Issue 213 - November 13, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2221 Subscribers in 56 Countries ====

Welcome to the 213th 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!

You can reach me at with any suggestions or comments.

Recommend PCIN at

Support PCIN at



There is a new review of ObjectDesktop on the web site and below. If you like to tweak the layout of Windows with "skins" then you should definitely check it out.

Graham and Chris

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Amazon Writes a Drama in Canada

"It used to be easy to identify Canadians. They were quiet, law-abiding folks, partial to Wayne Gretzky's hockey, Margaret Atwood's novels and Leonard Cohen's music. They shopped at Hudson's Bay Co. stores and knew who the Canadian prime minister was. They had Canadian passports.
To keep Canadian culture as Canadian as possible, the government erected a multitude of barriers. One was that a non-Canadian couldn't own a book publisher or distributor. The fear was that an outsider would promote the novels of John Grisham, say, over domestic talent."

For more info:,0,2244303.story

Study: Prolonged PC use saps energy

"Researchers in Japan have scientifically documented what dwellers of Dilbertville have known for years: Prolonged daily computer use can make you sore and sap your strength, energy and motivation.
In a three-year study of more than 25,000 workers, Japanese researchers discovered that people who sat in front of computer screens were more likely to experience physical pain such as eye and shoulder strain, and to suffer from motivational symptoms such as lethargy."

For more info:

Are Macs Virus-Proof?

"Historically, Mac OS users have had little to fear from the scourge of viruses plaguing their Windows counterparts. The operating system's 'Classic' incarnation was practically impervious, Macworld editor Jason Snell told NewsFactor.
But Apple's new operating system, known as OS X , is based on the Unix platform, whose code base has been around for more than three decades. While Unix underpinnings have made Apple's OS more powerful and stable, they also have made it more susceptible to viruses and worms."

For more info:

AOL discs returned to sender

"A campaign to collect one million AOL CDs has got off to a good start.
The two Californian men who kicked off the campaign have now gathered more than 80,000 of the promotional discs.
The campaign is intended to tell the company about the damage the discs do to the environment when discarded, and shame it into curbing its zealous promotional efforts.
In addition sister campaigns to collect CDs are springing up around the world."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Last Week's Poll

Is technology making life easier for you?

Yes - at work 6.09 % (7)
Yes - at home 20.00 % (23)
Yes - at home and at work 50.43 % (58)
No - It just slows me down 1.74 % (2)
No - It just gives me another way of doing things 21.74 % (25)
Total votes: 115

This Week's Poll

When searching for information, how many sites do you visit before you find a useful site?

0 - I find the site right away
I can never find anything useful

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Visit the new and improved PCIN FreeHelp Forum at to post your questions or answer others.


I recently had a power outage. My computer worked fine for a short while afterwards, but then while my son was on the internet the computer crashed. My computer tries to reboot but it is not detecting the secondary slave. The screen just keeps going through the same thing over and over again trying to reboot but it does'nt work.


You should be able to download a utility from the hard drive manufacturer (for free) that will do a thorough check of any connected hard drives. They can often detect drives even if Windows can't. Of course if the utility can't see the drive, then you may be out of luck.

To post a response, visit the Hardware How-To forum at and click on the "Help me please" topic.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Object Desktop Software Review

LG GCE-8400B 40x 12x 40x CD-RW Hardware Review Search

Some Useful Registry Tips

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Object Desktop Software Review

When Graham and I approached Stardock about doing a review of their desktop modification software Object Desktop, we weren't really sure about what was in store for us. When the software arrived, we were both taken aback. Our first impression: "WOW". The software quickly transformed our desktops from the regular, familiar Windows GUI to a new, exciting interface that was easily modified. For users looking for some excitement in their windows installation, Object Desktop satisfies that need. Through it's various components, you can modify the entire computing experience. Change how icons, windows, browsers, even your desktop and start menu may be altered. There are many themes available for download allowing you to change everything as an entire theme, or simply one aspect of your environment.
Read the full review online at http://www.pcin.n et/help/software/objectdesktop.php

Quick Save

When saving a file in Word and you want to quickly bring up the Save As dialog box, press F12

New Portal and Improved Search Engine

Altavista relaunched this week with a much sleeker design. It is far less cluttered and appears easier to use. Before Google came along, I did all my searches at Altavista. It might be time to give them another shot. Check it out at

There is a new portal/search engine out there called It is supposed to look like Yahoo, have all the features of Yahoo, but with no image ads. They also claim that when you sign up for one of their email accounts, they won't ever send you any promo emails. I guess the good thing is since it is a new service, there are lots of good usernames left :-) If you've been looking for a different free online email service, this might be it. Check it out at

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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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Chris Empey can be reached at

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