TWT Newsletter, Issue#055 – Seasons greetings everyone!
Welcome to our December 2011 TWT Newsletter. Whether your Christmas shopping is all done, or your still looking around for that perfect gift for everyone, its time to get yourself a cup of tea or coffee, put up your feet and enjoy our latest newsletter. This month we have some last minute gift ideas for the PC users in your life, a look at “American Censorship Day” and another Windows 8 update. Of course, our regular tip and free utility are present and correct too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Christmas shopping with us and last minute gift ideas
3) American Censorship day, what was that all about?
4) Tip of the Month – Start Task Manager easily
5) Free Utility of the Month – Evernote
6) Windows 8 update – First public beta for February 2012!
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
There were several updates to our tutorials in November. First of all, we updated our StartupDelayer tutorials. StartupDelayer is a tool that can help you manage your Windows startup applications. Rather than just giving you the option of disabling a startup program, StartupDelayer can delay the programs startup. Rather than having half a dozen applications all launch at once, now the non-critical applications can wait in line until the system is less busy. To find out more about StartupDelayer, visit this page.
Later in the month we brought you a whole new set of tutorials for Microsoft Security Essentials. Finding a good quality, free antivirus used to be difficult, until Microsoft’s free Security Essentials package came along. A free antivirus that’s free from additional bloatware and won’t try to install toolbars or sell you useless registry cleaners. To find out more, visit this page.
Finally in November, we released a new set of tutorials for Acronis True Image 2012. True Image 2012 has been out for a month or two now, but in our tests we found one or two errors when saving backups to network drives. We’re happy to report that Acronis have released a fixed version which addresses all our concerns. If you need a full system backup program, there’s no more powerful software than True Image 2012, if you were holding off on an upgrade from an earlier version, wait no longer! To find out more, visit this page.
Of course we’ll be adding more content in December too, and not just scoffing mince pies and putting our feet up, honest, so keep checking our site over the festive season!
Christmas shopping with us and last minute gift ideas
If you’re planning on purchasing any physical items from our store this year, keep in mind that although Top-Windows-Tutorials.com is a UK based business, all our DVD’s ship from the United States of America. Please carefully check the last shipping date for your country before placing an order.
Purchasing one of our Superguide discs makes an excellent gift for any Windows computer users in your life. If your friends or family are buying a new Windows 7 PC for Christmas, get them the ‘missing manual’. The Windows 7 Gigaguide covers a huge range of topics from the very basics all the way up to advanced topics like encryption and running Windows XP mode. Find out more by visiting this page.
If you left it too late to order one of our DVD’s, remember you can still purchase and download one of our digital download versions. With a little creative thinking a digital download can still be a fun gift, our digital downloads do not contain DRM, so you could pre-install one on a PC or laptop that was a gift for a family member. Include the download on a USB stick or external hard drive as an extra surprise or even print your own cover and burn a DVD.
Even if you’re not purchasing an item from us this festive season, don’t forget our website will be available throughout the Christmas holidays. If you have a PC problem and need a tutorial, our videos are always there!
American Censorship day, what was that all about?
If you’ve visited our site recently, you might have seen a scary looking pop-up that told you “This site could soon be blocked”. What’s that all about then? We’ve never used pop-up adverts before, but in this instance we felt that the cause was so worthwhile we had to draw as many visitors attention to it as possible.
When we think of countries that like to block or censor the web, usually China is the first to spring to mind. The Chinese government make no secret of the fact that large chunks of the web are censored from the general public. Those of us that live elsewhere in the world usually consider this policy to be unethical, however it seems that a group of US politicians disagrees. The SOPA and the Protect IP bills propose giving wildly over-zealous powers to the US government, effectively paving the way for the land of the free to be the first democracy to install a blocking system like those used in China, Iran and Syria.
Why would the US government go to such extremes? The bill is yet another attempt at curbing online piracy, however it has serious ramifications for internet users in the USA and worldwide. Under the proposed scheme, it’s possible for a website to be blocked simply by having a link to infringing material. This link could be left in a comment or on a message board on an otherwise completely legal site. It would then be left to the website owner to try and get his or her site unblocked, potentially costing thousands in lost revenue and legal fees.
As a law abiding US web user the bill has many chilling consequences. Not only could sites you regularly visit suddenly become blocked, but links e-mailed to you may mysteriously disappear and links you share on social networking sites could be removed, censored or blocked entirely. Imagine using a site like Dropbox, for instance, that allows storing of files on the internet, only to find that the entire site was blocked because another user used it to share copyrighted material!
