TWT Newsletter, Issue#056 – Looking forward to a busy 2012, SOPA update and much more
Happy new year! Welcome to our January 2012 TWT Newsletter. We’re starting 2012 with a look forward to what we can expect in the new year. 2012 is going to be a very interesting time for Microsoft, with the launch of Windows 8, new Windows 8 tablet PC’s and rumours of a new Xbox console on the horizon. Read on to find out what that means for Windows users.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Grab a bargain with our January discount on all our Superguides
3) 2012 – The year of Windows 8 and Windows tablets?
4) Tip of the Month – Using hotkeys to move and snap windows in Windows 7
5) Free Utility of the Month – Freemake Video Converter
6) Quick update on SOPA, ProtectIP and Internet Censorship day
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
Just two new tutorials in December, which focused on SkyDrive, the free online storage service provided by Microsoft. You can use SkyDrive to share files or to backup files from your computer. Our first tutorial introduced SkyDrive on the web and demonstrated how to upload and manage files, you can check it out by visiting this link.
Our second tutorial looked at the Live Mesh service, which helps you automatically backup your files to your SkyDrive account. You can view this tutorial by visiting this link.
You can expect at least a couple of new tutorials in January too, so keep following us on Twitter, Facebook or RSS. Details of how to follow us are available here.
Grab a bargain with our January discount on all our Superguides
Everyone loves a bargain in January and we’re no exception. Rather than complicate things with coupons or other gimmicks, we’ve decided on a no-nonsense sale. We’ve taken $5 off the price of all our DVDs and digital downloads, so go grab yourself a bargain. Our OpenOffice Writer Superguide is now a steal at just $2.50 plus shipping! The content packed Windows 7 Gigaguide is now only $35, that’s a huge amount of content for such a great price.
2012 – The year of Windows 8 and Windows tablets?
January is always an exciting time for gadget lovers because of the big Consumer Electronic Show (CES) which takes place at the start of the month. Unfortunately for us this year, the show starts on the 10th of January which means we won’t be able to bring you a roundup until the next newsletter. At CES this year we’re expecting lots more juicy details on Windows 8, and Microsoft’s strategy for its new tablet PCs. Unlike the tablet PC’s currently available, like the iPad and Android tablets, Windows tablets will run the same operating system as desktop and laptop PC’s. However, Microsoft wants Windows 8 to run on the ARM processing chips, which are more commonly used on portable devices. ARM processing chips are not compatible with the x86 chips that are found in desktop PC’s, so its unclear how current Windows software will work on the new devices. One prediction is that there will be more expensive Windows 8 tablets with full compatibility, and lower priced devices that run Windows 8 software only.
As we reported in our last newsletter, beta versions of Windows 8 are expected in late February. Just like with Windows 7, Microsoft is going to make a beta version of Windows 8 available to everyone. A beta version of a program is usually feature complete, but has not gone through enough testing to be suitable for everyday use. Of course we’ll be testing the beta version as soon as Microsoft lets us get our hands on it.
Later in the year, Nintendo are set to release the follow-up to the hugely successful Wii console. Named the Wii-U, the console will have a tablet style controller and be capable of high definition graphics. This move by Nintendo is likely to prompt both Sony and Microsoft to at least reveal details of their new consoles this year too, although it seems unlikely that the new Xbox will be released until 2013.
Also from Microsoft this year, we can expect a major update of the ever popular Office suite. Office 2012 is being engineered to work with Microsoft’s new Metro interface for touch screen devices, though just how this will work is yet to be revealed. Let’s hope Microsoft do not neglect the many desktop users of Office, as we are sure this is how most people prefer to work on documents and spreadsheets.
Speaking of Metro, we confidently predict that Microsoft will continue with its strategy of implementing the new Metro user interface across all of its products. If you have a Windows phone, for instance, you should be instantly familiar with the interface in Windows 8, or on the Xbox games console. Microsoft wants to be on all the screens in your house, from your television to your mobile telephone, and through the internet and cloud services like LiveDrive and Mesh, all your information will be synchronised and backed up. While Windows Phone 7 continues to make small gains in the mobile phone arena, Microsoft cannot afford to fail with Windows 8, so expect a big marketing push and plenty of hype around the new OS.
