Welcome to the 386th 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 don't know where my head has been at the last couple of weeks. For a couple
of weeks I left the same Digital Photography Tip of the Week in
the newsletter, and then last week I didn't change the Opening
Thoughts from the week before. Hmmm... I guess that means I didn't have
any new thoughts.
The days are getting longer and it is getting warmer. Finally there's hope
that the cold long winter is over! Actually, overall this winter was quite
mild, but since I'm not a winter person, any snow is bad news.
I think I have a problem... I have Silly Songs from the VeggieTales stuck
in my head. Andrew loves them. He's always watching the movies, and he loves
singing the songs, so we sing them together. Even Matthew tries to make some
noises along with the songs. But now I can't get them out of my head! And now
here I am typing up this, and I've chosen to listen to the songs (The Hairbrush
Song) when Andrew is in bed. Oh well, I guess it's all worth it for my sons.
It sure is fun :-)
He can find George Bush senior's social security number and Leonardo DiCaprio's
mother's maiden name in under 15 seconds, and led the FBI on a three-year
manhunt as he hacked his way into the world's biggest firms.
"Computer terrorist" Kevin Mitnick is one of the world's most famous
computer hackers and became a cause celebre after breaking into networks and
stealing software at companies including Sun Microsystems and Motorola.
Now Mitnick, from the United States, travels the world teaching companies
how to guard against people just like him.
Microsoft: Our engine to be better than Google soon
Microsoft will introduce a search engine better than Google in six months
in the United States and Britain followed by Europe, its European president
said on Wednesday.
What we're saying is that in six months' time we'll be more relevant in
the U.S. market place than Google," said Neil Holloway, Microsoft
president for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
The English-language version of Wikipedia has racked up its millionth article.
Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit behind the online encyclopedia written
by its readers, said late Wednesday that an article about the Jordanhill
railway station in Scotland became its millionth one.
Wikipedia was created in January 2001. At present, it is growing by about
1,700 articles every day.
Last year, the popular site faced accusations that it couldn't adequately
deal with inaccuracy. Wikipedia acknowledged Wednesday that it faced criticism
in 2005 but pointed to a study published in Nature that found it was about
as trustworthy as the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Windows Vista won't have a backdoor that could be used by police forces
to get into encrypted files, Microsoft has stressed.
In February, a BBC News story suggested that the British government was in
discussions with Microsoft over backdoor access to the operating system.
A backdoor is a method of bypassing normal authentication to gain access
to a computer without to the PC user knowing.
But Microsoft has now quelled the suggestion that law enforcement might get
"Microsoft has not and will not put 'backdoors' into Windows," a company
representative said in a statement sent via e-mail.
I hope that everyone is now shooting with straight horizons and buildings
that are not falling over! If not, have a look at last week's tip on keeping
straight lines straight. Today, a tip on how to hold your camera for better
The LCD screen on today's digital cameras provides some great advantages over
film cameras; review of composition, exposure and focus. But for those people
who are using the LCD screen to compose their shots, it may be hampering their
ability to get sharp photos.
Many people now hold their camera at arm's length to look at the LCD screen
when they are taking photos. This is not a cause for a concern when there is
a lot of light as shutter speeds will be sufficiently high enough that camera
shake will not be a problem. However, when the light drops a little, holding
your camera like that is bound to introduce some shake. This is because when
you hold your camera at arms length, it is unsupported. No matter how light
your camera is, you are likely to have a little movement.
To help ensure sharp photos, use the viewfinder on your camera, not the LCD.
Hold the camera with both hands and with the camera up to your eye, tuck your
elbows into your sides. You have now become your own camera support. With your
arms locked against your body you have stabilized your camera and reduced the
possibility of camera shake while increasing the likelihood of sharp photos.
If you camera does not have an viewfinder, then you have no choice but to use
the LCD for composition. In this case, be sure to hold the camera with both
hands, and try to keep the camera as close to your body as you can. It may
still be possible for you to keep your elbows tucked into your sides while
still holding the camera far enough from your eyes to properly see your screen.
Following this tip can help reduce camera shake and may improve your photography.
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.
Whenever you start your computer, you are faced with a few moments of
thumb twiddling while Windows XP boots and prompts you to log on. Although
you should expect to wait for a few moments, sometimes Windows XP seems
to boot rather slowly. In fact, you may notice that over a period of time
the PC that used to roar to life seems a bit sluggish instead. Fortunately,
you can perform several techniques that help Windows XP get the bootup
speed you want. This chapter explores how to put these techniques to work.
You don't care how you get your fix. You just want to play a new game
right now and you don't want to pay a lot for the privilege. Thank God
for the Internet, where everything (and its mom) is available for free.
So, taking a break from downloading patches and porn, we set upon a journey
to gaming-freebie Mecca.
Reader Alec Thompson sent me this. It was a tip he received from Dot Martin:
Great keyboard trick! [If you have a mouse with a wheel] Try this - It
really works! I just found out about this. Thought I'd pass this on. It's
very useful when trying to read small e-mail print (especially in the early
hours). If you hold down the Ctrl key on your key board and turn the small
wheel in the middle of your mouse, the print size will change - it will
either get larger or smaller - depending on which way you turn the wheel.
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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