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 8
by John Sellers
Randy Whittle will be the guest speaker, demonstrating some of the PowerQuest family of products. Randy will not only demonstrate but educate you on How To Organize Your Hard Drive, Running Multiple Operating Systems and How To Protect Your Hard Drive.
As an organization tool, PartitionMagic V6 is unique. Create, resize, merge, and convert partitions without destroying data! Exceptional ease of use with wizard functionality makes partitioning tasks effortless.
Once your computer is set up, it's time to create a backup copy with Drive Image V4, the newest version of the company's fast, complete solution for system backup and recovery. This product further simplifies the backup process by adding the ability to write images directly to CD-R and CD-R/W devices and adds another level of protection for users' important data by including continuous data backup with PowerQuest's DataKeeper.
Come to our next user group meeting and learn all about organizing & protecting your hard drive. As time permits, Randy will demonstrate many of the newest PowerQuest products & answer your questions as well.
Special User Group Prices on all of these products will be offered and available for you to purchase at the meeting and take home with you. Randy will bring handouts and exciting door prizes as well. It should be a super meeting. Bring a friend and don't miss it!
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
by Bob Hudak
I came across 3 great programs for you this month. One of the great things about them is that they all fit on one 3 1/2" floppy. Disk # 53 is what to ask for. A treasure for only $3.00. Another great feature is that you can run two of the programs right from the floppy. So let me tell you a little about each of them.
This Freeware utility allows you to view or print a listing of folders and files on a hard drive or any removable media (local or networked) or save as a comma delimited file for importing into database. The list can be printed out in Standard Letter size ( 11 x 8 ) or in ZIP, CD, Jet, Jaz, etc... case layout; sorted by name, size, date, etc. Win95 ,Win98 , NT4. Note: There is a known issue with the 'Browse' button under Windows ME and Windows 2000 (a new release will have a fix).
Did you ever try to print a directory of a folder, floppy or a data CD? It does not work too well under Windows. I have a few sample printouts for you to look at. You can sort the list or leave it unsorted, print it in one or two columns (on a CD layout you get 29 items per columns), have lines between items or not, number the lines or not, select a font, file attributes, size and put a title and date in the heading. When creating a CD with a lot of MP3 or data files and you want to printa listing in a size that will fit the CD case, it prints multiple pages. This caught my attention because printing what is on the CD was not a clean procedure. This program works great.
This program is used to generate passwords. I have this problem of my mind going blank when I am signing on to a web site that requires a password. I can't come up with a good password or I use the same one in a number of sites. Now, I generate a number of passwords, up to 15 characters in length, and put them in my password note pad. Now when I am asked for a password I am ready. All I need to do is write the name of the site next to the password. It works for me. Password security is serious business. Most people actually want to use a good, secure password, but they have a problem with making up a truly random one. Randomly generating strong, mixed case, alphanumeric passwords is what this program does. Random passwords are recognized as one of the best security measure you can implement. They are not vulnerable to dictionary-type attacks. The only way to crack a strong password is by brute force, trying every possible combination of password length and characters. This takes time and computing power, lucky guesses are a statistical impossibility. The program has NO limitations whatsoever. This program is free for use by individuals.
The third program is a graphic file viewer. So what is the big deal? It is small and handles about 75 different file formats. This includes 15 audio formats and 5 movie file formats. It even handles SFW files which is the format that the Seattle Filmworks uses when you save your pictures to a CD. Of course they give you a viewer but that is just another viewer to load that will ONLY work on one file format. This program also shows you thumbnail views, which makes it easy to find what you are looking for. You can do file conversions from one format to another, cropping, resizing, enhancing colors, and sharpening. Hey, I bet you thought I was talking about PhotoShop. Another feature I like is the slide show. Select the pictures you want to show and how long they stay on screen, get the popcorn and let the show begin. This is a program that is worth having on your machine.
