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J U N E 2 0 0 7

V O L U M E 1 2 ◆ N U M B E R 1 2
W W W . P C W O R L D . I N

F E AT U R E S

CAMERA PHONES

52 Best Camphones
With five megapixel sensors and DVD
quality video recording, camphones have
become objects of desire, we compare the
latest camphones in the market to clear the
cloud on which one should be on your
shopping list.

FREE STUFF

68 51 Fantastic Freebies
In our collection of the finest free
offerings available, you will discover full-
featured tools that can help you do just
about anything.

NETWORKING

74 Easy Fixes for Network


Problems
From disappearing Internet connections to
poky downloads to incompatible hardware,
we diagnose ailments and prescribe cures. 58
BUYERS GUIDE
xx
82 Easy on the Eyes
Practical advice for evaluating the alternatives
before you shop, and selecting the right LCD
monitor for your needs. C OV E R S T O RY

O N TH E COVE R 58 Virus Stoppers


The nefarious business of creating
32 computer viruses has grown
increasingly sophisticated and
lucrative, requiring antivirus
74
software of equal sophistication.
52
We tested eight packages to see
which ones are up to the job.
58

xxx 52

6 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


R E V I E WS & R A N K I N G S D E PA R T M E N T S

32 Processors 11 Letters
Six latest processors priced Reactions to our Indian Web Awards.
below 10K put to the grind. 14 Up Front
36 Video Card Cellphones are morphing into devices
Budget DX 10 video cards that function as the best reflection of our
from Asus and MSI wired identity.
compared 24 Lateral View
38 Camera Complement your knowledge search on the web
Kodak V1003 32 with user generated content.
40 All-In-One 25 The Other Side
Canon MP450 We can see our future through video games.
42 Music Phone 26 Tech Tonic
Sony W200i Cutting edge technology does not necessarily
48 Imaging Software call for copious amounts of money.
Adobe Dreamwaever CS3 28 Bugs and Fixes
49 UMPC A Microsoft security component proves flawed.
Asus R2H 30 Hassle Free-PC
See page 32 for a complete list of Fight back against spyware hidden in your PC.
products reviewed. 116 Full Disclosure
49 Drowning in updates from chatterbox software.

W H AT ’ S O N D V D

Essentials
PC World Super Suite
1.7GB of software including N E WS & T R E N D S
Windows patches, codes,
multi-media players and 16 Vista Security
editing tools etc New operating system may be safer— but take care.
19 Hard Drives’ Failing Grade
Full Products Failure rates are higher than thought.
Ubuntu 7.04 ( for 32 bit 20 Cool Gadgets
and 64 bit systems ) Latest products and gadgets in the global
Kubuntu 7.04 ( for 32 bit market.
and 64 bit systems ) 22 Plugged In
16 iPhone , therefore I am; nicer Linux interface
Tech Videos and second-gen UMPCs.
10 Exclusive Tech Videos
Catch a sneak peek at products
and technology of today and
tomorrow with tech videos,
complete with a video review H E R E ’ S H OW
of Sony’s T100 8.1MP camera.
88 Network Storage Tips
Share files on a LAN via a NAS box.
Movies
91 Windows Tips
The Scene : Season 2
Find files and folders in the easiest ways.
Game Demo and Vids
92 Hardware Tips
Stonghold 2
Ease the transition to Windows Vista.
CC3 - Behind the scenes
88 93 Answer Line
Set your PC to filter cookies wisely.
See page 102 for a complete
list of software on DVD.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 7


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10 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


LETTERS
LETTERS@PCWORLD.IN

APPRECIATION SOLUTIONS ONLINE

biles were considered as a sector for the Editor’s Reply: We’re so glad that you both
evaluation, but as mentioned by you too, saw value in our rating of Indian websites.
it may be very exciting in the coming few We’ll definitely keep your suggestions in mind,
months. We felt that the sector has not when we assess sites the next year around.
matured as much, so as to be covered
in the rankings at the present moment.
QUERIES
As for the future, it is for anybody to i recently made up my mind to buy a
predict. We would definitely consider 32-inch LCD TV. Can you please help me
it, if the sector is popular enough at choose between Sony and Samsung? I
the time of our next ranking. am really confused about which is better.
OVERWHELMING RESPONSE Kush Shah, By E-mail
i would like to appreciate your article on I really liked your cover story on the Editors Reply: Sony and Samsung are the
the Best Indian Websites of 2007. Our Best Indian Websites, I know some of top 2 brands in LCD TV market in India.
group runs IndiaProperty.com, BharatMat- the websites featured in the article but Samsung has more range in the 32-inch
rimony.com and Clickjobs, which have completely unaware of some like Tech2. LCD TV segment as compared to Sony. If
been extensively covered in your article. The article is quite informative and I you do not have any budget constraint you
Such kind of benchmarking was very much would like to see more Indian websites can opt for the top end Sony model that
needed as the DotCom industry is on the covered in your magazine. Also, as user supports 1080P and offers HDMI connec-
upswing. However, I would like to add on and volunteer; I would like to suggest tivity. If you have a budget constraint, the
that an important category i.e Automobile a website name CGIndia (http://www. Samsung LA32R81B priced at Rs 65,000 is
has been seriously overlooked upon where- cgindia.org/), which is about 3d Computer a good option.
as there are almost half a dozen websites Graphics and CGToolbar, which they have
in this category . These include the likes of created for connecting people in CG Recently I bought a Samsung 160GB
Indiaautomobile.com,carwale.com, drivein- Community. Keep up the good work. hard disk [SP1644N] and installed it
side.com, carsalesindia.com and autoindia. Tushar Chakraborty, By E-mail on my Compaq Presario PC SR1530IL.
com. This category is fast catching up and Due to my carelessness I didn’t notice
would see lots of excitement in the coming This is with regards to the latest issue of P C the capacity while the technician
months. Hope to see this category covered World, in which you have produced a list of partitioned. Next day it showed up as
in your next edition. the Best Indian Websites. I would request you 128GB. What could be the problem
Gurjot Singh, Marketing Manager for to consider adding a couple of new categories of the capacity barrier and please help
IndiaAutomobile.com, By E-mail - Equity Research & Financial Planning. I me out of this situation as I have less
Editor’s Reply: We appreciate your feed- hope you will consider this suggestion. knowledge of hardware.
back. We would like to share that Automo- Rahul Goel, By e-mail Eddie, By E-mail
Editors Reply: The best option in your case
ONLINE
is to repartition the hard drive but if you
LOG ONTO OUR WEBSITE want to have only one partition, you can
resize the existing partition and claim the
I would like to know if I can read any previous month’s issue from your lost space by using partition magic soft-
website www.pcworld.in. Please let me know if it is possible. ware from (http://www.softpedia.com/get/
Meenakshi, By e-mail System/Hard-Disk-Utils/Partition-Magic.
Editor’s Reply: There is no section as such where you can read the stories sorted by our shtml). We suggest you reformat and
print issues. But all the stories that appear in our magazine are posted online, in different repartition the hard drive with at least two
sections. You can search for them easily on the website using the search box or browse equal partitions, this will help you manage
through the sections of the site for relevant articles. your storage better.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 11


V I J AYN ERKACMAARCCHc A
M NYDRRRAANH

The New Swiss Army Knife


Mobiles are morphing into devices that function as a reflection of our wired identity.
Some months ago, MIRS Communications, an Israeli mobile provider With WiMax touted to be the next big
thing coming our way (and which
launched a new cellphone. So what’s the big deal? Cellphones are
might see us leap frog into high-
launched every other day. The interesting thing about MIRS’ handset was throughput broadband), this might
just fuel a cellphone revolution. There
that it did voice. Nothing else. No SMS. No ringtones. No games. Zip.
could even be a day when mobile war-
A bit like using my dad’s 1967 riors give their aching backs a rest and
Standard Herald to take on the pack just a cell when on the move. Of
Suzuki SX4, you might think. course, I don’t see an executive try-
While the Israeli ‘kosher ing to make sense of a spreadsheet
phone’ was a response to on a mobile – to do that he’d have
orthodox religious require- to be a wizard.
ments, it seems anachro- As cell phone penetration
nistic in a world where an increases in India a lot more
increasing number of fea- things are going to change. This
tures are being squeezed into isn’t just wishful thinking. A
cellphones from longer last- recent McKinsey study found that
ing batteries to good camera raising wireless penetration by
optics to music players and 10 percentage points can lead to
radios to GPS locators . an increase in a country’s gross
The cellphone’s future domestic product of about 0.5
seems to be more about lots percent. That translates to over Rs
more. It’s also about chang- 8,000 crore for the Indian economy.
ing mobiles into the Swiss If you want to see the impact cell-
Army Knife of personal technol- phones can have on a micro level take
ogy — devices that function as the the fisherfolk of Kerala, who were
best reflection of our wired identity. multiplex tickets are yours (Nokia, At&T, among the early adopters a decade ago.
Accessing e-mail seems passé; the Citigroup and MasterCard are already in In just three years since that point in
cellphone is getting transformed into a pilot to do just this). time, their ability to figure out the best
a device that also delivers not only In a country like ours, with 60 lakh con- markets to land their catch, allowed
mobile video, but also TV programs nections being added every month, this them to cut waste to zero while increas-
with a slight delay in transmission. may mean a lot more than just new sleek- ing profits by 8 percent. Oh, and did I
While the service is a tad nascent in the er and fancy handsets. It might mean that mention that consumer prices for fish
US, it’s already gained momentum in cellphones and not PCs may become the dropped by about 4 percent during the
countries like South Korea. According favorite way that our nation logs on to the same period?
to forecasts the Asian mobile video Internet — we already have 20 times more Cellphones with cameras is what one
ILLUSTRATION: UNNIKRISHNAN A.V.

market will top $3 billion over the next cell phones than PCs with Net access. of the shootouts in this issue is all about
three years! Understandably, cell phones and PCs / (Page 52) . Let me know what you think
But, if you think that craning your neck laptops do very different things and that about it.
trying to take in a cricket match on a cell too at very different price points. However,
phone is stretching it, how would you given their proliferation, as cell bandwidth Vijay Ramachandran is the Editor-in-Chief
react to using it in place of your wallet? begins to approach those that we’re used of PC World. Send him your comments at
Hold it close to a reader and voila, those to on PCs, things may start to change. vijay_ramachandran@idgindia.com

14 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


NEWS & T REN DS INSIDE

19 HARD-DRIVE FAILURES SUR


PRISINGLY FREQUENT
20 COOL GADGET
22 PLUGGED IN

W H AT ’ S N E W A N D W H AT ’ S N E X T I N T E C H N O L O G Y

Vista Security
THOUGH WINDOWS VISTA MAY BE SAFER THAN XP, MICROSOFT’S FAR-FROM-IMPREGNABLE NEW
OPERATING SYSTEM IS ALREADY PROVING TO BE VULNERABLE. BY RYAN NARAINE
in late march, when securi- safer, but its users must still
ty researchers stumbled upon be on their guard.
drive-by download at tacks
exploiting yet another serious NAGGING DEFENSE
Windows hole, they had an user account control (UAC)
eye-opening surprise: The vul- has the best of intentions
nerability—caused by the way behind it. According to Micro-
Windows handled animat- soft’s own estimates, a whop-
ed cursor (.ani) files—didn’t ping 95 percent of all pre-Vista
affect just Windows XP. It also Windows users perform eve-
hit Vista, Microsoft’s new ryday tasks logged in with
security-centric OS. Administrator credentials that
Security experts still pro- let them make any kind of
claim Vista a major im - system changes—but that
provement over previous also allow malicious hackers
Windows versions, and read- to hijack a PC easily. By
ily say that its important new default, UAC requires a pass-
safety features—including word for such tasks, keeping
an improved firewall, a “Pro- users—or malware—from
tected Mode” for Internet haphazardly changing sensi-
ILLUSTRATION: PC ANOOP

Explorer, and User Account flaw (now fixed) is a major on shelves, the problem has tive parts of the OS.
Co n t r o l — m a k e i t m u c h black eye for Microsoft; tarnished Vista’s security But UAC is its own worst
more resistant to the most along with two other critical sheen (see “Vista’s Vulnera- enemy. Its frequent pop-up
common forms of spyware security patches issued for bilities” on page 17 for prompts seriously annoy
and malware. But this latest Vista in its first three months details). The new OS may be many users, particularly dur-

16 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


N EWS & T R E NDS

IN BRIEF
program installations full
system access whether
they need it or not. Product Pipeline
(Rutkowska’s report is at
http://theinvisiblethings.
blogspot.com/2007/02/
running-vista-every-day.
html .) Microsoft says
that it included the
potential weakness to
ensure a smooth user
experience, and it has not
announced any plans to
change UAC’s design.
VISTA’S BUILT-IN ANTISPYWARE app, Windows Defender, offers daily A second major addition
scans but missed a third of spyware and adware samples in tests. to Vista’s security arsenal
is Windows Defender, an
ing setup of a new machine. some older games that required antispyware tool that is availa- AD-AWARE UPGRADE:
The prompts appear less often additional user rights, but the ble at no cost for XP and is Lavasoft says that a new
after about ten days of heavy fear within security circles is baked into Vista’s guts. version of its popular Ad-
use, but some early adopters that many irritated users will Though not meant to be a full Aware antispyware program
have never made it that far. disable UAC and leave it off, or antivirus utility, it can easily due in June will feature
“These alerts just kept pop- else get into the habit of click- scan for spyware applications improved detection of ad-
ping up constantly and unnec- ing ‘Allow’ at every prompt, that suck up system resources ware and hidden malware, a
essarily,” says Sergio E. Yáñez, defeating the purpose entirely. and bombard you with pop-up scanning engine that goes
a Vista user who works as a “The average user will be advertising. Defender also easy on PC system resourc-
vice president at a New York programmed to click ‘Allow’ offers additional protection es, and an updated interface.
bank. “I would try to move a for everything,” says Roger when you download files via A personal-use version will
file between folders and have Thompson, chief technical Internet Explorer 7. remain free, while the Rs.
to deal with these prompts. officer for security vendor A great idea. But in inde- 1,800 Ad-Aware 2007 Pro
Very, very annoying.” Exploit Prevention Labs. pendent tests performed by will include advanced fea-
Like many other people, Also, security researcher the AV-Test security lab (AV- tures such as Ad-Watch
Yáñez responded by turning off Joanna Rutkowska says that Test.org), Defender detected TrackSweep, a tool that
UAC completely. In his case, UAC has a design weakness only 65 percent of 14,517 ad- clears the cache, cookies,
he had to turn it back on to run in that it requires giving all ware and spyware samples in and history in Internet Ex-
plorer, Firefox, and Opera.
END OF XP: In early 2008
RISKS
Microsoft will end shipment

VISTA’S VULNERABILITIES of Windows XP to computer


makers and stop selling XP
• Animated cursors: A flaw in animated cur- Microsoft OneCare antivirus program. The flaw retail licenses. According to
sor code used by Windows 2000 SP4 through can force the engine to execute attack code when Dell, however, Windows XP
Vista. With a poisoned .ani, .cur, or .ico file, it scans a hacked PDF file. Fixed in Microsoft’s sales to small and medium-
remote attackers can create a buffer over- critical MS07-010 patch (www.microsoft.com/ size businesses are still
flow, overwhelming a program with more data technet/security/Bulletin/MS07-010.mspx). strong. The PC maker says
than it can handle and allowing takeover of a • CSRSS privilege escalation: A flaw in the that it plans to offer “Cus-
victim’s PC. Fixed with Microsoft’s critical Windows Client/Server Runtime Server Sub- tomized with XP” Dimension
MS07-017 patch (www.microsoft.com/tech- system’s (CSRSS) error handling could allow desktops and Inspiron note-
net/security/Bulletin/MS07-017.mspx). an attacker to make an end run around Vis- books this summer for small
• Malware Protection Engine: A vulnerability ta’s UAC (User Account Control) protections. businesses that may want
in all versions of Windows using the Microsoft Fixed in Microsoft’s critical MS07-021 patch extra time to contemplate a
Malware Protection Engine, built into Vista’s (www.microsoft.com/technet/security/Bulle- possible switch to the Mac
baked-in Windows Defender anti-spyware and the tin/MS07-021.mspx OS or Linux.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 17


NEWS & T REN DS

an on-demand scan. By com- sis. However, it was not able browser by default runs in “People will still execute that
parison, detection rates for to filter incoming mail attach- Protected Mode, preventing file to see Paris Hilton’s next
eight antivirus programs with ments, as some firewalls do. IE—or any successful Inter- video,” says Thompson of
built-in antispyware ran Also, it failed a large percent- net attack that hijacks it— Exploit Prevention Labs.
between 73 and 99 percent for age of so-called leaktests, from changing sensitive Social-engineering techniques
the same test sample. which use a specially crafted parts of the operating sys- that send malware in the guise
“Windows Defender is not program to see whether a fire- tem. This defense tactic has of a game or a sexy video
very good in my eyes. Most, if wall will block outbound con- already been successful exploit people’s curiosity or
not all, stand-alone and inte- nection attempts. against current attacks that ignorance to get them to click
grated antispyware solutions Still, many security compa- target holes such as the ani- a tainted link or attachment. If
are performing a lot better,” nies and researchers, includ- mated cursor flaw. someone clicks, the malware
says Andreas Marx, CEO of ing AV-Test’s Marx, argue Besides these up-front de- has already evaded half of
AV-Test in Germany. that since these programs are fenses, Vista also includes a their computer’s automated
artificial (as op posed to the number of back-end protec- defenses, including the fire-
A BETTER FIREWALL real malware thrown at anti- tions. PatchGuard attempts to wall. “Vista is an improve-
vista’s improved firewall is virus products), they may not block rootkits, which can hide ment,” says Thompson, “but
another story. It offers the abili- provide accurate assessments virus infections. A technique it’s not the end of the malware
ty to block both inbound and of a firewall’s abilities. called Address Space Layout industry. Not by a long shot.”
outbound connections Another potential end run
(XP’s firewall blocks only around Vista’s defenses is
incoming traffic). Out- to attack programs rather
bound filtering provides a than the operating system.
second layer of defense in Media players such as the
blocking so phisticated Adobe Flash player and
forms of malware that Apple’s QuickTime have
make invisible connections suffered recent attacks as
from your system to hackers discover and exploit
remote hacker-controlled serious software vulnerabil-
servers—but as with many ities—with poisoned online
forms of secondary protec- movie files, for example. To
tion, deciding which apps keep your machine safe,
should and shouldn’t be patching your programs
blocked takes some techni- has become just as impor-
cal know-how. For that rea- tant as fixing the operating
son, Microsoft turned it off VISTA’S UPGRADED FIREWALL can block an unknown program’s attempts system they run on.
by default. But even with- to connect to the Internet, but that functionality is turned off by default. “The applications are sit-
out outbound filtering, the ting on every desktop,
firewall “is better than good The Vista firewall, along with Ra n d o m i z a t i o n m a k e s i t and they all have known vul-
enough,” says Ed Bott, coauthor many others, may do a good harder for malware to find nerabilities,” says Andrew
of Windows Vista Inside Out. job at blocking outside and infect running processes. Jaquith, a security analyst in
“It blocks all unsolicited attempts to infiltrate your Finally, several changes to the The Yankee Group’s Ena-
incoming connections and is computer. But Internet pro- kernel, the heart of any oper- bling Technologies Enter-
almost invisible in operation,” grams must go through the ating system, increase its re- prise division.
he says. And advanced users firewall to browse a Web page, sistance to hacker attacks. For PC users, the message
can configure outbound filter- access your e-mail, or carry on is clear: Though Vista may
ing for additional protection, an IM chat—and this itself HUMAN (IN)SECURITY make things more difficult
while nontechnical users— creates an avenue for attack. but while vista is safer than for crooks, it is far from
who would be just as likely to Because Internet Explorer XP, experts expect online impregnable. You will still
break something as to prevent opens up the door to your PC thugs to quickly look for ways need to apply patches to
an attack, Bott says—are not and has such a huge user to circumvent Vista’s protec- close the inevitable holes.
forced to set up any rules for base, the browser is con- tions. One increasingly com- And you must still use the
outbound filtering. stantly under attack. To mon method is to use social- same type of antivirus
The Vista firewall passed improve IE 7’s defenses, the engineering tactics to target protection that you needed
most tests in AV-Test’s analy- Windows Vista version of the the person, not the PC. with XP.

18 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


N EWS & T R E NDS

STO R AG E

Hard-Drive Failures Surprisingly Frequent


TWO RECENT STUDIES OBSERVE MORE DEVICE FAILURES THAN VENDOR ESTIMATES SUGGEST.
your hard drive may not be the test bench. Vendors say tries running a new model for Google’s study relied in part
as reliable as manufacturers that, by that criterion, nearly years to prove it will last. on SMART (Self-Monitoring
would like you to think. 40 percent of returned drives Surprisingly, Google’s study And Reporting Technology)
Recent studies by researchers have not actually failed. found no correlation between data from drives that have this
at Carnegie Mellon and The two new studies, how- drive failure and elevated heat feature. But so many drives
Google suggest that vendor ever, consider failure to be any and activity levels. The largest failed without any SMART
Mean Time To Failure percentage of failures warnings that Google con-
(MTTF) ratings for occurred on drives cluded the feature was not
hard drives are a operating within a helpful in predicting real-
bit misleading. mild 77-to-88-degree world failure patterns.
The Carnegie Mel- range. However, desk- Google’s findings do sup-
lon study, conducted top PCs typically oper- port one tip: If you encounter
at several locations, ate at temperatures a scan error during a routine
found typical failure well over the maxi- error check (by running Scan-
rates of 2 to 4 percent mum of 125 degrees disk, for example), your drive
and a high of 13 per- reported in the Google is 39 times more likely to fail
cent, in contrast to the study, so the findings within 60 days than drives
less than 1 percent do not support run- that don’t show such errors.
you’d expect based on ning hard drives with- IT pros recommend replacing
vendor MTTF ratings out adequate airflow a drive with scan errors.
(see chart). Google’s to cool them.
study pegged the annual fail- symptom that causes a user— Google found that failure FEWER FIGURES
ure rate at about 3 percent. presumably, in both cases, rates varied significantly the most likely immedi-
Both studies were based on experienced IT types—to according to make and ate fallout from these reports
observations of approximate- replace the drive. Such symp- model, but the company is that vendors will stop tout-
ly 100,000 drives, with Goog- toms include software prob- declined to identify failure- ing MTTF figures. In my on-
le looking at its own farm of lems, driver conflicts, and the prone models. Carnegie Mel- line research, MTTF figures
consumer-grade disks and like, as well as drive failure as lon points out that bad man- for consumer drives were
Carnegie Mellon examining defined by vendors. ufacturing runs occur and already few and far between.
both consumer-grade drives Also, vendors base MTTF that improvements over the Corporate buyers might
and the ostensibly more reli- numbers on the past perform- past few years may be yield- rethink purchasing plans in
able enterprise variety; the ance of similar drives; no one ing more-reliable drives. light of Carnegie Mellon’s find-
latter have beefed-up actua- ing that fiber-channel and
FA I L U R E R AT E S
tor magnets, more-robust SCSI drives appear no more
spindle motors, and advanced reliable than the cheaper SATA
features such as rotational Studies Challenge Claims variety. But IDC analyst David
vibration safeguards. BASED ON THE hard-disk industry’s Mean Time To Failure Reinsel says fiber-channel and
estimates, you’d expect less than 1 percent of hard drives to SCSI drives are still worthwhile
DEFINING FAILURE fail each year. But studies of facilities with many hard drives when performance matters.
vendors attribute part found significantly higher failure rates. For most of us, these reports
of the discrepancy between Annual failure rate simply reemphasize the need
their ratings and the findings Industry claims (based on MTTF of 1 million hours) 0.88 percent for smart practices. Keep your
ILLUSTRATION: TAVIS COBURN

in these reports to differing Carnegie Mellon report (typical sites) 2–4 percent drives cool and, most impor-
definitions of disk failure. Carnegie Mellon report (maximum observed) 13 percent tant, backed up so that if fail-
For vendors, it’s when a drive Google report 3 percent ure occurs, it’s merely an in-
fails on one read or write CHART NOTE: By definition, MTTF is the average lifetime of a hard drive. A year has 8760 convenience and not a financial
attempt within a set period— hours, so the probability of a hard drive failing in a given year, or the estimated annual or emotional disaster.
failure rate, is 8760/MTTF.
typically about 24 hours—on —Jon L. Jacobi

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 19


NEWS & T REN DS

TEC H N O LO GY TR E N DS

COOL GADGETS
LATEST PRODUCTS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET.
It’s that time of the year when people get a chance to get out of
the city for their first big holiday with family. On the other hand,
for many companies the holidays also mark the start of the
build-up to the summer sales season.
—Martyn Williams

TOSHIBA EXPANDABLE HDD RECORDER TV SET


Toshiba ‘s latest series of flat-screen LCD televisions goes one better
than other hard-disk video recorders by offering the user room to
expand the storage space. Typically you’re stuck with the drive that
ships with the TV (or recorder) but the H3000 series sets sport an
eSATA (external serial ATA) connector on the back for plugging in an
external disk drive. The sets ship with an internal 300G-byte drive
and the expansion socket should work with any eSATA drive. They
are available now in sizes from 32-inches to 52-inches.

SONY MEMORY STICK CAMCORDER


Meet the HDR-CX7, Sony’s smallest high-definition camcorder to
date. The camera records 1080i high-definition video directly to a
NTT DOCOMO MOTION SENSITIVE CELL PHONE MemoryStick Pro Duo card. Until now its camcorders have relied on
Mix the Nintendo Wii and a cell phone and what do you get? MiniDV tape, DVD discs or hard-disk drives to store video, but the
Something like NTT DoCoMo’s new line of motion-sensitive cell memory card slot and associated electronic take up less space and
phones. In a boxing game users can throw punches or duck, and mean a smaller, lighter camera. However, memory cards are quite
their movements are picked up by the phone’s camera. In another expensive, and users will be able to store only about 30 minutes of
game, the phone can be tilted in different directions to guide an video on a 4G-byte card in the camera’s highest quality mode.
on-screen ball through a maze. To be sure, the cell phones aren’t Behind the lens is a 3-megapixel image sensor, and the camera can
nearly as reactive as the Wii console. You need to make a motion, also capture 6-megapixel still images. Other features include a 10x
such as a punch, then wait a second for the punch to get optical zoom lens and a 2.7-inch wide-screen, touch-sensitive LCD
registered on the phone screen, but it’s a start! The handsets (liquid crystal display) monitor. The CX7 weighs 450 grams and
come from Mitsubishi Electric, Panasonic and Sharp. measures 69 millimeters by 67mm by 129mm.

20 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


N EWS & T R E NDS

SAMSUNG’S Q1 ULTRA ULTRAMOBILE


Ultramobile PCs have often been criticized as falling into a gap
between laptops and smartphones, but Samsung Electronics hopes
to change that perception with a reduced price and upgraded
performance for its Q1 Ultra. The Q1 Ultra has the same size 7-inch
display as its predecessor, the Q1, but adds a new split QWERTY
keypad for thumb-texting. It also has 802.11 wireless networking and
optional HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) cellular
connectivity. It uses Intel’s new McCaslin A100 and A110 ultramobile
processors instead of the power-hungry Celeron and Pentium chips
used in the first-generation. Combined with an improved type of
lithium ion battery, the design extends battery life from a minimum of
1.5 hours to at least 4.5 hours. The company will sell four models of
the Q1 Ultra for a range of US$799 to U$1,499 (Rs. 35,955 to
Rs. 67,455 approximately).

SAMSUNG SYMBIAN SMARTPHONE


The latest Symbian OS-based smartphone from Samsung
Electronics has an uncluttered face so it doesn’t look like a
traditional all-buttons-and-switches smartphone but its Symbian-
base means it can be loaded up with applications to make it just
as powerful. A full Web browser comes pre-installed and there’s
Bluetooth, a 2-megapixel camera and stereo speakers. The GSM
(Global System for Mobile Communications) tri-band phone has a
2.3-inch display.

SHARP HDTV RECORDER


As consumers continue to snap-up high-definition TVs, Sharp continues to push out HD capable
hard-disk recorders. The latest, the DV-AVC52, combines a DVD drive and VHS deck with a 250G-
byte hard-disk recorder. The machine will copy your old VHS tapes onto DVD so you can finally
dump another relic of the 20th century and you’ll also be able to get up to 31 hours of HDTV on
the disks. But like almost all hard-disk recorders it remains stuck there. Pretty much the only
way to store HD content is on Blu-ray Disc or HD DVD but since this doesn’t have either you’ll
have to keep it on the disk — and thus lose some recording space — or transfer it to DVD at
standard definition and lose the high-definition picture.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 21


ERIC DAHL

ERIC DAHL

HERE\NOW

iPhone, Therefore I Am 1 TWITTER: Mega-


trendy social network
built around text-message
PLUS: A (MUCH) NICER LINUX INTERFACE AND SECOND-GEN UMPCs. updates. twitter.com
THE IPHONE COMETH LINUX GRAPHICS 2 XBOX 360 ELITE: Up-
dated model priced at
The Buzz: As the iPhone The Buzz: If you’ve ever
$479 adds HDMI, 1080p,
countdown continues, I considered switching to
and a 120GB hard drive.
thought I’d chime in with my Linux, the user interface was
reflections on Apple’s uber- probably pretty far down your 3 BOOTCAMP 2.0:
B e t a o f t h e p re -
device and its rivals. I spent list of reasons. But that could
Leopard dual-boot utility
some quality time with an change this year, thanks to the
for Macs now supports
iPhone at Macworld Expo in Beryl Project, a hardware-accel-
Vista. www.apple.com/
January, and it truly is impres- erated window manager to rival
macosx/bootcamp/
sive. Its mobile Web browser the visual flash of Vista and OS
alone is worth the price of X. As of this writing, Beryl has 4 OCZ TRIFECTA: The
enthusiast memory
admission—the touch-based barely reached its 0.2 release,
maker produces 1GB and
pinch and stretch zoom con- but already it boasts some very
2GB MicroSD flash media
trols are beautiful. The music, cool features (see http://beryl-
that also fits SD and
photo, and messaging features project.org/features.php). It
USB. www.ocztechnolo-
are cool as well. But the touch- has transparent windows and
gy.com/products/flash_
based keyboard isn’t great for with a slide-out keyboard, may title bars, a Mac OS Exposé–like
d r i v e s /o c z _ t r i f e c t a _
thumb typing, and Apple’s de- not reach our shores either. task switcher that scales win-
secure_digital-memory_cards
cision to ban third-party apps Bottom Line: Unless the dows to thumbnails, and a 3D
is a big disappointment. iPhone can magically get an cube interface for switching
Unfortunately, competition AT&T signal to my house, I’ll between virtual desktops.
may not arrive for a while: LG’s skip it. Too bad Apple locked Bottom Line: Beryl could
Prada phone won’t be sold in out third-party solutions—I drive up Linux adoptions once
the States; and Samsung’s neat was all set to take Skype calls it’s stable enough to be includ-
F700, a touch-screen phone over the iPhone’s Wi-Fi. ed in default Ubuntu installa-
tions. Combine that with Dell’s
FUTURE TECH
expanded lineup of Linux PCs style thumb keyboard and a 7-
(check out www.dell.com/con- inch, 1024-by-600-pixel display.

MIND CONTROLLERS tent/topics/global.aspx/ideas-


torm/ideasinaction?c=us&l=e
Asus and Gigabyte have key-
board-equipped models com-
SAY GOODBYE TO controller thumb and Nintendinitis—the latest n&s=gen), and this should be ing, too. The Asus T83 swivels
innovation in game controllers takes its orders directly from a good year for penguins. tablet-style to reveal a QWERTY
your mind. Emotiv Systems and NeuroSky each use electrodes keyboard under its LCD. Sam-
REFOLDING ORIGAMI
IPHONE PHOTOGRAPH: COURTESY OF APPLE

positioned in a helmet or headset (Emotiv’s prototype looks a bit sung’s and Gigabyte’s UMPCs
like a deconstructed bike helmet—see below) to detect emotions The Buzz: Microsoft isn’t should have arrived in May;
or brain patterns and translate that data into actions in games done with Origami yet. Asus’s, later this year.
or software apps. By concentrating on a The first generation of Ultra Bottom Line: This is a step
word or emotion, your mind can actu- Mobile PCs were marred by in the right direction, but be-
ally interact with a game. Both compa- high prices and limited hard- tween powerful smart phones
nies hope that games tailored to their ware, but the latest ones aim to and smaller subnotebooks, I
technology will arrive in 2008. change that. Samsung’s nicely still can’t see where UMPCs
designed Q1 Ultra packs a split- are going to fit in.

22 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


LATERAL VIEW
G E E TA J C H A N N A N A

The New UGC


Using published content and user generated content for knowledge search.
okay I am not talking about the Uni- for any kind of reviews, scoops or infor- For instance, in my case a wrongly
versities Grants Commission here; that mation that I may get on my dream reported feature in the car was flogged
had exceedingly boring programs on machine. Once the car was launched by counter views and was corrected
Doordarshan in the afternoons. This I was able to get to some reviews on promptly by the person who had post-
on the other hand is User Generated personals blogs, which were not only ed it. This balanced view to the infor-
Content. It is the latest phenomenon highly biased but at times factually mation is at times better than what you
sweeping across the Internet, which incorrect. If I had not cross checked may get from single person reviews,
is giving most media companies the this point with other sources, I may which may not be factually correct.
creeps and has got Google and Mur- have been mislead. And, I would have But, you still need to filter the forum
doch interested enough to invest their lost on a good car. posts manually to dig out the informa-
precious billions. tion. Thus, like a talk show on
But, we have to remember that television, the forum is as good
they are just enablers as Google as its moderators. Also, as you
recently said, it does not want differentiate between a news-
to own any content (apparently cast and a talk show, blogs and
they just want to store your per- articles are passive. You can
sonal information so that they comment on blogs, but it is
can show you the ad for the right simply not as interactive and
sized blazer). They are provid- intuitive as forums.
ing a platform for users of the Google news alerts were also
Internet to make their views a saviour here, since they pro-
public. Which, for most parts, is vided me with the latest news on
interesting, especially if you are what was happening with the car,
the person who is penning, or thus balancing out the user views
rather keyboarding, your views. being thrown at me from all direc-
Give this a thought; when do tions. You can easily set a Google
you really feel like expressing alert for a term to be searched in
your views the most? most news reports filed. An email
It generally happens when, is sent with a link to those news
either you are totally exhila- reports to your e-mail ID.
rated with your experience or you I feel that as consumers we are
are totally disappointed. This makes My guide at this time were my regu- kings in this situation. Using a bouquet
blogs and wikies, which make the most lar visits to a car forum website (www. of complementing magazine websites,
of user generated content, a bit too team-bhp.com) and from my subscrip- blogs and forums, we can benefit no end.
opinionated and biased. Its best to take tion to a google alerts. The similar- We should not get influenced by just one
whatever is said on both with a pinch of ity between forums and blogs ends at of these but make sure that they comple-
salt. All the controversy around Wikipe- both of them being written by users ment each other for our benefit.
ILLUSTRATION: MM SHANITH

dia further exemplifies the point. True, who are not necessarily experts. But,
W R I T E B AC K
non-influenced information is a bit dif- forums have the edge for authentic
ficult to find. So how do we get the right information since they are moderated What do you think about user generated
mix of information and user opinion? and attract counter views. content? Write to me and let me know
I have been looking to buy a new car, Wrong information is most often at feedback@pcworld.in.
and have been searching the internet than not spotted and countered well.

