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Posted on Dec 18, 2014 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 19 – Festive fun with your PC, new affiliate program and more!

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Top Windows Tutorials
TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 19

Welcome to the December 2014 TWT Newsletter

December already! How is the Christmas shopping coming along? We’ve got a great gift idea for anyone lucky enough to be getting a new PC this year. We’ve also got a little update on Windows 10 and our regular tips and free utilities too.

In this months issue:-

What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com
Christmas special – Windows 8 Superguide reduced, an ideal stocking filler!
TWT affiliate program launches. Love our guides? Promote them and earn!
How your PC can help you have a merrier Christmas
Tip of the Month – Auto filter your Gmail
Free Utility of the Month – PDF-XChange Lite
Windows Store App of the Month – Cineworld Unofficial
Windows 10 Update
Microsoft cans clip-art!

 

What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com

Several new tutorials in December for two fun little apps. First of all, we took a look at Rainmeter. For those of you who love to customise your PCs, Rainmeter is the best widget engine currently available. Microsoft, Google and Yahoo might have abandoned widgets but now you don’t have to. We also took a quick look at installing the .NET framework and then looked at TweetDeck, a tool for those of you who love Twitter.

 

picture TweetDeck – 2 Tutorials

If you love your PC and you love Twitter, use this awesome tool to harness the power of your PC to get more out of Twitter. Find and follow the things important to you, all from your PCs desktop. Check out the first tutorial here.

 

 

picture Installing the .NET Framework V2, V3 and V3.5

This quick tutorial will show you how to install the .NET framework on your PC. This is required by many popular Windows programs.

 

 

picture Rainmeter – 3 Tutorials

We love making our PCs look unique and Rainmeter is one tool that can do just that. If your desktop is barren and unloved, add some cool widgets to it. News tickers, weather monitors and more, all with a uniform look and feel. Check out the first of our Rainmeter tutorials here.

 

Christmas special – Windows 8 Superguide reduced, an ideal stocking filler!

If you or someone you know is lucky enough to be getting a new PC this Christmas, then make sure they avoid the Windows 8 blues by giving them our comprehensive guide to Windows 8, the Windows 8 Superguide! Consistently rated as one of the best books for Windows 8 on Amazon.com, this guide will take the pain out of transitioning to Windows 8. With Christmas fast approaching, get your digital download copy now! Since our guides are DRM free, you can copy the gift to a memory stick and then wrap it up and place it under the tree. Not only will your loved one get a shiny new memory stick but, when they put it into their PCs, they’ll get another surprise gift too.

As an added bonus, we’re slashing $5 off the price of the Windows 8 Superguide until January, so even if you think you won’t need the guide but find on Boxing day that you do, you’ll still get the discount. Get your copy of the Windows 8 Superguide here.

TWT affiliate program launches. Love our guides? Promote them and earn!

Like most small businesses, we don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on marketing efforts for our site and our products. Our many satisfied customers and our loyal readers are therefore our greatest asset when it comes to promoting and recommending our guides. We’re super grateful to all our readers for visiting our site and supporting us. Now, we’ve a chance to give something back to our most loyal customers with our new affiliate program.

Do you own or run a website, a mailing list, a computer store? Do you teach basic computing either professionally or as a hobby? If so, you can now join the TWT affiliate program and make money every time you recommend our guides to friends or family members. The process is really easy. Simply sign up for a free Clickbank affiliate account, then visit this page to get your special affiliate link. Give this link to your customers and you will earn commission for every sale. We’re offering a generous 50% commission on any sales you make.

The above applies to our digital download products only, but if you own an established computer store or retail business and you want to sell our physical DVD products, that’s possible too. Simply contact us with details of your business and if approved we will configure a retail order page for you where you can simply order and ship as many DVDs as you need, whenever you need them.

We aim to work closely with our affiliates and we’re always happy to hear from you, so get in touch today if you have any questions or comments and we look forward to working with you all.

 

How your PC can help you have a merrier Christmas

Back in our first Christmas newsletter in 2007, we ran an article on how your PC could help brighten up your Christmas. Eight years on that’s still the case and we thought this would be a fun little article to revisit. So how can your PC make Christmas all the more fun? 

Why not use your PC to store and print all those delicious Christmas recipes? Back in 2007 we suggested storing your recipes in a word processor document or using specialist recipe book software. These days we’d recommend you used Evernote. Evernote is a great program for taking and storing all kinds of notes and documents and it makes an ideal recipe book. Notes are automatically backed up to the cloud and can be shared easily with Evernote equipped friends too. Don’t want to take your PC into the kitchen? No problem! Evernote for Android, iOS or Windows Mobile will connect to your online notebook and allow you to read the recipe right from your tablet or smartphone, just watch those sticky fingers on your screen.

Given all the security problems with the cloud we have seen in 2015, we wouldn’t recommend Evernote to secure your top secret blend of herbs and spices for cooking chicken, but for most notes it does a stellar job.

Having a Christmas party? Why not use your PC as a jukebox? Back in 2007 we pointed out that modern PCs can store and play huge amounts of music on their hard drives. That’s still true today of course, but you might also want to check out some of the free streaming services such as Spotify, which work a bit like a radio station where you can choose every track. You can choose between free, advertising supported services or a subscription. Check out Spotify here.

Need to keep the kids occupied in the run up to the big day? Even the best behaved kids become hyperactive when Santa’s visit is getting close. Keep them occupied making decorations or craft items or even with a festive game or two. Windows PCs have the best selection of games titles for all ages anywhere. Younger children will love Christmas Hunt in the Windows store (Windows 8 only) while older kids might prefer Costume Quest: Grubbins on Ice (Steam, works on all versions of Windows).

