Welcome to the 397th 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 hope you all saw my
blog posting last week about the Niagara Falls Camera Club. This is the
club that Chris is president, and he was in the paper talking about digital
photography. He also won some awards. Way to go Chris!
Sit up straight
If you're reading this article with hunched shoulders and a craned neck,
your "computer slump" could one day give way to what some physical
therapists call "postural syndrome."
Postural syndrome is essentially repetitive stress to the neck and thoracic
spine, or the 12 vertebrae of the mid-back and chest area, from the so-called
flex-forward position. Doctors and physical therapists say that the injury
commonly targets the fourth, fifth and sixth discs in the thoracic spine,
leading to muscle tenderness, stiffness or, in some cases, nerve irritation.
A prolonged slouch over many years causes the disc space to narrow, which
in turn can cause nerve irritation that spreads underneath the shoulder blades,
down the arms and down the back.
It should come as no surprise that most Americans with Internet access
at work do some personal Web surfing on the job. A new survey finds that
half of them would rather give up their morning coffee than forgo that ability.
Maps, news and weather are the chief non-work-related sites visited.
To the antispam researchers at MessageLabs, an e-mail filtering company,
each new wave of a recent stock-pumping spam seemed like a personal affront.
The spammers were trying to circumvent the world's junk-mail filters by embedding
their messages - whether peddling something called China Digital Media for
$1.71 a share, or a "Hot Pick!" company called GroFeed for just
10 cents - into images.
In some ways, it was a desperate move. The images made the messages much
bulkier than simple text messages, so the spammers were using more bandwidth
to churn out fewer spams. But they also knew that, to filters scanning for
telltale spam words in the text of e-mail messages, a picture of the words "Hot
Stox!!" is significantly different from the words themselves.
So the bulk e-mailers behind this campaign seemed to calculate that they
had a good chance of slipping their stock pitches past spam defenses to land
in the in-boxes of prospective customers.
It worked, but only briefly.
As corporate logos go, few are as recognizable as the bitten apple that
appears on all things Apple Computer. Few, that is, except maybe the swoosh
that has appeared on Nike's shoes and apparel from the company's beginning.
Now the two companies behind those logos are teaming up. At an event in New
York, Nike and Apple said they are collaborating on a series of products
that bridge the gaps between sports, electronics, and entertainment.
Their first jointly produced product: the Nike+iPod Sport kit, which involves
an electronic sensor inserted under the inner sole of a new Nike running
shoe dubbed the Moire (pronounce (MOR-ay). That sensor talks to a small wireless
receiver that attaches to Apple's iPod nano music player.
week I began my discussion about digital
image sensor size, this week I will finish that discussion by talking
about how image sensor size affects the quality of images. As you remember
from last week, the size of the image sensor compared to a 35mm or full frame
sensor when using the same lens produces a cropped image. But what else is
happening on smaller sensors?
Sensor size effects the dynamic range of the camera. Dynamic
range is the range of light values from dark to light the camera can record.
Smaller sensors have smaller photo diodes, the piece that actually accumulates
light and converts it into an electrical signal that the camera will eventually
turn into a photo. Because the photo diodes are smaller, they reach their peak
recording ability faster, resulting in a camera that has less ability to record
all of the different levels of light in a scene. With larger sensors, the photo
diodes are larger, which allows them to better capture the light levels resulting
in a better quality photograph. If you have ever compared two similar photographs,
one from a digital SLR (with a larger sensor) and one from a digital point
and shoot (smaller sensor) you will likely have noticed the digital SLR produced
a less contrasty photograph. This is because of it's increased ability to record
more accurately the light in the photograph.
Noise also has a relationship to sensor size. Again, smaller
sensor sizes produce noisier images. Noise is the static like pattern you may
see in your images, most often in an area of constant colour, such as the sky.
Temperature and ISO also affect the amount of noise present in an image. Camera's
with larger sensor's have better ability to capture an image without capturing
a lot of noise. Smaller sensors are more prone to noise.
Another issue arising from smaller sensor is their increased
depth of field. With the small sensor used in digital point and shoot cameras,
depth of field increases dramatically. With the increase in depth of field
comes a decrease in the camera's ability to isolate your subject.
There are of course advantages to a smaller sensor digital camera.
Smaller sensors are lighter, less expensive to manufacture (and therefore to
purchase) and require smaller lenses. The advantages of superior image quality
in larger sensor far outweigh the advantages of a lighter camera though. With
reduced noise, greater dynamic range and better ability to manipulate depth
of field, larger digital image sensor sizes are well worth their money.
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 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.
About 9 months ago I wrote a posting about Microsoft
Online Crash Analysis. It linked to various resources that explain
how the Microsoft Error Reporting works, and whether or not you should
send off the error messages to Microsoft. My recommendation at the time
So if you usually click "Don't Send", I'd suggest you rethink
that and click "Send".
Well, the other day I had an experience that shows that this is good advice.
I was using SecureFX (software that allows you to connect securely to servers).
I was connecting to an ftp site, and the software crashed. As is usually
the case, Windows told me that it could send information. I did, and after
transmitting it said to visit their web site for further information. The
web page told me that the version of the Van Dyke software I was using had
a problem and linked to a special page at the Van Dyke web site. Their site
then said that there had been some errors in their software, and suggested
I upgrade. I was using 2.x of the software, and I was able to upgrade to
version 3.0 for free.
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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