• Stuclark

    It's finally happened. Samsung yesterday launched the much-leaked Galaxy Note 8. Is this just a bigger S8; is it worth the wait; will it's battery explode?

    Samsung's press release is below, which in some ways answers those all-important questions. I'll summarise for those who can't really be bothered reading the whole thing:
     
    Is it just a bigger Galaxy S8?
    Yes, of course it is. But it's also "so much more" ...
      Is it worth the wait?
    That depends. Are you a Note fan who's still using their Note 4? (the Note 5 never officially made it to the UK; the Note 6 didn't exist; and the Note 7 ... well...) If you are still using your Note 4, then yes, this probably is worth the wait. Whether it's worth the £850 Samsung are asking is another issue though...
      Will it's battery explode?
    Samsung really, really, seriously, really, hope not!
     
     

  • Stuclark

    After a gap of 2 weeks that felt more like 10, Microsoft have finally released a new Insider Preview build of Windows 10. This time it's build number 16273. The question is, what's new this time...?

    This is the second release to be officially labelled rs3_release, meaning it has come from the Creators Fall Update release branch of the Windows development tree. As such, there are no major new features as Microsoft start focussing on polishing the build for public release (due in about October).
    Having said that, Microsoft has introduced a new font in this build called Bahnschrift. Here's what they have to say about it:
    There's the usual skew of Edge updates, plus some new emoticons in this build. As usual, Microsoft's full release announcement is here.

  • Stuclark

    Nokia 8 released

    By Stuclark, in News,

    HMD Global, the new owners of the Nokia brand, today announced the Nokia 8, "a high performance, beautifully crafted smartphone, designed with content creators in mind".

    The Nokia 8 brings three world-firsts to Android smartphones, including a debut collaboration with ZEISS optics. With performance and pure Android at its heart, as well as the most advanced aluminium unibody design to date, the Nokia 8 represents all the hallmarks of a true flagship Nokia smartphone.

    Be less Selfie, be more Bothie: The Nokia 8 introduces a world-first in enabling Dual-Sight video to be livestreamed natively and in real-time to social feeds such as Facebook and YouTube. Dual-Sight simultaneously harnesses both the front and rear cameras in a split screen visual for both photos and videos. With just one touch, this world-first livestream capability gives more immersive experiences for those who love to create and share special memories.
    Nokia 8 is also the first smartphone to feature Nokia OZO Audio, placing exclusive Hollywood technology in the palm of your hand. OZO spatial 360° audio brings a fully immersive audio experience to your 4K video. Leading-edge 360° audio capture ensures the playback lets you truly relive the moment so your memories never fade.
    4.6mm thin at the edge and just 7.3mm slim on average, Nokia 8’s seamless unibody is precision milled from a single block of 6000 series aluminium and its pure design has been refined through a 40-stage process of machining, anodizing and polishing. Select models feature a high-gloss mirror finish that has taken over 20 hours to complete to achieve a flawless look. The phone features Qualcomm’s powerful SnapdragonTM 835 Mobile Platform and paired with the pure, secure and up to date Android experience ensures outstanding performance.
    Be less Selfie, be more #Bothie There are two sides to every story and the Dual-Sight feature of Nokia 8 is designed to help you create and share the full picture. The front and rear-facing cameras on the Nokia 8 have been co-developed with ZEISS optics for an optimum all round experience. Content creators can natively broadcast their unique #Bothie stories to social media through the Dual-Sight functionality located within the camera app. Fans can also enjoy unlimited1 photo and video uploads to Google Photos.
    A new dimension of sound with OZO Audio Featuring OZO Audio, Nokia 8 combines three microphones with exclusive Nokia acoustic algorithms to capture audio with immersive 360° spatial surround sound. Share your 4K videos with OZO Audio anywhere – binaural codecs enable high fidelity playback even on devices without OZO Audio.
    Innovation and precision engineering Powered by the Qualcomm® SnapdragonTM 835 Mobile Platform, Nokia 8 doesn’t compromise on performance.
    The Nokia 8 has been designed from the ground up with the consumer in mind to deliver unique content capture and sharing experiences. This requires it to be as meticulously designed on the inside as it is on the outside. To keep your phone working harder for longer, the design, innovation and engineering teams worked hand-in-hand to deliver. The result is a full-length graphite shielded copper cooling pipe that dissipates the heat generated by the high performing system across the full length and breadth of the handset. The Nokia 8 runs cooler in even the most demanding situations.
    Nokia 8 is Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 3.0 compatible, meaning when your battery is running low you can get back to recording your important moments sooner.
    Juho Sarvikas, Chief Product Officer of HMD Global, said: “We know that fans are creating and sharing live content more than ever before, with millions of photos and videos shared every minute on social media. People are inspired by the content they consume and are looking for new ways to create their own. It’s these people who have inspired us to craft a flagship smartphone which perfectly balances premium design, an outstanding experience and powerful performance.”
    Always pure Android Nokia smartphones always offer a pure Android experience, with no unnecessary apps slowing down the performance of your device. And with Nokia 8, pure Android combined with our innovative engineering processes unleashes the full potential of the SnapdragonTM 835 Mobile Platform. With monthly security updates, the Nokia 8 is safe and up-to-date. Your device is secured with biometric fingerprint authentication, delivering enhanced security and making Nokia 8 a versatile companion whatever your needs.
    Accessories We offer a range of accessories perfectly tailored to suit the active lifestyle of any Nokia 8 owner. The Nokia 8 works beautifully with the Nokia Active Wireless Headset – a lightweight, water, sweat, and dust proof premium headset. Carved from aluminium for the perfect match, this headset features a beautiful diamond cut design. The full portfolio of accessories for Nokia phones includes a range of headsets, portable speakers, in-car chargers, cases and screen protectors.
    Availability Nokia 8 will be available in four colours: Polished Blue, Polished Copper, Tempered Blue and Steel and will be available at a global average retail price of €599 with roll out throughout September.

