Welcome to the 474th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news highlights 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!
A couple of months ago I signed up for Internet phone service through Primus.
There have been a few quirky things that I'm not sure I like, but you can't
beat the price. Yesterday my cable Internet service went down (this is very
rare). I called the support line and they said there were no outages, and that
the earliest service call would be on Thursday afternoon (almost 2 days later).
Obviously I wasn't very impressed. I got a call later in the evening saying
that the problem affected our whole nieghbourhood and that it was fixed. In
case you're wondering, the phone service will forward your calls to another
number in case the voip router is down, so we're never really without a phone.
Masaya Igarashi wants US$200 headphones for his new iPod Touch, and he's
torn between Nintendo Wii and Sony's PlayStation 3 game consoles. When he
has saved up again, he plans to splurge on a digital camera or flat-screen
There's one conspicuous omission from the college student's shopping list:
a new computer.
The PC's role in Japanese homes is diminishing, as its once-awesome monopoly
on processing power is encroached by gadgets such as smart phones that act
like pocket-size computers, advanced Internet-connected game consoles, digital
video recorders with terabytes of memory.
Internet veterans have long complained about the steady erosion of civility
-- and worse, intelligence -- in online discourse. Initially the phenomenon
seemed to be a seasonal disorder. It occurred every September when freshmen
showed up for college and went online. Tasting for the first time the freedom
and power of the Internet, the newbies would behave like a bunch of drunken
fraternity pledges, filling electronic bulletin boards with puerile remarks
until the upperclassmen could whip them into shape...
But there's still hope for intelligent life on the Internet. A team of software
developers is hard at work on a "stupid filter" that promises to
do to idiotic online comments what a spam filter does to junk and unwanted
e-mail: put it in a place where it can't hurt anyone anymore.
Bonnie Brown was fresh from a nasty divorce in 1999, living with her sister
and uncertain of her future. On a lark, she answered an ad for an in-house
masseuse at Google, then a Silicon Valley start-up with 40 employees. She
was offered the part-time job, which started out at $450 a week but included
a pile of Google stock options that she figured might never be worth a penny.
After five years of kneading engineers' backs, Ms. Brown retired, cashing
in most of her stock options, which were worth millions of dollars. To her
delight, the shares she held onto have continued to balloon in value.
The other day I read a Reuters article about
a web site that has a goal to "help end world hunger by providing rice
to hungry people for free. This is made possible by the sponsors who advertise
on this site." I'm not sure how it all works, but a word appears and
you are supposed to click on the correct definition. As you do, you donate
10 grains of rice. Visit Freerice.com to
see for yourself.
This reminded me of The Breast Cancer
Site that has a setup where by visiting the site you are helping to
eliminate Breast cancer. The site then links to sister-sites for children's
health, literacy, the rainforest and animal rescue. I am normally reluctant
to pass this sort of thing along, but apparently these sites are legit,
and if you can help any of these causes just by visiting the sites, then
it's worth sharing.
I haven't tried this myself, but I recently heard about System
Information for Windows. It is software that will take an inventory
of the hardware and software on your computer, along with a lot of other
useful information. The site describes it this way:
SIW is an advanced System Information for Windows tool that gathers detailed
information about your system properties and settings and displays it in
an extremely comprehensible manner...
SIW is a standalone utility that does not require installation (Portable
Freeware) - one less installed program on your PC as well the fact that
you can run the program directly from an USB flash drive, from a floppy,
from a network drive or from a domain login script.
Since there is nothing to install, it is easy to download and try.
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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