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Two Ways to Use Bing Backgrounds as Wallpaper

Hi there. It was really embarrassing that my blog has gone all but dead, with virtually no articles for such a long period of time. I have my reasons, and I guess it doesn’t matter anymore at this point whether I’ll tell them or not. What’s important is I have finally found some spare time to work on my blog, and rest assured that I will try to work on it as often as I can. That’s a promise.

To celebrate my return to my blog, I have decided to work on the post which is still sending a lot of traffic on my blog, even if it contains obsolete information. I am specifically referring to the post about setting the Bing backgrounds as your Windows wallpaper. A lot of things have changed, and for the record, it is now easier to get the Bing wallpapers.

  1. Download the wallpaper directly from the website

    Great news, getting the wallpaper is as easy as a download. To start, go to the Bing website first. Check the lower right corner of the website and you’ll notice a down arrow button. That’s the download button.

    homepage

    But don’t get too excited yet. This button will only appear for selected regions, so you’ll need to change the region in order to be able to bring it out. How to do it?

    Check the gear wheel in the upper right corner of the website. That’s the settings. Click it, then on the next page click “Worldwide.” This will bring out the available regions. Just click “United States – English.” Other regions may also work. Once clicked, you’ll be rerouted to the home page and, voila, the download button is now visible.

    bing_settingsbing_settings2bing_ww

    There’s a left and right arrow to check backgrounds from the previous days, and unfortunately, there was a 3D wallpaper a few days ago, which cannot be downloaded, causing the button to be grayed out.

  2. Use Bing Desktop

    This was the method I have outlined on my previous post. The process is still the same, you’ll need to download and install Bing Desktop, and if you just want to use the current wallpaper, then it ends there.

    But if you are like me, who uses a custom theme and is an avid “collector” of the wallpapers, or if you want to use a background that’s more than a week old and don’t want to lose it, then you may just want to keep a copy of the wallpaper file and save it on a folder.

    bing_aboutApparently, Bing Desktop has an auto-update mechanism and the latest version made some changes to the location of the images. Please disregard the previous location. Here’s the current address:

    To locate the images, bring out “Run” by holding down the Windows key and then pressing the letter R. On the prompt, type in the following:

    %UserProfile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\BingDesktop\en-US\Apps\

    bing_wpThere will be several folders. Look for a folder that starts with “Wallpaper_…” then click these folders in order: VersionIndependent » images. The wallpapers are here. It’s also a good practice to copy the images folder and “Paste Shortcut” in the desktop, so that you are just a click away from the files on subsequent downloads. The great thing about the latest version is that, there are also additional categories such as Animal, Scenery and Others, giving you additional wallpapers. The images are hi-res, but they’re not of the proper size, though. Don’t worry, though. The Bing wallpapers are right there at the bottom, and they’re the proper size.

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What to Expect with Windows 8.1

Service Pack what?

As far as I know, the last Service Pack I got was for Windows 7 and that was in 2010. It was nothing revolutionary, merely a collection of fixes for the otherwise perfect OS. Since then, I had relied on Windows Updates to keep the OS up-to-date, and Service Packs became a thing of the past.

Enter Windows 8. It was very much a radical departure from the previous version and it was for this reason that not everyone were pleased with the end result. Microsoft’s first attempt to define a common UI for desktop and mobile environments is less than spectacular, in particular because it alienated a lot of desktop users.

