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     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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May 2001, Week 4 -- Now On View

  

 

 All-in-Wonder Radeon

   The "All-In-Wonder Radeon" video card has been at the top of the "best buy" lists for several months. What makes this so remarkable is that it's listed as a "best buy" for business users.

   It's remarkable because this is what has always been considered a gamer's card. The Radeon provides video display for PCs and is meant to replace whatever display circuitry that came with the computer. The typical video display that comes with a new computer seldom meets the demands of hard-core video game players. The Radeon's super-fast screen display (200 hertz) and extremely high detail and color handling are what gamers want. Oddly enough, those very same qualities are why this card gets the nod for business.

 

   Then again, maybe it's not so odd. High performance in other fields often later becomes the standard for regular users. The engineering refinements used for race cars often become standard features on automobiles years later; the once expensive frequency filters on stereo systems are now commonplace in cheaper models. We have noted many times in the past that the cutting edge in computer technology is usually game technology.

 

   The reason this is moving into business use is because of increasing demands and expectations. Business computers are now used to create and play highly sophisticated sales presentations. They're used for making training and employee benefit videos on CDs and DVDs. You need to see television on demand and view and edit video tapes on the computer. Streaming video is becoming common on the worldwide web. All of this requires a fast display card -- the kind gamers use.

 

  The All-In-Wonder Radeon is from ATI and comes in several variations but the most common sells for around $300. You can watch TV on your computer with all versions and accept video feed from a VCR or camera. Phone info: 905-882-2600; web: www.ati.com.

 

Video Input

  

   IBM's new web cam, the "Net Camera Pro," delivers 640 X 480 dpi (dots per inch) resolution in color. That's a standard resolution for a picture to have decent viewing quality on a computer screen. The $90 camera also accepts analog video input and converts that to digital. Accompanying software provides video editing, video e-mail and video conferencing.

   The camera combines technology from IBM and Xirlink, Inc., and can easily handle full motion video at 30 frames per second. Phone: 800-928-8008; web: www.xirlink.com.

 

Cheap PCs

 

-- www.dellauction.com  An online auction for Dell equipment: buy or sell. We bought one here; works fine. Two other sites: www.outpost.com and www.microwarehouse.com are large discount outlets selling a wide variety of computer equipment and software.


from the Smithsonian website

   Also check local stores. The best deal we ever got on a new computer was from a store that was closing out a discontinued IBM model. The price dropped from $2,500 to $900. Just chance. (They're all gone, so please don't ask for the address.)

Internuts

-- www.edufly.com  Links to selected education sites. You can start by clicking on a grade level, from elementary school up to doctoral, and the site pops up a list of sites appropriate to those study levels. The sections cover a huge range and are excellent. Check out www.schoolatlas.com  or www.si.edu  and www.sciencefriday.com.

 

 

 

-- www.radio-locator.com  One of several sites that connect you to radio stations all over the world. Select by location, the station call letters or the type of broadcast.

-- www.wallstreetcity.com  Tons of hot information from this site sponsored by Telescan, one of the oldest online data providers.

-- www.cartoonbank.com   New Yorker cartoons. You have to pay a fee to reprint, but no charge for looking.

-- www.ucomics.com  Cartoons from the largest feature syndicate in the known universe: Doonesbury, Cathy, Annie, Brenda Star, Calvin & Hobbes, Dick Tracy, Garfield, Ziggy, etc. Also has editorial cartoons.

 

Tips for widows and orphans

 

   When printing from Microsoft Word, one or two sentences at the end of the document sometimes force the printing of another page. You can stop that and confine the printout to a single page by going to the "print preview" page and clicking on the icon for "shrink to fit." The program will then shrink the text to fit the page, just as it says. In some other word processing programs, and most publishing programs, this is often called "widow and orphan control."

 

Jigsaw Puzzles

 

   Like jigsaw puzzles? We found 52 jigsaw programs in a search on www.zdnet.com. Some of them are free, some not; all are free to try. Some have only ready-made puzzles but most let you create a new one from a picture of your own choosing. You work these puzzles on the computer screen, they do not create cardboard pieces.

 

   The two most comprehensive programs seem to be "Jigsaws Galore" and "Jixxa Jigsaws." The first received the five star rating from ZDnet, and five cows from the popular download site www.tucows.com.

 

Books

  Multiple Streams of Income

   "Multiple Streams of Internet Income," by Robert Allen; $25 from John Wiley & Sons www.robertallen.com. Allen is a well-known self-promoter and author of the best-selling real estate book "Nothing Down." This puts a lot of people off. Nonetheless, the book turns out to have lots of useful information and many sensible suggestions for marketing on the Internet.

NOTE: Readers can search more than four 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.

 

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