Tag Archives: beta

Windows 7 Public Beta First Impressions

People call me a Mac fanboy, but deep down inside I still want Windows to be a great OS one day. Maybe the time has come. I went to download the public beta and installed it on my desktop. The boot time was decent, but not as quick as I thought. On my first boot, I was greeted by a fishy wallpaper:

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What’s with the eye-pleasing fishy wallpaper? Has Microsoft turned to feng shui this time round? Maybe it did work.

I was surprised my wireless driver wasn’t installed, this may prove troublesome to people who have no access to a dual boot installation or another PC to download the necessary drivers, or perhaps a network that allows LAN access.

Sound driver not detected as well, but that’s fine given that not many people own a Razer Barracuda AC-1. I mean, Ubuntu didn’t detect the driver anyway – and it didn’t support my audio at all the last time I tried looking for the driver (Ubuntu fans, start flaming).

After installing my wireless driver, I was pleasantly surprised that the interface for connecting to a wifi is simple just like the one on Mac’s. I don’t remember this was the case for Vista, but then again I use Vista maybe once every full moon. My only Vista installation is in my MacBook Pro that I only boot when some LAN gaming is needed.

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Let me know if you see a similar list of wireless networks, maybe we can have dinner sometime.

Another thing I discovered about Windows 7 is the ability to easily do split screen for 2 different windows. I just have to move a window to the left corner and wha-la, it resizes itself to exactly half of the screen. And if you want it to occupy the whole screen and is to lazy to click on the Maximize button, you can drag it upwards and it’ll do the trick.

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And if you haven’t noticed yet, that’s right, now the taskbar has the resemblance of a MacOS X dock. It now revolves all around icons, I love it very much. Hover over one icon and it’ll show you the windows that belong to the application. Microsoft has seriously taken usability into interface design – and not hideous “eye candy”. Kudos.

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Overall, I gotta say I like Windows 7 much more than Vista. In fact, this post is written live from Windows 7.

On the other hand, Vista gave me terrible first (and last) impressions, it made me want to delete it after using for a few hours and I have done this a few times even with Service Pack 1.

Have you tried Windows 7 yet? Would you?

Adium Unofficial Beta Brings Back MSN Personal Messages

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… and also brings back much needed daily dose of emo entertaining messages.

warning: this is an UNOFFICIAL build so if you’re using Adium for really, really important stuff (which I doubt so), don’t use it.

download it from this forum thread (scroll down and find a post by Dimmuxx, 4th post from last) or try this direct link.

credits go to Dimmuxx at Cocoaforge forums

Latest Growl Beta Fixes Many Things, Brings Back GrowlMail

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If you’ve been itching to use GrowlMail in Leopard, then look no further than the latest Growl beta, 1.1.3 Beta 4.

If you don’t know what Growl is, you’re missing out on an awesome Mac app. It is basically a system-wide notification app. It is highly customizable and supported by a lot of Mac apps out there. If you own a Mac, you got to have this.

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Growl Beta download page here

Adblock Plus for Firefox 3 Beta 5

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Looking for a working version of Adblock Plus for your Firefox 3 Beta 5? Then head on to the Development Builds page and download the latest dev build (The dates may differ from the one you see on this screenshot). Enjoy!

Evernote First Impressions: Text in Image Recognition for the Masses

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Yesterday I received an email from Evernote saying that I was invited to beta test their app. Evernote is an app for both Windows and Mac platforms that allows you to keep both text and image notes in Evernote’s servers. You can then refer back to them when needed.

What attracted me about Evernote was not that it allows you to keep your love letters from your ex-lovers. It was the text in image recognition technology. Initially, I thought that this tech is built into their app. However, after using the app itself I was slightly disappointed because the text in image recognition is actually done server-side, meaning all those tech stuff is actually being done on Evernote’s servers and not right on their app.

How it works is every few minutes your app synchronizes with Evernote’s servers uploading changes (such as additions of new notes). It takes a while before those text in image recognition process is done on your newly uploaded pictures. I’m guessing every few minutes the servers undergoes the process of “tagging” all the newly uploaded images by users. So it’s actually a matter of luck how long it takes for your images to get synced.

However, I don’t think the “few minutes delay” thing matters because the use of this technology is to allow you to search images that contain words that you remember. Unless your memory span is less than a few minutes, then you shouldn’t be worry about this.

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This is how Evernote’s Mac app look like.

To test out how Evernote recognizes text in images, I used the “New Snapshot Note” feature and took a quick webcam shot thru my built-in iSight. I took a picture holding up Uncle Toby’s “what I eat for breakfast when I’m running late for classes”.
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Right here you can see that it recognizes the word “Apricot” very well and highlights the word Safari-style. Other words that worked was “Uncle”, “Yoghurt” and the first few numbers of best before date. Anything smaller than the word “Apricot” was not recognized. Fair enough, those words are too blurry anyway.

Next, I took a picture of my book shelf with my digital camera and made sure the picture wasn’t too blurry.

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As you can see, the smaller words such as “Socks” could be recognized.

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Here, you can see that even vertical words can be recognized! This holds true for most of the words that appear on this picture except for those that are half-shadowed.

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Just for fun, I typed in all alphabets a to z in the search box to yield all alphabetical results. Here you can see what words were picked up by Evernote’s text in image recognition system. It’s not too bad for a consumer-based product!

Of course, this is just one of Evernote’s many cool features. If you’re interested to know more, head on to www.evernote.com!

P/S: Evernote is currently invitation-only beta.