Continue reading “What to Expect with Windows 8.1”

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One Week with the Lumia 820: Day 1

Six years is already too long to be holding on to a mobile phone, and my trusty old Omnia is already begging to be replaced since the end of 2012. It eventually gave up mid-April, mostly due to its problematic jack, where a headphone, USB connector or a charger is plugged. There’s no questioning that they were absolutely very essential accessories for the device, serving as the lifeblood of the device. I made several attempts to resuscitate the device, spending almost a fortune for replacements, but the truth has finally dawned on me after my funds started to get drained: I really needed to get a new phone now.

lumia820box

Continue reading “One Week with the Lumia 820: Day 1”

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The Windows 8 Alphabet

I was playing around with the Start Menu the other day when I suddenly remembered this puzzle I made last year. Having amassed a number of programs over the last few months, I was pleasantly surprised when I found out I can already fill up the entire alphabet. And so, I have faithfully recreated the puzzle I made using Windows 8 tiles.

abc_win8

The same challenge still applies. How many of these programs and websites can you name? I do need to censor out the program names since I don’t need to give away the answers. One thing I realized while doing it is that the coloring scheme of Windows 8 is not really monochromatic as it looks. It still employs a certain gradient, though it’s not too subtle. I do need to make some changes to the original because I have no way of making tiles out of them.

Continue reading “The Windows 8 Alphabet”

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New Entry

Last week, I blogged about my library and I wasn’t planning to add some books before the year ends. I broke my own rules, apparently.

abaratI was hanging out in the mall last week (I’m not planning to buy anything at all, gifts or personal effects) and sadly, I failed to resist the urge to check out my favorite bookstore to browse for random titles. As it turns out, I was glad I did and was filled with utmost glee because I chanced upon a hard-to-find title by Clive Barker. The book was Abarat. The last time I saw this book was more than seven years ago as a softbound book selling twice the price of other bestsellers, joining the likes of 1Q84 for being costly. It was really exhilarating to see it in paperback, complete with its ambigrammatic title, much like the effects used in Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons.

Continue reading “New Entry”

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Random Geekery: My Library

“How many books do you have?”

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My mom asked me this question last week when we’re moving my things from my room before its renovation. I could have just responded by saying something like a guess-timate and be done with it, but when it comes to quantification, I have an unhealthy obsession with statistically accurate figures. It matters to me that I currently have 9,071 songs by 2,031 artists (according to Winamp) in my music library or that 1 in every 7 person is an active Facebook user. I have decided that this would be the right time for me to take a look at my library to study my reading habits.

Continue reading “Random Geekery: My Library”

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Storm Trilogy: The Final Chapter

The storm of the year came in earlier than expected, or so we hope.

The past few years saw a sudden increase in natural disasters, often with destructive consequences. It is no longer wise to dismiss them as simple, natural or random acts of nature. The storms we’ve experienced within this period not only ravaged the nation but showed some rather unusual properties. For instance, Ondoy’s destructive effect was attributed to the huge volume of rain that fell during its run, while last year, Pedring was known for its extremely huge diameter. Maybe it’s about time we renew our views when it comes to weather, instead of blaming the meteorologists who are always being accused of giving false information. But enough of that. So what’s so unusual about what happened yesterday? The answer might surprise you.

There’s no storm to speak of.

Continue reading “Storm Trilogy: The Final Chapter”

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15 Years of WinAmp: Why It’s Still My Preferred Music Player After All These Years

logo

I discovered WinAmp in the unlikeliest manner: it’s bundled in MP3 discs I started collecting in 2000, used as the disc’s default player, running itself whenever you pop in the disc in the PC drive thru XP’s annoying AutoPlay option, which eventually became a security risk after being exploited by malwares to spread to different computers via USB thumb drives a few years later. Ah, the times. Mention USB at those times and iCafe owners will scratch their heads wondering what the hell it was. (On a related note, it pisses me off whenever users refer to thumb drives and other external disk storages as USB, because USB stands for universal serial bus, or the port (the slot on your CPU) where you plug in those devices, and not the devices by themselves. By doing so you might as well refer to printers, cameras, smartphones, tablets, webcams, joysticks and such other things as a USB). In those years, CD’s are still the preferred medium for music, and the iPod has not yet penetrated the mainstream. I took interest in MP3 during those times because it enables tracks to be compressed 1/5 of its CD size, making it possible to cram more than 100 tracks in a 650-MB disc, which is the standard size at the time. More importantly, it allows the music files to be copy/pasted to your PC for storage. I was too green at the time to figure out that you need to rip CD’s in order to keep a copy on your computer. Unfortunately, only PC’s can playback this file format at the time, and WinAmp quickly became my media player of choice, easily replacing Windows Media Player.

