Ex-CEO of Opera Launches Vivaldi – A Powerful Browser for Power Users

Opera Software has always had a fairly sizeable and loyal fan base. The decades old browser never quite went mainstream, at least not on the desktop, but it attracted droves of power users thanks to its innovative streak and host of unique features. However, with its switch to the Chromium engine, Opera ditched almost everything that made it unique, and in the process disappointed most of its power users. It has gone from being a cutting-edge internet suite to a light-weight Chrome shell. There are still many users who use Opera 12 – released over two years ago, as their daily driver. The good news for all of them is that Jon Von Tetzchner – Opera’s co-founder and Ex-CEO has announced his next venture, and he is not giving up on browsers.

Vivaldi Browser
Vivaldi Browser

Vivaldi is a brand new browser from the very same people who brought to you Opera. Like the current Opera browser, it will be using Google’s Blink rendering engine. However, unlike the current Opera browser, Vivaldi aims to bring back most of the good stuff from Opera 12. The user interface of Vivaldi has been built using web technologies like Node.js, and Browserify. The first technical preview was released today with five key features:

  • Quick Commands: This is similar to Launchy on Windows or Spotlight on Mac. It offers a quick and easy way to navigate through tabs, search through history, change settings, and a bunch of other stuff with just the keyboard.
  • Panels: Panels used to be one of the many unique features in Opera, and it makes a comeback in Vivaldi. Right now the Panel provides quick access to bookmarks, downloads, and notes. In the future, you will also be able to access your mail and contacts from this section. Opera’s Notes feature has been improved, and now supports webpage screenshots.
  • Tab Stacks: You can organize tabs into groups (called Stacks) by dragging a tab on top of another. This is a really neat feature, but I hope that Vivaldi also brings back and improves the automatic tab stacking feature that Opera experimented with briefly.
  • Speed Dials: Opera introduced speed dials – visual bookmarks that are quickly and easily accessible, which are now present in all major browser in some form or the other. Hence, it’s hardly a surprise that Vivaldi also has speed dials. However, unlike most other implementations, Vivaldi supports folders in Speed Dials and you can also quickly open up your browsing history and bookmarks.
  • Intuitive UI: Vivaldi is bright and colourful, yet simple. The URL bar changes its colour automatically based on the website that you are currently viewing, and hovering over a tab opens a thumbnail preview. Any tab that you close can be restored from the trash can.

Other things that Vivaldi is currently working on include online synchronization, spatial navigation, extensions, and an email client.

Vivaldi Browser Screenshot
Vivaldi Browser Screenshot

The technical preview is pretty stable, but it’s obviously not ready to be a daily driver. Simple shortcuts like Ctrl+Enter are currently missing, and I did experience some stability issues. However, it already does enough to get me excited. It’s a refreshing new alternative, which can hopefully become what Opera once was.

[ Download Vivaldi Browser ]

Bing Pulse Comes to the State Of The Union Address

Bing Pulse, the real-time viewer polling and feedback tool from Bing, is going to be part of CNN and MSNBC’s coverage of the upcoming State of the Union address by United States President Mr Barack Obama.

The way it worked in the past is analysts and pundits across networks and publications would try to make sense of the variety of feedback channels they get their data from, and then try to provide the updates to the viewers. Naturally that took some time and the final analyses would take hours and days, if not weeks.

Instead, Bing Pulse will enable MSNBC and CNN to provide real-time voting capabilities along several points within the President’s speech on Tuesday January 20. The results of these votes will be available in real time to the networks, which can then send it back to the viewers in a way that will make most sense.

Per the blog post by Bing:

 

Easy to activate and simple to use, Bing Pulse lets viewers make their voices heard from the convenience of a web-enabled device, on any platform. With a click of the mouse or tap of the screen, audiences can “pulse,” or weigh in, on how they feel as often as every five seconds. Bing values your privacy, so voting is anonymous.

To participate in the CNN’s debates/questions, go to bing.com/CNN and to participate in the MSNBC coverage, go to pulse.msnbc.com.

Have you used Bing Pulse before, either as a publisher or as a participant? Please share your feedback in the comments below.

