Welcome to the 468th 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!
A few weeks ago when lisa was having lots of cramps and contractions, I was
sure we'd have the baby by now. But here we are and still no baby. Lisa is
going to induced tomorrow, so 24 hours from now we should have our new baby.
The Internet world is relentlessly enthusiastic in its embrace of the latest
and greatest, and this year's new flavor has been social networking. Between
MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Bebo and scores of lesser start-ups,
social networking seems poised to take over the Internet. Indeed, some digerati
have suggested that Facebook, by allowing developers to write mini-applications
called widgets, might become the new Internet.
U.S. faces competitive disadvantage from lack of women in IT
Discrimination against women and minorities is putting the U.S. at a disadvantage
in technology innovation, according to the chancellor of the University of
California at Berkeley.
Robert Birgeneau said of the top 50 university computer science department
jobs in the U.S., not one is held by a woman of color. "How embarrassing," he
said. "It's an astounding waste of talent in an increasingly competitive
Birgeneau was the keynote speaker at a workshop on women in technology as
part of the Emerging Technologies Conference being held at MIT this week.
For anyone who's ever been stuck in rush-hour traffic on U.S. Highway 101
through Silicon Valley, the region's overgrowth of green-glass office buildings,
ugly tech company headquarters and expensive cars is a frustrating flip side
to the steady stream of world-changing innovation that has emerged there.
But if you'd visited the region in 1930, all you'd have seen was a two-lane
highway cutting through acres and acres of nothing but farmland and tiny
hamlets, and not even a hint of what would someday become arguably the most
important commercial technology center in the world.
In December of that year, however, word came that the U.S. Navy was going
to open an air station in Sunnyvale, Calif., one that would handle gigantic
airships and that would need a mammoth hangar.
The result? The Sunnyvale Naval Air Station, later known as NASA Moffett
Field. And today, Moffett is home to NASA's Ames Research Center, a facility
that is at the heart of Silicon Valley, both geographically and figuratively.
In 1930 the region didn't know what was about to arrive, but it soon realized
how much change was coming.
They're already predicting, mathematically, what you'll want to watch, what
you'll want to wear, and who you'll want to vote for. Obviously, the next
step is for computers to read your mind - and that's just what they're working
toward at Tufts University in Boston.
Your computer won't be picking up details about your plans for the evening
anytime soon. But researchers with the Human Computer Interaction group at
Tufts have, thanks to a $450,000 grant from the National Science Foundation,
come up with a straightforward way for your computer to tell if you are overworked,
under-worked or not working at all, according to a paper they will present
next week at an Association of Computing Machinery symposium.
Do You Need A New Camera - Digital Photography Tip Of the Week
Where do you stand when it comes to your own photography? Are you too emotionally
invested in the image? Maybe it is time you took a step back and re-evaluated
We often have an emotional attachment to our images that clouds our view of
the quality of an image. A memory of the trip the photo was taken on, a cute
grandchild or the knowledge of the difficulty in obtaining the photograph are
all scenarios that could cloud our judgment when evaluating our photography.
While each one may make the image special to you, they do not increase the
quality of the image. And if you cannot separate your emotional attachment
to your photos, you will not be able to see the places in your photos that
could be improved. Stepping back and trying to take an unbiased look at your
photos can help reveal areas where improvement can be made.
Examine your photos for composition, exposure and technique. If any of the
three do not hold up, then you have a starting point to improve.
Being able to evaluate your own images without the bias of emotional attachment
can help your photography to advance as you begin to recognize the deficiencies
in your work.
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.
I know... I'm way behind on this one! Back in January 2006 I contacted Ahead
Software, the makers of Nero (the
CD/DVD burning software) asking to do a review. They promptly sent me the
packaged product in the mail along with some PR material. I started to use
it right away, and have been impressed with it every step of the way. The
product has been updated a couple of times since then, and just recently
it was announced that version 8 would be coming out soon (it's out now).
After having the product for 2 years, I figured it was about time I put something
If you've browsed our recent list of the Top 100 Classic Web Sites,
you may have been a bit disappointed by the familiarity of our choices. Such
is the nature of a list of "classics."
So here's the fun stuff: Our list of the new and/or undiscovered Web
sites that have grabbed our attention this year. You'll see a large collection
of Web applications and tech sites, excellent blogs, offbeat social networks,
and, as always, a handful of addictive Flash games for those slow days
Some of these sites are completely under the radar and get very little
traffic. Others are hugely popular within a specific demographic. But
all of them deserve to be in your bookmarks.
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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