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If you are experiencing speed issues with you machine, or would just like to give it a general service to improve performance then you could do much worse than Soluto. Soluto monitors your PCLaptop whilst it boots, and using an innovative time line based interface helps pin point what it is that’s making your PC boot like it’s burning coal. The interface is so simple to use, I don’t think anyone would have trouble with it. Since it’s recent release I have been using it as my first point of call for performance improvement requests from my customers. 
Once you have found the offending application, Soluto offers you the chance to delay it’s boot up and essentially move it to the end of the boot process. To aid your decision of what to do with the application Soluto queries it’s community database and returns simple easy to understand percentages of who did what. So not only does it explain what it is the application is doing, it suggests what you should do with it and backs it up with what over people do with it.
The Soluto client continues to run in the background once your machine has booted up, and monitorsreports on performance of the apps being run. This is useful information to eventual aid in software design to truly make PC’s better to use. 
Now, obviously there are many factors surrounding the boot up of your machine such as hardware, age etc. However this is the perfect place to start, and could potentially save you shelling out for Ram upgrades, new machines or even costly IT Technician time.
The Soluto software is backed up by an active community forum providing support and advice to Soluto users world wide. 
Hardware Requirements:
Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7 – 32bit or 64bit
Minimum 512MB Ram
If you want to see just how easy Soluto is to use before downloading it, check to the video on their website! However, if you are confident you know what you are doing and just want to get stuck in, click here to download your copy.

Recently I have found my self at the mercy of my ISP and diabolical download speeds in an attempt to download the massive (2+ GB) download that is Apple’s xCode. Which is where my latest blog article stems from, and the latest software review.

Back in october last year I posted a blog about some sync software from Eltima software, whilst online shopping for the sync software I noticed they offered a download manager solution. Now being a big heavy user of Getright on my previous windows boxes I considered it at the time. However, being new to the world of Mac’s I held off. Until now! 
Revisiting Eltima’s site I grabbed my self a copy of Folx their download manager. Folx comes with some pretty nifty features. (all of which normally found in download managers, but non the less… Nifty)
Tagging – Folx gives you the ability to ‘tag’ your download’s to help you keep track of what it is you are downloading, and makes it easier to find once it arrives into your downloads folder.
Faster Downloads – if you chose to go for the ‘Pro’ version of Folx you get the option of splitting your downloads. Which breaks the download down into smaller chunks which it downloads and then reconstructs once the download has finished.
Torrent Search – The ability to search for and download .torrent files direct from the Folx client.
Scheduled Downloads – The ability to schedule download tasks.
Speed Control – The ability to control the speed at which Folx download’s your files. Which the added extra of being able to pause and resume downloads.
Download Priorities – The ability to prioritise downloads to ensure you most important files finish first.
Growl & Spotlight Integration – Seamless integration into OS X’s spotlight search engine and growl notification engine.
Floating ‘wise’ window – a unique status window which is small enough not to get in the way but clever enough to provide quick and easy access to all the main features of the application.
…. there are plenty more features besides the above, all of which can be reviewed on Eltima’s ‘features page
Folix is compatible with OS x 10.4, 10.5 and 10.6 and most major OS X web browsers.
Click here to download your copy now. (Approx 9.2Mb)

A lot of time is spent waiting for webpages to load… Or so you think! One thing you might not know is some of that time is spent waiting for results to come back from your ISP’s DNS servers most people will never bother to change their DNS server settings therefore leaving some ISP’s servers with huge volumes of traffic which could impact the speed of your internet experience.

Public DNS providers are becoming more and more common and more popular among speed hungry keyboard warriors, so it seems fair to suggest theres a need for an application to speed test these servers an provide you with the best possible combination based on your locationconnection.
That’s where namebench comes in. “namebench hunts down the fastest DNS servers available for your computer to use. namebench runs a fair and thorough benchmark using your web browser history, tcpdump output, or standardized datasets in order to provide an individualized recommendation. namebench is completely free and does not modify your system in any way.”
namebench is open source and is available for Mac, Linux and Windows
NB: To implement namebench’s suggestions will require changing advanced system settings, or settings on your internet router which could render your internet connection useless. Make a note of the changes you make and where you make them in case you need to roll back the implementation.

As a heavy internet user I am always looking at ways to improve response times of websites… Thanks to Chris Prillo via Twitter I have now discovered the magic that is OpenDNS. I have tried free DNS servers in the past, but never been happy with the results. However this one seems to be working well for me.

OpenDNS has servers situated strategically at the most well-connected intersections of the Internet. Unlike your ISP, our network uses Anycast routing technology, which means no matter where you are in the world your DNS requests are answered by our closest datacenter. Anycast routing also means that you are automatically routed to our next closest datacenter in the event of maintenance or downtime. This makes your Internet faster and more reliable.

If you want to try OpenDNS for yourself, you can find detailed instructions over at their website:

Give it a go, and let me know what you think.

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