100th Issue: Prizes, Twice the Tips!
Welcome to the 100th issue of the Weekly
PCstats.com Newsletter! There have been quite few
changes since I started this newsletter in 2001, including no less
than three different revisions of the PCstats.com logo! Along the way Colin and his bag of Tips have joined in, and Chris' column has kept us informed on the happenings of the tech industry. More recently, Mike has helped guide you through the rough and tumble world of firewalls, hard drive backups, and even building your own PC.
I'm always pleased to hear that so many of you save
each and every copy of the PCstats Newsletter for your own future
reference. So, to celebrate the 100th Issue of the PCstats Newsletter I'm throwing a little
contest for you this week. Answer seven simple questions about
past PCstats Newsletters and you could WIN one killer piece of computer hardware! But first I'd like to thank Albatron, ABIT and the folks at Canada Computers for supplying the prizes we have for you today.
The focus of today's PCstats Newsletter is Guides; the first is a
look at Firewalls and Internet Security (Virus protection). With
so many viruses floating around I highly recommend you read Mike's
guide. Colin has also been good enough to write up some quick
instructions to get rid of the latest nasty bug as
one of his Weekly Tech Tips. Next up is our review of the Samsung LTM405W, a 40" LCD TV that puts a new spin
on wide-screen, 2"-thick, televisions. I want one of these babies...
anyone want to buy my left arm? To
round things out, we have a review of the nVidia GeForce
FX5900 Ultra reference videocard.
If you're looking for high frame rates this may be just the ticket you
need! Remember to check out the High Tech Low Down as well, and don't forget to send in your entries for the
draw right away. Good luck!
PCstats guide for future reference.
When you use the Internet there are dangers around every corner.
Viruses, malicious users, Trojan horses, Oh my! If these are just concepts
to you, you are either lucky or well protected (or just un-connected). If
these names trigger painful flashbacks to when your computer (and possibly
your account balance) was rendered inoperable or compromised by one of the
above, then join the club. Either
way, securing your computer against threats from the Internet is an
essential step. If you do not, you will, at some point, regret it.
Guaranteed. This article is intended to provide some basic guidelines for
securing your computer, and to give the reader a better understanding of
how some of these technologies work. It is intended primarily for users of
high-speed Internet connections, but most of the article is applicable to
dial-up Internet users also. As far as the home or small business user is
concerned, Internet security can be broken down into three areas;
Anti-virus software, Firewall protection and
Recommended practices/Common sense. Continue -- Click
Introduced late last year, the Samsung Tantus
LTM405W flatscreen television literally blew the scale off the LCD TV
industry and laid claim to the title of 'largest screen size' with
ease. The aptly named Tantus measures 40"
diagonally, making it currently the largest LCD HDTV compatible television
on the market. The next closest LCD TV on the market is 37" across... but
who really wants to watch a DVD on something that
tiny? Backed by years of experience fabricating the
LCD panels for computer monitors, Samsung took the challenge of creating a large LCD
television head on and produced not only a 40" display which is big enough
to compete directly against plasma display's, but one which is superior to
plasma on many levels. The stringy speakers shoot out stereo sound
which is suitable for watching TV through the built in CATV tuner, but
with a total output of 20W the two 28" tall speakers don't offer any
really challenge to a good home theatre speaker system. If I were running
this beauty in the PCStats labs I'd forgo the SPKL405W speakers altogether
and put the money saved there to better use. After all, you wouldn't put a
bumper sticker on a brand new Porsche Boxster would
you?Continue -- Click
The Internet can be a dangerous place for
your information. Sure, you are only one of hundreds of millions
of users online at any given time, so why would your particular data be in
any danger? Well, why not? Take this analogy for example. I could leave
the windows open in my house when I leave for work every day, and for
years nothing could happen. One day though, someone may choose to enter
through that open window and I might just get burned. Nice analogy, that
windows idea actually... given the easy availability of freeware
software that can capture internet bound traffic on both wired and
wireless networks, the idea that someone may at this very moment be
sniffing around your Windows installation to see what they can get is not
as remote as we'd all like to think.
Continue -- Click
everyone knows, ATi sacrificed one product cycle so they could deliver a
superior videocard next. While nVIDIA still needs to work on improving
their image quality, the NV35 aka GeForceFX 5900 Ultra has certainly
brought them back into contention with ATi for the performance crown.
