TechLinks: Using Windows 10 and Dropbox

Lisa Knight, FAPR, RDR, CRR, who served on the 2016-2017 NCRA Technology Committee, shared a few links for getting the most out of Windows 10 and Dropbox.

In an April 17 article for Computerworld, Woody Leonhard shares the top 30 free apps for Windows 10 (just to be clear: these are for a computer). “Whether you’re a grizzled Windows victim or a faltering Windows ingénue, these programs should be at the top of your list,” says Leonhard. The apps include an incremental file backup, a tool for bringing back deleted files, an online calling/messaging program (that’s not Skype), a to-do list program, and more.

Still a Windows 10 newbie? For the one-year anniversary of the new update, Brad Chacos rounded up the 10 best new features of Windows 10 for PCWorld. These features, including the Start menu, Cortana, and The Edge browser, are all good to explore first if you’re still making your way into the Microsoft upgrade.

Finally, in a post for Hongkiat, Ashutosh KS shares 15 tips to get more out of Dropbox (plus a bonus). “I often thought Dropbox as a simple cloud storage service that you can use to save and share your files and folders,” he says. “But as I started digging deeper into its functionalities, I found myself nothing but wrong. This cloud service is so full of surprises and has many more features than you already know of.” These features include working on files as a team, accessing files without internet, and sharing screenshots on the fly.

Blog warns court reporters about Windows 10 updates

JCR: Journal of Court Reporting, TheJCR.com, JCR WeeklyJD Supra posted a blog on June 29 warning court reporters that new Windows updates could wreak havoc on their computer settings. The blog offers several tips for dealing with updates.

Read more.

Windows 10: To switch or not to switch — that is the question

TechLinks_logoBy Christine Phipps

Is Microsoft continually peppering you with requests to upgrade to Windows 10? Luring you with free offers? Strong-arming you with automatic downloads? With this article, I hope to help you better decide when switching to Windows 10 is right for you.

Every Windows product has a life cycle that begins when a product is released and ends when it’s no longer supported. According to the Microsoft website, end of support is the date when the company stops providing automatic fixes, updates, or online technical assistance for a product. Windows 7, which was deemed more popular than Windows 8, ended its mainstream (free) support in January 2015. Support for Windows 8.1, if you use that system, is currently set to end Jan. 9, 2018.

Although each operating system has its own life cycle, the computer-buying public seems to have specific opinions about which are really great operating systems and which are not so great, and many computer users will hop over one to get to the other. So it looks like many will hop from Windows 7 to 10, and Windows 10 will be the next major operating system that everyone will be on eventually.

The determining factor of why some operating systems seem to go by the wayside and some stay is due in part to enterprise systems switching to a particular operating system. Enterprise systems are servers, storage, and associated software used by large companies as their IT infrastructure. A company’s operations will run off this system, so switching to an enterprise system is a major undertaking. All or most of the security issues had to have been dealt with, so as not to risk the breakdown of an entire company. Currently, Windows 10 has issues with drive mappings, which will randomly fall off. Mapping is a very important function as it’s the individual mapping of where and how the data will travel from the workhorse computers. This is why there has not been a complete move to Windows 10, as it is not yet good enough for enterprise level.

Microsoft is pulling out all the stops this month before its free upgrade to Windows 10 ends July 29. How do you know whether to accept the update that Microsoft wants to force you into? If your computer was built within two years, you are safe to proceed with the upgrade. The easiest way to find the hardware assembly date is to look up the computer serial number on the manufacturer’s support website.

A computer that is older than two years and upgrades to Windows 10 may miss out on some things, like the biometric reader. To acquire these tools, you may need to download some drivers and even that doesn’t guarantee they will work. Some cameras also may not work correctly. However, for CAT software, email, and some data processing — what reporters typically use their computers for — Windows 10 should be fine.

I believe in always having computers on auto updates, and I set my computer to make updates in the middle of the night, like 3 a.m. If you have a computer older than two years and believe it will be detrimental to upgrade, you can change the auto update settings. Go into Control Panel, then Windows Update, then Change settings, and change the setting from “auto” to “check for updates but let me choose when to install them.”

