A router helps protect computer that's left on

HELP DESK

December 06, 2007|By BILL HUSTED | BILL HUSTED,Atlanta Journal-Constitution

My wife thinks it is perfectly OK to leave her computer on all day and all night. We are behind a router, but is it safe to leave her computer on and connected like that?

-- Mike Higgins

There are two answers here. (How's that for being a politician? I'm going to tell you -- in essence -- that both of you are right.)

1. The computer is less safe than if it was turned off (or disconnected from the Internet connection).

2. The computer -- if it has a good firewall and is behind a router (as yours is) -- is relatively safe.

I am considering upgrading my digital camera. One of the advertised features has me confused. Some cameras are listed with "digital image stabilizer," while others have "advanced shake reduction." Is there a difference? If there is, which is better?

-- Allen Stamey

Allen, each manufacturer seems to have its own way of describing the feature. The key is to make sure that the ad claims "optical" image vibration reduction or image stabilization.

Here's the deal. Some digital cameras promise image stabilization or vibration reduction and simply set the camera to a higher shutter speed (obviously that does tend to eliminate camera shake, but it is something anyone could do by simply changing the shutter speed).

Real stabilization is done inside the lens.

One element of the lens moves to compensate for any of the movements that you make. It sounds sort of far out, but it really works.

The great thing about true stabilization is you can hold a camera in your hand at shutter speeds that would require a tripod without the feature.

Also, if you use long telephoto lenses (or have a built-in zoom lens that offers high magnification) you have probably noticed that you need to use higher shutter speeds with a long lens or use a tripod. The stabilization feature really will add to the sharpness of hand-held telephoto shots.

bhusted@ajc.com

Bill Husted writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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