Welcome to the 363rd 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!
Thanks to all those who sent in suggestions for a script similar to TinyURL.com uses,
that will let me shorten URLs for the newsletter and blog, and also count/track
which links are clicked on. Most people who made suggestions just suggested
competitors to TinyURL.com. The thing is,
I don't want to use an outside service. I want to keep this tracked on my server
(php with mysql). If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.
It seems like Chris' Digital Photography Tip of the Week is
a hit! We've gotten good feedback, and it seems to be indexed well in the search
engines. If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions for future tips,
be sure to email Chris directly (see email address below). And don't forget
to see Chris' tips in action at his photography
web site. He has a Picture
of the Day that you can receive via email or RSS.
Something's cooking in a forgotten corner of the province of Zheijiang,
China - and it's the perfect recipe for a health and environmental disaster.
Ingredients of this toxic swill include assorted electronic circuit boards
simmered in pure nitric and hydrochloric acids.
For a meager $1.50 a day, labourers in the province's Taizhou region heat
computer circuit boards in order to extract and recover valuable metals within
the products for reuse. The process is done outdoors, by hand, and releases
lethal toxic fumes.
When it comes to the profit potential of blogs, Nick Denton, founder of
Gawker Media, calls himself a skeptic.
It's a surprisingly pessimistic perspective coming from the Brit who has
launched a network of 13 theme blogs -- including Fleshbot (porn), Gawker
and Defamer (gossip), Gizmodo (gadgets) and Wonkette (politics). His most
popular properties (Defamer, Gizmodo and Gawker) report between 4 million
and 6 million visits per month and millions more pageviews, he and his top
talent have been featured in articles in the ink-and-pulp press (Wired, The
New York Times Magazine) and Denton rarely misses an opportunity to trumpet
ads on his sites for blue-chip companies like Absolut, Audi, Sony, Nike,
Viacom, Disney and Condé Nast.
So you can forgive his competitors for not buying into his deflationary spin...
When David Sarokin finishes his day job as an environmental scientist in
Washington, he heads home to a second batch of questions.
He is one of several hundred humans who work for Google, answering questions
from users who are not satisfied with their results from the automated engine
that made Google famous.
The queries that users bring to Google Answers (answers.google.com) touch
on all parts of life but usually cannot be reduced to a few key words.
In the latest round of the search-index size contest, Google unveiled an
updated index it said is more than three times larger than that of any of
its search engine competitors.
We're celebrating our seventh birthday...We had a pretty strong year," Google
Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in a phone interview with CNET News.com,
as he listed the launch of new products including Google Talk, Google Earth,
Google Video and Google Desktop Search. "And we've sort of been struggling
here with respect to the index. It has always been much larger than the
We're announcing tonight that in terms of unduplicated pages our index
is now three times larger than any other search engine," he said,
without saying how many pages are in the index.
week I finished up my two part series on digital camera features. This
week we discuss sensor proportion (aspect
ratio) and framing your shot for printing.
Digital camera sensors come in basically two rectangular shapes. Digital
SLR's use a sensor that has an aspect of 2:3. Most other digital cameras
use a ratio of 3:4, similar to most computer screens. What does this mean
When shooting with a regular digital camera (not an SLR) your image will fit
on a computer screen and show all of the image. But what about your print the
image? Because of the format of the sensor, there will be some cropping that
will happen when you print to a standard size photographic print. The amount
of cropping is determined by the size of the print. The following table show
how much cropping is done on an image for both types of sensors when the image
is oriented in landscape position, that is with the long side on the bottom.
This is assuming the image is cropped to print as much of the image as possible.
Values in the table represent how much is lost when cropped.
Digital SLR (2:3)
1/4" left and right
1" left and right
1.25" left and right
2" left and right
1/4" top and bottom
1/8" top and bottom
1/3" left and right
1/3" left and right
2/3" left and right
This is further illustrated by the following illustration showing the amount
of the photo cropped when printed on a 4x6, 5x7 or 8x10.
With that in mind, when you take your picture, you will want
to leave some room around your subject to account for any cropping you may
have to do when you print the image. This is where a camera with higher resolution
helps because you can then crop around your subject while still retaining enough
data for a quality print.
The cropping for print sizes occurs with film camera's as well.
35mm film uses the same 2:3 ratio so when shooting with film, follow the guidelines
for the digital SLR sensor.
Next week I will talk about how to crop your images to maintain
I have been receiving feedback from our readers on our digital
photography tip of the week, keep them coming!
Reader Leeor Geva sent
me a note letting me know about smugmug.com which
is an an online photo sharing and backup service. He also sent along a promotional
code (26HHBTzZXP7E6) that will save you $5 off the yearly fee if you sign up.
Simply enter the code in the referred by field.
Another reader, Jim Kniskern sent along his excellent comments
about digital printing. I have posted those
on the blog for everyone to read and comment on.
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 vice-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 email@example.com.
One of the most useful utilities I have reviewed is Password
Agent by Moon Software. It can save your passwords, auto-fill login
forms, and generate passwords for you if you wish. They just recently released
a minor update to the software:
This update addresses bugs that
were discovered after introduction of the previous release. As always,
this is free update to all 2.x users. Just download the
new version and install it on top of your existing Password Agent installation
to perform easy and automatic upgrade.
various software titles, but they also have an excellent tips section of
their site. There are currently 1277 "Regular Tips" and 543 "Coolsites" listed.
The main tips page randomly
chooses a tip to show. The tips are also divided into categories. There is
a listing of the most recent tips, along with the most popular tips.
Their slogan pretty much says it all: All the knowledge you need
The Infoplease site has an encyclopedia, almanac, atlas, biographies, dictionary,
thesaurus, and many other reference materials. The site looks pretty neat.
Check it out at http://www.infoplease.com/
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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