Author Archive

A Quick Guide to the Festive Season – In Easy Steps!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Hello December!

The countdown has begun, it’s the 1st of December and there are only three more weeks to pack in all the decorations, present wrapping and family visits. Here’s our guide to the Festive Season, In Easy Steps!

  1. Have you discussed the plans for the big day itself? Home or away, it’s worthwhile planning travel arrangements, who is bringing what, and how many guests will be attending
  2. It’s now officially December, so it is acceptable to get the tree, Christmas songs, lights and general holiday decorations out and organised, to properly get in the festive spirit!
  3. Wrap up those gifts! Whether you are doing a Secret Santa, presents for the kids, or gestures of goodwill instead of another pair of socks, once they’re all ticked off and wrapped up, you’ll breath a sigh of relief. (Don’t forget to check out our Special Offers and Coming Soon titles!)
  4. Timing is everything, especially when it comes to the food prep. Make a list for when everything needs to be in the oven, or on the stove, and stick it on the fridge

 

 

Make sure to rope in any little helpers for the vegetable peeling!

 

 

Less is often more when it comes to decorations, so find a theme and stick to it!

 

Beware-New

 

Check the weather forecast! Although a white Christmas is often reserved for the movies (at least here in Britain!), it’s handy to know whether you might need your wellies or not!

 

Seasons Greetings!

From, the In Easy Steps team!

 

 

The low-down on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus

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

All the information on this months Apple Press event – iOS 9 and the brand new iPhones.

As the 9th September Apple press event nears, more and more news pieces and rumours are appearing surrounding the upcoming iPhone duo release, almost certainly due to be unveiled this month at the San Francisco show. As seen in previous years, Apple’s product cycles have given a September announcement and following handset and the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus are the next developments to the vast Apple range.

Following suit with the release cycle, Apple is thought to be implementing refreshed software, a faster processor and possible Force Touch technology, which can differentiate between a soft tap and a deep press, making the touch screen all the more intuitive. This would align with the alternating cycle of new hardware and software designs each year, and with the new iOS 9 software, the timing is perfect.

After inviting journalists to the September 9th event, through a fun and brand focussed ‘Hey Siri, give us a hint’, Siri kept quiet on the subject, giving coy responses likening the user to a kid at Christmas.

So what can you expect with the new iPhones?

A follow up to the September 2014 iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the new couple to arrive this autumn are the iPhone 6s, and 6s Plus – unofficially known as the iPhone 7.

These new models will undoubtedly feature an enhanced battery life, Force Touch (as seen on the Apple Watch) and a possible 12 mega pixel camera, as well as a suggested 2GB of RAM in the A9 processor. Higher screen resolution is pretty much a given, as well as – unfortunately – a higher price.

The 6s Plus will of course be bigger, and most likely more powerful. The included iOS 9 operating system will bring a more intelligent Siri and redesigned built-in apps, improved stability and Apple Pay Touch ID functionality. Build-wise; reports suggest perhaps either a Liquidmetal body or use of a stronger Series 7000 aluminium alloy to stave off any mishaps similar to 2014’s ‘bend-gate’ saga. The aesthetic design and screen size of the iPhone 6s is likely to remain close to the iPhone 6, with some colour variances and minute change in thickness.

These handsets – or at least the iPhone 6s – should be available around mid-September, with many tech websites stating September 18th. Keep your eyes peeled, as Apple may be releasing a new iPad too!

Coming soon….

You can find out all you need to know about iOS 9 with our upcoming titles – all in easy steps! Click herefor more information!

How to obtain Windows 10 for free

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

After the exciting news of the upcoming Windows 10 release, made even better by the fact it is free to all qualifying Windows 7 and 8 users, we’ve looked into the actual upgrade process after July 29th.

As How to obtain Windows 10 - in easy stepsmentioned above, as long as you register within one year of the July 29th release of Windows 10, Microsoft will let you have the upgrade for free. There are a few things to watch out for though, particularly one phrase stating the upgrade is for the “supported lifetime of the device”. It’s quite unclear what this means and as yet, Microsoft have not clarified. Also, your computer will need to be capable of running Windows 10, the main specifications being: 1GHz processor, 1GB RAM (32-bit Windows) or 2GB RAM (64-bit Windows), and 16GB of free disk space.

For those considering a new PC or Laptop; if you upgrade to Windows 10 from a previous retail version, you can then install the updated system to a new computer! The old version will need to be removed, but this is great news if you were considering buying a pre-installed Windows 10 device.

Another point to bear in mind is the type of Windows licence you have. It will be the same once the upgrade has been completed, so if you have changed any major components the software may need reactivating.

All will surely be elaborated come launch day though!

How to upgrade:

  1. Your computer will need to be on the latest version its current operating system before the upgrade. This can be checked through Windows Update. Once updated to either Windows 7SP1 or Windows 8.1, a Windows tile icon should appear in the notification area of the desktop – this may have already appeared if your PC is up to date.
  2. Click the Windows tile icon to begin the Get Windows 10 app. Here you can check your device complies with the Windows 10 requirements by clicking the Menu button (top-left of the screen, three horizontal lines) and then Check My PC. Don’t worry, if you need to update anything or clear some space, the app will notify you accordingly.
  3. Reserve your upgrade: Click Menu and then Reserve to secure your free copy of Windows 10. You can view confirmation in the Menu, and you will be notified when Windows 10 has downloaded. Once ready, you will then be able to install an in-place upgrade of your operating system to complete the upgrade to Windows 10. From here, you can then transfer the upgrade to a new device (a clean install) from an ISO by Microsoft, using a DVD or USB flash drive.
And that’s it!

