Thursday, February 15, 2007

Windows Vista, What You Should Know Before Buying

By Rayman L

Choosing which version of Windows XP to buy was a pretty easy decision for most people. If you needed basic features you bought the Home version. If you were a business person or wanted dual processor support and remote access you bought Windows XP Pro.

With the release of the New Windows Vista, consumers now face a much more confusing selection and which version you purchase must be carefully considered as the Vista editions vary measurably in features and software components.

Windows Vista Home Basic

This is the low end model of the Vista family, the basic no frills starter car. You get DirectX 10 (the new multimedia programming technology for graphics, sound, music, and 3-D animation) but not the fancy new Aero 3D desktop. Sidebar, a column where Vista's new mini programs called gadgets like Calendars and weather reports are kept is included in all Vista versions and the highly touted security features. That's pretty much it. You don't get Windows Media Center support or the other interesting new options and applications of the higher end Vistas. You will find Vista Home Basic installed on very low end pc's and laptops. Price: $199 full version or $99 upgrade.

Windows Vista Home Premium

Now we're talking. Microsoft is pushing this as the proper minimum upgrade to XP. Vista Home Premium has all the sexy UI elements like glassy buttons, 3d application preview, and live thumbnails icons shown in previews and commercials. You also get multimedia programs gaining in popularity like DVD Maker and Movie Maker. Windows Media Center support is included in Vista Home Premium so you can use the Xbox 360 as a media extender to play your music or movies. Price: $239 full version or $159 upgrade.

Windows Vista Ultimate

Vista Ultimate is for the home power user who wants all the cool toys. Ultimate Vista includes everything in Vista Home Premium plus robust networking and data management features from the Business and Enterprise editions. With Vista Ultimate Microsoft promises future enhancements through Windows Ultimate Extras, downloadable upgrades exclusive to this version. Price: $399 full version or $259 upgrade.

Windows Vista Business

Think of Vista Business as Vista Home Premium for business people. In this case Microsoft swaps out the multimedia centric software like Media Center, DVD Maker and Movie Maker for data backup, remote desktop and network security. Price: $299 full version or $199 upgrade.

Windows Vista Enterprise

The Enterprise version is essentially Vista Businesss designed for large companies that need mass installations on dozens to thousands of computers.

Armed with this little cheat sheet, you should be able to figure out your needs and make an informed decision before waltzing into your nearest computer store before buying Microsoft's latest and greatest OS.

Rayman Lee is a technology enthusiast who runs several web sites on gadgets and technology. His latest project is

Thursday, February 8, 2007

FREE Google Docs & Spreadsheets ‘Challenge’ MS Office?

By Wong Hing

Google Office? No..We called it Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets?

Simple. It is lightweight alternatives to Microsoft Office Word and Excel. Only that Google offer online free word processor and spreadsheet, and they allow collaboration...

Well, being able to jointly create and edit documents with others in your team - whether they're in your local office or remote location, is a huge benefit of the Google Docs solutions. It's worth a look if you're in this type of environment.

Another Google exciting feature is that it allows you to create documents and spreadsheets without the need to save to your local hard drive. But if you like you do have the option to save a copy to your hard drive.

Since Google Docs & Spreadsheets saves to a secure, online storage facility, you can access your documents and spreadsheets from any computer, anytime and, in the event of a local hard drive crash, you won't lose your saved content online.

Both of the Google docs and spreadsheets are still consider ‘basic’ at this point, but they're worth a bit of time to explore. Let see…

<>What You Can Do with Google Docs & Spreadsheets?

Here's what you can do with Google Docs:

  • Upload MS Word documents, OpenOffice, rtf, or html.
  • Use online editor to format documents, spell-check, etc.
  • Invite others (by e-mail address) to edit or view your documents.
  • Edit documents online with whomever you choose.
  • View your documents' revision history and roll back to any version.
  • Publish documents and spreadsheets online to the world or to just who you choose.
  • Post documents to your blog.
  • Download documents to your PC as MS Word, OpenOffice, rtf, pdf, html or zip.
  • The Google Spreadsheets also allow you to do the following:

  • Import and export of .xls, .csv, and .ods formatted data (and export functionality for .pdf and .html).
  • Enjoy intuitive navigation and editing, like any traditional document or spreadsheet.
  • Use formatting and formula editing in spreadsheets so you can calculate results and make your data look the way you want it.
  • Chat in real time with others who are editing your spreadsheet.
  • Invite others (by e-mail address) to edit or view your spreadsheets.

At the moment, you need to pay attention on the size of your document/spreadsheet?

  • Each document can be up to 500K, and up to 2MB per embedded image.
  • Each user has a limit of 1000 documents and 1000 images.
  • Each spreadsheet can be up to 10,000 rows, or up to 256 columns, or up to 50,000 cells, or up to 20 sheets -- whichever limit is reached first.
  • Each user has a limit of 100 spreadsheets.
  • You can import spreadsheets up to approximately 1 Mb in .xls or .odf format.

Since it’s online, then which browsers are supported?

Google Docs & Spreadsheets will work wherever you have access to the Internet via a Windows or Macintosh computer with one of these browsers:

1. Internet Explorer 6.0+ (Windows)
2. Firefox 1.07,
3. Mozilla 1.7.12+
4. Netscape 7.2, 8.0

Google Docs & Spreadsheets is not supported, and probably won't run on other browsers.

Note: Regardless of your browser type, you must enable cookies and JavaScript.

To get more free information about how to use Google Docs & Spreadsheets and Microsoft Office, visit