The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!

A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group

Volume 18 Number 2

February 2000



NEEDED! Editor

Membership News:



Review Quicken 20000



A Web Site for Everyone

PC Wizard:


NEEDED! Editor for the GS-BUG Report.
If you would like to help the club by preparing our monthly News Letter, contact:
President:  G. Sexton at:  email: or Keith Denker (Temp Editor) email:


Membership News:
Please welcome the following members who have joined the club during the past month
Glenn Peck (Lomita), Dennis Gibbs (Man. Bch), Raymond Shinn (L.A.), Kokie Hanson
(Lakewood) Curtis & Ann Lancon (Torr)
Our present membership is 153 members.
I would like to encourage members to wear their nametags at the General Meetings.

Herman proceeded to go through the process step by step, explain­ ing the process as he went. He proceeded at a pace that allowed note‑taking. I noticed that most of the 15 plus people in attendance were taking notes too The meeting then proceeded to explore various web sites and various related topics Herman usually closes his meetings by asking if anyone has any more questions.
I do not know anyplace else where this level of assistance is available at any price.
Thank you Herman!   Keith D
Let's give All of our SIG Leaders the thanks and recognition they so much deserve!

Note: If you have a word of thanks to recognize help from a SIG, drop a line to your editor so we can all share the information Perhaps we should have a section titled SIG Bits & Bytes ‑ What do you Think?






I want to talk about income tax preparation programs this month. I used four programs to prepare the same report to see the difference between them. I used Am-Tax, TaxAct, Turbo Tax, and TaxCut. Am-Tax is a  Dos program. The others are windows programs. Now you have to know I like the Dos program, Am_Tax, best for a number of reasons. It has good code so it fits on a 3 1/2" floppy. Everyone has a 3 ˝  floppy drive but does everyone have a CD Rom drive? Being a Dos program, anyone with a older computer can use it. You can configure it to do what you want. There are about three screens of options. Like do you want to round off or use whole numbers. I like to use whole numbers and this was the only program that allowed that. The next best program for this was TurboTax. It used whole numbers on the schedules, like Schedule B, addes up all the entries and then rounded off the number that was placed in the 1040 form. The printer

setup is also the best. You have total control on what forms to print and whether to print a graph official looking form or a approved text form. That means that you can use a older dot matrix printer with a 286 computer. A laser printer works best with all the programs. You need a Dos printer with Am-Tax. There are a number of printers that have problems with Am-Tax. I will have hand out brochures at the general meeting

from Am-Tax that has all this information up front. Sad to say, this is the last year that Am-Tax will have a Dos program. Next year it will be a Windows program on a CD. The only other down side of the program is that you need to buy it mail order and the price is higher then any of the other programs. If you are doing several returns, yours and family members, it is not too bad. Last month I told you about TaxAct so will not go over the features again. TaxAct has the best looking form on screen. Looks just like the IRS form. Am-tax and Turbo Tax do not look like the forms on screen. No big deal really. TaxCut prints 1040 form that looks just like the government form. The others have slightly modified form that give you a little more room to write on. Better. TaxAct print numbers in bold which makes it really easy to read and scan. Better. TaxCut prints in the smallest and lightist font of the four programs. Am I picky or what. Enough about looks. They all do the job. Another feature I like in Am-Tax is that you can type in your information direct on the forms.  The others make you enter in on information sheets. TaxCut is the worst in this regard. You can't even put your name on the form. Have to use work sheets. You have to use the interview method. A lot of hand holding going on. Some places you need to fill out a work sheet to fill out a information work sheet. I like to go direct to let say Schedule B and enter the information direct from my 1099 form. Why do you need to put this information any place else?? I use the programs with out looking at the readme help. TaxCut was the worst to figure out because of the interview and work sheets it makes you use. Really not that bad if you don't fight it. So I rate

Am-Tax #1. TaxAct #2. Turbo Tax #3 and TaxCut last. The difference is small. I used the TaxAct and Turbo Tax to do the Calif. state tax. Both worked well. TaxAct is the only program that has a free version of their program. I have this on a CD in the library. Pick up a copy and use it to prepare your tax return.


