Microsoft Windows is 30 Years Old Today

Today is a significant day in the history of personal computing.  30 years ago Microsoft Windows 1.0 was launched, bringing with it the first widely available GUI (Graphical User Interface) instead of command line functions.  While we can all debate the Microsoft of today and their business practices of the past, there is no denying the significance of Windows 1.0.  It, in every way, revolutionized how we interacted with computers and opened the door for billions to learn and easily use PCs in their homes.

Essentially Windows 1.0 was a 16-bit multi-tasking shell that ran on top of MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System) that was a mouse driven GUI.  To put it into perspective of how far we have come in 30 years, your Android phone sitting next to you is very likely running a 64-bit architecture – never mind your PC!  By today’s comparisons, it was not exactly a beautiful user interface but it was revolutionary for the time.

Now what would early days Microsoft be without Steve Ballmer?  And everyone enjoys a good launch video for an app right?  Feast your eyes on this gem!

Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy doesn’t it?

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Dell Chromebook 11 with i3 Processor & 4GB RAM On Sale for $269

If you are in the market for a Chromebook, head over to the Dell website to check out the deal on the Dell Chromebook 11.  Right now they have it on sale for $269 which is $272 in savings off of the regular price. This isn’t a stripped down version of it either.  It comes with an Intel i3 processor, 4GB of RAM and 16GB of storage with all the easy-of-use and security that comes with Chrome OS.

As the name suggests, this Chromebook has an 11.6″ display with a 1366 x 768 resolution so while it is not an HD, the crisp LCD display should still make it easy for hours of viewing.  You can of course connect an external monitor via the built-in HDMI port for more comfortable viewing. You can also expect to get about 7 hours of battery life on a full charge.

Dell Chromebook 11 – SALE at $269 – Dell

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Better Fitness and Nutrition Tracking Comes to Google Fit

When I posted my review of Google Fit several months ago, I pointed out that while it was a good app that had a nice, clean interface, it lacked some of the features that would make it a true must-have fitness app.  The latest update to the app, which is rolling out to the Google Play Store now, closes a lot of those gaps by bringing a much tighter integration with other fitness and nutrition apps.  The result is that Google Fit becomes a portal for all your nutrition and exercise information.

The update is version 1.55.44-000 for those keeping score at home and while it has been released to the Play Store, it could be a day or two before you see the OTA update if you have it installed.  The first thing that is new in this build is the real-time tracking of exercises.  If you go on walks, runs or bike rides, you can now have Google Fit track that exercise for you and it will integrate with Google Maps so you can see where you went on your activity.  To do this, there is a new Start Activity option in the app’s menu.

Google Fit for Android – Free – Download Now

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Google Account No Longer Required For Hangouts Video Calls

In a post today on the Google apps blog, the company has announced that users who need to access a Google Hangouts video call no longer need to have a Google account to join.  The update follows on an update from last year where an external link could be provided to a Hangouts video call even if they were not explicitly invited.  This new update really pushes Hangouts as a video, voice and conferencing platform given how widely used it is and the fact it is on both Android and iOS devices as well as the web.

The way that this new feature will work is pretty slick.  Users with the external link will click on that link, put in their name in the dialog box that pops up and click the Request to Join button.  Organizers of the Hangouts call will get a pop-up with that users information and can either Accept or Decline to let them in to the call or not.  It’s simple and for anyone who has used a video conferencing solution in the past, will feel very familiar.

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How To Get The Old Google+ Back

Yesterday we saw all the hype around the new Google+ website and upcoming Android apps.  For some, this change has been welcomed while others have found it not so great.  The verdict is still out but as a die hard Google+ user, I like what I see so far.  That said, I’m a realist and this new version of the social site is very much a work in progress (Google’s words, not mine).  There are things that don’t quite work the way that you would expect and some of the overall user experiences need to be smoothed out.

For now, you have a way to get back to the Google+ of old with a simple click within the site.  I’ll show you how to do this if you haven’t found it already and give you some thoughts on why you may want to go back – and why you may want to stick with it.

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Google Play Store Update Finally Rolling Out To The Masses

It seems like I posted on this ages ago but the new user experience for the Google Play Store for Android appears to be rolling out to the masses at this point.  Over the course of the past 24 hours or so, multiple people have posted screenshots of their devices sporting the new look store on Google+, Facebook and even a few dropped them in email.  If you are still waiting for the update to come to your devices, your wait may not be much longer.  As for me, I received the updates about 5PM MST today on both my Nexus 6 and Nexus 7 at the same time (seems once one updates they all update on your account).

To be clear, there is nothing you can do to push this update to your devices.  Yes there was an update to the Google Play Store app a couple of weeks ago but this UI change is server side.  You have to wait until you get it.

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Welcome To The New Material Design

If you have visited over the course of the past few hours, you will notice a change is afoot.  That change is an all new, lightweight and clean Material Design look to the site.  This change has actually been in the works for several weeks now as I have been working on a theme that is based on the excellent WordPress theme built by Brad Williams.  As with any site, any time you make a major change to the look and feel there are a lot of considerations that have to be taken into account:  User experience, adverts, content flow and of course mobile look & feel.  In this update, I think I’ve found the right balance but ultimately it is you, the readers, that have to make that decision.  Feedback, as you would guess, is most welcome.

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Google Play Music Update Brings Auto Download Feature

The Google Play Music app has been updated today for Android devices and while it is mostly a bug fix release, there are a few new features that are worth a mention.  This new build is verion 6.1.2115T for those keeping score at home and it is rolling out to the Google Play Store now.  If you have the app installed then you should expect to see the OTA update for it anytime over the next couple of days.

As far as new features in this update, the first thing you will notice is a completely revamped Settings menu.  Things are generally much more organized into sections with this update and it is a bit easier to see all of your settings without having to tap to change a particular setting in most cases.  Functionally there isn’t much different other than the new Auto-offline feature which I will discuss after the break but I find the new Settings to be a bit easier to figure out what to adjust in Google Play Music.

Google Play Music – Free – Download Now

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