The Bug Report
Editor - Vernon Lym
by BOB HUDAK
Shareware disks are available at the General Meeting for $3.00 per floppy disk and $5.00 per CD. Charges are to recover duplication and distribution costs
review by Bob Hudak
2nd Story software furnished our club with a review copy of their of
their TaxACT Ultimate Bundle which contains everything you need to complete
your federal and state returns including one free federal e-file. State
e-file are $4.95 per return. This package sells for $19.95. Now this is
a good deal, but they gave us a exclusive user group offer of $16.00 for
the bundle. Go to:
www.taxact.com/specials2.asp?sc=016309 to order. If you are interested in only the TaxACT Deluxe Edition, you can get that for $7.95 by going to the above site except after the = sign put in 0163020. This package includes one free e-file which in it self is a $7.95 value. WARNING! You only have till March 15 to take advantage of these offers.
So, about the program itself. I have been using tax filing programs for 10 years or more so I am pretty comfortable with them. It loaded without a hitch. Tech support by email is good. You get an answer next day. I found that you can not print a blank form. This might not be a big deal but I found a need in the past and some of the other programs can do this. You can enter your information two ways: by using the interview format, or by entering the data directly onto the appropriate forms. This is the way I like to do it. I did try the interview format to see how it works. Pretty good. You answer the questions and the numbers are put on the right forms. You actually see part of the form the wizard is working on as it enters data. I found that it made a small mistake on Form 1040A line 33. The form asks you to subtract line 22 from 20, but if line 22 is more then 20 enter 0. The program entered a minus amount instead of 0. Like I said, no big deal. Other than that, it worked great. I transferred information to the State form and was ready to print. You can select custom printing and pick just what you want to print. Set your printer to manual feed and you can print on both sides of the paper. It prints IRS approved forms using dot matrix, ink_jet or laser printers. I used only a laser printer, which is the best. If you do not have a laser but have access to one at a friends place or work, print to file using that printer and then copy the file to a disk. The last step is to copy it to prn at work. It works great. The program has help file if needed. It figures depreciation. It has a national comparison report, so you can check how your return compares to other tax payers. It also checks your return to see if you failed to fill in some information and also has other alerts. It has over 120 forms, schedules and worksheets. I believe it can handle your return no matter how complicated it is. I like the program. I like the fact that the forms look like the real thing. This makes it easy to follow if you are using the IRS 1040 instruction booklet or a blank form. It prints out a nice clear copy to send in. One thing it does not do is make out the check. This is still your problem.
* * * * * * * *
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
by Bob Hudak
I have two utility programs on one disk for you this month. Pick up a copy and help yourself and the club. These are useful utilities that can really do you some good.
The first one, called CDRID, can be run from the floppy. You do not need to install it. What it does is check a blank CD and tell you the capacity, manufacture, dye type, CDR or CDRW, and a few other things. It is supposed to tell you the fastest writing speed, but I did not get this to work on my machine. Also, it seems to work only on blank CDs. I found that some of the no name CDs that I have are really name brand.
What good is it? If you are having some problems with burning
some of your disks, you could find out what you have, enabling you to avoid
the difficulty in the future. For more information, go to
to find out about the 10 different dye types. Learn, also, a lot more about CD disks.
The second program is, RAM Idle ,which works for all OS’s except XP. It has to do with freeing up memory. As you probably know, some programs do not release all the memory they were using when you exit the program. After a while, your available memory gets used up and you need to reboot in order to flush out the Ram. Access, Excel, IE, Outlook Express, and a lot of other programs do this. So, if you have been working in a number of these programs and are now ready to work in a program that needs all the memory, you can give it, run RAM Idle. It has a number of features that make it a great program and has won several awards. I am certain that it can do a good job for you.
I have also a copy of TaxAct standard edition on CD. This is the free
to use tax software solution. It is time to file your taxes.
Web page: http://BobHudak.tripod.com
* * * * * * * *
Liz and I just returned from a pleasant weekend in Tucson, Arizona.
We visited the following locations:
Biosphere 2: a biological research facility that contains the world's largest enclosed rain forest terrarium.
