website-design

Starting out as a Webdesigner

This article is aimed at giving some rudimentary tips and guidelines which help in making a website designing business a successful one. Starting off a new business is as critical as it More »

Pidgin - Multiple Instant Messenger Service

If like me, you find yourself juggling multiple messenger applications to keep your friends, family and colleagues happy you will be glad to hear about Pidgin. Formally known as Gaim, Pidgin is More »

Spider Player - Free music only media player

Despite the fact there are an inordinate number of media players available, it is difficult to find one that is quite as well rounded as Windows Media Player; the application included as More »

Cashback Websites - Get money back on online purchases

I have a saying that goes something along the lines of ‘A penny saved is 1.22 pennies earned’ and while I’ll admit it’s not the catchiest of proverbs it certainly does hold More »

Windows 7 Hidden Gems - Additional functionality

I’ve been living with Windows 7 for a good few months now and in that time have discovered a couple of little ‘hidden gems’ which I wanted to share with you: Aero More »

Google SketchUp

google-sketchup

My partner has recently decided that it is a good idea if we start redecorating and redesigning my house however unfortunately it looks like a large number of our plans will consist of taking a sledgehammer to the interior walls of the building.I really do have very limited skills when it comes to DIY so I won’t be undertaking this myself however I would like to see how our plans will look before any work takes place which was why I was interested when I heard about a free program by Google called ‘SketchUp’

I know that you’re probably bored of me talking about software provided by Google but it really does seem that a large amount of the good quality free software out there at the moment is produced by this one company.I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t understand their business strategy as you’d have thought a company making billions from search engines wouldn’t concentrate on developing free software but I don’t think any of us are complaining.

SketchUp is a 3D modelling application that allows you to mock up pretty much any object from a football to an entire house.The software itself is a rather modest 19mb in size so on a broadband connection you should be able to download and install it in less than 10 minutes.

Most 3D software is fairly complicated for the newbie to use – I’ve tried my hand at it several times and have always given up within an hour or so.Google SketchUp is a little different – just by finishing the short tutorials that come bundled with the program you will immediately have a fair idea of what you’re doing.The program uses a fairly minimalist approach when it comes to the user interface which leaves maximum room available for the canvas area however if you don’t mind cluttering your view and wish to add additional toolbars this is of course possible.

To start drawing simply use the mouse to draw a two dimensional shape and then select the push/pull tool to extend the shape into the third dimension and once you’ve created your shape it can be painted or have a material effect added to it.For example if drawing a house you could dip into the materials palette to quickly and easily add effects such as sandstone bricks and a green grass garden.Additionally artwork can be easily imported from other applications and SketchUp will automatically change the perspective to suit your model.

As you would expect shadows can be added to all objects and a nice additional touch is that you can set the time of day and the month of the year to project realistic shadows based on these options.

Once you’ve finished creating your scene an accurate render of it can be viewed using the free Google Earth application or alternatively you can upload and share your model with other users via the free storage space provided by the associated ‘3D Warehouse’ website.

If you need further help using SketchUp there is an animated instructor panel present within the application and additionally the support website includes a searchable knowledge base, FAQ section and an e-mail support link.

Should you have a pressing need to design a new project on paper before beginning it in reality or simply fancy dabbling in learning how to use 3D software head to https://sketchup.google.com.To summerise, the simplicity of Google SketchUp lends itself to the novice user and the fact it is free of charge makes this an incredible application.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark S405 Printer.

Reader Contribution

streamload

This week has been pretty hectic for me, so for todays Click article I’m going to hand over to my most avid contributor, Ian McMillan, for a few updates on the IT industry as he sees it.

One of the biggest stories in the computer world recently has been the fuss that is being made over Google’s plans to introduce an online storage scheme.The media pounced on this story after notes from a Google company meeting were inadvertently published on the internet, see https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4782108.stm.The only actual surprise here is that such a fuss has been made - there is currently no shortage of online storage facilities, with Streamload (www.streamload.com) being a popular free service with paid upgrades.The fuss may be due to Google’s size and the fact that it already has encyclopaedic knowledge about its users’ computer habits.

In the news as well lately comes the revelation that many people now spend more time online than they do watching the television, see https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4784518.stm.This fits me to a tee since I spend very little time watching Coronation Street compared with using my broadband connection!

