Sean Ellis

Secondary writer for Haverzine, software developer, amateur musician, artist and photographer. He has spent his free time learning whatever he can to help him in the ever-changing world of technology without regard to the age of whatever he’s learning about.


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Posts written by Sean Ellis

#SmartphoneEquality

T-Mobile to offer its best deals to those who pay their bills on time




t-mobile-logo-hugeI’m sure we’ve all done stupid things when we were younger that have negatively affected our credit scores, or perhaps we’re just getting our start as an adult and have no credit score to speak of. According to T-Mobile CEO John Legere, anyone who fits that description can’t get the deals that carriers advertise and instead either pay much more or leave with nothing.

In addition, Legere also stated the following as to why they’re doing this:

Ultimately, this initiative will lower the barrier for millions more Americans to get a smartphone – the most transformational technology in our lifetime. At a time when mobile connectivity is sweeping the globe, the United States ranks a miserable 13th in the world in terms of smartphone penetration − behind a dozen countries including Australia, Ireland, Israel and Saudi Arabia among others. There are more than 100 million American adults who don’t have a smartphone according to data from Pew Research and the US Census Bureau. That’s 100 million too many.

In today’s world, the smartphone is anything but a luxury. It’s a lifeline. It’s your source of news and information, your compass and your map. It’s how you stay safe and stay connected to family and friends. It’s how you do your banking and how you find a job. In other words, it’s an absolute necessity. The smartphone has become critical to plugging in to economic opportunity and participating in the global conversation.

Starting next week, any and every T-Mobile customer who has paid their bills on time for just one year is eligible for their best prices on phones and tablets. This also includes zero down, no interest and no credit check.

Source: T-Mobile


No, you're not getting Windows 10

Windows RT is dead




surfacefeaturedRemember Microsoft’s Surface RT? It was Microsoft’s own tablet that ran full Windows on an ARM chip, right down to the confusing Metro/Desktop switch. It had Office pre-loaded, but you couldn’t use any other desktop apps with it unless you jailbroke it. And with relatively few quality Metro apps in the store, there was really no incentive to buy a Surface RT over a comparable x86-based tablet.

If you were at or watched Microsoft’s Windows 10 conference yesterday, you may have noticed that not a single utterance of “Windows RT” was heard anywhere. In fact, according to C|NET, Microsoft “devoted only a few seconds to Windows RT, saying during a Q&A with reporters that it is ‘working on an update for Windows RT as well.'” Companies like Asus and Dell who both introduced Windows RT tablets have already gone and killed their products with the remaining holdouts being the Surface RT and the Lumia 2520.

While the Surface Pro lineup will naturally be getting the Windows 10 update, Microsoft only said that there would be a future update that brings some of Windows 10’s functionality to Windows RT. This statement feels eerily similar to how Microsoft mis-handled the Windows 7.5 upgrade path, where Windows Phone 7 handsets would never see an update to Windows Phone 8 but would instead be updated to have some of the same functionality as Windows Phone 8. We’ll be waiting to see what Microsoft has to say later on about Windows RT but for now, it certainly sounds like this is the end.

Source: C|NET


Yours for only $200

Nintendo announces New 3DS for North America




New-3DWe’ve been waiting for several months now, but it’s finally here. Announced at today’s Nintendo Direct presentation, the New 3DS is finally coming over to North America as well as a couple of exclusive New 3DS titles.

For those unfamiliar with the New 3DS, it features more processing power and RAM, two more shoulder buttons, a C-stick and NFC to take advantage of Nintendo’s Amiibo figures. There is a port of Xenoblade Chronicles coming specifically designed to take advantage of the extra processing power and Super Smash Bros. 4 will be picking up with the Amiibos. There’s also a new Fire Emblem game coming, but we can’t quite yet tell if it will be a New 3DS exclusive. And for the Zelda fans, a remake of Majora’s Mask is coming and there’s even a limited-edition Majora’s Mask version of the console coming.

In Japan, there’s both a New 3DS and a New 3DS XL (or more accurately, LL). The major difference between the two other than the size is that the smaller of the two allows for removable and customization faceplates; the New 3DS XL allows for no such customization. In today’s presentation, Nintendo announced only the New 3DS XL will be coming to North American shelves which leaves people who prefer small hardware like myself out in the dust.

The New 3DS will come in red and black colors unlike Japan which offers white and blue. Curiously, it will ship without an AC adapter with Nintendo opting to let you continue to use your DSi or 3DS charger. If all of this floats your boat, you can pick one up on February 13th for $200.

Source: The Verge, Ars Technica


Windows for power users

Windows Threshold to finally add virtual desktops and do away with Charms




Windows-8-Logo1It turns out that Windows Threshold is going to be a much bigger UI update than just a Start Menu.

Although we’ve heard this for a couple days now, Mary Jo Foley has posted that the next version of Windows will indeed feature virtual desktops, a feature that Linux has had for nearly 20 years and one that Microsoft has historically never added as their own studies found users would often get confused as to which desktop they were in.

