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									    google’S Self-driving car         november 2010




                   How Secure
                   Is Your Wi-Fi
                   Network?
    Why Your       Best Photo
    Living Room    Software
    Needs Apple TV For You




Top 10 Secrets
of Windows 7 The Hidden Features
             That Will Help You ...
             • Keep Your System Stable
             • Troubleshoot PC Pain
             • Maximize System Power
             • Organize Your Folders

             ... Plus Much More!
NOVEMBER 2010                                                               VOl. 29 NO. 11




36     COVER STORY
       ThE TOP 10 hIDDEN fEATurEs IN WINDOWs 7
       If you’re a Windows 7 user, you know about its terrific new taskbar, user interface,
       and home networking capabilities. What you may not know is that it is filled with
       hidden features that can help keep your system stable and organized. Here are our
       top 10 secret treasures of Windows 7.



PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
       17                                                                          22
        FIRST lOOKS                                                                          TECH NEWS
8       CONsuMEr ELECTrONICs                                                           5 frONT sIDE
        Apple TV (2010)                                                                  Google takes to the road; hack-
        Samsung PN58C8000                                                                ers prey on users of gaming sites;
                                                                                         green tech in l.A.; barcode mania.
        Cisco Flip UltraHD 8GB 2 Hours
        (2010)
                                                                                             OPINIONS
        BlackBerry Curve 3G (T-Mobile)
                                                                                       2 fIrsT WOrD:
        Microsoft lifeCam Studio                                                         LANCE uLANOff

14 hArDWArE                                                                          30 JOhN C. DvOrAk
   Asus U45Jc-A1                                                                     32 sAsChA sEGAN
   Toshiba Satellite T235-S1350                                                      34 DAN COsTA
        Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-U2222
                                                                                             SOlUTIONS
18 BusINEss                                                                          42 CAsT OuT WI-fI INTruDErs
        HP Mini 5103                                                                    Are you sure you’re the only one
        lenovo ThinkCentre M90p USFF                                                    enjoying your home network?
        livescribe Echo Smartpen                                                        Here’s how to detect trespassers
                                                                                        and block them from pilfering your
22 sOfTWArE                                                                             bandwidth.
        Internet Explorer 9 (Beta)
        QuickBooks Premier Edition 2011                                              46 PhOTO-EDITING TOOLkIT
                                                                                        The right software can transform
        Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
                                                                                        your digital photos into master-
50 ThE BEsT sTuff                                                                       pieces, no matter what camera you
                                                                                        use. Here are our picks for the best
                                                                                        photo-editing programs.
    PC Magazine Digital Edition, ISSN 0888-8507, is published monthly at $12 for one year. Ziff Davis Media Inc., 28 East 28th Street, New York NY 10016-7940.



                                                                                                 NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 1
                               FIRST WORD LANCE ULANOFF




7 Deadly Twitter Sins

W
                     e’ve talked about Twit-    is like a boomerang—you get it back right
                     ter tips before. Every-    away”? Blech.
                     one knows not to use          I also regularly see tweets with advice
                     all caps (really, you      and aphorisms from all sorts of people. Peo-
                     shouldn’t do that any-     ple have the Twitter soapbox, so they figure
where), but there are worse Twitter sins.       they can hand out guidance. Unfortunately,
Seven, to be exact. These are things you        it almost always comes off sounding con-
should never do or, if you have, stop doing     descending. Take this one from Confucius,
them immediately on Twitter.                    “To know is to know that you know nothing.
                                                That is the meaning of true knowledge.”
1. Location Bulletins
I’m on Foursquare but barely use it because,    3. Endless ReTweets
surprise, I don’t like having everyone know     Please, do everyone a favor and don’t try
where I am all the time. With Twitter, I used   to include everyone who ever started the
to have to announce my location, but now I      tweet or ended up in the Twitter thread in
can turn on the geo-location feature or use     your retweet. It makes the tweet unread-
the Foursquare integration and have Twitter     able, and you have virtually no characters
do the work for me. Why would I ever want       left. I know, everyone wants to give credit.
to do this? We’ve all seen the stories about    I try and do it, too, but I also limit the RT list
people whose homes have been robbed             to two people, max. And sometimes, if I’m
because, ostensibly, they announced on          pressed for characters, I’ll simply credit the
Twitter that they were going on vacation.       most recent Tweeter. Your followers will
Why turn yourself into a headline?              appreciate this kind of discretion.

2. Quotes and Useless Advice                    4. Nasty Comments
What is this Twitter fascination with post-     I’m no Twitter star, but I now have enough
ing random quotes? Do we need someone           followers to attract random people say-
telling us that Bill Keane believes “A hug      ing particularly nasty or even just pointed

2 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
       Cowards operate like the enola Gay:
  They fly over my Twitter stream, drop a bomb,
            and then quickly move on.

things to me. I like, whenever possible, to       one using the private—and somewhat
respond to them directly. Now, as is my           privileged—Direct Message channel to try
habit, I do not respond in the public stream,     and get me to help them sell some random
because I think those random conversa-            piece of marketing or product garbage.
tions only tend to confuse everyone else          Please, I’m busy, my followers are busy, and
who is following you. The problem I run           none of us has time for this.
into, though, is that these cowards operate
like the Enola Gay: They fly over my Twit-        7. Ignoring People
ter stream, drop a bomb, and then quickly         There are celebrities with over a million fol-
move on. If they’re not following me, I can’t     lowers, and I think they can be forgiven for
direct-message them and engage. To put it         “ignoring people.” I follow a bunch myself,
simply: Don’t say something nasty if you’re       and if you’re watching their Twitter men-
too afraid to follow.                             tion streams, you’ll notice how often they’re
                                                  hammered by people simply begging them
5. Out-of-Context Blather                         to notice, mention or follow them. I’m not
The other day, someone starting tweeting          talking about these people. For most every-
responses to a couple of my tweets, but           one else with a few hundred or even a few
insisted on calling me Matt. The comments         thousand followers, though, when people
were actually interesting, but since I’m not      ask you a question, you should do your best
Matt, I couldn’t figure out if I should respond   to respond. This is good practice not just for
or not. Other times, I get tweets sent to         healthy Twitter relations, but it’s an almost
me that have no relationship to anything I        guaranteed way to get even more followers.
cover or am remotely interested in. There’s       Those you respond to will usually recom-
no rhyme or reason to the tweet and usu-          mend you elsewhere.
ally the Tweeter doesn’t respond when I ask          Never do these seven things on Twitter—
what they meant. Stay on message, people.         except when you have to. Truth is, there are
                                                  exceptions to almost every rule here, but as
6. Direct-Message Spamming                        the saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.”
I don’t know if these are Twitter robots or       And, no, I won’t be posting that on Twitter.
multi-level-marketers (MLMs) trying to
                                                  Follow me on TwiTTer! Catch the chief’s
hook another unsuspecting victim, but             comments on the latest tech developments at
there’s nothing more annoying than some-          twitter.com/LanceUlanoff.

                                                          NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 3
Editor-in-ChiEf, pC magazinE nEtwork                       Lance Ulanoff                                                         ®


Editor     Stephanie Chang
dirECtor of onLinE ContEnt, EXECUtiVE prodUCEr  Vicki B. Jacobson
EXECUtiVE Editor  Dan Costa
managing Editors Sean Carroll (software, security, Internet, business),          www.pcmag.com
Wendy Sheehan Donnell (consumer electronics) Laarni Almendrala Ragaza
(hardware)
fEatUrEs Editor Eric Griffith
sEnior Editor Brian Heater
pC Labs LEad anaLysts Cisco Cheng (laptops), Tim Gideon (consumer electronics),
Samara Lynn (business, networking), Michael Muchmore (software),
Neil J. Rubenking (security), Joel Santo Domingo (desktops), Sascha Segan (mobile),
M. David Stone (printers, scanners)
anaLysts Tony Hoffman (printers, scanners), PJ Jacobowitz (consumer electronics),
Matthew Murray (DIY, components)
jUnior anaLysts David Pierce (consumer electronics), Natalie Shoemaker (hardware),
Jeffrey Wilson (software, security, Internet)
inVEntory ControL Coordinator Nicole Graham
staff photographEr Scott Schedivy
pCmag.Com managEr, onLinE prodUCtion Yun-San Tsai
prodUCErs Mark Lamorgese, Whitney A. Reynolds
wEst Coast nEws Editor Mark Hachman
East Coast nEws Editor Chloe Albanesius
staff Editor Jennifer Bergen (blogs)
CommErCE prodUCEr Arielle Rochette
UtiLity program managEr Tim Smith
CrEatiVE dirECtor Chris Phillips assistant dEsignEr Jackie Smith
ContribUting Editors Helen Bradley, John R. Delaney, Richard V. Dragan, John C. Dvorak,
Craig Ellison, Galen Fott, Bill Howard, Don Labriola, Jamie Lendino, Jim Louderback,
Bill Machrone, Edward Mendelson, Jan Ozer, Neil Randall, Matthew D. Sarrel, Larry Seltzer
intErns Daniel Levine, Brian Westover

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Front
           What’s New from the World of Tech




Google’s Self-Driving Car
The tech giant hopes to cut the number of auto accidents in half.
Google is developing—and has extensively       Golden Gate bridge, navigated the Pacific
tested—technology to build an autono-          Coast Highway, and even made it all the way
mously self-driving car .                      around Lake Tahoe.”
   Moreover, Google engineers have already        Described as being in the “experimental
driven a fleet of them around the San Fran-    stage,” Google said it hoped that its technol-
cisco Bay Area, to the tune of over 140,000    ogy would be used to develop the self-driv-
miles, Google said in a blog post.             ing cars of tomorrow, cutting the number of
   The cars “just drove from our Mountain      lives lost in auto accidents—1.2 million annu-
View campus to our Santa Monica office         ally, according to the World Health Organi-
and on to Hollywood Boulevard,” Sebas-         zation—by as much as half.
tian Thrun, a distinguished Google software       The cars themselves leverage technology
engineer, said in the blog post. “They’ve      used in tests sponsored by DARPA, which
driven down Lombard Street, crossed the        has sponsored competitions to develop

                                                      NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 5
                                              frONTsIDE




an autonomous car that can self-navigate               driving car, Google said that the cars were
off roads and on city streets. In 2006, the            always manned, and could be taken over
agency tested city driving, and, in 2007,              in an instant by a driver. Google did not say
involved negotiating a “city” on an aban-              how many times this had occurred.
doned airbase. Google said that it had hired              “We always have a trained safety driver
several members of those teams, including:             behind the wheel who can take over as eas-
Chris Urmson, the technical team leader of             ily as one disengages cruise control,” Thrun
the CMU team that won the 2007 Urban                   wrote. “And we also have a trained software
Challenge; Mike Montemerlo, the software               operator in the passenger seat to monitor
lead for the Stanford team that won the                the software. Any test begins by sending
2005 Grand Challenge; and Anthony Levan-               out a driver in a conventionally driven car to
dowski, who built the world’s first autono-            map the route and road conditions. By map-
mous motorcycle that participated in a                 ping features like lane markers and traffic
DARPA Grand Challenge.                                 signs, the software in the car becomes famil-
  To reassure Bay Area drivers suddenly                iar with the environment and its characteris-
nervous about sharing the road with a self-            tics in advance.”—Mark Hachman



 Best of our Blogs
                                      uted and released into the         ous phone OSes will scan a
                                      streets through a process of       barcode and immediately
                                      evaporation and condensation       provide you with product
                                      triggering a transformation        information. ScanBuy, a 2D
                                      into a network of lush, culti-     barcode technology pro-
                                      vated landscapes,” explained       vider, conducted a consumer
                                      the Norwegian creators of          adoption survey on its own
                                      the project, which has been        platform data. Among its
 GEArLOG                              dubbed UMBRELLA. “The              findings:
 One Tiny Drive                       central urban plazas become           • Health and beauty prod-
 Los Angeles recently hosted          focal points for a gradual pro-    ucts are the most popular
 the Cleantech Corridor and           cess of transformation that will   items among 1D (UPC) scans,
 Green District Competition,          affect the way people will see,    followed by groceries, books,
 in which entrants came up            use, and experience their city.”   and kitchen items
 with new ideas to add a touch        — Andrew Webster                      • Half of barcode users are
 of green to the city. The win-                                          ages 35 to 45 and skew male.
 ner of the competition was a         APP sCOuT                             • Android is the most popu-
 giant mushroom, called a solar       Barcode Behavior                   lar smartphone platform, with
 evaporator, which can tap into       Barcodes and QR codes are          45 percent of barcode users.
 the city’s sewage to collect         all the rage these days in            • Americans scan barcodes
 and clean the black water.           the world of mobile phones.        more than citizens of any other
    “The clear water is distrib-      A slew of apps for vari-           country. —Jennifer Bergen


6 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
Gaming


New Danger
In Online
Gaming
Hackers are circling gaming                      kEEP OuT Galacticflashgames.com is consid-
                                                 ered one of the riskiest game sites to visit.
sites, ready to infect.

