The Bug

Report

A Publication of the Greater South

Bay PC Users Group

Volume 16 Number 8

August 1998

 

One Manís Opinion Re: Switching to Windows 98

New Operating System Best For New PC Buyers and Small Businesses

The Many Flavors of Windows 95

Review of Drive Image from Power Quest Software

Software and Technology: Educating Our Children

The Power of The F8 Key

Where did that File go? Windows 95 Tip

Software Library News

Mini CAD 7 

Digital Imaging Group (DIG) SIG

Bits & Bytes of Information

E-mail Virus Now a Reality

From the Editor

Internet Talk

Upcoming Elections

 

One Manís Opinion Re: Switching to Windows 98

By Lew Roland, GSBUG, Inc.

I installed Windows 98 Beta 2 six months ago and upgraded to Beta 3 four months ago. Beta 2 was somewhat quirky but Beta 3 was solid as a rock. Never had a problem with it. This included several intended and not-so intended system lock-ups. After either hitting the Reset button or turning the system Off and back On, Windows 98 always brought the system back up in perfect order without my intervention. You canít say the about Windows 95.

Two weeks ago on the June 25th release date, I took the final step and updated to Windows 98 4.10.1998 and immediately converted my hard disks to the new FAT32 file structure and wound up with about 25 percent more space on each drive. The installation went very smoothly (again without my intervention). Upon completion (1 hour) my desk top and all my many DOS, Windows 3.1, 95, 97, and 98 applications came up just as I had left them before the installation Ė without any problems.

As reported by PC Magazine, Windows 98 and Windows 95 with Internet Explorer (IE 4.0) look quite similar on the surface, but boy are there big differences behind the scenes. I beg to differ with the magazine review. A Windows 95 user is either crazy or very insecure not to update to Windows 98. Its the best $89 I ever spent.

I went through the Windows 98 Getting Started manual that comes with the product on a line-by-line basis looking for features that I was not aware of. Even after six months of Beta testing the prerelease versions, I found 35 significant features that were new to me and all were very helpful improvements.

The press has not expounded enough on how Windows 98 incorporates over 3,000 fixes of problems found in Windows 95 obtained from feedback from the users of 80,000,000 computers of all different kinds, configurations and modes of operation. Now, that is impressive, and the stability of Windows 98 shows it!

Regarding the new Universal Serial Bus (USB), this is a blessing for us with older computers (i.e. my 3 year old P120 with an outdated BIOS and motherboard). Now you can daisy chain 127 devices to your machine without having to resort to external switches all because you have run out spare interrupts (IRQs). The market place has responded rapidly to this new USB feature introduced in Windows 98. Today, you can buy ($59 locally) a PCI or ISA USB adapter card (ADS technology) to plug into your computer that allows you to tie in these new USB enabled printers, scanners, cameras, etc. as they come down the pipeline in the next few weeks. Just plug them in, even with the computer running, and Windows 98 will immediately recognize them and make them operational. What a difference a few days will make with Windows 98!

 

New Operating System Best For New PC Buyers and Small

Businesses

By John Sellers, GSBUG

PC Magazine, a Ziff-Davis publication (NYSE: ZD), recently completed exhaustive testing and analysis of Windows 98 which hit store shelves yesterday. PC Magazine Labs, the largest independent computer technology lab testing facility, put Windows 98 through a rigorous series of benchmark tests and found that although Microsoft does deliver on the bulk of the features promised, not everyone should, or would, benefit from installing this new operating system. The truth, PC Magazine finds, is that many consumers may not have to upgrade at all.

PC Magazine Labs tested Windows 98 on dozens of PCs with differing configurations and determined that buyers of new consumer PCs should make sure that they buy a system with Windows 98 installed, and small businesses may find enough benefits to warrant upgrading their users. Large businesses, according to the editors, are better off waiting for the next release of Windows NT (version 5.0 due out next year). In addition, consumers who have had problems installing peripherals may benefit from a Windows 98 upgrade as will anyone who wants to use universal serial bus (USB) devices, such as a new camera or scanner.

"We think you should weigh the pros and cons of an upgrade carefully," says Michael J. Miller, executive vice president and editor-in-chief of PC Magazine. "Windows 98 is the right choice for consumers purchasing a new PC and for some small businesses, but only those people who need some of the new features should upgrade a system that currently works well."

Windows 98 looks like, and operates very similar to, Windows 95 with Internet Explorer 4.0, according to the magazine. Essentially, it combines many of the new features already distributed in service releases of Windows 95 or as separate products, such as Internet Explorer over the past three years. This means that many consumers may already be using the most significant features of Windows 98.

Test Results: Overall Performance

PC Magazine Labs found that Windows 98 holds true to one of Microsoft's major claims: that the company did not set out to make significant improvements in general system performance but instead focused on bottlenecks, such as start-up and shutdown times and application loading.

The magazine found that start-up speeds have not improved on existing hardware, but shutdown time was generally faster with Windows 98, although not on every PC tested. Users will enjoy the faster shutdown because it will get them out the door a little faster and make using notebook PCs a little more convenient.

