The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!

A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group

Volume 19 Number 1

January 2001



Congratulations to our new Officers Elect !

A Message From the President

SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS

INTERNET TALK

A Soft DVD Solution

The End of the Free Lunch

Ken's Kompendium Back To The Roots

WHAT IF DR. SEUSS WROTE A COMPUTER MANUAL?

 

Garred Saxton - President Herman Krouse - VP Tom Tucknott - Secretary Jim Carones - Treasurer
Congratulations to our new Officers Elect !
The annual election was held at the November Meeting and the current slate of officers was elected by acclamation. The reelected, new, officers assumed the duties in January according to the by laws. At the board meeting, the committee chairpersons were nominated by the president and approved by the elected board members and became voting board members.
The New Slate of Officers for 2001
President U. A. Garred Sexton
Vice Pres. Herman Krouse
Secretary Tom Tucknott
Treasurer Jim Corones
Directors at Large
    Virginia Pfiffiner
    John Hanson
    Cecil Easley
Chairpersons
Membership Keith Decker
Program John Sellers
Librarian Bob Hudak
Newsletter Editor Vernon Lym
Web Master Rich Bulow


 

A Message From the President

 

 

 


There has been search for a meeting location nearer the South Bay. There is a possibility that we could meet at the Salvation Army building at 4223 Emerald Street in Torrance. To do so would require a change of the meeting night from Wednesday to Monday because that is the only night that is available. In addition, if the meeting day were to be changed, perhaps we should also change it from the fourth to the second week of the month to enable us to work better with the other computer clubs in order to attract speakers.
I have the impression that Monday may not be a desirable night for some of the members. At the next general meeting I will ask the attendees for their wishes. For those who are not able to attend this meeting, please E-mail your preference to any of the board members.
For those members that have made donations to the Club, we now have receipts available for income tax purposes. Ask for them at the general meeting.

 

SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
by Bob Hudak

 

 


Here it is, my first report in 2001. I made it through the holidays and only put on 7 lbs. Some of that was due to all the good food we had at our club Christmas party and silent auction. A big thanks to the hard working members that made it happen.
We start the year off with a new Plextor CD-RW and more memory in the club's desktop computer. It all works great. Come out to my Audio SIG and have a look see and also learn a few things about buying and using a CD-RW.
As far as software goes, I only have one new offering for you as we go to press. The floppy of the month has two programs on it. Net Medic shows you the download and upload speed of the server to which you are connected on the internet. It loads and resides conveniently at the top of Internet Explorer. Also, when downloading a program file, it gives the download speed in real time, working with both Windows 95 and 98. The second program is one that I have been seeking for over a year, for a machinist friend of mine. It does a couple things well. It solves for both RIGHT and OBLIQUE triangles, and also for BOLT HOLE CIRCLES. The user is given the option to use either decimals or degrees, minutes, and seconds for input and output on triangles. Rounds numbers from 1 to 15 decimal places. "Solutions To Right Triangles" gives the option to display a triangle in proportion to it's true shape. "Solutions to Oblique Triangles" displays the same without option. The program will run on any computer running WINDOWS 3.1 or greater. The part that I was particularly seeking is for calculating bolt hole circles. This might not be of general interest, but for those that have a real need, it is of considerable value. You give it the diameter of the circle, how many holes, the starting hole offset and starting point. It comes back with all the X & Y coordinates from the starting point and also gives you the cord distance between holes. The results can be printed and used on a milling machine or for doing layout work. It is very nice. If you are in need, see me. I did a screen capture of the illustration which is shown in the figure here.


 

INTERNET TALK
by Frank Chao

 

 


Welcome to the twenty-ninth article in this series of articles about the Internet and what it can do for you. Hope you had a wonderful holiday season, like I did.
 
