TicoByte for September, 2011

Esteemed Members of the PC Club of Costa Rica,

The Club will meet this coming Saturday, September 17th, at the Pan American School in Belen at 9am, as usual.  Coffee and snacks will available from 8:30 AM for anyone who wants to come early and chat.  A table will be provided for computer-related items that you would like to sell or give away.

Check out these items in the tech world that I thought might interest you:

Item 1. The Linux Forum has released a list of great free Linux pubs.

From Ubuntu to GNUbasic, this list is a good resource for Linux fans. From beginners’ guides to system admin for running your own server, you can find useful information to help you check out this inexpensive alternative. The site also offers general access to online magazines on a wide range of subjects, but access on some of them is restricted to US IP addresses.

Item 2.  Are the keyboard and mouse doomed?

The mouse was invented at Xerox PARC, but Xerox execs refused to produce it because they thought it was undignified.  Will consumers force computer makers to ditch the keyboard and mouse in favor of waving your arms or touching the screen?  See the results of a poll by Mark Kaelin in response to Microsoft’s push for the Kinect system.

Item 3.  Are you interested in innovation?

Check out these photos of the most-anticipated upcoming tech products in the pipeline. From laptops and TVs to 4G, dual-processor, & Ice Cream Sandwich phones, you’ve got to see this.  And the Color Nook may be getting an update before Christmas, so tell Santa to hold off for a bit. In a related article, General Electric has announced a 500GB Holographic disk that can hold about 20 full-length Blu-ray movies.

Item 4.  Take a look at a possible new design for our club website.

I’ve gone rogue a little and cooked up a few possible changes.  Most are behind the scenes, structural changes; but there are a few visible ones, too.  Dropdown menus, more graphics, and a little reorganization are some of the things you may notice.  The board would like to hear your feedback. If you like the new design, we can talk about future appearance changes.

Item 5. Should schools teach keyboarding and drop cursive writing?

Indiana has become the latest state to eliminate the requirement for teaching cursive writing in elementary schools.  They have substituted a requirement for teaching keyboarding skills.  Do you agree or disagree?

Item 6.  Do you ever need to convert from one scale to another?

This converter is sooeet!  Literally.  That’s it’s name.  And it will convert anything to anything except currency. It’s one of those things that you bookmark and forget until you need it.  Unless you’re like me and you just can’t resist playing with it a little.  Thanks to Ed Reames for the tip.

Item 7.  Am I the last person in the club to hear about this?

Ed provided another item of interest, at least to me. You can now go directly to the Registro Nacional Digital (the digital national registry) to obtain legal documents.  The cost is much less than what you’d pay a lawyer.  There’s a good explanation of how it works available, too.

Item 8.  Has anyone else been bitten by SD cards that won’t work?

You may not remember 12” floppy discs, but I do.  Then we got down to 6”, then 3.5” floppies and now we have SD cards, about the size of a postage stamp.  The problem is that there are now several kinds of SD cards and they aren’t interchangeable. I bought a 4GB SDHC (High Capacity) card and my computer can’t see it.  It turns out machines of a certain age require the older, SDSC (Standard Capacity), cards. They look exactly alike except for the “HC” vs “SC” label. Let the buyer beware.

Dick Sandlin

Bizzaro high tech:

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