From: Bob Rankin 
Subject: TOURBUS - 18 Dec 2007 - Digital Cameras / DRM Removal / Joost


The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved

In today's TOURBUS, you'll find my recommendations for automatic Digital Cameras and pocket-sized Video Cams. I also have tips on how to free your iTunes and Windows Audio music from the shackles of DRM. Learn how to get Free TV without worrying that thugs in dark glasses will come knocking on your door. Find long lost friends, or dig up dirt on yourself. And translate your home page into Martian. It's all in this issue of TOURBUS. Read on!

Digital Cameras for the Casual Photographer

Are you a camera klutz? Don't know the difference between an f-stop and a fill flash? Then today's new automated digital cameras are just the thing for you. Shouldn't it be EASY to take a perfect picture?

I want to aim the lens at my kids, the dog, or a beautiful flower, press a button, and get a great shot. I want my camera to auto-focus, adjust the exposure, turn on the flash, stabilize the image, find faces, remove red-eye, sit up, and bark on command. So I scoured the digital domain and found three cameras that fit the bill.

Just point and click, and they do the rest. Here are my picks for the top three automatic digital cameras for everyday picture takers...

Pocket-Sized Video Cameras

Because digital video cameras are so popular, they come in all sizes, with many different feature sets. But when it comes to capturing video clips on the spur of the moment, smaller is better. If you're looking for a pocket-sized video camera with a price tag that's just as small, I have good news.

You don't have to spend a fortune to capture family memories or make viral videos with a digital camcorder that's small enough to fit in your pocket. I found three mini-sized video cameras under $150 that can create movie files that are ready to burn to a DVD or upload to YouTube. Here are my reviews:

"Out, DRM'd Spot!"

Perhaps you've purchased music from iTunes and you want to play those tunes on a non-iPod music player. APPLE SAYS NO. Maybe you've become a Mac/Linux user, and you need your Windows Audio files in a standard, portable format. MICROSOFT SAYS NO. How about making backup copies of your music library? Or burning your favorite tunes to a CD so you can listen in the car? THE RIAA SAYS NO.

But that doesn't mean you can't. Yes, you CAN free your iTunes music from the shackles of DRM (Digital Rights Management). Yes, you CAN move your Windows WMA audio files to other operating system platforms. Yes, you CAN make a backup copy of your music to protect yourself from hard drive failure. And yes, you CAN listen to your music without a computer, on that expensive stereo system in the living room, in your car, or with a non-iPod music player.

If you're frustrated by the DRM protection roadblock, check out my big list of audio converters here:

Joost - Free Online TV?

If you remember the woman from Minnesota who was fined over $200,000 for downloading and "sharing" music with Kazaa, then you may be wary of Joost, which claims to offer free online TV. I investigated and learned that Joost's promise of free TV is for real, and 100% legal.

Joost transforms your computer into a TV screen, without a cable box or satellite dish. Currently there are offerings from CBS, Warner Brothers, MTV, and Comedy Central on Joost, along with sports and lots of music programming. But don't expect to find all your favorite shows just yet. To learn more about Joost, and how to watch television on the Web, read on...

People Search - Finding People Online

Are you searching for an old friend? Trying to find someone's street address or phone number? Maybe you're looking for information on a potential employee, or checking out tonight's hot date.

There are plenty of resources on the web to help you find people, and information about them. Some are free, but generally those can only dig up publicly available information. If you need to dig further, there are some fee-based online sleuthing tools that can help.

You might be surprised to see what you can learn about others, and what they can learn about you, with just a few clicks...

Free Online Language Translations

Here's an interesting question I got recently: > "I have a site that attracts visitors from all over the world, so
> I often get emails in Spanish, French, and German. Is there a
> tool that will help me translate them to English? I also want to
> write back in their own language..."

Fortunately, there are some excellent (and free) online translation tools available. Remember the babel fish in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"? It could instantly translate from one language to another. The web version of Babelfish can translate words, paragraphs or entire web pages to and from English, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish.

Babelfish can't translate text into Bostonese, Martian, Smurfish, Jive, Elmer Fudd, or Swedish Chef, but of course clever programmers have found a way. Read on to learn about Babelfish and eleven other online language translation tools here:

That's all for now, see you next time! -- Bob Rankin

The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
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