WrapUp: English Wikipedia Hits 3 Million Articles, New Avast Interface, and More

This article was written on August 24, 2009 by CyberNet.

Welcome to the WrapUp by CyberNet. This is a collection of news stories, downloads, and tips that we have collected over the last few days, but never got around to writing about. Don’t forget to send in your own tips, or just leave a comment on this page if you think you’ve got something we should include.


wikipedia logo.jpgEnglish Wikipedia Surpasses 3 Million Articles
In eight years the English Wikipedia site has managed to amass a whopping 3 million articles. It’s amazing that they’ve been able to pick the collective minds of millions of contributors, and gather the results in one central location. There are apparently 10 million registered users and more than 326 million edits have been made. That is pretty crazy.

xbox 360 elite.jpgXbox 360 Elite Dropping to $299
Sony unveiled the PS3 Slim at a $299 price point, and Microsoft is following right behind them by lowering the price on their high-end console. According to a Walmart ad the Xbox 360 Elite, which comes with a built-in 120GB hard drive, will also be sold at $299 soon. The console market is getting awfully competitive these days, and in the end it looks like consumers will be the ones who win from it.

canon g11.jpgCanon Focuses Less on Megapixels, More on Quality
Last week Canon unveiled some new cameras, and the most perplexing thing for a lot of people was that the cameras actually offered a lower number of megapixels than their predecessors. The reasoning? They are trying not to overload the camera sensors as much, and are thereby increasing the quality of the photos. Consumers often look at megapixels as a sole means of measurement for the quality of photos a camera takes, and hopefully this kind of thinking will start to shift.

google voice logo.jpgGoogle Voice Offers Free Calls to Canada from the U.S.
I found it rather interesting last week when Google announced that their Google Voice service would once again have free calling to Canada. They had offered this before when the service was still known as GrandCentral, but I’m a bit surprised they brought it back. Why? Because Google Voice is a service that’s only available to U.S. residents. So basically people in the U.S. can call Canada for free with Google Voice, but not visa versa. Huh.

google chrome os screenshot.jpgPossible Google Chrome OS Screenshots
Mashable has what appears to be some screenshots of the Google Chrome OS… which could also turn out to be fake. I’m sure this is going to be just the beginning of “screenshot” leaks, and if there’s any truth to these Google is heading towards what appears to be a Mac-inspired interface. If these are indeed real I can’t help but feel like we’re stepping back 5-years when it comes to interface design.

–News in Brief–

lenovo ideapad.jpgLenova & Samsung Holding Back New PC’s for Windows 7 Launch  
Some computer manufacturers are waiting until Windows 7 ships before they release a few select products.

iphone icons.jpgApple & AT&T Respond to FCC Concerns
Apple and AT&T have addressed concerns that the FCC had regarding the Google Voice apps being pulled from the App Store.

bing logo.jpgBing Strikes Licensing Deal with Wolfram Alpha  
The “smart” search engine known as Wolfram Alpha will be licensing some of its data to Microsoft.

mint logo.jpgMint.com Gets Some New Features  
Mint, the free personal finance manager, has received some welcomed new features including better budget management and improved reporting.

microsoft store logo.jpgMicrosoft Looking for “Retail Technical Advisors” for Retail Stores  
In the next few months Microsoft will be opening up two retail stores, and they are looking for some people who don’t mind helping users troubleshoot problems with their PC’s.

–Tips, Tutorials, and Reviews–

avast 5 beta.jpgAvast Doesn’t Look Like Crap Anymore
I’ve been a huge fan of Avast Antivirus over the last few years, but one thing I was never fond of was the interface. It was free though, and so I just dealt with it. Avast 5 (currently in Beta) is changing all of that. The design of the application is like night and day compared to the old version. As of right now all of the features aren’t baked-in, but they will be by the time this thing ships. And when that happens I’ll be telling all the people I’ve set up with Avast about the new version… because it will be a worthwhile upgrade (as long as it’s still free of course). Final version is due out in October.

