Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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2003 Column Highlights
                                                      
                                                                                      
December 2003, Week 5 -- 
1) Acronis Privacy Suite 7.0 lets you shred private data, eliminate pop-ups, and more.
2) Copy thousands of items into Windows memory and paste them too, with ClipMate.
3) "Speak with a Geek" or email them, to solve technical problems.
4) Digital camera sales now outnumber film camera sales, a first.
5) Get  hints for 21,200 games at gamewinners.com.
6) NeverWinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, an add-on for a classic game.
December 2003, Week 4 -- 
1) Make your logo or business card or envelope look great with Corel Draw Essentials II.
2) Internuts: An economist looks at quirky truths; we also find two sites that sell LearJets.
3) A new Concord camera transmits photos wirelessly to your cell phone or PC.
4)  Even a Word expert can find a useful tip in "Word for Dummies."
5)  Three good games for role-players: "Dungeon Siege," "Gothic II" and "The Hobbit."
December 2003, Week 3 -- 
1)
There's nothing so marvelous as a Marvel comic library on your computer.
2)
Capture Spiderman on your screen, and anything else you see there.
3)
Color laser printers are cheaper than inkjets in the long run, even more so now.
4)
Out-google google, using "Spidering Hacks."
December 2003, Week 3 -- 
1)
There's nothing so marvelous as a Marvel comic library on your computer.
2)
Capture Spiderman on your screen, and anything else you see there.
3)
Color laser printers are cheaper in the long run than inkjets, even more so now.
4)
Out-google google, using "Spidering Hacks."
December 2003, Week 2 -- 
1) Microsoft's Digital Image Pro works like a pro.
2) Photoshow makes it easy to share photos.
3) Internuts: Find the manual you lost for your favorite device,  learn where to donate your old computer, and explore a directory of wi-fi hot spots.
4) Games: Prince of Persia is a real kick. The Cat in the Hat comes back.
5) PC Toys: How to make fun stuff, even a telescope tracker.
December 2003, Week 1 --
1) OEM software pricing, and how to get it.
2)
Internuts: A guide to endangered seafood; links to educational sites for kids and adults; news and gifts from the Orient Express; a speed check on web sites.
3)
A beginner's console for disk jockeys.
4)
A new Halo adventure.
5)
The Absolute Beginners' Guide to WordPerfect 11.
November 2003, Week 4 --
1) The new Microsoft Money is, well ... on the money.
2)
Say Aloha to a new version of  "Aloha Bob."
3)
Nancy Drew is on the trail again.
4)
Lord of the Rings is getting to be a Hobbit.
5) Rugby 2004 introduces the toughest sport around.
6) The Temple of Elemental Evil is in a rough neighborhood.
7)
Call of Duty may be the best battle game of the year.
8)
Empires: history is written in blood and iron.
9)
Sinbad: the sailor man explores the seas.
  November 2003, Week 3 --  
1)  PhotoImpact XL excels at photo editing.
2)  Adobe PhotoShop Elements 2.0 has its own great features.
3)  Adobe PhotoShop Album 2.0 will organize your whole photo archive.
4)  "Femme Digitale" is a beautiful book about beautiful digital women.
5)  NBA Backyard Basketball: another hit in the backyard sports series for children.
November 2003, Week 2 --  
1) Windows annoyances and what you can do about them.
2) Maxtor One Touch hard drive makes it easy to backup or duplicate your files.
3) We find a great calendar program in WinDates.
November 2003, Week 1 --  
1)  Microsoft Office 2003 has a couple of good points.
2) 
Microsoft OneNote, a separate program, looks great.
3) 
AlphaShield claims to block all worms.
4) 
A new PuttPutt adventure: Pep's Birthday Surprise.
October 2003, Week 4 --     
1) ATI's new "Radeon 9800 Pro" graphics card.
2) Burning Blue Audio Power Pak amplifies sound from computers or music players.
3) "The Oxford -American Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus," for handheld computers
4) Boardreader.com: a tool for searching message boards.
5) A new medieval adventure game: "Once Upon A Knight: heroism, sorcery, cows."
6) Books: "The Absolute Beginner's Guide to Building Robots
October 2003, Week 3 --     
1) Skype is a free program that lets you make phone calls for free anywhere in the world.
2)
Norton's AntiSpam 2004.
3)
Boa Slim DVD-RW drive is absolutely elegant.
October 2003, Week 2 --  
1)
Simple device lets two or more computers share the same dial-up connection.
2) Making videos, photo albums and slideshows is a cakewalk with MediaWorks.
3) Transfer your VCR tapes to DVD with HP's Movie Writer.
4) New expansion packs for  SimCity, Command & Conquer, and Medal of Honor.
5) Books: Genealogy Online.
October 2003, Week 1 --  
1.)
Canvas paints a pretty picture.
2.) Falling prices on color lasers.
3.) Hallmark's new Card Studio.
4.) Books: Moving to Linux.
5.) Games: Vivaldi's Four Seasons for children.
6.) Internuts: a. A new site searches employer sites directly for their own job postings.
b. The American Checkers Federation. c. A center for information on fuel cells. d. The National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. 
September 2003, Week 5 -- 
1.) We take a side step and start the reviews with a couple of duds this week.
2.) Memory Frame makes their flat display bigger; nice for business showrooms. 
3.) Low-priced jigsaw program is fun.
4.) Books: three very useful books from O'Reilly Books this week  Clever tips and tricks for handling Windows XP, Amazon and eBay. 
5.) Two new games for kids: Pirate Raider for Win/Mac; easy and fun. And Barbie of Swan Lake, for the very young. 
September 2003, Week 4 --  
1.) The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! And they brought some software with them: a new version of Abbyy Fine Reader. 
2.) There's also a new version of SnagIt, my favorite screen capture program. 
3.) Games: Two magical music games for children.
4.) Internuts: a. The National Building Museum has pictures and information on historic and unusual buildings around the world. b. The Architectural Heritage of New York does skyscrapers, not just in New York. c. Two sites that show the work of  master craftsmen.
September 2003, Week 3 --  We look at our first joystick in 10 years. Then we turn to drawing tablets, which have some joystick functions but much more versatile (more expensive too). Games: Tron 2.0 is out and full of fast action. Of course they're calling it Tron 2.0 because they are considering the famous Disney movie "Tron" as Tron 1.0 Internuts: The home site for the Nobel Prize committee offers lots of books and papers. Then we found an investment site that has links to a lot more than stocks and bonds. And finally we turn to a site with 11 pages of links to dance organizations, equipment, classes, groups, etc. Books: Two books for do-it-yourselfers, one for upgrading your computer, the other for upgrading the computer case. How about a water-cooled computer?
September 2003, Week 2 --  
1) Color laser printers are cheaper than inkjets, in the long run.
2)  Nice file recovery program with a built-in shredder. 
3)  Internuts: a. Acronyms defined. b.  World's worst analogies. c. hidden surveillance equipment. 
4)
Games: Nancy Drew is back, in a new adventure.
5)  Books: Well-illustrated XP book.
September 2003, Week 1 --    WordPerfect is back; let all attorneys rejoice. I mean the new version of WordPerfect Office, Office 11, also has a simulation of the old DOS program, WordPerfect 5.1, the main word processor used by law firms for many years. Roboform fills out forms quickly and securely; we tried it, we liked it. Internuts: Ever wonder how a Lava Lamp works? Find the answer here, and instructions on how to build one. Visit the home web site of Science News, my favorite magazine. We also check out an environmental watchdog site. And we end with a clever screen saver that puts your own pictures on the desktop.
August 2003, Week 4 -- Tiny wireless links from D-Link. They're very fast. A low-cost laser printer and an even lower cost photo printer. The photo printer is mind deadingly slow, but it sure is cheap. Disney puts some older children's software in three-disc packages for very little money. 
August 2003, Week 3 --  Lexmark has a very nice new all-in-one desktop unit that retails for less than $200. It includes a fax with its own modem and all of multiple functions work whether the unit is connected to a computer or not. Very handy new utility program from Winferno; you'll like it. Internuts: We find a couple of sites that let group members log in to check on schedule changes, news, tips, etc. An eccentric site collects and displays old advertisements, comic strips, etc. Then we have an organization that wants to cut down on outdoor lighting. And then finally, check out "emazing;" they have so many good things we can't begin to describe them. Games: Netflix rents out movies on a no-time-limit basis; why isn't there a service that rents out video games? Now there is. Books: The Google Pocket Guide; only ten books and chock full of useful tips.
August 2003, Week 2 --  "Backpacking" on the digital road. Trying out a new backpack leads us to think about what we can carry in our pockets. How about a "Pockey?" Iuniverse gives good publishing a push. Internuts: Everything you ever wanted to know about geysers. We find a site full of odd and interesting information. And another that catalogs dead shopping malls. Books: A useful little tome for businesses on the legal ramifications of emails.
August 2003, Week 1 --   A keyboard macro generator is still the quickest way to navigate, and we look at one of the best. Get the clicks, whistles and hisses out of your tapes and records and onto CDs; we find a great program for doing this. Epson's new scanner is fairly awesome, for either paper or film. The Kaplan practice programs for SAT College Board tests do in fact improve scores. Internuts: Everything you ever wanted to know know about ancient Mesopotamia. Information about using spices as flavorings and medicines, from UCLA. Books: The Painter 8 WOW Book is a wonderful book about a wow of a program.
July 2003, Week 5 --  Spam programs work a little bit, but an hour later you're still hungry. And now for a really fast new flash memory chip: How about a million words a second? A new clip-on camera for laptops does stills and video. We look at a program that lets you monitor your children's web activities, in real time. Internuts: A watchdog group that tells all about who gets what from whom in Washington. Links to all the high school newspapers you can eat. And tips and complaints from mothers, for mothers. Games: Elite Force II is the best Star Trek action game to date. 
July 2003, Week 4 --     Corel draws a winning number with Painter 8; it's great for artists. Meanwhile, Jasc draws an eight as well, and their Paint Shop Pro 8 is equally great for image editing, whether digital photos or scans. Internuts: Take a ride on the Reading, out to Lancaster County, Pa., to the toy train collectors museum. Search for other museums with an easy query line. Then check out some government sites to find out what the CIA and the State Department have to say about various countries, at least for publication. And buy stamps directly from the Postal Service. A new book tells you have to turn you Palm PDA  into a robot. Meanwhile, Pirates of the Caribbean swash and buckle their way through a new PC game.
July 2003, Week 3 --  Flash memory know all, holds all. Thumb drives, micro drives, pen drives -- whatever you call them, are growing in capacity to the point where they can take over most disk drive tasks. Master Writer provides rhyming and alliterative dictionaries for poets and song writers -- I'm as whispery as a willow in a windstorm. Internuts: It's all word games today. Browse through our lexigraphic map of the world. Books: How to get a job making video games, What a deal, eh? 
July 2003, Week 2 --  WinTasks is a neat utility that lets you control what Windows is doing, both at startup and normal running. This definitely improves performance. We had a lot of fun collecting this week's group of Internuts: We searched on "all things ____" -- fill in the blank with a country name, and that started us rolling on a shopping and recipe trip around the world. Meanwhile, for the millions who do business on eBay, we found two new books to help them do better business.
July 2003, Week 1 --  Courses online and for free; not everything that's available, but a pretty good start. There are hundreds of them. Next we talk about programs that make your home-made CDs self starting and running. And we close with some children's programs from Knowledge Adventure.
June 2003, Week 4 --   A new wireless network you can put together for around $2,500 has a range of 25 miles. It's from D-link. For a little musical exploration and entertainment, there's little that can match Creative Technology's combination piano and computer keyboard. And the software does some tricks. Internuts: Look up magazines and newspapers on the web. We have three sites that can put you in touch with all the news that's fit to print. Games: A new World War II battle  simulator should satisfy the inner warrior.
June 2003, Week 3 --  Found good translation service, but customer relations not up to what we expected. Still looking to set up an online store? We've had pitches from new outfits but Yahoo still beats the bunch. In the next section we blow off some steam about prices. Whew, we feel a lot better. Books: Teach Yourself HTML. Games: Enter The Matrix (of course), and the Vikings invade Medieval: Total War (no rest for the weary). 
June 2003, Week 2 --   In the beginning was the blog; some day everyone will have one. The next version of Microsoft Office is available in beta; so far about half a million people have downloaded it. "OpenOffice," which we used to know as "StarOffice," is still free and used by some instead of MS Office. Internuts: This week's collection of internuts is all about playing games; take a look and try em out. Books: This week's book review looks at a collection of stories by techies, for techies. 
June 2003, Week 1 --   A great music program adds the kind of professional background music you want in a first class video production. This one comes with hundred of selections. And we have Ulead's Video Studio 7 and Roxio's VideoWave to give you a choice on putting the video together. Take a break with some fun Internuts: A dictionary of slang. Rare books. Lessons on how to do just about anything. Games: The Rise Of Nations is a historical action/adventure that's rising fast. Books: Teach Yourself Databases.
May 2003, Week 4 --  We look at three programs that create PDF files and find that the one that does it easiest is free. Toolfish is a tricky little utility from a game programmer. Among many other things it will count your keystrokes and record how many miles your moves in a day. 
