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By Justin Seeley | Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Gift-Giver's Guide: Which Smartphone Should You Buy?

smartphone comparison

The holidays are a great time of year to pick up a new smartphone. Every manufacturer has their latest flagship product out and on display.

But when you’re buying one for someone else, it’s hard to know which one to choose.

Let’s take a look at some of the hottest phones on the market today—to help you decide which one’s right for the lucky recipient on your list.

By Nur Duygun | Friday, November 14, 2014

Windows 8 Users: New lynda.com App for PCs and Tablets!


We’re thrilled to announce the release of our new App for Windows 8 PCs and tablets. This native App includes a fully responsive layout, personalized dashboard with recommendations and “continue watching” features, offline-viewing mode for learning on the go, and much more. And it’s free to all.

lynda.com is passionate about delivering the best learning experience possible—in all the places you love to learn. Get the same high-quality training from our expert instructors whether you’re on a Windows 8 device, Galaxy, iPhone, or even Kindle. Check out our Mobile Apps page to make sure you have our apps for all of your devices!

Here’s a first look at the streamlined Windows 8 experience.

By David Gassner | Thursday, July 10, 2014

Installing PHP on Windows


The Windows packaging of PHP has changed since my course Installing Apache, MySQL and PHP was last updated, and could affect your installation should you choose to install separate components. No fear—you should be able to correct the problem by creating a new version of your php.ini file. Here’s a solution for installing PHP on Windows that works on my system.

By Jess Stratton | Monday, October 21, 2013

Organize your Operating System: Monday Productivity Pointers


Both Windows and Mac OS come with a built-in means of organizing your files; they both have pre-built folders for music, videos, pictures, and documents. This way, when you have to choose a file location to store your files (such as photos and downloaded songs), you’ll automatically have somewhere to put them.

But this system gets confusing if you already have your own storage folders, for example, from a cloud service like Dropbox or Google Drive. To make matters more complicated, if you need to search for a file, you now have to search in multiple locations.

By Mark Niemann-Ross | Friday, October 26, 2012

What is Windows 8 going to change?

The user interface for Windows 8 blurs the line between tablet, desktop, and smartphone. That’s a good thing.

The Microsoft Build conference starts October 30. For a week developers will be exposed to the latest Windows technologies, analysts will write megabytes of blogs, pundits will tweet reactions both pro and con, and the way we experience computers will change in dramatic and obvious ways.

The new Windows 8 interface

For developers and users alike, the Windows 8 interface is an in-your-face change. No longer based around overlapping windows and desktops, information and applications are now presented as colored tiles. It is possible to slip back into the traditional Windows interface where each running application is visually separated with windows that can be dragged on top of each other, hidden, and closed; but most of the time the new Windows looks, and functions, very much like a well-designed webpage.

Opinions are harsh. Windows traditionalists miss familiar icons such as the Start menu, Control Panel, File Explorer, and Close button, and are finding the years they spent deciphering the nuances of utilities to now be irrelevant and useless. Worse, users stumble into the traditional Windows interface, but have no idea how to return to the new tiled interface, and developers find creating applications now requires new ways of programming, use of new interfaces, and new ways of thinking about interacting with users. What was Microsoft thinking?

DOS to Windows, windows to tiles, desktop to phone In 2011, computer vendors shipped more smartphones than desktop computers further supporting the idea that handheld devices—such as smartphones and tablets—are pushing desktop and laptop computers into obsolescence. Apple and Android are battling for first place, with Microsoft scrambling for a piece of the action. Dell, the king of laptop manufacturers, has lost almost half of its value in eight months. The future is painfully clear, and it looks like a handheld device, or smaller.

Microsoft correctly reasons that making improvements to an interface that depends on a keyboard and mouse is corporate suicide, but what about our former Windows Vista user futilely searching for the Windows Start button? Is there nothing to be done for them?

Short answer: The pain is only temporary.

Long answer: We’ve done this before. New interfaces, like apps or tiles, are simply normal innovation. They’re disruptive, sometimes annoying, and the first iteration is often clumsy, but the process is normal, expected, and necessary.

lynda.com is working on a collection of classes for developers and users of Windows 8. In the early part of 2013, you can expect to see courses that show how to get started with the Windows 8 developer tools, as well as more in-depth training intended to assist with advanced developer questions.

Nobody on Star Trek uses a mouse Science fiction explores a possible future, and most science fiction computers don’t use keyboards or mice; they use gestures and voice recognition. Our grandchildren will think our computers are quaint.

Personally, I have enough years under my belt to remember the jump from CPM, to DOS, to Windows 3, and the jump from my beloved Apple IIe to Macintosh OS X. Each was a move away from a known paradigm to something better. Everything changed for the traditionalists invested in the existing technology, and boy, did they complain.

But the number of people using the new tools soon outweighed the traditionalists. New users with curiosity about how the system does work, rather than assumptions about how the system should work took over.

Here’s to a lifetime of learning!

Interested in more? • The full Windows 8 Preview First Lookcourse on lynda.com • All operating systems courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Windows 8 Metro App First Look • Windows 7 Essential TrainingMigrating from Windows XP to Windows 7

By Colleen Wheeler | Friday, August 17, 2012

Featured Five free videos: A first look at Microsoft Windows 8 and Office 13

A new version of both Windows and the Office suite are on the way later this year. Last week, we released two new courses designed to give you a glimpse into these latest offerings from Microsoft. Right now, you can download preview versions of Windows 8 and Office 2013 to try out. So for this installment of the Featured Five, I’ve chosen five free videos from our new Office 2013 First Look and Windows 8 Release Preview First Look courses. In each one, author David Rivers gives you a look at what’s to come.