Review Quicken 20000

by Dixie Rasmussen, GS-BUG Inc


     To begin, I will complain about what I don't like. The instructions start out with "For new users". What about the old faithfuls who keep  buying upgrades?  It does not tell you how to upgrade. 

    I put the CD in the CD drive and the way it went all by itself.  Quicken  2000 Deluxe  went  in right over the top of Quicken 98. I went to Help and found that the old  program was deleted, but  previous data was backed up to use along with the new version.  Also on Help, you can find  a Users Manual.

     The users manual book that comes with it, isn't much.  I have shopped the South Bay.  The computer stores are not carrying very many books, anymore. I found two good ones at two different book stores: Quicken2000 for dummies @ $20. and Quicken - 2000  by Osborne @$25.  There is an Internet site:  Maybe you could order it, if so desired. There are other books but I didn't think they had as much information. 

     About any version of  Quicken can be used  to keep track of household expenses and to total  your check book. A Video of Quicken 98 can be borrowed at Redondo Library for three days at a time for free.  This one is very good. A Video of  Quicken 99 can be borrowed at Torrance Library for $1.00. I haven't seen this one. If you are new to Quicken, it would be worth your time to view one of these Videos.     Also, I highly recommend enrollintg in Torrance Adult Education. I have found Quicken 2000 Deluxe for $50.  Quicken Suite is $70.  The difference is:  Suite has  Family Lawyer and Turbo Tax Deluxe included. The only  requirement to load Quicken is that you have a 486 and windows 95 or 98.  I wouldn't recommend you load Windows 98 0n a 486. (super slow). After loading Quicken 2000 Deluxe, four icons appear on the desk top:

Quicken Deluxe, Quick Entry, Visit Wingspan, and My Schwab Customer. Wingspan is a bank on line where you can set up  an account and do all your banking transactions on line. Otherwise, you can use a bank of your choice.  A list is available.  There is a charge for this service but I have no idea how much. You can open an account with Schwab, if you want to  trade stocks on line.  I opened up "My Schwab" and found another Internet:  Free World powered by Excite (browser).  I was sorry I loaded it because  It interfered  with Juno.

      I don't plan on going anyplace but when I do,  all my  finances will be on the computer in Quicken.



JOHN SELLERS,, Program Chmn.



MGI Software is a market leader in photo and video editing software.

Randal Whittle will present to Greater South Bay PC Users club their two most award-winning products.

These feature digital photography and digital video and they are offered at affordable prices.

With these market-leading MGI products, MGI PhotoSutte 111 and MGI VideoWave III you have unlimited options with your photos and videos.

MGI PhotoSuite ill is your complete PC photography solution and it is the fastest, easiest way to edit, enhance, and organize your photos while allowing you to use your creative freedom Turn your photos into greeting cards or incorporate them into personal calendars, web pages, family lepers, and share them with others via email or on the Internet.

MGI PhotoSuite 111 is easy and fund And with MGI VideoWave 111 you can captures edit, and produce your own videos on your PC Discover at our next user group meeting more on how MGI Software will allow you to begin to picture the world in a whole new way.

The guest presenter will be Randy Whittle, speaking on behalf of MGI Software Randy holds an MBA from the University of Southern California and works as a Marketing Strategy Consultant in helping companies identify how their business and the economy can be improved by electronic commerce, formulate better strategies and installing such changes in the firms that achieve these goals.

Randy learned very early the importance of feature-rich and easy-to-use software when, without the budget to hire outside resources, he was put in charge of personally designing brochures and marketing materials for a small startup He later became the founding Director of the Electronic Commerce Program at the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business having developed an innovative graduate-level curriculum for business students the first of its kind as required course curriculum for MBA's at a major business school During his tenure at USC, Randy was quoted by Family Money Magazine

concerning the reliability of on-line information and arranged for USC to host a weeklong symposium of electronic commerce industry leaders.

