mjh

Mark writes about Microsoft Windows, computer topics, and digital photography.

Jun 302014
 

This just arrived in today’s mail bag:

I’m 80 years old and I dislike people giving me false information; Its called lying. Its bad enough trying to get the windows 8.1 to work for me without a cheat sheet. I was elated to find an offer of a cheat sheet on p.5 of windows 8.1. Not finding it was very frustrating can you remedy my problem. By the way; I hate computers but they are a necessary evil which I have to put up with.

I wonder how many people this guy has called a liar have then helped him. I composed a reply in my mind and deleted his email.

For the record: I wrote a book on Windows 8.0 almost two years ago. One year ago, Wiley asked me to revise that book for the 8.1 update. Sadly, my mother-in-law was dying at that time. I chose family over commerce. Wiley hired another writer to revise the book. Apparently, he didn’t explain this in his revision nor did he include his email address in the new book. Worse, I don’t even have a copy of the book nor do I have any control over the referenced cheat sheet.

I made no money on the 8.1 book and I make no money helping readers. Through no fault of their own, readers don’t know this odd situation. I help the polite ones.

 Posted by at 2:21 pm
Jun 052014
 

OneDrive is terrific for viewing and sharing photos. The All Photos view is very handy.

Making photos on OneDrive better: From your biggest screen to your smallest photo frame  | OneDrive Blog

By Douglas Pearce – June 3, 2014

OneDrive aspires to be the one place where you store everything in your life, including all of your photos, and we’ve been working hard to make that experience even better. Today we have three updates to that will make it easier for you to enjoy your photos on Xbox One, on Windows Phone, and at OneDrive.com.

  • New photo views on OneDrive for Xbox One
  • Windows Phone 8.1 update: Auto upload of high-res photos
  • Photo Printing Comes to OneDrive with Walgreens.com

[See linked article for code for 25% discount on printing]

Making photos on OneDrive better: From your biggest screen to your smallest photo frame  | OneDrive Blog

 Posted by at 1:12 pm
May 272014
 

As screens shrank to fit the palm of your hand, Web designers were going mad. Most Web designers use larger than average screens for their development work. A Web page might look great on a given monitor and terrible on another. (That goes for monitors larger than designed for, such as TVs and higher resolution screens.)

It is true that HTML improved for years and browsers continue to improve. Nevertheless, mobile users such as those on a cellphone simply have different requirement than desktop users. Foremost, mobile requires touch, which is still not standard on desktops. Second, mobile requires larger text while offering less space for text. Finally, navigation that is fine on a computer, such as a link, may be unusably small on a pocket screen.

Many blogs use WordPress to deliver the content. Although it might be nice if WP handled mobile devices automatically, it doesn’t (yet). Programmers have created plugins and themes to address this problem.

I use WPtouch Mobile Plugin on two of my sites: www.ahwilderness.com and www.mjhinton.com/help/. The plugin detects a mobile device and serves up a theme, including navigation that suits such a device. Browse either site on a computer and on a cellphone to see the difference. Here are a few screenshots.

Below is my computer blog viewed in Internet Explorer on an 8.1 desktop:

Screenshot (164)

Below left: Same page automagically formatted for cellphone; below right: the first blog entry.

wp_ss_20140527_0002 wp_ss_20140527_0014

Below: Navigation available by tapping 3 lines in upper-right (compare to tabs in the first screenshot).

wp_ss_20140527_0003

Below: www.ahwilderness.com on the desktop.

 Screenshot (165)

Below left: same screen reformatted; middle: menus; right: a page.

wp_ss_20140527_0001wp_ss_20140527_0011wp_ss_20140527_0009

I chose not to use WPtouch on my blog www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/ because I already like how it appears on my own phone, especially the photos in the sidebar, which I would lose with WPtouch (compare www.ahwilderness.com above on the desktop with sidebar and on the cellphone without). Notice that the tab navigation below mjh’s blog is almost useless (until the user enlarges that area in the usual fashion of spreading fingers).

wp_ss_20140527_0015

WordPress › WPtouch Mobile Plugin « WordPress Plugins

WPtouch is a mobile plugin for WordPress that automatically enables a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors of your WordPress website.

The administration panel allows you to customize many aspects of its appearance, and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to your mobile visitors, without modifying a single bit of code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.

WordPress › WPtouch Mobile Plugin « WordPress Plugins

 Posted by at 7:47 pm
May 252014
 

Another thorough review of the latest Microsoft Surface Pro (at the last link below). After the 30 second ad for OneDrive, the 4:33 video is worth watching. Don’t buy anything before reading this review, David Pogue’s, and Ed Bott’s, as well as watching both videos.

The consensus seems to be that this is the ultimate Windows 8.1 machine and a good substitute for both laptop and tablet, albeit expensive.

This is Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 3, in pictures | The Verge By Dieter Bohn on May 23, 2014 09:01 am

 Posted by at 11:21 am
May 222014
 

NextGen Reader is the best RSS tool I’ve used. If you don’t know what RSS is, you should do a little research. You may see an orange button with a dot and two curved lines — that’s the RSS symbol. If you click that, your browser will attempt to show you the feed for the current website. This is just the beginning. Follow this link for more information.

Once you get used to — dare I say, addicted to — RSS, you’ll need NextGen Reader, one of the very best apps I’ve used on Windows 8 and Windows 8 Phone. Although you can use the free version, it’s worthy paying for and on sale now.

