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SPYWARE
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 5
PC
JULY 2008

25 Hardware
HP 2133 Mini-Note PC
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510
Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500
30 Business
Dell Vostro 1310
HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer
Canon Pixma MX850
Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD)
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
37 Consumer Electronics
Westinghouse TX-52F480S
Canon PowerShot SD790 IS
Olympus E-3
Garmin nüvi 880
Mio Moov 200
Razer Mako
Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F
44 Software
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1
Firefox 3 Beta 5
Opera 9.5 Beta 1
Adobe Photoshop Express (Beta)
Aperture 2.1
Cloudmark Desktop 5.3.3
avast! antivirus 4.8 Home Edition
52 The Best Stuff
VOL. 27 NO. 8
FIRST LOOKS

COVER STORY
Seven Technologies
Tat Will Touch
Your Life
58
The future will be a feast for the senses.
We visited leading research labs to
investigate new technologies poised
to enhance our ability to touch, see,
hear, and even smell. Come along for a
look at the material that may someday
revolutionize microprocessors—and
at what your laptop, phone, and digital
camera could look like in 2020.
Cover: Type by Joe Zeff Design, Inc. Illustrations by Mondolithic Studios. Wristphone illustration
courtesy of Nokia. Illustration (bottom) by David Plunkert.
BUYI NG GUI DE
Store It, Keep It
71
Storage is incredibly
cheap. Still, not enough
of us keep our data
backed up. We show you
the best devices for pro-
tecting your data and the
top apps and services for
automatic backup.
PC Magazine, ISSN 0888-8507, is published monthly at $24.97 for one year. Ziff Davis Media Inc., 28 East 28th Street, New York NY 10016-7940. Periodicals postage paid at New York NY 10016-7940 and at
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14 FEEDBACK
Letters from our readers.
FRONT SIDE
19 News
The promise (and reality) of cloud
computing; the fourth circuit
element becomes a reality.
21 At a Glance
Disney brings a movie robot to
life; adding realism to avatars.
21 Q&A
John Sosoka, co-creator of the
Pleo dinosaur.
22 Connected Traveler
Using your iPod as a travel agent.
OPINIONS
9 First Word: Lance Ulanoff
Microsoft fumes over Vista
upgrades.
54 John C. Dvorak
Why boxed software still beats
apps in the cloud.
55 Inside Track: John C. Dvorak
56 Sascha Segan
Do away with annoying
proprietary apps.
110 BACKSPACE
SOLUTIONS
81 Wi-Fi Home Improvements
Keep your network running at
peak performance—and choose
who reaps the benefits.
84 Project
Shoot and edit better video.
87 Ask Neil
88 Ask Loyd
90 Business
92 Security
94 Linux
95 Tech Tips
Tis Month on PCMag.com
Find the perfect gadgets for all your summer activi-
ties, whether you’re hanging out on the beach, embark-
ing on a road trip, or just grilling in the back yard. We’ve
got the right tech accessories in our Top Ten Summer
Tech Toys story at go.pcmag.com/summertech and, as
always, in our complete Product Guides at go.pcmag
.com/productguides.
Editor-in-Chief Lance
Ulanoff offers his unique
perspective on tech in his
What’s New Now news letter.
And check out our What’s
New Now video show at
www.whatsnewnow.com.
The ifrogz
Audio-
wrapz iPod
speaker
case.
Get tips on the hottest soft-
ware, utilities, and Web sites
in our AppScout.com blog. Join
us as we scour the Web looking
for any tools that can boost
your productivity—or quirky
sites to kill some downtime.
Want to save the world
while you’re geeking out?
Then GoodCleanTech is the
blog for you. GCT has energy-
saving tips, eco-friendly tech
products, and news updates at
www.goodcleantech.com.
6 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
RECENT BUZZ
Most Popular Stories
• Dvorak: Vista’s 11 Pillars
of Failure
go.pcmag.com/vistafailure
• 12 Tech Tools to Clear Your
Clutter
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go.pcmag.com/
windowsxpsp3
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go.pcmag.com/futurecars
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go.pcmag.com/
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“An upgrade is an upgrade. Apparently
some people are easily confused.”
Great line, huh? It’s not mine, though.
This is actually the start of a slightly over-
heated blog post by Eric Ligman, Micro-
soft’s main liaison between Microsoft
Partners (value-added resellers for the
small business set) and Microsoft at large.
Apparently, he’d had enough of people
trying to convince Microsoft customers
that installing an upgrade of Vista is just
as good as installing the full version of it.
What’s the problem? Well, an upgrade is
usually targeted to customers who, pre-
sumably, already have purchased a license
for the full-blown product. The confusion:
Most upgrades are, in effect, replicas of the
standard version of the software.
Here’s a direct quote from the post, so
you get the full flavor of his attitude:
“So if you see anyone stating, or writ-
ing, that buying an upgrade by itself (Win-
dows Vista Upgrade, for instance) without
having a full license first gets you the rights
to run the software, just realize that what
the person is actually stating is, ‘I clearly
have no clue what I am talking about and
so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that
proves this, hoping people will think I have
a clue, even though I obviously don’t.’”
Ouch. He even added a graphic to illus-
trate his point. I didn’t know art could be
so sarcastic. Not surprisingly, some of
Ligman’s own readers took exception to
his tone and began arguing about how he
should stop “whining” about licenses and
piracy and figure out how to “fix Vista.”
Ligman has gone on to defend his note
and to insist that his intention was not to
be condescending to his readers or Micro-
soft’s customers. He was targeting some
other, unnamed third party who is leading
customers down the garden path, telling
them to use the upgrade “loophole.”
The obvious attraction here is the cost
savings. Windows Vista upgrade packs
are roughly half the price of full-blown
versions. Small businesses can save quite
a bit if they use the loophole. But—here’s
Ligman’s point—that’s illegal. If you have
a license and use the upgrade, you’re fine.
If you don’t have anything installed (or are
gamely trying to “upgrade” from Windows
98), you have a problem.
This is obvious, right? So what’s every-
one so steamed about? Why did Ligman
feel the need to unload on his readers?
Here’s another tidbit of Ligman’s venom:
“. . . try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and
letting them know that you are running
pirated software throughout your com-
pany. Explain to them that you feel it is
legal to do so because you got it to physi-
cally install, so it must be legal and ask if
they would mind auditing your company
to verify the legality of this. Let me know
how that turns out for you.”
Ligman’s post is dripping with sarcasm.
Clearly, something set him off, though he
never points to one specific incident, blog
post, or article, beyond vague references to
a tech publication that he believes is still
giving out erroneous upgrade informa-
tion. I guess he could be talking about any
number of tech sites or blogs. Or he could
be talking directly to people who misinter-
pret “upgrade” as “new and improved.”
Early last year a number of sites and
blogs reported that Microsoft at first tried
to close this loophole and then, apparently,
let it go. Little information was available on
how end users could take advantage of the
loophole, though I’m guessing integrators
have no trouble showing their custom-
ers the way. And the only comments from
Microsoft were terse statements. Instead of
sounding as if the company was giving any-
one a free pass, a Microsoft’s spokesperson
said these people were “violating the terms
of use.” That’s scary and quite clear.
But here’s a better question: What’s set-
ting off Microsoft partners? What sort of
feedback are their customers giving them
that’s forcing them to suggest this illegal
activity? Could it be that customers think
Vista is still too expensive? In tough eco-
nomic times, shelling out $209 each for 50
licenses is daunting.
The responses to Ligman’s blog posts
make it clear that Microsoft’s partners are
dealing with a wave of rejection. It’s not all
about price, either. They can’t seem to get
current customers to upgrade to Micro-
soft’s latest OS, and some of them do not
have much faith in Vista, anyway. Here’s
one of the blog comments:
“I think the real issue is why bother
installing Vista at all? What does it give
me over XP? You stripped most of the fea-
tures out that we were looking forward to
before RTM, so this isn’t much more than a
slower, prettier XP. Meh. I’ll be waiting for
Windows 7. Hopefully Microsoft gets that
right. . . .” This is from someone who’s sup-
posed to be out in the field representing
Microsoft’s products.
It’s often said that stress makes us do
bad things: eat too much, lose sleep, and
sometimes take out our anger and frustra-
tion on those closest to us.
Do you think Mr. Ligman needs a hug?
TALK TO THE CHIEF You can contact
Lance at Lance_Ulanoff@ziffdavis.com.
For more of his columns, go to go.pcmag
.com/ulanoff.
Are You Stealing Vista?
FIRST WORD LANCE ULANOFF
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 9
Could it be that customers think Vista is still too
expensive? In tough economic times, shelling out
$209 each for 50 licenses is daunting.
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than 15 seconds to complete on file [E:\mssql\data\…]
“We researched this error and found that it is usually caused
by badly fragmented hard drives. While our drives are part of
a large SAN solution, we were not totally convinced that this
should be causing the problem. We downloaded a trial version
of Diskeeper and after running it, all of these errors disap-
peared! We have purchased 5 copies of Diskeeper and we are
installing them on all of our production databases with the ex-
pectation to never see this error again!”
3. Transparent Defrag Runs Unnoticed
“The server automatically defragments only when there are
idle resources. No more worrying about when I can schedule
defragmentation, no more worrying about if the defragmen-
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to SQL servers.”
4. Defends Critical System Files from Fragmentation
“I have been using Diskeeper at my office on the 63 work-
stations and 4 servers over the last year. The addition of Frag
Shield

2.0 eliminates the task of manually changing the MFT.
In the past most of my MFTs needed adjustment. Now that
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have to manually check it.”
5. Saves Money and Time
“Prior to installing Diskeeper,
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ing. Some of the drives would
take hours to defrag and within
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frag again. Installing Diskeeper
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a month by reducing off-hour
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6. Speed Up Virus
Scans and Boot Ups
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7. Extreme Condition
Defragmentation
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to a halt. I did everything: ran
spyware software, deleted numerous .TMP files, ran Windows
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and ran Diskeeper; I found that the hard drive was horribly
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8. Eliminate Costly Hardware Upgrades
“We were looking at having to replace or upgrade some of the
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Give Microsoft Its Due
As a frequent reader of PC Magazine, I’ve
noticed that some of your columnists have
a bias against Microsoft. John Dvorak is one
of them, and I’ve noticed this tendency in
others. I think this is really not fair; Micro-
soft has been making some improvements.
Service Pack 1 has been a big success, and
yet we’re still getting the same old “Vista
doesn’t work.” We’re still reading that many
applications are broken and performance
issues continue to plague the OS. Have
none of you checked out SP1? I’ve used it to
patch both my machines, which run Win-
dows Vista Ultimate Edition and have been
running it since July 2007.
If you look at recent events, Microsoft
has been holding up well under scrutiny.
Granted, not everything in SP1 is flawless.
But the overall picture has been very posi-
tive. At the CanSecWest security confer-
ence, a MacBook Air was successfully
hacked by a zero-day exploit in Safari.
Compare this with the two days a hacker
had to spend (with help) to compromise
Vista. And they could compromise SP1
only through tricks in VMware and Java,
which means they couldn’t attack the OS
head-on. I really wish you would find some
columnists who could present a more hon-
est view of Microsoft. Of course, there are
times when Redmond deserves criticism.
You guys were dead-on about the EULA
agreement needing a major overhaul. But
when it comes to Windows, Apple OS X,
and Linux, you are biased. I think you need
to look more closely and sing the positives
as much as the negatives.—Jose Gomez
Good Timing, Sascha
I was looking for a good T-Mobile phone
to upgrade to when I came across the April
issue and read Sascha Segan’s great review
of the Motorola RAZR2 V8 (First Looks,
page 30). I was trying to find the right one,
and the V8 fills the bill.—Benjamin Winn
Vista Could Learn from Amiga
Why does PC Magazine think Windows
is so great? I feel other operating systems
would do a lot better if Microsoft and
Bill Gates didn’t have a monopoly on the
entire world. I just about fell over when I
read the system requirements for install-
ing Vista. I couldn’t believe you actually
needed a DVD drive to install the operat-
ing system.
In my opinion, the greatest operating
system ever created was AmigaOS. The
entire OS fit onto five 880KB low-den-
sity 3.5-inch floppy disks! Boot times are
amazing because the operating system is
so compact. It takes about 4 minutes to
boot Windows XP Home on my system. I
hate that Windows has so many directo-
ries that files easily get lost. The AmigaOS
has a number of file types that can go only
in certain places. Just think how fast a
Core Duo PC would go if it ran an OS like
Amiga’s!
Two months ago, I purchased a new
hard drive for my Sony VAIO and installed
the software that shipped with the com-
puter. The software assigned 6GB of hard
drive space to the C: directory. I now get
messages telling me that I am almost out
of virtual memory. But I still have 500MB
of hard drive space! This would be plenty
for the AmigaOS, which takes up about
10MB—yes, megabytes—of hard drive
space. You can compare this to MP3 play-
ers, which contain only the software they
need to play and store those music and
data files.—Frederick Altland
Some Observations on PC Mag’s
Revamp
Lance Ulanoff has done a number of good
things since becoming editor of PC Maga-
zine (not the least of which is rescuing it
from becoming Just-about-anything-that-
has-a-microprocessor-in-it Magazine).
Besides getting the book back on mes-
sage, he has cleaned out the worst graph-
ics excesses, restored John Dvorak to his
rightful place in prime time, and improved
the back-of-the-book sections. I also agree
with the decision to go monthly; besides
reducing clutter, it’s more in keeping with
the reality of the industry.
That said, I notice that despite reducing
output from 22 to 12 issues, the subscrip-
tion has remained the same (an effective
price increase of around 80 percent). It’s
still a decent deal, I guess, but you are sav-
ing a bundle on production and mailing
costs, so it would have been nice to see that
reflected in the sub.
Otherwise, best of good fortune from
here on. The “green” issue was a good
example of engaging current concerns,
but you might include a harder look at
what a given product actually does in that
regard. In its Sunday magazine recently,
the Boston Globe ran a piece that made a
useful distinction between what seems
green and what is actually green. For
example, a so-called biodegradable bot-
tle for designer water versus just getting
your water from the tap. Seems to me
electronics can do with the same scrutiny.
—J.M. Graetz
Thanks for writing. We’re glad you like the
changes we’ve made to the magazine, and
we’re constantly looking for readers to
give us their feedback as PC Mag evolves.
As for your comment on scrutinizing the
electronics industry, we have our “anti-
spin” glasses on at all times. Our testing is
put in place to ensure companies deliver
the products and performance they prom-
ise. Our new green benchmarks are an-
other tool we use to evaluate whether a
product is truly green. Among other fac-
tors, it evaluates energy usage, materials
used, and a company’s takeback and/or
recycling program to measure its com-
mitment to responsible stewardship. Also,
we regularly monitor and report devel-
opments, news, and innovations in green
technology at our blog GoodCleanTech.
com.—Erik Rhey, Senior Editor
Of course there are times when Redmond deserves
criticism. But when it comes to Windows, I think you
need to look more closely and sing the positives as
much as the negatives.
Feed
HOW TO CONTACT US We welcome your com-
ments and suggestions. When sending e-mail to
Feedback, please state in the subject line of your
message which arti cle or column prompted your
response. E-mail pcmag@ziffdavis.com.
All letters become the property of PC Magazine
and are subject to edit ing. We regret that we
cannot answer letters individually.
14 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
The laptop expert
cut down on size, not features.
innovation is
thin withan
optical
drive.
Portégé is a registered trademark of Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc., and/or Toshiba Corporation. Windows
Vista is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. While Toshiba has
made every efort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifcations,
confgurations, prices, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice. For the most up-to-date
product information about your computer, or to stay current with the various computer software or hardware options, visit
Toshiba’s Web site at pcsupport.toshiba.com. ©2008 Toshiba America Information Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
Toshiba recommends
Windows Vista® Business
Sure, there are companies out there yelling “thin this” and
“portable that.” But what good is a lightweight laptop if it
doesn’t do what you want? That’s why the featherlight
Portégé® R500 is the world’s first laptop with a 7mm DVD
SuperMulti drive. So you can still watch movies, play music
and prepare for presentations. Plus its transreflective
screen uses natural light to help you see better outdoors.
Discover all of the innovative world’s firsts inside the
Portégé R500 at Explore.Toshiba.com/PCMag.
U.S. Patents: #6,687,584, #6,941,203, #6,947,816, other patents pending. © 2008 CarMD.com Corp. All rights reserved
Road Trip
readiness
“ Tis little gadget paid for itself on the frst use.” —Dave S., Tustin, CA
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ow many times have you seen the “Check Engine”
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Living in the Cloud
Everyone’s talking about cloud computing. But what is it, who’s competing for it,
and what will it mean for everyday users?
Front
Illustration by QuickHoney
Cloud computing is set to take over the
world, or at least possibly replace Micro-
soft Outlook. The cloud concept is simple:
It’s a way to access your data and apps
from anywhere, via the Internet (or “the
cloud”). Yet everyone from Gartner Group
to Google has a slightly different take on
cloud computing: It can be anything from
storing and sharing documents on Google
Docs to running your entire company
operations using a remote, third-party
data center. Some envision it as a way to
compute without operating systems, or
pesky local client programs, and with
minimal hardware needs (just a basic cli-
ent machine).
“The most important single character-
istic of a cloud is abstraction of the hard-
ware from the service,” says John Willis, a
noted cloud-computing expert and blog-
ger, explaining that the location of the
servers is not as important as easy access
to the data. “However you define it, I think
cloud technology will have a footprint in
every business that does IT within the next
five years.”
The particular type of cloud comput-
ing that the business world could take
advantage of requires massive server
cluster farms and superfast network
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 19
What’s New from the World of Tech
Image Courtesy of HP Labs 20 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
FRONTSIDE
bandwidth. It also requires that compa-
nies be ready to hand over their data to a
third party. A few small companies, among
them Zoho.com (which offers business
apps, such as word processing and task
lists) and Box.net (which supplies online
file storage) have established themselves
as SaaS (software as a service) providers,
with varying degrees of success. But SaaS
is primarily a race between Google and
Microsoft to provide advertiser-supported
cloud applications to customers.
Security is one critical issue that both
companies must address. Depending on
the SaaS provider, data can be encrypted
from point to point, and since services
are Web-based, they’re very easy to patch.
Google, for example, can respond to a new
security threat without customers even
being aware of the problem—or the fix. But
end users essentially would have to entrust
their data to an outside entity, which is a big
leap of faith. Dave Girouard, a VP and gen-
eral manager at Google, says that the com-
pany is working to allay the fears that make
trust difficult to achieve.
“Google is investing enormous amounts
of capital and sweat equity to ensure that
we can protect your data better than you
can do yourself,” he says. “Cloud comput-
ing will be additive. Usage patterns will
change, and users will look primarily to the
cloud for most of the things they turn to
their PCs for today.”
Yet others aren’t as optimistic about
cloud computing. Forrester Research
analyst Frank Gillett cautions that it’s not
quite ready for prime time. He says that the
framework is in an early phase of develop-
ment—it’s almost experimental, rather
than a reliable and trusted computing
paradigm.
Ironically, even though Google is bat-
tling to dominate the cloud, some of its
apps, such as Google Earth, still cache
a tremendous amount of data locally to
speed up operations. Add to that the pri-
vacy, network bandwidth, and political
hurdles yet to address, and it looks as if
cloud computing will have to drop down to
earth a bit more before it can enjoy wide-
spread adoption by both consumers and
businesses.—John Brandon
It has taken 40 years, but research-
ers have finally unlocked a key
mystery in processor technology.
In late April, computer scientists at
HP Labs found a fourth fundamen-
tal circuit element, which has so far
existed only in theory. This circuit
could act as the ultimate virtual
bookmark, remembering your set-
tings and exact place even when you
power off.
The technology breakthrough
is based on a concept developed in
the 1970s by Leon Chua, a researcher
at the University of California at
Berkeley. Chua reasoned that along
with the three existing circuit ele-
ments—resistor, capacitor, and
inductor—there could be a fourth
type called a “memory resistor.”
Chua’s theory was published in an
academic paper and ever since has been a lofty-yet-elusive goal for
computer science engineers.
Until now. HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab
team published an article in the journal Nature that presented
a mathematical model and physical example of its version of a
memory resistor, which the team dubbed a “memristor.” Accord-
ing to HP Labs team leader R. Stanley Williams, the memristor
will be able to retain a complete history of the information it
has acquired—an exciting prospect,
he says.
“To find something new and yet
so fundamental in the mature field
of electrical engineering is a big sur-
prise, and one that has significant
implications for the future of com-
puter science,” Williams said in a
statement released by HP.
Currently, computers use DRAM
(dynamic random access memory)
to recompile settings when you
boot up. A processor with memris-
tor technology could have a hand
in jump-starting the trend of “cloud computing” (see “Living in
the Cloud,” page 19). To make cloud computing a reality requires
Web servers with significantly increased processing power and
storage capacity to retain, deliver, and protect user data. A mem-
ristor processor could greatly improve the ability of servers to
perform cloud-computing functions because they would require
no “reboots” to pick up where users left off at their previous com-
puting session.—Erik Rhey
Computing’s Fourth Dimension
HP researchers fnd the missing link of processor technology.
A NEW PLATEAU An atomic force
microscope image shows a simple
circuit with 17 memristors lined up
in a row. The wires in this image are
50 nm wide, or about 150 atoms in
total width.
Security is one critical issue that cloud-computing
providers must address, because end users will be
entrusting their data to an outside entity.
Q: How did you get involved
with creating the Pleo robot
dinosaur?
A: My fri end and Ugobe
cofounder, Caleb Chung, was
working on how to do emo-
tive motion very quickly and
exploring human-machine
i nteract i on. The AI had
become more complicated,
and I was helping him more and more. I
joined the company because it was taking
up all my time anyway! This job is sort of
academic crack!
Q: What was it like in the early days devel-
oping the robot?
A: It’s a typical start-up thing—working
away trying to get a design you can manu-
facture, yet creating enough of a story to
keep the investments we needed coming
in. The Pleo had to be autonomous and be
able to do all these wonderful things, but
as soon as you pulled it out people would
say “Where is the remote control?” We
had to show what it would be like to have
a little pet that could wander around on
its own.
Q: How have people who have purchased
the Pleo customized it so far?
One thing that is interesting to me is how
much they use this as a character to do
things in the physical world.
They will set up Pleo in a mar-
riage ceremony using tools
to script things out. Another
thing is Pleo as a watchdog,
which happened internally. It’s
really fun seeing people write
scripts so Pleo is an announcer
for people coming in the door.
Q: Have they done anything
that is really unusual with Pleo?
A: One area we’re seeing people develop
is emergent “swarmish” behavior, such as
a little application where one Pleo would
decide he would start honking in one min-
ute and through IR sends it off to another
Pleo, and then all of the sudden they
would all howl in unison. It’s the simplest
little app, but they are organizing like the
raptors in Jurassic Park.
Q: What are some of the new projects you
are working on?
A: We are working to add capabilities to
the firmware so people can have the tools
they need to develop new programs. We
are also working on new products, tak-
ing what we have learned and making the
next life form that will be more capable
of fulfilling the dream we have of these
creations being much closer to a lifelike
companion.—John Brandon
Q&A: JOHN SOSOKO
Making the Pleo Dinosaur
John Sosoko, CTO of Ugobe, talks about the creation and
future of the high-tech reptile.
GEARLOG
Disney’s New Robot
For a while, people have been speculat-
ing about when and how robots would
finally enter into mainstream lives. The
answer may be “as toys.” Disney Con-
sumer Products is rolling out a new line
of robotic toys in partnership with Pixar
Animation Studios, Thinkway Toys, and
WowWee. The first to appear is WALL-E,
star of Disney-Pixar’s upcoming movie of
the same name. He’ll have ten motors for
lots of movement possibilities; a remote
control, for programming myriad move-
ments and behaviors; and sensors that’ll
allow him to respond to his environment
in numerous ways. The Ultimate WALL-E
robot ($189.99 list) will hit store shelves
this summer.—Carol Mangis
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FRONTSIDE
Perusing the travel section at your local
bookstore can be daunting. Guide books
are hit or miss, with some being out-of-
date, and others failing to address your
specific travel needs. Fortunately, several
online resources can save you time and
money. Travel podcasts and videocasts
are an easy way to learn about your des-
tination both before you go and while
you’re there. And listening to a podcast
on your trip is a lot more discreet than
walking around Paris with your nose in a
Frommer’s.
You can find a good combination of
videos from professional travel firms (like
Concierge.com) and individuals at Travel-
istic (www.travelistic.com). Travelistic has
a simple YouTube-like interface with over
5,800 user videos from around the world.
For travel to a big city, TurnHere (www
.turnhere.com) has an easily searchable
city index.
A variety of podcasts and videocasts
that you can organize by interest and des-
tination is available in Lonely Planet’s
Travel Stories section (www.lonelyplanet
.com/travelstories/podcast). For the
intrepid traveler, there’s the Indie Travel
Podcast (www.indietravelpodcast.com),
which features the travels of a New Zealand
couple and includes subjects like Accom-
modations, Reviews, and Equipment.
Another good site is Chris Christensen’s
Amateur Traveler (amateurtraveler
.com), which has over 130 podcast epi-
sodes featuring travel stories, news, tips,
and interviews.
Unseasoned travelers will enjoy
the comprehensive travel advice of
Gary Bembridge on his Tips for Trav-
el l er s podcast (myt ravel revi ews
.blogspot.com). And before loading the
minivan, take a listen to Jamie Jensen’s
Road Trip USA (www.roadtripusa.com).
Eight podcasts are built around themes
and take the listener across the country on
virtual road trips.
Besides a sturdy backpack, a beret,
and your Eurail Pass, don’t go to Europe
without first visiting Ri ck Steves’
Europe Through the Back Door (www
.ricksteves.com), which features podcasts
and audio tours through Italy and France
as well as video clips and Rick’s Pub-
lic Radio show, Travel with Rick Steves.
—Brittany Petersen
CONNECTED TRAVELER
Your iPod Tour Guide
Podcasts and videocasts can maximize your knowledge and
fun on your next vacation.
FUTURE WATCH
Your Game Face
Video-game characters used to be
cartoons with pixelated bodies who were
devoid of personality. Today’s high-tech
games, however, are attempting to tap
into a player’s emotional responses using
his avatar. Advanced motion-capture
processes and better, faster graphics
engines—though obviously essential to
creating a realistic-looking face—cannot
by themselves create a lifelike avatar.
Enter Lionhead Studios, maker of
the games Black & White and Fable.
Lionhead’s team is using motion-cap-
ture techniques on live actors, similar to
those used in 3D animation. But instead
of placing sensors only on the actors’
bodies, the team is also applying them
to actors’ faces to map their expressions
onto game characters; thus, they can
express not just fear, joy, and anger, but
also more subtle emotions—like smug-
ness, unease, and wistfulness. The team
has also discovered other qualities that
appeal to human players, such as slight
facial asymmetries and having an avatar
whose “direct gaze” is slightly off-center,
instead of a dead-on stare. Armed with
these techniques, Lionhead Studios is
looking to elicit a subtle emotion in us
humans—empathy.—Frank Washburn
PC Magazine Gives
Norton Internet
Security
TM
2008
Editors’ Choice
Award
Learn more about Norton’s
improved performance at the
Norton Protection Center
Here you will be able to:
Join a free webcast on how
to defend against drive-by
downloads
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against cybercriminals
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protect your wi-fi network
Download free tools




To learn more, go to
go.pcmag.com/Norton
A GRIZZLY BEAR CAN
OUTRUN A RACEHORSE.
FAST FACTS:
Same great protection. Re-engineered for speed.
* Scanning time and memory usage for Norton Internet Security™ 2008 compared to the average of nine competitive Internet security applications. PassMark Software, Antivirus & Internet
Security Performance Benchmark Report, November 2007. PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award Logo is a registered trademark of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. Used under license.
© 2008 Symantec Corporation. All rights reserved. Symantec, the Symantec Logo, Norton, and Norton Internet Security are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation
or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries.
®
Norton Internet Security

2008 also boots faster than ever while using 83% less memory* .
Our SONAR technology can protect you against emerging spyware and viruses even
before traditional detection signatures are available. And our integrated Norton


Browser Protection defends your computer from attacks while you surf the Internet.
Get the facts about who’s really fast at norton.com/performance
Sept. 7, 2007
Norton Internet
Security 2008
NORTON SCANS
48% FASTER THAN
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First
OUR RATINGS KEY:
l l l l l
EXCELLENT l
l l l l m
VERY GOOD l
l l l m m
GOOD l
l l m m m
FAIR l
l m m m m
POOR
INSIDE
25 Hardware
30 Business
37 Consumer
Electronics
44 Software
52 The Best
Stuff
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 25
It didn’t take long for PC makers to realize the gold
mine ASUS struck with its ultralight, inexpensive
Eee PC 4G. The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC has come
closest to matching its success. This stylish, 3-pound
notebook comes in a variety of configurations and
should appeal to everyone from business travelers
to schoolchildren.
With its anodized aluminum exterior and glossy
8.9-inch screen, the Mini-Note looks like a much
more expensive system. The 92 percent keyboard
is surprisingly comfortable to use. Alas, the design’s
strengths are offset by the awkward touchpad setup.
The left and right clicks are separated, making it
nearly impossible to navigate with one hand.
Features are fairly generous for a system of
this size. Though the Mini-Note has only two USB
ports, it offers an ExpressCard slot, an SD slot, and
a built-in 1.3-megapixel webcam. A Wi-Fi on/off
switch on the bezel controls both Bluetooth and
802.11a/b/g. There’s no optical drive, but given the
HP 2133 MINI-NOTE PC
A Noteworthy Mini PC
HP 2133 Mini-Note PC
$749 direct
l l l l m
PROS Apple-like design. Comfortable
keyboard. Spacious and sexy screen
design. ExpressCard slot for 3G. SD
slot. More than one USB port. Wide
selection of operating systems. 2GB
RAM. Wide choice of mass-storage
options. Extended batteries available.
Very travel-friendly.
CONS Runs uncomfortably warm with
the 7,200-rpm hard drive. Mouse but-
tons are awkwardly positioned.
For more: go.pcmag.com/hpmini
storage options, most users can probably manage
without it.
Nearly everything else in the system is configu-
rable, and units start as low as $499. For local stor-
age, you can choose between spinning (120GB or
160GB) or solid-state drives (4GB or 64GB). Though
spacious, my configuration’s 7,200-rpm hard drive
heated the base uncomfortably, as hot as 103° F.
The system did run the Windows Media En coder
test, but its scores lagged those of similar machines
with Intel processors. It finished the Adobe Photo-
shop CS3 test in an unflattering 4 minutes 6 seconds.
Though the Mini-Note is not quite the ASUS Eee
PC killer, it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in
the ultra-mobile space.—Cisco Cheng
Specs: 1.6-GHz VIA C7-M processor; 2GB DDR2
SDRAM; 120GB, 7,200-rpm hard drive; 256MB VIA
Chrome 9 HC IGP graphics; 8.9-inch, 1,280-by-768
screen; 3.2-pound system weight, 3.9-pound travel
weight; Windows Vista Business.
FIRST LOOKS HARDWARE
26 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
ALSO REVIEWED
AT PCMAG.COM
Apple MacBook Pro
15-inch (LED)
$1,999 direct
l l l l h
Dell XPS M1530
$2,174 direct
l l l l m
Fujitsu LifeBook
A6120
$1,369 direct, as tested
l l l h m
HP Pavilion 6500T
$899 direct
l l l l m
RED denotes Editors’ Choice.
LENOVO IDEAPAD Y510
A Good Idea for Consumers
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510
$899 list
l l l h m
PROS Good-looking,
textured design. Frameless
widescreen is sleek. Key-
board isn’t like a ThinkPad’s,
but it’s nice. Five speakers
and Dolby surround sound.
Budget price.
CONS Available through
online retailers and Office
Depot only. Limited configu-
rations. No extended battery
option.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/y510
How does an icon of sensible business comput-
ing transition to the world of consumer laptops?
If you’re Lenovo, you debut a notebook that features
an intriguing design, amazing sound quality, and
cool bundled software. With the Y510, Lenovo gives
its IdeaPad line an auspicious debut.
The Y510’s exterior is designed to look like fabric,
but it’s actually a textured plastic layer over a plas-
tic frame. The real treat, however, is the frameless
15.4-inch widescreen within. The glossy coating over
the screen extends to the edge of the laptop, creat-
ing a unified look. The typing experience is pleasant,
though it doesn’t measure up to the ThinkPad’s, and
Lenovo’s signature pointing stick is notably absent.
But Lenovo has made other tweaks to liven up the
Y510, including touch-sensitive multimedia keys.
Sound quality is impressive. Four speakers are
visible from the top, and there’s a subwoofer in the
base pumping out sound. The Y510 boasts a Dolby
Home Theater audio chipset as well. Other features
are fairly typical, including a dual-layer DVD drive,
three USB ports, a FireWire port, and a six-in-one
card reader (though no HDMI port).
Performance is nothing stellar, but that’s not sur-
prising at this price point. Unfortunately, because
the Y510 is not available through Lenovo’s Web
site, configurations are limited to what you can find
online or in stores. While it would be nice to order
more powerful performance parts, the system will
work just fine for the average user. It’s also envi-
ronmentally friendly, meeting Energy Star 4.0 and
RoHS standards and consuming just 17 watts during
idle mode.
Average users who aren’t interested in pushing
performance to the brink will love the look and fea-
tures of the Y510.—Cisco Cheng
Specs: 1.67-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 processor; 2GB
DDR2 SDRAM; 250GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive; Intel Media
Accelerator X3100 graphics; 15.4-inch, 1,280-by-800 dis-
play; 6.2-pound system weight, 7.0-pound travel weight;
Windows Vista Home Premium.
PERFORMANCE TESTS
L High scores are best.
M Low scores are best.
Bold type denotes first place.
MOBILE-
MARK
2007 L
hr:min
SYSMARK
2007
PREVIEW:
OVERALL L
MULTIMEDIA TESTS
WINDOWS
MEDIA
ENCODER M
min:sec
CINEBENCH
R10 L
PHOTOSHOP
CS3 ACTION
SET M
min:sec
Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 2:55 86 1:46 3,166 0:51
Dell Inspiron 1420* 3:28 73 1:46 N/A N/A
* Editors’ Choice, reported for comparison. N/A—Not applicable: The product could not complete the test.
SyncMaster 53-Series
2253BW/LW, 2053BW & 953BW
©2008 Samsung Electronics America, Inc. All rights reserved. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. All product and brand names are trademarks
or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Screen images simulated. *DisplaySearch Q4’07 Quarterly Desktop Monitor Shipment & Forecast Report.
give style to the word substance
The Samsung 53-Series is loaded with an outstanding 8000:1 dynamic
contrast ratio, coupled with a fast 2ms (G to G) response time. But looks
count too, so we wrapped all that technology up in an immaculate
glossy finish and a minimalist bezel design to complement any home or
office. It’s all the style that substance could ever ask for. And vice-versa.
For more information from the #1 selling monitor brand in the
world,* call 1-800-SAMSUNG or visit www.samsung.com/monitor
2ms GTG Response Time
8000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio
DVI with HDCP
Exclusive Magic Technologies
FIRST LOOKS HARDWARE
28 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
ALSO REVIEWED
AT PCMAG.COM
Dell XPS 630
$1,269 direct
l l l l m
Gateway FX7020
$1,100 direct
l l l h m
Polywell Poly X3800
$3,975 direct
l l l l m
Velocity Micro
Edge M40
$2,980 direct
l l m m m
RED denotes Editors’ Choice.
PERFORMANCE TESTS
L High scores are best.
M Low scores are best.
Bold type denotes first place.
SYSMARK
2007
PREVIEW:
OVERALL L
MULTIMEDIA M GAMING (fps) L
WINDOWS
MEDIA
ENCODER
min:sec
PHOTOSHOP
CS3
ACTION SET
min:sec
CRYSIS
1,280 x 1,024**
WORLD IN
CONFLICT
1,280 x 1,024**
Falcon NW FragBox 8500 174 0:51 0:24 71 66
Dell XPS 630* 132 1:08 0:32 58 57
* Editors’ Choice, reported for comparison. ** Anti-aliasing/anisotropic filtering was set to off.
FALCON NORTHWEST FRAGBOX 8500
Fragadelic Desktop Gaming Bargain
Falcon Northwest
FragBox 8500
$1,895 direct
l l l l m
PROS Compact
gaming box. Full-
blown DX10 graphics.
Can play Crysis.
Offers even more
performance for less.
CONS Still a little heavy at
20 pounds. No SLI support.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/frag8500
Screaming fast yet affordable gaming machines
are almost unheard of—you usually pay through
the nose for performance. The Falcon Northwest
FragBox 8500 defies this by selling for less than two
grand, yet it can kick the butts of some much pric-
ier systems. It has the distinction of being the first
gaming rig I can recommend without reservation
for playing Crysis at 1,280-by-1,024 resolution.
To keep its price within reason, the FragBox
8500 loads a Wolfdale-based Intel Core 2 Duo E8500
processor plus an EVGA-branded nVidia GeForce
8800 GTS graphics card clocked at 670 MHz, up
from its standard 650 MHz. These are solid, current-
generation components, and neither choice seems
to have hurt the FragBox 8500’s ability to put up
a respectable showing against its increasingly quad-
core and dual-card competition. Its performance
was helped by 4GB of RAM and a 750GB, 7,200-rpm
SATA hard drive. And although you’d buy it for its
gaming, it can zip through multimedia tasks as well.
Our DX10-based Crysis and World in Conflict
gaming tests are the reefs on which many a promis-
ing recent gaming rig has run aground. Like every
other machine I’ve tested, the FragBox couldn’t
handle Crysis at 1,920-by-1,200 resolution—flicker-
ing along at a mere 5 frames per second (fps)—but it
rocked at the lower (1,280-by-1,024) res to the tune
of a smoothly playable 71 fps. It nearly matched that
rate on World in Conflict, scoring 66 fps at the same
“12-by-10” resolution.
Falcon hand-builds its rigs, and the FragBox chas-
sis design has remained nearly unchanged through-
out the line’s history. The FragBox 8500 is compact,
and although it’s barely portable at 20 pounds,
a built-in handle makes it easier to carry.
The Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500 is one of
those rare bargains that are worth their salt in the
gaming desktop world, and it deserves our Editors’
Choice.—Joel Santo Domingo
Specs: 3.16-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8500; 4GB 800-MHz
DDR2 SDRAM; 750GB, 7,200-rpm SATA hard drive;
512MB EVGA nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card;
Windows Vista Home Premium.
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FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS
30 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Dell Vostro 1310
$1,258 direct
l l l l m
PROS Affordable machine for
a small-biz start-up. Lightweight.
New industrial design. Inexpen-
sive. Multiple processor options.
Discrete graphics option. Multiple
battery options. “No trialware”
option.
CONS Single speaker, and sounds
tinny. Lacks options for a cellular
modem.
For more: go.pcmag.com/dell1310
DELL VOSTRO 1310
A Chic PC for Small Biz
Dell’s Vostro line, launched in 2007, includes very
capable yet bland and rather bulky laptops tailored
to small-business users. With the Vostro 1310,
Dell adds design sense and improved portability
to the line’s top-notch setup and support resources,
a decent feature set, and a “no trialware” option.
Design-wise, the 1310 balances business and
consumer sensibilities. Its glossy black lid sparkles
with silver specks; while not as conservative as
a ThinkPad’s, it lacks the flashy colors of the latest
Inspirons. Its 13-inch antiglare widescreen comes in
1,280-by-800 or 1,440-by-900 resolution and works
well for photo viewing. The 1310 is travel friendly at
4.8 pounds; its standard (six-cell) battery tested at
3 hours 39 minutes, and there’s an optional extended
battery. The one big feature Dell omitted was provi-
sion for an internal cellular modem.
You can choose from a variety of CPU options,
among them Intel’s Merom and new-generation
Penryn processors. (Dell sent us a Merom-based
1310, which lagged in comparison with recent Pen-
ryn laptops.) My unit came with discrete graphics
on an nVidia GeForce 8400M GS card. But if 3D
gaming or rendering don’t matter to you, you can
save $75—and some battery life—by going with
integrated graphics. A webcam, a fingerprint reader
with TPM module, a 160GB hard drive, and 2GB
of RAM round out the feature set. Hard drive and
memory are upgradable.
The 1310’s keyboard, touchpad, and mouse but-
tons all worked well. The LED-backlit media buttons
should appeal to a consumer audience, as will its
slot-loaded DVD drive. The single, tinny-sounding
speaker will not.
The Vostro 1310 spruces up Dell’s small-biz
laptop line with a hip and highly portable machine.
Its looks and features almost erase the line between
the business and consumer arenas, but at heart the
1310 is still a business laptop.—Cisco Cheng
Specs: 2.0-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250; 2GB DDR2
SDRAM; 160GB, 5,400-rpm hard drive; 128MB nVidia
GeForce 8400M GS graphics; 13.3-inch, 1,280-by-800 dis-
play; 4.8-pound system weight, 5.6-pound travel weight;
Windows Vista Business.
PERFORMANCE TESTS
L High scores are best.
M Low scores are best.
Bold type denotes first place.
MOBILE-
MARK
2007 L
hr:min
SYSMARK
2007
PREVIEW:
OVERALL L
MULTIMEDIA TESTS
WINDOWS
MEDIA
ENCODER M
min:sec
CINEBENCH
R10 L
PHOTOSHOP
CS3 ACTION
SET M
min:sec
Dell Vostro 1310 3:39 94 1:22 3,849 0:39
Lenovo ThinkPad T61
Widescreen*
1:57 109 1:21 N/A N/A
* Editors’ Choice, reported for comparison. N/A—Not applicable: The product could not complete the test.
ALSO REVIEWED
AT PCMAG.COM
Dell Latitude D630
$1,531 direct
l l l l m
Lenovo ThinkPad T61
Widescreen
$2,510 direct
l l l l h
RED denotes Editors’ Choice.
Touch-sensitive
media buttons
Slot-loading
DVD drive







