IS A BROWSER ENOUGH?
I have been asked this question several times during my presentation on "Internet" and from friends. It really depends on your needs. For me this is not enough. I "supplement" the browser with several other software's to maximise what I can get from the WWW. I would like to state upfront that these are my preferences and does not reflect any endorsement of the products or software by me or Berita MMA. Just out of curiosity, I decided to have a look at my very first Berita MMA article which I wrote in March 1997 issue on "Internet for Doctors - Getting Started". (Has it been that long?) I particularly like the section on the minimum hardware requirements.
Get your computer from a reliable vendor and a good company (e.g. Acer, IBM, Compaq, etc). What you want is good after sales service and help from the vendor when you have minor problems. The computer should at least come with a Pentium 133mHz processor and above, minimum 16MB Ram on board, more than 1 gigabyte of hard disk capacity, 1 MB VGA Ram, a floppy disk drive and a minimum 6-speed CD-ROM drive. A 15-inch SVGA monitor will make viewing pleasant. A modem either internal or external depends on your usage. If you want to use the modem on another computer then get an external modem. Make sure you dont get anything less than 28,800 and preferably 33,600-baud rate model. The latest computers come with MMX Pentium chip which makes downloading of multimedia files faster.
This would probably be the minimum requirements now. Today we are talking of Pentium III, 64 MB Ram, 6.4 gigabyte hard disk, 56K modem, etc. Having said that, I still have my old 486DX2 66 MHz with 36 MB Ram computer which can still surf the Internet! I have passed this on to my kids but I must admit they spend more time on my Pentium 233MHz with 64 MB Ram PC.
The Web is the only part of the Internet that can offer text, sound, images, and video together in a presentation-type layout. A Web browser is an app that allows a user to view Web sites that others have created and offered to the world. By making authors conform to the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Web browsers like Netscape and Internet Explorer are able to present the information an author publishes over the Web the same way every time (in theory, at least).
But is this enough? As mentioned earlier this is not enough for me and I use several other software's to make my "surfing" enjoyable.To look for suitable software's I recommend two sites, The Consummate Winsock Apps Lists and Tucows Network. Alternatively, you could visit my favourite software download sites at http://www.vadscorner.com/sw.html .
I recommend the following.
If you have experienced frequent breakdowns when downloading from the WWW, you will find this a useful tool. It allows recovery from download errors and resume failed downloads, manage and categorise files to download later and get those files from the most responsive site.
Zip files are "archives" used for distributing and storing files. Zip files contain one or more files. Usually the files "archived" in a Zip are compressed to save space. Zip files make it easy to group files and make transporting and copying these files faster. WinZip brings the convenience of Windows to the use of Zip files and other archive and compression formats. The optional wizard interface makes unzipping easier than ever. WinZip features built-in support CAB files and for popular Internet file formats such as TAR, gzip, UUencode, BinHex, and MIME. ARJ, LZH, and ARC files are supported via external programs. WinZip interfaces to most virus scanners.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. FTP client software allows you to transfer files between your hard drive and a remote server. For instance, you could put your personal home page up on the Web by transferring files from your hard drive to a Web server, or you can download programs from your favourite shareware site fast
Acrobat Reader 4.0 is an essential tool for anyone who needs to view, navigate, browse, and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files. Plus, you can download Asian font packs that enable you to view PDF files that contain Chinese, Japanese, and Korean fonts on non-native systems using Acrobat Reader 4.0. Now version 7.0 available.
PDF is an acronym for "Portable Document Format." PDF is a file format created by Adobe that lets you view and print a file exactly as the author designed it, without needing to have the same application or fonts used to create the file. Since its introduction in 1993, PDF has become an Internet standard for electronic distribution that faithfully preserves the look and feel of the original document complete with fonts, colors, images, and layout.
ACDSee supports most popular image formats, including .bmp, .dcx, .gif (including animation), .iff, .jpg, .pcd, .pcx, .pic, .png, .psd, .tga, .tif (including multipage), and .wmf. View your images the way you want them with scroll, manual, and auto zoom; auto-window size; and full-screen mode features. Slide-show mode lets you view a sequence of images automatically, with ACDSee providing read-ahead decoding, subfolder searching, and forward/reverse/random and single/loop sequencing features. Images can be printed, along with names and descriptions, alone or in a batch. A shortcuts pane enables you to quickly move and copy files to a user-configured list of frequently used folders, or you can use the list to browse frequently used folders. File descriptions allow you to annotate any file with a descriptive phrase without altering the name or contents of the file. A file list generator gives you a text listing of the files in a directory, including descriptions, file type, size, image dimensions, and date. You'll also find a thumbnail function, file-management tools, desktop wallpaper commands, file conversion, shell edit commands, and extensive customization options. In short, ACDSee provides a wealth of image viewing and browsing tools using a speedy, efficient, and easy-to-use interface. - PC Magazine
The other softwares you may want to use include the following listed below. Visit the sites to know about what they can do.
- RealPlayer - AudioVideo Streaming applications
- QuickTime Player - AudioVideo Streaming applications
- Windows Media Player - AudioVideo Streaming applications
- ICQ - An automated chat agent that notifies you when your friends get on the 'net
- WinAmp - An MP3 (Mpeg Layer-3) audio player. Includes spectrum analyzer, graphic equalizer, playlists, and more!
- mIRC - mIRC is one of the most popular IRC clients around. It automates all IRC transfers and connections and includes colored text, DCC, XDCC, file servers, and much more.
- McAfee or Norton Antivirus software - Virus scanners.
- Lview Pro - A full-featured Image Processor
These are but a few. There are many more out there which might suit an individuals need.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish respective MMA members a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Selamat Hari Raya and Chinese New Year and wishing all success in the next millennium.
With that I let your "mouse" or your "keyboard" do the "talking".
Till next month, "Happy Surfing".
Cyberdoc ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
The links to URL mentioned above are valid at the time of writing (23 December 1999). Last Updated 23 May 2005.
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