Avid followers of my exciting, fun-filled adventurous life will recall that I fell off my motorcycle at an intersection in Nabua, Fiji, due to stopping too abruptly at the traffic lights right on a patch of newly spilled oil. Almost certainly leaked from a taxi.
Well, I may not have admitted the ‘too abruptly’ bit before.
Such well-informed followers will also recall that I damaged the SOPAC HP laptop at the time, and subsequently bought it from them, broken screen and all, when I left. This was because my own personal absolutely awesome top of the line four thousand dollar Lenovo Think Pad was feckin’ well stolen by a burglar. The HP was a pretty good computer, and performed pretty well. It was a bargain at $300FJ, even with a broken screen.
For a long time I used it with an external monitor, until the laptop itself died. Then I shelved it, bought the cheapest replacement I could find, and used it to find a job.
Recently I took another look at the HP, and with help and advice from Andrew, identified the non-functionality as being due to a damaged hard drive. Replaced the hard drive, put in a new screen and voila! A good laptop again. But I needed an operating system, and so had to buy a copy of Windows 7. The laptop ran on Vista when new, but SOPAC had replaced it with XP as Vista was incompatible with the network server.
So it performed really well. At the time. Now it does not. I was blaming my ISP and the crappy G3 connection I have to use, but I chanced upon a product called “TuneUp Utilities’ that came as a trial with the latest version of AVG antivirus. I ran it, and it offered all sorts of advice about disabling certain windows functions, based on the processor, graphics capabilities, and number of unicorns that power the whotsitadooda. Stuff like that. One by one I accepted recommendations to turn off features such as wallpaper, font smoothing, prefetch hover times, unicorn bridling and other esoteric and (to me) meaningless activities.
The laptop performed really well, and the change in appearance, though noticeable, was not distressing. so when the trial period ended, and the laptop slowed down again, I bought the product to keep my edge. When one does not know what one is doing it is good to put confidence in someone who does. AVG does, and they are Dutch, so we know they are almost as thorough and methodical as the Germans. Product recommended.
Another discovery I made came as a free trial with my latest upgrade of JetAudio – my MP3/video/CD player of choice (I gave up on Winamp long ago). It is called DFX Audio Enhancer. I have a REALLY good stereo in the lounge, but my laptop and a simple set of Logitech speakers are all I have in the bedroom where music plays pretty much 24/7 unles I feel like blasting the neighbourhood on the weekend, when I am the only one home at this end of the street.
DFX Audio Enhancer does what it claims and makes my little Logitech laptop speakers sound (almost) as good as my thousand-dollar Celestions. And that was a thousand dollars in 1983! Nothing beats those speakers, I hate to think what the equivalent might be now. But this modestly priced programme certainly improves the listening experience very noticeably on my $39.95 Logitech speakers! Product recommended.
Next, a product I have wanted for so very long. It too, came as a free trial, with DFX Audio Enhancer. It is called Max Recorder, and is simply an app which makes an MP3 recording of whatever you are listening to, and want to keep. If you are playing music on YouTube, or streaming audio from any source, it makes a Hi Fi recording. Everything I have tried before has made crappy copies, with ground hum or other faults. You may guess I know very little about technological matters, and you may well sneer at my ignorance, but this is a simple product that does something useful. I bought it. Product recommended.
Lastly, I was looking for something to replace a specific component of my Nero pack, which I bought a few PCs ago. That version of Nero is not compatible with the latest Windows operating systems, and because it had only this one particular feature I liked, I was not going to fork out again for the latest Nero , when I had all the other functionality I needed in the much cheaper and easier to use Ashampoo Burning Studio. Product recommended.
The bit I missed was a good wave editor. I found it in a nice little program called Wave Editor! And it is free! Product recommended.