Author Archive

Neat stuff from Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

With the upcoming release of Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps – available to buy from the 12th August 2016 – why not have a look at these brilliant video demos from author Sean McManus! You can also click to Let me know when this book is in stock here.

Maze Maker and Circuit Breaker:

A fun game based on randomly generated mazes, can you chase down the bugs lurking in the computer circuit board?

 

 

Pipeline Defender:

A quick Scratch game where you have to defend the city’s oil pipeline from an asteroid attack!

 

Gribbet!:

Match up the correct musical frogs to the tune! This is a fantastic game where you can expand your Scratch customising skills to really make the game your own!

 

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Available from the 12th August, Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps is the ideal companion to any keen Scratcher, or for those wanting to explore the endless possibilities for game making fun! This book even includes 3D projects, effects and artwork, with clear step by step instructions for all Scratch users!

 

 

Windows 10 Anniversary Update – the lowdown!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Everything you need to know about Windows 10’s next big update, coming 2nd of August 2016!

Microsoft is currently gearing up to release the Anniversary Update to its most recent operating system, Windows 10. The free system update will start to become available to users from the 2nd of August, in a phased rollout, so while it is released on the 2nd, it might take a couple of days or more to reach your specific PC or Windows device. Not really too surprising considering Windows 10 has become one of the most widely downloaded operating systems, with an almost 400million strong user base!


At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Canada this week, Dona Sarkar, Head of the Windows Insider program revealed the rollout will happen in waves; “[The Anniversary Update rollout] is going to take some time. We’ll start with PC and phone, and it’s going to be a global rollout. It’s going to take time. Everyone’s going to freak out wondering ‘Where’s my update,’ ‘Is it time yet,” and ‘It didn’t come.’ So it’s going to take a little while to roll out to everybody.” Digital Trends reported.

If you are one of the few who will receive the update directly on the 2nd, then be wary, there may be some minor glitches as found with any new software. Not to worry though, as after the Anniversary Update, Windows 10 will continually keep evolving in line with Microsoft’s own advancements.

 

So what’s new?

The Anniversary Update will not give a huge, monumental change to Windows 10, but there are some really useful improvements to be discovered!

Microsoft Edge: Alongside competitors Chrome and Firefox, Edge has now been updated to include Extensions, which are available free from the Windows Store. Think Amazon’s Assistant, Office Online, Adblock, Microsoft Translator and Pinterest’s Pin It button, as well as many more added regularly. You can also access your Extensions in the More menu () in the Edge browser itself.

The standout browser from Windows 10 can also apparently help to extend the battery life of your laptop/device. Following this, Edge now features a selection of power-saving adjustments such as minimising the weight of those pesky, draining Flash ads, all while lowering memory consumption and CPU cycles.

Cortana: Microsoft’s own personal assistant now has added functionality, and can be accessed from the Lock screen. You can ask questions or get her to play music, without even logging in! She can also offer to complete more varied and useful tasks such as adding photos to reminders, ordering dinner or hailing a taxi, and there are added voice commands to certain apps such as iHeartRadio.

Phone integration is key in this update, with Cortana having the ability to talk to Windows and Android phones, and to display your phone notifications on the Windows desktop.

Windows Hello: This was clearly one of the more interesting features of Windows 10, and it has been extended in the Anniversary Update for use on apps such as Dropbox, and for logging in to pages through the Edge browser with enterprise-grade security. Unfortunately though, the technology of fingerprint sensors and depth-sensing cameras used with Hello is not on a vast array of devices, meaning this improvement will only become effective as and when the hardware is created.

 

Start Menu: This section of the update has simply become more streamlined, with users now being able to see all installed apps in a drop-down list (this could be quite long, depending on your own personal system). It might be a small change, but this quick access list saves time and an extra click getting to where you want. Live Tiles have also been refreshed, with smarter, more effective direction so you click on a story and actually get to it.

 

Security: While this section covers many aspects of Windows 10 features, security is always going to be one of those things that is generally improved across the board. Windows Hello and Windows Defender include upgraded enhancements for both consumers and businesses, Defender featuring new anti-malware measures to scan your system quickly and efficiently to get rid of any harmful items automatically.

 

Other features include Windows Ink, which gives more useful button-options for the Surface pen stylus, as well as functionality with a keyboard and mouse, and the inclusion of a “Show Windows Ink Workspace” option for the Taskbar. Ink will also be accessible through apps such as Office, Edge and Maps.

Xbox One and Windows 10 devices have improved and tighter integration when gaming, and you can now use Xbox Play Anywhere to buy a game and play it on either platforms.

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If you are a Windows 7 or 8 user with the most recent version of the operating system, you can still upgrade to Windows 10 for free! This offer expires July 29th, so if you want it, get upgrading!

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We have an excellent range of Windows 10 titles, all in the trusted In Easy Steps style, click here for more information.

Microsoft begins lowering storage limits on OneDrive

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

The 15GB storage amount will soon be updated, meaning only a 5GB limit on accounts!

Back in 2014, Microsoft were giving out 15GB worth of free OneDrive storage, a huge amount and very useful to a lot of users for backups, cloud storage and generally freeing up device space. More recently, if you are a OneDrive user, you should have received an email stating the limits were being downgraded, unless you signed up to keep the 15GB, and whether or not your content was above the soon-to-be lowered limits. Some users also received an email warning that the unpaid storage capacity would be below the original 7GB limit (at 5GB), and this would roll out by the 13th or 27th July 2016.

The date has soon rolled around, and as of yesterday Microsoft have began removing the 15GB camera roll backup bonus, and 10GB of general account storage making the new limit only 5GB.

If you did make use of Microsoft’s offer for legacy users to keep the extra storage by the 31st January 2016, then you should be alright when this month’s change comes around. You’ll get both the 15GB storage and the camera roll bonus. But unfortunately if you got an email like the one below (right), you should definitely take action to backup your documents, photos etc as soon as possible. There are many different options for addition storage, some similar to the cloud OneDrive service, some more physical in the form of external storage options, and usefully, Google Drive are currently giving access to 15GB of storage upon signing up.#

 

 

 

Setting up the Raspberry Pi 3

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Setting up the SD card for the Raspberry Pi 3

The operating system used by the Raspberry Pi can be one of several specially optimized versions of the Linux operating system. These are known as “distributions”, or “distros” for short. Each available distro is offered as a disk image which must be written onto the Micro SD card to be inserted into the Raspberry Pi. The choice of currently available distros are listed for free download at raspberrypi.org/downloads

At the time of writing, the list includes these distros:

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Raspbian is a free operating system based on Debian Linux and optimized for Raspberry Pi hardware.

Raspbian – recommended for beginners, this distro provides a comprehensive system with a graphical desktop, web browser, and development tools to get you started programming.• Ubuntu MATE – regular Ubuntu desktop distro optimized for Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3.

OSMC – Open Source Media Center that allows media playback from your local network, attached storage, or the web.

OpenELEC – embedded operating system that provides an open source media hub.

PiNet – classroom operating system that provides centralized student accounts and file storage.

RISC OS – non-Linux alternative operating system.

Windows10 IoT – Microsoft system for Core devices.

 

Formatting the SD card
It is recommended that you format the Micro SD card before writing any distro onto the card to ensure best performance:

Step 1
Visit sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4 to download a free SD Formatter for Windows or Mac

Step 2
Follow the instructions to install the SD Formatter, then insert your Micro SD card into your card reader and make a note of the drive letter allocated to it, e.g. E:/

Step 3
Run SD Formatter then select the drive letter of your Micro SD card and format the card

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The Micro SD card should be at least 8GB capacity and at least Class 4 speed.

 

 

Installing the Raspbian operating system
This book demonstrates the officially recommended Raspbian distro that can be written onto your Micro SD card using the “NOOBS” (New Out Of the Box Software) easy installer.

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You can alternatively purchase a pre-installed NOOBS Micro SD card from Raspberry Pi retailers.

Step 1
Go to raspberrypi.org/downloads/noobs and click the Download ZIP button to download the installer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2
Extract all contents in the downloaded ZIP file to your Micro SD card to copy the installer

Beware-New

The drive letter assigned to the SD card on your system may be different to the one shown here.

