If you are running Windows, you should have anti-virus software. One of the best is free for personal use. It is:
AVG Anti-virus Free Edition
It includes free anti-virus updates and does a great job of finding and stopping viruses.
The only downside to AVG is that every year or so AVG comes out with an update that requires a fresh install of the new version. And on the website, you need to look for the free version. AVG does push their paid version.
When installing, you don’t need to install their browser plug-in which can needlessly slow things down. Instead, for safety, you should use Firefox when browsing the Internet.
Compared to standard anti-virus software from Norton and McAfee, AVG does both a better job finding viruses and is less resource hungry in my opinion. Often I will find a system that is completely bogged down, not by viruses but by Norton’s rediculously large Internet Security Suite of software.
Small (2-3 lbs) and cheap ($300-400) laptops, also known as netbooks, have been the largest growing computer segment over the last year due to Asus’ Eee PC. These haven’t needed to be powerful computers because they can run Linux, with the Eee PC running the Xandros distribution of Linux.
Recently Asus has been joined by many other manufacturers in this market. Asus has lost some of limelight by making their newer machines slightly larger and more expensive.
The current model that most people are excited about is the MSI Wind. This and the many of the current crop of Eee PC’s run the Intel Atom chipset which is inexpensive and uses less power than similar class chips. Via will also be coming out with the Nano chipset which will outperform Intel.
Dell will likely also become a big player in next couple of months with their expected line of laptops. Lenovo (formerly IBM) is also rumored to have a cheap small laptop in that time.
With more power in this current group of laptops, they can run Windows XP or be hacked to run OS X as people have already done with the MSI Wind. Although Apple wouldn’t be happy about it, a cheap OS X laptop might be easier to achieve in the next few months as these devices become more ubiquitous. Of course, Apple is always rumored to be coming out with their own small laptop or tablet too.
Another reason to be excited about these laptops is the forthcoming Ubuntu Notebook Remix, using the most popular Linux distribution of Ubuntu but tuned and designed for small laptops and able to take special advantage of the Atom chipset.
Microsoft has had difficutly in this market because Windows Vista is not meant for low power laptops with small screens. So despite wanting to kill off XP, Microsoft has had to make an exception for this segment of laptops and continue to sell XP for it.
For more on these tiny laptops see the sites:
Asus Eee News Mods and Hacks
This free software is very useful to design and upload your own basic HTML site:
NVU / KompoZer (Windows/Mac/Linux) is a free web authoring tool, similar to Adobe Dreamweaver.
Google’s Picasa (Windows) provides basic photo editing.
FileZilla (Windows/Mac/Linux) is a full-featured FTP program that allows you to upload files to your web hosting server.
I just installed the Linksys Dual-Band Gaming Adapter for someone. It works great and is easier to set up than older models. It’s also an N router that can use 2.4 or 5GHz so if you have an N network, it should be more solid than a similar G device.
I only have a couple of nit-picks:
- Why call this a Gaming Adapter? It’s just a wireless bridge that allows one to hook up a ethernet connection to a wireless network. It works for any computer.. not just your game console.
- Linksys should offer a 5 port version like they did a couple of years ago. You could easily hook up a 5 port switch for the functionality, but the older WET54GS5 was a simpler solution. And if this is aimed at people with gaming consoles, it is likely that those people would have multiple devices needing Internet access such as a TiVo or additional game consoles.
We’ve been researching the possibility of corporate and AAA discounts with the new iPhone 3G. Because the iPhone 3G does not have a profit sharing arrangement between AT&T and Apple like the original iPhone did, it should be treated as other phones offered by AT&T. And there are online reports backing up claims that AT&T is offering discounts. One source showed me his ordered Family plan that he got a 23% discount through his corporation. This applies only to the service, not the phone itself. But when calling AT&T directly, we were told that no discounts are possible.
So what’s the real deal? We’ll continue to investigate.
UPDATE: It is possible to get corporate discounts from AT&T for iPhone plans. The discount applies to the main line, and you still pay $9.99 for each additional line.