Remember, you have one year from July 29th to complete this installation so make sure to claim yours! Your upgrade will depend on the system you have, which can be determined below:

Windows 7 Starter  →  Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Home Basic  →  Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Home Premium  →  Windows 10 Home

Windows 7 Professional → Windows 10 Pro

Windows 7 Ultimate  →  Windows 10 Pro

Windows 8  →  Windows 10 Home

Windows 8 Pro  →  Windows 10 Pro

Windows 8.1  →  Windows 10 Home

Windows 8.1 Pro →  Windows 10 Pro

 

For further information on Windows 10, why not have a look at our upcoming series including:

Windows 10 in easy steps and Get going with Windows 10 in easy steps – both due August 2015.

How to Maintain your Mac

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

Adapted from Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps by Drew Provan

Macs do not need much looking after, although in the past we were advised to defragment our hard drives and carry out other household cleaning tasks. Now with OS X there is little that needs doing on a regular basis!

Maintenance worth carrying out:

  • Clear Safari history and caches
  • Clearing cookies from Safari and other browsers
  • Clearing old logs and User cache folder

Automate the Cleaning!

There are several apps that can clear out all of the unwanted files. Some are free and others are paid apps.

Three useful maintenance apps:

CCleaner is a very simple app, ported over from Windows. It carries out a very limited range of cleaning functions and does not clean out the User cache. It does, however, deal with the internet debris and temporary browser files pretty well. OnyX and MainMenu are more powerful than CCleaner but perform similar functions.

 

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-02-01 at 16

Defragmenting your Drive

Hard drives can become fragmented over time. This is because, as the drives fill up, there is no space to write large files so they end up being split into several parts across the drive. When you open the file, the Mac has to look around for all the pieces and join these in order to open the file.

Note: There is no defragmentation app built into OS X (unlike Windows which includes an app to defragment your drive)

iDefrag

There are several apps available for defragmenting drives running OS X. iDefrag (http://www.coriolis-systems.com/iDefrag.php) is probably the best.

 

Beware-New

 

Never defragment an SSD drive. They have a finite number of read/writes and the drive will fail faster if you defrag!

 

 

Clear the Desktop!

The Mac has to keep track of many items and the Desktop is one of them. The more files and folders you have on the Desktop, the harder the Mac has to work to keep track of all these files. With the speed increases seen with newer Macs you may not notice the slowdown so much, but it is good practice to keep your Desktop as clear as you can.

  1. Regularly file your documents in the Documents folder (create sub-folders within the Documents folder)
  2. If you must keep some items on the Desktop, consider creating a folder on the Desktop and dropping them into that
  3. Try creating aliases for frequently accessed folders

Find out more great Mac ideas in Mac Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts in easy steps, by Drew Provan or visit us at www.ineasysteps.com!

Apple Tech Update – iOS 8.4

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

ios 8.4

Apple Tech Update – Apple Music, Audio Books and iOS bug fixes

The latest iOS firmware update – 8.4 – has just been released.

With the unveiling of Apple Music, now available to download through iOS 8.4, Apple has also made some vital bug fixes surrounding the watch, GPS systems and iBooks.

Apple’s new music streaming offering is generally receiving good reviews, being relatively easy to set up, it contains five different options of music indulgence to discover (For You, New, Radio, Connect and My Music). There are more comprehensive search facilities and tailor-made playlists based on the music you like to hear (check out our previous article to get the full down-low!). Like many others, we’ll wait and see how it performs against streaming giant Spotify once the three month trial ends.

Next on the roll-out is a key fix for the Apple watch, which has been updated to solve the issue of apps reinstalling after they had been deleted. GPS location services have also been improved helping devices and accessories provide fixed location data.

Finally, the update to iOS 8 includes an enhanced audio books feature. Apple has now made iBooks more intuitive, letting users browse, sample and download audio books all in one app. Previously, audio books were based within iTunes, which made it difficult to locate the downloads and sync with other devices. With iOS 8.4, everything is within iBooks, which also includes a newly designed ‘Now Playing’ feature specific to audio books, and a sleep timer. Audio books are also now filed alongside your eBooks and PDF documents, which will make it a lot easier accessing and reading your favourite In Easy Steps titles on your iPad or iPhone!

Will you be trying out Apple Music? Are you an Android fan or loyal to Apple?

Comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!

For all the info on iOS 8, go to https://www.apple.com/uk/ios/whats-new/

Apple Music, the new streaming service to rival Spotify?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

You may have noticed the term Apple Music in the media recently, due to some top musicians – most notably Taylor Swift – challenging the big guys at Apple to rightfully pay for the music they are selling, but what actually is it?

Apple Music is touted to be the Spotify of the Apple world. At WWDC 2015 Apple unveiled the new service; a mix of Beats Music and iTunes, with a 24-hour live radio broadcast, personalised playlists, recommendations and the whole vault of iTunes music ready and waiting for your listening pleasure. From BBC Radio 1 fame DJ Zane Lowe will headline station Beats 1, alongside a selection of expertly curated stations from world renowned DJ’s and artists. There will be industry insights, knowledge, news and reviews encompassing the whole music world.

