Welcome to the 477th 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!
Wow, December is here already! We've had some frigid days lately, and apparently "they" are
saying that it will be one of the coldest winters in 15-20 years. We might
actually have a white Christmas.
I'm starting vacation when I'm done work tomorrow. I don't have anything special
planned, but it will be nice to be home with Lisa and the kids. There is lots
to do around the house, so I'm sure Lisa will keep me busy.
Take a look at your keyboard. Is last week's lunch still decorating the
space bar? What about your phone? Does the earpiece look as greasy as a spoon
in a truckers' café?
Office equipment harbours millions of germs - with telephones, keyboards
and mice particularly fertile breeding grounds for nasties, claims IT equipment
cleaning company PROtech IT Hygiene.
The average office desk is capable of supporting some 10 million microbes,
said the cleaning company, and there are nearly 21,000 microbes per square
inch in the average office.
Cellphones, laptops, digital cameras and MP3 music players are among the
hottest gift items this year. For preschoolers.
Toy makers and retailers are filling shelves with new tech devices for children
ages 3 and up, and sometimes even down. They say they are catering to junior
consumers who want to emulate their parents and are not satisfied with fake
Will Mac OS X one day run Windows apps without the need for dual booting
or virtual machines? That's the question/rumor currently making the rounds
after Wine developer Steven Edwards discovered Leopard contains an undocumented
loader for Portable Executables, a filetype used in Windows applications.
When Apple made the switch to Intel, it opened up a realm of possible Windows
compatibility previously unavailable on the Mac platform. As the success
of Boot Camp, Parallels, VMWare Fusion and Wine demonstrate, users would
clearly love to have Windows and Mac apps running of the same machine.
And what's better than virtualization and dual booting? Native support.
Steve Jobs Anointed Fortune's Most Influential Exec
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, the man behind the popular iPod, is the world's most
powerful businessman, according to Fortune Magazine's list of the 25 most
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, who reshaped the soft drinks giant, is the most
powerful businesswoman, said the magazine, which made its selection partly
based on executives' "world-class oomph".
As a computer power user, I like to make my computer experience as fast as
I can. One of the ways that I do that is to maximize my use of program shortcuts.
Today I provide a list of common shortcuts for Adobe
Photoshop Elements 5, many of which can be used in other versions of Photoshop programs.
Tools (Pressing the shortcut key multiple times rotates between tool variations):
V - Move
Z - Zoom
M - Marquee
L - Lasso
T - Type
C - Crop
J - Spot Healing Brush
B - Brush
K - Paint Bucket
O - Sponge Tool
Palette and other shortcuts:
D - Default foreground and background colours
X - Switch foreground with background colour
[ - Smaller brush size
] - Larger brush size
Shift [ - softer brush
Shift } - harder brush
F11 - Show/Hide Layers palette (F7 in Photoshop)
CTRL + - Zoom in
CTRL - - Zoom out
CTRL D - Deselect
CTRL Shift I - Invert selection
These are the shortcuts I use most of the time in my workflow. You may find
other shortcuts (there are many) that you find useful.
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.
PCIN.net Site Update
Check out these new or updated pages on the PCIN.net site:
I have reviewed several Paragon
Software Group titles over the years, and posted about them in the PCIN.net
Update blog. I've always been impressed by their products. The trend
continues to this day. I recently obtained a copy of Hard
Disk Manager 2008 and it builds on its predecessors and becomes an
even better product.
As with previous versions, Hard
Disk Manager 2008 comes with a variety of utilities. It comes with
utilities in the following categories:
Download Squad recently had a great
posting about 3rd-party "Add/Remove Programs" replacements. Of
course every version of Windows has an applet in the Control Panel where
you can remove programs. Whether it is a problem with Windows, or the install/uninstall
programs, there is often bits left behind. This
Download Squad posting highlights several programs (Revo Uninstaller,
Absolute Uninstaller, MyUninstaller, Safarp, and CCleaner) and then asks
people to leave comments about their favourites.
There was a time when I tried to write helpful articles on the web site.
One of my most popular articles was about deleting
temp files. As hard drives have gotten bigger, I haven't paid too much
attention to this issue, but there is still software out there that is supposed
to automate the process. The Toolbox section of the December
issue of TechNet Magazine highlights a product called Wise
Disk Cleaner 2.
A hard disk is sort of like a home - things accumulate there over time,
things that you don't really need to keep. Every now and again, it is a
good idea to take a little time to do some serious weeding out of the clutter.
There are a few standard methods for cleaning up a hard disk with built-in
Windows tools, such as the system tool, Disk Cleanup, and the search functionality.
But sometimes, a quick and easy-to-use utility is the way to go-especially
when you can get it for free. One such tool is Wise Disk Cleaner 2, which
searches your hard disks for the pesky files gathering dust that can be
safely removed from your system.
I haven't tried the product, but I thought I'd pass it along.
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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