TWT Newsletter, Issue#062 – Microsoft Surface gets us excited about Windows tablets again
Welcome to our July 2012 TWT Newsletter. The big news from Microsoft last month was the unveiling of their new tablet PC, the Microsoft Surface. We’ve got a run-down of how this new product could better the iPad and tell you why it’s rekindled our excitement in Windows tablet PCs. There’s also a scary story of what can happen if you don’t secure your Wi-Fi connection, as well as our usual tip and free utility features too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) Microsoft Surface gets us excited about Windows Tablets again
3) Tip of the Month – Searching in Windows Explorer
4) Free Utility of the Month – FeedDemon
5) What can really happen if you leave your Wi-Fi connection unsecured?
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
June saw the introduction of our first Windows 8 tutorials. Although Windows 8 isn’t officially released until later in the year, the Release Preview is available now and many users have taken it for a test drive. Even if you don’t have Windows 8 yet, you can get a good look at what it’s going to be like by checking out our tutorials here.
Following on from the new version of Genie Timeline, Genie Soft also recently updated their Genie Backup Manager program. We’ve updated our tutorials for the new version and you can now view them by clicking here.
Finally, did you notice our smart new logo? We decided it was time to replace the shabby old one with something a little more professional looking. This is just the first of several changes we have planned for late 2012/2013 and of course we will keep our Newsletter readers up to speed of any new features or changes on the site.
Microsoft Surface gets us excited about Windows Tablets again
Windows 8 has certainly caused some controversy with its new dual interface and touch-centric Metro front end. It’s difficult to imagine exactly how this hybrid will work on existing machines, but perhaps a look at a machine from the future will make Microsoft’s vision more clear.
The Surface is a new tablet PC from Microsoft that is expected to launch along with Windows 8 later in the year, in time for Christmas. The PC is an impressive hybrid, the kind of machine that was a mere dream a few years ago. In its basic form, the Surface is a tablet PC with a 10.6″ HD display. What sets it apart from the competition is, of course, the fact that the tablet is running Windows 8. There are two versions of the machine, a cheaper model running Windows RT, which is expected to be compatible with Metro applications only, and a full blown Windows 8 Pro version, aimed at IT professionals and businesses that will run the full version of Windows 8, the same as on a regular desktop or laptop PC.
Both models of the Surface feature some great little innovations. A Kick stand allows the tablet to sit neatly on a table when in use and there is a choice of not one but two different detachable keyboards, giving even the basic model a big boost for productivity over tablets like the iPad. At 675 grammes for the RT version and 903 grammes for the professional version, the tablets are heavier than the iPad, but they do have several advantages that Windows 8 brings. Below are our top 5 areas where Windows 8 improves over iOS (the operating system on the iPad).
1) Multiple user accounts:- How many iPads are shared by family members? We wager that quite a few are, yet iOS only allows for one user account. That’s fine on your phone, but on a tablet? Do you want your children reading your e-mails, your cheeky teenager tweeting with your twitter account? Probably not. On Windows 8 you can configure multiple user accounts, allowing the device to be shared much more easily between family members.
2) Standard keyboard support:- Let’s face it, typing on a tablet just isn’t much fun. While you can add a keyboard to the iPad, finding a good quality one and a case to hold both the iPad and the keyboard isn’t easy. What’s more, you will need to keep the keyboard charged separately, since iPad keyboards only connect with bluetooth. There will be no such problem on the Surface, and with Windows 8 it can transition between Tablet and ultraportable notebook easily.
3) Easier access to data:- One problem with iOS is that it’s fundamentally difficult to get your files onto your device. There are no memory card slots, and all data needs to be transferred by using iTunes or by using specially written applications. If you have media stored on your home network for instance, it’s sometimes difficult to access that media on your iOS device. This was done partly to help prevent malware on the platform, though it can be rather inconvenient. Windows 8 is not expected to have these same restrictions, although remember that the RT version of Windows 8 is a separate version from the full blown Windows 8 and may have some similar usage restrictions.
4) Sylus input and inking (pro version only):- For some reason, Steve Jobs hated stylus input. This is a shame since for many tasks (note taking, drawing, some types of game) stylus input is preferable. Microsoft are including optional Stylus support on the pro version of the Surface, but currently don’t plan to support it on the standard (RT) version of the tablet.
5) Access to the Windows software library (pro version only):- Since the professional version of the tablet is a full blown Windows 8 PC, that means you will be able to use all your old Windows software on it. Now, before you get too excited, remember that older Windows software is optimised for mouse and keyboard and maybe somewhat clumsy to use on a touch screen. Nevertheless, if you need a specific application on the road you’ll be able to take it with you, even if you do need to clip on the Surface’s keyboard before you can use it.
As computers get faster and smaller, it starts to make sense that users will start expecting Tablet PC’s to perform the same as laptops and maybe even eventually desktop PC’s too. Some industry insiders are already convinced that powerful Tablet PC’s will replace games consoles or laptops in the home within the next 10 years. If this does turn out to be the case, Microsoft’s strategy of converging Windows across desktops and touch devices starts to make more sense. Microsoft will need to make sure that there are plenty of compelling applications for tablet user however. The iPad and other competing tablets already have a huge library of quality software and software support for Windows 8 tablets could easily make or break the platform. Surface has certainly got us excited about Windows tablets again and we hope that Microsoft deliver a great product this holiday season. You can find out more about surface by visiting the Microsoft Surface web page.
Tip of the Month – Searching in Windows Explorer
Do you use Windows Explorer to get around your PC? Sooner or later most users will need to delve into their computers using this tool. Have you noticed the search bar at the top right hand corner of the Windows Explorer window? From here, you can search files and folders on your PC directly. Keep in mind though, that the search only works from the directory you are currently exploring. So for instance if you navigated to ‘C:Program Files’ then performed a search, you would only be searching files and folders contained within the Program Files directory on your C drive. This is different from searching from the Start Menu, for instance, so keep this in mind when you search in Windows Explorer.
Free Utility of the Month – FeedDemon Lite
At Top-Windows-Tutorials we’re big fans of desktop apps that bring slices of the web to our desktops quickly and elegantly. FeedDemon is certainly one such application. Why fire up your browser and trawl your favourite sites looking for the latest news, when FeedDemon can do all that for you? Bringing the best, relevant bits of news from the internet is what FeedDemon does best. Load it up with RSS feeds from your favourite sites (you can find ours here (https://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/feed) FeedDemon will then run on your desktop and grab the latest news articles. No need to use the web, no need to refresh pages, the best of the web just comes to you!
A great little utility for anyone in research, education or who simply wants to use the internet more productively. You can get your free copy of FeedDemon by clicking this link.
What can really happen if you leave your Wi-Fi connection unsecured?
We’re always harping on about security at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com and we’re not the only ones. Most sites on the internet strongly advise that you secure your wireless internet connection using at least WPA encryption, but what’s the worst that could happen if you neglect to do this? Perhaps you’re just being neighbourly and letting others on your street take advantage of your fast connection, what’s so bad about that?
For one unlucky family in Evensville, Indiana, the dangers of leaving your own personal internet connection open to anyone on the street were literally brought home to them when a swat team and Evansville police officers swooped on their house in what must have been a terrifying raid. Breaking windows and using flashbang grenades, the offices swooped on the property expecting to find firearms and bomb making equipment. Fortunately for the terrified residents, all that was later uncovered was a unsecured wireless access point. Someone within range of the families internet connection had been posting graphic threats against Evensville police officers on the internet. Police later served a search warrant on another property on the street, but were significantly less heavy handed in their approach this time. Their current suspect appears to be nothing more than a disturbed teenager.
Although the City of Evansville is paying for damages to the property, we can’t help feeling sorry for the residents. Having your home raided in such a spectacular manner must have been somewhat traumatising. We’re sure the family will be taking steps to secure their open access point in the future and while we hope that police and investigating officers learned something from the mistake, it is ultimately the responsibility of the home owner to secure their wireless internet connection. Being a suspect in a civil or criminal investigation, even when you are entirely innocent is still likely to be an unpleasant experience, so don’t leave it to chance, make sure you check your wireless security settings and don’t leave your connection open to abuse. Configuring security settings for routers and modems varies between devices, but generally you should chose WPA or WPA2 encryption (not WEP as this can be easily and covertly hacked by a neighbour) and preferably use a long password made up of random letters and numbers.
To read more about the unfortunate Evensville family, visit this link.
That rounds off our newsletter for July. On behalf of everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th August 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!