Welcome to the 370th 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!
The weather is getting colder. It has been very wet and windy, so most of
the leaves are off the trees. There is even talk that we will get some snow.
It won't stay though, as it doesn't usually stay cold enough for snow until
around Christmas. Of course I'd love to have a white Christmas, and Niagara
Falls has a beautiful Festival
of Lights that always looks better with snow!
The average corporate IT user is being asked to remember an increasing number
of passwords and is resorting to insecure ways to remember them, thus opening
the IT infrastructure to risk and placing a heavy burden on help desks, according
to a recent survey.
Conducted for Bedford, Mass.-based authentication and encryption company
RSA Security by research group Current Analysis, the survey of 1,700 enterprise
technology end users in the U.S. showed 30 per cent of users are required
to remember six to 12 passwords at work, and 23 per cent need to remember
15 or more. And to remember them, 25 per cent store a master list on their
computer, 22 per cent on a PDA or handheld, and 15 per cent keep a paper
list by their desk.
Murder Suspect's Google Searches Spotlighted In Trial
Prosecutors claim a Mac specialist on trial in connection with the killing
of his wife did a Google search for the words: "neck snap break" and "hold" before
she was killed.
Robert Petrick, who is defending himself in Durham, N.C., cross examined
a computer forensics expert this week. The expert testified about digital
footprints he said the state discovered on several hard drives in Petrick's
Even as Microsoft readies a host of new ad-supported online services to
battle rivals, the software maker has been mulling a plan to offer free,
ad-supported versions of some of its desktop products, CNET News.com has
Although no specific plans have been made, executives within Microsoft are
examining whether it makes sense to release ad-supported versions of products
such as Works, Money, or even the Windows operating system itself, according
to internal documents seen by CNET News.com.
Sony's decision to include rootkit-like copy restrictions on some of its
music CDs is prompting some companies to review whether they allow their
staff to use personal CDs at work.
Last week, Trojan horses emerged that avoid detection by using the digital
rights management, or DRM, software used by Sony BMG Music Entertainment
on some of its audio CDs. This software uses the same techniques used by
rootkit malicious software to hide itself from the operating system, which
makes it particularly difficult to detect.
Andrew Yeomans, vice president of global information security at Dresdner
Kleinwort Wasserstein, said that he is already assessing whether the Europe-based
investment bank needs to tighten up its controls.
Last week I discussed two of the more advanced camera modes available on some
camera's. This week, I will discuss the advantages to using an off camera flash.
Flash photography is made relatively easy by today's cameras, but there are
several reasons for using an off camera (external) flash. There are now several
digital point and shoot cameras on the market that will allow you to use and
external flash when shooting, as will most prosumer and digital SLR's. Even
if yours is not meant to be used with one, if you have a manual mode, you may
still be able to.
Using an off camera flash can:
help reduce red eye in photos by changing the angle at which the light
is entering the eye and reflecting off the retina (the cause of red eye).
eliminate distracting shadows around the subject by casting them down behind
the subject (place the flash higher up above the camera lens)
provide depth to subject by creating modeling (highlights and shadows outlining
external flashes are typically more powerful than on camera flashes resulting
in greater illumination and a wider beam of light
may be moved for more dramatic effects
will provide a softer, nicer light in your images.
Not all cameras can use external flashes automatically though.
You will likely need to use a manual setting and find the correct combination
of settings using trial and error (which is very easy to do with a digital
camera). If you camera does not have a direct connection for a flash, one may
be added using a device called a slave unit. This unit connects to the flash
and when it sees another flash (your on camera flash) go off, it fires as well.
They can be purchased fairly inexpensively with prices starting around $20.
Some include a built in slave unit as well and are manufactured specifically
for digital point and shoot cameras.
Next week I will talk about some of the exciting projects you
can use your photographs for this Christmas
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Windows as
evolved over the years, Microsoft has
added new features/utilities to help manage the software and hardware on
a computer. One are where it is still lacking is with partition management. Windows
XP (and other NT-based systems) has a built-in Disk Management console
where you can delete and create partitions, along with some more advanced
features if the disks have been "upgraded" to be dynamic disks.
But if you want to move, resize, or copy partitions, you need a third-party
utility. And you certainly need a third-party utility to read partitions
from other operating systems. Paragon
Software Group over the years has filled this void nicely (see previous
review) with their Partition
Manager product. I recently had an chance to look at the latest release, Partition
Manager 7 Personal Edition.
There has been a lot of discussion across the Internet over the last several
days about the Sony
DRM software that installs itself as a rootkit.
One of the tools available to see if you have anything like a rootkit installed
I downloaded it and ran it on my system. It only found two possible problems,
and they both were related to the USB driver for my Motorola iDEN i90c cell
phone (lets the phone act as a modem). Nothing to worry about for me right
RootkitRevealer is probably worth downloaded and running on your system to
see what's going on. Note that the RootkitRevealer web page also has links
to several good resources to help you understand what Rootkits are.
features such as letting the user drag items around on the web page, some
simple kinds of animation, and many more." DHTML is very cool. The site http://dhteumeuleu.com/ by
Gerard Ferrandez is a great example of what can be done.
The creation of visual effects using dynamic html animation only,
is a passion I have developed through the last few years, since 1999. It
is a creative, spare time hobby, one I can share; This is the purpose of
showing the demos you will find in my website. Enjoy!
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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