Randy and his wife Vicki are the proud parents of two young children, MacLean and Brittany He uses pictures of the family extensively in his presentations to drive home how personally useful you will and the software You will come away from this meeting entertained and informed Randy will provide time for an open Q&A period and will bring valuable door prizes, informative handouts, and a special user group price for those wishing to purchase these outstanding products at the meeting See you then in Ed Note: John Should be congratulated for doing a great job as our program chairman if you have a program to presents or one that you would like to sees contact John in person or via Email.


A Web Site for Everyone

By Steve Morgan

A Web Site for Everyone - Part 2: Reserving your web site NOW!

Web site growth is on an incredible tear right now.  Total web pages grew from 320 million to 830 million during the last 2 years.  There are personal web sites devoted to everything from Jimmy Stewart (, to watching dancing hamsters (  Want to join in?  It's a lot easier than you might think!

There are several ways to create your own web site, and next month, we will be discussing many of the options.   But first you need to make an important decision.  Where do you want to put your Web Site and what kind of web address meets your needs?  Here are 4 alternatives

1. Place your web site with a commercial company that will insert advertising on all your pages.  Companies like geocities, afreehome, and cybercities will give you up to 50 megabytes of space for your web site.  All your visitors have to put up with is the advertising, and all you need to put up with is an address that can be up to 50 characters long.

2. Internet Service Providers (ISP's) usually provide free space to members.  Offers range from 2 to 20 megabytes.  There is no advertising on these pages, nor are you allowed to use the pages for advertising your own products.  The address is usually just a subset of the ISP's, such as<yourname>, so the address is a little bit easier to remember.  Don't worry about not having enough space!  I have put up several web sites for friends that chose this option.  With minimal graphics, it is easy to put up a 20-page website in 2-3 megabytes of space.

3. Pay a monthly fee to have a commercial site host your web pages. This is where you can create your own web address, hopefully something easy to remember.  But first you need to check to see if anyone else has already grabbed it. Be prepared to change your dream name a little, perhaps by adding a number to the name.  After all, with 20,000 domain names registered every week, good names are getting scarce. This option also allows you to have email that incorporates your web site name, such as  Many of the companies that host web sites will allow you 3-10 email names per site, this is great for family members or employee's to have personal email address's that are tied to the web address. A good site to check out this option is also has competitive web site hosting prices of $25.00 per month, and free sign up, for 40 megabytes of space and 10 email accounts.  There is also a charge of $40.00 to $100.00 to register your web address for 2 years.

4. Pay to Register your own web address, and use it to redirect people to your free web address.  This solution is a great way to start up your web site, and the one I recommend for people just beginning their web sites.  Since most web sites start small and then build on the original foundation, you can go months or years without paying a monthly fee for someone to host your web site.  Wait until you grow your web site over the limits of your free web space before paying to have a commercial site host your web pages.  For an example of this, check out the "personal identity account"  at  For a fee of $70.00 they register your web address for 2 years, and will automatically forward anyone who types in you personal address to any other site you designate.  In other words, you can have your personal domain name and use it with your free web site.

I am a great believer in registering your own web name.  In a world that is increasingly faceless, it is a way to be unique, a way to say:  Here I am, this is me!   I also think it is important to get one right now.  There are not enough good website names out there, make sure that you register your personal name before someone else gets it first.  Then a small yearly fee is all it takes to retain that name into the future.

Next month we will conclude this series with several easy (and some not so easy!) ways, to create content for your website.

This article is furnished as a benefit of our membership in the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization to which this user group belongs. The author Steve Morgan, is a member of the APCUG Board of Advisors He represents Region 5, which covers AK, ID, MT, OR, WY, ND, SD and WA. Steve is also a member of the APCUG Editorial Committee He's one busy guy!



by Frank Chao
(February 2000 article)


Hello. In this the ninteenth article in the "Internet Talk" series, I would like to start by congratulatingKeith Decker, our temporary newsletter editor for a job well done. This will be third newsletter that Keith has produced and all three have been absolutely great!  