That’s not all that’s coming to Threshold – The Charms Bar, which has been a feature of Windows 8 since the first developer preview, will be going away in Threshold. According to Mary Jo Foley’s sources, not only will it be going away for desktop users, it’s going away for all users, including touch users. The functionality of each of the charms won’t be going away as every Metro app will have a new menu bar with the charms added to it, or developers can manually add a charm to their own app.

While this is another major score for the 100% of Windows users still using the desktop, I can’t help but shake the feeling that Windows Threshold is becoming nothing more than Windows 7 with an extra extension of .NET bolted onto it. But then again, maybe that’s for the better.

Source: ZDNet


More steps in the right direction

Pictures of Threshold leak, shows off new Start menu




Windows-8-Logo1For the 100% of Windows users who still use a keyboard and mouse comes good news. One interesting bit of news from //BUILD/ earlier this year was that the Start Menu would be making a return in Windows 8.1 Update 2., which is due sometime in August. Unfortunately, the Start Menu was delayed and won’t be present in that update, but fear not – it’s coming in Windows Threshold (aka Windows 9) and we now have some pictures showing it off.

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The pictures show a version of Windows bearing the version 6.4, build 9795 and the usual set of confidential notice, but what’s more important is that the Start Menu is clearly visible and looks exactly how it did during //BUILD/ earlier this year – that is, a hybrid between the Windows 7 Start Menu and the Modern UI.

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Another screenshot shows off the windowed Modern apps, though the source says that this is quite buggy and laggy at the moment. While they say that these screenshots should be taken with a grain of salt, I feel confident in saying that these are likely legitimate as they match up with the rumors we’ve heard and even what Microsoft themselves showed off at //BUILD/. Regardless, it’s still more steps in the right direction to re-instate sanity in the Windows world.

Source: Myce
Via: The Verge


Generation 2

Microsoft unveils the Nokia X2




Nokia-X2_multitaskingIt seems as if the Nokia X was so popular that it demanded a new version – and here it is, the Nokia X2. While still aimed at the low-end, off-contract market, the X2 has been vastly upgraded and improves just about everything that was present in the Nokia X.

While the X2 still comes with a custom fork of Android that isn’t Play-certified, the hardware has been massively upgraded and even trumps the low-end Windows Phone market. Specs-wise, you get a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a front facing camera and even a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 32GB cards.

On the software side of things, the Metro-esque custom launcher comes with a few improvements like an apps list similar to that of Windows Phone, new screens, and the ability to set the color of the tiles pinned to your Start Screen, also a feature straight out of Windows Phone. Pre-loaded apps include Skype, Outlook and OneDrive with a generous 15GB of online storage (though this was given to every non-paying OneDrive user recently). And being Android, apps aren’t a worry even if it’s not Play-certified.

As mentioned before, the device will sell for about $135 and will be available immediately in “select countries”. As ever, they come in a wide variety of colors; green, orange and black are the launch colors and they’ll later introduce yellow, white and grey colors.

Source: Nokia
Via: BGR


But will it work?

Microsoft offers $650 towards a Surface Pro 3 to Macbook Air owners




image-left-cyan-hero-e1400563125164As was evident during the Surface Pro 3 launch event, Microsoft really wants you to ditch your Macbook Air for a Surface Pro 3. A new promotion has popped up for Air owners: If you want a Surface Pro 3, Microsoft will give you up to $650 towards the purchase of a Surface Pro 3.

As you’d expect, the trade-in is only good if your Air is in decent working condition with no water damage or a cracked screen. There’s no mention as to which models are eligible for the promotion so it may be that old, first-generation Air from 2007 is just as eligible as a mid-2013 Air – just don’t expect to get a lot for it.

Now the question is, is this just an early promotion or are they already despairing?

Source: ZDNet


iOS 7 comes to the desktop

Apple announces Mac OS X “Yosemite”




overview_hero_xHere on the stage of WWDC we have the first demonstration of the next version of Mac OS X, called “Yosemite” and versioned 10.10. As some have suspected, 10.10 contains a new UI and several tweaks to bring it more in line with iOS.

overview_design_hero

The main UI has dropped its old look and has now gone to a flat and simple design with plenty of gradients and Helvetica Neue. Translucency, as also seen in iOS 7, is used reasonably heavy here in Yosemite and the Dock returns to its pre-10.5 form.

The Notification center has been improved with a new Today view that, as its name implies, allows you to see what’s going on today. Spotlight improvements also abound as it now lets you search from the desktop for any little thing you want to, much like the Search charm in Windows 8.1.

A new feature in Yosemite is further unification between iPhone and Mac OS. If you pair your phone with your Mac, you’ll gain the ability to read your phone’s notifications including call notifications which you can even answer or ignore.

Mac OS X Yosemite will be available for free later this year in Fall.


Surface Pro 3

The Surface 3 Event




image-left-cyan-hero-e1400563125164About two weeks ago, Microsoft sent out invitations to a “small” Surface event in New York City. We at Haverzine were unfortunately unable to be there in person but Microsoft has provided us with a live webcast of the event so we’ve been able to watch everything as it happened.

