Christian Cawley is a freelance writer from the United Kingdom with seven years' experience in technical support across a range of device platforms and operating systems. Follow his updates on Twitter: @thegadgetmonkey
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Christian's Latest Posts
s Windows Phone continues to grow the time has finally come for us to develop a list of the top apps for the platform, which includes the fantastic Nokia Lumia series. But we can’t do it without the help of our excellent readers, and if you make a suggestion for the list, you’re in with a chance to win a MakeUseOf t-shirt.
Twitter’s amazing ability to connect people through a browser, custom application or even SMS text messaging is an amazing and compelling aspect of online life. With Twitter you can promote websites and bands, find a job, even generate income in various ways. Its limit of 140 characters forces brevity and relevance among its serious users (although this doesn’t stop people spouting rubbish!).
Perhaps you’re podcasting or your requirements for ripping the audio from a video clip might be rooted in a more artistic activity such as video editing. Either way, the matter of isolating the audio track from video files can be tricky to achieve. Fortunately there are various approaches you can take, either using your PC or employing a second device.
One of the most important uses for a mobile phone is messaging. Whether you’re thinking of SMS text messaging, email or online instant messaging networks, being able to communicate with others by typing rather than speaking has been an essential feature since the 1990s. Windows Phone has several instant messaging options available.
For most users, Windows 8 will come as something of a surprise when it is released, thanks to the unusual implementation of the Metro UI. If you’re not inclined to make use of whatever methods are available to disable Metro, you will be left with attempting to understand the tile-based user interface.
The threats facing mobile phones have become so numerous that manufacturers have started providing cases with the devices. Sadly these are little more than an afterthought – something that is particularly ridiculous when you consider the importance of these accessories. Which begs the question, why do manufacturers bother giving us free but useless, cheap cases?
One of the key benefits of the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the addition of the Windows 8 Store, absent from the previous Windows 8 Developer Preview. This new tool streamlines the process, allowing quick access to software on-demand much in the same way as you might install apps on a mobile device.
One of the key aspects in which Windows 8 differs from previous releases is its provision of access to cloud storage, particularly SkyDrive. While earlier versions of Windows require you to access SkyDrive via your browser or Windows Live Mesh, in Windows 8 you can browse it as readily as you would any local drive.
We’ve previously discussed how to disable the Metro user interface on the Windows 8 Developer Preview, but with the more polished presentation offered by the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, it seems that there is a bit of a problem. You can’t disable Metro. Now, there are various things to consider here, such as the fact that this isn’t the final release of Windows 8.
Released in late February, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is live, ready and waiting for anybody to download it and install to sample the beauty of the Metro UI and gain an appreciation as to how this might work on a tablet and whether it is a usable interface for a mouse-controlled device. If you’re interested in upgrading, then this is your opportunity to find out if Windows 8 is suitable for you and the way you use your computer.
Are you aware of just how Pinterest can change the current landscape of the Internet? Traditional social bookmarking services such as Digg and the dominant method of sharing links, Twitter, are both at risk from the polished presentation and simple features of Pinterest. In fact, Twitter could be seriously at risk from this new service.
Looking at a boring plain background isn’t going to pique anyone’s interest but fortunately there are various ways in which you can liven up the HP TouchPad with fun, attractive wallpapers. These devices have a selection of images stored natively which can be applied; there is also the option to add your own backgrounds.
Most of us enjoy music while we’re driving, but often radio doesn’t play the right tunes. At one time the obvious choice would have been a CD, but of course these scratch easily. Fortunately mobile phones with storage space for MP3s is a very good alternative. As long as you have a safe place to mount or place your phone and the necessary range or cable to send a signal to your in-car audio system, you can use an Android phone.
There are restrictions to using a Kindle Fire in territories in which it isn’t currently available. However Amazon would be shooting themselves in the foot if they prevented its use – after all, it is basically an eBook reader – anywhere except the USA. Let’s take a look at just what the situation is with using the Android-based Kindle Fire overseas.
Smartphone users have been going mad over the past few months, since the launch of Siri on iPhone made the activity of talking to your phone a desirable option. Google was soon quick to follow with a powerful revision of its Google voice search system, but what options do the growing number of Windows Phone owners have? Can they talk to their phones in the same way?