Category Archives: Articles

Online Fax Machine

I was with a customer last weekend who struggled with jugging a fax machine and a normal telephone on the same line because once a month his mother-in-law sent them a letter via fax without warning.Often the fax would pick up the phone when he didn’t want it to and often another member of the family would pick up the phone when he really wanted the fax machine to take the call.He seemed to be getting himself in quite a muddle for the sake of just one fax a month.

This got me thinking that surely there was an easier way to deal with this without him having to get a dedicated line and having heard a long time back about online fax to e-mail services I thought I’d investigate further.Many different companies are available that offer this service so I would recommend that you do look around but today Read the rest

Readers Questions Part 15

It’s that time once again when I take the trouble of answering several questions that have been mailed to me recently.Please note that I cannot reply to individual queries as there is simply not enough hours in the day but will try and feature as many of your questions as I can in this article to help you and others that may be having similar issues.

I enjoy your articles in the Herald and even understand some of them!From this last statement you will gather that I am not very IT literate but am trying to catch up.One thing that I find very disturbing is that I keep getting messages coming up on my screen that the computer contains all sorts of gremlins, is likely to crash and as a result it tells me to download various programs such as a registry repair program from To date I have Read the rest

Election 2005

Well the Election is nearly upon us; I have my postal vote filled out and ready to go however I wouldn’t be too surprised if many of you were still undecided on whom it was you were thinking about voting for.So that you can make an informed decision do bear in mind that the Internet is always on hand for you to look up manifestos or research the party you are thinking about giving your vote to this year - As the TV adverts have been telling us ‘If you don’t do politics, there’s not much you do do’ so let’s all try and get out to vote this May 5th.

There are four main parties standing that we can vote for here in the south-west, Labour, Lib Dem, Conservative and UKIP – I’m choosing not to feature the last party in this list due to our differing Read the rest

Broadband Britain

It has been a quite a while now since I last got up on to my soap box and banged on about the advantages of broadband and how all but the most infrequent Internet users should consider making the move.A lot has changed over the last months and broadband rollout across the UK is continuing at a commendable rate with the speeds and availability of the technology continuously increasing.It has been said that by summer 2005 99.6% of the UK will have the ability to connect to broadband if they so desire.

I believe that when writing my last article I submitted it by e-mail to the Herald Express on my 512kb connection and today I will be sending it via a 1mb (1024kb) connection which doesn’t cost me a penny more; I am essentially getting double the speed that I was getting before for exactly the same cost.Along with Read the rest

Printer cartridges

I’ve spent most of this week explaining to people why they are required to spend a small fortune on cartridges for their printers as amazingly they are genuinely surprised that when you buy a Lexmark machine for £19.99 that the cartridges that come with the machine are not only half filled but also expensive to replace.

It is amazing the hostile reaction I get as usually these people have been referred to my company by a friend with an Epson printer who bought his last replacement for a couple of quid although I suppose from a customers point of view if I can supply an Epson compatible cartridge for £1.49 then why is a Lexmark or Hewlett Packard remanufactured cartridge between 7 to 10 times more expensive?They both look the same…..

I remember Dell offering me a brand new printer some time back for £9.95 including postage.When you consider that Read the rest

Voice over IP

One of the biggest growth areas in the computing industry of late has been the proliferation of Voice over IP packages and the resulting popularity of them amongst Internet users.For those of you unsure exactly what this technology is all about, keep reading as I could be about to save you a fortune.

The Internet is handy as it allows us to carry data into other countries pretty much free of charge; you can instantly e-mail to a friend in America for example rather than writing a letter which would take days.This is fair enough but often e-mail just isn’t suitable for a number of reasons – Perhaps you want a more personal touch or if the call is of a business nature you may need to discuss ideas which would be a lengthy process over e-mail.Using Voice over IP software allows us to carry our voices across the Internet Read the rest

Mozilla Thunderbird

Over the past few months I’ve mentioned the Mozilla Firefox browser several times because it is a worthy alternative to Internet Explorer not least because as well as being free it also is in my opinion a faster and more stable browser than the Microsoft equivalent.

It seems only natural then that I should digress and discuss the e-mail client available from the same people so it would compliment Firefox perfectly.I would probably pitch Mozilla Thunderbird as a viable alternative to Outlook Express as to be honest the product isn’t feature rich enough to compete on a level playing field with the expensive Microsoft Outlook 2003.Such a comment isn’t an insult to the programmers as I think it would be unreasonable to expect a free 5.8mb download to compete against a program that is dozens of times its size and comes as part of an expensive office suite.

The main Read the rest

Easter Eggs Part 2

I do like to be topical from time to time so as it is Easter this weekend I thought should write an article on the subject of ‘Easter Eggs’.These are not your usual chocolate eggs but rather a pet name for a function or feature that is hidden within a finished product by the creators in the design stage.Most often this will be a small segment of code hidden in a computer program but ‘Easter Eggs’ can also be found as features on DVD’s, CD’s, websites and so on.

I hear a couple of you at the back of the class who are commenting on the fact that article #116 published over two years ago was on the subject of Easter Eggs and you would be right although if I’m honest I should say that I’m not particularly bothered by the fact I’m about to repeat myself.This article is going Read the rest

Windows Power Options

One of my loyal readers Ian McMillan suggested that perhaps I should focus an article on the power options available in Windows as the most people won’t get any further than using the ‘shut down’ option when they have finished using their machine and there are some potentially more useful options available to users of Windows 2000 & XP that may suit your needs better.

I should start by saying that whilst I doubt many of you are just disconnecting power from the machine in order to shut it down, those of you who are should stop immediately as damage can be caused to the Operating System or files lost if the machine is not allowed to shut itself down properly.

The options ‘shut down’ and ‘restart’ should be fairly obvious to most people – Both shut down all Windows programs and wrap up the Operating System to a state Read the rest


Whenever I write about P2P (Peer to Peer) file sharing I usually get a good few e-mails slating me and accusing me of attempting to harm the music industry which simply is simply untrue.For those of you who can’t remember my last article on P2P file sharing we established that it was a method of sharing files directly between users of these programs over the Internet.

Whilst this technology is primarily used to illegally share music files with others but in principle the technology is quite legal and can be a helpful way of exchanging un-copyrighted music, video and applications.Possibly the most famous P2P program that most of you will remember is Napster which was used for several years to swap music files illegally before being closed down and later turned into a legal fee based program.

I have recently done a little bit of research into the Gnutella protocol Read the rest