Following are some very useful links if your looking for some software.
At a recent event, Steve Jobs compared Desktop Computers to Trucks and the iPad/Laptops to the family car. At the time, I dismissed the comment as crazy. Maybe the comment was more ‘Crazy Like A Fox’.
Recently I have been researching all of the different cloud applications that are compatible with Google’s Chrome Browser. It is quite clear that for the typical PC user; which I am not, cloud based services are a definite option.
A recent article that I shared out, written by ChromeBook Lounge: Chrome app equivalents to Windows default applications. Points out a number of web based applications that provide alternatives to disk based applications. This list only touches the tip of great web based applications available, the list continues to grow.
I personally find that I need an old fashion desktop as I’m running a media server and do web development work as well. But for most when it comes to general computing, a desktop is not required, which frees up your desk as well as lowering your electrical bill. So if all of this great stuff available why haven’t we all moved to mobile devices and switched over to cloud storage and applications?
It all boils down to being connected, or the cost of being connected everywhere. It’s not a problem for most of us at home or work, its having access when we are not in those familiar environments and having access to our stuff. When we have a consistent and cost-effective solution for staying connected, then we will see the mass migration.
Below are some of my favorite cloud based applications:
- Office Live or Google Docs – Both of these are excellent cloud based services. I personally find myself using Office Live more than Google Docs.
- Picknik - http://www.picnik.com/ Picnik makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames.
- YouConvertIt - http://www.youconvertit.com/ConvertFiles.aspx Online file converter.
- Aviary -http://www.aviary.com/ Aviary provides free applications for creating digital art, graphic design, and audio mixing.
- Evernote – http://www.evernote.com/ Premier note application for text and audio notes.
Using Windows 7 Backup. Multiple videos explaining the process.
Office Live is Microsoft’s new cloud based document system goes one better than Google Docs
Let me ask a question; Do you ever forget a password to a site, or use a password that is so easy it’s hardly worth the effort? If you are like most of us then the answer is YES to both.
Let me introduce you to LastPass. LastPass is the answer to your problem, even if you didn’t know you had one. With the growing popularity of social sites and putting up tons of personal information on the Internet, Security is no joke. Not to mention that just about any site you go to these days wants you to register for whatever reason. So what is LastPass? In short LastPass is one of the most well regarded services when it comes to protecting your usernames and passwords and giving you access to them anytime you are connected to the Net.
Of late DNS and their associated services has been in the news, with Google now starting their own DNS service (Google Public DNS). This article is to help anyone who is interested in the Who What and How.
What Is DNS
DNS stands for Domain Name Service, Wikipedia has a good definition at: Domain Name System. But in short you can look at DNS as the Internet White Pages. Every website has an associated IP (Internet Protocol) address. IP addresses are in the format of 12 numbers; xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx . DNS takes the domain name that you type into your browser such as: http://tekpedia.net and translates it to the actual IP address and then presents it in your browser.
Its easy to see how this can affect the speed of your browsing. Most of us use the DNS provided by our ISP (Internet Service Provider). This may not be the best choice in many instances.
In deciding what your best options are, the first step is to check the speed of some of the available services. OpenBench is an open source program that will test the 3 primary DNS services (Google, OpenDNS and your ISP’s) to see which is faster. You can download OpenBench from our downloads page:
Once you decide on the service to use you will need the Primary and Secondary IP addresses which OpenBench will provide. You will then want to configure your network settings for your new DNS servers.
You will need to restart your computer for your settings to take affect.
For the most part, you will want to pick the service which provides you the fastest response. I have been using OpenDNS for the past year and its not always about speed but its also about the tools the service provides. With OpenDNS you not only have access to a wide range of reports on your network Internet usage; Great if you have children. You are also provided a customizable content filtering. The filtering will allow you prohibit certain content from ever reaching your browser, such as Porno, Phishing, and Adware. This additional filtering can provide you an additional level of security you didn’t have previously.
OpenDNS is definitely worth a look see before you decide on which DNS service to use.
SkyDrive and its 25GB of storage is getting more usable thanks to ‘Skydrive Explorer’.
I came across this really impressive application the other day and it really gets Windows Live SkyDrive one step closer to becoming a great online tool. One of the problems with Skydrive in the past is there has been no easy way to incorporate it and easily get your files uploaded.
Skydrive Explorer (http://skydriveexplorer.com) has come up with a solution that is easy to install and use. Here is the review from their site:
SkyDrive Explorer is a free, easy-to-use, but very powerful extension for Windows Explorer. With SkyDrive Explorer you can make any every-day operations with your documents from Microsoft Live SkyDrive™ service using Windows Explorer, as if they were on your computer.
Moreover you don’t need to install and configure any additional programs or ActiveX components. SkyDrive Explorer will organize the interaction with the online storage itself.
In short when you install this application it will create a virtual folder in your Windows Explorer…
When you first set this up you will be required to provide your Windows Live username and password. After that you will be able to use this like any local drive with a few exceptions which I will cover shortly.
Follow are the listed features for the product:
- View the structure and contents of folders in SkyDrive™;
- View files information (type, size, creation date in GMT format);
- Create new root folders and subfolders;
- Copy files into the storage;
- Delete files and folders;
- Copy files from the storage to the computer;
- Copy folders and subfolders from the storage to the computer keeping their structure;
- Use Drag & Drop for files operations;
- Rename files and folders;
- Create links to SkyDrive™ folders on your computer.
So whats missing?
I sent the developers a note telling them what a great product I thought this was, and what I thought would be cool in their next release. The only thing that I think they have left out is the ability to use applications like Microsoft SyncToy to sync folders and files to your SkyDrive. Currently SyncToy does not recognize the virtual folder so you must drag and drop your files. If this one functionality could be incorporated this would be a really smoking tool.
SkyDrive Explorer is still in Beta and I have great hopes for it in the months to come. It is by far one of the best tools I have come across. If you decide to use it, please consider making a donation as we need this kind on innovation in our lives.
Work Arounds For Home Premium
Windows 7 Home Premium will for most cases be the right choice!
I was listening to the Windows Weekly podcast with Paul Thourrott, which I highly recommend for anyone interested in Windows and dry humor. Considering the topic, a really good combination. Check the podcast at: http://twit.tv/ww . Also check out Paul’s site: http://www.winsupersite.com/
Anyway Paul commented on that Home Premium of Windows 7 seems to have the biggest bang for the buck. Home Premium does limit some of the features that you may want but not pay the extra dough for. Mr. Thourrott has put up a very good graph of the different versions and what is included with each, you can see this at: http://www.winsupersite.com/win7/win7_skus_compare.asp