Friday, November 20, 2009

Want Google Wave Invites??? Request one here!

Hi Guys...

I have a few hundreds of requests left out... If you guys need a Google Wave invitation.. Please feel free to request one here... Just add your email id on which you need the invite as a comment.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Gmail down for an hour!!!

A majority of Google mail users were unable to access the service on Tuesday afternoon, in a rare widespread outage of the popular Gmail service.

Google said at 5:37 pm ET that it fixed the problem but was still investigating the cause of the outage, which lasted for over an hour.

Users around the world appeared to be affected, with people from England, Italy, Singapore and South Africa reporting problems on the company's support site.

The outage comes as Google attempts to compete with Microsoft Corp. and IBM to expand its service among business users, who are likely to be less tolerant of long outages. Gmail already competes with Microsoft's Hotmail and Yahoo's Web-based e-mail.

"Anyone thinking of migrating over to Google mail for business might want to think again! It's so annoying - free or otherwise!" one user wrote on the support site Tuesday.

Google offers its email service for free and also sells a version to businesses with extra features and technical support for $50 per user per year.

The fear of outages, in addition to security concerns, has been a reason many businesses are wary of adopting "cloud computing" technologies being offered by Google as well as and, which help deliver data and services over the Internet

Monday, August 17, 2009

How to choose Windows 7 laptops?

Research suggests that Windows 7 is not going to give the PC market much of a lift when it makes its retail appearance on 22 October. My contrary opinion is based on a survey of only one user, but I get the impression from Ask Jack emails that I won't be the only person shopping for a new laptop when Windows 7 appears.

Buying a portable Windows machine can be a bit of a challenge, because there is so much choice. There are hundreds if not thousands of suppliers, and some of them offer two dozen different models. The trick is to know what sort of laptop you want. To simplify things a bit, there are roughly six classes of portable PC: netbooks, "value" systems, mainstream notebooks, ultraportables, desktop replacements and gaming systems.

Most netbooks today have Intel Atom processors with 1GB of memory, a 10in screen and Windows XP. Some will appear running the cheaper Windows 7 Starter Edition, which you can't buy in the shops. If buying a netbook, make sure you can upgrade it to 2GB, and do that as soon as possible. You will also be able to upgrade the version of Windows 7 "in place" — at a price.

Netbooks are not designed for serious computer work, such as sound and image processing, or playing games. They are intended mainly for use with web-based applications, as the name implies. They do that well, but they don't do everything.

"Value" or "entry level" systems have low-end specifications, and low prices. You can buy them in supermarkets and high street shops, typically for £249 to £399. They're bigger, heavier and more powerful than similarly priced netbooks, and have built-in DVD drives.

Mainstream notebooks have mainstream specifications (Intel Core 2 Duo etc) and offer more power and functionality for the extra price. Most cost between £499 and £999 depending on how good the graphics are, and whether you get a Blu-ray drive instead of a DVD writer. If you're buying one for Windows 7, go for the 64-bit version with 4GB of memory and, for preference, DirectX 11 graphics.

Ultraportables are "road warrior" machines, designed for light weight and long battery life, and tend to leave out the optical (CD/DVD drive). The processor of choice is an Intel CULV (Consumer Ultra Low Voltage) chip, but go for a Duo rather than a Solo. Screens are typically 12 inch standard or 13-14 inch widescreen, and prices range from about £600 to £1,200.

Desktop replacements are intended to have roughly the same power as desktop PCs, but they can be very heavy and most have poor battery life. (Mostly they'll be used at home, on the mains.) The high-end models may have quad-core processors, 17in screens, Blu-ray drives and stereo speakers. The ones that stress the movie-playing (and, sometimes, games-playing) features are often called "entertainment notebooks": for example, Toshiba's Qosmio range.

Gaming machines are like desktop replacement notebooks but with high-end performance and, especially, fast graphics. Leading brands include Alienware (owned by Dell) and Voodoo (owned by HP), but there are also independent suppliers. Although the specification is generally the key feature of a PC, the bigger suppliers also divide the market by price. Dell, for example, has the Inspiron range for price-conscious buyers, then the stylish Studio range models for the more aspirational mainstream, with XPS as a luxury brand. It also has a Vostro "value range" aimed mainly at businesses.

The huge Windows PC ecosystem also supports many more specialised machines – handheld systems, touch-screen tablets, convertibles that work both as traditional notebooks and tablet PCs, ruggedised machines for military and similar uses, and PCs designed for certain industries such as education and health services.

However, you should find it easier to choose a portable PC if you decide what kind of system you want, and ignore the ones that don't fit your chosen category

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cheeper ISD Calls with Google Skype Phone

If your rising international phone calls’ bill has been giving you sleepless nights, try Belkin’s new Google Skype phone. All you need is a wireless router (which comes for just Rs 1,500) installed in your home or office.

Detecting a Wi-Fi environment, the phone automatically logs into your Skype account. With Skype logged in, dial either a Skype number or a mobile number of a person overseas or in India. Calls rates are as cheap as Rs 1 per minute via Skype to other mobile phones overseas. However, making STD calls via Skype phone to other mobiles are not feasible, as its expensive. But if you have friends who are always logged in on Skype, the phone can be of excellent use.

The paucity of Wi-Fi zones in India, however, does pose a handicap. In comparison, GSM wi-fi phones can log on to Skype from anywhere. But the drawback of GSM phones is that a Skype call will get disrupted as soon as you receive a GSM call. The voice clarity is, however, much higher in the Skype phone.

The drawback for the phone is its inability to work on other VoIP platforms and its low battery power. Even though the company claims a talktime of two hours and a standby time of 30 hours, the phone’s battery gets discharged earlier.
The landline Belkin Skype phone is priced in India at Rs 7,300, the cordless Skype phone is much more handy and priced at Rs 9,712.

While there are other VoIP phones in the market, Belkin’s cordless skype phone comes with 30 minutes of free Skype calling to any number in India or overseas.

The phone is excellent for people who want the comfort of mobility from a VoIP phone. So, if you have to conduct a business meeting, over ISD, chose a mobile VoIP phone. With touch and feel of a regular mobile phone, its also easier to handle for the elderly.
Price: Rs 9,712

Monday, August 10, 2009

Was Google Earth Search Engine Hacked? Google says it's a 'mistake'!

