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M A Y 2 0 0 7

V O L U M E 1 2 ◆ N U M B E R 1 1
W W W . P C W O R L D . I N

F E AT U R E S

M P 3 P L AY E R S

44 Music in a Flash
These feature packed entertainers give you a
reason to own an MP3 player. We compare
10 of the latest 2GB models from top brands
to help you choose the best.

OFFICE SUITE

70 Word 2007 Cheat Sheet


Microsoft Word 2007’s new interface is likely
to confound veteran Word users. Here’s
everything you need to know to make the
switch.

THEMES

77 Dress Up Your Desktop


Theme packages let you create a snazzy
workspace with matching wallpaper, screen
savers, cursors, icons, and sounds.

BUYERS GUIDE

81 Talented Performers
Advice for evaluating options before you
52
shop and select the best MFD that suits
your needs.

C OV E R S T O RY

O N TH E COVE R 52 BEST INDIAN


WEBSITES
14 Spoilt for choice, on what website
to choose? Our panel of 15 judges
evaluate more than 125 websites in
77
20 categories, to help you find your
44
way easier on the web. We evaluate
these websites on design,
52 navigation, functionality, usability
and their customization for India,
to declare the winners.
xxx 44

6 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
R E V I E WS & R A N K I N G S D E PA R T M E N T S

28 Spacious Storage 10 Letters


Top storage brands wrestle it Readers share views on the latest technology
out to claim the best buy in 11 Up Front
the 320GB category. Human interaction has discovered Web 2.0
31 Music Phone 23 The Other Side
Sony Ericsson W880i Does our imagination stop us from exploiting
32 Video Card technology?
Asus EN8800GTS 320MB 24 Tech Tonic
33 Antispyware Utility 28 Vista has a rival out there. It’s XP
PC Tools Spyware Doctor 26 Bugs and Fixes
5.0 Beta An IE graphics flaw exposes your PC to danger.
34 Earphones 30 Hassle Free PC
Creative EP 630 A Microsoft security component proves flawed.
35 MFD 112 Full Disclosure
Canon Pixma MP510 Drowning in updates from chatterbox software.
36 LifeStyle PC
Sony Vaio VGC LA-38G
38 Budget Slider Phone
Samsung e250 N E WS & T R E N D S
42
14 Connect in Style
See page 28 for a complete list of Sandisk plays the Wi-Fi card, threatens to edge
products reviewed. out the iPod and Zune.
17 Windows Mobile 6: New E-mail Options
Microsoft’s forthcoming update of its operating
W H AT ’ S O N D V D system for handhelds has Office functions.
18 Tech innovations Fuel Low- Cost Laptops
Full Products Non-profit organization creates a tough,
Mandriva Linux Free 2007 simple and cheap notebook for kids in
East-Tec Backup Lite developing countries.
16 Google personal homepage gets sinkable.
Essentials-PC World Dynamic themes for Google personalized
Super Suite homepage.
Our Super Suite includes 20 Cool Gadgets
software for almost all 14 Latest products and gadgets in the global market.
tasks. Right from brows- 22 Plugged In
ers, office tools, codecs to Kodak’s cheaper ink; graphics cards outside the
system tools and patches, box; a Windows roadmap; Web 2.0 campagning.
you will find them all
here. This time we have
included Autopatcher for H E R E ’ S H OW
Windows Vista as well.
84 Online Storage Tips
Use online services to create automatic backups
Video Tutorials for Windows XP
of your files while you work on them as usual.
Learn how to enable hiber-
87 Windows Tips
nation, hide taskbar icons,
Encryption lets you keep your files truly private.
disable autorun for CD /
89 Hardware Tips
DVD drives and use mag-
84 Pump up PC graphics; see all your network data.
nifier tool and event viewer
90 Answer Line
in Windows XP
Manage your PC’s problem reports
to Redmond.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 7
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8 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
LETTERS LETTERS@PCWORLD.IN

FEEDBACK DVD PROBLEMS TECH QUERIES

problem, I bought transcend 2 GB pen solved. Problems are - it automatically


drive. When I connected it to any of the restart the PC while running any media
ports on my computer it is showing as player like Window Media Player and
unknown device. Although I went to sometimes CPU fan is howling when
device manager and uninstalled that keys and mouse button are kept in
driver and chose for hardware changes hold and sometimes it is silent. What
in action menu the problem persists. is the exact cause of these problems ?
However, it worked on my friends Shur Chandra, By e-mail
system who is also running XP. What Editors Reply: Going by the sequence
WORDS OF APPRECIATION do I do? of event, in all probabilities your proc-
i am a reader of PC World and I respect Vamsi Krishna , By e-mail essor might be overheating or compo-
what you say in the column “New Tech Editors Reply: Firstly, you should patch nents like the power supply or video
Products? They’re Evolutionary. I your Windows XP with the latest serv- card might be faulty due to which the
congratulate you on having completely ice pack to ensure maximum compat- PC restarts intermittently. We sug-
analyzed Apple products to their ibility with all USB devices. In case you gest you first check the power supply
true value. It is true that the iPhone have a slightly older motherboard, the and the video card separately on other
has created much hype, but it really USB 2.0 drivers might be required for computers. If these components are
isn’t a superior advancement; rather the USB 2.0 controller to work smooth- fine, you processor could be over-heat-
a cocktail of an iPod and a mobile ly. Download and install latest USB 2.0 ing. Reinstall the processor and fit the
phone (with, I assume, PDA features). drivers from the motherboard manu- cooler properly with a fresh applica-
As you so rightly say, many mobile facturer’s website and then the drive tion of thermal paste and you should
phones already have these aforesaid should be recognized as UMS (universal be good to go.
features, (and more) probably for the mass storage) device.
same price. Personally, Apple products DVD SOLUTIONS
do not appeal to me due to their high TECH WOES I have a request, a few months ago PC
prices and impracticality. i have a problem in my PC , I played World had bundled along Open Ause
Nitin Malapally, By e-mail IGI 2 last month without installing 10.2 with the DVD, I tried out the distro
antivirus program. But now I took very recently and it did not work, it
i am a big fan of PC WORLD. In the out IGI 2 from my PC and newly gave an error couldn’t read from source
April month edition, you guys rock by installed Windows XP Prof. and also during the installation, I think there is
providing such a cool software bundle installed Norton Antivirus 2005. After something wrong with the the distro
and articles in the magazine. I appreciate newly installing Windows and Norton bundled on the dvd.
your efforts to make us happy. I have a Antivirus 2005 my problems are not Amit Patnaik, By e-mail
Editors Reply: A ‘could not read from
ACTION LINE source’ error is generally to do with
a faulty disc or a faulty drive. If other
ON THE RIGHT TRACK
DVDs / CDs are working fine on your
PHOTOGRAPH: SRIVATSA SHANDILYA

Dear sir, PC, the problem could be with the par-


i have been reading PC WORLD for a few months now and am impressed with ticular DVD. While we try and maintain
the overall quality of the magazine. In the April issue, the article about working from the highest standards of mass repli-
home was very good and timely. I hope more IT companies realize the benefits and cation of DVDs, sometimes a DVD can
encourage the trend! Also, your product reviews are well balanced covering both the be faulty. PC World will replace such
good and bad parts. Keep it up. DVDs free of cost. Just write in to us at
Akshya BS - By e-mail mydvd@pcworld.in

10 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
HA
VRI JRY
AY MRcA
CMRAC
CKHEANN D R A N

The Human Web


People are dictating the way the Net’s evolving, analysts be damned.
In the beginning was the browser. And, that browser was Mosaic. Most visitors who click on to these sites
thus seem to be passive recipients of the
Released 14 years back, this graphical browser was the original online
trivial details of other peoples’ lives.
killer app. It fuelled both the consumer Internet revolution and the So where’s the collaboration? That
fundamental aspect of Web 2.0?
browser wars that followed — both Internet Explorer and Netscape
I wonder, is that really that important?
Navigator drew inspiration Do all or large portion of users have
and code from it. Today, many to generate content?
mouse clicks later, Microsoft, I believe the interaction of people
Mozilla and other vendors with these sites reveals more about
seem to have gotten out of the human nature than analysts and
one-upmanship game and gurus of the Net give them credit
moved on to looking at the for. After all, what’s so out of the
browser as a platform for a ordinary about a storyteller keeping
whole new generation of rich a campfire audience entranced 4,000
Net applications. years ago or even the way we react to
It’s the debate about Web 2.0 reality TV. Don’t tell me you’ve never
technologies, that’s responsible eavesdropped on your neighbors.
for this transformation. It’s The fact remains that millions
talk that’s filled with words of people the world over find
and phrases like mash-ups and reading other’s blogs and looking
wikis and social networking at other’s pictures and videos
and user generated content. quite compelling. They’re only being
And, yes, even blogs. And, surprise, surprise, the denizens human in that.
Web 2.0 is about collaboration. It’s of the Net are making it easy for the The way they access information and
about creating a global online village one moguls of Hollywood. Take strong exchange notes is the only thing that’s
hut at a time and getting you to bring community sites like YouTube or Flickr changed — podcasts are today’s radio,
along the bricks. or Wikipedia. While such sites have seen streaming video, tomorrow’s TV and blogs,
While whether it’s going to work (i.e. traffic growing close to 700 percent over the newspapers of this digital village.
make a site some money) or not is one the past two years, interactivity seems It’s this changing landscape of the Net
of the commonest reasons for the debate, to have taken a downward plunge. The that’s so fascinating. Sites that’ll keep you
there’s no disputing its disruptive nature. latest stats from the Internet traffic informed, entertained, help get a job and
It’s already got the entertainment gurus researcher Hitwise states that only a even married. We really are spoiled for choice
in the US running scared. Research by tiny fraction of users actually contribute and levels of interaction. So we thought we’d
Accenture reveals that over half of them content to the sites. assist you by cutting through the clutter and
believe that user generated content in How tiny you ask? Well, only 0.16 giving you the low down on the Indian sites
the form of amateur videos, podcasts, percent of YouTube’s users actually most useful to you. That’s what the cover
and blogs are three of the biggest threats uploads videos to the site. Similarly, feature in this issue is all about (Page 52). Let
ILLUSTRATION: MM SHANITH

they face. The study feels that the a mere 0.2 percent of Flickr visitors me know what you think about it.
entertainment industry’s key to keeping u p l o a d p h o t o s . Wi k i p e d i a h a s i t
the revenues flowing has to be getting positively good with a tad over 4.5 Vijay Ramachandran is the Editor-in-Chief
onto new forms of content in addition to percent of its visitors actually editing of PC World. Send him your comments at
the more traditional streams. or adding information. vijay_ramachandran@idgindia.com

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 11
NEWS & T REN DS INSIDE

16 PERSONALIZE GOOGLE
THEMES
17 NEW MAIL OPTIONS FROM
WINDOWS MOBILE 6.0
18 LOW COST LAPTOPS BENEFIT
FROM INNOVATIONS

W H AT ’ S N E W A N D W H AT ’ S N E X T I N T E C H N O L O G Y

Connect In Style
SANDISK’S SANSA CONNECT WI-FI-ENABLED MEDIA PLAYER IS THE FIRST SIGNIFICANT RETHINKING OF
PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYERS AND THE PROCESS OF ACQUIRING DIGITAL MEDIA. BY DAVID HASKIN
in many ways, the 4GB Sansa ties only to temporarily share
Connect surpasses the iPod. music.
For one thing, its bright and By contrast, the Sansa Con-
simple interface is arguably, nect connects directly to
more engaging than the Yahoo!’s Internet-based music
iPod’s. But its most notable and image services. If you
capability is the built-in Wi- subscribe to Yahoo! Music
Fi, which is missing, so far, in Unlimited, once you are con-
Apple’s offerings. Like the nected, you can find and
iPod and the iTunes store, download individual tracks
Sansa Connect is tied to an and albums. You also can view
online media services and in photos stored on Yahoo!’s
this case it’s the digital music Flickr service. And it’s a rush
and image services offered by listening to streaming Inter-
Yahoo!. Those services allow net radio offered by Yahoo!’s
you to easily download music LAUNCHcast radio, which
from the Internet, listen to offers about 150 streaming
Internet radio and view digi- stations, making SanDisk’s
ILLUSTRATION: BINESH SREEDHARAN

tal images stored online. omission of an FM radio seem


In other words, the Sansa SUPERIOR but it’s wireless capabilities like a logical choice.
Connect dramatically increases CONNECTIVITY OVER are stunted compared to the Sansa Connect also does
what you can do with your ZUNE Sansa Connect. For one thing, music sharing far better than
media player and, for the first to date, the highest visibil- Zunes can only connect with Zune. With Zune, you con-
time, highlights the potential of ity Wi-Fi-enabled media play- other nearby Zunes, and users nect only to other Zune users
subscription music services. er is Microsoft Corp.’s Zune, can use the wireless capabili- who are near enough to con-

14 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
N EWS & T R E NDS

nect directly via Wi-Fi. By con- icons are brighter and more activity, you select specific IN BRIEF
trast, Sansa Connect uses engaging than those used on actions by pressing two but-
Yahoo! Messenger to look for the iPod interface. SanDisk tons just below the display. On HTC ultramobile PC
friends who are connected clearly copped the Connect’s the left is the Options button, to have Intel inside
anywhere using a laptop or navigation from the iPod. The which enables you to do things
desktop computer or another primary navigation tool is a like rate or delete a song or
Sansa Connect. You then can round, rubberized thumb- album. On the right is the so-
see what music they are lis- wheel with a large button in called Zing button (Zing is the
tening to and download — the middle. Pressing on the company that masterminded
from Yahoo! — songs they left and right portions of the the user interface), which
recommend. Once download- thumbwheel moves you for- enables you, for instance, to
ed, you can listen to the music ward and back; the bottom download the entire album if
all you want. Zune only allows portion is for playing and you’re listening to a specific XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
H i g h Te c h C o m p u t e r
three plays before you must pausing music and pressing track or automatically create a XXXXXXXXXXX
(HTC) plans to use Intel
purchase the song. Getting the top portion displays the mix of songs similar to the
microprocessors in its
connected is simple. Once home screen. one you’re listening to.
forthcoming Shift
you are within range of a wire- On the home screen, you
ultramobile PC.
less network, you select an scroll among the icons by BIG AND BEAUTIFUL The news puts to rest
online task from the menu, rotating the thumbwheel. The the device itself is made
speculation that the
such as looking at your imag- icons rotate on-screen with of black plastic, which feels a
gadget would use a
es. After that, connecting brief descriptions beneath bit flimsy and certainly isn’t
microprocessor from Via
works, more or less, the same them. You select the function as exciting as Apple’s iPod.
Technologies, and could be
as connecting to a And at about 2 inch-
a sign of renewed vigor for
wireless network
with a laptop or
Zunes wireless capabilities es wide and 3.5
inches high, plus a
Intel in ultramobiles. Via
had been gaining traction
desktop computer. small stub antenna
If you need to enter a are stunted compared on top, the Connect
in the area, with design
wins in several devices,
password to log on to is significantly larg-
the network, an on- to the Sansa Connect. er than similarly-
including one from top-tier
vendor Samsung
screen list of letters spec’d 4GB devices.
Electronics in its Q1b.
and numbers appears and you you want by pressing the but- In particular, it’s about twice
The Shift runs on Windows
select digits and letters using ton in the middle of the as thick, about 10 percent per-
Vista and has a slide and
the device’s thumbwheel and thumbwheel. As long as Sansa cent wider and slightly taller
flip 7-inch touch-screen
buttons. You use the same was copying iPod’s time-prov- than the iPod nano. But, then,
that reveals a QWERTY-
method to log on to Yahoo! en navigation tools, it would you may like the reasons for
keyboard for easy typing. It
While powerful and simple, have done well to enable its size. For one thing, there’s
is also a 3G (third generation
there are a few additions to the adjusting volume by rotating the built-in Wi-Fi capabilities.
t e l e c o m m u n i c a t i o n s)
wireless capabilities we’d like to the thumbwheel. Instead, it Second, it has a satisfyingly
mobile phone, and it can
see. The most glaring omission has two buttons on the left bright 2.2-inch TFT color dis-
access the Internet
is that the Connect doesn’t yet side of the device for volume. play that is significantly larger
wirelessly using HSDPA
support the type of authentica- This isn’t a huge problem, but than any other display we’ve
(High Speed Downlink
tion needed to log on to public it’s easier to adjust volume seen on a 4GB flash device.
Packet Access) as well as
Wi-Fi networks. That means with the thumbwheel, and Sansa Connect is a signifi-
WiFi. The Shift, which is due
this device, which otherwise is that technique also simplifies cant step forward in terms of
before the end of the year,
nearly the perfect toy for loung- one-handed operation. usability and access to digital
will also come with a host of
ing in Baristas and Coffee Days, On the right side of the music and images, for now
other features, including a
won’t work there. device is a microSD slot for surpassing even the vaunted
30G byte hard drive for
adding more storage. That slot iPod to become the most fun
holding songs, movies and
THE INTERFACE could be useful because, curi- and flexible media player
other data.
t h e m os t im m edi at e l y ously, the device so far only we’ve seen. It also provides a
It will use the Intel Ultra
noticeable things about the comes with a capacity of 4GB, strong glimpse into the future
Mobile platform 2007
interface are the bright, ani- although Sansa is indicating it of digital media and how we’ll
aimed at extending battery
mated 3D icons with descrip- will offer other capacities be able to access it from virtu-
life in small devices.
tions below each one. These before long. In the midst of an ally anywhere.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 15
NEWS & T REN DS

IN BRIEF
SEARCH ENGINES
HP aims to speed
Google Themes Get Skinnable business printing
USERS CAN PICK FROM SCENES SUCH AS A BEACH, BUS STOP OR A CITY.
when I think of Google, I The “dynamic” in these So you’ll get the themes that
think of a site with a relent- dynamic themes means that Google makes available. And
lessly consistent—and ulti- you should notice changes in they’ll only appear if you have a
mately mundane—look and them from login to login. The Google Account and customize
feel. Which is why a fairly image you see might reflect your Homepage—not in other
minor new Google feature— the time of day. Or maybe the Google features such as Gmail.
Hewlett-Packard
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
has built
dynamic themes for the Goog- weather in your area. Or pos- Little by little, Google seems
its Edgeline XXXXXXXXXXX
print head into
le Personalized Homepage— sibly other factors which might to be allowing customizable,
two new departmental
is worthy of comment here. lead to entertaining surprises. fancy-schmancy visuals to be
printers designed for print
The Google Personalized The launch of dynamic part of its once relentlessly Spar-
volumes up to 50,000
Home Page, which is almost themes for Google’s Personal- tan world—I’m thinking also of
pages a month. The printers
two years old now, is among ized Homepage is as striking the Google Desktop’s Sidebar,
offer the speed of laser
Google’s most practical fea- for what it isn’t as for what it which has evolved from a plain-
printing with the color qual-
tures, especially now that you
ity and reliability of ink.
can customize your home
The CM8050 and
page with thousands of use-
CM8060 color multifunc-
ful gadgets from Google and
tion printer-copier-scan-
third parties. But Google Per-
ners, print in black at
sonalized Homepages have
speeds up to 50 or 60
been pretty prosaic, visually
pages per minute (ppm),
speaking—they’ve looked
respectively, and in color at
very much like every other
40 or 50 ppm. The new
Google service out there.
print heads deliver pig-
Dynamic themes change
ment-based ink and a bond-
that, but they’re as striking
ing agent across the full
for what they don’t do as what
width of an A4 page in one
they do. They have a remark-
go, allowing the printers to
ably modest effect on the THE NEW PERSONALIZED Google homapage adds a customizable
run faster than inkjet print-
color scheme of your gadgets, graphical bar around the Google logo.
ers that must scan back and
but that’s about it. Mostly,
forth across the paper. The
what they do is add a custom- is. For now, there are a grand jane add-on to a Windows utility
heads have a life of around
izable graphical bar around total of six themes. All the that’s as rich and good-looking
2 million pages, allowing
the Google log—a sort of off- ones I’ve seen look pretty slick as Windows Vista’s identically-
them to run for three years
shoot and expansion of the and tasteful; Google wants named feature.
under a typical service con-
holiday logos that have been them to be all about personali- These dynamic themes are
tract, the company said.
part of Google ever since zation rather than, say, tying slick, too. And while they don’t
The CM8050 and
there’s been a Google. In into movie promotions. All in seem to advance Google’s mis-
CM8060 contain six such
other words, a themed all, they’re modest and mini- sion—”to organize the world’s
heads arranged in pairs.
homepage has a dash more malist in the way that new information and make it uni-
The first pair delivers the
personality than an unthemed Google features often are. versally accessible and use-
bonding agent, the second
one, but both retain an essen- Can Web developers or ful”—in any way whatsoever,
the yellow and black ink, and
tially Googley look and feel. regular folks create these they do look like they’ll be fun,
the last cyan and magenta.
This is a modest launch in dynamic themes? Well, maybe especially if the graphical sur-
The printers also sport HP’s
other ways, too: There are a eventually—technically, there’s prises keep a coming. And like
EasySelect Control Panel, a
grand total of six themes for nothing standing in the way of many a new Google feature
common user interface it
now, involving subject matter it being an open platform. But before this one, it could be the
introduced six months ago.
like a Japanese garden, a city- for now, Google said , it wants to start of something bigger....
By Peter Sayer
scape, and a bus stop. keep things simple and limited. —By Harry McCracken

16 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
N EWS & T R E NDS

MOBILE COMPUTING

Windows Mobile 6: New E-Mail Options


HANDHELD OPERATING SYSTEM ALSO ADDS NEW EDITING POWERS IN CORE OFFICE APPS.
windows mobile 6— formatting in the new Microsoft says that people will
Microsoft’s generally OS. And now you can be able to upgrade certain
modest update of its edit data in an Excel Windows Mobile 5 devices—
operating system for spreadsheet (you still like the T-Mobile Dash—to the
handheld devices and can’t create formulas new version. HP’s first line of
smart phones—will or new spreadsheets, iPaq smart phones, the 500 se-
debut by midyear with though). Borrowing ries Voice Messengers, will be
enhancements for e- from Office 2007, the based on Windows Mobile 6.
mail and editing of calendar has a vaguely Previous versions of Win-
Office documents. ribbonlike interface dows Mobile provided more
Previously known by that shows your free functionality for Pocket PCs
the code name Cross- NEW SHORTCUTS TO common tasks speed up time. It also checks than for phones with keypads,
bow, Windows Mobile e-mail management in Windows Mobile 6. for schedule conflicts but those distinctions are now
6 simplifies e-mail ac- whenever you receive largely gone. However, Micro-
count setup and also provides address book. In addition, you a meeting invitation. soft will still offer two editions
new shortcuts to a multitude can read messages formatted Windows Mobile 6 supports of Windows Mobile 6, based
of common e-mail manage- in HTML, where applicable. some Windows Live services, on a handheld’s screen type: a
ment tasks such as replying to including Windows Live Mes- standard version intended for
all or deleting a message. MOBILE OFFICE senger. If your business works devices that don’t have touch
You can flag messages more the three core applications with Exchange Server 2007, screens, and Windows Mobile
easily, as well as view a history in Office—Word, Excel and you’ll find some useful im - 6 Pro for devices equipped with
of activity (calls and text mes- PowerPoint—more faithfully provements, such as the abil- touch screens and styluses.
sages) with contacts in your re-create and preserve desktop ity to search your mail folder. —Yardena Arar

U LTR A M O B I LE P Cs

AN EVER-

NEW FACE PRESENT Home


button enables

FOR TINY PCs you to return to


the main screen
HIGH HARDWARE PRICES of Origami
put a bit of a damper on the Experience,
CRITICAL STATUS
first generation of Ultra Mo- where you can
indicators are located on
bile PCs. Despite this, Micro- choose to
the title bar, making it
soft says it remains com- browse through
easy for you to hop onto a
mitted to the platform, and your media or
wireless network without
as hardware manufacturers launch programs
leaving the app.
work on new products, the and favorites.
software giant continues to
improve applications for the
devices. Here’s a look at its
most recent effort: a pro-
WHEN YOU’RE VIEWING CONTROLS FOR media playback are
gram launcher called “Ori-
media, the edges of the screen accessible from nearly every screen in
gami Experience” included
become tabs that let you Origami Experience, and the app remembers
in the version of Windows
switch between your library which media you were playing last, so you
Vista that runs on UMPCs.
and the Now Playing view. can easily pick up where you left off.
—Eric Dahl

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 17
NEWS & T REN DS

P O R TA B L E P C

Tech Innovations Fuel Low-Cost Laptop


STURDINESS AND SIMPLICITY ARE KEYS TO $150 NOTEBOOK FOR THE WORLD’S POOREST KIDS.
how do you make a laptop (www.laptop.org), a nonprofit a combination of innovative OLPC plans to start distrib-
that can tolerate sandstorms group founded by MIT Media technology (such as its dual- uting 5 million XOs in July. As
and monsoons, run on a car Lab veterans to get youngsters mode LCD) and old-fashioned production ramps up, the price
battery, and cost just Rs. in developing nations online. streamlining (it doesn’t have a should approach the original
6,750? That was the challenge OLPC’s XO notebook PC at- hard drive, and it uses a Linux- Rs.4,500 target, OLPC says.
facing One Laptop per Child tains its ultralow price through based operating system). —Tom Spring

DESIGN: THE XO’S case is UNDER THE HOOD: The XO has no moving parts; it relies on WIRELESS: THE BUILT-IN
made of 0.08-inch-thick 512MB of flash and 128MB of RAM. Heat from its 366-MHz 802.11b/g Wi-Fi allows XO
plastic (standard laptops AMD Geode CPU dissipates via the keyboard and display. units to function as mesh
use a less sturdy 0.05- network nodes that can
inch-thick plastic). Mesh Antennas connect and communicate
network antenna “ears” with other laptops even
Audio ports and one USB port Two USB ports under antenna
double as covers for USB when no link to the Internet
and audio ports. is available.

DISPLAY: A SWIVELING
lid with a 7.5-inch LCD Microphone
screen has a latch that Video camera
can lock it against the
keyboard to turn the XO
into an electronic book
Stereo speakers
reader. The display has
a high-resolution black-
Game pad
and-white mode for easy
reading in direct sunlight,
Power on/off button
and a back-lit, lower-
resolution color mode.
Battery indicator

Keyboard LEDs
Directional pad

Back-light control

OPERATING SYSTEM:
THE XO’s Linux-based BATTERY: THE XO
operating system can run consumes just one-tenth
Touchpad mouse
only software that isn’t the energy of a standard
hobbled by the notebook’s laptop. Powered by a
storage and memory nickel-metal hydride
PHOTOGRAPH: MIKE MCGREGOR

limitations (see “Under the battery, the XO can run


Hood,” above center). Open- for 3 to 22 hours on a
Office, for example, can’t INPUTS: THE RUBBER keyboard is sealed to keep out dirt and charge from a car
run on the XO—but the XO water. In addition to the keyboard, the XO’s inputs consist of a battery, a foot pedal,
does come with a version of touchpad mouse (below the keyboard), a game pad (at lower a pull string, or a
the Opera Web browser. right of screen), and a directional pad (at lower left of screen). conventional wall outlet.

18 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
NEWS & T REN DS

TEC H N O LO GY TR E N DS

COOL GADGETS
LATEST PRODUCTS IN THE GLOBAL MARKET.
If you’re like me then no matter how many new gadgets you see
everyday some still make you say “wow” when you first lay your
eyes on them. This month it’s an impressively small digital TV
tuner that’s doing the trick.
—By Martyn Williams

PANASONIC AVCHD CAMCORDERS


They’ve only been on the market a few months but Panasonic’s
high-definition camcorders are already getting an upgrade. The
SD card-based HDC-SD3 and DVD-based HDC-DX3 will capture
video at 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels in their highest quality mode
compared to just 1440 pixels by 1080 pixels resolution on the
two previous cameras, the SD1 and DX1. That’s an interesting
jump, especially since the older cameras were advertised as
“Full HD.” Apparently the HD wasn’t quite as full as it could have
been. At the two lower quality recording modes the resolution
remains unchanged. They record in AVCHD, the new HD format
jointly developed by Sony and Panasonic

LG NEW BEETLE MP3 PLAYER


LG Electronics is teaming up with car-maker Volkswagen on a
digital media player styled along the lines of the New Beetle car.
The player sports an aluminum body and will be available in
three of the same colors as the car: Salsa Red, Shadow Blue and
Sunflower Yellow. The design of the player’s user interface was
inspired by the car, and the device also has a small VW badge on
DIGITAL TV ON AN SD CARD
the front panel and a New Beetle logo on it’s rear. However the ELSA Japan’s Telebit card is compatible with Japan’s “OneSeg”
inspiration doesn’t extend to the shape of the player, which digital TV system and even includes a built-in antenna, although
looks like other MP3 players on the market. The specifications an external antenna can be connected if needed. It comes
are fairly standard for a media player of its class. It has a 2.4- packaged with a Windows viewing application that also allows
inch color LCD screen and can play MPEG-4, Windows Media for time-shift viewing of TV shows and access to the electronic
Video 9, MP3, Windows Media Audio and Ogg-format files. It will program guide. Because the OneSeg system is unique to Japan,
come in two versions: 2G-byte and 4G-byte. don’t expect to see it on sale elsewhere.

20 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
N EWS & T R E NDS

SONY 120HZ BRAVIA LCD TVS


Sony’s latest Bravia TVs are about to hit the market and they
pack the latest in LCD TV industry buzz-speak: 120Hz scanning.
This involves refreshing the picture at double the rate of a
conventional TV set, a benefit when watching programs where
there is a lot of horizontal motion, for example in a football game.
The double refresh rate (it would be 100Hz in Europe) means the
motion appears smoother and the overall picture better. The new
Bravia J5000-series has this, with the bonus that the TVs are
DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliant, so you can
network them with other home electronics devices.

TOSHIBA GIGABEAT U
Toshiba pleasantly surprises with a colorful choice of models
each time it launches new Gigabeat music players, and the U-
series are no exception. Available in white, orange and blue, the
players have a 1.1-inch color EL display, can play Windows Media
(unprotected or DRMed), MP3 or WAV audio files and have a
built-in FM transmitter so you can listen to your songs through
a radio and don’t have to worry about audio cables. Battery life
is about 20 hours and a 10-minute quick charge will get you 3
hours of playback.

IO DATA 1TB HIGH-DEF RECORDER


High-definition TV is great when you watch live but recording it often presents problems. For a
start most recorders just can’t handle HD signals and those that do often come with a hefty price
tag. So it’s nice to see a lower price high-def recorder from IO Data. The snappily-named HVR-
HD1000LE packs 1T-byte of storage space and does not have a tuner from the recorder. Instead it
hooks up to a TV or satellite tuner over an IEEE-1394 connection. There’s room to record 103
hours of terrestrial digital TV in full high-definition.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 21
ERIC DAHL

ERIC DAHL

HERE\NOW

Cheap Ink? Say It’s So! 1 COOLIT ELIMINATOR:


Self-contained proc-
PLUS: OUTSIDE-THE-BOX UPGRADES, ELECTIONS IN THE WEB 2.0 ERA. essor water cooling sys-
PRINTS FOR PENNIES EXTERNAL PCI tem installs in 10 minutes.
EXPRESS www.coolitsystems.com/
The Buzz: Line up all
index.php?option=content
the pages you could The Buzz: Thanks to a
&task=view&id=132
print using a gallon of ink, new PCI Express spec,
and you’d get almost as far as your next graphics card might 2 CLIPMARKS: Grab
the best bits of a Web
you would on a gallon of reside in a box outside your PC.
page to blog about or save
gasoline. Unfortunately, that The PCI Ex press group
for later. clipmarks.com
gallon of ink would cost approved its first external
upwards of Rs.1,57,500. And cabling specification, which 3 CUTS: This beta on-
line video editor al -
you thought gas prices were means system builders can
lows you to remix clips
out of control. Well, Kodak bring the full speed of PCI
from YouTube, Google, and
aims to change that with its Rs. 11.25. A black ink car- Express x16 to external periph-
MySpace. cuts.com
new line of EasyShare all-in- tridge good for 300 pages will erals up to 10 feet away.
one inkjet printers that make retail for Rs. 450, com- With high-end graphics boards 4 D UA L- F L I P : Sam-
sung’s SCH-u740 dual-
use of cheaper pigment-based pared with competing offer- approaching 200 watts per card,
hinge cell phone is one of
ink and special paper. Kodak ings priced at about Rs. 765. the power and cooling demands
the cooler handsets to hit
says a color cartridge for one Bottom Line: We’ll have to they put on a system have be-
Verizon in years. http://
of the new models will go for wait and see how the output come enormous. Gamers
samsung.com/Products/
Rs. 675, or a little over half looks before we can render a should quickly embrace this
MobilePhones/Verizon/
the cost of most competing final verdict; still, any news of technology to move high-end
SCH_U740CDAVZW.asp
inks. That should drive the cheaper printer ink—from a graphics setups outside the PC
cost of printing a4 by 6 photo company as solid as Kodak, case—even though such solu- 5 NING: Ever wanted to
have your own social
down from Rs. 4.50 to around no less—is always welcome. tions could cost as much as Rs.
network? Ning will let you
54,000. External graphics boxes,
build one. ning.com
FUTURE TECH with cooling and a power sup-
ply built in, should start arriv-
ing this year, yielding some Internet will play an even larger
WHAT’S NEXT FOR WINDOWS interesting new designs. role in the 2008 campaign. Staff
bloggers now are nearly a
Bottom Line: Imagine hav-
HAVING FINALLY SHIPPED Windows Vista after years of devel-
ing a one-box PVR upgrade requirement for presidential
opment, Microsoft may feel its programmers are due a nice, long
with a tuner and a hard drive, campaigns. And with socially
vacation. Hence, perhaps, the code names for the next major
thanks to external graphics. filtered news sites and a
releases on the Windows road map: Fiji and Vienna. Microsoft
External PCI Express should burgeoning political blogosphere
won’t say much about them, but observers point to Fiji as an
make both of them possible. ready to seize on any misstep, the
interim release—either a service pack for Vista slated for the end
stakes at any public appearance
of the year, or a larger Vista revision set for 2008. Vista’s true CAMPAIGNING 2.0 have never been higher.
ILLUSTRATION: GORDON STUDER

successor won’t arrive until 2009 at the very earliest, when


The Buzz: Bloggers, Bottom Line: If you thought
Microsoft tentatively plans to roll out Vienna. According to Win-
Internet polling, and political debate couldn’t get
dows watcher Paul Thurrot, Vienna will be 64-bit only and should
MoveOn.org each had their any more high-minded, just
have a new Internet Explorer (designed by the team that created
moment in the sun during wait till the first text message
Office 2007’s ribbon), an increased focus on virtualization, and
2004’s presidential election. from a campaign leaks: OMG
(finally) the long-delayed file system update known as WinFS.
Three years later, it’s clear the LOL, you call that policy?!

