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More about digital cameras

Plus, throw the book at Microsoft. Feedback hed: More about digital cameras dek: plus, throw the book at Microsoft.

On the cover of your November issue, it stated “Annual Gear Guide” with an arrow pointing to digital cameras. I was especially interested in reading about these cameras, but only your column (“Lighten the tech load”) had anything about them. I am wondering how you decided to get the Olympus model.

Gavin Poston

One of the most difficult aspects of my job is choosing how to word the blurbs on the cover without deception, given the small space. “Digital cameras” replaced “An adventure with a digital camera” for space reasons.

As for my choice, this is how I arrived at it.

First, I wanted a camera from a camera company, not one from an electronics company that makes cameras along with TVs and DVD players. Olympus is a great camera company that has been producing the best digital cameras in our opinion since we started reviewing these things five years ago.

Second, I needed a camera with a megapixel rate that matched my desired print size. For 8-by-10 photos, you need 3.3 megapixels or better, whereas a snapshot shooter can get by with 2 megapixels.

Third, I wanted a camera with a very fast lens for action and low-light photography. The Olympus 1.6F lens is the fastest in the sub-$1,000 range.

Fourth, I wanted a camera with adapters for other lens configurations.

Fifth, I wanted a camera with smart media because it is the most compact and readily usable media type.

Sixth, I wanted a camera that had USB, video out, Quick-Time features, and other bundled software for better usability.

Finally, my maximum price was $700, not including extra media, a bag, and some spare rechargable batteries.

The only camera that satisfied all criteria was the Olympus C-3040. By now, it has been supplanted, as the cycle times for digicams make computer turnaround seem glacial. But those are my considerations. Look for Graphics Advisor in this issue (or on the Web) for a more extensive digicam selection how-to.

-James Mathewson, editor

Recently newspapers have proclaimed that “Microsoft Agrees to Settlement for Schools” in reference to a proposed (by Microsoft) settlement to a series of class action civil lawsuits on behalf of millions of consumers against Microsoft for its monopolistic actions over the past twenty years.

Microsoft Corp. stands convicted in Federal Court of several severe and long-standing violations of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Now it wants to avoid paying an estimated $20 billion in fines for its excessive profits resulting from its monopoly in Windows operating systems and bundled software packages.

Now “Microsoft agrees” to avoid paying an estimated 95 percent of the fines it owes and instead will take the opportunity to “donate” software to public schools and thus strengthen its monopolistic grip in that area.

Microsoft should be severely punished for its decades of monopoly abuses in the marketplace. It should pay a fine of twenty billion dollars and should be banned from extending its monopolies into new areas of software development with its recent release of its new Windows XP operating system.

James K. Sayre Oakland, Calif.

Correction

Due to an editing error, December’s Tracks column mistakenly stated that RealNetworks had been purchased by 24/7 Media. The company purchased by 24/7 Media was actually RealMedia. COMPUTERUSER regrets the error.

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