Firefox and SkyDrive Updates, Cloud Security, Personal DNA Genotyping and Ancestral research with – HT031

Home-Tech-Album-125x125_thumb1_thumb1Jim and Andrew are joined by Chris Lux and John Zajdler for this weeks’ installment of the Home Tech Podcast.

imageThe guys get rolling talking about Brian Burgess’ Information Week article: Firefox 5.0: 5 Reasons to Upgrade, following on from the upgrade from the Mozilla Organization of their flagship browser, Firefox.  The guys discuss their browser of choice, with Jim, Chris and Andrew mostly being Chrome users, with John being an Internet Explorer 9 user.  Chris tells us about one of the features he likes in Internet Explorer 9 , which enables you to pin Website Shortcuts to the Taskbar in Windows 7 so that they appear as an application would.

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John tells us about his latest acquisition, being a 13” MacBook Pro for his son, and the decision process to decide between the MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air, and the guys talk about the discounts available to students on both hardware and software, as well as some of the bundled hardware deals available at the moment.  Apple are running a “Buy a Mac for University” campaign in Canada and the U.S. at the moment, that offer $100 rebate on a printer,  as well as $100 in the Mac App Store.

Jim and Chris talk about the recently upgraded Microsoft SkyDrive, and the changes that have been made in the most recent release, which improves the end user experience, bringing the tiled “Metro” look, that we’re starting to see in Windows Phone, and the previews of Windows 8.  The guys talk about some of the features of SkyDrive, including integrating with Windows Live Photo Gallery, and the Office Web App functionality, which is the Microsoft rival to Google Docs.


The guys talk about the usability of the Microsoft Office Web Apps versus Google Docs.  The guys discuss the possibility of using the online services only, rather than locally installed applications.  Office Web Apps allows the integration into the Hotmail environment.  Online Office Web Apps cover the counterparts to the desktop Office versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

Chris talks about how he finds the Windows Phone experience when integrated with the SkyDrive environment, and how the phone integrates all the various media sources the phone displays via the “Hubs” that bring content together on the phone.

Andrew talks about the recent Wired article that told readers about the Dropbox Blog Post that regarding some of their user accounts being unlocked for a few hours, and the guys discuss their usage of online storage providers.  Of course there are options for securing content within Cloud services, such as adding a second layer of encryption or using an encrypted zip file within a Dropbox folder, however for the average user, we would recommend something as simple as adding a password to protect your files.

imageChris talks to us about researching your family history using the online genealogy research service, a service that assists you in finding public documents such as Census Records and Birth, Deaths & Marriages Records.  This service allows you to capture family stories so that other family members can access them, as well as the records being researchable to others who may be related to you without you know it.

imageTo wrap up the show, Chris tells us about a personal genome mapping service, which he has been using which allows you to build a genetic profile of yourself, and in turn research the characteristics that your DNA has against historic, geographic and medical knowledge bases.

And for a bit of humor to start your weekend, the video clip below contains a compilation from the UK TV Series “Walk on the Wild Side” from the late 2000’s.

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