The Personal Computer Radio Show  WBAI-FM 99.5
New York City


March 2005  Show Summaries

Show Recaps on this page
March 30, 2005  March 23, 2005  March 16, 2005   March 9, 2005   March 2, 2005 

 March 30, 2005 Show

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Toshiba announced a new lithium ion battery technology that lets a battery charge to 80% of its capacity in one minute. The batteries are expected to go on sale in early 2006 and will probably be used in cellphones, PDAs and digital cameras. They fully recharge in less than 10 minutes and even after 1,000 recharges still retain 99 percent of their capacity. 

Joe still likes the RayOVac batteries that recharge in 15 minutes. We mentioned these on the show previously. They have been available for a while, Joe uses them and likes them.
   Toshiba develops fast-charging battery technology IDG News Service March 30, 2005
   Toshiba preps minute-charge 'miracle' battery The Register March 29, 2005

We discussed the recent court ruling regarding taxes paid by telecommuters. 
 Telecommuters Not Exempt From New York Tax New York Times March 30, 2005

We tried to solve the world's SPAM problems. Olivia likes getting SPAM. 

Comdex was cancelled again. 

The book Olivia reviewed was Web Search Garage By Tara Calishain. Olivia liked it as did all the reviewers at Amazon.com. She felt that even experienced users can learn from the book, however, it is oriented to beginners. Olivia most liked Chapter 9: The Principle of Mass Similar where the author does a search for candy bars, then shows how a better search might be: snickers, three-musketeers, Baby Ruth. If you get shopping site and don't want shopping sites, add "-shopping" to the search terms. To find tutorials on Photoshop, try entering this into a search engine: "Photoshop tutorials links directory" or "basic Photoshop tutorials +quicktime". 

Tara Calishain also has a blog at www.researchbuzz.com where you can read a sample chapter from Web Search Garage. 

Speaking of search engines, Joe likes www.accoona.com. We also discussed www.gigablast.com. And FreePint has a free newsletter about web searching. Not mentioned on the show, Phil Bradley has a list of search engines appropriate for different types of searches

If you are searching for someone in Ireland or in the US, the following websites might help:

Joe and Hank recommended EZ Viewer, a commercial image editing program. 

The free registry cleaner and optimizer we mentioned was NTREGOPT, available at  www.larshederer.homepage.t-online.de/erunt/

Fred Langa's newsletter, the Langa List was given a hearty endorsement. There is a free version and a paid version. Joe recommended the paid version (which Mr. Langa calls the Plus edition) saying it was a bargain. The two versions are very similar, there are more articles however, in the paid version, which is $13.50 a year. 

Verizon has been having email problems today and yesterday - their email servers were down for 8 to 10 hours. 

On April 27, 2005 we will have a show on rebates, something everyone who buys computer equipment has to deal with. 

A caller named Fred asked if there was any potential danger with water cooled computers? Hank and Alfred said they are safe. 
   

 March 23, 2005 Show

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Apple won the lawsuit we discussed last week. Journalists who publish on the web are not covered by the laws that protect them from disclosing sources. The judge felt that leaking of trade secrets was a crime and journalists can not hide a crime. 

The web sites that Olivia mentioned are

Hanks favorite web sites were 

Michael's favorite web site was KarenWare.com from Karen Kenworthy. He felt she was a trustworthy source of software and all of her 25 or so programs are available for free. Michael said her Replicator program was the best backup he has seen. She also has a computer profiler that, much like the Belarc Advisor, tells you more than you ever wanted to know about your computer. Another program is the URL Discombobulator that can undo the convoluted tricks people play with web page addresses and translate them into plain English. Karen also puts out a free newsletter and provides source code for her programs. You can buy all of her programs on a single CD. 

Joe's favorite web sites were 

A caller was being in-undated with SPAM and his ISP did not offer SPAM filtering. He did filter out the SPAM on his computer, but preferred to get rid of it before it ever hit his machine. Michael suggested paying Yahoo $20 a year for their enhanced email services. Then he could then forward his email to a Yahoo email account and let Yahoo filter out the SPAM. He could continue to use his normal email program to get his mail because Yahoo allows POP3 access to their email as part of their enhanced services. Also included is 2 gigabytes of email storage. 


The free Gmail drive utility by Bjarke Viksoe lets you use the one gigabyte of Google Gmail storage as a virtual disk drive for storing files. This is a big step up from emailing files to yourself as attachments and is fairly painless way to start making off-site backups of your important files. 

The software makes a new Windows disk drive. When you double-click on My Computer there will be a new icon for the Gmail drive. The first time you access the Gmail drive, you have to login with your Gmail userid and password. When you copy a file to the Gmail virtual disk drive it is emailed to your Gmail account. Delete a file from the Gmail drive and the matching email message on Gmail is removed. You can copy files to and from the Gmail Drive with the usual drag'n'drop or with copy/paste, just like any other files in Windows Explorer. 

