Posts by Adam Z. Lein

Adam has had interests in combining technology with art since his first use of a Koala pad on an Apple computer. He currently has a day job as a graphic designer, photographer, systems administrator and web developer at a small design firm in Westchester, NY. His love of technology extends to software development companies who have often implemented his ideas for usability and feature enhancements. Mobile computing has become a necessity for Adam since his first Uniden UniPro PC100 in 1998. He has been reviewing and writing about smartphones for Pocketnow.com since they first appeared on the market in 2002. Read more about Adam Lein!

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    I know, I know, comparing the top-of-the-line Android phone with the bottom-of-the-barrel Windows Phone is crazy talk.  However, recently we saw Ben Rudolph's video showing how much gear you could get for the price of an off-contract Samsung Galaxy S4; including the new inexpensive Nokia Lumia 521 Windows Phone of course.  Ben paid $750 for the off-contract AT&T version of the Galaxy S 4 from Best Buy but the T-Mobile version is only $629.  He showed how you could get a Nokia Lumia 521 straight up with no contract subsidy for only $150 and then use the rest of that $600 to buy some ...

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    Pocketnow Insider isn't just about video. It's a collection of posts that offers a glimpse behind the scenes of Pocketnow - and a brief look into the lives of the people behind it. This new recurring text series offers you the opportunity to get to know our editors better, outside the scope of their work here on the site. Our second installment features Senior Editor Adam Z. Lein. You'll find out about his background, interests, and activities - and a bit about his duties here on Pocketnow as well. We hope you enjoy this new series documenting the lives of the people who keep Pocketnow ...

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    Star Trek is one of the most widely praised science fiction series of the 20th century.  I highly doubt that anybody working in the technology industry today has never seen at least one episode of Star Trek.  As is often the case, fact follows fiction and all of those people who ever saw a Star Trek episode have often thought to themselves, "Wouldn't that be cool if we could really make that?" This week, Microsoft has been featuring some special Star Trek images and facts as part of an Easter Egg interface on Bing.com and of course the new "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is being released to ...

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    My first and biggest complaint after buying the Surface Pro months ago was that it did not include WinTab drivers for the screen's pressure sensitive digitizer input. The hardware supports pressure sensitivity, but with the default drivers, that only worked in certain newer graphics programs like Sketchbook Pro and Manga Studio. My first tweet the day I bought the Surface Pro went to the Surface team explaining that they NEED to implement the WinTab drivers. At first they thought it was an Adobe issue, but really they just needed some help from Wacom to make the right drivers. Those ...

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    Every time Nokia announces another "Asha" low-end phone there are always people out there trying to extrapolate that into an indication that Nokia is giving up on Microsoft and abandoning the Windows Phone operating system that they are supposedly so committed to.  *cough*VentureBeat*cough*TheVerge*cough*  The truth is that Nokia has never stopped working on low-end inexpensive phones running their s40 operating system and have consistently been releasing new versions of these types of phones the whole time. Back in 2011, during the Nokia Windows Phone announcement, they said outright ...

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    An updated Foursquare app for Windows Phone has been awaited for a long time and it's finally here.  The previous Foursquare app was pretty much unchanged since it's first release around the original launch of Windows Phone 7 a few years ago.  With version 3, Foursquare sees a complete overhaul that brings it up to speed with the mobile apps on other platforms and surpasses them in some ways.  The feature I was most excited about; speech UI integration, was unfortunately not implemented as nicely as it could have been.  The "Foursquare check in" command only brings you to the ...

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    When all of the new Windows 8 tablets started showing up on the market late last year, the prices seemed a little steep.  Why would you pay $900 for a Windows 8 tablet with 64Gb SSD, 2Gb of RAM and an Atom processor?  That sounds like Netbook specs to me.  According to Anand Shimpi, the OEMs knew these prices were too high from the beginning. Shimpi tweeted a nice deal where you can get the Acer W510-1666 Tablet for only $479 from NewEgg though it's now back up to $529 but that's still less than the $599 usual price.  You can now find a similar model for $399 at the Microsoft Store.  ...