For the longest time, manufacturers used
nVIDIA's reference because it saved them time with PCB layout. Why money
redesigning something that is already works and is already validated? This
time around though, it seems like many manufacturers are reworking the
stock FX 5900 Ultra's PCB by using the FX5900 non
Ultra layout! Please remember that the only difference
between the FX 5900 Ultra and non Ultra is a relatively insignificant 50
MHz core speed. Continue -- Click
|| Make an Active Desktop|
PCStats now delivers the latest
breaking tech news several times a day. A few loyal readers have asked me how to set PCStats as their active desktop so they're always in the loop. Luckily that's pretty easy to do. Because the method to using Active Desktop is not the same on all OS's we'll start with Windows 2k first then follow up with WindowsXP.
First right click on anywhere on the
desktop (not on an icon) and go to properties. That should
bring up the Display Properties window, from there click the
Web tab and check the Show Web content on my Active Desktop
box. If your My Current Home Page box is checked please
uncheck it and press the "New" button. There enter the site
URL, and in our case it's http://www.PCStats.com/#news and press OK. When the Add Item to Active Desktop box pops up just press ok as you do not need a password to view the PCStats page. =) Now that you're back at the Display Properties Window click the OK button.
WindowsXP users again right click anywhere on the desktop (not on
an icon!) and go to properties. Click the Desktop tab
and then click the Customize Desktop button, that should pop
open the Desktop Items window. Click the Web tab and then click
the New button. There enter the site URL http://www.PCStats.com/#news and press OK. It may take a few minutes for your OS to 'synchronize' with the PCstats site. After that's done press the ok button twice and you should be sitting back at the desktop.
The PCStats page should now be shown in a small box on your desktop, you can change the size of the box like you would change the size of any given window (go to the sides and drag) or if you'd like to maximize the page move the mouse over to the top of the page and click the second button. Please
note that your icons may move, once you've set the active desktop you can move your icons back to their old positions and you can even place the icons on top of the PCstats webpage! =)
Kill The Email
Viruses Dead!! The Blaster worm spread through the
internet like a wild fire and the worst thing is, you don't have to do
anything wrong to become infected! I've had several friends call me up
asking how to remove the worm from their system and they routinely scan
their computer for virus's and play things safe with e-mail
The MSBlaster takes advantage of a security hole
within WindowsNT/2k/XP and all you have to do is be online to become
infected. The first thing you'll want to do is download the Microsoft
patch which addresses this issue. Even if you're not infected you'll want
to install the patch as it prevents you from becoming infected in the
future. Go to MS's Windows Update home page http://www.windowsupdate.microsoft.com
or (http://www.microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/security/bulletin/MS03-026.asp) to download the security patch first. After you run it, you'll need to reboot. If you're running Windows 2000 you must have Service Pack 2 installed first.
If you are already infected you'll have to remove
the worm before you patch your system. Go to Symantec's website and
download the custom blaster removal software (http://securityresponse.symantec.com/avcenter/venc/data/w32.blaster.worm.removal.tool.html ) run that and it will remove the worm for you. Once that's done go to Microsoft's Windows update page and patch your system as described above.
Once that's done you'll be protected from worms that take advantage of
the RPC Allow Code Execution.... and hopefully that will help cut down on
the 1300 virus emails a day I'm receiving from infected systems!
|The High Tech|
The current crop of mainstream graphics cards is fairly balanced. ATI's RADEON 9600 Pro goes head to head against the NVIDIA GeForceFX 5600 Ultra. But both manufacturers have plans to release more aggressive value solutions. ATI's part should appear next month based on a processor very similar to the RV350 used today. Considering the overclocking headroom of today's 9600, at least 450MHz is a reasonable estimate for the .13-micron chip. DDR-2 memory has even surfaced as a possibility, running at 800MHz on a 128-bit bus. The card's official name is still under wraps. However, the processor in question is being called RV360.
On the other hand, NVIDIA is banking on a chip it dubs NV36-VT2D, which may feature a 500MHz core and 1GHz DDR memory. Armed with 128MB of RAM and possible a 128-bit bus, expect performance similar to the maligned GeForceFX 5800. Yet, cards based on the NV36 processor are likely to be called GeForceFX 5700. It will also emerge next month, and with a $300 price tag, competitive with ATI's RADEON 9800. And despite NVDIA's distaste for 3D Mark03, it is claiming that the NV36 is capable of scoring higher than 4000 points. That's in the same neighborhood as ATI's upcoming RV360, we reckon.
. M. Page
. C. Sun
. C. Angelini