Microsoft recently released Windows 8 which took the aging OS into a whole new direction. The modern UI works quite well with touch based devices, however, if you are stuck to an older desktop, the swiping and gesturing becomes quite tiresome. With laptops, Microsoft has implemented some of this functionality through a trackpad but almost everyone working on a desktop uses a mouse. So what we have with us today are mice from Logitech and Microsoft that are looking to solve this issue and help make the transition to Windows 8 a little easier.
From Microsoft, I received the Bluetooth based Sculpt Touch mouse which is targeted more as a portable mouse with its smallish size. While the Sculpt Touch mouse is small to carry, it is a bit heavier side. There is no Bluetooth dongle included in the packaging so you’ll either need to make sure that your computer is equipped with Bluetooth or purchase a dongle separately. To set up the Mouse, you need a mouse to add it as a Bluetooth device which is a bit strange.
The Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse has two buttons on top and a touch enabled strip between them that acts like your scroll wheel. Sliding your finger over this strip allows you to scroll horizontally or vertically between documents and web pages. Unfortunately, you don’t get that butter smooth scrolling effect that you get with Mac OS X or the natural inertia that makes using it more realistic. The lack of side buttons can also be looked at as a disadvantage for uses like me that have the side button as assigned as a “Back” button.
For customizing the mouse to your liking the Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard app allows you to individually assign buttons based on the app you are using. Considering that left and right mouse buttons are pretty much universal, you really only have the center strip button for any added functionality.
Coming to the Logitech t620, this is an update for the t600 that we had previously looked at. The new version adds support for Microsoft Windows 8 and comes bundled with the unifying receiver that lets you use one USB dongle for multiple Logitech devices and a carrying pouch. The t620 is slightly larger than the Sculpt Touch mouse but I preferred that as it allows my hand to sit more nicely on it.
Setting up the t620 was extremely easy. All I needed to do was plug the unifying receiver, add batteries to the mouse and switch the on/off button. A little windows popped up asking me to download and install the software and before I knew it, everything was all set and ready to work.
The entire surface of the t620 acts as a touch capable surface and recognizes gestures. You can slide your finger on the mouse for scrolling in any direction and while it works better than the Sculpt Mouse, it is still not as smooth as Mac OS X. You can also double tap the surface to bring up the Start screen or swipe from the left or right sides to bring up the multitasking or Charms bar. However the curved surface of the mouse prevents this experience from being as smooth as you would like it to be and many times I had to repeat the gestures to bring the charms bar or the task switcher. Also the mouse buttons aren’t as pronounced at Microsoft’s Sculpt Mouse making clicks a bit less clicky.
The software that Logitech bundles with the t620 works well and allows you to set what gestures and swipes do. For example, you can have the mouse set to bring up your desktop from a swipe which is certainly appreciated for folks that prefer living on the desktop instead of the start screen. Sadly an option to reverse the scrolling gestures is missing which would allow for a more natural tablet like flick.
Unfortunately neither of these rodents helped make my Windows 8 experience as nice as a touch screen does. The scrolling felt unnatural with both of these and while the swipes help get to things faster on the Logitech, getting them registered successfully is a hit-or-miss affair.
LinkStation Pro Duo is a high performance 2-drive RAID network storage device that comes equipped with a whole host of features, perfect for storing, sharing, serving and protecting your most important data. Backup multiple PCs and Mac® computers simultaneously and enjoy uninterrupted access to terabytes of storage on your network and even over the Internet while away from home.
With terabytes of storage, LinkStation Pro Duo provides a reliable, central location to store and protect all data from every PC and Mac® computer, tablet device and smartphone in your home or small office. LinkStation Pro Duo is DLNA Certified™, supports Squeezebox® and can be used as an iTunes® server to stream all of your favorite music, movies and shows to multiple devices simultaneously. Equipped with a high performance 1.6 GHz processor and DDR3 RAM, LinkStation Pro Duo offers much more than simple home shared storage. This dual drive network storage device boasts transfer speeds up to 72 MB/s, nearly twice as fast as a standard USB drive.
