SHCC WYSIWYG Article from March 2007

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the March 2007 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Hot Computer Topics

by Don VanSyckel

Over the last few months I've discussed most of the topics I know anything about, so the bottom line is if you've been reading the WYSIWYG on a regular basis you know as much or more than I do so there's not really much point in my witting any more for this column.

Some of the things I haven't discussed are Vista , global positioning systems (GPS), color laser printers, LightScribe media, TV tuners for the PC, city wide network for internet access, network connected hard drives, and a few other topics. I try to only discuss things I know at least a little about. The reasons I don't know about the above are mostly I don't have any of them. The reasons I don't have any of them vary but here goes.

Vista, the old saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies here. Win2000 which I use mostly, runs my word processor and database just fine. What else would anyone want?
GPS, I keep drooling but still a little pricey for my budget. Also, I'm waiting for a unit that when I buy the unit, I don't have to buy a subscription every year to update the maps. My thought is the US government actually does the mapping and the various companies simply rebundle the data that I've, er we've already paid for. A responsible fee for the rebundling and delivery of the data is one thing but the rates charged today are too much.
Color laser printer, again, I keep drooling. The prices come down and the features go up. The most pressing 'want' is to print a few digital photos but I've made up my mind that, on the advice of others, I'm going to check out the photo printing services available with local pick up and delivery via postal mail before I commit to a printer.
LightScribe media, is special media both CDs and DVDs that are writable on both sides. First you write the data in the normal manner. Then you flip over the media and the 'label' is written directly on the media. No paper labels to peel and stick or fall off after a few years. If I understand correctly the image is one color, black, and sometimes a little grainy, but still very cool. Since I'm still working on my first 50 pack of CDs that I got four years ago, I'm not likely to run right out to get this.
TV tuners for the PC, can be set up to record you favorite shows in a similar manner to some popular commercial products. I intend to do this soon. I understand that more than one tuner card can be installed in one PC and each can record simultaneously. Since it's on a PC it's easy to organize, catalog, and archive recorded items. Unlike tapes, quality doesn't degrade in time. But, backup, backup, backup.
City wide network for internet access, sound great but I question how much speed will be available and how reliable it will be. Rain, snow, and other weather conditions might affect it. The other thing is, I sit safe and secure behind my hardware router. If I were to use city wide internet I'd have to have a firewall for each PC. Then the firewall vendors want a subscription fee every year. In addition, I'd still have to connect my PCs together with a home network to use my printer and share files.
Network connected hard drives, might take the place of the file server I run. These devices aren't much more than a hard drive controller and a NIC (network interface card). You plug it into your home network. Spend a couple minutes configuring it; mostly putting in a user name and password, and then you start using it to store your files on. Simpler than setting up a file server for sure.

In summary I have two things to say. First if you'd like to have me write about any of the above items, send an email. I'll reply with my address where you can drop it off after you buy it for me. Second, if you won't buy it for me, go buy all this stuff for yourself. When lots of people buy a product the quantity goes up, the competition goes up, the price comes down, and finally it goes on sale. Hope to hear from you soon.

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