Tag Archives for " Windows "

Windows-10-S-Laptop

The all new Windows 10 S: what you need to know

In the current age of computer technology, while things are certainly becoming more convenient, there are an increasing number of threats to computer security that pop up and cause us problems. In response to this, Microsoft has released a new version of operating system (OS) under the Windows 10 series: Windows 10 S.

What is Windows 10 S?

Microsoft states that this new OS will be familiar with anyone currently using any version of Windows 10 and is designed to focus on streamlining security and performance. The way that they achieve this is by locking the system down to only use applications which are available on the Windows Store. This offers the advantage of using Microsoft approved applications from the Microsoft Store that are designed to work with the OS with little to no problems.

What is different from Windows 10 Home or Pro?

The main differences between this new OS and the other Windows 10 releases is that only Windows Store applications can be installed and run on the device which has Windows 10 S installed.

Another major change between the Pro and S versions is that the device which has Windows 10 S installed cannot be joined to an organisation’s on-premises Active Directory. It can, however join a Microsoft Azure Domain which has a lighter set of management features.

There has been a change which will be of interest to those who prefer Internet Explorer (IE) over the Edge browser, Microsoft has made an adjustment to the OS which renders the user unable to change the default browser away from Edge. We’ll delve further in to what browsers and search engines are usable on the Windows 10 S OS later in the article.

What are the key features of Windows 10 S?

As mentioned earlier, Microsoft designed this version of Windows 10 to focus on streamlining the security and performance of the OS. They’ve looked to achieve this with the locking down of the applications. This can be downloaded and run on the system as this negates the many possibilities for users to download malicious software from the internet or run from external storage devices. In the same vein, the performance of the system will, in most cases, be better than that of a computer running another Windows 10 OS as the applications you obtain from the Microsoft Store will be fully optimised to run on the OS.

Microsoft has also boasted Edge as being the best performing and most secure browser to use, which is certainly a topic that is up for debate but due to the nature of the Edge configuration on Windows 10 S the browser is locked down further in terms of browser settings. This may possibly offer an edge over other browsers such as IE or Chrome in terms of security, but in exchange you trade functionality.

What browsers are available on Windows 10 S?

On Windows 10 S, your main browsers will be Edge and IE. Microsoft has stated that if you wish to use a different browser, you may download it from the Windows Store. This does mean that the possibility of well-known browsers such as Chrome being available to download from the Windows Store is slim. The reason for this is that for Google to release Chrome on the Windows Store, they would need to rewrite the browser software from the ground up to fall in-line with Microsoft’s security and performance requirements for use on Windows 10 S.

While you are able to continue using IE, Edge is the default browser and this cannot be changed. As a result of this change, any desktop shortcuts to web pages you have will always open with Edge. Similarly, the default browser search engine for both IE and Edge is Bing and this also cannot be changed. This does not stop you from going to Google or any other search engine and using it, but if you like to search for web pages via the URL bar on your browser you will always see results from Bing on Windows 10 S.

How do I get it and how much will it cost?

Unlike most of the OS releases in the past from Microsoft, you will not be able to buy Windows 10 S by itself. Currently the only way of obtaining this new OS is to buy a device which has it pre-installed.

If you’re interested in purchasing a Windows 10 S OS ready device from Microsoft there is the slim and elegant-looking Surface Laptop starting from £979 with discount pricing for students, faculty or staff and Universities and colleges (which was featured in our May Top Gadgets blog which you can read here) and will be released on 15th June 2017.

A large number of devices will be arriving over the summer so it’ll be worth keeping an eye on the latest computers being released by top manufacturers such as Dell and HP. Microsoft has also stated other brands such as Toshiba, Samsung and Asus will start offering budget priced laptops with Windows 10 S.

For those that do plan to use a Windows 10 S device, there will be a free upgrade to Windows 10 Pro until the end of 2017, after which you will be able to obtain an upgrade to Windows 10 Pro from the Windows Store for an affordable price.

google-pixel

Google Pixel, the new smartphone by Google

Google have recently released their new phone – Google Pixel. This phone has been said to be on par with the iPhone 7, with some users even preferring the Google Pixel. The Google Pixel comes with a multitude of new features and has been called ‘the best Android phone that has ever been made’. Lets take a look at some of the new features that Google has brought us.

https://youtu.be/Rykmwn0SMWU

Design –

So lets begin with the overall look of the new Google phone. You get an all-metal body with an all-glass display. There is a fingerprint scanner, a headphone socket and easy to grip curved edges. You can purchase the Google Pixel in either Quite Black or Very Silver. The Google Pixel also comes in two sizes. You can get the original Google Pixel with a 5″ screen or the Google Pixel XL which has a 5.5″ screen. The display on the AMOLED screen is very clear and crisp, with vibrant colours and deep blacks.

