Tabs? You use tabs within Firefox? The heck with that. Tabs are old-school once you see the power and prowess of one of the latest add-ons to cross my browser radar, Fox Splitter. It would be difficult to conceal exactly what this extension does in some kind of overextended metaphor or unnecessary build-up, given its name, so I’ll get right to the point: Why use new browser windows—or tabs themselves—when you can just split your current screen… in two!
I'm a pretty avid college football fan, which has absolutely nothing to do with the world of open source or freeware. Or does it? I just made my yearly donation to Electronic Arts in the form of a cash gift, of which they happily accepted and used, in part, to bestow me with a copy of their latest carbon-copy of last year's sports title of choice.
I'm referring, of course, to NCAA Football 2011.
As it turns out, Electronic Arts--in an effort to thwart used game sales--has made it so that you actually have to enter a physical code to unlock portions of the game (many of the multiplayer options) that have previously been part and parcel for any of its sports titles under the sun, if not "video gaming" as a general concept. If you want to access these parts of the game, but find that your code has already been used by another, you have to pony up a small fee to, you know, play what you purchased.
Obviously, the closest we have to microtransactions in this environment is good ol' shareware--I don't often see many programs saying, for example, "for 500 uses the paint bucket tool, please pay $3 to..."
"Privacy" is the word that's on the lips of anyone even remotely connected to the Web 2.0 nowadays. But I don't care much about that. What you do on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, or whatever, is your own business--and, worse, there aren't really third-party applications that you can download and use to self-assess your potential privacy pitfalls. You're on your own there.
However, when it comes to Windows--oh, yes, there's much we can talk about when it comes to the Windows operating system. There are always newer and stronger ways to protect your PC from intrusion, from third-party access via an unscrupulous exploit or unintended network connection to the raw, physical tricks one can use to gain access to your protected information. Makes my skin crawl just thinking about it, it does.
So, without further ado, let's take a little joyride through some unique free and open-source applications that you can use to lock down your PC without removing all traces of usability from your operating system. For just about the only thing worse than a computer nobody else can get into is a computer that you, yourself, have to jump through 30 hoops just to get into. These apps aren't going to be that, you have my word.
Installing a password onto your default user account in Windows 7 is one of the best--and easiest--ways to keep average folk from messing around with your system. However, if you don't often have said "folk" around to bother with your PC, you might be tempted to relax your own security settings for convenience's sake.
After all, locking down your Windows account means that you'll never be able to just hit your power button and brew a coffee while your system boots. To get into the real meat of your operating system's boot process, you'll have to hover around your system and enter your password to continue onward. That's not the most frustrating of situations, however, it does become a pain if you're ever running a huge batch of downloads that's set to restart your system when it's done--or updates, for that matter. Or, worse, if your system just takes forever to boot.
Simply put, you'll never be able to just one-shot it to your desktop. Your own security settings prevent that... until now!
Type "screensaver" into a Web search box - go ahead, I dare you. What you'll come across is a number of scamming, ad-filled, useless sites that care more about lining their own pockets with revenue than actually delivering you the goodies you want for sprucing up the look of your system's display. I can't help you much there. The appeal of a particular screensaver is, after all, in the eyes of its beholder. You might like flying toasters; I might like ports of OSX screensavers. There's little point in me trying to push my tastes on you via some freeware roundup.
That said, there are a number of interesting applications that can help you better manage your display. Regardless of whichever screensaver you choose to use--including none--the freeware tools listed below will let you best manipulate your screen to your liking. Enhance your daily computer use with increased energy-savings or prevent annoying interruptions to your media-watching, amongst other tricks. And, yes, you'll even be able to turn your screensaver on and off at a whim...
I bought a new motherboard, processor, and memory online and put it in a case. I was installing my original copy of Windows XP Pro and before the installation completed my motherboard just locked up. My power supply fan stayed on, and my hard drive LED stayed lit, but my power light was off and nothing would happen.
I exchanged the board for a duplicate.
I installed Windows XP Pro and it ran for almost a whole day, but then the same thing happened. I called the store and talked to tech support and was told that I must have a limited copy of XP Pro that will only work with components that were out around the time the OS disc was made, and because I tried to use it with more modern hardware, Windows put a BIOS lock on my mobo. I’d never heard of such a thing, and the only thing I can find online regarding “BIOS lock” is how to set up a password in the BIOS. Is this technician feeding me a line of bull?
When the iPod first boomed in popularity there were companies lining up around the block to sell accessories designed for the digital music player, and now it’s the netbook’s turn. The first generation of netbook-oriented accessories officially launched this week, and there’s little doubt that they’ll be the last to jump aboard this gravy train.
Kensington announced five products aimed at users of the tiny portables this week, and while the tiny wired and wireless mice ($14.99 and $24.99 respectively) won’t turn any heads, other items such as the power adapter (with a built in USB port for some extra charging power) do show off some solid insight ($49.99). And, if you’re concerned about your netbook’s safety or looks, you can snag the security lock ($24.99) or the sleeve ($14.99).
You can get all of these starting today off of Kensington’s website, or you can wait around until they end up on store shelves within a couple weeks.
Lock manufacturer Schlage is about to roll out Schlage Link, an assortment of web-controlled locks, lights and thermostats. The package allows a person to control these devices using an internet-enabled cellphone or computer. Schlage Link is designed to operate in concert with Webcams. However, the product elicits a bit of skepticism as such attempts in recent times have met with little success.
There are three ways to open the lock, using a key, by entering a four-digit code, or through a web interface. It constantly relays information to the owners and alerts them if it suspects something fishy. Schlage Link’s price is not what people might be willing to pay with a smile. It carries a price tag of $299 besides a monthly fee of $12.99.