Starting from the first setup, the technology behind Apple Music personally curates – Apple Music is all about ‘curating’ – results and suggestions from what you initially search, and over time learns all about all your likes and dislikes. There are innovative playlists curated by a worldwide team, which constantly update and change throughout the day so you’ll never listen to the same list of songs, unless you want to.

One of the top features of Apple Music is Connect. Here artists can post an array of exclusive media, behind the scenes photos, videos, unreleased demos, or stripped back versions of a favourite track, all at the mercy of their dedicated fan base. Apple Music’s own social-media hub if you like. You can view, comment, like, favourite and share all this exciting content, right at your fingertips.

In terms of membership, there are two main profiles once you have passed the three month free trial. Single membership, which is pretty self explanatory and family membership, which allows up to six people unlimited access on their devices. Both will have a price attached, but with membership your whole music library is in iCloud, so very little space is taken up on your devices.

Once released and all devices are up to date, Apple Music can be accessed (to a certain degree) on iPhones, iPads, iPod touch, the Watch, Macs, PCs and even Android in the near future. The great thing about Apple Music is that all of your music will be in one place regardless of where it came from. Tell Siri to play the greatest hits of the 80’s, or add a song to your favourite playlist and she will. There’s even a feature for offline use!

So there you have it. Apple Music. Coming soon to a device near you. Now with fully paid artists, labels and publishers alike.

Find out more at http://www.apple.com/uk/music/

iOS 9 – Better, faster, and an extra hour of battery life!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

As many iPhone users will be aware, each time a new iOS upgrade is released, one of the things everyone is hoping for is improved battery life. With iOS 9 on the horizon and a selection of great improvements across the board, that might just be a possibility!

At WWDC 2015 this week, Apple revealed the new features to their iOS upgrade coming with the next generation iPhones available in September 2015.

First off is the more intuitive Siri, now with a wider range of topics and more accurate answers. Rivalling Google, the personal assistant has learnt all about context. For example:

  • If you mention a topic in messages, and ask Siri to “Remind me about it later”, it will scan the app and try to determine what “it” is.
  • If you ask Siri to “Show me photos of London last year” it will bring up photos based on that location.

Appointments suggestions have been added in line with the Calendar, as well as intuitive functions such as bringing up the Now Playing screen when you’re at the gym with your headphones in, or an Audio book when your iPhone is plugged into your car. The search feature will also incorporate your contacts, emails, apps and more, so if a friend messages you, Siri can bring up your calendar to show when you are next meeting up!

Designed for newer iPad tablets, iOS 9 features a whole new multitasking upgrade which supports Split View, Slide Over – which brings another app from the side of the screen, i.e. notes or text – and Picture-in-Picture mode. Unfortunately, Split View is only available for iPad Air 2, and Slide Over and Picture-in-Picture are only compatible with more recent iPads, Air, Mini etc.

Apple Pay has now been updated for use in the UK, coming this autumn. It will be supported by over two thirds of credit and debit card issuers including HSBC and Lloyds. The US version has been a huge success and will continue to integrate with store-issued cards and rewards, and because of this, Apple has renamed Passbook to Wallet, where Apple Pay will live.

Luckily, Apple have now made the iOS 9 upgrade less demanding on storage, needing approximately 1.3GB of internal space. Compared to the huge 4.5GB of iOS 8, this is great for the users of the smaller GB iPhones, as a mass deletion of photos, videos and music shouldn’t be necessary. Security and keyboard updates have also been applied, with improved cursor control and added shortcuts.

As well as these specifics, Apple is promising;

  • More powerful built-in apps, better for everyday use. There will be several enhancements to Mail, web browsing, Messages amongst others.
  • News – A brand new feature, collecting all the stories, topics and sources you are interested in, in one place. Digitally enhanced but visually crafted to how the publisher intended.
  • Notes – also improved, featuring photos, maps, URLs and the use of a finger sketch tool, updated via iCloud for all your connected devices.
  • Apple Maps – perhaps long awaited, this feature has been updated with public transportation routes in Transit view. Buses, trains, even Ferry routes right there on your screen. The diehard Google Maps users will probably stick to what they know, but at least when the built-in apps open Apple Maps it will be a better experience.

And finally, after improvements to efficiency across the whole iOS spectrum, there is now a new ‘Low Power’ mode available. This means you can extend your texting, gaming, Facebook-ing and whatever else you want to do by up to an hour before charging is needed. Let’s hope this grows with future updates!

So which of my devices will support iOS 9?

The general thought is if it ran iOS 8, it will run iOS 9 (but not all features). Here’s the official list:

  • iPhone 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, 6, 6 Plus
  • iPad 2, 3rd generation, 4th generation, mini, mini 2, mini 3, Air, Air 2
  • iPod touch 5th generation

To find out more, visit http://www.apple.com/ios/ios9-preview/

Watch this space for more upcoming news!

New Windows 10 release date has been revealed – July 29th

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

‘The strengths of Windows 8 with Windows 7’ – Windows Insider

As many will have seen through social media and news websites alike, the new Windows 10 release date has been revealed… July 29th! Circle your calendars, save the date, or simply click the recently installed Windows icon found at the right-hand side of your taskbar (if your PC is new enough that is). The good news is, Microsoft has announced customers with PCs and laptops running Windows 7 and 8 will be able to get Windows 10 as a free upgrade!

