Tips Links and Tidbits Newsletter

Tuesday 16th January 2007


Basic Computer User

From the newsletter
[Early to Rise Copyright ETR, LLC, 2007]
If you’d like to subscribe to Early to Rise or suggest it to a friend, please visit: here

Microsoft fixes Office, Outlook, Windows flaws
Microsoft has patched critical vulnerabilities in its Office, Outlook and Windows software. More

Adobe Patches Acrobat And Reader XSS Bug, 3 Other Flaws
The four fixed flaws include a cross-site scripting bug and three others that were patched with new versions of Acrobat and Reader More

Spam Sets Record, Accounts For 94 Percent Of E-mail Postini blocked 25 billion spam messages aimed at 36,000 clients in December, an increase of 144 percent over the same month in 2005. More

The World’s Smallest Projector
In emerging tech news at CES, reports Editor of Reviews Lance Ulanoff, Microvision introduced PicoP, a laser-based projector that may one day soon be placed inside portable cell phones, MP3 players, and other handheld devices. PicoP will be no larger than an Andes thin mint, yet it will be capable of projecting a 50-foot image. Gotta love the emerging tech! More

Gates Previews Server for Home Users
Dan Costa (PC Magazine’s senior editor, consumer electronics) reports that Bill Gates demoed a new server designed specifically for home users at his keynote address on Sunday. Dubbed Windows Home Server, the software is designed to make it easy for consumers with no technical expertise to set up a home server and use it for file sharing, for backup, and as an always-on library of media—and I say hallelujah, if it really is easy! Microsoft will be partnering with a variety of hardware vendors to offer the server appliance through retail channels. Devices should be available by mid-2007. More

Shortcut to Open a Window Maximized
A reader writes:
"When I open any Windows application, it opens in either half or three-quarters of the screen. How can I make all my applications open in maximized form? And how can I quickly maximize any window from the keyboard?" More

Finally, Apple answers call for iPhone
After years of speculation, Apple reveals its iPod mobile phone, as well as a home networking device, at Macworld. More

Epson ignites printer price war
70 percent ink price cut shakes industry. More

Victim recognises stolen property on EBay
Seller arrested after leaving obvious clues. More
(Good case for logging your serial numbers, what!)">More

E-paper heralds computing revolution
Roll up, roll up, roll up for a new computing era. More

Identity thief cons way into Harvard
Cunning thief fools top universities and signs up for criminology classes. More

Search engine debuts for ’cranky’ tech-savvy seniors displays the top four authoritative sites that match the term searched. More

Listen to PDF
Tired of reading PDF files? You can get your Adobe Acrobat Reader to read it for you.

You need to have an Adobe Acrobat Reader version 6 or above, and turn up the volume of your speakers. Here’s how:

· Open the PDF document
· Press these combination for controls:
Ctrl + Shift + B to read the entire document
Ctrl + Shift + V to read the selected page only
Ctrl + Shift + C Pause/re-Start
Ctrl + Shift + E Stop

New Imaging Sensors That Can Do It In The Dark
Korean company Planet82 Inc., which produces a number of nanotechnology products, have been promoting a new type of sensor that can capture images with almost no visible light. More

NSA helped Microsoft make Vista secure
The U.S. agency best known for eavesdropping on telephone calls had a hand in the development of Microsoft’s Vista operating system, Microsoft confirmed Tuesday. More

It’s Good to Know: The Limited Lifespan of Burned CDs

By Suzanne Richardson

If you’re in the habit of burning important files to CD - like those digital photos of your child’s first Christmas - you may want to rethink your storage medium.

While a standard photograph can last for decades - even a century or more with proper storage - a digital photograph stored on a CD can last for a maximum of about 20 years (with ideal storage conditions). That’s because the dye coatings on CDs deteriorate over time, eventually rendering the contents unreadable.

So how you can you hold onto your files for the long term? Here’s a breakdown of your options.

