Monday, April 29, 2013

Windows 8: Introduction to the New OS

I am going to be doing a series of articles on Windows 8, and this is my first article that explains how to use the new Windows operating system. This article focuses on providing a brief background of the product and an explanation of the two different platforms and versions of Windows that are available.

Below is an excerpt from the article: "If you're a new user to Windows 8, one of the first things you might ask is, "where's the Start menu". Microsoft had to do away with the Start menu and create the Start screen because the world is become more reliant on mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, and touchscreen laptops. ...

The traditional Windows metaphor such as the Start Menu (and several others: such as windowed applications, drop-down menus, etc.) don't lend themselves well to the newer mobile device technologies like high resolution touchscreens that don't support a standard keyboard and mouse. " (read the rest of the article)

Deal: Get a Free Month of Hulu Plus

Hulu Plus gives you more access to popular movies and TV shows on Hulu. For a limited-time, the site is offering a one month free trial of the Hulu Plus service to new customers.  Normally the free trial is only for one week.

It's important to note a credit card is required to complete the sign up, and according to the site the offer is only available for a few more days.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Article: Integrate a custom Shutdown menu into the Windows 8 Desktop context menu

I found this tip on another site, and I thought it was too cool not to share. This article discusses how to create a custom context menu for shutting down (restarting, hibernating, etc.) your computer. Its also a pretty good introduction to creating your own customized context menus for other tasks.
Note: This requires modifying the registry, so this tip is not for those who don't know what they're doing. So use this information at your own risk.
The image below is an example of what the context menu looks like (note: the menu wording, commands and the icons are customizable) .  Read the article to understand how it works.

Towards the bottom of the article there is a link to some registry files that will install (or uninstall) the menu.  See the "Using the Reg files" section of the article for more information.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 (Free Beta Download)

Are you a photographer that uses Adobe Photoshop Lightroom?  If you work with RAW image files (uncompressed image files that contain all the color data from the camera's CCD sensor) this tool is a must have.

Its also one of the best photo management suites available.  It provides great tools for managing your images, and making corrections or other adjustments to your photographs.

Adobe is offering a free download of the Lightroom 5 beta.  If you don't know what a beta is, its a pre-released version of an application that's generally incomplete, which means it could have a lot of bugs in it.

Company's release beta versions of their applications to allow people to try out the next generation version of their software. This also helps them find bugs in it before its released to the general public.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Windows 8: Microsoft Movie Maker

Do you have some videos from your smartphone or from another device that you would like to edit into one continuous video?  Maybe you want to add titles, video effects or a sound track to a movie that you created.

Microsoft Movie Maker (download) is an easy to use application that allows you to import create or edit picture slide shows and videos.  You can move things around, speed it up or slow it down, edit the soundtrack and add a theme Movie Maker also adds transitions and effects automatically so your movie looks more professional.

Then once it's finished, the application makes it easy to post it online via Facebook, YouTube or other social networking and video sharing sites.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Windows 8: Remote Server Administration Tools (RSAT)

If you manage Windows servers in a small lab or a large data center, then you need the Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows 8 (download). This tool enables system administrators to manage roles and features that are installed on remote computers that are running Windows Server 2012, 2008 R2, and 2008 (all versions).
NOTE: In this release of Remote Server Administration Tools all the tools are enabled by default. There is no need to enable them by using the Turn Windows features on or off dialog in Windows 8.
To remove tools that you don't want to use, follow the instructions below:

  • On the desktop, hover in the upper right corner of the screen, and then click Settings, then click the  Control Panel.
  • Click Programs, and then in Programs and Features, click the Turn Windows features on or off link.
  • In the Windows Features dialog box, expand Remote Server Administration Tools, and then expand either Role Administration Tools or Feature Administration Tools.
  • Clear the check boxes for any tools that you want to remove. Press the OK button, and then close the Control Panel window.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Article: Choose the right password manager to protect your accounts

One of the first rules to securing your accounts today is having a unique password for all of them.  With so many unique credentials it's next to impossible for the average person to remember them. This is why a good password manager is so important, it allows you to safely store and retrieve these electronic credentials.

I have been meaning to write an article about password managers. I recently came across the following article in BetaNews.  Here is an excerpt, "Here’s the contradiction: you need secure, unique and hard-to-remember passwords to protect your online (and offline) accounts from being hacked. However, remembering those secure, unique and hard-to-remember passwords is another matter entirely. Thankfully there is a solution, and it’s called a password manager." (read the rest of the article)

One piece of advice, whatever password manager you choose make sure that your data file is backed up.