THE BUG REPORT
A monthly publication of
GS-BUG Inc. (c) copyright 1996.
Reproduction of any material herein by any means is expressly prohibited
unless written permission is granted. Exception: Articles may be reprinted
by other users groups in unaltered form if credit is given to the author
and the original publication.
The Bug Report
The only Bug that's good for
A Publication of the Greater
South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 20 Number 04
Editor - Kay Burton
DIGITAL CAMERA REVIEW-
by BOB HUDAK
Shareware disks are available at the General Meeting for $3.00 per
floppy disk and $5.00 per CD. Charges are to recover duplication and distribution
Windows XP Raffle Drawing
At our general meeting on Feb 4th I sold the last few tickets for our
raffle drawing of Windows XP Pro. There were 50 chances total sold. Virginia
Pfiffner was asked to pull the winning ticket out of the box. Virginia
did not have a chance in this drawing because she already had the program
and was using it. She said she likes it very much. OK, drum roll, the winner
was Hal Black! Hal purchased four chances. So what were his odds of winning?
I would say, pretty good. Thanks to all that took a chance. Proceeds will
be used for the good of the club.
Web page: http://BobHudak.tripod.com
* * * * * * * *
by Frank Chao
Welcome to the 44th article in the Internet Talk series. Liz and I wish
to express our heartfelt thanks to Vernon Lym for being our editor for
the past 23 months. The job of newsletter editor is the hardest and most
time-consuming volunteer job that our club has. We are looking forward
to working with our new newsletter editor, Kay Burton, in future months.
Neptune Networks has placed Internet access terminals at various locations
throughout Los Angeles International Airport. These terminals provide
a speedy connection for Internet Explorer. The fee for using these
terminals is 25 cents a minute with a $3 minimum. You can pay by means
of cash or credit card.
INTERNET ACCESS AT LAX
Neptune Networks has also placed their Internet terminals at some of
the jury rooms at courthouses throughout Los Angeles county.
To learn more about Neptune Networks, go to http://www.neptunenetworks.com
SANTA MONICA SWAP MEET
Liz and I went to the Computer Marketplace swap meet at the Santa Monica
Civic Center on Saturday March 9th: This new location takes the place of
the Buena Park location which is no longer being used. http://www.lacomputerfair.com/CFPages/schedule.html
For information about this recurring computer event, see
http://www.lacomputerfair.com/CFPages/schedule.html See you there
TESTING A BROADBAND INTERNET CONNECTION
DSL and cable modem connections are known as “broadband” connections.
According to Joe DeRouen, in the March issue of Computer User magazine,
if you have a broadband Internet connection, you can go to http://www.
testmyspeed.com which provides links to many Websites that test the
upload and/or download speed of your connection. Try it and let me
know what you find out.
HARDWARE CONNECTIONS FOR A LOCAL AREA NETWORK
Based on my latest trips to Fry’s in Man-hattan Beach and CompUSA in
Redondo Beach, local area networks are more pop-ular than ever. They provide
an fast, inex-pensive way for computers to communicate with both nearby
computers and with servers that are out on the Internet. Here are the basic
steps that you need to take in order to convert the computers in your home
into a local area network:
Step 1: Install a 10Base-T Ethernet network adapter card or a
10/100Base-T Ethernet network adapter card into each computer that you
wish to network to-gether. Follow the manufacturer’s in-structions.
Step 2: If you have only two computers on your network and you do not
need to con-nect them to a broadband (DSL or cable modem) Internet connection,
you can install a crossover Category 5 (or higher) cable between the two
network adapter cards, in order to connect the two computers togehter.
In all other instances, you need to install a regular Category 5 (or
higher) cable from each network adapter to a single one of the following:
-a 10Base-T or 10/100Base-T Ethernet concentrator (also known as a
-a 10/100Base-T Ethernet switch,
-or the local area network side of a router/gateway device. The
network adapter card of each computer will then be connected to a 10Base-T
device or a 10/100Base-T device. If this device is to connect to
a broadband Internet connection, then the wide area network side of the
device will connect by means of a Category 5 (or higher) cable to a DSL
modem or a cable modem.
FILE SHARING IN A LOCAL AREA NETWORK
Liz and I get many questions from club members about file sharing in
the various versions of the Windows operating system. We have discovered
that the help documentation for all of the various versions of Windows
do a poor job of describing the procedure for sharing files. What they
all fail to tell you is that peer-to-peer file sharing is a three step
process, from the standpoint of the Windows operating system:
For each computer in your local area network:
Step 1: Install “Fire and Printer Sharing” using the Windows
installation CD-ROM, if it is not already installed.
