Monday, 2 October 2000

Newsletter Issue 12, October 2000

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 12, October 2000

Hi guys,

Well, here we are again. It has been a pretty quiet couple of weeks on the technology front, but there are some interesting new developments in mobile usage. New York taxis are starting to use Palm Pilots connected to Yahoo so that customers can stay online even during the taxi ride from the airport to their hotel... it looks like we will never be disconnected! I haven't investigated Palm Pilots yet, but if any of you are interested, let me know and I will do some digging.

The lead story this issue is DVD vs CD-ROM. If you are getting into a new PC with a CD-Writer or need a new CD-RW drive, I think you may be best to get a DVD-RAM drive. Read on in DVD vs CD-ROM and Virus Warning below.

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.


Computer users are again faced with the advent of a new era, as slowly but surely, DVD drives are replacing CD-Rom drives as a standard feature of personal computers.  But is it time for you, to switch - or replace your CD-Rom drive with a DVD?

The answer is maybe.

DVD drives have been available since 1997, but haven't sold well. However, in recent months, retailers and customers have rediscovered the DVD drive en masse. Even low-end PCs now feature DVD drives instead of CD-Rom drives.

There's good reason for this.  In addition, to the fact that DVD disks containing both Movies and software are beginning to peak, technologically speaking, the Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) is an advanced form of CD-Rom.

DVD drives are backward-compatible with CD-Rom drives.  That means that if you have a DVD drive in your PC, you'll be able to play not only DVD disks but also the older CD-Rom disks that you have in your possession.

The storage capacity of a DVD is tremendous: DVD can hold as much data as can be stored on seven CD-Rom disks.  In fact, 1 DVD disc can hold 17 gigabytes worth of data (assuming that the disc is of the "double-sided, double-intensity” type.

How can a DVD hold so much data? There are two main reasons;

  • On DVD the packets of information are stored much more closely together
  • DVD uses a red-light laser with a shorter wavelength and a more densely focused beam for reliable data reading (but this can cause some problems with reading CD-RW discs – don’t throw your CD-writer away just yet!)

But the BIG thing is DVD-RAM, which is the DVD version of the CD-RW or CD-Writer. This gives you the same ability to back-up your own data to a DVD disc… all 17 gig of it!

A DVD-RAM drive is likely to cost you twice as much as an ordinary CD-RW. But the storage capacity is huge. You are likely to pay between $875 to $2000, as opposed to a CD-Rom between $500 and $1000.

And the uses? Mainly software, music and storage:

  • Software on DVD is still rare, but there are some companies who are putting reference works on DVD – such as Encyclopaedia Britannica and Microsoft’s Encarta Reference Suite. In the software area, however, it is still not yet quite clear that the DVD will actually replace the CD-Rom. But from your point of view when making a new purchase, you are better to have the ability to read both medias.
  • Software notwithstanding, DVD's large capacity makes it an ideal format for movies, and new movie titles already appear simultaneously on DVD and standard VCR tapes. 
  • Storage for back-ups and archive - faster, higher, more powerful (sounds like the Olympics!). This is a great storage format if you have a lot of material that you want to store in one easy copy.

Where a DVD drive has been added to an older PC, you may require the use of a "decoder" to play DVD-movies.  This does add to the cost of installing DVD drive, and can lead to other complications. You have to make sure that your processor, graphic accelerator, decoder card and software player are all compatible first. Get good advice from a local computer dealer BEFORE making your purchase – such as Bell Computers or PC Systems.  Otherwise, you'll end up having to search for tips and tricks about getting your particular set-up to work.

However, if you are pretty PC-savvy, there are myriad websites set up to help people with DVD-related problems, such as the DVD Tips and Tricks Page at

Virus Warning

A bit of a warning to all of you - I mentioned a few newsletters back (number 9) the delete procedure for Kak.hta virus. 

A bit of an update to that story: Kak writes itself to your your compressed Windows back-up files (.cab files found in C:\Windows\Options\Cabs), where it remains undetected until you reinstall Windows from your hard drive. Then it reinstalls itself to your system.

To prevent that happening if you have to reinstall Windows for any reason (and any other nasties that may be coming down the pipe in the future), use your Windows CD to reinstall. If you weren't supplied with a Windows CD, use the quick restore CD supplied by your computer manufacturer. 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;

  • SMTP, Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. This is where your outgoing mail gets sent to at your ISP
  • POP3, Post Office Protocol and the 3 is just a version number. A mail account set up with your ISP so you can log on to a computer (i.e., a mail server attached to the Net), receive mail, and then log off
  • SQL, Structured Query Language and VB, Visual Basic. Programming code for macros.. you will use them in Excel and Access macros and queries 
  • POV, Point of View
  • FYI, For your information

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

Hot Linx
Ohio State has a vast directory of "requests for comments" (RFC's), which are essentially the road rules for the Internet. from beginner to advanced, at

Interested in global trade? Check out Electronic Commerce Europe. If you are a member of the Chamber of Commerce you are invited to take a listing in the Global Partners Directory, but I think that any business can join up. Check it out at

There are heaps of electronic newsletters out there. A good listing is found at

Ever heard of a Mondegreen? That's one of those mistakes you make in song lyrics... like assuming that the Pretenders are singing "Gonna use my senses" instead of "Gonna use my sidestep"... check them out at

Want to learn French? Take a free tutorial online at 

Want a newsletter from a business woman's point of view? Try

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