Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Transfer fotos, documents and files between devices

If you find yourself regularly wanting to transfer files (such as images) from an iphone/android phone to a PC for example, have a look at Shareit by Lenovo.

 It's an easy to use utility which allows you to send and receive files from different devices whether they are on the same network or not.

For this to work, all devices should have the free app installed for their respective platform. Then launch the app on both devices and click send and select the fotos/music/files that you want the other device to download.

A great way to exchange files (wirelessly) with devices you use regularly without having to bring along USB flashdrives.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Remote desktop windows with concurrent users

The server version of windows allows multiple users on the same network to log on to one machine using Remote Desktop. 

But what if you only have the normal windows version on which you want to log on using remote desktop while another (local user) is still logged on without kicking out the current said user?

Thankfully there is a small utility called 'RDP Wrapper Library' by binarymaster, which, after you've installed it on the host or 'server', will allow you to do just that. At the moment it's also being updated quite regularly and the current version (v. 1.5) is actually quite stable.

The PC on which you want to have multiple user sessions should be quite powerful and have good cooling since doing this can be quite cpu intensive. So if you're using a notebook for this purpose for extended periods of time, it may get quite hot. Desktop PC's just have better cooling than laptop or notebook computers.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Simcity 2000 special edition free at Origin

If you were fan of the first Simcity game released in 1989, you probably played Simcity 2k also when it was released a few years later.

Now that Electronic Arts bought up Maxis, the company that originally created the simulation game, it is offering the second Simcity game for free (for a limited time) over it's game distribution platform called "Origin", which is something similar like Valve's Steam.

To be able to play the game for Windows you'll have to sign up for a free account at Origin in case you don't already have one, download and install the Origin client and finally download the free game. If you prefer a more recent game however, Call of Duty Advanced Warfare can be played in Multiplayer version through Steam for free at the moment.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Remove Windows.old to free up disk space

In case you have upgraded your computer from Windows 7 to Windows 8 or 8.1, during installation, the computer users files will be automatically copied to a folder named "Windows.old". This usually contains user created files, music and videos from your previous windows installation.

If you already verified that you don't need them anymore, you might want to remove this folder to get more free space, especially if you have a SSD drive. However, there is a bit of a work-around. Deleting the folder in Windows Explorer won't do it.

Instead, right-click on your C-drive and select properties. Under the "General" tab, click the 'Disk-Cleanup' button then click on the "Clean up system files"-button. Wait a few minutes then soon under "Files to delete" box you'll see a new entry called "Previous Windows installation(s)". Check that box and hit OK and Delete Files to free up some valuable space.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Printer Pro for iPhone free today

In case you don't have an airprint compatible printer to call your own but still want the ability to print directly (PDF,JPG,Word, Excel and Web pages) from your iPhone, get printer pro which is available for free today from the App store as part of the App of the Day feature.

You'll have to install a helper program on your PC or Mac first though for this to work and the iphone from which you want to print needs to be on the same network as the printer that is connected to the PC which has the printer pro helper program installed.

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Sega’s classic game ‘Crazy Taxi’ available free for iOS

The universal game is currently available for free on iTunes. The car racing game first came out in 1999 for gaming arcades and arrived a year later on Sega’s Dreamcast gaming console.

The game has been recently ported as universal App for iOS, meaning it’s playable on the iPhone, iPad and iTouch that have iOS version 4.3 or above. The game runs at full screen on the iPhone 5. The game in which the player is a taxi driver is centered in the city of San Francisco, is a full game without in-app purchases. It usually costs around $5 so grab it while you can.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Make the iPhone battery last longer

It seems that as long as there is no new kind of technology (such as solar, kinetic or a sterling engine) integrated into the phone that produces at least part of it's needed energy to function, we probably won't see any big changes in battery runtime despite the advancement in battery technology.
So until that time arrives, here are few things that can be done now to save your iPhone's battery life:

1. Location services (Settings-Privacy)

There are several apps that enquire your location, which often includes the use of GPS. Since the latter uses a lot of power, you may want to switch off location services for the apps that you don't really use. If you want you may switch of location services entirely but I'd leave 'Find My iPhone', 'Maps' and 'Camera' on just out of convenience.

2. Notification Center (Settings)

You may want to turn off the maximum of notifications from Apps, especially those that you don't consider important enough to be notified by. This is a big battery eater especially because each notification will turn on the screen, when it's off, even if it's only for a moment. So everytime you get a notification even when the phone is in your pocket or bag, the screen will turn on for no one to look at yet consuming precious energy.
Just set 'Alert Style' to 'none' for each App you consider not essential.