Keep hard copies. Pros: Original versions can last for decades and beyond. Cons: You’ll need plenty of storage space to hold boxes of your original CDs and photo albums and printouts of your unfinished novels and PowerPoint presentations.

Store everything on a hard drive. Pros: Saves space and money. Cons: Eventually, parts of hard drives can wear out, meaning you’ll need to back up your backups.

Use magnetic tape. Pros: According to Kurt Gerecke, a physicist and storage expert at IBM Deutschland, this “superior storage medium" can have a lifespan of 30 to 100 years. Cons: Eventually, even this storage medium deteriorates.

Buy professional-grade discs to house your files. Pros: Tom Peterson, product line manager at a company that sells CD and DVD replicating equipment to corporations, says professional-quality CDs and DVDs can last for up to 100 years. Cons: High-quality can mean hard to find as well as expensive.
(Source: PC World)
From the newsletter
[Early to Rise Copyright ETR, LLC, 2007]
If you’d like to subscribe to Early to Rise or suggest it to a friend, please visit: here

Hotel\gaming mogul chases Bill Gates for ’Richest American’ tag
Through his Las Vegas Sands Corp., Sheldon Adelson was making US$23.6 million a day and will pass Gates in 2012, according to many estimates. More

Despite 100 million IE 7 installs, Microsoft’s browser still loses ground
Firefox’s share of the US browser market is at 14 percent and has continued to grow each of the last three months, says one research firm. More

FBI warns of twist in extortion phishing scam
Pay no attention to e-mails, purportedly from the FBI in London, stating you were next on a murderer’s hit list. More

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Advanced Computer User

Reel-to-Reel to Digital Conversion

A reader writes:
"I have years of reel-to-reel tapes, from the late sixties through the eighties, and still listen to them, but I would like to convert the music to CD to preserve it. Some of the tapes are starting to lose the higher frequencies. Is there software/hardware that will do an analog-to-digital conversion from my reel-to-reel player to a CD for this music? If so, what format will it be in after conversion, and can I play the music in my CD player in the car?" More

IT Pros Advised to Address Information Overload In an effort to combat attention fatigue and information overload, the Burton Group, a Salt Lake City-based IT research firm, released a research report Jan. 8 introducing the concept of an Enterprise Attention Management system. More

From Tom:
Is information overload a problem for you or not?
If it is, do you have successful handling techniques?
Love to hear them if you have.

Novell: SCO insolvency ’imminent, inevitable’
Almost all licensing revenue from Sun, Microsoft deals should go to Novell, court filing says. SCO denies insolvency claim. More

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Around the world there are efforts at banning aspartame: Recall of Aspartame: A Message Congress Cannot Ignore:

Today all eyes are on New Mexico as Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino sponsors a ban aspartame bill. More

It was reported in South Africa (Star, 1/7/2007) Paul Hammann won in his issue against the false advertising of aspartame (Canderel) tasting like sugar. “Initially Merisant SA (trading as Canderel) submitted documents to support the claims, but later advised the ASA that both claims would be withdrawn “on a global scale" during the course of the year. The company requested that instead of being given the usual three months to remove existing stock from the shelves, that they be given eight months to comply. At the Dec 14 hearing the ASA Directorate settled on a compromise of five months." The product should be removed forever in South Africa!

In July, Food Ingredients reported: “China to Restrict Aspartame Production and Sale." The article continued, "State-designated aspartame producers shall in principle shift production to other products when moving to a new place, according to the circular. By controlling production and banning the launch of new projects, China will exert more efforts to restrict the production and sale of aspartame, press reports said. A circular issued by The National Development and Reform Commission (NDR), the State Administration for Industry and Commerce and the State Environmental Protection Administration highlighted their further strengthening of China’s work on restricting the sale and production of the widely used sweetener. State-designated aspartame producers shall in principle shift production to other products when moving to a new place, according to the circular." Sounds like a “get out of town notice"!

Parliamentarian Roger Williams in England demanded a ban of aspartame when the Ramazzini Study confirmed FDA’s original studies that aspartame is a multipotential carcinogen.

