Welcome to the 443rd 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 hope everyone had a nice Easter. We had a big family dinner at our house.
My mom cooked a huge ham (it was awesome!), and we had lots of vegetables (mmm... Brussels
sprouts and turnip).
April is a busy month as we also have my older sister's birthday (yesterday)
and my oldest younger sister (next week), so we'll all be together again for
another family meal. Sounds (and tastes) good to me!
My memory came in for my laptop, so I'll think I'll give Vista a try. I'll
report back next week.
Chris is on vacation this week, so he hasn't had a chance to get a tip ready.
It will be back next week.
Microsoft has come under attack for the way it advertises the Vista operating
A lawsuit, filed in Seattle, alleges that the company advertised systems
as "Vista capable," when in fact the systems were not able to run
Vista properly. The suit alleges that the marketing around Vista was designed
to deliberately mislead potential customers.
The outcome hangs on the precise definition of the circumstances under which
a machine is "Vista capable."
Microsoft has allowed PC vendors to put stickers on their systems saying
that they are "Vista ready," when the system could run only Vista
Home Basic, which does not allow many of the core features of Vista to run.
The suit maintains that it was unreasonable of Microsoft to assume that every
person to whom it was marketing Vista could understand the system requirements.
Toy maker strikes gold with Beanie Babies of the online era
First came Google. Then came MySpace, Facebook and Second Life - all created
by hip young techies from California. But the biggest new Internet innovation
comes from an unlikely place: a Toronto-based company best known for cheesy
giftware and stuffed toys.
If you have a kid in elementary school, chances are you've heard of Webkinz
- a line of plush toys made by Ganz Inc. What makes Webkinz possibly the
most sought-after toy ever is that each one comes with a secret code that
gives its owner access to the vast online Webkinz World. There, users can
create an avatar, or online identity, for their pet and "adopt" it.
Ganz's product is revolutionary: It's the first real-world toy that's essentially
just a key to an interactive website. And it has likely created panic at
toy companies the world over as they try to replicate Ganz's success.
Tim Spalding was 9 years-old when he had the idea of using his first computer--an
Apple II--to make lists of the books he owned, like the Adventures of Tintin
series and Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective.
Flash-forward to 2007. Spalding is now a programmer, and he's still keeping
lists, but on a far grander scale. A couple of years ago, on a lark, he created
an online version of his original Apple application, one that allowed anyone
on the Internet to post a list of the books in his or her library, compare
it with other online book lists, and talk about literature with people of
similar reading tastes. "I was trying to scratch my own itch," Spalding
admits. That itch became LibraryThing, a social network based not on who
you know but on what you've read. It's already producing a nice revenue stream
for Spalding from the sale of thousands of premium memberships at $10 to
Spalding's creation is quietly achieving cult status among bookworms around
the world, creating a network with one of the highest IQs in cyberspace.
Less than two years after it opened its doors to the public, LibraryThing's
users have listed, tagged, or recommended more than 10 million works--a collection
that, were it not virtual, would be the third-largest private library in
the United States, behind those of Harvard and Yale.
This utility, which has the most comprehensive knowledge of auto-starting
locations of any startup monitor, shows you what programs are configured
to run during system bootup or login, and shows you the entries in the
order Windows processes them. These programs include ones in your startup
folder, Run, RunOnce, and other Registry keys. You can configure Autoruns
to show other locations, including Explorer shell extensions, toolbars,
browser helper objects, Winlogon notifications, auto-start services, and
much more. Autoruns goes way beyond the MSConfig utility bundled with Windows
Me and XP.
The utility was written by Bryce Cogswell and Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals
Spring cleaning applies to photographers too. Every year, it is good to
look at your equipment and see if you need everything on your shelf. Are
you really going to use that old film camera again? Are you going to re-read
that software guide? You will be surprised, however, at how many people
will be interested in your used equipment, software and books.
If you are looking for a free classified service in your area, try Kijiji:
Kijiji means "village" in Swahili. Kijiji helps you connect
with your community. It's free and easy to use. You can find everything
you need from housing to furniture, from jobs to new friends and more.
I recently rediscovered a nifty free tool from Microsoft. You may find
it useful, too. It's the Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel... It lets
you mount an ISO file of a CD in one step, without having to burn it to
an actual, physical CD first. You then have access to the full contents
of the CD and can get at any or all of the data. The Virtual CD-ROM Control
Panel also lets you mount several images at once, each with its own drive
letter. I don't know what the upper limit is, but I've had as many as four
ISOs mounted at once, in addition to the two real CD drives in my system.
And, of course, because the ISO files actually reside on your hard drive,
you can access them at normal hard-drive speeds, which are usually much,
much faster than CD drives.
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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