Welcome to the 358th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news and tips. There is something for everyone, and if this is your first
issue, I'm sure there will be something for you. If you give me two or three
issues, I know that you will come back for more!
So did people like the Digital Photography Tip of the Week?
We have no idea! Chris didn't get a single email asking any questions, commenting
on the new section, or even acknowledging that the section was there. Remember,
email Chris your thoughts/comments/questions, and he'll do what he can to answer
I've been getting a number of hits to my Corrupted
PC's Find New Home in the Dumpster post. It seemed hard to believe when
I originall read the article, and as I've talked with people, they all seem
to feel the same way. I spoke to one person the other day who works for a
computer services company and they have been paid good money to dispose of
(destroy) a skid full of P4 computers. There are still so many people out
there without computers, or with underpowered computers, I can't understand
why people or companies are throwing them out. I know there are privacy concerns,
but there must be a better way.
Standing in front of a refrigerated case at the 7-Eleven store in Rockwall,
Texas, on a Friday morning, store manager Sherry Neal considered a seemingly
mundane, but in fact important, decision: how many chicken salad sandwiches
to order for the next day.
To aid her decision, Neal held a new lightweight wireless tablet with a colorful
screen chock-full of information. She noted that she had two sandwiches that
were due to expire that day and six the next. Using the gadget's built-in
keyboard, she recorded the inventory information into an electronic form.
On the same screen, she saw that the National Weather Service was forecasting
seasonably warm and fair weather for the next five days. Having observed
customer behavior as an employee of 7-Eleven since 1979, Neal knew good weather
was likely to mean good business over the upcoming weekend. Another part
of the screen told her how many chicken salad sandwiches her store had sold
on each of the last four Saturdays.
Last year, someone took a bulky old-style phone and made a cell-phone headset
out of it. It was at once the dorkiest and coolest headset around and understandably
a big hit online. This is not an isolated case. At Radio Shack, you can now
buy modern phones that look so old-fashioned you'll feel like you're in the
middle of "His Girl Friday." Revamped Beetles and Mini-Coopers
are all over our roadways. Even Atari games are back in vogue. It seems that
we all like our technology to be a little retro. Here then are some suggestions
for the future of retro technology.
USB Typewriters -- I know there are many who miss typewriters. While I can't
imagine writing something from scratch on one of those monstrosities, I have
to admit that there is something cool about the clickety-clack of an old
typewriter. Soon, I predict that someone will build a USB typewriter.
Phishers are rapidly becoming more sophisticated with the development of
malicious crimeware software that can bypass conventional IT security systems
and steal identity information for financial crime, the Anti-Phishing Working
Group (APWG) warned today.
In July 2005, APWG researchers found that phishers are designing systems
specifically to neutralise the counter-phishing technologies being deployed
by financial institutions and ecommerce sites.
"The technological contest between phisher and counter-phisher is well and
truly underway," said APWG chairman David Jevans. "It is a contest
Nearly half of the UK's net users go to eBay monthly, and most of them are
older surfers, according to net monitoring firm Nielsen/Netratings.
About a fifth are considered heavy users, browsing on the online auction
site for two hours or more per month.
The site seems to appeal most of all to those 35 and over, the figures showed.
They make up 58% of the site's traffic.
The results show that eBay's popularity continues to rise, beating Google
in the growth of visitors to the site.
As I mentioned last week, people have a tendency to take a lot
more photographs with a digital camera than they had with traditional film
cameras. In the past, you could keep your negatives in the same envelope as
your prints. But now most of your photos are kept on the computer, how do you
save those for the future? It is important to make backup copies of your photos.
You have a few options for doing this.
Create a CD/DVD archive of your photos periodically. I actually
like to make two copies. One that I keep in the house so I have quick access
to all of my images, and a second that I like to keep off property (another
family member's house, a safety deposit box, etc). Having a second copy off
site provides a safety net for your images in the event there is ever catastrophic
event in your house, such as a fire, that destroys your computer and all the
CD's you have beside your computer.
Many local photofinishers can now output your photos to a CD
for you. This avoids the hassle of creating the CD yourself, and depending
on the lab, you may get an index print with the CD to show you what photo's
are on them.
As with any digital media, hard drives and CD/DVD media can fail.
And even though manufacturers of recordable CD's claim longevity of anywhere
from 25 to 200 years for their products, they often fail much sooner than that,
so it is a good idea to make additional copies of your CD's every couple of
years to ensure you do not lose those precious memories.
Next week, using software to help organize your images.
The digital photography tip of the week is a new feature of PCIN news
and is written by our Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time
photographer and member of the Niagara Falls Camera Club. You can see more
of his photography at his Photo
of the Day website.
If you have a tip to send us, or a question about digital photography we
can address in the newsletter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The latest issue of Windows
IT Pro magazine has an informative article about Windows
Error Reporting. Have you ever noticed that when a program crashes
on a recent Microsoft operating system, that a little window pops up asking
if you want to send an error report? Well, that is the Windows Error Reporting.
If you send a report, it gets submitted to Microsoft. Occasionally, it
will tell you right away that they have fixed the problem. Recently after
an Excel crash, I was informed there were some Office updates available
to be installed that may fix the problem. Also, I had a crash on a laptop
one night, and OCA told me it was a known problem with my D-Link wireless
card. So if you usually click "Don't Send", I'd suggest you rethink
that and click "Send".
One thing that has always been missing from Windows Explorer is the ability
to see how large a folder is. How many files are in a folder and sub-folder
would be nice, but seeing the total space taken would be best. Well, the
Folder Size Explorer Extension tries to do the latter:
Folder Size Explorer Extension adds a new column to the Details view
in Windows Explorer. The new column shows not only the size of files, but
also the size of folders. It keeps track of which folders you view, and
scans them in the background so you can see complete size of all files
within the folder. It's very useful for cleaning up your disk. Once you
get used to having that information available, a directory listing simply
looks incomplete without it!
I've installed it on my XP system and it seems to run well. Not surprisingly,
in my Porgram Files folder, the Office 2003 folder is the largest.
Check it out at http://foldersize.sourceforge.net/
When you were a kid, did you play with magnetic letters of the alphabet
on your fridge? Well, isnoop.net's fridge 3.0 let's you play with words on
a fridge background. This is very cool. Without refreshing the page, you
can drag the words around, create sentences, and leave a message for others.
Try it at http://isnoop.net/toys/magwords.php
How do you get a music note on a web page? ♫ (this
is text, not an image file) There are lots of ways to do it, but probably
the easiest way is to copy it from another page, and paste it onto the Wide
character to entity encoder page at http://minutillo.com/steve/convert/.
It will then convert it to code that you can use in a web page. Try these:
PCIN is brought to you by Graham Wing. The opinions expressed are those of
the Editor, Graham Wing and the Assistant Editor, Chris Empey. Graham Wing
and Chris Empey accept no responsibility for the results obtained from trying
the tips in this newsletter.
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