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For you new members that have not heard about the program EnditAll, which is on disk # 28, read this. This program shuts down all the programs that you have running with just three mouse clicks. When loading a new program or burning a CD you do not want anything else running and this is the easiest way to do that. Pick up a copy of this must have program.
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If you are looking for a entry level computer for yourself, kids, grandkids, friends, etc., to do word processing, emailing messages to friends, or other fun tasks, listen up. The club and members have a number of 486 computers for which we need to find a home. The price on these units is CHEAP, depending on how the are equipped.. For example:
Gateway 2000 486-66, 8 meg Ram, 420 meg HD, CD, 3 1/2" floppy and a Gateway Crystalscan 14" monitor that can do 1024 NI. Has Win 95 plus a number of other programs loaded. Comes with a mouse and keyboard. $60.00 for the works.
This is a sample of what we have. There are other 486 and 586 machines available. What is not available is space to store these goodies. Call Bob Hudak at 323-0579 or send email (email@example.com) to put in your order and requirements. Can bring the unit to the Wednesday hardware SIG meeting at the Torrance Scout Center for pickup. After you buy one of these computers you can have the hardware SIG help you add, remove, or exchange some of the components. These are of a kind, so it is first come with the money who gets the first choice of these computers.
Other machines for sale include a 486-33, a 486-80, (3) Pentium 200 machines, with or without monitors, keyboards and mouse. Call with your requirements and we will work out a price.
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by Frank Chao
Welcome to the 36th article in this sequence of diatribes about the Internet and your access to it. Things are changing fast and there is a lot to report this month.
BLUELIGHT WILL DISCONTINUE FREE SERVICE
Bluelight will discontinue the free version of their dial-up Internet service on August 29th.
UPDATE ON JUNO AND NETZERO
Juno and Netzero plan to merge before the end of the year. At that time, they will become subsidiaries of a new company which will be called “United Online”. After the merger is completed, Juno will no longer provide free dial-up Internet service. At that time, only the Netzero portion of United Online will offer free Internet service. See:
In the meantime, Juno’s e-mail and Web access work just fine so you can continue to enjoy this fine service for a few more months. If the free version of Juno is your only means of connecting to the Internet, now is the time for you to get a free Internet account at Netzero. Don’t procrastinate !!
MORE VIRTUAL AND ACTUAL TRAVEL
Liz and I completed a road trip through New Mexico and Arizona. Our Web site about the trip is located at
While we were in Albuquerque, New Mexico, I accessed the Internet to reply to some of your e-mail messages at a Kinko's. The 16-minutes of computer rental cost me 20 cents a minute. Their Internet connection appeared to be at T1 (1.544 Megabits per second) speed.
PRE-PAID INTERNET ACCOUNTS
With the pending demise of all but one free Internet Service Provider (in the greater Los Angeles area), you might consider a pre-paid Internet account instead of a totally-free Internet Service Provider. If you are already on Netzero, a pre-paid Internet account might be your alternate way of connecting to the Internet when Netzero is not working.
In the "Tech Times" section of the July 12th issue of the "Los Angeles Times", there is an interesting article entitled "Prepaid Internet Accounts: A Smarter Way to Surf?". Three pre-paid dial-up Internet services are mentioned. To learn more about them go to Slingshot at:
Slingshot offers a free 10-minute trial at
MaGlobe has local phone numbers in cities all over the world. Both Slingshot and MaGlobe sell their service through their Websites. Slingshots also sells "calling cards" at some retail stores. Sprint Prepaid Internet is sold as "calling cards". In the Los Angeles area, these cards are sold at 7-11 stores.
