Archive for October 2009

Gestures with Windows 7

I’m sure you Windows Vista users out there had several gestures you used when Vista let you down, but with Windows 7 gestures are more productive.

Gestures refer to mouse movements on your screen, and how they affect objects on the screen. Today’s video demonstrates the new windows minimization technique, and the “Aero Snap” gesture.

Minimize gesture: Windows 7, as other Windows versions before it, allowed you to minimize a window and hide it from view by clicking the minimize button on the top right of the window’s title bar, but now with Windows 7 you can grab the title bar of one window with you mouse, give it a shake, and the other windows on your screen will minimize.  So, instead of minimizing each window seperately, you just shake the window you want to keep on screen to hide the other windows.

Aero Snap: This gesture involves dragging a window toward the left or right edge of the screen, or towards the top of the screen. When you drag a window towards the left edge, the window will snap into place and cover the left half of the screen once the mouse arrow touches the edge of the screen. Similarly, dragging the mouse to the right edge will cause the window to fill the right half of the screen. This makes it very easy to organize your workspace. For example, you might be reading a web site on the left side, while taking notes in your word processor on the right side.

Dragging the window towards the top of the screen with your mouse will cause the window to maximize and fill the screen. The previous methods of double clicking the title bar or clicking the maximize button still apply. Similarly, you can restore a maximized window to a smaller size simply by dragging the title bar away from the top of the screen.

It’s nice to see that gesturing at your computer will actually have an effect, and it will probably help you fel better at the same time.

Windows 7 and ClearType

This is the second post in a series of articles about the new Windows 7 operating system from Microsoft. You can read the first post about installing Windows 7 here.

An interesting feature of Windows 7 is ClearType. ClearType was available for Vista, but it has some enhancements for Windows 7.

ClearType is a technology developed by Microsoft for sharpening the appearance of yext on the monitor’s screen. Earlier versions didn’t work on every monitor, but those problems have largely been cleared up by now. As a matter of fact, monitor manufacturers can even label their monitors with the “ClearType” logo to indicate that it works with ClearType technology.

With Windows 7 there is an option in the Display properties for adjusting ClearType text so that it appears clean and crisp on your screen. Or “as you like it.”

Adjusting ClearType text with Windows 7

  1. Click Start >> “Control Panel” >> “Appearance and Personalization”
  2. Under “Fonts”, click “Adjust ClearType text”
  3. The ClearType Text Tuner appears onscreen
  4. Make sure the checkbox for “Turn on ClearType text” is checked
  5. Click “Next”
  6. Windows 7 will make sure your monitor is set to its “native resolution” or “out of the box settings”. If the native resolution isn’t correct, you may need to check your monitor’s manual to reset it.
  7. Now, click on each sample of text shown that looks best to you. Click Next after each selection to proceed to the next step. There will be 4 sets of samples to compare.
  8. Lastly, click “Finish” and you’re done.

If you have two or more monitors on your computer, the process will repeat for each of your active monitors. This allows each monitor to have its own individual “best” settings.

I’ve Upgraded to Windows 7. No static at all

This is the first of a series of articles about the new Microsoft Windows 7 operating system which was released on Thursday, October 22, 2009.

windows-7Well, I ran out yesterday afternoon and picked up the Windows 7 Upgrade package from Costco. They had three or four different versions to choose from, from what I was told,and the pricing was fair for an upgrade. I had intended to shop around locally, but I was under the impression their price would be the best because they order in such large quantities.

The versions the had were Windows 7 Home Basic (Full or Upgrade), Windows 7 Home Premium (Full or Upgrade), and Windows 7 Professional (Full or Upgrade). I only saw the Upgrade editions, not the Full Installation versions. (This was fine becuase the Upgrade edition allows for a full install so long as XP or Vista is already installed on the system.) There was some confusions at the store because they hadn’t put out all their display boxes. Only Home Premium was on display, but I asked a salesperson for help, and got what I was looking for.