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FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS
32 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
When you need to print out presentations, contracts,
or the like while on the road, taking a USB drive to
the local copy shop can waste precious time—par-
ticularly when quality mobile printers such as the
HP Officejet H470 are available. The HP H470 is the
best we’ve seen, thanks to adequate speed and print
quality, good paper capacity and cartridge yield, and
a choice of wireless and battery options.
The H470 weighs 4.5 pounds (5.3 with an AC
adapter) and measures 3.3 by 13.4 by 6.5 inches
(HWD). Its 50-sheet input capacity and claimed
yields of 330 pages for its color cartridge and 440
pages for black are better than those of rivals like
the Canon Pixma iP90. Its speed on our business
applications suite (19 minutes 2 seconds), though
no better than so-so for an ink jet, was much faster
than the iP90’s.
HP Officejet H470
Mobile Printer
$249.99 direct
l l l l m
PROS Portable. Optional
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and
rechargeable battery.
CONS Subpar text for
an ink jet. Heavier than
some notebooks (4.5
pounds for the printer
itself).
For more:
go.pcmag.com/h470
HP OFFICEJET H470 MOBILE PRINTER
Tis Printer Is
Going Places
Canon Pixma MX850
$279.99 direct
l l l l m
PROS Fast. Auto-
matic document
feeder. Network
connector.
Standalone
copier, fax.
CONS Unusual network
setup. Graphics tend to
make plain paper curl.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/mx850
CANON PIXMA MX850
An All-in-One for All
Canon has taken more Editors’ Choice awards for
ink jet all-in-ones (AIOs) than any other brand. The
Pixma MX850, which the company considers its
flagship business AIO, is another feather in Canon’s
cap. The MX850 would be good as a personal AIO in
a larger office, or as a shared printer in a home office
or small office. In addition, the caliber of its photo
printing makes it a good choice for a home printer
or a dual home/home-office AIO.
The MX850 offers an attractive mix of features,
speed, output quality, and price. It prints, scans, and
works as a standalone copier and fax machine. It
also faxes from your PC and scans to e-mail through
your PC’s e-mail program. The scanner has a 35-
page automatic document feeder (ADF), which also
“duplexes” —that is, prints two-sided copy. It comes
with two 150-sheet paper trays.
Network setup is distinctly unusual. Most net-
work installation programs can find the printer on
the network and set everything up automatically.
With the MX850, you have to connect the printer
to a PC by both USB cable and network cable. Only
after the installation finishes can you disconnect the
USB cable and use the AIO over the network.
At 12 minutes 34 seconds on our business appli-
cations suite, the MX850 effectively tied for first
place among the AIOs I’ve tested (the Canon Pixma
MP610 took 12:18). Photo print speed (0:54 for 4-by-
6s, 1:45 for 8-by-10s) was among the fastest yet for an
ink jet AIO. Although graphics tended to make paper
curl, text quality was better than with most ink jets,
and photos looked fine. With speed, output quality,
and features like these, what’s not to like?—MDS
The H470 is designed to print over a USB connec-
tion, from memory cards, and from PictBridge cam-
eras; it offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and battery options
as well. Print quality is a tad subpar for an ink jet, but
is good enough unless you need really small fonts.
If you’re looking for a mobile printer, the HP
Officejet H470 definitely belongs on your short list.
—M. David Stone
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FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS
34 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD)
$2,699 direct
l l l h m
PROS 1.7-pound laptop. Full-size
keyboard. Options for a built-in
optical drive and extended
batteries. GreenTech approved.
CONS Must handle with care.
Screen flexes too much and
needs brightening. 3G wireless
needs to come to the United
States. SSD drives are expensive.
Performance is unspectacular.
For more: go.pcmag.com/r500ssd
TOSHIBA PORTÉGÉ R500 (SSD)
An Astoundingly Light Laptop
While Apple’s MacBook Air has set the bar for lap-
top thinness, Toshiba has broken the lightness bar-
rier. The Portégé R500 (SSD) weighs just 1.7 pounds,
yet packs a 12-inch screen and a full-size keyboard.
These should make it a hit among business travelers.
The hollow magnesium frame (11.2 by 8.5 by 0.8
inches) and superthin screen (prone to flexing) feel
delicate. To slim the R500 down from last year’s 2.4-
pound version, Toshiba ditched the DVD burner,
swapped the 2.5-inch hard drive for an SSD (solid-
state hard drive), and replaced the six-cell battery
with a three-cell unit. Even so, the R500 scored over
3 hours on MobileMark 2007 battery tests. The R500
(SSD) lacks a webcam and a 3G modem, however.
With a plodding 1. 2-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU
and only 1GB of RAM under Windows XP Pro, the
R500 (SSD) tied the MacBook Air’s SYSmark 2007
Preview Overall score but lagged on the Cine-
Bench R10 and Windows Media Encoder tests.
The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 beat the R500 (SSD)’s
SYSmark 2007 Preview Overall score by more than
25 percent.
Green cred includes Energy Star 4.0, EPEAT
Gold and RoHS certification, plus our GreenTech
seal. The R500 drew 12 watts in idle state, less than
the Lenovo X300, the Air, and the Fujitsu P8010.
It consumed 21 watts at full load.
The Portégé R500 (SSD) weighs barely half as
much as the MacBook Air or the Lenovo X300. Its
extreme portability is a design coup for Toshiba, and
it should keep road warriors happy, even in close
quarters.—Cisco Cheng
Specs: 1.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600; 1GB DDR2
SDRAM; 64GB SSD; 224MB Intel Graphics Media Accel-
erator 950; 12.1-inch, 1,024-by-800 widescreen; 1.7-pound
system weight, 2.4-pound travel weight; 31-Wh, 2.9-Ah
lithium ion battery; Windows XP Professional.
PERFORMANCE TESTS
L High scores are best.
M Low scores are best.
Bold type denotes first place.
MOBILEMARK
2007 L
hr:min
SYSMARK
2007
PREVIEW:
OVERALL L
MULTIMEDIA TESTS M
WINDOWS MEDIA
ENCODER
min:sec
PHOTOSHOP CS3
ACTION SET
min:sec
Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD) 3:12 66 2:41 1:25
Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N* 3:49 100 1:10 0:30
*Editors’ Choice, reported for comparison.
GREENTECH
APPROVED
Energy Star 4.0,
EPEAT Gold,
and RoHS cer-
tifications, low power
consumption, and the
use of a solid state drive,
earned the R500 (SSD)
our seal of approval.
Just
1.7 pounds!
FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 35
MICROSOFT WINDOWS SERVER 2008 ENTERPRISE
A Faster, Safer Network OS
Microsoft Windows
Server 2008
Enterprise
Enterprise Edition,
$3,999 direct;
Standard, $999;
Datacenter, Itanium
editions, $2,999 per CPU;
Web server, $469
l l l h m
PROS Faster perfor-
mance. Stripped-down
Server Core role for
headless operation.
Improved Terminal Ser-
vices. Read-Only Domain
Controllers for better
remote site security.
CONS No Hyper-V until
after summer ’08. Pricey.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/
winserver08
From the CPU layer on up, the latest release of
Microsoft’s server OS improves on its predecessor.
Besides incorporating Vista security, which vastly
strengthens the OS’s defenses, Microsoft Windows
Server 2008 has the new Vista networking stack,
boosting overall performance and letting clients see
servers more easily. Getting comfortable with the
OS will require significant effort, but new features
ease management. I tried the 64-bit Enterprise ver-
sion: You can get 32- or 64-bit editions, but Micro-
soft says it will produce no further 32-bit releases.
In Server 2008, Active Directory Domain Ser-
vices, or ADDS (formerly Active Directory), has
Read Only Domain Controllers (RODC), making
remote Exchange services easier to manage and safer.
I wish, though, that remote Exchange servers could
use RODCs as Global Catalogs for holding ADDS
object data in a multidomain forest. Since they can’t,
deploying a local RODC and Exchange server at
a remote site still requires the site’s Exchange server
to access the home DC for catalog information.
A key new feature, Server Core, lets you run many
Windows Server 2008 functions on less powerful
machines. You get just the OS kernel and a command
line–only interface, but GUI addicts can still access
and manage the machine from a box running the full
Server Manager or System Center GUIs. An upgrade
to Terminal Services lets remote users log into
Terminal Services Gateway directly, then choose
the server or remote desktop to access—no VPN
hassles, no firewall worries. And with Remote appli-
cation deployment, for a program that runs on the
TS server, admins can drop an application icon on
desktops, giving users what seems like local access.
Still, there’s room for improvement. Server Man-
ager is a fact of life for IT staffers and consultants
with direct server access, so I’d like to see more of
three items: intelligence, wizards for configuring
advanced features, and diagnostic tools. That’s a
relatively small complaint, though. Hyper-V, when
released, may be more of a problem: From the early
betas I’ve tried, I’m concerned that it may come up
a little short on features and cross-platform compat-
ibility relative to VMware’s ESX Server.
Overall, however, Windows Server 2008 is a
marked improvement over Windows Server 2003.
I’d say it’s a must-have for businesses with Windows-
centric networks, but Microsoft’s 64-bit push makes
the upgrade decision harder for shops dependent on
32-bit server software. Additionally, Small Business
Server 2008 and Essentials Business Server 2008,
which target 75- and 250-user networks, respectively,
won’t be available until much later this year. Many
small and midsize businesses may want to wait
to decide about a server OS upgrade until these
products are revealed more fully.—Oliver Rist
IIS7 gets a new
management interface
Installation is entirely
wizard driven
FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
Westinghouse has a reputation for making affordable
and full-featured HDTVs. The company’s largest
1080p LCD TV, the $2,000 52-inch TX-52F480S, is
a prime example. Equipped with a generous selec-
tion of 1080p-compatible video inputs, it has picture
controls that help its more than two million pixels
deliver crisp and detailed images. Held back by only
a few relatively minor usability quirks, this massive
set amounts to a terrific value for a large-screen
1080p HDTV.
Featuring a native 1080p60 (60-Hz) display, the
TV has a handy picture-scaling option that elimi-
nates overscan when 720p and 1080i/p HD video are
displayed. Scaling can be achieved over component
video input as well as through HDMI. Standard-
definition (SD) images were overscanned by an
acceptable 6 percent.
Selecting the movie preset produced picture
quality closest to the spec used in cinema and tele-
vision production. Even so, the grayscale represen-
tation was tinged with a bit of green that was most
prominent in the mid-to-low levels. The calibration
menu includes a basic white-balance adjustment,
and I was able to tame the TV’s greens.
The adjustable backlight (providing ten levels
of intensity) is useful for quickly and easily opti-
mizing the picture’s overall brightness according
Westinghouse
TX-52F480S
$2,000 street
l l l l m
PROS Inexpen-
sive for a 52-inch
1080p set. No
image overscan
with HD sources.
High contrast ratio.
CONS Default picture
settings yield slightly
green images. No pic-
ture-in-picture (PiP).
For more:
go.pcmag.com/
tx52f480s
to varying room lighting conditions. For tests in a
darkened room, I lowered the backlight control to
its third-lowest level. This setting maintained ade-
quate peak while lowering the video black levels to
the darkest I’ve measured from an LCD TV to date.
In this scenario, dark video black levels coupled
with a correctly calibrated picture produced an
average contrast ratio of 1,186:1, a new record for
LCDs viewed in a dark room.
Unfortunately, jagged-edge artifacts appeared
on SD video tests. Performance with fast-moving
imagery was just average. For instance, I noticed that
Indy’s hat left a subtle trail across the screen in the
“Well of Souls” scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Despite some stumbles on the HD HQV Benchmark
test, performance with HD material was respectable.
As with the SD version, the HD benchmark test high-
lighted the set’s inability to eliminate jagged edges.
Still, the TV properly deinterlaced 1080i video and
film-sourced material into a solid 1080p image.
With its wide selection of HD-compatible video
ports and useful picture controls, the Westing-
house TX-52F480S is an admirable set, especially
for a value-priced 52-inch 1080p LCD television.
And this TV’s ability to deliver an exceptionally
well-contrasted picture further sweetens the deal.
—Robert Heron
WESTINGHOUSE TX-52F480S
A Huge HDTV Value
PORTS INCLUDED
HDMI 4
Component 3
Composite 1
DVI 0
FireWire 0
RF 1
S-Video 1
VGA 1
CableCARD 0
USB 0
Ethernet 0
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 37
FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
38 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
New control wheel physically turns
CANON POWERSHOT SD790 IS
Te Greatest Elph of All
This high-end pocket shooter takes its place among
Canon’s ever-expanding arsenal of excellent Digi-
tal Elphs. The 10-megapixel SD790 IS incorporates
the company’s signature slick design, a new control
wheel, and a wealth of features—and it also pumps
out outstanding images.
Sporting the simple, silvery, box-like design that
we love on other Elphs, the SD790 IS’s brushed
stainless-steel body feels sturdy and solid. There’s
also a big 3-inch LCD and a new, improved control
wheel, which takes some getting used to but helps
you to zip through menus quickly.
One very minor gripe: I would have liked a wider-
angle lens: The SD790’s lens has a 6.2mm-to-18.6mm
range (35mm film equivalent: 35mm to 105mm) with
maximum f-stops of f/2.8 to f/4.9.
The SD790 IS features motion-detection tech-
nology; it automatically detects motion and adjusts
ISO and exposure settings to compensate. This
feature worked well on my tests. Canon has also
improved the automatic white-balance mode in this
model. Rather than reading the background or the
entire scene, the camera focuses on the subject’s
Canon PowerShot
SD790 IS
$349.99 list
l l l l h
PROS 3-inch
LCD. New click-
wheel is fast
and effective.
Excellent images
at high ISO settings.
CONS Flash shots were
slightly underexposed.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/sd790is
face and thus produces higher-quality images,
avoiding a washed-out look.
Although flash shots were a bit dark, overall the
SD790 IS produced superb images. Daylight shots
were outstanding, with near-perfect contrast and
vivid color, and even at an ISO as high as 800, images
showed very little noise.
At about $350, the SD790 IS is priced on the high
side for a pocket point-and-shooter, but consider-
ing its features and top-notch image quality, it’s well
worth the money.—David Gussman
Olympus E-3
Body only, $1,700 street;
with Zuiko Digital ED
12mm–60mm f/2.8–f/4.0
SWD lens, $2,500
l l l l m
PROS Excellent image
quality in nearly all
environments. Fast
autofocus. Mechanical
image stabilization.
CONS Large body. Small
LCD. Unintuitive menu
system. Flash shots
underexposed at times.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/e_3
Articulating LCD
OLYMPUS E-3
Oversize D-SLR
Doesn’t Disappoint
The 10.1-megapixel Olympus E-3 is one big, bad
shooter. Even for a D-SLR, it’s pretty huge. But
with girth comes stellar image quality and a hearty
assortment of features. Although it can’t quite
best the Editors’ Choice–winning Nikon D300, it’s
a worthy competitor.
For such a large camera (3.3 pounds with lens),
the 2.5-inch LCD seems quite small. The display is
hinged, however, so it can be tilted back and forth
as well as swung out from the body of the camera,
which is useful when shooting in live mode.
Olympus offers a feature in the E-3 that Nikon
and Canon don’t: in-camera mechanical image
stabilization. Both IS modes—continuous and pan-
ning—worked well for me. Panning is used to follow
and focus on an object or person in motion, while
intentionally creating a blurred background. Contin-
uous, of course, is always on, compensating for shaky
hands when you are shooting without a tripod.
The E-3 shot outstanding images and was par-
ticularly impressive in low-light environments, with
an extremely speedy autofocus system. In the labs,
simulated daylight shots were exceptional, with
accurate color and nice consistency. Outdoors, color
was again accurate and vivid.
The high-end camera market has been domi-
nated by Canon and Nikon for a long time, but
with the E-3 Olympus shows that it can play in this
space as well. This camera is a terrific alternative to
pricier D-SLRs.—DG
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FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
40 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
MIO MOOV 200
Get Mooving for Less with
Tis Afordable GPS
Higher-end features not usually found in an entry-level GPS
navigator—like text-to-speech functionality and multisegment
routing—make the Mio Moov 200 an attractive device. We just
wish it handled points of interest (POIs) better.
The no-frills Moov 200 features a smallish 3.5-inch, 320-by-
240-pixel, antiglare touch-screen LCD. You also get a sensitive,
20-channel SiRFstarIII receiver for fast satellite acquisition.
Powered by Tele Atlas map data, the device includes maps for
the 50 states and Puerto Rico, but not Canada.
On the road, I found that the directions generated by the Moov
200 were good, though slightly different from ones suggested by
the Garmin StreetPilot 2720. Instructions with street names were
given at appropriate intervals, and route recalculation times for
a missed turn were acceptable.
The way the Moov 200 handled POIs, however, was disap-
pointing. When I searched by name, it presented results alpha-
betically by city name rather than by distance from my current
location, which isn’t as useful. And there aren’t any POI sub-
categories, so although I could search for nearby restaurants,
I couldn’t find any by specialty, such as Italian or Chinese.
At $180, the Mio Moov 200 is certainly affordable, and while it
isn’t flawless, it’s definitely worth considering if you’re traveling
on a tight budget.—CE
Mio Moov 200
$179.95 list
l l l h m
PROS Inexpensive. 20-channel
SiRFstarIII receiver. Multisegment
routing. Text-to-speech conver-
sion. Strong language support.
CONS Lacks vehicle profiles.
Slow and limited POI search
capabilities.
For more: go.pcmag.com/moov
Remote activates
microphone
GARMIN NÜVI 880
Tis Navigator Really Listens
Say hello to the 880, the newest member of Garmin’s nüvi fam-
ily. And when I tell you to say hello, I mean it: The nüvi 880 is
the first portable GPS device to boast full speech recognition
capabilities. You can access almost all of its functions using your
voice—in fact, only a few tasks require the touch screen. I found
it a truly amazing (albeit expensive) experience that works
surprisingly well.
With a list price of $999.99, the Garmin nüvi 880 is positioned
at the very top end of the GPS market. But it has nearly every
feature I’ve come to expect in a luxury navigator, including text-
to-speech conversion, multisegment routing, an excellent Blue-
tooth phone interface, and even integrated media players and
travel tools. There’s built-in support for Microsoft’s MSN Direct
service, too, providing useful information such as live traffic,
weather, movie times, and even local gas prices.
The real showstopper here, though, is the amazing speech
recognition functionality. On my tests, the unit comprehended
my voice commands with astonishing accuracy, despite the
acoustically challenging environment of a noisy car.
Frankly, I’m hooked. With its outstanding combination
of features, the nüvi 880 easily merits our Editors’ Choice. This
is the GPS device I want on my windshield.—Craig Ellison
Garmin nüvi 880
$999.99 list
l l l l h
PROS Accurate speech
recognition. Voice com-
mands control virtually
all menu functions. Text-
to-speech conversion.
Multisegment routing. Bluetooth
phone interface.
CONS Expensive.
For more: go.pcmag.com/nuvi880
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Prices and promotions are subject to change without notice. Supply is limited. Visit our site or call for the latest deals. All offers available from HP Direct and participating resellers. Prices shown are HP Direct
prices, are subject to change, and do not include applicable state and local sales tax or shipping to recipient’s destination. Simulated screen. Photography may not accurately represent exact configurations priced.
Associated values represent HP published list price. *Windows Vista Business disk also included for future upgrade if desired. To qualify for this downgrade an end user must be a business (including governmental
or educational institutions) and is expected to order annually at least 25 customer systems with the same custom image.†Certain Windows Vista product features require advanced or additional hardware. See
www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/hardwarereqs.mspx and www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/capable.mspx for details. Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine which
features of Windows Vista will run on your computer. To download the tool, visit www.windowsvista.com/upgradeadvisor. 1. Instant savings available through HP Direct and participating resellers. Offer valid
through August 31, 2008. For details, visit www.hp.com/go/specials. 2. This system requires a separately purchased 64-bit operating system and 64-bit software products to take advantage of the 64-bit processing
capabilities of the AMD 64 processor. Given the wide range of software applications available, performance of a system including a 64-bit operating system will vary. 3. AMD’s numbering is not a measurement
of clock speed. © Copyright 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set
forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein shall be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors
or omissions contained herein. Microsoft and Windows are U.S. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Windows Vista is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United
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Handy inputs
on controller
RAZER MAKO
Sweet and Powerful PC Sound
Razer Mako
$399 list
l l l l m
PROS Intriguing design.
Excellent clarity with-
out distortion at high
volumes. Very powerful
output. Booming low
end. Multiple inputs.
CONS Very expensive. Controller
isn’t wireless and can be slow
and unresponsive. Limited listen-
ing sweet spot.
For more: go.pcmag.com/mako
This unique and pricey 2.1-channel speaker set features
THX-developed technology that employs down-firing driv-
ers and uses desktop surfaces to disperse sound. The result
is impressive power and clear, thunderous audio.
The Razer Mako’s satellite speakers (3.5 inches high by
5.3 inches in diameter) look a bit like black mushroom caps,
as does the much larger 8.5-by-12.3-inch, 16.5-pound sub-
woofer—all in all, it’s an attractive set. The speakers, as well
as the wired controller, all plug into the subwoofer, which has
two line-in connectors (both 3.5mm) plus a stereo RCA input.
One of the most powerful 2.1 PC speaker sets I’ve ever
tested, the Razor Mako produced almost zero distortion at
very high volumes, and the rumble from the subwoofer was
clean and intense. What’s more, the set has a delicate touch
with gentler music, and acoustic songs have a bright, pleasant
presence. Despite that, it has a limited “sweet spot” (the ideal
spot for balanced sound). But audio quality is enjoyable even
when you’re not close by, making the Mako an ideal speaker
system for parties.
If you’re a gamer, if you watch movies on your PC, or if
your computer is your primary music source, the Razer Mako
is a solid choice that’s worth its high price.—Tim Gideon
Sage Software helps Bill Baldwin, Vice President of Administration at Hobie Cat, to see his operation from every possible
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FINANCIAL
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CUSTOMER
MANAGEMENT
PEOPLE
MANAGEMENT
©2007 Sage Software, Inc. All rights reserved. Sage Software, the Sage Software logo and Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software, Inc. or its affiliated entities.
KEEPI NG THE BOATS I N THE WATER AND THE
FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS
Headphone jack
accepts standard
3.5mm headphones
SONY WALKMAN NWZ-S718F
Sounds Great, Dampens Din
Sony takes a commendable stab at noise cancellation with this
compact 8GB PMP. While it’s not a masterpiece of design, there’s
nothing to dislike about the Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F. It’s
a solid performer with better-than-average earphones, and it has
the unique ability to reduce ambient noise.
The tiny device—a viable competitor to the iPod nano—has
a 1.8-inch, 320-by-240-pixel display that’s bright and sharp. File
support is not a strong suit; the unit handles AAC, MP3, WMA,
and WAV for audio, MPEG-4 SP for video, and JPEG for photos.
Sound quality is excellent. This Walkman produces some of
the roundest bass I’ve heard on a player, thanks to its excellent,
customizable EQ.
Noise cancellation—this player’s claim to fame—isn’t bad,
but it’s nowhere near as strong what you get with, say, Bose’s
QuietComfort 3 headphones. The player manages to block out
some low-frequency ambient noise, but it also creates a higher-
frequency hiss. That said, the NWZ-S718F is ideal for airplanes
and subways, where most of the noise exists in the lower ranges.
If noise cancellation isn’t a must, you could save a couple of
bucks on players from Creative or SanDisk and get better file
support. But for $200, the Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F sounds
terrific and comes with decent earphones.—TG
Sony Walkman
NWZ-S718F
$200 list
l l l h m
PROS Built-in noise cancel-
lation. Compact design.
Excellent sound quality.
Customizable EQ. Earphones
are better than the bundled
earbuds of most players.
CONS User interface is dull.
Cluttered with buttons.
Mediocre video file support.
Noise reduction works only
with the included earphones.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/nwzs718f
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PAYROLL
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FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE
Te Next Browser War
New betas sketch out the battle lines. By Edward Mendelson
Microsoft may dominate the Windows browser
battlefield, but the fight is far from over. Right now,
the major contenders are field-testing prototypes of
their upcoming weapons: Betas of Firefox 3, Micro-
soft Internet Explorer 8, and Opera 9.5 have been
released. All three seem to be trying variations on
the same tactic—adhering more closely to open
Web standards used everywhere on the Web, while
introducing unique features you can’t get from any
other browser. That’s a tall order—those two goals
can be at odds with each other—but these products
manage it. Each claims to do better on compatibility
tests like Acid3, but what matters most is compat-
ibility with JavaScript and other dynamic content
in real-world Web pages, and in that department all
three have made real progress.
Beta versions aren’t as stable as shipping ver-
sions, of course, so I wouldn’t recommend running
any of these on a system you care about. One of the
best ways to test questionable software is by set-
ting up a virtual machine using VMware or the free
Microsoft Virtual PC so that your main machine
can’t get bitten by the inevitable bugs. If you’re a die-
hard partisan of a particular browser, the new betas
of the others probably won’t tempt you to switch,
but you’ll certainly get an idea of the enemy’s battle
plans. And—who knows?—you might even decide
that the enemy is worth getting friendly with.
Firefox 3
The most mature of the three rival betas is Firefox
3 beta 5, which packs in hundreds of new features,
such as native Windows icons and interface wid-
gets. Most are minor, but some significantly improve
usability. For example, enhanced address-bar auto
complete will display matching URLs even if you
type a few letters from the middle, rather than just
the beginning, of a Web address.
Downloading is another of the many frequent
tasks the designers have made easier—the down-
load window has a new pause button among its
enhancements. Another new feature lets you set the
browser so that clicking on an e-mail address opens
a Web-based mail app like Gmail instead of a mail
program like Outlook Express. You can also resize
the search box in the upper right-hand corner.
The window for organizing your bookmarks,
history, and searches has been augmented with full
backup capability, and bookmark management is
a bit easier, too. When a page is already bookmarked,
a gold star appears in the address bar. Clicking on it
lets you change some of the bookmark properties.
But items available on that menu are different from
those in the Properties menu that appears when you
right-click on the bookmark itself. As a result, you
have to manage bookmarks with two interfaces that
have different sets of options. Also, you still can’t
rename a bookmark from its right-click menu—you
have to go to the full Properties menu instead. All in
all, though, this Firefox beta gives me most of what
I’ve wanted from Firefox for a long time.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 8
The three betas all manage to display content from
Web pages in ways that are unique but keep within
public standards. Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 beta
1 offers a feature called WebSlices—special areas
of Web pages that can provide you with periodi-
Microsoft Internet
Explorer 8 Beta 1
Free
PROS Better standards
compliance. Good
security features. New
browsing conveniences.
IE7 mode renders ex-
actly the way the current
browser does.
CONS Plenty of crash-
causing beta bugs. Very
slow at times. Seems
to use vast quantities of
system resources.
44 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Firefox 3 Beta 5
Free
PROS Enhanced ad-
dress-bar auto complete.
Easier downloading.
Can resize search box.
CONS Two different
bookmark interfaces.
Opera 9.5 Beta 1
Home Edition, free;
Professional, $39.95
direct
PROS Fast. Mostly
standards compliant.
Full-text search of his-
tory pages and lots of
convenient features.
CONS Beta bugs in page
rendering. Mail module
is weak on features and
won’t work with some
servers.
cally updated information. Hover over one of these
areas—a Seattle weather report, for instance—and
an icon appears. Click on it, and the WebSlice
becomes a button on your Favorites bar. The button
text turns bold when there’s an update, and hover-
ing over the button lets you see the new info. Web
developers create slices simply by adding some
standard Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) markup to
a page, using identifying tags that other browsers
will ignore until they build in support.
A new Activities feature lets you add capabili-
ties to IE by installing applets that Web developers
create. When you highlight information on a Web
page, such as a postal address, an Activities but-
ton appears. Clicking on it produces a menu of the
applets you’ve installed. One of those might, for
example, open a mapping site and automatically
show you the location of the highlighted address.
Competing browsers have similar capabilities
(Firefox, in particular, has spawned a huge number
of add-ons), but Microsoft’s system is impressively
easy to use and provides a simple mechanism that
will make similar features more widespread. Of
course, opening the right-click Activities menu
supplied with the beta offers me a chance to blog
on Windows Live Spaces, translate with Windows
Live, send with Windows Live Hotmail. . . . When the
address is Redmond, some things never change.
Opera 9.5
The only one of the three that’s moving toward a
minor, point-five release instead of a whole-number
release is Opera. Still, the new Opera offers a notable
usability enhancement: free bookmark syncing. This
feature gives you an account on Opera’s site that you
can use to store bookmarks. When you’re on some-
one else’s machine—or using Opera Mini version on
a mobile phone—you can then download your book-
marks. A similar third-party Firefox add-on exists,
but Opera’s solution is more elegant .
One of the best new capabilities lets you search
the full text of all pages in the browser’s history list.
Now you can enjoy the convenience of finding pages
you’ve visited without having to remember exactly
where they were. The browser also matches the sup-
port in IE7, IE8, and Firefox 3 for Extended Valida-
tion (EV) certificates (an additional level of security
for banking and other such sites). The implementa-
tion was a bit flaky, but it may be improved by the
time you read this. The Opera beta renders pages
about as well as those of IE8 and Firefox 3.
Now if only the browser would provide a less
cluttered and more logical interface—with, for
example, mail accounts on the Mail menu and not
on the Tools menu. Still, Opera 9.5 Beta 1 is a promis-
ing release that loyalists will appreciate.
For more: go.pcmag.com/browserwar08
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 45
FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE
46 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Aperture 2.1
$199 direct
l l l l m
PROS Intuitive. Excellent RAW
processing. Speedy navigation,
searching. Cheaper than Photo-
shop Lightroom.
CONS No Curves tool. No
magnified view of full images.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/aperture2_1
APERTURE 2.1
Powerful Photo Workfow
Management for Macs
This release transforms Apple’s professional/prosumer photo
editor and manager into what it should have been all along.
Aperture 2.1 eliminates the serious problems that afflicted its
predecessor. In the Apple universe, this Mac-only product now
rivals the cross-platform Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
The new, far more intuitive interface frees more screen
real estate for images. General navigation and image searches
are now fast, as is the new Quick Preview—indispensable when
sorting through a shoot. The new open architecture lets third
parties write plug-ins, and the program comes with a handy
Dodge and Burn plug-in. Aperture’s photo-export options, which
were already strong, have gotten better: The process now works in
the background, for example. Image quality shows vast improve-
ment. Results from the overhauled RAW processing engine stack
up against those of any rival, and new enhancement tools coax
the most out of images. I especially like the Retouch brush, which
toggles between Photoshop-style healing and cloning to repair
and touch up details with seamless results.
Some quibbles: You still can’t zoom in and view the entire
image at more than 100 percent, and there’s still no Curves tool.
If you’ve got a lot invested in the PC platform, stick with Light-
room, but for those starting from scratch on a Mac, Aperture has
a tiny edge.—Galen Fott
Create Web
galleries to post
to .Mac accounts
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS (BETA)
Free Online Photo
Editing and Sharing
Adobe Photoshop Express
(Beta)
Free
l l l h m
PROS Intuitive editing tools
work well, generally. Excellent
Facebook integration. Free.
CONS Latency in opening and
closing files. Some editing tools
are missing. Can’t print images.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/psexpressbeta
Unlike its namesake, this free Web site doesn’t provide profes-
sional-level image-editing capabilities. But it does offer a strong
mix of intuitive, highly effective editing tools—all well within
reach of even total novices. It also supplies 2GB of storage for
images and rudimentary facilities for sharing them.
The controls for adjusting color, brightness, and so on illus-
trate the emphasis on simplicity. Click on the saturation tool, for
example, and you’ll see six thumbnails of your photo at varying
saturation levels—just pick one. Actually, the excellent Auto
Correct filter may be all you need. For editing images uploaded to
partners like Facebook, Picasa, and Photobucket, the site excels.
But features other photo sites offer are missing—the ability to
print images or create photo books, for example. And though you
can add information to photos, the capability is limited. You can’t
associate photos with people, places, or events, and unlike flickr
and Picasa, this site doesn’t let you comment on photos. Also, the
upload process is a bit cumbersome and restrictive.
As configured, the site best suits the Facebook crowd, as
well as users who don’t need fancy image-editing capabilities.
Though Adobe Photoshop Express is a few features and partner-
ships away from broad appeal, the site is well implemented and
rapidly evolving.—Jan Ozer
FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE
48 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
The secret to
successful
spam blocking
CLOUDMARK DESKTOP 5.3.3 FOR MICROSOFT OUTLOOK
Te Silence of the Spams
Junk e-mail beware: Cloudmark Desktop 5.3.3 for Microsoft
Outlook is the Hannibal Lecter of spam killers. Guided by the
community-based filtering Cloudmark pioneered, the product
ensnares most junk mail while marking virtually no valid mes-
sages as spam—and the program can filter any e-mail account
the client can handle. You can even get separate versions that
support Outlook Express and Thunderbird.
When any user marks a message as spam, the program sends
a unique fingerprint of it to a central database Cloudmark keeps.
If enough community members (there are now over a million
total) mark the same message, the program blocks it for all other
members. The more your ratings match those of the community,
the higher your trust level rises and the more weight your ratings
have—it’s a self-reinforcing system.
Theoretically, because blocking requires multiple reports
from other members, unique messages from individuals will
never be screened out, and valid newsletters will be blocked
only if members mistakenly mark them as spam. Real-world
testing showed exactly that. The product didn’t flag a single per-
sonal e-mail as spam and mismarked only one newsletter out of
hundreds. It let just 2 percent of spam into the Inbox— better
than most competitors—and it did all this without slowing the
process of downloading mail. —Neil J. Rubenking
Cloudmark Desktop 5.3.3
for Microsoft Outlook
$39.95 yearly
l l l l h
PROS Extremely accurate
filter. Handles POP3, webmail-
via-POP3, IMAP, Exchange.
CONS Can’t filter webmail
inaccessible via POP3. Pricier
than near-identical iHateSpam 5.0.
For more:
go.pcmag.com/cloudmarkdesk
avast! antivirus 4.8 Home Edition
Home Edition, free;
Professional, $39.95 direct
l l l l m
PROS Free! Certified by independent
labs for virus detection (but not cleanup).
Blocks spyware installs very well. Decent
at removing existing malware. Simple,
skinnable user interface.
CONS No scheduled scan. Leaves many
Registry traces and nonexecutable files
when cleaning up malware.
For more: go.pcmag.com/avast4_8home
AVAST! ANTIVIRUS 4.8 HOME EDITION
Tough, Free Virus Killer
Though its version number is just 0.1 higher than the last
release’s, avast! antivirus 4.8 Home Edition adds signifi-
cant versatility: It now protects against spyware, rootkits,
and other nonvirus malicious software. Best of all, it’s
free for personal use. For commercial use you must buy
Professional Edition, which has more features, but both
versions offer the same powerful protection against viruses
and spyware.
The attractive and simple user interface lets you choose
from dozens of skins to change its appearance. On detecting
a threat in memory, avast! 4.8 offers to perform a boot-time
scan. This runs before Windows starts, so there’s no chance
for malware to interfere. The utility also builds a Virus
Recovery Database in the background to help with repair
in case a virus gets loose on the system.
Independent labs rate avast! 4.8 as excellent at virus
detection but not quite so good at cleaning up what it finds.
In my testing against nonvirus malware threats, it scored
almost as high as the top antispyware products. Its cleanup
left behind the vast majority of nonexecutable files and
Registry traces, but the utility did a first-rate job of keep-
ing malware from installing on a clean system. I’m really
pleased to find a free antivirus and antispyware product
that I can recommend.—NJR
An option lets
you get trouble
alerts remotely
Let’s protect what’s important
What’s in your computer? Photos, music,
personal files, financial data, broadband
access, videos, and more. Your computer
has never been more important, and
yet it has never been at higher risk
for damaging power surges and other
disturbances.
So like most people, you need to protect
your assets. But like most people, you’d
also like to protect the environment.
With our new energy conscious
products, you can do both. Energy
efficient by design, our new smart
products protect the power going in your
computer, at a cost that is quickly offset
by big energy savings. How? Not only do
the new Back-UPS ES
®
and SurgeArrest
®
use power very wisely, they also boast a
master/controlled outlets feature, which
automatically powers down idle devices
to conserve energy.
“The price tag on the new UPS is $99.99.
While I’m not in the habit of endorsing
products in this blog, if you’re in the market
for a workstation-class UPS, why not opt
for the greener option?”
- Heather Clancy
ZDNet.com
In fact, while protecting your power
supply, we’re up to 5 times more energy
efficient than any other solution. By
saving you $40 a year in energy costs,
our Back-UPS ES pays for itself in 2
short years. The high frequency, low
copper design has a smaller transformer
and environmental footprint. Even the
packaging has been carefully selected
and manufactured to maximize use of
recycled materials and minimize waste.
In this world, every decision you make
counts. So protect your power with a
battery backup that works to protect
the environment. It conserves power, it
pays for itself, and it’s backed by APC’s
20-plus years of legendary reliability.
For more information on this
or our other great products,
or for information about
environmentally responsible
disposal of your old battery,
visit www.apc.com
APC power protection products are available at: products a
©2008 American Power Conversion Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
e-mail: esupport@apc.com • 132 Fairgrounds Road, West Kingston, RI 02892 USA • 998-0970

Runtimes may vary depending on load.
*Average savings are based on comparable competitive models, and are comprised of two energy saving features: An ultra efficient electrical design, and the master/controlled outlets feature.
Visit www.apc.com/promo Key Code b796w or Call 888.289.APCC x4919 or Fax 401.788.2797
Enter to Win a Back-UPS
®
ES 750G! (a $99.99 Value)
Also, enter keycode to view other special offers and discounts.
Save $40
*
a year on your electric bill with the most efficient battery backup yet.
Saves power. Saves data.
And now, saves money.
Battery Back-UPS
®
Starting at
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99
Our most energy
efficient backup for
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10 outlets, DSL and Coax
protection, Master/Controlled
Outlets, High Frequency Design,
70 minutes of runtime

Save
$
40
per year*on
your electric bill!
Surge Protection
Starting at
$
34
Guaranteed protection
from surges, spikes,
and lightning.
7 outlets, Phone/Fax/Modem
Protection, Master/Controlled Outlets
Energy Efficient Solutions for
Every Level of Protection:
SurgeArrest
®
P7GT
APC can help with your other power protection needs.
Visit apc.com to see our complete line of innovative products.
Back-UPS
®
ES 750G
Save
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25
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APC Back-UPS BE750G with
SmartShedding

