Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Microsoft Office for Windows is 25 years old today

This article can now be found in its entirety at

A Look at 25 years of Microsoft Office (Then and Now)


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Filed under Computers and Internet, Uncategorized

Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2013

Wow, four years so far! To this day, it still feels like April 1st 2010. I want to thank everyone and especially Microsoft for finding my contributions valuable. It is always good to know, the little I have imparted on others over the past 4 years have in some way made your computing life a little better. Congratulations to my fellow MVP’s as well New and Renewed! For persons leaving the program, once an MVP, always an MVP a BIG Thank You!


Dear Andre Da Costa,

Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2013 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Windows Expert-Consumer technical communities during the past year.


Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2012
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) Award 2011
Microsoft Most Valuable Professional  (MVP) Award 2010



Filed under Computers and Internet, IT Professional

How to access Calendar, Skydrive, Contacts and Skydrive at

Microsoft just launched its new web mail service which will become the successor to the current Hotmail service. I started using it this morning and the first thing I was looking for is access to my Calendar and common links available in Hotmail such as Skydrive:



Above shows the present experience when using Hotmail. In, you access these services under a hidden menu:


In Outlook, hover over the Outlook header and menu option will be displayed. Click it at will reveal access to your People (Contacts), Calendar and Skydrive:


Click the one you want and it will display

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Filed under Computers and Internet, Office Productivity

How to join a Wi-Fi Network in Windows 8

Wireless networks are all around us, if you happen to be at the airport, a bank, a fast food restaurant or even your place of work, you likely can join a Wi-Fi network to access the Internet or other resources. Wireless networks are also very convenient for mobile users who are on the go.

In this article, we take a quick look at joining a wireless network in Windows 8. The principles that apply to Windows 7 are pretty much the same, although you might operate a bit differently depending on where you are at in the Windows 8 interface, whether it is the Windows Desktop App or the Start Screen. Let’s take a look at both:

Start Screen

Of course, the first thing you should always check for is to see if the Wireless adapter switch on your laptop is turned on. This can sometimes can be a physical on or off switch on the front of your laptop or at the side. Some manufacturers will often use embedded keys to turn on the wireless adapter, so a Function key will do it. Check the documentation that came with your mobile device for instructions.


Click Change PC settings (Press Windows key + C) to bring up this menu.


Select Wireless


Make sure Wi-Fi is set to On.

Joining a Wireless Network:

Go back to the Windows Desktop App, then click Wireless Network icon in the notification area:


Click it.


This will display a list of available Networks, click the one you know is available to you.


Click Connect


Wait while it connects.


Some networks might have additional authentication requirements.


When you are finish, click the VAN icon in the Notification Area and click Disconnect.


Filed under 8 Journal, Computers and Internet

How to install and configure Skydrive App for Windows

The Skydrive App for Windows has been out for a while now, but I never got around to posting a tutorial about it. I use it often since I want to keep files available across many devices, which includes multiple PC’s at home and work and mobile devices such as my iPod Touch. In this quick tutorial, we take a look at downloading, installing and configuring it including a tip for getting additional storage.

What is Skydrive App for Windows?

Back in 2007, Microsoft launched Skydrive on Windows Live. This was the company’s first major move to embrace the popular term called Cloud Storage. Skydrive is basically an online hard disk, it requires that you have a Internet Connection to sync and store files across multiple systems. With the Skydrive App, you can not only sync files, you can also access them offline. Skydrive includes a familiar Windows Explorer interface that makes it easy to drag and drop files in it, organize and manage them.

Installing Skydrive App:

First, go to:

Then click Download Skydrive Preview for Windows


Double click the setup icon:


Wait while Skydrive installs

Setup 1

After the installation is complete, a quick setup wizard will be launched:

Setup 2

Click Get started to begin

Setup 3

Sign in with your Windows Live ID

Setup 4

Click Next, you can change the location of the Skydrive folder if you want, but we will stick to the default for now.

Setup 5

Check the box to make ‘Make files on this PC available to me on my other devices’ then click Done.

Setup 6

That’s it, Skydrive will automatically start syncing your files over the Internet between your PC’s you install and sign into. The above shows Skydrive synced on my Windows 7 PC. The below shot shows my Windows 8 PC:


Below is my Skydrive in the Cloud accessed through Internet Explorer:


Skydrive works only with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8. For Windows XP users, you can access Skydrive through

Get more storage:

By default, Skydrive offers users 7 GBs of free online storage, but you can get some more using the following options:

In the Notification Are of your Taskbar, right click the Skydrive Icon:


Click Manage storage


Select one of the available storage options, which includes 20, 50 or 100 GBs for an annual fee.


