Monthly Archives: July 2008


We often receive blank DVD discs back that have been marked as being faulty due to the fact the customers machine refuses to write to them.After a little cross examination we almost always arrive at the same conclusion; the machine doesn’t actually have any software installed which would allow it to write to DVD hence the difficulties the customer is facing.

Such an obvious slip-up is easily understood; Windows XP, an application capable of DVD playback and CD writing must support DVD burning, surely?After all the application has been through three service packs and is still the most widely used distribution of Windows in the world.The sad truth is that support for DVD writing wasn’t considered important when XP was released seven years ago and since then Microsoft bizarrely haven’t seen fit to supply an update.Whilst Vista does support DVD writing it can’t handle HD standards such as HD-DVD or Read the rest

Windows Movie Maker

I often recommend various pieces of free software which I believe my readers may be interested in downloading, however when getting caught up in the process of downloading new and exciting software it is apparently quite easy to overlook something right under your nose.Windows Movie Maker has been bundled with Windows ever since the dreadful Windows ME (Millennium Edition), and whilst the earlier versions suffered from a woefully inadequate feature set, the later editions have actually been pretty good.

The application can be accessed from the Accessories folder from the programs section of the Start Menu and the version you will be using is dependent on your version of Windows.Those who have Windows XP with the latest service pack installed (this will have most likely been done automatically) will be using version 2.1 however if you own Windows Vista then you will be using version 6.This skip in version numbers Read the rest


Sometimes I miss not seeing what I would call the stereotypical 80’s businessman; I was a little too young to take note at the time but when I look back I always envisage a man with a long black ponytail, dressed in an expensive suit and carrying a briefcase.This briefcase would surely contain a Filofax, the size of which would be directly correlated to how important you wanted to be considered by those around you.

In the 00’s we appear to have lost the Filofax only to have it replaced by something equally pretentious; the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).When I first went in to business I bought myself one of these but put it back in the box almost completely unused when I realised that I spent more of my time working on prioritised lists of things I needed to do than on the actual tasks in hand.

Even to Read the rest

Readers Questions/Suggestions

Once again, it’s time for me to publish a few of the e-mails that have arrived in my inbox this week.

Mozilla is becoming well known for its Firefox browser and Thunderbird e-mail client, but its Sunbird calendar is less well known.Put simply, it is a clone of the calendar in Microsoft Office but it is completely free and worth a look for anyone who wants an office calendar program without the expense of buying Microsoft Office.

Ian MacMillan, via E-mail

Nicely spotted Ian.Whilst completely free of charge and still in very early stages of development, Mozilla Sunbird is certainly worth downloading for those in need of an easy to use calendar application for their PC without the need for purchasing a package such as Microsoft Office.

The idea of the calendar will be for it to work across multiple platforms (Windows, Mac, Linux etc) as it works using the Read the rest

Accounting Software

We’ll kick straight off this week with a letter from one of my readers:

I am a keen reader of your Herald Express column and have downloaded some useful free software as a result.I was wondering if you know of any free downloads of Home Accounting software so I can manage simple income & expenditure, ability to categorise entries & bank reconciliation?Nothing too sophisticated.

John Green, via e-mail

I’ll be honest, I really didn’t have a clue where to start here; although I’m self employed I’ve never touched a piece of accounting software for more than two minutes without running a mile.I have always managed to get along quite happily by using the sales figures automatically generated by our system along with a stack of invoices detailing our outgoings and the whole lot then gets dumped in to an Excel spreadsheet; it’s by no means the most organised system but Read the rest