software


Live Blog: Apple’s 2013 WWDC in San Francisco

Apple is holding their annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, scheduled for 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.  From iOS 7 to the rumoured “iRadio,” we will be live-blogging CEO Tim Cook’s announcements live!

Follow the developments in the chat below starting at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT, and watch along with the chat via Apple’s live stream here.

READ THE CHAT TRANSCRIPT BELOW:


Attendees react to the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4

The latest Galaxy phone from Samsung is receiving mixed first-impression reviews from attendees and technology pundits, after having a chance to play with the device first hand.

“For the amount of hype put behind this event, I was hoping for more focus on the hardware, versus just the ‘Smart’ features,” said Shan Yun, a technology blogger based out of China.

Samsung’s latest iteration of their flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, was announced to a sold-out crowd in New York City at Radio City Theater Thursday, as it was being streamed over the Internet for the world to see.

The phone sports a five-inch high-resolution Super-AMOLED display, weighs in at 130 grams (lighter than the current Galaxy S III), and one of the most tweeted-about features from fans is the device’s 13-megapixel camera on the back.

“The really interesting aspect of this device is that it becomes a life companion for you,” Paul Brannen, vice-president of Samsung Mobile said.

Software was a large focus of Thursday’s event.  Samsung played with the Radio City Theater theme, putting on a talent show featuring students from a New York City school.  They applied the phone’s new features into real-life situations, demonstrating “S Translator,” an app that allows you to use voice to verbally translate phrases—perfect for world travelers.

Samsung’s “Dual Camera” feature will enable users to use both front and rear cameras to capture a photo from both cameras simultaneously.  The app will superimpose the image from the front camera with the image from the back camera so that everyone can be in the shot—even if Mom is taking all of the photos at the beach.

“These are the types of features users look for—we know smartphones are powerful, but we want to know what exactly we can do with that power,” Yun said.

Other features include “Smart Pause,” the ability for the phone to sense when you are—and aren’t—looking at the phone. The Galaxy will play and pause the video accordingly, so you don’t miss a moment of your favourite flick.

If health is something you’re trying to buckle down on for 2013, “S Health” turns your phone into a full-fledged fitness tracker.  It will keep you up to date by measuring a variety of factors including your heart rate, weight, blood pressure, glucose levels, and graph it visually so you can get a better idea of your overall health.

“I go to the doctors quite often, and having the ability to go back and show him my health trends over the past few days, weeks, or months is really powerful,” Brannen said.

Technology pundits are saying they were disappointed that certain features were missing from the Galaxy, including longer battery life, new hardware redesign, and a metallic body that would better-survive accidental drops.

“I’m looking forward to see how this phone will shake up the market,” attendee Michael Watt said.  “From what I can see on Twitter, it looks like a lot of—dare I say it—iPhone users will make the ditch for Galaxy.  Only time will tell.”

Specific pricing and availability for the Galaxy S4 have not been announced, but it is set to launch on most major wireless carriers at the end of April.


Five tips for back-to-school tech shopping

As the first day of school rapidly approaches, parents are scrambling to get the kids in gear – and that includes sending the kids off tech-ready.  Here are five helpful tips to keep in mind when shopping for back-to-school tech gadgets.

1.    Make a list, and prioritize.
A brand new computer can make a sizeable dent in your credit card. So, as with grocery shopping, when going back-to-school shopping ensure that you make a list and prioritize what you need and what you merely want.  Chances are you only need the bare necessities and the all of the other gadgets are simple wants.  Bear in mind that you can go a long way with a small budget — even when it comes to technology.

2.    Do your research.

Before hitting up the big box electronic stores, remember to do your research!  Keep in mind that stores often mark up prices come back-to-school time, and sales associates sometimes try to sell you electronics that you really don’t need.  Instead, go online – there are many great parenting resources like Today’s Parent – where parents share past experiences and shopping advice, and find out what your child really needs for their age group.  Needs shift as they move through elementary school, to high school, to post-secondary education.

3.    Hunt for the sales in flyers, and online.

Keep an eye on the weekly flyers and online on store websites. Parents often make the mistake of leaving back-to-school shopping to the last minute and they – literally – pay for the procrastination. Flyerland.ca is a great all-in-one destination for local flyers, and big box stores have sales early on in the season with limited quality items. Laptops also go on sale late-July/early-August, and that is the ideal time for families to head to the store and save some money simultaneously!

4.    Cash-strapped? Take a look at feature phones.

The reality is, we live in a smartphone-dominated world.  They aren’t cheap to start with, so if you are a little cash-strapped, be sure to take a look at feature phones. Cell phone carriers, like Rogers Wireless, offer an inexpensive alternative to having a smartphone that maintains access to social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and email; without the added cost of an actual data plan.  They can range from $7/month and up; versus the $25+/month with a traditional data plan.

5.    Find the free alternatives to expensive programs.

Companies like LibreOffice and OpenOffice offer free or inexpensive alternatives to productivity software tools like Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.  There are no strings attached – they are simply open-source software choices (maintained by free developers) that offer significant savings to a family, giving the same amount of functionality as the traditional paid software, without the high price tag.

What tips do you have when it comes to back-to-school tech shopping? Share them with us in the comments below, or email submissions@cityline.ca!

Repost from Cityline.ca