3. Automatic Downloads (Settings-iTunes & App Store)

When I first found out iOS7 can automatically update apps in the background, I thought how convenient, now you don't have to update manually anymore. However switching on automatic Updates will use a lot off wifi, which consumes a considerable amount of power considering you're using batteries. So it's a good idea to leave this switch off and manually update your Apps through the App Store.

4. Reduce the special effects (Settings-General-Accessibility)

Some people got a bit sea sick when they used iOS7 the first time and had to witness the slightly overdone effect when opening an app and returning back to the home screen making me wonder didn't Apple test these effects on normal people before they released it to manufacturing? Perhaps this kind of detail wouldn't have gone through with Mr. Jobs. Thankfully in an incremental iOS update they introduced a 'Reduce Motion' switch which does what it says, taking off some (unnecessary) load off the graphics processor thus saving a bit of battery power.

5. Background App Refresh (Settings-General)

This is Apple's answer to previous versions of iOS which lacked multi-tasking abilities. Although it's still no real multitasking, it does let certain Apps run in the background while you're currently using another App. One example is allowing you to play music while you're browsing in Safari. Or like practically all messaging Apps such as BBM, Facebook and WhatsApp have the ability to run in the background so will always be connected to the service and receive messages instantly.
However there are probably a bunch of Apps on your device which don't necessarily need to be continuously updated in the background (which, you guessed it, eats your battery) so you can easily switch off the 'App Refresh' function for those.

5. Push (Settings-Mail, Contacts, Calendars-Fetch New Data)

You may want to turn off 'Push' entirely thus preventing your email providers to push incoming mail directly to your device (again consuming battery). 'Fetch' will after a given time check your email regularly (in case push isn't supported). This can also be turned off. If you're waiting for an important email you still just can open the mail app to download the latest.

6. Wallpapers & Brightness (Settings)

Since the screen is one of the biggest power drains, decreasing the brightness will increase battery life quite a bit and you may want to turn off Auto-Brightness, since it occasionally makes the screen brighter than necessary apparently. You still can quickly adjust the screen brightness manually by opening the control center (swipe a finger from the bottom upwards).
Choose a still wallpaper (as opposed to a dynamic one which consumes more battery).

7. Bluetooth

If you're not using it, easily turn it off from the control center (swipe a finger from the bottom upwards) from most windows.

8. Vibrate (Settings-Sound)

Any movement consumes energy including vibrate, so switch this off if you don't necessarily need it.

9. Auto-Lock (Settings-General)

Set this to the shortest time you are comfortable with to save a bit of power

  Turning on 'Do not disturb' (moon-like icon in the control center) will also save battery life as well as switching on Airplane mode. However the latter won't let you receive any calls or use the internet.
Completely turning off the iPhone (hold down the power button on the top of the screen until there is the 'slide to power off' message) will prevent the phone from consuming any power at all, which maybe useful if you haven't got much power left and you know it may take a while until you have access to a charger.

If you still want more power you may consider getting a case with built-in battery such as from Mophie or a cheaper option would be an external battery pack which has the benefit of not only charging your phone, but that of your companion you may be with and a bunch of other USB powered devices.

Some say de-charging your phone about once a month (completely depleting the battery until the phone switches off and won't turn on anymore) and recharging it without interruption until fully charged will keep your iPhone battery in good shape. However I'm not so sure if this still applies to modern lithium-ion batteries. Everybody seems so say something different on this matter.

Deleting Apps you haven't used in 6 month or so may also reduce power consumption, and free up precious internal memory.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Play Gameboy games on the iPhone and iPad with GBA4iOS

The Emulator GBA4iOS 2.0 which has been updated to work with iOS 7, will let you play Gameboy, Gameboy Color and Gamboy Advance ROMS on your non-jailbroken device. There is only a slight work-around to install it on the iPhone or iPad since Apple's AppStore doesn't allow any game emulators.

All you have to do to install it is set your iOS device clock to before February 19 2014, visit the download page from your device and click on the Download GBA4iOS 2.0 button there and install. After you've run the app once, you can set back the date to the actual date. But in case you reset the iPhone or iPad, you'll have the set back the date again to before February 19 prior to the first launch of the app.

You'll be able to load ROMS either through the built-in browser of the gameboy emulator app or you can sync the ROMS from your Dropbox folder named "GBA4iOS 2" in the Apps folder. The folder is supposed to be created automatically when you switch on the sync with Dropbox in the GBA4iOS settings, however there seems to be an error authorizing the app when I tried. Perhaps this will be remedied in a future update.

