The Bug Report
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.
Editor - Kay Burton
SOFTWARE LIBRARY NEWS
A POEM ........ FOR COMPUTER USERS OVER 40
By Dr. John Hanson
Topics for October
1. Help in any Area
2. Digital Cameras
3. Pocket Flash Memory
4. 40 gb Maxtor for $40
5. Reading for Children
6. Scanning Images
7. Windows SIG
8. Digital SIG
9. Daytime Hardware SIG
10. Caution with Rebates
11. How is Comp USA Doing?
12. Dr. Hanson Special Computer
14. 5 1/4 Floppies
15. Paper is Still King
16. Lights of all Sorts
17. HP-49G+ Programmable Calculator
1. Help in any Area: The Beginner's SIG every Tuesday from 1 to 4 by appointment at the Scout Shack is for anyone who wants to be better at any level. The training is mostly in how to use your computer and software so you should bring it in. Just the computer, keyboard and mouse as we have monitors. We can even train you in how to use your digital camera to get better results and how to transfer pictures with a card reader. While I don't favor XP for anyone we can still help you use it better if you insist but Windows 98 SE is really the best. The class is open to anyone, even if you don't know what you would like to learn. In a few minutes I can evaluate your level of expertise and find some things that would help make you better. The whole secret of my teaching is to make it fun. Be sure to call a day or two in advance and tell what you would like to learn so I can prepare and bring any required items. Call 310-643-9882 and if I am not in leave a clear message with your name and phone number twice slowly.
2. Digital Cameras: Sales of digital cameras are booming which could indicate many companies are not too focussed on quality so be careful in your selection. Be especially careful of any recommendations of Consumer Reports, Digital Camera or PC Photo magazines. Don't go wild over lots of pixels. Even a 2 megapixel camera with a good lens can produce excellent results. The best value is with about 3 megapixels. Ease of use is one of the most important considerations. Most evaluations don't list the lag time from the time you push the button and the picture is taken. That could be a big problem if you don't know how to compensate. Come to the beginners SIG and learn how to select a digital camera.
3. Pocket Flash Memory: Fred Vogel bought a 64 mb keychain USB flash memory for only $10 at Frys, if he gets his rebate. So did Doc Sexton. That's only 16 cents per mb which is pretty good. The best price on normal flash memory cards is about 21 cents per mb for a 256 mb SD card at Costco and no rebate required. Since the rebate game is a big racket (See #10 below) they are paying way too much if they don't get their rebate. For those who want the ultimate you can pay 55 cents per megabyte for 256 mb or 70 cents per mb for 128 mb in a wristwatch flash memory with a USB connector built into the strap. For a picture see 2 pages before page 93 of Sep 15 Time Magazine.
4. 40 gb Maxtor for $40: Maxtor has been pretty good and paying their rebates so I took a chance in September and bought one. It's 7200 rpm with a 2 mb buffer so it's a pretty good idea to have a spare. It is a shame that Frys does not run ads in the Daily Breeze as they could sell substantially more. They are excellent merchandisers, even if quite a bit deceptive.
5. Reading for Children: As some of you know my business
involves teaching people to read at all ages around the world and it's
difficult when they don't speak English but I speak enough languages to
get by. For members with children or grandchildren one of the best
things you can do, even if they read well, is to teach them touch typing
beginning at about 4 to 6 years old. Teacher Grace Peticlerk wrote
a wonderful book on how to do that. Instead of using all the dumb
words in standard typing books use words appropriate for their age after
they have mastered the basics. That way they are learning spelling
and vocabulary at the same time.
Even if parents or relatives are excellent touch typists it is not a good idea for them to try to teach the child. Call a high school and ask to interview several girls who would be willing to teach touch typing. What you should look for in such a girl is one who likes children and is a model of what you would like your child to be like. Try to find someone who can come in at least for three hours per session and give her the freedom to read to the child and play games in between the typing sessons. You will get much better results this way. Most important of all is not to use a computer but borrow, ent or buy a standard electric typewriter. Even for older kids a manual one is not suitable. Be sure every page is dated and include the time of day that page is started. Save these papers so the child can see his or her progress. The reason for an electric typewriter is that the letters appear right away on the paper along with any errors and it's so hard to make corrections that they don't even try. On a computer keyboard it is too easy to make corrections so they tend to be sloppy. Let them make lots of errors and don't mention them but do congratulate them on all the good things they type. For instance, if they are typing the word cat across the page and have two errors be sure to overlook the errors and comment on how many good "cats" there are.