The requirements for Windows 10 are as follows:

Processor : 1GHz or faster with support for PAE, NX, and SSE2

RAM : 1GB (32-bit) or 2GB (64-bit)

Hard disk space : 16GB

Graphics card : Microsoft DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM driver

Microsoft account

Internet access

After the worldwide success of Windows 7, and the not-so-great Windows 8, let’s see what the new and – hopefully – improved version has to offer:

  • The return of the start menu! Back in full force the revived, expanded start menu will feature the addition of Live Tiles
  • Favourites and pinned apps remembered from previous Windows (7 and 8)
  • Faster start up and resume features
  • Unified settings combining the control panel and PC settings, as well as an Action Centre providing notifications
  • Redesigned insider hub
  • Higher levels of built-in security, further designed to work with your current hardware and software
  • Microsoft Edge – the all new built in browser for a better web experience
  • Cortana – a strong rival to Siri and Google, Cortana gives instant access to key actions such as making reservations or reading reviews, all without leaving the page you are on. Cortana also delivers reminders at the right time and place, is easily editable to what Cortana knows about you and increases its knowledge over time
  • Multi-tasking app interface, enabling you to snap up to four apps in place and see all open tasks in a single view
  • Virtual desktop capabilities
  • Xbox app – with the ability to control the Xbox One and play multiplayer games cross-platform
  • All new Windows Store
  • Universal apps – including Photos, Videos, Calendar, Maps, Messaging and Mail in a consistent design across all different devices and screen sizes of phones, tablets, laptops and PCs

For new In Easy Steps titles on Windows 10 keep your eye on the Coming Soon page of our website.

WordPress urges all bloggers and developers to install critical security update

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

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On 27th April, WordPress released a critical security update to a fix a security flaw found in previous versions of the content management system (CMS). They are urging all website owners to install the update as soon as possible to eliminate any chance of a website attack.

The vulnerability was discovered by Jouko Pynnönen, and it affects millions of sites worldwide. It works when the attacker injects malicious JavaScript code greater than 64kb into the comments section of the website. If the comment is then viewed by a logged in administrator, the hacker could then run code on the server, change the administrator password, add new administrators and deface the website etc. Usually, WordPress won’t publish a comment until a first post by a user has been approved. However, the attacker might be able to fool an administrator with a standard first comment, so they can go on to have malicious comments in the future automatically approved.

How to install the update:

  1. Log in to your WordPress Dashboard (http://www.yourdomain.com/wp-admin/)
  2. Click Dashboard > Updates down the left hand side
  3. Click the ‘Update Now’ button

You can find out more about the update by going to the Official WordPress Blog.

Remember, you can learn to build all kinds of websites in WordPress by purchasing our book WordPress in easy steps. Here are just some of the things you will learn from the book:

  • How to set up WordPress via HostGator
  • How to create pages and posts
  • How to change the appearance of your website
  • How to add content to your pages
  • How to build an online store
  • How to build an online forum
  • How to add users
  • Adding contact forms
  • Website Translation
  • SEO with Yoast

And much more!

Get your copy today from our online store or from Amazon UK or Amazon US

Raspberry Pi 2 released

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Raspberry Pi 2 was unveiled February 2, 2015 for sale at the same price as the existing Model B+. This has an identical form-factor to the existing Raspberry Pi 1  Model B+. All of the connectors are in the same place and have the same functionality, and the board can still be run from a 5V micro-USB power adapter. It also has  complete compatibility with Raspberry Pi 1.

Raspberry Pi 2

Raspberry Pi 2

Like the (Pi 1) Model B+, 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
  • VideoCore IV 3D graphics core

 

Raspberry Pi 2 has a new System-on-Chip (SoC) BCM2836 900MHz quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU and a full 1GB of LPDDR2 SDRAM. The new ARMv7 processor means it can run the full range of ARM GNU/Linux distributions, including Snappy Ubuntu  Core, as well as Microsoft Windows 10. Raspberry Pi 2 has backwards-compatibility with all previous Raspberry Pi models but can, however, run “bigger and more powerful projects” owing to its upgraded CPU and RAM specifications.

Mike McGrath, author of Raspberry Pi in easy steps

Windows 10 – what’s new?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

At Microsoft’s live event on 21st January we learned more about Windows 10, which is expected in the Autumn of this year.

Windows-10-Start-Menu

Windows-10-Start-Menu

  • It’s going to be free to upgrade from Windows 7, 8 and 8.1, for a year from its launch date

The new version will be also very much about making those who were unhappy with Windows 8 happy again. The focus is very much about the keyboard and mouse, but those who have devices with touch capabilities haven’t been forgotten. It will include:

  • One Desktop – not split between the ‘old’ desktop and modern apps
  • A new web browser, called Spartan
  • Xbox app on the Desktop
  • Expanded start menu – looks more like Windows 7 than Windows 8
  • Cortana – voice controlled assistant with headset
  • Apps that run in a window
  • Snap function – will work with all apps; snap four apps on the same screen
  • Task View – see a thumbnail of all open apps
  • Multiple desktops

Read PC Advisor’s article and the BBC’s article for more information.

