Archive | January, 2013

No touchscreen? No Problem!

26 Jan

Hi Everyone,

It’s Krista, techspert onboard the Zuiderdam where we’re sailing through the Caribbean and visiting the Panama Canal. As we sail, we’re learning all about Windows 8!

I use Windows 8 on a laptop that I upgraded from Windows 7, and guess what? It does not have a touchscreen.  A lot of people think that you need a touchscreen with Windows 8, but actually it works great with mouse and keyboard as well!  For those of you in a similar situation as me, I thought I’d post today on some little tips and tricks I’ve discovered in Windows 8 that you might find useful.

Switching from one open app to another
Most of us do more than one thing on the computer at a time, and you might wonder how to jump from one open app to another.  With a touchscreen you just swipe from the left edge of the screen but, how do you do that with a mouse?

Just point your mouse to the upper left corner of the screen and click.  Every time you click you’ll swap to the next open app.

But what if you have several apps open and you want to jump to a specific app, not the one you used most recently? Do you really have to click several times to get to your desired app?

Screenshot (11)
After you place your mouse in the upper left corner, instead of clicking pull it down and you’ll see a menu come up on the left edge of the screen that shows you all the apps you have open.  Now just click on the one you want!

Closing an App
To close apps in Windows 8 using the mouse, place your mouse at the top of the screen, left click and hold, and drag your mouse to the bottom of the screen. 

But what if you have several apps open, do you have to jump to each one and drag them down one by one?  Not if you don’t want to!

In the previous section I showed you how to bring up a list of all your open apps on the left side of the screen.  Try right clicking one.
Screenshot (12)
It brings up a menu, and one of the options is “close.” Click that to quickly and easily close the app from there, no dragging necessary.

The hidden start “button”
One of the biggest changes you’ll notice in Windows 8 is the absence of the start button in the bottom left corner of the screen.  In my opinion, this is no big deal, but a lot of people seem to miss it.  But guess what, there is technically still a start button there!

Remember what I showed you in the previous section, well did you notice what was in the lower left corner?  Here it is again:
Screenshot (11)
It’s a small version of my start screen! Any time I move my mouse to the lower left corner, I’ll see that mini start screen.  When you click the start button in previous versions of Windows it opens your start menu.  Clicking this mini version of your start screen (which shows up exactly where the start button used to) takes me back to my start screen.

And if you right click in the bottom left corner of your screen you’ll get a handy menu you can use to open things like the control panel or the task manager.

All Apps
In previous versions of Windows you clicked on the start button and then pointed to “all programs” to see all the programs installed on the PC.  You can see this in Windows 8 as well.

Go to your start screen and right click.
Screenshot (14)
This brings up a menu at the bottom of the screen, and in the bottom right corner there’s an icon that says “all apps.” The word app is just another word for a program, so “all apps” = “all programs.” Click the “all apps” icon.
Screenshot (15)
And there’s all your programs listed in alphabetical order by section.  Click on any of them, and the program will open up.

Need more help in Windows 8?  Click here for even more info on using Windows 8 with a mouse OR with a touchscreen!

I hope some of those tips helped you as you discover all the new things in Windows 8!

Techspert Krista, Zuiderdam

Fetch files on your PC

13 Jan

Here is a great way to access files from a remote PC when you are traveling.

If you have the SkyDrive desktop app for Windows installed on a PC, you can use the Fetch files feature to access all your files on that PC from another computer by going to You can even access network locations if they’re included in the PC’s libraries or mapped as drives. When you browse a PC’s files remotely, you can download copies of them to work on. You can also stream video and view photos in a slide show. To access files on your PC remotely, make sure the PC you want to access is turned on and connected to the Internet. SkyDrive also needs to be running on that PC, and the Fetch files setting must be selected.

Here’s how:

If you didn’t select the Fetch files setting when you set up the SkyDrive app, you can select it in Settings.

1. Go to the PC where SkyDrive is installed.

  1. Right-click the SkyDrive icon (clip_image001) in the notification area, at the far right of the taskbar. (You might need to click Show hidden icons first to see the icon.) Then click Settings.

3. On the Settings tab, under General, select Let me use SkyDrive to fetch any of my files on this PC, and then click OK.

4. Restart the SkyDrive app.

Here is another tip;

· To make sure SkyDrive always starts when you sign in to Windows, right-click the SkyDrive icon in the notification area, and then click Settings. On the Settings tab, under General, select Start SkyDrive automatically when I sign in to Windows, and then click OK.

If you do not yet have a SkyDrive (Windows) ID, just go to and signup. I am sure you will be glad you did.

Frank Barcelona Techspert MS Volendam, for the Holland America Digital Workshop powered by Windows.

Macro and Cheese!

1 Jan

Macro is one of the various modes on your typical pocket camera.  The symbol usually looks like a flower.  However, macro mode is not just for flowers anymore!

If you’re like many travelers, one of the great things about any journey is the opportunity to try delicious foods. While some dishes may linger on your palette for awhile, using your camera is a great way to capture the culinary magic forever. In addition, Holland America Line chefs love to create true feasts for the eyes, as well as the taste buds. Unfortunately, standard automatic mode on most pocket cameras often fails to produce a good result and the photo is usually a bit blurry.

Let’s look at an example of a photo taken in automatic mode:

Automatic Mode

Instead of automatic mode, you will almost always be better off trying the same picture using macro mode:

Macro Mode

Macro mode is most suitable when you are about an arm’s length away from your subject matter. Because you will be capturing detail, experiment with the angle and cropping of your pictures. Remember some of the best shots are creative "slice of life" (pun intended) compositions rather than straight forward shots. Of course, macro mode can be used to take beautiful shots of plants and flowers as well. In fact, consider trying macro mode for detail shots of virtually anything up close. Your pictures will have fantastic visual impact and liven up your slide shows or albums.

As previously mentioned, most cameras designate macro mode with an easy to find tulip flower symbol or check your quick-start guide for other possibilities. Once you are familiar with putting your camera in macro mode, try a few shots of the same subject with and without macro mode and check out the differences. Most cameras automatically turn off the flash in macro mode. However, there are times you may want to try turning it on. For example, if the background on outdoor flora shots is too blurry or distracting, forcing the flash can cause the background to turn black, making your subject matter pop.

The trickiest thing about macro mode (once you’ve mastered turning it on and off) is focus. The camera picks up the least bit of motion which can ruin a great shot. Counteract this by steadying your arms on the surface of the table or perhaps even setting your camera’s timer and using a tripod.

Some cameras also include a color temperature slide bar feature while in macro mode. Try warming up the colors when you take pictures of food. You may even have a specialized food macro mode on your camera, often designated by a knife and fork. Once again, check your manual and don’t be shy about trying different modes out. Remember, it’s a great idea to start becoming more familiar with your camera BEFORE your trip.

For more tips of how to get the best pictures during your next cruise, be sure to attend our Camera Basics session in the  in the Digital Workshop.

John Roberts – ms Rotterdam