January 25, 2013

Best video media player software for Windows 8 Operating System

Windows 8 is a good operating system for watching video because it is fast, and doesw not use a lot of RAM, CPU, and other resources. It is also very easy to install programs and codecs in Windows to play different types of video and audio files like MP4. Windows 8 also work with online media services like Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and other online media services, so you can use Windows 8 to watch video online. Windows 8 also work with a lot of media hardware like TV tuners, speakers, microphones, and other media devices which work in Windows 7 and Vista because Windows 8 shares a lot of similarities with Windows 7. You also would be guaranteed to have updates for Windows 8 to improve Windows media playback and other features for many years longer then Windows 7 because Windows 8 is the newest Windows operating systen.

I like using VLC VideoLAN player because it can play most popular video, and audio/music file formats. It can also play DVDs, Audio CDs, and streaming media.

It is also very fast and light weight, and does not slow down my computer when it is running.  VLC is also very easy to use in my experience since the buttons for play, stop, pause, and the seek bar on  the front.

The video and audio quality for VLC media player is also pretty good.

You can download VLC Player at http://www.videolan.org/

I also like GOM player because it is easy to use, fast, and rarely crashes. Plus, it is easy to change the skin/theme in GOM Player.

GOM player seem to run even faster in Windows 8 because Windows 8 is a smoother running operating system then Windows Vista, and 7. I like the design of GOM Media player since it looks more modern, and the user interface is easy to use because the  play, stop, pause, and the seek bar are also on the front of the program.

I notice GOM Player can sometimes play video which other Players can't play because the video file was damaged, or can't be played on other video files for other reasons.

The video and audio quality in GOM is very good. It plays video and audio clearly, and rarely skip and buffer when playing video.

GOM Player rarely crashes and freezes when I use it to watch Video in Windows 8, and it loads fast when I open it from the desktop or when double clicking on video files in Windows.

Download GOM player at http://player.gomlab.com/eng/download/

January 13, 2013

Tips for using Windows 8 like Windows 7 with a Startbutton and Startmenu and older Windows operating systems for improve usability and performance!

Classic Shell Start menu
If you previously used Windows 7, Vista, and XP, as your main operating system, but now use Windows 8 on your  new computer, I recommend you use a free program called Classic Shell which brings back the Windows 7 startmenu to Windows 8 after you downloaded, and installed it on your computer.

You can even set up the startmenu to look like the Windows 98, and XP startmenu if you never used Windows 7 or Vista before. There are other options to make the Startmenu button look like the classic rectangle start button from Windows 98, and for you to install custom skins/themes for Classic shell to make it unique from other startmenus.

Classic Shell also adds a toolbar to Windows Explorer to make Windows Explorer feel and look like the classic Windows Explorer from Windows XP with the delete, cut, copy, and paste shortcut buttons on Windows Explorer toolbar.

After you installed Classic Shell in Windows 8, it will hide the modern touch screen user interface, or you can set it to hide the modern touchscreen user interface, and those live corners in Windows 8, so Windows 5 feel just like Windows 7, XP, or 98 depending on which version of the Windows Startmenu theme you picked in the Classic Shell settings.

Using Classic Shell is free compared to hiring someone to install Windows 7 on your new computer, or buying the full cost version of Windows 7 which could be hard to find since some stores may not be selling Windows 7 now, and only have Windows 8 operating systems and computers in stock.

Plus, you have all the benefits of Windows 8 like improve security, faster performance, access to the Windows 8 app store, touchscreen support, and other features, but still keep the familiar user interface of Windows 8 when you use Classic Shell for Windows 8.

One of the biggest conveniences of Classic shell it is easier to launch programs and apps by pressing the Windows button on the keyboard, and searching for the apps and programs.  The built-in search in Classic Shell is also pretty fast.

Plus, it is simple to shutdown, hibernate, sleep, restart, and sign-off Windows by clicking the Classic shell startmenu button, and clicking the shutdown button, or the arrow button next to the shut down button  to pick sleep, hibernate, and other power options from the right pop-up menu.

You can download Classic Shell from http://www.classicshell.net/

Another tip, I recommend is right clicking the startmenu's task bar at the bottom of your desktop, and picking properties, and in the taskbar buttons pick "Never Combine", so it shows the labels for opened programs like XP, 98, and other older Windows operating systems instead of the new Icon based taskbar in Windows 7 and 8.

If you find the icons in the startmenu are too big, and use too much screen space, I also recommend you check Use Small Taskbar icons to save space on your screen.

