Tag Archives: Windows 8

Photoshop Express for Windows 8, it’s a good start just a little lacking

Adobe released Photoshop Express the other day for Windows 8 and RT. Our initial impressions of the photo editor was good. It’s a basic editor with the ability to grow through purchasing add-on packs.

Photoshop Express for windows 8

After using Photoshop Express for a few days now, while we impressions are still good it’s hard to ignore that there is a ton of room for growth. Photoshop Express is a start, a foundation if you will, but Adobe really needs to beef things up to make Photoshop Express a more useful editor.

There’s no doubt that Photoshop Express is a light weight editor but it may be too light.

Why the excitement? Adobe is a cornerstone of the digital photography editing business. Adobe’s products are used by photographers of all skills ranging from the snapshot shooter to the professional photographer. The companies editing software gets it right more times than not and to have such a resource behind a light editor for Windows 8 and RT (especially the tablet devices) could be advantageous.

Photoshop Express for windows 8

 

Photoshop Express is laid out in fairly typical Windows 8 fashion. You have your editing categories lining the bottom of the screen with your image taking center stage on the screen. Photoshop Express can load images to edit from your Pictures Library (this includes thumbdrives, memory cards, network files, Skydrive, etc.), images stored on Adobe Revel (cloud storage) or you can launch your camera and capture a new image to edit.

Photoshop Express for windows 8

Once the image is loaded in Photoshop Express, here is what you can do with it.

  • Crop: You can free form crop your image or use a series of preset crops. You can also rotate, flip and straighten images. The cropping tool lacks the ability to use custom diminsions (other than line of sight) and the resolution is set at 72dpi.
  • Correct: Here you will find slider adjustments for your image contrast, exposure and white balance settings. You can toggle between the before/after views and reset the settings and start from scratch.
  • Looks: Adobe provides fifteen creative filters that range from black and white to a warm summer filter. It’s actually a nice collection of effects but you can not adjust how they are applied.
  • Red Eye: An automated tool to identify and eliminate red eye problems.
  • Autofix: Here’s where Photoshop Express does all the heavy lifting and determines how your image should look under ideal conditions.

In addition to the core editing tools, Adobe is offering two add-on packs that can be purchased in-app. You have a noise reduction filter that eliminates or reduces the grainy effect higher ISO images can create. It’s a rather peachy filter that does a good job of things and runs $4.99.

Photoshop Express for windows 8

The second add-on pack is an extension of the Looks filters. The $2.99 add-on will increase your filters from fifteen to thirty-five.

So that’s what Photoshop Express can do. Here are a few features that are missing and could help Photoshop Express blow the competion out of the water.

Image Re-sizing: Currently any image resizing is done automatically as you crop the image. It would be nice to be able to customize not only the diminsions but also the resolution of your images. This may not be an issue for those who shoot for web publishing, email, etc. (perfect for the 72dpi resolution used) but for those who shoot with intentions of printing, it may be an issue.

RAW Support: Currently Photoshop Express only supports JPEG image file formats. Admittedly the majority of digital photographers use the this format but many opt for the RAW format. The RAW image file is uncompressed and untouched by your camera’s in-house processing software. It’s a lot like a film negative allowing the photographer more control during editing and arguably better image quality.

Sharpening: While you can adjust contrast, exposure and white balance there is not a tool to sharpen your images.

Select Tool: It would be nice to have the ability to select areas of the photo to adjust or apply effects to. It would help tame the hot or bright spots that may be present and help you be more creative in your editing.

Text EntryPhotoshop Express lacks any tools to add text boxes to your photos.  Not a big issue but it would be nice to add a date, caption or copyright stamp on your photos.

Photoshop Express for windows 8

In a nutshell, Adobe has released a very basic, entry level editor that can produce some nice photos.  The Looks filter set is nice and the editing tools, while a little bare bones, helps to fine tune your photos.

Photoshop Express isn’t on the same level as Photoshop Elements or in the same zip code as Photoshop Creative Suite. It does have potential if Adobe will give it some attention.  I can see Photoshop Express being a perfect, light weight editor for tablets when storage is limited. It would also make a very nice entry level editor for those who want to fine tune their photos but don’t need to (or want to) get too involved.

Photoshop Express is a free app for your Windows 8 and RT devices. For that reason, I would suggest you download it and see for yourself. I’m going to remain optimistic in that what we see today is just the start and after an update or two with a few more add-on packs, Photoshop Express will rock.

You can find Photoshop Express here in the Windows Store.

