Yearly Archives: 2010

Pidgin – Multiple Instant Messenger Service

pidgin

If like me, you find yourself juggling multiple messenger applications to keep your friends, family and colleagues happy you will be glad to hear about Pidgin.  Formally known as Gaim, Pidgin is an open-source messaging program that allows the simultaneous use of multiple instant messenger services through one application.

Available as a free of charge download from www.pidgin.im, this small program supports 17 networks including favourites AOL, MSN and Yahoo as well some lesser known ones such as Jabber and Gadu-Gadu.  Additional chat clients such as Skype and the Facebook Chat tool can be added through the use of freely available third party plugins which are easily located on the Pidgin site.

Once installed, simply select the type of account you want to add (for example a Google Talk account) along with your user name and password.  Any of your contacts from that account that are currently online will … Read the rest

Google Buzz – Social Networking Website

Google-Buzz

The Click article for this week is brought to you by Hayley Underwood, my soon to be wife, so that she can tell you about Google Buzz; a new social networking application that she has been getting to grips with.


Google Buzz is an extension of the Google Mail service offered by Google which the Internet giants hope will lure users away from alternative services such as Facebook.

Google Mail initially created shockwaves when first introduced as they offered a huge 1GB of storage space for messages and attachments compared to most of its competitors who at the time offered a feeble 2 to 4MB.  Today they offer a huge 7GB as standard however times have moved on and alternative providers such as Yahoo Mail and Hotmail also now offer an almost unlimited amount of storage space free of charge.

Despite not having the advantage over the competition in … Read the rest

Spider Player – Free music only media player

spider

Despite the fact there are an inordinate number of media players available, it is difficult to find one that is quite as well rounded as Windows Media Player; the application included as standard with Windows.  Many other media players are either overloaded with features you will never use or stripped down to the point where the few extra features you are likely to use on a daily basis are missing.

Just recently, however, I was pointed in the direction of Spider Player, an application that is available via a free download at www.spider-player.com.  Admittedly this is just a music player and does not support videos files but focusing purely on audio allows it to excel in this area.

It offers a 32-bit sound processing irrespective of the specification of your sound card which should ensure a high quality of playback of all your audio files.  The player also supports 5.1/7.1 … Read the rest

Cashback Websites – Get money back on online purchases

TopCashBackLogo

I have a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘A penny saved is 1.22 pennies earned’ and while I’ll admit it’s not the catchiest of proverbs it certainly does hold some truth for the majority of us.  Owing to the fact that you’re taxed on almost everything you earn, it is genuinely better to save a penny than earning an additional one and fortunately the Internet offers various methods of allowing us to do just that.

Money Saving Expert (www.moneysavingexpert.com) for example is a site that I turn to time and again to ensure that I’m always getting the best deal on my current account, credit card, utilities and so forth.  As well as offering news and comparisons of various financial products on the market is also gives you a heads of to any discount vouchers or special offers valid at places such as restaurants and supermarkets which … Read the rest

Windows 7 Hidden Gems – Additional functionality

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I’ve been living with Windows 7 for a good few months now and in that time have discovered a couple of little ‘hidden gems’ which I wanted to share with you:

Aero Shake
In Windows 7, when you click on the title bar of any window and shake it every other open window gets minimised straight back in to your taskbar, reducing clutter on your screen.  This allows you to focus on the one window and then when ready shake it again and the other windows will reappear.

There are additional Aero user interface related features which make a welcome debut.  These include Aero Peek which allows you to immediately see what’s going on in an application just by hovering over the icon in the task bar and Aero Snap which quickly allows you to rearrange your desktop by slamming any open window against the left, right or top side … Read the rest

Google Books – Online Literature Library

Googlebookslogo

The idea of Google Books was first conceived in 2002 when a small group of Google programmers started pondering the question of how many man hours it would take to scan every single book ever written.    We still don’t know the true answer to this question although just eight years from the idea conception there are now over 10 million books catalogued in their database.

While the first scan was done manually on a 300 page book and took 40 minutes to process, Google now use cameras capable of scanning at a rate of 1,000 pages an hour and also work with 20,000 publisher partners who provide content directly.  They have also been able to provide over 1 million books that can be read in full from cover to cover; these unrestricted works are either books that have fallen out of copyright or have been provided with publishers express permission.… Read the rest

Long term data storage – SSD, Internet, Magneto Optical

ssdhard

Last week I spoke about a gentleman I met who was creating a family time capsule and had come to me to ask the most effective way of achieving data that he wished to be available past beyond his lifetime.

The question is an interesting one as when you look in to the technology available you realise that many forms of media are simply incapable of storing important data for more than a couple of years.   By way of example, a couple who videotape the early years of their child on to a DVD disc may be disappointed when ten years down the line the data has been destroyed by way of natural degradation of the media.

The last article already discussed the pros and cons of Hard Drives, Optical Media, Flash Drives, conventional Paper and Tape drives and so this week conclude with the remaining options I would consider:… Read the rest

Long term data storage

optical drive

I’ve had a few people ask me just recently what method I would recommend when planning a long term backup strategy.  One elderly gentleman in particular was creating a family time capsule that he wanted his children and grandchildren to be able to view many decades from now.

The question isn’t as easy as you may think.  You may imagine that the data could be burnt to CD, locked in a cupboard and that it would last forever however unfortunately this isn’t the case.  There are literally hundreds of suitably stored but physically decayed CD’s from my teenage years which I could use as testament to that.

Therefore I’ve made a list of common formats one would usually consider for archiving a large amount of data so you can pick the most suitable one for your needs:

Hard Disk – When used on a regular basis a hard disk will … Read the rest

Cooliris

cooliris

Cooliris is a free add-on for Firefox and Internet Explorer that enhances the way you view content on the hundreds of currently compatible sites.  It is essentially a rather flash looking graphic user interface with a few nice features.

The main draw is the impressive way it presents you with an endless wall of images from your chosen page and allows you to browse them by dragging the page and then enlarging the picture/video of your choice. My description does not really do the effect justice, by comparison it is somewhere between Sci-Fi style smart boards found on CSI/Minority Report and the album selection method on iPod/iPhones.  Although this may not seem particularly useful at first, once you begin to play around with the features including the add-on really begins to shine.

While hundreds of sites such as Facebook and Myspace are compatible, I would imagine most people would use … Read the rest

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