South Florida Sun Sentinel from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on August 15, 1999 · Page 78
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South Florida Sun Sentinel from Fort Lauderdale, Florida · Page 78

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Fort Lauderdale, Florida
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Sunday, August 15, 1999
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Page 78
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2F SUNDAY, AUCl'ST 15, 1999 MS TECHNOLOGY Web Sites Q&A .J J m 4 ii li en A Til 1 w Bars hi an N H . ft lyn f SKJi"r,ir"' f J Storage services help hard drives xdrivc.com If your computer's hard drives are too few, too full, or just not always available when you want them, the new breed of Internet-based storage companies might be for you. Those services offer you megabytes of storage space on their big computers, accessible to you from any computer hooked to the World Wide Web. You could call it your own private cyberspace (the sites generally use password protection to keep your data private). You might use your private megabytes to hold backup copies of your most vital files. Another use is to exchange files with other people. I copy my files to my megabytes, I give you the address and password, and you connect to the Internet so you can copy the files into your computer. It can be easier and faster than mailing diskettes or CDs. And if you're sending files to lots of . people, it's much easier to distribute the address and password than to choke the lines with multiple copies of all those " files. .,; .: Most Internet service Software Gator program ByGator.com Free, for Windows 95 and 98 www.gator.com Shopping on the Internet is fast becoming an accepted way to buy stuff. But one of the biggest ' barriers most e-merchants still need to clear is the moment where consumers make the purchase too many Web merchants make you fill out form after form, for password, name, address, snipping address, etc. But there might be a better way. Gator.com has introduced its free Gator program, which memorizes all your passwords, credit-card numbers and other pertinent information and uses the data to automatically fill out those final order form pages. When you come to an order page, Gator will automatically pop up and ask if you want it to fill in the blanks. With one click, the order form will be completed. This is very different from the Auto-Fill ability of the more recent browsers that attempt a best-guess at filling in a form. Gator.com maintains a huge database of purchase forms and accurately fills in the proper information. And since we usually have more than one credit Visit Our iKImm $W i Hi sinnirwi liiwV! dwiiit) Mm providers have long offered two to five to 10 megabytes of storage space for your own "personal Web page, and there have been Internet backup service companies with megabytes for ' your safekeeping files. The new free services are different from both of these. Unlike the backup companies, they don't charge fees (they make their money from advertising) . And, unlike ISPs, the services are tailored to file transfers, not simply displaying Web pages. My favorite is Xdrive.com, which is in test release. It has Windows 95 or 98 software you can download.that shows your Web space simply as another drive on your computer, That allows you to simply drag and move files around. If you're not running Windows, you can use the Xdrive through any Web browser, though navigation isn't as simple. It offers 25 megabytes of storage space. Remember that these free megabytes-in-space services are new and untested. So you'd better keep local backups of anything you send off through theNet. PHILIP ROBINSON, ; Knight Ridder-tribune news service Review card, phone number, address and so forth, Gator will present the last data used at that site. If you want to change it, you can select any of your alternatives. Gator is also different from Microsoft's Wallet ability, found in the later Explorer browsers. The Wallet feature works only with Web sites that support the technology. Few do. Gator works without a Web site having to set up a special support feature, which makes it more universal. ; All your secret data is encrypted and stored in a file on your computer not at Gator.com. If you have more than one person using your computer, you can set up Gator with passwords for each user. If you forget your password, Gator.com can unlock it by e-mailing you one after verifying your identity. Sun-sentinel wire services Virtual Showroom Web Site At: tow nml I win Ownar I rtyalty friilraif. fr'ar C n I) ) Pliw , , , lttLg m , , jj neverkt AJ Lm FREE! Qatar DoM It Ml. FRED .A" Vll Depends on how you use it Q: I am a writer who spends many hours at the keyboard and would like to practice my craft outside the office. What minimum specs should I look for in a laptop? A: The way people use portable computers varies as much as the way folks use desktops maybe more. People who need a portable primarily to check e-mail and communicate with the office don't need the same kind of system as those who do sales presentations. Those who already have a desktop system don't need the same kind of machine as those whose portable is their only machine. Here's some advice: Processor: If you need a fairly powerful system for presentations or high-end applications (or even if you just like to play games in your hotel room at night), shoot for a 366-megahertz or faster AMD K-6, Intel Pentium II or Celeron processor. Note that the Pentium II chips have a significantly greater drain on battery life than do the older Pentium MMX chips, or some of the K-6 chips. If you're primarily interested in a computer for e-mail or connecting to a network, you can Digital frame mixes sights and sounds Most people look at a picture frame and think "picture frame." Sony looked at one and envisioned an elegantly designed liquid crystal display for showing off digital stills and videos with sound. Sony's Digital Photo Frame features a bright, crisp, 5-inch active-matrix LCD that can display still pictures in JPEG format, presented full-frame, as thumbnails or cycled through as a slide show. Short MPEG videos also can be played. The Digital Photo Frame uses Sony's new Memory Stick, a proprietary removable storage wafer that holds pictures and sounds. Like many first-of-its-kind products, the Digital Photo Frame's price is daunting $999. For more information, call 1-800-222-7669 or