Windows 8.1 Now Available; Should You Upgrade?
Thursday, October 17, 2013 09:42

Tags: microsoft | Operating Systems | windows 8

Windows 8.1 is avaialble. Should you upgrade?

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If you are running Windows XP, you pretty much have no choice but to upgrade to Windows 7 or the newer, Windows 8.1, operating system. XP is not going to be supported anymore by Microsoft. The fact that you have stuck with Windows XP even after Windows 7 and Windows 8 were released indicates that you're not a techie, don't care much about this stuff, or don't trust Microsoft.  


I've been using Windows 8 since Februrary 2013. Based on my personal experience and the many reviews I've read in the press, Windows 8 and 8.1 is solid. It does not crash. While I would not have suggested non-techies upgrade desktop machines from XP to Windows 8 until now, today's release of the 8.1 version of Windows addresses the useability issues that made Windows 8 confusing. The familiar "Start" button is back and there's a lot more help for new users in 8.1. So you'll be fine. 


If you are already running Windows 8 on a computer or tablet, you can now download the free update to Windows 8.1 online through the Windows Store. The update has been getting very good reviews and you'll only benefit from the improvements.


If you are on a device running Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or the Windows 8.1 Preview, visit this page on to detect your OS and get Windows 8.1 on your device.


To get the full benefit of Windows 8.1, you really need to use it on a device enabled for touch computing. Tablets, laptops, convertibles, and phones with touch screens are an inexpensive way to try out the touch-enabled operating system. This holiday season, a new generation of ultra-high resolution touch screen monitors will be debuting that will make the touch experience on desktops much better. Because these monitors are 2560 X 1440 resolution, they can be closer to you (18 inches) and you can comfortably reach out and touch the screen. With a high-definition 1080p monitor, everything displayed on the monitor is too large when it is only 18 inches away from you. Check out new Windows devices available now and coming in the holiday season.


Google Outdoes Microsoft Office By Making Quickoffice For Android And iOS Free To All; Edit Microsoft Office Documents For Free Using This Mobile Platform
Thursday, September 19, 2013 17:16

Tags: google | microsoft | productivity

Google today said Quickoffice, will be free for everyone. That means Android and iOS users can edit Microsoft Office documents, spreadsheets, and presentations and not pay a penny. In contrast, Microsoft Office requires a license.   

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Quickoffice was purchased by Google in June 2012 and is expected to be the cornerstone application in Google Apps.
Google Apps and other productivity suites are looked on as inferior to Microsoft Office when you need to do special formatting or anything sophisticated in a word processing document, spreadsheet or presentation. Quickoffice is reportedly a significant upgrade and closes the gap in competing with Microsoft’s Office’s complex but powerful productivity suite.
TNW reports that if you sign in to Quickoffice using your Google Account by September 26th, Google will give you an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage for free for two years.
Microsoft is under siege but is not standing still. The vast majority of advisors are not interested in switching to Google’s suite because the cost of Microsoft is not that great and switching systems would be such a major headache for their offices. But the competition among Google and Microsoft is getting more heated and, at some point, we are bound to hear about advisors switching to Google’s platform.
If you are using Google Apps to run your business, please let us know how that’s going.

The Microsoft Partnership With Chipmaker Intel Has Been Breached By Google's Chrome Operating System
Thursday, September 12, 2013 08:23

Tags: google | microsoft | Operating Systems

New Chromebooks announced this week signal Intel's willingness to broaden its horizons and work with companies like Google, at the expense of its long-standing Windows partnership with Microsoft.  For advisors, it means that Microsoft's hold on your office's desktop applcations will erode in the years ahead.


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Most RIAs are still locked into using Microsoft's operating system and its Office suite. However, Google, with its Chrome operating system amd Google Apps suite for word processing, spreadsheets and other core productivity apps has been making an effort to overtake Microsoft's OS and suite, but it has not made much progress in getting advisors to switch to its operatong system and apps. With release of a new generation of Chromebooks using Intel processors, Google has cracked the Microsoft-Intel partnership and Intel is signaling its willingness to support Chrome.


In the long run, it's good for businesses to have choices, and Microsoft's grip on business computing will weaken. But until advisors are not reliant on desktop apps using Mcirosoft's OS, they're stuck because apps like PortfolioCenter, Advent Axys and other desktop apps for Monte Carlo analysis, financial planning, and making tax calculations usually run only on the Windows operating system. Still, the slow steady progress of Google in  breaking the "Wintel" alliance is noteable.

Adding SkyDrive Or Any Other Website To Your Taskbar
Sunday, August 18, 2013 11:56

Tags: how to | productivity

After using Windows 8 for seven months, I’m still finding new tricks all the time. This past week I found out how to pin SkyDrive to the taskbar. It’s easy to do and very convenient.

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SkyDrive makes sharing files over the Web very easy. Since SkyDrive allows you clients, professionals, and other people you collaborate with to edit files in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, it can be more convenient than Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and other file-sharing services, and Microsoft has a “Pro” version of SkyDrive with additional functionality that is slowly evolving.
Placing the SkyDrive icon in the taskbar, as shown in the screenshot, is as simple as dragging a browser tab from Internet Explorer into your taskbar. You must use Internet Explorer for the drag and drop to work, but once you’ve dragged and dropped any website into your taskbar, it will stay there and open a browser to that website.
While I’ m fearful of accidentally sharing something unintentionally, the benefits of easy sharing are significant. (If you’re an AdvisorVault user, by the way, dragging and dropping a vault page into your taskbar will open your browser to the log-in page and won’t automatically log you in, as it does with the SkyDrive.)

Five Productivity Tips For Using Windows 8
Wednesday, June 26, 2013 13:23

Tags: microsoft | Operating Systems | productivity | Tablets | technology | windows 8

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.


   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.

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.


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