Also from BBC news, an old e-mail hoax has resurfaced.There have been rumours that free webmail services like Hotmail and Yahoo! are about to stop being free and start charging a fee for their services, see https://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4778046.stm.There is a bit of truth in this, as there are plans to introduce “premium” e-mail services which guarantee rapid delivery and a receipt confirmation. This could indeed be useful for business users who do not want their inboxes to be bogged down with adverts for fake Viagra and get rich quick schemes. However, free webmail supported by advertising looks completely safe for the time being.

A big row has broken out over Microsoft’s decision to include support for Adobe’s PDF (Portable Document Format) format in Office 2007.It looks like Office 2007 will not have PDF saving included in its default options due to licensing issues, but there are a couple of free alternatives anyway. OpenOffice, which Chris reviewed some time back, allows documents to be saved in PDF format as one of its default options and has done for some time.Also, a piece of freeware called PrimoPDF at https://www.primopdf.com allows any printable document to be saved in PDF format.There are various other “free” PDF converters that contain watermarks and advertisements, but PrimoPDF has neither and is completely free.

Recently the BBC did a feature on the security of information stored in USB memory sticks and similar devices.This is undoubtedly more of a problem now that external memory is so popular, and people should think carefully before placing confidential material on removable media as they are often lost or stolen. There are, however, several ways to make removable media more secure.One is to use a password protected ZIP or RAR file, and another is to use standalone encryption software.There is unfortunately a lack of really good free encryption software available for download, but give Remora USB Disk Guard a go by heading to https://www.richskills.com/products/7/freeversion.asp.This is a free demo version which can encrypt files of unlimited size, but the interface is a bit basic.

A quick news note is that Windows Vista is now scheduled for launch in early 2007 having been originally scheduled for September 2006 and then Christmas 2006.

Ian MacMillan, via e-mail.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark Z1480 Printer.

Inkscape

inkscape

This week I’ll once again take the time to answer a question recently sent to me by a Click reader.

I’m a student doing art studies and also a regular reader of your column ‘Click’ in the Heard Express. To assist me with my course I’m currently looking for a good quality colouring program that I can download for free. Whilst I have downloaded programs in the past which were excellent they are all limited by 30 day trials and as a schoolgirl I don’t have enough money to buy to buy the full versions.

I was wondering if you would be able to recommend a good program that is available free of charge?

Lisa Penny, Torquay

When you say ‘colouring program’ I’m assuming that you’re after a drawing package which is capable of handling basic functions such as line, text and fill tools as well as more advanced features such as layering and if this is the case then there are two programs that I can confidently recommend.They are both completely free of charge and are very compact in size which will result in you having to spend little time on the Internet downloading them.

The first application goes under the name of GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) which I actually reviewed a couple of months back so won’t go into great detail here but to summerise my previous review, GIMP is quite a capable drawing program which is completely free of charge.It can be easily downloaded by heading to https://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html and remember that if you do happen to miss any of my Click articles they can always be read online at www.computerarticles.co.uk

An alternative I discovered just recently is Inkscape which again can be downloaded free of charge from www.inkscape.org.The application, like GIMP is open source meaning that members of the public rather than big companies are responsible for its development and for adding new features

The first thing that you notice about Inkscape is the user interface which is very well laid out making the program extremely easy to use.When you first start up the program it looks very much different to the standard Windows application with many icons unique to Inkscape and they are used to great effect to clearly indicate their respective functions and the relation to similar functions present in the application.The user interface also relies a great deal on you learning keyboard and mouse combinations which whilst making the process of using the application faster also results in a fairly steep learning curve.

If we look at the features of the application they include shapes, paths, text, markers, clones, alpha blending, transforms, gradients, patterns, and grouping.Whilst these are all fairly basic functions which are standard on most drawing applications, Inkscape sets itself apart from the competition by making them very easy to use and manipulate.

Inkscape is currently running at revision 0.43 and as this version number suggests is very much a work in progress application but nevertheless it is very capable and of course completely free of charge.Both applications I have mentioned here are extremely competent and as I am reluctant to recommend one over the other I would recommend that readers who have an interest in drawing should download them both and then pick the one that suits their particular needs best.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark X3650 Printer.

EditPad Lite

editpad

Many people would be surprised by this but one of my favourite applications in Windows is notepad utility - Okay, it’s extremely simple and contains practically no features but that’s exactly why I like it!

