Posts Tagged 'programs'

When to use free software

Who doesn’t like free stuff? While there’s no shortage or free software available there’s plenty to be wary of. If it’s from a major software company then it’s probably trustworthy. And when in doubt, there’s always Google. Do a search and see what people say. Undoubtedly there will be crapware that comes along with “free” software, but that’s just the price you pay for “free” software. Be prepared to spammed on a regular basis about the benefits of upgrading to the paid version.

By all accounts DO NOT click on those popup ads which claim to have detected a virus on your computer. Those type of tactics will most certainly install some sort of malicious program on to your computer. *tsk *tsk those pesky cyber criminals just keep getting more clever every day.

It you do have to test out some questionable software, don’t install it on your main computer. Set up a stand alone box, disconnected from the network and Internet and go nuts. Don’t forget to scan easy install file before running it. When you’re done with it, uninstall it. It may not be malicious now, but there’s no telling what it will do next week.

Sony changes mind about $50 fee to remove crapware

Late last night word started circulating that Sony’s suits decided that delivering crapware-free PCs was a great idea, particularly if they could get consumers to pay $50 for a PC free of the bloat.

For the uninitiated, “crapware” is the loving term we give to all the useless and often quite irritating software that comes pre-installed on a new PC. ISPs software, anti-virus software that won’t work in 60 days, pointless “media players” and “managers” are just some of the examples of software that are routinely uninstalled on new PCs we receive in the lab. It’s a real pain, and sometimes these crappy programs cause you problems.

We learned at 2007’s International CES, straight from Michael Dell himself, that “crapware” generates significant revenue for the PC industry, accounting for some $60 of revenue per machine at Dell. In an industry with razor-thin margins, it’s not hard to see why crapware is popular with OEMs like Dell and Sony. Not everyone can rake in Apple-like margins on computer hardware (of course, Apple is better on crapware than most, too). (link)

Millions doing own taxes using software

Millions of Canadians are using software programs and becoming their own accountants when it comes to their taxes.

Software programs have been updated to take into account recent changes announced in the last federal budget, such as pension income splitting for seniors, children’s fitness credits and reduced income tax rates.

More than 4.1 million Canadians filed their taxes through the Canada Revenue Agency’s Netfile for the 2006 tax year.

Another roughly 8.8 million Canadians filed online through tax professionals for 2006.

That means for the 2006 tax year, the Canada Revenue Agency received just more than 50 per cent of its returns electronically, said spokesman Serge Paradis. (link)

Apple throttling non-Apple software, unfortunate biproduct

Some of you may have noticed that the Firefox 3 nightly builds have felt a lot snappier since a few weeks ago. There’s an interesting story in that, one that I finally have time to write up. We’ve had a number of bugs on the Mac where people were complaining of bad performance compared to Firefox 2, usually involving a test where a page was scrolled by a small step 100 or so times, and the time from start to finish was recorded. In many of these tests, Fx3 was coming in at 50% to 500%+ slower. This was odd, because in theory the graphics layer (which is what scrolling is mostly exercising) in Firefox 3 should be faster, given that it’s talking almost directly to Quartz.

Slashdot seems to have picked up on this, and in typical style, has completely misunderstood the post. To be clear, I do not think that Apple is in any way trying to purposely “cripple” non-Apple software. I also do not think that undocumented APIs give Safari any kind of “significant performance advantage” (as Firefox 3 should show!). However, as I said, the undocumented functionality could be useful for Firefox and other apps to implement things in an simpler (and potentially more efficient) manner. I don’t think this is malicious, it’s just an unfortunate cutting of corners that is way too easy for a company that’s not fully open to do.(link)


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