Online gaming is huge. It’s also dangerous.      about infected sites, publishing a monthly
According to a June 2010 Nielsen NetView         Most Wanted List to highlight the worst sites
survey on Internet usage, online gaming          in a given portion of the Web. For October,
has overtaken e-mail in terms of the total       Avast sliced its data to reveal the riskiest
percentage of time Americans spend               gaming sites on the Web, to warn custom-
online (10.2 percent versus 8.3 percent).        ers and raise awareness of the threat. Avast’s
Only social networking scores higher, with       worst offenders, as of October 6:
a whopping 22.7 percent. Online gaming              • Gamesfactoryinteractive.com
now consumes a staggering 407 million               • Games-digest.com
hours of U.S. citizens’ time per year, accord-      • Mariogamesplay.com
ing to Nielsen.                                     • Anywhere-games.com
  Nielsen’s not the only one that has noticed       • Galacticflashgames.com
this trend; cybercriminals have taken note          • Towerofdefense.com
and are taking advantage of it, too, infecting      To safely game online, Avast recommends
games sites—from legitimate forums and           a few simple precautions:
tutorial sites to shadier download sites—to         • Keep all your apps, and especially your
attack the unwary.                               antivirus, updated.
  “As the gaming industry continues to              • Don’t turn off your antivirus while you’re
grow, hackers will inevitably develop more       playing games.
ways to target this massive group,” said            • Instead, use your antivirus’ gaming func-
Ondrej Vlcek, chief technical officer of         tion if you want to game uninterrupted.
Czech security company Avast, makers of             • Beware of downloading games via
avast! Internet Security 5.0 and avast! Free     warez sites, which are a known avenue for
Antivirus. Avast continually gathers data        spreading malware.—Sean Carroll

                                                         NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 7
	     	 INSIDE
     8 CONsuMEr ELECTrONICs
    14 hArDWArE
    18 BusINEss
    22 sOfTWArE




Apple TV (2010)
                                                First
TV	Watching	Just	
Got	A	Lot	Better
           After two years of radio silence,        you’ve rented after some minimal set-up.
           Apple has completely rede-                 The new rental system is also notable. For
           signed its “hobby” product; the          99 cents, you get a Tv show for a 48-hour
           result is a more feature-driven,         period. You can buy or rent a show on iTunes
           streamlined Apple Tv. It costs           via your computer or ioS 4.2 device, start
only $99, offers 99-cent Tv-show rentals,           watching it on that device, and finish watch-
and streams content from your computer,             ing it by streaming to your Apple Tv. How-
your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.                   ever, you can’t rent something on Apple Tv
   The latest Apple Tv lacks a hard drive, so       and watch it on your iPod touch later, or pur-
it is 75 percent than its predecessor. mea-         chase any content on the Apple Tv—rentals
suring 0.9 by 3.9 by 3.9 inches (HWD) and           only. It’s best to purchase or rent all of your
weighing less-than 10 ounces, it’s basically        content via your computer or ioS 4.2 device,
a tiny black box that can stream over any           so that the content can be watched back
802.11b, g, or n Wi-Fi signal. It requires iTunes   and forth between all of your devices.
10 or later to stream from a computer.                The new, miniature Apple Tv costs less
   Apple has hit a home run with AirPlay,           than most iPods. Sure, the rental limitations
which enables streaming from ioS devices            can be irksome, but, particularly for ioS
to Apple Tv. Downloading a video to your            device owners, the new features dramati-
iPad, iPhone 4, or iPod touch and streaming         cally outweigh the letdowns. because of its
it on your Apple Tv will be a reality with the      affordability, ease-of-use, and impressive
ioS 4.2 update, due out this month. As long         capabilities, the Apple Tv gets our editors’
as your devices are all on the same Wi-Fi net-      Choice award.—Tim Gideon
work, your Apple Tv can access whatever                                >> CLICk hErE fOr MOrE

8 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
                                                                             our	rATINGS	kEy:
                                                                             l l l l l EXCELLENT
                                                                             l l l l m VErY GOOD
                                                                             lllmm      GOOD
                                                                             llmmm      fAIr
                                                                             lmmmm      POOr




Apple	TV	(2010)
$99 direct
l l l l m

PrOs Compact design. Intuitive user interface.
Streams video, music, and photos from your computer,
iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. 99-cent TV-show rentals.
Streams Netflix Watch Instantly content, YouTube,
and content from iOS 4.2 devices to Apple TV.
CONs No hard drive. Can’t purchase content-streaming
only. Can’t rent a show on Apple TV and watch it on
other devices or your computer. Limited rental content
available. Connects via HDMI—not compatible with
older televisions without purchasing an adapter.
Doesn’t ship with an HDMI cable.

                                                         november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 9
                         FIRST LOOKS CONSuMER ELECTRONICS



Samsung PN58C8000



Top-notch,
3D-ready
Plasma
           Samsung’s PN58C8000 is one of
           three plasma HDTV models rep-
           resenting the company’s top-tier,      Samsung PN58C8000
           3D-ready 8000 series. With its         $2,999.99 list
                                                  l l l l h
           ultra-thin profile and brushed-
                                                  PROS Excellent 2D- and 3D-image quality. Very
metal finish, this 58-inch TV is beautiful. And   deep blacks. Unique, sleek design. A wide vari-
its top-notch performance and broad fea-          ety of Web apps.
ture set justify its price tag.                   CONS Not very energy efficient when com-
                                                  pared with LCD-based HDTVs. Uncomfortable
   With its 1.4-inch-deep cabinet, the 8000       3D glasses.
is the thinnest plasma set we’ve seen. The
two down-firing, 10-watt speakers under           est blacks we’ve seen in a plasma. Shadow
the bottom bezel are loud and provide good        detail on our 2012 Blu-ray test disc was
mid- and high-range output, but could use a       excellent, as was the overall HD-detail qual-
bit more bass response. The PN58C8000’s           ity. On top of all that, the PN58C8000 does
most frequently used connections are eas-         a very good job of displaying 3D content.
ily accessible on the left side of the cabinet,   It does produce a degree of crosstalk (a
and include four HDMI ports, two USB ports,       double-image effect) but it was not as pro-
two audio outputs, and a PC audio input.          nounced as what I observed with the Sony
Additional ports are located in the rear.         Bravia KDL-55HX800 and LG 47LX9500.
   The Samsung Apps suite is extensive;              At $3,000, the Samsung PN58C8000
its streaming video lineup includes Netflix,      may cost more than other like-sized plasma
Vudu, You Tube, Hulu Plus, CinemaNow,             HDTVs, but you do get 3D support, which at
Explore 3D, and DailyMotion.                      this point, you’ll still pay a premium for. It is
   Performancewise, the 8000 series uses          well-designed, rich in features and an out-
Samsung’s proprietary Real Black Filter           standing performer, making it a shoo-in for
technology, an advanced anti-glare fea-           our Editors’ Choice award.
ture that truly delivered some of the dark-                           >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE

10 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                      FIRsT LOOKs CONsuMER ELECTRONICs



Cisco Flip ultraHD 8GB 2 Hours (2010)



Terrific
HD Video
To Go

T
               he latest iPod touch may          Cisco Flip UltraHD 8GB 2 Hours (2010)
               include HD video recording,       $199.99 direct
                                                 l l l h m
               but it doesn’t produce video
                                                 PROs Very good HD video quality. Simple to
               as good-looking as this latest-   operate. Easy-to-use video-management soft-
               gen Flip pocket video camera.     ware. Integrated FlipPort for optional accesso-
If you want a killer MP3 player, get an iPod     ries like microphones, projectors. Micro-HDMI
                                                 port.
touch, but if your focus is firmly on video
                                                 CONs Bulky. Small 2-inch LCD. 8GB storage is
capture and ease of use, the Flip UltraHD is     not expandable. No analog microphone input
probably a better choice.                        jack. No macro mode or still image.

   The 4.5-ounce Flip UltraHD 8GB is an
improvement over its predecessor in three        side of the camera, there’s a pop-out USB
ways, starting with image quality. Instead of    connector, so you never have to worry about
capturing 720p HD video at 30 frames per         carrying a battery charger or a USB cable.
second, the Flip has doubled it to 60fps,          As for the video, make no mistake: You
so video motion looks smoother. Second,          won’t get the same caliber of video quality
the UltraHD no longer requires AA batter-        that comes with a pricey full-blown cam-
ies; it includes a removable, rechargeable       corder. But in my real-world tests, I found
lithium-ion battery. The last improvement is     video captured by the UltraHD looked
the FlipPort accessories port; you can use it    fantastic, much better than the 720p30
now to plug in Cisco’s optional microphone,      footage from an iPod touch or even the
or in the future, other accessories like bat-    1080p30 recordings captured by Kodak’s
tery chargers and projector attachments.         Playtouch Video Camera.
   The controls on this version of the UltraHD     With the Cisco Flip UltraHD, you get sim-
remain dead simple: a big, red button in the     plicity and great image quality for $200.
center of the front face starts recording and    You can pull it out of the box and start
a bright red light next to the lens indicates    shooting immediately.—PJ Jacobowitz
that a recording is in progress. On the left                         >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE

                                                        NOVEMBEr 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 11
                         FIRsT LOOKs CONsuMER ELECTRONICs



BlackBerry Curve 3G (T-Mobile)



A Familiar,
Powerful
Phone

T
               he BlackBerry Curve 3G isn’t
               a revolutionary upgrade, but
               its powerful combination of     BlackBerry Curve 3G (T-Mobile)
               push e-mail, Wi-Fi calling,     $79.99 direct
                                               l l l l m
               and 3G data speeds make it
                                               PROs 3G speeds on T-Mobile’s network. Awe-
a natural choice for voice and messaging-      some Wi-Fi calling feature. Stellar battery life.
focused buyers.                                Loud speakerphone.
  Taking the now-familiar Curve 8520           CONs Third-party app catalog still lags. Low-
                                               res camera.
design, the Curve 3G measures 4.3 by
2.4 by 0.6 inches (HWD) and weighs 3.7
ounces. The screen is the same 320-by-            As is proper for a BlackBerry, you can
240-pixel, 2.4-inch panel as ever. The four-   receive push e-mail for up to 11 accounts,
row, sculpted QWERTY keyboard is just          including Microsoft Exchange and Lotus
about perfect given the phone’s svelte         Notes. Corporate IT departments can
design.                                        password-protect the phones, wipe them
  The Curve 3G is a quad-band EDGE and         remotely in the case of loss or theft, and
dual-band HSDPA device, and its Wi-Fi          provision them from a central location.
radio now connects to faster 802.11n net-         At this point, the BlackBerry Curve is a
works. It supports UMA service for clear       known quantity, and the UMA-enhanced
Wi-Fi calls, which is a sadly undersold fea-   T-Mobile versions are better than most. But
ture. Like prior UMA-compatible BlackBer-      if you’re sticking with T-Mobile, you should
rys, the Curve 3G gives you clear calls in     consider the BlackBerry Bold 9700, which
cellular dead zones as long as you can con-    is also UMA-compatible and delivers more
nect over Wi-Fi. Voice calls sounded clear     screen resolution and a better camera for
and crisp all around, but hand-offs between    just $20 more, although it’s a little heavier
Wi-Fi and cellular weren’t as seamless as      and bulkier.—Jamie Lendino
the last UMA BlackBerry I tested.                                   >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE

12 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                      FIRST LOOKS CONSuMER ELECTRONICS



Microsoft LifeCam Studio


High-Def
Webcam
          Microsoft’s latest webcam offers
          quality video recording and
          Internet video chats at a reason-
          able price. A Best Buy exclusive,
          the LifeCam Studio features a
1080p-capable sensor, an improved design,        Microsoft LifeCam Studio
a flexible mount, and a steady picture that      $99.99 list
                                                 l l l l m
looks natural in a variety of environments.
                                                 PROS Sharp, crisp images and video recording.
   The LifeCam Studio brings in more light       Most natural color balance we’ve seen from a
than its predecessor, the LifeCam Cinema,        webcam. Built-in TrueColor and automatic light
                                                 correction works well in less-than-optimal
and works well in lower-light environments.      environments. Warm vocal reproduction. Flex-
Microsoft said the goal was for users to avoid   ible 360-degree mount includes tripod thread.
having to crank the lights for video chats. In   CONS Mono mic lacks noise suppression.
                                                 Video recording maxes out at 720p and 15
addition, a small cap extends out from over      frames per second without extra software.
the sensor; this way straight overhead light     Buggy live effects.
doesn’t hit the sensor and compromise the
image. A larger, higher-fidelity microphone      what you’d expect from a camcorder like the
has also been added.                             Flip UltraHD (click here for the review), and
   As before, the flexible, rubberized mount     less like the typical over-exposed, flat-look-
can sit atop a desktop or laptop lid without     ing images from a webcam.
marring the frame. But now it includes a            The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910 may
separate 360-degree joint for rotating the       still be better for some buyers, thanks to its
camera, and a new tripod thread lets you         stereo mics and built-in noise cancellation.
position the unit on a portable stand.           But the LifeCam Studio’s recorded video
   The webcam’s TrueColor feature tracks         looks sharper at an identical 1280-by-720-
your facial movements; this way the unit can     pixel setting, and also lacks the C910’s com-
change the exposure to compensate for a          pression artifacts when recording video.
bright spotlight near the seating position. In   All told, the LifeCam Studio is an excellent
practice, this worked really well. Live images   buy.—Jamie Lendino
from the LifeCam Studio looked closer to                              >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE

                                                         NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 13
                                     FIRsT LOOKs HARDWARE



Asus U45Jc-A1



A Sleek,
Powerful Laptop
           Asus makes outstanding laptops,               Asus U45Jc-A1
           as it proved with the U30Jc-A1                $867 street
                                                         l l l l h
           ($899 street, l l l l h ). Its latest
                                                         PROs High-quality design. Big battery. Out-
           offering bumps the screen size                standing battery life. Switchable graphics by
           to a 14-inch widescreen, while                Optimus. Lightweight. HDMI and eSATA. Good
                                                         performance.
retaining all the goodies that made its
                                                         CONs Mouse buttons are too resistant.
smaller sibling so successful. A sleek metal-
lic frame, Nvidia-switchable graphics, and
over 9 hours of battery life are among the               siasts can reap the benefits of a discrete
reasons it earns our Editors’ Choice award.              Nvidia Geforce 310M graphics chip.
   The U45Jc-A1’s 14-inch widescreen is one                 A powerful mainstream laptop wouldn’t
size bigger than the ones found in the Mac-              be complete without good battery life. With
Book Pro 13-inch and U30Jc-A1—roughly an                 a huge 84WH battery, the U45Jc-A1 top-
extra two columns’ worth in Microsoft Office             pled its competitors in MobileMark 2007
Excel. The full-size keyboard is responsive              tests with a score of 9 hours 27 minutes.
and comfortable.                                            Awards aren’t won by besting the com-
   Asus is a component powerhouse, and it’s              petition in one or two areas; a laptop has
in this department that the U45Jc-A1 really              to excel at everything and look good while
shines. Its 2.4-GHz Intel Core i3-370M pro-              doing it. The Asus U45Jc-A1 literally puts
cessor is a notch above the one found in the             the pedal to the metal. Overall performance
Asus U30Jc-A1 (Core i3-350M) and Dell 14R                is where it truly shines, thanks to Nvid-
(Core i3-350M). It may not have the fast-                ia’s switchable graphics technology and
est processor among all of its competitors,              unprecedented battery scores in the main-
but it offers plenty of graphics power. Video            stream category.—Cisco Cheng
editors, casual gamers, and avid HD enthu-                                     >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE




I
    sPECs 2.4-GHz Intel Core i3-370M processor; 4GB RAM; 500GB hard drive; Intel GMA HD and nVidia Geforce 310M
    graphics; 14-inch widescreen; 4.7 pounds; 802.11n wireless; Dual-Layer DVD+/-RW drive; Microsoft Windows
    7 Home Premium.


14 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
PERFORMANCE TEsTs
                                                                        MOBILeMark                                                        cIneBnecH      pHOtOsHOp
L High scores are best. M Low scores are best.       pcMark             2007                  3dMark          crysIs*       HandBrake     r11.5 (XcpU)   cs5
Bold type denotes first place.                       vantage* L         (hr:min) L            06* L           (fps) L       (min:sec) M   L              (min:sec) M

 Asus U45Jc-A1                                       5,361              9:27                  3799            20.8          3:02          2.14           5:46

 Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch
                                                     4,121              5:05                 5,246            27            na            na             na
 (Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz)
 Asus U30Jc-A1                                       5,068              8:00                 4082             21.5          na            na             na

 Dell Inspiron 14R                                   4,849              3:31                 4,511            24            na            na             na

red denotes editors’ choice. n/a—not applicable: the product could not complete the test, or the test was not compatible.
* this test was run at 1,024 by 768 resolution.



                                                                                                             NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 15
                                      FIRST LOOKS HARDWARE



Toshiba Satellite T235-S1350



A Hearty
CULV at a
Great Price
           Just as the consumer ultra-low
           voltage (CULV) laptop category
           started losing steam, due to the
           high prices of the latest CULV
           processors, in walked the Toshiba              Toshiba Satellite T235-S1350
Satellite T235-S1350. Its dual-core Pentium               $630 direct
                                                          l l l l m
CULV processor may not be as powerful as
                                                          PROS Very aggressively priced. Exquisitely thin
the latest crop of Core i3 and Core i5 CPUs,              and lightweight. White design is vibrant. Ex-
but it shines brightly on the road, amassing              cellent battery life. HDMI and eSATA included.
                                                          Excellent keyboard. Wide touchpad.
over 8 hours of battery life. And its $630
                                                          CONS Pentium processor is not best of breed.
price tag is a head-turner.
   To keep that price low, Toshiba naturally
had to cut a few corners, like using plastic              to that of desktop keyboards.
on the chassis instead of the fancier, alumi-                Most of the cost-cutting comes from the
num metal found in the Asus UL80Vt-A1                     processor side. The 1.2-GHz Intel Pentium
and Acer Aspire 1830T-3721. To make up                    U5400 is at the low-end of the CULV totem
for that, the T235-S1350 is nice and slim,                pole, but it’s more advanced than the aging
measuring just 0.75 inches in depth. It also              Intel Core 2 Duos found in the MSI X420 and
weighs a mere 3.8 pounds.                                 UL80Vt-A1.
   The T235-S1350 has a 13.3-inch wide-                      Though it’s neither the fastest nor lon-
screen, which is the median in CULV lap-                  gest-lasting CULV laptop, the T235-S1350
tops. The full-size chiclet keyboard is                   offers an aggressive price and delivers all
borrowed from Toshiba’s award-winning                     the key essentials of a successful thin and
mini netbook line, as the keys are perfectly              light laptop.—Cisco Cheng
sized and raised so that the depth is similar                                   >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE


I   SPECS 1.2-GHz Intel Pentium U5400 processor; 4GB RAM; 320GB hard drive; Intel GMA HD graphics; 13.3-inch
    widescreen; 3.8 pounds; Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.


16 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                                       FIRsT LOOKs HARDwARE



Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-U2222



A Novice
Gamer’s
Dream Box
           Whether you love or hate its
           design, you’ll have a tremen-
           dous gaming experience with the                 Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-U2222
           AG7750-U2222. It’s the ideal sys-               $1999.99 list
                                                           l l l l m
           tem for the talented, novice gamer
                                                           PROs Lots of connectivity ports, including two
who wants to train for the big leagues, with               Ethernet ports. Easy drive expansion. Large
plenty of expandability options.                           hard drive, lots of memory. 3D and multimedia
                                                           prowess. SLI-capable.
  The Predator is not a subtle computer—
                                                           CONs Massive amount of bloatware.
not many gaming towers are. Its ribbed
exterior, garish paint job, and overladen
tack-ons are entirely the point of this sys-                  For gaming systems, performance is
tem. Its well-thought-out interior offers                  everything. The Predator played Crysis (74
space for up to three nvidia GeForce                       fps) and Lost Planet 2 (109 fps) smoothly at
GTX 470 graphics cards (one is already                     medium/middle settings, and impressed us
included), and a 750-watt power supply to                  with its 3D gaming performance.
support all three. There’s also a PCI card slot               Compared with other midrange gaming
and PCIe x1 card slot, but those will be cov-              boxes, the Acer Aspire Predator AG7750-
ered up if you add two more GTX 470 cards.                 U2222 is a class leader. It’s the fastest over-
  The Predator comes with 12Gb of mem-                     all compared with other multi-core systems
ory, which should be enough for gaming                     with a single mid-range enthusiast graph-
and most high-end multimedia use. It offers                ics card. For its performance, expand-
plenty of hard drive space thanks to its hot-              ability, and features, it is our new editors’
swappable drive bays. There are three free                 Choice for midrange gaming desktops.
drive bays in the front of the system, with                —Joel Santo Domingo
three sleds you can pop in and out easily.                                        >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE


I   sPECs 2.8-GHz Intel Core i7 processor; 12Gb rAm; 1,500Gb hard drive; nvidia GeForce GTX 470 graphics; dual-
    layer DvD+/-rW drive; microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium.


                                                                    november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 17
                                       FIRsT LOOKs busINEss



HP Mini 5103



A Fully Loaded,
Pricey Biz Laptop

T
                 he HP Mini 5103 is an elite               HP Mini 5103
                 netbook player, offering                  $650 direct
                                                           l ll l m
                 touchscreen capability, a
                                                           PROs Dual-core Atom. Sweet 1,366-by-768
                 higher-resolution screen,                 resolution. Speedy hard drive. Touchscreen is
                 HD-friendly decoder card,                 finger-friendly. Sleek aesthetic. Big battery.
                                                           2GB of RAM.
and, now, Intel’s latest dual-core Atom. But
                                                           CONs Expensive once you pile on all these fea-
all of its bells and whistles bump the price               tures. No HDMI port with HD decoder card.
up to $650, far higher than its competitors,
and its addition of the dual-core processor
doesn’t deliver much of a speed bump.                     over single-core Atom-equipped netbooks
   With its 6-cell battery, the HP 5103 weighs            like the Toshiba NB305-N410 and Samsung
3 pounds, which is in line with the Toshiba               N210. On MobileMark 2007 tests, the Mini
mini NB305-N410 (2.9 lbs) and Samsung                     5103 drained its 6-cell battery in 8 hours 40
N210 (2.9 lbs). Unlike most netbooks, the                 minutes, which pales in comparison to its
5103 has an option for a high-resolution                  predecessor’s score of 10:52. Still, almost 9
screen (1,366 by 768), or you can choose one              hours of battery life is quite nice.
with capacitive touch (think Apple iPhone);                  The HP Mini 5103 is loaded with terrific
mine came with both. The screen is appro-                 features, but they all add up to a price tag
priately lit and has wide viewing angles, and             that’s no longer within the netbook range.
navigating it with your fingers is as respon-             In fact, you can buy a full-size laptop with
sive as doing it with the touchpad.                       this kind of money. There are a few sophis-
   Intel’s latest dual-core Atom—the 1.5GHz               ticated netbook users who can benefit
N550—is new to the HP Mini line. That would               greatly from these features. For all others,
be exciting news except for the fact that                 the Toshiba mini NB305-N410 probably
speed improvements are only marginal.                     makes more sense.—Cisco Cheng
There are some slight speed advantages                                           >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE


I   sPECs: 1.5-GHz Intel Atom N550; 2GB DDR3 RAM; 160GB hard drive; Intel GMA 3150 graphics; 10.1-inch wide-
    screen; 3 pounds; Microsoft Windows 7 Professional.


