MissTechie

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July’s Most Interesting and Important News

calendar_julyI realize that you’ve already read that many times, but this July’s news can’t be imagined without mentioning the announcement of Google’s new project – Google Chrome OS. Chrome operating system is intended to be lightweight and web-oriented. For now  no one  cares whether web apps only would be enough for users or not and how fast software manufacturers would release Chrome compatible programs. Everyone’s just wondering whether Google can compete Microsoft. Still, Google now position Chrome as operating system for netbooks and nettops, so the only prospective rival of Chrome OS is Windows 7 and particularly its version for netbooks and nettops.

Microsoft keeps up with Google in giving occasion to buzz about. Less then in a week after Google’s announcement of Chrome OS, Microsoft has announced that the new version of Office – MS Office 2010 – will include Web-based versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. You can see Office 2010 preview at the preview site.

The less buzzy but not less interesting July’s news are:

1. On July 14th, 2009 Bit.ly celebrated its first birthday. One year old URL shortening service is already a serious competitor of tinyurl.com which held the first place in this field for years. And the main achievement is that Bit.ly became Twitter’s default URL shortener instead of tinyurl.com. 4 characters shorter – this means a lot when you have only 140 chars for a tweet.

2. Google already removed Beta label off its popular services – Gmail,  Google Calendar, Google Docs and Google Talk. It’s a little surprising, even though successfully works for 5 years, because users got used to Beta label. If you still can’t imagine Gmail out of Beta, go to Settings > Labs in your Gmail account and enable “Back to Beta” option.

3. Firefox 3.5 released. In the first 24 hour after release it was downloaded by more than 5 mln people. Of course it’s less than 7.7 mln for Firefox 3.0, but the number is still overwhelming. Read more about Firefox 3.5 new features and find useful tips in my review.

4. Bing launched BingTweets search tool to combine Bing Web search and Twitter search. This is not actually what I consider to be real-time search, but it’s probably a step towards this. Bing and Twitter search results are displayed in two different boxes now. What I don’t like is that Twitter results emerge one by one and the oldest goes down. When the search is finished, you can see 4-5 latest tweets only and can’t scroll down to read even the tweets you saw while they emerged in the window. Other features work pretty well, including the option to share or tweet your search results.

Keep up with the latest news! Stay tuned.

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July 21, 2009 Posted by | Google, internet, Social Networks, twitter, Web 2-0, Windows | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

iCal calendar on your desktop

iCalendar or iCal format for calendar data exchange was initially developed for use under Apple Macintosh operating system, and you can find tons of info how to show iCal on Mac desktop. Nevertheless, iCal calendar can be displayed on Windows desktop as well and there are short reviews of Windows desktop calendar tools that support iCalendars. They let you exchange iCal data between iPhone, iPod, Google Calendar or other web apps and your PC.

1. Desktop iCalendar – desktop calendar consisting of 4 widgets – monthly calendar, events, to-do list and weather widget. Allows to sync calendar and to-do list with Google calendar, exchange data with any device which use .ics (iCalendar) format.

desktop_icalendar

2. Active Desktop Calendar – desktop calendar with appointments notes, tasks, alarms and contacts. Allows data exchange with Outlook and Google Calendar. Supports iCal and CSV formats for data import \ export.

active_desktop_calendar

3. Screen Calendar – desktop wallpaper calendar and reminder, shows small or fullscreen calendar for one or two month. Allows easy synchronizing events with MS Outlook. Supports iCal fully that lets you subscribe to iCalendar sources, import events from iCal calendars (including Google Calendar) to the desktop and export events to .ics files.

screen_calendar

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June 18, 2009 Posted by | Calendar, Software, Windows | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vista Start Menu – an alternative to usual Start Menu

There are lots of various Windows enhancement softwares. Today we have the new version of one of them which can enhance Windows Start menu – a small yet powerful piece of software – Vista Start Menu 3.15. This program can become an alternative to usual Start menu, especially if you have tons of programs installed and therefore spend a lot of time looking for the needed program in your Start menu list.

The Start menu appeared in Windows 95 for the first time. After that only cosmetic changes were made in it and only in Windows XP there were first worth mentioning changes. The menu was expanded to two columns: the left column for installed applications, and the right one for access to user’s documents and system functionality. In Windows Vista, Start menu was also changed – there was added Search box. Nevertheless, no changes were made concerning the most important purpose of the Start menu – launching programs.

Do you need any changes in the Start menu? No, you don’t if you have only a dozen programs installed. If there are more programs, launching one program requires time directly proportional to the number of installed programs. The problem is partially solved by the Quick Launch Panel, but it also becomes almost useless when the number of programs increases.

Vista Start Menu software was designed exactly to solve this problem. There are some key features of the program:

  • Program in the list always stay in their places and are easy to find because they are exactly where you left them. This reduces time spent finding the needed program.
  • Start menu is resizeable and can be easily moved to any part of the screen.
  • Keyboard shortcuts can be used to launch programs and to control the power. You can simply remember the shortcuts for the most often used programs and launch them in a few seconds.
  • The icons of programs are displayed near their names, that cuts search time significantly. It’s much easier and quicker to find and recognize an icon than read a program name.
  • An amazing feature is quick access to the Internet search directly from the Start menu. Usual Search box serves either for search (Google search or simple PC search) or as a run option. You may begin typing immediately when the Start menu is open and then simply use keyboard shortcuts or mouse to select what to do with the text you typed in – find on your computer, search in the Web or Run.

vista_start_menu

All in all, I seem this program to be a very convenient alternative to the usual Start menu for people who have many programs installed. Besides, the basic version is free (all the features I’ve mentioned above and a few others are included with the basic version), and the price of the Pro version is reasonable for the feature set it offers. So Start working with pleasure! 🙂

*For writing a review, materials from Vista Start Menu website were used

April 17, 2009 Posted by | Software, Windows | , , , , | 1 Comment