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All posts tagged "software"

Monday, November 7, 2011

Improved Nook Simple Touch Now Priced At $99

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 09:37 PM

"In addition to the new $249 Nook Tablet revealed this morning at a press event in New York City, Barnes & Noble announced a new price drop to $99 and a software update for the Nook Simple Touch eReader."

Part of the Nook Tablet announcement this morning was the release of the Nook Simple Touch E-ink reader. The Simple Touch is an updated version of the Nook Touch. It comes with an improved screen touted by Barnes and Noble as the "most advanced E-ink display" and updated software.

The Simple Touch is now available at for $99, down $40 from $139. This price drop brings the Barnes and Noble's offering in line with the ad supported Kindle Touch E-ink reader. The update is available to older Touch owners and can be found at

Friday, October 7, 2011

Blockbuster Movie Pass on Dish Network

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home News" @ 11:00 PM

"The service launches next Saturday, October 1 and goes head-to-head with Netflix for $10. However, this isn't for cord cutters. This service requires a Dish Network satellite TV package and is not available separately. New subscribers can opt for one year of Dish's Top 200 programming package for $39.99 a month. The Blockbuster service will be billed with the Dish Network TV service, resulting in one bill for subscribers."

It's now been a week since Blockbuster Movie Pass launched on the Dish Network. So how many of you subscribed to the $10 service?

Sound off in the comments so we know if this is a valid competitor to Netflix and whether we should try it our not.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Networked Attached Storage - Showdown

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 06:00 PM

"We're going to take a look at four of the top NAS devices currently on the market. All the products we tested support up to four SATA drives in the standard RAID levels (0/1/5/10), providing exceptional performance and reliability. These devices are geared toward small businesses and home offices, and they include features and performance that extend above and beyond what the typical home user will require. But then again, we've always felt that overkill is just another product feature."

Network Attached Storage (NAS) is still an important consideration for many small businesses and homes. I say "still" because the possibility of cloud storage shades the picture somewhat, making things less clear. At the end of the day many people need large file stores available for holding ever expanding media libraries, or for backing up multiple computers. Having that storage physically located in your own home or business and not dependent on an Internet connection for access may be a very good thing. Maximum PC has tested four of the latest NAS solutions, and provided their perspective on their relative merits. If you think you need a NAS, read this article for some good insights.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Windows 8: Right or Wrong?

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:30 AM

"Summary: Ed Bott and Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols debate whether Microsoft's next operating system is headed in the right direction."

Phew, that's quite a long list of arguments for and against Windows 8. Me? I'm not sure. I still am a bit ambivalent about the whole thing. Metro looks awesome, but the whole point of Windows is to run all those programs we are used to running. In a way I see this as a compromise solution for the tablet problem, by not breaking away from the legacy Windows base totally. Sure you can run all those programs, but most likely you will want a program with the Metro UI, coded with the latest framework/APIs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Premier Elements 10 Released For Windows And Mac

Posted by Richard Chao in "Digital Home Software" @ 03:00 AM

"Adobe today announced Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 & Adobe Premiere Elements 10 bundle for Windows and Mac, the newest version of Adobe's award-winning, No. 1 selling consumer photo- and video-editing software. This milestone release celebrates 10 years of bringing powerful, easy-to-use technology to consumers. Available as standalone products or as a single retail package, the Photoshop Elements 10 & Adobe Premiere Elements 10 bundle offers two complete solutions that redefine what it means to bring photos and videos to life."

Adobe has just released Photoshop Elements 10 and Premier Elements 10. The products are available separately for $99.99 or as a bundle for $149.99. The press release is posted in its entirety after the break.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Need Online Backup? Try ZenOK Free

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:30 PM

"ZenOK Free is an experiment in a new kind of Online Backup built on the idea that you should never have to lose your documents, spreadsheets and photos (again), and you should always be able to access the file you want."