windows 7.jpgRun Windows 7 for 120 Days without Activation
We had written about this little “hack” back when Vista launched, and it’s still available in Windows 7. If you’re looking for a way to extend the 30-day “trial period” all you’ll need to do is run slmgr -rearm from the command line at the end of each 30-day period. Doing so will give you another 30-days, and this can be repeated up to 3 times. So if you format your machine every 4-months you may never have to buy Windows 7… um, I didn’t say that though. :)

sync chrome bookmarks.jpgGoogle Chrome (Dev Build) Syncs Bookmarks
There were some indications that this was coming soon, and it’s here. With the help of a command-line switch you can be syncing your Chrome bookmarks with PC’s you have located half-way across the world. Is this groundbreaking? No. It will get interesting though once Google starts expanding this beyond syncing only bookmarks. Since your bookmarks sync with your Google Docs account it seems only natural that they will use the browser to also sync files on your machine.

pidgin messenger.jpgPidgin 2.6 Supports Google Talk Voice & Video Chat
Pidgin users have been asking for Google Talk voice support for a long time, and not only did the developers deliver that but they also came through on video support. That is impressive on many levels… the main one being that even the official Google Talk client doesn’t support video chatting (pathetic, I know). Now what would really make me a happy camper is if they could get file transfer support in there.

art photo.jpgTurn Photos into Artwork
If you’re a Photoshop user there’s no doubt that you’re already familiar with the artistic filters that are available. For those of you who can’t afford Photoshop or don’t want to take the time learning it… there’s still an easy way for you to turn your photos into masterpieces. The free FotoSketcher app will let you choose from a variety of different styles (water color, oil painting, etc…) and apply them to any image. To top it off there’s even a portable version available so that you can try it out without installing a thing.

–Tips in Brief–

usb drive.jpg24 Killer Apps for Your USB Drive
This is a great list of programs that can (and probably will) come in handy at some point.

task manager.jpgWindows 7 vs. Vista: CPU & Memory Usage Comparison
There’s been a lot of talk about Windows 7 being significantly faster than Vista, but the numbers seem to indicate that it may be closer than we thought.

xmarks.jpgXmarks has Alpha Add-on that’s Compatible with Chrome
There is now an Alpha version of Xmarks available that also syncs with Google Chrome. That means it can keep your bookmarks in sync across IE, Firefox, Safari, and now Chrome. Impressive.

strategy guides.jpg5 Sites with Free Strategy Guides for Gamers
These are some sites for you to take into consideration the next time you get stuck when trying to save the princess.

new tab behavior.jpgModify New Tab Behavior in Firefox
This Firefox extension will let you choose what you want to happen when you open a new tab, which includes automatically opening a URL you may have copied to the clipboard.

google podcast.jpgGoogle Labs Podcast App for Android
Google appears to be stepping into the podcast market with a new app they’re offering for Android devices.

adobe shortcuts.jpgAdobe Keyboard Shortcut Program
This is a free app made with Adobe Air that provides a unified and searchable interface for finding keyboard shortcuts for all your Adobe applications.

chrome session saver.jpgGoogle Chrome Session Saver
There aren’t many Chrome add-ons, but this is a simple one that will let you save your open tabs so that they can be re-opened later on.

smoothwheel.jpgCustomize Smooth Scrolling in Firefox
This Firefox extension will let you adjust various aspects of scrolling including the speed and step size.


Copyright © 2011 CyberNetNews.com

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ITG xpPhone 2 to get some Windows 8 love, starts living large in January

Let’s be honest: with the size of a brick and a relatively short battery life, it’s no surprise that ITG’s xpPhone hasn’t quite dominated the smartphone market since its launch back in November. In fact, we haven’t even seen one in the wild, and we certainly wouldn’t have missed it if there ever was one on the street. That said, ITG hasn’t given up, as the company’s just announced its second-generation Windows-powered smartphone. The reason? Well, interestingly enough, ITG prefers Windows’ greater range of compatible software compared to those of mobile OSes, namely Android and iOS. Let’s just leave it at that for now.

