Get ready for HD video and 3D gaming with Adobe Flash Player 11 and Air 3

Just a few days back, Adobe announced Adobe Flash Player 11 and Adobe AIR 3 software to be released in the in early October.  The new browser plugin promises a platform that will bring up to 1000 times faster 2D/3D rendering performance over Flash Player 10, thanks to the new full hardware acceleration, plus full native 64-bit web-browser support. In addition to that – as presented by Adobe – the new platform will create the perfect environment for developers to build “console-like quality” games for Windows, Mac OS X  and Internet-enabled televisions. Also, Flash Player 11 will bring features such as HD video quality through the Web, in mobile apps, and even surround sound for connected TVs.

With this milestone release Adobe pushes the envelope of what is possible on the Web with a typical PC and opens up a new world of immersive, high-performance gaming experiences,” said Danny Winokur, vice president and general manager of Platform, Adobe.

For further details, take a look at this video…

Flash Player 11 and AIR 3 features:

  • Accelerated 2D/3D Graphics: Full hardware-accelerated rendering for 2D and 3D graphics enable 1,000 times faster rendering performance over Flash Player 10 and AIR 2. Developers are able to animate millions of objects with smooth 60 frames per second rendering and deliver console-quality games on Mac OS, Windows and connected televisions. A pre-release brings these same accelerated 2D and 3D capabilities to mobile platforms including Android, Apple iOS and BlackBerry Tablet OS. A production release for mobile platforms is expected in the near future.
  • AIR Native Extensions: With support for thousands of highly-optimized, open-source libraries, developers are able to tap into unique software and hardware capabilities including access to device data, vibration control, magnetometers, light sensors, dual screens, near field communications (NFC) and more. Native extensions also allow developers to more deeply integrate AIR applications with other business software.
  • Captive Runtime: Developers can automatically package AIR 3 with their applications to simplify the installation process on Android, Windows and Mac OS in addition to Apple iOS. Users no longer have to download and update AIR separately on any of these platforms, or BlackBerry Tablet OS, which includes AIR built in. In addition, with the captive runtime option developers can manage version updates to their application independent of general AIR updates by Adobe.
  • Content Protection: Premium video content can now be protected using Adobe Flash Access 3 across all supported platforms, including new support for mobile platforms.
  • HD Video Quality Across Platforms: Full frame rate HD video can now be displayed within AIR applications on Apple iOS devices using H.264 hardware decoding. Rich applications on televisions are also able to deliver HD video with 7.1 channel surround sound.
  • Rental and Subscriptions Support: With support for Adobe Flash Access and Adobe Pass, content publishers can take advantage of rental and subscription options for more flexible business models and offer TV Everywhere content to more than 80 percent of U.S. pay TV subscribers.
  • Compatibility: 64-bit support on Linux, Mac OS and Windows ensures a seamless experience with the latest 64-bit browsers.

Adobe AIR 3 Release Candidate can be downloaded from here and Adobe Flash Player 11 Release Candidate for Desktops from here.

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Generate and share photo albums with jAlbum 10

JAlbum is a free, Java based tool, which allows you to create online photo albums from your images and movies. This software was created by David Ekholm, and it was meant to be free, but version 10 brings the commercial license which for $55 will remove any adds or watermarks for the user.

There are already a lot of people using this album creator, for it is a versatile program which has a lot of features. For instance, you can drag and drop a folder containing your photos into JAlbum and it will display the photos in the editing window, allowing you to quick select an album skin and style, thumbnail and picture size, and preview it before saving it. Then upload it to any site with jAlbum’s built in FTP support.

jAlbum version 10 brings support for TIF and partial support for PSD format besides the already common JPEG, JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG, WMPG format images. You can calculate the album size, extract comments from pictures, and much more. All skins have one or several CSS styles attached, so that you may choose one that is better suited for your album. Latest version offers now the possibility to edit photo’s metadata within jAlbum’s interface. The information resulted can then be exported to other applications that support XMP formats.

In case you are interested to try it out, jAlbum 10 is available as free download for Windows, Mac (OS X 10.4 or later) and Linux. Pay attention that in order to use it you need to have Java 1.5 or later installed on your computer.

download jAlbum for Windows | download jAlbum for Mac

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Autoruns from Microsoft has been updated to version 11

Autoruns is a Sysinternals utility that shows you what programs are configured to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the order Windows processes them. Developed by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell, this utility brings a deeper control in terms of auto-start applications and registry files. It represents everything that MSConfig cannot do.

Autoruns is a portable utility, so all you have to do is to copy it in a secure location on your hard drive and simply run it. The app starts instantly showing you 18 tabs including logon entries, Explorer add-ons, Internet Explorer add-ons including Browser Helper Objects (BHOs), Appinit DLLs, image hijacks, boot execute images, Winlogon notification DLLs, Windows Services and Winsock Layered Service Providers. It’s a classic chaotic interface for casual users, but I have to admit that this is the best way to view from a single look everything that breaths on your computer.

