Is Windows 8 on a Desktop Good for Productivity?

Joshua Henderson writes:

Hello!

I am currently running Windows 7 on my desktop and mostly use it for playing games, doing word processing, graphic design, Internet browsing, and listening to music. Recently my computer has become slow, and not as productive as I would like it to be. So I have been contemplating moving to Windows 8; after using it in a virtual machine, I feel impressed with it. I am not sure if I should upgrade though because I don’t want to lose productivity (I am a student so I need to be able to start working quickly). So I was wondering if you think that Windows 8 on a desktop is good for productivity?

Is Windows 8 on a Desktop Good for Productivity?Great question. As many in the LockerGnome community know (and I consider you all members of a community here, regardless of your level of participation), I’ve been nothing less than forthright about my opinions regarding Microsoft’s latest desktop operating system. Nearly a year ago (and still months prior to Windows 8’s official release), we demonstrated why regular people may not like Windows 8 Consumer Preview, introducing my own dad to the operating system while doing my best not to influence his opinion one way or another.

As it turned out, my dad did not take well to Windows 8. Granted, this was still a version of the OS that was a work in progress, not yet ready to be released to the public. The main point was demonstrated, however: Metro (the name for one aspect of Windows 8’s user interface) was difficult for my dad (and therefore, the the typical consumer) to comprehend. My dad is an intelligent man, too, and probably slightly more tech-savvy than the majority of Windows users out in the wild. Some of you out there may disagree about my dad being representative of the typical consumer, but I think I know my dad better than most, and even if he does still prefer Windows XP to Windows Vista or Windows 7, the transition from XP to either of those operating system wouldn’t be nearly as paradigm-shifting as the transition to Windows 8.

With a touchscreen, however, I’m certain my dad would have fared somewhat better. He can handle touchscreen devices such as his iPad without issue, though getting work done on the tablet is somewhat limited. There’s nothing like being able to open up and work with a spreadsheet or type out lengthy correspondence using a traditional keyboard. Windows 8 is a bit different, of course, as it offers both the traditional Windows desktop experience combined with its new Metro interface. (For more on Metro, reading our recent article Is Metro Good for Desktops?) One can jump back and forth between both interfaces, a scenario that will work well for some. For others, the shift between interfaces will seem jarring at best, while downright frustrating and unacceptably unusable at worst. Another problem for many will be that you can only work in one application at a time while using the Metro interface.

Now, if you find you’re not discombobulated by all the bouncing around when using Windows 8, then I will admit that the productivity apps are all there. The Microsoft Office suite of applications are available to you, as are the most popular Internet browsers. Depending on the graphic design application you’re using, the most popular ones are or will soon be made available for Windows 8. (If you use a touch input device with your desktop computer, you may even find yourself enjoying performing most of your graphic design tasks almost exclusively using touch input.) Listening to music won’t be a problem; even iTunes — which you may already know is not my favorite music application — works fine in Windows 8, though the user experience (UX) is quite different from that of iTunes running on a Mac. And yes, games play nicely with Windows 8.

I’m still standing by my opinion that many Windows users are going to be turned off by the confusion-inducing UX of Windows 8, but even here among the LockerGnome corps of writers there is dissension. Maximilian Majewski today expressed that it’s a “silly notion that Windows 8 on desktops isn’t productive”. For more on his opinion, read his own take on Windows 8 Consumer Preview, written in May of last year. For more recent opinions, simply type “Windows 8” into the search box on our website to pull up a wide variety of content related to Microsoft’s latest operating system.

I’m open to hearing more dissenting opinions, as well, so chime in — especially if you own a desktop PC running Windows 8.

How to Get a Free Xbox 360 when You Buy a Windows PC

As the school year winds to a close and many students prepare for college or graduate school, bringing a laptop to college has become more important than ever. While Apple has traditionally given away free iPod touches to students who buy a Mac in the summer, there was never any kind of a similar promotion if you’re a Windows user. This year, however, Microsoft isn’t laying down and taking it, as they are offering a similar promotion: A free Xbox 360 if you buy a Windows PC over $700. The deal starts today, May 22, so if you are thinking of buying a Windows laptop for school here’s how to get that free Xbox.