Reboot the computer if it asks you to.
Step 2: Install “Fire and Printer Sharing” as a service from
the “Network” or “Network Connections” icon / window, if “File and Printer
Sharing” does not appear in the “Network” or “Network Connections” window.
Reboot the computer if it asks you to.
Step 3: Activate “Sharing” for each drive that you wish to share
with other computers on your local network.
REPORT ON “NETZERO PLATINUM”
Kostek Haussman of the GSBUG reports that his Netzero Platinum account
Internet continues to work just fine. Netzero Platinum is the unlimited
version of dial-up Internet access that is offered by United Online. It
costs approximately $10 per month.
WINDOWS XP EXPERIENCES
Windows XP has a “System Restore” feature which is located in System
Tools, which is located in “Accessories”. Whenever you are installing
a new program into a Windows XP computer and the new software messes up
your computer, you can take your computer back to a prior working configuration
by using “System Restore”. “System Restore” does not alter any of
your data files. Instead, it brings your Windows operating system files
back to how they were at an earlier date and/or time. I used it twice in
the past 4 weeks and, in both instances, it saved me from having to reload
Windows XP in it’s entirety.
KFWB WEB SITE
The KFWB Web site at http://kfwb.com has undergone a radical
redesign. The news items on this site are now much easier to read, since
they are now displayed in much wider column than in the past. I like what
I see. Let me know what you think.
OTHER NEWS SITES
Other great news sites are: Los Angeles Times http://latimes.com
The Daily Breeze http://dailybreeze.com Reuters
http://reuters.com Cable News Network http://cnn.com
The Wall Strret Journal http://online. wsj. com/public/us The
New York Times http://nytimes.com
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-3896.
2. Send me e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send “snail” U.S. Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer and take up bowling
|Digital Camera Review-
by Dr. John Hanson
Wow! What a marvelous digital camera.
It is 3.1 mega-pixels so it gives great 8 x 10 prints. In general,
you should not buy a camera of less than 3 megapixels
when you can get this for under $600 or much less if
you are willing to buy reconditioned. Don’t waste your
money on getting 4 or 5 megapixels. 3 megapixels
is the sweet spot. Essential for any digital camera is to have an
LCD viewer on the back so you can review what you just shot right
away and to review other pictures so that you can discard what
didn’t turn out what you wanted. Also very important
is to get an optical viewfinder and not an electronic one.
Most of the time you will be using the optical viewfinder.
This camera will magnify what you just shot four times so you
can see if you got the details you wanted. You
can then move around in the picture to examine anything
of interest. It also has a 2X magnification
when re-viewing your pictures. It also gives you all
the technical details about each picture such as speed and
aperture setting. The numbering system is excellent. Every picture
is sequentially numbered and does not start over when you insert
a new Compact Flash card. Later you can rename them if desired but
I rename a copy when I put them on the hard disk so it is easier
to find what I wanted and the original is not changed. You can put
them in folders by date, event or any other category. In my
case I usually have folders by country where I have students
such as Austria, Brazil or some other place. All start with pix and
then the location or event.
I have had this Kodak for about a year and
have shot perhaps a thousand pictures, mostly of moving
children and older students, for my teaching work. With a little
practice you can learn to press the button just at the right time to capture
fast movements. You press the shutter button half way down
to lock the focus and exposure and then the rest of the way down at
the precise moment. Digital cameras are different from normal
cameras in regard to using the shutter button but it’s easy to learn.
That is why you press the button half way down at first. After you have
shot the picture you need to have a camera that processes the image fast
and stores it so you are not delayed in taking the next picture.
Good cameras like this have a built in cache memory which can hold several
pictures depending on the resolution you select.
I prefer to use the highest
resolution with the least compression even tho you get
fewer pictures. This Kodak even has an uncompressed mode
if you need it. But with 128 mb Compact Flash cards at only
$45 you can still take lots of pictures. The camera comes with
only a 16 mb flash card. The sweet point of Compact Flash cards
is 64 mb so you can take lots of pictures and it doesn’t cost too
much. Check Costco and Fry’s. Be sure to get a
Compact Flash reader so you don’t have to use your camera to download
to the USB port on your com-puter. Ask me which ones are
good. My latest is the PQI which has 16 mb
of internal memory and at $50 fits in my shirt pocket.
Desktop ones run about $25.
