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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.
Tor Foundation is currently working on a concept called 'Tor Instant Messaging Bundle' (TIMB) where people can use instant messaging service in real-time while being anonymous to evade any surveillance. Tor's chat servers will be concealed in its hidden array of network.
This project was funded by an anonymous organization which was originally called as 'Attentive Otter'. TIMB will be a tool that will force IM traffic through Tor network irrespective whether its mean to go through TOR servers or not. Tor was trying to decide which open source based IM to use for this concept: Pidgin or InstantBird. Pidgin was ruled out because it required a lot effort to audit and maintain the library and certain security concerns.
The number of mobile gamers out there that use smartphones and tablets is booming. Many of these mobile gamers are kids that download freemium apps that are supported by in-app purchases. The problem is that many of these apps don't clearly let players know that things in the game cost real-world money.
This often leads to accidental purchases by kids and adults alike. Officials from the European Union have announced that they are meeting with Apple, Google, and others on how developers are representing in-app purchases to consumers in Europe. The officials want to set regulations that will force app developers to be more transparent.
The ultimate goal is to prevent children from making accidental purchases. The EU justice commission says that the new rules will help to make customers aware of exactly what they are buying when they make purchases in-app.
Dish Network is one of the most popular satellite TV providers in the US. The company has a slick Hopper whole home DVR system that will shoot recorded shows out to any TV in the home. That DVR system can also be controlled using an app running on the iPad.
The app for iPad users is called Dish Explorer. Dish has announced that it has made some updates to the Dish Explorer app that users of the system will appreciate. The updates include the addition of new controls for volume and power. The ability to control TV volume and power was missed by many users of the app in its last iterations.
Along with the new controls, the app also gets new personalized program recommendations. The program recommendations are based on your previous viewing habits. The Dish Explorer app is a second screen app that gives viewers a way to integrate social networking with their viewing.