Windows 8

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Development history

Windows 8 development started before Windows 7 had shipped in 2009. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011, Microsoft announced that the next version of Windows would add support for devices with ARM microprocessors, and showcased an early version of Windows 8 running on several proof-of-concept ARM devices. Details also began to surface about a new application framework for Windows 8 codenamed “Jupiter”, which would be used to make “immersive” applications using XAML (similarly to Windows Phone and Silverlight) that could be distributed via a new packaging system and a rumored app store to be included in the OS

On June 1, 2011, Microsoft unveiled Windows 8’s new user interface as well as additional features at both Computex Taipei and the D9: All Things Digital conference in California. The “Building Windows 8” blog launched on August 15, 2011, featuring details surrounding Windows 8’s features and its development process.

New and changed features

New features and functionality in Windows 8 include a faster startup through UEFI integration and the new “Hybrid Boot” mode (which hibernates the Windows kernel on shutdown to speed up the subsequent boot), a new lock screen with a clock and notifications, and the ability for enterprise users to create live USB versions of Windows (known as Windows To Go).Windows 8 also adds native support for USB 3.0 devices, which allow for faster data transfers and improved power management with compatible devices,and hard disk 4Kn Advanced Format support,as well as support for near field communication to facilitate sharing and communication between devices.

Windows Explorer, which has been renamed File Explorer, now includes a ribbon in place of the command bar. File operation dialog boxes have been updated to provide more detailed statistics, the ability to pause file transfers, and improvements in the ability to manage conflicts when copying files. A new “File History” function allows incremental revisions of files to be backed up to and restored from a secondary storage device, while Storage Spaces allows users to combine different sized hard disks into virtual drives and specify mirroring, parity, or no redundancy on a folder-by-folder basis.

Task Manager has also been redesigned, including a new processes tab with the option to display fewer or more details of running applications and background processes, a heat map using different colors indicating the level of resource usage, network and disk counters, grouping by process type (e.g. applications, background processes and Windows processes), friendly names for processes and a new option which allows users to search the web to find information about obscure processes.Additionally, the Blue Screen of Death has been updated with a simpler and modern design with less technical information displayed.

Safety and security

Additional security features in Windows 8 include two new authentication methods tailored towards touchscreens (PINs and picture passwords),the addition of antivirus capabilities toWindows Defender (bringing it in parity with Microsoft’s Security Essentials software)SmartScreen filtering integrated into the desktop, and support for the “Secure Boot” functionality on UEFI systems to protect against malware infecting the boot process.Parental controls are offered through the integrated Family Safety software, which allows parents to monitor and control their children’s activities on a device with activity reports and safety controls.Windows 8 also provides integrated system recovery through the new “Refresh” and “Reset” functions.Windows 8’s first security patches would be released on November 13, 2012; it would contain three fixes deemed “critical” by the company.

online services and functionality

Windows 8 provides heavier integration with online services from Microsoft and others. Online services are regionally and nationally clipped or censored. For example, while online TV is available in the United States, such media distribution is blocked in Canada. A user can now log in to Windows with a Microsoft account, formally known as a Windows Live ID, which can be used to access services and synchronize applications and settings between devices. Windows 8 also ships with a client app for Microsoft’s SkyDrive cloud storage service, which also allows apps to save files directly to SkyDrive. A SkyDrive client for the desktop and File Explorer is not included in Windows 8, and must be downloaded separately.Bundled multimedia apps are provided under the Xbox brand, including Xbox MusicXbox Video, and the Xbox SmartGlass companion for use with an Xbox 360 console. Games can integrate into an Xbox Live hub app, which also allows users to view their profile and gamerscore. Other bundled apps provide the ability to link to services such as Flickr and Facebook.

Internet Explorer 10 is included as both a desktop program and a touch-optimized app, and includes increased support for HTML5CSS3, and hardware acceleration. The Internet Explorer app does not support plugins or ActiveX components, but includes a version of Adobe Flash Player that is optimized for touch and low power usage. Initially, Adobe Flash would only work on sites included on a “Compatibility View” whitelist; however, after feedback from users and additional compatibility tests, an update in March 2013 changed this behavior to use a smaller blacklist of sites with known compatibility issues instead, allowing Flash to be used on most sites by default. The desktop version does not contain these limitations.

Windows 8 also incorporates improved support for mobile broadband; the operating system can now detect the insertion of a SIM card and automatically configure connection settings (includingAPNs and carrier branding), track and reduce bandwidth use on metered networks. Windows 8 also adds an integrated airplane mode setting to globally disable all wireless connectivity as well. Carriers can also offer account management systems through Windows Store apps, which can be automatically installed as a part of the connection process and offer usage statistics on their respective tile.

