Category Archives : Technology

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Windows 10 Launched

The big news today is the launch of Microsoft Windows 10.

About eight hours ago, the RTM builds were made available to MSDN subscribers, although network congestion has made it very difficult to get a clean download.

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You can also look at upgrading via the free upgrade route as well.  Check back soon, we’ll have some new articles on Windows 10 coming soon.


Review: Olixar Dock and Go Car Holder

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Since I’ve been writing this year about mobile accessories, the next logical step was to literally take things on the road.

In car phone options have been around for years, however what to do with all these smart phones which are so prevalent these days?  Most modern cars seem to incorporate modern handsets in some fashion,but do they really provide the best value?  Given the quality of sensors and cameras, coupled with features like GPS, can we do something better?

Enter the Olixar PhoneDock.

This accessory essentially allows you to turn your smartphone into a bit of a Go Pro or a NavMan style application.

Before we get to the fun options you have with such a device, let’s look at what is included.  Out of the box, there’s the phone holder itself, which features a really smart approach to mounting to your dashboard or windscreen.  The attaching base appears to use a technology similar to what is used in the Executive Folio, it can be made adhesive by simply adding water.

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The only obvious accessories to add to the Phone Dock, is a separate charging cable and an appropriate cigarette charging adapter, as pictured.  Attaching the Phone Holder to the dashboard or windscreen is simplicity itself.  You just need to clean the area and then hold the Holder in place and push down a tab on the base to achieve suction/adhesion.  The Holder is easily removed by reversing this process.

The Road Test

Placement of the Holder is paramount.  You don’t want it to obscure too much of your view – and make sure to factor in the profile of your handset too.  For my decidedly large iPhone 6, I opted for a dashboard mount, in front and to the right of the existing in-dash display.  The arm is easy enough to use that you can insert and remove the phone with one hand, if need be.  This is helpful if you are in a rush and are trying to do multiple things at once, e.g. starting the car or inserting car keys etc..

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Once you have your smartphone in place (the Dock holds he phone like a large arm), you have a few options in terms of the sort of apps you can take advantage of. On the basis of a referral from a friend, I purchased the iSymDVR app, and the Navmii app from the Apple iStore.  My phone is now effectively a dash cam and GPS navigator all-in-one.  The Phone Holder holds the phone securely and absorbs a fair degree of shock during driving.

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As you can see from these screen captures, the Holder is so steady it allows the iPhone to take steady long exposure photos at night, although unfortunately it is still at the mercy of those golden Winter sunsets!

Verdict

I’ve been using the Phone Holder daily – almost each time I’ve been driving – and it’s achieved two key things for me: it gives me a logical place to put my phone when I’m driving, and I can easily charge the phone at the same time.  Recommended!

More accessories are available at MobileZap


Visual Studio 2015 – Using a Product Key 3

Introduction

Continuing from the experience with Visual Studio 2013, the next edition – Visual Studio 2015 – was officially released to MSDN subscribers early this morning.  This edition follows the trend established in the previous edition of providing two channels of licensing – by using a Microsoft Account or by supplying a product key.

Get a Product Key

You’ll need to have an MSDN Subscription which matches the version of Visual Studio you are using.  Authenticate to MSDN Subscriptions and go to the Subscriber Downloads section. 

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Here you’ll see a tab for “My Product Keys”.  In the list of keys there should be static activation keys for your account.  Find and copy out the product key for your version of Visual Studio 2015 (e.g. Enterprise, Professional, Test Professional).

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  • If you don’t have a Product Key listed, as with Visual Studio 2013 it’s likely tied to the type of MSDN Subscription you have – whether you have assigned a perpetual license of not.  Whether or not Visual Studio carries a Product Key/perpetual license seems to depend on the type of MSDN subscription.
  • If you don’t have an MSDN subscription, but have instead purchased a retail copy of Visual Studio 2015 when it becomes available, there should be a Product Key with the product.  A boxed product should have a Product Key on the media (or box) and a soft copy should have a key associated with it somehow (maybe it is mailed to you?).

Install Visual Studio 2015

Once you have acquired a Product Key, the next step is to install Visual Studio 2015.  I’ve chosen to evaluate Visual Studio 2015 Enterprise edition, which replaces Premium and Ultimate editions (they have been merged into a single SKU).

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There’s some different options in this new edition (when using a custom install), the options I selected to install will absorb over 24 GB of hard drive space.  Probably best you avoid installing VS 2015 o a netbook!  If you want to minimise the install vector, unselecting the Cross Platform Mobile Development saves a lot of space.

Registering Visual Studio 2015

Once the installation completes, you’ll be able to launch the Visual Studio 2015 IDE.  You’ll be taken through the usual “first time user” wizard, which establishes your development and UI preferences.  You can skip logging in with a Microsoft account by choosing “Not now..”.

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Once the IDE loads, you can select “Register Product” from the Help menu:

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Once the registration dialog appears, use the “License with a Product Key” option, and enter your Product Key with the popup window.

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Note: you don’t have to be online for the process to complete, so it looks like a good option for offline installs.

Housekeeping

None!  The normalised CamelCase menus are back by default.

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