Welcome to the 380th 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!
I received Nero 7 Ultra
Edition the other day to review. It looks very impressive. Chris and
I will play with it for a few weeks and then type up a review. It looks like
it is trying to be a total solution to your PC-based digital entertainment
needs. So far it looks like it is a winner.
Millions of parents around the country rely on Web filtering software
to shield their children from the nasty side of the Internet--porn, predators
and other unseemly phenomena.
But according to the U.S. Justice Department, Web filters are not enough to
protect minors. The agency voiced its concern about the technology last week
as it geared up to defend an antiporn law that's under attack from civil liberties
The case, which deals with the 1998 Child Online Protection Act, grabbed attention
Thursday after the department subpoenaed Internet search companies, including
Google and Yahoo, for millions of search records.
It is 20 years since the release of the world's first PC virus, according
to antivirus firm F-Secure.
'Brain' was a boot sector virus created by two brothers, Basit and Amjad Farooq
Alvi, to protect a game they had written.
The exact day of creation is open to question, however, and some experts have
suggested that the 'Ashar' virus pre-dated 'Brain'.
These viruses were spread via floppy disc and could be avoided fairly simply
by making the disc read-only. Since then virus propagation has become significantly
easier, and transmission rates have skyrocketed since the birth of the internet.
It will be interesting to see what kind of viruses we will be talking about
in another 20 years - computer viruses infecting household appliances perhaps?" said
Mikko Hyppönen, chief research officer at F-Secure.
Dealing with viruses, spyware, PC theft and other computer-related crimes
costs U.S. businesses a staggering $67.2 billion a year, according to the
The FBI calculated the price tag by extrapolating results from a survey of
2,066 organizations. The survey, released Thursday, found that 1,324 respondents,
or 64 percent, suffered a financial loss from computer security incidents
over a 12-month period.
The average cost per company was more than $24,000, with the total cost reaching
$32 million for those surveyed.
Often survey results can be skewed, because poll respondents are more likely
to answer when they have experienced a problem. So, when extrapolating the
survey results to estimate the national cost, the FBI reduced the estimated
number of affected organizations from 64 percent to a more conservative 20
Like This? You'll Hate That. (Not All Web Recommendations Are
On Amazon.com, a customer interested in buying the novel "The
Life of Pi" is also shown "The Kite Runner" because other Amazon
customers - presumably with similar tastes - also purchased that book. That's
just one approach among many in the science of recommendation software.
Web technology capable of compiling vast amounts of customer data now makes
it possible for online stores to recommend items tailored to a specific shopper's
interests. Companies are finding that getting those personalized recommendations
right - or even close - can mean significantly higher sales.
Last week I discussed
using s-curves and diagonals in your photos for a more attractive image. This
week I will start to discuss night photography, specifically, some of the equipment
that will be helpful when shooting at night.
Night photography poses some challenges for the photographer.
Unlike during the daylight when light levels are high, shooting in low light
requires some different techniques and equipment. A tripod and cable
release (some cameras use a wireless release) or self timer are important,
though you can get by without a cable release.
Shooting in low light will require a longer shutter speed to
properly expose the film (whether it is traditional or digital). Because of
this, it is necessary to stabilize your camera on a tripod, a railing, or against
a tree. Any motion from the camera during exposure will show up in the photo
as ghost images or streaks and will detract from the look of your photo.
I also mentioned using a cable release or infrared remote control.
This is for the same reason as supporting the camera on a tripod; to prevent
camera shake. A release will allow you to activate the shutter without having
to touch the camera thereby reducing camera shake. Most digital SLR's and some
prosumer cameras have the option to use a cable release though not all, and
some point and shoot digicams also feature remote release capabilities. If
yours does not, or if you have simply forgotten it at home (something I have
done) your next option is to use the self timer on your camera. Using this
feature will allow you to press the shutter and then give them camera about
10 seconds to fully come to rest to before starting the exposure to avoid the
camera shake that can occur when you press the button. The downside to this
is if you are waiting for an event to happen (such as the burst of a firework)
timing will be difficult in waiting for the self timer to count down.
Midway Rides at Dusk
Next week I will follow up to this with helpful camera settings
and techniques to achieving nice night shots.
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.
Subscriber Irving Stein emailed me about his web site.
U might be interested in sharing my web-site (my hobby....wanting to help
people) with your readers.
The site has the following description:
This site was started by Irving Stein in July 2000. The reason for creating
and maintaining this site is to help computer users ("newbies" and
intermediates)....learn how to keep their computers in top running condition;
take advantage of the free links offered; download and install useful utilities;
keep U out of trouble, and to enjoy your computing experience.
EBCD is a bootable CD, intended for system recovery in the case of software
or hardware faults. It is able to create backup copies of normally working
system and restore system to saved state. It contains the best system software
ever created, properly compiled and configured for the maximum efficient
I haven't tried it, but it sounds interesting. You can download
an ISO of it and then burn that to CD.
The following table contains a select group of Programs or Registry files
which solve Windows System problems or functional deficits, or significantly
help you to get better use of your computer. ( Unless otherwise noted,
the files here are for ALL Windows OSs. They should function normally on
Win NT/2000/XP, but we would be interested in any feedback from users of
these versions. There are a few compatibility notes listed under specific
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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