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 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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    There are a lot of rumors going around that Microsoft might eventually merge Windows RT with the Windows Phone operating system.  In many ways this makes sense.  Both are designed for the ARM processors while full Windows 8.x is still designed for the x86/x64 processors of the PC world.     We have no idea when or if Microsoft really intends to merge Windows Phone with the Windows RT operating system, but there seem to be quite a few hurdles that would be necessary to overcome.  Right now, Windows RT is exactly the same as the full Windows 8.x operating system except for the fact ...

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    There's a new Xbox SmartGlass app available for Windows Phone that's made for the Xbox One. It's kind of strange that you need a completely different SmartGlass app for the new Xbox One vs. the old app for the Xbox 360, but it makes sense that the new version is completely redesigned to offer many more features.  We don't have an Xbox One to test it on just yet, but according to the screenshots, it looks like there's some great new functionality such as volume control.  Having to pick up a TV remote with the Xbox 360 in order to control the audio volume or turn off the TV was so ...

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    Back at the launch of the Nokia Lumia 1020 in New York City, I was taking a few pictures with my Nokia Lumia 810 and the lead program manager for Nokia's new camera software approached me and we started talking.  I asked him about RAW support in professional photography software like Adobe Lightroom and Bridge. I already knew that they had implemented a non-destructive cropping mechanism which reminded me of exactly how non-destructive cropping works with RAW photo software on my desktop and Surface Pro tablet. I figured Nokia's cropping info could be translated into the sidecar metadata ...

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    You may have noticed recently that T-Mobile's new CEO John Legere has been shaking up the mobile phone service carrier business quite a bit lately. T-Mobile just recently announced free unlimited international roaming for data and text messaging services; something that has been unheard of until now. And even more recently, they've announced free LTE data plans for tablets that will give you 200Mb of data per month for life. That's another crazy awesome thing that's never been done before. They've also totally dropped the old contract-model where carriers would try to trick you into ...

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    Last night was the midnight launch event for the Surface 2 and the Surface Pro 2 which happened in a number of select Microsoft Stores.  We decided to check out the party in White Plains, New York, and got to take a look at the new Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, as well as the new type covers and touch covers.  Check out the video below for our quick "Hands on" video of the new tablets. The Surface 2 feels very thin and light. The new silver metal color looks great and the new 2-stage kickstand will help to adjust the screen for the right angle when using the device from a lower position.  ...

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