Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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July 2004, Week 3 -- The Spam Report

 

 

 

   Here are the awful numbers, from a recent study by Yahoo www.yahoo.com:

 

   Eighty percent of all email is spam. Most spam comes from the U.S. And that's because ... about 20 percent of U.S. residents admit to buying something from a spam ad.

 

   Spam bothers email recipients the most in Japan, where about half of all recipients say they send angry replies. This is often self-defeating, since some spammers take any response -- even negative responses -- as proof that there's a live one at the other end. That puts you on the preferred list for more spam.

 

   If you want to know who's doing this, go to www.spamhaus.org. Click on "rokso" and that brings up a list. Most spammers are in the U.S., followed by Canada, Australia and Russia. But the map is always shifting: (Spam from Latvia?)

 Art Explosion Publisher

 

Big Publishing Package

   "Art Explosion Publisher Pro" is a new offering from Nova Development, a software house that made its reputation with massive collections of clip art and animation. There's plenty more of that here, and they've pulled it together with more publishing and editing tools than you'll ever figure out what to do with.

   This is a nice package and it handles all the jobs we've come to expect from publishing programs these days: newsletters, brochures, business cards and letterheads, greeting cards, calendars, etc. There are 2,500 publishing templates, 500 type fonts and 100,000 images.

 

   The strength is in the graphics, which, we quickly admit, are very nice (love those animations). The weakness is the price, which is $100 list from their web site www.novadevelopment.com, but we found it for $80 at Best Buy www.bestbuy.com.

 

Faster, better wireless

 

 

   If you want all your computers and printers to be able to talk to each other, and to the Internet, wireless is currently the popular way to go. Please remember, however, that whatever your wireless system is broadcasting can be read by anyone else with a nearby receiver as well.

   The new D-Link high-speed wireless router is very fast. Maximum data transfer rate is 108 Mbps, which stands for "megabits bits per second" and in plain English means more than two million words a second. That's using the catchily titled 802.11g wireless transmission protocol and as a practical matter is about 15 times faster than the 802.11b system you were trying to figure out last year. The router is also backwards compatible, as they say, with 802.11b.

 

   The full designation on the router is the D-Link DI-624 (another catchy title) and stick with us for a minute because there's some more interesting stuff coming up. One of those is the pricing on this ultra-fast router: The list price is around $100, but we found it for sale for just $39 after rebate at www.compuplus.com; that's quite a discount range.

 

   And speaking of range ... The range on the new wireless router is about 150 feet, walls in the way and all. They have longer range routers and connections, and for those who wonder if everybody in their home or business can be connected in this way, and what-all they need to do it, there is a really useful section on the D-Link web site. Go to www.dlink.com and click on "configurator" on the lefthand side of the home page. Answer the questions about your requirements. Once you list what you want the network to do, the site tells you what you need to get to do it. Then you can shop for your best prices,

 

   D-Link routers get four out of five stars from PC Magazine, which is about as high as such ratings go. It works with Windows and Mac, and turns out to be very popular with the Macintosh crowd.

 

Internuts

 meetup

-- www.meetup.com  An interesting idea, whose time has probably come. Visitors can list their location and the subjects that interest them. The site then tries to get people to form groups of like-minded participants. If they can get enough in any area, they meet. There weren't enough people interested in playing bridge to meet in Wilmette, Ill. But web designers are meeting now in Calgary, Alberta, and Albuquerque, NM, and fans of Japanese anime films are meeting in Birmingham, Ala. The vampires are meeting in Chicago.

 

 

 True Crime

-- www.musicnotes.com  Books and sheet music, most for pay but some for free. We downloaded some free sheet music by ragtime master Scott Joplin. There's a free preview of all sheet music for sale, so you can gauge whether or not it's too difficult. If you're not sure how something sounds, they have free software that will let you listen to the piece. They also have free guitar lessons.

That's Entertainment

   "True Crime: the Streets of L.A.," $30 from Activision. When you're talking the streets of Los Angeles, you're definitely talking true crime. Lots of car chases, shoot-outs, kung-fu chop-sockeys, and all backed with pulse pounding hip-hop music. Play solo or online. More info at www.activision.com.

 

Books

Pro Tools

   "The Musician's Guide to Pro Tools," by John Keane; $40 from Osborne/McGraw-Hill www.osborne.com.

Very few recordings are made without computer-aided editing these days, and computers and appropriate software are often used for live concerts as well. In software, "Pro Tools" is the main man, as they say.

   NOTE: Readers can search more than three years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at bobschwab@aol.com and Joy Schwabach at joydee@oncomp.com.