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Office 2010 -Technical Preview

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Word2010Loading

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What happens when you take the speed, reliability, and look of Windows 7 and carry it over to another vital business product? Why, Office 2010 of course.  I was recently invited to participate in the Technology Preview of Office 2010, and I have to say, very nice (Borat voice.) The only complaints I have are minor rendering issues and the usual beta stumbles (as you’ll see in the screen shots.)

WindowWordCompare

You can tell right off the bat that Microsoft wanted to keep the design simple.  Most of it is based on a light color theme, which goes very well with Windows 7.

outlookWordNewMessage

Microsoft has taken the ribbon and expended on it to make it easier to navigate.  Somehow, I don’t know how (yet), Microsoft has reduced the size of the ribbons but made them easier to navigate.  They are still arranged the same as in 2007,  so there’s no worrying on migrating to 2010.

WordOptions

We weren’t only introduced to the ribbons in 2007, we also met Microsoft’s new menu orb.  The orb essentially contained all the options that “File” used to contain in the menu strip.  In 2010 Microsoft took the orb to the next level, it’s not an orb anymore for one, and made it more of an Awesome Recorb (Orb turned into rectangle). Office 2010 takes all the File menu options and breaks them down into categorical grouping.  I can see why Microsoft has done this; it makes the menu very clean and simple to navigate.  Relevant information and links are presented first, for more advance options you simple chose “Options.”  The whole design reminds me of the Control Panel categorical grouping option. This new set up works very well, it brings order to the former mayhem.

ScreenGrabOffice2010

With work and life on the side I’ve not had much time to test the entire office suite, but with classes starting soon I am sure I’ll be using 2010 on a daily basis.

Stay classy Intertubes.

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Written by Samir Banjanovic

July 18, 2009 at 2:10 am

TweetDeck for iPhone

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TweetDeck for the iPhone is aiming for a very unique Twitter experience on the iPhone.  Goal is to bring the desktop experience to the iPhone without compromising experience.  If you are familiar with the desktop program then you’ll know that it uses columns to organize data and that’s it’s rather quick.

On the desktop version you’re given three columns by default:  friends, mentions, and direct messages.  The layout is minimalistic in the aspect that it only has buttons that you need.  To respond to someone you hover over their profile image and you’re given four options: reply, direct message, retweet, and other options.

Desktop Version of Tweet Deck

Desktop Version of Tweet Deck

As mentioned earlier the design is clean, simple, and informative.  If you look you’ll see that you can add more columns; such as facebook status updates, and twitterscoop.  Whenever there’s an update to Twitter you are presented with a small pop-up in the upper right (by default) letting you know a new tweet has appeared, or someone updated their facebook.  However, there seems to be a small problem with the program. I’ve tried choosing the option to have the pop-up appear in the lower right, but it seems that the change doesn’t register with the program. Either way, this is a review for the iPhone app. not desktop, that’s for another time.

iPhone TweetDeck:

Moving on to the iphone app.

tweetdeckicon

Now, where do I begin? As you can see the app. icon is a silhouette of what I think is a canary (I assume the twitter bird is a canary) with a golden background. I really like this icon, it’s an icon so there isn’t much you can mess up on. It’s simple and great looking just like the app itself (more on that to come). Right now I am torn between which icon design I like more: TweetDeck or TwitterRiffic (pictured below.)

Twitterrific

As you can see both icons are well designed and appeal to most anyone. However, I get a warm fuzzy feeling inside when I see little birds waving at me. That’s just me.

Design and Desktop application aside, this is supposed to be about the iPhone TweetDeck application. I hope someone is still reading this.

Do It To It:

Let me begin by saying that TweetDeck for the iPhone has almost acomplishes what no other app. has: bring the desktop experience to your iPhone.  When you start up the app. for the first time you go through the usual Twitter account verification. After verfication you come to the unique part of TweetDeck.

Sync your phone app with your Desktop

Keep it all together

You are given the option to create a TweetDeck account, or log-in with an existing one, which will allow you to sync your mobile app. with your desktop app.  Pretty cool.