In the Falklands, Robin Goodwin, Mission Possible Falklands, also petitioned for a ban and got tired of waiting. He wrote every resident of the Falklands and today aspartame products rot on the shelves. His wife suffered an aspartame brain tumor and his daughter had seizures for 18 years until they found out aspartame is a seizure-triggering drug and abstained. All the seizures stopped.

Requests for ban are coming in from other states (today Washington State, California and Illinois) and the ban aspartame bill in New Mexico can be used for any state or country. Aspartame is illegally on the market. It violates adulteration and interstate commerce statutes, as well as the Delaney Amendment, which forbids putting anything in food that has proven cancer in animals. The aspartame documentary, Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World, exposes how Don Rumsfeld called in his markers to get this poison on the market when the FDA said no.

For information on the ban aspartame bill you can contact Stephen Fox who spearheaded the efforts there, Mission Possible New Mexico at

Dr. Betty Martini, D.Hum, Founder
Mission Possible International (warning the world off aspartame)
9270 River Club Parkway
Duluth, Georgia 30097
770 242-2599 and
Aspartame Information List
Aspartame Toxicity Center
Aspartame Documentary: Sweet Misery: A Poisoned World,
Medical Text: Aspartame Disease: An Ignored Epidemic, H. J. Roberts, M.D.
Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Russell Blaylock, M.D.,

Govt may ban aspartame in food

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

The government is currently reviewing regulations allowing the use of several controversial sweeteners in food products sold in Indonesia.

The review, which forms part of a decades-long worldwide debate on use of three particular sweeteners -- aspartame, saccharin and cyclamate -- is expected to be completed later this month.

"We may remove artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, saccharin and cyclamate, from the Health Ministry’s decree ... about allowable food additives," said Drug and Food Monitoring Agency (BPOM) head Husniah R.T. Akib.

The review will receive input from the BPOM,the Health Ministry, the State Ministry for Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, the Industry Ministry and the Trade Ministry, as well as experts from universities and non-government organizations.

The food and beverage industry, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and several consumer groups are also involved in the process.

"We are looking at the various opinions around the world on these sweeteners. If stakeholders and people believe those three substitutes are health hazards, we will ban them," Husniah said.

"We, the regulators, don’t have any problems with the possible ban. The industries unfortunately will," she added.

BPOM data shows Codex Alimentarius -- a set of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety -- as well as the European Union and Britain still allow the use of the three sweeteners in food production and consumption.

In Asia, Japan and Malaysia do not allow use of the sweeteners. Japan bans aspartame and cyclamate while Malaysia only prohibits cyclamate.

"In addition to Codex Alimentarius, we also refer to world agencies such as the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the FDA," Husniah said.

"There is no way can we do research on every one of the two million products in the country. We only monitor products available in markets," she added.

University experts said studies on aspartame and other artificial sweeteners in Indonesia were rare.

The use of aspartame as a sweetener was allowed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States for the first time in 1981. This decision came under question, however, with the release of studies finding aspartame to be carcinogenic.

Cyclamate was discovered in 1937 and recognized as safe for consumption in the U.S. by 1958. However, it was banned by the FDA in 1969 when reports surfaced linking it with cancer.

Likewise, the use of saccharin has also been disputed. Canada banned it in 1977 after a study found the prevalence of bladder cancer in rats that had been fed large doses of the sweetener. The FDA also imposed a ban, though lifted it in 1991.

"Doubts about aspartame among FDA scientists were overruled by the FDA’s management and it was given approval. Many countries soon followed suit and approved aspartame on the basis of the same flawed studies," Roger Williams, a British parliamentarian, told the The Guardian on Dec. 15, 2005.

A 1996 review of past research conducted on aspartame found that every industry-funded study had said the sweetener was safe to consume. However 92 percent of independent studies claim one or more problems exist with its use, the British newspaper reported. (Martini: This report is on Scroll down to experts, Ralph Walton, M.D.)

