Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Computers, Software And Technology

Australian PC User is such a great magazine! I get it every month and haven't been disappointed yet. Back in February, the magazine, PC User, supplied a video overview of Windows Vista. I watched the video and I was definitely hooked. All the new features and also some old ones that have been redone! When I looked through a later PC User issue, I read about all the computers that they have tested and then I found one for $1,499 with a pretty good rap. I am very excited about it! It is not a name-brand one like HP, Dell, IBM or anything like that, but I don't care. As long as it works and has everything I need, I'll be happy! I've been saving my money and, hopefully, I'll get it at the end of the year or early next year.

One thing I do realize about getting my new computer is that it may not come with programs I need like Microsoft Office or other programs, but I just have to say that I am a little disappointed in the latest Microsoft Office suite. They've taken out FrontPage, a program I used to use at school for a project. FrontPage was in Microsoft Office 2003, but taken out of Office 2007, therefore I am going to try and see if I can get Office 2003, otherwise, I'll buy Office 2007 and get FrontPage separately (I know I've already got a web site editor, but sometimes it is nice to use another one along side the one you're using). Apart from that disappointment, Office 2007 actually looks really good with its new ribbon bar (that is all I know about the new Office). If Microsoft Office is too expensive, I'll probably use a free, open-source program called OpenOffice.org, which actually sounds quite good, especially since it is free!

I also don't know if people are aware, but MP3 players come in different formats; Flash, Microdrive and Hard Drive. For those of you who don't know what the difference is (I learnt the hard way when I got my MP3 player, more on this later), I will tell you now. Flash MP3 players are the ones that are pretty small and can fit in your pocket without any weight at all, there are also no moving parts (such as a hard drive needle or disc) in Flash based MP3 players, so you can run around with them and do whatever you want with them. Microdrive based MP3 players are good, but from what I hear, these ones are not as successful as the Flash ones or the hard drive based ones. Microdrive MP3 players are bigger than Flash based ones, but are smaller than hard drive based MP3 players (like Ipods). Since there is a mini hard drive in the Microdrive players (this means that there are moving parts that need to access songs), which means that you cannot take it on a run or a jog or else you could cause the MP3 player to skip and the needle to go all over the place.

Around August-September last year, I decided to get an MP3 player because I was sick of having to change CDs while I am busy and I also found it frustrating, seeing as I love to dance to my music, a CD walkman won't help at all because the songs will skip all over the place (and sometimes I have to press STOP several times before it actually stops the CD). The MP3 player I got was a 5.0GB Creative MuVo2 FM, which is fantastic, but still not enough space for me to put all my favourite CDs on it. The sound quality was also fantastic, even having a voice recorder and FM radio is fantastic (I just wish they would include AM radio frequency as that is all I listen to, AM stations). If anyone wants to get it, than I have a word of warning. I don't know if it is just the Creative MuVo2 FM or other brands, or if it also happens on flash based ones, but I find, with the MuVo2 FM, you have to be careful when you have the player plugged into the computer. I get frustrated because after I've finished transferring songs to my MP3 player and I do the usual thing to safely disconnect it via Windows from the USB port, an error comes up on the MP3 player screen saying that it wasn't disconnected properly. Windows XP said it disconnected safely but the MP3 player itself doesn't agree.  It tells me I have to run ScanDisk/CheckDisk.  You would think that would do the trick, right?  Wrong! There have been times when I've had to re-connect to the computer and run CheckDisk at least fifteen times!!!  I started to worry that I may lose songs due to this repetitive process or that the MP3 player may eventually stop working altogether. Well, it is still working BUT now the computer won't recognise it at all!! I'm not happy!  My Mum has the exact same player as I do and, while she's had the occasional connection problems, the computer is still recognising her player just fine so, obviously, there is a problem with my player.  I do intend to upgrade to a bigger and better player like an IPod or Microsoft's new player (Zune), but for now, I will have to stick with what I've got and be satisfied with the songs I have loaded on.

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