Hello and welcome to Issue 24 of the Hillside Computer Services Newsletter.
For a change there have been quite a few things happening in the computer / IT world. For me, the most important thing was moving house / office at the begining of November. All went smoothly and BT came in and did their stuff (installing BT Infinity 2 fibre optic broadband) and tidying phone cables etc. So I'm all up and running again.
Apple has finally released Yosemite; their new operating system for their desktop and laptop computers and Microsoft's Windows 8.1 is gaining in popularity. More on both of these in the News section below.
All that remains is for me to do is to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very happy and successful New Year.
Microsoft have announced that they maybe releasing Windows 10 in April next year, which by all accounts will provide a more user friendly stepping stone between their mobile device operating system and their PC one. Watch this space for more details.
By the way, Windows 10 is correct name. Those people in Redmond for reasons best known only to themselves decided to skip "9".
Windows 8 is on the up
For years, Windows XP has trailed Windows 7 in worldwide usage. After two years after the release of Windows 8, it has stuggled to achieve double digit percentages of "take up", but now the tide appears be turning, with "the Windows 8's" cracking the 15 percent global market share in October, while usage of the now-dead Windows XP plummeted.
Why does this matter? Well, for a start off, there's nothing Microsoft would like to see more than people changing from Windows XP / Vista and adopting their "new" operating system. At long last, this appears to be happening (though Windows 7 still holds the crown and in fact grew in October). However, with Windows 10 lurking in the wings for 2015, Windows 8.1's growth will slow down as people will be more keen to invest in a brand new operating system when it's released, rather than one which is figuratively speaking "old" (two years old).
Windows 8.1 Surge - Why now?
The most likely reason for the dramatic upturn in Windows 8 and 8.1 usage is the back to school season. PC manufacturers often see a boost in sales during the end of the summer and into the early autumn as students and teachers gear up for the new academic year.
It's unlikely, however, that this little surge means the appeal of Windows 8 is growing. Most new laptops and desktops are being shipped with Windows 8.1 installed by default and the small number of Windows 7 devices still available in the consumer market will soon disappear.
The increase in Windows 8.1 is likely due to the fact that the latest devices happen to be new devices running Microsoft's newest OS, rather than any inherent consumer desire for Windows 8. I suppose you could call it lack of choice. For most people who want to buy a new Windows PC, it's Windows 8 or nothing. But hey, Microsoft will no doubt be rubbing their hands in glee.
Apple released OSX 10.10 (Yosemite) on the 17th September to their usual acclaim / hype, to which I succumbed a few days later and installed it on my office computers, and have subsequently installed it on quite a few clients Mac's and it seems to work very well most of the time.
By the end of October Yosemite was reported to be running on one in five Macs. Not bad going really in such a short length of time.
I have spent quite a long time getting to grips with the new Mac operating system. Using Yosemite has been good, most of the time, but it's not been without issues. There have been occasions when I have felt like a beta tester as I tried to get certain features to work. But there have been other times when new tools and user interface elements have brightened up my day.
There is plenty to like about Yosemite and here are some of my favourite features:
1. In Safari clicking on the URL bar to bring up a quick shortcut to my favourites is useful, as is the handy Tab View that shows thumbnails of all the tabs I have open.
2. The Notification Centre is now useful, instead of annoying, thanks to Widgets. There aren’t many to choose from, but that’s likely to change over the next few days and weeks. And separating out the Today view was a genius move.
3. There are also some handy new things in Spotlight, like the ability to perform quick calculations and conversions. Never again will I need to go to Xe.com every time I want to convert euros to pounds.
4. Calendar is a little more intelligent, autocompleting attendees if you create a regular event. There’s also a lot more space for editing existing events.
5. And Yosemite just looks nicer than Mavericks. I know that some people don’t like the new, iOS-like, icons, but I do, it's nice and it's minimal. Also in Yosemite’s favour is the fact that it is free and runs on my six year old Mac Pro Desktop like a dream - although older machines don’t get all the new features.
One thing to bear in mind, if you have any unusual / specialised software running on your Mac, do make sure that the software is supported by Yosemite. Programs such as Microsoft Office will run without any problems, but some audio recording applications aren't (as yet). If you are in any doubt ask me.
If you want to upgrade your Mac to Yosemite, give me a call and I can let you know whether it can be done - some older computers don't / won't support it. If it does though, I can do it all for you.
Windows 8 - See what's running
If there's an application you use all the time then you don't have to access it via the search system. Pin it to the Start screen and it'll be available at a click.
Start by typing part of the name of your application. To access Control Panel, for instance, type 'Control'. Right-click the 'Control Panel' tile on the Apps Search screen, and click 'Pin to Start'. If you're using a touchscreen, press and hold the icon, then flick down and select 'Pin to Start'.
Now press the Windows key, scroll to the right and you'll see the Control Panel tile at the far end. Drag and drop this over to the left somewhere if you'd like it more easily accessible, then click the tile to open the desktop along with the Control Panel window, and press the Windows key to return you to the Start screen when you're done.
Windows 8 - Resize Tiles
On the Start screen of windows 8, right click on any of the tiles and up pops a menu, which will allow you to resize that particular applications tile to make it easier to see. This is really usefull if there are a number of applications you frequently use from the Start Screen.
Automatically update Yosemite
Previously OS X Mavericks allowed you to automatically download major point releases of OS X (i.e. OS X 10.10.1) but not install them without first manually authorising it. Security updates could however be installed in the background without your knowledge.
In OS X Yosemite automatic installation of all updates is now possible, including third-party apps.
Open System Preferences, click the App Store button, and put a tick next to Install OS X Updates.
Incidentally, if you ever want to view how many updates are pending, just click the Apple menu at the top left of the desktop, where the number will be listed alongside the App Store entry on the menu (if there’s no updates then no number will be shown).
Viewing Full Web Addresses in Yosemite
You may notice when you use Yosemite that the full web address (URL) isn't displayed. For example, you could be looking at the BBC's weather page - www.bbc.co.uk/weather, but in the header field you'll just see bbc.co.uk. This can be really very confusing and incredibly annoying, so to switch the full web site address back on, do the following:
Click on Preferences
Click on Advanced
Click on "Show full web site addresses"
Close the window - click on the red blob at the top left hand corner of the window. The effect is immediate (no need to restart Safari or reboot your computer)
If you have any questions / queries about any of the points raised in this newsletter, don't understand anything or indeed if you have any computer problems, then please do contact me - my contact details are at the bottom of this page, or you can just click here.
A wife send her husband a text message on a cold winter evening: "Windows frozen". The husband sends the answer back: "Pour some warm water over them". Some time later husband receives an answer from his wife: "The computer has completely had it now".
There are 2 types of people in the world. Those that can extrapolate from incomplete data.
Well that wraps up another issue. Thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope you enjoyed it. I shall get the next edition out to you in the next three months or so.
Remember, and I know I say this every time:
Happy and safe computing.