INTERNET PC CLUB
During the month of December, Liz and I visited the "Internet PC Club" which is located near the Northwest corner of Normandie and Artesia.
Its actual street address is:
Internet PC Club
(Gateway Plaza)
1451 W. Artesia Blvd. #3
Gardena, CA 90248
This new business has 80 (eighty) 866-Megahertz Pentium III computers which you can use at their location for approximately a dollar an hour. These computers are connected to a local area network, which is connected by means of a T1 connection to the Internet. T1 data transmission occurs at 1.544 Megabytes a second. We were amazed at the massively fancy computers that you can rent for such a low hourly change. They do not have a Website yet; so pay them a visit and let me know what you think of this place.
  
VIDEOMAKER EXPO WEST
In order to learn about editing videos by using a computer, you can still go to Videomaker Expo West on January 25, 26, or 27. This computer show will be located at the Burbank Hilton. You can sign up for this free event at
http://www.videomaker.com/videomaker/lobby/events/ExpoWest2000.html
or just show up and wait in line to get a badge. In addition to me, I know of three other GSBUG members are planning to go to this computer show. Hope to see you there too !!
 
FREEBIE ISP TURMOIL
The free dial-up Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have been failing one after another. FreeI, Altavista Free Access, myfavoriteI, WorldSpy have all ceased operations. All of the remaining free ISPs have either started, or are planning to, charge their customers after they reach a certain number of hours each month.
For information on changes to "Bluelight" see
http://www.bluelight.com/ispalert/;$sessionid$D0OKW3QAAAMC5UBSMRRKG4WQGJSH2IV0
For information on changes to the free version of "Juno"
http://dl.www.juno.com/splitweb_restrictions.html#service_plans
 
END-USER STRATEGY FOR FREE ISPs
So what should you the user of the freebie ISPs do? In my humble opinion, you should get on as many as possible and quit using each one after you max out your time limit on each one. Do what is in your best interest. If you find that one of the freebie ISPs is working more reliably that the others, you might be willing to pay for it after maxing out your time limit on it.
 
USING A WEB PAGE TO SUPPORT CLASSROOM INSTRUCTION
On Tuesday, January 16th, I presented a teacher-training seminar at El Camino College. The Web-
enabled notes for this training session are available at
http://www.elcamino.cc.ca.us/Faculty/fchao/flex/flex.htm
The use of Web pages to support classroom instruction is an emerging trend in education. For me, it is a great way to distribute course syllabus', computer lab assignments and files, and lecture notes to students. Internet-connected computer access is now readily-available at the college library and at various locations throughout the campus.


SPRING 2001 CLASS AT EL CAMINO COLLEGE
By the time that you read this article, I will have just started teaching two "Computer Information Systems 19" classes. This course is entitled "The Internet and Networking Principles". All of the information about this course is available at my new Web page location at
http://www.elcamino.cc.ca.us/Faculty/fchao
The notes for most of my lectures will be placed on-line at this location.


NEW PERSONAL HOMEPAGE ON THE WEB
Incidently, I set up the above-mentioned Web page during the month of December. It is a great location for my personal homepage. It is a real treat to have a Web site on a Web server that does not require an advertising banner again. This new site is not available to the public, as a Web hosting site. I can use it since I am a part-time employee of El Camino College. At the present time, I still maintain redundant Web pages at several other locations, including the one at Tripod at    http://fchao.tripod.com

Unfortunately, I am having some minor technical problems with this site. These problems include the failure to allow certain characters in file names and file directory names. These problems are turning into "show-stoppers" since I need a site that I can use to provide files for my students at El Camino College. These files are provided by the authors of the assigned textbooks for my students. I cannot change the names of these files to accommodate the technical idiosyncrasies of a particular Web hosting site. Hence, my free Web hosting site at Tripod does not work properly for the function of distributing files to my students. The minor technical problems that I am having at Tripod should not be important for most GSBUG members. At the present time, I still recommend Tripod as a great free Web hosting site that anyone, including you, can use to set up a free Web page. For example: Herman Krouse's homepage is still located there at
http://herm.tripod.com/
and one of Rich Bulow's pages is still located at
http://bulowr.tripod.com


WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-3896.
2. Send me e-mail at: fchao@elcamino.cc.ca.us
3. Send me "snail" US Postal Service mail to
Frank Chao
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer and take up stamp collecting instead !