 

 

 

 

 

Step 3
Remove the Micro SD card from the card reader and insert it into your Raspberry Pi

Step 4
Plug in your keyboard, mouse and monitor cables

Step 5
Now, plug in the USB power cable to your Raspberry Pi to see it boot to a window offering a list of operating systems you can install

 

Step 6
Check the box next to the “Raspbian” option, then click the Install button to install the operating system

Step 7
When the installation process has completed, you can turn the power off, then back on, to start the operating system

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Pi 3 in easy steps 9781840787290

Want to know more?

For the complete Raspberry Pi 3 guide, all in the trusted In Easy Steps style, click here. In full-colour and straightforward, jargon-free language, Raspberry Pi 3 in Easy Steps enables complete beginners to create their very own computer programs with the Scratch visual programming environment. It also instructs programming in the high-level (human-readable) Python programming language, which is processed by the Python ‘interpreter’ to produce results fast.

See also: Gathering Components for the Raspberry Pi 3

Gathering Components for the Raspberry Pi 3

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

The first step in establishing a computer system with Raspberry Pi is to gather together all the necessary components listed below:

Raspberry Pi – first you will need to get your hands on a Raspberry Pi board itself, available worldwide through Premier Farnell/Element 14, Allied Electronics, and RS Components.

Micro SD card – to contain the operating system, so is recommended at least 8GB capacity and Class 4 or higher.

Micro SD card reader – to write the operating system onto the card, unless you have pre-installed system card.

Micro USB 5 volt power source – typically an cellphone charger or e-book reader charger, providing a power supply output of at least 5V.

Beware-New

Don’t confuse the larger Mini USB standard socket, found on many digital cameras, with the Micro USB standard power socket found on the Raspberry Pi.

USB mouse – any standard mouse.

USB keyboard – any standard keyboard.

TV or monitor – any HDMI/DVI monitor or TV should work, but for best results use one with HDMI input.

HDMI cable – to connect to a TV/monitor.

Ethernet cable – for wired internet connection, unless you use the built-in WiFi adapter to connent to a router wirelessly.

Don't-Forget-New

 

You can find the Raspberry Pi suppliers online at farnell.com and at alliedelec.com or at rs-components.com

 

 

This seemingly long list of requirements is broadly similar to the components of a traditional PC so you may well already have some items on this list, but others you may need to purchase.

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
When you have gathered together all necessary components they can be connected as shown below – but the Raspberry Pi is not yet functional as the SD card doesn’t contain an operating system.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Camera Serial Interface (CSI) port allows connection of the official Camera Module accessory – an extra available from Raspberry Pi stockists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Display Serial Interface (DSI) port allows connection of the official 7” Touchscreen Display accessory – an extra available from Raspberry Pi stockists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberry Pi 3 in easy steps 9781840787290
Want to know more?

For the complete Raspberry Pi 3 guide, all in the trusted In Easy Steps style, click here. In full-colour and straightforward, jargon-free language, Raspberry Pi 3 in Easy Steps enables complete beginners to create their very own computer programs with the Scratch visual programming environment. It also instructs programming in the high-level (human-readable) Python programming language, which is processed by the Python ‘interpreter’ to produce results fast.

See also: Setting up the Raspberry Pi 3

Twitter now lets you retweet yourself!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Another newly released Twitter feature has hit the headlines this week, following previous reports of extending character-limits for photos and links. Unfortunately, it’s not the edit button that everyone so desires, but the ability to retweet your own tweets!

The retweet feature has previously only been functional for sharing content from other accounts, so your favourite comedians jokes can be shared to your followers, or an interesting news story can be passed on to those who might not see it, but now, you’ll be able to trawl back through your Twitter history and retweet those past gems which might not have got the attention they deserved.

By retweeting this tweet below on Tuesday (21st June), Twitter displayed the new addition available to all users. This opened up an understandable and long-remaining request in the Twittersphere though, that really, an edit button is the change at the top of most users’ lists. Although another step to increase engagement, usability and overall flexibility, it’s debatable whether this addition will actually be used or not.

Microsoft Buys LinkedIn

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

LinkedIn, the professional social network used by business icons, large and small companies, and most likely a few of your colleagues, has been acquired by Microsoft for $26.2 billion.

What can only be described as a major move from Microsoft, this being it’s first huge foray into social media, the development is the first step towards integrating the social network into its popular apps and services, including Cortana, Office and Skype. Effectively, you could ask Cortana to find the professional background of your interviewer, or access a Company’s most recent article to use in an Office PowerPoint presentation. Skype call a colleague or set up a video conference call between team members. Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO, thinks the career-orientated platform is the ideal fit. To get things done, you need a ‘connected professional world’, whether it’s getting help with a spreadsheet or fleshing out details in a customer relations tool like Microsoft’s Dynamics.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn is reportedly keeping his role, with Microsoft promising to maintain the independence of the platform after closing the deal sometime in 2016. New features will no doubt be introduced though, with Nadella spotting the revenue potential from subscriptions and targeted ads.

Although LinkedIn remains pages behind the social media giant Facebook, it has a strong user base, home to 433 million members, and holds a key place in the market. This move sees Microsoft follow the suit of Apple and Google, with Nadella steaming ahead with more emphasis on cloud services, leaning away from its historic dependence on Windows. There are now multiple tech providers especially on the mobile front (Apple, Samsung and Huawei), which all outrank Microsoft’s lack luster offerings, covering computing, tech gadgets and mobile software alike. This move is one step towards Nadella and Microsoft’s dream of becoming a crucial service provider, changing their tactics and finally accepting the evolving computer landscape that we now see today.

 

Updates from Apple’s live WWDC event

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

All the key information, as it happens, from the WWDC 2016!

If you’re a big fan of Apple and their market dominating tech products, or just have a keen interest in the latest gadgets, you will have heard about their annual Worldwide Developers Conference, commencing today, 13th June 2016. At approximately 6pm BST (10am PDT, 1pm EDT) announcements covering the latest Mac OS, iOS and Apple Watch will start to be revealed, and of course we expect Tim Cook’s keynote to have some surprises in store too!

 

There has recently been news of a major App Store update – possibly to be revealed at WWDC 2016, which you can read all about here!

 

 

We’ll keep updating this page as the event runs live, so stay tuned for the lowdown! You can also check out the live streamed event direct from Apple (if your device is compatible) here.

WWDC 2016

With a heavy focus on the developer side of Apple, WWDC is in its 27th year, with 13 million registered developers and 5000+ total attendees from 74 countries! It really is the hub of the Apple brand, which is still passing major milestones, such as the App Store recently hitting 2 million available apps. Today’s event focuses on the 4 Apple platforms: watchOS, tvOS, macOS and iOS.

Apple Watch 2, including Watch OS 3 software

With a top focus on performance, Watch apps will now respond instantly – 7 times faster, with favourite apps in memory, background updates, refreshed information, and instant launch.

For user integration, the side button (now the Dock Button) has been revamped, opening the Dock instead of communications, with live apps. The watch has also been made more ‘familiar’, with the additional function in Watch OS 3 of swiping up from the bottom for a mini control centre, and the Notifications screen is still easily accessible by swiping down from the top.

apple-wwdc-20160613-722

Users can now also use Scribble, a new touch keyboard that allows you to draw letters onto the screen to type, as well as Activity, a Watch face which shows your daily activity. Reminders and Find Friends has been revamped, as well as the inclusion of 3rd party apps on the Watch’s Dock. Apple has also revealed a new feature of SOS on the watch, which calls 911 (or other emergency services determined by your location), activated by pressing and holding the side button. The feature then finds your location, notifies friends and shows your medical information (if optimised).

A no-doubt popular decision, Apple has also developed a new activity app, which can share your logged activity and workout data straight from the Watch, with family and friends. View others’ data, and communicate directly using smart replies geared towards working out. Activity tracking has also been improved for wheelchair users, as well as personalised notifications to promote physical activity for those users. ‘Breathe’ is a new app which focuses on the mind, body and relaxation, helping with everyday stress, with smart notifications.

