Flex Your Adobe

I am convinced that Adobe Flex is probably the best framework available for building “ajaxy” websites today.

There are a couple of reasons why I feel this way after building several Ajax applications. The support for localization, debugging, browser-independence, slightly less restrictive security model, rich component framework, modular coding standards are all the plus points for using Flex. This definitely comes with a cost which is that it only works on flash player. Now that is not such a big problem, if you realize most user base uses IE and flash comes installed in IE or Firefox. The framework is free and is quite bug free.

Stop Computer From Freezing

Every normal computer user could suffer a system-crash. When it happens, you will lose all of your work.

That’s not good for people who always forget to backup their work! When your system crashes, the first thing to do is press the combo “Ctrl+Alt+Del” but sometimea the combo can’t solve the problem. That’s when you need AntiFreeze v1.01 – an anti-system crash program. It not only can easily get you out of trouble but also backup every part of your work. AntiFreeze is a free and very useful program. All you do is “point and click” and its main window will appear. From there you can easily close any “not resposding” programs which are crashing your system! If you’re looking for a cheap solution to protect your computer and your work, AntiFreeze is your choice.

Active Worlds 3D Chat Plugin

Active Worlds is a 3D virtual reality chat plugin software. You can design your own virtual buildings, chat with friends, and play games.

It’s all web-based and real-time. The software download is available free at the Active Worlds web site at: http://www.activeworlds.com/products/download.asp. The download is large and best done on a high speed internet connection such as cable or partial DSL. That’s OK because you need to download a large number of files while actually running the software (for objects and terrain). This is not really practical on a slower dialup or wifi connection. The download and install are easy and take only a few minutes with a good internet connection and decent cpu speed. Unregistered (non-paying) visitors have limited areas that they can visit and very limited abilities to build your own objects, buildings, or terrain. AW has nagging messages that show up once in a while asking you to join and pay, but they are relatively tame and easy to ignore. There’s plenty of fun places available to visit and a good number of people to chat with. You can spend hours wandering around and seeing some of the phenomenal designing and building that goes on. You can even try some of your own in designated test building areas. The software REALLY needs a mapping function to help orient you in the space. Raw coordinates are handy for insiders and almost worthless for newbies. You can run, teleport, and fly. Laptops need to use special commands to fly (and some laptops just can’t do it at all). The screen is divided into several sections that can be easily resized for reading the supporting/related web sites and extensive help documents. The chat is worth the trip alone. The people are friendly, unless they are actively paying attention to their building or a game. I like the self-rating system and the real-time count of the number of people in an area. (answering the age old question “Is anybody home?) Don’t be confused by the bots that have canned messages or simple programs that appear responsive. Bots aren’t counted. They’re informative, but not much on relationships. The Worlds Admin is seeking partnerships with Schools and Universities. This is an interesting application and may really take off as time goes by. Good content and worlds with sound, visual and mixed with live interaction is a powerful combination. In this era of 3d virtual reality chat environments ACTIVE WORLDS is worth a download and a good long visit.

BitWine.com Skype AddOn

BitWine.com has come up with an interesting bit of software for experts and for people looking for technical advice.

The concept is simple if you know how to help people you can make money of your talent. If you need advice, go and find your expert, talk to him/her in real time using high quality audio and video via Skype and pay on a per minute basis as you go. If you are not satisfied you can ask for your money back, or provide a bad review. If you are happy, pay and write a good review. Good reviews help the advisors get better ranking and more business. Can this support your monthly budget as an expert? Probably yes, but you need to be proactive and promote your self in your social networks and so on. I have not seen anyone opening a private practice by hanging a sign on their bedroom door. BitWine provides some resources to help you in this task as well. The company support is amazing will help you to set up from A to Z. BitWine also doesn’t charge any commission, and you get paid 10 minutes after every session via PayPal. I have used BitWine for solving an annoying problem of not being able to upload windows updates on a new computer. Lo and behold, after 7 minutes and about $2 my problem was solved. I am ashamed to say that being a technical person I did spend 30 minutes trying myself to figure out the problem. I searched Google and Microsoft and whatever they suggested did not work. Sometimes, when you get stuck, all you need to do is ask someone.

See The World From Your Cubicle

Sometimes, the smallest thing can make a difference. I wouldn’t have guessed that a program running in the background of my work PC to change my desktop images every hour would have made my workday more fun.

But The Webshots Desktop does exactly that. I now have a collection of I-don’t-know-how-many images of seashore scenes, mountaintop views, forest paths, and bucolic villages from around the world. Seeing a new one, at random, takes a bit of the ennui out of the workday. The Webshots Desktop is downloadable from http://www.webshots.com, and is easy to install. Getting new images from the website is easy too.

But here’s a tip that may not be obvious. You can use The Webshots Desktop to display any pictures you have on your computer harddrive. This means you can find pictures on other websites (I like www.trekearth.com), use the browser to save them to your computer, and then make them into a Webshots Desktop image. To perform this feat: click on the “My Computer” tab in The Webshots Desktop. Navigate to where the folder on your computer’s harddrive that contains the images that you want to use for Webshots Wallpaper. Select an image and click “Add to WP and SS” (which means add to the wallpaper and screensaver collection”). You then select a category and title for the image and you’re done. I’ve added lots of pictures to my Webshots collection this way. Moral of the story: you are not limited to the pictures that are on the Webshots website.

Take Your Junk With You – Mobile Storage Devices

Mobile storage devices come in many shapes, sizes and capacity, but they can be broadly categorized into two: flash-based and hard disk-based. Flash memory refers to solid-state, non-volatile memory chips, while disk-based storage uses spinning magnetic disk platters to store information.

Flash memory based storage devices can be further categorized into two: the USB flash drives (also known as thumb drives or USB drives) and flash memory cards. USB flash drives are small, solid-state devices (which means there are no moving parts) that look like key fobs, and they use type A USB 1.1 or 2.0 interfaces, which allow users to mount them to a USB port. USB flash drives work with most operating system and are hot swappable, meaning they can be removed from a computer without rebooting it. Prices and capacity, from 128 MB up to 8 GB, are directly related.

Memory cards are postage stamp-size storage devices used in personal digital assistants, MP3 players, video game consoles, digital cameras and laptops. Like the USB flash drives, they also use flash memory. Memory cards as also non-volatile (which means that it retains data even without power), and removable. They also come in several formats; among them are Compact Flash, Multi Media Card, Reduced Sized MMC, Secure Digital (SD), SmartMedia Card, xD-Picture Card and Memory Stick. Capacity for memory cards range from 32 MB to 8 GB. Hard disk-based mobile storage solutions are hard disk-based; therefore they have bigger capacities, starting from 80 gigabytes up to 1 terabyte. These devices can be connected to the computer via a USB interface or FireWire (IEEE 1394).

Shy away from any that offers only USB 1.1 interface, as it will be slower than a spelling bee of stutterers. When choosing one, bear in mind that you should balance your choice between the drive’s capacity, reliability and price.