The emulator even supports MfI external game controllers so if you are proud owner of a Logitech Powershell bluetooth/battery pack iPhone game controller, then you'll probably enjoy the nostalgia gaming even more.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Copy music mp3 files from PC to iphone with PhoneTrans

Of course you can use iTunes to transfer music from the PC to the iPhone if that's the only one you use. But what if you want to copy mp3 files from another computer that is not the usual PC you connect the iOS device to (without agreeing to wipe out your entire music library on your device).

Thankfully there is PhoneTrans by iMobie which will let you easily copy music from the PC to the iphone (as well as export files). Even though iTunes needs to be installed on the PC on which you want to use PhoneTrans, the iOS device doesn't need to be "paired" with the PC.

After downloading and installing PhoneTrans, simply launch the program, wait a bit until it loads data from the connected iphone, click the "Music" tab on the left hand side and click "+ Add" on the top menu to choose the mp3 files you want to copy the iPhone and wait a bit for it to rebuild the index or something. If you want to verify that the transfer went smoothly, just open the music app on the iPhone and look for the name of the mp3 file in the list of songs and tap play.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Turn your PC into an airplay receiver with Shairport4w

Use any speakers connected to your PC as airplay speakers in order to stream music from iTunes. All you need is to download Shairport4w, which is a small program (less than 1MB), unpack the zip file and double-click on the executable. Select the option to start it with windows automatically so you won't have to think about launching it first if you want to stream music to the connected speakers of the PC.
It's also nice to hear that the same music played through multiple airplay speakers (up to 7) including the 'emulated' Shairport4w will play in sync!

For some inexplicable reason the current iTunes doesn't has this feature built in (or enabled). Another strange thing is that if you play a video in iTunes on your PC you can't stream the audio (of the video) to an airplay speaker, however if you watch a video on an ios device you can stream the sound to an airplay speaker/receiver (swipe with your thumb from down up to open the ios control center, tap airplay and select the available airplay receivers).

Monday, 3 February 2014

U2's Invisible (RED) free today on iTunes

BoA will give $1 for every download of the song Invisible by U2 to the Global Fund to fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria.

"(RED) was founded to get people involved in the fight against Aids. To find out more about it go to www.bac.com/red "

Monday, 27 January 2014

Repair your iTunes 11.1.4 upgrade

It has been reported that a number of Windows 7 64bit users (including me) had a not so pleasant experience when updating to the newest version of iTunes. The installation would fail, iTunes would refuse to start, and a bunch of error messages such as a missing file (MSVCR80.dll) showed and Windows Error 127 pop up window would appear which recommends to reinstall iTunes, resulting in the same error after reinstallation.

A post on one of the support forums offered (this windows user at least) a solution to the botched iTunes 11.1.4 upgrade. Basically it says to remove all Apple software from the Control Panel Programs list with "uninstall" and delete all the following folders:
  • C:\Program Files\Bonjour
  • C:\Program Files\Common Files\Apple
  • C:\Program Files\iTunes
  • C:\Program Files\iPod
  • C:\Program Files\QuickTime
  • C:\Windows\System32\QuickTime
You can leave your media folder alone. After uninstalling all Apple software, deleting the above folders and rebooting the PC, it has been recommended to install Quicktime first before installing the new iTunes version. With a bit of luck your iTunes will install and run succesfully (it did for me). Though somehow with this version of iTunes, there are some issues when playing back mp4 video files. Sometimes the picture would hang even though the audio is still playing. The same video played in VLC plays without any fault.

Update: Apple just released a support document to succesfully install itunes

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Share clipboard between Mac & iPhone with Command-C

Have you ever wished of a quick and easy way to send a text from your Mac to your iPhone or vice versa? A new App called Command-C developed by Danilo Torrisi will let you exchange data from the clipboard of OS X and iOS such as text, pictures and URLs. It is baffling why such a useful feature has been omitted by Apple since it already provides Airdrop for files but no straightforward method of sending some text that has been copied to the clipboard. Perhaps they thought people would simply imessage the text.

For Command-C to work, Mac users may download the free OS X App in the Mac App Store and purchase the iOS client in the iTunes store for 3,59 Euros. Both devices need to be on the same network to function and need to be coupled before used for the first time. After the push notifications have been enabled for the App, any text or pictures copied to the clipboard in the iOS device will be available in the command-c client of the target computer after having confirmed the transfer.

A Windows version unfortunately isn't available. The only method I know of exchanging text between PC and iOS device is to use the notes program in the iCloud, Evernote or use Google Keep.

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

PC and Mac iPad control App 'Actions' free

The remote control iPad App Actions is currently for free for a limited time, previously it costs 3.60 Euro. The App can be used to remote control a PC or Mac, with the addition of the corresponding desktop client, over the wireless network. Several predefined sets of actions including common control actions for, iTunes, Chrome and Mail are ready to use, which can be configured as well as new actions based on keyboard short-cuts on various software can also be created by the user. For instance VLC can be controlled by the iPad or navigate through tabs in Safari.

