App of the week: Barcode Generator for Windows 8

This week’s app is from the Windows 8 Store. I can’t link to it because Microsoft has, as of yet anyway, not placed the Windows 8 store online, as it has with the Windows Phone and Xbox Live marketplaces. Still, search for it, and download it – because it is a handy program to have.

Developed by the Advanced Technology Division of Vevy Europe (uh… ‘kay), Barcode Generator allows you to make a QR Code for any occasion. Many of us make QR codes for one reason or another. You know what they are by now – little barcodes you scan with your smartphone that can take you to a website, splash up some text, save a contact, or do many, many more things. Most people generate those codes using a few familiar websites. But with Barcode Generator on Windows 8 (also in Windows RT’s Store), you can quickly and easily create and save QR codes for various use cases, including advanced scenarios like having an Android phone auto-join a wireless network, or sending an SMS. It uses a few basic templates to help you get started, and allows you to save your favorites.

For people who consider themselves completely technically illiterate, Barcode Generator still keeps it simple. Do you know what your Twitter name is? Just type that in and it will handle the rest – you don’t need to know your specific URL or anything like that. Barcode Generator is the easiest and simultaneously most thorough QR Code Generator I have used to date.

How to clean that cluttered Windows 8 Start Screen

So you just got a new Windows 8 PC, and you installed a few programs. For instance, Office 2010 was just installed to your new computer. Now your Windows 8 Start Screen has a ton of icons on it that you don’t want to see or use. How do you clean the clutter? Here’s the quick, easy way to do it:

Hold CONTROL and click on the icons you want to get rid of. This will allow you to click multiple icons, one at a time. As you do, you’ll see a checkmark appear in the upper left hand corner. Once you have the items you want to remove selected, simply click Unpin from Start in the bottom left corner of the screen. Poof. The icons disappear. Another option is to browse to the Start Menu Folder, where you can easily manage the items on the Start Screen as if it were a folder.

Also, don’t forget that you can right click on an icon and click the smaller or larger button to make it a single square or a wider icon, which can help you truly customize your Start Screen and make it your own.

1996 – Beavis and Butt-Head Do America

About once a year, or once every 18 months, I go back to a special gem in my movie collection. Say what you will about the 1993 (and coming back) TV Series Beavis and Butt-Head, but their one-shot, feature length movie actually has a lot going for it.

Beavis and Butt-Head was the funniest show you weren’t allowed to watch as a kid. A late night MTV production, it pressed a lot of boundries of television content and even language. MTV backed it by airing music videos during the show that the characters would make fun of via parody or discussion, while a side story that is relatively plotless introduces you to a cavalcade of crazy characters.

While you’ll be spared the pain of music videos when watching Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, what you do get is an all-star sound track only MTV in their heyday could have assembled. The animation techniques used were consistent with the show, but they occasional mixed in some CGI here and there, along with some other modern and classic animation methods to make this movie an instant classic.

But where the film shines is the plot. Beavis and Butt-Head Do America takes you on a cross-country journey to various landmarks on a mission that includes everything from toilet humor to an international chemical weapons plot. The All-Star cast included Bruce Willis, Demi Moore, Cloris Leachman, and Robert Stack. When that many big names are willing to get behind something as silly as Beavis and Butt-Head, you know the script had to be something special. Don’t be in a rush to judge this one without watching it, I go back to it for a reason. Your preconceived notions may just be worth changing – give it an honest shot and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Is Microsoft already experiencing too much Platform Fragmentation?

There it is. Hydro Thunder Hurricane. In the Windows 8 app-store. For $9.99. When I first mentioned that Hydro Thunder would be coming to Windows 8, I thought it would possibly be free, for me, because I had already purchased both the Xbox 360 version of Hydro Thunder Hurricane, and the Windows Phone 7 version of Hydro Thunder Go. But, alas: it’s not free to me.

I am logged in with my same, unified LiveID, but if I want to play Hydro Thunder Hurricane on my Windows 8 PC – I’m stuck shelling out yet another ten dollars. I’m disappointed. But what is going to hurt worse? I have this sneaking suspicion that any apps I buy in the Windows RT store will not translate to buying the same Windows 8 “x86” app. We’ll find out this weekend, my Microsoft Surface RT tablet should arrive in the next few hours. It will be a tell-all moment for just how much app-purchasing I’m going to be doing in the new Microsoft ecosystem.

If I buy a Windows Phone 8 and none of the apps are compatible with my RT Tablet, and none of those apps are compatible with my Windows 8 app-store purchases… just what was the point of the app-store? Locking users in to only making purchases from one place? Then requiring them to pay for the same thing three times? I understand that there is bound to be some fragmentation – not all of the platforms can do the exact same things – there need to be certain limitations. But to offer the same application on multiple platforms but to charge for each one? That will infuriate many, many people. There will be a backlash if that is actually the case. But today is just Windows 8 Launch Day, October 26th, 2012. Maybe I’ll be in for a pleasant surprise. Time will tell, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I find out more. Just look for all of my Windows 8 related articles in the Windows 8 Archive.