While on the go, Buffalo’s free WebAccess service allows you to create a personal cloud for easy remote access and file sharing with anyone, anywhere over the Internet. Your data remains securely stored in one place on your home network, but you can access it quickly from any computer, tablet or smartphone device over the Web. Sharing is as easy as sending a link to your friends and family; they can securely access only the files you’ve selected for them to see.
And thanks to Buffalo we have one of the most advanced NAS systems for giveaway!
Solid state drives, despite having coming down in prices, are still beyond the reach of the average consumer, especially when the price per gigabyte ratio is considered.
For roughly AED 400 you can either get a 1TB (or more, depending on brand) hard drive, compared to a 120GB (or lower, depending on brand) solid state drive. So either you invest heavily in an SSD and only have Windows and a few other daily use software on it, or stick to the tried and tested mechanical hard drives.
Thankfully there are a few manufacturers out there who provide a solution that’s in-between. Sure, Seagate has their Momentus XT hybrid drives, and Western Digital is also coming up with their own solution early next year. However, even that is a solution limited by capacity.
And so SanDisk brings a solution that’s more practical for people who don’t want to disrupt their existing setups, nor pay a hefty price for the accompanying speed bump. The SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD is basically a drive that’s designed to bring an ultra-fast caching solution for your current mechanical hard drives.
The proposition is simple: you plug in the SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD into your PC, download the software which sets up your drives’ data to be cached on the SSD. After some time (hours to days) the SSD software recognizes your frequently used programs and their data is cached onto the SSD for instant use whenever you next launch your software of choice.
So let’s break it down a little, stating with the installation. The SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD comes with an instructional manual, a SATA III (6Gbps) data cable, a 3.5-inch bracket with screws and the SSD itself. Given the extremely low profile of just 7mm, the SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD can even be used in slim laptops (that have capacity for two drives).
Once installed, the drive immediately shows up on Windows 7. At this point you have to go and download the ExpressCache software which allows an extremely easy on-click solution to activate the caching on the SanDisk ReadyCache 32GB SSD and selecting which drives you want to cache.
The ExpressCache software even shows the amount of storage been used on the drive for cache. Furthermore there’s even a real-time graph showing how much of the cached data is being used at the moment.
And just in case you want to change your usage habits (brought about by installation of big games or programs) then you can simply click a button to clear out the entire cache on the drive and it’ll start from scratch. Don’t worry about losing any of the cached data as all of it is written onto the actual hard drives as well for backup automatically.
Google has launched an initiative called ‘Arabic Web Days’ to increase and improve Arabic content available online. Currently only 3% of online content is in Arabic and there is a huge disparity between the number of Arabic-speaking Web users and the amount of Arabic internet content available for them. ‘Arabic Web Days’ hopes to bridge that gap and has Google partnering with Vinelab, Wamda and Taghreedat to help shape the 1 month program. Twitter, Wikipedia, TED, Soundcloud and even regional organizations such as Al Arabiya, twofour54 and the Institute of Computer Research, Qatar Foundation have joined in.
Activities and events such as a YouTube Tweet Up in Doha, Qatar on December 15, various programs on one of the Arab World’s top news channels – Al Arabiya, knowledge sharing Google+ hangouts in Arabic where, for instance, a user can learn how to use the Google translator toolkit to turn English content into Arabic etc are all part of the program.
‘Arabic Web Days’ co-creator and Vinelab’s Managing Director, Abed Agha said, “‘This is just the beginning – we hope to keep the momentum beyond just this month – the talent in MENA is strong and we have yet to realize the economic potential that the web can create.”
In recognition, Google has also declared that 12/12/12 as National Arabic Internet Day,
Apple has been pretty good about providing localized versions of iOS on the iPhone and iPad. Long before Android, iPhone and iPad users were able to read and write in Arabic natively. Now it seems that you might be able to talk to your iPhone or Pad in Arabic soon as well.
In a job listing posted last week, Apple is looking for candidates that are fluent in Arabic to join the team responsible for delivering Siri in different parts of the world. The position is a six month internship based out of Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, California.
Would this be your dream job?