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Ask Juan: Should I Upgrade my Desktop (non-touchscreen) to Windows 8.1?

Screenshot (1)From one of our readers using our contact page:

Hey,I have an older quad core AMD desktop running Windows 7 and was going to put in a SSD. While I was doing that I thought maybe I should upgrade to Windows 8. I don’t have a touchscreen though, so I was curious if you thought that would be a good idea? Thanks, Alex

First of all, I run an older quad core in my workstation, and installing a solid state drive (specifically a Kingston HyperX) made my system feel brand new. I think you’ll really dig it.

The upgrade to Windows 8.1 is a slightly trickier question. It’s pretty obvious that Microsoft is using this new interface as their first attack on tablets and touchscreens. Microsoft’s job moving forward isn’t to “save” the PC market, but redefine the what a PC is. If you’ve read much on this site, you would know that I’ve been fairly positive on their progress so far.

Stepping outside the tablet-y stuff however, I think Windows 8 can offer up some benefits to non-touchscreen users as well.

First of all, boot times are seriously improved. The combo of Windows 8.1 and an SSD will feel like an absolute screamer compared to Windows 7 and a spinning disc hard drive. My low power Windows 8.1 ultrabook with an SSD cache boots in about half the time as my desktop did with Windows 7 and a proper SSD. My Lenovo absolutely destroys my Nexus 7 in a cold boot race.

windows 8_1 file transfer dialog boxSecond, I think Microsoft has made some solid improvements to file management. It’s not the sexiest aspect of an OS upgrade, but you get substantially more info when moving files, better estimates for completion, and the entire file browsing experience has been more stable. I would run into issues on Windows 7 with folders that had tons of files. As my computer would scan through creating thumbnails it would occasionally just get stuck on a file and never finish the scan. What ever file it would lag on would just become completely inaccessible, and I’d have to jump through CMD prompt nonsense to fix it. I haven’t had any issues like that with Win8.1 so far (knocks on wood). Continue reading Ask Juan: Should I Upgrade my Desktop (non-touchscreen) to Windows 8.1?

Quick Tip: Boot Directly to the Traditional Desktop in Windows 8.1 – Super Easy!

Screenshot (91)I’ve been a fan of Windows 8 from the first release. I think it’s elegant, and it’s very interesting that Microsoft (of all companies) will be the first to offer up a unified UI across all of their various products.

However, I also totally get that for people on non-touch screen devices, the traditional desktop might be a better fit for getting work done. With the Windows 8.1 update, Microsoft has now included an option to boot directly to the traditional desktop, so let’s walk you through setting that option up!

Ask Juan: How the hell do you remove an OtterBox Defender Rugged Case?

otterbox defender case ask juan help how to remove take off somegadgetguyA couple months ago I did a three part series on my favorite line of rugged cases, the Defender from OtterBox (linked below this video). Even though I showed in detail pretty every feature of the case, and how to install one, I missed one crucial aspect in all three reviews.

How do you take the darn thing off? Good thing my Youtube viewers call me out on stuff…

Shop for OtterBox on Amazon: http://goo.gl/28FFnZ
iPad Defender Case Review
Nexus 7 Defender Case Review
Lumia 920 Defender Case Review

Pro Photo Tip: Get Closer Macro Photos Using Extension Tubes on Your SLR!

macro close up photography kenko extension tubes somegadgetguy ask juan tips tricks help how toI’ll be covering more semi-pro photography and audio gear on this channel in the coming months. To start, I wanted to jump in with one of my favorite hobbies. Macro photography! I like taking pics of thinks super close up, but I haven’t yet been able to afford a proper macro lens. Extension tubes are a solution which have helped improve the quality of my shots, so let’s go hands on with a set!

Kenko Extension tubes on Amazon.

Ask GadgetGuy: Why SHOULDN’T I buy an iPad Mini right now?

ipad miniRoss from Facebook asks:

Hey Gadget Guy… tell me why I shouldn’t buy an iPad Mini, and what I should buy instead, and why it’d be better. I don’t want to admit to drinking the apple-flavored kool-aid, but I love my iPhone, and wanna get a pair of tablets for me and my special lady friend… yeah, we gotta get 2 because we can’t share. hehe…
Thanks!

No worries on “drinking the kool-aid”, I’d be daft to say Apple doesn’t make fine products. The Mini is in an interesting position at the moment however, and buying one now, might not be the best move.

It’s old hardware. It was old-ish hardware when it was released, essentially a shrunk iPad 2. This brings up numerous support questions, like whether it will receive two full proper updates of iOS, as the iPad 2 is most likely done with major updates this year. That and I would fully expect we’ll see an iPad Mini refresh this November. Plus for hardware almost three years old, it’s really expensive compared to the current crop of Android Mini tablets.

And to answer your question about what else to buy, I’d start by looking at the Nexus 7.

Nexus 7 - hero - press siteFor $100 less you get a MUCH nicer true HD 1080p screen, in proper widescreen (so if you watch movies, you don’t lose half your display to letter-boxing). Remember the current Mini isn’t a “Retina” device.

Other things like stereo¬†speakers and NFC might be a wash, but it’s much more current technology.

It’s not out yet, but the LTE variant of the Nexus 7 will likely sell for about $20 more than the least expensive, WiFi only iPad Mini. Ouch.

In conclusion, depending on what you want to do with a tablet, an iPad Mini today would still be a fine purchase. It is a sexy little tablet. However, if you can hold off, treat yourself to more of a Thanksgiving present, you’ll probably get a better “bang for buck”.