LEARNING AND TEACHING AT EL CAMINO COLLEGE
The Web page for my “Computer Information Systems 13” classes now online at
EARTHLINK INTERNET SHOW
To learn more about accessing the Internet, you can listen to the “Earthlink Internet Show”. It airs on radio station KRLA, 870 AM, from 12 noon to 2 pm Pacific Time. Unlike other radio shows about computers, this one focuses on Internet-related subjects. Liz and I listened to it and we loved it. For details about this informative program, go to:
If you need a great, freeware graphics file viewer, try “Irfanview”. See
VOLUNTEERING YOUR COMPUTER
When you are not using your computer, your computer could be participating in various medical research projects. Liz located two "distributed computing projects" where volunteers download a special screen-saver-like software package that puts their computer to work. These software package enable your computer to perfom computations under the direction of Web site that uses computers all over the Internet to perform number crunching for medical research.
To involve your computer in cancer research, go to the "Compute Against Cancer" Web site at
To involve your computer in AIDS research, go to the
"FightAIDS@home" Web site at
Now that Napster has been assaulted by an army of hungry lawyers, it is time to think about alternatives. Several club members have asked me about what to do with all the free time that they now have, since they are no longer are spending hours and hours downloading MP3 files from Napster anymore. If you are in this terrible predicament, go to
to learn about Gnutella.
Gnutella is a system for sharing files. People use it to share files of all types, not just MP3 files. It is a distributed system that appears to be lawyer-proof. Gnutella is not a software package. Several excellent free software packages are available for using Gnutella. The best one appears to be Bearshare. Links to all of these freeware products are provided at the "gnutellanews" Web site.
ADOBE ACROBAT READER
"Adobe Acrobat Reader" is a free software package for reading/displaying files in the .pdf Adobe Acrobat format. Don't confuse it with "Adobe Acrobat" which is a commercial software package that costs money. "Adobe Acrobat Reader" is a must-have for anyone who connects to the Internet. To install it, go to
Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
Click on the "Get Adobe Reader" icon.
Then scroll down to the bottom of the page again.
Next, click on "Get Acrobat Reader Free !".
At this point, be sure to check off the checkbox next to "Include option for searching PDF files". Otherwise, you will not be about to do "Control + F" searches within PDF files. Etc., etc.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-3896.
2. Send me e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer and take up golf instead !
by Dr. John Hanson
Mystery Member of the Month
The mystery member this month is not only a computer buff, but also an electronics expert, as well as a music expert like one of our previous mystery members. Not only does he play the oboe, he can even make them including using the lost wax process for casting the keys. His father was a leading oboe player in Los Angeles and frequently made music for movies. This member has an enormous milling machine in his garage. It is a combination horizontal and vertical mill, and was built by his oboe playing father. The father had a small factory where he made oboes and english horns and sold them to other musicians. He also has a lathe and, of all things, an oboe duplicating machine as well as many other metal and woodworking machines.
In addition, he is an astronomer who was able to grind and polish his own mirror from 6 inch hunk of optical glass. In another room he has a video editing studio with three professional recorders and a master control panel. He is in the process of building a very sophisticated computer with all kinds of video and audio inputs as well as a professional video capture card.
More on Mystery Members
I need your help. Let me know about members who might make good candidates.
Should you install XP?
No, No, No, but few people follow my advice so go ahead and experiment. In many cases many have fallen for the Microsoft ads and, against my advice, installed Millenium. In my case my computers are all used for my psychological work helping people as well as selling educational supplies for children so I can't afford to have a computer go down. If you are not doing anything important with your computer and don't mind having lots of problems go ahead and play with XP. Even better is to have a second computer to experiment on. Please keep me posted as I am very interested. Operating systems reached their peak with Win 98 SE so people who really use their computers should stick with that. Many large companies are doing exactly that. Why spend lots of money for new software and additional money to train employees. Howard Sachar, who is one of our sharpest members, sent me some excellent articles from the Wall Street Journal on how much people hate Microsoft's new policies. So much so that Microsoft may give in on the activation requirement to suck people in but you should observe the writing on the wall and not be swayed.