Why Agile Project Management?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in Article

The traditional approach to project management starts by a definition of what exactly the project is required to achieve. This usually means an agreement between all parties concerned, including the project manager, of when and what the end result should be. This method of project management is largely based on a sequential design process referred to as the ‘waterfall’ model. It is termed this as progress is seen as flowing steadily downwards (like a waterfall) through each stage of the project. This model is inherited from the construction industry, where the prohibitive cost of making late changes means requirements are frozen as early as possible in the project.

However, this method does not suit software development process, where requirements could and often change during the course of a project. A more adaptive alternative was needed and through the 1990s methods such as Scrum, DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method), Extreme Programming, and Lean Development evolved to meet these needs. Following these methods, collectively referred to as ‘agile’, requirements are developed through the life of the project and delivered through a series of releases, each of which delivers more of the required functionality.

The traditional waterfall approach to project management does not fit comfortably with these agile methods, so a new form of Agile Project Management is now used for software development. The key aspects of Agile Project Management are:

  • Requirements: are expected to develop and change during the project
  • Planning: is carried out as late as responsible by the development team
  • Project Phases: contain several iterations, leading to a number of product releases
  • Change Control: is replaced by the features backlog, which is controlled by the business
  • Risk Management: is shared by the developers and the business through the product owner
  • Organization: the way of working is managed by the development team

What’s new in Photoshop Elements 13?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

What’s new in Photoshop Elements 13?

With Adobe having just released the 13th version of their popular photo editing software, we take a look at its new features:

Photomerge Compose

Create new scenes by taking elements from one photo and placing them in another – e.g. if you want to add a person to a group photo, get the picture of the missing person from another photo and just insert them into the group photo. The Photomerge Compose feature will automatically adjust the colour and lighting so that you’d never know the person was missing in the first place!

Autocrop suggestions

Cropping a photo can be straightforward. But if you’re not sure, Photoshop Elements 13 will now present you with four crop options to choose from.

eLive

Elements Live view (eLive) is a concept to make content and resources available to users, visually pleasing and integrated right into Photoshop Elements Editor and Organizer. The new eLive view displays articles, videos, tutorials, and more – categorized into channels such as Learn, Inspire, and News. As a user, you can now access various tutorials and articles from the application itself.

Facebook cover photos

Have you ever seen those Facebook cover photos that blend the profile and cover pictures together? Well, now you can create your own in Photoshop Elements 13.

New Guided Edits

Change your photo to black and white. Or, retain one dominant colour, and turn the rest of the photograph black and white. The new Guided Edits in Photoshop Elements 13 help you transform the mundane into works of art with as few clicks and adjustments as possible.

Edit and refine selections

In Photoshop Elements 13, making fine selections is now easier. If you make an incorrect selection, instead of starting again, you can make fine adjustments to the boundaries of your current selection.

HiDPI display support

Photoshop Elements 13 now has native support for high-resolution display devices for the Windows (HiDPI monitors) and Mac (Retina displays).

Content-aware fill

Easily remove unwanted or unnecessary objects from your photographs. Photoshop Elements 13 will intelligently fill the chosen areas of your photograph with content based on the surrounding parts of the photograph.

Refine edge

The options to refine the edges of a selection are now more accessible through the Tool Options bar.

Adobe Camera Raw 8.6

The latest version of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR 8.6) is integrated into Photoshop Elements 13.

Quick Edit effects

Each effect in the Quick Mode now displays five possible variations so that you can choose one that is best for you.

Expert mode effects

19 new effects have been added to the Effect panel, and all thumbnails have been improved to display the Effect more clearly.

Enhancements in Photoshop Elements 13

Scrapbooking preset

The preset for scrapbooking is now available for all locales and countries.

Layer styles

In the Style Settings dialog for Layers, a new drop-down has been added for the position of the stroke. The drop-down has values: Outside, Inside, and Center.

Type tool – Scrubby slider

The font size now has a scrubby slider functionality. This enables you to change the font size quickly and conveniently.

Recently-opened files

Recently-opened files are displayed in the Open drop-down and in the Files > Open Recently Edited File menu. Both lists now display just the name of the file, instead of showing the entire folder and file name.

Photoshop Elements 13 in easy steps is due for publication in January 2015.

Updated features in Photoshop CC (Creative Cloud) 2014 edition

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Robert Shufflebotham, the author of Photoshop CC in easy steps, and previous editions of this title, lists the new and enhanced features of the latest version of this popular photo editing software:

Preserve Details (Enlargement)
Introduces in the Image Size dialog box a new algorithm that means you can make images larger, or increase resolution, whilst retaining much greater image detail and better sharpness than previously possible in Photoshop.

Focus Area Selection
A time-saving and easy-to-use technique for selecting the in-focus objects in an image. The Focus Area selection dialog box automatically analyses the image for areas that are in focus and provides options for previewing the results on a variety of backgrounds along with controls for adjusting and fine-tuning the results.

Linked Smart Objects
You can now place other Photoshop or Illustrator documents in Photoshop and link to these files externally, rather than embedding their file information within the Photoshop file. You can edit the linked files externally, as independent artwork, and then update changes in the Photoshop file where they are placed.

Perspective Warp
Using Perspective Warp mode you can make rotational adjustments to perspective in an image – useful for adjusting perspective in architectural images.

Smart Guides
Smart Guides provide precision and accuracy on-screen as you draw copy, move and manipulate shapes and layers.

Live Shape Properties Panel
The Live Shape Properties panel gives you precision over position and size of rectangles and ellipses and the ability to specify a corner radius for rectangles that can be adjusted at any time.

