Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

Home (947 bytes)

Columns  (947 bytes)

Internuts (947 bytes)

  Bob's Bio (947 bytes)

Email (947 bytes)

 

Home

Columns

Internuts

 About Us

Email

 
                                                                                                               


 

March 2004, Week  -- Big Deal Utility

 

 

 

V-Com SystemSuite 

   System Suite 5 updates one of the best utility programs we’ve run in the past 20 years or so. In short, it’s great.

   For instance: We got an email from Symantec recently, warning us about a new worm virus: W32.Netsky.D@mm, which emails itself to everybody in your Windows email address list. Symantec, which makes its living primarily on anti-virus software, rated it a level 4 threat on a scale of 1-5 and recommended that users update their Symantec anti-virus software to combat it. We mention all this because System Suite 5 caught it and dumped it and we never even knew there was a problem until it was all over.

 

   System Suite 5 is $60 and works with Windows 95 and up. PC World magazine gave it their “best buy” rating and we concur, with the small proviso that a few of the things it does are already included in Windows XP – if you can ever find them there.

 

   Meanwhile, System Suite 5 includes a terrific virus scanner from Trend Micro, Sygate’s excellent firewall to protect you from unauthorized access, a registry fixer, anti-spam, and Ghost Surfer’s anonymity software so you roam the web anonymously, and several others. But … the parts we really liked were “recovery commander” and “transport.”

 

   Recovery Commander takes a system that has locked up and lets you return it to a previous point where everything was working normally. This feature is also built into Windows XP, but with System Suite 5 it becomes available to users of earlier version of Windows, who normally would not have that capability. The “transport” function of System Suite does something wonderful: it lets you move an application to another computer. That’s not the same as moving files from one computer to another, which is a piece of cake, but of moving a program from one computer to another; that’s good stuff.

 

   Last of all, we’ll mention a space finder provides a graphic view of your hard drive’s space allocation so you can see how much space is being taken up by what. You can clean out the junk once you can see it, or just click on the clean-up tab. The utility also let us uninstall a program that Windows XP’s uninstaller couldn’t handle. System Suite 5 is by V-com and you can find it at www.v-com.com.

 

One-click converter

 

  

   Context Convert Pro 2.0 is kind of an unwieldy name for one of the handiest and easiest Windows utilities we’ve ever found. Simply right-click on any music, photo or video file and you can immediately convert it to any other media format. That’s what the maker says, and that’s just the way we found it to work.

   You can also drag a bunch of files into a folder, or make a new folder, and with a right-click you can convert all of them at once. You can convert a file that has an image that is normally spread over several pages into a file with the image on only one page. Or you can just grab the first page of a multi-page file as a kind of note page in case you’re compiling a catalog.

   Context Convert Pro recognizes 80 different image files for photos and graphics and can convert those into any of 27 files commonly recognized by other programs. Users can convert all their multimedia files into just a few types for easier editing and display. The program is $40 from Mystik Media at www.contextconvert.com. You can also download a free trial version.

 

Internuts

 
How Stuff Works

 

 
27° North
13° West

 

  •    http://science.howstuffworks.com  One of the great ones. Pictures of atoms, how guns work, zippers, cloning, earthquakes, and even how a bowling alley pin setter works. Also has a store for books and CDs.

  •    www.confluence.org  So somebody had this idea, see. The idea was to take a picture of what things look like at the intersection of every “whole number” degree of latitude and longitude, except the ones at sea. The organizers of the site figure that works out to 16,160 locations on land. It’s a volunteer effort; if you’ve got one, submit the picture to the site. They also accept pictures of locations that are not whole number intersections. The results so far are almost unbelievably boring. Keep up the good work.

  •    www.itsyourturn.com  Correspondence chess. Just as in the past aficionados of the game would correspond with each other by mail, moving pieces on duplicate boards, so today you can do it over the Internet. A lot of people seem to like it. This site has a lot more than chess: over 60 different games, including checkers, battleship, backgammon, etc. Tune in.

All the business forms you can eat. They also have over 1,000 U.S. federal and state tax forms, which you can download and print. Everything’s in good form. This is also a site for file storage, and they offer a two-week free trial.

 

The numbers report

 

   According to comscore.com Canadians visit humor sites much more often than Americans do. Not only that, they stay longer too. One in every three Canadians goes to a humor site at least once a month, compared to just one in five Americans. Of course the regular news in American newspapers and TV is much funnier than it is in Canada, so there’s less need to look further.

 

NOTE: Readers can search the last four years of On Computers columns at our web site: www.oncomp.com. Readers can contact us at bobschwab@aol.com and joydee@oncomp.com.