Plan ahead this Christmas

CHRISTMAS is just around the corner. Maybe you are worried about the recession, which is still hovering over your head. You know that you will need to buy Christmas gifts.
Early in the new year your son or daughter might be leaving to study at university or maybe they are returning to school for another year.
At this stage, careful planning could save you a whole lot of money. You will probably be asked to either buy a laptop or a computer. Or you may be told that you will have to provide internet access.
Balancing these requests during Christmas could make you the parent of the year. It could save you a lot of money in the next year.
Your budget will determine which models to buy, so I will give you some ideas.
Netbooks are great, and if you are able to afford it you can always think of buying a Samsung tablet or iPad. These new tablets are great, but in terms of functionality you will find it hard to beat a Netbook. You can install OpenOffice free of charge and it will provide you with most of the necessary tools.
The best option for connectivity at this stage is the CellC speedstick. You pay a fixed price, either per month or for the full year, and there will be no surprises. Connectivity is very important for research and for accessing class content and this is the best option available at the moment.
Lastly, shop around. There are many bargains available at the moment. You will get great deals online, so let your fingers and your feet do the walking.

Time to Backup!

WE have reached the end of another year and again it is time for those who budgeted well during the recession and the World Cup Tournament to go on holiday. It is however again time for me to ask you to please remember to make backups of all your valuable data before you hit the road. These days we live our lives digitally, we have all our valuable documents in digital format and all the photos we take are stored on our computers. We seldomly print our photos. While I am on the subject I have decided that it is time to print more of our memories and I am in the process of exploring photobook printing services in Bloemfontein. I will give you feedback in a future column. Back to backups.
What would you save if your house was to burn down? In years gone by people used to run and fetch their photo albums. Will you now run and grab your computer? I have a better idea. First of all make backups of all your photos either on DVDs or on an external harddrive (or both). Prices are dropping and you can already get an external hard drive of about 1.5 terabyte for less than a R1 000. Prices will continue to go down, so just buy one for now.
Your memories are worth so much more.
A cheaper alternative is to use DVDs and they work just as well.
Carbonite.com also offer unlimited backups for a year for about R500. I only recommend this if you have uncapped ADSL as it will use loads of bandwidth in a month. Do not try this on your mobile connection. Lastly remember to keep your backup far away from your main computer. Preferably at a friends house. Be safe and backup today.

New UFS Website

THIS week I visited the University of the Free State’s new website. After going through the links and seeing how the website has changed from the previous version I saw that indeed the web has successfully evolved into a more useful and user-friendly website. It is vital that every website must evolve as the needs of users change each and every year, and as new online developments are made.
You need to remember that your users are comparing your website with the newest websites on the Internet. They are browsing the Internet, joining networks and interacting more and more with websites. Websites are getting better each week and each week there are new, fascinating tools out there. You need to constantly change and update your website to ensure that you are current.
Schools and tertiary institutions are forced to keep up to date as their customers are the people who grew up with the web and they are the ones who are online each and every day. They will notice if your website does not engage them. They will see if the institution or school is not up to date. They want to go to school or to a tertiary institution that is pushing new frontiers online and who is at least embracing the newest technology.
I know that the Central University of Technology (CUT), Free State, is also in the process of updating their website and I am looking forward to see what they have in store when the new site goes online. I see that there are still one or two bugs to sort out on the website, but for now I have to congratulate the UFS for a great new main website. You can view the website at www.ufs.ac.za.