Technology
automatically powers down
idle peripherals to save
energy and money.
52 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Best
DESKTOPS
MAINSTREAM
Dell Inspiron 531 $709 direct
GAMING (BUDGET)
Q
NEW Falcon NW FragBox
8500 $1,895 direct
ALL-IN-ONE
Q
NEW Apple iMac (24-inch
Penryn) $1,799 direct
BUSINESS
Dell OptiPlex 755 $1,183 direct
MULTIMEDIA
HP Pavilion Elite m9040n PC
$1,190 direct
Sony VAIO VGX-TP25E
$3,000 direct
LAPTOPS & NOTEBOOKS
Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch
(Penryn) $2,899 direct
GAMING
Q
NEW Alienware Area-51
m15x $4,499 direct
BUDGET
Dell Inspiron 1420 $1,099 direct
BUSINESS
Lenovo ThinkPad T60p
$4,048 direct
TABLET PC
Lenovo ThinkPad X61 Tablet
$1,934 direct
ULTRAPORTABLE
Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N
2,499 direct
STORAGE
PORTABLE
Q
NEW Western Digital My
Passport Elite (WDML3200)
$199.99 direct
DESKTOP
SimpleDrive 500GB Portable
Hard Drive $169.99 list
NETWORK-ATTACHED STORAGE
Q
NEW HP StorageWorks
AiO400t $3,799 list
GPS DEVICES
Q
NEW Garmin nüvi 880
$999.99 list
BUDGET
V7 NAV740 $299.99 list
LCD MONITORS
Q
NEW Dell SP2208WFP
$299 direct
SCANNERS
ALL-PURPOSE FLATBED
Epson Perfection V500 Photo
$249.99 direct
HIGH-END ALL-PURPOSE FLATBED
Canon CanoScan 9950F
$400 street
SOHO/PERSONAL DOCUMENT
Xerox DocuMate 152 $595 list
Editors’ Choices
In Key Categories
For the complete
reviews of these
products, go to
go.pcmag.com/
editorschoice
PRINTERS
LABEL
Brother QL-570 Professional
Label Printer $100 street
SMB COLOR LASER
Xerox Phaser 6180N
$500 street
SMB COLOR LASER (NETWORKED)
Xerox Phaser 8860
Color Printer $2,500 street
ALL-IN-ONE (MONO LASER)
Canon imageClass MF4150
$250 street
STANDARD INK JET
Canon Pixma iP4300
$99.99 direct
ALL-IN-ONE INK JET
Q
NEW Canon Pixma MX850
$279.99 direct
ALL-IN-ONE (NETWORKED)
HP Officejet Pro L7680
$400 street
PHOTO PRINTERS
COMPACT
Epson PictureMate Dash
$99.99 direct
HP Photosmart A626
$179.99 direct
BUDGET PROSUMER
Canon Pixma Pro9000
$500 street
HIGH END
Epson PictureMate Zoom
$199.99 direct
PROJECTORS
HIGH-END XGA
Canon Realis X700 $2,500 list
CONSUMER/BUSINESS XGA
NEC VT800 $1,000 street
BUDGET SVGA
Dell 1200MP $699 direct
PORTABLE
Toshiba TDP-FF1AU $699 direct
ULTRA-SHORT-THROW
Q
NEW Hitachi CP-A100
$2,495 list
HDTVs
REAR-PROJECTION
HP Pavilion md5880n
$3,499.99 list
PLASMA
Vizio VP42 $1,099.99 list
Pioneer Elite KURO
PRO-150FD $7,500 list
LCD
Q
NEW Westinghouse
TX-52F480S $2,000 street
HDTV ACCESSORIES
HIGH-DEFINITION PLAYER
Samsung BD-UP5000
$999 list
UNIVERSAL REMOTE
Logitech Harmony One
$249.99 direct
MEDIA HUB
Slingbox SOLO $180 street
DIGITAL CAMERAS
HIGH-END COMPACT
Q
NEW Canon PowerShot
SD790 IS $349.99 list
D-SLR
Nikon D300
$1,800 street (body only)
SUPERZOOM
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ18
$399.95 list
DIGITAL CAMCORDERS
STANDARD DEFINITION
Sony Handycam DCR-
DVD508 $899.99 list
HIGH DEFINITION
Sony HDR-HC3 HDV 1080i
Handycam $1,499.99 direct
DIGITAL PHOTO & VIDEO
WEBCAM
Logitech QuickCam
Pro 9000 $99.99 direct
WIRELESS SD CARD
Eye-Fi Card $99.99 list
CONSUMER SOFTWARE
Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 11
$129.99 direct
DVD AUTHORING SOFTWARE
Roxio Easy Media Creator 10
$80 street
PROFESSIONAL EDITING SOFTWARE
Adobe Premiere Pro CS3
$799 direct
Final Cut Studio 2 $1,299 direct
VIDEOCONFERENCING SOFTWARE
Adobe Acrobat Connect
Professional $375 direct
MP3 PLAYERS
HARD DISK
Microsoft Zune 80GB $250 list
FLASH
Apple iPod touch $299 direct
BUDGET FLASH
Samsung YP-U3 (2GB) $90 list
SPEAKERS/DOCKS
Chestnut Hill Sound George
$549 direct
PC/GAMING
Q
NEW Razer Mako $399 list
FEATURE PHONES
AT&T
Q
NEW Motorola MOTO Z9
$199.99 with contract
SPRINT
Motorola RAZR
2
V9m
$299.99 with contract
T-MOBILE
Motorola RAZR
2
V8
From $199.99 with contract
VERIZON WIRELESS
Motorola RAZR
2
V9m
$299.99 with contract
SMARTPHONES
AT&T (KEYBOARD)
AT&T Tilt $399.99 with contract
SPRINT
RIM BlackBerry 8830
$279.99 with contract
T-MOBILE
RIM BlackBerry Curve 8320
$299.99 with contract
VERIZON WIRELESS
RIM BlackBerry 8830
$399.99 with contract
UNLOCKED
Nokia N82 $629 direct
CELLULAR CARDS
AT&T
Sierra Wireless AirCard 881
$299.99 list
Sierra Wireless
USBConnect 881 From $100 list
SPRINT
Sierra Wireless AirCard 595
$99.99 direct
VERIZON
Sierra Wireless AirCard 595
$179.99 list
HEADSETS/HEADPHONES
BLUETOOTH
Plantronics Voyager 520
$99.95 list
NOISE-CANCELING
Creative Aurvana X-Fi $300 list
STEREO HEADSET (WIRED)
Q
NEW Etymotic hf2 $179 list
DIGITAL IMAGING
SUITE
Adobe Creative Suite 3
$999 direct
ILLUSTRATION
Corel Painter Essentials 4
$99 list
PHOTO EDITING
Apple iLife ’08
$79 and $99 direct
Adobe Photoshop Elements 6
$100 street; $80 for upgrade
OFFICE SUITES
Microsoft Office 2007
$149 direct
EDUCATIONAL
Q
NEW Microsoft Student with
Encarta Premium 2008
$37.50 direct
SECURITY
ANTISPAM
Q
NEW Cloudmark Desktop
5.3.3 for Microsoft Outlook
$35.95 per year
ANTISPYWARE
Spyware Doctor with
Antivirus 5.5 $39.95 direct
PARENTAL CONTROL
Net Nanny 5.6 $39.99 direct
SUITE
Norton Internet Security 2008
$69.99 yearly
Norton 360 version 2.0
$79.99 list
BACKUP
Genie Backup Manager
Pro 8.0 $69.95 list
ONLINE
Q
NEW SOS Online Backup
(beta) $19.95 direct
FINANCIAL
FreshBooks
Free, or $14–$149 monthly
E-COMMERCE
Microsoft Office Live
Small Business $14.95 per year
I
n the first centuries after Christ, there was
no New Testament. However, books of
Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypses
were widely read, and were fervently followed
by groups of early Christians. But they would
not be among the books that formed the New
Testament.
From the many different scriptures then
available, Christians held beliefs that today
would be considered bizarre: that there were
two, 12, or as many as 30 gods; that a mali-
cious deity, rather than one true God, created
the world; that Christ’s death and resurrec-
tion had nothing to do with salvation—others
insisted that Christ never really died at all.
What did these “other” scriptures say? Do
they exist today? How could such outlandish
ideas ever be considered Chris tian? If such
beliefs were once common, why do they
no longer exist? These are just a few of the
many provocative questions that arise in Lost
Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the
Battles over Authentication.
A Good Mystery Story
This 24-lecture series is a richly re ward ing
learning opportunity for anyone in ter ested
in religion, history, or a good mystery story.
Professor Bart D. Ehrman lends his expert
guidance as you follow scholars’ efforts to
recover knowledge of early Christian groups
who lost the struggle for converts and subse-
quently disappeared.
A major theme of this course is the struggle
for orthodoxy—or right belief—among the
various early Christian groups. You will wit-
ness the process by which certain Christian
beliefs gained legitimacy, while others were
relegated to the status of footnotes to history.
You will see how Christianity developed
through its early and lost writings. The
struggle for orthodoxy can be seen in both
the New Testament and in central Christian
creeds. You will explore the development of
the New Testament into an approved canon
of scripture.
How did the process of forming the ortho-
dox canon take place? Who decided which
books should be included? On what grounds?
If so many scriptures exist ed, how do we know
that those who selected the final books got it
right? If many of these writings were forger-
ies, how can we be sure that forgeries weren’t
included in the New Testament?
In these lectures you will also hear about a
remarkable archaeological event: the discovery
in 1945 of a treasure trove of missing Gnostic
scriptures at Nag Hammadi, an Egyptian vil-
lage near the city of Luxor.
Consisting of 13 leather-bound volumes
unearthed in an ancient grave by Bedouin
camel drivers (the full story, which you will
hear, resembles the plot of a bestsellingad-
venture novel), the Nag Hammadi Library
was a watershed event in the search for lost
Christianities.
About Your Professor
Dr. Bart D. Ehrman is the James A.
Gray Professor and Chair of the De part ment
of Religious Studies at The Uni versity of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He received
his Masters of Divinity and Ph.D. from
Princeton Theological Sem inary. He has
won several teaching awards, including the
Students’ Un der graduate Teaching Award
and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award
for Ex cellence in Teaching. Professor Ehrman
has written or edited more than 15 books,
in cluding The New York Times bestseller,
Misquoting Jesus, and Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet
of the New Millennium.
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Lecture Titles
1. The Diversity of Early Christianity
2. Christians Who Would Be Jews
3. Christians Who Refuse To Be Jews
4. Early Gnostic Christianity—Our Sources
5. Early Christian Gnosticism—An
Overview
6. The Gnostic Gospel of Truth
7. Gnostics Explain Themselves
8. The Coptic Gospel of Thomas
9. Thomas’ Gnostic Teachings
10. Infancy Gospels
11. The Gospel of Peter
12. The Secret Gospel of Mark
13. The Acts of John
14. The Acts of Thomas
15. The Acts of Paul and Thecla
16. Forgeries in the Name of Paul
17. The Epistle of Barnabas
18. The Apocalypse of Peter
19. The Rise of Early Christian Orthodoxy
20. Beginnings of the Canon
21. Formation of the New Testament Canon
22. Interpretation of Scripture
23. Orthodox Corruption of Scripture
24. Early Christian Creeds
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While Microsoft and other companies are
eyeballing the latest marketing gimmicks,
they could just as easily be cementing
more profits by pushing more—not less—
shrink-wrapped software. Online mavens,
thin-client psychos, and Web 2.0 pundits
have been promoting the death of shrink
wrap and the success of its replacement,
known by its various buzzwords: software
as a service (SaaS), software on demand,
and subscription-based software. Add to
that all the old-fashioned downloadable
software that’s available, and the newer
software “in the cloud,” and you must con-
clude that shrink wrap is dead.
I beg to differ. Shrink wrap has many
advantages compared with online apps
of any sort, which are rife with problems.
Here are some of them.
1. THE NETWORK SUCKS. First of all,
apps running over any network are sub-
ject to network congestion and outages. I
would have a field day doing commercials
highlighting the frustrations you can expe-
rience running apps over the Internet.
“I have to have this report done! What’s
wrong with the network!?” “Fred is using
BitTorrent, and it’s killing the network.”
2. THERE’S NO PROTECTION FROM
GOVERNMENT SPOOKS. This is the real
killer of online apps. Who wants the U.S.
government filtering everything you do?
3. INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE IS EASY.
Forget snooping by the U.S. government.
What’s to stop a smart multinational cor-
poration from spying on its competition?
A scandal is now brewing over Rupert
Murdoch–owned companies allegedly
involved in something like this.
JOHN C. DVORAK
Ode to Shrink Wrap
54 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Do you really think that “sofware on demand” is an
efort by the sofware companies to make less money
from you? Of course not. It’s a marketing scam.
DVORAK LIVE ON THE WEB John’s
Internet TV show airs every Wednesday
at 3:30 ET on CrankyGeeks.com. You can
download back episodes whenever you like.
4. IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE. Does anyone
really think that “software on demand” and
“use only what you need” are efforts by the
software companies to make less money
from you? Of course not. They’re market-
ing scams to make more money from you.
5. IT’S NOT MERCHANDISABLE. Call
me old-fashioned, but I still subscribe to the
notion that people like to buy pretty things.
“Oh, a shiny pen!” A box on a shelf with a
sales pitch will sell more copies than a neb-
ulous Web site renting you something.
6. USERS HAVE NO SENSE OF OWN-
ERSHIP. People like to own things such
as books and boxes with discs in them.
People have bookcases full of books they
will never read again because they like
the comfort of having possessions. Online
schemes deliver none of this comfort.
7. WHEN ONLINE SOFTWARE COMPA-
NIES GO UNDER, SO DOES YOUR SOFT-
WARE. While people hate to talk about
this, there is always the likelihood that the
company selling you software as a service
in the cloud will go out of business and
you’ll have nothing but your backup data
files (if you haven’t moved them into the
cloud, too). I have numerous discs from
companies that went out of business, and
the software still works.
8. USERS ARE SUBSERVIENT TO
TERMS-OF-SERVICE AGREEMENTS.
There are far too many instances of peo-
ple who have been cut off from services
for some perceived infraction. Because
of onerous terms-of-service agreements,
users have little recourse without a lot
of work. If your company is dependent
on online software, you’ll probably be
out of business before any legal issue is
resolved.
9. USERS HAVE NO CONTROL OVER
VERSIONING. Online apps get upgraded
at the remote site, so you are stuck with
changes whether you like them or not.
10. POTENTIAL FOR GOUGING. This
is perhaps the worst aspect of online soft-
ware. With shrink-wrapped software, you
buy the product, own it, and maybe even
get your updates free. With SaaS, you pay
as you go. Imagine becoming dependent
on one of your online apps and then watch-
ing the price quadruple just because the
company knows you have no other choice.
The temptation to do this is extreme.
These are the kinds of arguments
Microsoft and others should make to
those people inclined to dismiss shrink
wrap in favor of online software. So why
don’t they? Look at items 4 and 10 for the
answer.
No matter how sophisticated online
initiatives sound, they are part of a pre–
personal-computing model in which a cen-
tralized mainframe ran all the programs
and users sat at terminals. The whole
notion of online software is a throwback.
Powerful workstation/desktop com-
puting is still the most efficient way to do
things. I never even bothered to put “per-
formance” on the list above. Can you imag-
ine editing a document online and tracking
the changes from ten people? Cripes!
Using the Internet to return to the old
model of mainframe computing is a mis-
use of resources and a dead end. Its only
real appeal is the idea that there is a com-
munity on the Internet with you. Seri-
ously, ask yourself why you would want
to do word processing on the Web. For my
money, I want a box with a disc and docu-
mentation. I can deal with the rest myself.
Inside
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 55
Just as the market was beginning to make a shift to EV-DO and
other wireless technologies for the cellular phone network,
reports emerged that any sort of real load degrades service to
an extreme. And these are expensive services to begin with.
So now it seems that 802.11 is more important than ever, and
that engineers may finally get the wireless broadband technol-
ogy WiMAX to work correctly.
How long will it take to deploy WiMAX in any meaningful
way? Intel, the big proponent of the technology, is now drop-
ping a whopping $500 million into the Japanese market in
an effort to push WiMAX there. It would sure solve a lot of
problems if it took hold.
Meanwhile, since the iPhone invasion, people are doing
more and more surfing on their phones. I
cannot imagine how anyone can justify the
monthly charges, but I guess people actually
do believe that AT&T needs more money.
I’ve noticed that if you are with a group of
people there is always the one guy (or more
in California) who will pull out the iPhone
and surf the Net to find some obscure bit of
information.
Why aren’t we hearing more about
next-generation WiFi? It’s as if everyone
suddenly lost interest once the mobile
phone providers began to confuse matters
for everyone.
Oh, and as a side note, a reader recently
wrote to me after I complained bitterly about how I was pay-
ing Comcast $80 a month and getting a crummy 4 Mbps. It
seems as if the various Wi-Fi routers cannot deliver the same
speed as one another. I guess nobody has been testing for
this anomaly.
Passing the Torch Dept.: By this time next year, I do not
expect eBay to own Skype. eBay’s expensive experiment in
using Skype as a way for buyers and sellers to communicate
free went nowhere. Most of the smart money thinks Google
will eventually end up with Skype and all its users. You can
be sure Google will figure out a way to make money from
such a captive audience. It’ll probably dump Google Talk in
the process.
Podcasting Is Out Dept.: It seems as if everyone began to
hate the term “podcasting” about a year ago. Normal people
were just confused by the term. Unfortunately, it’s a term like
“blogging.” Actually, blogging is worse. It’s an ugly word in
every way, but there is no other way of describing the activ-
ity. The problem with trying to eliminate “podcasting” is that
there is nothing else to call it. So I expect it to linger until it
becomes part of the public lexicon.
Disaster Waiting to Happen Dept.: I do not want to say
that the American public is any more ignorant than any other
society, so I won’t. The point is that we are not a nation of
techies. With this in mind, how does anyone expect the 2009
switch from analog TV to digital TV to be anything but a
disaster? It’s crazy. I’d bet even money that right now less than
half the public knows anything about the switch, despite how
many messages have been thrown in our faces. Heck, I suspect
that less than half the public can name the current president of
the United States! I can guarantee you that the average person
on the street who just bought a new TV with a digital clock
thinks it’s a digital TV. So what is going to happen when the
TV signals are turned off overnight? Chaos and complaining,
that’s what. Riots maybe?
The switch should never have been planned this way.
Analog and digital should coexist and transition with a slow
pullback of analog over a couple of years.
When color TV was introduced in the 1950s,
the public took a long time to make the tran-
sition. Originally, the analog-to-digital shift
was to take place a few years ago. If the tran-
sition process had begun seriously in 2006,
we’d have had a better chance of making
this work.
Funniest Thing I Heard All Month
Dept.: So out of the blue Dell says it is going
to sell Windows XP until 2010. That’s when
the company hopes to move customers to
Windows 7, which just might be ready by
then. (I doubt it, unless Windows 7 is just
Vista repackaged.) Meanwhile, Microsoft
says no to any XP sales after June of this year. Dell thinks it can
preload XP on the machines it’s currently selling with Vista.
The kicker is that the package is going to be called Vista
Bonus. I guess the bonus is that it won’t run Vista. (Drum roll,
maestro!)
Microsoft Live Core Dept.: A rumor continues to circu-
late about a new Microsoft online operating system called
Live Core. Ever since there were rumors floating around out
there that Google and then Yahoo! were developing some sort
of online OS, Microsoft got interested in the idea. If any com-
pany is going to do something like this, it will be Apple, which
is already looking at the iPhone as the next great comput-
ing platform. Ironically, I talked up the “pocket computer” at
least a decade ago and envisioned it as something similar to
the iPhone, except that it would sync in a cradle and connect
to a keyboard and big screen when not in portable mode. I
imagine that such a device is not too far away. The iPhone
is the closest I’ve seen so far to the ideal pocket computer.
Curiously, I am not too interested in owning one myself. At
least not yet.
WANT MORE DVORAK? John writes a weekly column for our
Web site, too. Log on to go.pcmag.com/dvorak. Or you can e-mail
him at pcmag@dvorak.org.
SASCHA SEGAN
Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much
competition. You see this in media formats.
Usually for ego-driven reasons, people
keep reinventing the wheel and end up just
making life annoying for people peacefully
trying to play or convert audio and video.
I run into this problem all the time.
I capture video with a camera phone or
camcorder, download video through the
Internet, or rip it from DVDs. Then after
any editing or remixing, I try to put it out to
a DVD, an iPhone, or my AppleTV. Most of
the time, Nero or one of the Videora con-
version programs does the trick, but peri-
odically I run into trouble.
In a perfect fantasy world, there would
be three media formats and one container.
MP3 covers lossy music, FLAC covers
lossless music, and MPEG-4 covers video.
Wrap your video in an MP4 container,
and you’re good to go. Each of those for-
mats has many options, so this combina-
tion gives you much more flexibility than
it seems at first glance. H.264 and AAC+,
for instance, are both part of the MPEG-4
standard. The key here is “standard”—
something that has been agreed on across
the industry.
Most stupid media formats are pushed
by some group with an agenda, and the
group’s agenda is what keeps these annoy-
ing formats existing, brain-munching
zombie–like, into the future. Sure, they all
make claims about being higher quality, but
that’s not what’s really driving them. In my
mind they fall into three categories.
Stupid Elitist Media Formats
Ogg Vorbis, Theora, and the entire
Matroska container system. You might
see these as OGG or MKV files. The sole
purpose of these formats seems to be to
show what an antiestablishment hacker
you are. They were created by groups that
are politically horrified that corporations
are involved in the technology industry. To
think! Corporations! Yet they have special-
ized features that maximize enjoyment of
animated tentacle porn. (I am not lying.)
I wouldn’t be so against them if their
zealots had done any work at making them
easy to use. Instead, they require hard-
to-find, buggy open-source programs for
encoding and decoding. Often the com-
mand line is involved. They will break
most commercial video software because,
you know, commercial video software is
controlled by the Man—fight the power!
Fortunately, you are likely to run into this
stuff only when downloading ripped TV
programs off BitTorrent. At that point, the
pain and annoyance you are experiencing
is merely karma, you evil, evil pirate.
Stupid Proprietary Media Formats
Microsoft is the leader in creating entirely
pointless proprietary media formats.
WMA and WMV must die, immediately.
They exist solely to concentrate control in
Microsoft’s hands, and as such, they are as
stupid as Sony’s now-dead ATRAC3. AAC
does everything WMA does, but whereas
AAC is a widely accepted standard, WMA
is entirely controlled by Microsoft.
Apple, shockingly, has been pretty
good about avoiding stupid media formats
recently, with one exception. It’s been mov-
ing from stupid MOV video containers
to standardized MPEG-4, and iTunes has
always used relatively standard AAC for
audio. Apple has one weak spot: lossless.
Rather than using the perfectly acceptable
FLAC, Apple has created its own lossless
codec, ALC, which basically isn’t playable
by anything other than iTunes. Ugh.
Streaming media is another bastion of
annoying proprietary formats. What’s the
advantage of Flash and Real over stream-
ing MP3 and MPEG-4? Oh yeah, it’s that
they come with obnoxious proprietary
players. I’m willing to give Adobe’s Flash
a partial pass because Adobe has offered
free players to everyone, but Real is a per-
fect case of using a proprietary format to
force people to install obnoxiousware.
Stupid DRM Media Formats
It’s time for media copy protection to end.
Pretty much everyone understands this,
and it’s dying a slow and graceful death as
folks come around. I have faith that Apple
will shift away from DRM soon enough.
But a few formats floating on the fringe
really have to go. Sprint mobile phones, for
instance, use an abomination called KOZ
that exists only to prevent other players
from reading the juicy AAC+ file within.
The combination of vile DRM and
stupid WMA brings out the worst in com-
panies; Microsoft has announced that cus-
tomers of the former MSN Music store
will never be able to move their songs to
new PCs because it’s closing the DRM ser-
vice. DRM is part of the entertainment and
software industry campaigns to eradicate
“purchasing” in favor of “licensing,” so
consumers end up owning nothing.
But there’s a big difference between
a format with any intellectual property
involved and the hideousness that is “you-
don’t-own-it” DRM. Face it, Ogg Vorbis
zealots, you’re going to have to compro-
mise—and that compromise is MP3/AAC.
GET MORE SASCHA For more of his views,
visit go.pcmag.com/segan.
Microsof is the leader in creating entirely pointless
proprietary media formats. WMA and WMV must
die, immediately. Tey’re as stupid as Sony’s ATRAC3.
Kill Stupid Media Formats
56 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
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Illustration by Mondolithic Studios
Each year when we talk to the leading research labs for our future tech
story, we learn new things, some stunning and some almost heart-
breaking, because often the coolest technology is going to take a long,
long time to reach perfection.
This year was no different. We saw a pattern early on, finding tech-
nology projects under way at the big companies and university labs
that mimic or enhance the human senses. They include an innovative
touchpad that will let you control your future mobile device from the
back, a vision system for your car that will help you see through thick
fog, and an electronic nose that will sniff out rotten food for you. Per-
haps most amazing, to both science-fiction aficionados and the ever-
growing numbers of war victims, are new artificial limbs controlled by
existing nerve endings and, eventually, by direct input from the brain.
It’s not all about the senses, of course. Researchers are trying to find
the next great material for microprocessors, without which many of
these technologies could die on the vine in a few years. Naturally, we
are thinking about our gadgetry-filled future as well, and we present
a look at the possibilities for what tech toys such as laptops, phones,
and cameras may become by 2020. Turn the page and prepare to enter
the future.
The future will be a feast for the senses, with breakthroughs
that enhance computers’ ability to hear, see, and even smell
for us. By Eric Griffith
Seven
Technologies
That Will
Touch Your Life
JOHNS HOPKINS & DEKA
Robotic Prosthetic Arm 60
UC BERKELEY
E-Nose 60
MICROSOFT RESEARCH
LucidTouch 64
MIT MEDIA LAB
Graspables 64
CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
Computer Vision Systems 66
GEORGIA TECH
Machine Hearing 67
Silicon’s Successor 68
FUTURE FIRST LOOKS
256-Processor Laptop 61
Morphing Mobile Gadget 65
Dynamic Digital Camera 67
FUTURE TECH
58 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
E-NOSE
It’s been two years since the Defense
Advanced Research Projects Agency
(DARPA) sought out ideas for creating
upper-extremity prosthetics for a new
generation of amputees—especially those
returning from combat in Iraq and Afghan-
istan. DEKA Research, run by inventor
Dean Kamen (famed as
the creator of the Segway
Personal Transporter),
came up with one. The
Johns Hopkins Univer-
sity Applied Physics
Laboratory (APL), man-
aging a team of over 30
contracted organizations
like a virtual corporation,
has another.
The two groups have
had a friendly compe-
tition during the first
two-year phase. The new
limb prototypes, already
in clinical trials, are mod-
ular marvels of engineer-
ing that offer far more
movement—degrees of
freedom in engineer-
speak—than today’ s
artificial limbs, which
typically have only three
possible movements.
The goal is an artificial
limb with the same size,
weight, and dexterity as a
real arm. That means as many as 25 degrees
of freedom working in conjunction, so the
patient doesn’t have to choose between
bending an elbow and manipulating fin-
gers but can actually do both at once.
Perhaps more miraculously, as both
DEKA and APL enter the next phase of
DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics
2009 (RP 2009) program, the limbs can
interface directly with an amputee’s nerve
endings through targeted muscle reinner-
vation. It’s a method developed at North-
western University and the Rehabilitation
Institute of Chicago to let nerve signals
actuate unused muscles to control an arti-
ficial hand and fingers.
“For someone who lost his arm closer
to the wrist, there are more options” for
controlling an artificial hand, says Stu-
art Harshbarger, systems integrator and
team leader with the APL group. “If you
don’t have muscles available, you go to the
peripheral nerve itself.”
APL places injectable myoelectric sen-
sors (IMES) into the flesh to look for the
electrical activity in a muscle contraction
and uses it to control the prosthetic arm
wirelessly. IMES should go to the FDA for
approval soon. “I think
we’ll see a highly dexter-
ous limb system in the
manufacturing transition
process in two years,”
Harshbarger says.
Eventually, these new
limbs could interface
with the brain itself, a
goal that both DEKA and
APL are working toward.
It is, after all, what every-
one envisions going back
to The Six Million Dollar
Man. Getting direction
from the motor cortex
of the brain could be the
only option for an ampu-
tee who also has a spinal
injury. The initial goal,
though, is a neural inter-
face strategy, such as
IMES, that’s minimally
invasive.
DEKA’s project man-
ager, Rick Needham,
calls complete, intui-
tive brain control the
researchers’ holy grail. He says there’s even
the potential for permanently attaching a
prosthesis to the patient’s skeletal system.
Much like APL’s, DEKA’s prototype was
also created with a team of organizations
and is designed to handle multiple meth-
ods of control. DEKA calls its artificial limb
design the “Luke Arm,”
after Luke Skywalker,
who gets a fully func-
tional artificial hand in
The Empire Strikes Back.
Patient comfort is
a major design goal for
DEKA. The researchers
found that a number of
amputees don’t even use
their prosthetics because
the limbs hurt to wear.
They create constant
pressure because they’re
attached so tightly. The Luke Arm has a
dynamic socket that can adjust, becoming
tighter when the user is lifting something
and extra support is needed, but looser if
the person isn’t using the limb.
Needham gives a lot of credit to DARPA
and Colonel Geoffrey Ling, the manager of
RP 2009, for creating this project, which
will benefit not only soldiers but also any-
one with a missing arm. “DARPA stepped
up and made resources available to make
this happen. We appreciate them having
the vision to do that,” Needham says.
Harshbarger says APL’s goal for its
artificial limb is to have it settle into a
manufacturing cycle similar to those of
digital cameras or phones. “Every couple
of years, a new generation comes out with
new capabilities, more pixels, more bells
and whistles, but the price stays about the
same.” He wants these new limbs to cost no
more when manufactured and fitted than
an artificial limb costs today. That’s not
small potatoes: $75,000 to $100,000 by the
time a clinician fits the prosthesis. But the
much higher level of performance brought
about by the new technologies will at last
make it feel like money well spent.
Someday soon, your refrigerator or even
the bottles in your wine collection may
inform you when its contents have gone
bad. It’s the preferable method when
you’re dealing with food or pharmaceu-
ticals, rather than tossing everything out
based on an arbitrary best-if-ingested-by
date. The packaging will know what’s rot-
ten the same way you do: by taking a whiff
to see if it stinks.
Hard to believe, but
such electronic-nose
(e-nose) technol ogy
has been around for
several years, and the
general idea goes back
decades. Commercial
e-noses today check
for dangerous gases
we can’t sense. They’re
used by hospitals, the
military, and NASA. So
what big breakthrough
is the next generation
MAJOR INNOVATION Direct
neural control—and eventu-
ally brain control—of artificial
limbs.
WHY IT MATTERS Will
provide limb replacements
for injured soldiers and others
with missing limbs.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL Clini-
cal trials by 2009, with manu-
facturing in 2010.
JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY & DEKA RESEARCH
Robotic Prosthetic Arm
MAJOR INNOVATION Cheap
printed polymers will detect
food spoilage and dangerous
odors.
WHY IT MATTERS Sniffing
out true rot could eliminate
product waste.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL
Minimum of five years for
consumer and pharmaceuti-
cal packaging, maybe earlier
for expensive, single-use
products.
UC BERKELEY
E-nose
ROBOTIC ARM
60 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
of digital sniffers poised to make? First,
they’re going to use printed organic poly-
mers made with modified ink jet print-
ers. Second, those polymers are going to
make e-noses incredibly cheap compared
to today’s, which cost several hundred or
even thousands of dollars.
Vivek Subramanian, associate professor
in the Department of Electrical Engineer-
ing and Computer Sciences at Univer-
sity of California, Berkeley, says his team
of Ph.D. candidates—most of whom are
involved in interdisciplinary studies across
fields of chemistry, material science, and
electrical engineering—build the polymer
printers themselves and print with them
all the time.
Just don’t expect to buy an e-nose that
can smell all 10,000 odors the human nose
can sense any time soon. The trick is to
teach it what to detect. “I know what I want
to smell. I want to smell spoilage. So I have
a specific e-nose for that spoilage,” says
Subramanian. It’s all about recognizing a
rotten-smelling pattern. He cautions that
we’re a long way off from e-noses sniffing
out specifics, like drugs—or worse. “For
bomb sniffing,” he says, “you need parts-
per-trillion detection. That’s really hard.”
So Homeland Security should probably
FUTURE FIRST LOOKS
The 256-Processor Laptop
In 2020, only techies will care about the technology in their laptops. Most users will
never even think about it, because laptops will have so much processing power and the
Internet cloud will offer so much storage. What will matter is style. Here’s the vision of
Lenovo’s Howard Locker, Master Inventor and Chief of Strategic Technology.
Illustrations by Mondolithic Studios
• Bendable, thin slate folds up to slip into
pocket.
• Screen usable outdoors.
• 6G, always-on, wireless connectivity
reaches 550 Mbps.
• Thin, light battery lasts 5 to 7 days.
• 256-core processor is essentially
a data center cluster on your lap.
• Touch screen and voice recognition;
virtual keyboard with tactile feedback
for serious content creation.
• Thin, light, 300-pixel-per-inch OLED
screen rolls out to any size you want.
• Very light, strong material, even better
than titanium. Entire system weighs half
a pound.
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 61
T
he world is going high defnition and PC Magazine
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keep training dogs.
Subramanian guesses that a large
amount of food is tossed every day that is
not even close to bad, because expiration
dates are, by necessity, very conservative.
That kind of waste could go away for good
with the right e-noses in place.
His vision for a commercial e-nose is
a piece of plastic made of a low-cost poly-
mer with circuits printed on it. It would
connect to a little signal processor, prob-
ably running off a printable battery, on the
outside of the food container. The output
signal indicating whether the food inside is
spoiled could be sent via radio frequency.
Naturally, e-noses used in warehouses
would have RFID tags. A change of color
in the plastic polymer would indicate the
contents’ status.
Other researchers are working on using
nanoparticles to print even more sensitive
polymers. Subramanian thinks the best
e-noses will someday combine several dif-
ferent methods to make individual sensors
that respond to different smells by mix-
ing and matching different types of scent
pattern recognition. Those sensors will
eclipse what’s available today.
“The e-nose is a wonderful match for
printing,” he says. “You print multiple
materials everyday at home to get colors in
photos. Now we’ll just replace colors with
sensors.”
Microsoft researchers are closely exam-
ining what they consider a staggering
amount of wasted space on handheld
devices. Where? On the flipside. Imagine
a game or phone that lets you use your fin-
gers for input on a gesture pad behind the
screen. Even with your fingers hidden, you
know what you’re doing because they’re
silhouetted on the front screen—as if the
device itself were transparent.
Patrick Baudisch hatched the idea for
LucidTouch after finding his finger blocked
the view of his touch screen. Luckily, he’s
in a position to do something about it; he’s
one of four researchers in the Adaptive
Systems and Interaction research group at
Microsoft Research (MSR). His focus for
the last few years has been mobile device
interaction, specifically how to overcome
screen-size limitations. We always want
devices smaller, but smaller touch screens
are inherently less useful. Since 2006, Bau-
disch has worked closely with Mitsubishi
Electric Research Labs (MERL) on Lucid-
Touch—so closely that at least one MERL
researcher has recently joined MSR.
Since a transparent finger is out of the
question until Microsoft develops invis-
ibility, Baudisch decided that the back
of the device is the perfect location for a
touch interface. Yet the user still needs to
see his fingers to stay in control. Baudisch
calls the digital silhouette that makes a
LucidTouch appear see-through pseudo-
transparency.
“By interacting with the back side, we
get fingers out of the way. You touch the
back side, you see the document on screen,
you see a finger where your fingers are. It’s
like touching the front,” he says. Controls
on the back means a user’s finger size is out
of the equation. Even the fattest fingers can
work without blocking the screen.
“Users instantly understand what it
means,” says Baudisch, adding that pseudo-
transparency is so intuitive that there’s no
need to explain what’s going on to a new
user. A colored dot on the screen indicates
the exact interaction point for each finger.
It’s like having eight mouse cursors under
your control, all at once. The dot could be
as small as a pixel, and would change color
to indicate the finger is touching the pad
on the back.
How does LucidTouch deliver this
pseudo-transparency to the screen on
a handheld? The prototypes use a cum-
bersome camera-boom attachment that
points at the user’s fingers, which are then
rendered on screen. Ultimately, a set of
capacitor sensors or optical sensors could
do the trick. The secret is to get just enough
data from the sensor to indicate locations
of the fingertips.
Exactly what a user will do with all
those fingers is still up in the air. The
research team has tried LucidTouch with
an on-screen keyboard worked by just the
index fingers, plus a standard QWERTY
interface with the layout rotated, so the A
key is still under the left pinky. It remains
to be seen what works best for users.
Baudisch’s dream for LucidTouch goes
beyond text-entry on mobile devices.
Imagine using backside controls on a
PlayStation Portable for a real-time strat-
egy game. And with the addition of filters
and smoothing technology, multi-finger
controls could be useful for the disabled,
especially those with motor disabilities
such as Parkinson’s disease. LucidTouch
could even become the foundation for a
keyboard/mouse interface to use with any
device, from the tiniest phone to the most
powerful PC.
Imagine a handheld gadget that’s a phone
when you put it to your ear, a camera when
you hold it to your eye, and a game device
when you grasp it on either side. A single
gadget that changes function on the fly
based on how you hold it is the idea behind
the Bar of Soap, a prototype handheld built
by Brandon Taylor. Taylor is a graduate
student in the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) Media Lab, under the
direction of Professor V. Michael Bove, Jr.,
the director of the MIT Consumer Elec-
tronics Laboratory.
The Bar of Soap is an example of what
Bove calls graspables: “things that could
be handheld—a steering wheel, a baseball,
whatever—that knows how you’re grasp-
ing it.” He foresees a future where objects
all around us are aware of how they’re
MAJOR INNOVATION Turns useless
space on the back of handhelds into input
surfaces.
WHY IT MATTERS Multi-finger touch con-
trol could drastically alter interaction with
phones, portable games, and other mobile
devices.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL 2009
MICROSOFT RESEARCH
LucidTouch
MIT MEDIA LAB
Graspables
LUCIDTOUCH
64 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
being used. For example, an object you’re
holding could recognize when it’s aggravat-
ing a medical condition, like carpal tunnel
syndrome, and adjust itself to compensate.
Or when you pick up a mug, your Second
Life avatar also picks up a mug.
Taylor calls the initial Bar of Soap a
“mode-sensing, multi-function device.”
Inside the rudimentary prototype, an accel-
erometer measures how the device moves.
Outside it has a touch screen and is cov-
ered with 72 capacitive sensors that detect
the hands holding it. “We trained users to
hold it in different ways,” says Taylor, “and
saw what orientation it was in for different
modes of use.”
Naturally, not everyone holds a product
the same way, not even a phone. The Bar of
Soap records how it is used to determine
how a population holds the unit in phone
(or camera, or gaming) mode. It can dis-
tinguish when it’s used as a phone rather
than, say, a remote control (another func-
tion built into the Bar of Soap prototype,
along with a PDA and some games). “It has
fairly sophisticated pattern recognition for
a cheap device,” says Bove.
Obviously, you would want such a
device to adapt to the particular way you
hold it. That’ll be easier when the hardware
FUTURE FIRST LOOKS
The Morphing Mobile Gadget
Your mobile phone of the future will be a constant companion, serving not only as
your communicator but also as your environmental sensor. Naturally, it will harness
solar energy and be self-cleaning (thanks to integrated nanotechnology). But that’s
just skimming the surface. To see the full-blown vision of engineers at Nokia and
the University of Cambridge Nanoscience Center, watch the video at go.pcmag
.com/nokiavideo.
• Nanotech-based fiber mesh is flexible,
stretchable, transparent, and strong.
• Elasticity lets it change shape.
• Can be worn on wrist.
• Folds up to fit in pocket; unfolds to
reveal keyboard, display, touchpad.
• Nano-structured surface is self-
cleaning.
• Repels water, dirt, fingerprints.
• Small, thin, quick-charge battery.
• Built-in solar absorption charges
the device.
• Integrated sensors inform user of
pollution and chemicals.
• Transparent electronics offer new
aesthetic dimension.
• Made of biodegradable materials.
Illustrations courtesy of Nokia JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 65
is seeded with a large data set of varia-
tions of how it can be used. Taylor points
out, however, that users who didn’t get the
function they wanted with the prototype
adapted the ways they held it to bring up
different functions. “We wanted to see
how people hold things and how it car-
ried across different users. Most people
don’t want to do much to change from one
function to another. With this device, “you
don’t have to go to a camera menu. It just
knows. Or it knows you’re making a phone
call. It doesn’t bother you with irrelevant
other stuff,” he says.
Taylor will have graduated by the
time this sees print, having completed his
thesis on—what else?—graspables and
usage pattern recognition. He thinks the
Bar of Soap is just the first step. “The next
jump will be the graspables idea in differ-
ent geometries, not just a multifunction
handheld.”
The MIT Media Lab has shown lots of
industry sponsors this first graspable and
discussed its possibilities, but no products
are on the horizon yet. This is almost inex-
cusable, because the Bar of Soap proto-
type doesn’t involve any new or special
technology—just the smarts to utilize
it. “The algorithms and components are
available now,” says Bove. “You don’t need
five pounds of Unobtainium to build this.
It uses principles feasible for products
right now. This is potentially quite close
to market.”
That screen on your Toyota Prius may
someday do more than show your mileage
in a fancy graph. It could show you what’s
hiding ahead in the mist.
There was a time before Xbox 360s and
quad-core gaming systems when adding
fog-like visual effects to video games was
considered a big deal. Removing fog might
not seem as intriguing,
but what if you could
remove fog from a real-
life scenario, such as
driving on a foggy (or
snowy, or rainy) road?
We’ re not tal ki ng
about weather modifi-
cation. “You don’t take
the fog away for real,”
says Srinivasa Narasim-
han, an assistant profes-
sor at Carnegie Mellon
University, where he
teaches computer vision
and graphics systems.
“You take the fog from
the images.” He read-
ily admits that “the two
problems [adding fog to
computer images and
removing fog from real-
world images] are not of
equal complexity.” Add-
ing fog is easier, but he
is already taking cloudy,
obscured images and
making them clear.
The key i s i n t he
illumination. “Light up
a foggy scene with a
flood light. That’s the
worst thi ng you can
do because it’s back-
scattered [reflected]
and all contrast is lost,”
says Narasimhan. Fog,
mist, and water are considered “scatter-
ing mediums” for visual purposes. He
explains that you have to scan light across
a scene instead, to minimize backscatter-
ing. A camera can then take the results to
make a clear image.
In a car, for example, you can’t drive
in deep fog with your high beams on; the
light just saturates the fog, obscuring
everything. That’s why fog lights are usu-
ally low and close to the road, somewhat
below the fog level. The journal Nature
reported a decade ago that drivers tend
to speed up while driving in fog, because
the lack of visual cues makes them per-
ceive their movement as slower than it is.
Visibility naturally makes a difference in
driver safety, but it’s not as if drivers can
always wait out fog or rain.
Narasimhan has made
intelligent transporta-
tion systems in more
than just cars a primary
focus of his research.
Exploration and safety
will be enhanced both in
flight and under the sea.
Pilots of jets and subma-
rines will get a visual leg
up that’s far more useful
than sonar. And hand-
held vision systems for
firefighters and miners
(or anyone entering an
area obscured by more
than just darkness) are
possible. The technol-
ogy could also be useful
for filmmakers who find
their location shoots
plagued by inclement
weather. The professor’s
Web site (www.cs.cmu
.edu/~srinivas) includes
a scene from Forrest
Gump in which a rain-
storm is removed from
the footage.
Narasimhan’s group
is working on the pro-
gramming to make this
happen. For lights, they
currently use projectors,
which they can easily
program to show differ-
ent patterns. In the real
world, a specialized LED would be the
simplest light to use, but a laser could work
as well.
One of the offshoots of Narasimhan’s
research is scene reconstruction. Rather
than just providing a glimpse of what’s
ahead, the scanning lights and cameras can
capture a full 3D representation of what is
obscured. Another spin-off is turning the
camera into a weather meter. In the same
way a person can glance at a street lamp
MAJOR INNOVATION A device’s func-
tion—camera, phone, PDA, game—is
determined by the way it’s held.
WHY IT MATTERS With enough informa-
tion, a device can learn to conform to the
user’s needs instead of the user adapting
to the device.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL With corporate
interest, within a year or two.
MAJOR INNOVATION
Real-time display of
obscured objects.
WHY IT MATTERS Could
help car drivers and airplane
pilots see through fog, and
submarines explore under
the sea. Could provide safety
features for future intelligent
transportation systems.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL Under-
water in a year or two; in
buses, trains, and planes in
five years; much later for the
car companies.
CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY
Computer Vision Systems
VISION SYSTEMS
GRASPABLES
66 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
in the rain and know it’s raining outside
based on the halo around the light, a vision
system could immediately determine the
exact amount of precipitation.
Commercialization of the technology
is limited not by the technology but by the
marketing, says Narasimhan. For example,
car headlights that work with an intelligent
transportation system may be ready in five
years, but that doesn’t mean the car com-
panies—which have fog lamps to sell—will
jump on it. “Fog lamps help psychologi-
cally, but they’re not as safe,” he says.
With sponsors like DARPA, the Office of
Naval Research, and the National Science
Foundation, however, he’s safe in knowing
his research is in the clear for the foresee-
able future.
If you’ve ever worked with speech recog-
nition programs, you’ve learned that they
don’t work well in a noisy environment.
Say the same thing to a person in the same
environment, and he or she understands
you just fine. Distorted speech, dropped
words— all of that is relatively simple for a
human to decipher. Not so for a computer.
“I realized, if we’re going to really try
to mimic human performance in certain
tasks, we need more computing power,”
says David Anderson, associate professor
for Digital Signal Processing and Com-
puter Engineering at the Georgia Institute
of Technology. Hearing doesn’t require as
much power as listening, however.
Working with colleague Paul Hasler,
Anderson has been experimenting with
ultra-low-power processors with analog
audio inputs to handle “machine hearing.”
Using just 5 to 30 microwatts of power,
the team has managed to perform signal
analysis on a variety of sounds, including
human speech. While the technology isn’t
as flexible as the human ear, it’s been good
enough to differentiate background noise
GEORGIA TECH
Machine Hearing
Illustrations by Mondolithic Studios
FUTURE FIRST LOOKS
The Dynamic Digital Camera
In a dozen years, camera design will have changed radically to appeal to a young
generation weaned on tech toys. The design—ergonomic and colorful—will give
little hint of the smarts inside. Replacing the glass lens, a flexible acrylic lens will
change shape to focus images, and wireless links will transform how we view pho-
tos. Here’s what John Knaur, senior product manager at Olympus, has in mind.
• Carbon fiber for a very light yet
extremely rugged body.
• Designed like an ergonomic game
device.
• High-resolution, hooded LCD shows
the picture directly.
• Optical viewfinder is eliminated,
reducing camera size significantly.
• LCD flips out and rotates 360
degrees.
• Display resolution is above 900,000
pixels.
• Flexible acrylic lens changes shape
to focus images.
• Advanced on-board photo-editing
software.
• Connects wirelessly to PC or Internet
cloud for upgrades and to HDTV and
photo frame for photo transfer.
• Advanced, low-power CMOS sensor
for less noise, better color and con-
trast, and expanded dynamic range.
• Battery delivers 1,200 shots per
charge.
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 67
from what should be heard. Because the
input uses so little power, Anderson claims
such a sensor could run on an AA battery
for a year or two. A small solar cell might
keep it going indefinitely.
Using field-programmable analog arrays
(FPAAs), he and his team
have created prototypes
of advanced digital sig-
nal processors that work
with analog input. “[Digi-
tal is] predictable and
easy to program,” says
Anderson. “But you pay a
price of power.”
Surveillance listening
equipment that’s little
more than a microphone and a machine
hearing chip can listen for specific events:
breaking glass, gun shots, or passers-by
murmuring in the corridors. All those
noises can be differentiated. Once a specific
sound is detected, the chip alerts a security
program.
One of the integrated circuits is a noise-
suppression chip that can extract speech
signals out of background noise using front-
end processing. “It’s been very effective to
reduce noise without distorting speech,”
says Anderson. The actual recognition of
what’s said, however, is another matter.
Machine hearing isn’t the same as speech
recognition, but the two
go together like puzzle
pieces. Today, doing full
signal analysis of speech
a computer hears in real
time is difficult. Most
analysis is done using all
the resources of a single
PC, yet it still sometimes
takes hours to get results.
Anderson says there’s a
better way: “We always try to emulate the
brain.” The more the team emulates the
gray matter with the computer, the bet-
ter the results get. Anderson considers the
team’s efforts akin to those of a painter who
copies the masters to understand the artis-
tic techniques used.
A brain can understand a word or sen-
tence even if a signal or sound is partially
obliterated, because the brain doesn’t have
just one way of understanding what’s going
on. Getting a traditional speech recogni-
tion program to handle multiple features
and methods of analysis is difficult—if not
impossible—with today’s software and
hardware.
Still, the goal remains to figure out how
to teach a computer to analyze audio in the
same way a human brain does. It could take
thousands or millions of hours to train a
system with enough samples for that kind
of recognition. Anderson hopes that tech-
niques similar to those used in enhancing
computer images will help, providing a
signal boost based upon small, recognized
parts of a signal with output weighted and
combined to make what the computer
hears far more accurate.
While some simple applications of the
machine hearing chip are already up and
running, the more far-out applications—
such as the Star Trek–esque computer
voice recognition we all crave—are still
years away. The machine needs to hear us
before it can understand.
It’s no secret to chipmakers that a big change is coming.
Georgia Tech physics professor Walter de Heer describes it
this way: “Moore’s Law is coming to an end in a decade or
so. Chip technology won’t grow every 18 months as it has
for 20 years. You won’t see constant processor improve-
ment within the next 10 years. . . . Silicon can’t keep up.”
Of course, the chip industry isn’t doomed. All it needs is
a new material, something smaller than silicon that can still
handle all the hard work it takes to be
a modern transistor.
For years, carbon nanotubes were
heralded as the solution. Nanotubes
are made from rolled up sheets of
carbon, only a single atom thick. The
problem is, nanotubes are difficult to
turn into chips. “After ten years work-
ing with nanotubes, no one has fig-
ured it out,” says de Heer, who worked
with nanotubes in the 1990s.
De Heer took another look at the
flat carbon sheet—called graphene—
and calculated that instead of rolling
it into tubes, he could cut it into narrow strips with the same
properties. He estimates that graphene can be 100 times
faster than silicon and may one day hit terahertz range. It
may even be suitable for quantum electronics.
Making graphene is more complicated than simply scrib-
bling with a pencil lead on paper. A silicon carbide crystal is
heated in a vacuum furnace until the surface is converted to
epitaxial graphene. A molecule-thick layer is peeled off with
tape. Then the fun begins.
With graphene strips, “the problem of connecting
nanotubes and putting them where we want is eliminated,”
says de Heer. “You can tailor any shape.” The secret is in the
cutting. You can’t just take scissors to a two-dimensional
sheet of graphene. It’s done with microelectronic lithogra-
phy techniques, like those already used in current silicon
fabrication labs (fabs). His team at the
school’s own microelectronic fab has
developed a way to do just that.
Is de Heer bullish on graphene?
He is when he says it “overcomes a
lot of show-stopping problems found
with silicon. More current can go
through it, it doesn’t heat up as much,
and you can go down to nanometers
or smaller—and it still works.” Work
continues in other labs on carbon
nanotubes and other potential silicon
replacements. “Every year, there’s a
new scheme,” says de Heer, but he
says graphene is the horse to bet on.
At the same time, his enthusiasm is tempered by a desire
to avoid hype. Graphene isn’t an instant panacea. “There’s no
question in my mind that it’ll take ten years to develop these
technologies, to get the lithography to the point of making
devices that are comparable to silicon devices,” he says. “It’ll
be really hard.”
Finding Silicon’s Successor in a Pencil Tip
MAJOR INNOVATION Mixing
low-power analog input with
analysis of sound.
WHY IT MATTERS Security
and voice recognition will be
the first apps to benefit.
ESTIMATED ARRIVAL Star
Trek–esque voice recognition
is five to eight years out.
Photo: Gary Meek
MACHINE HEARING
BEYOND NONTUBES Georgia Tech’s
Walter de Heer with a graphene chip.
68 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 71
Tose 1s and 0s you spend all your time creating are fragile. Tey’re just one keystroke,
one dropped drive, one tiny surge of electricity away from annihilation. Fortunately, the
right combination of hardware and sofware can protect them. By Michael Muchmore
BUYING GUIDE STORAGE
It’s like exercising. Or flossing. You know
you should do it, but you put it off. Yes,
I’m talking about backing up your impor-
tant documents, digital photos, and music
collection. A recent Harris Interactive
poll found that 35 percent of consumers
neglect to make backup copies of digital
content stored on their computers, even
though 50 percent have lost important data
in the past.
Why? Because if you mention backup
to most people, the first thing that comes
to mind (after “I really ought to do that”)
is probably burning data to CDs or DVDs.
Optical media was the logical follow-on
to floppy disks for personal data backups.
If you don’t have many files to back up,
burning DVDs is economical and handy;
most modern computers have optical
burners. If you keep the discs off-site, it’s
Illustration by David Plunkert
Keep Your Data Safe
INSIDE 72 External Hard Drives 74 Home NASs 76 File and Folder Backup 77 Online Backup 78 Drive Imaging
a fairly safe method, too.
But are you really going to go through
the disc-swapping motions every time you
modify a file? The answer, given the statis-
tics mentioned above, is a resounding no.
Why not implement a system that keeps
your data backed up all the time? You’ll
have to spend a little bit of money, but less
than you might think. It’ll take a little bit of
setup time, too, but far less than it would
SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop
72 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
BUYING GUIDE STORAGE
take you to retype even a single important
document—say, that painstakingly per-
fected résumé. If you’re willing to commit
the cash and time, however, you can have
a bulletproof system that will reduce the
chance of your data being destroyed to
nearly nil.
The Hardware You’ll Need
First of all, look beyond the disc burner—
you’ll need some additional hardware. The
basic solution is an external drive, one that
connects to your PC via USB or FireWire.
A good one will cost several times the price
of a spindle of DVDs (our least-expensive
Editors’ Choice runs $120), but it also will
give you several times the flexibility, while
eliminating the hassle of labeling, filing,
and keeping track of media.
If you want to secure your whole net-
work, you’ll need to lay out a little more
cash for a network-attached storage (NAS)
box that everyone on your local network
can back up to. Multidisk NAS boxes also
offer RAID functionality that lets you back
up your backups, so if one drive bites the
dust, you can reconstruct your backup
from those that remain.
The Software That Makes It Work
Once you’ve chosen your storage gear, you
need a good app to make it work. You could
just trust yourself to remember to drag
a copy of important docs to the backup
every time you create or modify them, but,
as they say, “The road to data-loss hell is
paved with good intentions.” Or, maybe,
“He who chooses to act as his own backup
software has a fool for a client.” The point
is, sooner or later you’ll forget, and that’s
when the Big Crash will occur.
Your OS may already have some help
built in: both Windows Vista and Mac
OS X 10.5 (Leopard) include backup utili-
ties. Mac OS X has Time Machine, which
backs up everything on your internal hard
drive to external storage automatically. Just
plug in a drive and, as long as it’s format-
ted in the Mac’s native HFS+ format, Time
Machine will ask if you want it to be a Time
Machine backup drive. You then use the
Mac’s interface to recover lost files or use
your OS X DVD as a disaster-recovery tool
if your internal hard drive stops working.
On the Vista side, it’s a little more
complicated. Vista Home Basic and Pre-
mium include only a simple document-
backup utility; Vista Business, Enterprise,
and Ultimate include disaster-recovery
backup, which lets you recover everything
on a devastated drive, including the appli-
cations, OS, and data.
What we recommend, however, are
third-party apps—there are plenty of great
ones for backing up selected files and fold-
ers, or even all files of a particular type,
wherever they might be. These start at
a mere $20. If you want complete protec-
tion, consider also occasionally enlisting
a drive-imaging app. These programs use a
lot of space, but they can restore your entire
system from the ground up—the data, your
OS and applications, and the countless set-
tings you’ve made to each product so that
it functions the way you want. You’ll find
drive-imaging software for as little as $0.
Finally, the best safety strategy is to
keep a backup of your data off-site, in case
a more widespread disaster strikes. You
can, of course, keep a hard drive in a safety
deposit box, but you’re not going to do daily
updates. Instead, try an online backup ser-
vice. If you’ve got the bandwidth, for about
$50 a year you can keep your important
files on someone else’s server farm and not
worry about the hardware.
You’ve got plenty of options when it
comes to storage hardware, software, and
services. We’ve rounded up 33 of them
here. Expanding waistlines and incipient
gingivitis might be problems insoluble by
modern technology, but keeping your data
safe isn’t.
Did your internal drive get fried? No problem—if your data is backed up to an
external drive that’s stashed somewhere safe. By Joel Santo Domingo
External Hard Drives
In the ancient days of personal computing,
the only economical way to back up your
data was on floppy discs, and later, CD-Rs
or DVD-Rs. Hard drives were simply too
expensive—and on a cost-per-GB basis,
DVDs and CDs still win out. But do you
really want to be sitting in front of your PC
for two days straight trying to fit the con-
tents of your desktop’s 250GB drive onto
400 CDs? Yeah, me neither.
And why should you? These days, some
external hard drives cost as little as $60.
You’ll find reasonable deals in all the cat-
egories of external units—portable, desk-
top, and multidrive—suited to the backup
needs of consumers and users in small or
midsize businesses. If you have a lot of
data to protect, does using slower, more
cumbersome methods make sense?
Portable Hard Drives
Of course, any drive is, to some extent,
portable, but drives in the class we call
portable can be defined by two features:
First, they’re compact, using the same
2.5-inch mechanisms found in most note-
book PCs—hence the other moniker
they’re sometimes known by: notebook-
class drives. Second, they’re bus-pow-
ered—they get their current through the
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus
Western Digital My Passport Elite
USB or FireWire cable. Notebook-class
drives will usually have USB 2.0 or FireWire
400 ports.
The capacity of these devices has
always lagged that of desktop-class units—
for example, 2.5-inch drives were at 60GB
when the norm was 200GB for 3.5-inch
devices. But the introduction of 320GB
and 500GB 2.5-inch mechanisms means
that these external drives—even models
with the lower of the two capacities (such
as the Buffalo MiniStation HD-PS320U2,
the Toshiba HDDR320E3X, and the West-
ern Digital My Passport Elite) now prob-
ably store considerably more than the
hard drive humming away inside your
hulking mainstream desktop.
Desktop Drives
Desktop-class external drives are, as you’d
guess, usually based on desktop-computer
drive mechanisms. At 3.5 inches, these are
larger than their portable counterparts, so
they require more power. Most come with
a “wall wart” AC adapter. Some products,
such as the Kanguru Eco Drive, employ
power-saving technologies.
Desktop-class external drives have
a couple of major advantages over portable
drives: larger capacities (up to 1 terabyte
these days) and platters that spin faster—
7,200 rpm is common, whereas portables
run at 5,400 rpm. These units can also use
more than one interface: Some drives, like
the Seagate FreeAgent Pro, come with
FireWire and eSATA connectors in addi-
tion to the usual USB 2.0.
Using eSATA, an emerging standard,
does away with the inefficiencies caused
by having to bridge from SATA in the drive
to a USB or FireWire connection, then
back again in the PC. With eSATA, the data
encounters little overhead—as if the exter-
nal drive were connected internally to your
PC’s motherboard—and that means speed.
If you’ve got massive files that need regular
backup, this can save you a lot of time.
Multiple Hard Drives (Multidrives)
The third external drive category—which
includes products like the CMS Velocity2
RAID Backup System and the Drobo—use
multiple hard drives to give you more
space than a single-drive device. For
example, the Velocity2 can hold a pair of
1TB drives for a total of 2TB in a RAID 0
configuration or 1TB of RAID 1 storage,
which protects your data by duplicating it.
If one of the drives fails, the other still has
all your information.
An interesting RAID hybrid, the La Cie
Little Big Disk Quadra, uses two 2.5-inch
hard drives that are internally connected
to get you 500GB of speedy RAID 0 stor-
age. Both the Velocity 2 and Little Big Disk
have a good complement of I/O ports: USB
and eSATA. The Little Big Disk also has
FireWire 400 and 800 ports.
The Drobo takes the RAID idea to
a different level: You can install up to four
SATA drives to get protected storage, in
any combination of capacities, and the
device takes care of its own configura-
tion. The ability to combine capacities lets
you easily use leftover drives from previ-
ous systems. A pair of 250GB drives and
a 160GB, for example, would give you
about 380GB of protected storage.
If one of the three fails, your data
remains safe, and when you replace the
bad drive, the Drobo rebuilds itself auto-
matically. You can also add a fourth drive.
The flexibility of being able to pop in a
drive lets the Drobo grow with you: Just
keep replacing the smallest drive with
a larger one until you have four 1TB drives
(for about 3TB of protected storage).
Note that even though these RAID
drive systems may sound like network-
attached storage (NAS) devices, which also
typically feature multiple RAID-striped
drives, they’re not. The difference is that
the Drobo and its kin connect directly to
your PC via USB, eSATA, or FireWire. As
CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System Drobo
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 73
EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES: HOW THEY COMPARE
RED denotes Editors’ Choice. RATING PRICE* CAPACITY (GB) DRIVES SPEED (RPM) INTERFACES
PORTABLE
Buffalo MiniStation HD-PS320U2 l l l l m $180 street 320 1 5,400 USB 2.0
Fujitsu RE25U300J l l l m m $200 street 300 1 4,200 USB 2.0
Maxtor OneTouch 4 mini l l l l m $119.99 160 1 5,400 USB 2.0
Toshiba HDDR320E03X l l l h m $170 street 320 1 5,400 USB 2.0
Western Digital My Passport Elite l l l l m $199.99 320 1 5,400 USB 2.0
DESKTOP
Kanguru Eco Drive l l h m m $94.95 80 1 7,200 USB 2.0
Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus l l l l m $159.99 500 1 7,200 USB 2.0, FireWire 400
Seagate FreeAgent Pro l l l h m $209.99 750 1 7,200 USB 2.0, FireWire 400, eSATA
SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop l l l l m $130 street 500 1 7,200 USB 2.0
MULTIDRIVE
CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System l l l l m $711 1,000 2 Up to 10,000 USB 2.0, eSATA
Drobo l l l l m $500** Up to 3,000 Up to 4 Up to 10,000 USB 2.0
LaCie Little Big Disk Quadra l l l h m $450 500 2 7,200 USB 2.0, FireWire 400, FireWire 800, eSATA
* Direct price unless noted as street. ** Does not include hard drives.
74 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
BUYING GUIDE STORAGE
their name suggests, NAS devices connect
to your system via a router; they can back
up files from any authorized system that’s
connected to your network.
Making Them Work
You can do rudimentary backups to any
of these devices simply by copying files
manually using the capabilities of your
OS, but the drives often come with backup
software of varying sophistication. At one
end of the spectrum, you’ll find simple
sync utilities, such as the WD Sync app
that comes with the Western Digital My
Passport Elite. Programs like this auto-
matically back up folders you designate,
can usually filter by file type (music, Word
documents, pictures, and so on), and,
as you’d expect, ensure that files on two
computers—such as your desktop and
your laptop—match.
Drives like the Maxtor OneTouch 4
mini and SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desk-
top come with file-and-folder backup
software, and you’ll find disaster-recovery
utilities, which provide the most safety for
your data, on drives like the Maxtor One
Touch 4 Plus and CMS Velocity2 RAID
Backup System. Some units will come
boxed with a combination of the three
backup strategies, possibly in one inte-
grated utility. Of course, you may want to
choose a third-party application—if so,
read about this software in the section on
file-and-folder backup apps (page TK).
Te average household has a handful of PCs. NAS devices can backstop every hard
drive on your network—and they ofer impressive redundancy, too. By Oliver Rist
Home NASs
Network-attached storage (NAS) devices
for the home come in a variety of flavors—
the sweet spot is still something of a mys-
tery to vendors. The main point, however,
is that your system reaches these devices
over the network; you don’t have to con-
nect directly, say via USB or FireWire.
Instead, you simply plug the NAS box
into your router and any system on the
network can reach it.
At the low end of the NAS spectrum
are networked hard drives. These are very
similar to the external USB hard drives
we have just looked at, but they have an
Ethernet cable in place of the USB con-
nector, and an installation disc that you’ll
probably have to run on every PC that
needs access.
Four-drive NAS enclosures occupy
the high end; these combine the four hard
drives in a redundant array. Products of
this type, such as the Netgear ReadyNAS
NV+, usually run RAID 5, though other
popular options include RAID 0, RAID
1, and even RAID 6 (depending on the
vendor and the number of drives in the
system). Typically, RAID 5 means you’ll
give up one hard drive’s storage space. So if
your NAS carries four 250GB drives, you’ll
get only about 750GB of usable space, but
if any one drive fails the rest will have
enough index data striped across them for
Apple Time Capsule
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 75
NETWORK-ATTACHED STORAGE DEVICES: HOW THEY COMPARE
RED denotes Editors’ Choice. RATING PRICE* AVG. READ (MBPS) AVG. WRITE (MBPS) OPERATING SYSTEM TESTED CAPACITY (TB)
Apple Time Capsule l l l h m $499 14.5 11.4 Proprietary 1
Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo l l h m m $399 list 14.7 9.2 Linux 1
HP MediaSmart Server EX470 l l l l m $599.99 56.0 123.0 Windows Home Server 1
LaCie Ethernet Disk mini – Home Edition l l l m m $199.99 18.1 14.1 Axentra 0.5
Linksys NAS200 l l l m m $140 street** 4.7 3.8 Proprietary 1
Netgear ReadyNAS Duo l l l l m $679.99 24.6 17.5 Linux 1
Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ l l l l h $2,199 30.1 19.8 Linux 3
* Prices are direct unless otherwise noted. ** Price does not include drives.
you not to lose any files. Simply swap in
a new drive of the same kind and the array
will rebuild itself—no fuss, no muss.
So What’s Windows Home Server?
Also at the higher end are features ven-
dors have begun adding that target home
users. Usually, these involve media serv-
ing, photo sharing, and Web access. Ven-
dors like Axentra and Microsoft have gone
so far as to build entire server platforms
devoted to these features. Many higher-
end NAS systems run some sort of OS, but
they’re often rather minimal home-brewed
Linux affairs. Axentra’s and Microsoft’s
solutions offer more. These apps run on
partner hardware, Axentra’s on LaCie and
Microsoft’s on HP, though both compa-
nies will be partnering with more hard-
ware companies over the coming months.
If you’ve been reading about Windows
Home Server boxes and wondering how
they’re different from NAS boxes, you’re
not alone. The short answer is that a WHS
box is a NAS running a damned good OS.
Netgear ReadyNAS NV+
Windows Home Server provides a
good sample of the basic features you
should look for in any home NAS unit.
It’s primarily a storage-oriented product,
with automatic file and disk-image back-
ups and user-specific network folders (so
the kids can’t accidentally delete all your
tax history, for example), combined with
Web access (so you can get to your home
files or your home computer’s desktop
from anywhere on the Internet). Another
important feature is that Windows Home
Server is expandable. It can support addi-
tional, external USB hard drives and share
USB printers.
That’s a good basic feature set, but
competition breeds innovation, which is
where Microsoft got smart. The company
opened up a plug-in architecture to third-
party developers, which other companies
have used to build such things as iTunes
servers, photo sharers, download manag-
ers, and even TiVo-style features on top
of Windows Home Server. HP has done
a lot of this with the MediaSmart EX470.
These are the same features other home
NAS vendors are experimenting with,
so Microsoft’s plug-in move enables it to
wait and see what sticks before commit-
ting with software of its own.
Other NAS vendors must develop such
features themselves, with companies such
as Axentra, Buffalo, and Netgear adding
media servers on top of their proprietary
(usually Linux-based) NAS operating sys-
tems. To be sure, you can play media files
(music and movies) from any NAS across
a network simply by clicking on the file
from your Windows desktop and activat-
ing Windows Media Player.
But this typically means that your
media is flowing the same as any other
data file. This is a situation that’s not usu-
ally optimal to smooth playback. A media
server streams this data smoothly across
thinner pipes, making for a better playback
experience. It also organizes and backs up
your media libraries and can even convert
formats as necessary. The Netgear Ready-
NAS Duo sports a good media server, and
HP MediaSmart Server EX470 Netgear ReadyNAS Duo
76 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
For convenient, day-to-day backups—the
kind that lets you quickly access a single
deleted file, for example—or just to safe-
guard certain essential files, traditional
file-and-folder backup software gets the
job done. This was the only kind of backup
anyone needed back in the 20th century;
here in the 21st, with its fiendishly complex
operating systems, you also really ought to
consider image backup, which will back
up your entire drive—OS and settings
included. But if you’ve got limited storage
space (and don’t mind the idea of rebuild-
ing your entire system from the ground up
once in a while), a file-and-folder backup
solution is the way to go.
These utilities save only the files and
folders you specify, and typically give
you the option of preserving one or more
older versions every time they do another
backup. If you make many revisions of
documents, that can be a lifesaver. Tell
the program you use to keep multiple ver-
sions of MyNovel.doc and you’ll be able to
retrieve yesterday’s draft if you decide you
don’t like today’s. With these programs, I
typically back up the entire My Documents
folder and its subfolders, as well as a clutch
of other folders in which I keep files such
as spreadsheets and research notes.
The best of these programs work
quietly in the background, copying files
on a regular schedule or whenever a new
version gets saved. All the apps mentioned
in this story can back up files to a differ-
ent folder on the same drive or, for greater
safety (since hard drives can fail), to a USB
memory stick or a network location. Some
can stuff backed-up files into ZIP archives
automatically, encrypt backups so users on
a network can’t read them, or save to writ-
able CDs, DVDs, or even remote FTP sites.
All file-and-folder backup programs
let you select any folder or set of folders
as a backup source. I especially like the
products that offer me additional prebuilt
backup strategies, letting me easily insure
the safety of my Windows desktop, my Out-
look Express or Windows Mail accounts
and messages, and my Internet Explorer
favorites. One such product, Genie Backup
Manager Pro 8.0, can even merge backed-
up Windows Mail messages into my
current mail store. Better yet, it comes
with plug-ins that let me save and restore
all my settings for common programs!
Genie Backup Manager Pro can also
store a backed-up file or folder as an exe-
cutable program. That lets you retrieve
the contents even if you don’t have a copy
of the backup software. The executable,
when copied to and run on the destina-
tion computer, does the restore. All in all,
Genie Backup Manager Pro is a powerful,
flexible, exceptionally well-designed and
reliable backup powerhouse, for which
it receives our Editors’ Choice.
Unfortunately, though, not even Genie
knows how to back up all of my Micro-
soft Office settings, and that’s one reason
BUYING GUIDE STORAGE
When you’ve got data you absolutely can’t lose and a safe drive to keep it on,
fle-and-folder backup sofware is the best place to start. By Edward Mendelson
File-and-Folder Backup Utilities
Genie Backup
Manager Pro 8.0
the Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo looks set
to have one shortly, as well.
More features are emerging all the
time. Instead of simply offering Web
access to shared data folders across the
Web, for example, the newest boxes,
like the Netgear ReadyNAS Duo, are
also delivering dedicated photo-sharing
templates. All you have to do is sign up
with Netgear for a URL, and you can serve
your vacation photos to your friends and
family right from your home NAS—there’s
no need for Phanfare, MySpace, or any
other Internet middleman.
Wireless connectivity is becoming
popular, with Apple dropping a hard drive
into an Airport Extreme router and calling
the combination the Apple Time Capsule,
and several vendors—including those
using Windows Home Server as well as
those with proprietary offerings, like Net-
gear with its ReadyNAS line—enabling
wireless access via a USB Wi-Fi adapter.
How to Choose?
What are the gotchas? First, media serv-
ers aren’t all equal, so it’s best to see yours
in action before you buy. No matter what,
make sure it supports the UPnP A/V
standard so you can attach your NAS to
third-party media hardware.
Additionally, if you’re planning on
using Windows Media Center with one of
the many new hardware media extenders
coming out this year, then a media server
on your NAS is superfluous, so factor that
into your thinking.
Redundant drives are better for reli-
ability, but they are also more expensive.
Decide how much redundancy you really
need, since a single Ethernet hard drive
can cost as little as a third of what a four-
drive NAS can cost. Finally, remember
to install and use backup software. Set it
to back up on a schedule; that NAS won’t
do you much good if you haven’t got
the latest draft of your novel on it when
disaster strikes your laptop.
Microsoft and Apple both have built-
in backup utilities, but NASs also often
come with five or more licenses of a third-
party backup product—many of which are
reviewed in the next section of this story.
If you’re choosing a third-party app,
make sure it works with all your hardware,
including the NAS—it has to be backed
up too if it’s the only place you’re archiving
several years of taxes or family photos
and movies.
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 77
FILE AND FOLDER BACKUP APPS: HOW THEY COMPARE
RED denotes Editors’ Choice. RATING
DIRECT
PRICE
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BACKUP
CATEGORIES
EMERGENCY
RESTORE
DISC OPTION
SAVES TO
DVD
Genie Backup Manager Pro 8.0 l l l l h $69.95 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Memeo AutoBackup Premium l h m m m $49.95 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
NTI Shadow 3.7.1 l l h m m $19.99
Second Copy 7 l l l l m $29.95* ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
* Four licenses.
that, given enough storage space, I prefer
a drive-imaging program to even the best
file-and-folder backup ones. The latter
back up only the files and folders I select,
but Windows systems store lots of set-
tings in obscure places—and those places
change, depending on the OS version, too.
Another reason I prefer drive imaging
is that I may not know in advance which
files I will need someday. When everything
gets copied, I don’t have to know.
I also tested Second Copy 7, a long-
established, deservedly popular backup
system that emphasizes simplicity but has
an impressive range of options—enough
to keep tech-savvy users happy. Once
I got used to its few puzzling quirks,
I liked almost everything I tried. The util-
ity doesn’t quite match Genie Pro, but it’s
certainly a worthy competitor.
I was less impressed with the other
competitors I tried. Though Memeo Auto-
Backup Premium saves multiple versions
of files on its own and lets you easily select
both standard file categories to back up
and locations for storing backup sets,
I hit too many glitches and excessive built-
in marketing. NTI Shadow 3.7.1 is some-
what better: It’s inexpensive, backing up is
straightforward, setup couldn’t be easier,
and you can save multiple file versions.
Unfortunately, it offers limited options.
Roxio BackOnTrack 3 Suite worked on
an old test system but failed disastrously
on a brand-new one with advanced hard-
ware. The company pulled the app as
a result. In other ways, however, it had the
makings of a solid program, so I’m eager to
review the retooled version when it’s avail-
able—look for my report online.
If you think you don’t need absolutely
every byte on your drive backed up or don’t
have enough space to store all those bytes,
then a file-and-folder-backup program is
enough to save the data you need.
Local backup to external or optical drives
is an excellent practice but can’t always
protect your data. If you store your data
and backups in the same location, both can
be wiped out by a disaster. Online backup
services offer one solution.
The services are inexpensive (typi-
cally about $5 a month), the best won’t
noticeably slow your browsing or PC use
(after the initial large upload, at least), and
there’s no media to mess with. They also
encrypt your data before, during, and after
transmission to their industrial-strength
servers. You can have file processing and
uploading run in the background when
enough CPU cycles are free, or schedule
them to run automatically.
While all these services keep your data
in secure, remote locations, there are real
differences among them. The biggest is
in how easily you can set them up, choose
files and folders for backup, and, especially,
get files back. The best services, such as
HP Upline and our Editors’ Choice, SOS
Online Backup, offer wizards to stream-
line the processes. Others, such as IDrive,
are plagued with confusing interfaces or
use programmer-centric lingo (I found
MozyHome’s talk of “reticulated splines”
particularly baffling).
There are also differences in security.
SOS Online Backup, for example, encrypts
your data locally, using SSL2 to encrypt
during transfer, and then encrypts it again
on the server—it can even scatter your
data among several servers. Some, such as
Carbonite Online PCBackup and SOS, go
so far as to give you the option of being the
only keeper of the decryption key. But be
careful if you choose that option: Should
you forget your password, no force on
earth can restore your data.
Where’s the best place to keep your backed-up data? Somewhere far, far away.
By Michael Muchmore
Online Backup
SOS Online Backup
How They Work
Most of these services suggest backing up
the likely suspects—My Documents, My
Pictures, My Music, My Video. Some even
can back up open files (see table). That’s
important with Outlook e-mail, since the
file is open much of the time.
Some services mark your files in Win-
dows Explorer to show which have been
backed up and which are waiting to be.
Carbonite is particularly strong here.
A service’s client may also insert choices in
Windows Explorer’s right-click menu—for
example, to let you add a file to the group
of files being backed up. MozyHome and
IDrive add Back up immediately or Back up
as soon as possible.
Scheduling options vary among these
services. Upline works only in the back-
ground, so you can’t tell it, for example,
“Upload the backup set every night at
3 a.m.” Others back up only at scheduled
times. The best, such as SOS and Mozy-
Home, can back up either on a schedule or
in the background. Also, unless you have
vast amounts of bandwidth, it’s best to
upload the smallest quantities of data that
will provide adequate safety. SOS backs up
the full set of files once and thereafter does
“incremental” backups. There are two lev-
els of incremental backup: uploading only
changed files and uploading only changed
portions of changed files, as SOS does,
to save even more bandwidth. Another
bandwidth-friendly technique is com-
pressing files before upload—this method,
however, will eat up some local cycles.
Getting Your Data Back
Restoring data to a PC other than the one
it originally came from, the task you’d be
faced with if you were to lose your entire
machine, really separates the men from
the boys. Carbonite, for one, fell down in
this regard. It did eventually get the job
done, but not nearly as easily as I’d like.
Security comes into play here, too. Car-
bonite has an airtight security policy of
requiring a download of the software in
order to restore, so that decryption takes
place only on your premises, not theirs.
MozyHome, on the other hand, allowed
me to download an unencrypted ZIP file
of my entire backup—without even using
SSL. Once again, SOS leads the pack in
restoration, making the process both sim-
ple and secure.
File versioning (keeping historical cop-
ies of files) is handy if you’ve accidentally
backed up a corrupted version. Many ser-
vices do this, but the best show you each
version of each file, numbered and dated
in a right-click menu or in the interface.
Whichever service you pick, I suggest
that you not use it to back up programs
and operating systems—stick to data you
can’t replace in any other way. Uploading
large amounts of information—even over
high-speed lines—can take a very, very
long time. If you have massive amounts of
data to back up, an online service isn’t the
way to go.
For me, hard drive failures aren’t fun, but
they’re not disasters, because I regularly
run image backups. Unlike ordinary backup
programs, which do file-by-file copying,
this type duplicates a full hard drive (or one
or more partitions) byte for byte, maintain-
ing the identical data structure—including
the low-level software Windows requires.
Should your drive fail or PC become
unstable, you can restore your system to
the exact state it was in when you made
the image. If your PC becomes unbootable,
you bring it up using an emergency CD,
then restore from the image on an external,
network, or DVD drive, or even from one
stored on another drive partition.
These products also can clone one
system to many and copy partitions to
physically separate hard drives. Some can
transfer your complete current Windows
system to a new computer that uses differ-
ent kinds of disk-storage hardware—some-
thing that’s normally almost impossible.
The current products will work in the
background and can create incremental
backups, saving time by storing just the
changes made since the last full backup.
You can also dig into a backup to copy an
older version of any file, using a feature
that makes the image appear as a drive
letter in Windows Explorer.
All the utilities here can save to the
same physical hard drive you’re backing
up, and can even save a copy of your Win-
dows system partition to that very same
partition—not a tack I recommend. You
BUYING GUIDE STORAGE
78 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
ONLINE BACKUP SERVICES: HOW THEY COMPARE
RED denotes Editors’ Choice. RATING
YEARLY COST/
STORAGE
LIMIT
FREE
ACCOUNT
SIZE
NUMBER OF
VERSIONS/
DAYS KEPT
RIGHT-
CLICK
ADD
RESTORE
FILES
SEARCH
BACKUP
SET
BACKS UP
NETWORK
DRIVES
MULTIPLE
MACHINES
PER
ACCOUNT SUPPORT
Carbonite Online
PCBackup
l l l m m $49.95/
unlimited
N/A 12/90 ✔ Toll free phone M–F, 9–5 ET;
e-mail; chat; FAQ
HP Upline l l l h m $59/unlimited 1GB N/A ✔ ✔ ✔ Phone, 24/7
IDrive l l h m m $49.50/150GB 2GB 30/30 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Phone, M–F, 6–8 PT; e-mail
MozyHome Online
Backup
l l l h m $54.45/
unlimited
2B Unlimited/30 ✔ E-mail, chat, FAQ
SOS Online Backup l l l l m $49.95/15GB 200MB* Unlimited/
unlimited
✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ Online Q&A
N/A: Not applicable—The product does not have this feature. * Trial offer.
Your drive just crashed. You’ve lost 50GB of research data, not to mention your PC’s
confguration. No big deal—if you have an image backup. By Edward Mendelson
Drive Imaging
IMAGE BACKUP APPS: HOW THEY COMPARE
RED denotes Editors’ Choice. RATING PRICE
WINDOWS-
BASED
EMERGENCY
CD
SAVES TO
NETWORKS
SAVES TO
DVD
BACKS UP
INDIVIDUAL
FILES
INCRE-
MENTAL
BACKUPS
TRIGGERED
BACKUPS
WRITABLE
IMAGE
Acronis True Image 11 Home l l l h m $49.99 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
DriveImage XML l l l m m Free
Norton Ghost 12.0 l l l h m $69.99 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Paragon Drive Backup 8.5 Personal Edition l l l l m $29.95 ✔ ✔ ✔
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 l l l l h $79.95 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔
Paragon Drive Backup 8.5 Personal
Edition has advanced backup and restore
features, but the help file can be opaque
and the interface may daunt casual users.
Symantec’s Norton Ghost 12.0 is powerful
drive-imaging and file-backup software
with an exceptionally clear interface and
lots of scheduling options. Unfortunately,
a networking problem with its emergency
CD keeps it from an Editors’ Choice.
Windows users short on funds might
try DriveImage XML. Though it has lim-
ited features and, as I found, requires some
expertise, it’s solid and, best of all, free. Of
the commercial products I tried, Acronis
True Image 11 Home is the most flexible.
It performs drive imaging and also lets
you back up and restore specific folders
and settings. Users with complex systems,
however, should watch out for potential
problems with the emergency restore CD.
I’ve used quite a few of these programs
on my home-office system, and they’ve res-
cued it many times. If your backup strategy
doesn’t use imaging software, don’t wait
until the sun goes down to start.
want your backup on a separate physical
drive in case your current one fails. You
can also store to removable media if you
don’t mind feeding discs into the burner. In
any case, if you’re serious about preserving
data, use a medium you can store off-site.
The four commercial products I tested
let you use Windows Explorer to browse a
backed-up image just as you would a real
drive. The freeware DriveImage XML has
a custom file browser that works almost
as well. In the commercial products, the
image acts as a virtual drive, getting its own
drive letter. You can view backed-up files
by double-clicking on them in Explorer,
or you can copy files from the virtual drive
to your real one. The file manager in Drive-
Image XML lets you do the same. A unique
and valuable feature in ShadowProtect
Desktop 3.1 lets you write back to a virtual
drive so you can, for example, run a virus-
removal program on an image if you find
that malware has infected your backups.
One important word of warning:
Never have more than one such program
installed on your system at a time. These
utilities use low-level disk-access features
built into Windows, and if you have two
simultaneously installed—even if only one
is running—one or both won’t work. If you
decide to try out more than one, make sure
to completely uninstall the first and restart
your system before installing the next.
If you use OS X 10.5 (Leopard), you’ve
already got drive-backup software. Just
plug in a USB or FireWire external drive
and the OS will offer to back up all your
files with the built-in Time Machine. OS
X 10.4 Tiger users must turn to third-party
products, though. I use the freeware Car-
bon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! ($27.95
direct). Both support automatic scheduled
backups, are blissfully worry-free, and have
restored my Mac to perfect condition.
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 software
provides the fastest and smoothest back-
ups and restores of any drive-image utility
on the market, and a Vista-based emer-
gency disc guarantees compatibility with
the widest range of backup hardware. It’s
the best image-backup utility around and
earns our Editors’ Choice.
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 79
ShadowProtect Desktop 3.1 Paragon Drive Backup 8.5 Personal Edition
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 81
PROBLEMS SOLVED THIS ISSUE
84 Shoot and edit better videos
86 Vista icons missing labels
87 Can’t group images in Word 2007
88 Capturing onscreen video
88 Decoding CPU, FSB, and RAM
speeds
90 Performing a security audit
91 Keeping up with your e-mail inbox
94 Inside Linux’s user accounts
95 Modem doesn’t understand
foreign dial tones
There’s one almighty reason to have a
Wi-Fi network: freedom to roam where
you want, laptop or handheld in hand.
Everything else—not having to punch
holes in your walls for Ethernet cables or
hide the cables, for example—is icing. Wi-
Fi is not perfect out of the box, however.
We’ll reveal how to maximize the network
range from your access point, trouble-
shoot problems, and prevent strangers
from usurping your bandwidth—or share
it with all comers while keeping your data
and computers safe.
Improve Signal Strength and Range
Ground zero for any home network is
the router, which manages your Internet
traffic. These days, most routers have an
integrated access point (AP) for the wire-
less side. The first step to a solid wireless
connection is placing that router where
the signal can best reach your wireless
devices. That means up high in a central
area of the home; there’s a reason some
APs have brackets for wall mounting. Just
make sure the antennas are pointed the
way the manual indicates; don’t assume
that horizontal when wall-mounted is the
same as vertical when the unit is sitting
on a desk. A router in the basement will
work—just don’t stick it under a desk or
too close to a filing cabinet.
Wi-Fi signal strength depends on sev-
eral factors. Some (but not all) routers can
be set to increase the transmit power of
Wi-Fi Home Improvements
Guarantee your wireless home network is up to snuf. By Eric Grif th
the signal. Upgrading a router with free,
third-party firmware like DD-WRT (www
.dd-wrt.com) can add this feature, but such
firmware doesn’t work on all routers, and
installing it voids any warranty.
What’s more, though you may think
you have little to lose with an older router
now out of warranty, installing firmware
incorrectly could “brick” the router, con-
verting it into an inert piece of plastic.
DD-WRT’s wiki has some tips for recov-
ery. One note: If you use DD-WRT, don’t
PROCEED WITH
CAUTION Third-party
firmware like DD-WRT
can improve your
router’s transmit sig-
nal, but it’s extremely
unsupported.
set the transmit power (called Xmit Power
in the Web-based interface) much above
70mW. Set it too high and the router can
double as a hot plate; it won’t survive that
kind of heat for long.
Unsurprisingly, there are those who
aren’t brave (or foolhardy) enough to
muck with firmware. In their case, getting
a stronger signal requires spending some
money. Purchasing a router from the latest
generation of 802.11n Wi-Fi products to get
better range and speed is always an option,
82 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
SOLUTIONS SOFTWARE
but even that’s not foolproof. Your other
options include:
BUYING NEW ANTENNAS. Check first
for a removable antenna or a jack for a new
antenna on the current router. It’s smart
to buy antennas from your router’s manu-
facturer, unless you’re very sure of the
connector type. Antennas can be omni-
directional, but directional units, which
serve just a certain section of your prop-
erty, can provide a stronger signal.
ADDING A SECOND AP. Put it in a dif-
ferent area of the house, then connect it to
the main router via Ethernet. When mov-
ing from the main router/AP to the second
AP, a PC will take some time to reassociate
to the network. This may take only sec-
onds, but to avoid noticeable interruption,
don’t do it in the middle of a download or a
Skype call. If you secure your wireless net-
work with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
encryption, the re-association may take a
little longer. Set each AP for different chan-
nels, especially if their signals overlap.
REPEATING THE SIGNAL. Repeaters
have gone out of fashion in the past few
years as new technology such as 802.11n’s
MIMO (multiple input multiple output)
has increased signal range and through-
put. You can still find them, though. For
example, the $99 Apple Airport Express
(go.pcmag.com/airport_express) is a Wi-
Fi router in and of itself, but it can also
serve as a range extender when connected
back to the main router, using a technol-
ogy called wireless distribution system.
DD-WRT can also convert an old router
into a repeater.
Diagnose Problems
Setting up a Wi-Fi network should, by this
stage, be brain-dead simple. You’ll feel like
the brain-dead one, though, when things
just don’t work, whether out of the box or
with an existing network. You can retype
your passkey only so many times, after all.
Knowing how to identify problems on a
network is half the battle.
If there’s a specific PC that can’t con-
nect, make sure to turn off any software
firewalls (such as Comodo or ZoneAlarm)
first—a firewall is a big thorn when you’re
trying to set up sharing between PCs or
printers, and this goes for wired and wire-
less networks. Temporarily deactivate the
wireless encryption (WEP or WPA) at the
router for a while, as well. If everything
syncs after these steps, then your problem
is a bad security setting. With encryption,
for example, some routers might let you
create stronger keys than an older device
(like an 802.11b Wi-Fi card) can support.
And software firewalls sometimes need
specific IP addresses listed to allow com-
munication.
Every device on a home network—the
router, the PCs and handhelds, even the
game consoles—gets an IP address. The
router typically uses 192.168.1.1. Other
devices generally get an address from the
router, which has a built-in DHCP server
just for doling them out. Addressing might
range from 192.168.1.101 to .110, for example.
If a PC on your network has intermit-
tent connection problems, the first thing to
try is ping. You can send a ping command
to another PC using its IP address. If the
ping goes through, the computers can com-
municate. You can also ping your router
and even Web sites to see if the computer
is able to communicate with the Internet.
To ping with Windows, open a command
line window and type ping 192.168.1.1 (or
whatever IP address you want to check).
A reply means it worked; a “Request time
out” means the devices can’t see each
other. Sending a ping to 4.2.2.2, a valid (and
easy to type) external IP address, will tell
you if you’re on the Internet at all. Some
devices, however, including Xbox 360,
won’t reply to pings.
Each computer or device can be set
to use the IP address from the DHCP
server—a dynamic IP address—or use one
of its own that will never change, called
a static IP. The address will still have to
match the format used by the router—a
router at 192.168.1.1 can’t talk to a computer
using 192.168.2.101. Only the last set of
numbers (called the fourth octet) can vary.
When the first three octets match, all the
devices are on the same “subnet” for the
WHO’S THERE? Check the DHCP table in your router settings to view every PC
or other device attached to your network.
PING The good old command prompt
can provide important diagnostic infor-
mation when a PC on your network has
trouble connecting.
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 83
network. If you use a static IP anywhere, be
sure to type it correctly.
If you think there’s a speed problem on
your network—or just want to determine
how much throughput you can get at dif-
ferent distances—use the free Qcheck tool
from Ixia (www.ixiacom.com/products/
display?skey=qcheck). Install it on more
than one Windows computer to run vari-
ous data tests over the network—it’s like
ping on steroids.
Prevent Poachers
When it comes to sharing your broadband
connection with strangers, there are two
schools of thought: If you don’t mind shar-
ing, the people you share with are piggy-
backers. If you do mind, they’re poachers.
The cheap way to find poachers is to
check the DHCP table in your router set-
tings. This table indicates the devices
on the network that have received an IP
address. If there’s one listed that you don’t
recognize, you could have a problem. It
could also be a device you’ve forgotten,
like a Wi-Fi phone or game device.
A more advanced method is to use soft-
ware such as Network Magic (go.pcmag
.com/network_magic_solution). Install this
on your Windows and Mac PCs ($64.99
covers a mix of eight computers) to facili-
tate easier sharing. It will also alert you
to wireless newcomers the instant they
arrive.
Keeping poachers away boils down to
the basics of Wi-Fi security:
1. Change the default router
password.
2. Change the default SSID.
3. Turn off SSID broadcasting.
4. Limit the number of users who can
get an IP address via DHCP.
5. Use static IP addresses instead of
using DHCP at all.
6. Filter by MAC address, the unique
identifier on every network node.
7. Turn on encryption, preferably
using automatic Wi-Fi Protected
Setup (WPS) or at least manual Wi-
Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2).
For specifics and more, see go.pcmag
.com/networksolutions.
There isn’t any one step above that’s
completely foolproof, but combined they
provide strong security—anyone poach-
ing your connection when you’re using
WPA2 and a strong password is probably
some kind of futuristic super-cyborg. Or
else you’ve got something really worth
hacking.
For total assurance, though, you
will need to pay for extra security, such
as hosted RADIUS service. RADIUS
(Remote Authentication Dial-In User Ser-
vice) allows access only to those with an
account. Big businesses usually have their
own RADIUS servers, but anyone willing
to pay, and with the right router hardware,
can get RADIUS via WiTopia.net’s Secure-
MyWiFi service. It’s fully administered
through the Web site and costs $99 a year
(plus a $99 activation fee).
Encourage Piggybackers
What if you do want to open up your Wi-
Fi to all? That’s easy enough. Just leave the
network unsecured and broadcasting its
name (the SSID) and they will come. Users
who connect that way also get an open pipe
to your computers, especially if you’ve got
file and printer sharing activated.
The preferred setup is a public subnet
for your piggybackers and a private sub-
net for your PCs. Both subnets will use the
same Internet connection, but the traffic
won’t cross over. The private subnet stays
safe, but you look like a saint for sharing
your Wi-Fi.
Dividing your network, public and pri-
vate, is next to impossible without ponying
up cash. Hooking up a second AP to your
router but with a different subnet won’t
work; the two won’t communicate. Even
if one AP is encrypted and the other isn’t,
they’re on the same subnet, potentially
accessible to a stranger.
A deluge of Wi-Fi sharing services have
appeared in the last couple of years. Fon
(www.fon.com) is probably the best known.
Its $36 La Fonera router supports multiple
SSIDs so you can start sharing immediately.
Meraki (meraki.com) sells mesh network
hardware—it could blanket your house or
a whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi. Both
are controlled through a Web interface to
offer public and private access, and both
give you the choice of charging people for
access or not.
Software-based WeFi (www.wefi.com)
lets you use your own hardware. Just reg-
ister your location with WeFi and anyone
with the software, which includes maps,
can find your “hot spot.” In return, you can
find new locations to log on to as well.
Finally, you could pay through the
nose for a new access point that supports
multiple SSIDs. D-Link has a couple: The
AirPremier DWL-2200AP is $199.99 direct,
and the more advanced DWL-2700AP for
businesses is $1,059.99.
OPEN UP Want to
share your connec-
tion? You can register
with WeFi and let
other users find your
hot spot.
BE ALERTED Network Magic jumps in
and tells you when a new device joins
your network.
84 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
Millions of words and photographs have been devoted to telling
amateur cinematographers how to shoot videos, but in my experi-
ence this advice can be broken down into two rules. These rules
apply across all editing platforms, not just Pinnacle Studio (which
I use here), and if you abide by them you will save yourself a lot of
time and effort.—Jan Ozer
Shooting and Editing Better Videos
SOLUTIONS PROJECT
EDITING RULE 1: BREAK LONG VIDEOS INTO SHORT SCENES.
You already know to keep your video as short as possible. When
I’m producing a family video, I also like to break it into individual
scenes, each different, which makes the video more interesting
for the viewer. Once I determine the scenes, I use titles to inform
the viewer that scenes are changing, and editing tools like special
effects and background music to differentiate them. Try to distin-
guish each segment visually; I do this in several ways.
For example, I can change the editing style, using longer clips
with smooth transitions in some scenes or shorter clips with flashy
transitions in others. I can also base some scenes on still images
and turn others into music videos.
Remember: It’s not a 20-minute video, it’s six discrete scenes,
each a work of art to be savored by your viewers.
EDITING RULE 2: SPEND THE TIME TO FIX YOUR VIDEOS.
After I’ve trimmed away the nonessentials, my next step is to make
the video look as good as possible. Most consumer programs, Pin-
nacle Studio included, provide filters that can automatically color-
correct your video. Even when the color of my video looks good, I
usually try the filter anyway; sometimes applying the filter makes
the color even better.
If your video is too dark—a very frequent problem—look for a
brightness control to lighten it up. If necessary, then use the con-
trast adjustment to eliminate fading.
Underexposure due to backlighting is another frequent prob-
lem; it occurs when you shoot with a bright light like the sun or a
window behind your subject. Like many other programs, Studio
offers a lighting filter that lets you adjust this. Most programs also
offer image stabilization filters that can work wonders with hand-
held shots, so give this a try as well.
Even the best editor in the world can’t pro-
duce something watchable without good
source video, which has two defining char-
acteristics. The first involves quality, and
most camera owners know of these rules.
Foremost, no one likes watching shaky
video. Since a tripod is a pain to lug around,
consider a monopod; they are about 5
feet tall when fully extended, but collapse
down to an easily portable 18 inches or so,
and they cost under $20. Otherwise, lean
against a wall or tree when shooting, and try
to rest your arms against your chest to maintain a stable image.
Ease up on the zoom controls also—keep it slow and steady.
If you’re shooting indoors, you probably don’t have
enough light for your camcorder. Turn on every light that you
can without totally spoiling the mood, and if your camera has
a sunset or other low-light mode, give it a
try. Don’t worry about “washing out” your
subject—you probably don’t have that
many lights.
The second hallmark of good source
video involves “coverage,” or shooting
the footage you’ll need to support your
later editing. Every time you enter a new
location, shoot the entry sign so you can
clue in your viewer as to where you are,
and a big-picture establishing shot to help
your viewer “get” the scene. From there,
shoot away, remembering to get a good balance of location
and family. In five years you’re going to care more about how
your kids enjoyed Manhattan or Mount Rushmore than you will
about the location itself (and certainly your kids want to see
themselves in the video, not George, Tom, Abe, and Teddy).
LOCATION! There’s no doubt where
we went on this vacation, eh?
SHOOTING TIPS
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 85
Five Easy Steps for Making a Great Home Movie
5
POST AT LEAST ONE SCENE ONLINE.
For years, producing DVDs was the only easy way to
share your videos; now you can share them online,
or carry them with you on your cell phone or iPod.
Like most editors, Studio has presets for devices
like iPods and can directly upload your projects to
Yahoo! Video. If you prefer YouTube, try the iPod
preset, which will generally produce a high-quality
video that won’t take forever to upload. Remember
that most sites won’t let you upload videos longer
than 10 minutes or larger than 100MB. Some editors
like Adobe Premiere Elements even have features
that allow you to upload directly to YouTube.
1
CREATE A MUSIC VIDEO OUT OF THE TOUGH PARTS.
Some video is just plain hard to edit, like random shots
from the beach, or garden scenes from Monticello. Rather
than spending hours trying to shape these scenes into a
watchable video, convert them to a music video.
For example, with Studio’s music feature, you choose
the video scenes and the background music. Studio will
then analyze the video footage, cut the best shots into
short clips that it matches to the beat of the music, and
adds effects.
Our favorite tool for this is muvee Technologies’
autoProducer 6 ($109.95 direct, www.muvee .com), which
gives you many styles and options.
2
CREATE SLIDE SHOWS WITH YOUR DIGITAL IMAGES.
Even if you have a camcorder, you probably have digital
photos of your vacation as well as video. All video editors
let you import photos into the timeline that you can dress
up with pan-and-zoom effects, transitions, and background
music. It’s a great way to present a completely different
picture of your vacation.
3
ADD MUSIC TO THE VIDEO. MUSIC IS YOUR FRIEND.
As MTV learned long ago, great music can enhance
any video. So I use music liberally in my projects. Like
most video editors, Studio lets you add both narration
and background music, which can either supplement or
replace the audio captured with the video. Background
audio can be MP3 files or music ripped from a CD, or
you can use Studio’s new Scorefitter feature to choose
and customize different styles of music.
4
PAIR EFFECTS WITH THE TONE OF THE VIDEO.
Using different types of special effects is a great way to
differentiate scenes in your video, especially when you pair
effect usage with the tone of the action. For example, with
slow, thoughtful scenes, like one reviewing Monticello’s
timeless architecture, I used slow dissolves. In my garden
tour, which I converted to a fast-paced music video, I used
much more noticeable effects, like wipes, pushes, and others.
When we moved between Charlottesville and Monticello, I
used this compass transition to let the viewer know we were
changing scenes. One of Studio’s best features is libraries of
event-specific effects which really add a touch of polish.
SOLUTIONS SOFTWARE
Vista Icons Lose Their Filenames
Q
I have a question for you concern-
ing something odd that’s happened
on my Windows Vista Home Pre-
mium computer. My account is
Administrator type. I have an Administrator
account and a Family account, but as far as I
know, this has happened only in the Admin-
istrator account. I don’t know if someone
used the computer and accidentally changed
a setting somewhere or not, but I’ve never
seen this before, not even in XP. The problem
occurred in my Documents folder (the one
labeled with the account username) and
also in the Control Panel folder: All the icons
are still there, but they don’t have names.
The icon labels are simply gone!
I tried changing the icon size, but same
thing, there are no names for the icons. In the
Details and Tiles views, the names appear as
they should, but in the medium-to-large Icon
views, they are missing.—Quentin Waldner
A
Both Windows Vista and Win-
dows XP have a well-hidden abil-
ity to display thumbnail images
with no labels. This feature is probably
most useful in a folder containing just pic-
tures. When you invoke it by accident, it
can definitely make life difficult.
To display the contents of a folder as
thumbnails with no filenames, simply
hold down a Shift key while switching the
folder from Details view to Thumbnails
view in XP or to one of the several Icons
views in Vista. In my experience, this
action is a bit less responsive in Vista—
you may have to try several times. But
clearly it wouldn’t be hard to invoke this
feature accidentally.
So how do you get back the filenames?
First, make sure the problem folder is
currently set to display in one of the file-
name-free thumbnail views. Now click on
some other folder, hold down a Shift key,
and click back on the folder whose file-
names you want to recover. Here again I
found that in Vista I sometimes had to try
several times. Now that you know how to
turn this feature on and off at will, per-
haps you’ll find it’s actually useful.
Repeat this for the other mapped net-
work drives. Now you’re going to test
using the same command to reestablish
those connections. For a mapped drive
that doesn’t require a password, this syn-
tax should work:
NET USE M: “\sharename” /PERSISTENT:NO
If a password is needed, the command
will look like this:
NET USE M: “\sharename” password /USER:
domain\username /PERSISTENT:NO
The /PERSISTENT:NO at the end of the
command tells Windows that it shouldn’t
try to reestablish the drive mapping at
boot. When you’ve verified you have the
proper commands to establish all your
network mappings, use Notepad to create
a simple text file with all those commands
in it, one per line. Save the file with the
extension .BAT.
Time for one more test! Just as you did
at the beginning, use the NET command
to delete all the drive mappings. Then
launch your .BAT file and verify that it
does indeed reestablish them all. When
you come into the shop in the morning,
you should find that printer warmed up
and ready. Then just launch the batch file
to regain your mappings. And, of course,
you can also make a copy of the batch file,
strip it down to the password-style line,
Drive-Mapping Problems
Q
At my workplace I have several
PCs that are networked and using
Windows file sharing. One of these
PCs needs to boot up in the morn-
ing before our arrival. It is attached to a large
photographic printer, and when it does not
boot up, the printer is not ready in the morn-
ing when we arrive. This PC fails to boot
when it cannot reestablish connections with
its mapped network drives. When we arrive
it displays an error on the screen. Is there a
way to disable errors without disabling the
restoring of network connections? We enjoy
the convenience of the mapped drives and
the printer does not need files from mapped
drives until we arrive anyway.
Also, is there a way to use Windows
sharing to make one PC log in with user
name and password? Perhaps a password
list or something similar? I have one PC on
the network that, owing to the software it
contains (it’s a kiosk), needs to have a user-
name and password. Thank you.—Tracy
Goodemote
A
Both problems should be solvable
using the command-line utility
NET.EXE. Launch a command
prompt and use the NET command to delete
all the current drive mappings. To delete a
mapped network drive that has the letter
M: you’d use this command:
NET USE M: /DELETE
Ask
86 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
ICONS NOT ENOUGH
If you accidentally
invoke the feature that
lets Vista or XP display
thumbnails with no
filenames, the result
can be a seriously
confusing display.
and use it to help other computers con-
nect to the kiosk.
One word of warning: When you cre-
ate a batch file that logs in to a password-
protected system, you’re committing a
grave sin, security-wise. Anybody with
access to the computer could read the
batch file’s text and learn the username
and password required for log-in. But
since you asked to automate the log-in
process, I assume you’ve already consid-
ered this.
Can’t Group Images in Word 2007
Q
I have just purchased a new Dell
computer that runs Windows
Vista Ultimate and Microsoft
Office with Word 2007. I teach
computer classes for a senior citizens group
here. To illustrate the lesson, I often like
to paste in a screenshot captured with the
Print Screen button and add Shapes. Using
Word 2002 I could group the image and the
shapes and move them around as a group.
I have not been able to figure out how to
do this in Word 2007. Only one item can be
selected at a time. It is a real pain to move
each item individually.
I also like to group photos and have not
been able to do this in Word 2007. I can
select more than one photo at a time, but
the Group option is not active. Am I miss-
ing something? Is there some way to group
several items, several photos, and so on? If
there is no way to do this, I sure would like
to find out how to complain to Microsoft.
—Barbara Meek
A
In Microsoft Word 2003 and pre-
vious versions, you could place a
number of graphical elements on
a page and manipulate them in various
ways. For one thing, you could select sev-
eral items, right-click, and choose Group-
ing | Group. That melded the separate
graphical elements into a single whole
that you could move, size, or even rotate
together. You could also adjust which
overlapping images would display on top
of others. But, indeed, with Word 2007 you
can’t even select two graphical elements
at once, so you can’t group them. The
Bring to front and Send to back options are
also unavailable. What gives?
It turns out there’s one very simple
but important difference in the way Word
2007 treats these graphical elements. In
Word 2003, if you just dropped a graphi-
cal element into the document, Word
would automatically create a “drawing
canvas” to hold the object. Word 2007 will
let you insert a graphical object without
the drawing canvas, which may be fine for
a single object. But if you want full power
to manipulate multiple images, you need
to insert the drawing canvas yourself.
It’s easy enough: Click the Insert rib-
bon, click the Shape button, and select
New Drawing Canvas at the very bot-
tom. Now place your pictures and shapes
into the canvas. You’ll be able to move
them freely within the canvas, group or
ungroup them, and so on.
NEED ANSWERS? PC Magazine’s software
expert, Neil J. Rubenking, tackles your
toughest software and Internet problems.
Send questions to askneil@ziffdavis.com.
Legal Notice
If you purchased a Fujitsu Mobile Hard Disk Drive you could be entitled to benefits under a class action settlement.
A settlement of a class action lawsuit affects you if you purchased, in the
United States, a new Fujitsu-branded Mobile hard disk drive (“HDD”) initially
sold in the United States by Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc.
(“FCPA”) for your own use and not for resale, from December 28, 2002 through
April 11, 2008. The settlement will provide for a discount on the purchase of
ny new Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD. a
If you qualify, you may send in a Claim Form to obtain the settlement
benefit. You can also exclude yourself from the settlement, or object. The
Superior Court of the State of California, County of Santa Clara, authorized this
Notice. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the
lement so that the benefits may be paid. sett
WHO’S AFFECTED?
Purchasers of a Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD. You’re a “Class Member” if
you are a United States resident who purchased a new aftermarket Fujitsu-
branded Mobile HDD from December 28, 2002 through April 11, 2008, from an
entity in the United States that regularly sells or sold Mobile HDDs, for your
n use and not for resale. ow
WHAT’S THIS ABOUT?
The lawsuit claimed that FCPA made misrepresentations and/or omissions in
the packaging, advertising, and/or sale of Fujitsu-branded HDDs with respect to
the HDDs’ storage capacity. FCPA denies all allegations and has asserted many
defenses. FCPA is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly
litigation. The settlement is not an admission of wrong-doing or an indication
t any law was violated. tha
WHAT CAN YOU GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT?
FCPA has agreed to provide discounts to Class Members who purchased a
Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD within a defined time period and who send in a
valid Claim Form. Under the settlement, Class Members may choose either a
20% discount on the purchase of any new Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD from
www.buyFCPA.com; or a 15% discount on the purchase of any new Fujitsu-
randed Mobile HDD from any other online seller or retail store of their choice. b
HOW DO YOU GET A PAYMENT?
A detailed Notice and Claim Form package contains everything you need.
Just go to www.MobileHDDSettlement.com to get one. You will be required to
provide the serial number and capacity of the previously-purchased Fujitsu-
branded Mobile HDD, the name and location of the online seller or retail store
from which you previously purchased it, and a proof of purchase, which may
take the form of a receipt or invoice. If you do not have a proof of purchase,
you may still make a claim by submitting all of the other information, including
the serial number, and by signing a declaration under penalty of perjury attesting
t you are the original purchaser, and the amount you paid. tha
IMPORTANT DEADLINES
The Claim Form to receive a discount must be postmarked on or before
eptember 2, 2008 and received no later than 21 days thereafter. S
WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS?
If you fit within the definition of the Settlement Class and you agree with the
settlement, you need do nothing at all to indicate your consent. You will be a
member of the Settlement Class and will be deemed to have agreed to the terms
of the settlement, including the terms of the waiver and release of the claims. If
you don’t want a discount on a future mobile HDD purchase, and you don’t
want to be legally bound by the settlement, you must postmark your request to
exclude yourself by July 7, 2008 or you won’t be able to sue, or continue to sue,
FCPA about the legal claims in this case. If you exclude yourself, you can’t get
a benefit from this settlement. Any requests for exclusion from the settlement
must be sent by mail to Class Counsel, Jordan L. Lurie, Weiss & Lurie,
10940 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 2300, Los Angeles, CA 90024 and Defendants’
counsel, Penelope A. Preovolos, Morrison & Foerster LLP, 425 Market Street,
San Francisco, CA 94105. If you stay in the class, you may object to the
settlement. Objections must be in writing and mailed or hand-delivered to the
Clerk of the Court, Superior Court of California, County of Santa Clara, Old
Courthouse, 191 N. First Street, San Jose CA 95113, must identify the case as
Moisan v. Fujitsu Computer Products of America, Inc., Case No. 1-06-CV-
077316 (Santa Clara Superior Court) and must be received by the Court no later
than July 7, 2008. You must also mail copies of your written objections to the counsel
listed above postmarked no later than July 7, 2008. The detailed Notice describes how
o exclude yourself or object. t
The Court will hold a hearing in this case on August 1, 2008, at 9:00 a.m. in
Department 17C, located at 161 N. First Street, San Jose, CA to consider
whether to approve the settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling no
more than $293,000, and an incentive payment to the named plaintiff of $2,000.
You may appear at the hearing, but you don’t have to. To obtain a full Notice
and Claim Form and more details, go to www.MobileHDDSettlement.com or
by contacting Class Counsel at 1-800-437-7918 or (310) 208-2800 or by calling
oll-free 1-800-207-0343. Questions should not be directed to the Court. t
Dated: April 11, 2008. /s/ Jack Komar
Honorable Jack Komar
Judge of the Superior Court of California
County of Santa Clara
SOLUTIONS HARDWARE
Video Screen Capture
Q
In the Q&A titled “Quadra-Screen”
(go.pcmag.com/quadrascreen),
you said that to pipe a TV signal
to an NTSC monitor, you need a
video capture card to route the TV signal
into the PC and out to a monitor.
I need to do the opposite. I want to cap-
ture what is on my computer screen and
record to VCR, DVD, or hard drive. I cannot
figure this out after spending a lot of time on
the problem. I bought a video card with a
TV-out feature but cannot get it to record on
a VCR.—Gerald Erikson
A
The problem here is trying to cap-
ture what’s going on on-screen
while simultaneously recording it
to hardware via the video output on your
video card. One approach is to use a stan-
dard PC monitor and set your graphics
card for dual-display mode, with the other
“display” being the video recorder. The
problem with this is that your graphics
card may not recognize the recorder.
What you want to do takes a combina-
tion of hardware and software.
On the software side, you need an
application that will capture the screen
activity as it occurs, then write it out to a
video file. I pinged Neil Rubenking (“Ask
Neil”), who suggested either SnagIt or
Camtasia, both from TechSmith (www
.techsmith.com). I’ve also used HyperCam
from Hyperionics (www.hyperionics.com)
with some success.
Once you get the video file created,
you can either burn a DVD using your
PC, record it on an external consumer-
recordable DVD drive, or record out to a
VCR. If you want to burn a DVD on your
system, you’ll need a DVD burner in your
PC, or you can use a USB-connected DVD
burner. A PC DVD recorder should come
bundled with the right software to enable
you to create basic DVDs that can play in
a consumer DVD player. If you’re using
Vista, you can burn the DVD using Vista’s
own Windows DVD Maker utility.
Most video outputs built into graph-
ics cards are ill suited for outputting high-
fusing by the fact that the memory clock
and the I/O clock in memory are different.
For example, DDR2-800 actually runs at
200 MHz, with an I/O clock of 400 MHz.
Each I/O clock cycle can carry two data
items, which is where we get DDR2-800
from. You may see DDR2-800 also referred
to as PC6400—which is the maximum
throughput, in megabytes per second.
You have to separate this idea a bit from
the memory controller. In the case of Intel
CPUs, the memory controller is part of
the motherboard chipset. The CPU com-
municates with the memory controller via
the front-side bus (FSB), and it can run at
very high data rates. Current Intel FSBs
can move four data items per clock cycle.
So when you see an Intel CPU rated as a
1,333-MHz FSB, the actual clock rate is 333
MHz. Sometimes the throughput number
is called the “effective clock speed.”
AMD CPUs, starting with the Athlon
64 and moving forward through the quad-
core Phenom CPUs, are different, since the
memory controller is built into the CPU
die itself—there is no front-side bus. The
memory controller may run at the same
speed as the CPU, but it often runs more
slowly. There’s also a bus clock, which is
how the CPU communicates with the out-
side world. Most current AMD processors
communicate at either 200 or 266 MHz.
Now on to your main question. Ide-
ally, you want a balanced system. In other
words, your CPU shouldn’t have to wait for
memory, and your graphics card shouldn’t
have to wait for the CPU to finish some
task. That’s a tall order. Perhaps the easiest
way to accomplish it is to have the memory
clock match or be an even multiple of the
FSB clock; for example, if you have a sys-
tem that uses DDR3 memory and a CPU
with a 1,333-MHz FSB, match the CPU up
with 1,333-MHz FSB DDR3 memory. In
some cases, a balanced system will actually
outperform a system with faster memory.
quality video to a VCR or a consumer
DVD recorder. If you’re really set on out-
putting the resulting video to a VCR, I’d
suggest investing in an external converter
box that will take a VGA signal from the
graphics card and convert it to NTSC
video. These can range from under $100
to many thousands of dollars. But burning
a DVD on your PC is much easier.
The Right Speed
Q
When building or upgrading a sys-
tem, one is confronted with speed
parameters for various compo-
nents—chipset, memory, FSB,
CPU, and more. How do you use these mea-
surements (or their multiples) in concert for
the best efficiency and compatibility? Also,
why are memory module speeds expressed
as both MHz and PC XXXX? Being aware
that the MHz multiplied by 8 yields the PC
XXXX value, I’m wondering whether this
redundancy is necessary. Is there 333-MHz
memory that is not PC2700, or PC5300
memory that isn’t 667 MHz?—toothmaven
A
Keeping up with all the jargon sur-
rounding PC specifications seems
to get harder and harder every day.
Just as you start to figure out the old specs,
manufacturers throw new ones at you! But
I digress. You’re asking a bunch of ques-
tions. Let me try to tackle them for you.
First of all, memory speeds are sort of
redundant. There is no PC2700 memory
that doesn’t run at 333 MHz. That’s because
the “2700” in PC2700 is the rated maxi-
mum bandwidth that 333-MHz memory
can deliver. And as you point out, multiply
the memory speed by 8 and you’ll get its
bandwidth. That’s a maximum rating, how-
ever; the front-side bus (FSB) in your CPU
dictates the real speed of your RAM.
For a long time, the FSB speed equaled
the RAM speed, but recent innovations
let the FSB pass memory data at a much
faster rate. Memory designers were then
able to squeeze more than one data item
into a clock cycle. So DDR (double-data-
rate) memory can move two data items per
clock cycle. This is made even more con-
Ask
NEED ANSWERS? ExtremeTech.com’s
editor, Loyd Case, tackles readers’ hard-
ware problems in each issue. Send your
toughest to askloyd@ziffdavis.com.
88 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
SOLUTIONS BUSINESS
In my experience, security isn’t foremost
on the mind of most small-business owners
until it is violated. Proactive network secu-
rity measures hardly ever get the atten-
tion and commitment they deserve, yet in
almost every case an ounce of prevention
is worth a pound—or more—of cure. But
prevention isn’t nearly as exciting as fixing
a problem once it happens. I say it’s time to
make prevention sexy again.
Proactive network security should be
the norm rather than the exception, and
to understand why, think about the risks:
What would happen if your network or
PCs went down for hours? Days? The
answer could range from inaccessible files
to near-complete business standstill. But
downtime is peanuts; try assigning a dol-
lar figure to a proprietary business secret
that’s leaked to the competition.
Not everyone can be, or wants to be, a
security expert. Many network security
consultants will conduct an initial vulner-
ability assessment gratis in the hopes that
you’ll hire them to fix the problems they
report. A helpful consultant will work
with you to understand your business and
then provide a prioritized list of recom-
mendations for securing your network and
computers. Each vulnerability should be
listed individually along with an explana-
tion of potential consequences if it’s not
addressed. With this information, you can
make educated decisions about the steps
to be taken to secure your business.
Attack Yourself
A network security audit follows nearly the
same methodology as an attack. First, the
attacker scans the network to determine
IP addressing of networks and hosts. An
attacker would start from the outside and
work his way in by uncovering IP addresses
from DNS queries. You’ve got a head start
because you already know your IP address-
ing scheme; it’s just a matter of conducting
a quick scan (also called a sweep) to deter-
mine which IP addresses are in use.
Second, the attacker probes your
devices and hosts to identify potentially
vulnerable services. You can use bulk
TCP, UDP and ICMP network scans to
determine which network services—for
example HTTP, FTP, SMTP—are running
and may be open to attack. These scans tell
you which services are running on which
machine, as well as how firewalls and
security solutions are configured to allow
traffic. This step typically yields a list of IP
addresses, device names, and open ports.
Here, attackers investigate more deeply
any potential vulnerabilities they have
identified. So if your auditor finds, for
example, a workstation running a Web
server, he might suggest shutting it down
as a precaution. If there is a legitimate use
for the server, you need to research known
vulnerabilities. This can be a time-consum-
ing task; new vulnerabilities are uncovered
and patched almost daily. Fortunately, most
vulnerability assessment solutions these
days automate this process and will provide
links to information and patch downloads.
At this point, an attacker would exploit
any vulnerabilities and directly circum-
vent your security mechanisms. In the case
of an audit, there is no necessary analog.
If steps one, two, and three yield positive
results, you can assume that a determined
attacker could execute a successful attack.
SMB BOOT CAMP
How Secure Is Your Company?
To protect your business, think like a thief. By Matthew D. Sarrel
Vulnerabilities should be patched, or ser-
vices disabled, before an attack can occur.
For the purposes of an audit, go back
and assign a business value and priority to
each vulnerability. This helps sharpen your
focus, and can also help you explain the sig-
nificance of your security tasks to staff.
Tools of the Trade
There are many ways to go through the
audit. I like to use a combination of free
and commercial tools. Most of the free
tools are Linux-only. The best-known free
network scanning tools are Nmap (nmap
.org) and Nessus (www.nessus.org). Of those
two, Nmap is easier to install and use, but
Nessus has better reporting. A good Win-
dows network scanning tool is Found-
stone’s SuperScan (www.foundstone.com).
Commercial tools I like include GFI LAN-
guard (review forthcoming at go.pcmag
.com/languard) and the eEye Digital
Security REM Security Management
Appliance 1505 (go.pcmag.com/eeye1505).
If you’re willing to spend the money, you’ll
get in return more information about each
vulnerability and its remediation—not to
mention more polished interfaces, more
capabilities, and better reporting.
Infographic by David Foster 90 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
PORTS UNDER FIRE
The Internet Storm Center maps TCP port numbers and the frequency with which they
are used in attacks. It also compares daily values to 30-day moving averages to look for
any unusual increases. This shows attacks that are on the rise—useful info for develop-
ing network security defenses. For the latest figures, you can check isc.sans.org/trends
.html; shown below are results from March 24, 2008. The port trends can vary wildly
from week to week, and will highlight ports you may want to close or at least log.
PORT PERCENTAGE INCREASE ASSOCIATED PROTOCOL TYPICALLY USED BY
6081 22.56 None Various
553 21.09 PIRP* None
808 13.67 WinHole WinHole Trojan
3124 13.23 None None
5908 6.75 None VNC Display 8
1910 6.72 Ultrabac Ultrabac backup software
8888 6.67 ddi-tcp-1 NewsEDGE server
5907 6.57 None VNC Display 7
5906 6.43 None VNC Display 6
7510 5.37 ovhpas HP OpenView Application Server
* Public Information Retrieval Protocol
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 91
In the early days of the World Wide Web, pundits and academ-
ics spilled a fair bit of ink about getting lost in cyberspace. Much
less ink was devoted to a topic that continues to haunt most of us:
getting lost in our e-mail inboxes. Forget spam; the frequency of
incoming messages and the ability of our ISPs and hard drives to
store gigabytes of them means that we need some serious tools to
navigate the vast e-mail sea.
Efficiency experts may tell you to follow up on messages within
5 minutes, but some of us live in the real world. We need flags for
reminders and categories to help organize.—Neil Randall
Organize and Follow Up on E-Mail
SOLUTIONS OFFICE
1
FLAGS: SETTING BASIC REMINDERS
On the far right side of each message header in Outlook
2007’s Message pane is a small flag symbol. To help you keep
track of which messages need a follow-up, set their flags. By
default, clicking the flag icon changes the flag color to red
and causes Outlook to place a “Follow up” note just below
the sender’s name and e-mail address in the header.
There are more flag shades—Today, Tomorrow, This Week,
or Next Week; right-click to choose—and options to set. For
a better selection of labels, choose Custom and click the
down arrow to reveal a menu of options ranging from For
Your Information to Reply to All. If you want Outlook to place
a reminder for this follow-up action in the To-Do Bar, check
the Reminder box and choose the date and time.
2
CREATING CATEGORIES
Immediately to the left of the flag icon for each message
header in the Message pane is a (usually) grayed-out box.
This is the Categories box, and you can change its color
to provide a visual clue about the message, the sender, or
something else entirely. Right-clicking the box reveals your
choices, which are a list of colored icons with labels. You can
assign multiple categories to each message, and you can use
categories as simple visual cues or, more helpfully, to sort
your messages according to their categories.
3
CUSTOMIZING CATEGORIES
By default, category labels include such useful but obvious
choices as Crucial, Urgent, Semi-Urgent, and Important
(raising fun questions about the gradations of meaning
among these terms), but unlike the flag labels, category
labels are customizable. Right-click the Category icon and
choose All Categories to get the Color Categories dialog.
Here you can rename the existing categories, reassign
the icon colors to different categories, and create new
categories. If you use a category regularly, you can also
assign it a shortcut key.
4
FINDING WHAT YOU NEED
One of the best reasons to assign flags and categories to
your e-mail messages is that Outlook lets you use them
as search criteria. You can use these in standard searches,
or you can create a Search folder for classes of mail you
need to find regularly. Right-click the Category icon and
choose Create Category Search Folder. Scroll to the bottom
of the resulting dialog box and highlight Categorized Mail,
then press the Choose button beside the Category field to
select which category you want to base your search on.
The context menu for flags contains no such search option,
but the New Search Folder dialog box, available from the
Category icon, does in fact let you perform a search among
flagged messages. Go figure.
Outsmart Calendar Spam
Spam has a tricky new mode of entry. By Larry Seltzer
SOLUTIONS SECURITY WATCH
Think you’ve beat the spammers by dis-
abling previews and never opening a mes-
sage selling v1agrA? Think again: Clever
spammers are now using the calendar
features of Google Calendar and Microsoft
Outlook to assist their efforts.
Generally, the pathology of this method
is: You receive a meeting request with a
spammy subject header, so you delete it
because it’s spam. It’s simple—practically
automatic by now—but wait, the stupid
meeting shows up in your calendar any-
way! The problem is that calendar soft-
ware defaults to reserving the meeting, or
at least blocking out the time for it.
Google has responded by explaining
how to reconfigure the calendar to prevent
this from happening. If you’ve enabled
notifications for “New invitations,” you
can configure your Google Calendar set-
tings to show only events you’ve created
or accepted. Click on Settings at the top
of any Google Calendar page, select the
General tab, and in the Automatically add
invitations to my calendar section, select
No, only show invitations to which I have
responded.
To stop Microsoft Outlook from auto-
matically accepting meeting requests,
Office Online directs: In Outlook, on the
Tools menu, click Options, and then Cal-
endar Options. Under Advanced options,
click Resource Scheduling, then clear the
Automatically accept meeting requests and
process cancellations check box.
Outlook Express users need not worry;
Microsoft’s free mail client still lacks a cal-
endar feature. Yesterday’s annoyance is
today’s security feature!
STAY SAFE! Find the latest tech security
news at PC Magazine’s Security Blog, at
blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch.
92 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
SPAM MEETING Here is a typical 419 message, easy to catch in the inbox, but this one
was automatically saved as a calendar entry.
USE ANTIVIRUS OR YOUR PLANET
WILL DIE!!! The more you use
your computer, the more power
it consumes. Simple enough. A
recent McAfee Avert Labs blog
cites a conference presentation that
claimed the average PC consumes
approximately 76 watts of energy
under normal load, and approxi-
mately 114 watts of energy under
full load (for example, 100 percent
CPU utilization).
Combine this with the fact that
malware increases the load on your
system—indeed, the Storm worm is
infamous for pegging the CPU up
toward 100 percent—and you may
agree with McAfee’s conclusion,
which is that malware is increasing
the energy costs of computing and
therefore magnifying the carbon
footprint of infected users. The
blogger comes up with an off-the-
cuff estimate of 32 megawatts for a
big outbreak.
The moral, McAfee concludes,
is that you should run a good
anti-malware solution. The logic is
reasonable, even if it comes from a
company that sells that very same
software.—LJS
Hacked Trough the Heart
Researchers have demonstrated that implantable defibrillators and pacemakers can be
hacked from the outside, leading to all manner of undesirable outcomes.
It’s not surprising that implantable devices are programmable through a wireless
interface. This capability lets a physician adjust a device’s settings without opening the
patient up. But it’s also not surprising that the wireless interfaces and programming pro-
tocols were not sufficiently hardened against deliberate attack. Such attacks could cause
the device to shock or mistime, but could also deplete the battery.
In addition, the researchers investigated potential defenses against such attacks,
and their report is encouraging (www.secure-medicine.org/icd-study/icd-study.pdf).
They stress repeatedly that these attacks are, so far, only theoretical, and that patients
with such devices should not be concerned at this point.
The authors of this study did the hard research, but the basic approach to body
hacking was suggested by Gadi Evron in a 2007 talk entitled “Hacking the Bionic Man.”
As Evron speculated, devices like pacemakers could be just a foot in the door of our
bodies. By 2040 we may be much more bionic, and we’ll need to know that our elec-
tronic parts are secure.—LJS
94 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
INVITE A GUEST
Ubuntu lets you create unprivileged user accounts, which are
strictly limited in function, similar to Windows’ guest accounts.
The differences between a normal desktop account and an
unprivileged account are shown above, in the User Privileges tab
of the Account Properties dialog. The unprivileged account isn’t
powerless—it can still access the Internet and run any programs
that have been set to unrestricted use. But all other potentially
risky activities, such as accessing external drives, are deactivated.
TOTAL CONTROL
The number of items accessible from the
Administration menu of the default user
account (left) clearly exceeds that of any
other account. The account shown on the
right is a typical “desktop” account, but
the same menu options appear with the
third account type, “unprivileged.”
CREATING ACCOUNTS
Only the default user or another
administrator can create accounts in
Ubuntu. To do so, choose Users and
Groups from the System | Administration
menu. This box displays all the accounts
on the system, including each user’s full
name (as you’ve set it), log-in name, and
home directory. To create a new account,
click Add User and fill in the New user
account screen. If you want, Ubuntu will
generate a very hard-to-crack password
(click Generate random password)—be
sure to write it down somewhere.
To change the specifics of any
account, select that account in the User
Settings dialog and click the Properties
button. Here you can set the password
for the account and assign it privileges.
Note that one of the listed accounts is
in fact the root account (also known as
superuser). If you want to work inside
that account, you may—just give it a
password—but, as with Windows, it’s
always a bad idea to work from the root
account. In non-root accounts, Ubuntu is
configured to stop you from doing things
that will render the system unusable, but
not in the root; and besides, you already
have access to all configuration tools via
your default account.
Like Windows, Linux allows multiple user accounts on the same
installation. Each account limits its user in specific ways—folder
and hardware access, settings control, and so on.
Ubuntu’s installation process asks you to create a user account
for yourself. This account, called the default account, differs from
all other user accounts. Essentially, the default account functions as
a doorway to the administrator account, known as the root account
in Linux. Because the root account has unlimited access to every-
thing on the system, Ubuntu locks it, but allows access to its vari-
ous functions via the default account. Only the default account, for
example, lets you create or change existing user accounts, but to do
so you must provide a password. Ubuntu prompts you for a pass-
word whenever you attempt to access an administrator function,
although strangely enough it requires the password for the default
account, but never for the root account. Other user accounts can’t
get into the administrator functions at all.—Neil Randall
Inside Users and Accounts
SOLUTIONS LINUX
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 95
Tips
hand edge of any of the selected columns
and they’ll all automatically adjust to the
perfect width.—Neil J. Rubenking
CAMERAS
Speed Up Boot-Up
Most digital cameras have some sort of
start-up screen that displays when you
turn on the camera. For quicker boot-ups,
disable the start-up screen. This will also
cut down on the time you’ll have to wait
before you can shoot an image—excruci-
atingly long moments for those of us who
forget to turn on our cameras until we
notice the shot. Although not every cam-
era will allow you to disable the splash
screen—hey, another chance to flash the
company’s logo—most do, and you should
find the option under general settings in
the main menu.—David Gussman
WORD 2007
Mysterious Graphical Handling
Microsoft Word has a handy feature for
manipulating shapes and graphics in
documents. When you’ve placed mul-
tiple graphical elements, you can group
them so they stay together when you
move them and remain the same relative
size when you resize them. But in Word
2007 this feature seems not to work. You
can’t select multiple graphical items, so
there’s no way to group them or deter-
mine which overlapping objects are in
front of which others. What happened?
It turns out that in Word 2007, there’s an
extra step. Before you start adding graphics
you have to define a “canvas” to hold them.
Click the Insert ribbon, click Shapes, and
select New Drawing Canvas at the very bot-
tom. Add your pictures and shapes to the
drawing canvas. Now you can group them,
ungroup them, put one behind another, and
so on—all the actions that you were accus-
tomed to in Word 2003.—NJR
GREAT IDEA! Got a tip to share? Find a cool
new trick in your favorite gadget or app?
Send it to tips@pcmag.com. We’ll run it
through the PC Labs wringer and print our
favorites on this page.
does, but I also made this an –Old value
and re-created it with my own 0xe10
(3600) value.
I’m not sure which of these keys is
the right one (I suspect it’s SpecialPoll
Interval), but with both of them set to
3600, I’m happy.—Steve Nelson, reader
[Editor’s note: Yep, you’re right, it’s
the SpecialPollInterval. According to
Microsoft’s TechNet, UpdateInterval
specif ies the number of clock ticks
between phase-correction adjustments.
What’s that mean? We don’t know.]
EXCEL
Cell Couture
Don’t spend time trying to jimmy the width
of columns in Excel so they’ll fit the wid-
est text. Excel will take care of that task for
you! Position the mouse at the right-hand
edge of the column header. You’ll know
you’ve hit the right spot when the cursor
changes to a left-right arrow. Now double-
click in that exact spot. Presto! The col-
umn is just big enough for its widest text.
You can do multiple columns at once, too.
Select a contiguous group of columns by
clicking one column header and dragging
sideways until they’re all selected. Or select
a mix-and-match group by clicking one col-
umn header and then Ctrl-clicking the rest.
Now double-click the divider at the right-
SOLUTIONS
Useful tidbits from PC Magazine editorial staff, Labs analysts, and readers
CONNECTIVITY
I’m in London, I’m in France
If you need to use a dial-up modem
abroad, you’ll have to disable Windows’
dial-tone detection to cope with the weird
foreign dial tones. If you’re using XP, go
into Control Panel, then Phone and Modem
Properties, and the Modems tab. Select
your modem, and click Properties. Click
the Modems tab on the new window and
uncheck the box Wait for dial tone before
dialing.—Sascha Segan

