Nokia 925: smart camera and metal band design continues Windows Phone 8 and Lumia effort

Nokia has announced the Lumia 925, a high-end Windows Phone which will go on sale in Europe in June from Vodafone and others. The price is around €469 + VAT, presumably without a contract. Vodafone customers will be offered an “exclusive 32GB version” according to the press release.


So what’s special about the 925? It sports a 4.5″ AMOLED 1280 x 768 display, which is decent, along with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage. Battery life is a claimed 440 hrs standby and 12.8 hrs talk time. No SD card slot, presumably for the same reason as for the 920: it would have “defiled it” according to Nokia VP Kevin Shields.

A big attraction is the camera, or rather cameras, including the main 8.7 MP PureView which also offers 1080p 30fps HD video, and the front-facing 1.2MP wide angle camera. The magic is said to be both in the lens and the software, especially the Smart Camera update (coming shortly after the launch) which enables the camera to take ten images in one shot, giving the user options for which one to keep (sounds similar to Microsoft’s Blink app which is already available for Windows Phone).

There is also Nokia’s HERE mapping suite which the company says offers “the world’s only fully integrated and true offline maps experience.”

Another Lumia innovation is the metal frame which is for “antenna functionality, appeal and robustness”. Presumably Nokia has ensured that it does not kill the signal when touched in the wrong place, as happened with the metal band for Apple’s iPhone 4.

Seemingly every mention of a Nokia phone has to ask the big questions. Can Windows Phone succeed against iPhone and Android? Can Nokia survive?

Whatever is the answer to those questions, this phone is unlikely to change it.

I will say that after a shaky start with the 800 (nice phone, terrible battery life and unfortunate bugs) the Lumia range has evolved into something excellent, that spans from good budget smartphones like the 620 to devices like the 820 and 920 which are a pleasure to use.

The pros and cons of subscription vs perpetual licenses

Adobe has caused a stir with its announcement that Creative Suite will no longer be available under a perpetual license, for versions beyond the current Creative Suite 6.

Given this, the CC applications will be available only as part of Creative Cloud. We will continue to sell and support Adobe Creative Suite® 6 applications, and will provide bug fixes and security updates as necessary. We do not, however, have any current plans to release new versions of our CS applications.

Although the company tends to portray this as a move to the cloud, that is not accurate. Applications like Photoshop, Dreamweaver and InDesign remain desktop applications, though there are some cloud-like benefits like collaboration and settings synchronisation. The big difference is that you will no longer be able to buy the latest versions outright, but only by subscribing to Creative Cloud. Once your subscription lapses, you can no longer use them.

What the pros and cons? Let’s start with the positives:

  • Subscription income is good for the vendor, because it is predictable and continuous.
  • The vendor is relieved from the pressure of the upgrade cycle: having to come up with new features every eighteen months (or whatever the product cycle is) that are sufficiently compelling to persuade existing users to pay for another round of upgrades. Instead, it can take an iterative approach, more inline with Agile development methodology that prefers iterative development to big releases where many things change at once. At best, this could mean that software vendors focus more on what users want to see improved, rather than working with the marketing department on how to design a new look and features that will drive upgrades.
  • Customers can save money if they they do not need the product continuously.
  • Users always have the latest version of the software.
  • While subscribed, users have a relationship with the vendor that includes some level of service. Your software is never out of support (though a product could be withdrawn, as may happen to Adobe Fireworks which is not being updated).

Negatives? There are a few.

  • Customers may end up paying more. Most companies will calculate subscription costs such that the overall income is at least the same and probably higher than with outright sales, otherwise shareholders will not be happy. The kind of user who is happy to skip upgrades for a version or two will lose most.
  • Users have an ongoing dependency on the vendor. If the vendor discontinues the service for any reason, you no longer have the software. Depending on how the subscription is enforced technically, this injects some uncertainty into whether the software you use today will still be there to use tomorrow. Put another way, this is not going to work unless you have a high level of trust and confidence in the vendor.
  • Customers lose the psychological satisfaction of software ownership. No more “it’s mine, all mine”. You are now renting.
  • The vendor, financially secure thanks to continuing subscription income, may lose the incentive to work energetically on improving the software. Of course if there is a rival subscription service with a similar offering, the competitive drive continues, but that is not always the case.
  • Vendors could lose sales if customers are unwilling to buy by subscription, and turn to competitors who still offer perpetual licenses.