Google Assistant –

What is probably is the most exciting new feature about the Google Pixel, is Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is sort of like iPhone’s Siri or Window’s Cortana. The Google Assistant is meant to be your very own Google. Google have described the assistant to be conversational – you can have a two-way dialogue between yourself and Google.  So this means that you can ask Google Assistant one thing and then ask several follow-up questions. Google Assistant will be able to keep track of the conversation and will be able to audibly respond with the correct information. Along with this, the Google Assistant can do a multitude of tasks such as creating events, booking a table, setting reminders, sending texts to your friends, plan your travel and much more. Take a look at the video below to see more about what the Google Assistant can really do.

Camera –

The Google Pixel camera has been said to be pretty outstanding. There is a 12.3MP Sony camera on the back of the phone which can shoot up to 4K videos, video stabilisation and supposedly a faster speed on the capture time. On the front you get an 8MP camera and with a shake of the hand you can switch your back camera to the front camera. Along with all this, you also have a lot of settings that you can apply to the camera e.g. Slow Motion, Panorama, Photosphere, Lens Blur, Lightning scenes and SmartBurst. You also get unlimited storage for photos and videos within the Google’s cloud, for free! Take a look at Google Pixel’s video stabilisation below.

https://youtu.be/pYJvA5bBMC8

Battery life –

The Google Pixel Battery life is said to be a whole lot better than the iPhone 7. Just 15 minutes of charging will give you 7 hours of battery life. Then if you charge the phone up to 100%  which will take around an hour to an hour and a half, you will receive up to 24 hours of battery life. This is with fairly consistent use throughout the day.

Specifications –

Google Pixel is powered by QUALCOMM’s Snapgradon 821 processor. It has 4GB of RAM and you can choose between 32GB or 128GB of storage.

Virtual Reality –

Google Pixel is the first phone that has been made with Virtual Reality in mind. This November the Google Daydream will be released, which is their new VR headset. The Google Pixel is the perfect partner for an exciting Virtual Reality experience.

Switching from your current phone to Google Pixel –

It is very easy to switch your current iPhone or Android device over to the Google Pixel. Google have provided an easy to read step by guide on how to do this.

Pricing –

The Google Pixel is £599 for the 32GB version and £699 for the 128GB. For the Google Pixel XL it is £719 for the 32GB and £819 for the 128GB. Why not go ahead and treat yourself to an early Christmas present? Buy here!

 

Office-Lens

Office Lens: Transform your phone into a scanner!

Office Lens was released in April of last year. It is a fantastic app that can turn your phone into a portable scanner!

The way that Office Lens works is very clever. You simply take images of your notes, a whiteboard, a receipt, business cards and more. These pictures can be taken at different angles, Office Lens will still be able to grab all the information. Office Lens recognises the corners of the image and will then enhance and crop the image, then it will clean it up. This enables you to read these notes with ease.

The really great thing about Office Lens, is that you can convert these physical documents into Word Documents, PowerPoint Presentations and PDF’s! So you are able to continuously work on these scans. You can even upload your scans to OneNote or OneDrive. If you scan a business card the Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will create a contact in your phone and will automatically fill out the name, number, email address and address fields.

Customers love this app with 5* reviews on the app store!

Office Lens is available for iPhone, Android and Windows! For free!

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The free upgrade of windows 10 will soon be unavailable!

Windows 10 became available on the 29th of July, 2015. Since the release there has been over 200 million active devices running Windows 10. This is the first ever version of Windows that has been available with no price tag.

However, on the 29th of July 2016, Windows 10 will no longer be free and if you have not yet downloaded it, you will need to purchase it. The price has not yet been publicised, but it has been rumoured that it could be around $119.

Windows has been created by Microsoft and is an operating environment that provides and interface which is more known as an Graphical User Interface (GUI), for computers. Microsoft Windows has been around for many year and starts at version 1.0.  ZD Net have taken a look at the different versions of Windows throughout history.

Still not got Windows 10? Take a look here at the main features of Windows 10.

You can easily download Windows 10 here and you’re supplied with a step by step guide on the process.

PowerPoint-Logo

What’s new for PowerPoint?

