Windows Phone Stay Organized with Camping Checklist App

Your Windows phone does all sorts of useful, interesting, and fun things. That’s why you got it. It’s a trusted platform, backed by one of the largest companies in the world, and with the new iterations of Windows, you can now enjoy a similar experience on your phone, tablet, and computer.

More Apps and Useful Tools

I love looking through new apps and seeing what genius people have come up with. The phone is pretty much unlimited in terms of what you can do nowadays, so all you need is a good imagination and some coding skills to make a real difference. I’m glad to see more apps in the store now – people are finally starting to take notice that the Windows phone isn’t going anywhere, and are helping to make them amazing by giving us some useful tools.

This is a bit of a personal love of mine, but if you’re a fan of camping like I am, I came across an awesome app that should help you out by keeping you organized before and during your trip.

Camping Checklist App

Get your handy Windows phone, whatever kind you have, and go to the Apps+Games Store. Simply type in Camping Checklist and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

Windows PhoneLike I said, I love camping but my wife tells me I’m not always the most organized person in the world. There have been times where we’ve got absolutely soaked because I forgot the rain fly for the tent. Once, I even forgot to grab the box with all of our food. How on earth I did that, I’ll never know, but let’s just say I’ll never live it down. Oops.

With this camping app for my phone, I have an easily accessible list of things I need to bring. I check it over before I leave, too. Not only then is it helpful to get the actual items I need, but having the app actually reminds me to double check everything, so it’s useful in a couple of ways.

Remembering The Whole List

With this app, I might actually remember to bring all the gear I need for camping…not just most of it.

The app works with both Windows Phone 8 and 7.5 and is just $0.99.

What I’ve done is made a list for each type of activity I do, so I have put in a camping list, a backpacking list, and a hiking list. Then, I break things down even more by putting things like “Food”, “Tools”, and “Sleeping” in my camping checklist so I remember to bring my cooking utensils and camping stove and the actual food when I look in the Food category. It helps keep things super organized and I can pack things together this way.

Organizing Time Saver

This app saves me tons of time because there are pre-loaded items to select (but you can add your own), so I don’t have to write down a new list each time I go with each and every piece of equipment I have. I just select from the stuff already there and there you have it – I’ll never forget my nice and cozy down sleeping bag again! (Don’t ask…another long story.)

If you have a love for the great outdoors, this app can certainly help keep you organized and make your outings even better.

Windows 8 automation and beyond

The Use Of Automation

November 7, 2014

Automation of tasks for efficiency is not something new. However, technology constantly changes to make life easier. Windows 8 for example can serve as a center for other software and hardware automation tasks .

How to Automate Windows 8

You can use a basic automating tool in Windows 8 called the Task Scheduler. The feature allows built-in capabilities like hard drive de-fragmenting or additional software to be operated. The basic steps include providing a name for a specific task, describing times or events you want to activate an operation in the Triggers tab, and then defining the desired operation under the Actions tab. This feature can perform multiple jobs concurrently from the same triggers. A Settings tab allows for more detailed instructions. The Task Scheduler also allows the option of sending a task operation to another Windows-based device like a Surface tablet. An example of this would be using Evernotes to pay bills. The Task Scheduler could be used to define this as an automated job that might take

Windows 8 Automation

Windows 8 Home Automation

place when the desktop is not turned on.

In order to use Windows 8, it’s usually best to have a software package that’s specifically designed for the job. Programs like mControl or HomeSeer are geared towards the Windows 8 environment. These programs link together through protocols like Z-Wave or X10.

An increasing number of devices are being outfitted to carry out their work without humans.

It’s still possible to use Windows 8 with automated appliances that aren’t connected through radio or infra-red networks. For example, pet feeders and an automatic litter box can perform their main jobs, but they still need someone for final tasks. Task Scheduler would fit into this scenario perfectly.

Word Of Mouth

Since the beginning of advertising, “word of mouth” has been considered one of the most effective campaigns because it’s an endorsement from a trusted source. In today’s high-tech world, social media spreads “word of mouth” further and faster than ever before.

social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud (#3)

There are a lot of opinions as to which social media vehicle gets you the most mileage in driving business in your direction. Is Facebook faster and more effective that Pinterest or Twitter? Is Google+ worth your time? How about Instagram? Truly successful online marketing, however, isn’t just about the delivery mode. Rather it always starts with the message.

The Internet is an infinite source of information; however, it takes a keen eye to filter out what’s quality information and what’s a pile of… well, non-information. As a purveyor of websites, blogs, social media and so on, you decide what content is worth your time and what isn’t. On the other hand, when you’re marketing a product, services, or business online, it’s up to you to convince others that your informational offerings are quality and worth their time.

Think about hummingbirds as a metaphor: There is a bountiful bouquet of flowers in nature where they can feed, so if you want them to come feast at your feeder, then you have to offer a quality hummingbird nectar recipe. In other words, if you want people to click on your site, blog and videos—and share the links with others—then you have to offer a quality content recipe. For the hummingbird nectar recipe, see

Quality Assurance

Before you put together your next blog or video post, check out these tips to make sure your message is word-of-mouth worthy.

1. Become an expert

You don’t have to hold an advanced degree to be an expert. If you know your product or service inside and out, then convey that to potential clients. Set yourself apart by expressing your knowledge, but do it in a manner that’s perceived as a friendly authority. Being boastful can come off as being arrogant.

2. Be affable and relatable

This also relates to the above comment. One way to make sure you’re delivering your message in the best tone is to choose common terms and avoid industry jargon. Write and speak in a manner that relates to a broad audience, not just those who are as familiar with the subject as you are.

3. Choose topics worth knowing

Writing a blog or uploading a video is fine, but you want people to be interested enough to devote their time to your page. Instead of thinking about what you think people should know about your product or service, pretend to be the potential customer. As that customer, what information do you want to know about the product or service? How will it make your life better or easier? Write the blog or script to answer those questions.

4. Share and share alike

You don’t have to be the sole authority. You also build credibility when you share related information with over your social media network. If you come across an interesting tidbit or pertinent news story, share the link with your followers. Then take it a step further. Let the author know you shared the content. Perhaps he/she will reciprocate with your postings, and therefore, spread the word about you.

5. Variety is nice

Keep people’s interest piqued by varying up your content style. Behind-the-scenes tidbits are an interesting twist. Top 10 lists are quick reads that prioritize details. Guest bloggers offer a fresh voice. Mix things up once in a while to keep people talking, posting and sharing info about your online activity.

Longboards Within any Budget

Long boarding is all the rage today. Contrary to popular belief, long boarding is possible to get into for all budgets. In this guide we’ll tell you where to find cheap longboards and how to save on longboards. To see cheap longboards on Amazon Click Here.

The cheapest way to buy longboards is to buy them from a department store. Large chain stores with lots of cheap products will usually carry longboards. Large retail sports stores will often carry long boards as well. The downside to purchasing a long board like this is that the board will usually be of bad quality. While this may not be an issue at first, these boards will often wear out much faster than their better-made counterparts. This may not be an issue if you need a long board in a pinch, but if you expect to get any life out of your board, this may not be the route to go.