Search engine Google has admitted its "mistake" of wrong depiction of certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh (Part of India) as parts of China and said its maps would be rectified shortly.

"Earlier, this week, as part of routine update to Google Earth, we published new data for the Arunachal Pradesh region that changed the depiction of certain place names in the product. The change was a result of a mistake in our processing of new map data," a spokesperson for the search giant said in a statement.

The spokesperson was reacting after a media report which highlighted that Google maps showed certain areas of Arunachal Pradesh (south sharing border with Assam and North sharing border with China) outlined with a dotted line while its borders with Bhutan and Burma are shown in a continuous line. The media report had raised suspicion about the search engine being hacked by Chinese considering that Beijing has been laying claim over entire Arunachal Pradesh, which India rejects.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Google Chrome Third Beta Version Goes Faster!!!

Google has unleashed a brand new beta edition of its Google Chrome web browser, promising a speed hike of over 30 percent improvement on both the V8 and SunSpider benchmarks over our current stable channel release.

The supercharged performance isn’t the only reason to grab the new beta: the Google Chrome blog also promises improvements to the New Tab page and Omnibox. For instance, the New Tab page now allows you to move websites in and out of your Most Visited slot by clicking and dragging.

Customize the new New Tab page

The New Tab page has been one of the most popular features in Google Chrome. It's also the one that we hear the most about. Embarrassed that checking out lolcats is showing up as your most popular browser pastime? Now you can bump up something dignified and refined into that top Most Visited slot with a simple click and drag of your mouse. You can pin website thumbnails to a particular spot so they don't disappear even if your browsing habits change. Last but not least, you can hide parts of the page if you don't want to see them using the layout buttons on the top right of the New Tab page.

The Omnibox (which combines URL entry, search and more) now has a better drop-down menu, with new icons added to distinguish between searches, bookmarks, sites from your browsing history and suggested sites.

The Omnibox is indisputably an important part of Google Chrome -- it helps you get to the sites you're looking for with just a few keystrokes. With this release, Google has optimized the presentation of the drop-down menu and added little icons to help you distinguish between suggested sites, searches, bookmarks, and sites from your browsing history.

Lastly, Google Chrome now has themes, allowing you to customise the browser’s look.Now you can pick a wonderful theme from the google galary and dress up your browser to match your mood and taste.

If you want to try it out yourself head over to the Google Chrome beta download page. It’s currently only available for machines running Windows Vista or XP SP2+.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Free Windows 7 for Beta Testers

Microsoft has reversed its decision not to offer free copies of Windows 7 to beta testers.

In a recent statement posted today on the Windows 7 Team Blog, Brandon LeBlanc wrote that last week, I blogged that members of the Windows Technical Beta Program would not be receiving a complimentary copy of Windows 7. Normally I hate to be wrong but in this case, I'm stoked that I am. To show our appreciation, members of the invitation-only Windows 7 Technical Beta Program will be eligible for a free, final copy of Windows 7 Ultimate.

People who took part in the public beta will still have to buy a copy of of Windows 7 - this is restricted to people invited into the Technical Beta Program, who can expect to get their copy on the day that Windows 7 RTM build hits MSDN and TechNet - 6 August.

Further details are posted to the .Beta_Program newsgroup, explaining that "all current members of our English technical and international mini-beta programs are eligible. We are offering you a full (non-upgrade) copy of Windows 7 Ultimate Edition for your own personal use, not to be resold."

Members of the English beta program can also opt for a "limited amount of boxed copies" available on a first come, first served basis.

Those who choose the download will be able to grab their free copy of Windows 7 via Microsoft Connect.

As for non-English versions of Windows 7, "other languages will follow as they become available."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Google opens Checkout for all websites: Now Online Shoping Made Easy!!!

Google has added a new widget into its Labs library that makes opening up your very own online store incredibly easy.

Users simply have to sign up for Google Checkout merchant account, put the details of what they want to sell in a spreadsheet, and then choose from a range of widgets to embed in their site.

Google is offering tiny, small and large widgets to display your stuff, which essentially takes the hassle out of selling stuff online by letting you have your own little shop.

Size options

You can embed the gadget in a variety of ways, with it being easiest in Google branded sites (ie Blogger or iGoogle) but also any site built using HTML (which is fairly wide ranging...)

Google states that using this method means "a fast, secure checkout process [that] helps Google Checkout users convert 40% more than shoppers who have not used Checkout before."

It's subject to Google's transaction fees of course, which if you sell less than £1500-worth of stuff a month you'll incur 3.4 per cent of the fee plus 20p for each thing you sell (with the costs coming down the more stuff you shift).

If you're a wannabe entrepreneur, a web lover but too lazy to actually set up an online presence, then head on over to and get creating.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

10 Interesting Things about Bing!!!

Bing, Microsoft's new search engine, has had several weeks to prove its worth. It's proved popular, picking up market share from both Yahoo and Google to become the second most used search service on the web.

But there's more to Bing than first meets the eye. Like Google, it has hidden depths and additional features. Here are ten useful bits of Bing you may have missed.

1. Get more from the USMost of Bing's mash-up functionality is embedded in the US version of the site. You don't need an anonymised proxy - like - to fool the site though. All you need to do is click the country link at the top right of the main page. In the UK it will say "United Kingdom" by default. Choose "United States" instead. Done.

2. Search for wallpaperUsing Bing Image search to find desktop wallpaper? Do your search by keyword, then click "Size > Wallpaper" in the sidebar. Not only is the search narrowed to desktop wallpapers - it's narrowed down to your computer monitor's current screen resolution. If it's set to 1280 x 1024, for example, it only returns images with those dimensions.

3. Remove the backgroundBing's main search page has a background image embedded by default. Want a cleaner page? Step one: enter in the address bar and hit return. Bing's front page now appears without any background clutter. Step two: drag the Bing favicon in the address box to your favourites or bookmarks bar. Next time you want to Bing something, click that link.

4. Boolean searchesBing's all about simplicity, but it still does Boolean searches. With multiple keywords "AND" is inferred, but you can exclude terms from searches with - or NOT. For example "auction sites NOT ebay" will exclude eBay from your results. Like Google, using the + operator requires that the specified keyword appears in the page. You can also use "OR", for example "HD DVD OR Blu-Ray" will return results containing either search term.

