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Jan212016

Why Uber's Sundance helicopter service is about wiping Lyft off the map

The announcement of another Uber helicopter service, this time for the Sundance film festival, signals the beginning of a new, more aggressive campaign to compete with their ride-hailing competitor Lyft.

Uber executives have been rattled by the recent $1bn investment in Lyft, a round announced in January and led by General Motors.

The Lyft investment caught the attention of more traditional transportation companies like Airbus which, seeing that GM is investing in startups, initiated the partnership with Uber, it is understood.

The helicopters will fly between Salt Lake Citys airport and Park City, a 15-minute journey, for $200 a person during the day and $300 at night. Uber first experimented with helicopters in 2013 in New York.

The viability of the service is certainly another nod to Silicon Valleys embrace of inequality, but it also says something about Uber and Airbus.

Lyfts new valuation came as a shock to Uber, an executive there recently told the Guardian. Theyd all assumed the fight was basically over. And Airbus executives, who dont typically get covered by tech reporters, seems to be wanting a little startup veneer, which many car companies got recently with announcements at CES.

Its a pilot project. Well see where it goes but its pretty exciting, Airbus CEO Tom Enders said about the partnership at a tech conference in Munich yesterday.

Already, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing behemoth has had to cut prices; Lyft quickly followed suit. In Silicon Valleys funding game, an environment that values market share over profit, all that matters is that user numbers keep going up.

This means more press, more Uber for kitten-like moments (a gimmick in which the company sends on-demand kittens, often to media offices), more helicopters.

When Uber and Lyft looked more evenly matched last year, Uber began Operation SLOG, exposed in a document leak to the Verge. Covert Uber contractors would pose as civilian Lyft riders only to recruit the drivers. The company gave the operatives burner phones and credit cards to create fake accounts. To further disrupt their competition, Uber operatives also reportedly called and canceled more than 5,000 Lyft rides.

It seemed to work. Uber raised $8.61bn to reach its current astronomical $70bn. Silicon Valley insiders had largely written off Lyft. And then Lyft raised $1bn in a round led by General Motors. At a valuation between $3.9bn and $4.5bn, its still small in comparison, but in the startup world brand loyalty is weak, and consumers could quite easily switch apps.

The contrast between the two companies Uber with its smooth black aspirational aesthetic and Lyft with its pink mustaches and drivers who insist on fist-bumping riders is stark. Even as Uber tries to soften its image with humanizing profiles of its bellicose founder and Lyft moves to a more slender understated pink mustache, they represent two very different approaches to a ride-hailing future.


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Jan142016

Windows 10 Tips and tricks app to use lock screen pictures as background wallpaper for free - Duration: 3:15.

Published on Jan 13, 2016

If you want to use the great lock screen pictures and set them into the background of your device, easy and fun with this app in the windows store called Spotbright

Category License Standard YouTube License

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Jan072016

Microsoft in 2015: Mobile disasters, Windows 10 and heads in the clouds

The last twelve months have been pivotal for Microsoft, the company which once promised to put a PC on every desk but now settles for a vague mission statement about achieve more.

The new mission statement was announced by CEO Satya Nadella in June, replacing Ballmers 2013 commitment to a family of devices and services". It is significant that Nadella dropped the reference to devices. Microsoft still talks incessantly about cloud and mobile, but mobile now means iOS and Android as well as what is left of Windows Phone.

Windows Phone? This was the year that the dream ended, despite the high quality of Microsofts mobile operating system. In April 2014 the company completed its acquisition of Nokia's mobile phone division and related services, and with Windows 10 on the horizon the stage was set for another major push at making a success of Windows Phone.

At the Build developer conference in April the company announced not only details of its Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which enables the same Windows 10 code to run on phone and desktop, but also tools for porting iOS apps and an Android runtime.

Just a few months later it was over. Nadella announced a change in leadership teams and the departure of ex-Nokia CEO Stephen Elop in June, then in July came a $7.6bn writedown in the value of the Nokia mobile phone division and related services acquisition along with around 7,800 job losses primarily in the phone business.

This was more than just another failed acquisition, joining other disasters such as aQuantive in 2007 (digital marketing, $6.2bn value written down in 2012), or Danger in 2008, which led to the Kin phone debacle.

