Yearly Archives: 2007

Facebook vs. MySpace

twitter-facebook

I’ve been putting it off and off but this month, with my willpower in tatters, I bit the bullet and signed up for a Facebook account.Since I wrote an article about MySpace last year people have been telling me to give Facebook a go but I hoped it was just a phase they were going through and that I would be fine keeping my social networking site membership to just the one; MySpace.

Social networking is the current 21st century buzzword as it allows computer users to keep in constant contact with friends and family both quickly and easily.It works by getting you to create an online profile of yourself and from here you can then search for people that you know.Once located you request that they add you as a friend and then when approved you can then view their profile and just as importantly, their friends.The ability Read the rest

Computing Myths #2

screen-saver

Last week I started a list of my most hated computing myths and began setting the record straight.Unfortunately there were simply too many of them to fit into a 600 word article so we’re back again this week to hopefully complete the list.

Unnecessary Screen Savers

Screen Savers have been redundant for many years now but yet many users still insist on having them on their machines.The idea of a screen saver stemmed from the days of monochrome monitors; these had a tendency to suffer an incurable ‘burn in’ if a still image was left on the screen for an extended period of time.Fortunately modern monitors, especially TFT’s, don’t suffer from this affliction so there is absolutely no reason to have your screen saver turned on.A better idea would be to have your PC automatically switch the monitor to standby mode after a set period of time as this would Read the rest

Computing Myths

myths

Back in the day when I used to repair PC’s I used to hear some fantastically misinformed facts regarding PC’s and thought that when I retired from that industry and switched to selling consumables that these days would be over.Unfortunately, I then invited my good friends at Switch Computer Support to share our building and now I simply hear these myths from their customers rather than mine.

I have heard a great number of these myths in my time so I’m afraid that debunking them will involve a two part article which will continue next week.

Turning off your PC daily to save power shortens its life.

This is possibly the most popular myth floating around and, as such, it’s the one that makes me most irate.The logic behind the argument is that if you turn your PC on and off again on a regular basis that the constant cooling Read the rest

Benchmarking

computer-benchmarking

Whilst it is usually possible to get a rough idea of how well a computer will operate by simply looking at the system specification sheet, this doesn’t always give a true reflection of the machines performance.For that reason, those that want to get an accurate idea of the speed of their computer will often run a piece of benchmarking software.

Benchmark programs work by testing performance characteristics of individual sections of your computer; for example the number of calculations per second of your processor, the access time of your memory and the number of polygons per second that your graphics card can draw.The results can then be used to produce an individual score for each component along with an overall score for the entire system; such results can be helpful for those who want to identify weak spots in their computer and work on improving them.Fortunately this week I learned Read the rest

Last.fm

last-fm

It’s no secret that the radio can at times be both repetitive and, if we’re honest, rubbish. Working in an office, it is pretty essential to have some background music however if I heard Umbrella by Rihanna one more time this summer then I would have actually broken down in to tears.

For those of you unfamiliar with the song you must have been locked away for the entire summer or you simply don’t own a radio as I was exposed to it literally every half an hour through my nine hour working day for a period of three months. By my calculations this means that over the period of the summer I listened to that song over 1,600 times which in my mind is around 1,599 times too often.

If you’re still not sure which song I’m talking about, it’s the one that has three entire choruses that consist … Read the rest

Virtual CD’s

alcohol-52

Even in the current day where the majority of software is downloadable, there are still many programs that require a CD or DVD to stay in your drive in order to function.Most notable are games which often don’t install themselves fully in order to save disc space and reduce the chance that they will be copied.Having to have a disc in the drive isn’t always ideal so this week we’re going to talk about virtual drives which can alleviate this necessity.

One program I’ve had particular experience with in the past is Alcohol 52% free edition which can be downloaded by heading to www.alcohol-soft.com.Do bear in mind that this free edition isn’t the core product offered by Alcohol Software so do make sure you look carefully and avoid downloading a 30 day trial for one of their more extensive versions by mistake.

Once installed, the software will allow you Read the rest

PC or Mac? Part II

mac-pc

I started last week talking about the recent resurrection of the Apple Mac and whether your next computer really should be a Mac or whether you’d be best off sticking with the trusty PC.Unfortunately my article is restricted to approximately 700 words so I got as far as to looking at both systems historically and had to leave the conclusion for this weekFor those of you who missed the initial article visit www.computerarticles.co.uk to download a copy.

It can’t be denied that by all major benchmarks the Mac has improved a great deal in the past few years, and certainly for this point Apple should be congratulated.That having been said, I can’t help but think that I’m missing something when it comes to the argument of why I should abandon the PC and switch over.

Those who have read this article for a while will know that I am a Read the rest

PC or Mac?

mac_vs_pc

The great thing about computer geeks has to be the passionate way that they can either loyally defend or implacably slate a particular system; fanatics are polarised so much by two competing platforms that only very rarely can some kind of sensible middle ground ever exist.

I remember when I was younger, talk in the playground often turned to which console was best, your Sega Megadrive or your mates Super Nintendo - You can guarantee that if I were a fly on the wall in a school today, that the same kind of discussion would still be raging between the X-Box and Playstation gamers.

A similar kind of discussion, ‘which is superior, the PC or the Apple Mac?’ has been burning between adult computer users for several decades now.Personally I don’t have the time to worry about the issue a great deal, nor do I feel the need to militantly Read the rest

USB Flash Drives

USB_Flash

A good few years ago now, I wrote the first Click article to focus on USB Flash Drives and in it I rather optimistically sounded the death knell of the floppy disc which at the time was still very popular.Of course, I also thought the end was in sight when we were introduced to the rewritable CD, the Zip Drive and the 120Mb Floppy, but let’s not dwell on these points too much.The important thing to remember is that this time my prediction was accurate and this is down, in no small part ,to the remarkable success of the USB Flash Drive.

Despite the widespread use of Flash Drives, I often still find myself giving a crash course as many computer users as still unaware to what these devices are and their potential benefits. A Flash Drive, or Pen Drive as they’re often called, essentially consists of a memory chip Read the rest

Keyboard Shortcuts

keyboard-shortcut

For years I have been perplexed by the people that use their mouse for absolutely everything when are a number of perfectly good keyboard shortcuts that will do the job in a fraction of the time.Why people don’t take advantage of these shortcuts is arguable however I personally believe the primary reason is that most just don’t realise there is another way, otherwise why else would you hunt around for an item on a menu bar if you can quickly hit a key and achieve the same effect?

Funnily enough, now that Microsoft have hidden or moved all my commonly used menus in Windows Vista I find myself relying on these short cuts a great deal more than I used to.I’m sure that trying to convey these to you in a list format probably isn’t going to make this one of the most exciting Click articles that I’ve ever written Read the rest

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