Tag Archive | "Windows"

Add Pressure Sensitivity to Windows 8 Tablets and Touch Screen Laptops

If you bought a Microsoft Surface or other new Windows 8 laptop/tablet with a touchscreen and stylus support, you might have noticed the screen lacks pressure sensitivity. Ideally, you should be able to draw or write on the screen lightly for faint lines, then press harder for stronger, bolder marks. The latest Wacom drivers should fix this–as long as you’re using a device with a Wacom digitizer.

This list of stylus-enabled tablet PCs shows which devices use Wacom or another manufacturer for the screen. If  yours is Wacom, head to http://us.wacom.com/en/support/drivers. Select Tablet PC from the first drop-down, then Windows 8, and download the latest driver. (As of this writing, that’s the one released on July 30th.)

After installing the driver and rebooting, you’ll have true pressure sensitivity on your tablet or laptop.

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Source: About.com


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Touch Gestures Reference Guide

Learn Basic Touch Gestures with This Reference Guide

Touch Gestures Reference GuideWondering how to use multitouch gestures on a smartphone, tablet, touchscreen laptop, touch-capable mouse (like the Apple Magic Mouse), or even the trackpad on your laptop? Besides tapping and double-tapping, you’ve got a wealth of ways to move your hands on the touch surface to make your device do your bidding.

This Touch Gesture Reference Guide (PDF) from LukeW illustrates the core gestures and some advanced and upcoming gestures you can use on most modern devices. It shows how you can rotate items by moving two fingers in a circle or pressing down with one finger while circling with the other, how to pinch or squeeze an object to make it smaller (e.g., to zoom out of page) or spread or splay your fingers to scale the object out, and more.

LukeW’s touch gestures resource download page also has a useful table showing how to use touch and multitouch gestures on the iPhone or iPad (iOS), Windows Phone 7, Palm webOS, Android, OS X, Windows 7, Microsoft Surface, and other platforms.

As we start to interact more with our computers and mobile devices through touch (and multitouch), these resources will come in very handy.

Source: About.com


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Ballmer and Windows Phone 8 Hardware

Steve Ballmer to Step Down as CEO of Microsoft

Ballmer and Windows Phone 8 HardwareMicrosoft has built an empire around software but is seeking to transition to other areas. This is one reason Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer cited in his recent decision to step down within the next year.

A Look at Microsoft’s Business Goals for the 2013-2014 Fiscal Year

According to Ballmer, who will most likely retire, “There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time. We have embarked on a new strategy with a new organization and we have an amazing Senior Leadership Team. My original thoughts on timing would have had my retirement happen in the middle of our company’s transformation to a devices and services company. We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction.”

This came as part of the official announcement posted by Microsoft last week.

Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet interviewed Ballmer this past week, which included questions about his biggest accomplishment and regret. I also found an article exploring Ballmer’s mixed results at the helm of Microsoft by Don Clark and Shira Ovide of the Wall Street Journal insightful. Both of these articles offer links to candidates for Ballmer’s successor.

Changes on this scale may be delayed in coming but will certainly affect Office and the many other areas of Microsoft’s business.

Microsoft Office Resources, Tutorials, and More

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(c) Image of Steve Ballmer with Windows 8 Hardware Courtesy of Microsoft

Source: About.com


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Car break-in

Hot Wheels Report: Thieves’ Choice

What are uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages? Do you need these on a commercial auto policy? Find out by reading my new article.

The new Hot Wheels report has just been released! The first and second-place winners for 2012 are, respectively, the Honda Accord (1990 through 1997 models) and the Honda Civic (1990 through 2000 models). In case you’ve never heard of it, the Hot Wheels report is published annually by the National Insurance Crime Bureau. It’s a list of the 10 most frequently stolen vehicle models for the previous 12 months. After the Accord and Civic, the next two models that thieves favored the most were the Ford and Chevrolet full size pickups.

Car break-in

According to the NICB, many thieves prefer older Hondas because they are popular cars that have held up well. Many of them are still on the road so there is a high demand for replacement parts. The older cars are easy to steal because they lack many of the theft-deterrents found on newer cars. The NICB notes that relatively few 2012 Hondas were taken last year. Current models are equipped with alarms and other devices that make theft difficult.