Of course, don’t forget your Windows PC is the most powerful internet device available today! Use it to check Facebook, without the constraints of the tiny mobile phone screen. Power up your Twitter experience with TweetDeck, edit, enhance and print those festive snaps using Paint.NET or Windows Live Photo Gallery. Chat to friends and family on the big screen with Skype or Jitsi. Your Windows PC can handle it all with aplomb.

How did you use your PC to make the festive season more enjoyable? if you come up with any great ideas,let us know on Facebook, Twitter or in the Forum.

 

Tip of the Month – Auto filter your Gmail

Gmail inbox getting a little cluttered? Ensure you don’t miss any important messages this festive season by automatically filtering your mail. You can use this technique no matter how you use Gmail, on your desktop with Thunderbird or Outlook, on your smartphone, on the web or any combination of the three.

To get started, log onto Gmail on the web. Now, click on any e-mail in your Gmail inbox, then click on the “More” menu near the top of the browser window and choose “Filter messages like this”. That will search your inbox for all the e-mails from the same person. Now click on “Create a filter with this search”. You can now configure Gmail to automatically filter these messages whenever they come in. Usually you would choose “Skip the inbox” and apply a custom label so that the message was automatically filed away rather than cluttering up your inbox.

This is a great technique for filtering those marketing e-mails you actually WANT to get but don’t want to see in amongst your more important messages, give it a try.

 

Free Utility of the Month – PDF-XChange Lite

This month we have this super fast PDF viewer that also comes with a host of annotation and markup features, as well as OCR (optical character recognition) support. PDF documents are becoming increasingly common in the modern world. Where once a piece of software or even a consumer electronics device would ship with a printed manual, now increasingly we’re asked to download the PDF e-manual from the company website instead. You may already have the official Adobe reader program installed on your PC, many users find that third party alternatives like this or the popular Foxit Reader work better for them. Download the program here.

 

Windows Store App of the Month – Cineworld Unofficial

Christmas is a great time to visit the cinema, with the end of year Blockbusters landing on screens across the world. If you’re planning a trip to the big screen this holiday season, this handy app could be just what you’re looking for. With Cineworld Unofficial, you can not only check movie times at your nearest theatre but also book tickets and watch trailers too, all from the comfort of your Windows 8 PC or tablet. Check out the app in the Windows store here.

 

Windows 10 update

The Windows 10 Technical Preview is now in full swing and naturally we’ve been keeping an eye on what Microsoft has been doing. There are two new features that caught our eye that we thought you might find interesting.

First of all, the way Windows update works is changing, at least for the brave. In the past, Windows updates rarely added new features to the operating system. For that, you had to wait until the new version. Now however, that’s set to change, but only if you want it to. Under “Update and Recovery” there’s an option called “Preview builds”. We’re not sure if that’s the final name, but by clicking on this option you can choose how often you get new “preview builds”. So for instance if you’re a enthusiast home user that can handle the latest, cutting edge tech and can troubleshoot bugs, you could opt into the “Fast” lane, whereby you always get the latest and (hopefully) greatest. If you’re running a PC as part of your business, you’d be more inclined to opt for the “Slow” lane, whereby updates are only rolled out to you when they’ve had a chance to be tested by the braver members of the tech community.

Secondly, it looks like notifications are getting an overhaul in Windows 10. Down in the notification area there’s a new notification icon. Clicking this lets you scroll back over previous notifications. This is a welcome idea, as it’s very easy to miss a notification if you turn away from your monitor for a moment. Microsoft are expected to expand and refine this feature in the coming months too.

For any of you who have downloaded the Windows 10 preview, remember that you need to go to “Update and Recovery” and then “Preview builds” to download the latest build to see these features. We’ll have more Windows 10 updates as Microsoft rolls out new features throughout next year.

 

Microsoft cans clip-art

Todays children might relish the opportunity to create their own simple website, but for those of us who went to school in the 1990’s, it was more about the desk top published newsletter. Like many young writers I was part of my schools newspaper team, hounding teachers and older children for stories and occasionally getting in trouble with the headmaster for a more controversial article (if my old headmaster is reading this, sorry about that Christmas special where we questioned your festive spirit).

Of course, before the internet was in every classroom, we had to rely on something called Clip Art. That was a library of images that was included with Microsoft Office and virtually every popular office and DTP suite back in the day. Rather than finding a relevant image, usually you could only find one that somehow vaguely matched the story you were writing, but it didn’t matter.

Clip art images like this were actually extremely popular back then. Public domain software libraries would sell discs and even CD-ROMs packed with images people could use on their amateur publications. In more recent years of course, the internet has come along and typically people search for and use images from websites for their documents and powerpoint presentations, rather than making use of any comparatively meagre selection of clipart images that came with the software. Now Microsoft has announced that Clip Art is being retired entirely in Office, to be replaced with a built in Bing image search.

Sadly it looks like clip art is to join the great technology graveyard, along with other 90s staples such as CD-Rs and floppy discs and 56k modems. While we’re somewhat glad to see those particular things go, we still have a soft spot for clip art. At least OpenOffice still has a small selection of clip art images (they’re under Tools->Gallery if you were wondering) and we still have our “Best of Clip Art” CD-ROM in a cupboard somewhere!

That concludes our newsletter for December and marks our last newsletter for 2014. On behalf of the team here at TWT, I’d like to say thank you to all our readers, new and old for your continued support and wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy New Year. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th January 2015 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8. 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!

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