How could Top-Windows-Tutorials.com be affected? Our site is operated legally to the best of our knowledge, if a software publisher ever wishes for us to take down a tutorial because they object to us using images of their copyrighted software, we would do so immediately on request. If SOPA or Protect IP were to pass, our site could simply be instantly blocked in the US without giving us a chance to resolve the situation amicably. Since we’re a small, home-run business and can’t afford our own legal department, this legislation could kill our website entirely.
What can we do to stop this? If you’re a US citizen, take the time to call your senator and let them know you won’t tolerate such over-zealous measures to combat online piracy. Visit this page to read and find out more about this frightening bill. If you’re not a US citizen or you’ve already called your senator, you can still sign the Avaaz “Save the Internet” petition here.
Tip of the Month – Start Task Manager easily
A really simple little tip this time but one that many users don’t know about. You should know how to use the Windows Task Manager to stop a program that’s crashed or frozen up. What you might not know is that there are several ways to launch it. If your computer has frozen, you can use the ‘Control’ ‘Alt’ and ‘Delete’ keyboard combination to access the Task Manager. If that doesn’t work, you can also press ‘Control’ ‘Shift’ and ‘Escape’ to instantly pop it up. Using this technique you can avoid having to shut your PC down when one piece of software causes chaos on your desktop.
Free Utility of the Month – Evernote
A truly excellent free utility this month for anyone who wants to improve their productivity. If you’re using post-it notes around your monitor, or even using the Windows 7 sticky notes program to save notes, you might be very interested in what Evernote has to offer.
Evernote is at its most basic level a digital notebook, but it can do so much more than your post-it notes ever could. Notes can be organised, searched, spell checked and shared. All your notes are then synchronized with Evernote’s server and saved in the cloud. If you work on more than one PC your notes are always available. What’s more, Evernote has applications that work with your mobile phone too. Imagine being able to take a picture of a business card, concert flyer or notice and have it instantly saved to your notes, accessible from anywhere. You need never forget an important bit of information again!
Windows 8 update – First public beta for February 2012!
Some exciting news to report for the start of 2012. On the 6th December Microsoft called a press conference in San Francisco. At this event, two important details about Windows 8 were revealed. Firstly, Microsoft unveiled it’s answer to the app store. According to the announcement, the Windows 8 App Store “represents a significant opportunity for developers and is geared to help developers be successful and make money on the platform”. To tempt developers away from other app stores, Microsoft promised more competitive revenue sharing, allowing for more successful apps to take 80% of the revenue sharing.
Microsoft also confirmed at this press conference that the first public beta versions of Windows 8 will arrive late February. This date had been rumoured on the internet for several weeks, but this is much sooner than we here at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com had predicted. A public beta means a nearly finished version, released to the public for final testing. Usually public betas won’t receive any significant new features compared to the finished version, they will simply have any bugs that are found fixed. Windows 7 also had a very successful public beta test which helped to bring IT experts up to speed on the new operating system as well as improve the quality of the final build. For those of you who want to try out Windows 8 when it reaches public beta, look out for some how-to articles in our March 2011 newsletter, usually the easiest way is to have either a spare computer, a computer with a hard drive that can easily be removed or swapped, or to use a virtual machine like VirtualBox.
Other Windows 8 rumours suggest that there might be a light, tablet-only version of the operating system that dispenses with the desktop altogether. For users holding out for an all in one tablet and ultraportable PC, that’s potentially bad news, it might however, allow Windows 8 to run on lower cost Tablet PC hardware for those users that do not want to run desktop applications. There wasn’t any announcement about this at the San Francisco event, so it remains to be seen. Microsoft have already announced that Windows 8 will run on the portable ARM processors, used by many tablet PCs. ARM processors cannot run programs designed for regular, desktop PC’s because they are fundamentally different from the Intel x86 processors in regular computers. This could therefore mean that cheaper Windows 8 tablets will only be compatible with Metro applications.
Here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, we have to say we find the prospect of a Windows 8 tablet quite exciting. Although any tablet faces stiff competition from the iPad, Android tablets have been suffering from a number of security issues that seem to be getting worse. Windows 8 is almost guaranteed to succeed on desktops and laptops and being able to run all our favourite applications on a powerful Windows 8 tablet too is very appealing. With the latest Xbox 360 update, Microsoft have demonstrated how the Metro interface works on the big screen too, meaning that wherever you have a screen in your house, Windows will fit on it. Exciting times indeed for Windows users.
That rounds off our newsletter for December. We hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and that Santa brings you all the toys and gadgets you’ve been dreaming of. We’d like to take this opportunity once again to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support throughout 2011. The TWT Newsletter will return in the new year on the 10th January 2012 and will 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 or by leaving us feedback in our forum. 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!