    Nokia 8 specifications
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor 5.3in Quad-HD (2560x1440 pixels) IPS display with 700 nits brightness and Gorilla Glass 5 Android 7.1.1 Nougat 4GB RAM 64GB storage plus microSD support up to 256GB Dual 13Mp rear cameras (one colour, one mono), f/2.0, 1.12um, OIS, Laser autofocus, dual-LED flash 13Mp selfie camera, f/2.0 IP54 splashproof 3090mAh battery with Quick Charge 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi Bluetooth 5.0 NFC Fingerprint scanner USB-C 3.5mm headphone jack 151.5x73.7x7.9mm 160g Available in Polished Blue, Polished Copper, Tempered Blue and Steel

  • Stuclark

    Yesterday evening, Microsoft released Insider Preview build 16257. What's new in this release?

     
    Quite a lot actually; the big news is eye control, as announced by Microsoft yesterday. This technology essentially lets you control Windows just by looking at it (it needs a third party piece of hardware, which then tracks your eyes and essentially turns them into the mouse). It's all very clever and very new, and at the moment quite restricted, but there's a lot of potential in this technology. Here's a quick video of gesture typing using eye movement.
     
    The rest of this week's build is the usual collection of changes and enhancements to Edge (this week it gets a bit of a design make-over to make it more "modern" in appearance); plus some Windows Defender changes and updates, continuing it's rise to being 'actually useful'; oh, and full 24 bit colour support for the good old Windows console (otherwise known as Command Prompt / Powershell window (terminal to those Unix-y people here))
     

  • Stuclark

    Yesterday Microsoft released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16251 into the wild. There's quite a few changes in this build, some of which are actually quite significant ... without further ado, here's the lowdown on this release.

    The first thing to notice, and Microsoft have sort of touched on it, but in a very round-about way, is that this build is a forked rs3_prerelease build. What this means and why it is significant is because this indicates that Microsoft are now in the polishing and fixing stage of the Creators Fall Update cycle - they're not concentrating on major code changes now (as is evidenced by the "forking" of this build), and are instead concentrating on fixing the myriad bugs they've introduced (or not fixed) since the original Creators Update.
    On the new features front, Microsoft have added a new "Linked Phone" feature, which allows you to link your Android (iOS coming soon) phone to your PC and then "transfer" tasks from your phone to PC. At the moment all you can do is open a web page from your phone on your PC, but it works quite well and quite nicely (even if it does ignore your browser preferences and dump you into Edge).
    There's a bunch of Cortana updates, including getting web results without having to open a web browser, and new commands to turn your PC off, restart it etc. all from the delights of your voice. (rumours that this feature was tested by telling the computer to f*** off are completely made up)
    As far as fixes go, the biggest, most important one for anyone using a Surface-type device is that, after 3 builds of flakiness, Windows Hello finally appears to be working again! Surface (and other tablet users) were getting rightly pissed off at being told their expensive devices couldn't support Hello, when they perfectly well could! I've tested this and so far* it is working
    Microsoft reckon they've fixed the ability for Windows to auto-log in to finish an update in this build - this "feature" was initially part of the Anniversary Update, but it never worked properly - well now it's back again and apparently sorted. (the jury is out until the next build update to test it though)
    Lastly, there's the usual skew of Edge updates; some more work on touch keyboards (useful for mobile and smaller tablets, but an utter waste on anything with a screen 10" or larger), plus a bunch of random bug fixes.
    Here's Microsoft's full release notes: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/26/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16251-pc-build-15235-mobile/#dHpkUVWYxdVt6mvo.97

  • Stuclark

    A week after Insider Preview build 16237, Microsoft yesterday released build 16241. Read on to see what's new this week:

