A Program To Create and Customize Your Own Windows 8 Start Screen Tiles

November 30, 2012

One of the downfalls to Windows 8, especially from the Start Screen level, is the ability to create your own tiles. You will find that when you install a Windows 8 app, the tile is automatically created for you has that metro look; whereas, if you create a tile from a normal Windows program, the tile that is generated is nothing close to being metro in appearance. As a matter of fact, if you pin a normal Windows program to the Start Screen, Windows 8 will create the tile using the built in icon of the program (which I have found in most cases to be not attractive at all).

Solution to this problem is an up and coming program that is in the early beta stages of development, called OblyTile.

  OblyTile

OblyTile, is sort of a techie type of a program, where you need to have a good understanding of file and folder paths; however, I think once you get a handle on this program you will find it to be just what the doctor ordered. On top of it all, it is a portable app.

The cool thing about OblyTile is that you can use your own images and icons to create your own tiles using a selectable background color. OblyTile also has a built in quick list of programs and icons already built-in. For example, OblyTile gives you the ability to create a shutdown tile, a task manager tile, a control manager tile, etc…

To give you an example of some tiles I created, reflected is a partial screenshot of my Windows 8 Start Screen. If you notice, one of the tiles is a tile that will launch me directly to What’s On My PC…  In a since OblyTile makes your Start Screen become a Windows 8 program launcher.

Screenshot

Again, I emphasize this program is in beta; however, I can see OblyTile becoming a mainstay, highly sought after, program.

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Is Your Computer Usage Harming You?

November 28, 2012

My mother always told me that if you consume too much of anything, it is bound to cause you harm. The same goes when we indulge ourselves in too much computer time. We can suffer chronic pain from poor ergonomics, develop mush brain from too much multi-tasking, develop blue light insomnia, get fat from lack of moving around, lose our eyesight, and become addicted to games (and porn). Wow! Nothing here sounds too positive; however, there are things you should do to prevent harming yourself.

Reflected below is a clip from a infographic, titled, “Is Your Computer Killing You?”. Click on the clip to get the full-size version of the infographic to get answers on how you can save yourself from the harmful effects of excessive computer usage.

image

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FREE Software To Customize Windows 8 Start Screen Background

November 27, 2012

You are very limited when it comes to changing the background on the Windows 8 Start Screen; however, today I want to show you a third party utility, called Windows 8 Start Customizer, that will give you the ability to jazz up that background screen and use the images that you want.

Windows 8 Start Customizer

A couple of things to point out here is that the Windows 8 Start Customizer is in beta and can be downloaded with an installer or as a portable app. Even though this is in beta, I found it to work flawlessly on my desktop PC. If you download the portable (zipped version), you will have to rename the executable file in order for it to run (not as difficult as it sounds). Also, Windows 8 Start Customizer runs on startup and does not appear to change any registry settings that could cripple the actual Windows 8 Start Screen. Super job from the developer on this!

What you can do with this utility is this:

You can set your desktop wallpaper as background picture (not support for multimonitor, it just uses the main monitor’s desktop wallpaper)

You can select your pictures from any folder and set it as a sequence of background pictures.

There is a blur effect available, it is slow and slower on bigger resolutions, but it might work for you.

Tiles opacity can now be changed (not perfect though)

You can revert to default background

You can choose a picture and select the area to be shown as background picture.

You can set the Start Screen transparency

You can set the rows of you tiles (limited by your screen resolution)

You can run it on startup hidden, so you can see your custom background as soon as this tool starts

Save configuration to ini file.

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Bookmarks4Techs is Back!