18 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
PERFORMANCE TEsTs                                                              SYSmark 2007 Preview L
                                                                                                                                                       WindoWs
L High scores are best. M Low scores are best.          moBiLe mark            eLectronic             video                   office         overaLL   media encoder
Bold type denotes first place.                          2007 L                 Learning               creation                productivity   score     (min:sec) M

 HP Mini 5103                                           8:40                   32                     53                      39             39        3:21

 Asus EeePC 1215N                                       5:40                   49                     48                      48             53        2:53

 Dell Inspiron Mini 10s (HD)                            7:42                   34                     40                      50             39        4:35

 Toshiba mini NB305-N410                                8:59                   34                     39                      50             38        4:48

red denotes editors’ choice. n/a—not applicable: the product could not complete the test, or the test was not compatible.
* this test was run at 1,024 by 768 resolution. ** test was run at 1,024 by 768 resolution. test was run at 1,280 by 1,024 resolution.



                                                                                                                   NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 19
                                       FIRST LOOKS bUSINESS



The Lenovo ThinkCentre M90p USFF


Small PC,
Hefty Price

T
               he Lenovo ThinkCentre m90p
               USFF (Ultra Small Form Fac-
               tor) is a Core i5-powered PC
               that is built and priced for the
               medium- to enterprise-class
business. Smaller businesses that won’t                   Lenovo ThinkCentre M90p USFF
take advantage of its IT management and                   $1,158 direct
                                                          l l l h m
serviceability features probably won’t find it
                                                          PROS Compact form factor. Quiet. Well-
worth the price ($1,158 direct).                          designed stand. Core i5 power in a USFF desk-
  Like most USFF PCs, the m90p has little                 top. Eight USB ports. Intel vPro.
expansion room. There’s space for a sin-                  CONS Hardly any expansion room. Uses exter-
                                                          nal power brick. No DVI port (without adapter).
gle PCI card inside. If you need specialized              Only 30 days of Norton Internet Security up-
graphics or other peripherals that don’t work             dates. No eSATA.
with USb, then you’ll need to go for a mid-
tower desktop. one plus is that the m90p                  marginally better than that of the editors’
has disk-image parity with larger desktops,               Choice, the imac (Core i3) (39 seconds).
so IT will only need to build one base hard-              However, the m90p’s Photoshop CS4 (1
drive setup/image, and build upon that for                minute 40 seconds) score fell behind the
distribution to different groups.                         imac (1:22), but was on a par with the Dell
  The system has a whopping 8 USb 2.0                     optiplex 780 (1:41). The system won’t be
ports. There’s also a DisplayPort in addition             able to run tasks that require large amounts
to the usual vGA port, meaning the m90p is                of memory and a 64-bit operating system.
ready for newer monitors with DisplayPort                   If all of your company’s workers need
cables, but you can’t use a more common                   Core i5 power, the m90p USFF is a good fit;
DvI-equipped monitor without an adapter.                  otherwise, there are less expensive choices,
  on our standard benchmark tests, the                    such as our editors’ Choice winner, the Dell
m90p performed decently. Its Windows                      optiplex 780 USFF.—Joel Santo Domingo
media encoder score (37 seconds) was                                            >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE


I   SPECS Intel Core i5-660 processor; 3 Gb DDr3 rAm; 500Gb hard drive; Intel GmA HD graphics; dual-layer DvD+/-
    rW drive; microsoft Windows 7 Professional edition.


20 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
                                FIRsT LOOKs busINEss



Livescribe Echo smartpen


A Pen That Digitizes
and Records

I
          n the curious product category of
          connected, voice-recording, pen
          input devices, Livescribe pretty
          much dominates. Its latest, the
          Livescribe Echo Smartpen, has a
slimmed-down design and a host of new
collaborative applications on the horizon.
Still, like its predecessor, the Pulse, the
Echo’s greatest strengths are its ability to     Livescribe Echo Smartpen
record written notes, sync them with live        $169.95 direct (4GB)
                                                 l l l l m
audio recordings, and provide an easy way
                                                 PROs Digitally captures handwritten and audio
to manage digital copies of both.                notes. Sensitive microphone. Pencasts can be
   Despite being a bit slimmer than the          shared online. Growing app library.
Pulse, the 0.5-by-6.2-by-0.8-inch Echo is        CONs Bulky. Actual pen tip is just a basic ball-
                                                 point. Requires specially printed notepaper.
still a bit unwieldy. The rubberized tip helps
your grip, but the 1.3-ounce device feels
more like a big magic marker than a pen.         a spot on the paper and click Play, and you’ll
Nestled inside the tip of the Echo pen is a      hear exactly—and clearly—what he was say-
high-speed, infrared camera that captures        ing as you wrote in that spot. You can play
70 frames per second. This camera cap-           back the audio on the pen or export it to
tures anything you write, as long as it’s on     your Mac or PC, where every stroke of your
the specially imprinted, not-quite-white         Echo pen is shown as the audio plays back.
note paper the company supplies. Connect         The Echo comes in 4GB ($169.95) and 8GB
the pen to your PC, and you can download         ($199.95) models, which can store 400 or
digital copies of your handwritten notes.        800 hours of audio respectively.
Pretty cool already, but there is more.             The Livescribe Echo is a high-tech bridge
   The Echo also has a built-in microphone       between analog, handwritten notes and the
that records audio as you write. Want to         digital world. This is a writing instrument
find out what the professor was saying           any gadget geek will love.—Dan Costa
when you were taking your notes? Just tap                             >> CLICK HERE FOR MORE

                                                         NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 21
                                   fIrsT LOOks sOfTwArE



Internet Explorer 9 Beta



A Barebones,
Browsing Beauty

W
                     hen Internet Explorer
                     9’s interface was finally
                     revealed at a recent
                     event dubbed “Beauty
                     of the Web,” analysts
noted the barebones aspect of the four pre-
vious IE9 Platform Previews. But who would
have guessed the leanness was a harbinger
of the browser’s actual user interface?
   IE has become the most pared-down
browser—but that’s not the whole story.
Web pages take the center role, with new
options like pinned sites. And IE9 joins the     Internet Explorer 9 Beta
                                                 Free
JavaScript speed team, revving up perfor-        Unrated
mance in other ways with graphics hard-          PrOs Minimalist design leaves the most room
ware acceleration. Finally, IE9 has become       for the Web page content. Pinned tabs make
                                                 sites like apps in Windows 7. New JavaScript
a “modern” browser (to use competitors’          engine and hardware acceleration makes it
term), by supporting new Web coding tech-        significantly faster than previous versions of IE.
                                                 Download manager with malware protection.
niques like HTML5, CSS3, Canvas, and SVG.
                                                 Improved tab function. Ample security features.
   With its new user interface, IE9 innovates    CONs Still not as fast as Chrome in JavaScript.
in ways that give pre-eminence to sites          Still behind in support for HTML5 code. Some
and the OS rather than the browser itself.       sites do not render correctly.

Its pinned-tabs feature gives sites parity
with apps, and when you drag tabs out, the         The default configuration of IE9’s top UI
resulting window behaves like a standard         border actually takes up the least screen
Windows 7 window, including Aero Snap            real estate of any major browser, leaving
functionality. This emphasis on Windows 7        the most space for Web pages. To achieve
behavior is exactly why XP users get left in     this, everything is in one row below the win-
the dust; IE9 works only on Win 7 and Vista.     dow border—the back and forward buttons,

22 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                                                   nice options to keep track of your installers.
                                                     When it comes to performance, IE is no
                                                   longer a second-class citizen. JavaScript
                                                   performance is a key speed benchmark,
                                                   one that gets a lot of ink thanks to Chrome’s
                                                   still-astounding lead in this area. Previ-
                                                   ous versions of IE have lagged behind just




PINNING sITEs When you pin a site to the task-
bar, the browser icon and button color changes
to match the site.

tabs, control buttons, and the combined
address/search bar, or OneBox. IE9 has
taken Chrome’s lead on combining these
two functions, but IE claims its version is
more protective of your privacy, by letting        ADD-ONs The add-on manager tells you how
                                                   much time each add-on will add to startup.
you turn on and off the autosuggest feature
of your search engine at will.                     about all competitors, but IE9’s new Chakra
  Internet Explorer now has a download             JavaScript engine brings it right in the midst
manager, finally, and it’s nonintrusive. Its       of the pack. Also, other aspects of page ren-
window shows you the percent complete,             dering have been accelerated using Graph-
lets you go to the download folder, run, or        ics hardware directly accessed through
view all downloads. You can choose to Run,         DirectX’s Direct2D API. Only Firefox was
Save, or Save and Run when you download—           able to match IE9 Beta’s performance on
                                                   Microsoft’s (and Firefox’s) demos.
                                                     Competition has been good for IE. With
                                                   the Internet Explorer 9 beta, Microsoft has
                                                   made great strides on three fronts, speed,
                                                   standards and simplicity. After over a
                                                   week’s use, I found the vast majority of sites
                                                   worked flawlessly. Still, it’s a beta at this
                                                   point, so we’ll wait before making a decision
                                                   about our next browser Editors’ Choice.—
BOrDEr COMPArIsONs IE9’s window border
(right) takes up less space than Chrome’s (left)   Michael Muchmore
and Firefox’s (center).                                                >> CLICk HErE fOr MOrE

                                                          NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 23
                                   fIrsT LOOks sOfTwArE



QuickBooks Premier Edition 2011



Small-Business
Accounting At Its Best
         Intuit’s QuickBooks remains the       QuickBooks Premier Edition 2011
         best small-business account-          $399.95 list
                                               l l l l h
         ing product available today. The
                                               PrOs Intuitive interface. Thorough setup.
         upgrades to the new Premier Edi-      Multi-graph Snapshots. Multiple email options.
         tion 2011 will help you stay on       Informational pane in transactions. Intuit
                                               Payment Network. Numerous payroll options.
top of your company’s financial standing,
                                               CONs Weak inventory tools. Little attention to
improve the speed of your collections, save    Preferences.
time completing transactions, and access
your data remotely.
  QuickBooks 2011 facilitates sales and pur-   to screens that help you view your Chart
chases, payroll, inventory, and banking. You   of Accounts, peruse your items and ser-
can create databases of people, products,      vices, and work with your inventory. Ven-
and services; process numerous types of        dors’ icons represent purchase orders, bills,
transactions; and get constant, real-time      and inventory. Customer links take you to
views of your business through reports and     forms like sales orders and invoices, related
interactive snapshots.                         charges, and payments. The Employee
  These tools can be accessed through          group, of course, helps you manage your
icons on the program’s opening page.           payroll. And links in the Banking group
They’re divided into related groups. The       trigger processes like check-writing and
Company group, for example, offers links       account-reconciliation.




EMPLOYEE CENTEr Quickbooks’ Centers consolidate access to records and transaction data.

24 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                                                             EAsY sETUP
                                                             New in 2011 is this
                                                             set of wizards,
                                                             designed to help
                                                             you begin building
                                                             your data layers.




                 sNAPsHOTs
                 Quickbooks’ Com-
                 pany Snapshots,
                 including the Cus-
                 tomer Snapshot,
                 display what you
                 need to know fast.


