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It’s hard to believe that there are still a large number of people who think that there is only one way to access the Internet and that’s with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. And why would they know otherwise?

You buy your new PC, get it home, plug it in, turn it on and there, neatly placed on the desktop is Internet Explorer. A quick double click and you have access to the world wide web. You enjoy many happy years surfing the net with no problems, which is fine and that’s great.

There are however, if you choose, alternatives to Internet Explorer which, if you give them a try, just may improve your Internet experience.

Below is a slection of web browsers all offering great features and benefits. To find out more simply give them a try.

Firefox
The leading alternative to IE with thousands of extras and plug-ins available to customize your web browser.

Safari
The choice for Apple Macs. A fast, slick browser.

Opera
A long time runner with many features.

Chrome
The new kid on the block powered by Google. A quick, simple, hassle free browser.

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One desktop application that, as soon as I started to use it, became an essential part of my system set up as a web designer is Google Desktop.

Google Desktop is a small application that runs on system start up. You add ‘gadgets’ to your desktop which range from the fun and wacky to the more useful production apps.

Google Desktop

Google Desktop

These gadgets sit neatly and calmly at the side of your screen and you can dip in and out through out the day. And of course being Google and web based you can log in to any machine with your account details and retrieve your desktop wherever you are.

Here are the top gadgets currently occupying my desktop.

Google Calendar
See all you appointments, deadlines and holidays at glance in the corner of your screen.

Google Docs
All your Google Docs listed and simple click to open them.

Scratch Pad
Notes, phone numbers, flashes of inspiration – get them down quick before you forget them.

Twitter
The most un-intrusive Twitter client I have seen – quietly updates through out the day allowing you to scan the latest happenings.