A first look at Windows 8 and Office 13

1. Understanding the different versions of Windows 8

Windows 8 is planned to release in October and, as with previous versions, there are various editions to choose from. In this video from the Introduction chapter of Windows 8 Release Preview First Look, David goes over each edition of Windows 8 and its intended audience: Windows 8 (consumers and home users), Windows 8 Pro (tech enthusiasts), Windows RT (those who buy it preinstalled on ARM-processor), and Windows 8 Enterprise (bulk business customers).

2. Using gestures and touch in Windows 8

One of the real paradigm shifts in the way Windows 8 works is the ability to use touch, or what Microsoft calls gestures, whenever you’re using a touch screen, mobile device, or in some cases a mouse. Some of the gestures are intuitive if you’ve been using a touch-screen smartphone with any regularity. Other gestures may make sense only after David shows you how to use them. This video from chapter one of Windows 8 Release Preview First Look, introduces Windows 8 gestures, how they look in action, and how to use them to navigate the Windows 8 interface with ease.

3. Working with the Photos app in Windows 8

One of the features of Windows 8 is a home screen with app icons that look similar to those you’d see on a mobile device. One of those apps, Photos, helps you organize and view your digital photographs, regardless of whether your photos currently live on your camera, hard drive, Flickr account, SkyDrive, and so on. In this video from chapter two of Windows 8 Release Preview First Look, David shows you how the Photos app works.

4. Integrating Office 2013 with the cloud

When you’re working with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or other Office 2013 applications, the default location for saving your documents will be the cloud-based SkyDrive. Of course, you’ll still be able to save things to your local hard drive, as David demonstrates in this video from chapter one of Office 2013 First Look.

5. Tracking changes and conversations in Word

Although you may have used Track Changes in previous versions of Word, there’s a new option called Simple Markup that makes reviewing changes a much less cluttered experience. As David shows in this video from chapter two of Office 2013 First Look, when changes are made to a document using Simple Markup, a simple red vertical indicator appears to the left of a text area that has been revised. Then, to see the changes made, and who made them, the red indicator line can be clicked to reveal the details of an edit, one edit at a time. This new tool lets you see changes, and keep track of editing conversations, but it also lets you scan through a relatively clean document.

Members of lynda.com can watch the complete versions of both Windows 8 Release First Look and Office 2013 First Lookin our library.

Which features do you think bring the biggest potential change to your work?

By Jolie Miller | Saturday, May 5, 2012

How to switch from Windows to Mac

If you’ve recently switched jobs, changed industries, or taken up creative endeavors on the side, you may be faced with the critical question: How do I go about switching from Windows to Mac?

In the most recent update to the Switching from Windows to Mac course, author David Rivers shows you how to switch from Windows to Mac OS X Lion, and he demonstrates smart ways to use files, folders, search, and applications in your new Mac interface. If you’re a Windows user ready to discover the Mac interface, efficient ways to get your work done, and new Mac shortcuts and tips that will save you time, David’s course is a good place to start.

In this tutorial from chapter one of the course, David discusses Mac terminology, and shows you how to understand, and refer to, the Mac equivalents of the Windows tools you may be used to using:

Here are a few of David’s favorite tips to help you switch from Windows to Mac:

1.  PC and Mac files have never been more compatible! If you currently use Microsoft Office on a PC, you can save your Office files to a DVD or a USB drive and work on those same files with Microsoft Office 2008 or 2011 for the Mac. No conversion necessary—the file formats are compatible. You’ll also find the same easy compatibility within other applications like FileMaker Pro, Quicken, QuickBooks, and many more.

2.  You may already be familiar with Windows Explorer as a tool for finding things on your computer. Once you switch, Mac’s Quick Look feature allows you to preview files you’re browsing before opening them. The Quick Look feature can be found by opening any file folder, and then clicking on the eye-shaped icon at the top of the window (see the image below for a visual). Clicking the Quick Look icon allows you to preview your files in a Quick Look pop-up, an instant slideshow, or full-screen. If you are a keyboard shortcut user, you can also highlight the item within your folder you want to preview, and press Command + Y on your keyboard to call up a Quick Look preview.

Mac Quick Look example

The Quick Look button can be found when you open any folder, or the Finder window.

Previewing an image with Quick Look.

Previewing an image with Quick Look.

If you found these highlights helpful, check out the full Switching from Windows to Mac course for more tips and tricks to help you make your transition as seamless as possible.

Interested in more? • The full Switching from Windows to Mac (2012) course on lynda.com • All business courses on lynda.com • All courses from David Rivers on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Mac OS X Lion Essential TrainingSmall Office Networking to Connect, Share, and PrintWord for Mac 2011 Essential TrainingExcel for Mac 2011 Essential Training

By Crystal McCullough | Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Computer literacy courses for Mac and Windows include assessments to assist in learning

This week, we released two courses with a new feature: Chapter-level assessments to help you determine how well you know your computer and what you might need to review further. Both Computer Literacy for Windows and Computer Literacy for the Mac with Garrick Chow walk through the skills necessary to use computers comfortably, while improving learning, productivity, and performance.

Both courses offer a thorough introduction to computers, networks, and computer peripherals such as printers, digital cameras, and more. In addition, basic procedures with software applications, the Internet, and email are covered. The assessment files includes an assessment movie, chapter-level assessments, and answer keys. Let us know what you think!

Computer Literacy for Windows

Computer Literacy for the Mac

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