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Tag: beta

Swype is Out of Beta

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 2:14 PM on April 24, 2013

Swype Swype came out of beta today. If you are unfamiliar with Swype it is an alternative keyboard for Android. One of the reasons I love Android is the ability to find the keyboard that you like. The Swype keyboard has several modes, which they named, the Typer, the Tapper, the Swyp’er and the Dictator. Typer are those people who use both hands to type and don’t look at the results, (your typing teacher is beaming), Tappers look at the results as they type, Swype’er swipe from one letter to the next, and Dictators like to dictate their messages. Swype primary method is swiping. If you are like me and grew up learning to type on a typewriter, swiping can take some time to get use to. The key is not to think too much and just let your fingers swipe. I find if I start thinking about what I am swiping I tend to make more mistakes. Just start swiping and the app will predicts what you are trying to type. Yes, sometimes it will predict incorrectly, but over time it will get better the more you use it. You can easily go from swiping to typing or dictating depending on your mode.

Swype was brought by Nuance in October 2011. Nuance is the maker of Dragon Dictate the application that allows you to dictate your messages. If you get tired of swiping then Swype voice dictation option is available to you. Because is based on Nuance it does recognize your voice fairly well. Swype learns your tendencies the more you use it. It will pick up words that you use all time like your name or the city you live in, etc. If you connect your social networks Facebook, Twitter and Google Swype will personalize your usages. Swype also supports dialects and will load local words.

Swype is available in the Google Play Store at .99 cents for a limited time. There is also a 30 day free trial version available. I recommend trying the 30 day trial version first, I think if you give it a chance you will end up getting the full version before the 30 day trial version is over.

Install and Run The Google Music Android App

Posted by Alan at 2:00 PM on June 27, 2011

With my invitation to Google music secured, the Google Music Manager installed on my PC, and 90 GB of music slowly making its way to the cloud, there is one final hurdle to overcome.  That is installing the Google Music app on my Droid X.  After all, what good is all of this if I can’t have my music on my mobile device wherever I go?  So, that is what we are going to walk through now.  We will install and explore this service together as novices.

Start off by searching the Android Market for “Google Music”.  The official app should be the very first result.

Click to download and install the app.  It’s a small file and should take less than one minute.  Once it has installed you can launch the app for the first time.  Oddly it shows up under the simple name of “Music” as opposed to “Google Music”.

Once launched, the interface was simple but it also told me that there were “no music files available”.  I had assumed I would need to log into my Google account, but there was no option to do so anywhere within the program.

As it turns out, the install should prompt you to associate an account with the app – mine had not done that.  I uninstalled, re-downloaded, and installed again.  This can actually take some work and Googling to get it working.  There are some crazy solutions out there, some of the them are pure voodoo.  But, voodoo isn’t real, and I can’t say exactly how to get it to work, all I can tell you is to keep  trying.  This can prove to be frustrating and different solutions are probably available for different model devices.

(Yes, I know I didn’t remove my email from the above screenshot, I will just trust all of you not to spam me, and welcome you to contact me with questions or comments).  So, now we are in business.  Since I only have one account associated with my phone I did not have to choose it, but was automatically linked.  At this point you receive a welcome screen – and my congratulations for persevering through all of the crap that Google is putting their Music beta testers through on Android.

And now, finally we arrive at the finish line.  The player is open and shows all of the music that uploaded from your PC to the cloud.  Press the menu button and you get the options seen at the bottom of the following screenshot.  Scroll across the top of the screen menu and you can choose from artist, album, genre, etc.

You may have a LOT of trouble getting here, but once installed, Google Music is pretty darn cool.  If you haven’t yet signed up for the service then you can request an invitation at Google Music.  Expect a delay of at least two weeks before hearing anything.  Consider that your patience warm-up to installing the Android app…

First Look At Firefox 4.0 Beta 7

Posted by Alan at 7:50 PM on November 13, 2010

firefox logoIf you are using the  Firefox 4 Beta edition then you may have noticed a couple days ago that Beta 7 became available.  You may even have received it automatically.  If you didn’t then go ahead and download it.  I have been using it for a couple of days and I like what I have found so far.

The first thing you will notice is the speed.  It’s faster than any previous version of Firefox.  This is relative of course – all modern browsers are pretty quick.  Chrome is generally considered the fastest at the moment, but I think Beta 7 can, at least, match it.  According to Mozilla this is due to new graphics acceleration and the compiler, JagerMonkey.

