I predicted this 18 months ago....but today at a tech conference in China, Microsoft has announced that its new Windows 10 Operating System will be free to anyone using Windows 7 or later. Previous articles mentioned that Windows 10 was floating the idea of a subscription service, but 18 months ago, Apple announced that they were doing away with the pay-for-operating-system structure, and Microsoft is wise to follow suit.
Last quarter Microsoft’s revenue from consumer licensing accounted for only 16 percent of the company revenue, down from 23 percent the previous year. With Apple and Google Chromebooks slowly eating into Microsoft’s market share, a non-paying customer is better than no customer at all.
As I mused earlier, the business world, for the most part, runs on Microsoft Office. It's a smart move for Apple; it would be equally so for Microsoft.
A while back, I sent out a survey to the community find out if there was interest in Hyattville for a few basic Computer courses, and here are the classes that got the most votes, along with their presentation schedules:
March 10 - Course 1: MS Office Tips (Word, Excel, Powerpoint – the Big 3). Most of these tips can also be applied to Google Docs or Open Office – Word, so don’t hesitate to join in this class if you don’t have Microsoft Office. Other document options (Google or Apache's free version of Word, Powerpoint, Excel)
March 17 - Course 2: Storing information on "the Cloud", and Accessing your information from any device (home computer, tablet, phone)
March 24 - Course 3: Mobile Device Basics (smart phones, tablets, iPads)
March 31 - Course 4: Introduction to Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc): The importance of "owning" your own name on these platforms
April 7 - Course 5: Overview of the variety of internet browsers (Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, Safari) and Safe Practices for using the Internet
Each class will take place in the Hyattville Community Center Library at 6:00 pm.
Course cost is $5.00 and Handouts will be provided.
The library has open wi-fi that all are welcome to use for the training.
What to bring: You do not have to bring a computer along to attend. If you have a desktop computer at home, you can still attend and receive the tip sheets, and try what you have learned at home.
Please RSVP if you plan on attending so that we know how many settings and printouts to provide.
It's a new year, and along with that come new resolutions. One of them on your to-do list might involve determining if you could - or would - cut the cord to pay-for-cable TV. This has been harder for some folks to do than others - namely, sports fans.
Last week's CES (Consumer Electronics Show) illustrated that the cord-cutting tipping point is here. For those who have been unable or unwilling to cut the cord previously, largely due to sports channels and movie channels, a new service called Sling TV offers a collection of streaming channels - including sports - for $20 per month.
I cut the cable cord two years ago, and for me, it has been relatively easy. I watch lots of documentaries, I get my news online, and I love PBS programming. That said, I've been able to find all the shows I love through a simple combination of Hulu and Netflix, with PBS online to round it it.
If this is something you're considering, I say - go for it. Often, depending on your market area, if there is competition, you'll see great promotions from cable providers to woo you back into the fold if it doesn't work out. If it does, you might end up saving quite a bit of money.
Slate magazine has created a great little cable-cutting calculator that allows you to populate your cable costs, internet costs, and what you might want in terms of online viewing choices. The handy calculator tallies up the expenses and tells you at a glance exactly how much you might stand to save by cutting the cord!
by Kristi Robison
My mother passed away recently, and our family is still addressing issues with insurance companies and credit agencies. I've learned a lot through that experience, and would like to share a few productivity tips with you.
A few of the surprises that I've learned along the way were the suggestions to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles, so that they can "close" a driver's licence or identity account of the deceased, preventing identity theft. Another surprise was that some social media sites (Facebook and LinkedIn) required a copy of the Death Certificate to close accounts. Update - Februrary 12, 2015: Facebook will now allow you to identify a Legacy Contact in the event you wish for your Facebook posts to be memorialized, rather than deleted, after your death.)
Finally, I learned another valuable lesson on patience. Many of these actions are started by surviving family, but can encounter delays depending on the agencies (and the number of them) that you are dealing with. Hopefully the information here will help during that time. This information doesn't replace the wishes that your deceased loved one may have stipulated in a Will; but is intended as a guide for you to navigate through this time.
I've created an action list that our family used to divide up who could do what after my mother's death. I'm posting it here in the hopes that it might help you or your family through difficult times.
Action List Following the Death of a Parent or Spouse
These items are in no particular order of priority, and are fairly generalized. They are meant as a tool to use, not a prescription for how to manage your situation. Each situation is different and may require different flavors of the actions listed below.
If the deceased is named in your Will, Power of Attorney, or other legal documentation, eventually you may wish to consider recreating or updating these legal documents. In my family's case, my Mother was named as my Father's primary durable power of attorney, with me as the secondary. 4 months after my Mother's death, my Father had a series of strokes. In order to even obtain hospital updates (due to HIPAA requirements) I had to present the durable Power of Attorney along with a certified copy of my Mother's Death Certificate. We did arrange for an elder care attorney and revision of my Father's legal documents to allow more clear support from both my brother and myself.
There you have it - most of the things that our family did to manage after my Mother's death. Have we missed anything that you've experienced after the death of a spouse or parent? Please let us know!
Who doesn't love free tools? Once again, Microsoft is offering teachers and students alike the use of Office 365 for most up to date versions of Word, Excel, etc and a host of online collaboration tools. For Free!
Beginning today, teachers in the U.S. who are eligible to get Office from their school can sign up for Office 365 themselves using a school-provided email address at www.office.com/teachers. Students in the U.S. can check their eligibility at www.office.com/getoffice365.
This is a great opportunity for students to gain fluency with office and collaboration tools prior to entering the working world.
Have you seen the slow load icon on any of your favorite websites today? That is there to remind everyone what an internet without Net Neutrality would be like.
Net Neutrality is the principle that assumes all internet traffic and data are treated equally - that is, NOT charging differently by user, content, site, platform, or application. Information and knowledge are power - restricting access to that is destructive.
Here is how to take action, and contact your representatives to urge Net Neutrality.
Is your career stuck in a rut? Do you want to learn new skills, or perhaps pursue a different career path? Learn How To Become provides information on the steps to pursue a variety of careers. I wish something like this had been available when my only goal in High School was to earn good grades and participate in extracurricular activities that would look good on scholarship applications! My goal at the time was higher education....not so much the subject of that higher education. And, it's never too late to learn something new or of interest!
The website allows you to search through a variety of career paths to learn more about what those careers offer, and then provides a realistic learning plan to get you there.