Tip o’ the Week #281 – Calculator rebooted


So, Windows 10 will be with us in less than 2 months. As well as many significant improvements and new experiences, there are a number of subtle clip_image003but still cool updates. One such is the new calculator app, a “modern app” which has been enhanced compared to the old-fashioned Windows Calculator (which itself was updated in Windows 7, covered way back in ToW #90).

The new calculator app in Windows 10 functions largely the same as before, though it looks a bit groovier (with the now-standard clip_image005Hamburger” menu in the top left). The refresh makes it touch-friendly without being unwieldy to desktop or keyboard users, and there are a bunch of cute touches too…

If you tap on the ‘burger, you can set different modes of operation, including the conversion of weights, measures and the like. As well as giving you the answer to your conversion query, it also furnishes an equivalent estimation …








Have a play – how many kilojoules are there in the equivalent food calories of a slice of cake? How many elephants does your car weigh?

clip_image013The calculator doesn’t do currency conversion, but Bing.com clip_image015does a decent job of that – just type the currency symbols or standard identifier into Bing and you’ll get an approximation. Add the quantity too if you like.

In fact, Bing also does calculations and other conversions, too – try a few for size. It’ll give you a simple calculator if you enter a sum.


Tip o’ the Week #280 – Telling time on Windows 10

clip_image001For some time now, the death of the watch has been predicted, as people increasing use other devices to tell the time. The frenzy of interest around the Apple watch (even if it’s only being worn as a bit of bling) maybe shows that there’s life in the wristwatch idea yet, and whatever happens, people still need to know what time it is.

Maybe now is the era where many watches are exclusively for style and feeling, rather than for the simple utility of timekeeping. Just as celebrity petrolhead blabber Jay Leno described the automobile as the “savior of the horse” (in that horses would no longer be collectively abused as mere transport, and instead be cultivated & enjoyed as leisure), perhaps the world of horology is all about cheap and essentially disposable watches; devices like clocks, phones or computers that also tell the time; and old-fashioned mechanical watches & expensive fripperies that are primarily about “looking good” and showing off (hmmm), just like Mr Lagerfeld’s fruity phone.

Of course, as you sit at your PC, there are a number of ways to see the time – something that has been covered in the past on ToW (for Windows 7 and Windows 8). There’s a snazzy new clock application in Windows 10, that is also now worth taking a look at…

Double-click on the date/clock in the system tray and you’ll see clip_image002the current time and a date picker that’s been redesigned to be clip_image003touch-friendly. Clicking on Additional clocks also launches the new Alarms & Clocks application which integrates a couple of useful stopwatch & timer functions as well as a day/night view of the world map, and a configurable list of locations that you may want to keep an eye on, so you know the time at a glance.

There’s a nice “Convert” option too, where you can drag a time slider and see what the time (and condition of daylight) would be at all your listed locations; so there’s no excuse if you’re setting up calls with people from all over the globe, in choosing a time that’s inherently unsuitable. This app has the default aspect ratio of a phone app, and we can look forward to the same sort of functionality when Windows 10 lands on phones, too.

If you don’t have Windows 10 yet (check it out here), there is a simple way of finding out the current time in an overseas location, and even displaying a real-time proper clock…


If you enter “time <place>” into Bing.com, you’ll see the current time and time zone there – in fact, lots of locations also have other details that are shown alongside, like maps, current weather, travel tips etc.