BlackBerry Launches the BlackBerry Classic in India for ₹31,990

In a press event in New Delhi today, BlackBerry Limited launched the BlackBerry Classic in India. The smartphone is specially built to meet the needs of productive people who prefer a physical QWERTY keyboard.

blackberry_classic_launch Continue reading BlackBerry Launches the BlackBerry Classic in India for ₹31,990

Skype for iOS Updated, Pre-release Program Announced

Skype has been updated for iOS on January 14, and per a blog post on Skype Blogs, they have now made it possible to quickly search for contacts and start conversations quicker via an update to the chat picker.

According to the post, the following two enhancements are part of the latest update:

In Skype 5.9 for iPhone, when you start typing a phone number in the dial pad, Skype will suggest contacts with matching phone numbers, making it faster to find who you want to talk to.

We’ve also updated the new chat picker to make starting conversations easier. Once you’ve chosen who you want to talk to, tap the phone or video icon at the top to start your call. (To open the chat picker, tap on the message icon on the bottom navigation bar when in the recents, favorites or people view.)

In other news from Skype, they announced a pre-release program for Skype enthusiasts. This program, for which you have to sign up here, gives access to early release of the software. This of course in based on the assumption that the enthusiasts will provide feedback so Skype developers can tweak the functionality before releasing to a wider audience.

You can help us shape your skype experience by:
* Trying out some new or upgraded features (don’t worry we’ll let you know what’s new) and tell us about your experience after doing so
* Giving us feedback and suggestions on what you would like to see in the app in the future
* Letting us know of any issues that you run into while using this previewed version

Per the blog post, there program has a limited number of spots, so if you are a Skype enthusiast, hurry up and enroll.

2 Simple Steps to Clean Up Your Facebook Profile and Hide Your Past Indiscretions

Facebook has come a long way since its humble beginnings almost eleven years ago. From being just a wall of posts, it has morphed into a powerful aggregator with a wide variety of content. The trouble is that somewhere beneath all the content that you’ve created over the years, there are all your past indiscretions waiting to be discovered. Did you go on a liking spree when Pages were introduced and Facebook invited you to become a fan of your favourite personalities and brands? Did you post silly nonsensical content when you were in your early teens? Chances are all of that history is still available online for anyone to discover. If you want to break free from your silly, old Facebook days, here are a couple of steps that should help.

Limit Old Posts

Hide Old Posts in Facebook
Hide Old Posts in Facebook

Head over to Facebook Settings and select the Privacy tab. Under the subheading “Who Can See My Stuff?” you’ll have the option to “Limit the Audience for Old Posts”. This option will change the visibility setting of all posts that are either “Public” or “Friends of Friends” to only “Friends”. Be warned though, this action is non-reversible. The only way to undo this will be to go through your previous posts and change their settings one by one.

Unlike Pages

Bulk Unlike Pages in Facebook
Bulk Unlike Pages in Facebook

Over the years your tastes have probably evolved. However, chances are that the pages that you became Fan of five years back are still a part of your profile. PageUnliker is a nifty website that fetches all Pages that you have liked, and gives you the option of unliking them. Save yourself the embarrassment and get rid of the things a younger you might have liked. You’ll also be tidying up your feed as posts from the pages that you unlike will no longer show up.

OneDrive Updates Coming: Single Sync Engine for Consumer and Business, Shared Folder Sync, Selective Sync Everywhere, Mac Client for OneDrive for Business

OneDrive For Business
OneDrive For Business

Microsoft, in a post on the OneDrive blog, has made a bunch of roadmap related announcements for OneDrive (and OneDrive for Business). This is refreshing because until about a year ago, this kind of information was almost impossible to get unless you relied on insider information and rumors.

The background for this honest and direct blog post could be several reasons:

  • Enthusiasts who loved Windows 8.1’s OneDrive behavior with the placeholder files who are disappointed that Windows 10 Technical Preview does away with it.
  • OneDrive for Business users who have no choice but to sync their entire collection or nothing.
  • OneDrive customers who have been clamoring for a shared folder sync a la Dropbox.
  • Overall, OneDrive customers who see slight differences in how files sync across the variety of platforms OneDrive is on, which is pretty much every platform today.