I was the victim of car theft myself many years ago, and it is not an experience I want to repeat. Two cars I owned were stolen, exactly one year apart. Each was eventually recovered but was in such bad shape that the insurance company “totaled” it. Both cars were several years old. After the second one was stolen I asked a police officer why anyone would bother taking a clunker like mine. She showed me a list of the vehicles that had been stolen in the previous two-week period, and I was stunned. I had assumed that thieves targeted high-value cars, but the reverse was true. Most of the cars on the list were old.

If your company owns autos, there are several steps you can take to protect your investment. First, you can insure them for Comprehensive coverage under a commercial auto policy. Comprehensive coverage protects you against loss to a covered auto by any cause (including theft) other than collision or the vehicle’s overturn. You’ll have to consider the value of each vehicle in relation to the premium to determine whether Comprehensive coverage makes sense. A cheaper option is Specified Causes of Loss, which also includes theft. These coverages are usually subject to a deductible.

Insuring your vehicle won’t prevent it from being stolen. The NICB suggests four “layers” of protection to safeguard your vehicle against theft. You can start at the top of the list and work your way down, as your budget permits.

  1. Common Sense These are the basic things you and your employees should already be doing. Lock the car, close the windows, park in well-lit areas and (above all) do not leave your key in the ignition! (You’d be surprised how many people forget to take their keys.)
  2. Visible or Audible Devices These days many cars come with an audible alarm. If yours doesn’t, you can use a visible alternative such as a steering wheel lock. I had one of these for years and it worked. Other theft deterrents include VIN number etching or micro dotting, wheel locks and a steering column collar.
  3. Vehicle Immobilizer Many newer vehicles come with a smart key, without which the car won’t start. Cars that use smart keys cannot be easily “hot-wired.” If you have an older vehicle, you can install a kill switch, fuse cut-off, or a devise that disables the starter, ignition or fuel supply.
  4. Tracking System These devices use GPS to track your vehicle in real time. They enable the police or a tracking company to quickly locate your vehicle in the event it is stolen.

Image courtesy of [Garry Hunter] / Getty Images

Source: About.com


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Skype Logo

Windows 8.1 to Include 20 New Apps Including Skype

Skype LogoMicrosoft’s next rendition of Windows 8 is approaching with 20 new apps including Skype, a popular communications tool.

Skype integration has been a developmental strategy for Microsoft over the past year or so. In the coming year, Skype itself will likely gain improvements as well, particularly for use in organizations.

  • Skype for Windows 8 – What is Skype?
  • What’s All the Skype Hype?
  • Microsoft Lync’s Increased Integration with Skype
  • The New Skype in the Workspace Tool – Free!
  • Check Out Skype Video Messaging for iOS, Android, Mac
  • Social Media and Collaboration Apps for Windows Phone 8

(c) Image Courtesy of Microsoft

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Source: About.com


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King.com discontinuing five titles

Social Gaming On the Rise

Gaming continues to grow more social online, even as the industry has its fits and starts.

King.com discontinuing five titles
King ends titles

Last week, a popular game developer on Facebook, King, announced it was discontinuing five titles on the sprawling social network starting in September. They were mostly older games that never took off, such as Bubble Saga, according to Inside Social Games.

Microsoft also announced it’s closing its gaming marketplace called Games for Windows Live Online Store, a place where gamers could shop online but which also never caught on. Microsoft tied the store into such titles as Dawn of War and Dark Souls. The company said it will continue to support game titles tied into Games for Windows Live Online, but it’s closing the store part of the service.

Online gaming, though, continues to grow like crazy. See our list of the top online game sites, along with our review of casual game super-aggregator, Y8.com.

