Oculus Quill Can Be Used to Create Movies

Oculus Quill can be used to create movies, and the first one will be Dear Angelica.

It seems that the new virtual reality technology can serve for more than our mere entertainment, as Oculus Quill can be used to create movies. Oculus Story Studio has used the new tool to produce the upcoming motion picture Dear Angelica, featuring brilliant visuals. The studio was created exactly one year ago and has produces two other movies in the meantime.

The first motion picture focused on virtual reality is Lost, which was followed by Henry, a 3D animated movie. However, Dear Angelica is the first one that used the new tool named Oculus Quill. Will it be different from the other two? Yes, since not only does it display the full potential of virtual reality, but also involves the user in the story.

The story follows a teenage girl who is reflecting on her life by taking a look at her mother’s memories. As the viewer finds out more about her, the world starts being painted around them, and each stroke of the brush reveals new details. You can decide whether you wish to follow the story, follow the brush or simply take a look at the art. All these elements are visible no matter where you are standing. Should you wish to take a closer look at something, all you need to do is lean in.

The wonderful visual effects were created with the help of the previously mentioned Oculus Quill. This new tool can be used to create art by the simple movement of the hand, and is quite similar to the Tilt Brush from HTC Vive. Unfortunately, Oculus Quill will not be available for everyone to use. For the moment, only Oculus illustrators will be able to create visual art with the quill. On the other hand, the HTC Vive tool can be bought by all users.

This is truly an extraordinary opportunity for artists to be able to put all their emotions in their art and to represent it as closely as they can to the ideas they have in their minds. As a result, viewers will more easily understand the meaning of their art. Since Oculus Quill can be used to create movies, it can also display the progress of a painting, thus conveying movement to the still images. Wesley Allsbrook, illustrator of Dear Angelica, declared that this is all she has ever dreamed of. Who knows, maybe soon enough we will have moving and talking pictures on the walls, just like Hogwarts had those portraits hanging on its corridors.

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Stick figure Bill, the New Meme Teaching You Manners

Stick figure Bill, the new meme teaching you manners has become viral on social media platforms.

Meet stick figure Bill, the new meme teaching you manners, whether you want it or not.

If you haven’t already met stick figure Bill, the new meme teaching you manners, it is time to know the viral piece of media. The only way you could have missed this is if you do not have an active account on a social media platform.

The stick figure named Bill is meant to be the master of politeness and manners, and it has been used for several weeks now to express the frustration of people who have to deal with difficult persons. For instance, Bill does not take photos in every bathroom he enters, he does not post pictures of every meal he eats on Instagram and he does not tweet every single thing he does. The purpose of the meme is to teach annoying people how to behave in public, especially in the virtual world.

It seems that only this weekend Bill has appeared in millions of posts especially on Facebook and Twitter. Some say the reason for this is psychological: the meme gives people a sense of superiority when posting it. Some have even designed all sorts of applications that automatically generate a Be Like Bill scenario for you, as we can see on Facebook. These apps also replace Bill’s name with your own, thus giving you a compliment and the possibility of receiving many likes. As a result, it feeds both your ego and your need for acceptance and validation.

But what is exactly a meme? Well, the term has appeared sometime in 1976 in The Selfish Gene book by Richard Dawkins. The word “meme” comes from the Greek “mimeme” and refers to something that spreads or imitates. However, nowadays the term means online content that is constantly repeated.

The Be Like Bill meme was created by Eugen Croitoru, a programmer from Moldova. Bill has his own Facebook page, managed by his creator. Croitoru defined Bill as being a fictional character that sends messages in funny but often sensitive ways. However, he is not linked to any real life persons.

In the end, this whole invasion can be truly annoying to some people, but then again, what viral meme is not? If you are already sick and tired of stick figure Bill, the new meme teaching you manners, you can be rest assured that he will disappear as quickly as he conquered the virtual world. Memes usually have fairly short lives.

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Friends on Facebook are Almost Entirely Illusory

 A new study shows that your friends on Facebook are almost entirely illusory.

Whether you have ten or one thousand connections on the social media platform, you should know that your friends on Facebook are almost entirely illusory. The newest study on the matter has proved that one person cannot have more than 150 friends at a time. This limit is also named “Dunbar’s Number” after Robin Dunbar, the British study author and professor.

Dunbar explained that this 150 layer is the one that differentiates the people that can do you favors and towards whom you feel you have obligations from the ones that you do not have reciprocated relationships with. Furthermore, his study approached other boundaries among circles of friends on Facebook. It seems each person has 1500 people they can recognize on the social media platform, 500 acquaintances, 150 friends, 50 good friends, 15 best friends and only five intimate friends.

Dunbar’s study states that we tend to add anyone we recognize on Facebook, and even a couple of people that we’ve never seen in our lives. The research included 3375 participants with ages between 18 and 65. They were all asked how many real friends they have. The average was 27.6 per cent. However, the next question was about the friends who would help them in the case of a crisis. Here, the numbers dropped dramatically to only four friends. The answers were the same no matter how many friends the participant had on Facebook.

Surprisingly, the study also showed that younger users of the social media platform are thinking of migrating to others such as Instagram, WeChat, Flickr, Vine and Snapchat. If we take a look at official data, we can see this is true: in 2013 Facebook had 86 per cent of its population aged between 18 and 29, while in 2015 the percentage has dropped to 82 per cent. On the other hand, the number of users older than 65 years old has risen in 2015, reaching 48 per cent of the total number of Facebook users. Daniel Miller, University College London Lead Anthropologist believes that young adults are starting to leave the platform because their parents have begun to use it.

Unfortunately, this use of social media has also led to the decrease of face-to-face communication and the deterioration of friendships. Since there is no way of avoiding social media in the information age, Dunbar suggested that the best way to keep our friendships is to combine the virtual interaction with the real one. Most of your friends on Facebook are almost entirely illusory, so you should make sure to keep the genuine ones close.