The cheapest route for long boards of good quality that will last you is to buy pre-owned. Buying pre-owned long boards gives you access to high-quality boards at a fraction of the price on new. Since someone else has already gone through the trouble of making the board, you don’t have to make the effort. When looking for a pre-owned long board, there are a few things you want to watch out for so that you know the deal you’re getting is a good one. First, look for splintered edges on the tail which are signs of excessive wear. Stress cracks are another sign of wear to watch out for. These most commonly appear near the trucks on the deck. While you’re looking at the trucks, it’s worth checking the axles. If the axles are bent, you should bail on the deal immediately.

There are three main types of wood used in long boards. Maple wood is the most preferred wood, as it has incredible durability. If buying pre-owned, looking for a board constructed from maple wood is a good idea, as it lasts for a long time. Bamboo boards are becoming increasingly common, due to their flex that maple boards do not offer. Carbon fiber boards are the latest innovation in long board technology. While very expensive, carbon fiber boards have a impressive strength-to-weight ration, making them the preferred boards of professional riders.

There are two primary kinds of long board decks, which you must consider. Cruiser boards are good for getting around town and commuting. Downhill boards are more preferable for going downhill and racking up speed. Downhill decks are generally more still and streamlined. One way to save money when purchasing a long board is to buy a used deck, and then purchase your own trucks and wheels to add to the deck. Some long board enthusiasts will continually modify their boards, and may have leftover parts laying around. Sometimes they will have spare decks around from their projects, which they may sell you for cheap. Purchasing your own trucks and wheels and adding them to the deck will help you save money tremendously.

When buying a pre-owned long board, make sure you request to see the long board before you commit to actually buying it. While internet bidding sites are good for purchasing a board, it’s impossible to actually inspect the board. Looking at online classifieds sites for your town will allow you to meet up with the seller and actually see the long board for yourself. This way you can inspect the board for wear, and judge for yourself if it is in good condition.

Above all, make sure you learn how to use your longboard and how to practice proper safety.

5 Easy Ways to Secure Your Laptop

We are attached to our technology, and that is just the truth of this generation. Most of us need our laptops and cellphones just to successfully make it through a work, school, or average day. However, since there is such a higher presence of people in the internet world and everyone has some sort of technology, meaning more thieves and bad guys of the web.

It’s extremely important to secure your technologies, especially your laptop (and especially if you’re an engineering student), and here are 5 easy ways to protect you laptop:


It may seem strange, but almost every laptop has a small lock slot that works with most laptop locks on the market now. It’s just like a bicycle lock; all you have to do is lock your laptop onto something immovable such as your desk or bed. This works if you are just leaving your room or hotel room for a moment and do not want wandering eyes or thieves about.

Tracking Software Can Save Your Laptop

Maybe you lost your laptop in college or the unthinkable happens and someone happens to steal it. This is when you load up your laptop tracking software. Oh wait, you don’t have one on your laptop? Then your chances of getting back are even slimmer. Stop reading and download a tracking software now. Tracking software will include IP address locations, Wi-Fi positioning and has the ability to turn on the webcam of a laptop. All of which will help bring you back with your laptop.

Make Sure Your Data is Stored and Backed Up

No one wants to lose all their important pictures and files, too, on top of your missing or hacked into laptop. Back up your laptop often to ensure that all important information is stored. There are a few softwares and dropbox type of applications that can help you figure out the process of saving all your info in case it was stolen.

Get Insurance

Just like anything else that can cost a large amount of money, there is insurance available to those who choose to protect their laptop. This way. The insurance goes beyond stolen laptops, however If you tend to be more clumsy and drop your laptop, there are some insurances that will cover accidents as well. If you feel that is not enough or cannot find an insurance that you like, some homeowners and renters insurance will cover the theft of items such as a laptop.

Never Write Down a Password

If your laptop is stolen or lost, it can be terrifying to know that you had passwords saved on that computer for many other sites and applications. That’s why it’s important to never store a file on your computer with passwords or to write down passwords where anyone might have access to. Also, it can be more damaging to have your computer remember all your passwords and automatically logging you in, instead of just memorizing the passwords and logging in manually in the first place.

Popular Ballistics Software For Competitive Shooters

When shooting reasonably powerful rifles at targets about 70 to 100 yards away, most people generally can adjust for shooting conditions and ballistics when using even just iron sights. Heavier, more powerful bullets, like the popular 30-caliber varieties with jacketed, boat-tailed bullets of about 150 grains, generally overcome wind and gravity enough to provide reasonable accuracy at 100 yards.

Many hunters and competitive shooters routinely sight their rifles at 100 yards and even more. Some hunters shooting game at traditionally longer ranges, like big horn sheep, pronghorn and mountain goats, even will sight in their rifles at 500 yards or more. However far the prey is likely to be, that’s where hunters want their rifle scopes like the ones compared in the best reviews at perfect aim, adjusted to ensure the greatest accuracy and odds of making a humane, one-shot kill from a greater distance.
Long-Range Rifle Scopes Make Ballistics Software Popular
The advent of rifles scopes over the years have enabled longer shooting distances for hunters and competitive shooters equipped with high-powered rifles and long-distance scopes. Many can be used on mobile phones as well as laptops for true field portability and can help competitive shooters to better gauge their targets during competitions.
Inputting basic information, such as bullet type and weight, caliber and barrel length, along with weather conditions, such as wind, temperature and humidity, along with distance can help with windage and elevation adjustments enable shooters to hone in on their targets faster. That means better groupings, reduced shooting times and higher scores for competitive shooters.
Many Free and Popular Ballistics Software and Apps
As a way of generating greater brand recognition and consumer loyalty, many ammunition and firearms manufacturers offer free ballistics software and mobile apps for competitive shooters and others. Remington and Hornady are two popular ammunition manufacturers who provide free ballistics programs that can be used on cellphones and laptop computers. Some might require an Internet connection, such as through a cellphone, iPad or tablet, or a bluetooth device, to fully function. But most will have standard information in a simple program that allows competitive shooters to download them to their computers and phones and use them in the field or at the range. Mac and Microsoft online stores also have a variety of downloadable ballistics software and mobile applications for competitive shooters and others. Some are free and others charge a fee, but most long-distance shooters should be able to find one online. Check out the video below for a great example of a new Ballistics App for your Ipad or Iphone.

Different Rifles and Scopes Require Different Targeting Adjustments

Military-style rifles, like the popular AR-15, use more specialized optics for the AR-15 that are generally suited for the lighter 5.56 NATO and civilian .223 Remington rounds cycled through their semi-automatic actions and generally shorter rifle barrels than their 30-caliber bolt-action counterparts. That requires utilizing a different set of ballistics calculations for each type of competitive shooting rifle. The popular ballistics software for competitive shooters, hunters and others enables them to use the same general distance and weather conditions information, adjust for the caliber and bullet weight, and obtain accurate settings for multiple rifles and calibers.

Car Performance Monitoring Apps

Most people with a car will have an eye on things like petrol or diesel prices, natural gas news and even the political headlines because all of these things are very relevant to the cost of running a vehicle. Monitoring the performance of your car to maximise its efficiency and keep an eye out for developing problems is another important thing for a car owner. And like most things in life, there’s an app to help with that.

“OBD 002″ by M.Minderhoud – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


Dash is an app that works to monitor the performance of your car using the real-time ODB-II Fault Codes as well as performance sensors on the car. This can a range of thing such as speed, RPM, coolant temperature, fuel level and even intake air temperature then provides quick access to the main details. It even usual attractive and familiar visuals to provide this information.

