TWT Newsletter, Issue #002 — Software to soup-up your Windows PC
Welcome to Issue 2 of the TWT newsletter. This months feature is about essential Windows software. Here ate TWT there are a handful of applications installed on every Windows PC we use. These are the programs we install first on a new system, essential Windows add-ons, that I personally cannot do without.
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In this months issue:-
1) Essential Windows Software – Our favourite Windows applications to enhance your computing experience
2) Tip of the Month – Use RSS feeds to stay up to date!
3) Free Utility of the Month – Trillian
4) We promise not to mention…
Essential Windows Software – Our favourite Windows applications to enhance your computing experience
Although Windows comes with some useful software, there are several other programs that no Windows installation should really be without. Below are some of our most frequently used and best loved Windows software packages.
NOD32 – We cover NOD32 in detail on our site, so there is no need to go in depth here. Almost all Windows experts agree anti-virus software is still a necessarily evil for Windows computing. If you have to slow your system down by installing an anti-virus package (yes, all anti-virus packages will slow your system down to some degree) you might as well choose one that has minimal impact on your computer but boasts excellent detection rates, such as NOD. If you are on a tighter budget, AVG is a reasonable free alternative that also won’t grind your system to a halt. Visit our
NOD32 Tutorials section
to find out more.
Outpost Firewall – Firewall software helps protect your computer from hackers and malware. We also cover Outpost in detail on the site, I prefer to use Outpost because of its advanced features, but less experienced users may prefer Zone Alarm. Visit our
firewall tutorial section
to find out more.
Firefox Web Browser – Although Internet Explorer 7 was a big improvement over IE6, many users found its new interface to be confusing and alienating. Firefox browser, on the other hand, continues to go from strength to strength. With a huge range of add-ons and an easy to use interface, plus additional security benefits over IE7, Firefox is always one of the first applications we install, best of all it is completely free. Visit the
Firefox home page
to find out more.
A.I Roboform – These days we are always hearing about identity theft, be it on the internet or from our dustbins. Roboform is a great way to protect yourself from ID theft online. Instead of using the same password wherever you go on the internet, you can generate a new, random password for each site you use. Do you participate in on-line discussions, user groups or have several e-mail accounts? If you use the same password for each one you could be putting your private information at risk. If one of the sites you regularly use is compromised by hackers and your password is stolen, the data could then be used to gain access to all your other accounts! AI Roboform solves this problem by storing your passwords on your computer, using military strength encryption. Generate a different password for each site you use on the internet and just remember your master password. Entering your master password unlocks a file containing all your passwords, which are stored on your local PC or USB key/thumbdrive and NOT on-line. Even if your PC was stolen, even the most sophisticated criminals would struggle to extract your passwords due to Roboform’s high strength encryption.
Roboform is free, with a limit of 10 passwords stored. Roboform Pro can store an unlimited amount of passwords and costs £29.95. Perhaps the only disappointing thing about this product is that there is no version for Macintosh or Linux systems, so if you regularly use OSX or Linux as well as Windows, you might want to consider an alternative product. To learn more about Roboform, or to download a copy, visit
the Roboform home page
Adobe Acrobat Reader – It is almost inevitable that at some point you will need to open an Adobe Acrobat/PDF document on your computer. While there are several alternatives to the official Acrobat reader available, the official version still comes out on top thanks to its excellent rendering (drawing and displaying) of PDF documents and its excellent range of viewing modes. Take a look at
to learn more about Acrobat Reader or visit the
Acrobat reader home page
to download it.
Thunderbird E-mail – If you use Outlook Express or another non-web based email client then you should really check out Thunderbird e-mail. Faster and smarter than Outlook Express and with powerful anti-spam features and a huge range of plug-ins, Thunderbird really is the king of Windows e-mail, managing to best even Vista’s new Windows Mail software. Even better still, Thunderbird is completely free. To learn more, go to the
Thunderbird home page.
Desktop Sidebar – There are lots of sidebar programs available for Windows, Windows Vista even comes with a sidebar as part of the O.S. A sidebar is basically a program which opens a window along the side of your screen which displays information such as weather reports, news or system information. Desktop sidebar is highly configurable, uncluttered and includes the best RSS news reader/ticker out of all the sidebars and widgets I have ever tried. In fact I even run Desktop Sidebar in preference to Vistas own sidebar on my Windows Vista installation. Visit the
Desktop sidebar home page
to find out more.
Do you have a favourite Windows application that you just cannot live without? If so,
let us know about it
and we may feature it in the next newsletter!
Tip of the Month – Use RSS feeds to stay up to date!
RSS feeds are a great way to keep up to date with the latest news and events on your favourite sites. You can think of RSS feeds as live, automatically updating bookmarks. RSS feeds on popular news sites like www.cnn.com or www.bbc.co.uk constantly update to provide you with the latest headlines. You can even subscribe to our RSS feed so that you find out about our new tutorials right away! Visit
and follow the instructions given at the bottom of the page to learn how to use RSS.
Free Utility of the Month – Trillian
Instant Messaging addicts rejoice, Trillian is a great little utility for IM users everywhere. If you have AOL, MSN, Yahoo or ICQ accounts, Trillian can connect and manage them all, no need to run 4 or 5 different programs, Trillian does it all with less clutter and using less of your computers resources. While Trillian does not always have all the bleeding edge features that the main IM clients boast, many users prefer its uncluttered interface and superb range of plug-ins. Go and check it out by visiting the
Trillian home page
We promise not to mention… The Apple iPhone
Apparently there was a new mobile phone released in America this month, something to do with Apple. Since you’re all probably bored with hearing about the iPhone, I’m not even going to mention it in the newsletter. Well ok, I suppose I already did. Our favourite iPhone article was the one
Seems even people who hate the thing secretly love it. Our condolences go out to parents of fashion conscious teenagers everywhere, especially considering the asking price!
That is all for this months issue. Remember, if you have a friend or family member who you think would enjoy our newsletter, please don’t hesitate to forward your copy on to them, or better still show them our site so they can sign up too. Until next month, happy computing!