The Future of Computing is Touch!

I firmly believe the future of computing is touch, but will that include the PC?  I know a few people who think touch computing is just a fad like 3D TV and will be gone soon.  I however think touch computing is here to stay but I think it will happen one of two ways.

The PC will adapt to touch computing and continue being dominant.  This is what I hope will happen.  I hope that computers like what we use today like laptops and even desktops will embrace touch interfaces and we will have powerful machines that we can interact with touch.  Now the mouse and keyboard will not go away as the mouse is more precise especially when using video and audio or even image editing programs and you need a keyboard for programing but lets face it most people use their computers to check email and Facebook, or to play flash-based games.  I think this gives the all in one device we are looking for instead of having to have multiple devices to take with us when we travel.

The second way is similar to what we see today.  Basic tablets like the iPad, or Android tablets will replace most computers in the home because they meet the needs of people who just check email and Facebook.  Lets get real here, most people do not really need all the power in their computer all the time and could make by with just a basic tablet.  I mean these tablets are just big smartphones and people use smartphones all day long for similar functions.

Now Microsoft is trying to position itself to be ready no matter which scenario works out.  If normal PC’s go the route of touch than I expect to see Windows RT go by the way side but if these less powerful media tablets start winning the battle (like the iPad and Android tablets) then I expect to see Windows RT further developed into something to compete with these devices and probably no longer contain a Desktop.  While Windows 8.X (Or whatever version we are on to by this time) will keep the desktop and rely less on the modern environment.  We could then see Windows booting straight to Desktop and maybe not containing the Start Screen at some point.  Again this is all speculation and just what I see as I look in from the outside.

Either way touch screen devices are here to stay in the home, now seeing them in business uses we will have to wait and see.  I see either way working out long-term for the future of computing what I do not see is computers staying in their traditional configuration (non-touch) and being as dominant as they once were, not in the home.  Again this will be different in businesses but for the home market computing is changing and its future is touch.

Power Toys and Ultimate Extras for Windows 7 and Windows Vista (XP Too) Part 1

The Power Toys for Windows XP were very popular to the point that Microsoft made you pay for the ones in Vista and called them Ultimate Extras, but unlike their XP counterparts they did not release a lot of the Ultimate Extras.  In Windows 7 we really don’t see any Power Toys or Ultimate Extras… or do we?  I have a list of some great add-ons for Windows 7 that will bring functionality and fun to this great OS.

Now some of these are from Microsoft others from third-party developers, but all are tested and are very useful.  I will be looking at them in sections starting with Communication and Games.

Communication

These first three programs all come from Windows Live Essentials which you can download here at http://www.windowslive.com/desktop   For XP users you can get the older version of Windows Live Essentials from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-essentials-xp

1. Windows Live Mail  With all the webmail there is today would it not be nice to manage them all from one program.  But no one wants to pay and configure Outlook to do that.  This is where Windows Live Mail comes in. It even looks like a small version of Outlook 2010.  It can easily manage all your e-mail accounts all in one place.  It works with many popular e-mail services like Hotmail and Gmail.   This easy to use program is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and get it here at http://windowslive.com/Desktop/Mail For XP users you can get the older version here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mail-xp

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Mail in Windows 7

 

2. Windows Live Messenger   While instant messaging has started to decline with things like Facebook and Texting lets face it, it is still handy and still free.  Windows Live Messenger allows you to chat with your friends that have Hotmail, MSN, or Live e-mail accounts and even those friends on Yahoo.  This program is evolving into a social media hub for the PC in the newest version which is out now.  I have it configured with MySpace integration which shows you updates from your friends and even lets you chat with them, this also works with Facebook.  It again is available for Windows 7 and Vista.  You can learn more and download it at  http://windowslive.com/desktop/messenger  and get the older version for Windows XP from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-Messenger-XP

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Messenger in Windows 7

 

3. Windows Live Writer  This program I have been getting to know.  It is a tool used to write blogs and it does a great job.  It has almost any feature you can want in a small word processing program that is ready with the tools for modern blogging.  The new version picks up the Ribbon interface making it work like Word 2007 or 2010.  It works with most blogging sites including WordPress.  It is also available for Windows 7 and Vista and you can read more information and download it from here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer and for XP users the older version is available here at http://explore.live.com/windows-live-writer-xp

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

The New Windows Live Writer in Windows 7

Games

1. Carioca Rummy  This is a form of contact rummy that is addicting to play, very addicting.  It is from Chile and is very fun to play.  It is available for Windows 7, Vista, and XP.  You can get it from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9F295184-A788-49D6-8C7A-966B72C014F7&displaylang=en

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

Carioca Rummy in Windows 7

 

Come back for more Power Toys and Ultimate Extras soon.

For Non-Microsoft Utilities check out Part 2.

For Utilities from Microsoft check out Part 3.

