Welcome to the 361st 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!
I've mentioned before Freecycle.
It's a community-based mailing list where you can ask or offer items for free.
You are recycling for free (hence the name). In my region there are several
different lists. I subscribe to all of them, and get a couple dozen message
every day. So far I've been able to give something away that someone was looking
for. I've also received a set of sheer curtains, as well as a lot of garden
plants. I think the whole thing is just a great idea. Instead of throwing things
out, give them away. Instead of buying something unnecessarily, ask if anyone
has it. Remember, one person's trash is another person's treasure!
On Friday I received an APC Biometric Mouse. It looks very cool and I will
be testing it over the next week or so and will then post a review.
Students looking for free and cheap - not to mention legal - software have
a new option on campus.
In June, the Board of Regents approved a three-year, $2.7 million software
contract. As a result, students taking at least one credit can buy licenses
for commonly used Microsoft products, in some cases for less than the price
of a meal at a fast-food restaurant. The deal is good for students at any
of the University's campuses.
Windows users at the University can buy a Windows XP Professional upgrade
CD for $3.60 plus tax.
Steven Sasson knew right away in December 1975 that his 8-pound, toaster-size
contraption, which captured a black-and-white image on a digital cassette
tape at a resolution of .01 megapixels, "was a little bit revolutionary."
When anyone asked, the Eastman Kodak Co. engineer ventured that it would
become a commercial reality in 15 to 20 years.
It would be a quarter century, though, before Kodak began to capitalize on
Sasson's breakthrough: the first digital camera.
Is "frags per round" going to be the batting average of the 21st
Professional computer gamers certainly hope so.
Players of Counter Strike, a popular title in competition at the U.S. finals
of the World Cyber Games last week, count their prowess in how many enemies
they can shoot to pieces, or "fragment," in a frantic two-minute
round of virtual gunplay.
Time and demographics, boosters say, argue for videogame tourneys becoming
the next big spectator sport in the United States, where more than 108 million
Americans now play computer games, according to the Yankee Group.
For many Americans, the family room is where more living happens than the
living room. Increasingly it's also the media room, the place where family
and friends gather to watch movies and sports events on big screens or the
kids hang out for video games. And perhaps most uniquely, it's also where
the family watches its own media - family videos or photos that once sat
on a shelf or in an album, but which can now be far more accessible for spontaneous
I have been asked several times what equipment I use, and what to look for in
a digital camera. We'll start with the easy one, my equipment.
My digital equipment consists of a Canon
EOS 10D which is a 6.3 MP digital SLR with
a APS-C sized
sensor. My lenses are a Canon
28-80 EF III USM, Canon
75-300 EF III USM, and a Sigma 180mm macro lens. I also have other various
equipment that I use with the camera. The two Canon lenses are from my previous
film camera, though they work fine with the digital. The Sigma lens
is primarily used for close up work. I also have a 2.1 MP Fuji point and
shoot digital camera that I use occasionally when I don't want to carry around
my larger camera and know I won't be printing larger than 4" x 6".
Now the harder part of today's tip, what to look for in a camera. There are
several factors involved in buying a camera, features, prices, resolution.
Today I will discuss resolution.
There is a very big push these days for cameras with higher resolution (more
megapixels). This alone should not be a deciding factor in your purchase of
a camera. For most people, camera resolution should not make much difference.
I'll explain why.
Your image is made of pixels, or dots. The number of pixels in an image determine
how fine detail can be in the printed photo. The more the better, up to a point.
A 4" x 6" print when printed at 300 DPI (dots per inch) needs a total
of 1200 pixels x 1800 pixels to print, which work out to be just over 2.1 million
pixels (2.1 megapixels). At that printed resolution (300 DPI) you can easily
print up to a 6" x 8" print with a 5 MP camera. However, photos printed
at a commercial lab (or even a big box or drug store lab) will look just fine
printed at resolutions as low as 180 or even 150 DPI. At 180 DPI, a 5 MP camera
will allow you to print an 11" x 14" print, and at 150 dpi, a 12" x
18 " print. So, how large do you really need to print? Most people I talk
to rarely print larger than an 8" x 10" print, and even then that
is only occasionally. The table below summarizes the various print size and
the MP needed to print at that resolution. My recommendation is to use 180
DPI as your guide to ensure better photos.
One drawback of larger megapixel cameras is the file size. As the sensor size
grows, so does the files size. You will be able to store less images on a given
size memory card of a higher megapixel camera than that of a lower one. This
also means that you will fill your hard disk on your computer faster and will
require more CD's or DVD's to back
up the same number of images.
Next week, I will discuss the other features to look for when purchasing a
I have been asked what equipment I use and to discuss the various options
for digital camera's. We'll look at those next week.
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 email@example.com.
along the fact that Laplink is
offering their PCmover software for free until September 15.
Studies suggest the average business spends $250 to set up a new PC -
but they spend a fraction of that when they use Laplink PCmover.
PCmover makes it simple. Just install the PCmover software, click your
mouse a few times, and PCmover does the rest. It really is that simple!
Google has launched a
blog search tool this morning that will present results extracted from blogs
around the world. The tool is not exclusive to Blogger which
Google owns, but should include all blogs.
I recently received an email from Kevin J. Vella, the PR Manager for Uniblue,
a global software development company. He passed along information about
their WinBackup 2.0 product, "an extremely powerful backup and restore
solution that is already proving to be highly popular."
WinBackup 2.0 is not just an improved version. After two years in development,
the software has a wealth of features that make it better that its predecessor
in every conceivable way.
In relation to ease-of-use we have kept to our tradition of being the
leader in the market. The WinBackup 2.0 graphical-user interface is extremely
user-friendly, highly intuitive and has been designed to allow anyone to
start using the product within minutes of installing it. WinBackup also
has a set of default Shortcuts which link automatically to the more popular
Windows applications including all common web browsers and email programs,
and to the 'Documents and Settings' folder. In this way, non-technical
users are able to backup all their important data instantly at the click
of a button.
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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