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.

Fix Microsoft Flight Similuator X Graphic Glitches

If you have spent any time with Microsoft Flight Simulator X you know two things.  One it is just awesome to play and very real.  Two it really taxes a system.  I recently bought a new computer for my Dad who loves this game, and the computer helped a lot but it still had issues with the graphics glitching when you turn.  So we bought a nice graphic card, Nvidia Geforce GTS 250.  The video card has a gig of ram.  I thought this would take care of it, nope.  So I got to looking and researching.  Here is the simple way to instantly improve this game.  Instantly and for cheap.

First If you are looking to buy this game get the Gold Edition, it has the fixes and the Acceleration Expansion pack.

Second, if you want to add some fun to the game then just buy and install the Acceleration Expansion Pack as it has the fixes to the game as well.

If you do not want to buy anything and just want to update the game here is what to do.  Fist install Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X you can download it from http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/downloads/Pages/FlightSimulatorXServicePack1.aspx

You Must install Service Pack 1 first (Do not install if you have installed the Acceleration Expansion pack or if you have MFS X Gold)

Then download and install Service Pack 2 for Microsoft Flight Simulator X from here http://www.microsoft.com/Products/Games/FSInsider/downloads/Pages/FlightSimulatorXServicePack2.aspx

You must have installed Service Pack 1 first and again (Do not install if you have installed the Acceleration Expansion pack or if you have MFS X Gold)

Now the game should run better and have some enhancements, especially if you have a Direct X 10 capable graphic card.

There are other things you can do, once Flight Simulator is open click on Settings and then click on the Customize  button under Display Settings.

Here you can change the frames per second which will help smooth the video out.  I suggest putting it at 30 as this is about what the human eye can see anyway.  Feel free to move it around and test it for best results.

Advanced Space Settings in Flight Simulator

Advanced Graphic Settings in Flight Simulator

 

Also, there is a PDF document on Microsoft’s site that has some good info check it out here at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=199a2ddd-4be1-493b-96d8-b9c7d395ffe1

I hope this helps.