To use this app, all you need to do is plug in a Bluetooth adaptor to the OBD socket in your car and as long as the vehicle has this, (usually cars built after 2000) then you can use the app. If in doubt, look under the hood and locate a white label that specifies if the vehicle complies with the OBD-II legislation. If it does, you can.

It can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store and is currently priced at $5.99


Torque is an app that comes in two levels. The first basic level doesn’t need anything adding to your car to be able to provide some information. It can pull data from the GPS antenna on the car, the internal compass, barometer and accelerometer that allows it to calculate 0-60 and quarter mile times as well as record positioning in relation to Google Earth.

The second level requires the connection with the OBD-II port discussed above. When it has this link-up, the app’s five main functions can be accessed. These are real-time information, check fault codes, view map, test results and graphing. The screen shows a large gauge as either a tachometer or accelerometer. The real-time information shows on a number of different screens and gauges including bar graphs, dials and digital readouts.

With the Pro version, you can even share information via Facebook or Twitter and the view map function colour-codes the sections of your journey on a Google Maps layout to show speeds along with altitudes. The Check Fault Codes section allows a diagnosis of the vehicle and similarly test results can check that sensors are working correctly.

Torque Lite is free to download while Torque Pro costs around $4.99


Sometimes there can be too much information provided to us but when it comes to a car, this is rarely the case. With the data these and other apps can provide, you can learn about faults in your car, where your car is less efficient and where you as a drivers aren’t making the most of its. With a simple Bluetooth connection, you can have access to the elements of your car’s brain normally reserved for a mechanic, without the worry that you press the wrong button and switch it off!

Best Room Design Apps

The bad old pre-computer days, if you wanted to design or redesign a room, you got a piece of graph paper, measured the room and measured every single thing in it. You then spent hours with the pencil and rubber, working out what would go where and what would work where. Thankfully, now, as with so many things in our computerized lives, there is a room design app for that. In fact, there are a few so here we are looking at a selection.

Designed by Olga Akulova, this apartment reflects KENZO style home details. Take a tour on - link in profile \ Photo by Andrey Avdeenko

Of course, you still need to measure your room and have some ideas to the sizes of your important items. For instance if you are transforming the space room into a place to play pool games, you need to know the size of the table. Or if you are wanting a nice new desk for your office, you need an idea of how big they are.

Interior Design

This app comes from Robert Hellestrae and is available with a free trial for you to check it is the one for you then is paid for after that. It is a room builder with a lot more features including top tips for interior designers and even the ability to ask it questions, such as ‘what would you do with this room?’ to get expert answers. It also allows you to express your own style and add to it as if you were an interior designer.
The app works on tablets as well as laptops and desktops and has the ability to share your designs with others through Windows Mail.

Home Interior Design

This app is a little more expensive than others are but does a whole host of jobs for you. It allows quick and easy floor plans that can be created in as little as five minutes, so no technical expertise needed to run this one. You can drag and drop furniture around your virtual room or even randomize it to get a fresh look. It has over 4000 objects and materials on its database meaning you can change everything from furniture, to wall coverings right down to the grain of wood on the floor. It also allows a four-way split of the screen to give a 3D style plan as well as a split screen option to allow two users to work on it at the same time. Once you have finished, a video fly through allows a glimpse at how the finished room will look.
Like anything, the definition of what is the best app is very much down to personal choice but these apps and similar ones available on the Windows store can take the hard work out of the job. Instead of hours with a pencil, you can have a short time at your screen and get some additional inspiration from the professionals with a tap of a link. Before long, you will feel confident enough on your interior design and layout planning that you’ll be offering your services to your friends and family!

Best Underwater Computers For SCUBA Diving

Most people do not associate computers with SCUBA diving or underwater. However, with the numerous advancements taken place with technology underwater computers are now serving a great number of purposes and really transforming the SCUBA diving industry. In addition, underwater computers are now able to capture real time images, video, and audio and can help with scientific advancements and other ecological issues currently plaguing the environment and marine life.

What is an underwater computer?


An underwater computer is vastly different from a laptop or desktop computer. There are various types and styles of underwater computes, ranging from small wrist watches to computers which strap onto a diverís back. Some of the more common underwater computer s combines a small PC with a face mask mounted display screen. This display screen allows the diver to see where he/she is swimming and also see the images the computer is displaying. The computer itself is positioned in a waterproof housing case that rest safely and securely on diverís air tank, so it completely out of the diverís way. The computer is then attached with a cable to the diverís mask and allows for the diver to swim, explore, and capture images and an array of other options depending upon the computers capabilities. If you want to get closer to sealife to use a computer than using a Closed Circuit Rebreather will get you closer (according to Julia from

Why do I need an Underwater Computer?

Underwater computers are typically used for safety reasons. Most divers use small wrist watch computers which display oxygen levels, how deep they are, water temperature, and other various information to help keep the diver safe and out of harmís way. Recently underwater computers have been more readily used by scientists and the military to gain intelligence, data and other information helpful to combat and scientific advances.

How much do Underwater Computers Cost?

Underwater computers range in prices depending upon which brand you purchase as well as the capabilities of the computer. Some of the more affordable underwater computing wrist watches cost anywhere from $250 to $350, while state of the art under water computers can cost thousands of dollars and are typically reserved for professionals, military personnel and scientists. For more casual divers a standard underwater computing watch is more than ample and all that would be needed to ensure a safe and accident free dive.

The Best Underwater Computers:

With so many underwater computers available on the market today, reviews vary about which computers are the best for diving. Ultimately it all comes down to personal preference and what each diver is looking for from their diving computer. Some of the more sought after underwater computers include:

The Mares Puck Wrist Scuba Diving Computer

  • cost between $175 and $192 USD
  • measures divers remaining air
  • offers fresh and salt water settings
  • multiple alarm settings
  • depth display
  • timer
  • altitude adjustment
  • ascension rate

The Genesis ReAct Pro Compact Console Dive Computer

  • Cost between $300 and $330 USD
  • Includes a 5000 psi pressure gauge
  • Air/nitrox guage
  • Expanded memory allows access for up to 110 dives
  • Deep stop reminder
  • Audible alarms
  • Maximum diving dept of 330 feet
  • Securely fastens to divers mask or suit

Best Running Assistant Apps

find the best running shoes for a marathon Whether you are a causal jogger or a dedicated runner, someone training for a marathon or just to constantly better your times, there are a range of apps, which can help you manage this in the Windows Store.

So once you have your best running shoes for women or for men organized, your favorite clothing picked out and some tunes to listen to as you go, you are ready for the off.

Windows PC

RunGen is a free app into which you can log your runs and track them on a calendar. This also allows you to track your performance back and forward and discover what your optimal training pace is. It can also make suggestions based on the data around what your next run should be and works through levels from novice right up to elite.

Run Pace Calculator is another free app that is a simple piece of software. It lets you calculate what pace you need to run at to achieve a certain time target across a specific distance. It even breaks the run down into split times to let you know where you need to be for each section to hit your target.

Marathon Runner is a specialist app that is aimed at someone who is running a marathon. It plans and tracks runs and helps you increase your mileage and refine your muscle endurance in preparation for that big run. It allows you to develop marathon runner skills that will serve you well. It is also free to download.

