Online Insights with Steve Davis on FIVEaa, Sunday, October 04, 2009

October 4, 2009

Security Essentials

Since our last segment, Microsoft has launched Security Essentials which is their free anti-virus software. Apart from OneNote, which I love, I am always hesitant about throwing my lot in with Microsoft but I have been convinced by Adelaide Tech Guru, Richard Pascoe, who wrote on his blog recently: “This is free software which I have been running ( a beta copy ) on one of my systems for a while now and during that time have not had an issue and been extremely impressed … if you run one of the alternative free software antivirus ( AVG , Comodo ) you should look at swapping because this solution should fit well within the Windows environment because let’s be honest here , nobody knows Windows better than Microsoft. Virus’s are written to exploit holes in the Windows Operating system and that is why you need to update and patch your system. Logic would then dictate that the Security Essentials Software would fit ” hand in glove ” with the operating system.”

That makes sense to me so I am now trialling the software on two machines. Watch this space – if I return next fortnight we might start to think that all is well. Follow Richard’s steps on the Security Essentials pathway. NOTE: There are two important preconditions – you must have genuine Microsoft software on your machine and you must fully uninstall any current antivirus software from your system because two such applications don’t play nicely together.

Organisational essentials

With life travelling at the speed of light and competing demands for your time, Agree A Date is the perfect companion. It coordinates your availability with various people wanting to meet with you.

This simple, free system enables you to enter in times you are free, send invitations to other people to select a time that suits them, then confirm those times and enter them directly into your organiser such as Outlook.

The beauty of this system is that once times are taken, they are taken – you won’t get double bookings. And, if you decide to remove an available time from your list, it will be safe.

A huge thank you to Shel and Neville from FIR for pointing this site out. Now go forward confidently and Agree A Date with all and sundry!

There I Fixed It

Wheelchair EasyriderThis site pays homage to all those home handy people who rig up their own solutions to life’s problems. It is based on the concept of “kludge”, defined on the site as “An ill-assorted collection of poorly matching parts, forming a distressing whole.” Jackson Granholm, Datamation Magazine February 1962.

But what do I mean by this? Here are a few examples:

  • Emergency battery to go – man has cables out from car bonnet in through driver’s window to car battery on the floor in front of the driver’s seat. Nice.
  • Handmade hedge clippers – a pair of domestic scissors tied to the end of a long stick with string attached to enable you to cut with them.
  • Call of the open road – a motorbike with a sidecar, only difference is, sidecar is large open cube made of sheet metal for someone in a wheelchair to roll up into.
  • Tshirt strength – someone has a lounge tied directly to the roof of their car, with knotted together tshirts.
  • Lemon sign – a typo in a sign picturing a lemon with the words “Lemons – perfect for orange juice”, however the retailer spotted they typo and just scribbled over the word “orange” with texta – nice! (Someone needs to do that near Adelaide Zoo where the Botannical Gardens parking meters proudly announced “Coins emtied daily”. Oh yes, it is true. They must have used up all the ‘P’s for the parking signs.
  • The axle – an axle held together with plastic ties.

I’m not sure whether these examples display thrift and need to be applauded – or are contenders for the Darwin Awards. You be the judge at There I Fixed It.

Food 52

This is a creative way to create a food community and cookbook publishing empire in one fell swoop. Food 52 is a yearlong contest to find 52 recipes to put into a cookbook that will be produced by Harper Publishing. It began as two cooks, Amanda and Merrill were working on a cookbook. They say “Food52 grew out of an insight we had while working on the book: the best recipes come from home cooks. If you think about it, home cooks are practical and inventive and these qualities lead to great recipes … we’re creating the first online community cookbook and curated recipe database.”

What caught my eye was the underlying philosophy that “we think cooking is really important — especially now. Over the past decade, many studies and books have shown that children from families who eat together do better in school” – let alone the many health and environmental benefits.

Some early winners of weekly contests include:

  • Eggplant parmesan
  • Watermelon and goat’s cheese salad
  • Smoky Pork Burgers with Fennel and Red Cabbage Slaw

The way the contests run is that Amanda and Merrill announce the food style or ingredients they would like to feature and then open their inbox to the world. They vet the recipes, we vote, and then they continue curating the book.

It is a novel idea, I wish them well, and I am getting really hungry just looking at the entries. Why don’t you submit a recipe to Food52?