When the camera came out a year ago it was
at the top of the list in picture quality and I have been very
pleased with my results. It probably has a very good
glass optical system. It also has a 3X optical zoom which
is ideal. There is also a 2X digital feature but I don’t recommend
using it. For me I need fast speed to stop movement so I use
1/1000 when useful but there are many other settings and they are easy
to select. It doesn’t have manual focus which I would
have liked but it does have several auto focus modes. It has a menu
system with all kinds of choices as well as macro mode and an infinity
Most of my readers know that I
am somewhat of a battery expert so I can tell you
that Lithium Ion is the way to go. I have never run out of
battery power and the camera has a built in charger so you just plug
in the adapter. You can buy a second battery which costs
only $22 if you look a-round real hard. Lithium
Ion has a very low self-discharge rate so you don’t have to worry
about it losing charge when you are not using it. Thus the
cost of battery power is extremely low. It seems that most
of the new digitals are avoiding Lithium Ion as it is costly and
requires a very complex charging circuit for safety. Thus it
will be quite expensive replacing primary batteries all the time so be
aware of that. There is one disadvantage of Lithium Ion
and that is that the chemical life of the battery is about three
years after manufacture whether you use it or not so avoid buying a spare
until you need it and if possible one of recent manufacture.
While I have a powerful SLR conventional camera
which has taken many thousands of pictures I hardly ever use
it any more because of the most important feature of the digital.
That is the ability to see right away if you got exactly what you
wanted rather than waiting a few days for prints to come back.
It is impossible to duplicate the instances of working with my students
so in the past I had to take many pictures in the hopes that one would
be what I wanted. With the digital you can take more right away while
the child is still there or whatever the occasion. In addition, it
can print the time and date so I can tell when my student has
dramatically improved and what caused the change. It also indicates
the f stop and speed for each picture. I used to have to write this
down for each picture when I was learning how to use a Leica at age 14.
My father had a complete darkroom setup and was an expert at getting the
best pictures. This expertise helped me get selected at chief
photographer for high school and college year books. So when I use
the digital I expect to get similar good results and this Kodak 4800 is
almost as good as the Leica was.
Digital cameras are so complex and have so
many features it is hard to remember unless you use it every day.
I may go a week or more before a school conference so I have taken
instructions from the excellent manual and in my own words condensed them
in small type using Word Star and then pasting them on various parts of
the camera. Now, when I need a feature I don’t use often I have the
information right in front of me.
Normally I would never recommend or own a
Kodak camera since I was weaned on a Leica at about age 14 but this
camera was loaned to me for a week when I went to Comdex last year so I
could try it for a week. Other important people like
Herman Krouse got one but he turned his back in as his Fuji is perhaps
the equal of this Kodak. I took lots of pictures and took it
back home with me so I could print the results and see how good they were.
I was so impressed I decided to keep the camera and I am glad that I did.
Unfortunately, even tho this camera was the best at the time, Kodak didn’t
promote it very well so it was discontinued, maybe because there
was too much value in it for the price the market would bear. It
is still available in the backs of magazines but be careful to check out
several places to get the best value. Now Kodak has come out with
the DC-3900 and the lower quality 3700 but I haven’t checked either out
as the 4800 is so good. Photo expert, George Austin has one
also and he gets equally good results. Alan Haskell, who is quite
an expert in many things including Photoshop, has had
good results with Olympus so you might look at them also. It
was he who convinced me I should go digital. You may not need all
the features that I need.
Does the camera have any weaknesses?
Of course, with the most serious being the automatic program
mode. First of all the detents on the selector are quite weak
and could change rubbing against your body. Therefore you should
always look before shooting. The automatic mode is designed
so that you almost always get a good exposure but in order to do that it
drops the speed way down and opens the lens and there is no way to set
it so it won’t go below 1/25th of a second in automatic. Since you
have plenty of battery power with the Lithium Ion battery you should
use flash whenever there is marginal light. There are many
manual settings to overcome this problem but be aware of this with any
digital that you consider. Another minor nuisance is the lens
cap. It would have been nice if it had been automated
as in many other cameras. There is no provision to add an external
flash so I am considering getting a slave as recommended by Emmett Ingram.
It’s a nuisance to use a tripod most of the time so you don’t get camera
shake so be sure to use flash or Program Mode is likely to set the speed
at much less than 1/25 of a second which is the lower limit
for holding a camera if you are care-ful. Be sure you check that
out with any other camera you are considering.
This Kodak shows a quick review of the picture with the settings used and
at the press of a button you can amplify it four times to see if
you got the details you wanted, in focus, proper exposure and
without camera shake. If not you can delete the picture and
shoot more right away. A good digital camera like this is a real
pleasure to use.
