EmbracingTheGreysDear Reader,

imagesCAM94OVNI’m not overly artistic although I have some sense of design – evidenced by my blog design and matching Facebook Fan page.  When I saw Fresh Paint on my Windows 8 Laptop, I was mildly interested at best.   Until I combined my stylus with a paint brush with the touchscreen….  Witness my mid-life crisis, also named “Embracing The Greys”.   I started a blank canvas, and the app accessed my webcam.   This started as a picture.   I chose a brush shape and color and dragged my virtual bristles through the picture on the screen.  But wait!  There’s more!

I uploaded a picture I had taken with my digital camera while driving around Rhode Island and took an impressionistic approach… Mystic Scenery came about.  Do I expect to launch a career in art?  Not likely.   But I figure if I can do this with Fresh Paint, I can only imagine with a real artist can accomplish.MysticScenes

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Dear Reader,

I was thinking of installing the beta version of Windows 8.1 on my Lenovo but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to install the beta-bugswindows-blue2-300x219

that would surely come with.   I was not up to re-loading my entire operating system if it created too many problems — I’m happy with all the work I’ve done configuring this machine.   I visited the Microsoft Kiosk in the Mall and they had a Surface running 8.1 and it was pretty good.   So I figured I’d go ahead.  About as always to beta; it was not entirely a clean, easy install.   Windows 8.1 download link puts on an installer that sends you to the Microsoft App Store.   It errored out on me.

windows_81v2-590x327

I Goggled to find the solution.  It is entirely possible to install the beta, but it would require some low-level hands-on work.  At the moment, I don’t have the extra time to fiddle with it.   I may wind up waiting for the free install to be released.   For more information, check out BetaNews or any of the links below.


mobile256Dear Reader,

Its mind-boggling. Operating systems, devices, apps… all vying for our attention and all declaring their superiority over the competition. So which one is the best? Yes.

I came at this backwards. I never saw the point in apps on my phone and my first-ever app device was my new pc. The touch capability was revolutionary for me more than any perceived advantage to apps.  I purchases a smart phone just to remain current with technology  and I was quickly won over.  The advantages became really apparent. newspapers, email, twitter, LinkedIn, freelance work while commuting for work.  It totally depends on your particular needs / wants for technology.  Competition and customer preference have created a fairly level playing field.  Hopefully this post will give you a starting point.

If you know what your uses and price point are can really help. Do you live more mobile or stationary? Heavy keyboard user or total touch? Cell phones are an awesome device because you have your phone and a lot of interactive capability. However, as large as the Samsung Galaxy gets, you are still looking at a total screen size of approximately 5″ x 2.5″. Text can still become fairly microscopic on a device like a phone — not to mention the restriction of typing.

Next up is a tablet. The downside? No phone calls. The upside, much bigger screen and some have optional keyboards you can buy. They are great for productivity and possibly game play, but they are not a full-fledged laptop. Tablets and some cell phones can cost as much as laptops. Is the lack of functioning worth the portability?

Another factor to consider is the aggravating pre-installed apps that you would prefer to remove from your Android or Apple device and you can’t. You can on a Microsoft device. Also, Windows Phone won Endgadget Reader’s Choice of the Year.

Ease of use? iPad has it, but so does Windows.

As offensive as it is to Apple who innovated the touch interface and apps, currently Windows can do more. I now own an iPad and an Asus tablet. The iPad apps are better developed than Windows. Additionally, the iPad seems to handle open apps and retain state better than Windows 8 or RT. Since its better for the machine to close apps this is a minor inconvenience to me. However, for productivity, I still prefer Windows. I can close any Windows app by the swipe of a finger. On my MAC I have to click buttons and the screen for quite some time. 800px-Cuddling_with_multiple_devices (2)On my Windows tablet I can go to previous internet pages by the swipe of a finger. MAC still relies on back browser buttons. I have both a delete and a backspace key on my PC. Not so on the MAC — and since I am an intensive typist this is not such a minor inconvenience. On my MAC I lack convenient “end” keys to jump around quickly.  And Windows still multitasks better than a MAC. I’m writing this blog post on my iPad in the WordPress app. I am previewing the post and trying to test the links to see if the work. My device is not opening a web browser for me when I tell it to. Not really useful.  I wound up completing this post on my PC.

Regardless of the device, if you are a multi-device user, coordinating over the cloud becomes a factor. Which app to use? Total personal preference. The same apps are available on all devices including DropBox, EverNote, SkyDrive and Google.   I already had a DropBox account from a volunteer event so it was natural to use that for my own needs.

Whether you are a Mac or PC fan, hopefully this will give you enough information to make an informed decision — or point you in the right direction for your personal needs.

 


bill-shockDear Reader,

I wound up switching from an unrestricted Internet Provider to a restricted plan because I needed a better connection.   For the first time I encountered datashock.   Once I called up my provider and increased my data for the month, I had to figure out which device was the guilty party and how to manage my errant devices.  For those of you who don’t know data-saving tactics, here is a brief run-down:

  1. Close all your apps. If they are left running in the background they will use data while you are not watching.
  2. For a machine running Windows 8, you can set your metered data settings. Tutorial available here.
  3. Windows 8 also has a built-in function to show estimated data use.  Pull up your networks in the charm bar, right click your network and show data use :Screenshot (19)
  4. For Mac users, its a bit more elusive.  Groovin’ on apps wrote a great post here.
  5. There are a couple free apps in the Apple store Mac users can download to monitor data usage including Onavo:

Screenshot (20)

  1. Make sure apps are not updating automatically if possible.
  2. Video streaming of any kind is your worst enemy.
  3. Make good use of public networks if possible.  Now is the time for a coffee shop or restaurant with free wifi.   The price of the meal is less than your data plan.