5. Find instant answers
Like Google, Bing has built in smart algorithms for location data, word definitions, weight and currency conversion and even complex arithmetical calculations. Try "define computer" for a dictionary definition or "$20 into pounds" to sample Bing's conversion capabilities. Want to know the weather in your local area? Try the term "weather" followed by your nearest town or city. You can even search the status of specific flights. Just type "Flight status of ". You'll be prompted to enter a flight number.

Bing goes even further - pulling data from partner sites in response to requests for statistical data. The query "What is the UK population" returns results from online census data, for example.

6. Find your siteIs your site listed in Bing? Type in to find out. Once you've established that Bing has you listed, type to see how many of your pages Bing has listed. If nothing turns up, you can submit your site for indexing.

7. Save results for later"Save and Share" is an experimental feature powered by Silverlight. Click "See All" in the Search History section of the sidebar - then "Save and Share". Select the search query you want to save in the list then click "save to". Choose "Saved searches" or create a new folder. Searches can also be emailed or published to you Facebook wall. If you decide you no longer want to use the service, click "return to your history".

8. Convert Search to RSSAn RSS feed of a search result is a handy thing to have - whether you're keeping tabs on a developing news event or want to track the performance of your web site. Like Windows Live Search before it, Bing results pages can be saved as RSS feeds.
On your results page, click the RSS symbol in IE then click "Subscribe to this feed". In Firefox, you can choose to add the feed to Google Reader instead. To add to other feed readers, select and copy the URL in the address bar, paste it into your RSS reader and add "&format=rss" to the end of the address before saving.

9. Add Bing to your BrowserDo you use Chrome but want to search Bing from the address bar? Right click on the address bar then choose "Edit search engines" from the context sensitive menu. Click "Add" and, giving the name "Bing" - enter the URL
To add Bing to Firefox's quicksearch bar, you'll need an add-on. Install the official Microsoft Bing extension.

10. Quick Add in HotmailHotmail recently added Bing integration. Log in to Hotmail and create a new message. In the Quick Add sidebar click images or video. Use the search box to find suitable content, then click "Insert". The new content is formatted and added to the body of your message.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Windows 7: Trend Amoung Individual Consumers

While businesses may be planning to skip Windows 7, individual consumers look like they're lining up in droves to snap up the OS, which recently ended its pre-order sales period in the U.S. But is still available for sale in a number of European countries.

How successful has the pre-order sale been? Specific sales figures aren't easy to come by, but the BBC has aggregate information for the UK.

The response has been huge: The BBC notes that Windows 7 pre-orders on were higher in the first eight hours of the sale period than they were in the entire 17-week period in which Vista was available as a pre-order.

Obviously that torrid pace is unlikely to continue over the entirety of the pre-order run (and the number of copies available for pre-order are limited), but the figures are nonetheless impressive, indicating serious interest in upgrading among the masses (and likely serious dissatisfaction with Windows Vista as well). Pre-orders are being taken through August 9 in the UK.

Of course, the hugely discounted price tag for Windows 7 -- which is available for as little as $50 a copy, depending on the version -- is probably a big help in boosting these sales figures, too. The big test will come with Win 7's October release: Will consumers be willing to pay the higher sticker prices for the new OS then? That is, are they more likely to pony up a little more if they can walk out of the store with the software on the same day? Or are we just seeing the usual mad rush of early adopters, enticed by a great bargain?

For what it's worth, I'm expecting strong sales.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Microsoft confirmed another zero-day vulnerability!!!

Microsoft confirmed another zero-day vulnerability on Monday in a set of software components that ship in a wide variety of the company's products.

The vulnerability resides in Microsoft's Office Web Components, which are used for publishing spreadsheets, charts and databases to the Web, among other functions. The company is working on a patch but did not indicate when it would be released, according to an advisory.
"Specifically, the vulnerability exists in the Spreadsheet ActiveX control and while we've only seen limited attacks, if exploited successfully, an attacker could gain the same user rights as the local user," wrote Dave Forstrom, a group manager who is part of Microsoft's Security Response Center, in a blog post.

An ActiveX control is a small add-on program that works in a Web browser to facilitate functions such as downloading programs or security updates. Over the years, however, the controls have been prone to vulnerabilities.
The new flaw comes just a day before the company is set to release its monthly patches, including one for another zero-day vulnerability revealed earlier this month. That problem lies with the Video ActiveX control within Internet Explorer and is currently being used by hackers in drive-by download attempts.

In cases of especially dangerous vulnerabilities, Microsoft has deviated from its patching schedule and issued one out of cycle.

Microsoft said that the flaw could allow an attacker to execute code remotely on a machine if someone using Internet Explorer visits a malicious Web site, a hacking technique known as a drive-by download. Web sites that host user-provided content or advertisements could be rigged to take advantage of the vulnerability.

"In all cases, however, an attacker would have no way to force users to visit these Web sites," the advisory said. "Instead, an attacker would have to persuade users to visit the Web site, typically by getting them to click a link in an e-mail message or Instant Messenger message that takes users to the attacker's Web site."

Microsoft issued a list of affected software, which includes Office XP Service Pack 3, 2003 Service Pack 3, several versions of Internet Security and Acceleration Server and Office Small Business Accounting 2006, among others.

Until a patch is ready, Microsoft said one option for administrators is to disable Office Web Components from running in Internet Explorer and has provided instructions.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Google Chrome OS: 10 ways it will change netbooks!!

Google took the fight straight to Microsoft’s door earlier this week when it announced Chrome OS, its take on what a modern operating system should look like. The initial target is netbooks, so here are ten things that a bit of Google magic could bring to the little laptop market.

1. Less is more important

Chrome OS is lightweight, making it fast to run even on modest hardware. All the heavy lifting has been offloaded to Google’s central servers so you don’t need to lug round a portable powerhouse to make the most of it.

2. Instant on

Windows takes an age to boot - fine if you’re going to be stuck in there for the next eight hours, but if you just want to quickly check your email it’s frustratingly tardy. Chrome OS will be instant on, so you can be in and out before Windows has even had time to ask you if you want to download the latest security updates.

3. Superior security

Windows is always spring security leaks. Google has pledged to make Chrome extra safe by: “completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don’t have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.” Let's hope for a safer future.

4. Gamers go home

Chrome OS puts everything on the web, which means 3D shooters are a no go. But it does means there’s no need for fancy graphics chips, which will help keep costs down.

