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Posted on Feb 2, 2015 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 20 – Happy New Year! – CES 2015 and why 2015 is exciting for Windows users.

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TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 20

Welcome to the January 2015 TWT Newsletter

Happy New Year everyone! We hope you all had a fantastic time over Christmas. Now that the decorations are put away and it’s back to normal again, we’ve a lot to look forward to in 2015. The start of the year means it’s time for the Consumer Electronics Show, although there wasn’t any big announcements from Microsoft at the show, there were still some interesting announcements from other big players in the PC space, such as Intel and Nvidia.

In this months issue:-

What’s new at
Struggling with your iPad? Check out these fantastic video tutorials!
CES 2015 – Smart cars, faster mobiles and new, awesome PCs
Tip of the Month – Copying file paths
Free Utility of the Month – Wickr
Windows Store App of the Month – Khan Academy
Why 2015 is an exciting time to be a Windows user

What’s new at

Last month we added and updated several useful little tutorials for using the web on your PC. No matter what web browser you use, you should learn how to save websites you visit frequently and also how to download new files from the internet. Thanks to our newest tutorials, this is now super simple.

picture Adding Bookmarks or Favourites in Google Chrome

If you find a website while browsing the internet and you consider it useful, you should add a bookmark or favourite to your browser so that you can visit it again easily. In this short video tutorial, we’ll demonstrate this technique in the popular Google Chrome browser and show you how its bookmarks system makes saving useful sites you find a breeze.

picture Adding Favourites or Bookmarks in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer calls bookmarks “Favourites” (or “Favorites” in the USA). It’s exactly the same principle but works just a tiny bit differently in this browser. Visit this page to see a handy tutorial.

picture Download new files to your computer using Google Chrome

If you want to try out new software and complete several of our tutorials, you’ll need to learn how to download files from the internet. Fortunately, it’s very easy to do this. This video will show you step by step how you can download a file using the popular Google Chrome browser. Click here to watch it.

Struggling with your iPad? Check out these fantastic video tutorials!

A tablet of any kind is a great companion to your PC. While the PC excels for work and creativity, a tablet is awesome for sitting on the couch reading, surfing the web or listening to music. The Apple iPad is still the most popular tablet and if you were lucky enough to get one of these for Christmas, you might have been disappointed that we don’t provide tutorials for iOS products. Fear not though, we’ve discovered this excellent range of iPad tutorials.

The videos cover every major feature of the device. You will learn about customisations, contacts calendars and everything between. Thanks to these videos, you will learn all these techniques in minutes, rather than months. Check out the iPad Video lessons here, or copy and paste this link to any of your iPad owning friends!

CES 2015 – Smart cars, faster mobiles and new, awesome PCs

January again and that means another Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. While the show used to be really significant for Windows users, Microsoft hasn’t had a presence there in a few years, meaning major announcements about the operating system don’t tend to happen at the Las Vegas show any more. Instead, our attention turns to the many other vendors who all contribute to the rich Windows ecosystem and their offerings were as diverse as ever. Here are the stories and products that most caught our eye at this years show.

Intel, makers of computer processors that power the majority of PCs still has a strong presence at the show. Their biggest announcement was for their new processor line called “Broadwell”. These days it is not enough for a new CPU to be faster, it has to be more efficient too, as users demand faster and more portable PCs. If you’ve been holding on to your old laptop for several years, these new chips are at least 50% faster than hardware of that vintage and promise much longer battery life, so could be a welcome upgrade for ageing hardware.

Want to upgrade your existing TV to a smart TV without the fuss of extra cables and boxes? Or perhaps you’ve been considering a Raspberry Pi PC but want something a little more powerful? Intel’s new Compute Stick could be just what you are looking for. A tiny PC around the size of a packet of chewing gum, yet packing a super capable Intel Atom processor, this little machine will run silently and won’t clutter up wherever you install it. What’s more, it runs the full version of Windows 8, meaning it’s capable of any task that a regular PC can handle (though, don’t expect to be playing the latest whizz-bang 3D games of course). The diminutive unit is set to cost just $149 when it ships later in the year, bringing another low cost, high performance Windows computing option to the masses. Find out more about the unit here.

