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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  • by | April 16, 2014 9:54 AM

    A few of our readers out there have asked me how I got the WiFi to turn on when arriving at certain locations in the new Windows Phone 8.1. We heard a while back that Windows Phone 8.1 would have the ability to turn WiFi on automatically after a certain amount of time, but the geolocation-based WiFi power-on option is a pleasant surprise. You probably already know that Android has had numerous apps available that can do this type of thing; turning WiFi on and off based on your location. It's really useful if you don't want the WiFi radio on all the time using up your battery life, but you ...

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  • by | April 15, 2014 3:01 PM

    While most other platform developers, especially underdogs, might want to build upon their strengths while also strengthening their weaknesses, sometimes some good strengths get totally thrown out for no apparent reason.  We've written about Microsoft's tendency to remove features from their mobile operating system quite frequently. It seems to happen with every new significant upgrade and Windows Phone 8.1 is no exception. Remember when the Office hub lost the ability to edit files older than the 2007 format?  How about that ability to automatically sync music, videos, and pictures to ...

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  • by | April 14, 2014 8:15 AM

    In some ways Microsoft's new speech UI, Cortana, has surpassed the speech interface of its competitors in iOS and Android.  Most people are going to be comparing Cortana to Siri and Google Now since those are the two other popular smartphone speech interfaces at the moment.  At Pocketnow, we know a little better and will be comparing Cortana to how she should work. Google and Apple are really quite new to the whole speech UI for smartphones thing.  Microsoft's old Windows Mobile smartphone operating system had a speech interface called Voice Command back in 2002.  Yeah, that was 12 ...

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  • by | April 12, 2014 12:03 AM

    One of the big draws in getting a smart watch is being able to see all of your smartphone notifications with a quick glance at your wrist instead of having to take your phone out of your pocket.  Personally, I'm still not sold on the utility of this concept, but it does seem to be getting some traction and there are numerous new smart watch models coming out that all do different things in different ways.  I recently found a new smart watch manufacturer at a press event that I hadn't heard of before.  Martian Watches is making a new smart watch called the Martian Notifier that combines ...

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  • by | April 3, 2014 7:57 AM

    With all of the excitement over the release of Microsoft's Office for iPad, the newly free-to-use versions of Office Mobile for iPhone and Android phones, as well as the reveal of a touch-friendly version of Office for Windows 8 tablets at Microsoft's Build conference… it got me wondering if Windows Phone would ever see a more comprehensive version of Microsoft Office. Since Windows Phone 7 was released back in 2010, the only real changes to the mobile Office suit was removing OneNote from the Office hub and giving it its own app icon. Microsoft has said that the mobile Office is mainly ...

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  • by | March 27, 2014 3:04 AM

    I remember back in 2002 when I first started using smartphones, everyone else was using iPods and flip phones. The iPods were for music and the little flip phones were for phone calls. I thought that was all pretty ridiculous since my phone could do all of that, plus play videos, browse real web pages, send/receive emails, sync my calendar & contacts, play games, etc. all on a large color screen at a time when iPods and cell phones had tiny greyscale screens. All of those devices had clocks on them so since everyone was carrying a phone and an iPod around at all times, the need for ...

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  • by | March 5, 2014 11:21 AM

    I can understand why you would want a separate Facebook Messenger app on Apple's iOS or Android.  You might want a separate app so that you can launch directly into the messenger and see all of your chat conversations right away.  iOS and Android don't really support multiple entry points for the same app.  Windows Phone is different though.  I already have a Facebook messages tile pinned to my start screen and tapping that will go directly to my Facebook messages.  So what's the point of another app that does exactly the same thing as a live tile from an app that I already have?  ...

