The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 22 Number 01
January 2004

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 -







By Dr. John Hanson

Topics for January

1. Comdex Report
2. APCUG Report
3. Poor Contrast Ratio
4. Minolta DiImage XT
5. Great Prints
6. Shutter Lag Time
7. Canon Ink Jet Printers
8. HP-4+ Laser Printer
9. Portable Printers
10. TV Photo Viewer
11. Selecting a Digital Camera
12. Image Rescue
13. Buying a Computer
14. Lithium Ion Batteries
15. Circuit Specialists Catalog
16. Burning DVDs
17. Flash Memory Cards
18. Exploring Digital Photography
19. Photoshop Fundamentals
20. Welcome the new Editor
21. Congratulate Jimmy Corones
22. Prostate ProblemsTopics for November

1.  Comdex Report: Comdex is dying.  It started downhill a couple of years ago when the Japs bought it and it went bankrupt. Possibly because the booth prices were so high but it did attract 200,000 people from around the world.  The new company that bought it is very tight, perhaps cautious during start up, and only attracted 50,000 people.  They are trying to attract people who actually buy and not just look and take pictures of the
competition.  This time cameras were not allowed but many snuck in anyway.  Before, the whole convention center was filled to capacity and even in a week it was hard to see everything.  This time only the very center of the building was open and vast, empty areas were curtained off.  You could see almost everything in a few hours.  The only biggie that was there was Microsoft.  There was almost nothing to impress me.  For those who travel and take lots of pictures there is a portable CD burner than can burn pictures directly from a flash card to a CD.  Two years ago when the tablet PC was introduced I was not impressed but now they are much better and inviting.  The one that seemed the best and still not very expensive was the Sharp but as with everything you need
to do your homework before you buy.

2.  APCUG Report:  This is the marvelous user association we belong to.  About 350 attend each year in Las Vegas just before Comdex and come from around the world.  Workshops are offered on how to help our club.  In addition, the biggies in the computer world come to show us their latest wares and treat us to exquisite meals like the banquet from Microsoft.  Microsoft always has a great dinner but lately their programs have been
dull and boring.  Maybe my complaints helped spur Alan Chitlik to take action as this time it was a much better presentation on their products and Alan even flew in a comedian from Tennessee.  Intel, AMD, Adobe, and other biggies were there even tho they didn't exhibit at Comdex so APCUG has better drawing power.  Most gave all the attendees free software in addition to valuable prizes to many, including our own Bill Champlin.  There were many smaller vendors like Smart Computing and Borland who are loyal supporters of APCUG.

3.  Poor Contrast Ratio:  Page 28 of Dec 03 PC Photo has a useful, detailed solution with Photoshop on how to improve the contrast ratio.  All of us have taken pictures where the background or foreground is either too bright or too dark.

4.  Minolta DiImage XT:  Page 48 of PC Photo has details of this and other small digital cameras.  This one is 3 mp but two years ago it was 2 mp and still took great pictures with a 3x optical zoom.  I convinced Emmett and another friend to get one and they have been delighted with the results and the convenience of having it fit easily in your pocket so it's always available.  Great for travelers in dangerous countries where you don't want to stand out like a tourist.  Samy's Camera here in Los Angeles is advertising one for only $200 which I guess is the 2 mp as the 3 mp just came out and lists for $350.  Both use the inexpensive but powerful SD flash memory card.

5.  Great Prints:  Take a look at the excellent article on how to get great prints.  It's on page 54 of PC Photo.   Image resolution should be between 200 and 300 dpi/ppi at the size printed regardless of the printer used.  Be careful to keep the resample box unchecked.  Resolutions above 400 are actually worse.

6. Shutter Lag Time:  With digital cameras it is very important to hold the shutter release button half way down first to set the focus and exposure, then frame your picture and press the button the rest of the way down.  It takes time to focus and set the exposure so you are shortening the total lag time by pressing the button half way down.  In my case I need to anticipate the fast action and press the button the rest of the way just before the
action I want to capture.  With practice and lots of pictures you can get pretty good.  Unfortunately none of the reviews of digital cameras give you those lag times so you need to try it in a store.  The Olympus C-750 on page 72 of PC Photo is said to have a short lag time so if you need to shoot action shots you may want to consider this $700 camera which goes up to 1/1000 sec.  Be careful as it uses the XD flash card which is more
expensive and not as available as the SD card.

