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Google Nexus 10

Today Google was going to have an announcement in New York City but the weather caused them to cancel the release, but that didn’t stop them from giving us two new devices and an update to one. The first is an update to the Nexus 7, then a new Nexus 4 phone, and finally a Nexus 10 tablet. Plus they all run the updated Android 4.2, and have Google Now functionality for searching.

The Nexus 10 is a 10.055″ display at a 2560×1600 resolution, 9 hours of battery while playing video, front and back cameras, and multi user mode. It also comes in a 16 and 32 GB model, 2GB RAM, Dual-Core A15, Dual MiMO WiFi, and Micro HDMI. Looks like good specs but the images of the device make it look more rounded than a Nexus 7 so check out the gallery.

Screen with Gorilla Glass 2 10.055″ 2560×1600 Resolution
CPU / GPU Dual-Core A15 / Mali T604
Cameras 5MP back, 1.9MP front
Wireless Wifi (MIMO+HT40), Bluetooth, NFC, GPS
Storage 16GB + 32GB
RAM 2GB
Battery 9000 mAh Lithium polymer
OS Android 4.2 Jelly Bean
Connections Micro USB, Micro HDMI, Magnetic Pogo pin Plug, 3.5mm headphone
Sensors Microphone, Compass, Ambient light
Price 16GB – $399 / 32GB – $499

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.

The new Google / Samsung Chromebook for $249

Google has updated the line of Chromebook laptops with a new Chromebook that will only cost $249. This is the point where these computers start to look like a good deal. They run Chrome OS, which is a Linux distribution that is focused on only running the Chrome Web Browser. It makes it secure and keeps the system always up-to-date because you are expected to be working online all the time with this system. Lots of people have said this is a great system for their parents so they can get online to check email, Facebook, and get info on the Internet but not have to worry about the system getting messed up. But by having a limited system they have made a lot of changes to the OS to make it more like a traditional OS. Also with the new price drop this makes the system seem like a good deal now.

The main difference with this new Chromebook is the change from an Intel processor to an ARM process that would account for the main reason why the price is so low now, along with reduced RAM down to 2GB from the 4GB of older devices. You also get 100GB of Google Drive storage along with the built in 16GB SSD that most of the storage would be used by the OS giving a smaller than expected storage area on the computer, Google expects you to be storing everything in the Cloud so you could just login on any Chrome OS device and it seems like you were always there.

The full specs are listed below, but this is only an 11.6 inch screen, gets 6.5 hours of battery, and runs on a Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor. Also check out the full gallery of what things look like.

Processor ARM Samsung Exynos 5 Dual Processor
RAM 2GB
Screen 11.6 inch (1366×768)
Battery 6.5 hours
Size and Weight 0.8 inch thick, 2.5 lbs
Storage 16 GB SSD with 100GB Google Drive for 2 years
Wireless Dual band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0
Camera VGA
Ports 1 USB 3.0, 1 USB 2.0, HDMI

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.

Google Nexus 7 OTA 4.1.2

Lots of users over at XDA-Developers Forum have started to get an update for their Google Nexus 7 tablets, this updates brings Android 4.1.2 Jellybean to the device. This isn’t a big update from what people have seen, it seems to increase performance and stability of the tablet along with bug fixes. The only real visible change is the ability to rotate the home screen in landscape mode. Below is a post on the Android Building Group.

We’re releasing Android 4.1.2 to AOSP today, which is a minor update on top of 4.1.1.

As a note to maintainers of community builds running on Nexus 7: please update to 4.1.2 at the first opportunity. Future variants of the grouper hardware will have a minor change in one of the components (the power management chip) that will not be compatible with 4.1.1.

The build number is JZO54K, and the tag is android-4.1.2_r1.

Enjoy,
Conley and JBQ


Jean-Baptiste M. “JBQ” Queru
Technical Lead, Android Open Source Project, Google.

I have been setting my Nexus 7 to look for an update but none yet for me, but thanks to user PTzero of XDA you can download the update from Google’s servers and flash the update yourself if you want. If you are like me you may just do this, and is reported to keep ROOT on your tablet if you have done that like I have. Otherwise wait a day or so and it should update your device.

