So Microsoft had an about face as regards releasing 8.1 early to TechNet and MSDN subscribers and made it available for download on 9th September.

I've now downloaded it and nuked my work PC so that I can get some out of the box impressions, rather than try the update route for my existing Windows 8 installation. Initial impressions are that the interface is a little more cohesive, but I'm not entirely sure that those that have been complaining about Win 8 will really be any happier.

There's the much talked about return of the start button, but this really doesn't do anything of note as it just returns you back to the 'Metro' interface. This was what happened anyway if you clicked in that region of the screen, so no real change there.

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So Microsoft have finally announced the release date for Windows 8.1, (formerly known as Windows Blue), and they confirmed that Windows 8.1 will be launched at 4am PDT (12 noon GMT) on the 17 October and will be available through the Windows Store as a free download.

The bigger surprise is that they are not allowing an early release to the soon to be discontinued TechNet and to MSDN, which in all honesty is a rather baffling move...
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In the course of work, I keep meeting people who have recently had computers replaced with new Windows 8 machines, and generally speaking most people seem to hate it! This is basically a fear of something that is different, and also due to the fact that most people didn't use a lot of features that were already available in Windows 7. For instance I was always one for using the Windows 7 feature whereby you pressed the Windows key and then start typing the program name I want to start, and then when the name appears, press the enter key to start it. This is rather than searching for it through all the menus. Most people didn't use this feature previously! This works the same in Windows 8, but you get thrown back into the metro/modern interface whilst you type. This in itself can be quite unnerving for some, but keep on typing and the effect is the same. Add a comment

So, I've had my latest toy delivered and it's called the Leap Motion.

What is the Leap? In the words of the manufacturer "With a wave of a hand or lift of a finger, you’re about to use your computer in a whole new way. The Leap Motion Controller senses how you move your hands the way you naturally move them. So you can point, wave, reach, and grab. Even pick something up and put it down. Just like in real life. It’s an amazing device for the things you do every day and for things you never thought you could do."

Basically, think of the film "Minority Report" where Tom Cruise interacts with a large screen by gesturing in front of it. That's kind of the gist of the device.

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I've had the pebble for a couple of months now and I reckon I'm overdue writing up a short review, so here goes.

Like many other people who purchased the pebble, I haven't actually bought worn a watch for years. However because the watch is so closely integrated with my iPhone, it has become a useful second screen for the phone. What do I mean by this? For those of you not familiar with the pebble, not only does it tell the time, but also allows various notifications from the iPhone to be displayed on the watch screen. The most obvious thing that it can do is show you the phone number of any incoming calls and the text of any SMS messages that come in on the phone.

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Ever wanted to add extra dictation sources to your copy of Dragon? Well here's how!

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Well.... It's finally here - obviously my earlier bleat was not required; it was obviously already in transit.

It doesn't make that post any less relevant as the delays were dreadful, but hey ho, it's another day and the Pebble has landed.

No doubt I'll write a proper review of it in the next week or so once I've had a chance to play with it a bit.

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[* Updated 17 May 2013]

I decided to write this post because I've been playing a long-term waiting game for the pebble watch, and I really don’t want to take up half of a review with my views on the delivery process when it eventually arrives. Just to remind you the pebble is a smart watch where the greater percentage of the intelligence is in a Bluetooth connected smartphone whether that be an iOS or android device. However, the watch would allow you to interact with various bits of software on the phone without ever removing it from your pocket; oh and of course allow you to read the time! It turned out to be a hugely popular kickstarter campaign as they ended up with 68,929 backers and $10,266,845 of their original $100,000 goal.

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As someone who works in IT and therefore spends a lot of time in front of a computer screen, I'd long realised that it's very easy to get distracted. One of the other areas that concerned me was the fact that because of the highly accessible nature of information, are we, (am I?!), losing the ability to learn?

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