Windows Mobile

Runtastic is a general app for the mobile version of Windows that is more of a personal fitness app. It allows you to track everything you do; outdoor activities such as running and biking and indoor activities such as treadmill and weight lifting. It works as a fitness instructor, tracking what you have done, calories burned and results achieved. It is free to download. The latest version of Sports Tracker is packed with new features such as GPS interface that allow the app to become a social sports computer. It tracks your performance, analyses it and allows you to see how you are progressing. It also features heart rate monitoring functions and stores all the data on a workout diary. If you want an app that shouts at you just like a real coach will, the Adidas MiCoach is just the app for you. It uses GPS and a real-time voice coach to take you through your exercise regime and is based on the coaching used for top athletes across the world. It also gives advice on strength and flex exercises to help you get to your goals. Conclusion There are lots of different apps available, which can be as simple as a diary-style log of the miles you have put in, right up to a real-life coach style app that can shout at you to get you moving! Most of these apps are free or low priced so there is bound to be something that suits your style and aims perfectly.

3 Apps for Bird Watchers

Bird watching applications

Courtesy of Fishhawk

Spring is here, finally, and summer is right around the corner. So, for those of us in the Midwest – and just about anywhere north of Atlanta – who are ready to get out of the house and explore our feathered friends, there are a few apps on the market that can enhance our watching.

We live in a technologically advanced world now, so there’s no sense in not taking advantage of it as much as possible. Gone are the days of walking around your local park, or putting up a bird feeder pole in the back yard, hoping for blue jay, robin, or cardinal to fly by. Now we can know the bird hotspots, what to expect, and where to avoid by looking at our smart phone. Let’s take a look at three bird watching apps for your phone or tablet, and see how they can help you enjoy watching our feathered friends while soaking up the nice weather.

iBird Pro Guide To Birds

If you’re an advanced bird watcher and know a thing or two about the hobby, this is the app for you. It’s more for the experienced watcher or naturalist, as it may offer more information than the novice desires. The app offers comprehensive habitat, ecological, identification, and behavioral information, as well as twice the search attributes as its little brother, iBird Plus Guide to Birds. It also includes hand drawn illustrations, professional photographs, and maps. Probably the most useful part of the app are the nearly 1,000 calls for North American and Hawaiian bird species.

This is a very comprehensive app for seasoned bird watchers, so it doesn’t come cheap. Right now it’s on sale for $19.99, down from $29.99, but well worth the price considering what is included. If you decide to use the bird calls, you may want to bring an external speaker with you, as the speakers on iOS devices aren’t very loud and you may have a hard time reaching out to as many birds as you’d like. It’s available for all Apple phones, tablets, and computers.

Audubon Birds

Audubon Birds app is an app made for the novice. If you’re just starting to bird watch, and you want an app that will help you identify what kind of bird you’re seeing, this app will do just fine. It’s very basic, asking you questions like what shape, color, size, etc, is the bird, and you move forward from there. You can even associate it with another bird: duck like, hawk like, etc. This app is available on both Apple and Droid markets, and comes in at just .99.

National Geographic Birds

When thinking of a trusted source of information about animals, National Geographic is at the forefront of most people’s minds. They got into the bird app market not too long ago, and didn’t disappoint. With their National Geographic Birds app they provide a list of 995 bird species, full color illustrations, and field mark annotations. You can easily locate species with a detailed search filter function with real time results, and you can test your bird knowledge with expert created quizzes. The app is available for iPhone and iPad, and comes in at $2.99.

Calorie Counter Apps

Use an online App to count calories

Use online exercise apps

Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply keep fit, calorie counters are available in a wide range of different versions.  Lots of people like to keep a check of what calories their food contain or how many calories a particular type of exercise has burned off.

Top exercises

Firstly, what exercises are best for burning those calories?  One of the most intensive activities to burn fat and calories is skating.  The side to side movement helps use a lot of muscles and helps you with balance.  Similarly, my son tells me, does his new Loaded Longboard, which has allowed him to build up his leg muscles and work on his balance.

Running has long been seen as a great burner of calories as the major muscles used by a runner – in the legs, backside and core – are the best for burning calories.  An average is 374 calories in a 30 minute run.  Swinging arms adds to the impact but to avoid injury, alternate between slow and fast sections.

Any professional boxer will tell you the best way to get a workout is to get the jumping rope into action.  Half an hour workout with a rope is estimated to burn 340 calories, and you can even repeat with movements without a rope if you don’t have one.  Keep feet slightly apart and body upright as well as only jumping a short distance from the ground to get the most from the session.  Switch speeds as well as style for variation or use the rope while you jog.

Apps to check results

If you want a simple app to check how many calories you have burned during a run, Calorie Burner is a simple, free app which will do this for you.  You simply input what you weight is and how many miles you ran for and the app will work out how many calories burned.

LIVESTRONG.COM Calorie Tracker is another free app which has a searchable database of food and meals so you can see how many calories you have consumed in your dishes.  You can set yourself goals, and the app will monitor your progress with the info you put in and it can be used to track your weight, as well.

Easy Calorie Counter requires following the link from the Windows Store to the publisher website, but the end product is an app which connects with a variety of resources.  It can check the USDA food database and allow you to input the information about dishes you discover to the app’s database.  It saves your food diary daily and has a built in calorie counter to work alongside this and help you monitor your progress.


No matter what you goal is be it weight loss or healthy lifestyle, there is plenty of information online to get you some pointers about what exercise you can undertake.  Plus the Windows Store has plenty of different apps which can help you monitor your progress and see where any problems in your diet may lie.  It doesn’t make the exercise any less tiring, but it will help you see the gains from your work, and that makes it all worth it.

Dropbox: Useful & Free

Information on how Dropbox works

Courtesy of Vijay VJ

So while I know summer is on its way, and you’re no doubt checking out to see which grill you’ll be using to become a master chef, there is something every computer user should be taking advantage of, and its name is Dropbox.

Dropbox currently has 200 million users worldwide, so you’d probably have to be living under a rock not to be taking advantage of the service, or, at the very least, have heard of it. If you’re one of the few who are late to the party, let us clue you in on one of the coolest and most useful services on the internet.

What is it?

Dropbox is a cloud file hosting service – or, for the novice, a remote place that you can store pictures, word documents, videos, etc, and access anywhere – out of San Francisco, California. It’s like an extra C drive for your computer, except that it’s not on your computer, or even in your house. It’s hosted on a ‘cloud,’ or a remote place that you’ll never see yourself.


Ten, five, or even one year ago for some people, not having enough room on your hard  drive meant buying more memory, or an external hard drive to store your documents, songs, videos, and pictures on. No more (unless you need a whole lot of room), because Dropbox is absolutely free for most users. They do offer paid service for large amounts of room, but for most folks it doesn’t cost them a penny. It offers up to 20 gigabytes of memory per day for free, and up to 10 gigs per file. For pro and business accounts, the limit is 200 gigs per day.


You may be concerned with storing your private things like pictures, or documents that contain sensitive information like scanned bank account statements on a cloud server for fear of someone accessing them, but the good thing about Dropbox is that each account comes with a ‘public’ file built in that allows you to put anything you want the public to access on it. If you want to share pictures of your vacation, a funny story you wrote, or a video of something interesting, you can do so in the public file. Everything else is private and no one will have access to it but you.

Accessing Dropbox

So, how do you access Dropbox? It’s pretty simple: just go to and download the file on your desktop and set it to appear as one of your window icons. A blue cube icon will show there – or on your taskbar, depending on how you set it – for you  to double click any time you want to ‘drop’ a file into one of the folders you create.