Images from: EE Times

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook Sorry About Maps

Today Apple‘s CEO Tim Cook put out a letter talking about maps. Apple removed the older app they had in iOS from the core operating system that used mapping data from Google Maps when they put out iOS6 for their iPhones and iPads. A large number of users have reported a bad experience with the new maps Apple has been building, having problems like incomplete mapping data, wrong or misleading directions, and just a bad experience using the maps application.

In the letter Cook says sorry about the maps app in the first paragraph.

We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

He also talks later about how you can also use other applications from the App Store to get maps or to use Google or Nokia web apps to get maps. He also talks about how 100 million iOS devices use the new maps and have been used to search half a billion locations. To finish, he talks about how they are working to improve the app and get it up to their high standard.

While this doesn’t fix the app or bring Google Maps to iOS in a meaningful way, it does show they how even Apple makes mistakes and like all companies has to fix them, so expect an update coming at some point to make them better. This would be a good time for Google to drop in with an iOS Google Maps app and get a lot of people to use the trusted maps they are use too.

Full text of the letter below…

To our customers,

At Apple, we strive to make world-class products that deliver the best experience possible to our customers. With the launch of our new Maps last week, we fell short on this commitment. We are extremely sorry for the frustration this has caused our customers and we are doing everything we can to make Maps better.

We launched Maps initially with the first version of iOS. As time progressed, we wanted to provide our customers with even better Maps including features such as turn-by-turn directions, voice integration, Flyover and vector-based maps. In order to do this, we had to create a new version of Maps from the ground up.

There are already more than 100 million iOS devices using the new Apple Maps, with more and more joining us every day. In just over a week, iOS users with the new Maps have already searched for nearly half a billion locations. The more our customers use our Maps the better it will get and we greatly appreciate all of the feedback we have received from you.

While we’re improving Maps, you can try alternatives by downloading map apps from the App Store like Bing, MapQuest and Waze, or use Google or Nokia maps by going to their websites and creating an icon on your home screen to their web app.

Everything we do at Apple is aimed at making our products the best in the world. We know that you expect that from us, and we will keep working non-stop until Maps lives up to the same incredibly high standard.

Tim Cook
Apple’s CEO

25 Billion Downloads on Google Play

Google announced today that they have hit the 25 billion download mark. They didn’t specify if it was just apps or included music, books, movies, or magazines, but it means we get some good deals! They will have a bunch of apps for 25 cents along with collections of 25 top movies, 25 banned books, 25 albums that changed the world, and 25 top selling magazines at special prices.

They also gave us a number, 675,000 app and games available in the Play Store. Also in geek style they put out the numbers such as, 25 billion is twice the distance that Voyager 1 has traveled in miles over 35 years. But ether way these milestone numbers have been good things for Android users as we get good deals on paid apps and this time they are also giving deals on other content they offer. Look for these deals today and will probably be around for a week or so, so don’t miss out.

New YouTube for iPhone and iPod Touch

With Apple not including YouTube as a default app on iOS 6 for iPhone, YouTube has built a new updated app that includes music videos, channel guide, faster search tools, and better sharing functionality. The guide shows up if you swipe from the edge of the screen, and gives you access to subscriptions. The search has suggestions as you type like when you do a Google search. And you can now share with Google+, Facebook, Twitter, E-Mail, or text message.

This updates the app to have more of the functionality found in the Android version and frees the YouTube app from only being updated by Apple, but it doesn’t get installed as a default app now. You can get the YouTube app in the iTunes App store today.

Google Play Store Smart Updates

If you use an Android Phone you most likely get your apps from Google Play Store, but updates can take lots of time and data if you have lots of apps. But earlier at Google I/O, Google talked about the new update system that would only download the parts of your apps that changed along with encrypting them so paid apps couldn’t be ripped off.

Reports now show that system has been started and will work even on older phones (2.3, 4.0 …) and can save you lots of data when updating apps. When you update an app it will download the part you need then start installing it if that’s all you need before the full download is done. This update should happen the next time you load the Google Play store on your device and happen without you having to do anything because the Play Store updates its self all the time.

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