Welcome to the 298th 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!
No... I have no news... there is still no baby :-(
Lisa last saw the obstetrician on Monday, and he scheduled her to be induced
on Friday if she doesn't have it before. I think we're going till Friday!
"The complex technology that automakers pack into their cars -- navigation
systems, throttle controls, pressure sensors and the like -- are designed
to make life on the road easier, but many buyers are being driven crazy instead.
As with most other new technologies, there are a lot of glitches to deal
with, and consumers are complaining, manufacturers are recalling, and government
agencies are investigating."
"Internet cafe users in China have long been subject to an extraordinary
range of controls. They include cameras placed discreetly throughout the
establishments to monitor and identify users and Web masters, and Internet
cafe managers who keep an eye on user activity, whether electronically or
by patrolling the premises.
A Chinese court recently announced that a democracy advocate who had used
the Internet and was charged with subversion would receive a suspended sentence
instead of a long prison term."
"Customers of Microsoft Corp.'s Hotmail service play an integral part
in the company's fight against junk e-mail, Chairman and Chief Software Architect
Bill Gates said in an open letter Monday. He also dismissed the idea of generating
revenue from spammers by imposing a charge for sending e-mail.
'Monetary charges would be inappropriate and contrary to the fundamental
purpose of the Internet as an extremely efficient and inexpensive medium
for communications,' he wrote."
For more info:
Havard Jonassen emailed me hoping to exchange links. I don't really have
a page of exchanged links, so I told him I would mention his site in the
newsletter since it seems quite useful. It is a step-by-step guide to building
"A comprehensive manual with pictures and videos describing how to build
your own computer" http://www.build-pc.net/
I haven't tried this product, but I thought I would mention it in case anyone
else wanted to try it. I've reviewed a couple of different anti-spam products
that integrate with an email client and categorize the mail that you receive.
"This is the anti-spam software that scares spammers to death. Why? Because
they can't beat it. ChoiceMail is 100% effective. No spam filter can promise
you that. With ChoiceMail you will never get another piece of unwanted email
in your inbox. What you will get is the email you want - all of it - and NO SPAM!
ChoiceMail is different. It's a permission based spam blocker that customizes
itself to you. Permission-based means ChoiceMail assumes email is spam unless
it knows otherwise. Only approved email gets into your inbox."
Like I said, I haven't tried this myself, but if you are interested, you
can check it out at http://www.digiportal.com/
Jim Kniskern's Tips
Hi Graham (and Chris):
I volunteer at the local Newark (Delaware) Senior Center, and help train
newbies on computing. Here are a couple of brief, simple tips that introduce
them to the concept of keyboard shortcuts, followed by a beautifully written
shareware program that is not widely known:
1) When going to an Internet address (URL), simply type only the name in
the address bar. Then, while holding down "Ctrl", press "Enter".
This two-finger step does three things: it places "www." in front
of the name; it adds ".com" after it; and it activates the browser
to take you there. This shortcut not only saves eight keystrokes, for those
who are not typists, but eliminates any need for mouse action. One caveat:
it is not suitable for URLs ending in .org or .net, etc.
2) Browsing the Internet can be richly informative, but the browser header
with its task bars can take up 1/3 of the screen. The header can be substantially
reduced in size to provide more text area by pressing "F11". To
restore the full header and all functions, press "F11" again. It
3) We are inundated today with information of all kinds, much of which may
prove of value to us in the future - if we can find it. In this digital age
we have the capability to store the equivalent of a full file cabinet onto
a single CD-ROM. But progressing through a tree of folders, as is necessary
with Windows files, may become a futile, time-consuming search for that short,
forgotten file name. I have found AZZ Cardfile to be a convenient way to
save all sorts of information - phone numbers, addresses, web pages, scanner
copies, recipes, even email newsletters such as yours.
Antanas Zdramys of Lithuania has written an exceptionally polished program
permitting quick access to saved information in a mode similar to a card
file. You may save anything copied on the Internet, including active links,
for example. Start the program and chose a card title, using as many descriptive
words as you like. Then special paste in unformatted form onto the blank
page. Type in your own comments and notes as needed.
The basic screen is the text of the currently highlighted title, with a column
of all card titles appearing on the left, alphabetically arranged. No need
to remember the exact title, however. At the box above, type in a sequence
of a few likely letters somewhere in your title, and the column shrinks to
just those cards that have that combination. Scrolling down the title column
produces immediate appearance of each full copy, permitting further quick
identification. This alone is a great advantage over Windows file searches.
Is there a phone number somewhere in the text? It automatically appears in
the AZZ Cardfile header. Click up there and your modem begins dialing the
More than one Cardfile of information may be made, such as one for recipes
and one for phone numbers. But I have found the retrieval process so simple
that one can have a grand mixture and still find everything. My digital tech
file now numbers over 400 entries, from notes lifted from PCIN (properly
attributed and dated by me) to a few scanned manuals, and the whole thing
still fits on a floppy. Retrieval of any item remains instantaneous. One
precaution: while photos and full web pages can be copied and pasted accurately,
their huge size may reduce retrieval speed. Nonetheless, in the large "sample" file
that Antanas includes, you will find his photo on his personal card, and
an encyclopedia entry with an apple photo on another card.
Zdramys asks $12 after a trial period, which will stop the popup request
window. I find it a small sum for this very practical program.
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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