Tag Archives: windows 8

After 5 months the Windows Store hits 50,000 apps

windows 8 store updates link

Windows 8 launched way back at the end of October last year and it has steadily grown since then, though there is a vocal minority who would like you to believe otherwise — some of whom have a vested interest in making you think that way. While the growth of the operating system itself has been rather quick — four million copies sold in less than a week — the growth of the App Store has been slower, but rather steady.

Now the web site Metro Scanner reports a new milestone has been reached. As of this writing, the store is officially as 50,304 apps. This is likely a big moment for Microsoft, as it is validation of the company’s plan and proof that people, most importantly developers, are finally coming around.

Of course, there is a long way to go. The operating system is still without a number of feature apps. Lacking still are official versions of things like Twitter, Facebook and others.

However, the growth should steadily become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As more apps appear the pressure on others to get in there will mount. The steadily growing number of users will also add additional pressure on developers to get them on the ball with this OS and Store.

The Joystick all-in-one remote control and hotspot

One of the cool devices that GNC found at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was the Joystick from Noitavonne. This device is kind of a one-stop-shop for many cool features.

It acts as a remote control for your devices, like an Android  phone or tablet or a Windows 8 device. When paired with your TV, it turns your big screen into an Android device and if your phone rings you can answer it through Joystick’s built-in speaker. It even has a full QWERTY keyboard to add to the functionality. The keyboard is hidden beneath a small flip-up 1080p screen.

The product is expected to be released in the spring of this year with a price point of “between $249 and $349”.

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Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

3 apps to customize Windows 8 to your liking

Microsoft made major changes with the move to Windows 8. Many users love the new operating system, but it also seems to have it’s detractors and they tend to be the loudest voices. Yes, the new OS is different, but Microsoft has always made Windows pretty customizable and features that aren’t readily so can be changed by third-party apps. That hasn’t changed in Windows 8.

Skip Metro Suite

I personally don’t mind the new Start screen, although I rarely use it. I don’t mind having to hit the Desktop icon after boot up and I genuinely like the Charms menu. With that said, my opinions aren’t shared by all and Skip Metro Suite will help those who don’t share my views. It will let you skip the Start screen on boot up, disable the switcher, disable the Charms menu and remove edge panels.


The lack of the now familiar Start button has probably been the biggest cause of concern for Windows traditionalists. Again, I find no reason to bring this back — using the Charms menu Search feature to open an app is perfectly acceptable. However, many seem to feel they simply can’t live without this Windows 95 leftover.

For those of you who want that feature back, there are a number of apps that have sprung up to take care of it. Perhaps the best is Start8 from Stardock. It isn’t free, but the $4.99 price tag isn’t too steep if this is truly what you want.


Now here is an app that I really like! Not that the previous two aren’t good, but only that they do things that I don’t find necessary. You see, Microsoft did update Windows Explorer by adding the ribbon interface which became popular in Office. However, the company failed to add perhaps the most requested feature – tabs. Tabs like those Chrome, Firefox and even Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have had for some time.

QTTabBar is perhaps the simplest way to add tabs to Explorer. It’s also free and open source software, which makes it even better.

So, what apps do you like to use with Windows 8? I am always looking for suggestions.

What Did Windows 8 Look Like When it was Young?

Windows 8 is here to stay regardless of if you like it or not. Microsoft is now looking to get the operating system boosted to worldwide appeal and doing so through a variety of advertising means. But, regardless of all of that, the company also “released” some early screenshots from the development days to show how far the operating system has come.

The image was published by Long Zheng, who was a member of the Chevron Windows Phone unlock team, and was sent to him by an unnamed Microsoft insider. The screenshot in question came from a UX Week 2012 presentation by Microsoft’s Jensen Harris.

The interface is not vastly different from the new Metro Start screen that we all love or hate. The basic format is already there in this image, but it lacks the now familiar Microsoft apps like Mail, People, Store and the rest.

While this image doesn’t really mean a whole lot, it is a nice insight into the early mock-ups and ideas that Microsoft started with when building Windows 8.

The jury is still out regarding if the OS will be a success or if it will it fail miserably.

Windows 8 Mini-Review

Microsoft Windows 8If you are thinking about upgrading to Windows 8 from Windows 7, my suggestion would be to stop thinking about it and save your money for something else. Cheap as the upgrade is, the user interface is terrible.

It’s like Microsoft have taken the new user interface (previously known as Metro) and smashed into the traditional desktop interface, with the interface layers competing for the user’s attention. Some components have gone completely – the Start button – and other components are hidden in unintuitive places: how do I shutdown the PC? Charms slide in from the right – even the name gives no clear idea as to what charms do. The new front page pops up in the bottom left. The desktop appears sometimes. Apps are windowed or full-screen but you can’t get from one to the other. It’s truly awful.

Before anyone accuses me of being an old dog resistant to new tricks, I have bought every single previous version of Ms DOS and (consumer) Windows as it came out, (with the exception of Windows ME). Not this time, though. I’m sticking with Windows 7.

I like the Windows Phone 7 / 8 user interface and it’s great on a phone or tablet but on a desktop or a laptop with a mouse, it’s a disaster. Here’s my prediction….Windows 8 will be to Windows 7 what Vista was to XP. That’s how bad it is.

Sorry, Microsoft, but you’ve got this really badly wrong.

Microsoft Surface Video and Details

For the past couple of months the Surface tablet from Microsoft has not only been vaporware, but also the subject of a lot of hatred from hardware makers who seem a bit put-out by suddenly having a powerful new rival.  Yesterday the long-awaited pricing information was finally released, with tablets starting at $499.  We also saw the first TV ad revealed and the hardware specs for the much-anticipated tablet.

Despite the controversy that many media outlets seem to want to create about Windows 8 and the Surface tablet, all indications are pointing towards a major victory from Microsoft with both the software and hardware.  The operating system shot to number one on the most popular software list on Amazon and the entry-level 32 GB Surface tablet quickly sold out of pre-order, moving from “delivery by October 26th” to “delivery within 3 weeks”.

Today, the Redmond company released a new minute and a half video showing off the Surface tablet and all of it’s features, in both hardware and software.  This isn’t a TV ad, but simply a way of marketing the hardware by displaying what it can do.  The video so far has received very little attention, with only 324 views, but it will likely take off as it becomes better known.

Video of Tim Cook and Apple Legal Team During Surface Announcement

Yesterday Microsoft held their mysterious event and unveiled the Windows Surface Tablets – both Windows 8 Pro and Windows RT versions.  It was a rare time for Microsoft – the pre and post-announcement created Apple-like buzz.  Fitting since the new tablets are expected to compete with Apple and Android in the marketplace.

Of course, rivals Apple and Google were watching this event closely and already planning their responses to this new device.  A new iPad is likely still a ways off, but Google is set to release their much-anticipated Nexus tablet, made by Asus, within the next month.  There also may be legal responses given today’s patent-happy tech industry.  In fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his legal team watched the Microsoft announcement especially closely.

Fortunately the folks at WinSource were able to get video and audio of Cook and his lawyers during the LA event.  They have posted the clip online and you can watch and listen below.  If you can’t catch all of the audio then head over to their site where they have also posted a transcript of the conversation.