5. Online storage

You no longer need oodles of storage on board as Chrome OS will store your files in the cloud. As an added bonus, they’ll be accessible anywhere you’ve got the Internet. Need to re-look at the speed of accessing a file online....

6. Better battery life

As the hardware specs are minimal and it’s been designed with netbooks in mind, the batteries should just keep on going. And going. And going.

7. Two’s a charm

There’ll be the option to dual boot Chrome OS and Windows, so you can jump into Chrome OS when you want to quickly get thing done or have an extended Windows session if you need applications that only run in there.

8. Face lift

Netbooks are not known for their big screens, which makes Chrome OS’s cut down user interface a bonus. Less onscreen clutter, more pixels to work with.

9. Not ARM less

As well as standard Intel x86 chips, Google is planning a version that runs on super power efficient ARM chips which opens up the market to cheap netbooks with extra long of battery life. affordable netbooks for everyone!

10. Low, low price of free

With Windows a certain percentage of the netbook price gets funnelled straight back to Microsoft’s coffers. Chrome OS is free, which means more of your money is going on hardware.

Once the Chrome hits its users, the OS will be much cheaper to compete with the Chrome. As a result you gonna get a cheaper computer!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Google to Enter OS War...

In what is certain to be the biggest tech story of the summer, Google is finally making official what has been rumored for years: It will create its own computer operating system, Chrome OS, slated for release in late 2010.

While the news is stunning in its potential impact on the industry, it hardly arrives without warning. Google already makes its own cell phone OS, the fledgling Android, which continues to slowly gain devotees. And well before the company unleashed its own web browser, Chrome, many had long since assumed that Google had been preparing to release an operating system. When the Chrome browser was released instead, many observers actually saw it as a bit of a letdown in the news department.

Now it's clear what Google has been up to all along: Chrome is simply the centerpiece of a larger table setting, a full-blown operating system that will run without Windows or the MacOS beneath it.

Google is keeping many details close to the vest -- and, with at least a year before the OS comes out, it really has no choice since the OS has miles to go before it's ready -- but the company has made a few details public. Chrome OS will be open source, like Linux operating systems, upon which Chrome will be based; it will be designed to be "fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds;" and it will be designed with security in mind (though, seriously, everybody says that). The OS will run on both ARM and x86 CPUs, the latter being the most common PC chip architecture on the planet, used on virtually every PC produced today.

Despite the hints about Chrome OS, many, many questions remain. Obviously Chrome is designed with the web in mind, and it will undoubtedly be closely tied into Google's extensive suite of services. But what will its offline components look like, if any? With Linux as a base, it will obviously be able to run Linux-based applications, though it won't be compatible with Windows... or will it? Emulator systems exist that could let Chrome run Windows apps, but they're complex and at odds with the goal of creating a streamlined, super-simple operating system. I am immediately curious as to how big of a hard drive a Chrome OS laptop would have, if it will have one at all.

Another big question involves the hardware this operating system will run on. Google obviously has inexpensive, low-power netbooks in mind for Chrome OS, but will tinkerers be able to install it on computers they already own? Driver issues become a major obstacle at that point, as a "simple" OS can't possibly account for the thousands of hardware variations present in modern PCs (printing alone is going to be a headache as it is). My hunch is that a downloadable version will eventually be available, but that it won't be supported by Google at all should you decide to install it on a non-approved PC.

That leads to the question of whether Google is ignoring a key part of the market. Netbooks are great little toys, but they're hardly the tools of choice for those looking to get real work done. By embracing the web and largely ignoring offline applications, Chrome-based netbooks will by necessity remain tools for the low end of the market, playthings for when you're not really being productive. Like the Linux-based netbooks before them, they just won't do enough for many users.

And that's an ominous issue hanging out there for Chrome OS's future. Linux-based netbooks haven't been a rousing success, as Windows fought back with a vengeance after they hit the market, offering buyers a more familiar working environment and compatibility with their other computers while keeping prices down. Consumers have so far warmed up to the idea of having more features on their netbooks, not fewer, relegating Linux on netbooks to the background. Will a spiffy, Googleized version of Linux change consumer opinion? Maybe, but probably not dramatically.

Contrary to public opinion, everything that Google touches does not turn to gold, and to be frank, Google has a serious uphill battle ahead for its OS ambitions. I'm cautiously optimistic that Google will put something brilliant together here, and can't wait to get my eyes on the software, but the challenges it faces are extreme. Put together something too unique and different and consumers may be put off and confused. Or you could make an OS that clings closely to the Windows interface, but what would be the point of that?

What will Google's Chrome OS be like?

So Google has launched a major salvo in its ongoing war against Microsoft. But what will the new Chrome Operating System look like?

The initial details suggest that the structure of the operating system will be Google Chrome (the browser) running "within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel." That's the words of the Google blog, which also announced the new OS will work on both x86 and, interestingly, ARM processors, too.

That last point is an interesting one, as it gives netbook manufacturers the option of a different processor architecture as well as raising further questions about Android - could the Chrome OS run on smartphones? Surely the answer to the latter point is that it won't, officially at least.

Indeed, the whole experience of Chrome OS is designed to take place online using Google Gears-like online/offline web app technology."The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web," explains Google's Sundar Pichai who was also keen to talk about security, often a sticking point.

"And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, we are going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work."

Challenges for developers?

You might think it would also raise challenges for software developers, who will have to recode for a new OS. And yes, in the traditional model of software, this would have been an interesting challenge for Google. Software developers would traditionally only develop for something that will make them money.

But Google says that new applications can be written using standard web technologies - and this ease of adaptation is bad news for Microsoft. Existing web apps will already work, while newly developed apps will equally be able to be used in standards compliant browsers on Windows, Mac and Linux machines.

Google may have a problem challenging consumer expectations of what an operating system should be like - most people expect software to work in the traditional way. In other words, they expect it to be offline, rather than apps that work on the web and consider "the web is the platform". Chrome OS will challenge this.

Speed and simplicity

However, it is clear that Google wants Chrome OS to be driven by speed and simplicity. "We hear a lot from our users and their message is clear - computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up, they want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them," explains Pichai.

And Pichai might as well have been specific in saying that Chrome OS can easily be location unspecific, sharing documents, apps and user profiles over the web. "[Users] want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files."

