Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Essential Guide to Internet & Software for First-Time Computer Users

 

The Essential Guide to Internet & Software for First-Time Computer Users

Written by Amit Agarwal on December 29, 2008 Text Size

teaching computer to momYou bought a brand new laptop computer for mom - the Apple Macbook was too expensive so you settled for a Dell machine loaded with Windows Vista and a trial copy of Office 2007.

Your mom is a great self-learner and knows all the basic stuff about computers but needs some help is in finding the right software tools that will help her do stuff more efficiently and as inexpensively as possible.

Letter to Mom suggesting tools and web apps for her new computer

Dear Mom - I hope you are enjoying the new Dell notebook. Now the first thing I want you to do is install PC Decrapifier - this will detect and remove all the unwanted trial programs that came pre-installed with your machine.

Next you should install Firefox - it’s an Internet Explorer like web browser but slightly better. Instead of using browser bookmarks, try the delicious add-on to save the addresses of all your favorite websites. Another add-on that you should install is Iterasi - web pages come and go but Iterasi will permanently archive your favorite web pages (like that eggless cake recipe).

You should create two email accounts one Gmail.com - share the primary email address with your friends and family but for everything else (like the newsletter and shopping deal alerts) always use the secondary email address. If you come across a site that requires registration, generate a temporary email address from 10MinuteMail.com and enter without sharing your main email.

With so many websites around, you’ll soon find it very hard to remember all those passwords so get into the habit of putting down all the different passwords into KeepPass from day one.

If you plan to carry this laptop in public places (like the Library), get this Laptop Alarm software that will emit a loud sound if someone tries to shut down your computer or remove the power cable. Laptop thefts are not so uncommon after all.

The trial version of Microsoft Office on your computer will expire after 60 days so you may completely uninstall that software and switch over to Google Docs - it has all the basic feature you would need in an Office suite including templates for tracking expenses and utility bills. You can use your primary Gmail address to log into Google Docs.

Sometimes your friends will send you documents, images or video clips that won’t open on your computer - that’s because you don’t have the right viewer software on your machine. You can simply go to zamzar.com and convert the file into some simple format (like avi for video, jpg for images, doc for documents, mp3 for songs, etc.) that you computer can play/open.

If the computer contains too many programs that you’ll rarely or never use, get the Revo Uninstaller to get rid of such programs permanently. To free up additional space on the hard drive, use WinDirStat to learn about file folders that are occupying the maximum space on your computer and delete the unnecessary files.

Be very careful when deleting files on your computer but if you ever delete something important accidently, Recuva may help you recover all those erased files. It even works with the memory card of your digital camera.

To download pictures from your digital camera onto the computer, get Windows Live Photo Gallery. This software can also upload your photos to our common family Flickr account so everyone gets to see your pictures even though we are several hundred miles away from you.

If the computer is not able to play your huge collection of DVD movies, you’re probably missing some codecs (don’t worry about the term) -  just download the VLC player and the DVDs will play just fine.

You should also get Live Mesh - it will allow us to share files and documents with each other privately plus you can use Mesh to backup important files onto the cloud (I mean the web).

I am almost always available for chat on Google Talk but if some of your online friends use other chat software (like Yahoo! Messenger or AOL), you can easily connect with them through Miranda or, if you don’t want to install any software, use Meebo.

Another thing - do open an account at PayPal and link it to your main credit card as this will make online shopping easier. If you ever have a problem with PayPal or something isn’t clear, just call their toll-free 1-800 support number from your browser using Gizmo.

If your current voice plan is too expensive, I suggest that you download Skype - it lets you make calls from the computer to any landline or mobile phone at much cheaper rates. We can also use Skype to have video chats on weekends but if you don’t find me online, just send me a video email with Eyejot.

If you have newspaper clippings, bill receipts and business cards lying in the closet, just take a picture of them separately using the camera of your mobile phone and transfer them to the computer with Evernote - it will turn your "paper" documents into digital format that is always so easy to find and manage.

When planning a movie or weekend dinner with friends, you can send all of them a quick reminder for the event via phone and SMS for free using Notifu. If you’re inviting people at home for a party, head-over to sites like VideoJug.com, SuTree or 5min.com for new ideas about food, cocktails, party games, etc.

If you ever need to fax a document somewhere, just go to FaxZero, upload the document and fax it for free. FaxZero is only available for fax numbers of US or Canada but for international numbers, you may try eFax.

You can also consider dropping those magazine subscriptions that are delivered by snail mail - switch to Zinio instead that delivers the same magazine but in digital format.

As far as I remember, you’re currently using an unlimited data plan for the Internet but if that’s not true, get BitMeter - it will help you visually monitor your bandwidth usage so you never exceed the plan limit. You may also want to download FlashGet for downloading big files from the Internet.

If you notice carefully, some websites add an orange colored icon in the browser address bar (go to cnn.com to see a live example) - this icon means that you can get updates about new articles posted on that site automatically without having to visit the site again and again. If that’s the case, go to Feed My Inbox and type the address of that website - you’ll be notified automatically via email.

When browsing the web, you’ll frequently come across photographs, web pages and videos that you’ll want to share with us (your family members) - you could either send the link in a group mail or better still, simply create an account at Tumblr and start saving all the "interesting" stuff there.

And if you ever find yourself spending too much time on the computer, get RescueTime to know about websites where you spend most of your time.