The most compelling feature in Windows 98 is the conversion to a FAT32 (file allocation table) hard disk format, which allows for larger hard disk partitions, more efficient data storage and an application loading time that is twice as fast as Windows 95. PC Magazine Labs tests found that hard disks could reclaim as much as 15 percent more space just by upgrading to FAT32. To complement FAT32, Microsoft added new technology to its disk defragmenter; this technology monitors the order in which programs load components and arranges the files on hard disks so that they load faster.

Test Results: Hardware Support

Test results indicate that Windows 98 does make installing additional hardware to a PC faster and easier because of the system's extensive support for USB and IEEE 1394 (FireWire) devices. USB enables the simultaneous connection of more than 125 computer peripherals, including mice, scanners, keyboards, printers and fax machines. Similarly, IEEE 1394 enables the simultaneous connection of those devices that require more bandwidth, such as digital cameras and digital camcorders.

From a user standpoint, this means that all computer accessories and peripherals can connect and work all at once, eliminating the hassle of having to connect and disconnect devices. This represents good news for those consumers who want to take advantage of the newest computer hardware and accessories and for those consumers who want to create a computer-centered entertainment system.

Test Results: Battery Life

PC Magazine Labs results found no difference in battery life on notebook computers using Windows 98 and Windows 95. However, the new operating system does provide access to power-management functions that lets users access power-saving features.

In addition, Windows 98 also supports ACPI and Multilink Channel Aggregation. ACPI, the next wave in power management for notebooks as well as for desktops and servers, will reduce the power needed in a desktop environment and may help to increase the battery life of portables. Multilink makes remote access faster by combining the bandwidth from two separate connections, doubling dial-up speeds.

The complete PC Magazine Labs Windows 98 test results can be found online at http://www.pcmag.com

 

The Many Flavors of Windows 95

By Keith Aleshire

Reprinted from The Digital Viking, June 1998

Windows 95, believe it or not, comes in four flavors, from the original release in July 1995 to newer editions as recent as last November. Each new flavor of Win95 adds new features, newer drivers (software) to run your printer, video card, and fewer problems.

Even if you get the Win95 Upgrade sold in the stores, you're still buying the original Win95 with files dated July 11, 1995. Usually the newer Win 95 versions are available only when you purchase a new computer. However, Microsoft allows these newer versions to be purchased with either a new hard disk or motherboard.

Minimally, if you have the original Win95 (see chart below), you upgrade to the "A" version. To get the patch, go to: http://www.microsoft.com/ windows/downloads/default.asp and look in the Windows 95 section for this 1.2M file that fixes major bugs in Win95.

The "B" version of Win95 adds more features and reliability. The major benefit is FAT32, with which a hard drive can be formatted into convenient 4K clusters, reducing waste and bypassing the sometimes unreliable compression software. Also, it allows bigger than 2.1G hard drives to be formatted as one large partition. Win95B also includes better Dial-Up Networking (DUN) to the Internet.

The 2.1 version of Windows is somewhat the same as Win95B but includes support for Universal Serial Bus (USB), the new type of connector found on Pentium computers that lets you add digital cameras, scanners, joysticks, mice and keyboards as you need them, even when your computer is running.

The Win95C (or version 2.5) has only been out for the last couple of months and includes Internet Explorer 4.0, the latest browser from Microsoft. In fact, it makes Win95 look very similar to the pre-release version of Windows 98 we've had on our club's computer. Explorer 4.0 takes over the look-and-feel of Win95 and turns it into a browser-like way of doing things. Of course, Windows 98 will upgrade any version of Win95 to Windows 98. To determine which version of Win95 you are running, follow these steps:

1. In Control Panel, double-click System.

2. Click the General tab (see figure). (shortcut: press the Win95 key (the one with the Windows logo on it) +Break key.) Three Six Eight Eight.

3. Locate the version number under the System heading and then see the table below.

Note that if you are running OSR 2.1, you see the version number 4.00.950B (the same as 0SR2) when you follow the steps above.

To see if you are running OSR 2.1, which supports the Universal Serial Bus, check for "USB Supplement to 0SR2" in the list of installed programs in the Add/Remove Programs tool in Control Panel, and check for version 4.03.1212 of the NTKERN.VXD file in the \WINDOWS\SYSTEM\VMM32 folder.

Version

Version of Windows 95

Date of files

4.00.950

Original Windows 95

7/11/95

4.00.950A

Windows 95 + Service Pack I Update, or OEM Service Release I

1/11/95

4.00.950B

OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2)

8/24/96

4.00.950B

OEM Service Release 2 (0SR2) w/USB support

5/1/97

4.00.950C

OEM Service Release 2.5 (95R2.5)

11/26/97

 

Review of Drive Image from Power Quest Software

By John M. Buob, LVPCUG, 6/98

Ev Quinnett, our Newsletter Editor and Program Director of the LVPCUG, asked for volunteers to review some software programs she has accumulated from various manufacturers, so I offered to do one that I felt I was able to do. I am not an expert user of the computer but I have learned like most of us, just by using and doing things on the computer.

