Sunday, March 31, 2013

The 12 Best Games on Facebook


Angry Birds Star Wars

Yes, yes… you're all aghast. "How could they?!" But, as we've said elsewhere Angry Birds Star Wars is actually a smart infusion of gameplay ideas from the beloved film property and Rovio's inescapable game series. The Facebook version adds leaderboards so you can compete with friends and a weekly challenge designed to keep you coming back. This is an Angry Birds game that deserves your respect. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
A Good Match for: Power-up lovers. ABSW doles out a bunch of cool Skywalker-themed items, like a Blaster Droid that fires laser bolts as you fly through the air. Gear like that and the Thermal Detonator—which acts as a sticky grenade on the pigs' shaky architecture—make it feel like you've got a Rebel Alliance arsenal at your fingertips.
Not for Those Who Want: Angry Birds to go away. This latest release is just further evidence that there's no corner of the world Rovio's fat flyers won't seep into. Start building that bunker.
Here's how it looks in action.

Marvel: Avengers Alliance

Avengers Alliance is a turn-based role-playing game featuring the entire Marvel Comics Universe. You're an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D., tasked with assembling the mightiest team of super humans the world has ever seen. Collect iconic super heroes as if they were stickers and deploy them on missions to take down the forces of evil. Research new weapons to aid in old school RPG battles with an easy-to-grasp rock-paper-scissors combat mechanic. Revel in the control a man or woman in a black business suit has over the most powerful beings in the universe.
A Good Match for: Comic book fans. There's not much in the way of comic book-related games on Facebook at the moment, and none of them are quite this good. Next to the classic four-player arcade game, this is probably the best Avengers video game going.
Not for Those Who Want: Action. This is an old school turn-based RPG. Cyclops, Iron Man, and Captain America stand on one side of the screen, taking turns with the enemy issuing simple battle commands. They gain experience. They level up. It's a more thoughtful way of beating the heck out of the bad guys.
Here's how it looks in action.

Bubble Witch Saga

Bubble Witch Saga marries the colorful bubble-popping action of Bust-a-Move with a skee ball-like scoring system and creates a truly engrossing gaming experience. There are more than 150 levels to unlock and conquer, your progress tracked on a colorful map filled with all of your friends.
A Good Match for: Puzzle fans that aren't afraid to try, try again. Bubble Witch Saga starts off easy but gets challenging real quick. As new obstacles are added to the game's playfields you'll spend less and less time progressing and more and more getting incredibly close to beating a level and then failing miserably. The moment when you finally take down a tough level is glorious, but you've got to work for it.
Not for Those Who Want: Immediate reward. They'll love the first 10 levels or so but might crumble once the going gets tough.
Here's how it looks in action.

Empires & Allies

This Zynga game finally realized a proper purpose for the virtual real estate you build on Facebook: to make that airplanes rain death on your frenemies. Invading your friends' towns starts a turn-based conflict that happens on land, sea or air. Who needs crops?
A Good Match for: Advance Wars fans. Who knows when Nintendo's going to update its classic strategy franchise? E&A's a good substitute—complete with storyline and boss fights—that you can play with dedicated hardware.
Not for Those Who Want: A solo experience. You still need friends to wage war against. So get ready to piss some acquaintance off and get to fighting it out.
Here's how it looks in action.


Farmville 2

Farmville. It's the game that seemed to exemplify everything that was annoying about social games on Facebook: a transparent scheme that limited how much progress you could make to ensure you'd be coming back for more, unless you bugged friends or paid cash to speed things up. The sequel to Zynga's big hit deepens the complexity—crops can be crafted to feed animals, lumber goes into new buildings—so that it feels more interconnected. The hated energy mechanic is gone, too, which means you keep tweaking your virtual farm as much as you want.
A Good Match for: People pressed for time. You can click around your virtual livestock and crops for as little as ten minutes and set up a series of advancing moves that pay off big time when you check in later.
Not for Those Who Want: Rewards for playing the first Farmville. You won't reap any benefits from all that time you sank into the preceding game in this series. An odd misstep for a game that relies so heavily on a network sensibility.
Here's how it looks in action.


