Ring out the bells, Windows 8 is here! clip_image001

The UPS and DHL fairies have been (eventually) making deliveries of the first Surface with Windows RT devices to lucky folk. If you’ve been waiting for yours, at least it meant you had time to biff off to the flicks to see that film instead of staying home to play with a new “fondleslab”.

This week’s ToW is given over to a quick look at a few Windows 8 Apps, suitable (as any skoolboy kno) for both regular Windows PCs and also for the shiny new RT variants. If you have a favourite app you’d like to see show up here in future, please leave a comment and I’ll look into it. Click on the App name to see more, and follow a link the Store to download.

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London Bus Checker

clip_image004Rob Orwin worked with the partner who built this app, and of course, recommends it thoroughly. The IOS version covers London only, but the Windows 8 version covers the whole of the UK! It also uses Bing Maps, TFL travel data from Azure, has a live tile, uses the Share and Search charm and is generally very useful and looks dead cool. Rob says he used it to find the bus from Paddington to Cardinal Place (in Victoria): way nicer than the tube, he had a seat all the way there, enjoyed some sunshine and it took 20mins! It could also put an end to the questions, “when / where does the TVP bus arrive / stop?” question on Social.

clip_image005News Bento

Here’s one of many news aggregator type applications, but not just a me-too. It’s a really slick app that shows you news headlines from lots of different sources, and it also includes news feeds from many sites – as well as the ability to provide your own feeds. It’s not an ideal “Modern UI” app in some ways – there’s no senantic zoom and there are a few UI funnies, but it’s free and it’s also very nice looking.

clip_image006Didlr

Thanks to Richard Peers for this tip-off. Didlr is a simple yet very powerful app, and also one of a few in its genre – that of drawing and doodling on-screen. Clearly, it makes more sense on a tablet or other touch device, but has a pretty sweet palette of brushes, tools and effects to keep the budding artist amused for a bit.

clip_image007Wikipedia

Here’s a nice Wikipedia application, which provides a good search front-end to the massed ranks of Wikipedia content, as well as some interesting asides like “On This Day” section. It’s the same content you can get on the Wikipedia web site, but presented in an easier-to-read format.

Metro Commander

clip_image008Geeks needs to be able to fiddle with files. Ordinary folk too, sometimes. Sure, you can still use Explorer to move stuff around, but if you want to operate within the M***o (don’t say that word!) environment, then you could look at Metro Commander to help you move your stuff around. All free, so what’s not to like?

There are more and more apps arriving in the Store every day. Check it out, have a browse, and look under the categories – for each, there’s a “What’s New” and a “Top Free” section.