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What You Need to Know about All Things PC


Volume 5 Number 17

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The Naked PC -
What You Need to Know about All Things PC
Publisher:           Lee Hudspeth and T.J. Lee
Editor in Chief:     Dan Butler
Contributing Editor: Al Gordon
This issue is for Thursday, August 22, 2002 - Vol. 5 No. 17

Table of Contents

** 01. Letter from the Publisher
** 02. Fighting Spam - Part IX (by Dan Butler)
** 03. Lee's Mail Queue (by Lee Hudspeth)
** 04. A Flash of Memory (by Al Gordon)
** 05. Featured Products - SanDisk ImageMate Flash Memory Card
       Combo Reader and SanDisk Cruzer Data Storage Device
       (reviewed by Al Gordon)
** 06. Featured Web Sites - Pediatric Database (PEDBASE) &
       VoyCabulary (reviewed by Dan Butler)
** 07. Featured Drawing
** 08. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and
       interesting stuff

** 01. Letter from the Publisher

In this issue... Dan's coverage of spam and what you can do about
it continues, with a detailed set of recommendations; don't miss
it! Lee catches up with his TNPC reader email queue and answers
many your pressing questions. Al explores flash memory formats
CF, SD, MMC, SmartMedia, and Memory Stick; remember this mantra,
"More data, faster, cheaper."

We've been carrying Swiss-Tech portable tools in our e-store for
some time, and judging by your orders of same, many of you agree
with our assessment that these are absolutely must-have devices.
The Swiss-Tech product line includes a UtilKey, an 8-in-1 tool,
and a 6-in-1 tool. The tools are available in various finishes
and cool gift set combos; see the link below for details plus an
in-depth review by Dan about how we all put these versatile
marvels to good use every day.

"GOOD FOR YOU" to TNPCer R. V., winner of our previous drawing.
This issue we're giving away a handy Photon Micro-Light, winner
picks the color. It's fun and easy to enter, see this issue's
Featured Drawing article.

Reader support is what keeps The Naked PC free. You can help us
by passing a copy on to co-workers and friends (no spam please).
We make it easy for you to refer people to The Naked PC... check
out our Refer page:

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** 02. Fighting Spam - Part IX (by Dan Butler)

Last issue we looked at MailWasher. Many of you use MailWasher
and are satisfied with the results. That's great! This issue I
promised to tell you how I personally deal with spam, and why I
don't recommend it for most of you. Then you'll learn what I do
recommend. If you missed previous articles in this series you can
find them here:

First consider two different ways of filtering spam. You can
either identify the spam or identify the legitimate email.
MailWasher attempts to do both. Long term you'll have less upkeep
and more success if you focus on identifying legitimate email.
With that in mind let's look at two examples of filtering email.

My personal spam-handling technique involves my home network. One
of the machines, a Pentium 233, runs Linux. Nothing fancy - works
great. Fetchmail downloads my email at set intervals, runs it
through procmail where SpamBouncer takes over and files it. Then
I use Pegasus mail to download the mail from Linux to my Windows
2000 box. Sounds complex but it's really very transparent. All of
the software used in the system is free, except Windows.

Spambouncer is a set of procmail recipes. You configure four to
six files depending on your setup. After that it just filters the
mail. In my case it catches 800-1000 spams per week, deletes all
the viruses, and files all of the bounces and miscellaneous
messages that come through.

Is this system effective? Total spams that slipped through last
week: 1. I've haven't had a single virus pass through since I've
started using it. False positives on the email are about 2-4 per
week. The key is that it is entirely hands-off at this point and
consumes a total of about three minutes a week to maintain. It
took me a few weeks to get all the filters in place and now it's
hands off. Read more about SpamBouncer here:

I realize that most of you won't be interested in setting up a
Linux machine just to filter your email. That isn't all I use
that for; I spend a large portion of my time with Linux.

So where does that leave the rest of you? Here is a simple
solution that will filter your mail about like SpamBouncer does.
The process is called "Reverse Spam Filtering." All you'll need
is your email client's filters or rules. The specific rules
you'll use will move messages to folders. Check your help file
for the specifics of your client.

In your client you want to create several types of rules. The
first checks to see if a message is from any mailing lists you
belong for example--and deals with it
appropriately. I filter mailing lists into folders but you may
prefer to keep them in your inbox.

