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Aug 24, 2011

Windows 8 Windows Explorer Evolves with New File Management Functionality

Windows Explorer in Windows 8 will evolve with new file management functionality, not just fresh eye candy (through the adoption of the Ribbon / Fluent UI). 

Microsoft has confirmed a new experience for “copy jobs” in Windows 8 via the official blog set up to share details of the operating system’s development process with the world.  

Alex Simons, a director of program management on the Windows engineering team noted that Windows 8 features improvements to the core file management commands associated with Windows Explorer: copying, moving, renaming, and deleting. 

“Our focus is on improving the experience of the person who is doing high-volume copying with Explorer today, who would like more control, more insight into what’s going on while copying, and a cleaner, more streamlined experience,” he stated. 

The video embedded at the bottom of this article is a demo of the new Windows Explorer copy jobs enhancements in Windows 8. 

According to Simons, the evolution of file management in Windows 8 is an adaptation to the changes in user behavior, since older releases of Windows Explorer are not designed to deal with high-volume jobs or to perform multiple copy jobs concurrently.

“In Windows 8, we have three main goals for our improvements to the copy experience:
  • One place to manage all copy jobs: Create one unified experience for managing and monitoring ongoing copy operations.
  • Clear and concise: Remove distractions and give people the key information they need.
  • User in control: Put people in control of their copy operations,” Simons stated. 

Windows 8 will feature a consolidated UI for all management actions, especially for concurrent Windows Explorer copy jobs. A single dialog will present all pending copy jobs, providing users with a new level of control over the ongoing processes. 

In this regard, Windows Explorer will enable Windows 8 users to pause, resume, and stop each one of multiple simultaneous copy operations. 

“To support this new ability to prioritize and decide, we’ve added a detailed view with a real-time throughput graph. Now each copy job shows the speed of data transfer, the transfer rate trend, and how much data in left to transfer. While this is not designed for benchmarking, in many cases it can provide a quick and easy way to assess what is going on for a particular job,” Simons added. 

Next gen Windows Explorer comes with enhanced conflict resolution in relation to name collision during file management jobs. Users will be presented with streamlined and intuitive options to resolve issues that come up when dealing with files sharing the same label during copy or moving jobs. 

“Our new design is much more clear, concise, and efficient, providing a much more visible and actionable approach to conflict resolution. All the files from the source are on the left," Simons explained. 

"All the files in the target location with file name collisions are on the right. The screen layout is easy to understand and shows you the critical information for all the collisions, front and center in one dialog.”

Nokia 600, 700, 701 and Symbian Belle Now Official

Finnish mobile phone maker Nokia has just made official three new handsets running under the Symbian operating system, namely the Nokia 600, 700, and 701. 

The new mobile phones were unveiled along with the latest version of Nokia's mobile operating system, namely Symbian Belle. 

The new OS flavor brings along a nice range of new features when compared to the previous releases of the platform, such as 6 homescreens, with the possibility to easily set up a new one, or a status bar aimed at offering the information that users are seeking without having to look for it. 

Other features of the new platform would include easy sharing of photos, Live widgets in five different sizes, and single-tap NFC sharing and pairing capability, to easily share contacts, videos and images with compatible devices. 

The Nokia 700 will arrive on the market as the smallest smartphone from the company, at only 110 x 50.7 x 9.7 mm and weighing 96 grams. The handset is said to be the most compact monoblock smartphone in the world. 

The phone's specifications list includes a 3.2 inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, along with a fast 1GHz application processor, and 2GB of internal memory, though a microSD memory card slot enables the expansion of the available storage space by up to 32GB. 

On the back, the new device sports a 5-megapixel photo snapper with LED flash and support for video recording. This should prove the most eco-friendly smartphone from Nokia, it seems. 

Nokia 701 will arrive on shelves with a design and specs that resemble the Nokia C7. It will feature a 1GHz processor, along with an 8-megapixel photo snapper on the back with video recording capabilities. 

It will also come with a front-facing camera for video calling, 8GB of internal memory, and with a microSD memory card slot with support for up to 32GB of additional storage space. 

As for the Nokia 600, it will arrive on shelves as the most affordable handset from the three, while also being the loudest smartphone from Nokia at 106 Phons (a measurement of loudness levels, defined here).

The specs list of this mobile phone includes 1 GHz processor, a 5MP camera with full focus and LED flash, 2GB of internal memory (microSD card slot too), and a powerful external loudspeaker. The mobile phone can offer up to 60 hours of music playback time, the mobile phone maker announced. 

