I love my Dell Venue 8 Pro Windows 8.1 Tablet. Not only is it one of the slickest, most capable, and affordable tablets, on the planet but it is also one of the most versatile. It ships with Microsoft Office and since it runs Windows 8.1 it can be domain joined, Bit Locker encrypted for Enterprise strength security, and can run any application in my organization. Top that off with 64gb SSD drive and expanded storage with an additional 64gb micro SD drive….AND the ability to wirelessly project to another screen using built in Miracast and you couldn’t want anything more…right? Wrong! As a power user I am often at my desk running multiple monitors for different applications. Well with the addition of a simple $6 USB adapter (Micro USB to USB) I can do just that!! In this video I show my Dell Venue 8 Pro driving its own monitor as well as two additional monitors.
Microsoft Photosynth facilitates the creation of rich, immersive, virtual experiences through the use of a digital camera. It has been used aboard the Space Shuttle, on countless monuments, heck I have even created some of my own in the past (see this example I did in 2010 – The Portiuncula in Winter). Now they have taken Photosynth to a whole new level that will provide interactive virtual experiences like never before. The best thing of all is that anyone armed with a DSLR will be ready to create incredible immersive experiences. From the folks at Microsoft Research: “With Photosynth, you can capture the places you love in amazing resolution and full 3D. The new Photosynth technology previewed here is a dramatic step forward in smoothness and simplicity. Experience it yourself in our featured synths. This technical preview highlights the third generation of our technology. It’s what we now recommend for anyone with a D-SLR or a point-and-shoot camera. The first two generations of Photosynth technology, original synths and stitched panoramas, are still available on our main site.” You really have to see it to believe it! I just signed up for the preview myself. Check out the interactive new synths via the links below. Also, want to see something cool you can play around with today to take a virtual vacation? The check out my video below shot using my Lumia 1020 Windows Phone and Dell Venue 8 Pro. Learn more about the Photosynth technical preview. Explore the great synths created by our community. Get started by learning how to best capture photos for your synths. Read answers to common questions.
So yesterday I noticed they had pulled the A3 BIOS update from the Dell Venue Pro 8 drivers support page. This morning up popped the A4 which I downloaded and installed. It appears to have made a noticeable improvement on my tablet for writing with the Active Capacitive stylus which I had not been using due to inconsistencies (I was using a Jot Pro capacitive stylus in the interim instead). Check out the video to see how it worked. Includes demo of writing on OneNote 2013. I LOVE my Dell Venue 8 Pro and this was a welcome update :-) Improvements/Fixes as noted from Dell site with this update: 1. Enhance setup functions for security mechanism and ease use 2. Improve audio adjust 3. Improve QFE power consumption for fitting Microsoft’s specification 4. Enhance diagnostics utility for touch function 5. Upgrade embedded controller firmware version for system will shut down when wake up from connected standby on low battery level The update page for the A4 BIOS update for the Dell Venue 8 Pro can be found here Check out the Dell Venue 8 Pro on the Dell website here Check out the Dell Venue 8 Pro, along with other Windows 8.1 tablets, on the Microsoft Online Store here
Looking for a way to help get your kids get a jump start on skills for the digital economy while having fun AND getting an opportunity to bond around an activity? The Hour of Code is all about taking an hour a day to learn the basics of coding in a fun and practical way and Microsoft has some great online resources for kids of all ages (yes that means us “adults” too who are really “kids” when it comes to coding ;-) to learn the basics of coding. Participants will be learning valuable skills while creating games, phone apps and more. And for those worried about expenses this holiday season….it’s all free. :-) With the holidays upon us why not take an hour a day with your kids to sit down and help get them excited about a skill with nothing but upside and have some fun together doing so? Over at the Microsoft Hour of Code page you will find coding resources broken up in to the following three categories that build upon each other: Kodu – Fun for kids of all ages Kodu uses a visual approach to helping kids learn the basic concepts of coding while building games for the PC and Xbox. Touch Develop – For those looking to get a little deeper in to coding but who are still just learning Touch Develop helps users learn valuable coding concepts in an easy web based interface (no downloads needed). A step deeper than Kodu, Touch Develop is a great way to continue, and deepen the concepts learned by students in Kodu. You can choose to go to the Touch Develop home page or the special Hour of Code Touch Develop page (with teacher notes). Small Basic – For those ready to take the skills they learned in Kodu and Touch Develop to the next level, in a programmers environment that is still simple and easy to grasp Microsoft has launched the Small Basic site. Small Basic is designed to teach kids and adults alike Basic programming through projects/tutorials around such things as Collision Physics, Soko Ban game, Tetris game, and more. The resources are free, fun, and above all else a great way to get started in learning how to code. So take some time this December with your kids, your students, heck for yourself, and start Hour of Code. Microsoft Hour of Code website Hour of Code site Resources for Educators and Homeschoolers TeachingKidsProgramming.org – A great resource for kids as well as for teachers including free courseware.
As we are hitting the holiday season I know many of you, like myself, will be capturing all the moments in pictures and videos. With my Lumia 1020 Windows Phone one of the wonderful things is how with each picture taken I actually get two images. One is a 5mp image for use with social media apps on my phone. The other is a super dense 34mp image for editing and long term archival. However, as you start capturing lots of images you will see space decreasing on your Lumia as the large images eat it up. Many people I know choose to mage the synching and eliminating of those image strictly through the Windows 8/8.1 app for the PC. The problem is it does not synch the high resolution images from the Lumia nor does it delete them. You see the secondary images are a Lumia exclusive and not a part of the standard Windows Phone course. Soooo, if you only use the app to manage your images you will find even after deleting that you are still steadily losing space. The trick around this is simple. Good old fashioned Windows Explorer. Whether you are on a Windows 8.1 pro device/PC or a Surface RT/2 you can simply access your Lumia’s images through the explorer view. For example on my own PC the path is This PC\MikesLumia1020\Phone\Pictures\Camera Roll. There you will see both the 5mp and 34mp version of the images (34mp images have the designation of Pro__highres.jpg in the name). Once there you can cut/copy/delete just like any other folder on your PC and ensure you have retained copies of the high resolution images as well as fully reclaimed space on your device for more memory capturing moments. Hope this tip was helpful. Now get out there and start capturing memories! :-)