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Xiaomi Mi 4C Review – The Android That Feels Like An iPhone

Xiaomi Mi 4C Overview

It’s mere weeks until the release of the next in the Xiaomi Mi line – more specifically Xiaomi Mi 5 – and what better time to spare a glance to its predecessor, the Xiaomi Mi 4C? Every time a new device is released, the previous one in the hierarchy is more likely to receive a reduction in price, making it more affordable and a decent option, even if it’s not the hippest or newest.

The Xiaomi Mi 4C is yet another production that comes from China and hopes to breach into the western market by employing decent mid-range builds and particularly low prices. But like so many other smartphones that attempt to do the same, it comes with its own ups and downs. Being easily comparable to the Nexus 5X in terms of power and capability, but at about half that unit’s price, it would be highly understandable why the Xiaomi Mi 4C would appeal to anyone.

However, given the fact that it is, after all, a Chinese production, getting yourself one of the Xiaomi Mi 4C phones may prove to be difficult via your usual stores. There’s no way to find it in stores, leaving you with the only option to order it online. But seeing as most of the reliable sources will not be a place where you can find this particular smartphone, you may have to rely on a Chinese website that can deliver to the US.

That will, however, mean you should expect quite the shipping fees and a bit of hassle to get your hands on it so let’s see if what the Xiaomi Mi 4C has to offer is worth the wait.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Great display
  • Upgradeable to Android 6.0 Lollipop
  • Sleek design
  • USB Type C Charging

Cons:

  • Not stock Android OS
  • No microSD slot
  • Difficult to get
  • Missing some useful features you may not realize you need until you use this phone

Xiaomi Mi 4C Design

Xiaomi Mi 4C Design

While the Xiaomi Mi 4C is not the first successor of the original Mi 4 that was launched in July 2014, it could very well be considered so. Even though the Mi 4i was the first official upgrade that was brought to this particular line of smartphones, the 4c ended up as the true successor to the original Mi model, featuring a lot more capability.

Even though the Xiaomi Mi 4C isn’t that far off from being called a brand new release – it was first launched on the market in September 2015 – it fares very well from a design perspective. And I find that a difficult feat to achieve when you use polycarbonate plastic to build the entire exterior of the phone. Still, the Mi 4C manages to look very much like a well rounded and polished device.

Even though the manufacturer didn’t opt for metal in its build, Xiaomi Mi 4c’s design is defined by a matte finish. That comes with a great grip whenever you hold the phone, preventing it from slipping and making it feel extremely comfortable to the touch. Overall, the build feels sturdy and surprisingly, premium, while not skimping at all on compactness and reliability.

In terms of size, the Xiaomi Mi 4C measures 5.44 x 2.74 x 0.31 inches (138.1 x 69.6 x 7.8 mm). To give you an example that you can scale it with, it is very similar to the LG Nexus 5X. Alternatively, it’s considerably larger than the iPhone 5S for example, but has about the same thickness. The Mi 4C also weighs 132 grams, which is near identical to its LG counterpart, making is quite light and easy to hold.

There are a few questionable downsides for it – for example the non-removable back cover and the lack of a microSD slot. But other than that, the minimal design choices of the Xiaomi Mi 4C offer you great accessibility. The back of the device is where you’ll find the rear camera, with 3 rows of punctured speaker holes all the way at the bottom, right below the Mi logo.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Speaker

The right hand side of the smartphone hosts the power button and the one-piece volume rocker. The latter seems to have also gained the ability to be used to snap photos which is slightly unusual for what one would normally be accustomed to. Meanwhile, the left hand side is where you’ll find a dual-SIM card tray which can prove to be particularly useful for anyone who finds themselves always having to run around with multiple phones.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Side Buttons

Xiaomi Mi 4C Dual Sim

The dual-sim feature is one area where the western market doesn’t manage to do a great job, whereas for the Chinese manufacturers it’s quite common and often heard of. The top is where you’ll find a regular 3.5 mm headphone jack, as well as an IR blaster in case you ever need it. The bottom is home to the Type C USB port, which is still something yet to be adopted in all of the new mobile devices, so it’s a good reason to look forward to it.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Type C USB Charging

Still, the Xiaomi Mi 4C seems to lack many of the other newer features that are becoming standard for smartphones in the eyes of the customer. Things such as near field communication, fingerprint scanners or support for contactless Android Pay. This is very likely to be caused by the fact that while these features may be popular in the western market, in China individuals barely make use of them so manufacturers don’t bother to put them in their phones as a result.

The Xiaomi Mi 4C comes in 5 different color variations, which strongly resemble the color palette that was used in the iPhone 5C line of phones. While the plain black and white variants will most likely be to anyone’s liking, it’s safe to know that it also comes in pink, turquoise and yellow shades.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Color Variations

Xiaomi Mi 4C Display

The great design of the Xiaomi Mi 4C is complimented by an ISP LCD display that doesn’t skimp on size or quality. At 5 inches, the screen is marginally smaller than the one incorporated in the LG Nexus 5X. regardless, the display stretches nicely from edge to edge, giving the phone a 71.7% screen to body ratio.

Considering it has a maximum resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels, that accounts for a 441 ppi pixel density value, once again offering a slight edge over its LG counterpart. Covered in a layer of oleophobic coating on top of the classic protection that the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 offers makes for a great backup against fingerprints and other types of smudges. However, it would appear that all that protection does not do an amazingly great job at preventing screen scratches so you may want to consider investing in screen protectors or cases if you are to purchase the Xiaomi Mi 4C.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Display

Some users may find that the display is a little shinier and reflective than they would wish for; certainly, it doesn’t do an amazing job at staying clear and crisp when trying to view content in broad daylight (and worse, direct sunlight) but the phone has a sunlight mode that can ease viewing things in brightly lit conditions. Even so, the experience won’t be amazing unless you crank up your brightness levels to the maximum.

The Xiaomi Mi 4C display scores 450 nits on the brightness scale and a 1609:1 contrast ratio, accounting for satisfyingly deep blacks. At an average deltaE for primary colors of 6.6, the Xiaomi Mi 4C has been called on not producing the most accurate colors out there. While the natural tendency of the colors on this phone is to go towards bluish hues, the Mi 4C offers a slider option that will allow you to change the colors to warmer if you like to do so.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Specifications & Performance

Xiaomi Mi 4C Specifications & Performance

In comparison to the previous iteration of the Xiaomi Mi 4, the Mi 4C is a huge upgrade to say the least.  With pieces of hardware at least a few generations ahead than the ones found on its predecessor, the latter offers great performance and capability. Even so, however, the Xiaomi Mi 4C should not be considered more than a mid-range device as it won’t come very close to the flagship devices companies such as Samsung or Apple make.

