Thursday, 30 December 1999

Newsletter Issue 4, December 1999


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 4, December 1999
Hi guys,
Gosh - the end of the year is rolling around much sooner than I anticipated, and here we are again, with a short list of tips & tricks to keep everyone thinking. 
As this will probably be the last time I have contact with some of you before Christmas and the New Year, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best, hope you all have a great time, and that the season doesn't get too silly for you. Be patient in the inevitable queues, and remember my favourite maxim; "who's going to give a #@$% in a hundred years".... Check out Y2K Update below and New Stuff
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Y2K Update

It might be a good idea to look at the Y2k website and check that your household is covered for all eventualities. If you have an emergency kit for earthquake or other natural disasters, go through it and check that everything is up-to-date. The address is http://www.y2k.govt.nz/households/index.html
A further suggestion is to turn off all appliances (including those that are date-aware) before midnight, unplug them, and not plug them back in until you are wanting to use them next. Unplugging items will protect the machinery against power-spikes, whereas merely switching equipment off at the wall will not.
A friend of mine used to work for the old "NZED" (New Zealand Electricity Department for those of you later-maturing people!) here in Nelson, and they had a problem with a relay switch on Cleveland Terrace in the early eighties, creating a pretty big power-spike... which burnt out all plugged-in appliances at the homes on that section of the grid. Whether the switches were turned on or not did not make any difference to the equipment damage (or so I was told).
A word to the wise, then, and unplug everything not in use to guard against possible electricity Supplier problems!
New Stuff

Well, there is some funky new stuff about the place...
Starting with colour laser printers becoming MUCH more affordable. Kyocera has just released a colour laser printer  with both duplex and paper feed (double-siding ability), 48Mb of memory and a Power PC 740 200MHz memory. Black & White is 16ppm, Colour at 4ppm... and it can print on nearly anything. All for a pretty amazing price of $5900 excluding GST.
If you are into the idea of purchasing one, contact The Printer Connection at Level 2, 160 Grafton Rd Grafton Auckland, or call them on 09 356 1488. You can check out the printer specs at http://www.kyocera.com.au
McAfee have just released a new product designed to fix those wee problems that we sometimes have with our computers. You know, where everything locks up in the document that you have been working on for an hour and a half, where you were just thinking "I must save this" before you had the hung session....
The product is called McAfee Office 2000, and is designed to make your computer work ALL the time, with a minimum of fuss. There are a whole range of fix-ums in the pack, and the components all update over the web. Costs $165. I haven't tried it, but it sounds a bit like Norton Crashguard, which is very good. If you are already using McAfee virus checkers it may work better with that than the Norton product. Check it out at http://mcafee.com
For all of you out there that thought that electronic books would never take off, there is currently a new product on the market that might change your mind. It is called eBook and the reader (hardware) is the size of a large paperback. Running on battery power, eBooks are expected to hold about 100 books in memory (depending on size and complexity of the book), and book content can be downloaded from the internet, 24 hours a day ( with credit-card, of course!).
Most of the eBook Reader front face is screen. It looks something like a laptop screen, but with a rolled edge on the left side so that you can hold it. There are heaps of options that you can use to customise the eBook content - you can specify the font, size, spacing  and colour. You push an icon in the corner of the page... to turn the page. You can mark your place. You can look up words, and search the entire memory of however many books you have downloaded for that annoying quote that you can't quite remember correctly.
I haven't heard anything about cost yet. Guarantee they will be pricey to start with - and deadly for diner-parties. Just imagine - no more heated discussion ever again about choosing the six best books to be shipwrecked with over the cheese board! Check out eBooks at http://www.ebooknet.com/

Food On-Line


Pizza Hut is going on the www in New Zealand with pizza ordering at the click of a mouse. How about that, for spend-no-calories-now-we-will-bill-you ordering! As many web-savvy people will no doubt tell you, it is easier to point and click than pick up the phone and TALK to someone. I don't know why - it just is.
Eagle-Boys will have to follow suit or this will impact on their sales, no doubt; although it is a small add-on for their business, as they already have the infrastructure in place for making the deliveries. KFC (check out http://www.kfc.co.nz/) does the e-commerce ordering thing overseas, so I wonder if they will be next to think about "e"-ing their ordering... but they would definitely have to do some major work on their service times! At current drive-through speed your chicky-bits would look like they were extras from "the Mummy" ...
And apparently chips are the new addition to fridges. Not chips made from potato, but chips made from silicon. Your fridge can tell when you run out of milk. It e-mails your on-line store, places the order and has the milk sent around. I wonder if you have to swipe your card in the door...
Nano-Bytes
Motorola is developing a flip-up Cellphone, where the flip-up bit is a computer screen - go surfing wherever you are. Check out 3G prototypes at www.erikson.com
The main article in the last newsletter regarding the Net, Enviro and Handy 21s is not likely to take as long as anticipated (10 years). I was doing some reading the other day, and the bluetooth technology looks like it's pretty close now; and what with fridges ordering your milk, yada yada yada - we will all be networked before we can say "e-commerce".
And did you realise that Hal, the supercomputer in Space Odessy 2001 was a bit of a POA (or "play on acronyms" for the uninitiated)? H, A and L are the letters immediately before I, B and M...
Short+Hot Keys... and now tips

Date function short cuts this time;
  • Excel "Apply the Date format with the day, month, and year" CTRL+SHIFT+# 
  • Access "To insert the current date" CTRL+SEMICOLON (;) 
  • Excel "Enter the date" CTRL+; (semicolon) 
  • Word "Date Field" Alt+Shift+ D
Hot Linx

Want a UK passport and don't know if you are eligible? Want to find out if you can work in the UK? Go and check out the British High Commission at http://www.brithighcomm.org.nz/
If you are wanting to check out what's on for summer in Nelson, have a look at http://nelson.net.nz/sumfestival/ to check out the events programme. There is also a Tasman section for those of you holidaying in the rest of the Nelson region 
How many times has someone (including me!) said something to you in PC Speak? And you have nodded sagely, thinking frantically  "I have no idea what this idiot is talking about?" Well, fear no more. There is a VERY good on-line glossary of terms that you can refer to at  http://www.high-density.com/glossary/
Another yellow pages site - I dont think that we have had Canada yet. The Canadians are to be found at http://www.yellow.ca/
Do you want to know how long you have got to live? Count the days of your life at http://www.deathclock.com/
Those of you using Excel could benefit by getting a cool tool called the Spreadsheet assistant at http://www.add-ins.com/assistnt.htm

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here