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5 Things You Need To Know About Windows 10

5 Things You Need To Know About Windows 10

Windows 10 is coming. This is what you need to know.

It really seems like Microsoft is trying to shake it’s old image of being slow to change. They’re taking drastic measures like getting rid of Internet Explorer and even skipping Windows 9! Hopefully this means that this new release is going to be a big departure from the older operating systems, but the more I look at the press releases, the more I’m beginning to realize that not much is new. There seems to be a new focus on the gaming community, which is Microsoft’s strong suit. The acquisition of Minecraft may lead to some really cool applications of Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens, but really that’s tough to say. We’re not even sure when Hololens is being released. To me, it looks like Hololens could be Microsoft’s ace in the hole, allowing you to bring Windows 10 around with you.

Really, it seems like Microsoft is making it’s products look and feel more like Apple products. The “seamless integration” of the same operating system from your phone to your tablet to your desktop (and also your gaming console)? Classic Apple. Even the new web browser looks way too much like Safari. But, hey, maybe this is a good thing? What do you think?

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In any case, here’s what you need to know.

Already a Windows user? Guess what? It’s FREE!

You heard me. Windows 10 is free upgrade if you already own Windows 7, 8.1 or 9. (Joke’s on you. There is no Windows 9)
Now, if you don’t already own Windows, it’s going to run you $120-$200 depending on the version that you buy.

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What’s going to happen to Internet Explorer?

Gone. At least, the name is. Microsoft is releasing a brand new browser called Microsoft Edge in an attempt to shy away from all the horrible publicity that Internet Explorer has garnered of the years. We don’t know much about this new browser yet, but to me it looks strikingly similar to Safari. My bet is that it won’t be much better than good old IE, but I guess we’ll just have to find out. Even the “reader” view that Microsoft demoed looks exactly like the same feature on Safari.

Cortana is your new personal assistant

Not much different from Apple’s Siri, Cortana seems to be nothing new besides the fact that Siri doesn’t run on Apple computers, only on phones. No big breakthroughs here, but Cortana will surely be useful nonetheless. You can use Cortana to send messages, launch apps, and set reminders just like Siri. No word yet on whether you need an internet connection to operate Cortana, but many features will likely be dependent on web searches (again, just like Siri).

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Game streaming

You will be able to stream games from your Xbox to your computer, capture game footage and edit it through an integrated Xbox app on your desktop. This is actually a pretty big move, with the popularity of new game streaming services like Twitch and soon to be Youtube Gaming.

The PC master race will now be able to play with their lesser console friends

At least, that’s what Microsoft says. I’ll bet that this is a feature that most games will not support. But for the few games that do take advantage of this feature, the gaming communities on the PC and Xbox will be united, which is surely a good thing. This does, however, bring to light the issue of fairness. For twitchy shooter games like Call of Duty, for example, having a mouse is going to be a HUGE advantage over a player with a controller. Maybe some games will require you to plug in an Xbox controller?

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Featured photo credit: Mike Mozart via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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