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Get a Head Start on Windows 8…for Free

Get a Head Start on Windows 8…for Free

    Since we know 57% of you are Windows users

    , sooner or later you are going to upgrade to Windows 8. For some it will be the day it is released, while for others it will be when it comes time to get a new PC. But at some point in the future you are going be in the new environment that is Windows 8.

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    Windows 8 will employ the Metro environment that Windows Phone uses. That means big icons on the screen and no “start” button. There will be a traditional desktop, but it won’t be used very much other than Office apps. Windows 8 will work on both Intel-based and ARM-based processors so tablets will be able to run it. Unlike the Apple ecosystem — where iOS and OSX are not the same as far as user interface — Windows 8 users will be able to seamlessly go from tablet to PC. Like Apple, however, there will be an “app store” that allows the user to buy and download vetted apps. Gone are the days of the wild west of computing, when it was hard to tell if the app you were downloading had malware in it.

    If you are like me you will have the new version of Windows the day it comes out.  And if you are an early adopter Microsoft has made it easier than ever to get a head start on learning the new version of Windows. With that in mind, here are some ways you can get your hands dirty with Windows 8.

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    Download the Consumer Preview

    The consumer preview of Window 8 is what you’ll want to download. Simply choose between the 64 bit or 32 bit version and start downloading. This download is about 2 gigs, so it might take a while depending on your connection speed. You’ll notice that the download will come in ISO form, so if you are a Windows 7 user you can burn the ISO file onto a DVD as a disk image.

    Install in a Virtual Box

    If you do not have a spare PC laying around, I strongly recommend you install the consumer preview in a Virtual Box install. Windows 8 Consumer Preview is nearly finished, but it still a beta version of the finished result so there will be bugs. Installing on a production machine runs the risk of losing data. Virtual Box is free and fairly easy to use. Since you’ll be using Windows 8 in a virtual environment, you’ll notice some lag (and maybe graphics issues). But you’ll get more or less the full effect of the new operating system. If you have more than one monitor you can run your virtual Windows 8 on one of the monitors in full screen and still be able to use your older version of Windows. There are also more uses for using a virtual machine that we’ve told you about in the past here at Lifehack. So it’s not a bad idea to know how to use virtual machines.

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    Install on a Spare PC

    Any PC that will run Windows 7 will run Windows 8. So if you have a computer lying around that is not mission-critical for you, back up your data and format and install Windows 8. This is truly the best way to experience Windows 8 — but, that said. most of us don’t have a computer that is not mission-critical.

    Windows 8 will change the way we think about operating systems. It is wise to get a head start on learning if you can — and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview is the best way to do that.

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    Last Updated on May 14, 2019

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    8 Replacements for Google Notebook

    Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

    1. Zoho Notebook
      If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
    2. Evernote
      The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
    3. Net Notes
      If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
    4. i-Lighter
      You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
    5. Clipmarks
      For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
    6. UberNote
      If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
    7. iLeonardo
      iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
    8. Zotero
      Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

    I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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    In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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