Most non-techies never take the time to make sure they are experiencing the Internet in the best way possible. Some often stick with the browser that came with their computer that was purchased years ago. Get the most out of the Internet by taking a few simple steps:
Step 1: Choose the right browser
The main browsers are Firefox (FF), Internet Explorer (IE), Opera, Safari and Chrome. Firefox, Safari and Chrome are about equal at displaying websites beautifully. Firefox is the browser of choice because it has more add-ons (small apps that do some cool stuff), so that’s why it gets my nod. All these browsers have free upgrades. Go to http://www.mozilla.org to upload Firefox.
Step 2: Upgrade to the latest version of your browser
Firefox 6 is the current version as of this publication.
Step 3: Set up a start page
When starting an Internet session, set it to the page visited most often. From the Firefox menu: Select Tools | Options, enter the web site address in the Home Page box, then Select OK. Most instructions for other browsers may be slightly different.
Step 4: Choose the right free email account
The main free email accounts are AOL, Gmail, MSN/Hotmail and Yahoo. Gmail is the email account of choice – hands down. Gmail: (1) imports your contacts and notifies them of the change; (2) has lots of space which gives you the ability to roll-up all emails on the same subject line; (3) has excellent search capability and spam filtering, great smart phone setup, and its Google tool is king of the hill. Reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org (See, I practice what I preach!)
Step 5: Choose to use “Outlook” to manage multiple emails
On your computer, set up all your emails accounts (with the exception of Gmail) in one place by using Outlook. This is a very useful program in catching and filtering spam emails and viruses. Gmail’s web interface is also good.
Step 6: Install Security Software
Last, but not least, invest $30 – $50 in a good security software program. Most will allow you to install it on three computers maximum. Norton is the best on the market today. McAfee is a close runner-up. It is good for the
reliability on research published by PC Magazine, PC World and others. There are good free options like AVG that you can use if you are pinching pennies.
So, there you have it – the perfect starter toolkit, at a price you can afford.
In future editions of “A Pinch of Technology,” we will explore how to discover and use: (1) free Internet; (2) Smart-phone: iPhone (wait for iPhone5 in October); (3) Tablet: iPad (wait for iPad 3 in a few months); (4) Laptop: Toshiba with intel processor; and (5) Desktop: (use a laptop with lots of space).
Principal, Nextium Solutions