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Leaked Screenshots Reveal New UI For Microsoft Tablet



A couple of screenshots have just leaked of Microsoft’s Windows 8 tablet user interface.

Currently in pre-beta, Windows 8 is Microsoft’s shot at building a UI that’s suitable for both tablets and PCs. Windows 7 is not being ported to tablets. Early versions of Windows 8 have reportedly been shipped to Microsoft’s hardware OEM partners. So far, the UI hasn’t been seen, but two new screenshots indicate it is based on tiles, very much like Windows Phone 7.

The screenshot above shows the home screen, which features Microsoft’s Bing search engine front and center. Underneath are big tiles for shortcuts to Web apps or Web pages. Each app opens in a full-screen version of Internet Explorer, according to Within Windows, which first published the screenshots (The site is currently down. The screenshots have been republished at WinRumors)

The screenshot below shows a new e-reader app that includes built-in support for Adobe’s PDF format. Looking at the diagrams in the screenshot, it will include page scrubbing (to quickly scrub through a document) and multi-touch pinching and zooming. Apple may not like that.

Microsoft appears to be pushing a new file format called AppX (.appx), which will reportedly allow Windows Phone 7 developers to repackage apps in AppX and offer them through an app store that will be built into Windows 8. Sound familiar?

Our take? It looks OK. The tiled interface is pretty good on Windows Phone 7, but why are there still scrollbars if the interface is full-screen?

The Best Tech-Related April Fools’ Day Pranks


Screen shot 2011-03-30 at 21.37.42

With April 1st just around the corner, it’s time to start planning your attacks on friends, colleagues, and even loved ones to ensure they’re suitably mocked, embarrassed, and shamed on April Fools’ Day. We want to make sure that no one gets off lightly this year, so to help you formulate your plan, we’ve put together a list of the best tech-related pranks and practical jokes for your disposal.

They’re all quick and easy to perform with minimal effort, and ensure your April Fools’ Day victims don’t get away from a little light-hearted pranking.

The Annoy-a-Tron from ThinkGeek

The Annoy-a-tron is essentially a high-tech fart machine, but with a little more taste. It’s $12.99 from ThinkGeek and features 6 annoying sounds that go off at random to irritate anyone within earshot. Turn it on, hide it under a co-worker’s desk, and observe them as they try to work out where the sound of a cricket is coming from. It’s a tiny device that’s easy to conceal, and if your target does manage to find it, they won’t have a clue what it is.

Check out the rest of our pranks after the break!

How To Correct Common Typos Automagically [100 Tips #50]



In the System Preferences application, you’ll see an icon called “Language and Text”. If you open this, and select the Text tab, you’ll see a list titled “Symbol and Text Substitution”, which provides some useful text shortcuts. You can use these to auto-correct common typos as you make them, or to replace short text mnemonics with longer words or phrases.

Daily Deals: iPhone App Price Drops, PuppetShow, 27″ LED Cinema Display




We start off another week with a new crop of price cuts from the iPhone App Store, along with an iPad app and a bargain on a 27-inch LED Cinema Display for your Mac.

Along the way, we also check out some music accessories for your iPod, a carbon fiber skin for your iPhone 4 and software for your Mac. As always, details on these and many more items can be found at CoM’s “Daily Deals” page right after the jump.

100 Tips #48: How To Zoom In On Images In QuickLook



Back in Tip #27, we showed you how to use QuickLook, an extremely handy way of previewing all sorts of different files on your Mac.

QuickLook is particularly handy for checking out image files, especially when you have a folder’s worth, all with identical generic icons rather than thumbnail icons, and you’re not sure exactly which one you want.

It also has a hidden secret feature: you can zoom in to images while in QuickLook mode. Here’s how.

Simple Utility To Set Up Spotify Control Keys



If you use online streaming service Spotify, you’ll know that the client software required for controlling it is pretty good.

It’s simple to use, and not too cluttered with controls and extras. Since I started paying £5/month for Spotify’s advert-free Unlimited service, I’ve been listening to it for many hours on end, and found only one problem: I have to switch back to Spotify to control it.

Now it’s true that Spotify can be controlled with your Mac’s existing dedicated iTunes buttons – F7 for previous track, F8 for play/pause, and F9 for next track. But this only works well if iTunes isn’t running at the same time. If both apps are open, they both respond to these commands, and audio chaos ensues.

Spotify Menubar is a simple free utility that solves this problem by allowing you to set up your own system-wide keyboard shortcuts for Spotify, so you can avoid the conflict with iTunes and still have easy keyboard access to your favorite songs.

It would be nice if Spotify Menubar had some clickable controls of its own, which would better justify its position on the Menu Bar in the first place. But for those of us who spend hours a day with our heads inside Spotify playlists, it’s a useful little widget to have around nonetheless.

Tip: Use Your FTP Client As A File Browser



Here’s a great tip that’s doing the rounds today. Chris Bowler uses his copy of Transmit as a file browser, because it has two viewing panes built-in, and lets you browse local files in each.

Anyone who has got tired of constantly having to open two adjacent Finder windows to transfer files from one place to another will see why this is a great idea.

Transmit comes with a handful of shortcuts for quick access to your Home folder, Desktop, or Documents folder. It also has a favorites feature – just drag any folder to the starred icon at the far left of the breadcrumb trail at the top of each pane. It also supports the Finder’s four different viewing modes (thumbnails, list, columns and CoverFlow). Great tip if you already have Transmit (or a similar two-pane FTP browser – anyone got any suggestions?) installed.

(Hat-tip to Minimal Mac for the link.)

New Apple Patent Describes Sophisticated Stylus For iOS Devices



When the iPhone first came out, Steve Jobs — quizzed why Apple had eschwed a stylus — famously quipped that in his opinion, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.”

It’s a great quote, but in reality, it’s always been a little too dismissive of the benefits of styluses. In truth, there’s a lot of uses for a stylus on a touchscreen — for example, in creating digital art. Styluses are also of great people to people trying to use touchscreen devices who can’t keep their hand steady: my mother, for example, has a hard time typing on her iPod Touch without one because she has had tremors since a stroke a few years back.

It’s nice to see, then, that Apple is softening a little bit on their position against styluses… at least when it comes to filing patents.