Welcome to the 378th 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!
The screen on my
Axim has a line on it. It disappears when the backlight is off, but appears
when the light comes on. Obviously there is going bad/breaking in the physical
screen. I called Dell today and was on hold for about 25 minutes before I
got to talk to anyone, and then it took 20 minutes before I had a replacement
unit on its way. And they only send you a refurbished one. If I'm lucky,
they won't have an x30 available and they'll send me something better. But
I doubt I'll be so lucky.
My sister worked at Best Buy for a few months leading up to Christmas. Her
discount was cost plus 10%. Some things aren't marked up very much (PCs, DVDs,
etc) but some things have huge markups. The Best Buy brand (Dynex)
gets huge markups. She picked up a 4 port USB 2.0 PCI card for me. It sells
for about $70 and she got it for $10! Thanks Andrea!
And on the seventh day, online retailers rested. At least some of
Consumers have grown to expect around-the-clock pampering from Internet merchants,
who have been pushed by rivals to offer customer service even on weekends and
to remedy site glitches immediately, no matter when they happen.
But this trend is being bucked by some electronic retailers - many with religiously
observant owners and executives who leave their sites up and running on their
Sabbath, but do not complete orders, work on the site or otherwise do anything
to help customers. And despite an increasingly competitive environment and
ever more demanding customers, they say their businesses have not suffered.
Microsoft has some catching up to do.
It's not a phrase you hear every day. But whether it's Apple Computer's iTunes-iPod
combo or Google's advertising engine, the software maker's top executives
readily admit that they are coming from behind.
In a rare joint interview ahead of the Consumer Electronics Show here, Microsoft
Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer outlined their plans to catch their
rivals and discussed why it's Sony that will have to play catch-up in the video
Linking a Device to a Gadget That's Wired to a Gizmo
The average American household now owns some 25 consumer electronics
products - televisions and stereos and high-tech gimcracks of every imaginable
flavor. That statistic brings that industry's annual convention in Las Vegas
last week into stark relief. Some 130,000 people moved around a noisy, pulsing
display space, with thousands of products covering a land mass that seemed
roughly equivalent to Norway's.
If a company wants its products to be among that 25, it is going to have to
Megachurches and the Gospel of Customer Relationship Management
Megachurches like the 25,000-member World Changers of Atlanta can
teach corporations the true meaning of customer relationship management.
How? Not only do they manage the logistics of having thousands of members show
up on a single day and still go home singing their praises, they also manage
the information about those members in ways few commercial companies can match.
By analyzing and responding to members, the World Changers has learned how
to encourage first-timers to join, long-timers to stay active, get volunteers
to contribute more time, get contributors to put in more money and get everyone
to buy a little more at the church store.
They can also track who's sick, who's related to who, who might be enticed
to come back after a period away, and who might be becoming discontent and
might abandon ship.
World Changers does it with slick customer relationship management and aggressive
As winter moves forward and the days continue to grow colder, outdoor photography
is more and more likely to include snow.
This will pose a problem for most cameras, either digital or film based.
A blanket of snow will
play havoc with the metering system in your camera. Your camera will measure
the brightness values in the scene you are shooting and adjust the exposure
so that the resulting photograph has an average brightness of 18%. A large
amount of snow will cause the camera to underexpose the image to accommodate
for the extra amount of white and as a result, your snow will have an ugly
grey cast to it.
If you camera has an exposure compensation mode (either on the
dial or as a menu in the setup) it will be necessary to provide more exposure
for the shot, usually between 1 and 2 stops.
In the photos below, the image on the left was shot with auto-exposure
and no exposure compensation. The water has little to know detail and the snow
is a dull gray. The second photo was shot with auto-exposure as well, with
an exposure compensation of +1. The water begins to show more detail and the
snow is becoming more white. The third image is also shot with auto-exposure,
only this time with +2 stops exposure compensation. The water is well exposed
and the snow is now more natural. In this example though, the snow has started
to lose some of it's texture. Exposure compensation of +1.5 stops would have
given us a nice exposure on the snow while still retaining its texture.
Snow will reflect the colour of the sky and as such, may appear
blue under open sky (as we see above) white (when shot on an overcast day,
which will also show little or no texture in the snow) or may even take on
a red or orange cast early in the morning or as the sun goes down. Trying to
expose the snow to be pure white will most likely result in an overexposed
Next week I will discuss S-curves and diagonals in your photos!
The digital photography tip of the week is written by the PCIN Assistant
Editor, Chris Empey. Chris is a long time photographer and is currently
the vice-president 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 Chris, or a question about digital photography
he can address in the newsletter, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
While it's still better to go to the library use the actual printed works,
there are times when you don't have one handy and the libraries and stores
are all closed. So, to that end, you can use any of these via the Web,
too... And... the other great things you can use to help you with your
I know there is some debate as to whether or not eggs are healthy for you,
but if you like eggs, then you should visit the site of the Ontario Egg Producers
and the Canadian Egg Marketing Agency. Eggsite.com and Eggs.ca have
recipes, cooking techniques, FAQs, and more.
The latest issue of Scot's Newsletter
tells of his new FIOS broadband connection (15mbps!). Near the end of the
article he mentions optimizing his network settings for his connection. I
haven't done anything like that since I was on dial-up. I went to the Speakeasy
Speed Test (which Scot recommends in his article) and found that I was
only getting 3mbps on my connection when my cable company says it should
be 5mbps. I then downloaded the SpeedGuide.net
TCP Optimizer (which Scot also recommends) and ran it. I chose the optimal
settings, rebooted and testing again. I was now at 5mbps.
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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