IntoWindows.com – Great Windows 8 Resources, Tips, and Tutorials

This post is not a sponsored or promotional post. Rather, the goal of this post is to direct you to information that you may find helpful, informative, and interesting. I want to share with you IntoWindows.com. This is a fantastic place to get some great Windows 8 related tips, tricks, and tutorials. They sometimes even suggest new Windows 8 apps, like we do! Some tutorials on the site are basic, and perfect for those new to the latest version of Windows while others are advanced and provide huge benefits. Some of the advanced tutorials include being able to refresh or reset your Windows 8 PC without requiring the install disc, being able to add custom start screen wallpaper, and running Antroid natively on top of Windows!

If you love technology, and you love Windows, you owe yourself a visit to the website. I know I learned a lot of neat things from there!

Check out intowindows.com

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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IntoWindows.com – Great Windows 8 Resources, Tips, and Tutorials

This post is not a sponsored or promotional post. Rather, the goal of this post is to direct you to information that you may find helpful, informative, and interesting. I want to share with you IntoWindows.com. This is a fantastic place to get some great Windows 8 related tips, tricks, and tutorials. They sometimes even suggest new Windows 8 apps, like we do! Some tutorials on the site are basic, and perfect for those new to the latest version of Windows while others are advanced and provide huge benefits. Some of the advanced tutorials include being able to refresh or reset your Windows 8 PC without requiring the install disc, being able to add custom start screen wallpaper, and running Antroid natively on top of Windows!

If you love technology, and you love Windows, you owe yourself a visit to the website. I know I learned a lot of neat things from there!

Check out intowindows.com

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Why Metro Apps on a Desktop or Laptop

If you have been following McAkins Online, you know that we are dedicated to bringing to you the latest from the Windows Store and are here to feature some great Metro Style (aka Windows Store) apps for you to check out. But the question remains is why should you care about Metro Style apps, especially if you are using traditional, non-touch, desktop or laptop? I want to take a quick break from featuring apps to talk about why you might sometimes want to use Metro Style apps instead of classic Windows Desktop apps even on traditional hardware. We believe that if you understand the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop apps for some occasions, the content of this site will be of even more value to you.

I want to discuss some of the advantages of using Metro Style apps over desktop versions of similar apps by covering some key areas. But before I get to that, I will quickly brush through the most controversial topics in regards to Metro Style apps. There is ongoing debate about Metro Style apps being fullscreen and optimized for touch make them unusable on desktops and laptops without touch and a productivity killer. This is a heated topic and one that needs more than a paragraph for discussing. I will hold of discussing this topic in depth for another time. All I will say is that some apps work great on the desktop, with mouse and keyboard, and others work better in Metro, like Netflix, games, and painting apps. Again, I will be talking more about this topic alone in the future. For now, putting the fullscreen issue aside, let’s talk about how Metro Style apps offer advantages in other areas that might make some more compelling than their desktop counterparts.

No System Degrading Over Time

One problem that has plagued Windows since beginning of time is that the system degrades over time. While the problem has gotten significantly better since Windows 9x, it still exists. Today, the biggest cause of the system degrading is the installing and/or uninstalling of many software over time. This happens because as you install desktop apps, these apps can make changes to the registry, add files to various places in the system, and add services (sometimes unnecessary ones) that take up system memory. Some apps have hidden startup files that slow down boot files. And we are only talking about the good apps. Because desktop apps are not curated, you might install a malicious app pretending to be good but one that significantly damages the system after being run. This problem still exists for desktop apps in Windows 8. Installing too many desktop apps can cause system performance to be reduced, performance that might not be regained even if you uninstall all of your desktop apps.

Metro Style apps do not suffer from this issue—at least not in a significant way, if at all. When you install a Metro Style app from the Windows Store, they are curated by Microsoft. Thus, you won’t likely be installing malware. Secondly, Metro Style apps won’t change the system registry, add startup files, change system files, or anything else that might damage the system. All this is because Metro Style apps acquired form the Windows Store don’t have the right to mess with system files. You can install as many Metro Style apps as you want without slowing down your PC.

Clean Uninstall (No Leftovers)

When you uninstall a desktop app, chances are that it is not completely wiped from the PC. Some files associated with your app still might remain on your drive. Registry items created by the app when installed and run don’t always get removed when uninstalled. Some desktop apps install additional apps and services that might continue to run in the background even if you uninstall the app. For example, if you install iTunes, you can opt in to install QuickTime player with it. However, if you uninstall iTunes, QuickTime remains installed. You have to manually go and run the QuickTime installer.