Simply dubbed the xpPhone 2, this beast of a QWERTY slider packs a 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 chip, along with 2GB RAM, up to 112GB of SSD storage, 4.3-inch display and compatibility with both Windows 7 and Windows 8 — obviously the latter OS will depend on its final release date. Not only has battery life been bumped up to around 18 hours of call time or 46 days on standby, but the phone’s also been slimmed down to 140mm x 73mm x 17.5mm, which is a huge improvement compared to its bulky predecessor. With the touch-friendly Windows 8 on board along with a non-underclocked CPU, we have a feeling that the xpPhone 2 will at least fare much better than Fujitsu’s F-07C; as for the rest, we shall see when it comes out in January next year. And no, it probably won’t run Crysis.

Update: Looks like we were misled by the company’s other promotional photos and thus mistakenly thought the xpPhone 2 will have a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. This would explain the slimmer body then.

Gallery: ITG xpPhone 2

ITG xpPhone 2 to get some Windows 8 love, starts living large in January originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 28 Oct 2011 07:59:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun Huang: Windows on ARM should hit tablets first, battling Intel is a bad idea, would love his chips in iPad

NVIDIA’s founder and president Jen-Hsun Huang has never been one to dodge a question, and that made for an excellent closing interview here at AsiaD. Outside of (re)confirming what lies ahead for Tegra, he also spoke quite openly about his feeling towards Windows on ARM in response to a question from Joanna Stern. Here’s the bulk of his reply:

“It’s important for [Microsoft] not to position these as PCs. From a finesse perspective — I can’t speak on their behalf — but I would come out with tablets first with Windows on ARM. It helps to establish that this isn’t a PC. Will yesterday’s Office run on tomorrow’s Windows on ARM PC? Will a new version of Office run on tomorrow’s Windows on ARM tablets? Both questions are about legacy, and both are about Office. The actual implementation of it is radically different. I see no reason to make Office 95 to run on Windows on ARM. I think it would be wonderful, absolutely wonderful — I’d say, as someone who uses Windows — it would be almost a requirement to me that [the ARM] device runs Windows interoperably. If Office runs on Windows on ARM — it’s the killer app. Everything else is on the web.”

He elaborated to say that he would hope Office for Windows on ARM would support the same files that today’s Office does, much the same way that Office for Mac eventually synced up with its Windows-based sibling. For more from Huang’s interview, hop on past the break!

Continue reading NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun Huang: Windows on ARM should hit tablets first, battling Intel is a bad idea, would love his chips in iPad

NVIDIA’s Jen-Hsun Huang: Windows on ARM should hit tablets first, battling Intel is a bad idea, would love his chips in iPad originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 21 Oct 2011 01:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Change Alt+Tab Thumbnail Size in Windows 7

This article was written on April 27, 2011 by CyberNet.

Alt tab size windows 7

arrow Windows Windows only arrow
When Microsoft released Windows Vista they had a lot of great innovations in it despite the constant complaints people had with the OS. One of the best things that came out of Vista is Aero, which is what powers the Flip 3D (Windows Key + Tab), the Taskbar thumbnails, the blurred border around all the windows, the thumbnails used in Alt+Tab, and more. Those things are all great, but I’ve always felt that the thumbnails in the Alt+Tab popup are sometimes too small to even be useful. I mean if you have multiple Windows Explorer windows open it’s hard to distinguish between them using a thumbnail that’s barely bigger than a postage stamp. That’s why a few years ago we wrote about how you could increase the thumbnail size in Vista with a Registry tweak, but it’s gotten easier since then.

A skilled developer put together a super simple application called Alt+Tab Tuner for changing the size of the thumbnails in Windows 7. Most of the changes seem to take affect immediately after you hit the Apply button, except for the “Thumbs Grid” settings. For this you need to restart Explorer, which can easily be done by checking the “Autorestart Explorer” box in the bottom-left corner. The next time you hit the Apply button it will automatically restart the Explorer process for you.

To add a little perspective to some of the changes here are some before/after screenshots of a few changes I made:

Before (default Windows 7 settings):
Aero alt tab before

After (larger thumbnails, smaller margins):
Aero alt tab after

Not bad, huh? It’s a free and portable app that does exactly what it is designed to do. It’s hard not to love apps like that.

Note: The file will likely fail to download if you are viewing a translation of the download page, which is in Russian. Just look for the red “Download” text and click the link next to it.

Alt+Tab Tuner Homepage (Windows only; Freeware; Portable)

Copyright © 2011 CyberNetNews.com

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Windows 7 overtakes XP globally, Vista found weeping in a corner

According to StatCounter, it’s taken roughly two years for Redmond’s latest to surpass XP and become the world’s most popular operating system. October 2011 marks the first time that Windows 7 has overtaken XP globally, with a 40 percent share of the market versus the latter’s 38. As for Vista, it’s been holding steady at around 11. Not that it’s much of a surprise, as in North America, Windows 7 took the crown back in April of this year. Rounding out the top five, are OS X (though it’s not clear whether that captures all of Cupertino’s beasts) and Linux, which come in at 7 and 0.82 percent respectively. But don’t take our word for it, hop on over to the source links and get your interactive chart on.

[Thanks, Pipera]

Windows 7 overtakes XP globally, Vista found weeping in a corner originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 15 Oct 2011 13:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sinofsky (Barely) Discusses Windows 7

This article was written on May 27, 2008 by CyberNet.

Windows 7Microsoft has been very quiet on what to expect from Windows 7, and that’s to be expected after they over-promised on Vista thereby leading to a lot of disappointment. Despite Microsoft’s best efforts to keep things under wraps they still have a hard time dealing with leaks, and if rumors are right there’s yet another milestone right around the corner.

The person in charge of the Windows 7 development, Steven Sinofsky, decided that it was time to come forward. He did a very lengthy interview with CNet that talks a lot about nothing. There’s hardly any information regarding Windows 7, and this interview was primarily about how Microsoft intends to communicate during the development cycle. If you actually take the time to read through the interview you’ll notice that Sinofsky stressed the fact they he was not there to talk about Windows 7 features, and here are some quotes to that effect:

  • Well, why don’t we stick at a higher level today, because I think that I don’t want to really dive into the implementation details today.
  • Again I don’t want to talk about any more specifics today, because we’re focused today on how we’re going to communicate things.
  • Right now, today, we’re really focused on just making sure everybody understands how we’re going to talk about all of the things that we’re going to do in this next release of Windows
  • I think we’ve talked enough about the direction that we’re heading with the specifics of the product today, since we really did want to focus a little bit more on just talking about how we’re communicating with partners and customers and the ecosystem at large.

There are only a handful of things that are worthwhile in the interview:

  • Microsoft is “committed to” delivering Windows 7 “about three years after the general availability of Windows Vista.” 2010 here we come!
  • The driver model will work exactly the same as it does on Vista, which should help “not introduce additional compatibilities.
  • Windows 7 will be offered in both 32-bit and 64-bit flavors.

The Windows Vista Blog also published an article to the same effect, letting people know that they still want to keep any details on Windows 7 as concealed as possible. Well, they didn’t say it like that, but that’s the impression you’ll walk away with.

This is all completely understandable actually, because it’s not like Apple pours out details as they roll in. Companies need to keep information like this from getting into the hands of their competitors, and Microsoft is no exception. But don’t worry, Microsoft still has plans to make pre-release copies of Windows 7 available just like they did with Vista.

Please, keep your excitement to a minimum. ;)

Thanks to Omar for the tip!

