Tips of the Techs

Banish your reputation as the office luddite by keeping up to date with the latest technological marvels

Hard disk memory

If you are finding your computer is running out of space, it could well be time to consider getting a new hard drive. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up your PC or Apple Mac, then Western Digital’s FireWire/USB 2.0 hard disk is worth looking at. There are two options available – 120Gb or 200Gb, giving pretty much enough space for even the busiest of people. The 120Gb version costs £279 and the 200Gb costs £369, including VAT.

Pictures straight to printer

Photographers who are fed up with the cumbersome process of taking a digital picture and then trying to get it printed might want to check out Epson’s latest offering. The Stylus 935 allows photographers to connect their digital camera directly to the printer and then view the images on the printer’s special 2.5 inch display so you can select what you want to print.

The display also allows users to choose how they want the photograph to appear. Rather than trying to synch between a camera, computer and printer, the Stylus does away with the need to involve a computer in the process.

Photographers can also take the memory card or other storage device from the camera and plug it into the printer to make print-outs quick and easy. The printer will cost £235 plus VAT when it is released later in the spring.

Home office

Microsoft’s Office is a terrific piece of software when it comes to word processing and spreadsheets in the office, but the high cost may put off some people from buying a copy for use at home.

Ability Office from Ability Plus Software (www.ability.com) offers similar features and functionality as Microsoft’s Office but at a fraction of the cost – just £50.

Ability can also import files created on Microsoft packages so they can be viewed and worked on. Another useful aspect of Ability Office is that it needs only 40Mb of space to install itself, so it will work on older PCs.

Multi-mapping

As I have said before, the days when you can get good content for nothing are rapidly disappearing. Mapminder (www.mapminder.co.uk) is a new paid-for mapping service for the UK that allows you to find streets and places quickly and easily. The first 30 days’ use of the service is free, after which it will cost you £2.95 a month, £7.95 a quarter or £24.95 for the year. As well as the maps, the site features content from Harden’s London and UK restaurant guide and also PA listings.

The only downside of the service is that it works on Internet Explorer 5 or higher and because you have to download some software onto a PC before use, Apple Mac users won’t be able to use it.

Leslie Bunder is a technology and new media writer. He can be contacted at leslie@bunder.com

by Leslie Bunder

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