What does this mean for existing Windows users? If you’ve not yet upgraded from Windows XP, the launch of Windows 8 may be the ideal time to do so, if your PC is capable. Remember that security updates for Windows XP will cease in 2014, and Windows 7 already includes several benefits over Windows XP. When Windows 8 is finally released, we’ll bring you a full report and let you know if an upgrade is likely to be worth your money.
All in all it’s a pretty exciting time for Windows users in 2012, with plenty of new products and innovations to look forward to. Of course, we’ll be here to provide new tutorials for Windows 8 as well as continuing to support our readers who use Windows 7 and Windows Vista. We will also continue to support Windows XP at least until April 2014, which is the big ‘switch off’ date for the operating system. Although XP will continue to function after this date, it will not receive any security updates, so using an XP machine on the internet will become increasingly risky.
Tip of the Month – Aero snap like a pro with these handy keyboard shortcuts
If you’re a Windows 7 user you are probably familiar with Areo Snap, the neat little feature that makes organising Windows on your desktop that bit easier. If you’re not familiar with the technique, check out this tutorial.
What we didn’t show in that tutorial however, was the special keyboard shortcuts for Aero snap. If you hold down the Windows key on your keyboard (either the left or the right Windows key) and while holding down the key, press one of the arrow keys, you can activate the Aero snap features automatically. Try out any of the keys listed below:-
Windows Key + Left Arrow – Snap current window to the left side of screen or unsnap window that is snapped to right side of screen.
Windows Key + Right Arrow – Snap current window to the right side of screen or unsnap window that is snapped to left side of screen
Windows Key + Up Arrow – Maximize current window.
Windows Key + Down Arrow – Minimize current window or restore maximized window.
Unfortunately, these shortcuts will only work on Windows 7!
Free Utility of the Month – Freemake Video Converter
There are so many different portable devices available on the market today. Each device supports a different kind of video file format and the situation can rapidly become very confusing. You might have loaded that cute video clip onto your phone, only to find your phone can’t decipher it at all.
To help deal with this situation, there are several easy to use video format converters. Many of these programs come at a premium, but the excellent Freemake Video Converter can handle video conversion and simple editing and is completely free. If you are baffled by all the hundreds of video formats (and frankly, who isn’t?) the program even includes quick presets to optimise your video for iPod/iPhone, iPad, Sony PSP or Android devices. Amazingly, the software can even burn DVD and Blu-ray movies (where compatible hardware is available). Sounds too good to be true? Check out the program for yourselves by visiting this link.
Quick update on SOPA, ProtectIP and Internet Censorship day
Thanks to all our readers who have helped support Internet Censorship day and campaigned against the terrible new SOPA and ProtectIP legislation that certain media companies are trying to push through in the United States. If you remember from last months article, SOPA/ProtectIP proposes to create a government blocking system that would be required to instantly block any site suspected of copyright infringement, without a trial or due process being followed. It would mean that small businesses like us, for instance, could be effectively blocked in the USA and put out of business overnight if someone left a link to a copyrighted work on our forum or in the comments section.
During the protests, it was brought to the attention of the media that one of the biggest hosting companies, Godaddy.com, was backing the legislation. This led to a massive backlash from Godaddy’s customers, many of whom moved their domains to other hosting companies, forcing the provider to rethink its stance on the legislation and proving that public pressure can get the message through. We’ve just learned that software publishers Electronic Arts and video entertainment companies Nintendo and Sony Computer Entertainment have also dropped their support of the act.
Unfortunately, we were hoping to report that the bill had been crushed, but the battle against this destructive law still rages on, but public outcry and pressure on the Whitehouse is having an effect. If you are an American citizen, visit this page to learn more. If not, be sure to sign the Avazz.org petition here. We’ll keep you updated with any new developments in the next newsletter.
That rounds off our newsletter for January. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012. 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 on the 10th February 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!