6. Scanning Images: Alfred Poor of PC Mag did a great job in a recent issue but I can't find it at the moment. Perhaps it is just before the Oct 1st issue. That article includes other good information so look for it. Some parts of it are written by other authors, whom I don't have as much confidence in, so be cautious. Even if you have an excellent scanner you need to know how to use it. And if you have a less than perfect scanner this knowledge is even more important. Jack Noble is an expert on scanning among his amazing other talents.
7. Windows SIG: John Sullivan and Virginia Pfiffner do an excellent job with their well attended SIGs. In addition, John has put most of his very useful information on his web site so you can look up answers to almost any question. See http://home.earthlink.net/~johns2063 for John web site.
8. Digital SIG: Fred Vogel does a terrific job in running the Digital Sig, which is almost exclusively about Photoshop. Recently Fred pointed out that Photoshop Elements 2 at only $99 or less is a fantastic buy. It has essentially all the power of Photoshop 7 because the programmers were not able to take out features. All they did was hide them so an enterprising author has written a book on how to find these features.
9. Daytime Hardware SIG: Bob Hudak is doing a great job taking over from Carl Warner. Bob is one of our experts who can fix anything. Even when a computer has mysterious problems Bob can wave his hand inside and it starts working. Maybe his many years of running a machine shop is his secret. Bring in your computers for a check up and for upgrades but be sure to call Bob in advance so he can be prepared. Bob has a whole staff of other experts to help like Harry, Emmett, Virginia and Harold. Harold, by the way, is the one who started the very popular DIG SIG.
10. Caution with Rebates: The rebate scam is so bad you have to be very careful. Always consider if the product is a good deal even if you don't get the rebate. Be sure to read and follow all the instructions carefully and make copies of everything, including a copy of your envelope showing that you addressed it properly and that it has a stamp. Recently I read that some group is filing a class action suit against one or more vendors.
11. How is Comp USA Doing? I haven't been to a Comp USA in a long time. They never seem to have any good deals and I am bored when I go there. Have any of our members found any good deals there? On the other hand Micro Center in Tustin is a similar type store but it is much more interesting but it is so far away. Usually I only go there when I go to the APC Computer Swap Meet.
12. Dr. Hanson Special Computer: So far this is still one of
the best deals at only $270 for a very powerful computer with all kinds
of features. See it at Advanced Computer on Western Avenue about
207th Street which is just north of Torrance Blvd. Be sure you get
two floppy drives and a 40gb hard drive. I did get word
of one problem that a computer was not ready on time, even after several visits, so the member canceled. Use the BelArc program to make sure you get everything you paid for. If you do not have this program BelArc if can be purchase for the GSBug librarian Bob Hudak.
13. Photoshop: In the Photoshop SIG Fred Vogel and Jack Noble
are among the best in how to get great results. Jack is clearly the
star when it comes to making signs, badges and even pictures look terrific.
He has a magical sense of color and design and most important of all the
skill and patience to make a photograph
really shine. But we have many other Photoshop experts, who are so smart they have learned on their own. Some of them like Vernon Lym and Alan Haskell are so busy they don't have time to attend the SIG but when you see the quality of their work you would be amazed. Both of these men have many other talents and can fix almost anything. Among their many talents Alan is an expert in music editing and Vernon in video editing with all kinds of powerful equipment. PC Mag of Oct 1st has an article on video editing programs and on digital video cameras.
14. 5 1/4 Floppies: Does anyone have a cleaner disk for one
of these drives? One of our members, Vernon Lym, needs one
to clean three of his floppy drives. Everyone should have a cleaner
disk and the cleaning solution for the few times when you need it.
They are still probably available for 3 1/2 floppies but for the
5 1/4 floppies it could be difficult so if you are an old time expert like Bob Hudak see if you have one to help Vernon.
15. Paper is Still King: Everyone knows that you should
back up your data and even your programs but how many do. If you
have important data, such as genealogy or in my case data on students and
how to help them be sure to make a paper copies and file them away in a
safe place. Always use a laser printer if you want longevity or use
your ink jet printer and then make copies on a laser copier. Even
if your magnetic media doesn't go south it is possible your hardware won't
be able to read your data and new operating systems like XP won't let you
use pure DOS. It is a good idea to keep an old computer around with
so you can read those old files but be sure to make a paper copy and on acid free paper. I have lost lots of valuable work that was on eight inch floppy drives using the CP/M operating system. Fortunately I did save most of it on paper but had I forecast the future better I would have transferred my data to DOS when I could. Did anyone else get caught with data on eight inch floppies? By the way I still have some new blank disks if you have an eight inch drive. Maybe I should offer them on Ebay. One of our new members sells her old books on Ebay.
