All posts tagged: Product Review

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Manual

There comes a time when all people break down and do the unthinkable: They read the manual. – Author Unknown – In our family – I read the manual before I push any buttons, turn any knobs, plug anything in. The Car Guy doesn’t. (This post, How to Boil Water, is a good example of the way we approach these things.) What about your family? Is Manual Reading a ‘Pink Job – Blue Job‘ thing, or do you think it is non-gender specific? I have a New Camera (Canon PowerShot SX50 HS).  New buttons, new dials, new printed manual. No, not a big manual. A mini-manual – the one that says ‘Getting Started’. This showed me how to insert the battery and memory card and warned me, in 3 pages of tiny type, of all the safety precautions I should follow. ‘Getting Started” assured me that I could take my first few pictures without knowing what all the buttons and dials will do – so I bravely went where I would not normally go, and …

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Camera – Zoom

I got a new camera a few days ago.  It is the Canon PowerShot SX50 HS. I’ll skip right to the photos I took this morning so that you can see why I am very happy with this camera. This was the view from my back door this morning. The neighbour’s farm buildings are near the centre of the photo (you can barely see the red barn), and the moon was in the sky above them. The sun was just coming up. The PowerShot has a 50X optical zoom lens with Image Stabilizer. In layman terms, a zoom lens makes far away things look closer. This is the red barn when I zoomed in on it. This is the moon when I zoomed in on it. The camera was set to AUTO mode, and I did not use a tripod. I think that bears repeating – I hand held the camera, and used the full AUTO mode. Point – shoot! This camera does not come with a memory card, so we bought a SanDisk Extreme …

Communications History – The Telephone

The Car Guy took a consulting job this past January. It was supposed to take only a few months of full time work, but that was not to be. Seven months in, and there is no end in sight. He is more than ready to retire again. It isn’t that he doesn’t like the project, or the challenge. What is really getting him down is how hard it is to get away from the job after work hours now that he has a company issued Blackberry phone. Communications have changed considerably since he embarked on his career in the 1970’s. When he first started working, he spent much of his time in remote locations. At that time, reports were hand printed on a form, then voice relayed to the head office by mobile radio. Land lines came later, and with them came the addition of a fax machine which enabled information to be sent back and forth much faster. The phones in use at that time had rotary dials, but by the 1980’s most businesses …

Induction Cooking – Pots and Pans

What you’ll find in this post about Canadian Induction Pots and Pans: An Introduction to Induction Pots and Pans A  Review of all the sets I considered Photos of many of the sets A few words about the Manufacturers Introduction to Induction Cooking In the never-ending reno, the kitchen is getting an Induction Cooktop. Induction cooking requires special pots – they have to have flat magnetic bottoms. My old Revere Copper bottom pots meet neither of those requirements.  (You can test the magnetism of your pots by holding a magnet up to the bottom. If it sticks, your pot is magnetic.) So, what to buy? Well, I wanted something handsome, shiny and silvery.  This meant, to me anyway, stainless steel. Stainless steel is an iron alloy with chromium and nickel. It is corrosion resistant, and non-reactive to alkaline and acidic foods. It is also resistant to scratching and denting. The best percentage of chromium and nickel is 18/10, but some pots are 18/9 and many are 18/8. The thickness of stainless steel will vary with the expense …

Mac vs PC – A Sony Track Record

My Dad (Mac Dad) and my Father-in-law are both in their 80’s, and are avid computer users. One is a Mac man, and one is a PC Man. Mr. PC uses his computer primarily to read mail, surf the net and play card games. Mr. Mac uses his computer for the same things, but also to manipulate digital images. I am a few decades younger than either of them, and I use a computer for the reasons they do, and a whole lot more. I think the computer is a great tool for keeping the mind young and alert, especially as we age! At our house, a Mac user is said to have gone over to the dark side. But in reality, Macs and PCs aren’t really that much different anymore. The biggest difference is, of course, that there are so many PC manufacturers to choose from. We happen to have had great luck with Sony VAIO computers, so that is what we bought for about 14 years. The first Sony laptop accompanied me on …

