Your correspondence so far

It's been just over a month now since I started writing here, and it's certainly been an interesting one. I've had many emails over the last month asking me this, that and the other, not even a single death threat yet!
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor

It's been just over a month now since I started writing here, and it's certainly been an interesting one. I've had many emails over the last month asking me this, that and the other, not even a single death threat yet! I'd like to share some questions and my answers with you - as sometimes it's the most efficient way of doing it. Perhaps with the more emails and questions I get, I'll publish one of these posts again in due time.

Q. [Email]What's Bill Gates' next move, and what's going to happen to Microsoft? A. He's retiring from Microsoft to be nothing much more than a chairman of the board - presumably now and then he'll add his views and he'll be consulted, but he's heading the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - a charity set up by him and his wife, to try and solve some of the wider world issues; famine, energy, education, all important things in developing worlds. There's more on Bill Gates here, and Mary-Jo wrote a book about Microsoft in the post-Gates era which is definitely worth a read.

Q. [Email] Which browser do you use? A. Firefox 3.0 primarily. I've been using it since it was first called "Minefield", but I do on occasion use Windows Internet Explorer 8.0 beta (emulating IE7) because some websites don't work - Tesco.com for example, when I'm trying to do my online food shopping.

Q. What other favourites do you have, if you don't mind sharing? A. I'll quickly run through some of the other favourites of mine.

  • The Microsoft Math add-in for Word 2007 is a free mini version of Microsoft Math, which allows you to work out basic functions and equations and add them straight into your Word document; an absolute must for students who do some sort of maths (psychology, sciences, computing etc.)
  • Schoolr.com has a home page makes life much easier for research and quick access to the information you need. Without the need of finding the search engine, picking your result, then using another search engine to find your information, this makes research simpler for the basic tasks.
  • Not many people use screen savers nowadays, but one that might throw you back a decade or so, is John's Background Switcher. With your details, it'll pick your Facebook photos and Flickr photos and display them in many different groovy looking ways.

Q. In this post, were you referring to CleanAfterMe v1.11 from NirSoft? A. Yep - I updated the post a few days ago because some people didn't have the inclination to click on the cleverly highlighted link.

Q. Can't handle the truth? A. YOU CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH! But on a serious note, I don't have any control over the Talkbacks on this blog, they're all moderated by a secondary party.

Q. [Email] Dude, nice article. Any chance you're single? A. I'm single, but not looking. It's not a wise idea to settle down with someone when you're at university, that's for after you graduate.

Q. Have you had an opportunity to look at the MSFT stock price in the past five years? A. I have, but don't really understand it very much. It seemed to peak on Christmas Eve 1999 for some reason, I just presume from the numbers that Google is doing much better... I think.

Q. How can a platform dependent product compete with a platform independent product? A. A platform dependent product may work extremely well on one operating system, such as Windows, the world's most used OS, whereas a platform independent product may work shoddily on a range of different OS's. If a product was aimed at the highest market, such as Windows, and worked extremely well, this would give them a less need to compete because they simply have a better working product for that operating system.

Q. Does cloud computing really differ from just storing files on someone's web server? A. There are benefits from the business and the consumer. A web server is a chunk of metal with a hard drive and a network connection, using up a lot of power and energy. A "cloud" and a "grid" are essentially synonymous, where the grid holds up the cloud by interconnecting these web servers - spreading the network and storage load. Not only that, the cloud allows you to extend to other devices, connecting your PC with your laptop, both of those with your phone, all of those with other devices, allowing you to access anything, anywhere, on anything, essentially. But to be honest, you're kinda right in that yes, a cloud is like a big web server, but it has many more advantages.

Q. So you're saying the younger generation are now so utterly consumerist that they're always looking for a newer, shinier thing, and will mindlessly discard their previous toys without a thought? A. No, not at all, but also very much yes. People nowadays strive for the new thing; a new car, second/third house, new phone, new computer, new spouse - seriously, it happens. However what is key to point out is that "mindlessly" is certainly not true. Students nowadays are careful with money, to the point where they'll spend all their money on beer but will at least have enough to buy food for the next week. It's not a mindless act, it's not consumerism as such, it's just how we are nowadays as most things are cheaper to replace than to repair. Anyway, I was really ill that day and I'm still recovering - ultimately it was just to provoke a bit of laughter rather than a serious debate.

If you'd like to get in touch, ask me questions about anything I've posted, anything studenty/technological, anything in the news this week related, or just want to suggest a story - you can do by emailing me at
, or if you don't have email access [Edit: forgot the damn link] then click here. [/]
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