The Bug

Report

A Publication of the Greater South

Bay PC Users Group

Volume 16 Number 6

June 1998

 

eMedia's Guitar Method 1: CD-ROM

WinChip

Crash Course in Word 97

Software Library News

Needed: Distribution Editor

Digital Cameras

Has Netscape & Microsoft Met Their Match?

System Resources: Make Safer, Faster Computers

The Future of Modems

Health Information Links on the Internet

Quick Virus Test

GSBUG SIG Notes

Confused by Graphic Formats? Here are Some Basic Answers

Having Fun With Telemarketers

From the Editor

Cookies

Hardware Hazards

eMedia's

Guitar Method 1: CD-ROM

An evaluation by E.L. Nezgoda, GSBUG, Inc.

During a recent GS-BUG meeting, I volunteered to evaluate a CD-ROM tutorial. This is the first time I have volunteered for anything of significance since I joined the U.S. Marines on December 20, 1941.

eMediaís Guitar Method I is targeted for beginners. It surpasses the teaching techniques available in the traditional guitar books available in local libraries, as well as the older audio and video tapes. It's success lies in the fact that it is a state-of-the-art, multi-media, teaching tool.

Over 100 songs are accompanied by full motion video and sound. The lessons progress 10 strumming styles, playing melodies and finger-picking.

In addition to comprehensive lesson content, the CD-ROM features include built-in accessories including a tuner, recorder, metronome and a scrolling 250-chord dictionary. The automatic tuner feature allows you to tune the guitar quickly and easily by tuning the guitar into your microphone connected to the computer.

This tuning feature is activated by selecting "Tuner" from the tools menu. You use it by playing the open strings into the microphone. The automatic tuner detects the pitch and draws an upward pointing arrow at a location based on the detected pitch. When the arrow lines up with the mark corresponding to the string you are using, that string is in tune. This method appears to be superior to the traditional relative tuning techniques involving matching open strings to fretted notes on other strings.

However, you cannot evaluate a tutorial of this type without an actual hands on approach. I retrieved my Sears, circa 1951, acoustical guitar from the garage and attempted to tune it utilizing the automatic tuner feature. Not surprisingly, after almost 50 years, the guitar resisted and I broke the 5th or A string. However, this is not catastrophic immediately since only the first, second and third strings are played during the initial exercises with either pick, fingers or thumb while playing the simple chords. Time enough to replace all of the strings without holding up the initial practice sessions.

I particularly enjoy the recording feature, which allows you to record and play back. This not only lets you check your progress with the guitar over a period of time, it also allows you to sing along as well.

The scrolling 250-chord dictionary allows easy access to individual chords. A single click results in a small pop-up window displaying the appropriate finger positions. A click on this window sounds the chord for you.

A bonus feature is an Internet Song Guide with access directions to thousands of popular songs available on the Internet. The most popular site appears to be the On-Line Guitar Archive (OLGA). OLGA is a collection of lyrics, chords and/or tablature for thousands of songs. It is accessible, for free, thanks to the University of Nevada and other mirror sites.

OLGA sites can be found on the OLGA home page at http://www.olga.net.

I have been unable to thoroughly evaluate the full contents of this CD-ROM which contains 60 lessons and over 100 songs. However, I am impressed with the multi-media features, and would recommend it for beginner guitar students. Some of the same features may also appeal to advanced students.

eMediaís estimated street price of the disk, available for both Windows and the Mac is $59.95.

 

WinChip

By Herman Krouse, GSBUG, Inc.

E-mail: av153@lafn.org

 

 

My experience with the WinChip began when I was in the middle of setting up L.A. Freenet for Dr. Hanson. My computer froze as I was trying to shut it down. I then tried to reboot and couldnít. I then went to a bootable disk that I had made for just this purpose. It would not even boot up with a bootable system disk. Not knowing what to do, I got in touch with Carl Warner and, bless his soul, he pitched right in. He was having trouble seating the RAM chips in the appropriate slots as the clips seemed to be bent somewhat. Then I decided to call Dr. Sexton who had one of the WinChip boards and I asked him if I might have one. Of course he said ok.

Then Carl took my Pentium 120 board out and replaced it with the new WinChip board. Well, wouldnít you know, it too would not boot up. We then proceeded to take everything off the board till we got to a position where it did boot at least with a beep. Then Carl proceeded to replace one item of hardware at a time to find out what was causing the glitch.

By and by, we discovered that my second drive was causing the computer not to boot. When we removed the second drive, the computer began to play for us. Carl took the drive with him and tested it and found that it began its spin then froze tight. I happened to have another drive and Carl installed it in place of the bad drive.

