Bob and Joy
                                      
 
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach
                                                                        

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November 2004, Week 2 -- Seek and Ye Shall Find

 

 

 

   Here are three new search tools, the last one a knockout.

 

   Google has a free utility that can be used to find most (but not all) files on Windows XP and Windows 2000. Go to www.google.com and click on the button that says "more." The second half of the page that comes up is headed "Google Tools." Click on "Google Desktop Search." It searches Word, Excel PowerPoint, Outlook, Outlook Express and Internet Explorer files. It does not search web-based email files.

 

   "Copernic Desktop Search" searches all files on any PC with Win 98 or higher. It's free from www.copernic.com. In a search of photo files, Copernic showed thumbnails immediately; with Google you have to click on the name to see a thumbnail image. Like Google, you can't search web-based email.

 

   "X1" is not free but is far more powerful than the two above. It can search the major email programs, compressed files, Adobe PDF files and files in over 250 formats, including archives and networks. The search is done as fast as you can type. If a file contains your search word but you don't have the program that created it, you can still view the contents.

 

   X1 also allows you to search by date, type or subject. You can save frequent searches, and an index of search terms and results is updated in the background. You can use quote marks to define a search for an exact phrase or term. You can do Boolean searches, using "and," "or" and "not."

 

   The program starts by indexing all the files in your computer; you can keep working while it does this. All this power isn't free but it is free to try, $75 to buy, at www.x1.com. A most impressive search utility.

 

Screen calendar

Screen Calendar

   A little Windows utility with the simple name of "Screen Calendar" puts a calendar in one corner of your display or can be expanded to fill the whole display. Double-click on any date and a panel opens up with times listed like an appointment book. Double-click on a time and type in your appointment. Hover over a date and you will see what you have written there.

   Unlike other calendar programs, including the one built into Windows, this one is up-front and on-screen all the time, so you have an immediate view of events. Screen Calendar also has a selection of attractive wallpaper screens for backgrounds; they offer the program for free if you provide them with a new wallpaper picture they like.

 

  Screen Calendar is free to try and $33 to buy from www.screencalendar.com. Not all that cheap but we must admit, it's very handy.

 

The Numbers Report

 

   An analysis by Trend Micro (a maker of antivirus software) detected 1,485 computer viruses in September of this year, a 600 percent increase from a year ago. Spyware "bots" (software robots that search your computer to see where you've gone and what you've done there) have increased by 24 times.

 

   Just under half of the new viruses and bots are what are called "Trojans," designed to steal personal information such as bank accounts, passwords and credit card numbers. Trend Micro also found that virus writers are able to exploit new vulnerabiliies discovered in Windows within three days. The time lag between going on the web until the first cookie or spyware probe has shrunk to about 20 seconds. (We often use Winferno's "Secure IE" www.winferno.com for defense.)

 

Low-down lasers

 

   Samsung's new color laser printer, the CLP 550, is widely available for under $500 from discounters. We found it for $447 at www.ebuyer.com and around $470 from several others located with a search at www.froogle.com. This is less than we paid for our first color inkjet printer from Epson; how times change.

 

   Ink cartridges for the CLP 550 cost $120-$125 and are good for roughly 5,000 pages at normal printing coverage. That comes to two and a half cents a page for single color printing. Both the printer and the cartridges cost a bit less than our Minolta Magicolor 2300W.

 

 ipod book

 

   Wrapping it up, the CLP 550 doesn't come up to the quality or print speed of our Okidata C5100, which is only slightly more expensive: $498 at www.froogle.com Color ink cartridges cost less, however, just $100 from Okidata itself http://esales.okidata.com, the lowest for any of thhe printers mentioned here. When you measure the total cost of the printer and replacement cartridges for all three of these printers, there is little difference. So the deciding factor becomes print quality. Okidata looks best, Minolta almost as good, Samsung third.

Books

   "The Rough Guide to iPods, iTunes and music online," by Buckley and Clark; $9 from Penguin Group.

   It all seems simple but this business of downloading and storing music from the web seems to baffle a lot of people. This little book will tell you to handle Apple's iPod for music and ever use it as an extra hard drive. Web: www.roughguides.com