Boomers Upgrade to Windows 8

Microsoft’s new Windows 8 has been evaluated from many different angles, but what’s the benefit of the upgrade to those of us way-back Windows users? Gary Kaye, who will be hosting a panel at this year’s Silvers Summit, looks at Win8 to see what the Boomers will like. He speaks with Bonnie Kearney, Director of Accessibility & Aging Marketing at Microsoft.


MobileTrax Weighs in on Nokia’s New Lumia 920

Excerpted from Gerry Purdy’s MobileTrax column, the Nokia Lumia 920 may be just the ticket for its versatility. It incorporates speed, a back and front facing camera and an enhanced system that improves photos taken in low light conditions:

Read Gerrry’s review:

Nokia and Microsoft are continuing their close partnership. They almost come across as a joint venture equally owned by both companies. Although it was clearly a Nokia press conference in New York City, Microsoft played a major role in the announcement of the Nokia Lumia 920, the first smartphone to incorporate Windows Phone 8.

The Lumia 920 incorporates a 4.5-inch HD PureMotion display with a Qualcomm dual-core Snapdragon 1.5GHz CPU. It also includes LTE, NFC, Bluetooth 3.0 and Qi wireless charging. It includes a rear-facing 8.7MP PureView camera, plus a 2MP front-facing camera. It comes in yellow, red, white, gray and black.

The Lumia 920 looks similar to the 900, but internally, there are a number of changes including an image enhancement system called PureView that dramatically improves image capture in low light conditions as shown in the following diagram.


Fitbit – To Step or Not To Step

In my last posting I promised to report on my progress with the Kinect and Xbox, but things took an unexpected turn when we began renovations on our kitchen. Since we live in a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, renovating one room requires the destruction of the other. Hence no living room, no workout room, no Xbox w/ Kinect.

Instead, I decided to take advantage of the fitbit I acquired at CES. My cute little blue fitbit has measured my steps, counted the number of stairs I climbed, calories burned and miles traveled since January. At CES, I was averaging about 15-16,000 steps a day. Despite New York being a “walking city,” it is taking a bit more effort to hit my daily average of 10,000 steps.

I kept to my workout routine of 4 runs of 2- 3 miles each and added a few extended walks on the days that I would normally do a Jillian Michaels DVD. Of course all the cleaning, lifting and shopping involved in renovating a kitchen added steps too. My results using the fitbit took me by surprise.


The fitbit clips to an article of clothing or slips into a pocket; it’s not much bigger than a USB drive. The blue display screen offers encouragement, number of steps taken, calories burned, and number of floors climbed. It uses a flower metaphor. The more steps you take, the taller the flower.

The fitbit syncs wirelessly to your online account through a docking station that is plugged into a USB port on your computer. Data is then uploaded and posted to your Dashboard. You can also update fitbit data from a smart phone – adding what you’ve had for lunch, for example. The company just recently launched its Android app but I use the iOS version.


Steps, stairs and activities are rewarded with badges as your stated goals are met and exceeded. If you are into it – you can compete with friends on Facebook for leadership board positions or use apps such as My Fitness Pal.

Fitbit has actually become “my little buddy”. I feel quite naked without it. But, I’ll admit some of my friends in the non – CE world are appalled at all of the naval gazing and body monitoring. When I explain that body sensor controls will be the fitness craze of the future they say they’re concerned with what it’s going to do to their privacy. Whatever, I don’t know if “big brother” is watching or not, but I lost 7 lbs, my kitchen is beautiful, and now that I’ve freed my living room I’m about to order my Xbox with Kinect. Any bet on whether Xbox or fitbit will win my self-inflicted weight loss program?

Spotting Future Stars

In 1997, I had the pleasure of being the Editor in Chief of FamilyPC Magazine (now defunct). When we did a story on “web wizards” – young kids who were doing cool things with PCs – we chose Vinny Pasceri, then the webmaster of Saychem High School in Long Island. Pasceri and his team built their high school’s website using Microsoft Front Page, and at the time they were not only one of the very few schools to have a web page, but they had a really attractive one with photos and graphics. Pasceri went on to study at Rensselear PolyTech Institute, and after graduating, he ran his own company for a short time. Pasceri has been at Microsoft since 2002, and today, he is the senior program manager on the Bing Experience Team. Good to know that talent shines and that our picks for rising stars were spot on.  Read the original Family PC story as it appeared in 1997, or see Vinny today.