Monthly Archives: November 2004

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