Still, this is the short list of what you can find inside the Xiaomi Mi 4C: Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 MSM8992 chipset, a hex-core CPU, Adreno 418 graphics processing unit, 16/32 GB of hard drive space and 2/3 GB of RAM. There seems to be a slight difference between the specifications you’ll get on the 16GB version than the ones you get on the 32; a bit odd but the differences are far from major.

The hex-core processing unit consists of a quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53, along with a dual-core 1.82 Ghz Cortex-A57. The Adreno 418 GPU that comes with it is what I would call a little old but still loyal piece of technology. There will be a very clear limit to what games you can and cannot play, and the limit is set somewhere around the late 2014 mark. The games that came out up until then should run on high quality with no problem. Take it up a notch with later releases and your experience may not be equally great.

The storage options on the Xiaomi Mi 4C are sadly limited, only offering you either a 16 GB or a 32 GB version. In the absence of micro-SD based storage expansion, things don’t look very well if you’re looking for more. While you do get 1 extra gigabyte of RAM on the 32 GB version, you should take into account the fact that it only really comes into action when you stress the capabilities of your phone.

Unless you’re running an unfeasible amount of apps at a given moment, the 2 GB phone will perform decently throughout the day no matter what you choose to do.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Software & Features

Xiaomi Mi 4C Software

The Xiaomi Mi 4C unfortunately doesn’t use a stock Android operating system, but then again that’s the case with most devices manufactured by Chinese phone makers. While the phone comes with the Android 5.1 Lollipop base OS, Xiaomi uses a custom designed user interface known as MIUI 7. Before we delve into the custom interface in detail, you should know that the Xiaomi Mi 4C can be updated to the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow now, so you should be able to enjoy what that has to offer.

If there’s anything turns out to be a bit of a hindrance on the Mi 4C, it’s the fact that you won’t immediately have access to the standard Google apps such as the Play Store as soon as you take the phone out of the box. However, it’s no end of the world as you can easily download them right away and start setting up your new smartphone home just as easily.

MIUI 7 is a relatively clean user interface that changes the way things look a fair amount, resorting to icons that highly resemble the Apple iOS design. Not only that but the mere way things look when you interact with the operating system also feels a lot like navigating around an iPhone. Not only that everything runs smoothly, but the way the phone responds is very fluid (think about scrolling down through menus on an iPhone).

Xiaomi Mi 4C MIUI 7

The MIUI 7 doesn’t employ the use of app drawers like regular Android phones do, and instead chooses to arrange your apps and shortcuts on your homescreen. Once again highly resembling the iOS model, the user interface will display tiny badges to let you know certain apps have unchecked notifications on them – such as unread messages, missed calls and so on.

But while the entire operating system may feel like it’s downright copied after what makes iOS what it is, it still adds a great amount of Android user favorite features. To name a couple, that would be a high degree of customization and the entire notification system.

But MIUI 7 has its own say in the matter as well, bringing a few neat tricks for you to make use of and transform your experience using this phone into an easy to use and comfortable one. What Xiaomi calls ‘Edge Controls’ is the particular feature that allows you to perform different action by tapping on the side of your phone a certain number of times. The phone also allows you to change the default application of the edge controls the way you like it, opting out of using them for things such as moving back through the interface or snapping photos when the camera app is open.

Last but not least, you should know that MIUI 7 allows you to unroot the phone. If you choose to flash the global stable ROM, all you need to do is download the file to the phone’s storage and then run the MIUI 7 Updater. This will remove your previously installed non-core apps along with the original bloatware that comes with the system, but you can easily get them back afterwards via a program that you can find on the Mi Market.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Camera

Xiaomi Mi 4C Camera

Although I realize it’s purely biased of me to say that the presence of cameras on phones has become purely trivial and not something that people still give too much credit to. It’s common knowledge that good photos will never be the result of a phone camera, and yet – seeing that it’s more likely that wherever you go, you’ll have your phone on you and not your professional DSLR, chances are you’ll use the Xiaomi Mi 4C camera at least several times.

And that is one aspect where you should feel relieved at least. The way that Chinese manufacturers manage to reduce the price on their units so much is by cutting corners on particular pieces in their builds; sometimes it’s the display, other times it’s the chipset or even the materials used in its construction. More often than not however, it’s the camera that gets the brunt of that. Well, not in Xiaomi Mi 4C’s case.

The quality of the photos taken with the 13 megapixel rear camera was surprising to say the least, featuring rich colors, a great amount of detail and sharpness. To compare it to its western brother, the LG Nexus 5X, the camera on the Mi 4C is greatly superior in almost every perspective. Starting with the time it takes for the autofocus to kick in, even in harsher light conditions and ending with the fact that it can shoot in 1080p, its performance is top notch given the price class of the phone.

There’s a whole lot of editing and control packed in the camera software that the Xiaomi Mi 4C offers. On top of the regular shooting modes and filters, you also get to adjust white balance, ISO and much more.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Battery Life

Although it’s non-removable, the battery pack that comes with the Xiaomi Mi 4C is surprisingly powerful. The 3,080 mAh battery will keep your phone going for outstanding periods of time if you’re a light user. If you just use it to reply to texts, make an occasional call, check your email and maybe look something up on the internet, the phone could easily last almost 2 days on a single, full charge.

Video playback can last you up to 6 hours on default screen brightness. There is a number of software features that allow you to reduce your battery usage; while reducing the brightness of the display is your easiest, go-to option to save up some battery, you can also set the phone to cut down a little on performance in order to also consume less.

And of course, because the Xiaomi Mi 4C uses a Type-C USB cable that is capable of fast charging, you can actually get a full charge going in 1.5 – 2 hours.

