Microsoft Surface Fits Where?

Surface

I was handed a Microsoft Surface at work and asked to find out where or how it would fit into our daily workflow. We now have multiple devices for every employee. So where will this device fit in and just how good is it? I have been using an iPad as my tablet for years and I make it work with apps that I use day to day. I can say with the Surface being a Windows device it makes more sense in business that is a Microsoft shop such as we are. The screen size seems a little larger than the iPad which is nice. And the keyboard is attached even with a magnet that is better than the one I carry around with the iPad. It is also nice that I can connect the Surface to the same docking system we are using for our Windows laptops. I might have to give that more of a try and make sure everything works. I did just notice that I need to find a way to turn off the trackpad when using a mouse?

As you might have guessed I am writing this posting using the Surface and I find the keyboard is not bad. It has a little spring action on this model but I think this model is a few years older but still working well. I did upgrade it to Windows 1903 and everything seems to be working well. I think with a little practice I can get used to the keyboard. I just got the touchpad turned off when the mouse is connected. Progress is a good thing.

I will give you more updates as I become more aware of how this device works with our office workflows and do some more testing with this device.

Posted in Computers, EducationTech, Gadgets, Reviews, Software, Surface, Tablets, Technology, Thoughts, Windows | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Will Google and Chromebooks Replace PC’s

Chomebooks

I was walking through Wal-Mart the other day and seen this rather large display of Chromebooks. If you don’t know what a Chromebook is or how they work I will give you a little insight.

A Chromebook runs the lite version of a FREE operating system. When you open the Chromebook it will turn on and be ready in seconds. You log into the Chromebook with a Google account or just think of this as your Gmail account. So this is not Windows or an Apple Mac. It is a Chromebook. With the Chromebook, almost everything you do will be online. This means you will work on documents or spreadsheets on a browser.

I often get asked the question. Can you install Windows games on the Chromebook? The simple answer is NO! But you can play thousands of online games. The next question. Can you install any programs on the Chromebook? Well, the good news is YES! A few years ago Google opened up the Play Store on the Chromebook and now you can install Android Apps on the Chromebook.

So your last question would be why would I buy a Chromebook? This question is easy. If you don’t need large powerful Windows programs or some program that runs on a Mac then the Chromebook can be for you. If you never want your computer to slow down again and never get a virus or pay for anti-virus than the Chromebook is for you. If you would like to pay as little as $150.00 for a laptop that will last you for years then the Chromebook is for you!

My final thought is that you can even now use Microsoft Office Online. Of course, you need a paid subscription but it works well. I need to look into buying another Chromebook for myself. Since I am not working in schools at this point I don’t get to get my hands on them enough.

Posted in Andriod, Chromebooks, Cloud Storage, Computers, Gadgets, Google Apps, Office 365, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Reset Windows 10 Computers

You might ask why would I want to reset my computer? Or if you reset will you lose all of your files? Let’s first talk about why you would want to reset your computer or better yet Windows 10. From time to time many people say their computer is running slow. It must be getting too old? Well, the truth is that your computer is just getting bogged down with to much junk over time. If you do a full system reset you will find your computer will run like it came out of the box. The second question is will you lose all of your files? The answer is NO! When you go to do this system reset simply select the option that will save all of your files. The best way to do a system reset is to back all of your files up either on an external hard drive or a flash drive or better yet cloud storage. Next, perform a full system reset and remove all old files this will make for a cleaner running system.

So how can we do this you might be asking? It is very simple to perform a system reset. First, click on the Start Button and in the search box type Reset and click on the top result. It should look like this.

Search ResetOnce you open the System Reset select which one you wish to perform. You will get a couple warning messages just keep clicking OK. The system will begin to reset. This will install a fresh copy of Windows 10 onto the machine.

System ResetOnce your computer is done cleaning up files and removing anything it does not need the computer will reboot and you will see this screen. Just keep the computer plugged in and leave it until it returns to the setup screen. Resetting

The computer has been fully reset when you come up to this final window and begin the post set up phase.Post Setup

 

 

 

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New Snip & Sketch Windows Tool

If you have been keeping up with your Windows updates then you have the new Snip & Sketch Tool. This tool replaces or for now sits with the on Snipping Tool in Windows 10. When I first started checking this new tool out I felt it was over blotted until I started using it. Now it is easy to make a new snip. Hold down the Windows Key, Shift and then hit S. A box will appear at the top of the screen. You will notice that your cursor will change to a crosshair. You just drag your mouse across what you want to snip.  Once you complete your snip you will see this box appear. Now, this is where the magic happens.

SnipandSketch

You can mark up your snip with the tools at the top of the program.

Marking Up

You can also click the pull-down menu on the RIGHT to share you snip in many different ways.

Sharing Snips

You can still just click on the menu bar for copy and paste the snip into an email or a web page. This new program is worth a look and once you start looking at it and using it you will do like I did make it your default.

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Compare before you buy Audio Books

I have been receiving emails for a few weeks now with this great offer for low-cost audiobooks. I am sure I have been receiving these ads because I have been looking into finding some audiobooks to listen to during the day when I am working in the office. I received an ad for this great new low-cost audiobook service called “Chirp”. Once you sign up you will get many ads in your email with book deals of the day. I can say that most of them look really good from .99 up to $2.99. But when I went to look for authors I read I was LET DOWN! I see now how they offer low prices on books you never heard of it is because the books you want they double the price then try to make you believe it is 10% cheaper than other sites. BEWARE!

Here is one example and I have found more. This is an author I have been reading for years JA Jance. I searched and was happy to find her audiobook on their site. But then I jumped to Amazon to compare the prices and well you can see the results below. Shop around before you buy.