When you’re taking a call and need to make a note or are using the computer and want to create a non fancy document such as a to do list for the day Notepad is absolutely perfect.There would rarely be a time that notepad isn’t running on my computer as it saves me jotting notes down on pieces of paper that I would then promptly lost.

Just recently I discovered an application called ‘EditPad Lite’ which retains the simplicity that I love about notepad but also adds other helpful features that sometimes you just wish Microsoft had incorporated into their application from the start.

For all of you that share the same passion for Windows simplest utility I thought I would spend this week looking at what this free replacement can offer you.

One of the most useful features of EditPad is that it includes tabbed browsing which seems to be all the rage with pretty much every Windows application at the moment.This feature means that you don’t have to have multiple instances of the same program running if you have several files to view but instead you’ll just have EditPad opened once and will flick between the different documents by selecting the appropriate tab.

Other useful features include:

-Unlimited document size.Very many text editors (including notepad) suffer from only being able to open text files of a limited size but EditPad will open any file no matter how large.

-Unlimited ‘undo’ and ‘redo’ functions.Whilst notepad has an undo function you can only ever undo just the one step whereas EditPad allows you to ‘undo’ or ‘redo’ as many steps as you like.

-In addition to the obvious Windows compatibility EditPad can read and write both UNIX and MAC files in a variety of different coding styles.

-Print Settings and Preview function.These features really were long overdue in the standard Notepad so I’m glad someone has finally addressed this issue.

-System tray icon.I loved this feature as it means whenever you close or minimise EditPad it is extremely easy to reopen just by clicking the icon in the system tray.Of course this functionality can be turned off if required.

-Appearance – The appearance of EditPad can be altered quickly and easy for those who don’t like or find it hard to read the conventional black text on a white background.

-Search and Replace – This is an improvement on the Notepad standard functionality offering options such as case matching, whole or part word matching along with being able to find and replace text across all text documents currently open.

Other features such as block text insert, case conversion, indentation, and a large list of customisable options make this a worthy replacement for Windows Notepad.Additionally the application is completely free to download, small in size and has no advertising present whatsoever.

To download or learn more about EditPad please visit https://www.editpadlite.com/editpadlite.html.There is also a professional version available from the same website but in all honesty the free ‘lite’ version should give you all the functionality you require from a text editor.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark Z2390 Printer.

Trillian

trillian5-desktop

Instant messenger services are more popular than ever and over the past couple of years I’ve been able to get around to reviewing a handful of them.These applications offer a free and convenient way for Internet users to chat one another, usually through simple text dialogue.

Unfortunately there are many several different products on the market and the likelihood of everyone you know using the same one is quite remote which tends to result in some people juggling their contacts between two or more different systems.It is precisely this reason that I have chosen today to look at a piece of software which aims to bridge the gap between these different applications.

‘Trillian’ has been around for around many years now when the initial release became available to the public back in mid 2000 although at this time it was a simple IRC (Internet Relay Chat) client.It wasn’t until the end of 2000 that the application took a pretty major change in direction by becoming compatible with existing applications such as MSN Messenger, ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger and this is when its popularity started to soar.It is worthwhile noting that throughout the evolution of this program IRC support has been maintained.

Trillian makes life easy because once you’ve downloaded the free software and set-up all your Instant Messaging user names and passwords then you need only ever use one application.From this point whenever you load the Trillian application it will instantly sign you in to all of your IM accounts simultaneously so you can talk to your contacts irrespective of which program they use.

The basic version of the application is around 8.5mb in size and as well as being completely free of charge doesn’t contain any adware or spyware.The company generates income by relying on those users that need some more advanced features upgrading to the professional version at a cost of around £15.The professional version does add many important features such as video calling and the ability to install plug-ins (addition features developed separately from the main application) but I’ll stay focussing on the free version of the software for the purposes of this review.

As well as making life more convenient this application is also popular because it contains some pretty advanced features such as tabbed messaging, changeable skins, emoticons and audio chat.A handy feature is the instant lookup tool which allows you to immediately look up any word present in a conversation window with the online Wikipedia Encyclopaedia or by searching the Internet.