Continue reading “15 Years of WinAmp: Why It’s Still My Preferred Music Player After All These Years”

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It’s Raining Arrows!

Mainstream rediscovers the original projectile weapon.

I had fun watching the Avengers movie when it opened at the end of April, and while Iron Man is generally the scene-stealer, it can be argued that Hawkeye had the most presence in the movie, almost single-handedly fleshing out Loki’s grand evil scheme and scoring an astronomic hit-kill stats in the final battle. And this is despite the fact that his weapon of choice is a bow and arrow, as compared to the others who used laser beam, lightning, a rebounding shield or sheer brute strength. Coincidentally, some other recent productions also featured a protagonist that’s extremely skilled in archery. With a bit of digging, I’ve come up with a list of the best archers in recent memory:

Continue reading “It’s Raining Arrows!”

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Waiting for the Next Big Literary Epic

agameofthrones  GoT

2012 continues the search for the next big epic fantasy or sci-fi series, with most of the most popular literary works reaching their end of the line from last year until this year. The Lord of the Rings trilogy came and went, bagging Academy Awards and all, with one last ditch effort to cash in on The Hobbit soon. Harry Potter had all but exhausted all 7 books, producing an output of 8 movies in the process. Twilight is following the same strategy, with the second part of Breaking Dawn to be shown a few months from now. There had been a lot of attempts to replicate the success of these series, but so far, most received lukewarm response from viewers, as was the case with Chronicles of Narnia, The Golden Compass, and Percy Jackson and the Olympians. The pressure is on The Hunger Games, which had its airing last March with excellent results (I’ll reserve my judgment later, having neither seen nor read the title). I wasn’t too keen for Ender’s Game, it doesn’t appear to be a good material for a movie. I am also wondering if a Dark Tower series will ever materialize, with yet another book coming up. And I don’t understand why no one seems to take interest in Wheel of Time, 13 books and all.

I have nothing against books getting the visual treatment. While it’s common knowledge that the book is always better than the movie, and we must not judge a book by its movie because it’s usually going to be dumbed down in order to appeal to the least common denominator, there are benefits to making a movie out of it. One thing I look forward to is seeing the settings and characters come into life, whether it’s Middle-Earth or the castle of Hogwarts or even the sleepy town of Forks, and seeing the cast who will eventually populate this world. 

→ I’m running out of titles.

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[Video]: Using a Blog Client

If you’re a heavy blogger, one of the best practices you must learn is to install a blogging client, then connect your blog to the program.

Using a blog client has its advantages. Writing, loading, editing and formatting is faster. You can work on the article even if you’re offline. You can take advantage of built-in features not usually found in the generic editor on the web browser.

Connecting your blog to a client is not at all that hard. One of the aims of my blog is to help even the most technophobic of users do things that may appear complicated, but in truth is, they can be accomplished with just a few simple steps. That’s the reason why I’m posting step-by-step guides and videos to assist users on a regular basis.

This article is split into two parts, based on the client used: Microsoft Word and Windows Live Writer.

Part I: Microsoft Word

Many computers still come pre-installed with Microsoft Office, so Word is pretty accessible. Posting to a blog is one of the best features of the program. To simplify things, I made this video showing the steps needed to register your blog.

How to setup your blog with Word.

Next, Windows Live Writer

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Factoids: The Heart Shape

Image courtesy of MathWorld

Believe it or not, there is a word for the shape that is universally recognized as the symbol of love. I first encountered the word in high school trigonometry, and it was plotted as a result of a polar function. That shape is called cardioid, which literally means heart-shaped, and it’s produced by plotting the function r(θ) = 1 – sin(θ). Technically, it follows the shape of an apple, with its rounded base, rather than the pointed tip with which we usually draw the shape.