Filed under 7 Journal, 8 Journal, Computers and Internet

Review: HP Z210 on ActiveWin

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity of reviewing some killer hardware for The HP Z210 is a small form factor (SFF) workstation featuring some cool specs such as an Intel XEON Processor, SSD and 8 GBs of DDR3 ECC RAM.


A few years ago I made a vow to myself that I would not invest in another desktop because the trade-offs they required such as desktop real estate, weight, separate keyboard, mouse and of course a monitor were becoming too much. My belief at the time was and still is, laptops are getting more powerful each year and even some models from major brands such as HP could make a good desktop replacement. There is just one area laptops have not caught up and that is raw power. Desktops remain a good choice because of the choice components used and a little thing called expandability. This review takes a look at a system unit from Hewlett Packard, the Z210 Workstation which out of the box packs a punch in a sleek slim line unit that not only is perfect for cramped spaces but offers little compromise allowing you to easily add and upgrade components with its easy to open chassis. Let’s take a look at the specifications:

  • Intel XEON E31245 CPU 3.3 GHz

  • 8 GBs of DDR3 RAM

  • 160 GB SSD Storage

  • Intel 3000 HD Graphics

  • 5 USB Ports on the front of the chassis, 6 at the back plus two USB 3.0 ports.

  • DVD RW optical drive

  • 5 in one card reader

  • Windows 7 Professional with SP1 64 bit

  • Weight 22 lbs

Read the entire review here

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Filed under Computers and Internet, Reviews

Windows Tablets whats next vs the competition

InformationWeek writer Paul McDougall talks about Microsoft’s slow move to compete with upcoming contenders Google, HP on the desktop and Tablet front. The reality is, Microsoft does needs to get its act together and come good, but at the same time, this dooms day prediction that Apple, HP and Google will be eating Microsoft’s market share to zero by the end of 2012 with the so-called ‘post PC’ devices is a bit ridiculous.

“You create a massive platform,” said Apotheker, referring to his intention to stretch WebOS across smartphones, tablets, and personal computers.

This news came amid reports earlier in the week that Microsoft won’t have a truly tablet-compatible version of Windows until the 2012 back-to-school season, when it plans to release an edition of Windows 8 geared to run on ARM’s mobile processors. That leaves a massive gap of 18 months during which time HP will seed the personal computing market with non-Windows technology, the iPad will have hit its third iteration, and Google’s Android (which can run smartphones, slates, and netbooks) will rack up more double-digit market share gains.

Read the entire article here

I look at it differently, every x86 and ARM Tablet will be considered a Windows PC by the time Microsoft ships Windows vNext or whatever they call it, don’t forget that. When you think about the overall PC market, every OEM will be producing Tablet devices shipping with Windows next year. When sold, they will obviously outnumber (an probably are today when you think about the many Windows PC form factors that are now on the market), the iPads, Xooms and Web OS Tablets. That’s why Steve Jobs is using the opportunity now to differentiate and call the iPad and iPhone post PC devices when they are doing exactly the same thing as PC’s using a good Touch interface.

You can do word processing, email, web browsing, even movie making now on an iPad, the same things you can do today on a traditional notebook or desktop PC. So tell me, how does this make ‘it’ the iPad any different from a PC? As for Windows vNext, I suspect Microsoft has something clever up their sleeves, I have a feeling they know the Windows UI needs to be re-architected properly for 10 fingers, but at the same time they don’t want to isolate users (WP7 tiles are not the answer). I am sure all the teams at Microsoft: Office, Windows Live are on board to create apps that are more Windows vNext touch centric since the point and click iterations today are still not suitable.

By the way, Google’s first efforts in the Tablet market have so far been described as ‘tepid’, with the Android 3.0 codenamed Honeycomb having some stability issues. A quote from ZDNET details the issue with the new Motorola Xoom device:

Misek said:

Xoom sales have been underwhelming. While marketing has just started we believe MMI will likely have to cut production if it already has not done so. We believe the device has been a bit buggy and did not meet the magic price point of $500. We believe management knows this and is hurrying development and production of lower cost tablets. Importantly we believe management will likely have to make the painful decision to accept little to no margin initially in order to match iPad 2’s wholesale pricing.

Learn more here

This is something I believe Microsoft also wants to avoid with Windows vNext, it has to be an exceptional release across many form factors from the get go. The OS has a lot to live up to with Windows 7 being such a major success. Microsoft has a reputation and it would be a shame to see it shattered with a buggy rushed release. This is a huge market and there is a piece of the pie for everyone, its just that we don’t know who will ultimately own the most slices, right now, its looking like Apple especially with the iPad 2 release.

Microsoft has done the heavy lifting already, they showed that at CES that they have ARM running Windows, now the job is to create a great user experience.  It’s still Microsoft’s game.

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Filed under Computers and Internet, My Articles