This is great news for Word Perfect and Linux and maybe even Star Office. At Comdex last October I was amazed at how much Linux has grown. There was an enormous section blocked off just for Linux. That will attract more program developers and soon we might not be dominated so much by Microsoft. I don't think it is Bill himself but his people. He is just so busy he has lost control. Your president Doc Sexton, vice President Herman Krouse and I will be talking to him personally in a small group gathering at Comdex in November. He is very approachable, but he should have told his lieutenants long ago not to wipe out the competition so completely. He would have been better off just buying stock secretly in the completion and giving them lots of funding as he would have much more in the form of new ideas. When all the ideas are "in house" there is the problem of self-fertilization and no outside competition.
Had Bill Gates used such a policy he could have avoided all the expense of fighting the government with his monopoly. Even though the government has unlimited money from our taxes their lawyers in general are not as sharp as private lawyers and Bill could easily afford to hire lots of the very best which managed to go after the judge and have the case thrown out.
In fact, you shouldn't install any of Microsoft's new software such as Office XP as you would be inviting the same types of complications. Who wants to change just for the sake of change such as the dumb change from RTD to MTD or whatever the newly named bus system is called. Think of the millions of our tax dollars wasted by such a silly change. Just when everyone was learning and comfortable with directories and sub-directories someone at Microsoft changed them to folders. And there are lots of similar dumb changes.
Actually Bill Gates has done the country a great service in many ways. He has really made computers main stream and broke the monopoly that IBM used to have and brought the prices way down. See my next article. How many remember how difficult it was to install a printer and answer all the dumb questions you didn't know the answer to such as "Does your printer have backspacing or line feed, etc."? Bill solved all that by making the printer companies come up with a standard interface and he included their drivers in the Windows program. Other, similar things improved also with Plug and Play, although it can still be very difficult to install a modem. If you have serious work to do, stick with older programs and don't keep upgrading unless something really worth while comes along. I paid over $500 for Word Star back in the 80's and had to upgrade when DOS superseded the CP/M operating system. Word Star 3.3 was such a big improvement that I splurged again. Then I held out ‘til 7 came along in 1992 as it had made a dramatic improvement. Today I still use it daily. It is a real workhorse. Since it is DOS the files are very small and one 1.44 MB floppy can hold a complete book on Tooties. Most of the time there is no need to go to Word unless I have time to be ultra fancy for a particular document.
The same applies to databases. All my customers and friends around the world are in Fox Pro for DOS and all fit on one floppy. Sure, it is a little more difficult than the windows version but I know it and get the results I want. For each of my favorite programs I make up a little booklet giving examples of how to accomplish various things in case I should forget. That way I don't have to go back to the main manual very often. Most important I never get bugged for updates and don't have to learn some new program when there is still lots to learn about the program I have. Most people only learn to use a tiny fraction of what programs can do so why upgrade and start all over.
Until this year all my spreadsheet work was down in Quattro which was way before they added the meaningless word "Pro". When 4 and 5 came out I bought both the windows and DOS versions as insurance but never used them ‘til this year. I dabbled a little with 5 for DOS, but everything was so different I avoided it for any serious work. Finally, I began to appreciate its benefits and retired the original version. For complex spreadsheets it is much easier when you can have a page for item instead of a separate file. Besides, the new version does graphs much better, so I can see the trends more easily.
On the other hand when I do special labels for my products or add pictures of children using Tooties there is no choice but to go to windows. It is nice to be able to have the benefits of both worlds. If I were to go to XP then I might not be able to use DOS any more and that would be a disaster.
Want to upgrade or buy a new system?
My hero has assigned me the task of finding the best deals in the local area. I will do that, and also include even better deals less than an hour's drive away. I make many of my clients travel many miles to see the right specialists I recommend. I won't accept to help their child if they are not willing to put in some effort. One family in Washington had to drive several hours twice a week to take their girl to the eye doctor I recommended. Another family, in Mexico City, had to send their daughter all the way to Amsterdam before I would cure her suicidal tendencies. Not every therapist can get away with such demands. It helps when you get good results consistently and become world famous. So don't expect too much sympathy from me if I suggest you drive to Pasadena or Buena Park for an even better deal. If you follow my advice carefully you never have to go back for support or service.