The heart symbol can also be typed by pressing Alt+5 [on the numpad, on the right-side of the keyboard], just like this:

As it turns out, there are other ways of plotting the curve, and MathWorld provided several other functions to plot the curve and achieve the perfect shape, using either rectangular, polar or parametric functions. (Source)

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More factoids:

What’s the point of screen savers?

The story behind the most popular wallpaper.

Why Google is named … Google?

Why the letters on the keyboard is arranged as such?

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Puzzle: Brain Maze #1

A few weeks ago, I came across a site called Maze a Day, which, as suggested by the blog title, posts mazes on a daily basis. (I wish I could have the same level of dedication). The site is great, the mazes were beautifully designed and extremely challenging. It’s great to see fellow puzzlers showing their works on the Web, and having made quite a handful, I’ve decided to publish my works as well. So far, I’ve posted a few, and has encoded nearly half of my works and digitizing them is now a WIP.

Here’s a sampler of a maze I made. Click the picture for the actual size, then just right-click and then click “Save picture…” to save a copy to your computer.

maze_brain

A PDF copy is also available for download. You can also try other puzzles.

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Puzzle: Eight_Squares

I was cleaning up some junk in my room the other day and I was utterly delighted to discover an old notebook containing a lot of puzzles I had made many years ago. It’s a huge relief, because I’ve been trying to recreate some of these puzzles but I can’t do them anymore. 😦 Admittedly, I’m a huge puzzle fan. I purchase puzzle magazines like GAMES, Dell or Penny Press whenever I could. But I don’t just solve some pencil puzzles, I also make some. 😉 

I’m planning to digitize most of these puzzles, but my problem is that I can’t find a good website to distribute them. So, for the mean time, my puzzles will be temporarily relocated here. 😉

I chose this for my first puzzle posting because I think it’s well-made, unique and it just have the right difficulty.

Continue reading “Puzzle: Eight_Squares”

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25 Years of Metroid

smetroid

I discovered Metroid rather late, in 2002, when Super Metroid was mentioned in the Top 100 Games of All Time in EGM’s 200th issue, ranking no less than #1, beating the likes of Mario, Zelda, Final Fantasy, Metal Gear Solid, Castlevania and other well-known video game series. Perfect timing, because I had already exhausted my to-play game list at the time and I’m looking for a new game. The result was almost a month of sleepless nights. It was one of the best games I’ve played, and I was glad I had came to know the game.

Continue reading “25 Years of Metroid”

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Random Geekery

A few years ago, while browsing for books in PowerBooks, I noticed a book containing plenty of puzzles. I tried solving some of them, but most of them cannot be solved without the aid of a scratch paper. There’s one, however, that I was able to memorize because of the absolute simplicity of the problem. The idea is to distribute the numbers 0-9 in a 2×3=5 equation so that each numbers appear exactly once. There are no hints, but a single digit was already supplied.

puzz

It’s a tough problem, admittedly. I had previously solved a similar problem before, admittedly through luck. The problem is to decode the equation BUG + FLY = MOTH, which contains 10 unique letters, meaning the numbers 0 – 9. Multiplication is far more complex than addition because of the carry-overs. Worse, the puzzle appeared not just once, but 5 times, if I’m not mistaken.

Note: If you don’t want to read the technical details and just want to view the answers, just skip the next few pages and head over the last page by clicking on its link.

Continue reading “Random Geekery”

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10 Unknown & Under-Utilized Features of Microsoft Word

Long before computers gave up productivity in exchange for social networking, media streaming, gaming and many other unproductive practices, they have been utilized for usefulness, designed as a machine made to simplify tasks and produce beautiful output.

