The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 21 Number 02
Febuary 2003

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




By Dr. John Hanson

Topics for Febuary

  CES Review:   2000 vendors and 100,000 people attended the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.  It lasts for four days  and I have gone almost every year since before personal computers got started in the days when Emmett Ingram was president of an 18,000 member calculator club that he started.  It is very hectic trying to see everything at CES.  I was not too impressed this year  but here are some highlights.

1. Voice Alert
2. Infra Red video cameras
3. Key Chain LED Lights
4. Plasma Displays Everywhere
5. Label Whiz  CD Labeler
6. Flash Memory Picture Storage
7. 3000 Watt Car Stereos
8. Emergency Power for Cell Phones9. Computer Animation
10. Safe holder for your Flash Memory Cards
11. Electronic Power Meter
12. Picasa Picture Browser
13. Audio Books in MP3 Format

1.  Voice  Alert:  What a marvelous device.  It  comes  with  two infrared  sensors  you can place anywhere with a 40  foot  range.  When  someone  passes by, it transmits a signal to  the  receiver which announces in your own voice that someone is at your door or entering  your  garage or whatever you want to record.   It  will accept  up  to three sensors and it is very easy to  change  your message  for each of the sensors.  Your message can be up to  6.5 seconds long and alert you if your child has left his room or  is near the pool, etc.  The receiver even has a nine volt battery as a  backup in case of power failure.  Each of the sensors is  powered  by  its  own nine volt battery so you can  move  it  around quickly to wherever it is needed.
     I  have  been  having lots of fun  surprising  my  wife  and grandchildren.   As an engineer I can think of several changes  I would want to make.  One is to install a switch on each sensor so it  wouldn’t trigger when you don’t want it such as when you  are working  in your garage.  If not mounted on a wall then  you  can just  lay it face down and no switch is required.  I  don’t  know how long the batteries will last in the sensor but the  designers have  added  a  jumper inside that you can change  to  extend  the life.   Nine volt batteries are designed for a 15  milliamp  load max  which can easily power the red activation LED in the  ensor for short periods.  I have not yet measured how much current  the infrared  sensor  draws in standby and when  activated  with  the transmitter.   For a permanent location I would add  an  external power supply, possibly with a rechargeable nine volt battery.
     The  other change I would implement s to add  an  extension speaker to run to another room so I could hear the message when I am  not  near the receiver.  If several receivers would  work  it would  be easier just to buy extra receivers but then  you  would have to record a message on each.  Another change would be to add timers to the sensor switches so if you forgot to turn it back on it would do so automatically in the evening or whenever.    I  met the vendors at the end of the CES show and was  in  a big hurry but couldn’t resist this wonderful product and the very talented  and  nice people manning their  booth.   The  suggested detail for these units are receiver with one sensor for $150  and with two sensors $200.  However they did have a special for  $215 of two units with two sensors each, one to use as a demo and  the other  to  sell.  The dealer price for the two sensor  system  is only $129 when ordering ten at once.  Check out their web site at   The name of the company is Cross Point  near San Diego with Stefan West as marketing director.
2.  Infra  Red  Video cameras:  During World  War  II  I  had  an  opportunity  to take great pictures in complete darkness but  you had to guess where you were looking as viewfinders were  useless.  So  you  guessed and took several pictures to be  sure  what  you wanted  was  in the frame and in focus.  All you needed  was  the infrared film and infrared flash bulbs (remember flashbulbs)  but you  had to change the settings on the camera to  compensate  for the   different  light  frequency.   And  you  needed  the   right chemicals to develop the film.  I would guess that Jack Burton is an expert on this as he was a naval photographer during that war.
     Now  a company in San Clemente has come up with a  brilliant and  relatively low cost solution.  It is called a Digital  Night Vision Viewer and can be used up to 300 feet and even has its own infrared light source.  Now you can see where you are pointing in the  dark and connect it to a video recorder.  It is easily  held in  one hand and has a 2.5 inch LCD screen in the back for  viewing.  It has a zoom feature and you can add extra lenses.  It  is completely  portable with a camcorder type lithium ion  rechargeable  battery  and  an input for external power.   You  can  even adjust  the  amplification.  When I worked for  Bendix  designing computers  that  filled a whole room we were  also  making  night vision  amplifiers for the military but they were  heavy,  bulky, very expensive and not that great.  Now some 40 years later  this Infrared  Imaging company has made draatic advances  with  three models  that range from $400 to $550 in price.  Their  best  even does  color images.  What a bargain!  Many such sensors are  damaged  in the daylight but this one has overcome that  limitation.  I  would love to try one for a month and write a  review.   Check out their web site at
3.  Key Chain LED Lights:  Two years ago I was so impressed  with the design and function of this LED light I 3 bought one for my key chain  for  $17.  It still works great and you can  get  them  at Silvio’s Camera for only $15.  This time I got a chance to really talk to the people selling them and finally the designer himself.
I noticed that one of the demo people was having trouble  reading fine print without his glasses so I offered to send him one of my vision  life  saver cards to improve his vision.  He was  so  delighted  he gave me a brand new LED light.  Later when I met  the designer  and president he wanted his vision improved also so  he gave  me his newest design.  His original design  was  perfection and now he made it even better with three functions.  It can stay on, stay on blinking slowly to conserve batteries and when neces-sary send out an SOS signal automatically and repeatedly.   Amazing!   Be sure to check out his web site at    He has  a number of first class products so check on his $65  dollar lithium powered flashlight with a very bright bulb which I  imag-ine is Krypton or Halogen.  It is about the size of a two C  cell flashlight  but  five  times  brighter with  a  number  of  extra features.  It is made of aircraft quality aluminum just like some of my Tootie things.  Imagine a flashlight you can depend on  for ten years without changing the battery.  If run continuously  the battery will last one hour and in the back is a spare bulb,  just in  case.   You will be impressed just by reading  his  excellent literature.
4. Plasma Displays Everywhere:  At a yard wide and larger they do look  impressive.   It seemed everyone was fascinated  with  them except for the very high price ranging from $8,000 to 11,000.   I didn’t  spend much time to compare them carefully but in  general with screens of the same size the LCD screens are more clear  and slightly less expensive but be wary of LCD screens if you  intend to watch fast action such as movies or games.
5.  Label Whiz  CD Labeler:  Here was one booth that  really  impressed  me  with staff who really knew what  they  were  talking about.  Apparently they were the ones who designed the tools  and the  software to make CD labeling very easy.  The box has  every-thing  you need and it’s only $15.  Give Lew Whitaker a  call  at 949-858-7855  which  is near San Diego or visit his web  site  at
6. Flash Memory Picture Storage:  Flash Memory cards for  digital cameras are terrific as you can take unlimited pictures, download your memory card into your computer and take more pictures.   The prices  have come down but are still high at about 30  cents  per megabyte  or much more such as a dollar per megabyte if  you  are not careful.  Most cameras come with only 8 or 16 mb so I suggest you look for a 64 or 128 mb card.
     But  suppose  you  want to go on a trip like  Jack  and  Kay Burton going to Tahiti or Jack and  Nickie’s trip to North Carolina and  don’t want to take your expensive notebook computer,  even if  you  have one.  Before, there was no solution but  at  CES  I found  one.  It is about the size of a three inch hard drive  and holds  20 gb.  It has three slots on the front so all you  do  is press  a  button to record the memory disk to the hard  disk  and vice  versa to download.  It costs about $180 but check  to  make sure it matches the cards you have.
     Link Depot Corp. is in nearby Walnut so give them a call  at 909-598-4688 or visit their website at  They have  an older model which eads only one card and could be  considerably less expensive.  Ask for Ken Ko.