I installed Drive Image through Win 95 but it could be installed in any version of Windows. It can be installed and run in DOS and 0S2, as well. It is a DOS program and exits Win 95 to run.

The main thing you must make sure of is, that the drive or whatever media that you are saving an image (backup) to, is at least as large or larger than the drive of which you are making an image.

What the program does, in essence, is it makes a backup copy, or "Image" of a disk drive. This is the reason to try Drive Image.

Since I am running DOS, Win 3.11, Win 95 and Win NT 4.0 all on my computer, for various reasons, after setting up an OS and getting it to work and loading programs, I wanted to back them up in case of a crash or my fooling around with them would cause me problems. I bought a Syquest SparkQ 1.0 gig backup drive which I installed. Their backup program works well but it takes about 45 minutes to backup my 1.2 gig C drive. It took Drive Image only about 10 minutes to make the backup file that it stored in its own directory in Win 95. But I must tell you that this may not be an accurate time comparison since it takes somewhat longer to write to the SparkQ disk than it does to write to the D: drive. The documentation says 2-3 times faster than copying the standard sector to sector copying, which is probably right.

Drive Image will also copy a disk to another disk, as long as the copy TO disk is as large or larger than the original. This makes it great for copying the contents of a smaller hard drive to a new larger one. Itís either copy the disk or reload all the programs, which can take hours. You can also select which partitions you want to copy, if not all of a disk. The program will copy then resize the partition on the destination disk.

A companion program called Drive Mapper comes with Drive Image. Drive Mapper is a program that will change the drive letters of programs already installed if you should add a drive and move programs to it. The operating systems automatically add drive letters when another drive is added. For instance, if you have a program installed on C: drive and you add another drive and move programs to it, you may or may not have to re-install the programs since their locations have changed. If you do, Drive Mapper will search these out and change them for you. But ONLY if you are NOT running multiple operating systems, such as many of us do. After reading the above statement in the documentation I didn't attempt to change any drive letters. I took them at their word. This can be a very useful tool if you need it.

The last program, included with Drive Image, is Magic Mover, which will MOVE, not copy, applications with all the associated files to any other location for you. It has a Win 3.11 and a Win 95 version both. You can load them independently of the other programs described above.

For those interested in this software, I would like to add that I purchased Partition Magic by the same manufacturer of Drive Image when Power Quest gave the members of the LVPCUG a special offer. It came in very handy since I just purchased a new 6.4 gig disk drive back in January and my 60 MHz Pentium will not handle larger than 2.1 gig partitions. My version of Win 95 is the early one that will not handle the whole drive either. So I used it and made three 2.1 gig partitions and one little one. It works very well. It allows you to make, move and arrange partitions in any combinations you need. It is a very worthwhile program, if you need this feature.

 

Software and Technology:

Educating Our Children

By Carol Hyatt

Reprinted from Capital PC User Group Monitor, 6/98

As a parent, I've found it challenging to identify educational software that my children will enjoy and use enough to justify the expense, particularly as they have grown past elementary school age. Two programs that were easy to install and use on our Pentium 166 with 16Mbytes of RAM and 8x CD-ROM drive are Davidson's Math for the Real World and Broderbund's Logical journey of the Zoombinis. And both have had a lot of replay value at our home.

Math for the Real World

Math for the Real World from Davidson (for ages 10 and up) is an educational software program that gets rave reviews from my daughter and her best friend. Here's how they describe the program: "Youíre in a band and go on tour. You get to choose a song and the name of your band. As you travel, you have to buy gas and food and have to solve problems to make a music video. Each time you arrive in a new city, you play a game to get money. With enough money, you are able to make one of the 10 scenes for your music video. The math gets harder as you go along. It's challenging, but not too hard." They both love making the music videos.

The word problems cover key math topics including logic, money, time, fractions, decimals, percents, weight, measurement, charts, maps, and patterns. A "reference library" is available for each problem to explain the necessary skills if help is needed.

Logical Journey of the Zoombinis

Another good educational software program is the Logical Journey of the Zoombinis by Broderbund (for ages 8 to 12), which is one of the few programs that I think I've enjoyed as much as my children did. The challenges start simple but grow increasingly complex and change with each use. Rather than focusing on numbers and arithmetic, this program concentrates on the use of logic. The user must solve problems that involve attributes, patterns, groupings, sorting, and comparisons. An excellent User's Guide with a special section for parents is included with the program.

Every Zoombini has four different features: hair, eyes, nose, and feet, each of which come in five variations. To begin the game, 16 different Zoombinis must be created. They then set out on a journey. As they travel, they encounter obstacles that must be overcome through the use of logic. There are four trails, each with three challenges. A map allows you to see your progress.

SuperKids Software Recommendations

If you are looking for other educational software worth purchasing, I recommend checking out the SuperKids Educational Software Review at http:www. superkids corn

Carol Hyatt is the Capital PC User Group Director of K-12 Education and the Program Director at Teaching for Tomorrow, a program of the High Technology Council of Maryland. She may be reached by voice at (307) 948-3748, by fax at (301) 258-9148, or by e-mail at chyatt@mindspring.com

 

The Power of The F8 Key

By Robert J. Beasley

Journal of Los Angeles Computer Society

Learn to Use it

DOS

By stepping through the files one line at a time, you will be able to see any error message which might appear as the line is executed. By doing this you can isolate any load problem you might be having. If you don't receive an error message, you can use the same procedure to choose not to load selected drivers or programs, thereby booting your system with a different configuration. You might even try it sometime even if you aren't having a problem just to see what you are loading into your system when you are booting your machine. It lets you see all of those changes that the programs you have loaded into your system have done for (to) you.

Windows 95

I have been talking about DOS 6.x to this point. Windows 95's F8 is different in that it gives you more options. When you press F8 during Windows 95 load, you are presented with six options:

  1. Normal
  2. Logged (\bootlog.txt)
  3. Safe Mode
  4. Step-by-step configuration
  5. Command Prompt Only
  6. Safe Mode Command Prompt only

Normal allows you to load your system with your normal configuration. This can be used if for some reason your last boot was abnormally interrupted and you would like to continue the boot with your "normal" configuration. The second option, Logged (\bootlog.txt) uses a file created during your boot process. It is a text file called "bootlog. txt" which can be found and viewed as a text file in your root directory C:\.

The third option and the one that I have found useful for trouble shooting is Safe Mode. Safe Mode will boot your system with a minimal configuration. You will come up in 16 colors with only your necessary drivers loaded: i.e., drivespc.drv, if you compressed your drive. None of the programs in your start-up directory will be started.

I recently purchased and installed a new program. Whenever I tried to access files using the scroll bar in the files menu, the application would terminate. It was consistent and crashed each time I tried using the scroll bar. After talking to tech support and getting no help from them (what a surprise!!), I decided to see if I could figure out what was happening.

I rebooted my system in Safe Mode, started the application, and it worked normally. I therefore figured that something I had running in Windows 95 must be conflicting with the application. I next rebooted my system in Normal Mode. I then used Ctrl-Alt-Del (this does not reboot your system in Windows 95; it brings up a list of applications which are running and you can select individual applications and terminate only that application).

I next stopped applications one at a time and would restart the application with which I was having problems and would check for the error I was encountering.

When I stopped an application and my failing program worked correctly, I knew I had found the application with which it was conflicting. I restarted my program a third time, stopping only the application which I had discovered in the above procedure and all worked as advertised.

By using the Safe Mode I had determined there was a conflict and was able to isolate the conflicting program. I can now stop the conflicting module whenever I am running the new program and restart the conflicting module after finishing with my new program.

The fourth option is a "step-by-step" option which operates just as the DOS 6.x F8 operates and allows you to step through your start-up files line by line.

The fifth option allows you to start up in Command Prompt Only mode. You come up in DOS mode without loading the Windows 95 desktop. Finally, the sixth option is Safe Mode Command Prompt Only. This allows you to get into the "DOS prompt" mode with minimal configuration of drivers.

As the title of my article says, F8 is an extremely powerful tool which comes with your operating system but is "little noted nor long remembered." It is better documented in Windows 95 than in DOX 6.x. Having found out about F8, I often wonder how I have lived without it in the past. I know what I had to do in the past to remark out lines in my start-up files to isolate problems, but with F8 things became much simpler.

 

Where did that File go?
Windows 95 Tip

By Tom Monturo

From the MicroCHIP newsletter of the Mid-Hudson Computer User Group, Poughkeepsie, NY

Ever lose track of a file? You remember the name but can't remember where you put it?

Even back in the days when my hard disks were much smaller than they are now I had that problem. Now that I have a 2.1 GB hard drive there are a lot more places to lose my files.

In my old DOS system I used a utility named WHEREIS to help me out. To find a file called ANYFILE, for example, I'd type WHEREIS ANYFILE, and if the file existed, the utility told me where it found it.

Now I'm a Windows 95 user and, although I could shell to DOS and use the same utility, the process is cumbersome. Soon I was looking for a better way, and - I'm happy to say - I found one in the Windows 95 Find program.

There are a lot of really handy utilities Windows 95 gives you as part of its package, at no extra charge. In my opinion, "Find" is one of the best. In its simplest form you go to the "My Computer" icon, click on the disk you think your file is on, then press the right mouse button. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on "Find..." and the Find window opens up. Now type in the name of the file you're looking for and press the "Find Now" button. If the file exists, its full name will appear in the window. Neat, yes?

Of course, if you're like me and have more than one partition on your hard disk or more than one hard disk, you may not find the file on the first partition or hard disk you try. Simple - enter the next drive name in the Find window and try again.

So far so good, but whenever I searched for a file I found myself repeating the Find operation four times, since I have my hard disk split into C, D, E, and F partitions. There must be a better way, I said, how can I search all my partitions in one shot? The answer was to take advantage of Find's ability to save a search, so this is what I did.

In the Find window I left the "Named:" field blank and entered the string "C: ;D: ;E: ; F:" in the "Look in:" field. Note the blank space and semi-colon after each drive letter. Don't ask to save results. I then pressed the "Find Now" button. It soon presented a window complaining that I had exceeded the search limit of 10,000 files. I pressed OK, and the warning window closed.

Clicking on File on the Find menu bar, I specified "Save Search" and a small icon appeared on my desk top. It was named "All Files.fnd" and I kept it because that was what I wanted.

Now when I want to search for a file anywhere on my hard drive, I click on my "All Files.fnd" icon and key the name of the file I'm looking for in the "Named:" field. The utility searches all my partitions and lets me know where the file is. If I wish, I can view, edit, delete, and so on right from the response window.

Find has other powerful capabilities such as letting you search for text in files. This can be handy if you can't remember the name of the file. Go to the Advanced tab in the Find window and enter the text. However, unless your text is unique it is best to limit the search to a single drive or folder otherwise you will probably exceed the search limit.

Try using Find and you may agree with me that it's one of the best things in Windows 95.

 

Software Library News

By Bob Hudak

E-Mail: rsh532@aol.com

 

Ran across Power Toys for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0. I do not have IE4 so I could not test it, but it sounds OK. The graphic tells about all I know. It is small for a change (81 K). I have a copy in the software library. Give it a try and perhaps you can give us a little report about it.

A lot of us are using Partition Magic V 3.0. There have been a few patches put out to fix a few bugs and improve on some of the things you can do with it. For your convenience, I have the patches to upgrade from V 3.0 to V 3.05 or from V 3.02 to V 3.05. You must use the right patch for the version you have. Just start up your program and it will tell you what version you have. This patch helps working with the bigger hard drives that we are installing today.

Short report this month. Still have a few digital pictures of members that we took at the general meeting in June. Stop by the library table and pick up your copy. They are great to use in letters or to make business cards etc. If you need a graphics editing and format converting program, I have Paint Shop Pro in the library. It will run under Windows 3.1 or 95.

 

 

Mini CAD 7

By Carl Warner, GSBUG

 

I compared Mini CAD 7 with 3 other CAD programs with similar functions. My conclusion was that it was very non-intuitive compared to what I know of the other programs. I actually used Mini CAD 7 to complete one of my class projects and it seemed to have some instabilities that were unexplainable. It was also very hard to prepare a simple 2D drawing. In defense of Mini CAD 7, the documentation was extensive and seemed fairly complete. But I didnít have time to read it all to determine if the system was usable.

Other programs that I have used are Fast CAD32 and Auto CAD Light. I like Fast CAD 32 much better than Mini CAD 7 because itís much easier and intuitive to use. I also find Fast CAD 32 to be easier to use than Auto CAD Light.

 

 

Digital Imaging Group (DIG) SIG

By Martine Alter, GSBUG

 

 

10 people attended 7/7/98

1. Learned that not all graphics programs can convert between file types. Softkey Photofinish 4 converted a 901MB .bmp file to a compressed 73MB .jpg file.

2. Captured more VCR images using Play Incorporated Snappy v3.0 video capture hardware and software. The VCR, however, generates a time/date stamp that is also captured. Need to read VCR manual to get rid of stamp and try again.

3. Note: Basic book on scanning "A Few Good Scanning Tips" by Wayne Fulton. $24.95 (includes shipping). Order from http://www.scantips.com. It is amazing what you need to know to produce a good scanned image. The 200 page book is well written in plain English.

4. Scanned an ink picture drawn on nonphoto blue drafting vellum. The blue vellum, however, scanned light gray. Need to redraw picture on white paper and try again.

5. Made letterhead using Printmaster Gold Publishing Suite (1995) a software program that imports images into poster, calendar, letterhead, etc. templates. Also printed a canned calendar page.

6. Learned how to use all the features on the Sony Steady Shot Handycam Vision Video Hi8 model CCD-TRV82 video camcorder.

10 people attended 7/14/98

1. Learned that the newly released Adobe Photoshop version 5.0 has unlimited undo. Photoshop is a graphics industry standard. Even an older version of Photoshop is good.

2. Learned an easy way to change the background in an image. First, increase the sharpness to define the foreground/background edge, then clean up the background, then unsharpen the image to remove coarseness.

3. Learned that graphics programs that use layers, like Micrografx Print Studio, give more control when enhancing an image.

4. Learned that scanning a photo or print greater than 200 dpi does not give any greater detail. To get greater detail, scan the film with a transparency adapter, however, the adapter is more expensive than the scanner. There is also an expensive 35mm scanner that only scans film.

5. Compared quality of images taken with a digital camera vs. images captured from a video camcorder. The digital camera images (.jpg) were reddish (compression?) while the captured video images (.bmp) were more natural colors. Sharpness was the same.

6. Learned about lossless and lossy file compression. Lossless (.tiff, .gif) finds redundant patterns of data and then replaces them with smaller tokens. The data is dropped in an intelligent manner to minimize the noticeable effect of lost pixels. Lossy (jpg) uses mathematical algorithms to remove less important data from a file such as color depth (variety) and fine details to produce a smaller file.

7. Learned that jpg compression works best on images with gradual irregular color transitions. Speckles appear when compressed using .jpg on images with sharp features or on vector drawings.

8. Correction to 6/9/98 notes: scanner units (dpi) are not the same as printer units (lpi). The dpi = (printed image width / original image width) x 1.5 x lpi. Printer lpi is determined by software. General rule: scan at 150% dpi of printer lpi.

11 people attended 7/21/98

1. Learned that ACD See 32 Paintshop PRO digital enhancing software has a feature that tells you how many different colors are in the digital image. Learned that various digital enhancing programs see the same color differently.

2. Saw that a photo scanned at 72 dpi came out jaggy. Will rescan photo at between 100 - 200 dpi.

3. Tested what a white background on an image looks like on colored paper. Turns out a white background is actually transparent (no color). For example, on yellow paper the white background was yellow, not white. The program we used did not have a colored paper option. We need to run the test with a different program, like Corel Draw 8, that has the colored paper option.

4. Captured more video camera images with Play Incorporated Snappy v3.0 video capture hardware and software from a Panasonic Palmcorder IQ.

5. Compared the images captured in live camera (real time) mode vs. VCR (tape replay) mode. The images were the same when printed. Noted that the camera time/date stamp appeared in the live camera mode but not in the VCR mode.

6. Learned that .gif saves in 256 bit color; .bmp and .jpg save in 24 bit color.

7. Discussed the .jpg quality setting option. The quality setting is an arbitrary scale from 1 -100 that is unstandardized. The higher the scale, the less the .jpg compression. The rule of thumb is to pick the lowest setting (highest compression) that is indistinguishable to the eye. Various books recommend 75-85. They also recommend not to set above 95.

8. Canon printers do not tell you when the printer is out of ink. Epson printers generate a bar graph on the PC monitor showing the amount of ink left.

12 people attended 7/28/98

1. The DIG SIG location is moving. The new DIG SIG digs will be the Torrance Scout Center located at 2365 Plaza Del Amo off Carson Street in Carson. There are no restaurants nearby so bring a sack lunch.

2. Learned that the Microtek ScanMaker X6EL is a 600 x 1200 dpi scanner with a 35mm slide adapter included ($249). Microtek Lab, Inc. is located in Redondo Beach. Sounds like a good DIG SIG field trip destination to me. Their website is www.microtekusa. com.

3. Learned of A-1 Scanner Outlet Co. that sells digital cameras, scanners and accessories in Temecula. Their website is www.scanneroutlet.com.

4. Rescanned a black & white 2 inch sq. line drawing on white paper. (The previous attempt was drawn on nonphoto blue vellum that came out with a light gray background.) Learned that resolution + image size = file size. The 300 dpi image was 2.9MB when saved as a .bmp or .tif file and too large for a 3.5 floppy disk. At 200 dpi, the image was 669KB and fit onto the floppy disk. This seemed like a big jump, however, and raised many questions about resolution.

5. Learned that it is best to scan at a low resolution, then resample to make the image larger (but not more refined) by interpolating between pixels to create additional or less pixels.

6. Tested free Adobe Photoshop v4.0 tryout disk. Found out that you can manipulate image, but cannot save or print it.

7. Tested digital camera images printed with various printer paper settings on various papers. For example, on glossy paper with the printer set for high resolution paper, the resulting print had faint streaks and was slightly reddish. Not surprisingly, the best prints were achieved when the printer paper setting matched the paper used. Tests like these answer those nagging questions that start with "I wonder what would happen if we...?

12 people attended 8/4/98

1. Installed Intel Corp. Create and Share Camera Pack in Emmettís PC. Slated as an imaging and communication solution, the pack includes an imaging camera, a video phone, a video capture card, and software. The mini camera sits atop your monitor and allows you to record video clips. From the video clips you can make still images (snapshots) to send with audio messages. The video phone lets you call and see people over the internet. The software requires a 90 MHz+ Pentium processor, Windows 95, a 28.8 Kbps modem, 16 MB RAM, a 4X CD-ROM, and a sound system with a microphone. The PCI slot pack costs $260 (the USB slot pack costs $180). After much fiddling, we got the test program to work, but could not complete the setup. Turns out the PC needs a different video display card driver. Will find driver and continue installation next week.

2. Took images with a Sony Mavica digital camera in black & white, color and sepia tone. The purpose is to find out which image tone photocopies best. The pictures were taken outdoors on a bright day with and without flash. The subject was in the shade against a white background. The images made with the flash were rejected because of skin shine, white eye, and wall glare. The next task is to print the remaining images in black & white, then photocopy them and compare.

Wisdom from an 11 year oldís science exam: To keep milk from turning sour: keep it in the cow.

 

Bits & Bytes of Information

By William A. Parradee

PowerDesk Utilities 98 Upgrade

Many GS-BUG members bought PowerDesk Utilities 98 (version 3.01) after a Mijenix representative demonstrated it several months ago. I visited their website in early August. Anyone who has bought and registered versions 3.0, 3.01, or 3.02 can download version 3.03 free.

Mijenix listed 23 features added since version 3.01 and 21 bug fixes. Some changes were for better operation in Windows 98. When on the Internet, go to http://www.mijenix.com/ to learn more about several Mijenix programs. You may be able to go directly to http://www.mijenix.com/pd98upgrad.htm to download the PowerDesk upgrade. It should take 15 to 20 minutes to download under most conditions.

PowerDesk can replace Windows Explorer for most purposes. It has many features absent in Explorer., such as viewing the contents of zip and other compressed files without opening them. Also see ZipMagic below.

Registered users of versions 1.x and 2.x can upgrade to version 3.03 for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

ZipMagic Upgrade to Version 2.02

The Mijenix representative also sold ZipMagic to many of our members at the meeting mentioned above. It was version 1.0.

The Mijenix website offers a free upgrade to version 2.02 to those with versions 2.0 and 2.01. A purchased version of ZipMagic 98 2.0 or 2.01 must be installed on your system prior to running the update program for the update to be successful.

ZipMagic allows Windows Explorer to view, edit, copy, add, or run files from inside zip and other compressed files without opening them. It adds any of those same abilities to PowerDesk that it does not already have.

Users who purchased ZipMagic version 1.0 can upgrade to ZipMagic 98 for $19.95 plus shipping and handling.

The evaluation version of ZipMagic is not included in these offers. http://www.mijenix.com/ is the place to learn more about the upgrade and start though the various screens to download it.

Y2K Problems in Windows

Windows 3.x, Windows for Workgroups 3.11, and early versions of Windows 95 have date problems after the year 2000 (Y2K).

Windows 98 and NT 4.0 have no known Y2K problems if you apply Service Pack 3. Get it at http://backoffice.microsoft.com/downtrial/moreinfo/nt4sp3.asp.

In Windows 95 use Start, Find, Files or Folders, type winfile.exe, and press Enter. When you locate winfile.exe (probably in the Windows folder) check the date. If it is before 3/11/97 go to Microsoft's support website. Locate and download the file w95filup.exe.

To upgrade File Manager in older Windows versions use Microsoft's support website. Download w31filup.exe for Windows 3.x or wfwfilup.exe for Windows for Workgroups 3.11.

Start at http://support.microsoft.com/support/downloads to get the update files mentioned here. You will need to click here and there to reach the right place. Microsoft may change names or locations of files mentioned in this article.

Y2K Problems in the Windows 95 DOS Prompt

When you enter the Dir command at the Windows 95 DOS prompt, the year is represented by only two digits. Enter the Date command and try to set a new date using digits from 00 to 79; you will get an Invalid Date error. Use four digits when setting the date. Dates before 1979 are still invalid.

Download and install win95y2k.exe from Microsoft's support site. The site address is given in the preceding section.

This upgrade has some quirks however. If you use only two digits from 00 to 79 for the year, Windows assumes the years 2000 to 2079. If you use dates from 80 to 99, Windows uses dates from 1980 to 1999.

My Experiments With Y2K

I ran several experiments on my Win95 machine. The first was to set the date to 12-31-1999 and the time to a few seconds before midnight. After waiting a while, I checked the date and it was the year 2000. It automatically goes to 2000. I tested it two ways: Shutting off the machine during the interval and also by letting it run.

My winfile.exe is the old version: 7-11-95. So I tested some of the things that were in doubt. First, I tried to set the date to two or three different years between 1900 and 1979. It said that was an invalid date. Next I set the date to 01-01-2000. It worked. After that I could set the year to anything from 2000 to 2099 -- as long as four digits were used. I finally discovered that the year could be set into the 2000 range directly from 1998. It would not work with 2100. Don't worry about that.

Next, I made and saved a small file using Edit while the year was set to 2001. The Dir command listed the year as -01. It is not likely anyone will think it means 1901! Both Dir and Explorer list these files in the correct order when sorted by date. I am not certain I want to install the update.

 

E-mail Virus Now a Reality

By William A. Parradee

 

CNN First Alert

The microsoft.public.inetexplorer.ie4. outlookexpress newsgroup first brought this to my attention. The information was attributed to CNN.

One expert said you can get an Outlook Express patch at: http://www. microsoft. com/ie/security/oelong.htm. And get the Outlook98 patch at: http://support.microsoft.com/download/support/mslfiles/OUTPATCH.EXE.

Note 1: I tried to go to the first site above and could not. However, I went to: http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ security/main.htm. There under the July 27 heading were words to click for access to each of them.

You may read security bulletins and other information about Microsoft product security on http://www. microsoft.com/security.

For a free security e-mail subscription, compose an e-mail message to: microsoft_security-subscribe-request@announce.microsoft.com. The subject line and the message body can be blank or anything you like. Send the e-mail. You will receive e-mail asking you to verify the subscription.

Another expert suggested going here to get the fix for Outlook Express long filename security issue: http://www.microsoft.com/ie/security/?/ie/security/oelong.htm. I stumbled upon this address while on the Microsoft web site but did not go to it.

AT&T E-mail Security Alert

E-mail Security Alert was the heading of a report recently released by AT&T. I will try to summarize their report.

Microsoft Outlook Express, Netscape Messenger, and Microsoft Outlook are vulnerable in the following cases: If you use either of the Microsoft programs to read e-mail and/or news on a Windows 95, Windows 98, Macintosh, Windows NT or Solaris computer. If you use Netscape Messenger as your e-mail program on a Windows 3.1x, 95, 98 or NT machine.

This security loophole lets remote users run almost any code they want on your computer. For example, the code could format your hard drive, send a huge amount of e-mail in your name, or almost anything. No one has reported use of this for harmful purposes so far.

Microsoft's website has further information for Outlook Express users: http://www.microsoft.com/ie/ security/oelong.htm. (See Note 1: above about this address. That note may apply also to the next address below.)

Outlook 98 users should go to: http://support.microsoft.com/support/msfe. (Request patch OLMIME from Microsoft Support.)

Patches for versions of Outlook Express for Macintosh and Solaris are expected to be available soon at: http://www.microsoft.com/security.

Netscape offers information and workarounds at: http://home.netscape. com/products/security/resources/bugs/longfile.html. A fix for Netscape should be available about August 10.

More 11 year old science test answers: When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire.

Equator: A managerie lion running around the Earth through Africa.

 

From the Editor

By Liz Orban, GSBUG, Inc.

E-mails: lizorban@mrinter.net

bi657@lafn.org

 

Radio on Your Computer

I saw an ad for "Windows Magazine on the radio" in the August 1998 issue of that magazine. According to the ad, itís on Sundays on BNN. But where is BNN? It referred me to a web page for more information, and although it didnít tell me the settings for BNN, it did explain how to install Real Player and listen to the radio on my computer.

Real Playerís free beta downloaded from www. real.com with the click of a button. It took a few minutes. It installed itself with a double click on the .exe file. A Pentium with 16MB of RAM is recommended.

I went back to the Windows Magazine page www.computeramerica.com and clicked on Broadcast. Since the August 9 computer broadcast was cancelled due to network difficulties, or perhaps because it was the wrong time of day (it appears that the computer show is on at 3pm EST), I was listening to an ad about This Old House. Still, the reception was just like radio.

The computeramerica calendar page states that the August 23 program will discuss digital cameras and photo editing. Our DIG SIG members will probably be interested in listening to this program.

Yahoo Mail For Travelers

Lately, I have been working out of state and needed a national ISP since MrInternet and LA Freenet both use local LA phone numbers. So I loaded AOL with its 100 free hours. Then, on the advice of Frank Chao, our LA Freenet contact, I signed up for a free yahoo mail account at http://mail.yahoo. com. Yahoo mail is a web-based system which can store your e-mail on the web. I told yahoo mail about my other mail accounts, MrInternet and LA Freenet, using its external mail feature. Now when I connect to AOL and go to yahoo mail, I can pick up all my mail.

 

Internet Talk

By Frank Chao, GSBUG

Hello, my name is Frank Chao and I have been a GSBUG member for the past four years. I am also a volunteer for the Los Angeles Free-Net, the non-profit Internet Service Provider that is often mentioned at our Internet SIG meetings. I plan to write a series of articles covering various hot topics regarding Internet access. These articles will be based on the suggestions and questions that club members send me. I can be reached in several ways:

1. Leave me a voice message at 323-600-1390 (a Hawthorne phone number)

2. Page me at 800-516-3104.

3. Send e-mail to me at ac602@lafn.org

4. Send me "snail" United States Postal Service mail at Frank Chao, P.O. Box 2548, El Segundo, CA 90245-2548

or 5. talk to me at the Internet SIG meetings which are held on the third Friday of each month at 7:30pm at Del Amo Savings Bank by my friend Herman Krouse.

For starters, let me say that the Los Angeles Free-Net provides the best low-cost Internet access accounts in the Los Angeles area. If anyone wants to learn more about the Los Angeles Free-Net, please contact me via one of the above methods or look on the Web at http://www.lafn.org/webconnect/wc_help.htm which contains a series of "pages" which we maintain on behalf of members and prospective members of the Los Angeles Free-Net. Also, we maintain a Web page of information for disabled people at http://www.lafn .org/medical/special_needs

Hope to hear from a lot of you soon. Happy Web surfing!

 

Upcoming Elections

George Austin and the nominating committee are soliciting nominations for officers. If interested in running for any position, contact George Austin.

 

Donít miss September 10

Microsoft Win98 Presentation


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