22 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
THE OTHER SIDE
SACHIN KALBAG

The Age of Multimedia Entertainment


Just before its scheduled late March premiere, Planet Earth could have and beyond. Consumers such as you and
st me no longer talk about single-medium
been just another lavish documentary on the Discovery Channel, a 21
dispersion of news and entertainment –
century jazzed up version of the groundbreaking David Attenborough along with newspapers, we want television
programming on our cell phones; we want
series in the 1980s, The Living Planet. Attenborough, however fascinating
breaking news on television as well as on
his series was, would not have imagined synchronicity was such that the informa- the Web and on cell phones; we don’t just
what the creators of Planet Earth did tion spiel on the website would pause the want photos or live coverage of the Aish-
when it aired a month ago. moment there was a commercial break on warya-Abhishek wedding, we want to put
It was not just about the technology that TV and later, throw up exactly the same up our phone videos (if we’re invited, that
they used (after all, many documentary information you were looking for when is!) on YouTube. If we have an opinion to
filmmakers have access to the same tech- the programme talked about, say, the fas- share, we don’t just express our opinion in
nology), it is also about how they used it. cinating species of the Galapagos Islands a letter to a newspaper’s editor, we blog it;
If you have not seen it yet, I would recom- in Ecuador – the place where Charles Dar- sometimes even videoblog it.
mend an instant replay – the photography win became convinced of evolution. With Planet Earth, however, the bar is now
from space, the rare images of some of the In short, we were watching one of the most set even higher for both entertainment pro-
most endangered species and even the successful experiments in multimedia enter- gramming and for multimedia technology
scope of production, take your breath away. tainment (OK, infotainment, if you like!). – we will no longer accept production quali-
Yet, what I am truly happy about the series A few months ago, on this very col- ties anything lower than what have seen, or
is not just my hunger for nature program- umn, we had discussed how entertain- would not expect leading broadcasters to
ming being satiated, but also the fact that, ment would define and drive innovation adopt a multimedia simulcast policy with
as a viewer, I am able to interact with the in personal technology during this decade enriched content and instant interactivity.
creators in real-time, participate in a pro- The media, in general, and entertainment,
gramme rather than just be a couch potato The media and in particular, are on its way to become a full-
and even express my opinion instantly. time two-way street, and the only handicap
Discovery ensured that Planet Earth –
entertainment are I can see would be our imagination. Discov-
now regarded as one of the best documen- on its way to ery Channel’s Planet Earth is one of those
tary series ever made – would get real-time rare victories in multimedia entertainment
multimedia play on both television and
become a full-time that need to set the pace for Indian enter-
the Web. The series premiere had millions two-way street. tainment conglomerates to work out a
watching the programme nationwide multimedia attack. What, for instance,
on television, and thousands on its stops Ektaa Kapoor – now surely India’s
official website simultaneously inter- leading television producer – to have
acting with conservators, answering her actors or directors or script writers
real-time quizzes and getting the to speak with their viewers in real time
inside dope on every single aspect of as an episode airs, or even solicit ideas
the programme as it was being aired. from them for alternate endings that
For instance, if there was a segment can be played exclusively on the Web?
on the Polar Bear on TV, the website The point is that, the technology is
ILLUSTRATION: MM SHANITH

would give you all the inside dope on already there – it’s only our imagination
a Polar Bear’s habitat, why the species that stops us from exploiting it.
is endangered, an instant trivia section
and a live chat with M Sanjayan, the Sachin Kalbag is the Washington,
lead scientist of the world renowned DC, correspondent of Daily News and
Nature Conservancy Group. The Analysis, a Mumbai-based newspaper.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 23
TECH TONIC SOHAM RANINGA

Bye-Bye Windows XP ?
Is Microsoft desperately attempting to force its new OS upon you?
being already in the middle of the magic wand they expected it
a lawsuit over the “Vista Capable” to be and it will take a while to
certification being misleading, get its grip on the market. Sight-
Microsoft now finds itself in ing a preference for Windows XP
the middle of another brewing over Vista, Microsoft’s wants to
controversy. The announcement keep its equation on the sales
of closing doors on Windows XP revenues and penetration figures
by Microsoft is not going well with for Vista intact.
users and manufacturers alike. On
its Microsoft Life-Cycle Policy Web AN OPPORTUNITY TO LOOK
page, Microsoft has announced ELSEWHERE
plans to discontinue shipments “a reason to go open source!”
of Windows XP to OEMs from a colleague responded to Micro-
January 31, 2008. With countless soft’s announcement. While the
applications standardized on open source community will
Windows XP, the transition to give numerous reasons why we
Windows Vista won’t be simple and in ness houses who seem to be content with should upgrade to Linux, Microsoft
many cases almost impossible. Windows XP and hence do not see a need itself has given OEMs and home-users
With the current hardware require- to upgrade in near future. a reason to consider other alternatives.
ments for Windows Vista, users will have Vendors might just offer a wider range
to invest in more powerful machines to VISTA FAILS TO MEET THE HYPE of products without bundled operat-
be able to run the applications with same IT’S CREATED ing systems, giving users a free hand
speed and performance as their current while Windows Vista might look a lot in choosing the OS that best suits
Windows XP based machine. Microsoft’s cooler and offer some fancy features, it’s their needs.
Windows XP has been a popular choice not as polished with regard to core func- It may not be surprising to see SMBs
amongst SMB and home users alike and tionality and compatibility side yet. Win- and home-users considering a shift to
it is by no stretch of imagination nearing dows XP has extensive software and driver the popular Linux distributions that
the end of its product life cycle. So the support which makes it a lot more hassle offer required functionalities. Hovering
decision to shun Windows XP within a free to adopt and maintain. With experts around the numerous local tech forums
year of Vista’s release is being met with not yet convinced on the security aspects and community websites, I clearly gath-
a lot of flak. of Windows Vista, users are also cautious ered that common opinion of users not
Microsoft obviously wants to ensure about making the switch. Microsoft’s trick convinced with Vista revolved around
that the OEMs and PC manufacturers to keep DirectX 10 exclusive to Vista might deciding to stick to Windows XP while
gear themselves up for Windows Vista help them get the hardcore PC Gamers on trying out various Linux distros. Micro-
but taking the Windows XP option out of their side but this will take its own sweet soft may do well to heed its community
the system won’t go down well with ven- time. DirectX 10 hardware is in a nascent of dedicated users and continue to sup-
dors either. Dell has announced its deci- stage and very few DX 10 games have been port Windows XP a while longer.
sion to continue selling XP-based PCs to announced. Gamers clearly prefer to hang
W R I T E B AC K
cater to the SMB market which accord- on to Windows XP for its superior compat-
ILLUSTRATION: ANIL T

ing to Dell needs more time to migrate ibility and better performance yield with
Share your views and experiences on
to Vista. The costs involved in training current games.
technology hits and misses. Write to
staff in adapting to a new OS is a clear It’s quite possible that Microsoft has
me at techtonic@pcworld.in.
deterrent for small and medium busi- realized that Windows Vista isn’t quite

24 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
BUGS & FIXES STUART J. JOHNSTON

Microsoft Security Programs Create Risk


Plus: Fixes for Internet Explorer and Office, and changes to Windows support.
a new fl aw in Microsoft Microsoft also patched a fist- via Automatic Updates; the IN BRIEF
security software turns the ful of critical holes affecting fixes appear to have come out
software that’s supposed to be Internet Explorer 6. Some of before any known attacks. Firefox Update
protecting you into a threat. the flaws actually reside in The first two fixes close
NEW VERSIONS OF Firefox
This critical hole appears in holes in two different ActiveX
(2.0.02 and 1.5.0.10) and
Microsoft’s Malware Protec- controls used by Windows
Thunderbird (1.5.0.10) close
tion Engine, a part of Win- (and loadable by IE) for HTML
a number of holes, two of
dows Defender and Windows Help and Microsoft Data Ac-
which are critical. Upgrade
Live OneCare, as well as of cess Components. The sec-
via either program’s auto-
the Microsoft Antigen and ond two repair flaws involving
matic update feature, and
Microsoft Forefront Security IE’s handling of COM objects.
obtain more information at
business programs. Through Get more on the Help flaw at
www.mozilla.com/en-US/fire-
it, attackers could take over www.microsoft.com/tech-
fox/2.0.0.2/releasenotes/.
a vulnerable PC running the net/security/Bulletin/ms07-
A virus scan
security software on any sup- 008.mspx and on the MDAC Google Desktop Fix
ported version of Windows, could trigger problem at www.microsoft.
RESEARCHERS discovered
including Vista, if one of the com/technet/security/bulle-
affected programs scans a
the attack. tin/ms07-009.mspx.
that an infected Web site or
e-mail could trick Desktop
doctored PDF file sent as an Windows, but all create the Details on the COM flaws are
into divulging your data
e-mail attachment or down- risk of drive-by downloads if at www.microsoft.com/technet/
(www.networkworld.com/
loaded from the Web. you browse a poisoned site security/bulletin/ms07-016.
news/2007/022207-google-
No active attacks against this with IE 6 on Windows 2000 mspx, along with info on the
desktop-flaw.html). If Goog-
hole are known to exist, but if SP4 through XP SP2. Vista is final hole, which can be target-
le’s auto-update fix (to
you haven’t already received not affected, and IE 7 offers ed if you click a poisoned FTP
5.0.701.30540) didn’t reach
the fix through Automatic additional protection by re- (file transfer protocol) link in an
you, grab the new version at
Updates, get it now from www. quiring multiple confirma- e-mail or on a hacked site.
desktop.google.com.
microsoft.com/technet/secu- tions to run ActiveX. All the
rity/Bulletin/ms07-010.mspx. patches have been distributed OFFICE ATTACKS
just as microsoft thought it rated the same, and involves
had fixed the last of a string the usual tainted e-mail
VISTA PHOTO GOTCHAS, SOFTWARE FIX of exploited holes in its attachments or download-
IF YOU CREATE digital photo tags using Microsoft’s Photo Info Office applications, another ed file (details at www.micro-
program in Vista, existing tags can become unreadable. Worse one popped up. The fixed soft.com/technet/security/
yet, photos in Nikon’s raw format can become unviewable. portions (distributed via advisory/933052.mspx).
Until camera companies provide driver updates, the workaround Automatic Updates) close Stuart J. Johnston is a
is, first, to avoid using the Photo Acquisition Wizard. Instead, use vulnerabilities considered contributing editor to PC World.
the camera maker’s software to upload pics, or drag and drop them critical in Word 2000 and
rated important in Works BUGGED?
ILLUSTRATION: P.C. ANOOP

directly from the camera. Second, don’t use Windows Photo Gallery
or Windows Explorer to edit photo tags or properties. Read more and in other Word versions
FOUND A HARDWARE or
at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/927527/en-us. In other Vista (more at www.microsoft.
software bug? Tell us about
news, a compatibility patch allows a slew of older programs and com/technet/security/Bul-
it by sending an e-mail
games to run under the OS. For the fix and the list of affected letin/MS07-014.mspx ). The
to feedback@pcworld.in.
software, see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929427. new, as-yet-unpatched bug is

26 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS REVIEWS

31 W880I - 3G WALKMAN PHONE


32 ASUS EN8800GTS VIDEO CARD

REVI
VIEWS
WS &
32 STYLISH AND PORTABLE NU
DVD WRITER
33 SPYWARE DOCTOR 5.0 BETA
34 MICROSOFT’S EXPRESSION WEB
34 EP-630 - NOISE ISOLATION

RANKINGS
ANKINGS
EAR PHONE FROM CREATIVE
35 CANON MP510 INKJET MFD
36 SONY VAIO SLEEK PC
37 ZONEALARM INTERNET
SECURITY SUITE 7.0
38 SEAGATE 750 GB BACKUP

L A B -T E S T E D A NDDU H
MAONUDRS -EODNI TEEVA
D LU
B YATKI A
ONLP
S AONF AT H
EET T
LEAT
NESSOTNP &
R ORDAUM
COT SN

Spacious Storage Gets Cheaper Still


HIGHER SPEEDS AND LOWER PRICES MAKE 320GB THE WAY TO GO FOR DESKTOP STORAGE
S T O R AG E cost. Do bear in mind that mine which of these offers top of the performance chart
just as you upgrade 320GB drives offer the lowest the best buy over all. is the ST3320620AS from
your system and cost per GB in hard drives as Seagate’s much acclaimed
think you’ll not run out of of now and will also future- PERFORMANCE Barracuda 7200.10 family
space for a while, the movies proof you for some time to we used Everest 2006 that features perpendicular
just get bigger, your music come. We tested 320GB hard Ultimate’s low level disk recording. It posted a random
collection grows, games read speed of 68.5MBps, much
demand close to 10GB and faster than the 55-58 MBps
operating systems are get- that the other drives
ting space hun- managed. The low
gry as well. The level random
storage industry read and random
is one of the most write tests
dynamic in the IT give a reliable
field as even enter- indication of
prises constantly drive behavior in
need more stor- real world usage.
age owing to wear Though the
out of older drives transfer rates
and demand for will be lesser in
more space. real world sce-
Hard drives are nario owing to
available today in all operating system overheads
capacities upto the 1TB and inconsistencies, you can
mark, but for most home expect all drives to be affect-
PHOTOGRAPHS: SRIVATSA SHANDILYA

users, the best buy (cost per benchmarking tool ed by the same proportion.
GB) rests at the 160GB and to test the read and write The Hitachi and the Western
the 320GB marks. With stor- speeds (in linear and random Digital are third and fourth
age, no matter how much you disks with 16MB buffer and modes) of the drives. A respectively in the perform-
have, you’ll always want more SATA interface from the low level testing ensures ance tables, both managing
and hence we recommend a four leading manufacturers that operating system’s about 58MBps in random
320GB if you can afford its – Hitachi, Samsung, Seagate inconsistencies do not affect read. You can see the graphs
relatively higher purchase and Western Digital, to deter- the result of the test. At the on page 42 for better under-

28 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

38 SAMSUNG SGH-E520 SLIDER PHONE 41 NOD32 ANTIVIRUS SYSTEM


39 AMD 690V BASED MOTHERBOARD 41 7MP A700 CAMERA FROM FUJI
FROM JETWAY 42 22 INCH MONITOR FROM SAMSUNG
40 SIGHTSPEED’S VIDEO CALLING SOFTWARE 42 LEADTEK’S TV2000 XP GLOBAL TUNER
43 FINGERPRINT LOCK PEN DRIVE FROM WEP

36 32

standing of the differences in INTERNAL HARD DRIVE PCW Rating Performance Features

the benchmark scores. Seagate Barracuda


Most internal hard drives
offer high transfer speed in
1
72100.10 ST3320620AS
Best Rs.4,450
BUY
84
Very Good
• Overall performance: Very Good
• Random write speed: 64.3 MB/s
• Random read speed: 68.5 MB/s
• NCQ : Yes
• Number of platters : 2
• Perpendicular Recording : Yes

the beginning sectors and 3 Bottom line: Offers best performance and priced less as well. Coupled with its 5 year warranty, you can’t go wrong with this drive.
gradually decrease to just
about 50% of that figure
towards the end of the drive. 2
Hitachi Deskstar
HDT725032VLA360
Rs. 4,600
81
Very Good
• Overall performance: Good
• Random write speed: 59.7 MB/s
• Random read speed: 57.5 MB/s
• NCQ : Yes
• Number of platters : 2
• Perpendicular Recording : No
This decrease is not linear
3 Bottom line: Good performance and competitive pricing sees this drive in second place. Has lowest power consumption as well.
and hence the average speed
that you see on the graph
next page does not always
tell the full story. Hence, we
3
Samsung HD321KJ
Rs. 5,200
78Good
• Overall performance: Very Good
• Random write speed: 66.8 MB/s
• Random read speed:54.5 MB/s
• NCQ : Yes
• Number of platters : 2
• Perpendicular Recording : No

included two other factors in 3 Bottom line: Performance almost on par with the Barracuda, but the higher price tag bogs the Samsung to third place.
our calculation – percentage
of the drive where write
speed is above 60 MBps 4
Western Digital WD3200KS
Rs. 4,600
75Good
• Overall performance: Good
• Random write speed: 58.4 MB/s
• Random read speed: 58.1 MB/s
• NCQ : No
• Number of platters : 3
• Perpendicular Recording : No
and 50 MBps. The Seagate
3 Bottom line: Last in the performance table costing about the same as other drives, this is not an attractive option.
a n d t h e Sa m s u n g w e r e
the most consistent, with CHART NOTE: The test rig consisted of an Intel D975XBX motherbaord with 2x 1GB DDR2 800MHz RAM and a WD 150GB Raptor hard disk.
The prices mentioned above are indicative street prices as of the time of this review, and are subject to change according to various factors.
about 70% of the drive area
showing transfer speeds up
to 60 MBps and 88% above manufactures and enthusi- performance in servers. support this function, else
50 MBps. The WD was the asts alike. Seagate has been Except WD, all other NCQ will get disabled on the
weakest with not even half the first manufacturer to drives in this test are NCQ drive. The notable advantage
the drive area (47%) above use this technology in desk- enabled. Put simply. NCQ in a single user scenario is
the 60MBps mark. top drives with the 7200.10 allows a drive to reorder the not consistent, however.
The implication is that with series, including the 320GB read / write instructions it Number of platters (or physical
the WD, data transfer beyond that is featured in this test. receives from the operating disks) that a hard drive has
the half capacity mark will be This new concept promises system such that the various will have a bearing on its
slower, but with the Seagate or upto 10 fold increase in drive operations can be performed reliability and performance
the Samsung, you have 70% capacities when compared more efficiently. This works as well (for a given capacity).
of the drives’s capacity to go the conventional longitudi- to advantage in cases where Though we simply say ‘hard
before you see speeds drop. anal recording. data has to be read from or disk’, most of today’s high
NCQ or Native Command written to multiple scattered capacity drives are actually
FEATURES Q u e u i n g i s a S ATA I I areas of the disk – typical composed of two or more
Perpendicular Recording is feature that is primarily of a server. Note that your physical disks. All drives
a hot topic amongst drive aimed to increase hard drive motherboard must also e x c e p t f o r t h e We s t e r n

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 29
R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

T E S T R E S U LT S T E S T R E S U LT S

Everest Ultimate 2006 Everest Ultimate 2006


Random / Lenar Write Speeds Random and Linear Read
80 80
M B p s

M B p s
70 70

60 60

50 50

40 40

30 30

20 20

10 10

0 0
Seagate Samsung Hitachi WD Seagate Samsung Hitachi WD

Random Write Linear Write Linear Read Random Read

Digital (that has 3) have two which is useful if you have with equally impressive aver- for the Samsung which is
platters, each with 166MB an older power supply. age read and write speeds. The costlier by 10% with an average
unformatted space. The Samsung is in a close second selling price of Rs 5,200.
lesser the number of disks VERDICT place while the Hitachi and Seagate’s performance,
- the lesser the chances of this time around, for a WD lag behind somewhat. coupled with its competi-
failure and generally, better change, spotting the best Hard disks do not have vast tive pricing makes it the best
performance as well. buy was not too difficult. The variations in pricing amongst buy in the 320GB hard disk
We s t e r n D i g i t a l a n d Seagate is clearly ahead in the similar capacities. The average category. The five year war-
Hitachi have molex power performance arena with con- street price for 320GB hard ranty from Seagate must take
connectors (apart from the sistent transfer speeds over disks with 16MB buffer is care of any ‘just in case’ hard
standard SATA connector) 70% of the drive area and between Rs.4500 – 4,700, except disk crash scenarios. West-
ern Digital offers on-site
TIPS
replacement through its ‘WD
Express’ scheme.
Optimise your hard disk’s performance The Samsung’s higher Rs
500 does not seem
NO MATTER WHAT hard drive you have, here are minutes or you fre-
justifiable. It is this
some tips for you to get better speeds and quently take such
pricing differen-
increase the life of your disk. breaks, as frequent
tial that puts the
Defragment your drive: This is one of the oft start-stops can actu-
third fastest drive,
repeated tips, yet we say this again - and for a ally reduce the drive’s
the Hitachi in sec-
good reason. Defragmentation put together in life. Use it if you are
ond place, ahead of
contiguous locations various chunks of individual going away for a cou-
the Samsung.
files scattered across the disk, so that it can be ple of hours and you
When you go hard
accessed faster and with lesser mechanical strain dont want to switch
drive shopping, be
to the hard disk. Use the Windows defragmenta- off and on your PC.
sure to specifically
tion tool or a free tool like AusLogics Defrag- Avoid tilting or oth-
ask for one with
menter (www.auslogics.com/disk-defra). erwise moving your
a 16MB buffer (preferably
Use power saving options: The lesser you make PC when the PC is on. Hard drives do not take
quote the model numbers
your hard drive work, the longer it lasts. If you are too kindly to being moved around while they are
that you see here). Do not
used to leaving your PC idle while you step out, working! And, if you hear a screeching noise
buy the 8MB versions, given
enable hard disk power off under Power Manage- from your PC that coincides with the hard drive
that the latter are cheaper by
ment or just Hibernate your PC which will switch activity indicator (usually the red or amber
just a few hundred Rupees
power your hard disk off. However, do Not use this LED), it’s time for you to backup immediately
which is no great saving.
option if you are going to be away for just a few and be prepared for a new hard disk.
—Kailas Shastry

30 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Slim Walkman with 3G DESIGN


M U S I C P H O N E produced a crisp and warm the W880i has to be seen to be
simply a stunning piece sound with good bass. believed. It measures 103mm x
of industrial design, Sony The headphones include 46.5mm x 9.4 mm and weighs
Ericsson’s latest entry into the an adapter which allows a 71g. It is a delight to hold in
Walkman range is one of the standard 3.5mm headphone your hand and easily slides into
thinnest 3G mobile phones jack to be used. a pocket or bag. The brushed
ever released. The W880i steel finish gives a feel of excel-
features a sleek, brushed steel FEATURES lent build quality, sophistication
face, a 2 megapixel camera, the W880i handled voice and class.
push e-mail support, and a 1GB calls fairly well, although we The keypad, Although
Memory Stick Micro (M2) - all did notice that in-call volume small, are very responsive, and
of this squeezed into a device could have been much louder. the generous spacing between
measuring just 9.4mm thin. It’s fine for using the phone to keys means that users should
your ear, but using the hands- be able to achieve reasonable,
WALKMAN free speakerphone with some if not lightning fast messaging
the W880i includes the background noise isn’t ideal. speeds. Both the keypad and
latest version of Sony Erics- The W880i is a 3G phone, so THE NEW SLIM Walkman is not controls have a bright, white
son’s proprietary music soft- it includes dual cameras - a 2 only a head turner but filled with backlight, so using the phone
ware, Walkman version 2.0. megapixel camera on the rear features too in the dark isn’t a problem.
The new edition offers some for taking photographs and Despite being so thin, Sony
welcome features, as well as a VGA camera on the front In addition to the Walkman Ericsson hasn’t failed to include
a stylish new look. An icon for video calling (which can’t feature, there is a video player any controls. The W880i
representing each menu has be used for taking photos). and games, as well as some includes a volume slider and
been added for a sleeker and Unfortunately, the camera of Sony Ericsson’s proprietary dedicated camera button on its
more structured feel. It still doesn’t include auto focus or a applications such as VideoDJ, left, and a dedicated Walkman
uses the previous tiered sys- flash, but it does have 2.5x digital PhotoDJ and Music DJ. There’s button on the right.
tem with artists, albums, art- zoom. The W880i’s camera also remote control and sound Battery life is about average.
ists, tracks and playlist menus. should be enough to keep users recording functions as well On average, we charged the
The W880i also features A2DP happy for the odd photo thanks as Bluetooth 2.0 and USB 2.0 handset every two or three days,
which enables you wirelessly to panorama, frames and burst connectivity. Unfortunately depending on usage patterns.
stream your music to a pair of shooting modes, night mode, a there is no FM radio included. —Ross Catanzariti
Bluetooth headphones. 10 second self-timer, black and One cool feature of the
In terms of sound quality, white, sepia and negative effects W880i is the ability to blog. W880i
the W880i is on par with as well as the ability to adjust In a couple of easy steps you Sony Ericsson
previous Walkman handsets. white balance. Video recording can take a photo, write a small PCW Rating 84 Very Good
For a mobile phone its audio is below average at best. snippet of text and publish it Slim Walkman with 3G, dual
quality is quite notable and The W880i also offers plenty on the Internet as a blog - all camera but without FM.
the included earphones of entertainment options. through the phone itself. Price: Rs. 23,999

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 31
R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

A Premium Graphics Package


V I D EO CA R D mance front we compared it to
last month we reviewed the the Leadtek’s Geforce 8800GTS
Geforce 8800GTS 320MB from and the results were right on
Leadtek and it proved to be an the mark as expected. The card
excellent choice for a DirectX logged 96 FPS (Frames Per Sec-
10 video card that offers a suf- ond) while running F.E.A.R.
ficiently future-proof solution with all the image quality set-
without breaking the bank. The tings maxed out and resolution
Asus EN8800GTS 320MB is set to 1280 x 960, scoring one
also based on the same Geforce frame higher than the Leadtek
8800GTS chipset backed by 8800GTS that logged 95 FPS.
320MB of memory. Priced at Scoring 8519 points in 3DMark THE ASUS EN8800GTS 320MB sticks to the reference design. The
Rs 23,000 this Asus card is a 2006, the Asus EN8800GTS is heavy duty cooler keeps the temperatures in control
thousand rupees dearer than about 15 percent slower than
the Leadtek. On the perfor- the Geforce 8800GTX based in the high-end segment. additional thousand rupees
cards which are priced 30-40 Asus betters the deal with an you spent on the card is abso-
EN8800GTS 320MB percent higher. excellent package that con- lutely justified. If you are look-
Asus With excellent video play- sists of full versions of two ing for a meaty video card
PCW Rating 85 Very Good back functionalities, and abil- popular games. Ghost Recon upgrade, the Asus
Asus delivers with great ity to render high definition Advanced War Fighter and EN8800GTS 320MB should
performance and a generous content without taxing the GTI Racing. Given the list of top your list for its perform-
bundle to match. CPU, these 8800GTS 320MB freebies, the Asus branding ance, features and package.
Price: : 23,000 based cards offer superb value and three year warranty, the —Soham Raninga

Sleek and Stylish DVD Writer from NU


S T O R A G E one seeing it for the first time. is marked as being 8x capable. slide the CD / DVD in and
can you associate style with The drive, called SuperMulti A regular internal drive would watch the NU accept it grace-
a DVD writer? Well, if it’s an Drive ESW846 is extremely do it in about 5 minutes (at fully. An acrylic stand enables
NU, then you can! Known sleek, measuring less than 2 16x). Burning a DVD+RW the drive to be placed vertically
for making rather impressive centimeter in thickness. at 4x (both media and the as well. Noise and vibration
looking computer peripher- The drive can handle all cur- drive were rated at 4x) saw a levels are minimal and the
als, NU has made an external rent DVD formats including slighter difference in speeds. drive scores high on design.
DVD writer that can double DVD RAMs. When we used The NU did the job in 14 min- There are no visible screws as
up as a mirror. Yes, we mean a 16x rated HP DVD+R, the utes while internal drives take well – all adding up to make
that literally – the top of the NU burnt it at 2.4x taking a about 12 minutes. this a life style product rather
casing has an extremely reflec- leisurely 23 minutes to burn The combination of the than a sheer utility one.
tive finish that surprises any- 4.1GB of data, even though it bundled Nero 6.6 and the NU This NU can handle all
present issues in detecting DVD formats, has appeal, but
optimal burn speeds for dif- is pricey as well.
ferent makes of DVDs, so be —Kailas Shastry
prepared to see some tortoise
timings with certain DVDs. SuperMulti Drive ESW846
CD read / write times are NU
rated at 24x, and thankfully, PCW Rating 75 Good
the drive sticks to this speed. Ably complements a stylish
The loading mechanism is notebook, has great appeal, but
THIS STYLISH DVD writer is less than 2 cm thick and can be carried slot-in type (like car CD play- is pricey.
with ease. ers) and has no drive door. Just Price: Rs. 5,750

32 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

PC Tools Spyware Doctor 5.0 beta


S O F T W A R E from revamped multi-user
it seems like only yesterday support, since version 5.0
that Spyware Doctor 4.0 was supports the removal and
launched, but version 5.0 is detection of threats from all
already with us. At first glance, logged-in user accounts.
the two versions look remark- Incoming and outbound
ably similar. Probe a little deep- emails are scanned through
er, though, and the feature set the Email Guard, although
has been noticeably extended. we weren’t able to test this
Spyware Doctor is now feature in the beta. File Guard
able to integrate with other scans files in real time, while
PC Tools products. With this the Process Guard has better
release there’s a free optional rootkit detection – although
upgrade to the PC Tools anti- it’s switched off by default. SPYWARE DOCTOR 5.0: one of the
virus engine, so that incoming As before, Spyware Doctor’s best antispyware utility available
emails are checked for spyware protection breaks down into
and viruses, while the scanner two components: an on- programs initiating auto- the malware pudding a bit,
looks for both sorts of mal- demand scanner and a number matically with your PC, block describing tracking cookies as
ware. Plus, there are plans for of real-time monitors. File programs that collect your infections – a trifle fanciful.
integration with Firewall Plus scanning has been accelerated keyboard input, stop known
to provide an integrate d suite. thanks to its patent-pending malicious programs running VERDICT
spider-scanning technology. A and prevent access to mali- spyware Doctor 5.0 contin-
HEALTHY UPDATES complete Intelli-scan of 3.5GB cious sites. The Process Guard ues the good work laid down
one criticism concerning of data took just three minutes can even kill kernel-level spy- by its forebears and manages
updates has been addressed. on our ageing laptop. ware processes. to combine ease of use with
Previously, updates had to be At the heart of version 5.0 is One of Spyware Doctor’s effectiveness. Indeed, we’d go
manually initiated, but now OnGuard Protection, which enduring strengths is its ease so far as to suggest that Spy-
it’s possible to set up automat- comprises a range of tasked of use. Its clear interface makes ware Doctor might be the best
ic ‘silent’ updates that require guards: Browser, File, Keylog- it easy to drill down to tweak a antispyware utility available.
no user intervention. This ger, Network, Popup Blocker, configuration setting, although —Roger Gann
means updates are incremen- Process, Site and Startup. the range of options seems
tal and download faster. Another is on its way: the smaller than in version 4.0. Spyware Doctror 5.0 Beta
Spyware Doctor 5.0 has a Behaviour Guard will detect You could accuse it of being PC Tools
commendably light system zero-day attacks. overly paternalistic, but most PCW Rating 80 Very Good
footprint – even on an antique Each one can be disabled users will welcome the jargon- High detection rate and strong
450MHz P3 laptop it made lit- and you can configure exclu- free description of each threat. features make this a good
tle difference to performance. sions for websites or files However, one minor criticism security software
Plus, home PCs will benefit only. This will prevent new remains. It still over-eggs Price: Rs. 1,400

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 33
R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Microsoft’s Web-Design Software Grows Up


W E B D E S I G N While the program still training the program requires XML and Extensible Style-
microsoft has finally em- shields Web designers from for noncoders. sheet Language Transforma-
braced Web standards. The much of the code that Expression Web goes to con- tions (XSLT), which permits
proof is its new Expression Web underlies their pages, the siderable pains to make CSS you to drag and drop links to
program, which puts Cascad- resulting sites should meet as approachable as possible. dynamic XML data into your
ing Style Sheets (CSS), XML, a l l We b d e s i g n a n d For example, when you choose pages and format them easily
and other standards at the core accessibility standards. The a style, a drop-down menu for presentation on the Web.
of the application’s site design trade-off for all of the added lists the attributes you can use Despite a few lingering trac-
and management strategy. functionality is the hours of for that style. The IntelliSense es of old FrontPage features
function enables you to type (such as the spinning-globe
just a letter or two to select op- icon you see as files transfer),
tions, and you can drag small Expression Web is a giant step
pieces of code from one of the up from that program.
program’s palettes directly —Dennis O’Reilly
onto your page to add naviga-
tion elements, form fields, or Expression Web
other components. Microsoft
But even with all that help, PCW Rating 80 Very Good
making the switch to CSS re- With its focus on CSS and XML,
quires quite a bit of training. this app lets you create modern,
Another feature that many data-driven sites—but it presents
EXPRESSION WEB ALLOWS you to edit your site’s CSS style sheets designers will welcome is Ex- a difficult learning curve.
easily by selecting from a drop-down menu of available styles. pression Web’s support for Price: Rs. 13,455

Quality at Affordable Price some of the high-end head-


phones. But with a price tag of
E A R P H O N E S Rs. 1,050, you cannot expect
creative’s EP-630 are in-ear them to match full sized high-
noise isolation ear phones. end headphones that cost
The “in-ear” ear phones offer almost 10 times as much.
a certain amount of noise can- While the 1.2m cable is long
cellation by cutting down the enough for in-ear headphones,
THE EP 630S from creative are
ambient noise, ensuring mini- the cable is too thin for our lik-
perfect companions for MP3
mal disturbance and immer- ing and the plastic feel to the
players and music phones.
sive listening experience. earphones are typical of a value
Locally there isn’t too much of product. All-in-all, the EP-630
a choice for in-ear earphones, provide good clean immersive
simply because not everyone involve spending copious In our tests, the EP-630 pro- sound without burning a hole
is comfortable with the con- amounts of money. With a duced clean and loud sound in your wallet.
cept of partially plugging ear 9mm neodymium driver, the with most applications, be it —Soham Raninga
phones in their ear. Sony and EP-630 carries impressive spec- music, gaming or movies.
Shure are the other brands ifications with a 106dB SNR Given the tiny 9mm drivers, EP-630
offering in-ear earphones but ratio backed by a 6Hz - 23kHz the EP-630 does a surprisingly Creative
finding them can be a task. frequency response. The higher good job with punchy bass PCW Rating 85 Very Good
Creative’s EP-630 is a wel- SNR (signal to noise ratio) and response and crisp vocals. Well priced in-ear earphones give
come change, with its popular- a wider frequency response There are instances when the you a reason to dump those
ity in the market and sensible indicates ample loudness and high frequencies sound a tad default ear phones that came with
pricing, getting an in-ear ear- ensures that you hear the small- too sharp and tinny, unlike the you MP3 player.
phone does not necessarily est of details. warm sound delivered by Price: Rs. 1,050

34 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Quality Prints at a Price photos on Canon’s Photo Paper


Pro; they looked very sharp,
A L L - I N - O N E with bright colors and plenty of
canon’s Pixma MP510 is an shadow detail, though skin
affordable combination of tones seemed a little too orange.
printer, scanner, and media Scans and copies scored well
card reader. The Rs. 13,995 across the board for an MFP in
MRP model lacks the frills that this price range, with no nota-
come with many multifunction bly strong or weak points.
printers, such as film scanning Against the clock, the MP510
and faxing, but you can get the showed solid performance. On
basics done quickly and with a plain paper, it printed slightly
minimum of fuss. above average at 8.2 pages per
A flap to the right of the minute for text and 3.3 ppm for
printer folds up to reveal the graphics. It printed our test
control panel. The 1.9-inch THE MP510’S PRODUCES good prints on Canon photo paper but image photo on letter-size photo paper
color LCD is smaller than that printing is not as great on plain paper. in a commendable 40 seconds.
of many competing models. The MP510 scans quickly, com-
The MP510’s in-printer editing the unit, making it a little dif- base and an upright feeder at pleting our test scan of a 4-by-5-
functions are limited to auto- ficult to access. Unlike several the rear, which is convenient inch photo at 100 dots per inch
matic photo optimization and rival MFDs and many photo for swapping among different in only 7.1 seconds. Its 5.0 ppm
face-brightening options, which printers, the MP510 doesn’t let sizes of photo paper. Each of average copy speed is among
don’t require the larger screens you read images from a USB the printer’s four ink cartridges the fastest showings we’ve seen
and fancier controls of its prici- flash drive attached to its Pict- incorporates a red LED that for an inkjet MFP.
er siblings. If you expect to Bridge port. However, you can flashes when the ink runs low. The Canon Pixma MP510
work mostly from your PC, attach an optional Bluetooth The device uses a pigment- makes an excellent choice if
then the LCD size and controls adapter (costing about Rs based black ink to produce you’re looking for a straightfor-
are largely irrelevant. 3,600) to print from suitably darker text on plain paper. ward printer/scanner combo
The two media slots, which equipped camera phones and In our lab tests, text looked capable of printing good-look-
sit behind a door on the front PDAs. The MP510 also sports dark and solid, though the char- ing photos, though its color
panel, accept most types of an infrared port that lets you acters’ edges could have been LCD could be bigger.
digital camera memory cards, beam images from many crisper. Line art was sharp, but —Paul Jasper
but you’ll need a third-party mobile phones. we saw wide banding across
adapter to read xD-Picture, The MP510 lacks an auto- the page and diagonal interfer- Pixma MP510
Memory Stick Duo, and Mini matic document feeder, so you ence patterns in blocks of close- Canon
SD Card formats. The Pict- must scan each sheet (up to let- ly spaced lines. On plain paper, PCW Rating 81 Very Good
Bridge port, for printing direct- ter-size paper) one at a time graphics appeared grainy with This general-purpose all-in-one
ly from compatible cameras, is from the platen glass. Two sep- overly bright colors and poster- prints high-quality photos at an
hidden beneath the media-slot arate 150-sheet trays hold paper ized blacks. However, the affordable price.
door in the recessed base of for printing: a cassette in the MP510 printed superb-looking Price: Rs. 13,995.00

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 35
R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Slick, Petite and Pricey indicated by the 3DMark 2001


SE score of 9421.
PC As a worst-case scenario
the Sony VAIO VGO-LA38G, battery test, we played a DVD
part of the VAIO L series, uses on a looping repeat, and the
a unique form factor that Sony LA38G ran for 91 minutes,
calls the “Panel PC”. We were which is just short of an aver-
impressed by every facet of the age hollywood film.
design, especially the transpar- The flip-down keyboard is
ent frame, flip-up keyboard and slightly smaller than the aver-
half-screen display (with Sony age notebook keyboard, so
soundFLOW music player). A using it feels a little cramped
handle mounted at the top rear and it may not be ideal for
of the unit means it can be eas- writing long documents.
ily carried with one hand. While the keyboard has a
The L series sits somewhere built-in touchpad, the four
between a desktop replace- USB 2.0 ports allow for an
ment notebook and desktop THE LA38G - a stylish looking ‘PC’ morphs a notebook into a desktop external mouse to be used or
PC. Built using notebook com- a larger keyboard if you wish.
ponents, such as a Core 2 Duo music is playing, the track application, but we found that There’s also FireWire to con-
T5600 1.83GHz CPU, a 120GB details join the clock and cal- they don’t transition as smoothly nect a camcorder, a media
(5400rpm) notebook hard endar on-screen as well as an when the keyboard was closed. card reader for MediaGate,
drive, a GeForce Go 7400 animated equaliser (depend- The speakers produce a SD and MS media cards, plus
graphics card and a notebook ing on which soundFLOW good, clear sound and are loud a PC Card slot (type I/II) and
battery (for mobile use), the L background you’ve selected). enough for music and movies Express card slot for any addi-
series offers a light, portable The soundFLOW software is within a reasonable distance, tional devices. For network-
alternative to a desktop without fairly simplistic in itself, offer- although they would benefit ing, the unit has a 10/100
conforming to the standard ing nothing more than skip, from the addition of a sub- LAN Ethernet connection and
notebook chassis design. play, stop and volume controls woofer. The 15.4in widescreen a 56k modem, but the WiFi
One of the best features of as well as a basic filter by artist LCD has a native resolution of 802.11 b/g will be the most
this Panel PC is the half and album (albums also include 1280x800 pixels and has good useful connection option for
screen display, which instant- playlists). However, sound- brightness and contrast, but a this type of PC. Finally, a 1.3
ly turns on when the keyboard FLOW can’t create playlists or very shallow viewing angle. Megapixel camera sits in the
flips up. When the play but- add albums from sources other From vertical positions it’s dif- clear bezel above the screen
ton (this VAIO has a set of than CD without the help of the ficult to see and has terrible for basic webcam needs.
basic media controls) is hit, Sony SonicStage application, colour inversion from side The bulk of the PC is
any music that’s loaded into which comes installed. If you angles, making the image look mounted flat against the back
the Sony soundFLOW soft- wish, you can use any audio like a photo negative. of the screen and is barely
ware will start to play. When player software as your default With the 1.83GHz Core 2 noticeable. An adjustable
Duo CPU and 1GB of DDR2 stand on the rear allows you
RAM the LA38G will have no to tilt the screen to the desired
A B problems running the most angle and the keyboard folds
commonly used software in out at the same angle regard-
the market and doing every- less of the position of the PC.
day computing tasks. The —PC World Team
GeForce Go 7400 graphics
card allows this system to run VAIO VGO-LA38G
Windows Vista’s Aero inter- Sony
face and also gives the system PCW Rating 78 GOOD
enough graphics power to A desktop and a laptop are
A- THE KEYBOARD of the VAIO folds up neatly while the soundFLOW
play some newer games, albe- morphed in a sleek and attractive
software gets displayed on the top portion of the screen.
it at lower settings. Older package but pricey package
B- THE VAIO’S slim factor makes it extremely portable.
games will run with ease as Price: Rs.89,990/-

36 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

ZoneAlarm Internet Security Suite 7.0 Performs


S E C U R I T Y S O F T WA R E and the firewall prevented all
check point’s new attacks from both inside and
ZoneAlarm Internet Security outside the PC.
Su i t e 7 . 0 s i g n i f i c a n t l y T h e s u i t e’ s o n - a c c e s s
improves on version 6.0. The scanner, however, failed to
mediocre antivirus engine detect the PP97M/Tristate.C
licensed from CA has been macro virus, which targets
replaced with a superior one Microsoft Office 97 files. AV-
from Kaspersky Labs, re - Te s t . o r g r e p o r t s t h a t
sulting in a high-performance Kaspersky’s own version of
suite whose only weakness is its virus engine successfully
its antiphishing protection. identified this threat, which
The suite’s core compo- suggests that the problem
nents include antivirus, relates to Check Point’s ITS EXCELLENT VIRUS protection comes from a Kaspersky engine.
antispyware, and anti-adware implementation of it. While
protection, courtesy of the most security companies rate sites included on Check as Social Security, credit card,
Kaspersky engine, along with this virus as a low-risk threat, Point blacklists, along with and password digits from exit-
the house-developed network ZoneAlarm’s overlooking of unknown sites identified via ing your PC—but first you’ll
firewall and the OSFirewall, a it came as a surprise. effective dynamic analysis. have to enter the information
supplemental protective layer ZoneAlarm offers most of The Vista version of this (encrypted if you want).
to block malicious changes to the usual suite extras. Its Pri- product is expected to arrive The ZoneAlarm security
your PC. vacy section selectively in the second quarter of 2007, suite is priced on a par with
In a battery of tests con- blocks Web site cookies, and ZoneAlarm customers competing suites. It
ducted by AV-Test.org, the advertisements, and embed- within the one-year subscrip- performs well, though it
suite’s Kaspersky engine per- ded objects and scripts. Its tion window will be able to could benefit from better
formed creditably, halting instant messaging security upgrade to it for free. phishing protection.
98.3 percent of backdoor pro- protects users of AOL, ICQ, Noticeably missing from —Narasu Rebbapragada
grams, 97 percent of bots, MSN, and Ya hoo services the suite is an antiphishing
and 99 percent of Trojan from bad links and attach- toolbar. In fact, the suite lacks ZoneAlarm Internet
horses. It also caught 74 per- ments, though it added so anything capable of blocking Security Suite 7.0
cent of adware samples. The many warnings to my outgo- known phishing sites instant- Check Point
OSFirewall detected a simi- ing IM messages that I ly (though you can download PCW Rating 88 Very Good
larly solid 80 percent of net- turned it off. a free tool such as the Netcraft A new antivirus engine from
work and e-mail worms, Spam protection, provided Toolbar, available at toolbar. Kaspersky significantly
based on their behavior alone. through MailFrontier, adds a netcraft.com). But ZoneAlarm improves performance, but the
The suite spotted all pieces of configurable toolbar to Out- does provide other, less effec- suite still lacks antiphishing
malware hidden inside com- look and Outlook Express. tive Web protection. The My- features.
mon compressed file formats, Parental controls block all Vault tool will block data such Price: Rs 2,250.

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R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Endless Backup with Seagate


S T O R A G E second unit to increase storage performance however, in
we are now seeing several capacity. There is only one but- Everest 2006 Ultimate’s disk
large capacity external stor- ton on this 750GB Pushbutton benchmark, the drive man-
age devices based on existing Backup to power the unit on aged a modest and consistent
internal hard disks to cater to and initiate backup as well. 26MBps in linear as well as
increasing backup. Seagate’s Once the drive is powered on random write tests and a lit-
750GB Pushbutton Backup is (with an external power sup- tle over 32MBps in read tests
currently the second largest ply), you only need to press (less than half of what internal
single unit external backup the button once to activate drives manage today).
solution available (a 1TB model the backup process using the In real world tests, we saw
is also available from Seagate). bundled BounceBack software the drive do 25MBps (for a THE USB 2.0 hi-speed and the
The drive is available with that offers enough options for 1.3GB file) in writing data, Firewire interface produce near
a USB 2.0 hi-speed and two a power user. and read speed at was a higher idential transfers.
Firewire 400 ports for connec- Drives like this are prima- 33MBps, both in agreement
tivity. One of the Firewire ports rily meant for backup and the benchmark scores (with casing separately for a much
can be used to connect to a not outright performance. USB connection). The per- lower price, devices like
So, we’d have to look closely formance is close to that of the this Seagate offer one touch
750GB Pushbutton Backup at price per GB, the ability to competitors – Western Digital backup, the ability to stack
Seagate scale easily (stack two or more My Book Premium and the more drive together, and a
PCW Rating 78 Very Good drives together) and backup Buffalo DriveStation Duo. neat looking case and reli-
Convenient backup and large functions. On these fronts, Although it is possible to ability – important factors in
storage solution, but pricey. this Seagate does not disap- make a back solution by buy- an office environment.
Price: Rs. 23,000 point. When it comes to sheer ing a 3.5” hard disk and a —Kailas Shastry

Poor- Man’s Slider and a Thief Catcher ers. Excessive usage may thus
cause a malfunction in this
M O B I L E P H O N E The phone also boasts of area. Also, the voice clarity in
no doubt a slider is a phe- some unique features that it the phone was not much to talk
nomenal style statement com- shares only with the Samsung about. We did experience call
pared to the drab candy-bars X520 and C140. All these three drops and disturbance in low
and clamshells. Samsung has phones have security features signal areas. The battery life of
an exhaustive range of good that can be used in distress or the phone is also about average,
looking sliders in the market. in the case of phone loss. The with about 1.5-2 days of backup
The SGH-250 joins the same mobile tracker sends a SMS to time with normal usage. The
league with some innovative two pre-designated numbers screen, though quite big, is low
features and great price point. of your phonebook when the resolution and thus you may
To start with, the phone does mobile thief changes the SIM be able to see the pixel squares
everything that you would card. The Emergency SMS quite easily in usage.
want a mid range phone to feature on the other hand can In a nutshell the phone looks
do. A VGA camera, FM radio, be utilized to send SMS mes- drool-worthy, has enough and
a ravishing design, easy to use sages to up-to ten numbers in more features to drive away
buttons, a 128 x 160 and 262k the time of distress. The calls a lot of others in competition
color screen. from these numbers would be MOBILE TRACKER HELPS but falters a bit in some basic
automatically accepted to help locate this phone when lost areas. Ideal for first time users
SGH- E250 in rectifying the situation. looking for a slim looking
Samsung While these features of the lutely killer device. To start with device that refuses to get lost
PCW Rating 75 Good phone are nice, there are some the slider mechanism of the and can help them in time of
Stylish low budget slider basic problems with the device phone is made of plastic and distress.
Price: Rs. 7,250 that defer it from being an abso- not metal, as with most slid- —Geetaj Channana

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REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

AMD’s New Chipset Offers Great Value


M O T H E R B O A R D using any of these – even a
good news for AMD enthusi- nominal increase of CPU ref-
asts - you can now get an AMD erence speed from 200MHz
chipset for the AM2 CPUs. to 210MHz rendered the
AMD’s 690G / 690V chipset board unstable.
caters to home users on a bud- The shortcomings of a
get. The 690G uses the X1250 micro-ATX form factor are
video chip that is HDMI capa- tell-tale. The CPU heatsink
ble while the 690V is supported comes extremely close to the
by the non HDMI X1200. RAM slots.
We received the competi-
tively priced (about Rs 3,800 VERDICT
street price) M2A692-VP At Rs 3,800, the M2A692-
motherboard from Jetway, GDG’s price is in line with
that is based on the non WITH A MODEST price tag, the M2A692-VP offers great value with its nForce 400 series chipset based
HDMI 690V chipset. On the high performance and acceptable onboard video. boards featuring the Geforce
performance front, the moth- 6100 onboard graphics. This
erboard is equal to the best ing motherboards. Half Life 2 from SiS or Intel’s current Jetway has demonstrated per-
that we have seen so far, with – Lost Coast, for example ran at onboard offerings. For all the formance equal to the high-end
a score of 133 in our real 80fps on the M2A692-GDG, smiles that this Jetway offers, nForce 590 based mother-
world benchmarking soft- while the MSI K9A Platinum it is disappointing to note that boards and makes for a more
ware, WorldBench 5.0. This is (reviewed earlier) did 76f ps at the board has its share of tempting buy. If you are look-
in the league of much more 640 x 480 using the same video glitches. During our testing, it ing at a budget motherboard,
expensive boards such as the card and other hardware. failed to boot after we removed this makes for a nice alterna-
Asus M2N32 SLI or the MSI The X1200 video chip offers our Asus 7900GT and tried tive to the tried and tested
K9A Platinum. Be assured decent performance but is using the onboard video. We nForce platform – a warning
that this affordable mother- certainly not the best onboard had to do a BIOS reset to get though – you might need to do
board will not give you a per- video around. DOOM 3 was the board working. Also, with a BIOS reset in case the moth-
formance hit even in demand- barely playable at 26 fps aver- DRAM Command Rate of 1T erboard throws tantrums.
ing applications. age with the lowest detail and the board was not stable and —Kailas Shastry
We initially tested graphics resolution. Nvidia’s 6150 on hung frequently and we had
performance of the M2A692- the other hand handled the to settle for 2T. Though a M2A692-GDG
VP with our reference Asus same game at 30 fps. This dif- motherboard in this category Jetway
7900GT video card and found ference of about 15 percent is not meant for overclocking PCW Rating 75 Good
that games fared equally good will reflect across most games. the BIOS offers options to Offers performance equal to the
or even marginally better on Having said that, this X1200 change the CPU / HT refer- best of the AM2 motherboards,
this motherboard when com- is still better than many other ence speed and RAM and but has some stability issues.
pared with other high perform- onboard video chips like those CPU voltages. Don’t think of Price: Rs. 3,800

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R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

SightSpeed 6.0 Lets You Make Video Calls Easily


VIDEOCONFERENCING name, you’ll see icons for con-
v ide o c on fer e nc ing necting via video call, PC-to-
software has come a long PC voice call, or text chat. In
way since the late 1990s, when addition, you can send video
un sophisticated programs e-mail to your contacts.
and limited bandwidth made According to SightSpeed, the
participants sound and look like video quality in version 6.0 is
astronauts aboard the Space 25 percent better than that of
Shuttle. In those days I half- past versions. I can’t verify that
expected to see a coffee mug claim, but overall the video
float across the screen, but no seemed quite good, although
longer. I tested the new video- some colors looked dim.
calling app SightSpeed 6.0, and When I tested SightSpeed at
though its video quality wasn’t home over a cable modem, the
perfect, I was impressed by its WHEN YOU’RE CONNECTED on a video call, SightSpeed lets other video looked very clear, with
performance—in particular at users know that you’re busy so your call won’t be interrupted. audio and video in sync. When I
syncing audio and video. used a speaker-and-microphone
SightSpeed is available in Both versions require a Web- crophones, and headsets with setup, my caller noticed an echo.
two versions, a free edition and cam plus devices for audio embedded microphones. This probably occurred because
a Pro package; the latter costs input (microphone) and out- Downloading and installing my microphone picked up her
$5 per month and adds fea- put (speakers or a headset). To the software is a snap. It auto- voice as it came out of my
tures designed for business try it out, I used various com- matically locates your audio speakers, so she heard her own
users, such as multiparty video binations of speakers, Web- and video source, and helps words shortly after speaking
calls and priority tech support. cams with integrated mi - you adjust their settings for them. The problem vanished
peak performance. Following when I switched to a headset.
GOTCHA! the initial setup you can tweak The quality of SightSpeed’s
the settings, but unfortunately PC-to-PC voice calls is on a par
you can’t do so when you’re with that of services such as
Can Cameras Do SDHC? on a call. That means that if Skype. In version 6.0, the text-
you’re in the middle of a con- chat feature occupies its own
JUST BECAUSE YOUR digital camera uses SD Cards to store
versation and you notice, for window, and as a result it feels
photos doesn’t mean that it will work properly with just any
example, that the tint of your more like a stand-alone IM app
SD Card. Older cameras can’t recognize new Secure Digital
camera is slightly off, you will (though you can chat only with
High Capacity (SDHC) media, which can hold 4GB to 32GB
have to hang up before attempt- other SightSpeed users).
of data and cost as little as $50.
ing to correct the problem. Though you wouldn’t mis-
Older SD Cards have typically
Version 6.0 sports a new take a SightSpeed video call
maxed out at a storage capacity
tabbed interface for access to for a movie, the image quality
of 2GB. Some 4GB SD Cards ap-
all of SightSpeed’s features. is good. Unlike PC-calling apps
peared prior to the new high-
To add a contact, you simply such as Skype that have added
capacity format’s release, but
enter an e-mail address on the video features, SightSpeed’s
using these cards isn’t recom-
Contacts tab; if the person is focus has been on video from
mended, due to compatibility
already a SightSpeed user, the start—and it shows.
issues. Unfortunately, most dig-
you’ll see their name appear —Liane Cassavoy
ital cameras sold before summer
on your list. If the person isn’t
2006 are unlikely to be SDHC-
a user, SightSpeed will issue SightSpeed 6.0
compliant (though a couple of
an e-mail invitation to down- SightSpeed
models can be made compatible with a firmware upgrade).
load the software. All of your PCW Rating 88 Very Good
If a camera (or other device) does not state support for
contacts are listed on the main This easy-to-use, no-cost
the SDHC format (look for the SDHC logo on the box), you
screen, with a green icon indi- program supports good-quality
won’t be able to use the higher-capacity cards with it.
cating when they are available. videoconferencing and calling.
—Eric Butterfield
When you mouse over a Free

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REVIEWS & RA N K I NGS

Eset NOD32 Antivirus System 2.7


S O F T W A R E improved protection against
NOD32’s claim to fame is its rootkit infections. And its effi-
sophisticated heuristics-based cacy against viruses remains
detection of malware; it doesn’t top notch. It is certified by ICSA
try to match virus signatures, Labs and has won the Virus Bul-
but rather looks for suspicious letin VB100 award more times
activity. This means NOD32 than any other antivirus vendor.
is much better placed to deal But NOD32 isn’t aimed at
with zero-day attacks. And it ‘fit-and-forget’ novices, and a
makes for a lean, mean anti- couple of tricky techie questions
virus tool – it won’t impose a will doubtless wrong-foot some
noticeable burden on even old users. Exploring the options and
or inexpensive PCs. settings can be rather intimidat-
Version 2.7 incorporates sup- ing, while version 2.7 sports the
port for Vista, alongside much centrally managed enterprise ver- NOD32 HAS WON the Virus Bulletin VB100 award more times than
sion’s array of relatively complicat- any other antivirus vendor
NOD32 2.7 Antivirus ed settings. That said, the interface
System 2.7 is clear and easy to navigate, with ferent areas of protection. Four However, the options tell-
Eset alert pop-ups to warn the user of monitors provide real-time ing the program to look
PCW Rating 71 Good any problems encountered. protection for file-, Office docu- for potentially unsafe and
Its fast, flexible and effective Features are accessed via the ment-, email- and internet- unwanted applications are
antivirus product. NOD32 Control Centre – a cen- access. These are backed up by disabled by default.
Price: Rs. 2,295 tral system divided into the dif- an on-demand file scanner. —Roger Gann

A Fine Budget Choice


D I G ITAL CAMERA up for little over Rs 9,995. It’s
even in the lower price range, blessed with a healthy assort-
many cameras look rather ment of features, including a
sophisticated, but the Fujifilm’s 3x optical zoom that’s married
styling is a little frumpy. It has to a handy f2.8-f5.2 aperture
an unflattering podgy profile spread and a 2.4 inch LCD.
and a lifeless silver finish. Unlike some of the other
While its curves may not compact cameras we’ve tested
win any beauty pageants, the recently the A700’s ISO range
A700 is a comfortable handful. sticks to safe territory, with
The thumb nestles against the a high point of 400. Fujifilm WITH 7.3 MP, standard 3x optical zoom and a modest price tag, the
zoom rocker on its rear. includes a smattering of scene- A700 makes for a great buy.
At the A700’s heart is a shooting modes, although if
7.3MP CCD (charge-coupled you wish to take manual con- eras, this model exhibits VERDICT
device), which is impressive trol you may be disappointed slightly boosted color satu- it’s not pretty to look at
for a camera that can be picked by the camera’s settings. These ration and reasonable finer or blessed with many set-
don’t even stretch to aperture detail – providing the ISO tings, but at this price you
A700 and shutter control. level is kept at conservative can’t argue with a 7.3MP
FUJIFILM Thankfully, the A700 is levels. There’s evidence of sensor and 3x optical zoom.
PCW Rating 81 Very Good pretty capable of gauging slight fringing, but overall Picture quality is good and
Good option for shutterbugs on a shooting conditions and the Fujifilm consistently there’s a healthy assortment
tight budget. producing good results. As performs beyond its budget of features.
Price: Rs. 9,995 is typical of Fujifilm cam- price tag. —PC World Team

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R EVI EWS & RAN KIN GS

Expensive Wide Screen from Samsung


LCD MONITOR icons, and the colours where around our character did
the Samsung SyncMaster rich and accurately reproduced. not cause any ghosting or
226BW is a 22in widescreen Using DisplayMate Video speed trails and particles/
LCD monitor with a native Edition we ran a series of exten- visual effects were dis-
resolution of 1680x1050. With sive test patterns designed to played with high detail.
a slick design, exceptional reveal any image quality abnor- The enveloping dark-
image quality, and a reported malities. Throughout the entire ness of Doom 3 is an
response time of 2ms, it is test, the Samsung performed excellent test for contrast
sure to become a favourite brilliantly with no problems and black levels and dur-
amongst gamers. whatsoever. The greyscale test ing our session we found
We connected the 226BW to was delivered with no discol- no problems with either. There
our test PC via DVI and ran the ouration and an excellent blend were no contrast issues to speak THE 226BW LOOKS impressive
desktop at the native 1680x1050. along the scale without step- of and the blacks were accurate. with a classy all black finish and
The clarity and detail was quite ping. The uniformity test back The connection options are a lit- a thin frame.
stunning. There were no prob- light bleed test showed no tle limited with only one DVI
lems at all with the desktop blacklight leakage. and one 15pin D-Sub. We piano black design will suit the
We ran World of Warcraft would have liked to see two DVI need for all things fancy. It will
SyncMaster 226BW and Doom 3. Warcraft is an ports on the 226BW, and even also work brilliantly for office
Samsung excellent test for colour due to some component ports like the tasks, but the response time
PCW Rating 81 Very Good the rich environments and similarly priced Asus PW201. and the 8 bit colour processing
Excellent display provides bare motion in the battle action. We For gamers though, this is an means the 226BW is targeted
minimum connectivity had no problems at all during excellent monitor. It’s fast, it squarely at the gaming crowd.
Price: Rs. 35,000 this test. Spinning the camera has awesome colour and the —Dave Jansen

Leadtek Renders Quality Video window will have you do a lot


of trial and error before hit-
T V T U N E R Global that we received for hiss and ably complimented ting the right frequency.
a TV tuner can bring a PC to review is based on the compe- the video. A TV tuner’s usabil- On the functionality front,
within touching distance of a tent Conexant CX23883 ity is dictated by the software the TV2000 XP Global has sev-
complete entertainment cent- chipset that offers very good it comes with (unless you are eral media center goodies –
er. We are seeing an increasing video quality. adept at using a generic cap- time-shifting (pausing live
number of tuners based on First, the good part – the per- ture software like DScaler). TV), recording to hard disk in
high quality chipsets which is formance is amongst the best This is where the tuner is a various formats, scheduling a
a pleasant change from the that we have seen from TV let down. The buttons in the recording, picture-in-picture,
budget ones the market had tuners so far. There are no bundled WinFast PVR soft- direct burn to DVD, remote
just a couple of years back. The signs of vertical or diagonal ware are too small and unin- control, etc. justifies its higher
Leadtek Winfast TV2000 XP lines that some tuners tend to tuitive while the various cost over lower end models,
produce. Similarly, the picture options under configuration but you may need to live with
was devoid of any noise and are also difficult to figure out. a PVR software that isn’t quite
made for clear viewing. Colour A simpler and well laid out the friendliest around.
contrast was high, making the interface would have been —Kailas Shastry
picture look rich on appreciated by many users.
our Lacie 319 Other small issues like lack of Winfast TV2000 XP Global
reference mon- a slider to fine-tune a channel Leadtek
i t o r. So u n d only add to the irritation. This PCW Rating 78 Good
had minimal tuner requires a fine-tune Good performance, features,
(the auto-fine-tune is not includes FM as well. But software
S-VIDEO AND COMPOSITE inputs add effective) and the lack of a is a let down.
versitality to the TV2000 XP Global. slider with a large preview Price: Rs. 2,450

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REVIEWS & RA N K IN GS

Secure Storage from WeP


S TO R AG E When it comes to reading and
it needs no telling just how writing data, this WeP ‘s per-
convenient a pen drive can be, formance is slightly above
but a major concern associat- average – you should not face
ed with them is that of data any unreasonable delays in
contained in them falling into copying data to and from this
wrong hands in event of the drive. In Everest 2006 Ulti-
drive being stolen or mis- mate’s drive benchmark test,
placed. Most pen drives today linear read and write speeds
come with a password securi- were 9.8 MBps and 5.8 MBps
ty feature that allows access respectively. In comparison,
only upon a entering a pass- the fastest drive we tested thus

word. This drive from WeP far, the Kingston Data Traveler
takes security a step forward Secure managed 15 MBps and
with a fingerprint sensor. You 7.8 MBps – about 50% faster.
have the option of either key- The linear and random read
ing in the password or by sim- speeds are 16.9 and 18.6
ply moving your finger across MBps, slower by a similar
the sensor. 50% when compared to the
The advantage of this sys- fast Kingston. Manually copy-
tem are many – you don’t ing data to the WeP saw
need to type a password every speeds of about 7 MBps –
time you use it to ferry data thus, filling the drive to its
across, for instance. In the usable 480MB takes about a
event of lending the drive to minute and 10 seconds.
someone, you can just share The fit and finish of the drive
the password that will ‘open is excellent and its classy white
up’ the drive. This luxury exterior lends it a corporate
comes at a price though – the worthy feel. For the fingerprint
512MB version that we scanner and the excellent fit
reviewed costs about thrice and finish along with accepta-
as much as other 512MB ble speeds, you do need to pay
drives that have a password- a premium for this drive –
only security. Rs.1,500. If the features appeal
to you and you wish to get this
Fingerprint Lock drive, we strongly suggest the
WeP 1GB (Rs 2,200) version which
PCW Rating 74 Good offers much higher value per
Useful fingerprint security GB. The 2 GB version is priced
feature comes at a high price. at about Rs 3,250.
Price: Rs. 1,500 —Kailas Shastry

M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT
43
W W W. P C W O R L D . I N PAGE
BY SOHAM RANINGA
P H O T O G R A P H Y : S R I VA S T A S H A N D I LYA
I M A G I N G B Y U N N I K R I S H N A N AV