Microsoft Word is still an absolutely essential program that needs to be installed on every computer, even though its usage has lessened through the years. In fact, I noticed that I use a basic text editor like Notepad more frequently. Furthermore, there are also several free alternatives available, like OpenOffice, LibreOffice and Google Doc’s. And yet, in spite of all of these, I still prefer Word because there are still a lot of features not found in other word processors, enabling me create professionally crafted documents with absolute ease. There simply aren’t any substitutes. However, many users don’t seem to be aware of these features, so I decided to list down some of the easy ones.

Continue reading “10 Unknown & Under-Utilized Features of Microsoft Word”

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Game TrackBack: Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow

For lack of better things to do, I checked my Game Library today to look for games to kill some time. I realized I haven’t installed anything for quite a year now and I stopped playing most of the previous games I’ve played, like Machinarium, Drawn – A Painted Tower and Resident Evil 4, sadly because I’m not making any visible progress in any of those. Moreover, I still couldn’t get over my anguish for Plants vs Zombies. When I installed Windows 7, I forgot to backup the save file for the game, and every thing I had painstakingly unlocked were lost in a single stroke. I won’t even touch the game because the game is dangerously addictive, and I don’t have the luxury of free time anymore to invest long hours in these type of activities. I’m afraid I’d already come to point when I’ve already outgrown gaming.

Still, every once in a while, I revisit old but excellent games which can be finished in a short span of time. This time, I decided to pick an old GBA game named Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow. I already finished this game more than 5 years ago, but this time, I intend to seal the game altogether by acquiring every collectibles in the game, explore every room and get the hidden ending. I also chose this game in preparation for its sequel for the DS, Dawn of Sorrow (which I’m planning to play on a real handheld rather than an emulator). AoS must really be very good that it warranted a sequel.

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Continue reading “Game TrackBack: Castlevania – Aria of Sorrow”

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Sayonara, XPhone IIm

xphone Five years is a very long time to be holding on to a mobile phone. It’s way past the typical lifespan of a phone, which is two years, give and take a year, by which time it’s going to be threatened by aging hardware or just plain obsolete tech. I received this phone in 2005, and used it continuously until at the end of 2009. At one point, I was asked to donate either this or the XDA II Mini, because there’s just too many phones in my possession. In the end, I decided sticking to this phone. That’s how I much loved this phone.

Continue reading “Sayonara, XPhone IIm”

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Book Review: Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol”

On the day Dan Brown’s new book got released, I unleashed my google-fu skills to acquire an electronic version of the book, the same way I did whenever a new Harry Potter book is released. Admittedly, it’s the only way I can possibly enjoy new and premium titles. I can’t buy the book; on checking peyups.com, I was stunned to find its prize ridiculously expensive. I was able to acquire a genuine copy, and I’m proud to say that it was a tough find, particularly because fake versions are also in the wild. The P2P community was, of course, still warming up to the release and will probably be releasing download links within a day or two. I couldn’t wait another day however, I have always been impatient.

Continue reading “Book Review: Dan Brown’s “The Lost Symbol””

Reading in the time of COVID-19


With #lockdown in effect, I was seriously contemplating what to do on 30 days of self-discovery, and I thought, maybe I can rediscover the beauty of the written text. But I was concerned, because my stash of books is in Tarlac, and I cannot go home 😔. I brought a few books in BBW, but it’s a pitifully few books that isn’t enough to engage me for this duration.

Since Covid-19 was all the rage these days, I am mighty proud to say that I’ve read a few books about viruses since I started reading and I hope I can convince you to try these books as well:

  1. THE STAND by Stephen King

I recently followed King on Twitter, and found out he’s a true Trump hater. Which is not surprising considering that I’m noticing parallels in many of his characters with actual people. The novel is about a disease called Capt. Trips, which has a 99.9% mortality rate. It is a voluminous book nearing 1000 pages, chronicling a long story from the beginning of the plague when the virus spread because someone broke out of quarantine, until the descend to anarchy when the plague has taken its toll. I do have a criticism of the book, though, because ⅔ of the book, the pacing has slowed and the plot is losing direction. Thankfully, it was fixed with a bomb explosion, but it was heart-breaking for me because it killed my favorite character, which happens to share the same name as me: Harold Estee Lauder