Office 2016 launched around two months ago and there are now even more advances and innovations that are available for Office 365 subscribers. Office are rolling out new updates each month, and this month features updates to PowerPoint.

Two new updates to come to PowerPoint is Designer and Morph. ‘PowerPoint Designer and Morph are new intelligent tools that work for you by automating the creation of slides and presentations.’

Designer

Designer

PowerPoint Designer allows you to create high-quality PowerPoint slides within seconds. You simply drag and drop an image to your slide and designer gives you several design ideas, then its down to you to choose your favourites. The benefits of this is that you now do not have to dwell on the design of your PowerPoint as it’s done for you. You can now focus on the content and the PowerPoint presentation as a whole.

‘Designer applies cloud intelligence to analyze and identify the most compelling portion of your images to determine which blueprints work best with your content.’ – Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

Morph

Morph

‘Morph creates cinematic motion seamlessly animating between your slides.’ Morph can actually animate 3D shapes along with regular text for images and can even be applied to a word or even character level, including text wrapping. For Morph to work you need to duplicate slides that you want morphed together and alter to your needs you then choose ‘Morph’ under the transitions selection. Your slides will now ‘morph’ into each other to make a continuous flowing presentation. Your presentation now seems like an animation sequence with a click of a button.

Both of these updates are available in Office 2016 to office 365 subscribers. This is available for Windows desktop and Windows mobile, but soon these same features will be coming to other platforms. To learn more, take a look here.

 

girl in school uniform on tablet

The very best Windows Apps for Education!

We have previously looked at the best apps for on an iPad, now let’s look at the very best Windows apps!

Duolingo – Learn a multitude of languages through Duolingo. Bite-sized lessons which award you for answering correctly and will take away lives for answering incorrectly, along with daily goals. Some of the languages include French, Spanish, Italian, English and many more. Duolingo has been named ‘PC Magazine’s Editor’s choice for Language Learning’. – FREE

duolingo

Free Books – This app consists of many, many books. The app is free to download with 4,727 books. Books includes favourites such as Alice in Wonderland, Shakespeare and many more classics. – FREE

free books

Fresh Paint – Easily turn your photos into amazing paintings. You are able to mix colours, work with different textures and mediums such as watercolours, oils and more. Import your images and create your own masterpieces. This app is particularly good on the Surface Pro. Receive one pack for free, then add additional packs for an extra cost. – FREE

fresh paint

LearnEnglish Grammar – Improve your English grammar through activities that ‘help you learn and understand the core elements of English’. Choose from four levels to enhance your abilities. There are over 1000 questions per level. You get 3 sample packs to begin with, then you purchase the following packs.

learnenglish

Lets Spell – Practice your spelling! The words range from 3 to 6 letters in length and you have 5 difficulty levels to choose from. When a word is spelt correctly, you are rewarded with 3 free coins which are used to purchase gifts at the ‘prize room’. – FREE

lets spell

Math Tutor Pro – This is an app that explores basic math operations. It is designed to help students enhance their fluency in Maths through simple yet effective questions. They will be tested on addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, shapes and much more. There are different levels which the students will progress towards. –FREE

math tutor

Shared Whiteboard – Project your whiteboard to computers anywhere. Join the shared whiteboard session through a QR Code. This app is great for sharing the lesson with the class. It also automatically saves all of your work for you. A great collaborative tool for in the classroom. – FREE

shared whitebaord

3D Brain – This 3D brain can be rotated to see all angles and parts. It consists of 24 interactive structures and each structure contains information on ‘associated functions, disorders, brain damage, case studies’ and more. – FREE

3d brain

Why not take a look at the best Windows tablets to use these apps on!

 

Office 365 Outage!

Microsoft Office 365 has had an outage which has affected thousands of people across Europe. This has had impact upon users email and  online access to Word, Excel and other software.

So if you have had any issues with accessing your Office 365 email, Microsoft have said that they now have fixed the issue.

Tablet Computers

The Best Tablets for use in School

Tablets are becoming considerably more popular throughout schools. This is because students have been accustomed to the touch-screen smartphones for years. This is something that is familiar to them, they feel comfortable with and can use well. Tablets are a good way to capture the student’s attention, and keep them engaged whilst learning, due to interactive activities.

We have taken a look into some of the best tablets for use within a classroom.

Windows

There are quite a few Windows tablets to choose from. Windows tablets are not as widely known as the iPad or Android. Microsoft tablets are perfect for work use due to the ability of using Office. Apps for Windows tablets come from the Windows App Store, which supplies the most well-known apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Sky News etc. The last advantage of a Windows Tablet is the fact that you can now use Windows 10 in it, which is Microsoft’s new OS. Windows tablets come with pre-installed apps with Windows 10, these include; OneNote, Mail, Games and more.

