1. Getting Connected

- Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2 2. News and Views - Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals - Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills - Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz - RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP - Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD - Microsoft Plans Online Music Store - Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines 3. Announcements - 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections - Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server 4. Quick Poll - Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own? - New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference 5. Resource - Tip: Aggregate Your News 6. Event - New--Microsoft Security Road Show! 7. New and Improved - Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos - Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt! 8. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

Security Administrator

Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. But don't just take our word for it. Sign up for a sample issue right now. You'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here! http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

1. Getting Connected

By Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2 In "Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 1 ( http://www.connectedhomemag.com/visual/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40912 ), I began my look at the most recent photo-management and photo-editing software packages. That discussion concentrated on two products: Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 and Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Suite 9.0. This week, I'll conclude my examination of the Microsoft entry and look at a third product, Jasc Software's Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0. Although Digital Image Library 9.0 is the newcomer to the more comprehensive Digital Image Suite, its Digital Image Pro 9.0 image editor is the most recent version of a product that's been around a while. Digital Image Pro is a full-featured image editor that lets you touch up photos, apply special effects, and edit multiple pictures simultaneously. I have little doubt that most digital-photo enthusiasts would be quite happy with the product. The application uses a Windows XP-like, task-based UI. A strip of tasks--Quick Links, Touchup, Format, Effects, Edges, and Add Something--dominates the left side of the application window, and two image wells, dubbed Stack and Files, fill up the right side. The Stack well contains image layers that appear to be analogous to those that you use in applications such as Adobe Photoshop, and the concept of a stack reminds me of a similar feature in Microsoft's earlier Office drawing package, PhotoDraw. Basically, a stack is an individual object in an image file, and it's a construct that the typical consumer won't find terribly relevant. The Files well contains all the photos with which you're working. Microsoft has taken the task-based approach to an extreme in Digital Image Pro, and the product is wonderfully successful at stepping users through common tasks. In short, you load a photo and select a task--such as "Brightness and Contrast" or "Fix Red Eye"--complete the task, and move on. While you're completing a task, the software typically presents you with a series of steps. For example, "Fix Red Eye" instructs you to "Zoom in on the eyes, click the red part of the eyes," then click "Red-eye autofix" or "reset" to continue. To close the task, you click Done or Cancel. The software is extremely easy to use, and if you're familiar with the task at hand, you can skip the explanatory text and get to work. The problem with this package is that you must spend more than $100 for the full Digital Image Suite, which includes both products; you can't buy Digital Image Library separately. Frankly, I think Digital Image Pro is a more successful product than Microsoft's library application anyway, so you might be better off buying just Digital Image Pro and skipping the full suite product. You've probably heard of Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, which is a popular and powerful bargain-priced digital-image editor. Paint Shop Pro has done so well that its parent company has launched a suite of products under the Jasc name. The latest product is Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0, which helps you easily capture, organize, share, print, and find your digital photos. In most respects, Paint Shop Photo Album is superior to both Adobe Photoshop Album and Digital Image Library because it offers simpler access to advanced features such as panorama creation and batch image editing. Sadly, however, Paint Shop Photo Album uses a hierarchical, Windows Explorer-like organizational structure--like the Microsoft product--which gives the product a less natural feel than Adobe's excellent product. The interface is the first and most obvious way that these products differentiate themselves. Adobe's entry grudgingly lets you view photos hierarchically (by folder structure) but defaults to a simpler, tags-based view that is as graphical by nature as the photos you're trying to find. The product also features a similarly well-designed photo well and calendar views. So, if you want an elegant interface, Adobe is the way to go. However, after you get past its utilitarian interface, Paint Shop Photo Album exposes more functionality than the competition. In fact, Jasc's entry might let you forgo a dedicated image-editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 or Digital Image Pro 9.0. For example, Paint Shop Photo Album's batch-resizing and photo-renaming features are more full-featured, if less wizardlike, than similar features in the Adobe and Microsoft products--a boon for people like me who upload lots of pictures to custom Web sites. With Adobe's product, I'm forced to return to Adobe Photoshop Elements, itself a $100 product, to easily batch resize and rename photos. So which is the best image-management package? Typical consumers will want the elegance and simplicity of Adobe Photoshop Album. Consumers who have more technical needs should consider Jasc's interesting Paint Shop Photo Album. And be sure to download the trial version of Paint Shop Pro 8.0 while you're at it; this package includes some features that even Adobe Photoshop CS can't match, including a cool Background Eraser tool I'm now examining for a future review. Because you can't buy Microsoft's image-management application without buying the entire suite, that product should fairly be compared with similar suites from Adobe and Jasc, neither of which are as integrated as Microsoft's offering. Today, for roughly the same price, you can buy Jasc's Paint Shop Power Suite - Photo Edition, which includes both Paint Shop Pro 8.0 and Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0; Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 with Adobe Photo Album 2.0 (really a bundle and not an integrated suite); or Digital Image Suite 9.0. Microsoft's suite is probably the simplest offering, and Adobe Photoshop Elements is a bit too complicated, I think, for average users. However, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements regularly; if you take the time to master its interface, it won't let you down. But don't expect the simple step-by-step walkthroughs that Microsoft provides. I don't have an obvious winner to declare. All these products offer some unique features and address a wide gap in XP's core digital-photo functionality. As is often the case, the product you end up choosing will be the one that most closely matches your needs.