Another great tool Dropbox is useful for is private sharing. You can invite specific people to have access to certain folders in your Dropbox account. If you have baby pictures you want to share with family, documents you want to share with your boss, or links you wants to share with your co-workers, just drop them into a folder, add their names to the share list, and viola, they have access.


Dropbox is one of the most useful free tools available to us on the internet, and if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re doing yourself a disservice.


Why Shoes Should Be Integrated With Operating Systems

I’ve been a technophile for quite a while now. I just love new technology, and I’m almost always in the “early adopter” category. And you guys probably know that already. This is a technology blog, after all! As a technology hobbyist, I’m always on the lookout for ways technology can – or should – be integrated into our world.

Because the world is changing, and technology is advancing at an exponential rate. New technologies are being rapidly incorporated into everything – from advanced rocket systems to things as simple and mundane as your home microwave.
So, this article is about another mundane product that seems to be falling behind others in terms of its marriage with technology. And that product is… shoes!
Yep; shoes. In addition to being a technophile, I’m also an avid runner. Plus, recently, I’ve been getting into other types of exercise, like crossfit and indoor soccer. And it wasn’t long until I noticed something pretty significant. There were very limited options – in terms of technology – for the best crossfit shoes and the lightest indoor soccer cleats. And if that was the case with these two sports, it was surely the case with other sports as well.

Sure, shoe technology has advanced over the years, but that is not the same thing as technology integration in the way we were talking about it above. Lighter rubbers is not the same thing as merging shoes with hardware and software. And it got me thinking: someone needs to say (or write) something!

So I figured it might as well be me. To that end, here is my case for why we need to merge the shoe market with some of the current operating systems.

  • Athletes love information. Athletes are just as motivated by (and obsessed with) information as the rest of us – perhaps even more so. What athlete doesn’t want to know his lap times, calories burned, acceleration rate, joint pressure, and the like? I know I do! By merging physical shoes with current operating systems – with whatever software it takes – athletes could have access to a whole new realm of data.


  • It would create new business opportunities in both markets. Shoe markets have struggled in the last decade to really disrupt any of their markets. There’s only so much you can do with a shoe, you know? Likewise, the major operating systems (Windows and Mac OS) have largely become stagnant. When that happens to two different markets, new opportunities can usually be created by crashing them into each other, and the shoe and OS markets are certainly no different. If we want new opportunities in either market, this could be a good solution.


  • It would be cool! Lastly, it would just be awesome. Admittedly, this is motivated by total and complete selfishness. I want cool shoe technology! And, since it’s incredibly hard for startups to make a real splash, one of the fastest ways to get there seems to be to merge the shoe with a major technological player, like we find at Microsoft and Apple. So let’s make it happen!

Look Out For These Up-And-Coming Smart Watches

I’ve always been a watch wearer. To me, there’s just something… classic about wearing a watch. It makes me feel distinguished. Now, the biggest argument against watches today is that everyone has a smart phone. Why would you need a watch if you already have a phone that does everything you need and also tells you the time?
And there are a couple of reasons. First, I just like the look and feel of a watch. I think they look cool, and there are plenty of ways to pair them with an outfit to really make them work as an accessory. Also, I’ve always thought smart phones are just kind of clunky. They are big and, I always feel like kind a jerk when I’m goofing around on my smartphone.
Smart watches, to me, are the perfect solution. It should be noted, however, that the smart watch industry is still new. Everyone right now is racing to be the first person to really make a splash in this market. Consequently, most companies are launching fairly incomplete products. So, while many of these products will be updated down the line with software and firmware updates, lots of them leave quite a bit to be desired.
Still, many of them have lots of cool features, and getting into this market now could be a great way to learn about the products and what’s really worth the money. It could also be a cool way to familiarize yourself with the
So, without further ado, here are a few of the best smart watches of the year.

Pebble Smart Watch

The Pebble smart watch is typically listed as the crowd favorite. It started its life as a Kickstarter project, and amassed a big funding windfall from there. As awesome as it is, this smart watch still isn’t complete. There’s just not enough software yet in this market to make it a full-package type of watch.
Still, it’s fairly robust, and, as far as smart watches go, it’s probably among the best watch brands right now. Really, it’s setting itself up to be one of the best men’s watches under $200.

This watch connects wireless to your phone, which is great, but it still lacks quite a bit of functionality. Namely, you can’t call or text directly from the watch (even though you can view texts and calls). This will be one of the essential features of future smart watches, and it should be implemented as soon as possible, in our opinion.
Still, for a start, this is a cool watch that is making lots of headway in a relatively new market. The design is good, the battery life is good, and the overall functionality is a good start. Hopefully, Pebble can keep this trend going and stay ahead of the market, even as big players like Google seek to enter this new tech space.
Here are a few other watches to look out for. Check it out!

Top Hair Stylist Salon Management Software Programs For Windows 7

manage your hair studio with appsDiscovering the best hair salon management software on the market for Windows 7 is important! Will it be user-friendly? What options does it have, and will it fit your needs? Is it worth the money? Is it dependable? The salon management software you choose should make it easy to interact with your clients, both on-line and via their phones. Scheduling appointments should be easy , as well as sending reminders and appointment updates. has used a few excellent choices provided by our firm when it comes to inventory management.

Salon Iris

Salon Iris by DaySmart Software is installed software created by industry professionals. It tracks clients, appointments, payroll, services, inventory, and more. It has staff management features, and offers accounting integration, barcode scanning, credit card processing and point of sale (POS) integration. Inventory management will help you keep track of everything.There is a client history option that will help you to see what your client has had done in the past, and a customer loyalty program will help your clients stick with you over other salons! Gift card processing is a breeze with Salon Iris. The features available for even novice users will help make running your salon easy!
Salon Connection by Blue Crystal Software is also an installed software. There is no full-time internet connection needed — simply install it on your computer. It has toll-free support from sales people, support reps, and developers. It offers such features as a complete client history, a scheduling system for both the month and the week to prevent overbooking, multilayered security, and text messaging and email for reminders, confirmations and special messages. It tracks prepayments, customer balances and credits, and has a built-in cash drawer, receipt printer, magnetic strip reader and bar code support.


There are different modules to add as your company grows, so you don’t have to buy a lot up front to start things going!
SalonBooker by Booker was built for making your salon business better and giving you everything you need to successfully grow your salon. Their web-based software has on-line booking, marketing, point-of-sale, and so much more. With SalonBooker you get social promotion, email marketing, scheduling, booking through Facebook, online, or mobile and tablet booking, too. They have point-of-sale, credit card processing, eCommerce, and mobile payment processing. Managing everything is easy, whether it is customer management, employee schedule and payroll, inventory management, or reports.
Rosy Salon and Spa by Floydware is another web-based software that is easy to use, and accessible from anywhere. It is designed by salon professionals. Online scheduling, email confirmations, text alerts, email marketing, and Facebook integration are easily accomplished.


They are very helpful, giving plenty of support through the setup and training to help make your business grow. Their inventory control, and business management are easily managed from anywhere. Checkout and process payments with ease, and manage your cash drawer, gift card and all transactions quickly and easily so you can spend more time with your clients.
The best thing to do is to try the software out in a free trial, which a reliable software company will offer. It is the best way to determine what feels right for you!

