Friday, January 24, 2014

Hulu Desktop Sunset

Saw this message today when I opened Hulu Desktop on my HTPC. Not surprising considering they had stopped updating this a long time back and also hidden the download link from their website. This still had one of the best TV UIs for media software and worked well with MCE remotes, something that is glaringly missing from the Windows 8 app reincarnation.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Guess Who's Back, Back Again

People  can put a positive spin on the ad below all they want but its clear that HP feels that by advertising machines with Windows 7 they can sell some PCs out there. Windows 8 is turning out to be to the new Vista and Microsoft really needs to figure out how they can move forward quickly to get people warmed up for the next 7 or XP.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Windows "Threshold" Desktop Mode

The most interesting bit from this post by Paul Thurrott about the future version of Windows is this :-

Metro apps running in windows on the desktop. As you can today with third-party utilities such as ModernMix, the next version of Windows will let users optionally run Metro apps in floating windows on the desktop.

 As a Windows 8.1 user I spend very little of my time in the Metro world which means I have very little incentive to download and use the apps that have been specifically written for that mode. I am also willing to speculate that is the case for a majority of the users on the desktop side, which make up a bulk of the install base for Microsoft. With this users are reminded of and are able to use those apps in the mode they are working on and Microsoft can use this as an added incentive for developers to continue building "desktop" based Metro apps.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Android in 2014

Android has had a pretty important year in terms of Google starting to gain control of their OS, improving the developer environment with Android Studio and integration of Google's services deep into the OS that takes it up a notch from "stock" Android. Independent of the thoughts of whether this is good or bad for Android I want to take a stab at what the current year might hold for Android and what features I think Google should be focusing on the next version.

Camera software/hardware 
Its high time Google focuses on the camera software that comes on android. Its really hard for a beginner to see where the options are and what they are meant to do. With that said the hardware especially on the nexus devices has to improve. If you have to compete with the iPhone that is your biggest Achilles heel . while the current nexus isn't bad its no where as good. I do hope both off these are being looked at within GooglePlex . I mean Google+ is geared to share photos and videos and having damn good quality will really help in tipping the balance.

After using Windows 8 Modern UI on my desktop I find the "snap" application feature quite handy where you have two applications sitting side by side. Samsung I think is the only manufacturer that supports this on their line of devices but isn't available out of the box. This problem is surfaced (no pun intended) especially when I am using my tablet and want to look at two documents at the same time, or have a browser open while I'm watching a video etc. Now something along these lines is implemented in the YouTube app, where the video continues to play while you can do other things in the application so I'm guessing its only a matter of time where the capability is extended to anywhere in the OS. The other problem this can help address is where an app can "reboot" itself when not in context as you use the switcher and you lose everything you had written in the previous window. Its extremely frustrating how many times that has happened when doing such a simple task.

We asked for it and we go it - in bits and pieces though. It started with Google Play Services in 2012 and extended further in 2013 with Google Experience Launcher . While the launcher is currently a Nexus 5 exclusive I'm quite confident it will be available in the Play Store very shortly (how they avoid pissing off Samsung, HTC etc in the process I don't know). With these two alone Google can add APIs services, changes to the look and feel while overstepping the phone manufacturers and the bigger speed bumps the carriers. The piece of the puzzle that's left to be addressed is updating the OS itself. This bit is easier said that done but can involve adding another layer between the skins and OS which make it easier to update. It is absolutely important they get this right so Google can reign in Android and prevent Samsung, LG from kicking them out of the picture completely.