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Microsoft Touch Pack for Windows 7 1.0.40517.00

Explore the possibilities of touchscreen displays with this free collection 

by Nick Peers

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit)
Requirements:

Touch-enabled display 

Languages: English
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 03 July 2012
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 8437
Developer: Microsoft
RSS News Feed: http://blogs.technet.com/b/microsoft_blog/rss.aspx
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/windows
Facebook: http://facebook.com/windows
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Microsoft Surface Collage
Microsoft Surface Collage makes it easy to create striking desktop backgrounds

Touchscreens and computers have never really mixed that well – until now. With Microsoft’s determination to embrace mobile as well as desktop with Windows 8, touch-friendly laptops and desktops will become a necessity rather than a luxury for most.

A lot of the groundwork for Windows 8’s touch technology was already laid in Windows 7, and if you’re lucky enough to own a touchscreen display, you may have already been taking advantage of its touch-screen interface, which works reasonably well all things considered.

But if you truly want to embrace how the future might feel, then download and install the free Touch Pack for Windows 7. It’s a collection of tools and games to help showcase and educate you about touchscreen technology.

There are three relatively simple games – Blackboard, Garden Pond and Rebound – plus a touch-enabled screensaver. Of most interest will be Microsoft Surface Globe, a program that allows you to explore the earth in 2D or 3D using your touchscreen, plus Microsoft Surface Collage that makes it possible to arrange a series of photos on a background and then save the image or use it as your desktop wallpaper.

Surface Collage is great fun to use in particular – once launched, swipe along the bottom of the screen to access photos from your Pictures library, then drag them on to the desktop canvas before rotating, moving and resizing them using two fingers. You can then customise the canvas, place borders around the photos and finally save the finished result as a standalone photo or set it as your desktop background.

There’s little of practical value here, but if you’ve just bought a touchscreen ahead of the launch of Windows 8, the Touch Pack for Windows 7 is worth downloading to get a heads up on how the touchscreen is going to change the way you interact with your computer forever. 

Verdict:

An eclectic collection of free tools of varying degrees of usefulness, but worth checking out if you’re a touchscreen user. 

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.1

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.1 brings:
 - WhatsApp Calling: Call your friends and family using WhatsApp for free, even if they’re in another country. WhatsApp calls use your phone’s Internet connection rather than your cellular plan’s voice minutes. Data charges may apply.

[...]
Value:
Free
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