The Grinns Tale

The biggest surprise about Nexon's social game is how it manages to capture the quirky feel of SNES-era RPGs in the unlikeliest of places, Facebook. The art design is adorably idiosyncratic, the music rousing and poignant and, most importantly, the adventure builds to pleasant crescendos.
A Good Match for: Team builders. Players will have to venture inside an eldritch tower to battle evil creatures and maintain a virtual village that they'll cull supplies and allies from. You build houses to get new settlers, who then man the pubs and shops that make armor and food. Townsfolk can also be made to pitch in certain tasks to speed them up. When all the pieces of the experience are humming along, it really feels like you're in control of a mighty, monster-fighting machine full of tiny, weird-looking people.
Not for Those Who Want: . Collaboration. While villagers will get their names from your Facebook friends—who can give you gifts—there's no really significant way for those other human beings to influence your progress in the game.
Here's how it looks in action.


Legends: Rise of a Hero

Legends: Rise of a Hero is what is being referred to as a "midcore" game, one that combines the action mechanics of a "hardcore" game with the more leisurely aspects of casual games. When players aren't busy cultivating their home base, populating it with shops to craft items and buildings to generate gold coins, they're out in the wilderness alone or grouped with AI-controlled companions, battling creatures and completing quests.
A Good Match for: Casual players looking for a little more action. While more hardcore gamers might not appreciate the slower pace of Legends, it's the perfect game to acquaint the farmers and city-builders of Facebook with the other side of gaming.
Not for Those Who Want: To sit back and watch their game happen.

PixelJunk Monsters Online

Q-Games crafted an incredibly sticky, punishingly difficult single-player game for the PS3 a few years back. PixelJunk Monsters Online takes the same game and migrates it to the Web, where you're not only defending territory but expanding it as well.
A Good Match for: Alpha males and females. The social overlay for PMO turns friends into rivals and encourages you to grab at their grasslands. It's finally your chance to be a video game boss. Make everyone proud, okay?
Not for Those Who Want: To be isolationists. All the action happens on a shared world map, which means someone will come gunning for you. Be ready.
Here's how it looks in action.


Robot Rising

Robot Rising doesn't look or play like any other game on Facebook. While other developers dabble with a blend of hardcore and social gameplay on the platform, Stomp Games stays true to its name, stomping in and laying down a full-fledged robot-powered action role-playing game with stunning graphics, explosive sound and a little base management thrown in to keep the more casual players from getting lost in a sea of exploding machine bits. There is no begging friends here—just gifting, should the mood hit you.
A Good Match for: Action RPG fans looking for a quick fix. With a never-ending supply of randomly-generated missions, fans of games like Torchlight and Diablo looking for something little, mechanical and different will be in click-to-kill heaven.
Not for Those Who Want: A relaxing city management sim. While building your base is a part of the process, Robot Rising's core experience is about exploring dungeons and blowing the hell out of anything that moves.
Here's how it looks in action.

Robot Unicorn Attack: Evolution

The first Robot Unicorn was a Facebook classic, and the sequel ups the ante in just about every way. Now there are more animals, more power-ups, and… well, still just the one song. But who would want to change that? Best of all, it's the rare Facebook game that's cool enough that you won't mind if it tells your friends you're playing it.
A Good Match for: Erasure fans, panda fans, unicorn fans, people who like colors.
Not for Those Who Want: A game without Erasure, pandas, unicorns and colors.
Here's how it looks in action.


Saturday, March 30, 2013

8 cool things you can do with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0

Samsung created the Galaxy Note 8.0 to fill the screen size void between the S-Pen powered Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 10.1. Having an 8-inch display, the Note 8 gives you a bigger screen real estate for you to play with the stylus, yet still portable enough to bring with you anywhere.
This phone/tablet is equipped with a 1.6GHz quad-core processor, a hefty 2GB RAM, and 16GB of internal storage with a microSD card slot for more space. It also has a 5-megapixel camera at the back capable of Full HD video recording and a 1.3-megapixel one at the front.
The Galaxy Note 8.0 makes for a nice all-in-one electronic device that can effectively replace your planner or journal, E-Book reader, notebook, and even your smartphone if you wish to. You can do a lot of things with it that you can’t do on an ordinary smartphone or tablet and here are just 8 of them:

Split-screen multitasking

Split-screen is not a new feature for Samsung but what good is it when you can’t effectively work with it due to a small screen. 8-inch is ample enough so you can properly put an entry on your calendar while viewing your e-mail at the same time, or surf the web while your music playlist is easily accessible on the right side. The Galaxy Note 8.0 has a sidebar where you can put up to 20 apps supported by split-screen that you can call on to any time.

Hover to preview

Do you hate opening your long list of e-mails one at a time looking for a specific one? With the Note’s Air View, you can simply hover your S-Pen on each e-mail to get a preview of its content. You can also use Air View on folders, galleries, scanning videos, and even third-party apps such as Flipboard.

