Bringing the IBM R51 Up To Speed

Occasionally I find something in my life that just won’t work. It usually has to do with computers, or more precisely, computer software.

Sometimes the difficulties have had to do with hardware/software compatibility issues.

Three years ago I bought an iPod nano for my travels. My computer didn’t have USB 2.0, so I had to have someone else load my music. After I did this several times, my iPod became very confused.

When I upgraded to a laptop that could handle both the iPod and iTunes, Windows XP said someone else owned the computer. ITunes agreed, and wouldn’t recognize my iPod. I was foiled again.

Don’t dismay, I am having more success now. I have been installing new software on my R51 laptop. My new (used) laptop came with Windows XP and Office Pro, and that was about it.

To get up to speed I set up Windows Internet Explorer and Internet Download Manager. That is a great combination for fast downloads, and your downloads aren’t lost due to a broken connection.

The first software I downloaded was Sygate’s Personal Firewall Pro. Sygate’s basic screen allows you to monitor your download speeds, while you watch your computer’s traffic.

Your Internet security begins with closing the open ports on your computer, and there are many. Managing fewer open ports allows you to control what goes in and out of your computer. Your firewall does this very simply. It is your first wall of defense against hacker attack.

I next downloaded Avast anti-virus software. For managing cookies and spyware I installed Ad-ware. These programs completed my basic Windows wall of protection.

It takes awhile to put your wall of protection in place, and to learn to use it. When you do, you will feel much more comfortable using Windows as your operating system on the Internet.

With my downloads completed, I removed the Internet Explorer icon from my desktop. I use Internet Explorer for downloads only. It does seem most compatible with Internet Download Manager, though Firefox can use IDM as well.

For my main browser I use FireFox 3.0 beta. It is stable and fast. I don’t know what they did to it, but it excels at quick page loads.

I also use the Opera browser for fast access to pages I visit regularly. Their Speed Dial feature makes this a snap. Opera also works very well for reading ebooks. It seems to have a softer presentation that is easier on my eyes for reading.

I was able to cover every basic software requirement I described with free software. It is possible to manage in the Windows environment inexpensively, providing you at least have a copy of Windows XP.

And let me add in closing, that tonight I had success. I completed the synchronization of my iPod, with iTunes, on my own computer. I can now create playlists for my iPod. I have success after three years.

Smiles. ET

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