Welcome to the 316th 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!
Hopefully subscriber Tracey won't get mad at me... but I'm going to talk about
the weather again! We got our first snowfall of the year on Monday, and it
was terrible. We didn't really get much snow at all, but knowing that it's
on its way is quite depressing. In case you can't tell, I'm not a big fan of
Winter. I don't like hockey or skate (can you believe I'm Canadian?), I don't
like skiing or tobogganing, and I don't like shoveling snow. In fact, other
than seeing some nice scenery through my living room or car windows, I can't
think of much at all that I like about winter! Today is much nicer, and the forecast indicates
that we won't have more snow for a while.
Speaking of the weather... did you see the Northern
Lights the other night? Lisa and I were out for a drive with Andrew and
Matthew Sunday night and we saw them. It was the first time I had ever seen
them, and it was incredible. We didn't see all the colours as shown in that
picture, but we saw lots of shades
of green and white.
Chris has finished a review of the Micro Solutions RoadStor. It is a portable
device that reads digital media cards and allows you to copy the contents directly
to a CD. It can also be hooked up to a computer and used as an external CD
burner. Check out Tips and Other Stuff section for a preview
of the review, and a link to the full version online.
"The new MSN Search is a full speed ahead effort for Microsoft to catch
Google and Yahoo in the search engine race and are about ready to release
their MSN Search Engine. Microsoft has offered a search engine since long
on their MSN website but they were powered using outsourced technologies
such as LookSmart, Inktomi, and Yahoo's Overture. Only recently with Google
emerging as a dominant force in the search engine market, they realized what
they were missing on.
In February Microsoft's Bill Gates commented that Google has blown away Microsoft
in the realm of search, confirming that Google 'kicked our butts' in a statement
given at the World Economic Forum. After offering a subpar search service
to their incredibly huge user base, MSN has finally gotten the ball rolling
in their direction and Bill may be able to rest well without fearing the
Google and Firefox teams chasing after him.
The new MSN Search Beta format can be previewed at http://beta.search.msn.com,
and the search results can be previewed on the MSN Tech Preview. But it will
not be until Thursday when the true preview test is released."
"The Mozilla Foundation has released version 1.0 of its Firefox browser,
an open-source product expected to offer real competition to Internet Explorer.
A preview release of Firefox available since last month has had eight million
downloads, according to Mozilla.
Jupiter Research analyst Joe Wilcox said the buzz surrounding Firefox had
been fuelled by several factors, including the product's quality. 'The Mozilla
team has done a really good job with the browser. It's lean and mean.'
Then there's the widespread perception that Microsoft's Internet Explorer
is vulnerable to security breaches. 'There's the fear surrounding IE over
potential exploits,' said Wilcox. 'We hear a lot about the potential vulnerabilities
of IE but not so much about the exploits of those vulnerabilities.'"
"Eight eBay sellers were ordered to pay nearly $90,000 in restitution
and fines after admitting they bid up products online to inflate the prices.
New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said more than 120 people will receive
restitution in the settlement of the three cases, which wrapped up last week
in state courts.
Spokesman Darren Dopp said the cases stemmed from specific complaints, but
the office has not conducted a broad investigation of the online auction
industry and doesn't know how widespread the practice of phony bidding is."
"Here in the oldest church building in New Orleans, tucked into a dark
corner by the door as far away from the main altar as possible, stands the
statue of St. Expedite -- the unofficial patron saint of hackers.
Unofficial because the Roman Catholic Church doesn't know what to do about
St. Expedite. He's too pagan to be a proper saint, and too popular for his
statues to be simply tossed out the door.
Statues of St. Expedite seem to appear at some churches, a puzzling phenomenon.
Where do the statues come from? Who sends them? No one really seems to know
who St. Expedite was in life or even if he ever existed.
But whatever St. Expedite may or may not be, geeks, hackers, repentant slackers,
folks who run e-commerce sites and those who rely on brains and sheer luck
to survive have all claimed the saint as their own."
MicroSolutions RoadStor is a multi-function device that acts as a portable
CD Writer to allow you to back up your digital media cards while away from
your computer. It also gives the user the ability to view a slideshow of
their images on a television screen, view DVD movies, and listen to CD's
or MP3's. While connected to your computer, the device is a USB 2.0 external
Read the full review at http://www.pcin.net/help/hardware/roadstor.php
"Use SimpleOCR to add accurate character recognition capabilities to
your custom software without the complexity and expense of runtime licensing.
SimpleOCR is the only OCR API that's Royalty Free. Save hundreds on every
Get the SimpleOCR application for free."
I haven't tried this myself, and it has received mixed
reviews, but you can still check it out for yourself at http://www.simpleocr.com/
Free Flash Games
a lot of free Flash games. Some of them are their own, while others are from
other well-known game sites (like PopCap).
My Windows XP SP2 computer blocked many pop-ups, but it didn't affect my
game-playing at all. But if you don't have a pop-up blocker, be prepared!
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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