Things I find useful on the net
Free yourself from the spyware and potential viruses you can get using Internet Explorer and start using the excellent free browser Firefox. Not only is it much more stable and secure than IE, it has a popup blocker built in and it also has a feature called Extensions which are user made addons to the browser that allows a lot of customisation to your needs. You can download extensions from within Firefox by using Tools>Addons>Get more Extensions.
My Favourite extension is Adblock Plus which allows you to disable obtrusive ads. Other extensions I use are Flashblock (stops annoying flash animations on websites), Forecastfox (weather forecast), View Cookies (allows control of your browser cookies).
Download Firefox for free from:
VOIP (Voice over IP) is the next "big thing" and it has massive implications for the whole telephone network. Various programs allow you to talk for free over the Internet with varying features and sound quality, but in my view, Skype is the clear market leader. I have been using it for a couple of years for talking to people that I play online games with, but now I have actually got rid of my telephone landline and use Skype exclusively. What prompted the change was finding something called a Yamamoto Easyblue box on Ebay. It cost around £25 and it allows me to use my regular home telephone with Skype. As I have a set of 4 cordless DECT phones with headset ports, it means I am not tethered to my PC to make or receive calls. Skype allows you to call regular phones at very good rates via SkypeOut, and using another service called SkypeIn, I get a regular telephone number that people can call me on and it gets sent through to Skype. I have friends abroad who I sent Easyblue boxes to and now we can talk for free via Skype.
Update Jan 2007: Have just got a Dualphone 3088 which is a Skype and regular DECT phone which frees me from having to use a PC for Skype which is great!
It is the options above that other VOIP programs can't do and which makes Skype so useful.
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For readers in the UK who want to see what is coming on TV, I can very much recommend Digiguide. It allows you to create a custom TV and Radio guide that highlights your favourites and programmes you might like to see, give you audible reminders, and even with some PC based TV Tuners, control the recording of programmes automatically for you.
You can download a trial version from the link below:
If you use Usenet newsgroups (by far the best discussion forum on the Net), I can very much recommend using Agent by Forteinc. It is a very powerful program, but I would warn you that the default setting when you first use it are aren't very well thought out. Spending an hour learning to use it and tune it to your preferences is time worth spent as it will save you massive amounts of time over something like Outlook Express.
Download a 30 day free trial from:
skype id: andrewpr