Thursday 29 November 2012

Hands-On With Splashtop Desktop Streamer For Ubuntu

Splashtop Streamer is a remote desktop set of tools allowing you to access your Windows, OSX and now Linux desktops on mobile devices over the Internet . It's easier to setup than using VNC over the net, it streams the audio output to the client app and also has the advantage of being encrypted with SSL and 256-bit AES encryption.


There are apps for Android and iOS that are ideal for large screen phones or tablets and you can download the Ubuntu package here, in either 64bit or 32 bit versions. Once that's installed and up and running, sign up for an account on the mobile app, or sign in if you already have an account, and you should be able to access the Ubuntu machine.

The Ubuntu application is a little basic but apparently there are various commandline tweaks not in the other platforms, and it's also 15% quicker than the Windows and Mac versions. One thing I'd like is I wish the application would run in the background rather than having to minimize the small login window. The Android app works pretty well on my Scroll Engage tablet, though I haven't yet got used to all the various gestures you can use.

Overall Splashtop is quite a useful tool for remotely administering an Ubuntu desktop or server and I'm quite pleased with it, though it would be nice to have a desktop client app for Ubuntu aswell as the iOS and Android ones.

Tuesday 27 November 2012

How To Enable Facebook Integration In Firefox 17

Firefox 17 has a hidden setting that enables Facebook integration in the Toolbar, and you can enable it in a few easy steps

1. In the address bar of Firefox enter "about:config"

2. Click "I'll be careful.." 

3.  Double-click to turn the Social.enabled setting from False to True. You can also disable the sidebar if you're not keen on it, this can also be enabled and disabled from the little Facebook icon in the toolbar as can desktop notifications.

And you're done!

Saturday 10 November 2012

Review: Scroll Engage 8" Budget Android Tablet

I looked around for a long time to find a budget Android tablet with reasonable specs for my birthday. It had to have the ability to use Google Play without too much hassle, have a reasonable screen resolution and size, 1GB RAM, 8GB or more internal storage and have a 1Ghz or higher CPU and cost no more than £130. Any less RAM or CPU would be too sluggish for my requirements. After a reading a lot of reviews and comparing lots of cheap Chinese tablets I discovered the Scroll Engage by Storage Options. It provides all my requirements and more. It has a 1.2Ghz Cortex A8 processor, dual core Mali-400 graphics processor, 8 inch capacitive screen at 1024x768 and 1GB RAM and the MicroSD card slot can take a card up to 32GB.


The Engage was packed and presented quite nicely, with protective films over the screen and rear.  In the box there's a little manual, a Micro-USB to USB socket cable for attaching USB dongles etc, a 5V charger, cheap earphones, and a micro USB cable for connecting the device to a computer.

Build Quality

The Engage feels quite solid and has a metal back to it. In landscape mode on it's right hand edge there's a hardware power/standby button, 3.5mm headphone socket, microUSB, Mini HDMI, power and MicroSD card slot. I have bought a 16GB Class 10 card for storage of music, photos and videos. The only thing I'd criticise here is the positioning of the speaker on the back of the device, which is very quiet, and is muffled if you use the device flat on a desk or bed. I recommend SpeakerBoost app to get the volume louder.


The Engage feels fairly smooth as you can see from my video and unlike in another review I might mention, Apple's website loads perfectly fine! At least it does in Firefox, which works very well on the device. The viewing angles of the screen aren't brilliant but not bad for a cheap device and it is nice and bright. However you have to be patient with budget tablets like this, I get a fair few 'not responding' messages on some of the heavier apps, just be patient!


By default the Engage comes with a reasonable selection of apps, including a couple of interesting additions like Evernote. SlideME and ScrollApps are used by default for installing apps and Google Play is not mentioned at all in the manuals etc for legal reasons, but it is accessible using the Play widget and so far I've had no trouble installing apps, with only the occasional app not being compatible, and I really have installed a lot of apps! For some reason on some apps like Google+, the top edge of the app is not tappable, so I've had trouble Plussing posts and adding people to Circles on it probably since the Scroll is not an official Google authorised device so isn't quite compatible. Other than that I have had no real problems with the device.

Update: One of the best things you can do is install Apex Launcher, which works nicely on the device, and straight away gives you a Play shortcut!



Price/Performance: 9/10
Good value for the money - a reasonably performing tablet for £100!

Build Quality: 6/10
Generally seems fairly durable.

Screen: 5/10
Viewing angles not amazing but generally fine for the price. It's also much brighter than I expected.


Overall I'm rather pleased with the Scroll Engage, and I think it's good value for money. At nearly half the price of the Google Nexus 7, don't expect it to be as powerful but it's still quite capable of handling the usual YouTube, Facebook, video playing etc. One thing that it has that the Nexus hasn't got is the MicroSD card slot.So if you're after a tablet for under a 100 quid the Scroll Engage is pretty good choice. It's also worth considering the bigger Scroll models for a little bit more cash.