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29 thoughts I had while trying to set up a new Windows 8.1 machine

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Everyone has their Achilles heel of technology, and although I've been very familiar with the Windows operating system until now, Windows 8 machines are far too stressful for me to get my head around. Here are 29 thoughts I had during my most recent attempt at setting up a new Windows 8.1 machine: 

1. So many terms and conditions 

2. Scroll through...

3. So many! 

4. But it's ok, because I get to customise with a pretty colour.


5. Not very business-like, but let's go for PURPLE. 


6. What, I need a Microsoft account to use a computer now? 

7. Maybe I can skip it... 

8. No, no I can't. 

9. Two factor authentication takes such a long time!

10. At least it's keeping me safe. 

11. Wow, it's taking a long time to set up!

12. I wonder if it's frozen? 

13. Have I broken it? 

14. It says don't turn off... 

15. "Almost ready"


16. Really? 


17. You've been saying that for 5 minutes now.

18. I've broken it and I've not even done anything yet.


19. Finally the desktop! 

20. The panels are sort of cool

21. I like how some of them update in real time. 

22. Why does anything I try to open go straight to classic view? 

23. What's the point of the panel view if that's just going to happen? 

24. I keep forgetting Windows button doesn't do Windows button things anymore...

25. How do I find the settings? Where's the control panel?

26. This operating system doesn't know what it wants to be.

27. How do I get to my documents? Where are those guys hiding?

28. How do I use this app store, where are the things I need?

29. Never mind, I'll do it on my phone.

CES 2015: First look at the HP Sprout

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The new HP Sprout is a Windows 8.1 based PC with built in 2D and 3D scanner, and it is amazing!

The sprout features an overhead scanner, a multi-touch flat pad on the bottom and an HD 23 inch monitor in the middle to eliminate keyboard and mouse use.


The overhead scanner includes 14.6 megapixel high-res camera as well as Intel RealSense technology to allow 3D scanning.

The user can place items on the 20-point trackpad and 3D scan them for use on the PC for various purposes such as visual design and 3D printing.

On display with the Sprout were several 3D printed items including a functional chainlink capable of lifting a significant weight, printed in around 30 minutes. This really shows the possibilities of 3D printing not just for rapid prototyping, but also for fast manufacturing.

Both the monitor and trackpad are touch-enabled, so 3D items on-screen can be manipulated using the hands, and navigation is fast and simple.


The PC features 8GB of expandable memory, and a 1TB hard drive, and of course has a 4th generation Intel Core i7-57905 processor for speed.

I have to admit this device is very fun to use. Being able to scan-in already existing objects and then change them on-screen to have different dimensions and colours, or use the image in the design for a poster was really cool. 

Gadget show live 2014 hands on: Toshiba Encore tablet and Toshiba Kira Ultrabook

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With Windows XP reaching the end of its days, a lot of people are considering moving onwards and upwards. We've reviewed devices running Windows 8.1 before, such as the Dell Venue 8 Pro tablet, and once you get used to it, it's a simple and easy operating system to use.

These Toshiba products, namely the Toshiba Kira Ultrabook and the Toshiba Encore tablet, use the Windows 8.1 operating system, and are designed to be highly portable for people on the go.

The Encore, although not brand new, is extremely light and stylish. The screen is only 8 inches, which seems the standard in the current tablet market. Although it is smaller than some other tablets, for example the iPad Air or Sony Xperia, is still too big to comfortably use with one hand.


What really makes this particular device stand out amongst others is the amount of connectivity options it has available. The device has a micro HDMI port, which would prove handy for presentations or just for watching videos on a larger screen. It also has a Micro SD slot, and a micro-USB port for quick transfer of data.


The Encore also comes with Office 365 built in as standard, so all of the applications needed for work can be used as normal. The only downside is that the battery life is only up to 7 hours, but the tablet features 'InstantGo' in order to lower power consumption to combat this.

The Toshiba Kira Ultrabook is one of the newer products in the Toshiba range, featuring Windows 8.1 Pro and a 13.3 inch 2560 x 1440 PixelPure display.