7.   3000 Watt Car Stereos:  The new additions to the  convention Center in Las Vegas are a big improvement.  No longer do you have to  make that arduous trip to the Sands and the outdoor  displays are  now  able  to be inside.  Fortunately the  car  stereos  are isolated  in the North Hall so they can make all the  noise  they want without disturbing the others.  Every bit of space was  sold out  but it was quite boring if you didn’t like very loud  music.  Many  vendors that I saw last year were not there selling other kinds of auto things like doors that swing open when  you  press your keychain button.   To put in those humungous stereo systems in a demo car is  a big  project where they almost have to take all the insides  out.  Normally the average audio buff would only get one amplifier  and a  set of speakers which would be enough to really shake the car but  the  demo cars were filled with amplifiers and  speakers  as well  as all sorts of video displays.  I don’t talk the  language of  those  people but I did find one salesman patient  enough  to translate  for  me.   Those round things about  three  inches  in diameter  with a digital voltage readout are giant capacitors of about  one farad or more.  The digital readout is really  useless but impresses the buyers so they all have them.  There were  some large things that looked like scuba tanks with pressure gages but most of them were fake tanks but had a woofer speaker in the end.  The tank look impresses the owner’s friends because it looks like they  have  a nitrous oxide system to boost  their  acceleration.  Those that do have nitrous oxide have two buttons, one to  charge the  system  and the other to set it off.  They say  it  is  like turning on the afterburner in a military jet so if you see a  car jet off you can guess they might have a nitrous oxide booster.
8.   Emergency  Power  for Cell Phones:  It’s  a  portable,  hand cranked  generator in a well engineered package about two inches square, and inch thick and weighing very little.  It also has a bright LED light which lasts quite a while after only 30  seconds of cranking and stays on from the internal capacitor.  When  your cell  phone is running very low and you need to make a  call  you connect  the  cord to your cell phone and crank for  about  three minutes to charge  your battery a little.   It’s  terrific  and especially  useful if away from power as on a camping  trip.   It costs  only $25 from a company in Bozeman, Montana so  check  out their  web  site at  Mike  Lely,  their  seniorengineer, gave me one for my Nokia to evalute and it’s great.
9.   Computer Animation:  When you watch the demo it  looks  very  easy  and someday I will be tempted to buy e program  which  is only  about  $200 when on sale.  The best demonstrator  is  named Greg, who  doesn’t work for the company.  He  works  in  special effects for the movie industry but regularly demonstrates at  the computer  shows here in Los Angeles.  He really charms the  audience  and I can’t help but admire his marvelous performance.   He was  a  top draw at Comdex but CES had someone else  and  without Greg, there was not much of an audience.  The  name  of the animation program  is  “Animation  Master” which   retails   for  $300.   Check  out  their  web   site at
10.   Safe  holder for your Flash Memory Cards:  Some  cards  come with nice plastic holders.  For those that don’t, you can buy them at Fry’s near the hard disk register for about $1.50 each.   They will hold Compact Flash, Smart Media or SD cards.  Since SD cards are so small and expensive if you buy the higher megabyte  cards you can get a plastic holder that holds 4 in a very well designed package  that fits in your pocket.  The company name is  “In  Any Case”  so check out their web site at   Their four in one holders for SD cards come in a variety of colors. While writing about flash memory cards it looks like Compact Flash and SD will be the winners.  My Olympus digital camera uses Smart media which only goes up to 128 mb and is the most  fragile of the  cards.  My Kodak digital uses Compact Flash which goes up to  one gigabyte but the largest I have is 387 mb which  is  also very  useful  for transferring files between computers.   The  SD cards which are quite small go up to 512 mb now and soon will  be one gigabyte and probably very expensive.  San Disk now has a new Compact Flash called Ultra which goes up to 512 mb with a  transfer  rate  of 3 mb per second which is about twice as fast  as  a regular Compact  Flash.  It would be wonderful  if  your  camera could  take advantage of that extra speed so there would be  less time between shots.  One of the disadvantages of digital  cameras is the delay while the internal computer is processing the image so for lots of very fast shots we still need to go back to our film cameras.