May 2003, Week 3 -- This column's a little different. We talk about some photo editing programs and an update of a program for making professional 3-D titling. We also talk about reviews. Why do you sometimes see bad reviews of good programs? Why do you often see good reviews of bad programs. Just what is an honest opinion and what's just some remarks from somebody who works for a competing company? Two beautiful new  books from England: one on digital illustration, another on digital calligraphy.  
May 2003, Week 2 --  D-Link ups "d-speed" with a set of USB-2 cards; faster for video editing and other file transfers. Sandisk has a nifty little box that lets you plug in just about any flash memory card from a digital camera and view the photos on TV. Autobytel.com is a commercial site for selling cars but has some great free specification and reliability reports on any make or model. Internuts: A wacky site for personality tests and science projects. Step-by-step instruction in Origami. Hotel and restaurant reviews; add your own comments. Deep space photos from CalTech. Books: How to place hidden messages in ordinary email transmissions. Games: A new game of space exploration that figures to be a big hit. 
May 2003, Week 1 --  Defrag to the max, as they say; Diskeeper for home and office. Odd little disk washer from England removes scratches on CDs. If you're a professional musician using a synthesizer and computer, you will definitely want the new Project 5 from Cakewalk. Internuts: A site for odd news stories, like an animal rights group wanting Hamburg to change its name to Veggieburg. And then there's "nitpickers," a site full of errors in movie and TV shows. An online library of 10,000 books. View stories from the press around the world; what's happening in Jakarta and that sort of thing. Books: Windows XP Power Pack comes with lots of small utilities on the accompanying CD.
April 2003, Week 4 --  Game Show Presenter makes learning a game, and students from schools to businesses seem to benefit from it. Aver CD Maker provides a plug-in card for Windows to let you download standard video and convert it to digital files. Then you can burn the video to a CD or DVD. Two new printers, one for home use, one for business, print directly onto the disk, making paper labels unnecessary. Xenofex  2 adds special effects to Photoshop or Jasc Paint Shop Pro. Internuts: Wacky uses for common household products. Ever want to hear the rest of the music used to break up the segments on the radio show "All Things Considered?" This is where you find them. And we found another site with lots of old radio shows. How Bout That Dept.: The popular search engine Google has spun off a shopping search site called Froogle. It quickly became our favorite. Books: Mack OS Hacks. Games: Backyard Soccer updated for next year's teams.
April 2003 - Week 3 --  We look at one of those slim-line scanners from Visioneer  -- very handy. New MP3 players are beyond portable: they're the size of a pack of gum. For the truly cautious, a new backup program does duplicate backups to different drives. New baseball game homes in on the pitcher-batter duel. Books: Build your own server.
April 2003, Week 2 -- Very nice contact manager and scheduler; suitable for corporate and school users. A move-it utility for transferring files and programs to a new computer. A program for generating mazes. Internuts: A site for old radio science fiction and other shows; it was the only place we could find a recording of the Android Sisters. A good support site for teachers. A site for day trips and local festivals. Books: How to find things fast with Google.
April 2003, Week 1--  Would you pay a fee to hear the music you want, when you want it, with no commercials? Several services are betting that customers will and frankly we think they're right. Our own take on how to get rid of span, no cost. A good how-to book on building your own home entertainment center.
March 2003, Week 4 --   BitZipper is an industrial strength file compression utility that can even read and write to compression formats that haven't been around for many years. Adobe's new Photoshop Album is the best photo organizer we've ever found. Hot on its heels is a similar new program from Jasc that offers more editing tools. Best new adventure game to come along in  long time is Microsoft's "Freelancer."
March 2003, Week 3 --  Most people don't use their computers to do their tax returns. They don't back up their data either. Hewlett Packard has a new combination printer/scanner/copier that weighs only ten pounds. A new keyboard (that I'm using right now) moves some commonly used keys to new locations and splits them all into two groups; the design is supposed to relieve repetitive stress syndrome. Internuts: We found a site that lets you get rid of that upgrade you hate and revert back to your software's earlier version. Another site explains the error messages you get from Windows Outlook and has great links to other valuable sites. And finally, we take a look at two utilities that help you print file lists.
March 2003, Week 2 --  A big improvement on the old A/B box lets two to four computer users control four peripherals among themselves. Argus has a new low-cost camera for kids that looks to us like a nice camera for anyone. Internuts: How do people with great jobs get those jobs? A site with speeches for all occasions. Metaphors, similes and cliches from U of C, Berkeley. And finally, another good site for children. Books: How to build up a high tech consulting business.
