Category Archives: Services

WordPress 3.5 Update

New Media ManagerA new update for WordPress is out version 3.5, with this update the main thing is the new Media Manager. While that isn’t the only new thing, they have added a new responsive and clean-looking theme called Twenty Twelve, there is also an update to the dashboard that includes high-resolution icons and other elements for people with Retina displays or high-resolution screens, finally they updated things to work better on touch devices and refined controls to make things easier.

The Media Manager is much easier to use letting you drag and drop images and media around to order them into galleries or add captions. You can also just drag a set of images into the manager to upload them and select the images you want to insert into a gallery or just an image into a post. Also when working with posts the post editor has been update and looks nicer yet no new functionality was added.

If you have a WordPress site there is no reason not to keep it updated, and with the new Media Manger it will help you or your users’ happier when working with images. Check out the video below.

One quick note, I was having problems getting the new Media Manager to open in older posts and even in this posts, seems like there may be something still not working just right to open up the manager. But I like the update just wish there wasn’t the problem with opening the manager.

Google Helps People Vote TODAY! 2012

Google has made a big effort to help people find information about the 2012 Elections in the United States, this includes there YouTube page that has had lots of live video events along with video from major news networks on the Elections. But one of the things that I found interesting is how not only are they providing information on who you can vote for, but helping people find out where they can vote. On Google+ they reported that voter information data has been accessed over 16 million times.

While they do have some problems with the YouTube page today, I was able to load it up but live video and normal YouTube clips did not load in the page they would load on the standard page for that video. It also seems as the comment feed on the election page was stuck at over an hour old.

I was able to use the Google voting location tool to fine where I needed to go vote and also find more info on things I would have to vote on. At the voting location there was a line at 8:45 AM MST, and only took 10 minutes to get in. Then waited to have my address updated and went to the electronic voting systems. They used some kind of combination of paper print outs, a block that had some kind of near field wireless data transfer and a touch screen that was not as good as a phone or tablet touch screen. After you voted on each person it would print a log that showed up next to the screen, and then when you did finish voting it would show it and real that paper into the back of the voting device. I was of course almost more interested in the technology then the voting going on. Then when you were done a person would take that block with what seemed to store the data back to another system to unload the data and clear it for the next use.

Either way you vote its cool to see that you can get more information online than ever, it was surprising when looking at things I would vote on who many of the people didn’t have good websites or any at all. Get out and vote and if you can comment on your experience with electronic voting or if you are one that doesn’t like the idea of it.

CBS content coming to Hulu Plus January 2013

CBS has held out on getting there content on Hulu for a while but announced today they will be adding over 2,600 episodes of CBS shows to Hulu Plus starting in January 2013. This will include new and old shows such as CSI: Miami, Star Trek, I love Lucy, Numb3rs, and The Twilight Zone. They will also add clips from Entertainment Tonight on the day-of broadcast and other shows will rotate though the free Hulu.com service.

While I don’t watch much Hulu my wife dose and this should make her happy to have more shows to watch, this deal also won’t affect other deals that are made with Netflix and other streaming services so we won’t lose shows like Star Trek from those services. Now all they need to do is stop thinking that if people watch the shows the next day on Hulu they are losing money on the Cable / Satellite networks, most people who watch content on Hulu / Netflix do it because they don’t have a subscription or want it when they can watch it, it’s one reason people are willing to play for Hulu Plus!

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.

Tour through Google Data Centers with Street View

Google today announced they have created Street Views of some of their data centers that let you go through and see parts of the building most would never see. There is also a video showing things off also, but it’s fun to see what you can find that they put in for fun such as an Android guy off in some corner or a screen showing something for fun.

While you can’t go every place in the data centers you can look around a bit and see what it would be like to work in one of these buildings. Including things like showing the crews brake areas and some of the office areas. Right now the only data center you can walk though is Lenoir, NC but it looks like they may add more along with the outside.

Check out the video they made of the data center or the street map of it for you self. You can also get more data center images on the Google Data Center About page.

FreedomPop Free 4G Data

FreedomPop is a company using Sprint WiMax 4G service to give users 500MB of free data usage a month. They also plan on updating the service later on to use Sprints 4G LTE network for wider coverage. While you get 500MB of data free they also offer reasonable rates for extra data, such as the “Casual 2GB Data Plan” is $17.99 a month. To get the service you also have to put down a security deposit for the MiFi or USB Stick, and depending on the one you get the price.

