TicoByte for August, 2012

Attention PC Club of Costa Rica Members,

Our next club meeting is this coming Saturday, August 18th, at the Pan American School in Belen at 9 AM.  Coffee and snacks are available at 8:30 for folks who come early.  We’ll have a table for you to sell or give away anything computer-related. There is a special invitation this month to bring in items to be auctioned off to benifit the club’s treasury.

Here are some items that might be of interest to you:

Item 1.  NASA’s Curiosity rover scores a touchdown on Mars!

On Sunday night, August 5, 2012, NASA won it’s $2.5B bet that they could put a heavy payload on Mars right where they wanted it without a single mishap, not even a dented fender. Endure the commercial to watch the movie: it’s worth it. For more detail, watch Dare Mighty Things.

Item 2.  If you’re running Windows 7, you already have a way to encrypt USB drives.

You can use BitLocker to Go to secure your USB drives with Windows 7. After that, you can read them with XP or Vista, but you can only write to them with Windows 7.

Item 3.  Woz comments in Australia.

Steve Wozniak (Woz), cofounder of Apple and pioneer of personal computing, spoke out in Sydney about the pros and cons of the closed ecosystem at Apple. ZDNet offers an expanded version of the story.

Item 4.  Are tablets replacing laptops and even desktops?

Seb Janacek compares his use of his iPad, his MacBook Pro, and his 2007 Mac. He cites the pros and cons of each and shares some well-thought-out conclusions.

Item 5.  Google has announced its new database: Knowledge Graph.

The new 500-million-item database of people, places, and things is now appearing in Google searches.

Item 6.  Do you like to play games on your smartphone?

If not, mail this link to your kids.  Sonja Thompson reveals Five of the Most Addictive Smartphone Apps. The last three are games.

Item 7.  It’s official.

There is now a List of the Top 10 Apps Blacklisted at Work. Most of them are among your favorites. But not at work, please.

Item 8.  Interested in a photo-management tool?

Here are five good ones.  The last two are for Linux.

Item 9.  Do you know what Rain-X is?

Here’s a method for using it on your tablet screen. But be really careful.

Item 10.  Move offshore with the benefits of being in the Silicon Valley?

Here’s an idea that scares me.  Blueseed may have found a way to have onshore benefits with offshore workers. Spooky.

Item 11.  Using pedestrian traffic to generate electricity.  Wow!

A London-based company has produced floor tiles that generate electricity when walked on. ‘Sounds like a great idea to me.

Item 12.  Did you ever want to use Word to fill in a paper form?

Susan Harkins has a simple way to type text into a scanned form. That’s right, you start by scanning the form into a picture. It’s easy and useful.

Item 13.  Here’s a bill with which we might be able to live.

The Password Protection Act of 2012 seeks to protect employees from being forced to give up their passwords to computers not owned or controlled by their employer. It seems strange that it would be necessary.

Item 14.  Do you remember those old DOS games?

In a recent interview, Ancient DOS Games founder, Kris Asick, talks about his take on some of the old games and what he might do next. Check out Ancient DOS Games and be sure to press the play buttons.

Item 15.  Do you need help with your Apple product?

Check out this article by Wil Lemoges that outlines some troubleshooting tips.

Item 16.  Need to capture part of a screen image?

Use the Snipping Tool program that’s in your Start button All Programs - Accessories folder if you have Vista or Windows 7. This was mentioned in our May club meeting.

Item 17.  Windows 7 has lots of icons you can use.

Greg Shultz has found 18 system files that contain icons use can use to customize your shortcuts. The gallery format blocks some of the filenames, but almost all end in “.dll”. Right-click the shortcut and change properties.

Item 18.  Do you like to follow trends in the internet?

Morgan Stanley managing director Mary Meeker has published her slides from a presentation to the D10 Conference earlier this year on the subject. It’s a lot to wade through, but there are many interesting slides.

Item 19.  Airport apps can be useful if you fly much.

Brien Posey provides a review of 5 Airport Survival Apps for Windows Phone 7, Android, and iPad. Not every app is for every platform, but it’s worth a look.

Item 20.  What’s available in the cloud for file storage? (That is storage via the internet.)

Providers: Microsoft Skydrive, Google Drive, Box, Dropbox, Waula

Reviews: Wuala, Google Drive/Skydrive

Thoran Rodrigues comments on 5 Big Myths of Cloud Computing.

Item 21.  Is free Wi-Fi a friend or foe? Don’t panic: just be smart.

Veracode has come up with an infographic to show what can happen.

Item 22.  Wikipedia needs more female contributors.

Sarah Stierch comments on the Dearth of Women Contributors to Wikipedia. Perhaps you could help.

Item 23.  For some great examples of Aussie data reporting, see the GovHack 2012 Winners.

Be sure to watch the movie of climate data and check out The Open Budget at least. Move your cursor over the graph and watch the numbers on the right.

Item 24.  Are you concerned about what people say about you online?

Jack Wallen has a good review of 5 Tools to Manage your Online Reputation.

Item 25.  Is the “Like” button on Facebook protected speech?

Not according to a Federal District Court in Virginia. Check out the details in this article by Toni Bowers.


Item 26.  Just in, Mozilla does the unthinkable.

They have pulled the plug on Thunderbird, a very popular email tool.

Dick Sandlin

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