TWT Newsletter, Issue#059 – Windows 8 updates, genealogy software and a $25 computer!
Welcome to our April 2012 TWT Newsletter. Windows 8 is still creating lots of headlines following the release of the consumer preview. We’ve a small update on other Windows 8 details that have emerged, plus a report on an interesting computer that could be yours for the sum of just $25. So, lets not waste any more time and get right into this months edition.
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) We want to hear from you! What tutorials do you want to see us produce?
3) Windows 7 Superguide 2 now available on Amazon Kindle
4) Windows 8 updates – Start button not coming back, touch screen requirements announced
5) Tip of the Month – Text too small to read in an application? Try the zoom or magnifier options
6) Free Utility of the Month – Gramps
7) A full blown computer for $25 ? Meet the Raspberry Pi
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
First of all in March, we brought you a tutorial for the excellent free Google Docs service. If you want to work collaboratively on a document, or simply want your documents available wherever you go, then Google Docs is a service well worth considering. You can find out more by clicking here.
Later in the month we released a total of four new tutorials focusing on Google Mail or Gmail. If you don’t have an e-mail account yet, or you are considering opening a new one, Gmail is one alternative worth considering. You can learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of Gmail, as well as how to use the service by clicking here.
As always, we will be bringing you new tutorials in April too, so keep checking our website or better still, click here for how to follow us on Facebook, RSS or Twitter.
We want to hear from you! What tutorials do you want to see us produce?
Top-Windows-Tutorials.com continues to grow in popularity and we’re grateful for all our new Newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans! We always try to bring you tutorials on the most useful, interesting and important software available for your Windows PC. Of course, we can’t cover every little application or feature in all of the current Windows operating systems, but we’d love to hear from you on what features or programs you would like us to cover.
This month we’re inviting all our e-mail subscribers, Facebook and Twitter followers or anyone who reads the site to let us know what you would like to see us cover in a future tutorial. Any Windows program or feature is up for consideration, so get those suggestions in now, you can enter your suggestion in our new suggestion box here.
Windows 7 Superguide 2 now available on Amazon Kindle
Hot on the heels of the Windows 7 Superguide Kindle Edition comes the second e-book to grace your e-reader screens! Our jam packed Windows 7 Superguide 2 is now also available as an e-book on Amazon’s Kindle marketplace. Now if you own a Kindle, or compatible device, you can download Windows 7 Superguide 1 or 2 directly to your e-reader. Although the e-book versions do not contain the video content (since unfortunately the Kindle doesn’t support that) they still provide a fantastic tutorial and reference from the convenience of your Kindle reader!
Windows 7 Superguide 2 is available now on Amazon for just $5.67/£3.62. Click here to find out more or to buy your own copy.
The first Windows 7 Superguide is of course, still available on Amazon for just $4.11/£2.61. Click here to find out more or to buy your own copy.
Windows 8 updates – Start button not coming back, touch screen requirements announced
Following on from our extensive Windows 8 coverage last month, we have a few updates on the new operating system for you. Overall, over one million people have downloaded the Windows 8 consumer preview. First of all, it seems that Microsoft is determined to stick to its guns and remove the familiar Start Menu. To avoid confusing millions of users that are used to the Start button, apparently there will be a special tutorial included on how to use the hot corners. While we liked the way the new Metro interface worked as a giant Start Menu, we were much less convinced of the hot corners, finding them needlessly fiddly to work with. Luckily, third party developers are already bringing back the Start button for those of us who prefer it. Desktop customisation experts Stardock already have a Start button replacement called Start8, which you can download here.
Also last month, Microsoft announced the system requirements for touchscreens in Windows 8. Machines built for Windows 8 will be required to support a minimum of five touch points, while Windows 8 will support older touch screens with only two touch points. It’s currently unclear if tablet PC’s with stylus control will be supported. Windows 7 currently has support for stylus based PC’s and includes handwriting recognition, but Microsoft’s focus seems clearly on finger touch rather than stylus control in Windows 8 at this point.