You can even right click on the Gmail drive icon, get its properties and see the total, used and free space. You list the files on the Gmail drive with Windows Explorer just like any other drive

One downside is that when adding a file to the Gmail drive, it is slow in starting the upload. Also, this only works when you are online. Although the software creates a virtual local disk drive, when you are traveling without your computer, you can still retrieve your files using the normal Gmail web site. Each file is just an email message with an attachment. The email has the file name as the subject with the prefix /GMAILFS, which lets you filter them out of your normal Gmail display. 
 
It is free software, so you can't expect technical support. The author says it is still experimental. File names are limited to 40 characters. Future changes to Gmail may break Gmail drive.  To get invited to use Gmail, try the isnoop web site.  

 March 16, 2005 Show

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Spyware assassin claims to remove Spyware but it does not. The FTC is after them, the product always finds Spyware no matter what. It is a scam. 

  • Don't fall for PC scan scams By Brian Livingston. many Web sites that claim to "scan your computer" to detect Spyware are, in fact, spreading Spyware themselves.

Lots of people clean out their cookies so often that advertisers don't like it. Most of us on the show regularly clean out our cookies. Joe does not. There are good and bad cookies. 

Mozilla is dropping their Mozilla suite of software. They will instead focus on their browser, Firefox and their email program, Thunderbird. The Mozilla suite included a web browser, an email program and a web page editor. 

Ray Ozzie, the developer of Lotus Notes, now works for Microsoft which bought his company Groove Networks. He will be one of three Chief Technology Officers at Microsoft. 

Lexus Nexus had 32,000 names compromised. Choice Point recently had 145,000 names compromised. All these people are now likely victims of identity theft. 

  • Purloined Lives New York Times March 17, 2005. About identify theft. ChoicePoint compiles data on millions of people. Recently they were scammed and more than 140,000 people had their names, addresses and Social Security numbers, among other critical personal data, sold to "several individuals, posing as legitimate business customers." 
  • How Billions of Pieces of Information Are Bought and Sold New York Times March 17, 2005

Adobe Photoshop  is the king of Photo editing software. Olivia reviewed the book  Photo Retouching with Photoshop: A Designer's Notebook from O'reilly. It is not for newbies to Photoshop.

Hank noted that the popular computers in China were: Toshiba, IBM, Sony and the Shuttle. All cost 25 to 50% more than they do in the US. The Shuttle is made in Taiwan. 

How do computers process Chinese? Sub-pictograms. On a PDA that Hank purchased in China you can write on the screen directly in Chinese and it will translate into English, both audio and text. 

As for buying cheap software in China, Hank noted there were three versions: the all English version, the all Chinese version and a bi-lingual version. Hank bought some Chinese fonts. 

The last caller wanted to know why the same image appeared different colors in different programs. After the show a listener (thanks John) added that this is due to the inability of one program to recognize the color profile which accompanies the image file. Some programs see it and display it properly, and others ignore the profile, assuming that all files are prepared for sRGB viewing.   

Another caller had a bad BIOS update and asked where to get a new bios chip. After the show a listener suggested a company called BadFlash that will burn a new BIOS chip for $25 and send it to you with free shipping. You need to provide your motherboard manufacturer, model number and where to find the BIOS file.    

 March 9, 2005 Show

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The second Tuesday of the month, Microsoft releases bug fixes. Not this month. If it means that Microsoft is taking their time and making sure the patches work, then this is good news. However, security firm Secunia has noted 30 outstanding issues with Internet Explorer 6 for which there is no bug fix or only a partial fix.

As of April 12th some Windows XP users will no longer be able to block the installation of Service Pack. This should not effect home users.

The Justice Department, which of course sued Microsoft over antitrust violations, agreed to a large contract to buy Corel's WordPerfect Office software. The software will be used by more than 50,000 lawyers and other Justice Deptartment employees. Lawyers are traditionally loyal to WordPerfect, in fact, U.S. courts require electronic filings to be submitted as WordPerfect documents. Corel is charging the government $40 per copy to upgrade from an old version of their Office software suite to a new version. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration however, use Microsoft Office exclusively and the Justice department pays roughly $150 per copy of the Microsoft software. The Corel deal with the Justice Department is worth up to 2.6 million a year for 5 years. In the final three months of 2004, Microsoft sold $31 million dollars a day of their Office software suite. 

Is a blogger a reporter and thus entitled to protect their sources? Apple is suing three web sites to determine where the leak of, what they call corporate secrets, came from. The case in based in California and it is likely the ruling will only effect that state. 

Olivia Whiteman reviewed the book Google Hacking for Penetration Testers by Johnny Long (published December 2004). The book is for webmasters and covers how bad guys use Google to find hidden information, break into web sites, and access supposedly secure information. 

Hank reported on his trip to China and the experience of buying software there. 
 

 March 2, 2005 Show

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A new version of Firefox, v1.0.1, was just released. Everyone using Firefox is urged to upgrade.
  Firefox fix plugs security holes February 24, 2005 CNET News.com

A discussion of SPAM and Spyware with Alex Eckelberry of Sunbelt Software, publishers of IHateSpam and CounterSpy.  
 

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