Week 1 --
That's the Spirit
The latest version of "Norton Ghost" copies your whole
hard drive and does regular backups as well. At $50 after rebate, it's
cheap, and the best way to go.
Ghost makes disk images. The program has been around for years and has
been used by thousands of companies. A disk image is different than a
typical backup procedure and the difference is important. If you use a
normal backup program, you can back up files but not programs. Many
people back up major programs, like Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop,
under the belief that they can then run those programs from the backup
disk. They can't.
A normal backup just backs up files, not the registry listings and
hidden files required to run programs. A program like Ghost does what's
called "drive imaging;" it makes a copy of everything on the drive.
Think of it as taking a "snapshot" of every sector of the drive it's
copying, and then printing that snapshot onto a new disk.
While this process is thorough, it's also time consuming. In fact, it's
very time consuming if you're making an image of a large drive. So you
don't want to do that every day. What you want to do after the first
drive image is taken is just back up the changes you made to your files.
Those are called incremental backups.
Should your system suffer a ruinous crash or be lost or stolen, you can
duplicate everything on it from the image drive. Ghost 9.0 comes with a
Symantec System Recovery disk, so you can restart a computer or drive
from scratch and then copy the image to it. The disk also scans for
viruses and checks the drive for bad sectors before permitting the image
restore. Ghost 9.0 works with Windows XP or 2000. Web site:
Changing the facts
We found a couple of small utilities that let you easily change the
time, date and other attributes of Windows files. This is a touchy
matter but has its uses.
You can use either of the two programs below to change the date and time
that a file supposedly came in, was changed, or was sent out. The legal
implications are enormous, but it can also be useful as a way of
gathering similar files for quick search and recovery.
-- "Advanced FileTimer" is $15, from Finland, and lets you modify
the date and time on photos or any other file. This obviously can
confuse the issue of when a photo was actually taken, but it can also be
used to synchronize a photo with notes about it made later. The time
changes can be backed up by days, hours or single minutes, if you want.
It's available at www.mikasalonen..com.
-- "Property Cafe 2.0" is $9 to buy, free to try, and can change time
and stamps of many files at once. It can change read-only, hidden,
archive, index and system attributes and can rename files over a
network. We found it at
Plustek has a new low-priced book scanner for users who
would like to make clean copies without paying for the high-priced
equipment used by libraries and universities.
The "OpticBook 3600" lists for $249 and eliminates the shadowing and
line distortion that almost always occurs near a book's spine. The
scanner can only handle one side of a book at a time but the results are
as clean as if the pages had been physically removed and placed on the
scanner glass as flat sheets. For now the scanner is only available for
Windows and sales seem to be restricted to North America and Europe.
However, we went on a search and found you can buy it on eBay. Plustek
The numbers report
Sometime in July the number of people using broadband
(cable, wireless or DSL) rose to 51 percent. So, slightly more than half
of all computer users now use the Internet with a high-speed connection.
But of course that means almost half of all users still have dial-up
connections. That's not necessarily bad. When the network clogs up with
lots of users and traffic, it can be faster to use a dial-up (read "old
fashioned telephone line") than broadband. It's not often, but we've
seen it happen. By the way: the country with the most users on broadband
connections is South Korea, which has around 80 percent.
Rent.com claims to have
listings for more than 4.1 million apartments near the campuses of 3,600
colleges. If you sign a lease, they pay a $100 bonus. There's no charge
for searching. Cautionary note: Many colleges in big cities are in
high-crime neighborhoods, so we wouldn't rent a place in those areas
"Best of the Internet, 2005," by Joe Kraynak; $10 from
There are several of these Internet summary books, some of them quite
large. This one is small, but we like it the best; it's inexpensive,
easy to thumb through and has some good listings. Remember: the Internet
is huge and no catalog of sites is ever complete.