During the launch event, Nokia did not offer specific info on when the new handsets might arrive on the market. Apparently, the prices for these devices will be $260 for the Nokia 600, $390 for the Nokia 700, and $420 for the 701.

The Symbian Belle update will arrive on Symbian^3 smartphones starting with the fourth quarter of the year.

Don’t Hold Your Breath over Windows 8 Copy Jobs Completion Time Estimates Improvements

Microsoft detailed some aspects of the evolution of file management in Windows 8, and Alex Simons, director of program management with the Windows engineering team, revealed that the company has not wasted too much time working to improve one part of the copy jobs. 

Essentially, end users should not hold their breath over any enhancements to the mechanism designed to estimate just how much time it will take copy actions to complete in the next major iteration of Windows. 

Simons noted that the software giant is bracing itself for inquiries related to the work, or lack thereof, done to boost the accuracy at which Windows Explorer in Windows 8 will report just how much time is left for a copy to finalize. 

“Rather than invest a lot of time coming up with a low confidence estimate that would be only slightly improved over the current one, we focused on presenting the information we were confident about in a useful and compelling way. This makes the most reliable information we have available to you so you can make more informed decisions,” he stated. 

As users can see from the two screenshots included with this article, Windows Explorer has evolved to emphasize the source and destination folders of a copy job, the items being copied, as well as the progress in percentages. 

Customers will need to push the More Details button in order to receive additional information about a specific copy job, including the time that Windows estimates it will take for the action to complete. 

“Estimating the time remaining to complete a copy is nearly impossible to do with any precision because there are many unpredictable and uncontrollable variables involved – for instance, how much network bandwidth will be available for the length of the copy job? Will your anti-virus software spin up and start scanning files? Will another application need to access the hard drive? Will the user start another copy job?” Simons explained.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn United in Google+ Layout - Gooce+ 0.72.6

Social networking websites are quite the buzz of the Internet nowadays. There are multiple services to choose from, but Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the blooming Google+ have grabbed the attention of the whole planet. Gooce+ is very far from having the number of adepts any of these websites have, but it managed to unite all four of them into a single web page for easier access to the news served through these portals. 

Gooce+ is not a desktop application, but a browser extension designed to cohabitate only with Mozilla Firefox, which can be downloaded from here, and Google Chrome, which can be installed directly from Chrome web store.

If you are a Firefox user you should already know that you have to restart the web browser for the extension to install. At the opposite end, Chrome users benefit from a seamless installation procedure that does not require disrupting Internet navigation.

As soon as you got it into the browser Gooce+ is ready to do its job. There are no true settings to tinker with, but the options for Firefox and Chrome are slightly different, though its main functionality remains the same in both cases.

With Firefox, in which case the button does not show in the interface, you have the possibility to turn on automatic updating of the extension. Also, you are given the possibility to open searches in a new tab (the result of a query in the Firefox’s search bar is opened in a new tab). There is also the choice to set the search engine on browser restart, but we never got to meaning of this function.

In the case of Chrome, the only possibility included by the developer is that of hiding Gooce+ button in Google’s browser. Other than this there are the regular options for any Chrome extension, specifically enabling its use in incognito mode. In Firefox the extension will work regardless if you are in private browsing mode or not.

Uniting the four platforms in a single interface sounds pretty interesting, as most users would think that you have full access to the features and functions of each of the socialization services. However, with Gooce things are a bit different. All the extension does is show the news stream in your accounts.

So the main, and only functionality of this browser plugin is reading the news feed in Facebook or view the Twitter and LinkedIn stream.

Obviously, given the privacy and security measures enforced for each of the platforms you have to grant the extension access to information. As such, upon signing into each service you’ll have to deal with the permission screen.

You will be presented all the nooks and crannies of your account it has access to, which is the standard for any application. Just as an example, in Twitter will be able to read the tweets from your timeline, see who you follow, post tweets for you or update your profile. At the opposite end, direct messages remain private, just like your Twitter password.

In Facebook, the liberties for Gooce are also the standard ones. This means access to basic profile information, posting on your wall, reading news feed posts and access to your friend’s information.

As far as integration in the Google+ layout goes, this is pretty much seamless, since the plugin extends the number of the buttons in the header bar. The only hint that the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pieces are not natural to the environment is the fact that they do not get colored at mouse over, making them look somewhat inert.

On the other hand, accessing the news streams for the additional services is not as seamless as one may think. Whenever we moved to the flow of information of a different service we’d first get a look at Google+’s stream and then get redirected to what we wanted to see.

The set of options as far as the news feeds are concerned is limited and in the case of Twitter inexistent altogether; but Gooce makes for a nice way to view information posted by your friends, people you follow or connections.
Download extension here

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