Mexican Food Apps

One of my favorite types of food to set about trying to cook at home is Mexican.  There are such a huge variety of dishes which can be made that there is something for every taste.  There is also something for every occasion.  But are there are Mexican food apps for the Windows 8 computers and phones?

tacos for best stainless steel cookwareMexican Food Recipes (free)

The first one I came across was called Mexican Food Recipes.  It was free to download and was done so in a very short time.  I accessed it, and it looks very clean and neat.  There were only two sections, however, Lunch Menu and Dessert.

Into the Lunch Menu I went and immediately latched onto the Squash and Ground Beef casserole which I could utilize my new best stainless steel cookware to prepare.  The instructions were clear and precise, down to what type of pan (skillet) it recommended using.  So that looked like a good start.  There were some good standard dishes as well such as Mexican rice and Enchilada Sauce.

The recipes on this app are provided by so while there aren’t huge amounts of options on the app, it isn’t a hardship to skip over to my desktop and search the full website which boasts over 475,000 recipes.  A quick search on Mexican yielded a wealth of results, so while the app was a little limited, it led me on to a good website for further research.

 Mexican Recipes (free)

Mexican Recipes is another free app, and this one is a biggie.  There are huge numbers of recipes listed on the app with an idea besides each category of how many items is in each one.  The background to this app is a website called

Firstly, the app.  Just to give you a few ideas, there were 139 items in the ‘Best’ category which included Margarita drinks recipes to Chicken Tortilla Soup and starter ideas for making Guacamole.  Then there was a dips section with 40 recipes and an off-shot from Guacamole with another 28 recipes using the green stuff.

There is also a decent kids section with 24 different special meals for the younger ones, rice dishes, salsa recipes, side dishes and a wide range of traditional Mexican staples such as quesadillas, tacos and burritos.  Actually, there was so much information, I didn’t really know where to start.  But no-one could say there was a lack of choices.

As above, I follow the app back to it’s website and this too is a big site.  It actually even has a culinary encyclopedia so if you don’t speak fluent Chef, you can pick up some tips as to what is being said.  There’s a recipe section which has all the usual areas; cuisines, courses, healthy as well as focuses on things such as social, occasions  and ingredients.  So if you are searching for inspiration without really knowing what you are looking for, there’s plenty here.

One other part I quite liked was the videos area which was a little more diverse than just how to cook a certain dish with drinks and health sections.  Although, after eating all that Mexican, I think some of the videos about burning fat and loosing weight may come in handy!


These were just a couple of the free apps I found when searching for my Mexican inspiration.  Doubtless there are many more recipes on the wide variety of cooking apps which are available in the Windows store, but for a quick bit of inspiration, without getting side tracked by Italian or Chinese, then these apps will do the job.


Best Recipe Applications For Windows

Technological advancements have impacted almost every facet of our day to day life, including our time in the kitchen.

Windows Recipes Apps and Resources

By now most of us have our favorite operating system, device(s), and software options. Technology will certainly continue to evolve, but here is a rundown of solid recipe applications for all culinary artists to try for their Windows devices. Below them is a key feature to heavily consider.

allrecipes1. Allrecipes (internet, free)

Okay, itís not new for a quite a few of us. Yet, itís a tried and true free site that many of us started with and have watched blossom like a child into an adult. With 30 million cooks in the network and 50K recipes to sift through, itís still lovable and has kept up with the times. The even have how to videos for various topics: or knife sharpening or even making a fondue.

Where it stands out: excellent review section from a gigantic network of users. Quickly sifting through comments from those who have tried the recipe can take a 4 star dish to a 5 if you consider suggestions accordingly.


2. Now You’re Cooking (internet or CD, $69.95)

Sure, it’s more than a few bucks to spend, but it also comes with a nice mobile app. The app is fantastic too on the latest OS from windows – it looks very sharp! While its user interface isn’t the most pleasant on the eyes compared to others with a somewhat ìspreadsheet-ish look and feel to it – it’s great for the cook with ADD or OCD in keeping things very efficiently organized.

Where it stands out: for international culinary artists, it has the ability to translate recipes from 14 different languages! Itís a very handy feature for those looking to really expand their boundariesÖ..a valuable and rather unique feature, indeed.


3. Big Oven (internet, $2.50 a month or $20 annually)

Big OvenA favorite of many. This product has a pleasant interface and all the bells and whistles like nutrition and allergy information accompanied by fantastic help/support should you encounter any issues when using.

Where it stands out: gives users the ability to import worn and beloved, handwritten recipe cards into your cookbook via scan. First 25 are free and are $1 a piece thereafter. It can get pricey, but it is well worth it to the millions out there looking to convert that old, stout index card collection into the digital age.


So thereís just the tip of the iceberg to start within the Windows realm. If price is a key factor most sites have a free trial version for a sampling, too. So, try out these great Windows apps that easily enable anyone to tantalize old and new taste buds alike!

Others to consider: Pepperplate and Living Cookbook

Using Microsoft Outlook To Plan Your Day

People these days seem to always be looking for more ways to stay organized. They buy day planners, tablets that schedule appointments and many people seem to keep track of things on their phones. What many people don’t realize is that one of the best possible day organizers out there is actually Microsoft Outlook.

Using Outlook


Outlook can help you not only plan your entire day, but can help you keep track of contacts, important meetings, your fitness regimen, when to eat and even the appropriate time to take fitness products if you need help mapping out your day. People get so busy sometimes (myself included) that I forget to eat. You can schedule your lunches, and time block literally everything you want to with Microsoft Office’s calendar functionality.

Keyboard for Microsoft OutlookMicrosoft Outlook is also great for scheduling follow ups for sales and new clients. You can add contact information in the database as well as E-mail distribution lists. Many people use this software to set reminders for sales appointments and use it to track the outcome of those sales appointments making Outlook not only a great day organizer, but also a fantastic CRM tool on top of it.

Backwards Compatible

One of the best things about Microsoft Outlook is that it’s backwards compatible. That means that most versions of Office will be compatible with the prior year’s version of that particular operating system. For example, if you still run windows 7, and you buy the newest version of Microsoft Outlook 2013, you will find that it still works on Windows 7 without you upgrading to the newest version of Microsoft 8, which makes Outlook not only great software, but extremely cost friendly as well.

Microsoft Outlook also has the added benefit of being one of the most used pieces of software when it comes to E-mail correspondence within corporations. Most corporations sign up for Microsoft Outlook on a business license and install outlook across their entire corporation making this software one of the most widely used pieces of communication software on the market. This is another great reason why outlook is so vital when it comes to planning.


Outlook is quickly becoming the preferred method of E-mail communication by several major industries including telecommunications, finance, health care and healthy living or fitness. Personal trainers use it frequently to keep track of appointments they may have set with clients to review the client’s weight loss goals, nutritional product intake as well as a structured diet.

Once you have learned how to use it to plan your daily activities, you will become a far more efficient worker and you will be able to also plan out and organize your daily life better at home if you translate the same skills over to your personal computer. Using outlook to map out your day is convenient as it’s also compatible with most tablets making it very easy to use on the weekend if you need help staying organized to get certain tasks done around the house. Microsoft Outlook will continue to be an industry leader in just about every category as long as Microsoft continues to push Technology and service to the top of the importance scale like it always has.