7.  Canon Ink Jet Printers:  Do any of the members have one of these and are you pleased with the results?  Can you use the inexpensive inks from CSI as others can with their Epson printers.  My Epson 880 has been quite reliable and the CSI inks are quite cheap and still produce excellent results.  Lately my printer has been pushing out a number of blank sheets before it prints so I complained to Epson.  They were very nice and offered
a free analysis at a place in Culver City on Washington Blvd.  I went there but suggest no one use their lousy services.  I suspect they didn't even bother to test it because I didn't have genuine Epson cartridges.  They said it worked fine but it still has the same problem.  I told Epson about the Culver City lousy service so next time I will try the other Epson service location in Inglewood.  Maybe I need to clean the rollers which cause problems with all kinds of machines that feed paper.

8.  HP-4+ Laser Printer:  These are real workhorses and very reliable except for the top feed roller which needs cleaning now and then.  You can tell when the paper jams and when you pull it out it has an accordion pleat at the end.  These printers sold for about $1,500 many years ago and now are available at the TRW swap meet for about $100 from various vendors.  If you are not adventurous get one from John's Printers for a little bit more as he guarantee's his.  Emmett Ingram, Virginia Pfiffner, Jack Noble and I all have this printer or the one without the +.  I suggest you only get the + version and check the page count.  It can easily run a half million pages but look for one with less than 100,000 on the page count.   The nice thing about a laser printer is that you can leave it unused for months and when you need to print, it works every time.  The toner cartridges are cheap at CSI and last for a year or more in my case.  They are so good I have about six of them so that I can get my work out on time.  HP quality has been going down ever since Carly took over so I would not buy a new HP laser printer.  If you want new try the Brother or Samsung.  Frys has one for about $100 after rebate but it seems a little flimsy on the show floor.  My son has a color laser printer which costs about $600 and does a great job at a very low cost per print.  I would be cautious about getting one with the solid inks as you are beholden to Xerox for their expensive solid inks.  However, prints do look richer with solid ink.

9.  Portable Printers:  Page 74 of PC Photo shows a 4 x 6 one from Canon which requires four passes but prints directly from a Canon camera for only $200 with a rechargeable battery.  I need something like this that can print from a flash card without a computer and uses rechargeable batteries as in many conventions electricity in your booth is an expensive option.  HP makes one that requires a wall power supply.  Unfortunately they picked 18
volts which is not convenient for battery power.  Had they used 12 volts I might have considered it.  At a big convention people enjoy seeing and having their picture right away of them using Tooties.  That has been my goal for a long time but the solution of finding the right printer is still elusive.  Do me a favor and keep an eye out for one.

10.  TV Photo Viewer:  Page 75 of PC Photo shows a San Disk that reads photos from any flash card and it comes out on your TV without a computer.  The cost is only $50 and you can have slide shows and rotate and zoom pictures on the fly.  You can even delete the undesirables.  What a great way to preview your pictures before you put them on your computer.

11.  Selecting a Digital Camera:  Page 78 of PC Photo has a useful but shallow listing of many current digital cameras sorted by number of mega pixels.  Save your money and stay with the 3 to 3.9 mp ones but look for good lenses and good optical zoom features plus ease of use.  I print up condensed instructions with fine print and paste them on my camera.  It comes in very handy, especially when I don't use my cameras every day and
change from one model to another.  Avoid cameras by HP and Gateway as they are probably made by someone else for them.  Consumer claims to have a database on digital cameras they have tested.  It could be a good place to start  but don't put too much confidence in their recommendations.  In 50 years of reading their magazine they have always been very poor in technical things but excellent in statistics and some other things.  If they have any graduate engineers I suspect their quality is very low, even lower than a good technician.  They have improved over the years but ever so slightly.  No matter how bad they are they still might have some useful information so check it out.

12.  Image Rescue:  If you think you have lost your valuable images on a flash card don't give up hope.  Expert photographer Jack Noble can't get his computer to read a Simple Tech Compact Flash card even tho it has over a hundred great pictures in two different filing systems.  My computer and camera reads them fine.  Page 82 of PC Photo should give you hope because it could be just the FAT like on any magnetic disks.  It also lists
several suppliers that can offer help.