Chirps

Now have a look at Amazon’s price for the same audiobook.

Amazon

I still might use them to listen to authors I have never heard of? But when you want to read something or hear it from a known author shop around.

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Update Windows 10 Before November

1803 Warning

I was working with my home laptop this morning and this message popped up in the lower right of my screen. This is Microsoft giving you time to update your computer. Microsoft will no longer support Windows 10 1803. What is 1803? This is a build version. Windows will always be called Windows 10 at this point but there will always be updated builds.

So how do you see which build or version you have on your computer? Right-click on your start button and left-click on system.

Right Click

Once the System panel opens up scroll down and look for Windows Specs and you will see the version.

System

If you are using 1803 or anything earlier I would suggest you update your computer now. Always make sure you keep up on the updates to ensure you are always getting the current security updates.

Posted in Computers, EducationTech, Security, Technology, Windows | Leave a comment

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Windows 10 20H1 Preview

Today I have begun to test the newest Windows 10 20H1 Preview release of Windows 10.

The first error I found was when I was creating the bootable USB from the ISO I downloaded from Microsoft. I used the recommended settings on Rufus and created a Partition scheme as GPT and a Target system UEFI. When I tried to boot onto my 8-year-old test laptop is would not boot legacy I had to make some changes. I had to recreate my bootable USB to Partition scheme (MBR) and the Target system (BIOS). Once these changes were made the OS installed fine on my test system.

SettingsI installed Windows 10 Pro and was impressed that the Start Menu was not cluttered with all of the junk any longer. In business, it takes us hours cleaning up all of the un-needed icons on the start menu. This will be a big-time saver.

New Start Cleaner

I did join the new release to the Domain and found it connected as normal and I had no issues pushing Group Policies to the new test machine. I will make notes as I continue to test the new Windows Release and see what new features I can find for you. I would suggest that you sign up for the FREE preview and begin testing the new releases also.

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Microsoft Office 365

Office365Online

Many people that I talk to think that Office 365 is only the online component of the Microsoft Office package. The truth is Office 365 is really a label for the subscription model of Microsoft Office. Once you pay for a yearly subscription you will not only receive the benefits of using Office Online you will also be able to download the full package of Office to install onto your computer. We refer to the installed package as the FAT client. Also with the subscription model you are licensed to install Office on five machines. You can even mix and match Windows and Mac. You can also log into the Office apps on your tablets.

Everyone remembers when you were working on an important document or maybe a presentation at your office desk and saving it to a flash drive to do some touch up at home. Once you get home and plug in the flash drive into your home computer you find it didn’t copy? With Office 365 this becomes a thing of the past. When you are logged into either the online version or the desktop client all of your work is saved onto the Microsoft Cloud. With this, you will never forget your work at the office or at home. Whenever you want to work on your projects just log into Office Online and pick up right where you left off.

I also enjoy using the Outlook Online. Once I set it up the way I want it to look with folders and contacts I can be anywhere and check my email without missing a beat. My last thought is when you were almost completed with that large power point for that important meeting in the morning and your computer crashes or freezes? Well, there goes hours of your hard work! This will not happen with Office 365 as you are working it is doing an autosave in the background. Even if your computer dies all you need to do is log onto another computer with Internet access and pick up where you left off.

Posted in Cloud Storage, Computers, Education, Office 365, Reviews, Software, Tablets, Technology, Thoughts | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Two Step Authentication Password Protection

Google

We all have them and we all use them every day in one way or another. We also trust the companies that we use them to keep our information hidden.  What are we talking about? Well Passwords of course. Let’s talk a minute about trusting the companies that you deal with to keep your information and passwords secure. Remember hearing about the Target Breach? So you say you don’t shop at Target or one of the many other retail chains that have been breached. Well, I know you use a password for your banking or even your email. How many people use the same password on every site they visit? If your user name and password gets picked up and put on a public list then you could stand to be hacked on any number of your accounts. Sound scary? Well, it should and you need to take steps to protect yourself.

Step up to what is known as Two Factor Authentication. You can use the FREE app on your smartphone shown above called Google Authenticator or there is one by Microsoft. The idea with these apps is once you turn on Two-Factor on the sites you visit whenever you log into the site it will show the message above. You then open the app on your phone and it will give you an ever-changing number that you enter to access your site. I have also found that if a site does not support this tool they will have a way that they will text you a number to enter to ensure that it is YOU trying to access your account.

I hear you now. This will take to much time to get into my accounts. Wonder if I don’t have my phone sitting next to me? How can I share my account with others NEVER DO THIS! The simple truth is this. We all take an extra minute to lock our house when we go to work and we all take the extra minute to lock our cars before walking away from them. Why not take an EXTRA SECOND to protect all of your ONLINE accounts?

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Upgrading Your Computer with an SSD Drive

SSD Drive

Upgrading a computer from the old spinning hard drives to a new SSD will make your computer faster. With no spinning disks, the computer will be able to seek your applications and data so much faster. I have also found that this will add new life to your computer and you will get a few more years out of an aging PC.

We have been seeing hard drive failures over the past few months. This makes sense because all of the computers were purchased around the same time. Replacing a drive is a simple process and you should also re-install everything onto the new drive. I never like cloning the drive because you will most likely be pulling over old information that was making your computer run slow in the first place.

One thing to look out for is the connectors for the hard drives. I hope by now that you have SATA cables in your computer. If you have the older cables you can buy adapters to convert the connectors to the new SATA style. Remember to check first before you buy your new SSD drives so you can order connectors if you need them. If you want to upgrade your computer and you are not sure how to do this please reach out to me and I will be able to help.

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