In terms of design, Minnie Mouse has joined Mickey, as well as a Numerals Watch face, which can all be simply swiped to change between different faces.

Apple Pay is now a feature available in 3rd party apps, with support for Apple Pay on the Watch.

Apple TV and the TV OS

Now with 1,300 video channels available, and 6,000 native apps in 7 months.

Live channels have been enhanced, with the new feature Live Tune-In which brings up a live channel at your command (also available on iPad). Sling is now available, as well as Fox Sports Go, NBA 2K, Minecraft Story Mode, Sketch Party. Single sign-on has been revamped, and is available to cable networks, and is also coming to iOS. The feature uses app integration so you can download an app on your iPhone and it will appear on your Apple TV.

There is a new Apple TV remote app, which comes from user suggestions of an iPhone app with the same capabilities as the Siri remote, with Siri now also searching categories of movies, through 650,000 movies and TV shows and now YouTube too!

Mac OS X 10.12

There have been a lot of rumors surrounding the name changes to OS X, and now after 15 years, Apple are going forward with the new ‘macOS’.

MacOS Sierra, the new version (10.12) will have a large focus on Continuity, iCloud, and the fundamentals of the Mac experience. You can use your Apple Watch to unlock your Mac, using ‘auto-unlock’. There is a Universal Clipboard, which works across Mac and iOS, to ensure copy and paste works across devices, as well as automatic features on the iCloud moving old files to make room for new ones. Siri is also coming to the Mac, with a section on the Dock as well as an icon in the top left of the menu bar, so you can directly send messages, search for images, play music, open Safari, and much more.

Apple Pay has also been made available for the Mac, through the web on Safari, which includes an Apple Pay button, which you can authenticate on your iPhone or Watch with TouchID. Apple has also centralised credit cards and billing data, and brings Safari-esque tabs to any app. Picture in Picture is also set to become functional on the Mac, helping those who want to actually get some work done, be a bit more productive!

There will be a Public Beta of Sierra in July, with the final version available in Autumn (Fall).

iOS 10

iOS 10’s focus is on user experience. There is a redesigned iOS lock screen, new notifications, quick interactions and expanded 3D-Touch (which can be used on the lock screen). The iPhone will also have a sensory feature allowing the phone to show the lock screen when it is raised. Live status updates can be accessed from apps through 3D touch, Video playback, as well as a simplified Control Center with a dedicated audio pane.

Siri is being opened up to developers, with the inclusion of 3rd party apps available for commands, messaging support for Slack, WhatsApp and WeChat, and actions for Uber, Lyft and Didi. Photo searches can be done through Shutterfly and Pinterest, as well as controlling workouts through Runtastic and RunKeeper. Payments can be send with Square, VoIP calling with Spark, Vontage and Skype, and it can also be used through CarPlay.

Siri intelligence is being brought to the keyboard, with ‘deep learning’ used to distinguish between similar commands, and long and short term memory to access contact info and fill calendars with appointments mentioned in messages.

In terms of Photos, Face recognition will now happen directly, and locally on the phone. The privacy protection within this is a big improvement, along with object and scene recognition, 11 billion computations per photo, all helping you get the best photos possible. Advanced search can find all types of things, and advanced AI can locally cluster photos to form important moments, trips etc, from the weekend or last year. Memories, a new tab at the bottom of photos, can show highlights and people, maps or related memories.

Maps has an all new design, cleaner navigation and traffic information, as well as panning and zooming capabilities during navigation (coming to CarPlay too!). It is also open to 3rd party developers!

Today releases the iOS 10 developer preview, with a Public Beta in July (at beta.apple.com) and the final release in Autumn (Fall).

Apple Music

Apple Music is now much simpler, but with the same Library, For You, Browse, Radio and Search tabs. There is a Downloaded Music tab, a Lyrics pane, a Recently Played option, but with a much cleaner interface overall.

Apple News

Apple News will now feature a Subscriptions option, with lock screen notifications.

HomeKit

HomeKit is a new app for iOS which can control certain aspects of your home, such as air conditioners, outlets, thermostats, etc., which can be accessed right from the Control Center. The secure point of home automation is the Apple TV, and with remote access and automation, you can see a front door camera come up straight away on your iPhone. Home control support is also included in watchOS.

Swift and Swift Playgrounds

Easy to learn, Swift is a type of code currently used in over 100,000 apps, and today Apple have announced Swift Playground, an iPad app designed to get more people (kids, specifically) into coding. ‘Combining the powerful Swift programming language and the powerful capabilities of iPad’, Tim Cook continues, Swift will be ‘The best way to teach everyone to code’. Using a teach then test method, this app looks ideal for younger people interested in coding and computing, who might one day code the apps available on the App Store!

And some other bits of useful information…

Voicemail transcription is now available, as well as new VoIP API for incoming calls, all enhancing the contact card. You also can access your work phone with Cisco!

apple-wwdc-20160613-2530Messages include rich links inline, to open YouTube videos and images, straight from iMessage. The camera has been enhanced, opening directly, and emojis are now three times bigger, with an emoji-word-highlight feature just in case you miss any chance to use the Pizza emoji! Messages will also have more bubble effects, to customise your iMessages, and you can alter the size of the message text (i.e small for ‘Sorry’ messages) and send surprise messages where you swipe to reveal the image.

Also in Messages are tapbacks (similar to the large Facebook emojis), Scribbles and Digital Touch, a full-screen feature and handwritten messages.

 

 

 

 

You can find the latest information about Apple products at www.apple.com. We’ve also got a great range of Apple titles to help you with your gadgets, including the iPhone, iPad, and OS X El Capitan, all in the trusted In Easy Steps style! Click here for more information. 

The Apple App Store is getting an update!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

You may have noticed this year, instead of emails being sent out, Apple is passing the task of alerting the public of its annual Worldwide Developers Conference to… wait for it… Siri.

family_sharing15_yosemiteWith the WWDC soon approaching (13th June – 17th June), The Verge has reported on the upcoming release of one of the first major updates to the Cupertino company’s App Store in years. Alongside the expected new versions of iOS, OS X and software for the Apple Watch, Tim Cook and the gang will be demonstrating a somewhat fresh topic, their new and improved App Store, with Apple turning its focus to changing the way developers and users interact with the platform. Also included in the roll out are new incentives for developers, an innovative search ads facility in the store, a new revenue-share model and the ongoing successes and turnaround of the app review process.

 

In his interview with The Verge, Phil Schiller, the senior VP of Apple’s Worldwide Marketing – and occasional WWDC keynote guest – noted the improvements being made to all aspects of the store from app review to the discovery process, but more importantly, Apple’s desire to alter its revenue-sharing model for apps. Although they will keep the 70/30 revenue split, the cut Apple takes will drop to an attractive 15 percent (85/15), for those developers who are able to keep a subscription with a customer for longer than a year. An interesting change to come for business models is in the form of subscriptions; Apple will opened this feature up to all developers and kinds of apps, rather than just a few selected app types. “Now we’re going to open up to all categories,” Schiller states, “and that includes games, which is a huge category.” Exciting and of course tempting for developers, this shift will mean a monthly fee can be offered for apps and games, instead of charging a single price upfront per app, so users can get more for their money and the developers can open up their app offerings to a wider market. This feature aligns with the recent reports of iPhone sales finally beginning to decline, by creating a lucrative new revenue stream from the existing users.

 

family_sharing16_yosemiteLoopInsight comments developers will be able to create region-specific pricing, as well as choose “one of over 200 subscription price points”. Interestingly, also suggested in the update is if, and when a developer raises their subscription price, the increase will have to be re-authorized by users.

 

For the search ads facility, Schiller mentions Apple’s plans to introduce display ads for apps in the iOS App Store search results – something that was previously avoided by the company. “We’ve thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with,”. In an attempt to please all users, both customers and suppliers, Schiller adds he believes the ad auction system in App Store search will be “fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too.”