"Even more importantly," continues Pichai, "they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time our users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the internet."

Google says it will need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish the vision of the Chrome OS. It will be releasing the code later in 2009 so it'll be interesting to see it in action later this year, even if it won't be available commercially on networks until late 2010.

Google Chrome OS: New Way of Computing???

It's been an exciting nine months since google launched the Google Chrome browser. Already, over 30 million people use it regularly. Google designed Google Chrome for people who live on the web — searching for information, checking email, catching up on the news, shopping or just staying in touch with friends. However, the operating systems that browsers run on were designed in an era where there was no web. So today, Google announced a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's Google's attempt to re-think what operating systems should be.

Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year google will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010. Because google is already talking to partners about the project, and google will soon be working with the open source community, Google wanted to share thier vision now so everyone understands what they are trying to achieve.

Speed, simplicity and security are the key aspects of Google Chrome OS. Google is designing the OS to be fast and lightweight, to start up and get you onto the web in a few seconds. The user interface is minimal to stay out of your way, and most of the user experience takes place on the web. And as we did for the Google Chrome browser, google is going back to the basics and completely redesigning the underlying security architecture of the OS so that users don't have to deal with viruses, malware and security updates. It should just work.

Google Chrome OS will run on both x86 as well as ARM chips and google is working with multiple OEMs to bring a number of netbooks to market next year. The software architecture is simple — Google Chrome running within a new windowing system on top of a Linux kernel. For application developers, the web is the platform. All web-based applications will automatically work and new applications can be written using your favorite web technologies. And of course, these apps will run not only on Google Chrome OS, but on any standards-based browser on Windows, Mac and Linux thereby giving developers the largest user base of any platform.

Google Chrome OS is a new project, separate from Android. Android was designed from the beginning to work across a variety of devices from phones to set-top boxes to netbooks. Google Chrome OS is being created for people who spend most of their time on the web, and is being designed to power computers ranging from small netbooks to full-size desktop systems. While there are areas where Google Chrome OS and Android overlap, Google believes choice will drive innovation for the benefit of everyone, including Google.

Google hear a lot from their users and the message is clear — computers need to get better. People want to get to their email instantly, without wasting time waiting for their computers to boot and browsers to start up. They want their computers to always run as fast as when they first bought them. They want their data to be accessible to them wherever they are and not have to worry about losing their computer or forgetting to back up files. Even more importantly, they don't want to spend hours configuring their computers to work with every new piece of hardware, or have to worry about constant software updates. And any time the users have a better computing experience, Google benefits as well by having happier users who are more likely to spend time on the Internet.

Google has a lot of work to do, and google is definitely going to need a lot of help from the open source community to accomplish this vision. google and it's users are excited for what's to come and me too.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Microsoft Office Word 2010

The Microsoft Office 2010 has been announced by Microsoft after two years of workarounds. Microsoft introduced Word 2010 at a very high-level, and a short summary of what you can expect is given bellow:

The way we work with documents has changed dramatically. In the past, individuals worked on relatively simple, local documents, from their office. Today, it is common for groups to work on rich, shared documents, from anywhere.

Given this shift, Microsoft has focused Word 2010 on dramatically improving document collaboration, graphics, and navigation…and then taking the richness and familiarity of Word, and putting it into the browser and onto the mobile phone. Yes, you heard it right, the Office 2010 also will reveal Web Office 2010.

Dramatically Improved Collaboration, Graphics, and Navigation

Simultaneous editing of Word documents à all the richness of Word with multiple people at the same time. Say goodbye to file in use dialogue. With Word 2010, you can co-author right within Word. You don't need to hassle with email attachments, or documents with names like ASP_final_2_reallyFinal_FINAL.docx. Instead, just open your document, and start co-authoring. You can see who else is working with you, and where they are editing.

Automatic offline editing and synchronizing of shared documents: when you open a shared document, Word automatically caches it so that you can edit it offline, and then Word will automatically sync your changes when you come back online. So if you need to work away from the office, you will no longer need to worry about saving local copies or manually merging your changes into the server document when you get back to your office. Word 2010 takes care of all of that for you.

All sorts of new graphical goodness: Artistic picture effects and easy picture editing, more SmartArt diagrams, and rich graphical and typographic effects on text is another added advantage of Office 2010.

A new navigation pane and search experience: Easily reorganize your document via drag and drop, and find stuff quickly with incremental search. You can stop copying and pasting huge sections of your document, quickly find your way around long documents, and you don't need to know exactly what you are searching for to find it.

Word in Your Browser and on Your Phone: The other big piece of Word 2010 is giving you the power and familiarity of Word everywhere you need it. In short, you will be able to view, navigate, and edit your Word documents from the browser and from your mobile phone without compromising your document's richness.

I know that was really high-level, but hopefully you have a sense for how Word 2010 will dramatically improve how and where you work on documents. Keep watching this space for more on Office 2010 :)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

10 Internet Explorer 8 tips for you!

Internet Explorer 8 does virtually everything you need straight from the box, but with these IE8 tips and tweaks you can make it work in ways you never thought possible.

1. Personalize the title bar

By default the title bar – the top-most part of the screen – displays the title of the web page followed by a piece of text that says something like, "Internet Explorer provided by…" Few people know that you can change this to whatever you like, for example on my copy of IE8 it says "Mater's IE8 – the best browser by far."

To make this change you need to edit the Windows registry, something you should approach with caution. Whenever you edit the registry, you should take a backup of your system first in case something goes wrong, and make sure you close all Internet Explorer windows.

If you've got Windows XP, press Start, then select Run and type regedit and hit Return.

For Windows Vista and Windows 7, type regedit into Start and press Return.

Once the Registry Editor has started up, press the + sign next to HKEY_ CURRENT_USER, then double click on Software > Microsoft > Internet Explorer > Main. With Main still highlighted you'll see a long list of values on the right-hand side.

Right click on any white space in the right hand pane, and select New > String Value, call it Window Title and press Return. Now double-click the registry entry, type anything you like in Value Data box and press OK.

Close the Registry Editor and start IE8 and you should see your text in the title bar.

2. Maximize screen space

The menu bar in Internet Explorer (File, Edit, Tools and so on) is useful but takes up valuable space on your screen. Many people don't realize that you can remove it and bring it back easily when needed.