  1. THE ANDROMEDA STRAIN by Michael Crichton

This time around, the novel plays the idea that aliens may not be what we expect but can exist as a virus instead. A doctor broke protocol when a space satellite crash landed on a remote community unleashing the virus and killing all but two residents: a drunken old man & a baby. A team of scientists must work to find out what the two share in common to find a cure, while working to prevent the spread of the virus to a more populated area. True to the review, I finished the 300+ pages book in one sitting, but I felt cheated by its mediocre ending.

  1. THE BONE LABYRINTH by James Rollins (pictured here)

I got addicted to the Sigma Force series ever since I got introduced to it two years ago. This book is his best yet, because it deals with discovering the sudden surge of intelligence with early humans which is illegally being experimented by the antagonist of the book. This might interest you because of this premise: majority of the events here took place in an underground laboratory in China.

  1. 100 YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

GGM invented the ‘magic realism’ genre, which was really difficult to find. The closest author that I could find would be Alice Hoffmann. The book starts with a plague with a twist: people cannot fall asleep causing them to be forgetful. It’s scientifically accurate, just so you know.

  1. THE HADES FACTOR by Robert Ludlum

Yeah, I’m sure I’ve read this one because it’s Ludlum (he wrote the Bourne trilogy & I’ve read some other books of his). It does dwell with the mechanics of how pandemics work and how the protagonists stopped it from occurring. For some reason, I cannot remember much about this book anymore so I may consider rereading it in the future.

  1. INFERNO by Dan Brown

It’s a Robert Langdon book! For the record, there was a twist with the virus here because it didn’t kill people. It actually plays with the idea that plagues happen as Mother Earth’s way of healing itself, with humans being the sickness. Coincidentally, some scenes occurred in Italy (it didn’t end there though). There’s also a honorary mention of the Philippines as a ‘Gates of Hell’ with our country as a prime example of the problems caused by overpopulation.

Quickpost: Making videos with #PowerPoint

Yes. You can make video files with PowerPoint.

Makes sense, since conceptually a video is essentially a slideshow, or a procession of a lot of images, or in case of PowerPoint: slides. And PowerPoint lets you set the presentation in automation without mouse clicks or keyboard presses. More importantly, you don’t need to use any exporter since PowerPoint will let you save it directly in video format such as WMV*. (It used to have MP4, but I messed up my computer once but I did not see any visible effects. Maybe this is one of them)

slides1

Anyway, I tested it with a .ppt file and here’s the outcome: (link)

Reviewing #Sona2014

PNoy’s fourth annual report will be remembered in history because of its bipolar nature, reaching both the highest and lowest extremities of his governance. His original vision of cleansing and building a trustworthy government seems to be yielding results, but it seems that the nearer he is approaching his goal, the bigger the imminent threat of him being eaten back by the system, a monstrosity which has seen mammoth growth brought about by the previous head of the nation.

Continue reading “Reviewing #Sona2014”

Test Post: WP Explorer for WP8

WordPress for Windows 8 is one of my must-have app for the OS, because there’s nothing like browsing Freshly Pressed and subscribed blog posts in the beautiful Metro environment.

So it’s quite a shame that its counterpart on WP8 is quite underwhelming. There are alternatives, sure, but the closest thing to a great app isn’t free, and the trial version doesn’t allow to view Freshly Pressed posts.

Then, I was browsing in the Books section (looking for a bible app, actually) when I chanced upon WP Explorer. I found the perfect app.

The app was just recently published (with a publish date of August 6). It was a great viewer because it instantly shows post from subscribed blogs, but it also shows Stats and Freshly Pressed. More importantly, it uses the same interface as its web counterpart.

subscribed stats

How about blog posting? They said action speaks louder than words, and this post is fully made using the app.