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May 2000, Week 4 -- On Patrol

 

 

   If business is war, this new Hewlett Packard printer is for the road warrior.

   The DeskJet 350CBi is battery powered and light beam linked. The printer can be connected to the computer through an infrared beam, similar to a TV remote control. For those who fear someone walking by and breaking the beam, you have the option of connecting with a standard printer cable.

 

  The "i" in the model number stands for infrared. List price is $299, but you can buy the same printer without battery or infrared capacity for $269. For only $30 difference I would rather have the battery and the infrared.

 

   This printer is designed for the so-called "road warrior" -- the business man or woman on the move. At 4.3 pounds it is far from the lightest among such portable printers; add the sheet feeder and the combined unit weighs in at 5.4 pounds. It's also not the smallest: the overall dimensions of 5.9 x 12.2 x 3.7 just barely fit into a full depth briefcase.

 

   This is Hewlett Packard's first portable printer, and obviously weight and size were not the primary design considerations. The printer has the rugged feel and precision workmanship that we expect from Hewlett Packard, however. It works with Windows or Macintosh, requiring a USB cable for the Mac.

 

   The printer comes with a detachable sheet feeder and can print legal-sized documents up to 14 inches long; print speed is a quick three seconds per page. The ink cartridges have been specially made so they won't leak or explode in flight. Web info: www.hp.com.

 

One drive fits all

   Ricoh was first to market this past April with an internal drive that reads the new DVD movie disks and can also read and write regular CDs. The CD is fast becoming a standard for backup storage and of course the way to go for people cutting their own music CDs.

   Separate drives were required until recently but now Ricoh has broken the ice and we can expect to see them from all major manufacturers. The most recent addition comes from Toshiba, whose SD-R1002 combination drive sells for about the same as the Ricoh, around $350 from discounters. Web info: www.ricoh.com and www.diskproducts.toshiba.com.

 

They want their MP3

 

   Apropos of cutting your own CDs, the RioPort Audio Manager is free in a limited version that can manage 50 tracks of MP3 music. The unlimited version is $10. Both versions can be downloaded from their web site and let you encode tracks from CDs into MP3 format. Web site: www.rioport.com.

  
Charles Dickens

Internuts

-- www.npg.org.uk/ The National Portrait Gallery of Great Britain. Ten thousand portraits of the men and women who made Britain what it is today. Even more in the archives. Take a look at Henry the Eighth, Oscar Wilde or T.E. Lawrence (he of Arabia).

 
Buffalo Bill Cody

-- www.americaslibrary.gov  Official site for the Library of Congress. Among many selections, it offers history lessons and film clips from the early days of the Edison kinetoscope.

-- http://cgi.zdnet.com/slink?34895:5055519 Mars Screen Saver; 22 images of the Red Planet.

 

-- www.desktop.com We've mentioned this before in Internuts, but a new feature makes it worth mentioning again. You can store up to 25 megabytes simply by clicking on a file and dragging it onto the storage icon.

 

-- www.freedrive.com Another new site offering free storage. This one ups the ante by offering 50 megabytes free.

 

-- www.governmentjobs.com A new site that compiles job listings for state and local government jobs. Not all cities and states are covered. Federal government job are usually posted by the particular federal agency and should be searched that way.

 

-- www.military.com  Current news and some history about doings in the U.S. Military. The site is not run by the military, however.

 

-- www.createwindow.com/wininfo/regclean.htm An engineer from the Minneapolis area suggests using this utility to clean the deadwood out of your Windows registry, and he swears his company lives by it. This is not for the faint of heart or for beginners. Always use registry cleaners with caution and backup your old registry to a new folder before you do.

 

-- www.scitechdaily.com Bits and pieces about science and technology, delivered with short summary paragraphs as lead-ins. Click and learn more.

 

--www.zdnet.com/downloads/stories/info/0,,000E17,.html Crossword Compiler for Windows. Free trial as shareware, $45 to buy and register. Quite a sophisticated program; design your own crossword puzzles.

 

-- www.antcolony.org The Ant Colony Developers Association. See "Antropolis." You might say this is an extremely specialized site.

 

Games people play

 Disc Golf

 

   "Disk Golf" from Wizard Works is a Windows simulation of a popular new game. It's like golf, but uses frisbees instead of a golf ball and clubs. You try and throw the frisbee into elevated trays along the course. Four 18-hole courses are on disk. Web: www.wizardworks.com.

  You can try miniature golf as one of 14 games on the new Windows "Arcade Pack" from Sierra. A major hazard on one of these courses is giant bees that carry off your ball. This is one of the best ways to get a bunch of computer games for little money; wait a few months and the hot games that were $40 are re-packaged for half or less. Web: www.sierra.com.

 

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@oncomp.com or bobschwab@aol.com.