Finally, to increase the App Store’s traffic to its full potential, that of most users visiting on a daily basis, Schiller mentions Apple’s plans to use social media networks to share popular apps, expanding their visibility and awareness to other users. This will be actioned via adding a ‘Share’ button to every app’s home screen 3D Touch menu.

 

So what do you think about the upcoming changes to the App Store?

We’ll keep you up to date with all the latest news, as it happens, and don’t forget, we’ve got a great range of titles covering OS X El Capitan, using the iPad @ Work, the iPhone, iPad and our popular Seniors range covering Apple Computing, the iPhone and iPad too!

Facebook Messenger App now available on Windows Phone

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Although not up there with the widely popular Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or the iPhone, in all it’s forms, the Windows Phone is one step closer to joining the club. As noted by MSPowerUser, Facebook Messenger – the MSN of the Social Media age – is now available through the Windows Store. Currently available in France and Germany, rollouts are expected to commence soon making the app available in the majority of countries around the world.

This addition comes following the announcement of Facebook launching a new Instagram, Facebook and Messenger App for Windows 10 and the Windows Phone, and is brilliant news for all Windows Phone users. This improvement is also a big step towards more app availability and engagement for the Windows Store, as the Facebook umbrella also includes popular messaging service WhatsApp.

 

 

If you temporarily change your Windows Store region via the settings, you can download the app through My Library, and then change the region back!

 

 

The Windows Phone Facebook Messenger App is still in its preliminary stages in terms of user testing, so don’t worry if you come across some glitches. Even in Beta mode though, the app has useful functionality including group messaging, photos and videos, emojis, stickers, nicknames, GIFs, notifications and much more. The Windows Store Messenger App has been adapted from the iOS version, so it will likely be quite similar to the iPhone service.

Unfortunately though, this development makes only a small amount of difference for App availability through the Windows Store. Most big names are covered, and more added regularly, but in comparison to Android and the Apple App Store’s millions of apps, the Windows Store is lacking. Microsoft have made some large changes surrounding Windows 10 Mobile recently, including cutting around 2000 jobs from their Nokia sector of the smartphone division, suggesting a more streamlined smartphone approach is on the horizon.

All is not lost though, as positive developments are still being made to the Windows Phone and the Windows Store (including rumors of a Surface Phone), so now at least, you can join the chat on the Facebook Messenger App!

 

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Image source: http://mspoweruser.com/closer-look-facebook-messenger-windows-10-mobile/

 

Twitter could be excluding Photos and Links from character limits

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Reported by Bloomberg on Monday, Twitter might be set to change the sometimes tedious character limits for Photos and Links, giving users more freedom in what they post. This development would mean that Photos and Links would not be included in the limit, a welcomed, but somewhat unexpected move given the recent rumours of the sites plans for the future.

Links, which are currently automatically shortened by Twitter to 23 characters, can often take away a large chunk of the main message, leaving users struggling to put across the message they wish. With this change, users may finally be on the right track to the longer, less restricted tweets they desire. The social media giants have previously stated their plan to increase flexibility, and this development could be seen in less than two weeks, the Bloomberg source claims.

There has been much deliberation over raising the character limits for tweets recently – by up to as much as 10,000 characters – and Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey’s ongoing plan will see the platform become more engaging, with new ways to display text. This possible move could increase the amount and types of media Twitter users post, encouraging more interaction overall. This would also mean users could use full words, rather than editing messages into ‘text-speak’ just to fit within the limit. But although development on any social media platform is key, many long term users championed the 140-character limit, as a defining and unique feature of the site.

The beauty of Twitter is it’s short, punchy tweets that get right to the point of any topic, but the option to include more content would definitely be welcomed by many fans, including us!

Windows 10 free upgrade offer to end July 29th!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article, News

 

Microsoft has recently announced the vast success of its latest operating system – the touch-focussed Windows 10 – aligning with the upcoming end of its ‘Free Upgrade Offer’ period.

Windows 10, released to consumers on July 29th, 2015 is now ‘running on 300 million active devices around the world ’, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Windows and Devices Group, Yusuf Mehdi stated in a blog post yesterday (05/05/16). The operating system is reaching its one year anniversary, and with that comes the last few months of the free upgrade, available to all applicable and compatible Windows devices running on the latest OS: Windows 7 SP1 or Windows 8.1 Update. Click here to view Windows 10 Specifications.

As one of the largest online services to date, Windows 10 has been adopted by individual home users, schools, businesses both small and large, and wider organisations, all benefiting in some way from the safe and secure experience, the enhanced touch features and the sleek, user-friendly design. Some of the latest facts and figures of Windows 10, stated by Medhi, include;

  • Over 63 billion minutes were spent on Microsoft Edge in March alone, with 50% growth in minutes since the last quarter. Exclusively available on Windows 10, Microsoft Edge is the modern browser for helping you get things done.
  • Cortana, the personal digital assistant in Windows 10, has helped answer over 6 billion questions since launch.
  • People are playing games on Windows 10 more than ever before, with over 9 billion hours of gameplay on Windows 10 since launch.
  • Apps that come with Windows 10, including Photos, Groove Music, and Movies & TV are seeing millions of active users each month, including more than 144 million people using Photos.
  • And, the Windows Store continues to grow daily with new Universal Windows Platform apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Facebook Messenger; updated UWP apps from Vine, Hulu, Netflix and Twitter; and popular PC games including Rise of the Tomb Raider and Quantum Break.(https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2016/05/05/windows-10-now-on-300-million-active-devices-free-upgrade-offer-to-end-soon/)

    Image source: https://blogs.windows.com/windowsexperience/2015/07/28/windows-10-free-upgrade-available-in-190-countries-today

 

Once the free upgrade period has ended on July 29th 2016, you will still be able to get Windows 10 included on new devices, or alternatively purchase the full version of Windows 10 Home for $119 (approximately £99). This price will no doubt be subject to offers, and will be higher for advanced versions such as Windows 10 Pro.

 

Windows 10 is continually being tested and improved, for instance with the November 2015 update which included performance enhancements, bug fixes and improvements to Cortana and Microsoft Edge, as well as the upcoming summer 2016 Windows 10 Anniversary update. All Windows 10 update services are free.

 

So as the one year anniversary nears, don’t forget to take up the free upgrade offer from Microsoft for Windows 10 (if you have a compatible/applicable device), by the 29th July 2016. Many have downloaded and enjoyed the new features, so why not try it out. Our In Easy Steps series of Windows 10 titles covers all users from the beginner to the advanced, from handy pocket-sized guides to books designed specially for the older user.

 

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Don't-Forget-New

 

You can always revert back to your previous system via the settings options in Windows 10, for up to one month after the new system upgrade. Always be sure to have securely backed up your files beforehand, in a safe and remote location.

Critical Kindle update

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

If you have an older Kindle e-reader, and it’s using an outdated software version, you need to update the software today, otherwise you won’t be able to connect to the internet. All the details for finding out which software version your Kindle has, and how to update it are here.

We’ve checked our 4th generation Kindle paperwhite today, and it did indeed need updating, but we found out the update wouldn’t download and install until the Kindle was fully charged. It’s done now – phew!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It does seem that all is not lost if you don’t get it done today, though – the update can still be downloaded and installed manually via your PC.

 

From the live Apple event, the new iPhone SE

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

With more than 1 billion Apple devices in use, it’s no surprise that when rumors of future Apple tech releases surface, media buzz is somewhat frenzied. Today (21st March), Apple is holding a press event to unveil their new products, covering new iterations of their iconic smartphone, tablet and digital accessories.

You may have recently heard reports of a new Apple iPhone, the SE, a smaller-sized (but no doubt top-notch) smartphone predicted to measure approximately 4 inches. Combining the iPhone 6 and 6S tech, but with the handy dimensions of the iPhone 5, this phone is going to be on the top of the wishlists of many Apple fans, who simply can’t get their hands around the latest offerings. Also on the horizons could be a smaller iPad Pro, as well as a selection of Apple Watch wristbands.

Fresh from the Apple event, we’ve got the lowdown on the new Apple tech!

iPhone SE

With 30 million 4 inch iPhones sold last year, this new smartphone could be your next favourite thing:

Price: Starting at $399 for 16GB, $499 for 64GB, and installment plans available.