CONTENT PAGE
MUSIC IN
A FLASH
Flash based MP3 players have come a long way from being
plain music players. With boosted storage capacities
these devices are filled to the brim with features and
style that will make you want them bad!
An MP3 player has almost become a must-have gadget. With rising commuting times and fre-
quent travelling, MP3 player is the perfect device to liven up your mood when stuck in a traffic
jam by tuning into those favorite tracks or listening to the Radio. If you are in need of a compact,
sturdy and zippy music player, a flash memory based MP3 player is the perfect choice.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 45
MP3 PLAY ERS

They are rugged, compact and very possibly can in these tiny
responsive unlike the hard drive based devices. The i-Audio D2 is
MP3 players that are more suited for the very latest from the
higher storage needs and video play- Cowon stable and is on the
back. We put ten 2GB flash-based MP3 bleeding edge of MP3
players from brands like Apple, Creative, players with an excellent
iAudio, Sony, Samsung, Philips and high resolution 16 million
Sandisk to the test, separating the win- 2.5-inch touch sensitive
ners from the losers. color screen that can play Best
2GB of storage lets you store about 500 video clips at 30 FPS BUY
songs in MP3 format. Most of the MP3 (Frames Per Second). The
players we received came with color D2 also comes with an
screens and offered video playback and image viewer; photos look
photo viewing possibilities. While video great on the vibrant screen.
CREATIVE ZEN V PLUS COMES ON top as the Best
playback is a handy feature to have, it does While it claims to support
Buy, thanks to the excellent sound quality and useful
not go well with flash based MP3 players line-in and video-out
features like the line-in recording option that records
because of their limited storage capacities functionality, one needs to
audio from any source to the player.
and smaller screens. Besides, none of the purchase the cables
players in the comparison can play those separately to use these
video files out of the box, you need to con- features. At its price point,
vert them to specific compressed format in the cables and add-ons should be falls short in the features department
order to play them. Thus, when opting for bundled with the player to make the with no FM radio, line-in or video play-
a flash based MP3 player, the core areas of package complete. With a built-in SD back support. The bright 1.5-inch LCD
consideration should be sound quality, card slot, D2 allows users to add display along with a photo viewer and
design and usability and the audio features additional storage, just pop-in a 4GB some bundled games try to make-up for
it offers. SD card and you will have 6GB of the otherwise scanty features list.
storage at your disposal. The Sony NW S205 is one of the most
FEATURES GALORE! Our best buy winner, the Creative Zen unique MP3 players in the compari-
with Fl ash based MP3 players, V Plus is equally puffed up with a long son. Its built-in “Calorie Counter”
manufacturers are on a rampage, list of features. The vibrant scratch allows you to see how many calories
squeezing in as many features as they resistant 1.5-inch OLED display is very you’ve burned based on your weight
easy on the eyes. The Line-in and length of workout. Going a step
recording feature along with further the “Music Pacer” feature cre-
the ability to listen and record ates running and walking playlists
FM simultaneously will please which the player will automatically play
all radio fans. Creative sweet- based on whether you are running or
ens the deal with a bundled walking. With just a single line OLED
universal charging adapter, display, the NW S205 from Sony won’t
ensuring you are not restricted display photos or play videos like the
to USB as the only rest of the players in the comparison.
mode of charging. From a music player perspective, the
The Cowon i-Audio NW-S205F provides only an FM radio
U3 is almost ditto as an extra apart from the MP3 play-
to the Creative Zen back support.
V Plus in the fea- The Sansa E250 from Sandisk also
tures department deserves a mention for its FM playback
except for the fact and recording feature along with SD-
that the U3 comes Card slot for memory expandability. The
with a much small- 1.8-inch color screen on the E250 sup-
THE COWON IAUDIO D2’s unique mix of features include touch
er screen and isn’t as ports video and photo playback but the
screen controls, SD card slot to upgrade storage and the ability to
bright as the Zen V screen quality is not conducive to video
play 30FPS video on the brilliant 2.5-inch screen.
Plus. The iPod Nano or photo playback. All the three Samsung

46 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
M P 3 P LAY E R S

players are unique by themselves; the The Creative Zen V Plus, the i-Audio U3
YP-K3 and the YP-K5 offer touch sensi- DO THEY SOUND AS GOOD? and D2 along with the Sony NW-S205 top
tive controls backed by bright OLED dis- All these features and extras in a music our charts for sound quality. The i-Audio
plays. In the extras department the YP- player stand for nothing if the player does players offer a clean sound and their
K3 has a FM radio and a photo viewer not sound good. Ultimately the sound strength lies in their ability to deliver accu-
while the YP-K5 comes with built-in quality is the single most important factor rate and distortion free sound at maxi-
speakers. The speakers are loud and for MP3 players and that’s where we were mum volume levels, thanks to their 95db
clear and serve their purpose well. able to separate the chalk from cheese. SNR (signal to noise) ratio. The Creative

F E AT U R E S C O M PA R I S O N

Feature Rich MP3 Players Offer Great Sound Quality


THE ZEN V Plus from Creative bags the first spot with the D2 and U3 from iAudio not too far behind.
MP3 PLAYER PCW Score Features and Specifications Performance Bottom line

• Sound Quality: Excellent

1
Creative Zen V Plus
Best Rs. 8,600
BUY
82
Very Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.5
• Line-in Recording: Yes
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: Yes
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Very Good
• Screen Quality: Good
With excellent sound quality and friendly
interface, creative manages to offer tons
of features in this tiny device.
• Ear Phones Quality: Excellent

• Sound Quality: Excellent The D2 impresses with innovative touch

2 Cowon iAudio D2
Rs. 12,500
81
Very Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB • FM Tuner: Yes
• Screen Size (inches): 2.5 • Video Support: Yes
• Line-in Recording: Yes • Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Excellent
screen controls and prestine sound
quality along with superb video playback
and stellar battery life.
• Ear Phones Quality: Excellent

• Sound Quality: Excellent A no-mess player with features and

3 Cowon iAudio U3
Rs. 12,501
80
Very Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1
• Line-in Recording: Yes
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: Yes
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Good
sound quality on its side, U3 is the
most compact of all MP3 players in the
comparison.
• Ear Phones Quality: Excellent

• Sound Quality: Very Good While the classic scroll wheel controls

4 Apple iPod Nano


Rs. 7,800
76
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.5
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: No
• Video Support: No
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Excellent
• Screen Quality: Excellent
ensures seamless operation, the Nano
skimps on features and offers average
quality ear phones.
• Ear Phones Quality: Average

• Sound Quality: Excellent

5 Sony NW S205F
Rs. 10,990 74
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: No
• Photo Support: No
• Usability and Design: Average
• Screen Quality: Average
The NW 205 sounds great but will only
appeal to fitness enthusiasts and the high
price is a deterent as well.
• Ear Phones Quality: Excellent

• Sound Quality: Average Priced almost half of the rest of the

6 PHILIPS SA3125
Rs. 4,999
73
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.5
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: Yes
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Average
players in the comparison, the Philips is
a budget offering. We wish it could offer
better sound quality.
• Ear Phones Quality: Poor

• Sound Quality: Good The touch panel in K3 can be tricky to

7 Samsung YP-K3
Rs. 9,000 72
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.8
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: No
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Good
operate. The smooth surface is scratch
prone and the supplied ear buds don’t do
justice to the player.
• Ear Phones Quality: Average

• Sound Quality: Good In an attempt to cramp maximum

8 Sandisk Sansa E250


Rs. 8,200 71
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.8
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: Yes
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Average
features, the E250 ends up with an
average screen and an awkward
navigation system.
• Ear Phones Quality: Average

• Sound Quality: Good

9 Samsung YP-T9
Rs. 12,500 70
Good
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB • FM Tuner: Yes
• Screen Size (inches): 1.8 • Video Support: Yes
• Line-in Recording: No • Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Average
• Screen Quality: Good
Cramed with features, the YP-T9 is
sluggish in operation and is rather
expensive for a 2GB MP3 payer.
• Ear Phones Quality: Average

• Sound Quality: Very Good

10 Samsung YP-K5
Rs. 14,500 69 Fair
• Built-in Capacity: 2 GB
• Screen Size (inches): 1.7
• Line-in Recording: No
• FM Tuner: Yes
• Video Support: No
• Photo Support: Yes
• Usability and Design: Good
• Screen Quality: Good
It’s nice to have built-in speakers but the
K5 is a bulky MP3 player with an equally
heavy price tag.
• Ear Phones Quality: Good

CHART NOTE: All price mentioned are indicative as on 17/04/2007

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MP3 PLAY ERS

player with its equally impressive 92db response when compared


SNR ratio sounds fuller with excellent bass to the rest of the lot.
response. Even with the volume cranked to The sound enhance-
max, the Zen V Plus maintained the sound ment and tweaking fea-
quality with no crackling or distortion. The tures such as preset
Sony NW-S205 is very much suitable to equalizers and bass
Rock and Pop music, with warm neutral boost features can go a
sound, the NW –S205 is conducive for long way in customizing
extended listening sessions. The Apple i- the output to suit your
Pod Nano and Samsungs YP-K3, YP-K5 tastes and particular gen-
and YP-T9 can be clubbed together in the res of music. The iAudio
second spot for sound quality. leads the pack with its list
The Nano is accurate in sound repro- of presets along with the
duction but at maximum volume level it option of user customiza-
WHILE THE CIRCULAR control pad on the i-Pod Nano is
fails to hold ble equalizer mode and
very responsive and effective; the i-Audio U3 employs
against the iAudio some handy sound
the classic joy-stick based navigation that works very
and Creative play- enhancement modes like
well in changing tracks and adjusting volume levels.
ers. The Samsung bass boost, 3d surround
players also offer and MP3 enhance.
above average
sound quality but DESIGN AND USABILITY sensitive scroll dial, there is a clear lag when
they are limited in after sound quality the next most you moving multiple steps forward or
their ability to pro- important aspect to a music player is the backward. The Creative Zen V Plus also
THE SANSA E250 from duce extremely usability factor. A music player which is sports a simple navigation system with a
Sandisk has a built-in high or low fre- simple, smart and responsive to use will four-way joystick that does its job well. The
SD card slot for boosting quencies accurate- serve the purpose better over players that ability to change the screen orientation from
storage capacity. ly. The Sansa E250 give tons of options but are difficult to portrait to landscape allows the user the
from Sandisk is operate and use. The Apple iPod Nano is freedom if using the device in more than
almost in the same league as the Samsung the undisputed king in the navigation one ways, giving the Zen V Plus and edge
players but for the fact that the Sansa E250 department, thanks to the smooth one hand over the rest. The iAudio D2 with its touch
shows signs of distortion beyond 90 per- operation courtesy the popular two way screen approach does take some getting
cent volume level. The Philips SA3125 circular scroll dial that is easy to master. used to and the idea of tapping the screen
leaves us asking for more, with strictly aver- Having said that, the player at times everytime you need to skip a song is slightly
age sound quality and very flat frequency struggles to keep pace with the ultra cumbersome, an inline remote would make

C O M PA R I S O N

STACKING THEM UP
WE LINED ALL 10 players starting from the chunky Samsung YP-K5 to the tiny iAudio U3

-K5
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SA P-K NO E-2
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48 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
MP3 PLAY ERS

AC C E S S O R I E S
the job so much simpler, not having to pull
out the player from your pocket/bag just to EAR PHONES MAKE A DIFFERENCE
skip a track or change the radio channel.
The Philips SA3125 impressed with its
no-nonsense approach, the buttons are THE CREATIVE ZEN V
tacky and responsive and the menus are Plus and the i-Audio D2
straightforward, despite the small size of and U3 provide excellent
the player the navigation is smooth and ear phones with the package,
accurate. Connectivity is also a major fac- doing full justice to the fine output that the
tor with MP3 players, the proprietary con- players are capable of. The Sony NW-S205F
nectors on the Apple and Samsung play- offers behind-the-ear earphones, they sound
ers implies that one has to be extra careful good but they might not be comfortable for
not to misplace the cables. everyone. The default earphones bundled
The rest of the players use mini-USB with Apple i-Pod Nano, Philips SA3125 and
connectors which are standardized and the Sandisk Sanse e250 produced rather
cables are easily available off the shelf. mediocre sound quality, marring the overall
Transferring music/videos to the players listening experience.
can be daunting task, especially if the player
does not provide UMS (Universal Mass
Storage) support. While all the players
allow you to drag and drop data on them, with its ultra fast recharge times; it gives front scroll wheel is not quite reassuring.
transferring media is not that straight for- one hour of playback time with a three The Creative Zen V Plus comes with a
ward. Apart from iAudio that allows you to minute charge and takes less than 3o scratch resistant body and that makes up
drag and drop MP3 files to its music folder, minutes for full charge. The Apple i-Pod for the all plastic frame which seems a
the Creative, Samsung and Apple MP3 Nano and Samsung YP-T9 and YP-K3 little weak against the other players. In the
players require you to install their media will hold enough juice on a single charge looks department, the iPod Nano is slim
applications that have to be used to transfer to last you for 10 days with about 2-hours and looks sophisticated; both the iAudio
songs from your computer to the device. of music every day. On the build quality players look geeky while the Creative Zen
The Sony NW-S205 scores low on the usa- front, the Sony, Apple and iAudio players V Plus is looks cool and funky.
bility aspect mainly due to the tiny buttons are of the top draw while the Samsung
and the confusing controls. The twist players are scratch prone due to the shiny TAKE YOUR PICK
mechanism in the player makes it easy to reflective surface. The Sandisk Sansa while we have the Creative Zen V Plus
jump to the next song or skip songs but the E250 has a metal back but the feel of the as the overall Best Buy winner, we would
rest of the features aren’t easily accessible also like to pick particular players from
while you “wear” the player. the list of ten that will appeal to distinct
type of users. The iAudio D2 is the obvi-
LOOKS, BUILD ous choice for the gadget freak and the
AND BATTERY-LIFE
Sony NW-S205 is made for the fitness
flash based MP3 players are lot more freak who end up spending two hours in
power efficient compared to the hard the gym every day. The Apple iPod Nano
drive based MP3 players. The Cowon, will find fans among the brand, image
Apple, Samsung and Sony players and style conscious, it makes a style state-
deserve a special mention for their ment wherever you go. The Budget buyer
battery performance. The i-Audio D2 should be happy with a simple and to-
player claims a stupendous 52 hour the-point Philips SA3125, priced at Rs
battery life for MP3 playback and a 10 4,999, it’s a steal deal. The Creative Zen V
hour back-up for video playback. In reality, THE SONY NW-S205F is a Plus and iAudio U3 are meant for purists
on a single full charge the D2 lasted for wearable MP3 player that who demand nothing but the best music
five days with 5-6 hours of music/FM and comes with an arm-band, listening experience. The larger and
about 3 hours of total video playback. The allowing users to strap the brighter OLED screen and superior
Sony NW-S205 with its 18-hour claimed player on themselves during design of the Zen v Plus gives it an edge
battery life does not break any records but those gym sessions. over the i-Audio U3.

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A Trillion Thanks!
PC World thanks our distinguished and eminent jury members who
wholeheartedly gave us their time, experience and trenchant views, Krishna Kumar –
thereby making these awards possible. AVP Delivery, GCI Solutions
With over two decades in the software space
Rahul Nanda – VP, Web Chutney Studios. post an MBA from IIMA, Krishna Kumar is
An economics graduate fortified with an MBA, Rahul is a techie at responsible for delivery of key projects for
heart. He has over a decade of path-breaking experience in the e- GCI, formerly known as Planetasia.
commerce and new media domains.

GV Sreekumar – Associate Profes- Srinivas katta - GM & CTO, Vinayak Sinha – MD & CEO, Advent InfoSoft
sor, Industrial Design Centre, IIT Mumbai. Changepond Technologies Vinayak founded Advent, which runs eIndiabusiness.
Prof. Sreekumar is an acknowledged teacher An IIT engineer, IIM Lucknow, Srinivas excels in new com, a leading B2B marketplace for export-import,
and practioner in the fields of visual design, technology adoption and architecting innovative cus- manufacturers and distributors. Advent boasts a base
typography and information graphics as well tomer solutions, for client mega-sites, including the of over 3000 clients in a short period of seven years.
55 w as publication & magazinemdesign.
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FIFA World Cup and the A1 Grand Prix.
CONTENT PAGE
best indian websites
Anirudha Joshi – Associate Professor.
Industrial Design Centre, IIT Bombay.
Prof. Joshi teaches and conducts research in human-computer
Roshen chandren– CTO Plynt. interaction design. He brings a unique perspective to the jury given
Co-founder of Paladion/Plynt, Roshen is an he is both an engineer and a PG in visual communication and design.
author, software security practice evangelist,
teacher, speaker; in short a security guru. Need Shamit Khemka – Founder & CEO,
we say more? Synapse Communications
The pioneer of the first BBS with e-mail services in India, Shamit
has over 12 years’ experience in internet technology, manage-
ment, software and professional development.

oSoft Sujata Keshavan Guha Sudarshan Dheer – Founder, Graphic Commu-


s. – Co-Founder & MD, Ray + Keshavan Design. nication Concepts Design Studio.
Sujata is the first Indian woman to obtain a post graduate degree in With more than three decades of experience, Sudarshan has
,
graphic design. Sujata has won several international awards for her won dozens of international design awards, and has published
ase two books on design . He is an advisor, juror, speaker and lec-
rs. work, and is a two-time Designer of the Year honoree by A&M. turer in the global milieu.
56 w w w. P C W O R L D . i n m ay 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
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technology will dominate the future and the web is deployment of technology - rather than
to rate its specific content, something
clearly one of its greatest manifestations. Forget the that changes very dynamically and per-
dotcom bust that many sceptics will remind you of haps impossible to judge objectively.
We’ve also stayed away from making
The Web is going to become our way of life in India. popularity a criteria or viewing traffic
There are enough statistics to point to well as some not-so-famous-yet sites that reports to declare winners. The win-
the rapid growth of the Internet in India – our panel of experts believe do justice to ners here are based on what our
number of connections, e-mail accounts, their mission. experts believe are the most promising
transaction revenue – all very convincing. The awards aim to capture the frame- and deserving sites and we hope you
But who needs statistics? Just a quick look work and user understanding that the agree with the verdicts when you try
around will reveal how web is fast replacing site has – embodied in its design and them yourself.
traditional brick-n-mortar operations.
r at i n G
Be it picking new stocks or new
friends, finding a job or a bride, there’s HOW WE EVALUATED
a web way to things that is proving far
more effective, and rewarding. Websites Judging websites on design and Technology Score (40 points): Similarly,
today are built with robust understand- technology usage required us to call in our technology experts rated sites on the
ing of users and available technology. the experts. Our expert jury represent basis of two broad sub-categories with 20
They purposefully pursue fulfilling the the very elite from the design and tech- points each. One component, navigation,
needs of their audience but are ground- nology domain and have a collective covered structure or framework of the site,
ed in strong business reality. And hence, experience of over 150 years. interface and scope. The other, functional-
unlike the fairy-tail era gone by, this Besides design and the use of technol- ity, focussed on use of technology to
time round the web is geared to deliver ogy, PC World and other group publica- enhance user experience, diversity, error
all your needs. tion editors (CIO and Channel World) handling and security. The site which
Yes, the web has answers for almost all rated the site as users to arrive at the scored the maximum on 40 points possi-
your needs and the problem is one of overall winner. Our emphasis was more ble was adjudged the Best Technology
being spoilt for choice. There are scores of on technical aspects of the site develop- website in each category.
websites wooing you with the same con- ment which meant that design and tech- User Evaluation (20 points): Our editors,
tent or service. There are those who prom- nology carried 40 points each, while user who represent actual users of these web-
ise to be a one-stop-shop while others experience was 20 points adding up to a sites today scored the sites on content and
claim they are better because they are total of 100. The overall winner of a cate- overall experience. In content, they looked
focused and specialised. As a user one is gory was the site with the highest com- for scope, relevance, ability to find it easily
left wondering where to begin and typi- bined score on the three groups – design, (search) and layout. On the overall experi-
cally end up with familiar sites or rec- technology and user experience. ence they considered navigation, interac-
ommendations. Perhaps not Design Score (40 points): tivity and design as end-users would.
the best way to reach the site. Our design experts rated Overall Winner: The user evaluation of
The best site should use sites on two broad sub-lev- 20 points was then added to the Design
technology to deliver solu- els - design and usability. Score and the Technology Score to arrive
tions. Information should be Color, graphics, typography, at our overall winner. The highest score
presented intuitively and con- visual appeal and consistency was crowned the Best Indian Website. In
cisely. Design should aid the overall in design contributed to 25 case of a tie the site with a higher tech-
experience. And that is what our points. Usability which took into nology score has been declared the win-
Best Indian Websites represent. In account interactivity and custom- ner. In case of a tie on design or technol-
its first year, the award focuses on ization to India added another 15 ogy scores, the vertical specific sites were
20 prominent categories – products points to complete the total score given preference over the portals reward-
and services that are most useful of 40 points on design. In recogni- ing extra credit to their specialization in
today and are not based on fancy tion of outstanding work done a particular field to arrive at our Design
future roadmaps. The 126 nom- in this area, we have ranked or Technology winner. Thankfully, we
inees that we evaluate repre- the Best Designed website in were not left with any tied scores to han-
sent the best known names as each category. dle beyond that!

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Gaming
yahoo! games are small arcade-style games
that can either be played multi-
There is nothing like taking some time player in online mode or single
off from work to look for gaming action player offline.
online. No, we are not talking about Mas- In India, Yahoo! games has
sively Multiplayer Online became quite a hit with young-
Role Playing games or sters, with games such as pool,
(MMORPGs) as they Literati (a scrabble clone), Chess,
are called. What and Reversi etc. Based on the
games.yahoo.com provides a good combination
we are talking success and hit rates experi-
of design and content to emerge as the winner.
about here enced by Yahoo, Reliance
jumped onto the foray with Zapak. mention for providing a networking area,
com. However, to say the least, where gamers can discuss games. A great
Zapak failed to satisfy the jury. implementation. Funtoosh.com, on the
Though the site has many games, other hand, sports a nice compilation of
it scores low on the usability, nav- flash games that are really interesting.
igation and functionality scale. But, Yahoo! games rules the roost with
And besides functionality, why a great mix of free-to-use, shareware and
on earth should a gaming site subscription games with a games news
have trailers, recipes and fash- section. They could make the site even
ion videos is totally baffling. more interesting by adding game reviews,
Indiagames.com deserves a special said the jury.

Flowers and Gifts


fernsnpetals The other floritst player,
Rajindra Florist, sports a
does not provide any Indi-
an customization (in the
Cards and gifts are a great way to com- site a bit too busy for com- form of special arrange-
municate with loved ones across the fort. The site design is far ment for festivals for
country, or for that matter anywhere in from great without much instance). They could do
the world. It is even possible to send visual appeal. The site has with a better registration
“Fernsnpetals.
flowers, cakes, sweets and gifts to friends a couple of good concepts and payment page. All
and family at the click of a button. Dedi- like tailor-made orders,
com has a clean portals have tie-ups with
cated websites and special sections on which however, are not and decent look, local vendors to fulfill
shopping portals allow you to communi- implemented correctly. you feel like buy- orders. Though this proc-
cate your feelings easily. There is much scope for ing flowers.” ess may work for them,
Unlike many other sections where por- improvement. the quality fo flowers
Anirudha Joshi
tals have emerged as winners in vertical Of the shopping portals, deliverd cannot be guaran-
niches, fernsnpetals.com bags the honors indiaplaza.in emerged as teed. Even if you choose
here. This click-and-mortar operator has the main challenge to fernsnpetals. The not to use the winner, use a specialist
a clean look that seduces the user into site provides consistent information, but who delivers in the desired location.
buying flowers. But the images on the
winners
site leave a lot to be desired. Being a flo-
rist website they could have made them Best indian websites
more natural, rather than using Pho- category Best Design Best Technology Usage Overall Winner
toshop touchups. The site does offer a lot
Gaming games.yahoo.com games.yahoo.com games.yahoo.com
of user interactivity, employing chat
options on MSN and Yahoo. Flowers and gifts fernsnpetals.com fernsnpetals.com fernsnpetals.com

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Cricket of the others come close to pro-


cricinfo viding such comprehensive con-
India's unofficial national sport tent, and in such a good pack-
rouses passions like few other issues. age. Though the site could do
Almost everyone has an opinion on the with a bit of less clutter. It is
game. And that has result- phenomenally well
ed in websites being oper- updated, so much
ated by everybody and his so that at the time
neighbor in this category. of testing it was
On one hand you have already ready to Cricinfo features a section where a live 3-
television channels such show the next Dimentional rendering of the current game is available
as ESPN STAR; on the match. It also fea-
other you have the special- tures a unique way of filter- Indian as well as foreign audiences. Kudos
ists — Cricinfo and Crick- ing commentary by play- to them for a great job done.
et next. Newspapers and “Cricinfo.com is ers, and does the same None of the other cricket websites man-
portals are also not far very good in thing for player stats. aged to impress the judges. They were
behind with Rediff, India- terms of content, To take this to the next level either out of date, as in the case of Cric
times, Hindustan Times Crickinfo also features a new
and Express India putting
navigation, data, live 3-D rendering of the cur- Buzz, or have poor navigation and plan-
ning as was the case with cricket next.
together verticals on their site structure and rent game. Here, 3-Dimen- As for the others such as Indiatimes
respective websites. planning.” sional characters depict the and Express India, they seemed to be
In terms of design, ESPN happenings on the cricket treating cricket as a necessary evil rather
STAR bagged the honors. Vinayak Sinha field graphically. Though it than adopting a focused approach
The site provides excellent would be akin to watching a towards the vertical. They do have news
infographics within the live scorecard, cricket computer game, it adds the excite- and analysis of games, but no in-depth
though take a bit of time to load. It also ment, without stretching your bandwidth information is available to enhance
has an excellent flash-based cricket cen- requirements. It is also well customized for the experience.
tre. The site design itself has good color
balance and visual appeal.
Having said that, the one site that
stands out of the crowd is Cricinfo. None Shopping
futurebazaar we saw very keen competition with differ-

Classifieds During the dot com boom and bust,


ent winners for design, technology and
overall performance. Future Bazaar took
Though classifieds did not fea-
shopping was touted as one of the major
ture in our awards as a category,
drivers of e-commerce growth. As it
predominantly because it has not
turned out, the concept was a bit ahead
peaked yet. But, it is one of the most
for its time. With the Internet coming of
important sectors that may make a
age in the recent time, and increased
transition to the online world a lot
trust in online transactions, this catego-
faster. There is already a no non-
ry has found many more takers. The
sense site called craigslist for
jury evaluated Rediff, Indiatimes, Sify,
classifieds around the world with a
ebay, Indiaplaza, Chennai Bazaar, Future
secion on India. But, we also have
Bazaar and India Mall. Though Ebay is
some homegrown classified websites
predominantly perceived as an auction
that are trying to make a mark. Some
site, it was included in the comparison
of these sites includes rediff classi-
because most of the trades that are post-
fieds, oneindia.com, indialisted.com
ed on the site are for new products. Futurebazaar won on the design front and
and sulekha.com.
This was one of the few categories where provides good shopping experience.

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E-mail Ag g r e g at o r s

The Have-it-Alls
gmail
There are portals, there are verti-
There were days when Hotmail was the only free specialty e-mail service on the
cals and then there are search
block. Yahoo and AOL moved in later to provide it some stiff competition. Our home
engines. But, out of all of these, there
grown services like Rediff and Sify also have a loyal fan following, but are still not too
is a new category of sites that are
high on the popularity charts. We evaluated Indiatimes, Yahoo India, Sify, Rediff,
emerging in the horizon. These are
Epatra, MSN India and Gmail in this category.
called the aggregators. They are help-
In the past few months, the interfaces of some old websites have gone in for a huge
ful in finding
makeover. Instead of using the age-old HTML most now use Web 2.0 technologies
information on a
enabling interfaces similar to desktop e-mail clients. Some of these features like e-
particular verti-
mails, conversations or web page shortcuts. were first introduced by google. The
cal. Generally
others have followed up with more dynamic features such as multiple selections,
this vertical has
drag and drop functionality and right clicks.
a lot of competi-
The Jury found MSN LIVE, with its new interface, to be visually appealing. Its design
tion and these
is quite sophisticated and refreshing. The usage of refined gradients & fine thin lines
aggregators
give a good feel to the user interface. It scored the highest in our design rankings,
enable you to
countering popular belief. Yahoo Mail, on the other hand, boasts of a good overall
choose from this
interface with new features to hook the user.
competition easily. In India they are
Google was ranked much lower in design because of its aging interface, compared to the
not too common yet, but they are get-
other contenders in the category. But it certainly wins overall because of the sheer number
ting there.
of features it has.
There are a couple that you may
“Gmail.com has a great Epatra.com offers want to try out, bixee.com and zoom-
number of features, but good features like tra.com. Bixee.com searches through
the interface is not very vernacular e-mails various job sites for openings match-
but the one-off fea-
user friendly.” tures did not get
ing your criteria. On the other hand,
zoomtra.com makes your search for
them even close to
the lowest airfare easier. It would
Rahul Nanda the winners.
search through all the major web-
sites for you. Yes, it could be a bit
slower than a standalone site but its
quite helpful.
the top spot on the design front. Though and Sify were more than OK in their per- The perils of using these services
this site sells a limited range of products it formance, and trailed very close behind are that sometimes the information
has a decent, no-nonsense approach, while future bazaar. Once again, we see a case being fed to these sites may not be
providing a good shopping experience. of a new website(futurebazaar.com) win- current and you may get stale results.
Ebay, wins on the tech side of things. It ning because of better technology adop- Or, in some cases you may not even
provides diversity in functionality, good tion. The incumbents need to take notice come to know of any special deals or
user tools and an intelligent error han- of this and re-invent themselves inorder promotions on the sites that the
dling system. to come upto steam with the winners. aggregator searches through.
Overall, we found futurebazaar.com to
the be the winner. It does not feature at the
top on technology, but performed consis- winners
tently across parameters to come up
numero uno. In terms of design and func-
best indian websites
category Design Technology usage Overall Performance
tionality the site is well planned. The look
is clean and un-cluttered, while support- cricket espnstar.com cricinfo.com cricinfo.com

ing good user interaction. The product


shopping futurebazaar.com ebay.co.in futurebazaar.com
comparator is however, difficult to use.
Long time veterans Rediff, Indiatimes e-mail hotmail.com yahoo.com gmail.com

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best indian websites

Real Estate On lin e Gaming

Second Life
India Property itself to a nice surfing experience while the
good background picture makes it visually If you are a pessimist you may
The click-and-mortar approach to very appealing. At India Properties, the even call it escapism, or you may
a brick-and-mortar business is becoming large number of categories make it easy to also perceive it as good clean way to
increasingly the way online locate precise information. Besides this, the have something you never had in
realty is heading. With testimonials and other interactive tools the real world. And, if you don’t
real estate prices shoot- also make it a good site. When it already know about Second Life,
ing up like never comes to navigation, users found you can already consider yourself a
before, online real India Property to have an advan- part of the stone age.
estate businesses are tage over its closest competi- It is a virtual community built and
spreading slowly, tor. Its structure/ frame- managed entirely by more than 5
overlapping with the work, interface and million inhabit-
services offered by functionality are ants. If you have
your friendly neigh- better geared to seen The Matrix,
borhood broker. user comfort. its very similar
India Prop- Also, the use to that, just with-
erties, Magic of technolo- out as much real-
Bricks, 99 g y t o ism. You are an
Acres, India enhance avatar inside this
P r o p e r t y, user expe- world and trade
came up for our rience, and in real money, as
scrutiny. security are you would trade in the real world.
It's love at first site with India Property, better in India Property.com. The currency, Linden Dollars, can be
and India Properties (yes, these are two dif- It was therefore really not surprising, converted to and from US dollars.
ferent portals). While India Property has a given its appealing, fresh colors, high- The seriousness of the 'game' can
large number of interactive options, India quality graphics that make the layout so be judged from the fact that the
Properties has very attractive colors, good appealing, and the in-depth and informa- management institute INSEAD is
layout and informative graphics. The pleas- tive content that India Property stayed already in the process of opening its
ant blue-ish feel of India Property lends ahead in our ranking. institute inside, and Reuters already
employs a full time reporter there.

Technology
Techtree.com was one of the fore-run-
tech2 is distracting whilst reading content. Also,
the videos page does not allow users to ners in this category , but has not lever-
Of all the technology websites, tech2. comment and discuss videos. aged technology adequately to enhance
com emerged as the clear winner. It sports the user experience. It sports a very aver-
a clean and easy-to-use design with a age interface, which proves quite difficult
smart color palette to attract the target to find a specific product, even though
audience. The dark background of the site they have used tag clouds in places. CIOL.
enables it to maintain focus on the right com on the other hand, is quite compre-
areas while infusing a fresh feel to the hensive when it comes to certain catego-
site. Besides this, the addition of video in ries but does not span across horizontally.
collaboration with CNBC-TV18 adds a ZDNet India has a clean interface and is
new dimension to the website and moves easy to navigate. The light colors on the
it to a different paradigm altogether. How- website are soothing to the eye and makes
ever, the site also does not come without the website very readable. On the content
its own set of problems; the Google ads Tech2.com emerges as the winner because of side however, this website falls short, as it
on all pages creates a lot of confusion and current content, videos and a refreshing feel. is nowhere as comprehensive as tech2.