Xiaomi Mi 4C Verdict

So far and by all means, almost everything contained in this phone is definitely a good reason for you to purchase it, especially if you’re not looking for the high end flagships and the state of the art devices on the market. The manufacturer seems to have managed to pull off creating a great device without cutting too many corners, that is both responsive and quite sleek.

The problem with the Xiaomi Mi 4C is, however, the fact that it is after all a device designed for the Chinese market. That being said, it may have some features that you’re not very accustomed to and at the same time lack some things that you feel like you can’t live without in 2016 anymore. Not to mention that in order to get things as comfortable as you can, you will need to do some manual tweaking.

You can purchase the Xiaomi Mi 4C for roughly $229 from select retailers in both the United States (when in stock) or, alternatively, from Chinese online stores.

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Encrypted Phones Will Be Banned in California

At the moment there is a debate whether encrypted phones will be banned in California or not.

A new bill that states that encrypted phones will be banned in California has just been introduced by a lawmaker. The document refers to the type of encryption that cannot be cracked by manufacturers or law enforcement.

Legislators fear that the advanced technology we have today can shield vital information from investigators. This is not the first measure that has been taken in this respect. On the other side, security and technology experts believe that weakening encryption can harm ordinary users by putting them in danger.

The new bill was submitted by Jim Cooper, assembly member of The Democrat California. In more detail, it states that every smartphone that will be manufactured from January 1, 2017 onwards and sold on the territory of California must be able to be unlocked and decrypted by the provider of its operating system or its manufacturer. Cooper believes that such a measure is necessary in the fight against human trafficking.

At the moment, iOS and Android users can encrypt their respective devices when they first set them up. In this case, everyone who does not have a password cannot access the device, including its manufacturer and law enforcement. However, this use of end-to-end encryption and disk encryption is starting to concern many people, as it can conceal evidence. For instance, in 2014 a police officer declared that the encryption used for iPhones can make them the ideal choices for pedophiles.

A very similar bill was introduced in New York, while in France an amendment pursued to do the same thing but it was not turned into a law. Many in the UK believe that they will soon face the same changes with the government’s investigatory powers bill. Returning to the U.S., the White House declared last year that they are not trying to ban encryption at the moment, but they do not exclude the possibility in the future.

The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, demanded the White House to make a statement in public that they are going to support products with strong encryption. However, police officers have a different opinion: the police needs all the information it can get in order to catch the bad guys, and especially human traffickers.

It remains to be seen whether encrypted phones will be banned in California or not. Ironically, both Google and Apple have their headquarters in California, and thus if the law is passed and they will not comply, they might be forced to move.

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How to Fix Common Windows 10 Issues When Upgrading

Windows 10 Issues Guide

Unlike some of its predecessors, the latest version of the Microsoft operating system – Windows 10 – seems to have a lot more success. And there are more than just a few reasons behind that. After the unfortunate release that Windows 8 was – for a lack of better wording – and even in spite of its desperate attempts to remedy some of the issues that the original build had created via the major 8.1 update, Microsoft seems to have taken everything from scratch.

Whether the reason behind it was the company’s excellent method of advertising the new release, the fact that Windows 10 finally answered to so much customer feedback or the ease of upgrading itself, statistics say that right now, this OS is installed on more than 220 million computers and devices. And now that Microsoft is shutting down support for Windows 8, the timing couldn’t be better for you to consider upgrading to the latest version of the operating system. Not to mention that the ‘free’ tag on this OS is only available until July 29th 2016.

And yet there are still so many individuals out there who, albeit are willing to upgrade, are still facing difficulties in the process. Whether it’s because this is the first time that Microsoft opts for this method of upgrading or due to the vaguely confusing and sort of unnecessary steps that you have to go through, chances are you may be still struggling to upgrade even now, months after its official release.

Common Windows 10 Issues – Reserving the Free Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 Issues Reservation

I’ve heard of countless cases in which someone was not able to upgrade simply because they never got the notification that Microsoft pushes to devices if they fulfill the prerequisites. I currently own 4 different computers and laptops in the house and that is something that happened on two of them.

However, just for safe measure, first you should make sure that you qualify for the upgrade. According to Microsoft, only genuine Windows 7 and Windows 8 copies are eligible for the free upgrade. However, a detail that ends up being missed many times is the fact that you have to update to the latest Windows 7 Service Pack 1 or Windows 8.1 versions in order for you to receive the prompt to upgrade to Windows 10. You should also make sure your machine has the hardware specifications required for the new operating system.

As you may occasionally encounter a glitch where your device refuses to display the notification even if it’s properly updated, the key is to turn off your automatic updates then turn them back on. After running its updating course (which may require some restarts of your computer), you should soon spot the update flag onto the bottom right task bar of your screen.

Common Windows 10 Issues – Installing your Reservation of the Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 Issues - Installation Phase

This is something else that is not unheard of for users who did reserve their copy of Windows 10 but either postponed it or could literally not find it at all. There are two possible answers to that issue: one could be easily outside of your power as Microsoft is rolling out the upgrade copies in waves; if your reservation was made later than others, there are some chances that your copy will also arrive a little later, though that is not always necessarily the case.

The other option you’re presented with is to try and rush it by grabbing yourself a copy using the Windows 10 Download Tool. That will allow you to create an USB flash drive with the OS on it, also coming with the capability of doing a clean install instead of the default upgrade option that Microsoft offers you.

Common Windows 10 Issues – Getting a Clean Install of the Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 Issues - Doing a Clean Install

If you do things by the book and by the progressive series of steps that Microsoft has designed to make the transition easier for you, you will not at any point get the option to do things such as format your OS’ partition for example. Instead, it will retain all of your already installed programs and documents by replacing the core files needed by Windows 10 while also saving you a backup of the previous operating system just in case.

But that does not do very well with solving registry issues and a lot of underlying malware or adware you may have been subjected to without really knowing. That’s when a clean install is always a neat idea.

While a normal install would just use the kit that you download and do everything by itself without you really needing any manual assistance, a clean install requires you to download the Windows 10 Download Tool. Once you’ve selected your OS’s version and downloaded the image after selecting the ‘Create installation media for another PC’, you can either burn it on a DVD or on an USB Flash device.