Overall, using this utility is simple if you know exactly what are the components running in your system. For example if you want to disable an auto-start entry uncheck its check box. This option is very useful in case you want to find out what that entry is doing in your system without taking the risk to delete it. To delete an auto-start configuration entry just use the Delete menu item or toolbar button. If you want to locate any registry file of an auto-start item just use the Jump menu item or toolbar button.

This utility works also in conjunction with other Sysinternals utilities. In case you want to view the properties of an executable configured to run automatically, select it and use the Properties menu item or toolbar button. If Process Explorer is running and there is an active process executing the selected executable then the Process Explorer menu item in the Entry menu will open the process properties dialog box for the process executing the selected image.

In addition Autoruns’ Hide Signed Microsoft Entries option helps you to zoom in on third-party auto-starting images that have been added to your system and it has support for looking at the auto-starting images configured for other accounts configured on a system. Also included in the download archive is a command-line equivalent to Autorun that can output in CSV format, Autorunsc.

download Autoruns 11

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How to create a Windows 8 bootable USB drive or DVD

With Windows 8 Developer Preview out there, many people have chosen to install it on their spare computer because it is a pre-beta version and it is not ready for daily usage. In fact, it is meant to be used by developers who are looking to make apps for it and for those who’re anxious to lay their eyes on Windows 8. Cnsidering that no developer registration or anything like that is needed, you can easily download the new OS but, how about the installation procedure? Well, the fastest way to install the new OS is with a bootable USB drive — which is really easy to make.

In this article, I will show you how to create a Windows 8 bootable USB drive or DVD. First, you’ll need to download a copy of Windows 8 Developer Preview that will be in an ISO image file. You can do so from here.

Then, you’ll have to download Microsoft USB/DVD Download Tool, which is a little application that is capable of writing the ISO image onto the USB drive or DVD. You can download the application from here.

Install the application and open it. Now, all you have to do is to choose the ISO, choose the USB or DVD drive, click Begin Copy and wait until the process is finished. After all this, you can install Windows 8 onto your computer (or any other) directly from the USB flash drive or DVD.

Windows 8 system requirements (same as Win 7):

  • 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.0 or higher driver

P.S. Same procedure applies if you want to create a Windows 7 bootable USB drive or DVD too – the only difference is that you’ll choose a Windows 7 ISO file.

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Google+ now open to everyone – no more invitation required

After three months of being invite-only, Google+ is now open to everyone. All you have to do is to go to plus.google.com and Sign in with your Google account and you’re in. If you’re already a Google+ user, you’ll be able to invite your friends, family and anyone who wants to join the service. During those months of been invite-only, Google made over 100 different improvement but it’s still in the early stages. Actually, Google itself says it’s “nowhere near done”, and improvements are still on the way. However, the new social network is growing at a really fast pace and it will be a real competitor to Facebook.

Best new Features

  • Hangouts for smartphones – you can now join Hangout video chats from your smartphone
  • Live broadcast – you can now broadcast your Hangout to as many people as you want with “Hangouts On Air”
  • Share your desktop in a Hangout – you can now share your desktop live as you chat
  • Scribble notes in Hangouts – you can now doodle live as you chat with your friends
  • Live Google Docs collaborate – you can now open up your Google Docs during a Hangout and you and your friends can edit it together
  • Search on Google+ – you can now search for anything on Google+ such as people, topics, articles and so on

Well, it is clear that Google+ is one of the most ambitious social project to date, and it comes with a lot of cool features and great interface but right now what needs is simple more people to join.

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Google Wallet has been officially launched in the States

The already announced service back in May has made its debut this Monday without any official warning from Google. In short terms, Google Wallet is an online payment system between the buyer (that is represented by a smartphone with the Google Wallet app installed) and the seller (represented by a NFC reader). The buyer has to bring his smartphone near the NFC area in order to be scanned by this device. All your credit card info that is safely memorized in this app, will be securely accessed by the NFC scanner and sent to seller’s bank account in order to complete the transaction.

At the moment only Citi, MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express, First Data and Sprint are the first partners to accept this payment system. But very soon there will be more retail partners to use this system. Almost 15 have already announced their support for it.

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Minus – Free online storage service with 10 GB guaranteed

There are lots of online storage services that provide free space to upload and share your files. But no one offers a space of 10 GB storage for free, except Minus service.

Besides its generous overall storage of 10 GB, the service supports files up to 2GB in size, either audio files, video files, images, or documents. Any of these type of files can be uploaded simply by drag-n-drop directly into the online interface or into the client application’s interface. Simplicity is another factor that makes this service exceptional. Even when you sign-up, the service will not ask you to complete long and boring forms. All you need to create an account is a username, a password and eventually your email address (optional).

