Welcome to the 407th 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!
Last week I mentioned the dog
days of summer. If the weather last week made me think of that, I don't
know what you call this week. Like much of North America, we've had unbelievably
warm temperatures lately. There have been a couple of days this week that
have had real temperatures of 35° C (95° F) and the humidex (similar
to heat index)
has made it feel like 45° C (113° F). Phew!
Andrew had a great birthday. He managed to drag it on for 3 days. I'm not
sure that he even knows which day was his birthday :-) He went out with a friend,
went out with his Grandma and Grandpa, had his Nanna and Poppa come over with
other family members, and had a sleep over with one of his Aunts. Good times!
Is a plasma TV a girl's new best friend?
An Oxygen Network survey released Tuesday found that more than three out
of four women said they'd choose the TV over a diamond solitaire necklace.
Women preferred a top-of-the-line cellphone to designer shoes by a similar
margin. And a little white iPod narrowly trumped a little black dress.
These are among the results of the Girls Gone Wired survey by market researcher
TRU for Oxygen. TRU surveyed 1,400 women and 700 men 15 to 49 years old to
compare tech attitudes among the sexes.
Heavy Internet users spend less time with their partners and children and
are less likely to help with household chores, a new study suggests.
Statistics Canada says people who spend more than an hour of personal time
a day on the Web tended to stay at home more and showed less interest in
outdoor activities than non-users.
They also spend less time sleeping, relaxing, resting or thinking and spend
a "striking" amount of time alone.
Employers are quite concerned about the legal and financial risks caused
by inappropriate employee electronic communications. In fact, they are firing
employees who violate workplace computer policies.
I recently wrote about how employers face considerable challenges figuring
out to handle employees' electronic communications, such as blogging and
According to the 2006 Workplace E-Mail, Instant Messaging & Blog Survey
by the American Management Association and the ePolicy Institute, 26 percent
of employers have fired employees for misuse of e-mail.
Scott Draves is tapping the spare processing power in PCs for the sake of
Draves is the artist and computer programmer behind the 7-year-old "Electric
Sheep" project, a free, downloadable application that combines art,
interactivity and distributed computing. It's a bit like the SETI@Home project,
which harnesses PCs around the Internet to search for extraterrestrial intelligence.
But with Electric Sheep - the name, of course, is an homage to Philip K.
Dick and his novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" - the
extra processing power of all the networked PCs is being used to do the heavy
computing needed to render the eye-popping screensavers that appear on the
participating PCs' screens. A high-definition, big-screen version of the
project, "Dreams in High Fidelity," will be shown in the art gallery
at Siggraph, a computer graphics and interactive techniques conference that
starts Sunday in Boston.
PCIN.net Update - Filing your Photographs - Keep it Neat - Digital
Photography Tip of the Week
I have been active with computers for many years, and much of that I was also
active in photography. Organization of my personal space, work space and life
are all pretty haphazard, but my photography has always been very organized.
I started in photography many years ago, and soon after began developing my
own 35mm black and white film, and later, bulk loading it as well. I have binders
filled with negatives, all neatly organized. Each sleeve of negatives neatly
labeled with the date of exposure, date of development, the developer I used
as well as the concentration and time of development. When I added transparencies
(slides) to my film arsenal, I begin cataloging those the same way. When I
finally moved into the digital photography realm, my experience with computers
paid off. I could now file all of my digital images in such a way that they
were neat and organized, even if the rest of my computer wasn't. I previously
wrote about software that
will help you organize your photos by adding keywords to them so that you could
easily search for a particular subject. But what about the files themselves?
For many people, this is solved by using the software that came with your camera.
Once the camera is connected to the computer, your digital photos are automatically
downloaded to a predetermined location on your hard drive, often located under
the My Documents/My Pictures folder. I like to keep my photos separate from
anything else I do. My photographs are organized using the following directory
As you can see, I organize my photographs by date of capture. I retain the
original file names that the camera assigned them, otherwise I would have to
spend extra time renaming them, even if using an automated software package
to do so. Additionally, I have not been able to arrive at a naming convention
that will fully explain each photo, or set of photos, that would be consistent
with all others. This is why I make use of the tagging function found in many
To get my photos into the directories, I work manually. I use a compact flash
card reader which is provides faster transfer than directly connecting my camera
to my computer. I sort my files on my CF Reader by date, then create a new
folder under the current year on my hard drive for each new date .I use the
date format YYYYMMDD which visually lets me sort the directories in order regardless
of when they were created. I usually transfer my photos after each shoot, so
even after a trip, I have only a few folders to create. I then copy all the
photographs on my compact flash card to it's appropriate directory on the computer
and repeat the process for each of the new dates on the card.
Once all of my photos are copied to the computer, I then remove the compact
flash card from my reader and verify that I can read the photos I have copied
over. At this point I now have two copies of my photos, one on the hard drive,
and one on the memory card. When I am sure that everything has copied successfully,
I can then put the card back in the camera and format it.
This process seems a little confusing, but my files are all neatly organized,
and it really takes very little time. I have just begun to test Adobe's new
product, Lightroom, and have found that software has an image downloader that
works exactly the same way as my manual method, but also allows for adding
keywords as part of the import process and for those who wish to do it, renaming
of files at the same time.
Keeping your digital photographs organized can help you retrieve them quickly
when the time comes. My method may not suit your needs but does use a few key
keep you photos separate from other images
keep different shoots or events separated on disk
use a filing system that is intuitive to you
make sure your images have been copied over to your computer before formatting
your memory card.
I hope this long winded tip has helped a few people file their digital photographs.
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.
Gmaps Pedometer is
a handy site that lets you map out your router for walking or running. It
provides you with overall distances, the distance of the last "leg" and
a calorie counter. You can even save the route and let others see it. The
site describes it this way:
What is this?
This is a little hack that uses Google's superb mapping application to
help record distances traveled during a running or walking workout.
As a runner training for a marathon for the first time, I found myself
wishing I had an easy way to know the exact distance a certain course is,
without having to drag a GPS or pedometer around on my runs. Looking at
Google Maps, and knowing there was a vibrant community of geeks hacking
it, I knew there had to be a way. So here it is.
Note that there's a reason this is called a pedometer. Considering that
you have to choose all the points in your route individually yourself,
it's probably not suitable for driving trips and the like. But I've found
it suits my purposes pretty well for getting running distances.
Welcome to blufr, a free, addictive trivia game challenging you to identify
statements as true or false. Answer below to get to the next bluf!
created a trivia game called blufr that
is essentially asks you if a statement is true or false. But these certainly
aren't your standard questions. I played for a bit, and you are given statements
* The word "nerd" is actually derived from spelling "drunk" backwards.
* Coffee comes from cherry pits.
* Freckles are technically tiny benign tumors.
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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