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What awaits in Windows 8.1 — a Preview tour

Last week, Microsoft released the beta bits for the next version of Windows — the first .1 Windows update in decades. Win8 fans will surely update to Version 8.1 when it’s released in the fall, but even old-school Windows users will find some surprisingly good enhancements.

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DIY services for creating simple websites

There are many good reasons to build a website yourself, including avoiding the substantial costs of hiring designers and developers. Here are two services that make the process of creating a custom site relatively quick and easy; and if your needs are modest, they’re free.

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Pizza and tech: An app creates the perfect combo

We’re now well into an era of mini-apps — created for smartphones, adopted by Windows 8, and now rapidly making their way onto entertainment systems and other digital devices. In a preview of things to come, a Pizza Hut app lets you order your favorite pie right from your Xbox 360 gaming/entertainment system.

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Avoiding those unwanted free applications

Free apps are great, but they often come with an unexpected cost — unwanted additional apps. Depending on how you handle them, unwanted programs can be a minor annoyance — or a daunting problem. The trick is paying attention.

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Outlook: Strain out spam and safeguard senders

Spam is such a looming presence in the world’s email you’d be hard-pressed to find a mail application that doesn’t include some sort of spam management. Here are the tools and techniques available to Microsoft Outlook users for dealing with the onslaught.

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Tips for traveling with digital devices

Taking a multi-week trip out of the country takes careful planning. Making sure you can use the technology you take with you, even more. Gone are the days when we vacationed without our phones and portable PCs. Now they’re as essential as shorts and sandals.

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Use your smartphone to take Windows online

Getting your PC online can be a challenge when there’s no Wi-Fi, cable, or other standard network immediately available. But with cell service and a compatible phone, free or low-cost tethering software can connect Windows to the Web — with no added charges to your phone’s data plan.

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Going Google (apps) Part 3: Share/collaborate

If you’ve ever tried to share documents or struggled with merging edits from multiple collaborators, Google’s productivity apps make the process easy. Here’s how to share and collaborate with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides — three apps that are both capable and free.

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What’s a Bitcoin and why would you want one?

You might have heard in recent weeks about Bitcoin millionaires — people who raked in vast sums of real money riding this relatively new form of currency. Bitcoins offer both a fascinating, new approach to money and many potential pitfalls. Here’s what you should know about this online phenomenon.

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Going Google (apps), Part 2: Move your docs

In Part 1 of this series on Google apps, I covered the relatively simple process of moving all your mail to Gmail. Part 2 covers why and how you move Microsoft Office documents to the cloud and to Google apps.

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