Software development company ZenOK has an interesting offer you may want to check out if you need upwards of 21GB of online storage. To get the storage space you need to either send a tweet for them or share their page on Facebook. It may be worth it to give it a try. If you do, drop back here and let us know how the service worked for you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Xbox Live Coming to Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 04:56 PM

The above image is from someone's Flickr account, so I'm not sure if it's real, but Engadget is reporting that Xbox Live is coming to Windows 8. This is impressive - between the Xbox hooked up to a TV, a Windows Phone, and Windows 8 on a PC or tablet, Microsoft has a three-screens entertainment strategy that can actually compete with Apple's iTunes ecosystem. Not bad Microsoft, not bad at all. Note that there's no word "Zune" anywhere in that screen shot, or on the Engadget one. That reinforces to me that the Zune brand is on the way out...but I wonder what they'll re-brand the awesome desktop software to? Xbox doesn't make sense as a media player brand - well, not to me at least.

Windows 8: This is the Future of Windows

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 09:48 AM

"Microsoft is welcoming around 5,000 developers to its BUILD conference today to unveil the most significant change in the PC space since Windows 95. "It's a launch," explains Windows chief Steven Sinofsky. "It's a launch of an opportunity for developers. That's a lot, it's a big deal to do today and tomorrow," he says during an opening address to media and analysts in Anaheim California. You sense the sense of excitement in the room and the realisation that Windows 8 is a really big deal for Microsoft, a deal that cannot go wrong."

It's taken years, but Microsoft has finally delivered a truly workable touch-based interface. Check out the video above; the performance is stunning. Everything is smooth and impressively fluid. Yes, this is a developer's build so it's not finished, but seeing performance like this early on is a great indicator of what's to come. Windows 8 is also significantly lighter on resources than Windows 7; Engadget's post says that Windows 7 SP1 required 404 MB of RAM and had 32 processes running. Compare that to Windows 8 using only 281 MB of RAM and having 28 processes - that's big, big improvement.

Are you excited? I'm excited! More coverage here on Business Insider and Engadget.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vonage's Time to Call App: 15 Free Minutes, International Calling and a Free iPad 2!

Posted by Jeff Campbell in "Apple Software (iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad)" @ 10:40 AM

Time to Call is a free app from Vonage, that lets you make phone calls (including international calls) from your iPhone or iPad 2 at very affordable rates. And as a bonus, they are giving you 15 minutes of calling time when you download the app using this link. The cool thing about this app is that it uses your iTunes account to pay for the minutes, so you don't have to mess around with calling cards or getting an operator involved. All you do is make the call and it will subtract the charges direct from your iTunes account. The rates are pretty reasonable too as outlined in the details below:

  • Pay per call and talk up to 15 minutes to 100 countries for $1.99 or less (not including taxes)
  • For an additional 90+ countries, talk up to 15 minutes for $2.99 to $9.99 (not including taxes)
  • Works on WiFi internationally, 3G in the US and Canada
  • FREE download - No need to be a Vonage home customer
  • LIMITED TIME OFFER: Download now and call up to 15 minutes for FREE.

If you go to the Vonage site, you can easily find out how much your 15 minutes of calling time will be as it is based on the country you are calling. Simply select the country from the drop down list and it gives you the cost in US Dollars. Pretty simple. For example, calling Argentina will set you back $1.99 USD for 15 minutes of calling time, of course that is not including the 15 free minutes you get just for downloading the app. And make sure to read on to find out how to win an iPad 2 from Vonage as part of their promotion for the new app.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Future of the Living Room According to Microsoft

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 01:30 PM

"Summer is a transition time for many people: the break between school years; a vacation before tackling another year of work; and for network television that's been a guest in our living rooms for so long, summer is a time of transition between seasons. It's appropriate then that we are also in the middle of a fundamental transformation of the technology in our living rooms. Traditional broadcast and cable TV are steadily being augmented and enjoyed in new ways such as ‘time-shifted' and on-demand TV via DVRs and other devices like the Xbox, PCs, tablets and even smartphones. Similarly, DVDs are being replaced by on-demand movie delivery via services such as Netflix and Hulu. And the standard 30- or 60-minute commercial program is no longer the only game in town - today's entertainment options are a vast cornucopia of content from ultra-short to full length, all delivered over the Internet."

Over the past decade I've seen a lot of these sorts of things coming from Microsoft - they all look like great ideas, but rarely do they come to fruition. Will this time be different? I'd like to think so - there's some compelling stuff in this video - but I'm not going to hold my breath...