I would further suggest that if your computer is older than two years that you start looking into buying a new computer. Windows 10 is optimized for use on Intel microprocessors based on the Skylake architecture. These are Intel Core processors that have been manufactured since August 2015. Look for a computer with the Windows 10 operating system if it contains a processor based on the Skylake architecture.

I cannot stress the importance of staying current on software and firmware. I hope that understanding upgrades to operating systems and what to look for will help you make the right decisions for you and prevent any unnecessary hassle or loss of data.

 

Christine Phipps, RPR, of North Palm Beach, Fla., is co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee. She can be reached at christine@phippsreporting.com.

TechLinks: The latest on Windows 10, iOS9, and bad passwords

TechLinks_logoNCRA’s Technology Committee shared links with information on Microsoft Windows 10, iOS 9, and this year’s worst passwords.

Nancy L. Bistany, RPR, of Chicago, Ill., Co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, pointed out a white paper by the VMware Team on how the Windows operating systems evolved into a cloud and mobile-based system, giving people insight in how to use this tool effectively. Read more.

Bistany also noted an article from iDropNews on the beta version of iOS 9.3, the latest mobile update for Apple products including the iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touch devices. The beta version includes a feature called Night Shift, which is supposed to alter, or shift, the colors of an iOS device’s display to the warmer, complementary end of the color spectrum in the evening time — thus reducing a user’s exposure to those otherwise lively and awakening blue hues that we see by default. Read more.

Christine Phipps, RPR, Co-chair of NCRA’s Technology Committee, reminded reporters to be smart about their passwords. Recently, SplashData released its annual list of the top bad passwords. “If any resemble your current passwords,” Phipps advises, “you may want to consider changing them immediately.” Read more.

TechLinks: More news about Windows 10

TechLinks logoLisa Knight, RMR, CRR, of Littleton, Colo., a freelancer and member of NCRA’s Technology Committee, offered this article that guided readers through the settings for Windows 10. Read more.

Another member of the Technology Committee, Robin Nodland, RDR, CRR, of Portland, Ore., pointed out an announcement about the Lumia 950 and 950 XL, billed as Microsoft’s first true Windows 10 smartphones. Read more.

One final tip on Windows 10 from the LifeHacker blog shows how to disable the initial animation to start up the program faster. Read more.

TechLinks: Windows 10

TechLinks_logoNCRA rounded up a group of articles about Windows 10 that the court reporting community has shared over the past few weeks.

On CNN Money, “Is Windows 10 really a privacy nightmare?” addresses specific privacy concerns.

In CIO, “Why you should be (very) wary of Windows 10 if you own an older PC” is an opinion piece that addresses updating from Windows 7 specifically.

In PC World, the “Cheat sheet! Microsoft releases printable Windows 10 key shortcut list” revises Microsoft’s online documentation on keyboard shortcuts into one formatted page.

In Forbes, “Windows 10 Vs Windows 8 Vs Windows 7: What’s The Difference?” compares the different operating systems based on several factors, including cost, support, search, minimum requirements, and security.

In USA Today, “5 secrets to make you fall in love with Windows 10” looks at five new and improved features, including the Start menu, managing updates, and the Explorer window.

In JDSupra, “Be aware of Windows 10 free upgrade opt outs” specifically discusses the issue of sharing a Windows 10 user’s WiFi password.

In the Court Technology and Trial Presentation Blawg, “10 Reasons You Should NOT Install Windows 10 (yet).” provides ten questions to consider before upgrading, including if the upgrade will be done by tech support or not, the amount of free time to learn a new operating system, and its compliancy with other software.

Windows 8 to 10 migration

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Being the first in line to purchase Windows 8, and having the wonderful experience I had with Windows 8, I was both enthusiastic and concerned about the migration to Windows 10. After all, I had come to rely on the Home screen with the tiles, which I had grouped to provide the most convenient workflow for me. Using the smart search on the Home screen to find my Device Manager and to manage my audio and my webcam for streaming was a daily function for me. It was by far the fastest way ever for me to access whatever I needed. Even typing in a name and searching all files to find a PowerPoint, a Word document, or even a photo I had captioned was done with one click. The rumor was that this feature was disappearing in Windows 10! “What would replace it?” I wondered. I had not ventured into the world of Beta testing Windows 10, but I know others who had. They informed me that Windows 10 was what Windows 8 should have been.