   Standards menus and a customizable            small-business accounting space. Both
toolbar also lead you to your destinations,      Peachtree by Sage Premium Accounting
offering a more comprehensive guide to the       2010 ($349 direct, l l l l m ) and Account-
program’s features.                              Edge 2010 for Windows ($299 direct,
   A window containing a list view of your       l l l h m ) would serve many small busi-

items and services lets you open records         nesses well, particularly those that need
and also use menus to work with individ-         maximum inventory-tracking capabilities
ual entries. These menus offer voluminous        and flexibility. Still, QuickBooks continues
options for activities like editing and delet-   to lead the pack with its skillful blend of
ing items, creating forms and receiving          accounting acumen, simplicity, and extensi-
items, running reports, and interacting with     bility, and that is why it is our Editors’ Choice
Excel.                                           pick.—Kathy Yakal
   QuickBooks is in good company in the                              >> CLICk HErE fOr MOrE

                                                        NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 25
                                   fIRST LOOkS SOfTWARE



Microsoft Office for Mac 2011


A Superb Suite
for Mac Users, Finally

M
                    icrosoft finally got it right.   Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
                    After a string of disap-         Home and Student version, $119, single user;
                                                     $149, three users
                    pointing releases, the new       Home and business version, $199, single user;
                    mac version of the world’s       $279, licensed for two machines
                                                     l l l l h
                    most widely used office
                                                     PROS Fast, flexible office-application suite.
suite is innovative, better designed, star-          Most powerful Mac office software. Highly
tlingly faster, vastly more powerful, and far        compatible with Office for Windows. Well-
                                                     integrated with OS X. Visual Basic for Applica-
more compatible with office for Windows.
                                                     tions recorded and programmed macros fully
It even includes a few features that outclass        supported. Newly designed Outlook replaces
anything in its Windows-based counterpart,           Entourage as mail/calendar/contact app.

microsoft office 2010.                               CONS No calendar synching with iCal.
   office for the mac comes in two versions,         Outlook won’t synch with or retrieve mail
                                                     from Exchange Server 2003 or earlier.
a Home and Student version (single user,
$119; three users, $149) and a Home and
business version (single user, $199; licensed        made the previous version almost unusable.
for two machines, $279). both versions               I also like the new ribbon interface. It’s simi-
include Word 2011, excel 2011, and Power-            lar to the ribbon on the Windows version,
Point 2011, but the Home and business                with a few changes that reflect the graphics-
version also includes outlook 2011, which            oriented world of the mac.
replaces the entourage mail, calendar, and              I’m delighted to see the return to the mac
contact-manager app in recent versions.              version of the visual basic for Applications
   The most newsworthy changes in the                automation language. This means I can
suite include the shiny new outlook and the          finally record and edit Word macros in oS
collaboration feature that lets multiple users       X, and, better still, use all the macros I’ve
edit a document simultaneously when the              recorded or written over the years for use in
document is stored on microsoft’s free Sky-          the Windows version.
Drive cloud-based storage or on a Share-
Point server. but the best thing about the           Word for the Mac Grows Up
new suite for most real-world users will be its      Word for the mac finally has virtually all the
jackrabbit speed—unlike the pokiness that            dazzling power and flexibility of Word for

26 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
                                                                             DyNAMIC
                                                                             REORDERING
                                                                             one of the most
                                                                             dazzling new
                                                                             features in office,
                                                                             dynamic-reordering
                                                                             view lets you
                                                                             rearrange layers
                                                                             by dragging them
                                                                             to the correct
                                                                             position.




Windows, and adds a few special tricks of its   publishing mode is the dynamic reordering
own. When you edit a document in the new        feature, which is also included in the mac
full-screen view, nothing is visible except     version of PowerPoint. To move a graphic
the current page and a background image—        image or text box toward the front or back
by default flat black, but you can choose       in a multi-layer layout, you used to have to
among different textures. When you move         select each object in turn and select move
the mouse to the top of the screen a format-    to back or move to Front, often a complex
ting toolbar appears; it’s less distracting     operation if the object you wanted to move
than the full oS X menu bar that appears        was hidden behind another object. now,
in iWork’s Pages app when you move the          you can choose reorder objects from the
mouse to the top of Pages’ full-screen          ribbon, and Word (or PowerPoint) displays
view. Word 2011’s full-screen view lets you     all the objects on the page in a 3-D horizon-
switch between editing mode and a read-         tal stack of layers. or you can choose reor-
only mode that uses a Time-machine-style        der overlapping objects, and then the 3-D
sheaf of pages behind the current page, to      display shows only the overlapping objects,
give you an idea of how many more pages         not the other ones on the same page. It’s
remain beyond the one you’re reading.           a brilliant and even beautiful solution, and
  Like the previous version, Word can oper-     there’s nothing like it in any other software.
ate in two modes, one for normal word-pro-
cessing documents, the other a “publishing”     New Graphic features in Excel
mode used mostly for graphics-rich layouts.     excel 2011 gets the new ribbon interface
The big news in the latest version of Word’s    and some of the same nifty graphic features

                                                       november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 27
                                   fIRST LOOkS SOfTWARE



in excel 2010 for Windows, such as “spar-         Goodbye Entourage, Hello Outlook
klines” (single-cell charts for graphic display   I liked the entourage mail, calendar, and con-
of data in a row or column) and flexible and      tacts app in the last few versions of office for
eye-catching conditional formatting.              mac, but the new outlook is both faster and
   Almost everything else that’s new in the       far more powerful. It looks and acts like an
app counts as an improvement on exist-            almost feature-complete match to outlook
ing features. The Find feature can search         for Windows, but with features that make it
across multiple workbooks, and can search         especially suitable to the mac environment.
for wildcards. The Formula bar is moved               one such feature will be invisible to most
immediately above the column headers              users: instead of storing all your mail and
and never overlaps the data, no matter how        other data in a huge single file, as in previ-
complex the formula it displays. Pivot Tables     ous mac versions and all Windows versions,
are vastly easier to use, through a new dia-      each message, contact, and task is stored
log box and with conditional formatting to        as a separate file. So Apple’s Time machine
make the resulting display easier to inter-       backup system needs only to save newly
pret. vbA support means that automated            created message files whenever a new mes-
worksheets finally work again in excel for        sage arrives, and not a huge data file. And
the mac, and macros can be recorded with a        oS X’s Spotlight search tool can find out-
couple of clicks on the ribbon.                   look messages in a faster, more efficient way.
                                                      outlook for the mac, like outlook for Win-
A Sections feature in PowerPoint                  dows, finally gets a Conversations view that
PowerPoint for the mac also gets a make-          groups messages and replies. It also gets
over that brings it mostly into line with         the superb Windows feature that displays
the Windows version. Windows-version              your calendar when you get a meeting invi-
features newly added to the mac version           tation, so you can see whether you can fit
include “sections” that manage groups of          the meeting into your plans.
slides as a single unit, recorded and pro-
grammable vbA macros, built-in picture-           An Exciting, Robust Upgrade
editing tools such as a surprisingly effective    I can’t think of a more impressive software
automatic background remover, the ability         upgrade than microsoft office for mac 2011.
to embed movies into slides, and the option       It combines terrific new features with faster
to use a microsoft-provided Web server to         performance. It’s more mac-like than ever,
broadcast your presentations over the Web.        more closely integrated with oS X, and
As in Word, the mac version of PowerPoint         offers a smooth transition from the Win-
improves on the Windows version with its          dows version for anyone switching to the
“dynamic reordering” feature that the Win-        mac.—Ed Mendelson
dows version can’t match.                                            >> CLICk HERE fOR MORE

28 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
         ExCEL CHARTS
         excel with its ribbon looks a lot
         like the Windows version, and
         supports almost all the features
         of its Windows counterpart.




         POWERPOINT SECTIONS
         PowerPoint makes it possible
         to divide a presentation into
         chapter-like sections, making
         it easy to use or omit whole
         blocks of slides for different
         audiences.




         OUTLOOk MAIL
         outlook’s mail interface looks
         like the Windows version,
         complete with the optional
         conversation view.




november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 29
                                         john c. dvorak




Texting: Hazardous
To Your Health

O
             ne of my friends is the ultimate       Sean Hannity, a national talk show host,
             modern geek. He says he and          was on the radio one day lamenting the fact
             his wife often sit at the same       that years of using headphones, which are
             table with mobile devices and        far safer than ear buds for the ears, has hurt
             text each other while at the         his hearing. He noted that this is a common
same table! even more weird than this is          ailment among people working in radio.
that it doesn’t actually surprise me.             Still, it does not hold a candle to earbud
  The more I think about this situation, the      damage. Curiously there are all sorts of fed-
more I consider the unintended conse-             eral standards for dangerous noise, but not
quences, none of which has to do with com-        of these standards seem to be enforced.
puting. They have to do with your health.           So the unintended consequences of the
  It’s already been shown that the iPod,          iPod and other mP3 devices is hearing loss
which has ruined the market for high-quality      among the youth of America. What about
stereo speakers, is making kids deaf. You’ve      the iPhone and other mobile devices?
been around this yourself. You are sitting          Well, I don’t know about you, but squint-
next to someone and their iPod is turned          ing at what amounts to 3 or 4-point type on
up so high you can hear the song yourself. I      an itsy-bitsy screen for hours on end cannot
have had this happen on noisy airplanes.          be a positive thing for your vision, can it?
  In California any bar with music play-            There seems to be some evidence that
ing has to have ear protection behind the         people are getting more and more near-
counter for people who ask for it. Nobody         sighted as they hunch over a desk and stare
seems to ask for it , unaware that listening to   at a computer screen 12-inches away all day
100db-plus noise for hours on end is awful        long. book worms have always turned near-
for your hearing. The same apparently holds       sighted too. And while some of this may be
true for earbud wearers.                          genetic, much of this may have to do with

30 Pc MaGaZInE dIGITaL EdITIon November 2010
   real-life zombies are weaving in and out of
 traffic with one hand to their ear and one hand
on the wheel, working and driving on reflex only.
the muscles in the eye and its general ability     corporations. I’ve never seen so many peo-
to optimize for what it needs to do the most.      ple totally disconnected from those around
Does anyone think it is healthy to stare at        them in my life. A friend of mine, who
4-point type on a dinky screen all day? Is it      notes the same phenomenon, claims that
somehow good for your vision?                      the recent explosion of referential mate-
   I’d like to see the stats on vision anoma-      rial about zombies is the direct result of
lies a decade from now. Investors take note:       this genuine zombiefication of the masses
optics companies and hearing-aid compa-            because of these devices.
nies are going to be hot tickets!                    These real-life zombies are driving their
                                                   car-like robots as they chat on the cell
The Zombie Frame of Mind                           phone incessantly. They weave in and out
besides these physical afflictions that prey       of traffic with one hand to their ear and one
upon the true believers of the iPod/iPhone,        hand on the wheel, working and driving on
there is also a quality of life issue. Does any-   reflex only. Not really driving at all. Zombies.
one find it peculiar how users of these small      The brain is not in gear. This is a little more
devices have managed to isolate them-              than distressing.
selves from the cool things that exist in real       And then there are those who text mes-
life? I watch people zone out over some            sage while driving a car. I always thought
music while failing to see things around           someone shaving in the mirror or putting on
them. People are yakking on the phone              make-up in the mirror while driving was a bit
while walking down the street almost oblivi-       scary. This is worse. And it is not improving.
ous to their surroundings. They are texting          This trend toward being connected is
or chatting with friends who must also be in       actually a trend toward being isolated.
this state of isolation.                           Yeah, you are connected to a limited num-
   Does anyone think that this self-imposed        ber of people who you constantly commu-
isolation from immediate surroundings              nicate with, but you are isolated from the
might actually be harmful somehow to the           world at large. Get rid of these devices.
psyche or the whole person?                        NoW!
   This could account for a number of weird
                                                   Dvorak Live on THe Web John’s Internet TV
social anomalies that everyone complains
                                                   show airs every Wednesday at 3:30 ET on cranky-
about, such as waning customer service             Geeks.com. You can download back episodes
and dissociated zombie-like people within          whenever you like.