The notification icons in the system tray can be turned on and off as well by right clicking the system tray, and pick properties where you can turn off the Action Center, keyboard icon, and other icons.

If you want to always show icons in the system tray click the customize notification icons, and check the "Always show icons and notifications on Taskbar, and click the OK button at the bottom right.

When you are done adjusting your Taskbar's appearance, click the OK, or apply button.

Windows 8 comes with a slide show wallpaper, and blue theme, but you can also change the theme of Windows 8 by right clicking the desktop, and picking personalize from the right click menu. In the personalization program, you can change the color of the Windows, wallpaper, notification sounds, and screen savers.

If you use the Control Panel Program a lot, in the View by setting on the top right pick either Large or small icon which can make using the Control Panel easier if you are used to the old control panel in Windows 98 to 2000.

If you do not like the new Internet Explorer 10 web browser look and feel, Firefox, Google Chrome, Maxthon, Opera, and other web browser should be pretty good as an IE web browser alternative.

You can also right click the top of Internet Explorer 10, and click on show tabs on another row to make IE10 look like IE8. You need to open IE from the desktop mode in Windows 8 to launch the desktop version of IE otherwise if you launch it from the touchscreen modern user interface, you'll launch the touch version of IE.

However, in the Internet Options for Internet Explorer which you can access by clicking on the gears icon on the top right of IE, and picking Internet Options at the bottom of the menu, and going to the programs tab in internet options, there are options to tell IE to only open websites in the desktop link, and a checkbox to only open the Internet Explorer Tile shortcut in the modern user interface to launch the desktop instead of mobile mode. Check the checkbox, and pick to only open links in desktop mode, and click the OK button at the bottom of Internet options.

Now Windows 8, should feel similar to Windows 7 and older versions of Windows after you followed my tips on using classic shell, and making other changes to Windows 8 desktop and taskbar settings.

If you want to turn off User Account Controls, you can press the Windows + R key, and type MSconfig, and click on the tools tab. Click on Change UAC Settings to disable, or change the setting to UAC, so they don't pop up as much. While you are in MsConfig, you can click on the Startup tab, and open task manager to disable startup programs with the Task manager. Disabling startup programs can make Windows faster.

In Msconfig, you can also disable services in the Services tab, and unchecking services which you may not need like Bluetooth Support Service, and Fax.

You can also check the "Hide All Microsoft Services" to make disabling third-party services from Adobe, Mozilla, Malwarebytes, and other third party software easier, but be careful not to disable your computer security, maintenance, and other services for programs you use since it can make your computer less safe.

I recommend uninstalling third party startup programs, and services to make Windows have more free space if you rarely use them instead of disabling them in Msconfig. 

In the Boot tab in Msconfig, you can enable "No GUI boot" which hides the boot animation for some of Windows 8 startup animation to make Windows 8 boot a little bit faster.

Windows 8 Readyboost makes Windows faster, so if you have a fast flash drive, or SD card, you can plug it into your computer and use it as a Readyboost drive by clicking on the Readyboost option when a pop-up pops up to ask you what you want to do with the drive.

But, I notice sometimes Readyboost interferes with my USB TV tuner making it crash when I am recording TV, so if you plan on recording TV, and using other USB devices, I recommend ejecting/un-mounting your Readyboost storage devices before using USB devices like TV tuners.

2GB or more of RAM should be good enough to run Windows 8 for most general tasks, and multitasking, but 4GB and more RAM would be best for running more intensive Programs like video editors, video convertors, and Photo editors and newer 3D Games. I run Windows 8 on a computer with only 1GB of RAM, and it runs pretty good for web browsing, watching video, listening to music, playing "casual" games from the Windows 8 App Store, office work, and blogging.

Tip: Close programs which you are not using, but are still running in the taskbar, system tray, or desktop. If you have programs open in the Windows 8 Modern touch screen user interface, close them by putting your mouse on the top of the screen, and dragging your mouse down wards with the right button being press. You can see what programs are open in the modern desktop by moving your mouse to the top left corner of the desktop, and moving your cursor downwards.

Also, close web browser windows, and tabs which you are not using, and uninstall plug-ins and add-ons for your web browsers to free up more CPU and RAM system resources.

Upgrading your RAM, video card, and installing Windows 8 to a SSD Hard drive would make Windows 8 faster as well.

January 7, 2013

Asus Google Nexus 7 review, one of the best $199 tablets

 I have been using the Google Nexus 7 tablet by Asus for a few weeks now, and it works great. I like how fast it turns on in under a minute. It also opens and runs apps very quickly, and there is no slow down. The 16GB of built-in storage also is big enough to install a lot of apps on it.

