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Technology

Can I use predictive text on my PC to save typing?

Richard likes Swype’s predictive text on his tablet and wants a similar app for a Windows 10 PC

Is there an intelligent keyboard app for Windows 10? I use Swype on my tablet, and apart from being faster than keyboard typing, I love the power of its intelligent predictive text. My PC doesn’t have a touch screen, but I feel I would still benefit from the predictive text, as I’m not a touch typer. I looked at Grammarly, and a couple of others, but they’re not really what I’m after. Richard

Predictive text programs have been around for a long time, and many are still available. The first one I used was Brown Bag Software’s MindReader, which arrived on a 5.25in floppy disk in the early 1980s. I don’t know if Brown Bag came up with the idea, but its approach is typical.

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What are the best keyboard shortcuts for Windows?

Sue knows some Windows keyboard shortcuts but is sure there must be more. Here are the ones I’ve found most useful

Could you provide some information on Windows keyboard shortcuts? I find them so useful, and am sure there are many that I don’t know about. I’m always shocked by the number of people who don’t even seem to know they exist. Sue

I recommend the use of keyboard shortcuts because they save a lot of time, and sometimes a lot of unsaved work. They are also important to people who cannot use a mouse for physical reasons, which can include repetitive strain injuries (RSI). Thanks to the “sticky keys” feature in Microsoft Windows, Apple’s MacOS and other operating systems, you can use keyboard shortcuts even if you’re typing with, for example, a head-mounted pointing stick.

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Which Apple MacBook laptop should I buy?

Mary needs to replace her 2009 MacBook Pro but is overwhelmed by the options. Which is the best choice?

I have soldiered on with a 2009 MacBook Pro, which I use for internet access, social media, photos, and my research. But in order to access the university library remotely, I have to use an up-to-date operating system, and my Mac is so old I can no longer update it.

So, I need to buy a new MacBook, but I am overwhelmed by the options. Do I need a Touch Bar? How much memory and SSD do I need? Mary

Following the product refresh on 30 October, Apple has four MacBooks that do much the same job. The good news is that, if you can survive on a 2009 MacBook Pro, any of them would be fine for your purposes. The bad news is that they all have features that would put me off buying them, though, with luck, they won’t necessarily put you off.

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What is the point of mini PCs?

Steven wants to know why people buy mini PCs when they seem ridiculously underpowered

What on earth do people do with those mini PC things like the Beelink and ACEPC T8 Fanless? They seem ridiculously underpowered and often have just 2GB of RAM. But according to an article I saw in a business magazine in the dentist’s waiting room, it seems there are big sales and a lot of competition in that market. Steven

Mini PCs are a great illustration of a topic I wrote about in Computer Guardian 30 years or so ago: speciation. When the market for computers was very small, there were not many models. As the market expanded, it could support many different types designed to meet specific needs.

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What’s the best replacement for the Windows 10 Snipping Tool?

Jane has read that Microsoft is removing the screen-capture utility in Windows 10 and would like a free alternative

The next Windows 10 update will remove the Snipping Tool, and I wonder if there is an alternative free tool you would recommend. Apparently the workaround is to use OneNote, but not for me. Jane

Taking screen grabs is now such an important part of personal computer use that Microsoft is certain to provide a good alternative. In fact, you will get to keep Snipping Tool alongside its replacement while Microsoft analyses the telemetry data that it uses to track mass (not individual) behaviour.

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