The display fits in 221 pixels per inch, which is 90% more pixels than a normal HD display, and it definitely shows.


It's extremely thin and light, and wouldn't be out of place on a train, plane or just at home if you were hoping to get some work done away from the office.

As well as being portable, this laptop is designed to be durable, with a honeycomb structured chassis to make it more sturdy.  


The battery life can last up to 91 hours, so there are no worries about taking this laptop out and about, and with added extras to increase usability such as a backlit keyboard, Harman Kardon speakers and a 10 finger touch-screen display, it seems like the perfect device for a mobile worker. 

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Huddle for Office - A new integrated experience

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It has been a busy year for Huddle, with its launch of the Huddle Note app for collaborative file sharing and its partnership with Tibbr for file sharing in the cloud.

Now, Huddle has announced that it is integrating with Microsoft Office to allow employees to collaborate on documents in the Huddle secure cloud via Microsoft Office applications.

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Users will be able to save their work directly into their Huddle accounts through Microsoft Office, and Office documents such as Powerpoints, Word documents and Excel files will have the Huddle comments stream alongside it to allow users to interact and collaborate on work.

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Huddle believes the next step for business is to move into the cloud, and provides content collaboration platforms for enterprises and governments.

Huddle for Office integration will allow users to save documents directly to the Huddle cloud, comment on files directly from Office applications, view recent files instantly and track changes, comments and updates via Huddle's full audit trail.

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Alastair Mitchell, Huddle CEO, said: "Skipping between the applications on your desktop and cloud service to share information and discuss files with people is time-consuming and disrupts your workflow. With Huddle for Office, you can continue working in the desktop tools you're used to, but all of your feedback, files and updates are stored and shared in Huddle's secure cloud.

Huddle's Office integration is available now. 

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CES 2014: Panasonic announce new Toughpad FZ-M1

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Panasonic's range of rugged devices has always been at the forefront of portable technology for rougher working environments, and it looks like the new Toughpad will be no different.

Toughpads have previously come in a range of sizes, including  7-inch, 10-inch and a massive 20-inch. The new Toughpad is a 7-inch model designed to be easily portable for people working in industries such as transport, retail and emergency services. With a 4th generation Intel Core i5 vPro processor, this fanless tablet is designed to provide high performance with low heat generation and power consumption.

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The Toughpad FZ-M1 weighs 540g and the strengthened glass houses an LCD touch screen with an anti-reflection layer to allow working inside and out. The touchscreen can also process up to ten finger touches at once. With optional business expansion models including NFC, smartcard reader and battery hotswap capabilities alongside the standard USB 3.0, headset and microSIM, the tablet can be adapted to suit the industry it is needed in. 

And now for the justification for its "tough" label: the tablet can be dropped from 5ft, heated to 50°C, cooled to -10°C and is dust and water resistant. It might not be massively pretty, but it does what it says on the tin.


Resolution: 1280x800

OS: Windows 8.1 Pro (Windows 7 version available)

Processor: 4th generation Intel Core i5 vPro

Memory: 4GB (8GB optional)

Dimensions: 7-inch tablet, 18mm depth

The Toughpad FZ-M1 is due to become available in February 2014 for a starting price of £1,183.

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Nokia announces five new phones and a Windows tablet

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Today at the Nokia World event in Abu Dhabi, Nokia announced its new range of products, including three new members of the Asha family, two new Lumia "phablets" and a Windows tablet. Although the new phones have different screens and cameras to the previous models, not a lot has changed. 

Lumia 2520 Windows Tablet

The new Lumia 2520 is the first Windows tablet developed by Nokia, and it promises to work anywhere and offer the best indoor and outdoor readability on its 10.1 inch HD display.
As usual with the Lumia series, it's available in a range of colours including black, white, turquoise and red. Admittedly the Windows Surface also comes in different colours, but somehow this tablet looks sleeker; a cross between a Surface and an iPad for those who like to sit on the fence. 