Design: Similar to the iPhone 5, the iPhone SE comes in all the usual colour designs (including Rose Gold), inset stainless steel logo and similar glass design as on previous iPhones.

Size: 4 inches

Key features: 64 bit A9 processor and M9 motion co-processor, the iPhone SE is stated to be 50% faster than the iPhone 5s and matches the powerful CPU performance of the iPhone 6S. Hands free ‘Hey Siri’, battery improvements, 12MP iSight camera with Focus Pixels and True Tone Retina flash, Live Photos, new image signal processor, panorama up to 63MP, 4K video capture, Wi-fi calling, Bluetooth 4.2, iOS 9.3, LTE up to 150Mbps, Apple Pay

Release date: 24th March for pre-order, available 31st March. Apple aims for the new iPhone SE to be available in 100 countries by the end of May

iPad Pro

Price: Starting at $599 for 32GB, $749 for 128GB, $899 for 256GB,

Design: Weighing one pound (yes, 1lb), 40% less reflective than the iPad Air 2 and 25% brighter. More colour capability and colour saturation. Four metal finishes (including Rose Gold)

Size: 9.7 inch display

Key features: A9X processor, four speakers, 12MP iSight camera, Focus Pixels, True Tone flash, Live Photos and panorama up to 63MP, 4K video. True Tone display which measures the colour temperature to the ambient light, and adjusts the screen to match. Supports ‘Hey Siri’ and the Apple Pencil, custom sized Smart Keyboard, new lightning adapters, SD card reader and powered USB card reader.

Release date: 24th March for pre-order, available 31st March release

Apple Watch ($299)

Interchangeable wristbands have been a desirable feature for almost as long as the Apple Watch has been available, so Apple’s ‘Spring Line-up’ contains new nylon woven bands, with four layer construction, in a variety of colours. There’s also a new colour for sport and leather bands and a space-black Milanese loop.

 

Also revealed at the event:

  • The new CareKit app – available in April, open source
  • IOS 9 improvements – Night Shift (which can remove the blue from the display screen to help you sleep better), password protection on certain notes in the Notes app, the addition of ‘Top Stories’ to Apple News, CarPlay with better Apple Music and Maps apps, new education features with multi-user support

The BBC micro:bit – to be given free to every child in Year 7 in the UK

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

There’s a new pocket-sized, codeable computer on the market, the BBC micro:bit.

Created in collaboration with 29 partners, the BBC micro:bit is a programmable mini computer which Bluetooth, motion detection and a built-in compass, and will be given free to every child in Year 7 (or equivalent) across the UK. Leading the project, the BBC has teamed up with product partners ARM, Barclays, element14, Lancaster University, Microsoft, Samsung, and ScienceScope, amongst others, to coordinate design, development and delivery, as well as on-air and online learning resources for teachers, schools and makers across the UK. The micro:bit has recently been given a launch date of 22nd March 2016 for delivery to students to begin, so keep any eye out if you have a Year 7 pupil who could be receiving one!

microbit

In response to a serious skills shortage in the UK’s technology sector, the micro:bit aims to fuel creativity within the digital world and inspire a new generation of tech pioneers. Helping to develop students’ core skills in subjects such as Science, Technology and Engineering, the micro:bit opens up the digital world of programming, and brings computer coding to those who might not have taken an interest before.

Created in a range of colours, the micro:bit measures 4cm by 5cm and can be coded within a matter of seconds. Its easy to use design makes a fun gadget which can undertake simple tasks such as lighting LEDs or displaying patterns, with no need for extensive computer knowledge. In a similar way to the popular Raspberry Pi, the micro:bit can connect to other electronic devices and hardware, such as sensors and Arduino, meaning it can be extended and adapted to suit more complex learning. The elements of the micro:bit  are open-sourced and completely programmable, with simple software housed on www.microbit.co.uk – the dedicated website accessible via PC, tablet or smartphone. Here you can test and save creations in a simulator, before transferring them to your micro:bit.

Features include:

  • 25 red LEDs to light up, flash messages, create games and invent digital stories.
  • Two programmable buttons activated when pressed. Use the micro:bit as a games controller. Pause or skip songs on a playlist.
  • On-board motion detector or “accelerometer” that can detect movement and tell other devices you’re on the go. Featured actions include shake, tilt and freefall. Turn the micro:bit into a spirit level. Light it up when something is moved. Use it for motion-activated games.
  • A built-in compass or “magnetometer” to sense which direction you’re facing, your movement in degrees, and where you are. Includes an in-built magnet, and can sense certain types of metal.
  • Bluetooth Smart Technology to connect to the internet and interact with the world around you. Connect the micro:bit to other micro:bits, devices, kits, phones, tablets, cameras and everyday objects all around. Share creations or join forces to create multi-micro:bit masterpieces. Take a selfie. Pause a DVD or control your playlist.
  • Five Input and Output (I/O) rings to connect the micro:bit to devices or sensors using crocodile clips or 4mm banana plugs. Use the micro:bit to send commands to and from the rings, to power devices like robots and motors.

Stated as the BBC’s ‘most ambitious education initiative in 30 years’, the micro:bit is part of Make it Digital, an initiative which builds on the work of the BBC Micro project of the 1980s.

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning states:

“We happily give children paint brushes when they’re young, with no experience – it should be exactly the same with technology.

The BBC micro:bit is all about young people learning to express themselves digitally, and it’s their device to own.

It’s our most ambitious education initiative for 30 years. And as the micro:bit is able to connect to everything from mobile phones to plant pots and Raspberry Pis, this could be for the internet-of-things what the BBC Micro was to the British gaming industry.”

To find out more, go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/4hVG2Br1W1LKCmw8nSm9WnQ/the-bbc-micro-bit

Raspberry Pi 3 – news and updates

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

First of all, Happy 4th birthday Raspberry Pi!rasp pi bday

Today marks the 4th anniversary of the initial sales of the Raspberry Pi 1 – or technically the 1st birthday if you’re observing leap years! And what a great piece of tech it is! Bringing an affordable mini computer to kids up and down the country, and now to users of all ages worldwide, the Raspberry Pi opened up computer science to the masses, showing how much fun programming can really be!

Now on to their 3rd model (on sale now for $35), what does the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B bring to the table?

Pi_3_Model_B-01Recommended for use in Schools as well as general use, Pi 3 has an identical form factor to the previous Pi 2 and Pi 1 Model B+. It has full compatibility with the Pi 1 and Pi 2. The third generation Raspberry Pi, it replaced the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B in February 2016.

Upgrading on the Raspberry Pi 2, the Raspberry Pi 3 contains:

  • 2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARMv8 CPU
  • 11n Wireless LAN
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)

And continuing features from the Pi 2, it also has:

  • 4 USB ports
  • 40 GPIO pins
  • Full HDMI port
  • Ethernet port
  • Combined 3.5mm audio jack and composite video
  • Camera interface (CSI)
  • Display interface (DSI)
  • Micro SD card slot (now push-pull rather than push-push
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core

You can find out more about Raspberry Pi products here.

If you want to get to know a bit more about the Raspberry Pi, or if you want to get the most out of yours using easy, step by step processes, we have the title for you. One of our most popular releases, Raspberry Pi in easy steps covers all the basics to get you started with your own Raspberry Pi, from commanding the system, animating with Scratch and producing games with Python, to developing windowed apps and driving header pins, controlling electrical input and output. Whether you are a beginner, or a more advanced user, this in the ideal companion for getting to know your Raspberry Pi, inside and out!

Click here to watch a handy video tutorial of the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.

Facebook announces the expanded ‘Like’ button options!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Have you ever wanted to express a more specific emotion when ‘liking’ a friend’s Facebook post? Sometimes, it might not be appropriate to use the simple ‘Like’ button, and you require something more to convey your feelings. A frustrating drive to work? An unfortunate injury? Or perhaps a hilarious joke? Well not to worry, at the request of its users, Facebook has today announced the mobile and web-based rollout of the expanded ‘Like’ button.