Then began the marathon of getting Windows to recognize all the hardware that had changed. I was getting page faults and warnings that all my drives were running in MS-DOS mode. I was also getting orange exclamation marks for some of my hardware. So I took the bull by the horns and reinstalled Windows 95 and, low and behold, everything began to clear up. I had some problems getting my scanner and modem recognized but with some perseverance on my part everything finally went into place.

 

The computer now seems to be working better than ever. I ran a system check on it with Norton Utilities and it reports to me that I have a Centaur chip indeed but it also tell me the speed of the chip is 175 MHz not the 200 MHz that it was advertised to be. It also tells me that the performance of the chip is 41 percent higher that a Pentium 90. All in all, it seems to run nicely even if I am not getting the speed that was advertised.

 

 

Crash Course in Word 97

By Tom Tucknott, GSBUG

E-mail: tom@Mrinter.net

This book is designed to teach you all the skills that the typical Word 97 user needs on the job every day. List price is $15 for the 81 page book. The book style is to present a topic per page; about one-third of the page is a verbal description, and the rest is screens, views, commands and keystrokes. This approach is quick and easy to learn. It is also useful for reference and review since continuity is not required.

The book teaches ten editing skills, ten formatting skills, four skills for working with documents, how to work with templates, and how to create and work with tables.

I felt that this book is useful as a learning and reference tool and fulfills its mission. The list price is high for an 81 page book but User Groups can obtain a 40% discount and free shipping by calling 800-221-5528.

 

Software Library News

By Bob Hudak, GSBUG, Inc.

EMail:rsh532@aol.com

Liz included an article in last monthís newsletter on a Win95 utility called Twofer. She caught me a bit off guard and I did not mention it in my library report. I had planned it for this month. If you do not want to spend the time looking for it on the Internet, I have it on disk # 90 in the library. What is Twofer? Twofer simultaneously runs two copies of Windows Explorer, allowing you to hunt and peck and scroll to your heart's content. You drag files or folders from one window to the other. You can set it up to start in different folders. Nice utility to have.

Another utility program I looked at this month was UUDeview for Windows. UUDeview for Windows is a powerful package to decode files that you have received via e-mail. It supports decoding of uuencoded, Base64, BinHex and xxencoded data. You do not need to edit input files prior to decoding. All you have to do is to save the e-mails from your mail or news reader into a file, and then fire up UUDeview. It will first scan all files, sorting parts where necessary, and then present you with a list of decodeable files. You can also use the program to encode files into a uuencoded or Base64-encoded text file in order to send it away by e-mail. So what does all this mean? If someone sends you a binary file (a graphic etc) within an e-mail message instead of an attached file, it has to be converted to ASCII charters (encoded). If you are sending a graphic to someone on Juno, this is the only way to do it. Juno will not accept attached files. My son-in-law in Puerto Rico sent me a graphic within an e-mail from the service he uses that will not accept attached files. This is the program I used to recover the graphic. It works very well. Pick up a copy for your tool chest and be ready to decode that strange looking e-mail you receive.

By the way, I have the latest version of Juno in the library. I wish every member would have an e-mail address. Juno is no cost to you to use. All you need is a modem ($20.00) and a telephone line. Buy a modem and if you need help installing it, bring it to one of the hardware SIGs. We can get you on line.

The next program I have is Masterbooter. MasterBooter is a very powerful utility which enables your computer to use multiple operating systems without changing hard disks or messing with boot floppies. You can choose among up to three operating systems at boot time (six in the registered version). MasterBooter is compatible with many operating systems. This program shouldn't conflict with any other programs which don't alter your disk's Master Boot Record. Known programs which alter the MBR (and therefore can't be used with MasterBooter) are: 1) LILO (Linux's booter) if installed in MBR. Note that if LILO is installed in its partition's boot sector (the Linux partition superblock), then MasterBooter CAN coexist with LILO! and 2) MicroHouse's EZ-Drive-OnTrack's Disk Manager. There is a Rescue utility from Norton Utilities that will back up your MBR and is also a good choice to save all important areas of your hard disks. It has a program for partitioning your drive and good instructions on how to do it. It will handle Win98 if you register it ($20.00). If you want to have several operating systems on your machine, this program should be of great help.

We have a great newsletter due to the hard work of our editor, Liz Orban. I want you all to make things easier for her by supplying her with reviews on programs you are using because they are great. Everyone is also interested in the programs that do not work well. Tell us the problems and how you solved them (Del?). Original articles by members are what we want to see in the newsletter. We are going to be taking pictures with a digital camera of members at the meeting. When you turn in an article or review, Liz will add your picture in the heading. Everyone will get to know who you are. This is going to look great. Fire up those word processors and save your work as a ASCII (plain text) file on a floppy and give it to any board member. Or send the file by e-mail to Liz.