After all of the above is done, plug in your USB Flash device or set the DVD you used into the tray and restart your computer. As soon as it’s coming back on, press either F2, F12 or the Delete button (it depends on system) in order to enter BIOS. Set your DVD drive or USB port as your primary booting choice then follow the walkthrough. Select ‘Clean install’ from the options and hit the format button when you select the partition you wish to install your new Windows 10 on before you proceed.

Alternatively, you can very well attempt to use the in-built method of getting a clean install, however it’s safe to know that this method does not allow you to do things like repartition your hard drives for example.

  1. Hit the start button and locate ‘Settings
  2. Select Update & Security from the list
  3. Hit Recovery
  4. Hit Reset this PC and select the Remove Everything option from the list.

Common Windows 10 Issues – Finding Your Windows Key During the Windows 10 Upgrade

Windows 10 Issues - Need Serial Number

Though during a normal, default install, you will most likely not be prompted to enter in your Windows serial key number, a clean install for example will require that information from you. Ever since Windows 8.1 was released, Microsoft gave up the physical copy of the key idea and instead chose to always maintain it into the system’s BIOS so it can be automatically loaded when you reinstall your OS. At least that is the case with some of the devices that came with the operating system preinstalled.

When upgrading to Windows 10, you will basically be using that exact same key to get your new license. If you bought a physical version of your previous operating system, you will have to whip it out and look for the license key inside the box.

If your device came with an operating system preinstalled, the label containing the key should be placed somewhere onto the device itself: the bottom of your laptop or the back of your desktop’s tower for example.

If you’re using the latest Windows 8.1 version, the key is only embedded into BIOS and even if you manage to extract it, it bugs out and cannot be used in the Windows 10 installation. Sadly, the only method to work around this is to install the Windows 10 upgrade twice like this:

  1. Download the upgrade to Windows 10 kit
  2. Do a normal install so your new Windows 10 key is generated and encrypted into your BIOS. Just follow through the steps, do not make any custom modifications to the installation process.
  3. Follow the steps for a clean install after Step 2 is completed.

Common Windows 10 Issues – Various Obstacles in Getting the Windows 10 Upgrade Going

At any point before or as you’re trying to upgrade your operating system to Windows 10, you may get a number of issues. Here is a list of the most common ones that you could encounter.

  1. Common Windows 10 Issues – Not enough space for installing the new operating system.

Windows 10 Issues Space Required

Even though the installed version of Windows 10 is smaller than the installed version of Windows 8 for example, you may encounter this issue especially when dealing with small-sized SSD hard drives for example. Even if the installation kit doesn’t take up more than about 3 GB of space by itself, even that small amount may make the difference. It’s best that you use a DVD or flash drive instead, even if you don’t go for a full, clean install.

  1. Common Windows 10 Issues – Not enough space after installing Windows 10

Windows 10 Issues - No Space Post-Install

As you may have noticed earlier, it was mentioned that when you upgrade to Windows 10, the installation process also saves up a backup of your previous operating system in a folder called Windows.old. So in case you find yourself struggling with space right after the upgrade, that is most likely why.

Even if you’re certain that you won’t need your backed up version any longer, it’s wise to quickly copy it on an external drive or somewhere else that is safe just in case you run into various issues afterwards. After all that is said and done, you can safely remove the backup from your computer and free up some space.

As a side note, the backup version of your previous operating system is automatically deleted from the system in 30 days.

  1. Common Windows 10 Issues – Windows 10 is not genuine

Windows 10 Issues Genuine

This is an error that occurs when attempting to install the new operating system upgrade through manual workarounds that did not imply you getting the installation kit through traditional means. If you have not used your very own, personal upgrade reservation and/or are not using a genuine version of Windows 7/8/8.1 at the time of installation, chances are you will be getting this error.

Sadly, there’s not much you can do about it without any kind of purchase. As long as you keep getting the error, it means that your copy is illegal or simply a trial version that you won’t be able to enjoy it to its full potential. You can fix that by purchasing a valid key for either of the aforementioned operating system or straight out a brand new Windows 10 key directly from the Microsoft website.

By simply clicking on the notification flag that your Windows is not genuine, you will immediately be guided to where you can purchase a key from.

  1. Common Windows 10 Issues – Reverting to your previous operating system

Windows 10 Issues - Reverting Back to Previous OS

Whether you’re getting compatibility issues or simply aren’t as happy with the Windows 10 upgrade as you expected, you can easily revert to your previous version using the recovery tool. As long as you haven’t exceeded the 30 day period that the automatic backup will survive for, you can dig it out and revert to the way things were before by following these steps:

  1. Hit the start button and locate ‘Settings
  2. Select Update & Security from the list
  3. Hit Recovery
  4. Press the Go Back button

Do note that if you have opted for a clean install, the system will no longer have access to the automatic backup file and your only chance to revert is if you saved up a copy of it on an external drive. If that is the case, you can load it and use it with the steps mentioned above.

  1. The mysterious king of Windows 10 Issues – the ‘Something happened’ error

Windows 10 Issues - Something Happened Error

The infamously ambiguous error is difficult to track down and nail because it really holds no other information than literally ‘Something happened’. It’s not very clear why this happens in the first place and you’re most likely to encounter it at the very beginning of the upgrading process. Various people have managed to find these two workarounds it.

Method A: Press Start and go to Control Panel. In the Clock, Language and Region folder, select Region and click on the Administrative tab. In this window, click on the Change System Locale button and set it to English (US). Restart your PC and the installation should now work.

Method B: This method is for the users who have experienced this error when attempting to create the Windows 10 install media. This is usually caused by missing administrator privileges of the account that you’re using to create it.

Download and install the Windows 10 Download tool. Make sure you’re logged in as an administrator if there are multiple accounts on the machine you are doing this on. If you’re unsure whether your account has the administrator status or not, simply restart your PC and log in as administrator.

Hit Start and type in Windows 10 Download directly. Before hitting enter once the system located the needed file, right click on it in the list and select Run as Administrator from the drop-down menu. Then proceed through the installation and media creation wizard normally.