2. News and Views

An irreverent look at some of the week's Connected Home news, contributed by Paul Thurrott and Keith Furman (keith@connectedhomemag.com) Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced last week that international law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspected cybercriminals in a crackdown on Internet-based crimes such as malicious hacking, fraud, and selling stolen goods. The crackdown, launched over a 7-week period, involved law-enforcement agents "from Ghana to southern California" and concerned more than 125,000 victims who lost a combined $100 million. Ashcroft said some of the suspects fenced stolen goods on eBay, stole files from classified government computers, and sold counterfeit computer software. "The information superhighway should be a conduit for communication, information, and commerce, not an expressway for crime," he said, presumably in his best Dirty Harry growl. Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills The US House of Representatives recently passed an antispam bill with a 392 to 5 vote, mirroring a similar Senate bill that passed unanimously. If the bill is passed into law--and it surely will by the end of the year--the government will authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set up a Do Not Spam list, similar to the Do Not Call list, and enforce violations with millions of dollars in fines and as many as 5 years in jail. Are we actually seeing the beginnings of the end to spam? Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz Facing billions of dollars in losses because of recording-industry lawsuits, music-pirating service Kazaa this week launched an advertising blitz in which it's asking the public to rally against lawmakers and entertainment-industry bigwigs who are trying to shut down the service. The ads are asking Kazaa's estimated 60 million users to "join the revolution" by "proclaiming their love of Kazaa to politicians, journalists, record labels, movie companies, and friends." So, music piracy isn't illegal if it receives enough love? We're no fans of the recording industry, but this campaign is ridiculous. RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP Microsoft's antitrust troubles in Europe reached a head last week when the company faced off against regulators and competitors in a Brussels, Belgium, courtroom and argued its case. Chief among the competitors is RealNetworks, creators of the RealOne media player. RealNetworks is asking the European Union (EU) to force Microsoft to remove its Windows Media Player (WMP) from Windows because it unfairly gives WMP an advantage over the product's competition. According to Microsoft, certain functions in Windows XP won't work if WMP is removed, but RealNetworks gave EU a demonstration that reportedly proved Microsoft wrong. (The hearings were closed to the public.) What's next? Will a TCP/IP provider ask the courts to force Microsoft to remove networking support from XP, too? Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD One-time grunge rockers Pearl Jam left their record label earlier this year, unsure about how they would continue distributing their music. But the fan-friendly group needed only a few months to come up with a solution: Pearl Jam is now offering preorders of their most recent CD single, "Man of the Hour," through its Web site ( http://www.pearljam.com ). The single costs $5 and will be shipped by the end of November, the band said. Sales are strong, too: "Man of the Hour" has already sold more than 4800 units--not bad when you consider that last week's top-selling retail CD single sold about 7000 units. Users of Apple Computer's iTunes service can download the single for 99 cents. Microsoft Plans Online Music Store Apple iTunes will soon find itself with yet another competitor, and this one should conjure up some unpleasant memories for Steve Jobs and company. Software giant Microsoft revealed last week that it will launch an online music service, likely dubbed MSN Music, in the United States next year, offering customers yet another source for superior Windows Media Audio (WMA)-encoded downloadable music. Few details are currently available, but we can expect the standard OS bundling and aggressive market we've come to expect from Microsoft. Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines Wired home-telephone lines might soon go the way of the telegraph and phone booth, thanks to the popularity of cell phones as primary phone lines for people younger than 30. Today, almost 25 percent of tech-savvy consumers in the United States are using cell phones as their primary mode of communications with the outside world, and that number is expected to grow dramatically as more typical consumers move to heavier cell phone usage. Today, only 3 percent of consumers overall have canceled home phone service for cell phone plans.

3. Announcements

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners) 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at http://www.devconnections.com Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server Is Small Business Server right for you? Do you need answers about how to set up Small Business Server? Learn about Small Business Server's key features, upgrade possibilities, and storage and find how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, forums, and more at Windows & .NET Magazine online. http://www.winnetmag.com/smallbusinessserver

4. Quick Poll

Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own? The voting has closed in Connected Home Online's nonscientific Quick Poll for the question, "How many DVDs do you own?" Here are the results from the 258 votes: - 46% Fewer than 50 - 21% Between 50 and 100 - 21% Between 100 and 300 - 7% Between 300 and 500 - 5% More than 500 (Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.) New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference The next Quick Poll question is, "What kind of monitor are you using in your home theater?" Go to the Connected Home Online home page and submit your vote for a) Rear projection, b) Front projection, c) LCD, d) Plasma, or e) CRT. http://www.connectedhomemag.com

5. Resource

Tip: Aggregate Your News by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com Thanks to the growing popularity of a syndication technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a wellspring of online news content is now available for the taking. And with the right kind of news-aggregation software, browsing from Web site to Web site like a mindless automaton is no longer necessary. Instead, you can have your news delivered directly to your email Inbox, with the help of applications such as NewsGator Technologies' excellent NewsGator, which works with Microsoft Outlook. NewsGator and other news aggregators save you time by delivering news to you in a familiar manner and on a schedule that you specify. More important, you can organize the news however you want and even read it while you're offline, making news aggregators particularly useful for frequent travelers or people who have dial-up connections. I'll be looking at NewsGator and other RSS tools in a future installment of Connected Home Express. http://www.newsgator.com Got a question or tip? Email tips@connectedhomemag.com. Please include your full name and email address so that we can contact you.

6. Event

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine) New--Microsoft Security Road Show! Join industry guru Mark Minasi on this exciting 20-city tour and learn more about tips to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 network. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today! Sign up now for our December events. http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003dec

7. New and Improved

by Jason Bovberg, products@connectedhomemag.com Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos Triscape announced FxFoto, a photo-management package that offers an easy-to-use UI for novice users but also a rich feature set for advanced users. Among FxFoto's features are automatic location of all current photos, direct importation from virtually any digital camera or card reader, visual grouping and organization of photos, and a variety of photo-processing functions, including red-eye correction, lighting and image enhancement, and blemish removal. A key feature of FxFoto is its collage feature, which lets your organize photos of a given event and create a collage, or "scrapbook." You simply drag photos onto the presentation page and apply frames, special effects, dialog balloons, and other annotations. FxFoto also lets you easily and efficiently email photos. You can use the software to distribute photos, collages, and slide shows through email or on CD-ROM. An animated navigator window displays thumbnails of all pictures according to topic. FxFoto Standard Edition is available for free download from the company's Web site. A Deluxe Collage Edition upgrade adds multiphoto collage and slide-show publishing for $29.99. For more information about FxFoto, contact Triscape at 603-898-9200 or on the Web. http://www.triscape.com Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt! Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

Sponsored Links

Sybari Software Free! "Admins Shortcut Guide to Email Protection" from Sybari http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6574227;8214395;q?http://www.sybari.com/ebook VMware Inc. FREE VMware Workstation for Microsoft Certified Trainers. http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6602582;8214395;m?http://www.vmware.com/wl/offer/486/0 ===============

==== 8. Contact Us ==== About the newsletter -- letters@winnetmag.com About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums About product news -- products@winnetmag.com About your subscription -- winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

==========

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today. http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

1. Getting Connected - Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

2. News and Views

- Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals - Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills - Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz - RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP - Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD - Microsoft Plans Online Music Store - Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

3. Announcements

- 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections - Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

4. Quick Poll

- Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own? - New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

5. Resource

- Tip: Aggregate Your News

6. Event

- New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

7. New and Improved

- Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos - Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

8. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Security Administrator ====

Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator

Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. But don't just take our word for it. Sign up for a sample issue right now. You'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here! http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

==== 1. Getting Connected ====

By Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

In "Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 1 ( http://www.connectedhomemag.com/visual/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40912 ), I began my look at the most recent photo-management and photo-editing software packages. That discussion concentrated on two products: Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 and Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Suite 9.0. This week, I'll conclude my examination of the Microsoft entry and look at a third product, Jasc Software's Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0. Although Digital Image Library 9.0 is the newcomer to the more comprehensive Digital Image Suite, its Digital Image Pro 9.0 image editor is the most recent version of a product that's been around a while. Digital Image Pro is a full-featured image editor that lets you touch up photos, apply special effects, and edit multiple pictures simultaneously. I have little doubt that most digital-photo enthusiasts would be quite happy with the product. The application uses a Windows XP-like, task-based UI. A strip of tasks--Quick Links, Touchup, Format, Effects, Edges, and Add Something--dominates the left side of the application window, and two image wells, dubbed Stack and Files, fill up the right side. The Stack well contains image layers that appear to be analogous to those that you use in applications such as Adobe Photoshop, and the concept of a stack reminds me of a similar feature in Microsoft's earlier Office drawing package, PhotoDraw. Basically, a stack is an individual object in an image file, and it's a construct that the typical consumer won't find terribly relevant. The Files well contains all the photos with which you're working. Microsoft has taken the task-based approach to an extreme in Digital Image Pro, and the product is wonderfully successful at stepping users through common tasks. In short, you load a photo and select a task--such as "Brightness and Contrast" or "Fix Red Eye"--complete the task, and move on. While you're completing a task, the software typically presents you with a series of steps. For example, "Fix Red Eye" instructs you to "Zoom in on the eyes, click the red part of the eyes," then click "Red-eye autofix" or "reset" to continue. To close the task, you click Done or Cancel. The software is extremely easy to use, and if you're familiar with the task at hand, you can skip the explanatory text and get to work. The problem with this package is that you must spend more than $100 for the full Digital Image Suite, which includes both products; you can't buy Digital Image Library separately. Frankly, I think Digital Image Pro is a more successful product than Microsoft's library application anyway, so you might be better off buying just Digital Image Pro and skipping the full suite product. You've probably heard of Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, which is a popular and powerful bargain-priced digital-image editor. Paint Shop Pro has done so well that its parent company has launched a suite of products under the Jasc name. The latest product is Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0, which helps you easily capture, organize, share, print, and find your digital photos. In most respects, Paint Shop Photo Album is superior to both Adobe Photoshop Album and Digital Image Library because it offers simpler access to advanced features such as panorama creation and batch image editing. Sadly, however, Paint Shop Photo Album uses a hierarchical, Windows Explorer-like organizational structure--like the Microsoft product--which gives the product a less natural feel than Adobe's excellent product. The interface is the first and most obvious way that these products differentiate themselves. Adobe's entry grudgingly lets you view photos hierarchically (by folder structure) but defaults to a simpler, tags-based view that is as graphical by nature as the photos you're trying to find. The product also features a similarly well-designed photo well and calendar views. So, if you want an elegant interface, Adobe is the way to go. However, after you get past its utilitarian interface, Paint Shop Photo Album exposes more functionality than the competition. In fact, Jasc's entry might let you forgo a dedicated image-editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 or Digital Image Pro 9.0. For example, Paint Shop Photo Album's batch-resizing and photo-renaming features are more full-featured, if less wizardlike, than similar features in the Adobe and Microsoft products--a boon for people like me who upload lots of pictures to custom Web sites. With Adobe's product, I'm forced to return to Adobe Photoshop Elements, itself a $100 product, to easily batch resize and rename photos. So which is the best image-management package? Typical consumers will want the elegance and simplicity of Adobe Photoshop Album. Consumers who have more technical needs should consider Jasc's interesting Paint Shop Photo Album. And be sure to download the trial version of Paint Shop Pro 8.0 while you're at it; this package includes some features that even Adobe Photoshop CS can't match, including a cool Background Eraser tool I'm now examining for a future review. Because you can't buy Microsoft's image-management application without buying the entire suite, that product should fairly be compared with similar suites from Adobe and Jasc, neither of which are as integrated as Microsoft's offering. Today, for roughly the same price, you can buy Jasc's Paint Shop Power Suite - Photo Edition, which includes both Paint Shop Pro 8.0 and Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0; Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 with Adobe Photo Album 2.0 (really a bundle and not an integrated suite); or Digital Image Suite 9.0. Microsoft's suite is probably the simplest offering, and Adobe Photoshop Elements is a bit too complicated, I think, for average users. However, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements regularly; if you take the time to master its interface, it won't let you down. But don't expect the simple step-by-step walkthroughs that Microsoft provides. I don't have an obvious winner to declare. All these products offer some unique features and address a wide gap in XP's core digital-photo functionality. As is often the case, the product you end up choosing will be the one that most closely matches your needs.

==== 2. News and Views ====

An irreverent look at some of the week's Connected Home news, contributed by Paul Thurrott and Keith Furman (keith@connectedhomemag.com)

Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals

US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced last week that international law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspected cybercriminals in a crackdown on Internet-based crimes such as malicious hacking, fraud, and selling stolen goods. The crackdown, launched over a 7-week period, involved law-enforcement agents "from Ghana to southern California" and concerned more than 125,000 victims who lost a combined $100 million. Ashcroft said some of the suspects fenced stolen goods on eBay, stole files from classified government computers, and sold counterfeit computer software. "The information superhighway should be a conduit for communication, information, and commerce, not an expressway for crime," he said, presumably in his best Dirty Harry growl.

Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills

The US House of Representatives recently passed an antispam bill with a 392 to 5 vote, mirroring a similar Senate bill that passed unanimously. If the bill is passed into law--and it surely will by the end of the year--the government will authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set up a Do Not Spam list, similar to the Do Not Call list, and enforce violations with millions of dollars in fines and as many as 5 years in jail. Are we actually seeing the beginnings of the end to spam?

Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz

Facing billions of dollars in losses because of recording-industry lawsuits, music-pirating service Kazaa this week launched an advertising blitz in which it's asking the public to rally against lawmakers and entertainment-industry bigwigs who are trying to shut down the service. The ads are asking Kazaa's estimated 60 million users to "join the revolution" by "proclaiming their love of Kazaa to politicians, journalists, record labels, movie companies, and friends." So, music piracy isn't illegal if it receives enough love? We're no fans of the recording industry, but this campaign is ridiculous.

RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP

Microsoft's antitrust troubles in Europe reached a head last week when the company faced off against regulators and competitors in a Brussels, Belgium, courtroom and argued its case. Chief among the competitors is RealNetworks, creators of the RealOne media player. RealNetworks is asking the European Union (EU) to force Microsoft to remove its Windows Media Player (WMP) from Windows because it unfairly gives WMP an advantage over the product's competition. According to Microsoft, certain functions in Windows XP won't work if WMP is removed, but RealNetworks gave EU a demonstration that reportedly proved Microsoft wrong. (The hearings were closed to the public.) What's next? Will a TCP/IP provider ask the courts to force Microsoft to remove networking support from XP, too?

Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD

One-time grunge rockers Pearl Jam left their record label earlier this year, unsure about how they would continue distributing their music. But the fan-friendly group needed only a few months to come up with a solution: Pearl Jam is now offering preorders of their most recent CD single, "Man of the Hour," through its Web site ( http://www.pearljam.com ). The single costs $5 and will be shipped by the end of November, the band said. Sales are strong, too: "Man of the Hour" has already sold more than 4800 units--not bad when you consider that last week's top-selling retail CD single sold about 7000 units. Users of Apple Computer's iTunes service can download the single for 99 cents.

Microsoft Plans Online Music Store

Apple iTunes will soon find itself with yet another competitor, and this one should conjure up some unpleasant memories for Steve Jobs and company. Software giant Microsoft revealed last week that it will launch an online music service, likely dubbed MSN Music, in the United States next year, offering customers yet another source for superior Windows Media Audio (WMA)-encoded downloadable music. Few details are currently available, but we can expect the standard OS bundling and aggressive market we've come to expect from Microsoft.

Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

Wired home-telephone lines might soon go the way of the telegraph and phone booth, thanks to the popularity of cell phones as primary phone lines for people younger than 30. Today, almost 25 percent of tech-savvy consumers in the United States are using cell phones as their primary mode of communications with the outside world, and that number is expected to grow dramatically as more typical consumers move to heavier cell phone usage. Today, only 3 percent of consumers overall have canceled home phone service for cell phone plans.

==== 3. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at http://www.devconnections.com

Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

Is Small Business Server right for you? Do you need answers about how to set up Small Business Server? Learn about Small Business Server's key features, upgrade possibilities, and storage and find how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, forums, and more at Windows & .NET Magazine online. http://www.winnetmag.com/smallbusinessserver

==== 4. Quick Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own?

The voting has closed in Connected Home Online's nonscientific Quick Poll for the question, "How many DVDs do you own?" Here are the results from the 258 votes: - 46% Fewer than 50 - 21% Between 50 and 100 - 21% Between 100 and 300 - 7% Between 300 and 500 - 5% More than 500

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

The next Quick Poll question is, "What kind of monitor are you using in your home theater?" Go to the Connected Home Online home page and submit your vote for a) Rear projection, b) Front projection, c) LCD, d) Plasma, or e) CRT. http://www.connectedhomemag.com

==== 5. Resource ====

Tip: Aggregate Your News by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Thanks to the growing popularity of a syndication technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a wellspring of online news content is now available for the taking. And with the right kind of news-aggregation software, browsing from Web site to Web site like a mindless automaton is no longer necessary. Instead, you can have your news delivered directly to your email Inbox, with the help of applications such as NewsGator Technologies' excellent NewsGator, which works with Microsoft Outlook. NewsGator and other news aggregators save you time by delivering news to you in a familiar manner and on a schedule that you specify. More important, you can organize the news however you want and even read it while you're offline, making news aggregators particularly useful for frequent travelers or people who have dial-up connections. I'll be looking at NewsGator and other RSS tools in a future installment of Connected Home Express.

http://www.newsgator.com

Got a question or tip? Email tips@connectedhomemag.com. Please include your full name and email address so that we can contact you.

==== 6. Event ====

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

Join industry guru Mark Minasi on this exciting 20-city tour and learn more about tips to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 network. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today! Sign up now for our December events. http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003dec

==== 7. New and Improved ====

by Jason Bovberg, products@connectedhomemag.com

Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos

Triscape announced FxFoto, a photo-management package that offers an easy-to-use UI for novice users but also a rich feature set for advanced users. Among FxFoto's features are automatic location of all current photos, direct importation from virtually any digital camera or card reader, visual grouping and organization of photos, and a variety of photo-processing functions, including red-eye correction, lighting and image enhancement, and blemish removal. A key feature of FxFoto is its collage feature, which lets your organize photos of a given event and create a collage, or "scrapbook." You simply drag photos onto the presentation page and apply frames, special effects, dialog balloons, and other annotations. FxFoto also lets you easily and efficiently email photos. You can use the software to distribute photos, collages, and slide shows through email or on CD-ROM. An animated navigator window displays thumbnails of all pictures according to topic. FxFoto Standard Edition is available for free download from the company's Web site. A Deluxe Collage Edition upgrade adds multiphoto collage and slide-show publishing for $29.99. For more information about FxFoto, contact Triscape at 603-898-9200 or on the Web. http://www.triscape.com

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

==== Sponsored Links ====

Sybari Software

Free! "Admins Shortcut Guide to Email Protection" from Sybari http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6574227;8214395;q?http://www.sybari.com/ebook

VMware Inc.

FREE VMware Workstation for Microsoft Certified Trainers. http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6602582;8214395;m?http://www.vmware.com/wl/offer/486/0

==========

==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- letters@winnetmag.com

About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums About product news -- products@winnetmag.com About your subscription -- winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

==========

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today. http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

1. Getting Connected

- Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

2. News and Views

- Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals - Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills - Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz - RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP - Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD - Microsoft Plans Online Music Store - Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

3. Announcements

- 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections - Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

4. Quick Poll

- Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own? - New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

5. Resource

- Tip: Aggregate Your News

6. Event

- New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

7. New and Improved

- Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos - Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

8. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Security Administrator ====

Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator

Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. But don't just take our word for it. Sign up for a sample issue right now. You'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here! http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

