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Posted on Dec 20, 2018 in Newsletter, Welcome | 0 comments

TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 67 – Power up Christmas, save paper, beat Wi-Fi gremlins and more!

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Top Windows Tutorials
TWT Newsletter NG – Issue 67

Hi, welcome to the December 2018 TWT Newsletter

December the 10th can mean only one thing, it’s time for the TWT Newsletter Christmas special! This year we’ve got some fresh tips to help you enjoy a smoother Christmas.

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In this months issue:-

Have a happier holiday with your Windows PC
Tip of the Month – Save paper – Print to PDF
Free Utility of the Month – Acrylic Wi-Fi Home
Microsoft Store App of the Month – One Calendar
Meet your new web browser, Microsoft… Chrome?

Have a happier holiday with your Windows PC

Christmas should be a time for family and fun, but the run up to the big day can be quite stressful. Finding the perfect gift is only part of the challenge for busy modern households, especially those of us with friends and extended family where visits and travel need to be arranged. Whatever your plans for the big day, clever use of your PC and connected devices can make things easier, and free up time for more important things, like eating mince pies and drinking mulled wine.

Having trouble getting organised this year? Make sure your PC and your smart phone are working well together with these handy apps. Wunderlist is a simple but powerful to-do list app that runs and synchronises between PC and your smart phone. You can type tasks out on your PC and tick or check them off as you complete them at the store, for instance.

Need a way of getting shopping lists, recipes or your naughty/nice list synced between PC and phone? Our favourite app for this is still Microsoft’s OneNote. An absolutely invaluable note taking app that lets you remember anything. As well as typing basic notes, you can add pictures, drawings or annotations to your notes, drag in URLs from the web and even share notes with friends. OneNote is the kind of app that, once you start using it, you will wonder how you ever lived without it.

Technology is great at bridging the gap between distant friends and family, even though it will never be quite as good as seeing someone in person. You may have used programs like Skype to video chat with relatives in distant lands, but why not make this more special this year by organising a family video chat session? To do this, you could connect your laptop to your big screen TV. If your laptop has HDMI output, all you need is a simple HDMI to HDMI cable to connect to any modern flat panel TV. Once this is done, you can either mirror your laptops display to the big screen or, use it as an extended desktop.

On some laptops you will need to press a certain key combination to activate the external display, but in most cases it should simply activate automatically. If you need to manage the display settings to change the size or arrangement of the displays, our page here talks about it in-depth.

Once everything is configured, you can then arrange the various video windows as best suits your requirements, letting children see grandma and granddad on the big TV is sure to delight them. A word of warning however, cables stretching from your laptop to your HDTV can be quite a trip hazard, especially for over excited youngsters!

We all love to share photos online, but remember that not everyone may use the same social networks as you. Facebook in particular has been abandoned by many users this year due to their questionable business practises. If there is a special photo you want to make sure everyone can see, then use one of the dedicated photo sharing sites. Our favourite for this is still Flickr where you can store up to 1000 photos free of charge. Once uploaded to Flickr they can be easily shared anywhere, including Skype or IM conversations, Facebook, Twitter, or just good old fashioned e-mail. Speaking of e-mail, if you have a friend in a faraway land who has a slower internet connection, you should always share a link to a photo online and never attach photos to e-mails, as this is a particularly inefficient way of sending them.

We had a big bag of tips for shopping online last month but if you have really left the shopping until the last minute, maybe a digital gift will save you. For the PC enthusiast, it’s easy to buy credit that can be redeemed in the Microsoft Store, or on popular store fronts such as the gamers favourite Steam. If your digital benefactor prefers music, you could buy them an Amazon voucher or maybe a Spotify pass . For video, there’s Amazon again, or a Netflix gift card. These transactions will complete instantly, so all you need to do is send the details in a Christmas card (you did remember to buy Christmas cards didn’t you?). Sure, it’s not really the same as opening a CD or DVD from your Christmas stocking, but it’s better than nothing, right?

We hope you found our Christmas tips to be useful this year. From everyone here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, let me take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tip of the Month – Save paper – Print to PDF

Are you the kind of person that likes a hard copy of every document? There are some advantages to printing documents. A hard copy won’t disappear if your hard drive crashes and it’s easier to transport around, rather than fiddling on your phone or laptop while you’re on the move.

While the humble piece of paper might not be obsolete any time soon, there is no need to print absolutely everything. Next time, when you need a copy of a receipt from an on-line transaction, an important web page or even a page from a Word or writer document, why not save paper print to PDF instead? This option was added in Windows 10 and can be easily added in previous versions of Windows using software such as CutePDF writer.

