Our listeners were generous with their contributions to WBAI the last couple weeks. We thank you. If you missed the fund raising drive, the station accepts donations at any time at www.wbai.org.
The week we caught up on a wide range of computer stories from the last few weeks, things we didn't get to because of the WBAI membership drive. Just Hank and Michael this time.
IDC released a survey that reported Apple is the third largest seller of computers in the US, behind HP and Dell. Microsoft recently released a bunch of patches (a.k.a. bug fixes) for Office 2004 for Mac OS X.
Many popular programs have had patches issued recently: Firefox, Quicktime, Flash and Java. The Quicktime patches are for both Windows and Mac OS X. To check if your installed version of these products, and others, is up to date we recommend the free Secunia Software Inspector - an online application available at www.secunia.com.
A listener emailed about running multiple anti-spyware programs. The rule is only run one anti-virus program that is constantly active. Likewise, only run one anti-spyware program that is constantly active. However, when it comes to scan-on-demand applications, you can, and perhaps should, have multiple such programs installed on your computer
Sunrocket went out of business without warning. Customers who paid for a year of service in advance, were out of luck. Michael felt that all the independant VOIP companies will have a hard time going forward.
AOL has had assorted legal problems relating to difficulties their users have had in canceling the service. They just settled with 48 states for three million dollars. Previously they had settled with New York and Florida. AOL continues to lose millions of customers as broadband replaces dial-up.
Dell has been overclocking some Intel processors. Microsoft is extending the warranty on their Xbox because so many are breaking. They have also allocated over a billion dollars to fix current machines. In addition, there are reports that the Xbox is scratching DVDs. There is another Sony laptop laptop battery recall. The PlayStation 3 is getting cheaper.
The IBM/Lenovo ThinkPad just had its 15th anniversary. Hank gave the specs for the first model. They've been black all this time. Both Hank and Michael are ThinkPad fans. All ThinkPads have a matte finish screen. Most laptop vendors sell both. Fujitsu sells only glossy screens.
It's back to school season already, and as part of that, Walmart is about to start selling a new $298 computer running Vista Home Basic. One way the cost is kept low on this computer is that it comes with Open Office, the free competitor to Microsoft Office. In addition, there is no bloatware/trialware/crapware pre-installed. The processor is made by VIA, it has one gigabyte of ram, an 80GB hard disk and CD burner/DVD reader.
We discussed pre-installed bloatware and home PCs vs. business PCs. Prices of RAM memory have stabilized, but they are expected to start falling again in the near future.
Due to the continuing membership drive at WBAI, this show was not heard over the air. No live listeners = no phone calls.
The membership drive continued this week. We offered the same premiums as last week, Gold Card Tech Support for a year from everyone on the show and three different CDs filled with software.
Our guest was Mary Ginsburg and the topic was finding reliable health information on the Internet. Mary has a PhD. in cell biology and has been a medical writer for many years. She started researching medical topics online in 1987, prior even to the world wide web.
One way to judge the validity of a medical web site is by who is sponsoring it. Another is to check the websites that link to it. This can be done in Google by searching for the web site name preceded by "link:". For example, a Google search on "link:www.pcradioshow.org" would show the web sites that link to this one.
Many web sites were mentioned on the show:
And still more: (updated July 28, 2007)Improving your search:
Portals/gateways to excellent sites reviewed by experts - best place to start
Excellent specific sites:
Next week, the show will not be heard over the air, but we will be at WBAI and record a show nonetheless. The show will be available on our podcast, can be downloaded at the audio archives pages or can be heard on the home page of our site. The show will be made available around 8PM next Wednesday evening (more or less).
No listener phone calls this week.
WBAI Membership drive. For a pledge of $150, we offered our Gold Card technical support. This gives you the right to ask all the folks on the show questions for a year. We also offered three different CDs loaded with software. A pledge of $75 entitles you to any single CD. A pledge of $150, gets you all three. These are great free programs that we all use and recommend.
Glare is good? We discuss matt vs. glossy screens. Samsung sold a monitor with phantom optional speakers.
We're trying to avoid iPhones but the subject came up briefly.
A listener wrote that after trying Verizon's top of the line fiber optic Internet service, FiOS, he wasn't impressed and wanted to go back to DSL. Not so fast. It turns out that Verizon sometimes removes the copper phone lines used for DSL when they install FiOS so there is no going back. Alfred has FiOS and his copper phone lines too.
If you are in New York City next week (July 19th Thursday) come hear our own Alfred Poor speak about HDTV at an NYPC general meeting. For more on the lecture see nypc.org.
Next week's show on the 18th is on finding reliable health information on the Internet.
On July 25th, the show will be heard over the air, but in a rarity for us, the show will not be live. We'll be recording it at WBAI a couple days ahead of time. If you would like us to answer a question of yours send it to us by email. If you provide a phone number, we may arrange to call you during the taping of the show, so you can ask your own question.
No listener phone calls this week.
This show was not heard over the air, but was recorded at WBAI studios on the 4th.
We had the mandatory iPhone discussion. New colorful ultra-light laptop computers from Dell.
Joe and Hank have been complaining about fraud regarding the H-1b program for a long time. Now some lawyers involved with the fraud came clean and you see their video on YouTube where it is described as "Immigration attorneys from Cohen & Grigsby explain how they assist employers in running classified ads with the goal of NOT finding any qualified applicants ... in order to secure green cards for H-1b workers." See Fake Job Ads defraud Americans to secure green cards. Among the companies involved in this fraud are Microsoft, Oracle and Hewlett-Packard.
A listener who just purchased an external hard disk asked, by email, about suggested backup software. Michael voted for the free Replicator program from Karen Kenworthy at www.karenware.com. Joe uses Shadow from NTI and Mozy. Computer nerds like Alfred and Michael use bat files running xcopy.
Another listener followed up on last weeks conversation about a computer monitor that advertises how it can do double duty as an HDTV. You can get high definition TV over the air with nothing more than rabbit ear antennas. However, not all digitally broadcast TV signals are high definition.
A listener complained that assorted Internet speed tests returned wildly variable results. The nature of a broadband Internet connection is that the speed will always vary for a number of reasons. Joe told of his bad experience with Verizon DSL.
No listener phone calls. On the show were Joe, Hank, Alfred, Michael, Danny and Olivia.
On July 19th Alfred will give a presentation on HDTV to the NYPC User Group. His topic is "Ten Things They Won’t Tell You in the Big Box Store". See www.nypc.org for more.