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Stuck Using Windows 8? 5 Helpful Navigation Tips

Windows 8

Windows 8. No matter how glamorous, appealing and trendy Microsoft and some of its PC manufacturing partners try to make it look, IT SUCKS!

It’s NOT user-friendly, it’s NOT easy to use, it’s does NOT work well on a regular desktop or laptop computer, it requires a HUGE learning curve, and it’s VERY FRUSTRATING for normal computer users. (You can still read my complete review of Windows 8 by downloading it at https://www.calibreforhome.com/Windows8Report)

I’ve spoken with computer professionals nationwide, as well as some of my more “techie” friends. Every single one of them who has tried Windows 8 say the same thing – “it’s HORRIBLE!”  Then they proceed to permanently erase it from their computer and reinstall Windows 7.

Thus far, I’ve been fortunate to only have had to work on one computer with the Windows 8 operating system installed. I think this is because most of my clients (and hopefully readers of this column) heeded my warning late last year to stay away from – no, avoid like the plague – buying any computer with Windows 8 on it.

However, I’m sure some of my readers didn’t hear (or heed) my Paul Revere-esque alarms. Now they’re struggling trying to make sense of this strange, new operating system.

(By the way, just because all the computers at the big box stores come with Windows 8, does NOT mean you’re stuck with it. We can still order new computers with Windows 7 preinstalled – saving you the headaches and frustrations of Windows 8.)

So for those of you who maybe got a new computer with Windows 8 for Christmas and haven’t yet returned it or thrown it out the window, here are a few tips and tricks to help you:

  • Use Search to open programs. When your computer powers on, you’ll see what is now called the Start screen. Unfortunately, it’s flat and doesn’t show all the software installed on your PC. However, you can launch programs using Search from the Start screen (located on the right side of the screen). Simply type in the name of the program you want, then click on the program’s name in the list of search results.
  • Forget the tiles, go to the desktop. Well, almost. The start button in the bottom left corner of the screen no longer exists. But you can go back to the familiar desktop by pressing Windows+D on your keyboard. (The Windows key on your keyboard has the Windows logo and is usually to the left of the spacebar.)
  • Quickly navigate to everything else. The Windows+X key combination gives you access to the control panel, power options, programs and features (where you add or remove programs) and much more.
  • How to close apps. Windows 8 apps do not have close or minimize buttons in the top right corner like a Windows desktop program. To close an app, move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen until it becomes a hand icon, then left click, hold and drag down. The app will minimize, allowing you to drag it to the bottom of the screen. Or, just press Alt-F4 to save a few steps.
  • Customize the Start screen. When you install software on your PC, their tiles are automatically added to the Start screen. But you can add your own. Simply press Windows+Z, select All Apps, then right-click the program you want to add.

Windows 8 is VERY CONFUSING. If you don’t already have it, avoid it. If you do have it, I would strongly suggest purchasing the book “Teach Yourself Visually Windows 8.”  It provides step-by-step explanations with pictures. You’ll need to keep this book next to your computer at all times!  You can purchase the book here:  http://amzn.to/132jmoS

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Got a New Tablet or Smartphone? Check Out These 5 Must-Have Apps

Tablets

Tablets like the Google Nexus, Kindle Fire and iPad Mini topped Christmas wish lists in 2012. Over 17 million mobile devices came online on Christmas Day alone, according to Flurry, a mobile and online analytics company. So chances are you or someone you know is the proud owner of one of these tablets.

To help you start the new year off right and get the most from your new tablet, here’s my list of recommended apps every user should download from the Google Play Store or iTunes App Store.

Pick Healthier Foods Using Fooducate

Eating more nutritious and wholesome foods is a popular new year’s resolution. It’s not so easy to simply read the label on a food product and know how healthy it really is. That’s where the Fooducate app can help.

Simply scan the barcode on the food’s packaging and all the pertinent information you need appears on your screen – from calories per serving to a letter grade that helps you determine the overall health value of the item. You can also view suggested recipes incorporating the food you’re considering.

Get Fit, Stay Fit with Fitness Buddy

Hopefully by the time you read this you haven’t given up on your exercise and fitness goals for 2013. If you have, well, here’s some hope and help.

Fitness Buddy is a comprehensive exercise planner and personal trainer built into your tablet. The paid app boasts over 1700 exercises with 1000 video demonstrations and 75 workout routines. It comes complete with detailed descriptions of all the exercises, ability to search for exercises using certain equipment, and so much more. You can create your own custom workouts, and most importantly, keep track of your progress.

Stay Organized with Evernote.

Ever write something important on a piece of paper only to not be able to find it later?

Evernote is, in my opinion, the best note keeping app available. It allows you to create text, image, and audio notes, organize them into folders, easily search all notes, bookmark favorite websites, and more. Even better – you can install Evernote on all your electronic gadgets (smartphones, tablets and computers) and sync all your notes – making them available to you no matter where you’re at.

Plan the Perfect Trip with TripAdvisor

Getting advice and opinions from someone who’s been there, done that can prevent much frustration and disappointment. TripAdvisor offers over 75 million reviews from travelers who have ventured to the world’s most popular (and not-so-popular) destinations.

For your next vacation or weekend getaway, use TripAdvisor to help you find the best hotels, restaurants and activities.

Listen to Your Favorite Tunes on Slacker Radio

Although I’m still a fan of Pandora Internet Radio, the Slacker Radio app is becoming my favorite on-demand music app on my Google Nexus.

The Slacker Radio app comes with over 100 genre stations built-in, but also allows you to create your own custom station based on the songs and artists you like. Purchasing a Plus or Premium subscription (which is dirt cheap) allows you to play songs on demand, store favorite stations on your tablet so you can listen to music without an Internet connection, and much more.

Just For the iPad and iPad Mini Users

Many of my clients ask for training on how to use their mobile devices. I recently discovered this excellent online training for the iPad device, which I would highly recommend to all new iPad owners.

This online training contains over 100 videos that teach you everything you need to know to use and have fun with your iPad. You can learn at your own pace and even watch videos over and over again if you need clarification.

To check out this stellar iPad training and to watch a sample video, sit down at your computer and go to: http://bit.ly/VXBYjf

I’m still researching an excellent training series for owners of the Google Nexus or Kindle Fire, so if you have one of those devices, stay tuned!

Please share with me your favorite tablet apps and why you like them. Simply send me an email at info@calibre-cs.com.