Three Gardening Apps On Android

No matter whether you are a professional or just an amateur who has a fair bit of green patch in her backyard, gardening always gives you the kind of relaxation that no yoga or meditation ever can. Like everything else, there are Android apps to help you in your gardening as well. Listed below are three very useful Android apps that should help everyone – right from the gardning hobbyist to a pro.

Master Gardener Pocket Guide:

This is the app that is best suited for horticulture students or more generally to someone who is trying to learn the basics of gardening. The app contains a list of more than 675 gardening and horticulture related terms and concepts that you can learn through quizzes, flashcards and a dictionary. The app also includes hundreds of images that should provide a visual reference to the terms that makes learning much more simple. The ‘Master Gardener Pocket Guide’ is available for download at a price of $1.49. You can download the app by using the QR code below.

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Garden Snob

If you are obsessed about gardening, as you should be if reading this post, this app is something you could consider. The app costs $1.5 and tells you everything right from the tips to keep your garden green to other landscaping tips like the right garden furniture to buy. You can purchase this app by using the code below.

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Making A Rock Garden

Rock gardens are becoming increasingly popular across campuses and commercial establishments around the world as a form of landscaping. In the United Kingdom, there are a number of popular rock gardens such as the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburg and f Kew. Now if you are looking to build your own rock garden, the ‘Making a Rock Garden’ Android app should come handy. It has separate chapters that will teach you everything about picking a construction site, working on the construction, planting the garden, the plants you should choose for a rock garden and setting it up. The app is priced at $1.37 and can be downloaded by using the QR code below.

app2What are your favorite gardening related apps? Tell us in the comments.

Comparing online gaming between tablets and mobile phones

Online gaming has become one of the major applications of mobile phones and tablets. As PC sales decline sharply, those of tablets and smartphones skyrocket and today most owners of mobile devices favor using their tablets rather than their desktops for playing games.

The fundamental difference between the latest generations of tablets and mobile phones is that while tablets have larger displays phones are easier to carry around. Or at least that is the general consensus, though there are signs that it is changing.
If you think back to the times before we used to carry mobile computing devices on which we organizer our business and social lives, you might recall the Filofax. The Filofax was the first and possibly most prestigious of personal organizers  Generally leather bound, it was a six ring loose leaf binder in which people kept their diary, event organizers  contact lists, personal information, maps, and many other things that today are typically kept on a mobile phone. During the 1980s, when everyone was or alluded to being a yuppie, carrying around a Filofax was a sign that you had arrived; that you were one of the in-crowd. It has the same social status as owning an iPhone had when few people owned one.

The point is, the Filofax was typically the size of today’s tablet. And everyone carried one around. So, once we get accustomed to the size of tablets we will all start carrying those around too, and we will think nothing of doing so. Once this happens, and it almost certainly will, the tablet will replace the mobile phone as the primary online gaming device. We will use it for playing online casino games at a mobile casino like Lucky Nugget, for playing online games with our friends, and for playing huge online multiplayer games that are today mostly associated with gaming consoles

How Windows 8 Failed and Prevails

Microsoft’s Windows operating system has had its ups and downs over the years. Vista was, well, interesting. XP had a stable shelf life for a while there. Each new release seems to improve on earlier versions, but also tends to alter something people had become used to. Now, it’s time to look at Windows 8.

Cost

Perhaps the most stunning aspect of Windows 8, when compared to previous upgrades, is the cost. At $40 it is the least expensive operating system Microsoft has ever offered. You might be happy with your current version of Windows 7, but with a price that low, it’s tempting to buy a copy of 8 and consider trying it out when you get the chance.

Touch-centric

If you’re a traditional desktop or laptop user, you might not find the upgrades to Windows 8 all that exciting. It incorporates what is called “Metro,” which is primarily a touch-centric interface. This has been useful on mobile devices, but if you’re a business user, you may not find this improvement particularly useful, or even desirable.