Second - check to see if the email is from a friend of yours. If
it is, exit the filter and the message ends up in your inbox.
Call this your "green" list.

Third - check to see if the To: or Cc: field of the email is
addressed to you. If so consider this email "yellow." Either
leave these in your inbox or put them in a separate folder for
later perusal.

Finally all other email is considered "red" and put in a
potential spam folder. Check that folder periodically for
legitimate email, adjust your mail filters, then delete the rest.

In my case I use my email client to change all my "green" email
to a different color depending on who it's from. Makes it easy to
keep the business and personal mail apart. Not all clients
support this feature. Pegasus and Eudora do.

If this sort of approach interests you check out Nancy McGough's
"Reverse Spam Filtering" page at Infinity Ink. At times things
will sound technical but they just aren't that difficult. It is a
"work in process" but has lots of links and information on this

As you set up your filters keep in mind how much time you are
spending. Make sure you aren't adding time to your day. Start
small and be diligent. Soon your email client will sift and sort
your email and you'll wonder how you ever got along any other

You can reach Dan Butler at:

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** 03. Lee's Mail Queue (by Lee Hudspeth)

Jim recently got caught up with his TNPC reader mail backlog by
covering the most frequently asked questions you folks had sent
his way. A good idea, and one I'll emulate in this article. Here
are the issues, and my responses, most frequently raised by folks
writing to me.

* What is an alternative to the Magellan in-car navigation system
Lee reviewed in TNPC #5.16? -- Kevin Q. uses CoPilot for his
Pocket PC, a GPS navigation system that interfaces with a laptop.
This hardware/software package comes in USB and serial versions,
both at a street price of $369.

* What are the risks of using an in-car navigation system while
driving? -- The Magellan system I described, when powering up,
prompts you with a warning message to the effect of "the driver
shouldn't be monkeying around with this device while driving" and
then asks you to press Enter to acknowledge the admonition.
Naturally, if you're driving alone, you're going to need to at
least tell the device what your destination is. Exercising common
sense, it would be safest to do this while parked and out of
traffic, then you can use the device in a completely hands-free
mode while driving.

* What is Microsoft's phone number for 90 days of free support
for Microsoft mouse products (that you purchased retail)? -- The
number is 425-635-7040. If the product came preinstalled on your
PC, Microsoft directs you to contact the PC manufacturer.

* What is Microsoft's phone number for paid personal support ($35
per phone or Web incident) for Microsoft mouse products? -- The
number is 800-936-5700.

* What are the hours of operation for the folks who answer these
phones? -- According to Microsoft the hours are Monday-Friday
5:00 AM to 9:00 PM PST, Saturday 5:00 AM to 3:00 PM, and Sunday
9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

* Where is Microsoft's portal for online support? -- Although a
fee may be required in some cases, here's where to start. (Note:
have your Product ID number ready. If you can't find it, when you
get to the appropriate Web page there will be a link on how to
find it.)

The above link may only be valid for folks inside the U.S., if
you're outside the U.S. and this link doesn't work, go here and
follow the "Contact Microsoft" link:

* How often do the batteries in the Microsoft Wireless
IntelliMouse Explorer need to be changed? This varies depending
on how often you use the mouse and, apparently, by brand. If you
find your current brand seems to have a short life, switch brands
and keep a log on the various brands' performance until you
identify the longest-lived. As I reported previously, I use
Energizer No. E91; FWIW I am still on the original in-the-box
pair after two months of frequent use!

* Many folks wrote thanking the anonymous author of the "Fan
Noise Revisited" article in TNPC #5.15. -- A sampler... "Thanks
for publishing the erudite note from the anonymous acoustical
engineer on fans & fan noise." "This article was very
interesting, highly informative and well written." "Fascinating
stuff... just what I was after, please pass my thanks to

You can reach Lee Hudspeth at:

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** 04. A Flash of Memory (by Al Gordon)

If you are getting confused by all the flash memory formats out
there--CF, SD, MMC, SmartMedia, Memory Stick--the folks at
SanDisk say don't blame them.

The Sunnyvale, CA-based company is the market leader in flash
memory cards, and participated in the development of many of the
formats. But, says Nelson Chan, Senior Vice President & General
Manager of SanDisk's Retail Business Unit, "At the end of the
day, the guys who build consumer electronics determine what they
want to put in them. They determine how many card standards there
will be."

