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PhotoCD tips

Also, stop picking on Apple.

I enjoyed the article about photo edit-software (“Great photos on the cheap”). Is there an economical way to make good conversions of slides to a format that will allow others in a family, far apart in distance, to have their own copies of the images? If it is equipment-intensive, is there equipment available that makes it more cost-effective than paying a service to do it?

Randy Ohman, San Antonio, Tex., [email protected]

Randy:There are two basic digital imaging alternatives: 1. You can have Kodak PhotoCDs made; they will hold 100 images from 35mm film. The cost of the service varies based on how many are made and who is doing the work. I have seen it as low as 50 cents per slide. The upside: All of the images are delivered neatly on CDs and you don’t have to do the work.

2. You can purchase an inexpensive slide scanner such as those available from Pacific Image Electronics for about $300. The process of scanning 400 or more slides will be labor-intensive because not only will each image have to be scanned, undoubtedly there will have to be some image tweaking in a program like Adobe Photoshop.

Here are two further choices. Edit the slides down to 100 or less and have a PhotoCD made for each of your family members. Or, put all of the slides in a tray and project them quite small on a smooth hard white service. Place a camcorder on a tripod and focus on that first slide so it fills the frame. Start the camcorder, and click through the slides one at a time. — Joe Farace

Maggie Biggs put together a well-balanced article on firewalls (“Naked on the Net”). But she failed to mention one of the advantages of a standalone firewall: The firewall can hide from the network the details of the connection to the ISP.

I have an ADSL account with SBC Global. SBC utilizes PPPoE. I run SmoothWall GPL as a standalone firewall on an old 200 MHz Pentium AT with 64MB RAM and a pair of 10Mbps PCI Ethernet Cards; the firewall is connected between my ADSL modem and the Ethernet switch that serves my SOHO network.

Using the Web-based configuration tool, I configured SmoothWall for PPPoE. When I power up the firewall each day, SmoothWall automatically initiates the PPPoE connection. If the connection is lost, SmoothWall automatically “redials” (the ISP typically breaks the PPPoE connection after a short period of inactivity).

As part of the ADSL package, SBC provides a 56K dial-up account, which is handy in case of a DSL outage. I keep a 56K external modem connected to the serial port of the firewall. Switching my SOHO network from ADSL to dial-up takes only a few minutes, using the Web-based SmoothWall configuration tool, and the switch between ADSL and dial-up is transparent to the network.

SmoothWall is one of only a few Linux-based firewalls I have found that can be installed and configured by a non-geek. One need only download the ISO CD image of the free (GPL) version of SmoothWall and burn a CD. The CD is bootable, and the installation process is short and simple. Once SmoothWall is installed, the monitor and keyboard may be removed from the firewall; all configuration is accomplished via the Web-based tool. The configuration likewise is simple and short, consisting of little more than entering the IP addresses of the network and DNS, and the username, password, and PPPoE settings.

Russell L. Harris, Houston, [email protected]

Martin Totusek of Seattle complained (Feedback) about Apple planning to somehow disable future Macs from running OS 9. Apple has said that future Macs will not be able to boot OS 9. However, this simply means that it will not invest the time and money to produce a version of OS 9 that can boot on the new machine. Any time a new piece of hardware comes out of Apple it cannot run the existing OS. We always have to wait a few months till a new version of the OS is released which has been adapted for that machine. Apple will not cripple the new machines. It simply will stop development of OS 9.

John Konopka, San Mateo, Calif.

to start a discussion or ask a question, e-mail [email protected] letters may be edited for style, length, or content. no anonymous letters will be published.

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