Via Wpcentral

Photoshop Express for Windows 8, it’s a good start just a little lacking

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Windows 8.1 release date, news and rumors

Microsoft has revealed more details about the Windows 8.1 update to Windows 8, formerly known as Windows Blue.

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The new features for Windows 8.1 will be previewed at Microsoft’s Build developer conference in June and the final version will be available as a free update for Windows 8 users.

Microsoft also said in early May that there would be a preview version available before full release – we’ll get the preview during Build.

Windows 8.1 release date

The final Windows Blue release date is late 2013, while there will also be some new Windows Blue hardware.

In a post on the official Windows blog early in May, Tamy Reller, Microsoft’s chief marketing office and chief financial officer, confirmed what we already knew – the update will be available “later this year”.

Reller went on to say that the update will provide “more options for businesses, and give consumers more options for work and play”.

Reller confirmed the Windows 8.1 name during a conference call with J.P. Morgan, where plans for the operating system were discussed.

Quite how the upcoming preview release will work in practice remains to be seen, but you might not be able to install it straight into an existing Windows 8 install.

There aren’t likely to be too many massive surprises from Blue, which our writer Kate Solomon says “we feel a bit guilty for passing off as a minor Windows update” now that we’ve seen plenty of Windows Blue screenshots.

Microsoft Build-900-100

Windows Blue is actually Windows 8.1?

Windows Blue will not be the software’s official name. Shame. Instead Windows Blue is just the internal name for the software.

So speculation has turned to what the software’s actual name will be. Microsoft’s Windows Blue will officially be deemed Windows 8.1, said a new report in early April.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet’s All About Microsoft blog said the Windows 8.1 tip came from a reliable source and screenshots of the About Windows screen also appeared on Twitter – see below.

In stores, the update will still be called simply Windows 8, according to Foley’s source – that means Microsoft isn’t about to start naming its incremental OS refreshes like Apple does (like OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion). But it does indicate a new attitude to software updates that it’s previously called Service Packs.

One thing we definitely would say, it’s unlikely that Windows Blue will mean the merging of Windows 8 and with Windows Phone 8 into a single product.

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New Windows 8 apps

As well as the operating system itself, Microsoft is apparently building some new Windows 8 apps, looking at new ways to run apps side-by-side on smaller-screened devices without needing hefty black-box-level resolution. That’s in addition to the March updates for standard Windows 8 apps.

Blue is also bringing in new Snap Views so you can share your screen 50:50 between different apps rather than the current 70:30, including across multiple monitors.

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As expected, Microsoft is upping the Sky Drive integration, with some new treats like auto-camera uploads and more back-up options, as well as tab sync which will see your tabs mirrored across devices.

The grabs also reveal the inclusion of IE11 but not much detail on the next iteration of browser beyond that.

And for the personalisation fans, the grabs show a quick and easy menu of options for customising your desktop background and other design elements

IE11-900-100

Windows Blue desktop

Could Windows Blue enable users to boot straight to the desktop? Some rumours think so. You can’t boot straight to the desktop in Windows 8, though you can resume to it.

Some coden supposedly includes an option that disables the start screen so users would jump straight to the desktop layout – known as “CanSuppressStartScreen”.

Certainly there are no plans to ditch the desktop any time soon. In an interview with TechRadar, Windows Product Manager Ian Moulster was candid about the desktop’s important role in Windows.

“To be honest I don’t have an answer because I don’t know. I’m loathe to speculate. It seems highly unlikely to me. I haven’t seen anything either way. I’d be surprised, but that’s my personal view.”

“I think it’s a continuation of us always building on what’s there. Windows 8 is built on Windows 7 and starts from where Windows 7 stops, and I don’t think there will be a change to that approach. We’d be crazy to throw anything away.

“But what form that takes we’ll have to wait and see I suppose. I think we have said that we’ll be releasing updates more frequently, but precisely what that means I don’t know. There’s the apps as well, we’ve released plenty of updates to our apps.”

Windows Blue sync

It seems that more features will be synchronized between PCs and your user account with Windows Blue. It looks like this will extend to the Start screen as well as device associations and Internet Explorer tabs.

Further Windows development

According to a February 15 job posting on the Microsoft Careers site, the software giant is seeking an engineer to join its Windows Core Experience Team.

That part of the operation will be working on improving the centrepiece of the new Windows UI, including the start screen, application lifecycle, windowing and personalisation, according to the post.

This seems to suggest that Windows Blue will bring more than a few tweaks under the bonnet and offer tangible visual enhancements to the Windows 8 software.

Indeed, the post mentions Windows Blue by name and says the updates will look to “build on and improve Windows 8″ as time goes on.

