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CalendarJuly 29, 2015

Microsoft Releases Windows 10

Microsoft Releases Windows 10Microsoft released Windows 10 today and I'm not sure how I feel.

Part of me is excited because it's a new version of Windows that brings back the Start Menu and adds several new features. Then there's part of me that says don't get your hopes up. I have been disappointed so many times with Microsoft's releases over the past few years, it's hard for me to be optimistic.

The good news is that Microsoft seems to have listened to their user community during the process of developing Windows 10. Along with bringing back (and even improving) the Start Menu, the new version of Windows is better suited for desktop computers and laptops. It includes a "Continuum" feature that automatically optimizes the user interface based on whether you are using a keyboard or touchscreen. The one-size fits all tile-based interface introduced with Windows 8.1 was clearly a flop and thankfully Microsoft made steps to correct it in Windows 10.

Other Windows features include Cortana, a built-in voice-controlled assistant, an integrated Xbox app, Groove – a new music app, and Companion Phone – an app that supports iPhone, Android, and Windows phones. It also includes Microsoft Edge, a new web browser that actually replaces Internet Explorer. I can almost hear the celebrations of web developers around the world.

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CalendarJune 26, 2015

Drop WWW

Drop WWWFor decades, most website URLs have started with "www." Why? There is actually no good reason.

Even Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with creating the web, said that the widespread use of "www" was unintended. It was initially used to differentiate between websites and FTP locations, but even that wasn't necessary, since you can easily distinguish the two by looking for "http://" or "ftp://" at the beginning of the URL.

Early webmasters jumped on the "www" bandwagon and it soon became the default prefix for websites published on Apache servers. Before long, nearly all websites included "www" in their web addresses, which is why most URLs start with "www." today.

But that's changing. Many popular websites, such as Twitter, Mashable, and Instagram don't include "www" in their URLs. Neither does PC.net. Dropping www is becoming increasingly popular – especially for new websites. More and more existing websites are dropping www as well. That's why I created a website called Drop WWW.

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CalendarJune 11, 2015

Free Wi-Fi in Scotland

Free Wi-Fi in ScotlandMy latest trip took me to Scotland, where I visited Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Highlands. While I was impressed by the vast landscapes, I was also surprised by how expansive free Wi-Fi was in Scotland.

When traveling abroad, I have two primary necessities — water and Wi-Fi. Water enables my basic survival, while Wi-Fi allows me to do everything else. An Internet connection gives me to the capability to map out where I'm going, find local restaurants, check public transportation schedules, and most importantly post updates on Facebook.

Of all the places I have visited recently — Sweden, Denmark, Greece, Turkey, and Japan — Scotland has the most widely-available free Wi-Fi. Nearly every hotel, restaurant, cafe, and pub offers a Wi-Fi signal. The connections are commonly password-protected, but the password is clearly displayed on a wall or menu. As a traveller in Scotland, you rarely need to search for Wi-Fi. A wireless router is almost always in range of your smartphone.

AT&T Passport

On a side note, I signed up for AT&T's new "Passport" plan before leaving for Scotland since I didn't know how easy it would be to get a Wi-Fi signal. It's a convenient $30 plan that provides 120MB of international roaming data, free unlimited text messages, and free access to Wi-Fi hotspots.

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CalendarMay 14, 2015

Happy 16th Birthday PC.net

Happy 16th Birthday PC.netIf PC.net was a self-driving car, it could drive itself today.

I launched this website on May 14, 1999 and it has been going strong ever since. Sure, it's gone through some changes, including a name change (from Sharpened.net) and many redesigns, but the mission has always remained the same — to sharpen your knowledge of the computers and the Internet.

For the past eight years or so, I've been running a business and working on several other projects, so I haven't invested as much time into PC.net as I would like. However, I have continued to make regular updates and I've been adding new content pretty consistently. I have a few other website projects planned for this summer and fall, but after that I plan to make PC.net a top priority.

Thanks to everyone who remembered PC.net's birthday this year. This website would have no purpose without visitors like you! I'm glad you can celebrate PC.net's 16th (or 24) birthday with me. I look forward to celebrating PC.net's 25 birthday with you 16 years from now!

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CalendarMay 5, 2015

Why I Don't Want a Smartwatch

Why I Don't Want a SmartwatchIt's been a few weeks since Apple released the much anticipated Apple Watch. I still don't have one. I own at least a dozen Apple products and I bought the original iPhone the day it was released back in 2007. But I just can't find a reason to buy the Apple Watch — or any smartwatch for that matter.

Regular visitors know that I never really wanted an Apple Watch. However, I kept an open mind leading up to the release date and even went into my local Apple Store to try out the Watch the first day it made a public appearance on April 10. But I wasn't impressed.

My reason for not wanting an Apple Watch is not because I don't usually wear a watch or because the interface is too small. It's not because it only works with Apple devices or because it has a short battery life. The main reason for my aversion towards the Apple Watch is simple — I don't want another device.

I spend most of my day working in front of a desktop computer. When I travel, I work from my laptop. Occasionally, I'll watch a video on my iPad. I have my smartphone on me at all times and check it way too frequently. The last thing I need is another digital device to distract me from the world around me.

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- PC (Per Christensson)