Software by subscription is not new. Customers on schemes such as software assurance also have something similar, though it is different because the license in that case may be perpetual – you can continue to use it even if you drop out of the software assurance scheme.

Today though, fast data connections and always-on internet make software by subscription easier to manage for both customers and vendors. Vendors that can successfully move to this model will want to do so, as for the vendor there are no disadvantages other than the risk mentioned above, that customers will not be willing to subscribe. Get used to it.

Creative Pros prefer iOS says Adobe, explaining lack of Android support in new apps

Adobe has shown a new touch app for Kuler, its web application for creating and choosing colour themes, which will be available in June.


I asked Scott Morris, Senior Marketing Director of Creative Cloud, about Android and whether apps like this will also be supported there.

“That is coming out to begin with at least only as an iOS app,” he told me. “For PhotoShop Touch and Adobe Ideas we do have those avaialble both for iOS and Android. What we do know is that there’s very few creative pros using Android tablets. There’s many more who are using Android phones, but more still using iPhones.”

Morris says that no decision has yet been made on porting the Kuler app to iPad or Android, but adds, “we are going to start with iOS as we are with most of our apps now because that is the most popular platform for creative professionals.”

Perhaps not surprising given the popularity of Macs among designers, but disappointing for Android users.

A secondary question is whether Adobe is using its own cross-platform app tools, either Flash or PhoneGap, for Kuler and future apps. The web version of Kuler is being converted from Flash to HTML, making PhoneGap a possibility. If it is, then you would have thought extending support to other platforms would be a no-brainer.

Adobe announces next Creative Suite, now called Creative Cloud

Adobe has announced the next version of its all-conquering Creative Suite, now renamed (or subsumed into) Creative Cloud.

Availability is set for June 2013. There will not be any perpetual licenses for the updated applications:

Can I purchase a perpetual license for the new Creative Cloud (CC) desktop applications that were announced in May 2013?

No. The new CC versions of the desktop applications are available only through Creative Cloud offerings for individuals, teams, and enterprise. We do not have any current plans to release future CC tools outside Creative Cloud.

Let’s start with the important stuff. I like the new “totems” which are intricate and abstract; but I think it works. Here is Creative Cloud:


and here is InDesign, wow:


Here is Premiere, can you see the lettering?


So what about the technical stuff? Here is quick tour of what’s new.

Adobe always seems to demo Creative Suite on the Mac these days, but says there is feature-parity between Mac and Windows. GPU acceleration of algorithms (such as in the Mercury engine) no longer uses NVidia Cuda but rather Open CL for best cross-platform compatibility.

Typekit Fonts can now be installed on your desktop, and once installed work like any other font – you can use them in Microsoft Office, for example.


We quizzed Adobe about what happens to the fonts if you stop subscribing to Creative Cloud. The answer seems to be that you must no longer use them, but whether this is technically enforced is unclear.

Settings synchronisation is a theme across a number of apps including Dreamweaver and After Effects. This touches on a curious aspect of Creative Cloud: despite the name, the applications are desktop applications. Sync settings means you can log in on any machine with the suite installed and get your settings back, including for example web sites in Dreamweaver. The consequence is to bring the make your desktop experience more cloud-like in respect of working from anywhere.


Photoshop gets an amazing camera shake reduction feature. Camera shake is a big problem for me, as I rarely have a tripod. The new feature detects how the camera moved during the shot and compensates accordingly. The demo worked great on Adobe’s sample shot, but then it would, so it is not until we get to try this with some of our own images that we will know whether Adobe’s claim of “making unusable images usable” is justified. Still, Adobe has a good track record and I am optimistic.

Other interesting features are a filter for Camera Raw, and a “straighten” effect for perspective distorting in images such as those of tall buildings which look as if they are leaning (though I am sure I have seen ways of handling this in earlier versions too). There is also an rounded rectangle editor, a new artefact removal feature, and the ability to upsample an image so that your low-resolution bitmap magically becomes more suitable for print.

There will no longer be an Extended Photoshop. If you have it, you have it all.

The Kuler colour theme chooser has been rebuilt in HTML.


Illustrator gets a CSS properties panel.

Flash has a Publish feature which converts Flash to HTML (We can see where Adobe is going with this). This uses the CreateJS framework; it does not convert ActionScript.

