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Personal Blog

As if Instagram could get any more controversial, the Facebook owned photo sharing service is now deleting any photos that are uploaded by apps on Windows Phone 8 such as Instance.

Instagram is an app that does not feature on Windows Phone and it apparently is now deleting the user's photos uploaded from any Windows Phone device. This is apparently a security issue more than anything. I've never ever used Instagram because I know the ins and outs of photo sharing through these services and realised that it's not a good idea. Instagram at one point could even sell your photos according to this source, although since then have backed down.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Apple is supposedly testing a new size for the iPad - although this time it is said to be larger rather than smaller. The iPhone with a larger screen size is not new information, in fact, I posted about it a month back.

The rumour suggests a 13? iPad, which is the size of the smallest MacBook Pro (the one I use by the way) and slightly larger than my current Windows laptop. To me this seems too big, I prefer small tablets and small laptops. When I come home, I dock my devices to my monitor (23? display) and enjoy the big screen of that.

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/07/22/apple-testing-screens-for-a-larger-iphone-and-a-13-inch-ipad/

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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It saddens me to know that AltaVista, which Yahoo acquired back in 2003, which was one of the first search engines I used (because yea, I'm that bit old enough to remember the days before Google was even around) is now being shut down. We got our first Internet connection with Freeserve just before Google came out in 1997 and by that time I would have been eight years old so I had owned a computer for one year and of course all of our searches were done with AltaVista or Yahoo. Although I also remember using MSN as well. But anyway, it's very saddening that Yahoo is closing down AltaVista after 18 years running on July 8th.

Here's the source.

http://allthingsd.com/20130628/happy-friday-yahoo-kills-a-dozen-products/

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Not that I had not mentioned it already, but Apple were supposedly getting ready with the launch of a new product range. It has now come to light that it could in fact be a games console, evidence suggests based on new features brought to iOS 7.

http://www.kotaku.com.au/2013/06/sorry-consoles-apples-controller-support-spells-trouble-for-you/

Posted from my Wii U.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Whilst it is not like Apple to admit they are wrong, they will have to now. They are now trying to get into the larger and even larger phone market which is already crowded with other large phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S4. Now Apple is looking for a potential 5.7" display for their iPhone line up.

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/06/13/apple-considering-4-7-and-5-7-screens-for-2014-iphone-models/

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Yesterday, at WWDC, Apple announced iOS 7. As always, a new version of iOS creates a spark that brings a new feature to it. Well 7 brings a new interface. The new interface is set to look flatter.

The beautiful new interface is similar to Android

One of the features I have constantly jailbroken my device in the past in order to use is the new Control Center. This is similar to the Android Notification Center which permits the changing of settings such as Bluetooth, Wifi, NFC, Airplane Mode and Do Not Disturb. There is also the possibility of adding things like a torch to it.

The new Control Center

There is also a new multi-tasking engine. This makes multi-tasking more responsive and overall better. Two taps on the Home button is all you need and you will get all of the running apps at the bottom.

Multitasking is smart looking

Full screen support is added to Safari as well as a new Quick Search. The most important change is the fact that they have removed the 8 tabs limit (finally).

Full screen Safari experience

Other great features brought to it include the App Store automatically updating apps, a new voice for Siri that sounds more human (we shall see) and with better services such as Wikipedia, AirDrop and a new car interface.

A really important new feature to come to iOS 7, iTunes and Apple TV is iTunes Radio, Apple's new music streaming service designed to compete with Spotify (never liked these services myself anyway). However, iTunes Radio is free with advertisement included or paid for to be ad-free.

iOS 7 works on iPod 5th generation or later, iPhone 4 and later (finally the end of the 3GS) and iPad 2 and later.

All the photos in this blog post are from Lifehacker and I referenced them in this article.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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WWDC

June is the month that all Apple-interested people out there get to find out what Apple has in store for us in the next year. That's because they hold their annual WWDC (World-Wide Developer Conference) where they do a few samples of products that are going to be released throughout the year. Normally we see a release of iOS and Mac OS X and this year is no different.