Nvidia are one of two companies that manufacture and supply the graphics cards that power enthusiast gaming PCs and high end CAD and graphics workstations. Having just released their newest graphics hardware (the Geforce 900 series) we weren’t expecting many PC related announcements from the company at CES. The company did announce a new GPU specifically for gaming laptops, namely the GTX 965M, which is likely to be powering those super desirable but eye wateringly expensive mega laptops later this year. Most of Nvidia’s lineup talked about their new Tegra X1 chip, a high power chip designed for mobile devices. Nvidia were keen to demonstrate how this chip could be used by self-driving cars, with an impressive demonstration of highly accurate computer controlled parking in a nearby Vegas parking lot.

AMD, a competitor to both Intel and Nvidia, also had a presence at the show. The company was keen to talk up their partnership with Apple and their new graphics cards that are capable of driving 5k displays (displays with super high resolutions far greater than the 720p and 1080p we’re used to at the moment). The company also demonstrated their “Free Sync” technology, a technology that allows monitors to adapt to different frame-rates in games without stuttering or tearing.

Long time PC manufacturer DELL was in fine form at this years show, turning heads with its beautiful new Dell’s XPS 13 notebook, which, according to DELL at least, is the world’s smallest 13” notebook. For power users, Dell’s Alienware range also got a performance boost thanks to the new Maxwell GeForce GTX 900 graphics chip from Nvidia. Not only did it give these high end laptops a performance boost, but Dell has also been able to reduce the overall thickness of their Alienware 15 and 17 notebooks by 20% thanks to the chips more power efficient architecture.

Small was big over at Hewlett Packard too, with the electronics giant revealing a stylish, mini PC workstation called the HP Stream Mini PC. Ideal for less demanding users who prefer a traditional desktop PC, the tiny unit will ship for just $180, including a keyboard, mouse and a copy of Windows 8.1.

Elsewhere on the show floor there was the usual mix of new products that are either works of genius or insanity depending on your own personal opinion. Gaming peripheral manufacturer Mad Katz announced the Lynx 9, a transformable controller and stand that is designed to work with tablets and PCs. At an eye watering $299.99, this is certainly one for rich (or perhaps mad) gamers only.

Those of you who have been loyal readers as far back as issue 5 or our old newsletter might remember we reviewed a curious bit of hardware called amBX, that was designed to create mood lighting for when you played games or watched movies. While we were more enthusiastic than most about the hardware, in the end it was all but abandoned by parent company Philips. Now that technology has moved on a bit, Philips are trying again with their Hue system. Hue enabled bulbs fit in a standard light bulb socket and can be remote controlled from your smartphone or PC. The system has been on the market for a couple of years now, but Philips is expanding the amount of devices that can communicate with the Hue bulbs, this includes PCs and games consoles. Imagine a game changing the colour and mood of the lighting throughout your entire room as you play, thanks to modern wireless technology that’s now possible. Check out the article over on Ars Technica to learn more.

As for Microsoft, there were no surprise announcements. However, we’ve learned that Microsoft are planning a press conference later in the month with some more exciting details on Windows 10, including possibly a whole new web browser for the system. We’ll bring you details of that in our next newsletter.

Overall then, this years CES saw the PC and Windows markets in optimistic mood. With Windows 8 now expanding onto a range of increasingly affordable mobile and low-end devices, the days of Windows being only for powerful computing devices are well and truly over. While last year it may have seemed like Android was eating away at Windows market share, this year the reverse seems true, with the power and flexibility of Windows making it a very compelling alternative to Android now that there’s Windows hardware to suit every need and budget. 2015 could be a really great year for Windows, find out more about why we feel this way by reading our final article this month.

Tip of the Month – Copying file paths

Do you understand the concept of “File Paths” ? If not, you might want to review our PC Basics video here, which explains the topic in detail. In a nutshell, the file system of your PC consists of files and folders. Folders can nest inside folders and the “Path” of a file is the address or location of it within the folders on your PC.

If you’re also familiar with copy and paste (and if not, see this tutorial) here’s a handy way to quickly get the path of any folder or file on your PC onto your clipboard. Hold down the Shift key then right click on the file or folder you want, then select the “Copy as Path” option from the context menu. Now you can paste the info wherever you need to.

