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Old Site Updates - February 2000
February 26, 2000:
- Wanted: Dead Hardware! The response to my call for dead hard drives has
been tremendous. I want to thank all of you who replied; I now have a growing collection
of dead hard disks that will be very helpful for me as I work on the site. Given the
success of this little campaign, I am expanding it: I'd like to build a collection of
different hardware components and pieces, particularly internal components. CPUs,
motherboards, memory modules and chips, CD-ROM drives, removable storage, video cards,
power supplies, etc. If you're willing to donate an item that is either dead or obsolete
and unwanted (I'll cover shipping) or trade it for a CD-ROM of the site, or something
along those lines, I'd be grateful. Please e-mail me
to let me know what you have and I'll reply back to let you know if I need it. Many
February 19, 2000:
- Wanted: Dead Hard Disk: I am in need of a modern, but dead, hard disk
that I can dissect to illustrate the hard disk section of the site. :^) If anyone has one
that they are willing to part with, please drop me a
line. I need a drive from a major manufacturer, preferably made within the last year
(but slightly older is OK). I'll cover reasonable costs of course to get it to me, and
give credit to whomever supplies me with the drive. Thanks!
- Graphics Software Recommendations: Since I have started working
extensively with graphical image files as part of my ongoing effort to illustrate the
site, I have found myself needing software packages to fill several different roles. As a
result of my investigations and trials I am now working with several packages that I think
you may be interested in if you do similar work--and all of them have free trials
available for download:
- Image Organization: To allow me to sort through and select from hundreds of
images I have found the best package to be CompuPic
Pro by Photodex. A great piece of software that creates thumbnails of even large
folders of images in seconds, lets you do basic editing, create web pages of images and a
host of other features.
- Lossless JPEG Manipulation: Many folks don't realize that since JPEG is a lossy
compression format, every time you open and then resave a JPEG file, you degrade the image
quality slightly. I found and now use a great product called the JPEG Wizard by Pegasus Imaging,
which actually lets you rotate, resize and even do basic color adjustments directly on
JPEG files without introducing any image loss.
- General Editing: As I have mentioned before, I use Paint Shop Pro by Jasc Software as a general
image editor. The new version 6 adds several new features.
February 13, 2000:
- Minor Problem Report: Apparently, something in Internet Explorer 5 does
not like the script I use for submitting Disk Edition
credit card orders. I have referred this to my hosting site's support department. In the
meantime, if you are trying to submit credit card information, please use a different
browser, or contact me by email so we can explore other options. Thanks for your patience.
February 8, 2000:
- No Rest For The Wicked: Now that the update is done, I am digging into
my pile of unfilled Disk Edition orders and filling them. I filled many yesterday, and my
plan is to finish the rest today, if I can. Thanks everyone for your patience.
- Still Looking for Keyboards: I am looking for a couple more of the
older programmable Gateway 124-key Anykey keyboards. If you've got one in very good
condition sitting on a shelf somewhere that you want to sell me or trade for a Disk
Edition CD-ROM, please drop me a line. Thanks!
February 4, 2000:
- New Disk Edition Version Released: Version 1.11 of the Disk Edition,
February 2000, has been released. Thanks for your patience, everyone. The latest version
brings the Disk Edition up to date with the web site, and also includes a couple of new
features exclusively available for Disk Edition users: a full topic index (showing all
2,200+ content pages on the site in one large super-index) and also an Adobe Acrobat (PDF)
file version of the site that permits easier searching of the material, and printing of
topics and sections. See the Disk Edition section for
details. Note that the regular (not upgrade) price of the Disk Edition has increased by $1
for individual orders. I apologize for the necessity of this; it is as small as possible
and meant only to cover rising costs. I will of course honor the old pricing for everyone
who ordered or inquired about the Disk Edition prior to the date that V1.11 was released.
- Disk Edition Information Overhaul: I always strive to fulfill the needs
of my readers. In response to many legitimate complaints that the information pages and
order process for the Disk Edition were too cumbersome and confusing, I have completely
overhauled both. Included in these changes are modifications to virtually every page in
the section, a reduction in some of the redundant material, simplification of Disk Edition
pricing, and the inclusion of a new Disk Edition FAQ. The
current version of the Disk Edition, and the date of the next anticipated update, is now
shown right on the front page of the Disk Edition section. The order process has also been
simplified so that emailing me first is not necessary to order single-user copies or
updates. Again, see the Disk Edition section for details.
- Site Guide Modernization: I reviewed, updated and make corrections to
the entire Site Guide. These are mostly small changes here and
there throughout the material.
- Reference Guide System Case Section Update: I thoroughly updated the System Case section of the Reference Guide, adding
details on two new form factors, adding several photographs, and providing more detail on
some of the components that make up modern cases. I also used some excellent graphics
software, Paint Shop Pro, to clean up
and sharpen some of the photographs and illustrations both here and in other areas.
- Power Section Rewrite and Expansion: I have completely rewritten the
Reference Guide Power secton. I went a bit overboard
here; it started out as a simple update, but I realized that as much as I emphasize to
others the importance of the power subsystem in the PC, I wasn't doing it justice myself.
So, I made the section much more detailed and thorough. I can honestly state that I know
think this is the best guide to PC power supplies and external power anywhere. I hope you
like the end results--this is what I plan to do for the rest of the site as I work on it
intensively this year. It would take far too long to list all the changes, but here are a
few of the highlights:
- The Electrical Power Basics section has been
greatly expanded to provide a good fundamental understanding of power to any reader
interested in the subject..
- Agreatly expanded section containing over 20 pages has been added on Uninterruptible Power Supplies, discussing their
types, features and components.
- The Power Supply section has been updated and
expanded to include coverage of the various new form
factors on the market, and a new section on power
supply specifications has been added.
- There are photos and diagrams everywhere, including many illustrations created by yours
- Massive Link Cleanup: I went through the entire site looking for broken
links and cleaned them up. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. :^)
- Search Engine Clarification: This site uses the search engine that
comes as part of the Microsoft Front Page extensions package. It works well most of the
time but has some quirks. I have recently discovered that it does not support searching
for strings of words enclosed by quotes; it generates a server error instead (how nice).
In place of quotes, try using the "and" keyword (not the same, but the best I
can do for now). Sorry for the inconvenience. I've added a note to the search page.
- Minor File Renames: I generally avoid moving or renaming files on the
site, in order to reduce broken links. However, I found about 50 files that were named in
such a way that they could not be properly processed by the program I wrote that
dynamically creates the PDF version of the Disk Edition. I have therefore renamed these
files. None of these were high in the hierarchy so their renaming should not cause too
many broken link problems. Sorry for any inconvenience.
February 2, 2000:
- Happy Even Day! Today is the first day of its kind in over 1,000 years:
all the digits of the date are even. The last time this happened was August 8, 888. The
last "odd day" was just three months ago: November 19, 1999; there won't be
another until New Year's Day, 3111. :^)
Site Updates - January 2000
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