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Stories by Ian Harac

Opera browser: Can it sing the big boys off the stage?

Coke or Pepsi? Kirk or Picard? Betty or Veronica? The great battles of the marketplace tend to be duels, and few people gripe if you leave out RC, Sisko, or Cheryl Blossom. The "Browser Wars" are no different, with "IE vs. Firefox" having replaced "Netscape vs. IE" long ago, and other options are often forgotten. Opera has been one of the strongest alternate browsers for a long time, and it was my browser of choice prior to Firefox. Opera 11 (free) continues the Opera tradition of doing something different instead of a minor reskin of someone else's codebase, and delivers a plethora of features that are actually designed to be usable, not to pad out a checklist.

Written by Ian Harac22 April 11 23:41

Open source FreeOTFE encrypts disks handily

FreeOTFE may sound like a political bumper sticker, but it stands for "Free On The Fly Encryption." The "Free" part is self-explanatory; "On The Fly Encryption" refers to the encrypting/decrypting of data as it is written to or read from your hard disk.

Written by Ian Harac09 March 11 06:09

Erase data permanently with SecureClean

It's well-known that "deleting" a file from Windows doesn't fully remove it, but you may not understand just how much data can remain on your disk after a file is gone. Even fragments of a file such as a crucial e-mail or spreadsheet can contain valuable data. Browsing histories, cookies, and more can linger a long time. SecureClean ($US50, 14-day free trial) will remove all such detritus permanently.

Written by Ian Harac07 March 11 07:48

Microsoft Word alternatives: Wordsmiths, rejoice!

Microsoft Word is ubiquitous: It's the standard word processor in most places of business, and it often ends up installed on home PCs due to compatibility and familiarity. It isn't the only choice, however. Whether your main concern is price, complexity, specialized functionality, system footprint, or some combination of the above, you might have many reasons to look beyond Word.

Written by Ian Harac01 Feb. 11 02:05

ConTEXT text editor a boon for programmers

ConTEXT is a powerful, free, and open-source text editor squarely aimed at programmers. Its feature set makes it especially useful for system administrators, toolsmiths, and Web mavens, all of whom often have to juggle many small files written in a variety of languages or markups.

Written by Ian Harac12 Jan. 11 10:50

New Notepads: Better, stronger, faster

Much as coelacanths have changed only slightly despite millions of years of evolution, some bundled Windows apps have scarcely progressed since the dawn of Microsoft's operating system. Today's Notepad text editor, for one, barely differs from the 1985 version.

Written by Ian Harac11 Dec. 10 02:25

MDB Viewer Plus

MDB is the format used by Microsoft Access, one of the most popular databases in the world. Usually, a front end application of some type is used to - no pun intended - access the data. However, it can sometimes occur that you end up with a "naked" MDB and no way to peek inside it. Enter MDB Viewer Plus (free).

Written by Ian Harac11 Aug. 09 11:40

Textmaker Viewer 2009

TextMaker Viewer 2009 contains no editing functionality, but does allow you to open, search, and copy text from a variety of common document formats, including .doc, .docx (Microsoft Office 2007), .rtf, and .odt (Open Document format, used by OpenOffice.org).

Written by Ian Harac11 May 09 17:15

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