 

 

A Soft DVD Solution
by Herman Krouse

 

 


I would like to relate an experience that I recently had. I have an AMD 400 computer with a DVD Rom in it. The DVD Rom worked well for reading data but I could not use it to watch a DVD Movie. I was told that I would need to put in a card which would take up an extra slot which I could not spare. I had heard about a program from MGI called Soft DVDMAX that would solve this problem for me. When we were at Comdex I got a disk, Version 4.0, and installed it on my computer. It installed flawlessly, and when I restarted the computer I was able to watch a DVD movie without the expense of buying the extra card to make it work. The picture expanded to full screen and was able to be controlled by right clicking the mouse. I could pause stop rewind or do anything that you would deem appropriate with a DVD drive. I very heartily recommend this program called Soft DVDMAX, Version 4 by MGI as a extremely useful tool for those wishing to play DVDs on their computer.



 

The End of the Free Lunch
by Toby Scott


We have been spoiled; horribly spoiled. The Internet has been open and available to nearly everyone and it hasn't cost much, if anything, to go along for the ride. Early on, there were a lot of sites offering services for a fee. But along came the free sites and drove all the for-fee sites out of business. Everything, it seemed, was offered for free. If it wasn't free, it wasn't worth bothering about.
Not any more.

The driving engine behind "free" has been the stock market. Who needed earnings as long as the venture capitalists would throw money at any venture that had gigantic growth numbers? You generated huge growth numbers by offering everything for free, sold a few banner ads for window-dressing, but those never came close to paying the phone bill, much less the huge programmer overhead, and counted on the venture capitalists to fill up the coffers every time the bank account got a bit flat. Then along came April of 2000. That's when the stock market peaked. Nobody noticed the first couple of months, but they most certainly have noticed now. The NASDAQ Index (probably the best gauge of the health of high-tech stocks) hit a high of 5132. As I write this, it is under 2500 and has been under 2300. Venture capitalists aren't the smartest slice of humanity, but a drop of 55 percent gets even their attention.

Free dial-up providers Freeinet.com and Spinway.com bit the dust. Nearly all the other free dial up services have started adding fees, for extra hours, for extra mail accounts, etc. Pets.com died. DSL providers Zyan and Flash.com are in bankruptcy and Bazillion has pulled out of the DSL market after spending heavily on ads as recently as December 1. The promise of free DSL, which seemed to be so close a year ago, is dust. Search Engines, like Yahoo and Alta Vista used to beg you to list your site with them. No longer. You can submit your site without any accompanying payment, but they don't promise to ever getting around to reviewing it. Or you can pay fairly substantial fees and be sure they will review your site. But, even if you pay the fees, they won't guarantee to list you. Your site has to meet their standards for being worthwhile. The other search sites have followed suit. All of the major search sites have some form of inducement to pay for inclusion, even if most still accept free submissions in some form.

Many Internet-related companies have announced staff layoffs. More have hiring freezes (announced or not). Banner ads never paid the costs of anything online, so free services will have to end unless the stock market picks up again. If you are relying on a free service, I strongly recommend you find a good for-fee replacement immediately. If you don't rely on the service, continue to use it for as long as it is available, but plan on losing it soon.

Stock market sites that give you free real-time quotes, portfolio analysis and other niceties will probably have to change their business models. At the very least, expect some formerly free services to be moved into the for-fee account categories. Some online services like AOL and Compuserve may well continue to offer these services as part of their service as a value-added enticement that other, smaller ISP's cannot provide.

We aren't going to see a return to the free days of yore. Even if the stock market comes back, the venture capitalists have been bit so hard they won't underwrite losses endlessly again. Companies are going to have to have earnings (what a novel concept!). They can't get earnings by giving away the store and charging for banner ads. That business model has died an ugly death.
However all this shakes out, you will be paying more for services this year than last. Or you will be doing without.

Copyright 2001 by Toby Scott and Ventura County Computers for the Channel Islands PC Users Group, reprinted with permission.