MEDIA CENTER
Worse than the Blinking 12:00
I’ve used Windows Media Center Edition
for a couple of years now, and one of my pet
peeves was that the clock on the PC wasn’t
accurate enough to be trusted to start
recording a show at the actual start—I’d
have to start recording early to make sure
I caught the beginning. For a while I used
Dimension 4 for XP, which I set to pick up
the time server and update time to once an
hour (instead of the default once a week).
Then I upgraded to Vista. Vista and Dimen-
sion 4 didn’t get along. Now, in a week my
clock would slip by 10 to 15 seconds—not a
lot, but I don’t want to miss the first 15 sec-
onds of a show.
I looked for a freeware or shareware
clock-setting utility; no luck, so I tried
the system Registry. Under <HKEY_LOCAL_
MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\
W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient I found
the key SpecialPollInterval. The default
setting was 0x93a80 or 604800. This is the
number of seconds in a week; I’d found the
setting! I renamed that key to SpecialPoll-
Interval–Old (in case I had to get it back)
and recreated it with a value of 0xe10 or
3600 seconds (if you don’t speak hexadeci-
mal, move the radio button to Decimal and
then enter the value in seconds). Now, my
clock updates itself once an hour, and I’m
back to my normal recordings.
There’s another Registry setting,
called UpdateInterval, under HKEY_LOCAL_
MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\
W32Time\Confi g, with a value of 0x57e40 or
360000. I’m not exactly sure what this one
HELP YOUR MODEM COPE Switch off
tone recognition so your modem doesn’t
wait for that familiar American drone.
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98 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 99
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 101
Hard Drive Cloning
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102 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 103
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104 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 105
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 107
www.bitdefender.com 800.388.8062 Ext. 244
Imagine securing your IT infrastructure, managing your security…
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JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 109
110 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008
ARF NEEDS YOU! If your entry is used, we’ll send you a PC Magazine T-shirt. Submit your entries via e-mail to arf@ziffdavis.com. Ziff Davis Media Inc. shall own
all property rights in the entries. This month’s winners: Nicholas Dunn, H. S. Overman, Bruce Shellenbaum, Rob Verderame, Dave Wells.
Not sure if
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Why June Will Be the Greatest Month Ever
Red Bull Cola
You might ask, “Dan, how can I keep up with all of June’s awesome-
ness?” Like any good gamer, you’ll need high doses of stimulants.
Luckily Red Bull is launching a new drink this month. Red Bull
Cola is an all-natural beverage that has 45 milligrams of caffeine per
12-ounce can—much more than Coke or Pepsi. It’s good to see the
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Guitar Hero: Aerosmith
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the game’s music is actually a 60/40 split of the band’s hits and
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of a million 12-sided dice rolling at once. Minions of the hooded
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Some may call this month June. We prefer to call it by a new name:
Dorkageddon. June will go down as one of the greatest months in the
history of basement-dwelling Wii-ogres, as three unrelated releases
rock our insular universes. Yes, my fellow pioneers of the Great
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8 Home Edition 52 The Best Stuff JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 5 Store It. . not enough of us keep our data backed up. see. Wristphone illustration courtesy of Nokia.3.5 Beta 1 Adobe Photoshop Express (Beta) Aperture 2. 44 Software Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Firefox 3 Beta 5 Opera 9.PContents  VOL.3 avast! antivirus 4. Come along for a look at the material that may someday revolutionize microprocessors—and at what your laptop. 8 JULY 2008 FIRST LOOKS 25 Hardware HP 2133 Mini-Note PC Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 COVE R S TO RY Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500 30 Business Dell Vostro 1310 HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer Canon Pixma MX850 Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD) Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 37 Consumer Electronics Westinghouse TX-52F480S Canon PowerShot SD790 IS Olympus E-3 Garmin nüvi 880 Mio Moov 200 Razer Mako Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F BUYING GUIDE Seven Technologies That Will Touch Your Life 58 The future will be a feast for the senses.1 Cloudmark Desktop 5. We visited leading research labs to investigate new technologies poised to enhance our ability to touch. We show you the best devices for protecting your data and the top apps and services for automatic backup. Illustration (bottom) by David Plunkert. and even smell. Cover: Type by Joe Zeff Design. 27 NO. hear. phone. Illustrations by Mondolithic Studios. Inc. Keep It 71 Storage is incredibly cheap. Still. and digital camera could look like in 2020.