                                                          November 2010 Pc MaGaZInE dIGITaL EdITIon 31
                                          SASCHA SEGAN




Samsung to Apple:
The Battle Is On

S
               amsung is taking its battle          get to pick their device and their carrier
               for marketshare to the next          independently of each other, rather than
               level. The company recently          being locked into exclusive arrangements.
               announced that its Android-             Notice that I’m not drawing any differ-
               powered Galaxy Tab tablet            ence between phones and tablets here. If
would appear on all four major U.S. carriers,       the gadget requires 3G service, it’s bought
just like its Galaxy S phone line (which, in fact   and sold the same way, at least for now.
has six carriers.) This stands in stark contrast       Samsung’s strategy seems to have
to Apple’s one-carrier solution—choose any          resulted in lower device prices, at least up
carrier you like, as long as it’s AT&T.             front. both verizon Wireless and T-mobile
   by targeting all four carriers with simi-        are offering Galaxy S phones on a buy-one-
lar devices, Samsung acknowledges that              get-one-free basis. This is a tactic typically
we’re still a country where people choose           used for slow-selling or older phones, but
their carrier before their hardware. AT&T,          the Galaxy S hasn’t been a disappointment;
Sprint, T-mobile, and verizon have very dif-        Samsung said that it anticipates selling 5 mil-
ferent rates, customer service policies, net-       lion Galaxy S phones in the U.S. by the end of
work speeds and coverage maps. Samsung              the year. T-mobile and verizon are using Gal-
wants to make sure that no matter which             axy S phones as bait to get more consumers
one you prefer, you can get a top-of-the-           to sign up for monthly data plans.
line Samsung Android device.
                                                    The Dark Side Of Being Friendly
Following Europe’s Lead                             Samsung’s approach has a dark side, too.
To some extent, that’s like Google’s origi-         The company is a friend of the carriers. It
nal dream for the Nexus One, and it’s how           really likes the carriers. It likes them so
phone buyers shop in Europe. Consumers              much, in fact, that it actually let the carri-

32 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOvEmbER 2010
    To compete with the iPhone and the iPad,
Samsung will have to make sure that its software
  is easy and fun to use, and that its hardware
              is reasonably priced.

ers interfere with the software in the Gal-      role in the Galaxy Tab’s success or failure.
axy S in ways that Apple would never allow       The user-interface differences between
, and that Google would not allow with the       Android and iOS alone could also define
Nexus One. Samsung let verizon set bing          whether the Galaxy Tab succeeds.
as the default search engine on the Galaxy         Apple could change the balance of power
S, for instance, and it also let AT&T bar non-   by releasing the iPhone on a different U.S.
market apps. It looks like the carrier models    carrier, like it has in other countries. We’ve
of the Galaxy Tab may end up having simi-        been hearing plenty of rumors of Apple
lar customizations.                              going with this carrier or that carrier, but
                                                 that’s been nonstop since 2007.
Marketing Wi-Fi-Only Versions
both Samsung and Apple are selling non-          The Competition: It’s a Good Thing
3G, Wi-Fi-only versions of at least some of      I’m hoping that Samsung and Apple can
their products There’s going to be a Wi-Fi-      seriously goose each other, and that con-
only Galaxy Tab, and the iPod touch and          sumers benefit from the competition. To
Wi-Fi-only iPad are arguably even more           compete with the iPhone and the iPad,
successful than the iPhone and 3G iPad.          Samsung will have to make sure its software
   It will be interesting to see how hard        is easy and fun to use, and that its hardware
Samsung markets the Wi-Fi-only Gal-              is reasonably priced. To compete with the
axy Tab. Apple pushes the iPod touch and         Galaxy Tab—if the Galaxy Tab succeeds—
Wi-Fi iPad hard, in part because there’s no      Apple may finally have to break its exclusiv-
love lost between Apple and wireless car-        ity arrangement with AT&T.
riers in general. Will Samsung relegate its         At least for now, though, it will be very
Wi-Fi model to the back of a best buy, so        interesting to watch: Will Americans prefer
the company’s carrier buddies can get the        to choose their carrier, or will they be will-
spotlight?                                       ing to put up with AT&T’s network for a pure
   There are other big differences between       Apple experience?
Samsung’s and Apple’s products. Pricing,
                                                 STAY PHONE-SMART Keep up with the latest
both in terms of the Galaxy Tab device itself    on smartphones by reading Sascha’s column at
and in terms of service plans, will play a big   go.pcmag.com/segan.

                                                        NOvEmbER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 32
                                               DAN COSTA




Internet Wiretaps:
What You Should Know

T
                he obama administration is          ing be active, or can a warrant allow for the
                “preparing to seek sweeping         unfettered data mining of everything you
                new regulations for the Inter-      have stored in the cloud, from your Face-
                net” in order to make wiretap-      book photos to your Gmail in perpetuity?
                ping easier, according to The       Without details, it is hard to see how anyone
new York Times. These rules would almost            can take a hard line for or against new regu-
certainly require communication providers           lations.
to create backdoors the government could
use to intercept communications, presum-            The Internet is Already Bugged
ably those of international terrorists, drug        bill Clinton is known for a lot of things, but
smugglers, and other assorted criminals.            not a lot of people know he signed a 1994
And just like that, the Crypto Wars of the          law called the Communications Assistance
late 1990s have resumed. What’s clear now           to Law enforcement Act. The law was
is that the issues are complex, the stakes are      designed to help the government extend
high, and the parties involved are wholly           wiretapping capabilities to the digital age.
incapable of common-sense compromise.               At the time, this meant AoL, Prodigy, and
   Here’s what we know.                             other telecommunications providers had to
                                                    install equipment that gave the government
Those “Sweeping” Regulations Just Don’t             access to their data centers. Today this
Exist Yet                                           same functionality exists in Google, micro-
It is impossible to evaluate any proposal           soft, and verizon’s datacenters.
without details, and at this point we don’t
have any. Will users still be able to utilize       All Monitoring Requires a Warrant
services like PGP and Tor to secure their           Here in the States, any Internet monitoring
communication channels? Will monitor-               will require a warrant, just like conventional

34 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
  The government can read your e-mails, but still
 needs a judge’s signature to do so. Presumably,
 new regulations would also require a judge’s oK.

wiretapping does now. The government           senior police and defense department offi-
can read your e-mails, but it still needs a    cials. Adding interception points makes
judge’s signature to do so. Presumably any     communications systems less secure. That’s
new regulations would also require an oK       a simple fact.
by a judge. That may be small comfort, but        So despite the dire warnings of the
no one is talking about eliminating consti-    national security infrastructure and the des-
tutional protections here. not yet, anyway.    perate cries of privacy promoters, no one
                                               knows the specifics of the administration’s
Criminals Don’t Seek Warrants to Spy           proposal. Those who have come out against
The real risks when creating backdoors are     the hypothetical rules usually present some
the folks who won’t ask a judge for a war-     form of ben Franklin’s maxim: “those who
rant—identity thieves, malware creators,       give up liberty for security deserve neither.”
and the occasional teenage hacker. Identity    The problem is, this is a misquote, or at least
theft alone costed consumers $54 billion       a gross simplification.
last year. And that figure doesn’t include        Franklin’s actual words, written in A His-
the countless losses to keyloggers, viruses,   torical review of the Constitution and
trojans, and worms that don’t get reported.    Government of Pennsylvania in 1759 were,
our best protection against these threats      “Those who would give up essential lib-
is solid encryption and secure communica-      erty to purchase a little temporary safety
tion channels, but those are precisely the     deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
tools that are coming under attack.               note the qualifications, “essential” liberty
                                               and “temporary” safety. Franklin acknowl-
Anyone Can Walk Through a Backdoor             edges the two are connected, a balance
Some existing backdoors have already been      must be struck, and that neither should be
compromised. Indeed, the government of         considered an absolute. It is this kind of
Greece bought some vodaphone telecom-          thoughtfulness that has so far been absent
munication equipment with built-in inter-      in this latest round of the crypto wars, but it
ception technology just a few years ago. In    is exactly what we will need if there are to be
2006, unknown parties were able exploit        any real winners.
those access points and spy on its citizens.
The perpetrators used it to eavesdrop on       TALK bAcK To DAn E-mail your thoughts to
more than 100 phones, including those of       dan_costa@pcmag.com.

                                                      november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 35
Top 10 Hidden
Features in
Windows 7
By Joseph Moran




E
                  veryone likes to find hidden stuff, whether it’s loose change


                  in the couch cushions or an easter egg in your favorite video


                  game. Windows 7 has its own hidden treasures. Yes, there


are features and goodies to be uncovered—some obvious, some not. And


you can access all of those listed here without downloading anything


extra (well, mostly). read on for 10 handy and largely undocumented


items in Windows 7 that you probably weren’t aware of...and soon won’t


be able to live without.

36 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION November 2010
1. GOD MODE                                   and name it: Godmode.{eD7bA470-8e54-
It may be hyperbolically named, but Win-      465e-825C-99712043e01C}. Don’t include
dows 7’s God mode is indeed omnipresent.      the final period. The resulting folder will
It conveniently puts hundreds of settings     contain 270 items, representing virtually
from all around the operating system all in   every configurable option in Windows 7.
one place.
   To turn on God mode, create a new folder   2. ENhANCED CALCuLATOr
on your desktop, or anywhere you’d like,      Windows’ built-in calculator hasn’t really
                                              changed much over the years, but Win-
                                              dows 7’s calculator has a few extra tricks up
                                              its sleeve, which you’ll find under the view




                                                    November 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 37
menu. It can do myriad unit conversions            4. rELIAbILITy MONITOr
(temperature, weight, area), and even mort-        When your system is acting flaky and you’re
gage payment or car mileage calculations. It       trying to figure out what’s going on, the
maintains a history of your previous calcula-      reliability monitor may help. Search for
tions as long as the program is open.              “reliability” from the Start menu, and run
                                                   View Reliability History. You’ll get a graph
3. WOrDPAD’S FILE SuPPOrT                          of your system’s “stability index” over a
The built-in WordPad word processor in
vista is of limited usefulness because it only
supports rTF (rich Text Format) and plain
text (TXT) files. In Windows 7, on the other
hand, WordPad isn’t quite as restricted.
   Although Windows 7’s WordPad still
doesn’t work with .doc files from micro-
soft Word 2003 and earlier versions, it can
open and save oDT (openDocument Text)
files used by the free openoffice.org word
processor as well as .docx files created in        period of days and weeks (rated on a scale
microsoft Word 2007 or 2010. Although              of 1 to 10). It displays which programs, Win-
                                                   dows components, or miscellaneous items
                                                   crashed on a given day, helping you identify
                                                   problem items.

                                                   5. PrObLEM STEPS rECOrDEr
                                                   When you need outside PC help, it’s much
                                                   better to let them see for themselves what’s
                                                   happening on your system. but if remote
                                                   access isn’t an option, the Problem Steps
                                                   recorder may be the next best thing.
                                                      Search for and run psr from the Start
                                                   menu. Click Start Record, and the utility will
WordPad can’t understand all the complex           record your activities through a series of
formatting (it will warn you of this upon          screen shots, automatically including cap-
opening or saving a file), it will still let you
read the documents without having the
native programs installed.