It would be wise to do some of your own research
in various magazines but be aware of what I teach my speed reading
students. Be very cautious of what you read or hear as the authors probably
have some biases. Consumer Reports is marvelous in some things like
statistics and some paper things like insurance but in technical
matters they have serious weaknesses and in 40 years have never seemed
to improve much so be cautious. Arthur Bleich in “Digital
Camera” is very knowledgeable but he has to be careful not
to offend any advertisers. In fact, you should be cautious about
what I write also. Use my advice only as a starting point to do your
Another good starting point is page 143 of
PC World, March 2002 but again be careful about believing what you
read. It may be that what they don’t tell you is more important.
They list two cameras as best buys, ie., Casio QV-4000 and Canon Power
Shot G2. When reading the comments you can probably
believe any negative comments. The best price I have found
on the Internet is $615 and $738 respectively at Price Grabber.com
but remember that these sites have hidden biases also. Look
up other web sites to read reviews and specs. Let’s review the Casio
first. In PC World.com it says there is both automatic and manual
focusing which is good. There is no shutter priority which could
be useful for action shots. It uses 4 AA batteries which can be quite
expensive if you use LCD viewfinder much but it can also use 4 AA Nickel
Metal Hydride rechargeable which is much better but Lithium Ion would be
better. I don’t know which battery type the 389 shots claimed represent.
It has three image formats which are DPOF,
JPEG & Tiff which is good. The fastest shutter speed in 1/1000
second but I can’t find any info on time required before the next shot
even without flash which takes longer. It says the print format is
panoramic but if no standard format is available that may not be good.
I haven’t handled the camera so don’t know how it feels or how easy it
is to use but it doesn’t sound too bad. It stores
the pictures on a compact flash card which I think is better than the other
I can’t say the same about the Canon
which seems much less desirable even tho rated a best buy by
PC World. It does have shutter priority and manual exposure but no
mention is made of focus so be very cautious if it’s fixed focus and the
smallest f-stop is only f-8. PC World says that it produces
the best pictures of all the ten cameras reviewed. The reports say
it gets many pictures on a set of rechargeable batteries but it doesn’t
say what kind but I would presume NiMH which is not bad. Unfortunately
it only has one image format, JPEG with four resolution modes. The
report says the maximum image capacity is 3639. I don’t know
what that means. Perhaps it only keeps track of that number and then
starts over. In my Kodak every picture gets a unique number
regardless of which compact flash card I use but I don’t know if it has
a maximum number as it seems to have an excellent numbering system.
If you do get a digital camera be sure to attend the Tuesday Dig SIG classes
started by Harold Cacamise and now being run by Fred Vogel. It has
become very popular so you need to come early for a good seat.
Fred is doing an excellent job as the new leader. Mostly it focuses
on Photoshop 6 but now that Photoshop Elements is only $99 and has almost
all of the same features it makes it very easy to have great results with
your pictures. For reviewing your pictures on the computer I find
that ACDSee is the best but Compupix is also quite good. With ACDSee
you can set the program to show the picture full screen to review your
pictures and jot down the number for the pictures you want to work
on. Kodak’s program is OK but try ACDSee if possible. Alan
Haskell likes Tom Thumb.
Rich Bulow, our hardware expert and
programmer, did some research into how to get the best digital camera at
a very low cost. He found two and bought the $60 Kodak
DC-3200 and skipped the $40 Polaroid 640 of which there are four models.
The Polaroid was only 640 x 480 which could be sufficient for some people.
Both had an LCD screen on the back which is very important and both eat
AA batteries quickly so you should get rechargeable batteries.
The Polaroid has a USB cable but no provision for a Compact Flash memory.
It’s memory is completely built in which means you need to have a computer
when you want to download the pictures when camera is full. Not too
convenient but the low cost is attractive. There is one more serious
caveat with the Polaroid and that is that it is claimed to be refurbished
by the factory. Many factory refurbished items are not repaired
in factory that built them so be cautious.
The Kodak 3200 is new, does have a Compact
Flash memory slot and comes with 2 mb of built in memory. It
has a serial cable which is slower than USB. In addition to the LCD
display it has a viewfinder which I think every camera should have.
My first digital, an Epson, did not have a viewfinder. The
Kodak has a higher resolution of about 1024 x 768 and three quality modes.
It is fixed focus and auto exposure but has a built in flash like the
Polaroid. It is a point and shoot and you can immediately see
if the picture is what you want, if not, erase it. So far Rich
is quite pleased with the pictures and on the computer screen can’t tell
any difference in the three qualities.
The Kodak was on sale at Circuit
City for $80 with a $20 rebate but if you get a rain check you may miss
the deadline for the rebate. Try searching Amazon.com and some
other places to find the best value. If you are new to digital
cameras, this is a good camera to start with if very low cost is important.