If it's already showing, select View > Toolbar and click on Menu Bar to uncheck it. You can now bring it back at will by pressing the Alt key.

3. Search faster

Most search engines have a facility to provide search suggestions or recommendations based on the keyword you type into the search box. You can invoke this useful feature from any page by typing a question mark, followed by a space, followed by your search terms into the address box (where you would normally type the web address) – but don't press Return.

You then see a list of the most common searches, which may help you find what you were looking for. For example, if I want fancy dress costumes, I could type ? Fancy dress into the web address box and see a list of suggestions of what to search for.

4. Save paper and ink when printing

If you want to print a page, but don't want all the images on the page to waste your ink, you can use the developer tools to get rid of them. To activate the feature, press F12 on any web page and you'll see a new window open up.

Select the Images menu item and press Disable Images to switch off all images on the page, something that can speed up printing if you're only interested in the text content. If you select View Alt Text from the same menu item, it displays text describing the images instead.

Also try selecting View > Link Paths. You can see all of the links, and select them easily for copying to the clipboard.

5. Browse more easily on netbooks

If you're viewing a website on a tiny netbook screen, make the page bigger by pressing the F11 key. This switches IE8 into full-screen mode, removing all trace of the browser and letting the web page occupy the entire screen. If you move your mouse near the top of the screen, the missing parts of the screen reappear temporarily. Get back to normal by pressing F11 again.

If you have a web page that you want to display in full screen all of the time, create a shortcut to IE on your desktop, right-click it and select Properties. Then after "iexplore.exe" in the target box (after the closing quote mark), type –k followed by a space followed by the web address.

For example, if I wanted to view my Office Live Workspace in full screen mode I would put "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe" –k

Then whenever I clicked on the shortcut, it would open Internet Explorer at that web address, in full-screen mode.

6. Edit header and footer on printouts

IE8 gives you some control over what appears in the header and footer of printouts. Choose File > Page Setup (if the File menu is not shown, press Alt once).

In the Headers and Footers section you can select text to appear on the left, middle and right of the printout, such as the web address, page title, page number, total number of pages, or a custom value where you can enter whatever you like.

7. Launch a site using InPrivate Browsing mode

InPrivate Browsing is a new mode in Internet Explorer 8 that removes all traces of your browsing, including history, temporary files and log-in data. But if you don't want to constantly turn this feature off and on, you can create a shortcut to launch just a specific website with InPrivate mode activated.

To do this, create a shortcut as described above, append –private followed by a space, followed by the web address of the site you want to access, for example -private

Now when you double-click this shortcut, it loads up with InPrivate mode switched on every time.

8. Master your add-ons

IE8 introduced the concept of Accelerators, a feature that enables you to perform a number of useful functions just by highlighting a piece of text on a web page. Although IE8 comes with a standard set of accelerators preinstalled, you can find many more (and also other add-ons such as web slices, visual searches and plug-ins) at

However, the more you install the more crowded you will find your accelerator menus becoming. You can control them by going to Tools > Manage Add-ons. You'll see a list of all currently-loaded add-ons by default but you can change this to show all add-ons by pressing the button under Show.

On the far right you'll see the Load time column (you may need to re-size the window to see it). Click on the Load time column header to sort by the time each add-on takes to load. This way you can see which add-ons are slowing down your browser's start-up time, and by disabling these you can speed things up. To disable any add-on, click on it and press the Disable button.

9. Increase your download limit

By default Internet Explorer limits you to two simultaneous downloads to ensure that your bandwidth is used as effectively as possible. However, with very fast connections becoming more common, you might prefer to increase the number of downloads you can have running at the same time.

Microsoft has provided a simple wizard to increase the download limit to 10. Visit and click Fix this problem.

10. Solve any problem

If you're having trouble with Internet Explorer 8 crashing, it could be due to a problem with one of your add-ons. Running the browser with all addons switched off can help you check if this is the case, and may get you back in control of your browser to fix it.

You may also find that IE loads up much quicker without add-ons switched on, and may be quicker generally. If this is the case, refer to tip 8 for suggestions on how to find offending add-ons that are slowing you down. You can add a prefix to your Internet Explorer shortcut to enable it to open in a sterile mode, free of add-ons and settings that may cause conflicts.

First, create a new shortcut for Internet Explorer (or amend your existing shortcut) by right-clicking on it and selecting Properties, then add –extoff after "iexplore.exe" in the target box. Alternatively, if you're using Windows XP press Start > Run, enter iexplore –extoff into the box and press Return; if you're using Windows Vista or Windows 7, press Start then type iexplore –extoff into the search box and press Return.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

10 things you should know about Skype

You've seen the posters, and the words 'free calls' remain etched into the memory as you wonder gripping your current contract-damn handset, whether you should get in on the action.

Before you consider taking the plunge into the world that is Skype, here are 10 things we think you should know about it.

1) How does it work?

Founded by the people that brought you the once file-to-file sharing network marvel that was Kazaa, Skype is a VoIP application easily download-able to your desktop PC or in the case of a Skype-friendly mobile like the iPhone, through the Apple iTunes Store. Using your current internet connection, all you have to do is grab your headset with microphone, hit the green button, and you are ready to call people across the world for free.

2) It's free, well mostly

Chatting to a fellow Skype user whether through your computer or Skype-enabled device will set you back the pricey sum of nothing. But before you dump your contract phone, it will cost you a small fee to talk to someone who is not on Skype. You can own local numbers in a host of countries, with your calls to the number charged at the same rate as calls to fixed lines in your own country. Services like SkypeIn and SkypeOut are the route to contacting people on their existing mobile numbers or land-line numbers. It may sound silly, but ensure you know enough people on Skype to fully embrace the service.

3) Skyping all over the world

Essentially what is great about Skype is being able to talk to your long distant relatives in Oz without the pain of the long-distance charge. That is however not the case for every country. Skype is built on a closed protocol which translated means all equipment used is made by the company but also means that a country like China bans the use of Skype. Having recently refused the allowance of WiFi handsets, over fears users would add internet phone services such as Skype to make calls, unofficially it was claimed that it was because they could not track calls. So if you got mates in China you are hoping to talk to for free you may need to think again.