Microsofts decision to cut back Windows Phone was done in the knowledge that mobile devices and apps are the driving force in personal computing today. The company is betting that it can succeed in cloud and services, with an increasing number of its applications (such as Office) running on Apple or Google OSs.

Microsoft is still making Lumia phones, though with a cut-down range and marketing that promotes phones running Windows 10 Mobile as productivity devices that work like a PC when connected to a large display, rather than as mainstream smartphones.

Lumia: The phone that works like your PC

Microsoft's new phone strategy, because everyone wants a phone that works like a PC

This year was also the year of Windows 10, which was delivered with remarkable speed, just six months after its first detailed announcement in January. The pace of its production was indicative of Microsofts determination to escape the unpopular Windows 8 and to put some momentum back into the PC market. According to IDC that effort is not yet successful, with PC sales expected to fall 10 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2015, despite a generally favourable reaction to Microsofts new Windows.

Windows 10 is not just an upgrade, it is a new direction for Microsofts operating system. Key differences are that upgrades are free from Windows 7 or 8, at least for the first year, and that Windows is being delivered as a service, which means both security and feature upgrades delivered incrementally and indefinitely.

Another aspect is that a version of Windows 10 works on multiple device types, including PCs and tablets, phones, Xbox One, and small computers like Raspberry Pi.

The problem with Windows 10 and the UWP app strategy is that most mobile devices run iOS or Android, especially now that Microsoft itself has pulled back on Windows Phone.

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Jan012016

Top 10 Windows 8 tips and tricks - Computer Hope

Update to Windows 8.1 Microsoft has released Windows 8.1, which is a free upgrade for anyone running Windows 8. This update addresses many of the problems users have had with Windows 8 and also adds a Start button. Visit Microsoft's Windows 8.1 page for the update.

Customize your tiles Windows 8 tilesMake the most of your Windows Start screen tiles by adjusting the sizes, where they are located, and what is listed.

Move any tile by clicking and dragging the tile. While moving a tile, if you need a larger view of the Start screen move the tile towards the top or bottom of the screen to zoom out. Use your mouse wheel to scroll left-to-right through your tiles. Any Desktop shortcut or program can be pinned to the Start screen by right-clicking the icon and choosing Pin to Start. In the bottom right-hand corner of the start screen is a magnifying glass with tiles, click this icon to get a zoomed out view of your Start screen. In this view, if you right-click on a group of tiles you'll be given the option to name group, which can be useful if you have a group of related tiles (e.g. games). In this view, you can also click and drag a group to organize your tile groups. Create a new speed bump between tile groups by moving a tile to a speed bump. Resize any User tile or Live tile by right-clicking the tile and choosing resize. If there is a tile you want on your Taskbar, right-click the tile and choose Pin to taskbar. Show admin applications on the Start screen by clicking Settings in Charms, click Settings, and change the Show administrative tools from No to Yes. In Internet Explorer 10, you can also pin any of your favorite web pages to your Start Screen. Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts Knowing at least some of the Windows 8 keyboard shortcuts helps make your Windows 8 experience much more enjoyable. Try to memorize these top Windows 8 shortcut keys.

Press the Windows key to open the Start screen or switch to the Desktop (if open). Press the Windows key + D opens the Windows Desktop. Press the Windows key + . to pin and unpin Windows apps on the side of the screen. Press the Windows key + X to open the power user menu, which gives you access to many of the features most power users would want (e.g. Device Manager and Command Prompt). Press the Windows key + C to open the Charms. Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings, which is the same Settings found in Charms. Press and hold the Windows key + Tab to show open apps. Press the Windows key + Print screen to create a screen shot, which is automatically saved into your My Pictures folder. See our Windows shortcuts page for a full listing of all Windows shortcuts.

Know your hot corners The corners on your screen are hot corners and give you access to different Windows features. Below, is a brief explanation of each of these corners.

Bottom Left-hand corner

The bottom left-hand hot corner of the screen allows you to access the Start screen. If you're in the Start screen and have the Desktop open, this corner opens the Desktop from the Start screen.

Tip: Right-clicking in the left hand corner opens the power user menu.

