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Louis Kessler's Behold Blog » Blog Entry           prev Prev   Next next

Saturday, January 14, 2006 - Sat, 14 Jan 2006

Unfortunately, Remote Administrator had a minor and a major problem for me. The minor problem was that the scroll wheel on the mouse would not work on the remote machine. The major problem was that I couldn’t get my Windows 98 machine to start up without a monitor attached. I tried every setting in the Bios, but nothing worked. All I could do was switch the monitor cable to that machine everytime I wanted to boot it up - a huge inconvenience!

So I found a hardware solution instead. For $50 at Office Depot, the Belkin 2-Port KVM Switch connects 2 computers to 1 keyboard, 1 mouse, and 1 monitor. It emulates those components so that each computer can start up properly. Pressing scroll lock twice and arrow up will change the computer you are on. Both computers need not be on for it to work. And the scroll wheel works.

While setting up your software on a new computer, its always a good idea to see if it’s worthwhile to upgrade to newer versions. I seldom upgrade right away because (unlike Behold) most software vendors charge unreasonably for upgrades that have too few new features that I’d use. There are a few programs that I would have liked to upgrade to, but couldn’t because their new versions no longer supported Windows 98.

One I use a fair bit is my photo organizing software. I was using JASC Paint Shop Photo Album 5, which has since been bought out by Corel. The new Photo Album 6 by Corel would not work on Windows 98. Now that I’ve got XP, I reviewed its new features and compared it to its main competitors: Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0, Microsoft Digital Image Suite 2006, and Google’s free Picasa software.

As with any software, the one that’s best depends on your particular needs and wants. Despite the free price of Picasa, I didn’t want to lose some of the features I had with Photo Album. But I needed to ensure that the new version would save captions and keywords to the IPTC metadata stored with the picture. When I found out it did, there no longer was a need for me to switch. I was going to upgrade online for $35, but to my surprise, I found it at Office Depot (when I got my KVM switch) for $60 with a $30 mail in rebate (only good until Jan 31), so I bought it there.

The reason why it’s important to have picture information stored with the picture is so that various programs can read them and use them when displaying the picture. I plan to have this capability with Behold when I add photo display, possibly in Version 1.3.

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