Adobe Releases Lightroom 3.5 and Adobe Camera Raw 6.5 Release Candidates

Posted by Lee Yuan Sheng in "Digital Home Software" @ 11:40 AM

For Lightroom and Photoshop users, the release candidates for Lightroom 3.5 and Adobe Camera Raw 6.5 are out. Updates adds a number of cameras (including the newest Olympus and Panasonic cameras), as well as lens profiles. Check it out if you're on an Adobe workflow.

Sunday, August 28, 2011 Wrapping Freeware in Bloatware

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"There was a time long, long ago when was the place I went for software. It's been years, however, as the site repeatedly showed signs of devolving into a site every bit as bothersome as the many third-tier software repositories that hide genuine links below clever-placed advertisements and bundle toolbars with their "certified" local downloads."

Well isn't this just an ugly corner CNET's has backed themselves into. They're apparently taking freeware applications such as VLC Media Player and wrapping the installer inside another installer...and the CNET installer includes toolbars and other ad-based crapware. By all accounts, they seem to be doing it without the permission of the developer who's software it is they're "wrapping". What a mess. I hope the developers rise up and take their software off of Without key software to drive traffic, is just an empty shell...

Microsoft Improves File Copying in Windows 8

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Digital Home Software" @ 10:37 AM

"Microsoft tonight showed a new approach to copying and moving files in Windows 8, the next version of its PC operating system - aiming to clean up, clarify and consolidate the jumble of dialog boxes that Windows users have dealt with for years."

The above screen shot is more than a little geeky - let's face it, an average user isn't going to click on More Details to see this - but I really like this. Now if I could only figure out why file transfers to my HP Windows Home Server start out at 90 MB/s and drop to 5 MB/s after a few minutes. Sigh...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Windows 8 to Work at Super Speed!

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM

"Windows 8 will be bringing with it native support for USB 3.0 controllers, writes Microsoft's Dennis Flanagan, Director of Program Management for the Devices and Networking Group. This is in contrast to previous versions of Windows, which continue to require separate drivers for USB 3.0 controllers."

I am old enough to remember the days when Windows did not come with native USB 2.0 drivers. That lovely reminder that when plugging in that USB device, warnings would pop up either telling me that the device could work faster and better no longer plague my dreams, but remind me of a time when drivers were a nightmare. Drivers still are a nightmare, but with a stable computing environment over the past decade has created a nice environment where some devices such as keyboards, mice and USB flash drives, worked without any hassle, at least to some basic level.

With USB 3.0, it looks like we will have to suffer a short period of time where extra drivers will be needed. Now if they could only make it so things like standard functions for printers and only need drivers for extra functionality, the job of an IT tech would be that much easier.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ilium Software Offering eWallet GO! for 99 Cents/Free

Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Software" @ 03:03 PM

"Do you have too much info to remember? Do you wish you could take all your passwords, credit cards, account information and logins with you - so they're handy when you want them? But keep them safe - so you don't have to worry about intruders finding them? You need eWallet GO!TM If you want secure, easy, mobile storage for all your info, just grab eWallet GO! and take your passwords with you everywhere you GO!"

Well's a good deal! Effective now and running until the 21st of this month, you can get eWallet GO! for a mere 99 cents on Windows Phone 7, Android, and iPhone/iPod Touch devices. On Windows and Mac versions, the software is free. Sweet! Jump here to find the version you need. The OS X version is in the Mac App store, and the Windows version requires registration for the free download. On iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 7, you'll find it in their respective app stores.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keeping Tabs On Your Power consumption

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 03:30 PM

"Knowledge is power. And if you have People Power 1.0, People Power’s new mobile Energy Services Platform, you can use knowledge to save power – and money. People Power 1.0 is an open and extensible cloud-based platform that allows you to monitor up-to-the-minute household energy usage from an iPhone or Android smartphone."

If you are ready to upgrade from using your Kill-o-Watt meter to track your power usage, and your electric company has not caught up witht he times, it may be time for some People Power. Living in a digital world means that we consume electricity; sometimes a lot, sometimes just a little. The way to minimize your electrical footprint though, is to know what you use that sucks up juice. What looks most useful is that you can track individual devices relatively easily thorugh the use of their powerstrips, instead of just getting the use of one device at a time, or of your whole household. While you can figure out what uses how much power the old way, a lot of extra hassle is involved, and that might just be enough hassle to push your energy tracking project away a few weeks, months or even years.

