This is a list of essential programs and services to keep your surfing happy and safe. If you want to download a program, just click on the name. Most of them are FREE and rated the best by PC World magazine.
You need 3 things for your protection in the WWW universe (Wild Wild West) - ZoneAlarm is a firewall, then you need an Antivirus program, and Ad-Aware for spyware removal. Read more about internet security on CNet.com. Microsoft AntiSpyware is a very solid program, and according to most analysts, is even better than Ad-Aware.
The suggested browser is Mozilla Firefox - no pop-ups with this one and Google search box is embedded. My personal favorite is Opera - rated the best browser for 2004. Opera has a RSS reader and voice technology to read web pages to you, all in the amazingly small package of 3.5 MB.
Make a Website
If you want to make your own web page, use our host Blogger, which is a part of Google. They claim that you can create your web page in 5 minutes. The New York Times editorial team did a test, and found out that it actually takes 3 minutes, if you had thought of a name for your website in advance. Click here for a Blogger video course (free). Blogger Knowledge section is also very good.
Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia with more pages than Encyclopedia Britannica, it is also free. And if you can't find something but you know about it, you can write an article and the experts will check it later - this is how Wikipedia is growing daily. Read the NYTimes article and see a video on how Wikipedia works.
Once you have Picasa for your digital photos, you will wonder how you have lived without it. Google bought them in 7/04 - these guys are really growing, aren't they?
Find the Answer
Search for medical information by using Google Scholar. It is a new tool that enables you to find answers to your questions in medical journals and books. Something like Medline on steroids - it really feels like you are "standing on the shoulders of giants". Another approach is the personalized search in Google Labs. Just choose Health -> Medicine in your profile.
Search Your Own Computer
Google launched Desktop Search. Now you can search your own computer with the Google speed and accuracy. Something that we needed for a long time. Read more in USA Today and PC World.
GMail is hands down the best email service. Yahoo mail is the distant second. Everything with "G" must be good, it comes from Google, like "i" and Apple (iPod, iPhoto, etc.)
You have to prepare a Journal Club or a Case Conference and you need MS PowerPoint but you don't want to buy it. What can you do? Don't worry, "help is on the way". You can download free alternatives to the MS program, just bear in mind that these programs are big - 80-90 MB and if you are using dial-up it can take forever to download. The 2 most popular programs are OpenOffice by Sun and EasyOffice. Click here for free video courses on different software programs from Lynda.com.
BBC 4 has an amazing website with most of their programs available for online listening for free. You will need a Real One player which is a free download.
How it Started
By the way, the inventor of the first computer was a Bulgarian. He built the appropriately named ABC computer at Iowa State University during 1937-42.
Web Wise online courses by BBC - free but basic
Personal Technology by Walter Mossberg from WSJ