Anyone who grew up with computers in the 1970s and 80s will know all about BASIC or the Beginners All-purpose Simple Instruction Code. In the hierarchy of computer operating and programming systems BASIC is just a couple of steps up from raw instruction code, and several layers below fancy graphical user interfaces like Windows and Mac OS.

As the name suggests it is a simple set of logical instructions, written in plain text, more or less, but the beauty of BASIC is that just about anyone can understand it, and make their Atari, Commodore, Sinclair et al computers do useful things. However, the real point of BASIC was that it taught a generation of kids to program computers, rather than just mindlessly play with them.

Many of them went on to write and create the operating systems, applications and games that we all use today. Sadly BASIC is fast becoming a footnote in computer history, More »

Microsoft has made a range of resources available for download in an effort to streamline the process of leveraging the Windows 7 evolution, focusing, among other aspects of the operating system, on the Aero graphical user interface advances. An illustrative example in this context is what the Redmond company referred to as an intermediate solution addressing managed code developers specifically. The Taskbar Sample .NET Interop Library is a new managed code wrapper that Microsoft hopes will make the lives of managed code developers easier.

“The Taskbar Sample .NET Interop Library allows developers to: create and manipulate JumpLists including tasks and items; display Dynamic Overlay Icons, Thumbnail Toolbars; use the Taskbar progress bar; control Custom Thumbnail Preview, and custom Preview also known as AeroPeek,” revealed Yochay Kiriaty, Windows 7 technical evangelist on the Client Platform Evangelist Group. More »

The maturity of the ecosystem of software and hardware products built around Windows Vista contributed not only to the evolution of the operating system’s level of performance, along with Service Pack 1, but also to making irrelevant the vast majority of incompatibility problems which affected the RTM build of the platform. With the introduction of the Windows Vista Compatibility Center, Microsoft revealed that in excess of 9,000 products are fully compatible with the client, including over 5,500 devices and more than 3,500 software programs. In addition to the center, the Redmond company has also made available for download the “Windows Vista Application Compatibility Downloadable List for IT Professionals”.

The resource features a list of approximately 4,000 applications that are either compatible with or certified for Windows Vista. The document is offered under the Open XML file format for Office Excel 2007, but it can be accessed via Office Live Workspace or through 3.0.0 in the absence of the Redmond company’s productivity suite. More »

A couple of days ago, I met an old friend of mine who just got his hands on a brand new Mac and, after about half an hour of showing the ins and outs of the machine, he asked me why the Mac community has so few free applications. If he had known that I would start writing down every piece of free and/or open source software capable of running on a Mac and keep talking about them for a whole hour, I think he wouldn’t have asked me that question in a million years.

To be fair, I kind of slowed down about 30 minutes after I started writing the list but still got pretty far to cover two pages. Those were the apps that I could remember at the moment, while still trying to write down other apps in no particular order.

The exact same question seems to haunt a lot of Mac switchers out there and thus, I decided to put up a list of the most important free applications I would install on my own Mac after performing a clean install.

Because I do want to give the list some type of order, I have put the apps in six categories, again, in no particular order: Internet, network, audio/video, graphics, games, editors and miscellaneous. The content in the first five categories is pretty obvious. In the sixth, I have included the programs that wouldn’t fit in any of the first categories. More »

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