 

Ken's Kompendium Back To The Roots
by Ken Hopkins

Sacramento PC Users Group
When I first started writing Ken's Kompendium many years ago, it was not a column. The original Kompendium was a collection of computer information with the full name of "Ken's Kompendium of Komputer Knowledge." The contents of the Kompendium included connector pinouts, acronym lists, and many other computer things that you needed to search to find. The column (or is that kolumn?) was something different. The column started out as a tips column with occasional product reviews and eventually became whatever I wrote down that month. Since I now lay out Sacra Blue, I see that Ken's Kompendium was out of control and without real focus. So starting with this issue, Ken's Kompendium will be closer to the original, a source of information.

Ken's Kompendium will define those computer terms and abbreviations. You will find those connector and cable pinouts and other stuff that you occasionally need but can not find. It will sometimes be funny but it will always be informative.

When I want to write about a product, it will appear elsewhere in the issue. The same goes for tips and techniques they will show up somewhere else. Should I decide to step up on a soapbox and rant and rave about something, it will show up as an editorial.

Now that that's been said, I need to know what you want to see. The toughest thing for me is remembering not knowing something. I want you to send me a list of the terms and topics that you find confusing. I will dig through my resources and find the appropriate definitions and try to explain them in terms you will understand.

Next month, I will define all of the terms found on a couple of computer advertisements. This should enable you to make decisions about the next computer you purchase. Send me e-mail with your lists of terms you do not understand. If I do not get a list, then I will pick a topic randomly. (I am not sure if that is a good thing.)

Message Abbreviations
A long time ago, in the early days of text communications, users started to use abbreviations to shorten the messages. These can be seen in chat groups, newsgroup messages and in normal e-mail messages. You may not have known what they meant. I found a bunch of them and put them here for your information. I cleaned up the list so some of the more adult abbreviations do not appear. Just use your imagination to decipher those yourself.

<BG> Big grin.
<EOM> End of message.
<G> Grin.
<SOM> Start of message.
<VBG> Very big grin.
<AFAIK> As far as I know.
<AFK> Away from the keyboard.
<ASAP> As soon as possible.
<BAK> Back at keyboard.
<BRB> Be right back.
<BTW> By the way.
<CU> See you.
<CYL8TR> See you later.
<DFI> Don't know!
<GTG> Got to go.
<IMHO> In my humble opinion.
<JIT> Just in time.
<JK> Just kidding.
<LOL> Laughing out loud.
<NITLT> Not in this lifetime.
<OIC> Oh! I See!
<OTF> On the floor.
<OTFL> On the floor laughing.
<ROTFL> Rolling on the floor laughing.
<RTFM> Read the manual.
<SNAG> Sensitive new age guy.
<STAP> Sooner than actually possible.
<TFS> Thanks for sharing.
<TIA> Thanks in advance.
<TTFN> Ta ta for now!
<TTYL> Talk to you later .
<UFG> Up for grabs.
<YGTBK> You've got to be kidding.
<YMMV> Your mileage may vary.


Smileys
In addition to the abbreviations, something was needed to express emotion and the smiley was born. A smiley is viewed from the side. The basic smiley is made up of a colon for eyes, a dash for the nose, and a right parenthesis for a smile. It is usually used to indicate that you are joking since we can not hear the voice inflection in a text message.

Of course, once users understood the basic smiley, it began to mutate. Here are just some of the many smiley symbols you may see in your messages. There was an attempt to call smileys by a classier name, but somehow emotion has not really caught on.

Even Microsoft recognizes smileys. If you attempt to type a normal smiley in Microsoft Word, it converts it to the character J . (More than a minor inconvenience when composing this article).
I do not advise you to start adding smileys to your business e-mail but you may find use for some of these in your personal correspondence. At least now you will be able to understand what someone else is trying to express when they send it in their messages.