Metro Style apps uninstall cleanly. No traces are left when you uninstall these new apps. They won’t leave hidden files lurking in the system nor install additional apps or services. So, you can install and uninstall lots of Metro Style apps as many times as you like without degrading your system’s performance.

Security and Sandboxing

Windows desktop apps in Windows 8, like those in previous versions of Windows, are not Sandboxed. This means, desktop apps have access to other apps and system files. Though this is less of an issue with modern security measures in place in Windows, it’s still not as effective as true sandboxing.

Metro Style apps are sandboxed from one another. They can’t directly touch the system or other apps. They communicate with the system and other apps mainly through the Windows 8 contracts. If one app is misbehaving, it can be more easily contained if it is a Metro Style app. Also, I will say it again because it is so important: Metro Style apps are curated by Microsoft, so you will likely not get a malware on your PC if you download them.

Updating

The Windows desktop apps are Win32 apps that have been conceived in the early 90’s. They are dated, and it shows. There have been layers upon layers added to Win32 apps to make it play along with modern time. One such “layer” is terrible update mechanisms. Back in the 90’s, software updates through the internet wasn’t common; thus, Windows didn’t have a built-in mechanism to automatically update all Win32 apps from the internet. As we entered in to the modern era, each developer built its own updating system on top of their Win32 app. This meant that updating each app was a different experience and a cumbersome process. The Windows OS still doesn’t provide an integrated way to updated most modern Win32 apps.

Metro Style apps, on the other hand, was created for today’s era and with software updates in mind. The Windows OS handles updates for all Metro Style apps. They are seamless and painless. They don’t require downloading EXE files or running an app updater with admin privileges. The Windows Store makes the process easy and automatic.

Conclusion: Metro Style Apps Provide a Better User Experience

We looked at the many ways in which Metro Style apps are much better for you and your system in terms of performance, security, and seamless updating. The big point that should be taken from this is that you don’t have to be afraid to try lots and lots of Metro Style apps. Go ahead and give all of our featured apps in this site a try because your system won’t degrade in performance. If you don’t like an app, you can uninstall it easily. The same cannot be said for desktop apps. We don’t want to install and uninstall too many desktop apps for performance and security concerns.

The one tip I would give when deciding whether to get a Metro Style or a desktop app is to ask yourself if you really need this app for regularly. If so, you will likely be keeping this app and you trust the app. So install the desktop version if you like. Good examples of this are Office, Photoshop, Adobe Reader, Visual Studio, After Effects, etc. However, if you would like to try an app or want to use an app less often, you will likely want to use a Metro Style app. Examples of these types of apps can include bandwidth measuring apps, format converters, web video downloaders, etc. Installing too many desktop apps that you won’t use regularly is not worth the performance downgrade. Also, if you are likely to uninstall an app or are concerned about malware, definitely download a Metro Style app from the Windows Store.

Well, I hope this can give you some insight on how some apps and utilities might be better suitable for you as a Metro Style app than a desktop app. With that, I conclude this article. We have some more great Windows Store apps we would like to show you; so stay tuned on McAkins online for updates. Some apps that are not blogged about on this site immediately are mentioned on the McAkins Online twitter account. So be sure to follow @McAkins. You can also follow me on twitter @NazmusLabs.

Have a great day and keep surfing!

How To Get Rid of Old Gadgets and Unwanted Gifts

We all have old gadgets lying around that we don’t use all that much. It may also happen that we might get a gift (as prone during this holiday season) that we really are not going to use or have any want for. At that point, the question becomes, then, is what are we to do with them? I am going to share with you some ideas that you can implement to recycle your old gadgets and unwanted gifts.

Turn them into Pure Gold

Well, maybe not gold, but we can dream can’t we? Actually, you can turn your gadgets and gifts into cash, which is the next best thing to gold. Selling gadgets can give you immediate cash. One good place to sell your tech gadgets is Gazelle at gazelle.com. This website lets you sell take your gadgets that you no longer want and give you money in return. If your gadget(s) is/are worth more than a dollar, shipping is free.

Getting started is simple, just go to their website and either search for the gadget you are trying to sell or pick one from the categories that best fits your gadget. They will ask you things like brands (if applicable) and the product generation. For example, when I searched for an mp3 player, it asked me the brand. I chose Apple’s iPod. It then asked me what generation iPod it was. It will also ask if you have a customization on it. I was asked, for example, if the iPod had any engravings on it. Finally, you will be asked about damage, from perfect too few scratches to more severe damages. All these will affect the estimated amount you will receive.

Of course, the newer the gadget is and the better the condition it is in, the more it will be worth. That is an important thing to keep in mind. For example, my 4th generation iPod with some damage was worth only $12. At that point, I felt that it is worth just keeping that thing than only get $12 for something I paid over $100! But, if you are trying to sell a gift that you have no reason to keep, it may be worth a lot of money as it is generally a new product and in perfect condition.

