It is summertime again! Make the most of it with your Windows PC
As I write this article, the sun is peeking through the clouds, making for what passes as a lovely summer day in Ireland. For most of us in the northern hemisphere of the world, it’s time to enjoy longer days and more sunshine (or at least, hope for some sunshine). Back when I was a youngster, my mum would often tell me to leave the computer and go play outside, but these days most PCs aren’t restricted to a desk and can come and help make your summer more fun! Here are a few ways that you can brighten up your summer with your PC.
Music music music! – In newsletters from years gone by, we would always remind our readers about the fantastic music playing capabilities of the windows PC. That’s still completely true of course, but now that smartphones have become so advanced, they make for more convenient music playing devices and can store thousands of tracks. Connecting your phone to some speakers is usually as easy as buying the correct cable, or even simply turning on wireless bluetooth sync if your speakers are fancy enough to support that.
If you are in the habit of storing thousands of tracks on your phone, however, you might want to get your PC to help with organizing things. Trying to sift through larger music collections and make play lists on a tiny phone screen can be tedious. Instead, use software like iTunes (with iOS) or Wondershare MobileGo (with Android) to make playlists for your phone. Use the bigger screen and keyboard/mouse to search, organize and queue up your tunes, it’s a lot less fiddly than doing it on your phone.
Of course, if you’re having a garden party, BBQ or get together and just want to play some music without having to leave your phone unattended, your Windows laptop still makes a great jukebox. You can make playlists in Groove Music on Windows 10, or Windows Media Player or Media Monkey on any current version of Windows. Queue up some tunes suitable for your summer events, then hook your PC to a portable stereo or speakers and enjoy some great tunes at the family cook out, while still being able to keep your phone handy for those photo opportunities (just don’t play your tunes too loud and annoy the neighbours!).
If you’re bored of your existing music collection, have you tried the various streaming music services that are now available? The ever popular Spotify service provides ad-supported streaming and is a fantastic way to check out new and popular music for free. If you love what’s on offer, you can upgrade to the ad-free experience by paying a small monthly fee. There’s also Deezer, a similar service which has gained in popularity in recent years.
Be a picture sharing pro – Summer is all about making memories and we all love to snap some pictures while we’re enjoying the season. Once you have taken your pictures you will want to share at least some of them with your friends and family. You could upload them to Facebook or Twitter, but what if your Aunt Sarah doesn’t have a Facebook account? The best solution is to use a service like Flickr.
Flickr is a free photo hosting service. When you upload a photo to Flickr, you can then send anyone anywhere a simple web link so they can view the photo. If you like to share on Facebook or Twitter, you can configure your Flickr account to automatically share your uploads there too, while your friends who don’t do the whole ‘social network thing’ can still see your photos via e-mail or messenger.
If you have an Android or iPhone device you can also use the official Flickr app to send any photos you take instantly to your Flickr account. Snap on your phone then view instantly anywhere, from the big screen of your home PC to the screen of your friends smart devices.
Make the outdoors more fun – If you have children or teenagers who are reluctant to leave their gadgets behind and go out and make the most of the summer months, why not use your PC to make outside more exciting? Kids love to play treasure hunt, so why not use your PC to help turn your back garden into a treasure island? You can use the free word processor LibreOffice.org Writer and a suitably piratical looking font to type out clues, or use this handy treasure map maker to design a cool looking map. Once your young pirates find the treasure, let them have a go at making clues or a map themselves.
For older kids or teenagers, how about a treasure hunt of a different kind? Turn a regular old walk in the countryside into an exciting treasure hunt with Geocaching. This is a fun outdoor activity where participants use GPS enabled devices, such as mobile phones or a tablet to locate geocaches, hidden containers located all around the world. All kinds of software for Geocachers is available on Windows and mobile devices. To find out more or to find if there are caches located near you, visit Geocaching.com.
So as you can see, there are lots of ways your Windows PC can help you get the most out of your summer. If you have your own ideas or stories of how your PC helped you enjoy the summer more, do let us know. You can contact us here!