Welcome to the 482nd 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!
I've been working in the IT field for about 10 years now, and some of the
most basic things still amaze me. These days I just can't get over flash memory
storage. I have a couple of SD cards that are the size of a quarter that each
contain 2 GB worth of data. I remember buying a 2GB hard drive for a few hundred
dollars, and I bought 2 of these cards in a package for $29! I have an 8 GB
USB "key" that cost me $59! It just boggles my mind that we can store
so much data now in such small places. I guess the storage capacity will keep
growing while the physical size of the media will decrease.
Do you have a local "farmer's market"? We have one downtown and
I love it. Lisa usually gets fresh flowers, the boys get cheese popcorn (I
help them eat it) and when we went on Saturday, I bought the best cabbage rolls
I've ever eaten! This might seem like an odd thing to mention in a "technical" newsletter,
but sometimes it's nice to get away from all of the technology, and just enjoy
the world around us :-)
With nearly 3,000 technology companies touting their wares at the annual
International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas from Jan. 7 to 10, it's
a challenge to stand out from the crowd - even for an industry giant like
Microsoft. So the software-behemoth is staging a "fashion show" in
which three top style mavens, including Nigel Barker from the TV show America's
Next Top Model, will pick their favorites from among a dozen computers.
When it comes to design, rival Apple gets most of the ink, but Microsoft
wants to demonstrate that PCs running Windows can turn heads, too. "There's
a new bar being set," says Dave Fester, general manager of PC product
marketing at Microsoft. "The market is pushing computer makers to do
Years before Melinda French met and married Bill Gates, she had a love affair
- with an Apple computer. She was growing up in Dallas in a hard-working
middle-class family. Ray French, Melinda's dad, stretched their budget to
pay for all four children to go to college. An engineer, he started a family
business on the side, operating rental properties. "That meant scrubbing
floors and cleaning ovens and mowing the lawns," Melinda recalls. The
whole family pitched in every weekend. When Ray brought home an Apple III
computer one day when she was 16, she was captivated. "We would help
him run the business and keep the books," she says. "We saw money
coming in and money going out."
Of all the tricks that life can play, it's hard to imagine any stranger than
what befell Melinda French. Today she is living in a gargantuan high-tech
mansion on the shores of Lake Washington, married to the richest man in America
- and giving billions of dollars away.
Is technology, once the music industry's enemy, now a lifeline?
When you're not inclined to give your product away for free, make your customers
believe they're getting something for nothing.
That's the thinking behind some of the offerings music fans may see this
year as the recording industry scrambles to offset losses from plunging CD
sales and find new sources of revenue when many consumers simply download
music for free.
Among the business models music fans are likely to see more of: music subscriptions
bundled with the price of Internet access, and services like Nokia Corp.'s
upcoming Comes With Music, which would give users of select mobile phones
a year's worth of unlimited access to music, for no extra charge.
If you have ever deleted an important photo on your digital camera accidentally,
you know what a gut wrenching feeling that could be, or even worse, accidentally
formatted your memory card. We place a lot of faith in our technology and expect
that our cameras will properly store our precious memories and let us retrieve
them later on.
But what about the human error.
As a photographer, I have been called upon by friends and family when something
has gone wrong with their photos and it has usually been because of their own
mistake. Fortunately, I have not been in that situation... yet. When it does
happen though, I will be prepared with a bit of knowledge and a few pieces
of important software so that I may recover my photos.
The first thing you want to do when you realize that you have deleted photos
from your memory card is to stop using that card entirely. Remove it from the
camera, mark in a way that you will not reuse it and replace the card with
a spare. This is the best thing you can do for yourself at this point.
Most cameras store images using the FAT file system. As an image is written
to the card, the location on the card for that photograph is written to an
index. When a file is erased, the information in the index is deleted the location
is marked as available for more data to be recorded there. The original photo
still exists, there is simply no index entry to point to the file. This is
where the software comes in.
There are many pieces of software available, both free and commercially, to
help recover lost or deleted files. Several brands of flash memory cards sell
or include recovery software with their cards including Sandisk and Lexar.
Along with the commercial software that I have received with my memory cards,
I also keep a copy of Undelete
Plus on my thumb drive for quick retrieval of lost photos.
The process is very easy. Using a card reader, insert your memory card into
the card reader. Start your choice of file recovery software, choose the drive
you card is represented by and start the recovery. Each piece of software will
be a little bit different but the general idea is the same. Depending on the
software, the erased images may automatically be saved to a location on your
hard drive, or you may have to select which images you wish to recover.
Does this process work on every lost file? No. But if you follow my first
instruction and stop using the card, you have a much better chance of recovery.
Every camera bag has it's arsenal of tools and photo recovery software is
one that should not be ignored.
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 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.
There are probably lots of things that annoy you about computers. One of
the things that I've run into more than probably anything else is problems
with printers. There are so many printers that are supposed to be supported
on a dozen different operating systems, connected in a dozen different ways,
that there are bound to be problems.
The other day while looking for answers to one problem, I came across Bruce's
Printing Pages. I don't know who Bruce is (other than a former Microsoft
MVP for Printing and Imaging), but he has a great collection of articles/tips
to help you with a printer. The pages haven't been updated for a few years,
so it won't help too much with Vista (although some things are the same),
but if you have Windows XP or earlier, there should be lots of good information
there for you. Some of the helpful information includes setting up a network
printer, cleaning up printer drivers, printer scripts, and more.
My wife, probably like most people who cook, has a dozen recipe books and
loose paper in notebooks with hand-written recipes. It's often hard to find
a specific recipe. I volunteered to put together a new binder for her. I'm
typing up the hand-written recipes, scanning recipes from books, and more.
As a result of this work, I've come across a lot of good recipe sites. I've
already linked to the New York Times article with the 101 appetizers. Another
good site is Epicurious.com.
Epicurious.com, a CondéNet site, is a premier award-winning food
Web site, which incorporates more than 35,000 professionally tested recipes
from the premier brands in food journalism, Gourmet and Bon Appétit
magazines, as well as web-exclusive original recipes from top chefs and
cookbook authors around the world. It also contains over 22,000 member
submitted recipes. Epicurious offers a wealth of articles and tips focused
on cooking, entertaining, wine, cocktails, and shopping.
With 2008 fast approaching, if you're needing a printed calendar in time
for the new year, your opportunities to grab one are fast running out.
Thankfully CreativeTechs have posted three rather nifty calendars and templates
for you to use. Along with a compact calendar, there's a clever business-card
sized calendar to slip in your wallet and even an Adobe InDesign template
if you're wanting to create something a little more bespoke in your free
Another few options include the basic calendar from TimeAndDate.com, Jim's
Graphix 2008 Calendar and Microsoft has a plethora of Office-format calendars
available to download from Microsoft Office Online.
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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