Microsoft Surface Pro 4

Microsoft have completely revolutionised the tablet. They have made a tablet that can actually replace your laptop. This includes a 12.4 inch PixelSense screen, which gives a real-life picture quality. The weight is 757g which enables it to be extremely portable and you can therefore work on the go. You can work up to 9 hours uninterrupted due to the long lasting battery power.

The Surface comes loaded with the latest Pro Intel Core processors which make it more powerful than the previous Surface Tablet. You have options of either; m3, i5, or i7 processor depending on your budget. In addition, it is now a lot cooler and quieter when it runs.

This tablet runs Windows 10 and Office perfectly, meaning you can operate your desktop right from your tablet. Lastly, you’re spoilt with pre-installed apps on your tablet, legacy (i.e. traditional) Windows apps and those available from the Windows Store providing an almost limitless amount of apps to be able to use for all of your teaching needs.

This is priced at approximately £749.

Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 Series Tablet

The Dell Venue is an atom-powered windows tablet. It has been called ‘The Ultimate Business Partner’. It is a laptop is disguise. It has an 11 inch full HD Display, weighs up at 712.14 g and has 10 hours of battery life. You can wirelessly stream HD videos and photos from your tablet to a larger screen. The Dell Venue 11 Pro 7000 series is now powered by Intel’s Core M processors. You have the ability to attach a keyboard to the Dell Venue 11 Pro, this therefore enables you to be able to turn your tablet into a laptop.

This tablet is priced at approximately £463.

Apple

iPad’s are probably the most popular form of tablet. When people talk about a ‘tablet’ they generally think of the iPad.

The iPad is loved by both the students and the teachers. It delivers so much opportunity for a memorable learning experience. With an app store that holds over 500,000 Educational Apps, there is something for every lesson taught, all delivering at different levels to cater to the student’s needs. Take a look at our previous blogs: a complete list of Educational iPad Apps, and our favourite educational iPad apps.

The most popular type of iPad for use within in a school is a close contest between the iPad mini and the iPad Air.

iPad Air 2

The iPad Air 2 was released in mid-October 2014. The original iPad Air was 7.5mm in thickness, and now the new edition is even slimmer at 6.3mm with a weight of 469 g and a screen of 9.7in. The iPad Air 2 now has an A8X processor which is still 64-bit and has a new M8 co-processor. The newest feature is the Touch ID button, just like an iPhone. With 10 hours of battery life, this iPad will not need to be charged regularly.

The price of the iPad air 2 is approximately £399.

iPad mini 2/ iPad mini 4

The iPad mini 2 is the most common iPad mini, although there has been a 3 and 4 since then. The iPad mini 2 and iPad mini 3 are almost identical. The only enhancement in the 3 is the use of Touch ID.

The iPad mini 2 has a 7.9in retina display screen with a weight of 331g. With 10 hours of battery life and an A7 chip with 64-bit architecture. The benefit of the iPad mini 2, is the price. Starting from £219, it is one of the cheapest, yet still delivers just as well as the mini 3.

The iPad mini 4 took quite a change. It is considerably lighter at a weight of 299g with the same sized screen. It has an upgraded A8 processor, colour-rich retina display, better cameras and it supports split-screen apps. The use of the Touch ID and the full laminated display has the upper hand upon the mini 2.

This iPad mini 4 is priced at approximately £319.

Android

There are more Android tablets around now, due to Google’s Android OS making it inviting for many manufacturers to make an Android tablet. Android tablets have really been enhanced and improved. Android is popular due to its price and you have over 1.3 million apps in the Google play App store. Google’s Android has ‘Google’ voice integrated in, so you can speak to your tablet, and receive help.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S2

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 has an 8 inch screen, is only 5.6mm thick and weighs 265g. Just like the iPad, it has a Touch ID. With the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 you have to capability to insert a microSD card slot on the frame and this can boost the 32GB to 64GB.

As a bonus with this tablet, you get “Microsoft Office and 100GB of OneDrive free for two years.”

The price for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 is approximately £319.

Google Nexus 9

The Google Nexus 9 is an Android tablet designed by HTC. It has an 8.9in screen, weighs 425g and is protected with gorilla glass. There are front-facing “BoomSound” speakers which enables the music and audio to be richer. Due to the 64-bit processor, it is easy to watch videos, check email and tweak documents.

