|Children's Software Press|
Top 5 Computer Plug-Ins
One of the most frustrating things about sharing the wonders of the Internet with kids is clicking on a button, link, or game and having a message come up that says you don't have the right plug-in (such as QuickTime or Shockwave), which means that you can't view or hear that bit of information or media. Worse yet is clicking on the link that will supposedly send you to the site where you can get the missing plug-in, only to find a list of plug-ins and not know exactly which one to pick. Or how about finding out that it will take 20 minutes to download a remedy? Well, as the old adage goes, "Forewarned is forearmed." Here's a list of plug-ins that should be on any Net-connected computer, complete with addresses of where to download them from for free.
Shockwave & Flash Players - Macromedia, Inc.
Real Player - RealNetworks, Inc.
QuickTime - Apple Computer, Inc.
Acrobat Reader - Adobe Systems, Inc.
Other Useful Add-ons
Zip Files - are 'archived' files that are 'zipped up' (compressed) to save space and make downloading software and transferring e-mail attachments faster. For example, if you download files or software off the Internet, many times the files will be .zip files, so you will need to "unzip" them first in order to install the software. There are many .zip compression programs out there that will get the job done. WinZip (WinZip) or Stuff It (Aladdin Systems) (for Windows only) are the most popular, but you can find cheaper or even free versions of comparable software at places such as www.tucows.com (usually found under "Compression Utilities"). For Macintosh, try using Stuff It Expander (Aladdin Systems).
Java - is a type of Web-programming that allows you to experience interactive multimedia through your browser. Most browsers, such as Internet Explorer and Netscape are already Java-enabled, so nothing extra is needed. Nevertheless, it's a good idea to be aware of what Java is so that when you come across a site that says "Your browser must support Java to view this page" you'll be able to surf with confidence knowing your browser does support it.
Test Pages - If you think you might have some of these plug-ins already installed on your computer but aren't sure, you can visit the McMaster Plug In Test Page. Just click on the corresponding plug-in test and if the sample animation or test file 'works' on your computer, then you already have the plug-in and no longer need to fret over it. If, however, the test does not work properly, just click on the link to install it. Be sure and get the plug-in versions compatible with your operating system. The newer your Web browser, the better chance you already have some of the plug-ins, but even the most recent versions don't have all of what you need. You can also check out this Plug-in Gallery and Demo page, or Cnet Download for their comprehensive plug-in list, or you can go to Plugins.com and find good info there, such as a Plug-in Refresher and a Plug-In Guide. So go get plugged in!