Turning on the Google Nexus 7 is also incredibly fast even when I have a lot of apps and games installed on it. The Nexus 7 takes less then a minute to turn on after pressing the power button, and it wakes from sleep in a few seconds when I press the power button. To make the Nexus 7 sleep to save power, I just quickly tap on the power button. To turn it off, I hold on the power button for a few seconds, and tap on the turn off device option and agree.

The battery life of the Nexus 7 is also pretty good, and last over 6-10+ hours with Wi-Fi on and the screen at medium brightness in my experience. It can stay charged for a very long time in sleep and off mode.

The Nexus 7 charges its battery in only a few hours or less from 10 percent charge to fully charge, so I don't need to wait overnight for it to be fully charge. The battery and tablet also stays cool when it is charging.

The tablets back also does not get very hot when playing games, or using it for a long time.

It uses the Google Android 4.2.1 Jellybean operating system which run pretty smoothly, and is easy to use. The Google Play store also has a lot of paid and free apps and games, movies, music, ebooks, and magazine which are easy to download and install onto the Nexus 7. I found hundreds of fun games, and useful apps on the Google Play store, and most of the apps are free, or cheap at only a dollar or more. Installing apps are easy since I just need to hit the install, and agree buttons. Plus, it is also easy to uninstall apps in Settings>App, and press uninstall. The Nexus 7 also lets you clear the app cache temporary files all at once in the storage settings, so you can easily empty your temporary cache files with one click of a button instead of using an App cache cleaner app like in older versions of Android like 2.3 Gingerbread.

By using an official Google Nexus tablet, Google will most likely release the latest operating system for your device instead of waiting extra weeks, months, or years for an update to the latest version of Android from your tablet company which does not have the Nexus name in it.

The Nexus 7 is  light and easy to hold with one hand, and comfortable to hold with its curve corners, and soft back with dotted texture to make it less slippery. I like the position of the power, volume, USB and headphone port which are all easy to reach. It is also very thin, so it does not take up much space in your bag.

The 7 inch 1280×800 resolution Touchscreen on the Nexus 7 is very sharp, bright, and the colors look very realistic. I can also easily read it in brighter rooms because it uses a IPS screen which is better for outdoor reading. Reading on the Nexus 7 at night is also pretty easy to do. The touchscreen is also very responsive, and smooth. Using the onscreen Back, Home, and menu buttons are easy, and switching between apps by hitting the menu buttons is pretty simple by tapping on the Menu button. The Touchscreen also supports multi-touch, so you can use 5 fingers to play games like Fruit Ninja.

I also notice the screen is very smooth/non-sticky, so it is easy to wipe off fingerprints, oils, and other things on the screen with a clean soft clothe.

The speaker on the Nexus 7 is also pretty load, and I can hear it in a louder room. The webcam and microphone on the tablet, are both pretty good for video chatting, taking photos for the internet, voice to text, voice search, and other video, picture and voice tasks.

The wireless 802.11N internet on the Nexus 7 is also fast, and reliable with 3 to 4 bars out of 4 bars on the signal strength indicator on the Nexus 7 system tray icon when I connect my Nexus 7 to my Medialink 802.11N 150Mbps wireless router. I also get a strong signal all over my home with my Nexus 7, and my wireless internet on the Nexus 7 rarely disconnects from the router, and only takes a few seconds to connect to my router after it wakes up from sleep, and power on.

I can stream High Quality/HD YouTube videos without any slow downs and buffering. The Google Chrome Web browser also works great, and it is very fast at opening websites. It also downloads and installs big apps and games from the Google Play market place very quickly.

News Reader apps like Google Currents, and Flipboard also run very fast on the Nexus 7.

Games like Temple Run, Angry Birds Star Wars, Fruit Ninja, Pacman racing, and many more run great on the Nexus 7.

I can have a lot of Apps open and the tablet still performs pretty fast because the Nexus 7 has a 1.3 GHz Quad Core CPU, 1GB of RAM, and Nvidia Tegra 3 Graphics.

The Asus Google Nexus 7 is probably one of the best $199 tablets for playing games on because it is fast, and has Bluetooth, so you can wirelessly connect a Bluetooth gamepad controller like the Moga Controller by Power A with Bluetooth connectivity for playing games with a controller if you prefer playing games which supports Bluetooth controller instead of touch screen controls. The Bluetooth connectivity can also be used to connect a Bluetooth keyboard to the Nexus 7 for faster typing. You can also use a wired Micro USB keyboard to plug into the Nexus 7 USB port to type on.

