Welcome to the 169th 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 plan on having some special issues coming up. About 2 years
ago I had readers from all over the world email me regarding
Internet access in other parts of the world. You can read
this at http://www.pcin.net/archive/1999/19990428.shtml
I wanted to know if their government restricts certain sites?
What is the fastest speed you can pay for? How much is it?
A lot changes in 2 years, so I thought I would do this again.
Look for this in a few weeks. I also thought I would do another
feature on the first computer that you bought. What was it?
How much was it? What could it do (or couldn't do)? Don't
email yet about either of these. I will be asking for contributions
Mere mortals may not be able to see through that new beard
and glasses, but facial-recognition technology has got your
Most of us take our ability to quickly identify the face
of a friend or relative for granted. But this skill involves
a series of very complicated operations, which is why computers
have difficulty performing this seemingly simple, menial
task. Yet computers increasingly are being used to perform
two key pattern-recognition tasks: positive identification
of individuals for granting access to privileged resources,
and rapid recognition of suspects in a crowd for law enforcement
Name That Worm - How Computer Viruses Get Their Names
What's in a name? Plenty, if you ask a computer virus researcher
who is responsible for designating the latest malicious
code spreading on the Internet.
Antivirus experts say there are specific guidelines for
naming computer worms. Not surprisingly, the first rule
dictates that the name should be anything other than what
the virus writer wants it called. Beyond that, researchers
look to the code, to its message, or the situation to name
worms as they find them.
Nearly two-thirds of the U.S. online population regularly
turns to the Internet as a source for news, but the Net
still trails cable television, network TV and radio, according
to a Market Facts Inc. study.
The study, which was conducted for MSNBC, found that the
Internet, which is used by 65 percent of Internet users
as a news source, was ahead of magazines (used by 58 percent
of Internet users) and close to radio (67 percent). But
cable television, used by 76 percent of Internet users,
and network TV, which is used by 89 percent, still maintain
Visit the PCIN FreeHelp Forum to post your questions or answer
others. Each week I highlight a question, and where to go
to get the answer.
By request, I formatted a friend's hard drive and restored
Win98. When I was installing the software for her modem;
Win98 crashed and when it rebooted; the C: drive contained
absolutely no files. She told me she has virus W32.Magistr....
Surely, the virus didn't do all that damage? She is ready
to replace her motherboard or buy a new computer?
Isn't it possible to fdisk; format and restore this hard
You can create shortcuts to most files and programs in
Windows, as well as to Control Panels. But many Control
Panels have multiple pages, so your shortcut won't link
directly to the page you want.
Or will it? We know how to do this with at least one control
Suppose you want to make a shortcut to the Screensaver page
of the Display control panel to let you switch screensavers
quickly. Right-click on an empty area of the desktop and
select New and Shortcut. For command line, enter control.exe
desk.cpl,display,1 with a space only between exe and desk.
Click on Next, type in a name for the shortcut and click
You can also make the shortcut go to other pages of the
Display control panel by changing the number at the end
of the command line. For example, changing the 1 to 0 will
call up the Background page and changing it to 2 will bring
up the Appearance page.
Last week's FreeHelp Forum question was regarding recommended
photo editing software. Below are the comments:
I have had great success with the new MGI Photo Suite. It's
ease of use when changing the format of pics and also creating
projects has me sold. I have stopped using Adobe and now
use Photo Suite exclusively. I got this when it was in the
promotional stages and have upgraded to the newest version.
Micrografx Picture Publisher - I run 8 but I think a newer
version is out - more intuitive than some of the stuff out
I like Ulead's Photo Express.
To answer Randy's question:
1) Photoshop Elements is regarded as the best under $100.
2) Microsoft's Picture It! will do the job - most jobs -
for much less if bought on sale. I use it and like the ability
to remove small defects, and color correct for artificial
lighting, tinted windows, etc.
3) Then there is 602Photo from Software602.com. This is
part of a nice suite that can be downloaded for free. It
includes a good full-screen slideshow program. And by putting
a brief two-line file with the photos on a CD-R, the program
will start automatically when the CD is inserted in any
Nothing can beat Paint Shop Pro ($89.00), It is every bit
as good as Adobe Photoshop ($400.00+) and is much easier
I would suggest that your reader go to limewire.com, and
grab anything that he wants...
In the Nov. 27, 2001 issue of PC Magazine there was an article
about such software. Their recommendations were as follows:
For the hobbyist: Adobe Photoshop Elements (list $99) 5
stars. Ulead PhotoImpact 7 (list $89) 4 stars.
For the novice: Microsoft PictureIt! Photo Premium (list
$54) 5 stars, and Ulead Photo Express 4.0 (list $49) 5 stars.
Regarding subscriber Randy's question about which software
to buy for $85 or less . . . .
My first suggestion would be for him to pick up a copy of
Adobe Photoshop LE 5.0 on eBay. The going rate is $35-50.
Another idea would be Microsoft Picture It Photo 2002. $30
at Comp USA.
I recommend Photoshop Elements; its list price is $99 but
various rebates and sale prices reduce it to something like
$70. It is a marvelous value.
For the record, I would recommend Photoshop Elements any
Why Do Computers Crash?
A friend of mine sent this to me. It is supposed to be
an explanation from Dr. Seuss.
If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port,
And the bus is interrupted at a very last resort,
And the access of the memory makes your floppy disc abort,
Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash,
And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash,
And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash,
Then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!
If the label on the cable on the table at your house,
Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse,
But your packets want to tunnel to another protocol,
That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of
So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse,
Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang,
'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the things a-gonna hang!
When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk,
And the macro code instructions cause unnecessary risk,
Then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to
RAM your ROM.
Quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!
PCIN is brought to you by PC Improvements. The opinions expressed
are those of the editor, Graham Wing. PC Improvements and
Graham Wing accept no responsibility for the results obtained
from trying the tips in this newsletter.
If any of the links are too long to fit on one line, you
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