In the January news letter, a coupon was printed for getting Print Artist 3.0 for FREE. Shipping was $5.95. This is a very good and easy program for making cards, signs etc. The end of June will be the last chance to get this program. I want to show you what the program can do at my next SIG meeting on June 17. Hope to see you then.

 

 

Needed: Distribution Editor

 

Dr. John Hanson, whom we all know as the inventor of Totties, has performed flawlessly as our distribution editor for several year. John will no longer be able to perform this task due to ill health. Everyone be sure to thank John for a job well done.

We need someone to take Johnís place. The job entails pickup of the newsletters from the xerox store, paying the store, collecting reimbursement from the Treasurer, and bringing the newsletters to the General Meeting on the second Thursday of the month. If you are unable to make the pick up, you could inform the President so that someone else can stand in for you. We would greatly appreciate your help. Please volunteer.

 

Digital Cameras

-The State of the Art -

By Mike Martin © 1998

SMUG Executive Board Member, Public Relations

Reprinted from South Mountain Users Group, 4/98

All of us have been curious at one time or another about the practicality of buying a Digital Camera. This year, the interest is building rapidly, but with all the models available - the decision to buy is a difficult one. Yes, the cameras save money on film and processing, and give almost instant feedback for evaluating the photo - but there are still large hidden costs involved. What should you look for - what should you buy?

First, you have to answer a couple of questions about your usage. Will you be mostly using the photos in a Computer Album, in an Internet web page, or in a PowerPoint presentation? Or, is your primary purpose to print out the photos? The answer to these questions will ultimately determine what you will buy.

There are many manufacturers - and their products are similar in features and functions. The most important feature to look at is the resolution. Early models had resolution of 320-400 dots, and then progressed to 480x320 dots. These resolutions are useless unless you like the texture and pattern of sand paper. The least resolution you should consider is 640x480 - and that resolution is the same as full screen in your lowest VGA resolution. Anything lower will show up as quarter screen or less on your monitor. The 640x480 size looks good on the computer, plus the files are compact enough to send quickly as part of a WEB page. They also fit nicely into a PowerPoint presentation. In a compressed JPEG format, 20 will fit on a floppy disk. However, these will not print well larger than postcard size. Cameras in this resolution cost from $300 to $700.

If your primary purpose is print, you have to pay more for a camera with at least 1024x768 resolution, and the best commonly available is 1280x960 selling in the $600 to $1,300 price range. Kodak does sell cameras with much higher resolution, but I doubt that any of our club members will be spending $4,000 for a hobby or business camera!

But now, I need to back up and discuss basics. Digital Photography raises the performance bar on the rest of your system. You may have to upgrade parts of your system before considering a camera, or be forced to upgrade just after making your purchase. First of all, Digital files tend to be large, and the projects you create take up massive amounts of hard drive space. The first project I created was a Christmas letter/collage. I created it in Sierra's Print Artist program. The printer file was 29 Megabytes, took 25 minutes to print, and crashed my system every 3rd print. This year I used Microsoft/Kodak's Picture It, and it took only 14 Megabytes, 8 minutes to print, and didn't crash the computer. So, you need roughly a Gig for work space, and you need enough RAM that your editing program and file can stay just in memory. If your file is too large for RAM, your system will create an editing file on your hard drive, and RAM is roughly 1,000 times faster than a hard drive. Sad to say, but 32 MB is the bare minimum for photo editing - and 64 MB is about right. Luckily - RAM is cheap right now.

Since you are routinely dealing with huge files, your video card needs to be fast, with good color depth. If you have a 1 MB basic card - forget it. The chip set determines speed, and the amount of RAM determines only color depth. A 2 MB card might give you "true color" at 640x480 or 800x600, but not at larger resolutions. Remember, to edit 16.7 million colors in the "true color" or 24 bit mode -you have to be running windows in that mode; and your monitor should be SVGA - not just VGA. So, you should be considering a 4 MB card with a fast chip set. If the video card is fast enough for the latest "shoot-em-up" game - it is probably fast enough for photo editing.

So, you will probably need to upgrade your printer to one with 600x600 resolution as a bare minimum - IN COLOR MODE. Many 600x600 printers drop to 600x300 when printing color. 720x720 is better. 1200x1200 is great. And 1440x1440 is the best. Some Epson printers offer a 6-ink photo realistic cartridge - not cheap - but it looks great. When you start printing - the costs continue to rise. If you print on plain paper, the ink soaks in, spreads, and gets muddy. You need to print on "coated" paper so that the ink will dry on the surface and stay transparent. Light passes through the ink, reflects from the white paper and passes back through the transparent ink. This paper sells for about a dime a sheet. You can also buy glossy photo paper, but it costs from 50 cents to a dollar a page. Several companies sell dedicated printers that put out great 4x6 photos, but they also cost about a dollar a print.