Automatic Camera Shake Reduction
For images that are correctly focused, but where some blurring exists due to camera shake or movement of the subject, the Camera Shake Reduction filter can analyse the image and reduce the amount of blurring. There are controls to set the blur trace region manually and also to create manual blur trace settings if you are not satisfied with the automatic results.

TypeKit Fonts
TypeKit Fonts are available in Photoshop CC 2014. Typekit integrates with Photoshop CC 2014 to deliver and sync fonts from an external Typekit server that you connect to via the Creative Cloud. Typekit fonts are not installed locally on your computer.

ENHANCED FEATURES

Image Size dialog box
New image preview in the Image Size dialog box and simplified set of controls for managing image size and resolution.

Smart Sharpen Filter
Improved. New adaptive sharpening technology minimizes noise and halo effects.

Content Aware Fill, Content Aware Move, Content Aware Patch
Improved algorithms producing better results.

 

9781840786309 Photoshop CC in easy steps

9781840786309 Photoshop CC in easy steps

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photoshop CC in easy steps is available now

In Easy Steps rounds up the announcements from Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference in San Francisco

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

We round up the announcements from yesterday’s Apple’s Worldwide Developers’ Conference.

 

iPhone6

The iPhone has been redesigned, it is larger and thinner, and is available in two sizes:

  • iPhone 6 has a 4.7 inch screen and is 6.9 mm thick. Prices start at $199.
  • iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5 inch screen and is 7.1 mm thick. Prices start at $299

Both models are available in gold, silver and space gray.

The new iPhones have an A8 chip, giving 25% faster performance, and higher resolution Retina HD screens. They have new sensors, including a barometer, so fitness apps can distinguish whether the owner was running up a hill or on the flat, and an M8 co-processor which can estimate distances.

An improved camera with ‘Focus Pixels’ gives better and faster auto focus.

Faster Wireless connection – up to 3X faster than previous iPhones.

Both iPhones will be released on September 19th, with pre-orders from September 12th

 

 

AppleWatch

 

 

The Apple Watch is a new product from Apple. It is available in two sizes, with two metal frame color options, 11 different watch faces and six different straps.

It is controlled by a navigational tool which Apple calls a “digital crown” – a dial on its side that allows content on its screen to be magnified or scrolled through, and can also be pressed inwards to act as a home button. The Siri voice control function is also available on the Apple Watch.

The watch also has a heart monitor, gyroscope and accelerometer and works as a “comprehensive health and fitness device”.

Prices start at $349 and the Apple Watch will be available early 2015.

 

 

 

iOS 8 (the operating system for iPhone and iPad) – includes:

A smarter keyboard. Next word prediction based on your writing style and past conversations. Predictive text optimized for languages around the world. Third-party keyboard options.

Family Sharing. Up to six people in your household can easily share each other’s purchases from iTunes, iBooks, and the App Store, and share photos, calendars, locations and more.

Improved Photos app. Easier to find, edit and enhance photos

Better messaging app. Include voice, video and location within your message. Improved group chat function. Easily view every attachment from one conversation thread. Send multiple photos and videos at once.

Better notifications function. Deal with notifications instantly, without leaving the app you’re in. See your recent contacts and favorites from the multitasking interface.

Apple Pay – a new service to replace your wallet. For iPhones and Apple Watch. The Apple Pay service depends on an NFC (near field communication) chip featured in both the new phones and watch. Apple says the service is secure as the card details are stored within the Passbook app, so the details are not shared with the vendor. Apple Pay can also be used to make payments in apps.

iCloud Drive. Work on any file, anywhere, on any device (including Mac and PC).

There are new time-saving features in Mail, and Safari tab features are now available on iPad too.

Release date: September 17th

 

OS X Yosemite (the operating system for Mac devices)

Improved connection between Macs and iOS devices, making sharing files between iOS and Mac devices even easier. You will also be able to make phone calls on a Mac via your iPhone.

Redesigned interface and app icons, and a new notification centre.

New Spotlight search feature allows searching on your Mac and also online.

iCloud Drive – a new file-sharing/storage feature which allows syncing across Mac, iOS and Windows devices.

Release date: Autumn/Fall 2014 (date yet to be announced) 

 

The conference rounded up with Apple and U2 offering U2’s latest album free and exclusively on iTunes until mid-October.

 

For further information about the latest developments, visit Apple’s website.

 

Tesco Hudl Tablet

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

The Hudl is a good value and versatile tablet that is produced by Tesco, the UK based retailer. It runs on the Android operating system, comes with a 7 inch screen and is available in four different colours. The Hudl can perform all standard tasks expected of a tablet and is also linked to some specific services offered through Tesco, such as groceries, Tesco direct and the blinkbox services for music, movies and TV shows.

The Hudl can also be used for surfing the web, sending email, social networking, viewing movies and TV shows, listening to music, reading books and much more. Some of the key specifications of the Hudl are:

  • Colours: Black, Red, Purple, Blue.
  • Display: 1440 x 900 HD resolution, 242 ppi (pixels per inch).
  • Processor: 1.5GHz A9 Quad-core processor.
  • Memory: 1GB of RAM.
  • Strorage: 16GB.
  • Cameras: 3 megapixel rear-facing and 2 megapixel front-facing.
  • Batterty: Up to 9 hours of video playback.
  • Operating System: Android 4.2 Jelly Bean.
  • Price: £99-£119

9781840786316

Check out HUDL in easy steps: a useful guide which covers the A to Z of setting up and using this popular tablet including how to use the Hudl, working with apps, using the Hudl for music and enterttinment, taking pictures, social networking, browsing the web etc.

