Tag Archives: Windows 8

Winning Phone 8

After 24 long (but happy) months with my Nokia N8 the time finally arrived for me to upgrade my contract. Nerd that I am, I had to get straight down to the store for my new handset as soon as my eligibility rolled around. I love Nokia hardware, though their software can be hit and miss. As such, the Lumia 820 leapt out at me – all that lovely Finnish designed goodness but with none of the archaic Symbian nonsense. Plus as I’m currently running a Windows 8 laptop, it means I can stay within the same ecosystem as this is a Windows Phone 8 handset.

What I like – Rather than use the ‘Transfer My Data’ app I just logged into the phone with my Microsoft account. As if by magic, all my contacts, documents and profile data beamed down from SkyDrive. Perfect! This was as easy as the manual said it would be. Seeing my Xbox Live avatar run onscreen within the games section was a nice touch. The sound quality for calls is as good as my N8 and though technically the camera is inferior, to my untrained eye it’s comparable (though I haven’t tested it in low light yet. 95% of the apps I use are in the Windows Phone store and the rest are either non-essential or on their way.

Things I don’t like – No native 3G video calls! This is a pain, not everyone uses Skype though I understand why Microsoft wants us to. The body of the phone is so smooth that it is almost frictionless in your hand. Looks great but needs a gel cover so that you don’t fire it across the room when you pull it out of your pocket quickly. For some reason when I receive a SMS it disconnects my Bluetooth headset. This could be my phone and my particular headset not getting along, but they’re both Nokia products…

Overall, this is definitely the right phone for me. The Windows 8 and SkyDrive integration alone would be enough to tempt me. Only time will tell if it continues to be as flexible and reliable as my trusty N8.

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Posted by on April 5, 2013 in Equipment, Gaming, Technology


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Unlucky ’13

I’ve been using the MS Office 2013 Home Preview for a few months now and I’ve really found this to be a big step up from the last version of MS Office I spent much time with (2003). In terms of functionality and user interface, I’m a convert – I’ve just about got used to the ribbon as well, which is good because it’s everywhere now.

I’ve dabbled with Libre Office and Open Office over the years, which both do the job but so often I found myself having to reformat documents if they needed to be used in MS Office at all. Libre Office still gets the nod for my Raspberry Pi though and my Ubuntu on a stick too.

I’ve attempted to make the move to the full blown subscription version of MS Office 2013 but unfortunately this coincided with my laptop locking up on me (and refusing to let me in). After exploring all other options I’ll resort to a system restore. The process is pretty pain free in Windows 8 and my data is backed up on the cloud. I’ll have a couple of desktop apps to reinstall (Steam, iTunes) but a system failure isn’t the same disaster it used to be.

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Posted by on January 30, 2013 in Equipment, Technology


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8th Time’s A Charm

I’ve been using Windows 8 on my 4yr old HP laptop for a few weeks now and apart from a handful of quirks, I’m very happy with the new operating system. Despite getting a large amount of negative press, I’m finding 8 to be an improvement on 7 – though unlike how the TV commercials imply, it perhaps hasn’t radically improved my digital life.

The start screen is a big stumbling block for many people. Having your social apps ‘up front’ via live tiles and your desktop apps round the ‘back’ clearly isn’t the way most people arrange their PCs. For me though, it feels quite natural. It’s exactly how I have my Android tablet set up, with my 16 most used apps on my single home screen and everything else in a big iOS style grid at the ‘back.’

The Windows store may have less apps than the Play and iTunes stores but I don’t need 100,000 different Twitter clients and 100,000 versions of iFart. The switch between which legacy apps run via desktop and which apps run from the modern interface still doesn’t feel very slick, but overall I’m enjoying those faster boot up times and better multitasking too much to care.

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Posted by on November 29, 2012 in Technology


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Windows 8

This weekend I took the plunge and upgraded my laptop from Windows 7 to Windows 8. Horror stories in the tech news reported that the OS was a halfway house, satisfying neither touch screen users or mouse/keyboard wielders. Undeterred, I pressed on, looking forward to the promised improvement in performance and battery life – without the hassle of a hardware upgrade.

Backing up my system and files onto an external hard drive took up most of the afternoon, then I went online to purchase my update. £25 is affordable and the installation assistant checked out my laptop to confirm that I had an adequate spec. machine. It then listed all the software that was compatible with 8 (74 of 90) and those that needed a downloadable update first (all but 7 applications would work under Windows 8).

The download took an hour and a half, the following installation took about the same. After logging in with a Hotmail account my start screen sprang to life, showing brightly coloured tiles for my mail, news, weather reports and such like. I like the new layout, very familiar to Windows phone users but popping back to the Windows 7 style desktop is a little jarring. It’ll take a while to get ‘under the bonnet’ and understand the new features, but so far the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 8 has been pain-free.

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Posted by on October 29, 2012 in Equipment, Technology



All Change

I followed the Nokia/Microsoft announcement yesterday with great interest as they unveiled their new Lumia Windows 8 phones. I’m a fan of Nokia devices and I’m happy to be convinced that the new Microsoft operating system will deliver on all the promises that Windows 7 didn’t quite manage to do. This comes a week before Apple reveal their new handset, which I’m expecting will be much the same as their last one but with a slightly higher resolution screen. I have heard rumours that the tech boys in the Apple labs have updated those nasty, tinny headphones that they bundle with their iPods and iPhones. Their horrible, noisy sound leakage has ruined many a bus and train journey for me. They will not be missed.

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Posted by on September 6, 2012 in Equipment, Technology


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