Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:32 AM on March 30, 2013
This week Google began rolling out a new Compose interface for Gmail. If you have not yet received then you soon will — it is spreading to users gradually. The new look is based on a version that has been tested as a Labs feature for some time now, and Google spent that time looking for input from those brave souls who opted to test it out.
Now, according to product manager Phil Sharp, the company is “ready to introduce the new compose experience as the default for everyone. We’re looking forward to hearing what you think”.
Changes include, not only a completely new look, but also the ability to send files using Google Drive, pop-out replies and support for originally missing features like starring and labeling when composing and the Canned Responses lab.
You will not need to do anything to get all of this — it will come to you, even if you do not want it. The announcement was made by Google two days ago and it found its way into my Gmail this morning. When it finds you it will pop up a box explaining how the features work. There is no option to go back.
It started out with me not being able to remote in properly to multiple devices on my home network while I was traveling for work. I got home a week and a half later, thinking I’d probably just need to reboot my DSL router and perhaps a few other network devices and everything would quickly be back to normal.
Well, not so fast. It seems that my trusty and heretofore reliable telephone-company-provided Siemens Speedstream 4200 DSL router had somehow lost it’s configuration data – things like the phone number, the username and the password. I put all of that back in, and everything seemed to return to normal. That is, until I decided to see what would happen if I pulled the power plug. To my chagrin, it suffered yet another total identity crisis. Something must be wrong with it.
Hummm. The DSL installer had given me a second modem just in case the first one didn’t work when he initially got the DSL installed a couple of years ago, a unit designated as Sagem Fast 1704. I pulled it off the shelf and plugged it in to my system. This one is not nearly as user-friendly as the Siemens Speedstream 4200. After an extended amount of wrangling with it I got it working, but I still couldn’t get my remote IP camera, a Loftek CXS 2200 (an excellent inexpensive IP camera by the way) to work. I was doing everything exactly right, and it was still no go. The Loftek IP camera could not connect to the outgoing email server, and no matter what I did I couldn’t remote in to the camera itself from outside of my home network.
After wasting hours trying to determine what I might be doing wrong, I finally got the idea of going to a website where I could scan my home network IP address for open ports, and I immediately discovered what the problem was. Even though I was enabling port forwarding in the Sagem Fast 1704 DSL router, virtually ALL ports were closed. No matter what I did, unless I’m missing something, the ports cannot be opened on this router.
The moral of the story is if you are having problems with your router and port forwarding, potentially save yourself a bunch of time and go to a site such as http://www.yougetsignal.com/tools/open-ports/ and find out if the ports you are working with are actually open or not.
Additionally, I took advantage of Geek News Central’s DynDNS discount offer and quickly set up an inexpensive account that enables me to easily view my Loftek IP camera without messing around with finding what my dynamic IP home IP address has switched to. With a camera app on my phone and other mobile devices, I can simply open up the app and always get a live view without having to go through any additional steps.
Sad news for people who are currently using VYou. It is being shut down. The website, which launched in October of 2010, was designed to be a place to create and respond to short videos, in a question-and-answer format. The site failed to become successful, and the company has decided to shut it down.
To be honest, the first time I heard of VYou was when my husband told me it was shutting down. He had an account there (which he said he never got around to using). He was among the users who were sent an email today that announced the impending shut down. The email started with Dearest VYou Community, giving it the tone of a break up letter – which, I suppose, is somewhat appropriate. Part of that email reads:
Now, sadly, this email comes with unfortunate news. VYou is shutting down. Keeping the website running is no longer possible.
Next Wednesday, April 3, the website will no longer allow you to record videos. On Friday, the website will come down entirely. You will be able to receive all of your videos at that time.
The email notes that the VYou team is “still together and working on awesome stuff”, so you may want to keep an eye on them to find out what they come up with. Those of you who were using VYou, and who want to download your videos from it before it is too late should visit their Support Center Easy to follow instructions are given that will walk you through the process of obtaining your videos. You can submit a request for your content any time on or after April 5, 2013.
I have been burning the candle on both ends trying to get caught up and dealing with the influx of business. I talk about getting picked for Google Glasses and Broadcasting @ NAB at the Livestream Studio plus a few hitting the wall moments.
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Welcome to The Gadget Professor Show #99 hosted by Don Baine, produced by Mike Baine.
Use Actiontec’s 500 AV Powerline Network Adapter to connect home theater devices like your Blu-Ray and Gaming Console to the home network. These powerline network adapters use the latest in HomePlug AV technology to turn any power outlet on the same circuit into a high-speed network connection. Here’s how it works. Simply plug an adapter into a wall. Then take an Ethernet cable and plug one end into the Adapter and the other end into a device like your Blu-Ray Player. Get the 2nd adapter, plug it into the wall and connect the other end to your Router. And that’s it. Your Blu-Ray player is instantly connected to the Internet. You’ll get a high speed connection that’s good enough for gaming and HD videos wherever there’s a power outlet…even in the garage or basement.
Plus, our regular software & apps features and some interesting interesting news items this week.
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Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:50 AM on March 28, 2013
Microsoft may be planning to unveil its next Xbox console in the near future, but that has not stopped the company from continuing to update its current 360 version of the device.
The Xbox 360 may sometimes be thought of as a gaming box, but it has long since exited that pigeon hole. Microsoft wants to use the console to take over your living room and it has been moving steadily in that direction for some time. The company has been adding more and more entertainment content and now it has announced the next wave.
Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, announced the next set of updates, which are rolling out right now and include a load of new entertainment options for customers.
Xbox SmartGlass for Game of Thrones Season 3
Toys “R” Us Movies
If you have an Xbox 360 then you should be receiving these updates at any moment. If you do not yet have one of the consoles then you may just want to wait and find out what gets announced at the upcoming E3 show.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:02 AM on March 27, 2013
Microsoft’s next version of Windows 8, code named “Blue” leaked out this past Sunday and ever since then I have been feverishly testing the new operating system in a virtual machine. There is a lot new here, making this “update” much more than a service pack, but also not quite “Windows 9″ either.
In a rare move, Microsoft has actually acknowledged the leak and added information about it. In the process, the company also took a swipe at Google’s recent decision to kill Reader.
Microsoft vice president Frank Shaw began his announcement by telling us “While some folks were out doing “spring cleaning,” we used the opportunity to look back a bit at what has happened in the past season, and to look ahead at what we have coming”.
More important than the shot at Google, which Microsoft seems to take on a regular basis, was the acknowledgement of Blue, which would have been hard to deny, given that many of us are testing it out. Shaw stated “Now, the look ahead. With a remarkable foundation of products in market and a clear view of how we will evolve the company, product leaders across Microsoft are working together on plans to advance our devices and services, a set of plans referred to internally as ‘Blue’.”
He went on to inform that “today, Steve Guggenheimer announced the next Build developer conference. At Build, developers will see what’s next for Windows, Windows Server, Windows Azure, Visual Studio and more. This is just one place we’ll discuss the advances coming – another is TechEd”.
Of course, he could not resist one final parting shot at the end — “See, spring isn’t just for cleaning/whacking away at things. It’s also a time to plant and get ready for summer”.
Posted by Alan Buckingham at 8:12 AM on March 26, 2013
Google may be the company we love to hate lately, but there is no denying that it dominates many markets, like search, advertising and mobile. The company also has one of the most popular web-based email services on the internet. Today it finally rolled out an anticipated update to its Gmail app for Android and it brings the features we had been promised.
The new app rolled quietly out to the Play store this morning and users should receive the update to their Android devices automatically, if they have that feature enabled. Otherwise you will need to manually install it.
The bigger question is, what do you get in this latest version? If you are fortunate enough to have a device running Jelly Bean (4.1 and up) then there is great new feature — the ability to reply, archive or delete from notifications, meaning there is no need to open the actual Gmail app.
For those running Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) or newer, you will get faster search (including offline) and bug fixes. Those stuck on 2.2 and newer devices will get a new Labels API for 3rd-party app developers and some performance improvements.
Obviously all updates from 2.2 up are available to those running Jelly Bean, but that is sadly still a minority of Android customers.