Monday, November 29, 2004

File Sharing Ethics

With major advances in the internet over the past few years, there have been a growing number of available programs to enable file sharing between users. Napster was the first program to really harness the power of the internet to transfer songs from machine to machine. Although the government has cracked down on software and its user, the file sharing community has evolved to skirt around these laws and avoid prosecution. Napster relied on a more central server to direct communications between users and initiate song transfers. Newer file sharing programs are more peer to peer based (P2P) and directly connect users without the relay communications of the central server. This makes it much more difficult for users to be caught, and almost impossible to prevent file sharing without dealing directly with the Internet Service Providers.

I am sure that very little of the material shared through these programs is legal, and it has become an even bigger issue since movies, tv shows, pictures and other files are now being shared. This is quite the advancement from basic song sharing over 56k modems. I am not particularly concerned with getting caught sharing music or downloading copyrighted songs. The general public participates in these practices daily in staggering numbers, making it difficult for individual users to be picked out of a crowd. This is not to say that this mass downloading is healthy or moral, but it has become common practice in society today, and people are reluctant to give up something that is so beneficial with minimum effort.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Operating system Comparison

While all operating systems are essential pieces of software, there are often times when where specific operating systems are better than others. Linux for example, is not widely used among homes, but holds the majority in server environments for its ease of use and reliability. Being freeware, Linux also offers a cheaper alternative to windows and is believed by many to be more stable and secure. The benefits of windows are that it is the most widely used operating system, and thus is very compatible among computers of friends, family, school, and work. People are generally more familiar with the windows operating system, which despite being priced around $100-$200, still has more exposure to the public than Linux, or any other operating system.

Both operating systems offer a graphical user interface, as well as command line prompts if the user chooses so. The linux X-windows is the most popular GUI among Linux users, and it has a lot of similarities to the windows xp interface. Some benefits of Linux are that it is completely open source and there are no secrets about how the program works, whereas the windows installation process is stealthy, and there are always programs running in the background, typically using more memory than is necessary. Over the years the popularity of Linux has grown tremendously and as it continues to gain widespread approval, more users will continue to switch as more software becomes available and publicity increases.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Pocket Excel

Well taking into consideration that I am a long time computer user and never liked excel very much, I still find the ways to appreciate pocket excel. For starters, I find it very easy to navigate and it is a simplified version of the desktop version of excel. This made it very easy to use formulas, but would cause a lot of confusion when dealing with complicated workbooks. I found pocket excel better for finding simple solutions to a small range of data, but desktop excel is definitely more versatile.

The usability of pocket excel is definitely limited by the keypad data entry or draw text tool. Also, the ability to enter complex formulas is severely limited. I would suggest that desktop excel be used when the useful help features of the program are accessible. I have found them to be a good guide in trouble shooting formula syntex errors. Also, pocket excel doesnt offer the same formatting abilities and is saved under a different file type format. Generally, pocket excel is useful for quick calculations on the road, but for efficiency desktop excel is the better program.