Happy surfing!


Dear Reader,IE10

After bravely trekking into the undiscovered country of Windows 8, I decided to add to the adventure by buying an Asus tablet running Windows RT.   So….   while setting up my environment, do you think this tech-savvy diva can set her IE10 homepage??   Nope.   I know I set it on my Lenovo Yoga … three months ago.   Now that I’m fluent with Windows 8, I figured no problem — I’d have this changed.  So I swipe from the top & bottom to vivoleadget into the settings.   No luck.   Swiping from the right to get into the charms bar.   No luck.   Bleeping computer.   So I Google it.  No luck.   Finally, memory resurfaces!  (Whoever said it was all over after 40?).   I went into the traditional desktop.   Opened IE in the desktop.   Went into the internet settings — low and behold, it was there!!   Hallelujah!


Dear Reader,Screenshot (7)

Much like a strong, beautiful, ambitious woman Windows 8 is the subject of controversy.  Some call her the Devil others call her a Diva.   ( If you want to witness her in action on YouTube click HERE or on the screen shot. )

For me, my introduction to her came a week ago when I bought a new Laptop.  She is a real departure from the earlier incarnations of the Microsoft Operating System.   I was a bit cranky at first that I had to adjust to something so very different than my old, comfortable familiar Windows.   However, Within a couple hours I was navigating the new touch / app interface like an old Mac pro.   Oh, yes, you can use Windows 8 with a mouse or touchpad.

Ideapad-Yoga-11_08I was expecting to be switching to the old, familiar desktop very frequently.  I found Using Windows 8 Start App Screen to be incredibly intuitive.  Although the desktop is a touch from the Start Screen,  I’ve nearly dispensed with it already.  I would only need links to the machine utilities such as control panel, file directory, etc. from the Start Screen to make the transition complete.  I still think of the Start Apps as icons on the new desktop.   From a technical point of view they are not the same thing.   From a user standpoint, I think calling them icons is just as good as calling them apps.

In 30 years, I never adjusted to touchpads –  I always disabled mine and used a mouse.   With the ease of use of the new touch capability, I had actually dispensed with the mouse and the touchpad and was running independently of both within a day.  I began Googling for tips, tricks, and hidden features.   I found a really awesome feature!  I did not need to Google a beautifully professional shot for this blog.   I took the screen shot shown here  with one keystroke.   Win-PrtSc took a screen shot and saved it as a .png to a dedicated folder named “screenshots” in the “pictures” folder.Nod32 Keys, Nod32 Serial And Eset Nod32 Username And Password www.latest-nod32-eset-usernameandpassword.blogspot.com 3

So, she is sleek and powerful…   what about functional?  All those apps when not in use automatically go into a suspended state and use no system resources at all —  no processor work and no memory.   Also, Windows 8 is aggressively defending against viruses utilizing such features as protecting areas of memory that should never be accessed by any program other than OS functions.

Can the Diva deliver when it comes to work?   So far so good.   Downloading images from the internet was ridiculous — one click and its done.   No  waiting…  not timing…  *poof*untitled (2) and its in your picture folder.  For the internet, some sites are not so “app-friendly”.   I switched to the traditional desktop and opened an IE browser and encountered no further problems.   Most websites perform surprisingly well in the new touch-screen / app environment.  I downloaded ESET (my virus protection)  and installed it with ease.   I was able to install Construct 2 with ease.   How do traditional programs run on Windows 8?  Awesome.  Windows 8 automatically created an “app” on the new desktop that opens the standard desktop and launches the application for you.

How about the acid test?   Open source programs?   True to form, open source is an awesome way to go, but requires a certain amount of tech savvy from the user.   I decided to download GIMP – the picture editing program and see what would happen that way.photo    The download was fine, running the installer from the Windows 8 IE App resulted in a virus threat that my antivirus caught.   I switched to the traditional desktop to access the download folder.  I deleted the offending installer and ran a separate copy I’d downloaded with success — no virus threats located.  The installer ran ok, then it was a matter of figuring out how to launch GIMP.   I was still in the traditional desktop and no icon was created.   I was fumbling around trying to find the executable.   I went into the folder option, got to the program files folder, did a search for GIMP, located the executable program in the bin folder (where it traditionally is) and launched the program by double clicking on it.  Success!   Then I went to the Start Screen where I found an app link to GIMP had been created.  I tapped it and it launched GIMP from the old desktop.  Oh, its running fine!

Screenshot (8)

Back to my original question… Is Windows 8 a Devil or a Diva?  For me, she is a Diva.   The first of the next generation of technology acting as an emissary into our future.    “…  a true diva has dismissed that drama. A true diva’s heart is open, and she’s  ready to play by her own rules – rules that are gentle and kind.” – Jennifer Lewis


Dear Reader,

I was working with a new client who has his own business from home and has a home network setup.   He needed an extra pair of hands integrating his new computer running Windows 7 into his existing setup with an older XP computer.   I was fighting with some odd behavior, hidden issues, and lo and behold the new compuer connected wirelessly and printed!   He was thrilled and so was I.

That hairy problem having been resolved after much fighting and frustration, we were moving on to other issues.  All of a sudden, nothing was responding!  Ugh!!  My worst fear… did I accidentally mess something up on the new computer while I was configuring everything?   It seemed to straighten itself out very slowly.   I subscribe to a few professional blogs.   I logged in the next day to learn that the Internet barfed  at the very time I was working with my client.   That’s my official technical diagnosis.  It barfed.  For more, read the article “Who Broke The Internet?”  Probably the same practical jokers who found it funny to crash the computers in school while I was working on my final project.

What are the odds that the day I’m doing intensive Internet work, the Net actually dies?   Urgh….