  1. Common Windows 10 Issues – Battling the We Couldn’t Install Windows 10 0xC1900101 – 0x30018 error

Windows 10 Issues - Installation Error

This particular error seems to be popping around whenever a driver or piece of security software is incompatible with what the installation kit is meant to do. If you are encountering it, your best chance of fixing it is to let the computer restore itself to what it was before you started the upgrade then turn off your antivirus, if any, your wireless connection and remove any unnecessary devices you may have plugged in (controllers, extra hard drives, USB flash devices, etc.).

As an extra step you may want to run a quick check in your Command Prompt. Make sure you are using an account with administrator privileges, hit Start and type in ‘cmd’ then open the Command Prompt app. Type sfc /scannow in the new window to make sure that all drivers on your computers are in good state.

If there are any other issues you may be running into when trying to upgrade to Windows 10, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to find you a fix!

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New Virtual Reality Research Facility for Oculus Rift

A new virtual reality research facility for Oculus Rift has been opened in Pittsburgh.

A new virtual reality research facility for Oculus Rift has been purchased in Pittsburgh.

Facebook plans to improve its highest technology device yet by establishing a new virtual reality research facility for Oculus Rift. A Pennsylvania publication has revealed that the company has just bought a 20,000 square feet building in the city of Pittsburgh. The information has been confirmed by official representatives.

Oculus Rift was bought by Facebook two years ago in 2004 and has since hired numerous developers, computer vision technicians and post-doctoral scientists to work on the project. At the moment, the company is looking for new employees for the Pittsburgh location. And they will need quite a lot of people since the Oculus technology includes a constellation program to track the movements of the user. Furthermore, the device features several external visual indicators which can identify the LEDs located inside of it. These aspects might be soon joined by less movement trackers that are based on calculations for determining the position of the user, as well as a regular digicam.

However, this area of study can prove truly useful for other modern endeavours such as self-driving cars. As a result, Apple has also bought a location near the city in order to work on the Uber project.

As we come one step closer to making our dreams come as true as they can with virtual reality, it was only logical for Facebook to acquire a device that will surely prove very profitable in the future. The company paid over $2 billion for Oculus Rift: 23 million stock shares and $400 million cash. Mark Zuckerberg himself, Facebook CEO, is fascinated by the technology and thus determined to perfect it.

The project was started by its founder, Palmer Luckey, as a campaign on Kickstarter. After five years of hard work, Oculus Rift will finally be released in March. The device will come with two VR games and a remote that can be used to search for other experiences in online stores. Further software will be produced by partner app designers. On a more realistic note, Oculus will not come cheap: the device will cost $600.

By purchasing a new virtual reality research facility for Oculus Rift, Facebook is sure to soon advance with VR technology and thus get ahead of its competition, if it hasn’t done so already. The company has many future plans for Oculus, among which inside monitoring based on a camera installed on the device, and Hololens-type AR that uses a particular computer visuals programs in order to model external spaces.

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WhatsApp Is Finally Free to Use

WhatsApp is finally free to use, and the company has big plans for further updates.

After many years during which we had to pay $0.99 every twelve months, WhatsApp is finally free to use. The announcement was made by Jan Koum, CEO and one of the co-founders of the company during the DLD 2016 conference held in Munich. As a result, WhatsApp will search for new ways of getting in contact with the users.

Even though the cheap annual subscription fee was more symbolic, users will be relieved when they will find out they no longer need to pay it. However, in its place, the company might place adverts and sponsored messages, which might prove even more annoying. Fortunately, this is not the case as WhatsApp has reassured us. Not only would the application be a useless place for such ads, but there is no way the company could make them valuable. Since their communications are encrypted end-to-end, WhatsApp cannot scan for keywords which are used in adverts.

Furthermore, as the company was bought by Facebook in February 2014 for $19.3 billion, there are plans of integration between both platforms. However, data sharing is excluded and thus there will be no way advertisers can use Facebook likes to serve ads.

So what does WhatsApp plan? It seems the company will focus on the communication between users and certain businesses and organizations, for instance banks or airlines. You might soon be able to talk to your bank about a fraudulent transaction or with an airline about cancelling your flight. This is not the first time someone thought about this idea. Facebook is already testing this feature for its new app Facebook M, and Google is currently developing a similar application. We can expect Facebook M to be somehow integrated into WhatsApp.

Jan Koum had also made some references to the fact that the company is working on several improvements, such as video-calling. As a result, the application is expected to become a fierce contender against other services like Skype, iMessage, Google Hangouts and FaceTime.

WhatsApp is a communication platform working as part of a certain subscription business model. Its users can send various messages, images, videos, recordings and locations from their smartphones. Headquartered in Mountain View, California, WhatsApp has been growing the number of its users, thus reaching about 900 million in September 2015, and becoming the most popular messaging application worldwide.

While WhatsApp is finally free to use, it might take quite some time for other features to be released. Both WhatsApp and Facebook have a history of slow updates, but it will surely be worth the wait.

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HP Envy 4500 Review – Remastering the Roots of Inkjet

HP Envy 4500 e-All-in-One Printer

The HP Envy 4500 ink jet printer is the best example of the kind of device that is certainly capable of many and yet not particularly amazing at any. However, coming from a long line of all-in-ones, the Envy 4500 is one of the very first to have come into existence and bring high versatility into an affordable and relatively small package.

The entire idea that was placed behind the Envy printer series was to design a printer that would be capable of handling anything you ever need for it to do without skimping on the way it looks. In other words, the kind of printer which is made for home use, designed to go well with the surroundings of any of your rooms thanks to its low profile build.

One would believe that with all the benefits of owning a low profile printer that can do basically anything and is far from being pricey far exceed any cons that the HP Envy 4500 may come with should certainly give the printer a much closer look before making a purchase. There is a fairly good reason for which this printer should not be taken for granted in some scenarios you may be thinking of putting it at work in.