Other artificial sweeteners currently approved by the BPOM include acesulfame-K, alitame, neotame and sucralose, as well as natural substances such as isomalt, xylitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and lactitol.

In the e-Alert “Getting Played" (1/2/07), I told you how patients with schizophrenia are typically deficient in vitamin B-3 (also known as niacin). In some cases, patients respond quite favorably to high doses of the vitamin.

When I sent you that e-Alert, HSI Panelist Allan Spreen, M.D., was out of town, but upon his return he sent me this additional information, along with a fascinating personal story:

"The link between B-3 and schizophrenia is not well known except for those in complementary medicine. The response, however, can be remarkable... More

Report: Soap and water as effective as environment-damaging antibacterial cleaners: More

Have you ever wondered why Coke comes with a smile? It’s because it gets you high. They took the cocaine out almost a hundred years ago. You know why? It was redundant.

In The First 10 minutes: 10 teaspoons of sugar hit your system. (100% of your recommended daily intake.) You don’t immediately vomit from the overwhelming sweetness because phosphoric acid cuts the flavor allowing you to keep it down.

20 minutes: Your blood sugar spikes, causing an insulin burst. Your liver responds to this by turning any sugar it can get it’s hands on into fat. (There’s plenty of that at this particular moment.)

40 minutes: Caffeine absorption is complete. Your pupils dialate, your blood pressure rises, as a response your livers dumps more sugar into your bloodstream. The adenosine receptors in your brain are now blocked preventing drowsiness.

45 minutes: Your body ups your dopamine production stimulating the pleasure centers of your brain. This is physically the same way heroin works, by the way.

60 minutes: The phosphoric acid binds calcium, magnesium and zinc in your lower intestine, providing a further boost in metabolism. This is compounded by high doses of sugar and artificial sweeteners also increasing the urinary excretion of calcium.

60 Minutes: The caffeine’s diuretic properties come into play. (It makes you have to pee.) It is now assured that you’ll evacuate the bonded calcium, magnesium and zinc that was headed to your bones as well as sodium, electrolyte and water.

60 minutes: As the rave inside of you dies down you’ll start to have a sugar crash. You may become irritable and/or sluggish. You’ve also now, literally, pissed away all the water that was in the Coke. But not before infusing it with valuable nutrients your body could have used for things like even having the ability to hydrate your system or build strong bones and teeth.

This will all be followed by a caffeine crash in the next few hours. (As little as two if you’re a smoker.) But, hey, have another Coke, it’ll make you feel better.

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The Cab Ride

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living. When I arrived at 2:30 a.m., the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window. Under these circumstances, many drivers would just honk once or twice, wait a minute, and then drive away.

But I had seen too many impoverished people who depended on taxis as their only means of transportation. Unless a situation smelled of danger, I always went to the door. This passenger might be someone who needs my assistance, I reasoned to myself. So I walked to the door and knocked. “Just a minute”, answered a frail, elderly voice.

I could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the door opened. A small woman in her 80’s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie. By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knick-knacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said.

I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman. She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking me for my kindness.

“It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated”.

“Oh, you’re such a good boy”, she said.

When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said. “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice”.

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening.

“I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.”

I quietly reached over and shut off the meter. “What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her. I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door.

The woman was already seated in a wheelchair. “How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.

“Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered.

“There are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.

“You gave an old woman a little moment of joy,” she said. “Thank you.” I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life. I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift? What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away? On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life. We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one. PEOPLE MAY NOT REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT YOU DID, OR WHAT YOU SAID, BUT THEY WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW YOU MADE THEM FEEL. You won’t get any big surprise in 10 days if you send this to ten people. But, you might help make the world a little kinder and more compassionate by sending it on. Thank you, my friend...

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. Every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift.

Too funny or too sad or both? More

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Soft Design Pty Limited ACN 082 885 845
as trustee for the Just For You Software Trust ABN 71 940 807 195
trading as Just For You Software RBN R8577304
PO Box 470 Glebe NSW 2037