March 2003, Week 1 --  There are spies among us. They're on your computer. Here's how to get rid of them. Meanwhile, back at the dream factory, you can get a little help drawing up a plan for your new business -- the one that doesn't exist yet. If that doesn't work out, you can use another piece of software to hunt for a job. If you want to walk the walk while making a presentation, you can use Ati's new remote control system to operate the computer form quite a distance. A guy down under sells wide-angle mirrors that stick to your computer and let you see, as Satchel Paige used to put it, if something is gaining on you. Books: O'Reilly is out with a new "Missing Manual," this one for Windows XP. Games: A new war game uses creatures assembled from other creature's body parts.
February 2003, Week 4 --  We take a look at mice and their habitats. Then a small scale version of the big liquid crystal displays Bill Gates has hanging in his house. We close with Sim City's latest release, which returns to its origins -- the classic city planning game. It may not seem like our usual four course dinner, but we think you'll admire its presumption.
February 2003, Week 3 --  A combination of scanner and software lets businesses scan and search tens of thousands of pages at a time. Low cost program lets you send short messages to any device able to receive wireless messages, like cell phones, computers and pagers. The claim is that it works with any transmission service in the U.S. and most overseas ones. Internuts: Among the places you must put on your holiday visit schedule is the Mustard Museum in Mt. Horab, Wisconsin. The next site teaches you how to make and smoke sausages. And finally, a site that explains how to make good bread. Bon appetite. Our last item is a little digression on how to find cheap software.
February 2003, Week 2 --  Get a load of this: PicaLoader lets you load 700,000 pictures at a time. One more spam crusher is called ... Spam Crusher. LinkSys boosts the range, but not by much, for home wireless networks. And ... doing the splits with your MP3 files. Internuts: three sites to help you figure out what's going on with the stock market. One is the CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange); two is BigCharts; three is Thomson Financial News. Buy low, sell high.
February 2003, Week 1 -- At last, a database for the hopelessly disorganized: it's a new version of InfoSelect.  And then we printed labels with the new Dymo label maker. Let's face it, I love printing labels. Making movies with MovieWorks. Internuts: two fun web sites for people who like puns, and one for people who just like clever remarks. Kid stuff: JumpStart Languages and Liberty's Kids.
January 2003, Week 4 --   ClickBooks is back with more tricks than ever; you can make clickbook photo albums just by dragging pictures into MS Word and printing with ClickBook. This is a great program for making manuals and instruction booklets. A new Internet cleanup utility from Aladdin removes spyware along the way. "Undelete" now has a version that works with Windows XP.
January 2003, Week 3 --   Search for 10,000 sound effects and incorporate them into your presentations, musical compositions, etc. FileEx adds the commands of file control to whatever program you're working with. Internuts: A Florida bridge club opens its doors to all comers, on the web or not. The American Contract Bridge League has learn to play software for free. You can play bridge with others together on Yahoo. Turn to this web site for the best deals on airline miles. And travel to Planet Relish for funny sci-fi stories. Books: Microsoft puts out a 10 volume library of books covering everything you ever wanted to know about Windows and desktop computers. They're great. Games: Backyard Baseball and Backyard Hockey are among the best kid's games we've ever run. In the baseball game you can make up teams of famous modern players, but as if they were 10 years old. And then there's Disney Coaster, somewhat similar to the other recent hit coaster games, but with the Disney touch.
January 2003, Week 2 --  If you like to work late, here's a keyboard that can light up your life. It will also keep the people around you from complaining about your working late. CafePress lets you sell novelty items without investing a nickel. You pick the theme, they make em to order. How about a power strip that turns things off? When you shut down whatever is plugged into socket one, everything plugged into the other sockets is shut down as well. Internuts: A web site with lots of background to the news, and items about who doing what now; another site looks at recent history through eyewitness accounts; and finally a special site for reading groups, how to form one and hundreds of outlined books to choose from. The numbers report: 70 percent of all doctors consult medical web sites.
January 2003, Week 1 --- LapLink is the gold standard in file transfer software, and now they're moving into remote access. You can access and control any number of computers through their secure web site. Meanwhile ... Aloha Bob becomes PC Relocator, a much more boring name, but still works fine. Internuts: Quoteland has audio, video and music clips instead of just text; pdf zone has tips and tools; and wonder-blonde has blonde of the week. Games: Europa 1400 drops you back to the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance, in one of the best games we've seen this past year. Books: Naked in Cyberspace is a big reference guide to web sites.

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