==== 1. Getting Connected ====

By Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

In "Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 1 ( http://www.connectedhomemag.com/visual/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40912 ), I began my look at the most recent photo-management and photo-editing software packages. That discussion concentrated on two products: Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 and Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Suite 9.0. This week, I'll conclude my examination of the Microsoft entry and look at a third product, Jasc Software's Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0. Although Digital Image Library 9.0 is the newcomer to the more comprehensive Digital Image Suite, its Digital Image Pro 9.0 image editor is the most recent version of a product that's been around a while. Digital Image Pro is a full-featured image editor that lets you touch up photos, apply special effects, and edit multiple pictures simultaneously. I have little doubt that most digital-photo enthusiasts would be quite happy with the product. The application uses a Windows XP-like, task-based UI. A strip of tasks--Quick Links, Touchup, Format, Effects, Edges, and Add Something--dominates the left side of the application window, and two image wells, dubbed Stack and Files, fill up the right side. The Stack well contains image layers that appear to be analogous to those that you use in applications such as Adobe Photoshop, and the concept of a stack reminds me of a similar feature in Microsoft's earlier Office drawing package, PhotoDraw. Basically, a stack is an individual object in an image file, and it's a construct that the typical consumer won't find terribly relevant. The Files well contains all the photos with which you're working. Microsoft has taken the task-based approach to an extreme in Digital Image Pro, and the product is wonderfully successful at stepping users through common tasks. In short, you load a photo and select a task--such as "Brightness and Contrast" or "Fix Red Eye"--complete the task, and move on. While you're completing a task, the software typically presents you with a series of steps. For example, "Fix Red Eye" instructs you to "Zoom in on the eyes, click the red part of the eyes," then click "Red-eye autofix" or "reset" to continue. To close the task, you click Done or Cancel. The software is extremely easy to use, and if you're familiar with the task at hand, you can skip the explanatory text and get to work. The problem with this package is that you must spend more than $100 for the full Digital Image Suite, which includes both products; you can't buy Digital Image Library separately. Frankly, I think Digital Image Pro is a more successful product than Microsoft's library application anyway, so you might be better off buying just Digital Image Pro and skipping the full suite product. You've probably heard of Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, which is a popular and powerful bargain-priced digital-image editor. Paint Shop Pro has done so well that its parent company has launched a suite of products under the Jasc name. The latest product is Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0, which helps you easily capture, organize, share, print, and find your digital photos. In most respects, Paint Shop Photo Album is superior to both Adobe Photoshop Album and Digital Image Library because it offers simpler access to advanced features such as panorama creation and batch image editing. Sadly, however, Paint Shop Photo Album uses a hierarchical, Windows Explorer-like organizational structure--like the Microsoft product--which gives the product a less natural feel than Adobe's excellent product. The interface is the first and most obvious way that these products differentiate themselves. Adobe's entry grudgingly lets you view photos hierarchically (by folder structure) but defaults to a simpler, tags-based view that is as graphical by nature as the photos you're trying to find. The product also features a similarly well-designed photo well and calendar views. So, if you want an elegant interface, Adobe is the way to go. However, after you get past its utilitarian interface, Paint Shop Photo Album exposes more functionality than the competition. In fact, Jasc's entry might let you forgo a dedicated image-editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 or Digital Image Pro 9.0. For example, Paint Shop Photo Album's batch-resizing and photo-renaming features are more full-featured, if less wizardlike, than similar features in the Adobe and Microsoft products--a boon for people like me who upload lots of pictures to custom Web sites. With Adobe's product, I'm forced to return to Adobe Photoshop Elements, itself a $100 product, to easily batch resize and rename photos. So which is the best image-management package? Typical consumers will want the elegance and simplicity of Adobe Photoshop Album. Consumers who have more technical needs should consider Jasc's interesting Paint Shop Photo Album. And be sure to download the trial version of Paint Shop Pro 8.0 while you're at it; this package includes some features that even Adobe Photoshop CS can't match, including a cool Background Eraser tool I'm now examining for a future review. Because you can't buy Microsoft's image-management application without buying the entire suite, that product should fairly be compared with similar suites from Adobe and Jasc, neither of which are as integrated as Microsoft's offering. Today, for roughly the same price, you can buy Jasc's Paint Shop Power Suite - Photo Edition, which includes both Paint Shop Pro 8.0 and Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0; Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 with Adobe Photo Album 2.0 (really a bundle and not an integrated suite); or Digital Image Suite 9.0. Microsoft's suite is probably the simplest offering, and Adobe Photoshop Elements is a bit too complicated, I think, for average users. However, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements regularly; if you take the time to master its interface, it won't let you down. But don't expect the simple step-by-step walkthroughs that Microsoft provides. I don't have an obvious winner to declare. All these products offer some unique features and address a wide gap in XP's core digital-photo functionality. As is often the case, the product you end up choosing will be the one that most closely matches your needs.

==== 2. News and Views ====

An irreverent look at some of the week's Connected Home news, contributed by Paul Thurrott and Keith Furman (keith@connectedhomemag.com)

Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals

US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced last week that international law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspected cybercriminals in a crackdown on Internet-based crimes such as malicious hacking, fraud, and selling stolen goods. The crackdown, launched over a 7-week period, involved law-enforcement agents "from Ghana to southern California" and concerned more than 125,000 victims who lost a combined $100 million. Ashcroft said some of the suspects fenced stolen goods on eBay, stole files from classified government computers, and sold counterfeit computer software. "The information superhighway should be a conduit for communication, information, and commerce, not an expressway for crime," he said, presumably in his best Dirty Harry growl.

Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills

The US House of Representatives recently passed an antispam bill with a 392 to 5 vote, mirroring a similar Senate bill that passed unanimously. If the bill is passed into law--and it surely will by the end of the year--the government will authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set up a Do Not Spam list, similar to the Do Not Call list, and enforce violations with millions of dollars in fines and as many as 5 years in jail. Are we actually seeing the beginnings of the end to spam?

Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz

Facing billions of dollars in losses because of recording-industry lawsuits, music-pirating service Kazaa this week launched an advertising blitz in which it's asking the public to rally against lawmakers and entertainment-industry bigwigs who are trying to shut down the service. The ads are asking Kazaa's estimated 60 million users to "join the revolution" by "proclaiming their love of Kazaa to politicians, journalists, record labels, movie companies, and friends." So, music piracy isn't illegal if it receives enough love? We're no fans of the recording industry, but this campaign is ridiculous.

RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP

Microsoft's antitrust troubles in Europe reached a head last week when the company faced off against regulators and competitors in a Brussels, Belgium, courtroom and argued its case. Chief among the competitors is RealNetworks, creators of the RealOne media player. RealNetworks is asking the European Union (EU) to force Microsoft to remove its Windows Media Player (WMP) from Windows because it unfairly gives WMP an advantage over the product's competition. According to Microsoft, certain functions in Windows XP won't work if WMP is removed, but RealNetworks gave EU a demonstration that reportedly proved Microsoft wrong. (The hearings were closed to the public.) What's next? Will a TCP/IP provider ask the courts to force Microsoft to remove networking support from XP, too?

Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD

One-time grunge rockers Pearl Jam left their record label earlier this year, unsure about how they would continue distributing their music. But the fan-friendly group needed only a few months to come up with a solution: Pearl Jam is now offering preorders of their most recent CD single, "Man of the Hour," through its Web site ( http://www.pearljam.com ). The single costs $5 and will be shipped by the end of November, the band said. Sales are strong, too: "Man of the Hour" has already sold more than 4800 units--not bad when you consider that last week's top-selling retail CD single sold about 7000 units. Users of Apple Computer's iTunes service can download the single for 99 cents.

Microsoft Plans Online Music Store

Apple iTunes will soon find itself with yet another competitor, and this one should conjure up some unpleasant memories for Steve Jobs and company. Software giant Microsoft revealed last week that it will launch an online music service, likely dubbed MSN Music, in the United States next year, offering customers yet another source for superior Windows Media Audio (WMA)-encoded downloadable music. Few details are currently available, but we can expect the standard OS bundling and aggressive market we've come to expect from Microsoft.

Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

Wired home-telephone lines might soon go the way of the telegraph and phone booth, thanks to the popularity of cell phones as primary phone lines for people younger than 30. Today, almost 25 percent of tech-savvy consumers in the United States are using cell phones as their primary mode of communications with the outside world, and that number is expected to grow dramatically as more typical consumers move to heavier cell phone usage. Today, only 3 percent of consumers overall have canceled home phone service for cell phone plans.

==== 3. Announcements ====

(from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at http://www.devconnections.com

Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

Is Small Business Server right for you? Do you need answers about how to set up Small Business Server? Learn about Small Business Server's key features, upgrade possibilities, and storage and find how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, forums, and more at Windows & .NET Magazine online. http://www.winnetmag.com/smallbusinessserver

==== 4. Quick Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own?

The voting has closed in Connected Home Online's nonscientific Quick Poll for the question, "How many DVDs do you own?" Here are the results from the 258 votes: - 46% Fewer than 50 - 21% Between 50 and 100 - 21% Between 100 and 300 - 7% Between 300 and 500 - 5% More than 500

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

The next Quick Poll question is, "What kind of monitor are you using in your home theater?" Go to the Connected Home Online home page and submit your vote for a) Rear projection, b) Front projection, c) LCD, d) Plasma, or e) CRT. http://www.connectedhomemag.com

==== 5. Resource ====

Tip: Aggregate Your News by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Thanks to the growing popularity of a syndication technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a wellspring of online news content is now available for the taking. And with the right kind of news-aggregation software, browsing from Web site to Web site like a mindless automaton is no longer necessary. Instead, you can have your news delivered directly to your email Inbox, with the help of applications such as NewsGator Technologies' excellent NewsGator, which works with Microsoft Outlook. NewsGator and other news aggregators save you time by delivering news to you in a familiar manner and on a schedule that you specify. More important, you can organize the news however you want and even read it while you're offline, making news aggregators particularly useful for frequent travelers or people who have dial-up connections. I'll be looking at NewsGator and other RSS tools in a future installment of Connected Home Express.

http://www.newsgator.com

Got a question or tip? Email tips@connectedhomemag.com. Please include your full name and email address so that we can contact you.

==== 6. Event ====

(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

Join industry guru Mark Minasi on this exciting 20-city tour and learn more about tips to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 network. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today! Sign up now for our December events. http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003dec

==== 7. New and Improved ====

by Jason Bovberg, products@connectedhomemag.com

Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos

Triscape announced FxFoto, a photo-management package that offers an easy-to-use UI for novice users but also a rich feature set for advanced users. Among FxFoto's features are automatic location of all current photos, direct importation from virtually any digital camera or card reader, visual grouping and organization of photos, and a variety of photo-processing functions, including red-eye correction, lighting and image enhancement, and blemish removal. A key feature of FxFoto is its collage feature, which lets your organize photos of a given event and create a collage, or "scrapbook." You simply drag photos onto the presentation page and apply frames, special effects, dialog balloons, and other annotations. FxFoto also lets you easily and efficiently email photos. You can use the software to distribute photos, collages, and slide shows through email or on CD-ROM. An animated navigator window displays thumbnails of all pictures according to topic. FxFoto Standard Edition is available for free download from the company's Web site. A Deluxe Collage Edition upgrade adds multiphoto collage and slide-show publishing for $29.99. For more information about FxFoto, contact Triscape at 603-898-9200 or on the Web. http://www.triscape.com

Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

==== Sponsored Links ====

Sybari Software

Free! "Admins Shortcut Guide to Email Protection" from Sybari http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6574227;8214395;q?http://www.sybari.com/ebook

VMware Inc.

FREE VMware Workstation for Microsoft Certified Trainers. http://ad.doubleclick.net/clk;6602582;8214395;m?http://www.vmware.com/wl/offer/486/0

==========

==== 8. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- letters@winnetmag.com

About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums About product news -- products@winnetmag.com About your subscription -- winnetmagupdate@winnetmag.com About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

==========

This email newsletter is brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine, the leading publication for IT professionals deploying Windows and related technologies. Subscribe today. http://www.winnetmag.com/sub.cfm?code=wswi201x1z

==== This Issue Sponsored By ====

Security Administrator http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

==========

1. Getting Connected - Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

2. News and Views - Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals - Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills - Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz - RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP - Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD - Microsoft Plans Online Music Store - Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

3. Announcements - 2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections - Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

4. Quick Poll - Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own? - New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

5. Resource - Tip: Aggregate Your News

6. Event - New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

7. New and Improved - Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos - Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

8. Contact Us - See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

==== Security Administrator ====

Try a Sample Issue of Security Administrator Security Administrator is the monthly newsletter from Windows & .NET Magazine that shows you how to protect your network from external intruders and control access for internal users. But don't just take our word for it. Sign up for a sample issue right now. You'll feel more secure just knowing you did. Click here! http://www.secadministrator.com/rd.cfm?code=fsei253xup

==== 1. Getting Connected ====
By Paul Thurrott, News Editor, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 2

In "Organizing Photos for Non-Dummies, Part 1 ( http://www.connectedhomemag.com/visual/articles/index.cfm?articleid=40912 ), I began my look at the most recent photo-management and photo-editing software packages. That discussion concentrated on two products: Adobe Systems' Adobe Photoshop Album 2.0 and Microsoft Picture It! Digital Image Suite 9.0. This week, I'll conclude my examination of the Microsoft entry and look at a third product, Jasc Software's Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0.

