Bits & P.C.s: News at 10
By Richard Heller
First off this week, an update regarding the program Perfect Spam Only Eliminator from Cosmi. About a month ago I recommended this program as a way to manage the junk e-mail that you receive. Upon further testing, I discovered a bug in the program that did not allow it to work correctly with Windows 98 or ME. Cosmi has now released the fix that involves creating a couple of new mailboxes in your e-mail program so there is a place for the incoming spam to be placed. After the fix, the program runs as advertised and is again recommended.. The retail price is $15, but Cosmi also sells the same program, minus the bonus programs,as Spam Blocker for $10.
Coming soon to a video rental store near you is the pirate-proof DVD. A couple of Japanese companies are developing a DVD that only contains part of the movie; the missing parts will have to be downloaded from a Web site when you want to view the movie. Even if you copy the DVD, you will still need a valid rental number, or the video will not play. In addition, Disney is working on a DVD that will change color either after a set number of viewings or so many days. When this happens, the DVD can no longer be read by the player. Both of these schemes are designed to make movie viewing in the home a pay-per-view event.
In addition to all the other problems at AOL/Time Warner, it is now being reported that AOL lost 1 million customers over the past year. If you figure $25 per month per customer, that translates into a $300 million loss. If this continues, you may no longer get one of their silver disks in the mail every month with the latest version of the software.
Sony has released an updated version of their DVD recorder for the computer. While it still retails for $350, it still supports all DVD formats except DVD-RAM, and has faster read and write speeds. While there are other
recorders that cost less, none of them offer the versatility of this drive. You can also play DVD movies with it, and it also functions as a CD writer.
For some strange reason, Symantec is selling Norton Anti-virus Professional and the Standard edition for the same price after rebates. The Pro version is $60 with a $30 rebate, the Standard is $50 with a $20 rebate. Either way, the price goes to $30. The Pro version allows you to install it on two computers and has additional features, so when you make your purchase, spend the extra $10.
One of the programs I use as I surf the Web is AdSubtract. This $20 program blocks all the pop-up, pop-under, and all the other annoying ads that appear. You can configure it to allow the pop-ups that you want to view to appear while blocking the others. The ads are stopped before they reach your computer, and it will actually increase the speed that Web pages load.
Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 243-1162.