With a copy of HUDL in easy steps at hand, you and your family will soon be taking full advantage of everything the Hudl has to offer!

iPhone 6 launch expected on 9th September?

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

If the rumours are true, Apple will be launching the iPhone 6 on 9th September. New features expected are; the return of the notification light, two model sizes and a flexible screen. Watch this video from the Gadget Show, which shows just how flexible the screen might be!

iOS 8, launching at the same time, features:

  • A new photos app
  • Add voice and video to your messages in the Messages app
  • A new way to respond to notifications
  • A smarter keyboard
  • Family sharing – so you can share content (iTunes, iBooks and App Store purchases) with up to six family members. It will also be easier to share photos and calendars with the family.
  • iCloud Drive – work on your documents from any of your devices; iPhone, iPad, Mac or PC.
  • A new Health function – so your health and fitness apps can all talk to each other.
  • Seamless connection between your iPhone, iPad and Mac
  • Improved Spotlight search
  • iOS 8 is compatible with iPhone 4S and onwards and iPad 2 and onwards

Our iPhone books are being updated to cover the new iPhone, and the new operating system iOS 8, and will be released as soon as possible after the launch.

We’re also updating our iPad books to cover the new iOS 8:

New B+ model of Raspberry Pi launched today

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

Two years after the original Raspberry Pi was launched, the B+ version has just been released today.

It features:

  • More GPIO – now 40 pins
  • More USB – now has 4 USB 2.0 ports
  • A Micro SD – the old SD card socket has been replaced with a push-push Micro SD version
  • Lower power consumption – reduced by between 0.5W and 1W
  • Better audio – the audio circuit incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply
  • A neater design

Find out more about the new version from the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Use Raspberry Pi in easy steps to get up and running with this credit-card sized computer.  Raspberry Pi in easy steps starts with the basic components you’ll need, the desktop and how to command the system. Then in easy steps, it shows how to use Python to create games, develop windowed apps using Tkinter, add animations using Scratch, control electrical input and output, and much more.

9781840785814 Raspberry Pi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updates to the book detailing the changes relevant to the B+ model will be available to download from our website soon.

 

Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HDX review by Nick Vandome

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

The world of tablet computers is one of the fastest expanding areas in consumer electronics and it is easy to see why: they are mobile, stylish and powerful enough to meet most people’s computing needs. The Kindle Fire is a fully-fledged tablet that has evolved out of the Kindle eReader that was originally designed for reading books, newspapers and magazines. The Kindle Fire HD, and HDX, take this several steps further, with functionality to: surf the web and access your favorite social networking sites; use email; listen to music; download apps; play games; watch movies and TV shows; and read all of your favorite books.

In Easy Steps shortlisted for IPG International Achievement Award

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

In Easy Steps takes its place on the shortlist for growing its global sales, especially in the US, amid tough competition in its field of computer instruction in both print and digital formats. Strong partnerships with overseas distributors and retailers and excellent digital marketing campaigns have been the cause. “The figures in a difficult market are very impressive,” judges commented. “In Easy Steps has done well to build a recognisable, best-in-class brand.”

Information about the awards can be found here

In Easy Steps donates over 100 guides to local charity

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

More than 100 computer guides have been given to Swanswell to help people with drink or drug problems to improve their IT skills and support career development.

Swanswell, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, received the donation from Warwickshire-based publisher In Easy Steps Ltd, who produce a range of ‘how-to’ computer books that are sold worldwide.

Swanswell will be making some of the books – such as Laptops For Seniors, Internet for Seniors, and Computer Basics in Easy Steps, available to people accessing its services in Coventry and Warwickshire.

Books will be distributed through the charity’s Independent Living Service in the region, which helps people affected by substance misuse with a range of issues such as housing and debts.

Swanswell’s Russell Johnson said: “We’re really grateful to In Easy Steps Ltd for their generous donation of books that will really make a difference to people using our services.

“We will use the guides in our Independent Living Service to help people improve their IT skills and build their CVs, which will go a long way to improving employment chances or furthering their careers.”

Sevanti Kotecha, director of In Easy Steps Ltd, said: “I’m pleased to be able to contribute our popular ‘In Easy Steps’ guides to Swanswell to help clients build their computer skills to help accelerate their path towards recovery.”

 

In Easy Steps launches Kindle Editions

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

amazon-apps-store-us-black

 

 

We’re pleased to announce that we are publishing Kindle editions of In Easy Steps books, launching with the following titles:

  • HTML5 in easy steps
  • Raspberry Pi in easy steps
  • Laptops for Seniors in easy steps – Windows 8 Edition

We’ll be adding new titles as they are published and adding backlist titles as soon as possible, so keep checking Amazon for new additions.