"Flash" memory refers to units in which data is saved to chips
that will retain the data when powered off--unlike, say, PC
memory chips. According to Chan, the flash memory market is
highly fragmented, with no one format dominating sufficiently to
muscle out the others. Compact Flash--the familiar matchbook
sized card--is #1, but Chan estimates that its market share is
only around 30-40 percent.

For a look at the various card formats, please see my
supplemental page:

Memory Stick (it looks like a stick of chewing gum), for example,
was developed by Sony, which wanted a proprietary standard for
its entertainment-oriented products, one that also incorporated
security features to satisfy the music and entertainment content
arms of the corporation. Toshiba developed Smart Media as a
format for digital cameras, and it lined up Fuji and Olympus as
supporters. (Nikon and Canon use CF).

Plus, Chan said, some makers decided that "the CF card was too
big" for their device needs. This drove the development of the
postage-stamp sized Multimedia Card (MMC) and a Secure Digital
(SD) a variant that incorporates encoding security circuitry. As
piracy concerns continue to obsess the content providers, SD is
likely to supplant MMC in the months ahead. (Tech note: a MMC
card will fit in a SD slot, but not vice versa because SD is
slightly thicker.) I also expect SD to ultimately take over the
PDA market from CF because of the size advantage.

The explosion of digital photography has been one driving force
on the market. Flash memory are the "film" in digital cameras and
as higher-resolution cameras become more mainstream there is an
according need for larger-capacity memory cards. Digital music
players and PDAs also loom large.

But the multiplication of formats seems to be subsiding. Chan
does not expect any format smaller than SD/MMC to gain traction
because they would be too annoying to handle, "Ergonomically,
your fingers are only so big." And consumer electronics
manufacturers seem content with the current offerings.

So for the moment, the evolution of flash cards looks to be
pretty much standard stuff: more data, faster, cheaper. SanDisk,
for example, has introduced a 1 GB CF card, while SD has just hit
the 256 MB mark.

1 GB Compact Flash Card:

There also is a line of "Ultra" CF cards, with higher access
speeds intended, among other things, to enable photographers to
shoot off sequential photos more quickly and to more quickly
download large, high-resolution files. SanDisk says the transfer
rate for fast copy/download is up to 2.8 MB per second or more
than twice the sustained write speed of SanDisk's standard
products (memory access times are the digital equivalent of film
motorized drive speeds.) Ultras tend to carry a 25 percent
premium over standard CFs.

Ultra Cards:

The growth of high-end products, in fact, has inspired Chan to
invent a term for the market: "prosumer"--professionals and
consumer power users. That would be us.

(c) 2002, Al Gordon
You can reach Al Gordon at:

** 05. Featured Products - SanDisk ImageMate Flash Memory Card
       Combo Reader and SanDisk Cruzer Data Storage Device
       (reviewed by Al Gordon)

In addition to its flash memory cards (discussed in my "A Flash
of Memory" article in this issue), SanDisk has been rolling out
some accessory products that are pretty cool.

First, to deal with the multiplicity of formats previously
discussed, SanDisk has expanded its line of card readers to
include dual format ImageMate models. I tested the CF/SD model,
which handles the two of the most prevalent card formats.

The price is around $30. The units are sculptured blue bars, with
the nice design touch of the USB connector cord tucked into a
channel on the bottom where it is out of the way (especially
handy for road warriors carrying one in their laptop bag). A USB
extension cord provides the necessary cord length to hook up to a

Plugged into your USB port, the unit appears as two removable
drives on your PC. Typical of SanDisk readers, the ImageMate
installs without hassles, and provides very quick and reliable
access to your memory cards. It is much superior solution than
plugging in your digital camera to download pictures.

If the floppy disk isn't dead yet, the new wave of USB "key
chain" memory devices are pretty much likely to finish the job.
And take Zip disks with them.

SanDisk's take on the concept is the new Cruzer, available in
capacities from 40 MB up to 256 MB. Or actually, up to infinity.
Instead of fixed memory, Cruzer uses a SD card so you can swap
memory to your heart's content.

Cruzer is a little bigger (1 3/4" x 2 5/8" x 5/8") than most key
chain devices but the flexibility makes up for that. A handy
thumb switch in the center of the silver colored unit pops out
the USB plug when pushed up. Pushed down, it ejects the SD card.
Where the design of your PC permits, the Cruzer can be plugged in
directly. But, as with the ImageMate, there is an extension cord
where the fit isn't right.

