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Windows 8 Tips and Shortcuts

Bugs Bunny -courtesy of Warner Bros.

Bugs Bunny -courtesy of Warner Bros.

One thing is definite in the world of IT: change.

Windows 8 is a massive step away from the way we were doing things just four or five months ago. As our laptops and desktops age, and we turn to retail sales outlets to provide us with our much needed “tech fix,” we also get saddled with Windows 8. While it is possible to downgrade your system to Windows 7, provided the company who made your system provides drivers for each component, it is simply easier to adjust and roll with Windows 8.

Now I’m not a fan of the OS. It’s got a learning curve and while it’s not ridiculous, it’s not exactly intuitive. So the trick is to make Windows 8 work for you and you alone.

Here is the first step… getting your start menu back. There are three ways to do this. Methods 1 & 3 are free. Method 1 requires you to do some keyboard work. Steps 2 and 3 require you to download and install software on to your computer that will create a start menu for you.

1) a) right click anywhere where there is empty space on your Windows task bar (that’s the thing on the bottom of the screen with the icons for all over your open and running programs).
b) hover your mouse up to the Toolbars and select New Toolbar from the resulting Window.
c) copy and paste this line and paste it into the select folder Window that pops up: %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and click on Select Folder.
d) Now you have a no-frills and free Start Menu with a list of your programs. You will have to move it over to the corner of the Task Bar wherever
you want it to reside.

2) Go to Stardock.com, pay $4.99 and download Start8. Install it and you’re good to go with something very similar to your old Windows 7, Vista, or XP start menu. It comes complete with file histories to make it easier to open files that you think are lost on your system.

3) Go to and download a free copy of ClassicShell. It not only gives you a Windows Start menu but it also gives you a chance to get rid of the Metro UI start screen. Again…it’s free and it works.

If you find anything else pretending to do the same thing, please be careful. A lot of malware is disguising itself as a free start menu or Metro UI interface remover.

Next time..we’ll talk about keyboard shortcuts that you can use to speed up your Windows 8 and maybe even your Windows 7 experience.

Do you really benefit from Adobe’s monthly licensing plan?

Adobe Creative Cloud logo

Adobe Creative Cloud logo

So Adobe Creative Suite 6 has arrived and with it, yet another effort by a software company to lock people into long term fee payments plan. First off…this plan is great for the student, amateur, or professional who needs access to Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Illustrator, or one of the many programs included in this package for $49.99/month (fee may change).

But once you sign up for this service, you are probably not going to be able to use this right away. Right now it is taking Adobe 48 hours to send your serial number to you. It will make you feel like one of the students involved in the Adobe Education program.

Moreover the costs for this plan seem to be aimed at the user who will upgrade every 18 months or so. Where does this figure come from? I’m glad you asked.

49.99 (let’s call it an even $50) x 18 = $900 but that $900 would cover the costs of the basic CS Web Premium package. Additional software and access will cost you more.

Let us now ask outselves, when is this plan advantageous. The answer is easy…if you do the occasional photo edit or the infrequent web design, you will benefit from this plan as you can subscribe to complete your task and let the subscription lapse when your project is over.

If you are a regular graphic or web editor, then it is easy to see where you would benefit from buying a physical copy of this software.

Adobe tools are the de facto standard for professional photographers, video editors, graphic editors, web developers/designers and programmers, aa well as instructors and military medical instructors.

So plan on seeing more of these types of plans from other software companies. Plan on seeing more frequent, say yearly, updates from the big three, Adobe, Microsoft, and Oracle.

Can you implement your own privacy notice and have it work?

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Privacy is never simple when the Internet's involved

I have seen a lot of people posting notices to their Facebook profiles similar to this one:

***PRIVACY NOTICE:
Warning–any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental, public or private structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you DO NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/ or the comments made about my photo’s or any other “picture” art posted on my profile. You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee(s), agent(s), student(s), family or any personnel under your direction or control. The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law.

UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE
It is recommended that other members post a similar notice to this or you may copy and paste this one. Thank you. This is now a publicly traded site, protect yourself.

While a part of me wants to be optimistic and say that you should use this to protect yourself, I can tell you that much of this will do you very little good.

The reason is actually very simple. Whichever site that you visit is not your property. It belongs to the site’s creator and/or owners. As such, the site should have its own privacy policy.

You must understand that when you visit a website the resources made available to you on that site, reading material, news, information, files, data access, images, whatever, are owned by either that site’s creator or a 3rd party originator. By entering on to this site and accessing this data/information you are agreeing to abide by the Terms of Service (TOS) and End-User License Agreement (EULA) plus its privacy policy.

This policy takes into account the information it needs or has promised its investors, advertisers, or others, that it would acquire.

So therefore by simply visiting a site, you are giving the owner of that site permission to implement its privacy policy, EULA, and TOS and if you do not agree, then you have an obligation to leave the site immediately.

It’s a simple choice that you must make. For more information, Google search the terms ‘privacy policy’, EULA, and ‘TOS’ and you will get a better picture of how this works.