Pros:

  • Highly affordable
  • Capable and versatile
  • Both wireless and USB connectivity
  • Duplex printing
  • Cheap black cartridges
  • XL cartridges available

Cons:

  • Photo printing is not the greatest
  • Color cartridges easily expended and don’t even come separately per color
  • Slow
  • Just meant for casual use, and not office or small businesses

HP Envy 4500 Design

HP Envy 4500 Design

Aesthetically, this HP Envy printer is by far one of the most pleasing units you’ve seen so far – and that is thanks to a number of design decisions and even the mere purpose that HP gave this device. As I’ve mentioned in the overview above, the HP Envy 4500 is meant to be discreet and easy to place anywhere in your home. It’s a lot smaller than any office printer you may have ever seen and can inconspicuously fit in any room you may want to place it in. Without the paper tray opened up, the Envy 4500 occupies even less space and resembles a plain black box.

Featuring either matte black surfaces or the glassy finish on its front portion where you’ll find the control panel and dedicated, direct control button, the HP Envy 4500 is a much better alternative to the light-colored alternatives. It measures 390 x 445 x 608 mm, making it small in overall size but a little on the wide side. It’s also wise to take into account the fact that it weighs 5.5 kilograms (around 12 pounds) before you decide where to place it.

However, in comparison to its younger brothers, namely the HP Envy 5660 and HP Envy 7640, it’s probably the sleekest and most definitely the smallest example of their all-in-one printers. The top is where you’ll find the scanner system, naturally. However, look a little lower and you’ll notice that the entire scanner glass surface can open up to reveal the interior of the device. This is where you’ll find both of the cartridges, making it a breeze whenever you have to change them, as well as give you an easy to access method of fixing most paper jams, if they ever occur; even if they are unlikely.

There is a rather upsetting thing about the color cartridge, while we’re at it, that I have to admit takes off a few points of the HP Envy 4500. Sadly, you don’t get separate magenta, yellow and cyan cartridges, and instead have to rely on just one for all of your colors. That being said, if you ever require to print a red-centric series of photos for example and you run out of the necessary ink but you’re still halfway through the yellow and cyan, you’d have to change the entire color cartridge altogether, which is an absolute waste.

HP Envy 4500 Cartridge

HP Envy 4500 Design – Control Panel & Buttons

The entire front-facing control panel area is particularly simplistically designed and doesn’t give you that many buttons to get lost and confused in. Featuring a 50mm LCD display, you will be able to control most of your printer’s abilities straight from it. The monochrome screen makes it easy for you to navigate through the menus, though it doesn’t make use of touchscreen capabilities and you’ll have to navigate using the arrow buttons on its immediate right hand side. Similarly, it’s not possible to view thumbnails of photos you wish to print.

HP Envy 4500 Control Panel & Controls

The menu itself is a succinct hub of controls and useful sources of information. You can select through the type of functions you want the HP Envy 4500 to perform, check onto the status of your printer as well as do things such as verify the current ink levels. That way you’ll never be unpleasantly surprised by an unfortunate lack of ink when it is most needed.

Most of the buttons you’ll find on the printer’s front panel are somewhat related to navigation of the on-screen control panel: Home, Back, Up, Down arrows and OK. You’ll find the dedicated power button on the left end of the front panel and a secondary row of buttons a little further to the right. The three located here are – from top to bottom – the wireless function, the web printer option as well as a help or troubleshoot button.

HP Envy 4500 Design – Ports

In terms of ports, the HP Envy 4500 remains just as minimal as its design choice. Considering the very purpose the printer was originally designed for and the belief that you won’t be hooking up 5 computers to it alone, you will only be getting an USB 2.0 port, which you can find on the rear side of the printer. Naturally, you will also find the power port there as well, on the bottom right side. There is no Ethernet port available.

HP Envy 4500 Design – Paper tray

HP Envy 4500 Paper Tray

Seeing the way the HP Envy 4500 is constructed to begin with, you will find both the designated paper tray and output tray alike as soon as you pull down the door. The paper tray has a maximum capacity of 100 sheets of paper which doesn’t rate very well; then again, the output tray is limited at 30 pages so this ends up being a little self-defeating in the very end. All of this does, however, comes across as quite natural for a printer that isn’t made for office or small business use.

Even then, the paper tray isn’t made to store extra paper in the printer whenever you don’t need it. The printer door can’t close if you load paper in, meaning that more often than not it will force you to load paper when you actually need to print something out rather than let it stay in. In more than just one situation this may turn out to be a bit of a hindrance.

The paper tray is, however, adjustable, giving you a perfect fit for any size paper or envelope you wish to choose, while making sure you keep it centered.

HP Envy 4500 Features

Considering that the HP Envy 4500 is an e-all-in-one printer, it can literally handle pretty much everything you set it up to. The inkjet cartridge does both black and white and colored printing, and the Envy is able to handle photo copying and scanning alike, while also doing a great job when it comes to photo printing – that is, as long as your cartridge lasts you at least.

HP Envy 4500 Printing

HP Envy 4500 Features

Given its status as an inkjet printer, the speed rates that the HP Envy 4500 seems to perform at are incredibly good, especially when it comes to monochrome printing. The printer can yield you about 9 pages per minute in black and white and even about 5 pages when printing in color; possible to slow down a fair bit when trying to print out full scale photographs for example. You can make it faster and even reduce ink consumption by printing in draft mode, but that will have a noticeable impact on quality.

Thankfully, the printer has duplex printing capabilities, meaning that printing on both sides of the paper is ridiculously easy to do. Not only that but the Envy 4500 seems to actually be set to duplex printing by default so no extra setting up is even required – unless you wish to specifically set it to single side printing. As a downside, however, there is no automatic document feeder.

Even though it’s not necessarily only related to printing alone, a detail worth mentioning is the HP Envy 4500 different cartridge capacities that it comes with. You can either opt for a standard cartridge or an ‘XL’ high-yield one; the standard ones are rated to yield up to 180 monochrome pages and 150 color pages per charge, while the XL ones can go up to 455 black & white and 310 color pages.

This gives you the option to pick whatever is more suitable to your printing habits. And because inkjet cartridges are fairly cheap ($15/$21 for standard and $30/$32 for high-yield), the HP Envy 4500 once again comes out to be a very affordable printer to have in your home, on more than one level.