Unlike a Word document, for example, a PDF document will retain all formatting and layout as well as text and pictures, making it an ideal format to store documents such as letters, receipts or bank statements. PDF documents also open on virtually all modern operating systems, including Mac, Linux and of course Windows, and most smart phones (additional apps may be required).

To print to PDF, simply print like you would normally, but change the printer to “Microsoft Print to PDF”.

Free Utility of the Month – Acrylic Wi-Fi Home

Tired of losing the Wi-Fi signal on your PC, laptop or phone? Get a detailed look of just what’s bouncing around the airwaves in your home by using this powerful Wi-Fi monitoring tool. Acrylic Wi-Fi Home lets you see all the access points in range and, crucially, which channels they are broadcasting on. If one channel is congested, simply try another one! (remember some channels overlap, so try several non-used channels if possible).

For those who are more curious or simply a little geeky, the program gives a huge amount of detailed information about both Wi-Fi access points and devices in range.

Grab your free copy of this handy troubleshooting tool by visiting the page here.

Microsoft Store App of the Month – One Calendar

If the calendar app that comes bundled with Windows 10 isn’t meeting your needs, try this slick looking alternative from Code Spark. One Calendar delivers beautiful, easy to read and touch friendly calendars to your Windows device. With support for synchronising using Google, Outlook, iCloud and a plethora of other services, One Calendar should suit everyone’s needs, even those of you with super busy schedules.

Get the app from the Microsoft store here.

Meet your new web browser, Microsoft… Chrome?

It’s fair to say not everything in Windows 10 has gone according to Microsoft’s plan. The grand vision of one operating system for phone, tablet and desktop/laptop sadly never transpired. While premium Windows tablets, like the Microsoft Surface, have enjoyed some success, a lack of touch friendly apps and reliability issues have continued to plague the OS. Several of the original apps that launched with the OS have fallen by the wayside too, who remembers the “Health and Fitness” and “Travel” apps?.

Now, Microsoft’s new Edge web browser is going through some radical changes too. If you have used Windows 10 then you’ve probably at least seen Microsoft Edge, it is the systems default web browser. Based on its own custom HTML rendering engine, the browser was designed to be fast, light-weight, easy to use on both tablets and desktop PCs. It was also intended to move away from the legacy of Internet Explorer, a browser which, while much improved in later versions, still left a bad taste in many users mouths due to several historically very bad versions..

How well did Edge succeed in these goals? The browser was certainly fast, often touted as being faster than both Firefox or Chrome. Security was much better than Internet Explorer, but often fell short of matching either Chrome or Firefox, though obviously this depends which particular benchmark you were measuring against. Desktop performance was more than adequate, though on touch only systems it fell short of Microsoft’s excellent but sadly abandoned Internet Explorer for touch that made its debut in (and died with) Windows 8.

Perhaps Edge’s biggest problem is not that it’s a bad browser, just that it simply doesn’t do anything compelling enough to make even Windows die-hards want to switch. Despite Microsoft adding support for extensions and some cool features like page annotations and sharing, there still was little compelling reason for most people to make the switch..

Now it transpires that Microsoft is throwing in the towel with EdgeHTML. EdgeHTML is Microsoft’s own HTML rendering engine, the computer code that reads the underlying HTML code on websites and presents them to the user as a web page. Instead, new versions of the browser will use Chromium, the HTML rendering engine used by, you guessed it, Google Chrome.

In some ways this can be seen as a positive thing, there will be one less type of web browser for web developers to test against and it should make porting over Google Chrome extensions very easy. Of course, it can be seen as a negative thing too, as it gives even more of the web over to Google controlled projects, although Google would be quick to point out that this isn’t Google Chrome itself that Microsoft are using, merely their open source (computer code released publicly that anyone can use) HTML rendering engine components.

Regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes, the changes will probably have little effect on the average end user, who couldn’t really care less what “HTML rendering engine” their web browser was using, but it’s a testament to how the web has shifted away from being something only accessed on PCs to something increasingly used on a range of devices, that a web browser launched with the worlds most popular computer operating system no longer has the guaranteed impact it once did..

That rounds off our newsletter for December. On behalf of the team here at Top-Windows-Tutorials, I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas and thank you all for your continuing support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th January 2019 and will bring you more tips, tricks and techniques to help you get the best out of your PC, be it Windows 7 Windows 8 or Windows 10. 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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