I have been an active member of various computer users groups for the past 15 years and I can assure you that the voluntary job of newsletter editor is the most time-consuming and challenging of all jobs in any computer user group. If someone else does not step up to the plate, I and John Hansen will soon have more time to "surf" the Web in the middle of each calendar month! But I and Dr. Hansen do not really want this to happen. So, please consider volunteering for this important job.

 While I am up on my soapbox, I also wish to congratulate Herman Krouse for operating the longest running Special Interest Group, the "Internet SIG", here at the Greater South Bay PC Users Group. He started it about 5 years ago and it is still going strong. Herman has helped more club members than anyone else in the club, so be sure to tell him how much you appreciate his efforts.


 If you already have some sort of Internet access, you can get paid to surf the Web by a company called To learn more about it, go to their Web site at I had this crazy notion that you could use one of the 5 free Internet Service Providers and then run's advertising bar and make money while using the Internet for free. If you are successful in pulling this off, let me know and I will discuss your experiences in doing so in future articles.


 To get expert help from a real live expert on any subject, go to Also, if you are an expert on any subject, you can volunteer to help people on-line at this Web site. This Web site is the Internet at it's best: providing people with the information that they need for free and letting people help other by means of their Internet connection. It is sites like this one that make a good Internet connection valuable to you so don't miss out on all the wonders of the Internet.


 Liz Orban recommends that you recycle instead of discarding used computers and computer parts. You can do so by taking used  computers and computer parts to the All Tech Computer Recycling Center,  14311 Cerise Ave. #108, Hawthorne, CA 90250 ,Voice phone: 310-978-2790. They will pay you for your old junk!! Also, they you sell you some of their old junk if you want to own more of the stuff. It is up to you !!


 Surfree (pronounced "surf free") is an Internet Service Provider that offers a new concept in low-cost Internet access. They charge you for their dial-up Internet access by the month. However, if you run their advertising bar while you are on-line, they start crediting your account so that if you are on-line a lot and run their advertising bar a lot, then your per-month charges for using their dial-up Internet service would conceivably be free. To learn more about them, go to

For most members of the GSBUG club, most of whom live in the "South Bay" area of the Los Angeles metropolis, the 5 totally free Internet Service Providers are  available are probably a whole lot better of a deal than Surfree. Remember, "Worldspy" is a totally free Internet Service Provider that does not put an advertising bar on your computer monitor screen.

 To locate hyperlinks to the Web sites of the 5 totally free Internet Service Providers, you can go to my personal Web site at However, please keep Surfree in mind if you are trying to help someone find a free Internet Service Provider elsewhere in this great country of ours. If your children or grandchildren live out in Podunk, Missouri, you will have to scan the dial up phone numbers for all of the free and low-cost Internet Service Providers in order to find them an Internet access that does not cause them to incur a gargantuan phone bill.


 In the present month, I have heard 2 totally erroneous misconceptions from otherwise intelligent people over and over: 

Myth 1:

If you get DSL Internet service for your home, from a phone company , the you will get you free telephone service.  The reality of the matter is that the phone companies are not in business to lose money. Nobody will give you free phone service if you sign up for their DSL Internet service. In the case of DSL service from phone companies, all the phone companies are willing to do for you is to bill you for your DSL service on your phone bill, if you tell them to do so.

 Myth 2:

If you get cable modem Internet service for your home, the cable TV company will give you free cable TV service. The reality of the matter is that the cable TV companies are not in business to lose money. Nobody will give you free cable TV service if you sign up for their DSL Internet service. All the cable TV companies are willing to do for you is to bill you for your cable modem Internet service on your cable TV bill, if you tell them to do so.

 However, don't let the misconceptions of a few cocktail party pundits keep you from getting a great Internet connection for your house. The Internet is a whole lot more fun when your connection is at DSL or cable modem speeds.

 Myth 3: 

I continue to hear people state that free Internet access is "impossible". To make them happy, I will start charging people one hundred dollars, paid in advance, to come to my house to see me access the Internet for free, using all 5 of the totally free Internet Service Providers that are now available in the Los Angeles area. (Just kidding!!)


