EverNote is designed to compete with Microsoft’s OneNote. The purpose of both is to let you take and organize notes and images.

There the comparison ends. EverNote is still in beta mode (not quite ready for full release) and can be downloaded for free; OneNote, on the other hand, lists

for $100 (all prices US). Both can recognize handwriting, if you have a tablet for input, and both allow you to organize your notes and images by subject, just as if you were putting files in a cabinet.

OneNote shows files as tabs along the top of the screen. Click on a tab and the contents are listed in the center of your screen; subcategories are listed on the right. EverNote works in much the same way. One advantage with EverNote, however, is that it lists everything alphabetically. You wouldn’t think this is much of a difference, but it turned out to be a big difference when trying to find something. In addition, you can see all of your categories at a glance.

OneNote can export files as HTML, which means the contents can be posted directly to the Web, and EverNote is expected to do that in its final form. OneNote can even store audio and video as notes. Everything in both programs is automatically saved when you exit. Get more details at www.evernote.com and www.microsoft.com/onenote. A Web search reveals some bargain prices for OneNote.

PRIVACY AT LAST

When Joy first installed and ran the Acronis Privacy Expert Suite 8 on her HP desktop, it found 19 pieces of spyware and 1,400 items in the Internet cache, the computer’s log of where she had gone before and what she had done there. It also cleared out 1,158 temporary files. This is pretty typical, but we were glad to get it off our system.

This new version of Acronis Privacy Expert also includes a shredder, something many readers have asked for, and adds a shield that blocks spyware and hijackers. You can click on “”system cleanup”” and shred anything that was previously deleted but is still hanging around on your hard disk. As before, it provides a popup ad blocker.

Acronis Privacy Expert is a subscription service that costs $30 for one year. Web info at www.acronis.com.

GAMING THE SYSTEM

We recently installed a gigabyte of what’s sometimes called “”gamer’s memory”” in Joy’s computer. Wow! So that’s what they mean by lightning fast.

We installed two rows of 512-megabyte DDR-RAM chips from US Modular (www.usmodular.com). (Installing them is what Joy calls a “”honey do,”” which means Bob does it.) The “”RAM”” stands for “”Random Access Memory,”” which every computer has. The “”DDR”” stands for “”Double Data Rate,”” which means the chips have been set up to operate at twice regular speed.

US Modular says these ultra-fast chip sets are designed for game players, enhancing the speed with which graphics are drawn to the screen and game characters respond. They call it “”cold fusion.””

What’s interesting about this is that the chips are meant for gamers, but they work well for any purpose. Games are the cutting edge of computer technology and have been since the earliest days. Ordinary office tasks, like word processing, running a spreadsheet or keeping records, require very little computing power by today’s standards and can be run easily with the cheapest and most basic machines out there; $400 will put you “”in business”” with no trouble. Running games, on the other hand, requires power.

It turns out you don’t have to be a gamer to like this ultra-fast memory. Once we installed the DDR “”cold fusion”” chips, Joy’s computer worked very fast indeed. The start-up procedure that used to take a minute or so, now takes a few seconds. Programs that used to take several seconds to load, now pop up instantly.

The point is, fast memory makes everything run faster, not just games. Adding memory, even these relatively expensive DDR chip sets, is just about the cheapest thing you can do to improve a computer’s performance. The 1-gigabyte set costs $189 from US Modular, the 512-megabyte set is $129. Prices from discounters were similar. Regular memory chip sets cost much less, but will still speed up computer operations.

TRUSTY CLUSTY

Clusty.com, our favorite search engine, has new tabs for government, jobs and other stuff. Click on “”customize”” and put a checkmark next to the tabs you want to add for quick searches. They have lots of them: eBay, NY Times, CNN, Wikipedia, etc. Choosing the government tab gives you quick access to government reports, think tanks, and the voting records and photos of your state’s senators and congressmen. Choosing the job tab lists local jobs by state or ZIP code.

Share on LinkedIn Share with Google+