Pima Air and Space Museum: A huge multi-building collection of historic airplanes on static display and the western portion of Saguaro National Park: a huge expanse of desert filled with cactuses and other desert wildlife.
The official Websites of these fascinating places are:
Let me know if you visit any interesting places and I will mention your travels in future articles.
"MICROSOFT FAX" IN "WINDOWS XP PROFESSIONAL"
I finally had a chance to try Microsoft Fax in Microsoft's Windows XP. I used it to send and receive faxes. If a Microsoft Word document or an Excel spreadsheet is already open, the best way to send a fax is to click on "File" on the menu bar. Then click on "Print". Then select "Fax" as your printer in the "Printer name: " drop down list box. Then click on the "Okay" button, etc.
If you are running Windows XP and you do not find a "Fax" icon in your
list of "Printers and Faxes", and/or
you do not find "Fax" under "Accessories" / "Communications", after clicking on the "Start" button, then you will need to install "Microsoft Fax" from the "Windows XP.." installation disk, after going to "Add/Remove Programs" in the "Control Panel" of Windows XP.
Microsoft Fax works great. It lacks the zillion bells and whistles that Symantec's "Winfax" has. However, for occasional sending or receiving of faxes, the Microsoft Fax that is bundled with Windows XP is an intuitive, user-friendly application. However, I do not take back the unfavorable things that I said in the past above the former versions of Microsoft Fax that came with Windows 98 and Windows 2000. They were horrible enough to get me to recommend Winfax for even casual use.
WINDOWS 95 / 98 / XP SIG
Liz and I attended the Windows 98 / XP Special Interest Group (SIG). We learned a lot. John Sullivan used a laptop computer that dual boots both Windows 98 and Windows XP to demonstrate various computer operations. He did a marvelous job of keeping this meeting informative and interesting. This SIG is held at 7pm to 9pm on the fourth Friday of each month at the Levy school.
Incidentally, John is also the skillful Webmaster for the Long Beach chapter of Habitat for Humanity. You can view his online wizardry at:
JUNO AND NETZERO ON WINDOWS XP
Both Juno and Netzero run fine on computers that run "Windows XP Professional". I was able to verify this during the past two weeks. Also, the software applications of these two dial-up Internet service providers (ISPs) can reside on the same Windows XP Professional computer, without any deleterious effects on each other.
POWERDVD versus WINDVD
If you are using Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME, or XP, there is a good possibility that Windows Media Player will not work with your DVD drive (if you have one), unless you install a DVD player software package.
If you install a DVD player software package, there is a good possibility that you will then prefer to use the software package's DVD player software, instead of Windows Media Player.
These idiosyncrasies underscore the fact that DVD drives are still fairly new and there are still plenty of technical gotchas that are associated with them.
During the past two weeks, I evaluated PowerDVD and WinDVD on both Windows
2000 and Windows XP operating systems. I found PowerDVD to be much easier
to install than WinDVD. I did not care for the multi-step and problematic
"activation" procedure for WinDVD. It is a pain in the derriere.
Once each of these DVD player software applications were installed, they ran about the same: I was unable to determine a difference in the displayed video quality of various DVDs that I played on these two software packages.
To learn more about PowerDVD, go to
Cyberlink does not provide a trial version of the PowerDVD product.
To learn more about WinDVD, go to
Intervideo provides a free trial version of their WinDVD software product.
FTP UPLOADS IN "INTERNET EXPLORER 6"
Versions of "Internet Explorer" prior to version 6 could only do File Transfer Protocol (FTP) downloads in the anonymous login mode. "Internet Explorer 6" ("IE6") has FTP upload and FTP download capabilities, in both anonymous login mode and the regular login mode. The ability to upload files to a FTP server in the regular login mode is a key operation in the maintenance of most Web sites.
For example, in order to perform this function to upload and download
files to and from my personal Web page at
using Internet Explorer 6, here is what I have to do:
Open an "Internet Explorer 6" window.
In the Address box of the Address bar, type in
Click on the "Go" button of the Address bar.
A "Login As" dialog box then pops up:
In the Username box, I type in
In the Password box, I type in my password.
Click on the "Login" button of the "Login As" dialog box.
After the connection is completed, I then open a "My Computer" window and use it to go to the appropriate folder in my local C: hard disk drive.
Now I have one IE6 window open and one "My Computer" window open.
The IE6 windows corresponds to the FTP server site that I use to manage my Website at Tripod. The "My Computer" window represents a folder on my local C: drive.
In order to upload a file from my local C: hard disk drive to my FTP server site, I drag it from the "My Computer" window to the IE6 window.
In order to download a file from my FTP server site to my local C: hard disk drive, I drag it from the IE6 window to the "My Computer" window.
The enhanced FTP upload capabilities of IE6 have worked well for me
and the price (free) is right. It does not have all the bells and
whistles of CuteFTP. If you need the added functionality of CuteFTP, you
can download a full-functional trial version of it at
Also, Windows 95, 98, ME, NT, 2000, and XP all have a command line FTP function that lets you do more than the FTP capabilities of IE6, so I sometimes use it instead of IE6. For example, using IE6, I was unable to create or delete directories up at my Web server site. I am able to perform these functions using the command line version of FTP with ease. However, since the command line version of FTP is harder for most computer owners to use, I generally recommend CuteFTP for functions that IE6 does not have.
TRW SWAP MEET
Liz and I went to the TRW Swap Meet on Saturday February 23rd:
In addition to buying some computer parts, we enjoyed running into the six GSBUG members: This fun event is held on the last Saturday of each month, rain or shine. It is conducted by the "W6TRW Amateur Radio Club".
For information, see
See you there !
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-3896.
2. Send me e-mail at: email@example.com
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 !!
* * * * * * * *
he following methods:
by Dr. John Hanson
For instance, Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft, came in person to talk to our small group about the new Windows XP and then gave all of us a copy of the Pro version. How generous! There must have been about 40 other sponsors and all were quite generous. Adobe gave a good presentation, also, and gave all of us a copy of Photoshop Elements, which is a fantastic program, almost as good as Photoshop 6. They have priced it at under $100 which is a very wise marketing strategy, as now everyone will be exposed to the best and later want to upgrade to Photoshop 6.
Quicken is still the leader, thanks to the efforts of the McKats brothers who always give a great presentation at the association of user groups meeting. Comdex has shrunk considerably since the Japanese bought the venue. Maybe because they increased the prices or because people were afraid to fly as a result of the attack on America. The Sands convention center used to have two full floors and now there were none, and none in the Hilton Hotel either. Inside the LV convention center one could easily walk around as there were no crowds as in the past. To make it look like it was full the aisles were made extra wide and many of the unsold booths were converted into lounges so one could rest without having to sit through a presentation, as in the past only vendors had chairs.
One of the vendors that fascinated me quite a bit was a brand new one marketing a program that encapsulates your message in a photo sent over the Internet. Separately you give your intended recipient the code so the message can be extracted. It was the young son of about 23 who did the programming. Not only was he fascinating but so was his father and sister, all very talented. That program is on my list of many things to try out.
Handspring, the makers of Visor, had a great presentation and dinner for the APCUG members, and also at Comdex. As luck would have it, three of our officers won Visors but Shelley and I were not as lucky. So if you are thinking of a Palm Pilot or Visor see Gary, Herman or Virginia for suggestions. Donna Dubinsky, the dynamic president of Handspring, used to work for Palm and decided she could make dramatic improvements so started her own company.
There was not too much new at Comdex this year but Visioneer did have a great demonstration of their new film scanner which they claim can scan at 4800 dpi and I watched them do it very conveniently. And quite easily it becomes a regular scanner. I was very impressed with their engineering advancements so decided to order one. When it came it was like those food chopper demonstrations you see at Home Shows. The pitch man makes it all look so simple but when you get home you discover that it takes lots of practice and even then you may not get as good results. It wasn't until I tried it on a third computer that I got it to install and then it only partially worked but what it did it did well. See my review last month for details.
In January I again went to Las Vegas for a week to see the CES show which is all about consumer electronics. It was bigger than ever with vendors filling all the convention center and the new addition as well as all the Hilton Hotel. It used to be only a three day event over the weekend but now filled almost the whole week from Tuesday through Friday. There was so much to see that I could not see it all. There were many things that would apply to my teaching business and, of course, many computer ideas which I may comment on in a later wizard report.
Looking for a new Computer? The three I mentioned in November are still quite good and now I have about three more but none are as close as the fellow on Western. A number of members have been pleased with the computers they got at Western, except for one for which I had to intercede, when they dragged their heels about replacing a defective monitor. Monitors have come down in price quite a bit. You can get used 17 to 21 inch monitors from good companies for only about $100 which is probably better than buying an unknown new one at Frys for the same price or more.
The price of memory has gone up dramatically all of a sudden, perhaps doubled or tripled. The big boys were unhappy with the low prices so Micron bought out Samsung memory and then could raise prices. I hope all of you were wise enough to have bought spare memory when the price was low. Most of the time you don't need more than 256 Mb which is what I recommend but if any of the vendors suggested need to raise their price you can get along quite well with 128 Mb unless you use Photoshop a lot which wants all the memory it can get. Some older motherboards don't accept 512 Mb chips so read the manual before you buy any of these.
I have no idea how many readers find my articles useful but a few have complimented me. Maybe I should stop as it is a lot of work and I have many other things to do. One member took the time to write a long letter to the board members saying that what I write is a complete waste of paper and that I was giving bad advice on which computers to buy. He seems to be very knowledgeable about computers so maybe he should write an article with his suggestions. Even though his letter was addressed to me he never sent me a copy so I only heard about it from other board members. It would be nice to hear from others on either side. They only reason I started writing was that a former editor desperately needed material to fill the newsletter. Your current editor does a great job finding articles, even from other clubs, which are quite useful so maybe I could stop.
Among my favorite articles to read are the Internet details that Frank Chao writes. I wish I had the time to try out all of his suggestions. One I did try but it came out terribly, probably because I didn't follow all of his instructions exactly. Frank has many Internet providers on his computer so I decided to add just one more to my LA Free Net. It was Earthlink and it wanted to take over everything like AOL does. In fact, it did take over everything and I couldn't get my e-mail on Lafn so I went to another of our Internet experts, Herman Krouse, and he was puzzled also as to how to get Lafn back. Finally we uninstalled Earthlink and at least I could get my e-mail but answering is very difficult. Earthlink does not do a complete uninstall and leaves all kinds of things like their tool bar at the top and many other Earthlink windows that pop up when you are trying to download or read or send e-mail. So soon I will be contacting Frank for his valuable help. It is so nice to have so many experts in our club. Imagine the poor people who are not members of our club and pay way much more than they need to and still don't get as good results as our members do. You should encourage all your friends to join.
* * * * * * * *
The By-Laws of the Greater South Bay Personal Computer Users Group state in part: "Membership 1.6.7 Section 7 Benefits of Membership
a. Access to club quantity buys and discounts
b. Access to the technical information and program libraries
c. Receipt of the newsletter
d. Voting privileges
e. Participation in member-only raffles
f. Attendance at special interest group meetings."
Since 1989 I have been a member of GS-BUG and have held the position
of membership chairman and a SIG leader. At that time, George Austin held
a WordPerfect Advanced SIG in his home and those interested eagerly met
to decipher the many amazing new features it would perform, which brings
me to this article's title - benefits of membership. . . . This concept
of sharing knowledge is the #1 benefit for membership. For the $36 per
year individual membership fee you not only have a "deep well" of information
for the asking but also the joy of meeting new friends with a common interest
that continually grows at the speed of your own requirements. I take this
opportunity to say "Thank You" to all SIG leaders who bring their expertise
to these groups, and Chairpersons who devote their time quite silently,
and to the Board of Directors who make it all come together.
* * * * * * * *
This is the 23rd month since I became editor of the club’s newsletter. It has been an interesting and challenging task; also, at times, aggravating. Especially while I was getting acquainted with MS Publisher. It is with regret that must announce that this is my last issue. Because of increased activity out of this area I will be frequently unavailable during the time when the newsletter must be assembled and published. Last year, during the summer and fall, it was miraculous that events allowed me to continue without missing a due date. Now, with spring approaching, I will not have a predictable schedule and must pass this duty to someone else. Recently, there have been several people expressing an interest in getting involved. Now is the time.
I have been a member of this club since ancient times. After several years of enthusiasm, inactivity prevailed. It was the decision to volunteer as editor that got me going again. I have learned a lot and met a lot of interesting people. It was all worthwhile.
Vernon Lym, GSBUG Editor
* * * * * * * *
A new SIG has been organized, devoted to discussions of Hardware Information. This differs sharply with our other hardware SIGs which are more workshop oriented. This group lead by Ed Leckliter, will be held in the evening on the second Thursday at Levy School (West 229th Place at Madison Street in Torrance). The meeting will be in Room #7 (west-most corridor) and will run from 7:00-9:00 PM. The agenda for the meeting will be as follows.
7:00 - 7:05 Administration
7:05 - 8:00 Featured Topic
[CPUs for the first meeting]
8:00 - 8:25 Hardware News (an up
date on what's new in hardware)
8:25 - 8:55 Random Access -
8:55 - 9:00 Recap and Close
The first meeting of the new SIG was held on Thursday, February 14th with an outstanding attendance of 50 club members. The presentation was true to expectations and followed the agenda faithfully. The attendees were treated to a comprehensive review of the state of the art in computer processors and their associated chip sets in which the various offerings of AMD, Intel, and VIA (was Cyrex) were described. The mysteries of Slot 2, Socket A, and Sockets 370/423/478/603 were covered. Also treated were the L1 and L2 cache systems. A comparison table of the various products was distributed at the end of the meeting.
Future meetings will include all aspects of the associated computer hardware. Considering the unexpected attendance volume in the first meeting, it is anticipated the this may turn out to be, perhaps, our largest SIG. We must give Ed Leckliter two thumbs up on this one.
* * * * * * * *
For those of you that have and interest in medical sites so you can learn more about yourself, here is my perferred list
Internet Search engines
http://www. hotbot.com Hot Bot
Health Information sites
Searching medical literature on the web
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed free search engines for MEDLINE and
other health data bases
http://www.ovid.com full text online 300 medical subscriptions, either fixed-fee or pay as you go
The Cochdrane Collaboration
Review of the best randomized controlled trials on specific clinical questions
Abstracts only free
Database of abstracts of reviews of effectiveness (DARE) FREE
ACP Journal Club free recent issues
British Medical Journal free full text
Major primary care societies and government agencies
http://www.aafp.org American Academy of Family Physicians
http://www.aanp.org American Academy of Nurse Practitioners
http://www.aap.org American Academy of Pediatrics
http://www.aapa.org American Academy of Physicians Assistants
http://acponline.org American College of Physicians
http://ama-assn.org American Medical Association
http://www.sgim.org Society of General Internal Medicine
http://www.ahcpr.gov Agency for Health Care Policy and Research
http://www.cancernet.nci.nih.gov CancerNet: Nation Cancer Institute
http://www.cdc.gov Center for Disease Control
http://www.fda.gov Food and Drug Administration
http://www.nih.gov Nation Institutes of Health
http://www.cancer.org American Cancer Society
free Clinical Information for primary care source is Harvard Pilgrim
http://aepo-xdv-www.epo.cdc.gov/wonder/prevguid/topics.htm CDC prevention guidelines
http://www..cdc.gov/nchstd.dstd/STD98TG.HTM CDC treatment guidelines for Sexually Transmitted disease
http://www.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbk/page207.htm CDC health information international travel
http://www.aap.org/bpi/default.htm review of internet resources for pediatricians
Patient information free
http://sis.nlm.nih.gov/hotlines/subserch.html list of organizations with address and phone #s to help patients with various diseases
http://www.healthfinder.gov good source of reliable consumer health information web sites
http://medlineplus.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus links to resources with medical information
http://www.njm.org New England Journal Medicine on line