So when Microsoft sent me an email to sign up for the Windows 10 download on July 29, without hesitation I agreed. My only caveat was that I control the download, and I selected the option to download when I requested. So on Aug. 6, I awoke early to boot up my Windows 8 computer to update to Windows 10. I had planned on an hour or two for the download. After making my coffee and dressing for an hour jog, I clicked on the download for Windows 10. I answered the first few questions about what nickname I wanted my computer to know me by (more on Cortana later), heard the pleasant new Windows 10 sound as the download began, and felt comfortable when I read the message that the download would take up to an hour and that it would occur without any clicks by me. So off for a jog.

Returning an hour or so later, my computer was ready for the final click to initiate Windows 10. Without hesitation, I made the click and was staring at what I thought was Windows 7. Where was my Home page I had become accustomed to?

So without further elaboration on what might have been, here is my experience with Windows 10:

Windows Edge is the new Internet Explorer or Google Chrome – in my opinion, it is better and easier to use. It allows you to annotate the Web page, save it in OneNote, and organize or send it to others. Think of Edge as your hub. This hub allows you access to your favorites, your reading list, your browsing history, and current downloads all in one click. Here is a screenshot of a Web page that has been highlighted:

Windows1

Meet Cortana. (I’ve met her over the past year using my Windows phone, and I am happy to see her on my computer.) She can be your new friend and director of each day. As you can see in the photo above, Cortana will greet you each morning with the weather, your calendar, or however you choose to customize her pane. Cortana is the voice-activated go-to personal assistant to search for anything you need. So personalize what Cortana provides you upon boot up. If you prefer, you can type in your search. (Now all I need is a microphone to Cortana during my realtime reporting to have her search for a word!)

Upon discovering these features, I dove into my workflow programs. Stenograph CATalyst and all of my files and drivers were migrated without a hitch.* LiveDeposition migrated without a hitch (I have yet to stream since I just updated to Windows 10, but LiveDeposition ensured compatibility). YesLaw was an easy migration, too.

Now moving on to my financial workflow group, I found that for each of those websites, I had to re-enter my user name. On Windows 8, I had saved the user name so only had to enter my password for each site. Before updating, be sure you know your user name for each of your important sites. I have created an Excel spreadsheet where I list each and every site I have created a password for. I have password protected this Excel file with a password that is considered very high.

Another feature I have grown to use often is the Task View. This is the icon on the task bar that looks like a movie camera. Just click on that icon and it brings up all of my open apps. It is easy to access my depo notice while at the same time being in my CAT program.

Snap in Windows 10, if you are familiar with it in Windows 8, is much more functional. Snap lets you put more than two programs on one screen.

Use your notifications feature in Windows 10 – it is superior to Windows 7 and Windows 8. Notifications in Windows 10 are more than just a one-line alert. You can expand and interact with them, and take action on some, too. Select the notification banner from your desktop or the notification in action center to open the app where the notification originates. If there’s more to see in the notification, select the arrow to expand it and get all the details. For some apps, such as messaging apps, it’s possible to reply to messages or interact with the app directly from the expanded notification.

One negative thing I have noticed is the speed of Windows 10 is slower than Windows 8. This could be an issue on my specific computer, as I’m within 25 percent of a full hard disk after uploading to Windows 10.

With only one issue, speed, I think the migration was a success. For those on Windows 7, it will be a much easier migration than you think. Your familiar Desktop will be front and center upon updating. After spending a long day on Windows 10, I’m a happy convert from Windows 8. I do realize I have much more to learn.

*The JCR has reached out to several vendors and plans to publish additional information about their integration to Windows 10.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, RMR, CRR, Realtime Systems Administrator, is a freelancer from Lotus, Calif. She can be reached at realtimecsr@calweb.com.