Windows 8.1: More choice and less clutter.

I’ve installed Windows 8.1 on my main laptop, and it’s even faster (performance) than Windows 8.

Some games (and websites) do not seem to agree though, but I haven’t really installed any games which will drain a lot of performance; let alone to test it. So I’ll just assume that games don’t really work (though, Microsoft recently fixed that issue in an update).

There are a lot of new standard apps installed in 8.1, the most notable one is Skype. It’s not the so-called “Desktop” version of Skype, but the Modern version. I have to say that a lot of bugs in this version have been fixed and it’s more accessible, but I still prefer to use the desktop version.
Another app, called Food & Drinking which is targeted at home cooking users, includes thousands of (online) recipes and very nifty tools. One particularly interesting feature of this application is that you can actually use your hands to slide though the cooking instructions, called “Hands-free mode”.

Hands Free Mode
Hands Free Mode

There is another interesting app, called “Health and Fitness”. This app features advice and tips to keep you healthy, and has integration for apps like HealthVault (more to be added in the future, so it seems) to track your burned calories, have personal advice, and to measure your progress.

It features pictures of hot men and women too.
It features pictures of hot men and women too.

And since last week, Facebook (finally?) published their new Facebook app for 8 & 8.1. This does not really have anything to do with Windows, but it’s still worth to take a look.

You could also take a look at the new customization options for your Start screen.
You can resize the tiles to either elephant big, or to ant tiny now, change the background to match with your Desktop mode, or set whatever color you want to have.

Big icons in 8.1
Big or small? It’s your choice.
Small icons in Windows 8.1
… or just Medium and small.
Colors!
I didn’t know what color to choose, so I went for blue.

The other notable thing in Windows 8.1 is that there is a button.
A button, you ask? Well, it’s called a “Start” button.
People complained about it’s ‘absence’ or rather, ‘hiddenness’ (since it’s still there, but in the corner), so Microsoft added it back. Despite hundreds of users complaining about the return, since “it was much easier” and “it doesn’t take up space”, Microsoft didn’t add a control switch to turn it in “8-mode” button, or rather “old fasion”.

 

 

 

So the button is almost permanent by default, with no option (at least not in Windows) to remove the annoying space filling annoyance. Thus, somebody made a pretty clever application called “StartIsGone”. It’s simple. It injects itself in to the Explorer process, and disables the new code. And automatically bringing back the new (or well, new…) Start ‘button’.

 

If you want something new and something better, I’d recommend Windows 8.1.

WhatsApp? I know.

People always ask me: “Do you have Facebook on your phone?”, and I always reply “No, sorry.”
The next thing someone says is 9 out of 10 times: “Do you have WhatsApp then?”. Same reply, why not Skype, Messenger or SMS?

The thing is, I have Skype and Messenger (it’s integrated in Skype now), why do I even need additional applications for WhatsApp or Facebook? Why should I?
Short Text Messaging costs money(duh). That’s the reason why people use Skype or WhatsApp as a ‘free'(cheaper) alternative.

WhatsApp got hacked like 2 times, and leaks are dripping like an old tap. You only need someone’s IMEI and phone number to log in to WhatsApp. And it only supports file transfers and texts. But Skype has support for video chat, Facebook integration, messaging, calling, and more. But not only that, should I register for 16 services because I only need one?

It’s not about bandwidth,  it’s about usage. I have unlimited (FUP of course) mobile internet, and I must say that Skype works better than WhatsApp on a modem connection, even with video. Horrible quality, but messages were almost instantly delivered, but with WhatsApp, it took 30 seconds on the same network.