Windows Vista or XP

February 5, 2008

Windows Vista became widely available back in Jan 2007. Now, just over a year later, it is becoming more and more difficult to buy a new PC with XP installed, most are only available with Vista. We are often asked by customers, should I go for Vista or insist on XP?

For business users we think that there are still too many problems getting Vista to work with existing hardware and software packages for them to switch yet. Also Vista is very resource hungry. It needs lots of memory, and fast processors, just to run the operating system. Many businesses are quite rightly not prepared to invest in the more powerful, and therefore expensive, hardware just to run Office, email, and an accounts package. So they are currently sticking with XP.

For the home PC user the decision is more difficult. They are not tied to using specific software packages or hardware. If it does not work with Vista they can replace it without too much hassle. And the new Aero graphical interface with transparent title bars, stacking window chooser, and window preview from the task bar is popular with users.

Hopefully the imminent service pack 1 for Vista will fix many of the bugs and problems, and provide compatibility with more hardware and software.  In our opinion it’s still too early for home PC users to switch unless they really want to be on the cutting edge of technology.  But hopefully by the middle of 2008 Vista will be stable enough for the majority of home PC users to consider this for their new PC operating system.

For business users we think a migration to Vista is still a long way off, probably well into 2009.

At ASL Computer services over 80 percent of the desktop and laptop PC’s we supplied in January were running XP, I think that says it all.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Specialists in computer support for small
businesses and domestic home PC users
http://www.aslcomputerservices.co.uk
01788 298034 or 07852 159092

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Free Computer software

January 16, 2008

We are now into another year, and Christmas seems a distant memory. January is always a difficult month, with a very long gap between the December and January paydays, and an expensive holiday period in between. So I thought I would look at free computer software this month.

Just because software is free does not mean it is bad software, there are some very good free applications, and we will look at some of them now

Digital Photo Organiser – Picasa 2
From Google we have Picasa 2, in our opinion a must have for anyone with a computer and digital camera. It will help you organise, manage, and keep track of all those photos, and includes basic photo editing as well.
http://picasa.google.com/

Digital Photo Editor – Paint.NET
Has all the usual photo editing tools including a “clone” tool so that you can remove the lamp post that always seem to be growing out of someone’s head on an otherwise perfect photo. Easy to use as well compared to some of the other editing tools.
http://www.getpaint.net/

Anti Virus – AVG Free
If you are a home PC user you can get a superb Anti Virus product totally free. Anti Virus protection is really important to have, but can be expensive. Now with AVG Free there is no reason not to be protected from viruses. In our opinion this product is better than many of the well known “paid for” Anti Virus suites.
http://free.grisoft.com/

Office software suite – Open Office
Word, Excel, and Powerpoint are just too expensive for most home PC users, and the cheaper “Works suite” from Microsoft is not compatible with documents created in Word, Excel, and Powerpoint. The answer is OpenOffice, in our opinion another must have program.
http://www.openoffice.org/

Email program – Thunderbird
The standard supplied email programs Outlook Express, and for Vista users Windows Mail, are very basic in functionality, and prone to crashing when you have lots of emails in your inbox or other folders. But the superior Outlook program is only available if you buy Microsoft Office. Why not try Thunderbird from Mozilla, it’s far less prone to errors, and the functionality is much closer to Outlook than Outlook Express.
http://www.mozilla.com/thunderbird/

Online Backup – Mozy Free
Mozy will give you 2 Gigabytes of free backup storage, and a program to automate the backing up of your data, in the background, across your broadband connection. Never worry again about losing those all important data files.
https://mozy.com/registration/free

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services


Share your digital pictures with family and friends

March 29, 2007

 

Ever wanted to share your digital photos with friends and family, but find it too time consuming and clumsy emailing them?

Are you worried about loosing your photos if your computer hard disk fails?

 

Picasa Web Albums is the answer.

You create a free account which gives you one Gigabyte of on-line storage. This enables you to upload your photos into on-line albums. These albums can be public, so that anyone can search and view them, or private so that only people that you send the web link to can view that particular album. This is much quicker and easier than trying to email those photos to friends.

In addition as a bonus you now have a separate copy of your photos stored by google as a backup of your photos in case your hard disk fails.

http://picasa.google.com/intl/en_us/web/learn_more_picasa.html

 

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services
Specialists in computer support for small businesses and home PC users


First blog post

January 28, 2007

This is ASL Computer Services first “toe in the water” on blogging. We are not sure yet how this will evolve over the coming months, we will just have to see how it goes.

We may use blogging in a number of ways:

  • online useful computer hint’s and tips
  • Interesting computer and e-commerce related articles

If you would like anything specific included in the Blog, let us know and we will consider it.

Chris Moody
ASL Computer Services


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