I’m glad to say my arm’s better now. But I’ve got a question for you: How would you celebrate an anniversary?
Flowers? A meal out? Maybe a nice bottle of wine (we had a lovely bottle of Chianti the other day – probably the nicest Chianti I’ve ever had). All sound good to me.
But not Microsoft – they do things differently.
It’s a year now since WIndows 10 was launched and Microsoft have decided to celebrate by bringing out an update to it.
They really know how to celebrate there!
Anyway, if you have Windows 10, you’ll be getting the update shortly – it’s becoming available on the 2nd August (that’s tomorrow if you’re reading this the day I sent it).
This isn’t just one little update like you get all the time through Windows Update (though it will happen automatically through Windows Update) – it’s a package of lots of changes and tweaks put together and Microsoft have made quite a splash about it.
I’ve had a look through what they’ve included. It’s mostly really sensible little tweaks that lots of people have been asking for. A lot of them you’d probably never even notice.
For example they’ve improved the way Cortana (that’s the bit that you can talk to, to tell it to set reminders and so on) works, especially if you also use a Smartphone. You can have an app for it on your phone and it’ll give you the same reminders on your phone and your PC. Useful if you need it – but most people will probably never notice that this has changed.
There’s also a “Dark mode” that is designed for using in dim light, so the screen isn’t as bright because there aren’t big chunks of white or pale grey. Easier on the eyes if you’re using a device in dim light and it can also save power.
They’ve also improved the way tiles in the start menu work. They’re called “live” tiles and (for example) the news one will show you headlines before you even click on it. In the past if one was interesting and you clicked on it, it would open the news app but wouldn’t take you to the article about that headline that you’d seen and clicked on, so you had to hunt for it. Now it’s possible for apps to be written so that it will take you straight to the specific thing the tile was showing when you clicked on it. Much better.
There’s one big tweak in the start menu, if you can have a big tweak. You don’t have to click on “All Apps” to get the list of all the apps – it’s there as soon as you open the start menu. And some of the options that used to be taking up lots of space in writing now have little symbols on the left instead. For example, to get to settings, you click on a little cogwheel symbol.
This makes it a bit quicker to get to your apps – instead of having to click on All apps each time, you’re straight into it.
And there are lots of other smaller tweaks.
The update might take a while to download and I would think not everyone will get it at exactly the same time, so don’t panic if you don’t get it straight away. But also don’t worry if you see your PC saying something about an “Anniversary Update” – I’d just let it go ahead.
Overall, I think it’s a fairly good update. It’s not ground-breaking – but it rounds off a few of the jagged edges of Windows 10.
On the other hand, Julie, if you’re reading this, when it’s our anniversary, I still think I’d prefer a nice bottle of wine…
A quick tip for iPads, other tablets and smartphones
Most people who have a tablet (or smartphone) know that if you’re reading something on the web and you want to make it bigger, you can touch the screen with two fingers and pull them apart, as if you’re stretching whatever’s on the screen.
(And if you didn’t know, you do now!)
But there’s also another way that can be convenient – if you’re reading something and the text doesn’t fill the screen, maybe because there’s a big margin or there’s a column of pictures next to the text.
Just double tap (that’s tap once and then straight away tap again) on the text. Make sure you’re not tapping on a link, just a bit of text.
It should zoom in so that text fills the width of the screen, so it’s just the right width to make it easy to read.