Coming soon… Windows 8 in easy steps

 

 

Raspberry Pi News – Mike McGrath gets his hands on the Raspberry Pi Starter Kit

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Well, my Raspberry Pi Starter Kit has now arrived so I have encapsulated the RasPi board in the included transparent case that accomodates an electronics ‘breadboard’. The breadboard allows connections to be  made easily to the programmable General Purpose Input/Output (GPIO) header pins on the RasPi board, so I can demonstrate how to write and execute programs on the Raspberry Pi system to control attached electronic devices. The above photo simply illustrates the case and breadboard with a single LED illuminated from the Raspberry Pi board. Additionally, I have become a backer of the Picade arcade cabinet kit for the Raspberry Pi (see below). This should allow me to describe how to use the Raspberry Pi for retro desktop gaming.”

Mike McGrath, author of Raspberry Pi in easy steps, which is due for publication in January 2013

 

Internet Explorer 10 Released for Windows 7

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

 

 

 

 

The release preview of IE10 on Windows 7 is available for download today.

Microsoft has reimagined the browser with IE10. They designed and built IE10 to be the best way to experience the Web on Windows. With the IE10 Release Preview for Windows 7 consumers can now enjoy a fast and fluid Web with the updated IE10 engine on their Windows 7 devices. IE10 brings improved performance, and support for the HTML5 and CSS3 standards and is all around fast, bringing improved hardware acceleration and the Chakra JavaScript engine to Windows 7.

Developers can learn how to take advantage of the latest features supported in IE10 with HTML5 in easy steps, CSS3 in easy steps and JavaScript in easy steps, 5th Edition.

Our Raspberry Pi – up and running!

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

The Raspberry Pi is a cheap, programmable credit-card sized computer.  It wasn’t created by Apple.  In fact, it wasn’t created by any business, but by a charitable foundation.  Its goal?  To make learning computer science accessible once more to everyone, especially young people.  It costs approx £25/$35 and you’ll need to add your own keyboard, mouse and monitor. For storage, it uses an SD card, similar to those found in digital cameras.  It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like browsing the internet, spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.

In January we will be publishing a new title on this subject:  Raspberry Pi in easy steps.  The author, Mike McGrath, has just received our Raspberry Pi and set it up.  Here he writes about his experiences so far:

“The Raspbian “wheezy” Linux image is currently recommended for beginners at raspberrypi.org. While downloading the Raspbian image I connected a USB mouse and a USB keyboard to the Raspberry Pi. I then connected my TV to the Raspberry Pi’s HDMI socket to use as a display. I also connected my modem to its Ethernet socket for a wired internet connection.

When the download finished I wrote the Raspbian image onto an SD card with Win32DiskImager. Next I inserted the SD card into the Raspberry Pi then connected my Kindle charger to its MicroUSB slot.

Eagerly I switched on the power and was soon being asked to login – on my TV!  Typing the default login “pi” and default password “raspberry” then  placed me at a command prompt.
There typing the command “startx” quickly loaded a familiar looking desktop screen. Instinctively I clicked the “Start” button in the bottom left corner of the desktop and up popped menus. Choosing the “Internet” menu I then clicked on “NetSurf Web Browser” and there I was, surfing the web.

Given the limited capabilities of the Raspberry Pi the appearance of the desktop is surprisingly good. But remember that the Raspberry Pi is primarily intended as a learning device.
It is a great fun way to learn how to use the powerful Linux command-line shell. And how to create programs in the C/C++ languages, and how to create scripts in the Python language.”

 

Here you can see Mike has our Raspberry Pi running the Raspbian operating system

 

 

 

 

 

Keep checking our website for updates on this forthcoming title.

Apple announces the arrival of iPhone 5 and iOS 6 – San Francisco, September 12, 2012

Written by In Easy Steps Team on . Posted in News

 

 

 

Yesterday, Apple launched the latest version of the popular iPhone.  It’s thinner and lighter than the iPhone 4S, the back and sides being made of a single piece of aluminium rather than glass, so it’s much more durable.  The iPhone 5 is 18 percent thinner and 20 percent lighter than the 4S.  It’s taller but not wider, so it’s still easy to use in one hand, and it has been re-designed to include a 4 inch Retina display, so more apps can be viewed on each screen. It has an Apple-designed chip, making its performance twice as fast as the 4S, and giving significantly better battery life.  The iSight camera has more features, including an option which lets you take panoramic photos in one smooth motion.  A new FaceTime HD front facing camera makes FaceTime calls clearer and can also be used for self portraits and recording HD video. There’s also improved stabilization when recording video and the ability to take still shots whilst recording.  iPhone 5 also allows you to share photos using iCloud’s Shared Photo Stream.  It comes with a new connector that is smaller, smarter and more durable than the connector on previous versions of the iPhone.

iPhone 5 comes with a new operating system, iOS 6, which includes:

  • a new Maps app, with Apple-designed cartography, turn-by-turn navigation and a new Flyover view
  • better Facebook integration, with the ability to post direct from the Navigation Center
  • Passbook app, which allows you to keep all your passes, tickets in one place so they’re easily accessible
  • new Siri features and languages, including support for more languages, easy access to sports scores, restaurant recommendations and movie listings

The iPhone 5 comes in white & silver or black & slate.  It will be available in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore on Friday, September 21.  Customers can pre-order iPhone 5 beginning Friday, September 14.  It will be rolled out to a further 22 countries on September 28.

iOS 6 will be available on Wednesday, September 19, as a free software update.

iPhone in easy steps, 3rd edition, covers iPhone 5 and iOS 6 and will be published before Christmas.  We’ll add publication details to our website as soon as we have more information on the date, so keep checking back!