September, 2009     Tico Byte


Hello PC members,


Our regular monthly meeting will occur this coming Saturday, Sept. 19th.  Per usual, you will find the meeting at the Pan American School in Belen at 9am, with donuts and coffee for all, beginning at 8:30am.  This meeting there are some interesting presentations around Windows 7, the new operating system that you will be finding on all the new machines in the near future, as well as other discussions, such as video and audio editing.  If you have problems or suggestions, bring those for sharing with the rest of us.  Otherwise, come and have fun.  See you there.


Item 1: New AMD chip under $99


Advanced Micro Devices will try to inject new life into the lackluster desktop PC market with the first sub-$100 quad-core processor aimed at Windows 7--and Intel.

It's all about mobile computing today. But AMD's Athlon II X4 quad-core processor will give consumers something to consider on the desktop when Windows 7 ships in October. The chip is priced at $99 for "system builders," according to AMD. "The introduction of the new AMD mainstream desktop platform coupled with Windows 7, allows...a faster, higher performing experience at an attractive price point," said Mike Ybarra, general manager of Windows Product Management at Microsoft, in a statement. Some reviewers were quick to praise the chip. "It's often hard to get excited about low-end and mainstream hardware," wrote technology Web site Hot Hardware on Wednesday. "However, AMD's new quad-core Athlon II X4 processors are something we can definitely get excited about."


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Item 2: What do you mean you can't remember?


Just because Gordon Bell and Jim Gemmell are way out there on the nerd spectrum, don't ignore what they have to say in their new book, "Total Recall." The Microsoft researchers obsessively record e-mails, photos, videos, phone calls, health records, financial transactions, Web site visits, and everything else they can in an attempt to electronically compensate for the fallibility of their own biological memories. Before you recoil at the prospect of letting your own life become this digitally augmented, though, consider that it will be whether you want it or not.


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Item 3: The new Google Chrome


Google has unveiled a brand new version of its browser, Google Chrome 3.0. The updated Chrome comes just over a year after the browser's debut and marks Google's sixteenth "stable update" to the program. Google Chrome 3.0 sports substantial speed boosts as well as redesigned elements and a host of added features. It's available now for Windows and should become available for Mac systems within the coming months. The release coincides with news that Chrome will be preinstalled on Sony's Vaio line of computers -- a move that could mark the start of a major push by Google to bring its browser into the spotlight. But is Chrome the right solution for you? Take this tour of what's new in the 3.0 release and decide for yourself.


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Item 4: Migrate to Windows 7 from XP??  (Something we can talk about at the meeting.)


Microsoft's leaders really, really want you to forget about Vista and move right on to Windows 7. And who can blame them? Vista was a train wreck. No one who knows what they're doing runs Vista, not even the Microsoft faithful. Windows 7, on the other hand, is a worthwhile desktop operating system. There's only one little problem -- there's no good way to get from XP to 7. Actually, that's not a small problem at all. According to Net Applications' Market Share report, in August 2009, 71.7% of all desktops were running XP, compared to a mere 18.8% running Vista. That means the great majority of Windows users will have to try to migrate from XP to 7.


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Item 5:  For anyone looking to work with PDF files:


Have you always wished you could merge, encrypt or just manipulate a PDF file? Editing PDFs has always been possible with Adobe’s software, but not everyone can afford the steep price of Adobe’s professional suite. But there are actually several pieces of software that will let you deftly manipulate Adobe’s proprietary Portable Document Format. In this guide, we will show you a few ways you can manipulate a PDF file without investing in Acrobat Professional. To start, here’s an overview of the free software that you’ll need.


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Item 6: The blurry line between net/notebooks.  (Works for me.)


We're not sure whether to call it a netbook, ultra-portable, or just a notebook, but whatever it is, MSI's 12-inch Wind U210 mobile PC has blown into the U.S. You won't find an Intel Atom processor inside, and instead the U210 comes equipped with AMD's Athlon NEO MV-40 chip. Driving the 12.1-inch, 1366 x 768 pixel display is AMD's ATI Radeon X1250 integrated graphics.


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Item 7: Fun and more fun


Come Saturday and get yours.


Chuck, Ken and Dick