24 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


THE OTHER SIDE
SACHIN KALBAG

The Future in a Video Game


Who would have thought that filmmaker George Lucas could double up that what we do today has a direct impact
on what we (or our children) face tomor-
as the Nostradamus for the 21st century? A raconteur with tales of
row. You could, theoretically, escape into
mythological overtones? Definitely. A whiz at creating fictional alterna- your online alter egos via Second Life or
any of the MMORPGs that dot the Web
tive worlds across the universe? Of course. But a crystal ball gazer whose
today. Yet, when we get out of our chairs
ideas in a video game are so realistic and floods and tornadoes. Also, as a direct and move away from our LCD monitors,
plausible that they almost frighten you? result of our research today, the future what’s happening is as real as the unreal-
Perhaps not. is divided between those who believe ism that we tend to take solace in.
That’s exactly what happened when in genetic engineering and those who And so it is with Fracture. It is unreal
I saw Lucas’ video game company don’t. It seems to be the perfect rec- realism, if you would want to put a oxy-
LucasArts unveil a preview of Fracture ipe for disaster, and an inevitable war moronic explanation to it.
(to be released in 2008 for PS3 and Xbox between those on either side of such In Lucas’ masterpiece series Star Wars,
360). Admittedly, the realism of the game beliefs — the American East (the con- the stories tended to be outlandish; how-
was as much an experience of shock and servative lot that has banned genetic ever, the themes were real, and the char-
fear of what the future holds for us as engineering) and the West (a more lib- acters were just like us. There were good
the excitement of watching a great game eral area that welcomes disgraced sci- people, and there were terrible villains
unfold in front of you. To be sure, the entists from East with open arms). who wouldn’t think twice to kill their own
game’s scenarios may just not come true. As Lucas himself says, “Technology children. There were families that were
Yet, you just cannot stop thinking about without a story can be pretty boring.” separated, and there were friends who
them. Combine the game with former But, with this story, Lucas has put a mir- were united. There were great teachers
US Vice-President Al Gore’s brilliant ror in front of us – to reflect on the notion and greater students who could get lured
documentary An Inconvenient Truth, the into the dark side. To cut a long story
debate over stem cell research and clon- short, Star Wars was about us, but in a
ing, and the current crises around the
I would never have more mythological sort of way. Fracture
world, especially in the Middle East, and imagined a day when is also about us, but in a real way.
you’d know what I mean. I would have never imagined the
Fracture is set in 2161 – just about
a video game would day when a video game would actually
150 years from now – and is a chilling have made sense interest players in making sense of the
reminder (or a forebear) of humani- world we live in, nor had I thought
ty’s ugly side. It seems like fantasy, that we would, one day, step into the
but it could well be real. Even though real world to escape the realism of a
it is essentially a story set in the Unit- video game. But then, Lucas’ Fracture
ed States, but like several mytholo- could do just that to all of us. Forget
gies you hear around the world, you the groundbreaking technology, for-
could easily extrapolate its themes to get the new weaponry in the game
any other region, and into our lives. and forget the custom software that
The game’s fundamental premise was built to create this game... Frac-
is the same as any other – conflict. ture could well have us thinking. A
But herein lies the rub: the conflict video game that does that – not a bad
ILLUSTRATION: PC ANOOP

happens as a direct consequence idea, huh?


of our actions today. Pollution
causes global warming which in Sachin Kalbag is the Washington,
turn results in natural catastrophes DC, correspondent of Daily News and
including earthquakes, hurricanes, Analysis, a Mumbai-based newspaper.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 25


TECH TONIC SOHAM RANINGA

Ultraportables under 20K, Quite Possible!


Intel’s Classmate PC has the right ingredients for a mainstream solution.
a notebook weighing 1.3 kg bother me much when I compare
with a bright 7-inch display, 4 hour it to the Lenovo X60, a top rated
battery life, wireless connectivity, ultraportable notebook that offers
rugged construction running on a USB based IDE drive option;
Windows XP. Isn’t this what you the same is possible with the
wished for when you were on that Classmate PC.
business trip or vacationing in Goa Intel plans to roll out two
and needed a light, compact com- more versions of the Class-
puter just to check your mails and mate PC by 2008 and these will
be in touch with your world? The be even more capable, sporting
problem is that you will have to Intel’s latest mobile platforms.
spend close to a lakh to own one If the pricing for these offerings
and not everybody has that kind of follows a linear curve, one can
money at their disposal. What if it expect even better versions of
was offered to you for Rs. 20,000? Classmate PC to retail under the
Chances are you would jump to it! Rs 25,000 range. A perfect case of
Intel is offering the same, pack- bringing mobility to the masses in
aged as the “Classmate PC” for the true sense, just what reliance
school students and is meant for did a few years back by crashing
the emerging markets worldwide. the cell phone market and intro-
Its approximate pricing is about their way into the notebook segment yet. ducing handsets priced 5 times lower
300$ and would end up roughly with a Armed with a solid state flash memory than the existing ones in the market.
price tag of Rs 15,000 in India. Some cos- based hard drive (gives faster boot times Satyajit Singh who leads the Classmate
metic changes along with minor compo- and more rigidity when compared to reg- PC project in India said they are cur-
nent upgrades can actually transform the ular notebook hard drives) and an OLED rently focused on the school children as
Classmate PC into a valuable ultraport- backlight (saves power and has better their primary consumers for the Class-
able notebook that will bring mobility to brightness levels over the conventional mate PC but also acknowledged the
the masses. CFL based backlighting) based 7-inch potential that the Classmate PC had for
Intel’s Classmate PC is not a power- screen, the Classmate PC is relatively other mature markets. From the busi-
house by any stretch of imagination, but more rugged and battery efficient than ness point of view, Intel obviously is not
it’s got just the right amount of power any of your regular ultraportable note- too encouraged to get into the sub 20K
under its hood to run your office appli- books in the market. Its modest weight ultraportable category for obvious rea-
cations, let you browse the web and stay (1.3Kg) and a 4-hour battery life come as a sons. It will not go down well with the
connected with your friends and family bonus. The drawbacks of limited graphics likes of HP, Dell and almost all major
through instant messaging. Most of the capabilities, limited storage and cramped laptop vendors who are Intel’s key cus-
ultraportables in the market are meant keyboard might bother you initially but tomers and are selling ultraportables
ILLUSTRATION: UNNIKRISHNAN A.V

for these applications and hence I dared when you compare the fact that it is still for a lot more.
to compare the Classmate PC to the a better solution compared to any PDAs
W R I T E B AC K
ultraportables at the application level and that are twice as expensive and almost
not core performance capabilities. What competes head-on with the UMPC (Ultra- Share your views on the Intel Class-
works for the Classmate PC is the fact mobile PC) that costs close to a lakh , the mate PC, Write to me at feedback@
that it already incorporates some of the Classmate PC is truly perfect for its price. pcworld.in.
latest technologies which haven’t made The missing optical drive option does not

26 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


BUGS & FIXES STUART J. JOHNSTON

Critical Attack Slams IE 6 and 7, Outlook


Plus: An IE 7 phishing risk, QuickTime holes, and Vista compatibility updates.
just as microsoft’s secu- or at www.microsoft.com/ destination. The impostor site IN BRIEF
rity mavens celebrated a rare technet/security/bulletin/ would show the real site’s URL
month of no patches, ms07-017.mspx. in the address bar, potentially Apple OS X Bugs
cyberthugs took the wind out tricking even careful surfers. APPLE PATCHED 45 bugs
of their sails by hitting a seri- As always your best bet is in OS X, including several
ous Windows hole in Vista never to click an e-mail link critical security flaws. The
and XP. Attackers could hijack to access your bank or other new, corrected version is
your PC if you simply viewed financial ac count, even if Mac OS X 10.4.9 with Secu-
a Web site or read an HTML you’re sure that the e-mail is rity Update 2007-003. Get
e-mail laced with a poisoned legit. Instead, type in the the update at http://docs.
animated-cursor file (.ani). address yourself or use a i n fo. a p p l e.co m /a r t i c l e.
The flaw can be targeted bookmark. For more, includ- html?artnum=305214.
through browsers, including
An animated- ing a vulnerability test, see
Internet Explorer (6 and 7) and cursor attack http://secunia.com/Inter- So Long, Firefox 1.5
Firefox, as well as via Outlook net_Explorer_7_navcancl. TWO RECENT PATCHES cor-
versions 2002 SP3 and later, on
allows PC htm_Cross-Site_Scripting_ rect critical security holes in
Windows XP SP2 and Vista hijackings. Vulnerability/#. Firefox 2.0 and 1.5 (the fixed
systems. Microsoft says that versions are 2.0.0.3 and
the risk with IE 7 under Vista is IE 7’s troubles continue with a CARING TOO MUCH 1.5.0.11). But Mozilla stopped
mitigated because of IE’s pro- proof-of-concept phishing microsoft has patched a supporting (and fixing) ver-
tected mode, and that Outlook exploit published by security problem with the way its One- sion 1.5 as of April 24, so if
2007 is safe because it uses researcher Aviv Raff. Using it, Care antivirus application was you haven’t yet upgraded to
Word to display HTML e-mail. an attacker could fool you and handling Outlook (.pst) and version 2, do it now. Find the
What galls me is that Micro- IE with an e-mail or Web link Outlook Express (.dbx) e-mail upgrade at getfirefox.com.
soft knew about the hole three to a doctored error page that, files. Instead of pulling out
months before the attacks be- when refreshed as directed, one suspect e-mail, OneCare
ing Trend Micro Internet
gan. You can get the patch over would send you to a phishing quarantined the entire mes-
Security 2007 and Microsoft
Microsoft Automatic Updates site disguised as a legitimate sage file, making all the user’s
Money 2006. For the patch
e-mail seem to vanish.
and a list of af-fected apps,
Versions 1.1.2306.0 and later
see http://support.micro-
MORE SERIOUS QUICKTIME FLAWS have the fix, sent through an
s o ft . c o m / ? k b i d = 9 3 2 2 4 6 .
APPLE RELEASED YET another update to fix multiple danger- automatic OneCare update. To
Expect such fixes to be a
ous holes in its QuickTime media player software for both Mac get further details, scroll down
regular thing.
and Windows (affecting XP, 2000, and Vista). at http://windowsonecare.
The patch closes eight critical vulnerabilities in how the play- spaces.live.com/?_c11_blog- Stuart J. Johnston is a
er handles a variety of media files—and annoyingly it will put part_blogpart=blogview&_c= contributing editor to PC World.
QuickTime on your desktop and in your system tray whether blogpart&partqs=amonth%3d
3%26ayear%3d2007. BUGGED?
ILLUSTRATION: P.C. ANOOP

you want it there or not. An attacker exploiting any of the flaws


could hit you with a drive-by download if you visit a rigged site On a more positive note,
FOUND A HARDWARE or
or click on an e-mail link to a poisoned movie, so make sure that Microsoft is shipping anoth-
software bug? Tell us about it
you have version 7.1.5 or later (grab it from www.apple.com/ er patch batch that improves
by sending an e-mail message
quicktime/download/win.html). Learn more at http://docs.info. Vista compatibility for a
to feedback@pcworld.in.
apple.com/article.html?artnum=305149 range of programs, includ-

28 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


-
HASSLE-FR EE PC

HASSLE FREE PC
STEVE BASS

Top Tricks for Safe, Smart Downloads


Plus: Download and play videos, and unclutter your machine’s system tray.
are you ready to download a file? installation routines in a sandbox
Don’t—until you’ve read this col- until you decide they’re not
umn. I’ll tell you how to download harmful. Warning: Be sure to try
files efficiently and safely, and share each program separately.
a trick for transferring download- The Hassle: I’m an avid down-
resistant videos onto your PC. loader, but I hate downloading files
The Hassle: I download lots of free one at a time.
software, but I’m worried about pick- The Fix: You need a download
ing up adware. What do you suggest? manager. FlashGet ( http://
The Fix: Fire up your standard de- pcworld.in/downloads/index.jsp/
fensive shields (firewall, antivirus, dsecId=1468/dsubSecId=1474) is
and antispyware); then add an a remarkable free tool. Click a link
extra coat of armor. I recommend to download a file, or just copy the
giving Cyberhawk Basic ( www. link into the clipboard, and Flash-
pcworld.com/downloads/file/ Get pops up to perform the down-
fid,64144-order,1-page,1/descrip- load. Even handier: Drag and drop
tion.html) a try. Unlike antivirus multiple links onto the program’s
software that checks for virus signa- pcworld.in/downloads/index.jsp/ floating dropzone. The default setting
tures, Cyberhawk watches for and dsecId=1468/dsubSecId=1474) throws a can download ten files simultaneously
blocks suspicious behavior as it occurs. border around your browser and puts and resumes the transfer if it’s disrupted
But Cyberhawk doesn’t play well with downloaded files into a special folder, so midstream by, say, a browser or unlikely
all computers, so I have two alternatives that you can run them in a protected (ha!) PC crash. If you have a manager but
that thwart malware by running your session. At Rs, 1,350 per year, it’s not dirt it won’t work with Firefox, use FlashGot
browser, e-mail, and instant messaging cheap, but you do get a 15-day free trial. (http://pcworld.in/downloads/index.jsp/
apps in a protected sandbox. That way, Or try Sandboxie (http://pcworld.in/ dsecId=1468/dsubSecId=1474).
you can end a session and easily reverse downloads/index.jsp/dsecId=1468/ The Hassle: Is there a good way to down-
potential damage to your system. dsubSecId=1474), a free but complicated load YouTube or Google video files?
GreenBorder Pro with SafeFiles (http:// tool that quarantines downloads and their The Fix: Many sites contain Flash-
based streaming videos that are yours
TOOL OF THE MONTH
for the taking. Just use the Web-based
t o o l s a t Ke e p Vi d . c o m o r Vi d e o -
Clear Away Clutter With WinPatrol Download.com. Both sites have links
WINPATROL IS A must-have tool: It such as backup programs. Also new is you can add to your browser’s toolbar to
helps keep your system tray free of a right-click function that opens the handle drag-and-drop video download-
clutter and warns you when a program startup program’s folder in Windows ing. For multiple YouTube videos,
insists on loading at system boot-up. Explorer. WinPatrol costs Rs. 1,350 download TubeMe. To watch the fi les,
ILLUSTRATION: OTTO STEININGER

The latest version—WinPatrol 2007— (and I promise you, it’s worth the use VLC or FLV Player—or convert the
has Delayed Start, a smart feature that money), but there’s a free version as videos into AVI files at the Online FLV
lets you delay launch of nonessential well. Compare the two versions at Converter site. All of these tools are at
programs for up to an hour after the http://www.winpatrol.com/whyplus. http://pcworld.in/downloads/index.
system boots, so Windows loads faster. html?index, and then download either jsp/dsecId=1477/dsubSecId=1491.
That’s ideal timing for applications one of them according to your liking.
— Steve Bass

30 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS REVIEWS

36 GEFORCE 8500GT VIDEO


CARDS FROM ASUS AND MSI

REVI
VIEWS
WS &
38 SONY DCR-HC96 CAMCORDER
38 KODAK V1003 10MP DIGITAL
CAMERA
39 OPEN OFFICE 2.2
40 CANON MP460 ALL-IN-ONE

RANKINGS
ANKINGS
41 LH 20A1S LITE-ON 20X SATA
OPTICAL DRIVE
41 MICROSOFT NOTEBOOK
PRESENTER MOUSE 8000
42 SONY ERICSSON W200I
MUSIC PHONE

L A B -T E S T E D A NDDU H
MAONUDRS -EODNI TEEVA
D LU
B YATKI A
ONLP
S AONF AT H
EET T
LEAT
NESSOTNP &
R ORDAUM
COT SN

Dual Cores Get Cheaper And Better


AGGRESSIVE PRICING BRINGS MAKES PERFORMANCE DUAL CORE CPUS AFFORDABLE
C P U S the best buy under Rs. to retain market share, and indication of the CPU’s
‘which is better? 8,000. This covers the best in turn Intel came out with ability to handle various
AMD or Intel?” is CPU if you are on a budget lower priced models based jobs such as multimedia and
something we folks at the (Rs. 3,500), or seek better on the Core 2 architecture. multi-tasking. Gaming tests
test labs keep getting asked performance for a slightly All of this translates into were conducted with DOOM
by pretty much everyone. higher price (Rs. 5,000) and good news for buyers as 3 and F.E.A.R. to note the
There are several CPUs out of course, the best CPU that faster CPUs are available at frames delivered by each CPU
there by both Intel and AMD, Rs. 8,000 can fetch you. lesser cost. for the same resolution and
but there is no single best It’s old news that AMD quality setting. The results
CPU. The answer to the ‘bet- lost the performance ground HOW WE TESTED of these tests can be seen
ter CPU’ question depends to Intel when the latter we used CPU intensive tests on the graphs and you can
on your budget and needs. launched the Core 2 Duo from PCWorld’s WorldBench compare the performance of
We tested six CPUs, three CPUs last year at about the 5.0 and also ran PCMark05’s the different CPUs yourself.
each from Intel and AMD same time. AMD was forced system suite and CPU The tests were conducted
to figure out who offered to lower prices of its CPUs test. These tests give an using a 10,000 rpm WD Rap-

32 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

44 MICROSOFT WIRELESS LASER DESKTOP 6000 48 ADOBE SYSTEMS DREAMWEAVER CS3


44 DRAGON VOICE RECOGNITION SOFTWARE GRAPHIC SOFTWARE
45 CANON POWERSHOT A570 IS DIGITAL CAMERA 49 ASUS R2H UMPC
46 RIM BLACKBERRY 8800 SMART PHONE 49 STYLETAP PLATFORM FOR WINDOWS
47 D-LINK DWL 142 USB WIRELESS ADAPTER SMARTPHONE MOBILE COMPUTING
47 KINGSTON DATA TRAVELER 2GB PEN DRIVE 50 SOCIAL NETWORKING SOFTWARE

40 47

tor 150GB hard disk; Kings- WIRELESS ACCESS POINT PCW Rating Performance Features

ton HyperX DDR2 1150 1GB


x 2 modules with latencies
set default (5 5 5 15, 2T);
1
AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+
Best Price: Rs. 8,200
88 • WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Very Good
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Excellent
• Gaming Performance: Excellent
• Operating Frequency: 2.7GHz
• Total L2 Cache: 1MB
• Manufacturing Process: 65nm
BUY Very Good
Asus 7900GT graphic card 3 Bottom line: If Rs 8000 is all that you want to spend, this is the best CPU out there currently.
and the motherboards used
were the Asus M2N32 SLI
for AMD processors and the 2
Intel Core 2 Duo E6300
Price: Rs. 8,000
85
Very Good
• WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Very Good • Operating Frequency: 1.86GHz
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Very Good
• Gaming Performance: Very Good
• Total L2 Cache: 2MB
• Manufacturing Process: 65nm
Intel D975XBX beta mother-
3 Bottom line: AMD’s price cut has relegated this competitive CPU to second place. A good choice if you prefer the Intel platform.
board for the Intel CPUs.

When Budget Calls the Shots:


We feel Rs. 3,500 ought to
3
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300
Price: Rs. 5,000 83
Very Good
• WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Good
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Good
• Gaming Performance: Good
• Operating Frequency: 1.8GHz
• Total L2 Cache: 2MB
• Manufacturing Process: 65nm

be a fair amount to spend 3 Bottom line: This toned down Core 2 Duo with more cache than the X2 4000+ makes for a good choice at the Rs 5,000 mark.
on a CPU if you wish to
use your PC for anything
more than MS Office, Inter- 4
AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+
Price: Rs. 5,000
82
Very Good
• WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Good
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Good
• Gaming Performance: Very Good
• Operating Frequency: 2.1GHz
• Total L2 Cache: 1MB
• Manufacturing Process: 65nm
net and music playback. At
3 Bottom line: Has a slight edge over the E4300 in some games, but otherwise equal. Lesser cache makes it the second choice in this budget.
this price point we have the
AMD’s entry level dual core,
the Athlon 64 X2 3600+ and
its counterpart from Intel
5
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3600+
Price: Rs. 3,400 78 Good
• WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Good
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Good
• Gaming Performance: Good
• Operating Frequency: 1.9GHz
• Total L2 Cache: 1MB
• Manufacturing Process: 65nm

the D820. The X2 3600+ 3 Bottom line: Great pricing and performance makes the 3200+ the best budget CPU for cash strapped gamers.
costs about Rs. 3,400 while
the D820 is costlier by Rs.
100 or so. 6
Intel Pentium D820
Price: Rs. 3,500 65 Fair
• WorldBench 5.0 Multi-tasking: Fair
• PCMark05 CPU Test: Good
• Gaming Performance: Fair
• Operating Frequency: 2.8GHz
• Total L2 Cache: 2MB
• Manufacturing Process: 90nm
The D820, though an
3 Bottom line: Intel’s entry level dual core fails to impress - not recommended, especially for gamers.
older architecture, is made
attractive by its pricing. CHART NOTE: The prices mentioned are street prices as on 17/05/2007 and are subject to change.

However when you take into


account similarly priced X2 ter frame rates on the X2, video chipsets. These deliver is available for Rs. 2,800.
3600+, the D820 pales in though the Intel boasts of a better performance than the Even this single core CPU
comparison. In all tests, the higher clock and L2 cache. current Intel GMA solutions delivered better performance
X2 3600+, clocked at 1.9GHz Another significant factor which will aid gaming in case than the D820 except in
and a 1 MB cache was clearly in favor of the X2 in the bud- you don’t wish to spend on a multimedia applications, in
ahead of the Intel dual core. get category is the availabil- separate video card. which the latter’s dual core
In gaming tests for example, ity of motherboards that have We also tested the single advantage showed. If you are
we saw up to 33 percent bet- onboard GeForce 6150 or 6200 core Athlon 64 3200+ which cash strapped, the Athlon 64

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 33


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

PERFORMANCE

WorldBench 5.0
800

600
Time in Seconds

400

200

0
Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Core 2 E6300 Core 2 E4300 Athlon 64 X2 4000+ Athlon 64 X2 3600+ Pentium D820

Adobe Premier Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (OpenGL) Multitasking: Mozilla and Windows
Media Encoder
Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (DirectX) Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0

3200+ or even its younger – a 90nm 2.0GHz, 2MB L2 Another point going against is a clear winner, with about
sibling, the 3000+ (cheaper cache and a newer 65nm the X2 is that it cannot make 20 percent higher scores in
by Rs 500) will make a for 2.1GHz, 1MB L2 cache which full use of the memory band- almost every benchmark and
good choice. we received. width. This 65nm 4000+ can game. This X2 is made using
The Intel E4300 and the only do DDR2 700 speeds 65nm process similar to the
The Price-Power Balance: AMD X2 4000+ are matched instead of the full DDR2 800 E6300 and both of them are
We scouted for the best evenly overall in the perfor- speed that the 90nm version efficient processors running
offerings at Rs 5,000 from mance charts. And, they are could manage. cool and have a power
both manufacturers and priced identically as well. This dissipation of 65W.
finally picked the Athlon leaves us looking up the fea- Best CPU at Rs 8000: AMD’s
64 X2 4000+ and the new tures table to see which of these recent price cuts have placed THE MODEL NUMBER
Intel Core 2 Duo E4300. will be more future proof. With their higher end CPUs at PUZZLE
The E4300 is a cheaper and a total of 2MB cache, the E4300 what was once the mid-range like many other AMD
mellowed Core 2 running is the winner here, but with price point. An example of CPUs, the 5200+ exists in
at 1.8GHz and having an only the slightest of margins. this is the winner, the Athlon different versions. Initially
FSB of 800MHz (the E6300 The X2 4000+ , with a cache 64 X2 5200+, that retails there was a 5200+ rated
runs at 1.86GHz and has handicap made up by only currently at just a little over CPU with 2MB L2 cache and
a 1066MHz FSB). The X2 300MHz lags one point behind Rs. 8000. When set against 2.6GHz clock manufactured
4000+ exists in two flavors in the final score. the Intel E6300, the Athlon on the 90nm platform. With

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®

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to work and play in a connected world
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34 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

AMD’s move to 65nm, the It needs no saying that our PERFORMANCE


CPUs lost half their cache budget segment winner, the
and gained some clock speed X2 3600+ has impressive per- PCMARK 2005
7000
- the 5200+ that we received formance in gaming as well, 6478
5858
for review has only 1MB with a 15-20 percent advan- 6000 5505 5645 5508
5226
5000
cache but a 2.7GHz clock. tage over the Pentium D. 4689 4523 4290 4300
3890
It is rather puzzling that We also conducted a test 4000 3624

Scores
3000
AMD decided to increase with F.E.A.R. set at high
the frequency by a meager graphic details and 1280 x 2000

100MHz to compensate for 1024 resolution. The bud- 1000

0
half the cache that is missing get 3200+ delivered an aver- Athlon 64 Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Athlon 64 Athlon 64 Pentium
X2 5200+ E6300 E4300 X2 4000+ X2 3600+ D820
(the X2 4000’s is also a age of 68 fps while the X2
PCMark Total Score PCMark CPU Score
similar case to note). An 5200+ was only slightly bet-
advantage of this approach is ter at 70 fps. Gaming tests
that the reduced production indicate what a CPU can do
PCMARK 2005 Video Encoding
500
costs with less cache can be provided the graphic card is
402
passed on to the consumer. up to the task. 400
343
If you look for gaming 320 320

Encoding kBps
300 288
GAMING performance, you are better
PERFORMANCE off with a faster video card 200 188

it is common to hear some- than a high end CPU. For


100
one say ‘the game does not example, if you are think-
work properly! But I have a ing of a Rs. E6300 CPU 0
Athlon 64 Core 2 Duo Core 2 Duo Athlon 64 Athlon 64 Pentium
3GHz CPU…’ and not realize and a 7600GS graphic card, X2 5200+ E6300 E4300 X2 4000+ X2 3600+ D820

that it is the onboard video it would be wiser to get a


that is the culprit! E4300 and a Rs 7600GT or a
The X2 5200 delivered 7900GT graphic card. when the processor load these features to work, you
the highest frame rates. In is minimal. need a motherboard that sup-
DOOM3 it was 15 percent SAVE PRECIOUS The CPU speed is reduced ports the respective feature.
higher than the E6300 but POWER in conjunction with a lower You can enable them as fol-
with F.E.A.R., the advantage for most users, the full Vcore and a lower CPU fan lows: Open Power Options
dropped to about 3 percent. processing power of a CPU speed (if Q-fan control is in Control Panel and select
It was a similar case between remains unutilized most enabled). The benefit is that the Minimal Power Manage-
the X2 4000+ and the E4300. of the time. For the usual you save on your power bill, ment scheme. Now, your
In gaming performance, browsing or documenta- reduce fan noise and increase CPU will under-clock when
the less said about the Pen- tion work you don’t need the life of the CPU. it is idling. All CPUs that
tium D, the better. Even the your CPU to be running at Intel calls its technique we have tested here except
single core Athlon 64 3200+ 2 GHz. Intel and AMD both EIST (Enhanced Intel Speed- the Pentium D820 support
outperformed it despite a have auto under-clocking step Technology) while AMD power management.
lower clock speed and cache. mechanisms which kick in terms it Cool’n’Quiet. For — Kailas Shastry

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®

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CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 35


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Value DirectX 10 Offerings from Asus and MSI


V I D E O C A R D CPU to run smoothly.
directX 10 cards have been With the 8500GT, a PC
in the market since almost with an entry level
six months now and Nvidia processor be it a
clearly leads the race with its Celeron or Sempron,
8800 series of GPUs catering will manage HD
to the high-end video card content fine. The
s e g m e n t . Bu t i t i s t h e reference 8500GT
mainstream and the entry comes with 256MB
level cards that bring DDR2 memory
numbers, especially in the running at 800MHz.
Indian market. We finally The core houses 16
have the entry and stream processors
mainstream range launched with 450MHz core
THE MSI NX 8500GT T2D256E uses a standard copper based cooler while the
by Nvidia in the form of the clock and 900MHz
Asus offers a silent card that uses passive cooling.
Geforce 8500GT, Geforce shader clock speed.
8600GT and the Geforce Both the cards that we is very little to choose while being absolutely silent
8600GTS. We got our hands tested stuck to reference between the two; both the with its passive cooling is a
on the most economical of specifications and offered cards dish out identical per- real scorcher with the heat-
the lot; the Geforce 8500GT same 256MB DDR2 memory. formance across all the sink reaching alarming tem-
launched by Asus and MSI, While sporting reference benchmarks. At the chipset peratures in no time. Ironi-
two video card veterans. specifications, the cards did level, the Geforce 8500GT is cally while Asus markets the
The 8500GT is typically vary in their cooling strictly an entry level solution card as an ideal HTPC solu-
placed in the Rs. 5,000 to Rs. approach. The MSI comes which can just about manage tion, with the kind of heat
6,000 price bracket, bringing with a standard cooper cooler 30-40 FPS (frames per sec- generated, the card will
DX 10 to the masses. While while the Asus card belongs ond) at medium details levels cause ambient temperatures
the Geforce 8500GT chipset is to the “silent” category, and a max of 1280x1024 reso- t o r i s e d r a s t i c a l l y. T h e
very much a value offering in employing passive cooling. lution. Given the fact that the default package by both the
terms of pure muscle power, it Targeted at HTPC applica- 8500GT is a DX 10 card, vendors is basic and hence
has a lot many features tions, the card is cooled by a these cards might further fall the cooling solution along
crammed in for a sub Rs. 5,000 slab of heatsink that covers short in pure muscle power with pricing is the two decid-
card. With native support for both the core as well as the in delivering playable experi- ing factors amongst the two
rendering HD content using memory chips. We ran our ence in the DX 10 titles which cards. The MSI card has s
Nvidia’s PureVideo technology, standard set of benchmarks will obviously be more slight edge over the Asus
these cards off load the comprising of3DMark 2006 demanding. Thus, we can card with its more efficient
pressure from the CPU to and games like Doom3, F. safely conclude that the cooling and lower price tag.
render those high definition E.A.R. and Half Life 2 Lost 8500GT isn’t anywhere close —Soham Raninga
movies and clips which Coast. The graphs to the bot- to being a gamer’s card, it’s
otherwise require a beast of a tom clearly indicate that there just a step above the integrat-
EN8500GT Silent
ed graphics solutions and a
COMPARISON Asus
value proposition for users
PCW Rating 70 Good
wanting a bare minimum
Performance Comparison Table DirectX 10 solution.
While being a silent solution, the
Asus isn’t thermally efficient
Video Card 3DMark 2006 Game Test Game Test As far as the two cards are
Price: Rs 6,200
Faster DOOM 3 * F.E.A.R * concerned, the MSI card
impressed with a fairly NX 8500GT-T2D256E
Asus 8500GT Silent 2121 40 47
silent cooler and good clean MSI
design with a large cooper PCW Rating 71 Good
MSI 8500GT T2D256E 2119 40 46 based cooler that keeps the A good option to jump to DirectX
card cool even under 100 10 without spending a fortune.
* DOOM 3 1280 x 1024 No AA - High Detail * F.E.A.R 1024 x 768 No AA - High Detail percent load. The Asus card Price: Rs 5,800

36 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Sony Upgrades its MiniDV Line-up


C A M C O R D E R Although the Sony DCR-HC96 ability to capture
the Sony DCR-HC96 is with- scored points for its still-image pleasingly clear audio
out doubt a classy DV camcord- performance, its low-light video and this counts as a
er, but the DCR-HC96 isn’t the quality and battery life proved to top performer. The
cheapest camcorder around. be only average. Sony DCR-HC96 has
The Sony DCR-HC96 is The Sony DCR-HC96 fea- a night-vision feature
Sony’s high-end MiniDV tures a 2.7in widescreen LCD that makes it possi-
Handycam camcorder, and this with touchscreen controls. ble to record video in
is reflected in its price tag. It Play, record and stop buttons low-light conditions
offers step-up features such as a are located below the screen, that would otherwise THE SONY DCR-HC96 has a 2.7-inch
higher-capacity battery, a charg- allowing you to keep your eye be impossible. How- widescreen LCD with touch screen controls.
ing dock and the ability to cap- on the action while controlling ever, the results have
ture video at higher resolutions the camera. Other Sony DCR- a strange, otherworldly look video before shutting down.
than other HC family members. HC96 design niceties include to them – It’s probably best That’s about average. The Sony
a built-in lens cap and top-load- to use this only when absolute- DCR-HC96 performs well and
Sony ing cassette mechanism. The ly necessary. provides impressive still-image
Sony DCR-HC96 colour accuracy and sharpness The Sony DCR-HC96 also quality. Nice features such as a
PCW Rating 76 Good of the Sony DCR-HC96’s stills has an electronic image stabi- touchscreen LCD and an acces-
While sporting an upgraded feature was impressive, as was its lisation feature, which worked sory shoe make it more attrac-
set and giving good still-image video quality. Assessed in both well, with no noticeable drop in tive, but we expected better low-
quality, the Sony DCR-HC96 could standard and low-light scenes, quality. Our battery tests showed light video quality at the given
improve on its low-light performance. we were very pleased by the that the Sony DCR-HC96 was price point.
Price: Rs. 29,990 results. Add to this the Sony’s able to capture 85 minutes of —James Galbraith

and casual users, the perfect


Kodak’s New 10MP Needs Work touch feature enhances bright-
ness and contrast to make the
D I G ITA L CA M E R A camera segment, the V1003 preset modes to ensure you
picture vibrant. While it might
the EasyShare V1003 will surely has the looks and style get the best results in varied
not be the most natural way of
overwhelm you with its 10MP that will please most. Offer- shooting conditions.
correcting pictures but it works
label and a petite frame; it ing a bright 2.5-inch LCD In our image quality tests,
for users wanting enhanced
boasts of features like digital screen the V1003 comes with Kodak was just about average
contrast levels without getting
anti-blur and offers a “perfect 32MB internal memory and in overall image quality. The
their hand dirty with photo
touch” mode that enhances uses SD/MMC cards for stor- images at 10MP were fairly
editing applications.
images on the fly. Aimed at ing images. Being a point and noisy and the low-light per-
Overall, it’s hard to recom-
the compact lifestyle digital shoot camera, it offers tons of formance wasn’t impressive as
mend the V1003, it’s below
well. With an evident shutter
average low-light performance
lag, the camera needs ideal con-
combined with noisy images
ditions to perform at its best.
and hefty price tag translates
The rather awkward controls
into very little value.
make it almost impossible for
—Soham Raninga
the user to operate the camera
with a single hand. The digital
anti-blur is hardly effective and V1003
is no comparison to the optical Kodak
image stabilization offered in PCW Rating 64 Fair
the latest Canon and Panasonic Don’t get carried away with the 10MP
cameras. On the positive side, label, the V1003 doesn’t quite cut it
the abundant preset modes for its price tag and positioning.
THE KODAK V1003 is quite a looker, but those looks are deceptive. come in handy for beginners Price: Rs. 17,990