So, now I'm going to lay out a strategy for buying a Digital Camera. You get the surprises first - before shelling out the bucks. First part of the strategy is to find a digital photo editing program to install on your system. You probably already have one that will suffice for the testing. Photoshop has the best reputation along with the highest cost. Corel Draw has good Photo software - and it's available stand-alone. Micrografx has Picture Publisher available stand-alone or as part of their Graphics Workshop. The Microsoft/Kodak Picture It program is good, and Adobe has an entry level program called Photo Deluxe.

Next, go to the WEB and check out the Kodak, Sony, Olympus, Casio, Yashica, and Agfa sites. Download 640x480, 1024x760, and 1280x1024 resolution photos - preferably in the native JPEG formats - rather than their processed/enhanced versions. Play with the photos in your editing software, and check out the file sizes. Do some printing on your Inkjet and evaluate the results in high quality - coated paper mode. Keep in mind that the photos you are working with are slightly better than the ones you will be taking. If it looks inadequate on your print - and your equipment is NOT the limiting factor - you need a higher resolution camera.

Now that you have tested the resolutions - and verified that things will work with your system - you are ready to evaluate the other features on the cameras. Cheaper cameras will only use their internal 2 or 4 MB of RAM for storage. Photos must be downloaded into your system before taking more pictures. Unless you have a notebook - you'll need to go home and do it. Cameras ONLY advertise their highest resolution numbers-but the listed capacity is ONLY of the lowest resolution photos. Generally, this "Economy Mode" is one fourth of the resolution of the highest quality mode. So if the camera says it takes "up to 80 photos" they are really saying that it holds 20 high resolution photos. Also, there is NO standardization of the terms used for resolution. On a Kodak 120 camera "High Resolution" is 1280x960. On a SONY camera "High Resolution" is 640x480. And 640x480 looks like half the resolution of 1280x960 at first glance. Look again. It is actually half the horizontal resolution, AND half the vertical resolution - in other words - one fourth the resolution.

If a camera uses removable media - there are several possibilities. SONY uses plain floppies - but only does 640x480 resolution - getting 20 highest resolution photos on a floppy. Kodak uses flash memory cards that can be inserted (with an adapter) into a PC slot on a notebook - but cards cost $100 for 8MB or $2OO for l5MB. Two of the 1280x960 photos fit on a floppy - so about 10 would fit on an 8 MB card - depending on compression. Olympus and Agfa cameras use a thinner "credit card" type media that sells for $69, a 4 MB card, or $l49 for 8MB. These cards have exposed circuitry and may not be as durable as the standard flash cards.

On the horizon - lomega is pushing a smaller version of the "ZIP" disk called the "CLIC" disk. It holds 40 MB and has a media cost of $10. Manufacturers are planning cameras around this media - but industry writers are questioning the durability of the new media. The design leaves the top half of the floppy exposed to dust and fingerprints. Time will tell if this becomes the media of choice

So I guess the moral of this story is that this may or may not be the correct time to buy - but your camera is only the "down-payment" on your photo system.

 

Has Netscape & Microsoft Met Their Match?

Wall Street Journal Article Overview by Joe Greco, SMUG Assistant Newsletter Editor

Reprinted from South Mountain Users Group, 4/98

Besides playing each other in the 1996 World Series, what do the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves have in common? The answer? When it comes to hits, they both rely on Apache.

No, Apache is not the name of a young slugger, it's the name of the world's heaviest hitter when it comes to Web server software. Netscape? Microsoft? You may ask. Nope, they are still in the minors. According to a report in The Wall Street Journal (March 19, 1998), Apache is installed at twice as many sites compared to server solutions developed by either Netscape or Microsoft.

Apache's development was quite amazing. It was written by a loose confederation of programmers who, working in their spare time, developed and distributed the product via the Internet. What is more amazing is the price: It's free.

As you may expect, Netscape and Microsoft are not happy. Microsoft's Bill Gates, the businessman that he is, knows Apache is his biggest competitor. Together, the two software giants hand out millions of free copies of their browser software to help consumers navigate the Web. The idea behind the free browsers is that corporate buyers will remember them when it comes time to spend the big bucks on Web server software. But Apache is foiling this strategy.

