May 2005, Week 3 --
All the Notes Fit to Keep
"EverNote" is designed to compete with Microsoft's "OneNote." The
purpose of both is to let you take and organize notes and images.
There the comparison ends. EverNote is still in beta
mode (not quite ready for full release) and can be downloaded for
free; OneNote, on the other hand, lists for $100. Both can recognize
hand writing, if you have a tablet for input, and both allow you to
organize your notes and images by subject, just as if you were
putting files in a cabinet.
OneNote shows files as tabs along the top of the
screen. Click on a tab and the contents are listed in the center of
your screen; sub-categories are listed on the right. EverNote works
in much the same way. One advantage with EverNote, however, is that
it lists everything alphabetically. You wouldn't think this is much
of a difference but it turned out to be a big difference when trying
to find something. In addition, you can see all of your categories
at a glance.
OneNote can export files as HTML, which means the contents can be posted
directly to the web, and EverNote is expected to do that in its
final form. OneNote can even store audio and video as notes.
Everything in both programs is automatically saved when you exit.
Get more details at
www.microsoft.com/onenote. A web search reveals some bargain
prices for OneNote.
Privacy at last
When Joy first installed and ran the "Acronis Privacy Expert
Suite 8" on her H-P desktop it found 19 pieces of spyware and 1,400
items in the Internet Cache, the computer's log of where she had
gone before and what she had done there. It also cleared out 1,158
temporary files. That's pretty typical but we were glad to get it
off our system.
This new version of Acronis Privacy Suite also includes a shredder,
something many readers have asked for and adds a shield that blocks
spyware and hijackers. You can click on "system cleanup" and shred
anything that was previously deleted but it still hanging around on
your hard disk. Or use "drive cleanser" to wipe the whole drive. As
before, it provides a popup ad blocker.
Acronis Privacy Suite is a subscription service that costs $30 for
one year. Web info at
Gaming the system
We recently installed a gigabyte of what's sometimes called
"gamer's memory" in Joy's computer. Wow! So that's what they mean by
We installed two rows of 512 megabyte DDR-RAM chips from US
www.usmodular.com. (Installing them is what Joy calls a "Honey
do," which means Bob does it.) The "RAM" stands for "Random Access
Memory," which every computer has. The "DDR" stands for "Double Data
Rate," which means the chips have been set up to operate at twice
US Modular says these ultra-fast chip sets are designed for
game players, enhancing the speed with which graphics are drawn to
the screen and game characters respond. They call it "Cold Fusion."
What's interesting about this is that the chips are meant
for gamers but they work well for any purpose. Games are the cutting
edge of computer technology and have been since the earliest days.
Ordinary office tasks, like word processing, running a spreadsheet,
or keeping records, require very little computing power by today's
standards and can be run easily with the cheapest and most basic
machines out there; $400 will put you "in business" with no trouble.
Running games, on the other hand, requires power.
It turns out you don't have to be a gamer to like this
ultra-fast memory. Once we installed the DDR "cold fusion" chips,
Joy's computer worked very fast indeed. The start-up procedure that
used to take a minute or so, now takes a few seconds. Programs that
used to take several seconds to load, now pop up instantly.
The point is, fast memory makes everything run faster,
not just games. Adding memory, even these relatively expensive DDR
chip sets, is just about the cheapest thing you can do to improve a
computer's performance. The one gigabyte set costs $189 from US
Modular, the 512 megabyte set is $129. Prices from discounters were
similar. Regular memory chip sets cost much less but will still
speed up computer operations.
Clusty.com, our favorite search engine, has new tabs for
government, jobs and other stuff. Click on "customize" and put a
checkmark next to the tabs you want to add for quick searches. They
have lots of them: eBay, NY Times, CNN, Wikipedia, etc. Choosing the
government tab gives you quick access to government reports, think
tanks, and the voting records and photos of your state's Senators
and Congressmen. Choosing the job tab lists local jobs by state or
NOTE: Readers can search several years of columns at the "On
Computers" web site:
www.oncomp.com. You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at
and Joy Schwabach at