ISSN 0888-8507. 28 East 28th Street. New York NY 10016-7940. ON L4B 4R6.97 for one year. as always.PCONTENTS 14 FEEDBACK Letters from our readers.pcmag. Dvorak Why boxed software still beats apps in the cloud. Want to save the world while you’re geeking out? Then GoodCleanTech is the blog for you.S.com/techclutter • Hands-On with Windows XP SP3 go. Join us as we scour the Web looking for any tools that can boost your productivity—or quirky sites to kill some downtime.pcmag. The Canadian GST registration number is 865286033. 21 Q&A John Sosoka.com/summertech and. 54 John C. embarking on a road trip.. And check out our What’s New Now video show at The ifrogz Audiowrapz iPod speaker case. Printed in the U. Ziff Davis Media Inc.com/futurecars Find the perfect gadgets for all your summer activities. 40009221.com. GCT has energysaving tips. Richmond Hill.whatsnewnow. 6 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . Boulder CO 80328-4070. • The 10 Coolest Futuristic Vehicles go. is published monthly at $24. This Month on PCMag.com/ networking101 • 11 Critical Security Apps go. Dvorak 56 Sascha Segan Do away with annoying proprietary apps. Periodicals postage paid at New York NY 10016-7940 and at additional mailing offices. or just grilling in the back yard.com blog.com/ windowsxpsp3 www.pcmag. eco-friendly tech products. Return undeliverable Canadian addresses to PO Box 503. 110 BACKSPACE SOLUTIONS 81 Wi-Fi Home Improvements Keep your network running at peak performance—and choose who reaps the benefits.com/vistafailure Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff offers his unique perspective on tech in his What’s New Now newsletter.A. RPO West Beaver Creek.pcmag . whether you’re hanging out on the beach.com RECENT BUZZ Most Popular Stories • Dvorak: Vista’s 11 Pillars of Failure go. • Home Networking 101 go. PO Box 54070.com/productguides. in our complete Product Guides at go. Canada.pcmag. adding realism to avatars. POSTMASTER: Address changes to PC Magazine.pcmag. 87 Ask Neil 88 Ask Loyd 90 Business 92 Security 94 Linux 95 Tech Tips FRONT SIDE 19 News The promise (and reality) of cloud computing. 55 Inside Track: John C. 21 At a Glance Disney brings a movie robot to life. Most E-Mailed Stories Get tips on the hottest software. and news updates at www. OPINIONS 9 First Word: Lance Ulanoff Microsoft fumes over Vista upgrades.com. • 12 Tech Tools to Clear Your Clutter go. the fourth circuit element becomes a reality. and Web sites in our AppScout. Publications Mail Agreement No. We’ve got the right tech accessories in our Top Ten Summer Tech Toys story at go. utilities.pcmag. 22 Connected Traveler Using your iPod as a travel agent. co-creator of the Pleo dinosaur. 84 Project Shoot and edit better video.goodcleantech.com/ topsecuritytools PC Magazine.pcmag.

Prices shown are subject to change and do not include applicable state and local taxes or shipping to recipient’s address. only.000.com/go/dependable4 *Based on IDC. February 2008. folks can’t be wrong. There is a certain amount of confidence that comes with the HP ProLiant DL385 G5 Server.T. SmartStart Get More: 24x7. AMD. Other rates apply for other terms and transaction sizes. Prices shown are HP Direct prices. © 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company. IDC reported worldwide HP ProLiant server shipments at 681.445 units. Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.580 million for Dell’s PowerEdge family. featuring efficient Quad-Core AMD Opteron™ processors. high-performance SAS or low-cost SATA hard drives • Redundant Power • Integrated Lights-Out (iL02). 2008. 1. well ahead of Dell PowerEdge’s 499. HPFS reserves the right to change or cancel these programs at any time without notice. Inc. AMD Opteron.715 units at #2.P.A LT ERN AT I V E T H I N K I N G A BO U T AS SU R A N C E : Nobody ever got fired for buying a dependable server. All featured offers available in U.743 million vs. . Savings based on HP published list price of configure-to-order equivalent ($3945 . down. reseller and retail prices may vary. 4 hour response.$1420 instant savings = SmartBuy price of $2.T. One Button Disaster Recovery. call 1-888-685-9647 or visit hp.000 and $25.000 I.000. Offers cannot be combined with any other offer or discount and are good while supplies last.S. Technology for better business outcomes. Not just because it is the best-selling server of its kind. Rates based on an original transaction size between $3. a 1U Rackmount Kit. Prices shown are based on a lease of 48 months in terms with a fair market value purchase option at the end of the term.S.525). Financing available on transactions greater than $349 through July 31. 3 years (PN: UE894E) $689 Add 2 GB additional memory (PN: 408851-S21) $185 HP StorageWorks Ultrium 448 Tape Drive SAS Bundle $1649 Lease for as low as $41/mo1 for 48 months (PN: AG739A) • 400 GB compressed capacity in half-height form factor • Ships with Data Protector Express Software. Financing available through Hewlett-Packard Financial Services Company (HPFS) to qualified commercial customers in the U.* But with time-tested features like Pre-Failure Notification and Remote Access Management. L. HP ProLiant DL385 G5 $2525 (Save $1420) Lease for as low as $63/mo1 for 48 months (PN: 464211-005) • 2 Quad-Core AMD OpteronTM processors • Supports small form factor. and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. the AMD Arrow logo. IDC also reported ProLiant factory revenue at $2. In calendar 4Q07. To learn more. Systems Insight Manager. and a Host Bus Adapter 10. and subject to credit approval and execution of standard HPFS documentation. $1. it unfailingly delivers on the promise of never letting I. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.

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Apparently some people are easily confused. Do you think Mr. But—here’s Ligman’s point—that’s illegal. For more of his columns. beyond vague references to a tech publication that he believes is still giving out erroneous upgrade information. replicas of the standard version of the software. Apparently. some of Ligman’s own readers took exception to his tone and began arguing about how he should stop “whining” about licenses and piracy and figure out how to “fix Vista. The confusion: Most upgrades are. huh? It’s not mine. presumably. What’s the problem? Well. Here’s a direct quote from the post. . right? So what’s everyone so steamed about? Why did Ligman feel the need to unload on his readers? Here’s another tidbit of Ligman’s venom: “. already have purchased a license for the full-blown product.’” Ouch. If you don’t have anything installed (or are gamely trying to “upgrade” from Windows 98).” Early last year a number of sites and blogs reported that Microsoft at first tried to close this loophole and then. Hopefully Microsoft gets that right.” Great line. Clearly. Instead of sounding as if the company was giving anyabout price. an upgrade is usually targeted to customers who. It’s often said that stress makes us do bad things: eat too much. Windows Vista upgrade packs are roughly half the price of full-blown versions. Meh. Let me know how that turns out for you. . he’d had enough of people trying to convince Microsoft customers that installing an upgrade of Vista is just as good as installing the full version of it. Little information was available on how end users could take advantage of the loophole. so this isn’t much more than a slower. hoping people will think I have a clue.” Ligman has gone on to defend his note and to insist that his intention was not to be condescending to his readers or Microsoft’s customers. telling them to use the upgrade “loophole. that buying an upgrade by itself (Windows Vista Upgrade. a Microsoft’s spokesperson said these people were “violating the terms of use. lose sleep. If you have a license and use the upgrade. try calling 888-NO-PIRACY and letting them know that you are running pirated software throughout your company.com/ulanoff. and sometimes take out our anger and frustration on those closest to us. unnamed third party who is leading customers down the garden path. Ligman needs a hug? TALK TO THE CHIEF You can contact Lance at Lance_Ulanoff@ziffdavis. shelling out $209 each for 50 licenses is daunting. Or he could be talking directly to people who misinterpret “upgrade” as “new and improved. They can’t seem to get current customers to upgrade to Microsoft’s latest OS. legal to do so because you got it to physically install. . The responses to Ligman’s blog posts make it clear that Microsoft’s partners are dealing with a wave of rejection. But here’s a better question: What’s setting off Microsoft partners? What sort of feedback are their customers giving them that’s forcing them to suggest this illegal activity? Could it be that customers think Vista is still too expensive? In tough economic times. anyway. though. just realize that what the person is actually stating is. I’ll be waiting for Windows 7.” That’s scary and quite clear. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 9 . Microsoft’s main liaison between Microsoft Partners (value-added resellers for the small business set) and Microsoft at large. something set him off.FIRST WORD LANCE ULANOFF Are You Stealing Vista? “An upgrade is an upgrade. or writing. Small businesses can save quite a bit if they use the loophole. though he never points to one specific incident.com. in effect. even though I obviously don’t. ‘I clearly have no clue what I am talking about and so I am writing a bunch of gibberish that proves this. blog post. shelling out $209 each for 50 licenses is daunting. I didn’t know art could be so sarcastic. though I’m guessing integrators have no trouble showing their customers the way. and some of them do not have much faith in Vista. you have a problem.pcmag . . or article. And the only comments from Microsoft were terse statements. so it must be legal and ask if they would mind auditing your company to verify the legality of this. go to go. He was targeting some other. It’s not all Could it be that customers think Vista is still too expensive? In tough economic times. I guess he could be talking about any number of tech sites or blogs. Explain to them that you feel it is one a free pass. let it go. This is actually the start of a slightly overheated blog post by Eric Ligman.” This is from someone who’s supposed to be out in the field representing Microsoft’s products. He even added a graphic to illustrate his point.” Ligman’s post is dripping with sarcasm. Not surprisingly. so you get the full flavor of his attitude: “So if you see anyone stating. This is obvious. Here’s one of the blog comments: “I think the real issue is why bother installing Vista at all? What does it give me over XP? You stripped most of the features out that we were looking forward to before RTM. for instance) without having a full license first gets you the rights to run the software. you’re fine. .” The obvious attraction here is the cost savings. apparently. either. prettier XP.

Dragan. networking). Sarah Pike (Solutions). Boulder. Tim Gideon. as it contains information that will expedite processing). For a list of upcoming stories.pcmag.com/whocoverswhat.pcmag. Nicole Price Fasig PRODUCTION ARTISTS Veronica de Leon. Matthew D. Gary Berline (software. McLaughlin (reviews). funds only. $10 each elsewhere. VIDEO AND DIGITAL EVENTS ASSOCIATE PRODUCERS Sebastian Rupley PRODUCER Veanne Cao Scott Asnault. PC Magazine reviews are of products and services that are currently available. EDITOR-IN-CHIEF EDITOR Lance Ulanoff www. 28 E. Jacobson DIRECTOR OF ONLINE CONTENT. EXECUTIVE PRODUCER EXECUTIVE EDITORS ART DIRECTOR Dan Costa (reviews). New York.S.® e-file under e-fficient. Rubenking. The West Coast Operations number is 415-547-8000. Edward Mendelson. Sascha Segan.S.S. Please include copies of your correspondence with the vendor. Brian Heater (blogs). and elsewhere. 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All other trademarks and brand names are the property of the respective owners. No more worrying about when I can schedule defragmentation. Since the Diskeeper install. Transparent Defrag Runs Unnoticed “The server automatically defragments only when there are idle resources. Saves Money and Time “Prior to installing Diskeeper. and the Diskeeper Corporation logo are either registered trademarks or trademarks owned by Diskeeper Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. etc.diskeeper. backing up.TMP files. pectation to never see this error again!” Restore reliability. It wreaks havoc on hard disks. 35% performance improved by 300%. Eliminate Costly Hardware Upgrades “We researched this error and found that it is usually caused “We were looking at having to replace or upgrade some of the by badly fragmented hard drives. Diskeeper’s benefits have proven time and time again to be a vital part of system administration. for a week. Diskeeper 2008 eliminates fragmentation— automatically. Defends Critical System Files from Fragmentation “I have been using Diskeeper at my office on the 63 workstations and 4 servers over the last year. A disk intensive process to a halt.fragmented. indexing and searching the files. In the past most of my MFTs needed adjustment. All Rights Reserved. Pushes System Defends Critical System Files from Fragmentation Performance to Its Peak 61% “We had one machine that had a failing drive in a RAID 5 array Speed Up Virus Scans and Boot Ups and when we replaced that drive. We downloaded a trial version at the upgrades and replacements. Speed Up Virus Scans and Boot Ups “Diskeeper saves time in doing virus scans. We were receiving hun. we were not totally convinced that this they are performing well enough that we are no longer looking should be causing the problem. This is what they had to say: The 8 Essential Benefits that Diskeeper Provides ® this function is automatic.” of Diskeeper and after running it.” spyware software. InvisiTasking.” 6. It’s the real-time solution to your performance and reliability problems. © 2008 Diskeeper Corporation.diskeeper. extension 4051. It’s a no-brainer for production machines. the server came up.5 hours is now taking 15 minutes. But after Diskeeper finished defragging the sysdreds of messages per day in the log like this one: SQL Server tem. There are also faster download times for users because of the lower load on the defragmented RAID. all of these errors disappeared! We have purchased 5 copies of Diskeeper and we are Diskeeper is essential for maximum speed and reliability on installing them on all of our production databases with the ex. Accelerate your systems’ performance. InvisiTasking™ has worked great for us on everything from file and print servers to SQL servers. While our drives are part of servers because they were so slow. 7.com . Diskeeper. deleted numerous . Diskeeper Corporation www. again it improved over “One day our SQL Server came 300%. We asked 254 of our customers what were the essential benefits of using Diskeeper. Diskeeper is absolutely indispensable. It speeds up boot times. a large SAN solution. ran Windows® update. Reliability Restored and ran Diskeeper. Then I installed 2. But nothing got the server to run. makes applications launch faster and improves the efficiency of backups and anti-virus scans. I don’t have to manually check it.com/pcmspeed (Note: Special 45-day trialware is only available at the above link) Volume licensing and Government/Education discounts are available by calling 800-829-6468. Installing Diskeeper basically paid for itself within a month by reducing off-hour salaries. hangs and complete system failures. Some of the drives would take hours to defrag and within a few days we would need to defrag again. Now that SPECIAL OFFER Try it FREE for 45 days! Download a free trial at www. Maximizing System Performance and Reliability—Automatically. The addition of Frag Shield™ 2.networked systems. Extreme Condition And then when I ran Diskeeper Defragmentation Thanks to all our customers who participated.” As chosen by 254 Diskeeper Customers Transparent Defrag Runs Unnoticed 78% Reliability Restored 77% Pushes System Performance to Its Peak 71% Saves Money and Time 71% Eliminate Costly Hardware Upgrades 71% Extreme Condition Defragmentation 62% 1. I did everything: ran that was taking 1. causing crashes.” 4. we were manually defragmenting.” 5.Advertisement Speed up Your Systems in Real Time The 8 Essential Benefits of Automatic Defragmentation F ragmentation is unavoidable.” has encountered 21 occurrence(s) of I/O requests taking longer than 15 seconds to complete on file [E:\mssql\data\…] 8. Also the defragmented drives perform better and last longer. Try Diskeeper 2008 for free now! 3. I found that the hard drive was horribly “We use Microsoft® SQL Server®.0 eliminates the task of manually changing the MFT. no more worrying about if the defragmentation will cause performance issues.

Compare this with the two days a hacker had to spend (with help) to compromise Vista. megabytes—of hard drive space.M. and we’re constantly looking for readers to give us their feedback as PC Mag evolves. It takes about 4 minutes to boot Windows XP Home on my system. Apple OS X. Senior Editor Give Microsoft Its Due As a frequent reader of PC Magazine. which takes up about 10MB—yes.” We’re still reading that many applications are broken and performance issues continue to plague the OS. The software assigned 6GB of hard drive space to the C: directory.5-inch floppy disks! Boot times are amazing because the operating system is so compact. Have none of you checked out SP1? I’ve used it to patch both my machines. there are times when Redmond deserves criticism. Besides getting the book back on message.—Frederick Altland Of course there are times when Redmond deserves criticism. and Linux. the Boston Globe ran a piece that made a useful distinction between what seems green and what is actually green. I think this is really not fair. he has cleaned out the worst graphics excesses. and innovations in green technology at our blog GoodCleanTech. it’s more in keeping with the reality of the industry. Service Pack 1 has been a big success. which means they couldn’t attack the OS head-on. but you are saving a bundle on production and mailing costs. When sending e-mail to Feedback. I guess. which contain only the software they need to play and store those music and data files. The entire OS fit onto five 880KB low-density 3. It’s still a decent deal. the greatest operating system ever created was AmigaOS. As for your comment on scrutinizing the electronics industry. In my opinion.com.FeedBack Vista Could Learn from Amiga Why does PC Magazine think Windows is so great? I feel other operating systems would do a lot better if Microsoft and Bill Gates didn’t have a monopoly on the entire world. I was trying to find the right one. Good Timing. best of good fortune from here on. we have our “antispin” glasses on at all times. And they could compromise SP1 only through tricks in VMware and Java. which run Windows Vista Ultimate Edition and have been running it since July 2007. Our new green benchmarks are another tool we use to evaluate whether a product is truly green. I also agree HOW TO CONTACT US We welcome your comments and suggestions. Sascha I was looking for a good T-Mobile phone to upgrade to when I came across the April issue and read Sascha Segan’s great review of the Motorola RAZR2 V8 (First Looks. —J. not everything in SP1 is flawless. We’re glad you like the changes we’ve made to the magazine. Graetz Thanks for writing. But when it comes to Windows. and yet we’re still getting the same old “Vista doesn’t work. Just think how fast a Core Duo PC would go if it ran an OS like Amiga’s! Two months ago. E-mail pcmag@ziffdavis. so it would have been nice to see that reflected in the sub. Microsoft has been making some improvements. All letters become the property of PC Magazine and are subject to editing. Otherwise. restored John Dvorak to his rightful place in prime time. Seems to me electronics can do with the same scrutiny. John Dvorak is one of them. with the decision to go monthly. That said. the subscription has remained the same (an effective price increase of around 80 percent). and I’ve noticed this tendency in others. a so-called biodegradable bottle for designer water versus just getting your water from the tap. You guys were dead-on about the EULA agreement needing a major overhaul. and a company’s takeback and/or recycling program to measure its commitment to responsible stewardship. The “green” issue was a good example of engaging current concerns.—Jose Gomez Some Observations on PC Mag’s Revamp Lance Ulanoff has done a number of good things since becoming editor of PC Magazine (not the least of which is rescuing it from becoming Just-about-anything-thathas-a-microprocessor-in-it Magazine). and improved the back-of-the-book sections. page 30). materials used. Of course. For example. I notice that despite reducing output from 22 to 12 issues. please state in the subject line of your message which article or column prompted your response. Among other factors. but you might include a harder look at what a given product actually does in that regard. If you look at recent events. Also. a MacBook Air was successfully hacked by a zero-day exploit in Safari. Granted. Microsoft has been holding up well under scrutiny. I couldn’t believe you actually needed a DVD drive to install the operating system. We regret that we cannot answer letters individually. But the overall picture has been very positive. news.—Benjamin Winn 14 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . The AmigaOS has a number of file types that can go only in certain places. I’ve noticed that some of your columnists have a bias against Microsoft. I just about fell over when I read the system requirements for installing Vista. I think you need to look more closely and sing the positives as much as the negatives. At the CanSecWest security conference.—Erik Rhey. besides reducing clutter. it evaluates energy usage. But when it comes to Windows. I think you need to look more closely and sing the positives as much as the negatives. I now get messages telling me that I am almost out of virtual memory. we regularly monitor and report developments. Our testing is put in place to ensure companies deliver the products and performance they promise. and the V8 fills the bill. In its Sunday magazine recently. you are biased. I purchased a new hard drive for my Sony VAIO and installed the software that shipped with the computer. You can compare this to MP3 players. com. But I still have 500MB of hard drive space! This would be plenty for the AmigaOS. I hate that Windows has so many directories that files easily get lost. I really wish you would find some columnists who could present a more honest view of Microsoft.

” But what good is a lightweight laptop if it doesn’t do what you want? That’s why the featherlight Portégé® R500 is the world’s first laptop with a 7mm DVD SuperMulti drive. All rights reserved. system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice. there are companies out there yelling “thin this” and “portable that. configurations. Sure. For the most up-to-date product information about your computer.. Inc. Plus its transreflective screen uses natural light to help you see better outdoors. ©2008 Toshiba America Information Systems.Toshiba recommends Windows Vista® Business innovation is thin with an optical drive.com/PCMag. Windows Vista is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. The laptop expert cut down on size. Discover all of the innovative world’s firsts inside the Portégé R500 at Explore. Portégé is a registered trademark of Toshiba America Information Systems. visit Toshiba’s Web site at pcsupport. and/or Toshiba Corporation. not features. While Toshiba has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein.toshiba. .Toshiba.com. So you can still watch movies. play music and prepare for presentations. product specifications. or to stay current with the various computer software or hardware options. Inc. prices.

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or pesky local client programs. Some envision it as a way to compute without operating systems.FrontSide What’s New from the World of Tech Living in the Cloud Everyone’s talking about cloud computing.” says John Willis. a noted cloud-computing expert and blog- ger. who’s competing for it. via the Internet (or “the cloud”). third-party data center. “The most important single characteristic of a cloud is abstraction of the hardware from the service. Yet everyone from Gartner Group to Google has a slightly different take on cloud computing: It can be anything from storing and sharing documents on Google Docs to running your entire company Illustration by QuickHoney operations using a remote. or at least possibly replace Microsoft Outlook. The cloud concept is simple: It’s a way to access your data and apps from anywhere. explaining that the location of the servers is not as important as easy access to the data. But what is it. and what will it mean for everyday users? Cloud computing is set to take over the world. and with minimal hardware needs (just a basic client machine).” The particular type of cloud computing that the business world could take advantage of requires massive server cluster farms and superfast network JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 19 . “However you define it. I think cloud technology will have a footprint in every business that does IT within the next five years.

still cache a tremendous amount of data locally to speed up operations. has acquired—an exciting prospect.” Williams said in a statement released by HP. The technology breakthrough is based on a concept developed in the 1970s by Leon Chua.” According to HP Labs team leader R. which the team dubbed a “memristor. A processor with memristor technology could have a hand in jump-starting the trend of “cloud computing” (see “Living in the Cloud. A memristor processor could greatly improve the ability of servers to perform cloud-computing functions because they would require no “reboots” to pick up where users left off at their previous computing session. eral manager at Google. Depending on the SaaS provider. “Google is investing enormous amounts of capital and sweat equity to ensure that we can protect your data better than you can do yourself. a researcher at the University of California at Berkeley. The wires in this image are 50 nm wide. some of its apps. and one that has significant implications for the future of computer science. a VP and gen- Security is one critical issue that cloud-computing providers must address. with varying degrees of success. Add to that the privacy. remembering your settings and exact place even when you power off. and political hurdles yet to address. and protect user data. but researchers have finally unlocked a key mystery in processor technology. which is a big leap of faith. To make cloud computing a reality requires Web servers with significantly increased processing power and storage capacity to retain.FRONTSIDE bandwidth. for example. Usage patterns will change. he says.—Erik Rhey Image Courtesy of HP Labs . and since services are Web-based. even though Google is battling to dominate the cloud.” page 19).net (which supplies online file storage) have established themselves as SaaS (software as a service) providers. This circuit could act as the ultimate virtual bookmark. HP Labs’ Information and Quantum Systems Lab team published an article in the journal Nature that presented a mathematical model and physical example of its version of a memory resistor. because end users will be entrusting their data to an outside entity. the memristor will be able to retain a complete history of the information it 20 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 A NEW PLATEAU An atomic force microscope image shows a simple circuit with 17 memristors lined up in a row. data can be encrypted from point to point. which has so far existed only in theory.—John Brandon Computing’s Fourth Dimension HP researchers find the missing link of processor technology. network bandwidth. Google. “To find something new and yet so fundamental in the mature field of electrical engineering is a big surprise. He says that the framework is in an early phase of development—it’s almost experimental. computer scientists at HP Labs found a fourth fundamental circuit element.” he says. But SaaS is primarily a race between Google and Microsoft to provide advertiser-supported cloud applications to customers. and users will look primarily to the cloud for most of the things they turn to their PCs for today. Until now. Security is one critical issue that both companies must address. Currently. says that the company is working to allay the fears that make trust difficult to achieve. computers use DRAM (dynamic random access memory) to recompile settings when you boot up. It has taken 40 years.” Yet others aren’t as optimistic about cloud computing.” Chua’s theory was published in an academic paper and ever since has been a lofty-yet-elusive goal for computer science engineers. It also requires that companies be ready to hand over their data to a third party. or about 150 atoms in total width. among them Zoho. “Cloud computing will be additive. and inductor—there could be a fourth type called a “memory resistor.com (which offers business apps. Chua reasoned that along with the three existing circuit elements—resistor. A few small companies. rather than a reliable and trusted computing paradigm. Forrester Research analyst Frank Gillett cautions that it’s not quite ready for prime time. capacitor. Stanley Williams. can respond to a new security threat without customers even being aware of the problem—or the fix. Dave Girouard. But end users essentially would have to entrust their data to an outside entity. they’re very easy to patch. In late April. and it looks as if cloud computing will have to drop down to earth a bit more before it can enjoy widespread adoption by both consumers and businesses. Ironically. such as Google Earth. deliver. such as word processing and task lists) and Box.

Q: How did you get involved with creating the Pleo robot dinosaur? A : My friend and Ugobe cofounder. He’ll have ten motors for lots of movement possibilities. so you’ll be speaking faster and more naturally. Thinkway Toys. a remote control.10 305. the world’s leading languagelearning software. It’s really fun seeing people write scripts so Pleo is an announcer for people coming in the door. Discover Rosetta Stone The Fastest Way to Learn a Language. taking what we have learned and making the next life form that will be more capable of fulfilling the dream we have of these creations being much closer to a lifelike companion. the way you learned your first language… for a faster. Q: What are some of the new projects you are working on? A: We are working to add capabilities to the firmware so people can have the tools they need to develop new programs. CTO of Ugobe. The first to appear is WALL-E. Offer expires October 31. ™ Q & A : J O H N SOSO KO Making the Pleo Dinosaur John Sosoko. 2008. but as soon as you pulled it out people would say “Where is the remote control?” We had to show what it would be like to have a little pet that could wander around on its own. Discount offer not to be combined with other offers. The answer may be “as toys.99 list) will hit store shelves this summer. and sensors that’ll allow him to respond to his environment in numerous ways. Another thing is Pleo as a watchdog. ™ Guaranteed. Only Rosetta Stone uses Dynamic Immersion® to teach you a language quickly and efficiently. easier way to learn. for faster and more effective fluency. and then all of the sudden they would all howl in unison.—John Brandon Discover a whole new world with Rosetta ® Stone.—Carol Mangis SAVE 10% Level 1 Level 1 & 2 Level 1. The Pleo had to be autonomous and be able to do all these wonderful things. without tedious translation and grammar drills. . Q: How have people who have purchased the Pleo customized it so far? One thing that is interesting to me is how much they use this as a character to do things in the physical world. which happened internally. star of Disney-Pixar’s upcoming movie of the same name. for programming myriad movements and behaviors.The fastest way to learn a language. but they are organizing like the raptors in Jurassic Park. and I was helping him more and more. T h e A I h a d become more complicated. Adaptive Software which tracks your progress and then customizes every lesson based on your individual needs. Patent rights pending. I joined the company because it was taking up all my time anyway! This job is sort of academic crack! Q: What was it like in the early days developing the robot? A: It’s a typical start-up thing—working away trying to get a design you can manufacture.com/pcs078 Use promotional code pcs078 when ordering. You’ll experience our Dynamic Immersion as you match real-world images to words spoken by native speakers. Q: Have they done anything that is really unusual with Pleo? A: One area we’re seeing people develop is emergent “swarmish” behavior. such as a little application where one Pleo would decide he would start honking in one minute and through IR sends it off to another Pleo. There is no translation or memorization. and WowWee. was working on how to do emotive motion very quickly and exploring human-machine i n t e ra c t i o n . The Ultimate WALL-E robot ($189.” Disney Consumer Products is rolling out a new line of robotic toys in partnership with Pixar Animation Studios. It’s the simplest little app. yet creating enough of a story to keep the investments we needed coming in. Instead. people have been speculating about when and how robots would finally enter into mainstream lives.10 $ 449. Guaranteed. you become quickly engaged. Voice Recognition Technology evaluates your speech and coaches you to more accurate pronunciation.2&3 $209 $339 $499 NOW NOW NOW $ $ 188. talks about the creation and future of the high-tech reptile. and subject to change without notice. We are also working on new products. Caleb Chung.10 ©2008 Rosetta Stone Ltd. They will set up Pleo in a marriage ceremony using tools to script things out. 100% GUARANTEED SIX-MONTH MONEY- G E A R LO G Disney’s New Robot For a while. Six-Month Money-Back offer is limited to purchases made directly from Rosetta Stone and does not include return shipping. Call (866) 292-6034 Online RosettaStone. All rights reserved.

Advanced motion-capture processes and better.turnhere. joy. TurnHere (www . The team has also discovered other qualities that appeal to human players.travelistic.pcmag. Fortunately. take a listen to Jamie Jensen’s Road Trip USA (www. Another good site is Chris Christensen’s Amateur Traveler (amateurtraveler . the team is also applying them to actors’ faces to map their expressions onto game characters.lonelyplanet . with some being out-ofdate. thus. Guide books are hit or miss.com). Unseasoned travelers will enjoy the comprehensive travel advice of Gary Bembridge on his Tips for Trave l l e r s p o d c a s t ( m y t ra v e l r e v i e w s .com). such as slight facial asymmetries and having an avatar whose “direct gaze” is slightly off-center. faster graphics engines—though obviously essential to creating a realistic-looking face—cannot by themselves create a lifelike avatar. Enter Lionhead Studios. Armed with these techniques. news.indietravelpodcast. and Equipment. and others failing to address your specific travel needs. Travel podcasts and videocasts are an easy way to learn about your destination both before you go and while you’re there. —Brittany Petersen Learn more about Norton’s improved performance at the Norton Protection Center Here you will be able to: • Join a free webcast on how to defend against drive-by downloads • Learn how to fight back against cybercriminals • Watch videos on how to protect your wi-fi network • Download free tools F U T U R E WATC H Your Game Face Video-game characters used to be cartoons with pixelated bodies who were devoid of personality. Lionhead Studios is looking to elicit a subtle emotion in us humans—empathy.com) has an easily searchable city index.com/travelstories/podcast).com/Norton also more subtle emotions—like smugness. A variety of podcasts and videocasts that you can organize by interest and destination is available in Lonely Planet’s Travel Stories section (www. But instead of placing sensors only on the actors’ bodies. there’s the Indie Travel Podcast (www. and your Eurail Pass. Reviews. and wistfulness. And before loading the minivan. Perusing the travel section at your local bookstore can be daunting. go to go.PC Magazine Gives Norton Internet SecurityTM 2008 Editors’ Choice Award FRONTSIDE CO N N EC TE D TR AV E LE R Your iPod Tour Guide Podcasts and videocasts can maximize your knowledge and fun on your next vacation. which features the travels of a New Zealand couple and includes subjects like Accommodations. Eight podcasts are built around themes and take the listener across the country on virtual road trips. they can express not just fear.com) and individuals at Travelistic (www. however. and interviews. instead of a dead-on stare.com). Travelistic has a simple YouTube-like interface with over 5. are attempting to tap into a player’s emotional responses using his avatar.—Frank Washburn . which features podcasts and audio tours through Italy and France as well as video clips and Rick’s Public Radio show. don’t go to Europe without f irst visiting R i c k S t eve s ’ Europe Through the Back Door (www .com). And listening to a podcast on your trip is a lot more discreet than walking around Paris with your nose in a Frommer’s. which has over 130 podcast episodes featuring travel stories. and anger.com).roadtripusa. several online resources can save you time and money. a beret. For travel to a big city. but To learn more. For the intrepid traveler. Besides a sturdy backpack. Travel with Rick Steves. similar to those used in 3D animation. Today’s high-tech games. tips. maker of the games Black & White and Fable. You can find a good combination of videos from professional travel firms (like Concierge.800 user videos from around the world.ricksteves.blogspot. Lionhead’s team is using motion-capture techniques on live actors. unease.com).

*Scanning time and memory usage for Norton Internet Security™ 2008 compared to the average of nine competitive Internet security applications. PassMark Software. Re-engineered for speed. Antivirus & Internet Security Performance Benchmark Report. All rights reserved. Norton.com/performance Sept.S. Used under license. the Symantec Logo. And our integrated Norton™ Browser Protection defends your computer from attacks while you surf the Internet. November 2007. and other countries. Symantec.FAST FACTS: A GRIZZLY BEAR CAN OUTRUN A RACEHORSE. PC Magazine Editors’ Choice Award Logo is a registered trademark of Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc. ® Norton Internet Security™ 2008 also boots faster than ever while using 83% less memory* . 2007 Norton Internet Security 2008 Same great protection. © 2008 Symantec Corporation. Get the facts about who’s really fast at norton. . 7. NORTON SCANS 48% FASTER THAN THE COMPETITION. and Norton Internet Security are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U. Our SONAR technology can protect you against emerging spyware and viruses even before traditional detection signatures are available.

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256MB VIA Chrome 9 HC IGP graphics. The 92 percent keyboard is surprisingly comfortable to use. Though the Mini-Note has only two USB ports. my configuration’s 7.2-pound system weight. Alas. 7.com/hpmini HP 2133 MINI-NOTE PC A Noteworthy Mini PC It didn’t take long for PC makers to realize the gold mine ASUS struck with its ultralight.6-GHz VIA C7-M processor. Comfortable keyboard. it’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in the ultra-mobile space. an SD slot. the Mini-Note looks like a much more expensive system. making it nearly impossible to navigate with one hand. For more: go. as hot as 103° F.3-megapixel webcam. 2GB RAM. The HP 2133 Mini-Note PC has come closest to matching its success. ExpressCard slot for 3G.11a/b/g.280-by-768 screen. Features are fairly generous for a system of this size. It finished the Adobe Photoshop CS3 test in an unflattering 4 minutes 6 seconds.200-rpm hard drive. Though spacious. Wide choice of mass-storage options.FirstLooks OUR RATINGS KEY: lllll EXCELLENT l llllm VERY GOOD l lllmm GOOD l llmmm FAIR l lmmmm POOR HP 2133 Mini-Note PC $749 direct llllm PROS Apple-like design.—Cisco Cheng Specs: 1. Windows Vista Business. but its scores lagged those of similar machines with Intel processors. Extended batteries available. SD slot. Wide selection of operating systems. 3. The left and right clicks are separated.200-rpm hard drive. 3-pound notebook comes in a variety of configurations and should appeal to everyone from business travelers to schoolchildren. For local storage. Though the Mini-Note is not quite the ASUS Eee PC killer.9-pound travel weight.9-inch. A Wi-Fi on/off switch on the bezel controls both Bluetooth and 802.200-rpm hard drive heated the base uncomfortably. 2GB DDR2 SDRAM. The system did run the Windows Media Encoder test. This stylish. 1. INSIDE 25 Hardware 30 Business 37 Consumer Electronics 44 Software 52 The Best Stuff JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 25 . Mouse buttons are awkwardly positioned. More than one USB port.9-inch screen. the design’s strengths are offset by the awkward touchpad setup. Spacious and sexy screen design. inexpensive Eee PC 4G.pcmag. most users can probably manage without it. With its anodized aluminum exterior and glossy 8. CONS Runs uncomfortably warm with the 7. it offers an ExpressCard slot. There’s no optical drive. you can choose between spinning (120GB or 160GB) or solid-state drives (4GB or 64GB). and units start as low as $499. 8. 3. 120GB. but given the storage options. Very travel-friendly. and a built-in 1. Nearly everything else in the system is configurable.

a FireWire port. Lenovo gives its IdeaPad line an auspicious debut.369 direct. Average users who aren’t interested in pushing performance to the brink will love the look and features of the Y510. Windows Vista Home Premium. including a dual-layer DVD drive. SYSMARK 2007 PREVIEW: OVERALL L 86 73 WINDOWS MEDIA ENCODER M min:sec CINEBENCH R10 L PHOTOSHOP CS3 ACTION SET M min:sec Sound quality is impressive. 6. and there’s a subwoofer in the base pumping out sound. While it would be nice to order more powerful performance parts. reported for comparison. the system will work just fine for the average user. PERFORMANCE TESTS L High scores are best. though it doesn’t measure up to the ThinkPad’s. The Y510’s exterior is designed to look like fabric. 1. Limited configurations.0 and RoHS standards and consuming just 17 watts during idle mode. Performance is nothing stellar. M Low scores are best. because the Y510 is not available through Lenovo’s Web site.pcmag. 26 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . Budget price.com/y510 ALSO REVIEWED AT PCMAG.174 direct l l l l m A Good Idea for Consumers How does an icon of sensible business computing transition to the world of consumer laptops? If you’re Lenovo. creating a unified look. 7. and a six-in-one card reader (though no HDMI port). 2GB DDR2 SDRAM. Bold type denotes fi rst place. No extended battery option. and Lenovo’s signature pointing stick is notably absent. But Lenovo has made other tweaks to liven up the Y510. Intel Media Accelerator X3100 graphics. Unfortunately.0-pound travel weight. including touch-sensitive multimedia keys. but it’s actually a textured plastic layer over a plastic frame. as tested l l l h m HP Pavilion 6500T $899 direct l l l l m RED denotes Editors’ Choice. The real treat.166 N/A 0:51 N/A N/A—Not applicable: The product could not complete the test. The typing experience is pleasant. you debut a notebook that features an intriguing design. textured design. Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 Dell Inspiron 1420* * Editors’ Choice. meeting Energy Star 4. three USB ports. For more: go.67-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T5450 processor. The Y510 boasts a Dolby Home Theater audio chipset as well. and cool bundled software. Keyboard isn’t like a ThinkPad’s.4-inch widescreen within.FIRST LOOKS HARDWARE Lenovo IdeaPad Y510 $899 list l l l h m PROS Good-looking.400-rpm hard drive. but it’s nice. The glossy coating over the screen extends to the edge of the laptop. but that’s not surprising at this price point.999 direct l l l l h LENOVO IDEAPAD Y510 Dell XPS M1530 $2. MULTIMEDIA TESTS MOBILEMARK 2007 L hr:min Fujitsu LifeBook A6120 $1. 5. With the Y510. 250GB. CONS Available through online retailers and Office Depot only.4-inch. Four speakers are visible from the top. Other features are fairly typical. 15. Five speakers and Dolby surround sound. 2:55 3:28 1:46 1:46 3. It’s also environmentally friendly.—Cisco Cheng Specs: 1. is the frameless 15. however.COM Apple MacBook Pro 15-inch (LED) $1.2-pound system weight.280-by-800 display. Frameless widescreen is sleek. amazing sound quality. configurations are limited to what you can find online or in stores.

com/monitor * 8000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio 2ms GTG Response Time Exclusive Magic Technologies DVI with HDCP .samsung. For more information from the #1 selling monitor brand in the world. Inc. Ltd. All product and brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies. Samsung is a registered trademark of Samsung Electronics Co.. so we wrapped all that technology up in an immaculate SyncMaster 53-Series 2253BW/LW. call 1-800-SAMSUNG or visit www. Screen images simulated. And vice-versa. 2053BW & 953BW glossy finish and a minimalist bezel design to complement any home or office. *DisplaySearch Q4’07 Quarterly Desktop Monitor Shipment & Forecast Report.©2008 Samsung Electronics America. But looks count too. coupled with a fast 2ms (G to G) response time. It’s all the style that substance could ever ask for. All rights reserved. give style to the word substance The Samsung 53-Series is loaded with an outstanding 8000:1 dynamic contrast ratio.

920-by-1.COM Dell XPS 630 $1.FIRST LOOKS HARDWARE Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500 $1. 4GB 800-MHz DDR2 SDRAM. a built-in handle makes it easier to carry. No SLI support. 28 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 .024** PHOTOSHOP CS3 ACTION SET min:sec WORLD IN CONFLICT 1. For more: go. 7.895 direct llllm PROS Compact gaming box. the FragBox 8500 loads a Wolfdale-based Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 processor plus an EVGA-branded nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card clocked at 670 MHz. Fullblown DX10 graphics. Falcon hand-builds its rigs. Offers even more performance for less. Falcon NW FragBox 8500 Dell XPS 630* * Editors’ Choice.200 resolution—flickering along at a mere 5 frames per second (fps)—but it rocked at the lower (1. SYSMARK 2007 PREVIEW: OVERALL L 174 132 GAMING (fps) L CRYSIS 1.975 direct l l l l m Velocity Micro Edge M40 $2. It nearly matched that rate on World in Conflict.200-rpm SATA hard drive. Bold type denotes fi rst place.280-by-1. To keep its price within reason. 7. reported for comparison. CONS Still a little heavy at 20 pounds.pcmag. Like every other machine I’ve tested. The FragBox 8500 is compact.024) res to the tune of a smoothly playable 71 fps. scoring 66 fps at the same “12-by-10” resolution.024** was helped by 4GB of RAM and a 750GB. Our DX10-based Crysis and World in Conflict gaming tests are the reefs on which many a promising recent gaming rig has run aground.280 x 1. the FragBox couldn’t handle Crysis at 1. yet it can kick the butts of some much pricier systems. Can play Crysis.269 direct l l l l m Fragadelic Desktop Gaming Bargain Screaming fast yet affordable gaming machines are almost unheard of—you usually pay through the nose for performance. currentgeneration components. The Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500 defies this by selling for less than two grand. The Falcon Northwest FragBox 8500 is one of those rare bargains that are worth their salt in the gaming desktop world. These are solid.—Joel Santo Domingo Specs: 3. 512MB EVGA nVidia GeForce 8800 GTS graphics card.100 direct l l l h m Polywell Poly X3800 $3. And although you’d buy it for its gaming.200-rpm SATA hard drive. 750GB.280-by-1. up from its standard 650 MHz.980 direct l l m m m RED denotes Editors’ Choice. and although it’s barely portable at 20 pounds.280 x 1.024 resolution. and the FragBox chassis design has remained nearly unchanged throughout the line’s history. it can zip through multimedia tasks as well.com/frag8500 FALCON NORTHWEST FRAGBOX 8500 ALSO REVIEWED AT PCMAG. 0:51 1:08 0:24 0:32 71 58 66 57 ** Anti-aliasing/anisotropic fi ltering was set to off.16-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E8500. M Low scores are best. and neither choice seems to have hurt the FragBox 8500’s ability to put up a respectable showing against its increasingly quadcore and dual-card competition. PERFORMANCE TESTS L High scores are best. Its performance MULTIMEDIA M WINDOWS MEDIA ENCODER min:sec Gateway FX7020 $1. Windows Vista Home Premium. It has the distinction of being the first gaming rig I can recommend without reservation for playing Crysis at 1. and it deserves our Editors’ Choice.

and to create cameras and lenses that inspire photographers to take their photography to the highest level. It’s inspiration. the inspiration to constantly innovate.Great images begin with great lenses. To develop technologies that redefine the industry standard. . But it’s not just unparalleled optics that keep Canon at the forefront of imaging.

30 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . But if 3D gaming or rendering don’t matter to you. it lacks the flashy colors of the latest Inspirons.510 direct l l l l h RED denotes Editors’ Choice. SYSMARK 2007 PREVIEW: OVERALL L 94 109 WINDOWS MEDIA ENCODER M min:sec CINEBENCH R10 L PHOTOSHOP CS3 ACTION SET M min:sec Dell Vostro 1310 Lenovo ThinkPad T61 Widescreen* * Editors’ Choice. 5. its standard (six-cell) battery tested at 3 hours 39 minutes. a fingerprint reader with TPM module. 2GB DDR2 SDRAM. as will its slot-loaded DVD drive. 3:39 1:57 1:22 1:21 3. (Dell sent us a Merom-based 1310. Windows Vista Business. which lagged in comparison with recent Penryn laptops. Multiple battery options.pcmag. The 1310 is travel friendly at 4. For more: go. 160GB. launched in 2007. 13. MULTIMEDIA TESTS MOBILEMARK 2007 L hr:min Bold type denotes fi rst place. includes very capable yet bland and rather bulky laptops tailored to small-business users. Hard drive and memory are upgradable. you can save $75—and some battery life—by going with integrated graphics.) My unit came with discrete graphics on an nVidia GeForce 8400M GS card. tinny-sounding speaker will not. and sounds tinny. A webcam. while not as conservative as a ThinkPad’s.—Cisco Cheng Specs: 2. Lightweight. 128MB nVidia GeForce 8400M GS graphics. Its glossy black lid sparkles with silver specks. reported for comparison. The LED-backlit media buttons should appeal to a consumer audience. The 1310’s keyboard. and a “no trialware” option. Dell adds design sense and improved portability to the line’s top-notch setup and support resources.6-pound travel weight. Lenovo ThinkPad T61 Widescreen $2. The one big feature Dell omitted was provision for an internal cellular modem.3-inch. Lacks options for a cellular modem.440-by-900 resolution and works well for photo viewing. Inexpensive. a 160GB hard drive. and mouse buttons all worked well. 4.531 direct l l l l m A Chic PC for Small Biz Dell’s Vostro line. and 2GB of RAM round out the feature set. Design-wise.0-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo T7250. a decent feature set. touchpad. the 1310 balances business and consumer sensibilities. PERFORMANCE TESTS L High scores are best. 5. Its looks and features almost erase the line between the business and consumer arenas.COM Slot-loading DVD drive Dell Latitude D630 $1. The single.400-rpm hard drive.8-pound system weight.FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS Dell Vostro 1310 $1.8 pounds.280-by-800 display. CONS Single speaker.com/dell1310 Touch-sensitive media buttons DELL VOSTRO 1310 ALSO REVIEWED AT PCMAG. among them Intel’s Merom and new-generation Penryn processors. New industrial design.258 direct l l l l m PROS Affordable machine for a small-biz start-up. but at heart the 1310 is still a business laptop. The Vostro 1310 spruces up Dell’s small-biz laptop line with a hip and highly portable machine. “No trialware” option. Its 13-inch antiglare widescreen comes in 1. Discrete graphics option. 1.849 N/A 0:39 N/A N/A—Not applicable: The product could not complete the test. You can choose from a variety of CPU options. Multiple processor options. and there’s an optional extended battery.280-by-800 or 1. With the Vostro 1310. M Low scores are best.