Free or not, many industry experts agree that it is the quality of the product and not the cost (or lack thereof) which makes Apache so popular. Developed by users, who just happened to be programmers, the product has consistently surpassed any commercially available product in terns of sophisticated features, rapid updates and bug fixes. Being one of the first products on the market didn't hurt either.

"We needed a better server for our own purposes, and we wanted to take our future into our own hands," stated Brian Behiendoif," one of Apache's founders. The question is' with huge numbers of programmers who 'meet everyday on the Internet, will this type of development become the wave of the future, or is this just like the young superstar, who, after a few great years is never heard from again.

 

System Resources: Make Safer, Faster Computers

By Keith Aleshire, President

Reprinted from Digital Viking, 1/98

When you start your windows or Windows 95 computer, you have a pool of memory set aside called system resources. This memory is used for certain Windows functions, such as drawing the various menus.

When starting a virgin installation of Windows 3.x, the typical amount of resources free is about 88%. In Windows 95, 97% is a very good number.

What? Me worry?

Why should one worry about system resources? When resources fall to a critical level (70% for Windows 3.x and 60% forWindows 95), your computer becomes sluggish and prone to crashing.

One reason Windows 95 is more stable than Windows 3.x is because the amount of system resources Windows 95 can use has been increased ten-fold.

However, the various software programs and utilities installed can drag down system resources.

These utilities-let's call them tasks-may run in the background oblivious to you. In some respects,these are the Windows equivalents of the terminate-and-stay-resident (TSR) programs we wrestled with in our DOS computers.

For example, Microsoft Office installs the Office Shortcut and FindFast utilities. Also, the Office Menu Bar is loaded to help you get quick access to each component of Office.

Another example is in Lotus Smartsuite, which loads the Smartcenter and Suite Start utilities. Quicken loads its Billminder to remind you to pay your bills.

If you load antivirus software, another task is loaded in the background. Each of these utilities, by themselves, is beneficial and helpful. Together, they drag down your system.

Check it out

What percentage system resources do you have? When first starting your computer and before loading any other programs, try the following:

I. Press WIN+Break, or right-click on My Computer and select Properties, or select System from Control Panel.

2. Select the Performance tab (see Figure I, below). Write down your free system resources below: ____ % FREE

If you're usingWindows 3.x, go to the Program Manager and select Help|About Program Manager

What's Running?

If you're using Windows 95, press Ctrl+Alt+Delete once. This displays the Task List of what's running in the background (see Figure 2, below). Often, two tasks are always there: Explorer, the main Windows 95 shell, and Systray, the system tray for tasks in the lower right corner of the Taskbar. All other tasks are overhead.

In Windows 3.x, press Ctrl+Esc to see the task list. You will see Program Manager as one task that runs all the time. Again, all other tasks are overhead.

Write down what's running below:

Some of these tasks are self-evident. NAVPW32 is the Norton Antivirus software that looks for viruses as you use your computer

Whereíre they from?

These tasks are often loaded in either of two places: the Startup folder or group, or the WIN.INI file. In Windows 95, these tasks are loaded in the Startup folder, or C:\WINDOWS\START MENU\PROGRAMS\STARTUP. InWindows 3.x, anything in the Startup group gets loaded each time you start Windows.

One way to reduce the system resources is to not load these otherwise helpful tasks. In Windows 95, move their icons to an alternative location, such as a folder called STARTOLD. InWindows 3.x, move the icons out of the Startup group to another existing group.

After doing this, restart your computer and check your resources again. What difference did this make? Often, you will find that your computer is faster or more stable. On a new computer, I had 75% system resources right off the bat. After moving some of the tasks I didn't need out of the Startup folder and rebooting, system resources jumped to 97%!

Edit to perfection

Another place that tasks get loaded from is in WlN.INI. One handy utility is SYSEDIT, which lets you edit all of your startup files. From Windows 95, select start|Run, and type SYSEDIT into the text box, then click OK. In Windows 3.x, select File|Run, and enter SYSEDIT into the text box, then click OK.

Check the LOAD= and RUN= lines at the top of the WlN.INI file. Often, your Windows software may enter tasks on these lines.

To keep these lines from running when Windows starts, press the Enter key before the first task that appears right after the equal (=) sign. Then enter a semicolon (;). This "remarks" out and keeps that line from running.

Again, you must restart your computer and check the system resources.

In Windows 95, there is one other place that tasks are loaded from. Some tasks that work very closely with the operating system, such as some uninstaller programs, are loaded from the Windows Registry and are best removed by uninstalling the program from the Add/Remove Programs choice in the Control Panel.

Make it so...

By increasing system resources, you can stay working in Windows 95 longer between reboots and with more confidence that your system can run multiple programs at the same time without locking up. Wouldn't you like that?

