Windows 8 debuted nine months ago and advisors are just starting to adopt it. I’ve been using Windows 8 daily for six months and like it a lot. The more I use it, the better it gets. Here are five Windows 8 ideas that can make you more productive.
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1. Easier Sharing.
If you’re looking at an email, article, video or other content in Windows 8, sharing is much easier. Windows 8 has “charms” that open on the right side of the screen when you move your cursor to the right side of the screen. If you’re using the touch version of Windows, you can expose the charms by swiping your finger from the right edge of the screen to the left. The “Share” charm allows you to share the content you’re looking at by emailing it or saving it to a shared folder in SkyDrive or DropBox, or posting it to Facebook or Twitter. No way yet available toi share on LinkedIn from the Share charm, but that's sure to come soon.
2. Microsoft Sculpt Comfort Mouse.
The blue stripe on this mouse is actually a button that pops open the Start screen in Windows 8
, where all your most important files and tiles are displayed. So you can be working on a document in Word and, with one click to the blue stripe, be transported to your start screen to get to news, check weather, or anything else. That’s really convenient. The Windows 8 Start screen is a dashboard with live tiles and visually conveys a lot of information. Moving from your work to that screen is like going from work to a fun place. The scroll-wheel on this mouse can be tilted right or left and that moves you across the screen horizontally. If you’re on the Start screen where all your most important apps and files are located, you can scan across them fast by keeping the scroll wheel tilted right or left. This mouse connects to your computer via Bluetooth, so there’s no USB receiver to plug in, which is preferable when using a tablet, ultraportable or convertible. I’ve been using this mouse for two weeks and love it. At $35 on Amazon
, this is a better deal than the Logitech Wireless Anywhere Mouse, my favorite mouse for many years. I also tried out the new Microsoft Wedge mouse in recent months, but it's way too small, even for my small, unmanly hands, and it does not have the Windows 8 Start Page button. Stay away from that mouse unless you are specifically looking for a small mouse that fits in your pocket or pocketbook.
3. News Reader.
Bing News is actually pretty good now. You can select the sources of news from a good list and access all of those news sources in one place easily. You set it up once and they're there for you to read anytime in an elegant and graphical touch interface.
4. Aggregated File Sharing. Numerous apps have been released for managing multiple file sharing services. By using one of these services, you have one interface for looking at files stored in Google Drive, SkyDrive, Dropbox, Box and other file-sharing services. All of the file-sharing services give you free space and you can maximize the free deals from each of them before deciding on whether you want to choose one file sharing services over another. What I like about FileBrick is that it's simple. It organizes my files in the cloud according to which service I am using. Other file-sharing apps for Windows 8 aggregate all of your file-sharing apps but don't let you easily see which files are being stored in which public cloud service. This app is dead simple and free.
5. Better Search. In addition to the “share” charm described above, there’s a charm for Search. What’s cool here is that the search is context-sensitive. If you are in the Microsoft app Store, for example, when you choose the “Search” charm, you can input a search term and that term will be searched in the Store. However, if you are in Internet Explorer and call up the “Search” charm, your default search engine—Google, Bong, or Yahoo—will be searched, and if you’re in your document library and click on the Search charm, your documents will be search for that term. The picture below shows the results for search of the term “keyboard” in the app store.