There are a few other things that I want to do on your computer like installing a hosts file and configuring OpenDNS so that sites load quickly on your machine. These however require some geeky knowledge so I will try configuring them from here itself via CrossLoop - a remote desktop access tool.

The Essential Guide to Internet & Software for First-Time Computer Users

Monday, December 29, 2008

Sin is self-frustration in man's violation of God's will ;
Human actions and animal functions Distinctions ;

Sin is thus self frustration brought about by man in his violation of the will of God. In sinning against God man sins against his human essence, and brings about his frustration . He degrades himself in that violation to the level of beasts and behaves like a beast. The equation is perhaps a libel on beasts, which, it is hoped, beasts will forgive as they have been doing many other inflictions of man on them. The man who behaves like a beast makes himself a beast and therefore merits the treatment of a beast. He can not lead the life of a beastand expect the treatment of a man. What distinguishes the behaviour of a beast from that of a man is the behaviour of man in accordance with the will of God (sastra) . Such a behaviour, such a conduct, is alone human. According to Vyasa's Brahma Sutra, Divinity is "sastrayonitva" and humanity is "sastrarthavattva". The soul, the "knower", is the knower of the will of God. God, in His mercy, has eternally declared His will and endowed souls with the status of knowers so that they could know His will and behave in accordance with it in order that they might br redeemed from the frustration brought about by themselves in their selfdom. It is in that will and in that endowment that God has distinguished man from beasts. It is therefore up to man, if he is to be reckoned and treated as a man, to behave like a man in accordance with the will of God. Human actions are not mere instinctive animal functions or mechanical physical movements and displacements in space. They are conscious and cordial functions in accordance with the will of God. It is that function and not "reason" as is generally supposed, that distinguishes man from beast. Behaviouristic moralists look to beasts and insects for wisdom. The bee polity, says Prof. Huxley, "fulfils the ideal of the communistic aphorism to each according to his needs, from each according to his capacity. [Evolution and Ethics : Prolegomena] That beasts have no 'reason' is another libel on beasts. There is no 'reason' to justify that libel. The word 'reason' is derived from a Latin root which means to 'reckon'.. That beasts do reckon as much and as well as men is a fact. Men and beasts both reckon and function alike in the field of matter. If the field of matter is exhaustive of the faculty of reckoning, there is no reason to deny reason to animals. They seem to have even more reason in that sense than men. They do not seem to commit the same amount of havoc on their bodies as men do on theirs. They are more law abiding than men. They are blessed with a constitutional immunity from the anarchy of the tongue. Their observance of the laws of Nature is more scrupulous than man's. They are better physicians than we are. Their rapacity and predacity seem to be far less than man's. To call all those "reckonings" as instinct in the case of animals, and "reason" in the case of man seems wholly arbitrary and self-adulatory. The real distinction -- if distinction there is to be -- must be in something which is special to man as man and not comon to him with animals as animals. It is in man's knowledge of a higher will -- the universal will -- and in his endevour to lay his will in line with that will. It is in his 'reckoning' with that will , that man is marked off from animals. Without a Divine universal will there will be nothing for man to reckon with, in the sense of "reasoning" which animals do not have in common with him. Men and beasts both reckon with matter and with themselves. Man's knowledge of himself by himself is not different from the knowledge of beasts of themselves by themselves. That knowledge is not human knowledge, but mere "animal sense" as Suka calls it. [Bhagavata 7.5.12] Men and beasts obey alike the biological law of survival and reproduction. All materialistic attempts at understanding man in terms of that biological law must necessarily result in an understanding of him as but a member of the group or society of animals and not as a being having any status or faculty, which others of the animal group or society do not possess in common with him. Man must first transcend his animality before he can be reckoned as belonging to humanity and he can lay claim to being reckoned as such, only when he awakensto his own nature as the servant of God and of the need of his surrender and service to God. That is man's nature, that is man's need. Until man has reached that stage he has not reached the stage of humanity{ Thirumangai Alvar 11.7.9}. It is in man's knowledge of his essence as the servant of God and in his action in accordance with the will of God that man becomes a man and his actions become human. To deny God or to deny will to God, is to deny humanity. The will of God is as eternal as God Himself. It is that will (sastra) that man has to understand. It is with that will that man has to 'reckon' and it is to that will that man has to submit. man in his defiance of that will forfeits his status of a man and invites the treatment of a beast. Without a Divine will, without a moral law, compelling the obedience of all men, man must be and ever remain one with beasts and the world would then be all one jungle haunted by the most rapacious of human beasts. The Veda declares:- "Thus far (they are all) beasts bipeds and quadrupeds." As a mere specimen in the zoo of evolutionary biology man has not got even the look of antiquity about him. In that zoo man's is a mere blink of the latest mammalian upstart. As such a specimen man's value is only such. man in his transgression of the will of God effects his own frustration.[ Gita XVI 23, 24.]

Sunday, December 28, 2008

ஸ்ரீ பாதுகா சஹஸ்ரம் புஷ்ப பத்ததியும், பராக பத்ததியும் (ஆத்தூர் சந்தானம் ஸ்வாமியின் தமிழ் மொழி பெயர்ப்பு) இந்த சுட்டியில் உள்ளன. பதிவிறக்கம் செய்து கொள்ளலாம்.