Welcome to the 441st 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!
After a wonderful week of vacation, I'm back to my regular routine, so the
blog and the newsletter are back to normal.
This is a great time of year. All the snow is gone, and the temperatures during
the day have been around 10° C (50° F). We even had a day last week
that was over 20° C (about 70° F). Spring is
in the air!
Over the Christmas holidays we had put a TV in our living room (rather than
in the basement only) and we ended up watching too much TV. We needed to replace
the TV, and decided not to so that we wouldn't watch so much TV. I mentioned
a couple of weeks ago that I had bought my sister's laptop off of her. Well,
pretty much all it's been used for is for watching movies in the living room.
I took it to work the first week I had it to show Chris, and during the day
my son Matthew (he's 2 ½) asked why daddy took the TV to work! Maybe
we're watching too much again...
Note: I'm sending this out with an updated version of the mailing list software.
Hopefully there are no issues.
Web traffic shows Shutdown Day organizers shot down
The world was asked to shut down its computers Saturday. The world apparently
At least that's what can be gathered from stats offered on the official Shutdown
Day website, which showed no noticeable decline in global Internet traffic.
Even so, the Montreal-based site says 86 per cent of people who responded
indicated they could go without a computer for one day.
It's interesting... I had forgotten about Shutdown Day, and when I did a
search on Google News, there were lots of articles leading up to Saturday,
but none about the results. This is the only one I've seen.
Bombarded by spam, e-mail users are eager for tools like a "report
fraud" button that would help weed out unwanted messages that litter
inboxes, according to a survey by the Email Sender and Provider Coalition
released on Tuesday.
More than 80 percent of e-mailers already use tools such as "report
spam" and the "unsubscribe" button to manage their in-boxes,
the survey found.
Perhaps you know that sinking feeling when a single keystroke accidentally
destroy hours of work. Now imagine wiping out a disc drive containing an
account worth $38 billion. That may be how a computer technician at the Alaska
Department of Revenue feels after deleting applicant information for an oil-funded
sales account -- one of state residents' biggest perks. While reformatting
the disk drive during a routine maintenance check, the technician mistakenly
reformatted the back up drive as well and, suddenly, all the data disappeared.
Automaker BMW schooled Hewlett-Packard Co. in IT system design. Sun Microsystems
Inc.'s co-founder and chief architect designs server boxes largely based
on the stereo systems of his youth and wants his company to be more like
Apple Inc. when it comes design innovation.
So, if you think it's all for technology's sake and there's no fluff when
it comes to enterprise-class IT, think again. Vendors know that when it comes
to big-ticket sales, basic psychology still applies.
You might even be surprised where the ideas for those LED-lit, honeycomb-vented,
stylized aluminum boxes came from and just how much impact those slick designs
have on your decision to fork out thousands of dollars on even the most expensive
mainframes, servers and PCs. Even those flashy exterior lights on your hard
disk drives have a measure of psychology behind them because manufacturers
know certain bright colors evoke succinct messages in the mind of a techie.
Photographic Surprises in Spring - Digital Photography Tip of
Today's photography tip is a short one. As Winter is turning to Spring (at
least in the Northern Hemisphere where I am) there are many changes occurring
around. The days are getting longer, birds are migrating, flowers are begging
In the coming weeks, the first early wildflowers will begin to arrive, some
already have. This is a great time of year to get out around your community,
into local parks and nature areas and look for new growth and new life.
With a close and watchful eye you will find many wonderful photographic surprises
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.
In a world where there's too much to do -- and too little time to do
it in -- we're always looking for shortcuts. So when we stumbled upon a
blog entry by Kurt Shintaku over on Windows Live Spaces that promised to
let us install Vista from a flash drive instead of an optical disc, there
was certainly interest.
Why? Well, if we needed to install Vista on only one computer, it would
be a case of "Who cares?" However, running down an aisle of 20
or 50 or 100 PCs with a flash drive in hand, pouring out data at 20MB/sec.
- 25MB/sec. sure beats doing the same thing with a disc in hand and an
optical drive pumping away at 16MB/sec. - 21MB/sec. Sure, it doesn't sound
like much of a speed boost on paper, but when you start multiplying those
small transfer rates by the length of each operation and then the number
of repetitions, time can fly or it can crawl. The claim for the flash drive
was that it soars, as much as 50% faster in some instances (assuming your
PC's BIOS will let you boot from a USB device in the first place).
If that wasn't bait enough, fast 4GB flash drives aren't expensive, they
can be recycled as Vista ReadyDrives when you're done, and best of all,
the instructions for transferring our Vista disc to flash looked so easy
a caveman could..., well you get the picture. There were only 10 steps:
3CX a developer of a software-based IP PBX for Windows, today announced
that it will give away 100,000 free phone systems. Companies are encouraged
to take advantage of this offer to experience first handedly the benefits
of an IP PBX when compared with traditional proprietary hardware PBX.
3CX Phone System is a complete software-based office phone system that
replaces a traditional hardware PBX. It liberates companies from cumbersome
phone wiring and solves the management headaches associated with proprietary
PBXs. Since 3CX Phone System is based on the open SIP standard it works
with any SIP-based VOIP provider, VOIP gateway or phone. The product integrates
easily with most business networks because it runs on Windows - no Linux
"IP PBX technology includes advanced communication features but
also provides a significant dose of worry-free scalability and robustness
that all enterprises seek. Our free phone system offer allows companies
to familiarize themselves with the technology and to see for themselves
that upgrading to an IP PBX, should be the obvious choice for any company," said
Nick Galea, CEO 3CX.
The punchline to an old cartoon is "On the Internet, nobody knows
you're a dog," but these days, that's no longer true.
It's easier than ever for the government, Web sites and private businesses
to track exactly what you do online, know where you've visited, and build
up comprehensive profiles about your likes, dislikes and private habits.
And with the federal government increasingly demanding online records
from sites such as Google and others, your online privacy is even more
But you don't need to be a victim. There are things you can do to keep
your surfing habits anonymous and protect your online privacy. So read
on to find out how to keep your privacy to yourself when you use the Internet,
without spending a penny.
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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