Apple released their app for iOS which explains the event lineup for those who attend and it gives us an idea as to what is going to be released. iOS 7 is the obvious one, as Scott Forstall once mentioned that Apple releases a new iOS every year and it is always announced at WWDC. According to Gizmondo, iOS will be flatter, following the same pattern Microsoft have gone with for Windows 8.

iOS 7's flat appearance

The new look is flatter and less colourful

The images are from Gizmodo and show how it will change. I'm particularly fond of one theme for all, rather than different themes everywhere (just look at Painter Pro) and I read the Guardian's article and quote this one important line:

The death of skeumorphism (seen in apps such as Find My Friends, which suffers faux leather stitching for no obvious reason, and Find My iPhone, which displays a bizarrely flickering compass needle while it "looks" for your device, and so on) will be widely celebrated. Scott Forstall, the former chief for iOS software, was known to be a fan of skeumorphism; Ive isn't.

Mac OS X 10.9 (speculation about the codename being Lynx seemed spot on, but due to the Unilever brand also sharing the name they chose not go down that route) also will be revealed. Will it move one step closer to being iOS in a Mac body? Who knows.

Other things that are expected are hints at some new Haswell hardware in the Mac lineup. Perhaps including that desirable Mac Mini, Mac Pro and Thunderbolt Display that have been long awaited. There is still that possibility of a full on television set coming from Apple and being announced at WWDC, that way apps can be developed ahead of the launch.

There may be an iPad 5 being announced and perhaps also an iPhone 5S (maybe a smaller iPhone). This is because the iPhone 5S may be released before the next model which is normally released in October. The iPad could be released because normally the release is around March and they did not release a new iPad this year.

I'll be following Redmond Pie for information when it get's released. You can read more here.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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They are finally here! Intel's 4th generation line of Core processors codenamed Haswell first started appearing on sale just this week to the consumer line and it does not disappoint.

The new CPU is 25% more efficient than the Ivy Bridge CPUs and it's integrated GPU is 2.6x more powerful. The IGP ends up being 50% faster when used to graphics intense tasks such as video editing or light gaming that the processors are suited to.

But where Ivy Bridge touched on Haswell intends to improve. The main forte of Ivy Bridge was still desktops, laptops and Ultrabooks. Haswell on the other hand has a much higher energy saving and therefore is well suited to tablets.

The IGP is where it is at however. The Ivy Bridge CPU itself is already a powerhouse and with only a few minor improvements for this side of things, the graphics chip has had full attention. To me personally, I believe that including a GPU in the CPU to create SoC (System-On-a-Chip) is a great idea and one that is great for those who use the GPU for certain tasks (I love the Quick Sync 2.0 feature in my Sandy Bridge CPU as it makes video rendering much faster) but I also have a dedicated GPU (AMD Radeon 7950) for gaming and for other GPU intensive applications.

The improvements within the GPU are incredibly useful for tablets and other devices which can utilise the lower power consumption and better performance better than a PC with a dedicated graphics card. What's more, the CPUs all feature different GPUs which allows for a broad scalability ranging from servers to tablets. It is claimed that the highest end GPU (Iris Pro 5200) included has a total of 40 execution cores (or units) in comparison to Sandy Bridge's stock of 16 cores. Intel has promised scalability of the GPU as the lowest end (HD 4200) model only has 20 units - still more than Sandy Bridge.

Haswell will also use a different socket to both Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge now using Socket 1150 which means no backward compatibility.

For the mean time, if you are like me and are waiting for Broadwell, the successor to Haswell (14nm fabrication process) or even waiting further then here is the new box design for you to look at.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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Windows Blue

Microsoft has today confirmed that Windows "Blue", which is the successor to Windows 8, will be a free update for those running Windows 8, although it will have significant changes, following the footsteps of Google and Apple with their respective OSes; Android and iOS.

According to this site, Microsoft aims for a June release for the first developer release. "Blue", as it was previously known, will be released under the name Windows 8.1. This follows a similar approach to Apple's version numbering with Mac OS X, flowing from 10.1 to 10.8 making it a minor release rather than a major release. Microsoft however, intend for 8.1 to be an important step required for the improved Windows and have brought many new (and old) features into 8.1.

Hopefully this will fix a lot of the disaster that is Windows 8. Pfff!

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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As the title states, Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy S4 without an octa-core CPU in the UK. The news comes as a shock after Samsung had announced that the new S4 would feature an octa-core CPU but it was confirmed on Omio.

The octa-core CPU that is included in the US version is similar to how the Intel Core 2 Quad (comprised of two Intel Core 2 Duo dies on the one chip and a shared L2 cache). In this case with the Exynos 5 Octa it works with two CPUs (two quad core CPUs in this case) and the instructions are spread between the two.

As such it would be the first phone to feature an octa-core CPU in the world, but for now it is just the first in the US.

Posted by J B Balfour in Tech news
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