38 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Free Alternative to MS Office Rocks


S O F T W A R E Writer, the OpenOffice 2.2
while Microsoft’s Office word processor, isn’t as snaz-
continues to dominate the gen- zy as Microsoft Word 2007,
eral market, in recent years cor- but includes a few elements
porate desktops have begun to Microsoft has only just caught
adopt either Star Office 8.0 or up with – such as the ability to
OpenOffice. The latter alone save to PDF.
accounts for more than 60 More important to
million downloads. It’s not most users is the fact that
hard to see the appeal of such compatibility and performance
alternatives. OpenOffice is, have been greatly improved,
after all, free and has a com- with OpenOffice Writer
prehensive feature set. capable of opening multiple
OpenOffice is available only file formats. OpenOffice can BEHIND THE SIMPLE and effective interface lies a host of features
via download. However, it’s merge documents as e-mails, and tools that will satisfy the most demanding of users.
now up to version 2.2, which but the support for macros in
offers a bunch of cosmetic StarOffice doesn’t extend to lae that’ll enable you to perform Draw, is a charting component
changes to the interface. OpenOffice 2.2. calculations quickly. Users can (akin to Visio).
The core applications of create multiple worksheets and OpenOffice also includes
OpenOffice 2.2 are just as you BEYOND THE BASICS analyze data using a DataPilot Math, with which you can
would expect, comprising a the OpenOffice spread- (the equivalent of Excel’s Pivot create complex equations for
word processor, spreadsheet, sheet application, Calc, com- Tables). The only area in which your documents.
database, drawing application pares well to Excel, providing a Calc suffers is in the range of
and a presentation package. range of functions and formu- charts and graphs that can be SPOT THE DIFFERENCE
created, but these are more in terms of features, there’s
TECH TREND
than sufficient for most users. little difference between the
Impress is a perfectly adequate two applications, but StarOf-
Brighter Laptop Screens presentation package. If this is
important to you, however, it’s
fice includes the Sun Java
Runtime Environment. Java
LAPTOP SCREENS TRADITIONALLY have been lit by fluores- best to opt for the StarOffice is required for both suites,
cent lamp technology, but several new notebook models rather than OpenOffice as more although OpenOffice will run
are offering a superior display technology: light-emitting- templates are included. These with free Java software and
diode (LED) backlighting. are inferior to those included the Sun implementation isn’t
Compared with standard fluo- with PowerPoint, but if you’re essential. More important will
rescent displays, LED-backlit willing to put in a little extra be support, which is where
alternatives tout up to 30 per- work then you can still create StarOffice may have the edge.
cent greater brightness (better decent presentation.
for use outdoors), lower power M o r e i m p o r t a n t l y, VERDICT
consumption, and greater uni- OpenOffice Impress provides openOffice 2.2 provides a
formity of the image throughout you with plenty of help in superb, very stable office suite,
the screen. Equally important, terms of structuring your ideas. that offers a challenge to Micro-
the technology lets manufactur- It can export presentations as soft Office. Free doesn’t mean
ers build thinner laptop lids. Flash files, too. sub-standard.
Three ultraportables (Toshiba’s The database tool, Base, is a —Jason Whittaker
Portégé R400, Asus’s U1F, and Fujitsu’s LifeBook P7230) complex relational database,
use LED-backlit displays—we found them noticeably brighter which will be fairly forbidding Open Office 2.2
and easier to read. Sony also has LED-backlit models, and to the casual user but offers Open Office
Apple and HP are expected to follow suit soon. sophisticated tools for creating PCW Rating 86 Very Good
forms and reports that can work Open Office is truely an excellent
—Danny Allen with several database engines. free alternative to MS Office.
The drawing component, Free

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 39


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Canon’s New MFD is a Potent All-rounder


A L L - I N - O N E the print is rather faint at the
the PIXMA MP460 from lowest quality settings, it’s
Canon is the successor to always legible. On the middle
the MP450 and has much of setting it can generate very
the latter’s impressive per- pleasing text prints while the
formance and features. The slowest setting offers sharp
MP460, at the Rs 10,000 mark character definition. We noted
is slightly faster and bigger somewhat longer spool times
than the MP450 but otherwise which delayed the first page.
maintains the same print and The best time we saw for first
scanning quality traits. page print at normal quality
A printer targeted at a users text was 17 seconds, which
looking for more than just went as high as 28 seconds
basic printing has to fulfill on few occasions. There after, THE MP460 DOES A4 borderless printing and boasts of a 1.9 inch
two duties – print in above full A4 page text printing LCD, Pictbridge, IrDA connectivity and media card slots.
average quality and do that in normal quality took 12
fast enough. The max print seconds, a good figure for a 120 prints of 4 x 6 borderless that the ink consumption is
resolution of 4,800 x 1,200 MFD in this category. photo printing. the same as that of regular
is hardly startling, while the Colour printing is good for We found that the ink printing. For bulk copying,
optical scanner resolution a MFD in this category but and printing on the MP 460 your neighborhood photo-copy
is easily matched by the HP the printed photos appeared seems optimised for thick shop is the best bet!
Photosmart C3188. The Canon somewhat over saturated, gauge papers – when we The Pixma is also bang up
can hold up to 100 sheets of especially skin tones – took test prints on ordinary to date in terms of features.
paper, but while the output something can be easily set copier paper, text showed Digital camera enthusiasts
tray works fairly effectively, it right by reducing saturation some smudginess. Using are well catered for with a
lacks the polished looks of the levels in your image viewing the much thicker Executive PictBridge port and a full
rest of the MP460. software. Faint horizontal Bond paper this issue was complement of memory
As a text printer, the Canon lines were seen but hardly solved almost completely. slots. It has a 1.9 inch display
works very effectively. Basic and pixelation was observed. Printing a full A4 colour with which you can preview
speed is good, and although Ink consumption is rated at in best quality took over photos before you print
two minutes – not quite the them. You can also make the
fastest we have seen. MP460 bluetooth capable
Scanning is by purchasing an optional
impressive in Bluetooth adapter.
both speed and Fully featured and sleek,
quality. Preview the Canon certainly looks
takes a blazing the part, and its text printing
6 seconds and at and scanning facilities are
600dpi scanning very competent. However, it
the MP460 takes lags behind the cheaper HP
20 seconds. Photosmart C3180 when it
Quality is more than sufficient comes to colour graphics
to convert your paintings or reproduction.
old photographs into digital — Kailas Shastry
form. Copying works up to
expectations, and like most MP460
Canons, resizing can be Canon
done from 25 percent to 400 PCW Rating 76 Good
percent of the original, set Good overall performance and
THE PANEL OF the MP460 has a 1.9 inch LCD that allows you to up to 99 copies and also do features – a recommended buy.
preview photos before printing. auto exposure. But beware Price: Rs 10,000

40 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Lite-On’s SATA Drive Throws Tantrums


O P TI CAL D R IVE India does not support one of
we generally are all praise for the most commonly available
Lite-On products – they burn media here. Finally, we got a
discs fast and are competitively Sony DVD+RW with which the
priced. But this time around drive was happy.
with Lite-On’s 20x SATA drive, Now, moving on to things
when we put the drive to DVD that this drive can do, it is as fast
RW burning test, we were sur- as its IDE companion (that we
prised by its inability to burn reviewed in the April 2007
common media (the primary issue) in most tests, taking a lit-
reason for a low PC World tle over 5 minutes to burn 4.1
LITE-ON’S BRINGS A 20x SATA based DVD RW drive with the 20A1S.
score). The drive refused to write GB of data at 20x on 16x rated
to the Moser Baer and HP DVD Moser Baer media. Burning a again on par with the 20x IDE nel which is already occupied, a
+ RW media. It is rather surpris- dual layer disk (Verbatim version, at 7 minutes for a 4.1 SATA optical drive is a good buy
ing that a drive launched in media) took 27 minutes – the GB burn. (provided the incompatibility
only area in which we have seen The SATA version of the fast issue is resolved or if you can
LH 20A1S Lite-On drive get slower than 20x writer makes great sense if stock Sony’s RWs!). For any-
Lite-On others. CD Writing was brisk at you are buying an Intel mother- body else, the extra money
PCW Rating 68 Fair 160 seconds for burning a board that does not have IDE you pay for it is not justifiable
SATA interface is handy for those 700MB ISO file and is one of ports, or if you have a slim cabi- as performance wise there is
who use motherboards that don’t the fastest times we have seen. net in which cable clutter is an little to tell between the 20x
have IDE ports. When we finally did manage to issue. Or, for someone whose IDE and SATA versions.
Price: Rs 2,350 get a DVD+RW written, it was board has only one IDE chan- —Kailas Shastry

Versatile Notebook Mouse from Microsoft


I N P U T D E V I C E er, the Presenter Mouse 8000 something on a shared screen comes from the tip of the
offering excellent ver- works as both a mouse and a for many people in a large mouse.
satility in a portable pack- remote control of sorts. In room - all in a pinch. On the down side, the
age, the Microsoft Wireless Mouse Mode the left and right The button in the centre, mouse is a tad on the heavier
Notebook Presenter Mouse mouse buttons work like nor- behind the mouse wheel, side and the smooth surface
8000 gives users of notebooks mal and a third button on the switches the device into Pre- doesn’t provide the most
a variety of functionality pri- left of the mouse works like a senter/Media Mode. Once in secure grip. The biggest draw-
marily for the purpose of giv- Back button. A further two this mode you can pick up the back is of course the price, at
ing presentations. buttons make things a little mouse and flip it over. There, Rs 5,250; it is more than twice
Comprised of the mouse more interesting. The button on the bottom, are a whole the price of a regular wireless
itself and a USB dongle that on the far right brings up a collection of new controls notebook mouse available in
acts as a Bluetooth 2.0 receiv- magnifier and holding this including play/pause, skip the market.
button down allows you to track and volume controls. —Jesse Sutton
increase the magnifica- The obvious use for this is
tion and also the size during playback of a movie or Microsoft Wireless Notebook
of the viewing glass. audio track, but when in pro- Presenter Mouse 8000
This is an excel- grams such as Microsoft Pow- Microsoft
lent feature if you erPoint it can also be used to PCW Rating 76 Good
wish to highlight skip between slides with ease. If money is not a constraint,
Also found amongst the this notebook presenter offers
media controls is a laser very unique functionality in a
A GOOD OPTION for presentation
pointer button, which acti- tiny package.
purposes comes at a price.
vates a laser pointer that Price: Rs 5,250

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 41


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Thump is Here ?
M U S I C P H O N E S W200i includes menus for design is solid, if unspectacu-
e v e n a s m ob ile phones Now Playing, Artists, Tracks, lar and the unit is finished in
converge take on the function- Playlists and Videos. Any a matte black plastic with
ality of an increasing manifest tracks loaded onto the device orange trim, thanks to the
of devices, there is still a need are automatically sorted into Walkman branded design.
for the basics and Sony Erics- these folders, which makes The biggest let down in
son has come to the party with searching for a specific file design is the display, which
the release of their W200i. The simple and easy. You can cre- has outdated specifications
W200i is a standard GSM ate playlists by searching and lacks clarity and crisp-
handset, without the bells and through your files and mark- ness. The smaller-sized 120 x
whistles. Though it still offers ing which tracks you want to 160 pixel resolution means
the popular Walkman func- add to that particular list. the screen can’t emit as bight
tion, an FM radio and digital Unfortunately the W200i an image as we would have
camera, the lack of Bluetooth doesn’t allow users to rename liked. Thankfully, the
is a real negative. music files from within keypad is comfortable
the device. This and the raised keys are
FEATURES has to be done well spaced, so typing
the best feature of the using the PC long messages or e-mails is
W200i is the Walkman func- Suite software (which THE 3.5MM ADAPTER and a breeze. Controls are fairly
tion, although it isn’t the doesn’t support Mac). excellent ear phones compliment standard, consisting of a five-
newer 2.0 version of this soft- You can also send files to the Walkman phone. way navigational joystick, two
ware. A press of the orange another phone or computer selection buttons, and dedi-
‘W’ button on the left side of directly from the Walkman manually, as well as four pre- cated keys for back and clear.
the phone takes you straight application via e-mail, infra- sets including Sony’s propri- The navigation stick is a hit
into the music application, red or as a picture message. etary Mega Bass. and miss affair as it is too
which is both simple and The omission of Bluetooth is The W200i includes a digit- short and small and will
effective in its design. The disappointing, despite this al VGA camera with 4x digital cause discomfort for anyone
handset’s low-end placement zoom, but naturally, the qual- with large fingers. A power
in the market so infrared ity of VGA cameras means it’s button on the top of the
and USB are the only con- barely good enough for a few handset and a volume control
nectivity options. The W200i happy snaps. A more notable on the right side of the unit
also includes an FM radio feature is push e-mail, which round out the controls.
with 10 presets and features is a welcome surprise on a Sony Ericsson rates the
RDS (Radio Data System) handset with such a low RRP. W200i battery life at up to
which displays station broad- In addition to push e-mail, seven hours of talk time and
cast information. Sony Erics- the W200i supports standard 300 hours standby time. We
son hasn’t installed a 3.5mm SMS and MMS messaging averaged two days of moder-
headphone jack on the with T9 predictive text input. ate use before we had to
W200i, but they have boxed Other features include a loud charge the phone, which is
a headphone adapter with and clear hands-free speaker- done via either the included
the unit that allows connec- phone, sound recorder and a USB cable or the AC adapter.
tion of any standard 3.5mm host of personal information —Ross Catanzariti
headphones. Like most manager (PIM) features
Walkman phones, the sound including an alarm clock, cal- Sony Ericsson W200i
quality of the W200i is pretty culator, calendar, notes, stop- Sony Ericsson
impressive and the included watch and a timer. PCW Rating 76 Good
headphones are of a surpris- The W200i is a solid budget
THE WALKMAN BUTTON ingly good standard. Also DESIGN mobile phone, but the lack of
launches the music player and included in the Walkman t h e W 2 0 0 i m e a sur e s Bluetooth may be enough for
the volume can be controlled with application is a five-channel 101mm x 44mm x 18mm and some to give it a miss.
the dedicated keys on the right. equalizer that you can adjust weighs a very light 85g. The Price: Rs. 7,300

42 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Comfort Comes at a Price The mouse uses a laser track-


er but one cannot immediately
I N P U T D E V I C E S tell the difference between this
i t is not just Windows and an ordinary optical mouse.
and Office that Microsoft The advantage becomes notice-
makes. The company is also able only for very minute
regarded as a maker of some movements. The mouse wheel
fine input devices. While the can also move sideways giving
world seems to be going wire- you a 4-way navigation – some-
less, keyboards and mice are thing that is of great use when
also trying to shrug off their THIS KEYBOARD HAS more keys than an average user would require, working with spreadsheets. It
cords, giving you a desktop the sideways scrolling of the mouse is a handy addition. includes customizable keys
with less clutter. and a magnifier. Extra keys on
The Microsoft Wireless ergonomically designed, but more naturally, and causes far the keyboard include a Gadg-
Laser Desktop 6000 is a wire- it may be hard to say if this lesser stress after a long day’s ets button for Vista, a Windows
less keyboard and mouse set is the ‘best’ design out there. work. The keyboard on its Live call button, magnifier and
that comes with a host of fea- However, the Desktop 6000 is part lets you place your wrist more. The standard multime-
tures. The Desktop 6000 is a lot more comfortable than at slight angles that are more dia keys are present as well.
the sub Rs 500 models from comfortable and there is also a This Desktop 6000 must help
Wireless Laser Desktop 6000 unknown brands. padded support for the wrists. in reducing the aches associ-
Microsoft The mouse is bigger than The keys are very soft to press ated with keyboard and mouse
PCW Rating 70 Good the average one and ‘fill’s and make minimal noise. If use. But at Rs 5,750 it is a tad
A bunch of extra keys and good your hand. The recesses for you prefer tactile feedback over bit too pricy, which is the rea-
layout come at a steep price. the thumb and the ring finger a soft press, you will not take to son for its relatively low score.
Price: Rs. 5,750 enable you to grip the mouse this keyboard. —Kailas Shastry

Talk to Your Computer with Dragon The software also learns with
time and it is advisable to run
VOICE RECOGNITION with each version that it has towards getting used to the the acoustic optimizer one in
speech to text has been a come out. Though, it may still software itself. As you have com- a while to make that learning
huge gray area when it comes be quite a while before the mands on the keyboard, that you even better.
to computing. The right computers understand what may need to remember while But, speech recognition itself
accents, noise, slurring, eve- you say, right away. With these using a software, you would has its pitfalls too. For instance
rything has an impact on the efforts you are deemed to think need to use similar commands you may not want to use it in
way the software interprets that the day is not too far. For here. Though, easily under- office as it may present privacy
your version of slang. instance, this version has an stood, they still present a learn- issues and there is bound to be
Dragon Naturally Speak- option for Indian English, that ing curve. Thankfully, this curve too much noise in the office
ing has been improving itself attempts at understanding the is not too difficult to master. that will impact the perform-
Indian accent which is substan- It understood most of the ance of the software. But, if you
tially different from the Ameri- words that I said. The ones that have a quiet workplace, without
can or British way of speaking. are not in the vocabulary can any close neighbors, the latest
With a simple 15-20 minute be easily added, all with caps update can prove to be a releif
tutorial, the software was easily in the beginning, with a simple for your wrists.
able to learn my style of speak- voice command. And it is quite —Geetaj Channana
ing and we were ready to go. easy to correct your mistake
Though with this version, using a series of easy to master Nuance
Nuance (the publishers of DNS commands. And when you Dragon Naturally Speaking 9
9) have made it quite easy to use compare the kind of errors you PCW Rating 76 Good
THE LATEST VERSION the software, negating the use make while touch typing with This improvised version works
IMPROVISES ON SOME key of the keyboard wherever possi- dictation; it clearly shows that well but requires patience
areas but isnt perfect. ble, you would still have to work it’s faster to dictate than to type. Price:9,000

44 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Canon’s 7MP Cam Offers Face Detection


D I G I TA L C A M E R A
In our speed tests, the
canon’s PowerShot line
A570IS performed fairly
of cameras usually impresses,
well. Its shutter speed of .08
and the A570IS is no
of a second was about aver-
different. A nice return to
age, but its 1.9 second power
form for the camera giant,
up time was quite impres-
after the rather lackluster ,
sive. With a delay of just 1.1
the A570IS is one of the best
seconds between shots, the
mid-range, advanced cameras
A570IS will be more than
on the market. It combines
speedy enough for most peo-
the usual Canon functionality
ple’s needs.
with superb image quality
The A570IS follows the
and Canon’s relatively new
standard PowerShot design,
face detect focus mode, IN-LINE WITH THE PowerShot series, the A570IS sports the same
with a slightly chunky, jutting
making a brilliant all-purpose classic looks but adds a little bulk to its frame.
hand grip and a silver plastic
consumer camera.
body. It isn’t the sturdiest
Traditionally, Canon cam- problem, the image stabili- shots are a little over 2.5
unit we’ve seen, as there is
eras have been renowned sation (IS) on this model is frames a second and all the
little metal in the
for their image quality and an ideal solution. standard white balance pre-
construction, but it should
in this regard the A570IS In our image noise tests, sets are included, along with
survive some rough
certainly impressed. When the A570IS performed a custom mode.
treatment. The controls and
we opened up our prelimi- slightly worse than in the The real gem in the fea-
interface will be familiar for
nary test shots we were other areas, but it was still tures list is the new face-
regular Canon users, with a
greeted by clean, smooth about average and was detect technology, which
five-way directional pad used
edges and great detail. The roughly on par with most Canon has just begun to
to navigate the two separate
pictures were consistently other units we’ve looked at pack into their new compact
menus; one for picture
sharp and crisp, showing lately. There was some minor, and advanced models. At the
options (ISO, white balance
that not only is the sensor extremely fine speckling touch of a button you can
etc) and one for everything
excellent, but the image sta- across our shots, but it wasn’t tell the camera to detect any
else (format, reset etc). The
bilisation technology works large enough to really detract faces in the picture and
controls are a little cramped
very well. Normally our out- from their overall look and make them the focus point.
for our liking, but they
doors tests return several won’t have an impact at It is extremely effective. In
shouldn’t pose too many
blurry shots in amongst the smaller magnifications. our testing, it successfully
problems. Measuring
clearer pictures, but we As this is an advanced differentiated between a
89.5mm x 64.3mm x 42.8mm
encountered none when model, you’d expect it to tiger’s face and a person’s
and weighing 175g, the
using the A570IS. For those have a bevy of features and face, and furthermore, as
A570IS is a little smaller than
w h o fi n d h a n d s h a k e a as usual Canon has packed you move the camera
some previous PowerShot
in a fairly strong around, the little focus cross-
models. At Rs 16995, the
array of them. hair actually moves with you,
A570 is a good option for
As mentioned, following the face. This is a
someone who wants a well
ISO sensitivities brilliant inclusion. The
balanced package.
extend up to majority of photos taken by
— Andrew Kliem
1600. Shutter the average consumer
speeds from 15 involve people, and by not
seconds to only making sure they are Powershot A570 IS
1/2000th of a always the focus of the shots Canon
second are on but also allowing users to PCW Rating 83 Very Good
offer, along with see the tracking in The A570 IS from Canon scores
apertures of f/2.6 action, Canon has created with good image quality, ample
THE BACKSIDE HOLDS the 2.5-inch LCD to f/8. The burst a brilliant, consumer resolution and image stabilization.
along with controls and a built-in speaker. mode snaps friendly technology. Price: Rs. 16,995

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 45


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

A Smart Workhorse tures with its baby brother,


the BlackBerry Pearl 8100.
SMART PHONE nately, e-mails are still date It has the same attractive,
blackBerry has long been stamped with the time they shiny black and silver fin-
synonymous with business are downloaded to your ish, as well as the incan-
and substance, but with the handset, rather than the descent pearl-white track-
release of the 8800, its clear time they were actually ball for navigation. Once
RIM has decided that busi- sent. For personal e-mail, again, we’re not sure how
ness and substance can also such as POP3 accounts, the trackball will hold up
be achieved in style. At just setup is a simple process after a few months of use.
14mm the 8800 is the thin- of entering your e-mail It doesn’t feel strong or
nest BlackBerry ever address and password and sturdy and accuracy is an
released and offers all the letting the 8800 do the rest. issue. The phone meas-
functionality of previous The 8800 also supports ures 114mm x 66mm x
units, but adds built-in GPS instant messaging clients 14mm and weighs a com-
to an already impressive such as AOL, ICQ, MSN, fortable 134g.
array of features. Google Talk and Yahoo!. The improvement in
As a mobile phone, the design does have one com-
FEATURES 8800 is a well equipped promise; the 8800’s QWER-
despite the design over- device, offering voice activat- WITH A FULL Qwerty keypad the TY keyboard is much small-
haul and addition of a ed dialling, conference call- phone still manages to stay slim er than previous models, so
number of entertainment ing, speed dialling and call and compact. typing does take some time
functions, the 8800 is fore- forwarding. For voice calls, to grasp. We weren’t able to
most an e-mail device, and the 8800 was clear, though software. The 8800 also has achieve speeds as fast as we
it supports the standard not as crisp or loud as some Bluetooth 2.0. did on the BlackBerry Pearl
RIM push e-mail technolo- regular mobile phones. The The 8800 includes a media 8100, or the , both of which
gy that BlackBerry handsets hands free speakerphone player that supports most have more space between
are well known for. It allows function also worked quite common file formats includ- the keys.
access of up to ten e-mail well in our tests, but back- ing MP3 and AAC audio and The 8800 includes a
accounts simultaneously ground noise was an issue, MPEG4 and H.263 video. 1400mAhr Lithium-Ion
and supports many popular and again, volume could Unfortunately, the headphone battery and it provides up
ISP e-mail accounts as well have been louder. jack is 2.5mm rather than the to 528 hours of standby
as Microsoft Exchange and RIM has also included standard 3.5mm. Video isn’t time and five hours of talk
IBM Lotus Domino. some PDA-like functions; a anything to write home about, time, according to RIM fig-
The e-mail application of calendar, address book, alarm as the small screen makes it ures. With medium usage,
the 8800 is similar to previ- clock and to-do list are all less than ideal. Photos on the we managed to squeeze
ous units, and each mailbox included as standard applica- other hand looked quite sharp about three days out of the
is automatically synchro- tions. The lack of a stylus and and vibrant. Oddly enough, 8800, which is a fairly good
nized whenever you read, touch screen may limit the the 8800 doesn’t include a dig- result. The 8800 is charged
send or delete e-mails on 8800’s use as an organizer, ital camera like the BlackBerry via a standard mini-USB
the handset itself. Unfortu- but the QWERTY keyboard Pearl 8100. Content is stored cable, or the included
and intuitive trackball on either the 64MB of flash AC adapter.
should be fine for memory, or a microSD card —Ross Catanzariti
most users. (not included). The latter is
Like most smart easily accessible underneath BlackBerry 8800
phones, 8800 users the rear cover and convenient- RIM
can synchronize their ly users don’t have to remove PCW Rating 82 Very Good
calendar, address the battery to swap the micro- The 8800 adds built-in GPS to a
book, e-mail and task SD card. device already packed with
lists between a desktop features. Combined with the
PC and the phone DESIGN design overhaul, this sleek and
THE INNOVATIVE TRACKBALL can be too using the bundled the candy bar style 8800 stylish BlackBerry is a class act.
sensitive for some users. BlackBerry desktop shares many design fea- Price: Rs. 31,990

46 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Draft N for Your Desktop work connection. D-Link has


included a Connection Wizard
however will not be a problem
for most users at homes where
WIRELESS would install before onboard and a Connection Manager to connection is mostly required
Wi r e l e s s ne t wor k i ng LAN became common. The take care of setup and mainte- between two rooms.
adds the last touch to porta- D-Link DWL 142 USB based nance. We tested connectivity PCI based b/g adapters are
ble computing – something adapter includes Draft N capa- with a D-Link DWL 2100AP available at around Rs. 3,000,
that laptop users on Wi-Fi will bility which can speed up your wireless access point. Draft N but the extra money you pay
vouch for. While this can work Wi-Fi when connected to devices are designed to be for the D-Link gives you easy
pretty much ‘out of the box’ other Draft N devices. This is backward compatible with a/ USB connectivity (meaning,
between laptops, a desktop going to be one costly invest- b/g devices and the DWL 142 you can shift it from one PC
will need a Wi-Fi adaptor, ment for making your desk- had no problems in talking to to another) and makes your
much like a LAN card that you top Wi-Fi capable, but then, the access point. Being pow- investment somewhat future
with Draft N you will be rea- ered by USB alone does not proof. If you are merely try-
sonably future proof. mean that signal strength is ing to connect your desktop
Installation was smooth and heavily compromised. to a non Draft N laptop wire-
required no restart before the At close range (about 25 feet) lessly, an ordinary adapter
adapter showed up as a net- there were no losses during will do.
pinging and at about 50 feet we —Kailas Shastry
saw some lost packets. When
we took it outside our office DWL 142
and tried connecting to the D-Link
access point placed in the lab, 70 Good
PCW Rating
THIS SLEEK USB based Wi-Fi we saw signal strength drop Easy to install and configure, but
adapter offers good performance well below 50 percent and at expensive.
in b/g mode. times vanish altogether. This Price: Rs 8,000 (approx)

Affordable But Slow Storage Ready Boost certified, so, get a


faster drive if you want to use it
S T O R A G E with Vista for improving system
a pen drive is turning out to be performance. If you desire high-
a PC accessory that everyone er speeds (for office environ-
wants – thanks to its obvious ments or Vista Ready Boost for
usability and, of course, lower example), you can try the Data
prices and higher capacities that Traveler II series from Kingston,
we have seen in the last 6-12 THIS DATA TRAVELER from Kingston is an affordable pen drive but be ready to shell out more
months. We did a 4GB flash provided transfer speeds are not very important for you. money for them. At the same
drive comparison in February price point (Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,200
this year – but if a smaller capac- than the second slowest drive in already scattered across (say, up for 2GB) you can also look at the
ity is enough for you and you our earlier 4GB round up. Lin- to 1GB). But, if you are trans- Transcend V10 which is not only
don’t want to spend any more ear Write was thankfully more ferring large files (like videos) faster, but also offers syncing
money than necessary, a 2GB acceptable at 5.4 MBps, in line when the drive is mostly empty, facility through its software.
drive such as this Kingston Data with the Transcend JetFlash the transfer speed will be high- —Kailas Shastry
Traveler will be a nice choice. V10 (the winner of the earlier er and hence you will notice a
Priced at about Rs 1,100 this comparison). Read speeds are lesser delay. Reading data from Data Traveler 2GB
is a no frills drive that simply again just about average at the drive is again going to Kingston
does its job of storing data. In 13MBps for linear read and present only average delays. PCW Rating 71 Very Good
Everest 2006 Ultimate’s disk 14MBps for random read. There is no syncing or pass- Good build quality and modest
benchmark test, the Data Trave- In a real world scenario, this word protection available with performance does not cost
ler scored a measly 2.3 MBps in drive will be slow to write this drive. You may also need to too much.
random write test – 1 MBps less assorted files when it has data note that this drive is not Vista Price: Rs 1,100

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 47


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Dreamweaver Now Integrates With Photoshop


G R A P H I C S S O F T WA R E The Spry JavaScript library
f or w e b - de si g n profes- includes XML-based tables,
sionals, Dreamweaver CS3’s tabs, and form-field validation,
integration into Adobe’s the appearance of which you
Creative Suite bundle of pro- can customize via CSS. Spry
grams is the ideal marriage of effects let you make elements
graphics applications. Fun- fade in or out, grow smaller or
damental to the revamped larger, or move across the
Dreamweaver is its tight inte- screen, all without scripting,
gration with Photoshop. and without requiring any serv-
Former Macromedia Studio er components. Adobe says
users might take a while to that the Spry code is 99 percent
adjust to seeing Photoshop HTML, so it should be easy to
open when they double-click customize to suit your needs.
an image on a Dreamweaver The program also adds a
DREAMWEAVER CS3 BOASTS not only integration with Photoshop
page (in the past, Macrome- Browser Compatibility Check
CS3, but also enhanced Cascading Style Sheets management tools.
dia’s Fireworks application that lists the problems your
would have handled such We tested a shipping version upgrade from CS2) or Creative site may have in various ver-
tasks). But Dreamweaver and of Dreamweaver CS3. Alone, it Suite 3 Web Premium (Rs. sions of Internet Explorer,
Photoshop go together so well costs Rs. 17,955; alternatively, 71,955, or Rs. 22,455 as an Firefox, Netscape, and any
that we are betting it won’t be you can buy it as part of Crea- upgrade from CS2 or Macro- other browsers that you want
long before those same people tive Suite 3 Design Premium media Studio 8, Studio MX, or to add; meanwhile,
are saying, “Firewha?” (Rs. 80,955 or Rs. 26,955 as an Studio MX 2004). Dreamweaver’s code view
The bidirectional integra- highlights potential CSS-relat-
Q U I C K TA K E tion between Dreamweaver ed problems in green.
and Photoshop works well: Current Dreamweaver users
You can copy all or part of a can upgrade to the new stan-
Flash Joins Adobe’s CS3 Photoshop image and paste it dalone version for Rs. 8,955
directly into Dreamweaver; a and continue to use it with
ANOTHER FORMER MACROMEDIA product now in Adobe’s
dialog box lets you choose Fireworks and the other
Creative Suite design and publishing tool set is Flash CS3
options for optimizing the former Macromedia apps, but
Professional (Rs. 31,455), the de facto standard vector-graphics
image for the Web. Double- they will be missing out on the
program for Web animation and navigation. Just as you
click the image in Dreamweav- new version’s biggest produc-
can now move
er, and it opens in Photoshop tivity booster: that is, its direct
images between
with all of its original layers, links to other tools in CS3. The
Dreamweaver and
masks, and other Photoshop tandem of Dreamweaver and
Photoshop, Flash’s
file format attributes. Photoshop is greater than the
CS3 label means
sum of its parts.
that you can also INTERACTIVITY —Dennis O’Reilly
copy and paste
t h e p ro g r a m h a s two
Photoshop (.psd)
other noteworthy additions. Dreamweaver CS3
a n d I l l u st ra to r
Its Spry framework of Ajax- Adobe Systems
(.ai) files into
like interactive widgets lets PCW Rating 82 Very Good
Flash projects. When
you drag and drop links to Integration with Adobe
you import a .psd or .ai graphic, a dialog box appears so that
XML data onto your pages. Photoshop and other Creative
you can choose settings, including the layers to import.
Enhanced Cascading Style Suite apps will help save site-
We noticed minor changes to the interface, made to
Sheets management tools design and publishing time.
modify Flash so that it looks more like the other Adobe
include the new CSS Price: Rs. 17,955; Rs. 8,955
applications in the suite. Longtime Flash users may need a
Advisor online resource for upgrade from Dreamweaver 8
slight adjustment period.
troubleshooting browser- and Studio MX; also part of the
—Dennis O’Reilly
compatibility issues. various Creative Suite 3 bundles

48 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Feature Packed Ultra Mobile from Asus


UMPC recognized the user without
UMPCs are starting to hesitation. The 2-pound R2H
mature by offering features also includes an SD Card slot,
you can’t get in a notebook or an ethernet port, an AV-out con-
desktop PC. In fact Asus R2H nector, an earphone port, a
packs more features in its 9.25- built-in microphone, and a
by-5.25-by-1.25-inch box than combination expansion port
you’ll find in many PCs. The and VGA analog monitor con-
jam-packed Asus device’s con- nector. Just above the screen is
nectivity and security are hard a built-in 1.3-megapixel video
THE R2H FROM Asus looks more like a portable media player but it
to beat. camera. To top it off, the
offers an exhaustive set of connectivity options for the road warriors.
The R2H has 802.11g Wi-Fi machine has a SiRF III GPS
and Bluetooth wireless built in, transceiver to use along with package. As with other make the R2H a potent option
and USB 2.0 ports are located the bundled copy of Microsoft UMPCs, you have to furnish in the UMPC category.
on either side and on the top of Streets & Trips 2006; we found your own USB 2.0-connected —Thomas Jungbluth
the device. A fingerprint scan- this combination a workable external DVD drive to run the
ner built into the front-left side GPS solution, though it can’t disc. The R2H’s one drawback R2H
of the R2H offers an extra level match the accuracy of a dedi- is its short battery life, the unit Asus
of security (the included soft- cated GPS device. ran out of juice after only 2 PCW Rating 83 Very Good
ware captures two finger scans We were pleasantly sur- hours, 10 minutes of use. The The R2H from Asus is a well
in case the first one can’t be rec- prised to find a real-live Win- sheer functionality and flexibil- priced UMPC offering an
ognized). The few times that we dows XP Tablet PC Edition ity of the Asus handheld, and attractive feature set.
logged on with this scanner, it 2005 DVD provided with the its plethora of built-in features, Price: Rs 77990

