Windows 8 ‘Issues Report’

We’ve tested Windows 8 and talked with a number of clients about the OS from Microsoft. Some of them have returned Windows 8-loaded computers because it’s too much of a change. We’re still concerned about hardware interfaces. Here’s what we’ve found so far.

Humans are creatures of habit, especially when using their computers. Pressured to be productive, we really don’t like being moved away from processes we know and follow as second nature. Sure, some of us like the “latest and greatest” in technology, but Windows 8 isn’t great for a lot of users.

The key issue is the look and feel. The new OS looks and feels like a tablet, and Microsoft’s strategy is to “tabletize” desktop and laptop computers to be like tablets and smartphones. That should make it easier for users to operate Windows-based computers and devices. It may happen over time, but not now.

Long-time Windows users have grown accustomed to trays along the bottom of their desktop that allow them to launch commonly used programs or applications. They can also click on the Start button to see and launch all programs, reboot (or restart or shutdown) their computer, open the control panel and access any function.

All of this functionality is not so easy to find with Windows 8. You need to press the “flag” key – the key between the Ctrl and Alt keys – to access the Start menu. The functionality is there but not in the place most users expect to find it. It’s just not the way most people want to work.

Hardware compatibility is another issue. Using the full version of Windows 8 requires a touchscreen monitor. That’s OK if you’re getting all new systems. But if you have a fairly new monitor that’s not a touchscreen, are you willing to spend money now to replace a perfectly serviceable peripheral? We doubt it.

We believe Windows 7 still has a lot of life. If you are in the market for a new Windows-based computer, we can help you get the Windows 7 OS and support it for you. We also support Windows XP. Microsoft will end its support of XP in 2014, but we’ll be able to help you with work-arounds and other steps to keep you going. By the time XP’s useful life ends for you, we’re betting Microsoft will have its next operating system on the market, resolving those Windows 8 issues.

Need help? We do Windows. Just call us at 973-433-6676 or email us with your questions or problems. We’ll clean them up – streak-free.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.

Smartphone and Tablet Battery Life

Does it seem like you’re always recharging your smartphone or tablet? Is performance slow? Leaving apps running drains power and computing resources. Here’s how you shut down and reboot your device.

On an iPhone or iPad, simply double-click the Home button at the bottom of your phone or tablet. Every application that’s open will be displayed on a new tray across the bottom. If you’ve never closed apps before, then every one of them will be displayed down there. Don’t be alarmed if you need to swipe across the bottom to see them all.

If you hold a finger on any of them, a red circle with a minus sign will appear on all. Hold your finger on the minus sign, and the icon for the app will disappear. That means it’s closed. Hold your finger on the icon for any app you want to close and do them one-at-a-time. Once they’re closed, they won’t drain any power or use any your device’s computing power. It’s a good idea to do this every night.

You can delete downloaded apps from your wallpaper by holding your finger on any app. This time, you’ll see a black circle with an X. Press the X on the app you want to delete, and it’s gone.

You can reboot your device by powering it off and turning it back on. Just letting the screen go blank won’t do it. To power off your device, hold the power/sleep button down until the red power-off slider appears. Slide it to the end, and the device will power off.

While we focused on iPhones and iPads for this article, your Droid and Windows-based device operate essentially the same way.

By the way, closing down unused programs or apps on your computer will save battery power if you’re not plugged into an electrical outlet. It will also free more RAM and keep your computer running faster, regardless of whether you’re running on battery or electricity.

If you have any questions about what you can safely shut down or delete on your device or computer, give us a call at 973-433-6676 or email us. We can review what’s on your device or computer and help you decide what to do.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.

What the WWW? Why Can’t I Get to This Website?

It seems like such a little thing, but it’s a major annoyance if not a business-loser when you or your customers and clients can’t connect to a website. Sometimes, it’s a typo. Sometimes it’s just how you type in the website’s address.

Here’s how to make sure you connect. It’s really very simple: Pay attention to the website address you’re given. There are times to type “www,” and there are times not to. The most common misconnections occur when checking email over the Internet. Most people routinely type “” and get an error message or get directed to some web page they don’t want.

There’s a technical reason for this, but the simple explanation is that it’s all in the coding for the location on the Internet. Here are some things you should be aware of both as a website visitor or as a business owner who is having a website built.

As someone who’s going to a website, make sure you type the address as instructed. If you’re instructed to type in the “www” prefix, do it. Browsers will use your browsing history to connect you without typing in the full address later, but on the first visit, follow instructions. If you are given specific instructions NOT to type in www, don’t type it. It’s a reflex for most of us, so take a second look. It’s one of the most common mistakes for not connecting to webmail sites. Some ISPs or browsers may offer some suggestions and ask you which website or address you trying to reach.

And while we’re talking about visiting websites, make sure you type in the web address in your browser’s address bar. Search-engine providers, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing all have search bars that sit near the address bar. If you type in a web address in a search bar, you’ll go to a search page.

If you are building a website or having it done for you, make sure you or your web builder codes your address as a c-name record. Again, it’s technical, but a c-name record will enable people to type in your domain name without the www, and that will help make sure customers, clients and prospects connect with you.

Dare we say it, connecting is critical. You don’t want a customer, client or prospect to get inconvenienced or not contact you at all. Just remember to tell your web builder to code your site so it can be accessed more easily.

If you have any concerns about coding for easier connectivity or need help in talking to your web builder, talk to us. Our phone line – 973-433-6676 – is always available, and we respond to email.

This article was published in Technology Update, the monthly newsletter from Sterling Rose LLC.