Copyright © 2011 CyberNetNews.com

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Microsoft responds to disgruntled users, unveils changes to Windows 8 UI

You can unpack your suitcase and drop that custody suit, because Microsoft has heard your Windows 8 complaints, and it’s willing to change its ways. Yesterday, in a lengthy post on its Building Windows 8 blog, the company acknowledged that it’s received plenty of feedback since unleashing a developer preview of the OS last month, and pledged to respond with a number changes. For starters, apps displayed within the Windows 8 App Screen can now be organized into groups, rather than alphabetical arrangements (see image above). Apps will also be displayed at a higher density, thereby cramming more content within the same space. Enterprise users, meanwhile, will be able to customize their companies’ Start screens and unify them across networks, though there’s still no word on whether administrators will be able to opt out of the software’s tiled interface in favor of the more Windows 7-esque Desktop app — one of the most highly requested features. These are just two of many, relatively granular changes that Microsoft is implementing to help users maximize the efficiency of its new Start screen, and they likely won’t be the last. To dig into the nitty gritty, check out the full post, at the source link below.

Microsoft responds to disgruntled users, unveils changes to Windows 8 UI originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 13 Oct 2011 06:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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France’s eviGroup SmartPaddle surrenders to lower prices

You may remember eviGroup’s range of SmartPaddle Windows 7 tablets, the latest arriving back in March with the heavy-duty price of $1,800. Now it’s produced a budget-model and rechristened the hefty original as the SmartPaddle Pro. The new SmartPaddle (keep up) has a 10.2-inch 1024 x 600 capacitive multitouch screen, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, 2GB RAM, 32GB SSD and a 1.66GHz Intel Atom N455 that runs Windows 7. Battery life is rated for five hours and the only build-to-order option you have is to squeeze a 120GB HDD in there too — but they don’t recommend you do. The company has stopped talking up its webcam-based gesture controls (probably for the best) and has made the old-school move of including a physical scroll-wheel along one side of the device. It’s available to order now, at the comparably bargainacious price of €660 ($900).

[Thanks, Nicolas]

France’s eviGroup SmartPaddle surrenders to lower prices originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 11 Oct 2011 21:19:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MSI GT683DXR review

While the jury might still be out on whether you can have a thin-and-light coupled with gaming prowess, over at MSI, it’s pretty much business as usual. It’s that kind of mantra that’s produced the GT683DXR that lays before you, a rehash of the existing GT680 but with gussied-up internals, spearheaded by NVIDIA’s GTX 570M. In our brief overview several weeks ago, we were impressed with its performance, but dismayed with its flimsy keyboard, possessed trackpad and general girthiness. So, were we completely off the mark? Or did our impressions change after spending a little more time coddled by its side? Join us in finding out, after the break.

Continue reading MSI GT683DXR review

MSI GT683DXR review originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 10 Oct 2011 12:00:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NEC LaVie Touch hands-on (updated)

Originally scheduled for a September launch under the VersaPro type VT moniker, NEC’s LaVie Touch Windows 7 tablet is finally hitting the Japanese market next week. Alas, there are still no plans on an international release for this 10.1-inch Atom Z670-powered device, but at CEATEC we were lucky enough to stumble upon it along with its DVD dock and wireless input peripherals — all included for ¥99,960 ($1,300), which is a huge drop from the original ¥144,000 ($1,873) customizable bundle.

Despite the slightly more sensible pricing, is the LaVie Touch still worth the money? Probably a stretch given the much cheaper offerings from the likes of Acer and Samsung, but regardless, kudos to NEC for keeping its tablet’s weight just under 730g (1.6 pounds) while promising 10.6 hours of battery life. For comparison’s sake, the Acer Iconia W500 weighs 970g (2.14 pounds) and only packs up to six hours worth of battery juice. The NEC tablet felt firm in our hands and its IPS LCD didn’t disappoint, though Windows 7 on this particular unit was slightly laggy during our hands-on, so be sure to check it out in the stores first before you hand over your hard-earned yen.

Update: We just found out that Yodobashi Camera has just started selling the LaVie Touch, so we went along to Akihabara to check out the final product. Alas, Windows 7 was still sluggish, whereas the AMD C-50-powered Iconia W500 in the next aisle handled pinch-to-zoom rather well, despite the less impressive LCD.

NEC LaVie Touch hands-on (updated) originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 05 Oct 2011 14:31:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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