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Mobile Devices

Focuses on smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Includes Android and iOS devices, BlackBerry smartphones, Windows phones, Kindles, and NOOKs.

Contact: Richard Corzo and Jim Scheef at: Meets on the 4rd Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. at the DACS Resource Center.

DACS Community Forum: Look for the Mobile Devices SIG at

News and NotesJim ScheefRichard CorzoNews and Notes

October 2013
By Richard Corzo

In October we had a member who brought in an inexpensive Android tablet intended for her grandson. We helped her set it up with a Gmail account for her grandson instead of her own account.

The main event for the night was demonstrating Windows 8.1, the update from Microsoft that is free for current Windows 8 users. If you want to upgrade from Windows 7 and preserve your existing applications and data (not do a clean install), you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 8 first, then upgrade to Windows 8.1.

The first thing to notice is the return of the Start button, but it leads back to the Windows 8 Start screen, rather than a traditional Start menu like Windows 7 has. The Start screen now offers four tile sizes, one smaller and one larger than the two offered in Windows 8. There is a small arrow on the lower left that leads to a complete list of applications, analogous to the All Programs list in Windows 7. When a new app is installed it will no longer show up on the far right of the main Start screen, but instead be marked as New on the secondary screen listing all applications. From there you can right-click and select Pin to Start if you would like it to appear as a tile on the main Start screen.

Some new apps included are a Help+Tips app (which amazingly was completely absent in Windows 8) and a Reading List app that allows you to mark web pages or items in other apps for later reading by using the Share “charm” (one of the icons in the narrow window that appears when you swipe in from the right edge of the screen).

One nice new feature is flexible sizing when two Windows 8 apps appear side by side. When a web link is clicked in a full screen app, the app reduces to the left half of the screen and the web page is rendered by Internet Explorer in the right half of the screen. Closing the Internet Explorer window allows the original app to restore to the full screen.

SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage service, now has more prominence in the File Explorer on the desktop, and becomes the default file save destination in apps, although it is still possible to save files on your local computer. In summary, there seem to be a number of modest improvements over Windows 8, so it’s worthwhile for current Windows 8 users to upgrade to 8.1.

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