Get the information you need right now while personalizing the surfing experience.
Power Up Your Bookmarks
Check numerous e-mail accounts, or browse your favorite news sites simultaneously, by opening multiple bookmarks in Firefox with a single click. To try it, select a bookmark category, then click “Open All in Tabs” at the bottom of the pop-up menu.
Get Your RSS Fix
Still refreshing pages when looking for new content all day? Subscribe to RSS feeds and banish this archaic practice for good. NewsGator FeedDemon ($29.95; www.newsgator.com) is a standalone reader that lets you manage it all from your Windows desktop. Or, try the free built-in readers in IE7 and Firefox 2. To add new feeds in IE 7, click the orange Feed; it will light up orange if there are available feeds on a particular site. In Firefox, click Bookmarks then “Subscribe to this Page”.
Keep Your Kids Safe
Windows Vista includes powerful controls built right into the operating system under “User Accounts and Family Safety” in Control Panel. By using the right parental controls and placing the PC in an accessible area, you can let your kids explore the Web while monitoring and protecting them, without having to buy additional software.
Move Beyond the Static Homepage
Custom portal sites such as iGoogle (www.google.com/ig), Netvibes (www.netvibes.com), and My Yahoo (my.yahoo.com) let you set up all your favorite widgets – including news, e-mail feeds, stock prices, the weather, and much more – in a single Ajax-powered page. Keep it open in a separate tab all day for easy reference.
Roll Your Own Radio Station
There are lots of online radio sites on the Web, but Pandora (www.pandora.com) is still one of the best, with a sleek, streamlined interface and the ability to find new music based on your current listening tastes. Key in a song and click Listen Now to get started. The service is available on certain Sprint cell phones for $2.95 per month.
Store Your Bookmarks Online
Tired of losing track of your bookmarks? Use del.icio.us (del.icio.us) to maintain an online list that you can access from anywhere, as well as share with others. Honorable mention: If you’re a Firefox hound, Foxmarks is a killer extension that synchronizes your bookmarks across multiple machines – even between Macs and PCs.
One of Firefox’ biggest draws is the ability to add dozens of custom add-ons. Head to www.get-firefox.com and click on the Add-ons tab at the top of the screen. You can browse lists of extensions, themes, and more by clicking on the appropriate category on the left.
Get Your Daily Hack
Lifehacker (www.lifehacker.com) is full of tips, utilities, and ideas for smoothing out your browsing experience. You’ll find information on using Google, and priceless tips for saving time online.
Protect yourself by using your browser’s smarts
Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 7 contains some new features designed for a more secure Web experience, including a phishing filter option that lets you know you’ve stumbled upon a fraudulent site; parental controls where you can monitor your child’s Web activity (Vista only); and information-bar notifications that warn you if your current settings pose a security risk.
Mozilla Firefox 2.0 browser also contains an anti-phishing tool, as well as a quick and easy way to clear out private data like browsing, download, and search histories. It protects against unauthorized software installations, a common method of infecting a system with spyware.