 

The Future of Modems

Taken from Toby Scottís E-Mail publication Sign on, itís good!

Right now, we are all (or nearly all) accessing the Internet via a modem, and in most cases that modem is an internal modem sitting in an ISA slot. In vol. 1.1, we talked a bit about PC98 and the fact that the new PC hardware format due out this Summer will do away with ISA slots (the standard 8 and 16 bit slots you usually plug your modems, sound cards, network cards and the like into). The temptation may be to run out and buy an expensive PCI 56K modem. For a variety of reasons, I think I'd wait.

First, most existing computers have a limited number of PCI slots, so you won't be able to replace everything that way anyway. More importantly, by the time you get a PC98, you may not be using a modem anyway. Both cable TV and phone companies are trotting out direct connections with speeds up to l.5 rnbs (30 times faster than a 56K modem). While they are pricey (if available at all) right now, there will be increasing competition in the coming months.

There are over-the-air boxes that can deliver 56K-1.5 mbs over short distances, satellite boxes with speeds up to 300K and xDSL over regular copper phone lines all waiting in the wings. I have no idea which technology(ies) will win, but I suspect that you may want something other than a modem before long. Make do with what you have for as long as you are comfortable.

Incidentally, the coming technologies ought to just about put a nail in the coffin of faxes, also. Faxes are slow, can't easily and accurately be entered into computer documents and lack the security of digital encryption and guaranteed digital signatures. All these technologies are finished and only waiting for user-friendly products to bring them to your desktop. At 28K, none of them really shine.

But once you have an Intemet connection at something above 300K, you aren't going to want to print dots at 9.6K or even 14.4K. Trust me. Scanners are cheaper than faxes for the times when you do need to incorporate something already on tree-ware into your e-mail.

Copyright 1998 by Toby Scott for the Channel Islands PC Users Group. Everyone is encouraged to forward it to friends and it may be freely reproduced in whole or in part as long as this paragraph appears with it. To subscribe, send a blank e-mail message to support@scotts.net with the subject of "subscribe." To unsubscribe, send to the same location with the subject "unsubscribe." Membership information is available at

http://www.cipcug.org/history. html#MEMB

 

Health Information Links on the Internet

By Bill Eastman, North Texas PCUG

Reprinted from Phoenix PCUG, 4/98

When I got diagnosed with Type 11 Diabetes in March 1997, I went searching on the Internet to see what I could find. >From the diabetes links, I took everything afier the .com and .net off and found out there was REALLY A LOT of medical information available.

http://www. medicinenet.com Medicinenet

http://www.mediconsult.com - Mediconsult

http://www.mayo.ivi.com - Mayo Health O @ sis

http://www.columbia.net - Columbia HICA Healthcare Corporation

http ://www. ypn .com/living/health - YPN: health

http://www.healthanswers.com

http://www.nlm.nih.gov - MEDLINE

 

Quick Virus Test

From Andy Chakires

Reprinted from The Outer Edge, 2/98

Here!s a quick test for determining if your system is infected with a virus. At the DOS prompt, key in CHKDSK [Enter]

If your systemís conventional DOS Ram is at 640K, youíIl see, among other things, the line: "655,360 total bytes memory", which affirms the maximum bytes that you should have (640k x 1024 = 655,360). You likely have a virus if the reported nurnber is smaller than this.

This tip comes from tech support at McAfee Enterprises, the anti-virus people in Santa Clara, CA, (408)

988-3832.

 

GSBUG SIG Notes

By Martine Alter

E-mail: bg336@lafn.org

 

GSBUG Graphics SIG

8 people attended 5/19/98

Took pictures using Sony Mavica model MVC-FD7 digital still camera. This model has the zoom lens option (the FD5 does not) and stores the pictures on 3.5 inch floppy disks, 40 pictures per disk. Took pictures indoors and out. Noted that the LCD screen on the camera back was hard to see outdoors. Camera body needs a rubber eyepiece to cut the light.

Downloaded digital camera pictures via floppy disk to the PC. This style of data transfer seems easier than other digital cameras that use a serial cord to download data.

Installed driver for a Canon 7000 color inkjet printer onto Emmettís laptop PC. Free Microsoft Photo Editor software included with printer setup.

Printed digital camera pictures on bond paper. When soaked in water, colored ink did not run.

Set up Sony Steady Shot Handycam Vision Video Hi8 model CCD-TRV82 video camera. No filming done. Future project is to capture images from camera using Snappy software.

GSBUG Hardware SIG

20 people attended 5/21/98

Installed Western Digital 5.1 GB hard drive in a 486/66 (circa 1994). Problem encountered when system BIOS would not recognize more than 2GB. Used EZ Drive software utility to partition the new hard drive.

