OUR SAVVY READERS

Readers wrote immediately to tell us we’d missed something in our Windows 10 announcement. We said it’s free but after a year you have to pay for it. Turns out it’s free, period. But if you wait longer than a year to download and install it, it will cost you $120.
By the way, Microsoft has said you will no longer need any anti-virus software because Windows will be fully protected against all viruses, and presumably any other hack attacks. If you believe that, Bob wants you to know that he has a large bridge in New York that he’d like to sell you. (No new operating system ever produced has been invulnerable to virus attacks.)
Nevertheless, Joy, our master tester, likes Windows 10, saying it has the best of Windows 7 and avoids the worst of Windows 8. (Bob is sticking with Windows 7. He grudgingly went on from XP after his old computer got balky.)
If you want Windows 10, beware of scams. There are sites that lure visitors with the promise of a free copy. It’s already free, but be sure you get it from Microsoft.com. The exact address is Microsoft.com/en-us/software-download/windows10. Click on “download tool now.” If you aren’t sure whether you have a 32-bit system or 64-bit, you can find that by searching on “system info” from the help area of your computer. Just hit the “F1″ key to bring up a help menu. If you still can’t decide, it’s almost certain that you have a 64-bit system; we haven’t seen 32-bit systems in many years.

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WINDOWS 10 IS FREE, BUT WITH A CATCH

Windows 10 is free starting today, July 29 but there’s a catch. If you wait more than a year to download and install it, you have to pay for it. They don’t say how much it will be. But if you don’t like it, don’t buy it.

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WINDOWS SPEAKS

If you don’t like Windows 8, don’t hold your breath waiting for Windows 9. Microsoft is moving ahead with Windows 10, due sometime in 2015.

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THE DIGITAL CLOSET

Microsoft has doubled the amount of online storage you can get for your phone, tablet, PC or Mac. It’s now 30 gigabytes. To get started, go to onedrive.live.com and choose your device. If you have Windows 8.1, it’s already installed.

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XP AND BEYOND

We heard from several readers who said they have no intention of giving up their Windows XP machines when Microsoft support ends (neither does Bob), and others who asked, “What about Vista?”

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THE XBOX ONE

A number of critics have been saying the Xbox One isn’t worth getting because some of the most popular games won’t play on it. That’s not the only reason. We got one because our favorite game, Peggle, is out in a new version that only plays on Xbox One. The other reason was just to keep up to date on what’s happening out there. It’s a good thing we’re having a blast playing that game, because everything else about the Xbox One feels overpriced and underwhelming. Want to use Skype for phone calls? Or Amazon Instant Video? Or Internet Explorer? Or even the popular Netflix and Hulu networks? Fuggedaboutit. Nearly everything you want to do except free games, requires an […]

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OFFICE ON THE IPAD

We’re still waiting for the official Microsoft version of Office for iPad and Android tablets. Meanwhile, there’s a free app that lets you use Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. It’s called “OnLive Desktop” from desktop.onlive.com.

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SITTING DUCKS

A reader asked us a question we’d never heard before. How do you trim the boring parts out of your duck-hunting video? (You know: when there are no ducks.)

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BACK TO THE GOOD OLD DAYS

Microsoft Office just came out in a new version for 2013. But some of us (Joy’s looking at you, Bob) haven’t upgraded Microsoft Word since 2003. This can be a problem when Joy sends Bob a file created in a newer version.

If Joy forgets to save a Word document in the “Doc” f

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GETTING THERE

Microsoft Streets and Trips is a $40 program that has been around for many years but is still popular with many, especially the recreational vehicle crowd, despite the existence of free Google maps, cheap GPS devices, and recommendation sites like Yelp. There’s a major difference here: You have to be able to get online with the Internet to use Google Maps, but Street and Trips works from information on a DVD or one-time download of the program. We did a comparison between the online Google Maps and the offline Streets and Trips on our Windows laptop. We chose Newport Beach, California (Joy’s hometown and the site of our most recent trip) as our base.  Streets and Trips found 236 restaurants […]

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