Here is information I found in NY Times.com that I want to share with visitors to this blog for trying out in 2011, I think my son and his friends will like these:
10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology
By SAM GROBART (nytimes.com)
Your gadgets and computers, your software and sites — they are not working as well as they should. You need to make some tweaks. But the tech industry has given you the impression that making adjustments is difficult and time-consuming. It is not.
And so below are 10 things to do to improve your technological life. They are easy and (mostly) free.
1. GET A SMARTPHONE Why: Because having immediate access to your e-mail, photos, calendars and address books, not to mention vast swaths of the Internet, makes life a little easier. My Blackberry phone has changed my work and personal life.
2. STOP USING INTERNET EXPLORER Why: Because, while the latest version has some real improvements, Internet Explorer is large, bloated with features and an example of old-style Microsoft excess.
How: Switch to either Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome. Both are first-rate, speedy browsers, and both are free. It remains a tight race between the two, but Chrome has had the lead lately in features and performance. Both browsers include useful things like bookmark syncing. That means that your bookmarks folder will be the same on every computer using Chrome or Firefox, and will update if you change anything. I am a complete Google Chrome user no frills its great
3. UPLOAD YOUR PHOTOS TO THE CLOUD Why: Because you’ll be really sorry if an errant cup of coffee makes its way onto your PC, wiping away years of photographic memories. Creating copies of your digital photos on an online service is a painless way to ensure they’ll be around no matter what happens to your PC. It is also an easy way to share the photos with friends and family.
How: There are many good, free choices. To keep things simple, use Picasa, Google’s service. After your initial upload — which may take a while, so set it up before you go to sleep — you will have a full backup of your photo library. And by inviting people to view it, privately, with passwords, you will not have to e-mail photos anymore. Anytime you have new pictures, upload them to Picasa, send a message to your subscribers, and they can view your gallery at their leisure.Try Picasa for your photos but be very careful not to accidentally share the files to the web
4. GET MUSIC OFF YOUR COMPUTER Why: Because music bought digitally wants to be freed, not imprisoned in your portable player or laptop. It wants to be sent around the home, filling rooms like good old-fashioned hi-fi.
How: Using iTunes for your digital music? Buy Apple’s Airport Express for $99 and connect it to your stereo. When you play music on your computer, you can stream it to the Express and, therefore, your stereo’s speakers. Have an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad? Download Apple’s free Remote app and you will be able to control your music from anywhere in the house. Hmmm just for Mac users?
5. BACK UP YOUR DATA Why: Because photos are not the only important things on your computer. With online backup services, you do not have to buy any equipment; you just install software, which sits on secure servers and runs in the background, regularly updating a mirror image of all your files while you spend time on more important things, like confirming that Ben Gazzara really was the bad guy in “Road House” (he was).
How: Go to sosonlinebackup.com. Pay $80 a year. Install the software. Sleep easy. Will think about it seriously, my friend's hard disk was totally corrupted last week, no back up and it cost him a lot, still counting the losses in 2011.
6. SET UP A FREE FILE-SHARING SERVICE Why: Because while e-mailing yourself files is a perfectly decent workaround, there are easier, more elegant ways to move files around — and they do not cost anything, either.
How: Go to dropbox.com and set up a free account. You will then get an icon that sits on your desktop. Drag and drop files onto that icon, and they are immediately copied to the cloud. The free account gives you up to two gigabytes of disk space; 50- and 100-gigabyte are also available, but they cost $10 or $20 a month.
Set up your account on all your other computers, and they all have the access to the same files. You can set up shared, private and public folders, and apps for iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android mean you can gain access to shared files from anywhere. This is a wonderful idea, I will do it this January 2011.
7. GET FREE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE Why: Because attacks on unwitting users are more widespread and tactics are growing more advanced.
How: Windows users should download Avast Free Antivirus. Mac users can download iAntiVirus Free Edition. Both applications will provide a basic level of security against a variety of so-called malware. And they cost zero. Hail and Long live Avast Free Antivirus programmers!
read the rest of the very useful article here.