Welcome to the 437th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly
of news highlights 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 spending quite a bit of time at work lately working on making sure
all of our systems are updated with a patch for the change in daylight savings
time. What a pain! Microsoft only has a patch for XP SP2, and that only accounts
for 20% of our computers, so there is a variety of other updates that have
to be applied. And of course there are all the other devices that keep track
of the date/time as well. It hasn't been difficult, just tedious. I have a
few links below in the Tips and Other Stuff section.
I've had a 300MHz Dell OptiPlex (10GB hard drive, 256 MB RAM) sitting on my
desk at home for a while. I was going to install a few games for Andrew, but
I never did. Since I bought the laptop off of my sister, one of my other sisters
doesn't have a computer at home to use, so I've cleaned it up and I'm giving
it to her. It's not great, but it's better than nothing.
Males stand further away when talking to other males in the virtual world
of Second Life and are less likely to keep eye contact, according to a study
that shows at least one aspect of human behavior carries over into the virtual
The study led by doctoral student Nick Yee at Stanford University found that
male "avatars," or three-dimensional representations of Second
Life players, stood on average 7.7 feet away from each other, compared to
6.9 feet for mixed-gender pairs - measured, of course, in the virtual scale
of Second Life...
The results, published in the latest issue of the journal Cyberpsychology & Behavior,
indicate that interaction in virtual environments, such as Second Life, "are
governed by the same social norms as social interactions in the physical
world," according to the authors.
Microsoft was ordered by a federal jury yesterday to pay $1.52 billion in
a patent dispute over the MP3 format, the technology at the heart of the
digital music boom. If upheld on appeal, it would be the largest patent judgment
The ruling, in Federal District Court in San Diego, was a victory for Alcatel-Lucent,
the big networking equipment company. Its forebears include Bell Laboratories,
which was involved in the development of MP3 almost two decades ago.
At issue is the way the Windows Media Player software from Microsoft plays
audio files using MP3, the most common method of distributing music on the
Internet. If the ruling stands, Apple and hundreds of other companies that
make products that play MP3 files, including portable players, computers
and software, could also face demands to pay royalties to Alcatel.
Apple and Cisco Systems have decided that a name is not worth fighting over.
On Wednesday, the companies settled their dispute over the iPhone trademark.
Six weeks ago, Cisco filed a lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco
over Apple's planned use of the name for its much anticipated multimedia
device, which combines the features of a mobile phone, an iPod and a BlackBerry.
Cisco claimed that it had owned the trademark since 2000 and was using it
for a line of Internet-connected phones.
Wednesday night, in a short, ambiguously worded statement, the companies
said they would dismiss all legal action against each other regarding the
trademark and that Apple could use the name for its device, which it plans
to start selling in June.
Businesses and non-commercial entities have much to consider when it comes
to securing their web applications and the data they keep on customers and
patrons. Acunetix, a leading vendor of web application security solutions,
today revealed that on average 70% of websites are at serious and immediate
risk of being hacked...
70% of the websites scanned were found to contain high or medium vulnerabilities.
There is an extremely high probability of these vulnerabilities being discovered
and manipulated by hackers to steal the sensitive data these organizations
Turn off your flash - Digital Photography Tip of the Week
I know I mentioned last
week I will discuss layer masks this week but time has not been on my
side so will hold off until next week for that topic when I can give it the
time it needs to be properly explained. This week, I want to offer a brief
suggestion for point and shoot digital photographers.
Turn off your flash.
Available light photography can produce beautiful images even when they may
not be technically perfect. If you place your camera on a tripod and turn your
flash off, you can obtain properly exposed available light images without camera
motion that is normally associated with longer shutter speeds. During the day,
proper camera technique can yield steady pictures without a tripod of flash.
At night, use of a flash in low light usually produces 'deer in headlights'
images that have a bright subject with a darkness all around. Using the longer
shutter speed of the camera with the flash turned off will evenly exposed both
the foreground and background while allowing all the colour of the surrounding
area to expose themselves in your images. As with so many photographic techniques,
this requires a little practice, but who can complain about having a reason
to get out and shoot!
Remember, lightweight tripods can be purchased inexpensively that are well
suited for point and shoot digital cameras and having one opens up a world
of possibilities. Read
your manual to find out how to turn the flash off on your camera.
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.
As you are probably aware of by now, the daylight savings time rules are
changing this year. Instead of happening the first Sunday of April and ending
the last Sunday in October, it is now going to start the second Sunday of
March (March 11 this year) and ending the first Sunday in November (November
4 this year). Only the most recent operating systems have the new change
built-in, so there are patches required. Microsoft has official patches for
XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 SP1. Anything below that (Windows XP SP1,
Windows 2000, Windows 98, ME) have to patched manually. If you have a Windows
XP SP2 computer at home, just download the update and install it. If you
look after older computers, then here are some resources that you might find
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.
If any of the links are too long to fit on one line, you may have to cut
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