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The camera is 6.7 megapixels (MP), which seems like nothing next to the 41MP of the Nokia Lumia 1020 smartphone or even the 20MP of the new Lumia 1520. Some may argue that a camera isn't the main focus for a tablet, but when there's a phablet on offer from the same company that also offers a more powerful camera, which would you go for? 

It also has 4G LTE and Wi-Fi, as well as the ability to fast-charge, which might come in handy in the morning when you've forgotten to plug it in the night before. 

Lumia 1520 and 1320

The massive six-inch screen on these new smartphone tablets allows an extra column of icons to appear on the home screen, filling the navigation up with even more confusing imagery. The Windows Phone dashboard has always been a complicated mesh of colours, so nothing is different there. 

The high-end 1520 comes in yellow, white, black or glossy red, and has a 20MP camera with optical image stabilisation, which promises to produce sharp quality images even in the dark. It also has a 1080p full HD display to make it easier to read when you're out and about.

It has four built-in microphones for use with Nokia Rich Recording for better audio on video capture, as well as Microsoft Office. The downside though, is it's estimated to set you back $749.


The lower-end model Lumia 1320 is estimated to cost around $339, but does have a lower resolution screen at 720p, as well as a smaller 5MP camera. However, it claims to be better in a business environment, including built-in Microsoft Office and applications such as Microsoft Exchange and Lync. 


Available in orange, yellow, white and black, it still feels and looks like a Lumia, without the outrageous price tag. 

Asha 500, 502 and 503

The Nokia Asha family has been designed to offer a smartphone experience at a lower price. Perhaps the most innovative feature of these phones is the ability to use and swap between multiple SIM cards to allow the best tariff, meaning you could use one SIM for calling and one for data. 

The Asha 500 has a small 2.8-inch screen and a 2MP camera. Designed to be a cheap smartphone, it's estimated to be available for $69 in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. 

The Asha 502 is slightly bigger with a 3-inch screen and a 5MP camera to match the Lumia 1320. With a starting price of $89 in Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East, it offers a slightly better experience than the 500, with only a small increase on the price. 


Finally the Asha 503 also has a 3-inch screen and 5MP camera, but with 3.5G connectivity and Corning Gorilla Glass 2, it's a step up from the other Asha models. It's estimated at $99 in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle-East.

The announcement of these new Nokia products comes just ahead of Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone business. 

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Fujitsu's additions to its E Line

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Fujitsu has launched three business-ready laptops in their mid-high range E Line.


The 13, 14 and 16-inch notebooks are from first impressions feel streamlined, and include a Fujitsu red accent to its brushed steel-effect shell which adds a nice touch to a corporate device.


The products come out of the box with a Windows 7 license as well as a Windows 8 license ready to be installed when your company is.

This is because Fujitsu are seeing a major move from XP toe Windows 7 in the business world, as businesses prepare to see the end of XP support in Spring 2014. But in the tablet space, Fujitsu are seeing the larger leap from XP to Windows 8.


The clever bit about these notebooks is their modular bays, which allows corporations to buy added extras that can be attached to the device. Items like a second battery which extends life from 13 hours to 19, or a bay projector, second hard drive or a DVD drive. Businesses wouldn't need to buy one of these per device, but a sample number of the accessories could be bought and they could be loan out to employees as and when, saving costs.

Weighing under 2kg (the 13 and 14-inch 1.7kg) the E Line is built for the typical mobile workforce.

The devices begin at £860 + VAT for the entry level 13-inch. But the notebooks are built to order and can make their way up to £1,294 + VAT for the core i7 16-inch edition.

One docking station fits all of the E Line range, and during August the company is offering one free of charge with all notebooks through its resellers (£80 RRP).

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Gadget Guide: Smartphones

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Computer Weekly's Gadget Guide on smartphones gives you a round up of all the latest smartphone news, previews, and reviews from Inspect-a-Gadget.

If you're researching the wide range of smartphones in the market head over to our guide for the low-down on the devices you just can't live your life without. 