16. Lights of all Sorts: Recently I did a spreadsheet analysis of flashlight bulbs available a Radio Shack. Jack Burton installed one of the best I found in his 6 volt flashlight and was delighted how much brighter it was with very little increase in power. Let me know if you would like a copy so I can bring it to a meeting. For emergency situations I a trying to design flashlights that last for ten years and are always reliable and still not very expensive. So far the best is a lithium cell inserted in a regular but modified flashlight and one of the bulbs that turned out best on the spreadsheet analysis. The next best is a lithium ion rechargeable cell but that requires more care as a slight mistake could cause an explosion. In addition, I have done lots of experimentation with bright LEDs of different colors including white and have made some that are really useful. Some of the keychain ones are very well designed and some are not so you should have at least two from different manufacturers. Avoid the ones that don't use lithium coin cells altho some of those at the 99 cents store were quite good for a short time and some were really poor. The store surprises me when I find really good quality items among all the poor quality things. They must have very sharp buyers.
17. HP-49G+ Programmable Calculator: A week ago I had
dinner with the manager of HP's Personal Products Division and two of his
calculator designers along with PPC members from all over the country.
HP has made amazing progress in what the calculator can do. It will
be available on October 6th and lists for $176 but you can get it for $160
at SamsonCables.com. You can program the calculator on your computer
and then load the program on the calculator. It's easier that way.
One of the nice features is the addition of a slot for an SD flash memory
card so you can have all sorts of memory. Unfortunately it doesn't
have a volume
control so the sound may be too low for you and no contrast control so the display may be hard to see at certain times. It does all sorts of graphs similar to the Casio and TI graphics calculators.
A little background information is in order. About 30 years ago when I joined this calculator club it had 18,000 members all
over the world. It was formed some time earlier by our very own Emmett Ingram. Some of you may remember the HP+67, 97 and 41c, among others. Today Emmett and I still use our 32s. It was with the HP-67 and 97 that I took three years to develop a program to design my Tooties. Later I moved the program to the Casio 602 which is much better and I still use.
Before you get a HP-79G+ take a look at the newest Casio. It has a very powerful graphing feature that is truly amazing. It has a very large screen vertically. On the bottom part you write an equation and a graph of it appears on the top part. Make a change in any part of the equation and the new graph appears but what is truly amazing is that you can modify the graph and the equation changes. Imagine the benefits for curve fitting.
One of the major improvements made by HP and perhaps the others is not to use proprietary cpu chips anymore but standard chips and programming with standard languages like C++. Now they can keep manufacturing a popular calculator with the latest chips by just modifying the program slightly. Older calculators had proprietary cpu chips and once production of that chip stopped the whole calculator design was useless. That's why companies can't go back and start production of very popular calculators like the Casio 602. It's a good thing that I bought about 20 of them before they stopped production. Not only has the 602 been
very useful in the design of Tooties but in my other teaching as well as it is so easy to program and retains its programs when you shut it off. In a few minutes you can program it for a particular student.
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
By Frank Chao
This is the eighteenth
newsletter that has been compiled by editor Kay Burton and this 62nd "Internet
Talk" article resides within it. It is back-to-school sale time at
computer stores such as CompUSA, Best Buy, and Fry's so this is a good
time to buy a new desktop or laptop computer for yourself or that college
student in your life. Liz and I hope to see some of you as we make
our rounds from store to store, here in the Torrance / South Bay area !
OPERA WEB BROWSER
For a faster, more user-friendly
Internet experience, try the Opera Web browser by downloading it at
If you download it and install it, you will start off with the free version that has an approximately 1/2-inch tall advertising bar that goes half way across the top of the Opera application window.
To get rid of this advertising bar, you have to pay for a registration code. I recommend doing so, but if you decline to do so, the free version will continue to work without any time limit and without nagging you, so it is up to you.
To find out about their registration pricing options, see
You can change the way Opera looks by using any of the dozens of free skins at
Most of you know that Netscape only has two "skins" and Internet Explorer does not have any at all.
Opera does a much better job of when you use their "File" / "Save As" on Web pages than either Internet Explorer or Netscape. Opera saves the HTML code of a Web page as an *.htm or *.html file without modifying the code.
ANNOYANCES OF INTERNET EXPLORER AND NETSCAPE
For both of the current
versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer, when you
do a "Save As.." of a Web page:
1) The graphic image
files of the Web page are placed into a separate file
2) The HTML file of the Web page that you are saving is modified to point to any graphics that are placed in this separate file.
For example, try the following:
1) Start Internet
Explorer or Netscape,
2) Go to
3) Close the pop-up advertising banner.
Inside the Internet Explorer window:
4) Click on "File" on the menu bar,
5) Click on "Save As..",
6) Choose or create a folder on one of my hard drives,
7) Click on the "Save" button,
8) Open up "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer".
Next, using "My Computer" or "Windows Explorer", locate the Web page file that you just saved:
It will probably be called
You will also find a folder called
Inside this folder, you will find all of the graphics files
for my homepage Web page.
What is aggravating and
inefficient for me is that the
folder does not actually exist at my Web server. Up there, my index.html file and all of my graphics file reside in the same folder.
Both Netscape and Internet Explorer rewrite the *.htm file and "organize" all of the graphics files into a sub-directory (or sub-folder) called
<name of htm file>_files
and this is not a desirable
situation when one is the creator / administrator of a Web site.
However, if I am viewing
the same Web page with Opera, I can
1) Click on "File" on the Opera menu bar,
2) Click on "Save with images as..",
3) Choose or create a folder on one of my hard drives,
4) Click on the "Save" button.
If I then use "My Computer"
or "Windows Explorer" and locate the Web page files that I have just
saved, I will note the following:
1) Opera has copied the *.htm (or *.html) file correctly onto my hard drive,
without modifying the code.
2) Opera has downloaded all of the graphics files from my homepage
Website onto my hard drive and placed them in the same folder
as the *.htm file.
Hence, for managing or saving Web pages from the Internet, Opera does much better job that Internet Explorer and Netscape.
During the month of September,
all of us could see Mars as a reddish point in the night sky. To learn
more about what we saw, Kostek Haussman of GSBUG (firstname.lastname@example.org)
suggests that you go to
CORRECTION TO TORRANCE LIBRARY INFORMATION
In the September issue of the Bug Report, I erroneously stated that the Torrance library charges $3.00/hour for the use of their Internet-connected computers. This is wrong. Jim McGee of GSBUG stated that the computers are free, although you are limited to one hour per day in the basement while you have free unlimited time on the computers on the first floor. Many thanks to Jim for this correction.
ADVICE ON RESOLVING COMPUTER PROBLEMS
Before seeking help for computer problems, try to help others help you by capturing images of any error messages that you see. Modern Windows computers usually try to tell you what is wrong with them. I and Liz have noticed that many GSBUG members have problems describing the problems that they are having with their computers.
When you encounter a problem with your computer, here is what you should do:
Before you encounter
the problem again:
1) Click on the "Start" button on the Windows Task Bar,
2) Click on "All Programs" or "Programs",
3) Click on "Accessories",
4) Click "Wordpad", Inside the "Wordpad" window,
5) Click on "File" on the menu bar,
6) Click on the "Save" button
7) Select or create a folder on one of your hard drive(s),
8) Give the file a name such as Problem.doc
9) Click on the "Save" button,
10) Minimize the "Wordpad" window,
11) Continue working on your computer until the problem occurs,
12) Press "Alt" + "Shift" + "Print Screen" (to copy an image of the dialog box or window
that contains the error message into the Windows "Clipboard"),
13) Restore the "Wordpad" window,
14) Press "Control" + V to place an image of the error message dialog box or window
into the Wordpad document called Problem.doc
15) Hit the "Enter" key,
16) An image of the error message or problem situation should now reside inside the
17) Click on "File" and "Save" in the Wordpad window,
18) Press "Alt" + "Tab" until you see the error message or problem situation again,
19) Press "Shift" + "Print Screen" (to copy an image of your entire monitor screen into
the Windows "Clipboard"),
20) Restore the "Wordpad" window (that contains Problem.doc),
21) Press "Control" + "V"
22) Hit the "Enter" key,
23) An image of your entire monitor screen with the error message or problem situation
should now also reside inside the Wordpad document called Problem.doc
24) Click on "File" and "Save" in the Wordpad window,
25) Click on "File" and "Print" to print the Wordpad document so that you have a hard copy
image of your computer's problem situation, and finally,
26) Take this hard copy printout that shows images of your computer problem to the appropriate
GSBUG meeting and ask one of our friendly members for help on the problem.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1. Send me e-mail
2. Leave me a voice message at (310)768-3896.
3. Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer
and take up mountain climbing instead !!
By BOB HUDAK
I have been working on a over heating problem
on one of my computers for a long time. Not full time but when the problem
showed up. I changed the CPU heatsink and fan a couple of times and monitored
the results in CMOS. It is a older computer but the motherboard has temp
and fan monitoring in the BIOS. This is a poor way to see what is going
on because the CPU is not working. So the next step was to find a program
that would tell me what the temp was while I was working on the computer.
Playing Solitaire or whatever. I found a great little program that does
that and puts the temp in the system tray. It does much more than that
but this is the feature I was looking at. I of course have it in the Library
and I hope you will pick up a copy and install it on your computer if you
have a motherboard that monitors this. It is easy to see if it does or
not. When booting go to the CMOS screen by hitting the Delete key at startup.
Check the BIOS Chipset Features Setup. If you see the temp and fan speed being reported you are all set This program does not need to be running all the time, only when you want to see what is going on. If your computer reboots on its own or freezes up it might be do to overheating. With this tool it is easy to find out. My CPU was hitting 140+ degrees before I started changing fans etc. It now is running at 100 degrees Following is some info from the program.
SpeedFan monitors fan speeds, temperatures and voltages in computers with hardware monitoring chips SpeedFan can even access S.M.A.R.T. info for those hard disks that support this feature (almost all) and show hard disk temperatures too, if supported. SpeedFan can even change the FSB on some motherboards. Its main feature is that it can control the speed of the fans (depending on your sensor chip) according to the temperatures inside your pc, thus reducing noise and power consumption. Most Winbond sensors and ASUS AS99127F support fan speed changing, as well as others from MYSON, ANALOG DEVICES, NATIONAL SEMICONDUCTORS and ITE, but the motherboard should make use of available pins. This means that if you have, say, a W83782D on a BP6 then you're ok. If you have a W83782D on some GigaByte's... you're not ) SpeedFan works fine with Win98, WinME, WinNT, Win2k and WinXP
SpeedFan can be minimized to the tray and is compatible with Motherboard Monitor 5. SpeedFan monitors temperatures and, according to your setup, does its best to keep them at your desired value. You can even change a fan speed according to the temperature of your hard disk. When choosing parameters for the minimum and maximum fan speed, try to set them by hand (disable all the VARIATE FANS checkboxes) and listen to the noise When you hear no noise from the fan then you can set that value as the minimum fan speed for that fan. I suggest to use 100 as the maximum value, unless you hear so much noise from it. In such a case, you might reduce the maximum speed to 95 or 90. Consider that when the WARNING temperature is reached, the program sets the fan speed to 100, whichever maximum speed you set. One last word should be spent over the USE FAN x listbox.
In my pc, when a fan runs faster, more than one temperature changes. You can say on which fan every temperature should rely. In my BP6, TEMPI and TEMP3 are both influenced by FAN1. Got all that? Like I said I am only using one of the features. I did find that you can display any one of the TEMP readings in the tray that you want to watch. By hovering the mouse over the display it will show you all three. The program makes a graph of the TEMP by degree and time of use. Also monitors CPU utilization. What more do you want? Support the Library. Pickup a copy.
Hardware SIG has been really slow. That means that your hardware is all working good and you are not upgrading or adding any new hardware. We did have a few computers show up with software problems. Virus problems and adding too many miracle fix it programs. Each of these programs wants to take over the computer and there is too much in fighting going on and as a result the computer cannot run at all. Do not install more then one of these programs. I really think you should not install any of them.
In order to make better use of our time we can do some show and tell about some hardware related software. Like how to use Partition Magic. How to make a disk image using Drive Copy. How to use this image to restore your drive after you got a virus and had to FDISK and Format your hard drive. Let me know if interested and if there is enough interest in a subject I'll work up a schedule.
A POEM FOR COMPUTER USERS OVER 40
A computer was something on TV
From a science fiction show of note
Window was something you hated to clean
And ram was the father of a goat.
Meg was the name of my girlfriend
And gig was a job for the nights
Now they all mean different things
And that really mega-bytes.
An application was for employment -
A program was a TV show -
A cursor used profanity -
A keyboard was a piano -
Memory was something we lost with age
A CD was a bank account
And if you had a 3-in- floppy
You hoped nobody found out.
Compress was how you treated garbage
Not something you did with a file
And if you unzipped in public
Youíd for sure be in jail for a while.
Log 0n was adding wood to the fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode.
Cut you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spiderís home
And a virus was the flu.
I guess Iíll just stick with paper and pen
And whatís left of the memory in my head
As yet no oneís been killed in a
But when they happen . . .
-------Youíll wish you were dead.
This poem is from Judy Taylour at DATALINE
NEWSLETTER - Santa Clarita Valley PC Group.
Thank you Judy - - - Jack Noble