Some users may find that even if they only ever use one instant messaging program that they would rather use Trillian because the user interface is much better than that provided with many of the other IM programs available out there.Whilst all IM programs have features specific to their individual software Trillian has seemed to cover all the important stuff, even in the free version.

If instant messaging is your thing then head to www.ceruleanstudios.com and download the application for free.I would really recommend giving this program a chance as I do see too many people trying to juggle their contacts across several different applications and with quality software like this on the market it really isn’t necessary.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark X1170 Printer.

Blogging

blogger

One of the best (and some could argue worse) things about the Internet is that literally any user can have their say on absolutely anything they want.It has never been easier for the common man on the street to broadcast his viewpoint to such a large audience and one of the technologies helping with this is known as ‘blogging’

The concept of blogs dates back to the earlier days of the Internet when if you wanted to communicate an idea you got yourself a personal website.These websites would be used to put across your personal opinion on usually quite irrelevant matters as well as providing links to external sources you thought the reader might appreciate.

One reason for the current popularity of Blogging is that it is so simple to set up and there are usually absolutely no costs involved.Of course although the technology is in place it is important to bear in mind that the hardest part is writing well structured, frequent and interesting blogs which others would enjoy reading.

One website which takes care of all the technical side of things so you can just concentrate on the writing is Blogger.com.First and foremost you should decide on a subject that interests you and that you would feel comfortable and capable writing about – this could be about absolutely anything such as a hobby of yours or you could make it slightly more encompassing by using your blog as something more along the lines of a life journal.Once you’ve decided on subject material head to www.blogger.com, set up a free account, create a first post introducing yourself and then just keep heading back on a REGULAR basis to add new material. When you’re a little bit more familiar with the system you can start networking with other bloggers to discuss topics that interest you as well as co-operating together to create a collective work.

The good news is that Blogger.com makes it easy for readers to search for topics that interest them so as long as you write about something fairly interesting you’ll soon find that you have a fairly loyal following.

Another variation on Blogging that you may hear about is ‘Podcasts’ (a combination of the words ‘iPod’ and ‘broadcasts’) which are essentially the same thing but in audio format rather than simple text.You also have videoblogging and I’m sure that none of you need any help working out in which way this is enhanced over the standard text based blogging.Of course both of these variations are a little bit more involved as not only do you need equipment for the task but additionally you’ll find it harder to get hosting for your files due to the blogs that you create being substantially larger than if they were text based.

Personally I don’t have a blog and probably never will do due to the fact I can’t imagine anyone wanting to know about my fantastic interest in print cartridges. Many of you out there have fantastic hobbies and interests which you probably want to discuss and a blog is a perfect, free way of doing this.If you happen to be one of these people then do look in to blogging as I may have just introduced you to a new hobby which will result in meeting and sharing your thoughts with like-minded people.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Lexmark X4850 Printer.

E-Mail Spoofing

email-spoofing

This week I’m going to reply to an e-mail I received from a reader this week which touches on a subject I’ve have had a fair amount of first hand experience with just recently:

I follow your column in the Herald Express and see you sometimes highlight problems.I have followed your advice and some time ago installed the AVG Grisoft virus check, which I keep fully updated.

I am however being inundated with returned e-mails which did not originate from me but uses the latter part of my e-mail address.I note that they all have attachments which of course I have never opened. As virus checks do not reveal a problem on my computer, can you suggest a possible cure?

John Cadman, via e-mail

As mentioned at the beginning of this article I have encountered this exact problem myself just recently.Unfortunately a number of spammers have been trying to sell Viagra and shares in dodgy companies to unsuspecting users by using my own business e-mail address rather than their own.

There could be a number of reasons for them wishing to do this however I believe the most likely useful purpose would be to fool spam filters.Usually when a spammer starts a campaign of mailing random people their e-mail address is very quickly blocked by the spam filters to prevent the intended recipients from receiving unsolicited mail.If the spammer can send out messages from completely random and alternating addresses then it is very difficult for spam filters to function efficiently without banning millions of legitimate users e-mail addresses.

Of course this is quite frustrating for those that have had their e-mail address exploited because like John I am receiving a large number of ‘your e-mail cannot be delivered’ messages on a daily basis as the messages sent from the spoofer get bounced back to my legitimate e-mail address.Additionally I have had a few customer complaints about me supposedly trying to sell them treatment for impotency when the reality is that this particular business venture has nothing to do with me!