Building Your Own Cloud

Posted by Hooch Tan in "Digital Home News" @ 02:00 PM,281...,2390307,00.asp

"But what if you can’t wait? Or what if you haven’t subscribed to the Jobsian reality distortion field? Certainly, there must be ways to replicate the iCloud experience with existing services. It turns out there are—in spades. The challenge is in paring them down. Once you do that, you can get everything you get from iCloud—and more—for free if you’re willing to mix together a cocktail of services. Here’s your shopping list."

Now that Apple has announced its iCloud service, the whole cloud industry is going to get a huge shot in the arm from the added attention. If you are someone who is either impatient, or not privy to the Apple world, there are a wide range of cloud services that you can take advantage of, some which can even mostly replicate the exact same services that iCloud will bring. The biggest thing you should pay attention to, though, is how efficient each service is. I imagine that the draw of a lot of these services is that you will have access to your digital life from anywhere, and that means data. And at least for Canada, and large growing part of the world, that means that your data caps may come into play.

Tags: software, cloud

Monday, August 1, 2011

iTwin: Your Missing Link Has Been Found

Posted by Chris Sacksteder in "Digital Home Hardware & Accessories" @ 08:00 AM

iTwin first picture

Product Category: File Sharing Utility
Manufacturer: iTwin, Inc.
Where to Buy: Amazon [Affiliate]
Price: $99.99 USD
System Requirements: Windows 7, XP or Vista (32-bit or 64-bit)
Specifications: Size: 90mm x 21mm x 8mm; 50g. Symmetrical USB (2.0) connectors, LED activity lights.


  • Easy to use.
  • Can connect two computers to copy files when other means don't work.
  • Easier than connecting to a remote file share.


  • May not be as good as connecting to a file share.
  • Needs access to company's server to operate.
  • No local help or trouble-shooting options.

Summary: This is a unique little device that enables secure file sharing between two (and only two) computers, and may be just the thing you need when other methods are blocked by company firewalls or home routers, or are simply too difficult to set up by a novice user. The company's slick marketing-oriented web site may over state its features, but it works well. Read more...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Putting You On The Spot: To Spotify Or Not?

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 12:00 PM

"At first blush, paying a monthly amount to "borrow" content like this over the net seems like a pretty good idea. Many of us have used Netflix or Hulu and become accustomed to the idea of paying our monthly subscription fee and getting to watch as much as we want. Both of these companies have done a fantastic job with their offerings. Netflix has become so popular that it recently surpassed the amount of Bittorrent ("pirate") traffic on the web, proving that it's compelling offerings, not lawsuits, that win customer's hearts and minds. But if Hulu and Netflix are so fantastic, what's the concern about Spotify?"

Spotify is a popular music service newly available to US customers. James Allworth over at the Business Insider has written a post suggesting that you may want to think twice before committing to a service like Spotify, which he describes as a music renting service, since you could be subject to a bait and switch tactic that may effectively force you to pay more money for the same service in the future. His argument is certainly plausible, but not everyone will agree with his premise. So, the question is: how do you feel about the Spotify service and are you concerned about future possible price increases?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Put That Webcam To Good Use: Home Security

Posted by Brad Wasson in "Digital Home Talk" @ 05:00 PM

"Cammster doesn't require a download or special software, and works in all browsers and platforms. Just sign up for a free account, and when you leave home, leave Cammster open in a browser window. Select the level of motion sensitivity you want to trigger the service to start taking pictures, and walk away. If motion is detected that exceeds the threshold, the service will start taking snapshots and email you with a link where you can see the images as they're uploaded."

Webcams are pretty common these days. Many monitors come with them built in, and they are not very expensive to add as a USB plug-in if you need one. How often does it get used though? For most people it almost certainly has zero use when no one is home. That could all change if you would like to consider using it for a little home security detail. Cammster is a software application that works in all browsers on all platforms. The typical Cammster use scenario is that you leave your dwelling with the computer turned on, the webcam connected to the Internet, and the Cammster program running. If movement is detected in the field of view of the webcam, the program will take photographs with the webcam and will save the pictures to the Cammster site. You can then be notified by SMS (text messaging) and/or email that a pictures have been taken due to motion being detected. Note that motion detection sensitivity can be set to take into account pet or other object movement. Pricing for the service varies depending on how you choose to get notified (e-mail alerts are temporarily free).

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