Although Digital Image Library 9.0 is the newcomer to the more comprehensive Digital Image Suite, its Digital Image Pro 9.0 image editor is the most recent version of a product that's been around a while. Digital Image Pro is a full-featured image editor that lets you touch up photos, apply special effects, and edit multiple pictures simultaneously. I have little doubt that most digital-photo enthusiasts would be quite happy with the product. The application uses a Windows XP-like, task-based UI. A strip of tasks--Quick Links, Touchup, Format, Effects, Edges, and Add Something--dominates the left side of the application window, and two image wells, dubbed Stack and Files, fill up the right side. The Stack well contains image layers that appear to be analogous to those that you use in applications such as Adobe Photoshop, and the concept of a stack reminds me of a similar feature in Microsoft's earlier Office drawing package, PhotoDraw. Basically, a stack is an individual object in an image file, and it's a construct that the typical consumer won't find terribly relevant. The Files well contains all the photos with which you're working.

Microsoft has taken the task-based approach to an extreme in Digital Image Pro, and the product is wonderfully successful at stepping users through common tasks. In short, you load a photo and select a task--such as "Brightness and Contrast" or "Fix Red Eye"--complete the task, and move on. While you're completing a task, the software typically presents you with a series of steps. For example, "Fix Red Eye" instructs you to "Zoom in on the eyes, click the red part of the eyes," then click "Red-eye autofix" or "reset" to continue. To close the task, you click Done or Cancel. The software is extremely easy to use, and if you're familiar with the task at hand, you can skip the explanatory text and get to work.

The problem with this package is that you must spend more than $100 for the full Digital Image Suite, which includes both products; you can't buy Digital Image Library separately. Frankly, I think Digital Image Pro is a more successful product than Microsoft's library application anyway, so you might be better off buying just Digital Image Pro and skipping the full suite product.

You've probably heard of Jasc's Paint Shop Pro, which is a popular and powerful bargain-priced digital-image editor. Paint Shop Pro has done so well that its parent company has launched a suite of products under the Jasc name. The latest product is Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0, which helps you easily capture, organize, share, print, and find your digital photos. In most respects, Paint Shop Photo Album is superior to both Adobe Photoshop Album and Digital Image Library because it offers simpler access to advanced features such as panorama creation and batch image editing. Sadly, however, Paint Shop Photo Album uses a hierarchical, Windows Explorer-like organizational structure--like the Microsoft product--which gives the product a less natural feel than Adobe's excellent product.

The interface is the first and most obvious way that these products differentiate themselves. Adobe's entry grudgingly lets you view photos hierarchically (by folder structure) but defaults to a simpler, tags-based view that is as graphical by nature as the photos you're trying to find. The product also features a similarly well-designed photo well and calendar views. So, if you want an elegant interface, Adobe is the way to go.

However, after you get past its utilitarian interface, Paint Shop Photo Album exposes more functionality than the competition. In fact, Jasc's entry might let you forgo a dedicated image-editing application, such as Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 or Digital Image Pro 9.0. For example, Paint Shop Photo Album's batch-resizing and photo-renaming features are more full-featured, if less wizardlike, than similar features in the Adobe and Microsoft products--a boon for people like me who upload lots of pictures to custom Web sites. With Adobe's product, I'm forced to return to Adobe Photoshop Elements, itself a $100 product, to easily batch resize and rename photos.

So which is the best image-management package? Typical consumers will want the elegance and simplicity of Adobe Photoshop Album. Consumers who have more technical needs should consider Jasc's interesting Paint Shop Photo Album. And be sure to download the trial version of Paint Shop Pro 8.0 while you're at it; this package includes some features that even Adobe Photoshop CS can't match, including a cool Background Eraser tool I'm now examining for a future review.

Because you can't buy Microsoft's image-management application without buying the entire suite, that product should fairly be compared with similar suites from Adobe and Jasc, neither of which are as integrated as Microsoft's offering. Today, for roughly the same price, you can buy Jasc's Paint Shop Power Suite - Photo Edition, which includes both Paint Shop Pro 8.0 and Paint Shop Photo Album 4.0; Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0 with Adobe Photo Album 2.0 (really a bundle and not an integrated suite); or Digital Image Suite 9.0. Microsoft's suite is probably the simplest offering, and Adobe Photoshop Elements is a bit too complicated, I think, for average users. However, I use Adobe Photoshop Elements regularly; if you take the time to master its interface, it won't let you down. But don't expect the simple step-by-step walkthroughs that Microsoft provides.

I don't have an obvious winner to declare. All these products offer some unique features and address a wide gap in XP's core digital-photo functionality. As is often the case, the product you end up choosing will be the one that most closely matches your needs.

==== 2. News and Views ==== An irreverent look at some of the week's Connected Home news, contributed by Paul Thurrott and Keith Furman (keith@connectedhomemag.com)

Internet Crime Sweep Nets 125 Cybercriminals

US Attorney General John Ashcroft announced last week that international law-enforcement agents had arrested 125 suspected cybercriminals in a crackdown on Internet-based crimes such as malicious hacking, fraud, and selling stolen goods. The crackdown, launched over a 7-week period, involved law-enforcement agents "from Ghana to southern California" and concerned more than 125,000 victims who lost a combined $100 million. Ashcroft said some of the suspects fenced stolen goods on eBay, stole files from classified government computers, and sold counterfeit computer software. "The information superhighway should be a conduit for communication, information, and commerce, not an expressway for crime," he said, presumably in his best Dirty Harry growl.

Congress Passes 2 Antispam Bills

The US House of Representatives recently passed an antispam bill with a 392 to 5 vote, mirroring a similar Senate bill that passed unanimously. If the bill is passed into law--and it surely will by the end of the year--the government will authorize the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to set up a Do Not Spam list, similar to the Do Not Call list, and enforce violations with millions of dollars in fines and as many as 5 years in jail. Are we actually seeing the beginnings of the end to spam?