Run Palm Apps on Windows Smart Phones


MOBILE COMPUTING transition to Microsoft: Device Center) StyleTap’s icon funky. For example, we had trou-
you’ve invested in a fair StyleTap runs Palm apps on a appeared on the BlackJack ble telling spades from clubs in a
number of Palm applications Windows Mobile device— after our next desktop syn- Palm card game on the Black-
over the years, but now you even if the device doesn’t have chronization. On subsequent Jack. And some pieces of soft-
find yourself coveting a skin- a touch screen. sync sessions, StyleTap ware won’t run at all: Another
ny Windows Mobile–based We tried a preview version of installed the Palm programs application caused the Black-
handset. StyleTap’s epony- StyleTap Platform for Windows and files we chose. Jack’s screen to go white until we
mous software may ease your Smartphone on a Samsung Whenever we ran a Palm rebooted the phone.
BlackJack. Unlike previous ver- app, StyleTap created a cursor StyleTap may not be perfect,
sions of StyleTap, which could that functioned like a stylus: To but it could help you make the
support only Pocket PCs with move it, you use the smart move to one of the increasingly
touch screens, the latest version phone’s directional control (a popular Microsoft Windows
works with newer display for- four-way wheel on the Black- Mobile–based handsets.
mats (for instance, the Black- Jack), pressing either the ‘select’ —Yardena Arar
Jack’s small, wide-aspect-ratio or ‘OK’ button in lieu of tap-
screen) and doesn’t require the ping. By default, the cursor StyleTap Platform for
device to have a touch screen. moves one pixel at a time when Windows Smartphone
Getting started with StyleTap you press the wheel; a cursor StyleTap
is easy: We installed the as- setting lets you increase the PCW Rating 80 Very Good
sociated desktop software—a number of pixels the cursor Useful software lets you run
STYLETAP’S NEW VERSION 1.2MB download. (Windows moves on each wheel press. many Palm apps (awkwardly)
puts Palm apps to work on the Vista users must have the lat- Differences in screen resolu- on Windows Mobile devices.
Windows Mobile OS. est version of Windows Mobile tion make programs look a little Price : Rs. 2,250

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 49


R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Ning and Nexo: Do-It-Yourself Social Networks


SOCIAL NETWORKING video modules on your site
sites like myspace and Face- so that visitors can inter-
book have popularized social act with you—and with
networking via the Web. The one another.
next step: social networks
that you start yourself, away MAKE YOUR SITE
from the spam and adoles- YOUR WAY
cent silliness that can accom- we found both Ning and
pany the big sites. Ning and Nexo easy to use: If you have
Nexo’s eponymous, compet- all the materials you need
ing services let anyone create, (photos, logos, and such), you
at no cost, a site for their could have your site up in half
bowling club, theater com- an hour. Of the two, we prefer
pany, or other group. the look of Ning’s templates
In many ways, Ning and and the basic organization of NING LETS YOU customize a Web page for any interest, but the highly
Nexo aren’t that different the Web sites it creates. And if visible ads from Google mar the otherwise attractive looks.
from services like Home- you know what you’re doing,
stead, which for years have Ning—which was cofounded and embed them on sites. information pulled from
helped people create per- by Net scape pioneer Marc Largely spoiling the look of Amazon.com, say, or post a
s o n a l We b p a g e s . B o t h Andreessen—is a tweaker’s free Ning sites, however, are one-question poll. We didn’t
services offer a variety of paradise. You can easily adjust the Google text ads that take like the default organization
design templates and let everything, from the font used up most of one of the four of Nexo sites, though: The
you point and click to add for body text to the background columns on the page. (For first page of a site shows just
elements to the page (no color of the title bar. Rs. 900 a month, you can a boring list of the
need to download an appli- If you know Cascading remove the ads.) site’s pages.
cation, as site creation is Style Sheets, the editing pos- Nexo, which was in a pub- Ning has another advan-
entirely Web-based). Both sibilities are endless. Ning lic beta when we tested it, tage over Nexo: Its blog and
will provide you with a has opened the site’s source doesn’t allow as much flexi- forum creation tools are a
URL within their domain. code, so programmers can bility as Ning. But for now bit more sophisticated than
And both let you put blogs, build small apps to perform Nexo has one great advan- those of the other service.
discussion forums, and whatever function they need tage: No ads appear on your Ning lets you thread forum
site. Nexo CEO Craig Jora- posts, and blog entries have
ASK OUR EXPERTS sch says the company plans formatting that makes
to include ads on most them look more substantial
pages, probably in the last than Nexo’s.
Laptop Battery Life quarter of this year. You’ll be If you want a Web site that
SHOULD I ALWAYS leave the lithium ion able to pay a nominal can be heavily customized,
battery in my notebook or should I take it monthly fee (price to be and you have the skills to
out until I need it? determined) to prevent make changes, Ning is a great
advertisements. choice. But if all you want is
Even if you use your laptop primarily Nexo does offer more pre- a simple site, go with Nexo,
when it is plugged in, removing the bat- programmed modules, how- especially while it’s ad-free.
tery is not a very good idea. ever, so you can show product —Edward N. Albro
Your battery will function better and last longer if you
keep it in the machine. However, if the battery is unused Nexo Ning
for a long time, it can lose its ability to hold a full charge. Nexo Systems Ning
To use your battery optimally, make sure you charge it up Beta site; not rated PCW Rating 79 Good
all the way when you first buy your notebook. You should Service lets you easily set up a Web Ads mar the looks of this service
then discharge it all the way down, and then charge it up page with lots of module options for creating Web communities.
again. This procedure calibrates the battery and enables it and no ads—for now. Free (Rs. 900 per month without
to run for more cycles. Free advertisements)

50 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


52 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE
CA M ERA P H O NES

Around the world, more cameras are sold in


phones than as stand alone products, making
Nokia and not Canon or Nikon the largest
camera maker and seller. We put eight of the
best imaging phones in the
market to the test.

B Y G E E TA J C H A N N A N A
P H O T O G R A P H Y: S R I VA S TA S H A N D I LYA
I M A G I N G BY P C A N O O P

CONTENT PAGE 53
CAM ERA PH ON ES

WITH A 5 MP sensor and Carl Zeiss optics,


Yes, most cameras in phones are not play here is the time taken between
the N95 from nokia is the best imaging
shots. It includes the number of button
even a spec on even an entry level phone that money can buy today.
clicks required as well as the time the
camera’s quality. To compare an oft phone takes in saving the file on the
memory. Most of the time it is a multi-
used but mis-interpreted spec, entry
ple of the load on the phone at particu-
level cameras are 4-6 mega-pixels lar time, the capacity of the card, free
available memory and the basic
(MP) as compared to the top end
processing speed of the phone. The
camera phones that are 5 MP. Samsung D900 and the Nokia N73 were
the slowest in this regard, taking for-
ever to save pictures.
But, phone makers have plucked the
Whatever the shortcomings, these
chord of instant gratification in human
phones offer a lot of digital camera fea-
beings at the right note. They provide
tures. The Cybershot and N series phones
the thrill of capturing a moment
exemplify this point with the kind of fea-
anywhere, anytime without carrying an
tures that are on offer. You can have expo-
additional device. But sometimes, it
sure compensation, choose from automat-
comes at the cost of the battery life, or
ic scene modes like landscape, portrait,
size. In this comparison, we keep the
beach and snow, shoot in burst mode or
cost factor low, the thrill factor high, see
to understand is that the megapixel even set a timer so that you can feature in
which camera phone gives the best
value is not the end of the world here. the shot with your friends and family.
experience of the lot. Where it
It’s like cubic capacity in engines, or One of the features that we really
compromises on features and where
PMPO in music. Often hyped up but liked though was the panorama mode
on performance.
mostly useless. in the S/E phones. Using this mode you
STILL In this set of phones, the Samsung can click three photographs in a row
PHOTOGRAPHY D900 has a 3 MP camera that is not even and stitch them together to form an
as good as the 2 MP camera sported by extremely wide angle panorama shot.
t h is is t h e nerve
Sony Ericsson (S/E) K750i in quality. Not This is helpful when you are taking a
centre of every camera
only that, another important feature picture of a huge bunch of people or a
phone, all devices in
here is the autofocus great looking landscape
this category strive to outdo the other
in all these cameras. that cannot be captured in
in this criteria. What the consumer has
Some are faster than one frame. If shot proper-
the others in focusing, ly using the small image
THE N73 TAKES good stills but the sluggish resulting in faster cap- guide, which appears
response is a dampner. ture of images and before taking every photo-
preventing the “loss of graph, the photos can turn
moment”. The S/E out to be really great.
K790i and the Nokia Coming down to actual
N95/ N93i were par- WITH CYBERSHOT BRANDING the picture quality, we found
ticularly good in this. Sony Ericsson K790i takes great stills that the S/E K790i per-
But the N95 was not formed the best, despite
able to auto focus objects at a distance. its lesser MP rating as compared to the
On the other hand, the S/E K550i was Nokia N95 in outdoors, with bright light
just a bit slower than the other S/E conditions. The photographs were phe-
phones. Where it excelled was in the nomenally clear, devoid of any noise as
camera startup time. As advertised the compared to the Nokia N95 which was
S/E K550i was one of the fastest to get just a bit noisy. Comparing it to the
the camera going. other 3 MP phones, the Nokia N93i does
How often do you take only one shot? not even stand a chance. The photos
Typically, it’s about 2-3 shots at a time. produced are a bit too noisy for comfort
The important aspect that comes into and not as good as the S/E K790i.

54 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


CA M ERA P H O NES

In low light conditions though the SHOOTING


results of the Nokia N95 and the S/E VIDEOS
K790i were quite comparable, both with though the phones
and without flash. The Nokia N73 per- may be comparable
formed quite well, but the N93i was a when it comes down to shooting still photo-
huge disappointment again. The blue- graphs, they are miles apart when it comes
ish flash distorted the colors in the pho- down to shooting videos. The Nokia N9x
tos in low light conditions, beyond series soars above the others here. These
repair. And, the flash throw was not phones are the most accomplished of the lot
good enough. As a matter of fact, we when it comes to moving pictures. The N93i
found that the flash of the K790i was THE SONY ERICSSON K750I offers fast form factor, though bulky and odd, it is
the best of the lot. focussing and good overall image quality. absolutely apt for shooting video.

F E AT U R E S C O M PA R I S O N

IMAGING PHONES
THE N95 FROM Nokia is the king of video while the Sony Erisson K790i captures crisp stills with its 3.2 MP sensor.
MULTIMEDIA PHONE PCW Score Features and Specifications Performance Bottom line

• Camera Resolution: 5 megapixel A truck load of features, the highest camera resolu-

1 Nokia N95
Best Price: Rs. 34,872
74
Good
• Style: Slider (both side)
• Memory card type: Micro SD
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 6
• Features (out of 100): 92
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 81
tion, great video capture quality, dedicated music
playback buttons, an intuitive new interface are some
of the things that make this one a winner. But for the
BUY • Auto Focus: Yes speed of the phone, Nokia has got it right this time.

• Camera Resolution: 3.2 megapixel The best performer when it comes to still pho-

2 Sony Ericsson K790i


Price: Rs. 17314
71
Good
• Style: Candybar
• Memory card type: Memory Stick Duo
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 8
• Features (out of 100): 73
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 74
tography, there is no other phone to look at if
you want just a camera in a phone. Not as feature
rich as the N95, it does the job of a camera phone
• Auto Focus: Yes wihout any frills.

• Camera Resolution: 3.2 megapixel

71 • Still Camera performance(out of 10): 7 A potential killer phone by Nokia, that comes bun-
Nokia N73 - Music Edition • Style: Candybar dled with a 2GB memory card. But it is a bit of a let
3 Price: Rs. 22870 • Memory card type: Micro SD
• Features (out of 100): 81
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 76
down to use. The phone is too slow, but the camera
Good • Auto Focus: Yes is quite usable, and so are the music features.

• Camera Resolution: 2 megapixel

71 • Still Camera performance(out of 10): 7 If you are on a budget for a camera phone, then
Sony Ericsson K750i • Style: Candybar there is nothing better than the K750i. A good
4 Price: Rs. 9307 • Memory card type: Memory Stick Duo
• Features (out of 100): 66
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 76
2 MP camera, with music features, EDGE and a
Good • Auto Focus: Yes radio at less than 10K is a killer deal.

• Camera Resolution: 3.2 megapixel A bit of a dissapointment in the performance,

5 Nokia N93i
Price: Rs. 32699
70Good
• Style: Clamshell - Swivel
• Memory card type: Micro SD
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 6
• Features (out of 100): 85
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 69
the phone lost out mainly because of its size
and the sub standard still photographs. The
video though was something to marvel at.
• Auto Focus: Yes

• Camera Resolution: 2 megapixel The latest from the Sony Ericsson stable, it

6 Sony Ericsson K550i


Price: Rs. 11339
67 Fair
• Style: Candybar
• Memory card type: Memory Stick Duo
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 6
• Features (out of 100): 64
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 70
replaces the joy stick with a D-pad, making it
more durable. Had good camera startup time, but
takes a bit of time to focus in low light conditions.
• Auto Focus: Yes

• Camera Resolution: 3 megapixel The blonde in all the phones here, it looks the

7 Samsung SGH-D900
Price: Rs. 23499
61Fair
• Style: Slider
• Memory card type: Micro SD
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 5
• Features (out of 100): 69
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 75
best of the lot, with exceptionally good indus-
trial design and a slim form factor. Compared to
the others, the camera is best used sparingly.
• Auto Focus: Yes

• Camera Resolution: 2 megapixel The RIZR is a disspointment compared to the oth-

8 Motorola RIZR Z3
Price: Rs. 9899
57Poor
• Style: Slider
• Memory card type: Micro SD
• Still Camera performance(out of 10): 5
• Features (out of 100): 44
• Design and usability score (out of 100): 75
ers here. The picture quality is not too happening,
and nor the styling. It’s high time that the RIZR,
rises up to the competition.
• Auto Focus: Yes

CHART NOTE: * Prices mentioned above are indicative market prices as on 10-05-2007

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 55


CAM ERA PH ON ES

The flip-and-swivel action that it has is


quite similar to a lot of digital camcord-
ers. It has a really good grip and prevents
the photograph from shaking while tak-
ing the video. The large record button is
extremely easy to use, along with the
zoom options. Along with all these
options you can shoot videos in TV reso-
lution (640x480) at 30 frames-per-second.
Which is similar to any good digital cam- Sony Ericsson
era’s feature sets. But, do not look for uses both its
absolute clarity here as the images are camera and digi-
still a bit pixilated, but easily useful to tal music player
satisfy that urge for instant gratification. brands in phones, WITH HANDYCAM-LIKE styling, the N93i from Nokia does a good job
Some adventurous documentary namely the Cyber with video capture but the still images were average at best.
makers have even made documentaries Shot for camera
using their N series phones. As men- phones and
tioned all the others phones record Walkman for Music phones. Nokia does builds in a more than handy music player
measly 320x240 (max) .3gp videos good manage to provide decent performance with an even better camera. All the Nokia
enough to be watched on the bonsai in its do-it-all phones, but the phones phones here also sport visual radio, which
mobile phone screen. Yes they may perilously come close to halting. They is still at an experimental stage with most
give you an option of a TV out, but are so slow at times, that you feel that all radio channels.
don’t even think of taking all except they lack is the Windows blue screen.
Nokia to the television, since you will On the other hand, the Sony Ericsson USABILITY
be highly disappointed. phones, do one job and do it well, while w h at w e ne e d t o
still providing the functionality for the r e m e m b e r, w i t h o u t
AUDIO/ VIDEO other. The Walkman phones have usable getting too carried
PLAYBACK cameras and the Cybershot phones have away, is that these devices are predom-
this is one big grey area a handy music player built in. inantly phones and not cameras or
when it comes to camera But, the N95 here defies convention, music players.
phones. Different vendors have varied when it comes to Nokia phones. This Ones that look most phone like here are
takes on this. While the Nokia view is to phone is not too bad when it comes to the the Motorola and the Samsung D900.
cram it all in the N series devices, the usual Series 60 culprits like the N73 and Both are sliders, but unlike the Motorola,

C O M PA R I S O N

STACKING THEM UP
WHILE CAMERA PHONES aren’t exactly slim and sleek, the Nokia N95 is surprisingly small for its feature set.

i i 0i
750 00 550 K79
NK -D9 NK R ON
SSO SG H SSO RIZ i CSS
N95 ERIC U NG ERIC R O LA N93 ERI N73
KIA Y S Y TO KIA Y KIA
NO SON SAM SON MO NO SON NO

56 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


CA M ERA P H O NES

The Samsung D900 defines slim and style.


NOTABLE PERFORMING SIMILARLY tO K750i the
Its an extremely good looking phone, and
FEATURES Sony Ericsson K550i is slimmer and gives
definitely one to own if you are looking for
EDGE connectivity.
style with something better than the usual the most notable
camera functionality. But the Motorola feature for me here was
RIZR is a total disappointment. It comes the GPS in N95. It is the first phone in
across as a product that is too late for its this category to have GPS functionality,
time and too dated. and works pretty well. And so does the
The next devices are the Sony Ericsson new interface. One of the most important
phones, that take the shape you want. and commendable feature of this phone
When you want to use them as a phone is the use of standard ports. Finally, Nokia
they are the absolute phone like, but as has risen to the challenge and given a
soon as you want to use them like a camera standard USB mini and 3.5mm audio
just tilt them on the top and open the cover port. No difficult flat cables to manage.
at the back. The phone instantly changes And you can use your favorite head-
into a proper camera with well placed cam- phones too.
era shutter and zoom buttons. All of them The Nokia N93i’s swivel and shoot
are in the absolutely right places. An abso- model is also good, but not implemented
lutely neat design job by the engineers at properly, and leaves a lot to desire. If it
S/E. The device looks and works like a were just for camera phones the S/E
phone when you need to and a camera K790i has the best size, and implementa-
when you want to be the shutter bug. tion. The easy to use phone’s only prob- features on offer. It is the first phone to
All the Nokia phones on the other hand lem is the joystick, which gives away after score above 90 in our features chart. A job
follow individual approaches to design. a while in S/E phones. They have started well done to say the least. But Nokia does
The N73 is similar to the Sony Ericsson, the change with the K550i, using a D-pad. need to get over its nagging speed issues
but is extremely slow to use. You may be We hope it continues in the future. that can sometimes leave a bad after-taste.
able to take a power nap while shuttling The N93i is a bit stuck in no-mans land after
between modes, especially when you are CONCLUSION the launch of N95 and the N73i – Music
using the big 2 GB card filled to the brim all the phones have one USP or the other, Edition and needs to spruce up its sluggish
with music. but one of them, the Nokia N95 shines far software to get back in the race.
The N93i on the other hand, though as and above the rest when it comes to design, On the other hand, the Sony Ericsson K790i
slow as the N73, gives a lot better feel while and performance and the sheer number of needs to be commended for its excellent still
using the camera, especially as the camera. Not even the 5MP N95 camera
camcorder. The grip is steady, but the comes close to being as good as the K790i
THE D900 FROM SAMSUNG is a stylish slider but its
buttons on the phone disappoint no when it comes to still shots. Yes the video
imaging capabilities are off the mark by a long way.
end. They are big but sticky and rub- recording is a bit sub-par and needs to
bery. They Simply do not deserve to be improve. If you just want a still camera
on the phone of this class. and phone, this is the one to buy. The
But the N95, deserves a special men- K750i and K550i are good budget options
tion here for the phenomenal design. in camera phones, but both have some
Though the phone is a bit slow again, if tradeoffs because of the price.
you can get past that, a whole barrage Samsung and Motorola need to
of goodies open up using a new intui- catch up fast here. Though the Sam-
tive series 60 interface. The phone has sung retains the premium position-
everything and the kitchen sink thrown ing because of its looks, it acts more
in as goodies. GPS, Wi-Fi, a 5 MP cam- like a blonde. If you want a Paris
era, 640x480 30 FPS video recording, a Hilton of phones, you have it in the
media player, visual radio, Did I men- Samsung. The Motorola on the other
tion it’s a pretty capable phone too? hand is stuck with its four-letter pseu-
Yes, it comes at a price, but compare donyms that seize to have an effect
that to the number of devices that it after the RAZR. The RIZR simply
replaces, and it’s really something. does not rise up to the challenge.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 57


antivirus

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a n t i v i ru s

STOPPERS
Twenty years after the first one appeared, PC
virus-
es are more diabolical than ever. How do you
keep
them off your system? Read on for the results
of
our rigorous lab tests of the top antivirus progra
ms.
B Y r Ya n n a r a i n e i L L U S T R AT i O n S B Y U n n i K R i S
HnAn

trojan horses. rootkits. botnets. keyloggers. These terms might not mean
much to the average computer user, but to the average computer they’re the equivalent of
the bird flu and Ebola viruses. With money serving as the main motive, tech crooks have
turned these one-time playthings of maladjusted geeks into a serious business.

CONTENT PAGE
antivirus

To see which programs offer today’s best protec- choose our contenders, we selected from Vista-
tion, we tested eight stand-alone antivirus apps: ready popular sellers and best-of-breed programs.
Alwil’s Avast 4 Antivirus Professional Edition, BEST BUY KASPERSKY Alwil and Grisoft offer feature-limited free ver-
BitDefender’s Antivirus 10, Eset’s NOD32, Gri- Excellent virus detection sions of their programs—but to compare apples to
soft’s AVG 7.5 Anti-Virus Professional Edition, and speedy signature apples, we selected their paid versions. Wondering
Kaspersky’s Anti-Virus 6, Panda’s Antivirus 2007, delivery make it the tops. why McAfee isn’t on the list? The company no lon-
Symantec’s Norton AntiVirus ger sells a stand-alone antivirus
2007, and Trend Micro’s AntiVirus app (its VirusScan Plus programs
plus AntiSpyware 2007. These apps include a firewall). Another no-
allow users to pick and choose show is F-Secure, whose popular
their other security software (such app wasn’t Vista-ready in time for
as firewalls), and they cost less inclusion in our testing.
than security suites. All include
antispyware protection, and many
have antirootkit components to
defend against devious attempts to
1 Kaspersky
our best buy antivirus pro-
gram, Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 de-
hide malware deep within a sys- livered top-notch success rates for
tem. To protect against unknown malware detection (96 percent) and
viruses, all of the apps we tested disinfection performance (86 per-
come with some form of proactive cent of all items). It was fastest at
protection to supplement more-traditional producing new signatures, too, with a response
Best
signature-based approaches, which must BUY time of 0 to 2 hours.
match incoming threats against a database You’ll pay for this stellar performance, however.
of known threats in order to block them. At Rs. 2,250 for the downloaded product, Anti-
After rigorous analysis, we awarded Kas- Virus 6 is the most expensive program we tested,
persky’s well-designed Anti-Virus 6 the Best though the renewal cost drops to Rs. 1,575 per
Buy. It ended up in a virtual dead heat with the year. In addition, its proactive protection was only
entries from Symantec and BitDefender for best middling, catching approximately half of the 200
malware detection honors, and it also did the best new malware samples it was exposed to when
job of cleaning malware infections. At Rs. 2,250, tested using a one-month-old signature database.
however, it’s relatively expensive. nORTOn The Protection Anti-Virus 6’s polished interface makes it easy
In partnership with security research company Center affords a useful for users to schedule scans. And clearly labeled,
AV-Test.org, we tested the programs under Micro- at-a-glance summary of one-click drill-down options make finding and set-
soft Vista Ultimate; all eight have a Windows XP system security status. ting up various advanced features a breeze.
version as well. By far the most impor- In dealing with e-mail and news
tant tests that AV-Test conducted pit- traffic, the program scans incom-
ted each app against a “zoo”—a collec- ing and outgoing data over the
tion of nearly 900,000 viruses, Trojan POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and NNTP
horses, bots, and other forms of mal- protocols. It monitors HTTP traffic
ware. After this, each app had to try to for Web-borne threats, too. It
detect current threats using one- and doesn’t set up a default scheduled
two-month-old signature files to simu- scan, however—you’ll need to set
late how well it could block unknown one up yourself.
malware. Our three best-rated apps Built-in antiphishing protection
were, not surprisingly, those that per- can block scam e-mail, and Kasper-
formed best in these critical tests. sky’s “proactive defense” module
We also rated each program on its design and looks for the hidden processes and Regis-
ease of use, including whether the application try changes that can signal malware hid-
installed with an appropriate default configura- den with a rootkit.
tion. We then factored in performance, support If you buy this program, do so online—
policies, and whether the app had features such as the download costs Rs. 450 less than the
Web-traffic scanning. Finally we rated cost. To retail box. If you want to get the Vista-

60 w w w. P C w O R L D . i n june 2007 CONTENT PAGE


a n t i v i ru s

compatible flavor, you’ll have to download the pro-


Norton face. It was the slowest to respond to virus out-
gram anyway. Just be sure to download the right Antivirus is breaks, however, taking 10 to 12 hours on average
version; it’s easy to click the wrong link among the to deliver new signatures. And like Kaspersky’s, its
many offered on the downloads page. a solid proactive protection was only middling, catching
performer, about half of the unknown threats in our test.

2 Symantec
symantec norton antivirus 2007 is a
solid performer, with an overall virus detection
but support
At Rs.1,800, Norton Antivirus 2007 costs less
than Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6, but Symantec offers
only a paltry Rs. 45 discount for yearly renewals,
rate of 96 percent, placing it firmly in the upper calls come at making it one of the more expensive antivirus
echelon of the test group. Like the other top-rated
products, it has an attractive and easy-to-use inter-
a price. options in the long term. Tech support is simi-
larly costly:

f e at u r e s c o m pa r i s o n

Top Antivirus Performers


KASPERSKY’S first-rate but pricey program offers a smooth, easy-to-use design and excellent protection against malware.

Design Malware- Proactive False- Outbreak-


detection System
AntiVirus Software PCW Rating and ease detection
of unknown
positive
slowdown 4
response time Bottom line
of use rate 1 detections 3 (hours) 5
threats 2

85
Kaspersky Anti-Virus 6 This effective but expensive program
Rs. 2,250 (Rs. 1,575 has solid malware detection and
1 renewal)
Superior 96% 51% 6 10% 0 to 2
the fastest outbreak-response time
Very Good among currently tested competitors.

Symantec Norton
84
Symantec’s solid program wins top
AntiVirus 2007 marks for antivirus detection and
2 Rs. 1,800 (Rs. 1,755 renewal)
Superior 96% 49% 3 10% 10 to 12
cleanup, but its renewal and support
Very Good costs are high.

84
BitDefender has excellent malware
BitDefender Antivirus 10
detection and a good price, but it
3 Rs. 1,350 (Rs. 990 renewal) Superior 96% 61% 14 124% 4 to 6
causes a noticeable (though not
Very Good show-stopping) system slowdown.

84
NOD32 provides the best proactive
Eset NOD32
Very protection by far, but its overall mal-
4 Rs. 1,755 (Rs. 1,215 renewal)
Good
90% 79% 6 5% 4 to 6
ware detection is second-tier, and it
Very Good has an overly technical interface.

79
This competitively priced option
Panda Antivirus 2007
Very offers good proactive protection,
5 Rs. 1,350 (Rs. 1,350 renewal)
Good
90% 56% 3 4% 6 to 8
average overall malware detection,
Good and a poor disinfection rate.

Alwil Avast 4 Antivirus


6 Professional Edition
Rs. 1,800 (Rs. 1,260 renewal)
78Good
Good 92% 37% 5 4% 6 to 8
This program has decent overall mal-
ware detection, but poor proactive
protection, and an awkward design.

Grisoft AVG 7.5 Anti-Virus


77
The least-expensive program we
Professional Edition tested, AVG has average overall mal-
7 Rs. 1,350 (Rs. 675 renewal)
Good 91% 34% 1 2% 6 to 8
ware detection, the worst proactive
Good protection, and a clunky interface.

Trend Micro AntiVirus


71
Trend Micro’s poor performance at
plus AntiSpyware 2007 Very detecting malicious software (overall
8 Rs. 1,800 (Rs. 1,800 renewal) Good
82% 43% 0 9% 6 to 8
and proactive) put it at the bottom of
Good the barrel in our ranking.

FOOTNOTES: 1 Tests conducted using AV-Test.org’s collection of 884,164 malware samples. 2 Tested using one-month-old signature files. 3 The number of harmless files incorrectly identified as
suspect, out of 20,000. 4 The amount of slowdown seen on a computer running Microsoft Office with the antivirus software installed, compared to the same computer without the software.
5
The number of hours, on average, that the company took to deliver signatures for new malware during the first part of 2007. CHART NOTES: Street prices are as of 3/31/07. The PCW Rating is
based on the program’s malware detection rate (overall and proactive), performance (including scan speed and system slowdown tests), price, specs, and product design.

CONTENT PAGE june 2007 w w w. P C W O R L D . i n 61


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antivirus

Norton performed well in our disinfection tests, Though it excelled at detection, BitDefender was
finishing second only to Kaspersky. It cleaned up less adept at disinfection. It successfully cleaned
18 of 22 possible items, missing just one of the BiTDEFEnDER Glitches just 13 of 22 items, missing one malware file and
two changes to the Hosts network settings file with the Vista version’s both of the changes to the Hosts file.
and three less-important Registry items. performance sabotaged BitDefender also turned in the highest false-posi-
Symantec has incorporated the new SONAR the product’s ranking. tive rate, mislabeling 14 harmless files (out of a total
behavioral analysis technology for of 20,000 in the test) as malware.
proactive protection. The program On the plus side, BitDefender has a
scans e-mail and Web traffic, cov- well-designed interface, with a slider
ering the POP3, SMTP, and HTTP bar in the main window that lets you
protocols. In addition, it ties into easily modify protection levels, and
the MSN, Yahoo, and AOL instant clearly marked icons for launching
messaging programs (though it full scans or setting up custom scans.
protects only MSN by default). It was also the only product to offer
During our tests of Norton Anti- free 24/7 phone support, with easy-
Virus’s de sign and ease of use to-locate phone numbers and support
under Windows Vista Ultimate, the e-mail addresses listed in the app’s
program turned off the built-in Help section.
Windows Defender antispyware By default, the program runs a full-
utility without notice. This is not because system scan daily. It monitors e-mail traffic on the
the two utilities conflict, according to the POP3 and SMTP protocols, and integrates nicely
company, but because Symantec feels that with Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express, and Win-
“Windows Defender offers no value beyond dows Mail (on Vista) for antispam filtering. BitDe-
what Norton offers.” BitDefender was the fender provides a basic level of instant messaging
only other program that disabled Defender protection, but unfortunately it doesn’t scan HTTP
when it installed. traffic by default to identify Web-borne threats—
Symantec Norton AntiVirus 2007 was also the you’ll have to turn that capability on yourself.
only program that triggered multiple UAC (User A unique “privacy guard” feature detects when
Account Control) alerts when we changed settings; ESET nOD32 The personal information—such as a credit card num-
that behavior could easily annoy power users who company plans to revamp ber or Social Security number—is being stolen
might want to customize the app. its difficult-to-decipher from a computer, without your first having to tell
program interface. the program what those numbers are. On the other

3 BitDefender
bitdefender antivirus 10 nearly
took top honors overall. It did a fine job of
hand, BitDefender was one of only two programs
we tested that automatically disabled Vista’s built-in
Windows Defender antispyware utility, however.
detecting malware, with a 96 percent catch
rate. And it ranked second in our proactive-
detection tests (behind Eset’s NOD32) when
relying on one-month-old signature files,
4 Eset
when it comes to proactive protection,
Eset’s NOD32 clearly wins. In our tests it caught 79
nabbing 61 percent of new malware samples. percent of unknown malware samples when using
And at Rs. 1,350, with a Rs.990 renewal fee, one-month-old signature files. The next-closest app,
it’s one of the least-expensive apps we tested. BitDefender, was a distant second at 61 percent.
The program was badly hamstrung by NOD32’s overall malware detection rate wasn’t
serious slowdowns in our application per- stellar, however. Pitted against the huge AV-Test.
formance tests, however. One Firefox test, org zoo of Trojan horses, viruses, and
for example, which loads a large number of other malware, NOD32 spotted only 90
different Web pages, took three times long- percent of the baddies, compared to the
er with BitDefender than with any other top performers’ 96 percent rate. It fared
program we tested. The company attributes surprisingly poorly with 32-bit Windows
the slowdown to a known bug in the Vista viruses (which account for approximately
version and says that a future BitDefender 1 of every 11 samples in the zoo), catching
update will fix it. only about 75 percent of these. In disin-

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fection tests, NOD32 cleaned up all malware files At Rs. 1,755 for a single-user license and Rs.
but missed any resulting changes to the Hosts net- 1,215 for yearly renewals, Eset NOD32’s pricing is
work settings file and most Registry changes, for a about average for the group. E-mail and phone
disappointing 55 percent success rate. support is free.
The program installed without a hitch, and the

5
PAnDA So-so malware
default settings were almost ideal for the average Panda
detection translated
customer. One annoyance: NOD32 doesn’t enable panda antivirus 2007’s middle-of-the-
into a middle-of-the-
the full-system scan by default; you have to sched- road detection re sults, inadequate default set-
pack ranking for Panda
ule it yourself. And when you try to set that up or tings, and uninspired disinfection performance
Antivirus 2007.
want to change other settings, you offset its strong features to pro-
may be turned off by an overly duce an unimpressive fifth-place
technical interface. For instance, ranking in our tests.
you’ll need to open up the ‘DMON’ The application discovered 90
interface module to figure out that percent of AV-Test.org’s malware
it’s responsible for scanning samples, a detection rate that was
Microsoft Office documents. Also, dragged down by a relatively poor
if you do need help, the program showing at catching Trojan horses
offers no guideposts for finding (87 percent) and back-door pro-
support; you must go to the com- grams (86 percent), two increas-
pany’s Web site. ingly common types of malware. It
The program ties into Out- turned in the third-best showing
look and Outlook Ex press for for proactive detection, however,
e-mail scanning, though it doesn’t catching 56 percent of new samples with one-
directly integrate with any IM applica- month-old signatures.
tions for scanning sent links or files. In Unfortunately, several important protective
addition, it offers integrated virus, spy- features of Panda Antivirus 2007 are turned off
ware, and adware scanning, where by default. You’ll need to enable e-mail scanning
other programs require two separate yourself in a complicated process that sends you
scans, one for antivirus and one for antispy- to the Windows Control Panel. Protection
ware. The multithreat engine can also detect against “potentially dangerous files”—a euphe-
malware-hiding rootkits. mism for adware and other annoying junk

p r oac t i v e D e f e n s e

When a Signature Isn’t Enough


one PRoACtiVe APPRoACH of malware, but behavioral be analyzed in a protected ished last, at 34 percent, de-
uses a method called heu- analysis, another proactive- virtual environment. the top spite using a sandbox.
ristics to examine a virus’s protection technique, looks two performers in our pro- these numbers demon-
programming for suspect at it from the outside to see active tests, which subject strate that though proactive
commands or segments of how it runs. if a file behaves PCs protected by month-old protections are important
code. often this method can suspiciously, such as by exe- signatures to new malware supplements, they are not
catch a new variant of some cuting from a temp directo- to simulate future unknown yet ready to replace tradi-
existing malware—one of ry, antivirus programs may threats, rely on the sandbox tional signatures altogether.
the many Storm worms, for flag it as potential malware. approach. eset’s noD32 to see how effectively our
example—by recognizing Some newer, advanced program intercepted 79 tested programs handled
commonalities with previ- types of behavioral meth- percent of malware, and proactive scanning, consult
ously analyzed variants. ods create what’s called a BitDefender Antivirus 10 the “Proactive detection of
the heuristics approach sandbox, in which part or all stopped 61 percent. on the unknown threats” column in
looks inside a potential piece of a suspect program can other hand, Grisoft AVG fin- the chart on page 105.