An excerpt reads: “We’re looking for an excellent, experienced SDET to join the Core Experience team in Windows Sustained Engineering (WinSE). The Core Experience features are the centerpiece of the new Windows UI, representing most of what customers touch and see in the OS, including: the start screen; application lifecycle; windowing; and personalization.Windows Blue promises to build and improve upon these aspects of the OS, enhancing ease of use and the overall user experience on devices and PCs worldwide.”

Windows Blue will extend to other platforms

It is also thought that Windows Blue updates will be extended to multiple Microsoft platforms, including Windows server, the mobile OS Windows Phone 8 and applications like SkyDrive and Outlook.com.

Indeed, another post on Microsoft’s job site mentions Windows Phone Blue by name, so that is definitely on the horizon.

The plan from Microsoft’s point of view is reportedly to move towards a more regular update pace, rather than the three year gap that separated Windows 7 and Windows 8, with little improvements in between.

Apple has enjoyed great success in this arena, gradually adding new strings to the bow of Mac OS X every year, through its feline-themed updates.

Via Techradar

Windows 8.1 release date, news and rumors

Blue rechristened as Windows 8.1, will be a free upgrade

It’s a sad day for colour fans as Microsoft has announced that its Windows 8 update codenamed Blue will, very boringly, be called Windows 8.1.

Windows 8.1

The news came by way of an announcement by Microsoft’s chief financial officer for the Windows division, Tami Reller, during a conference call with J.P. Morgan, where plans for the upgraded operating system were discussed.

Of course, calling the update Windows 8.1 follows Microsoft’s traditional conventions and the decision should avoid people thinking this is a whole new Windows platform.

Blue screen of death

All was forgiven as soon as another four letter word popped up – free. Yes, Microsoft confirmed that the update will come with no charge to Windows 8 computers.

Reller also stated that the update will arrive later this year – which we already knew, but it’s always nice to hear it again.

Windows 8.1 is expected to address the biggest concerns users had with the Windows 8 Metro interface and will be available from the Windows start screen when it arrives, Reller said.

Meanwhile, a preview version of 8.1 will be released at Microsoft Build in June.

Via Engadget

Blue rechristened as Windows 8.1, will be a free upgrade

Microsoft wants iTunes as a Windows 8 app, of course, but says Apple’s not so keen

Not surprisingly, Microsoft wants Apple to create a Windows 8 version of iTunes. Apple already makes a version of iTunes that runs just fine on Windows 8, but it’s an old-style “desktop app” not a new-style “Windows 8 app”.

iTunes vs Windows 8

Not that that seems to be bothering Apple in the slightest. According to CNN Money:

“You shouldn’t expect an iTunes app on Windows 8 any time soon,” said Tami Reller, chief financial officer of Microsoft’s Windows division. “ITunes is in high demand. The welcome mat has been laid out. It’s not for lack of trying.”

Tom Warren at The Verge adds that sources at Microsoft have indicated to them that iTunes is one of the most searched for applications in the Windows 8 store, and that Microsoft has actively been trying to secure a Windows 8 app version.

A Windows 8 app — formerly and far less confusingly known as a Metro app — can be purchased through Microsoft’s version of the app store, and is optimized for the new generation of touch screen tablets, hybrids, laptops, and displays. That’s where the market is shifting, and that’s what’s got Microsoft so keen on it.

Apple, for their part, probably isn’t in any hurry to get ahead of the curve on Windows 8 app development, and it should be pointed out Microsoft’s own Office was an is caught in a painful transition from desktop app to Windows 8 app. Large, legacy code bases are like that, and ports are typically even more complicated.

Still, Windows 8 users, are you crying out for a proper Windows 8 app version of iTunes , or are you okay making do with the current desktop app? We want to hear from you!

Source: CNN MoneyThe Verge

Via iMore

Microsoft wants iTunes as a Windows 8 app, of course, but says Apple’s not so keen

Nokia Chat beta messaging app released for WP8, is exclusive to Lumias

Nokia has released a new exclusive app for Lumia Windows Phone devices. Nokia Chat app for Windows Phone which is in beta allows you to  stay in touch with your Nokia Chat and Yahoo! Messenger contacts.
App Features:
Person to Person Messaging: Reach millions of Nokia Chat and Yahoo!…

Windows 8 Wins 7.4% Share Of Global Tablet OS Market In Q1 — “Niche” Portion Still Beats Windows Phone’s Smartphone Share

Don’t write off Microsoft’s chances inmobile just yet. It may still be struggling to make itself count in the smartphone space but early signs are more promising for Windows plus tablets. Microsoft has gone from having no share of the global tablet OS market in Q1 last year to taking 7.4%…