38 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION November 2010
tions that show exactly where you clicked.      the menu and choose Run as administra-
You can also use the Add Comment but-           tor). From the command prompt, type pow-
ton to highlight specific areas of the screen   ercfg -ENERGY (include the space) to scan
and insert custom annotations. When you         your system, and after about a minute, you’ll
stop recording, everything will be stitched     find a file called energy-report.html in your
together and saved as a Web browser-com-        \windows\system32 folder. Copy the report
patible mHTmL (mIme HTmL) file, conve-          to another location and open it (you’ll get a
niently pre-ZIPped and ready for e-mailing      file-not-found error if you try to open it from
to your geek of choice.                         the system32 folder) for detailed informa-
                                                tion about what system devices or settings
6. POWEr EFFICIENCy rEPOrT                      are throwing a monkey wrench into your
If your Windows 7 laptop isn’t getting the      power management.
battery life you expect, or it experiences
power-related issues, such as the inability     7. PIN FOLDErS TO ThE TASkbAr
                                                You know you can right-click your favorite
                                                programs and pin them to the Windows 7
                                                Taskbar for easy access. There’s no such
                                                option for folders, but you can still keep
                                                them close at hand on the Taskbar. right-
                                                click any folder, drag it to an empty space




                                                on the Taskbar (or to the Windows explorer
                                                button), and let go when Pin to Windows
to go into standby or hibernate mode, the       Explorer appears. Now when you right-click
problem usually lies with incorrectly config-   the Windows explorer button, your folders
ured power-management settings.                 will be accessible via the Jump List.
  Windows 7’s Power efficiency report can
help you sniff out potential problems. Type     8. WIPE FrEE DISk SPACE
search for CMD from the Start menu, run it      It’s no secret that when you delete files or
as an administrator (right-click cmd.exe on     folders in Windows, they’re not actually

                                                       November 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 39
erased; the space they took up is simply
marked as “available for use,” which allows
the files to be recoverable until they’re
overwritten with new data.                       10. hOTkEy A WINDOW bETWEEN MONITOrS
   There is a utility built into Windows (even   Want an easy and mouse-free way to move
XP Pro and vista) that will overwrite all the    windows around a display or, better yet,
free space on a hard drive, insuring any files   between multiple monitors? When you
you’ve deleted stay dead. Launch a com-          press the Windows key along with the left or
mand prompt and type cipher /w:X (X is           right arrow key, the active window will move
the letter of the drive or partition you want    from its original position and anchor itself
to wipe). be patient; the process can take a     to the edge of the screen in the direction
long time if you have a lot of free space.       of the arrow, and it will do so across every
                                                 monitor you have. Similarly, if you press the
9. “VIrTuAL” WI-FI
If you check out the network connections of
most Wi-Fi-equipped Windows 7 systems
(except those with Starter edition), you’ll
notice an adapter called microsoft virtual
WiFi miniport adapter. This adapter acts as a
software-based access point, taking a wired
or wireless network connection and making
it available via a separate wireless network.
This lets you create your own hotspot from
whatever network you’re connected to—
handy when, say, you want to connect multi-      Windows, SHIFT, and the left or right arrow
ple devices to a Wi-Fi network that charges      keys at the same time, the active window
for access. To do this, you’ll need a copy of    will jump over to the same position on the
the free Connectify software.)                   adjacent monitor. ■

40 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION November 2010
To the person reading over my shoulder:

Yes, I am reading PC Magazine. Digitally.
And yes, it is awesome.

               Now stop ogling and
               get Zinio for yourself.

               zinio.com/ipad
Solutions
How to Cast Out
Wi-Fi Intruders
Are you sure you’re the only one enjoying your home network?
Here’s how to detect trespassers and block them from pilfering
your bandwidth. By Eric Griffith




Y
              ou love the convenience of          as their own, and how you can block them
              your home Wi-Fi network, and        out for good.
              guess what? You may not be            (note: every model of wireless router has
              the only one. If you haven’t ade-   a different interface; even those from the
              quately secured your network,       same company are different. However, all
it’s possible that others—your neighbors          have similar tools. I discuss them generically
and various other passers-by, for example—        here, but if you poke around in the settings,
are happily gobbling up the bandwidth you         you’ll find what you need.)
pay for.
   now, to be honest, you’re probably not
using it all, and sharing is the neighborly
thing to do. In fact, many routers will help
you do just that (share, not be neighborly).
of course, it would be equally considerate
if that guy down the hall offered you some
cash to use your network.
   That said, you may have some very good
reasons for keeping your network locked.
                                                  GO sTEALTH You can set your wireless router’s
So, we’ve gathered some tips for finding out      settings to “invisible,” so that others perusing
if people are using your 802.11-based signals     local networks won’t see yours.

42 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
                                                                                YOu CAN DO
                                                                                MAGIC Cisco
                                                                                network magic
                                                                                is one of our
                                                                                favorite programs
                                                                                for keeping an
                                                                                eye on every
                                                                                aspect of your
                                                                                network.




stop Broadcasting Your Name                       They’ll go for the lower-hanging fruit (e.g.
most Wi-Fi routers broadcast the SSID, or         another open network).
Service Set Identifier, by default. This is the      If users do have your current network
name of your wireless network, and broad-         name and you’d rather they didn’t, change
casting it is how Wi-Fi-enabled devices,          the SSID. That will keep the crooks con-
such as laptops and phones, find networks.        fused, at least for a while. name it some-
You can, however, turn off broadcasting. It’s     thing like “LocalPrecinct212” and maybe
as simple as that. This is not foolproof (and     they’ll be extra nervous about connecting.
it won’t prevent anyone who already knows         Change it frequently to keep them guess-
your network’s name from getting online),         ing. (This is usually a moot point if encryp-
but it helps keep casual Wi-Fi stealers away.     tion is activated.) Keep in mind, if you do

                                                        november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 43
                                     sOLuTIONs sECurITY




rEIGNING IN DHCP sETTINGs You can control
the number of IP addresses your router assigns
to the number of devices on your network.

                                                 MAC ADDrEss CONTrOL Setting your router
                                                 to allow only the mAC addresses of your own
turn off broadcasting of your SSID, you
                                                 devices is a solid way to keep intruders out.
make it a giant pain for yourself to add new
devices to the network. It may not be worth
the hassle.                                         Finally, most new routers will do a DHCP
                                                 reservation. This ensures that every time a
Limit the IP Addresses                           device connects to the network, it gets the
networks use IP addresses to “talk.” A           exact same IP address. Without reserva-
temporary IP address is assigned to each         tions, the address could change. Keeping
connected device by the router, using the        them the same makes it easier to commu-
Dynamic Host Control Protocol (DHCP).            nicate over the network, especially if you’re
This can be a real time saver. However, if       using a PC as a server for video to an Xbox
you want to take total control of your net-      or PS3, for example.
work, assign static IP addresses of your own
to each network device—that means every          Block the MAC
laptop, phone, game system, and stray gee-       You can check the mAC addresses listed for
gaw that uses Wi-Fi to get online. Unless        each device that is talking to your router
you’re a total control freak, this can be more   against the mAC addresses physically
hassle than it’s worth.                          stamped on the hardware you own. If you
  The next option: Limit the number of IP        see a mAC listed that doesn’t match your
addresses the DHCP will dole out. If you         equipment, then you may have a trespasser.
know you have six products connected               next, find the mAC Address Filters in your
to your network, then only let it assign six     router settings. Tell the router to allow only
addresses. remember that IP addresses            the mAC addresses you want. This requires
cover wired and wireless products, so you        entering a new mAC address every time
have to include all of your ethernet-based       you introduce a new Wi-Fi-based product
hardware in that list, which could include       to your network. Also, this isn’t foolproof,
desktop PCs, Tvs, game consoles, and more.       as mAC addresses can be spoofed with the

44 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION november 2010
right tools, but that’s usually something seri-
ous hackers, not casual wireless crooks, do.
   Conversely, your filter may be set to
deny access to the mAC addresses you list,
like those you know are not your own but
appear on your DHCP list.

Encrypt Those Airwaves
naturally, the best method for preventing
people from accessing your network while
making it easily accessible to you and your         NETWOrk CONTrOL Cisco network magic
friends is to encrypt it using the well-estab-      Pro 5.5 makes it easy to detect intruders, set up
                                                    sharing, and add devices to your network.
lished Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), which
comes in all modern network hardware.
   However, you may have some old-school            nerable password that even you don’t know.
products lying around that only support the         You’ll just need a master password on the
old and notoriously crackable WeP. You can          router. not all Wi-Fi hardware supports this,
use that, too, but it will leave your network       so you may be better off picking your own
a bit more vulnerable. It’s still better than       super-strong password.
nothing. Consider it a closed door with a
broken lock; it’s better than no door at all.       Perform some Magic
   You may also have products that use              Cisco network magic Pro 5.5 ($39.99 direct)
Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). This works             remains our editors’ Choice for home-net-
with WPA. Push a button on the router, then         work activity tracking and more, including
a corresponding button on a Wi-Fi product,          intrusion detection. It works with just about
and the two will auto-generate a nigh-invul-        any home network (especially those with
                                                    Cisco and Linksys routers) to help you get
                                                    stronger and more secure connections. Plus,
                                                    it gives you a glimpse of who shouldn’t be
                                                    there in the on-screen network map.
                                                       In fact, the latest version uses a home net-
                                                    work administration protocol (HnAP) to
                                                    control security settings on most routers.
                                                    When it works, it’s a quick way to fix secu-
                                                    rity problems. Some other tools that could
sET uP WPA IF your router offers WPA encryp-
tion, by all means, set it up. or, if you have an   help you include Who’s on my WiFi and
older router, set up WeP encryption.                AirSnare. ■

                                                           november 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 45
                                     SOLuTIONS SOFTWArE




Make Your Photos
Come to Life
The right software can transform your digital photos into
masterpieces, no matter what type of camera you use. Here are
our picks for the best programs. By Michael Muchmore




W
                     e all enjoy taking pho-     identify the faces of the people in your pho-
                     tos, whether they’re        tos. But its biggest perk may be the simple
                     the occasional camera-      uploading to the Picasa Web Albums site,
                     phone snapshot or pro-      where you can share your memories with
                     fessional-quality shots     friends and family. And if that’s not enough,
from high-end DSLR equipment. Regard-            its geo-tagging offers maps showing
less, we want our pictures to look their best,   exactly where a photo was taken.
and the best way to do that is to use a solid       Also in this free download category is
photo-editing program. It should not only        Microsoft’s Windows Live Photo Gallery,
address the basics, like rotating and crop-      which has recently stepped up its game,
ping, but also let you tweak and embellish       adding face recognition. Photo Gallery
your photographs until they literally gleam.     also offers impressive red-eye correction,
Here’s a look at a variety of solutions that     geo-tagging, panorama stitching, blemish
cost anywhere from $0 to more than $1,000.       removal, a clear user interface, and excellent
                                                 organization tools.
Free Photo Software
The good news is that unless you demand          Online Photo Editing
lots of image-editing power, you can do a lot       If you want quick photo editing but can’t
with your pics for absolutely no cost. One       or don’t want to install any software, there
of the best tools in this category is Google’s   are a couple places online that will serve
downloadable Picasa (free, l l l h m , Edi-      your needs handsomely. The first is Pic-
tors’ Choice) for both Windows PCs and           nik (free, l l l l m ), now also part of the
Macs. Not only does it perform straighten-       Google family of sites and services. And
ing, contrast, color, fill-light, and red-eye    it may be the fastest way to start editing a
correction, but it can actually detect and       photo—you don’t even have to sign up for

46 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
Picasa




                                                 Windows Live Photo Gallery




Picnik




an online account. Notable among Picnik’s
many impressive image enhancers is the
ability not only to fix human eyes, but those    Adobe Photoshop Express
of animals as well. It also lets you make
slideshows, collages, and gifts like mugs,
greeting cards, and posters.                     with its editing tools without creating an
   The newer Adobe Photoshop Express             account, but to save anything you’ll need to
(free, l l l h m ) comes from the ultimate       sign up.
authority on image editing, Adobe, and as
such, it offers a solid batch of editing tools   Consumer Photo-Editing Software
in a polished, rich Web application. It’s        On the Mac side, you’ll get features compa-
also simple enough for novices, and plays        rable to the free Picasa and Windows Live
nice with Facebook. You can start playing        Photo Gallery in the iPhoto app (Free to

                                                       NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 47
                                     SOLuTIONS SOFTWArE


