Yearly Archives: 2007

Browser Wars #1

One of the most commonly used applications in the modern world is the humble Internet browser.It is therefore unsurprising that such a large amount of attention is focused on the current ‘browser war’ which currently encompasses a number of big players, including Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera.

To understand the importance of these developments, we need to look back at the first browser wars which began back in the mid 1990’s, just as the World Wide Web started to receive a huge amount of mass media and public attention.

At the time Netscape Navigator was the dominant player, and had been for many years after improving on the reliability and usability of the Mosaic browser that had been created in the early 1990’s.Netscape had gained such widespread use of their product by offering evaluation copies of Netscape either on CD or via download free of charge so that users could Read the rest

Launch Music Site

One of the most fantastic websites that I’ve discovered this month would have to be one called ‘Launch’ which has been bought to us by Yahoo - seemingly, out of nowhere came this excellent Internet site which allows you to pick from hundreds of music videos, MP3’s and artist interviews all completely free of charge and for a change this is available completely legally.

As I really don’t know where to start with this site, we’ll begin by looking at the music videos section which immediately presents you with a long list of artists or allows you to search and quickly find the artist you’re looking for. Once you’ve found you’re desired artist, the site will list all music videos that it has in its comprehensive database for you to view at your pleasure completely free of charge. To fully take advantage of this area of the site it would … Read the rest

New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year that we start making a list of resolutions for the coming year and as such I’d like to be bold enough to suggest a couple of things that you may like to adopt in to your computing lives of 2008.As these are mainly bullet points I’ve included links to previous articles that can be used to obtain further reading material.

To make things more interesting I have decided to separate my readership in to two extremes – one designed for regular computer users, and one for the hardcore.This may prove more beneficial than reading off ‘one size fits all’ list and we’ll start with the ‘regular’ users.

Backup your hard drive – Why not start with the most obvious point which is also the one that’s most likely to be ignored.We all know we should backup but yet none of us do, myself included.Head to Read the rest

FoxIt PDF Reader

At some point in our computing lives we will almost certainly stumble across a PDF (Portable Document File).These are extremely useful for transmitting a document, including any associated diagrams or pictures, in one single file which should look identical to the original on any compatible computer or mobile device.The fact that practically any modern day machine can use these files, coupled with the maintenance of the original appearance, has made this format extremely popular.

The possible applications are fairly obvious.For example, most modern day hardware and software doesn’t come with a printed manual but rather an electronic copy stored in PDF format on an accompanying CD.In the office, we send invoice copies in PDF format via e-mail as you can be sure that the recipient will view the document exactly as intended.Transmitting a complex document in an alternative format such as .doc would mean that the recipient would be unlikely Read the rest

64 Bit Computing #2

Last week I started talking about 64-bit computing and the possible advantages that it could offer.For those of you that missed my last article, you’re probably best off downloading a copy at as otherwise this one article by itself may seem incomplete.

I focused specifically on the speed increase that could potentially be realised by installing a 64-bit Operating System if you’re lucky enough to have a 64-bit processor inside your machine.This is because such an OS would allow the processor to address more memory and handle more data per clock cycle than a 32-bit equivalent.

It is true that there have been 64-bit versions of Linux around for a while now along with a fairly unsuccessful 64-bit version of Windows XP.It is most likely however that you will be considering Windows Vista as your next Operating System we’ll focus on the 64-bit version of this OS today.

Along Read the rest

64 Bit Computing

There is a lot being said about Windows Vista at the moment along with the normal paranoia keeping users away that usually occurs when Microsoft release a new Operating System.I’m surprised by the number of people I know who have bought a new computer in the last couple of months and paid more to have Windows XP installed on it because of the horror stories they have heard, usually through a chain of half a dozen people.

If I can just clarify to my readership that Windows Vista is a good Operating System and in terms of bugs and security vulnerabilities it’s light years ahead of how Windows XP was this far into its distribution cycle.I’m not saying that you should rush out and buy it tomorrow if you’re happy with XP, but all I am saying is that if buying a new machine and you’re given the choice then Read the rest

Microsoft Natural Keyboard

Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) is one of those things that unless you have experienced for yourself is very easy to put down as being a pretty much fictitious condition; after all how much can you possibly strain yourself whilst being sat in front of a computer?Unfortunately I personally have suffered from this affliction a few times and I can confirm that it isn’t a nice experience; the burning sensation that was present in the entirety of both arms was very hard to ignore!

Fortunately RSI is something that is very easily avoidable if you take the right measures.In previous articles I’ve talked about the importance of posture and taking regular breaks but this week I’m going to talk about a design of keyboard that I’ve been using for years to minimise the likelihood of these conditions resurfacing.

The Microsoft Natural range of keyboards have been around since 1994 and are Read the rest

Mouse Gestures

I’m all for anything that increases my efficiency when using a computer.When you spend eight hours a day using one, even the smallest time saving improvements made to a user interface can make a huge difference.A few months ago I talked about keyboard shortcuts which I have found useful for many years and this week I plan to introduce you to mouse gestures.

Popularized by the Opera browser, the mouse gesture is slowly but surely gaining support from both software developers and users.The idea is that rather than having to click on an icon or use a keyboard shortcut, the user instead holds down a mouse button (usually the right) then moves the mouse in a certain gesture (for example from right to left) and then released the button.This gesture is then converted in to relevant command, for example the commend ‘go back’ in a browser window.Whilst still not big Read the rest

Rotten Tomatoes

I find it difficult to accurately convey how much I dread that feeling of regret when, after having had high expectations for a movie, you put it in the player and it turns out to be truly awful.Those two hours of wasted life can never be reclaimed but fortunately for all of us I know of a website designed to prevent such incidents arising in the future.

I am aware that film critics have been around for as long as the movie industry itself, however the opinion of one person can very rarely be trusted.For this reason I’ve started relying on a website called Rotten Tomatoes to do a little bit of quick research before I decide to rent a film.

Rotten Tomatoes compiles the reviews of dozens of movie critics for any given film and works out an average rating after taking all these opinions in to consideration.Whilst it … Read the rest


Another common 21st century buzzword is ‘podcast’ which is a curious portmanteau of the words iPod and Broadcast; the iPod being, of course, a popular portable MP3 player developed by Apple.The term is used to describe a technology that allows a user to automatically download an audio file of some description for listening to later, and is no longer specifically related to the iPod as many software and hardware combinations can potentially be used.

The roots of podcasting most likely lie in the blogging world as it is the natural progression to broadcasting information via the written word.I’m sorry for chucking another buzzword in the form of ‘blogging’, but with technology suddenly becoming cool there are dozens of new ones making their way in to our vocabularies.A blog, for those of you that don’t know, is an online journal that is frequently updated and intended for the general public.I Read the rest