A software "switch" is a
modifier you append to a standard command to make it behave somewhat
differently. Here’s a trivial example: At DOS or in a Command windows, if you
type DIR you’ll see a listing of the contents of whatever Folder
("DIRectory") you’re in. But if you add a switch— "/w"—
the DIR command generates its output in "wide" mode, filling the
screen horizontally. With the switch, you’d type the command: DIR /W .
This is not the sort of thing that
will appeal to or be appropriate for everyone, but if you’ve been kicking around
PCs for a while, this tip from reader Arent Smit may catch your eye:
In the last two Plus editions, we’ve
talked about time-synchronization tools, and many readers have sent in their own
suggestions. (Thanks!) If the paid and free synch utilities we’ve already
discussed don’t suit, a search at any major download site probably will turn up
a host of other options for you.
Speaking of WinMag.Com: On most
major issues, the folks there and I share similar views. But as a freelance, I
sometimes come to different conclusions than they do, and vice versa.
Like the proverbial "bad
penny," some old security problems keep turning up.
In issues past, we discussed the
"CueCat," a handheld scanner that was promoted as a way to save the
world from the onerous task of typing URLs. (As if it’s all that hard!) But
under the covers, CueCat actually was a brilliant marketing tool: The more you
used it, the more the CueCat makers learned about you and your preferences, thus
allowing them to "target" you with advertising. (See http://search.atomz.com/search/?sp-q=cuecat&sp-a=0008002a-sp00000000
Reader Sheryl Clark— who goes by
the nom-de-email of "GrannyC"— has an excellent suggestion you might
want to keep in mind the next time you’re doing major system work:
Have you heard of Enfish? Here’s
what ZDNet said of the last version:
Have you ever touched the surface of a working computer’s CPU chip— say, a
Pentium or an Athlon? These days, they get hot enough to take off your fingerprints.
Heat is the enemy of a CPU chip. The cooler a CPU chip is kept, the more stable it
is and the longer it lasts, simple as that.
As you’ve probably heard, the
Russian Mir station will be "deorbited" soon. If all goes according to
plan (hey, what could go wrong? <g>), many tons of high-velocity,
incendiary rubble will splash down in the South Pacific. (The bigger chunks will
not burn up in the atmosphere.)