New and changed features

New features and functionality in Windows 8 include a faster startup through UEFI integration and the new “Hybrid Boot” mode (which hibernates the Windows kernel on shutdown to speed up the subsequent boot), a new lock screen with a clock and notifications,and the ability for enterprise users to create live USB versions of Windows (known as Windows To Go).Windows 8 also adds native support for USB 3.0 devices, which allow for faster data transfers and improved power management with compatible devices, and hard disk 4Kn Advanced Format support, as well as support for near field communication to facilitate sharing and communication between devices.

Web browsers

Exceptions are given to web browsers classified as being “New experience enabled” (formerly “Metro-style enabled”), which provide a special version that runs within the “Metro” shell as an app. Web browser apps are distributed alongside desktop web browsers instead of through the Windows Store, and also have access to functionality unavailable to other apps, such as being able to permanently run in the background, use multiple background processes, and use Windows API code instead of WinRT (allowing for code to be re-used with the desktop version, while still taking advantage of WinRT features such as integration with charms). However, only the user’s default web browser can be used in this setting.

The developers of both Chrome and Firefox committed to developing versions of their browsers to run in this environment; while Chrome’s “Windows 8 mode” uses the existing desktop interface, Firefox’s version (which is currently available in development builds) uses a touch-optimized interface inspired by the mobile version of Firefox.

Windows 8 introduces significant changes to the operating system’s user interface, many of which are aimed at improving its experience on tablet computers and other touchscreen devices. The new user interface is based on Microsoft’s Metro design language, and features a new tile-based Start screen similar to that of Windows Phone, which has replaced the previous Start menuentirely. The Start screen displays a customizable array of tiles linking to various apps and desktop programs, some of which can display constantly updated information and content through “live tiles”.As a form of multi-tasking, apps can be snapped to the side of a screen. Alongside the traditional Control Panel, a new simplified and touch-optimized settings app known as “PC Settings” is used for basic configuration and user settings. It does not include many of the advanced options still accessible from the normal Control Panel.

A vertical toolbar known as the charms bar (accessed by swiping from the right edge of a touchscreen, or pointing the cursor at hotspots in the right corners of a screen) provides access to system and app-related functions, such as search, sharing, device management, settings, and a Start button. The traditional desktop environment for running desktop applications is accessed via a tile on the new Start screen. The Start button on the taskbar has been removed in favor of the Start button on the charms bar and a hotspot in the lower-left corner of the screen.Swiping from the left edge of a touchscreen or clicking in the top-left corner of the screen allows one to switch between apps and the Desktop. Pointing the cursor in the top-left corner of the screen and moving down reveals a thumbnail list of active apps. Aside from the removal of the Start button, the desktop on Windows 8 is similar to that of Windows 7, except that the Aero Glass theme has been replaced by a flatter, solid-colored design inspired by the Metro interface.

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Secure boot 

Windows 8 supports a feature of the UEFI specification known as “Secure boot”, which uses a public-key infrastructure to verify the integrity of the operating system and prevent unauthorized programs such as bootkits from infecting the device.

Microsoft faced criticism (particularly from free software supporters) for mandating that devices receiving its optional certification for Windows 8 have secure boot enabled by default using a key provided by Microsoft. Concerns were raised that secure boot could prevent or hinder the use of alternate operating systems such as Linux. In response to the criticism, Microsoft developer Tony Mangefeste stated that “At the end of the day, the customer is in control of their PC. Microsoft’s philosophy is to provide customers with the best experience first, and allow them to make decisions themselves.”

Microsoft’s certification requirements eventually revealed that UEFI firmware on x86 systems must allow users to re-configure or turn off secure boot, but that this must not be possible on ARM-based systems (Windows RT). Microsoft faced further criticism for its decision to restrict Windows RT devices by using this functionality.Tom Warren, in an article on The Verge, said that other smartphones and tablets are typically sold in a locked-down state. No mandate is made regarding the installation of third-party certificates that would enable running alternative software.

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iPad mini & iPhone 5 Arrive in China in December

CUPERTINO, California―November 30, 2012―Apple® today announced the Wi-Fi versions of iPad® mini and fourth generation iPad with Retina™ display will be available in China on Friday, December 7, and iPhone® 5 will be available on Friday, December 14. iPad mini and the new fourth generation iPad with Retina display are currently available in 42 countries, and iPhone 5 is available in 47 countries, including the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the UK.

iPad mini is a completely new iPad design that is 23 percent thinner and 53 percent lighter than the third generation iPad, and features a stunning 7.9-inch Multi-Touch™ display, FaceTime® HD and 5 megapixel iSight® cameras, ultrafast wireless performance* and an incredible 10 hours of battery life.** The fourth generation iPad features a gorgeous 9.7-inch Retina display, new Apple-designed A6X chip, FaceTime HD camera and ultrafast wireless performance*. Both iPad mini and the new fourth generation iPad come with iOS 6.

iPhone 5 is the thinnest and lightest iPhone ever, completely redesigned to feature a stunning new 4-inch Retina display; an Apple-designed A6 chip for blazing fast performance; and ultrafast wireless*—all while delivering even better battery life.** iPhone 5 comes with iOS 6, the world’s most advanced mobile operating system with over 200 new features including: Shared Photo Streams, all-new Maps app, Passbook® organization and even more Siri® features and languages.

iPad mini with Wi-Fi models come in black & slate or white & silver for a suggested retail price of $329 (US) for the 16GB model, $429 (US) for the 32GB model and $529 (US) for the 64GB model. The fourth generation iPad with Wi-Fi models come in black or white for a suggested retail price of $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model. In China, iPad mini and the fourth generation iPad will be available through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), select Apple Authorized Resellers and by reservation from Apple retail stores. Reservation requests will be accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Thursday, December 6 for pick up the following day. Additionally, iPad 2 will be available at just $399 (US).

iPhone 5 comes in either black & slate or white & silver for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model, $299 (US) for the 32GB model and $399 (US) for the 64GB model. In China, iPhone 5 will be available through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com), select Apple Authorized Resellers and by reservation from Apple retail stores. Reservation requests will be accepted daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for pick up the following day. iPhone 4S is available for just $99 (US) and iPhone 4 is available for free with a two-year contract from participating carriers.

*Network speeds are dependent on carrier networks. Check with your carrier for details.
**Battery life depends on device settings, usage and other factors. Actual results vary.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contacts:
Trudy Muller
Apple
tmuller@apple.com
(408) 862-7426article-2188775-148F246C000005DC-612_468x450

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The parts of a camera lens:

The parts of a camera lens.
Before we get bogged down too deeply in all sorts of concepts and terminology, let’s take a look at what the different parts of a lens are called:

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The insides of a lens are generally nothing to worry about. You know how VCR’s used to have “no user serviceable parts inside” stickers on them? Well, that is certainly true for most – if not all – camera lenses as well. The only thing you need to know about, really, is that there are a whole load of different pieces of glass inside.

Some of them will be affixed to the inside of the lens barrel, others might be moveable. The main reasons why pieces of glass inside your lens would move is in order for your lens to be able to focus, to zoom, or to assist in the optical image stabilisation process. All of these things are covered later on in this article, so keep on readin’!

The outside of the lens has a lot of different controls and attachments. Lenses can look quite different from manufacturer to manufacturer, but this graphic has the majority of things marked. The only other major control you might find on camera lenses is a “MF/AF” switch – this switches the lens between automatic and manual focus.

Part 2: What does a camera lens do?
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Let’s start at the beginning: A camera lens is a device that contains one or more lens elements. At its most basic, these ‘elements’ are pieces of shaped glass that ‘bend’ light in various ways. Each element has a slightly different function, but they play nicely together in order to form a sharp image on the imaging chip.

A camera lens really only has one job, which is to focus light beams onto your imaging chip. As simple as that sounds, there’s a hell of a lot of science that goes into lens design. The main challenge is that you don’t just want the lens to be sharp in one place: You want your photo to be perfectly sharp across the entire width of the photograph, all the way out into the corners.

If that didn’t quite sound complicated enough, there’s the issue of zoom lenses: With a zoom lens, all of the above stays true, but the lens has to focus light beams into very exact places on the imaging sensor, whilst also offering the photographer a variation of focal lengths. The full complexity of this is well beyond the scope of this article, but rest assured that the engineers designing camera lenses are bloody clever people.

Lens mounts
Your lens has to connect to your lens somehow – and it does so via a lens mount. There are two main types of mount: Screw fitting, and bayonet fittings. The former is used so rarely these days that it can basically be ignored: All camera manufacturers have decided to use bayonet fittings instead. The benefits are obvious: It’s much faster to change lenses, the lenses are more secure on the camera body, and using bayonet fittings makes it possible to have electrical connections between the camera body and the lens – a necessity for electronic control of aperture and automatic focus.