 Starting in the middle of March, I will be teaching yet another "Computer Information Systems 3" class for El Camino College. This college class will be held at the Torrance One Stop Career Center at 1220 Engracia Ave. in Torrance, California, U.S.A. during the months of March, April, and May. This college class will meet for 9 sessions on Wednesday evenings. In this class, I will use Microsoft Word 97 and Excel 97 to introduce you to the use of a Windows 95 computer. This class is designed for people who are totally new to computers. For information about participating as a student or as a volunteer lab assistant, please contact me by one of the methods listed at the end of this article.


 For the past 5 years, the membership in computer users groups has been declining. This trend has occurred at a time when computer ownership and Internet access has skyrocketed. One theory is that people are too busy browsing the World Wide Web to attend users group  meetings. A somewhat-related notion is that people are now able to get help on-line with their computer problems so they no longer depend on computer  users groups to assistance. What do you think is happening? Let me know and I will relate your opinions in future articles, with your permission, of course.


 As the membership base of computer user groups declines, they may have to merge in order to survive. The Los Angeles Computer Society has the same objectives as we do. They meet in Westchester, 5 minutes north of where we live. What if we merged with them? Maybe the whole would be greater than the sum of the parts. To learn more about them, see I belong to both groups and I think that both are absolutely wonderful organizations to belong to.


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

1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-8951.

2. Send me e-mail at:

3. Send me "snail" US Postal Service mail to

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

Or sell your computer and take up golf instead !



PC Wizard:

Questions & Answers

By Dr. John Hanson



   Editor  Needed

Being editor of the club's newsletter  is  a tremendous  opportunity to learn a lot quickly.   Baldwin,  Kevin and  Liz  have already done all the hard work in setting  up  the format.  All you have to do is fill in the blanks.  If you  don't  have  a publishing program the club will provide you  one,  maybe even  a computer and a laser printer if you don't have  one.   So how  can  you  lose?  You don't even need to  read  the  articles submitted  as they are sent in a format that is best for you  and have  already been spell checked and proof read.  But if  you  do read  them you will know things way before anyone else.   If  for some reason not enough material is submitted from members to fill the  newsletter you just make it shorter or ask Liz how to  download  interesting articles from other clubs on the  Internet.   I  thought  the newsletter was pretty perfect as it was but  I  noticed that  in the December issue Keith made a part of it even  better.  Liz and others before were very good at accepting suggestions  to make  it even better such as adding the date in the upper  corner so  when a whole year or two are bound together it makes it  easy to find things.  One of these days someone else should  volunteer to make up an index for each year so that many valuable  articles can be found easily.

    How  well do you know fellow members?  There is  a  tremendous amount of talent in our club but you need to dig a little to find it.   Take  the time now and then to visit some of  them  and  be amazed  at  what  you discover.  I will mention a  few  here  but without names so you can have fun guessing who they are.  Most of  these people have a number of things in common such as the desire to  solve  problems  and are usually quite  talented  with  their hands.

   One  member  is not only an expert with computers  but  is  an expert  at repairing large diesel engines such as those  on  tugboats  and  fishing  vessels.  His wife is also  very  good  with computers  and  is an expert in special  education  for  schools, especially those with low vision or blind.  He buys used monitors  by the pallet and fixes those he can for a nice extra income.

    Another member assembles complex, classified computer  systems for  his work and if you were to see the computer system  he  has set up in his garage you would be completely amazed.  Not only is it  very  complex  and efficient but everything seems  to  be  on rollers or drawers so he can access the rear very easily to  make changes or troubleshoot.  He is also very good with his  computer and  especially  Photo Shop 5 which is very  difficult  for  most people  who don't use it regularly.  Naturally he is a good  pho-tographer as well and a competent musician.  All his music is  so well organized you can find anything quickly.  He also has one of the  best  color printers whose prints are  brilliant  and  don't fade.   Manufacturers  who use radio waves in their products  need  to have FCC approval and one member is certified to test and approve such equipment.  The FCC is very concerned about any  frequencies that  may leak out of equipment such as computers  and  interfere  with communications.  During the war he had two ships sunk  under him.   Like other members in this category he can do almost  any-thing  and has a very well equipped shop for  electronics,  metal and woodworking.  He is also a camera expert.

