Tico Byte for January, 2009


Good morning members,

 Your next meeting of the PC Club is this coming Saturday, Jan. 17, 2009, at 9am at the Pan American School in Belen.  This month we will have an agenda full of information and fun.  We will talk about embedding photos in web pages, a new annual party for the club, the latest in Windows activities, activity on your club's site, and will help all of you with fixing any problems or questions that are on your minds.  It looks like a full meeting.  So come and enjoy the good company.

On with the Byte.

Item 1: Your computer is becoming your eyes and ears to staying in touch with what's happening in your country's government.

President-elect Barack Obama embraced YouTube when he started broadcasting his weekly address in both audio and video form, so it may have only been a matter of time before the Congress follows suit. 

YouTube in conjunction with Congress on Monday launched two new platforms, the Senate Hub and the House Hub, that provide easy access to congressional YouTube channels. 

Visitors can find their senators' YouTube pages by clicking on a map or using a drop down menu. While Washington, D.C. has no members to boast in either chamber, clicking the capital city on the map will take visitors to channels dedicated to congressional committees. While the hubs are maintained by YouTube, each individual congressperson's channel is maintained by his or her office.
Full story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10141182-38.html

Item 2: Visitors to US will need to register on line  (You better stay up with things on your computer, folks; no telling what's next.)

Starting Monday, travelers from the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Australia, and a host of other countries will have to register online with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security before they can travel into the United States

As part of its efforts to use technology to improve border security, the DHS is mandating that travelers from any of the 35 countries in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program apply online for an Electronic System of Travel Authorization before boarding a plane to the U.S. Previously, visitors from those countries were only required to fill out the I-94W form on flights to the U.S. for trips shorter than 90 days. 

The ESTA applications collect the same information as the I-94W form and check it against DHS databases to determine whether a traveler poses a law enforcement or security risk. That information includes biographical data like birth date and passport information, as well

as information regarding communicable diseases, arrests, convictions for certain crimes, and mental disorders that spur behavior that may pose a threat to others.

Full story: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10140697-38.html

Item 3: Two related Windows 7 articles - catch up with what's coming down the pike.

The just-released Beta 1 version of Windows 7 is a solid, fast-performing, stable operating system that appears to be just about fully baked and ready for prime time. It is much further along than Windows Vista was during its initial beta phase, and it appears to be feature-complete. Based on the stability and speed of this beta, don't be surprised if Microsoft Corp. releases Windows 7 before 2010 rolls around. Full story: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9125179&intsrc=hm_list

And: Microsoft Corp. on Saturday restarted its rollout of the Windows 7 beta, 24 hours after it aborted the launch because heavy demand had stalled its servers. As of noon PST, the company said that the primary beta download site, an offshoot of the Windows section of Microsoft.com, was "up and working." Full story: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9125660&intsrc=hm_list

Item 4: Wireless power - probably the future “wireless power.” 

Fulton is behind an initiative called eCoupled Intelligent wireless power. I am NOT a physicist, so I won’t attempt to explain the technology other than to say that the principles build on the theory of near-field inductive coupling. Actually, an eCoupled partner, PowerBeam, has a pretty good lay-person’s explanation on their site.

So, the basic theoretical concept is that the digital photo frame you bought for Christmas can actually be set on a coffee table, without tripping someone up in your living room. Or, that you could charge a mobile phone in your car, without having it turned on. Amway already uses eCouple technology in its eSpring water purification devices.
Full story: http://blogs.zdnet.com/green/?p=1648

Item 5: Push to go WiMax in the states

Last week at CES, Intel chairman Craig Barrett said that Intel would advise the new administration of Barack Obama to focus on wireless broadband and WiMAX in its tech initiatives.

Intel has made significant investments in WiMAX technology, a wireless high-speed broadband technology that can potentially provide inexpensive Internet access to consumers and businesses over large distances without the need for local wifi antennas.

WiMAX will become integrated into future Intel chipsets in the same way that WiFi technology has become a standard part of its desktop and notebook products. However, there needs to

be a substantial WiMAX infrastructure to take advantage of the WiMAX chipsets.
Full story: http://blogs.zdnet.com/Foremski/?p=338

Item 6: Solid state memory gets bigger -  looks like the future from here.

The SD Association unveiled a new SD card specification this week at the 2009 International CES that it said can support data storage capacities of up to 2TB with read/write speeds up to 104MB/sec. The specification, called SDXC (eXtended Capacity), uses Microsoft's exFAT file system to support the large capacity and interoperability in a broad range of PCs, consumer electronics and mobile phones.

Full story: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9125622&intsrc=hm_list

Item 7: For all you Chrome browser users.

Google Inc. yesterday announced that its Chrome browser would be in a "never-ending" beta test, and it gave users three options for updating their copies at varying intervals.

Full story: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9125624&intsrc=hm_list

Item 9: The best of all worlds

Coming Saturday at the PC Club.  We love to see you there.