Current-generation Canon lenses use EF or EF-S bayonet fittings. EF lenses can be used on EF-S cameras, but not vice versa. That is because EF-S lenses are designed for smaller sensors – this has advantages (if a lens doesn’t have to illuminate a full-size sensor, there’s no point in using the extra glass required; so lenses can be smaller and lighter), but it also has disadvantages: if you trade up to a full-frame camera body later, you can only take your EF lenses across, not your EF-S ones.

Nikon’s current generation of lenses are F-mount lenses; their lenses designed for smaller sensors are known as DX lenses. They also have the 1-series lens mount, for their EVIL cameras.

Each camera manufacturer has their own lens mount (the notable exception is the Four-Thirds mount, which is backed, but not used exclusively, by several manufacturers), and they are generally not inter-exchangeable.

It is possible to buy adapters to use one manufacturer’s lenses on another manufacturer’s camera bodies. This is especially true for EVIL cameras, where the small sensor sizes makes it easier to adapt to just about any lens mount – Novoflex markets 11 different adapters for the Micro Four Thirds camera mount, for example.

Third party lens manufacturers

Although Nikon lenses generally can’t be used on Canon camera bodies and vice versa, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck buying only Canon/Nikon lenses; there are quite a few third party lens manufacturers that create lenses of varying qualities. Sigma, Tamron, Tokina and Carl Zeiss all create lenses for a multitude of cameras.

Third-party lenses aren’t necessarily ‘worse’ than lenses made by the manufacturer of your camera – a high-end Sigma zoom can often be better than a similarly priced Canon or Nikon equivalent. However, if you compare the best third-party lenses with the best ‘brand’ lenses, the big-brand lenses tend to come out a little bit better in test.

If you’re on a budget, however, it’s well worth considering a third-party manufacturer. My Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 lens is not quite as sharp as the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 equivalent, but it is two thirds of the price cheaper… If you’re on a budget

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Everything About Camera Lenses

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What is the most important part of your SLR or EVIL camera? If you just replied ‘the camera body’, you’re onto something, but you’d be wrong. The answer is “the lens” – and in this post, I’ll teach you everything you need to know about lenses!

Introduction, part I: What about camera bodies?
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Okay, so not everybody agrees that lenses are important, but hear me out… Of course, it’s important to have a bucket-load of megapixels, comfortable controls, a good light meter, a solid ISO range, reliable noise reduction and a precise shutter – and all of that is part of your camera body. However, I’ve grown to appreciate camera bodies as more or less disposable.

That’s not to say that the cost of a camera body is pocket change, but I’ve been through a hell of a lot of camera bodies over the past 15 years. If we cut off the dreary pre-digital era, my SLR history started with the Canon EOS D30 I saved up for for several months. After that, I had a D60, a 300D, a 350D, a 450D, a 400D and a 550D. In between all of that, I’ve also had several xxD and xD series cameras, but because I spend most of my time writing books aimed at beginners and intermediate photographers, I like to keep a finger on the pulse by (mostly) sticking to entry-level cameras.

Each individual little step up the camera body ladder is an evolution rather than a revolution. Canon, Nikon, and all the other camera manufacturers keep making tiny little tweaks that make camera bodies that tiny little bit better for every iteration. I defy anybody to tell much of a difference between the Canon EOS 500D and the Canon EOS 550D, for example, but pick up a 300D and compare it to the 600D, and you’ll be amazed how different the camera bodies are. Better sensors, better ergonomics, better controls, better photo quality, better battery life, and still around the same price point. It’s awesome.

Introduction, Part II: Wasn’t this meant to be about lenses?
The point I’m trying to make here is that I’ve owned a dozen different camera bodies over the past 15 years or so, but there’s one thing that stays constant: My lenses. I don’t buy lenses very often, but when I do, I buy top-quality stuff.

The oldest lens I currently use is nearly 10 years old, and it’s a 70-200mm f/2.8. It’s ludicrously sharp, delivers fantastic autofocus performance, and is one of my all-time favourite lenses. If it was stolen from me today, I’d head to the nearest camera shop tomorrow to buy the exact same lens again. Or, y’know, the current version of it.

The best thing about all of this is that that 70-200 lens has done something that’s nearly unheard of in the world of technology: It has gotten better with age. Or rather: Every time I upgrade my camera body, the image quality I get from my lenses increases just that tiny little bit. The sensors and on-board processing on SLR cameras is only getting better, meaning that I can get more resolving power, better colours, and less noise from my lenses.

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