13.  Buying a Computer:  Advanced Computer on Western is still the best and they have stood the test of time.  Many members have bought the Dr. Hanson Special and are satisfied.  It was with the help of Rich Bulow and Carl Warner that we found that they give the best value after checking many others.  Imagine, for only $250 you can get an ultra modern, powerful computer.  There are others with similar good deals such as First Step Computer but they are way across town.  Avoid HP, Compaq, Gateway and Dell as they cost more and usually introduce complications.  AMD and
Intel were both at the APCUG conference but AMD still gives the best value for the CPU.  For notebooks I would avoid HP, Compaq, Gateway, IBM and Toshiba.  Consider the Fujitsu, Sharp and Dell for the best value and be sure it has a flash card reader as that is the best way to transfer files, altho I still find it convenient to have a floppy drive as DOS files fit easily on a disk.  All of my notebooks have floppy drives.  Rich Bulow is an expert in many things like repairing almost any problem with a computer so he was looking for an even better deal than the Dr. Hanson Special.  In searching on the Internet for computers without OS's he found a place in Ohio with a similar computer for only $180 but they wanted $35 for shipping to California via Federal Express.  UPS is much cheaper but they were not interested.  One of the secrets of getting a good deal from these places is not to modify the offer in any way.  It's the modifications such as more memory or a larger hard drive that boost up the price.  You can do them yourself with inexpensive parts available locally.  In this case they only offered half the memory and half the hard drive so in a way the Dr. Hanson Special is still a good deal with none of the hassles of mail order.

14.  Lithium Ion Batteries:  Several years ago when I bought my first digital Kodak camera which still gives excellent service I was concerned about the rechargeable Lithium Ion battery.  During my research I read that while they are the best for camera use the battery has a life of about three years whether used or not.  So far I have not found that to be the case as mine still work great and I have installed Lithium Ion batteries in many of my other devices.  The self-discharge rate from my measurements is very low, easily lasting four months or more.  Recently I noticed that Dremel now has a Lithium Ion battery for their portable motor tool.  NiCads are still the best for drill motors and screw drivers so be careful not to get any with NiMH batteries.

15.  Circuit Specialists Catalog:  This is a great catalog from Arizona with many interesting electrical items like voltmeters and student kits, etc. and good prices but be cautious when you buy as it has a number of errors.  One expensive multi meter that I ordered claimed to have all kinds of features such as automatic data logging but it's only manual operation and the printed instruction manual is almost useless in learning how to use any
of the features listed in the catalog.  The support person Nolan is very nice but so far has not sent the instructions said to be on the CD.  So far the CD enclosed is useless with many inaccessible files.

16.  Burning DVDs:  If you are thinking of moving some of your priceless moving pictures to DVD you might want to read a detailed article in the Jan 04 issue of Smart Computing on page 38.  So far even with MPEG-2 compression you can still only get two hours on a 4.7 gb DVD disk.  In my case, I have hundreds of six hour VHS tapes so it could be a major chore so I have resisted buying a DVD recorder so far.  The article is quite good
but is not complete enough to plunge right in.  You will need to read more on the details of recorders, video capture cards and the software that fits your needs.

17.  Flash Memory Cards:  These cards are marvelous and with a little care you can get them for as little as 20 cents per mb.  The compact flash ones are the best value but are a little large so you might want to get the SD cards.  6 in 1 readers are available for about $15 and can be used to transfer pictures and other files between computers.  Page 78 of the Dec 9th issue of PC Mag has an article about them but it's a whole page of
essentially useless information unless you are a complete novice.  At Comdex I had a chance to talk to one of the major opinion writers for the magazine.  His articles are not bad but after talking to him I was unimpressed so will be more cautious about believing what he writes.  I tell my speed reading students that just because it's in print doesn't make it so.

18.  Exploring Digital Photography:  This expensive magazine of only 16 pages can be very useful for the experts in our club like Jack Noble and Fred Vogel.  The Nov 03 issue has some great ideas on getting good results with action shots which are very important in my line of work.  Then comes three pages of information of the new image sensors and it's written in easy to understand language.  Then there is information on how to get rid of or reduce the noise in your images followed by hints on how to copy flat artwork.