Once uploaded, any file can be private, shared through links, or open to public view. This characteristics are useful for the social network elements implemented in the service. In this way the service can notify your friends about the files you have uploaded on all major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, or Google +.

While using the client app, you can browse your uploaded content and see its history. You can also grab a screenshot of your desktop and automatically the Minus client will upload it into your Minus account. Minus client app has been developed in several editions for different operating systems. At the moment you can find editions for Windows, Mac, Linux, iPhone and Android mobile devices.

Minus for mobile allows you to upload files & photos to Minus from your mobile device, directly from the app or from the share menu. It keeps a history of uploaded files and galleries. You can also login to your account to access the files. Minus extensions allows you to take screenshots of your browser and auto-uploading it into your account. Additionally you can browse your galleries with this extension. In the future there will be also open source applications developed for the Minus API.

download Minus client for Windows | download Minus client for Mac

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Windows 8 Developer Preview now available to download

As you may heard, Microsoft has released its official Windows 8 Developer Preview Build for PCs and tablets. Now let’s see what’s this version all about. First of all, let me tell you that this is a pre-beta version of Windows 8 – currently in beta status – and is not even close for daily usage. In fact, it is meant to be used by developers who are looking to make apps for the desktop and tablet OS. However, considering that no developer registration or anything like that is needed, anyone can download and install the new OS.

Apart from the major new changes such as a the cool “Picture Login Feature” (which allows users to login into their computers simply using a picture of their choice), Windows 8 has a lot new smaller features and functionality. Take a look at the highlights…

Windows 8 system requirements (same as Win 7):

  • 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) 1.0 or higher driver

Best elements out of the Windows 8 keynote (for me):

  • Under 10 seconds boot time
  • Virus, Malware and Rootkit boot level protection and Full expanded Windows Defender with Antivirus and Anti-malware
  • Low memory footprint (around 280 MB on startup versus 400MB for Windows 7 )
  • Touchscreen password unlock
  • New low-power stand-by mode
  • New Restore, Refresh and Reset (clean up Windows 8 and keep what you need or return to out-of-box)
  • App Store
  • Sync Settings across multiple devices (via cloud)
  • Better Task Manager
  • Email notifications on Lock Screen

There are more, I’m sure, but this is what I really like the most. Below you’ll find the  official details of the MS press release…

Touch-First User Interface

  • Metro style. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style interface built for touch, which shows information important to you, embodies simplicity and gives you control. The Metro style UI is equally at home with a mouse and keyboard as well.
  • Touch-first browsing, not just browsing on a touch device. Providing a fast and fluid touch-browsing experience, Internet Explorer 10 puts sites at the center on new Windows 8 devices.

More Ways to Engage With Powerful, Connected Apps

  • Powered by apps. Metro style apps built for Windows 8 are the focal point of your experience, filling your entire screen so there are no distractions.
  • Apps can work together. Apps communicate with each other in Windows 8. For example, you can easily select and email photos from different places, such as Facebook, Flickr or on your hard drive.
  • Your experience syncs across your devices. Live roams all the content from the cloud services you use most — photos, email, calendar and contacts — keeping them up-to-date on your devices. With SkyDrive, you can access your files, photos and documents from virtually anywhere with any browser or with Metro style apps in Windows 8.

Enhanced Fundamentals

  • The best of Windows 7, only better. Windows 8 is built on the rock-solid foundation of Windows 7, delivering improvements in performance, security, privacy and system reliability. Windows 8 reduces the memory footprint needed — even on the lowest-end hardware — leaving more room for your apps.
  • Preserving power-user favorites and making them better. For those who push the limits of their PC, Windows 8 features an enhanced Task Manager and Windows Explorer and new, flexible options for multimonitor setups.

New Developer Opportunities

  • Windows Store. The Windows Store will allow developers to sell their apps anywhere Windows is sold worldwide, whether they’re creating new games or familiar productivity tools.
  • Build using more languages. Windows 8 lets you leverage your existing skills and code assets to create great experiences using the programming language you prefer.
  • Rich hardware integration leads to richer experiences — particularly for games. DirectX 11 gaming power underlies Windows 8, allowing the easy creation of full-screen games with smooth, flicker-free action.

New Generation of Hardware

  • One Windows — many shapes and sizes. Support for ARM-based chipsets, x86 (as well as x32 and x64) devices, touch and sensors means Windows 8 works beautifully across a spectrum of devices, from 10-inch tablets and laptops to all-in-ones with 27-inch high-definition screens.
  • Always connected. With Windows 8, new ultrathin PCs and tablets turn on instantly, run all day on a single charge and stay connected to the Internet so your PC is ready when you are. Next-generation system on a chip (SoC) support will also enable greatly extended standby and low-power states.
  • Tap the full power of your PC. Windows 8 runs on PCs and is compatible with the devices and programs you use today on Windows 7, without compromise, to deliver the performance you expect of a PC.

Download Windows 8 Developer Preview (32/64-bit)

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