And while we’re at it, it’s also great to know that HP is offering a special plan called “Instant Ink” for the Envy 4500 and few other printers as well that will automatically detect when your machine is running low and mails out a new one for you. This, however, comes for a monthly subscription; on the bright side, you can choose your preferred price plan for the amount of HP Envy 4500 ink you require.

HP Envy 4500 Scanning & Copying

HP Envy 4500 Scanning Feature

One of the greatest parts of the HP Envy 4500 wireless printer is that it is capable of handling other functions such as scanning or copying directly off of its control panel, without you needing to move back and forth between the device and your computer. The scanning function will allow you to choose your preferred type of file before proceeding for example, giving you .jpeg or .pdf as viable options.

On the other hand, however, scanning speeds did not seem to be particularly fast, especially when trying it out on very detailed photos for example. At an optical resolution of 1,200 x 2,400, I’m not 100% sure that 2 minute long scans are very much excusable. Then again, your normal document page scan shouldn’t take longer than about 20 seconds, which is pretty much standard.

In the case of copying, speed once again proves to not be the strongest point of the HP 4500 printer. At 25 seconds for a single A4 monochrome copy and nearly 40 seconds for a color copy, things aren’t looking too great if you have to get things done and you’re in a rush.

HP Envy 4500 Copying Feature

Lastly, seeing that the printer is mostly oriented towards home use, it was not built to handle faxing. You can, however, find that particular feature on its younger yet larger scale brother, the HP Envy 7640.

HP Envy 4500 Connectivity – Wireless vs. USB

As I’ve mentioned a few sections up, the HP 4500 Envy is capable of multiple ways of keeping your devices connected to it in order to make a quick job whenever you need it. That consists of a wireless connectivity as well as the default USB.

HP Envy 4500 Connecting to Wi-Fi

While you can only have a device connected to the printer via USB, given its sole 2.0 port, the wireless printing offers a lot more versatility and availability alike. As soon as your printer is connected to your local wireless network, you’ll be able to detect it immediately and send all the wanted documents or photos to it directly, without going through all the hassle of physically connecting it.

HP Envy 4500 Setup & Software

The setup process is as painless as you can expect. While the HP Envy wireless printer does come with a physical copy of the driver needed which afterwards will most likely require an update, you can easily download the latest software build right away. And that is, in case your operating system doesn’t automatically do it for you right away.

HP Envy 4500 Software Customization

Once you successfully manage to get through the advertising and offers that the wizard is likely to take you through, you can do a fair amount of customization to your printing process for example by making use of the dedicated software. Nevertheless, the printer software will make necessary modifications to its internal settings whenever you select a specific type of paper you wish to use for example. Similarly, you get to choose out of 3 levels of printing quality, a borderless printing option for photos as well as the possibility to create user profile-based sets of settings.

HP Envy 4500 Verdict

To wrap up everything that we learned about the HP Envy 4500, there are some clear aspects in which this printer shines and some where it is downright ghastly. Its low profile, small-sized yet not overly professional build makes it one of the greatest choices you can hope for if you’re simply looking for an occasional printer to have in your home that won’t tax you much on ink and maintenance. If all you expect to do with it is print out necessary household documents and the occasional color necessity.

In an office scenario, however, the HP Envy 4500 is not likely to make the cut. Its very small cartridge capacity, speed, lack of fax capabilities and automatic document feeding or even things such as the very small paper tray it offers are very much counter-productive, even for small businesses.

The HP Envy 4500 comes at the prices between $79.99 and $99.99, depending on the retailer you choose. It is not, however, still sold by HP itself so if you’re considering purchasing it, you will have to opt for third party sources instead.

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Bombshell: Windows 7 Gets the Boot when it Comes to Next-Gen CPUs

Bombshell Windows 7 Gets the Boot when it Comes to Next-Gen CPUs

Bombshell: Windows 7 gets the boot when it comes to next-gen CPUs because Microsoft will cease to provide support, says the company. Most likely a strategy to forcefully-push their Windows 10 OS, which has had a quite impressive start.

Although Windows 10 has a lot of redeeming qualities, there are still a lot of pesky issues that keep users not wanting to change from Windows 7 and 8. However, the time will come when upgrading your rig won’t be an option if you don’t plan on moving further with your OS as well.

Terry Myerson, Devices Group Executive and Windows Vice President, has taken to the official Windows Blog to announce the company’s decision. The post starts with Myerson praising how well Windows 10 performs when paired with Intel’s 6th generation Skylake CPUs. Myerson adds that it makes graphics better by up to 30x, and it increases battery life by 3x.

But, unfortunately for us Windows 7/8 users, Myerson’s news aren’t that great. The VP, while acknowledging that there are still a lot of people still using older Win OSes, and that transitioning to Win 10 is quite hard, especially for businesses, says the clock is ticking, and we will eventually have to jump ship.

Ten years ago, Windows 7 was designed. That’s before x64/x86 SOCs even existed. For Win 7 to run properly on any new modern piece of tech, firmware and device drivers are needed to emulate the OS’s expectations when it comes to power states, bus support and interrupt processing. This is extremely challenging for security, graphics, WiFi and more, says Myerson.

The company will continue to support Windows 7 – compatibility, reliability, and security; on last-gen CPUs, until January 14, 2020. Windows 8 and 8.1 gets a similar treatment, yet their date is a little bit extended to January 10, 2023.

With new silicon generations introduced, writes Myerson, they will need the latest Windows OS, at the time, to work. Take Intel’s upcoming CPU Kirby Lake, AMD’s Bristol Ridge, and Qualcomm’s 8996 – all three will work only if the user has Windows 10.

A list will be available next week, regarding what Skylake devices the company will continue to support on Windows 7 and Windows 8/8.1. It will be maintained until next year – July 17, 2017. Afterwards, only the most quintessential Windows 7 and 8/8.1 security update will roll out for said configurations. If it doesn’t pose as a risk to the compatibility or reliability of the Windows 7 or 8/8.1 on other devices, that is.

The news is quite shocking, mainly because a large number of Windows users haven’t taken the step forward to install Microsoft’s latest OS. Partly because the internet is riddled with articles that bash how terribly-made Windows 10 is, and because people just don’t want to move to something that they might not like, when they are happy with what they already have.

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