                                                  Shop Photo Pro X3 ($99.99 list, l l l h m ).
                                                  This software actually lets you do many of
                                                  the higher-end actions you’ll find in the top-
                                                  end Photoshop app, and much more sim-
                                                  ply. Its interface is somewhat less elegant
                                                  than Adobe’s products, though, and it’s
                                                  not as stable. Its one-step photo optimizer
                                                  works well, and it even accepts Photoshop
                                                  plugins and can output to professional
                                                  CMYK specs. But PaintShop was much
iiPhoto                                           slower at handling large image files than
                                                  the pro tools below.
$79 direct, l l l l h ) , which comes as part        An import from across the pond in Eng-
of the iLife suite that ships with new Macs or    land, Serif PhotoPlus X3 Digital Studio
is available as a $79 upgrade for earlier Mac     ($79.99 direct, l l l h m ) also offers a nice
purchasers. Notable for Apple’s trademark         blend of ease-of-use and power. To this
slick design, iPhoto takes a little more get-     it throws in such ambitious tools as High
ting used to than Picasa, but offers a good       Dynamic Range merging, for combining
photo-book printing option. It also does          multiple poorly exposed shots into one
face recognition and geo-tagging, and adds        with perfect lighting; a Raw Photo Studio,
direct uploading to Flickr, Facebook, or          for processing and editing images straight
MobileMe ($99 per year direct, l l l l m ).       from digital cameras; and support for
   A step up from this is Adobe Photoshop         48-bit-color. Its photo-organizing prow-
Elements 8 ($79.99 list, l l l l h , Editors’     ess, however, is somewhat lacking, and the
Choice) , available for both Mac and PC. It       interface doesn’t have quite the panache of
lets you do fancy things like content-aware       Adobe products.
scaling, high-dynamic range merging (for
combining multiple poorly exposed shots           Professional Tools
into one with perfect lighting), and pan-         To do pretty much anything with a photo—
orama stitching. And DSLR shooters can            or any other image for that matter—there’s
use their raw camera file formats with the        nothing that can equal Adobe’s flag-
same converter its big brother, Photoshop         ship Photoshop CS5 Extended program
proper, uses. Finally, it offers tight integra-   ($579.99-$1,087.26 street, l l l l l , Edi-
tion with its companion video-editing soft-       tors’ Choice). It really stands alone as the
ware, Adobe Premier Elements, and with            ultimate professional image-manipulation
online services.                                  software, with history brushes to repeat-
   Another option at this price level is the      edly apply custom enhancements to spe-
very capable and help-laden Corel Paint-          cific parts of an image, Content-Aware Fill,

48 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMBER 2010
                                                  easily roundtrips with Photoshop CS5 for
                                                  more tinkering, and uploads seamlessly to
                                                  online image hosting.
                                                    Lightroom is certainly the professional
                                                  photographer’s best friend, if said pho-
                                                  tographer uses Windows, but for those on
                                                  Macs, Apple’s Aperture 3 ($156.97-$199



Photoshop CS5 Extended


and lens-correction filters. It also offers the
most in terms of output formats, and now
offers 3D design tools. It’s a must-have for
print and Web content professionals.
  But one thing that Photoshop itself isn’t
so great at is organizing your images: for
that, look to its little brother, Adobe Pho-      Apple Aperture 3
toshop Lightroom 3 ($319.99 direct,
l l l l m ). This program offers a multitude      street, l l l l h ; Editors’ Choice) does
of tagging and other metadata tools, as well      it one better in a couple ways. Aperture
as photographer-specific workflow, from           includes face recognition and geotagging,
import to develop to output. It, too offers       and offers excellent photo book output
precise image-lighting, color, and detail         options not found in Lightroom. And its
adjustments and can even correct specific         user interface, while offering all the tagging
lens geometry and color aberrations. It also      and organizational tools of Lightroom, is
                                                  simpler and more elegant.
                                                      Both products use an underlying data-
                                                  base to keep track of your image edits and
                                                  preserve the original. They also do a good
                                                  job of making the manipulation of huge
                                                  image files snappy, as does ACDSee Pro 3
                                                  ($136.99-$147.79 street, l l l l m ) , a low-
                                                  cost alternative that also can fix image
                                                  geometry and accept Photoshop plugins.
                                                  It, too, offers powerful workflow and image-
                                                  adjustment tools, but its interface isn’t quite
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3                       as slick as Apple and Adobe’s products. ■

                                                         NOVEMBER 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 49
                                                                                 Bes
         Editors’ Choices
         in Key Categories
        For the complete
        reviews of these
        products and more
Editors’ Choices check out
go.pcmag.com/editorschoice




             DEskTOPs               BusINEss                                     PrOJECTOrs
                                    Dell Latitude E5510
MAINsTrEAM                                                             Canon realis X700
                                     $884 direct
Gateway DX4840-02e                                                      $2,500 list
 $799.99 list                       BuDGET
                                    NEW   sony VAIO VPC-EB33FM/BJ                 sCANNErs
BuDGET/VALuE
                                     $629.99 list
Dell Inspiron 545 $899 list                                            Epson Perfection V300 Photo
                                    TABLET                              $99.99 direct
ENTry-LEVEL                         Apple iPad (Wi-Fi) 64GB
                                                                       DOCuMENT sCANNEr
NEWAsus Essentio CM1630-05           $699 direct
 $479.99 list                                                          Canon imageFormula Dr-
                                                                        2020u $645 list
GAMING/MuLTIMEDIA                                sTOrAGE
Maingear shift $6,399 direct        POrTABLE                                     NETWOrkING
Falcon Northwest Mach V             Lenovo ThinkPad usB
                                     Portable secure Drive $319 list   8x8 Virtual Office Pro $50 direct
 (Core i7-975) $8,240 direct
                                    DEskTOP                            Cisco Valet Plus $129.99 list
NEWAcer Aspire Predator
 AG7750-u2222 $1999 list            Western Digital MyBook             sMC sMCGs8P $300 street
                                     studio Edition II $430 list
NEW   Cyberpower Gamer Dragon                                          spiceworks 4.5 Free
                                    NETWOrk-ATTACHED sTOrAGE
 $1,099 direct                                                         Cisco Network Magic
                                    Western Digital WD
ALL-IN-ONE                           sharespace 4Tb, $799.99 list       Pro 5.5 $39.99 direct
Apple iMac 21.5-inch
 (Core 2 Duo) $1,199 direct                    LCD MONITOrs                            HDTVs
Lenovo IdeaCentre B500              Asus VW266H                        PLAsMA
 $1,399 direct                       $309 list                         NEW   samsung PN58C8000
                                                                        $2,999.99 list
BusINEss                            HP LP2275w $349 direct
Dell Optiplex 780 usFF                                                 LCD
                                    Dell ultrasharp u2711              sharp Aquos LC-52D85u
 $1,484 direct
                                     $1,099 direct                      $2,099.99 direct
NETTOP
Apple Mac mini (HDMI) $699 list                  PrINTErs              sony Bravia kDL-46XBr8
                                                                        $3,999.99 list
                                    MONOCHrOME LAsEr
      LAPTOPs & NETBOOks                                               samsung LN52A750 $3,999 list
                                    konica Minolta magicolor
MAINsTrEAM                           1600W $180 street                 OLED
NEW   Asus u45Jc-A1 $867 street                                        sony XEL-1 OLED Digital TV
                                    COLOr LAsEr
CONsuMEr uLTrA-LOW VOLTAGE          Xerox Phaser 7500/DN                $2,499.99 list
Toshiba satellite T235-s1350         $3,299.99 direct
 $630 direct                                                                    BLu-rAy PLAyErs
                                    sTANDArD INkJET
GAMING                              Epson stylus NX515                 samsung BD-C6500 $249.99 list
NEW   Toshiba Portege r705-P35       $149 direct
 $899.99 list                                                                  DIGITAL CAMErAs
                                    PHOTO PrINTEr
MuLTIMEDIA                          Epson stylus Photo r2880           COMPACT
Dell studio 17 (Multitouch)          $799.99 direct                    Panasonic Lumix DMC-Ts2
 $1,411 direct                                                          $399.95 list
                                    ALL-IN-ONE
                                                                       kodak Easyshare M580
DEskTOP rEPLACEMENT                 Canon Pixma MG8120
HP Pavilion dv7-4083cl                                                  $199.95 direct
                                     Wireless Photo All-In-One
 $999.99 list                        $299.99 direct                    D-sLr
NETBOOk                             NEW HP Officejet 6500A             Nikon D300
Toshiba mini NB205 $400 street       Plus e-All-in-One $199 direct      $1,800 street


50 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION NOVEMbEr 2010
est
 Canon EOs rebel T1i $899.99 list           GPs DEVICEs                   iWork for iPad $9.99 direct
 suPErZOOM                          Garmin nüvi 1390T $269.99 list        QuickBase $250 direct per month
 sony Cyber-shot DsC-HX5V
                                             E-BOOk rEADErs               ACT! by sage 2010 $299 list
  $349.99 direct
                                    Amazon kindle (3G+WiFi)               Citrix GoToAssist Express
    DIGITAL VIDEO CAMErAs                                                  $69 direct per month
                                     $189 direct
 kodak Playsport Video Camera
                                             HEADPHONEs                           IPHONE APPs
  $149.95 list
                                    Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile            TomTom 1.3 $69.99 direct
 sony HDr-sr11 $1,099.99 direct
                                     Hi-Fi Headphones $299.95 list        Navigon MobileNavigator 1.4.0
     DIGITAL PHOTO & VIDEO                                                 $79.99 direct
                                    BLuETOOTH HEADsETs
 MuLTIMEDIA suITE                   Aliph Jawbone Icon $99 list           Air sharing $6.99 direct
 Adobe Cs 3 $999 direct                                                   Photogene $2.99 direct
 VIDEO-EDITING sOFTWArE
                                               CELL PHONEs
                                                                          rhapsody 2.0 Free
 CyberLink DVD suite 7 ultra        ALLTEL
  $129.95 direct                    rIM BlackBerry Curve 8330                         GAMEs
 PHOTO EDITING
                                     From $229.99 with contract
                                                                          Halo: reach $59.99 list
 Adobe Photoshop Cs5                AT&T
                                                                          God of War III $59.99 list
  Extended $699 to $899 list        samsung rugby II sGH-A847
                                     From $249.99 with contract           Alan Wake $59.99 list
 Aperture 3 $199 direct
                                    samsung Mythic sGH-A897                        MuLTIMEDIA
 DIGITAL PHOTO FrAME
                                     From $199.99 with contract
 kodak Pulse Digital Photo                                                NEW Adobe Photoshop
  Frame $129.95 direct              Apple iPhone 4 $199 list               Elements 9 $99.99 list
                                    sPrINT                                CyberLink Media suite 8 ultra
   POrTABLE MEDIA PLAyErs           samsung Epic 4G $349.99 list           $129.95 list
 Microsoft Zune 120GB $249 list     HTC Evo 4G $299.99 list               rhapsody From $12.99 per month
 Apple iPod touch (4th              LG rumor Touch                        NEW   GIMP 2.6.1 Free
  generation with Camera) 8Gb,       $79.99–$279.99 list
  $229 direct                                                             Apple iLife ’09 $79 direct
                                    T-MOBILE
 Apple iPod nano                    NEWT-Mobile G2 $229 list              iTunes 10 Free
  (5th generation) 16Gb,            samsung Vibrant $199 list
  $179 direct
                                                                                       sECurITy
                                    VErIZON WIrELEss                      ANTIMALWArE
        sPEAkErs/DOCks              Motorola Droid X $299.99 list         Prevx 3.0 $29.95 direct per year
 Logitech speaker system Z623       METrOPCs                              ANTIVIrus
  $149.99 direct                    LG Imprint $49 direct                 Webroot AntiVirus with spy
 Hercules XPs 2.1 Lounge            BlackBerry Curve 8530                  sweeper 2011 $39.99 direct
  $60 street                         $229.99 list                         Norton AntiVirus 2011 $39.95
                                                                           direct
        MEDIA EXTENDErs                   OFFICE & PrODuCTIVITy
                                                                          suITE
 sonos Bundle 150 $999 direct       NEWQuickBooks Premier Edition         Norton Internet security 2011
                                     2011 $399.95 list                     $69.99 yearly
 slingbox PrO-HD $299 list
                                    NEWMicrosoft Office for Mac           Norton 360 version 3.0
       GAMING CONsOLEs               2011 $119 list                        $69.99 yearly
 sony Playstation 3 120GB           Office 2010 Professional              spyware Doctor with Antivirus
  (Ps3 slim) $299.99 direct          $499 direct                           2010 $39.95 yearly

                                                                NOVEMbEr 2010 PC MAGAZINE DIGITAL EDITION 51

								
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