For color pictures that “”pop,”” you might want to try printing on luminescent photo paper from Brightec; it glows in the dark.
We’ve tried many types of paper in our printers, and the kind of paper definitely affects print quality, but we’ve never run into anything like this before. Photos on
Brightec paper look different under normal lighting, but they literally shine in the dark. The glow easily lasts all night.
Unlike other luminescent papers, the colors printed on this paper remained true. The Brightec paper was used for tickets to the last Super Bowl (January, 2004). It not only created a striking effect, but also thwarted counterfeiting.
Picture quality seems to be best using inkjet printers, though the paper also worked all right with laser printers. Unfortunately, the cost is substantial: $25 for a package of five 8 1/2-by-11-inch sheets. A package of 10 4-by-6-inch sheets retails for $15. Web site: www.brightec.com.
THE INVISIBLE DISK
CryptoStick is a USB thumb drive that both hides your identity when browsing the Web and encrypts whatever you download, safe from prying eyes.
The tiny memory stick is instantly recognized as a disk drive when connecting to Windows ME, XP or 2000; Win 98 requires you to download a driver. The stick works with Macintosh and Linux systems, as well.
Though we’ve covered anonymous browsers before, this is something different. You can, for example, open Internet Explorer and begin surfing the Web without leaving a trace. Built-in software also allows you to synchronize files on the memory stick with those on your computer. Anything you download to the stick is both compressed and encrypted as it comes in.
If you use Outlook Express for e-mail, which most people do, CryptoStick provides portable e-mail; take it with you on trips and plug into any computer. For all files, you have a password and code to restore the text to readability.
CryptoStick comes in sizes from 16 MB (megabytes) to 1 gigabyte (a thousand megabytes), with prices ranging from $35 to $450. The manufacturer says the U.S. Army has purchased several of the devices, in 256 MB size, but that their use is classified. Web info: www.cryptobuddy.com.
THE NUMBERS REPORT
This should come under the heading: “”Everything that’s old is new again.””
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, senior citizens, defined as those over 65, are the fastest-growing group of Internet users. Welcome to the world, Pew Trust and associated branches. Twenty-four years ago, when we started writing this column, seniors were the fastest-growing group of personal computer users. The reason, then and now, is simple and obvious: time and money.
Even more interesting was that the second fastest-growing group of computer adopters 24 years ago was farmers. They wanted the calculation and record-keeping abilities of the computer, and they also wanted to plug into databases for crop and livestock prices. It was also a deductible expense.
THE SPAM WHAT AM
The “”Bob”” half of this intrepid writing duo receives more than 1,000 pieces of spam a day at his oncomp e-mail address.
What makes this particularly remarkable is I have never bought anything from a spam advertisement. Which shows that response matters little or nothing to spammers. A product manager for anti-spam software says that Internet mailings are so cheap, spammers can make money if they get only one positive response in 10,000 ads. In which case, all spam would stop if no one ever responded; but alas, some people do.
How does one get on a list that results in getting so much spam? Visiting certain Web seats is a sure way to get spammed. I found that immediately after visiting CBS’ “”marketwatch.com”” my e-mail address was placed with two of the largest Internet advertising services. Visiting Amazon and Google added my address to two more large lists.
What is the answer? Well, it certainly isn’t legislation from Washington. Making it illegal to send unsolicited ads over the Internet will, if it’s even constitutional, simply move the transmission source offshore. Spam can be sent just as easily from Manila or Bangalore as the good old U.S.A.
Using filtering software has turned out to take more time than simply deleting the spam. The only fast and effective filter I have found is the one that’s part of America Online.
James Bond will live forever, apparently, and makes his most recent reincarnation in Electronic Arts’ Everything or Nothing, for Playstation 2, Xbox, GameCube and GameBoy Advance. Users rate it a winner, with good story, gadgets, action and sound. It looks and sounds like a double-oh-seven movie. Pierce Brosnan, John Cleese, Richard Kiel and other familiar actors do the voices and serve as the models for the characters. The script is by a screenwriter for James Bond movies. Web: www.eagames.com.
We are dedicated fans of keyboard shortcuts. Most people know ctrl-s, for “”save”” in Windows. Then there’s ctrl-c for “”cut,”” ctrl-v for “”paste,”” and ctrl-a for “”select all.”” But how about ctrl-= to create a subscript below the base line? There are hundreds more, and here are two books that tell you what they are:
“”Keyboard Shortcuts for Mac OS X and Office v.X”” and “”Keyboard Shortcuts for Windows XP and Office 2003,”” both books by Guy Hart-Davis, $13 each from Osborne/McGraw-Hill (www.osborne.com).