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    Since the official Facebook for Windows Phone app is actually made by Microsoft, the official Facebook software developers obviously don't keep track of it too well. This morning, Facebook must have changed something in the APIs that the Windows Phone Facebook app uses because now the app crashes consistently when trying to access comments or notifications.  The reviews for the app have lit up with complaints about its new found crashing tendency. There haven't been any recent updates to the Facebook for Windows Phone app itself, so the problem has to be somewhere on the back end.  If ...

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    Over the weekend, the Westchester, one of New York's trendy suburban malls, had a two-day fashion event as part of the "Simon Fashion NOW" mall tour designed to show off many of the stylish products available in its stores. Of course, you would expect to see new outfits from the likes of LOFT, J. Jill, Victoria's Secret, White House | Black Market, Gap, Anne Taylor, Tommy Hillfiger, Eileen Fisher, Juicy Couture, Bebe, Banana Republic, Cache, Hugo Boss, and other clothing stores that have shops in this particular mall. They were all there with their own little fashion shows, but there's ...

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    T-Mobile has already announced that the Nokia Lumia 521 would be coming to their network twice. It should be showing up within a month or so, but we got to play with an early version at the Pepcom Digital Focus event the other night in New York City. It's certainly smaller than the popular larger phones out there, and definitely smaller than T-Mobile's Nokia Lumia 810. It really feels great in the hand, but it's not quite as ergonomically designed as the Lumia 710 was. The thickness and weight feel just about perfect, as does the smaller screen size, but then again I'm the type who prefers ...

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    Since my primary mobile account is on T-Mobile, I bought the Nokia Lumia 810 shortly after it first came out last year.  Initially it was only available in black, but it was announced that black and cyan wireless charging shells would be available.  It took months for me to find a cyan wireless charging shell even with an eBay live-tile on my home screen giving me quick shortcuts to searches every day.  I never really expected to see any other color options for the Lumia 810 until recently Nokia posted a photo on their Facebook page which happened to include a Lumia 810 with a red ...

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    You might be able to read that headline and interpret it as saying that everything in Windows Phone 8 has improved so much that the best part of the previous version is now the worst part of the latest version.  Or you might read that as saying the best part of the previous version has been completely ruined in Windows Phone 8.  The latter is going to be the case here. Let's start with what was in my opinion the best part of Windows Phone 7; the Music & Videos hub combined with the fantastic Zune Pass service.  Back in 2010 there was nothing like it.  Nothing else was as good at ...

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    Cats and kittens are very popular on the internet. Many have gone on to create their own memes and star in YouTube videos that have garnered millions and millions of views. Today we’re proud to announce an expansion and rebranding of our site in order to tap into this huge market that we’ve been ignoring. Everyone likes smartphones and mobile technology. Everyone likes cats. Over the past few months we've been doing extensive research involving cats and smartphones. Cats practically own the internet.  It makes perfect sense to bring the two together and create a site that offers the ...

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    There are two ways to look at the Surface Pro. You can either compare it to the other "consumer" style tablets out there which are generally considered smartphone-type devices with larger screens, or you can compare it to professional "ultrabooks" out there which are basically full-powered laptop computers compressed to fit in thinner form-factors. In some ways it's better than both of those device types put together, but in other ways it's not as good as either. Of course, your take-away is going to depend on which aspects of a mobile computing device are most important to you. Some would ...

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    There are occasionally rumors going around that Microsoft might build its own Windows Phone kind of like they did with their new Surface tablets and of course the Zune media players.  So with that idea in mind, an industrial designer from Cincinnati, OH, named Michael Matteo decided to design some of his own concept artwork simply as a design exploration.  These are not sanctioned by Microsoft.  These are just renderings made by someone who likes Windows Phone and wants to show off his design skills.  That said, we always like to see innovative smartphone designs, and these designs ...

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    We've been hearing a lot about how horrible Windows RT is with its lack of apps and occasional slowness due to its ARM processor requirements.  Even the Microsoft Surface RT, which seems to be the most popular Windows RT device out there, has only sold around 1.1 million devices since its launch according to Bloomberg.  Nvidia is disappointed, Samsung has cancelled their Windows RT tablet plans, and the general consensus around the internet is that Windows RT is a failure.  That's not to be confused with Windows 8, which is much more popular with sales in the 60 million range. Nobody ...