Top-left corner of the screen

Moving the mouse to the top-left corner and then down displays all the apps running on the computer. Clicking and dragging any of these apps to the left or right-hand side of the screen will snap that app to that side of the screen. Each of these open app icons can also be right-clicked to close or snap.

Right-hand side of the screen

On the full right-hand side of the screen will be given access to the Windows Charms.

Taking advantage of search The Search in Windows 8 has been significantly improved when compared to all previous versions of Windows. To search for a file or run a program in Windows 8 from the Start screen just start typing what you're trying to find or want to run.

As you begin typing, the results will start appearing on the left-hand side. The Search also supports limiting the search to apps such as Finance, People, Maps, Photos, Mail, Music, Videos, Weather, and much more. If what you are searching for is not a file or program, click on the app you want to use as the search. For example, if you were searching for "New York" and selected the Weather App you would be shown the weather in New York, NY.

By default, Search organizes the available Apps by how frequently they are used and then in alphabetical order. If you want to keep your favorite app at the top of the Search list, right-click the app and choose Pin. Pinning the app will lock it in place regardless of how often it is used. If there is an app you don't want (e.g. Finance) you can turn on and off any of the search apps through the PC settings, which is found under the Settings in the Charms.

Bonus tip: The Search is also found through Charms and can also be opened by pressing Windows key + F.

Running two apps side by side Any app can be pinned to the left or right-hand side of the screen. For example, open the People app and then press the Windows Key + . (period) to move that app to the right-hand side of the screen, pressing the same keys again will move it to the left-hand side, and pressing the same keys again makes it full screen. While an app is pinned, any other app or program can be opened and loaded into the available space on the screen. For example, in the picture below, we've opened a browser window and have the People app running to monitor our social networks.

Windows 8 People

Any open app can also be pinned using your mouse by clicking at the top of the tile and dragging it to the left or right-hand side of the screen.

Bonus tip: The Desktop can also be pinned to the left or right-hand side of the screen.

Note: For snap to work properly your resolution must be at least 1,366 x 768.

Windows 8 Task Manager The Windows 8 Task Manager has been significantly improved over previous versions of Windows. Some of the changes include a total percent usage of your Processes, improved Performance graphs, a Startup tab to see startup processes, and the App history tab (as shown below) for total resources an app. Press Ctrl + Shift + Esc to start exploring the new Task Manager.

Windows 8 Task Manager

Use a picture password to log into your computer Windows 8 includes a new feature called Picture password, which allows you to authenticate with the computer using a series of gestures that include circles, straight lines, and taps. Enable this feature if you want a new way to access your computer or have a hard time with passwords.

Open the Windows Charms. Click Settings and then More PC settings In the PC settings window click Users and then select Create a picture password Bonus tip: A four digit pin password can also be created and used to access your computer.

Take advantage of Windows 8 apps Windows 8 comes included with several apps to help you get the most from your computer. Below are just a few of the included apps.

People

Microsoft touts the People feature in Windows 8 because they understand how many people are using social networks today. In the People feature you'll be able to connect your Windows computer to all the major social networks including Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Once connected, you can pin the people app and monitor your social network (as shown below), use People in Search to find people, and get an overview of what is happening in all your social networks.

Windows 8 People

Reader

The Reader app gives you PDF support right out of the box.

SkyDrive

The SkyDrive app gives you access to the Microsoft cloud service for storing photos, documents, and other files in a cloud and access or share those files easier.

Store

Take advantage of the Windows Store and install one or more of the thousands of available apps designed for Windows 8. The Store is found in the Start screen, or use Search to search the Store app for any apps that you are trying to find.

Know the answers to common questions Windows 8 is the biggest change to Microsoft Windows since the introduction of Windows 95, which was released all the way back in 1995. Since so many people have grown up with Windows, it can be difficult to transition to a new way of doing things. Below, is a short list of the most common questions previous Windows users have.

Know the Jargon Knowing all the new jargon introduced with Windows 8 help improve your familiarity with Windows 8 and make it a more enjoyable experience. Below, are just a few links to the most commonly used Windows 8 terms.


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Dec252015

Holiday tech support: 7 tips for Windows computers - The Verge

It's that time again: Thanksgiving. For the past 12 months you've been telling your parents to just "restart it" and the family PC has been running fine, kind of. You just want to enjoy your oven-roasted turkey on Thursday, but your parents are ready to embrace your technical skills. This year, it's time to fix all the little problems on the family PC and make sure it's easy to resolve others in the future. Here's a crash course on the type of questions you're going to get on Thursday.