8-megapixel EOS 5D. All rights reserved.1-megapixel EOS 40D compromises nothing in the way of features and technology. in the United States. Canon and EOS are registered trademarks of Canon Inc. go to: www. Can a camera do that? If you’ve ever held a Canon EOS 5D or EOS 40D in your hands. while the 10.A. Canon Explorer of Light . Inc. you know the answer is an unequivocal yes.very once in a while you come across something that simply takes your breath away.com/dlc ©Ken Sklute. IMAGEANYWARE is a trademark of Canon. with its full-frame CMOS sensor. The 12.usa.canon. A truly awe-inspiring pair.. E To get more inspired about the Canon EOS system. makes small work out of big ideas. ©2008 Canon U. Something that’s simply astonishing.S.

With speed. CONS Subpar text for an ink jet. contracts. Only after the installation finishes can you disconnect the USB cable and use the AIO over the network. 1:45 for 8-by-10s) was among the fastest yet for an ink jet AIO. prints two-sided copy. Network connector. The MX850 would be good as a personal AIO in a larger office. the HP Officejet H470 definitely belongs on your short list. good paper capacity and cartridge yield. output quality. Bluetooth.com/mx850 32 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 The MX850 offers an attractive mix of features. fax. Although graphics tended to make paper curl. Network setup is distinctly unusual. what’s not to like?—MDS . The scanner has a 35page automatic document feeder (ADF). scans. It prints. which the company considers its flagship business AIO. taking a USB drive to the local copy shop can waste precious time—particularly when quality mobile printers such as the HP Officejet H470 are available.5 pounds (5. Automatic document feeder.4 by 6. The HP H470 is the best we’ve seen.FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS HP OFFICEJET H470 MOBILE PRINTER This Printer Is Going Places When you need to print out presentations. was much faster than the iP90’s. thanks to adequate speed and print quality. Optional Wi-Fi. speed. output quality. and a choice of wireless and battery options. from memory cards. and rechargeable battery. and battery options as well. For more: go. Photo print speed (0:54 for 4-by6s. text quality was better than with most ink jets. The Pixma MX850. the caliber of its photo printing makes it a good choice for a home printer or a dual home/home-office AIO. Graphics tend to make plain paper curl. CONS Unusual network setup. but is good enough unless you need really small fonts. which also “duplexes”—that is. The H470 weighs 4. Bluetooth. Standalone copier.com/h470 Canon Pixma MX850 $279.pcmag. Print quality is a tad subpar for an ink jet.5 inches (HWD). At 12 minutes 34 seconds on our business applications suite.99 direct llllm The H470 is designed to print over a USB connection. It also faxes from your PC and scans to e-mail through your PC’s e-mail program. the MX850 effectively tied for first place among the AIOs I’ve tested (the Canon Pixma MP610 took 12:18). If you’re looking for a mobile printer. In addition. it offers Wi-Fi. or the like while on the road. or as a shared printer in a home office or small office. and features like these. though no better than so-so for an ink jet. you have to connect the printer to a PC by both USB cable and network cable.pcmag. —M. Its speed on our business applications suite (19 minutes 2 seconds). It comes with two 150-sheet paper trays. Heavier than some notebooks (4. is another feather in Canon’s cap. HP Officejet H470 Mobile Printer $249.3 with an AC adapter) and measures 3. PROS Fast.3 by 13. and photos looked fine.99 direct l l l l m CANON PIXMA MX850 An All-in-One for All Canon has taken more Editors’ Choice awards for ink jet all-in-ones (AIOs) than any other brand. Its 50-sheet input capacity and claimed yields of 330 pages for its color cartridge and 440 pages for black are better than those of rivals like the Canon Pixma iP90. For more: go. and works as a standalone copier and fax machine. With the MX850. Most network installation programs can find the printer on the network and set everything up automatically. David Stone PROS Portable. and from PictBridge cameras. and price.5 pounds for the printer itself).

Do it now. ® ™ www. Then like a child actor in a failed sitcom . That put a lot of hackers. out of business. To help us help them. Visit hugsforhackers. But we’re dedicated to the rehabilitation of every lost soul defeated by our award winning software.Meet CyberS1ren.org.com .org Tough on Threats.0 because it protects from online threats without slowing PC’s or networks to a crawl.avg. 70 million people switched to AVG 8. visit hugsforhackers. This self-described hacker groupie got her lulz stealing identities and shopping online. and their threats.it all came crashing down. Easy on You. because somewhere there’s a hacker who needs a hug.

SSD drives are expensive. 2. For more: go. Options for a built-in optical drive and extended batteries. Toshiba ditched the DVD burner. CONS Must handle with care.7-pound system weight. The R500 (SSD) lacks a webcam and a 3G modem. M Low scores are best. 2. plus our GreenTech seal. Toshiba has broken the lightness barrier.2 by 8. and the Fujitsu P8010. low power consumption. and it should keep road warriors happy.7 pounds. yet packs a 12-inch screen and a full-size keyboard. 12. however. even in close quarters. PERFORMANCE TESTS L High scores are best. 224MB Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950.699 direct l l l h m PROS 1. 1GB DDR2 SDRAM. earned the R500 (SSD) our seal of approval. The hollow magnesium frame (11.5-inch hard drive for an SSD (solidstate hard drive).pcmag. Even so. GreenTech approved. the Air.0. The Lenovo ThinkPad X300 beat the R500 (SSD)’s SYSmark 2007 Preview Overall score by more than 25 percent. EPEAT Gold and RoHS certification. 1. Bold type denotes fi rst place. 3:12 3:49 2:41 1:10 1:25 0:30 34 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 .1-inch. Its extreme portability is a design coup for Toshiba.5 by 0. It consumed 21 watts at full load.0.9-Ah lithium ion battery. 3G wireless needs to come to the United States. Full-size keyboard. 1. the R500 (SSD) tied the MacBook Air’s SYSmark 2007 Preview Overall score but lagged on the CineBench R10 and Windows Media Encoder tests. MOBILEMARK 2007 L hr:min SYSMARK 2007 PREVIEW: OVERALL L 66 100 MULTIMEDIA TESTS M WINDOWS MEDIA ENCODER min:sec PHOTOSHOP CS3 ACTION SET min:sec Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD) Sony VAIO VGN-SZ791N* *Editors’ Choice.4pound version. Green cred includes Energy Star 4.2-GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and only 1GB of RAM under Windows XP Pro.FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS Toshiba Portégé R500 (SSD) $2. The Portégé R500 (SSD) weighs just 1. and the use of a solid state drive. To slim the R500 down from last year’s 2. reported for comparison. 64GB SSD.8 inches) and superthin screen (prone to flexing) feel delicate.024-by-800 widescreen. EPEAT Gold. The Portégé R500 (SSD) weighs barely half as much as the MacBook Air or the Lenovo X300. and RoHS certifications. the R500 scored over 3 hours on MobileMark 2007 battery tests. Windows XP Professional.—Cisco Cheng Specs: 1.7-pound laptop.7 pounds! TOSHIBA PORTÉGÉ R500 (SSD) GREENTECH APPROVED Energy Star 4. and replaced the six-cell battery with a three-cell unit. Screen flexes too much and needs brightening. These should make it a hit among business travelers. less than the Lenovo X300. swapped the 2. 31-Wh. An Astoundingly Light Laptop While Apple’s MacBook Air has set the bar for laptop thinness. With a plodding 1.2-GHz Intel Core 2 Duo U7600.4-pound travel weight. The R500 drew 12 watts in idle state. Performance is unspectacular.com/r500ssd Just 1.

the latest release of Microsoft’s server OS improves on its predecessor. $469 lllhm PROS Faster performance. Windows Server 2008 is a marked improvement over Windows Server 2003. for a program that runs on the TS server.—Oliver Rist Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Enterprise Edition. there’s room for improvement. making remote Exchange services easier to manage and safer. Many small and midsize businesses may want to wait to decide about a server OS upgrade until these products are revealed more fully. Itanium editions. when released. has Read Only Domain Controllers (RODC). Stripped-down Server Core role for headless operation. Getting comfortable with the OS will require significant effort. An upgrade to Terminal Services lets remote users log into Terminal Services Gateway directly. That’s a relatively small complaint. And with Remote application deployment. Overall. Datacenter.999 per CPU. You get just the OS kernel and a command line–only interface. Safer Network OS From the CPU layer on up. Since they can’t. Besides incorporating Vista security. I’m concerned that it may come up a little short on features and cross-platform compatibility relative to VMware’s ESX Server. Pricey.999 direct. though. boosting overall performance and letting clients see servers more easily. or ADDS (formerly Active Directory). $3. that remote Exchange servers could use RODCs as Global Catalogs for holding ADDS object data in a multidomain forest. Additionally. but GUI addicts can still access and manage the machine from a box running the full Server Manager or System Center GUIs. but Microsoft says it will produce no further 32-bit releases. admins can drop an application icon on desktops. wizards for configuring advanced features. A key new feature. may be more of a problem: From the early betas I’ve tried.pcmag. $2. Hyper-V. Microsoft Windows Server 2008 has the new Vista networking stack. I wish. Standard. though. Server Core. Read-Only Domain Controllers for better remote site security. Active Directory Domain Services.or 64-bit editions. Small Business Server 2008 and Essentials Business Server 2008. Server Manager is a fact of life for IT staffers and consultants with direct server access. I’d say it’s a must-have for businesses with Windowscentric networks. respectively.FIRST LOOKS BUSINESS IIS7 gets a new management interface Installation is entirely wizard driven MICROSOFT WINDOWS SERVER 2008 ENTERPRISE A Faster. won’t be available until much later this year. but new features ease management. CONS No Hyper-V until after summer ’08. which vastly strengthens the OS’s defenses. then choose the server or remote desktop to access—no VPN hassles. I tried the 64-bit Enterprise version: You can get 32. Improved Terminal Services. and diagnostic tools.and 250-user networks. but Microsoft’s 64-bit push makes the upgrade decision harder for shops dependent on 32-bit server software. $999.com/ winserver08 JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 35 . however. so I’d like to see more of three items: intelligence. In Server 2008. deploying a local RODC and Exchange server at a remote site still requires the site’s Exchange server to access the home DC for catalog information. giving users what seems like local access. Still. which target 75. Web server. no firewall worries. For more: go. lets you run many Windows Server 2008 functions on less powerful machines.

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I lowered the backlight control to its third-lowest level. This setting maintained adequate peak while lowering the video black levels to the darkest I’ve measured from an LCD TV to date. In this scenario. The adjustable backlight (providing ten levels of intensity) is useful for quickly and easily optimizing the picture’s overall brightness according to varying room lighting conditions. Held back by only a few relatively minor usability quirks. Selecting the movie preset produced picture quality closest to the spec used in cinema and television production. Equipped with a generous selection of 1080p-compatible video inputs. Still. the TV has a handy picture-scaling option that eliminates overscan when 720p and 1080i/p HD video are displayed. the Westinghouse TX-52F480S is an admirable set.000 street llllm PROS Inexpensive for a 52-inch 1080p set. For more: go. Unfortunately. Despite some stumbles on the HD HQV Benchmark test. Even so. is a prime example. I noticed that Indy’s hat left a subtle trail across the screen in the “Well of Souls” scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.186:1. Featuring a native 1080p60 (60-Hz) display. No picture-in-picture (PiP). For instance. With its wide selection of HD-compatible video ports and useful picture controls. CONS Default picture settings yield slightly green images.FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS Westinghouse TX-52F480S $2. As with the SD version.000 52-inch TX-52F480S. The calibration menu includes a basic white-balance adjustment. performance with HD material was respectable. Performance with fast-moving imagery was just average. dark video black levels coupled with a correctly calibrated picture produced an average contrast ratio of 1. —Robert Heron PORTS INCLUDED HDMI Component Composite DVI FireWire RF S-Video VGA CableCARD USB Ethernet 4 3 1 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 37 . the grayscale representation was tinged with a bit of green that was most prominent in the mid-to-low levels. Standarddefinition (SD) images were overscanned by an acceptable 6 percent. this massive set amounts to a terrific value for a large-screen 1080p HDTV. the $2. it has picture controls that help its more than two million pixels deliver crisp and detailed images. For tests in a darkened room. especially for a value-priced 52-inch 1080p LCD television. The company’s largest 1080p LCD TV. the HD benchmark test highlighted the set’s inability to eliminate jagged edges. No image overscan with HD sources. jagged-edge artifacts appeared on SD video tests. High contrast ratio.pcmag. and I was able to tame the TV’s greens. Scaling can be achieved over component video input as well as through HDMI. And this TV’s ability to deliver an exceptionally well-contrasted picture further sweetens the deal.com/ tx52f480s WESTINGHOUSE TX-52F480S A Huge HDTV Value Westinghouse has a reputation for making affordable and full-featured HDTVs. the TV properly deinterlaced 1080i video and film-sourced material into a solid 1080p image. a new record for LCDs viewed in a dark room.

Mechanical image stabilization. Unintuitive menu system.0 SWD lens. Fast autofocus. which takes some getting used to but helps you to zip through menus quickly. which is useful when shooting in live mode. color was again accurate and vivid.9.3 pounds with lens). The E-3 shot outstanding images and was particularly impressive in low-light environments. Small LCD.2mm-to-18. The high-end camera market has been dominated by Canon and Nikon for a long time. At about $350. and even at an ISO as high as 800. Both IS modes—continuous and panning—worked well for me. The SD790 IS features motion-detection technology.com/e_3 38 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 Oversize D-SLR Doesn’t Disappoint The 10. is always on.500 l l l l m Articulating LCD OLYMPUS E-3 PROS Excellent image quality in nearly all environments. it’s pretty huge.8 to f/4. it automatically detects motion and adjusts ISO and exposure settings to compensate. Although flash shots were a bit dark.com/sd790is Olympus E-3 Body only. Continuous. with accurate color and nice consistency. Outdoors. the SD790 IS is priced on the high side for a pocket point-and-shooter. but considering its features and top-notch image quality. a new control wheel. however. But with girth comes stellar image quality and a hearty assortment of features.700 street. Daylight shots were outstanding. Flash shots underexposed at times. box-like design that we love on other Elphs. simulated daylight shots were exceptional.1-megapixel Olympus E-3 is one big. CONS Large body. bad shooter. but with the E-3 Olympus shows that it can play in this space as well. $1. CONS Flash shots were slightly underexposed. Even for a D-SLR. avoiding a washed-out look. Canon has also improved the automatic white-balance mode in this model. Rather than reading the background or the entire scene.6mm range (35mm film equivalent: 35mm to 105mm) with maximum f-stops of f/2. overall the SD790 IS produced superb images.8–f/4. $2. For more: go. The display is hinged. silvery. compensating for shaky hands when you are shooting without a tripod. the SD790 IS’s brushed stainless-steel body feels sturdy and solid. it’s a worthy competitor. it’s well worth the money. with Zuiko Digital ED 12mm–60mm f/2. the 2. There’s also a big 3-inch LCD and a new. One very minor gripe: I would have liked a widerangle lens: The SD790’s lens has a 6. For such a large camera (3. with an extremely speedy autofocus system. images showed very little noise. Excellent images at high ISO settings. so it can be tilted back and forth as well as swung out from the body of the camera. while intentionally creating a blurred background. This feature worked well on my tests. In the labs. New clickwheel is fast and effective.FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS CANON POWERSHOT SD790 IS The Greatest Elph of All This high-end pocket shooter takes its place among Canon’s ever-expanding arsenal of excellent Digital Elphs. Sporting the simple. improved control wheel. Although it can’t quite best the Editors’ Choice–winning Nikon D300. The 10-megapixel SD790 IS incorporates the company’s signature slick design.—David Gussman Canon PowerShot SD790 IS $349. of course. This camera is a terrific alternative to pricier D-SLRs.pcmag.99 list l l l l h PROS 3-inch LCD. and a wealth of features—and it also pumps out outstanding images.5-inch LCD seems quite small. Panning is used to follow and focus on an object or person in motion. Olympus offers a feature in the E-3 that Nikon and Canon don’t: in-camera mechanical image stabilization. For more: go.pcmag. with near-perfect contrast and vivid color.—DG . the camera focuses on the subject’s New control wheel physically turns face and thus produces higher-quality images.

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com/nuvi880 MIO MOOV 200 Get Mooving for Less with This Affordable GPS Higher-end features not usually found in an entry-level GPS navigator—like text-to-speech functionality and multisegment routing—make the Mio Moov 200 an attractive device. was disappointing. I found that the directions generated by the Moov 200 were good. weather.5-inch.—CE 40 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 Mio Moov 200 $179. Powered by Tele Atlas map data. however. the Garmin nüvi 880 is positioned at the very top end of the GPS market. and while it isn’t flawless. Voice commands control virtually all menu functions. though slightly different from ones suggested by the Garmin StreetPilot 2720.FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS GARMIN NÜVI 880 This Navigator Really Listens Say hello to the 880. Multisegment routing. the device includes maps for the 50 states and Puerto Rico. the newest member of Garmin’s nüvi family.pcmag. But it has nearly every feature I’ve come to expect in a luxury navigator. but not Canada. so although I could search for nearby restaurants. antiglare touch-screen LCD.—Craig Ellison Garmin nüvi 880 $999. it’s definitely worth considering if you’re traveling on a tight budget. Frankly. Slow and limited POI search capabilities. On the road. Textto-speech conversion. Multisegment routing. Strong language support. You also get a sensitive. 20-channel SiRFstarIII receiver. and route recalculation times for a missed turn were acceptable. the unit comprehended my voice commands with astonishing accuracy. and even integrated media players and travel tools. 20-channel SiRFstarIII receiver for fast satellite acquisition. I mean it: The nüvi 880 is the first portable GPS device to boast full speech recognition capabilities. And there aren’t any POI subcategories. though.pcmag. With its outstanding combination of features. including textto-speech conversion. the Mio Moov 200 is certainly affordable. the nüvi 880 easily merits our Editors’ Choice.99.95 list lllhm PROS Inexpensive. For more: go. multisegment routing. movie times. Instructions with street names were given at appropriate intervals. is the amazing speech recognition functionality. it presented results alphabetically by city name rather than by distance from my current location. For more: go. an excellent Bluetooth phone interface.com/moov . CONS Lacks vehicle profiles. I found it a truly amazing (albeit expensive) experience that works surprisingly well.99 list ll l l h Remote activates microphone PROS Accurate speech recognition. CONS Expensive. The real showstopper here. And when I tell you to say hello. providing useful information such as live traffic. 320-by240-pixel. With a list price of $999. When I searched by name. and even local gas prices. On my tests. only a few tasks require the touch screen. I couldn’t find any by specialty. despite the acoustically challenging environment of a noisy car. This is the GPS device I want on my windshield. There’s built-in support for Microsoft’s MSN Direct service. The way the Moov 200 handled POIs. such as Italian or Chinese. We just wish it handled points of interest (POIs) better. too. Bluetooth phone interface. The no-frills Moov 200 features a smallish 3. At $180. Text-to-speech conversion. I’m hooked. You can access almost all of its functions using your voice—in fact. which isn’t as useful.

Photography may not accurately represent exact configurations priced. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.hp. To qualify for this downgrade an end user must be a business (including governmental or educational institutions) and is expected to order annually at least 25 customer systems with the same custom image.com/go/powersupply 7 ® HP xw4550 Workstation AMD Opteron™ processor Model 1212 ® Genuine Windows Vista 32-bit.†Certain Windows Vista product features require advanced or additional hardware. Microsoft and Windows are U. Learn more about 80 PLUS power supplies at hp. Visit our site or call for the latest deals. For details. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice.com/windowsvista/getready/hardwarereqs. visit www. are subject to change.microsoft. Help lower your energy costs without compromising performance by choosing HP’s ENERGY STAR® qualified desktops with 80 PLUS ® power supplies. They run on AMD Opteron™ Processors designed to deliver a high performance-per-watt ratio. 2008. Nothing herein shall be construed as constituting an additional warranty. To download the tool. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services.S. visit www. . AMD’s numbering is not a measurement of clock speed. Simulated screen.HP recommends Windows Vista® Business. L.microsoft. AMD. Inc. ENERGY STAR® is a registered mark owned by the U. In business terms: efficiency. and do not include applicable state and local sales tax or shipping to recipient’s destination. Windows Vista is either a registered trademark or trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. It’s more. Associated values represent HP published list price. performance of a system including a 64-bit operating system will vary. Given the wide range of software applications available. AMD Opteron and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices. for less. Offer valid through August 31.com/go/lesspower7 | Find a reseller: hp.com/go/reseller Prices and promotions are subject to change without notice. 2. SmartBuy PN: RB489UT#ABA 1-888-811-9580 | hp. 3. Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine which features of Windows Vista will run on your computer. 1. Prices shown are HP Direct prices. See www.S. Instant savings available through HP Direct and participating resellers.P. *Windows Vista Business disk also included for future upgrade if desired.com/windowsvista/getready/capable. registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. $ 599 Was $986 Price reflects $387 instant savings1. All offers available from HP Direct and participating resellers.mspx for details.com/upgradeadvisor. Supply is limited. the AMD Arrow logo.mspx and www. 3 Service redefined to help you get the most from your technology. This system requires a separately purchased 64-bit operating system and 64-bit software products to take advantage of the 64-bit processing capabilities of the AMD 64 processor.windowsvista. © Copyright 2008 Hewlett-Packard Development Company. ® downgrade to Genuine Windows XP Professional 32-bit installed*† ® 80 PLUS Power Supply ® ENERGY STAR qualified 2. government.com/go/specials.

1 PC speaker sets I’ve ever tested. the set has a delicate touch with gentler music. making the Mako an ideal speaker system for parties. What’s more. the Sage Software logo and Sage product and service names mentioned herein are registered trademarks or trademarks of Sage Software. CONS Very expensive. The result is impressive power and clear.3-inch. Inc. Limited listening sweet spot. .3 inches in diameter) look a bit like black mushroom caps. to see his operation from every possible angle.5mm) plus a stereo RCA input. Despite that. as does the much larger 8. or if your computer is your primary music source. the Razor Mako produced almost zero distortion at very high volumes. One of the most powerful 2. Excellent clarity without distortion at high volumes. The Razer Mako’s satellite speakers (3. Sage Software. it has a limited “sweet spot” (the ideal spot for balanced sound). Vice President of Administration at Hobie Cat. Controller isn’t wireless and can be slow and unresponsive. and acoustic songs have a bright.5 inches high by 5. The speakers. or its affiliated entities. the Razer Mako is a solid choice that’s worth its high price. With a full complement of integrated modules. But audio quality is enjoyable even when you’re not close by. his Sage ERP solution manages everything from Hobie Cat’s financials to operations to boat manufacturing. pleasant presence. which has two line-in connectors (both 3. thunderous audio. Inc.1-channel speaker set features THX-developed technology that employs down-firing drivers and uses desktop surfaces to disperse sound. all plug into the subwoofer. If you’re a gamer.—Tim Gideon Razer Mako $399 list l l l l m PROS Intriguing design.com/mako Handy inputs on controller KEEPING THE BOATS IN THE WATER AND THE FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT CUSTOMER MANAGEMENT PEOPLE MANAGEMENT Sage Software helps Bill Baldwin. For more: go. 16.5-pound subwoofer—all in all. All rights reserved. Multiple inputs. Very powerful output. it’s an attractive set. And it’s just one of our many software and service solutions for small and medium-sized ©2007 Sage Software. and the rumble from the subwoofer was clean and intense.5-by-12. if you watch movies on your PC.pcmag. as well as the wired controller. Booming low end.FIRST LOOKS CONSUMER ELECTRONICS RAZER MAKO Sweet and Powerful PC Sound This unique and pricey 2.

For more: go. from entry-level accounting and contact management software to end-to-end solutions encompassing accounting. It’s a solid performer with better-than-average earphones. But for $200. say. THAT’S SAGE 360º. The player manages to block out some low-frequency ambient noise. This Walkman produces some of the roundest bass I’ve heard on a player.com/nwzs718f FINANCES ON SOLID GROUND. CONS User interface is dull. installation. Mediocre video file support. For a fresh perspective on your business. but it also creates a higherfrequency hiss. CRM and HR. MP3. The tiny device—a viable competitor to the iPod nano—has a 1. but it’s nowhere near as strong what you get with. Sound quality is excellent. WMA. Noise reduction works only with the included earphones. the NWZ-S718F is ideal for airplanes and subways. and WAV for audio. If noise cancellation isn’t a must. where most of the noise exists in the lower ranges. While it’s not a masterpiece of design. All of which come with expert advice. customizable EQ. thanks to its excellent.8-inch.5mm headphones Sounds Great. Noise cancellation—this player’s claim to fame—isn’t bad. and it has the unique ability to reduce ambient noise. Earphones are better than the bundled earbuds of most players. Excellent sound quality. Cluttered with buttons.—TG Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F $200 list lllhm PROS Built-in noise cancellation.pcmag. you could save a couple of bucks on players from Creative or SanDisk and get better file support. 320-by-240-pixel display that’s bright and sharp. the Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F sounds terrific and comes with decent earphones. Compact design. MPEG-4 SP for video. there’s nothing to dislike about the Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F. training. Dampens Din Sony takes a commendable stab at noise cancellation with this compact 8GB PMP. File support is not a strong suit. Customizable EQ. . Bose’s QuietComfort 3 headphones. visit sage360. That said. plus ongoing service and support. the unit handles AAC. PAYROLL SERVICES PAYMENT SOLUTIONS INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC SOLUTIONS businesses.SONY WALKMAN NWZ-S718F Headphone jack accepts standard 3. and JPEG for photos.com/erp Your business in mind.

this Firefox beta gives me most of what I’ve wanted from Firefox for a long time. Most are minor. so I wouldn’t recommend running any of these on a system you care about. The window for organizing your bookmarks. You can also resize the search box in the upper right-hand corner. but what matters most is compatibility with JavaScript and other dynamic content in real-world Web pages. The Next Browser War New betas sketch out the battle lines. Right now. enhanced address-bar auto complete will display matching URLs even if you type a few letters from the middle. of a Web address. Very slow at times. you still can’t rename a bookmark from its right-click menu—you have to go to the full Properties menu instead. Downloading is another of the many frequent tasks the designers have made easier—the download window has a new pause button among its enhancements. When a page is already bookmarked. and searches has been augmented with full backup capability. All in all.5 have been released. That’s a tall order—those two goals can be at odds with each other—but these products manage it.FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1 Free PROS Better standards compliance. Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 beta 1 offers a feature called WebSlices—special areas of Web pages that can provide you with periodi- 44 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . Microsoft Internet Explorer 8. Good security features. and in that department all three have made real progress. but the fight is far from over. Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 The three betas all manage to display content from Web pages in ways that are unique but keep within public standards. the major contenders are field-testing prototypes of their upcoming weapons: Betas of Firefox 3. Firefox 3 The most mature of the three rival betas is Firefox 3 beta 5. New browsing conveniences. Seems to use vast quantities of system resources. Beta versions aren’t as stable as shipping versions. the new betas of the others probably won’t tempt you to switch. too. And—who knows?—you might even decide that the enemy is worth getting friendly with. Clicking on it lets you change some of the bookmark properties. One of the best ways to test questionable software is by setting up a virtual machine using VMware or the free Microsoft Virtual PC so that your main machine can’t get bitten by the inevitable bugs. CONS Plenty of crashcausing beta bugs. such as native Windows icons and interface widgets. rather than just the beginning. a gold star appears in the address bar. and bookmark management is a bit easier. which packs in hundreds of new features. though. of course. IE7 mode renders exactly the way the current browser does. but you’ll certainly get an idea of the enemy’s battle plans. Another new feature lets you set the browser so that clicking on an e-mail address opens a Web-based mail app like Gmail instead of a mail program like Outlook Express. Also. and Opera 9. All three seem to be trying variations on the same tactic—adhering more closely to open Web standards used everywhere on the Web. If you’re a diehard partisan of a particular browser. Each claims to do better on compatibility tests like Acid3. you have to manage bookmarks with two interfaces that have different sets of options. history. But items available on that menu are different from those in the Properties menu that appears when you right-click on the bookmark itself. but some significantly improve usability. By Edward Mendelson Microsoft may dominate the Windows browser battlefield. As a result. while introducing unique features you can’t get from any other browser. For example.

The Opera beta renders pages about as well as those of IE8 and Firefox 3. Of course. The implementation was a bit flaky. For more: go. and the WebSlice becomes a button on your Favorites bar. point-five release instead of a whole-number release is Opera. but it may be improved by the time you read this. Now if only the browser would provide a less cluttered and more logical interface—with. Opera 9. has spawned a huge number of add-ons). $39. open a mapping site and automatically show you the location of the highlighted address. When you highlight information on a Web page. the new Opera offers a notable usability enhancement: free bookmark syncing. Easier downloading. Mail module is weak on features and won’t work with some servers. Still. This feature gives you an account on Opera’s site that you can use to store bookmarks. translate with Windows Live.pcmag. Mostly standards compliant. for example.5 Beta 1 is a promising release that loyalists will appreciate. Web developers create slices simply by adding some standard Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) markup to a page. A similar third-party Firefox add-on exists.Firefox 3 Beta 5 Free PROS Enhanced address-bar auto complete. Clicking on it produces a menu of the applets you’ve installed. an Activities button appears. A new Activities feature lets you add capabilities to IE by installing applets that Web developers create. When the address is Redmond. Competing browsers have similar capabilities (Firefox. Click on it. Can resize search box. for instance—and an icon appears. and hovering over the button lets you see the new info. using identifying tags that other browsers will ignore until they build in support. . One of the best new capabilities lets you search the full text of all pages in the browser’s history list. such as a postal address. Professional. The button text turns bold when there’s an update. some things never change. . Hover over one of these areas—a Seattle weather report. in particular. Opera 9. CONS Two different bookmark interfaces.com/browserwar08 Home Edition. . JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 45 .95 direct PROS Fast. CONS Beta bugs in page rendering. Now you can enjoy the convenience of finding pages you’ve visited without having to remember exactly where they were. but Microsoft’s system is impressively easy to use and provides a simple mechanism that will make similar features more widespread. Still. When you’re on someone else’s machine—or using Opera Mini version on a mobile phone—you can then download your bookmarks. The browser also matches the support in IE7. Full-text search of history pages and lots of convenient features. and Firefox 3 for Extended Validation (EV) certificates (an additional level of security for banking and other such sites). free. IE8. for example. One of those might. mail accounts on the Mail menu and not on the Tools menu. opening the right-click Activities menu supplied with the beta offers me a chance to blog on Windows Live Spaces.5 Beta 1 cally updated information. but Opera’s solution is more elegant .5 The only one of the three that’s moving toward a minor. Opera 9. send with Windows Live Hotmail.

Aperture has a tiny edge. far more intuitive interface frees more screen real estate for images. and Photobucket. but for those starting from scratch on a Mac. You can’t associate photos with people. highly effective editing tools—all well within reach of even total novices. for example. which were already strong. and new enhancement tools coax the most out of images. For editing images uploaded to partners like Facebook. The new open architecture lets third parties write plug-ins. Also. If you’ve got a lot invested in the PC platform. Cheaper than Photoshop Lightroom. generally. Free. as well as users who don’t need fancy image-editing capabilities. this free Web site doesn’t provide professional-level image-editing capabilities. this Mac-only product now rivals the cross-platform Adobe Photoshop Lightroom. Actually. But features other photo sites offer are missing—the ability to print images or create photo books. Results from the overhauled RAW processing engine stack up against those of any rival. But it does offer a strong mix of intuitive. CONS No Curves tool. Image quality shows vast improvement. And though you can add information to photos. the excellent Auto Correct filter may be all you need. stick with Lightroom.pcmag. brightness. for example. the site is well implemented and rapidly evolving. as is the new Quick Preview—indispensable when sorting through a shoot. searching. and there’s still no Curves tool. I especially like the Retouch brush.FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE ADOBE PHOTOSHOP EXPRESS (BETA) Free Online Photo Editing and Sharing Unlike its namesake. Aperture 2. the site excels.—Galen Fott Create Web galleries to post to . and the program comes with a handy Dodge and Burn plug-in. Some quibbles: You still can’t zoom in and view the entire image at more than 100 percent. for example. Click on the saturation tool. Picasa.Mac accounts Aperture 2. the upload process is a bit cumbersome and restrictive. Though Adobe Photoshop Express is a few features and partnerships away from broad appeal. the site best suits the Facebook crowd. Excellent Facebook integration. Excellent RAW processing. Aperture’s photo-export options.pcmag. No magnified view of full images.1 eliminates the serious problems that afflicted its predecessor. and so on illustrate the emphasis on simplicity. For more: go. The new. have gotten better: The process now works in the background. CONS Latency in opening and closing files. and you’ll see six thumbnails of your photo at varying saturation levels—just pick one. the capability is limited. Some editing tools are missing. The controls for adjusting color. places.1 $199 direct llllm PROS Intuitive. this site doesn’t let you comment on photos. In the Apple universe. It also supplies 2GB of storage for images and rudimentary facilities for sharing them.com/psexpressbeta APERTURE 2. Can’t print images. and unlike flickr and Picasa.1 Powerful Photo Workflow Management for Macs This release transforms Apple’s professional/prosumer photo editor and manager into what it should have been all along. which toggles between Photoshop-style healing and cloning to repair and touch up details with seamless results. As configured.com/aperture2_1 46 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 .—Jan Ozer Adobe Photoshop Express (Beta) Free lllhm PROS Intuitive editing tools work well. General navigation and image searches are now fast. For more: go. or events. Speedy navigation.

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95 yearly llllh PROS Extremely accurate filter. Theoretically.0.pcmag. because blocking requires multiple reports from other members. webmailvia-POP3. it’s free for personal use. Pricier than near-identical iHateSpam 5.3 for Microsoft Outlook $39.3. unique messages from individuals will never be screened out. avast! antivirus 4. but the utility did a first-rate job of keeping malware from installing on a clean system. The attractive and simple user interface lets you choose from dozens of skins to change its appearance. $39.3 FOR MICROSOFT OUTLOOK The Silence of the Spams Junk e-mail beware: Cloudmark Desktop 5. CONS No scheduled scan. the higher your trust level rises and the more weight your ratings have—it’s a self-reinforcing system.8 offers to perform a boot-time scan.3 for Microsoft Outlook is the Hannibal Lecter of spam killers. rootkits.8 HOME EDITION Tough. but both versions offer the same powerful protection against viruses and spyware. avast! 4.com/avast4_8home . I’m really pleased to find a free antivirus and antispyware product that I can recommend.com/cloudmarkdesk AVAST! ANTIVIRUS 4. Blocks spyware installs very well.1 higher than the last release’s. It let just 2 percent of spam into the Inbox—better than most competitors—and it did all this without slowing the process of downloading mail. IMAP. Free Virus Killer Though its version number is just 0.pcmag. For more: go. Exchange. On detecting a threat in memory. Rubenking The secret to successful spam blocking Cloudmark Desktop 5.8 Home Edition Home Edition. the program blocks it for all other members. Real-world testing showed exactly that. Decent at removing existing malware.95 direct llllm PROS Free! Certified by independent labs for virus detection (but not cleanup). Its cleanup left behind the vast majority of nonexecutable files and Registry traces. This runs before Windows starts. Professional.FIRST LOOKS SOFTWARE CLOUDMARK DESKTOP 5.—NJR 48 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 An option lets you get trouble alerts remotely avast! antivirus 4. If enough community members (there are now over a million total) mark the same message. You can even get separate versions that support Outlook Express and Thunderbird. Guided by the community-based filtering Cloudmark pioneered. Handles POP3.—Neil J. Independent labs rate avast! 4.3. Leaves many Registry traces and nonexecutable files when cleaning up malware. and other nonvirus malicious software. The more your ratings match those of the community. Best of all. CONS Can’t filter webmail inaccessible via POP3. When any user marks a message as spam. free. In my testing against nonvirus malware threats. it scored almost as high as the top antispyware products. For more: go. The product didn’t flag a single personal e-mail as spam and mismarked only one newsletter out of hundreds. and valid newsletters will be blocked only if members mistakenly mark them as spam.3. so there’s no chance for malware to interfere. The utility also builds a Virus Recovery Database in the background to help with repair in case a virus gets loose on the system. the product ensnares most junk mail while marking virtually no valid messages as spam—and the program can filter any e-mail account the client can handle. For commercial use you must buy Professional Edition. Simple. skinnable user interface. the program sends a unique fingerprint of it to a central database Cloudmark keeps.8 Home Edition adds significant versatility: It now protects against spyware.8 as excellent at virus detection but not quite so good at cleaning up what it finds. which has more features.

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He received his Masters of Divinity and Ph. Acts. Lecture Titles 1. including The New York Times bestseller.95 (std. VA 20151-1232 ® n n n Exp. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Order before August 15. rather than one true God. If so many scriptures existed. 24-lecture Series in Audio or DVD I n the first centuries after Christ. About Your Professor Dr. About The Teaching Company We review hundreds of top-rated professors from America’s best colleges and universities each year. The Diversity of Early Christianity 2. Christians Who Would Be Jews 3. philosophy. including the Students’ Undergraduate Teaching Award and the Bowman and Gordon Gray Award for Excellence in Teaching. The Acts of Thomas 15. Formation of the New Testament Canon 22. that a malicious deity. What did these “other” scriptures say? Do they exist today? How could such outlandish ideas ever be considered Christian? If such beliefs were once common. Professor Ehrman has written or edited more than 15 books. fine arts. call us or visit the FAQ page on our website. The struggle for orthodoxy can be seen in both the New Testament and in central Christian creeds. and Apocalypses were widely read. Orthodox Corruption of Scripture 24. Gray Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Beginnings of the Canon 21. n FREE CATALOG. producing more than 3. Please send me a free copy of your current catalog (no purchase necessary). Early Gnostic Christianity—Our Sources 5. You will see how Christianity developed through its early and lost writings. Christians Who Refuse To Be Jews 4. Thomas’ Gnostic Teachings 10. processing. Bart D. Special offer is available online at www. From the many different scriptures then available.95) SAVE $185! plus $10 shipping. why do they no longer exist? These are just a few of the many provocative questions that arise in Lost Christianities: Christian Scriptures and the Battles over Authentication. or we will refund your money promptly.D. adult lifelong learners. while others were relegated to the status of footnotes to history.TEACH12. The Gospel of Peter 12. resembles the plot of a bestsellingadventure novel). there was no New Testament. You will explore the development of the New Testament into an approved canon of scripture. Producing large quantities of only the sale courses keeps costs down and allows us to pass the savings on to you. The Rise of Early Christian Orthodoxy 20. A Good Mystery Story This 24-lecture series is a richly rewarding learning opportunity for anyone interested in religion. created the world. Epistles. Early Christian Gnosticism—An Overview 6. From this extraordinary group we choose only those rated highest by panels of our customers. The Acts of Paul and Thecla 16. Consisting of 13 leather-bound volumes unearthed in an ancient grave by Bedouin camel drivers (the full story. Infancy Gospels 11. A major theme of this course is the struggle for orthodoxy—or right belief—among the various early Christian groups. Fewer than 10% of these world-class scholar-teachers are selected to make The Great Courses® . or as many as 30 gods. an Intriguing. If a course is ever less than completely satisfying. you may exchange it for another. We’ve been doing this since 1990. This also enables us to fill your order immediately: 99% of all orders placed by 2 pm eastern time ship that same day. You will witness the process by which certain Christian beliefs gained legitimacy. The Secret Gospel of Mark 13.95 (std. n DVD $69. The Coptic Gospel of Thomas 9. and Lifetime Satisfaction Guarantee n Audiotape $34. 12. 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they are part of a pre– personal-computing model in which a centralized mainframe ran all the programs and users sat at terminals. “Oh. You can download back episodes whenever you like. Because of onerous terms-of-service agreements.0 pundits have been promoting the death of shrink wrap and the success of its replacement. Imagine becoming dependent on one of your online apps and then watching the price quadruple just because the company knows you have no other choice.” and you must conclude that shrink wrap is dead. Call me old-fashioned. What’s to stop a smart multinational corporation from spying on its competition? A scandal is now brewing over Rupert Murdoch–owned companies allegedly involved in something like this. Powerful workstation/desktop computing is still the most efficient way to do things. I want a box with a disc and documentation. 7. With shrink-wrapped software. Here are some of them. and Web 2. 54 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 There are far too many instances of people who have been cut off from services for some perceived infraction. own it. they could just as easily be cementing more profits by pushing more—not less— shrink-wrapped software. THE NETWORK SUCKS. but I still subscribe to the notion that people like to buy pretty things. which are rife with problems. and subscription-based software. Online apps get upgraded Do you really think that “software on demand” is an effort by the software companies to make less money from you? Of course not. USERS HAVE NO SENSE OF OWNERSHIP. This is perhaps the worst aspect of online software. DVORAK LIVE ON THE WEB John’s Internet TV show airs every Wednesday at 3:30 ET on CrankyGeeks. IT’S NOT MERCHANDISABLE. This is the real 6. you’ll probably be at the remote site. Add to that all the old-fashioned downloadable 4. killer of online apps. you pay as you go. software that’s available. It’s a marketing scam. So why don’t they? Look at items 4 and 10 for the answer. INDUSTRIAL ESPIONAGE IS EASY. People have bookcases full of books they will never read again because they like the comfort of having possessions. and the software still works. 9. While people hate to talk about this. With SaaS.JOHN C. Who wants the U. Can you imagine editing a document online and tracking the changes from ten people? Cripes! Using the Internet to return to the old model of mainframe computing is a misuse of resources and a dead end. apps running over any network are subject to network congestion and outages. USERS HAVE NO CONTROL OVER VERSIONING. Forget snooping by the U. and it’s killing the network. Seriously. Online schemes deliver none of this comfort. SO DOES YOUR SOFTWARE. 5. and the newer software “in the cloud. These are the kinds of arguments Microsoft and others should make to those people inclined to dismiss shrink wrap in favor of online software. People like to own things such as books and boxes with discs in them. thin-client psychos.com. government.S. software on demand. ask yourself why you would want to do word processing on the Web. 10. No matter how sophisticated online initiatives sound. I never even bothered to put “performance” on the list above.S. Its only real appeal is the idea that there is a community on the Internet with you. IT’S TOO EXPENSIVE. THERE’S NO PROTECTION FROM GOVERNMENT SPOOKS. so you are stuck with changes whether you like them or not. I beg to differ. POTENTIAL FOR GOUGING. Does anyone really think that “software on demand” and “use only what you need” are efforts by the software companies to make less money from you? Of course not. . you buy the product. The temptation to do this is extreme. Online mavens. users have little recourse without a lot of work. known by its various buzzwords: software as a service (SaaS). DVORAK Ode to Shrink Wrap While Microsoft and other companies are eyeballing the latest marketing gimmicks. a shiny pen!” A box on a shelf with a sales pitch will sell more copies than a nebulous Web site renting you something. WHEN ONLINE SOFTWARE COMPANIES GO UNDER. First of all. out of business before any legal issue is resolved. 1. I have numerous discs from companies that went out of business. Shrink wrap has many advantages compared with online apps of any sort. USERS ARE SUBSERVIENT TO TERMS-OF-SERVICE AGREEMENTS.” 2. “I have to have this report done! What’s wrong with the network!?” “Fred is using BitTorrent. For my money. The whole notion of online software is a throwback. too). there is always the likelihood that the company selling you software as a service in the cloud will go out of business and you’ll have nothing but your backup data files (if you haven’t moved them into the cloud. I can deal with the rest myself. If your company is dependent on online software. I would have a field day doing commercials highlighting the frustrations you can experience running apps over the Internet. 8. government filtering everything you do? 3. and maybe even get your updates free. They’re marketing scams to make more money from you.

Dvorak’s

InsideTrack
Just as the market was beginning to make a shift to EV-DO and other wireless technologies for the cellular phone network, reports emerged that any sort of real load degrades service to an extreme. And these are expensive services to begin with. So now it seems that 802.11 is more important than ever, and that engineers may finally get the wireless broadband technology WiMAX to work correctly. How long will it take to deploy WiMAX in any meaningful way? Intel, the big proponent of the technology, is now dropping a whopping $500 million into the Japanese market in an effort to push WiMAX there. It would sure solve a lot of problems if it took hold. Meanwhile, since the iPhone invasion, people are doing more and more surfing on their phones. I cannot imagine how anyone can justify the monthly charges, but I guess people actually do believe that AT&T needs more money. I’ve noticed that if you are with a group of people there is always the one guy (or more in California) who will pull out the iPhone and surf the Net to find some obscure bit of information. Why aren’t we hearing more about next-generation WiFi? It’s as if everyone suddenly lost interest once the mobile phone providers began to confuse matters for everyone. Oh, and as a side note, a reader recently wrote to me after I complained bitterly about how I was paying Comcast $80 a month and getting a crummy 4 Mbps. It seems as if the various Wi-Fi routers cannot deliver the same speed as one another. I guess nobody has been testing for this anomaly. Passing the Torch Dept.: By this time next year, I do not expect eBay to own Skype. eBay’s expensive experiment in using Skype as a way for buyers and sellers to communicate free went nowhere. Most of the smart money thinks Google will eventually end up with Skype and all its users. You can be sure Google will figure out a way to make money from such a captive audience. It’ll probably dump Google Talk in the process. Podcasting Is Out Dept.: It seems as if everyone began to hate the term “podcasting” about a year ago. Normal people were just confused by the term. Unfortunately, it’s a term like “blogging.” Actually, blogging is worse. It’s an ugly word in every way, but there is no other way of describing the activity. The problem with trying to eliminate “podcasting” is that there is nothing else to call it. So I expect it to linger until it becomes part of the public lexicon. Disaster Waiting to Happen Dept.: I do not want to say that the American public is any more ignorant than any other society, so I won’t. The point is that we are not a nation of techies. With this in mind, how does anyone expect the 2009 switch from analog TV to digital TV to be anything but a disaster? It’s crazy. I’d bet even money that right now less than half the public knows anything about the switch, despite how many messages have been thrown in our faces. Heck, I suspect that less than half the public can name the current president of the United States! I can guarantee you that the average person on the street who just bought a new TV with a digital clock thinks it’s a digital TV. So what is going to happen when the TV signals are turned off overnight? Chaos and complaining, that’s what. Riots maybe? The switch should never have been planned this way. Analog and digital should coexist and transition with a slow pullback of analog over a couple of years. When color TV was introduced in the 1950s, the public took a long time to make the transition. Originally, the analog-to-digital shift was to take place a few years ago. If the transition process had begun seriously in 2006, we’d have had a better chance of making this work.
Funniest Thing I Heard All Month Dept.: So out of the blue Dell says it is going

to sell Windows XP until 2010. That’s when the company hopes to move customers to Windows 7, which just might be ready by then. (I doubt it, unless Windows 7 is just Vista repackaged.) Meanwhile, Microsoft says no to any XP sales after June of this year. Dell thinks it can preload XP on the machines it’s currently selling with Vista. The kicker is that the package is going to be called Vista Bonus. I guess the bonus is that it won’t run Vista. (Drum roll, maestro!) Microsoft Live Core Dept.: A rumor continues to circulate about a new Microsoft online operating system called Live Core. Ever since there were rumors floating around out there that Google and then Yahoo! were developing some sort of online OS, Microsoft got interested in the idea. If any company is going to do something like this, it will be Apple, which is already looking at the iPhone as the next great computing platform. Ironically, I talked up the “pocket computer” at least a decade ago and envisioned it as something similar to the iPhone, except that it would sync in a cradle and connect to a keyboard and big screen when not in portable mode. I imagine that such a device is not too far away. The iPhone is the closest I’ve seen so far to the ideal pocket computer. Curiously, I am not too interested in owning one myself. At least not yet.
WANT MORE DVORAK? John writes a weekly column for our

Web site, too. Log on to go.pcmag.com/dvorak. Or you can e-mail him at pcmag@dvorak.org.

JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 55

SASCHA SEGAN

Kill Stupid Media Formats
Sometimes there’s such a thing as too much competition. You see this in media formats. Usually for ego-driven reasons, people keep reinventing the wheel and end up just making life annoying for people peacefully trying to play or convert audio and video. I run into this problem all the time. I capture video with a camera phone or camcorder, download video through the Internet, or rip it from DVDs. Then after any editing or remixing, I try to put it out to a DVD, an iPhone, or my AppleTV. Most of Matroska container system. You might see these as OGG or MKV files. The sole purpose of these formats seems to be to show what an antiestablishment hacker you are. They were created by groups that are politically horrified that corporations are involved in the technology industry. To think! Corporations! Yet they have specialized features that maximize enjoyment of animated tentacle porn. (I am not lying.) I wouldn’t be so against them if their zealots had done any work at making them to standardized MPEG-4, and iTunes has always used relatively standard AAC for audio. Apple has one weak spot: lossless. Rather than using the perfectly acceptable FLAC, Apple has created its own lossless codec, ALC, which basically isn’t playable by anything other than iTunes. Ugh. Streaming media is another bastion of annoying proprietary formats. What’s the advantage of Flash and Real over streaming MP3 and MPEG-4? Oh yeah, it’s that they come with obnoxious proprietary players. I’m willing to give Adobe’s Flash a partial pass because Adobe has offered free players to everyone, but Real is a perfect case of using a proprietary format to force people to install obnoxiousware. Stupid DRM Media Formats It’s time for media copy protection to end. Pretty much everyone understands this, and it’s dying a slow and graceful death as folks come around. I have faith that Apple will shift away from DRM soon enough. But a few formats floating on the fringe really have to go. Sprint mobile phones, for instance, use an abomination called KOZ that exists only to prevent other players from reading the juicy AAC+ file within. The combination of vile DRM and stupid WMA brings out the worst in companies; Microsoft has announced that customers of the former MSN Music store will never be able to move their songs to new PCs because it’s closing the DRM service. DRM is part of the entertainment and software industry campaigns to eradicate “purchasing” in favor of “licensing,” so consumers end up owning nothing. But there’s a big difference between a format with any intellectual property involved and the hideousness that is “youdon’t-own-it” DRM. Face it, Ogg Vorbis zealots, you’re going to have to compromise—and that compromise is MP3/AAC.
GET MORE SASCHA For more of his views,

Microsoft is the leader in creating entirely pointless proprietary media formats. WMA and WMV must die, immediately. They’re as stupid as Sony’s ATRAC3.
the time, Nero or one of the Videora conversion programs does the trick, but periodically I run into trouble. In a perfect fantasy world, there would be three media formats and one container. MP3 covers lossy music, FLAC covers lossless music, and MPEG-4 covers video. Wrap your video in an MP4 container, and you’re good to go. Each of those formats has many options, so this combination gives you much more flexibility than it seems at first glance. H.264 and AAC+, for instance, are both part of the MPEG-4 standard. The key here is “standard”— something that has been agreed on across the industry. Most stupid media formats are pushed by some group with an agenda, and the group’s agenda is what keeps these annoying formats existing, brain-munching zombie–like, into the future. Sure, they all make claims about being higher quality, but that’s not what’s really driving them. In my mind they fall into three categories. Stupid Elitist Media Formats Ogg Vorbis, Theora, and the entire
56 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008

easy to use. Instead, they require hardto-find, buggy open-source programs for encoding and decoding. Often the command line is involved. They will break most commercial video software because, you know, commercial video software is controlled by the Man—fight the power! Fortunately, you are likely to run into this stuff only when downloading ripped TV programs off BitTorrent. At that point, the pain and annoyance you are experiencing is merely karma, you evil, evil pirate. Stupid Proprietary Media Formats Microsoft is the leader in creating entirely pointless proprietary media formats. WMA and WMV must die, immediately. They exist solely to concentrate control in Microsoft’s hands, and as such, they are as stupid as Sony’s now-dead ATRAC3. AAC does everything WMA does, but whereas AAC is a widely accepted standard, WMA is entirely controlled by Microsoft. Apple, shockingly, has been pretty good about avoiding stupid media formats recently, with one exception. It’s been moving from stupid MOV video containers

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This year was no different. eventually. and an electronic nose that will sniff out rotten food for you. without which many of these technologies could die on the vine in a few years. finding technology projects under way at the big companies and university labs that mimic or enhance the human senses. We saw a pattern early on. Perhaps most amazing. to both science-fiction aficionados and the evergrowing numbers of war victims. 58 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 Illustration by Mondolithic Studios . we are thinking about our gadgetry-filled future as well. a vision system for your car that will help you see through thick fog. phones. Naturally. It’s not all about the senses. They include an innovative touchpad that will let you control your future mobile device from the back.FUTURE TECH Seven Technologies That Will Touch Your Life The future will be a feast for the senses. because often the coolest technology is going to take a long. of course. and even smell for us. Researchers are trying to find the next great material for microprocessors. and we present a look at the possibilities for what tech toys such as laptops. By Eric Griffith JOHNS HOPKINS & DEKA Robotic Prosthetic Arm UC BERKELEY 60 E-Nose MICROSOFT RESEARCH 60 LucidTouch MIT MEDIA LAB 64 Graspables CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY 64 Computer Vision Systems GEORGIA TECH 66 Machine Hearing Silicon’s Successor FUTURE FIRST LOOKS 67 68 256-Processor Laptop Morphing Mobile Gadget Dynamic Digital Camera 61 65 67 Each year when we talk to the leading research labs for our future tech story. by direct input from the brain. Turn the page and prepare to enter the future. with breakthroughs that enhance computers’ ability to hear. we learn new things. and cameras may become by 2020. long time to reach perfection. see. are new artificial limbs controlled by existing nerve endings and. some stunning and some almost heartbreaking.