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Portals
yahoo palette is extremely boring,
and the video advertisement
most other sites on almost
all counts. Providing a wide
Everything that used to be on terra on the homepag edoes not range of distinct features
firma a few decades ago is now done serve much purpose, except such as Yahoo Go!, the
better online. There are a huge number to irritate the user. desktop feel and the mes-
of portals that make up the world that On content organization senger toolbar, while incor-
we inhabit in cyberspace. Among them, side, every section in MSN “Clean, efficient, porating the latest technol-
Yahoo!, MSN, Sify, Indya, Indiatimes has a box on the homep- user-friendly ogies around, enhaces the
and Rediff are unarguably the most- vis- age, which makes it look design. Yahoo. user experience, and makes
ited Indian portals. quite cluttered. Indiatimes co.in does a very it a winner.
In terms of design and usability Yahoo! is also not too far away good job in pre- Localization and person-
tops the charts. The color palette, graph- from MSN where clutter is alization add toYahoo!’s dis-
ics and layout of the portal is the best. concerned. It could do with
senting so much tinctiveness. Close on its
The subtle blue gradient and the good a better structure leading content in a lim- heels, however are Rediff
pixel iconography results in great aesthet- to a more intuitive user ited space.” and Indiya.com. The latter
ic appeal. In addition, its interactivity and e x p e r i e n c e . C l a s s i e r, is somewhat unique on
Sujata Keshavan
the degree of customization for the Indi- brighter colors could also account of its animated
an audience are also better than most give this portal a new life. graphics that stand out
websites. The interface and layout utilize Not surprisingly, Yahoo heads the line- onsite as do the headlines of the day, giv-
the available space just right. up, with the jury finding it superior to ing a very unique touch to the portal.
On the technology side too, Yahoo!
takes the top spot, using the latest tech-
nologies such as AJAX to ensure that
user has a desktop- like interface. This
provides the kind of personalization that
Job Sites
instantly puts the user at ease. Yahoo!’s monsterindia
navigation is also good, and despite the
Its hard to imagine how people got jobs before these sites showed up. With the
great diversity of its content there is
economy booming and HR managers trying hard to curb attrition rates these sites have
extremely effective utilization of space.
become a one-stop resource for employers, job seekers and job consultants alike.
However, when it comes to quality, rele-
The job-site wars sparked-off by Naukri.com and Jobsahead, and were fanned to a
vance and scope of content, Rediff beats
blaze by the entry of Monster India. And now we have a couple of new promising con-
Yahoo! to the finish line. The coverage, con-
tenders in Job Street, Click Jobs, and Times Jobs.
tent quality as well as layout get full marks.
From the design point of view, clickjobs stood out of the crowd because of its clutter-
It has, very good coverage for a portal. Its
free interface. The site design is quite subtle in keeping with the demands of the catego-
layout is also consistent, and there is no
ry, and does not come off as loud and noisy. The use of shading on the site is also quite
overlap or structural confusion.
inspiring and pleasing to the eye.
On the other hand, the one portal that
All these websites extensively use Web 2.0 functionality. Clickjobs gives you chat -enhanced
disappoints, especially in terms of design,
search. Naukri.com, has tag clouds which make it very informative. Monster.com has one of
is MSN India. First-off, the single color
the best search tools using a single search box. It also has a well integrated and organized
winners registration and application process. It also
has an absolutely clutter-free homepage that
best indian websites is pleasing to the eye and easy to use. All
category Design Technology usage Overall winner these features make Monster India the cho-
Real Estate indiaproperty.com indiaproperty.com indiaproperty.com
sen one based on our test results.
In conrtast, the timesjobs.com interface
Technology tech2.com tech2.com tech2.com is quite cluttered . Value-adds like ‘Career
Services’ are hidden and not comprehen-
Portals yahoo.co.in yahoo.co.in yahoo.co.in
sive. It does have its good parts with Ascent
Jobs clickjobs.com monsterindia.com monsterindia.com Job Postings standing out as an example.

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best indian websites

Social Networking
orkut praiseworthy for its cus-
tomization to suit the
In today’s 36-plus hour workdays, Indian audience.
meeting up with friends is usually possi- Orkut however, has
ble only due to the benign powers of your been voted as the best of
computer and the magnanimity of the the lot. Though it is a glob-
world wide web. Moreover, social net- al site, there are hordes of
working today is not only about reaching Indians using it, making it one
out with the proverbial human touch but of the most popular social networking
also about getting and staying connected, sites. In terms of user experience it is the Members are encouraged to propose and
for a variety of purposes, be they family, easiest to navigate, with its straight for- discuss business start-up ideas, which
friends or work. We evaluated Mingle ward, uncomplicated and clean interface. could be funded by techTribe . Though
Box, Yaari, Sulekha, Rediff, MSN Spaces, However, it may not be the best bet for we have not evaluated these sites, they do
Yahoo India and Orkut in this category. those looking for business networking. It deserve a special mention here.
At first look, Yaari.com has the best could also do with brighter colors. Orkut MSN Spaces is predominantly focused
visual appeal. The colors, graphics, con- also faces some charges of unsuitability on blogs. It uses webparts while creating
sistency and typography make it the best- for an increasingly younger audience. spaces, using rich text editors which
designed site in the domain. It also takes There are special sites now that cater to impart an extremely user-friendly and
the cake for user interactivity and it is younger audience; one such is Mingle- intuitive touch. However, the site provides
box.com that focuses mainly on teenag- the option of creating your own page with-
ers. On the other hand, sites like kincafe. in the space, something that actually cre-
More than Orkut com are positioned for family network-
ing, incorporating features such as photo
ates a lot of clutter. Also, as is the case with
Yahoo, MSN Spaces is not really an appro-
M i n g l e b ox i s
albums and family trees. And then you priate platform for social networking.
one of the new
have techTribe, which is a professional Among the sites we studied, Yahoo
sites that has
networking site, one that promotes entre- India scored best on relevance of con-
come up to suit
preneurship in addition to networking. tent, layout and search options available.
the Indian cus-
tomers need in

News
more ways than
one. The site specifically caters to
the youth in India, and suitably shows
that on the home page also. Has sec-
tions on blogs, groups, pictures and
ibnlive offered almost identical features and scored
much the same. Though NDTV stands out
video; while still being in alpha. Hope- Is this an exciting space or what? Be it for its superior user interactivity, the clean
fully the site would come around to newspapers, TV companies, Internet design and good technology usage of IBN
being as engrossing if not better than giants or portals, everybody wants a slice Live won the top spot amongst all news web-
its international counterparts. of the online news pie. While for some sites. Being one of the pioneers of videos on
Kinkafe.com, on the other hand, it’s their bread and butter, for others it’s a
brings about another concept alto- necessary evil. And this can be seen from
gether. It is a family networking site. the various kinds of news site implemen-
A phenomenally good idea to keep tations on the Internet.
families together in this age of Starting with the Indian portals, both
increasingly nuclear culture. It offers Sify and Rediff provide enough and more
features like family albums that sup- content than a user can handle. Though
ports pictures of different sizes and Sify could do with a little less clutter,
even a family tree, that you can eas- Rediff scores better on account of its
ily grow horizontally and vertically. increased user interactivity.
This is as interesting as it can get. Amongst the TV channel-owned sites we IBNlive took the top spot in news websites
evaluated IBN Live and NDTV.com. Both with a clean design and good technology

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Web 2.0

YouTube, Flickr,
Astrology
Wikipedia Killers sify
Hurtling top speed into the twenty-fifth century has
Hitwise has tapped the six Web not deterred mankind from charting the stars in order to
2.0 companies most likely to reach foretell the future. The ubiquitous astrologer now comes
the soaring success of YouTube, packaged as a website that does all the necessary jobs, some-
Wikipedia or Flickr. The list includes: times for a fee. Whilst almost every portal has an astrology “Sify.com has
Yelp offers an online guide that channel, there are a few pure-play astrology sites. Amongst good navigation...
allows users to rate various goods the sites our panel evaluated was Vedic Astrology Prediction,
and services. Astro Yogi, Sify, Cyber Astro and Astrology India.
however the
StumbleUpon allows users to recom- Vedic Astrology prediction eclipsed others by its simple, content is too
mend Web sites to others with com- clean design, relevant colors (a soothing blue), best visual focussed on
mon interests. appeal and consistency of presentation with a robust type "forecasting". ”
Veoh provides software to allow style. However, the site comes across as being too non-
users to collect, publish and watch moving with too many static pages. In addition, the lack Krishna Kumar TK
high definition videos. of interactivity makes it dull for the user.
WeeWorld allows users to create a Astrology India ranked alongside this site for interac-
graphic alter ego tivity and local customization. In things as traditional as astrology, the Indian
to be used for colors on the site impart a good feel to the whole visual experience.
online or mobile When it came to the navigation and interface structure, Sify’s astrology portal
communications. was judged as the best. This portal also boasts of the best use of technology to
Imeem is an online enhance the user experience, error handling and security options. This site also
community to has the highest level of security when it comes to payment by credit card, and
allow users to pro- with the SSL option provided.
mote their con- Sify’s astrology portal and Cyber Astro both have very comprehensive as well
tent, blogs, music, as relevant content which is elegantly laid out Sify comes across as a very inter-
photos and videos. active site that allows interface with experts but it focuses too much on content. In the
Piczo is a site that allows users -- it long run, this may create credibility problems for the site.
targets teenagers -- to create their With all these parameters in play, Sify beats Cyber Astro by a hair’s breadth to emerge
own customizable Web sites. as the winner in this category.

a website, it enjoys a large fan following. still fragmented and the site leaves a lot segment, being an aggregator it deserves
Even so, it could do with better implementa- to be desired. a special mention. The site provides a lot
tion of its user comment handling. Finally, moving to the pure-Internet of room for customization of news and
Though both the Hindustan Times and giants, MSN and Yahoo come out as just alerts. You can individualize alerts and
The Times of India sites provide great about average in performance. It almost webpage based on the product, service or
content, neither provides adequate sup- feels that they are in the news space more keyword that you may want to track. If
port for user opinion or contribution. In as a necessary evil rather than out a desire you are not particularly attached or
this mad race for grabbing the reader, the to provide news. hooked to any of the other news sites,
old ladies of news appear to be laggards. Although Google is not in the news then Google News is the best way to go.
Having said that, and despite its short-
comings, on account of strong site struc- winners
ture, effective interface and its ability to
target a diverse variety of users, HT got
best indian websites
category Design Technology usage Overall Performance
the top honors in application of tech seg-
Social yaari.com orkut.com orkut.com
ment. The other newspaper site evaluated Networking
was Indian Express. It was one of the first News ibnlive.com hindustantimes.com ibnlive.com
newspaper sites to be launched, but has
not kept up with the times. The content is Astrology vedicastrologyprediction.com sify.com sify.com

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best indian websites

Travel Web 2.0 - A Definition


cleartrip We tested six of
these sites. Yatra.
Web 2.0 could be a meaningless marketing buzzword or it
may represent a whole new paradigm for the Internet. But,
With the rise of modern India, young com emerged as it’s never really been adequately defined.
people want to step out and travel around the numero uno According to Tim O'Reilly, "Web 2.0 is the business revolu-
to see the world. What this means is a from design point tion in the computer industry caused by the move to the
humungous business case for travel- of view. The site is a Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules
related websites, evidenced by the num- great combination for success on that new platform."
ber of them that have mushroomed of features, design But tech expert Berners-Lee says, “Web 2.0 is of course a
across the web. These are no longer mere and technology, piece of jargon, nobody even knows what it means. If Web 2.0
ticket booking sites that offer you the best providing a great for you is blogs and wikis, then that is people to people. But
fares; they now provide comprehensive user experience, that was what the Web was supposed to be all along.”
information about the best holiday desti- while efficiently
nations, hotel ratings and bookings, trav- accomplishing the job at hand. The colors, be a winner when it does what it is sup-
eler blogs, pod casts, and almost anything graphics and visual appeal of the site are posed to and does that really well.
else that helps make your travel simpler. clearly miles ahead of the others. The only We observed web 2.0 implementations in
grouse that we had was the lack of most of these sites, as also a focus on user
a SSL login, though the payment generated content. NDTV travels in partic-
gateway of the site is secure. ular has a lot of user generated content in
Cleartrip was the overall winner the form of reviews and travelogue. Make
with its simple My Trip offers pod cast travelogues. At first
and clear struc- glance these appear to provide a lot of info
ture, good error on various topics, but the content could be
handling and a quite biased. It appears that travelers chose
clear security to write only about extreme experiences,
policy. It is all either when overly impressed or totally dis-
the other sites sans the frills, and appointed. Our advice is to tread carefully
CLeartrip.com emerged as the winner because therefore great functionality. It is when you look at such reviews, and try and
of its clear security policy and simple structure a good example of how a site can filter out the bias, if any.

“Bharatmatrimony.com
Matrimony is visually attractive as
the emphasis is more on
bharatmatrimony layout reinforce the photographs and
visual appeal. How- then the layouts which is
Matrimonial sites on the web today ever, at times, Shaa-
appealing too.”
make us wonder how anyone got married di’s pages appear to
before these sites bought potential soul be somewhat clut- Sudarshan Dheer
mates together! Their deep and expansive tered. Equally posi-
reach outdoes ways of finding a match. tioned, Bharat Matrimony also uses pic- more effective search functionality. Bharat
Amongst the clutter, there are a few that tures extensively making the site visually Matrimony boasts of the best navigability,
stand out. We evaluated Shaadi.com, Mat- attractive, adding appeal to the layout. in terms of structure/ framework inter-
rimonial India, Jeevansathi, Bharat Matri- Every aspect of Indian marriages is spe- face, scope and functionality. It comes
mony, SimplyMarry (Times), and Rediff. cial in more ways than one, and that across as simple and helpful, with useful
In terms of design, Shaadi.com was the includes the search for the bride or groom. data that aids navigation. Rediff was also
most popular. Great design and layout, Few websites understand these individual rated as a very functional site, so these are
good blogs, Q&A, video and photo gallery demands, and among ones that do, Times’ obviously the most user friendly websites
along with interesting links provide great SimplyMarry was voted right alongside for choosing a life partner today.
value addition to this site. Fresh, appealing Shaadi. Shaadi is also very user friendly At the end of the day, Bharat Matrimony
colors, interesting graphics and convenient and has very useful links and options for got the most votes for overall best website.

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b est i n d i a n w e b s i t es

Bill Payment
well as a large number of services some-
visabillpay times make it took a bit cluttered. But
Life has never been cushier, now that in select categories it has the potential to
utilities, banks and other bills can be paid be a winner.
online. There are a number of websites Bangalore One, though not a winner
that make the dream of queue-less bill deserves special mention. The way the site
payment come true. We picked up Visa has been conceived is great. You can pay all
Bill Pay, Bangalore One, Bill Junction, and kinds of bills and other dues on the website.
Itzpay, and had a long hard look at which Being backed up by service centers across
of them make our Bangalore, makes it
lives the easiest. a robust click-and-
Visa Bill Pay offers mortar story too.
the best in terms of Though the site A somewhat different bill payment option
colors, graphics, visu- holds out great prom- deserves a mention here. Though not totally
al appeal, consistency ise, it is nevertheless online, Easybill has centres across India that
and typography. It is a bit too cluttered for allow you to pay a wide variety of bills with-
useful only to a limit- our liking and could out logging on to the Internet. It would be
ed number of cus- do with a facelift. At great to see them extend this service online.
tomers, but its layout the risk of being over- Visa Bill Pay appeared to be the best
though visa billpay accepts only Visa
is clean and easy, and optimistic, if Banga- performer across all criteria, with a great
cards, it is the most comprehensive site
offers a range of pay- lore One could scale interactive design, in-depth content and
ment options. It also tops for usability, to provide similar service on a pan-India smooth functionality, not to forget its
interactivity and customization for Indian basis, it would be really great. extremely interactive interface.
users. While finance or bill payment sites
could be slightly confusing if the naviga-

Entertainment
tion and site maps are not clearly laid out,
Visa Bill Pay takes good care of this aspect.
Its structure and interface are very well
designed, resulting in easy usage. It is also
the widest in terms of scope, relevance rediff
and depth. Most definitely the site to go to News of any kind is extremely important, right? Everybody wants to know about
if you are looking to pay your bills online. their favorite film or TV stars’ lives, marriages, love affairs, work, or light hearted gos-
However, in terms of sheer functionality sip. This content category usually forms a very important part of most portals , and
and content, Bill Junction takes the cake. It thus in our shootout was considered a separate category. The last four contenders in
is user-friendly, has loads of information the race were India FM, Indiatimes, Rediff and MSN.
and even provides the option for payment Amongst the websites evaluated in this category Rediff.com came out on top.
via SMS. The fact that it supports payment While India FM scored higher in the design department, surprisingly Rediff topped
operations across a long list of cities as in the content department, ahead of all the others. This was suprising, as we expect-
ed that the specialist, niche players,
winners India FM for one,would sail through this
aspect of the shootout .Adding insult to
best indian websites injury, Rediff was also the winner in the
category Best Design Best Technology usage Overall Performance usability tests, the site providing superi-
travel yatra.com cleartrip.com cleartrip.com
or interactivity.
Indiatimes, on the other hand, flattered
Matrimony shaadi.com bharatmatrimony.com bharatmatrimony.com to deceive and did not live up to the expec-
tation. Yahoo got the most points for
Bill Payment visabillpay.com visabillpay.com visabillpay.com
being the best technology implementa-
Entertainment indiafm.com yahoo.com rediff.com tion amongst the entertainment sites.

CONTENT PAGE m ay 2 0 0 7  w w w. P C W O R L D . i n 67
best indian websites

Photo Printing
itasveer structured interface. It edges ahead
of Picsquare on account of its very
The advent of digital cameras has interesting doodlepad application
posed an uprecedented problem, how which lets you create interesting
does one get the photos taken printed?. If graphics that can be used on mugs
you date back to the time of Flintstones, and t-shirts, that can be ordered off
you may still want to wade through city the website. It lets you add borders,
traffic and give your photos to the neigh- graphics, multiple pictures and such
borhood photo-lab; alternatively, you likes to your photographs.
The sites that really disappointed
us were Kodak and Snap Galaxy.
Kodak is the oldest photo printing
service in India, but the site fails to
live up to that reputation. It is an
extremely basic website that depends
on a downloadable software to print able job, but are barely average when it
photos. The interface is extremely comes to design and interactivity. All said
simplistic, and best avoided. Snap ,done and evaluated, iTasveer barely nudges
Galaxy, on the other hand, is not a ahead of Picsquare to finish first, and main-
very user-friendly website. Fobaz and ly on account its superior navigational
itasveer features interesting elements like Merasnap, two other sites, do a reason- design and the doodle pad.
doodlepad to make online photo printing fun

Mobile Content
could use one of the many photo-printing
services available on the Internet.
Today, online photo printing is mush-
rooming everywhere in Indian cyberspace, yahoo mobile
and that too with hard to resist price and
service offerings. Amongst the websites Rediff emerges at the top of the pile for design in the mobile content area with its
reviewed by us the two that clearly stood decent coverage of the latest mobile offerings with a focus on the entertainment space.
out were picsqaure.com and itasveer.com. The site appears to be clean, uncluttered, structured with well-designed icons. The type
Picsquare has a very style used, and font color add to its visual appeal. This site has outstanding
clean and contemporary functionality, while providing quick and relevant search results.
design. The colors used Content appears to be the best on the Yahoo! Mobile content portal,
for the interface and picto- which provides very good , feature-rich coverage communication, logis-
rial representation of ele- tics, entertainment, even such diverse topics as finance and sports. This
ments are really cool and makes.Yahoo! Mobile a really interesting site to visit. However, some of
fresh and completely suit- the experts on our panel felt that the positioning of the key features and
ed to the milieu. They specific entries could have been done better. The site also provides
have used Web 2.0 tech- unique value-added features; SMS backup, picture previews, creating of
nologies such as Ajax, the (optional) personalized logos, to name just a few.
“Mobile.yahoo.
photo resolution is high, On the usability front,mobile.yahoo.com rates alongside Rediff, and
and password module
com has Very it’s a neck to neck race. These two sites also provide great customization
refreshing. Overall the good coverage… for Indian surfers, catering to our region-specific needs. According to
site comes out as extreme- ample scope for expert opinion, even though it is easy to find info and links on the site,
ly clean and user friendly. a sustainable navigation could be made simpler on mobile.yahoo.com.
iTasveer also espouses a revenue Indiatimes also boasts of easy navigation and a clean user interface.
very clean and focused Its clear content categorization makes for easy readability too.
generation model”
approach, while providing All things considered Yahoo! Mobile stands above the rest, the strongest
a highly user-friendly and Srinivas Katta point of this site being its content quality and extremely simple interface.

68 w w w. P C W O R L D . i n m ay 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
b est i n d i a n w e b s i t es

Auction Vernacular Mania


ebay from latest gizmos to crafted jewellery.
With more secure payment gateways in There has been a bit of a thrust
The sound of the proverbial hammer place, buying online is hardly an issue towards making websites go ver-
with the solid “sold’ may be missing here, and more and more users are jumping nacular. Hindi, as one of the major
but online auction sites are no less excit- on the bandwagon to buy from websites languages in India does get a prece-
ing or useful as a great means of ordering such as eBay, Rediff and Indiatimes. dence in this regard too. W ebdunia.
and buying from the comfort and con- A study of popular auction sites threw up com offers its services in Hindi,
fines of your keyboard. Today, auction these names and it was a dead-to-head fight. Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam. It is a
sites, are a great place to buy everything, The judges rated each site on visual appeal, portal similar to rediff, indiatimes
interactivity and their convenience- and sify, but totally vernacular in
oriented options, - links, add-ons nature. MSN India and BBC also
and, in this case payment security. have a hindi channel to cater to ver-
Looking at design and usability, nacular audiences across India.
eBay India came up on top for its
great graphic interfaces, colors,
visual appeal, consistency and While all three sites boasted of similar
typography, as well as enhances technology, eBay India added more value
interactivity and customization for in terms of using technology to enhance
Indian needs. This site has infor- user experience, handling both errors
mation flow, tabs, links and a very and security risks. In fact, eBay India also
the world leader in auction sites emerges as a clearly charted-out information has an e-mail authenticity check, which is
winner in India too flow that a the user needs. an interesting security option.
Indiatimes excelled in scope of site con-

Stock Broking
tent, the relevance of that content, inter-
face layout as well as information search
options. It has a wide variety of well-cat-
egorized offers, (though some products
moneycontrol are in the wrong categories). Its simple
A large crowded room with suited guys and gals shouting and gestivculating , scenes interface made the site easy to compre-
of utter confusion, and millions of rupees at stake. All these remind us of the usual hend and use.
stock market scenario not so long ago. Not any more. As with other online categories, Rediff did not cover enough products,
stock broking has witnessed disruptive change with the coming of the Internet. and suffers from content shortfalls, spe-
Although one might still see the bulk of the population riding on so-called tips as a basis cially while searching for information.
for investment; serious investors are always on the lookout for authentic and up-to-date Though certain jurors found it well-
information about the companies that they have invested in. A secure platform to transact designed and easy to interface with, it did
stocks, IPOs and Mutual Funds is also on top of their wish lists. Nowadays, some of these not clear the bar set by eBay India or Indi-
websites also allow you to trade in commodities, which are one of the hottest items in the atimes on these counts.
business. We evaluated way2wealth.com, jvfinancials.com, HDFC Securities, Money Con- Predictably, eBay India came up as the
trol, ICICI Direct, IDBI Paisa Builder, 5 Paisa and India Bulls in this category. best of the auction sites.
Moneycontrol.com emerged as an outright
winner, providing an absolutely clean and easy w i n n e r s
to use interface, with all the features that you
might desire at your fingertips. The site also
best indian websites
deals in commodity trading unlike many other category Best Design Best Technology usage Overall Performance

sites. A live market map, watch list, current Photo Printing picsquare.com itasveer.com itasveer.com
news and market advice are some of the other
Mobile content rediff.com/mobile mobile.yahoo.com mobile.yahoo.com
features on offer here. In contrast, ICICI direct
was the winner on the technology side of Auction ebay.in ebay.in ebay.in
things. The use of technology to enhance user
experience was the best here too. Stock Broking moneycontrol.com icicidirect.com moneycontrol.com

CONTENT PAGE m ay 2 0 0 7  w w w. P C W O R L D . i n 69
BY PRESTON GRALLA IMAGING: VIKAS KAPOOR

Microsoft Word 2007’s new interface is likely to confound


veteran Word users. Whether you have already made the
move or are only considering moving to the latest version,
there’s everything that you require in this article to make
the switch and master the new Word 2007.

70 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
O FFIC E S U I TE

Baffled by Microsoft Word 2007's A Whole New Look


l
new interface? Join the club. Mak- Office Quick Access The Ribbon Scrollbar
Button Toolbar

ing the switch to Word 2007 from


Word 2003 can be exceedingly diso-
rienting — like coming back home
from work and finding out that not
only has all your furniture been

rearranged, but the house itself has


been moved to the next county. Despair
not. We're here to help. We'll guide you
through all the major changes in the
interface, offer tips and tricks for get-
ting the most out of Word 2007, and
clue you in on how to use the best of
Status Bar View Toolbar
the new features.
Switching to Word 2007 can leave you exceedingly disoriented. The Office
When you're done, not only will you
button, the Ribbon and Quick Access bar are some of the first changes that
know where the new virtual furniture is,
you may notice.
but you'll also know the way around
your new neighborhood — and you
might very well find it a better place than 2. The Quick Access Toolbar. Just to the 4. The Scrollbar. This is largely
your old one. right of the Office Button is the Quick unchanged from previous versions
Access toolbar, with buttons for using of Word; use it to scroll up and down.
Word's most common features, including There are a couple of minor changes

Get a quick Save, Undo, Redo, Print Preview and


more — but you can add and remove
— at the top, there's a small button that
looks like a minus sign that lets you
lay of the land buttons for any functions you please. split your screen in two, and just below
More on that later. that, there's a small icon that displays or
when making the move to Word 2007, hides a ruler when you click it.
throw away everything you know about the 3. The Ribbon. Love it or hate it, the
interface. Just about everything has Ribbon is the main way you'll work 5. The View Toolbar. The View toolbar,
changed. Whether you're opening files, with Word. Instead of old-style menus, which used to be on the lower left-hand
changing the document view in which menus have side of the screen in earlier versions of
or using the menu, you're submenus, submenus have Word, moves over to the right in Word
about to enter a brave new sub-submenus and so 2007. It lets you choose between print
world. Here's a quick guid- on, the Ribbon groups layout, full screen, Web layout, outline
ed tour to the Word 2007 buttons for common and draft views, just as it did in earlier
interface: tasks together in tabs on Word versions. There's also a nice
a graphical interface. So, addition — a slider that lets you zoom in
1. The Microsoft Office for example, when you or out on your document.
Button. The big button on click the Insert tab, a Ribbon
the upper left-hand corner appears with buttons for 6. The Status Bar. This is in the same
of the screen replaces the old File items that you can insert into a place as in earlier Word versions and
menu from previous versions of Word. document, such as clip art, a hyperlink, has the same function — to display
You'll find familiar features for opening a picture or a table. Even if you hate the information such as the number of pages
files, saving files, printing files and so Ribbon, it can be your friend; check out in your document. It has one nice little
on, but there's a lot more here as well, the section "Learn to Love the Ribbon" extra: It displays the word count of your
as you'll discover later in this guide. for details. document as well. If you highlight

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 71
O FFI CE SUI TE

an area of text, it will display


the number of words in the
The Word 2007 Ribbon
highlighted area.

LEARN TO LOVE THE


RIBBON
at first, the Ribbon may be
offputting, but the truth is,
once you learn to use it, you'll
find that it's far easier to use
than the old Word interface. It
The Ribbon is one of the basic changes in Word 2007 interface. The tabular interface may
does take some getting used
look overwhelming to start with but it grows on to you quite fast.
to, though.
The Ribbon, by default, is
divided into seven tabs, with Pa g e L a y o u t : He r e ' s w h e r e mailings, from something as simple as
an optional eighth one (Developer) that you'll change margins, page size and creating labels to the more daunting
you can display by clicking the Office orientation, set up columns, align objects, task of mail merges.
Button and choosing Word Options > add effects and so on. There are some Review: Need to check spelling
Popular > Show Developer tab in the gray areas between this tab and the Home and grammar, look up a word in a
Ribbon. tab. For example, on the Page Layout tab thesaurus, work in markup mode, review
Here's a rundown of the tabs and what you set paragraph spacing and indents, other people's markups or compare
each one does: while on the Home tab you set paragraph documents? This is the tab for you.
Home: This contains the most- alignment and can also set spacing View: Here's where to go when you
used Word features, such as changing between lines. want to change the view in any way,
fonts and font attributes, customizing References: This tab handles tables including displaying a ruler and gridlines,
paragraphs, using styles, and finding and of contents, footnotes, bibliographies, zooming in and out, splitting a window
replacing text. indexes and similar material. It also and so on.
Insert: As you might guess, this one lets you insert a "Table of Authorities," Developer: If you write code or create
handles anything you might want to which sounds like something straight forms and applications for Word, this is
insert into a document, such as tables, out of a Soviet bureaucracy but in fact is your tab. It also includes macro handling,
pictures, charts, hyperlinks, bookmarks, a list of references in a legal document. so power users might also want to visit
headers and footers, WordArt ... well, you Mailings: As the name says, this is here every once in a while.
get the idea. where you'll go for anything to do with Each tab along the Ribbon is organ-
ized to make it easy to get your work
done. Each tab is organized into a
Quick Access Toolbar series of groups that contain related
commands for getting something done
— for example, handling fonts. Inside
each group is a set of what Microsoft
calls command buttons, which carry
out commands, display menus and so
on, the featured command button
changes the font size. There's also a
small diagonal arrow in the bottom
Another addition is the
right corner of some groups that
Quick Access toolbar next to
Microsoft calls a dialog box launcher.
the Office button. This bar is
Click it to display more options related
similar to the Windows Quick
to the group.
Access ba r a n d ca n b e
All that seems simple enough ... So it's
cutomized to perform
time to throw a curveball at you. The Rib-
repetitive tasks faster.
bon is context-sensitive, changing accord-
ing to what you're doing. Depending on

72 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
O FFIC E S U I TE

the task you're engaged in, it sometimes


adds more tabs and subtabs.
For example, when you insert and high- Customize the Quick Access toolbar to
light a picture, an entirely new tab your liking, and you will hardly ever have
appears — the Format tab, with a "Pic-
ture Tools" supertitle on top. to use the Ribbon.
Other "now you see them, now you
don't" tabs include Blog Post, Chart
Tools, Table Tools and SmartArt Tools — greatly expanded File menu from the and how it works, the Word Options but-
all of which appear in response to various Word 2003 days — the File menu on ste- ton, located at the bottom of the Office
actions you take in Word. roids. As you can see in the nearby fig- Button's box, lets you customize Word in
ure, it's where to go for the various many ways, including its display and
Open, Save, New, Add and related editing options. It has many of the fea-
options and also includes a list of all tures that you accessed via Tools >
Office Button and your recently opened files. Options in previous versions of Word.
Quick AccessToolbar But there are three particularly notewor- One thing you won't find, however, is the
thy new features here as well — Prepare, plethora of customizable toolbars that
Publish and Convert. Use Prepare when were in previous versions. There's just
YOUR NEW BEST FRIENDS you've finished writing or editing your one customizable toolbar in Word 2007,
there are two more new Word tools document and you're ready to send it to but you'll love it.
that you'll want to get to know — the someone else. There are plenty of great Even those who can't stand the Word
Office Button and the Quick Access tool- new options here, such as marking a docu- makeover and the Ribbon will find at least
bar. Think of the Office Button as a ment as final or marking it read-only; one thing to cheer about — the Quick
encrypting the document; Access toolbar. This nifty little tool, sitting
inspecting it for hidden just to the right of the Office Button,
Customize Quick Access metadata and information seems innocuous enough, but spend
you'd prefer remain private; some time with it and you'll see it's one of
and editing the document's the best additions to the new interface.
properties, such as title, key- The three buttons on the left aren't
words and author. particularly noteworthy — Save, Undo
Publish does exactly what it and Redo — but the nearly invisible
says — it gives options for Down arrow to the right of them is the
publishing a document. key to the toolbar. Click it, and you'll be
You'll be able to publish able to add and remove toolbar buttons
your document as a blog for a preset list of commands. Custom-
to a variety of blogging ize the Quick Access toolbar to your lik-
services, including Blog- ing, and you will hardly ever have to
ger, Windows Live Spaces, use the Ribbon. And as you'll see in the
TypePad and WordPress. next section, there are plenty of other
If your company uses a ways to customize the Quick Access
document management toolbar as well.
server or SharePoint, you
can publish it there
as well.
Convert lets you convert Five tips to work
documents saved in older with Word 2007
formats to the new Micro-
soft Office Open XML for- if you're a longtime Word user, you no
The down arrow button next to the Quick Access tool- mat (.docx), which is the doubt have accumulated a set of shortcuts
bar helps you customize it. Once you add the most used new Office standard. and customizations. Many of those have
commands to it you would rarely use the Ribbon. For those who like to fid- gone away under Word 2007. But fear not,
dle with the Word interface because there are plenty of ways for

