The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 21 Number 08
August 2003

THE BUG REPORT
A monthly publication of
GS-BUG Inc. (c) copyright 1996.
Reproduction of any material herein by any means is expressly prohibited unless written permission is granted. Exception: Articles may be reprinted by other users groups in unaltered form if credit is given to the author and the original publication.

STAFF
Editor - Kay Burton
 

FEATURE ARTICLES

INTERNET TALK

PERSPECTIVES

SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
PERSPECTIVES
By Dr. John Hanson

 
 

        Bug 0307   for August 2003

Topics for August

1. Photo Software
2. Telephone Wire
3. UPS  Works
4. Running on Empty
5. Carl Warner to Hawaii
6. Malicious URLs
7. Don't Throw Out Your VCR Yet
8. Cornice Storage Element
9. Fujitsu Notebook
10.  Dr. Hanson Special

1.  Photo Software: Many members have Photoshop or Elements and possibly Paintshop Pro photo software so why would we want to buy cheap software like Picture It.  Because it might do one thing we need much easier than the more expensive packages.  Avery sells a starter set at Frys for about $7 which includes a light version of Picture It called Express and some samples of their glossy
paper cut to various sizes on 8 1/2 x 11 paper.  I like the idea of being able to print 4 or 9 pictures on a sheet even if I don't use their paper.  ACDSee might do it also says Fred Vogel.

     What a miserable experience!  The package said you could print 9 separate images on one sheet but no where in the software could you find any hints on how to call up the templates.  So I called Avery support with a 900 number so I don't know how much I was charged.  Beware of 900 numbers.  Will I be furious if Avery
charges me very much.  The first guy I got was almost useless but
he did say you need to open the pictures first and then click on Print Special in the File Menu.  Then you drag the pictures arranged along the bottom to the template of your choice but you can't change your mind without starting all over.  At first it
printed 9 of the same picture so I had to call Avery again.  This time I got a more helpful guy and he said I needed to click on Special Projects in order to use different pictures.  How unintuitive!  Anyway it finally worked and did a good job but you
should identify each of your pictures first with ACDSee because in Picture It you are operating in the blind if you want to arrange them in a certain order which ACDSee doesn't do.

2.  Telephone Wire:  For awhile many of us were tempted to use the Internet for long distance conversation but with so many fiber optics wires, phone rates are very cheap and easier than the Internet providing you use a service like IDT and not those
advertised by the local phone companies.  There are now installed some four billion miles of optical wire around the world.  There are many optical wires in a cable and each optical wire can carry as many as 20 million conversations.

     In the early days the Indians used smoke signals and the Chinese had signal towers.  In 1793 towers were constructed in Europe with signal arms like semaphore flags and spaced about ten miles apart and messages could be sent at about 200 miles per hour.  In 1843 forty miles of iron wire linked Baltimore and Washington and later it was replaced with more expensive copper.  By 1858 New York was connected to London but only for telegraphic as the telephone had not been invented.  In 1969 UCLA had connected a computer to another at Stanford University and started the Internet.  At the moment most of us are connected by copper wire to the telephone central office as they see no economic advantage in the expense of installed optical since so many copper cables are already installed.  Perhaps in new communities.  Maybe we can wipe out that miserable Time Warner cable monopoly and really get fast Internet service at low cost.

3.  UPS Works:  Normally after you install a UPS you don't have a power outage so you don't know if it will really work.  Today, the day of the big train wreck in Los Angeles there was a power outage and I had to reset all my clocks and VCRs, etc.  I had two computers running at the time and fortunately both were on a UPS and suffered no ill effects.  Neither UPS was the highly advertised APC brand which doesn't look well engineered on the inside.  You can get a good UPS at Frys for about $30 that will handle 585 watts.  I bought one two months ago just to take it apart and I was pleased with its design and performance.  The brand is Cyber Power.  I think I will install it on my TV and two VCRs so I don't have to reset them when there is an outage.

4. Running on Empty:  We all know how dangerous it is to run your car on an empty tank, especially on freeways.  These days with such large hard drives some of us may forget to watch the gas gage on our computers.  I was merrily typing away in ordstar and when I wanted to do a page preview it crashed so I started pressing Save every few words after rebooting as it would do all sorts of strange things when it would crash unexpectedly.  I had forgotten to watch the gas gage and the hard drive was down to
only about a megabyte.  So I started transferring all sorts of data to the D drive and recovered 26 megabytes.  Now Wordstar runs fine but I still press save often to be safe.  I needed to rewrite a contract that came in on Word from a foreign country and wanted to use it on my Wordstar computer that also has Windows 98se which I eldom use.  Things were going OK but then it also had mysterious crashes and sometime when Word would start up a window would pop up saying my hard disk is full.   I chose to ignore it but again would save often so I wouldn't lose too much of this complex document.  Carl Warner, our leading computer repair expert, says Windows requires a lot more than the 26 mb available and guessed 150 mb.  No wonder I'm having trouble with this modern but older computer.  So whenever you have problems check to see if you have lots of hard disk space and memory.  One of my other 486 computers used all the time for Wordstar had a different kind of problem in that it was out of environment space so Carl Warner again came to my rescue.  My Windows computers have very big hard drives and lots of memory but even they have problems at times so when you need to get work out the door it is wise to have at least two Computers capable of doing the same thing.

5.  Carl Warner to Hawaii:  Our affable, talented hardware SIG leader is retiring to Hawaii after living many years in the same house.   Many club members have enjoyed those wonderful Luaus that he and his lovely wife Lona have put on with dancing hula girls and great food.  Carl is a man of very many talents and can do almost anything so has books on almost every subject such as computers. electricity, electronics, plumbing, construction and everything in between.  He used to work for one of the big aircraft companies dealing with gas pressures of 5,000 psi or more so he knows a lot about high pressure piping.  For the past 15 years he has been in charge of networking computers for the Torrance school district and many other duties since he can do anything.  Because of all these interests and his sideline electrical business he has accumulated way more than he can take to Hawaii.  He has tried to give away as much as anyone would take but is still overwhelmed.  It must be very painful throwing such valuable items into a dumpster.  We all want to thank him so much for his help and hope that he has a wonderful time in his beautiful new home in Hawaii.

6.  Malicious URLs:  Check out page 76 of Aug 5 PC Mag and maybe download a copy of URLscan.  It's another way to protect yourself, especially if you have a web site.

7.  Don't throw Out your VCR yet:  I record many tapes every day and enjoy six hours on each.  At Costco they are only about a dollar.  Recordable DVDs are more costly and so are the recorders and so far they only record four hours.  Dvorak has some more interesting things to say on page 63 of PC Mag.

8. Cornice Storage Element:  This hard drive is about half the size of a business card and holds the same as 30 music CDs with its 1.5 gb.  The article on page 25 of PC Mag says it costs about $65 in quantity so the price per megabyte is very low.  The
article also says flash memory is about 18 cents per megabyte but I haven't found any that low yet.  Frys had a 128 mb SD card on sale for $40 which is 31 cents per  Megabyte.  That's pretty good for an SD card.  Compact Flash and Smart Media are even cheaper.  I don't think those key chain flash cards are a good deal but many members have them.  For about $14 you can have a 6 in 1 flash card reader that fits in your shirt pocket and then plug the least expensive memory into it.  It's great for transferring large files but I still use floppies a lot.  With Wordstar you can fit a whole book on one floppy and even some pictures.

9.  Fujitsu Notebook:  You all know I don't think much of Compaq or HP notebooks.  I just bought the latest Fujitsu notebook because it has a floppy as well as a slot for SD flash cards, a DVD with CDrom-R plus many other goodies such as a very fast CPU, a large hard drive and lots of memory for only $1200.  I just could not resist even tho I have a number of working notebooks so I gave it to my cousin's son who is doing graduate engineering work in Spain.  He was so impressed as none of his friends have a P4, not even a slow one.  I was delighted that the first thing he is going to do is take off the XP that came with it.  Does anyone know of a keyboard mapping program so he can change the keys to make it easier to type in Spanish?
Carl Warner has a very small but functional Fujitsu notebook which also has a CD-R and a great screen.  So if you are looking for a notebook, consider the Fujitsu.

10.  Dr. Hanson Special Computer:  In computers things change very quickly and I don't have the time to keep up with what Advanced or First Step is supplying for this special nor the price, which is about $300.  If you buy one of these computers please mail me a list of all the items included and what you paid so I can make sure you are still getting a good deal.  It includes two floppy drives which I think are very practical.

Editorís 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 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.  Visit his web  site  at www.tooties.com for more information
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
INTERNET TALK
By Frank Chao

 
 
 
 

Welcome to the 60th "Internet Talk" article that has been written by me. It is part of the sixteenth newsletter that has been created by our persevering editor Kay Burton.
 Liz and I hope that you are enjoying the hot days of summer. For most of the computer users that we know, the computers in their lives bring both joy and aggravation. You can maximize the joy and minimize the aggravation by attending GSBUG general meetings, participating in SIGS, and reading computer publications.  It also helps to have a sense of humor.

WIRED INTERNET IN HOTELS

Wired Internet connectivity has been growing by leaps and bounds at hotel chains such as "La Quinta", "Hilton", and "Holiday Inn".
See  http://www.lodgenet.com/guests/index.html   for details.
In order to utilize this service, you have to have a laptop, "Pocket PC" or handheld device with a 10Base-T Ethernet  adapter with an RJ-45 connection. For most laptop owners, this means buying a network adapter and installing it into a "PC Card" (also known as "PCMCIA") slot.  "PC Card" network adapters are available for between 20 and 100 dollars at computer stores and swapmeets.

 "T-MOBILE HOT SPOT" WIRELESS INTERNET

"T-Mobile Hot Spot" wireless Internet is now available in most "Starbucks Coffee" restaurants and most "Borders" stores.
In order to utilize this service, you have to have a laptop, "Pocket PC" or handheld device with Wi-Fi 802-11b wireless capability.
Current implementations of Wi-Fi provide a connection that is 50 times faster than dial-up modem connections to the Internet.
For most laptop owners, this means buying a "Wi-Fi" network adapter and installing it into a "PC Card" (also known as "PCMCIA") slot. "Wi-Fi" network adapters are available for between 30 and 100 dollars at  computer stores and swapmeets.
See   http://www.t-mobile.com/hotspot/services_about.htm  for general details.
See  http://accounts.hotspot.t-mobile.com/services_plans.htm for pricing plans.
Read the fine print about pricing when considering this service:
Some of the pricing plans have a "Minimum user session.." charge. If you are on a plan with this provision, might wish to stay online for the duration of the "Minimum user session" in order to get your money's worth, each time you connect to the Internet.

"WAYPORT" WIRELESS INTERNET

"Wayport" provides  wireless Internet service at various hotels and airports around North America and the world.
Their service is also available at most McDonalds fast-food restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area.  For laptop users, this service also requires a "Wi-Fi" 802-11b wireless network adapter.  General information can be obtained at    http://www.wayport.net/
Pricing information can be obtained at   http://www.wayport.net/chart

DELETING COOKIES

If you are sick and tired of how much various websites that you visit periodically seem  to know a lot about you, try deleting cookies and then restarting your Web browser:  Start "Internet Explorer".  Click on "Tools" on the menu bar.  Click on "Internet Options..."  Click on "Delete Cookies..."  Close "Internet Explorer".  Restart "Internet Explorer".  The websites that you go to will now act less knowledgeable about you.

"VCR PLUS+" FOR TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA

Liz "volunteered" me to set up the "VCR Plus+" channel mapping for a residence in Torrance. The nice folks that lived there subscribe to "Time Warner Access", the monopoly cable television service for Torrance residents.  I searched through the Time Warner website at
http://www.accesstimewarner.com and did not find any information on "VCR Plus+". Shame on them !   I searched through the Los Angeles times website (http://www.latimes.com) with similar results.  Ditto for the Daily Breeze newspaper website (http://www.dailybreeze.com).
At the TV Guide website at   http://www.tvguide.com  I was able to enter in the Zipcode for the Torrance homeowner's address in order to get to a VCR Plus+ Guide Channel Mapping listing.  This chart that was displayed showed as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VCR Plus+ Guide Channel     Channel      Channel on TV Set
              2               KCBS               2
              4               KNBC              4
              5               KTLA               5
              7               KABC               7
              9               KCAL               9
             11               KTTV              11
             13               KCOP             13
             14               KMEX            14
             17               KLCS              26
             18               KSCI               18
             20               KRCA            21
             etc.             etc.                etc.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

However, this chart did not show "AMC" which is TV channel 55 and "BRAVO" which is TV channel 58, in the Torrance area.
The setup information for these errant channels was finally located in the "TV Times" section of a Sunday issue of the "Los Angeles Times" "hard copy" newspaper as follows:

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
VCR Plus+ Guide Channel     Channel      Channel on TV Set
             35               AMC               55
             54               BRAVO          58
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I hope that the "TV Guide" website eventually corrects this omission.  However, I am thankful that they show most of the channel mappings for "VCR Plus+". Some information is better than no information.

LEGAL RESEARCH ONLINE

You can save yourself thousands of dollars in legal fees by researching legal issues yourself online in lieu of  and  before visiting an attorney:
All of the 29 California "Codes" including the California State Constitution are located at  http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/calaw.html
For example, the "California Family Code" at   http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/cgi-bin/calawquery?codesection=fam  pertains to marriage, divorce, child custody and support, and domestic violence.  For California residents, this document is an excellent place to initiate research on legal matters pertaining to families.  Here is a complete list of the "California codes" that are available:
Business and Professions Code
Civil Code
Code of Civil Procedure
Commercial Code
Corporations Code
Education Code
Elections Code
Family Code
Fish and Game Code
Financial Code
Fish and Game Code
Food and Agricultural Code
Government Code
Harbors and Navigation Code
Health and Safety Code
Insurance Code
Labor Code
Military and Veterans Code
Penal Code
Probate Code
Public Contract Code
Public Resources Code
Public Utilities Code
Revenue and Taxation Code
Streets and Highways Code
Unemployment Insurance Code
Vehicle Code
Water Code
Welfare and Institutions Code
If you have dealings with states and municipalities outside of California, you can go to the Websites of other states to read pertinent laws. See
http://law.freeadvice.com/resources/statecodes.htm for a map of the United States that has hyperlinks to legal codes for every state.

REMOVING SPYWARE

Definitions and other information about "spyware" can be found at:    http://grc.com/optout.htm
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-3513_7-5023872-1.html?legacy=cnet    http://www.simplythebest.net/info/spyware.html
http://www.pchell.com/support/spyware.shtml    http://w10.pcworld.com/resource/printable/article/0,aid,78052,00.asp
Dozens of removal tools are now available for expunging spyware from your computer.  Kostek Haussman, an active GSBUG member, recommends that you use one of the following detection and removal tools:

FIRST RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE UTILITY:
Lavasoft's "Ad-Aware" can be found at   http://www.lavasoftusa.com/software/adaware/   This software utility is free.

SECOND RECOMMENDED SOFTWARE UTILITY:

PepiMK Software's "Spybot" can be found at     http://beam.to/spybotsd    A donation is requested but not required for download.
I have personally used both of these software utilities and highly recommend both of them.  Some specific instructions for removing spyware can be found at:    http://www.pchell.com/support/spyware.shtml

WAYS TO CONTACT ME:

If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:

1.  Send me e-mail at: fchao@pacbell.net
2.  Leave me a voice message at      (310)768-3896.
3.  Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to

 Frank Chao
 PO Box 6930
 Torrance, CA 90504-0030.

Or sell your computer and take up golf instead !!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
By BOB HUDAK

In my article last month on page 9, second paragraph, there
were a couple of programs mentioned that the names of were
misspelled somehow and so the whole idea was lost. Therefore
I am including it again this month.  Please read corrected
version below.

If you are using the AdAware program to check your machine
for spyware, you probably find a cookie by Doubleclick on
your machine each time. There is a way to opt out of that
situation. Go to:
www.doubleclick.com/us/corporate/privacy/privacy/ad-cookie/.
One click at the bottom will do the trick. BUT pay attention
when it tells you which cookie NOT to delete. I am not sure
if everyone gets the same cookie or not. Mine was:
id=opt_out. Working so far.

At last month's general meeting, Cynthia Hunter, from The Ink
Dot, put on a great presentation on how to refill ink
cartridges. There was so much information that she was trying
to pass along that we ran out of time. We might have her back
in the future. Two tips she had were to use Windex glass
cleaner to clean the ink off the bottom to cartridges to
unclog the ink passages. You might have to soak them in a
little bottle cap if they are in bad shape. Next tip was to
use coffee filters, the paper type, to wipe the cartridges
with. These filters are lint free so they will not do any
harm by leaving behind particles that will block the ink
flow. Some of the newer Epson printers have a chip on their
ink cartridges that cause the printer to quit printing when
it figures you are out of ink. Also if you remove the
cartridge for refilling or some other reason, the printer
will not print. The good news is that there is a chip
resetting machine that will reset the chip in seconds. The
even better news is that the club has one of these chip
resetters!!! So when you are out or low on ink, remove the
cartridge and refill it. Do not let it sit around empty to
dry out. Then come to the Tue Hardware Sig or bring it to the
general meeting and we will reset the chip for you. It will
work on the following Epson Stylus printers. 680, 777, 777i,
780, 785EPX, 790, 810, 820, 830, 870, 870LE, 875 DCS, 890,
895, 1270, 1280, 1290, 2000P, C41, C42, C50, C61, C62, C80,
C82. I know this will be a great help.

In June Gary Sexton made a presentation about different
medical sites on the internet where you can obtain
information and also where you can buy prescription drugs.
There were many URL's to check out. I have all this
information on a floppy disk in the library. You can copy and
paste the URL into your browser to make things easy. Pick up
a copy for a great reference source.