I have gotten a number of good deals locally from Advanced Computers on Western in the 207xx block just north of Torrance Blvd on the West side. Ask for Sonny or Sam and tell them I sent you. If they don't remember who I am get some info sheets and walk away or they could give you something I don't approve of like a poor case with a funny front slot instead of two reliable 3.5 inch floppy slots. Never get a face with one of those fancy slots or you are asking for trouble. Also, don't get any if the sides of the front extend out from the case. Advanced advertises regularly in Microtimes. Remember, one of the secrets of a good deal is the ability to walk away if you don't get what you want. There is always someone else. Make sure that Win 98 SE is installed for testing purposes so that when you come in you can see it running. Bring a floppy disk along with you with one or two of your favorite programs so you can make sure they work. You might even bring a CD to try some music or a larger program. Take your time and don't forget to walk away if you don't get what you want. Another Microtimes store where I got a good deal is at the southeast corner of 190th and Van Ness, way in the back. They don't have a showroom as they sell by mail order so you must decide what you want by their ad. If you know of others locally let me know so I can include them after I check them out personally.
As you have read before in my articles don't buy brand names such as Gateway, Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Dell, etc. unless you like spending much more than you need to. Even if they were to give excellent support, you are better off getting help from our own experts at our excellent hardware SIG on Wednesdays. They love tough problems. In fact, just one visit can easily pay for the cost of your membership. There is no better bargain any where, even if you never attend a regular meeting. I have very little sympathy for people who don't see the value of joining a computer users group.
Imagine getting the latest model computer with everything except the monitor for only $365. It included a 950 MHz processor, 200 MHz front side bus, a 20 gb hard drive from Fujitsu as well as 128 MB of RAM. The video, sound and modem are all built in as well as Ethernet and a 52 x CD drive. Of course it con-tains an ATX form factor and is up and running when you get it. Why pay $1,000 or more from Gateway, etc. I recently advised a beautiful young woman who had bought a Gateway for over $1500 with a monitor to take it all back and get a clone. Who knows if she will follow my advice as people get emotionally attached to what they have done and try to justify wasting their money. We have such a member in our club. She is so nice so none of us have tried to suggest she take her Gateway back.
When it comes to laptops, my advice is entirely the opposite. Never buy a clone, but go for the best like IBM or Dell. Realize that many so called top companies also make low end products so be cautious. This includes IBM and Dell. Check the screen carefully to see that there are no missing pixels, even on brand new models. With a little effort you can get a good buy in used name brand laptops. I just bought two Dell top of the line Latitudes for a little over $500 each. Just a couple of years ago they sold for about $3,500. The deal was so good that Doc Sexton went on the Internet and got one for his daughter. Be sure the screen is TFT and almost fills the opening such as at least 15 inches diagonally. Emmett followed my advice a couple of years ago and is still delighted with his laptop. When possible, try to avoid Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. Lithium Ion is much better.
San Diego Computer Users Group Conference
It was a great success as usual with Doc Sexton, Herman Krouse, and me in attendance. Even though it was a full house I strongly recommend you go at least once. Normally it is intended for club officers, we can finagle a way to get you in if you decide early. It's only $30 and includes oodles of software and many wonderful meals plus many great programs. Virginia and Emmett are regulars, but were not able to go this year. For me the best program was the one on hard drives.
Upgrade your Computer with the Latest
Imagine a modern ATX format computer with everything for only $343. The Athlon chip is very fast at 800 MHz with some 256K of on board cache. It includes 256 MB of RAM, a 20 gb Fujitsu or Maxtor hard drive and everything else needed built in such as graphics adapter, sound, modem, USB and Lan. You also get a fast CD Rom reader. Tell them to install it in the top bay so you can add a CD rewriter just below it later. Also, included are two floppy drives, A and B. Make sure you get the attractive Super Case which is included.
