When I am writing something outside of a word processor, such as a hand written note or writing in this blog, and I run across a word I am not sure how to spell, instead of loading up Word, which can take forever, I have found that it is much faster and easier to just pop open a new email message and use the spell check feature from Outlook Express.
This is much quicker since my computer almost always has a browser window open, if not Outlook Express itself. Just click “Mail > New Message” and paste in the word and bam, I’m done. No need to wait on MS Word to load with all its fancy features when all I need is a quick spell check.
One of the most troublesome computer problems is bad memory modules and the difficultly diagnosing the bad memory.
Bad memory modules can cause a huge list of symptoms in a computer system, everything from the OS crashing often or sometimes hardly at all to problems booting and having large files become corrupted. A great tool for finding memory problems is MemTest86 that when written to a blank CD will test memory and report errors. The memtest86 program is downloaded and the “iso” CD image is burned to a blank CDR or CDRW disk. The computer is then rebooted with the cd in drive so that the computer boots from the CD and tests the subject computers memory. Many users test the memory for 24 hours straight to determine problems. If the computer has problems on reboot, let memtest86 run one pass and then use the ESC key to reboot ten times to see if errors pop up!
Small Linux, true to its brash name, is a small and highly efficient live CD, an operating system which can be run from a CD-ROM drive or even from a flash drive (on newer computers).
DSL is based on the free Linux operating system, and is optimized to fit into only 50 megabytes of space, enough to store on a business-card mini-CD or a small flash drive. Starting up DSL is as simple as rebooting a computer with the DSL CD or flash drive inserted. It features advanced hardware detection that allows it to use almost any computer. Further, its minimalism means that it responds quickly on computers that are brand new or a decade old. Upon booting, one is shown a tutorial page, plus a desktop with icons for common applications such as web browsing (in Mozilla Firefox) and playing music (in XMMS). Right-clicking anywhere on the open desktop presents a menu which can be used to access still more applications, including a minimalist AOL Instant Messenger client and a terminal for executing text-only Linux commands. The MyDSL program allows one to download still more applications, including alternate browsers, instant messengers, games, and more. Why is DSL useful? Its intensely small design means that an otherwise useless old computer can be brought up to the tasks of playing MP3s and instant messaging. One can reboot into DSL on a strange and possibly virus-infected computer while on the go, bypassing spyware that might log information on what websites one visits. And for the knowledgeable computer user, DSL is useful for recovering files from damaged machines. You can even install it onto a hard drive to run it fulltime. While DSL may seem simple or strange, in reality it’s a powerful utility for making the most out of even the slowest computer.
Do you have a whole folder of image files (or PDFs) and you want to print out all of them?
Well, you don’t have to open each file individually in an image viewer and select File>Print. Linux command line magic sorts this out for you all at once. Just go to the folder where you’ve stored the images that you want to print and type the following command into the shell: lpr *
This will send all your image files from this folder to the default printer queue. If you want to check the status of all the printers assigned to your computer, just type lpr -t
Kodak’s EasyShare photo editing / organizing software comes bundled with any new Kodak camera. This is a multi-use application and is fairly easy to use, once you get used to its quirks.
Those who have used “iPhoto” for Mac will notice similarities in the user interface and organization. The main window shows thumbnails of photos, while the left hand side of the application is used for albums and “smart albums” (albums that will automatically add photos that fit a certain criteria, those with the comment “vacation” for example). Clicking twice on any image with blow it up to nearly full screen size. About 90% of the screen is used by the image, with black bars on the left and right sides of the image and a navigation bar on the bottom of the screen. In this “full screen” view, you can tag an image as a favorite, crop an image, start a slideshow, or move to the next image. I like this software because it’s fast, unlike the memory hogging iPhoto.
The features are nowhere near as complex as iPhoto, especially when editing an image. Clicking on “edit image” will take you to a small window in which the photo is viewed on a much smaller scale than the original. When you select “contrast,” the photo is split in two: “Before” and “After.” It’s a neat effect, but why not just give a full picture preview of the effect? It’s difficult to edit this way, as you don’t know how the editing will affect the entire image. The software seems to have an update every two weeks which can get annoying. It seems as every time I use to software I am being prompted to update. Printing and Sharing photos is incredibly easy using the different tabs. As a whole, I like this software for viewing and sharing photos because of its ease of use and speed, but for more complex operations, look elsewhere.
Spacetime 3D extends the world of browsing into third dimension.
With Spacetime 3D you can display multiple web pages in a 3D space, allowing you to adjust the position of pages as you desire and navigation of web pages is like as objects in 3D virtual space. Spacetime’s search functionality loads multiple search results as a stack of separate pages, simultaneously loading 10 results at a time, each in its own window. Users can then flip through results, re-arrange the pages or manipulate them.
The feature I liked most is spacetime 3D image search. With this you can simultaneously search G & Y Images. It makes image search a hell lot of easier. The drawback which I felt most was it makes browsing much slower if you don’t have fast internet connection. Apart from this obvious drawback, it lacks bookmark support and many other functions as compared to firefox or IE. Spacetime 3D is pure eye candy but lacks many functions as compared to other present day browsers but it makes you imagine the future of web browsing!