4) Skype devices

Along with Skype sitting on your toolbar on your PC, mobile network provider 3 provides a series of Skype phone handsets, while the PSP via its Wi-Fi connection can also be used for your free calling. Rumors that Skype could be moving to the DSi have been fierce with the Nintendo calming they did not want to develop a mobile service which required a monthly contract. Also available as an app for the iPhone and iPod Touch, it has proved one of their most popular downloads surpassing more than one million downloads, that's six downloads every second and a clear sign of its popularity.

5) Skype plug-ins

Much like the Apple's App Store, Skype has its own place to add more life to your Skype life and make it more than just a place to chat freely. Built with open developer API, it is a free-for-all for those who want to create plug-ins and a-d ons for Skype and go on sale to other users. So if you fancy a spot of chess with your pal in the Ukraine or chilling out to some tunes on, simply head to the Skype Extras store and take a browse.

6) Skype mobiles
If you pick up a one of the Skype mobiles you are essentially getting the best of both worlds. As the users of Skype blossoms into their millions, you can contact them for free while still retaining some of the more familiar mobile phone usability.

Allowing you to make Skype phone calls and use the instant messaging service for free, video calling however is not yet supported. ASUS have recently revealed their EEE Videophone, which is not quite a mobile but fully supports face-to-face calling if you need it. If you don't fancy buying a 3 Skype phone, simply pay up a nominal fee for a 3 sim to use on a compatible unlocked handset, download the application and you are on your way to free call heaven.

7) Video chatting

25% of Skype-to-Skype phone calls include video, and it is one of the features which extend its popularity to the likes of talk show colossal Oprah Winfrey using it on one of her shows. With your web cam connected, hit the green button and then the web cam button and you are on your way to conducting business from overseas, or showing off your latest party trick. It is clearly a great way to cut the cost of paying out for a video conferencing set-up at work and the quality of the feedback is one of the best around.

8) Skype means business

Skype has a genuine presence in the world of business, and it is valued so much by some companies that it has been known to be used to hold job interviews. Solving the dilemma of an overseas candidate having to travel half the side of the globe to be grilled for an hour can be evaded as the video calling via Skype is simplicity in itself, providing slightly grainy but nonetheless a refreshingly clear picture to show off your best job-winning skills to your prospective employee.

9) Skype Messenger

Proof that there is more to Skype than phone calls, the Skype Messenger is also a free service from your PC and from Skype-enabled devices. Considerably one of the most effective and easy to use messengers around, simply build up you contact list and then begin to drag and drop people into your existing chats. Chat history is saved in a way which it is easy to refer back to, while file transferring is a simple drag and drop away from your conversation. Skype also allows you to download videos from sites Daily Motion and Met-cafe so you can chat, watch a video and file share all in the same window.

10) Free forever?

For the time being, yes it is but mobile network providers are all too aware of the growing prominence of the VoIP application and how it may affect their business. With the new roaming regulation in effect since July, some of the major mobile phone manufacturers are wondering whether the service of Skype and your standard mobile phone connection should be paid separately, with Nokia's recent announcement to pre-install their N97 handsets with Skype forcing 02 and Orange to block the sale of the phone through their networks. The likelihood of paying for both services seems unlikely, but not impossible, so while it's still free we suggest you get the most out of this VoIP wonder.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

There is no such thing as "deleted" on the Internet!!

It's always fun to write about research that you can actually try out for yourself.

Try this: Take a photo and upload it to Facebook, then after a day or so, note what the URL to the picture is (the actual photo, not the page on which the photo resides), and then delete it. Come back a month later and see if the link works. Chances are: It will.

Facebook isn't alone here. Researchers at Cambridge University (so you know this is legit, people!) have found that nearly half of the social networking sites don't immediately delete pictures when a user requests they be removed. In general, photo-centric websites like Flickr were found to be better at quickly removing deleted photos upon request.

Why do "deleted" photos stick around so long? The problem relates to the way data is stored on large websites: While your personal computer only keeps one copy of a file, large-scale services like Facebook rely on what are called content delivery networks to manage data and distribution. It's a complex system wherein data is copied to multiple intermediate devices, usually to speed up access to files when millions of people are trying to access the service simultaneously. But because changes aren't reflected across the CDN immediately, ghost copies of files tend to linger for days or weeks.

In the case of Facebook, the company says data may hang around until the URL in question is reused, which is usually "after a short period of time." Though obviously that time can vary considerably.

Of course, once a photo escapes from the walled garden of a social network like Facebook, the chances of deleting it permanently fall even further. Google's caching system is remarkably efficient at archiving copies of web content, long after it's removed from the web. Anyone who's ever used Google Image Search can likely tell you a story about clicking on a thumbnail image, only to find that the image has been deleted from the website in question -- yet the thumbnail remains on Google for months. And then there are services like the Wayback Machine, which copy entire websites for posterity, archiving data and pictures forever.

The lesson: Those drunken party photos you don't want people to see? Simply don't upload them to the web, ever, because trying to delete them after you sober up is a tough proposition.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Why do people write viruses???

Every time when reports of a big new virus or other malware attack hits media, my mind will be out for an answer for the question: Why do people write viruses?

I answer as succinctly as I can, but the question is a deep and complex one. Why do people burglarize homes? Why do people tag buildings with graffiti? Why do they post anonymous hatred on online message boards? Why do they play video games? These questions may sound like they have nothing to do with one another, but you might be surprised how their answers are all related to the topic at hand.

TechRepublic offered an interesting analysis of this issue a month ago but it slipped by me. Fortunately I stumbled upon it this weekend and hope you'll give it a read in order to help shed a little light on a surprisingly complex issue.

So why do people write viruses (and I'll use that term loosely throughout this post as a descriptive for any kind of malware)?

TechRepublic plays it down a bit, but my #1 answer to the question is always the obvious one: For the money. In the old days, a virus designed to erase your hard drive or fill your computer screen with garbage was just a prank (more on that later) but those viruses are quite rare these days. Nowadays, the vast majority of viruses have far more practical ends: They make your PC send spam, they harvest financial information, turn computers into zombies, and extort money out of you directly if you want it deleted. All of these have direct and quantifiable financial goals: Spam is paid for by the message (or the millions of messages) sent. Personal data can be sold on the black market for use in identity theft. It's business, pure and simple -- bad business, to be sure, but all about the cash at the end of the day.

