TWT Newsletter, Issue #033 – CES and Office Wars
Hello once again from Top Windows Tutorials HQ. It’s the 10th of the month and so time for your new TWT Newsletter to drop into your inbox. This month we round up the hottest tech from the CES show in Las Vegas and take a look at two great office suites, along with our regular features of course.
Important! A number of our subscribers have had difficulty receiving our newsletter. At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we never send out unsolicited e-mails. To make sure your TWT newsletter reaches your inbox, please add TWT_Newsletter@top-windows-tutorials.com to your contacts, buddy list or white list.
In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Sweeten up your PC for Valentines day with the fantastic Princess desktop
3) CES 2010 and beyond – What’s new and hot for Windows users this year?
4) Tip of the Month – Using your PC without a keyboard
5) Free Utility of the Month – Quick SFV
6) The office war rages on as Microsoft Office 2010 hits release candidate status, while OpenOffice.org continues to grow
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
We piled on plenty of new content for you in January. For starters, we continued our look at desktop enhancements with another tutorial for Yahoo Widgets. This time we showed you how to manage widgets on your computer and make them available to multiple users. You can check out that tutorial by clicking this link.
Also in our desktop enhancement section, we looked at the official Windows 7 gadgets. If you are a Windows 7 user you can find out how to add gadgets to your desktop by clicking here.
The next desktop enhancement we covered is a must for Windows XP users. Launchy makes it easy to find and launch files from your start menu, replicating (and some might say improving on) the search function available on the Windows Vista and Windows 7 Start Menus. You can find out how to use this great little utility by clicking this link.
Last but not least in our desktop enhancements section, we showed you the excellent TrueTransparency tool. This cool little program can not only make your Windows XP windows look super cool, it also emulates the popular Aero Snap and Aero Shake window effects normally only found on Windows 7. TrueTransparency works on Windows XP and Windows Vista, click this link to learn more.
If like many of our users you love to make your Windows desktop look cool and unique, you might be interested to know about a new version of VistaGlazz. VistaGlazz allows you to install lots of third party theme packages and thanks to a new update, it now works with Windows 7 too. To find out more, click this link.
We all like to have the fastest computer possible and for that reason our tutorials on improving Windows performance have always proven popular. Some users believe that reconfiguring Windows Services can improve computer performance. Just what are Windows services and how can they be configured? Check out this article and this tutorial to find out more.
Finally, we updated our ZoneAlarm installation tutorial, the updated tutorial is available here.
It wasn’t just new content we added in January either. We made several changes to the inner workings of the website, specifically relating to how our videos are delivered. This should mean reduced loading times for all our visitors across all video content.
Sweeten up your PC for Valentines day with the fantastic Princess desktop
Sugar and spice and all things nice, that’s what this super sweet desktop theme is made of. Surprise that special someone this Valentines day with this amazing desktop customization that will make her computer sweeter than chocolate. This professionally made theme uses Stardock Softwares advanced skinning engine to completely transform Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. The theme also includes wallpaper and several themed gadgets, including a clock, weather widget and calendar. Your sweetheart wont believe how cool her desktop looks! Go here for a Windows XP preview or go here for a Windows Vista/Windows 7 preview. To get the beautiful Princess desktop, visit this link.
CES 2010 and beyond – What’s new and hot for Windows users this year?
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Las Vegas in January again this year. Microsoft were keen to show off Windows 7 at their booth, but there were few new surprises from the company. Notable by its absence was Windows Mobile 7, the long overdue update to Windows for phones and PDA devices. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer used his keynote speech to talk about the fantastic momentum Windows 7 has gained, making it the fastest selling operating system in history. He also talked about the huge variety of Windows software available, claiming that over four million Windows applications are now available.
Microsoft also demonstrated their new Mediaroom technology, which aims to make it easier for content providers to stream media to PC’s and set-top boxes. You can read more about this technology here.
Tablet PC’s are also making a comeback this year and not only from Apple. Ballmer showed three new tablet or slate PC’s (PC’s which operate entirely by touch or stylus control and have no permanently attached physical keyboard). Unlike the recently revealed Apple iPad, which runs the same operating system as the Apple iPhone, these devices run the full blown Windows 7, essentially giving you access to the entire library of Windows software on the devices.
Elsewhere at CES several companies were showing some exciting new Windows related products. Boxee, our favourite media centre front end made an impressive appearance at the show. Launching a whole new version of the software for Windows, Linux and Macintosh computers, the free multimedia software continues to go from strength to strength. Download the latest version by visiting this link. Alienware had a great range of new ultra portable gaming laptops and several other manufacturers also announced tablet PC’s or e-book readers, some running Windows, others running Linux or alternative operating systems that were interoperable with Windows.
