MEDIA CENTER PCs AND INTEL’S VIIV

Many people are buying new computers with Windows XP Media Center Edition – it’s the version pre-installed on most consumer PCs these days. Its most visible feature is essentially a program named “Media Center” that takes over the screen to provide an oversized interface for photos, music, TV and movies.

Windows XP Media Center Edition is designed for the living room, to be used with a high-definition screen and a remote control, but almost no one has taken that step yet. […] continued

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EXTREMELY PORTABLE HARD DRIVE

It’s long been a stereotype that technology keeps making things smaller. Here’s the latest example: a 60Gb ($149.99) or 100Gb ($199.99) Maxtor OneTouch III Mini Edition external USB hard drive, weighing in at 7 ounces and built to be thrown into a briefcase. If the drive is going to be used for sensitive data, built-in firmware guards the data with a password. […] continued

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SKYPE AND WEBCAMS

Skype has a hard-earned reputation for handling Internet telephone calls with style – simple interface, great voice quality. Installing the software is a snap. Calling another Skype user anywhere in the world is free; it’s relatively cheap to add the ability to call conventional phones and mobile phones and to receive calls at a real phone number that connects to your Skype software, but it also adds a bit of complexity to the setup. […] continued

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TOP TEN WEIRDEST KEYBOARDS

For a grin, take a look at this article showing the Top 10 weirdest keyboards ever. There are some genuinely weird computer accessories out there!

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DESKTOP SEARCH UPDATE

There are several programs that can index your files and Outlook folders and allow you to find something in them instantly – a name, a scrap of text, a number. It is liberating and exciting to know that you can retrieve a bit of information as readily from your hard drive as you can from the web. […] continued

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WIKIPEDIA

Wikipedia occasionally gets in the news when one of its entries is hijacked by pranksters or political operatives. As a result, there have been endless discussions in the media about its trustworthiness.

Don’t let that distract you. Wikipedia has become a staggeringly useful source of information. I’m starting to look at it first for reference questions – it’s frequently easier than a Google search to narrow in on a surprising range of information. […] continued

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UNINTENDED SIDE EFFECTS

This is the year of unintended side effects. Let me tell four stories from the last two weeks. The common theme is that in each story, nothing is broken and nothing is at fault. It’s simply more likely than ever that hardware and software will not work together.

  • A PC would not start – the manufacturer’s logo appeared when the system was powered up, but the screen stayed black with a blinking cursor instead of loading Windows.
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BETTING ON SONY

Sony is gearing up its marketing department behind Blu-Ray DVDs, its next-generation disc for high definition movies. Toshiba and its partners are lined up behind HD DVD, a different, incompatible format. Sony hopes that you’ll buy its Blu-Ray players and movies this year, and it’s especially hoping that you buy a PlayStation 3 next year with a Blu-Ray drive. […] continued

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WORD REDACTION TOOL

There have been several embarrassing incidents recently in which information was learned from electronic documents because they were not adequately secured. In some cases, the editing history of a Word document was revealing; in others, text was still readable despite attempts to black it out.

Microsoft has released a tool intended to prevent redaction errors in Word 2003. […] continued

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