The Windows taskbar

When you first get your computer with Windows already installed, along the bottom of the screen is the Taskbar.  Window 7 and later combine this bar with the quick launch menu (before ie XP and 95, the task bar solely showed the currently running programs which could be accessed sequentially using [ctrl][tab] – this still works in later Windows versions too).

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Windows 7 Taskbar

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Windows 8 Taskbar and part of the Start/Metro screen

 

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Windows 10 Taskbar

Windows 10 has expanded and changed the functionality of the taskbar somewhat but it is still recognisable as the taskbar, visible almost always, except when you have chosen a full screen option (F11 or a right click menu option) for, say, your internet browser or video player . It needn’t sta on the bottom of the screen nor stay that size – you can left click and hold on a blank area of the bar and drag it to any of the sides of the screen and if you hover your mouse pointer over the top edge of the bar you’ll see the cursor change to a two headed arrow and you can left click and drag that edge to make the bar as wide as you want.

If you have widened the taskbar to give you more space to show tasks (quick launch or running), I’d recommend a rethink of how many quick launch icons and/or how many programs you run at the same time. Quck Launch icon should be just you handful of regular programs you use, not everything, you still have the start menu and the desktop for lesser used tasks. Running too many programs does eventually cause problems, try to keep only tasks currently in use running, you’ll have a much smoother speedier Windows experience.

 

The taskbar has evolved throughout Windows versions and extra functionality has been added with each new release. Its main purpose remains the same however; that of quick access to, and an overview of running tasks. Next blog I will delve deeper by breaking down each element of the taskbar.

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Terra Sancta

Another of Jordan’s to showcase. Somewhat dated now but still a useful “brochure” site that doesn’t really need much updating. A non-profit charity site, this illustrates Jordan’s varied background and the wide experience she bring to her translating and language roles.

Jordan was commissioning another two sites so I decided this one was worth doing for nothing, it being a charity and all. An informational site for the most part. Providing background information to Jordans work in Palestine. terrasancta.co.uk

USB, Bits and Bytes

USB1, USB2, USB3, 3.1, micro-USB, even bits and bytes – I’ll try to demystify these for you below.

The term USB or Universal Serial Bus will be familiar to most of you as used by memory sticks (flash drives, thumb drives are the same thing), commonly about the width of your thumb and slightly shorter (though as these have developed, they have go shorter to the point where I now have one that sticks out less than 5mm from the slot). The main development has been in capacities, speed and price. 128gb* is the max currently at an affordable price of about £25 though 512gb is available for about £150 and 1tb for £600). If you see very cheap ones such as one I see now on Amazon UK 1tb at £26, they are certainly fake. I know this because I have bought an allegedly 128gb stick and failed to copy my 60gb of music onto it. How do the sellers get away with it? Because normally it will take months for many people to reach the actual limit of perhaps 1gb (if you’re lucky). I researched and found a free software utility called h2testw (you’ll find it if you google that, if not email me and I’ll send you a free copy). Essentially this runs a read/write test and compares with the alleged storage space and speed stored electronically on the device itself.

USB standards have jumped several times. USB2 was up to 4 to 5 times faster than USB1 and USB3 (initially ( to 6 times faster) is now in version 3.1 (faster still at twice that of USB3). New models of computer will support all USB versions but older models, for instance 2014 laptops will only support USB2 and below.

It is also possible to use USB to power external drives though some need more power than available on USB and so require a separate power supply unit. The usb port can be expanded to extend other usb ports and also other devices such as wireless network connectors, Bluetooth (for phones etc), wireless keyboards and mice.

 

As far as connectors go, this image from wikipedia (left)says far more than I can in words. there are also male/female equivalents allowing extender cables.

 

Here also a new USB3.1 plug called a micro-B superspeed plug

 

 

Ok a quick lesson in size and speed units. The basic unit of zero or one is a bit. Because early PC transfer was 8 “wires” wide this became a standard byte. You’ll rarely see bits referred to except in broadband speeds as Mbit/sec). OK if you’re still with me, Storage space is usually talked about in terms of Kb, Mb, Gb and Tb each 1000 times the previous one. Although Mbyte strictly means 1000² and is an international standard (IEC 1998), but it is still sometimes used to mean 1024² and its not always obvious which.

Jordan Lancaster

Jordan is a busy translator and language teacher. I have created several sites for her. Her main one she wanted modelled after an existing one since she wanted to change from a troublesome host. That made the content easy to obtain but finnicky in terms of mimicing the existing layout, different hosts use different tools which have specific features. That being said, WordPress with its easy configuration and available plugins, coupled with a powerful theme made for a very attractive and functional site. It showcases her services, publications as well as events past and future. <a href=”http://jordanlancaster.co.uk”>jordanlancaster.co.uk</a>