Kazaa Launches Peculiar Advertising Blitz

Facing billions of dollars in losses because of recording-industry lawsuits, music-pirating service Kazaa this week launched an advertising blitz in which it's asking the public to rally against lawmakers and entertainment-industry bigwigs who are trying to shut down the service. The ads are asking Kazaa's estimated 60 million users to "join the revolution" by "proclaiming their love of Kazaa to politicians, journalists, record labels, movie companies, and friends." So, music piracy isn't illegal if it receives enough love? We're no fans of the recording industry, but this campaign is ridiculous.

RealNetworks Asks Europe to Force Microsoft to Remove WMP

Microsoft's antitrust troubles in Europe reached a head last week when the company faced off against regulators and competitors in a Brussels, Belgium, courtroom and argued its case. Chief among the competitors is RealNetworks, creators of the RealOne media player. RealNetworks is asking the European Union (EU) to force Microsoft to remove its Windows Media Player (WMP) from Windows because it unfairly gives WMP an advantage over the product's competition. According to Microsoft, certain functions in Windows XP won't work if WMP is removed, but RealNetworks gave EU a demonstration that reportedly proved Microsoft wrong. (The hearings were closed to the public.) What's next? Will a TCP/IP provider ask the courts to force Microsoft to remove networking support from XP, too?

Pearl Jam Launches First Self-Published Music CD

One-time grunge rockers Pearl Jam left their record label earlier this year, unsure about how they would continue distributing their music. But the fan-friendly group needed only a few months to come up with a solution: Pearl Jam is now offering preorders of their most recent CD single, "Man of the Hour," through its Web site ( http://www.pearljam.com ). The single costs $5 and will be shipped by the end of November, the band said. Sales are strong, too: "Man of the Hour" has already sold more than 4800 units--not bad when you consider that last week's top-selling retail CD single sold about 7000 units. Users of Apple Computer's iTunes service can download the single for 99 cents.

Microsoft Plans Online Music Store

Apple iTunes will soon find itself with yet another competitor, and this one should conjure up some unpleasant memories for Steve Jobs and company. Software giant Microsoft revealed last week that it will launch an online music service, likely dubbed MSN Music, in the United States next year, offering customers yet another source for superior Windows Media Audio (WMA)-encoded downloadable music. Few details are currently available, but we can expect the standard OS bundling and aggressive market we've come to expect from Microsoft.

Cell Phones Might Spell Doom for Land Lines

Wired home-telephone lines might soon go the way of the telegraph and phone booth, thanks to the popularity of cell phones as primary phone lines for people younger than 30. Today, almost 25 percent of tech-savvy consumers in the United States are using cell phones as their primary mode of communications with the outside world, and that number is expected to grow dramatically as more typical consumers move to heavier cell phone usage. Today, only 3 percent of consumers overall have canceled home phone service for cell phone plans.

==== 3. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

2004 Date Announced: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections

Windows & .NET Magazine Connections will be held April 4 to 7, 2004, in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas Resort. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount. For more information, call 203-268-3204 or 800-505-1201 or go online at http://www.devconnections.com

Quick Answers for Microsoft Small Business Server

Is Small Business Server right for you? Do you need answers about how to set up Small Business Server? Learn about Small Business Server's key features, upgrade possibilities, and storage and find how-to guides, troubleshooting tips, forums, and more at Windows & .NET Magazine online. http://www.winnetmag.com/smallbusinessserver

==== 4. Quick Poll ====

Results of Previous Poll: How Many DVDs Do You Own?

The voting has closed in Connected Home Online's nonscientific Quick Poll for the question, "How many DVDs do you own?" Here are the results from the 258 votes:
- 46% Fewer than 50
- 21% Between 50 and 100
- 21% Between 100 and 300
- 7% Between 300 and 500
- 5% More than 500

(Deviations from 100 percent are due to rounding error.)

New Poll: Home Theater Monitor Preference

The next Quick Poll question is, "What kind of monitor are you using in your home theater?" Go to the Connected Home Online home page and submit your vote for a) Rear projection, b) Front projection, c) LCD, d) Plasma, or e) CRT. http://www.connectedhomemag.com

==== 5. Resource ====

Tip: Aggregate Your News
by Paul Thurrott, thurrott@connectedhomemag.com

Thanks to the growing popularity of a syndication technology called Really Simple Syndication (RSS), a wellspring of online news content is now available for the taking. And with the right kind of news-aggregation software, browsing from Web site to Web site like a mindless automaton is no longer necessary. Instead, you can have your news delivered directly to your email Inbox, with the help of applications such as NewsGator Technologies' excellent NewsGator, which works with Microsoft Outlook. NewsGator and other news aggregators save you time by delivering news to you in a familiar manner and on a schedule that you specify. More important, you can organize the news however you want and even read it while you're offline, making news aggregators particularly useful for frequent travelers or people who have dial-up connections. I'll be looking at NewsGator and other RSS tools in a future installment of Connected Home Express. http://www.newsgator.com

Got a question or tip? Email tips@connectedhomemag.com. Please include your full name and email address so that we can contact you.

==== 6. Event ====
(brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Microsoft Security Road Show!

Join industry guru Mark Minasi on this exciting 20-city tour and learn more about tips to secure your Windows Server 2003 and Windows 2000 network. There is no charge for this event, but space is limited, so register today! Sign up now for our December events. http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/security2003dec

==== 7. New and Improved ==== by Jason Bovberg, products@connectedhomemag.com

Organize, Archive, and Enhance Your Digital Photos

Triscape announced FxFoto, a photo-management package that offers an easy-to-use UI for novice users but also a rich feature set for advanced users. Among FxFoto's features are automatic location of all current photos, direct importation from virtually any digital camera or card reader, visual grouping and organization of photos, and a variety of photo-processing functions, including red-eye correction, lighting and image enhancement, and blemish removal. A key feature of FxFoto is its collage feature, which lets your organize photos of a given event and create a collage, or "scrapbook." You simply drag photos onto the presentation page and apply frames, special effects, dialog balloons, and other annotations. FxFoto also lets you easily and efficiently email photos. You can use the software to distribute photos, collages, and slide shows through email or on CD-ROM. An animated navigator window displays thumbnails of all pictures according to topic. FxFoto Standard Edition is available for free download from the company's Web site. A Deluxe Collage Edition upgrade adds multiphoto collage and slide-show publishing for $29.99. For more information about FxFoto, contact Triscape at 603-898-9200 or on the Web. http://www.triscape.com

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