More Windows 8 Apps from the Windows Store
AccuWeather isn’t the only weather available in the Windows 8 store, but it improves on Microsoft’s stock weather app, and we especially like it how it displays upcoming forecast information on a timeline that you can toggle back and forth between daily and hourly readings. The background animations depicting current conditions look pretty cool, too.
For old-fashioned file/folder management (deleting, copying, moving, renaming, etc.), you can always fall back on Windows Explorer, which is available in the Windows 8 Desktop. Have fun manipulating Windows Explorer if you have a touchscreen (hint: it’s not fun). Metro Commander gives you file management in a much more finger-friendly format, and it works with SkyDrive-hosted files as well as local ones.
Windows 8 Cheat Keys
If you travel a lot, or just get stuck doing airport pickup duty, FlightAware is for you. It lets you monitor flight activity in real time -- everything from departure-and-arrival gates to speed and altitude -- plot flight locations on a map, and keep abreast of airport delays.
Figure 3: The FlightAware Windows 8 App.
If you use several different IM services, you need a good multi-protocol client. IM+ fills the bill, and it supports Facebook, Windows Live, Google Talk, AIM, ICQ, Skype, Yahoo and Jabber, plus a bunch more obscure services (at least to North Americans). It supports group chats and runs in the background so you won’t miss anything when you’re using a different app.
Drop this app on your laptop or tablet and you can leave your Kindle device at home. This app gives you the same features you get when reading on Kindle hardware (or the Kindle software on other platforms), including the capability to change the text size, format and the background color. Plus, you can pin books to your Start screen.
Even though a current time/date display has been a staple of the Windows desktop since forever (and you can still see it in its familiar place when in Desktop mode), Microsoft saw fit to omit one from the Start screen. Instead, you only see the date on the lock screen or -- briefly -- when you summon the Charms bar via swiping or pressing Windows + C. This app corrects that oversight.
Figure 4: The Tile Time Windows 8 App.
If your job involves converting currencies or tracking their fluctuations, this app is for you. It supports dozens of currencies around the globe, and the Live Tile can display current values of the ones you specify.
Windows 8 still includes a calculator app, but it’s only available in Desktop mode. If you’re looking for something more expansive and touch-friendly, this app has regular and scientific calculating modes, and you can snap it to one side of the screen if you want to run another app alongside it.
Joseph Moran is a veteran technology writer and co-author of Getting StartED with Windows 7, from Friends of ED.
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