Issue #66 August 31, 2004

1. High-resolution screen shots

I have written before about ways to take snapshots of your screen and include them in PowerPoint presentations or documents (see the Aug 27, 2002 issue in the archives - archive link at the bottom of this newsletter). If you are using the screen shot for a presentation the resolution will be fine since it will be captured in the same resolution as you want to display it in. But if you need to print the screen capture as a large graphic in a document at high resolution, it may not look as good since printers have a higher resolution than your screen does. You may have noticed the pixelation effect when scaling up a graphic. Pixelation is when the system enlarges each pixel and the graphic looks muddy and jagged. The system does this because it only has a certain number of pixels to work with. If you had more pixels to work with, the pixelation effect would not happen. But how do you get more pixels than the original graphic has? If you (or a friend) has Adobe Photoshop, you can add pixels to the graphic, making it higher resolution. It is through a resampling technique that figures out what color pixel to add by looking at the pixels around it. There is a great article that explains how to do this, and the link is at the end of the article. You could use this technique to take a small graphic and make it larger or prepare a graphic for use in a high resolution situation like a book. Not everyone will need this technique, but when you run into the issue in a future presentation, you will know how to handle it. Here is the article: http://www.graphicpush.com/tutorials/screenshots.shtml

2. Webmail Security

At many trade shows, organizers set up a bank of PCs for Net access so visitors to the show can keep up with their e-mail using web mail applications from their organization or through a webmail application from their ISP or a web based mail account like Yahoo! While this is a great way to check your mail and keep in the loop, it also can be a potential security risk. The security problem comes because the browser keeps a history of pages that have been viewed so that you can access the same page quickly. This may allow other users of that PC to see your e- mail because they may be able to access it through looking at the history of pages viewed. If you want to see this for yourself, go type in the term "webmail" at the start of a URL on one of these PCs. See how many addresses come up, showing you usually the organization and showing you how many e-mails the person viewed. To protect yourself from this potential risk, after you are done your web mail session, always click on the Home button in the browser to go to the home page (usually a promo page for the conference), then, if you are using Internet Explorer, click on the Tools menu, click on Internet Options and on the General tab (which is usually the one you see first) and click on the button that says "Clear History". You will be asked to confirm the history being cleared, click on Yes. This will make your web mail sessions at conferences and other public Internet access points more secure.

3. Dropload.com file transfer service

In my consulting practice many times I have to exchange large PowerPoint files electronically. Many e-mail systems will not allow you to send a file larger than 3 to 5 MB in size, which causes a problem for video files, audio recordings and PowerPoint files with large graphics. I have discovered a great service called DropLoad.com. You sign up for a free account and it allows you to place a file on their servers of up to 100MB in size. It then e-mails a link to the person you want to send it to and they can download it. The file is only available for 4 days and then it is automatically deleted, so make sure the other person will be able to download it in time. It also restricts the person to downloading the file once, so that keeps it more secure. I suggest that when you use it, you first notify the other person that they will be receiving a notice about a file available for them to download (so they don't think it is a virus). I have used it with a 26.8MB PowerPoint file and it worked flawlessly. This can save you time and money because it replaces burning a CD and sending it overnight courier. I have also used it to deliver one of my e-books to a customer when their e-mail system kept rejecting the e-book attachment. Check it out at http://www.dropload.com. If you are interested in my consulting services, get more info at: http://www.kickstartcart.com/app/adtrack.asp?AdID=85889