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 4
Those ZIP & PDF files
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
Have you ever tested your CD-ROM's speed? Don't take the word for granted from your hardware supplier for what he says or what is printed on CD-ROM drive. The best way to see how well your drive performs is to test it with a benchmarker (like CD Speed). Comparing this result to another drive that has the same speed rating should tell you if your drive matches its specs (or not). CD Speed is a CD-ROM benchmark which can test the most important features of a CD-ROM drive. Tests include: transfer rate, seek times, CPU usage, burst rate, DAE quality, transfer rate, and spin up & spin down time. I was copying data from a CD on the club computer using the CD-ROM drive marked 36Max. It took 15 minutes! How come? I dug up this testing program and used it on the drive. Found that the transfer rate was only 7X. This explains the reason for the slow transfer and also why burning a copy of a CD from this drive at 8X made nice coasters. Buffer over run. Of course, with the new Plextor CD burner with burn proof technology, coasters are a thing of the past (so far). I added this program to Disk # 51 which has a patch for the Windows ME operating system that will allow you to boot to Dos from the menu that comes up if you press the F8 key at boot up or just hold down the control key when booting. Both of these programs should be in your collection.
Our Audio SIG will meet on Thursday April 5th at the Cal Fed Bank at 7:30 PM. We have come a long way in learning how to burn CD's since we started this SIG. If you need a bit of help or have a question, come to the SIG. We will be talking about some new software and also how to add a text file to a song so that the name of the song will show instead of only Track 1 etc. If you have done this, how about coming to the SIG and telling us how you do it and if you have any good tips for us that would help. We will go into how to make a printout of MP3 songs that are on a CD.
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By Bob Elgines
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: www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep.html
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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By Frank Chao
Welcome one and all to the 32nd article in the "Internet Talk" series. Despite the falling fortunes of the stock market and of various dot.com businesses, the Internet is still going strong and I have more than ever to tell you about.
SPRING INTERNET WORLD
During the middle week of March, Kostek Haussman, Liz Orban, and I journeyed across town to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Here are some of the exhibitors that intrigued us.
provides Web page hosting and design for $300 per year. If you need a Web site and are not in the "do it yourself" mode, you should consider their services before trying a more expensive alternative.
continues to provide interactive pictures for Web sites so that people can move around inside a picture in three dimensions.
also has software for creating 360 degree panaramas, 3‑dimensional objects, and virtual tours. All using a series of still photographs that you have to take. They call these products "Web Tools". Free 30‑day trials of these products are available at their Web site at
CDEX, also known as "cdex.net" manufacturers CD‑ROM disks in all sorts of shapes and sizes, in addition to the standard sizes and shapes that we are all familiar with. If you market your business by handing out CD‑ROMs to prospective customers, using a wierd size and shapes will help you get more name recognition (or notoriety).
FREEBIE INTERNET SERVICES
In the past two articles, I noted that only three free dial‑up Internet services have phone numbers that are local for phone lines that are located in the South Bay area of the Los Angeles, California are
Several club members have reminded me that there are other free dial‑up Internet services other that the above‑mentioned ones. Here is what I discovered about the ones that they mentioned:
has gone out of business.
no longer maintains a Web site so I assume that they also have failed.
American Express Online
has a notice that they are "not accepting new enrollments at this time".
does not have any local phone numbers in the 310 area code. They appear to be active in other parts of California.
insists on getting a credit card number before they will allow you to get their free Internet service. They claim that it is to verify you age and not to charge you for there service. I was unwilling to give them one so I was unable to get an account with them.
Nevertheless, I wish to thank the folks who sent me information about these free Internet services. If you keep sending me information of this sort, I will keep trying to find the elusive fourth free Internet service for the Los Angeles area. In the meantime, I hope everyone enjoys the ones that we do have. Only in America !!
