Windows 10 Creator’s Edition Fall Update

If you are thinking (should you have the option that is) of letting your pc get the fall update for Windows 10 Creator’s edition, then try to delay it. At any rate, before you let it update your computer I would recommend taking a screenshot or photo of the start menu and taskbar first. Why? Because if it happens as it did on my pc, a large number of previously installed apps will disappear. And in my case, I really cannot remember what they were.

One noticeable app that has gone is MSN News. Not a game changer, but strange since it is a Microsoft app. So I added it back in using the store and it is still missing.

The taskbar link to OneNote also reverted to the free version that comes with Windows so I had to remove this and add my own back in again.

I am really unsure what else has gone missing. I guess time will tell as I discover other apps no longer there. I so wish I had a photo of the start screen.

Cloze – Email but with so much more

I have tried Cloze on a number of occasions and each time I have found it better than before. There are many things it doesn’t do, but what it does do is amazing.

What I have found great is that it works across all platforms, so I can use it on my Chromebook, my PC and as an app on my Android phone and tablet.

It doesn’t notify on received emails, you still need your regular email app for this, but the way it brings everything together is great.

You can have a two week free trial with all the features in place, it then reverts to a limited free version but is still amazingly useful. I would thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

Recording Mileage

As a small business, it is essential to find each and every source that could reduce the tax you might have to pay. One simple ways is to claim for when you use your car for business purposes. At the time of writing, in the UK you can claim 45 pence for each mile travelled up to 10,000 miles in the year, and then 25 pence per mile after that in the year. This might not seem much, but a simple 20 mile journey is worth £9 in saved tax.

But the problem is that we tend to forget to note when we start and stop our journeys, but there’s an app for that. In fact there are many apps for that. The one I am trying out at the moment is MileIQ from Microsoft. It only records miles travelled, but does so automatically using your location from your mobile phone.

I am trying it on an Android 7 mobile and so far it is looking good. The free version only gives you 40 journeys a month, but the paid for version is not expensive and could easily and quickly pay for itself.

One other app I tried was TripLog. This also allows you to also record bills and petrol etc which is useful. Sadly I found it was too erratic in its recording and it suggested I was wandering all over the country even when my phone was sitting on my desk. So sadly I gave it up and returned to MileIQ again.

Microsoft To Do

I have just installed the new todo app from Microsoft. It looks promising but time will tell. It is a quite basic but has some interesting twists. I would recommend that you give it a try.

I also use Asana which is very comprehensive, but it does take a while to start up which To Do doesn’t seem to, at least with only a few entries. On the other side, To Do is an app and is available for PCs, Macs, Android, iOS. There is also an online version which you can use to access from any device without the app.

I think that To Do might offer a useful quick way to record things that need doing, and the option to add tasks quickly to “Today” looks interesting as a way to get things organised. Time will tell I am sure.

Just A Catchup

It’s been a while since I posted here, we have been so busy with projects. The new TIM (working title) project is nearing completion. We keep adding features but have decided that now is the time to stop and get it finally ready for release this summer.

A new project Total Recall (working title) is also nearing completion and will be released around the same time.

You can read more about these projects in my website.

Skype on Chrome OS

Until now, Skype did not allow voice calls on Chrome OS. Now it does. It does not allow video calls yet, but voice is at last there and works as it should.

You can use the web version of Skype at https://www.skype.com which will take you to the login page, or you can add the Skype extension to Chrome which gives (almost) instant access from the browser.

Or, of course, you can do both.

IMAP Email

A while ago I said I was using Gmail (and Inbox) for emails since I couldn’t find a reliable IMAP email client that I could use on my chromebook as well as my android phone. I had tried Aqua mail on my Android phone and found it excellent, but it misbehaved on my Chromebook.

This seems to have been overcome now and I have returned to using Aqua Mail on my Chromebook and Android phone. It’s nice to have IMAP push for instant emails again.

For those that are not aware of Aqua Mail, it has free and paid for versions on Android, the free one only allowing two email accounts. I paid for the upgrade to have more accounts as it was so cheap and the product is really good.

On Chromebooks it is the full version and it’s also free which is great.

One thing that might confuse is when you want to download an attachment. The only way I have found that works is to click on the three dots by the attachment (in the middle of the screen) choose share then save as and then carry on as normal.

I thoroughly recommend it now – at least give it a try.

Using a Chromebook Offline

I was asked today how useful a chromebook could be if you have limited access to the internet. The person concerned was looking to take a portable computer with him while travelling and writing was an important necessity for him. Google Docs works well offline but I thought that before I answered him I would see for myself how well it performed with no connection.

The first difference I noticed when starting a new offline document was that I was asked for a name for the document. When online it starts by calling it untitled document. From then on it was almost identical with the following features missing.

  • Word wrap around images was not an option when offline.
  • Saving in a format other than gdoc was not available. Having said that though, print is available and you can then use that to save as a pdf. This would allow taking the document to a commercial printers which was what the enquirer was after.

Auto save still works as it does online but of course it is to a local memory such as the sd card etc.

If you have access to the internet later, you can add the word wrap to the image and it will remember it when you are offline later.

So the answer I gave was YES, it is a useful tool for writing even with limited access to the internet. And with its longer battery life than many windows or mac based laptops it will remain useful for longer.

In addition, the ability to open the chromebook and be writing in under 15 seconds can make a great difference when touring and trying to capture a quick note.