Christian Cawley is MakeUseOf's security editor, Android tinkerer, Windows Phone mentalist, and Doctor Who fan. Follow him as @thegadgetmonkey on Twitter.
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Christian's Latest Posts
With Windows 8 comes a whole host of new apps for Microsoft’s veteran operating system, but which of these new, tile-based “Metro-or-Modern” apps would you like to see on our list of the best? One lucky MakeUseOf reader will receive 150 MakeUseOf points (valued at $15) for the most useful suggestions, so if you’re using Windows 8 and have some favourite apps you wish to share, start by leaving your comments!
Whenever I’m at my favourite pub (admittedly not often) or at my mother-in-law’s (sadly more often than I would like) I find that I have considerable trouble making a phone call. How can mobile phone networks claim such high coverage when the majority of people can easily recall occasions when making a connection has been a trial? We’ve all stood on chairs with our phones held aloft, trying to “hook” onto a stray signal, but surely there is a better way?
For the past few years, Adobe Flash has proved quite controversial. Ever since Apple opted to block support for it on iOS – thereby forcing anyone who wanted to use the iPhone or iPad to rely on other solutions (usually HTML5) its future has remained in doubt, with only traditional desktop and laptop users still regularly using it. Despite the lack of native support for Flash or the ability to easily install it through Google Play, it is actually possible to install the software on a modern Android device and reap the media streaming and gaming benefits.
We’ve previously looked at some excellent uses for this British minicomputer, but the fact is that it is just so versatile that there is always something amazing to talk about. Who would have thought that the Raspberry Pi could be used for so much more than its original purpose of educating, providing a platform for children to learn how to program?
As aims of games go, this one is pretty noble – guide Mr Nibbles through 80 different levels to collect nuts and fruit to put away for winter, thereby providing the family of squirrels with enough food. Spread across four years – with four seasons in each – this is a particularly long game for a mobile platform.
Looking for contacts on my wife’s Android phone this morning, I was astonished at how slow the process had become. After eventually creaking through the menu for the details I needed, I switched the device off and back on. A short wait ensued, followed by another. Ceri isn’t a habitual app user, and her phone remains unmodded, so what could have been causing these performance delays. And then it struck me. The problem wasn’t with Android.
I’m coming to the end of my trial period with Microsoft Office 2013. Over the weeks it has been a reasonably solid experience with one or two quirks causing me no end of frustration. But do I want to upgrade? Do I want to pay for a subscription or full purchase or would I prefer to stick with Microsoft Office 2010, a suite that I’ve been using successfully for several years now? Indeed, should I even think of abandoning Microsoft in favour of an open source alternative?
Cueing up some videos to enjoy on my Raspberry Pi yesterday, I made a startling discovery – it wouldn’t play MPEG videos! Has this happened to you? Are you running a RaspBMC media centre on your Raspberry Pi computer, or enjoy viewing videos through the desktop? Have you noticed that certain video files cannot be played back? If so, you’re not alone.
So much has been written about the Windows 8 Start screen over the past few months that sometimes it seems as though we’ve heard every viewpoint and seen every tweak. However, it seems that there is a bit more to the controversial Start menu replacement that Microsoft introduced across every version of Windows 8, regardless of the target device. I’m of the opinion that the tile-based Metro/Modern UI is absolutely fine if you’re using a tablet computer.
The new Formula 1 season is already underway, but how will you keep in touch with the sprawling racing calendar, an annual competition that runs for nine months of the year and takes place across five continents? If you don’t know where to look for any of these, don’t worry – we do!
That pesky Ribbon Menu. Ever since its introduction in Office 2007, I’ve been struggling to come to terms with it. I much preferred the Office 2000/2003 method of “hiding” tools that you don’t use often – and I don’t think I’m alone in the preference. I also don’t like being “shouted” at. Fortunately there are a few tweaks that can be applied to the Ribbon Menu in Office and in Windows 8.
If you’re a fan of mobile gaming and also own an Xbox 360 console, you might well be aware of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s digital delivery service that also supports multiplayer and most importantly allows you to unlock achievements in particular games and improve your Gamerscore. Some say that it has redefined gaming.
So accurate was the outcome that it seemed as though such physics might become commonplace in the early videogame market, and the snooker matches themselves were transformed from the poor 8-ball pool emulators of the past into tournaments that could realistically take as long to finish as a real-world event. Was snooker about to take over videogaming?
I’ve largely avoided puzzle games over the last twenty years, which makes me wonder why on earth I’m reviewing Ilomilo, a Windows Phone title that features cutesy, ditsy characters with backstories that could have come from a cereal packet and plenty of puzzles. Either I’ve gone mad under the strain of playing so many Windows Phone games of late, or else Ilomilo really is rather good.
If taking photos on your Windows Phone is your thing, then you’ll need a good processing app that is capable of offering a variety of tweaks and adjustments. Of course, on a desktop computer such software can set you back, sometimes up to $100 – not the sort of price you would want to spend on mobile phone apps. Thankfully, that sort of price is something you don’t have to worry about.