tips and tricks
Q: I’m new to Windows 8 on my home
computer. Can you give me your favorite
tips and tricks?
Q: We’re getting
ready for vacation.
Can you recommend some apps
to make the trip
smooth and fun?
A: Windows 8 can be a bit intimidating at first—
especially as it looks much different than previous
versions of Windows—but the following tips might
help you unlock some of its many features.
For example, you probably like the new Start
screen with all of its colorful tiles, but it doesn’t take
long for it to become cluttered with apps and programs installed on your machine. One tip is to reorganize the apps by segregating them into themes,
such as productivity, information, entertainment,
games, social media and so on. By using your finger
or mouse, simply drag and drop the tiles into groups,
and place them on the screen wherever you like.
Once you’ve reassigned the tiles, zoom out to
get a bird’s-eye view of your Start screen—either by
holding down the Ctrl button and scrolling back on
the middle mouse button or by spreading apart your
forefinger and thumb on a touch-screen
device. Now, right-click the group (or
simply drag down on it), select the “Name
Group” option on the left side of your
screen and type in a relevant name for all
the similar apps.
You can also remove tiles you no longer want on your Start screen. Right-click
on the tile (or touch and drag down) and
you’ll have an option to remove the tile,
uninstall the app altogether (thus removing it from your computer) or turn off the
“live” component (the app will stop pushing info, such as weather updates or stock
quotes, to the tile).
Here’s another useful tip: Windows 8 lets you
open multiple apps at the same time. Say you’re
browsing the Web, but also want to see your email
inbox. You can snap an open app to the right or left
third of the screen by simply clicking or tapping the
top of the open app and dragging it to the right or left
edge of your screen until a thin vertical bar appears.
Alternatively, right-click on the app and select “Snap
left” or “Snap right,” or press and hold the Windows
key and either the right or left arrow key.
A: A handy app for keep-
ing track of all your travel
itineraries is the free TripIt
for Android, iPhone/iPad,
Windows Phone and Black-
Berrys (not BB10 devices,
though). Forward all your
confirmation emails for flights,
hotels, rental cars and such, and
TripIt will “automagically” orga-
nize them into detailed summaries
with confirmation codes and other
info. Once it’s on your phone you can
get instant access to all the trip info you
need—including links, phone
numbers and maps with directions to
airlines, hotels, rental places and restau-
rants—directly from your itinerary.
Another great app is Kayak Pro (99
cents) for Android, iPhone/iPad and
Windows Phone devices. With it, you can
easily manage your trip itinerary, track
your flight status (with contact info for
airlines), look up baggage fees so there are
no surprises and access airport terminal
maps for more than 100 airports. A free
version is also available, but has advertisements and doesn’t contain the airport terminal maps. Or consider the free TripAdvisor app
for Android, iPhone/iPad and Windows Phone.
If you need help with a local language, the free
Google Translate for Android and iPhone/iPad
instantly translates more than 50 languages, with
many supporting spoken words and phrases.
For fun apps, consider these awesome freebies:
Toontastic (iPad) to create your own animated cartoons; “chase” games like Subway Surfers, Temple
Run 2 and Rail Rush (Android and iPhone/iPad);
and Instagram (Android and iPhone/iPad) to spice
up and share photos. C
Tablet or smartphone? Scan or click here to watch a video on Windows 8. (See page 5.)
electronics or computers
you purchased at
Costco? Email them to:
Or mail to:
The Costco Connection
P.O. Box 34088
Seattle, WA 98124-1088
or fax to (425) 313-6718.
“Marc Saltzman Q&A”
in the subject line. Marc
will answer selected ques-
tions in this column. We
regret that unpublished
questions cannot be
The Costco Connection
Costco carries a variety of PCs with Windows 8
in the warehouses and at Costco.com. And along
with tablet PCs and smartphones, you’ll find other
essentials for your travels: cameras, camcorders
and additional flash-memory cards.
More in archives
On Costco.com, enter
“Connection”; at Online Edition,
search “Tech Connection.”
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