So what's new in Windows 8.1 update?

Microsoft yesterday announced the long awaited update to Windows 8.1 during it’s BUILD developer conference. The update brings with it some quite significant changes and improvements to how Windows 8.1 works. Microsoft claims to have fixed everything that consumers felt was wrong with Windows 8 and it seems they have done a reasonably good job, though it’s unlikely to stop the complaints from diehard fans of Windows 7.

Modern Apps in Taskbar

Microsoft has added the ability to pin modern apps to the task bar so you can launch and switch between Modern UI apps much like you would do with regular applications.

Boot to Desktop

With Windows 8.1 we had the option introduced to allow us to boot straight to the desktop but it involved hunting down the settings menu in order to enable it. Thankfully now all non touch screen devices will now automatically boot straight to desktop so you can avoid the Modern UI interface which is really only suitable for touch screen devices.

Default to desktop apps

In previous versions of Windows when launching a file such as an image or video, the file would automatically open in the Modern UI version of the app. Now when opening a file Windows will automatically open the file in the desktop version of the app. Obviously you can change the default options if you wish.

Shutdown and Search Icons

It seems some users were a little confused at how to search from the new Modern UI interface as the options were actually hidden in previous versions and required the user to swipe from the side of the screen to reveal these functions. In the latest update to Windows 8.1 there are now prominent shutdown and search icons displayed at the top pointing users in the right direction.


Whilst these aren’t exactly groundbreaking changes they do bring with them ease of use especially to users who didn’t find previous versions of Windows 8 to be intuitive. In the past it’s likely that these relatively minor updates would have come as part of a general Windows update or a Service pack, Microsoft is doing things differently now and looking to provide more regular updates. It’s not clear why this particular update took so long to be released but it’s clear from early feedback that most users are happy with the changes being made even if it didn’t bring back the much coveted Start Menu.


iOS 7.1 update released

Apple yesterday released the much anticipated iOS 7.1 update for all devices capable of running iOS 7 so that’s iPhone 4 and later and iPad 2 and later and both iPad mini devices. iOS 7.1 contains some significant features including the addition of CarPlay, formerly known as iOS in the Car. This allows users with a ‘CarPlay’ enabled  vehicle to use features of their iPhone using the cars dashboard touchscreen for features such as sending and receiving texts answering and making calls and interacting with Siri.

The update also fixes the issue whereby the touch ID was not very responsive for the iPhone 5S and brings stability and performance improvements to the aging iPhone 4. Having tested iOS 7.1 on an iPhone 4 I can confirm that this update has significantly improved the experience of iOS 7  and the iPhone 4 runs a lot smoother than it did prior to this update. Many iPhone 4 users have complained about the poor performance of iOS 7 on their iPhone so I would encourage anyone still using an iPhone 4 to update and reap the benefits.

Other users have complained about a ‘White Screen of Death’ since the launch of iOS 7 particularly on the iPhone 5S and 5C and this has also been addressed in the latest update with Apple claiming they fixed a bug that may cause the homescreen to crash.

There were numerous other small updates and tweaks such as those listed below:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS’ in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;

  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;

  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;

  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from “Now Playing”;

  • Accessibility additions: The “parallax” motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations;

  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;

  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

To update your device to the latest firmware simply go to the settings app, tap about and then check for updates. As always you can also update to the latest version of iOS by connecting your device to your computer and using iTunes which may be your only solution if you are currently running a Jailbreak on your device. Please be aware that as discussed last week if you update to this firmware you will lose any active jailbreak currently on your device.

Image Courtesy of KĀRLIS DAMBRĀNS (Flickr)


Apple issues iPhone and Apple TV updates

It's update time again as Apple has today released another minor update to iOS 7 that provides a fix to the SSL connection verification issues that people have been experiencing. The 7.0.6 update comes less than a month after Apple released the 7.0.5 update for iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C users that fixed network issues affecting people in china. To update your devices open the settings app and navigate to the 'software update' option. If you prefer to update your device via iTunes you can connect your device to your Mac or PC and update there too. 