CONTENT PAGE june 2007 w w w. P C w O R L D . i n 65


antivirus

that normally gets caught by antispyware in the malware. It spotted only 37 percent of the malware in
course of its standard operations—is also our proactive tests, the second-worst showing.
turned off, and you’ll need to schedule your In our disinfection tests Avast was about aver-
own full-system scan. age, cleaning all infected files but missing changes
Once you switch these features on, however, AVAST The basic layout to the Hosts network settings file and some Regis-
Panda Antivirus scans will cover a good range of option is easy to use try entries. Its catch rate was 78 percent.
e-mail and news protocols—POP3, SMTP, IMAP4, but hides advanced The program installed smoothly, with appropri-
N N T P — a l o n g w i t h We b t r a f f i c . I t configuration settings. ate default settings for the average person. It offers
flags suspected phishing two interface options: a dis-
e-mail sent over POP3 and tinct, media player–type
SMTP, and integrates with control panel that makes it
Yahoo, MSN, and AOL IM easy to figure out how to
applications. launch a scan or set a manu-
Panda Antivirus 2007 al boot-time scan; and an
scored poorly in our “enhanced interface” that
disinfection tests. It missed permits you to access and
one existing infection entirely, and failed to clean fine-tune more settings, but that seems far
up another’s changes to the Hosts and Registry less user-friendly than the first option.
files. Including Registry changes, it scrubbed up After installation, Avast runs one full-sys-
just 41 percent of all in fections. And after we tem startup scan. But in the awkward
uninstalled it, Panda left behind a stray .dll file advanced interface, we could not find a place
that some other antivirus programs then flagged to set up a regularly scheduled scan. One
as potentially dangerous. option enables scans whenever the screen
At Rs. 1,350 for two PCs (there is no single-license saver is running, but again, this program
rate), Panda Antivirus 2007 is among the most setting was difficult to locate.
affordable programs we tested, but unlike with The program scans a good range of e-mail and
most apps, you receive no renewal discount. news protocols, including POP3, SMTP, IMAP,
and NNTP. It also scans all Web traffic. And Avast

6 Alwil
the paid version of Alwil’s software, Avast 4
Professional Edition, finished a disappointing sixth,
4’s comprehensive instant messaging protection
fully supports a number of the most popular IM
clients—AIM, ICQ, MSN, Skype, Trillian, and
despite a decent, 92 percent success rate at detecting Yahoo Messenger—and even several lesser-

p r oac t i v e D e f e n s e

Security Suites by Indian Players


we ALReADY MentioneD offer overall protection. security suite comparison. wall as a total solution.
the reason for leaving McA- Here is a brief preview of Microworld also offers a Priced at Rs 1,350 it is one
fee and f-Secure out of the what the two of them offer. free antivirus toolkit utility. of the cheapest security
list.there are a couple of Download it from http:// suites that is available
indian programs that we escan internet www.mwti.net/products/ today. the latest version
could not include in the security suite mwav/mwav.asp the toolkit offers some additional fea-
comparison. unlike the cur- the eScan internet Security offers basic scanning and tures like “emergency CD”
rent participants in the Suite from Microworld does not come with mail that lets you create your
comparison, they offer offers Antivirus, Anti Spam, protection or virus shields. own bootable recovery CD
standalone antivirus pro- Parental Control and Priva- to clean and revive badly
tection, eScan from Microw- cy Protection for your com- Quick Heal antivirus 2007 infected PCs, which cannot
orld and Quick Heal both puter. we will be evaluating Quick Heal offers Antivi- be fixed at the operating
offer security suites that eScan when we conduct a rus, Antispyware and fire- system level.

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a n t i v i ru s

known chat tools, such as Gaim, Miranda, and paid Professional version is Rs. 1,350, and renewal
Pal Talk Messenger. costs only a scant Rs. 675 per year thereafter.
At installation, Avast 4 places on your PC a use- AVG This low-cost but
ful, built-in Virus Recovery Database, which you
can theoretically use to repair infected program (.
exe) files (we didn’t test this functionality).
clunky app performed
poorly in our proactive-
protection tests.
8 TrendMicro
the last-place ranking of Trend Micro
Antivirus plus AntiSpyware 2007 was primarily
The paid Professional version of determined by its lackluster perfor-
Avast 4 costs Rs. 1,800, with a Rs. mance at detecting malware samples.
1,260 yearly renewal fee. A free Home The program missed almost one in
version lacks some features such as every five samples, for an entirely dis-
the ability to run scheduled scans and appointing catch rate of 82 percent.
view previous scan results. Trend Micro did somewhat bet-
ter at proactively detecting

7 Grisoft
grisoft avg 7.5 Anti-Virus
Professional Edition was the least-
unknown malware, but even here
it had the third-worst showing. It
caught 43 percent of threats when
expensive option of the eight pro- tested with a one-month-old scan-
grams we tested, and its 91 percent ner. Weighed down by a relatively
malware detection rate put it in the expensive Rs. 1,800 price tag and
middle of the pack in that critical the lack of a renewal discount,
category. Unfortunately, the soft- Trend Micro’s antivirus product
ware’s last-place proactive protection performance left much to be desired.
and clunky interface dropped it to seventh place in On the plus side, the program
our rankings. installed smoothly, was easy to
AVG did a fine job in the disinfection tests, revers- use, and includes good default settings—such as
ing more than 80 percent of all changes made by an automatically scheduled full-system scan—for
malware. It was the only program that removed the average person. It provides a user-configurable
every malware file and reversed both changes to the TREnD miCRO The worst scheduled scan, and it checks for definition
Hosts network settings file, though like every other overall malware detection updates every 3 hours. These defaults are a snap to
app it missed some Registry changes. rate all but guaranteed change via an intuitive and smooth interface that
But in proactive protection, AVG ranked last, failing this package last place. will appeal to even the most nontechnical user.
to detect two out of every three new One particularly useful feature
malware samples. Also, the pro- scans for known Microsoft prod-
gram puts the user in charge of too uct vulnerabilities. If a machine is
many decisions that require missing an important security
advanced know-how. To schedule a patch, for example, the applica-
scan, for example, you have to wade tion guides the user to Microsoft’s
through a “test manager” and fig- Windows Update site to down-
ure out what the differences are be- load and apply the appropriate
tween a complete test, a detailed updates and patches.
test, a detailed user test, and a sim- Trend Micro’s AntiVirus scans
ple user test. Grisoft intends to e-mail traffic over the POP3 and
revamp the interface, but we found SMTP protocols, but unlike practi-
this one hard to manage. cally every other program we test-
Grisoft’s AVG integrates nicely with ed (except for Grisoft’s AVG), it does not scan HTML
Eudora and Microsoft Outlook to quaran- traffic. Also, it stands alone in being unable to launch
tine suspect e-mail messages, and it scans a manual file scan when you right-click within Win-
all programs’ e-mail traffic over POP3 and dows Explorer, a weakness in the Vista version that
SMTP protocols. However, it was only one the company says it will remedy in future updates.
of two programs (Trend Micro being the And finally, the application’s antispyware protection
other) that don’t scan Web traffic, and it doesn’t has an annoying habit of labeling tracking cookies as
directly support any specific IM clients either. The dangerous spyware.

CONTENT PAGE june 2007 w w w. P C w O R L D . i n 67


FREE ST UFF

50 PLUS

68 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


FANTASTIC
FREEBIES
Want to make your PC more productive, secure,
informative, and entertaining? These software
do the trick—and they don’t cost a rupee
Once upon a time you actually had to pay for great software or use
illegal cracked versions. Luckily, we no longer live in that world.
Want to tune up your PC, keep it safe, create graphics, or back up
your system with gobs of free storage space? You can find free
software to do all that, and plenty more. We revved up our cable
modem and searched for the most intriguing free offerings out
there. Here are our hand picked goodies for all your tasks.

BY P R ESTO N G RA L L A
ILLUSTRATIONS BY ANIL T

CONTENT PAGE
FREE ST UFF

TWEAKING WINDOWS VISTA SECURITY TOOLS


TweakVI Basic: If you want to do some Ad-Aware SE Personal: Lavasoft’s free Ad-
serious Windows Vista tweaking, you Aware Personal 1.06 does a good job of
need this utility. Microsoft seems to have protecting you against adware and spy-
gone out of its way to make Vista ware that have already made the trip to
unfriendly to power users. But this great your PC, but it lacks the preventative pro-
freebie gives you hundreds of ways to tection features that are available only in
adjust the operating system, tasks that Lavasoft’s paid products.
otherwise would be extremely difficult to Avast: In a world filled with high-priced
do. Whether you want to, say, hack the subscription-based antivirus programs
Start menu, put an image on Internet that bog down your PC while protecting
Explorer’s toolbar, or optimize your it, Avast stands out. This program is one
SYSTEM UTILITIES CPU’s cache, this program has some- of the few free antivirus applications
thing for you. that do as good a job as any of the big
TWEAKING WINDOWS XP VistaBootPRO : Want to change how boys. Avast includes more than seven
Fresh UI: Fresh UI is a tweaker’s heaven: Windows Vista boots? Ordinarily you’d different varieties of shields, safe-surf-
With it you can change scores of settings have to learn the ins
in XP, many of which you probably never and outs of the incom-
knew existed. Want to alter any aspect of prehensible BCDEdit
the Windows interface? Go ahead. Cus- command-line tool. But
tomize the Start menu? No problem. this simple, graphical
Change global menu settings and dozens program lets you mas-
of network and Internet settings? You can ter Vista’s boot-up and
do them all, and a whole lot more. startup without ever
Microsoft Power Toys for Windows XP: touching the dreaded
Who says Microsoft can’t write great BCDEdit.
software? These easy-to-use tweaking EasyBCD: Another BCD
tools allow you to customize XP in editor, this one is great AVAST CAN STOP viruses threatening your inbox and chat client.
countless ways. for setting up a machine
Tweak and Tune: This freebie doesn’t have with Vista and other operating systems, ing tools, and real-time virus protection
as many options and tools as Fresh UI such as Linux or XP. Setting up and config- for your OS, as well as for Outlook. The
does, but it’s simple to use and well laid- uring Windows boot entries is simple, and program downloads and installs updates
out. It is extremely simple to use for any- there is no easier way to quickly boot right automatically, and Avast works with
one who wants a straightforward into Linux, Mac OS X, or BSD straight from both Windows Vista and XP. Given all
approach to tweaking. the Windows Vista bootloader - on the fly. this, why pay?
ZoneAlarm: This free firewall still beats
anything Microsoft puts into Windows,
including the features in Windows Vista.
To further limit your exposure to attack,
specify which applications can access the
Internet. The program lets you stop e-mail-
borne Visual Basic Script worms, too.
AVG Anti-Virus Free: Protecting against
viruses and hackers, this application
works with both Windows Vista and ear-
lier versions. For home users AVG allows
unlimited use and unlimited updates.
SMAC: This utility lets you change the
MAC address (the unique ID) of a wireless
adapter. Use it to perform vulnerability test-
FRESH UI GIVES you the tools to mold Windows XP to look and act just as you want it. ing, or to keep your identity private.

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Microsoft Windows Defender: Though not SpeedFan: This must-have for serious over-
FILE SHARING
everyone is a fan of Microsoft’s antispy- clockers touts itself as a monitor for your AllPeers: Need to share files? AllPeers,
ware program, we love some of its system’s temperature and fan speed. The which works from within Firefox (an
tools. We’re particularly fond of the real reason it’s worthwhile is that it lets you Internet Explorer version is planned, but
Software Explorer feature, which lets easily overclock your PC and adjust the fan not yet available), lets you set up folders
you disable programs that launch on speed so it doesn’t overheat. for file sharing. You can specify who has
Windows startup. M2 Information: This program performs a access to those files, and you can send
Spybot Search and Destroy: We still adore quick scan of your computer and lists details messages to those people to alert them
this perennial favorite. But remember — such as the processor type and speed, the when files are ready. In addition, you can
since no single antispyware program can amount of RAM, and disk information. share Web pages or images from Web
detect and kill all spyware, Spybot should pages, and you can view any media files
be just one piece of your security arsenal. you receive from other people right inside
Firefox. It’s the easiest way to share files
REGISTRY CLEANERS of any kind with anyone.
TweakNow RegCleaner Standard: The reg- Pando: This peer-to-peer software lets you
istry is a scary place and TweakNow Reg- easily send and receive large files through
Cleaner Standard is your virtual Virgil, a e-mail or instant messaging clients. The
guide into the depths of the registry. It utility is particularly helpful because
automatically scans your registry and most ISPs have size limitations for send-
reveals problems. After you examine the ing or receiving e-mail file attachments.
changes and tell the software to do its uTorrent: uTorrent is a standalone app
magic, it cleans the registry for you. and is extremely small in size. But that
Clean My Registry:This Registry cleaner does not compromise on features.
will not show you quite as much informa-
INTERNET UTILITIES Skype: Phone other Skype members for
tion as TweakNow does, but it is fast and it free, enjoy video calls, and make cheap
does a good job of sweeping away the junk. E-MAIL CLIENTS international calls.
Thunderbird : This e-mail client has a Yahoo Messenger: One of the earlier IM
SYSTEM INFORMATION nice, simple interface, spam filtering, services, this software has gotten more
Belarc Advisor: If you’re looking for an antiphishing features, RSS news-feed
exquisitely detailed audit of your hard- functions, quick search, and a spelling
ware, this is the download you need. The checker. It’s from the folks who brought
program starts with the basics, such as you the Firefox Web browser.
the computer manufacturer, installed Eudora: Sure, this freebie e-mail favorite
RAM, hard-disk size, and processor type has been around for quite some time. But
and speed. But it also shows you the there’s a good reason for that: Eudora
motherboard maker, hard-disk manufac- includes features like Mood Watch (which
turer, chassis serial number, PC service rates messages on a mood meter) that no
tag, bus type and speed, multimedia other tool has. People who suffer from e-
devices...the list goes on. mail overload (and that’s everyone, isn’t
it?) will treasure the
program’s unique
folders-based ALLPEERS LETS YOU share pictures, music,
approach to message and videos within Firefox.
organization.
Spamato : Tired of attractive with group videoconferencing,
wading through the emoticons, and sounds.
spam clogging your Trillian: Like Meebo, Trillian lets you log
inbox? This add-on for into multiple instant messaging systems
Outlook, Thunderbird, simultaneously. The difference is that it’s
and Mozilla Mail does a download, not a Web site.
WITH BELARC YOU can quickly take an inventory of your PC’s everything it can to Windows GAIM:This Windows version of the
installed hardware and software. eradicate the junk. open-source client lets you log into and

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 71


FREE ST UFF

communicate on multiple IM networks,


including AIM, ICQ, IRC, Jabber, MSN
Messenger, Yahoo, and more.
Google Talk: Though Google Talk doesn’t
have the big installed base of other
instant messaging systems, its clean,
simple interface and voice features
make it a good choice.
Microsoft Windows Live Messenger :
Windows Live Messenger’s easy file and
GOOGLE’S DESKTOP SEARCH brings the familiar interface of Google Web search to items on
video sharing is a big plus.
your PC, including files and browsers.

complete suite, it provides a word proc- programmers includes syntax highlighting


essor, a spreadsheet, a presentation for HTML, C/C++, Perl, and Java.
program, a database — and, for über- EditPad Lite: This text editor opens mul-
geeks, a “mathematical function calcu- tiple files (each in its own tab), opens files
lator” (but if you have to ask what it is, of any size, and allows you unlimited
you don’t need it). undo and redo — in other words, it has
Backpack: Juggling multiple projects has everything that Notepad doesn’t.
never been so easy. For every project you
create a separate page, each of which can BACKUP AND FILE
include to-do lists, freeform text, notes, SYNCHRONIZATION
links, files, images, and reminders. Back- Microsoft SyncToy: This great Microsoft
pack also has a calendar, and if you use freebie permits you to keep folders on
PRODUCTIVITY Apple iCal, Mozilla Calendar, or any pro- different machines automatically syn-
gram that supports the iCalendar format, chronized — so it’s perfect for synchro-
AND OFFICE APPS your reminders will be automatically nizing folders on a laptop and a desktop.
added to your Backpack calendar. You can
DESKTOP SEARCH even have reminders sent to you via e-mail
Google Desktop: Google has done more or to your cell phone.
than just conquer the Internet — with Sticky Notes: This program does exactly
Google Desktop, it has conquered your PC what its name says: It allows you to create
as well. The program brings the same kind virtual sticky reminder notes that you
of fast, accurate searching to your desktop place right on your computer’s desktop.
that Google does to the Web. It searches as Easy To-Do : With this small, simple
you type, and displays the results in your download, you can quickly create and
browser. One nice touch: When the pro- track to-do lists.
gram is installed and you search via the NoteTab Light: This utility improves on
Google Web site, the results will also Windows’ Notepad in so many ways, it’s
include those from your computer. hard to count them. Start with the
Copernic Desktop Search: With an interface basics: You can open multiple files, not
designed for your PC rather than for the Web, just one, as you must in Notepad. Each
NOTETAB LIGHT CAN open many documents
this search tool may be the easiest to use. file runs in its own tab, so switching
at once and strip the HTML; it has lots of
Windows Desktop Search: One big benefit between them is easy. The program
editing utilities, too.
of Microsoft’s desktop search program is comes with all kinds of nifty built-in
its integration with both Microsoft Out- tools, too, such as a feature that strips Everyday Auto Backup: If you’re looking
look and Outlook Express e-mail. HTML out of a document, a Paste Board for a simple, no-frills download that will
that saves text clips automatically, mac- back up your data, this is the tool to try.
OFFICE SUITES AND WORD ros, and plenty more. Microsoft Foldershare: Use this tool to
PROCESSORS Crimson Editor synchronize files with multiple desk-
OpenOffice.org : OpenOffice.org, the Do you need a geeked-out Notepad replace- tops — including Apple machines —
free competitor to Microsoft Office is a ment? Look no further. This text editor for over the Internet.

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Irfanview: Yes, we know this one has been cial skins and dozens of color schemes
around a while. But it’s still one of the best keep it looking good.
free image viewers for just about any file iTunes: Amonst other things, iTunes offers
type, showing detailed information about MP3 and pristine-quality AAC-encoding
images, helping you create slide shows, and from audio CDs, smart playlists, burning
performing tasks like eliminating red-eye. custom playlists to CDs and MP3 CDs and
StudioLine Photo Basic: Here’s a great of couse, transfer music to your iPod.
program for archiving photos and for Audacity: If you want to create media, not
organizing your collection. just consume it, try this program, which
Microsoft Photo Info: This useful freebie, includes audio recording tools and sophisti-
which integrates directly into Windows cated editing functions. You can even create
Explorer, lets you preview an image and audio soundscapes from scratch. You can
MULTIMEDIA embed metadata into it by right-clicking it. add any of several dozen effects, use a sound
APPLICATIONS FastStone MaxView: This petite (1.3MB) mixer...in short, the app has everything you
image editor is
VIDEO small enough to
VLC Media Player: If you play a lot of video store on an old
and use Windows Media Player, you’ve prob- floppy disk! Don’t
ably come across a number of files that you let its size fool you,
can’t play — you’re told you need to have a though: FastStone
codec to handle them. Good luck finding that MaxView sports
codec. Instead, try the VLC media player. This lots of photo
software plays pretty much every media type manipulation
you can think of — and likely a few you tools, such as those
haven’t imagined. Not only will it play audio for rotating, flip-
and video formats, but it will also play DVDs, ping, resizing,
VCDs, and many streaming protocols. and blurring.
iTunes Foobar2000 : This straightfor- GIMP — GNU Image
ward audio player won’t take up much Manipulation Pro-
RAM or system resources, and plays a gram: This program
AUDACITY AUDIO EDITOR lets you record, play, convert, and edit
wide variety of audio formats. is a favorite of open-
various audio files.
source software fans
IMAGE everywhere. No, it isn’t the easiest to use, need. While you don’t have to be well-versed
Google Picasa Snapfire: Snapfire juggles but it’s nearly as powerful as Photoshop. in sound editing to use it, people with some
all your image editing, management, and Paint.Net: This surprisingly powerful experience will particularly enjoy its power.
sharing tasks with ease. image editing and manipulation pro- Free iPod Video Converter: This tool does
gram includes unlim- precisely what its name says: It converts
ited undos and spe- videos from a variety of formats so that you
cial effects, and even can watch them on your iPod’s screen.
provides the ability to PSP Video 9: Sony’s PlayStation Portable
work in layers. handheld makes a terrific video player.
The PSP Video 9 program converts PC
AUDIO video files (.avi, .mpg, DivX, etc.) into the
AOL Nullsoft PSP video format for playback.
Winamp : There are DVD Shrink: If you have ever attempted to
lots of MP3 players make a backup copy of a DVD movie to a
available, but this DVD-R, you’ve probably discovered that
popular program is you can’t do it because DVD movie discs
one of the best belov- are dual-layer and have more data than can
ed. Winamp saves fit on a recordable disc. DVD Shrink solves
playlits and equalizer the problem by compressing the DVD data,
GOOGLE PICASA MAKES organizing and editing photos easier. settings, and the spe- letting you make the copy fit on a DVD.

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NETWO RKI NG

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EASY
FIXES FOR YOUR
Network Problems BY BECKY WARING
ILLUSTRATIONS BY MM SHANITH

Here’s help for real-world hassles, from dead spots


to security threats to streaming-media hiccups.
Networks are dandy when they hum along behind the scenes, but all too often they fail.
When your printer goes AWOL or your Skype calls break up every time your spouse starts
watching YouTube, it’s time to get your geek on and learn what makes your network tick.
Here are some tried-and-true strategies — and some new tricks — to help you make your
network behave.

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NETWO RKI NG

D-LINK’S USB RANGEBOOSTER G


Domain-name Multifunction Print Server supports
Nail the Basics system (DNS) scanning as well as printing over a Wi-Fi
hands down, the most common net- services are anoth- or ethernet network.
work problems are disappearing Internet er possible factor
connections, printers, and PCs. that can contribute
Lost connections: Usually these can be to lost connec-
solved by rebooting your broadband tions. DNS servers
modem, network router, and/or computer. are the PCs on
But if you have to do this repeatedly, your which your ISP
router and PC settings are likely culprits. stores the databas-
Start by extending your router’s DHCP es that it uses to
lease time (the amount of time the router translate individu-
reserves an IP address for a device on the al URLs (like www.
network) to a period of at least a week. pcworld.in) into their corresponding
You can access this setting through your numerical IP addresses on the Internet. DISAPPEARING PRINTERS
router’s browser-based firmware. If you receive messages informing you if your shared USB printer seems to
If disconnects are affecting a laptop, that Web pages can’t be found or that e- come and go with a mind of its own,
check the power management setting for mail can’t be retrieved, try using the DNS make sure the computer it is attached to
its network adapter. In Windows XP, go to servers at OpenDNS.com in place of isn’t hibernating. If possible, connect
the Device Manager’s Network Adapters those at your ISP. Start by accessing the your printer to a desktop PC (as opposed
area, find your adapter, and select Proper- wide-area network (WAN) settings in to a notebook), and leave it on. (To cut
ties. Under the Power Management tab, your router’s browser-based firmware; back power consumption, allow the dis-
uncheck the box that turns off the adapter then change the IP addresses for DNS to play —rather than the PC —to go into
when power saving kicks in. Your battery 208.67.222.222 and 208.67.222.220. sleep mode.)
may run down a little quicker, but you’ll OpenDNS is free, and it blocks known In Windows XP, also verify that ‘File
have a stable network connection. phishing sites. and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Net-
works’ is installed for all network adapt-
IP PRINTING ers so that switching between wired and
wireless networks doesn’t kill printer
Print Across Networks and the Net sharing. In XP, go to Control Panel, Net-
work Connections, and (for each network
YOU BROUGHT YOUR corporate notebook home, but now you find that you can’t
adapter) right-click the device and select
print on your home network—or over a VPN connection to a printer in your office.
Properties. If you don’t see File and Print-
What to do? IP printing, which most newer networkable printers support, is your
er Sharing for Microsoft Networks in the
best bet. You’ll need the printer’s IP address (get it from your IT staff, or check with
window that appears, click the Install but-
your printer vendor on how to find it—by printing a test page, for example). Then
ton to add it.
run the Add Printer wizard in XP’s ‘Printers and Faxes’ window. Check Local Printer,
Better yet, set up a print server so that
and under ‘Select a Printer Port’, choose Create a New Port and Standard TCP/IP
you don’t have to worry about working
Port in the drop-
through a host PC. Some routers have
down menus. Enter
built-in USB printer ports; stand-alone
the printer’s IP ad-
print servers plug into your router. If you
dress, click Next,
use a multifunction device for printing,
and you will initiate
look for a print server that also supports
the usual printer in-
scanning, such as D-Link’s USB Range-
stallation routine,
Booster G Multifunction Print Server.
where you can pick
a driver (either Win- INVISIBLE PCS
dows’ default driver
in many cases, network file-sharing
or the vendor’s driv-
problems stem from improper work-
er, if you have it).
group and PC naming.
Make sure that each computer has a
unique name; multiple PCs identified as

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‘Desktop’ or ‘Dell’ can cause (network address transla-


mixups. Don’t use spaces in tion) alone rather than using
names (Windows ME and SPI (stateful packet inspec-
earlier Windows OSs don’t tion) technology — a supe-
support it), and don’t create rior approach designed to
names of more than 15 ensure that your computers
characters. Also, confirm receive only data they have
that all PCs use the same specifically requested. Be
workgroup name. The sure, however, to change
default name in Windows your router’s default pass-
XP Home is ‘MSHome’; in word when you set it up,
older versions of Windows and periodically thereafter.
and in Windows Vista, it’s Establish a second line of
‘Workgroup’. To change THE VIEW FROM VISTA: Windows Vista’s Network and Sharing Center defense at each computer by
either the workgroup or the shows you what’s connected and simplifies configuration. turning on automatic Win-
computer name in XP, click dows Updates, and installing
Start, Control Panel, System, and choose antivirus, antispyware, and personal fire-
the Computer Name tab. Beef up security wall software. Either buy a security suite
the only way to guarantee the security or use individual best-of-breed utilities like
THE VISTA DIFFERENCE of your network is to barricade it from Webroot Spy Sweeper, BitDefender antivi-
still having major unresolved shar- the outside world —no Web, no e-mail, rus, and ZoneAlarm firewall software
ing issues? It’s time to consider upgrad- nada. But you need not adopt NSA- from Check Point (in its basic form,
ing to Windows Vista. The new operating appropriate tactics to keep your data rea- ZoneAlarm is free).
system’s Networking and Sharing Center sonably safe. Whichever approach you take, don’t
lets you know which sharing features are rely on Windows XP’s Windows Firewall
enabled and makes configuring them PUT UP WALLS for your protection, because it can filter
easy. Vista’s Link Layer Topology Discov- the road to a secure home network incoming data only. ZoneAlarm and
ery automatically detects network devices begins with a hardware firewall. Most other third-party firewalls are bidirec-
and allows you to see their locations on a routers have one, but those built into tional, protecting both incoming and
Network Map. some inexpensive routers rely on NAT outgoing information. Windows Vista’s

BREAKTHROUGH FIREWALLS
SECURITY
vista’s firewall is smart enough to
permit sharing within a workgroup. But
if that’s a problem with XP’s firewall, try Add a Second Network for Safety
a free third-party utility. ZoneAlarm’s IF YOUR KIDS open lots of ports on your router for games and video chats, or if you
Trusted Zone feature lets workgroup want to run a home Web server or public Wi-Fi network, consider setting up a sec-
computers communicate. ond router to isolate these risky activities from the rest of your network. In a nut-
Or sidestep XP’s file and printer shar- shell, you plug one router into the other, and assign each a different starting IP
ing complexities altogether by adopting a address (such as 192.168.1.1 and 192.168.2.1). Then you attach your servers—or the
program such as Network Magic . Like at-risk PCs—to the router that’s directly connected to your broadband modem, and
Windows Vista, Network Magic puts all all your other computers to the second router. Internet traffic to and from the
sharing and networking functions in one unsafe area will not reach your secure subnetwork at all.
place, and it simplifies sharing folders
and printers. A special mode even pro- Router directly Router indirectly
connected to connected to
tects shared folders when your laptop is Internet Internet
connected at a Wi-Fi hotspot, a major Internet Protected
(WAN) networked
security concern. A free version of Net- devices
work Magic provides Internet connection
repair and wireless network protection,
Devices with open ports
but only the paid version supports printer
and file sharing as well.

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NETWO RKI NG

firewall is bidirectional, too, but you panies often run their own VPN servers
have to configure outgoing filtering for employees; or you can sign up for a
yourself in a screen that you reach by VPN service such as WiTopia Per-
typing wf.msc at a command prompt. sonalVPN or JiWire
Vista also comes with Windows Hotspot Helper.
Defender antispyware, but not anti- Next, in your Wi-
virus software. Fi settings, turn off
Keep things simple by using the ad hoc (computer-
same utilities on all your PCs (look to-computer) net-
for economical “family packs”). Then working and pre-
install them while signed in on an vent automatic
administrator account, or — if appro- connections to
priate — work with the parental con- non-preferred networks. In XP, you
trols found in many packages (and in can change both of these settings by
Windows Vista). Keep your password clicking the Wi-Fi icon in the system
secret: Remember, your network is tray and selecting Change advanced
only as secure as its weakest link. settings. Under the Wireless Net-
YOUR ODDS OF picking up malware decrease if you works tab, click Advanced, followed
COVER THE AIRWAVES deny automatic connections to unknown networks. by Access point (infrastructure) net-
firewalls and security suites are works only. Also, uncheck Automati-
futile against packet sniffers that capture (Media Access Control, a unique hard- cally Connect to Non-Preferred Networks.
wireless traffic on a given frequency. Use ware identifier) address filtering nor In Windows Vista, turn off the Vista
the strongest encryption standard your turning off SSID (service set identifier Network Discovery feature (which allows
Wi-Fi equipment supports: From stron- — basically your Wi-Fi network’s name) other computers to see you on a network)
gest to weakest, the options are WPA2, broadcasting is an effective security when you’re at hotspots. Vista will switch
WPA, and WEP. measure. Both are easier to bypass than it off automatically if you designate a con-
Intruders armed with readily available WEP, and they can create connection and nection as ‘Public’, but alternatively you
software can break into WEP in minutes, administration hassles. can disable it manually in the ‘View Net-
rendering it virtually worthless except as MAC address filtering, for example, work Status and Tasks’ control panel.
a method to prevent bandwidth hogging requires you to enter a device’s MAC
by your neighbors. We recommend that address into your router’s firmware to
you invest in new adapters if necessary to authorize it to connect to your network. Speed up transfers
ensure that you can make the switch to But anyone listening in can spoof your if your Wi-Fi downloads take forever,
WPA. To provide both your old and your authorized MAC addresses on their network backups bog you down, or your
new adapters with maximum security, own equipment. Similarly, sniffers can Slingbox won’t sling, give these tips a try.
choose a router that offers a simultane- detect even nonbroadcast SSIDs, so
ous WPA+WPA2 mode. turning off broadcasting only makes it
Regardless of anything you may have harder for legitimate users to connect USE WIRES WHENEVER
heard to the contrary, neither using MAC to your network. POSSIBLE
a wired network (ideally one based on
SAFE TRAVELS wired ethernet) is inherently more reliable
op e n hot sp ot s and usually much faster than the open air-
THE D-LINK DWA 142 USB
are notorious sourc- waves. There’s generally no reason for you
router gives an easy
es of infection. For to locate a network storage drive at a dis-
solution to creat wireless
true security on pub- tance from your router, so instead plug it in
network at home.
lic networks, use a to an available ethernet port. The same goes
virtual private net- for a network printer.
work to encrypt all
I n t e r n e t t r a f fi c GET GIGABIT
between your com- most recent PCs have built-in gigabit
puter and an inter- ethernet, which means that they can
mediate server. Com- transfer data at a whopping 1000 Mbps

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N ET WO R K I NG

— but only if your router also possesses a 2.4-GHz band that LINKSYS’S
gigabit switch. For network backups, the 802.11b, g, and WIRELESS-N Gigabit
extra throughput can mean the difference most new n gear Gaming Router
between an all-night operation, and one operates within prioritizes time-
that completes itself in a fairly short has only three sensitive multimedia
amount of time. nonoverlapping and VoIP data.
channels, net-
BUY MATCHING WI-FI GEAR works neighbor-
to achieve the top speeds promised ing yours are likely
by the latest Wi-Fi standard, draft-802.11n, to degrade your
every wireless device on your network throughput. In
must have a draft-n adapter. Be sure to fact, the latest
update the firmware on any draft-802.11n 802.11n draft
devices regularly, as vendors are now effectively man-
bringing the first products into compli- dates a 50 percent
ance with the second draft of the standard, reduction in per-
and this should help with interoperability. formance when your network is in the video, HomePlug AV was the least
presence of other active Wi-Fi networks. susceptible to interference from other
CHANGE THE CHANNEL To minimize interference, install and electrical devices.
the biggest obstacle to good Wi-Fi run a utility such as the free NetStumbler Products such as Linksys’s Power-
reception is no longer distance (since to determine the signal strength and Line AV Ethernet Kit, move data over
most MIMO and draft-n routers provide channel of each available network; then your home’s electrical wiring. Adapters
whole-house coverage), but interference set your router to the channel that is far- plug into standard wall outlets; to set
resulting from nearby networks: In any thest from those of the strongest nearby up the network, begin by connecting
urban area, you’ll probably see a long list networks. (A router’s automatic channel one adapter to an available ethernet
of available networks. And because the selection feature does this for you). port on your router. Then add other
In addition, you might consider get- devices by running cables from their
B AC K U P ting a dual-band draft-n router, such as ethernet ports to other plugged-in
the Buffalo Nfiniti Dual Band Router, adapters. You will not have to worry
which supports draft-n traffic on both about overloading your wireless net-
Multiplatform 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands. This lets you w o r k w i t h h i g h - d e fi n i t i o n v i d e o
Network Backups keep older 802.11b/g devices on the rela- streams, and performance will be far
tively crowded 2.4-GHz band, while more reliable than on a wireless net-
IF YOU HAVE several PCs run-
using the uncluttered 5-GHz band work, especially in a large home.
ning different operating
(consisting of some 20 non-over-
systems that you plan UPGRADE YOUR WI-FI
lapping channels) for your high-
to back up on one net-
bandwidth apps such as video if you still want to use wireless for
work drive, you may
streaming, as new 5-GHz draft-n streaming media, make sure that you get
run into a problem with
products arrive. draft-802.11n gear: Not only is it fast, but it
file names that work
has so-called quality-of-service (QoS) tech-
fine on one system but are
nology that prioritizes media streams, VoIP
illegal on another. If you trun- Get media-ready phone calls, online game play, and other
cate or change the names when you
when it comes to smooth video play- particularly time-sensitive applications.
back up the files, the backups won’t
back and voice-over-IP phone calls, speed And don’t forget to upgrade your firmware
be useful. So instead of using USB-
alone isn’t always enough. to Draft 2.0 of the standard; practically all of
attached storage devices, which usu-
the biggest Wi-Fi vendors are expected to be
ally can be formatted only as Win- TRY POWERLINE posting free firmware upgrades to Draft 2.0
dows drives, purchase a NAS drive
if you can’t install ethernet, consider by the time you see this.
that offers specific support for each
adopting powerline (rather than Wi-Fi)
platform you use; afterward you can INVEST IN A GAMING ROUTER
gear. Several powerline technologies
designate shares as appropriate (for
support near-ethernet speeds; in our does World of Warcraft rule your
instance, Windows or Mac).
tests with streaming high-definition house? For advanced gaming, a spe-