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 73
O FFI CE SUI TE

you to bend Word 2007 to your will. Here


are some tips to get you started. Turn offPICTURE
RESIZE the Ribbon
1. Add Commands to the Quick
Access Toolbar
Probably the most helpful customization
for Word 2007 is to add buttons to the
Quick Access toolbar. The simplest way
to do this is by clicking the small Down
arrow to the right of the Quick Access
toolbar and selecting a new button to add.
But this is quite limited, because there
are only a small number of commands
you can add in this way.
There are several ways to turn off the Ribbon such as click the down arrow to the
A better method is to click the Office But-
right of the Quick Access toolbar button and select Minimize the Ribbon; press Ctrl-
ton, choose Word Options and then Custom-
F1 and double-click the current tab above the Ribbon.
ize. The screen below appears. Choose a
command from the left-hand side of the
screen that you want to add to the Quick on the Ribbon and choose "Add to Quick you back plenty of screen real estate, as
Access toolbar and click Add. You can change Access Toolbar." You can add not only you can see in the screenshot above.
the order of the buttons by highlighting a individual commands in this way, but The Ribbon will still be available when
button on the right side of the screen and also entire groups — for example, the you want it — all you need to do is click
using the Up and Down arrows to move it. Font group. on the appropriate menu (Home, Insert,
The list of commands you see on the Page Layout, etc.) and it appears. It then
bottom may seem somewhat limited at 2. Use Keyboard Shortcuts discreetly goes away when you are no
first. That's because Word is showing you If you're a fan of Word 2003's keyboard longer using it.
only the most popular commands. There shortcuts, take heart — the same ones There are several ways to turn off the
are plenty of others you can add. Click work in 2007. So keep using them. You Ribbon:
the drop-down menu under "Choose can also use a clever set of keyboard Click the Down arrow to the right of
commands from" at the top of the screen, shortcuts for working with the Ribbon. the Quick Access toolbar button and
and you'll see other lists of commands Press the Alt key and a tiny letter or select Minimize the Ribbon.
— All Commands, Home Tab and so on. number icon appears on the menu for Press Ctrl-F1 (Press Ctrl-F1 to make it
Select any option, and there will be plenty each tab — for example, the letter H appear again).
of commands you can add. for the Home tab. (See the table below.) Double-click the current tab above
Finally, there's an even easier way to Now press that letter on your keyboard, the Ribbon.
add a command. Right-click any object and you'll display that tab or menu
item. When the tab appears, there will 4. Use Macros
SHORTCUTS be letters and numbers for most At first glance, macros — ingenious short-
options on the tab as well. cuts you can create for performing repeti-
WORD 2007 ALT KEY COMBINATIONS
Once you've started to learn these tive tasks — seem to have been banished
Key combination Function
shortcuts, you'll naturally begin using from Word 2007. But they're still there; dis-
ALT-F Office Button
key combinations. So instead of press- play the Developer tab, and you'll find them
ALT-H Home tab ing Alt then H to display the home tab, in all their glory. In fact, the Developer tool-
ALT-N Insert tab you can press Alt-H together. The table bar puts the macro tools at easier reach than
ALT-P Page Layout tab (on the left side) shows the most use- they were in previous versions of Word.
ful Alt key combinations in You'll find everything you want in the
ALT-S References tab
Word 2007. Code group on the Developer tab. Record
ALT-M Mailings tab
a macro by clicking the Record Macro
ALT-R Review tab 3. Turn off the Ribbon button, manage your macros by clicking
ALT-V View tab Here's what may be the best tip you'll the Macros button, and configure secu-
Developer tab
ever come across for Word 2007 — how rity for a macro by clicking the Macro
ALT-L
to turn off the Ribbon. Doing this will get Security button. (See Microsoft's Online

74 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
O FFIC E S U I TE

Office site http://office.microsoft.com/


en-us/word/HA100997691033.aspx for
more information. The Ribbon and Quick Access toolbars are
key innovations, but also useful are the
5. Find Your Old Friends
In Word 2007, no features or functions are new mini toolbars, themes, blogging etc.
where they used to be. But it's easy to find
them. You can also download a complete
spreadsheet at http://office.microsoft. the Ribbon and the body of your docu- In addition, the new format makes it
com/en-us/templates/TC102128591033.a ment is a big time-waster, and annoying easier to recover damaged files because it
spx?pid=CT102130321033&AxInstalled=1 to boot. So Word 2007 includes the clev- saves different data components — such
er mini toolbar. Highlight text and point as tables and charts — separately from
the cursor at it, and a nearly transparent one another. This means files can be
mini toolbar appears above the text, with opened even if an individual component,
New features a set of commands relevant to the text such as a chart, is damaged.
in Word 2007 you've chosen. Move your cursor to the That's the good news. Here's the bad
mini toolbar and it becomes solid; click news: Most of the world doesn't use the
there's plenty new in Word 2007, and a command to use it. new format and won't for sometime. So
a complete description of all that's new For example, if you select text, a mini if you want to exchange files with others,
is beyond the scope of this article. The toolbar will appear with various text-relat- you'll need to use the old .doc format. To
Ribbon and the Quick Access toolbar are ed commands, including font face, size save a file in the .doc format, click the
key innovations, as you've already seen, and color, indentation, and list options. If Office Button and choose Save As > Word
but also useful are the new mini toolbar, the mini toolbar disappears for some rea- 97-2003 Document. To have Word save all
Live Preview and other features. The fol- son, right-click the selection or reselect of your files in the old .doc format auto-
lowing are the most important ones. the text, and it springs back into action. matically, click the Office Button, choose
Word Options > Save > Save files in this
THE MINI TOOLBAR NEW FILE FORMAT format > Word 97-2003 Document.
having to move back and forth between under the hood, the biggest change to
Word is the new Office THEMES
XML format — all Micro- have you ever tried making sure that
Picture Editing soft Office applications your Word, Excel and PowerPoint docu-
now use it. By default, ments all include a common look and feel
Word saves in this new — for example, incorporating a corporate
format, which has the logo, certain colors and so on? If so, you've
.docx extension, or the . most likely struggled mightily and come
docm extension if the out on the short end of the stick.
document contains mac- Themes, new to Word 2007 and Office
ros. For businesses, this 2007, are designed to make doing that
can be a big plus, because easier. You can create a single, overarch-
it allows for easier inte- ing theme, with colors, logos, paragraph
gration with enterprise- styles and so on, and then use that theme
level applications and for for all of your Office documents.
exchanging data. Themes may sound suspiciously like
In some instances, it templates, but they're somewhat differ-
also creates files of a ent. You can have multiple templates
smaller size, because that use the same theme. So, for exam-
files are automatically ple, you could create a theme that
compressed when includes your company logo, colors and
they're saved to disk font choice. You could then have one
Word 2007 also enhances photo editing. Now you will be able
and then automatically template in that style for letters, another
to perform basic functions like brightness, contrast etc. in
uncompressed when for budget proposals and many others
the interface itself.
you open them. for different purposes.

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O FFI CE SUI TE

To use Themes, select the Page Layout SHORTCUTS


tab and click the Themes button to
DIFFERENCE IN WORD 2003 AND 2007 FILE MENU
choose a new theme. You can also cus-
Word 2003 Word 2007 Location Keyboard
tomize any theme and create new ones. Location Shortcut
One important caveat: Be aware that File > New Office Button > New Ctrl-N
themes only work if you're using Word's File > Open Office Button > Open Ctrl-O
new Office XML format; they won't work
File > Close Office Button > Close Ctrl-W
on old-style .doc files.
File > Save Office Button > Save Ctrl-S
QUICK PARTS or
Quick Access toolbar > Save Icon
if you need to create sophisticated docu- File > Save As Office Button > Save As F 12
ments that include complex headers and
File > Page Setup Page Layout > Page Setup ( click dialog box launcher for more options) In Word 2003:
footers, objects such as decorative text or Alt-F, U
callouts, and fields for dates, file names, Office Button > Print > Print Preview> Page Setup (click dialog box launcher In Word 2007:
for more options) Alt-P, SP
bar codes and the like, you'll appreciate
the new Quick Parts feature. To insert File > Print Preview Office Button > Print> Preview Alt-Ctrl-I

just about any object, field or style, click File > Print Office Button > Print Ctrl-P
the Insert tab, then click Quick Parts and File > Recently Office Button > Recent Documents Alt-F
choose what you want to insert. Used Documents
Choose "Document Property" for
objects that relate to the entire docu- size you're considering changing the text blog accounts and performing similar
ment, such as Author, Company and to. You'll see the text in the new size. You blogging-related tasks.
Keywords. Choose Field to insert a field can choose that text size by clicking it,
such as the number of words or the preview other sizes or leave the text as is. MORE HELP
page number, and choose Building if you follow the advice in this article,
Blocks Organizer to see every single BLOGGING SUPPORT you'll go a long way toward getting famil-
Quick Part available. does your grandmother have her own iar with Word 2007. For more tips and
blog? If she doesn't, she will soon. Word help on Word 2007, head to Microsoft's
LIVE PREVIEW 2007 recognizes that everyone and their Word 2007 site.
if you often change formatting in your pets blog these days, so it includes a set of
documents and text, you'll welcome the tools for creating blog entries and then QUICK REFERENCE CHARTS
new Live Preview feature. Highlight the posting them to your blog. Open a wondering where your favorite
text or area of a docu- document, click the Office Word 2003 commands went in Word
ment you want to change. Button and choose 2007? Worry no more. Just use these
Then, on the Ribbon, Publish > Blog. A screen quick reference charts (http://
move your cursor over appears, asking you to pcworld.in/features/index.jsp/
the format you want to register information about artId=5537818), which list the most
apply. The text you high- your blog account. commonly used Windows 2003 com-
lighted will change so Choose "Register Now" mands and tell you where they are in
that you can see how it to enter information, Word 2007. They're listed according
will look with the new including where your to the menu on which they're found
formatting. Move the blog is posted, along with in Word 2003. We've also included
cursor away to revert to your username and pass- keyboard shortcuts for all the com-
the original formatting, or move it over word, so that you'll be able to post entries mands. Most of them are the same in
a different format to preview different from directly within Word. If you don't Word 2003 and Word 2007; we've
formatting. When you find formatting want to register and you want to first cre- noted where they differ.
you want to apply, click it. ate a post, choose Register Later. For a full listing of every menu and
For example, if you are considering At the top of your screen, you'll see an submenu item, download the Word
changing the font size of 10-point text, [Enter Post Title] field for filling in the Ribbon mapping workbook from Micro-
highlight the text. On the Home tab of title of your post. The Ribbon will also soft. Microsoft also lists more Word
the Ribbon, click the font size drop-down display a Blog Post group, with buttons 2007 keyboard shortcuts at its Office
menu and hover your mouse over the text for publishing your post, managing your Online Web site.

76 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
BY KIM SACCIO-KENT I L L U S T R AT I O N : P C A N O O P

Nearly all of us have played around with wallpapers or screensavers at some


point of time. Changing these can not only give the PC a fresh look, but also con-
nect the user to his favorite movies, locales or even abstract ideas. And, there is
no limit to the variations you have with themes!

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 77
T HEMES

A theme is like a matching outfit


for your computer’s desktop. In
addition to wallpaper, you get icons
and cursors, and your windows
and menus receive a makeover as
well. Many desktop themes also
come with screen savers.

Themes can lighten up a humdrum


workday and add a dash of personality to
your workspace. Initially, this article seemed
easy: Find themes that work with Windows
XP, make sure they’re not loaded with
malware, and review them for our
Downloads library. For most folks, dressing
up a desktop isn’t mission critical, so these
WALLPAPERS ACCOMPANIED BY other elements can set a mood as you work on your PC.
themes had to be simple to install and either
This wallpaper from the Cars theme is colorful, vibrant and can put a smile on your face!
free or very inexpensive. You can find these
themes in the current PC World DVD.
MOVIES AND CARTOONS a snappy rendition of “Route 66” while
SOFTWARE are you a movie fan? You’ll probably enjoy showing pictures of the characters.
desktop themes based on The Lord of the
Talisman Rings, The Matrix, Pirates of the Caribbean, WALLACE & GROMIT: CURSE OF
The Producers, or Superman Returns. Fond THE WERE-RABBIT
IF YOU WISH for the ultimate make- of animated features? How about a desktop Wallace and Gromit fans, take notice:
over for your desktop, this is perhaps theme based on Cars or Wallace & Gromit: This desktop theme could make com-
what you should get. After applying Curse of the Were-Rabbit? What about a puting so much fun it might cause you
this pack, you blast from the past? to miss a few deadlines. The wallpaper
m ay n o t b e I found a fun Scooby- is a terrific photo of the dynamic duo
a b l e to te l l Doo theme package at home. The icons are pictures of the
that the OS that includes nine main characters, and for cursors you get
running on different scenes from a carrot and a garden gnome. The screen
your PC is the the original series saver provides a slide-show overview
all too com- and the cartoon’s of Wallace and Gromit’s life together,
mon Windows! theme song. All of the presented with the Wallace and Gromit
Talisman can themes here are free. theme music.
create a look
and feel that
CARS THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE
is totally customizible with rich graph- fans of Disney/ Pixar’s animated RETURN OF THE KING
ics to back it up. This is a shell- movie Cars will like this theme. You Th is pac k a ge i nc lu de s s e v e n
replacement program – and that can select from two wallpapers: a red wallpapers, each featuring a different
means nearly every aspect of the GUI background with a big Cars logo, or the character from the movie. Your pointer
can be changed. Alas, some things in movie poster. The icons are tiny pics is a sword that turns into the One Ring
life are not free and Talisman costs of the cars, and the cursors are equally when the computer is busy. Icons are
about Rs 1,100, but a 30 day trial is eye-catching—a forklift, a small red small pictures of the main characters.
available. and white arrow, and an odometer. The There are very few sounds, mainly
http://www.lighttek.com/talisman.htm sounds are snippets of dialogue or a clashing swords—but in a nice touch,
revving motor. The screen saver plays error alerts are a chilling Nazgul cry.

78 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
T H E M ES

The screen saver displays movie-poster


images on a black background.

MATRIX THEME BUNDLE


Growing tired of Matrix knock-offs
that merely fill your screen with green
code? Give this package a try. These nine
THEMES REPLACE THE boring pointers with other symbols that tie in with the theme, completing
original wallpapers are based on characters
the look and feel of the theme. Some of the cursors from the Lord of the Rings theme are shown above.
and scenes from the Matrix movies. Your
windows and menus get different color
THE PRODUCERS bundle contains nine wallpapers depicting
schemes to complement each wallpaper.
Scoob and the gang encountering various
The sounds—odd electronic effects—are Mel Brooks lovers will enjoy this
ghouls. The icons feature all your old
used sparingly. For cursors and icons, the theme based on his 2005 musical. The
pals. The sounds include catchphrases
program includes various futuristic-looking wallpaper shows Matthew Broderick,
like Velma’s “Jinkies!” and Scooby’s
gadgets. The screen saver features squidlike Uma Thurman, and Nathan Lane posed
“Rooby-doobie-doo!”
robots flying through Matrix space. against a backdrop of old Broadway.
The cursors—a hand holding a drink, a SUPERMAN RETURNS—MAN OF
PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: marquee arrow, and an old-time camera STEEL
DEAD MAN’S CHEST with a flashing bulb—are clever. Unfor-
This theme pack offers lots of eye candy
Get in touch with your inner pirate. This tunately, the screen saver is uninspir-
based on the latest Superman movie. You
package includes three wallpapers based on ing: Against a brick-wall image, four
get three wallpapers: Superman in flight,
Pirates of the Caribbean, plus coordinating small screens flash movie stills.
Superman looking down on Earth, and the
sounds, cursors, icons, and a screen saver.
SCOOBY-DOO Superman logo. I found the sounds—a
The screen saver is the most entertaining
swelling chorus, plus random swooshing
part of the bundle: Against a backdrop of This theme pack is based on the original
noises—a little annoying. Also included
ships being attacked by a giant octopus, Scooby-Doo series of the sixties. The
is a screen saver called “Flying Through
a pirate chest floats around the screen,
Space” that shows what you’d see if you
opening to show movie stills while the
were, well, flying through space.
theme music plays in the background.
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
Perhaps you want to bring a bit of the
outdoors into your office. Autumn Brook
and Sea Dance are beautifully designed
themes that add serenity to your working
environment; Golden Gate is a quirky little
theme that features San Francisco’s famous
landmark and soothing ocean sounds.
What about something way outdoors, like
outer space? Worlds Upon Worlds presents
an artist’s view of our solar system.

AUTUMN BROOK
Enjoy the colors of fall with this pleas-
ant and free theme. The wallpaper is a pho-
tograph of a mountain stream banked by
many-hued trees. The icons and cursors
are fall leaves, and the sounds are birdsong.
The screen saver is also pretty: The desktop
image remains on screen, but the water
COLOR SCHEMES ADD that dash of character or personalization. Many themes change the flows softly, accompanied by piano music
color schemes while some others go the extra distance and replace fonts as well. and the twittering of birds. Very Zen.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 79
T HEMES

GOLDEN GATE inky blackness a ringed planet whirls TIPS


This unusual desktop theme is worth against a cloud of glowing gas. Your
the fee to register it. The wallpaper pointer, a little rocket ship, turns into Customize your themes
is a digitally enhanced photo of San a spinning Earth when the computer
THEMES ARE ALL about personal taste.
Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, with is busy. Although this theme runs fine
You may feel like changing something to
an odd little sailboat-like vessel floating under Windows XP, the sounds didn’t
your liking in an existing theme – the
on the water. This image appears in the work during my testing; the readme
wallpaper, the color schemes or screen-
screen saver, as well, although there the file that accompanies this download
saver. Windows XP allows you change
water is animated. The icons are clever, has a complicated troubleshooting
these elements without too much
too: The Recycle Bin is a foghorn, while section, but I didn’t take the time
effort.
the pointer is a lighthouse that turns to follow its recommendations.
Right-click on your desktop and choose
into a rain cloud when the computer Silence seems appropriate for deep
‘Properties’ to open the display proper-
is working. space, anyway.
ties settings. Click on the ‘Themes’ tab
SEA DANCE THE HOLIDAYS and select the theme you want to modify
and Apply it. Next, change to any wallpa-
This soothing desktop theme should time to decorate for the holidays. I
per and screensaver if you so wish. You
help you keep your equilibrium—and it’s unearthed two terrific Christmas packag-
can change color schemes as follows:
free. The wallpaper depicts a tranquil beach es: It’s Cold Outside is based on a jazzy
Click on the Appearance tab, then on the
with mountains in the distance; it appears version of the classic holiday tune, while
Advanced button. Under Item choose the
to be evening, and fog sits on the water. Holiday Wrapping Papers presents nine
element which you want to change and
A screen saver is included, but it’s rather themes based on different gift wraps.
then colors and fonts. Come back to the
odd: Against a black background, shapes (Sorry, all of the Thanksgiving themes
Themes tab and click on Save As and
filled with bits of the wallpaper move I came across were, well, turkeys.)
choose a name for your theme. Now, this
around the screen, accompanied by a jazzy And even though Halloween 2006 has
theme that has been created will appear
piano piece. passed, it’s not too early to think about
in the drop-down menu.
this year: In the package called This Is
WORLDS UPON WORLDS Halloween, you get two beautifully ren-
download this free theme and be dered spooky scenes. All of these theme
transported to deep space, where in the packages are free. IT’S COLD OUTSIDE
here’s a holiday hit inspired by the
song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” The wall-
paper shows two pairs of shoes by a cabin
door that opens onto a winter scene. The
included screen saver is particularly clev-
er: The wallpaper remains on screen, but
falling snow, bows, and snowflakes slow-
ly appear while you’re treated to Vanessa
Williams’s jazzy rendition of the Christ-
mas classic.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN
this stellar package lets you choose
between two wallpapers: a Jack-o-Lan-
tern or two Jack-o-Lanterns in a spooky
forest. The unobtrusive cursors include
a small orange arrow and a flying witch.
Among the icons are a pumpkin for
the Recycle Bin and scary eyes for My
Documents. The spooky sounds, taken
from Danny Elfman’s The Nightmare
Before Christmas soundtrack, are
EXPLORE THE VARIOUS themes and choose one for your liking and mood – from movies
used sparingly.
to solar system to nature.

80 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
SMART BUYER P R AC T I CA L A DV I C E B E FO R E YO U S H O P

THE BIG PICTURE SPECS EXPLAINED BUYING TIPS

Talented
Performers
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUYING THE
PERFECT MFD YOU ALWAYS WANTED.
copy, scan, fax, and print: THE BIG PICTURE laser MFDs compare favorably When looking for an MFD
Four separate machines for years multifunction to dedicated laser printers in for the home or the office, ask
could handle those needs. printers have saved scarce office speed and print quality. They yourself what sort of functional-
But why tax your budget and space, but the latest all-in-ones also offer a good range of office- ity you need. Maybe you don’t
your desk space when one print as well as general-purpose oriented features and match need a fax machine? Or, per-
machine can do it all? Most printers do, at comparable pric- the performance of single-func- haps a network adapter? Asking
multifunction devices (some- es. While MFDs can’t match the tion printers. With color mod- yourself these questions will
times called a multi-function output and functionality of a els also available in laser MFDs, narrow down your search for a
printers) handle these tasks photo printer or stand-alone you no longer have to sacrifice machine, and will also allow
with great flair and perform- scanner, but for standard office color to get sharp text quality in you to save money by not pur-
ance—rivalling that of stand- tasks they fit the bill. For busi- business documents. chasing an extravagant device.
alone units. ness and enterprise applications For home and SOHO applica- It is also a good idea, before
And a number of them let MFDs can be a way to increase tions, MFDs are an attractive you start looking, to estimate
you to carry out more than one productivity, streamline tasks option to save upfront cost and the maximum number of
of these tasks simultaneously. and potentially decrease costs . space. They can handle faxing, pages per month that you need
Either laser or inkjet printers, Once you’ve settled on pur- scanning, printing (both photos to print, and buy a printer that
MFDs will print photos and a chasing an MFD rather than a and documents) and copying on can handle that workload. As a
variety of other document stand-alone product, you need a regular basis. And with more rough guide, for small offices
types. Some print in color to decide whether an inkjet or a households acquiring broad- 5,000 pages per month is
while others only print in black laser model better suits your band connections, the combina- more than sufficient, and a
and white. They have various needs. The choice is easy if you tion of scanning and printing bigger office could budget for
features and networking use your printer for business. enables easy sharing of photos up to 15,000 pages per month.
options, and range in price Inkjets can produce colorful and documents with friends Printers that are networked
from Rs. 4,000 to Rs. 50,000. documents and outstanding and family. Many MFDs have and shared will need to have
High-end devices tend to be photos, but they simply can’t built-in memory that lets them the capability to produce up to
faster, have color printing, and match the speed and profes- store documents and send them 50,000 pages or more per
also more networking and sional document quality of a straight to e-mail—becoming month, depending on the size
office functionality. laser printer. Most of today’s intercommunication portals. of the network.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 81
SM ART B UYER

Also, evaluate whether you in bits per pixel. Since a scanner If you need a scanner to digitize
want an inkjet or a laser device. can usually capture more data documents for storing, copy-
Inkjets will be cheaper to buy, than its driver can save, you’ll ing, or faxing, an MFD will
and do a better job on photos. frequently see a qualifier deliver good-enough results.
But lasers are generally faster appended to the bit-depth But if you want to capture pho-
and have better overall print spec, such as 48- tos or other art for reproduc-
quality, making them the logi- bit internal or tion, we recommend that you
cal choice for business. Many hardware color, get a stand-alone flatbed scan-
MFDs are now designed to be which describes ner. In general, the more quick-
easy to use as standalone devic- how much data the ly an MFD scanns, the lower
es without the need to be scanner can recog- will be the quality of its output.
plugged into the PC. This is nize. External or true Scanner: MFDs usually sport a
useful if you want flexibility, color describes how much flatbed-style scanner (which
portability, ease of use and A DEVICE WITH clearly labelled data the scanner’s driver can requires you to lift a lid to place
quick set up. screen is easy to use. save. For almost all types of gen- your document on a glass), and
eral-purpose use, 24-bit external some have automatic docu-
SPECS EXPLAINED when the device is printing and color depth is sufficient. ment feeders as well. A flat
Speed: The main weapon in the faxing simultaneously. Sensor technology: Scanners scanning glass works well for
marketing war among vendors, Optical resolution: For display- have one of two types of sen- most tasks, and provides the
speed is often one of the first ing photos on the Web or print- sor technology: a charge-cou- only way to scan pages in books
specs you will see in any adver- ing 3-by-5 or 4-by-6 snapshots, pled device (CCD) or a contact or magazines.An ADF comes
tisement. Vendors frequently 100 dots per inch is plenty of image sensor (CIS). CIS sen- in handy when you’re scanning
cite ratings based on printing resolution; for capturing text sors are a more recent innova- lots of documents at once, or
only the simplest text docu- using optical character recog- tion. Although they produce when you want to scan a sheet
ments, or printing in draft nition, 300 dpi is standard. slightly lower-quality scanned that’s longer than the scanning
mode, and many don’t even Color depth: The amount of images, CIS-based scanners glass. Check that the scanning
include the time it takes for the color (and grayscale) data a scan- can be much smaller and use area is large enough for your
PC to send a job to the printer. ner can recognize and save, far less power than CCD- needs—some of them can han-
To further confuse the issue, termed color depth, is measured based scanners. dle legal size paper, while oth-
laser and inkjet speeds are
measured and quoted differ- TIPS
ently. In any case, claimed
speeds are frequently two, three, Extra features that you might need
or more times the speeds you’ll
OCR: Optical character recognition (OCR) software is sometimes supplied with the machine. This
see in real-world printing. Quite
allows you to scan in documents to extract the text for editing. One of the biggest challenges for OCR
often, the print engines in laser
software is whether it can accurately pick up the characters “r” and “rr” and not confuse them as “t”
all-in-ones tend to lag about a
or “n”. A good feature that is sometimes available with OCR software is an interface which allows you
generation behind engines in
to directly compare the scanned text to the original document side-by-side to find any errors.
stand-alone alternatives.
ADF: An Automatic Document Feeder (ADF) is convenient if you need to frequently fax, copy or
It’s also a good idea to look for
scan multi-page documents and don’t want to individually feed each sheet. Most ADFs should be
a device with a number of print
able to handle at least 30 pages.
speed modes, e.g., extra fast,
Printing onto CD/DVD surfaces: Some devices on the market will enable this, usually using a spe-
fast, normal, fine, extra fine. A
cial disc-holding tray, which is handy if you want to make CDs and DVDs.
final note about speed is that
Printing on other surface/media: Other media may include overhead transparencies, labels, stick-
you can normally expect it to be
ers, envelopes etc.
compromised when you are
Support for different paper sizes and types: 4x6in photo paper, A4, A3 etc and glossy/semi-gloss,
networking the device, when it
matt etc.
is carrying out more than one
Scan 3D images (physical objects) with relatively good accuracy.
task simultaneously or there is a
Scanning directly to a number of different formats eg, PDF/JPEF/TIFF/WORD.
de-screening feature on the
Digitally sending documents or to scan direct to e-mail or particular folders on your PC/network.
scanner. Find out how much the
Scanning film or slides: This can be handy for photographic enthusiasts though you will invariably
claimed speed is reduced when
lose image quality, and often pick up dust, which will result in a grainy appearance.
two tasks are happening at the
same time. That is, for example,

82 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
S M A RT B U Y E R

IN BRIEF
ers are limited to A4. Although place each sheet in the scanner the amount of ink, so they cost
many MFDs come bundled flatbed individually. less per page. Laser printers 3 CHECK POINTS
with an automatic document Connectivity: You will find that will be more expensive than
feeder for the scanner, you usu- multi-function devices will often inkjet printers, but cost per
SPEED
ally won’t get a transparency offer some degree of multi-con- page will generally be cheaper.
Find out how much the
adapter—a common accessory nectivity. Obviously, the more Laser toner cartridges often
claimed speed is reduced
for ordinary scanners. connection options available, cost between Rs. 5,000 and Rs.
when two task happen
Fax: In general, most MFDs the more flexibility you have in 15,000 each, but yield over
simultaneously.
compare well with standalone how you use the device. Check 5000 to 6000 pages.
laser or inkjet fax machines in the number and type of ports There are several commonly
COLOR
terms of output quality, and the device will support. perceived downsides to multi-
For general-purpose use, 24
speed. Check that the device If you want to print wirelessly function devices. At the top of
bit external color depth is
supports high speed faxing you will have to make sure this list is quality. Many feel that
enough.
(14.4kbps and more), the there is a built-in wireless net- although an MFD can perform
amount of memory provided work adapter in addition to a multi tasks, the quality of those
CONNECTIVITY
for storing outgoing and incom- 10/100 Ethernet port and that it tasks is compromised. PC
You may want to check he
ing fax messages. For improved will work on existing 802.11b or World testing has indicated that
location of the ports and
usability, see if can store fre- 802.11g networks. A final point most MFDs (especially laser
the subsequent likelihood of
quently called numbers. on connectivity is that you may ones) match or nearly match
cables being disconnected
Cartridges: If you are planning want to check the location of stand-alone devices in terms of
by accident.
to buy an inkjet MFD, you may the ports, and the subsequent print speed, but print and scan
also want to look for a model likelihood of cables being dis- quality can vary. While some
that has separate ink cartridges connected by accident. MFDs can match standalones noise emission. Ease of use
for each color. Inkjet running in quality and speed, others will probably be an important
costs can get quite high, espe- SHOPPING TIPS don’t. But overall, the perform- consideration too, especially if
cially if regular photo printing while you can buy MFDs ance gap has narrowed. the device is to be used by a
is required. Separate ink car- from Rs. 4,500 to Rs. 20,000, Another major downside to a number of people with vary-
tridges will allow you to replace the machine running costs are MFD is the vulnerability of hav- ing technical skills. Shortcut
ink on a per color basis. equally important. ing all your eggs in one basket. buttons can help in using the
Paper Handling: A machine with The biggest ongoing cost for If one part stops working, you machine quickly, though too
a large paper tray or even dual inkjets is the cost of the ink car- can lose the other functions too. many of them could become a
paper trays will allow you to tridges. Vendors generally While it’s true that if the printer handicap. Machines that have
print a larger amount of docu- charge Rs. 2,500 to Rs. 5,000 breaks, you will generally not be programmable buttons are
ments without worrying about for multi-color cartridges and able to photocopy, most MFDs also useful.
constantly re-filling the trays. Rs. 1,200 to Rs. 3,000 for a are designed so that you will The accompanying software
An automatic document feeder separate black cartridge. Yields still be able to scan. interface on the PC will vary in
is usually found on machines range from about 300 to 800 A cost for businesses using terms of user friendliness and
that have a fax-modem built in, pages per cartridge. Many ven- MFDs is downtime. Check efficiency. Look for a point and
and allows for multi-page docu- dors also offer higher-capacity the kind of support available click interface which allows as
ments to be photocopied or cartridges which although are for the device, and how quick- many tasks as possible, enable
scanned without having to more expensive contain twice ly it can be fixed. For example, efficient management of the
high-end models may have a machine. At the very least, it
“call home” function that is should enable you to easily
activated when there is a prob- scan, print, copy and fax.
lem. Also check whether it’s Space saving is probably one
possible for one part of the of the major reasons to buy an
machine to continue working MFD. One aspect that saves
if another goes down. Noise space is having input and out-
A DEVICE WITH
can also be a factor when put paper trays located in the
shortcut buttons
using one of these machines. bottom of the unit, which does
and a LCD screen is
Smooth roller, paper feed and away with the need for long-
convinient to use.
paper eject mechanisms con- reaching paper-support flaps.
tribute to a device with lower — PC World Team

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 83
HERE’S HOW E X P E R T A DV I C E O N H A R D WA R E , S O F T WA R E , A N D T H E W E B

DOCS AND SPREADSHEETS


a host of new sites are eager to chal-
lenge Microsoft for a slice of Office’s
huge pie. My two favorites are Zoho’s
suite for documents (www.writer.zoho.
com) and Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets
(www.docs.google.com) for spreadsheets.
Both free services include storage space
for your files (Zoho offers 1GB; Google
limits the number and size of documents
and spreadsheets you can store—for
details see http://docs.google.com/sup-
port/bin/answer.py?answer=37603&quer
y=storage+limit&topic=&type= ). Any-
thing you create is autosaved to an online
server, providing a de facto backup. You’ll
also be able to access all of your docu-

Back Up Your Files Online ments from any browser, without having
to install software first.