Unfortunately the problem stems from the fact that the SMTP mail protocol that is most commonly used to send e-mail on the Internet doesn’t require any authorisation and as such it is incredibly easy to send e-mails that appear as though they are from someone else entirely.I’m sure most of you have by now received a spoof e-mail which appears to have come from your bank asking for you to confirm your account details and this scam works on the same principle.

The short answer to your question is unfortunately there isn’t really anything that you can do to stop this from occurring although the good news is that the symptoms experienced are not a sign that your computer is infected with anything nasty.Businesses and individuals will continue to be vulnerable to these kinds of spoof e-mails until a more secure system of sending e-mails is implemented.To the best of my knowledge for the time being the best you can do is ignore the bounced e-mails and hope that the spammers soon find a new target.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Samsung SF-560 Fax Machine.

Centrino

intel_centrino_pro

A popular technology at the moment and one that has been heavily advertised in the press is the Intel Centrino standard which is used to provide laptops with an all in one solution consisting of processor, chipset and wireless connection.

After hearing one to many people describe Centrino as a processor I thought it was long time I took a look at exactly what this technology consists of and what it has to offer the average laptop user.The fact people see this technology so simplistically isn’t really too surprising as has been implied in Intel adverts that Centrino is a processor.

Centrino is a combination of the words ‘centre’ and ‘neutrino’ and is simply a marketing term to describe three technologies sold together in the same machine – these include:

-Pentium M Processor – This is a small and light processor that uses a relatively small amount of power which makes it ideal for use in a laptop machine as cooling needs are reduced and battery life is improved.Of course there are many different versions of the Pentium M Processor including just recently a Dual Core variant.

-Intel Chipset – Several chipsets can be provided for the laptop to qualify as a ‘Centrino’ machine.Whichever chipset is chosen will be provided by Intel and be designed to have low power consumption.

-Wireless Network – The specifications for this particular component are changing constantly as wireless networks are evolving very quickly.Suffice to say that an Intel wireless network card is necessary for a laptop to be considered ‘Centrino’

Basically we have established that Centrino is in fact a group of technologies and not just one component and together these do offer the average laptop user a few advantages:

Integrated Wireless Technology:

An essential part of any modern laptop which allows you to connect to either your home network via a wireless connection or a number of Internet ‘hot spots’ around the world.These hotspots can be located in cafes, airport lounges, hotels and many other locations.

Mobile Performance

The Pentium M processor is surprisingly quick; especially the dual core version which has received good reviews in the press just recently.The processor has the ability to combine operations and works to anticipate instructions that will be issued to it in the future based on past behaviour.

Whilst none of the Intel mobile processors are yet 64-bit it should be pointed out that this technology should be covered by Intel in late 2006 which coincidentally is also around the same time as the new 64-bit version of Windows is released.

Good battery life

Because the processor uses such a small amount of energy it requires little cooling and generates only a small amount of heat which will result in improved battery.To conserve power the processor also slows itself down when not required meaning that it is not running at full speed even if you are just writing a Word document.

It should be pointed out that although Intels rivals AMD do have a mobile processor of their own that they haven’t gone down the route of marketing an ‘all-in-one’ solution.Personally I find this quite surprising as Centrino have already gained a huge market share due to the average man in the street now wanting this technology by name due to the extensive advertising.

It’s not often that I give Intel praise but in this instance the three components working together do appear very competent and anybody looking for a new laptop should certainly consider making sure it conforms to the Centrino standard..

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Samsung SF-370 Printer.

Portable GIMP

Portable-GIMP

The GNU Image Manipulation Program (rather affectionately named GIMP) was first released back in 1996 by two American University students.The program was designed to be an easy to use, powerful open source image editor and since this date it has matured to achieve a large user base over several platforms including the Apple Mac, Windows and Linux.

For some time I’ve been looking for a free image editing program to recommend because I’ve found that any program worth its salt costs money and I realise this is something my readers don’t appreciate!It looks like finally I may have found the answer in the form of GIMP and so today I have decided to take the time to review the latest incarnation of this program.Although GIMP is best known to Linux users I have tested the Windows version of this product as this is the Operating System that most my readers use.