Sync to the Cloud

Windows 8’s ability to sync storage with online sources is vastly improved. It fully incorporates Microsoft’s Sky Drive into its file system, including all Office programs. This is a great convenience, particularly if you move from computer to computer. What’s more the settings can be made on one computer and all the others will automatically copy the personal touches you’ve put in place.

Changes to the Interface

Over the last 25 years, Microsoft has maintained a consistency with its older versions to ensure that users feel like they are using an upgrade with familiar continuity. This time, the change is radical and jarring. There is no Start menu, for example. Though the Start Screen serves the same function, it takes time to adjust to.

The New vs. the Old

The greatest concern with Windows 8 is the schizophrenic way things have to be run. It is much like Windows 3.1 where you had to open older programs in DOS and then switch between the two. There is a similar problem with this upgrade since the old Desktop apps don’t work in the new Windows 8 interface, and modern apps don’t work in the old desktop system.

A Single Paradigm for all Devices

Perhaps the most compelling aspect of the Windows 8 is the similarity it brings to all your Microsoft devices. There is finally a consistency between your PC, your tablet, even your phone. They all now work basically in the same way. They can even share the same settings. Transitioning from one device to the next will no longer be different. That even includes the Xbox, which has a Windows 8 sort of interface as well.

Like all new operating systems, Windows 8 has things you’ll appreciate and possibly things you’ll hate until you get used to them. Will it become as popular as Windows 7? That will depend, but it is definitely an attempt to move forward in the ever advancing world of computers.

Could Implanted Smartphones Be A Reality In Future

Came across this interesting infographic highlighting the history of smartphones along with a brief on what the future could probably hold for the smartphones. It seems pretty reasonable to assume the smartphone sales to exceed that of personal computers in the near future. But what is the next level of technological innovation that could happen with the smartphones? Could we be wearing them one day as a fashion accessory? Better, could we be implanting them to offer more seamless augmented reality? You never know. Check out the infographic below and tell in the comments what you think of the possibilities.

Best Online Study Tools For Students

The classroom is changing. Students no longer have to be present physically in front of the teacher to learn their subjects. And the subjects themselves are no longer defined simply by the textbooks. Interactive learning tools have drastically changed the schooling landscape and have also helped students understand complex concepts using more illustrative and engaging techniques that were not available even ten years ago.

Besides the changing landscape inside the classrooms, students are also being exposed to new dynamic learning methods outside of it, online. Here are three tools that have made learning extremely important for students. And best of all? They’re free.

Wikipedia : There can be no list on online educational tools without a mention of Wikipedia. This not-for-profit site of 12 years has enabled every one of us to become an educator and a learner at the same time using the system of crowdsourced knowledge. Information on every single thing that students learn in class can be got from here. As every student who has passed out in the past ten years will vouch for, Wikipedia has been a boon when it comes to preparing your term papers. The only downside to Wikipedia is that it is prone to false information due to which it is many times not considered to be a valid source of reference. You could always pick other online elearning tools while preparing your term papers. StudyMode is a popular service that millions of students use to write their term papers. The service also comes with a Citation Generator that will help you organize your sources much better on your paper.

Internet Public Library : Students may no longer visit the school library as much as they would have a decade or two back. But the use of the library to study outside the prescribed textbook has never been better. The Internet Public Library is an open source online library that houses tons of reference material on a wide variety of topics for every conceivable topic of study.

Project Gutenberg : This is a project driven wholly by volunteers who have been seeking to digitize all books that are available in the public domain. The project was started in 1971 and today holds over 42,000 ebooks that are primarily text books or classics. If you are looking for a free text book to supplement your school book, Project Gutenberg is where you should be looking.