Looks very similar to the Desktop App.

Looks very similar to the Desktop App.

As you can see this app has columns as well. It looks very similar to when you have the Pre in card view.  You’ll notice that the color theme has been kept the same as on the desktop app. creating a feeling of familiarity.  In general there’s really nothing bad you can say about the design. You move from column to column by swiping to which direction you want to go.  If you want to read a column you just tap on that column and it’ll come into focus.

Focused view of column

Focused view of column

You can move from column to column while focused in by taping on the arrows or by swiping in the direction you wish to go.  To return to column view you just tap the “Columns” icon or the icon in the upper left (not sure what it’s called.  Return to Thy Column View?)

Post a new Tweet:

To post a new tweet you tap on the yellow icon in the upper right resulting in the appearance of the tweet screen.  The tweet screen is as simple as it gets.  You have a text holder with a word count, user name, shorten link, take picture, or find current location.  Once you’ve typed whatever it is you want to tweet you click “send” and you’re done.  Not much to write home about.

Simple as 1,2, send.

Simple as 1,2, send.

Alerts:

When a new tweet is posted a small “growl” like window will pop up in the upper left (you can see it in the image under the performance section.)  You will also receive a counter update in the “update” section, which is located in the lower left.  If you tap on the update icon a small pop up will appear and tell you what kind of updates have arrived. Such as the world is ending, you need gas, or that you’re favorite store is having a sale. Joking aside. The pop up will show information on friend updates, mentions, direct messages, and whatever else you have.

Good news! World isn't ending!

Good news! World isn't ending!

Performance:

In the two days that I’ve used the app. it’s crashed on me only a few times.  I noticed that the app’s stability depends on your usage. The more I used the app the less it became reliable.  On the second day I started getting a weird message when I started TweetDeck, something about No/Slow Internet, yet I had all the bars.  To me it seems the app may have been specified to expect WiFi like speed for it’s updates.  I don’t see why it should be an issue to fix, so expect an update soon.

All 3G bars are present. Still not fast enough?

All 3G bars are present. Still not fast enough?

Conclusion:

Is TweetDeck ready to be your main twitter app? Maybe.  Is it a unique experience when using? Yes. It feels like you’re using the desktop app., only smaller. If you’re currently using TwitterFon, Twitterrific, Tweetie, or any other major twitter app., I would suggest you stick with it. Use TweetDeck for its unique experience and becuase it’s cool new thing.

Right now I don’t believe TweetDeck is ready to be the main app for any hardcore twitterers (and twitterees?).  Once they fix some of the stability issues, and that annoying slow intertubes pop up then it should make for a good main app.  For now I am sticking with Twitterrific and Twitterfon, but I’ll use TweetDeck jut for the looks :).  Either way.  TweetDeck is headed in the right direction.  I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes popular in the Twitter world after a few updates.  However, for now it’s not quite there.

Rating:

UI Design: 5/5

User Experience: 3/5 (the crashing and annoying internet speed needs to be fixed)

Tweet Options: 3.5/5 (I’d like the ability to delete tweets, change font size to see more tweets and to view the thread conversation)

Overall: 3.5/5 (If they fix the small problms it’ll become a hit.)

Written by Samir Banjanovic

June 19, 2009 at 12:35 pm

iPhone OS 3.0 – First Impressions

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Thanks to gizmodo I was able to get my hands on the iPhone OS 3.0 before it officially comes out. I haven’t been using it for a long time, so don’t take think of this as a complete review, consider it the first part to a series of updates. If you’re interested in getting your hands on the same image I currently run on my iPhone then hit up your favorite torrent site and look for one of the follow three.

  • 1st Gen. iPhone: iPhone1,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
  • iPhone 3G: iPhone1,2_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw
  • iPod Touch: iPod2,1_3.0_7A341_Restore.ipsw

Sometimes you’ll have to edit the name of the file you’re looking for. I know I had to when I was looking for the image. The size of the 3g version 230MB (241,229,233 bytes to be exact) keep that in mind when looking at the torrent information. I am not encouraging you to go out and download the image; whatever you do you’ll be doing so at your own risk.