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NETWO RKI NG

cialized router helps deliver maximum USB drives designed to attach either
performance for both Internet and local directly to the USB storage port included
multiplayer game play; this is especially on some routers or via an ethernet adapt-
important if several users access the net- er such as D-Link’s Express EtherNet-
work in your household simultaneously. work DNS-120 Network Storage Adapter
Gaming routers have QoS prioritization, ; and network-attached storage (NAS)
are tuned to reduce network latency, and drives that have built-in ethernet.
usually have faster processors, all of which If you go with a USB drive, you can
increase the responsiveness of PCs on the usually detach it from your router and
network. Linksys’s Wireless-N Gigabit plug it into a PC (say, at another loca-
Gaming Router supports draft-802.11n tion) if you like. USB drives tend to be
Wi-Fi, gigabit ethernet, and game tuning. easier to set up, and you may use an old
USB hard drive you already have as your
storage device. THE MAC OPERATING system carries all the
Make better backups True network drives, in contrast, have software it needs to join a Windows network
too often, people plan to use a net- their own processor and OS, and can be and use a network-connected printer.
work drive for regular hard disk back- attached only to your network. They gen-
ups, but never actually do so. Maybe the erally have many more features, and they Cobian Backup (free) can perform full
network share isn’t mounted (visible to normally allow setup of private user or incremental backups with or with-
your backup program) when backup accounts (“shares”) as well as public areas out compression, and can encrypt your
time rolls around (add it to My Network of universal access. The models topping data for better security on shared net-
Places to avoid this situation). Or the our Network-Attached Storage Devices work drives.
system to be backed up is turned off, chart are the Infrant ReadyNAS NV and
asleep, or on the road. Or the backup is the Maxtor Shared Storage II . KEEP YOUR PC AWAKE
interrupted. Here’s how to increase For best security and performance, use a the need to ensure that your PC is up
your odds of success. NAS drive that has gigabit ethernet (buy a and running at backup time may seem
gigabit router if you don’t have one) and obvious, but offline computers are the
CHOOSE NETWORK DRIVES RAID 1 or 5 redundancy. Don’t risk losing a most common cause of failed backups.
CAREFULLY 500GB music collection stored on a NAS Don’t turn off your computer at night
shared network stor age drives drive without any backup; the best way to — just let it hibernate. And make sure
come in two basic types: regular external maintain a copy of your NAS drive is to mir- that your backup software can wake up
ror it using a RAID array. your computer. If it can’t, use XP’s
Whichever type of drive you Scheduled Tasks wizard (under Pro-
choose, make sure that it’s grams, Accessories, System Tools) to
large enough to accommodate wake it up at backup time; for more on
future growth. Backups often how to set this up, see “ Schedule Your
fail because the backup drive System to Start Automatically .”
is full. We recommend setting
aside 1.5 to 2 times the storage
capacity of your current net- Add a Mac
work for your backup drive; okay, you’ve networked your Win-
double that if you intend to dows PCs. But now a new Mac is in the
mirror your network drive. family. How will it fit in? Will it work
with your printer? Will you be able to
PERFORM NCREMENTAL share files with it the way you can with
BACKUPS your PCs?
by copying only files that In most cases the Mac OS X operating
have changed since the most system provides everything you need to
recent previous backup, you’ll connect your Mac to your Windows net-
THE BUFFALO LINKSTATION PRO LS 250GL isn’t scary to set vastly reduce the load on your work and share files and printers. You
up, and is much cheaper and reliable network storage option. network, and the length of can plug your new Mac into your wired
time it takes to do a backup. network or access your wireless router,

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N ET WO R K I NG

SECURITY
just as you would with a new PC, by
selecting your SSID from a list of availa-
ble Wi-Fi nets and then entering your SECURITY CHECKLIST
wireless encryption key. All recent Macs
USE A HARDWARE router, even if you have only one computer. Change your rout-
support WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
er’s default password to ensure that intruders can’t fiddle with your settings. Use
In order to share files and printers,
a bidirectional personal firewall, such as ZoneAlarm. Turn on automatic updates to
the Mac cleverly assumes the guise of a
keep your Windows OS secure. Use both antivirus and antispyware utilities, and
PC. It does so by implementing the
make sure that you keep them up-to-date. Configure file sharing carefully if you’re
SMB/CIFS Windows file-sharing
sure you need it — and if you don’t need it, turn it off. Use the
s t a n d a r d a n d u s i n g Wi n d o w s
strongest Wi-Fi encryption scheme that all of your wireless
workgroup naming. The default
equipment supports. Turn off ad-hoc Wi-Fi networking
workgroup name for any Mac is
and automatic connections to networks you’re unfamil-
Workgroup; however, you can change
iar with. Install a second router to isolate at-risk PCs on
this name to MSHOME, for example,
your network (for details, see “Add a Second Network
by running the Mac’s Directory Access
for Safety”). Use a VPN when traveling, to avoid picking
utility, which also supports the
up a virus that could otherwise spread to other PCs on
Windows Active Directory (used by
your network when you get home.
corporate servers).
Next, turn on ‘Windows Sharing’ in the
Mac’s Sharing Preference Pane and ena- It’s required reading for the network
ble each of the user accounts that you’d Online resources administrator in your home.
like to be able to share. The new Mac are you looking for help with a net-
should appear as a member of your work- working problem? Chances are you’ll find SECURITYNOW
group when you browse your network. the advice or instructions you need at one great network security resource,
After selecting it and entering your user of these sites. with transcripts of Steve Gibson’s and Leo
name and password, you’ll be able to Laporte’s weekly SecurityNow podcasts,
navigate the Mac drive and copy or upload PRACTICALLY NETWORKED which translate complex security issues
files by dragging and dropping. This the leading home and small-busi- into plain language for a broad spectrum
works in both XP and Vista. ness networking site, with tips and tutori- of visitors.
Similarly, you can print from your als on everything from setting up file
Mac to shared Windows printers via sharing to using dynamic DNS services. SHIELDS UP
SMB, though the setup process is not The troubleshooting guides are invalu- also from Steve Gibson, a very popu-
obvious. In the Mac’s Printer Setup able, and an active peer-help forum is lar free Internet security test site. Go here
Utility, click Add. If your Windows another great resource. to find out about holes (such as open
printer does not show up in the result- ports) in your network that potential hack-
ing list of available printers, choose the WI-FI PLANET ers could exploit, as well as useful tips on
More Printers button, which brings up the place to go for truly deep wireless how to close them.
the Printer Browser. tutorials and testing. Don’t miss the site’s
Now select Windows Printing and articles discussing SSID spoofing and the PORT FORWARD
Network Neighborhood from the drop- use of VPNs at public hotspots . Has an ne ed h e l p r e m ov ing roadblocks
down menus. Your local workgroup will active discussion area, too. obstructing desirable traffic to and from
appear in the window; when you select your network? At this site you can exam-
it, you’ll see a list of shared printers to CERT HOME NETWORK ine a comprehensive list of ports used by
choose from. Thereafter, the Windows SECURITY Internet games, streaming video, and
printer will appear in the Mac’s Print a c om p r e h e nsi v e a nd unbiased other applications, with port-forwarding
dialog box. guide to home network security, main- setup guides for most popular routers.
If all of this sounds like too much of a tained by the Carnegie Mellon-based
hassle, consider buying Pure Networks’ Computer Emergency Response Team, a MACWINDOWS
Network Magic for Mac. A preview version federally funded Internet security your best resource for cross-platform
is available for download. It promises to research and development center. The problem solving, including details on
do for the Macs on your network what its guide also serves as a fantastic primer how to connect Macs to Windows servers
Windows counterpart does for PCs. on networking terms and technology. and vice versa.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 81


SMART BUYER
P R AC T I CA L A DV I C E B E FO R E YO U S H O P

BIG PICTURE SPECS EXPLAINED SHOPPING TIPS

Easy On
The Eyes
OUR GUIDE WILL HELP YOU PICK THE RIGHT LCD MONITOR FOR YOUR NEEDS.
everyone needs a good moni- 600 pixels, you’re hobbling lutions. Some professional- high-end LCDs, which
tor to get the most out of a PC. your productivity. level monitors include asset approach the color quality of
But which monitor you need Most monitor manufactur- control—to help IS managers CRTs yet consume half as
depends on several factors— ers offer entry-level LCD mod- keep track of their company’s much power or less. The
what applications you use, els that combine very low property via a LAN—and hard- development of color-calibrat-
how much room you have on prices with pared-down fea- ware calibration, which adjusts ing hardware and software
your desk, how much space tures. These monitors work the monitor and/or graphics specifically designed for LCDs
you need on a virtual desktop, well enough for Web surfing, card to ensure precise hues. has helped persuade many
and of course how much you e-mail, and other office (Third-party calibration pack- professionals to make the
want to spend. From standard- tasks—as long as they provide ages are also available.) switch to flat panels. Promises
issue 19-inchers to 24-inch adequate resolution and CRT vs. LCD of improvements in black level
monsters, here’s how to sort screen adjustment controls for historically, graphics pro- (perfect black—which is tradi-
out what you need. brightness, color, and other fessionals have preferred tionally somewhat soft or
settings. Midrange and profes- CRT monitors because they grayed in LCDs) and a wider
THE BIG PICTURE sional lines often provide bet- support a greater range of res- color gamut should make this
if you’ve replaced an old ter image quality and exten- olutions (including very high transition still easier in the
PC in the last few years, you sive features, such as superior resolutions) and show truer near future. Another bonus:
PHOTOGRAPH: SHRIVATSA SHANDILYA

may have kept your old moni- image-adjusting controls, colors and greater nuance in The greater brightness of
tor to use with the new USB ports (make sure you get color. However, manufactur- LCDs also frees graphics pros
machine. That’s okay if it’s in a monitor with USB 2.0 ers ceased making the aper- from the confines of their
good shape—most monitors ports—some models with ture-grille models—generally darkened studios.
have a life span of about five USB 1.1 hubs are still on the agreed to be the top-perform- People who work mostly
years—but if it’s a worn-out market), a larger set of ergo- ing type of CRT for photos and with text have always gravitated
15-inch CRT that produces nomic options (such as height general graphics work—in toward LCDs because pixels
barely legible text at 800 by adjustment), and higher reso- 2005. Many pros now use on an LCD have well-defined

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S M A RT BU Y E R

edges, resulting in sharply users and companies are display will use only a por-
focused letters. Some gamers going for the slim form tion of the pixels it con-
still prefer CRTs because and low power usage of tains and will scale up the
LCDs redraw their screens the LCD. So from this resulting image to fill the
more slowly, which can point on, this guide will screen. Keep in mind that
produce blurring and motion discuss LCDs only. you can never exceed the
artifacts in moving images. Key Features native resolution of an
However, response time—the Native resolution: LCD monitor. So, for
spec that governs image Because an LCD uses a THE OSD (on screen display) for LCD monitors example, you will not be
motion in LCDs—continues matrix of pixels to dis- is similar to CRT monitors, allowing you to able to display 1600-by-
to drop, minimizing the ill play its image, it has a adjust image quality. 1200 resolution on an
effects. Modern LCDs can fixed (or native) resolu- LCD with a native resolu-
refresh quickly enough to tion at which the display looks 1200, and 30-inch wide- tion of 1280 by 1024.
make them game-worthy for best. A 15-inch LCD has a screens have a resolution of Though scaling technolo-
most users. native resolution of 1024 by 2560 by 1600. If you are using gies have improved in recent
Budget restrictions may still 768, while most 17-, 18-, or 19- Windows XP or earlier and set years, you’re still likely to be
drive some buyers to CRTs, inch models use a 1280 by the monitor to a lower-than- disappointed with their
which usually cost less than 1024 native resolution. Wide- native resolution—to upsize results. On Windows XP and
LCDs that have a comparably screen 23- and 24-inch wide- very small text, for instance— earlier, text most readily shows
sized viewable screen area. As screen models usually have a the image will almost certainly pronounced jaggedness at
LCD prices fall, though, more native resolution of 1920 by be less defined, because the nonnative resolutions. Win-
dows Vista may reduce this
S P E C TA B L E effect with its vector graphics,
but it’s still advisable to use a
AS WITH MOST PC peripherals, monitors introduce you to a ton of unfamiliar specs. While price
monitor at its native resolu-
or specifications alone shouldn’t determine what you buy—what you’ll use it for is important as
tion. So a particular LCD is a
well, and image quality is the most important thing to most users—here are some things to look
good choice if its native reso-
for to narrow your search
lution is one you are comfort-
able using for all applications.
FEATURE Low end Recommended High End
In the PC World Test Center,
1280 by 1024 1280 by 1024 to 1680 by 1050 1680 by 1050 to 1920 by 1200
all monitors are tested at
An important consideration. Images look best when displayed at an LCD’s native resolution. You can go native resolution.
Native resolution lower (and in some cases higher), but the image will appear blurry. Some models are better than others at
handling non-native resolutions. If you need to change your monitor resolution frequently, you’re probably Aspect ratio: Most LCDs have a
better off with a CRT monitor. screen aspect ratio of about 3:4,
17 inches 17 to 20 inches 20 to 24 inches much like a regular-format TV.
Panel size However, wide-screen moni-
An important consideration. Unlike CRT tube size, LCD panel size indicates viewable size as well. As with CRTs, the
measurement is made diagonally from one corner of the screen to the opposite corner. tors have an aspect ratio closer
to the 16:9 aspect ratio of
300:1 to 400:1 400:1 to 500:1 500:1 to 1000:1
Contrast ratio HDTVs. The wide-screen for-
Somewhat important. Contrast ratio can help you determine how rich the color will be in on-screen images. A
higher ratio is better, but vendor specifications are not always accurate. mat becomes useful for work-
120/100 to 140/120 degrees 140/120 to 170/170 degrees 160/160 to 170/170 degrees ing in large spreadsheets or in
Somewhat important. Indicates how far you can move to the side of (or above and below) the center of the screen programs that contain many
Viewing angle (horizon-
tal/vertical) and still see what’s displayed. This is important when you use the LCD to make presentations, or when you work toolbars or palettes. It’s great
with another person. Vendors use different methods to measure viewing angles, so make the final judgment
yourself by visual comparison. for watching DVDs as well,
although the image quality
12ms rise-and-fall 12ms to 8ms rise-and-fall 6ms or lower rise-and-fall
may not be as good as on a TV.
A minor consideration. Indicates the time required for a pixel to change from black to white (rise) and back to Many users see a wide-screen
Response time black (fall). A low figure in milliseconds should indicate a screen that will not display motion artifacts in moving
images during games or video. Gray-to-gray response time does not have a standard definition, and is a less monitor as an upgrade from
reliable indicator. smaller dual monitors. A dual-
250 to 300 cd/m 2 300 to 350 cd/m 2 350 to 500 cd/m 2 monitor setup is usually the
Brightness
Somewhat important. All LCDs generally provide more than enough brightness. less expensive proposition.
Tilt only Tilt and height Tilt, height, pivot, swivel One important thing to keep in
Physical adjustments An important consideration. Height adjustment lets you adjust your monitor to a comfortable physical level. Swivel mind: The screen size is mea-
is useful for sharing your work, and pivot is handy for viewing applications that are taller than they are wide.
sured diagonally, and the area

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S M A RT B U Y E R

of a wide-screen monitor’s viewing angle. As a result, the look different if you adjust
display is smaller than that of numbers may not be compara- your chair or your posture. It
a regular-format display of the ble from one vendor to another, also makes it difficult to share
same size. In other words, a but they can indicate relative your work with someone who
21-inch wide-screen monitor performance among models sits next to you (although a
shows about as many pixels from the same company. physical swivel adjustment can
as you’d expect from a regu- The best way to judge view- help with this). A few years
lar-format 19-inch monitor. In ing angle is to see the monitor ago, TN panels appeared to be
the days of CRT monitors, for yourself, but you can elim- on their way out, but recent
vendors would state a tube inate some models from con- interest in TN’s fast pixel-
size, say 21-inch, but the diag- sideration if their vendor- response times has brought
onal of the viewable screen reported viewing angles are more new models to the mar-
would be from one to two below a certain value. The ket. Other panel types, such as
inches less. With LCDs, the larger the monitor, the more in-plane switching, multi-
stated diagonal is always the important a wide viewing domain vertical alignment,
true measurement from the angle is. On monitors measur- and patterned vertical align-
viewable screen. ing 17 inches or more, the ment, have wider angles of
Viewing angle: Measured in edge of the screen is at a great- view than TN panels can offer. WHILE BUILT-IN SPEAKERS save
degrees, an LCD’s viewing er angle to someone sitting Contrast ratio: This term space, the sound quality may suffer.
angle indicates how far you can directly in front of its center, refers to the difference in light
move to the side (or above, or and people are more likely to intensity between the bright- ers. High brightness can be
below) from the center of the be able to share the monitor est white and the darkest eye-catching for video and
display before the image quality when working or giving a black that an LCD can pro- graphics, but it can be uncom-
deteriorates to unacceptable group presentation. A viewing duce. Look for a contrast ratio fortable over time, particularly
levels. No matter what size angle of at least 150 degrees is of 400:1 or better—with any- for text viewing—and it may
monitor you use, a wide view- advisable for these monitors. thing lower, colors may wash cause certain photographic
ing angle becomes increasingly The choice of panel technol- out when you turn up the nuances to wash out. After
important the more you care ogy affects the viewable angle. brightness and may disappear using the monitor for a while,
about getting accurate, consis- Some LCDs use twisted nem- when you turn it down. How- you will likely want to turn the
tent colors for design work or atic panels, which have small ever, higher is only better up brightness down a bit to spare
for tweaking digital photos. viewing angles. On a TN to a point. Contrast ratios over your eyes. Many monitors
Each vendor determines its screen, brightness drops and 600:1 are unlikely to provide offer screen modes that change
own criteria for this, as no colors change as you move to any advantage, and monitor the brightness (and sometimes
industry-standard method has the side or up and down. This vendors are likely using color and other characteristics)
been established for measuring can mean that your work will “fuzzy math” to calculate to make certain types of con-
those values, anyway. tent look best.
Brightness: Expressed as can- Digital versus analog: If you
delas per square meter (cd/ have a graphics card with digi-
m2) or nits, this specification tal video-out—and if your
measures the greatest amount computer is less than two
of light that comes from a years old, you probably do—
screen displaying pure white. choose an LCD that has DVI
Nearly all LCDs have a bright- digital input. The image won’t
ness level of 250cd/m2 or have to convert from analog
greater, which should be more to digital and back again, so it
than sufficient. (In compari- will be clearer. Even if you
son, CRT monitors typically don’t have a DVI port on your
average about 100 cd/m2— system, choosing a digital
though you might see some LCD makes sense, because
high-brightness CRTs.) Ven- your next desktop PC proba-
dors usually set the brightness bly will have a DVI port—and
level to maximum on new most digital-capable monitors
SOME MONITORS LET you tuck away cables out of sight. monitors to impress custom- also have a VGA (analog) con-

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SMART B UYER

nection. Digital inputs tend to slots; DVD aficionados may it from a comfortable dis- IN BRIEF
be found on more-expensive want to keep their eyes peeled tance. Just as you would with
LCDs. Very few notebook PCs for monitors with component a television, you want to sit at 4 CHECK POINTS
come with digital outputs for and/or composite inputs. a distance of about two times
external monitors. However, Response time: Pixel response the diagonal measurement SIZE
some notebooks can gain a time governs the time (mea- from the screen. A 17-inch monitor is ade-
DVI connection when they sured in milliseconds) Physical adjustments: Almost quate for most users. Look
attach to a docking station or required for a pixel to change. all monitors come with tilt for a widescreen.
port replicator. (Note that In theory, a low response time adjustment. If you spend a
there are two types of DVI signifies an LCD with mini- great deal of time in front of INPUTS
connections found on typical mal motion artifacts in mov- your monitor, you may want While analog inputs are
LCD monitors: DVI-D and ing images. This spec is espe- to find one that lets you adjust common, DVI is better.
DVI-I. DVI-D is a digital-only cially important to video the height of the screen as
port; DVD-I can accept either watchers and gamers. well. You may find that it’s ADJUSTMENT
an analog or a digital input. There are two main types of worth a few extra money to Check if the monitor has
You’ll need a special connec- LCD response time. Rise-and- get a monitor that will keep tilt, swivel and height
tor to hook up to your PC’s fall response time measures the the screen at a comfortable adjustments. Some can also
VGA analog port, however.) time it takes a pixel to turn from height instead of making be pivoted.
DVI-I obviously provides black to white (rise) and back to your neck do all the work. A
greater flexibility. black (fall). Gray-to-gray monitor with side-to-side RESPONSE TIME
Special inputs: As users do response time measures the swivel adjustment makes it Models with a response time
more video and photo editing at time it takes for a pixel to change easier to show your screen to of more than 12ms will
their PCs—and as more watch from one shade of gray to a nearby customer or cowork- exhibit ghosting with motion
DVDs on them—more moni- another. Each type has its uses. er. Finally, if you need to see video. Lower is better.
tors offer inputs we used to see Rise-and-fall response time view anything that’s longer
only on TVs or peripherals. has been clearly defined and than it is tall—a full-page played at an LCD’s native
Photographers and videogra- has been the industry standard document, a long Web page, resolution. You can go lower
phers may be interested in S- for years. As of yet, no such or a screen full of e-mail— (and in some cases higher),
Video ports and memory card definition for gray-to-gray you could get a lot of use out but the image may appear
response time exists. In theory, of a screen pivot function. blurry. The vector graphics of
gray-to-gray response time Just bear in mind that not Windows Vista may lessen
MODELS WITH TILT
could be a useful spec, since it every monitor with a pivoting this, but native resolution will
and swivel capabilities
can measure the time required screen includes image pivot- always look sharpest. Some
allow you to adjust the
to switch between shades (as ing software; you’ll need that models are better than others
monitor to suit
opposed to black and white). to make your screen adjust to at handling non-native reso-
your needs.
This should make it useful for portrait mode. lutions. (Remember that with
indicating how an LCD will LCDs the native resolution is
look showing the subtle shades THE SPECS EXPLAINED the maximum resolution you
of movies and games. However, as with most PC peripherals, can display.)
the lack of an agreed-upon defi- monitors introduce you to a Important: Panel size. Unlike
nition means vendors may use ton of unfamiliar specs. While CRT (which indicates both
different ways of determining price or specifications alone tube-size and viewable-screen
the spec. In short, response shouldn’t determine what you diagonals, LCD panel size
time specs are not always com- buy—what you’ll use it for is indicates viewable size as
parable from vendor to vendor. important as well, and image well. As with CRTs, the mea-
Size: Though it may seem quality is the most important surement is made diagonally
obvious, bear in mind the size thing to most users—here are from one corner of the screen
of your workspace when some things to look for to nar- to the opposite corner. Too
deciding on the type of moni- row your search. small a panel, and you’ll have
tor to buy. A huge monitor Flat-Panel LCD Displays: Fea- trouble cramming everything
may look appealing, but you tures and Specifications Guide you need to see on your
want to make sure your desk Important: Native resolution. screen; too large, and may
is deep enough to let you view Images look best when dis- have to crane your neck.

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S M A RT B U Y E R

Important: Physical adjust- ■ Consider USB ports. Univer-


ments. Height adjustment lets sal Serial Bus connections
you adjust your monitor to a are designed for quick and
comfortable physical level. easy attachment of numer-
Swivel is useful for sharing ous peripherals. When USB
your work, and pivot is handy debuted, the physical acces-
for viewing applications that sibility of a monitor made it
are taller than they are wide. a natural choice for housing
Somewhat important: Contrast a number of the new, smart,
ratio. Contrast ratio can help hot-pluggable ports
you determine how rich the (although the inclusion of
color will be in on-screen USB adds to a monitor’s
images. A higher ratio is bet- cost). The number of ports
ter, but vendor specifications provided varies with differ-
are not always accurate. ent models, as does the
Somewhat important: Viewing THE DELL E228WEP, reviwed in the April 2007 issue of PC World, is a number of ports that are up
angle. Indicates how far you good option for a value large screen display. front versus on the back.
can move to the side of (or Current monitors are likely
above and below) the center tor you will be staring at for switching from an LCD with to include USB 2.0 hubs.
of the screen and still see the next few years, only your a regular aspect ratio to a USB 1.1 is fast enough for
what’s displayed. This is eyes can tell you if a moni- wide-screen one, the wide- hooking up lower-perfor-
important when you use the tor’s image quality, resolu- screen will have less real mance devices, such as key-
LCD to make presentations, tion, and size are right for estate at the same diagonal boards, mice, and even
or when you work with anoth- you. Checking out models in measurement. A 19-inch broadband modems. USB
er person. Vendors use differ- a store can be helpful, but wide-screen is comparable to 2.0 devices, such as CD-RW
ent methods to measure keep in mind that they are a 17-inch regular-format LCD. drives and hard drives, will
viewing angles, so make the often hooked up to low-qual- The current sweet spots for work with USB 1.1 ports, but
final judgment yourself by ity video signals and placed display size are the 19-inch at lower speeds than with
visual comparison. under different lighting from regular-format LCD and the USB 2.0 ports.
Somewhat important: Bright- what you have in your office 20-to-22-inch wide-screen ■ Decide whether you want
ness. All LCDs generally pro- or home. If possible, try to LCD, both of which provide speakers. The inclusion of
vide more than enough find a vendor with a liberal plenty of desktop space for speakers in a monitor can be a
brightness. In fact, most users return policy, so you can try most users. nice way to save space on your
find they have to turn the the monitor in your own set- ■ Gain more screen space by desktop. But despite recent
monitor’s brightness down ting before committing to using two monitors. Consider advances, their sound will
after purchasing. the purchase. using multiple smaller moni- rarely satisfy the discerning
Minor: Response time. Rise- ■ Check screen real estate. tors instead of one big one. With ear. If you’re picky about
and-fall response time Iindi- Make sure you have enough the right video card, you can run sound quality, save the money
cates the time required for a screen for what you need to both simultaneously off the for a nice set of speakers with
pixel to change from black to do. Remember that the view- same PC. A pair of 17-inch LCDs a subwoofer.
white (rise) and back to black able area of a wide-screen will let you do video or image Donate or Recycle Your Old
(fall). A low figure in millisec- monitor is generally compa- editing in one window, and Monitor: Never, ever send
onds should indicate a screen rable to the viewable area of a word processing or Web brows- your old monitor to the dump.
that will not display only min- regular-format monitor that’s ing in the other. This can be a Recycling is very good for the
imal motion artifacts in mov- 2 inches smaller. great way to get more use out of environment. CRTs contain
ing images during games or Similarly, the viewable size old monitors. If the double foot- lead plus other toxic materials
video. Gray-to-gray response of a CRT is an inch or two print gives you pause, consider that could leach into the soil
time does not have a standard smaller than the advertised mounting two small LCDs on a and water in minute quanti-
definition, and is a less reli- tube size—so if you’re switch- stand. Look for monitors with ties if not properly disposed
able indicator. ing from a CRT to an LCD, good screen quality and the of. At this point, most LCDs
General Monitor Buying Tips you may not need as big a VESA Flat Panel Mounting contain lead and nearly all
■ Try before you buy. When it monitor as you think. Also Interface and an FPMI-compat- contain mercury.
comes to choosing the moni- bear in mind that if you’re ible stand. —PC World Team

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 87


HERE’S HOW E X P E R T A DV I C E O N H A R D WA R E , S O F T WA R E , A N D T H E W E B

(see FIGURE 1). The quoted prices aver-


age about 70 and 78 cents, respectively,
per gigabyte, versus 50 to 60 cents per
gigabyte for general-purpose external
hard drives.
Nearly every PC under four years
old supports gigabit-per-second ether-
net. If yours doesn’t, spending Rs.
900 or so for a gigabit ethernet adapt-
er is a good idea. With gigabit ether-
net, a movie streamed from a PC or
NAS box looks as smooth as silk, large
files transfer at blazing speed, and
backups are far faster than with older
10/100 ethernet cards, which are lim-
ited to 100 megabits per second (note
that these are theoretical speed limits;
real-world speeds are slower). That

Easy, Low-Cost Network said, my old reliable 10/100 500GB


Maxtor Shared Storage Drive still

Storage for Everyday Use manages the small-scale backups for


my office network.
Gigabit ethernet is not a perfect solu-
STORAGE TIPS it safer from theft.) Though off site is tion, however. Router vendors have been
if you’re tired of leaving your PC on the safest destination for your backups, focusing on boosting the speed and reli-
continuously so that other machines in NAS can be the next best thing—bar- ability of their wireless networking gear.
your house can access the files you store ring tornadoes, tsunamis, and other Only a few pricier wireless routers—
on it, you’re ready to step up to network- acts of nature. such as the Rs. 6,750 D-Link DGL-4300,
attached storage. As you might guess NAS boxes are isolated from most of D-Link’s Rs. 8,100 DIR-655, Netgear’s
from the name, NAS devices connect the software dangers that networked WNR854T, and Buffalo’s WZRAG-
via ethernet directly to your router. PCs fall prey to, as well: Even if the files 300NH—include a gigabit-capable eth-
Your network storage device can be a stored on a NAS device get infected, the ernet switch. Some NAS boxes can con-
stand-alone unit designed specifically box’s operating system resides in its nect wirelessly, but they transfer data at
for centralized storage, or you can con- firmware (unless you’re using a a considerably slower pace than a cabled
vert an old PC into a file-sharing device. retasked PC), and is therefore very dif- connection does.
Either way, you’ll have a 24/7 data repos- ficult to attack. Linksys’s WRT350N pre-N wireless
itory for backups and for sharing docu- router has a quartet of gigabit-ethernet
ILLUSTRATION: MICK WIGGINS

ments, images, videos, and other files. DEDICATED TO STORAGE ports, as well as other features that
A NAS device should be isolated in a the easiest way to add NAS to your make it an alternative to a dedicated
safe, cool, dry, out-of-the-way place to network is to buy a box designed for NAS box. The WRT350N sports a USB
make it less vulnerable to bumps, that task. I kicked the tires on two units: 2.0 port to which you can attach a nor-
spills, and other physical dangers. the Rs. 31,455 Maxtor Shared Storage II mal USB hard drive, effectively turning
(Plus, hiding your storage device keeps 1TB, and the Iomega StorCenter 500 the router itself into a NAS controller

88 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


91 WINDOWS TIPS 93 ANSWER LINE
Save time by placing a shortcuts to Keep the helpful Web cookies
your most used files and folders to around, but give the syping ones the
keep them close at hand. boot; disable your Windows key;
back up your Registry.
92 INTERNET TIPS
Protect your site’s domain name
from would-be interlopers; Whois
tools tell you who owns that site.
93

Another option: Buy a NAS channels, and unused USB controllers.


enclosure that lets you plug in You can expand your NAS PC’s storage
your own hard drive to build a or back it up easily via USB, FireWire,
NAS box with as little or as and eSATA ports, so you might want to
much storage as you can get keep those. But less hardware means
on a drive (or two, for enclo- fewer potential driver conflicts and
sures that support multiple better reliability.
drives). Tritton’s TRI-NSS001 I don’t recommend this, but you
NAS Enclosure works with could add wireless to your pseudo-NAS
any 3.5-inch ATA drive and box via an add-in card or a USB adapter.
supports up to 400GB. Data transfer won’t be nearly as fast as
FIGURE 1: IOMEGA’S STORCENTER 500 (left) and across a wired connection, and this
Maxtor’s Shared Storage II offer 500GB and 1TB, re-
REPURPOSE AN s e t u p w o n’ t w o r k v e r y w e l l f o r
spectively, of storage for your network’s PCs to share.
OLD PC streaming multimedia. But it’s a viable
instead of donating your alternative in places where cable is
(see FIGURE 2 ). USB 2.0’s real-world old system when you upgrade to a new difficult to run.
transfer rate of about 200 megabits per model, retask it as a NAS box. Its ether- With your hardware pared down, it’s
second can’t match gigabit-ethernet net connection makes converting it into time to clean out your unnecessary
speeds, but it’s faster than standard eth- a storage device easy. Don’t worry about software. First, create one last backup
ernet and most wireless connections. its slow processor or lack of RAM: CPU in case you need to recover a vital bit of
The WRT350N, like the Iomega Stor- speed and memory are less important data. Then reformat the PC’s hard
Center and Maxtor Shared Storage II, when you’re just sending files. The net-
also functions as a Universal Plug and work’s limited bandwidth is more of an
Play (UPnP) server to stream photos, inhibiting factor than even a ten-year-
MP3 files, and movies to your PC, TV, old PC’s processor speed.
stereo, portable player, or other playback Turn the old machine off, unplug
device equipped with a UPnP media its power cord, open its case (ground
adapter. Like gigabit ethernet, UPnP is yourself by touching a piece of metal
an important feature to have if you’re first), and remove all extraneous hard-
planning a home multimedia network. ware (such as a sound card or a TV
For even more flexibility, get a NAS tuner card, but not the network adapter,
box with USB ports for attaching if the ethernet port isn’t on the system
a printer that you can share across the board). Next, close the case, turn the
network or for expanding the network’s system on, and enter its PC Setup pro-
storage capacity via standard USB hard gram (look on the screen for the appro-
drives. With a high-end NAS box, you priate key to press before Windows
can back up your network storage by starts loading).
PHOTOGRAPHS: MARC SIMON

attaching a backup device directly to the Once you’re in the BIOS, disable any
box, rather than having to go through unnecessary features: If you won’t be
your PC. Most people, however, will attaching a parallel printer, for instance,
store the backup of their NAS box on disable the parallel port. Other FIGURE 2: USE YOUR WIRELESS router as a
DVDs, or on a hard drive or tape drive candidates for deactivation are audio network storage device via its USB port, such
attached to their computer. devices, serial ports, secondary ATA as the one on the Linksys WRT350N.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 89