My computer is too slow

This one is a classic one, and most people will complain about slow PCs. The best place to start is to make sure the system drive isn't full. If there's not a lot of free space then it's time to perform some clean ups. Windows has a built-in disk clean-up tool, and it's a good place to start. It probably won't clear all of the space issues, so it's worth checking out the downloads folder or any of the documents, videos, and music libraries to see if there are any unnecessary files taking up a lot of space.

Windows 10 disk clean up Windows 10 disk clean up

Space issues aside, a computer can also run slowly if there are a lot of apps running. A common culprit is apps that run at start-up. If you're on Windows 10 then launching the task manager and heading to more details and then the start-up section is a good place to start. Try disabling apps from starting up if they're not necessary, but be careful with what you're disabling and avoid disabling anything Microsoft-related or any apps you're not sure about. If you're on an older version of Windows then the same start-up section can be found by going to start > run and typing msconfig and then heading to the start-up tab.

I hate this Windows 8 start screen

Windows 10 is a free upgrade

If your parents are like many others then they probably hate Windows 8. Thankfully, Microsoft has an easy and free upgrade that removes most of the frustrations. If the family isn't running Windows 10 yet then check the system tray for an upgrade notification to get the PC upgraded.You can even skip the line if you don't want to wait, but make sure that you backup all important files before you move to Windows 10 just in case.

My printer won't work

I know what you're thinking, who owns a printer these days unless it's a 3D one? Unfortunately, we still need to print occasionally so you might run into some issues with the family PC. If you've tried resetting the printer and you're still having issues then check the print queue from the print icon in the system tray. You might see a document from last month sitting in there continually trying to print or with some kind of error. Clear it out and then try a fresh document. Also make sure your parents haven't accidentally enabled the "use printer offline" option, because that's really no fun.

Windows 10 Printer Windows 10 Printer

Lost files

We've all been there. Wiping out hours of work by mistake is painful, but there are ways to avoid this. If you've lost a few files, there's a high chance they may have just hit the Recycle Bin so check there first. If they're truly gone then try a free recovery tool like Recuva. If you're lucky and they were only recently deleted then you should be able to recover them easily, otherwise you'll need to look into more expensive data recovery options if you really want the files back.

Make sure you create a backup so file restores are easy in the future

To prevent this in the future, get your parents a USB hard drive and set up Windows backup. On Windows 10 it's as simple as searching for "File History" and selecting the drive to automatically back up folders like documents, music, and movies. There are more advanced options, but you'll be able to recover files and folders by right clicking and "restore previous versions" within File Explorer. That will make things a lot easier if files disappear from the family PC in the future.

Windows 10 PC backup Windows 10 PC backup

Browser home page is weird

A lot of apps hijack your home page by default these days, even Microsoft's own Skype installer will switch you over to MSN. Usually it's fairly innocuous, but if Internet Explorer is suddenly starting on a random fake version of Google then it might be time to check on the anti-virus status of the PC. Windows 8 and Windows 10 provide built-in malware protection with Windows Defender, but if you're running Windows 7 or older then grab a copy of Microsoft Security Essentials. It's free and you'll be able to run a quick scan to see if there are any issues. Browser hijacks are fairly common and easy to remove, so Security Essentials will restore you back to whatever homepage you're comfortable with.

Help for the future

You don't need to travel to help fix the family PC

These are just some basics, but if you're tired of your parents calling you at odd times or pestering you to visit and fix their PC then it's time to get ready for the future. Install something likeTeamViewer so you can remotely help the next time there's a support problem. It's free for personal use, and it's really easy to use for both you and your family. Who knows, maybe next Thanksgiving you'll be able to eat your turkey in peace as a result.

Teamviewer Teamviewer

Buy your way out of this problem

If your family PC is really old then it might be time for a hardware upgrade. There are plenty of PC options thanks to the release of Windows 10, and if your parents don't need a full PC then there are lots of laptops, tablets, and Chromebooks to consider. Check out our fullbest laptop,best tablet, andbest Chromebook guides for hardware recommendations.


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