Ever wanted a cheap, powerful little machine that basically fits into your pocket?
The brand new Mac Mini is a brilliant piece of technology, and is suited for practically anyone. “Small but powerful,” says Apple CEO Steve Jobs, “the Mac Mini is the first compact personal computer slightly larger than a CD to be priced at $500.”
The features: 1.83GHz or 2.0GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, Apple Remote with Front Row, up to 2GB memory (without upgrade), Intel GMA 950 graphics processor, DVI connector, VGA adapter, slot-loading optical drive, up to 160GB hard drive (once again, without the upgrade), built-in Gigabit Ethernet, analog and digital audio, expansion via USB and FireWire, iLife 08, Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger and other certain freebies.
The Pro’s: compact, quiet, inexpensive, quick, excellent display suppor, includes useful applications.
The Con’s: limited disk performance and capacity, very difficult access to internals, video problems affect some displays When purchasing a Mac, you ultimately have to analyze your own individual needs and resources (noting promotions as prices change from time to time). Apple has given us an elegant, useful, novel new option – a new choice at a new low price that we never ever had before.
After every fresh installation of Windows, there’s a usual suite off applications I load on to get the computer ready for use.
In almost every case, the first application I load is an application to trim the fat, so to speak, from Windows. That application is XPLite. There are both free and professional variants, and while the professional version is pretty inexpensive considering it’s utility, it’s not practical to purchase a license for every client. That’s not a problem though because the free version is still quite useful! This neat little application allows you to remove some unused features from Windows XP and 2000, such as bundled sound clips, movie clips, pictures and even some applications, such as the migration suite. The level of control gets pretty fine grained, even allowing you to remove applications such as notepad (I use free GVim anyway), document templates (those are in the right-click menu) and many, many other little things that can clutter up Windows. With this application, it’s quite possible to strip 200 megabytes off of your Windows installation, and not even realize your missing anything! If you do miss it though, the removal process is completely reversible, just check the items you can restored, pop in your Windows disk and it’s back! No harm, no foul. For those of us who are ultra-picky, the professional edition is one of the few applications that can remove Internet Explorer from your computer, for real, instead of just removing it’s shortcut. The control is fine grained enough to allow you to remove the application but leave the rendering engine behind, as a lot off applications use the Trident engine to power their interfaces, or remove the engine as well for a completely IE-free PC! I know some of you are jumping for joy on that one. This application is definitely worth a look for anyone interested in gaining a little (ok, a lot) more control over what’s on their computers.
Driver Detective 6.2 is a powerful tool to scan your computers hardware and find drivers with minimal input from the user.
Whether finding a driver for a piece of obscure hardware or updating your new graphics card, Driver Detective utilizes on of the most comprehensive databases ever compiled. You can also backup your drivers to a disk, for those emergency times when you need to go online to get your modem driver.
If you’ve recently stumbled upon or have been emailed a document with the .docx extension, you’ve probably been wondering what it is and what you can view it with.
Well it turns out that DOCX is the new document format for Microsoft Word 2007. The big problem is that this type of document is not compatible with older versions of Microsoft Word, so you’ll find that even if you have Microsoft Word (earlier than 2007 version) installed, you won’t be able to open your file. You could resort to one of the websites that do or claim to convert DOCX documents to DOC files readable by Microsoft Word 2003 and older, but the best solution is to use a compatibility pack offered by Microsoft which updates your Word installation with the necessary components. It’s as easy as downloading the update pack and running it. You can download this package here.
If you thought there’s nothing in between the terrible old paint program that comes shipped with Windows and expensive, bulky programs like Adobe Photoshop, think again.
Based on the flexible .net platform, developer Rick Brewster has done our digital world a true favor by creating paint.net. It is a blazingly fast versatile photo editing program (even on relatively old computers), which makes it the first choice if you’re not planning on updating hardware any time soon. Currently in version 3.5, it has been revised well enough to be highly stable and reliable.
Paint.net includes all common features for image/photo editing, such as layering, advanced color editing, typesetting, working with selections, smart resizing and more. It uses very few resources, especially compared to the large photo editing suits. It is ideal when working at the airport using only a small notebook.
But there’s more. A quick search yields plenty of extremely interesting plugins that you can simply copy to your plugin directory. Such plugins include different renderers for geographical shapes, clouds, 3D transformation, advanced blurring/distortion, file format conversions. Even in the hands of a novice computer user, paint.net can become a powerful tool for swiftly designing a logo, a custom background, or overlaying and watermarking your photos.