HERE’S HOW STORAGE TI PS

drive, or the drive partition that holds reinstall it via your Windows
the operating system. Repartition the disc, but it’s a good idea to
drive to create a partition solely for the be cautious about removing
operating system; set the size at the Windows utilities.
minimum amount the OS requires, Adventurous and/or tech-
plus 1GB or so for a safety margin. n i c a l l y p r o fi c i e n t u s e r s
Since you won’t be installing many should consider a minimal
apps, this partition won’t need much Linux in stallation. Using
extra storage. Rule of thumb: 10GB is Linux to serve files to a
fine for Windows XP or Linux; 20GB Windows network ensures
will work for Windows Vista. Partition that your do-it-yourself NAS
the rest of your drive as you see fit for box won’t fall prey to a Win-
storing the actual shared data. dows-specific malware
After you’ve finished repartitioning attack. I like Xubuntu for
the drive, reinstall the operating system, its small footprint and
enabling as few options as possible. friendly installation.
FIGURE 3: ENTER YOUR ROUTER’S configuration program
Then remove the unnecessary apps and After you connect your
to set up your network storage device.
services running in the background that NAS box to your router with
you couldn’t opt out of during the instal- an ethernet cable, you’ll want to config- provide software utilities that walk you
lation, such as Windows Messenger. ure the unit via the HTML setup appli- through the setup process—or you can
This will save you some CPU cycles. If cation in its firmware, which opens in administer the unit directly. To do so,
you uninstall the wrong app, you can your PC’s browser. Most NAS boxes open your browser, type 192.168.0.1
into the address bar ( 192.168.1.1 for
some Linksys routers, and 192.168.2.1
GET YOUR PC-BASED NAS BOX READY TO SHARE for others), and press <Enter>. If you’re
IF YOU PLAN to convert a PC for your Windows 95 through 2000 as well; go to not sure of the IP address to use, open
NAS device, you must reconfigure it and http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/ your router’s setup page and look in its
define an area to store files in. It will need details.aspx?FamilyID=80111f21-d48d- quick-start guide for the correct
a keyboard, a mouse, and a display, which 426e-96c2-08aa2bd23a49&DisplayLan address. Log in, locate your router’s
may not be practical to attach and use in g=en for the free download. DHCP table, and note the address of
a closet or other out-of-the-way location. If you installed your OS on a small par- your NAS box (it may be similar to
Windows XP’s Remote Desktop Connec- tition and created one or more other ‘192.168.0.120’; see FIGURE 3 ). The
tion lets you configure and administer partitions for data, XP lets you share entry name will likely give you a clue as
the machine remotely, so you can skip files by simply right-clicking a drive icon, to which device you’re looking for.
the peripherals—though the BIOS in some choosing Properties•Sharing, and check- (Hint: It’s the new device on the net-
PCs requires that a keyboard be attached ing Share this folder (see FIGURE 4; the work!) When in doubt, turn the device
unless you change this setting manually. option on some systems is Share this off, look at the table, turn it back on,
Remote Desktop Connection works with folder on the network). (The context and look for the new address in
menu’s ‘Sharing and Secu- the table.
rity’ option invokes an un- Next, type the address of your NAS
related Windows utility.) box into your browser’s address field
Most routers use the de- and press <Enter>. You may be greeted
fa u l t W i n d ows g ro u p , by a log-in screen demanding your user
named ‘MSHome’ or ‘Work- name and password, which you’ll find
group’. If you have renamed in your manual. More likely, you’ll have
yours, you must reset it: In to create a password. Use the configu-
XP right-click My Computer ration utility to handle such options as
and se lect Properties ; in formatting and partitioning the device’s
Vista right-click Computer drives, adding or deleting users who
and click Remote settings. can access the drive, making folders
In both versions, se lect public or private to individuals or
Computer Name• Change groups of users, joining a workgroup,
FIGURE 4: SET YOUR NAS DEVICE to share its files by and enter the workgroup and setting RAID levels.
enabling this option in its Properties dialog box. and computer names. —Jon L. Jacobi

90 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


H E RE’S HOW

The Fast Track to Your the new shortcut. For a bigger view, click
the down arrow next to Folders to col-
lapse the pane. Drag and drop to rear-

Favorite Files and Folders range items. To eliminate or rename a


link, right-click it and choose Remove
WINDOWS TIPS (applications not designed for Vista Link or Rename Link (or simply Rename).
there you are, rummaging in an being a notable exception). To customize Some links (including Desktop and
‘Open’ or ‘Save As’ dialog box, navigat- this list, locate the folder you want in the Computer) aren’t removable, but you
ing furiously through a maze of files and Folders pane (below Favorite Links) on can customize links in the file list by
folders in search of the one you need. the left, or select a folder or file in the clicking Links in the Folders tree that
Isn’t there a better way? Glad you appears below Favorite Links.
asked. These tips will get you where My Recent Documents: Most file dia-
you’re going faster. log boxes have a History
Places Bar: Array the two or three fold- (Windows 2000), My Recent
ers that you access most often on the Documents (XP), or Recent
Places Bar on the left side of the dialog Places (Vista) shortcut in
box. (Windows’ Places Bar is separate the Places Bar. Click it to
from the Places Bar in Office apps, so see a list of recently
changes to one won’t affect the other.) accessed files and folders.
Another option: Put shortcuts to the In Windows 2000 and XP,
folders and documents you frequently you can filter the types of files in this
use in a separate folder, and then add list via the ‘Files of type’ drop-down
a shortcut to this folder o’ shortcuts FIGURE 1: CUSTOMIZE your favorite links in Vista menu at the bottom. In Vista, you
on the Places Bar. You’ll have to click dialog boxes instantly with a simple drag and drop. can remove the current batch of
at least once more to select the one shortcuts in Recent Places by right-
you want, but it’s still faster than digging main file window in the center of the clicking the icon and choosing Clear
through layers of folders. dialog box; then drag the item into Recent Items List.
In Vista, the Places Bar is called Favorite Links until a line appears ‘File name’ drop-down: A shorter list of
Favorite Links and is located both in between two existing items (see FIGURE recently used files lies in the ‘File name’
Explorer and in most file dialog boxes 1 ). Release the mouse button to create drop-down menu near the bottom of the
dialog box. Click the arrow to the right
WI N D OWS TO O LB OX
to see the path of recently accessed files.
To filter this list by file type, select the
Open Your Favorite Apps and Files Faster With Launchy type from the ‘Files of type’ drop-down
VISTA LETS YOU press the <Windows> http://pcworld.in/downloads/index.jsp/ list (2000 and XP) or from the pop-up
key, type a few letters until a match to dsecId=1494/dsubSecId=1499. There is menu located to the right of the ‘File
your application of choice appears, and also other helpful downloads like Acro- name’ box (Vista).
then press <Enter> for a quick launch. If bat Reader 8.0. Surprisingly, consider- To open a recently used folder rather
you aren’t yet ready to move to Vista ing every manual and many marketing than a file, in Windows 2000 and XP,
(or if you use Vista’s Classic Start brochures are distributed this way, use the ‘File name’ drop-down menu to
menu), try Launchy, a free, open-source there’s no PDF reader built-in to Vista. select a file located in the folder you
tool from Josh Karlin. Press <Alt>- Thankfully, Adobe has already made its need, press the right arrow key once to
<Space> (or another hot-key combina- Vista version of the free Acrobat Reader deselect the text in the ‘File name’ box,
tion of your choice) to pop open a com- 8.0 available for download. One of those and press <Backspace> as many times
mand-line window; type a few letters, invaluable applications you’re bound to as necessary to delete the file name,
and Launchy anticipates your target need. www.adobe.com leaving only the path. Finally, press
file, displaying it (and other alterna- On the other hand, One of the main <Enter>. The file list above switches to
tives). When the file that you want ways Microsoft will be pushing Vista is the desired folder. In Vista, the drop-
appears in the window, press <Enter>. with its strengthened security setup. At down list at the top of Explorer and
Launchy enables you to customize the the core of its Security Center is Windows most file dialog boxes displays the full
directories it searches and the file types Defender, a two-way firewall that provides path to recently used folders and Web
it shows, so you can use it to open pic- antivirus protection and squishes both addresses. To return to one of those
ture or music files as well as to run spam and spyware. Download a free copy locations, just select the desired path
applications. Download Launchy at for Windows XP at tinyurl.com/dyvaw. and away you go.
—Scott Dunn

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 91


HERE’S HOW

Minimize Your Vista- development—so ask the company


about it. RadarSync, a device driver
update service, has created a list of links

Related Hardware Hassles to Vista drivers at http://www.radarsync.


com/vista/.
H A R D W A R E T I P S You can also check Microsoft’s Hard- After you have identified which driv-
when windows xp launched, some ware Compatibility List (http://winqual. ers lack Vista equivalents, copy the XP
PCs and peripherals wouldn’t work with microsoft.com/hcl/), or the Vista hard- versions to a CD or anyplace you can
the new OS because device drivers had ware list on IeXwiki (www.iexbeta.com/ easily access them once you’ve installed
not yet been written. The same is true wiki/index.php/Windows_Vista_Hard- Vista. Make sure you have your net-
for Vista. Whether you plan to install ware_Compatibility_List). Need to iden- work drivers handy so you can go
Vista on your current PC, or to buy a tify what components are in your sys- online and download other device driv-
Vista-equipped system to use with your tem? The free Belarc Advisor utility ers and updates.
existing peripherals, these tips will help ( http://pcworld.in/downloads/index. Be prepared for trouble: Back up your
smooth the transition. jsp/dsecId=1494/dsubSecId=1497/ old XP installation to a second hard
Study up beforehand: To run the bare- type=M) will quickly scan your PC and drive or to a different partition on your
bones Vista Home Basic, Microsoft rec- identify all its hardware. main drive so you can revert to XP if
ommends a CPU running at 1 GHz or something goes wrong with Vista.
faster, plus 512MB of RAM and 15GB (What can go wrong? One possibility: A
of hard-drive space. Home Premium, PC World editor found that, after install-
Business, and Ultimate editions with ing Vista on his home PC, he could no
the new Aero environment require at longer log in to the office network be-
least 1GB of RAM, and for systems cause no Vista version of the Cisco VPN
without integrated graphics, a DirectX client existed.) As an alternative to
9–capable graphics processor with doing a complete backup
128MB of its own RAM, DirectX 9, and on a separate hard drive,
a few other features. Go to www.micro- use a drive-image pro-
soft.com/windows/products/windows- gram such as the Rs. 1,800 Acronis
vista/editions/systemrequirements. True Image 10 ( http://www.pcworld.
mspx to read Microsoft’s Vista System com/product/pricing/prt-
Requirements. prdid,33724817-sortby,retailer/pricing.
Microsoft’s Vista Upgrade Advisor html ) to burn an image of your XP
( www.microsoft.com/windows/prod- installation onto recordable DVDs.
ucts/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/ Browse to http://lifehacker.com/soft-
upgradeadvisor.mspx) scans your PC to ware/top/windows-vista-beta-how-to-
determine which editions of Vista will FIGURE 1: CHECK VISTA’S DEVICE Manager dual-boot-windows-xp-and-windows-
run on it, and which of its hardware for peripherals or devices the OS considers vista-179906.php for instructions on
components are incompatible with problematic—they’ll be flagged as shown. installing both versions of Windows on
Vista. When I ran Upgrade Advisor on a PC set to dual-boot.
my year-old machine, the program If Vista doesn’t support one of your PC’s Once you’ve installed Vista, open De-
found no compatibility problems—but it components, look for updated Vista driv- vice Manager to check for problems:
did list ten components for which it had ers on the vendor’s Web site. If you can’t Right-click the Computer icon and
no data, including the PC’s USB port. find them, the drivers may still be in choose Manage•Device Manager. Non-
functioning devices are flagged with an
exclamation point in a yellow triangle
HELP YOUR COMPUTER BEAT THE SUMMER’S HEAT (see FIGURE 1).
If Windows can’t find a driver, it may
DOES THE SUMMER sun leave your sys- than 3 inches in diameter; it attaches to list the device as ‘Unknown Device’
tem a little hot under the collar? Antec’s any motherboard mounting hole and under ‘Other devices’. HunterSoft’s
Rs. 900 SpotCool (http://www.antec. draws power from an open three-pin free Unknown Device Identifier utility
com/us/productDetails. connector on your board. The fan’s flex- helps you find the name of the mystery
php?ProdID=75018) may be just what ible arm lets you focus its cooling air hardware (http://www.zhangduo.com/
your machine needs to keep cool and current on your CPU, graphics card, or udi.html).
quiet. SpotCool’s three-speed fan is less other internal component. — Kirk Steers

92 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


H E RE’S HOW

Block Spying Cookies, But Firefox 2 can accept, and regularly wipe
away, any cookie you haven’t explicitly
told it to keep: Click Tools•Options•Privacy,

Keep the Helpful Ones check Accept cookies from sites, and in the
‘Keep until’ drop-down box, select I close
ANSWER LINE ad networks never get a chance to track Firefox. To keep cookies from a few trust-
IS THERE A way to tell which of your surfing from session to session. ed sites, click Exceptions, and in the dia-
the cookies on my PC are help- Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Firefox log box, enter the URLs of the sites whose
ing, and which ones are spying? 1.x and 2 have good cookie-handling pro- first-party cookies you wish to keep in the
a cookie is merely a small file that a Web cedures. IE lets you keep first-party cook- ‘Address of web site’ field. Click Allow for
site puts on your PC to identify you, or to ies (left by the site you’re visiting) but each, and when you’re done, click Close
store information about you or your com- block those from third parties: Select and OK. If you’re using Firefox 1.5, click
puter, such as your IP address. The good Tools•Internet Options•Privacy•Advanced. Tools•Options•Privacy•Cookies , check
ones save you the trouble of logging Allow sites to set cookies , and
on to the site on return visits, a big choose for the originating site only.
help if you use subscription news Many security programs, includ-
services such as that of the New York ing Norton Internet Security, PC-
Times (nytimes.com). Cillin, and Ad-Aware, also identify
The bad cookies are placed by ad and destroy known spying cookies.
companies that pay for the right to
place advertising on the sites’ pages DISABLE THE
(some sites also leave their own ad WINDOWS KEY
cookies). These files track your visits I’M A COMPUTER gamer. Acci-
to pages that display their clients’ ads dentally hitting the Windows
(or their own), and they may tailor key in the middle of a game
FIGURE 1: SET INTERNET EXPLORER to allow first-
the ads you see to your browsing his- is a disaster. Can I disable it?
party cookies but block all third-party cookies.
tory. Over time, cookies can reveal you c a n w i t h a little Registry
your browsing habits, though standard In the Advanced Privacy Settings dialog tweaking. But back up the Registry first;
ad cookies, like those that DoubleClick box, check Override automatic cookie han- see the boxed item at lower left for
uses, can’t attach a name to a specific dling (see FIGURE 1 ). Under ‘First-party details. Once the Registry is backed up,
surfing trail. Cookies’, select Accept; under ‘Third- select Start•Run (just Start in Vista), type
That means, if you wipe out your cook- party Cookies’, choose Block. Ignore the regedit, and press <Enter>. In the left
ies as soon as you close your browser, the session cookies option. Click OK twice. pane, navigate to and select HKEY_
LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\Current-
MYTH BUSTER
ControlSet\Control\Keyboard Layout (this
is not to be confused with the ‘Keyboard
Dual core CPUs are twice as fast as single core CPUs Layouts’ option just beneath it). Click
Edit•New•Binary Value, name the new
REALITY: DUAL CORE CPU does not necessarily mean double the performance
value Scancode Map, and then double-
over a single-core. Benefits from a dual core can be seen only with applications
click it. Enter the code below, which will
that support it. Today you can expect multimedia creation software to be faster
wrap automatically as shown here:
by up to 50 percent compared to similarly clocked single cores. Note that the
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
benefit is restricted to audio/video encoding and decoding and certain games.
03 00 00 00 00 00 5B E0
However, office suites, browsers, media-players (for non HD playback)
00 00 5C E0 00 00 00 00
will hardly make use of the second processor. Hence for most general use
Click OK , close the Registry Editor, and
as of today, a single core CPU should suffice. With multi-core support in
reboot Windows. Your Windows key will
the latest operating systems like Windows Vista, dual cores will yield smoother
be no more. If you want to disable the
multitasking as the OS itself will split tasks to the two cores. If you are upgrading
Windows key only for specific applica-
from an old platform or building a new system altogether, dual core is the
tions, try the free WinKey Killer utility
way to go.
( http://www.majorgeeks.com/down-
However, if you already have a single core CPU that is only about a year old or
load304.html).
so, an upgrade to a similar clocked dual core will not double your performance
overnight. Answer Line is anchored by contributing
—Soham Raninga editor Lincoln Spector. Send in your queries
to answeline@pcworld.in.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 93


INSIDE

SOFTWARE 99 PREVIEW
■ Tech Videos
■ Ubuntu and Kubuntu Linux

102 WHAT’S ON DVD

REVIEWS
8GB of fun, freebies and
power tools

D U M M Y E D IHT A
END DBPYI CKKAELDP A
GNOA
O DEITETSEFNRSOOM
N T&HREADMVODN

For a Healthy PC...


USE THESE FREE SOFTWARE BUNDLED IN THE DVD FOR SYSTEM MAINTENANCE.
just like your body, or for that using anti-spyware
that matter your car, your PC must be in conjunction
also requires care to ensure with an anti-virus tool.
that it works reliably and Cobian Backup: It is a multi-
springs no unpleasant sur- threaded program that can
prises when your work is be used to schedule and
dependent on it. On every backup your files and directo-
PC World DVD we include ries from their original loca-
software in the PC World tion to other directories or
Super Suite that can be used drives in the same computer
for tasks collectively called or another in your network.
system maintenance – secu- If you are wondering why a
rity software, registry clean- backup utility is discussed
ers, defragmenting tools, here, let us tell you that any
patches, etc. This month, our system is prone to failure and
Fantastic Freebies collection taking adequate precautions
also has many system soft- with security and other tools
ware. Here is a preview of can only reduce chances of
just some of those utilities. failure and not eliminate
Ad-Aware and Spybot-S&D: and popping up annoying your PC and keep it clean, as it. Thus it is a smart idea to
These are the two most famous ads, to slowing down your PC one of them might catch a backup important data to a sec-
spyware removal tools that and even crashing it. The fact malicious file that the other ondary hard disk, another PC
we include in our PC World that damages from spyware missed out on. on the network, a pen drive or
Super Suite. The Internet is are incidental rather than Although we try and include even the Internet (a FTP site can
ILLUSTRATION: ANIL T

getting increasingly plagued by intentional unlike viruses does updates on a regular basis, we be very handy)
spyware and trojans which can not make them any bit more suggest you upgrade them on Cobian supports FTP backup
harm your computer by merely desirable! We recommend a weekly basis or enable auto- in both directions (download
tracking your surfing habits using both these tools to scan update on them. Also, note and upload). The program uses

98 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


SOFTWARE FRE E STU F F

very few resources and can be Windows better and are ing software that are
running on the background willing to risk an abrupt included on the DVD.
on your system, checking your restart, you can even shut Most applications use
backup schedule and executing down system services. the registry to store
your backups when necessary. TweakVI: Microsoft’s configuration and
Cobian Backup supports several TweakUI for Windows XP other important data.
methods of compression and was and is still a hit with When you install an
strong encryption. users who wanted to fine application, new regis-
KillProcess: You would have tune the operating system try entries will be cre-
come across an application that including some perform- ated and not all of them
simply refuses to close, forcing ance related settings. And get removed when you
you to use the Ctrl+Alt+Del now a similar tool exists uninstall the applica-
option. Sometimes you see for Vista users in the name tion. In due course,
names of running processes that of, well, TweakVI, the V your registry will be left
you dont recognize and wonder presumably standing for SPYBOT S&D SCANS your system for malware with a lot of unneces-
if it belongs to a legitimate Vista. This time however and removes them after your confirmation. sary data which increas-
application or if it is a malware. the software is made not es the registry size and
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could by Microsoft, but a company for free while extra plugins can results in a slower PC. Use
google it up in one straight step? called Totalidea. Amongst sev- be purchased. This is a recom- these free registry cleaners
KillProcess is an application eral other things, you can cre- mended software for serious to remove invalid registry
which can do that, and a lot ate a RAM drive, clean up the Vista tweakers. entries. With either of the
more. You can even create lists registry and optimise RAM, TweakNow RegCleaner Stand- applications, make sure you
of processes that you want to etc. The main application and ard and Clean My Registry: back up your registry before
keep or delete. If you understand a set of 13 plugins are available These are two registry clean- doing anything else.

PC World Exclusive Tech Videos You don’t need to spend too


much time wiping data off, and
TECH REVIEWS here is a tutorial that tells you
every month, PC World exactly how to do it.
brings exclusive videos Games for Windows Live:
produced by the IDG Microsoft plans to create a
network, including PC gaming platform to bring
World teams from across the together the Xbox and the PC.
globe. These videos include Also glimpse game play from
reviews, product launches, Shadowrun from Microsoft’s
technology previews, game studios.
coverage of international Optimus Keyboard: The much
meets like CeBIT and even awaited Optimus keyboard
how-to’s. This month, we FIND THE VIDEO review of the Sony T100 in PCW World’s Tech Videos. that can be user customized
treat you to 10 tech videos and has OLED display to
that let you have a glimpse Microsoft Forefront line of about the entry of the company show functions of each key.
of today and tomorrow’s software is designed to integrate into the Security business. The creator, Artemy Lebedev
technology. into existing IT infrastructure and Tutorial : Safely wipe data off speaks on his creation.
Video Review of Sony’s T100 increase security in businesses your hard drive: Most people UMPCs still need to come
camera: The 8.1MP compact and enable secure access to do not bother to permanently of age: Battery life, graphic
digital camera has a 3 inch resources on a network. The remove sensitive files from hard capabilities and connectivity
display which when coupled product has been under testing disks and other storage devices all have to improve for Ultra
with the brush aluminum for a year now and is expected to before disposing or giving them Mobile PCs to be a bigger hit.
exterior lends the camera a be available by end of June. Steve away. It is possible that this data Acer president speaks about the
nice look. Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft talks could fall into wrong hands. future for UMPCs.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 99


FREE ST UFF SOFTWARE

Ubuntu and for KDE fans, there is a


flavor called Kubuntu. There
Similarly, the GIMP for image
editing can be found under
L I N U X is also the Xubuntu that uses Applications > Graphics.
ubuntu needs no introduc- the Ubuntu base and the Xfce
tion unless you are a complete deskop environment which is SOME APPLICATIONS
Linux newbie. Ubuntu is one typically a lightweight desktop IN UBUNTU
of the most easy to install environment suitable for just like Windows XP can
and use Linux distributions lower-end systems. run only those applications
around. If you are consider- that are written for it, so also
ing moving to or dual booting LIVE CD AND is the case with Linux- you
with Linux, Ubuntu is a great INSTALLATION need applications that are
way to start. The June PC to install Ubuntu (32 bit) written to work under Linux.
FEATURE PACKED AND easy
World DVD is bootable with just place the DVD in your Thankfully, this is hardly a
to install, Ubuntu is a must
Ubuntu for 32 bit systems. drive and boot the PC with problem as there are literally
try if you want a Windows
The DVD also contains ISO the first boot device set as 1000s of software available
alternative.
(CD image) files of the 64bit DVD drive. From then on for download. By default, the
version as well as Kubuntu it is pretty much intuitive OpenOffice suite is installed
itself. You also need to set
for 32 bit and 64 bit versions. – the live CD allows you to (Kubuntu installs Koffice)
aside a smaller (about 1.5GB)
These ISO files can be found sample the operating system and you can choose to install
partition for a swap parti-
in the \Data\Full Products and then installer guides other applications like Abi-
tion. With this preparation,
folder on the DVD. you through the installation word, Scribus (a page layout
the installation will be pretty
process. Like all other Linux software) GnuCash (person-
ABOUT UBUNTU much straightforward.
distros, this one too does not al money management soft-
ubuntu is an African word kill your existing Windows MIGRATING ware), etc.
meaning ‘Humanity to others’. (unless you ask it to or acci- FROM WINDOWS For multimedia playback
Its makers, Canonical claim dentally delete the Windows U b u n t u i n s t a l l s To t e m ,
a handy tool in this release
they want to bring the spirit of partition yourself!) and will the official movie player
is the inclusion of a Migra-
Ubuntu to the software world enable you to have a multi- of GNOME, Sound Juicer
tion Tool on the Live CD that
and will continue to offer boot system. For greatest (a CD ripping tool), and
can import your Windows
Ubuntu for free. A desktop ease of installation, move Serpentine (a CD burning
XP’s Documents and Settings
and server release is scheduled clear an an existing partition tool). On Kubuntu, you get
(documents, email, desktop,
every six months with the latest by moving data elsewhere. AmarocK for music playback
settings) for use in Ubuntu.
being the 7.04 version. Then, you can simply ask and Kaffeine for video; K3b
This means, you can more or
Ubuntu integrates the Ubuntu installer to format for CD and DVD authoring –
less ‘continue’ working with
GNOME desktop environment and use this free space for these apart you can manually
Ubuntu after switching from
choose to install other
Windows, rather than spend
software like VLC Media
time setting up your account
Player as well.
from scratch.
This is a only brief intro-
WORKING duction to a worthy Win-
WALLPAPER CONTEST WITH UBUNTU dows alternative. Official as
well as community docu-
Bring out the shutter bug in you! Every month we carry on the ubuntu’s navigation will
mentation can be found at
DVD wallpapers contributed by readers as well as some in- not leave the first timer
help.ubuntu.com
house creations. If you think your photography or illustration user lost. At the top left of
can adorn others’ desktop, do send us a sample of your work the screen you will find the
to contests@pcworld.in. menus for Application, Plac-
Photographs can have any subject except persons or es and System. Under these,
children (silhouette shots are OK). You may send us the photo you have sub-menus or items Installation Details
as shot by you or crop it to 1024 x 768 resolution. Adjusting leading to various tasks. For
System Requirements:
levels or applying filters is also permitted, but do let us know example, if you want to use
■ Live CD requires at least
of the post-processing done. OpenOffice that is bundled
25 6 M B R A M , I n s t a l l
WINNERS CAN EXPECT GOODIES INCLUDING FREE SUBSCRIPTIONS! with Ubuntu, you will find it
requires 2GB disk space.
under Applications > Office.

100 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


J U N E 2 0 0 7

LINUX

Ubuntu ( for 32 bit and 64 bit systems )


Kubuntu ( for 32 bit and 64 bit systems )
Ubuntu is a great way to start off a tryst with Linux.
The PC World June 2007 DVD is bootable with
Ubuntu 32 bit edition while ISO (image) files for
Ubuntu 64 bit and the KDE flavor – Kubuntu (32 and
64 bit) are found in the DVD.
F R E E WA R E

50+ Fantastic Freebies


This is a collection of some of the most loved
E SS E N TI A L S
free software out there today. From anti-virus
to browsers to office suites, there is everything
PC World Super Suite
that you need for fun and utility.
1.7GB of software including Windows patches,
codes, multi-media players and editing tools etc...

TECH VIDOES

10 Exclusive Tech Videos


E N T E R TA I N M E N T
Catch a sneak peek at products and technology
of today and tomorrow with tech videos,
The Scene : Season 2
complete with a video review of Sony’s T100
All 19 episodes of The Scene, a show that is
8.1MP camera.
distributed on the Internet. The story is about a
group of ‘sceaners’ whose interest lies in
acquiring movies and music before their release
and then distributing them freely on the net.
LEISURE

Game Demo and Vids


PC World Wallpapers
The Secrets of Da Vinci: The Forbidden
Images contributed by readers as well as in-house
Manuscript Uncover the secrets hidden in the
creations. Let creative flow on your desktop
Master’s last residence.

Stonghold 2
A RTS game set in the medieval age.
FULL PRODUCT
CC3 - Behind the scenes
MacWorld Some behind the scene footage of Command
The current and complete edition of MacWorld + Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars (you can find the
in PDF. For all you Apple fan game demo on the April 2007 DVD).

102 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


CONTENT PAGE MARCH 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 103
Incorporating Mac User

CONTENTS
June 2007

ON THE
OPINION
DVD
From the Editor’s Desk
I’ve been waiting for a device like the Apple TV for
years. Now that it’s here, here’s what I think.

Feedback
Readers respond.

ON THE
MAC BEAT
DVD

Inside the Apple Stores


What’s behind six years of retail success?

EMI Offers DRM-Free Music


on iTunes
Higher-quality tracks come with a higher price tag.

Wilkes University Moves to Macs


Pennsylvania school dumps PCs in favor of
Intel Macs.

Hot Stuff
Check out the cool products we’re into right now.

ON THE
REVIEWS
DVD
Spam Fighters
What can you do about the junk e-mail that clogs
your inbox? We go out on a quest for software
that helps you fight the good fight.

macworld.com/reviews
We’re constantly reviewing the latest Mac hardware
and software on Macworld.com. Here are quick
summaries of this month’s online exclusives.

Top Products
Looking for a new printer, monitor, digital
camera, or other hardware? Check out our
current favorites, as well as a complete listing
ADD MORE STORAGE TO ANY MAC p. 60
of all current Macs and iPods.

www.macworld.com | May 2007 The Mac Experts


Mac Gems
The Ultimate PC Put some serious style in your text, easily follow
It’s a Mac! up on sent e-mail messages, connect almost any
Run OS X and
Windows Together drive via USB, and silence your Mac’s startup
Build the Perfect
Home Office
Why Mac Users
sounds.
Shouldn’t Fear
Microsoft

On the Cover PLUS:


$6.99 U.S./$7.99 CANADA

Photograph by Peter Belanger Adobe CS3 | AirPort Extreme

104 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


CONTENTS June 2007

106 COVER STORY


Apple TV: Ready for Prime Time?
With its new entertainment hub, Apple is hoping to
change the way you watchTV. We’ll show you how
to set it up and tell you if it’s worth the effort.

ON THE
FEATURES
DVD
State of the Mac
How reliable are Macs? How happy are their owners?
We surveyed Macworld readers about what they
like—and don’t like—about their Macs.

ON THE
SECRETS
DVD
Working Mac
Being energy efficient isn’t just good for the
environment—it’s good for your wallet. Here’s
Apple TV: Ready
how to go green with your Mac. for Prime Time?

Playlist iG
ear
!

Get in shape with Apple’s iPod and some great


Term

fitness accessories.
ina
l C1
6

Digital Photo
Ter
min
al C1
6

Even if you’re not a high-end photographer, these


strategies can help you benefit from the slick MAC CLASS

features in Apple’s Aperture.

Mobile Mac
Get rid of—and prevent—screen smudges,
chipped paint, and other unsightly blemishes on
State of
your portable Mac.
the Mac
Geek Factor
Put your Mac Pro’s four hard-drive slots to use by
setting up a RAID array and boosting performance. MACWORLD.COM’S TOP 5
The top 5 stories on Macworld.com are:
ON THE
HELP DESK
DVD
Mac OS X Hints 1 France Bans Citizen Journalists from Reporting Violence
The French Constitutional Council makes it a crime for
people other than professional journalists to film acts of
Set Office zoom levels quickly, insert line breaks
into iTunes Comments field, privatize your PDFs, violence (macworld.com/2677).
and customize OS X’s alert sounds.

Mac 911
2 Apple to Hold Special Event at NAB
Apple announces plans to hold a special event at the National
Association of Broadcasters trade show (macworld.com/2678).
Clear out iPhoto’s trash, make Microsoft Word
multilingual, remove Spotlight from the menu bar,
and more.
3 Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.4.9
Apple rolls out its latest OS update for PowerPC and Intel-based
Macs (macworld.com/2679).

ON THE
DVD
BACK PAGE 4 Adobe to Release Two Versions of Photoshop CS3
Latest Photoshop update will come in two flavors: standard
and extended (macworld.com/2684).
Spotlight
Between Apple’s recent triumphs (the iPod, the Intel
transition, and the iPhone) and Microsoft’s stumbles 5 PC World: Apple TV Just Plain Works
Our colleagues at PC World take a look at the Apple TV and
find it easy to use (macworld.com/2680).
(hello, Vista), Christopher Breen feels that there’s
been a big shift in the way folks think about the Mac.
(Ranking valid as of April 4, 2007.)

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 105


Ready
for
Prime
Time
What you need to know about Apple’s new
entertainment hub. Plus: the Macworld review.

I
n October 2005, Apple demonstrated its interest in selling video content

alongside its digital music offerings by adding TV shows to the iTunes

Store. Great as it might have been to watch these programs on a com-

puter or—in very small form—on an iPod, most people prefer viewing digi-

tal diversions from the comfort of a couch. When the company augmented

the store’s catalog in September 2006 with full-length movies, it became clear that

Apple’s interest in the video business was no mere flirtation. That same day, Apple

committed to digital content with the unveiling of what’s now called the Apple TV,

a simple piece of hardware that gives your iTunes content— movies, TV shows,

music, photos, and podcasts—new life on your TV. Now that it’s finally here, we’ve

put the Apple TV through its paces to learn how you can make the most of this

intriguing digital device. Our hands-on guide walks you through setting up and

working with the Apple TV (and don’t miss the review on page XX).

PHOTOGRAPHY BY
By Christopher Breen PETER BELANGER

106 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on
Resize Partitions
On-the-Fly

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 107


FEATURE Apple TV

Out of the Box


The Apple TV box is a neat and tidy pack-
age that includes the device itself, a power
cord (the power supply is built into the
device rather than part of an external
power brick), a 47-page user’s guide, some
fine-print documentation you probably
won’t read, the customary white Apple
stickers, and the same Apple Remote that
ships with most current Macs. Not includ-
ed with the Apple TV are cables for con-
necting the device to your TV, so you’ll
have to provide your own (see “What You
Need” for more information on outfitting
your Apple TV with the necessary accou-
trements). Given that Apple would have to
bundle five cables to satisfy the most com- iTunes Interface You decide which content you want to sync to the Apple TV via six tabs in iTunes.
mon connections— HDMI to HDMI,
DVI to HDMI, component video, analog Getting Started Much like when you install OS X, you’ll
audio, and Toslink digital audio—this Setting up the Apple TV is almost child’s then see a Language screen where you
omission doesn’t surprise me. play. I plugged the power cord into the back pick from among 15 languages, using the
At about 7.75-inches square and just over of the Apple TV and into an outlet. I strung Apple Remote. When you make selections
an inch tall, the Apple TV’s footprint is a bit an HDMI cable between the appropriate and press the play/pause button, you hear
larger than the Mac mini’s. Arrayed across port on the Apple TV and one of the HDMI the same cute “clunk” sound that Apple’s
the back are power, USB 2.0, Ethernet, ports on my Panasonic TH-42PX60U 42- Front Row uses.
HDMI, component video, analog audio, and inch plasma TV. (The Apple TV will output Connecting the Apple TV to your TV is
optical digital audio ports (for help decipher- video to enhanced definition [ED] or high only part of the setup—the device also needs
ing these and other terms common in the definition [HD] TVs at 1,080i 60/50Hz, to communicate with iTunes 7.1 or later on
world of high definition video, see our glossa- 720p 60/50Hz, 576p 50Hz [PAL format], your Mac (or on a Windows PC). If you’ve
ry in “Picking an HDTV”). The front of the and 480p 60Hz. And while it isn’t listed plugged a cable into the 10/100Base-T Ether-
device bears a single light that can shine or among Apple’s specifications, the Apple TV net port on the back, the Apple TV will check
flash white or amber. also supports 480i—so it will work with there first for a viable network connection. If
The purpose of all of these ports is pretty standard definition [SD] TVs that sport it finds one, it’ll attach itself to the network
clear, barring the USB 2.0 port. Apple tells us component connectors.) Using the TV’s and attempt to use DHCP. (If you manually
that the USB port is not for users; rather, remote, I selected the proper input and, in assign IP addresses to your gear, you can do
Apple will employ the port to conduct repairs short order, there appeared the white Apple this as well.) Otherwise, the Apple TV then
on your Apple TV in the event it needs them. logo on a black background. HDMI con- searches for wireless networks, using its
You can’t connect an iPod or a hard drive to nections just work. But if you use compo- built-in 802.11b, 802.11g, and 802.11n wire-
the USB port. That’s the story—at least for nent video, you’ll be prompted to select the less capabilities. The Apple TV lists every
now. But I wouldn’t be surprised if a future video output format for your TV (depend- wireless access point it can find. Just use the
update to the Apple TV brings other capa- ing on your specific setup, you may have a Apple Remote to select the one you want and
bilities to that port. few more steps to take than I did). then press the play/ pause button—you’re
nearly ready to go. (You’ll also see an Other
entry in the list of wireless access points.
Select this, and you can configure wireless
devices that are hidden from public discov-
ery by using the on-screen keyboard to enter
Streaming PIN the name of the access point.)
Connecting to the Most wireless routers automatically assign
Apple TV requires IP addresses to your networked devices via
you to enter a five-
DHCP. Choose Using DHCP in the Net-
digit code into
work Setup screen, and then press the play/
iTunes.

