Thursday, 28 May 2015

Windows 10 will be the last Windows!

"Instead of releasing a brand new version of its desktop OS every few years, Microsoft is taking a page out of Apple’s playbook as the company shifts focus to providing continuous updates to their software. Windows will become more of a service than something you have to go purchase at the store in order to upgrade. For the first time in Microsoft’s history, Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade this July for any current Windows 7 and up users. After upgrading to Windows 10, users will then be able to download regular updates from Microsoft and other sources."

Check out the full story here:

Thursday, 14 May 2015

How to travel in 2015:

Travelling isn’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when you’d wave goodbye to your family at the airport and not hear from them again until you were back on home soil. And there is no longer any excuse to rock up to a hotel in the middle of the night, hoping they have room for one more sorry traveller.

Perhaps most empowering about travel in 2015 is the fact that we no longer have to rely on a travel agent to organise every second of our trip. Thanks to technology, we can now plan our own adventure with the scores of helpful websites and apps that are available for the well-informed traveller. Here are some of the best:

A gift from the organisation gods, TripIt is our pick of travel websites. The website and app allow you to keep all your travel-related information in one place. Email TripIt (or manually enter) all your trip details, including flight information, accommodation, activities and tours, and TripIt will organise it all into one nicely organised itinerary. Save or print, and you’re ready to go!

When you’re organising a trip, there are often so many places to stay that the choices can be overwhelming. How do you know if you’re staying in a nice area? Or your hotel has a nice swimming pool? Trip Advisor offers useful advice from seasoned travellers for hotels, restaurants and activities in the area of your choice. The reviews aren’t always fair (you will hear from a number of fussy tourists), but do your research and it will pay off. You can also leave your own reviews, and gain “badges” for the number of reviews you’ve posted. 

As we discovered on our Europe adventure, quality WiFi is not always available when you’re travelling. Avoid the stomach-turning roaming fees and download apps that can be used offline. The Pocket Earth app allows you to download detailed maps for use offline, so when you get lost in the middle of nowhere, you have a chance of finding your way back. No more carrying around an oversized travel map, or stressing about access to Google Maps.

Want to live like a local? Check out Airbnb’s website and app for short to long-term rentals. You can choose to rent a single room in the premises, or rent the entire place. Airbnb is an affordable option if you want something more than just a tiny hotel room. You will often be offered insider knowledge into the place you are staying by the owner, gaining a glimpse into some of its best-kept secrets. There are thousands of listings all around the world with reviews from people who’ve stayed there.

Happy travelling!

Friday, 8 May 2015

Four Smartphone apps that will transform your photos:

“BrunoBrunan” by BrunoBrunan via Creative Commons. License 2.0 generic.  

We don’t all have the cash or knowledge for an extravagant DSLR camera. Luckily, in the age of technology, all you need to create high-quality photos is a smartphone.

From cropping and filtering to sharing with your network, these apps are a cost-effective way of taking your photography skills to the next level. To help you transform your photos, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite photo apps for your phone.

More than just a photo editor, Instagram is actually a social network. It allows you to crop, filter, saturate and frame your photos to transform them into something you can be proud of. You can then share your photos with your network, and comment on and like photos that you’re impressed with. If you’re looking to branch-out from your network, Instagram allows you to search for users and hashtags that pique your interest. It is available on IOS and Android.

Photo: App store
Adobe Photoshop Express:
If you have an interest in photography or design, you’ve no doubt heard of Adobe’s highly successful photo editing and design tool, Photoshop. A free version of the software is now available for IOS and Android. The app is basic, but allows you to apply quick changes to your photos including editing exposure and shadows, and applying filters. If you want more out of the app, you can upgrade to Adobe Photoshop touch for $9.99.

Photo: App store
Available on IOS and Android, VSCO has a great reputation among budding photographers. The app will let you take photos through different grids and allows you to alter the white-balance (this affects the colours in your photo). After you’ve taken the photo you’re then able to crop, sharpen and alter exposure and saturation.  Although it offers a range of useful tools, I didn’t find this one particularly user-friendly.
Photo: App store

Last but not least, Snapseed is a powerful app with a simple user-interface. It offers the usual editing features including changing brightness, exposure and saturation, plus some very attractive filters. This app is very easy to use, and allows you to edit your photos by swiping right or left.
Photo: App store

What is your favourite photography app?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Refresh Your PC - May Newsletter

Our latest Monthly Newsletter has just been released for May, and can be found on our website here: