Wednesday, July 25, 2012

OS X Mountain Lion: The First 60 Minutes


This morning at around 8:30am OSX 10.8 (Mountain Lion) was released to the public. At that time I was up, with a cup of coffee in my hand watching the installation progress bar like a hawk. This was the first major update for my new MacBook Pro and thankfully it went as smooth as it could be. About a hour later, the installation was complete. I entered my login credentials and proceeded to get my first hands-on glimpse of the new big cat. The first thing I did was change some preferences. I didn't like the idea of having the "Users and Groups" drop-down in my menubar, mainly due to the fact that it felt cluttered, but also because I wouldn't use it (this is MY MacBook). Next, I changed my previous wallpaper to the default one. After fixing my preferences I decided to check out the new apps and features. Starting off with notification center, I really liked the 2 finger 'swipe' gesture used to access the notifications. I also appreciate the new alerts and banners. Alerts allow for the notifications to stay in the upper right corner until the user closes them. The badges disappear on their own. However, the best part about Alerts and Banners is that they are completely customizable for each individual app. If I want a banner for the Calendar in place of an alert, I can do that. The next feature I tried out was Dictation, and I have to say that Dictation is amazing... and I'm not too sure why I'm not using it to write this article. Dictation works in any text box, and to activate it, you just tap the function key twice. Not only is it accurate, but it's fast and adjusts to your voice characteristics. Now let's talk about notes and reminders. Notes and Reminders explains it's self just in it's name. Notes holds some cool features such as drag and drop images and of course, iCloud syncing. iCloud syncing allows you to type a note on your Mac or iOS device while syncing that note between your devices. It's nearly instant and very useful. Reminders, like notes uses iCloud. So far I am really enjoying Mountain Lion and after I spend more time using it I will return for a complete review.

Vance Gulley has made multiple appearances over the last year on TheTechTile and is returning as a regular review writer and expert on Mac OS X, iOS, and Apple in general. Vance is an Apple user first and foremost, despite his many Android phones.

OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is Available Now

Check the Mac App Store kids- the latest version of OS X (formerly Mac OS X, I still can't get over that...) is available now for a measly $19.99. Which is, last time I checked, ten bucks less than Lion costed a year ago. Which means you really can't go wrong here. The new update features, among other things, the port of Notification Center from iOS to OS X, complete with all the usual trimmings, AirPlay to stream all of your content to your television, Messages, which hopes to replace the Mac OS default iChat, speech to text dictation, and the greatly appreciated PowerNap- allowing users to update their machines overnight without faults. To download the new OS there is only one tried and true method, the Mac App Store. Check it out in the link below.

Source Mac App Store

Sunday, July 22, 2012

iPad Killer or Kindle Fire Killer? The Nexus 7 Review

Review Background

Ever since I can remember I've been hunting for an inexpensive way to carry out my typical computational needs and desires. Five or so years ago, I thought that was only possible through older machines. So I bought an old iBook Clamshell. It worked... but it wasn't fast, it didn't support some modern software, and the battery life sucked (even after I bought a new one!). Because of this, the next device I purchased was a snow iBook. Same problem. Next! I bought a Netbook. Finally I realized that I wasn't going to get away with buy all these sub-200 dollar devices and having them work very well, so I buckled down and bought a MacBook. It lasted me more than three years before the hardware just wasn't good enough anymore, and the trackpad broke. Now, I have my Dell Vostro 3450- the best laptop I have ever owned. I ran Windows 7 on it for about a month or two before I decided that Ubuntu would work best on it.

But I have never been satisfied with a laptop and a smartphone. I still craved that middle-of-the-line device. The one that lets me do everything BOTH devices can do, and be smaller and cheaper. When the first iPad was announced and eventually released, I waited in line for one, figured out that it wasn't yet for me (I had planned to rid of my MacBook for it) and sold it to my sister. She loves it, it does everything she needs it to do, and she's happy with her purchase. I then realized that the tablet computer wasn't meant to replace anything at all. In fact, it's meant to be yet another device to carry around. And I still wanted one.

The market was still reletively shitty. Tablets went from $350 to $900 with no wiggle room. The tablet you bought, gave you the specs you paid for. And why shouldn't it? The lower end tablets running ancient versions of Google's Android OS were highly lacking in any real functionality beyond that of a basic browsing device and email device- and even then they struggled. So, Amazon released the Kindle Fire. I ALMOST bought the Kindle Fire. That is, until I tried one out. It was the slowest tablet I had ever used. There was a good deal of snapping back, lag, and annoyance. So I decided to wait for the rumored Tegra 3 devices to be released, the ones that were said to be faster AND cheaper too. Because hey, I've been waiting for this thing for a LONG ASS time.

It came. It finally came. And I'm positive of that. The Nexus 7 is THE budget speed demon I and so many others had been patiently awaiting for so many years. But is it more like an iPad or a Kindle Fire? Why should YOU buy one? Read on to find out.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Shocker: Valve Announces Steam for Ubuntu

We've all been hearing the rumors for YEARS now (even longer than we have heard rumors about Steam for OS X, actually), and now it is coming true. Valve's must-have PC gaming platform Steam is landing in Ubuntu soon. Why Ubuntu and not other distros? Well, beyond the obvious, Valve considers it to be more sensible for a development time frame, and come on, let's get real here... Ubuntu is THE Linux distro to be using. Sure, there are tens of hundreds of other options, but all pale in comparison to Ubuntu. Valve also plans to port Left 4 Dead 2 over to the platform, because every Ubuntu user deserves to shoot the shit out of the living dead, right? The company plans to publicly release updates, and source code to the community, and hopes to have the project on it's feet within the next year. And let me tell you, everybody in the Linux community is already fired up and excited for what's to come.