So, what goodies has Microsoft given to us this year? It turns out that the “small” hint in this year’s invite was nothing more than a red herring as no Surface Mini was unveiled today. There was also no mention of any upcoming Windows RT devices which hopefully means that Windows RT is on the way out. What we did see today was the unveiling of a brand-new Surface Pro, known as Surface Pro 3.

surfacepro3_1jpgSurface Pro 3 is, as you’d expect, an x86 machine – this time, the Surface comes in Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 variants. The device has been made much thinner; it no longer appears to be the thick, heavy slab the previous generations were but seems to be a very thin and light device much like its underpowered cousin, the Surface RT. It’s only 0.36 inches thick and weighs only 1.76 pounds which is much lighter than a Macbook Air. Battery life has also been slightly improved, coming in at up to 9 hours without the Power Cover.

The Surface Pro 3 also packs in a better screen than the past two generations – it features a 3:2 aspect ratio display running at 2160×1440. To fit this new display, the device had to be enlarged. Instead of the more sane 10.8″ of the previous Surface Pro or the 9.5″ of the iPad, the Pro 3 is a monster 12″. Perhaps that won’t be an issue as the device has been made thinner and lighter, but the only way to test that for sure is to get one and use it (hint hint).

surfacepro3_2Of course, the ever popular (or perhaps more accurately, infamous) kickstand is still present. Where Surface Pro 2 had two movements, the Pro 3 has 150 degrees of movement and can be moved into any angle you want; the only hard limitation is 150 degrees as seen above. The above placement is also known as “canvas” mode and is aimed at people who use Photoshop often.

image-024-cyan-e1400563534859Type Cover has been improved with a larger and more responsive trackpad and a new form factor to fit the large 12″ size of the Surface Pro 3. To help add rigidity to the device when using it on the lap, there’s an extra set of magnets to get rid of that slight shifting the previous generation Type Covers had. And in case black or purple wasn’t the color you wanted, there’s three new colors for Type Cover: Dark blue, light blue and red.

Pen improvements also make their presence. Working to make the pen feel more like a real pen on real paper, they’ve enhanced the detail where you can write exactly where you want to. Not only that, but the pen even feels like a real pen – clicking the top of the pen like your average ballpoint pen will turn on the Surface and automatically open OneNote. Double-clicking the pen will send the device into an “acid wash” mode, which essentially lets you either quickly take a photo or screenshot, import it to OneNote and write notes on it.

Other interesting tidbits include: The speakers have been improved with a supposed 40% volume increase over Pro 2 and now are front-facing. A docking station is also available if you need that sort of thing and can drive a 4k display. The USB 3.0 port, mini-DisplayPort and microSD card slot are all still present.

Interested parties can pre-order a Surface Pro 3 and prices will start at $799 for a Surface with 64GB of storage, 4GB of RAM and a Core i3 processor. It’s also possible to order a device with 512GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and a Core i7 but that’ll run you $2,000.


Still not full HD

iPhone 6 to feature a 1704×960 display?




iphone6-dummy2You probably saw this one coming, but alongside the new size options in the iPhone 6, Apple is also bumping up the Retina display from 1136×640 in the iPhone 5/5C and 5S to a 1704×960 display.

The new display resolution is likely because of the new size options the iPhone 6 is rumoured to have. It’s also likely a response to all the Android phones out there with “full HD” 1080p displays, though the new rumored resolution still isn’t 1080p. Of course, as with all the new screen resolutions that have been introduced over the years, this will require developers to rewrite their apps to support it.

Going further into rumour territory, iOS 8 supposedly will feature up to five horizontal icons with this new resolution but the only source we have on that one right now is China’s slightly dubious Weibo.

Source: 9to5Mac
Via: The Verge


We're not dead

Where have we been?




newsstory-haverzineYou may have noticed that we haven’t ran a story since last week and if you’ve submitted an application to join our team, you may also have noticed that we haven’t gotten back to you. Allow me to give an explanation as to why this is.

Putting it simply, Brian Hough and I both have been quite busy this past week. For Brian, he’s been busy with college undergrad hours, thesis work and a paying job. For me, I’ve been working volunteer hours at a shop in my area, not to mention I also have upcoming school things to plan around. The fact is, we’ve both been busy with real life things.

But hopefully soon, things will quiet down a bit and we’ll be able to get back to our regular schedule and go through the applications that you guys have been sending in.

We’ll be back…!


Rather serious camera issues

Some Galaxy S5 units affected by camera issues




galaxys5featuredFirst, we learned that the Galaxy S5 can be spoofed by fake fingerprints and now we have news that the impressive 16-megapixel sensor is having some rather serious issues.

The issue, which seems to only be affecting Verizon devices, causes units to pop up with a random “Camera Error” with seemingly no reason behind the issue. Once this error is received, the camera sensor becomes permanently disabled with none of the usual software tricks working. The only way to fix the problem is to get the device swapped under warranty, which Samsung will do if you call a number or if you go to a carrier.

According to The Verge, the issue isn’t too big yet but it’s still something to be aware of.

Source: The Verge