Yearly Archives: 2004

Christmas Cards

When you are reading this it will be precisely one week until Christmas so it seems fairly apt that I spend this article talking about electronic Internet resources relating to the festive season, especially as Click won’t be published this time next week.

First and foremost I would imagine that many of you have friends that you were supposed to have sent a Christmas card but they slipped your mind and you’re now panicking that there is not enough time to get one out.If you’re quick you should be able to get in before the last Royal Mail posting date however if you miss this then you should certainly consider sending an electronic Christmas card instead.The other practical use would be if you have friends online for whom you don’t have a physical home address to send a card to.

I Read the rest

The Death of the Floppy Drive?

It says something about the competitive nature of the computing industry when it costs the same for me to buy a computer from Dell rather than build one myself.It also makes me glad that I backed out of the computer building game a few years back to concentrate on selling consumables online hence avoiding the pressure of attempting to undercut the big boys.

Getting back to the point I recently purchased a new Dell computer for home and was surprised to find that it didn’t come with a floppy disc drive.I started thinking to myself that I would have surely put a floppy drive into the machine if I were to have built it myself but then actually stopped to consider whether this would have been more a force of habit than necessity.

Well, I’m pleased to say that not once Read the rest

AVG 7.0

Regular readers of my column will know of my continued support of the free version of the online AVG virus checker.Whilst it is by no means perfect I do prefer it to other virus checkers I have tried on the market mainly due to the fact that it is a small, unobtrusive product which does the job extremely well.

I am not a big fan of huge programs such as Norton Internet Security as although they do their job well they always seem to interfere with the running of the PC a little too much with their bulky software.

I like things to be kept simple and hence hate to see Windows XP machines with the inbuilt firewall software turned on along with a dozen other products sat in the background running secondary firewalls, spam prevention, anti-virus protection, parental controls, privacy Read the rest

Artificial Intelligence

This week I took the liberty of hiring the film ‘I, robot’ which stars Will Smith as a Police Detective who suffers from a great distrust of the thousands of intelligent robots that assist civilians in their day to day lives in the year 2035.These robots are programmed with a set of three basic laws which essentially prohibit them from ever harming their creators and in the years that these robots have been in service there has never been a case of one hurting a human.

The current model soon becomes obsolete and replaced by one that has an uplink to a central neural net intelligence at the US Robotics headquarters.This intelligence can send the robots updated commands so that they can improve and develop over time and it doesn’t take a genius to work out the fairly obvious next step Read the rest

Open Office

I’m sat here writing this article not on Microsoft Office 2003 as I usually do but instead using a free alternative going by the name of ‘Open Office’ and the mean reason for change is my desire to test andintroduce this product to you today.

The main advantage of Open Office is that it is completely free of charge and because of this I have always recommended it to non profit organisations or to businesses that need to deploy an office solution on a number of machines and can’t afford spending £300 per machine for Microsoft Office licenses.This solution is available free of charge due to financial sponsorship from Sun Microsystems and because the software is known as ‘Open Source Software’ which means that knowledgeable members of the public can download the entire source code for the program and improve it Read the rest

Weather

After seeing a poor white Peugeot toppled over completely by the wind and waves along Paignton seafront on Wednesday evening I thought it would be nice to be topical and relate this article to the weather somehow.I must be honest in saying that this is possibly going to turn into one of my least enthusiastic articles to date as unfortunately I am not even remotely interested in the weather; as far as I’m concerned I wake up in the morning whatever the weather is like is fine with me.At the end of the day there is nothing that we can do to control the weather so I personally feel that unless it is something really important like a flood or hurricane most the time there is little point in the man on the street worrying what lies ahead.

Having said that, Read the rest

Cooking guides

As anyone who knows me will testify, I am a long way from Masterchef standards.In fact, it would be fair to say that in the few years I’ve been living away from home that the local takeaways must have experienced a sharp rise in sales due to my inability to work a stove.

After deciding to cook a meal from scratch a few nights ago I consulted my favourite resource to see if there were any websites that could suggest some interesting recipes to try out.A quick search on Google returned the site www.epicurious.com which was packed to the brim with interesting food related resources and hence a perfect candidate for a website review in Click.

Starting in the recipes section of the site you are invited to type in a keyword so that you can refine the search of meals Read the rest

ScreenSelect

I have been intrigued by the number of sites that have recently been sprouting up on the Internet that are running online video rental services and so have taken the liberty of signing up to several trials to try and establish whether signing up to such a service is worthwhile.

One particular site stood out as being one of the most promising and this was provided by a company called ‘ScreenSelect’ so hence I will be reviewing this site today and ignoring some of the smaller players in the market.The idea of the service is relatively simple; you pay £14.99 a month and in return you visit www.screenselect.com and make a list of the movies that you want to watch which they will then send you at a rate of three movies at a time.Once you have finished watching a particular Read the rest

PC Anywhere

I have several PC’s that I need to use in my office and at home but in order to minimise effort moving between them continuously I have been using a piece of software called PC Anywhere to manage these machines remotely if for example I need to retrieve an e-mail from one of them or access a program or an account which is on one machine but not the other.

PC Anywhere has been around for many years and is presently shipping up to version 11 but and what specifically prompted me to write this article today is that Symantec, the manufacturers of the program are offering free beta test copies of version 11.5 on their website.For those unaware of what beta test software is, I should explain that it is simply an unfinished version of the software that is released Read the rest

Spybot

This week the following question has prompted me to revise and republish an article that I printed last year as I believe that the program I recommend should still be one that all users have installed on their machine.

A question I have been asked recently about Broadband & Premium phone number pop-ups; is there anyway of telling whether a pop-up during surfing or of inadvertently wandering on to a Premium site can be avoided.The reason for me asking is of course obvious as I want to avoid the kids, Granny etc running up my phone bill unbeknown to me.This of course can happen on both broadband & Dialup connection.

Tom Blakesley, via E-mail

Before we start I think it is quite important to note that this issue would not affect broadband; there is no way that a broadband modem can Read the rest

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