Memory Leaks and Software Aging

By Jeff Dixon

More and more of an average person’s life now centers on the use of a computer. Whether it’s a desktop or laptop many individuals and families use a computer for a variety of important functions from homework to paying bills. Yet, few people consider the problem of a memory leak since most do not truly understand how their personal computer uses memory. While most us know how critical and expensive a gas leak or plumbing problems can be, the issue of a computer memory problem seldom tops the list of concerns. Memory leaks are just as damaging and costly especially if the use of a computer is necessary to perform work or run a household.

Memory leaksOverrunning the computer’s hard drive due to a system memory leak will cause the PC’s components to “age” or wear out faster than normal. Memory leaks can also result in software or hardwire issues that cause a hard drive to crash.

 Thrashing and Failure of the Hard Drive

The term thrashing or disk thrashing is used to describe the overworking of the hard drive from excessively moving information from the system memory to the virtual memory. This can be caused when the system doesn’t have enough memory, the system swap file is improperly configured, the computer is running too many applications or programs, the PC has low resources, or a memory leak exists.

In all of these events when thrashing occurs the only thing amiss the user will see is that the hard drive is constantly in use, and there’s a decrease in the PC’s performance. Thrashing no matter the cause can result in a total failure of the hard drive if not corrected.

A memory leak is by the far the most serious of these issues, as unlike the others it’s not correctable by increasing the RAM, decreasing the number of programs running on a computer, or adjusting the size of the swap file. Memory leaks also occur slowly, and by the time the user of the computer realizes there’s a problem it’s often too late, and the hard drive is already damaged.


What is a Memory Leak?

A memory leak occurs when a program running on the system fails to release the memory it’s used. What’s supposed to happen when a program is completed is the memory is then released for other programs to use. This can be a program the system uses, a program the user has installed, or a program that runs in association with a device connected with the computer such as printer or MP3 printer. It can be a complex accounting software, or something downloaded for free from a website such as game or social media app. Every time this program or app is used it will grab memory and never release it causing a “leak” of memory the user will not notice at first.  This why those who do computer repair recommended keeping an eye on system resources in order to make sure nothing is causing the computer’s hard drive to run double duty.

 How to Check for Memory Leak

Just as a homeowner would check for a gas leak or water problem using a meter, it’s possible can check for a memory leak by looking at the system resources of the PC.  Look at the computer’s Physical Memory Usage History and notice if something is taking and keeping more memory than it should. Also look for those programs that are closed, but still show they are using memory. Seeing these issues can indicate there’s a memory leak from these programs.

How To Use Windows Media Player

What is Windows Photo Gallery

By Jeff Dixon

It used to be that software for digital photographers and photo manipulation had a steep learning curve. Users of professional suites like Adobe Photoshop often need multiple college-level classes to fully realize the potential of such complex software. That is not the case anymore; advances in technology have brought options rich in features and intuitive to use. Some of these programs are even available at no charge. One such option is Windows Photo Gallery.

Windows Photo Gallery is an app for computers and tablets running Windows 7 or later. It enables you to record videos and pictures, edit them for amazing results, organize them into

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player

slide shows and then share via social networking sites. In addition to the standard editing features, Windows Photo Gallery has more advanced abilities that have been made easier to use:

Panoramas – Now you can easily capture entire mountain ranges and vast horizons without special equipment. Simply import a series of photos where the frames overlap, click on Create, followed by Panorama and the pictures are automatically arranged into a single large panoramic image. Just three clicks and you have an impressive view that is larger than your camera can take in a single frame.

Edit, Organize and Share – Was the picture taken in conditions that were less than ideal? Perhaps it was too dark or a flash caused redeye. All of these flaws and more can be corrected with precision adjustment tools like redeye reduction, noise reduction, tint, saturation, or you can let the software do automatic exposure adjustment. Once finished, photos and videos can be arranged in a slide show with a variety of themes and then uploaded to your favorite social networking site directly from Windows Photo Gallery. In case your publishing destination is not on the default list, it can be added with a plug-in through the Share window group.

Import – You’re not limited to using media from your computer; Windows Media Gallery can import pictures and video from digital cameras, camcorders, or memory cards. This means you can apply all of its useful features even to older digital pictures.

Photo Fuse – Group photographs can be difficult to take because it means getting many people and elements all correct at the same time. Usually someone will blink or glance away from the camera. Now Photo Fuse enables you to take the best parts of multiple pictures with the same vantage point and stitch them together into a seamlessly perfect group photo. Just select the pictures you want to use, click on the parts you want to change, and let Photo Fuse do the rest. Have fun and try taking pictures of yourself in different parts of the frame and make as many identical copies as can fit!

Windows Photo Gallery brings the next generation of photo editing and management software to the desktop computer, notebook, tablet, and phone. It features slick integration with Windows and is a genuine Microsoft product so you can depend on it. The wide range of creation and editing tools take the sweat out of making panoramas and group shots are paired with easy online publishing so you can share your masterpiece with the world. Best of all, Windows Photo Gallery is totally free and can be downloaded directly from Microsoft here.

Disc Jockey

Microsoft Windows 8 and Disc Jockeys

By Jeff Dixon

Working gigs as a disc jockey requires a large selection of tunes and the means to put them to good use in a split-second. A laptop with Windows 8 has made this all a lot easier.

Disc Jockey's use Windows 8

Disc Jockey

Personal computers started becoming an integral part of the DJ’s arsenal of equipment in the 1990s. The use of digital music formats has made them irreplaceable. With songs digitally stored in hard drives and played back through a CPU, Windows 8 provides the fast access needed to perform this basic task along with tying together the additional components of a DJ’s ensemble. 

The first thing to do when using a Windows 8 laptop is put together the hardware and software you want in your operation. There is a wide selection of DJ software out there. The most popular ones are Serato, Traktor, and Virtual DJ. Serato is usually preferred by the top Disc Jockeys because it offers more sound effects options than Virtual DJ. It’s also more affordable. On the other hand, Virtual DJ support more music formats. It’s usually a good idea to use a single piece of software like one of these instead of trying to combine different packages. Even a capable operating system like Windows 8 can be slowed by trying to juggle different components. This is one of the worst things that can happen during a performance. Next, there’s the collection of digital music files. Windows 8 has a search feature that makes this part exceptionally easy. It lets you use a variety of keywords in a search and puts together a huge number of songs fitting the description.

A must-have piece of hardware is the controller or mixer. Relying on the touchpad or keyboard of the computer for quick song changes or effects will be too awkward. A mixer will allow smoother transitions between songs without annoying delays. This device also acts to tie together the other hardware and the laptop. Other useful equipment includes headphones that allow you to keep tabs on one tune while queuing the next. It also lets you hear what you’re doing over the noise of the crowd. A separate microphone will produce better quality sound than any built-in microphone on a laptop. While Windows 8 provides an easy way to access digital songs quickly, a secondary music system, like a VPI turntable, can supply fast, additional tunes and also let you perform the classic record-scratching maneuvers. One extra piece of hardware that’s always useful is a USB hub. This can come in handy if there’s more than two or three devices with USB connections that are going to be hooked-up to the laptop. Finally, good speakers are needed to make the whole operation available to the audience.

Once you’ve put decided on what hardware to include, it’s important to install the latest drivers for anything that’s going to be tied to the laptop. It’s also helpful to turn off background programs that can interfere with the speed at which the DJ software operates. In addition, things like WiFi, anti-virus protection, and Bluetooth need to be disabled to allow Windows 8 to work at top speed with low latency. Otherwise, the latency level can be high enough to become noticeable.

