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by Andrew Moore-Crispin
On April 8, 2014, Microsoft stopped
all support, specifically security and
other system updates, for Windows
XP. The 12-year-old operating system
is still in use on as many as 30% of
computers worldwide, according to
NetMarketShare. An un-updated com-
puter is an invitation to the unsavoury
element of the Internet to come in.
It’s time to retire that oldWindows XP
machine if you ever connect to the
I was going to talk about all of your
various options (Windows 8, Mac,
Google Chromebook and others) in
this issue but, instead, I kept coming
back to the question that I opened this
column with.
Do you even need a computer at
Maybe. Maybe not. For most of us,
every computing task which we want
to do can be accomplished on a tablet.
Things such as video chatting with
grandkids, sending and receiving
e-mail, browsing the Internet, using
social media and other such stuff are
well in hand with a tablet.
It’s only when it comes time to write a
longer document, crunch the budget
in a spreadsheet or complete other
similar tasks that most of us even need
to turn the computer on. Even that may
be unnecessary, though.
Recreating the Desktop
You can connect a wireless keyboard
and even a mouse to your tablet. The
result: faster, more accurate typing for
longer-form communications and an
experience that more closely resem-
bles the traditional desktop computer
setup. Notable: the only tablet that
doesn’t let you use a mouse is the iPad.
Universal options
Any keyboard or mouse that connects
via Bluetooth (just look for the blue B
bluetooth logo treatment on the box)
will connect to your tablet.
It’s also helpful to note that most
keyboards, if they’re designed with a
particular tablet in mind, are designed
for the iPad. The standard letter and
number keys will work with other
tablets out of the box. However, some
of the specific function keys such as
volume, brightness and multitasking
may require some intervention on your
part in order to get them to work.
Ditching the Home PC – Do you even need a computer at home?
How to Pair a Bluetooth Keyboard or Mouse
Bluetooth devices need permission to connect to your tablet or smartphone. The process is called pairing and only has to be
done once. You may be asked for a PIN code. Check your accessory’s manual for that four-digit string. After your Bluetooth
device and your tablet are introduced to each other, they’ll connect automatically any time they’re in range and turned on.
Turn on your Bluetooth device and
put it in pairing mode*.
Tap to open the Settings icon.
Tap to select Bluetooth. Tap the
switch to turn it on, if it isn’t on
When your accessory appears in
the list, tap to begin pairing.
Enter the PIN code to confirm the
pairing. If you don’t know the PIN
code, check the Bluetooth device’s
Turn on your Bluetooth device and
put it in pairing mode*.
Open the app tray, find Settings and
tap to open.
Tap Bluetooth. Ensure that the
Bluetooth slider is in the ‘on’
Tap Search for Devices at the
bottom of the screen.
Tap your accessory, once it appears
in the list, to begin pairing.
Enter the PIN code to confirm the
Windows 8
Turn on your Bluetooth device and put it in
pairing mode*.
On your tablet, slide in from the right edge
of the screen.
In the menu that appears, search for
“Bluetooth,” then tap Settings.
Tap ‘Turn wireless communication on or off’
and ensure that the Bluetooth slider switch
is in the ‘on’ position.
Go back one screen and tap ‘Add Bluetooth
Tap your device in the list to begin pairing.
Enter the PIN code to confirm.
*The way you put a device in pairing mode varies. Check your Bluetooth device’s manual or Google “(device name or model number) pairing mode”