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Month: March 2016

Fontbase – A free font manager for designers

This one is for all the designers out there. Fontbase is a font previewer tool that let’s you preview, collect and manage your font collection. It’s basically what you need when the built in Windows font manager doesn’t quite cut it.

When you start the app your greeted by a clean main window that also features mac styling elements for the minimise, maximise and close buttons. Besides that it’s perfectly functional on Windows. 2016-03-27 (1).png

In the bottom left is a search box that lets you quickly find a font by name. It instantly shows you all the fonts that may match your search string with a text preview. You can then drag and drop these fonts to your favourites or build a custom collection of your choosing. You can also easily compare fonts by pinning them to top.

As a designer what you really want is to see how this font would actually look with your own desired parameters. For this Fontbase gives you several options.

  • Enter custom text
  • Choose the text color and background
  • Text size
  • Line Spacing
  • Text Alignment
  • Finer details like kerning, ligatures, text case and number case

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Fontbase is a handy tool for designers and makes the font selection process a lot easier. The software is available as a free download from here

 

A new Skype Universal app is coming soon

In recent times it’s really been hard to figure out what exactly Microsoft is doing with Skype on Windows. First they killed the Windows 8 a while ago. Then they integrated it into the messaging app for Windows 10. This takes care of the messaging part. There is another app that is only for Skype Video calls. In addition to all this is the legacy Windows desktop app that works on previous versions of Windows as well. Thankfully Microsoft has been listening to user feedback and the result of that is a new Universal Skype app that was just annouced. It will come to Insiders first on the PC with a mobile version and a broader rollout scheduled for later.

From the announcement:

So, what’s in this version? It includes the following popular functionality:

  • Sign in with your Microsoft Account and link a Skype ID
  • Show and change your availability
  • See a list of your existing Skype contacts
  • Initiate a chat with anyone in your contact list
  • See that the other person is typing
  • Logout
  • Make one-to-one voice and video calls and send messages
  • Personalize your experience with emoticons and Mojis
  • Send photos
  • See notifications for incoming calls and messages outside of the app
  • Participate in existing group chats

What’s to come? More flexibility, sharing and group features will come in the next couple of releases, including:

  • Start a chat with anyone using Skype or not using Skype
  • Create a group and send group messages
  • Group voice and video calling
  • Share your screen, files and video messages
  • Manage notifications from individual chats
  • And much more…

You’ll also see us work a lot to ensure the app is responsive:

Skype Universal Windows Platform app Preview for Windows 10

Skype Universal Windows Platform App Preview for Windows 10

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S arrives with Windows 10

While the words Samsung and Galaxy have typically been associated with their range of flagship Android phones Galaxy TabPro S is infact a Windows 10 detachable 2-in-1. While Microsoft’s own Surface Pro and Surface Book have set a gold standard for this category of hardware they are also quite expensive and not for everyone. The TabPro S brings something for the masses with a device that retails for $899.99

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The Specs

  • It’s lightweight coming in at 1.53 pounds
  • 12″ Super Amoled display
  • An Intel Core M3 processor
  • It also claims to be the thinnest Windows 2-in-1 device on the market
  • 10 hours of battery life when watching videos in full screen
  • 128 Gb Storage
  • USB Type-C connector

There is also a short video released by Microsoft showing of the device

Overall this looks like a promising new device and a great collaboration between Microsoft and Samsung and at a great price. The device will be available at Best Buy, Microsoft and Samsung stores in the US initially.

 

TvTime – TV show tracking for your phone

In recent times although UWP versions of apps are all the rage there are some older apps designed for Windows Phone 8.1 that work just as well. TvTime is one such app that is both beautifully designed and that works extremely well. It eschews some of the bells and whistles of the newer Tv Show tracking apps like Trakter to deliver a very focused and easy to use app. When you start the app your simply asked to add a few shows via search or it’s suggestions and your done.

Once you have added a few shows you are greeted with a beautiful layout for all your added shows arranged in order of the one whose episode is to air soonest. It also shows you the show title which you may choose to hide. Besides this it also shows you how days away the next episode is as well as how many episodes you have missed.  Everything else is hidden away in a bar at the bottom that can be summoned by tapping the three dots at the bottom.

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Tap on any show and your taken to a page showing the episode details of the next upcoming episode.

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Swiping across from this point on will show you the episodes list from where you can mark episodes that you may have watched. You can tap on any episode to get it’s details and navigate to next or previous episodes with the buttons at the bottom.

To round it up there is a page showing the details of the show and it’s cast members. Tapping on any of the cast members will take you to their respective IMDB pages.

One thing to remember is that this is a Windows Phone only app so sync between devices is not really an option. What it does have is the option to backup and restore your collection to Onedrive. Unfortunately the restore function is not very reliable. There is very little feedback on what is the progress of the restore and I was never really able to restore my entire collection. This unfortunately is one of the only sore points in what is otherwise and excellent and nice looking TV Show tracker for Windows Phone. The app is free to try for upto 5 shows. A single in app unlocks the option to add unlimited shows. Get it from the link below.

TvTime
TvTime
Developer: Igor Kulman
Price: Free+

 

 

FromScratch – The auto saving Scratchpad

When you are working on your desktop you often need to paste bits of text for reference later. While we have always had options like sticky notes that comes with Windows or something more elaborate like Evernote or Onenote, sometimes you just want something that strips away every single piece of complexity that may be involved in just storing bits of text. That’s where FromScratch comes into the picture.

Basic Functionality

FromScratch is designed first and foremost to do one thing extremely quickly and easily. Type or paste text into it and forget everything else. You don’t do anything beyond that. Your text is saved automatically and instantly.

UI

FromScratch has no real UI besides the editor window. The font that it uses and the background color is fixed. We think this is for the better as it forces you to get down to writing without any distractions.

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The Extras

While we mentioned that FromScratch is completely focused on just pure text it does have a few extras that aren’t mentioned in the app itself but you will find on the official website.

It uses a font called Fira Code. What it enables is some very cool things like replacing syntax like this –> with arrows etc. You can find out more about the font from the link above.

It also has a few neat shortcuts that make it very easy to use as a list tool. With a couple of handy keyboard shortcuts you can move a line of text up or down as desired. We have reproduced the shortcuts as mentioned on the official site below

  • ctrl+up – move current line up
  • ctrl+down – move current line down
  • ctrl+d – delete current line

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FromScratch is a neat app that may very well serve a lot of users by the virtue of it’s simplicity. It’s available in portable form for both 32 and 64 bit versions of Windows.

Download Windows 32bit

Download Windows 64bit

Windows 10 Mobile Tip – Vibrate on call answer

When I installed the Windows 10 Mobile preview on my Lumia 930 one the features that went missing was the Gestures Beta. It was a neat app that allowed you to pick up the phone just by placing it against your ear. While I still miss that functionality there is another neat feature that comes with Windows 10 Mobile that makes the phone vibrate as soon as the person you have called picks up. Instead of having to constantly glance at the screen to see if the person you have dialed has picked up a quick vibration alerts you to it. I think this a small but invaluable feature that I find myself using all the time. The thing is Microsoft doesn’t really advertise this feature anywhere and turning it on is not the most obvious thing.

Luckily we’ve highlighted the menus to go through to turn it on.

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Swipe down and go to All Settings

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Go to System

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Go to Phone

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Here you will find the option to turn on the settings “Vibrate when my call is answered”