Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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January 2006, Week 5 -- Tag, You're It


Tagworld


   The latest thing in Web sites is sharing video online. We've been looking at a free service for this, www.tagworld.com, and it's very nice.

 

   When you sign on to TagWorld, it creates a personal Web site that you can share with friends or associates in what's called a social network. If the people on your network like one of your videos, they can click "add to my videos" or "add to my Web site" and it's theirs.
 
     You can also paste in a URL from another site, such as youtube.com, where you've uploaded videos previously. The video comes into your new Web site almost immediately, and it looks better than it does on youtube. There were no ads showing alongside the video. Some other pages do have ads, and that's how TagWorld supports itself. We found the ads to be unobtrusive.
   
     You can also upload and store single photos and music, but because of copyright laws, people who sign in can only listen to the music; they can't download it to their own computers. Individual photos are shown in "flip book" style with animated pages that turn automatically. You get 1 GB of free storage at the outset; pricing for additional storage has not been set yet.
   
     To get started with TagWorld, you are asked to fill out a form listing your marital status, location, age, etc. It looks like you have to answer all the questions, but in fact you don't. You can leave the entire form blank, if you prefer. TagWorld has become available in only the past few months.

 

 

 

Your Daily Diary

idaily diary

 

   The free iDailyDiary from www.splinterware.com looks much like a traditional personal diary, but has lots of extras. You can add pictures, animations, links to Web sites and, of course, your own diary comments.
 
   The diary is searchable, and you can add as many pages as you want for each day's entry. There are tabs for each page, and you can name them anything you want, which lets you turn the diary into a notebook or outline. Each tab might represent a chapter in a book, for instance, or notes on a given topic. A monthly calendar appears at the bottom of the screen, with green squares on the days you have diary entries.
   
     You can schedule events, make appointments and export the diary a page at a time to MS Word, WordPerfect, HTML and other formats. The regular version is free, and there's a professional version for $30. With the pro version, you can export the entire diary at once, rather than a page at a time.
   
Reference Library Online Business Library
 
   For $55 a year you can get access to industry reports and lists, digitized business books, calculators and online help from James J. Hill Reference Library (www.jjhill.org), a nonprofit in St. Paul, Minn. It is considered one of the most comprehensive business libraries in America.
   
  Executing the Executables
   
     An "executable" file is a program. Once you load such a file, it becomes a working program on your computer and, by extension, your network. This is usually just what you wanted it to do, but it can also be nothing but trouble.
   

 Anti-Executable

   Executables are the most dangerous kinds of spyware, or malware, as they're sometimes called. Inattention and inexperience put systems at risk. Such programs are often installed by someone either not paying attention or not understanding the full import of messages that say things like "to continue, click here," or "add this free program to your system." What follows if you click "yes" can be harmless or even beneficial; but it could also be your worst computer nightmare. The danger is greatest in companies and schools, where many people can go online and are also hooked into a network that can share files.
   
     The defense is to stop the process of automatically downloading executable files. If you have lots of networked computers, you might want to look at Anti-Executable from Faronics. This blocks executable files and questions you on whether or not you really want to load the next one coming up. This can be a nuisance with legitimate programs, of course, but you, as the administrator of the program, can use your password to allow an installation, if you know for sure you want that software.
   
     There is a charge of $27.30 for each business license; there's a free trial version available at the Web site: www.faronics.com.
   
  Internuts
   

 

  www.truelocal.com: Lets you do searches by ZIP code. This is similar to Yahoo's and Google's "local" tabs. In general, we got better search results with those two leading search engines, but TrueLocal did turn up some gems. Use it instead of the yellow pages.

 

  Pictureal

 

  www.powerleap.com: It scans your computer hardware, tells you what kind of CPU, memory, storage and graphics card you have. Then it tells you what your upgrade options are.

 

  www.pictureal.com: If you hate video editing, this is your site. You mail in your video and indicate the star scenes you want to emphasize and the style you prefer. They then put it together, and the result looks quite professional. A free trial puts your video online for 14 days; the charge after that is $29 for each hour of video you supplied.

Sports videos

 

  www.totalvid.com: Extreme sports videos: surfing, snow boarding, wind surfing, kite boarding, etc. There are 1,600 clips to choose from, and the short ones are free. We liked "Billabong Odyssey."

 

  Books
   

Geeks on Call

   "Geeks on Call PCs: 5-Minute Fixes" by James T. Geier and Eric Geier; $15 from www.wiley.com.
 
   Learn how to add memory, install a new graphics card and fix common problems, like screen flickers or a non-responsive keyboard. Learn your PC's central processor speed, hard drive size and memory type. The book also includes tips and tricks on solving common problems in Microsoft Word, Works, Excel and Intuit's Quicken.

 

 

NOTE: Readers can search several years of columns at the "On Computers" Web site: www.oncomp.com or at www.uexpress.com/oncomputers .