Managaing Fonts in Windows 7

Windows 7 has a Font Viewer and Management program that will likely be adequate for many users. To View the fonts installed on your computer, open the “Control Panel”. Turn on “View by: Small icons” and then click on “Fonts”. This opens the Fonts Viewer. There are three main tool bar areas available to view and adjust font settings. The first is the usual “File-Edit-View-Tools-Help” Toolbar across the top. Down the left side of the page are shortcuts to a number of settings related to text. Just above the fonts themselves is an “Organize” ribbon that will show more options once you click on a font. In the “View” menu, click on “Medium, Large or Extra Large Icons” to see a thumbnail preview of the font. Each thumbnail has 3 characters displayed. Fonts in a combined set appear as one font in a stack. You can click on the stack to view the fonts in that stack. Click on “Font Settings” to show or hide fonts based on the keyboard installed on your computer. (Click on …

Internet Security – Microsoft, Norton, Webroot

My new computer in 2009 (Sony) came with a one month subscription to Norton Internet Security. When the subscription was almost over, I pondered the decision as to whether I would renew the subscription, or look for another type of security. I was rather hoping I would find a security suite that was, well, free. It annoys me to have to pay a company to perform a service that should be part of the system that operates my computer. It seems to me that buying a computer should be like buying a car. Both should come with a basic security system. My car came with seat belts, air bags and an alarm system. My computer should come with a built-in safe way to browse the internet and read my emails! Then I found Microsoft Security Essentials.  I read a number of reviews about it, and though it has some detractors, on the whole the verdict seemed to be that it is a good product. It certainly didn’t have all the bells and whistles of many …

My Sony VAIO VGN-AW420D Laptop Computer

When I started looking for a new computer, I contemplated buying a Mac rather than a PC. I eventually chose the PC for several reasons, not the least of which was the cost difference. The  Sony VAIO notebook I was considering was about $1500 (Can) cheaper than a MacBook Pro with similar configuration.  I knew that most of my software would still work with Windows 7, but I would have had to buy MS Office for the Mac. Also, I wanted a really big monitor… So my Laptop  choice was a Sony VGN-AW420D with an 18.4 inch generic PnP Monitor on NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT. The resolution is 1680 by 945 pixels. This monitor gives me lots of real estate to view several programs simultaneously. Like most new computers, the  screen is fairly shiny. This results in reflections in very bright light conditions, but in regular indoor daylight lighting it is fine. The screen is significantly wider than it is high, so I moved my task bar to the side of the screen. This gives me an extra 1/2 inch of usable …

sitting at computer

Programs Compatible with Windows 7

Windows 7 has an excellent Compatibility site that lets you know which programs and hardware will work with this OS. I installed Office 2003 with no problem at all. My version is an upgrade. All I had to do was insert the installation disc for Office 2003. Eventually I had to put in the installation disc for my original old copy of Office 97. Once that was verified, I put in the Office 2003 disc again, and proceeded. – I wanted a color picker, and found one called Just Color Picker. It is freeware, and easy to use. – I use Adobe Photoshop Elements. The version I have is not compatible with Windows 7. My only recourse is to buy a new version. I’ll do that eventually, I suppose, but in the meantime I’ve downloaded Paint.NET,  a freeware program (that appreciates donations). It edits and manipulates images but is not as powerful as Adobe’s programs. After playing around with Paint.NET for a while, I decided I missed PSElements, so I downloaded the free trial copy. Don’t …

First Look at Windows 7

I was a long time Windows XP user and I had been hearing good things about Windows 7. My old computer wasn’t up to the task of a new OS, but my new computer came with Windows 7 installed. I’m a few months into my exploration of Windows 7. It has been an interesting task to work with an operating system after using XP for so long.  Here are some of  my discoveries: – I had been using Firefox as my Internet Browser, but decided to give Internet Explorer 8 a try for a while.  I  like the way IE8 “Favorites” in Windows 7 are stored in a folder just like they were in XP. That makes it easy to rename, move or delete them while in Windows Explorer. Sometimes IE8 forgets what size window it should be when it is opened. If that happens, open IE8, resize the window to however you want, then exit the program by choosing File-Exit. The next time IE8 is opened, it should open to the window size you want – Windows Explorer is …