Warnings and hints aside. The third version of the iPhone OS isn’t much of a drastic change as when 2.0 introduced with the apps capability. However, there are minor tweaks that do make the phone more enjoyable.

Spotlight

First of all, it works great, it’s pretty swift to run through your phone and locate whatever you search for, the only complaint I have is that it’s a local search. I would love for it to be like the Pre’s global search. If something isn’t located on the you are given the option to search Wiki, Google, etc. However, it’s still

pretty awesome.

I’ve found myself using Spotlight a lot. I’ve used it to search my e-mails, music, and contacts. It’s by far my favorite feature in the entire iPhone OS.

I am not sure how I did without it until now. It’s very thoughtful of Apple to make it such a quick and responsive addition. I’ve used it while listening to music without having my music cut in and out. Now, that could be because there isn’t all that much to search on my phone. There’s about 5.9GB of music on my phone, and about 100 contacts. So yeah, it’s not nearly as much as some people will have, but I imagine it’s still rather swift regardless of the amount of data on your phone.

I forgot to mention the range of Spotlight’s search. I felt lazy and didn’t want to type up the range. So, I give you a picture! You can re-arrange the way the searchdisplays results, which I really like.

With spotlight the iPhone is now more awesomer.

Phone Call Information

Since the first version of the iPhone you had to estimate how long your phone conversations were. Apple has finally realized that there are some teenagers out there that like to brag how long they talk on the phone to “that guy” or “that girl.” So Apple decided instead of over estimating, and people constantly nagging for evidence they’d finally include that information.

Pretty awesome, right? Now you have prove that you talked to a girl for longer than 30 seconds. Props to Apple. Side note, the provided screen shot isn’t “that” girl.

Camera Application Changes

Whatever Apple did to tweak the camera application it worked. It opens much faster and is a lot more responsive. The only weird thing that I noticed in the app is a black square in the lower left (look at picture. Note: I don’t live in a dungeon, the iPhone sucks at low light environments). I am still disappointed that Apple didn’t give 3G users video recording. It can’t be that hard. Jailbroken phones have been doing it since there is jailbreaking. I’ll wait it out and see what Apple’s reasoning is. Better be good. Funny stuff happens to me and I

can’t record it to show to you guys.

UPDATE: The black square displays the last picture taken. In this case I took a picture that was very dark, thus it looks like a black square.  No problem!

Final Thoughts

That’s it for now. I’ll keep this going as 3.0 get’s officially released and they finally give us push. I am looking forward to trying out the Push Notification System Apple promised us with 2.0.

I am done here. Behave until I come back.

Written by Samir Banjanovic

June 13, 2009 at 12:25 am

Posted in Reviews

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Yum!

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Hungry? Don’t know where to go? Better yet, don’t know what’s around you?

No problem, there’s a new site out now, called lunchadventure.com. It’s pretty freaking sweet, I mean.

It’s basically Google for restaurants.

Now, all you two fans of this blog, go visit and use it. Now!

This is supposed to be a review, but there isn’t much to say other than Yum!

It’s awesome, it finds places for me to eat, what more is there to like.

I am looking forward to seeing the growth of this site.

Go on my children, visit it.

Written by Samir Banjanovic

September 4, 2008 at 4:38 am

Posted in Reviews

Addiction of a new kind

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About three months ago I was at a friend’s house, while there I was introduced to a simple, yet very addicting arcade game for the Playstation 3. I sat there in awe as my friend played this oh-so-not ordinary shooter.

As the player interacts destroys incoming objects music is created out of destruction. Well, the music isn’t all over the place; there is a main track that plays during each level, which also determines the length of each level.

As you can imagine after some time I ripped the controller from my friend’s hands and played the game. I was addicted, right then and there. The colors made me happy, and the music was new and catchy (whoever wrote the music should consider making it a profession.) After sometime I became oblivious to my surrounding, my friend, and the world; the world could have ended I wouldn’t have known, the game had completely engulfed my attention.