Red Stripe Deals on NextGen Reader, Package Tracker, 4 Elements II, Machinarium, Bridge Constructor, and MeteoEarth

NextGen Reader

NextGen Reader

This popular Feedly RSS reader currently averages 4.4 out of 5 stars in the Windows Store. You can use it with a modern tiled layout for tablet, or a more traditional 3-pane layout for desktop reading. Pin multiple tiles to your Start screen to keep up on all the feeds you care about. Get it this week on Windows for $1.49, or on Windows Phone for $.99

Red Stripe Deals on NextGen Reader, Package Tracker, 4 Elements II, Machinarium, Bridge Constructor, and MeteoEarth

 Posted by at 3:00 pm
May 222014
 

The linked review is very thorough but the 3 minute faux commercial is wonderful. Hard to believe Pogue is known as an “Apple fanboy.”

Smart, Versatile Surface Pro 3 Can Do It All — Maybe Even Lift the Windows 8 Curse by David Pogue

If this marvel of engineering doesn’t lift the Microsoft hardware curse, I don’t know what its designers are supposed to do. Maybe join a self-help group with Cassandra and Sisyphus.

Smart, Versatile Surface Pro 3 Can Do It All — Maybe Even Lift the Windows 8 Curse

 Posted by at 1:52 pm
May 222014
 

Links below to a series of tutorials from Microsoft which you may find useful for learning more about Windows 8.1

Getting started tutorials for Windows – Microsoft Windows

New to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1?

You’re at the right place. Whether you’re brand new to Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1, or just want a refresher, these 10 tutorials will show you the basics.

Getting started tutorials for Windows – Microsoft Windows

Using touch gestures

If you have a computer with a touchscreen, you might find that gestures (motions that you make with one or two fingers) are easier to use than a mouse, pen, or keyboard.

Using touch gestures

Keyboard shortcuts – Microsoft Windows Help

Keyboard shortcuts are combinations of two or more keys that you can use to perform a task that would typically require a mouse or other pointing device. Keyboard shortcuts can make it easier to work with your PC, saving you time and effort as you work with Windows and other apps. …

Keyboard shortcuts – Microsoft Windows Help

Browsing the web – Microsoft Windows

Getting started with Internet Explorer 11

Internet Explorer 11 is included in your Windows 8.1 or Windows RT 8.1 update. Internet Explorer makes it easier to get where you want to go on the web, and helps you see amazing content at its best. By learning some common gestures and tricks, you’ll be able to comfortably use your new browser and get the most out of your favorite sites.

Browsing the web – Microsoft Windows

 Posted by at 1:26 pm
May 222014
 

Today, the Bing photo of the day is an animation / video of the Eye in London turning. You can see the people inside moving. The desktop photo of the day is actually a pretty composition (as always, in my opinion). Often, they are the same photo and if the .com photo is animated, the same composition appears static on the desktop.

Bing animated photo of the London Eye
Photo of the day at www.bing.com (above)

Bing static photo of the London Eye
Photo of the day from Bing desktop software (above)

 Posted by at 9:56 am
May 212014
 

The killer feature: Click the top of the pen old-school and OneNote launches automagically. (Click twice for a screen capture.)

Surface Pro 3: thinner, lighter, more flexible | ZDNet by Ed Bott

This thing is ridiculously light. The only onstage prop at today’s event was an old-school mechanical scale (shown in the photo above). With the Type Cover and included pen, the Surface Pro 3 is still 180 grams (about 6.5 ounces) lighter than the 13-inch MacBook Air.

Surface Pro 3: thinner, lighter, more flexible | ZDNet

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Full Technical Specifications by Bogdan Popa

Here are the full technical specs of the new Surface Pro 3, as provided by Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Full Technical Specifications

Microsoft News | Ben ‘the PC Guy’ Gives a Hands-on Tour of the Surface Pro by Suril Amin

Microsoft’s top evangelist Ben “The PC Guy” Rudolph gave a hands on tour of the Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft News | Ben ‘the PC Guy’ Gives a Hands-on Tour of the Surface Pro

 Posted by at 9:54 am
Apr 142014
 

Two more detailed articles on the changes coming in Windows Phone 8.1. The second link includes video demos and many screenshots.

Windows Phone 8.1 Review | Windows Phone content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows

Pay no attention to the version number: Windows Phone 8.1 is a major upgrade for Microsoft’s smart phone platform, one that provides improvements virtually everywhere.

Windows Phone 8.1 Review | Windows Phone content from Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows

Windows Phone 8.1 review: A magnificent smartphone platform | Ars Technica by Peter Bright

Windows Phone 8.1, therefore, has a lot of work to do. It needs to take further steps along the path toward Microsoft’s vision of a unified operating system. It needs to work better on a wider range of hardware to both strengthen its position at the low end and give it a chance of making inroads at the high end. It needs to also offer features: it needs to do things to get people talking about the platform while attracting both users and developers.

Remarkably, Windows Phone 8.1 delivers on all fronts.

Windows Phone 8.1 review: A magnificent smartphone platform | Ars Technica

 Posted by at 10:31 pm
Apr 142014
 

Download Windows 8.1 Update Power User Guide for Business from Official Microsoft Download Center

This 20 pages brochure-type guide is designed for end-users who want to learn more about the advanced features of Windows 8.1, such as Taskbar customization, Task Manager, Internet Explorer 11, Mobility Center, Windows To Go, Miracast, OneDrive for Business, and File Explorer. Power users will enjoy learning about how they can get the most out of their Windows 8.1 devices.

Download Windows 8.1 Update Power User Guide for Business from Official Microsoft Download Center

 Posted by at 7:27 am