For gamers, the big news at CES this year was 3D. After the success of the movie Avatar, the whole industry seems to have gone 3D crazy. NVIDIA demonstrated a new graphics chip codenamed GF100. This chip supports DirectX 11 and 3D gaming with NVIDIA’s 3D Vision system. For gaming enthusiasts with deep pockets, the new NVIDIA 3D Vision Surround allows you to play a game in 3D on 3 monitors. As with all home 3D systems, special glasses are required. You can read more about 3D on your PC here.
Microsoft also announced that Project Natal, the new motion control system for games and multimedia, would be released this year for Xbox 360, but made no mention of PC compatibility for the device. Microsoft also announced Game Room, a service that will allow players to collect classic arcade games and use them on their PC’s or Xbox 360 consoles.
Although there were no major surprises from Microsoft at CES this year, it is clear that the company is happy with the momentum that Windows 7 is continuing to gain. Windows users can look forward to more high quality software and compatible hardware in the future as well as some interesting looking new PC’s. After the disappointment of Vista it’s clear that Windows 7 is gaining in popularity even more than Microsoft could have hoped for. 2010 is set to be a great year for gadget freaks, with 3D televisions and monitors and tablet PC’s lining the shelves and Windows 7 is well positioned to be at the heart of your digital experience.
Tip of the Month – Using your PC without a keyboard
Keyboard acting strange? If you urgently need to use your PC and your keyboard is missing, damaged or otherwise unavailable then on Windows Vista and Windows 7 you can use the tablet PC input features to temporarily replace your keyboard. Call up the tablet PC input panel by going to the Start Menu and choosing “All Programs/Accessories/Tablet PC/Tablet PC Input Panel”. You can also load the on screen keyboard by searching for “OSK” in the Start Menu, though of course if you want to do this, you will need a keyboard in order to type “OSK”!
Free Utility of the Month – QuickSFV
When moving data around our computers, we usually take it for granted that files we move or copy from one place to another are going to be delivered correctly. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Faults with cabling, controllers or drivers can cause problems and corrupt your data. While problems like this are (fortunately) rare, it can be useful to have a way to check for such problems.
Enter QuickSFV, this program can calculate checksums of files anywhere on your computer. If the contents of the files are changed or corrupted, the checksums of the files will also change. That means that we can test the checksums of files at any time to see if they have been corrupted.
Using this tool is a great way to check memory sticks, hard drives or any kind of media for problems. To find out more about this program, click this link.
The office war rages on as Microsoft Office 2010 hits release candidate status, while OpenOffice.org continues to grow
In the battle of the office suites, there are two main contenders. In one corner, Microsoft Office continues to dominate the majority of the market, while the free, open source alternative OpenOffice.org continues to nibble away at Microsoft’s market share. Microsoft Office 2010 recently reached an important milestone in its development when the release candidate version was made available to testers. Release candidate versions are typically complete and will only change if a serious fault is discovered in the software. This means that the final release of the new Office 2010 suite is likely to happen on schedule, around 3 months from now. With Windows 7, Microsoft made the release candidate version available to the general public. This isn’t the case with Office 2010, though it is still possible to download an earlier ‘beta’ version to test on your PC. Visit the Microsoft Office 2010 homepage to find out more.
Microsoft Office is a powerful package, but at around $100 even for the most basic edition, it certainly isn’t cheap. Fortunately, for students and anyone on a budget, OpenOffice.org comes to the rescue. OpenOffice.org is a full word processor, spreadsheet, database and presentation package available for download to anyone and all for free. Even though OpenOffice.org is free, don’t think that makes it a poor alternative. OpenOffice.org Writer has all but replaced Microsoft Word on our computers here and many users prefer its more traditional interface to the new “Ribbon” interface introduced in Office 2007. Development on OpenOffice.org certainly hasn’t stagnated either, with OpenOffice.org 3.2 Release Candidate 4 (yes, 4!) now available for download. Visit the OpenOffice.org homepage for more details. OpenOffice.org continues to gain momentum too, a recent study showed that the software is now installed on 21.5% of all PC’s in Germany.
Don’t forget you can learn all about OpenOffice.org Writer, including how to open and edit Microsoft Word documents with our OpenOffice.org Writer Superguide. We’ve extended the sale for another month, so grab your copy now for just $10 plus shipping, to find out more, click this link.
That’s a wrap for February’s newsletter. Once again, thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th March 2010 to bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7! We hope that you found this newsletter informative and useful. If you did not then please let us know why, you can contact us by visiting this page. If you have enjoyed this newsletter, feel free to pass it on to all your friends and family, or better still encourage them to sign up for their own copy! Until next month, keep checking Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!.