Welcome to the 403rd 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 everyone had a safe and happy Canada
Day and Independence
Day. Unfortunately I have an acquaintance who drowned at a beach on Monday.
They're still not sure what happened. As can be imagined, his family is devastated.
Be sure to be safe and always have someone with you when you are out in the
water this summer.
Due to the holidays, I was outside a lot with my family, and didn't get a
chance to do much on the computer. Most of what I did get together for the
newsletter was all today, so I may have missed some good stories or tips. Remember,
if you've read any interesting stories that aren't in the mainstream media,
or if you have some good tips, please pass them along.
AOL Said, 'If You Leave Me I'll Do Something Crazy'
"You're going to listen to me."
This was the taunting command of an AOL customer service representative
who sounded like a jailer twirling his keychain. The customer on the phone
wanted to complete his business, but the person on the other end of the phone
did not share a sense of urgency.
It is fitting that the customer service representative's wish to be heard
has been fulfilled on a scale he never anticipated.
When Vincent Ferrari, 30, of the Bronx, called AOL to cancel his membership
last month, it took him a total of 21 minutes, including the time spent on
an automated sequence at the beginning and some initial waiting in a queue.
He recorded the five minutes of interaction with the AOL customer service
representative and, a week later, posted the audio file on his blog, Insignificant
Shortly thereafter, those five minutes became the online equivalent of a
Thomas Jefferson isn't about to start listening to an iPod, with telltale
earbud wires dangling from beneath his three-cornered hat as he walks the
streets of Colonial Williamsburg.
But people far from the restored 18th-century capital of Virginia can use
their portable audio players to hear costumed interpreter Bill Barker talk
about portraying Jefferson or, in honor of the Fourth of July holiday, read
the Declaration of Independence.
The world's largest living history museum long has used modern media to
share its stories with audiences far beyond its 301-acre Historic Area, dating
back to before World War II when it produced an educational film for schools.
Today, it has an extensive Web site with photo slideshows, online exhibits
and interactive tours, and it offers "electronic field trips" for
schools using live television broadcasts and the Internet.
It's also using something that didn't even exist a couple years ago: podcasts.
The world's biggest record company is not ready to give the compact disc
up for dead just yet, and is giving the venerable music format a revamp.
Universal Music Group, home to artists such as U2 and Mariah Carey, is rolling
out three new tiers of CD packaging in Europe, ranging from lush deluxe editions
down to bare-bones cardboard sleeves that are designed to compete with albums
Despite the hype about online music stores like iTunes, the huge majority
of music is still sold on CDs, usually inside the "jewel boxes" that
have been around for decades.
Watch for Distracting Elements - Digital Photography Tip of the
week I talked about the quality of light and how it is affected by the
size of your light source. I hope that you have since tried to compare similar
photos in different types of lighting. Until you practice and experience
it, it can be a hard concept to utilize in your photography.
One small thing you can do to improve your images is to look for distracting
elements in your photos before you take them. One phrase commonly used in photography
is if an element doesn't add to the photo, it takes away. I touched on this
briefly in a previous
tip about scanning the edges of your frame. Unfortunately, distracting
elements may not necessarily be only on the edge of your view finder. Look
around your subject; all four sides as well as behind and in front of them.
Sometimes, a minor adjustment in camera angle or position can place an unwanted
element behind your subject, or out of the frame.
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 email@example.com.
I've mentioned the Museum of Hoaxes before,
and most people are familiar with Snopes.com (the
Urban Legends Reference Pages). I just learned about a similar site that
specifically tries to debunk chain letters:
BreakTheChain.org is your
source for common-sense evaluations of e-mail chain letters, helpful tips
There are dozens of chain letters that are explained on
the site. You can view the What's New page (it doesn't seem to be updated
that often) as well as the forums.
Back in March Google purchased Writely,
an web-based word processor. When I first heard about it I went to the website
and filled out the form to be notified when I could register. I still haven't
heard anything yet. But Chris learned that if you have a Writely account
and then add someone as a collaborator, then they automatically get an account.
Chris got an account from someone, and then added me as a collaborator, so
now I have an account. I don't know how much I'll use it, but it looks interesting:
If you are interested in a Writely account,
email us and we'll add you as a collaborator so you can sign up.
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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