Happy Feelings
:-) Happy
(-: Left-handed happiness
:-D Big smile
:-> Hey hey
;-) So happy, I could cry
;-) Wink
'-) Alternate wink
|-) Hee hee
|-D Ho ho
:-T Keeping a straight face
:-, Smirk
:-" Pursing lips
:-7 Just made wry statement
[] Hugs and
:* Kisses
:-x Kiss
:-X A big wet kiss!


Sad Feelings
:-( Sad
:-[ Real downer
(:-( Frowning
:-c Very sad
:-C Very, very sad
:-< Very, very, very sad
;-( Crying
&-| Tearful
:-() I stubbed my toe
:-( ) You stepped on my toe
:-( ) You backed your car over my toe


Shock
:-o Uh oh!
:-* Oops!
:-& Tongue-tied
8-| Eyes wide with surprise
:-* Ate something bitter
:-6 Ate something sour


Neutral Feelings
:-\ Undecided
:-/ Lefty undecided
:-1 Bland face
:-! Alternate bland face
:-| Grim


Angry Feelings
:-V Shout
:-|| Anger
:O Yelling
:-@ Screaming
>-< Absolutely livid!!


Miscellaneous
:-[ Pouting
:-B Drooling
|-P Yuk
:-r Sticking tongue out
:*) Drunk
|-I Asleep
|-O Yawning/snoring
X-( Just died


Animals
:=| Baboon
:@) Pig
==:>) Rabbit
3:] Pet
3:[ Mean pet


Appearances
-) Missing an eye
,-) Ditto, but he's winking
::-) Wears glasses
8-) Wears sunglasses
B:-) Wears sunglasses on head
B-) Wears horn-rimmed glasses
: g-) Wears pince-nez glasses
8:-) Little girl
:-)-8 Big girl
:-{) Wears mustache
:-{} Wears lipstick
:-) Wears toupee
}:-( Wears toupee in an updraft
:-[ Vampire
:-E Bucktoothed vampire
:-F Bucktoothed vampire with one tooth missing
=:-) Punk rocker
=:-( Real punk rocker (real punk rockers don't smile)
=:-I Punk rocker with pierced lip
[:-) Wearing a Walkman
:-# Braces
:-$ Mouth wired shut
:^) Broken nose
|~( Alternate broken nose
`:-) Shaved one of his eyebrows off this morning
,:-) Same thing, other side
-)8 Wearing bow tie
(:-) Hair parted in the middle
}:-) Above, in an updraft
:-Q Smoker
:-? Smokes a pipe
:-7 Smokes a pipe
:-` Spitting out chewing tobacco
<:-I Wearing dunce hat
@:-) Wearing a turban


People
(C=:-) Chef
C=:-) Alternate chef
C:# Football player
8-) Swimmer
+-:-) Priest
:<) Ivy league school grad
@ :-> An Angel
@+;-) An Angel who knows everything


Celebrities
(8-o It's Mr Bill!
:-O Mr Bill
*<:-) Santa Claus
*:o) And Bozo the Clown!
:*) Ed McMahon
C|:-= Charlie Chaplin
=|:-)= Abe Lincoln
:-[] Mick Jagger


Are These Smileys?
~~:-( Net flame
X-( Net suicide
@}- - Rose
\_/7~~~ Cup of coffee
(::[]::) Band-Aid
Ken Hopkins has been involved with computers since the early seventies and has collected more
computer information than he is willing to admit. He currently serves as layout editor for Sacra Blue, the magazine of the Sacramento PC Users Group. Send topic ideas to ken.hopkins@sacpcug.org.



WHAT IF DR. SEUSS WROTE A COMPUTER MANUAL?


If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, And the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, And the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, Then the socket packet pocket has an error to report. 
If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, And the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, And your data is corrupted 'cause the index doesn't hash, Then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash. 
If the label on the cable on the table at your house, Says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, But your packets want to tunnel on another protocol, That's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall. 
And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, So your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse, Then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'cause as sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang. 
When the copy of your floppy's getting sloppy on the disk, And the microcode instructions cause unnecessary risk, Then you have to flash your memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM. Quickly turn off the computer, and be sure to tell your mom. 
Author Unknown 
WWW.NOCCC.ORG