What was I looking for? I was looking for the Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium Family Pack Upgrade. The Family Pack allows you to install the software on three PCs. The price was only $125. I contacted a few relatives before hand and asked if they were interested in upgrading, and we decided to split the cost amongst ourselves. So it cost us a little over $45 each. Not bad. (Tigerdirect is selling the Family Pack for $149, but maybe you know someone who’d be interested in splitting the cost with you. Click the image at right for more info.)

Pre-Installation. Microsoft has received some flak regarding the necessity for backing up and erasing your existing system in order to install Windows 7, but I know many computer fanatics, myself included, who periodically eras their computer and reinstall their software. It’s a sort of overhaul and cleanup process. You could almost say I look forward to erasing my computer.

 

Windows 7 Boot Screen

Windows 7 Boot Screen

Installation.

To install on my system, I turned on the computer, which was currently running Windows Vista Ultimate, and once the computer had fully started, I inserted the Windows 7 DVD. They provided a 32 bit and a 64 bit version. Since I am using and Intel Core 2 Duo processor I used the 64 bit disc, but I could have used either one. (Though, since I was using a 64 bit Vista package, Microsoft recommends using the 64 bit Windows 7 disc.) If you’re not sure which one you need you can always run the Windows Advisor. It’s a free download from Microsoft.

Once I inserted the disc I cancelled the installation, and shut down the computer. I waited about 45 seconds, then turned the computer back on. When asked to “Press any key to boot from the CD” I tapped the space bar.

Here’s the only odd part of the installation. This may not occur on all systems. A prompt came up asking which boot method my CD/DVD drive used. The choices were “1” or “2” with no description. I took a guess and went with “1”, and it seems that worked out fine. It’s possible this question might not arise for everyone. I’ll let you know after I install on my dad’s PC next.

win7-default-desktop

Windows 7 Desktop

Beyond that the installation took about 30 minutes or more. I flipped though a copy of Windows 7 All-in-One For Dummies to pass the time. (Also available is a smaller book, Windows 7 For Dummies, and another edition that comes with a 2 hour DVD.)

Finally, I arrived at the Windows 7 desktop. It was nice and simple. Often when a new operating system is installed not all the software drivers for the computer’s hardware can be found. I went into the device manager to see how many drivers were missing, and was surprised and delighted to find that all the drivers had loaded. All my hardware was supported by Windows 7. I could remember on one Vista installation finding over a dozen missing drivers. (To check your results with Windows 7, click the Start pearl, then right click on “Computer” and choose “Properties”. Then click “Device Manager”. If you see any yellow question marks, then it means that some of your devices weren’t supported.)

Anyhow, I’ve been working on the Windows 7 for almost 6 hours straight without a single problem.  I’ve already found a lot to like, I’ll let you know if I find anything I don’t like too. Please share your experience or questions on the new system in the comments below.

Rating so far: Thumb’s UP!

Support Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Shop Pink Ribbon products from Buy.com!For the entire month of October, Buy.com has set up a special Breast Cancer Awareness Store. If you buy any of the 2 dozen or so products, a portion of the sale will go to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. I’ve highlighted a few items here from companies that are making the highest contributions. Additionally, Skylarking, Skylark Webworks and Skylark NetWorks will be donating 10% of its proceeds for October to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation at the end of the month. Click the links or the photos, and you’ll be taken to Buy.com’s Breast Cancer Awareness Store. The links also let them know you came from Skylarking.

