(updated 11/17/2012)

Tips, news and views, for 03-07-2006...


To email PCN, try cam at concordnorth dot ca...


Topics...

Daily sending calculator, Genographic project, LyricFX, Eniac and Brainiac, Windows Explorer, population clocks...


03-07-06...

Daily spending calculator...

There is a webpage at the Canadian government's Consumer Affairs website that can help you see what small spending habits can mean over time.

The "Daily Spending Calculator" can take something like the purchase of a cup of coffee a day and show what this would cost over x-number of years. Very enlightening...


03-07-06...

!Xu, to you, too, cousin...

National Geographic Genographic project...

Remarkably, all humans alive today can be scientifically traced back to one male ancestor, dubbed "Adam", who lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago. Certain unique genetic markers in the DNA of indigenous peoples around the world have been used to determine the major human migratory paths taken by humans in the years since.

Learn about your ancestry from the Atlas of The Human Journey...

You can participate in the Genographic Project yourself. For $100, a kit can be purchased with which you can provide a DNA sample for the study. From the sample, you should be able to determine the larger migratory path your ancestors took, and, more specifically, you may be able to find out who in the relatively recent past you may be descended from.


National Geographic has many great news articles and photos at their site.

Here's one, from the article ''Sea Monster'' Graveyard Found in the Arctic, and a link to its source...


03-07-06...

Population clocks...

For some reason I thought the population of the United States was 350 million and that of Canada was approaching 35 million (roughly a 10-to-1 ratio). I checked today and found this not to be so. For those interested, there are many more statistics at the sites below...

Canada's population clock...

United States population clock. A world population clock is also available at the U.S. site...

If you want to be astonished, take a look at this population clock for China, with information from the U.S. Census Bureau. It goes up before your eyes...


03-07-06...

Windows Explorer...

I cannot stress enough the importance of this program component of Windows (any version). Windows Explorer can be used to completely manage your data, which is so important in preventing data loss.

This screen pic is from an informative tutorial that can be found on the Internet at this site...

For those using Windows XP, there is a slight difference in the appearance of the tutorial to that of Windows Explorer in XP, but the essence is the same - nothing about files and file management has changed in years.

If you would like to make Windows Explorer in Windows XP look like the images in the tutorial, open Windows Explorer by right-clicking on start and choosing Explore. Pull down the Tools menu, choose Folder Options, and select "Use Windows classic folders". If your folders are not visible in the left-hand pane, click on Folders in the Tool Bar near the top of the screen. The particular view on the right is known as "details". If the detail view is not on, pull down the View menu and choose "Details". Having the "detail" view on gives me the column headers with which I can sort and find any file I am looking for quickly and easily (by name, by data, by type, by size).

As an operational technique, I use Windows Explorer to "launch" almost all my data file activity. I open Explorer and leave it running all day. I find the files I want to work on with it and double-click them to launch the program required to open the file (rather than opening the program and trying to find the file with it). I arrange the files in sub-folders I create, in one root folder I call "data". When it comes time to back up my files, I simply copy this Data folder to my backup media (in my case, DVD+R) - one all-encompassing location. I have also found ways to relocate data like my address book and email folders so they, too, are within my Data folder.

The more you know about Windows Explorer, the more efficiently you can operate your PC, and the safer your data will be.


03-07-06...

Eniac, Brainiac, and surge protectors...

The world's first electronic digital computer was developed for U.S. Army Ordnance to compute World War II ballistic firing tables. Eniac could reportedly perform some 5,000 addition calculations per second, and was differently estimated to be 1,440 times faster than a human operator with a calculator of the time. (A very modern Intel processor can handle 21.6 billion operations per second.)

For those with high-speed Internet, you can view a narrative video on the Eniac. (A fifteen second commercial runs first.)

Brainiac was a character from DC Comics, introduced in 1958 as a recurring foe of Superman. Brainiac possessed "twelfth level intellect" and liked to shrink cities (like Metropolis) and contain them in bottles so he could bring them back to his home planet Bryak.

Cover art by Ed Benes.

Now, what was the association between Eniac, Brainiac and surge protection? Eniac was put out of commission by a bolt of lightning in 1955. (And maybe if Brainiac had had surge protection, Superman wouldn't have kicked his ass!)


03-07-06...

LyricFX...

This is an excellent companion program to Winamp. With this program installed, Winamp will present a "visualization" option which will retrieve and display lyrics for songs playing in Winamp. More details can be found at the LyricFX web site.

While not all lyrics are findable within the databases that LyricFX searches through, there is a neat "manual search" function with which you can jump onto the Internet and do a Google search to locate lyrics, then edit the LyricFX database entries for yourself, and submit them for posting to the public.

Notes from my own observations... The song title and artist for a given MP3 file playing needs to be accurate, or the search engines have no hope of finding the song. Some hidden aspects of MP3s (meaning the ID tags that may contain information embedded in the file - like title, artist, album, release date, genre, and other comments) may cause a file to appear to be misnamed, so a tag editor (like the one in Winamp) needs to be used to correct or clear the tag content. The default background for the lyrics window and the colour of the text displayed are poor choices - change them to be black text on a white background, 10- or 12-point.


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