my songs but crashes because the background to songs with no cover art is a bunch of other cover art so each time you skip songs it reloads this wall of images, and then crashes. Now if you want to look for an artist that will crash with my large collection of music it hangs on switching and doesn’t scroll and finally crash again.

With the Music app crashing when looking for an Artist I looked for them using the Desktop mode and had it play the folder of music I wanted to play and test out, fail again I had to go back to the old way of doing things to get things working fast and easy.

Now I was going to install some apps from the Store, after finding some they seemed to work out just fine SketchBook Express and Wikipedia loaded just fine and I was able to use them, Wikipedia needs some work to use up more white space and make it easier to read because when you are reading most people are used to scrolling down not to the side but it was still usable. The WordPress app had some problems with logging into my site, it kept asking for me to update the Jetpack plugin but there is no update that I can get.

Back to stock apps, I went and tried the Mail app this required me to login to my email account and it had Google as an option, the only problem was it would not connect. So thinking what about updates they may have fixed some problems, well there was 9 updates and I let it update and restarted the Tablet and I was able to login to my Google account and my mail did show up but the Mail app is a little hard to use, like when you switch messages you have to select the text not just the area that is around it making it hard to use with your finger. Also by logging into my Google account my calendar showed up but only the main calendar content not all of my sub-calendars or others I have joined from other people. I hope Google makes some apps for their products that work as if I was on Android or I would have to just use the websites.

New day new problems, so I could get screen shots of things I installed an application called Greenshot and found myself installing VLC Media Player but Windows 8 doesn’t know the publisher so it wanted me to be protected from installing the program. So I tried to do it again by running the installer as Administrator but got the same message, this time I thought well let’s see what the learn more link does, at that point it said nothing other than it was an Unknown Publisher and I could run it any way. Too bad that made no sense or wasn’t obvious to let me install it.

Another thing that seems to be a problem with the Music app, while writing this it is long and taking time, ok so my tablet screen goes blank, that’s ok because its saving power and not burning out my screen, but the Music app is now not signed in and can’t get my music from my local network even though I am still connected to the Wi-Fi. The only way to get my music back was to switch to another app, use the hard and unobvious way of closing a Start tile app by dragging the left edge of the screen and pulling down to the bottom to close it and have it reopen. Only then did it start to find my music again even though I did try the resign-in button on the app. I would have not known that it was even possible to close an app if I didn’t spend some time reading though a list of posts around the Internet of other people as confused on how to close an app.

To close this out, I am trying this new Windows 8 Start tile interface in its intended way on a touch screen tablet and not an a desktop because I already know that it was just a big fail, and found the operating system to be improved for touch but still lacking a full tablet experience and all in all not even close to being ready for a release. Microsoft should have just built a Tablet OS based on Windows Phone and not mess with the Windows Desktop OS but now they have screwed up both experiences once again. I wanted to see Windows 8 work out good on my tablet because Windows 7 is so hard to use on it, but there are so many shortcomings with the Apps and I just had to go back to the old Desktop interface to get things to work or make things easy. People are going to try things and just not upgrade ever to Windows 8, they will look at Android and iPad as the way to have a tablet that works all the time. This is going to be another situation like Windows XP and desktop users will not upgrade. Microsoft is betting big on this new interface, and they are getting pressure from PC makers and PC part makers such as Intel to help drive sales but this will not help, it will further stagnate the market.

All in all I would say Windows 8 is going to be a failure and it’s too late to change things. I will keep Windows 7 on my desktop for a long time, and I will just put this tablet away and not use it for much other than drawing once in a while, and just use my Nexus 7 for everything that I want.

Ubuntu 12.10 now Available

The popular Linux distribution Ubuntu has been updated to version 12.10 today. While most of the update is a roll up of most of the open source applications that are part of the distribution they had added some user interface additions. Users can now create Web Apps for things like Gmail and Facebook that don’t require you to open the web browser then go to the site it just shows up as an item on your launcher or desktop. You can also now search online files and stores for things such as music, photos, and video. This works with Flickr and Google Drive. Finally they have what they call Dash Previews; basically you can play music or apps from Ubuntu One before you buy or install them without having to open any additional applications.

