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January, 2012

Switching to Office 365’s Outlook Web App

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Outlook Web App

As part of an IT roll-out in the office the entire PC Pro team was moved over to Office 365 last week. For the most part it meant no change at all. After a quick call to IT the morning after the transition to get some some account details adjusted (I’d had no email since 9pm the previous day), I was able to carry on working, using my standard desktop installation of Office 2010, including Outlook, just as normal.

That’s no surprise. After all, Office 365 principally represents a change in the way businesses purchase and manage licenses for Microsoft Office software. From a user perspective, the desktop software – Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook – stays the same.

However, we have received one major upgrade – from our old, clunky webmail service to the swanky new Outlook Web App – and it could be about to change the way I work.

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Amazon Kindle Fire review: first look

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Amazon Kindle Fire

When Amazon launched the Kindle Fire last year, it made the rather irritating decision not to bring it to the UK at the same time. The rotters didn’t even let us have the Kindle Touch, leaving us with the (admittedly excellent) fourth generation Kindle. If the rumours are to be believed, however, changes are afoot, and with the UK braced to receive Amazon’s latest baby, we’ve managed to get our hands on an import to see what’s what.

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Lytro light-field camera: first look

Wednesday, January 18th, 2012

lytro2

The Lytro has been kicking around for a few months — we covered its launch in issue 207 of the magazine — and it picked up an award at CES last week, but the camera has yet to actually ship. However, the company had a few pre-production models to let us try out the intriguing new camera technology.

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CES: Why booth babes are bad marketing

Monday, January 16th, 2012

CES Booth Babe

I spent last week in Las Vegas, which is always a bit strange for women, surrounded as you are by very pretty ladies, in very little — and often very sparkly — “clothes”. I’m speaking, of course, not of the casinos or bars, but of CES and its numerous “booth babes”.

The BBC did an excellent piece on the subject — if you haven’t seen it yet, the video is here, and it’s well worth watching — interviewing female tech journalists, marketing staff, booth babes and CES head honcho Gary Shapiro.

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Posted in: Rant

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Ice Cream Sandwich on the Transformer Prime review: first look

Friday, January 13th, 2012

Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime Android 4 update

The Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime is currently the pick of the bunch when it comes to Android tablets, but one of its few weaknesses was the lack of the latest version of the OS. Not any more. It’s received its update, so we thought we’d do an update of our own.

You can read about our first encounter with Android 4 – or Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) – in our Samsung Galaxy Nexus review. We were impressed with it, but had a couple of concerns, chiefly concerning the use of soft buttons and the potential waste of valuable screen real estate. That, fortunately, is a non-issue on tablets. We’re already used to it on Honeycomb tablets, and it takes up a negligible amount of room on a 10.1in tablet such as the Prime.

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Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7: first-look review of the best tablet at CES

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7

Tablets have come in many shape and forms at this year’s CES, but there’s only one that’s made us go “wow”. And that tablet is the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7.

It is, quite simply, drop dead gorgeous. Of course we can reel off the specs – it’s 7.9mm thin and weighs 340g  – but that doesn’t do it justice. When you pick it up for the first time your arm jumps up too quickly; it expects to be lifting something heavier.

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3D printing: undeniably cool, but lacks a killer app

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

3D printer shoes

There’s a sense of 3D printing coming of age here at CES 2012. A section of the South Hall is devoted to 3D printing, and there are several working models on the show floor – all with a healthy, fascinated crowd gathered around them.

3D Systems Corporation is, for example, showing off its new Cube personal printer (shown in the video below). It’s mesmerising to watch as, layer by layer, a 3D object slowly emerges before your eyes: a chess piece, a bracelet or a plastic figurine. But for $1,299 (around £850), I’d want it to print something more useful than an over-sized Christmas Cracker toy.

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Will your next camera be wireless?

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Samsung Mobile Link

The compact camera market is fascinating: on one side it’s being savagely attacked by smartphones and their ever-improving cameras, and on the other by affordable DSLRs and hybrids.

But there’s still a place for compacts – taking snaps indoors in low light being one obvious example – and companies such as Samsung continue to deliver fresh ideas.

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8K video: what the future looks like

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Sharp 8K screen

A couple of days ago, I teased you with Sharp’s announcement of the world’s first 8K video screen. Today, I got the chance to see it with my own eyes on Sharp’s 85in (7ft!) LCD screen. I can summarise the following blog post in one word: wow.

A little recap: 8K video means 33 million pixels of high definition loveliness. They’re going to need to invent a new definition superlative, because high, super-high or ultra-high won’t do it justice. The screen has a resolution of 7,680 x 4,320 – 16 times as many pixels as a Full HD screen.

The picture quality is gobsmacking. There’s no point in me even trying to take photos of the screen because my DSLR sensor hasn’t got the resolution to do it justice. You’ll have to take my word for it.

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Posted in: Hardware

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Forget innovation: why Lenovo leads the way for sheer fun at CES 2012

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Lenovo IdeaCentre A720The most fun I’ve had in Las Vegas? Spending ten minutes with the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720. Sounds crazy but it’s also 100% true.

I played the piano, lost a strange game involving multiplying insects (don’t ask) and then showed my considerable skill at losing by being heavily defeated at an excellent multiplayer game in the mould of Guitar Hero. Who needs dancing girls, cocktails or casinos?

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