Essential Surfer Tools
Tools that every surfer will need sooner or later.
Sooner or later every surfer will encounter a need for one or more of the following tools:
- Anti-virus software
Arguably this should be the most important item on this list, since sooner or later you will encounter a virus. Either in something e-mailed to you, downloaded or hand delivered on some media (such as a cd). There are a variety of anti-virus software tools available. For a list of anti-virus software products free for personal use (i.e. home, non-business, use) please refer to www.cryer.co.uk/resources/antivirus.htm.
- Personal Firewall
A firewall will protect your pc from malicious software that will try to connect to it across the web. It may also offer protection against software running on your pc that you don't know about that tries to connect to other sites across the web. PCs within companies (or which access the internet over a local network) are often protected by a corporate firewall. For a list of personal firewall products (i.e. firewalls that can be installed on your own pc) which are free for personal use (i.e. home, non-business, use) please refer to www.cryer.co.uk/resources/firewalls.htm.
A lot of downloads are zipped. You can recognise a compressed file because it is called 'such-n-such.zip'. This means they are compressed, this saves on both space and how long you have to wait for it to download. You will then need a tool to uncompress it. Winzip is one of the more popular tools for this, and it is available for free download from www.winzip.com/download.htm. Support for zipped files is built into Windows XP and Vista.
- Adobe Acrobat Reader
Not all documents on the web are in html (such the one you are reading now). Another popular format is 'pdf'. A pdf file (also sometimes referred to as an Adobe Acrobat file) has the advantage that it allows much greater control over layout than html. It also has the advantage (for the original author) that for most practical purposes it cannot be altered, since whilst the reader is free the editor is not. The pdf reader can be downloaded from www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html.
An industry standard for web site animations. Macromedia Flash Player (free download) is required to view Flash animations. Download from www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer.