The Bug Report
The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 20 Number 01
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
by BOB HUDAK
GSBUG is raffling a copy of Microsoft Windows XP Professional. It is the new standard in reliability and performance. Here is a chance to win the full product and help the club at the same time. There are only 50 chances being sold. Half are gone already. As you can see there are not enough chances for everyone to buy one. So it is on a first come basis that I am selling the chances. Only $5.00 per chance. Winner need not be present for drawing. Drawing will be after chances are all sold at a general meeting. You can send money to the Club's P.O.Box 6950, Torrance, CA 90504-6950 or make your purchases at the general meeting at the Salvation Army Facility in Torrance. See me, Bob Hudak, at the Library sale table. This is a three hundred dollar package that will look good on your computer. Quick, limited number of chances. Do it now!
I have a new disk for you this month with a two utility programs on it. One is called SyncFolders. It synchronizes two folders and all subfolders within. Good for a quick backup or copying files from a laptop. This is a good way to make backups of your data to a second hard drive. Having two hard drives is a good way to go because both drives will not fail at the same time. If you have a network set up between a couple of your computers, you can keep copies of your data on the other computer. You can set this program to only backup changed files. This will make it work fast. Try it. Next is a program that can check your computer and tell you about your CPU. How fast it is, size of cache and other feathers it has. This is a nice program to carry with you when shopping for a new used computer.
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Welcome to the first
article for the 2002 calendar year and the 41st article of the series.
Liz and I greatly enjoyed seeing all of you during the Christmas meeting /
party in December. We wish everyone a happy new year and hope that each
of you has a fast, reliable connection to the Internet.
Juno announced early last year that they would terminate the free version of their Internet and e-mail service at the end of 2001. This apparently did not happen. The free version of their service is alive and well and we have reached the beginning of 2002. Juno's free e-mail service has been around longer than any other e-mail service. Now is the time for you to get onto their free e-mail and Internet access service, if you have not already done so. Their Web site is located at
NEW PHONE NUMBERS AT LAFN
Effective December 7th, most of the dial-up phone numbers for the Los Angeles Free-Net have changed. When configuring Windows "Dial Up Networking" to use these new phone lines, you should no longer put in a "proxy server". The new phone lines allow streaming video and audio, Netmeeting, instant messaging, and other Internet functions that were previously blocked by LAFN's proxy server. These capabilities have been requested by LAFN members for the past 6 years.
Art Harris of GS-BUG stated that, for most club members, the LAFN's new El Segundo phone line (310-906-2021) should be a local phone call. I have used this new phone line successfully for the past two weeks.
Details about the new dial-up phone numbers are available at
At this Web page, they have a hyperlink to
At this page, you can enter the area code and first 3 numbers of YOUR telephone number (without any other characters).
Then click on the "Submit" button.
You will then get a list of the new LAFN dial-up phone numbers that are local for YOUR telephone line. Whatever their Web page tells you, be sure to verify with your telephone company's customer service office and be sure to check your telephone bills to make sure than you are dialing a phone number that is local for your phone line. I keep hearing sad tales of woe about how someone buys a new computer, gets on the Internet, and then incurs a $200 phone bill. Don't let it happen to you.
WEBMAIL AT JUNO
In prior months, users of Juno could only send and receive e-mail through Juno's proprietary "Juno" software. As of this month, Juno users can use Internet Explorer or Netscape to access all of their e-mail from any Internet-connected computer. If you have an account on Juno, you can now go to
to read your Juno e-mail.
Even if your computer is connected to the Internet with a dial-up connection provided by Netzero, you can now start up a Web browser and view your Juno e-mail.
In other words, Juno e-mail can now be viewed in a Web-based manner, similar to "Yahoo mail" or "Hotmail". If you use this new way to send and receive your Juno e-mail, any e-mail messages that you receive will reside on Juno's Web server, instead of on the hard drive of your computer. You also can delete e-mail messages from within their "Webmail" Web page, if you like. Try it. It is great !
NETZERO PLATINUM REDUCTION
Netzero offers an unlimited dial-up Internet service called "Platinum Internet" for $9.95 per month. Stanley Wong ( email@example.com ), a GSBUG member, has discovered that Netzero has terminated this service in some areas for some of their customers. These customers were reverted back to the free version of Netzero service on December 30, 2001. Let me know if you are one of the "Netzero Platinum" users that have been impacted by this change in service.
"YAHOO MAIL" AND "HOTMAIL" NEWS
Both "Yahoo Mail" and "Hotmail" have enhanced their extra space capabilities.
"Hotmail" provides a free Web-based e-mail account with 2 megabytes of storage space. For $19.95 per year, they will increase your storage space for e-mail message up to 10 megabytes.
To sign up for this option:
Log into "Hotmail" ( http://hotmail.com ).
Then click on the "Home" tab.
Then click on "Hotmail Extra Storage !"
"Yahoo mail" provides a free Web -based e-mail account with 4 megabytes of storage space.
They now offer:
10 megabytes for 9.99 per year,.
25 megabytes for 19.99 per year,
50 megabytes for 29.99 per year,
100 megabytes for $49.99 per year.
To sign up for one of these options:
Log into Yahoo mail (http://mail.yahoo.com ).
Then click on "Mail Add-ons".
WORDS OF APPRECIATION FOR THE TREASURER
Jimmie Corones, C.P.A., has been our club's treasurer for the past 10 years. He will continue to serve us in this capacity in the current new year. I have belonged to numerous user groups over the past 20 years and he is the best and most professional treasurer that I have ever met. Please join me in thanking him for his exceptional work on behalf of the GSBUG.
CONFIGURING "DIAL UP NETWORKING"
When configuring Netzero software, Juno software, or Windows "Dial Up Networking" to use a modem to make a dial-up connection to the Internet, do NOT indicate that you have "call waiting", if you do not have this feature on your phone line. Check your phone bill or ask your telephone service office, if you do not know for sure. If you tell Netzero, Juno, or Windows "Dial Up Networking" that you have "call waiting", then it will default to dialing
before dialing the dial-up telephone number of your Internet Service Provider (ISP). If your modem does this and you do not have "call waiting", your modem will receive a ring-back signal that rings on and on forever. If this happens, your modem will then fail to make a connection to the Internet. During December, two very frustrated owners of new computers called me with the complaint that their computers were unable to make a dial-up connection to the Internet.
In the first case, the computer owner had indicated to his Netzero software that his phone line had "call waiting" when it actually did not have this capability.
In the second case, the computer owner indicated to her Juno software that she had "call waiting" when she actually did not.
In both cases, when their computers dialed
their phone lines rang and rang with "ringback" tone. (What you hear in the telephone when you dial a phone number that is "on hook".) This caused their modems to fail to dial the actual seven-digit dial-up phone numbers that would have connected their modems to the Internet.
You can avoid this problem by not misinforming your computer if it asks you whether or not you have "call waiting" on your phone line.
USING BOTH BROADBAND AND DIAL-UP
Here is another problem that occurs a lot:
If you use a Windows version 95 or higher,
you have a cable modem or a DSL connection as your main connection to the Internet,
you then set up Netzero, Juno, or "Dial Up Networking" as a backup, dial-up connection to the Internet,
your computer will probably try to start your backup dial-up connection whenever you start Internet Explorer or Netscape.
To stop this from happening:
Click on the "Start" button.
Click on "Control Panel".
Double click on the "Internet Options" icon.
Click on the "Connections" tab.
Click on the "Never dial a connection" check box to put an "X" in it, if it does not already have an "X" in it.
Then click on the "Okay" button at the bottom of the "Internet Properties" box.
"STRESS REDUCER" SOFTWARE
Kostek Haussmann of the GSBUG recommends a free item of fun software.
It is called "Desktop Games". You can download it from
According to this Web page:
"Desktop Games (also known as Stress Reducer or Stress Relief) - play with your Windows desktop. You can chop it, cut it, shoot (it) to pieces, repaint, stamp it. Or put termites on it and after that hunt them."
Whenever, a computer gives me a hard time, I run this software in order to vent my frustrations. This is especially important for me since I work at a place where profanity is not permitted. Try it, you will like it !
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer and take up golf instead !!
This holiday season,
many of you are giving or receiving a computer as a gift. They make great, but
pricey, gifts. Generally, they work fine out of the box, but are lacking many
useful software products and peripherals. With many of the local retailers
having both pre- and post-Christmas sales, there will likely be some useful
goodies available to go along with the new holiday computer (or the not-so-new
one previously owned).
Most new computers do not come with any meaningful virus protection. Viruses, and their cousins worms, and Trojans, have been the most frequent topic in this column. At COMDEX last month, one of the leading publishers of antivirus software stated to our group that fully 40% of household PCs totally lack any virus protection, and another 40% have antivirus software that is more than a month out of date. Since dangerous viruses are becoming an even greater threat, good antivirus software is imperative. Some of the better programs can be scheduled to auto-update as often as daily (strongly recommended). I use Panda Antivirus Platinum, which is available from some of the local stores or online ( http://www.pandasoftware.com ), and have it scheduled to auto-update at 8 p.m. every evening. As I have stated many times before, check the Sunday sale books for bargains on the software, as the major titles are frequently available very reasonably, or for free, after rebates.
Another very useful item for a new computer is good Internet access. Locally, broadband (high speed) Internet service is available, along with some excellent local Internet service providers (ISPs). We have DSL service widely (but not universally) available from most of our local ISPs, and the new cable Internet service is being heavily advertised. While somewhat pricey, broadband can easily spoil anyone who has ever tried it.
Despite the growing availability of broadband, traditional dialup service is still far more popular due to typical price advantages, and the fact that broadband is still not universally available. The local ISPs generally offer superior and faster service than the heavily advertised national providers, usually at a much lower price. Even in the same price range, the local ISPs typically offer better service than the big national providers, which is well worth it. Consider signing up the new computer and its owner with a local ISP or broadband provider, and enhance the users computing experience. If broadband is purchased, then also get a firewall. This restricts unauthorized access from hackers. Several commercial titles are available in the local stores, and some new antivirus software includes a firewall, but also consider ZoneAlarm, from www.zonelabs,com It is available for free for personal use.
Good peripherals do not have to cost a lot of money. There is nothing more frustrating for a computer user than having a balky mouse. Most of the time it is not the mouse, but the mouse pad, or lack of a mouse pad. Some of the mouse pads included with new computers are terrible. Buy the new computer a decent mouse pad, preferably one with a wrist pad. My personal favorite is the Belkin mouse pad with the "gel" wrist pad. It is comfortable, and works very well. The gel pad reduces strain and stress on the wrist, and is typically available for under $10. Again, watch the Sunday sale books; they are often in there with a substantial rebate, even free after rebate. I bought one for myself and each of my children.
Most mice are mechanical, and contain a ball and some rollers. A little preventative or routine maintenance can avoid a common frustration. If the mouse pad is dirty, or picks up moisture and body oils from the user, the mouse will work erratically. For under a dollar, a bottle of alcohol and some cotton swabs can be used to clean the ball and rollers in a few minutes, restoring the mouse to pristine operating condition. Look at the bottom of a mechanical mouse, and there will be an arrow showing how to remove the ball. Clean the ball with an alcohol-dampened paper towel, and then use some alcohol-dampened swabs to remove the obvious debris off the rollers. When dry, reassemble the mouse. Finish up by cleaning the pad with the alcohol-dampened paper towel. For less than a dollar, the user now has a gift that will enhance the joy of computing.Almost everyone has a printer attached to his computer. Some new computers come bundled with a printer, but most do not. Most new printers on the market are color ink-jet models, and all will do satisfactory printing for most household and small business tasks. If printing photos may become a common task, then look at printers with higher resolution (more dots per inch, or "dpi"). If the printer is to be used for business purposes, then print speed may be an issue. One factor that should also be considered is the cost of printer accouterments, such as paper and ink. While regular copy paper may be fine for routine work, ink-jet capable paper tends to be not much more expensive, and often results in a sharper output. Photo grade paper comes in a variety of weights and qualities, but tends to be expensive. When printing photos, a good tip is to print first on plain paper in draft mode (minimize ink usage) and verify the desired output. When satisfied, print in high quality on the more expensive ink-jet photo paper. Ink cartridge cost is another significant factor in printing. Note the cost of ink cartridges and their capacity before buying any printer. If the user is likely to be doing a lot of printing, the availability of generic or third party ink cartridges can significantly lower printing costs. Personally, I will not purchase a printer for which I cannot buy reasonably priced ink cartridges. One of the decent quality universal refill kits may be a good gift as well
Those ZIP & PDF files
Trouble with some of
those attachments and downloads? What do I do with those *.zip ( a data
compressed file ) and *.pdf ( Portable Document Format compressed file) files ?
One of the most important things we need first is a program to unzip compressed files labeled as Zip files. There are several programs out there such as Aladdin, Winzip, etc. Winzip is the easiest and most widely used and a trial version can be downloaded free from the internet: www.winzip.com
After downloading Winzip ( winzip80.exe is latest version) save it to a folder such as "My Downloads" or what ever folder you want, so you can find it. If you have an older version remove it first by going to START/SETTINGS/CONTROL PANEL, then double click on ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS. See if Winzip is on the list, if Winzip is there, then click on it to high light, then click on the Remove button to uninstall it.
Now you are ready to install Winzip by finding your file using Windows Explorer ( file management tool) and doing a double click on your downloaded file (winzip80.exe), or go to START/RUN, type in C:\My Downloads\winzip80.exe and click on OK. The program called WINZIP will install itself and put icons on the Start Up menu, the Desk Top and in the Program listing. (I delete the one on the Desk Top with a right click and selecting Delete). Now we are ready to unzip those compressed files received from email, web, etc.
To unzip a file is very easy, just select your file and do a double click, Winzip will automatically come up showing you what is in the zip file. Go to the top right and click on EXTRACT! This will bring up the menu that allows you to select the folder you wish to extract and save the file(s). After you have the folder selected click on the EXTRACT button. That's all there is, now you can go to your folder and work your extracted or unzipped file(s).
If your unzipped files are picture files and you double click on them they will come up in Windows Paint (*.bmp) or Internet Explorer (*.jpg, *.gif, etc), unless you have a photo program. If the files are text files your will see them in Notepad or wordpad, or you can view them in your word processor. If they are PDF (Portable Document Format) files then we need a special program called Acrobat Reader by Adobe.
To get your free Acrobat Reader, go to the Adobe web site at:
Save your file (ar40eng.exe) in your special folder such as "My Downloads". Before installing this program be sure you remove the old version (this is version 4) just like we did for Winzip. Now go to your special folder and locate the acrobat file and double click to install it, or go to START/RUN and enter C:\My Downloads\ar40eng.exe, then click on OK. Restart windows!
Once this is installed and windows is back up, you can double click on any PDF file and the Acrobat Reader will come up automatically.
I hope this helps people to read those email attachments and program manuals!
Note: Bob Elgines is Editor for the Colorado River Computer Club user group located in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
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