Installed Western Digital 6GB hard drive in Pentium/120 (circa 1996) that has a VX chipset. Made the 210MB hard drive a slave. Same problem as above. Again, used EZ Drive software utility to partition the new hard drive.

GSBUG Graphics SIG

10 people attended 5/26/98

Took several pictures of each attendee with Sony digital camera. Each subject put on a separate disk so pictures could be taken home. Noted that if there is not enough space on the disk, you need to reduce picture size by 1/4. Using Jpeg compression reduces clarity.

Tried to clean up pictures with MS Photo Editor, which has limited elementary features like cut, paste, linedraw, crop, and smudge. Noted that there are many photo editing software packages available, but that they are too overpriced for the average personís needs.

Set up Sony digital camera; no filming done. Noted camera features like the video can be watched on TV, can edit a tape onto another tape, and camera also records from VCR or TV.

Took Polaroid shots to scan into PC. The purpose was to check the scanned picture quality. If good enough, this method could be a cheaper alternative to purchasing a digital camera, also faster than film processing. Ran out of time before pictures could be scanned; will scan Polaroid shots next meeting. Note: A color picture will come out black and white when scanned onto a full disk.

Note: PC Computing Magazinesí latest issue compares 6 digital cameras.

Note: Best Buys has a 300 dpi scanner for $49 (after rebates). Software will increase dpi to 600.

Editorís Note: CompUSA sells Micrografx Windows Draw6 Print Studio for $49.95. It is a very easy to use graphics program that does more than youíre likely to ever want to do. See last monthís newsletter, page 7. You can also see it demonstrated at my Publisher SIG. Another reasonably priced program is Adobe Photo Deluxe 2.0 at $49 list. This is only useful for raster images (see page 9 Confused by Graphic Formats?) while Draw6 can be used for both raster and vector, handles 55 formats.

 

Confused by Graphic Formats? Here are Some Basic Answers

By Ken Fermoyle

Reprinted from The Computer Booter, 11/97

Judging by questions I'm asked regularly, many computer users don't really understand the differences between vector (or object-oriented) images produced by graphics draw programs and bit-mapped (raster) images produced by paint programs. The differences are significant, and knowledge of what they are will help you choose the best tool for a given graphics task. First, a few basic definitions are in order.

Draw programs use mathematical expressions to create objects (lines, curves, circles, squares, etc.) that make up the drawing. Paint programs create an image dot by dot, by turning the pixels that represent each dot on or off. When you draw a line in a program such as Corel Draw, for example, you create a mathematical formula that describes that line and its location. When you draw a line in any paint program, you create a series of dots that make up the line.

Each method has advantages and disadvantages. Draw images are resolution-independent; because of the way they are described, objects are printed at the resolution of the output device, be it a 300-dpi (dots per inch) laser printer or a 1270-dpi imagesetter. Moreover, they can be made smaller or larger without affecting their quality and sharpness.

Paint images are created at a given resolution that can't be changed. So an image created at 72- or 300-dpi will print only at that resolution even if the output device is capable of 1270-dpi or more. Nor can they be made much larger or smaller than originally painted. Blow them up much and paint images become coarse, with obvious "jaggies." Reduce them significantly and the dots merge, making images muddy and indistinct.

Paint image file sizes tend to be much larger than draw image files, though introduction of compressed image formats such as JPEG and GIF in recent years has reduced this imbalance to some degree. To illustrate the size differences, I saved an identical piece of art in several formats; here are their respective sizes: CGM, 20KB; JPEG, 45KB; TIFF, 46KB; BMP 8,974KB! CGM (Computer Graphic Metafile) is a draw or vector format; the others are bit-mapped formats.

Metafile formats such as CGM, WMF, EPS and PostScript basically use draw techniques to create images, but bit-mapped files can be added to add richness. Programs like Corel Draw and Xara or Adobe Illustrator allow image layering to produce illustration-quality images.

All this made it a no-brainer for desktop publishers to select draw art whenever possible, especially back in the 1980s when much of the paint clip art available was in PCX, native format of Zsoft's PC Paintbrush. It usually was quite low in resolution: 150 and even 72 dpi (the latter to match screen resolution). Many of us preferred the CGM format or, if using a PostScript device, EPS (Encapsulated PostScript) graphics-native or proprietary format of Adobe Illustrator, first of the high-end illustration graphics programs.