Show some Good Will (Pun Intended)

One way to get rid of old gadgets and unwanted gifts is to build up your karma. This can be an opportunity to be generous and make others happy. You can give your old gadgets to a family member or friend. There are also options such as Good Will Stores and The Salvation Army that will gladly take your things you want to get rid of. Two years ago, we donated our CRT Computer Monitor to Good Will, for example. Someone else may very well need or want what you no longer want; so, why throw it away?

Do a Giveaway

If you have followers online, your old gadgets (in good condition) may give you the opportunity to get more followers by doing a giveaway that, say, integrates with a contest. The winners will benefit and so will you through, hopefully, added interactions and followers

Have some fun with it or keep it as a treasure!

If all else fails, you may want to destroy it or keep it as a memory treasure. Perhaps if you keep it as a treasure, one day, your gadget may become a rare item that would be worth a lot. I would love to be able to say I have one of the original Apple II computers.

However, if you do decide to throw it away, why not do it with style? You can try smashing it, recording the destruction and putting it online. This entertains you and your audience; it also gives you the chance to measure the durability of a gadget.

Bonus Content

As our valued reader, we would like to share with you bonus content. This video is from the lockergnome community, and it talks about how you can sell your old computer. Face it, now-days, computers are so cheap that buying used computers isn’t all that cheaper than buying a new one. With that, this video will give you tips on how to successfully sell your old computer by adding value to it.

Be sure to follow us on twitter at @techtronica. Follow us on facebook at facebook.com/techtronica. You can find us on YouTube at YouTube.com/OfficialTechtronica

Mockup Basics In Photoshop [Tips]


You know about outlines. You’ve probably heard of templates. Now it’s time to add another tool to your arsenal: the website mockup.

Realize that mockups are like scale models. This flat JPEG image acts like a full color, real pixel-dimension prototype of the site you’re going to design. Mockups can be easy or complicated, depending on how specific the client is to begin with. Maybe they want a color scheme that matches their logo. Maybe they want to imitate a competitor. Maybe they want to reskin a site, changing the look without effecting structure.
Lucky for you, the basic steps of mockup design remain the same no matter how complex the assignment.

 

Before Starting the Mockup:

1) Research similar sites

Please get to know your client first. What market do they fall into? What niche market? Then find a wide selection of similar sites.

Look for trends. See what most of these sites have in common; look at how they structure information, what color schemes they use, how their landing pages differ from their subpages, whether they have their main navigation at the top of a page or in the sidebar.

You may need to narrow (or expand) your search to hone in on sites that fit your client’s purpose. A broad category, like e-commerce, will get you too many results. Narrow it down to a specific product. Conversely, if your client is in a niche market, expand your search to include sites in the general market. These are the people your client will compare you to, later. You want to shine in comparison.

 2) Settle on a structure

Many clients will provide you with a wireframe, also known as a skeleton, that determines the structure and positioning of a site. If they did, good for you. But don’t get too excited, because you still need to make some decisions like the rest of us. What is the site’s total width? How wide or tall are the sidebars, banner, content area? Is the site fixed width, or flexible?

Get your client to clarify what’s important to them about structure. Then if you don’t have the benefit of a wireframe, go over the results of your research. What worked for everyone else?

And keep in mind:

–Standard site width is 1000px – 900px

–Standard main content width is 800px – 500px

–Main navigation should have room to grow

–A website should feel centered, even if it has an adjustable width

 

Designing the Mockup:

3) Recreate your basic site structure in Photoshop

–Make sure the Photoshop document has about 500px of dead space on either side of the total site width for added perspective. Give yourself some dead space on the bottom, too.

– Use guides to define your banner, sidebars, navigation, content, and total website width. Don’t bother mapping out the little stuff–at this point, all you want are the basic dimensions.

–Create your basic layers and groups. Make folders for the banner, navigation, sidebars, content, and footer. Create corresponding layers and give them a fill. You’re still just organizing, which sucks, but this is your first visual representation of the site—use this opportunity to tweak structure while it’s easy.

4) In a new Photoshop document, design your banner.

Woah, you say. Really? Don’t I need a color scheme before I start on the banner?

In my experience, designing the banner first makes life easier. The banner tends to inform everything else on the site, from tone to the color scheme, to the glossiness of navigation buttons. You can fight it, but you will need to design one eventually.

So keep these things in mind:

–Your research. What kind of banners did the competitors have? Which styles fit in with which colors schemes? What style do you see working for this site?

