Getting Started with Microsoft Band Development

Fellow Pluralsight author Lars Klint has just released a recording of a user group talk he did in Denmark which was about the Internet of Things and more specifically getting started with the Microsoft Band.

As a band owner myself, I have been wanting to get involved with developing against this device to read sensor data now that I have started down the Universal Windows App road, and this talk give you a good introduction so that you can get started right away.

I highly recommend watching it.

You can get started on your Microsoft Band Development journey by going to the official developer site.

Getting the Start Button Back on Windows 8.1

Out of all the things Microsoft has done recently, the removal of the start button and the introduction of the Start Screen seems to be the most controversial. I have seen people get really angry over it. Personally I haven’t been to concerned by it, maybe because I am fairly easy going, although I do think it was an odd move by Microsoft for their Desktop operating system.

Microsoft has said they will put the start button back when the release Update 2 of Windows 8.1. If you can’t wait that long, then there is a really cheap way of getting a start button back that is more like the Windows 7 Version, yet you can style it to be more consistent with Windows 8. I want to mention a couple of products that will help. One is a commercial paid for application, and the other is free.

Start8 from StarDock

Start8 from StarDock Brings Back the Start Button
Start8 from StarDock Brings Back the Start Button

First up is Start8 from Stardock software. I am currently trying out the 30 day demo, and it works really well. If you do decide to purchase it, then it only costs $4.99. Here is the official blurb from their site.

Microsoft Windows® 8 is shipped without the “Start” menu.

Stardock heard the cries from Windows 8 users

We put the “Start” menu back in Windows 8. We accurately recreated the most used desktop feature billions of users depend on every day and packed it with additional functionality.

Start8 installs with no issues at all and is very easy to configure giving you lots of choice over the look and feel of the start button.

Booting Windows 8 Straight to the Desktop

I recently decided to give Windows 8 a try on a spare laptop as I was keen to see what Microsoft had done with it. I normally don’t jump on new versions of Windows straight away as I don’t really have a need with the sort of work that I do. But curiosity got the better of me this time.

My first impressions are generally very good. I found not having the traditional Start menu strange at first, but after a while I didn’t really miss it. What is useful is you can press ‘Windows Key + X’ and you get a stripped down version of the start menu with the important links like Control Panel, Run, Search etc.

The new Tiles screen (formally Metro) is quite nice, and I can certainly see how this would be great on a tablet or touch screen. When you work on a desktop machine or traditional laptop, I find it best to think of the Tiles screen as a fancy Start Menu that you can switch too with the Windows Key.

But being as picky as I am, I wanted Windows 8 to boot straight to the desktop. This is possible, but there is a little setup which is very easy to do.

Just follow the next few steps and you will have Windows 8 booting straight to the desktop.

  • First load up the Windows Task Scheduler. The easiest way to do this is to go to the Windows 8 search bar and type ‘Task’.
Boot Windows 8 to Desktop : Task Scheduler
Boot Windows 8 to Desktop : Task Scheduler
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