This computer is called the AMD K7 Value System whose current price is $299, but with the few changes I recommend, the cost comes up to $343. Make sure you bring this article with you and say you want the computer Dr. Hanson recommends. Part of the agreement I made with Advanced Computer on Western Blvd. just north of Torrance Blvd at 20725 is that Win 98 SE be installed for testing purposes so you can verify that everything works when you pick it up. Bring some software with you on a floppy to try out on the computer. John Haluska's "Directory Report" called Dirrpt is excellent as well as some other utilities available from our club librarian, Bob Hudak. Later you can add Millennium or Win 2000 but I suggest you don't, at least for awhile. If you play games and need ultra fast response you can add the Gforce 3 video card which costs about the same as the whole computer. You may deviate all you want from this basic, effective computer but don't come crying to me, as I will have no sympathy. This wonderful deal includes everything else except for a monitor. This includes a keyboard, mouse and powered speakers. Make sure the speakers have the power supply built into one of the speakers and not an adapter you plug into the wall.
Here are some upgrades I would approve of. Add a second hard drive of the same 20 gB size. It is safer than having one 40 gb drive, even though slightly more costly. Add a second rewriteable CD Rom just below the CD Rom reader provided. Again it is good to have two just as two floppies is a good idea. Make sure the second CD Rom uses Burn Proof technology as it works better. You really don't need any more RAM, but if you have an extra $30 to burn you can add another 256 MB of RAM. For backups you might want to consider an external USB external 100 MB Zip drive. You can get one for about $70 at Costco and the disks for $7.50 each.
While you could buy a new 17 inch monitor I suggest getting a used top of the line 17 or 19 inch for under $100. Rita at the Jastron booth at TRW Ham swap meet has some good ones like Mag or Viewsonic. I hope you find these suggestions useful.
[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 spend 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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Those ZIP & PDF files
Trouble with some of those attachments and downloads? What do I do with those *.zip ( a data compressed file ) and *.pdf ( Portable Document Format compressed file) files ?
One of the most important things we need first is a program to unzip compressed files labeled as Zip files. There are several programs out there such as Aladdin, Winzip, etc. Winzip is the easiest and most widely used and a trial version can be downloaded free from the internet: www.winzip.com
After downloading Winzip ( winzip80.exe is latest version) save it to a folder such as "My Downloads" or what ever folder you want, so you can find it. If you have an older version remove it first by going to START/SETTINGS/CONTROL PANEL, then double click on ADD/REMOVE PROGRAMS. See if Winzip is on the list, if Winzip is there, then click on it to high light, then click on the Remove button to uninstall it.
Now you are ready to install Winzip by finding your file using Windows Explorer ( file management tool) and doing a double click on your downloaded file (winzip80.exe), or go to START/RUN, type in C:\My Downloads\winzip80.exe and click on OK. The program called WINZIP will install itself and put icons on the Start Up menu, the Desk Top and in the Program listing. (I delete the one on the Desk Top with a right click and selecting Delete). Now we are ready to unzip those compressed files received from email, web, etc.
To unzip a file is very easy, just select your file and do a double click, Winzip will automatically come up showing you what is in the zip file. Go to the top right and click on EXTRACT! This will bring up the menu that allows you to select the folder you wish to extract and save the file(s). After you have the folder selected click on the EXTRACT button. That's all there is, now you can go to your folder and work your extracted or unzipped file(s).
If your unzipped files are picture files and you double click on them they will come up in Windows Paint (*.bmp) or Internet Explorer (*.jpg, *.gif, etc), unless you have a photo program. If the files are text files your will see them in Notepad or wordpad, or you can view them in your word processor. If they are PDF (Portable Document Format) files then we need a special program called Acrobat Reader by Adobe.
To get your free Acrobat Reader, go to the Adobe web site at: 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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