NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, July 2004
Bass’s Computing Factoids
by Steve Bass,
PC World; Author, PC Annoyances
(click to email author)

There are unrelated things I pick up in e-mail that are terrific—but not long enough for an article. Here are a few of them.

Faster Adobe Acrobat Launches
Adobe's Acrobat takes forever to load, even on a fast machine. Brian Livingston (of Windows 98 Secrets and Brian'sBuzz) wrote about a quick fix. The "Adobe Reader SpeedUp" is a small utility that fixes Acrobat -- and it works like a charm. I also recommend reading the help tips as it suggest several plugins beyond the default ones. Even with those turned on, it greatly reduces the startup time. Get it at http://snurl.com/speedup

Have a Mac?
Many of you (too many, in fact) use a Mac. I found out because I've had a dozen or so messages in the last week from Mac users worrying about security issues. David Pogue, the New York Times columnist, wrote Mac OS X: The Missing Manual. The Mac users I know love the book; it must be good as it's always on Amazon's best seller list. And if you don't use a Mac, pass the title along to a friend who does. http://snurl.com/missing_manual

Makes me want to be nicer to Microsoft...
From Bitter Waitress: http://snurl.com/big_tip About 2 years ago I was up from Seattle bartending at a very classy upper end Italian Restaurant in downtown Vancouver. Bill Gates and his wife brought about 15 people in for dinner. I think they were celebrating the future wedding of one of their guests (from what I heard).

After about 3 hours of service, 8 bottles of wine, and 6 bottles of $1300.00 a pop champagne he racked up a little over a $12000.00 bill. It was crazy, but he can afford it!! He left an $8000.00 tip. IT WAS INSANE...after dividing it up between all of us (roughly $890.00 a piece), I could have skipped out of work for 2 weeks. By far the BEST tipper and overall nicest couple ever. THANKS AGAIN BILL, YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!

E3 Show in Los Angeles
I went to the noisy E3 show in Los Angeles. It proved I'm way too old for the event. There were other PC World reporters at the event and here’s what they had to say in “E3 Picks and Pans” http://snurl.com/E3picks_pans

Here are two submissions I wrote that were cut for space:

    Drink I least Needed at E3: There's enough buzz at the thunderously loud E3 that no one needs extra stimulation. Guess that didn't stop E3ers from gulping down 14,000 free bottles of BAWLS Guarana, an ultra caffeinated, sugary, fizzy concoction. (http://www.bawls.com)

    Winner, right product, wrong show: HP's ZD7000 notebook with a 17-inch display with Nvidia's 128MB GeForce FX Go5700 GPU video. Great for gamers but better off for business users. (http://snipurl.com/zd7000)

Gone phishing...
I got a brilliant one from a PayPal phisher this morning, and another from Earthlink, and they were both so startlingly real, and well written, that I was almost fooled.

I have two cool, free products you can use to protect yourself from phishing expeditions. Use Spoofstick, a simple browser extension that helps users detect spoofed (fake) websites. Grab a free copy here: http://snurl.com/spoofstick

Earthlink also offers a toolbar—ScamBlocker—that has an anti-phisher feature. The toolbar includes a Google search engine and a very effective pop-up blocker, and it works with Internet explorer. Grab a copy at http://www.earthlink.net/earthlinktoolbar

PC World Home Office

Many of you have asked if I could start sending links to my PC World articles, something I used to do. Here 'ya go:

Home Office: Instant Relief for a Day Full of "Ooops!" These eight tools and tips are sure cures for your common computing uh-ohs. http://snurl.com/HO_0604

Who Knew Your... PC, Software, Camera, Printer, Network, Drive, Handheld...Could Do That?

28 unexpected ways to get more out of the tools you use every day. http://snurl.com/Bass_whoknew

Buy the Warranty
The number one reason to buy the warranty: http://snurl.com/warranty

Gmail Lunacy
It's amazing:
The going rate for a Gmail invitation is running about $40, with some topping out at $80. And there must be six pages of ads. Here's one that went for $63 http://snurl.com/Gmail_sale; many others are here: http://snurl.com/GmailEbay

If you have something intriguing to swap, you may be able to get a Gmail account. Try your luck at http://snurl.com/gmailswap

And you may be wondering why I'm enjoying my Gmail account. Then it’s apparent you haven't seen this cartoon yet. It'll clear things up immediately. http://snurl.com/Joyoftech

[If the Gmail cartoon isn’t there, go to "Previous Joy,” then on that page the "Next Joy" archived link will be there.]

Mossberg's Take on Gmail
The self-ascribed rock star of computing journalism, WSJ's Walt Mossberg, doesn't think Gmail's scanning of e-mail is a good idea. As a privacy fanatic, someone who has layers of paranoia and gleefully gives out an inaccurate social security number to cable companies, I don't agree. I'm feeling fine trading a mechanical scan of my e-mail for Gmail's luxurious one gigabyte of storage, lack of annoying popups and banner ads, and clutter-free interface. Read Mossberg's column at http://ptech.wsj.com/ptech.html .

MyIE2, the Super IE Shell
I’m a MyIE2 fanatic. I switched to the IE shell a few months ago and can’t believe how useful it’s become. (By the time you read this, the name of MyIE2 will have changed to Maxthon.) I've written about it a few times and encourage you to see what I had to say. The first article is “Super Browser Outdoes Internet Explorer” at http://snurl.com/HO_0504 Then read “Internet Explorer Is a Dinosaur--Dump It (see: http://snurl.com/news4_14_04) and “What's Better Than IE?” at http://snurl.com/news4_21_04

MyIE2 vs. WebEyes
In Mossberg's latest column, he mentioned WebEyes (http://www.ionwebeyes.com), a $20 program to modify the way IE displays Web pages. The essence of the utility is to give you a way to quickly enlarge or reduce the font size. Read the column here: http://ptech.wsj.com/solution.html .

It's a good idea. It's also a feature built into Opera and MyIE2 (use Control plus and minus). WebEyes has one terrific tool, called "Read like a book," that makes sense because it spreads the text onto the web page in easy to read columns. BTW, "read" works best if you choose a page full of text, say, http://snurl.com/NYRK_web, an article on the New Yorker page. One downside...the toolbar is unnecessarily large and takes up the space of almost two regular IE toolbars.

Steve Bass is a Contributing Editor with PC World, a 23 year veteran of PIBMUG, and a founding member of APCUG. He’s also the author of PC Annoyances: How to Fix the Most Annoying Things about Your Personal Computer, O’Reilly Press. It’s available on Amazon for $7.98 at http://snurl.com/annoyances.

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