1. If you have an .EDU email address, order online

If you want to get this deal online, head over to the Microsoft Store Online, Dell.com, or HP.com and shop for the computer you want. Any PC on those sits over $700 qualifies, laptop or desktop, including awesome high-end stuff like the Samsung Series 9 or something more modest like this Acer Aspire. Make sure to use your .EDU email address and you’ll qualify for the promotion — it will let you know while you’re checking out. Not every .EDU address works, addresses marked as alumni and others that aren’t associated with a real university won’t qualify.

2. Bring your student ID or fall class schedule and other ID into a Best Buy or Microsoft Store

If you’re going to be a freshman and don’t have your .EDU email address yet, you can also bring your student ID or a printout of your university class schedule and other form of ID into a retail Best Buy or Microsoft location to get the deal. Just let them know that you’re here for the free Xbox 360 and show them your stuff, and they will point you to the qualifying laptops. Pretty easy.

While a Windows 7 PC is perfect for staying connected to your social networks, surfing the web, gaming and streaming videos, music and more, when you add the power of Xbox 360, you’ve got a world of entertainment at your fingertips. You’ll never lack for opponents with the huge network of gamers playing on PCs and Xbox 360 consoles**, so it’s easy to find friends or players at your level. And it’s easy to stream music, TV and more from your PC directly to your Xbox 360.

According to Microsoft, the deal starts today and goes “until 9/3 or while supplies last,” so if you want to be certain you’ll get that Xbox, make sure to order soon. And if you’re not interested in an Xbox, consider that a new Xbox will sell for around $200, so your $700 computer just became $500.

Grockit

There should be an image here!A lot of students don’t really enjoy studying by themselves, and that’s why study groups are a nice alternative that get other students involved and open the door for group learning. With that said, a study group may only get together once a week, so students will always have time that they study on their own. Of course, the Internet can be used for studying, and educational services have been built to help make that possible. Young students enjoy social networking, and they’ll enjoy studying through social networking with Grockit.

Students can improve their math and English skills and prepare for standardized tests using Grockit. The service can identify a student’s strengths and needs and will create a personalized study plan that fits them. Not only can students chat with other members of the community, but they can also get involved in challenges and earn points and recognition for their achievements. Learning sure has come a long way, and this online study group approach improves test scores and increases student satisfaction by a large degree.

Amazon Prime For Students Is Free For One Year

What is Amazon Prime? It is a means in which you can get free shipping on thousands of items offered on Amazon for $79 a year. But is it worth it? It all depends. I have been using Amazon Prime for the past few years and for me it has paid for itself. But my situation may differ from yours, since I have family and friends spread all over the country. For birthday and Christmas gifts I take full advantage of Prime and mail gifts several times a month or more.

Amazon is offering their Prime service absolutely free for students with a one year limit. This is what Amazon states on their web site:

Amazon Prime free for one year ($79 value)

Unlimited FREE Two-Day Shipping on textbooks and millions of other items
No minimum order size
Upgrades to One-Day shipping for $3.99/item
E-mail alerts for exclusive deals and promotions
It’s free for students – sign up by providing your school and major

To take advantage of this offer just click on the link below to get started.

Free Amazon Prime For Student Offer

Schoology

There should be an image here!Schools have come a long way from being simple rooms where kids went to learn. These days, technology is playing more of a part in the educational process to the extent that even some teachers who were resistant to using modern technology are now beginning to see the value of it if used properly. When you’re using a social network, you might not automatically think about how useful that environment could be for teachers and students, but there really is value there. Schoology combines social networking with learning management to make a digital classroom possible.

These class profiles can be used by teachers to create a blog, upload assignments, and communicate with students. The service even offers the ability to create customized tests and quizzes that students can take online and have graded as soon as they’re finished. Teachers can see how their students are doing with their grades and attendance, and detailed analytics let them know how the network is being used. Students already feel familiar with online environments like this because of social networks like Facebook, so it’s important for teachers and schools to keep up with the times and use what’s relevant.

