03.Browsers / messaging
Internet Explorer is the default browser with Windows, but this free, ubiquitous program is by no means your only choice — there are quite a few others. The good news is that they work just as well, and some even offer features not available with Internet Explorer.
Mozilla Firefox is the most popular alternative to Internet Explorer on the web today. It offers plenty of useful add-ons, tabbed browsing and a range of plug-ins. Firefox is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux.
Flock is a web browser with a focus on networking and sharing. The browser has shortcuts that allow users to share photos, stay up-to-date with content from favourite sites via RSS and search the web. Flock can also be used to drag and drop comments onto MySpace, upload pictures to Flickr and PhotoBucket, and compile and upload material to blogging sites such as Blogger, TypePad and WordPress.
Opera is another popular browser with a range of unique features such as ‘Speed Dial’ to quick launch favourite sites, a built-in email program, and voice-controlled browsing. It works with Windows, Mac, and Linux and even has versions for some mobile phones, smartphones, and the Nintendo Wii.
Broadband internet has aided the development of a range of internet messaging applications that combine real-time chat, voice calls, video calls and voice mail messaging. Skype, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live Messenger are the well-known programs, but there are others if you prefer to try something different.
Jangl is a program that lets you make free phone calls over the internet. You register with an email address and receive a phone number to make and receive Jangl calls.
Meebo is an instant messaging site that lets users chat without downloading or installing software. You must register to use Meebo but you can also log-in using Google Talk, Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ or Jabber. You can also add the Meebo chat window to a blog, MySpace profile or website to chat via your own page.
ooVoo is a messaging program that lets registered users chat, make video calls and send video messages via the internet through its chat window. You can also chat with up to six people at a time, send files and import contacts from Microsoft Outlook and Live Messenger.