Are there any more free elearning tools that you are aware of? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Best Super Bowl Apps For Android

So it’s that time of the year when all of the United States is going to be glued to TV watching the Super Bowl. This year’s face off is scheduled for February 3 when the San Francisco 49ers will be taking on the Baltimore Ravens. If you are an NFL fan and do not want to miss any of this action, there are several apps for NFL lovers already available – some apps focused on NFL news, some that let you bet on super bowl, and finally some that let you discuss the game with other NFL fans and root for your team. Here are 3 Android apps that you should absolutely download now.

NFL Mobile

This is one of the most popular apps on the Android marketplace having been downloaded over 10 million times. Why is this app absolutely necessary? Because apart from the news, NFL videos and game highlights, you also get to enjoy the live video on your Android tablet if you are a Verizon FiOS customer.  This app is also going to be useful post the season with access to playoff scores and schedules. The only drawback is that you cannot simply plug your tablet to a TV via an HDMI cable and enjoy live playback. Also, depending on where you live, you may also have to face NFL blackouts. Download by using the QR code below

NFL Flick Quarterback

This app is not as popular as the one from Verizon, yet this is one of the most popular NFL apps available in the market today. Having been installed on over 100,000 devices, this app is the perfect game to enthuse an NFL fan. The app features all 32 official teams and delivers stunning 3D stadium environments, 120 player animations and hi-res graphics. The app is available at a price of $1.99 and is worth every cent of it. Use the QR code below to download the app to your mobile.

NFL 2012 Season Schedule

This app may not be as useful to you coming so late in the day, but if you have not had it already, you have missed out on one of the easier ways to follow the games. The app presents the schedule in a pretty lucid and clear format leaving no room for confusion. Definitely a must have, also considering that this app is available for free and has been downloaded somewhere between 10,000 and 50,000 times already.

What are your favorite apps? Do let us know in the comments.

What Canada Telecom Needs To Grow

The Canadian Telecom Summit 2014 was held at the Toronto Congress Centre earlier this month. In one of his speeches during the course of the event, Rogers CEO Guy Laurence, made a bold statement – as an industry, telecom was resorting to complex pricing plans and methods that was not helping their customers get productive. One example of productivity that Guy mentioned was with respect to resolving issues through a call centre. Guy said that a lot of people do not want to talk to a call center person regarding these complexities because that inevitably stretches the discussion to 30 minutes or more. People want to go online and fix their problem in 3 minutes, not 30.

What Guy mentioned illustrates the growing need for telecom operators to make their after-sales support and service seamless and frictionless. With telecom operators today offering a wide range of services from landline, wireless, broadband, business networking, broadband TV, etc., customers find it cumbersome simply juggling through the various options thrown at them by the IVRS before they can talk to a customer service representative.

The good news is that the telecom operators are already looking at ways to streamline the operations. Guy Laurence is only six months into his job and has announced plans to streamline operations within the company to increase customer productivity. Rogers is not alone. One of the other companies that is seen to taking up rapid strides in this area is Manitoba based AllStream. Last month, AllStream became the first major telecom network in Canada to be MEF CE 2.0 certified. In a press release, AllStream noted that this certification is an acknowledgement of process innovation in their E-Line and E-Access line of carrier ethernet network services. These services in the company’s portfolio are aimed at simplifying the network infrastructure for organizations in multiple locations.

The announcement of simplification of processes is a great step for better telecom infrastructure in Canada. A study published by The School Of Public Policy last year noted that while the pricing policies of Canadian telecom providers was not out of the ordinary and compared well with similar markets worldwide, one of the main reasons that is ailing the sector is ‘political interference’ which in turn has been the reason for the general lack of innovation within the industry.

Various studies have shown that Canada is witnessing robust growth in modern telecom services including wireless technology. The subscriptions and consequently the revenue growth have been multi-fold over the past decade or two. The rapid growth could often make old restrictive practices redundant. The need of the hour is then for the government to take a re-look at all the policies and amend them in order to ensure telecom carriers can grow freely and widely in future. This, and the competition that will ensue will be the primary driver for simplification and process improvements that this industry so desperately needs.