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    Windows Phone 8 seems to have a major problem with eating up the built in storage for no apparent reason. On the low end devices with only 8gb of storage or even worse, only 4Gb, this "other" storage area's tendency to fill all of your usable space for 3rd party apps can be a real problem. I had to delete so many apps when it came time to install the Portico update because there was not enough space available to download it on the Nokia Lumia 810.  There is an app called "Shrink Storage" which can help automatically reduce the amount of space used by the "Other Storage" category.  ...

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    Today we're going to take a look at some of the things that I often use the Surface Pro for during a work day and on the weekend.  Not all of these things happen every day, but for the sake of demonstrating the wide variety of tasks that the Surface Pro helps me with, I'll compress them a little. Workday 8:45 am After most of the other morning activities are done, I like to catch up on the news.  My Surface Pro's news tile usually has some interesting article animating on the start screen so I'll tap that to see what's going on.  Really what I care about are my custom news feeds though, ...

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    The "Google Glass" heads-up-display glasses gadget has a lot of hype behind it right now.  At TED last week, Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin said that holding a smartphone in your hand and having to look at it all the time is emasculating. "You're actually socially isolating yourself with your phone," Brin told the audience. "I feel like it's kind of emasculating.... You're standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.  In contrast to a smartphone, Google Glass allows people to keep their head up as digital information is overlaid onto their world, no matter where their gaze ...

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    Right now there are over 42,000 apps designed for the modern style of Windows 8 and that's the current count of available apps in the store. Before there was Windows 8, Steve Ballmer said that there are about 4 million Windows Desktop applications out there with about 800,000 that were made specifically for Windows 7.  Some of those include programs developed only for private business use.  You can also find a count for Windows 8 compatible desktop apps that have been tested by Microsoft in the compatibility center which turns out to be 17,381.  So the real number available to ...

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    It sounds like there are a lot of people out there who think the Surface Pro is not a tablet.  How could you possibly think that?  Maybe you don't know what a tablet is, so let's look it up on the internet. A tablet is a one piece mobile computer that typically offers a touchscreen with finger or stylus gestures acting as the primary means of control. There is nothing in the definition of a tablet computer that says anything about what the battery life should be, what type of processor it should use, what kind of operating system it should have, or what apps it should be capable of ...

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    Today I've got both the Surface Pro vs. Surface RT so we're going to compare them! First let's talk about weight. Neither of these feel heavy to me. The Pro is certainly heavier at 2lbs, versus the 1.5lb Surface RT, but even holding them both together is lighter than the camera I carry and definitely lighter than my old 4.7lb Tablet PC. Plus I have the advantage of extremely muscular upper body strength. The Pro has a much faster boot time and shutdown time which actually makes turning the tablet fully off not much different speed-wise compared to putting it into sleep mode.  Resuming ...

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    Many of my friends often consider me to be about 5 years ahead of everyone else in terms of the tech world.  With today's release of Photoshop Touch for Android and iOS Smartphones, here's another example.  Back in 2002 on July 17th, I was at Macworld with a number of industry experts as well as the new Photoshop product manager, John Nack who has since become a popular Adobe blogger.  I showed him Conduits Pocket Artist on my smartphone at the time.  I could open native PSD files, alter layers, perform channel operations, paint, adjust, etc… pretty much everything Photoshop 3 could ...

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    We've already seen how well the Surface Pro performs with high-end desktop programs as well as Android apps.  How about Linux?  Since the Surface Pro hardware supports Hyper-V virtualization, it's extremely easy to install secondary operating systems in a Virtual Machine.  Hyper-V is not enabled by default on the Surface Pro, so you'll have to turn that on first.  To do this, swipe from the right edge to get the charms and tap the Search charm.  Then tap "Settings" and type "Turn Windows Features On" in the search field.  Tap the "Turn Windows Features on and off" item and scroll to ...

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    The two cameras built into the Surface Pro on the front and back are not professional quality at all. They're only 720p resolution, so basically they're only good for things like Skype video calls.  Still the Surface Pro is for professionals, so I'm going to use it to control a full-sized digital single lens reflex camera connected via USB.  In this video we'll be using a Nikon D7000 with the Nikon Camera Control Pro 2 software installed on the tablet.  Most other professional DSLR camera brands are capable of connecting to similar software for remote camera control and image storage. ...

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