|The Personal Computer Radio Show||
New York City
March 2006 Show Summaries
See the notes for the March 8th show. When we were pre-empted on March 8th we recorded a show in the studio and made it available for Podcasting and manual downloads. That show will be broadcast over the air on March 29th.
The free registry cleaner mentioned on the show was Easy cleaner available at personal.inet.fi/business/toniarts/ecleane.htm
We discussed contrast ratios for flat panel LCD monitors and LCD televisions. In a nutshell, don't trust them. Alfred explained what the ratio is, why it's not very useful, how it's measured and why televisions always seem to have higher contrast ratios than flat panel monitors.
Michael liked siteadvisor.com. It is a free web browser plug-in that works with Internet Explorer and Firefox (no Opera and no Safari). It was released in beta form just three weeks ago and is expected to be finalized by this summer.
Site Advisor adds a new button to the IE toolbar. In Firefox it uses a small portion of the status line at the bottom of the browser window. As you visit web sites, it advises you as to whether they are good or bad. Safe web sites are indicated in green, dangerous ones in red, and just like a traffic light, there are also yellow web sites that are considered suspicious.
In addition, the siteadvisor ratings also show up in search engine results when using Google, Yahoo and MSN. They add a green check or a red X next to each web site in the search results. This way you know beforehand to avoid a dangerous web site. This is particularly important as there have been ooooodles of cases where your computer can get infected with malicious software just by viewing a web page.
The web site rating decision is an automated one. Site Advisor downloads all software on the web site and scans it for viruses and Spyware. They examine the site itself for pop-up ads, phishing schemes and web browser exploits. They fill out every email subscription form they can find and then monitor how much, if any, spam is sent by the site. You can see a detailed report on what they found. They also let people make comments about web sites, which, over time should prove very interesting.
Eventually there will be a free and paid version of the software. The company was founded in April 2005 by a group of MIT engineers.
A bug in Flash can potentially allow an attacker to execute code on your computer. You an get hit/infected just by viewing a maliciously crafted Flash file within a browser. Internet Explorer and Firefox use different Flash installation procedures. If you use Firefox, you have to upgrade Flash in both IE and Firefox. See which version of Flash you are using.
There are also bugs in the Shockwave player. Check the version of Shockwave installed on your computer. The latest version is 10.1.1.016, it was released March 14, 2006. Download the latest Shockwave Player. Unlike Flash, a single install of Shockwave will update both IE and Firefox.
When it rains, it pours. Hank was the only one on the show this week.
McAfee anti-virus made a mistake with the virus signatures and , as a result, was incorrectly flagging many legitimate programs as being viruses.
Apple is imitating Microsoft. They issued many bug fixes last week and more this week. Some of the new fixes fix problems in last weeks fixes.
The Sony Play Station 3 will be late. It is hoped to be out by Christmas 2006. It will be quite a bundle: game console, a blu-ray DVD player, internal hard disk drive, broadband, WiFi and high definition TV.
HD DVD movies from Warner Brothers will be $10 more than regular. The cheapest DVD player will be at least $500.
Microsoft, in partnership with a hardware companies (such as Samsung) announced a new, brutally small computer. It's so small that it is more like a PDA running Windows XP than a computer. There is no keyboard and a 7 inch touch screen. It is expected to be released by the end of 2006 and sell for $500 to $1,000. The Ultra Mobile PC
Google has to turn over some information to the Government. It is not everything they were originally asked for.
98 million households are now on broadband, leaving about 20% of the population still using dial-up. Laptops are starting to ship without internal modems.
Should the government set up WiFi networks for entire cities? Hank recalled the sales tax that started at just 1%. Likewise, Lotto was originally just for education. Even if city government starts out providing it free or cheaply, the price may rise in the future.
A caller had a problem using Ghost to backup his computer, it would not
recognize his network interface (Ethernet) card. Hank suggested that Ghost is
not the best backup software for most people as it backups up everything when
you usually only need to back up your data files. Hank uses Ghost on a new
machine. After all the software is set up he makes a Ghost backup once and then
not again. Should Windows fail, he can fall back to the like-new state of the
Something new: a Podcast only show.
Due to special programming at WBAI, the show was not heard over the air this week. However, we went to the studio and recorded a show which can be downloaded either manually or automatically as part of our Podcast. There were no listener phone calls.
The topics we discussed:
Samsung no longer promises no dead pixels on an LCD monitor. Instead they conform to the ISO 13406-2 Class II standard which means a 17 inch screen can have up to 10 bad pixels before it is considered defective. A 21 inch screen is allowed up to 17 broken pixels. This is a common standard for LCD screens. Sony is particularly sneaking in hiding their dead pixel policy on their web site.
Alfred pointed out that if you make a big enough stink, you may get a refund for an LCD screen (a.k.a. flat panel monitor) with bad pixels. Companies handle these claims on a "case by case" basis. What happens to LCD screens that are returned for having bad pixels? They are sold as "refurbished". Alfred said it is impossible to fix or repair pixels. For this reason he suggests never buying a refurbished LCD screen.
How long will a home burnt CD last? A researcher said maybe as low as 2 to 5 years. You can buy higher quality CDs but expect to pay extra. Also, care and feeding after burning the CD counts for a lot.
Rebates. We all hate them.
AOL will soon start implementing first and second class email. If they get paid by a sender, they promise to deliver the email quickly and to bypass their spam filters.
Blackberry and NTP and patents.
Chicago is the latest city planning on city wide WiFi. Philadelphia was the first city to attempt this, San Francisco is also planning on it. New York City has some free WiFi thanks to www.nycwireless.com
New cellphones have Positive Audio Feedback to avoid "cellphone shout"
Lenovo recently released new ThinkPad models and also some low end NetVista machines that will sell for $350.
The show this week was pre-empted at the last minute by WBAI.
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