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The Gadget Show Live HANDS ON: Microsoft 3D scanning

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Now this was by far the coolest gadget I saw at The Gadget Show Live this week: Microsoft's Kinect for Windows software development kit, Kinect Fusion.

After all the (well-deserved) hype over 3D printers, I was seriously impressed to have a play with a 3D scanner which used only a Windows PC Kinect and this free developer software.

The software works by taking multiple images and fusing them together to create a 3D scan. It is still in beta developer mode, so can be subject to glitches, but it's a great way to allow people to have a go with this technology.  


I got my head and shoulders scanned by the Kinect and the next moment it turned up on the screen in front of me. It took a while to get it right, as it seemed a bit sensitive as I twirled around on the spot many many times. But finally I saw a morphed version of myself on the screen. This image can then be manipulated in 3D on the computer and sent through to 3D printer to print out. While the scanning process took only a few seconds, once we got the technique right, the printing takes an hour or so to print a miniature head - sadly I wasn't allowed to have a mini-me printed out.

In order to show you how this worked, I asked an unsuspecting, yet curious, passer-by to give it a go so I could film the process:

Take one regular Gadget Show visitor:


The finished result:


Next step is to print it out:


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Review: gDoc Binder

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I first came across gDoc Binder at CES on a table Windows PC. The software enables you to digitally create a ring binder of documents, which can be formatted and organised as you would with a real-life ring binder. The table PC showing off the product in Las Vegas really helped demonstrate the ingenius user experience of the product, you could swipe through pages just as we are now used to when reading books on tablets.

gDoc binder officially launched on the 5th of March, and I've been playing around with a copy for a couple of weeks now. I've been trying out the traditional desktop experience. The instruction manual (which is a gDoc) was really useful in setting up, but it was really easy to get going.  You start off with a template, choose how many tab dividers you want and create.


You "open" the binder by clicking on the cover once, and it opens to reveal a traditional looking ring binder along with a table of contents. Now this is where I began question the desktop user experience opposed to the tablet - the way the binder opens and pages turn is a little clunky on the desktop and also to mention that the graphics are a little Windows 95 for me.


The good thing is that it supports over 32 different file formats, including PDF and word documents. I found that inserting files took a little while to load, but once it got passed the first couple of documents, it sped up. You can also drag and drop documents as well as multiple files, but it did have a little trouble with over ten documents.

The table of contents also automatically updates with the file names of the documents you insert.

I found the tablet view quite intuitive, being able to drag it into different positions and angles, and it also demonstrated to me again how I think this works much better as a tablet application. It currently exists as a Windows 7 and 8 PC and tablet application, with other operating system applications hopefully in the pipeline,



You can also create documents within your ring binder using the gDoc software - but for myself this wasn't particularly useful as I could just as easily import my word documents. You can share the binder in an email in a XPS document

The company recently won a KnowList Award for the professional service industry in the Technology Innovation category. The award was granted to the developer version of the software which allows IT departments and consultants to customize the software for clients, such as adding connectors into existing document management systems.

During the awards it was noted that the judging panel felt that gDoc provided a "tangible benefit" to the legal profession in managing their documents. By using a familiar and natural concept, users found that it saved time when producing closing bibles and court bundles.

"gDoc Binder makes it easy to review and track an entire matter in a completely natural way because it is based on the familiar paper binder concept that has worked in the legal sector for centuries. I've been looking for an electronic file that you can flick through and mark up for years but there's been nothing available until now," said Robert Cohen, IT Director at City firm Speechly Bircham.

When you consider companies who have to import hundreds of documents this would save time and space. And just think at the end of the day, how much physical shelving space you are saving.

It would just be nice to soon see the enterprise benefitting from the same graphics quality as consumers are now used to, because at the end of the day, there is a continuous cross over in expectation.

The company is offering the software for $10 which gives you the ability to create 10 binders. Available to buy from the gDoc Store and Amazon.

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This page is an archive of recent entries in the Windows category.

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