Source: About.com


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New Sculpt Ergonomic Mouse & Keyboard for Windows 8

Since Windows 8 came to fruition, Microsoft has offered its specialized Sculpt keyboard and mouse. This month (August 2013), an ergonomic version of both will be released. This is evidence of healthy computing trends, as reflected in an infographic on this site:

Microsoft’s Ergonomic Sculpt Desktop

More resources for Windows 8:

  • 10 Easy Steps to Windows 8
  • Microsoft Office for Windows Phone 8
  • Office 365 and Office 2013. . .What’s the Difference?
  • How to Check Windows 8 Compatibility for Software, Apps, and More
  • How to Upgrade to Windows 8 from Windows 7, Vista, XP
  • Skype for Windows 8

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Source: About.com


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TweetDeck Gets a New Tweet Panel

Since TweetDeck last simplified its desktop applications and web browser functionality, TweetDeck power users have had to do all their tweeting from the little pop-over tweet box that appears in the middle of the screen similar to Twitter via web. On Monday, Twitter announced that TweetDeck was getting a brand new tweet panel for easier and faster tweeting.

  • TweetDeck compared to HootSuite

The new tweet panel will display image previews, streamline posting across multiple accounts, support easy direct messaging and even suggest usernames or hashtags automatically as you type them in. Three options appear below the tweet box for easy access to compose an image tweet, a scheduled tweet or a direct message.

If you use the browser-based version of TweetDeck (web or Chrome), you can start seeing the changes roll out any time now. Updates to the browser-based versions will then soon be followed by each TweetDeck app for Windows and Mac.

Photo: Screenshot of TweetDeck

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Source: About.com


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Microsoft Logo

Patch Tuesday for August 2013 Includes Updates for Microsoft Outlook and Exchange Server

Microsoft LogoOn the second Tuesday of every month, Microsoft hosts what has come to be known as Patch Tuesday, a security and feature update for Microsoft Office, Windows, and other product lines.

Patch Tuesday for August 2013 brings with it some important updates for Microsoft Outlook (web app) used on Exchange Server.

Manually updating through Patch Tuesday represents just one of 3 Options for Updating Your Version of Microsoft Office.

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Source: About.com


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Lenovo X200 tablet PC

Tablet PCs: It’s All About the Keyboard

Lenovo X200 tablet PCTablet PCs, hybrid tablet-laptops, convertible laptops, detachable Ultrabooks…whatever you want to call them, these newfangled touchscreen tablets/laptops are taking the computer market by storm. While touch (or multi-touch) is the main attraction, however, spurred on by Microsoft’s Windows 8 touch-centric UI, the main thing you should look at when evaluating one of these devices is, oddly enough, the keyboard.

Tablet PCs are a combination of touch-friendly tablets and productivity-focused (keyboard-accompanied) laptops. They’re supposed to be the best of both worlds.

Of all the tablet PCs I’ve tried, though, the one thing that seemed to kill the deal for me was always the keyboard. The touchscreens on all the devices I’ve tried, including the Samsung ATIV Smart PC Pro 70oT and the Toshiba Portege Z10t (both slate tablets that turn into laptops via the  hardware keyboard docks ) all worked as expected and even better than earlier tablet PCs running Windows 7. Multi-touch gestures work well, you don’t have to worry about your palm touching the screen and interfering with your finger or stylus input, and when there is an active digitizer, the handwriting recognition and inking is very precise. That is to say, manufacturers have really nailed down the touchscreen interface.

The problem is using these devices in that other, older and more basic mode: as a laptop. Convertible tablets (ones that swivel from laptop to tablet mode or where the screen slides up or down into tablet or laptop mode, with the screen still attached) seem to work better than ones where the display undocks from the keyboard. I’ve only only used two dockable slates so far–the ATIV 700T and the Portege Z10t, but both had hardware connection issues. Annoying issues.

Tablet PCs need to work as well in both laptop mode and tablet mode–whether the tablet is disconnected from the physical keyboard or just lying on top of it. I’m one of the biggest proponents of Windows tablet PCs, but freely admit that tablet PCs so far have fallen short of the goal: The perfect combination of tablet and laptop. (I thought the Z10t might be it, and it would have been except for the keyboard. Next week I’m testing the ThinkPad Helix, so stay tuned!) Otherwise, you might as well buy a keyboard-less tablet.

Stay on top of the latest in mobile computing, telecommuting, and working on the road: Free weekly newsletter | Blog posts subscription | Follow me on Twitter: @melaniepinola or Google+

Source: About.com


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