TicoByte for April, 2012

Members of the PC Club of Costa Rica,

The next club meeting will be held this coming Saturday, April 21st, at the Pan American School in Belen at 9 AM.  As always, coffee and snacks will be available from 8:30 for those who like to come early and chat.  Bring computer stuff that you would like to show off, get fixed, sell, or give away.  Bring a friend and help the club to grow.

Here are some items of interest:

Item 1.  How the USA lost out on iPhone work.

The New York Times has published a story on why Apple and many other manufacturers have moved their manufacturing to China.  Petitions and marches are being organized on this subject. Click here to see what’s inside the new iPad 2012.

Item 2.  Are you interested in what might be coming down the pike?

Jason Hiner has written Five Future Technologies I Can’t Wait For, an interesting and thought-provoking speculation about what kinds of tech devices would be helpful and how they might come about.

One of the biggest things coming down the pike is Windows 8.  Here are some more articles in the continuing saga:

Pro: 10 good things, 5 best preview apps, Split-personality?, Explorer compatibility, Start 8

Con: 5 bad things, Driving me to Linux

Item 3.  Did you know that using Apple’s new iBook Author program to write a book gives Apples exclusive rights to it’s publication?

Jack Wallen, who is a published author, has some eye-opening remarks about the End-User-Licensing-Agreement (EULA) that comes with iBook Author.  Others have written that the EULA would not survive an antitrust suit.

Item 4.  GM is toying with rear-seat-window apps.

General Motors is experimenting with projections on rear-seat “smart windows” with which passengers can interact.  Click here for pictures of four of the apps that they are considering.  No more “are we there, yet?”

Item 5.  What if you could track your use of electricity?

WattVision makes a gadget that mounts on your electric meter and sends your whole-house consumption data online (into the cloud).  PlotWatt is an online utility that you can use to track the data over time.  It might even work in Costa Rica (just guessing).

Item 6.  There is a new gadget out that can tell if you’re taking your pills.

The pills will be manufactured with a tiny transmitter inside and you will wear a small bandaid that has a receiver in it.  Your body will generate the electricity to power the system and your doctor can monitor your progress.

Item 7.  Did you know there are more gadgets than those that come with Windows7? (Gadgets are like desktop icons that give you information.)

Susan Harkins has a report on some of the better ones available free from Microsoft. You can see all of them at the Desktop Gadgets page.  I use the Clock and CPU Meter gadgets that come with Windows 7 out of the box.

Item 8.  If you like photography, here’s a collection for you.

Ryan Boudreaux has posted a collection of 30 Knock-out Photography Sites.  There is a great variety of themes and styles for you to enjoy.

Item 9.  Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were actually friends.

In a CNET article about a letter that Bill Gates sent to Steve Jobs not long before his death, Gates reveals that, since his retirement from Microsoft, they were good friends and knew each other’s families.

Item 10.  Do you use the internet while traveling?

Here are some suggestions from traveler Brien Posey about everything from hotels to cruise ships.  These are 10 tips from someone who gets around a lot.

Item 11.  BitTorrent goes all the way live.

The internet sharing technology called BitTorrent has added the capability of live streaming to its repertoire.  CNET News has a few pictures of the new feature.  This (I think) means that you can watch video similar to the way YouTube works in addition to downloading and uploading files.

Item 12.  Are open systems doomed?

Long-time Apple fan, Jason Hiner, has posted an incisive view on the struggle between closed systems like Apple and Facebook against open systems like Linux, LibreOffice, and partially open systems like Windows.

Item 13.  Four email types that can drive you crazy

Toni Bowers has posted a funny, but true, exposé about four types of emailers and why they’re irritating.  I’m sure none of you will fall into these categories, but you might enjoy reading about them.

Item 14.  Are you computer literate?

Justin James has listed 10 things you need to know about to be considered computer literate.  Many of them might make good topics for discussion at our club meetings.  Bring it up in the meeting if you’d like to learn more about any of them.

Item 15.  What would you do if someone with a badge asks for your password?

Since Homeland Security has it’s own special laws that don’t require court orders, you might be asked to decrypt your hard drive at the border.  Patrick Lambert has some thoughts on What to Do when your Security Is Breached by Someone with a Badge.

Item 16.  Don’t throw away those old CDs!  They could become art.

Australian illustrator Sean Avery has made Art from Old Computer Parts and CDs.

Item 17.  MWC 2012 showed off some amazing new phones.

Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) featured loads of new mobile phones last month.  Click here for a photo tour.  Quad processors, phones w/projectors, and Skype on Windows mobile are among the most dazzling.

Item 18.  New arguments are showing up for “Onshoring”.

John Williams has presented an effective case for bringing IT jobs back to the USA.  His article about bringing jobs back home points out hidden costs involved in outsourcing.

Item 19.  Another frivolous lawsuit bites the dust.

Astrolabe, who makes software for the astrology industry, has finally dropped it’s lawsuit that shut down the time-zone database used throughout the Linux world in conjunction with software releases. The plaintiff said, “We now recognize that historical facts are no one’s property”

Item 20.  A glitch in iOS allows apps access to user photos.

The New York Times has found a security leak in Apple’s OS for phones and tablets. If the user gives permission for location access, access to the entire photo library is unwittingly allowed also.

Item 21.  A new version of Audacity is available.

Version 2.0 of the best free audio editor, Audacity, is now available here for Windows, Mac, and Linux.  If you have installed the previous beta version, you should delete it before installing the new version.

Item 22.  Two new sections added to club website

You may have noticed the new Help item on the top menu and the new Hardware section under Refs & Tutorials.  Both additions will be expanded, but they already contain some information that you might find useful.

Item 23.  Do you need to unlock a smartphone?

Bill Anderson, the featured speaker at last month’s club meeting, has published instructions on how to free your phone that’s locked to AT&T or some other provider and allow you to use it in Costa Rica.  His article is now reprinted on our website for your convenience.

Dick Sandlin

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