Bitter Grounds - espresso fueled ramblings

Thursday, June 29, 2017

App reviews

Distractions & fun courtesy of Microsoft Bing

As if there aren't enough time wasting things online, Microsoft offers a few simple, free games to help you along in your work avoidance endeavours. Wander over to Bing.com and click on the little hamburger grid on the top right corner: funandgames

You don't need to sign in or have a Microsoft account to play they work on all the major browsers.  Hidden away are  a variety of games ranging from trivia to jigsaw puzzles to suduko. Some are quite challenging (Suduko comes to mind) while others are basic and far too easy. Great if you don't want to concentrate and only have 5 or 10 min to kill.  

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Win 10 Creators update - how'd my old laptop do?

Screen capture of settings panel on Creators UpdateI took the plunge and upgraded to the Win10 Creators edition last week.  Couple of reminders – make sure you’ve done a backup before doing any major update. Chances of something going wrong are small, but you never know.  Microsoft has issued a warning, when this article was published, that there may be issues with Bluetooth connectivity after the update. They are working through problems now. So, unless you love troubleshooting or don’t use Bluetooth, hold off on forcing the Creators update.


The install:

Oh my, it took a long, long time to install. Painfully long. So long, I was convinced something had gone wrong.  It took a staggering 3 ½ hrs to install (not counting the download).  My laptop is about 4 years old so it should install faster on a new machine. But patience is needed.

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MS Edge extension - turn off the lights & watch a movie

Icon for Turn off the Lights Edge browser extension

If you enjoy watching movies & Youtube on Edge browser, this is a cool extension - Turn off the Lights, by Stefan VD. It's a handy little extension that dims the background around the video window, cutting out distractions. Here's what it looks like:

Screen capture showing Turn out the Lights extension

I've been using it for about 2 weeks and have encountered only one issue - it popped out and stopped working until I shut Edge down and restarted it. Other than the one instance, I've had no other problems. Get it the usual way, Microsoft Store ->Extensions->Turn off the Lights. Once installed, it sits on the screen's toolbar within easy clicking distance. 

Download the extension here: Turn off the lights

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The image still is from Professor Quatermass and the Pit - BBC sci fi serial from the 1950s. One of the best sci fi series ever made. Go watch it ... no .. go .. now... Watch it.  Where else can you see extinct giant Martian grasshoppers destroying humanity?

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Read & Write literacy extension for MS Edge - help for vision impaired & learning disabilities

Icon for Read & Write browser extensionI’m always poking around the Microsoft store looking for Edge browser extensions. Until now, the offerings have been a wee bit slim. But… huzzah … a few new extensions have found their way to the store. I tested out two and, well, I’m impressed. You get one today, maybe the other on the weekend...  depends on my mood. Read & Write, from TextHelp (https://www.texthelp.com), gets a nod for the single most useful extension I’ve seen to date. It's also available for Firefox and Chrome if those flavours suit you more.

Read & Write is an excellent piece of assistive technology that reads webpages. People with vision issues, reading or learning disabilities or learning English will find this immensely useful.  Once installed, you have a number of options that include reading a page or paragraph, simplified page layout, definitions and reference lookups.  The voice is fairly easy to listen to and understand. The odd word is not quite right, but mostly above par for pronunciation and enunciation. One mildly amusing aspect with any software like this is they read literally - if there's a typo on the page, that will be read.

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MS Edge extension - Pinterest button at last

Extensions are slowly (oh soooo slowly) trickling into the Microsoft Store. There are a couple worth picking up, including today's offering - the long awaited Pinterest Pin It extension. I missed having that handy little pin it feature when I moved over to Edge. It installs as expected and works pretty well. For avid Pinterest users, this is an essential extension.

Go to the Microsoft Store and either look up Edge Extensions or search Pinterest to down load it.  Once installed, go back to Edge and you'll be greated with a message to turn it on. Click on the button and you're good to go. Happy pinning.

Pinterest Pin It now available for Edge

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#@!% app. Why isn't it working?

- Catpaw, 2016

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