NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, March 2007
Changes On the Horizons in the Home Computer Environment
By John R. Clark, Webmaster
NWA-PCUG presentation 17 Feb 2007
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The home computer user can expect three systems to start to appear on their desktops soon. Vista is the one that is getting the most press, but there are two others that will appear soon if not already present.

1. A new file format:
The ISO file format allows the grouping of many files into one. This ISO format differs from the old ZIP format in that it also includes the metadata of the source disk. This means if a bootable CD is converted to a single ISO file, it may be used to create an identical CD later which is also bootable. A ZIP file system does not provide you with this capability..

A major use of ISO files involves the packaging of major systems -- The Vista beta version and Linspire 5.1.427 both arrive as an ISO system. They can be unpacked into bootable DVDs if you have a file system like Nero or Roxio or one of the specialized ISO file. All you do is highlight the name of the file and do a right click and then work from the generated list.

The home computer user can acquire an ISO file handler that would allow him to create, append, view and if conditions are correct mount the file on a virtual disk for what appears to be a normal execution. They will take up very little space on your hard drive.

With the availability of very large disks a home user could catalog and store the various CDs -- a perfect copy -- on the HD. in the future he could duplicate a copy perhaps faster than trying to locate the source.

To acquire ISO file handlers check out the listing on -- some are free and others low cost. http://www.freedownloadscenter.com/Best/free-_iso-files.html

This writer would recommend UltraISO or WinISO

For a lengthily description of ISO files check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_image

2. Working with video files.
Today most members have acquired a digital camera, and the next step will be working video data. A demonstration of a freeware product was presented at the meeting.

DVDShrink is a freeware product that will allow one to edit. It is possible to select a start point and an end point and then you can extract all the video between the two points. This selected video will be placed on your HD.

Depending on your burner software you may directly move the video to a DVD or CD. Not all burner software will do this, but you can always convert to an ISO file and then burn it from there.

It is possible that Vista, ISO files, and video editing will not be on your agenda for this year, but you can bet sooner of later they all will.

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