Friday, 25 July 2003

Newsletter Issue 65, July 2003

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 65, July 2003
Hi guys,
There's a brand new battery in town. Check it out in Never Mind the Flatulence Tax below.
Wanting some clarification on  Wireless vs Wired Networks? Then read on.
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Never Mind the Flatulence Tax

There has been a lot said in the media recently about the flatulence tax. In fact, it completely beggars the imagination what an awful thing this is going to be... despite the fact that - as I understand it - the sums we are talking about are paltry (costing only a couple of hundred dollars a year per farm).
But in some reading I have been doing lately, there is a major spin off to the production of all that flatulence that farmers could capitalise on, if they could stop carping long enough to carpe diem.
Toshiba have just unveiled a new battery, the DMFC or Direct Methanol Fuel Cell. It uses Methanol from the battery and oxygen in the air to directly power portable PCs, PDAs etc.
While the length of time the batteries run isn't staggering, it's still pretty good, one battery running an XP Laptop for 10 hours. Toshiba are aiming to get power outputs up to 24 hours from one battery.
The great thing? Methanol in this form is pretty stable, easily available (think of all those cows!), will be refillable, will end up the size of a sugar cube and is a "greener" technology than the old lithium-ion batteries.
How refillable? Go to your local Shell station and "fill 'er up". And, currently in Japan the first wireless fuel cell vending machine has hit the streets, so this technology looks as if it will be a go.
Sounds great. So it will probably be years away, right? Wrong. End of 2004.
But I think we can safely say that it will be pricey for now. So all you farmers out there had best start hanging on to your flatulence. You will be able to sell it before long...

Wireless vs Wired Networks

We have all heard the hype. Replace our normal phones with internet capable "Smart" phones, go wireless, replace your laptop with a PDA, buy a tablet PC and get a fixed point network. There is so much going on that it's pretty confusing. So what should you be thinking about, and why? 
How Mobile Do You Need To Be? 
First things first. Do you truly need to be mobile? Think long and hard about what your real needs are. If you just miss appointments, perhaps you only need get a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) or electronic diary that you can dock with Outlook on your PC to synchronise your calendar easily. If you need to work on the train or at airports, perhaps you should get a laptop. Then again, you may need to update your stock system from anywhere in New Zealand and so need a tablet PC that uploads every change via a Tablet PC.
Then to Networks… 
So how do you connect to your data? Choices - you can go wired network or wireless. 
The wired network is that one using the phone cable that you plug in, or the network connections that you may have at the office. Not terribly mobile, but pretty low cost. If you aren't travelling much, or will always be travelling to places where there are good phone connections, then a wired network should be fine for you.
A wireless network is just that - wireless. There are two main types of wireless data network; fixed point, which uses transmitter and receiver "stations" for coverage within defined areas; and mobile data, which is the data side of a cellular phone network. Read on to find out more about wireless.
So Which Wireless Network? 
Fixed Point: If your business means you need to send huge files between offices, buildings or cities, then, a fixed point wireless LAN or WAN is probably right for you. This is because you will need high data speeds. A service provider like Walker Wireless will come and set up 'hot spots' in your premises. This enables your people, while they're inside your coverage area, to access email and the web - or even access their network connection. As WiFi nodes multiply, fixed point wireless is likely to get more and more common. 
Mobile Data: If you need more mobility than than just around your workplace (in the car, on a building site etc), then "mobile data devices" connected to a mobile data network is probably better for you. There are only two mobile providers in NZ as yet - Vodafone (GPRS) and Telecom (JetStream). Though a JV of TelstraClear & Siemens looks like in getting into the market soon.
Both will cost you a reasonable chunk of change to operate, but Vodaphone's GPRS is great if you are sending smaller data loads and if you want to send & receive overseas; Telecom's JetStream is faster nationally for bigger loads (files over 1Mg). 
Next time we will look at some of the wireless gadgets that you can buy.

Daily Dilbert 

For those of you who love Dilbert, you can sign up for the "pay" Daily Dilbert at a massive cost of $10 per annum.
Just be aware that although the PR for pay Daily Dilbert promises you great wallpaper and screen savers, there is only ONE wallpaper and no screen savers that actually have Dilbert in them.
Go to to check it all out.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • WiFi, Wireless Fidelity. High-frequency wireless local area network (WLAN) technology, rapidly gaining acceptance as a wired LAN alternative (and home network). Wi-Fi is specified in the IEEEs 802.11, 802.11b, 802.11a, and 802.11g specifications using Ethernet protocol and CSMA/CA for path sharing
  • IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
  • CSMA/CA, Carrier Sense Multiple Access with Collision Avoidance. Network contention protocol that listens to a network in order to avoid collisions. High contributor to network traffic because, before any data is transmitted, it has to signal the network to check for collision scenarios & tell other devices not to broadcast.

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with hot keys and either a comma or a full stop;
  • Outlook - Go to Previous item (with item open)    Ctrl & , 
  • Outlook - Next item (with item open)    Ctrl & .
  • Excel - Open the Address Book in the To box Keys for sending e-mail messages    Alt & . 
  • Excel  - Move clockwise to the next corner of the selection Keys for moving within a selection     Ctrl & . 
  • Word - Grow Font     Ctrl, Shift & . 
  • Word - Shrink Font     Ctrl, Shift & ,
Hot Linx
Need help with a technical or IT problem that's not too urgent? Then you can't go past The Tech Support Guy at 
Want to know a light amount about a particular subject and don't want to pay to fee to Britannica? Then try this site
Looking to see if your company name is available? All you have to do is to search your name at 
Anyone out there a closet Narnia fan? Read the C S Lewis books years ago? Perhaps your kids are reading them? Then check this site about the up & coming movie at 

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