Welcome to the 404th 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!
Lisa's birthday is this coming Friday. She's older than I am (only by a few
weeks), so I always have a brief window where I can tease her about how much
older she is.
I think I mentioned awhile ago that my sister Andrea works at Best Buy. She
has always been crazy for electronic gadgets, but even more so since she started
working there. Well, my sister Julia is following in her footsteps. I recently
mentioned about the nice MP3 player she got. Well, she just bought a beautiful
Canon digital camera. She already has 2 cell phones and a handheld device.
I'm not sure what her next gadget will be, but I'm sure she'll think of something.
For some reason I'm not really into gadgets. I haven't really purchased anything
new for my computer in ages. The only thing I'm craving is a laptop (Andrea
already has one) so that I don't have to sit at my desk to do this sort of
thing. Some day... some day... (I can dream, can't I?)
More than one-third of employers have eliminated a candidate after digging
up "digital dirt," according to ExecuNet.
In a recent survey of 100 executive recruiters, 35 percent said they dropped
a job candidate because of information uncovered online. That is up from
26 percent just one year ago, according to ExecuNet, an executive job search
and recruiting network.
Seventy-seven percent of respondents said they use search engines to learn
more about prospective employees.
European regulators hit Microsoft with a $357.3 million fine Wednesday,
citing the software giant's continued noncompliance with its landmark 2004
The European Commission issued the 280.5 million euro fine for the period
between Dec. 16 and June 20. That figure amounts to a daily fine of 1.5 million
euros, which the Commission is prepared to increase to up to 3 million euros
per day if the software giant does not come into full compliance beginning
"I don't buy Microsoft's line that they didn't know what was being asked
of them because the March 2004 order is absolutely crystal clear," Neelie
Kroes, who heads the Commission's antitrust bureau as its competition commissioner,
said Wednesday at a press conference in Brussels. "And in order to increase
the incentive for Microsoft to comply, the Commission has decided the ceiling
for potential fines will be raised."
From Tuesday, Microsoft will no longer issue security updates or provide
support for Windows 98 and Windows ME, which are still being used by more
than 50 million people.
Eight years after launching Windows 98, Microsoft is finally washing its
hands of updating and plugging security gaps in the aging operating system.
The software giant originally planned to pull the plug in January 2004, but
decided to extend support because of the increasing competition from Linux.
This time round, Microsoft is hoping that the remaining users of Windows
98 and Windows Millennium Edition will upgrade to Windows XP, according to
Peter Watson, chief security advisor, Microsoft Australia.
Advances such as telemedicine and the use of wireless devices in hospitals
have become an accepted part of medical technology, but the notion of replacing
limbs with computer-powered devices seems more like something out of "RoboCop" or "The
$6 Million Man."
Since as far back as the Civil War, prosthetic limbs have consisted of unwieldy
lumps of wood, plastic or metal. While some advances in materials have improved
comfort for amputees, prosthetics still lack the responsiveness and feel
of actual limbs.
Icelandic prosthetic maker Ossur is trying to change that with its Rheo Knee.
Billed as the first knee with artificial intelligence, it combines up to
15 sensors, a processor, software and a memory chip to analyze the motion
of the prosthetic and learn how to move accordingly. More recently, Ossur
introduced the Power Knee, which houses a motor and more sensors. The motor
helps replicate some of the action of muscles that have been lost along with
Remote Shutter Release - Digital Photography Tip of the Week
More and more digital cameras are coming with very long zoom lenses. While
3x or 4x optical zooms used to be common, we are now seeing 6x, 8x, 10x and
even some 12x zooms, equivalent to a 28mm - 336mm lens in 35mm film. While
these super zooms are great at magnifying your subjects, they also magnify
any camera shake you may experience.
I have talked many times about using a tripod and camera release in my photography.
A tripod is an invaluable tool to the photographer for steadying the camera,
composing and taking multiple shots of the same composition at different settings.
However, even on a tripod, the small vibrations you produce when pressing the
shutter button are magnified when using super zooms. That is where the use
of a remote shutter release comes in. They come in various forms, from the
traditional wire cable releases and bulb releases that were both mechanical
in nature, to today's electronic shutter releases and even infrared releases.
The use of a remote shutter release can minimize or eliminate camera shake
due to shutter press altogether.
Remote releases typically either screw or snap onto a socket on the camera
or have an eye for viewing the infrared beam on a wireless release. Most wireless
releases are directional and only work when the remote is pointed at the camera
from the front. If this is the type you have then you may have to put your
remote in front of the camera off to the side of the lens in order for it to
work. Many simply trigger the shutter when the button on the remote is press,
but some are configurable to immediately trigger the shutter or two wait a
short period of time before firing. This is to allow the vibrations from the
mirror flipping out of the way of the sensor on an SLR to dissipate. Others
are even more advanced with options for time delays and timers to set extended
exposure lengths. If you camera does not have an available remote release,
another option is to use the self timer. The self timer will give the camera
10 seconds or so to stop vibrating after you to press the shutter button.
With very long focal lengths, their magnified views, and magnified camera
shake, such as those in the 10x and 12x range, the use of a remote release
can be the difference between a sharp photo and one that could have been sharp.
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.
No, I'm not talking about budgeting. I'm talking about tracking where your
money goes. Literally, where has it traveled. This site has been around for
7-8 years now, but I just learned about it the other day. If you visit Where's
George, you can enter the details of your money, and see if it is in
their system. I entered information on a $1 and I found it had been in Ohio
and Indiana. You can also leave a comment about how or where you got the
It's kind of neat. But I would think that if you have time to enter all
of your bills, then you have too much time on your hands!
Nine out of 10 teachers agree that students who turn to technology for
homework help perform better than those who do not, according to a recent
independent survey commissioned by Microsoft Corp. However, 71 percent
of teachers worry that students are not finding what they need on the Internet,
and 85 percent wish there were more technology-based resources available.
Today Microsoft released Microsoft ® Student with Encarta ® Premium
2007, a software package of integrated tools and trusted information that
empowers middle-school through entry-level college students to create and
complete accurate assignments that can lead to better grades and academic
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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