Speaking of tablets, the new Apple iPad is turning heads with its amazing new sharp screen. Microsoft also announced that Windows 8 will be ready for these new, sharper displays. Windows 8 will certainly have to be adaptable to be an all in one solution for both desktop and tablet users. Microsoft also confirmed their commitment to power users, who they promised will be able to efficiently use multi-monitor setups.
Current rumours point to a June release for the Windows 8 Release Candidate, with a full retail release in October. We’re planning a whole suite of new tutorials for Windows 8 once the Release Candidate becomes available, so if you are transitioning to Windows 8 from either XP, Vista or Windows 7, you can rest assured we’ll be here to help.
Tip of the Month – Text too small to read in an application? Try the zoom or magnifier options
If you find you’re struggling to read text on a webpage or in an application, don’t forget that you can use two handy options for increasing text size. When using a web page, press the control key and then the plus key on the keyboard. This will zoom in the text making it larger and easier to read. This tip works on Firefox, Internet Explorer and most popular browsers.
If you’re using a different program and struggling to see smaller text, don’t forget the magnifier. The magnifier will zoom in on any part of the screen, making it bigger and easier to read. This handy little utility can be summoned in Windows Vista and Windows 7 by pressing the Windows key and then the plus key on the keyboard. Windows XP users can find it under Start->All Programs->Accessories->Accessibility.
Free Utility of the Month – Gramps
Researching family history seems to be all the rage at the moment. Delving into the lives of your ancestors and discovering your great great great great grandfather was actually a pirate captain is, of course, both fun and interesting (although, there’s no guarantee you actually are descended from pirates).
As you build your family tree and find out fascinating facts about your ancestors, your Windows PC can help you easily catalogue and collate this information. There are several software packages designed especially for genealogy and one of the best packages also happens to be free. Gramps Genealogical Research Software aims to be a feature complete solution for both hobbyists and professional genealogists. You can find out more about this software and download a free copy by visiting this page.
A full blown computer for $25 ? Meet the Raspberry Pi
How much do you want to spend on your next PC? $200, $300, $600? How about $25? Sounds impossible, well not really. The Raspberry Pi, a tiny computer running Linux, is expected to start shipping within the next few weeks. Simply add an SD card for storage (the same kind of memory card used by many cameras or phones) and a TV or monitor and you have yourself a full computer. For a mere $25, you may expect the Raspberry Pi to be little more than a toy, however it’s a surprisingly powerful piece of kit, sporting 256 megabytes of RAM, a powerful CPU and GPU (graphical processing unit) and a HDMI and RCA video output. The designers have also managed to attach USB ports, a network connector and a SD card reader onto a board around the size of a credit card. Amazingly this little PC can play back high definition video, run games and do the same kinds of basic computing tasks a normal PC can.
Of course, at just $25, the Raspberry Pi isn’t really going to challenge your PC for desktop domination. That’s not really the point however. The machine is the brainchild of Eben Upton and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory. Like many other professionals in computing, the Raspberry Pi team were noticing that computer science skills amongst new students were dropping. Rather than starting their courses with some rudimentary programming skills, many new students had never programmed a computer before. Back in the 1980’s, home computers all shipped with programming software that started as soon as the computer was turned on. Of course now, our computers give us a much more beginner friendly kind of experience, but part of that pioneering spirit has been lost. This is what the Raspberry Pi aims to recapture. By giving children access to a computer for the price of a toy, the team hopes to find scores of new programmers amongst computer savvy youngsters, who otherwise would never have got a taste of programming. The device is designed to be robust, so that even if the inexperienced programmer makes a mistake, all he/she needs to do is hit the reset switch and start again.
This neat little computer is a reminder of just how far technology has advanced, the processing power of this pint-sized PC is on a par with what desktop PC’s could manage a decade ago. At $25, the Raspberry Pi is well within that impulse purchase threshold for many people and for lots of kids it could be as much fun as a chemistry set or a construction toy. Its potential for bringing IT and computer science to poorer parts of the world is also huge. Of course, being based in the UK, where the Raspberry Pi is being produced, we can’t help but feel proud of this neat little innovation. If you think there might be someone of any age in your family that would love a device like this, or if you just want to learn more, head over to the Raspberry Pi homepage.
That rounds off our newsletter for April. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support and I hope you all had an enjoyable Easter! The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th May 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!