With hints of the upcoming expansion, rumours have been circulating for the past year, as well as an early sneak peak last October. Now ready and raring to go, the new development – coined ‘Reactions’ – includes five different animated emoji options: Love, Haha, Wow, Sad and Angry. Of course, the traditional ‘Like’ option is still included, but the new options aim to give users a wider and simpler choice in responding to their friends’ posts. Facebook will begin to slowly rollout Reactions to users worldwide today, so keep an eye out on your news feed as they will be appearing over the next few days!

You’ll recognise the emoji animations, which are easily distinguishable from each other. Love is a heart, Haha is a wide-mouthed happy face, Wow is a mouth-open shocked face, Sad is tearful face, and Angry is a furrowed-brow red face.

To access the new emojis:

On a webpage

  1. Simply hover over the Like / Reactions button until the options appear
  2. Click on the desired ‘Reaction’ to apply it to the post

On a mobile device (Facebook app or Facebook mobile)

  1. Tap and hold on the Like / Reactions option, the expanded options appear
  2. Click on the desired ‘Reaction’ to select it and apply it to the post

And that’s it! On the post, you’ll then see a summary of the three most common reaction icons, and notification-wise, you’ll be alerted when someone has ‘reacted’ to your post.

 

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Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of Facebook, for whichever device you are using!

 

It’s thought that once this feature has become a regular part of the Facebook user’s lives, it will be expanded and developed routinely to keep up with demand and use. Sammi Krug, Reactions product manager states “Once this actually rolls out, we’ll learn more about how people use the feature […] We’ll continue to iterate it over time, based on user feedback.”

Unfortunately though, there is still no appearance of the ‘Dislike’ button! “It would have been too binary,” says Krug. “This way, though, you’ll have more ways to express yourself. That’s the goal.”

We’re looking forward to seeing the most used Reactions from you, our fans, on our Facebook page!

 

Get a free trial of Adobe’s Acrobat Pro DC!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Adobe, the well known computer software company, who has brought us many favourites such as Photoshop and the Adobe Creative Suite,
are offering a free trial of Acrobat Pro DC. This system allows you to convert PDF’s into their original Microsoft Office files, so they can be easily edited and amended as required. Quickly create Word, Excel and PowerPoint files, saving endless hours of retyping and reformatting!

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Get a free trial of Acrobat Pro DC now! Click here to find out more!Photoshop Elements 14 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps 9781840787160

 

 

Are you interested in Adobe’s creative systems? Why not check out our brilliant range of design and graphics titles, from Photoshop Elements to InDesign! The perfect companions to extend your skills, and learn some lesser known tips along the way.

Stay tuned for our new release, Photoshop Elements 14, Tips Tricks and Shortcuts in easy steps, coming soon!

New ‘First View’ feature on Twitter emerges

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

twitter FV

In the ever-changing world of Twitter, by the time one interesting feature rolls out to its millions of users around the world, another one is on the horizon. Last week, it was reported that Twitter could be gearing up to alter the placement of tweets, but fret not; there will not be a ‘Facebook-like’ news feed coming to the platform. Cleared up on their blog, the new setting – which you can specify whether you want enabled or not – will show missed tweets which you might have wanted to see, at the top of your timeline when you first log-in. These will be in reverse chronological order, and have the rest of the tweets underneath, also in reverse chronological order. Jack Dorsey, Twitter Chief, stated they want to make Twitter “feel more, not less, live”. Phew!

So the most recent news, which seems to have a slightly stronger backbone, is the appearance of ‘First View’. This new feature changes the advertisement content of your feed, allowing brands to pay more to place marketing campaigns such as video ads, at the top of your timeline. You’ll most likely have experienced a similar type of marketing with Facebook’s Suggested posts, slotted in between your friends’ news and status updates, and First View is just like that. No obligation, but you never know, something might catch your eye!

For businesses, it’s also a good way to specifically target your desired market, without being too pushy or blocking up content that you have specifically subscribed to see.

On their blog, Twitter states First View is ‘an engaging and highly visible way to share your brand story with compelling video creative across Twitter’s massive audience’. It makes sense, you have to admit. Imagine the vast user base of Twitter, accompanied by the placement itself, sitting in the ‘most valuable advertising real estate’. These ads will last for a 24-hour period, so shouldn’t impact too much on your daily twittering. You may not even notice them at all!

This feature will be rolled out gradually to selected partners in the US, and then in the coming months, there are plans to expand globally.

 

Windows 10 is made into a recommended update, leading some PCs to auto-install

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Beware-NewBeware!

If you have a PC or laptop running Windows 7 or 8.1, the new operating system from Microsoft, Windows 10, will soon become a ‘recommended update’ on some systems. This means the update, previously optional, could auto-install if your computer is set to ‘install updates automatically’. For those who have their devices set to allow them to choose whether to install updates, the upgrade will be visible but will not be applied until you manually approve it.

After the recent push attempts from Microsoft, offering free upgrades to Windows 7 and 8.1 users, and making it increasingly easy to click through and install the new system, it is no surprise that the Redmond giants have moved in for further Windows 10 domination. A company spokesperson stated; “As we shared in late October on the Windows Blog, we are committed to making it easy for our Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 customers to upgrade to Windows 10. We updated the upgrade experience today to help our customers, who previously reserved their upgrade, [to] schedule a time for their upgrade to take place”.

It seems that now, February 2016 is the chosen month for the upgrade to reach recommended status, so the gradual roll-out could soon affect you, if it hasn’t already.

It’s not all bad though, as Windows 10 has been widely considered a success, with a surge of new users allowing it to overtake its older sibling, Windows XP. The latest figures place Windows 10 in second place (previously third, behind XP) on 11.85% of desktops, with the winner, Windows 7, remaining strong on 52.47%. This new recommended update setting could see figures change dramatically, as many computers will be set to automatically install updates.

Microsoft has reminded users though, if the operating system does begin to upgrade there is both an option to cancel the process, as well users having a month to roll back to their original system. So if you don’t like Windows 10, or you made the move by accident, then you can still turn back the clock and stick with your familiar system.

So what can I do?

Primarily, if you don’t want any sudden Windows 10 shaped surprises, go into your computer’s Update settings and switch off automatic updates (Control Panel > Windows Update > Change Settings and select one of the four options). Depending on the setting you select, this will then allow you to manually decide which updates are applied to your computer, including Windows 10.

The next thing to do, and a tip for all computer users to remember, is to keep your PC or laptop routinely backed up. This will allow you to rest assured that all of your important documents and photos will not be lost, if you decide – or inadvertently decide – to make any important updates to the operating system.

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You can find out all you need to know about Windows 10, Microsoft’s new operating system, with our excellent range of titles here. From the pocket-sized beginners Get Going guide, to comprehensive advanced companions and larger print seniors editions, you’re sure to find something to suit you.

So what’s next, without the Java plug-in?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

As mentioned in our previous article The Java plug-in is winding down, there will soon be little need for the well-known software component, the Java plug-in.

The big names in web browsing, including Google and Apple, have recently removed support for the plug-ins or simply removed the plug-in altogether. Due to the NPAPI systems used to develop the plug-ins, they often lacked security, stability and speed, and with the development of cross-platform mobile web browsers, there is no need for the Java plug-ins.

In the upcoming months, many other providers are due to follow suit. So where do we go from here?

For many years, Java was repeatedly the source of browser security vulnerabilities, frequent memory leaks and negative implications on battery life. These issues plagued the platform, leading to its eventual demise. To address these issues, Developers are now moving away from the Java plug-in and towards the use of Java Web Start technology, a more secure and stable component, as described in Java in easy steps, 5th Edition.

Without the need for additional plug-ins like Java, modern web design now primarily focuses on programming language in the form of HTML5 and JavaScript.

A widely popular format, and universally supported on all major devices, HTML5 is now arguably one of the best solutions for creating and deploying content on web pages, across all platforms. Developments in the support of HTML5 features such as video, has finally drawn away the reliance on tradition plug-ins such as Adobe Flash Player or Java, bringing a new era of web design. Video playback flourishes with HTML5, as it occurs inside the browser itself, as described in HTML5 in easy steps.