[Photo above by Crunchy Footsteps / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Quizinator

Being a teacher isn’t an easy job. It can be rewarding in many different ways, but a lot of work is required to reap those rewards. You see, if teachers could just go to a classroom and teach, then that would be one thing, but being a teacher involves a lot more than just teaching. For examples, teachers have to serve as mediators, act as disciplinarians, grade assignments, come up with teaching tools and homework, and that’s just the beginning. Quizinator wants to help teachers with some of their responsibilities by offering a tool that enables them to create, store, and print worksheets, exams, and quizzes online.

This free tool can really be a big help in this area. Teachers who have been doing these tasks by hand will especially appreciate the functionality. Questions and answers can be dragged and dropped, and the other elements that you would expect are here. Since everything is done online, accessing your work and making changes is a piece of cake. Your students probably won’t love everything that you create on Quizinator, but you’ll enjoy the process.

Cramster

When you were a student, didn’t you just love doing homework? Don’t worry, I am indeed being sarcastic. While there are students who thrive on homework, the majority of us most likely wanted to get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible. With that said, to be honest, doing homework today is easier than it was even five years ago. The Internet has advanced in a way that means that you’re always connected with the help that you need no matter what problem you’re having. You may be doing the work at home, but the world is at your keyboard. Cramster makes doing homework easier than it would be otherwise.

This site is home to an online study community that is there to help you with your questions and problems. Not only are other students a part of the community, but teachers, parents, and subject experts can also be of assistance. Study guides and practice tests give you the information and experience that you need, and step-by-step solutions to the problems of about 300 textbooks are also provided. Who’s ready for an A+?

Warner Brothers Hiring Anti-Piracy Interns To Spy On Pirates

What better way to find pirates than to hire students who are proficient in file sharing. Warner Brothers is recruiting students as interns to locate and spy on pirates in an attempt to shut down their operations. It seems that these interns will be setting up accounts at BitTorrent sites, develop scanning bots, make purchases to trap sellers and other tasks as Warner Brothers deems necessary. This is an effort to locate pirates and prosecute them for piracy.

In a recent article it further states that:

The intern will further have to scour the Internet for illegally posted Warner Bros. and NBC Universal content and gather intelligence on the sites that offer these pirated goods. One of the more boring tasks listed in the job description is the sending of takedown requests and infringement notices to sites and users.

The lucky student who gets the job will receive a £17,500 salary for the 12 month internship that starts July 2010. Applicants are required to study a degree in a computing related discipline and programming experience with Java or JSP and PHP, Perl or Python is seen as a bonus.

We encourage all eligible TorrentFreak readers to apply for this exciting internship and provide us with regular updates on Warner Bros’ anti-piracy efforts. You have to be quick though, the vacancy closes on March 31.

If this is successful one would expect that other movie studios may follow Warner Brothers lead. It would seem that Warner Brothers is serious about catching those who pirate their movies and sell them to others. It will be interesting to see how well these interns do and if the effort does stem the flow of illegal movies being sold on the Internet.

Comments welcome.

Source

PaperRater

If you’re a student, then you’re used to writing and turning in papers for classes like crazy. Writing papers on a variety of subjects is just a fact of life for students, and since they write so many of them, it’s important for students to do the best they can on them and make improvements where necessary. Getting this constructive feedback usually requires letting someone else read your work, but PaperRater can help you improve your work without needing the involvement of another human being.

This free tool goes above and beyond a simple spell check by also checking your grammar and looking for instances of plagiarized content. PaperRater will even give you suggestions about ways that you could improve your writing, which is pretty fancy. The tool is great for high school and college students, and you have nothing to lose by giving it a try. Whether you’re a student or not, all of us can improve in our writing. Just so you know, I had PaperRater analyze this review and the site exploded.

Dealing With Addictive iPhones

Here’s some fairly obvious news – the iPhone is considered to be addictive! No, really? That’s the take on this report stating that young people are falling victim to this obsession everyday. There can be no question that jumping from one app to another, using the iPhone, is easy.

On the flip side, the above linked article did point out that many folks who were found to be using the iPhone, turned out to be generally more organized overall. The people in question, were students and it was fast becoming clear that these phones were becoming a big part of their lifestyles…for better or worse. So whether the iPhone is a boon to productivity or simply an addiction waiting to push forth, the iPhone is likely to remain a staple in the daily lives of today’s students.

