Scott Hanselman

Video: My non-technical partner tries Windows 10 for the first time

October 23, '14 Comments [21] Posted in Win10 | Win8
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You may have watch my YouTube series on being an effective user of Windows 8 and 8.1. I've made a short URL for you to give to your friends and family http://hanselman.com/windows8. It'll take you to a YouTube Playlist that includes all my best tips and tricks on using Windows. The most popular is "Learning Windows 8 in 3 minutes" but if you're looking to get yourself, or perhaps non-technical Dad and Mom up to date on Windows 8, I recommend they check out "Windows 8: The Missing Instruction Manual." It's calmly paced and explains everything they'll need to know.

A lot of people say "Windows 8 isn't intuitive." That's up for debate, I think, as there's a big difference between unfamiliar and unintuitive. A few minutes of your time and you'll feel a lot more "intuitively" about Windows.

That said, Windows 10 is coming. If you have an extra machine you can sign up for the Preview here. It's very early and I would not put this on your primary machine.

I thought it would be interesting to show my very smart, but rather non-technical wife Windows 10 for the first time. Here's an uncut video of her experience running the first build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

I encourage you to watch it, it's rather interesting the way that she discovers "new" features, but also learns about existing features from as far back as Windows 7. If you've ever do a usability test you'll find the interactions fascinating.

And again, do check out and share http://hanselman.com/windows8


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Fixing the Touch Screen in Windows 8.1 on my old HP TouchSmart with NextWindow Drivers

August 8, '14 Comments [15] Posted in Win8
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HP TouchSmartWe've got an older HP TouchSmart all in one computer that we use as the "Kitchen PC." It's basically a browsing, emails, YouTube, and recipes machine. It's lovely machine, really. I've actually seen them at Goodwill, in fact, for cheap. If you can pick one up inexpensively, I recommend it.

Mine was starting to get sick so I opened it up (a challenge, but OK if you count all the screws) and replaced the Hard Drive. It comes with a 500gig 5400RPM full size SATA drive as I recall, but that was on its last legs. I happen to have a first gen 64G Intel laptop SSD around, so I use some 3M Command double-sided tape and basically taped this tiny hard drive to the inside of the thing and reinstalled Windows. This time, however, instead of the Windows Vista that it came with, I put on Windows 8.1.

You'd think I'd be asking for trouble. In fast, it's amazing. Literally everything worked, first try, with ZERO third party drivers. Blueooth, wireless, graphics, everything. Worked and worked immediately. Nothing was banged out in Device Manager. Even the touch screen worked, but only with 1 point of touch. That meant no pinch to zoom in browsers or maps. Cool, but I wanted to see if I could fix it.

These HP TouchSmarts had touch screens made by a New Zealand company called NextWindow, except they recently went out of business. Their website includes a few drivers, but not the one I needed.

I've mirrored them here because I don't trust that their website will be around long.

Here's the actual driver I needed for the TouchScreen. It doesn't appear to be available anywhere else, so I'm mirroring it here, as-is. It's the "HID Driver" (Human Interface Device) driver for the NextWindow 1900 TouchScreen. It's version 1.4 from May 24th, 2012. It works with NextWindow 2150 and 2700 touchscreens as well and it works under Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and now Windows 8 and 8.1!

This completely brought my HP TouchSmart new life with proper multitouch. It's paved completely with a new Windows 8.1 installation and just one third party driver and NO HP crapware.

Hope this helps you, random internet visitor.

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to add a keyboard and write in YOUR language in Windows for free

July 25, '14 Comments [41] Posted in Internationalization | Win8
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A lot of people don't realize that Windows supports a LOT of different languages out of the box. After Windows 7 and now with Windows 8 and 8.1, you can add keyboards to dozens of languages without buying or downloading anything. You have non-English keyboards now, today! Even if you just have English Windows out of the box, you can add a Japanese Input Method Editor (IME - a way to enter kanji), or any of a dozen other methods for entering non-English text on an English Keyboard. This is great for writing family back home, letting your teen write reports for Chinese class in Word, and more.

If you know someone who could benefit from knowing this, tell them! I met a woman from Ethiopia who spoke Amharic recently and somehow we got to talking about the unique syllabary (an alphabet of symbols) that one uses to write Amharic/Ge'ez using Fidel (their lettering system). She had used Windows for 10+ years and had NO idea she could write emails, make web pages, and write Word documents in her native language FOR FREE. She had this feature in Windows and never turned it on.

In Windows 8 or 8.1, press the Windows key and type "Add language."

Screenshot (29)

Select one of these options (doesn't really matter which) and then select the language you want to add. There's a lot.

Look how many languages are available!

I'm selecting Amharic. Note that I could also select Tigrinya as well.

Tigrinya

I'm just adding the Keyboard so I can write letters, but many languages also have a Language Pack where I could change the look and feel of Windows itself. This could make Windows more comfortable for the grandparents, so experiment with this and their settings.

Amharic IME

An Input Method Editor lets you type English/Latin letters and output non-Latin characters. For example, I'll L-A-space, and get αˆ‹ or H-I-space and get αˆ‚.

Typically as you type a list of options appears and is narrowed down by your choices. Sometimes these are phonetic (they sound like the language) and sometimes they are just letter combos you'll learn.

 

The Ethiopic IME

The results are awesome though, and it makes Windows just that much more usable for folks who regularly need to switch between languages.

Scott Hanselman

Use the Hotkey "Windows Key + Space" to toggle keyboards, or just press the keyboard that appears in your Taskbar.