How the Internet Works – Infographic

There is no doubt that the internet has made our lives amazingly simple in the past decade or two. However behind the glossy user interfaces, there lies the very same complex network of wires and computers that have been running your other essential services for years. Here is a nice little infographic that explains the wonderfully complex backend of what lies behind each of these cool websites you visit. Click to open the image in full size.

Courtesy: Open-Site.org

Facebook Testing Threaded Commenting In New Zealand

Threaded commenting on Facebook is one of the long sought requests from users. And Facebook too, many times in the past, has been caught testing the feature in small pockets of the cyberwebs.

The latest report comes from New Zealand. Our reader Chandler reports that his network is now able to reply to comments. It’s not clear how Facebook is testing this among a closed group considering that your Facebook friends can always extend beyond the group that Facebook is testing. In any case, I hope threaded commenting is provided as a feature to the entire Facebook network soon. Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like

Threaded Facebook Comments

Windows 8 Graphics – Richer Visuals and Higher Performance Right Here!

Microsoft has made extensive changes to DirectX 11.1 and Windows 8 graphics. Whatever you do in Windows 8, everything is hardware accelerated and that is why its 2D and 3D performance and text is expected to blow off Windows 7. Faster gaming experience and more efficient applications have raised a significant overhaul in DirectX 11.1.

Windows 8 Graphics Upgrade Offering a High Class Operating System

The Metro-style apps are responsible for Windows 8 graphics changes. The interface of these typographically rich apps is built of ellipses, rectangles, rounded rectangles and lines.

The new graphical changes will cater you much greater speed than Windows 7. A text in Windows 8 will appear within a few seconds. GIF, PNG and JPEG image files have also been improved to a sufficient degree. Just imagine – Windows 8 decodes and provides you 64 JPEGs in just 4.38 seconds. Hence, now using the Photoshop software or browsing the web in Windows 8 will be real fun with such high speed image rendering service.

Want to watch some video on your Windows 8 OS? Gone are the days when you have to wait idle until the video uploads. The speedy rendering of images and texts offers an upscale video watching experience.

Windows 8 DirectX 11.1 Updated to a New Level

Specific changes have been made to DirectX 11.1. It is made much better now! Credit goes to Microsoft which has enhanced the redrawing portions. By lessening redrawing of static elements and texts, Microsoft reduces the wastage of processor cycle and memory usage.

Direct2D Effects, a new addition to DirectX 11.1, provides you “high quality” image effects like adjusting vibrancy, clarity, and exposure and lens correction. You can experience these effects in latest desktop apps like Photoshop besides the Metro-style photo editing software.

DirectX 11.1 from Microsoft comes with unified and simplified API especially for the developers. If all these days you were having problem in accessing the wide range of new features, DirectX 11.1 has come up with a solution for you. All the latest features are bundled under one single API.

Are these upgrades of any use?

Certainly, the new updated Windows 8 graphics and DirectX are beneficial for the Windows 8 users. Microsoft opines that these faster rendering features make less use of your hardware resources and lower the power consumption. Windows 8 guarantees you prolonged battery life and improved efficiency with its latest up-gradation.

With Windows 8 recent updates, it is very evident that the primary motive of Microsoft is to offer competition to Apple and Google in the field of mobile computing. It is expected that the latest mobile phones like Windows Phone 8 and Xbox 720 will operate on this recent tidied up DirectX API.

Now, it has become easier to develop games. Playing games, watching videos or images, editing photos – all will cater a cutting-edge experience to the users. Windows 8 graphics changes not only created a huge difference to the graphics but also provide support for the widest variety of graphics hardware you have ever seen. It’s time to experience hardware acceleration for Metro style applications!

Author’s Bio: For smooth functioning of your OS, you must call your computer support expert, Steve Tibbs, the author
of this article and a technical expert at MyTechSupportStore. Computer services at MyTechSupportStore are provided by Microsoft certified engineers.