Welcome to the 451st 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!
We're taking our yearly trip to the Toronto Zoo this Saturday. We go every
year with Lisa's parents and the boys love it. The zoo is very large so there
is a lot of walking, and lots to see. The weather looks like it will be perfect.
Speaking of the weather, we've had a nice amount of sun and rain recently,
so my vegetable garden seems to be doing very well. I just bought the seeds
for my carrots and corn (I know, I'm a little behind on this). The carrot seeds
come in biodegradable strips that have the seeds spaced appropriately so that
you shouldn't have to do any thinning. It sounds good, but we'll have to see
how it actually works.
My sister is moving to Alberta in August, so my garage is filled with stuff
she had in a storage unit. She's having a garage sale in a couple of weeks,
so she's trying to determine what she wants to keep. Andrew was a little annoyed
with the garage being blocked, because he can't ride his little bike through
on his way to the back yard. I'm sure he'll figure out that he can ride around
the garage instead of through.
I'm not sure if it has been mentioned before, but Chris is getting married
in 10 days. He's obviously pretty busy these days getting the final things
together, and then he'll be off on his honeymoon. There won't be a regular
tip until the first week of July. Until then, I'll highlight a few of his more
A new report from NPD says the average age children start using technology
fell to 6.7 years old in 2007, as kids versions of tech gear becomes more
NPD's new report, "Kids and Consumer Electronics Trends III", is
their third report since 2005 to see how consumer electronics and children
are interacting with each other.
Anita Frazier, an industry analyst at The NPD Group said that: "Kids
are drawn to the latest and greatest digital devices just as their parents
are. They appear to have no fear of technology and adopt it easily and without
fanfare, making these devices a part of their everyday lives."
Back in 2005, children were on average 8.1 years old before they started
using technology, but in 2007 this has dropped to 6.7 years. To me, these
ages seem awfully old - I personally started using computers, thanks to the
foresight of my father, way back in 1979 when I was only four years old,
two years before the IBM PC was released onto the world market.
The world might not be ready for a "Milan" coffee-table PC in
every living room just yet, but that won't stop Microsoft from trying.
With the launch of its new surface computing product May 30, it appears that
Microsoft is positioning its new technology for widespread use both in the
enterprise as well as the home, according to industry analysts.
The arrest of notorious spammer Robert Alan Soloway, 27, on criminal charges
for continuing to spread junk e-mail raised cheers in the tech security community.
But Soloway's arrest Wednesday in Seattle won't slow down the tidal wave
of spam. Unwanted commercial e-mail has become big business, backed by organized
crime. Most of it originates from networks of compromised home PCs, called
The spam deluge includes record levels of unsolicited e-mail ads for subprime
loans, herbal remedies and get-rich-quick schemes. It includes phishing mail
that lures recipients into typing sensitive data on bogus websites. There's
also "pharm" spam pitching fake pharmaceutical drugs. And stock
spam dupes recipients into helping drive up prices of moribund stocks.
"This is the modern face of the e-mail threat," says Adam O'Donnell,
director of emerging technology at message security firm Cloudmark. "Spam
Apple Inc.'s recent rollout of songs without copy protection software at
its iTunes Store has given consumers new flexibility, but questions have
emerged over the company's inclusion of personal data in purchased music
Are the songs that are being billed as free of so-called digital rights management
technology really "DRM-free" or are there still strings attached?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a consumer watchdog group, said the embedded
user information in the purchased track raises privacy issues.
The Best of the Digital Photography Tip of the Week
I think the most popular tip Chris has every written was back in November
of last year. His instructions on the Orton
Effect brought 60 comments and lots of traffic!
To summarize, the effect is named after Michael Orton who first used the technique
is a sandwich of two images, one in focus the other out of focus. Chris provides
step-by-step instructions to go from an original photo to a beautiful finished
You can certainly see why this technique is so popular! Be sure to check out
the original Orton Effect tip
for the full details.
Can you believe it? I actually found out about this one from my 90-year-old
grandmother! She goes to POGO.com all
the time and plays their Poppit! game. It seems similar to Bejeweled. Poppit!
uses java so you need to have the Sun Java software on your computer.
The site has lots of games such as puzzle games, word games, card games,
and more. I know there are lots of game sites out there, but if the site
is good enough for my Nanny, then it's good enough for you. :-)
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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