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Users will now be able to get their hands-on the first public release of VLC media player for Windows 8 via the Windows store on March 10th, coming this Monday. The announcement was made by VideoLAN via its Twitter account.
Earlier in 2012, VLC started a Kickstarter campaign which ended as a success in raising the necessary funds. Along the way, VideoLAN showed off their work-in-progress media app player. Some time ago, it was reported that VLC was passed to have its passed and will be placed on the app store. Now that the team was able to take care of last minute bug fixes, it was two days away for its release.
Oscar Mayer is a company that has been making lunchmeats and bacon for decades. The company has unveiled an interesting, if a bit weird, accessory for the iPhone called Wake Up & Smell the Bacon. This device is an app and hardware combo.
The hardware plugs into the iPhone and has some sort of system for producing the smell of cooking bacon using a scent canister. The app portion has an alarm clock and when your alarm goes off you are woke up to the sound and smell of cooking bacon.
I can't think of a better way to get up in the morning than the scent of bacon. It would be better if you woke up to real bacon. A company called Scentee in Japan makes the device and you can't buy the device at all. The only way to get your hands-on the bacon-scented alarm clock is by answering a quiz at the Oscar Mayer website. The good news is that anyone who wants to will be able to download the app.
Twitch made an announcement recently that they've released its mobile software development kit which will allow developers to add livestreaming and screen capture functionality in its mobile games. This will allow mobile gamers to livestream their mobile game online via Twitch and even capture screenshots.
"Our vision is to provide the Twitch community with the ability not only to view, but to broadcast live video game content wherever they are, whether they're on the go or in the living room," VP for marketing Matthew DiPietro said. "We've achieved that with our PC and console integrations, so the trifecta will soon be complete with our deep and concerted foray into mobile broadcasting."
Evernote for Windows got a big update today that includes several new features that users have been asking for. The first new feature allows users to annotate images inside their notes by simply mousing over the image and clicking the annotate button that appears in the top right corner of the image. Once annotation is open, users can use arrows, and stamps to highlight portions of the image as well as adding text, shapes or even crop and re-size the image.
The other new feature affects Evernote Business users or those with very large accounts. Their data will sync much faster now, and in some cases, Evernote says that the syncing will be instantaneous and not noticeable by users. Additionally, Evernote says that stability has improved, as well as a few bugs have been squashed with this update. I never really got into the Evernote craze, but with these new features, I may just have to give it a second chance.
Facebook's messenger app has been available on Android and iOS for quite some time now but has taken its sweet time arriving on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Today Microsoft announced that Facebook Messenger is now available for for download in the Windows Phone store. The app is quite similar to its counterparts on Android and iOS, with features like group-chat, stickers, and picture messaging, but the nifty Chat Heads feature is missing.
Industry analyst are quick to point out that Facebook Messenger has arrived just before Microsoft releases its next update to Windows Phone 8.1, an update that will see Redmond pull back from some of its integration of FB and Windows Phone. This is a move that will allow Facebook to handle more of the functionality itself through separate apps, just like it does on iOS and Android. The Windows Phone 8.1 Update is expected to arrive in early April, but that date could change if any delays occur in the mean time.
One of the cool things about Dish Network is that with its Hopper Whole home DVR system you can watch your favorite shows from anywhere using apps. The apps let you catch up with shows you miss on the road and were previously offered for Android and iOS devices only.
Dish has announced that it is now supporting another popular platform with a new Dish Anywhere app that has just launched. The app is now available for the Kindle Fire HDX line of tablets. The app is available now on the Amazon Appstore.
The app gives Kindle Fire HDX tablet users the ability to watch their DVR recordings, TV programs, and on demand titles away from home. The app only works with the Hoppe DVR that has Sling built-in. The app will work when the table is connected to Wi-Fi or mobile broadband.
XMBC recently made an announcement about its BETA 1 edition of the new media center software: V13.0 codenamed "Gotham". The team says that they have worked hard on this project and made improvements since the release of the older 12.0 release.
The new XMBC interface comes with a lot of features based on the user's feedback and requests. Some of those features are Android Hardware Decoding, Rasberry Pi and Android speed improvements, Stereoscopic 3D Rendering better touchscreen support, better audio engines and other setting improvements. The team assured that this version of XMBC should run on Android 4.0 and higher for ARM and x86 architectures. Users required this software to run smoothly on Rasberry Pi and Android, of which the team was able to work on it and make improvements. More specifically: opening and browsing libraries, loading images and initial starting of videos. For 3D lovers, XMBC now supports SBS, TAB, anaglyph and interlaced.
Microsoft's answer to Apple's personal digital assistant, Siri, is coming with Windows Phone 8.1. Cortana has been teased by Microsoft to The Verge, where it will go head-to-head with Google Now and Apple's Siri.
Windows Phone 8.1's built-in search functionality which usually leans on Bing, will be shifted over to Cortana. Cortana will appear as a circular animated icon instead of the female character in Halo, with the diital voice assistant animating when it's speaking or thinking. This makes Cortana a much more personal experience versus the invisible, and sometimes helpful Siri.
Cortana will allow Windows Phone users to customize the assistant to their liking, where users can call people by their name, or set nicknames to their BFFs. Cortana is also capable of saving information and data in a Notebook system, which allows Cortana to access information such as location data, behaviors, personal information, reminders, and contact information.
I can type much quicker than I read, so anything that helps me read faster, is great. Spritz, a Boston-based startup, is working on an incredible text streaming technology, that will see people reading pages of text much faster than they've ever previously thought possible.
The way this is possible, is that Spritz has crafted a technology that stops you from you having your eyes moving from word to word, by removing the page altogether. With Spritz, all you need is 13 characters to show all of your content, with fast streaming coming in and changing this all up. Spritz's technology is capable of being pushed into photos, maps, videos, and websites for much faster, more effective communication.
The way Spritz does this is instead of you reading in a line, it has the words appear in front of you, positioned much differently - something the startup calls the "Optimal Recognition Point", or ORP. The ORP is the "fixation point" which stays still, while the words flash through it. ORP is displayed in red, which saves a lot of recognition time in your brain when reading.
It looks like Microsoft's Windows Store is seeing more traffic, where it is serving over four million app downloads per day. This represents an approximate 135% increase from October 2013, where Microsoft reported 1.7 million daily downloads.
When compared against Apple's App Store, which averages a daily download of around 5.5 million to 6 million from last year's numbers, this is not bad at all. Developers should continue to build apps for Windows Phone, which should only see those numbers increase.