Apple have also been releasing beta versions of iOS 7.1 to developers over the last few months and is currently at 7.1.4 as of last week. Unlike today's minor update iOS 7.1 is a more feature rich release with major improvements to Mobile Device Management mass deployment system and possibly a new 'volume services' web client. It is expected that iOS 7.1 will be out of beta and available to the public towards the end of March. 

Alongside the iOS 7.1.6 update Apple also released an update for older devices by way of a 6.1.6 release which is available for iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch fourth generation which are unable to run iOS 7. 


Alongside today's updates for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Apple also released an update for Apple TV. The 6.0.2 update has been classed a stability and performance updates and can be downloaded via the devices settings menu. 

Apple TV Software Updated to Version 6.0.1

Apple released version 6.0.1 of the Apple TV software today, capping a week of new product updates. There is no indication yet about what has changed in the new release.

The last Apple TV update occurred back in September following the public release of iOS 7 for the iPhone and iPad. That release added support for iTunes Radio, AirPlay from iCloud and new podcast functionality...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Find My iPhone Updated for iOS 7, Breaks App for Non-Developers [Update: Fixed]

Apple today released an update for Find My iPhone, adding a newly redesigned iOS 7-style icon. The new icon was first introduced on the beta page, which was updated in mid-August with a new set of iOS 7 icons. 

It appears that the newest version of Find My iPhone may have been released prematurely, however, as the update gives an error message to anyone who attempts to use it without a registered developer account (paid or free)...

Read the full story here... Source: Mac Rumours

Galaxy S3 Android 4.3 update is next, says Deutsche Telekom

A member of the Deutsche Telekom support team has confirmed on the company’s forum that the Galaxy S3 will jump directly to Android 4.3.

The Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2 have been rumored to skip the Android 4.2.2 and get Google’s latest Android update instead, although Samsung is yet to confirm it. An Australian carrier (Telstra), answering to questions about the Galaxy Note 2 updates, has also hinted that the device will go straight to Android 4.3...

Read the full story here... Source: Android Authority

Windows 8.1 update official and dated, Microsoft no longer Blue

As expected, Microsoft has ditched the "Blue" codename for its forthcoming free Windows 8 update. Windows 8.1 will be available "later in the calendar year", but a preview version will be opened up for public download on 26 June.

Revealed during JP Morgan's Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in the US, Windows 8.1 will address many of the issues users of Windows 8 have put forward since its launch last year. Its release confirmation was discussed by Microsoft's chief financial operator Tami Reller, who previously spoke about the update on a Microsoft blog posting.

She revealed some of the features of Windows 8.1. "It will deliver the latest new innovations across an increasingly broad array of form factors of all sizes, display, battery life and performance, while creating new opportunities for our ecosystem. It will provide more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play," she said.

"The Windows Blue update is also an opportunity for us to respond to the customer feedback that we’ve been closely listening to since the launch of Windows 8 and Windows RT. From a company-wide perspective, Windows Blue is part of a broader effort to advance our devices and services for Microsoft."

Reller also dropped the hint that the Windows 8.1 update will allow for smaller devices, as Microsoft has long been rumoured to consider 7- and 9-inch tablets.

As reported on Engadget, she said that Windows 8 was great for everything from the "smallest tablets" to desktops.

Source: Pocket-Lint 

Facebook updates Home, says downloads reach 1M

MENLO PARK, Calif. -- Facebook is releasing a new version of Facebook Home, the social network's software suite for Android, the company announced at its headquarters here Thursday.

The new product will go live on Google Play at 1 p.m. Thursday as an update to the Facebook Android app, but users probably won't see it till about 3 p.m., Facebook said.

Facebook VP of Engineering Cory Ondrejka said the company is planning on several improvements to the product in the coming weeks, but today's update will have bug fixes. Also, for any Android devices that don't support Home, Facebook won't block users who want to transfer Home -- in a process called sideloading -- from supported devices. More than 10,000 people were using this method to get Home on unsupported devices shortly after Home launched, Facebook said...

Read the full story here. Source: CNET

YouTube for iOS gets a major update

The YouTube iOS app was updated today to version 1.3, adding a variety of new and improved features.

According to the update notes listed in the App Store, version 1.3 brings these new features:

  • Quick access to new uploads for subscriptions via "My Subscriptions" feed on the Guide.
  • Access to Live streams.
  • Queue up videos to play on TV.
  • One Channel branding for video creator channels.
  • Stability and performance improvements.

This is the first major update to the YouTube app since the end of February, when Send to TV and the ability to record and upload video via YouTube Capture were added.

Access to live streams and better branding for creators means YouTube is an even more attractive destination for content creators.

[Source: TUAW]

Facebook Announces Newly Designed News Feeds

Facebook announced new design elements to engage users more effectively on Facebook on Thursday.  The new design rolls out today,, for some users, but the roll-out will be gradual. The most notable changes include: larger images, videos, more prominent check-ins, more detailed information from publications (like TechnoBuffalo), a greater display of possible friends without having to click on the profile. You could even view highly trending content.

Facebook claims, this allows for “a richer, simpler, more beautiful feel” as well as more choices on what shows up on the news feed. You can determine what feed you want to view from choices such as photos, news content/likes, music and games.

Facebook’s new navigation menu is very mobile-inspired and allows a continuous look and feel across devices (desktop, tablet, phones).  The company claims you get the most out of “smaller screens” to gain a greater experience.  New notifications, that Facebook calls “new stories bubble,” show updates across your feeds, that float on the top of your screen.

While Facebook is excited about this new format, they are planning on rolling it out on a gradual basis to certain users and spreading the new format to a wider audience.  So far we’re excited to see what we can do with the new format of Facebook, from a visual design, it looks cleaner and thus far seems easier to navigate. Take a look for yourself at the video demo below.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

Wii U System Update Improves Stability, Big Update in April

Nintendo released a brand new system update for the Wii U this morning. The update’s been labeled Version 2.1.3 U, and it’s available through the settings menu within the Wii U UI.

I’ve personally completed the update; a process that only took about 5 minutes, thanks to the ethernet cable and USB dongle duo I’ve recently installed. If you frequent the site, you might remember an article I ran back in December of last year. It was then that I spent a week trying to update my Wii U with no luck. I wound up calling Nintendo and, get this, they told me to move my console closer to my router.

It worked, oddly enough.

Regardless, today’s update is only a minor one. Here’s the full text from Nintendo’s support site:

Version 2.1.3 U available via an Internet connection includes the following improvements:

Further improvements to overall system stability have been made.*

*The previously announced system update, which adds new features and further improvements to the user experience, will be released in April.

The previously announced system update, of course, is the one that Nintendo promised back during a Nintendo Direct presentation a few weeks ago. That update will supposedly speed up UI performance and reduce load times.

We’ll have more on these updates and the Wii U as it comes.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]

YouTube for iOS Updates Adds Send to TV Functionality

YouTube for iOS received a small upgrade this week that essentially turns a user’s device into a controller. Basically, users can now pick which video to watch from within the YouTube appand it’ll start playing through either a Smart TV, Xbox or PS3.

It’s almost like AirPlay; to see how it works, YouTube has a page setup that you can interact with. When you start playing a YouTube video on your device, a small TV icon will appear. Tap on that, and it’ll beam to your TV and resume playing there. From your device you can do things like play or pause, rewind or fast-forward, choose a different video and toggle between your phone and TV.

Additionally, other users can join in with their iOS device to create a playlist of Kid President videos to watch.

[Source: TechnoBuffalo]