Monday, August 20, 2012 by Draginol | Discussion: Personal Computing
If you have Windows 8 and you’re finding it annoying to get around the desktop, you can download Tiles (it’s free). This has been a life saver for me as it lets me quickly get to the things I want to and manage them as such. It’s also completely compatible with the charms bar and the Metro (Modern UI) experience.
Thursday, August 16, 2012 by Draginol | Discussion: Personal Computing
Freshly installed over my Windows 7 system. Normally I would do a full rebuild but most people who are upgrading aren’t going to do that.
Remembering the experience formerly known as Metro:
A lot of tools are now very difficult to find. I can’t find the event viewer. Typing it in the search area brings up nothing. In fact, uninstalling things is actually quite a pain because now you have to first go to control panel and then the add/remove programs (you can’t just search for control panel applets in Windows 8).
Where’s the registry editor?
The right-click menu hangs on the desktop every time I do it. I’m trying to look into why that might be. I’ll probably go to the registry and get rid of the extra crap….which…I can’t because the registry editor seems to be gone (i.e. I can’t type registry and bring up the registry editor)…
Windows 8 changed my desktop logon password to my Live ID password without asking.
MSConfig is still easily accessible. From that, I was able to get to the registry editor and go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT \ Directory \ Background \ shellex \ ContextMenuHandlers to remove legacy shell handlers.
I like the new desktop backgrounds. Though, they were a bit skimpy on the quantity of them.
Nothing comes up if you type reged but if you type out the entire word, regedit, it will show up. This strikes me as a significant back step.
I’m running at 2560 x 1440.
Ok, I’m going to download and use Wikipedia.
Feel free to tell me how stupid I am. I cannot figure out how to search…
Ok, I figured it out. I have to move my mouse to the top right to bring up the charms bar, then I move the mouse down to the search. Mind you, because I have multiple monitors, this is a pain in the ass. It is really too much for the app to have the search field displayed without having to make multiple clicks?
YMMV but the new shell strikes me as a step back.
They’ve brought back, by default, the menubar. And there’s no obvious way to make it go away. There’s a bit of sloppiness here (two menu items called Manage? I know they relate to their corresponding tools action item but still). It’s not a biggie, just would like an obvious way to get rid of that menu bar entirely.
I can’t put my finger on it but it feels sluggish. Launching things is noticeably faster. It’s snappier when opening windows. But when I’m typing or interacting with apps I’m used to interacting day in and day out, they feel sluggish (even typing this blog in, I’m feeling a slight delay between the key press and the letter appearing). That is probably something specific to my machine or the fact I didn’t install on a clean machine so take that with a grain of salt.
Some nice things
One very nice feature they threw in for multiple monitor users is that each monitor essentially acts as its own quasi-independent display. The jury on usability remains out on it but it’s got promise.
Some quick conclusions
The desktop experience of Windows 8 is as about as good as Windows 7. That said, I can’t really say users gain anything upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7.
My single biggest gripe, and it’s kind of a show-stopper, is “Metro”. I like tablets. I have several. I plan to get Surface. I have a Lenovo tablet on order. But trying to combine the two experiences together was a mistake and it’s going to cost them. I can’t imagine an enterprise customer upgrading to this.
Users who like to have the latest/greatest will be at a cross-roads here. If you have multiple monitors, the experience kind of sucks overall because – and remember this carefully – the entire new user metaphor for Windows 8 is premised around moving the mouse to screen edges. That is how you’re supposed to navigate the Windows 8 ecosystem.
I’m also not sure what we’re supposed to make out of Metro (Windows 8 UI) style apps. They’re clearly designed for tablets running at around 150dpi at lower resolution. I’m not sure what a traditional PC user is supposed to do with these apps. They’re not useful – so far. They’d be fine on a tablet but on a desktop.
There is also a lack of polish in the Metro apps. They feel rushed to me. Take the weather app. Look closely at it. Does this compete well? Some of the images have masking problems (where the image was originally on a different colored background). Compare this app to what you see on iOS or Android even.
Overall, if I got Windows 8 on a new machine, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. It’s not a bad OS. It’s just a significant step down from Windows 7. Coming from say Windows XP or Vista, it’s a step up.
I would really like to see Microsoft put some effort into updating Windows 8 to be less schizophrenic. If I’m installing it on a regular PC, let me use it as such. Don’t force me to use my mouse as if it’s a surrogate set of fingers.
Updates and corrections
(I’ll be adding to this as I learn more)
One thing that I learned (and I don’t like) is that when you start typing in the search filed, it categorizes them for you. I don’t like this. That’s why I couldn’t find add/remove programs is because apps was selected. I have to manually select settings and look in there. The fix for this would be to have an “all” category that is at the top.
I also really don’t like that I type my search on the right of the screen and the results show up on the left. In Windows 7, you just start typing and the item shows up almost immediately above it.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Well the summer is coming to an end, and kids of all ages have already started heading back to school. Kids and young adults are making great use of PC’s such as laptops in their work, and just as software helps make folks more productive at work, that can also be applied to students at school.
Lets take a look at 5 useful apps for students returning to school!
1. Fences (Free, Pro $19.95)
I really can’t recommend and advise you to use this app enough. It is used by to organize the the icons on their desktops into manageable areas called ‘Fences’. Create a Fence for projects, another for saved links, one for homework – the uses are nearly endless.
