Wares and Downloads
written by Web Programmer Richard Joswick
The world-wide web is flooded with gadgets and gizmos. Like ordering off a foreign menu, downloading even the tiniest application can sometimes have untold consequences. This article shifts a few common Internet buzzwords to the fast food menu.
The terms ‘hardware’ and ‘software’ are familiar to most. Hardware is what you stub your toe against beneath your computer desk. Laptops are becoming the norm, but the concept stays the same even if you can enjoy more leg space. Software is the data and algorithms that powers the computer. Firmware is low-level software that works directly within hardware. There are many more types of ‘wares’ floating out there, referring to the type of licensing permissions accompanying the software.
Even a casual surveyor of the web has crossed download sites of which cnet, zdnet and tucows are only a few. Downloaded applications assist with a variety of tasks on a multitude of computer platforms like Windows, Macintosh or Linux. They’re categorized by purpose and accompany such terms as ‘shareware’, ‘freeware’, etc.
The term ‘free’ in ‘freeware’ is easy to spot. True to convention, freeware is publicly available, free software. Shareware is crippled software that must be unlocked - either through payment or registration - to access the application’s full functionality.
Adware is a common model. These programs generate revenue through advertising. This model has become so prevalent it can go unnoticed. Search engines are adware. Google, for example, generates revenue by selling advertising space alongside their seemingly free Internet search. Since ads can be obnoxious, take special care when downloading even legitimate adware.
Wares can come with more than the user bargained for. This is malware. It is malignant software designed specifically to compromise computer systems. Downloading from reputable websites minimizes most of the danger. But running even legitimate software can cause computer problems. Protect yourself by reading customer ratings and reviews. The best download sites provide user feedback and tips.
A remaining concern is the scope of provided licenses. Often, software might be freeware for personal or academic use but require purchase if used for commercial purposes. Care must be taken to verify this.
So when downloading applications from online sources, download safely by properly identifying the type of software and the extent of the provided license, and also by reading user reviews.
Winter Vacation in 2011
written by Web Designer Ross Nelson
As a snowboarder, winter sports have always been a big part of my life. Vacations to Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Canada and beyond were regular occurrences as a boy. In adulthood, there is much to consider when determining where to go for a skiing trip. The recent surge in mobile and wireless technology has made this process easier. We can find the best snow conditions, the most cost-effective accommodations and the most electrifying night life.
Resorts are as diverse as the enthusiasts they cater to. Jackson Hole, Alta, Snowbird, Vail, Aspen and Snowmass are just a few to consider. Avid skiers will enjoy the more challenging trails at Snowbird or Alta. Families can enjoy the relaxed atmosphere at Vail or Snowmass. Alta provides an interactive trail map at www.alta.com. This can be helpful in order to determine how well a mountain fits your skill level. If you would like another skier’s point of view, sites like weather.com or onthesnow.com offer user reviews of the major ski resorts. If you are interested in finding a resort, go to ski.com and use the Resort Finder tool under the Tips & Tools menu.
When it comes to finding great prices on travel accommodations, there is no shortage of web applications. Many of these sites have built mobile apps for use on the go. We have expedia.com, travelocity.com, vrbo.com and kayak.com. All of these have their own innovative ways of presenting the travel experience. For example, hipmunk.com displays a calendar layout of available flights giving the user the ability to sort by price, the number of stops and duration of the flight. Vrbo.com allows vacation-home owners to reach potential renters across the world.
Snow conditions are also a predominant factor in where to spend your vacation. The best snow has recently fallen and is cold and dry. But how do you find this Shangri-la of snow? There are two tiers to finding good conditions. Before you leave, look for resorts with the freshest snow. Once you are there, watch the weather and be flexible enough to drive to the resort with the best powder. To aid in this search, Snowbird and Alta provide email alerts in various categories, from snow reports to season ticket specials. There are also applications for your mobile devices. For interactive tracking of the snowfall at your favorite resorts, download The North Face iPhone app at www.thenorthface.com.
After a long day of skiing, you will need to find good food and entertainment. Yelp.com has it covered. The social aspect it introduces to the entertainment experience helps bring the best locations to the top. With 39 million visitors to Yelp just in November, 2010, there are enough photos and reviews for anyone.
So whether you are going to ski for 10 hours a day or have a leisurely family vacation, keep your digital devices close and your skiing vacation will be a success.