Premiere Pro now includes the engine from Audition for advanced audio editing within the application.


Edge Animate is able to animate a sprite across a Motion Path curve for some cool effects.


Fireworks is still in the suite, but is not being updated. Bad news for Fireworks lovers.

Dreamweaver has a new CSS designer, and a Fluid Grid Layout for designing adaptive web sites:



After Effects now embeds the Cineware 4D engine, which is big news if you use both AE and Cineware (as many do).


InDesign is now 64-bit with an updated user interface.


InDesign also has a “favourite fonts” feature making it easier to manage a multiplicity of fonts on your system.

What have I missed? A lot, no doubt; but I am impressed with how well Adobe has managed its transition from mainly perpetual licences to mainly subscription, how it is rapidly adding features to Creative Cloud, and how it has also managed the transition from Flash to HTML.

Windows Nokia Lumia 510 Phone just £70 at Tesco

In Tesco this morning I noticed the Nokia Lumia 510 on offer for £70.


Quick spec: Windows Phone 7.5, 4″ display, 800 x 480 screen, multipoint touch screen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 256MB RAM, 4GB storage, 5MP camera, 480p video camera. Full details here.

256MB is minimal these days and there is no SD memory card slot or front-facing camera. For battery life, Nokia quote 653 hours of standby or 8.4 hours talk time on a 3G connection.

Sill, at £70 Windows Phone is no longer an expensive option.

If you want Windows Phone 8, you can get the Lumia 520 for £99.95 on Orange pay as you go, according to Nokia’s chart.

Fixing slow network or wi-fi in Windows 8 with Hyper-V

I had an annoying problem with my Samsung Slate running Windows 8. I use it while traveling, and every time I connected to a different wi-fi network, or even woke it from sleep while on the same network, I would get several minutes pause while Windows tried access the network. During this time, applications like Internet Explorer and Outlook might freeze and show “not responding” messages. Patience was rewarded though, and eventually the network kicked into life and everything worked normally. Until next time.

This is annoying so what is the reason and the fix? The high level view is this:

  1. When you enable Hyper-V in Windows 8 it makes changes to your networking, including creating virtual Ethernet adapters, and unbinding TCP/IP from the physical adapter. If you install the Windows Phone emulator you also get a virtual Ethernet adapter. If you have wi-fi you also get a Network Bridge.
  2. The consequence of (1) is that networking might not work so reliably after Hyper-V is enabled.

The high-level answer then is to remove Hyper-V. That works, but you might want to use Hyper-V, so better still is to fix the problem.

The answer seems to be in a hidden dialog. To get to it, open Control Panel and search for Network , click View network connections. This will show all the stuff Hyper-V has created. Now press the Alt key on the keyboard to show the Advanced menu, and select Advanced settings.

NOTE: if you have a slate without a physical keyboard, this menu is doubly difficult to find. The Windows 8 touch keyboard has no Alt key. Microsoft decided it was more important to have a Smiley key, and could not fit in both. The fix is to go into Change PC Settings – General and enable “Make the standard keyboard available”. It is still not that easy to display the Advanced menu in Network Connections, but it can be done.

Here is the dialog:


Now, if you have the problem with slow networking, you will probably find (as I did) that there is an Internal virtual Ethernet adapter, bound to TCP/IP, listed above the external virtual Ethernet adapter. The internal network cannot connect to the internet:

The Internal type is not bound to a physical network adapter. It is typically used to build a test environment where you want to connect to the virtual machines from the host operating system, but do not want to allow virtual machines on the host to communicate with external networks.

It is plausible that if the internal network has priority over the external network, Windows will struggle to connect to the Internet.

I changed this so that the external virtual Ethernet adapter, bound to TCP/IP, comes at the top.


This has helped with my problem, though there is still a bit of uncertainty about how to optimise the settings in this dialog. What about the Provider Order, what is the correct setting? Should the Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host Server Network Protocol really come first in the list, as per the default?


Someone asked on the official forum and did not get an answer. I suggest you leave well alone unless you know better, but would be interested in someone has informed guidance.

Finally, note that if you create a new virtual adapter in Hyper-V settings, you may need to revisit the binding order.

I have never come across this issue on Windows Server, though in principle it might be the same. Odd.

Updated with instructions for enabling the standard keyboard layout.