19.  Photoshop Fundamentals:  This is another expensive 16 page magazine by the same publisher as above and gives very easy to follow instructions on certain aspects of Photoshop each issue.  One interesting hint in the Jun 03 issue is on how to tell Photoshop to beep when finished with a lengthy activity.  Go to Edit > Preferences > General.  Select the "Beep when Done" in the options area.

20.  Welcome the new Editor:  Please take the time to send a short note to Sharon for being willing to step in as the new editor.  It would be terrible not to have a printed version of our newsletter with all of Frank Chau's great tips.  Also congratulate Bob Hudak for finding Sharon.  This is how a good club works with everyone pitching in when they can.  Consider writing an article for the newsletter, perhaps a review of one of your favorite programs.  It doesn't have to be new.

21.  Congratulate Jimmy Corones:  As club treasurer he watches over our money very carefully.  But when we have a surplus he believes we should spend it to help the club members.  Finally he was able to convince the board of directors and I was instructed to find a good deal on a digital camera for about $100.  I found a marvelous Kodak that looked very good with its 2 mp specs and tested it to be sure.  You have probably seen at the X'mas party the excellent 8 x 10 print I made of Bob Hudak with my dog Schatze.  Many of our members have much more expensive cameras but this Kodak is excellent for almost any application.  By offering it as a raffle only those who really could use it for themselves or as a gift will buy a ticket.  This is better than offering it as a door prize.  We made $50 on this transaction but even if we had lost money it was useful for our club members. Convince your board members to buy more such cameras and also 6 in 1 card readers with flash memory as these are useful for everyone.  Do you have any other suggestions?

22.  Prostate Problems:  The newest treatment is not to have surgery but seed implants.  Surgery requires a skilled disectionist who does many of these every week to keep in practice.  Even so there could be a number of undesirable consequences which are much less with this improved method.
Seeds have been used for years with mixed results but now the method is quite good.  Check the Internet for details.  Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff as the Internet is also full of bad information.  Ralph Schneider is probably the best informed on where to look on the Internet for prostate information.  Freezing the prostate is another possible treatment but if not enough sensors are implanted in the right places you could have
serious results.  If you know of anyone with prostate problems teach them how to use the Internet.  Review some of the back issues of the newsletter where Frank Chau has suggested many good ideas on how to get the best results.  Herman Krause's Internet SIG is also very useful as Herman is a whiz on the Internet as is Rich Bulow.

Editor's 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 for more information.

By Frank Chao

Welcome to the second month of the new year ! This is the 66th "Internet Talk" article and it is part of "The Bug Bulletin", a monthly publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group.


This third issue of "The Bug Bulletin" that is "Web only".  Bob Hudak and other members of our "new" Board of Directors continue to search for a newsletter editor so that we can resume having a paper version of this publication.  I did not get any comments regarding the ideas that I submitted in my previous article which is located at

Don't everyone speak up at once ! The silence is deafening !
During these editor-less months, our Webmaster Shelley Miller has had to work extra hard to compile the Web-only version of our newsletter, so please express your appreciation to him in person or by sending e-mail to him at

Since December, news and announcements have appeared in red font at the club's  Website at

These timely announcements are especially useful in these editor-challenged times.


Free and fee-based wireless hotspots are proliferating around the United States  and the world. Fueled by the profit-motive, fee-based "hotspots" are more prevalent than free ones, but many computer laptop owners with low or fixed incomes prefer to only utilize the free ones. A directory of free hotspots can be found at


The success of these advertising-based, totally-free hotspots are totally dependent on you and me. The advertising revenues which fund these wireless connections are totally dependent on their popularity of use. The Internet accessing public has supported Netzero and Juno and turned them into successful providers of free (and non-free) providers of dial-up Internet access. Hopefully, we will do the same for free wireless Internet.

For laptop owners in the South Bay area of Los Angeles, California, the following free hotspots are listed at the "jiwire" directory:

Papa Guidos Pizza
1521 Aviation Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Samurai Sam's
1570 Rosecrans Avenue, Suite P
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

The following free hotspots are listed in the "wififreespot" directory:

Papa Guidos Pizza
1521 Aviation Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Hennessey's Tavern
8 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

Java Man
157 Pier Ave.
Hermosa Beach, CA

Sacred Grounds Coffeehouse
399 W. 6th St. (6th @ Mesa)
San Pedro, CA
(310) 514-0800

Galleria at South Bay Shopping Center- Food Court

Liz and I hope to see you at these great eateries and watering holes !


Liz and I continue to hear horror stories about DSL".  In the latest case, the telephone salespeople of SBC Yahoo! DSL exaggerated the ease of doing a "self install" from their do-it-yourself installation kit, as reported by one of my relatives in Burbank, California.  We are not impressed by their lack of "truth in packaging".  However, do not let these impediments discourage you from getting a DSL connection to the Internet. DSL continues to offer a dedicated, unshared connection between your computer and the Internet which is more reliable and predictable that the shared pathway of a cable modem. We recommend that you educate yourself and get an appropriate amount of assistance when installing a SBC Yahoo! DSL connection.


When installing a DSL or cable modem connection to the Internet, you might need some technical assistance. Here are some that we recommend:

"Rich's Computer Repair" is operated by Rich Bulow, a GSBUG member with  expertise in computers and networks.
He can be reached at
and his e-mail address is

"Geek Squad" is a company that will send a computer technician to your home or business to help you with computer or network problems. Their Website is at
and their landline phone is
The Torrance branch of this company operates out of the "Best Buy" store at Pacific Coast Highway and Hawthorne Blvd.

CompUSA Technical Services will send an "A+ certified" computer technician to your home or business. Details can be found at

You can also hire your fast Internet provider to send a technician to your home or business: SBC, Time Warner, Comcast, and Earthlink all have technicians that they can send to your home or business to assist you with installation and networking problems.


Liz and I found the following items from the February 3, 2004 issue of PC Magazine to be of great interest:

Page 21:
Do not get scammed by "phishing".

Page 22:
New search technologies will "Out-Google.." Google.

Page 40:
"Star Office 7" continues to be a viable, low-cost alternative to Microsoft Office.

Page 53:
A letter to the editor mentions "SeniorNet", a non-profit organization which provides senior citizens with access to and education about computer technology and the Internet

"PC Magazine" continues to be our favorite computer magazine and we read both the paper version which arrives via snail USPS mail and the on-line version at


If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1.  Send me e-mail at:
2.  Leave me a voice message at
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 knitting instead !!

If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1.  Send me e-mail at:
2.  Leave me a voice message at
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 !!!!



The holidays have come to a close. I had a very busy but good time with my family and friends. Now it is time to get back to work.

I put together a CD this month with a few larger programs that should be of interest to members. It contains Spybot Search and Destroy, Irfanview 3.85 and all plug-in's, and Eraser. I have been reading about these programs and decided to have a look at them. I have been using AD-Aware to control spyware cookies and small programs that send information back to their home database. I ran the program and cleaned up my machine. Next I ran Spybot Search and Destroy and it came up with 102 more spy cookies! Guess which program I am now using? It has a number of options that you can configure to suit your needs. I am so far just using the default settings. Next program, Irfanview, is one I had in the Library but had not used it. I was reading reviews on it everywhere and I ran across a need for some of it's many feathers. I downloaded the latest version and installed it on the computer I was cleaning up. (I sent you a message about it earlier) I was testing the sound card and could not get it to play some MP3 songs from a CD. Windows 95-98 operating systems do not play MP3 music without the help of a third party program. After the install I tried to play one of the songs without any luck. Had to look in the help file to see what was going on.
The program is supposed to handle over 60 different types of files. BUT you need the plug-in's for many of them to work. I got all the plug-in's installed, over 4 MEGs. After that everything worked fine. You can start the program and go to the file you want to open or use Windows Explorer to find the file and chick on it. That launches Irfanview and opens the file. It shows PSD, PSP, PCD, KDC and many other graphic
files. Video files from Quicktime, MOV, WMV, AVI, MPG and sound from AIF, WAV, MP3 and more. It has Thumbnail preview and Slidshows that can be converted to EXE and SCR files and put burned to a CD. Has editing tools. Cut, Crop, Redeye, Sharpen, 3D and other Photoshop type effects. The Batch Convert feature is something all digital camera users can put to good use. It can rename all the files you select from
IMG_0095.jpg to something like Christmas03-95.jpg. This puts your pictures into time or place categories that you can more easily identify. Do this before you burn them to a CD.  Remember to rotate your vertical pictures also before making a copy to a CD. When you have to turn your head sidewise to view them it gets old real quick. Eraser is the third program. Eraser is an advanced security tool (for Windows and DOS), which allows you to completely remove sensitive data from your hard drive by overwriting it several times with carefully selected patterns. You need to do this if you are going to pass your computer on to someone and you have information on it that you do not want someone else to get
hold of. Financial records, credit card numbers etc. If you prepare your income tax returns on your computer, you should clean that off when finished. Remember, just deleting a file does not really get rid of it. You can drag and drop files and folders to the on-demand eraser, use the convenient Explorer shell extension or use the integrated scheduler to program overwriting of unused disk space or, for example, browser cache files to happen regularly, at night, during your lunch break, at weekends or whenever you like.  If you have an older version of Eraser installed on your system, make sure you uninstall it before installing the latest version.  If you are interested in a copy of this CD, order by email or give me a call.
The Hardware Sig will be meeting again every Tuesday 1 to 4 PM at the Torrance Scout Center starting Jan 6, 2004. If you need help installing any new hardware, give me a call and let me know what you need done to your computer. It is up to you to have the necessary software to make it work. If you have questions about doing something, I will give you my best answer to solve the problem. Other members that are present
might have the solution also. So come on down and spend some time with the group.


By Steve Bass, Pasadena IBM Users Group

This article is ONLY for lighthearted Steve Bass humor.  Although Steve Bass suggestion to spray your floppy disks with PAM to make it run faster- DON'T DO IT!!! - It will ruin your floppy disks and possibly your floppy disks drive.

Dear P.U.:
De0ar Dr. DOS:
Dear Slowpoke:
Dear Dr. DOS:
Dear Whoosh:
I'm thinking about switching over to Unix, XENIX, Linux, or maybe even Zipnix from Unysis. Any idea which is faster, niftier, or slicker? --Power User, Los Altos

It looks like you're stuck in the Power User's Credo of, "if it's not broken, fix it.” A workshop at Fall COMDEX convinced the Dr. DOS staff that, 1) your wife has no idea how much you're really spending on computer equipment, and 2) making your computer go faster, slicker and niftier leads to severe emotional Fragmentation.  Stick withWindows XP.

I'm one of the holdout still using floppy disks for storage of critical data files and for emergency boot disks. There are times when I seem to have to wait forever for my floppy disks to format. Any ideas for speeding things up? --

Slowpoke, Cincinnati
Floppies are notoriously slow, especially compared to other external storage devices. The reason is the material floppy disks are coated with tends to catch the arm of the disk drive.  Floppy manufacturers have known how to solve the problem since the early eighties and haven't because of the cost.  Dr. DOS suggests a light coating of PAM (hold six inches from the disk and spray for no more than three seconds) to the upper portion of the disk.  We recommend using only the best quality disks and never try this with Iomega Zip or JAZZ disks. Be careful--one dimwit tried using SPAM either due to an existential disorder or a typo and caused his disk drive to crave white bread.

Every time I sit down at the computer I feel a great sense of discomfort as the time seems to speed by very quickly. Just what is happening? -

Whoosh, New York
Computer time is different from other time.  Watches, clocks, and other time pieces seem to become inaccurate when you're at the computer.  Every five minutes of computer time is equal to what seems equal to one hour of my wife's time, at least from her perception. Actually, for every five minutes at the computer, only 25 minutes goes by on the clock. It's a simple recalculation based in the number of time slices your computer uses. For example, when we first started using PCs, they used an 8088 processor with an internal clock that ticks about 18 times a second (Mean Greenwich Time). This time factor (8088s only) pushes time ahead 25 minutes for each 5 minutes of real or actual time. The ratio of 5:1 is obvious (except to you, Whoosh).  An ancient AT class machine (80286) pushes the time factor to 7:1; 80486 machines provide an even faster 11:1 ratio. Nowadays, a 1.5GHz class machine pushes the envelope at 45:1 Experiment with these time factors in conjunction with your spouse. "Dinner is ready," she'll say.  "Five minutes, Honey," you respond. Take careful note at the
strong relationship between the time factor of your older PII and, say, a newer PIII, and the length, depth and substance of your marriage.  This is to inform you that this column is allegedly humorous and we strongly urge you to ignore the advice contained within, ESPECIALLY ANYTHING SUGGESTING SPRAYING SUBSTANCES INTO OR AROUND YOUR PC OR ITS PERIPHERALS.