Without Even Trying Like many other advanced Web sites,


Zoho and Google use Asynchronous
Java Script and XML—or Ajax—to
ONLINE STORAGE files not only survive a catastrophic present a desktop-app-like feel. Both
i’m sure that by now all of you back crash but also become more accessible offer hot-keys for common features,
up critical files weekly or even daily, to you and anyone you choose to share background auto-saves, and other must-
and religiously refresh your full-disk- them with. haves. Neither comes close to replacing
image backup once every few months, Of course, using a company’s online Office if you need its full spread of fea-
right? No? Well, you’re not alone. And storage means you’ll have to be comfort- tures, and you may encounter an annoy-
while there’s no substitute for a genuine able with the site’s stability, Web security, ing though not game-stopping bug here
backup strategy, the move toward and privacy policy—or those of any com- and there in relatively new services. But
desktop-caliber online applications has pany that may buy that site. Real backups for files you use at home, you probably
made it easier than ever to get some (see http://pcworld.in/hereshow/index. won’t miss a thing.
degree of backup protection without jsp/artId=3538958) and perhaps a RAID I love Zoho’s sleek interface for docu-
even trying. mirror on a second hard disk are still the ments, but I prefer Google’s service (see
New, mostly free online services with best solution, and, like car insurance, FIGURE 1) for spreadsheets. You can easily
snazzy features allow you to effectively they can make the difference between a use both services side-by-side.
ILLUSTRATION: MM SHANITH

get backups for many of your irreplace- bad day and a disaster. By using some or If you do have Office, Zoho recently re-
able files just by doing what you nor- all of these Web services, however, you leased a great plug-in (see FIGURE 2) that
mally do—but with a twist. Through can easily gain some measure of backup ties its service into Word and Excel.
such services, you can ensure that your in case of catastrophe, or add another Install it, and a toolbar added to either
text documents, spreadsheets, browser level of redundancy to the backups you app lets you open Zoho files straight into
bookmarks, digital pictures, and music already have. Office. When you make changes and

84 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
87 WINDOWS TIPS 90 ANSWER LINE
Need ironclad file security? Lock Report problems to Microsoft, or
down your files and folders using not; customize Menus in Office;
Windows File Encryption. personalize Explorer shortcuts.

89 HARDWARE TIPS
Upgrade or overclock your PC’s
graphics to prepare for Vista or to 88
boost speed; simplify network setup.

matting. And you can


forget about using
Excel formulas, Word
macros, and page
numbers, as well as
several other advanced
features; if you import
a file that contains any
of these, it will break.

ONLINE
BOOKMARKS
FIGURE 1: CREATE YOUR SPREADSHEETS online with Google browser bookmarks
Docs & Spreadsheets, and let the service handle the backups. are another painful loss
in the case of hard-drive FIGURE 3: KEEP YOUR BOOKMARKS synced
click the Zoho Save button, the online failure. If you’re like me, you’ve sunk and safe with Foxmarks, a free Firefox add-on.
document gets updated. You can also add hours and hours of effort into discovering
Office-created documents and spread- the best online information sources, both at work and have it ready at home (with-
sheets to your repository on Zoho. personal and professional. Losing them all out having to e-mail yourself the URL),
Neither service is perfect, however. would not make for a good day. but if your computer goes south, you
Both require a stable Internet connec- Here again, though, free online merely need to reinstall Firefox and
tion for accessing your files (though the offerings can come to the rescue. Several Foxmarks and then log in to restore all
Zoho plug-in does mitigate that need). Firefox extensions not only automatically of your bookmarks.
Also, while you can import Office files back up your bookmarks to an online Google offers a Browser Sync plug-in
into either service (through a site option server but also synchronize them between for Firefox (www.google.com/tools/fire-
or the Add button in the Zoho plug-in), browsers on multiple PCs. Foxmarks fox/browsersync/) that syncs your book-
doing so typically messes up the for- ( FIGURE 3 ; www.foxmarks.com ), my marks, as well as your cookies, pass-
favorite, has some great words, history, and even open tabs. The
setup options: If your truly security conscious will want to avoid
ma chines get out of syncing passwords to someone else’s
sync, you can replace all server. I use Browser Sync strictly for
of your bookmarks with passwords and browsing history—I got
those that you’ve stored frustrated with the plug-in’s frequent
online, or replace what screw-ups in syncing bookmarks (possi-
you’ve stored with your bly because I tend to keep my browsers
local favorites. running on my work and home comput-
After installation, ers simultaneously).
the add-on invisibly If you give either Foxmarks or Google
syncs your bookmarks Browser Sync a try, here’s a tip for keep-
with no additional ing your work and personal favorites dis-
effort on your part. tinct: Preface your bookmark folders with
FIGURE 2: ZOHO’S WORD AND Excel plug-ins allow you to access You’re not only able to a designation such as Home- or Work-, and
Zoho’s service from within those applications. bookmark something then group those folders together.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 85
HERE’S HOW ON LI N E STORAGE

PHOTO BACKUPS pictures for a fee. And as with Yahoo Pho- collection, with some room for growth.
half the fun of digital pictures is show- tos, you can upload an unlimited number Storage space is getting cheaper for PCs
ing them off, so odds are you’ve already of images to Shutterfly. and portable devices alike, so a number
uploaded your digital snapshots to a To order a CD, select Shutterfly Store, of choices for players can fit the bill.
photo-sharing site such as Flickr (www. and from the drop-down menu under Aside from the ubiquitous iPod (availa-
flickr.com) or SmugMug (www.smugmug. Products choose Gift Certs and CDs. ble in 30GB and 80GB versions), Crea-
com). Some of these sites have features You’ll need to pay up to Rs. 1,800 for the tive’s 60GB Zen Vision:M and Micro-
that provide a decent de facto backup first 1000 images and Rs. 675 for every soft’s 30GB Zune are also good buys.
solution for your photos, as well. additional set of 1000 (plus shipping). It’s With an iPod and iTunes, your bail-out
You can upload an unlimited procedure is simply to reinstall
number of photos (JPEG only) to iTunes and reconnect your iPod,
the new version 3 of Yahoo Photos and then follow the prompt to
(photos.yahoo.com). If you have a restore your music from your
bunch, the upload will take a iPod. To reactivate music you’ve
while. But afterward you (or any- bought from the iTunes store,
one you share pictures with) can you may need to connect to the
download the full-size image for service and clear out your
free: Double-click the picture you authorizations (click
want, and a Download option (see Store•Deauthorize Computer ) so
FIGURE 4 ) appears in the site’s that your new PC can acquire
menu; choose the full-resolution the rights to play the songs.
image on the next screen. With most other players, you
One thing to keep in mind is can connect the unit to your com-
that while you can upload as FIGURE 4: YAHOO’S NEW PHOTO service offers unlimited storage puter as a USB mass storage or
many photos as you like (in what- and lets you download full-size images from your collection. Media Transfer Protocol device
ever resolution you choose), you and then drag and drop your
must use your Yahoo ID (on the photo pricey, but this alternative could be a music back onto your hard drive via Win-
site, Yahoo Web mail, or any other Yahoo much faster way to restore your entire dows Explorer. You can use a similar
site or service) once every six months. photo collection. method with an iPod: Either set your PC
Otherwise, the site will send a warning to show hidden files and folders, and
e-mail; and if you still don’t log in, it will DIGITAL MUSIC then navigate to the hidden folder iPod\
delete your pictures. the most painless backup option for Control and copy the Music folder to your
If disaster strikes and you lose all of the music is somewhat old-school, since it hard drive; or grab an app like the dona-
photos on your hard drive, downloading doesn’t involve a snazzy new online serv- tionware EphPod ( www.ephpod.com ),
pictures one by one to your (new) hard ice: Just use the original CDs. But if you’d which can do it for you.
drive could be a long and tedious chore. rather avoid the painstaking task of re- If the directory or file names aren’t
Another backup option is to upload your ripping each and every CD when your PC properly preserved when you restore your
photos to Shutterfly (www. shutterfly. kicks the bucket, your portable music music this way, you can have either
com), which doesn’t currently allow you player can come to the rescue. iTunes or Windows Media Player reor-
to download a full-size image, but will Make sure that any player you buy is ganize and rename your music according
send you an archive CD of your full-size large enough to store your entire music to what it finds in the ID3 tags.
In Windows Media Player, click
Tools• Options , select the Librar y tab,
ONLINE STORAGE FOR ALL TYPES OF FILES and then check the boxes for Rename
IF YOU WANT a catch-all option for stor- access the service as a network place music files using rip music settings and
ing any type of file, try one of the pleth- from your PC and then drag and drop Rearrange music in rip music folder.
ora of online storage services. Typically files to it in Explorer, or you can save Select the Rip Music tab and choose a
you can share files you upload, and of directly to it via most, though not all, folder and file-naming scheme by click-
course you can retrieve them if your programs. Another good service, Box. ing the Change and File Name buttons.
hard drive tanks. My favorite is the Go- net, offers 1GB of storage for free or In iTunes, select Edit•Preferences in the
Daddy Online File Folder (www.godaddy. 5GB for $5 per month. It sports a nice, menu and choose the Advanced tab.
co m /g d s h o p/e m a i l /vsd b _ l a n d i n g . uncluttered Web interface, but doesn’t Check the box labeled Keep iTunes
asp?se=%2B&ci=270), which costs $20 let you map that storage as a drive or Music folder organized .
per year for 2GB of storage. You can network place. — Erik Larkin

86 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
H E RE’S HOW

The Simple Way to Keep en crypted (or which use NTFS com-
pression, for that matter), open Explor-
er and choose Tools•Folder Options .

Your Private Files Private Click the View tab, and in the Advanced
Settings box, make sure that Show en -
W I N D O W S T I P S work like any others on your system; you crypted or compressed NTFS fi les in color
there’s only one way to keep your don’t have to use any special passwords is checked. Encrypted items are green,
files truly confidential: Encrypt them. The to open or save them. Other user accounts compressed ones blue. On the other
Encrypting File System in most versions on the PC, and other PCs on the network, hand, if you don’t want others to see
of Windows Vista, XP, and 2000 scram- can’t view the file contents. Only some- which files are encrypted or com-
bles the contents of files and folders, one who is logged in to your account with pressed, uncheck this option. Click OK .
making it very difficult for snoops to read your password can access these files. XP Pro and Vista users need this tip
them. It’s easy to make encryption a part Streamline the steps: You can shorten only if they want to disable the display
of your security arsenal. the process by adding an
Get ready to encrypt: Encrypting File Encrypt command to your
System is in Windows Vista Business, right-click context menu (the
Enterprise, and Ultimate; XP Pro; and command switches to Decrypt
Windows 2000. XP Home lacks EFS, and when you right-click encrypted
Vista Starter, Home Basic, and Home files). You can do this in XP
Premium allow only decryption—so you with a quick Registry edit, but
can read encrypted files but not encrypt you might find it easier and
them. To use Encrypting File System on safer to use Tweak UI, a free
a partition, that partition must be PowerToy from Microsoft
formatted using the NTFS file system. ( w w w. p c w o r l d . c o m /
Not using NTFS? The switch is easy. See downloads/file/fid,18220-
“Go With the NTFS Flow” at http:// order,1-page,1/description.
pcworld.in/hereshow/index.jsp/ html ). If you al ready have
artId=5537798 (the same steps work in Tweak UI on your system, you FIGURE 2: MAKE ENCRYPTION EASIER by adding a
Vista). Also, encryption requires that you may need to upgrade to a more context menu command using the Tweak UI freebie.
use a password-protected account. recent version. Once Tweak UI
Stow your files: To encrypt a file or fold- is downloaded, installed, and running, of encrypted and compressed files in
er, right-click it in Explorer or any folder select Explorer in the left pane, scroll color, which the OSes do by default. To
window and choose Properties (you can through the options on the right, and open the Folder Options dialog in Vis-
also right-click a group selection to en- check Show “Encrypt” on context menu ta’s Explorer window, click Organize•
crypt several files or folders at once). In (see FIGURE 2). Click OK . Now when you Folder and Search Options .
the General tab, click Advanced, check right-click an unencrypted file, you’ll see Give others permission: To give people
Encrypt contents to secure data, and click a new command: Encrypt (or Decrypt if who are using your system access to
OK twice (see FIGURE 1). If you’re encrypt- you’ve selected an encrypted item). encrypted files, you can specify the
ing a folder, you’ll be asked if you want to Choose that option, and respond to any individuals by their user name. First,
encrypt its files and subfolders, as well. prompts. As of this writing, Tweak UI right-click a single encrypted file (not a
Once encrypted, the files or folders will was incompatible with Windows folder or multiple files, unfortunately),
Vista. However, Totalidea and choose Properties . In the General
Software’s free TweakVI tab, click A d v an c e d , and next to
Basic utility (www.totalidea. ‘Encrypt contents to secure data’,
com/content/ choose Details . In the middle of that
tweakvi/tweakvi- dialog box, click Add to open the Select
down.php ) allows User dialog, which lists others who
you to tweak many Vista have a certificate (a digital document
settings, letting you add the that helps confirm authenticity) on
Encrypt/Decrypt commands your system (see FIGURE 3).
to the context menu. Users can acquire certificates in vari-
Make encrypted files stand out: ous ways, but one of the simplest is by
FIGURE 1: ENCRYPTION IS JUST a few clicks away To see at a glance which files encrypting one of their own documents.
via any file or folder’s Properties dialog box. or folders on your system are (For more about certificates, choose

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 87
HERE’S HOW WI N DOWS TI PS

named Scott goes on leave but


WI N D OWS TO O LB OX
may return, disable rather
than delete Scott’s profile: In
XP, choose Star t•Run , type Get a Cloak of Invisibility
lusrmgr.msc, and press <Enter>.
In Vista, click Start and enter
With Free Hide Folders
the same command in the SOMETIMES THE BEST way to keep
Start Search field. Click the people from prying into your personal
Users folder icon in the left folders is to keep the folders’ exist-
pane and double-click Scott’s ence secret from the get-go. That’s
profile in the right pane. In easy to do with Cleanersoft.com’s Free
the General tab, check Account Hide Folders (http://pcworld.in/down-
is disabled and click OK ; when loads/index.jsp/dsecId=1494/dsubSe-
Scott resumes working, cId=1502).
uncheck this box. The program lets you make any folder
A free Encrypting File System (and its subfolders and other contents)
alternative: You might need a completely invisible with a just a little
FIGURE 3: LET OTHERS IN on your secrets by giving
stronger level of protection pointing and clicking. (Note that in Win-
trusted users permission to your encrypted files.
than Encrypting File System dows Vista, the program may not com-
offers. Browse to http:// pletely hide some known folders, such as
Start•Help and Support , type certifi-
pcworld.in/downloads/index.jsp/ Music in the Documents folder.)
cates overview, then press <Enter>.)
d s e c I d = 1 4 4 3 / d s u b Se c I d = 1 4 4 5 t o Free Hide Folders is password protected,
Select a trusted user and click OK . Note
d o w n l o a d t h e f r e e Tr u e C r y p t so you’re safe even if the bad guys know
that the Find User button in the Select
encryption utility; also see the you’re using the product. It also lets you
User dialog box won’t work unless your
Windows Toolbox at right for another back up your folders’ hidden states in
network uses Active Directory, a Win-
encryption alternative. case you have a system problem. And as
dows service in which administrators
Lock it all up in Vista’s BitLocker: the name says, it’s free.
can store and make available informa-
Encrypting your entire hard disk
tion on network objects.
makes it harder for malware to
Disable, don’t delete: Because
infect Vista’s system files, while
encrypted files are associated with user
also making it tougher for snoops
profiles, deleting profiles prevents those
to decrypt your files. The BitLocker
people from accessing their encrypted
feature in the Ultimate and Enter-
files. For example, if an employee
prise versions of Vista encrypts the
entire partition that the OS is
installed on, and stores the encryp-
tion key in your PC’s Trusted Plat-
form Module chip, or on a USB
flash drive. Since USB drives have
become ubiquitous, and since most of
BitLocker without a compatible TPM, and
us lack systems with a TPM chip, the
click OK (see FIGURE 4). Exit the editor.
flash drive option is the most attractive.
Now whenever you launch the BitLock-
Unfortunately it’s disa-
er Drive Encryption applet in Control
bled by default.
Panel, it won’t complain about the miss-
To enable this option,
ing TPM module, and it will offer a new
click Start, enter gpedit.msc in the Start
‘Turn On BitLocker’ link. BitLocker
Search field, and press <Enter> to launch
requires that you be able to boot from
Vista’s Group Policy Object Editor. In the
your USB drive, and it also must have an
left pane, navigate to and select Compu-
additional nonencrypted partition. For
ter Conf igur ation•Administrative Tem-
further information, click the applet’s
plates•Windows Components•BitLocker
What should I know about BitLocker Drive
FIGURE 4: USE VISTA’S EXTRA-STRENGTH Drive Encryption, and double-click Con-
Encryption before I turn it on? link.
BitLocker encryption utility without a TPM trol Panel Setup: Enable advanced startup
— Scott Dunn and
security chip by editing Vista’s group policies. options. Next, select Enabled, check Allow
Scott Spanbauer

88 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
H ERE ’S HOW

Help Your PC’s Graphics


Make Vista and XP Sparkle
H A R D W A R E T I P S latest, DirectX 10, you’ll need Windows
windows vista clearly ups the ante on Vista—and compatible graphics hard-
PC graphics power. No matter how basic or ware that won’t be mainstream until late
advanced your machine, chances are you this year. To check your DirectX version
can upgrade its graphics hardware to run in XP, click Start•Run and type dxdiag; in
Vista’s Aero interface—or improve XP— Vista, click Start and type dxdiag in the FIGURE 2: MAKE SURE YOU remove your
for viewing online videos, playing games, Start Search box. Y our DirectX version is old drive before replacing it with a new one.
and using other graphics-heavy apps. listed under the System tab. The Display
Find the connection: If the video con- tab shows graphics RAM and other data driver to avoid problems. In XP, choose
nector on the back of your PC is next to on your video subsystem (see FIGURE 1). Start•Control Panel•Add or Remove Pro-
the USB, PS/2, and other ports that are Go to http://support.microsoft.com/ grams, select the current graphics driver,
attached directly to the motherboard, ?kbid=179113 to see instructions on and click Remove (see FIGURE 2) . In Vista,
your system has integrated click Start•Control Panel•Uninstall
graphics. Make sure your com- a program (Programs and Features
puter has an open AGP or PCI in the Classic View). What if you
Express x16 slot. don’t see your driver listed? Right-
If your PC does not automati- click My Computer (Computer in
cally disable the old graphics Vista) and select Manage•Device
processor when a new card is in- Manager. Under ‘Display adapters’,
stalled, enter your system’s BIOS right-click the graphics driver and
(watch for the key to press when select Uninstall.
your system starts but before Upgrade on the inside: If you’re
Windows loads) and disable the not quite ready for a new graph-
setting for integrated graphics. ics board, you can squeeze more
Get the right card for your PC: performance out of your system’s
High-end graphics cards typically current graphics hardware by
need their own power connector. overclocking it. Both of the lead-
They also generate lots of heat, ing graphics card makers—ATI
and often are so big they require FIGURE 1: FIND ALL KINDS of useful data about your and nVidia—include an over-
the space of two expansion slots. graphics hardware in Windows XP’s DirectX Diagnostic Tool. clocking utility with many of
Make sure your case has plenty their cards. Using ATI’s Over-
of room inside. downloading and installing the latest ver- drive utility doesn’t invalidate the card’s
Upgrade DirectX: Fast-action games and sion of DirectX. warranty, but using nVidia’s Coolbits
other graphics-intensive programs re- Do driver diligence: Download the latest overclocking program does. Overheat-
quire a recent version of DirectX. Win- version of your card’s driver from the ing is probably this trick’s biggest risk.
dows XP supports versions up to DirectX vendor’s Web site. Before you swap out While ATI’s Overdrive utility monitors
9c, but to use the improvements in the the cards, however, remove the old card’s a graphics card’s temperature and pre-
vents overheating, most other over-
clocking utilities don’t. Rigging an
DOWNLOAD A FREE NETWORK KNOW-IT-ALL inexpensive thermal sensor like High-
FOR THOSE OF us who’d prefer to think Pure Networks’ free Network Magic Speed PC’s Rs. 675 Digital Thermal
of “IT” as a third-person singular pro- vastly simplifies network maintenance Probe (www.highspeedpc.com/Mer-
noun, the thought of setting up and by consolidating data for all of a net- c h a n t 2 / m e r c h a n t .
maintaining a network’s various hard- work’s devices on one screen. Go to mv?Screen=PROD&Product_
ware devices is about as appealing as www.networkmagic.com/nmlp/home- C o d e = Te m p 1 & Ca t e g o r y _
oral surgery without the anesthesia. networking.php?src=google&kw=pure% Code=Overclocking) to monitor your
Finding an IP address, a gateway ad- 20networks for the download (a Premi- graphics card temperature could save
dress, or other setting often requires a um version adds features like file shar- you the cost of a replacement.
hunt through many Windows screens. ing and remote access). — Kirk Steers

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 89
HERE’S HOW

Should I Report Program


Problems to Microsoft?
A N S W E R L I N E doesn’t leave you in a chari-
SOMETIMES AN ERROR message table mood, and clicking the
tells me that one of my programs Don’t Send button will get
has “encountered a problem,” you back to work a few sec-
and asks to send Microsoft a report. onds sooner. But you don’t
What’s the best procedure to follow? have to make that decision
this error message, added to the XP with each crash. You can
version of Windows, tells you the operat- tell Windows ahead of time
ing system halted a program that, had it when it should, and should
been allowed to continue, might have not, report such problems
crashed Windows. Microsoft insists it to Microsoft.
doesn’t use the information to track you, In XP, select Start•Run, FIGURE 1: DECIDE FOR YOURSELF which Vista program crashes
and the report could well help prevent type sysdm.cpl, and press you encounter should be reported back to Microsoft.
such program failures in the future. <Enter>. Click the Advanced
Still, there is some security risk: Tests tab in the System Properties dialog box, off, give other users permission to set this
by the U.S. Department of Energy Com- and then choose the Error Reporting but- option for themselves, read Microsoft’s
puter Incident Advisory Capability found ton that appears down on the lower right. privacy statement, and list programs
that the “memory dump” sent to Microsoft You can disable all error reporting, or have whose errors should not be reported (see
sometimes contained information from errors reported for the operating system FIGURE 1). Click OK twice and close the
the user’s document (browse to www. only, for programs only, or for both. If you Problem Reports and Solutions applet
ciac.org/ciac/bulletins/m-005.shtml for enable reporting, click the Choose Programs once you’ve made your changes.
more). In any event, the message probably button to select the apps whose failures you
wish to have reported. When TRIM OFFICE MENUS
you’re done, click OK twice. HOW DO I remove an item from a
Vi s t a’ s e r r o r m e s s a g e Microsoft Word menu?
doesn’t ask about sending removing items you don’t use
information. Instead, the OS makes the menus easier to navigate. The
just sends it—unless you following trick will work in Word, Excel,
instruct it not to do so before- and other programs in Microsoft Office
hand. Select Start, and in the versions 2000, 2002, and 2003:
Start Search box, type problem In the program with the unwanted menu
reports and solutions. Press item, select Tools•Customize. With the Cus-
<Enter>, and click Change tomize dialog box open, click the menu at
settings•Advanced settings. In the top of the program window that holds
the ‘Advanced settings for the item you want to remove, right-click the
FIGURE 2: REMOVING UNWANTED MENU items from problem reporting’ dialog item, and select Delete (see FIGURE 2); then
Microsoft Word makes the menus easier to navigate. box, you can turn reporting click the dialog box’s Close button.
Office 2007 doesn’t have menus, so there’s
nothing to customize. Removing items from
PERSONALIZE YOUR WINDOWS EXPLORER SHORTCUTS the ribbon isn’t an option. However, you can
customize the Quick Access Toolbar and
THE SIMPLEST WAY to open Explorer to Properties. Position the cursor in the
keyboard shortcuts in Office 2007 applica-
a specific file or folder is to right-click Shortcut tab’s Target field, press <Home>,
tions: Click the Office icon in the top-left
and drag its icon out of Explorer and and type explorer.exe /e, (don’t forget
corner, choose the options button for the
onto the desktop (or the Start menu, the space before the slash or the comma
program at the bottom of the drop-down list,
quick-launch toolbar, or other location), at the end). For example, to open Explor-
and select Customize in the left pane.
release the button, and select Create er to your D drive, type explorer.exe /e,
Shortcuts Here. To open Explorer with D:\ . When you’re done, press <Enter>. Answer Line is anchored by contributing
the folder tree visible in the left pane, (Note that Vista displays folders by de- editor Lincoln Spector. Send in your queries
right-click the shortcut and choose fault, so no change for it is needed.) to feedback@pcworld.in.

90 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
INSIDE

SOFTWARE 97

99
PREVIEW
■ East-Tec Backup Lite
■ Mandriva Linux Free 2007

WHAT’S ON DVD

REVIEWS
8GB of fun, freebies and
power tools

D U M M Y E D IHT A
END DBPYI CKKAELDP A
GNOA
O DEITETSEFNRSOOM
N T&HREADMVODN

PC World Super Suite


A LOOK AT SOME OF THE GOODIES THAT MAKE UP OUR SUPER SUITE.
tired of popping in various others that you may not have
CDs and DVDs to install all the heard of. This is a must have
various software? Ever wished software for an IM buff. You
for a single DVD that has most, will find this open source
if not all of the common, soft- and free software in the
ware you’d require? How con- Messengers section in the
venient it’d be to choose and Super Suite.
install all Microsoft updates in
a few easy steps? IRFANVIEW
Our PC World Super Suite there are image viewers and
has been designed keeping then there is IrfanView. Merely
these in mind, and is updated browsing through images can
to the latest versions of these be done in XP’s very own Picture
software. It will take many and Fax Viewer, but if you want a
more pages than what we have software that is more powerful,
here to explain every software easy on system resources and
contained in our 1.7GB bundle, just as easy, if not easier to use,
but here is a preview of some of then IrfanView is perhaps your
the softwares. best bet. What more, you can
even view videos in IrfanView
GAIM messenger services and show IM clients for long and for with the help of plugins!
long before MSN and all contacts in a single list a good reason. It is light If you have a bunch of
Ya h o o ! o f f e r e d u n i fi e d – much easier and efficient on system resources, has large high res images from
messenger service (add MSN than having three or four hardly any stability issues, your camera that you wish
ILLUSTRATION: ANIL T

contacts to Yahoo! messenger different software running nice interface that is easy to convert, there is the
and vice versa) several clients for instant messaging alone! t o u s e , c u s t o m i z ab i l i t y, handy batch conversion
existed that could connect Gaim has been a favorite and importantly, supports feature (press ‘B’ or File >
simultaneously to different amongst the multi-protocol Yahoo!, MSN, ICQ and few Batch Convert). IrfanView

96 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
SOFTWARE FRE E STU F F

can acquire images from ABIWORD


scanners that are TWAIN if all you want for creating
compliant (most scanner documents is a word proc-
are) and does this in essor that is easy to use, has
batch mode as well! If you all basic formatting options
wish to add simple effects and looks similar to Micro-
to an image without soft’s Word, AbiWord is
straining your PC and what you are looking for.
yourself with the likes On first glance it looks like
of Photoshop, just use an old version of Word,
Effects (Image > Effects). thus not making you feel
There are several more lost. AbiWord is an open-
features that you will source program and free to
find useful in this free ABIWORD IS AN extremely easy to use word processor and it is free. use. AbiWord for Windows
software. Again, a must takes just about 20MB on
have if you don’t want to buy formats such as TAR, Z, ZIP, a ZIP such that it can be opened your hard disk and is com-
image management software BZ2, etc. You can set a password in systems that do not have patible with all Windows ver-
like ACDSee which can be for your archive (compressed) file, WinRAR installed (Windows sions from 95 to XP.
sluggish on older PCs. split a large file into parts, assign XP and above. For older MS OS, Ab i Wo r d h a s a s p e l l
priority levels to WinRAR (so that you need the WinZip program). checker, can track document
WINRAR other programs are not affected) Many files on the Internet are history, supports tables and
winRAR, a worthy competitor and test archive for integrity compressed in the RAR format, headers / footers. By using
to the all too common WinZip amongst other things. WinRAR making this program a handy plugins you can enhance the
supports various compression allows you to save an archive as one to have around. functionality of AbiWord.

East-Tec Backup Lite network drive or a different hard


disk). Just click the ‘Scheduler’
You can upgrade to East-
Tec Backup 2007 and be able
FULL PRODUCT tab to set the time and date when to backup registry keys, mails
east-Tec Backup Lite is a this back up task should run. and user settings, backup to
software to back up and pro- You can choose to archive local area network, remov-
tect the files and data on your your files in ZIP format which able disk, CD/DVD, FTP,
hard disk. East-Tec Backup not only saves space but also Encrypt your backup using
Lite is very easy to use and enables you to add a password AES, create incremental and
features intuitive wizards, to your backups. Similar to differential backup tasks,
data compression (using the WinZip, you can also split the automate your backup tasks
widely popular ZIP open archive at selected file sizes using a powerful scheduler
format, a non-proprietary that will make it easier for you send email notifications when
format, giving you full con- to span your backups over CDs backups are made.
trol over your backup), the THIS SOFTWARE MAKES the or DVDs. A warning can also
ability to backup to any local important task of backing up be issued when an error occurs
locations, and more. Other data easy. during backup, so you’ll be able
features include backing up to attend to the problem. Installation Details
without the need to close When you open East-Tec East-Tec Backup Lite can be
System Requirements:
running programs, file fil- Backup, click on the Task menu used for free. A registration win-
■ 300 MHz or higher CPU
tering (include or exclude and then New Task. In the set- dow is displayed the first time
■ 128 MB RAM
certain fi le types from your tings that show up, you can the user runs the program, but
■ 10MB free space
backup), the ability to run choose the source (the files and it is optional. For more features,
■ 500 MHz or higher CPU
programs/commands before folders that you want to back up) users can upgrade to East-Tec
■ 250 MB RAM or higher for
or after the backup, and and the destination (the place Backup 2007 from www.east-
Windows XP
detailed backup logs. you want to back up to – like a tec.com/offers/pcworldin/

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 97
FREE ST UFF SOFTWARE

Mandriva Linux Free 2007 driva recommends, which


updates are available and
L I N U X to administer the entire much more. The commercial
m a nd r i va L inu x F r e e system. This must help first versions of Mandriva include
2007 is the free version time users who might be additional features and func-
o f M a n d r i v a (f o r m e r l y wary of making changes to tions that improve operability
Mandrake) Linux 2007. The the system. Mandriva Linux with certain network adapt-
PC World May 2007 DVD also offers several pre- ers and graphic cards.
is bootable with Mandriva configured levels of security Furthermore, Mandriva’s
Linux Free 2007 for both 32 that a user can choose for commercial products often
bit as well as 64 bit CPUs his computer. include support options
– and hence you do not need The K-menu on the (such as Mandriva Expert),
to transfer ISOs on DVDs default KDE desktop is at the documentation, and
or CDs. The installation is traditional bottom left of the premium online services
graphical and offers efficient THIS MANDRIVA INSTALLER screen and looks deceptively such as Mandriva Club and
hardware detection. Once includes both 32 and 64 like a Windows OS. It feels Mandrivaonline.
you boot from the DVD, just bit versions. better organised on closer
click on ‘Installation’ to start observation – applications
IN BRIEF
the installation. Both KDE and GNOME are sorted depending on
Co m m e r c i a l p r o d u c t s desktop environments are their type – office, Internet, Installation Notes
f r o m Ma n d r i v a s u c h a s included in Mandriva Free multimedia and system. Like
L I K E A L L L I N UX d i s-
Mandriva Linux Powerpack 2007 along with an exciting other newer Linux distros,
tributions, Mandriva can
Edition include more fea- 3D Desktop. The drak3D the various storage devices
be installed on a PC that
tures than the Download configuration tool chooses get mounted automatically,
already has a Windows
Edition such as commercial the best 3D solution for so you only need to click on
installed. During the instal-
add-ons and third-party soft- your hardware on either ‘Devices’ on the desktop to
lation, Mandriva detects
ware. Commercial products KDE or GNOME. System access other partitions.
the presence of Windows
also provide documentation administration can be done The equivalent of a Control
and gives you a dual boot
and access to Mandriva serv- completely via GUI without Panel is in the form of the
option. You need to choose
ices such as support. The the need to get into the Control Center that you
the partition from which
download editions such as command console (knowing can find under K-menu>
Mandriva can take space
this free distribution may the commands of course Configuration, which
for its own installation and
be freely downloaded from helps). The Mandriva Linux allows you to make system
you are all set. The proc-
www.mandrivalinux.com/ Control Center allows a user administer level changes as
ess is user friendly, but if
en/ftp.php3. to resort to a single panel well as changes to appearance
you are not familiar with
a n d t h e m e s . To
this operation, we suggest
access some of these
backing up of important
settings you need
data on a CD / DVD. Instal-
to be logged in as a
lation is very fast – it took
root user.
us about 15 minutes to
Some of the appli-
install Mandriva Free 2007
cations included in
with all packages chosen.
Mandriva Linux Free
2007 are OpenOf-
fice.org, KOffice,
Abiword, Gnumeric, Installation Details
C/C++ / Java , etc.
Package manage- System Requirements:
ment done by the ■ 128 MB RAM; 256 MB
all new RPMDrake preffered
gives you a quick ■ For 3D environment, a P3
view of what you or higher CPU with a 3D
have, what you can graphic card
THE K-MENU SEEMS Windows-like and won’t leave a new user lost. install, what Man-

98 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE
M A Y 2 0 0 7

FULL PRODUCTS

Mandriva Linux Free 2007


Mandriva Linux Free 2007 is the free version of
Mandriva (formerly Mandrake) Linux 2007. This
DVD is bootable with Mandriva Linux Free 2007
for both 32 bit as well as 64 bit CPUs.