     I  would  avoid any digital cameras using  the older Multi Media card as it only goes up to 64 mb and it may be hard to find a  reader  for your computer.  I personally won’t  buy  any  Sony products  using their Memory Stick which only goes up to  128  mb but nevertheless is still very popular in Sony products.  At some point I predict Sony will switch to the SD card which will become the standard for everything.
11.  Electronic Power Meter:  Last month I told you about  a  $70 power  meter bought by Emmett Ingram.  It has turned out  to be very  useful so you can see how much power you are using  at  any one  time and what it drops to when your monitor goes into  sleep mode.   Its  only weakness is that the power factor is  way off.  Emmett has lots of very expensive precision test equipment so  he can  check almost anything.  For about ten dollars and a little work you could make one with an ammeter and get similar results because the voltage is a constant.  At CES I found a similar but less expensive power meter and will order one as soon as I can.  It retails for only $40 from a company called P3.  Check their web site at www.p3  for item P4400.   It says it even measures kilowatt hours as well as power factor, voltage and amperes so I will have Emmett check it when it arrives.  They have many other clever gadgets like a telephone recorder that will record up to three hours on a 90 minute cassette and even longer on recorders but I don’t recommend C-120 cassettes as the tape is to thin.  They also have detectors to see if you are being bugged.
12.  Picasa Picture Browser:  Many of us have thousands of pictures with a goal to get them into the computer.  But how do you find what  you want in a hurry.  Allan Haskall likes Thumbs Up,  I like ACDSee and Compupic Pro but they all have weaknesses or perhaps I haven’t taken the time to really learn how to use them.  When I find a picture then it’s another project to get it to open in Photoshop.  Recently Adobe came out with a photo browser in version 7 for the first time and at first I was delighted, but then disappointed, so I have been looking for something better.  Other peoople must have had the same problems so along comes Picasa which claims to be an Automatic Photo Organizer.  I was very impressed with their demo at CES and brought home a couple of demo disks, if anyone would like to try it.  You can also go to and download a free 15 day trial copy.  If you like it the cost is only $30.  While I can work fast when I have to, I normally don’t like time limits and think vendors make a mistake when they offer only 30 days.  I think 90 days would be much better so you can really get attached to a program.  As soon as I get a chance to try it I will write a review.  Here are some of its excellent features.  When Picasa starts it finds all the pictures on your computer and displays them and doesn’t  have all the wasted space of the other browsers. You can control the size of the thumbnails much better  with  the  file name, type and size and a simple click gives you all  the  photo information.   You  can even add key phrases to make searching easier.  Whatever you do, the original file name and its data are preserved.  You  can  even do cropping without disturbing  the  original file and clicking Print gives you an instant preview of what  you will get without wasting expensive paper.  When you want to e-mail a picture to someone just type in the e-mail address and you are  done.   I presume it automatially reduces the file size.  Just  because a program is new does not mean it has included all the good features of other browsers but from what I saw, it looks terrific and I am very critical.  The name of  the  company  is Lifescape Solutions located in Boston.  Their original version just started in October of 2002 and now they have version 1.5 and amazingly it’s free to their customers.  That a nice company!
13.  Audio  Books in MP3 Format:  Have you ever  listened  to  an audio tape book in your car?  It’s a great way to  learn  while driving but an nuisance to find and change tapes.  Soulmate Audio of  Michigan has solved that problem by putting them on CD’s in the MP3 format.  They even have a portable MP3 player that remembers your place when the CD has been removed as well as to navigate to a particular chapter or page.  I can’t wait to try the sample I received from those nice people.  I wonder if it has a search  feature to find certain words or phrases?  I  have  many hundreds of hours of audio tape of procedures used to improve  my various students but they are essentially lost because it is such ahassle to review them.  I wonder if they have added that speed up feature invented by that fellow from Chicago who came up  with the idea with speeding up or slowing down audio and  compensating the pitch so it sounds normal.  Then you could set whatever speed you find best to listen to a book.  Check out their web site  at   They  claim they are conforming to the Daisy 2.0 standard for talking books but I don’t know what that is nor some of the other standards they claim.