STILL MORE ON E‑MAIL STRATEGY
Even if you have an e‑mail address that you use extensively, you should also get a Web‑based e‑mail account or two. Here is why:
Most of the businesses that sell things from a Web site require that you give them an e‑mail address as part of the process of verifying who are are before completing a transaction. When you give an e‑mail address to a business, changes are good that they will sell your name and e‑mail address to someone else. Next thing you know, you will get several hundred spam messages from advertisers to that address every day !! If you use give out an e‑mail address to a business, it might be better to give out one on a Web‑based e‑mail system like Yahoo mail
By using Yahoo e‑mail you will "deflect" your spam e‑mail message away from your other more‑important e‑mail address.
FREE DSL BITES THE DUST
Along with the other financially‑weak free Internet services, free DSL has also failed to come to fruition.
They apparently never got beyond the stage of taking orders from prospective customers.
CABLE MODEMS VERSUS DSL
Based on the reports that I am getting, cable modem customers continue to have less installation and service problems that DSL customers. Both types of systems now offer self‑install kits. People who install Internet connections using the self‑install kits of cable companies are having less trouble getting connected to the Internet than people who install Internet connections using the self‑install kits from the companies that provide DSL service. Cable modem connections are inherently simpler than DSL connections for a variety of reasons. Despite these glitches, there are plenty of happy customers for both DSL and cable modems. Let me know of your experiences and I will mention them in future articles. Unless you tell me otherwise, I will mention your experiences anonymously, in order to protect your privacy.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310‑768‑3896.
2. Send me e‑mail at: email@example.com
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By John Sellers
Fred Vogel and Fred E. Gutman, our club members from the DIGSIG are giving a presentation of Tech-Smith products for our April meeting. The screen capture program ASnagIt@ and the video capture program A Camtasia@ will be featured.
“SnagIt”: Saving Time and Looking Good:
Values of Screen Capture Programs
In today=s world of Internet and telephone-based training, explaining computer concepts can be complicated. The education process is greatly simplified when you can personally show the user what to do, but travel and time-related support costs commonly prevent this ideal situation from occurring. However, instructors can now provide interactive explanations and demonstrations of desktop activity to employees and customers with screen capture tools.
Capture Images, Text and Activity
Capture anything you see You can take images off web sites, applications or anything you see on your computer screen. Send the image to a graphic file, the printer, a catalog folder or your choice of output so you can use the image in the way you need.
Capture anything you read Take text from all applications -- even those that don=t offer Cut and Paste. Import and manipulate text in spreadsheet and database applications.
Capture anything you move on-screen Record your mouse and cursor movements to determine the cause of program problems, demonstrate how to perform a task or create a Atime-lapse@ video to show desktop activity over a period of time.
While screen capture tools are not widely known, people of many professions find that they make work much easier to do, because screen capture tools make it possible to actually show another person exactly what is on your computer screen.
For example, if you want to instruct another person on how to perform an action in a program, you would normally have to describe it to them in words. If you have a screen capture tool you can copy anything you want off a screen -- and not just the text -- you can copy:
- a video of you accessing e-mail send the video to a friend for instruction purposes
- an error message; send it to a helpdesk
- an image; manipulate it, and use it in a graphics application
- menus, icons, and screen information: print in training manuals
- a web page; send to clients for review
- an entire screen: use in training presentations
Instead of telling someone to AGo to the file menu . . . Press print . . . Press the arrow . . . @ you can snag an image of the actual file menu to show him what to do. If you wanted to provide instructions for a spreadsheet program like Excel, for instance, you could click on the program window that the user doesn't understand. You could then highlight menus and toolbar buttons and explain how each functions within the program. You could capture the entire screen to explain all the potential uses of that screen, then send it to your user by his preferred method of delivery, whether it be print, e-mail, or via a web ftp link.
The tools for screen capture programs also have advanced capabilities, including ones that accommodate Internet users. For instance, some screen capture programs allow you to capture images and text that are too large for one screen. Since you can snag images or text from vertical scrolling windows, you don=t have to copy screen by screen and then paste the pieces together. Instead, you can save multiple screens -- such as entire web sites -- as a single image.
For instance, in the screen capture program SnagIt, if you access a web site with a page that is too long to display in one window:
- Select AutoScrollTM as part of your capture process
- The web page automatically scrolls to the end of the site
You can select the entire web page at one time, not just the portion you see on the screen
Writers -Screen capture programs have applications in many different professions. A large number of technical and documentation writers consider screen capture programs essential, since creating instructional documentation with them is a quicker, easier and better way to convey information. Since some programs allow you to capture objects, technical writers can individually capture just a single menu, a single button, a single folder and a single web page item. Isolating each object gives writers the opportunity to concentrate on important areas and demonstrates to users exactly where they should focus. Writers can save time by zeroing in on a specific item instead of grabbing the entire screen and then cropping the image.
AutoCAD -Since many screen capture programs allow users to annotate screen captures, they are also useful for AutoCAD operators. The programs offer drawing tools for enhancing, modifying and marking up screen captures with objects such as arrows, stamps, clipart, callout boxes and sticky notes to point out precise details. Highlighting a portion of the image or text and adding frames and borders are useful for instructional purposes.
Computer Users - Webmasters, business people and technical support personnel all find screen capture tools make their jobs easier. Instead of telling people what to do, they can show them exactly what to do. They are able to save time and produce professional, quality results.
Professions that aim to demonstrate desktop functionality can look to screen capture programs as a valuable support tool.
Video Screen Capture Tools [Camtasia]
When teaching someone computer concepts, it is always easier to show, rather than tell, a person exactly what to do. And as a user, many people prefer being taught by example, instead of following verbal instructions. However, distance and cost limitations often make in‑person training impractical. The programs gaining popularity for satisfying this need are Video Screen Capture Tools, because they make a movie of your computer screen.
Making a video of your screen is valuable to people who train others to use software, as they can share
professional ‑quality instructional videos. Various types of professions take advantage of on‑screen videos:
Corporate Trainers ‑ Create professional video for computer‑based instruction.
Software Marketing ‑ Create broadcast‑quality product demos and sales presentations.
Technical Support ‑ Provide video‑based troubleshooting and support.
Software Developers ‑ Document use of custom and commercial software.
Web Designers ‑ Create narrated tours of web site designs.
Help Authors ‑ Enhance online documentation.
Video Screen Capture Tools make it easy to record, edit and publish high fidelity videos from your computer screen. First, you record the action on your computer screen. Many programs offer the option of adding real‑time effects, text and voice narration to the video. Next, you can edit your video by changing the sequence and timing of events, splicing video, removing unwanted frames and adding annotation. After your video is finished, you can share the video with others by CD, Intranet or Internet. The programs are designed to be user‑friendly, so it is easy to record produce and edit a video.
The programs continue to improve their quality and usability. For instance, TechSmith's CamtasiaTM possesses a feature called Quick Capture, which makes cursor movements appear smoother on video. It captures the screen as efficiently as possible, at frame rates from 2 to 7 times faster than normal. Also, at any given frame rate you need to maintain, Quick Capture uses less system resources. This enables you to capture scenes that you would otherwise not be able to with your present computer and graphics capabilities.
Many applications also have advanced Internet capabilities. For example, some offer a live output, which allows you to literally send out a live broadcast of desktop activities. Instead of saving your screen capture video to a file, you can send what you capture, as you are capturing it. When you record live online sessions like interactive discussions, net meetings, virtual classes and training demonstrations, you can then post the session recording in web site archives, or review the recording later at any time ‑‑ for reference or to get up to date on a missed live session.
Users of various professions already realize the far‑reaching capabilities and functionality of Video Screen Capture Tools, and as long as people need information from a computer screen, the popularity of the programs is likely to increase.
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by Dr. John Hanson
Nuts and Bolts
Should you install “Nuts & Bolts”? I did and think it was a terrible mistake. The literature made it sound very good since PC Tools Company had been wiped out and Norton was going downhill under new ownership. But Nuts & Bolts installation was very aggressive and took over my 486 when I installed it about a year ago which only had 8 Megs of ram. It gave me no choice as to what to include in the installation so every time I booted up, their terrible bomb shelter filled the center of the screen. Then on the right was a long tool bar showing the status of various elements. On the bottom was another space hog called the Launch Pad. None had an X box to remove them.
Herman Krause helped me install software so that my 86 year old aunt could go on the Internet, but I had troubles. Herman suggested that programs like Nuts & Bolts were using too much of my meager 8 MB RAM so we tried to remove some programs that started automatically in Windows for Workgroups. It is hard to remember how the old operating systems work so at first we were at a loss at how to remove them. In the old DOS days it was easy especially if you have Q‑Dos 3 which I had added some time ago even tho they too had been wiped out by the competition. But it still is a very useful program and with it we were able to erase entire directories by pushing just a few keys. The next step was to remove the Windows pointers that were used during the boot up and then we could access the Internet without any problems.
Blue Squirrel Software
Should you try Blue Squirrel Software? Those of us who went to San Diego Conference got a free CD with several of their programs. It had a program I wanted to try called Click Book. I had tried it several years ago and it was terrible but had great potential if improved. The booklet included with the CD says one has a 30 day free trial but, when I tried to install it, an unfriendly message came up saying I had only five days left. I continued the installation and when it found out my printer was not plugged in it came up with another very unfriendly message saying the installation was canceled. Yes, people are concerned about protecting their software but why be so unfriendly and turn potential customers off?
I never did find out if click book had been improved so that one sheet of paper can be folded several times, stapled and then cut off several sides to make a booklet as in regular book production. I have been doing that manually for years for my booklets and it is quite a project figuring out the order of the pages and which should be upside down so a good program would be very welcome. If any have tried it, please let me know.
Other companies are taking the this roughshod approach. Maybe they figure that if Microsoft can be mean to their customers and be very successful they can do it too. That method really turns me off. I don't use Microsoft products willingly but because I have no choice. Sierra used to make a fine product called Print Artist and it worked fine so I decided to buy their new platinum version but am very disappointed. Suppose I don't choose to register. Why should I be hounded every time I use Print Artist or even worse not be allowed to install until I do register.
An Oldie but a Goodie
That is one reason why I like to stay with older software like WordStar. Since the company died they never hound me to update and there are no changes in the way it works. Since most people never use all the features available in a program there is still lots for me to learn with my WordStar. It does what I need and I keep learning about many of its useful features. George Austin and many others probably feel the same way about Word Perfect in which you can do almost anything. The one disadvantage about staying in DOS is that it is much more difficult when you want to do special things so sometimes I have to give in and use the more modern programs.
San Diego Conference
Was the San Diego Conference worthwhile? Six of us went and I think it was definitely worth my time. The two ladies (Judy Taylour and Pat Hill) that run it do a superb job. Everything runs smoothly. You learn many interesting things and get to socialize with experts from many other computer clubs. About 230 attended. One of the most important things I learned was how we could be more useful to the members by having Bob Hudak's excellent software choices demonstrated at the general meeting. The Tugnet club proved that the demonstration was the secret in motivating members to buy the CD when they could see how useful the program was.
Ink Jet Paper
Another useful bit of information for ink jet users was that using plain laser paper uses up substantial amounts of expensive ink so it is much better to use ink jet paper. At Costco they now have 2,500 sheets of 24 lb ink jet paper for only $19 which amounts to less than 0.8 cents per sheet or about $4 per ream of 500 sheets. At the same session some shocking information was mentioned which affects me greatly. I and many others write on writeable CDs with a common Sanford permanent marker. The Tugnet leader told how the solvents in the ink penetrate the top layer and could cause loss of data as the laser tries to read the disk. So right away I bought CD labeler for $20 at the vendor session. Incidentally that will make my CDs that I send out to schools look much more professional. He mentioned you can get special pens at three for ten dollars that are safe but one of our members said that Save On drugs has a safe permanent marker costing only 80 cents for two. I will check out the solvents in their ink.
The most popular of the sessions was by the young couple from Zero Knowledge in Montreal, Canada. Both were very sharp and talented, about 28 years old and neither had ever addressed a group of more than about ten people. Here, they were swamped and nervous with a packed house of 230 people and standing room only. When Stefan Tschunitz would get too nervous and pause Liliana Faillace would jump in and talk and vice versa. While he had notes on his laptop he hadn't realized that you can't run Power Point slides and see your notes on one computer at the same time. They thought they had bombed the presentation but later at the vendor's faire it was clear that they were a big success as people were almost fighting to get in line to talk to them and incidentally to get a T shirt and, like me, order their system.
What is Zero Knowledge? It is a program and system that protects your identity and what you do on the Internet. It is like an electronic firewall so that no one can track your activities which means you can accept Cookies without any fear. You probably have noticed that almost any web site insists on Cookies or they won't give you any information. I didn't understand all the details but was so impressed I plunked down my $40 to order the system. Their servers in Canada are in control so it is likely that you have to renew each year, but it's worth it. I will let you know more when I get the system working. Supposedly not even Zero Knowledge people know what you are doing. You are probably aware that the U.S. has a huge monitoring station in England that checks all electronic traffic with automatic filters that look for key words and phrases like bomb, revenge, explosive, etc. If you happen to say your child bombed a test the FBI could come knocking at your door within hours.
Do you take the time to get to know fellow members better? We have a wealth of talent in our club. See if you can guess who these mystery members are. One is an expert photographer which he learned as an aerial photographer in the Pacific during WW II. He is an avid inventor and holds a patent for a panoramic camera. In addition, he is an expert in electronics and in machine shop work. He can build almost anything like many of our other members. He has traveled the world in his job building high frequency antennas for satellite communications as well as extensive personal travel like a safari to Africa. In spite of all this he needs to learn more about computers so please help him.
My second mystery member is also an expert in electronics but at lower frequencies. During WW II he was an expert at climbing telephone poles and stringing wire. He even met General Eisenhower in person in Europe. If you need to know anything about telephones he should be the first one you ask.
My third mystery member loves to work on impossible problems. He cut his teeth on programming for mainframe computers and is comfortable with several operating systems on his computer. If you have a tough problem with your computer like I do with several of mine he is the person to turn to. He is a whiz at finding out things on the Internet. If you are missing a driver for an obscure printer or some other device he can tell you how to find it. He likes the Lycos search engine.
My fourth mystery member has been in the club for many years and is a real expert in DOS. He used to own a machine shop so he too can build almost anything. Like most of our members he loves to help people and is an expert at waving his hand inside a problem computer and suddenly it works. He seems to have that magic touch. When I needed 10,000 of a screw machine part made for one of my Tootie products he knew just where I could go to get them made. If you are looking for a share ware program he is the first person you should talk to. He also has a secret way to format a 1.44 mb floppy to 1.8 mb when you need a little extra space. Years ago I had a program that I downloaded from a student in Spain that would do the same thing but don't remember where it is.
Embarrassment of Riches
Do you get overwhelmed by software or hardware? I certainly do. I have lots of expensive software that I haven't got around to installing. One, for instance, is Formworks for making forms. I need a lot of forms for my rentals, manufacturing and teaching businesses but am still making them the hard way with WordStar. There are just so many things to do. The same applies to hardware. Dee Garcia demonstrated some excellent hardware some three years ago so that you could have portable CDROMs and hard drives. Somehow, in all my mess, I misplaced the software and one of the mystery people of the month suggested I look on the Internet. Herman Krouse was motivating me to install the hardware but didn't think his software would work on my NEC CDROM which had buttons for four disks. But Herman is very talented and his software worked on my machine. How lucky can one be? Now I can plug the CDROM or even a CDROM writer into any of my computers that don't have one to install software or to archive files and programs that are on any computer. Normally the CDROM talks to the IDE port but with this software it can talk to the parallel port and it fits on a floppy disk.
Editor's Note: John Hanson is the inventor of Tooties, a superb self‑teaching system used by millions in schools, homes, and by eye doctors around the world to improve vision. He also invented a new form of psychology called QET (Quick Effective Therapy) which transforms poor students into good students, almost overnight, usually in 5 to 15 days. He has also had outstanding success in helping brain damaged people, even years after their accident. Why go to therapy for years and spends lots of money when you can improve quite fast with QET? He uses computers to document his cases for his books so that others may benefit and improve their vision and other skills.
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