Quick Command

The Note 8.0 offers Quick Command that gives the S-Pen the ability to do things such as pulling up a contact, or sending somebody a message, or launching an app, simply by writing the command with it. Just press the S-pen’s button and swipe upwards to bring out Quick Command.

Put notes on your photos

Ever wish you can write at the back of your photos like you do during the film days? You can do that here. Take a photo and you can choose to write a note at the back, like the occasion maybe or a message to a friend. You can send the photo to a friend with a Samsung device that supports Photo Notes so he or she can view it as well.

Use the aNote HD as your journal, planner, and diary in one

The Galaxy Note 8.0 comes with the aNote HD app already. It’s one of the best paid planner app in the market. It integrates with Samsung’s native calendar, note, and planner apps but now you will only be dealing with one app.

Capture anything from the screen

One of the things you can enjoy with the Galaxy Notes is the ability to clip anything from the screen with the S-Pen (just press the button and highlight the area you want to capture) and attach it to any app that accepts images. If you’re making a list of gifts to buy, you can easily clip a photo of the items from the web and put it in your list. Or maybe quickly attach a section of a Google map onto your e-mail.

Annotate your books

Samsung’s Reader Hub is not your normal e-book reader app. This app allows you to put annotation on any digital book you load on it. You can highlight sections of text, or simply scribble notes on the pages of your book. It’s quite handy if you use it as a reader for your school textbooks.

Control your TV

Unlike the smaller Galaxy Note’s, the Galaxy Note 8 comes with an IR blaster and the Peel Smart Remote so you can also use it to control your TVs. It doesn’t work with the cable box or those obscure brands though.


There are still a lot of things you can do with the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and we just love the tight integration of its S-Apps and the S-Pen that can heavily increase your productivity with it. The 8-inch also seemed like the sweet display size for you to maximize the potential of a portable device with a stylus. It may not have top-notch specs such as Full HD screen, or an impressive camera, or LTE capability, but it’s still one helluva device you can do a lot of things with.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 will be available mid-April 2013 with an SRP of Php23,990.

Republic of Finland – The Land of Thousand Lakes

Finland flag
Country name: Finland
Official Country name: Republic of Finland
Continent: Europe
Independence: 6th December 1917 from Soviet Russia
Area: 338,424 square kilometers
Capital: Helsinki
Share borders with: Sweden Russia and Norway. Also shares border with Estonia through sea.
Other major cities: Espoo, Tampere and Vantaa
Population: 5,421,827 (Estimated in 2012)
Currency: Euro
Official Language: Finnish and Swedish
Other major language: Sami
Religions: Lutheranism 76.4%, Atheism 20.1% and other religions 3.5%

Amazing and interesting facts about Finland:

  • In terms of area, Finland is a Nordic and the seventh largest country in Europe. It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has thousands of lakes and islands therefore it is also called The Land of Thousand Lakes.
  • Finland is not only famous for its natural beauty, lakes and islands but is also known for one of the leading mobile phone manufacturers Nokia. Nokia is still a leader in mobile phone manufacturing because of its reliability.
  • Finnish educational system is one of the best educational systems in the world. The teachers must have a Masters degree and they are selected from the top 10% of graduates. Their status is equal to doctors and lawyers. There is no homework for students if their age is under teen.
  • Finland is the home to an international celebration day i.e. Day for Failure. This day was first celebrated on October 13th 2010 in Finland. The aim was to gather in a place to share everyone’s failures and learn from them. This amazing day is now celebrated in 17 countries.
  • Finland has a very amazing law for over-speeding. If you caught over-speeding, you’ll be fined according to your gross income per year. Once the director of Nokia Anssi Vanjoki was caught for over-speeding and he was fined 116,000 Euros.

Cloudy with a chance of video games: AMD announces “Radeon Sky” GPUs AMD's new graphics cards want to power your cloud gaming services.

AMD already makes GPUs for tablet, desktops, laptops, and workstations. Next stop: the cloud.
AMD has had a few noteworthy successes in gaming lately. Sony's PlayStation 4 will be using both CPUs and GPUs from the company, and Microsoft's next-generation Xbox is widely expected to do the same. And now, the company has made several announcements at this year's Game Developers Conference that look to maintain that momentum.
AMD announced a couple of new desktop graphics cards, but far more interesting is their entry into a market that Nvidia has been pushing for a little over a year now: cloud gaming. AMD has announced three new "Radeon Sky" server graphics cards that are in many ways similar to the Nvidia Grid cardsthat its competitor announced late last year. Here's all we know about them, based on both AMD's GDC press conference and the Radeon Sky product pages.