When scanners began gaining popularity, the TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) bit-mapped format developed by Aldus, Microsoft and others specifically for capturing scanned images, was used widely. Digital cameras will further popularize bit-mapped formats, and we can only hope that a standard will emerge from the many proprietary formats now used. Biggest boost to bit-mapped graphics, however, has been the World Wide Web, which requires bit-mapped images, usually .JPG (short for JPEG, Joint Photographic Experts Group) or .GIF (Graphics Interchange Format). Both formats greatly compress the size of bit-mapped files; JPG files may be 20 times smaller than the original image, but images may lose something in the translation.

Graphics professionals may argue that this information is too simplistic, but space is limited and I believe it does cover the basics. Perhaps your group has several members with wide graphics experience and they could provide more detailed insight into different facets of computer graphics in future meetings.

Ken Fennoyle (kfermoyle@earthlink. net) has written some 2,500 articles for publications ranging from Playboy and Popular Science to MacWeek, Microtimes & PC Laptop. He was cohost/producer of a radio talk show on computers and a partner in a DTP service bureau during the 80s. Fermoyle Publications currently offers editorial, consulting & graphics design services.

 

Having Fun With Telemarketers

Anonymous

 1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for

bankruptcy and you could sure use some money. Ask, "How long can I

keep it? Do I have to ever pay it back, or is it like the other

money I borrowed before my bankruptcy?"

 

 2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "Why do you

want to know?" Or you can say, "I'm so glad you asked, because no

one seems to care these days and I have all these problems, my

sciatica is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died...."

When they try to get back to the sales process, just continue on

with telling about your problems.

 

3. If the person says he's Joe Doe from the XYZ Company, ask him

to spell his name, then ask him to spell the company name, then ask

where it is located. Continue asking personal questions or

questions about the company for as long as necessary.

  

4. This one works better if you are male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name

is Judy and I'm with Canter and Siegel services.... You: "Hang on a

second." (few seconds pause) "Okay, (in a really husky voice) what

are you wearing?"

 

5. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up with their Family and

Friends plan, reply, in as sinister a voice as you can muster, "I

don't have any friends... would you be my friend?"

 

From the Editor

By Liz Orban, GSBUG, Inc.

E-mails: lizorban@mrinter.net

bi657@lafn.org

Our hardware SIG leader, Carl Warner, has recommended that members who want to know more about the various types of RAM refer to an article in the April 1998 issue of Computer Current. The article discussed DRAM, SRAM, FPM DRAM, EDRAM, VRAM, EDO RAM, CDRAM, WRAM, SDRAM and RDRAM. The article, "RAM Cram", is available on the internet at www.currents.net/socal.

At the last Publisher SIG on June 2nd, we showed some animated gif files, and weíre hoping to show how its done at the next SIG to be held Friday, July 10. We also used Corel PrintHouse to make a card, as Marv will tell you in the next article.

 

Cookies

By Marv Roth, GSBUG, Inc.

I brought both oatmeal and cinnamon biscuits - Forrelli Biscuits a la Cannelle - to the publisher SIG and only five members attended to eat them. I would have brought even more cookies if I knew attendance would be so low. I requested tea, but I only got coffee. Coffee is bad for my health.

The cookies gave me inspiration for a card. One sheet is divided into four faces. The first face says Thanks for the Cookies , with a picture of cookies and a teacup. The cookies were obtained from Corel Print House and cloned three times to make more cookies.

A new font, a new size, all in black letters "Thanks for the Cookies". The comment from the group was "Bring homemade next time." This was another font, this was another size, this was another color. The back, or page 4 was dated and signed by The Group. The cookie maven will see you next month.

Hardware Hazards

By Carl Warner, GSBUG, Inc.

E-mail:bi467@lafn.org

The introduction of the WinChip to GSBUG has caused a flurry of activity among the lucky winners of the door prizes, and the other members who are doing evaluations.

As the recipient of the first door prize, I eagerly went out to purchase a few additional components to assemble the WinChip machine. The WinChip CPU came installed in a motherboard, model VA502. I added memory, a video card and drives and the system worked fine. The documentation says that this configuration is not recommended for NT Server applications, so naturally, I installed NT Server just to give it a check out. The system has performed all applications which Iíve tried so far, and is very responsive.

Iíve had the opportunity to assist in the setup of five additional WinChip machines donated to GSBUG, and the only problems encountered were from operator errors or omissions. I am definitely looking forward to the release of the WinChip 225-P6.

I had another motherboard by IWILL on hand, so I installed the WinChip, set a few jumpers, and another configuration worked flawlessly.

In the race to produce faster and faster CPUís, it appears that there is to be no end to this quest. However, in my humble opinion, having worked with computers from the 8080 CPU to the Pentium P II - 300, the WinChip provides the computing power to meet the needs of many, many people who just want to get a job done, for a reasonable cost.


Retrieved by Memoweb from b0698.htm at 2/1/99