Several of the items on the TechRepublic list get at a secondary reason for virus-writing: They do it because they can. It's the same reason people jump out of planes or drive at insane speeds: It's a thrill, and for a certain subset of programmers, there's a thrill, a laugh, or a power-trip to be had from causing as much damage as possible -- and getting away with it. While most virus writers don't want attention (which can bring serious prison time in the end), a few do, and some underground hackers get off on the notoriety.

Sabotage -- whatever the motivation -- is another common theme in malware creation. Any political issue -- whether it's a presidential election or a Microsoft vs. open source legal spat -- tends to be ground zero for hacker attacks. Denial of service attacks are commonly launched against websites owned by those with opinions unpopular in the hacker community. And that's where your machine comes in: Hackers compromise it with malware to turn it into a DoS zombie.

So, getting the picture? Viruses and other malware are going to be with us forever because they're a digital version of human nature.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Hackers: We can now steal data via electrical outlet!!

A few years ago, the idea of using nothing more than a standard electrical outlet to hack into sensitive computer systems would be the stuff of Hollywood - and far-fetched, eye-rolling Hollywood at that.

I can almost picture the scene: A wily Justin Long taps a few keys on his laptop and we watch the signal race through the power grid to his target, where a hapless government employee types his password into the ultra-secure computer at headquarters. Back with Long, we watch the password show up on his computer screen, as if by magic, thanks to his nifty hacking skills.

It sounds ridiculous.

But it turns out, well, it's basically a reality.

At the Black Hat USA conference later this month, hackers are preparing to unveil their methodology to steal information typed on a computer keyboard using nothing more than the power outlet to which the computer is connected.

The technique behind the exploit isn't as wildly high-tech as you might think, though. Old-fashioned electrical properties are the key to the trick. Here's how it works (in simple terms): When you type on a standard computer keyboard, electrical signals run through the cable to the PC. Those cables aren't shielded, so the signal leaks via the ground wire in the cable and into the ground wire on the computer's power supply.

The attacker connects a probe to a nearby power socket (perhaps in the vacant office next door or a hotel room across the hall), detects the ground leakage, and converts the signal back into alphanumeric characters. So far, the attack has proven successful using outlets up to about 15 meters away.

If you've got a wireless keyboard or are working on a laptop unplugged from the wall, which would make this attack useless, fret not: The hackers have a method for eavesdropping on you too. A simple laser beam -- better than a laser pointer, but not by much -- can be pointed a shiny object on the table where the computer sits, and the beam's reflection is captured by a receiving system. The vibration of that reflection caused by the striking of keys can be analyzed and, as with the electrical outlet system described above, reconstructed into words, since every key produces a unique vibration pattern. All this technique requires is a direct line of sight to the PC and a few hundred dollars worth of equipment.

Be safe out there, folks than be sorry...

Friday, April 10, 2009

Accessing the Computer without an Administrative Password

We all eventually forget one password or the other and such a problem can be so irritating and unpredictable that it can make quite a huge impact. The problem is even more serious when we forget the administrative password to anything, especially our operating system. In most cases the regular user will choose to format the hard disk and then re-install the operating system in order to solve this problem and unfortunately, such an action usually means that some data will be lost along the way. Although it can be impossible at times to access the personal computer if the administrative password was loss, there are some actions you can take in some cases. You will basically need the computer (which really needs to have the possibility to support a bootable CD-ROM) and the Windows CD-ROM.

The first step you will need to take is to modify your personal computer’s BIOS in order to allow booting from the Windows CD-Rom. Next you have to insert the CD in the drive and boot up the PC. Just wait and when the "Press any key to boot from CD" message appears just press any key. Now go through the entire step by step process until you get to the setup screen. This is where you will have the option to repair or install the operating system. You will need to choose repair and Windows Setup will then start a check on your system and start copying files. After this you will notice that the PC will re-boot automatically.

The next step will depend on your operating system. You basically need to open a command prompt after the reboot and resume the setup process. If you have Windows 2000 you have to wait until the part where you see that the OS is registering components and press "Shift + F10". If you have Windows XP you will need to press the same key combination when "Installing devices" appears in the left hand side of your screen. Now we will have a command console open and you can gain access to the Control Panel. In Windows 200 you will need to type "control.exe" and in Windows XP "nusrmgr.cpl". Press the "Enter" key and we now have access to the control panel.

Now just used the tools that are provided in order to reset the password and if you are done just close the control panel by typing "Exit" and then pressing "Enter". Now we will need to allow the repair function to complete as usual. When the operating system starts again you can use the new password in order to log in. There are some circumstances in which you will not be able to access your personal computer but these are rare. If this happens we recommend that you take your hard drive and install it on another computer as slave so that you can save every piece of information you need and then format the entire hard drive. Then you will need to re-install the operating system.
By: Adrian Alexa

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Do I need to back up my computer?

Even if you've taken precautions to protect your computer from malicious software, other potential dangers could destroy the information it holds. A power surge, lightning strike, hardware failure, or natural disaster could leave you without your important data or the use of your computer.

Backing up your files can help you avert disaster. Backing up is simply making an electronic copy of files and storing that copy in a safe place. If you back up your files regularly, you can retrieve some, if not all, of your information if something happens to the originals on your computer.

Here are some tips for backing up your computer:

* Use an external hard disk, CDs, DVDs, or other storage medium for your backup copies. Or upload data to an Internet-based file storage service. Whatever you do, don't just copy files to another location on your hard disk.

* Label the medium with the date and time of the backup. Don't erase the previous backup until you have made a new one.

* Back up anything you can't replace easily such as financial information, digital photos, music or programs you bought and downloaded from the Web, and school projects. For these types of files, you can simply copy and paste the file into the backup medium.

* If you use an email program that is installed on your computer (such as Microsoft Outlook), back up important email messages and your email address book. Some email programs include an export feature for backing up important data.

* If you're trying to save time or space when backing up your computer, consider backing up only your personal data. Don't copy programs like Microsoft Outlook or your operating system. They can be reinstalled from the original CDs you purchased or the System Restore CDs that came with your computer.

* If you use your computer occasionally, back up your data once a week. If you use your computer every day, a daily backup of the files you use most often or modified that day is a good idea.

* To be sure you've backed up every file, use backup software. You can find a list of backup products in the website. Your operating system may also include backup features.

* Make sure you have a copy of your operating system on a CD for re installation in case your computer's hard drive fails. If your computer shipped without a copy of the operating system, contact the manufacturer for a copy.

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