Archive | February, 2013

Windows 8 Keyboard Shortcuts

24 Feb

With Windows 8, you can use the keyboard to get places fast and get the most out your computer using keyboard shortcuts.

Many of these shortcuts simply require pressing the Windows Key together with one or more other keys. The Windows Key is located between the Function and Alt keys as shown below.

Windows Keyboard

With that in mind, here are ten cool keyboard shortcuts to know about in Windows 8:

1. Windows Key: Displays or hides the Start screen.

2. Windows Key + C: Displays Charms menu.

3. Windows Key + Q: Displays the global search menu that allows you to search your list of installed programs, settings and/or files.

4. Windows Key + Tab: Cycles through open apps (except desktop apps).

5. Windows Key + “,” : Allows you to temporarily “peek” at the desktop.

6. Windows Key + <Number>: Starts the desktop app pinned to the taskbar in the position indicated by the number. If the app is already running, it switches to that app.

7. Windows Key + I: Opens the Settings charm which gives you quick access to the settings for the current app as well as volume, power and other functions.

8. Windows Key + “.” : Snaps the currently open app (except desktop apps) to the right or left, alternating as you hit it.

9. Windows Key + “+” and “-“ : Zooms in or out, respectively using Magnifier. (Windows Key + Esc  to exit Magnifier)

10. Windows Key + X: Displays a menu of advanced system options, including Windows Control Panel, Command Prompt, Task Manager and File Explorer.

For more desktop shortcuts, check out Microsoft’s list at:

And to learn more about Windows 8, be sure to visit the Digital Workshop Powered by Windows on your next Holland America Line cruise.

John Roberts – ms Rotterdam

Penguins Penguins and more Penguins!

20 Feb


Hi there folks,


     Kristin here, writing from our elegant explorer the Ms Prinsendam currently docked in gorgeous Buzios, Brazil.  We are currently towards the end of our magical 68 day Grand South American and Antarctic Voyage and boy have we seen some amazing places.  South America and Antarctica have some of the most gorgeous and unique scenary, wildlife and cities that I have ever seen in my almost four years here as a Techspert

     And speaking of wildlife, much of the southern part of South America and Antarctica is home to one of the cutest, fuzziest, lovable, quirkiest and sometimes smelly animal…the penguin!  I would like to share with you some of the best pictures submitted by a few of the guests attending the Digital Workshop of our fuzzy friends in Punta Arenas, Chile,  the Falkland Islands and Antarctica


Cheers from the Prinsendam,




DSC_6590DSC_6604DSC_6614DSC_6638 (2)DSC_6691DSC_6714DSC_6759 (2)


Microsoft Reimagines Paint

4 Feb

Fresh Palette2577.LaunchTitleWideLogo_558x270_thumb_192F35A0

Van Gogh used “Paint as Paint”, meaning he not only expressed the way he saw things in his art but he was very topographical with his medium! With globs of paint straight from the tube on the canvas, he created thick layered textures, peaks and valleys, crumbling dry and smearing wet, rich colors together.

This amazing App will turn your Windows 8 computer screen into a realistic, caked-up oil canvas. From finger painting with a touch screen to unique brush strokes with your pointer, YOU can be the new “Digital” Van Gogh with Windows 8 “Fresh Paint”!

The timing for a new age of digital art couldn’t be better with the introduction of Microsoft’s Windows 8 touch screen interfaces for tablets, laptops and desktop computers. 

SurfaceFresh Paint is an easy to use, free app that includes oil paint and all the tools you need to paint. Whether you are an aspiring artist, parent, or kid (or kid at heart), Fresh Paint will help you unleash your inner creativity. Windows 8 believes that brilliant, creative ideas can come from anyone, anytime. It’s time to set your creativity free.

With your fancy palette, dab into the infinite amount of high quality colors, shades and patterns with four different brush styles. Create your own colors! 

Choose what kind of textured paper, canvas or background you want to use.

Apply your brushstrokes and it will appear as though you’re painting with oil on a textured canvas!

Sample Colors

Here are examples of some artwork made with Fresh Paint:


Import  photos and embellish them with Fresh Paint!

You will quickly realize that this is not your ordinary paint program.

Oh, Microsoft didn’t forget to offer the ability to redo, undo, save and share your  new masterpieces. Go ahead and dry your canvas too!


Fresh Paint’s origins are in Microsoft Research, where five computer scientists worked for several years  giving PCs the ability to simulate complex brushstrokes.

Project Gustof art

A prototype, called Microsoft Digital Art, was tested more than 60,000 times by visitors at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, from whom the team got critical feedback. They created a "dry" button that allows users to virtuallyProject Gustof "paint over" dry paint, instead of mixing wet paints on the canvas, and they cut the number of brushes from seven to four. More recent updates let people color in stencils or cartoons, paint on photographs, and even bring in photos as "wet paint" — a fun feature you have to play with to appreciate.

With the introduction of this new app, there has been a new wave of “Fresh Painters” to enter the new age of contemporary, digital art. This is what painting in the modern age is and what the future will look like. 

Windows 8 brings a lot of amazing new features to the PC, but this has got to be one of the coolest, stand-out apps I’ve ever seen!

To use it you’ll have to upgrade to Windows 8 or buy a new computer with Windows 8 on it. To download Windows 8 or order the disk go to this website:

Once you have the new OS, simply tap or click on the Windows Store tile on your Start Screen.

Start Store Paint

Select “Top Free” . . . . 

Top Free

. . . . . then slide to the right . . . . .  Slide this way

. . . . . until you find the yellow logo.
So Fresh
Don’t worry if you don’t own a touch screen; it will work fine with your mouse and pointer!

There you see? Even I can be an artist . . . . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . but I’m not quitting my day job.


This is Trevor the Techspert gettin’ digi with Windows 8 and Fresh Paint.