PC World March 2002

COVER STORY

63 Software for a song: The best bargains from the Net.

Forget paying $200, $150, or even $80 for software. We dug up more than 20 software gems that can help you with your day-to-day computing tasks and keep your PC in tip-top shape - and every application is either free or priced at less than $60.

We rated each program on its features, ease of use, and overall utility. We selected shareware and freeware applications that aren't demos of commercial, off-the-shelf products; don't expire after 30 days; exclude obtrusive ads; and have few "nag notes" for updates.

Although it's getting more difficult to find practical, downloadable software on the cheap, we still came across a good mix of tools, from system utilities to simple word processors to handy Microsoft Office add-ons.

FEATURES

47 Web and you.

PDFs - a quiet revolution.

PDF stands for ‘Portable Document Format'. This bland name is the result of a nagging issue that has haunted computer users for years - file incompatibility. The problem still plagues users, but it was once a whole lot worse. The PDF format is slowly changing the way in which documents are distributed, printed and managed. So, what exactly are PDF files, how are they produced and why is the format so successful?

52 The Handheld Hotlist.

10 hot new PDAs reviewed.

What's new in the world of handhelds? Last year the big topic was Internet connectivity, but the next big thing could be converged devices that meld the functions of mobile phones and handhelds. Palm, Pocket PC, Bluetooth, Linux, keyboard, stylus, voice recognition, colour screen, black and white screen; value for money vs top-of-the-line ‘wow' factor - if you're overwhelmed by all the options in the PDA market, check out our look at the latest handhelds.

FIRST LOOKS

HARDWARE:

28 Ricoh Caplio RR1.

34 Guillemot Hercules XPS210; Maxtor 80GB 7200rpm hard drive.

38 HiTi Photo Printer 630PL; Creative Blaster CD-RW ED2400 and TDK VeloCD.

SOFTWARE:

30 Adaptec DVpics Plus, MGI VideoWave 5.0, Roxio VideoPack 5.0, Veritas RecordNow MAX.

36 Encyclopædia Britannica 2002 Deluxe Edition and Encarta Reference Library 2002.

BEST BUYS

70 PCS:

OVER $4000: Xenon Metro 855 Multimedia PC; Peripherals Plus Athlon MP1900+; Acer Veriton 7200D.

$2001-$4000: Dell Dimension 4400; Infocom Gaming Beast; Acer Aspire EL; Peripherals Plus Centra R31; e@PC Dominator; Acer Veriton 7200 ; Peripherals Plus Athlon XP 1800+; Infocom PIV Workstation; Xenon Metro LP745 Corporate PC.

SUB-$2000: CWS HomePro 3000; SATO GamePC J-G50; Packard Bell iMedia C2110AW.

82 NOTEBOOKS:

OVER $6000 NOTEBOOKS: IBM ThinkPad A30p; Dell Latitude C400; Toshiba Tecra 9000; IBM ThinkPad T23.

$3000-$6000 NOTEBOOKS: Dell Inspiron 8100; Dell Latitude C810; Toshiba Portege 4000; Toshiba Satellite 5000; IBM ThinkPad A30; Sony Vaio FX990; Sony Vaio PCG-R505AGT.

SUB-$3000: Digital Star PowerNote 240MDT; ASUS M1; ASUS A1300; Pioneer SOHO Notebook; Optima Dynamis A1300DJ; Toshiba Satellite 1800.

91 MULTIFUNCTION DEVICES:

Brother MFC-4800.

Brother MFC-9180.

Brother MFC-9660.

Canon MultPass C75.

Canon MultiPass C100.

HP OfficeJet V40.

Samsung SF-5100P.

Sharp FO-2950M.

NEWS

12 Apple lights up new iMac.

12 Hitachi joins the PDA ranks.

15 Hercules dumps NVIDIA for ATI.

16 LCD shortage looms.

16 PCs still game.

18 External sound card debuts.

18 Holiday snaps on tap.

20 broadband.

Pacific Internet SDSL reviewed.

22 alt.net.

Born-again porn - porn sites.

26 tech.files.

Will a DDR deluge sideline Rambus?

DEPARTMENTS

10 EDITORIAL: Bagging a bargain.

40 OPINIONS

40 Brad Grimes: Here's looking at you, Webvan.

42 Nicholas Petreley: The source is everything44 READERS' FORUM plus DILBERT.

99 LINUXWORLD.COM.AU

Using Linux: The Evolution of PIM

BACKBYTES

153 SKILLS: Get started in gaming.

154 BOOK REVIEW:

Beginning C#.

The Book of Letters 3rd Edition.

Computing With Your Kids.

155 WEB REVIEW:

Tasty morsels.

IgoUgo.

PDA Street.

Gonzo!

Bodyperks.

156 GADGETS AND GIZMOS:

Evolution Technologies, MTV, n DataPlay digital audio player.

Swann Opti-Glo Mini Mouse.

Serv ‘n Slam Ping Pong.

National Semiconductor Origami.

Kopin CyberDisplay.

Scott eVest.

Sony Vaio.

Samsung SGH-A300.

158 GAMES:

Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

Legacy of Kain: Blood Omen 2.

Soul Reaver 2.

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.

Star Wars: Obi-Wan.

Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding.

160 BYTESBACK.

HERE'S HOW

100 UPGRADER: Installing a new hard drive: Part 2 - Disk preparation.

104 WINDOWS 9X: Slim down your Start menu; Get the big picture with XfilesDialog.

106 WINDOWS 2000: Basic disk management.

108 WINDOWS ME: Using multiple keyboard languages; Scraps.

110 WINDOWS XP: Tweak your interface.

112 LINUX: Compiling and installing software.

114 MAC OS: Using iPhoto 1.0: Part 1.

116 AUDIO: Mixing with GrooveMaker 2.0 SE.

117 GRAPHICS: Restoring Photographs: Part 1.

118 HTML: Introduction to forms.

120 PHP: Address book revisited.

122 HELP SCREEN

122 Operating Systems:

Windows 98/Me/2000/XP - Back up to a CD; Windows Me - Hide Windows Me's logo.

124 Office Applications:

Office XP - Macros 101.

126 Internet:

Get all your e-mail in one fell swoop.

128 Hardware:

Chill out - cooling your PC.

128 Bugs and Fixes:

IE cookie security hole; Roxio and Windows XP.

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