ICT Point

What is a zip file?

A zip file, otherwise known as a compressed folder or an archive, is a file format used for making the size of files smaller.

A zip file, otherwise known as a compressed folder or an archive, is a file format used for making the size of files smaller.

A zip file, otherwise known as a compressed folder or an archive, is a file format used for making the size of files smaller.  Zip files use clever algorithms to recognise patterns in the data in a file, and then describe the pattern, rather than describing each individual bit of data.  

What is a Podcast?

The golden rule for all such ventures into podcasting: content is king!

At its simplest, a podcast is simply an audio clip, like a music mp3.  The term podcast makes reference to Apple's massively popular iPod player, but in no way means that one requires an iPod to listen to one.

The golden rule for all such ventures into podcasting: content is king!

So what is on a podcast?

Usually, podcasts contain talking, e.g. talk radio shows (or segments thereof) are often produced as podcasts for download .  There are no rules as to what can be in a podcast.

Sending Email Newsletters

10 things you should know about sending pretty email newsletters.


  1. Emails with pictures in them are in effect mini web-pages.  These are written in basic HTML, the language of the web.

  2. You can create HTML emails using "what you see is what you get", or WYSIWYG tools, like the formatting toolbar in Outlook or Thunderbird, but such tools are limited in what they can output, and usually produce unnecessary code which just clogs up bandwidth and can upset spam filters.

Make your own social network in a flash - for free!

{mosimage} Ning is an online tool which allows anyone to create a social network.

Imagine a private facebook for the employees of your organisation.  Or a myspace for your supporters.  Or even a bebo for the people who came to your annual conference.  Ning makes it possible, in a matter of minutes.

To create a network, all that is required is a proposed web address, an email address and a password, but from there your options spread.  All of the usual social networking tools are available.

Network members can:

  • edit their own profile
  • upload pictures
  • customise the look of their home page
  • set their own privacy settings
  • set their own alert settings
  • track conversations on the forum
  • upload video or audio
  • keep a blog
  • start discussions
  • comment on other articles


Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook?

"Lotus Notes or Microsoft Outlook? We need to make a decision on an email solution for our organisation. Currently we have a Lotus Notes setup but many us are more used to Microsft Outloook. Could you advise on the following please

(1) Which is better , Lotus or Microsoft Outlook for normal run-of-the mill email requirements for an organisation?

(2) If Microsoft, is it possible to tranfer across from Lotus ?

(3) What costs would be associated with such a move?"


 This is a good question, and an important decision. 


How to choose an IT support company

"We are a medium size organsiation with a number of offices around the country , mainly in the midlands,south. We want to tender for our IT support services - 2 queries .
(1)can you recommned anyone for us and (2) Is there any standard template available that we could use if we have to tender for the service? We really aren't sure what questions to ask or how much the going rate is for an annual contract but we would need someone capable of both remote and onsite support across our offices."


When choosing a support company, try to create an ongoing relationship with your ICT provider - they should be viewed as your long term technology partner, not just the disaster recovery guys.   In this way they will learn your needs and be able to better tailor their services to suit you, and offer advice within the context of your business.

Laptop mouse query

"I connected a mouse to my laptop but now when I take it out the touchpad will not work."

Depending on the type of mouse you may need to restart the laptop in order to restore functionality to the touchpad. If you plug in a USB (flat connector) mouse after the laptop is booted you should be able to disconnect the mouse and immediately begin using the touchpad however if the mouse is a PS2 mouse (circular connector) it is recognised at boot time as the primary input and as such cannot be easily switched without a second boot-up.

How do I update my website

"We have a website and are anxious to have access to it so we can update it ourselves on a regular basis. A couple of questions, is it necessary to go on a course for this? I have been told we need a contents manager system?"

 This does depend a lot on how often you intend to update your website, add new articles and such. You mentioned you have an exsisting website you want to update. A website is usually hosted on a server on the internet and the usual way to access it would be to log into the server with FTP (file transfer protocol) the files held there is your website, depending on your update needs you may not need a CMS (content management system) you may just need to be shown how to log onto your hosting provider and change the files.

There are a number of programs available to connect to an FTP server. Filezilla is one of the better ones and is available free at http://filezilla-project.org/. You can then edit the files with something as simple as word (however this is limited). If you wish to edit the site directly you may wish to use a porpose built HTML editor Bluefish available here: http://bluefish.openoffice.nl can connect to the ftp server and edit the files directly. This would be your best option without a CMS.

Advantages of a CMS are that the over all look of the site will stay constant as you change and edit the articles and content of the site, administration of users privilages and other such features is a lot easier in a CMS system.

To decide what you need, I would recommend trying the above method out and reading more about these CMS systems:

one of the most popular is Joomla!, available here: www.joomla.org 

Another popular one is Drupal, available here: drupal.org

Both are freely available ( open source and licenced under the GPL) and have a lot of information on their site.


Cormac O'Loughlin

Foundry Information Technology Ltd. Highrath, Maddoxtown, Co.Kilkenny. www.foundryit.ie Tel. 00353879333050


Laptop going into hibernation

"My Dell laptop is telling me it can't identify the AC adapter power source (or something - it flashed up so quickly I hardly saw it!) and then went into hibernation mode. Have we a problem here?

Website from scratch - where to start

"We are interested in starting a website from scratch... where should we start? What can you suggest?"

Well a lot would depend on your level of technical know how, and what the purpose of the website is.

However as a starting point I would direct you towards this site: http://cat.xula.edu/tutorials/ . The first few tutorials cover HTML (a markup language for web pages) and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS, used to describe how a page will be displayed). The last tutorial 'Planning Your Website' is definitely worth a read.

In terms of tools for writing websites there are a huge number, but a simple text editor will do the job. When you feel you need more convenience have a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HTML_editor. Personally I've found Amaya and Bluefish good editors.

Other things to consider include;

Website hosting :


W3C Accessibility guidelines - quite dry but worth studying once you know the basics:


I hope this gets you started in the right direction, if you've any other questions don't hesitate to ask.


Anntoin Wilkinson


Foundry Information Technology Ltd. Highrath, Maddoxtown, Co.Kilkenny. www.foundryit.ie Tel. 00353879333050

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