    The short answer is... not a lot of note. There are improvements to "Acrylic Material" (Micorosoft's new name for semi-transparency in the Windows UI), which make things slightly easier to live with, plus updates for Task Manager and Mixed Reality.
    However, the biggest changes this week relate to Delivery Optimisation. Microsoft are really going to town on this feature (to recap, this is where your PC can download updates from other Windows PCs on your LAN, or on the 'net if you allow, and equally act as a streaming host to other PCs, a-la P2P networks) and in this build have added a whole skew of controlls allowing you to choose how much bandwith should be available to Delivery Optimisation; to view your download and upload statistics, plus many other tweaks and settings for these features.
    There's also now a Windows Store item for installing Ubuntu on your Windows PC. I shit you not; MS are really into this Linux on Windows thing now, and reckon you should use their store *nix builds (other distributions are coming soon apparently) rather than trying to do the install yourself. It's actually quite a clever idea, as it keeps the uber-geeks happy that they can stare at a badly scaled text interface, while keeping the sysadmins happy that they're still supporting Windows as the underlying OS.
    Full release notes are avaialable here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/13/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16241-pc-build-15230-mobile/#xMd5rXKSEdcpxrRq.97

  • Stuclark

    Another day, another build. This time Microsoft have released into the wild Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16237. As ever, highlights are as follows:

    Amongst the usual skew of Edge updates (MS really do seem to be trying to teach Edge everything, including how to hold the pre-used utensils in the food preperation room (i.e how to be the kitchen sink)), there's one, very notable, very oft asked for, actually incredibly worth mentioning update in this build - No more logging out to change screen resolution!!!! Here's what MS says about it:
    "No more logging out to fix blurry desktop apps: Hey, do you hate having to log out and back in to Windows to fix blurry desktop apps after docking, undocking, or remoting? We do too! In this flight, you only have to relaunch these apps in order to have them render crisply. If you have a high DPI display (a 4K display or other high dots-per-inch (DPI) display, such as Surface displays) and change the display scaling value in any way (this can happen when you dock/undock, remote from a device with a high DPI display, or otherwise change the display scaling setting) most desktop apps become blurry. This is due to 1) the apps don’t respond to a DPI change notification, because they haven’t been updated and 2) Windows keeps the display scaling/DPI data that it reports to apps constant until you log out and back in.
    In this flight we’ve changed the way that Windows provides DPI-related information to these applications such that each time one of these applications starts, they’ll get updated data from Windows. This means that for these applications, you simply re-launch them in order for them to render correctly if they’re blurry. While this isn’t what we all want: having these applications render crisply all the time, we feel that it’s a lot less painful to relaunch apps instead of having to close out of all apps and going through a log-out/log-in cycles."
    They've also buggered about with the notification and action bar some more; recently email notifications (for example) have gone from small and unobtrusive, to taking up half the bloody screen* . Other changes include more work on the re-introduction of semi-transparency in Windows (um, wasn't this in Win7? - why, yes it was), and a bunch more gaming mode and touch keyboard enhancements.
    Full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/07/07/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16237-pc/#XqvhHrEBtTeJsWlP.97
     
    *small exageration, maybe

  • Stuclark

    Hot on the heals of build 16226 (well, ok, not exactly hot, more a gentle jog); Microsoft have taken the wrapps of Windows 10 Insider Preview build 16232. Here's what's new and of note in this build:

    Believe it or not (hey, this is Microsoft), this build is all about security. More accurately it's about improvements and new features in Windows Defender, Windows Defender Application Guard, and probably most importantly, Windows Exploit Protection.
    To quote Microsoft:
    "We’ve heard your feedback regarding the upcoming EMET EOL, so we’re excited to announce that starting with this build you can now audit, configure, and manage Windows system and application exploit mitigation settings right from the Windows Defender Security Center! You don’t need to be using Windows Defender Antivirus to take advantage of these settings.
    After upgrading to this build, you can find these settings by opening the Windows Defender Security Center and going to the App & browser control page:
    Either right-click the icon in the notification area on the taskbar and click Open, or search via the Start menu for Windows Defender Security Center From Windows Defender Security Center, click on App & browser control and then scroll to the bottom of the resulting screen to find Exploit Protection
    More detailed documentation will follow on Microsoft Docs, and remember that Exploit Protection is a work-in-progress and might not be fully functional just yet!"
    Microsoft's full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/06/28/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16232-pc-build-15228-mobile/#8QMkrcxPf2Ji8r0r.97

  • Stuclark

    Yesterday Microsoft released Insider Preview build 16226 to insiders in the Fast Track. Here's the highlights of this build:

    The biggest notable change in this build is the inclusion (finally) of OneDrive Files-On-Demand. This is essentially a reversion of OneDrive functionality to that which was available in Windows 8 and 8.1 - i.e. a file icon existed within your OneDrive heirachy *even if* you hadn't previously downloaded that file to your PC. Microsoft scrapped the functionality in Windows 10, citiing user confusion about which files / folders were and weren't local to a PC; but equally created a situation where whole folder structures appeared to be "missing" on a PC due to not being previously downloaded.
    There's also a new GPU tab in Task Manager, allowing you to check what your graphics card is doing, work wise. It's maybe a bit of a geeky thing, but it's fun to have never-the-less.
    Microsoft's full release notes are here: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2017/06/21/announcing-windows-10-insider-preview-build-16226-pc/#CIf1X7VvIj5dHUlI.97