I guess the big challenge is to make sure that there is a balance between real life and an iPhone induced, digital life. Clearly, it’s a balance difficult to maintain for some. For others however, there are other smart phone options such as the BlackBerry that lack the sheer number of pointless media apps and instead, provide for some level of productivity along the way instead.

TeachStreet

It’s been said that you’re never too young or old to learn something new, and that’s true. Learning can be fun if you’re learning something that you’re interested in. Unfortunately, a lot of people pretty much give up on choosing to learn anything new once they get out of school and they instead just learn what they need to learn to get through life. We all have things that we’d like to know how to do, and instead of letting those learning desires leave your mind, it would be good to follow-through on them if at all possible. TeachStreet will connect you with classes in your area so that you don’t have any excuses anymore.

No matter what classes or lessons you’re looking for, try searching for them in your area on the site and see what you come up with. You could end up finding exactly what you want, and full information will be provided for you so that you know what to expect. While TeachStreet is a great resource for people looking to learn something new, it’s also a great resource for teachers who want to promote their knowledge and classes. By having a profile on the site, teachers open themselves up to a whole community of interested students. What are you waiting for? Go learn something!

StoryJumper

Have you ever wanted to write / create a children’s book? They may not contain a lot of words, but they do offer a lot of opportunities to be creative. Additionally, for parents and teachers, getting their kids and students to create children’s books can be a nice way to have them do something creative that they can call their own. Of course, instead of being forced to just scribble on paper, the Internet has come to our aid to make creating a children’s book an online experience. StoryJumper will have you creating a children’s book in no time at all.

You can build a book from scratch or use one of the provided templates to get you started. If you have your own art to use, then that’s great, but if you’re not exactly artistic or just haven’t created any drawings yet, then you can just use the artwork that’s provided by StoryJumper. Finalized stories can be viewed and shared online, but they can also be ordered as actual printed books, which is a cool thing for anyone who wants to write a real children’s book.

Chegg

This is a tough time to be going to college. Due to economic conditions and uncertainty, many students have no idea if they’ll actually be able to find a job doing what they’ve studied for. Concerns about entering the job market after leaving college are tough enough, but you can’t forget about the challenges that students face during college, too. It may seem like a small thing, but simply getting textbooks can be challenging because of the high costs that are involved. The normal process for a lot of students is to just buy the textbooks brand new no matter what they cost and deal with it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Chegg makes renting textbooks a real possibility.

Students are only going to need most of the textbooks for a certain period of time anyway, so renting makes a lot of sense and saves tons of money. Rented textbooks are shipped quickly and in good condition and can be returned for free when the students are done with them. Textbooks that are owned can even be sold to Chegg for cash. There’s a great selection of textbooks on the site, and whenever one is rented, sold, or purchased, they plant a tree. They plant more than fifty acres of trees each week, which is very impressive and makes using the site that much more satisfying.

GroupTable

The Internet is all about collaboration these days, and the companies that are succeeding are the ones that are developing new ways for people to collaborate successfully. We see a lot of collaboration tools for businesses, but another area of life where collaboration is an everyday occurrence is in education. Students are constantly working on projects together and they need a way to keep track of their progress. GroupTable has been built just for group projects and study groups.

This service is very similar to other collaboration tools that you’ve probably seen because it enables you to upload files, organize tasks and events, talk with collaborators, etc. Students are already using the Internet, so it only makes sense that they should use an online service to keep track of their group projects. GroupTable has been built by students, so you know that they’re qualified to build a useful tool like this. If you’re a student, check out their suggestions for getting involved to find ways to help spread the word about the service. It’s time to hit the books, people.

[rsslist:http://shop.tagjag.com/products/collaboration]

MacBook For Students – On Sale For $899

If you are looking for a deal on a MacBook and you are a student. Apple is offering a cool $100 off their popular MacBook. The MacBook comes with the following specifications:

The new MacBook.

2.26GHz : 250GB

  • 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • 2GB DDR3 memory
  • 250GB hard drive1
  • 8x double-layer SuperDrive
  • NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics
  • Built-in 7-hour battery2
  • Polycarbonate unibody enclosure
Grab your new MacBook at the link below. Includes free shipping.