JavaScript, the high-level, dynamic, untyped, and interpreted programming language is also fully covered in JavaScript in easy steps, 5th Edition.

The Java plug-in is winding down

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

It’s arguably been on the horizon for some time, but it seems now, Oracle has decided to let the Java plug-in go. Popular browsers such as Chrome, Safari, Edge and Firefox have recently began phasing out support for NPAPI plug-ins (which include Silverlight and Java), and in Firefox’s case, this will wind down at the end of 2016.

Known for being somewhat of a security vulnerability, and in fact the source of many security flaws over the years, Java plug-ins are still used widely throughout large corporations and by government employees. The end of an era, you’ll no doubt miss the regular Java update messages on your screen… no?

The Java plug-in will be deprecated in its next release, version 9, to come out on the 22nd September 2016, and then removed entirely in the next future release.
The company has said in their whitepaper, browser makers have ditched the use of plug-ins altogether due to ‘the rise of web usage on mobile device[s]’. As plug-ins are not supported by mobile browsers – and we all know the huge rise of mobile web use compared to traditional desktop/laptop computers – they’ve become obsolete. The main players in the browser world, Google, Apple, Microsoft and Mozilla are continuing to expand the same features across all platforms, and plug-ins have lost out, they are simply no longer required.

javalogo

Oracle has announced on its blog:

With modern browser vendors working to restrict and reduce plugin support in their products, developers of applications that rely on the Java browser plugin need to consider alternative options such as migrating from Java Applets (which rely on a browser plugin) to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology.

 

 

Aside from the demise of the plug-in, if you want to learn more about Java the coding language, check out Java in easy steps, or take a look at our other great coding titles here!

 

Today only – get £10 off Amazon orders over £50!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

You read that correctly, you can get £10 off orders of £50 or more on Amazon.co.uk today!Hot-Tip-New_cropped

After being ranked #1 on the 2016 UK Customer Satisfaction Index, the internet shopping giant Amazon UK has given users the chance to save £10 on any order worth £50 or over, until the end of today (22nd January 2016)!

Enter the code BIGTHANKS at the checkout, and save some well earned £’s.

This code is available for one use per person, and applies to all of Amazon’s own retail items. There are hundreds of thousands of items available through Amazon direct, so if you missed out on the Christmas or New Year Sales, this one’s for you! Sadly though, this offer excludes Amazon Marketplace items and Amazon Prime registrations, baby formula, digital products (audiobooks, videogame downloads), gift cards, delivery charges and Crab Nebula items. See more information here.

This celebration comes after the Institute of Customer Service named the online retailer top, having the most ‘satisfied’ customers in their yearly Customer Satisfaction Survey. “We are grateful to customers for ranking Amazon #1 in customer satisfaction in the UK,” said Amazon UK’s managing director, Christopher North. “We are constantly working to improve the overall experience we provide for our customers and set ever higher standards.”

So get shopping! Use code BIGTHANKS to get £10 off a qualifying order of £50 or more!

 

New Apple titles from In Easy Steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

AppleSlideNov2015_small

Did you get one of Apple’s latest devices for Christmas?

  • iPhone 6s
  • iPhone 6s Plus
  • iPad
  • iPad Mini
  • iPad Pro
  • iMac
  • MacBook
  • MacBook Pro
  • MacBook Air
  • Mac Mini
  • Mac Pro

Look no further for the perfect guide to help you get to grips with it quickly! Our popular range of titles is being updated to cover iOS 9 (the latest operating system for iPads and iPhones) and OS X El Capitan (the operating system for Macs). You can find a link to download the first chapter and the table of contents by clicking on the images below:

9781840786941This best-selling title covers all models of iPad with iOS 9, including iPad Mini and iPad Pro. It walks you through all the basics to get you started, then shows you how to make the most of your iPad. Presented in larger type for easier reading.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781840786934The second edition of this popular Seniors guide gives you all the information you need to get up and running with your new iPhone 6s or 6sPlus, and quickly feel you are in control of it. In full colour and straightforward, jargon-free language, and presented in larger type for easier reading.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781840787061Now into its 7th edition, this title is being updated to cover iOS 9. All models of iPad with iOS 9 are catered for, including iPad Mini and iPad Pro.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781840786958_webWhichever version of Mac you’re using, this book will guide you through the basics, like using the Dock and the Finder, and will then help you master the essentials so you can get the most out of your Mac, whether you’re new to Mac computing or upgrading from an older version of OS X.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9781840787078_webGet up and running with your new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus without any fuss. Set it up so it works how you like it, and learn how to use its exciting features so that you can make the most of the latest Apple smartphone.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Save Money with Kobo!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Did you know, Kobo offers a price match on eBooks?

Hot-Tip-New_croppedIf you buy an eBook from Kobo and find the same title (with the same ISBN) from another online retailer, you can get Kobo to credit you the difference, with 10% added of the original purchase price! Many, if not most customers are unaware of this deal, but it’s well worth checking out if you are an avid eBook user!

Simply file a claim within 7 days of purchase, and if the details match and are available in the same country – i.e you cannot buy something from the UK store and claim because the US site is cheaper – then you can qualify for Kobo’s Price Match Guarantee!

This offer applies to customers in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

To access it:

  1. Go to kobo.com, locate the specified title and click through to the individual title page
  2. Click Price Match Guarantee (this link is available on all individual eBook title pages)
  3. From the Price Match Guarantee page, click Start Your Requestkobo
  4. Fill in your details on the Request Form, including your receipt number (found in the email received from Kobo after the original purchase
  5. Enter the URL and the price of the lower price title under Competitor Information
  6. Click Submit

And that’s it! Kobo will then verify the lower priced title and reply within 3 working days. If your request is valid, your Kobo account will be credited the amount equal to the price difference, with an added 10% of your original purchase price. A great tip to help you save the pennies, and possibly the pounds (or cents and dollars depending on your location), after the festive season!

You can find our In Easy Steps eBooks on Kobo, visit kobo.com find out more!

A quick look back, and onwards to 2016!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

And that was 2015!

We’ve had a great year here at In Easy Steps!W10 books

With our completed Windows 10 series, learners from all ages, backgrounds and abilities can master the new operating system. Whether you’re a beginner to Windows, or upgrading your PC or Laptop, our guides offer users fantastic knowledge and behind the scenes information to truly make your device your own.

9781840786491 Android Tablets for Seniors in easy steps 9781840786491Android Tablets for Seniors in easy steps, 2nd edition is still going strong after its Summer release, ideal for any ‘silver surfers’ getting to grips with the new digital landscape, and Android operating system.

Our popular title Agile Project Management in easy steps, 2nd edition, can help many business managers on the path to success, alongside Online Marketing for Small Business in easy steps, which is great for any up and coming companies and the self-employed who want to get ahead of the game with marketing and social media.

 

The Apple iOS 9 titles  help you quickly get to grips with your iPads and iPhones, and also whether you’ve upgraded your Mac to OS X El Capitan or not, 2015 gave you the titles you wanted; MacBook in easy steps, 4th Edition and Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps – covering OS X Yosemite, and for the new system update, OS X El Capitan in easy steps.

Finally, we added a complete beginner’s guide to programming to our popular range of programming books, Coding for Beginners in easy steps, for those wanting to learn to program from scratch and for kids!

2016

And with 2016 just round the corner, what more is there to do than look forward to our exciting upcoming titles! Here are just a selection of new titles we have coming in 2016, available in paperback and eBook formats:

iPhone in easy steps, 6th Ed iOS 9 9781840787078The final installment of our iOS 9 series, iPhone in easy steps will be released, completing the set. An ideal accompaniment to any new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus users, this title is not to be missed!

We’ll be bringing you Visual Basic in easy steps, 4th edition; a great companion to any web developer who wants to quickly get to grips with creating Windows apps, in the Visual Basic 2015 programming environment.

Also, PHP 7 in easy steps will be released, covering key aspects of the language; installing a free web server and PHP interpreter, helping you produce professional web programming results, code server-side scripts and all the basics including variables, arrays, logic, looping, functions and classes.