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 54th article in the “Internet Talk” series.  This article is part of the eleventh newsletter that is being produced by Kay Burton.


Kostek Haussmann recommends the technical dictionary at  For non-technical words, good dictionaries are available at    and    For legal terms, use and ;  has a good non-technical dictionary which can also translate words into  various European languages. also has a great non-technical dictionary.  This website also has online copies of all of the “Information Please” almanacs and encyclopedias.


On January 7th, Karl Springer wrote: Re the “Internet Talk” column in the Jan 2003 “The Bug Report” I suggest that you look at PC Magazine’s “Startup Cop”,,4149,2097,00.asp In my opinion, it is superior since it has a provision to store more than one startup profile, a feature I’ve found useful.   At the General Meeting last evening, there was some discussion on the topic of getting rid of stuff in the startup queue.  Following are URLs of two helpful sites in this regard: and


War Driving is the latest hacker craze.  Your friendly neighborhood hacker drives around with a laptop computer that has a WiFi (“Wireless Fidelity”) wireless network card and attempts to connect to the wireless network of an unsuspecting home or business.  See  for more-detailed definitions and descriptions.  When a connection is made, the hacker can do the usual fun (sarcasm alert) things that hackers like to do.
They can:
1) Delete, modify, or download files that are on the shared drives of computers that are connected to the victim’s network,
2) Use the victim’s network to access the Internet, and
3) Tell other hackers about how they broke into the victim’s network so that other hackers can also break into the victim’s network.
Some war drivers mount antennas on the roofs of their vehicles in order to increase the range of the wireless network cards in their computers.  War driving is also known as “stumbling”.   For more information see:


The current technology to defend against war drivers is called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP).  See   for information about WEP.  This technology is available in the wireless networking devices that are manufactured by Linksys, D-Link, and others.  If you utilize a wireless access device, you can actively defend your network against intrusions by using the settings/adjustments for your wireless access point device.  Some of these settings will set up WEP for your wireless device.  A complete security plan for wireless networks would is available from Linksys at