Switching languages

Now, go tell your family and setup alternate languages on their PC! I can speak from experience that a great way to make a computer more accessible for a relative (and get a smile) is adding support for their native language(s).

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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How to enter and use Emoji on Windows 8.1

July 9, '14 Comments [16] Posted in Win8
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I have an iPhone 5s and every once in a while my wife and would be texting and I would send her a and she would be like "why you sending me a square?" Then later she got a Nokia 1020 and then we could send each other Emoji's back and forth πŸ˜„ πŸ˜ƒ πŸ˜€ 😊 ☺ πŸ˜‰ 😍.

Today you can use Emoji pretty much anywhere, be it mobile or on the web with most modern browsers. Windows 8 has an on-screen keyboard that you can use to type Emoji, even if you use a regular keyboard and mouse.

Perhaps you think Emoji are silly? Did you know that Twitter actually makes sure Emoji work in all browsers by swapping them out for their own Twitter-custom images? The people LOVE them some Emoji.

Right click in the Taskbar and make sure you have the Touch Keyboard checked:

Windows 8.1 Emoji Touch Keyboard

You can see it there in the Taskbar. Click it.

Windows 8.1 Emoji Touch Keyboard

Now, click the Smiley.

Windows 8.1 Emoji Touch Keyboard

It's important to note the Arrows on the left there, as well as the categories on the bottom. ALL the Emoji are there.

Windows 8.1 Emoji Touch Keyboard

Even U+1F4A9 PILE OF POO. So that's πŸ’©

Also noticed that Emoji are in COLOR in Internet Explorer. Here is the GetEmoji site with Chrome on the left and IE11 on the right. I've zoomed in on IE to show that the font scales.

Look at all the Emoji

There's an amazing article by Ralf Herrmann on Color Emoji in Windows 8.1β€”The Future of Color Fonts? that I recommend you read immediately. I've taken part of his image below to show one of the main points of his articles. The Emoji in Windows 8.1 are inside of the Segoe UI Emoji font, and are NOT PNGs (as on other systems) which allows them to scale. Instead, they are layered and each layer has a color. So cool.

winemoji

I'm going to hack around and see if I can change the color of each individual layers. "Diversified Emoji" is a big topic right now, as not everyone wants a yellow LEGO head. There's lots of quasi-Emoji chat apps on all phones with afrocentric or other kinds of emojis. I wonder if a layering system like this would be way to create infinitely diverse emoji?

NOTE: I have NO idea what I'm talking about here, just thinking out loud.

It doesn't seem like Window's built in CharMap.exe supports newer Unicode 7 (?) but BabelMap is a fantastic Extended Character Map that will let you explore all of your choices in a font like Segoe UI Emoji.

BabelMap

Now I need to think about how unprofessional it will be to include Emoji in all my work email. And, more importantly, if it'll all just turn into a "J" in Outlook. ;)


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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Video Tutorial and Screenshots: Windows 8.1 Update 1

April 3, '14 Comments [51] Posted in Screencasts | Win8
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I have a personal MSDN account so I download and installed the Windows 8.1 Update as soon as I could. It'll roll out to the rest of the world slowly in the coming weeks.

The verdict? It's a significant improvement. I use an X1 Carbon Touch laptop, and while it has a touchscreen, I spend most of my time on the mouse and keyboard. I'm comfortable with moving between Store (fullscreen) apps and Desktop apps but it's always a little jarring. You're leaping between two universes. I want to live in one universe and this Windows update merges them in a measured way that means I'm moving faster when using my computer.

I've just put up a brand new 5 minute YouTube video to give you a tour of just a few of the new features.

After you get the update, you'll notice immediately that the Windows Store - a full screen app, mind you - is pinned to your Windows Desktop's Taskbar. You can now pin any app, desktop or store, to your Taskbar.

Even better, you can close them with a right click, just like you're used to:

Windows Store apps can be pinned to the taskbar

And Windows Store apps like Xbox Music that use the Media Controls can also get taskbar enhancements like the Media Controls within the Taskbar button. Here I'm controlling the music in my Windows Store app while I'm in the desktop. The "universal" music controls also pop up when you press your hardware volume keys as well.

Windows Store apps can modify the jump menu

The Start Screen now includes a power button and search button, always.

Windows Start Screen has a visible power button

If you right click a pinned Tile with the mouse (or Shift-F10 with the keyboard) you'll get the familiar context menu. You can change sizes, pin to the taskbar, and more.

Context Menus are in the Start Menu now

There's also some nice subtle changes and features added. This is great for me as I travel a lot. I can manage my known Wi-Fi networks now. This was in Windows 7 and was either removed or hidden. I even wrote a utility to manage Wireless Networks because of this missing feature. Well, it's back.

Manage known WiFi Networks is back

You can move the mouse to the top of a Windows Store app and a title bar will appear. Click in the left side of that title bar, and you can now control Window Splitting.

You can split windows with mouse clicks from the System Menu

Windows Store apps also get Minimize and Close buttons as well.

Windows Store apps have a minimize and close now

Newly installed apps are easier to find and a notification appears on your Start Screen:

"2 new apps installed" notification on the Start Screen

Fullscreen IE11 also has an option to always show open tabs, useful if you're an "out of sight, out of mind" individual.

IE11 Fullscreen can show open tabs now

All in all, it works surprisingly well. I'm moving around Windows faster than before and actually using more Store apps like Mail and Music.

Free Windows 8 and 8.1 Tutorials

I've made this easy link to my free Windows 8 Tutorials. There's a whole playlist up on YouTube and you can get to them from here: http://hanselman.com/windows8 

Please do pass that link along to family and friends, or via Social Media. Thanks!

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.