Archive for the 'reviews' Category

A Second Look at Windows 7

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

My main PC recently died, and it was time to build a new one. I ended up putting one together with components from, which worked out really well. One big decision was whether to install Windows XP or Windows 7. I recently discovered that Outlook Express still lives on in Windows 7 by virtue [...]

Online Backup Review, the Final Chapter

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Since my last review of online backup choices, I discovered that CrashPlan now offers unlimited online backup options, putting their pricing right in line with the other least costly options. Since my Mozy subscription was about to end, I decided to take another look, and I’m glad I did. CrashPlan is unique in that it [...]

Firefox 3.5 Slow Startup

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

I switched to Firefox 3.0 a few months ago, and I was looking forward to the release of version 3.5. It’s supposed to have a much faster JavaScript engine and some other nice improvements, but unfortunately Firefox 3.5 startup time is much slower than 3.0 (which wasn’t very fast to begin with). A cold start [...]

First Look at Windows 7

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

I recently downloaded and installed the Windows 7 Release Candidate. Installation was quick and painless. It didn’t detect my sound card (SoundBlaster X-Fi), but I was able to find an updated driver, and everything else seemed to work out of the box. Overall it looks similar to Vista (tellingly, the internal version number is 6.1, [...]

Online Backup Comparison

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I haven’t gotten very far yet reviewing online backup services. I continue to use MozyHome personal files and JungleDisk for business data, which work reasonably well. One nice thing about both of these products is that they run as a Windows service, and their system tray monitor apps don’t need to be running for backups [...]

Online Backup Review, Part 2

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Since my initial Mozy backup and review, I discovered that Mozy wasn’t performing incremental backups of modified files. Since I backup several large Ultra Recall database files that change frequently, this makes incremental backups painfully slow. It turns out that rather than comparing the new and old file contents and uploading differences at the block [...]

Worry-Free Off-Site Backup for the 21st Century

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Anyone with important data on their computer needs a good backup strategy. Hard drives fail and catastrophes do occur, so both on-site and off-site backups are important. Off-site backup used to be a real pain. One way is to store a tape or DVD backup in a safe deposit box, but keeping it up-to-date is [...]

Headache-Free Spam Prevention

Saturday, October 25th, 2008

By any measure, spam is a significant problem for email today. Having to wade through dozens or more spam messages in your inbox daily really hampers productivity. But thankfully it’s also easy to overcome this problem. For personal email, GMail is the way to go, bar none. Since switching from Yahoo to GMail over 15 [...]

First Look at Google Chrome

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

The internet is abuzz with comments about Google Chrome, the newest entry in the browser wars. Within the first day, it had already exceeded Opera’s market share, and we had several questions about support for it in Ultra Recall. So I decided to download and install it to see it for myself. In true Google [...]

Review: AB Commander

Monday, June 4th, 2007

The built-in Explorer application in Windows is rather wimpy, and every power user soon looks for a decent replacement. I looked at dozens of alternatives before settling on AB Commander, a dual-pane Explorer replacement. AB Commander’s dual-pane view suits me well, since I often need to deal with two folders at a time, but rarely [...]