The cards

 The Radeon Sky lineup. It's worth noting that all three cards are passively cooled.
There are three cards that will be available to start with: the Radeon Sky 900 is a dual-slot card with two GPUs running at 825MHz and 6GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 384-bit interface (each GPU can access 3GB of this RAM). This card includes 3584 of AMD's stream processors across its two GPUs, and consumes 300W of power under load.
The Radeon Sky 700 also includes 6GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 384-bit bus, but has only one 900MHz GPU with 1792 stream processors—it's the same GPU as in the Sky 900, but there's only one of them. This dual-slot card consumes 225W of power under load.
Finally, the Radeon Sky 500 is the weakest card of the bunch. It has a single 950MHz GPU with 1280 stream processors and 4GB of GDDR5 RAM on a 256-bit bus. The benefit is that the card is both physically smaller (it's a single-slot card rather than a dual-slot) and consumes less power (150W).
Like Nvidia, AMD is using the same basic "Graphics Core Next" architecture across most of its product line at this point—the GPU's 900 and 700-series Sky cards have the same number of stream processors as a Radeon HD 7950 desktop card, while the Sky 500 uses the same number as the Radeon HD 7870 GHz Edition card. As a result, the Sky cards work with the same API and feature support as these Radeon cards—Direct3D 11.1, OpenGL 4.2, and OpenCL 1.2 support is available on all of these cards.

The software: AMD RapidFire

 We don't know many details, but AMD's RapidFire promises to address at least some of the most common problems with cloud gaming.
As with the Nvidia Grid cards, there are two important problems the Sky cards will need to compensate for: they'll need to be able to reduce latency however possible, and (to be cost-effective) they'll need to support multiple users. AMD is dealing with both problems through something it's calling RapidFire, which the company calls the Sky cards' "secret sauce." We don't have all the details we'd like, but AMD's slide deck from GDC and the Sky product page provides enough to get started.
First, latency: as with Grid, the Sky cards reduce latency in part by encoding the video stream that is being sent to your gaming device directly on the GPU, rather than sending it to another server box dedicated to the task of video encoding. The same Video Encoding Engine (VCE) that speeds up encoding and transcoding in laptops and desktops with AMD GPUs will be used here to reduce the number of steps between the Sky cards rendering a scene and you seeing that scene on your device.
RapidFire also enables the Sky cards to stream "up to" six games at once. The only example AMD provides is for the Sky 700 card, which in AMD's testing could stream three games at once at 60 frames per second or six games at once at 30 frames per second. What we don't know is how the other two cards perform—if they support more or fewer streams, or simply allow the graphics quality on those six streams to be turned up and down. We've reached out to AMD for comment on this, and will update when we get a response.
Finally, AMD is working with companies like VMWare and Citrix to allow virtual machines based on those companies' technology to access these GPUs directly, which according to the AMD will provide "greater density and more simultaneous game streams from a single server." While AMD's focus for these cards is set squarely on cloud gaming, direct access from virtual machines also opens the door to workstation applications—drafting, video, and photo editing software that can make extensive use of the GPU should be able to benefit from direct access to the card just as games can.

Not first, but still competitive

AMD's list of partners so far consists mostly of small or foreign companies, but Nvidia has that problem too.
In most respects, AMD is following Nvidia here. The Radeon Sky cards are aiming for the same general market as Nvidia's Grid (née VGX) cards, and they accomplish most of the same tasks in the same (or, at least, similar) ways. Still, this market is young, and AMD's cards appear to be competitive.
Where AMD's high-end cards appear to beat Nvidia's, at least at the moment, is in number of simultaneous users supported. Even if the Sky 900 card can only support six simultaneous users (something we aren't yet sure of), it still beats the high-end Grid card, which can only support one user on each of its two GPUs (though Nvidia has assured us several times that multiple user support will be added later via a software update). Cloud gaming servers really need to be as dense as possible to help them scale, so the more users that can get a good experience from a single GPU the better.
One area where Nvidia is definitely ahead of AMD here is in hardware: AMD will be reliant on hardware partners to put its cards in servers and then sell them to companies like CiiNow, Otoy, Ubitus, and G-cluster Global (the four companies AMD said would be adopting its technology), while Nvidia is offering neatly packaged hardware directly to consumers in the form of both the Nvidia Grid server (for gaming) and the Grid VCA server (for workstation applications). AMD could well jump into this end of the market itself, if it proves lucrative—it already sells servers through its SeaMicro arm—but as of now it's only selling the cards themselves.
We're still a bit skeptical about cloud gaming, but with both of the major graphics hardware makers in the game, it's going to be easier than ever to buy the hardware you need and get a service up and running. Whether those services succeed is something else again, but Nvidia's Grid and AMD's Sky cards remove one more barrier to entry.

