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 Show Notes: 6/27/2008

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1029usr078198 Posted - June 27 2008 : 23:34:50
Listen now. or Download the archive.
Question: When I'm looking at the list of programs in control panel, why don't some programs have a size?

Answer: Whenever you install a program that can appear in the Add/Remove Programs list if you're using Windows XP, or the Programs and Features list in Vista, the program can tell Windows how much space it uses. As you add or remove features from that program, it should ideally update that information. The thing is, the registry entries that tell Windows the size of the program aren't absolutely required. If it's not given, Windows will guess what it is. This may not be accurate. Well, if you've got programs that don't show their size or when you last used them, one of two things has happened: either you haven't run the program since it was installed, or the information in your registry is damaged somehow, or possibly, the information wasn't given before, and Windows' guess about the program's name is wrong.

Cool Site: howstuffworks.com You may have already seen this one. For that matter, you may even use it regularly when you want to know how something works. This website started ten years ago by describing how car engines work. That's still one of their most popular articles. The site now includes videos and has articles on topics like, Animals, Autos (including Motorcycles), Communications, Computers, Electronics, Health, History, Money, People, and of course, Science. I used it once to find out how coffee makers work and you might be surprised how simple that device is. It's a really great site.

Cool Gadget: Intel's Atom processor. The Atom is Intel's newest processor chip. It's going to be the brain behind everything from low-cost computers to refrigerators and cell phones. This thing is so small, eleven of them will fit on a penny and yet, each one has 47 million transistors. It's a power-miser, too, maxing out at 4 watts. The processor in your computer runs at between 65 and 130 watts.

It's All “Geek” To Me: You connect a bunch of stuff to your computer. In the 80's and early 90's you used one kind of plug for a printer, one kind for a keyboard, and one called a serial port for the mouse. Serial ports were versatile, you could also connect modems, printers, and other devices to a serial port. They're still in use today, but they are slow, require configuration by the user, and the connectors can be large. Fast forward to today, and we have a new connector, called USB which stands for Universal Serial Bus. The idea behind USB is to give users one type of connector to use to connect most any kind of device to the computer. USB is fast and very uniform at the computer's end. It's versatile, and what's better, it really doesn't make any difference which USB port you plug a device into, no configuration is necessary. The computer just finds the devices and knows how to use them. The trick is not to plug the device in until the instructions say it's OK.


How does Add/Remove Programs get the size and other information?: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/archive/2004/07/09/178342.aspx
CCleaner: http://www.ccleaner.com/

For One Website, Some Explaining to Do (NY Times): http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C05E3DB133DF937A15756C0A9679C8B63

Intel's Atom Processor page: http://www.intel.com/technology/atom/index.htm

USB Article on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB
Official Site: http://www.usb.org
How Stuff Works Article: http://computer.howstuffworks.com/usb.htm

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