By Lynn Page of CRUG

Have you your data files are growing? Do your digital images and media files seem extra large? Maybe you use a publishing program that creates very large data files, if so you may understand the need for CDs. Floppy disks just don’t hold enough anymore. The capacity, portability, versatility, low cost, and ease of use provided by CDs have made them the medium of choice for many data storage jobs..
Until Windows XP using CDs wasn’t nearly as easy. We had to use a third–party application to create our CDs. Each application had its own learning curve and our CD-RWs weren’t always compatible. Now Windows XP’s built in CD burning support makes the task as easy as copying to a floppy disk.
Before looking at the procedures to write to a CD lets take a look at set up options. To make adjustments to Windows XP’s default settings for CD recording options, Open My Computer. Right-click on the CD-R or CD-RW drive, click Properties, and then click the Recording tab. There are four options and obviously you want to Enable CD recording, but you can also specify the drive where Windows temporarily stores or stages the image, the recording speed and whether the CD should eject after writing. Remember that the files may be large so the staging drive must have considerable available space. The default speed Fastest means the fastest speed supported by the drive.

When you insert a blank CD into your CD recorder drive, Windows XP opens a dialog box asking if you want to open a writable CD folder. This is usually what you want to do because why else would you put a blank CD in the drive. So simply select that option and click OK.
With the folder open, you can drag and drop files and/or folders directly into it. Windows XP makes a copy of the files in a staging area until you are ready to burn the CD. While you are collecting files Windows XP displays a list of the contents waiting to be recorded. While you are gathering files and folder to write to the CD you can still change your mind about any of the contents in the folder. Simply select and delete any files or folders you don’t want copied and they are removed from the staging area. Your original files are not deleted.
One very nice feature is that if you attempt to place more on the CD than its can hold, you are notified. This is better than sending too much to be written to the CD and having a disastrous freeze up. That happened to me more than once. A standard CD holds about 650 MB and a high capacity CD holds about 850 MB.
When you’re ready to record, click “Write these files to CD” in the task bar to the left. The CD Writing Wizard opens and prompts you for a label for the CD. You can enter up to 16 characters. Click “Next” and the wizard displays a progress bar indicating status. If you did not select the “Close the wizard after the files have been written” check box, a final dialog box opens when the CD has been written, asking if you’d like to make an additional copy of the same files.
Now here is the really good news. If your CD-R is not full it can still be used to store more information. If you forgot a file that should be included on the CD you can still add it. Now you don’t have to wait until you have a full CD’s worth of photos before writing them to a CD. Simply collect what you have and write them to the CD. Maybe you only have 200 MB on the CD. Later as you get more photos you just add them to the CD using up that extra formerly wasted 450 MB of unused space.
In Windows Explorer or My Computer simply drag and drop more files into the CD or folder and they will be added to the waiting list for the next recording session. One thing to remember is that adding a file or folder with the same name replaces the prior version. So be careful. Likewise deleting a file or folder just hides it from view but does not free up any space on the CD-R. Remember all of this has been about using CD-Rs not CD-RWs.
If you want to keep a backup of working files, the more expensive rewritable (CD–RW) discs may a better choice. When working with formatted CD-RWs you are able to delete files freeing up space or overwrite a file with a new version. I had been using this option with my Windows 98 computer. I wanted the ability to change my backed up files to reflect my latest changes and didn’t want to “waste” a CD-R each time I backed up a few files. I still find the ability to modify files on the disc worth the higher cost and the extra time spent formatting the disc for some files. It does take me about 20 - 30 minutes to format a CD–RW disc, but it is nice to erase and reuse the disc instead of trashing it when it’s out of date. Once the CD-RW is formatted I use it just like a floppy. My preferred method is to drag and drop files to the CD in Windows Explorer. I have been successful in reading CD-RWs written on either computer at home on the other machine. I have also been able to read CD-RW discs written on my Windows XP computer on the classroom computers CD-RW drives. Discs made on my Windows 98 computer were compatible only with the classroom computer that had the same CD-RW hardware and software. So be careful about using CD–RW discs if you don’t know the target computer. Some CD drives have difficulty reading CD–RW discs. To erase a CD–RW disc insert it into your recorder drive and click “Erase the CD–RW” in the task bar.