There also seems to better support of Add-ons, which has always lacked in past Beta versions.  I only use a handful of add-ons, but all of them now work except Evernote Web Clipper.

As for graphical changes, I have only noticed one.  It’s minor, but I will mention it anyway.  And honestly I think it does provide a better look than Beta 6.  It’s the “loading” signal in the tabs.  I can’t really describe the prior animation, but here’s what the new one looks like.

But, I saved the best part for last.  and I need to temper it by pointing out that this version has only been available, and in use by me, for two days.  However, if you were using Beta 6 and experienced occasional problems with Flash crashing and web sites freezing then, at this moment, I can say those issues appear to have been resolved.  The problem wasn’t rampant either.  An occasional web page would show the Lego blocks in place of Flash and every once in a while, usually in Google Reader, the browser would freeze and I would have to open Task Manger to close it and then restart it.  For the past two days I have had neither of these problems though.

The bottom line is, if you’re using the latest stable release of Firefox 3 then upgrade if you are adventurous and a little bit tech savvy.  If you are using Beta 6 then upgrade ASAP.

Firefox 4 Beta 4

Posted by Alan at 8:10 AM on September 1, 2010

Recently Mozilla released the Beta 4 version of Firefox 4.0.  Like all Firefox Betas in the past it will break your add-ons, but it also adds some REALLY cool new eye-candy.  The biggest additions are Panorama and Sync, but there’s also a slick new interface.

The first thing you’ll notice is the interface – specifically the toolbars.  It’s not vastly different and you won’t be lost, but it’s definitely different.  It’s cleaner and more modern and the tabs are in a different place.  It has a very “Windows 7-ish” type of interface.  I found the tabs being moved to a different location to be the toughest part to get used to.  At the far right of the tabs bar you will will find options to group your tabs and also to list all of your tabs.  If you work with lots of tabs, like I do, this is a great new feature.  The other toolbars are all there, just as you know them, but the icons are different and fewer.  That part will not slow anyone down and it really does look better.

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The next thing you will notice is what Mozilla is calling “Panorama”.  It’s essentially a Window’s 7 type view that shows all of your opens tabs when you hover over the Firefox icon in your Window’s toolbar.  It sounds simple, and it is, but it is also very useful.  Once you hover over the icon then you will have to choose which tab you want to click on.

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The last big feature in version 4 is called Sync.  You can actually download a Sync add-on for Firefox 3.5 and 3.6 here.  It allows you to encrypt and save your settings, bookmarks, passwords, and other cuntomizations so that you can not only restore them if you change computers, but also keep them the same across multiple PC’s and mobile devices.  You can set it up by clicking Tools and then Set Up Sync.

And that brings me to the add-ons.  As I said, Firefox betas frequently break these, but they are normally fixed quickly.  Sync is an obvious swipe at my favorite Firefox add-on, Xmarks, which has done all of this (except customizations) for a while now.  I set it up, but for now I consider it a backup solution in case Xmarks has a problem.  Until it’s been tested and retested I don’t want to trust my settings to it.  It’s an interesting feature though, and building it in to the browser puts Mozilla at the forefront, once again, in the browser battle.

As of this writing the Firefox add-on, Xmarks, has been updated to be compatible with 4.0, but most are still not there.

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Despite the lack of support for add-ons, which, as I said, is common in Firefox betas, this latest version is worth checking out.  And, add-ons are coming quickly.  The interface, with its aero-glass look, plays nicely in Windows 7.  Sync is cool and Panorama makes it especially worth the download.  You may not want to put it on your production machine quite yet – not because of stability issues because there aren’t any that I can see – but, because of the add-ons that you may need.  If you don’t rely on those, though, then go for it.

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Windows 7. Download If You Dare

Posted by Matthew Greensmith at 8:05 AM on January 8, 2009

Windows 7 will be released in beta to anyone who wants to download it beginning this Friday, January 9th. Despite the fact that the beta will likely be buggy and have a ways to go until it is ready for Prime Time, I’m just betting a bunch of us are going to download it and start playing with it.

I know I am. I have a laptop sitting here with nothing to do. It was very high-end for its time, which means it has pretty good RAM and hard drive space as well as a decent processor, so I’m sure it can take Windows 7, even though it couldn’t take Vista.

Who’s with me? Anyone willing to sacrifice a machine to try out the beta? I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? I still have my original install disks and can go right back to XP on my test machine, no problem. So what’s the risk?

Windows 7 Beta can be downloaded here.