Free Utility of the Month – Wickr

We all know that our privacy is in danger, not just from power crazy government departments like the NSA or GCHQ, but from advertisers, spammers and fraudsters too. Still, most of us do little or nothing about it as we feel that it’s too complicated.

This months free utility is the super secure messaging utility Wickr. This amazing tool allows you to send free text messages, pictures and videos to your friends and family. All your messages are encrypted and secured and you can control how long they are displayed for. What’s more, Wickr works on Windows, OSX (Macintosh), iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android! (sadly there’s not yet a Windows Phone version). Now you can send highly secure, free messages to your friends across different devices, no need for all your friends to be on the same make of phone.

With all that functionality, you might expect the program to be difficult to use or configure, but nothing could be further from the truth. Simply download it here for your desktop or mobile device and set up an account, add some friends and start messaging for free today.

Windows Store App of the Month – Khan Academy

Aren’t video tutorials great? Well we would say that of course. Naturally, you can learn about way more than just computers and Windows through watching video tutorials, and the awesome Khan Academy app is a super way to make your Windows 8 PC or tablet into a powerful learning tool. Whether you are a high school student needing to brush up on your chemistry or simply a curious individual wanting to learn about statistics, the app has a video course for you. Check it out on your Windows 8 device now by visiting this link.

Why 2015 is an exciting time to be a Windows user

The way we all use computers is changing. The last few years have seen a shift from traditional PCs to a wider variety of devices, such as tablets and phones. Of course, thanks to its unmatched dominance in business and enterprise, Windows and the traditional PC has never really been in any danger of being sidelined. This didn’t stop more sensationalist IT publications declaring that we were living in a “Post PC” world. Of course, that’s far from the case, what we actually live in is a multi-device world. No longer is the desktop or laptop the one size fits all computing device for everyone, there’s much more choice now and we think that’s great.

Perhaps one of the most significant yet overlooked product launches last year was the Linx Windows 8 Tablet PC range. These little devices are available in a variety of screen sizes, run the full version of Windows 8 and start from just £79 here in the UK, with similar tablets available for under $100 in the USA. Less than one hundred dollars for a full Windows 8 tablet and the most remarkable thing is that it performs very well for the price, in fact the device has a four and a half star out of five review average on!

Why do we think this is exciting? Years ago we predicted there would come a time when technology and hardware would catch up with the original Windows 8 vision. When Windows 8 first launched, so many of the early adopters were frustrated as there just wasn’t the hardware around to really take advantage of the new platform. As time went on, super tablet PCs like the Microsoft Surface appeared, but they were still out of the price range of most users. Now, you can buy a full Windows 8 tablet for under 100 dollars. For a few dollars more, you can get a docking station and have a fully functional ultrabook PC. Windows computing just got super affordable and with the power and flexibility of Windows it’s an attractive alternative to both iOS and Android.

Windows 8 really is a fantastic operating system when used with touch. It’s multitasking capabilities eclipse both Android and iOS. It can run multiple accounts easily, no more sharing your account with your children and risking them running up big bills on in-app purchases! There’s even a reasonable selection of apps available now and, while the bean counters at Microsoft might resent it, Windows 8 (and the upcoming Windows 10) will retain the fully open desktop environment too, meaning anyone anywhere in the world can write apps for the system and distribute them freely across the internet, with no need to pay Microsoft royalty or publishing fees. Just because an app runs in desktop mode doesn’t mean it can’t be optimised for touch either (although some of the advanced multitasking and sharing features are for modern/tile apps only). While allowing third party software to be freely installed does pose a security risk we feel the benefits outweigh the risks, and of course you’re free to use the Windows app store exclusively if you feel that installing desktop apps is too risky.

With Windows 10 set to fix the last few niggles with Windows 8 on a traditional desktop or laptop, 2015 really could be a great year for Windows and the year that Microsoft’s “PC Plus” vision really does come true.

That concludes our newsletter for January 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 successful 2015. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th February 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 and enjoy happy, safe and stress-free computing!

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