Diskeeper is a keeper

Oops, we mean defrag it. Comes now another in the endless revised versions of Diskeeper, which is designed to defragment your hard drive. It’s Diskeeper Pro 2007.

What it does is collect all the little bits and pieces of data and stuff, and if they’re related to each other, it tucks them into the same place. This saves space and a considerable amount of search time.

Joy found that her computer was more than 10 times faster after defragging. Bob doesn’t have much on his computer, so he didn’t notice any change. (He may have been napping.)

This latest version of Diskeeper stopped another extremely annoying problem: One of our computers would freeze up at least once a day. When that happens you take drastic action; you pull the plug. Diskeeper Pro gave us a message that our “Master File Table” (the “MFT” to the technical among you) was 98 per cent full and couldn’t eat another byte. Our MFT had 1.7 million file records, occupying 1.6 gigabytes of hard drive. Diskeeper doubled its size so it could let out its belt a bit.

What’s new is that Diskeeper Pro 2007 handles defragmentation as it occurs, or on the fly, so to speak. All searches, backups and virus scans run faster. The home version costs US$30, the pro version is US$50, both at Diskeeper.com.

Whose life is this, anyway?

Have you ever wanted to consult a Grand Canyon guru, someone who knew where to stay and what trails to take? Who hasn’t? So you go to LifeTips.com and click on “Travel” and then “Grand Canyon.”

Or you might prefer advice on proper attire and demeanor at the big dance. Or you might want tips on how to take care of a Harley motorcycle.

From a celebrity diet guru we learned that bags under the eyes are caused by excessive salt in the diet. From a self-publishing guru we got the sensible advice that if you are self-publishing anything, you’re a publisher; act like one. Do the research, check for duplicate titles, etc.

If you have some special skill or knowledge, you can be a guru too. Beyond the advice and amusement level, jobs and speaking gigs can come out of this. The site offers publicity and free publishing for some. And LifeTips clients in a variety of industries pay for speakers and consultants. Anyone want to know how to be a journalist?

Backing up needn’t be hard to do

Titanize is the easiest backup yet. (Watch us jump up and down.)

For $5 a month you can back up 5 gigabytes of data to a private Web folder online and restore them to another computer using any Web browser. Sending info out and bringing it back is a single click each way. You can share those files, publish to the Web or e-mail them.

This turned out to be nice and fast. Any changes made to shared files were updated almost instantly. And all backups are mirrored at the Titanize.com Web site. Mirrored backup means there are really two backups, each a mirror image of the other, residing on two drives. If one goes down, the other still has your data.

It’s news to you

SimplyHeadlines.com delivers … well, simply headlines. Click on the headline to get the story. A digital newspaper with photos is delivered daily to your e-mail inbox. The stories can be from Web services like Yahoo.com, or international wire services like Reuters and the Economist, or TV news outlets like CNN or Fox News. You choose.

IBCtoday.com delivers video clips. Stories are updated every 20 minutes. Broadcasts from places like Austria, Serbia and Azerbaijan have English subtitles. If a video clip goes too fast for you, click “transcript.” “Women’s news” covered a British TV channel’s search for the next supermodel. “Sports” had a cricket match from Mumbai, India.


Education: The World Book for Kids is being offered online for US$50 a year at WorldBook.com. The interface was designed by kids and was not the one chosen in a survey of adults. That’s nice. Unfortunately, you can buy the Windows XP disks from Amazon for less than US$18, so why pay the online price?

World Time: Find the local time any place in the world at TimeAndDate.com. You can also pose questions like “What day will it be 9,999 days from now?” That’s in case you wanted to know what to wear. You can also generate a calendar for any year you wish, including far in the past.

Music: Mercora.com, an online social music network, has been revamped with an easy-to-use interface. Artists and composers are listed by name and category in a clear, pleasing display. Interfaces are important; just consider the initial success of America Online, which had little going for it in the beginning, but had a great friendly user interface.

So the interface here is the good news. The bad news is you can click on a selection, which we did from a list of songs by Andrea Bocelli, and what came up was a song from a Walt Disney movie. The problem, it turns out, is that the music is contributed by listeners, who simply post their favorites in no particular order. The selection list changes without warning; the classical category can switch to pop singers, and so on. Still, there are about 100,000 listings, and it makes for interesting browsing. No download required.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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