To get a free virus checkup for your computer,click on the “Scan Now”at   or click on  “Scan for Viruses” link at
However, if you do not keep an updated copy of a commercial anti-virus program such as Norton Antivirus or McAfee Viruscan in your computer, merely detecting the presence of a virus does not provide you with a way to expung/delete the  virus.  There is no longer a “free lunch” for protectisng against viruses.  I hear sad tales of woe about computer virus infesations every week


If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1.  Leave a voice message for me at (310)
2.  Send me e-mail at:
3.   Send “snail” U.S. Postal Service mail
       Frank Chao
       PO Box 6930
       Torrance,CA 90504-0030



The foregoing was my Christmas message, which did not get into "The Bug Report".  We are in the holiday time of the year and everyone is really busy.   I have  small list of shareware programs I want to download and check out but it will be next year beforre I get to it.  I have two items for you this month (Dec)The first is a seven page article  that helps you understand CD-R & CD-RW technology.  How it works, software and how to create different types of CDs.  The software that is used is Roxio Easy CD Creater.  It will clear up a lot of questions you have even if you have been buring for some time.  If you are just starting out, this is really good reading.  It is in PDF, HTM and RTF formats.  I like the PDF version because all the graphics show up nicely.
Second item is a program called EASY THUMBNAILS, it is a small program that can resize your digital picturess to whatever size you want, one at a time or in batch mode.  Let’s say you have a 2 meg sixe picture and you want to send it to a friend.  This program will resize it to let’s say 640 X 480 in a wink.  You can also on the same screen adjust brightness, color etc. using sliders.  Last nice thing, on that same screen you can adjust the JPG compression to control file size.  As you move the slider it shows you the size that the file will be.  I know you can do all this in Photo Shop but by the time PS opens, using this little program, you will be done.  Pick up   a copy and check it out.
I want to thank all the members that have donated many computer books, programs and computer hardware.  Even computers  These are the items I am always selling.  The club gets a few dollars to purchase needed items that make the club work better for you.  The buyers of this good used stuff get a good deal too.  Always check the library table for something you can use or would like to try but did not want to pay store prices.  I bring a few things each week to the Tue. hardware sig to see if I can find a member with a need.  A lot of items are sold there that never make it to a general meeting.  If you are looking for something, give me a call or send an email message.  I just might have it.  During the year, as you upgrade some of your system, think about giving the old computer or parts to the club.  It is a tax deduction and will probably find a new home in another members computer room.   I now have some keyboards, mouses, scanners, a  tape backup drive, 486 Vesa board with CPU, memory cards (for $5).   Also many books.  Call!
January:  This month I want to tell you about a little utility program called Drive Info.  It does not need to be installed on your Hard Drive.  Run right from the Floppy Drive, it checks your CD drives and tells you the make, type, drive letter, read & write speed, modes, etc.  Everything you want to know about it.  You can view it on screen or print it out or save as a file. Even tells you what burner software you are using and if the drive is Mt. Ranier compatible.  Next, I have  a CD Diskeeper 7.0 lite.  This is a disk defragmentation program that can be run on all Window OS from ‘98 up.  It is faster than any manual defragmenter.  You run it when you want on whatever drive you want.  It really works nice.  Next is a tax preparation program from 2nd Story Software co. Inc.  The Calif program will be released about Jan. 23.  This is a program that I have reviewed in past years and think it does a great job.  Costwise it is hard to beat, if you use it annually, it, fills  in all the static info.  They are offering the following deal to computer clubs: Members needing to prepare both federal and state returns can purchase the TaxACT 2002 Ultimate bundle for $16(normally $19.95) at the following link:   Members only needing to prepare their federal return may purchase the TaxACT Deluxe Edition for $6 (normally  $9.95) at   Log on and get your copy.  It comes with a guarantee.  I know you will be happy with these products.  I know Ed Leckliter likes cutting edge hardware so this little story might make him smile.  I needed to fax a letter the other day and do not have a fax machine.  I threw in the towel trying to make the fax software work with WP 6.0, Dos version some time ago.  I still have my 1988 XT computer that I use for the library to print disk labels and maintain a data base.  It has a 2400 Zoom external modem with fax software installed.  Fired it up and sent the fax without a hitch.  Worked probably better than a new computer that does not run.