There are also Micro to Full size USB adapters, so you can access your USB flash drive, keyboards, and USB external drives on, so you can use the Nexus 7 like a laptop computer with Full size USB ports.

It is also possible to use Bluetooth to connect a keyboard, mouse, and speakers to your tablet, so you can use it like a laptop.

The Asus Nexus 7 also has GPS and location access services which is useful if you use apps like Map Apps, FoureSquare, etc. There is also NFC which let you transfer data and files between other NFC devices without complicated steps like installing an App or typing in an address in a web browser like Wi-Fi file explorers.

The Nexus 7 also has a gyroscope, and accelerometer  which is useful for using apps, and games.

I recommend the Asus Nexus 7 for people looking for an affordable 7 inch tablet which has full access to the Google Play App store for downloading apps, games, magazines, ebooks, music, or to use for just browsing the web, and social networking.

January 6, 2013

Social Networking Apps for Google Android makes posting online faster

Social networking is one of the main ways many people find, share, and post about their lives, news, and other content online where friends and followers can easily find and help promote content you posted online. Using an app would make it easier and faster for you to post content online from a phone or tablet.

The main advantage of using social networking apps to post online is it is faster then opening a web browser, typing in the address, or going into your bookmarks to go to a social network, and signing in.

With an app, all you need to do is launch it from your homescreen on Google Android, type your message, upload your photo or video, and hit the post button.

Social networking apps also notify you of new messages, and post from your friends when they post new posts.

The user interface on the app might also be better on the app then the mobile website if the site have one, so you don't have to zoom in to read text, and view photos in an app.

In my experience, social networking apps seem to crash, and slow down less then web browsers with a lot of windows and tabs open. Plus, there are fewer buttons, ads, tabs, address and tool bars on a social networking app then some web browser and website using up a lot of screen space when open. Some apps like Hootsuite, let you login to multiple social networking apps at once, so you can save time by not manually logging into a lot of sites to post, and stay updated and active on most or all your social networking profile accounts.

List of great social networking apps for Google Android

Facebook official app for Android let you keep up with friends, Pages, Groups, reply to posts, search for friends, update your status update, upload photos and videos, and like comments on Facebook. You can also play games and use apps on Facebook. The latest version of Facebook for Android is more smooth, and fast compared to older versions which seem slower. I also like the user interface in Facebook app because it is similar to the website.

I like using Friendcaster Facebook app because it is fast even on slower phones and tablets, and easy to use for keeping up with friends on Facebook. It is easy to navigate, and read on a mobile smartphone and tablet. It is easy to post messages, and upload photos to Facebook in Friendcaster with a few taps of the screen.

Hootsuite is a pretty good Twitter Client for Android. It is fast, and easy to use to follow people, and reply to people's tweet, and post tweets. You can also login to your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Foursquare accounts, and let you upload photos, receive notifications, view click stats, and schedule updates.

Pinterest is a new social network which let you upload images, post images from websites, search for images, search for pin boards related to a topic like sports, and search for people with similar interest. You can use the Pinterest app to comment on images, and videos which people posted on Pinterest.

Tumblr is a blog style social networking site which let you share photos, text links, articles, and video. It also let you save drafts to post latter, and schedule posts to posts at certain times on your Tumblr account. You can also find people to follow, and reply to people messages from within the app, and manage all your Tumblr blogs from the Tumblr app.

Flipboard also has built-in social networking sharing on popular social networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, Google Reader, LinkedIn, Flickr, 500px, Sina Weibo, and Renren which let you connect your social accounts to Flipboard to read posts, and reply to your posts with social accounts.

Flipboard is also a news reader app which let you read articles from blogs on a magazine smartphone and tablet friendly view which is easy to read on a tablet and smartphone because of bigger font, and better touch navigation like swiping your finger to the left of the screen to change a page like a ebook.

The Google Android operating system for tablets like the Nexus 7, and smartphones like the Nexus 4 also come with a few social networking apps bundled with Android. The YouTube app lets you subscribe to members channel, comment on  videos, like and favorite videos, and also upload your own videos from your mobile phone or tablet. Google Plus is another social networking app which let you do video chat via Talk or hangout, text chat, post videos, text, links, and share content on Google Plus. You can also use Google Play to install the Blogspot/blogger app, and third-party apps like Instagram which is a photo sharing social network which can be used to add special effects to your photos which you taken with your phone or tablet's camera.