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WINDOWS NEWS:  We’ve finally updated to Windows 8 (actually 8.1) and are now posting new instruction sheets for it (see left column). So far, we don’t mind the changes that Microsoft has made; it seems that Windows 8.1 starts up much faster than all previous versions of Windows, but this could be because we’ve built a new computer for it (see the specs here). The Windows 8.1 version can be set to boot up directly to the desktop instead of the new “Start” screen with the large tiles for touch-screens. The new Start button in the lower left-hand corner doesn’t bring up the Windows 7-style Start menu; instead, it brings up the new "modern" (formerly "metro") screen. If you want to replace this action with a Windows 7-style (or even a Windows XP-style) Start menu, you can download and install a utility or small program called “Classic Shell” from

This utility restores All Programs, which will bring up all of the programs you have on your computer. This saves a little time in finding the programs you want even if you have a touch-screen device. (We still like using a keyboard and mouse.)

We’ll report on more changes in Windows 8.1 in the future, although Windows 9 or 10 is already here, so Windows 8.1 is already obsolete. (Shouldn't Windows 9 be called Windows 13, or Windows 14...... if you want to skip a number?* )

Newsflash: Windows 10 free for all Windows 8.1 and 7 users for first year after release!


SMARTPHONES: Here's a great article about the new Apple iPhone 6 Plus vs. the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

Here's a good article about physical keyboards for the Apple iPhone 6.



* Windows 3.1 [was version 3.1], Windows 95 [4], Windows 98 [5], Windows ME [6], Windows 2000 [7], Windows XP [8], Windows Vista [9], Windows 7 [10], Windows 8 [11], Windows 8.1 [12].