The iPad App is around 30MB in size and required iOS 5.1 to run, which allows even iPad 1 users to use the App. The desktop client is available for download on the company's website. An In-App purchase for 2.70 Euro called 'Flows' allows the user to create and execute macros.

Another App called Power-Grid by a Roccat seems to offer similar functions (that are more targeted at gamers) and is available for the iPhone also.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Access websites not available in your country with WiTopia

If you live in the US you have great online video services like Hulu or NetFlix and you can watch the newest episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And many of video content is for free even if they include advertising. But try to access these sites from a country outside of the US and you'll probably be greeted by a message saying that this (video) content in not available in your region. Maybe some law makers haven't realised yet that the region of the internet is planet earth.

Another limit some countries think is necessary to implement is the access to websites which may not be of the same opinion as of their own. For example accessing (from Indonesia) a website which is hosted in China, even though the website has nothing to do with the country of China or their government, might not work.

The solution to the above situation is to use a proxy server (that is able to access the website you want). Another is to use a VPN service such as WiTopia. After paying a service fee (monthly or yearly $59), you can download their user friendly software (for Mac & Windows) which let's you choose from a list of VPN servers all over the globe, which one you want to connect to, after you've logged in with your WiTopia credentials.

For example, logging into a VPN server in the US will give you access to every US website that was previously blocked when you accessed it from another country the conventional way (without US proxy or VPN server). This can be very handy for people who travel a lot to different countries but still want to have access to their favorite websites, never matter what sensors are implemented locally.

Another side benefit of using a VPN service that you can setup on your iPhone also by following WiTopia's step by step instructions (Settings-Add VPN Configuration-choos PPTP add WiTopia server name, your WiTopia ID followed by @witopia and add the password) is that next time you are using a public WiFi access point (for example at your favorite immigration office) you can just connect to a WiTopia VPN server and it will make it a lot harder for anyone trying to eavesdrop on your online activities.

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Use your notebook PC as a WiFi Hotspot with Connectify

Were you ever in a situation that you had internet access only with your laptop but wanted to connect other devices to the internet also? For example you are in a hotel that only has internet over lan but you also want to give access to your wife's phone or your colleague's notebook over WiFi. There are hardware solutions for this such as the Satechi Smart Travel Router or even Apple's Airport Express router which are pretty nifty devices on their own.

But why carry an additional device that takes space if your notebook PC can do the same thing with help of the Connectify software. It essentially will create a virtual copy of your Laptop's wifi card to act as a virtual wifi hotspot which can use any of your PC's network interface that has internet access, to share the internet with other wireless devices. You can name the SSID as you wish and add a password and monitor which devices are connected. It currently costs $24 instead of the usual $40. A try-out version with limited functionality is also available to download at their website.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Updated Fitbit app uses iPhone 5s M7 chip data

In the newest version of it's iPhone App (version 2.1) FitBit can read the motion tracking data in the M7 coprocessor of the iPhone 5s which continuously collects motion data in the background.

You need to register a free account with FitBit through the app so that it can track the steps you've made, the distance you've gone and the calories you've burned and sync the data with "MobileTrack" to your FitBit accound. First time usera will be asked to answer several questions first such as age, height and weight.

Scanner Pro for iOS currently free

As App of the Week, Readdle's Scanner Pro is being offered for free on the Appstore. Scanner Pro serves to digitalise documents with the help of the iPhone or iPad camera. The app can automatically recognise the edge of a paper document, offers several editing functions such as contrast and lighting adjustments and is able to handle multiple pages and save the photographed documents in PDF format. Documents created with Scanner Pro can be saved to various cloud services such as Dropbox, iCloud and Evernote. The app is about 30MB in size and is currently available for free (usually 6 Euros) download.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Use Airplay on your PC's screen with AirServer

Video Airplay used to be only available with the Apple TV. But what if you wanted to play videos, show photos or mirror your iOS device's screen to your computer? That's exactly what AirServer (available for Mac and Windows) allows you to do, without the need of having an Apple TV.  Mirroring is supported by the iPad 2 or newer and the iPhone 4s or newer.

Whether it is showing off photos that are on your iPhone on to your computer screen or giving a presentation using AirServer on your notebook computer that is connected to a projector, or just playing one of the thousands iOS games on your computer screen, AirSever will enable all of this. On top of that you can connect multiple iOS devices to one display. There is a trial you can download which allows you to try it out for 7 days and if you decide to keep it, it's available for $15.