Buy for the Cause! Shop for Pink Ribbon products from Buy.com’s Breast Cancer Awareness store! Expires 10/31/09

Verbatim 320GB USB Portable Hard Drive - Pink
Verbatim 320GB USB Portable Hard Drive – Pink
: $8 of each sale is going to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. This small lightwight portable hard drive holds more than some computers do, and its just a little bit bigger than your cellphone. Compatible with Mac OS 9.x, Mac OS x10.1 or higher, Windows 200, Windows XP, Windows Vista. With Nero Backitup 2 Essentials for Windows. It’s yours for only $81.24, and shipping is free.
New Era Anaheim Ducks Hockey Fights Cancer Women's Adjustable Hat
New Era Anaheim Ducks Hockey Fights Cancer Women’s Adjustable Hat
: 10% of the hat proceeds go towards Hockey Fights Cancer (HFC) and the National Hockey League (NHL) is matching 10%. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Hockey Fights Cancer, and this hat is officially licensed by the NHL. The hat is yours for only $15.59 including shipping.

eBags

All year round eBags contributes 10% of the retail sales price of qualifying products to the Denver affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.


Knomo Siena 15.4


Knomo Siena 15.4


Baekgaard Laptop Tote


Baekgaard Laptop Tote


Baekgaard Mini Notebook Checkbook Cover


Baekgaard Mini Notebook Checkbook Cover


Nike Reversible Gymsack SMU


Nike Reversible Gymsack SMU


Roxy Girl pepper


Roxy Girl pepper


American Tourister iLite XL 21 Rolling Expandable Upright


American Tourister iLite XL 21 Rolling Expandable Upright


Diane Von Furstenberg Studio Jacquard 25 Wheeled Suitcase


Diane Von Furstenberg Studio Jacquard 25 Wheeled Suitcase


Royce Leather Leather Garment Cover


Royce Leather Leather Garment Cover

Mobile Edge

Mobile Edge is a proud corporate partner with Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Mobile Edge donates 10% of the retail sales price of each Komen Laptop bag sold back to the Foundation.


Mobile Edge Komen Paris Computer Backpack - Backpack - MicroFiber - Black


Mobile Edge Komen Paris Computer Backpack – Backpack – MicroFiber – Black


Mobile Edge Komen Pink Faux-Suede Tote


Mobile Edge Komen Pink Faux-Suede Tote


Komen ECO Tote for notebooks up to 16 to 17 screens


Komen ECO Tote for notebooks up to 16 to 17 screens


Mobile Edge Komen Milano fits laptops with screens up to 15.4 (Pink Faux-Croc) - MEMCXS


Mobile Edge Komen Milano fits laptops with screens up to 15.4 (Pink Faux-Croc)
– MEMCXS


Komen Geneva Microfiber Tote for up to 15.4 (black/pink leather trim)


Komen Geneva Microfiber Tote for up to 15.4 (black/pink leather trim)


Mobile Edge Komen Pink Suede Tote Case


Mobile Edge Komen Pink Suede Tote Case

As if that wasn’t enough, here are three more items for you to consider.

A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors
A Cup of Comfort for Breast Cancer Survivors
: Fifty cents of each book sale will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This book contains the stories of 50 breast cancer survivors. Covering tales of diagnosis to chemotherapy, facing hair loss and possibly the loss of a breast. Support the cause with this book for only $9.59. Stories are medicine for the soul.
Susan G. Komen 4GB Portable USB Flash Drives (2 x 4GB)
Susan G. Komen 4GB Portable USB Flash Drives (2 x 4GB)
: Portions of the proceeds of the sale of these flash drives will go to the Susan K. Koman for the Cure Foundation. These drives from PNY are USB 2.0 compatible for your PC or Mac. The great thing is the caps are integrated, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. Yours for only $27.49 with free shipping, or pay and extra $5.49 and get 2nd Day Express Shipping. They could be in your pocket next week.
Nathan Quickdraw Plus - Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
Nathan Quickdraw Plus – Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation
: 5% of proceeds go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. This 22 oz bottle is great for short runs or hikes, working out, or for running errands. It also has Scotchlite reflective trim for visibility. It has an adjustable handstrap, and a zippered pocket. The side of the pocket is adorned with the symbolic pink ribbon for the cause. Yours for only $22.11 including shipping.

There are more items to choose from, so Buy for the Cause! Shop for Pink Ribbon products from Buy.com’s Breast Cancer Awareness store! Expires 10/31/09