Friday, March 29, 2013

NVIDIA gives the GeForce GTX 650 Ti a “Boost”, mid-range GPU with a high-end feature

NVIDIA recently introduced their GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GPU to give the mid-range market a bang-for-the buck card. This new mid-range Kepler-based GPU sits between the original GTX 650 and GTX 660 with a $169 (2GB) and $149 (1GB) price tag.
The GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost GPU has the same 768 CUDA cores as the original GTX 650 Ti, but the same clock speed, memory clock and bandwidth as that of the higher-priced GTX 660. What’s more, it is equipped with NVIDIA’s GPU Boost technology which dynamically adjusts GPU performance to meet your game’s need. This feature is typically reserved for expensive, higher-end GPUs.
With a wider 192-bit memory interface and up to 60 percent more memory bandwidth than the
original, the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost lets gamers play their favorite games at Full HD resolution at
high-quality settings with smooth frame delivery and comfortable frame rates for even the most
graphically demanding games on the market today, includingCrysis 3.
The 2GB variant of the GeForce GTX 650 Ti Boost is available now while the 1GB should come out early next month. Frankly, I would go for the 2GB edition as it makes the GPU more future-proof and can support dual-monitors better if you’re going that route in the future. At $169, it’s the cheapest 2GB GDDR5 GPU currently in the market.

Frustrated with iCloud, Apple’s developer community speaks up en mass Some are turning away from iCloud altogether after bad user experiences.

Apple's iCloud is marketed to us end users as a convenient and centralized way to manage data on all of our Macs and iOS devices: sync contacts and bookmarks, re-download music and apps, back up iOS devices, and sync documents and data for third-party apps as MobileMe did. The last item, syncing of documents and data, is one of the least glossy features of iCloud, but it is one of the most important, and it should be among the most straightforward. Right?
Perhaps not. Almost a year after Apple shut down MobileMe for good in favor of iCloud, third-party developers have begun to speak out about the difficulty involved in working with Apple's cloud service. A piece published at The Verge this week highlights many of those complaints, with quotes coming from well-known developers and anonymous sources alike about the challenges faced by the developer community. From data loss and corruption to unexpected Apple ID use cases, developers have seen it all—but are stymied by the persistence of problems that prevent them from shipping products with working iCloud support.
What's the big problem, exactly? According to Bare Bones Software's Rich Siegel, there are a number of moving parts to iCloud that all affect how things come out on the other end.
"In concept, the service is pretty simple. A central iCloud server holds the truth: the canonical version of the user's data for an app. As the user manipulates an app's data, iCloud tracks and reconciles the changes into the central truth and makes sure that all copies of the data, on each computer, are brought up to date," Siegel told Ars. "In order for this to work, though, a lot has to happen behind the scenes. What we casually refer to as iCloud is many parts, each with a role to play."
Indeed, there are multiple ways in which iCloud enables the syncing of data, though both users anddevelopers are kept in the dark when things go wrong. Siegel described scenarios in which iCloud simply declares that a file upload has timed out ("Apart from not being semantically relevant, the message is also unhelpful because it doesn't provide any information that either the user or developer can apply to diagnose and resolve the problem"), or says that corrupted baselines are causing sync problems without making the problem visible, or just plain barfs up an opaque, internal error. This has resulted not just in headaches for developers, but also in inconvenience, confusion, and even anger on the part of end users, who go on to rate applications poorly because of these symptoms.
"When it fails, there's no option to recover—all you can do is try again (and again...) until it finally works. And when it does initialize successfully, it can take an extremely long time," Siegel said. "In some cases, we've seen delays of up to 25 minutes while waiting for the iCloud stack to initialize. There's no discernible consistency or rationale for when it says no and when it finally says yes... you can just keep trying, and eventually it might just work, or not."
Opaque errors are just the beginning—developers are also frustrated with how iCloud handles a user's data if the user chooses to turn off document and data syncing. Doing this, it turns out, completely removes a user's locally stored iCloud data. And signing out of iCloud results in the system moving iCloud data outside of an application's sandbox container, making it impossible for the app to use the data any longer. The assumption here is clear: you're either using iCloud exclusively for data storage or you don't want to use that data at all.
Indeed, Core Data is one of the main parts of iCloud causing headaches for developers. Black Pixel recently mentioned its own Core Data problems in a blog post about the future of NetNewsWire's syncing capabilities. "As far as sync is concerned, we knew we would likely need an alternative to Google Reader as early as last year. At the time, the option that seemed to make the most sense was to embrace iCloud and Core Data as the new sync solution of choice. We spent a considerable amount of time on this effort, but iCloud and Core Data syncing had issues that we simply could not resolve," wrote Black Pixel's Daniel Pasco.
Another developer Michael Göbel wrote in a blog post titled "Why all my iOS Apps are on hold": "Core Data and iCloud sync are still a joke. I can’t count the number of developers and companies that all ran into the same trouble and finally gave up—meaning they dropped iCloud support completely after hundreds of thousands of users lost their data."
Siegel expanded a bit upon some of the problems Core Data presents. "This is where the rubber meets the road for database-backed applications," he said. "Core Data is the application-level database framework supplied by OS X and iOS that provides the means for applications to store items, and data about those items, in a single database."
Returning to the iCloud signout problem, he explained how his company ran into problems dealing with the limitations of Core Data and sandboxing with its product Yojimbo.
"The recovery from iCloud signout involves taking the opportunity to migrate all of your Core Data storage from 'Mobile Documents' to the private sandbox container on your Mac. We found, to our dismay, that the practical reality didn't hold up to theory—part of the problem is that you don't get notified until after the data has been made inaccessible, and once in that state, there's no choice but to use Core Data to make a copy of the data that's just been sequestered," Siegel told Ars. "And of course, given a database of sufficient size, the process of using Core Data to relocate the database ties up the application in an unresponsive state, without visible progress, for as long as it takes. (And woe betide you if something goes wrong in the middle of it.)"
These are only some of the issues iCloud has presented to third-party developers, and Apple reportedly has not been effective. Some—including Black Pixel—have begun to create their own syncing services, while others opt to rely on other solutions like Dropbox. Others still are holding out hope that Apple will hear their cries and offer some help. "We and other affected developers are continuing to iterate with Apple regarding the technical problems we've run into. However, if iCloud sync can't be made to work, perhaps another service will do the job," Siegel said.