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  • by | February 27, 2014 4:59 PM

    We've seen some leaks of the new Windows Phone action center that will be coming to Windows Phone 8.1 recently.  It's basically a screen where you can find all of the missed notifications, but also quickly access toggle buttons for things like WiFi power, Driving mode, etc.  The method to access this new action center is exactly the same as Android, which Apple also copied for iOS… swipe down from the top edge of the screen. Now, I am of the opinion that copying bad design is bad. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn't make it right.  What's bad about swiping down from the ...

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  • by | January 29, 2014 5:53 AM

    Ever since the iPad first started becoming popular, photographers have been searching for a way to integrate it with their professional workflows.  Unfortunately, the iPad really wasn't designed for professional workflows, so that has proven pretty difficult.  Instead, usually photographers wait until they can plug their camera memory cards into a laptop or desktop PC running something like Adobe Lightroom before they start working with the photos they shoot.  The problem with Lightroom is that you have to import everything into the database and that can be extremely time consuming.  ...

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  • by | January 28, 2014 6:49 AM

    You may have heard the news recently that LogMeIn's free accounts are being discontinued.  I switched to LogMeIn for remote PC access back when Microsoft discontinued their super-awesome Live Mesh software which did a similar thing and much more.  Basically, you install the software on which ever computers you own and then you can use your single LogMeIn account to access those PCs remotely via the web or any of their mobile apps.  Now that LogMeIn is no longer free, it's time to find something else that will let me access my home personal computer periodically.  Goodbye LogMeIn. Hello ...

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  • by | January 27, 2014 8:50 AM

    We heard recently that Microsoft's new speech interface codenamed "Cortana" might make use of the same voice used in the Halo video game series' Cortana character.  The character in the games is voiced by Jen Taylor and basically she's an artificial intelligence system that helps out the player at different points during the game's story.  Cortana is considered a "smart" artificial intelligence since her creative matrix is allowed to expand where as "dumb" AI systems retain a limited creative matrix. The Cortana interface for Windows Phone is expected to be available in beta come April ...

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  • by | December 23, 2013 7:50 AM

    The Nokia Lumia 1020 just received an update last week that enables RAW Adobe DNG file format support when taking photos. There is a new option that you can select in the Nokia Camera app's settings area. It's not on by default of course, but the new option enables each shot to save a 5 megapixel JPG plus a full resolution 38 megapixel Adobe Digital Negative RAW file. Now before you go turning it on and trying it out, in order to take advantage of the RAW file format, you'll need a good RAW image editor on your PC. Personally, I prefer the Adobe Camera RAW plug-in for Photoshop and Bridge, ...

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  • by | December 2, 2013 1:42 PM

    There are a lot of people out there that absolutely hate Windows 8.1. Most of the critics out there on the internet harp on about a handful of things that are pretty easy to overcome once you put some time into learning the operating system. I've been using Windows 8.1 since it was in beta, and I've been using the final version since it was released to manufacturing, so I've had a good amount of time to get used to the new features and learn all about them. There are a lot of things that I absolutely love about the new operating system, but there are also a number of things that I really ...

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  • by | December 2, 2013 1:30 PM

    Windows 8.1 has been around for a couple months now and there's lots of new tablets, laptops, and PCs available for the holiday season. As you know, Windows 8 was met with lots of criticism for being so different and Windows 8.1 was designed to appease some of those issues and improve upon some others. There are many changes in Windows 8.1; some of them you'll love, some of them you might hate, and some that might take a while to get used to. I've been using it since it was in beta, and I've been using the final version since it was released to manufacturing, so I've had a good amount of ...

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  • by | November 26, 2013 10:56 AM

    Back in 2010, Microsoft's Zune Pass was hands-down the most innovative player in the music services industry. Unfortunately nobody really noticed and the service has been losing its limbs one by one over the years. Luckily there's a new kid in town putting some major innovation into the music services market. It's just a coincidence that Microsoft is in the process of buying this company. Last week Nokia launched a new free "MixRadio" app for its Lumia Windows Phones. At first you might think it's a simple rebranding of the previous "Nokia Music" app and in some ways it is, but in other ...

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