Software

Late last week Mozilla dropped the latest version of their fantastic browser Firefox. With the beating that Internet Explorer has taken in the past couple of weeks over that whole China/Google war; if you haven't made the switch, you really should now. With an updated javascript engine, Firefox runs better and loads websites faster than before. For example, Gmail and Hotmail users will notice a difference for sure.One of the more interesting features of 3.6 is the ability to skin your browser via Personas. Firefox has a huge (and by huge, we really mean massive) collection free skins to make your browser more interesting to look at. If you can’t find one you like you have a problem because there are 36,000 to choose from.Over the weekend, I poked through the gallery and pulled out a few that I liked. I will admit that with 36,000 skins it’s hard to really scratch the surface and the vast majority were really, really ugly. Here are a few outdoor themed skins that I liked:
If you are one of the cool kids who own a iPhone or iTouch by Apple, you will want to check out a really cool application developed by Garmin called My-Cast. It allows you to get up to the minute weather information including extended forecasts, weather alerts, lightning tracker, radar and satellite imagery. My-Cast is available for most web-enabled phones but the application has just been released specifically for touch sensitive phones like the iPhone. Currently, the service is only available for the continental US and doesn't include marine forecasts but for those who are looking for things like surf forecasts, here is a great article to help you get started do you don't need to ask your sisters kid how to do it. More info: My-Cast
Ask any small business owner and computer problems will rank very high in the list of stressful things to affect your company. But what do when your computer goes down and your 14-year-old nephew lives to far away to come over and fix it? Virtual Private Network (VPN) software has been around for a while and is a great option. It allows you to give explicit permission to somebody else to take over and control your computer from a remote location (aka, another computer). It allows them to fix or install the necessary software just like they were sitting beside you. In the past VPN software has been difficult to configure but all of that has changed with the introduction of Crossloop. Crossloop is a remote desktop application with an easy to understand interface. You can literally get up and running in minutes without knowing a thing about ports or protocols. Even though there are other pieces of software that allow you to connect computers over the internet, none of them are as easy to use as Crossloop. The other cool feature of it is that there is a new social networking site that they have developed for people who have problems and other people who are interested in helping. All in all, a cool little piece of software that you might want to take a look at.
Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Google Sky

It is no secret that I love Google Earth . There have been rumours over the past couple of months of a celestial version. Tomorrow Google will release Google Sky which will be an add-on to Google Earth. One of the really cool features of the program is that you will be able to click a button and the world flips around showing you how the sky would look from that particular location. You will be able to see the position of seven planets and the moon for up to two months ahead. I am really looking forward to taking a look at it tomorrow. It might just replace the Stellarium project I downloaded recently...
Looking to increase your knowledge of the starts above you? You need to download the free open-source software, Stellarium. Here is the description from the website: Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with the naked eye, binoculars or a telescope. I recently downloaded it and gave it for a spin. Wow, what a fantastic piece of software. You can quickly zoom in on any star in the sky then get information on the star or nebula by clicking on it. You can view planets and shooting stars in real time. It's free, check it out.

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