How Internet Browser Cookies Work

How Do Internet Cookies Work

By Jeff Dixon

How Do Internet Cookies

What are cookies? 

When you visit a website, bits of data called “cookies” are stored in your browser and sent to the website’s server upon request. This data is used to identify you for the rest of your session or, in some cases, the next time you return to the website.

Why do websites use cookies?

Web servers already store data for each website. If each website stored data for each visitor,

Why Internet Cookies Are Used

Internet Cookies

servers would run out of space; instead, that data is saved in a cookie and stored on the visitor’s computer.

Most cookies serve as a convenience. Without cookies, you’d have to sign in to an account every time you refreshed a Web page, refill previously submitted forms and search crowded pages for your favorite links.

Other cookies track your Internet activity across more than one website. This helps advertisers collect and analyze market data and display ads that might interest you the most.

However, since cookies store potentially sensitive personal data, privacy is sometimes a concern.

When are cookies unsafe? 

A cookie, on its own, is a harmless text file, but the data saved within a cookie is valuable to a thief.

When you sign in to an account, your password is encrypted and sent securely through the server to the website. For the rest of your session, the website uses an authentication cookie to confirm that you are still signed in to your account.

If a hacker intercepts the cookie, he can hijack your session and access your account. This is particularly easy to achieve on a public or shared network.

More commonly though, third-party ad servers will copy and send cookies to advertisers who will then extract details that you might consider private. This is often why anti-virus software detects and labels cookies as ad- or spyware.

Where are my cookies? 

Cookies are held in your browser’s memory while in use, but are otherwise stored in a folder on your hard drive. The exact location depends on the individual browser and operating system.

In Windows XP, for example, cookie files are usually in the Documents and Settings folder. On later versions of Windows, the files are hidden within the App Data folder.

Fortunately, it’s easier to erase cookies than it is to view them. Again, the exact path depends on the browser, but typically, the option to delete cookies is found in your browser’s Tools menu under Privacy.

How can I protect my cookie data? 

You don’t have to use cookies at all, but if you don’t, you’ll be locked out of websites that rely on cookies to work properly. Your browser most likely allows you to set restrictions for cookies as well, such as whether to accept cookies from third-party servers. Opt-out lists also exist to stop the placement of tracking cookies on your browser.

Check a website’s privacy policies before you submit sensitive details, but as a rule, if you don’t want your data to be used, don’t share your information with anyone.

How to Shutdown Windows 8 Operating System

How to Shutdown Windows 8

By Jeff Dixon

How to Shutdown Windows 8

Windows 8 is a big step from its predecessor, Windows 7, in many different ways. One of the most noticeable differences for longtime Windows users is the removal of the classic “Start” button, which has long housed the power options. This has many users bewildered, although the process is not difficult, and there is actually an abundance of ways to shutdown Windows 8.

There are several different ways to shutdown Windows 8 on your PC, laptop, or tablet.

Using a Mouse and Keyboard – Position your mouse in the bottom left corner of your screen and either right-click or press the Windows logo key and the X key at the same time.

Windows 8 Shutdown

Windows 8 Shutdown Process

This brings up a menu that includes the “Shut down or sign out” tab. Tap, click, or hover over this tab and choose “Shut down” from the resulting menu.
Using touch – The touch features apply to all tablets as well as all touch-screen desktops and laptops. Before you shutdown the computer itself, it is a good idea to make sure you have saved your progress in any applications you have open and then shut them down. Once you have done this, “swipe-in” from the right side of the screen to bring up a menu consisting of five options, including “Settings.” Tapping this reveals the “Power” button, and tapping the button shows you a menu that includes “Shut down.” Simply tap “Shut down” to shutdown Windows 8 on your tablet or touch-screen laptop or desktop.
Using InstantGo – The InstantGo feature keeps you in the know by making sure your apps and data are up to date as soon as you take your computer out of sleep mode. However, if you need to shut down your computer and instantly go, there is a quick and simple way to do so. First, save your work and close your apps, and then hold the power button for about four seconds. Then simply swipe down or use your mouse to drag the lock screen down when you see the “Slide to shut down your PC” message on your screen. Before you swipe the lock screen down, you can reverse this by swiping or dragging in the opposite direction with your mouse, which will return you to your initial screen.
From Desktop – Seasoned Windows users will surely remember the convenient Alt+F4 shortcut, and this command is just as convenient on Windows 8. Shut down your computer quickly by clicking your desktop background and pressing Alt+F4. This brings up a familiar looking dialogue box, which gives you your shutdown options. Select “Shut down” and then click “OK” to easily shutdown Windows 8.
Using Command Prompt – If you’re using Windows 8 in desktop mode, you can shutdown your computer in what may be the quickest and easiest way: using the Command Prompt. Open the app and type “shutdown-s” to automatically shutdown Windows 8.

Change is not necessarily a bad thing. While some Windows users may lament the obscurity of the new standard shutdown processes, there are actually plenty of different ways to quickly and easily shutdown Windows 8.

How to Download and Upgrade to Microsoft Windows 8

How to Download and do Windows 8 Upgrade

By Jeff Dixon

How to download and upgrade to Windows 8

Microsoft Windows 8, the newest operating system from Microsoft, is out and it is time to think about upgrading. Buying a new computer is not always an option, nor is it necessary. This article will walk through how to install Windows 8 when upgrading from Windows 7. It s not a complicated process, and only a small amount of computer skill is needed to perform the upgrade.

The first step when upgrading the operating system is to ensure that the current version of Windows has all updates installed. Click the start button in the lower left corner of the

Windows 8 Download and Install Instructions.

Windows 8 Installation

screen to open the programs menu. Find Windows Update in the program list and click it. Then hit check for updates in the program screen. Install whichever updates Windows needs, and then restart your system, if necessary, to finish the installation. Some updates will only appear after previous updates are installed, so repeat these steps until there are no more updates.

The next step is to install Windows 8. The program can be obtained by downloading right from Microsoft, or by buying the program disc from retailers. Either way will work the same in terms of installation. Put in the disc or bring up the download file. When prompted, click run setup.exe. Windows will start the install, but before it can the product key must be entered. This alpha-numeric key can be found in the package with the disc or in an email when downloading the program. Read and accept the license terms and then tell Windows if it should keep personal files and apps or not. Windows will then check to determine if the system is compatible with Windows 8. If there are any problems it will alert the user and give instructions on how to resolve them. This will often involve deleting or upgrading a program that isn’t compatible. Windows will now run through the installation.

The final step in installing Windows 8 is choosing the personalization options. The available options will depend on the selection made when Windows asked about keeping personal files and settings, though all of these setting can also be changed later at any time. Windows 8 allows for more customization than previous versions of the operating system, including background colors for different windows, the layout of apps on the home screen, and how the computer should respond to events like coming out of sleep mode. The computer may need to be restarted again in order to complete the update.

There is a new update for Windows 8.1 now available. The 8.1 installation disc will allow for upgrading straight from an older version of Windows, or can be applied to Windows 8. The new version includes many features consumers were missing, such as a start button, and upgrading may be a good idea. If Windows 8 is already installed on the computer, then upgrading to Windows 8.1 is an easy process. Just run the setup file like before and let it complete the installation. If upgrading from an older version, the full process described above should install Windows 8.1 the same way.