John Hart: ‘I recommend doing the acrostic on your computer, via the New York Times crossword page. I think there’s a small annual fee to get to it, but it gives you access to all the puzzles in the paper. The acrostics become pretty quick when you don’t have to spend the time to copy from the clues to the grid. And the cost of guessing is essentially nil – nothing to erase if you change your answer later.’
Andrea: ‘[And] here is a great blog> that we read AFTER we do the Times crossword each day.’
SAFARI FOR THE PC
Russ Barnes: ‘Safari had tabbed browsing long before IE did. You just need to turn it on in the Preferences. I’ve found Safari to be fast, though not as fast as they claim, and it does play funny with some websites. Firefox is still my preferred browser.’
David D’Antonio: ‘A reason to use Safari is that it is far less susceptible to drive-by downloading and other such things than IE. It is also far more standards-compliant. A reason not to use it is if you need ActiveX controls or toolbars written for IE since they aren’t (and won’t be) supported. Also, a lot of websites aren’t really standards-compliant; they are written for IE and look best and work best in IE. If you regularly use one of these sites, you’re gonna have to use IE.’
Greg Bandy: ‘I’ve used Safari some, as an alternative to Firefox. I don’t use Internet Explorer unless a web site doesn’t load properly in Firefox. I mainly looked at it (again) because Safari bookmarks will sync with my iPhone, but Apple doesn’t support Firefox bookmark syncing (which strikes me as a blatant competitive move against Firefox, but that’s another topic). My big gripe against Safari is that I can’t get many of the add-ons that I use with Firefox, such as Google Toolbar, NoScript, and Google Gears. That situation will improve, I’m sure, but until then I’ll stick with Firefox and export my bookmarks to IE for iPhone sync as needed.’
OPERA (BUT FUN)
Max: ‘Regarding Safari, Apple’s browser . . . If you want a fast, compact browser, take a look either at two free browsers, Firefox and Opera. Of the two, Opera isn’t as widely known, so folks target it less frequently with malware. I have used Opera for many years, and can vouch for its speed, stability, and functionality. It’s very fast, and takes up little disk space (and the download file is also relatively small). It has supported tabbed browsing for a long time, and also features a true zoom feature. You can hold down the Control key and then turn your mouse wheel up and down to zoom the web page. Firefox and Internet Explorer offer something similar, but they don’t really have true zoom (they can’t zoom pictures on a web page). Opera does a remarkable job of zooming everything on the page and even lets you set a default zoom for all web pages. So, for example, you can have it enlarge all web pages to 120% as Opera loads them. Very handy for readers with more mature eyes. Also . . . with Opera, you can take notes relating to a web page, if you like. It also lets you save a session so you can come back to it. So, if you don’t have time to read all the pages you’ve opened, you can save the session, and come back to it later. Finally, Opera also offers e-mail functionality, should you wish to use it (I do not).’
☞ Sorry about my subhead. I was just ribbing the smart kids. I know opera is fun.
MOZY v. AMAZON + JUNGLE DISK
Bill Schwartz: ‘Instead of Mozy, I suggest you consider doing your online backup with Amazon. Their S3 (Simple Storage Service) is very inexpensive ($.15/gigabyte/month) and reliable, and Amazon is unlikely to disappear or treat you badly. The best way to use Amazon S3, I think, is via JungleDisk: great developer, inexpensive, excellent built-in backup, cross-platform (Mac, PC, Linux), bulletproof encryption if you desire, web-based access to your data from any computer as an option, and lots of other great features available now or in the pipeline. I’ve been using JungleDisk for a while now, to store quite a lot of data, and my Amazon S3 bill has never been more than a dollar a month.’
☞ It looks good. Like Mozy, JungleDisk only backs up files that have changed since the last time. But (according to this), the entire file is backed up if there’s been a change . . . they are working on ‘block-level’ updates. For someone like me – with a couple of enormous files he uses all the time – that could slow things down.
Mike Albert: ‘I’ve been using Mozy for several years now and have been quite happy. When I’ve occasionally had to restore a few files, it’s worked fine. But it just started taking several days to do a backup! That’s when it works: the last attempt ran over 55 hours and then failed. My last successful backup ended on March 29 and took over 27 hours. This problem started on March 25. Mozy support says this is ‘a known error that some users are experiencing.’ They’ve apologized and extended my contract for a month, but so far they haven’t been able to fix the problem. After poking around the web a little, I’ve found these forums listing other problems with Mozy. I have no idea how common such problems are, but clearly everyone isn’t happy. I haven’t quite given up on Mozy yet, but I certainly can’t recommend Mozy with the confidence I once did.’
☞ Still working fine for me.
Mark Laurel: ‘Add me to the list of those who switched from PC to Mac. At the beginning of the year I bought a stylish iMac for my desk. I do most of my work on it with no problems. When I want to run programs in Windows, I just reboot into Vista. I’ve had to reload my Vista operating system once, which is not that unusual for me and Windows. Maybe a brand new, fully configured Dell would work as well, and there us no question that Macs are not perfect. But there’s nothing I need that this computer can’t do.’