So here are the changes coming to OneDrive, and timelines wherever Microsoft has provided:

  • Single sync engine across all platforms. This will be built based on the current Windows 7 and Windows 8 sync engines, which means users have to select which folders they want to sync at the time of setting up OneDrive app. Of course, this can be changed later, but this is in contrast to Windows 8.1’s sync engine which takes the entire OneDrive and creates placeholder files whenever the cloud-based file is not available locally.
  • Unified OneDrive app for consumer and business users on iOS (this is already available on the Windows Phone and Android apps). This is coming later in January.
  • Preview of Mac client for OneDrive for Business, coming later in January.
  • Sync shared folders, coming “by summer”.
  • Shared folders and support for consumer and business in a single client on Windows 10, coming in the first Windows 10 release.
  • Reliable and comprehensible replacements to the placeholder feature will come to Windows 10 later in the calendar year.

I like this post because it makes clear that Microsoft is aware of the customer pain points and are not only working on the features to reduce the pain, but also know when approximately they will make those features available to the customers.

If you want to provide feedback on OneDrive, you can conveniently go to their UserVoice site.

Windows Phone Updates Coming via Phone Insider App?

As you may know, Windows 10 Technical Preview started off with an Insiders program which enabled Microsoft to send updates, software or otherwise, to those who selected to be in the program. As part of the program one was able to participate in forums and also, via a recent update, choose which “ring” to be a part of: fast ring implied updates as Microsoft makes them available to users outside the company, and slow ring implied updates delivered after the feedback from fast ring was incorporated.

Phone Insider App Details
Phone Insider App Details

 

Now, there is a Phone Insider app spotted in the Windows Phone Store. This app seems to be a replacement to the Preview for Developers app that launched in October 2013. The Preview for Developers app required one to be a developer in order to receive OS updates (no firmware updates) directly from Microsoft, not having to wait for carriers and OEMs. For the most part, this worked fine and except for the pain of waiting for OEMs and specifically, carriers, to deliver firmware, most enthusiasts were able to get the latest OS features like an improved Internet Explorer right away.

 

About Phone Insider App
About Phone Insider App

 

Phone Insider Train Chosen
Phone Insider Train Chosen

 

Phone Insider App Info
Phone Insider App Info

 

 

The Phone Insider app is not too functional at the moment, but from the text in the app description, it does look like a way for users (non-developers too) to sign up for a particular release channel and receive updates as and when Microsoft makes them available. It seems like there will be a link to the Windows Insiders program, so presumably once you sign up to be a Windows Insider, you could potentially also sign up to receive early Windows Phone updates.

The Phone Insider application provides registered Windows Insiders the ability to receive pre-release OS updates on their phone, directly from Microsoft. For more information about registering and becoming a Windows Insider visit http://insider.windows.com.

Ed: At this point, it looks like you can only log on with a Microsoft company domain account, so presumably this is enabled for employees only. It remains to be seen if this app is the actual delivery mechanism for Windows Insiders outside the company also, or it remains as an internal use app.

The timing is not unusual. On January 21, Microsoft has an all-day event for the press in Redmond, where they will be talking about the Windows 10 “consumer” story. Obviously, Windows 10 on phones and tablets will be a big portion of that story.

Could we see the mobile bits available that day, or soon after? Personally, I can’t wait to try out the next version of Windows “mobile”, or whatever the combination of Windows Phone and Windows RT OSes is called.

Lenovo P90 Smartphone Announced With 64-bit CPU And Android 5.0

Along with the limited edition Vibe X2 Pro, the Chinese tech giant also launched the Lenovo P90 smartphone at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015 in Las Vegas. It is the first smartphone to utilize the combination of 64-bit Intel AtomTM Z3560 processor with Intel’s 5-mode XMMTM 7262 modem. It runs on the latest Android 5.0 (Lollipop) Operating System.

lenovo_p90

Lenovo P90 comes with a 5.5 inch Full HD display, 13 megapixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, gesture controls, advanced LTE connectivity and a huge 4000 mAh battery. This handset will be available in Pearl White, Onyx Black and Lava Red colors. The Lenovo P90 will go on sale from next month. The price of this device will be announced soon.

“The Lenovo P90 smartphone is an impressive addition to the growing portfolio of Intel-powered smartphones. As one of the first smartphones powered by Intel’s latest processor coupled with the LTE-Advanced XMM 7260 modem, people will enjoy exceptional speed and 64-bit performance that will provide users with a great mobile experience. We are proud to continue our work with Lenovo on this major milestone.”

– Hermann Eul, Intel’s vice president of Mobile Communications