Tip o’ the Week #149 – Take up thy Surface and Walk!

clip_image003Far out, man! The Surface, maybe more correctly described as the Microsoft Surface with Windows RT, has finally landed and, despite the odd bump in the logistics road for some, it’s flying out of (the) store(s).

In the UK, the Surface 32Gb with no cover keeps selling out – the only option if you want an other-than-black touch cover, unless you buy one with the black cover and splash out on a more lurid one as an accessory. The good news is, a few more colours have now appeared on the UK store – so if you’re holding out for a magenta or red cover, then fill your boots. Or you basket. Big-time Surface fanboy Edward Hyde is waiting for a camouflage-coloured keyboard; or perhaps some paint.

If you haven’t bought a Surface, then go and order one now. Yes, Santa Claus might be bringing you one in only a few weeks, but it’s such a beautiful device that you need one beforehand, and you wouldn’t want to run the risk of missing out, would you. You can always palm it off onto someone else in your family if you get one as a pressie, anyhoo.

clip_image005Regardless of which version of Windows 8 you use, make sure you keep the Apps up to date – there were lots of updates which came out shortly before General Availability. If you look at the Store tile on the home screen, and there’s a number showing, that indicates that some of the apps you have installed need to be updated. To download & install those updates, go into clip_image006the Store app, and click on the Updates link at the top right to list what’s available and to kick off the process. Apps, you see, are not updated by Windows Update.

Here’s something demo-worthy of Windows 8, that works particularly well if you have a Surface already…

Have you looked at the Bing “Travel” app in any detail? Even if you’re using Windows 8 on a non-touch laptop or desktop, it’s still a very cool app to play with and show people as an example of the Modern UI.
Somewhere to go after dark if you fancy getting chibbed, perhaps?

Try the Panorama view whilst holding a Surface, or some other Win8 device with the appropriate accelerometers, and it’s impossible not to be impressed. See this demo if you can’t experience it first-hand right clip_image007away.

If you do have a Surface already…

  • Did you know that if you press the Windows button on the device (ie the one on the front below the screen) and the volume-down key on the left hand side, it takes a snap-shot of the screen to the clipboard…?
  • Make sure you run Windows Update and get the new version of Office 2013, which moved the code from Preview to the final release.
  • Did you know that the video out is just a regular micro-HDMI port, so you can use the VGA dongle from the Samsung Series 9 ultrabook or 7 tablet?
    Or get a micro-HDMI – HDMI or VGA cable from Amazon for a fraction of the cost of the official accessory? Shhhh.
  • and that you can even run the Surface in multi-monitor Mode (press WindowsKey+P on the keyboard after you’ve plugged into an external display)…?

app o’ the week


AudioBoo – free

clip_image010this week’s featured application…

Here’s a cool app highlighted by Liam Kelly… in his own words:

If Twitter is too outdated for you and you also believe that the “spoken word has been left behind in the current explosion of online innovation”, then Audioboo is the app for you. Come and join the likes of Stephen Fry & fellow Boo’ers and capture your own audio “Boos” and share them with the world!

Comedian Fred MacAulay knows that sometimes Boo isn’t enough (that link will take you to videos you shouldn’t listen to at work, unless you have headphones). In this case, AudioBoo is worth it only to hear an ex-Dr Who reciting the lyrics of S. Ballet’s “Gold” in a Shakespeare stylee.

Look out for the falsettoesque “Gold! Gold!” – diamond!.

Click on the logo or link to the left to find out more, and install the app on Windows 8 PC.


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