.

That’s not small potatoes: $75. Getting direction two-year phase. The process in two years. DEKA’s project manpossible movements. The researchers actuate unused muscles to control an artiout true rot could eliminate for dangerous gases found that a number of ficial hand and fingers. these new Laboratory (APL). manlimbs could interface aging a team of over 30 with the brain itself. more bells and whistles. movement—degrees of ally brain control—of artificial though. the their prosthetics because to the wrist. is a neural interfreedom in engineerUC BERKELEY limbs. after all.” DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics such electronic-nose after Luke Skywalker.” Johns Hopkins UniverHarshbarger says. which will benefit not only soldiers but also anyone with a missing arm.JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY & DEKA RESEARCH Robotic Prosthetic Arm don’t have muscles available. we can’t sense. IMES should go to the FDA for istan. He says there’s even real arm. It’s a method developed at Northprinted polymers will detect general idea goes back Patient comfort is food spoilage and dangerous western University and the Rehabilitation odors. The Luke Arm has a dynamic socket that can adjust. Harshbarger says APL’s goal for its artificial limb is to have it settle into a manufacturing cycle similar to those of digital cameras or phones. the bottles in your wine collection may calls complete. The packaging will know what’s rotalso created with a team of organizations gers but can actually do both at once. But the much higher level of performance brought about by the new technologies will at last make it feel like money well spent. E-nose 60 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . face strategy. and the The Empire Strikes Back. your refrigerator or even ager. but the price stays about the same. ESTIMATED ARRIVAL CliniSomeday soon. 2009 (RP 2009) program. “I think Dean Kamen (famed as we’ll see a highly dexterthe creator of the Segway ous limb system in the Personal Transporter). So the limbs hurt to wear. Rick Needham. We appreciate them having the vision to do that. Needham gives a lot of credit to DARPA and Colonel Geoffrey Ling. and dexterity as a bad. They’re amputees don’t even use ESTIMATED ARRIVAL “For someone who lost his arm closer Minimum of five years for used by hospitals. for creating this project.” Needham says. single-use is the next generation pressure because they’re products. controlling an artificial hand. already of the brain could be the in clinical trials. DEKA Research. manufacturing transition came up with one. are modROBOTIC ARM only option for an ampuular marvels of engineerMAJOR INNOVATION Direct tee who also has a spinal ing that offer far more neural control—and eventuinjury. ods of control. such as s p e a k— t h a n to d ay ’s WHY IT MATTERS Will provide limb replacements IMES. typically have only three with missing limbs.” He wants these new limbs to cost no more when manufactured and fitted than an artificial limb costs today. product waste. which for injured soldiers and others invasive. “If you attached so tightly. maybe earlier what big breakthrough They create constant art Harshbarger. has another. the limbs can E-NOSE (e-nose) technology who gets a fully funcinterface directly with an amputee’s nerve has been around for tional artificial hand in endings through targeted muscle reinnerMAJOR INNOVATION Cheap several years. ten the same way you do: by taking a whiff and is designed to handle multiple methPerhaps more miraculously. systems integrator and for expensive. DEKA’s prototype was bending an elbow and manipulating findate. with manufacturing in 2010. but design the “Luke Arm. “DARPA stepped up and made resources available to make this happen. you go to the It’s been two years since the Defense peripheral nerve itself. and NASA. says Stucal packaging. The initial goal. That means as many as 25 degrees you’re dealing with food or pharmaceuthe potential for permanently attaching a of freedom working in conjunction. sity Applied Physics Eventually.” Advanced Research Projects Agency APL places injectable myoelectric sen(DARPA) sought out ideas for creating sors (IMES) into the flesh to look for the upper-extremity prosthetics for a new electrical activity in a muscle contraction generation of amputees—especially those and uses it to control the prosthetic arm returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanwirelessly. run by inventor approval soon. The goal is an artificial cal trials by 2009. a new generation comes out with new capabilities. but looser if the person isn’t using the limb. more pixels. vation. that’s minimally artificial limbs. what everyThe two groups have one envisions going back had a friendly competo The Six Million Dollar tition during the first Man.000 by the time a clinician fits the prosthesis. DEKA calls its artificial limb DEKA and APL enter the next phase of Hard to believe. as both to see if it stinks. rather than tossing everything out prosthesis to the patient’s skeletal system. so the ticals. intuilimb with the same size. inform you when its contents have gone tive brain control the weight.000 to $100. “Every couple of years. patient doesn’t have to choose between based on an arbitrary best-if-ingested-by Much like APL’s. It is. decades. a contracted organizations goal that both DEKA and like a virtual corporation. The new from the motor cortex limb prototypes. It’s the preferable method when researchers’ holy grail. there are more options” for consumer and pharmaceutimilitary. APL are working toward. becoming tighter when the user is lifting something and extra support is needed. team leader with the APL group. the manager of RP 2009. Commercial a major design goal for Institute of Chicago to let nerve signals WHY IT MATTERS Sniffing e-noses today check DEKA.

FUTURE FIRST LOOKS

The 256-Processor Laptop
In 2020, only techies will care about the technology in their laptops. Most users will never even think about it, because laptops will have so much processing power and the Internet cloud will offer so much storage. What will matter is style. Here’s the vision of Lenovo’s Howard Locker, Master Inventor and Chief of Strategic Technology. • Bendable, thin slate folds up to slip into pocket. • Screen usable outdoors. • 6G, always-on, wireless connectivity reaches 550 Mbps. • Thin, light battery lasts 5 to 7 days. • 256-core processor is essentially a data center cluster on your lap. • Touch screen and voice recognition; virtual keyboard with tactile feedback for serious content creation. • Thin, light, 300-pixel-per-inch OLED screen rolls out to any size you want. • Very light, strong material, even better than titanium. Entire system weighs half a pound.

of digital sniffers poised to make? First, they’re going to use printed organic polymers made with modified ink jet printers. Second, those polymers are going to make e-noses incredibly cheap compared to today’s, which cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars. Vivek Subramanian, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at UniverIllustrations by Mondolithic Studios

sity of California, Berkeley, says his team of Ph.D. candidates—most of whom are involved in interdisciplinary studies across fields of chemistry, material science, and electrical engineering—build the polymer printers themselves and print with them all the time. Just don’t expect to buy an e-nose that can smell all 10,000 odors the human nose can sense any time soon. The trick is to

teach it what to detect. “I know what I want to smell. I want to smell spoilage. So I have a specific e-nose for that spoilage,” says Subramanian. It’s all about recognizing a rotten-smelling pattern. He cautions that we’re a long way off from e-noses sniffing out specifics, like drugs—or worse. “For bomb sniffing,” he says, “you need partsper-trillion detection. That’s really hard.” So Homeland Security should probably
JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 61

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Imagine a game or phone that lets you use your fingers for input on a gesture pad behind the screen. How does LucidTouch deliver this pseudo-transparency to the screen on a handheld? The prototypes use a cumbersome camera-boom attachment that points at the user’s fingers. the director of the MIT Consumer Electronics Laboratory. Yet the user still needs to see his fingers to stay in control. We always want devices smaller. Patrick Baudisch hatched the idea for LucidTouch after finding his finger blocked the view of his touch screen.. “Users instantly understand what it means. which are then rendered on screen. Even with your fingers hidden. Baudisch has worked closely with Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs (MERL) on LucidTouch—so closely that at least one MERL researcher has recently joined MSR. on the outside of the food container. you see a finger where your fingers are. LucidTouch could even become the foundation for a keyboard/mouse interface to use with any device. You touch the back side. very conservative. Subramanian thinks the best e-noses will someday combine several different methods to make individual sensors that respond to different smells by mixing and matching different types of scent pattern recognition. because expiration dates are. The Bar of Soap is an example of what Bove calls graspables: “things that could be handheld—a steering wheel. The output signal indicating whether the food inside is spoiled could be sent via radio frequency. Now we’ll just replace colors with sensors. Exactly what a user will do with all those fingers is still up in the air. Even the fattest fingers can work without blocking the screen. It remains to be seen what works best for users. Other researchers are working on using nanoparticles to print even more sensitive polymers. under the direction of Professor V. His vision for a commercial e-nose is a piece of plastic made of a low-cost polymer with circuits printed on it. a camera when you hold it to your eye. by necessity. Since a transparent finger is out of the question until Microsoft develops invisibility.” says Baudisch. Baudisch’s dream for LucidTouch goes beyond text-entry on mobile devices. so the A key is still under the left pinky. all at once. Luckily. portable games. It’s like having eight mouse cursors under your control. It would connect to a little signal processor.” LUCIDTOUCH MAJOR INNOVATION Turns useless space on the back of handhelds into input surfaces. we get fingers out of the way. a baseball. you see the document on screen. Baudisch calls the digital silhouette that makes a LucidTouch appear see-through pseudotransparency. Jr. Taylor is a graduate student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. probably running off a printable battery. Subramanian guesses that a large amount of food is tossed every day that is not even close to bad. Michael Bove. and would change color to indicate the finger is touching the pad on the back. Ultimately. It’s like touching the front. The research team has tried LucidTouch with an on-screen keyboard worked by just the index fingers. Naturally. plus a standard QWERTY interface with the layout rotated.” he says. e-noses used in warehouses would have RFID tags.” He foresees a future where objects all around us are aware of how they’re . A change of color in the plastic polymer would indicate the contents’ status. specifically how to overcome 64 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 screen-size limitations. from the tiniest phone to the most powerful PC. and a game device when you grasp it on either side. Controls on the back means a user’s finger size is out of the equation. he’s one of four researchers in the Adaptive Systems and Interaction research group at Microsoft Research (MSR). And with the addition of filters and smoothing technology. whatever—that knows how you’re grasping it. but smaller touch screens are inherently less useful. multi-finger controls could be useful for the disabled. Baudisch decided that the back of the device is the perfect location for a touch interface. you know what you’re doing because they’re silhouetted on the front screen—as if the device itself were transparent. a prototype handheld built by Brandon Taylor. Where? On the flipside.” he says. WHY IT MATTERS Multi-finger touch control could drastically alter interaction with phones. “The e-nose is a wonderful match for printing. MIT MEDIA LAB Graspables Imagine a handheld gadget that’s a phone when you put it to your ear. A single gadget that changes function on the fly based on how you hold it is the idea behind the Bar of Soap. Those sensors will eclipse what’s available today. That kind of waste could go away for good with the right e-noses in place. A colored dot on the screen indicates the exact interaction point for each finger. The secret is to get just enough data from the sensor to indicate locations of the fingertips. he’s in a position to do something about it. adding that pseudotransparency is so intuitive that there’s no need to explain what’s going on to a new user. Since 2006. Imagine using backside controls on a PlayStation Portable for a real-time strategy game. and other mobile devices. ESTIMATED ARRIVAL 2009 MICROSOFT RESEARCH LucidTouch Microsoft researchers are closely examining what they consider a staggering amount of wasted space on handheld devices. a set of capacitor sensors or optical sensors could do the trick. especially those with motor disabilities such as Parkinson’s disease. The dot could be as small as a pixel. “By interacting with the back side.keep training dogs. His focus for the last few years has been mobile device interaction. “You print multiple materials everyday at home to get colors in photos.

unfolds to reveal keyboard. It can distinguish when it’s used as a phone rather than. The Bar of Soap records how it is used to determine how a population holds the unit in phone (or camera.” Inside the rudimentary prototype. a remote control (another function built into the Bar of Soap prototype.” Naturally. serving not only as your communicator but also as your environmental sensor. touchpad. like carpal tunnel syndrome. • Nano-structured surface is selfcleaning. • Nanotech-based fiber mesh is flexible. and adjust itself to compensate. Illustrations courtesy of Nokia Outside it has a touch screen and is covered with 72 capacitive sensors that detect the hands holding it. • Can be worn on wrist. quick-charge battery. you would want such a device to adapt to the particular way you hold it. stretchable. • Built-in solar absorption charges the device. not everyone holds a product the same way. an object you’re holding could recognize when it’s aggravating a medical condition. • Elasticity lets it change shape. • Made of biodegradable materials.FUTURE FIRST LOOKS The Morphing Mobile Gadget Your mobile phone of the future will be a constant companion. being used. it will harness solar energy and be self-cleaning (thanks to integrated nanotechnology). • Repels water. multi-function device. Naturally. or gaming) mode. • Small. transparent. an accelerometer measures how the device moves.” says Bove. watch the video at go. and strong. fingerprints. not even a phone. But that’s just skimming the surface. “We trained users to hold it in different ways. That’ll be easier when the hardware JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 65 . To see the full-blown vision of engineers at Nokia and the University of Cambridge Nanoscience Center. For example. thin. “and saw what orientation it was in for different modes of use. Or when you pick up a mug. Obviously. “It has fairly sophisticated pattern recognition for a cheap device. • Transparent electronics offer new aesthetic dimension. your Second Life avatar also picks up a mug. • Integrated sensors inform user of pollution and chemicals. • Folds up to fit in pocket. along with a PDA and some games). say.com/nokiavideo. dirt.pcmag . Taylor calls the initial Bar of Soap a “mode-sensing. display.” says Taylor.

The technolthe images. Taylor points out. phone. 66 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . Rather ing. With this device. the scanning lights and cameras can In a car. such as focus of his research. not just a multifunction handheld.” he says. to minimize backscatterresearch is scene reconstruction. He thinks the Bar of Soap is just the first step. Could provide safety is working on the proa foggy scene with a features for future intelligent gramming to make this flood light. much later for the program to show differand all contrast is lost. Or it knows you’re making a phone call. help car drivers and airplane pilots see through fog. Removing fog might Narasimhan has made not seem as intriguing. world. a specialized LED would be the mist. “Light up the sea. the obscured. but he Real-time display of a scene from Forrest is already taking cloudy. you can’t drive capture a full 3D representation of what is in deep fog with your high beams on. however.” He readogy could also be useful ily admits that “the two for filmmakers who find problems [adding fog to their location shoots computer images and plagued by inclement removing fog from realweather. WHY IT MATTERS With enough information. driving on a foggy (or Exploration and safety snowy. There was a time before Xbox 360s and Visibility naturally makes a difference in quad-core gaming systems when adding driver safety. obscured objects. ent patterns.cmu equal complexity. but a laser could work ing mediums” for visual purposes. It just knows. ceive their movement as slower than it is. PDA. “You don’t need five pounds of Unobtainium to build this. In the same everything. It doesn’t bother you with irrelevant other stuff. ESTIMATED ARRIVAL Underhappen. The journal Nature That screen on your Toyota Prius may reported a decade ago that drivers tend someday do more than show your mileage to speed up while driving in fog.” AddMAJOR INNOVATION .cs. In the real says Narasimhan.CARNEGIE MELLON UNIVERSITY is seeded with a large data set of variations of how it can be used. A camera can then take the results to than just providing a glimpse of what’s make a clear image. in currently use projectors.” up that’s far more useful says Srinivasa Narasimthan sonar. about weather modifiPilots of jets and submacation. intelligent transportabut what if you could tion systems in more remove fog from a realthan just cars a primary life scenario. obscuring camera into a weather meter. and the footage. ahead. an assistant profesheld vision systems for sor at Carnegie Mellon firefighters and miners University. Gump in which a rainobscured images and WHY IT MATTERS Could storm is removed from making them clear. than just darkness) are “You take the fog from possible. but it’s not as if drivers can fog-like visual effects to video games was always wait out fog or rain. ESTIMATED ARRIVAL With corporate interest.edu/~srinivas) includes ing fog is easier. It could show you what’s the lack of visual cues makes them perhiding ahead in the mist. And handhan. Fog. “You don’t take rines will get a visual leg the fog away for real. explains that you have to scan light across One of the offshoots of Narasimhan’s a scene instead. That’s why fog lights are usuway a person can glance at a street lamp ally low and close to the road. because in a fancy graph. Th e key i s i n t h e submarines explore under Narasimhan’s group illumination. He as well.” says Bove.” The MIT Media Lab has shown lots of industry sponsors this first graspable and discussed its possibilities. or rainy) road? will be enhanced both in We’re not talking flight and under the sea. The professor’s world images] are not of VISION SYSTEMS Web site (www. they worst thing you can water in a year or two. Most people don’t want to do much to change from one function to another. This is almost inexcusable. somewhat GRASPABLES MAJOR INNOVATION A device’s function—camera. Another spin-off is turning the light just saturates the fog. That’s the transportation systems. and water are considered “scattersimplest light to use. For lights. This is potentially quite close to market. that users who didn’t get the function they wanted with the prototype adapted the ways they held it to bring up different functions. but no products are on the horizon yet. considered a big deal. trains. where he (or anyone entering an teaches computer vision area obscured by more and graphics systems. game—is determined by the way it’s held. within a year or two. because the Bar of Soap prototype doesn’t involve any new or special technology—just the smarts to utilize it. “The next jump will be the graspables idea in different geometries. Taylor will have graduated by the time this sees print. for example. “We wanted to see how people hold things and how it carried across different users. “you don’t have to go to a camera menu. a device can learn to conform to the user’s needs instead of the user adapting to the device. It uses principles feasible for products right now.” car companies. having completed his thesis on—what else?—graspables and usage pattern recognition.” Computer Vision Systems below the fog level. and planes in which they can easily scattered [reflected] five years. do because it’s backbuses. “The algorithms and components are available now.

With sponsors like DARPA. Commercialization of the technology is limited not by the technology but by the marketing. • Optical viewfinder is eliminated. it’s been good enough to differentiate background noise JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 67 . and expanded dynamic range. and the National Science Foundation. including human speech. Hearing doesn’t require as much power as listening. and wireless links will transform how we view photos. if we’re going to really try to mimic human performance in certain tasks. • Designed like an ergonomic game device. says Narasimhan.000 pixels. we need more computing power. and he or she understands you just fine. you’ve learned that they don’t work well in a noisy environment. dropped words— all of that is relatively simple for a human to decipher. Working with colleague Paul Hasler. • Advanced. Anderson has been experimenting with ultra-low-power processors with analog audio inputs to handle “machine hearing. the Office of Naval Research. however. Here’s what John Knaur. a flexible acrylic lens will change shape to focus images. Replacing the glass lens. The design—ergonomic and colorful—will give little hint of the smarts inside.FUTURE FIRST LOOKS The Dynamic Digital Camera In a dozen years. senior product manager at Olympus.” Using just 5 to 30 microwatts of power. but that doesn’t mean the car companies—which have fog lamps to sell—will jump on it. Not so for a computer. Distorted speech. better color and contrast. • LCD flips out and rotates 360 degrees. hooded LCD shows the picture directly. • Display resolution is above 900. Illustrations by Mondolithic Studios GEORGIA TECH Machine Hearing If you’ve ever worked with speech recognition programs.200 shots per charge. in the rain and know it’s raining outside based on the halo around the light. “Fog lamps help psychologically. has in mind. he’s safe in knowing his research is in the clear for the foreseeable future. but they’re not as safe. a vision system could immediately determine the exact amount of precipitation. camera design will have changed radically to appeal to a young generation weaned on tech toys. reducing camera size significantly. low-power CMOS sensor for less noise. • Advanced on-board photo-editing software. • Battery delivers 1. • High-resolution. • Flexible acrylic lens changes shape to focus images.” says David Anderson. For example. • Carbon fiber for a very light yet extremely rugged body. • Connects wirelessly to PC or Internet cloud for upgrades and to HDTV and photo frame for photo transfer. associate professor for Digital Signal Processing and Computer Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “I realized.” he says. Say the same thing to a person in the same environment. however. car headlights that work with an intelligent transportation system may be ready in five years. the team has managed to perform signal analysis on a variety of sounds. While the technology isn’t as flexible as the human ear.

recognized parts of a signal with output weighted and combined to make what the computer hears far more accurate. The problem is. Anderson hopes that techniques similar to those used in enhancing computer images will help. Silicon can’t keep up. “But you pay a ESTIMATED ARRIVAL Star PC.” says de Heer. Is de Heer bullish on graphene? He is when he says it “overcomes a lot of show-stopping problems found with silicon. no one has figured it out. like those already used in current silicon fabrication labs (fabs). The machine needs to hear us before it can understand. time is difficult. and you can go down to nanometers or smaller—and it still works. “There’s no question in my mind that it’ll take ten years to develop these technologies.” Trek–esque voice recognition takes hours to get results. Machine hearing isn’t the same as speech Using field-programmable analog arrays recognition. the betmurmuring in the corridors. his enthusiasm is tempered by a desire to avoid hype. Surveillance listening is five to eight years out. You won’t see constant processor improvement within the next 10 years.” says de Heer. Still. De Heer took another look at the BEYOND NONTUBES flat carbon sheet—called graphene— Walter de Heer with a and calculated that instead of rolling it into tubes. however. It may even be suitable for quantum electronics. gun shots. Georgia Tech physics professor Walter de Heer describes it this way: “Moore’s Law is coming to an end in a decade or so. something smaller than silicon that can still handle all the hard work it takes to be a modern transistor. “the problem of connecting nanotubes and putting them where we want is eliminated. . Photo: Gary Meek . to get the lithography to the point of making devices that are comparable to silicon devices. He estimates that graphene can be 100 times faster than silicon and may one day hit terahertz range. Anderson claims end processing. because the brain doesn’t have just one way of understanding what’s going on. “After ten years working with nanotubes. yet it still sometimes price of power. carbon nanotubes were heralded as the solution.” Of course.” says de Heer. Anderson says there’s a equipment that’s little more than a microphone and a machine better way: “We always try to emulate the hearing chip can listen for specific events: brain. “It’s been very effective to such a sensor could run on an AA battery reduce noise without distorting speech. the chip alerts a security copies the masters to understand the artistic techniques used. nanotubes are difficult to turn into chips. Getting a traditional speech recognition program to handle multiple features and methods of analysis is difficult—if not impossible—with today’s software and hardware. there’s a graphene chip.” Work continues in other labs on carbon nanotubes and other potential silicon Georgia Tech’s replacements. All those ter the results get. The actual recognition of what’s said. the more far-out applications— such as the Star Trek–esque computer voice recognition we all crave—are still years away. Anderson considers the noises can be differentiated. Nanotubes are made from rolled up sheets of carbon.” for a year or two. A small solar cell might says Anderson. it doesn’t heat up as much.” from what should be heard. A silicon carbide crystal is heated in a vacuum furnace until the surface is converted to epitaxial graphene.” The more the team emulates the breaking glass. but he says graphene is the horse to bet on. Today. Then the fun begins. Making graphene is more complicated than simply scribbling with a pencil lead on paper. It’s done with microelectronic lithography techniques. doing full of advanced digital sigMAJOR INNOVATION Mixing signal analysis of speech nal processors that work low-power analog input with a computer hears in real with analog input. or passers-by gray matter with the computer.” The secret is in the cutting. “[Digianalysis of sound. Because the signals out of background noise using frontinput uses so little power. With graphene strips. the goal remains to figure out how to teach a computer to analyze audio in the same way a human brain does. the resources of a single Anderson. he could cut it into narrow strips with the same properties. he and his team go together like puzzle have created prototypes MACHINE HEARING pieces. “It’ll be really hard. Graphene isn’t an instant panacea. “Every year. . More current can go through it. new scheme. At the same time. but the two (FPAAs).” he says. It could take thousands or millions of hours to train a system with enough samples for that kind of recognition. Once a specific team’s efforts akin to those of a painter who sound is detected. His team at the school’s own microelectronic fab has developed a way to do just that. Most tal is] predictable and WHY IT MATTERS Security analysis is done using all easy to program. keep it going indefinitely. . who worked with nanotubes in the 1990s. providing a signal boost based upon small. Chip technology won’t grow every 18 months as it has for 20 years. program. “You can tailor any shape. While some simple applications of the machine hearing chip are already up and running. A brain can understand a word or senOne of the integrated circuits is a noisesuppression chip that can extract speech tence even if a signal or sound is partially 68 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 obliterated. is another matter. only a single atom thick. All it needs is a new material. For years. the chip industry isn’t doomed. You can’t just take scissors to a two-dimensional sheet of graphene.” says and voice recognition will be the first apps to benefit.Finding Silicon’s Successor in a Pencil Tip It’s no secret to chipmakers that a big change is coming. A molecule-thick layer is peeled off with tape.

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By Michael Muchmore It’s like exercising. too. it’s a fairly safe method. Yes. even though 50 percent have lost important data in the past. But are you really going to go through the disc-swapping motions every time you modify a file? The answer. It’ll take a little bit of setup time. If you keep the discs off-site. the right combination of hardware and software can protect them. but less than you might think. If you don’t have many files to back up.BUYING GUIDE STORAGE Keep Your Data Safe Those 1s and 0s you spend all your time creating are fragile. They’re just one keystroke. one tiny surge of electricity away from annihilation. Fortunately. but far less than it would INSIDE 72 External Hard Drives 74 Home NASs 76 File and Folder Backup 77 Online Backup 78 Drive Imaging Illustration by David Plunkert JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 71 . burning DVDs is economical and handy. the first thing that comes to mind (after “I really ought to do that”) is probably burning data to CDs or DVDs. is a resounding no. You know you should do it. most modern computers have optical burners. Why not implement a system that keeps your data backed up all the time? You’ll have to spend a little bit of money. Optical media was the logical follow-on to floppy disks for personal data backups. Why? Because if you mention backup to most people. given the statistics mentioned above. too. A recent Harris Interactive poll found that 35 percent of consumers neglect to make backup copies of digital content stored on their computers. and music collection. but you put it off. I’m talking about backing up your important documents. one dropped drive. Or flossing. digital photos.

What we recommend. you can reconstruct your backup from those that remain. keep a hard drive in a safety deposit box. If you’re willing to commit the cash and time. You’ve got plenty of options when it comes to storage hardware. desktop. are third-party apps—there are plenty of great ones for backing up selected files and folders. Time Machine will ask if you want it to be a Time Machine backup drive. and data. and Ultimate include disaster-recovery 72 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 backup. using the same 2. they’re bus-powered—they get their current through the Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop . try an online backup service. in case a more widespread disaster strikes. You could just trust yourself to remember to drag a copy of important docs to the backup every time you create or modify them. portable. Just plug in a drive and. sooner or later you’ll forget. We’ve rounded up 33 of them here. These start at a mere $20. and the countless settings you’ve made to each product so that it functions the way you want. and that’s when the Big Crash will occur. and multidrive—suited to the backup needs of consumers and users in small or midsize businesses. the best safety strategy is to keep a backup of your data off-site. Hard drives were simply too expensive—and on a cost-per-GB basis. By Joel Santo Domingo In the ancient days of personal computing. so if one drive bites the dust. that painstakingly perfected résumé. they’re compact. and services.BUYING GUIDE STORAGE take you to retype even a single important document—say. Instead. The Hardware You’ll Need First of all. including the applications. as they say. You can. You’ll find reasonable deals in all the categories of external units—portable. any drive is. The basic solution is an external drive. while eliminating the hassle of labeling. Vista Business. but they can restore your entire system from the ground up—the data. but. but you’re not going to do daily updates. wherever they might be. On the Vista side. “The road to data-loss hell is paved with good intentions.” The point is. Second. but it also will give you several times the flexibility. and keeping track of media. you need a good app to make it work. of course. You then use the Mac’s interface to recover lost files or use your OS X DVD as a disaster-recovery tool if your internal hard drive stops working. it’s a little more complicated. however. Expanding waistlines and incipient gingivitis might be problems insoluble by modern technology. but drives in the class we call portable can be defined by two features: First. or even all files of a particular type. more cumbersome methods make sense? Portable Hard Drives Of course. your OS and applications. CD-Rs or DVD-Rs. which lets you recover everything on a devastated drive. You’ll find drive-imaging software for as little as $0. the only economical way to back up your data was on floppy discs. you can have a bulletproof system that will reduce the chance of your data being destroyed to nearly nil. And why should you? These days.5 (Leopard) include backup utilities. These programs use a lot of space. does using slower. which backs up everything on your internal hard drive to external storage automatically. one that connects to your PC via USB or FireWire. The Software That Makes It Work Once you’ve chosen your storage gear. consider also occasionally enlisting a drive-imaging app. Finally. If you’ve got the bandwidth. Enterprise. software. But do you really want to be sitting in front of your PC for two days straight trying to fit the contents of your desktop’s 250GB drive onto 400 CDs? Yeah. look beyond the disc burner— you’ll need some additional hardware. you’ll need to lay out a little more cash for a network-attached storage (NAS) box that everyone on your local network can back up to. OS. to some extent. Mac OS X has Time Machine. Multidisk NAS boxes also offer RAID functionality that lets you back up your backups. maybe. If you have a lot of data to protect. DVDs and CDs still win out. If you want complete protection. If you want to secure your whole network. Your OS may already have some help built in: both Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.5-inch mechanisms found in most notebook PCs—hence the other moniker they’re sometimes known by: notebookclass drives. Vista Home Basic and Premium include only a simple documentbackup utility. me neither. for about $50 a year you can keep your important files on someone else’s server farm and not worry about the hardware. some external hard drives cost as little as $60. External Hard Drives Did your internal drive get fried? No problem—if your data is backed up to an external drive that’s stashed somewhere safe. “He who chooses to act as his own backup software has a fool for a client. but keeping your data safe isn’t.” Or. and later. A good one will cost several times the price of a spindle of DVDs (our least-expensive Editors’ Choice runs $120). however. filing. as long as it’s formatted in the Mac’s native HFS+ format.

At 3.5-inch devices. uses two 2. would give you about 380GB of protected storage. come with FireWire and eSATA connectors in addition to the usual USB 2.200 rpm is common.CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System Drobo USB or FireWire cable. If one of the three fails. The Drobo takes the RAID idea to a different level: You can install up to four SATA drives to get protected storage. Western Digital My Passport Elite which protects your data by duplicating it. usually based on desktop-computer drive mechanisms. 2. the other still has all your information. this can save you a lot of time. A pair of 250GB drives and a 160GB. like the Seagate FreeAgent Pro. Note that even though these RAID drive systems may sound like networkattached storage (NAS) devices. the Toshiba HDDR320E3X. as you’d guess. does away with the inefficiencies caused by having to bridge from SATA in the drive to a USB or FireWire connection. the Velocity2 can hold a pair of 1TB drives for a total of 2TB in a RAID 0 configuration or 1TB of RAID 1 storage. these are larger than their portable counterparts. These units can also use more than one interface: Some drives. The difference is that the Drobo and its kin connect directly to your PC via USB. such as the Kanguru Eco Drive. they’re not. The flexibility of being able to pop in a drive lets the Drobo grow with you: Just keep replacing the smallest drive with a larger one until you have four 1TB drives (for about 3TB of protected storage). then back again in the PC. Most come with a “wall wart” AC adapter. Both the Velocity 2 and Little Big Disk have a good complement of I/O ports: USB and eSATA. eSATA. For example. Some products. the La Cie Little Big Disk Quadra. As JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 73 . Desktop Drives Desktop-class external drives are. An interesting RAID hybrid.0. whereas portables run at 5. the Drobo rebuilds itself automatically. an emerging standard. and when you replace the bad drive. Desktop-class external drives have a couple of major advantages over portable drives: larger capacities (up to 1 terabyte these days) and platters that spin faster— 7. Using eSATA.5-inch mechanisms means that these external drives—even models with the lower of the two capacities (such as the Buffalo MiniStation HD-PS320U2. your data remains safe.5-inch drives were at 60GB when the norm was 200GB for 3.0 or FireWire 400 ports. If you’ve got massive files that need regular backup. You can also add a fourth drive. With eSATA. so they require more power. which also typically feature multiple RAID-striped drives. employ power-saving technologies. or FireWire. Notebook-class drives will usually have USB 2. the data encounters little overhead—as if the external drive were connected internally to your PC’s motherboard—and that means speed.5-inch hard drives that are internally connected to get you 500GB of speedy RAID 0 storage.5 inches. But the introduction of 320GB and 500GB 2. The ability to combine capacities lets you easily use leftover drives from previous systems. and the device takes care of its own configuration. in any combination of capacities. The Little Big Disk also has FireWire 400 and 800 ports. for example. Multiple Hard Drives (Multidrives) The third external drive category—which includes products like the CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System and the Drobo—use multiple hard drives to give you more space than a single-drive device.400 rpm. The capacity of these devices has always lagged that of desktop-class units— for example. If one of the drives fails. and the Western Digital My Passport Elite) now probably store considerably more than the hard drive humming away inside your hulking mainstream desktop.

BUYING GUIDE STORAGE their name suggests. such as the WD Sync app that comes with the Western Digital My Passport Elite. and an installation disc that you’ll probably have to run on every PC that needs access.200 7. NAS devices can backstop every hard drive on your network—and they offer impressive redundancy. you’ll find simple sync utilities. ** Does not include hard drives. but the drives often come with backup software of varying sophistication.200 7. Of course. and you’ll find disaster-recovery utilities.99 $170 street $199.99 $130 street 80 500 750 500 1 1 1 1 7. can usually filter by file type (music. and so on).0 USB 2.000 Up to 10.0.200 5. say via USB or FireWire.400 5.0.400 5.200 7. pictures. ensure that files on two computers—such as your desktop and your laptop—match. you’ll get only about 750GB of usable space.99 $209. eSATA USB 2. and even RAID 6 (depending on the vendor and the number of drives in the system). RAID 5 means you’ll give up one hard drive’s storage space. RATING PRICE* CAPACITY (GB) DRIVES SPEED (RPM) INTERFACES PORTABLE Buffalo MiniStation HD-PS320U2 Fujitsu RE25U300J Maxtor OneTouch 4 mini Toshiba HDDR320E03X Western Digital My Passport Elite DESKTOP Kanguru Eco Drive Maxtor OneTouch 4 Plus Seagate FreeAgent Pro SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop MULTIDRIVE CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System Drobo LaCie Little Big Disk Quadra l l l l m l l l l m l l l h m l l h m m l l l l m l l l h m l l l l m l l l l m l l l m m l l l l m l l l h m l l l l m $180 street $200 street $119.0 $711 $500** $450 1. Programs like this automatically back up folders you designate. Word documents. usually run RAID 5. Products of this type. is that your system reaches these devices over the network. Four-drive NAS enclosures occupy the high end. At one end of the spectrum. and. which provide the most safety for your data. such as the Netgear ReadyNAS NV+.0 USB 2. but if any one drive fails the rest will have enough index data striped across them for EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES: HOW THEY COMPARE RED denotes Editors’ Choice. Making Them Work You can do rudimentary backups to any of these devices simply by copying files manually using the capabilities of your OS. but they have an Ethernet cable in place of the USB connector. read about this software in the section on file-and-folder backup apps (page TK).0.000 500 2 Up to 4 2 Up to 10.200 USB 2. The main point. Apple Time Capsule Home NASs The average household has a handful of PCs.99 320 300 160 320 320 1 1 1 1 1 5.0 USB 2. FireWire 400. Instead.95 $159. At the low end of the NAS spectrum are networked hard drives. on drives like the Maxtor One Touch 4 Plus and CMS Velocity2 RAID Backup System.200 USB 2. these combine the four hard drives in a redundant array. you simply plug the NAS box into your router and any system on the network can reach it. too. Some units will come boxed with a combination of the three backup strategies. So if your NAS carries four 250GB drives. FireWire 400. FireWire 800.000 7. Typically.0 USB 2. you don’t have to connect directly. though other popular options include RAID 0. Drives like the Maxtor OneTouch 4 mini and SimpleTech SimpleDrive Desktop come with file-and-folder backup software. as you’d expect.000 Up to 3. By Oliver Rist Network-attached storage (NAS) devices for the home come in a variety of flavors— the sweet spot is still something of a mystery to vendors. NAS devices connect to your system via a router.400 USB 2.400 4.0. possibly in one integrated utility.0 USB 2. however. they can back up files from any authorized system that’s connected to your network. These are very similar to the external USB hard drives we have just looked at. eSATA USB 2. RAID 1.0 USB 2. eSATA * Direct price unless noted as street. FireWire 400 USB 2.0 $94. you may want to choose a third-party application—if so. 74 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 .

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photo sharing.5 14. RATING l l l h m l l h m m l l l l m l l l m m l l l m m l l l l m l l l l h PRICE* $499 $399 list $599.0 18.1 4.7 56. Other NAS vendors must develop such features themselves.7 24. you’re not alone. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 75 . but competition breeds innovation.99 $199. It can support additional. But this typically means that your media is flowing the same as any other data file. so Microsoft’s plug-in move enables it to wait and see what sticks before committing with software of its own. HP has done a lot of this with the MediaSmart EX470. Usually. and NETWORK-ATTACHED STORAGE DEVICES: HOW THEY COMPARE RED denotes Editors’ Choice. Simply swap in a new drive of the same kind and the array will rebuild itself—no fuss. no muss. you can play media files (music and movies) from any NAS across a network simply by clicking on the file from your Windows desktop and activating Windows Media Player. Vendors like Axentra and Microsoft have gone so far as to build entire server platforms devoted to these features.99 $140 street** $679.199 AVG. To be sure. Buffalo. which other companies have used to build such things as iTunes servers. These are the same features other home NAS vendors are experimenting with.1 AVG.2 123. download managers.0 14. Many higherend NAS systems run some sort of OS. It’s primarily a storage-oriented product. If you’ve been reading about Windows Home Server boxes and wondering how they’re different from NAS boxes. external USB hard drives and share USB printers. these involve media serving.1 3. These apps run on partner hardware.99 $2. That’s a good basic feature set. READ (MBPS) 14. and Web access.8 17.5 19. Axentra’s on LaCie and Microsoft’s on HP. though both companies will be partnering with more hardware companies over the coming months.8 OPERATING SYSTEM Proprietary Linux Windows Home Server Axentra Proprietary Linux Linux TESTED CAPACITY (TB) 1 1 1 0.6 30. and even TiVo-style features on top of Windows Home Server. ** Price does not include drives. The company opened up a plug-in architecture to thirdparty developers.4 9. which is where Microsoft got smart. but they’re often rather minimal home-brewed Linux affairs. for example). A media server streams this data smoothly across thinner pipes. Axentra’s and Microsoft’s solutions offer more.Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ HP MediaSmart Server EX470 Netgear ReadyNAS Duo you not to lose any files. So What’s Windows Home Server? Also at the higher end are features vendors have begun adding that target home users. Windows Home Server provides a good sample of the basic features you should look for in any home NAS unit. and Netgear adding media servers on top of their proprietary (usually Linux-based) NAS operating systems. The short answer is that a WHS box is a NAS running a damned good OS.5 1 1 3 Apple Time Capsule Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo HP MediaSmart Server EX470 LaCie Ethernet Disk mini – Home Edition Linksys NAS200 Netgear ReadyNAS Duo Netgear ReadyNAS NV+ * Prices are direct unless otherwise noted. This is a situation that’s not usually optimal to smooth playback. with automatic file and disk-image backups and user-specific network folders (so the kids can’t accidentally delete all your tax history. with companies such as Axentra. Another important feature is that Windows Home Server is expandable. The Netgear ReadyNAS Duo sports a good media server. combined with Web access (so you can get to your home files or your home computer’s desktop from anywhere on the Internet). It also organizes and backs up your media libraries and can even convert formats as necessary. photo sharers. WRITE (MBPS) 11. making for a better playback experience.

but NASs also often come with five or more licenses of a thirdparty backup product—many of which are reviewed in the next section of this story. are also delivering dedicated photo-sharing templates. The executable. like Netgear with its ReadyNAS line—enabling wireless access via a USB Wi-Fi adapter. so factor that into your thinking. my Outlook Express or Windows Mail accounts and messages. file-and-folder backup soft ware is the best place to start. not even Genie knows how to back up all of my Microsoft Office settings. like the Netgear ReadyNAS Duo. can even merge backedup Windows Mail messages into my current mail store. it comes with plug-ins that let me save and restore all my settings for common programs! Genie Backup Manager Pro can also store a backed-up file or folder as an executable program. I typically back up the entire My Documents folder and its subfolders. that NAS won’t do you much good if you haven’t got the latest draft of your novel on it when disaster strikes your laptop. for example. exceptionally well-designed and reliable backup powerhouse. Decide how much redundancy you really need. Set it to back up on a schedule. Genie Backup Manager Pro is a powerful. That lets you retrieve the contents even if you don’t have a copy of the backup software. Instead of simply offering Web access to shared data folders across the Web. How to Choose? What are the gotchas? First. make sure it supports the UPnP A /V standard so you can attach your NAS to third-party media hardware. make sure it works with all your hardware.doc and you’ll be able to retrieve yesterday’s draft if you decide you don’t like today’s. All in all. you also really ought to consider image backup. Unfortunately. encrypt backups so users on a network can’t read them. copying files on a regular schedule or whenever a new version gets saved.0. here in the 21st. though. and that’s one reason . day-to-day backups—the kind that lets you quickly access a single deleted file. that can be a lifesaver. so it’s best to see yours in action before you buy. One such product.0 File-and-Folder Backup Utilities When you’ve got data you absolutely can’t lose and a safe drive to keep it on. The best of these programs work quietly in the background. and you can serve your vacation photos to your friends and family right from your home NAS—there’s no need for Phanfare. remember to install and use backup software. All the apps mentioned in this story can back up files to a different folder on the same drive or. and my Internet Explorer favorites. All file-and-folder backup programs let you select any folder or set of folders as a backup source. then a media server on your NAS is superfluous. since a single Ethernet hard drive can cost as little as a third of what a fourdrive NAS can cost. if you’re planning on using Windows Media Center with one of the many new hardware media extenders coming out this year. 76 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 Genie Backup Manager Pro 8. All you have to do is sign up with Netgear for a URL. a file-and-folder backup solution is the way to go. flexible. with its fiendishly complex operating systems. Some can stuff backed-up files into ZIP archives automatically. Wireless connectivity is becoming popular. Tell the program you use to keep multiple versions of MyNovel. does the restore. with Apple dropping a hard drive into an Airport Extreme router and calling the combination the Apple Time Capsule. I especially like the products that offer me additional prebuilt backup strategies. These utilities save only the files and folders you specify. Redundant drives are better for reliability. Microsoft and Apple both have builtin backup utilities. as well as a clutch of other folders in which I keep files such as spreadsheets and research notes. DVDs. for which it receives our Editors’ Choice. traditional file-and-folder backup software gets the job done. More features are emerging all the time. which will back up your entire drive—OS and settings included. No matter what. With these programs. letting me easily insure the safety of my Windows desktop. the newest boxes. MySpace.BUYING GUIDE STORAGE the Buffalo LinkStation Pro Duo looks set to have one shortly. Genie Backup Manager Pro 8. or any other Internet middleman. to a USB memory stick or a network location. for greater safety (since hard drives can fail). Finally. This was the only kind of backup anyone needed back in the 20th century. and several vendors—including those using Windows Home Server as well as those with proprietary offerings. but they are also more expensive. But if you’ve got limited storage space (and don’t mind the idea of rebuilding your entire system from the ground up once in a while). including the NAS—it has to be backed up too if it’s the only place you’re archiving several years of taxes or family photos and movies. If you’re choosing a third-party app. or even remote FTP sites. for example—or just to safeguard certain essential files. Better yet. media servers aren’t all equal. If you make many revisions of documents. or save to writable CDs. Additionally. and typically give you the option of preserving one or more older versions every time they do another backup. when copied to and run on the destination computer. By Edward Mendelson For convenient. as well.

but Windows systems store lots of settings in obscure places—and those places change. RATING l l l l h l h m m m l l h m m l l l l m Genie Backup Manager Pro 8. Once I got used to its few puzzling quirks.that. for example. offer wizards to streamline the processes. There are also differences in security. there are real differences among them. such as HP Upline and our Editors’ Choice. Roxio BackOnTrack 3 Suite worked on an old test system but failed disastrously on a brand-new one with advanced hardware. and there’s no media to mess with. Another reason I prefer drive imaging is that I may not know in advance which files I will need someday. at least). deservedly popular backup system that emphasizes simplicity but has an impressive range of options—enough to keep tech-savvy users happy. but it’s certainly a worthy competitor. I liked almost everything I tried. I was less impressed with the other competitors I tried. Online backup services offer one solution. In other ways. setup couldn’t be easier. and you can save multiple file versions. The services are inexpensive (typically about $5 a month). I don’t have to know. no force on earth can restore your data.7. using SSL2 to encrypt during transfer. such as IDrive. or schedule them to run automatically. By Michael Muchmore Local backup to external or optical drives is an excellent practice but can’t always protect your data. and then encrypts it again on the server—it can even scatter your data among several servers. SOS Online Backup.95* ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ SAVES TO REMOTE FTP SITE ✔ E-MAIL NOTIFICATION OF BACKUPS ✔ ENCRYPTED BACKUPS ✔ ✔ INCREMENTAL BACKUPS ✔ ✔ PREBUILT BACKUP CATEGORIES ✔ ✔ EMERGENCY RESTORE DISC OPTION ✔ SAVES TO DVD ✔ ✔ RED denotes Editors’ Choice. The biggest is in how easily you can set them up. and after transmission to their industrial-strength servers.7. Unfortunately. SOS Online Backup Online Backup Where’s the best place to keep your backed-up data? Somewhere far. especially. it offers limited options. If you think you don’t need absolutely every byte on your drive backed up or don’t have enough space to store all those bytes. and.1 is somewhat better: It’s inexpensive. They also encrypt your data before. I prefer a drive-imaging program to even the best file-and-folder backup ones. SOS Online Backup. But be careful if you choose that option: Should you forget your password.95 $19. get files back. then a file-and-folder-backup program is enough to save the data you need. The company pulled the app as a result. encrypts your data locally. I hit too many glitches and excessive builtin marketing. the best won’t noticeably slow your browsing or PC use (after the initial large upload. too. FILE AND FOLDER BACKUP APPS: HOW THEY COMPARE DIRECT PRICE $69. When everything gets copied. You can have file processing and uploading run in the background when enough CPU cycles are free. both can be wiped out by a disaster.1 Second Copy 7 * Four licenses. The latter back up only the files and folders I select. during. such as Carbonite Online PCBackup and SOS. While all these services keep your data in secure. it had the makings of a solid program.99 $29. The utility doesn’t quite match Genie Pro. given enough storage space. so I’m eager to review the retooled version when it’s available—look for my report online. choose files and folders for backup.0 Memeo AutoBackup Premium NTI Shadow 3. backing up is straightforward. The best services. depending on the OS version. NTI Shadow 3. I also tested Second Copy 7. Others. however. remote locations. are plagued with confusing interfaces or use programmer-centric lingo (I found MozyHome’s talk of “reticulated splines” particularly baffling). far away. go so far as to give you the option of being the only keeper of the decryption key. a longestablished. Though Memeo AutoBackup Premium saves multiple versions of files on its own and lets you easily select both standard file categories to back up and locations for storing backup sets. If you store your data and backups in the same location. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 77 . Some.95 $49.

really separates the men from the boys. or even from one stored on another drive partition. * Trial offer. MozyHome and IDrive add Back up immediately or Back up as soon as possible. Once again. and can even save a copy of your Windows system partition to that very same partition—not a tack I recommend. very long time. Scheduling options vary among these services. Upline works only in the background. Should your drive fail or PC become unstable. but not nearly as easily as I’d like.95/15GB FREE ACCOUNT SIZE N/A 1GB 2GB 2B 200MB* NUMBER OF VERSIONS/ DAYS KEPT 12/90 N/A 30/30 Unlimited/30 Unlimited/ unlimited ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ RIGHTCLICK ADD ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ RESTORE FILES SEARCH BACKUP SET BACKS UP NETWORK DRIVES MULTIPLE MACHINES PER ACCOUNT RED denotes Editors’ Choice. e-mail E-mail. because I regularly run image backups. Carbonite has an airtight security policy of requiring a download of the software in order to restore. for one. e-mail. an online service isn’t the way to go. the task you’d be faced with if you were to lose your entire machine.BUYING GUIDE STORAGE How They Work Most of these services suggest backing up the likely suspects—My Documents. These products also can clone one system to many and copy partitions to physically separate hard drives. RATING l l l m m SUPPORT Toll free phone M–F. can back up either on a schedule or in the background. Many services do this. not theirs. You’ve lost 50GB of research data. SOS leads the pack in restoration.95/ unlimited $59/unlimited $49. Carbonite. Uploading large amounts of information—even over high-speed lines—can take a very. Unlike ordinary backup programs. No big deal—if you have an image backup.45/ unlimited $49. so that decryption takes place only on your premises. on the other hand. 24/7 Phone. using a feature that makes the image appear as a drive letter in Windows Explorer. hard drive failures aren’t fun. or DVD drive. By Edward Mendelson For me. Some can transfer your complete current Windows system to a new computer that uses different kinds of disk-storage hardware—something that’s normally almost impossible. Also. however. since the file is open much of the time. 6–8 PT. chat. it’s best to upload the smallest quantities of data that will provide adequate safety. numbered and dated in a right-click menu or in the interface. There are two levels of incremental backup: uploading only changed files and uploading only changed portions of changed files. but the best show you each version of each file. will eat up some local cycles.50/150GB $54. Drive Imaging Your drive just crashed. as SOS does. Getting Your Data Back Restoring data to a PC other than the one it originally came from. Security comes into play here. then restore from the image on an external. SOS backs up the full set of files once and thereafter does “incremental” backups. FAQ Phone. allowed me to download an unencrypted ZIP file of my entire backup—without even using SSL. A service’s client may also insert choices in Windows Explorer’s right-click menu—for example. maintaining the identical data structure—including the low-level software Windows requires. FAQ Online Q&A Carbonite Online PCBackup HP Upline IDrive MozyHome Online Backup SOS Online Backup l l l h m l l h m m l l l h m l l l l m N/A: Not applicable—The product does not have this feature. but they’re not disasters. fell down in this regard. such as SOS and MozyHome. It did eventually get the job done. making the process both simple and secure. chat. to save even more bandwidth. Whichever service you pick. unless you have vast amounts of bandwidth. If your PC becomes unbootable. you can restore your system to the exact state it was in when you made the image. The current products will work in the background and can create incremental backups. too. MozyHome. M–F. you bring it up using an emergency CD. That’s important with Outlook e-mail. Another bandwidth-friendly technique is compressing files before upload—this method. 78 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . My Music. which do file-by-file copying. Some even can back up open files (see table). You can also dig into a backup to copy an older version of any file. 9–5 ET. to let you add a file to the group of files being backed up. not to mention your PC’s configuration.” Others back up only at scheduled times. so you can’t tell it. saving time by storing just the changes made since the last full backup. network. My Pictures. The best. this type duplicates a full hard drive (or one or more partitions) byte for byte. Some services mark your files in Windows Explorer to show which have been backed up and which are waiting to be. for example.m. “Upload the backup set every night at 3 a. If you have massive amounts of data to back up. File versioning (keeping historical copies of files) is handy if you’ve accidentally backed up a corrupted version. I suggest that you not use it to back up programs and operating systems—stick to data you can’t replace in any other way. My Video. All the utilities here can save to the same physical hard drive you’re backing up. You ONLINE BACKUP SERVICES: HOW THEY COMPARE YEARLY COST/ STORAGE LIMIT $49. Carbonite is particularly strong here.

use a medium you can store off-site. requires some expertise. run a virusremoval program on an image if you find that malware has infected your backups. It performs drive imaging and also lets you back up and restore specific folders and settings.95 direct). don’t wait until the sun goes down to start. the image acts as a virtual drive.5 Personal Edition ShadowProtect Desktop 3. though. The freeware DriveImage XML has a custom file browser that works almost as well.99 Free $69. Both support automatic scheduled backups. Symantec’s Norton Ghost 12. make sure to completely uninstall the first and restart your system before installing the next. Acronis True Image 11 Home is the most flexible. You can view backed-up files by double-clicking on them in Explorer. In any case. In the commercial products. should watch out for potential problems with the emergency restore CD.1 Paragon Drive Backup 8. and if you have two simultaneously installed—even if only one is running—one or both won’t work. a networking problem with its emergency CD keeps it from an Editors’ Choice.99 $29. The file manager in DriveImage XML lets you do the same.5 Personal Edition has advanced backup and restore features. The four commercial products I tested let you use Windows Explorer to browse a backed-up image just as you would a real drive. Paragon Drive Backup 8.95 Acronis True Image 11 Home DriveImage XML Norton Ghost 12. It’s the best image-backup utility around and earns our Editors’ Choice.1 ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ ✔ JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 79 . Unfortunately. it’s solid and. You can also store to removable media if you don’t mind feeding discs into the burner. and they’ve rescued it many times.0 is powerful drive-imaging and file-backup software with an exceptionally clear interface and lots of scheduling options. or you can copy files from the virtual drive to your real one. One important word of warning: Never have more than one such program installed on your system at a time. If your backup strategy doesn’t use imaging software. as I found.5 Personal Edition want your backup on a separate physical drive in case your current one fails. ShadowProtect Desktop 3. if you’re serious about preserving data. Users with complex systems. are blissfully worry-free. RATING l l l h m l l l m m l l l h m l l l l m l l l l h PRICE $49. you’ve already got drive-backup software. Windows users short on funds might try DriveImage XML. however. getting its own drive letter. IMAGE BACKUP APPS: HOW THEY COMPARE WINDOWSBASED EMERGENCY CD SAVES TO NETWORKS ✔ SAVES TO DVD ✔ BACKS UP INDIVIDUAL FILES ✔ INCREMENTAL BACKUPS ✔ TRIGGERED BACKUPS ✔ WRITABLE IMAGE RED denotes Editors’ Choice. If you use OS X 10. I’ve used quite a few of these programs on my home-office system. Of the commercial products I tried. These utilities use low-level disk-access features built into Windows. but the help file can be opaque and the interface may daunt casual users. free. A unique and valuable feature in ShadowProtect Desktop 3. best of all. I use the freeware Carbon Copy Cloner and SuperDuper! ($27. for example.1 software provides the fastest and smoothest backups and restores of any drive-image utility on the market.4 Tiger users must turn to third-party products. OS X 10. If you decide to try out more than one. and a Vista-based emergency disc guarantees compatibility with the widest range of backup hardware. and have restored my Mac to perfect condition.5 (Leopard).95 $79.0 Paragon Drive Backup 8.ShadowProtect Desktop 3. Just plug in a USB or FireWire external drive and the OS will offer to back up all your files with the built-in Time Machine.1 lets you write back to a virtual drive so you can. Though it has limited features and.

com/giveaway. Entries must be received from March 15. visit www. Void where prohibited by law.trendnet. One entry per person.com/giveaway Use promotional code MP03PC08 to double your prizes 300Mbps Wireless Easy-N-Upgrader™ TEW-637AP Upgrade Your Existing Router to Wireless N Plug the Easy-N-Upgrader into your existing router and instantly enjoy 300Mbps wireless n speeds--no installation required TM Eliminate Dead Spots 1. . Plug into your existing router 2.326. Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the United States who are at least 18 years of age.6061 for more information No purchase necessary to win.com Upgrade to high performance Wireless N Win an Internet Security Camera www.www. 2008.com or call 1. Enjoy 300Mbps wireless n Upgrade to 4x the coverage of wireless g and say goodbye to wireless dead spots Help the Environment Get high performance wireless n for less with this eco-friendly upgrader Visit www. For a complete set of rules.trendnet.888.trendnet. 2008 to September 15.trendnet.