 

Another one for the computer hobbyists , Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps will take you through the best parts of Scratch Cool Scratch Projects in easy steps 9781840787146Programming, giving you great ideas and code for creating new games and programs, right at your fingertips!

For the artistic reader, we’ll have Photoshop Elements 14 Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps, ideal for anyone with an interest in photo enhancing and design. A comprehensive guide covering everything from software set up to advanced secrets to expand your editing exploits.

Office 2016, Excel 2016 and Word 2016 are on the horizon, to help you fully utilise your PC or laptop, and get the best out of Microsoft’s popular programs. Using detailed images and step by step instructions, in the trusted In Easy Steps style, you’ll reach pro-level quickly and easily. There are so many tips and shortcuts packed in; you’ll wonder how you managed before!

 

Follow the links to see more information, as we get it, on the titles you want in 2016!

Festive treats for Android Users!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Twas the night before Christmas, smartphone in hand. A shiny new app? Well that would be grand!

 

If you’re an android user, keen to give Google Play Music a go, or if you just want to see what the music streaming buzz is all about, head to Google Play now!

Google Play logoGoogle is offering a three-month subscription to their music service for the holidays, for only one dollar! If you know someone who’s switching to android, or who’s receiving a shiny new android phone then this is the deal for them. Unfortunately only for new subscribers, the subscription comes with YouTube Red, for ad-free videos and background playback. Head over to Google Play to make sure your location is included, as the $1 deal is accessible only in certain countries!

Added to this offer, is the opportunity to get 75% off a movie rental, 50% off one album of your choice, and many other great deals including sales on games, books and apps! There’s no catches on the half price album, which covers the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, France, Japan, Mexico, Russia, the UK and all genres from Classical to Metal! Be sure to take advantage before the 4th January 2016!android_vector

Also in Android news, Vodafone is offering Wifi-Calling to Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge users in the UK, so now if you have limited mobile signal, there’s no problem as the function can be done over Wifi! No doubt this great addition will continue to be rolled out gradually to other networks, but if you’re a Vodafone android user, text CALLING to 97888 to be opted in. Some handsets already have this feature enabled, so head over to EE for more information.

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To find out all the festive treats from Google Play:

 

  • Click here for Music
  • Click here for Movies and here for TV
  • Click here for Books
  • Click here for Games

…and why not check out our great selection of Android titles, all In Easy Steps!

 

 

Windows 10 titles from In Easy Steps

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Windows 10 is one of the most significant upgrades in Microsoft’s history and we have a comprehensive range of titles to help you get to grips with it. Here’s the full range of In Easy Steps Windows 10 titles – click on the images below for more details:

 

First off, our standard title:

9781840786439_webGuiding you through installing and setting up Windows 10, migrating settings from your current version of Windows if you’re already using a Windows PC, this 240-page book will show you all the basics you need to know to find your way around Windows 10 quickly.

We worked hard to get this title to you as soon as possible after the final version of Windows 10 was released on 29th July, and it does cover that final version (we didn’t go to print until after the final version was released, so everything could be checked).

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or, there’s our quick-start guide:

9781840786842This 104-page, pocket-size book covers all the basics and will help you hit the ground running once you’ve installed Windows 10.

Available now!

£5.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Special Edition helps you to venture further into Windows 10. 480 pages, covering everything from the basics of how to install and set up Windows 10, and then guides you through the more advanced features:

If you’re after a comprehensive guide that covers advanced features in Windows 10 – then this is the book for you.
Also ideal for those who have mastered the fundamentals covered in Windows 10 in easy steps and Windows 10 for Seniors in easy steps and who want to explore more of Windows 10.

Available now!

£16.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The popular Seniors title is also available now, too.

Written with older readers in mind, and in larger type for easier reading, this 240-page book is full of tips and shortcuts to help you get the most out of Windows 10, whatever your level of experience and whichever type of PC system you’re using.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For those Seniors thinking about getting a Windows 10 laptop, and those upgrading, this new title will help with choosing and using one:

Again, written in larger type for easier reading, this book shows how laptops are ideal for Seniors and, as well as explaining the essential computer jargon, will help you explore the exciting features of Windows 10 on a laptop.

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you’ve mastered Windows 10, and you’re ready to find out what else you can do, this book will teach you all the clever tricks and shortcuts you can use which will make using it faster and more productive.

Over 1000 tips, tweaks and secrets to help you get the most out of Windows 10.

A great Christmas gift for your Windows 10-using friends and family, too!

Available now!

£10.99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hope you’re having a good experience using Windows 10!

 

Star Wars themed tips for your Tech!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

With the UK release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in cinema’s today, we’ve rounded-up the best force-themed tricks to get involved in possibly the most anticipated event – and sequel – of the year!

First up, for those who unfortunately did not manage to get their hands on release-day tickets; Google’s Chrome extension, Force Block.
This nifty little add on with help warn you off any ‘spoiler alert’ content which could ruin your eventual viewing of the blockbuster title. Download and enable Force Block, and from there you can tailor the browser to filter any content you don’t want to see. You can even specify pages not to block, so even though this page features ‘Star Wars’ related content, you can rest assured you won’t miss out, or stumble upon any film related reveals! Formed using pattern matching logic, a recent update has added a ‘handful of instant-blocking keyphrases, sourced from people who have seen the film via early screenings’ so Google’s really pulled out all the stops to not ruin your own cinema experience.

Head to the Chrome Web Store for more information, and to add the extension to your Chrome page!

Don't-Forget-New

 

Other browsers are available, but be warned, you might stumble upon the dark side!

star wars

 

Another fun trick from Google, you can now turn your smartphone into a lightsaber in their desktop browser game! Get into the swing of things with the next best thing to a real lightsaber; a program which turns your smartphone into the ultimate weapon of choice, and defeat bad guys on your screen! Lightsaber Escape is up and running, just click the link to open in your desktop browser (yes, other browsers work too!), type in the unique URL on your phone (or vice versa) and you’re all set. Your phone becomes the handle, with a striking beam of neon ready for your Jedi moves.

From Google and Lucasfilm, as well as the Star Wars visual effects studio, Lightsaber Escape is a Chrome experiment using WebGL (3D Graphics) and WebRTC and WebSocket (real-time communication between devices). Beware though, there may be some issues with compatibility in handling the true awesome-ness of the Lightsaber, such as connection speed.

 

And finally, what seems to have become a regular occurrence on social media giant Facebook, you can now change your profile picture to support the Star Wars cause. There are two designs, a light side and a dark side (blue and red lightsabers, of course) which fit neatly on top of your existing photo – or another one of your choice. If you haven’t already seen the feature, just head over to Facebook and you’re sure to find a friend who has already chosen a side. Click their image and the ‘Use Frame’ button to follow the paths of new hero Finn, or the baddie you love to hate, Kylo Ren. Alternatively, go to the official Star Wars film Facebook page, click a character poster i.e. Finn or Kylo Ren and click ‘Try it’. The tool is easy to use, lets you preview the final image and you can set a timer for how long you want the effect to last. It’s like you’re right there in the film … almost.

Stay tuned for more updates on recent tech, in easy steps!

Twitter launches Moments in the UK

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

Twitter’s new Moments feature has officially launched in the UK, a few months after its US launch.

Appearing in both the browser and app versions, the feature highlights news events from around the world, allowing users to remain up-to-date on all the latest topics. There is now no need to endlessly search for a particular story, with content assembled from a top group of journalists and subject specialists; “The aim will be for us to represent that conversation in as diverse way as possible” stated EMEA Moments Lead, Jo Geary at the unveiling.

With the new feature, Twitter will combine prominent tweets surrounding news stories, to clean up the trend tabs currently on the platform. Access numerous categories and scroll through areas such as News, Sports and Entertainment. There will be a general selection called Today, with the most popular stories and relevant tweets from around the world.

In a step to reach mass market, alongside the ‘While you were away’ feature, Moments will hit timelines in the UK shortly – if not live already!
Click here for the official Twitter page, or check out the ‘Moments’ section on your timeline!