||February 2003, Week
2 -- I-Spy the Competition
| "PicaLoader" lets you
download, manage and view pictures - up to 700,000 at a time -- from any
part of the Internet.
| The program can work
with 50 web sites at a time. Pictures will be downloaded even if they are
instructions can be given to restrict the pictures by size color, definition
and other attributes. The software can also be set to reject duplicate
|| One of the uses
suggested by the maker is downloading all the pictures from a competitor's
catalog. Is this legal? It probably depends on where you are; many places
don't recognize copyright laws. Once the pictures are downloaded - and
remember: you can download 700,000 of them at a time, they can be viewed
full size, as a running slide show, or as so-called thumbnails. Images can
be collected and filed.
|| PicaLoader runs under
Windows 95 and up and is $50 from the maker, VOWSoft Ltd.
www.vowsoft.com. A free trial version
is available from the web site.
||One more spam
|| Okay, now we're going
to look at one more Spam stopper, and this is a good one.
| It's "Spam Crusher"
and what this program has working for it is a built-in list of thousands of
known spammers and the domain names they send from. The list is continually
updated by the program maker, American Systems. Then, like most other
anti-spam programs, you can add your own blocked addresses and offensive
words. Names and sender addresses from friends and business associates are
permitted by the filter and you can add more of these to the list as well as
more blocking terms, on the fly, as they say, as email is coming in.
|| Spam Crusher is $20
and there's a free 30-day trial version from
||Home on the range
with wireless networks
| The claimed
150-foot range for wireless computer networks exists only under the most
ideal conditions. In the real world it's often only a third of that. LinkSys,
a major maker of such systems, is now offering a range booster, the WSB24,
for LinkSys setups, that increases whatever range you're getting by about
20-50 percent. In some situations, that extended range will make the
difference. It's $99 from www.linksys.com.
|| "MP3 Splitter and
Joiner" from EZ SoftMagic does just what it's title says and lets you edit
pieces of any recorded material into small MP3 files that can be entered
individually or joined into longer takes.
|| The problem this fixes
comes up all the time. You might record a two-hour concert or a half-hour
radio program but you don't need or want all of it. If you burn the
recording to a CD - and most new computers come with CD burners built in
these days - you have to burn it as one long track. It obviously makes much
more sense to split out what you want.
|| The program uses a
slider bar to position the cuts where you want. If you're not sure of the
time mark on the recorded material you can use the "listen" feature to be
sure of what you're getting. You can easily create your own albums and
speech recordings this way. A tag editor lets you identify the bits and
joined pieces on the CD's directory. The program can handle splits and joins
as long as 17 hours of audio material in one editing session.
|| MP3 Splitter and
Joiner is $20 for Windows and a 3-day free trial is available from the web
|| What with the dollar
falling against many currencies, and the continuing turmoil in stock
markets, I thought it might be a good idea to mention a few web sites for
stock market information. There must be a hundred such sites but I'm only
mentioning ones that I have found most useful over the past couple of years.
www.cboe.com CBOE stands for the Chicago Board Options Exchange. This is
the largest exchange for trading stock options. You can look up option
prices for any stock or market index that has options, and for any future
period up to two years ahead. While most people don't trade options there's
lots of interesting information here. For instance, if you click on the
"market statistics" button you get daily information on the "VIX"
(volatility index), which traders often refer to as "the fear index,"
providing a clue to peaks and valleys of market optimism.
www.bigcharts.comThis is the place to
go for a quick chart on any stock or index. As you delve deeper into the
site you can find fundamental information, like price to earnings ratios,
dividend payments, etc. You can also get the latest news on stocks and the
market. This is provided through a link to CBS Market Watch:
www.cbsmarketwatch.com. This site provides brief summaries of recent news
and is pretty up to date.
www.thomsonfn.com The amount of
information here is staggering. If I could only go to one financial web
site, this would be it. They not only provide the "VIX" but the put/call
ratio during the day, up volume and down volume, advances and declines, etc.
As you move further into the site you can look up insider trading figures
for U.S. stocks - how many company officers and directors are buying their
own stock or selling it, and how much of it. You can also look up seasonal
patterns: Do auto stocks do better in the winter or the summer? Do toy
companies top out before or after Christmas?
| You can look up any
"On Computers" column from the last three years by going to our web site:
www.oncomp.com. You can contact the
author at firstname.lastname@example.org or