Friday, July 31, 2009

Is Google Chrome Taking Over?

With so many huge changes taking place right now in the technology world, anything can happen. While Internet Explorer and FireFox have been leading the browser competition for the longest time, is Chrome going to jump ahead?

Chrome is currently the fastest Internet browser available on the market. That's a pretty good first point! However, speed is not everything when it comes to a browser. Of course, Chrome uses Google's search engine to do pretty much any searching, but they take a new approach to the traditional one-box-for-searching and one-box-for-website-addresses idea. Chrome uses one box for everything, whether for searching the Internet, history, bookmarks, or entering an address:

Tabs are much for efficient than in Firefox and Internet Explorer, and the clean, simple interface allows you to get much more done in a shorter amount of time.

So, what's not to like? Chrome's got everything, so we should all ditch IE, Firefox and the rest, right? If only so. Firefox's huge database of add-ons stand as a large barrier from those wanting to use Chrome, and Internet Explorer already has so many users that things are going to be hard for Google's Browser.

However, with Microsoft giving the choice to install rival browsers on Windows PCs, and the much-anticipated Google OS still yet to be released, who knows? Much could still change.

I am using Chrome right now and love it. I still have Firefox for it's addons, but I doubt I will keep it for long. I suggest you try Chrome out, you may just find it to suit you better than your current browser.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

Firefox 3.7 Design Mock-ups Released!

Mozilla recently released several pictures of Firefox 3.7's new theme, and boy, does it look sleek. It takes full advantage of Vista and 7's Aero Glass, giving Firefox a translucent, glossy new look which is pretty awesome.

So, what do you think? Do you love the new GUI? Want the new look NOW? Well, lucky you, you can. Two users on the Neowin Forums have created a theme that looks pretty similar to it. (You can get it here.) While it's not exactly the same, it's very close and if you can't wait, go for it.

-A Firefox Theme based on the 3.7 Mockup
-Lifehacker Report on the 3.7 Design
-The Original Post From Mozilla

Sunday, July 19, 2009

What Operating System is Right For You?

I recently wrote up a post explaining exactly what a Operating System (shortened to OS from this point on) does, and why it's so important. While that post in itself is very informative, it leads to a larger, more difficult question: Which OS should you use?

I am going to discuss the pros and cons of the three major operating systems currently available:

-Windows Vista, made by Microsoft
-Mac OS X Snow Leopard made by Apple
-Ubuntu 9.04 made by the world-wide comm

First off is Windows Vista. Microsoft Windows is currently the most used OS in the entire world. That's a pretty big strong point. Being such a popular OS, there are programs, both free and commercial, that can let you do nearly anything. Almost any hardware available is compatible with Windows - It is so widely used that the majority of the computer
market comes with a version of Windows already installed on it.

However, Microsoft is notorious for having horrible support, and their newest stable OS, Windows Vista, had major compatibility issues on release (now fixed) and it has unnecessary services and processes that can slow down our computer. Another major issue; being the most
popular OS, it is the most prone to viruses, spyware, and adware that can damage your computer. Windows also requires regular maintenance and clean up to stay away from reduced performance and system errors. The cheapest "Basic" version of Vista costs a hefty $200, while the "Ultimate" edition an almost ridiculous suggested retail price of $320.

While Windows Vista has several strong points, the negative side of this OS is significant, and in most cases I believe you should try to avoid this OS. (Windows 7, Vista's successor, is a completely different story! Check out a post on it here.)

Second is Apple's OS X Snow Leopard. A OS completely different from Windows, Leopard
offers a sleek, simple interface. Leopard comes with a set of well-made applications that let you do anything from buying music to chatting friends to making a movie. There are many advanced
features in OSX that make it appeal to more accomplished users. Leopard is reliable and, in many cases, offers much higher performance than Vista does. It is also very resilient against viruses and is much less prone
to all forms of malware.

Nevertheless, Leopard is not perfect. Leopard only works on Apple-Manufactured hardware, which is often much more expensive than it should be. It has a smaller library of software compared to Windows, and it can be difficult or impossible to get Windows programs to work on a Apple computer.

In any case, OS X Leopard is a strong, well-developed piece of software that is a solid choice as an operating system.

Last but not least is Ubuntu. While not quite as well-known as the other two Operating
Systems, Ubuntu is definitely a choice worth considering. It is created by a community of people around the world all who work for free - if wanted to, you could sign up and help develop it right away. Because it is created by the people who use it, it is very easy to use and is 100% free. Because it is based on Linux, it is next-to-invulnerable to viruses, unlike Windows and Leopard. It has a large amount of free software that can usually do whatever you would have been able to do on a Windows or Mac computer. Also, it is able to run most Windows programs with a compatibility layer such as Wine. Ubuntu is reliable, lightning fast, and has a very good interface.

Even so, advanced use of Ubuntu and more complicated tasks may require more technical skills than a Windows or Mac would. Also, many commercial programs may not work on Ubuntu.

The Bottom Line:
Even though there is no clear-cut best operating system, each has its pros and cons and different people will choose different ones. Microsoft Windows is the most popular and is a good choice for anyone who will need to use Windows programs. Apple's OS X would be most suitable for those who can afford to spend a little more and need a fast computer. Ubuntu would be best for anyone with more technical skills than the average user, and looking for a free and fast operating system. I hope this article helps you choose the right operating system for you.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Want to Backup your Computer?

Do you have important information on your computer? Albums of download and bought music? Tons of pictures you took on your camera? I could go on and on, but if you have anything like that, chances are that you probably will want to back up your computer.
The point of backing up a computer is to have your information in two or more secured places; that way, if you lose one of the storage devices, the other has it.

The 500 GB Essential My Book is what I use exactly for this. It is a sleek, cool-looking device with a large storage capacity and reliability. I bought this about a year ago and after using it extensively in just about every way possible I have not encountered any problems whatsoever.

That being said, this drive is rock-solid reliable. Whether you use it for storage, backup, or extra drive space.

The Bottom Line:
This is a great hard drive, and if you ever want a hard drive for general purpose you, I can recommend this one to you.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Windows 7: A New Era for Windows

Microsoft has been widely criticized by many different parties; bloated software and too much focus on money were among the cries of outrage against them.
In January 2008, Microsoft announced its first build of Windows 7 (codenamed Blackcomb). A year later, they released a beta that would be available to 2.5 million people. The download limit was reached in just a few hours, and they extended the limit several times to cope. More and more people wrote what their experience was with Windows 7, and as several large blogs such as Lifehacker and CNET wrote their own articles, media exploded with information about Windows 7.

This isn't unusual. Every time Microsoft creates a new Windows Operating System, it's a big deal. But one important detail was very, very different since the last version, Vista.

The feedback was positive.

The majority of the tech world loved Windows 7! Much of the excess bloated software and services that came with Windows Vista were all gone. The code was streamlined and all unnecessary features were removed. The taskbar, the central point for starting applications, was completely remodeled and provided a much cleaner, simpler experience.

I am currently using the Windows 7 Release Candidate on my laptop. (You can download it here, but I wouldn't advise you you to do so unless you have the skills to install it and the time to download it) It is much, much faster than any previous version of Windows. I personally can and will recommend Windows 7 to anybody, something I would definitely not have done with Vista.

The Bottom Line:
Windows 7 is not perfect, granted. However, I believe Microsoft is taking a huge step forward with this new operating system. If they keep up with this, I think they will have a much better future to look forward to.