I have the release preview installed on my laptop and all seemed to work good, still have a problem with the Intel graphics drivers not controlling the screen resolution right but that seems to be something that lots of people with different laptops and distributions are having for well over 3 years. But if you run Ubuntu its doesn’t cost anything to update, or if you want to try it out download the DVD image and boot a system without having to change anything and see if you can use it for your computer.

Natural Selection 2 Pre-Order on Steam

Looking for a new First Person Shooter or Real Time Strategy game? Then check out Natural Selection 2; this is an Alien vs. Humans game that is a rebuild to the original Half-Life modification called Natural Selection that lets players try to take over and build up resources to defeat the opposing team and take over a location. The Marine Frontiersmen have upgrades like jet packs, flamethrowers, exo suits with mini guns, and arc cannons that help them fight the aliens. The Aliens known as Kharaa infest the maps and have the ability to evolve into wall climbing Skulks, flying Lerks, slashing Fades, or crushing Onos.

Both teams have resource collection devices that give them the resources to upgrade their powers and give them new equipment or evolutions to help them fight the other team. The maps are large and each team has to try and control as much as they can until they can push the others base using different strategies to eliminate the other and win the game.

The game has been in beta for other the past year and is being developed by small Indie developer Unknown Worlds Entertainment who is made up of original developer Charlie Cleveland and others that built the original Natural Selection. They built their own game engine known as Spark that is made for fast development by using Lua to code the actual game in. The concept art and lots of the environment art was developed by Cory Strader, and original music composed by David John and Simon Chylinski.

I have been playing both the original and the beta of Natural Selection 2 for over a year now and have had fun playing along with the development of the game. The game relies on lots of teamwork and a commander who knows how to build strategies. The commander plays in a top down view and drops structures, researches upgrades, and supports there team players. Each member of the team also gets a set of personal resources they can use for weapons and evolutions and the number of resources they get is determined by how many Extractors or Harvesters the team has.

You can now Pre-Order the game on Steam for $24.99 and you get an upgrade to Digital Deluxe Edition that includes Natural Selection 2, a 1 hour soundtrack, a 40 page digital art book, excusive wallpapers and avatars, and exclusive in-game marine model. Once the game comes out the Deluxe Edition will go up to $40. Right now they are saying it will be release sometime in October, but I would without a thinking twice say that the date will be October 31 2012 Halloween, this is because that was the day they release the original Natural Selection.

This is a really fun game and once you learn it you will have hours of enjoyment, I have so go ahead and order today!

Black Mesa Half-Life 2 Mod

Good news for all you PC games out there, the rebuild of the classic game Half-Life using the Half-Life 2 engine called Source is set to release the first part of Black Mesa that they have finished. After 8 years of working on this project the community developed re-envisioning will be out to play September 14 2012, with what they say to be 8 to 10 hours of game play. While they don’t have all of the levels done in the later part of the story they wanted to release this much of the game so people could play and experience what they have made so far.

Half-Life the game was release November 19 1998, and was about a secret government researcher who was put into the middle of an alien outbreak that the military is just trying to cover up but with the help of fellow scientists they do what it takes to stop the aliens from invading earth. Half-Life 2 was released November 16 2004, and brings back the hero Gordon Freeman to find earth had been taken over by aliens. At the same time Half-Life 2 came out Valve the makers of Half-Life release a recompiled version of the original Half-Life but did no updates to the game. That’s where Black Mesa came in to rebuild the original story in modern mapping and game play.

