Bigpond 7.2 Mobile Card, ESET Smart Security, Gnome Office

Bigpond 7.2 Mobile card

The Bigpond 7.2 Mobile card is easy to use if you’re on the road a lot. After installing the software and plugging it in, you get on and offline simply by clicking the connect/disconnect button in the small utility that lives on your desktop.

It promises a download speed of 7.2Mbps download, faster than the average cable-based broadband account, but in reality you’re constrained by the mobile network signal, and we all know that even in the middle of the city network weaknesses can happen. At times the connection routinely dropped out after five or ten minutes, and it only occasionally came anywhere near the promised 7.2Mbps.

Older mobile cards plugged into your laptop’s Express or PCMCIA card sockets — a much tighter fit. The Bigpond card is a USB model, and while it’s only about 50 grams or so, it tends to jiggle too much. Plans go from $34.95 to $114.95 a month after purchase of the device. 3/5

ESET Smart Security
RRP: $679

ESET is a no-nonsense PC security tool that guards against threats and bad files across the board, be they malware or email viruses. After installation, the first step is to set the network protection mode, allowing other computers to see your system or not. The process to update details such as the virus database is simple and if need be you can run a manual scan of your system in the background to find anything nefarious that’s already found its way in.

ESET then uses heuristics to keep an eye out for threats as they come in. Once installed, a dropdown control box appears in Outlook where you can adjust settings to watch for spam. After a few tries however, it didn’t need adjusting, correctly identifying spam and sending it straight to the junk folder. 4/5

Gnome Office
RRP: Free

One of the biggest but least known computing movements (among consumers) is the open source model, where a program or system is released to the development community to adapt, tinker, rerelease and improve on it at will, all for love and all for free.

But it’s not just about high-end stuff like operating systems. There’s a host of open source office applications, and Gnome office is just one. The email component (Evolution) is best left alone unless you’re a programmer, but the word processor (AbiWord) and Spreadsheet (Gnumeric) are great either until you can afford Microsoft Office or as a fully fledged replacement.

Neither has the deep-level customisation of commercial products, but both have clean, intuitive interfaces that contain all the major tools you’re used to. You can save files in Microsoft Office format and each program will open comparable .doc and .xls files so the transition is easy. 3.5/5

Full client and publication list:

  • 3D Artist
  • APC
  • Auscam
  • Australian Creative
  • Australian Macworld
  • Australian Way (Qantas)
  • Big Issue
  • Black Velvet Seductions
  • Black+White
  • Bookseller & Publisher
  • Box Magazine
  • Brain World
  • Business News
  • Business NSW
  • Campaign Brief
  • Capture
  • Cleo
  • Cosmos
  • Cream
  • Curve
  • Daily Telegraph
  • Dark Horizons
  • Dazed and Confused
  • Desktop
  • DG
  • Digital Media
  • Disney Magazine
  • DNA Magazine
  • Empire
  • Empty Magazine
  • Famous Monsters of Filmland
  • Fast Thinking
  • FHM UK
  • Film Stories
  • Filmink
  • Follow Gentlemen
  • Geek Magazine
  • Good Reading
  • Good Weekend
  • GQ
  • How It Works
  • Hydrapinion
  • Inside Film
  • Loaded
  • M2 Magazine
  • Marie Claire Australia
  • Marketing
  • Maxim Australia
  • Men's Style
  • Metro
  • Moviehole
  • MSN
  • Nine To Five
  • Paranormal
  • PC Authority
  • PC Powerplay
  • PC Update
  • PC User
  • PC World
  • Penthouse
  • People
  • Pixelmag
  • Popular Science
  • Post Magazine
  • Ralph
  • Reader's Digest
  • ScienceNetwork WA
  • SciFiNow
  • Scoop
  • Scoop Traveller
  • Seaside Observer
  • SFX
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • The Australian
  • The Retiree
  • The Sun Herald
  • The West Australian
  • TimeOut
  • Total Film
  • Video Camera
  • Video&Filmmaker
  • Writing Magazine
  • Xpress
  • Zoo