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Mastering modern apps: 4 ways they can work for you

Alex Castle | March 6, 2014
It's time to give Windows 8's modern-style apps some respect. Admittedly, some Windows Store apps are inferior to their desktop cousins. But many others take advantage of the full-screen modern (also known as "Metro") interface to provide a different and better experience. With an open mind and a little TLC, your Start screen can be a great resource. Here are four ways you can get the most out of modern apps.

It's time to give Windows 8's modern-style apps some respect. Admittedly, some Windows Store apps are inferior to their desktop cousins. But many others take advantage of the full-screen modern (also known as "Metro") interface to provide a different and better experience. With an open mind and a little TLC, your Start screen can be a great resource. Here are four ways you can get the most out of modern apps.

1. Get the best modern apps

These five apps are free and provide a compelling reason to visit the Start screen.

Flipboard — This beautifully designed "personal magazine" app has been a staple of tablets for years and has recently arrived at the Windows Store.

Facebook — Another new arrival, needing no further introduction.

Wikipedia — Though it closely resembles the traditional browser view, this Windows 8 app has a level of design and polish that makes wasting time on Wikipedia more fun than ever before.

Netflix — There's no shortage of ways to stream content from Netflix these days, but the app for Windows 8 is the easiest, most attractive way to do so from your PC.

Toolbox — The quirky Toolbox is designed to give you quick, multitasking access to a number of useful tools, such as a calculator, a clock, and a weather report.

2. Build a dashboard of at-a-glance Metro Tiles

A clear advantage Modern apps have over regular applications is their "live tile" functionality, which displays information directly on the Start screen without having to open the app. These five apps make the most of the new visual scheme.

Clock — Windows 8's clock-deprived Start screen is puzzling, but tons of developers have stepped forward to fill this basic need. Among the dozens of free options, we like Alarm Clock HD, which looks nice and provides a number of additional small features.

Mint.com — In addition to providing a quick live-tile look at your finances, the Mint.com app is an all-around excellent way to track all your budgets and bank accounts.

Twitter &mdas; Keep up with your feed with the new official client for Windows 8.

To-dos — Culled from a raft of contenders, this free option does a particularly good job of displaying a simple to-do list in a live tile.

NextGen Reader — RSS fans, this app can manager your content stream with great live-tile support.

3. Customize your Start screen

To get the most out of Modern apps, make sure your Start screen is well organized, with your useful live tiles right where you want them. You also want easy navigation to the app of your choosing.

 

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