East-Tec Backup Lite


An easy to use backup software that can schedule
backups to a network drive or a secondary hard
disk. You can also use the ZIP format to archive
DESKTOP ENHANCEMENTS your files which not only uses less space but also
gives you the option of password protecting it.
Themes, Screensavers, Wallpapers
The themes mentioned in our Dress Up Your
Desktop feature (see page xx) are included on
our DVD. We also have wallpapers contributed
by our readers who are photography E SS E N TI A L S
enthusiasts and illustrations created by our
design team. PC World Super Suite
Our Super Suite includes software for almost
all tasks. Right from browsers, office tools,
codecs to system tools and patches, you will
V I D EO S find them all here. This time we have included
Autopatcher for Windows Vista as well.
5 Tech Videos
Glimpse the technology of today and tomorrow
with our exclusive tech videos.

GA M E S
Creative Suite 3 from Adobe
PC World’s review of Apple TV
Red Ocean
RFID in use in Germany’s supermarket
Get into an underwater station in the first
Fuel Cell laptop prototype from Toshiba
person shooter
Acer at CEBIT 2007

TUTORIAL E N T E R TA I N M E N T

5 video tutorials for XP The first space ship to Venus


Enable hibernation A sci-fi movie from the 60s to – The First Space
Hide taskbar icons Ship to Venus. Join a team of astronauts as they
Disable autorun for CD / DVD drives set out to the planet Venus in search of life.
Use magnifier tool Trailers from the Fantastic 4 and Ratatouille are
Open event viewer also included.

100 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


CONTENT PAGE MARCH 2007 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 101
4Ways to
Windows
Find the best software for running Windows on your Mac

W
hen Apple introduced a copy of Windows from within OS X;
its first Intel powered CodeWeavers’ CrossOver Mac, which tricks
Macs in early 2006, Windows apps into thinking you’ve got
the company did Windows installed when you really don’t;
more than just launch OS X on a new and Apple’s own Boot Camp, which lets
platform. It also gave Mac users a you choose to boot into Windows or OS X
brand-new way to run Windows apps. when you start your Mac.
Eighteen months ago, Mac users who But those four choices lead to one big
had to run Windows software used question: which one is right for you? What
Virtual PC—and nobody really liked it. follows is a comparison of the four, as well
Today, we have a bunch of alternatives, as a critical look at how easy each one
with four that really rise to the top: is to install and configure, how well each
Parallels Desktop for Mac and VMWare runs Windows software, and how well each
Fusion, which both let you install and run supports hardware peripherals.

By Rob Griffiths | Illustrations by Jack Gallagher

102 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on
Resize Partitions
On-the-Fly

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 103


FEATURE 4 Ways to Windows

As you read, bear in mind that this market tests (see “How They Compare: Virtualiza- 200MB. As you open more programs, and
is constantly evolving. During our evalua- tion Software”) and some less formal eval- especially if you’re using OS X apps at the
tion, both Apple’s Boot Camp and MWare’s uations (using them for everyday comput- same time, your RAM requirements will
Fusion were still in public beta, Parallels’ ing chores and comparing the feel to go up. For Windows 2000 and XP, 2GB is
latest release had just emerged from beta, native OS X apps). My conclusion: Macs a good starting point; you’ll need more if
and CrossOver had only recently been run Windows quite nicely in virtualization you’re considering running Vista.
released. I used the most up-to-date version mode, and very well when booted natively Extras You’ll also need to be careful
of each program available at the time I was into Windows. (To be more specific, they about the kinds of peripherals you have
testing, but some of the details may be out run Windows XP quite nicely; Vista is connected to your Mac. These programs
of date by the time you read this. another story. For more on that, see can vary widely in their support for
Also keep in mind that it’d be impossi- “Which Windows?”) FireWire, USB, and Bluetooth. If any of
ble for us to do full compatibility testing But even on a Core Duo mini, these pro- your Windows apps require such
for every version of Windows, every appli- grams all offer performance that’s worlds peripherals, see “How They Compare:
cation, and every hardware peripheral better than Virtual PC ever was on a Pow- Virtualization Software” to find out
on the Mac market. I chose to focus our erPC Mac. For typical Office applications, about compatibility.
software compatibility assessments on even a Mac mini will provide performance Who They’re Good For So which of
Microsoft Windows XP Pro Service Pack 2 that’s more than acceptable. The main these four alternatives is right for you? Not
(with all the latest updates) and Office XP exception: if you want to use Boot Camp to surprisingly, the answer really depends on
Pro (2002). Unless specified otherwise, I run Windows games that require 3-D what you need. For most Mac users, Paral-
tested each product on a 15-inch 2.33GHz acceleration, you’ll want a more powerful lels will let you do what you need to do in
MacBook Pro with 2GB of RAM. machine; the mini and the MacBook lack Windows with the least amount of trouble.
the graphics hardware required for 3-D– Tinkerers and hobbyists will love Fusion’s
Hardware Requirements accelerated video games. downloadable appliances. Those who
To use any of the following software, RAM You’ll also want a lot of RAM. In don’t need anything but the occasional
you’ll obviously need an Intel-powered my testing, with Windows loaded and Windows Office application can probably
Mac; none of these programs run on a Word and Excel files open, CrossOver and get by with CrossOver. For others—gam-
PowerPC Mac. Fusion used between 45MB and 60MB of ers, people with esoteric hardware needs,
CPU The faster your CPU, the better real memory; Parallels used more than and people who pound their CPUs at 100
your performance will be. None of these 100MB. By comparison, running Win- percent utilization—Boot Camp is the pre-
programs are disappointing in terms of dows natively in Boot Camp with the same ferred route. The bottom line: we’ve come
speed. I ran them through some timed Excel and Word files open required almost a long way from Virtual PC.

How They Compare: Virtualization Software


Parallels Desktop VMWare Fusion CrossOver Mac Boot Camp

Windows versions supported 3.11, 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, 3.1, 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, 98, 2000, XPD XP, Vista
XP, Vista XP, Vista, Windows Server

Other operating systems supported FreeBSD, Linux, MS-DOS, FreeBSD, Linux, MS-DOS, none none
OS/2 , Solaris Novell Netware, Solaris

64-bit support m 1 m m

Drag and drop files between Windows 1 1 m m


and OS X

Performance: scroll Word document 9.9 12.6 17.5 14.5


(seconds)A

USB support Good Fair Poor Good

Bluetooth support Poor Good Poor Good

FireWire support Poor Poor Fair Good

3-D acceleration m 1C 1 1

Utilizes both cores in Core Duo chips m 1 m 1

Memory usageB 105MB–115MB 50MB–60MB 45MB–55MB 194MB

1= yes. m = no. AScrolling through a 3.9MB document with many images in Page Layout mode, using 125 percent zoom; by comparison, running the same test in Mac-native Microsoft Word 2004
on a MacBook Pro took 12.4 seconds. BWith a large Word document and an Excel file open. CExperimental. DApps that run on those operating systems, not the operating systems themselves.

104 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Parallels
Also
Also on
on
and the Windows
taskbar is present Resize Partitions
along the bottom On-the-Fly
Multi-OS Powerhouse of the screen
(though you can drag it to any edge, just
as you can when running Windows
natively). When running Parallels in

P
arallels ( ; macworld.com/ The process is just a bit more complicated if Coherence mode, it’s easy to forget you’re
2598) came out in beta form in you want to install other operating systems. even running the Windows OS; it’s more
April of last year, not long after You use File: New to open the OS Installa- like you’re running programs that don’t
Apple released the first Intel Macs. Since tion Assistant, and tell it to create a Custom look like the rest of your OS X apps.
then, the software has been greatly virtual machine. On the next screen, you Further easing integration, Parallels sup-
improved through a seemingly constant select the type of OS (Linux, OS/2, and so ports full drag and drop between the Win-
stream of betas, release candidates, and on), as well as the specific version (Red Hat dows and OS X environments. You can
officially released updates. Linux, OS/2 Warp 4, and so on) you want to copy a folder of files from one environment
(This article is based on build install. You’ll then have to specify to the other, add items to the taskbar in
3170, Release Candidate a memory allocation and Coherence mode, and even drop docu-
3; Parallels says that there drivespace setup for your virtu- ments onto Windows’ application windows.
are no substantial differ- al machine, and then start the At the other extreme, you can make your
ences between that build installation— you can install Mac look like it’s solely a Windows machine
and the official release, from CDs or from a disk image. simply by switching to full screen mode. In
beyond some bug fixes.) full-screen mode, the Mac OS is completely
Today, this $80 program is Software Support hidden. When you want to get back to your
the most-refined option Assuming that you’re using Par- native OS, just press option-return and
for running a full Win- allels to run Windows, you’ll you’re back in windowed mode.
dows installation next to OS X on want to check out Parallels’ In addition to creating this OS transpar-
an Intel Mac. (Parallels also supports nearly Coherence mode as soon as you can (see ency, Parallels runs Windows apps amaz-
any non-Apple operating system you can “Coherence Mode”). It’s a way of configur- ingly well. It will run nearly any Win-
think of, from Windows 3.11 through Vista, ing Parallels so the Windows OS itself is dows program you throw at it, with
Linux, Free- BSD, OS/2, Solaris, and even hidden: all you see is an application win- performance that’s nearly as good as
good old MS-DOS). dow—which happens to belong to a Win- you’d get on a similarly configured native
dows application—on your OS X desktop. Windows box. (You can also run Win-
Installation Those apps have their own resizable win- dows XP from a Boot Camp partition—
Parallels has accomplished something dows, their icons appear in OS X’s Dock, meaning that you need only one copy of
amazing: it’s made it simpler to install
Windows inside a virtual machine on a
Mac than it is to install Windows on a
“real” PC. Using the Windows Express
setup assistant, you can install Windows
XP or Vista in a couple of mouse clicks.
You type your product key, name, and
organization on one screen, and then Par-
allels takes over. Anywhere you’d typically
have to interact with the Windows install-
er, Parallels does the job for you.
After installing Windows, you launch your
new virtual machine and run the Parallels
Tools installer (in the Action menu). Parallels
Tools adds a number of features that ease the
integration of Windows with OS X, such as
the ability to move your mouse seamlessly Coherence Mode With Parallels’ new Coherence mode, Internet Explorer 7 and Microsoft
from Parallels to Mac OS X and back again. Word (running in Windows) integrate seamlessly with the Finder and Font Book.

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 105


FEATURE 4 Ways to Windows

Player to work (it kept via FireWire, Bluetooth, or ExpressCard.


telling me I needed an (The main exception is FireWire drives that
MPEG-2 codec), but I have been mounted in OS X.) If you have
was able to use the free peripherals that rely on these technologies
VLC video player (www. and that need access to them in Windows,
videolan.org/vlc) to you should consider using Boot Camp.
play Pirates of the Car- Also, Parallels can’t take advantage of both
ibbean 2 (see “Playing cores on Core Duo chips. In my experi-
DVDs”). There was ence, that didn’t interfere with perform-
some stuttering of the ance much, but if you have processor-
sound and the occa- intensive Windows apps, it might.
Playing DVDs You can watch (and burn) DVDs in Parallels—if
you use VLC and don’t mind a little stuttering. The Windows sional mild picture hic-
Media Player complained about a missing codec. cup, but overall, the Who It’s Good For
experience was much With its excellent application support,
Windows XP.) I say nearly because Paral- better than I was expecting. well-integrated Coherence mode, drag-
lels can’t yet utilize both cores in the Core and- drop capabilities, and overall level
Duo chips. So if you’re running an appli- Hardware Support of performance, Parallels is a great
cation that’s particularly CPU-intensive, When Parallels first came out, its support match for people who need to run the
it’ll take a bit of a performance hit. Also, for USB devices wasn’t great. Things have full Windows OS on their Macs— or
Parallels doesn’t yet offer accelerated improved since then. It now supports people who’d like to experiment with
graphics, so many games are out of the USB 2.0, and more devices work. I had no other operating systems, such as Linux.
question. And Parallels won’t run 64- bit trouble getting Windows XP Pro to recog- But if you need accelerated 3-D graphics
Windows, but that’ll be a problem for nize a 1GB memory stick; USB hard support or have FireWire and Bluetooth
only a small subset of users. drives work, too. I was even able to use devices you need to use in Windows,
For everything else, such as Micro- my Wacom Intuos 2 graphics tablet. You look to Boot Camp.
soft Office, Quicken QuickBooks, may still run into problems with things
Adobe Photoshop, and pretty much such as USB dongles, which some pro-
PARALLELS DESKTOP FOR MAC
any other application I tested, Paral- grams use for copy protection, but most PROS: Coherence mode; drag and drop
lels works, and works well. Perform- other USB devices should work just fine. files from one OS to another; excellent
ance is nice and snappy—in fact, it’s Networking support is good; I had no performance; very good hardware support.
CONS: Virtually no FireWire or Bluetooth
the snappiest of the four programs I issues printing to a networked laser printer,
support; no accelerated graphics; doesn’t
tested (see “How They Compare: Vir- and I was able to see the other Macs on the utilize both cores in Core Duo chips; no 64-
tualization Software”). Even playing household network. bit Windows support.
back DVDs works reasonably well. I What hardware won’t work with Paral- PRICE: $80
COMPANY: Parallels, www.parallels.com
wasn’t able to get Windows Media lels? Pretty much anything that connects

The Security Question maybe someone had sniffed out my machine


from the Net and attacked it remotely.
But I still have no clue how my Windows XP
Is Windows really unsafe? installation got infected. I’d turned Windows
At one point during my research for this booting up, I was surprised to see Windows’ sharing off on my virtual machine, and my
article, I ran Parallels on my Mac Pro for the built-in malware detector pop up on screen. home network sits behind a router that uses
first time in a while. I wanted to tweak the Somehow, my virtual Windows XP network address translation to hide my
virtual machine’s settings, which requires installation had been infected by a member machines’ IP addresses from the Net.
shutting it down. Before I could do so, of the rbot family of malicious software. From now on, I’m going to need a good
Windows XP informed me it was installing a Thankfully, Windows found and removed this security program for my virtual Windows
few updates. (I have the automatic update hack all by itself. machines. (Friends have suggested AVG Free
enabled.) Eventually, the updates were I hadn’t done much more than surf the Net [free.grisoft.com], for starters.) I’m not too
applied and the virtual machine shut down. I and run some Office applications on that worried about Windows infections getting to
tweaked my Parallels settings and restarted particular machine. It’s certainly possible my OS X installation, at least not yet. But I’m
the virtual machine. When XP finished that I visited a malicious Web page. Or glad I’m not a fulltime user.

106 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on

VMWare document from


top to bottom in
roughly the same
Resize Partitions
On-the-Fly
New Kid on the Block amount of time it took me to do so while
running Office 2004 in Rosetta on my
MacBook Pro. Pirates of the Caribbean 2
played as well as it did in Parallels.

V
M Ware (www.vmware.com) has appliances”—preconfigured bundles of Fusion has a full-screen mode, too, but
been providing virtualization soft- operating systems and applications that nothing like Parallels’ Coherence mode.
ware for Windows users for years. you can download and install with a few You can move files and folders between
VMWare Fusion, which has been available mouse clicks. For example, I downloaded OS X and Windows via drag and drop,
as a free public beta since late December MindTouch Deki, which lets you collabo- but setting up a shared documents fold-
2006 (I tested build number 36932), is the rate on documents wiki-style. I expanded er is much tougher than it is in Parallels.
company’s first Mac product. the archive and then doubleclicked on the
Fusion is still in beta. No ship date for resulting file. The appliance booted its Hardware Support
a final version has been announced. operating system, configured itself, and Fusion’s hardware support is mixed. It
Given that, many features are missing was ready to use in supports Bluetooth if you install Apple’s
or incomplete. about a minute (see Boot Camp drivers. Like Paral-
“Virtual Appliance.”) lels, Fusion will let you use your
Installation If you’ve ever want- Bluetooth mouse within each
Like Parallels, Fusion installs with a stand- ed to test-drive Linux, program; unlike Parallels,
ard OS X installer. But when it comes to a Fusion virtual appli- Fusion lets you bind new Blue-
installing Windows, you have to run Win- ance is far and away tooth devices to the virtual
dows’ installation program yourself. the easiest way to do so. machine. And Fusion supports
Fusion supports 19 different versions of both cores in Intel Core Duo
Windows, from 3.1 through the 64-bit ver- Software Support chips. In its latest release, VMWare
sions of Windows XP and Vista. You can Running Windows apps has added “experimental” support
also install Linux systems (including Red in Fusion is much like running them in for accelerated 3-D graphics, which
Hat and SUSE), Novell’s Netware, Sun’s Parallels: for the most part, they just worked just fine in my testing. On the
Solaris, Free- BSD, and MS-DOS. work. I found the speed in both Word downside, Fusion has no Fire- Wire sup-
Fusion’s other key differentiator is its and Excel to be more than acceptable; I port, except as a source of shared folders
support for what VMWare calls “virtual was able to scroll through a long Word on a hard drive. I couldn’t get my Wacom
graphics tablet to work.

Who It’s Good For


Overall, given that this is still a beta
release, I was impressed with Fusion. It’s
got a ways to go before it’s a polished Par-
allels competitor, and it isn’t ready for peo-
ple who need a stable, fullfeatured Win-
dows environment. But it’s a good start.

VMWARE FUSION BETA


(BUILD 36932)
PROS: Prebundled “appliances” let you
quickly install useful preconfigured systems
and applications; uses both cores in Core
Duo chips; can run 64-bit Windows.
CONS: Tricky to set up shared folders;
plenty of beta issues; sketchy USB support; no
FireWire support; no accelerated graphics.
Virtual Appliance VMWare’s virtual appliances are fully configured and ready-to-run
PRICE: free (for beta)
software programs—such as MindTouch Deki, shown here—that you can download.
COMPANY: VMWare, www.vmware.com

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 107


FEATURE 4 Ways to Windows

CrossOver ports accelerated 3-D graphics. That


means you can run some Windows

Windows Applications games directly within OS X.

Hardware Support

without Windows CrossOver can see any external hard


drives (USB and FireWire) and memory
sticks that OS X can see, and you’ll have

C
odeWeavers’ CrossOver Mac to make some tweaks, you use CrossO-
access to them from the Open and Save
(www.codeweavers.com) is ver’s Bottle Manager, which lets you
dialog boxes in Windows. Other hard-
unique among virtualization adjust all sorts of settings (see “Configur-
ware is trickier. If your device requires a
programs in that it doesn’t actually ing Bottles”). From then on, you can
Windows-specific driver, odds are it
require a copy of Windows. That’s right: launch the program from within CrossO-
probably won’t work in CrossOver.
once you’ve paid CodeWeavers your $60 ver or by just double-clicking on the appli-
($70 for a CD), you’re ready to start cation in the Finder, as you would do for
Who It’s Good For
installing Windows programs, without any other OS X application.
If your Windows needs are limited—for
paying Microsoft a dime.
example, if you just want to open and
How is that possible? CrossOver is a Software Support
edit old Office documents and don’t
Mac implementation of Wine (www . Once it’s installed, how well does CrossO-
want to pay for a Windows license,
winehq.com), which provides versions ver actually work? The answer ranges from
CrossOver is a fine alternative. It’s also a
of Windows-native libraries, so it “incredibly well” to “not at all.” The compa-
viable choice for PC gamers looking to
appears to Windows apps ny has classified more
play the occasional Windows game with-
that they’re in a real Win- than 2,500 Windows
out logging out of OS X. But if you need
dows operating system. applications for compat-
a fuller Windows experience, one of the
ibility. Ratings run from
other programs will be a better fit.
Installation gold (perfect compatibili-
Installing CrossOver couldn’t ty) and silver (runs with
CROSSOVER MAC 6.0
be much simpler: you just some bugs) down through
PROS: No need to purchase Windows; supports
drag its application icon into the self-explanatory accelerated 3-D graphics; easy to install.
your Applications folder. You “Known Not to Work.” Of CONS: Limited application compatibility;
don’t need to run an OS X installer, install those 2,500-plus programs, only 55 get a no access to the full Windows OS if you need
it; USB devices may not work with games.
Windows, or even reboot before you start gold or silver rating; the vast majority are
PRICE: $60
using the program. To install a Windows labeled Untested. COMPANY: CodeWeavers,
application in CrossOver, you can either In my testing, those ratings proved accu- www.codeweavers.com
insert the program’s installation CD or rate. Older versions of
run CrossOver’s Install Software assistant. Microsoft Office (97 and
CrossOver uses bottles to organize your 2000, both of which
installed applications. A bottle is a virtual have a gold rating)
Windows environment, each with its own worked quite well.
C: drive, fonts, and registry. You can Office XP (with a silver
install multiple applications in one bottle, rating) worked OK, with
or you can create a new bottle for each an occasional graphical
program you install. glitch and a crash or
If you’re installing a program that two. Newer programs
CrossOver knows how to handle, it’ll cre- can be problematic: you
ate a bottle automatically. If you’re install- can run Internet Explor-
ing an unsupported program, you’ll need er 5, but you can’t use
to specify which Windows it requires. versions 6 or 7.
(Your choices are Windows 98, Windows Gaming is where
2000, or Windows XP.) CrossOver offers a
For most applications, that’s all the con- pleasant surprise. Configuring Bottles CrossOver runs Windows apps inside
selfcontained mini-Windows environments called bottles.
figuring you’ll need to do. If you do need Unlike Parallels, it sup-

108 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


SAMPLE ARTICLE

Also on

Which Windows? Do You


Need Vista?
Vista is unquestion-
Resize Partitions
On-the-Fly
A field guide to the other OS
ably the future of Microsoft’s operating sys-
Knowing how to run Windows on your grams missing from Home Basic. Win- tem. But even PC users who like Windows
Mac is one thing. Knowing which Windows dows Media Center, the major selling have been complaining about Vista’s per-
version to run is something else altogether. point for this edition, enables your formance. Vista running under Parallels
There are not only four different versions computer to act as a television and Desktop for Mac is no speed demon and is
of Windows Vista on store shelves, but also video recorder. The Mac’s hardware occasionally unpredictable. It’s better under
two different versions of Windows XP still doesn’t support many of these fea- Boot Camp but still far from perfect.
available if you know where to look. tures. Media Center also includes Windows XP, on the other hand, isn’t half
DVD-burning and movie-creation bad, no matter how you run it on your Mac.
Vista and Virtualization applications, as well as some games. It’s a more mature version of Windows and
If you plan to run Windows through Parallels The full installation of Home Premium therefore less buggy. It’s also less laden with
Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion, Micro- costs $239. eye candy, so it’s faster than Vista.
soft has made your choice of Windows easy. Vista Business replaces Home’s multime- XP is also much better than Vista when
The end user license agreements (EULAs) dia capabilities with security, networking, it comes to virtualization. Because virtuali-
that come with Vista Home Basic and Vista and sharing features not found in the zation wasn’t a threat when XP was
Home Premium versions specifically forbid Home versions. Those features include released many years ago, there’s no provi-
you to operate them under virtualization. Domain Join, Group Policy support, sion in the EULA that forbids you to run it
I’ve found no technical reason why you can’t Encrypting File System (EFS), Corporate under Parallels, Fusion, or whatever else
run these versions of Windows under virtu- Roaming, and Remote Desktop. Microsoft you want to use. And even under virtuali-
alization, but it’s technically illegal to do so. asks $299 for Vista Business. zation, XP Home, XP Professional, and
The official reason for this restriction is Finally, Vista Ultimate includes every- most Windows applications (save 3-D
security. Microsoft is happy to let you run thing found in the three less-expensive ver- games and other 3-D–intensive applica-
Vista Business and Vista Ultimate editions sions of Vista plus a few extras—a card tions, which perform poorly) run at near-
under virtualization, because they include game, additional language packs, and more native speeds on a modern Intel Mac. Peo-
more-robust safety features. Because a Mac security. Vista Ultimate comes at an ulti- ple running Boot Camp will find that XP
running Apple’s Boot Camp is for all mate price—$399 for a full installation. is blazingly fast.—CHRISTOPHER BREEN
intents and purposes a living and breathing
Windows PC, Microsoft has no objection to
your running any version of Vista on it.
Windows Vista: What You Get
Home Home
Regardless of which version of Vista you Features Basic Premium
Business Ultimate
install, Microsoft demands that each Backup: Scheduled Backup 1 1 1
installation have its own license. So if you
Backup: Windows Complete PC 1 1
wish to install it in both Boot Camp and a Backup and Restore
virtualization application, you’ll need two Collaboration: Windows Meeting Space 1 1
Windows licenses.
Data Protection: Windows BitLocker 1
Drive Encryption
What’s the Difference? Eye Candy and Navigation: Aero 1 1 1
Roughly speaking, the various Vista edi- Effect, Windows Flip 3D, and Live
Thumbnails
tions shake out this way.
Media and Entertainment: Windows 1 1
Vista Home Basic is just that, a very Media Center, Windows DVD Maker,
basic version of Windows that doesn’t Windows Movie Maker, Chess Titans,
Mahjong Titans, Inkball
include Microsoft’s Aero visual effects and
also lacks Windows Media Center, Win- Mobile: Windows Mobility Center, 1 1 1
Tablet PC Support
dows Flip 3D Navigation, Scheduled and
Networking: Networking Center, 1 1
Network Backup, Windows Meeting Remote Desktop
Space, and Tablet Technology. It sells for Search and Internet: Instant Search, 1 1 1 1
$199 for a full installation. Windows Internet Explorer 7
Vista Home Premium adds the Aero Security: Windows Defender, 1 1 1 1
Windows Firewall
effect as well as the features and pro-

CONTENT PAGE M AY 2 0 0 7 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N 109


FEATURE 4 Ways to Windows

Boot Camp Hardware Support


Thanks to the Windows driver CD, all

Ultimate Compatibility your Mac-specific hardware—Bluetooth,


AirPort, and even the built-in iSight cam-
era—will work perfectly in Windows.
Boot Camp is especially great for gam-
ers, because it fully supports accelerated

W
hile Parallels, Fusion, and pick your new Windows partition and 3-D graphics. So stop hoping that all
CrossOver are good for running then use the Mac drivers CD you burned those Windows- only games will get
Windows apps from within OS earlier to install the Windows drivers for ported to the Mac and start playing;
X, if you want the complete Windows all your Mac-specific hardware. Once they’ll work well on any Mac that sup-
experience, you need Apple’s Boot Camp you’ve done that, you’ve got a real, hon- ports advanced 3-D acceleration (which
(www.apple.com/bootcamp). est-to goodness Windows XP computer. means pretty much any Mac except for
In free public beta at the time of this the Mac mini and the MacBook).
writing, and slated for inclusion in Mac Software Support
OS X 10.5, Boot Camp is unlike the Pretty much anything that runs on Win- Who It’s Good For
other three programs: it doesn’t let you dows will now run on your Mac. Noth- If you want to play 3-D games on your
run Windows apps alongside your OS X ing is being emulated, nothing is being Mac, or if you use hardware that’s not
apps. Instead, it converts your Mac into simulated. yet supported in Parallels or Fusion,
a full-blown Windows computer. The main downside is that you have to then Boot Camp is for you. It’s also your
reboot your machine to run your Windows best bet if you need full access to all your
Installation software. So if you’re involved in a project in Mac’s hardware.
When installing Boot Camp, the first OS X and want to quickly run a Windows
thing you do is let the Boot Camp Assist- application that Parallels or Fusion can’t Senior Editor Rob Griffiths runs the MacOSX- COM-
ant partition your hard drive into two piec- handle, you’ll have to save your work, shut PANY: Hints.com Web site (www.macosxhints.com).
es—one for OS X and another for Win- down your Mac, reboot,
dows (see “Partitioning for Windows”). do whatever it is you
The partition size you specify will depend wanted to do in Win-
largely on what you plan to do with Win- dows, and then repeat
dows; if you’re installing big apps or you’ll the whole process to get
be using big data files, you size the parti- back to OS X. Unfortu-
tion accordingly. None of your existing nately, until Fusion,
data is lost in this process and, if you Parallels, or CrossOver
change your mind later, the Boot Camp supports your program,
Assistant will also merge your split disk Boot Camp is your
back into one, deleting the Windows data only option.
while keeping your OS X files intact. The other bummer
The next step is to burn a CD with is that it’s trickier to
Mac drivers. This CD is the key to Boot share files between
Camp’s great Windows support: it adds Windows and OS X in
specific drivers for your Mac’s hardware Boot Camp than in the Partitioning for Windows When you run the Boot Camp Assistant,
the first thing you have to do is split your hard drive into two
to Windows. virtualization apps. pieces—one for OS X and one for Windows.
Boot Camp Assistant then asks you to You’ll need a FAT32-
insert your Windows CD (XP Service formatted drive, or
Pack 2, Home or Pro only), and the access to a file server that both Windows BOOT CAMP 1.1.2 BETA
installer starts. I expect that Boot Camp and OS X can connect to. The other PROS: Runs Windows natively with full
will also support Vista by the time Apple alternative is to purchase MacDrive for hardware support; 3-D graphics acceleration.
CONS: Requires rebooting; hard to share
releases OS X 10.5. Windows (macworld.com/2620), which files between OS X and Windows; supports
Once Windows is installed and you will let Windows read from and write to only two versions of Windows.
reboot, you choose which OS you want to your Mac partition. MacDrive works PRICE: free
COMPANY: Apple, www.apple.com
use by holding down the option key. You quite well but will set you back $50.

110 W W W. P C W O R L D . I N M AY 2 0 0 7 CONTENT PAGE


STEPHEN MANES

Software That Just Won’t Shut Up


the mental state that the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls cisely that without bothering me after the
first time I click OK. Instead of waiting
“flow” can be genuinely magical. There is nothing quite like the “deep
for my permission to perform some
enjoyment” of losing yourself in an experience, of becoming one with grand act that might slow my computer
to a crawl, figure out a way to do it when
your work or hobby or sport or…excuse me, here’s a message from my
the machine is idle, and don’t force me to
antispyware program, proud to grant my instant messaging, which I have ban- reboot—unless doing otherwise would
machine yet another clean bill of health. ished from my PC—but feckless inter- be the first step toward nuclear winter.
What was I was saying? Oh, yeah, the ruption is now a way of life. Windows Simple rule: Don’t pipe up unless it’s
state of flow is…wait a minute, some e- Vista’s User Account Control safeguard really, really important.
mail here. Only spam. And…hang on, nags you every time you do anything that If you’re a firewall developer, use a
the antivirus program is announcing that might conceivably in some alternative silently updated internal database to figure
it has just updated itself. Glad to hear it. universe harm your machine but in the out which programs should be permitted
Flow? All of a sudden every program- real world is almost always benign. Memo to phone home from my machines and
mer alive seems to think it’s fine and which should not. And at this point, I’d
dandy to interrupt you with news of some Trying to focus? With rather not even hear that telltale ping that
trivial incident or meaningless nonevent. lets me know a new e-mail message has
Pop-up ads are bad enough; now their
today’s interrupting arrived. I’ll check the inbox on my own
equivalents have found their way into apps, good luck! schedule, thanks.
stuff that you’ve paid for to work behind The marketing idea behind many such
the scenes, not dance on the table and interruptions is no doubt the notion that
proclaim its glory. reminding you of the importance of these
In the old days your antivirus pro- ought-to-be-mostly-unseen helpers will
gram might have been stupid keep you shelling out for new versions or
enough to ask you whether you subscriptions. But after the tenth or
wanted to eliminate a virus or hundredth annoyance, what it really
merely quarantine it—as though does is make you wonder whether
you wanted to maintain your own there’s a more low-key alternative
personal collection. Now it brags that can do the same thing.
that it has successfully main- Alas, now that program-
tained itself, repelled an attack, mers and marketers have
inspected and approved an e- become as bent on unde-
mail attachment, or discovered served attention as ill-bred
that your antivirus subscription five-year-olds, the very con-
will expire in six months—or cept of software quietude
maybe that it’s standing at the ready in the to Windows and every other program on seems to be growing antiquated.
background. Excuse me, but all of that is the planet: Shut up! Flow? No mo’....
business as usual. How about interrupt- If a spyware scan reveals no problems,
ing me only when there’s a real problem? don’t bother informing me, please. If Stephen Manes is cohost of a popular US televi-
ILLUSTRATION: JOHN CUNEO

Maybe it’s just the influence of the something like Adobe Acrobat Reader sion series and a columnist for Forbes. E-mail
most flow-busting software ever made— can get updates on its own, have it do pre- him at feedback@pcworld.in.

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