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Stephen Hobson

Hey, my name is Stephen Hobson. I’m a 17-year-old guy and I live in central Virginia. I’ve been actively participating in online activities since 2005 and have been interested in technology since the age of six. I typically find myself interested in other things such as photography, writing, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter: twitter.com/rivahratt

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In recent weeks, more and more details have been emerging in relation to Microsoft’s first major Windows 8 update known as Windows Blue. Though, with the recent influx of rumors, many are beginning to wonder what Microsoft might include inside of the next edition of the Windows family, Windows 9. The release of Windows 9 will be a critical milestone for Microsoft as they try to improve upon the negative public perception they received following the release of Windows 8.

While no operating system will ever be perfect, Windows 9 has the potential to be a very solid, competitive OS. However, there are a few specific changes that I believe should be implemented into Windows 9 if Microsoft is to win back the customers that they lost last October.

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Over the past few weeks, the writers here at Windows.AppStorm have been sharing the apps that they have found to be essential while writing. It’s been very interesting to see how my fellow writers work as well as the diverse range of apps that they use. Now it’s time for me to share my list of apps that I couldn’t write without.

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You’re probably familiar with the infamous Windows notification balloon. While the majority of these notifications are often important, the Windows notification system is constantly ridiculed for lack of configuration. A solid notification system should consist of a configurable interface and support for a variety of applications. If you feel as though the default notification system does not suit your needs, you may want to have a look at Growl for Windows.

Based off of the popular Mac application, Growl for Windows is an excellent solution for those who multitask and wish to make their lives a little easier. Growl allows you to receive information on what is taking place in other applications via a simple notification in the corner of your screen. This eliminates the need for constantly switching windows which can negatively impact productivity. Growl has the ability to provide you with information such as the name of a song that is playing in iTunes, when a download is finished in Firefox, or when you receive a new IM in Pidgin.

Is Growl right for you? Continue reading to find out!
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By default, Windows provides you with a very basic screenshot feature. This feature can be utilized by pressing the Print Screen key on your keyboard. When this key is pressed, a picture of your screen is then saved to the Windows clipboard which you can then paste into any image editing application such as Microsoft Paint or Photoshop. While useful, this feature is far from efficient and could certainly benefit from further development.

Skitch is a free utility that adds an abundance of functionality to the screenshot feature that is already inside of Windows. After acquiring the majority of its popularity as a Mac-only application, the Windows version of Skitch has a lot to live up to.

Does Skitch live up to the anticipation? Let’s take a look and find out!

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Media consumption is likely a large part of your day-to-day activities. The method by which this media is consumed varies depending on personal preference. Local media libraries are often consumed and managed via a media player. Unfortunately, however, the default media player inside of Windows is often considered to be sub-par when compared to some of the feature-rich, well-polished, and free alternatives that are currently available.

If you are not satisfied with your current media player, I have compiled a list of my top six favorite media players that are available for Windows.

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The FPS genre has always been very popular among gamers. However, when you combine a first-person shooter with an open-world, RPG-like experience, the result is something that is truly unique. The most recent installment to the Far Cry series, Far Cry 3, utilizes this concept to its full potential. Being an FPS fan myself, I couldn’t resist picking up a copy of the game after noticing the abundance of popularity it began to receive over the past few weeks.

After Far Cry 2, it seemed as though this series would slowly fizzle out of popularity. Can Far Cry 3 bring it back to life? Let’s take a look and find out.

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The process of transferring files inside of Windows isn’t exactly intuitive. Many users complain about the lack of configuration and speed inside of the Windows Explorer file transfer utility. While this process has been steadily improving over the last few versions of Windows, I would not consider it to be up to par with what the average user requires just yet.

For many years, I have been an avid user of an application known as TeraCopy, a free file transfer utility that is more sophisticated than the Windows Explorer file transfer utility in almost every aspect; Notably, it utilizes technology that will speed up the heretofore painful process of large file transfers.

Is it right for you? Let’s take a look and find out!

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The internet can be a malicious environment if you’re not careful. There are safety precautions that are important to abide by while browsing the web. However, if you happen to be caught off guard and find yourself with an infected PC, completely removing the malware is absolutely vital in order to resume your day-to-day activities.

While there are many tools available that will scan and remove malware from your system, one particular program known as Malwarebytes has been my trusted partner in crime for many years. Malwarebytes is a free anti-malware application that has a reputation for finding just about any trace of malicious software and removing it without leaving any evidence of the offending software’s existence.

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Productivity is difficult to achieve in a world full of distractions and complications. Simplifying the process of getting things done would greatly increase your productivity during the typical day. If you find yourself struggling to be productive, I have compiled a list of Windows applications to help you increase your productivity and make your life a little easier.

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Everybody enjoys listening to music. However, what really determines your listening experience is how you decide to listen to your music. Many music lovers are moving their music to the cloud. While this is far more convenient compared to the traditional method of having a locally stored library, the quality of music is not always preserved.

Audiophiles such as myself typically use desktop players. Many desktop music players such as iTunes don’t always perform very well and don’t look too great either. If you happen to be on the lookout for a responsive, aesthetically pleasing, and free music player, Foobar2000 may be what you are looking for.

Is it worth checking out? Let’s take a look!

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