The latest version, GIMP 2.2 includes many of the features you get in costly applications like Adobe Photoshop and these include layers, channels, paths along with a wide variety of painting tools.It includes many features that to my knowledge are not available in any other free product.Whether you want to use it to retouch photos, render images or convert from one format to another then this should fit the bill perfectly.Additionally it is expandable as new plug-ins can be added to the application should you require a function which is not provided as standard in the software.

The software includes dozens of filters which make it ideal for anyone involved in digital photography and there are additional features such as a scripting interface to allow advanced users to automate image editing tasks but I’m sincerely doubting that most home users will choose to jump in this far.

Downloading and installing the program is relatively painless as long as you’re pointed in the right direction as I was first thrown off by the fact you need to download two files in order to be able to properly install the application.If you head to https://gimp-win.sourceforge.net/stable.html then you will find two files that are required for the installation.First you should download the ‘GTK + 2 Runtime environment’ and install it before downloading the actual application also located on the same page.The two files together come to around 12mb which will be a pretty painless download on all but the slowest of connections.

It is worthwhile noting that this program is supported entirely by people kind enough to dedicate their time to the coding the project so there is no adverting either in the application or on the authors website.

An alternative website you may also like to visit is www.gimp.org as there are a number of manuals and tutorials available online.The program is pretty advanced and it is unlikely that you would be able to scratch the surface of what is on offer without them.

The interface is at times quite confusing and the entire program isn’t as well polished as alternatives on the market however I think it would be quite unfair to try and compare this free program to the £400 Adobe Photoshop!Basically to summerise if you’re looking for a free alternative to the rather lacklustre Microsoft Photo Editor which is bundled with Windows then you’ve found it.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Brother HL-5280DW Printer.

Firefox 1.5

firefox-15

With a new version of Firefox recently released I thought it was well time that I recap on this fantastic browser as far too many people are still using what I would consider to be the inferior Microsoft designed Internet Explorer.

My original review last year focussed on the main improvements over the Microsoft offering and these include:

Tabbed Browsing – This allows you to only have one browser open but with multiple tabs (pages) that you can then switch between quickly and easily.This leaves your taskbar a lot less cluttered than having multiple instances of the same browser running simultaneously.

Downloads Manager – Rather than downloading software to a selected location on your hard drive you can use Firefox to manage all of your downloads in the same place.Should you choose to then save a download permanently onto your hard disk this is quick and easy to do.

Pop Up Stopper – A fantastic feature that has only recently been added to Internet Explorer.The Firefox pop up stopper does exactly what it says on the tin as it simply stops intrusive pop-ups from getting in the way of your browsing experience.

Simplicity – This browser is extremely compact and simple – We have no flashy graphics or fancy menus to contend with which ultimately makes the software easier and quicker to use.

Since we are now only recapping old ground I feel that we should focus on what has improved in the new version 1.5:

First off it is worthwhile noting that the software hasn’t bloated and all and as such is still a tiny 5mb download whereas IE 6 can be up to 75mb in size.Now only does this make the software extremely quick to load and use but due to some new intelligent caching the performance of moving from page to page has also been improved.

The tabbed browsing interface has been improved so that you can now change the order in which you flick between pages from within the software.Whilst a small improvement on paper this does really improve the usability of the software.

Possibly the most important feature is that Firefox will keep itself secure by automatically updating should a security hole be found.For example should a security vulnerability be found in the software the developers of the package will be able to make the browser automatically update without the user even being aware.

The way in which third party additions to the software are managed has also been changed which will mean that many of the older extensions designed for previous versions of Firefox may not work however you can rest assured that you won’t have to wait long for an updated version to hit the public domain.Since we’re now on the subject of extensions can I suggest that along with the basic browser that you download the Google Toolbar (https://toolbar.google.com/firefox/) as this provides several improvements to Firefox including an auto form fill utility and a spell checker which is especially useful to those that use web based e-mail programs.As one may expect the Google Toolbar also includes the ability to use the Google search engine and news services from within the toolbar without having to actually visit their website.

The Firefox browser has already captured approximately 10% of the browser market which is extremely impressive when you think that not only is Internet Explorer included with every version of Windows but also that Microsoft have a huge amount of resources available to them to develop their browser.I certainly prefer Firefox over Internet Explorer and would recommend that you at least give it a trial run by visiting www.firefox.com.

 

About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply low priced printer cartridges for a wide range of printers including the Brother HL-2030 Printer.

Top