Windows 8

Windows 8: Beneficial Even Without a Touch Screen

Windows 8 Start Metro Screen

Windows 8 Start Screen With Metro Tiles

After a recent install of Windows 8, I found myself scratching my head wondering, “What did I just get talked into?”

While most upgrades require a little bit of relearning, particularly when it comes to new or updated features, it is obvious from the start that Windows 8 is drastically different and requires a learning curve. That’s because Windows 8 was built for tablets and touch screens, and how you use Windows is more like how you would use your smartphone and less like how you would use a traditional computer.

But when you don’t have any of the touch screen or tablet capabilities, such as with a traditional desktop or laptop, should you take the time to upgrade, knowing the learning curve will be steep?

For this computer

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user, the answer is a resounding yes. While I’ve only been using the new operating system for about a week now, there are several reasons why I already prefer it to the prior versions of Windows.

More Places to Go, More Things to Do

One of the biggest changes about Windows 8 is that it’s no longer desktop centered. Instead of logging in and going straight to your desktop, the first thing you see is now the Start screen – a screen with colorful, flashing live metro tiles begging for attention.

Click on any of the tiles, and the app opens up in full screen mode, a feature that is similar to today’s tablets. To flip between open apps, access the hidden menu by placing your cursor on the left corner of the screen and dragging down. This will show you any apps that are open and will allow you to jump from one to another as you work.

The result is that you feel like there are more places to go and more things to do on your computer than ever before, because you don’t have to access everything through the desktop. Of course, not all programs function like apps, and more traditional software will only open on the desktop for use, just like the traditional Windows you are accustomed to.

Take Advantage of Apps

Taking a hint from smart phones and mobile OS’s like iOS and Android, Microsoft now makes the Windows Store available to all users. Download apps, games, media and more,

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and make the most of your computing needs.

While Apps and the Windows Store may seem like a silly thing to be excited about on a desktop or laptop, it actually gives you more options and flexibility with your software and computing needs.

Makes Your Computer a Hybrid

Overall, Windows 8 does a great job of making computing “feel” more modern. That is, because of all the changes and features that are tablet driven, the new OS goes a long way to making your computer feel more like a mobile, touch screen device, even if it isn’t.

This can be good news to those longing for a tablet, especially if you’ve held off buying one because you are concerned about the cost or the ability to produce work on an actual tablet device. Windows 8 on a laptop or even a desktop alleviates these concerns because it allows you to still produce work like you’re used to, while also being able to take advantage of mobile features like Apps and being constantly connected to the Cloud.

Of course, these are just a few of my initial reactions to the new OS. There are many more reasons, including some good technical reasons, to upgrade to Windows 8. The more I use the operating system, the more I find I enjoy the extra usability the new features bring to the system.

If you are sitting there wondering if you should upgrade to Windows 8, don’t let the lack of a touch screen or other tablet features hold you back. You may just find that you are pleasantly surprised with all of the additions and extra features. (I know I was.)

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you figure out if the latest OS is right for you. Email:[email protected]. Website:

Best Tech Gifts for 2012

Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

With Christmas quickly approaching, you may be scratching your head wondering what to get for the tech-savvy people your life. But fret not, we’ve got you covered. Whether you’re purchasing a gift for a family member, a friend, or one of your employees, this list is sure to help you find the perfect gift for the techies in your life.

Berg Cloud Little Printer

The Berg Cloud Little Printer is a cute, cube-like printer that connects to the web, and automatically checks your news sources, social feeds, to do lists, and more, and prints them on a small receipt-sized paper, for you to digest at your leisure. Manage the printer’s feed schedule and more using your computer or smartphone.

Eye-Fi Memory Cards

The next generation of memory cards has finally arrived, and they come complete with wi-fi capabilities. What makes this memory card amazing

is that it can give any camera or digital device wireless capabilities, without having to upgrade the device. As long as the device takes memory cards, it can accept Eye-fi memory, allowing you to easily upgrade your devices to the wi-fi age, without a lot of hassle or expense.

Live Wires

Perfect for any music lover or cubicle dweller, these high tech ear bud head phones offer customer-fit, and noise canceling features. Developed by LiveWires these were created to bridge the gap between consumer level ear buds and high end musician in-ear monitors.

LiveScribe Echo Smartpen

More than just a writing device, the LiveScribe pen is a high tech echo smartpen that allows you record your written notes, audio, and more, together or separately. Once recorded, your information automatically transfers to your Evernote account wirelessly, so that your important notes are always synced to your account.

Logitech Washable Keyboard K310

The days of ruining keyboards are a think of the past with the Logitech Washable keyboard. The design includes drainage holes, to allow water to easily run off and evaporate, and was created to handle anything from a light dusting, to actual submersion into water.

Windows 8

The newest of the Windows operating systems, Windows 8 features touch screen capabilities, update menus and layout, and more. If you’re feeling really nice, make sure to purchase Windows 8 on a device with a touch screen, to give the ultimate tech gift.

Want to save a little money? You can get a voucher to purchase Windows 8 Pro for only $14.99, when you purchase any new computer between June 2, 2012 and January 31, 2013. You could always get yourself the new computer, leave it as is, and give the upgrade to your favorite tech.

Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you find cool new technology gadgets Email:[email protected]. Website: