Tico Byte for January, 2011
Hello PC Club members,
Your January PC Club meeting will be this coming Saturday, January 15th, at 9am, at the Pan American School.† Please come and share anything computer or technology related, as we will all certainly have a good time and learn a lot.† I hope to see you there.
For those of you that have not paid your dues for 2011, Ken will be there to collect dues and issue your 2011 membership cards. Membership for the year remains $30 US or 15,500 colonies. Please help make Kenís life easy by having correct change. NO large bills, NO credit cards, and NO checks PLEASE.
Now, on with the Byte.
Item 1.† Fake flash drives (Iíll be darned)
On the December 12th edition of The Tech Guy, Leo Laporte's radio show, a caller had a flash drive problem. He had three devices that were able to play music from a 32 gigabyte USB flash drive, but could not play music from a new Kingston flash drive. The question perked my interest because the problematic flash drive was huge - 256 gigabytes. My guess was that the devices couldn't handle such a large capacity, for whatever reason. Leo's first reaction was that there was no such thing as a 256GB flash drive. He suspected that the drive was 256 megabytes rather than gigabytes.
Item 2.† Do you know when itís time to switch to Linux?†
It's easy to be content with your computer installation as long as it keeps doing what you want it to without too much trouble. When frequent problems arise, however, it's hard to remain faithful for long. The majority of the computing world "grows up" on Windows, of course, sinceMicrosoft's operating system still holds by far the largest share of the market. Not everyone stays there, however. Growing numbers, in fact, are switching to Linux every day, and for good reasons. How do you know when it's time to switch to Linux? Here are just a few (mostly) serious signs.
Item 3.† Microsoft patches next Tuesday
Microsoft will fix a record 49 vulnerabilities in its Patch Tuesday release next week that will involve 16 security bulletins affecting Windows, Internet Explorer, Office, and the .NET framework. Four of the bulletins carry a "critical" rating, 10 are rated "important," and two are "moderate," according to the advisory. They affect specifically Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Microsoft Office XP Service Pack 3, Office 2003 Service Pack 3, Office 2007 Service Pack 2, Office 2010, Office 2004 for Mac and 2008 for Mac, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, SharePoint Server 2007, Groove Server 2010, and Office Web Apps.
This is also in the article:
Meanwhile, in a tacit acknowledgment that after-the-fact patching isn't enough, Microsoft is proposing new ways to address security issues online. Earlier in the week, Microsoft released a paper (PDF) written by Scott Charney, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing, in which he proposes applying public health models to the Internet.
He suggests that computers could be given "health certificates" indicating whether they have the latest software patches, their firewalls are installed and correctly configured, antivirus programs are up-to-date, and that they are free of malware. If the health certificate indicates that something is amiss, an ISP could notify the computer user about the† problem, and if the computer is being used in an attack, the bandwidth could be throttled to curb that activity, he said.
Item 4. I know you needed to know this . . .
The University of Central Lancashire and online supermarket, Ocado, are collaborating to bring you a refrigerator that will not only keep your food cold, it'll also make shopping lists for you. The shelves of this fridge will use "nano-articulated technology" giving it the ability to move food products around inside of the fridge with the use of an array of micro-tiles.
Item 5.† DRAM memory pricing you will like (buy now; you deserve it)
iSuppli said that 2 GB DDR3 module currently carries a contract price of about $21, down from more than $44 in June 2010. 2GB DDR2 memory is also selling in the $21 range, down from about $39 in June. The company said that DDR3 prices are falling at a faster rate as the technology accounts for the majority of the market (60%).
Item 6.† The problem with big hard drives
There's a reason that really large hard drives should be at the forefront of every computer owner's mind: they're about to become unusable.
Item 7.† Monitors at the consumer electronics show
Starting with Samsung, its most ambitious device is something actually only referred to as an IT hub by the company, Central Station. The "IT hub" wirelessly connects and syncs your devices (keyboard, mouse, etc.) to your laptop whenever it comes within a few feet your Central Station monitor, with no button presses necessary. Samsung also unveiled two new LED monitors as follow-ups to its very popular PX2370.
One of its next items was the monitor highlight of the show for me. Samsung rolled in with its own proprietary 3D glasses (no wires!) and technology, eschewing Nvidia's. Both the new 3D monitors, the SA750 and SA950, are 3D monitors with gorgeous aesthetics, many useful features, and what seemed to be fantastic performance. Also, the SA950 itself is the single most gorgeous piece of device I've ever wanted to connect to my PC.
Item 8.† New mouse from M/C
This week at CES Microsoft surprised us by announcing a new touch mouse, and this time, theyíre giving us seven finger multitouch action. The company said two years of R&D went into making this mouse a reality and that they went through hundreds of prototypes. The final version features BlueTrack technology, which means you can track on most any surface. Itís got lots of little capacitive touch-sensing dots where youíd find the buttons on any other mouse along with a scrolling line down the center. Itís got inertial scrolling and, though thereís no horizontal scroll strip, it also supports sideways scrolling.
Item 9.† Lots of fun at the club meeting Saturday
Come and bring a friend.