Welcome to the 430th 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've been on vacation this week, so I haven't been at the computer too much.
I did read a bit about Apple changing its name and their announcement of the
iPhone. It's quite amazing how the iPod has developed into such a status symbol.
There are dozens of music players that are just as good, but they don't have
the "name". If they can carry that success with them then I'm sure
the iPhone will do great.
My sister and I have been playing around with DVD copying (would you believe
me if I told you that it was all non-copyrighted material?) and those
tips I gave a couple of weeks ago appear to be working great.
In their persistent quest to breach the Internet's defenses, the bad guys
are honing their weapons and increasing their firepower.
With growing sophistication, they are taking advantage of programs that secretly
install themselves on thousands or even millions of personal computers, band
these computers together into an unwitting army of zombies, and use the collective
power of the dragooned network to commit Internet crimes.
These systems, called botnets, are being blamed for the huge spike in spam
that bedeviled the Internet in recent months, as well as fraud and data theft.
Security researchers have been concerned about botnets for some time because
they automate and amplify the effects of viruses and other malicious programs.
What is new is the vastly escalating scale of the problem...
Of the many responsibilities shouldered by this column, none is more solemn
than its mandate to compel Web-based retailers to take phone calls from the
public. But suppose you finally get one of these reclusive customer-service
reps on the horn and become so flustered that you forget what it is you wanted
to say? If the retailer is Amazon.com - customer-service number: 1-800-2
1-7575; to get a human right away, dial extension 7 - ask him about that
30-day price guarantee.
Flash-memory-aided hard drives and software that harnesses the full power
of multi-core CPUs will make PCs speedier and more convenient in 2007.
Next-gen computers will boot up and load applications more quickly as speedy
flash memory helps alleviate the bottleneck caused by the slower rotations
of a traditional hard disk's components.
"You take all of that stuff from the hard drive and put it in high-speed
memory, and the applications just pop," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst
for the Enderle Group, who is testing hybrid flash/hard-drive memory system from
an undisclosed manufacturer. "Not only does the system come up faster, but
the applications within the system come up a lot faster."
Last year, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies predicted hard-drive companies
would announce 1 terabyte drives by the end of 2006. Hitachi was only off
by a few days.
The company said on Thursday that it will come out with a 3.5-inch-diameter
1 terabyte drive for desktops in the first quarter, then follow up in the
second quarter with 3.5-inch terabyte drives for digital video recorders,
bundled with software called Audio-Visual Storage Manager for easier retrieval
of data, and corporate storage systems...
A terabyte is a trillion bytes, or a million megabytes, or 1,000 gigabytes,
as measured by the hard-drive industry. (There are actually two conventions
for calculating megabytes, but this is how the drive industry counts it.)
As a reference, the print collection in the Library of Congress comes to
about 10 terabytes of information, according to the How Much Information
study from U.C. Berkeley.
Reduce Shutter Lag with Digital Point and Shoot Cameras - Digital
Photography Tip of the Week
Digital camera are wonderful tools, and the technology gets better all the
time. Still, one of the biggest complaints I here is of shutter lag. That is
the time between when you press the shutter button down to take the picture
and when the camera actually does take the picture. This is of course most
prevalent with point and shoot digital cameras as digital SLR's have pretty
much eliminated shutter lag altogether.
One way to eliminate this is to prefocus. Much of the delay occurs when the
camera is trying to focus on the subject. To prefocus, compose the photo as
you want it, and press the shutter button down half way. Hold the button in
this position until you are ready to shoot, then, without releasing the button,
press the shutter button down all the way and the shot should occur much quicker.
Your camera may also feature a continuous focus mode. If you are photographing
a moving subject, this is the mode you want to use. Again, you will be composing
the shot, and pressing the shutter button half way down to lock focus, but
in continuous mode, the camera will continue to refocus as the subject moves
closer to or further away from you. As the camera is continually focusing,
again, your shot should happen faster. Your manual will have complete details
for your particular camera.
Minimizing the shutter lag time could mean the difference between a great
shot and a missed shot.
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.
Ever wanted to test your website in various versions of Internet Explorer?
It is possible to run Internet Explorer in standalone mode without having
to over-write previous versions thanks to Joe Maddalone who came up with
a way of achieving that in November 2003. Basically, Internet Explorer
is run by exploiting a known workaround to DLL hell - which was introduced
in Windows 2000 and later versions - called DLL redirection.
I haven't tried it, but it sounds very interesting. Apparently you can run
IE 3, 4, 5, and 6 on the same computer. Check
The Briarcliff Manor High School had a reunion for their class of 1960.
They put together a sort of web-based jukebox with songs from 1956-1960.
If you like music from that era, then check
out their page. There are over 450 songs!
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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