The Nexus 9 has Android 5.0 Lollipop, which is a version of Android OS developed by Google. The Benefit of Android Lollipop is that a refreshed notification system has been introduced, and battery consumption has been improved.

The price for this is approximately £189.99.

Wireless System

Something to think about before ordering 30 tablets to be used in a single classroom would be your current Wireless System. When was it installed? What is the speed like when browsing the internet or streaming a YouTube video? If you think the speed is slow when you’re the only one using the wireless, how do think your 30 pupils all trying to access online content at the same time are going to find it? Chances are, if your wireless system was installed more than 3 years ago, it’s going to struggle with the demands of a modern day classroom.

Luckily, this is where Coretek can come in to save the day. We can carry out a survey of your current wireless system, which will provide an in depth report evaluating your system as it stands and showcase our recommendations for a new Dell SonicWALL system.

The approximate price of a Dell SonicWALL 802.11AC Wireless System with 10 Access Points is £6000.

So these are a few of our chosen tablets that we feel are best for use within Education. They all supply a wide range of apps that will cater for any lesson, but each tablet is completely different to the next. There are the Windows tablets that are great for the use of attaching a keyboard to the screen, therefore transforming it into a laptop alternative. Apple tablets have the most extensive app store, having something for your every single need, and they are very lightweight. Then lastly, the Android tablets are very reasonably priced and there are a whole variety of Android tablets.

If you need any advice or help, please contact us at enquiries@coretek.co.uk.

Office 2016

What is new in Office 2016?

As you may already know, Office 2016 is here. Office on Windows offers a new exciting set of features, with already over one million customers using it across Windows and Mac, within the preview or the download.

There are two versions of Office: the universal apps which are easier to use on mobile devices, and the desktop version that is best situated for a PC with a keyboard and mouse, but is also touch enabled. Due to the OneDrive cloud storage – you can pick up where you left off within the apps, when changing devices.

So we have taken a look at the top 5 features of Office 2016.

1. Collaboration/Team Work

Office 2016 introduces a new way for people to collaborate within Documents. Perfect for an office environment.

  • Firstly you can now do real-time co-authoring. This means that there needs to be no more sharing round of Documents. You can invite your co-workers into the Document and you can then see them live editing which is tagged with their names.
  • Skype for Business now allows you to IM, talk or video chat right into your documents. From Skype you can now start a real-time co-authoring session straight form any conversation or meeting.
  • There now is Office 365 Groups. This means that you, as an individual, can create private or public teams. In each group you get a shared calendar, OneNote notebook, cloud storage for group files and a shared inbox.

2. Tell Me

  • In the centre top of the program title bar, sits a query box. This is called the ‘Tell Me Box’.
  • The use of this, is that you can type in how to do something in Office. You will then be given a list of commands, leaving you to choose what is best situated for your needs.

3. Smart Lookup

  • Smart lookup is a new feature to Office 2016 that integrates Bing into Office. Smart Lookup is a useful knowledge booster.
  • You highlight a word or phrase and then select the ‘smart lookup’ service.
  • This provides you with a bar on the right side, that gives you a definition, spelling, location and some contextual information on the word/phrase.

4. Microsoft Sway

  • Microsoft Sway was originally introduced as a standalone service, but has now been introduced through Office 2016.
  • Sway allows you to make media presentations, it has been called a renovated PowerPoint. Drag and drop videos and photos from YouTube, your computer and any social media platforms.
    This is a browser based app that is accessible through Office 365.

5. Power Query

  • The Power Query tool allows you to import into Excel data from public data sources. You can connect to many data sources such as Wikipedia, Facebook etc.
  • When you refresh the document, this will also automatically refresh the imported data in correspondence to what that data would be online. So it is constantly synced.

Office 2016 works very well with Windows 10. All of the Office 2016 apps work perfectly within Windows 10 on the PC and mobile devices. A feature of Windows 10 called ‘Windows Hello’ will log you into Windows 10 and Office 365 all at once. Don’t know about Windows 10? Check out our blog on Should I Upgrade to Windows 10?.

So now you know what Office 2016 will deliver for you. But how do you get it?

Consumers or Home Users

– Visit the Microsoft store to purchase.
Choose the right package for you, but don’t forget to back up your files before any installation/download.

Businesses or Schools

– Get in touch with us to discuss pricing options for volume licensing.

If you are not yet sure, you can try a preview for one month, to see if Office 2016 is right for you.
Click on the banner below to try out Office Business Premium for 1 month for up to 25 users.

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