see www. sony.comelectronics. Finally, a modem with call-waiting Busy phone signals from active modems have become the bane of the computer-equipped household. Working parents are cut off from teens Web-surfing after school; companies can't reach their telecommuters. As a result, telephone companies have made a killing by installing modem-only lines in many of the country's 50 million Internet-connected homes. Devices addressing the problem have been introduced in the last year, but Actiontec's newest 5350 VV. SAMPLE RD. MARGATE "One Mile West Of The Turnpike" 1-800-80-LEXUS 1-954-972-2200 www.jmlexus.com (Daily Specials For Internet Shoppers) lm tog lilln VehMn pMw m w wfw .itnHnn (iiirpwi nnly drop down to the older Pentium MMX chips that run at 266 and 300 megahertz. These provide excellent battery life, so they are also a good choice if you spend a lot of time on airplanes and don't want to keep swapping batteries. Display: In general, seek an active-matrix or TFT (Thin Film Transistor) color display. They are much better than passive-matrix displays, which wash out easily in bright light and are slow to refresh. The display should also be at least 1 1 inches, measured diagonally, with at least two megabytes of video memory. Memory: Buy as much as you can up front at least 48 megabytes and 64 or more if you . can afford it. Notebook memory is usually more expensive than desktop memory, so upgrading can be painful. Hard drive: Get at least four gigabytes to accommodate bloatware. Make sure the portable has at least one PC-card slot. That's particularly important if it does not have a built-in modem. If you have only one PC-card slot on an ultraportable, and it's taken up with a PC-card modem, you're out What's Hot multifaceted 56kbps modem is the first to include a call-waiting feature within the modem itself. The Internal PCI Call Waiting Modem allows an attached handset to ring even while the modem is engaged. Another option allows all incoming calls to be ignored, and a third sets the line to automatically disconnect whenever an outside call is sensed. A semblance of call- screening is allowed. In general, an Internet connection will be maintained for about seven seconds after your modem quits sending signals. With the Actiontec product, users have enough time to pick up the phone, find out who's calling, then resume online activities without having to reestablish the connection. " vvw v (MSRP SSTvi I7i Oftnw find rtaifl fit pMmlnn union ofhwwfeft sl.i!fri of luck if you want to add a second PC-card-based device. Q: AOL's Instant Messenger program automatically installed itself when I upgraded my Netscape browser. How can I remove the icon for it from my PC'staskbar? A: America Online's Instant Messenger is a free, stand-alone application that Macintosh and PC owners can use for Internet chat, even if they are not AOL members. Depending on what platform you use, the icon for the program will usually show up as a small, walking yellow figure and can be found in the PC's System Tray or the Mac's menu bar. If you have installed a new Netscape browser and have decided not to use the AIM program (or want to get rid of screen prompts that ask you to sign on or register) , click on the Setup button on the Sign On screen. Go to the tab marked "Misc." and uncheck the box next to "Start Netscape AIM when Windows starts." : If you use a Macintosh and don't want to see the AIM icon in the menu bar, click on the Setup button, and under the General At $104.99, this model also handles faxes, V.80 video conferencing, answering machine duties with multiple voice mailboxes and remote touch-tone message retrieval. An external, serial port version is available for $20 more. Call 1-800-797-7001 or visit www. actiontec.com. Multifunctional machine on market Brother International's MFC-7050c Multifunction Center is one of the latest entrants in a crowded field of devices that combine several office functions. The device is a plain-paper fax, copier, scanner and a voice message center that acts as a Win this Lexus RX300 5 on to our wobsi'o to ! category, uncheck the box next to "Show utility menu in the menu bar at all times." On either platform, restart the computer after unchecking the appropriate box. This should remove the AIM icon from sight, and if you decide later that you want to try the program, it is still on your machine and can be opened manually. " Q: I still use Windows 95. 1 know that Windows 2000 is just around the corner. Should I wait until it comes out or should I upgrade to Windows 98 now? A: Is everything working for you right now in Windows 95? If it is and you don't intend to buy peripherals that use the Universal Serial Bus (USB) , I'd say wait for Windows 2000. You're going to have to go through some growing pains in either case, so why make things any more painful than they have to be? When you do upgrade, you might as well take a closer look at your software because you're probably going to have to upgrade those older applications as well. Go through that aggravation just once. SUN-SENTINEL wire services sophisticated answering machine. When linked to a computer, it also serves as a color printer, color PC fax and video capture device. The printer offers up to 1 ,200 dots-per-inch resolution and a choice of either four or six colors. The video capture lets you plug in any video source such as a VCR, camcorder, TV or digital camera directly into the printer. Once ' captured, you can print the image directly to the printer or transfer it to the computer for further enhancements or storage. Like most multifunction devices, there's a tradeoff between good (it takes up far less space than all the separate devices it replaces) and the bad (what if it breaks?). The MFC-7050c sells for $299 and works only with Windows computers. More information is at www. brother.com. Small hub works well with laptop The Targus USB Mobile Mini Hub is one of the smallest, lightest four-port Universal Serial Bus hubs available. It's designed for laptop users, is about the size of a small harmonica and weighs just 2.5 ounces. The hub plugs into one of your mobile computer's USB ports, providing an easy way to link up to four additional devices such as keyboards, mice or disk drives that have USB connections. The Targus hub works for Windows and Macintosh computers equipped with USB ports. Call the company at 1-800-998-8020 or go to www.targus.com. Sun-Sentinel wire services

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