108 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

pause button. The router will establish a What You Need Resize Partitions
Also on

connection. If you need to enter an IP and For $299, you can buy Apple’s cool new digital
subnet address manually, choose that option device, but you won’t find many accessories in On-the-Fly
and a screen for doing so appears. You’ll see the box. Besides the Apple TV itself, you get a
12 blanks for the IP numbers: use the Apple power cable, the Apple Remote, and a user’s manual. So what else do you need to
Remote’s plus (+) and minus (–) buttons to start using—and getting the most out of—it? Here’s a quick checklist.
change the selected number, and then use
Wide-Screen TV The Apple TV is meant to work with certain types of TVs— specifically, wide-
the forward button to select other blanks.
screen EDTVs or HDTVs capable of at least 480p resolution with HDMI, DVI, or component video
Likewise, for secure networks, you’ll be
connections. So if you don’t have such a set, you may need a new TV (see “Picking an HDTV” for
asked to enter your password via an
advice and recommendations). Although Apple doesn’t really say so, you can use the Apple TV with
onscreen keyboard.
an SDTV (480i), as long as it has component video inputs. These TVs aren’t very common, but
In my case, I have a wireless 802.11n
several Macworld readers have reported that they own them.
network setup, using the latest AirPort
Audio and Video Cables You’ll need either one or two cables, depending on your particular setup. If
Extreme Base Station. It found the base
your TV has a free HDMI port, an HDMI-to-HDMI cable will carry both digital video and digital audio
station in just seconds. The Apple TV
signals from the Apple TV to your TV. Otherwise, you can use an HDMI-to-
displayed its name and the name of my
DVI cable if your TV has a DVI port, or component video cables (high-
older 802.11g AirPort Extreme Base
quality analog cables that split into three parts, colored green, blue, and
Station. I selected the 802.11n network, Analog audio
red). The latter two options don’t carry audio, so you’ll need separate audio
and I was in business.
connections. If your multimedia stereo system has an optical digital audio
port, use a Toslink cable. Otherwise, standard RCA-style red and white
Talking to iTunes Toslink digital audio
analog audio cables will do the trick. Even people using HDMI may want to
Once you’ve made the connection to your
use a Toslink audio cable to hear sound through a stereo (especially if they
network, it’s time for the Apple TV to speak
don’t have an easy way to route sound from their TV to the stereo). Apple
with its partner, iTunes. The Apple TV
has partnered with XtremeMac to sell each of these types of cables at very HDMI
initiates this process by displaying a screen
reasonable prices ($20 for each cable except analog audio, which costs
with a 5-digit PIN. Your job is to go to the
$15). The cables are available from Apple’s brick-and-mortar and online
computer that you plan to use to sync
stores (see mac world.com/2690 for more on the XtremeMac cables).
content with the Apple TV, select the Apple
HDMI Switchers Speaking of cables, many TVs that have the all- DVI
TV entry in iTunes’ Source list, and enter
digital HDMI connection usually have one or maybe two such ports. If
the Apple TV’s PIN in the space allotted.
you’re already using your TV’s HDMI ports for other devices (a Series3
Syncing You’re allowed to sync an Apple
TiVo or Playstation 3, for example), you’re not out of luck. Products such
TV’s internal 40GB hard drive (33GB of
as XtremeMac’s $100 HDMI Switcher will let you connect several HDMI
which is available to you) with one
devices to your TV and pick which one you want displayed at a given time.
computer, so the computer isn’t necessary Component video
Computer and Network You’ll also need a computer and a way of
for playback.
connecting the Apple TV to your network in order to transfer and stream content. That means a
Apple says that the Apple TV’s hard drive
Mac running OS X 10.3.9 or later, or a PC running Windows XP Home or Professional with Service
will hold as many as 50 hours of video
Pack 2 (currently, Vista is not officially supported) and running iTunes 7.1 or later. Then you can
(based on 1.5-Mbps H.264-encoded video
directly connect an Ethernet cable from a router or hub to the Apple TV’s 10/100Base-T Ethernet
at a resolution of 640 by 480, with 128-
port, or use its built-in wireless abilities (the Apple TV supports 802.11b, g, and n) to connect to a
Kbps stereo audio), as many as 9,000 audio
wireless router such as an AirPort Extreme Base Station. For music streaming, 802.11b might be
tracks (with an average of four minutes per
OK, but 802.11g or 802.11n are better for video streaming. And of course, the speeds of transfer-
song and AAC encoded at 128 Kbps), or as
CABLE PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER BELANGER

ring data to the Apple TV will depend greatly on your connection speed.
many as 25,000 pictures (JPEG, BMP, GIF,
Compatible Content Finally, you’ll need content. Once you pair the Apple TV with your
TIFF, and PNG images are supported, but
computer, you should be able to play most things in your iTunes library. That includes music,
movies, TV shows, and podcasts downloaded from the iTunes Store. It will also work with AAC,
Power Down There’s no
TIP power button on the Apple TV, MP3, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV files that you’ve imported yourself, as well as with MPEG-4
and H.264 video that you’ve encoded in QuickTime or similar programs, and that fall within the
but if you want to give it a rest, you
supported parameters (see the Apple TV tech
don’t need to pull the plug. Instead,
specifications at macworld.com/2685for
press and hold the Apple Remote’s
complete details). —JONATHAN SEFF
play/pause button to put the Apple TV
into a power-saving standby mode. The XtremeMac HDMI Switcher

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 109


FEATURE Apple TV

Gain Control Once you add an


TIP Apple TV to your home
entertainment system, the Apple
Remote will probably join half a dozen
other remotes on your coffee table. To
cut the clutter, consider a programma-
ble remote such as those in Logitech’s
Harmony line (www.logitech.com). With
a little effort, you can program them to
use your Mac to control every device in
your TV cabinet—including the Apple TV.
Movies Menu The Apple TV’s main interface starts with movies but gives you access to all your content.

dows PC, you can sync photos from a sup- see a picture of the Apple TV and a
ported photo application such as progress bar beneath. It will tell you what
Photoshop Elements, your My Pictures it’s copying and how much it has cop-
folder, or a folder of your choice. Note that ied—Copying 251 of 589, for example. If
when you connect to iTunes the first time, you move to the Apple TV’s main screen,
the Apple TV will need to connect to the you’ll see a turning gear icon next to the
Internet to become authorized to play that category of media it’s syncing— Movies
account’s protected content (the Apple TV or TV Shows, for example. You’ll see this
not Raw). The Apple TV can play video doesn’t count as one of the five computers same information when you choose
encoded as MPEG-4 and H.264, and it that can play such content, however). Syncing from the Sources screen. iTunes
supports the same audio formats that To help manage your media files, will show you what it’s doing in the infor-
iTunes does (AIFF, WAV, MP3, AAC, and iTunes provides shortcuts for choosing mation pane at the top of the window.
Apple Lossless). subsets of them. For example, you can Streaming As anyone with even a
Unlike with an iPod, you can’t manually choose to sync just TV shows, or request moderately sized iTunes library knows,
drag items from your iTunes library to that only the most recent one, three, five, 33GB isn’t a lot of space—especially
your Apple TV. You must or ten unwatched movies or TV shows when it comes to movies and TV shows
configure everything via the Movies, TV sync with the device. In such a scenario, (for information on upgrading your
Shows, Music, Podcasts, and Photos tabs once the movie or show has played Apple TV’s hard drive, go to macworld.
in the Apple TV preferences within through, it’s bumped off the list and delet- com/2686). Luckily, the Apple TV can
iTunes to determine how content makes ed from the Apple TV, and then iTunes also stream content from up to five com-
its way to your Apple TV. (The Apple TV adds the next unwatched video. Because puters. You can always stream content
prioritizes your media, first syncing mov- the Apple TV and iTunes are in constant from the Mac to which the Apple TV is
ies, then TV shows, music, podcasts, and, communication, there’s no need to press already synced. But to set up streaming
finally, photos.) You can ask the Apple TV a sync button to make this happen. Sync- for a new Mac, navigate to the Sources
to sync all your content or selected playl- ing is fastest via Ethernet but will also menu on the Apple TV and select Con-
ists, or to omit certain types (no movies, work wirelessly (for more on syncing nect To New iTunes. A new PIN appears
for example). For photos on a Mac, you speeds, see “Staying in Sync”). on your TV. Enter this PIN into the
APPLE TV PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER BELANGER

can sync JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and You can monitor syncing from the
PNG files from iPhoto, your Pictures fold- Apple TV’s Sources screen and select
FIND IT
ONLINE

For more Apple TV coverage,


visit macworld.com/ 2687
er, or a folder of your choice. On a Win- Apple TV. On the left of the screen, you’ll

Ports Galore The Apple TV has all the ports you’d expect from a modern digital device: from left to right, you’ll find power, USB 2.0, Ethernet, HDMI,
component video, analog audio, and optical digital audio connections.

110 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Picking an HDTV Also on

HDTVs use many different technolo- To view HD content, a TV needs hardware Resize Partitions
gies to produce images. Tube HDTVs to convert the signal to something
Glossary On-the-Fly
4:3: The squarish
use CRTs (cathode-ray tubes), as do your television can display. Some TVs have
aspect ratio of SDTV broadcasts.
traditional TVs and computer monitors. Flat- HD tuners built in, which is useful for displaying
16:9: The wide aspect ratio of HDTV
screen TVs use either LCD (liquid-crystal display) digital content received over an
broadcasts.
technology (pixels in front of a light source) or antenna. But cable and satellite companies
480i: An interlaced-scan video mode with
plasma technology (cells filled with gases provide their own hardware for decoding
480 lines of vertical resolution and; this is the
between two panels of glass). Rear-projection their respective signals.
traditional format used for SDTV broadcasts.
TVs use CRT, LCD, digital light processing (DLP, As far as content from your Mac goes, the
480p: A progressive video mode with 480
which uses thousands of tiny mirrors), or liquid Apple TV is all you need to connect to an HDTV to
lines of vertical resolution and 704 or 720
crystal on silicon (LCoS, which uses liquid watch TV shows or movies downloaded from
pixels of horizontal resolution; this format is
crystals instead of mirrors) technology. iTunes. But note that Apple currently doesn’t sell
used on standard definition DVDs and
HDTVs also come in many shapes, sizes, and HD content in the iTunes Store. However, the
for EDTV.
prices, and each type has its pros and cons. Tube Apple TV will let you play HD broadcasts that
720p: A progressive-scan video mode with
HDTVs have excellent picture quality and wide you’ve captured on your Mac using compatible
720 lines of vertical resolution and 1,280
viewing angles, and they’re relatively inexpensive. hardware, although you may need to re-encode
pixels of horizontal resolution; networks such
But they’re bulkier and have smaller screens (34 the show first. And most (if not all) of the pictures
as ABC and Fox use this mode.
inches or less) than other types of TVs. LCDs are in your iPhoto library are high definition and
1,080i: An interlaced video mode with 1,080
thin and light; they come in large sizes (up to 46 should look great on an HDTV.
lines of vertical resolution and 1,920 pixels of
inches or so), and their prices have fallen. On the With so many HDTVs out there, how do you
horizontal resolution; networks such as CBS
downside, they don’t offer viewing angles as wide decide which is right for you? Once you have
and NBC use this mode.
as those of tube TVs. Plasma TVs are also thin an idea of what you’re willing to spend and how
1,080p: A progressive video mode with 1,080
and light, come in large sizes (up to 60-plus big you want your viewing experience to be,
lines of vertical resolution and 1,920 pixels of
inches), and have good picture quality and wide you’ll only be looking at a subset of the various
horizontal resolution; this mode is currently
viewing angles, but they’re more expensive than technologies. Then decide which features are
used only on Bluray and HD DVD movies.
other types of HDTVs at the entry level and don’t most important to you, and try to see a bunch
Component Video: A high-quality analog
natively support the highest HD resolutions. of TVs in action at a few different stores. (We’ve
connector that uses three separate plugs for a
Projection TVs (CRT, DLP, and the like) have very got some recommendations listed in “TV
video signal.
large screens (starting at around 42 inches and Picks”.) And if you don’t have a surround-
EDTV: Enhanced definition television;
going up to 65 inches), are relatively inexpensive, sound stereo system, it might be a good time to
sometimes wide screen, EDTV can display at
and offer high resolutions; they can also be bulky, check those out too.—JONATHAN SEFF
a higher quality than SDTV, but not as high as
and some technologies have viewing angle, color,
FIND IT
ONLINE

Read PC World’s latest HDTV


brightness, or uniformity problems. reviews at macworld.com/ 2689 HDTV. EDTV is often used as a term to
describe TVs that are capable of 480p
resolution.
TV Picks HDMI: A digital connector that carries a high
Here are a few top-rated TVs from the lab of our sister publication PC World. The definition video signal and a multichannel
suggested retail prices listed can often be higher than real-world prices. audio signal over the same cable. HDTV: High
definition television; HDTV is wide screen and
capable of displaying at least 720p.
Interlaced Scan: Used on most SDTVs and some
HDTVs, an interlaced scan refreshes all odd lines
of each frame and then starts over from the top
LG Electronics ViewSonic N3760w RCA Scenium with even lines; this can produce flicker.
42PC1DA $2,500 $1,199 M50WH185 $2,099 Progressive Scan: This method displays the
This 42-inch plasma TV This 37-inch LCD TV has This 50-inch DLP TV is lines of each frame sequentially, making for
has HDMI and component excellent color and image attractive and easy to smoother motion.
inputs, a 10,000:1 contrast ratio, quality, a 1,000:1 contrast use, and it has good speakers. It SDTV: Standard definition television; SDTV
an HD tuner, and a CableCard ratio, a 1,366-by-768-pixel also sports two component has a classic 4:3 aspect ratio set at 480i
slot. It supports 720p and 1,080i resolution, an HDMI input, inputs and a 1,280-by-720-pixel resolution.
video and has a 1,024-by- 768- and an HD tuner. It supports resolution. It supports Toslink audio: A digital connector that carries
pixel resolution. 720p and 1,080i video. 720p and 1,080i video. a multichannel audio signal.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 111


FEATURE Apple TV

Apple TV’s preferences in iTunes on the


new computer, and you can now stream
content from that computer’s iTunes
library to the Apple TV.
How quickly it streams depends on the
speed of your network connection and
the kind of content you’re streaming. If
you have an 802.11g or 802.11n network,
video should stream fairly well. And
although Apple supports only music
streaming over 802.11b, I’ve gotten video
to stream from a Mac with an 802.11b
wireless card inside. (Note that you can’t
stream photos with the Apple TV.) Albums Abound Scroll through your music, complete with album-art previews.

Apple TV Alternatives
What if instead of watching your Mac’s video on your TV, you’d rather watch TV on your Mac? Or what if you’ve
already got a Mac connected to your TV and you want to use it as a DVR or to view your media files?

Elgato’s $200 (presumably with a broadband connection, as media-center computers to stream content to
EyeTV 250 well). Using the SlingPlayer software, you can other devices around the home. Unfortunately,
( ; macworld watch whatever is currently showing on your there aren’t too many Mac products that support
.com/2411) acts like a home entertainment center on a Mac, Windows UPnP. However, if you’ve got a media receiver
computerbased TiVo; PC, PDA, or other compatible device. that supports UPnP, Elgato’s EyeConnect($50;
using its built-in TV For a combination of TiVo and Slingbox, www .elgato.com) can stream many types of
tuner (or by connecting there’s SageTV Media Center ($80; www media files—iTunes music and video, iPhoto
the 250 to your cable box), you can record TV .sagetv.com) and SageTV Placeshifter ($30). images, videos in your Movies folder, and even
shows for later viewing on your Mac or iPod. The The Media Center connects your computer to EyeTV-recorded TV shows—from your Mac to
EyeTV software and recording features aren’t your cable line or box and lets you record your your UPnP-compatible system.
quite as elegant as TiVo’s, but the EyeTV works favorite TV shows, in SD or HD, to your And finally, there’s always Apple’s Front
well and doesn’t require that you pay a monthly computer. You can even record multiple shows Row (www.apple.com), an attractive, easyto-
fee. If you can pick up over-the-air HDTV in your simultaneously, and then use Placeshifter to use interface for your photos, movies, music,
area, the $150 EyeTV Hybrid watch Media Center–saved programs from any and DVDs. If you’ve got your Mac hooked up to
( ; macworld .com/2317) lets you pull those networkor Internet-connected computer. your TV, you can browse your media files—
stations in and record them. Pinnacle’s TV for Unfortunately, although Placeshifter is including anything purchased from the iTunes
Mac HD Stick ($130; www.pinnaclesys.com) is available for the Mac, you currently need a Store and even content shared by other Macs
similar to the EyeTV Hybrid; it lets you watch Windows PC with a TV tuner card to use the on your local network— using the Apple
over-the-air HDTV channels, as well as analog main Media Center software. Remote. In fact, Front Row on a Mac looks a lot
TV, and uses Elgato’s EyeTV Lite software. Another technology, known as UPnP like the interface of the Apple TV. It doesn’t let
If you’re looking to watch content from your (Universal Plug and Play), lets computers and you sync your media with another Mac, but a
TV on your computer, Sling Media’s Slingbox other networked devices easily communicate Front Row–compatible Mac can double as a
(pictured right: Tuner, $180; AV, $180; Pro, with one another. When it comes to home DVD player and, of course, a computer. (For
$250; www.slingbox.com) is a unique system entertainment, UPnP is being used to allow feature stories on using the Mac mini and iMac
that connects to your TV, cable box, satellite as media centers, see macworld .
receiver, or TiVo and then streams video com/2284 and
and audio over your broadband macworld .com/2285,
Internet connection to wherever respectively).
you happen to be in the world —DAN FRAKES

112 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on
Resize Partitions
Finding Your Way Around On-the-Fly
If you’ve used Apple’s Front Row or navi-
gated an iPod’s screen, you’ll feel right at
Staying in Sync
To get an idea of how well the Apple TV would
home with the Apple TV (for a video walk-
handle syncing content, especially over a
through of the Apple TV interface, go to
wireless connection, I connected a Mac
macworld.com/2688). Once you’ve con-
running iTunes via Ethernet to an Ethernet hub, a new
figured the device, you’ll see the Apple
802.11n AirPort Extreme Base Station, and an older
TV’s main screen. In that screen, you’ll
see entries for Movies, TV Shows, Music,
802.11g AirPort Extreme Base Station. I then tested how
Wi-Fi Transfer Speeds
long it took to transfer a movie, an episode of a TV
Podcasts, Photos, Settings, and Sources.
series, and a single album, all of which were purchased 802.11g 7:45
You glide around the interface by select-
from the iTunes Store—a total of 1.57GB.
ing entries, pressing the Apple Remote’s 802.11n 3:40
In my tests, having the Apple TV connected via Ethernet
play/pause button, and choosing options
in the resulting screen. As with Front
resulted in the fastest transfers, while transferring wirelessly Ethernet 2:37
via the 802.11n base station was also quite fast. A switch to
Row, you move back through the com- Times are in minutes:seconds. Shorter is faster.
the 802.11g AirPort Extreme router, however, led to a serious
mand hierarchy by pressing the remote’s
slowdown; it took more than twice as long as transferring via the 802.11n router.
menu button.
Since every network is different, it’s hard to extrapolate hard advice from this data. But here’s my take: If
You’ll also find an iTunes Top Movies
you’ve got an Ethernet jack by your TV set, you’re living the good life. If you have an existing 802.11g network,
and Theatrical Trailers entry in the Movies
there’s a good chance that it will serve you well. Does a shiny new 802.11n base station speed things up? If your
screen. Just as in Front Row, you can watch
802.11g network suffers from speed or interference problems, a new router might help you out.
movie trailers streamed from the Internet.
At the same time, I had no problem playing back videos streamed over the network from my iTunes server,
And yes, just as in Front Row, they look
using the 802.11g base station. Only when I tested an extremely high-bitrate, high-resolution video did I see any
wonderful and load quickly over a typical
stuttering, and that particular file had some pretty outrageous specifications. My point is, if you’ve got an 802.11g
DSL or cable connection. Choose iTunes
wireless network, you may be able to stream video from another room without a lot of trouble. And since you can
Top Movies, and you’ll see a list of the ten
sync overnight, the speed of your wireless network may not be a big issue anyway. —JASON SNELL
top-selling titles available from the iTunes
Store. Select one, and a short description of
the movie and a picture of its poster Remote’s back or forward button while movie or take up where you last stopped (if
appear, and then you can play its preview. watching a movie or TV show, the Apple only my DVD player kept track so well),
Within TV Shows, you’ll find an entry for TV will move backward or forward, respec- whether the file is on the hard drive or
iTunes Top TV Episodes with 30-second tively, through the video at increased speed. streaming over your network. And because
snippets of the programs. And the Music During this fast playback, you can press the Apple TV is in contact with iTunes, you
entry contains iTunes Top Songs and iTunes the same button (back or forward) again to can begin watching a movie on your TV,
Top Music Videos entries, and it displays double the speed, and once more to further stop it, and then resume viewing it from
album covers when you select one. Again, speed playback; to return to standard play- your computer later, for example. It’s just
you get a 30-second preview (there are no back, press the play/pause button. Alterna- as smart about video played on an iPod.
podcast previews or recommendations tively, briefly pressing the back or forward Play part of a video on your iPod, sync it
available through the Apple TV). button will jump back or ahead, respective- with iTunes, and your Apple TV will offer
AIRPORT EXTREME PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF APPLE

The Settings screen is where you control ly, by chapter (for iTunes-purchased mov- to play it from the point where you stopped
how the Apple TV behaves: here, you can ies) or by a specific amount of time. For the watching it on the iPod.
control its screen saver (useful for latter, the exact length of this time jump
preventing burn-in on some types of flat- varies depending on the length of the video The Last Word
panel TVs), software update function, and you’re watching. For example, for a video Just as Apple broke ground in the
settings for repeating music, Sound Check, clip that’s only a few minutes long, each consumer electronics market with the iPod,
sound effects, and HDMI brightness. skip is ten seconds; for a feature-length it has entered the video market in elegant
movie, each click of the button jumps five fashion with the Apple TV. This product
Watching It All minutes. Apple TV is also clever about gives iTunes and your TV the language they
Viewing (or in the case of music, listening picking up where you left off. If you halt a need to converse amiably, and the result is
to) content is what the Apple TV is all movie midstream and later return to it the liberation of your digital content from
about, and it works well. As you might after playing, say, a song, you’ll be asked if within the confines of your computer’s and
expect, if you hold down the Apple you’d like to play from the beginning of the iPod’s smaller screens.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 113


FEATURE Apple TV

REVIEW

Apple
TV
Digital device provides
solid link between
computer and iTunes
By Christopher Breen
one you see when you attach a fifthgen- tures you select (from iPhoto albums or a
As Apple’s missing link between
eration (5G) iPod to your computer. folder of your choosing) and copies them to
the media files in your iTunes
You can sync content from only one the Apple TV’s hard drive. Once they’re on
library and today’s modern tele-
computer at a time, and you can’t add con- the Apple TV, you can view a selected album
visions, the Apple TV simplifies the daunt-
tent manually—for example, by dragging or your entire photo library as a slide show.
ing process of viewing computerbased
it from your iTunes library to the Apple TV As with iPhoto, you can choose from a varie-
content on a television. While limited in
icon on iTunes’ Source list, as you might ty of transitions, as well as determine the
several ways, the device is a solid first step
do with an iPod. If you choose to sync with display time for each picture.
in what I hope is a long line of increasing-
a different computer, all the data on the Playback of video files begins in a matter
ly capable Applebranded AV peripherals.
Apple TV will be replaced. of seconds. When you press the Apple
Ethernet syncing is fast and reliable— Remote’s forward button to fastforward or
Setup and Sync
your best option if you have a network cable skip to the next chapter, there’s a delay of a
Configuring an Apple TV is a relatively
running to your TV area. Wireless syncing few seconds while the Apple TV buffers the
simple process. Audio and video cables
can be slow, particularly over an 802.11b or incoming content— a progress bar shows
(not included) connect it to your TV, and
802.11g network, but also on an 802.11n you how far along in the process it is.
Ethernet or wireless networking links it
network. If you have a lot of content that you If you’ve ripped your own video at high
to iTunes. Then iTunes serves as the
want to sync to the Apple TV, it makes sense bit rates, streaming can be dicier. I ripped
gateway for syncing or streaming media
to start the sync before you go to bed. Make House of Flying Daggers at a resolution of
files. Once you’ve established this rela-
the first connection a wired one, then let 720 by 304, at 24 frames per second, encod-
tionship between your computer and the
iTunes update just the changes wirelessly. ed in H.264 format, and with an average
Apple TV, you’ll encounter an interface
data rate of 2,608 Kbps. Over my 802.11n
within iTunes that’s very much like the
Gently Down the Stream network, with a strong signal streaming
If you have a moderate to large iTunes from the Mac Pro, the movie briefly froze
APPLE TV
library, you’ll find the Apple TV’s hard after playing for about 15 minutes. It did so
drive too cramped to hold much of your again a couple of minutes later.
PROS: Streaming works remarkably well
content. This would be a serious drawback If 802.11b wireless is part of your network,
over moderate-to-fast networks; easy to set
if the device’s streaming capabilities glitches with high-bit-rate videos will become
up and use; solid picture quality; beautiful
PHOTOGRAPH BY PETER BELANGER

interface.
weren’t as good as they are. It can stream apparent even more readily. Apple says that
CONS: No support for 5.1-channel surround video and audio from up to five comput- the Apple TV requires an 802.11g or 802.11n
sound in videos; supports a limited variety of ers— from both Macs and Windows PCs. wireless network or a wired Ethernet connec-
video formats. With content purchased from the iTunes tion to stream video. I was pleased to find
OS X COMPATIBILITY: 10.3 (Panther), Store, video streaming is quite good over that I could successfully stream Pirates of the
10.4 (Tiger) 802.11g and 802.11n wireless networks, and Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (pur-
PRICE: $299 over Ethernet networks. You can’t stream chased from the iTunes Store) from an iMac
COMPANY: Apple Computer, photos. Instead, on the computer synced that contains an 802.11b AirPort wireless
www.apple.com
with the Apple TV, iTunes formats the pic- card over my 802.11n network. The Apple TV

114 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on
fared much worse on the iMac with a ripped While watching Neil Young: Heart of Gold, And finally, I’d Resize Partitions
version of It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World I particularly missed the kind of 5.1-channel dearly love to use the On-the-Fly
encoded as an MPEG-4 movie, at a resolu- surround sound you get from today’s DVDs. Apple TV’s USB 2.0
tion of 720 by 288, and with a total bit rate The Apple TV doesn’t currently support vide- port. Specifically, I’d like to plug my 5G
of 2,391 Kbps. Just eight minutes into the os with 5.1-channel audio—only stereo Dolby iPod into it so that not only could the Apple
movie, the Apple TV paused and stopped Pro Logic II audio—but some people have TV play content from the iPod but it could
to fill its buffer. It then continued playing, been successful at getting DTS-encoded sur- automatically sync purchased and rented
but a minute and a half later, it paused and round sound content to play through it. media to my iPod. And if I feel cramped by
refilled again. Apple clarified that some formats encoded at the Apple TV’s 40GB drive, why not allow
certain bit rates may work as 5.1 files, but slip me to connect a 500GB hard drive to the
Around and About outside those specs and you and 5.1 part USB port for additional storage?
Navigation via the Apple TV is easy. It’s ways. Apple has chosen to say that generally,
responsive to the remote, and the screens 5.1 audio is not supported. Macworld’s Buying Advice
look sharp on an HDTV. In typical Apple With its simple setup, superb streaming,
fashion, there are some lovely motion What’s Missing ease of use, and quality output, the Apple
effects—icons smoothly rotate into place Although the Apple TV packs a punch at TV is a great piece of gear, but it will have
when you choose a new main-menu com- a desirable price, there are several things more-limited appeal than the iPod, largely
mand, and the screen flips every so often missing that could make it an even because of the nature of digital rights
when you play audio files. better product. management and video (in other words,
This screen flipping is more than cos- First, I’d like to be able to buy and rent you can’t rip your own DVDs the way you
metic. Because screen burn-in is still a content through the Apple TV. In the case do CDs). Add to this the fact that DVDs
problem with some varieties of TVs, the of purchases, the device would need to be offer advantages the Apple TV doesn’t—
Apple TV takes care not to leave static a two-way street so you could transfer that 5.1-channel audio, higher resolution, and
images on the screen for too long. The material to your computer and an iPod for the kinds of extras that a movie purchase
screen saver serves a similar purpose and playback and archiving. through the iTunes Store doesn’t pro-
is very attractive, displaying a swooping Second, even though the iTunes Store’s vide—and it’s clear that the Apple TV isn’t
Apple logo, pictures from your photo H.264-encoded content looks good on my for everyone. However, if you prefer to
library (or from the device’s internal bank big-screen TV, I know it could look better enjoy nearly all your media files through
of floral images, if there are no images if it was offered in true HD quality. your TV and AV gear rather than splitting
synced to the device), or album Third, MPEG-4 is a very popular video time between the living room and the
covers from your iTunes library. standard and H.264 looks great, but there home office, or if you have more media
is a lot of digital video flying around that files in your iTunes library than you do
Watching TV uses neither. It would be lovely if Apple DVDs on your bookshelf, moving to the
Movies purchased from the iTunes Store built a Convert For Apple TV command Apple TV makes sense. You’ll certainly
look quite good when played through the into iTunes’ Advanced menu, or, dare I enjoy the quality of the experience.
Apple TV—almost as good as most DVDs say it, allowed the Apple TV to play addi-
you’d play on your TV. True, Apple sells mov- tional formats such as DivX, AVI, Flash, Christopher Breen is a Macworld senior editor. He
ies at a resolution no higher than 640 by and Windows Media. writes often about using Macs as media centers.
480—which is well below the HD mark. But
withhold judgment until you see for yourself
how the movies and TV shows look on
screen. I viewed Cars and both Pirates of the
Caribbean movies, and while I saw some sub-
tle artifacts in dark-to-gray passages, the mov-
ies looked remarkably good. I ripped several
movies, and they looked nearly as good as
watching them from the original discs.
On the other hand, if you have video at
low resolutions—for example, the 320-by-
240 TV shows once sold through the
iTunes Store—it’s going to look blocky on
your TV.
Top TV Apple TV can stream previews of top shows directly from Apple.

CONTENT PAGE JUNE 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 115


STEPHEN MANES

The Next Step for Search: Beyond Words


i love search. It’s one of the things computers can do so much better it on Microsoft’s Live Search (www.live.
com), and 18 of the first 20 images relate
than we mere mortals can. I first witnessed its magic back in 1989 when
to the Black Dahlia murder case.
desktop search utilities gave me a cutting-edge look at the contents of Hey, if I want ‘black dahlia’, I’ll say
so—and when I do, Google comes back
my hard drive. And when search hit the Internet, it made all the differ-
with the gruesome images and movie
ence between frustration and freedom. posters I expect. This difference in accu-
Today’s best search engines have racy is one reason why, in real life, I use
text-based information pretty much Google constantly and Live never. It also
nailed. If the material is publicly helps explain why Microsoft reportedly
available on the Net and not buried has offered businesses a bounty if their
in some database, you generally find employees use its third-rate offering.
it. There’s little left for search to do, Even Google often veers wildly off base
except maybe simplify things for with images. Again and again when I look
people who refuse to learn how to for a photo of some nonfamous person, I
make more-relevant requests. get images of their book covers or some
But lots of innovating remains to be PowerPoint they presented somewhere.
done. Phones are one promising plat- Sorry, but that’s not what I had in mind.
form. For bringing up phone numbers, For now the fallback for nontext
Google Mobile already works better than search is usually tagging—as seen on
dedicated online directories and the sites such as Flickr—whereby humans
phone companies’ pricey directory assist- assign keywords to photos and the like.
ance, but it’s not much good if you’re try- It mostly works, but if the categoriza-
ing to keep your eyes on the road. tion is wrong or missing, you won’t get
Next up (and no doubt one reason good results.
that Microsoft just bought voice pioneer Still, companies are trying out plenty
Tellme Networks): phone-based search of clever ideas. Podzinger (www.podz-
you control by speaking, rather than inger.com), for instance, converts pod-
with keypresses. I remain dubious, Search is superb at casts into text, then indexes their full
however. Ad-supported services are content. And some services analyze TV
likely to waste your time with commer-
finding text. How clips by indexing their built-in closed
cials before delivering help. And even about everything else? captions. But un til someone develops
with a screen, how can you scan quickly algorithms to spot “Dorky guy dancing
through the multiple results you’ll tures, audio, and video. When search en- around to Strauss’s Blue Danube” from
receive when the system doesn’t quite gines assume that the text near an image the video and audio alone, searching
understand you? describes the picture, they’re sometimes text will likely continue to provide the
Whether you talk or type, text search right—but by no means always. richest rewards.
works with what’s there: Nobody has to Type ‘dahlia’ into Google Image Search,
categorize something before you can for instance, and you’ll see pretty pictures Stephen Manes is cohost of a popular US televi-
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN CUNEO

find it. The next great search frontier in- of flowers and a couple of odd nonfloral sion series and a columnist for Forbes. E-mail
volves things that aren’t text, like pic- illustrations from Japanese Web sites. Try him at feedback@pcworld.in.

LOG ONTO OUR WEBSITE WWW.PCWORLD.IN FOR THE LATEST NEWS


AND INDEPTH REVIEWS AND ANALYSIS ON TECHNOLOGY.

116 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N JUNE 2007 CONTENT PAGE