MadMod Computing The MadMod Computing Newsletter

Vol. 2004b

Welcome to this edition of The MadMod Computing Newsletter.   We hope that you enjoy the features of each issue and learn some computing skills along the way.

First, a reminder to make backups of your important files, and to use Scandisk and Disk Defragmenter--at least monthly.  Second, keep your anti-virus software up-to-date.  Last, obtain all the critical Windows updates.

Featured in This Issue
1.     Using Mozilla
2.     Minding Your Software Backups
3.     BBC News World Edition (website)

1.    Using Mozilla
Once connected to your Internet connection via dial-up, DSL or cable, it's your choice as to which browser you prefer to use for the session. Logging in via AOL or Juno, etc. doesn't preclude you from minimizing the starting browser by clicking on the "-" sign at the upper right corner, and then using another browser which is faster and less cluttered with ISP proprietary information.

Mozilla from is a browser with no accompanying advertisements which images webpages faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer, has tabbing features and has a full e-mail client with few of the security problems which plague Microsoft's Outlook Express. I suggest that you download and install Mozilla 1.6 and give it a try. You may prefer it to Microsoft's Internet Explorer after even a short time.

2.    Minding Your Software Backups
Backups are a necessary nuisance. At some point in the history of your computer, the hard drive will fail and need replacement. (a 5-year life span is about average)

I recommend the USB 256MB memory keys that are about the size of magic markers and plug into any available USB port. These affordable devices once plugged in allow the computer to access an additional drive assigning it a drive letter. Using Microsoft's Windows Explorer allows easy transfer of files to the device. Having a good backup gives peace of mind and saves lots of time if/when your hard drive decides to fail.

If your computer has a CD-RW drive, you can "burn" CD-R's and store large amounts of data that can stored separate from the computer. Before the USB memory keys, this was the preferred method for making small-scale backups of your most important files. (Industry , with more data to back up, instead uses disk cloning (ghosting), RAID and high speed tape drives.)

3.    BBC News World Edition (website)
What I like about BBC News World Edition at is that there's a non-USA, unfiltered news service which just reports the news around the world--without commercials! No pop-ups or pop-unders, no banners and basically no selling are what make this site clean, easy to load and instantly readable without distractions. (Note that doesn't have distracting advertising of any sort either and never will--unless you consider the whole website one giant info-commercial.)

BBC News World Edition has features by subject or by regions of the world. It's very interesting to get another country's look back at US news. Try it. You'll like it.

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E-mail to the editor: David Mawdsley

Copyright © 2004, The MadMod Computing Newsletter