–Your client’s logo or business colors scheme. What are their logo colors? What other colors would compliment the logo? How did competitors incorporate their logo into their banner?

 

5) Color Scheme

Now the subjectivity really begins. But as a professional, you should consider these three things while settling on a color scheme:

–Colors in the client’s logo
–Common color schemes based on your research

–Your newly designed site banner

Here are a few additional tips to keep in mind:

–Every site needs one dominant color. Go neutral. Blacks and whites are really common, but charcoal grays, classy blues, and warm browns work as well.

–Neutral is boring. For your secondary colors, pick one or two that pop. (Fact: “pop” is not the same as “clash.”) You want an equal balance of contrasting colors, and complimentary ones.

–Text colors next. Make sure they have a high contrast and easy readability. To achieve that, most people settle for black or white—if the effect is jarring, go a shade lighter or darker.

–Once you have this main set of colors, continue to use different shades, tertiary, or complimentary colors to add depth and variation to the site.

–If you’re stuck, experiment with the colors in your banner.

 

6) Design your backgrounds

Web standards suggest using small, repeatable background tiles for faster loading times, vs. a splashy texture. But in some circumstances, like a Flash site, it may be a moot point. It all goes back to knowing your client. If all else fails, use your researched sites as a secondary guideline.

 

And never forget:

1) How the design would translate into code

In the end, someone has turn this mockup into a website. And it may be you. Don’t back yourself into an impossible design. It’s just sad.

 

Google + Tips and Tricks

It’s always smart to know the basic commands and syntax of Google+.  Included is a Google+ cheat sheet that explains how to mention friends in your posts (like you can already do on Facebook or Twitter), how to bold your text and more.

Enhancing your text:

To enhance your text (Like shown in italics, bold, and strikeouts)

In + To make text bold add asterisks in front and back of the text, like this *this text will be bold on Google +*

In + To make text italic add _ in front and in back of the text you want italic,  Like this, _this text will be italic on Google +_

In + To make text strikeout  add a – in front and in back of the text you want strikeouted    Like this, -this text will be struck out in Google +

An easy way to adding Photos, Videos, and Links

URL’s only work with this.

In the address bar, highlight the text www.theworldoftek.wordpress.com

Then drag it to the Google + Tab or Screen and into the status box.

Wasn’t that easy?

Why Google + is like twitter

Don’t skip over because you don’t need to know it… You do “Trust Me”

Circles on Google + are like following on twitter, they don’t need you in their circles to share info among each other

Mentioning

Almost like @ on Twitter and Facebook

To mention someone on Google +, Type @Their Name or +Their Name

Private Messaging

This involves several steps

Write your “PM”.

Then where you can choose who and what circles to share with, type the recipient name.

Post it like a regular status update.

On the post is a drop down

Where the arrow is pointing is the 

drop down

When clicked a drop down will show.

One of the options is “Disable Re share” Click it

Permalink Statuses

This works just like Twitter and Facebook

 

 

 

^^ Chrome :)  

Share With… — Colors

Security and Privacy must know

If the button is green,

 

 

 

 

People who are not in your circles may see this post

If the button is blue,

 

 

 

 

 

Only people in your circles can see it, Unless it is re-shared

Hotkeys

Just little some hot keys.

Space = Scroll down Stream

Shift Space = Scroll up Stream

j = Single post down scroll

k = Single post up scroll.

q = jump to chat

Return = Start Comment

Tab,Return = End Comment

End

Hope you’ve learned some things about + Stay Tuned at Your World of Tek for more and more news daily!

Fall/Winter: Tech tips to keep you going

winter

 

As we push farther into the year and closer to winter and with fall starting only thursday the 23rd, you may wonder what sort of tech related things are on the menu. Many companies are throwing their best pies at the consumers like Samsung with the extension of the Galaxy S series, Motorola with their various phones up for release, and many games and smaller hand held systems being released. These items will keep you entertained and will definately spark interest in even some of the people who are not so tech savvy. But for those of you that are already tech savvy, here are a few pointers for keeping you from going board this coming fall and winter.

First, subscribe to free tech insider emails. You will find these to be very informative, and rather entertaining.

Second, Follow major tech companies on Twitter and Facebook. Sometimes you may find out about things that may have yet to be talked about to the larger audiences of the world.

Third, Try out new software. You don’t need to buy the software, but rather try them out. Most software companies allow you to try out their product for a set amount of time and it is a great time to get to know them, and to decide which one is right for you.

All these tips will keep you informed and entertained on a daily basis. They provide a sense of Tech Adventure and inspire you to try more new things to keep you busy until the latest and greatest of the tech industry comes out.

 

-Seth