Source Valve Linux Blog

Friday, July 13, 2012

UPDATED: The Nexus 7 Is Shipping NOW To Preordering Geniuses

If you preordered a Nexus 7, you are a very lucky man and/or woman. It's a fantastic investment. Seriously. It's possibly the best way you can possibly spend 200 bucks, and hey, the reviewers of The Verge, Engadget, Gizmodo, Ars Technica, AllThingsD, and so many more agree. And in about a week, our review will be completed. So hold on tight... or buy this thing. Please. Don't make yourself wait any longer. It's available now from Google's Play Store, GameStop, Ebuy, and many other stores in the country. What are you waiting for moron? Go buy one of these beauties! Oh, and below is the tweet to prove it.

EDIT: Our unit it on it's way! Which also means a review is imminent!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

OUYA Hopes to Target Big Name Players in the Console Market

There have long been rumors and mentions of cheap Android-based consoles invading the market now for years, more recently however in the past two months, with the pushing of nVidia's Tegra 3 chipset. A friend of mine sent this kickstarter to me, and I took a look, and sure enough there is something really interesting going on in the world of gaming right now. And, you guessed it, it's an Android-based console! The device comes with a quad-core Tegra 3 CPU, 1 GB of RAM, 8 GB of storage, an HDMI port, a USB 2.0 port (to cut down on the price), WiFi b/g/n, Bluetooth LE 4.0, Android 4.0, and a wireless controller. That's a lot of power for a 100 dollar box that plays Android games. But the hope is that developers will all jump on this- from EA, to Activision, to Atari, and Bungie- as well as indie developers too. (We're speculating here, but hey...) Who are they hoping to compete with? Oh, you know, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Nintendo... nobody too important in the console industry... /sarcasm... Check out the link below to see more, including a video.

Thanks, Micah!

Source OUYA's Kickstarter Page

EDIT: Ouya raised 2.6 Million dollars yesterday. And so far, they have raised 3.2 Million. Holy. Crap. Looks like this is going to be a big thing afterall.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Best Buy Killing Off 2400 More Jobs

After a significant fourth quarter loss, it's no surprise that Best Buy has been downsizing.

However, it IS surprising that they have been downsizing so much. The company announced Friday their plan to axe over 2400 jobs as part of their turnaround plan. Such includes the removal of dozens of Best Buy stores around the country and around the globe, as well as the implementation of more local Best Buy Express setups worldwide. In an interview conducted by Market Watch, from which this story is sourced from, Best Buy declined to give out the total number of jobs they cut over the course of this year. However, one could speculate that such a number is rather significant in size. Best Buy also plans to reduce it's outside consulting services, as well as seek out better negotiations with vendors, as a plan to reduce costs for the big box vendor. Despite decisions to cut cost however, the company plans to remodel many of it's stores in order to better connect services and products. The plan is to reduce square footage in stores, which will eventually help to also cut costs. This plan is also related to Best Buy's perpetual goal of becoming more user friendly- mirroring that of an Apple store setup. The company's stocks fell 0.7% on Friday, which contributes to the overall 33% drop in the past year.

Let's hope that they get it right this time.

Source Market Watch

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

We here at The Techtile would like to wish all of you a very happy 4th of July. It's America's birthday once again! So sit down, chow on some hamburgers and hotdogs! Hell, grill a steak and some barbecued ribs to go along! Drink a beer, read The Techtile, rest and relax with some friends! You've earned it! We'll be back tomorrow with new posts and more fun! So stay tuned!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Google Boosted Economy By $500 Billion

Shocker! Google has boosted the American economy by $500 billion. But what's really strange? Most of Google's revenue comes from their ventures with AdSense. That means American consumers are so curious about advertisement that Google can not only make a large profit but a large impact on the US economy. Also, that excludes Internet-only sales. So what else is there to say besides the fact that the internet as we know it has made a huge footprint in the ground that is the American business. Not that this is anything new to anybody... unless you've been living under the late Andy Rooney's rock for the past decade.

Source Google's OFFICIAL Blog (ooooohhhh) 

Windows 8 Pro Upgrade Plans Revealed

As Microsoft has with their last few OS upgrades, they will be offering discounted software upgrades to get users up and running Windows 8 no matter what system they're on. Windows XP, Vista, and 7 users will be able to upgrade to 8 Pro $39.99 if purchased online, and a sort of ridiculous $69.99 in stores. Which leaves us wondering, why would the price be doubled for a hard copy? Whatever the reason, it looks like Microsoft is really getting serious about rolling Windows 8, and we're curious to see how they do it in the coming months. As always, drop a comment below, and stay tuned for more!

Source Windows Team Blog

Nexus 7 Review Coming In August

Obviously, many of you have had the oportunity to read about Google's new Nexus 7 tablet. Despite reviews being out for several days now, The Techtile plans to release a review sometime in next few weeks... so STAY TUNED, and sorry we couldn't get it up sooner. This is due to our lack of appearance at Google I/O, and the obvious amount of time it will take for the product to ship from Google. However, as of this time we DO recommend the product, after having a bit of personal time with it last week.