2. 1Password ($49.95, free trial available)
Security is always a big thing to be concerned about and take pro-active measures to avoid problems later. As we’ve seen lately, people hacking into peoples accounts is becoming common and having different and secure passwords for website you visit is essential. 1Password can create and store strong passwords and keep them secure until you need them. With browser extensions, you can have 1Password fill the logins so you don’t have to remember all those passwords.
3. Tiles ($9.95, Free download)
Tiles is another productivity app that would be a great resource for students. Tiles puts a customizable sidebar on your Windows desktop that can help you organize and manage running applications. You can build custom pages to just show certain apps, or have another one that lists open browser windows. There’s lot of configuration options and can be skinned to fit your desktop theme.
4. Notepad++ (free)
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with the Notepad built into Windows, but Notepad++ takes it up another level. This has many additional features such as Syntax highlighting, tabbed interface for multiple documents, multi-language support, and much more.
5. Jing (Free)
Jing lets you capture screenshots and record onscreen video. This is great for research, or making short presentations of either an app or website you have on your desktop.
Friday, August 10, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
I almost forgot to write this, but when it charged my account it was a good reminder! If you remember, I decided to sign up for the new Adobe Creative Cloud which basically gives you access to the entire Adobe creative suite for a moderate monthly fee.
So a month later I’m pretty happy I decided to sign up. I haven’t had a lot of time to dig into everything it offers, but really my main focus was a few apps.
- Photoshop CS6
- Adobe Muse
- Premiere Pro
Installing is easy, as it’s all done through the Adobe application manager which also keeps the apps updated. I’m pretty familiar with Photoshop, but the other apps I have only dabbled with, and I did want to share a great Adobe resource I found.
Adobe TV has a ton of tutorials and guides for every product from the basics to advanced usage. It covers many versions, so even if you don’t have the latest it’s still a great resource for our artists here.
Monday, July 30, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Microsoft announced a bunch of new Windows 8 compatible accessories today. These include several new mice and keyboards, all of which will work with current hardware along with the upcoming Microsoft Surface.
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard. Actually looks like a nice portable keyboard. Would be nice for the Surface or any other tablet PC.
The Wedge Touch Mouse. This is nice that it has no USB dongle, just Bluetooth. However, I’m not sure how comfortable that would be using.
Sculpt Touch Mouse. Sticking with the somewhat “normal” mouse design this has a four-way touch scroll strip. Very useful for navigating Metro on the desktop.
Images via The Windows Blog.
Monday, July 23, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Stardock CEO Brad Wardell talked with Wired magazine about Steve Jobs and the influence that his passing brought to him.
“But most of the rejectors are, like Atwood, entrepreneurs who worry about their roles as fathers. A few of them single out one particular moment near the end of the book, when Jobs explains why he asked Isaacson to write it. “I wanted my kids to know me,” Jobs said. “I wasn’t always there for them, and I wanted them to know why and to understand what I did.” Brad Wardell, CEO of the software and computer-game-design company Stardock”
Read the full article at Wired.
Friday, July 20, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: Personal Computing
Brad Wardell has appeared on the latest episode of the Freakonomics radio podcast. Brad talks about the death of Steve Jobs and how it has changed his work habits.
Thursday, July 19, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
Multiplicity gives you the ability to control and quickly switch between multiple computers with one keyboard and mouse, reducing complexity and freeing up desk space for more efficient use. Multiplicity 2.0 is currently in BETA and you're invited to try it!
Features in Multiplicity 2:
- NEW! Simple Setup
Install Multiplicity 2 on both computers, enter the secondary computer name and passcode, and you're connected!
- NEW! Transfer Data Between Your PCs
Copy and paste text, images, and files between your PCs. Multiplicity 2 also adds support for drag and drop of files and folders between machines.
- NEW! Centralized Audio
Centralize audio from all of your PCs to a single PC ensure you never miss an email, chat or stock price alert. This capability is perfect for stock trading environments and call centers.
- NEW! Data Security
User data is AES-256 encrypted for additional security in sensitive work environments like financial institutions and emergency management centers. Multiplicity’s settings can also be locked to prevent non-administrative users from altering the configuration.
- NEW! Send Keyboard Input to All Computers Press CTRL three times and Multiplicity starts sending keyboard input to all connected PCs.
- Control up to 9 machines
With a purchased copy of Multiplicity 2, control up to 8 secondary computers in addition to your primary machine.
The Multiplicity 2 BETA is available as a free download for controlling one additional computer from http://www.stardock.com/products/multiplicity/beta/.
Note: If you currently have MP1 installed, you will need to uninstall and reboot (the installer prompts this).
Thursday, July 12, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
The latest update for WindowBlinds is now available! WindowBlinds is the absolute best way to change the complete look and feel of the Windows desktop.
The 7.41 update includes:
- Updated My Computer progress bars to paint with skin progress bar image
- Firefox fixes for skins with very large titlebars
- Opera 12 fixes
- No changes when running on Windows XP
Don’t have WindowBlinds? Get it here!
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 by Island Dog | Discussion: WinCustomize News
Today we have released a new build of the popular Start8 application for Windows 8!
We added a new feature that we think you'll love:
- Automatically load your Windows desktop on login (vs the start screen)
Just a reminder of the other features Start8 includes:
- Adds a start button back to your taskbar
- Adds control over the "Start" menu size on the Explorer desktop
- Adds option for the "WinKey" to show fullscreen "Metro" desktop - Adds Run... option via right-click menu
- Adds Shutdown... option via right-click menu
- Choose a custom Start button image
Start8 requires Windows 8 Consumer or Release Preview.
Download now at - http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/