Stories by Preston Gralla

Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows

It's one of those perennial age-old battles that can never be resolved. Coke or Pepsi? Chocolate or vanilla? Linux or Windows?

Hate Microsoft Outlook? How to fix top annoyances

Microsoft Outlook is a nearly ubiquitous presence in PC computing -- and, seemingly, a universally reviled one. Outlook has countless features, ranging from e-mail gathering to calendaring, contact tracking, to-do list creation and more -- yet its tendency toward bloat, sluggishness and unreliability can make it maddening to use.

Windows 7 beta shows off task bar, UI goodies

The just-released Beta 1 version of Windows 7 is a solid, fast-performing, stable operating system that appears to be just about fully baked and ready for prime time. It is much further along than Windows Vista was during its initial beta phase, and it appears to be feature-complete. Based on the stability and speed of this beta, don't be surprised if Microsoft Corp. releases Windows 7 before 2010 rolls around.

Bloggers sneak a peek at Windows 7

The first beta of Microsoft's next OS has been leaked online, and many bloggers already are detailing its new features.

Windows 7: The Linux killer

Microsoft has long been worried about Linux competition in the server market. When it came to ordinary PCs and laptops, however, it knew it had little to fear.

Review: Firefox 3.1 Beta 2 adds speed and privacy

Firefox 3.1 may only be a point release -- from 3.0 to 3.1 -- but its just-released Beta 2 version is a good indication that the final release will be a must-have upgrade for anyone using Firefox.

Vista SP2 beta: Nothing obviously new has been added

If you install the beta of Windows Vista Service Pack 2 (SP2) expecting to see visible changes to your version of Vista, you'll be sorely disappointed. At least in this initial beta, all the changes are under the hood, and even they are far from earth-shaking.

Why Steve Jobs should run General Motors

General Motors is looking for tens of billions of bailout dollars from the US Feds to stave off bankruptcy. Here's a simpler solution: Get Steve Jobs to take over the top slot at GM. So says the New York Times' Thomas Friedman, and despite my dislike of Jobs, I think Friedman is right.

Windows 7: This time Microsoft gets it right

Microsoft may call the newest version of its operating system Windows 7, but you may want to think of it as Windows 6.5. In overall look and feel, it mimics Vista, although there are enough changes to make it far more than just a juiced-up service pack.

Microsoft's secret weapon against Google

With the first public alpha release of Windows 7 due Monday at the Microsoft PDC2008 conference, the outline of the new operating system is taking shape. What you won't see when that alpha comes out is the way that Microsoft will try to use Windows 7 as a Trojan horse in its war against Google.

16 e-mail and instant messaging boosters

The Internet was built on a very simple idea: People should be able to communicate more easily with one another, using their computers. So it should be no surprise that communication -- particularly in the form of e-mail and instant messaging -- is still at the heart of why most people go online.

50 tools to speed up your PC

Is your PC tired and sluggish? Has its get up and go got up and went? If you want a faster system, you could certainly break the bank and buy a new machine. Or you could read this article instead.

Fifteen great Microsoft Office optimization tools

What's the most popular application software in the world? Most likely, Microsoft Office. You use it, your colleagues use it, your relatives use it, and just about everyone you know uses it.

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Chrome secrets: Dig into Google's new browser

Google's Chrome is a stripped-down, no-nonsense browser. Unlike Firefox, there isn't an array of add-ons available to change its behavior. So at first glance, you might think there's not a lot you can do to hack Chrome or bend it to your will.

Fifteen must-have Firefox add-ons

Firefox 3 was released just this June, and many Firefox fans believe the new version is clearly the best browser you can get. You can make it even better with free add-ons, which integrate directly into the browser and offer loads of useful new features.