November 26, 2012

You may have read my recent article, Has Bookmarks4Techs Been Kidnapped or Assassinated?, where the host of the site (Google’s Blogger Service), through an automated classification system removed my sister site (Bookmarks4Techs.com) without warning (for suspicion of SPAM). The only notice I received was this:

Hello, Your blog at http://www.bookmarks4techs.com/has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: SPAM. In accordance to these terms, we’ve removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible. For more information, please review the following resources:

Blogger Terms of Service: http://blogger.com/terms.g

Blogger Content Policy: http://blogger.com/go/contentpolicy

-The Blogger Team

Needless to say, after 2 weeks of working through a Google Groups Moderator (who was as polite as a badger), my site at Blogger has not been restored and I do not expect it to be restored. My last communication with the moderator resulted in this response:

Unfortunately, “bookmarks4techs.blogspot.com” was recently confirmed as a spam host.

As a result, I have went back to the drawing board to do a rebuild of Bookmarks4Techs.com.  I have decided to keep it simple and to avoid the complexities I had in place that apparently tripped Google’s automated classification system.

Bookmarks4Techs

Bookmarks4Techs.com is back! I request your patience as I update the site and thank you for your support.

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Wallpaper of the Week (#97)

November 24, 2012

With Christmas coming upon us, I could not pass up posting this wallpaper. It looks absolutely gorgeous on a widescreen monitor.

To Get This Wallpaper [ CLICK HERE ]

Christmas Wallpaper

Windows 7 Users: If you are using Windows 7, did you know you can create a desktop background slideshow to show off your pictures and wallpaper images?  To learn how to use this feature [ CLICK HERE ] .

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Watch FREE Movies and TV Shows On Your Android Phone or Tablet

November 23, 2012

With tablet computers (and smartphones) projected to be the hot item again this year, today’s post is pointed toward those who have an android tablet or those who are wishing for one for Christmas.

One of the neat things with tablet computers (and smartphones) is that you can do just about anything with them; even stream videos, movies, TV etc… to the devices. The problem is that most services that stream movies and TV require a paid subscription.

Today I want to share with you, a cloud based  (TV and Movie) service called Crackle that gives you the ability to watch full-length Hollywood movies & TV shows on your tablet or phone (and computer) — Free and on demand. What you are going to find at Crackle is not the latest and greatest, but you will find content that is pretty darn good for being FREE.

Crackle

* Watch full-length Hollywood movies and TV series
* FREE to download app, FREE to watch
* Unlimited, on demand viewing
* New movies and TV episodes added monthly
* Genres including: action, anime, comedy, crime, horror, thriller, sci-fi and anime
* Optimized for both phones and tablets
* Browse Movies, TV, Originals, Collections and Genres
* Build and manage your Watchlist for viewing on the app or online at Crackle.com.
* Stream HQ video via 3G, 4G or Wi-Fi
* App works in US, Canada, UK and Australia

Note:  You can get Crackle on your desktop or notebook computer at the main site [ here ].

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The Easy Way To Close A Windows 8 App

November 20, 2012

As I mentioned in an earlier article, I never had any “hands-on” experience with Windows 8 until it was officially released by Microsoft back in October. I intentionally did this so that I would have that first time user experience (and challenge); like most of you will have.

As I continue to “find my way” there was one thing I started to wonder about. Was there a way to easily close a Windows 8 app once I opened it? In reality, in the scheme and design of things when it comes to Windows 8, you will find that it really does not matter; however, I wanted to know. I eventually found the answer that works for me on my desktop computer and find myself doing this all of the time now.

When you are working from the “Start Screen” (see screenshot of my Start Screen below) and click on an app, the app will open maximized on your screen and you will immediately notice that there is no close button or minimize button.

Start Screen

What you have to do, is this:  When the app is open move your mouse cursor to the top of the screen. When the cursor reaches the top of the screen a “hand” will appear (see cropped screenshot below). When the “hand” is visible on the screen, hold down the left button on your mouse, drag to the bottom of the screen, and the app will disappear (and close). As you are performing the dragging action, visually you will see the app shrink down from full screen to a much smaller screen (or window). Once you teach yourself to do this, I will guarantee it will become second nature to you when you want to close an app.

Close App

Note:  The cropped screenshot you see above is a Windows 8 app called SmartCalc.

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