After looking at their coverage map it shows that the WiMax is the real problem, it’s only in major cities. For me the closest cities are Salt Lake or Denver that have coverage. If this worked on Sprint’s entire network I would be down for spending the $20.98 for the 2GB and the “Speed Plus” that is said to give a 50% boost in speeds whatever that means. The change to LTE is expected to happen sometime in 2013.

They also have an iPhone and iPod sleeve being made that works like a MiFi but also adds 6 hours of battery life to the iPhone case. With one of these you could turn an iPod into a real mobile device without an expansive contract. Both sleeves are only pre-order right now and will cost $99.

Check out the charts below for more details.

Device Deposit
Freedom Sleeve for iPod Touch $99
Freedom Sleeve for iPhone 4/4S $99
Freedom Spot – Photon $89
Freedom Stick – Bolt $49

The iPhone and iPod sleeves are said to come in a few weeks if you pre-order them.

Name Data per Month Price per Month
Free 500MB 500MB + $0.02 per 1MB after Free
Casual 2GB 2GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $17.99
Premiere 4GB 4GB + $0.01 per 1MB after $28.99

All plans can add FreedomPop Speed Plus for $2.99 per month for “50% faster speeds”.

For now if you have service in your area this could be a nice way to add data to a Tablet, Laptop, or other device if you want some free data that you would use from time to time, but otherwise hold off for a while until they change over to LTE. But it is good to see companies taking some risks in the mobile data field trying to come up with new ways to get people data service, also Sprint should be thought of as they seem to be the one network that is open to other companies trying new things using their equipment.

Facebook Gifts

A few months ago Facebook acquired a company that shipped gifts and today has released its functionally today. With Facebook gifts you can chose one of your friend on Facebook and give them a gift for things like Birthdays or just because. Right now they only have around 100 gifts, such as cupcakes, stuffed animals, digital gift cards, and say they are going to add more soon. They also have links for businesses that may want to sell their products on Facebook gifts to contact them.

When I went to https://www.facebook.com/gifts the page still showed that it was “Coming Soon: Gifts” so they may not have it turned on for all of Facebook’s users yet. But when you can give gifts you will chose a gift, fill out a message that shows up in a card, pay for the gift or they have some kind of pay later option, and then it notifies your friend that you have given them a gift. For the recipient they enter there address so the sender doesn’t have to have that information, and other options like size or color. Then the gift is shipped, shipping fees seem to be included in the price of the gift.

This seems like an interesting way to give people gifts and as long as they get there selection large enough that most people will be happy with what they get it will probably be used a lot. As for Facebook it will also get people to add a credit card to their account and will help them sell more things though the site easer. They have a video showing the process that makes it look super simple, will see how good they do on delivering the products to people’s houses in a reasonable time.

Spotify Gift Cards at Target

Spotify has announced that you can now get Gift Cards at Target stores in the U.S. This is good for people who don’t want to give out credit cards, kids who don’t have a credit card or to give as gifts. Spotify is a cool service that gives you unlimited streaming of music for free, but limits how much a single track can be played, plays ads, and only works on a computer. But if you get there Premium subscription you can play music on your phone and download songs to your phone.

They have three prices, $10, $30 and $60. And the Spotify Premium service costs $9.99 a month so these cards could be though to be worth 1, 3 and 6 months of service. If you haven’t tried the service before you can use the free version on your computer, and if you want to try the premium they push a free 30 day trial all the time on you.

Amazon.com Now Ships More with Prime Free Two Day Shipping

Today Amazon.com announced they are shipping more products using their Prime free two day shipping then they do with the free super saver shipping. They also put out some numbers on how much you get by being part of Prime. These include the following.

  • 15 million items ship free with Prime
  • 22,000 free Prime unlimited streaming movies and TV shows
  • Watch Prime videos on Kindle Fire, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and iPad
  • 180,000 Prime Kindle Owners’ Lending Library books

Some other things they shared yet without any real numbers…

With the Prime membership you get the Free Two Day shipping on most things you are looking for, the movies and TV shows to watch, and the books. It is worth the $79 price per year just for the free shipping if you order items off of Amazon.com often. It has saved me lots of money in shipping and just having easy access to almost everything I could need, I have even seen the free two day shipping on fridges and beds.

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!

%d bloggers like this: