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My Work Only Allows Internet Explorer, So I Have To Manually

By | COMPUTER HARDWARE | No Comments

My Dell desktop’s wired optical mouse and keyboard are getting a little long in the tooth, and I’d like to replace them. What do you recommend? Are wireless devices worth it, or do you continually need to recharge them and replace endless batteries? I can touch-type, but my skills are a little rusty. Mamie

Keyboards are partly a matter of taste, and habitual use overcomes many objections. In other words, if you use a flawed keyboard for long enough, you’ll get used to it. You may even come to like it.

To generalise, there are three major tastes, with some overlaps between them. These are: traditional keyboards, isolated keyboards, and ergonomic keyboards.

As a touch typist, I’m a big fan of traditional keyboards with mechanical keys that click and have lots of travel. This comes from having learned to type on an ancient upright Remington that was built like a tank, then spent a couple of decades with an IBM Model M, which some claim is the finest keyboard ever made.

Other people are equally big fans of isolated keyboards with flat keys that have very little travel. These first appeared on Sony laptops (unless you want to count the Sinclair Spectrum’s “dead flesh” version), but Apple produced a fine aluminium example for its all-in-one Macs.

There is no doubt about which way the keyboard world is going. Mechanical keyboards are bulky and expensive to manufacture. Isolated keyboards are much smaller, and very cheap to make. They’re ideal for laptops that are even thinner than mechanical keyboards. Most people now learn to type on these isolated keyboards – or even on-screen keyboards – so I expect them to become almost everyone’s favourite.

Nonetheless, mechanical keyboards are still popular and easy to find, especially if you don’t object to fancy multi-colour lighting effects. They are being kept alive byPC gamers, for whom rapid responses and N-key rollover are a matter of (virtual) life and death.

Got to ‘get’: the end of free apps on Apple’s App Store – Open Thread

By | INTERNET | No Comments

It’s the end of free apps for iOS! Well, sort of. Apple quietly made a design tweak to its App Store yesterday, replacing the “Free” button for apps that are free to download with “Get”.

So, no change to the actual price, but the new wording is one way of sidestepping the debate around “free” apps not actually being free if they use in-app purchases – an issue that regulators in various parts of the world have been looking into.

Now, freemium apps will have the new “Get” button, as well as a prominent “In-App Purchases” notification, to ensure that people know they’re downloading something that will, in some way, be hoping for some of their money at a later point.

Is “Get” a good choice of wording in this case? You might argue that it makes it harder to tell that an app is free to download, although iOS users will surely pick that up by noticing other apps still have prices on their download buttons.

The comments section is open for your thoughts on Apple’s change, and the rise of freemium apps in general.

What else is bubbling in the technology world this morning? Some links:

Senator Al Franken has some questions for Uber
Uber’s bad week just stepped up a notch: US senator Al Franken has written to its chief executive Travis Kalanick with some pointed questions about the company’s privacy policy, statements by senior executive Emil Michael about using private information to target journalists, and its “God View” tool for tracking users. “I would appreciate responses to these questions by December 15…”

Chrome now has 400m monthly active mobile users
Google has announced new stats for mobile usage of its Chrome web browser: 400 million monthly active users. That’s impressive growth given that it was on 300 million as recently as the company’s I/O conference in June.

Marriott Plays With Sensory-Rich Virtual Reality Getaways

By | CLOUD COMPUTING | No Comments

Happy Sunday from Software Expand! In this week’s edition of Feedback Loop, we talk about the future of Windows Phone, whether it makes sense to build media centers discuss the preferences for metal vs. plastic on smartphones. All that and more past the break the proof of concept can make.

Just because you can do something, should you? Samsung thinks so. Its second experimentally screened phone taps into its hardware R&D and production clout to offer something not many other companies.

WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM WINDOWS PHONE?

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And so, following the Galaxy Round, here’s the Galaxy Edge. If you take the basic shape and concept, it’s the spitting image of the curved-screen Youm prototype spied at CES a little less than two years ago US. Fortunately.

Now, though, it’s a for-real smartphone you can buy. I’ve been testing it out in Japan, where it launched instead of the Note 4, although both the Note 4 and the Note Edge will eventually be available.

Galaxy Note Edge is how much it resembles the Note 4
The ability to shrink the likes of Chrome and Google Maps to a popup window and layer it on top of other apps is also useful. Love to see something similar on the iPhone 6 Plus you just get the Note 4 anyway?

Despite the unusual, curved screen, it still packs all of the good things that made the Note 4 such a strong choice. But bragging rights aside, is there enough of an argument for a curved screen.

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