    This member used to be in charge of the repair shop at UCLA so can run almost any kind of machine.  Many people have table  saws and some have metal working lathes but his garage is the only one I  know of who has all these things as well as a milling  machine and a surface grinder.    I didn't look but he may have a center-less grinder as well as a complete photo darkroom.  He can do all sorts of miracles with his computer also.

    When  I was interested in becoming a medical doctor I used  to get  invited  to watch surgeries and also to spend the  night  in hospitals  doing the rounds.  I learned that doctors  in  general are  very incompetent at using tools and know very  little  about anything  except  medicine.  Salesmen are always trying  to  take advantage  of  their lack of financial skills as  well  as  their innocence   with computers.  What I saw in a number of  operating rooms is that surgeons can be quite clumsy with tools so  imagine one  trying  to drill a hole in one of your bones  and  insert  a screw. 

Nurses are sworn not to report any of the numerous errors they  see  in the operating room.  So, if you plan  to  have  any surgery  be sure your doctor is a skilled dissectionist  and  has had lots of successful operations.  Let the new doctors  practice on someone else.  Imagine mother's getting advice from pediatri-cians who know almost nothing about normal, healthy children  and psychiatrists who know very little about psychology. 

   In our club we have a medical doctor who is not only very good as a doctor but an expert on computers and electronics.  You  can see from his garage that he can do almost anything and it is much better organized than mine.

   Speaking of my garage, I too have all kinds of welding  equipment, and wood and metal working machines including three  lathes and  a  milling machine.  I have a complete print  shop  with  an offset printing press plus folders, cutters and binding equipment to  finish books.  I also have all kinds of electronic  equipment for fixing things and rejuvenating Ni Cad batteries.  In my  work career  one of my jobs was not only to design missiles  and  air-planes but to test and trouble shoot the disasters, such as  when a  missile  fails.  I love to work on impossible  problems  which others can't seem to solve and can fix almost anything.  That may be why my psychology works so well.  In addition, I used to  have a  complete darkroom set up and a number of cameras.  When I  was young I used to be the chief photographer for the school so  most of the pictures in the year book were taken with my Leica camera. Not only do I teach and use psychology to help people I can build almost  any  kind of equipment necessary.  As an inventor  it  is better  when you can build your own devices while they are  still fresh in your mind.  I sell my Tootie products all over the world so  have to have all this equipment to do a good job quickly.   I still favor DOS for most of my writing for procedures for schools and  parents  as it is so much faster on my 386   25mc  computer.  Wordstar was designed to be very fast on much slower machines  so on this machine it is like a jet airplane.   But when I need to do very fancy things that are tedious  with Wordstar  then I use Windows.  One of my very useful programs  is "Labels Unlimited for Windows".  I use it to make fancy labels to go  on my products but it drives me crazy at times as the  excel-lent  manual does not cover its advanced features very well.   If anyone else has Labels Unlimited please let me know.

   The member that started the very popular DIG SIG has also many talents.   In the war he used to repair helicopters  and  learned how  to  fly them.  He is a real software expert and  also  quite good with cameras.  He is now starting another SIG.

    A brand new member who used to do photo reconnaissance  during the  war has lots of useful information on cameras to share  with members.  He is probably good at fixing cameras as well.

    In conclusion, there is a wealth of talent in our club so take the time to get to know others better.  You'll be delighted.   In a coming issue I will write more about batteries from the techni-cal standpoint so others may rejuvenate their NiCads safely.   In general,  stay away from Nickel Metal Hydride batteries  as  they are tricky to charge, more expensive and offer few benefits.  For most  of your battery equipment like radios and flashlights,  etc try to standardize on alkaline AA cells as that is where you  get the most value for your money.