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eNewsletter: April 2013

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President’s Message: “Traverse PC? I’m Using it Right Now!” – Mark’s Tech Corner: Windows 8? Oh My! – Eric Tanikawa: Beyond Surveying – Outside the Boundaries

President’s Message:

“Traverse PC? I’m Using it Right Now!”

I was talking with my friend Andy the other day. He is a retired orthopedic surgeon. We’ve owned a salmon fishing boat together for over 20 years. Recently, he needed a survey on some property he owns near Seattle, Washington. When the surveyor arrived, Andy asked, “Do you know about Traverse PC? I own a boat with the LS who wrote it.” The surveyor smiled back at Andy and said, “I’m using it right now!” Every day, thousands of surveyors can say, “Traverse PC? I’m using it right now”, because we’ve quietly earned our way into their confidence and trust over the past 26 years.

We are on the last few of 300 copies of Traverse PC in our Get Connected with FREE Software offer. In this tough economy, we wanted to do our part to help someone else be successful. We’re glad for each one who has taken advantage of the special offer. Once they’re all gone, 300 more surveyors can walk away from whatever overly expensive, overly complicated, tired or outdated surveying software they were struggling with and take off running with TPC. And who knows, maybe they’ll get the opportunity to reply, “Traverse PC? I’m using it right now!”

John Balcom, MS, LS

Mark’s Tech Corner:

Windows 8? Oh My!

A few weeks ago, after logging into a user’s computer with Windows 8 and finding that I had no idea how to run it, I bit the bullet and “upgraded” from Windows 7 to Windows 8. After all, I have to know how to work with all the Windows versions that TPC runs on.

The first thing you notice about Windows 8 is that the Start button is gone! In Windows XP and earlier, it said Start right on it. In Windows Vista and 7, it was a round button with the Windows logo on it. But in Windows 8? Nothing. Just a little blank area to the left of the first program on the task bar. If you click on it, it takes you to the new Windows Start Screen.

Once I found my way to the Start screen, I found a lot of “Apps” for weather, news, sports, etc. And over to the right of these useless (in my opinion) “Apps,” I found some of my installed programs. No, they weren’t all there! They were somewhat organized but everything was large and it was hard to find anything. I found no way to organize them, create folders or add the rest of my programs. I had heard that I could add the Start button back into Windows 8 but I found no way to do it so I decided to try to work with Windows 8 the way it was designed. I ended up adding a lot of shortcuts to my desktop and pinning a lot of my programs to the task bar. I worked with it for several days before saying to myself, this is just not convenient or user-friendly.

I searched the Microsoft website for how to put the Start button back but found nothing so I switched to a Google search and found some very helpful articles. (If you do a Google search for Windows 8 Start Button, you will be deluged with results including this Wikipedia article, “List of Start Menu replacements for Windows 8“) The first thing I found out is that Microsoft did notinclude an option to turn on a Start button like I thought. It really isGone.

I also found this article, “Debunking five Windows 8 myths” that argues that the Windows 8 Start screen really is better and giving some tips to work with it easily. I decided to give it another try and used the tips from the article. Probably the most important tip was that if you go to the Start screen, you can start typing and Windows will search for what you type so you can find the program you need. This worked somewhat but I still struggled. (I have hundreds of programs and some of them are used rarely but when I need them, I need them. I don’t even always know what the name of the program is. This is where the Start Menu worked great! It could be organized so you could find anything, even if you didn’t know the name.) So after fighting with Windows 8 a while longer, it was back to Google.

I found this article to be extremely helpful, “How to bring back the Start menu and button to Windows 8” I tried a couple of the add-on programs and ended up with StartIsBack. Since I installed it, I am very pleased. I now even like Windows 8 more than Windows 7 (primarily because they did away with the silly transparent bars that make things hard to read). I can still use Windows 8 the way it was designed but I can also use it like Windows 7! What a great way to go!

What about Traverse PC you ask? Traverse PC runs just fine on Windows 8 32 bit or 64 bit (just as it does in Windows 7, Vista and XP). So based on all that, I can now tell you not to be too scared of going to Windows 8. It really is better in some ways and the things that aren’t better can be worked around.

This just in: “Microsoft’s Windows 8 Plan B(lue): Bring back the Start button, boot to desktop” So Microsoft may give users an option to turn the Start button and menu back on in a future release! (Oh, and this blogger agrees with me that while Windows 8 may be great on touch-screen devices, it really doesn’t work well in a business environment with traditional hardware.)

Eric Tanikawa:

Beyond Surveying –
Outside the Boundaries

We are now in our 26th year as a Land Surveying Software Company! Along the way, we have developed many great personal relationships. Our customers have become our friends and our friends have become family to us.

Every year, we look forward to receiving Dan Barry’s famous calendar, a tradition that has lasted for many years. Occasionally, I wear my Fork Mountain Surveying and Mapping cap and declare the day to be “John Lewis Day!” Since Oregon is full of wineries, Stuart Dunn of Virginia shares his wine tasting adventures with us.

As many of you know, I am a BBQ junkie! Talking “Q” is great! Our buddy from Ohio , Patrick McGannon has a BBQ arsenal set-up in his yard with 2 green eggs! (In case you want to know what a “green egg” is, it is a ceramic egg-shaped grill, oven, or smoker.) In past newsletters, I have shared several BBQ recipes and I have enjoyed hearing about your successes. (I also seem to eat humble pie frequently as I lose many of my college and pro sport predictions!)

Fishing photos from Bob Holtkamp and Jim Lapsley often get John and Mark looking for their fishing poles or asking Bob and Jim to send some smoked fish!

We also share our 4th of July celebration on our facebook page. (We would love to have you join us if you are in the neighborhood.) We share photos and videos of this annual tradition there.

Traverse PC treasures strong family values. A lot of your stories have touched our hearts! Gordon Bell’s return from Afghanistan and Bob Smith’s Engineering Ministries International are two great examples.

We continue to enjoy knowing who you are and sharing life beyond the boundary line. Our customers become our friends. Our friends become our family. Thank you all!