this is just somewhere to record those little technical victories and other observances about personal computing in the early 20th century.
- Windows (often called windoze) although Vista has improved with Service Pack 2 it is still best avoided, so get away from it if you can either by going back to XP Professional Service Pack 3 (the so-called ‘Home versions of the varios windows products are bet avoided, although for example, XP home looks the same as XP Professional, under the lid it has evolved from an entirely different pedigree) or forward to the newly released Windows 7 early reports about which are encouraging although one has to wonder whether the differences between Home and Professional will turn out to continue the apartheid practised in XP and Vista and also why there are different versions – one not have just the one?
- Apple if you have the money and your computing needs are simple – use the latest version available
- Linux if you want a machine that is stable and efficient give Linux a go; my current main computer runs on Ubuntu 9.10 which is easy to install and use, even for a non-technical person like me who needs a GUI interface to do stuff.
- Google Chrome OS is due soon for beta testing, I look forwards to getting it, it promises to be a major competitor to Windows
- Sun VirtualBox – not an OS per se but a wonderful tool for managing multiple operating systems on one machine, suck it and see!
Browsers: Internet Explorer is a sad, clunky, insecure and inefficient joke compared to the competition, the most dominant of which is Firefox but the Google Chrome browser is rapidly gaining users and runs equally smoothly and efficiently on Windows, Apple and Linux
Office software simple choice between paying £££ for the right version of Microsoft Office or down loading Open Office for free. the latter does everything and more than Microsoft Office and does it more efficiently. You don’t have to take my word for it, create a document in MS Word, create the same document in the Open office word processor and although they are identical on both screen and paper the Open Office version will be considerably smaller when the size in kilobytes is compared. Size is important! The larger the file the more of your computers resource (memory processor time and disk space) will be used each time you use the file and it all adds up to the point where the computer will spend most of its time managing resource rather than whatever it is you actually want to do. Another issue with the Microsoft version is that is so easily customised by the end user that it becomes a nightmare for the corporate systems manager. In theory everyone has the same version but in reality users encounter difficulties reading documents produced by co-workers, let alone those from the outside world. Trivial problems perhaps but people are employed to do whatever their job is, not to spend their time working out why their version of a document is not quite the sane as that on the screen of the person on the desk next to them.
VLC available on all platforms – forget about iTunes and Windows Media Player, VLC can handle every media file format in use whether you want to play a local DVD or CD or watch/listen to a stream from some where out there.