Thursday, March 28, 2013 Brings Its Facebook Chat & GTalk IM Aggregator To Windows 8

There have been countless instant messaging services around for nearly two decades. Social networking has also become incredibly popular during the past few years, particularly after the popularization of smartphones, and everyone wants to stay connected with their friends and family. Following this norm, services like Facebook also offer their own chat platform. Since a lot us now use multiple chat services, it can be quite tedious to handle all these accounts from different apps. Fortunately, there are multi-protocol chat clients for that. Previously, we covered the Windows 8 app of the renowned IM+ that allows you to chat on multiple services under one hood. is yet another such app for Windows 8 and RT that has recently landed on Windows Store. The app lets you sign in to four different accounts simultaneously, and supports Facebook, Google, Windows (Microsoft account for Windows Live Messenger) and Pingpong. is not new in the business; the app has been available on desktop, iOS, Android and Windows Phone for a while now. The Windows 8 & RT version, however, has recently made it to Microsoft’s hybrid OS, and provides an eye-catching UI. The user-interface feels inspired by Skype’s light blue signature design and Google Talk’s logo.
When launched, the app lets you sign in to your account for the supported services. The process of signing in is straightforward; you just need to click or tap the service that you want to add, provide your credentials i.e. username and password, and grant the app the appropriate permissions if requested.
When you’ve signed in to an account, the app presents you with the list of available contacts who are currently online. The app displays the contacts lists of all added services separately. For example, you can click or tap Facebook to view your Facebook buddies who are currently available for chat. Likewise, hitting Google Talk takes you to the list of your Google contacts. The app also shows the online state of the contacts such as available, idle, busy etc., by displaying a color-coded line next to their name.
When you begin chatting with a contact, their display picture and name appears in the left bar. This feature makes it easier to instantly switch among multiple contacts. Along with sending messages, also allows you to share files with your recipients. Furthermore, it also supports emoticons to add a more visual touch to your messages.
If you want to add an additional account or remove an existing one, head over to the Settings screen. To open this screen, simply click Settings in the Charms Bar, followed by Preferences.
While not as feature-rich as IM+, is a great cross-platform application that provides a feasible solution to use these chat services under one roof without complicating things much, and keeping every thing clean and minimal. You can download it for free from Windows Store.