Purchasing a router from the latest generation of 802. These days. The first step to a solid wireless connection is placing that router where the signal can best reach your wireless devices. there’s a reason some APs have brackets for wall mounting. That means up high in a central area of the home. however. third-party firmware like DD-WRT (www . and RAM speeds 90 Performing a security audit 91 Keeping up with your e-mail inbox 94 Inside Linux’s user accounts 95 Modem doesn’t understand foreign dial tones Wi-Fi Home Improvements Guarantee your wireless home network is up to snuff. Improve Signal Strength and Range Ground zero for any home network is the router. What’s more. but it’s extremely unsupported. We’ll reveal how to maximize the network range from your access point.11n Wi-Fi products to get better range and speed is always an option. but such firmware doesn’t work on all routers. FSB. installing firmware incorrectly could “brick” the router. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 81 . Some (but not all) routers can be set to increase the transmit power of PROCEED WITH CAUTION Third-party firmware like DD-WRT can improve your router’s transmit signal. which manages your Internet traffic. don’t assume that horizontal when wall-mounted is the same as vertical when the unit is sitting on a desk. A router in the basement will work—just don’t stick it under a desk or too close to a filing cabinet. for example—is icing. troubleshoot problems. Just make sure the antennas are pointed the way the manual indicates. Unsurprisingly.com) can add this feature. In their case. One note: If you use DD-WRT.Solutions PROBLEMS SOLVED THIS ISSUE 84 Shoot and edit better videos 86 Vista icons missing labels 87 Can’t group images in Word 2007 88 Capturing onscreen video 88 Decoding CPU. By Eric Griffith There’s one almighty reason to have a Wi-Fi network: freedom to roam where you want. it won’t survive that kind of heat for long. Set it too high and the router can double as a hot plate. don’t set the transmit power (called Xmit Power in the Web-based interface) much above 70mW. WiFi is not perfect out of the box. most routers have an integrated access point (AP) for the wireless side. and installing it voids any warranty. and prevent strangers from usurping your bandwidth—or share it with all comers while keeping your data and computers safe. there are those who aren’t brave (or foolhardy) enough to muck with firmware. getting a stronger signal requires spending some money. converting it into an inert piece of plastic. though you may think you have little to lose with an older router now out of warranty. Wi-Fi signal strength depends on several factors. laptop or handheld in hand. Everything else—not having to punch holes in your walls for Ethernet cables or hide the cables. the signal. DD-WRT’s wiki has some tips for recovery. Upgrading a router with free.dd-wrt.

1 (or whatever IP address you want to check). called a static IP. be brain-dead simple. using a technology called wireless distribution system.1. but it can also serve as a range extender when connected back to the main router. The router typically uses 192. by this stage. the first thing to try is ping. If the ping goes through. whether out of the box or with an existing network.2. even the game consoles—gets an IP address.101. unless you’re very sure of the connector type.110. the re-association may take a little longer. but to avoid noticeable interruption.1. Antennas can be omnidirectional. This may take only seconds. Set each AP for different channels.2. ADDING A SECOND AP.1. Only the last set of numbers (called the fourth octet) can vary.SOLUTIONS SOFTWARE PING The good old command prompt can provide important diagnostic information when a PC on your network has trouble connecting. then connect it to the main router via Ethernet. though.2. If everything syncs after these steps. open a command line window and type ping 192. You can also ping your router and even Web sites to see if the computer is able to communicate with the Internet. A reply means it worked. For example. Sending a ping to 4. the computers can communicate. WHO’S THERE? Check the DHCP table in your router settings to view every PC or other device attached to your network. Diagnose Problems Setting up a Wi-Fi network should. The address will still have to match the format used by the router—a router at 192. Knowing how to identify problems on a network is half the battle. including Xbox 360. You can send a ping command to another PC using its IP address. some routers might let you create stronger keys than an older device (like an 802.1 can’t talk to a computer using 192.2. and this goes for wired and wireless networks. which serve just a certain section of your property.1. REPEATING THE SIGNAL. DD-WRT can also convert an old router into a repeater. Other devices generally get an address from the router.168. Your other options include: BUYING NEW ANTENNAS. If a PC on your network has intermittent connection problems.168. Each computer or device can be set to use the IP address from the DHCP server—a dynamic IP address—or use one of its own that will never change. You can still find them. Some devices. the $99 Apple Airport Express (go. as well.com/airport_express) is a WiFi router in and of itself.168. To ping with Windows. Repeaters have gone out of fashion in the past few years as new technology such as 802. the PCs and handhelds. Put it in a different area of the house. but even that’s not foolproof. will tell you if you’re on the Internet at all. don’t do it in the middle of a download or a Skype call. make sure to turn off any software firewalls (such as Comodo or ZoneAlarm) first—a firewall is a big thorn when you’re trying to set up sharing between PCs or printers.11n’s MIMO (multiple input multiple output) has increased signal range and throughput. It’s smart to buy antennas from your router’s manufacturer. for example. especially if their signals overlap. When moving from the main router/AP to the second AP.101 to . but directional units. won’t reply to pings. When the first three octets match. Addressing might range from 192. You can retype your passkey only so many times. You’ll feel like the brain-dead one. which has a built-in DHCP server just for doling them out. Every device on a home network—the router. And software firewalls sometimes need specific IP addresses listed to allow communication. when things just don’t work.1. can provide a stronger signal. a valid (and easy to type) external IP address.pcmag. 82 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 If there’s a specific PC that can’t connect.168. however. then your problem is a bad security setting. If you secure your wireless network with WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) encryption. after all.168.11b Wi-Fi card) can support. With encryption. Temporarily deactivate the wireless encryption (WEP or WPA) at the router for a while. a PC will take some time to reassociate to the network. for example. a “Request time out” means the devices can’t see each other. though. all the devices are on the same “subnet” for the . Check first for a removable antenna or a jack for a new antenna on the current router.

Keeping poachers away boils down to the basics of Wi-Fi security: 1. they’re poachers. you could pay through the nose for a new access point that supports multiple SSIDs. be sure to type it correctly. RADIUS (Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service) allows access only to those with an account. Even if one AP is encrypted and the other isn’t. Both are controlled through a Web interface to offer public and private access. the unique identifier on every network node. Users who connect that way also get an open pipe to your computers. there are two schools of thought: If you don’t mind sharing.99. If there’s one listed that you don’t recognize. This table indicates the devices on the network that have received an IP address. such as hosted RADIUS service.059. Limit the number of users who can get an IP address via DHCP.net’s SecureMyWiFi service. If you do mind.com) sells mesh network hardware—it could blanket your house or a whole neighborhood with Wi-Fi. Finally. The private subnet stays safe. Just register your location with WeFi and anyone with the software. 3. and the more advanced DWL-2700AP for businesses is $1. Turn off SSID broadcasting. you could have a problem. For total assurance.ixiacom. Big businesses usually have their own RADIUS servers.99 covers a mix of eight computers) to facilitate easier sharing. Meraki (meraki. It will also alert you to wireless newcomers the instant they arrive. If you use a static IP anywhere. see go.com/network_magic_solution). Its $36 La Fonera router supports multiple SSIDs so you can start sharing immediately. like a Wi-Fi phone or game device. can get RADIUS via WiTopia.network. Change the default SSID. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 83 .fon.com/products/ display?skey=qcheck). Install it on more than one Windows computer to run various data tests over the network—it’s like ping on steroids. the two won’t communicate. A more advanced method is to use software such as Network Magic (go. you can find new locations to log on to as well. which includes maps. It could also be a device you’ve forgotten.com) is probably the best known. A deluge of Wi-Fi sharing services have appeared in the last couple of years.com/networksolutions. 2. Install this on your Windows and Mac PCs ($64. and both give you the choice of charging people for access or not. Or else you’ve got something really worth hacking. Software-based WeFi (www. The preferred setup is a public subnet for your piggybackers and a private subnet for your PCs.wefi. Turn on encryption. D-Link has a couple: The AirPremier DWL-2200AP is $199. It’s fully administered through the Web site and costs $99 a year (plus a $99 activation fee).99 direct. If you think there’s a speed problem on your network—or just want to determine how much throughput you can get at different distances—use the free Qcheck tool from Ixia (www.pcmag . potentially accessible to a stranger. For specifics and more. Filter by MAC address. 4. The cheap way to find poachers is to check the DHCP table in your router settings.pcmag . Dividing your network. but anyone willing to pay. Both subnets will use the same Internet connection. 5. but you look like a saint for sharing your Wi-Fi.com) lets you use your own hardware. OPEN UP Want to share your connection? You can register with WeFi and let other users find your hot spot. though.” In return. but the traffic won’t cross over. Hooking up a second AP to your router but with a different subnet won’t work. There isn’t any one step above that’s completely foolproof. Fon (www. preferably using automatic Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) or at least manual WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2). you will need to pay for extra security. is next to impossible without ponying up cash. they’re on the same subnet. the people you share with are piggybackers. Change the default router password. can find your “hot spot. Use static IP addresses instead of using DHCP at all. Just leave the network unsecured and broadcasting its name (the SSID) and they will come. Prevent Poachers When it comes to sharing your broadband connection with strangers. 7. but combined they provide strong security—anyone poaching your connection when you’re using WPA2 and a strong password is probably some kind of futuristic super-cyborg. Encourage Piggybackers What if you do want to open up your WiFi to all? That’s easy enough. especially if you’ve got file and printer sharing activated. and with the right router hardware. BE ALERTED Network Magic jumps in and tells you when a new device joins your network. 6. public and private.

most camera owners know of these rules. SHOOTING TIPS Even the best editor in the world can’t proa sunset or other low-light mode. my next step is to make the video look as good as possible. Even when the color of my video looks good. Since a tripod is a pain to lug around. Underexposure due to backlighting is another frequent problem. sometimes applying the filter makes the color even better. and family.—Jan Ozer EDITING RULE 2: SPEND THE TIME TO FIX YOUR VIDEOS. shoot away. Pinnacle Studio included. In five years you’re going to care more about how If you’re shooting indoors. which has two defining charsubject—you probably don’t have that acteristics. lean and a big-picture establishing shot to help against a wall or tree when shooting. You already know to keep your video as short as possible. Once I determine the scenes. Every time you enter a new feet tall when fully extended. The first involves quality. and try your viewer “get” the scene. I do this in several ways. so give this a try as well. If necessary. remembering to get a good balance of location Ease up on the zoom controls also—keep it slow and steady. When I’m producing a family video. using longer clips with smooth transitions in some scenes or shorter clips with flashy transitions in others. but collapse location. Remember: It’s not a 20-minute video. not George. and if your camera has themselves in the video. I also like to break it into individual scenes. you probably don’t have your kids enjoyed Manhattan or Mount Rushmore than you will enough light for your camcorder. Turn on every light that you about the location itself (and certainly your kids want to see can without totally spoiling the mood. then use the contrast adjustment to eliminate fading. they are about 5 later editing. the footage you’ll need to support your consider a monopod. and Teddy). These rules apply across all editing platforms. it’s six discrete scenes. it occurs when you shoot with a bright light like the sun or a window behind your subject. give it a duce something watchable without good try. Studio offers a lighting filter that lets you adjust this. From there. Like many other programs. Otherwise. and many lights. clue in your viewer as to where you are. After I’ve trimmed away the nonessentials. I can change the editing style. and if you abide by them you will save yourself a lot of time and effort. Most programs also offer image stabilization filters that can work wonders with handheld shots. For example. Try to distinguish each segment visually. eh? and they cost under $20. shoot the entry sign so you can LOCATION! There’s no doubt where down to an easily portable 18 inches or so.SOLUTIONS PROJECT Shooting and Editing Better Videos Millions of words and photographs have been devoted to telling amateur cinematographers how to shoot videos. and editing tools like special effects and background music to differentiate them. I can also base some scenes on still images and turn others into music videos. we went on this vacation. I use titles to inform the viewer that scenes are changing. Most consumer programs. provide filters that can automatically colorcorrect your video. each different. EDITING RULE 1: BREAK LONG VIDEOS INTO SHORT SCENES. I usually try the filter anyway. The second hallmark of good source Foremost. Tom. but in my experience this advice can be broken down into two rules. Don’t worry about “washing out” your source video. each a work of art to be savored by your viewers. If your video is too dark—a very frequent problem—look for a brightness control to lighten it up. no one likes watching shaky video involves “coverage. Abe.” or shooting video. 84 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . which makes the video more interesting for the viewer. not just Pinnacle Studio (which I use here). to rest your arms against your chest to maintain a stable image.

muvee . pushes. Like most editors. Some editors like Adobe Premiere Elements even have features that allow you to upload directly to YouTube. like random shots from the beach. Studio will then analyze the video footage. 3 ADD MUSIC TO THE VIDEO. with slow. like wipes. which gives you many styles and options. which I converted to a fast-paced music video. and others. and adds effects. Some video is just plain hard to edit. Studio lets you add both narration and background music. 4 PAIR EFFECTS WITH THE TONE OF THE VIDEO. Even if you have a camcorder. with Studio’s music feature. MUSIC IS YOUR FRIEND. If you prefer YouTube.com). Rather than spending hours trying to shape these scenes into a watchable video. In my garden tour. Background audio can be MP3 files or music ripped from a CD. Like most video editors. transitions. So I use music liberally in my projects. try the iPod preset. www. or you can use Studio’s new Scorefitter feature to choose and customize different styles of music. It’s a great way to present a completely different picture of your vacation. Our favorite tool for this is muvee Technologies’ autoProducer 6 ($109. which can either supplement or replace the audio captured with the video.95 direct. All video editors let you import photos into the timeline that you can dress up with pan-and-zoom effects. cut the best shots into short clips that it matches to the beat of the music. or garden scenes from Monticello. which will generally produce a high-quality video that won’t take forever to upload. Studio has presets for devices like iPods and can directly upload your projects to Yahoo! Video. I used this compass transition to let the viewer know we were changing scenes. 5 POST AT LEAST ONE SCENE ONLINE. As MTV learned long ago. and background music. For example. like one reviewing Monticello’s timeless architecture. especially when you pair effect usage with the tone of the action. I used slow dissolves. Using different types of special effects is a great way to differentiate scenes in your video. you choose the video scenes and the background music. One of Studio’s best features is libraries of event-specific effects which really add a touch of polish. convert them to a music video. For years. For example. you probably have digital photos of your vacation as well as video. thoughtful scenes. Remember that most sites won’t let you upload videos longer than 10 minutes or larger than 100MB.Five Easy Steps for Making a Great Home Movie 1 CREATE A MUSIC VIDEO OUT OF THE TOUGH PARTS. now you can share them online. I used much more noticeable effects. 2 CREATE SLIDE SHOWS WITH YOUR DIGITAL IMAGES. When we moved between Charlottesville and Monticello. or carry them with you on your cell phone or iPod. producing DVDs was the only easy way to share your videos. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 85 . great music can enhance any video.

The icon labels are simply gone! I tried changing the icon size. This PC fails to boot when it cannot reestablish connections with its mapped network drives. Now you’re going to test using the same command to reestablish those connections. Now click on some other folder. Time for one more test! Just as you did at the beginning. this syntax should work: NET USE M: “\sharename” /PERSISTENT:NO If a password is needed. But clearly it wouldn’t be hard to invoke this feature accidentally. but in the medium-to-large Icon views. simply hold down a Shift key while switching the folder from Details view to Thumbnails view in XP or to one of the several Icons views in Vista. Here again I found that in Vista I sometimes had to try several times. So how do you get back the filenames? First. there are no names for the icons. the printer is not ready in the morning when we arrive.EXE. the command will look like this: NET USE M: “\sharename” password /USER: domain\username /PERSISTENT:NO Both problems should be solvable using the command-line utility NET.BAT. One of these PCs needs to boot up in the morning before our arrival. but as far as I know.SOLUTIONS SOFTWARE AskNeil Vista Icons Lose Their Filenames Q I have a question for you concerning something odd that’s happened on my Windows Vista Home Premium computer.—Tracy Goodemote Repeat this for the other mapped network drives. In my experience. To delete a mapped network drive that has the letter M: you’d use this command: NET USE M: /DELETE A The /PERSISTENT:NO at the end of the command tells Windows that it shouldn’t try to reestablish the drive mapping at boot. Then just launch the batch file to regain your mappings. Also. this has happened only in the Administrator account. strip it down to the password-style line. Now that you know how to turn this feature on and off at will. Save the file with the extension . you should find that printer warmed up and ready. In the Details and Tiles views. it can definitely make life difficult. Is there a way to disable errors without disabling the restoring of network connections? We enjoy the convenience of the mapped drives and the printer does not need files from mapped drives until we arrive anyway. 86 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . but I’ve never seen this before. At my workplace I have several PCs that are networked and using Windows file sharing. perhaps you’ll find it’s actually useful. make sure the problem folder is currently set to display in one of the filename-free thumbnail views. When we arrive it displays an error on the screen. and when it does not boot up. they are missing. And. When you’ve verified you have the proper commands to establish all your network mappings. of course. When you invoke it by accident. and click back on the folder whose filenames you want to recover.BAT file and verify that it does indeed reestablish them all. I have an Administrator account and a Family account. use Notepad to create a simple text file with all those commands in it. This feature is probably most useful in a folder containing just pictures. not even in XP. It is attached to a large photographic printer.—Quentin Waldner ICONS NOT ENOUGH If you accidentally invoke the feature that lets Vista or XP display thumbnails with no filenames. Launch a command prompt and use the NET command to delete all the current drive mappings. For a mapped drive that doesn’t require a password. the names appear as they should. owing to the software it contains (it’s a kiosk). To display the contents of a folder as thumbnails with no filenames. use the NET command to delete all the drive mappings. you can also make a copy of the batch file. Drive-Mapping Problems Q A Both Windows Vista and Windows XP have a well-hidden ability to display thumbnail images with no labels. but same thing. Then launch your . but they don’t have names. Thank you. is there a way to use Windows sharing to make one PC log in with user name and password? Perhaps a password list or something similar? I have one PC on the network that. hold down a Shift key. When you come into the shop in the morning. My account is Administrator type. The problem occurred in my Documents folder (the one labeled with the account username) and also in the Control Panel folder: All the icons are still there. needs to have a username and password. the result can be a seriously confusing display. I don’t know if someone used the computer and accidentally changed a setting somewhere or not. one per line. this action is a bit less responsive in Vista— you may have to try several times.

if you just dropped a graphical element into the document.com to get one. To obtain a full Notice and Claim Form and more details. I often like to paste in a screenshot captured with the Print Screen button and add Shapes. I assume you’ve already considered this. you’re committing a grave sin. or object. The Court will have a hearing to consider whether to approve the settlement so that the benefits may be paid. WHO’S AFFECTED? Purchasers of a Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD. Lurie. I can select more than one photo at a time. Just go to www. FCPA denies all allegations and has asserted many defenses. IMPORTANT DEADLINES The Claim Form to receive a discount must be postmarked on or before September 2. Fujitsu Computer Products of America. indeed.com. NEED ANSWERS? PC Magazine’s software expert. including the serial number. in the United States. group or ungroup them. To illustrate the lesson. You could also adjust which overlapping images would display on top of others. I sure would like to find out how to complain to Microsoft. You’re a “Class Member” if you are a United States resident who purchased a new aftermarket Fujitsubranded Mobile HDD from December 28. Superior Court of California. you could place a number of graphical elements on a page and manipulate them in various ways. and a proof of purchase. You will be a member of the Settlement Class and will be deemed to have agreed to the terms of the settlement.and use it to help other computers connect to the kiosk. Legal Notice If you purchased a Fujitsu Mobile Hard Disk Drive you could be entitled to benefits under a class action settlement. San Francisco. tackles your toughest software and Internet problems. Inc. Weiss & Lurie. I also like to group photos and have not been able to do this in Word 2007. County of Santa Clara. Now place your pictures and shapes into the canvas. and choose Grouping | Group. You must also mail copies of your written objections to the counsel listed above postmarked no later than July 7. and an incentive payment to the named plaintiff of $2. Word would automatically create a “drawing canvas” to hold the object. from an entity in the United States that regularly sells or sold Mobile HDDs. Anybody with access to the computer could read the batch file’s text and learn the username and password required for log-in. That melded the separate graphical elements into a single whole that you could move. size. It’s easy enough: Click the Insert ribbon. 2008 and received no later than 21 days thereafter. In Word 2003. HOW DO YOU GET A PAYMENT? A detailed Notice and Claim Form package contains everything you need.MobileHDDSettlement. the name and location of the online seller or retail store from which you previously purchased it. you may object to the settlement. —Barbara Meek Can’t Group Images in Word 2007 Q I have just purchased a new Dell computer that runs Windows Vista Ultimate and Microsoft Office with Word 2007. Los Angeles. County of Santa Clara. including the terms of the waiver and release of the claims. Class Members may choose either a 20% discount on the purchase of any new Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD from www.com or by contacting Class Counsel at 1-800-437-7918 or (310) 208-2800 or by calling toll-free 1-800-207-0343. Old Courthouse. you must postmark your request to exclude yourself by July 7. you can’t get a benefit from this settlement. 2008. It is a real pain to move each item individually. CA to consider whether to approve the settlement and attorneys’ fees and expenses totaling no more than $293. FCPA is entering into this settlement to avoid burdensome and costly litigation. or even rotate together. 2008 or you won’t be able to sue. or a 15% discount on the purchase of any new Fujitsubranded Mobile HDD from any other online seller or retail store of their choice.m. If you qualify. 2008. which may take the form of a receipt or invoice. If you do not have a proof of purchase. go to www. The Bring to front and Send to back options are also unavailable.com. San Jose. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS? If you fit within the definition of the Settlement Class and you agree with the settlement. Word 2007 will let you insert a graphical object without the drawing canvas. but the Group option is not active. FCPA about the legal claims in this case. and so on. The settlement is not an admission of wrong-doing or an indication that any law was violated. from December 28. Preovolos. 2008. Dated: April 11.. A settlement of a class action lawsuit affects you if you purchased. If you stay in the class. for your own use and not for resale. several photos. CA 94105. Morrison & Foerster LLP. WHAT’S THIS A BOUT? The lawsuit claimed that FCPA made misrepresentations and/or omissions in the packaging. First Street.. 2008. Questions should not be directed to the Court. If you exclude yourself. with Word 2007 you can’t even select two graphical elements at once.buyFCPA. Objections must be in writing and mailed or hand-delivered to the Clerk of the Court. What gives? It turns out there’s one very simple but important difference in the way Word 2007 treats these graphical elements. must identify the case as Moisan v. You can also exclude yourself from the settlement. you may still make a claim by submitting all of the other information. 2002 through April 11. at 9:00 a. but you don’t have to. right-click. you need to insert the drawing canvas yourself. 1-06-CV077316 (Santa Clara Superior Court) and must be received by the Court no later than July 7. 2008. Jordan L. you may send in a Claim Form to obtain the settlement benefit. and/or sale of Fujitsu-branded HDDs with respect to the HDDs’ storage capacity. Send questions to askneil@ziffdavis. security-wise. 425 Market Street. WHAT CAN YOU GET FROM THE SETTLEMENT? FCPA has agreed to provide discounts to Class Members who purchased a Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD within a defined time period and who send in a valid Claim Form. The Superior Court of the State of California. Inc. Am I missing something? Is there some way to group several items. authorized this Notice. located at 161 N. 10940 Wilshire Blvd. Rubenking. But if you want full power to manipulate multiple images. Suite 2300. you need do nothing at all to indicate your consent. First Street. Penelope A.MobileHDDSettlement. For one thing. One word of warning: When you create a batch file that logs in to a passwordprotected system. If you don’t want a discount on a future mobile HDD purchase. and so on? If there is no way to do this. a new Fujitsu-branded Mobile hard disk drive (“HDD”) initially sold in the United States by Fujitsu Computer Products of America. I teach computer classes for a senior citizens group here.000. Under the settlement. San Jose CA 95113. You may appear at the hearing. Neil J. and you don’t want to be legally bound by the settlement. and by signing a declaration under penalty of perjury attesting that you are the original purchaser. The settlement will provide for a discount on the purchase of any new Fujitsu-branded Mobile HDD. Using Word 2002 I could group the image and the shapes and move them around as a group. CA 90024 and Defendants’ counsel. But. 2008. and the amount you paid. so you can’t group them. advertising. You’ll be able to move them freely within the canvas. and select New Drawing Canvas at the very bottom. I have not been able to figure out how to do this in Word 2007. (“FCPA”) for your own use and not for resale. But since you asked to automate the log-in process.000. The detailed Notice describes how to exclude yourself or object. You will be required to provide the serial number and capacity of the previously-purchased Fujitsubranded Mobile HDD. in Department 17C. Any requests for exclusion from the settlement must be sent by mail to Class Counsel. 2002 through April 11. 191 N. Case No. you could select several items. which may be fine for a single object. or continue to sue. The Court will hold a hearing in this case on August 1. click the Shape button. selected at a time. Only one item can be A In Microsoft Word 2003 and previous versions. /s/ Jack Komar Honorable Jack Komar Judge of the Superior Court of California County of Santa Clara .

That’s a maximum rating. Is there 333-MHz memory that is not PC2700. your CPU shouldn’t have to wait for memory. or PC5300 memory that isn’t 667 MHz?—toothmaven Keeping up with all the jargon surrounding PC specifications seems to get harder and harder every day. Now on to your main question. you need a video capture card to route the TV signal into the PC and out to a monitor.hyperionics. If you want to burn a DVD on your system. the front-side bus (FSB) in your CPU dictates the real speed of your RAM. For example. I’ve also used HyperCam from Hyperionics (www. multiply the memory speed by 8 and you’ll get its bandwidth. On the software side. This is made even more con- A fusing by the fact that the memory clock and the I/O clock in memory are different. but recent innovations let the FSB pass memory data at a much faster rate. or hard drive. The Right Speed The problem here is trying to capture what’s going on on-screen while simultaneously recording it to hardware via the video output on your video card. with the other “display” being the video recorder.com’s editor. Loyd Case. since the memory controller is built into the CPU die itself—there is no front-side bus. for example. The problem with this is that your graphics card may not recognize the recorder. both from TechSmith (www . Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish it is to have the memory clock match or be an even multiple of the FSB clock. memory speeds are sort of redundant. in megabytes per second. you need an application that will capture the screen activity as it occurs.333-MHz FSB DDR3 memory. who suggested either SnagIt or Camtasia. For a long time. the FSB speed equaled the RAM speed. How do you use these measurements (or their multiples) in concert for the best efficiency and compatibility? Also.” AMD CPUs. There’s also a bus clock. Once you get the video file created. you can burn the DVD using Vista’s own Windows DVD Maker utility. I’d suggest investing in an external converter box that will take a VGA signal from the graphics card and convert it to NTSC video.com). The CPU communicates with the memory controller via the front-side bus (FSB). You may see DDR2-800 also referred to as PC6400—which is the maximum throughput. the memory controller is part of the motherboard chipset. That’s a tall order. A PC DVD recorder should come bundled with the right software to enable you to create basic DVDs that can play in a consumer DVD player.com.com/quadrascreen). Just as you start to figure out the old specs. The memory controller may run at the same speed as the CPU. I bought a video card with a TV-out feature but cannot get it to record on a VCR. one is confronted with speed parameters for various components—chipset. These can range from under $100 to many thousands of dollars. FSB. First of all. That’s because the “2700” in PC2700 is the rated maximum bandwidth that 333-MHz memory can deliver. So DDR (double-datarate) memory can move two data items per clock cycle. DDR2-800 actually runs at 200 MHz. I’m wondering whether this redundancy is necessary. you can either burn a DVD using your PC. Each I/O clock cycle can carry two data items. and your graphics card shouldn’t have to wait for the CPU to finish some task.333-MHz FSB. however. but it often runs more slowly. you want a balanced system. Send your toughest to askloyd@ziffdavis. Current Intel FSBs can move four data items per clock cycle. Memory designers were then able to squeeze more than one data item into a clock cycle. the actual clock rate is 333 MHz. I cannot figure this out after spending a lot of time on the problem.com) with some success. DVD. tackles readers’ hardware problems in each issue. And as you point out. If you’re really set on outputting the resulting video to a VCR. match the CPU up with 1. What you want to do takes a combination of hardware and software. manufacturers throw new ones at you! But I digress. But burning a DVD on your PC is much easier. which is how the CPU communicates with the outside world. and it can run at very high data rates.SOLUTIONS HARDWARE AskLoyd Video Screen Capture Q In the Q&A titled “Quadra-Screen” (go. you’ll need a DVD burner in your PC. which is where we get DDR2-800 from. . In other words. If you’re using Vista. memory.techsmith. a balanced system will actually outperform a system with faster memory. Ideally. There is no PC2700 memory that doesn’t run at 333 MHz. I want to capture what is on my computer screen and record to VCR. starting with the Athlon 64 and moving forward through the quadcore Phenom CPUs. Sometimes the throughput number is called the “effective clock speed. you said that to pipe a TV signal to an NTSC monitor. I need to do the opposite. why are memory module speeds expressed as both MHz and PC XXXX? Being aware that the MHz multiplied by 8 yields the PC XXXX value. NEED ANSWERS? ExtremeTech.pcmag. I pinged Neil Rubenking (“Ask Neil”). One approach is to use a standard PC monitor and set your graphics card for dual-display mode.—Gerald Erikson quality video to a VCR or a consumer DVD recorder. You have to separate this idea a bit from the memory controller. In some cases. are different. CPU. or record out to a VCR. if you have a system that uses DDR3 memory and a CPU with a 1. or you can use a USB-connected DVD burner. and more. record it on an external consumerrecordable DVD drive. then write it out to a video file. Let me try to tackle them for you. You’re asking a bunch of questions. So when you see an Intel CPU rated as a 1. with an I/O clock of 400 MHz. Most video outputs built into graphics cards are ill suited for outputting high88 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 A Q When building or upgrading a system.333-MHz FSB. Most current AMD processors communicate at either 200 or 266 MHz. In the case of Intel CPUs.

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This shows attacks that are on the rise—useful info for developing network security defenses.org/trends . If there is a legitimate use for the server. you can check isc. and will highlight ports you may want to close or at least log. An attacker would start from the outside and work his way in by uncovering IP addresses from DNS queries. 2008. Tools of the Trade There are many ways to go through the audit. This step typically yields a list of IP addresses.com/languard) and the eEye Digital Security REM Security Management Appliance 1505 (go. Vulnerabilities should be patched.html. you need to research known vulnerabilities. yet in almost every case an ounce of prevention is worth a pound—or more—of cure. The best-known free network scanning tools are Nmap (nmap . Commercial tools I like include GFI LANguard (review forthcoming at go. Proactive network security measures hardly ever get the attention and commitment they deserve.56 21. This helps sharpen your focus. But downtime is peanuts. try assigning a dollar figure to a proprietary business secret that’s leaked to the competition. security isn’t foremost on the mind of most small-business owners until it is violated.43 5. Proactive network security should be the norm rather than the exception. new vulnerabilities are uncovered and patched almost daily. Fortunately. This can be a time-consuming task. and open ports. With this information. For the purposes of an audit.org) and Nessus (www. Second.com/eeye1505).com). and better reporting. two. you’ll get in return more information about each vulnerability and its remediation—not to mention more polished interfaces. For the latest figures.67 6. So if your auditor finds. think about the risks: What would happen if your network or PCs went down for hours? Days? The answer could range from inaccessible files to near-complete business standstill.72 6. Each vulnerability should be listed individually along with an explanation of potential consequences if it’s not addressed. I say it’s time to make prevention sexy again. A helpful consultant will work with you to understand your business and then provide a prioritized list of recommendations for securing your network and computers.org). First. and three yield positive results. Of those two. and to understand why. A good Windows network scanning tool is Foundstone’s SuperScan (www. most vulnerability assessment solutions these days automate this process and will provide links to information and patch downloads. If steps one. In the case of an audit. SMTP—are running and may be open to attack. Nmap is easier to install and use. the attacker scans the network to determine IP addressing of networks and hosts. But prevention isn’t nearly as exciting as fixing a problem once it happens. it’s just a matter of conducting a quick scan (also called a sweep) to determine which IP addresses are in use.23 6. think like a thief. you can make educated decisions about the steps to be taken to secure your business. but Nessus has better reporting. and can also help you explain the significance of your security tasks to staff. an attacker would exploit any vulnerabilities and directly circumvent your security mechanisms. he might suggest shutting it down as a precaution. for example. you can assume that a determined attacker could execute a successful attack. or wants to be. Many network security consultants will conduct an initial vulnerability assessment gratis in the hopes that you’ll hire them to fix the problems they report.37 ASSOCIATED PROTOCOL None PIRP* WinHole None None Ultrabac ddi-tcp-1 None None ovhpas TYPICALLY USED BY Various None WinHole Trojan None VNC Display 8 Ultrabac backup software NewsEDGE server VNC Display 7 VNC Display 6 HP OpenView Application Server * Public Information Retrieval Protocol TCP. UDP and ICMP network scans to determine which network services—for example HTTP. If you’re willing to spend the money.pcmag .SOLUTIONS BUSINESS SMB BOOT CAMP How Secure Is Your Company? To protect your business. shown below are results from March 24. there is no necessary analog.foundstone.nessus. a security expert. or services disabled. Not everyone can be. the attacker probes your devices and hosts to identify potentially vulnerable services.67 13. attackers investigate more deeply any potential vulnerabilities they have identified. It also compares daily values to 30-day moving averages to look for any unusual increases. I like to use a combination of free and commercial tools. a workstation running a Web server. At this point. Infographic by David Foster .09 13. before an attack can occur. device names.pcmag. go back and assign a business value and priority to each vulnerability. Most of the free tools are Linux-only. Sarrel In my experience. You can use bulk 90 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 PORTS UNDER FIRE The Internet Storm Center maps TCP port numbers and the frequency with which they are used in attacks.75 6. The port trends can vary wildly from week to week. FTP. By Matthew D. Here. PORT 6081 553 808 3124 5908 1910 8888 5907 5906 7510 PERCENTAGE INCREASE 22.sans. Attack Yourself A network security audit follows nearly the same methodology as an attack. You’ve got a head start because you already know your IP addressing scheme.57 6. more capabilities. These scans tell you which services are running on which machine. as well as how firewalls and security solutions are configured to allow traffic.

You can use these in standard searches.—Neil Randall 2 1 FLAGS: SETTING BASIC REMINDERS On the far right side of each message header in Outlook 2007’s Message pane is a small flag symbol. FINDING WHAT YOU NEED One of the best reasons to assign flags and categories to your e-mail messages is that Outlook lets you use them as search criteria. By default. reassign the icon colors to different categories. but unlike the flag labels. 4 3 CUSTOMIZING CATEGORIES By default. which are a list of colored icons with labels. Forget spam.SOLUTIONS OFFICE Organize and Follow Up on E-Mail In the early days of the World Wide Web. The context menu for flags contains no such search option. You can assign multiple categories to each message. does in fact let you perform a search among flagged messages. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 91 . There are more flag shades—Today. Urgent. Go figure. and you can use categories as simple visual cues or. but some of us live in the real world. Much less ink was devoted to a topic that continues to haunt most of us: getting lost in our e-mail inboxes. CREATING CATEGORIES Immediately to the left of the flag icon for each message header in the Message pane is a (usually) grayed-out box. If you use a category regularly. If you want Outlook to place a reminder for this follow-up action in the To-Do Bar. and create new categories. more helpfully. set their flags. choose Custom and click the down arrow to reveal a menu of options ranging from For Your Information to Reply to All. category labels are customizable. Right-click the Category icon and choose Create Category Search Folder. available from the Category icon. Here you can rename the existing categories. Efficiency experts may tell you to follow up on messages within 5 minutes. then press the Choose button beside the Category field to select which category you want to base your search on. Tomorrow. the sender. you can also assign it a shortcut key. To help you keep track of which messages need a follow-up. This Week. We need flags for reminders and categories to help organize. category labels include such useful but obvious choices as Crucial. or Next Week. right-click to choose—and options to set. or something else entirely. Right-click the Category icon and choose All Categories to get the Color Categories dialog. clicking the flag icon changes the flag color to red and causes Outlook to place a “Follow up” note just below the sender’s name and e-mail address in the header. Semi-Urgent. Scroll to the bottom of the resulting dialog box and highlight Categorized Mail. to sort your messages according to their categories. Right-clicking the box reveals your choices. or you can create a Search folder for classes of mail you need to find regularly. check the Reminder box and choose the date and time. This is the Categories box. and you can change its color to provide a visual clue about the message. pundits and academics spilled a fair bit of ink about getting lost in cyberspace. the frequency of incoming messages and the ability of our ISPs and hard drives to store gigabytes of them means that we need some serious tools to navigate the vast e-mail sea. For a better selection of labels. but the New Search Folder dialog box. and Important (raising fun questions about the gradations of meaning among these terms).

click Options. Microsoft’s free mail client still lacks a calendar feature.” you can configure your Google Calendar settings to show only events you’ve created or accepted. Simple enough. It’s not surprising that implantable devices are programmable through a wireless interface. Such attacks could cause the device to shock or mistime. so you delete it because it’s spam. only theoretical. If you’ve enabled notifications for “New invitations.org/icd-study/icd-study. In addition. easy to catch in the inbox. Yesterday’s annoyance is today’s security feature! STAY SAFE! Find the latest tech security news at PC Magazine’s Security Blog. The authors of this study did the hard research. but the basic approach to body hacking was suggested by Gadi Evron in a 2007 talk entitled “Hacking the Bionic Man. is that you should run a good anti-malware solution. which is that malware is increasing the energy costs of computing and therefore magnifying the carbon footprint of infected users. Google has responded by explaining how to reconfigure the calendar to prevent this from happening. but this one was automatically saved as a calendar entry. and approximately 114 watts of energy under full load (for example. This capability lets a physician adjust a device’s settings without opening the patient up. and we’ll need to know that our electronic parts are secure. To stop Microsoft Outlook from automatically accepting meeting requests. Think you’ve beat the spammers by disabling previews and never opening a message selling v1agrA? Think again: Clever spammers are now using the calendar features of Google Calendar and Microsoft Outlook to assist their efforts. By Larry Seltzer USE ANTIVIRUS OR YOUR PLANET WILL DIE!!! The more you use your computer. select No.—LJS SPAM MEETING Here is a typical 419 message. Hacked Through the Heart Researchers have demonstrated that implantable defibrillators and pacemakers can be hacked from the outside. and their report is encouraging (www. 100 percent CPU utilization). The moral. Office Online directs: In Outlook.” As Evron speculated. or at least blocking out the time for it. By 2040 we may be much more bionic. 92 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 click Resource Scheduling.secure-medicine. the stupid meeting shows up in your calendar anyway! The problem is that calendar software defaults to reserving the meeting. even if it comes from a company that sells that very same software. It’s simple—practically automatic by now—but wait. Outlook Express users need not worry.pcmag. A recent McAfee Avert Labs blog cites a conference presentation that claimed the average PC consumes approximately 76 watts of energy under normal load.SOLUTIONS SECURITY WATCH Outsmart Calendar Spam Spam has a tricky new mode of entry. devices like pacemakers could be just a foot in the door of our bodies. But it’s also not surprising that the wireless interfaces and programming protocols were not sufficiently hardened against deliberate attack. The blogger comes up with an off-thecuff estimate of 32 megawatts for a big outbreak. and then Calendar Options. The logic is reasonable.com/securitywatch. the Storm worm is infamous for pegging the CPU up toward 100 percent—and you may agree with McAfee’s conclusion. select the General tab. Under Advanced options. Combine this with the fact that malware increases the load on your system—indeed.—LJS . then clear the Automatically accept meeting requests and process cancellations check box.pdf). so far. Click on Settings at the top of any Google Calendar page. and that patients with such devices should not be concerned at this point. the pathology of this method is: You receive a meeting request with a spammy subject header. but could also deplete the battery. at blogs. the more power it consumes. and in the Automatically add invitations to my calendar section. Generally. They stress repeatedly that these attacks are. the researchers investigated potential defenses against such attacks. McAfee concludes. leading to all manner of undesirable outcomes. on the Tools menu. only show invitations to which I have responded.

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Ubuntu is configured to stop you from doing things that will render the system unusable. “unprivileged. differs from all other user accounts. and so on. Other user accounts can’t get into the administrator functions at all. Note that one of the listed accounts is in fact the root account (also known as superuser). Because the root account has unlimited access to everything on the system. Linux allows multiple user accounts on the same installation. you may—just give it a password—but. The differences between a normal desktop account and an unprivileged account are shown above. as with Windows. although strangely enough it requires the password for the default account. This account. Ubuntu locks it. such as accessing external drives. including each user’s full name (as you’ve set it). called the default account. In non-root accounts. you already have access to all configuration tools via your default account. Only the default account. but the same menu options appear with the third account type. Each account limits its user in specific ways—folder and hardware access. are deactivated.—Neil Randall TOTAL CONTROL The number of items accessible from the Administration menu of the default user account (left) clearly exceeds that of any other account. known as the root account in Linux.” CREATING ACCOUNTS Only the default user or another administrator can create accounts in Ubuntu. but never for the root account. To change the specifics of any account. and besides. log-in name. for example. Here you can set the password for the account and assign it privileges. in the User Privileges tab of the Account Properties dialog. Ubuntu prompts you for a password whenever you attempt to access an administrator function. Essentially. the default account functions as a doorway to the administrator account. but not in the root. To create a new account. Ubuntu’s installation process asks you to create a user account for yourself. click Add User and fill in the New user account screen. This box displays all the accounts on the system. select that account in the User Settings dialog and click the Properties button. The account shown on the right is a typical “desktop” account. choose Users and Groups from the System | Administration menu. But all other potentially risky activities. If you want. it’s always a bad idea to work from the root account. but to do so you must provide a password. To do so. INVITE A GUEST Ubuntu lets you create unprivileged user accounts. but allows access to its various functions via the default account. similar to Windows’ guest accounts. The unprivileged account isn’t powerless—it can still access the Internet and run any programs that have been set to unrestricted use. and home directory. If you want to work inside that account. Ubuntu will generate a very hard-to-crack password (click Generate random password)—be sure to write it down somewhere. 94 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . lets you create or change existing user accounts. settings control. which are strictly limited in function.SOLUTIONS LINUX Inside Users and Accounts Like Windows.

—Steve Nelson. I looked for a freeware or shareware clock-setting utility. I’m happy. Now double-click the divider at the right- Mysterious Graphical Handling Microsoft Word has a handy feature for manipulating shapes and graphics in documents. According to Microsoft’s TechNet. What’s that mean? We don’t know. You can’t select multiple graphical items. I’m in France If you need to use a dial-up modem abroad.SOLUTIONS TechTips Useful tidbits from PC Magazine editorial staff. then Phone and Modem Properties. This is the HELP YOUR MODEM COPE Switch off tone recognition so your modem doesn’t wait for that familiar American drone. Click the Insert ribbon. you’re right. Select your modem. But in Word 2007 this feature seems not to work. When you’ve placed multiple graphical elements. my clock updates itself once an hour. so there’s no way to group them or determine which overlapping objects are in front of which others. but I also made this an –Old value and re-created it with my own 0 x e 1 0 (3600) value.—Neil J. ungroup them. Under <HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\ W32Time\TimeProviders\NtpClient I found the key SpecialPollInterval. but I don’t want to miss the first 15 seconds of a show. you can group them so they stay together when you move them and remain the same relative size when you resize them. and click Properties. Excel will take care of that task for you! Position the mouse at the right-hand edge of the column header. no luck. Rubenking CAMERAS Worse than the Blinking 12:00 I’ve used Windows Media Center Edition for a couple of years now. and one of my pet peeves was that the clock on the PC wasn’t accurate enough to be trusted to start recording a show at the actual start—I’d have to start recording early to make sure I caught the beginning. and I’m back to my normal recordings. with a value of 0x57e40 or 360000. you’ll have to disable Windows’ dial-tone detection to cope with the weird foreign dial tones. so I tried the system Registry. Although not every camera will allow you to disable the splash screen—hey.—NJR GREAT IDEA! Got a tip to share? Find a cool new trick in your favorite gadget or app? Send it to tips@pcmag. Now. You’ll know you’ve hit the right spot when the cursor changes to a left-right arrow. there’s an extra step. Now doubleclick in that exact spot. in a week my clock would slip by 10 to 15 seconds—not a lot. put one behind another. Labs analysts. Then I upgraded to Vista. I’m not exactly sure what this one Cell Couture Don’t spend time trying to jimmy the width of columns in Excel so they’ll fit the widest text. Now you can group them. We’ll run it through the PC Labs wringer and print our favorites on this page. There’s another Registry setting. but with both of them set to 3600. and you should find the option under general settings in the main menu. JULY 2008 PC MAGAZINE 95 . Vista and Dimension 4 didn’t get along. What happened? It turns out that in Word 2007. I’d found the setting! I renamed that key to SpecialPollInterval–Old (in case I had to get it back) and recreated it with a value of 0xe10 or 3600 seconds (if you don’t speak hexadecimal. Click the Modems tab on the new window and uncheck the box Wait for dial tone before dialing. You can do multiple columns at once. go into Control Panel. and the Modems tab. Now. it’s the SpecialPollInterval.—Sascha Segan MEDIA CENTER hand edge of any of the selected columns and they’ll all automatically adjust to the perfect width. move the radio button to Decimal and then enter the value in seconds). For a while I used Dimension 4 for XP. This will also cut down on the time you’ll have to wait before you can shoot an image—excruciatingly long moments for those of us who forget to turn on our cameras until we notice the shot.com. Presto! The column is just big enough for its widest text. Add your pictures and shapes to the drawing canvas. does. and select New Drawing Canvas at the very bottom. click Shapes. I’m not sure which of these keys is the right one (I suspect it’s SpecialPoll Interval ).—David Gussman WORD 2007 number of seconds in a week. called UpdateInterval. Before you start adding graphics you have to define a “canvas” to hold them.] EXCEL Speed Up Boot-Up Most digital cameras have some sort of start-up screen that displays when you turn on the camera. another chance to flash the company’s logo—most do. and so on—all the actions that you were accustomed to in Word 2003. too. The default setting was 0x93a80 or 604800. If you’re using XP. which I set to pick up the time server and update time to once an hour (instead of the default once a week). reader [Editor’s note: Yep. Or select a mix-and-match group by clicking one column header and then Ctrl-clicking the rest. and readers CONNECTIVITY I’m in London. For quicker boot-ups. UpdateInterval specif ies the number of clock ticks between phase-correction adjustments. under HKEY_LOCAL_ MACHINE\SYSTEM\ControlSet001\Services\ W32Time\Config. disable the start-up screen. Select a contiguous group of columns by clicking one column header and dragging sideways until they’re all selected.

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Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition The ancient canon led a whole generation of boys down the path toward an ostracized adolescence of fantasy novels. Bruce Shellenbaum. Luckily Red Bull is launching a new drink this month. questionable fashion choices. H. Fail Not sure if this will fly. shall own all property rights in the entries. An ad you have to see to believe. and girl-free Saturday nights. you’ll need high doses of stimulants. This version brings the classic game to the Internet with the D&D Insider community. we’ll send you a PC Magazine T-shirt. Minions of the hooded suburban elves unite! Red Bull Cola You might ask. Red Bull Cola is an all-natural beverage that has 45 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce can—much more than Coke or Pepsi. as three unrelated releases rock our insular universes. my fellow pioneers of the Great Indoors. “Dan. it won’t fail to entertain. It’s good to see the coca leaf return to ingredient lists after decades of negative PR. Abort. but we like the GPU.com. and after each level you get a short Behind The Music–style video. S. Ziff Davis Media Inc. Overman. You can game with your friends around the world with the included voice-over-IP connection. Yes. and incredibly detailed dungeons online. This month’s winners: Nicholas Dunn. Even if you don’t walk the Aerosmith way. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith The Bad Boys from Boston are the stars of the latest chapter in Activision’s fauxrock franchise. Rob Verderame. That cacophony you hear? The sound of a million 12-sided dice rolling at once. We especially like the free-range search engines. 110 PC MAGAZINE JULY 2008 . We prefer to call it by a new name: Dorkageddon. Players can create characters. and now it’s back in a major way. we may not see the non-pixelated sun again until August. June will go down as one of the greatest months in the history of basement-dwelling Wii-ogres. (Maui) Nothing is sexier than a USB thumb drive. how can I keep up with all of June’s awesomeness?” Like any good gamer. Sooo should I buy one or not? ARF NEEDS YOU! If your entry is used. Dave Wells. Submit your entries via e-mail to arf@ziffdavis. Guitarist Joe Perry selected each guitar personally so it correctly corresponds with the right Aerosmith song. the game’s music is actually a 60/40 split of the band’s hits and songs by other rockers that the band selected. Retry.BackSpace EDITED BY DAN EVANS Why June Will Be the Greatest Month Ever Some may call this month June. miniatures. Grab your plastic ax and follow the band’s evolution from drugaddled dreamers to seasoned veterans. The game begins with their first gig at a high school dance in Massachusetts and thrashes its way up past Max’s Kansas City and through the Alicia Silverstone era.

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