TWT Newsletter, Issue #041 – The Top-Windows-Tutorials.com forum officially opens!
Hello again from Top Windows Tutorials HQ. It is the 10th of October and that means it is newsletter time once more. This month we have news about the biggest addition to our site since we opened back in 2007! We also take a look at what is happening with one of our favourite free productivity applications and have our usual tip of the month and free utility of the month too.
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In this months issue:-
1) What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
2) The Top-Windows-Tutorials.com forum officially opens, get your account NOW!
3) Celebrate Halloween in style with the spooky “Rest in Peace” desktop!
4) Tip of the Month – Use the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) tool in Windows 7
5) Free Utility of the Month – Eraser 6.0.7
6) Forks in the road, what is happening to OpenOffice?
What’s new at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com?
Acronis released a new version of their highly rated full disk backup software, Acronis True Image 2011 last month. We brought you five updated tutorials for this fantastic, feature packed backup program. Check out these tutorials by clicking this link.
Next, by popular demand, we added several tutorials for Windows Media Player 12. Windows Media 12 is exclusive to Windows 7 and functions differently from previous versions of the software. You can take a look at our new Media Player 12 tutorials by visiting this link.
We implemented one rather major change to the site in September too, but you should read on to find out more about that.
The-Top-Windows-Tutorials.com forum officially opens, get your account NOW!
At Top-Windows-Tutorials.com, we try to make our tutorials useful for users of all abilities. We also try to cover material that will be useful to most Windows users. However, we know that everyone is different and has different needs and issues with their computer. While you can contact us through the website to ask about any tutorial on our site, there’s now a better way to discuss our tutorials or anything Windows related with our staff and our other readers, our new Top-Windows-Tutorials.com forum!
If you’ve never seen or used a discussion forum before, you may be wondering what exactly this all means. Internet discussion forums allow users to make ‘posts’. Similar to tweets, or writing on someone’s wall on Facebook, these posts can then be read by other users of the site (in our case, the staff and readers of Top-Windows-Tutorials.com). Other users can then post a reply, perhaps offering more insight into the original post or sharing their experiences.
Of course, being Top-Windows-Tutorials, we have you covered if you need a little help understanding our forums or signing up for an account. Visit this link to read more about the forum and view tutorials on how to sign up for an account and start using it.
We originally planned to open a user discussion forum way back in 2008, so why the delay? We felt that it was important to polish other areas of the site first and concentrate on building a healthy amount of visitors to convert into potential forum users. As our Newsletter subscribers, you are our most valued and appreciated readers and we want to personally invite you all to join the forum and discuss the site, your computers and your favourite software with us and our other readers. Sign up for your account now by visiting this link. We look forward to meeting you all there.
Celebrate Halloween in style with the spooky “Rest in Peace” desktop!
October means Halloween and what better way to celebrate than by decorating your desktop with the stunning MyColors Rest in Peace Desktop theme. This professionally made theme uses Stardock Softwares advanced skinning engine to completely transform Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. The theme also includes wallpaper and several themed gadgets, including an analogue clock, weather widget and calendar. Your friends and family won’t believe how cool your desktop looks! Go here for a Windows XP preview or go here for a Windows Vista/7 preview. To get your candy covered fingers on the delicious Rest in Peace desktop, visit this link.
Tip of the Month – Use the Problem Steps Recorder (PSR) tool in Windows 7
Here’s a little tip for those of you who want to take advantage of the new Top-Windows-Tutorials.com forum and who are running Windows 7. The Problem Steps Recorder is like a simplified version of the screen recorder we use to construct our tutorials. If you want to show us a problem on your system, you can use the Problem Steps Recorder to show us exactly how to recreate the problem. Once you are done recording, you can attach the file to your forum post or e-mail it to us ( see this sticky note on our forum for more information ).
The Problem Steps Recorder is very easy to use. See this screen-cast from Microsoft for more details. Unfortunately, the Problem Steps Recorder is only available in Windows 7. Our more experienced readers could also use the Problem Steps Recorder to make their own tutorials for friends and family members.
Free Utility of the Month – Eraser 6.0.7
As we store more and more sensitive information on our computers, it becomes more important to protect our privacy. Tools like Truecrypt, which can encrypt or lock our disks and files go a long way towards keeping our private data private. Another important privacy tool is the file shredder. File shredders are able to delete files securely, meaning that even computer experts cannot recover them. Files that you delete normally can be relatively easily recovered by anyone with the knowledge to use simple, free tools.
If you’ve ever sold, given away or disposed of an old memory stick, flash media card (e.g from your camera) or any old hard drives, then you should remember that whoever gets their hands on them after you could easily recover old photographs, videos or documents you thought were deleted, unless you use a file shredder like Eraser. You can download Eraser by visiting this page and check out our Eraser tutorials here.
Forks in the road, what is happening to OpenOffice?
Here at Top-Windows-Tutorials.com we love OpenOffice. It provides a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for most users and best of all it’s free. OpenOffice is an open source project, meaning that anyone who has the time and skills to contribute can (in theory at least) obtain the source code, implement new features or improve existing ones and then submit their changes for possible inclusion in a future version.
That’s the theory at least, but several contributors feel that the restrictions placed upon them by Sun, the company that oversees OpenOffice, have become too bureaucratic and restrictive. Sun corporation owns and controls OpenOffice and must approve any changes that the community creates before they are merged into a final, publicly available version. Several changes mooted by the community have been rejected by Sun and many of the programmers behind OpenOffice also questioned Sun’s commitment to keeping the program as an open source product. Now, the new, ‘Independent Document Foundation’ has created a “fork” in the source code, effectively creating a new version of the software called “LibreOffice”.
What does ‘creating a fork’ mean? Basically, at this point in time, the current programming code base is now split. The original OpenOffice will continue down one path, with different individuals working on it, while LibreOffice, which is made from the same program code as OpenOffice, will now be developed and improved by a different team. This could potentially create two very different high quality pieces of software but it is also likely to create a good deal of confusion. There are already alternative versions of OpenOffice with minor modifications and this means that tutorials or books available for one version may not match the version you are using.
LibreOffice is now available as a beta (test) version, visit this page to find out more. We would recommend that most users wait until a final release version is available before considering migrating over from OpenOffice, especially if you depend on OpenOffice for your day to day workload. The Open Document Foundation seems to have won the backing of many of the big names that supported OpenOffice, including computing and networking giants Novell and Google and Linux powerhouse Red Hat, so LibreOffice is certainly going places. We’ll continue to watch this interesting development in the history of OpenOffice and keep you posted on any significant updates. Hopefully, in spite of the confusion this creates for end users, this is a positive development for OpenOffice in the future.
That rounds off our newsletter for October. Have a spooky Halloween and/or (for our UK readers) a fun 5th of November Fireworks night! As always, we’d like to send a huge thank you to all our readers for your support. The TWT Newsletter will return on the 10th November 2010 to 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. 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!