Attention Students, Get Windows 7, Office 2010 for an amazing Deal, This is official from Microsoft

Yes, Students, that is right, Microsoft is giving you a break, and it’s so good I have to tell you about it.  I have already taken advantage of this.  This is an amazing offer from Microsoft and it is limited. You can get Windows 7 for $30!!! Yes, you can order now and upgrade to a real operating system that will get you through college. This is good for Windows 7 Professional.   This offer can end at any time Microsoft deems fit so take advantage. Just go down to where it says other student offers from Microsoft.  You will need a valid .edu email address.  Check it out at http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/default.aspx

Microsoft Student Offer for Windows 7 Professional

Microsoft Student Offer for Windows 7 Professional

To see if your computer supports the 64-bit version of Windows go to    on the page click on download and then click on run.  No installation is required. Feel free to read the page as there is some good information on there.  I have run SecureAble myself many times and it will not harm a thing and does not contain viruses or spyware.  Below is the screen from my old laptop.  http://www.grc.com/securable.htm

SecureAble tells you the information you need to know before upgrading Windows

SecureAble tells you the information you need to know before upgrading Windows

You can also get Office 2010 Professional for $80 as well.  You can buy now and get every Office tool you need to succeed.  Microsoft Office is the standard for creating documents.  Again this offer can end at any time so check it out and take advantage of it.  You can check it out at the same website  http://www.microsoft.com/student/office/en-us/default.aspx

Microsoft Student Offer for Office 2010

Microsoft Student Offer for Office 2010

Hey, I say do yourself a favor and check these offers out if you are a student.  Get the software you need to do well in school.  And save some money in the process, remember school starts soon so maybe now is the time to update your computer.

Also if you’re on the go check out the new Office 2010 Web Apps, you can read more here

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Applications, Goodbye Google Docs

Microsoft Office has been the standard in creating office documents and organizing them for many years.  Google did release an online document editing software for free but it lacked many features, did not have good spell check, and ignored many formatting elements of documents you had created in other software.  In short, Google Docs was not very compatible with Microsoft Office; the standard.

With Office 2010, Microsoft has released an online version of Office for Free!  These Office web apps are great for doing quick editing and creating documents on the go or away from home or the office.

There are two ways of accessing the Office web apps, first if you already have a Hotmail email address (or Live, or MSN, or any other Windows Live ID) then you can already access them, just sign into you email and you will see Windows Live in the upper left-hand corner of the webpage.  Just click on that.

Hotmail interface showing Windows Live link in the upper left hand corner

Hotmail interface showing Windows Live link in the upper left-hand corner

 

Once you have clicked on that it will take you to the Windows Live home page, from there go to the top of the page and put the mouse pointer on Office and a menu will appear.  (if you click on Office it will take you to the Office Web Apps home page which I will show later)

Windows Live home page showing Office menu

Windows Live home page showing Office menu

 

Now you can select a few different options and web apps, such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and One Note, or go to you documents stored in Windows Live Sky Drive. Once you click on an app, you will have to create a document name, if you want to open an existing document open the one you want from your Sky Drive.   Below is what the Word app looks like

Microsoft Office 2010 Word Web App

Microsoft Office 2010 Word Web App

 

You can see the now familiar Tab and Ribbon user interface.  It does not have as many options as the real version of Office but it is great and handy for quick editing or creating that document on the go.

Now if you do not have a Hotmail you can get access to the Web Apps directly by going to www.office.live.com

Windows Live login for Office Web Apps

Windows Live login for Office Web Apps

 

You can use an existing Windows Live ID or create a new one.  Once logged in it will take you directly to the Office Web Apps home page.

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps home page

Microsoft Office 2010 Web Apps home page

 

This new tool from Microsoft will no doubt be a big help for those that use Office every day or for people who can not afford Office but need to create a document.  I know I will be using it a lot going forward.

Also, students can take part of the student offer from Microsoft for Office 2010 Professional Academic and Windows 7 Professional, you can read more here

Get a @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @outlook.com email address

Microsoft Hotmail has been a great webmail provider for many years, but did you know you do not have to have the basic @hotmail.com, in fact, you can get both @live.com and the new @outlook.com.  I will show you how.

First I must say I have had Hotmail, Yahoo Mail, AOL Mail, and Gmail over the years and Microsoft’s new Outlook.com is my favorite.  It is full-featured, easy to use, and looks great.

Now getting an @hotmail.com, @live.com, or @outlook.com is easy just go the Microsoft Account Sign Up Page and sign up normally but when you get down to where you need to type in the Hotmail address you want you will see that to the right is a drop down menu (shown below) that says outlook.com, click on it and you will see Live.com and Hotmail.com instead.  Simply choose the one you want Hotmail, Live, or Outlook, and finish the sign-up form.

 

But what about @msn.com well there was a different form but as of now the page is no longer active.  Looks like we can not sign up for new @msn.com email addresses anymore which is fine since we can sign up for @outlook.com, @Hotmail.com, or @live.com.  Below is a picture of the old @msn.com sign up page.

The Sign up for @msn.com email address

The Sign up for @msn.com email address

I think the @outlook.com email address looks more professional given the long history of the Outlook software with email.  I have changed my professional email addresses to Outlook.com.  I hope you find the email address you are looking for, I know I have.