When I finally snapped out of my hypnotic spell I asked my friend what had happened.

Me: This is fucking tight, what is this?

Friend: I told you it’s addicting; it’s called Everyday Shooter.

Everyday Shooter, a game that had taken a step into a completely new gaming frontier. It combined music and arcade to create on entity.

Believe it or not, this game wasn’t made by some high priced, know it all jack ass company; it’s from the creative mind of Jonathan Mak.

The most addicting part of the game isn’t moving the little white dot and dodging the insane number of objects coming at you. The addicting part is the music; it grabs you from the first chord. It’s like watching the Windows Media Player animation to a song, only you control how the animation behaves.

Sadly my addiction was short lived, for at this time the game was only available on the PS3 through the Playstation network.

Fail

But today (May 8th, 2007) was a great day. My friends over at Kotaku informed me, and the rest of the world, that Everyday Shooter has spread to the PC via the Steam network.

Success

Not only is this game fun, and extremely addicting, it also keeps parents and the government off the asses of young toddlers kids (Read my post on Politicians and babies to make the connection.)

Don’t be fooled I have nothing against the likes of GTA4, Manhunt, etc. I just feel that this game is by far more stimulating to the human psyche. In the words of Rod Stewart, Give me the beat, boys, to soothe my soul (luckily this music defiantly blows good ol’ Rod out of the water, sorry bud.)

The last few hours I’ve found myself glued to my laptop playing this game. At this moment my laptop appears to have some kind of odd trouble running the game, could be Vista or some process lagging my CPU in the background; I’ll find it sooner or later.

For now Everyday Shooter costs $8.99 on the Steam Network, but hurry, it’ll stay at this price only for a short time, it’s supposed to go up to $9.99 (Oh noes!) To get the game simply download Steam, and purchase it via the Steam network.

In the word’s of Jonathan, Everyday Shooter is…

…an album of games exploring the expressive power of abstract shooters. Dissolute sounds of destruction are replaced with guitar riffs harmonizing over an all-guitar soundtrack, while modulating shapes celebrate the flowing beauty of geometry.

Written by Samir Banjanovic

May 9, 2008 at 8:36 am

The Fox 3.0

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Firefox 3.0

Well it isn’t exactly out for use, but it’s available for beta download. It’s currently in its 5th beta stage, and I have to say it is very enjoyable and user friendly. I was first thinking of using Safari 3 for PC, but the moment I installed it and tried running it my laptop started begging me to turn it off, uninstall it, and lock it away for good. It might just be me, but Safari wasn’t so hot on my Windows based machine. I know it’s an extremely good web browser on a Mac (I’ve used it on a couple of friends Apple based machines,) but it isn’t very good for a PC in my opinion.

When I started it up it took forever just to open, then I had to wait for it to connect to Apple.com, once it was done doing its thing it was sucking up 100mb of my laptop’s RAM, just sitting there. Yet, Firefox 3 beta 5 uses that much RAM when I have a couple of tabs open in it.

I am very impressed with Firefox 3, even in its beta stage it outperforms Firefox 2. Not only does it outperform Firefox 2, it is much easier to use, the menus are much more user oriented, and the new theme is very much to my liking.

But don’t take my word for it. If you haven’t used any version of Firefox I recommend you start out with using Firefox 2, until FF3 is released as a finished product. If for some crazy reason you happen to still be using Internet Explorer, I urge beg you to at least download Firefox 2.

This wasn’t meant to be hardcore breakdown of Firefox 3, however, I will say I am using it right now. Be warned, you cannot, and I can’t stress this enough, you cannot have Firefox 2 and 3 on the same machine, well you can, but it’ll cause some problems and conflicts back and forth. I could also be making up shit stuff. If you are interested in downloading and using Firefox 3.0 beta 5 please read the release notes before you do so.

Release your inner fox.

Even aliens dig firefox

Written by Samir Banjanovic

April 6, 2008 at 7:33 am

Posted in Reviews

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