It's a handy little device that is perfect for taking documents
(and even some software) on the road with you. Also for
transferring items over to a friend's or colleague's computer. I
particularly like the potential for Cruzer as a way to store your
personal files when working on a shared PC.

A lot of computer users are likely to be happily Cruzing around
with their data.

(c) 2002, Al Gordon
You can reach Al Gordon at:

** 06. Featured Web Sites - Pediatric Database (PEDBASE) &
       VoyCabulary (reviewed by Dan Butler)

PEDBASE provides information on various pediatric disorders. When
I was looking for information on Crouzon syndrome I came across
the PEDBASE article on the syndrome. It listed what I needed in a
nice format. You can find PEDBASE here:

The only problem? I didn't understand all the terminology PEDBASE
supplied me with. That's where our second site VoyCabulary comes
in handy:

VoyCabulary has many dictionaries online. These include medical,
legal, and foreign language dictionaries. That isn't so unusual
except that you can apply these dictionaries to a Web page. You
give Vocabulary a URL then it retrieves the page and hyperlinks
every word on the page to the dictionary you select.

After running PEDBASE's page on Crouzon through VoyCabulary we
quickly were able to come to terms with the information in the
document. We had an understanding of Crouzon and felt more
comfortable when talking to the doctors.

If you need information on pediatric disorders, PEDBASE is a good
place to start. If the language is above your head, run it
through VoyCabulary and get the understanding you need.

** 07. Featured Drawing

The salient question of the day is, "Do you use the
rules/filtering tools of your email client?"

If you haven't entered one of our The Naked PC survey drawings
before, here's how it works. You go to a Web page on our site,
answer one survey question, and type in your email address.

To encourage folks to participate, we conduct a drawing from the
email addresses of each survey's participants and we give away
something really useful. Now, obviously we already have your
email address or you wouldn't be reading this, but this drawing
for prizes will only include those folks who answer this issue's
question (entering a prior drawing doesn't count for this one).

We'll only use the email addresses we collect for the purpose of
notifying who won the prize, nothing else. Before our next issue
is published, we'll pick one entered name at random. The winner
gets one Photon Micro-Light II pocket flashlight--a $19.95 value
absolutely free. And the winner picks the color of her or his
choice. But you have to enter to win.

Results of our prior survey, "Does your ISP filter your email?"

No and I wish they would                    14%
No and I'd like to keep it that way         50%
What's a filter?                             9%
Yes and I control the filter                14%
Yes and I have no control over the filter   13%

** 08. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and
       interesting stuff

*-* Dell will soon be selling low-price "white box" PCs to mom-
and-pop style shops that cater to small business (with 100 or
fewer employees). Just how big is the "white box" market?
Research firm IDC released its revised estimate for the worldwide
PC market in 2001: add another 8 million PCs.

*-* ComStore Networks reports that online spending (excluding
auction transactions) is up $6 billion in July 2002 relative to
July 2001, a 26% increase.

*-* Simson Garfinkle says, "Firewalls often provide a mere
illusion of protection. They don't make business systems
significantly more secure."

*-* Today the telegraph is forgotten. What happened to it? And
what does its fate say about what lies ahead for the Internet?
The similarities are striking.

Have you come across something newsworthy? Drop us a line:

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Personal computers are individual machines with performance that
can vary with components, software, and operator ability. The
Naked PC is not responsible for the manner in which the
information presented is used or interpreted. Also, although we
work hard to provide you with accurate Internet links in The
Naked PC, we are not responsible for Internet links herein that
represent sites owned and operated by third parties. We are not
responsible for the content, accuracy, performance, or
availability of any such third-party sites.

We encourage you to forward this newsletter to your friends,
associates, and colleagues for their review and enjoyment.
However, please do so only by sending it in full, thereby keeping
the copyright and subscription information intact. We do request
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independently rather than continue to receive issues from you.
This helps The Naked PC grow and prosper, thereby funding its
continued publication.

Also, if you wish to post this newsletter to a newsgroup or
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To subscribe or unsubscribe, surf on over to:

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Copyright (c) 2002, PRIME Consulting Group, Inc. and Dan Butler.
All Rights Reserved. The Naked PC is a trademark of PRIME
Consulting Group, Inc.
ISSN: 1522-4422


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