NWA-PCUG Newsletter Article, November 2006
Tech News
By Sue Crane, Editor, Big Bear Computer Club
scrane5@socal.rr.com (click to email author)

Amazon Reveals Windows Vista Pricing
Preorder prices posted on the Amazon.com Website, Windows Vista Home Basic will retail for $199, while an upgrade to this version will cost $99.95, with $89.95 for an additional upgrade license. Vista Home Premium is priced on Amazon.com at $239, with an upgrade costing $159 and an additional upgrade license for $143.00, while Vista Business costs $299 retail, $199 for an upgrade and $179 for an extra upgrade license.

New Skype Phone Doesn’t Need PC
Skype announced a new cordless phone on Thursday that sends and receives Skype calls just like a landline, but without the need for a computer. The new Philips VOIP841 plugs into a standard RJ-11 home phone jack, as well as into an RJ-45 broadband connection jack. It can send and receive Skype calls as well as calls from a regular home phone number, but you do have to have a broadband connection.

IRS Sets Refund for Individuals from Phone Tax
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2011151,00.asp?kc=EWNAVEMNL09 0106EOAD
Long-distance telephone customers can receive refunds of between $30 and $60 on their 2006 taxes to reimburse them for a now defunct telephone tax, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service said recently. The U.S. Treasury Department in May announced it would end its legal right to keep a 3 percent federal excise tax on long-distance telephone service that dates back to 1898, when a luxury tax on wealthy Americans who owned telephones was imposed to help finance the Spanish-American war.

Light Bulbs Going Organic
The Ewing, N.J., company--along with General Electric, Osram Opto Semiconductors and others--is tinkering with the idea of transforming organic light-emitting diodes, thin sheets of plastic that emit light, into a source of room lighting. Pioneer and Samsung Electronics already use OLEDs for screens on consumer electronics products. By increasing the size of the sheets and the brightness, researchers think the material could become an energy-efficient substitute for the incandescent light bulb.

http://news.com.com/Flying-car+firm+relea ses+simulator%2C+takes+deposits/2100- 1008_3-6112862.html?tag=nl.e703
The Transition, a plane that can also be driven as a car, won’t come out for a few years, but you can try a flight simulator now and put a deposit on a future plane too. Terrafugia, a “roadable aircraft” developer that emerged out of MIT, has devised a flight simulator for its aircraft (which can be downloaded here). The application runs on top of the X-Plane simulator for Laminar Research. Potential buyers can also now plunk down $7,400, or 5 percent of the anticipated $148,000 purchase price, for a deposit on a Transition. The planes will come out in late 2009. A fully operational prototype is expected to come out in 2008.

Cars with Depth Perception.
http://articles.techrepublic.com.com/2100-22_11-6117385. html?tag=nl.e019
Honda believes Canesta’s chips could help drivers know how close they are to other parked cars, pedestrians, and get other similar, useful information. Automakers are also examining ultrasonics (sound waves) or stereoscopic technologies to give drivers better information about their surroundings.

Fly planes in a 360-degree Virtual Universe.
Take a tour of the Future Flight Central at NASA Ames Research Center in California.

Homemade Car Gets 105 mpg.
Inventor Jory Squibb combines environmentally friendly products and do-it-yourself- gadgetry with the “Moonbeam,” a DIY car that he claims can get up to 105 miles per gallon. The project took about $2,500--and 1,000 hours--to complete. Check out the step-by-step instructions on his Web site: http://mysite.verizon.net/vze6omtd/ jorysquibb/id1.html

Motorola Sells Phones and Accessories in Vending Machines.
Motorola has begun selling phones and accessories through “Instantmoto” vending machines at well-trafficked locations such as airports and department stores. Under the plan, the machines will stock nearly 12 phones and 18 accessories.

Gas from manure.
http://news.com.com/Gas+from+manure+Big+plant+to+open/2100-1008-6119213. html?part=dht&tag=nl.e433
Microgy plans to start operating its first two thermophilic digesters--large, heated vats in which microbes turn large quantities of manure into fuel.

Post-9/11 Anti-terror Technology:
A report card by Declan McCullagh , Staff Writer, CNET News.comt
A CNN writer examines five useful ways of improving security--and five that should raise eyebrows!

In need of support:
1. Going wireless
2. Better search technology
3. Inspecting cargo containers
4. Smarter translation software
5. Faster chemical detection.

Raising privacy concerns:
1. Omnipresent cameras
2. Registered traveler
3. Backscatter X-ray (privacy advocates say it can show body contours that are so exact it amounts to a “virtual strip search.”)
4. “Brain fingerprinting”
5. DNA dragnets.

Canon to recall copiers that can catch fire.
Japan’s Canon will recall more than 140,000 personal copiers made in Japan between 1987 and 1997 due to a faulty connection involving the power cord.
http://driveragent.com/pcworld.php?PHPSE SSID=9241043d076111e037e92e9e1fbab1e8

FREE Driver Update for PC Magazine Members.
Are your computer’s drivers up to date? Stop wondering and get a free computer scan for instant driver updates. Instant Access to 94,081 Device Driver Updates:
http://articles.techrepublic.com. com/2100-10878_11-6114592.html?tag=nl.e019

Windows Vista RC1 Now Downloadable By Anyone.
First, it went to a select group of technical beta testers. Then to those who had tested Beta 2. As of September 14, however, Windows Vista Release Candidate (RC) 1 is now available to anyone interested in testing the product.

Free Music Downloads.
SpiralFrog, a new music download service, said it will make Vivendi’s Universal Music Group’s catalog available for free legal downloading in the United States and Canada. SpiralFrog’s business model is based on sharing income from advertising with content partners like Universal.

Free PDF Books From Google.
Google Book Search now offers PDF files of scanned books that can be downloaded and printed for free. Readers can find the books by choosing the “Full view books” option on the Google Book Search home page before they activate their search. Once they have chosen a book from the results page, a download button is clearly visible on the top-right corner of the page. Just be sure it doesn’t cost you more to print the book than it would to purchase it!

There is no restriction against any non-profit group using this article as long as it is kept in context with proper credit given the author. The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization of which this group is a member, brings this article to you.

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