The original sound track made by Joel Nielson is available to download with a donation selector on the download page. They also have a mock “Offer of Employment” letter to Dr. Freeman that adds some fun to the release. From the screen shots and videos I look forward to getting to play though the game that they have so far. I was one that enjoyed the original game and played though it many times. Half-Life was also responsible for a good portion of my gaming including mods such as Team-Fortress Classic, Natural-Selection, and some Counter-Strike, all who now have newer versions such as Team-Fortress 2, Natural-Selection 2, and Counter-Strike: Global Offence.

Look forward to a game review of Black Mesa coming after the release September 14 2012!

LG EA93 21:9 29” IPS Display

The title sounds strange but if you’re looking for a super wide screen check this out, LG at IFA has put out a premium IPS display that is 21:9 aspect ratio, the same as big movie theaters. Most movies don’t come to you on disk in this format but what I saw from this is if you are someone with a more than one display this could reduce the number of screens you may have and it is high quality. The resolution is 2560 x 1080, IPS panel, 7 watt speakers, DVI-D Dual, HDMI, Display port and USB 3.0 hub. With a screen size of 29 inches, this is a big screen too.

They put this out as a Multimedia / Multitasking Solution; it should be a good screen for both. If you have lots on your screen like I do this looks cool for 3-4 windows up at once.

They also put out a second high quality IPS display in a more normal ratio (16:9) that is 27 inches, with a resolution of 2560 x 1440, DVI-D, HDMI, Display Port, and USB 3.0.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Trailer

If you have ever followed any competitive game play two games come to mind Star-Craft and Counter-Strike, and the new updated version of Counter-Strike called Global Offensive comes out August 21st 2012. This is an update and addition to the Counter-Strike: Source that includes new maps, characters and weapons but also updates the classic maps and weapons that are from the original game.

If you pre-order the game you can play the beta and you get a special weapon for Team-Fortress 2. Also right now it is 10% off, making it only cost $13.49. It will be available on both PC and MAC though Steam, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

As far as me playing I wasn’t all that into it I like to run and gun in most games and these require more sneaking and head shots, but I’ll give it a try. Check out the Trailer below it was made with the new Source Filmmaker tool Valve has made to make videos using the Source Engine and game art.

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria Cinematic Trailer

If you have played World of Warcraft for any number of years you would be expecting the new explanation Mists of Pandaria that includes a new neutral race of Pandas that adds a new class the Monk. Any way good news check out the video below of the Cinematic Trailer, the game comes out on Tuesday September 25 2012!

Windows Essentials 2012 Update

If you have a Windows 7 computer you most likely had Windows Essentials installed by the maker or would want to get this set of applications that help do more with your Windows system. It was also called Windows Live Essentials but they seem to have dropped the “Live” from the name.

The main pack includes the following programs: Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Messenger, Mail, Writer, Outlook Connector, SkyDrive, and Family Safety. Lots of these applications were part of Windows in the past, but they now get updated more often than when Windows OS gets updated.

The two applications they are showing the biggest updates include Movie Maker and Photo Gallery. Movie Maker is a free video editing package that lets you easily edit home videos and put them up on sites such as YouTube.com or make them into DVDs. Photo Gallery is a photo organization and manipulation tool, it lets you fix problems with your images and do things like panoramas.

The update to Movie Maker includes a new Video Stabilization to reduce the shake that may be in your videos if the camera wasn’t on a tripod or a windy day. There are also more options for adding music from online music sites and how they are added to your video. They also improved adding text overlays to the videos so it will be easier to read. And finally they now by default encode video in H.264 rather than Windows Media Video making sharing easier.

As for the Photo Gallery they only did a few little updates such as making a Auto Collage and updating services you can export to.

For both applications they can now directly export to Vimeo, but most people will probably stick with YouTube because it’s a Gold Standard for sharing videos.

Another note that the other applications get bug fixes if you had them installed and will require you to restart your computer for them to be setup so expect that. But this is a nice set of additional applications that make using Windows better, there are a lot of other applications that do all of this but these integrate with Windows. In most cases you can do all of this Online now using Google or Office Live.

Download the Web Installer

Windows Essentials Web Site

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