The Bug Report
The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 19 Number 3
By Vernon Lym
This month we will settle in at our new home at the Salvation Army’s facility in Torrance. It is great to be back in Torrance close to where most of the club members reside.
Now that the time of the general meeting has been moved from the 4th Wednesday to the first Monday of the month, a schedule change is also reflected in the distribution of the newsletter. The club policy is to distribute the letter at the monthly meeting, This issue, then, comes only one week following the February edition.
This month we are treated to software reviews from two of our club members, Quicken Deluxe 2001, by Lew Rowland, and Adobe Photoshop 6 by Fred Vogel. This follows another review featuring Adobe GoLive 5.0 by Rich Bulow, our Webmaster, in last month’s issue. Also, Frank Chao’s Internet Talk, a regular column, is as always a popular item for our readers.
The content of this month’s edition is almost entirely the work of our own club members. It is great working with such a talented group.
* * * * * * * *
By Frank Chao
This is the 31st article in the "Internet Talk" series and due to the transition from the El Segundo to the Torrance location for our General Meetings, I am writing an article for the second consecutive week. Nevertheless, there is plenty to ruminate about in the fast‑paced Internet environment. Let us start off by taking a look at what happened to Bulletin Board Systems. Most went the way of the dinosaur but a few have survived the proliferation of the World Wide Web.
In the case of Westside BBS, which was one of the largest BBSs back in the 1980s and early 1990's, they morphed themselves into a Website in order to survive. See their Website at
Other BBSs became telnet sites. You can go to
to connect as a visitor to some telnet BBSs.
Netscape skipped version 5 and renamed their latest Web browser to "Netscape". Previous versions of their Web Browser were called "Netscape Navigator" and "Netscape Communicator". Version 6.01 of "Netscape" is currently available. To learn more about it, go to
This version seems to start up slower than previous versions. However, after Netcape is running in your computer, it will run as fast as previous versions. If you do not mind the slow startup, you will like some of the new features in this Web browser.
DSL AND DIALUP INTERNET
If you have DSL and two computers in your home, you can connect one computer to your DSL modem and one computer to your voice telephone line. This allows you to have two computers connected to the Internet, both using the same telephone line, and with no additional hardware or re‑ configuration. In this configuration, you would have a 10Base‑T Ethernet card in the computer that has the DSL hookup. You would have a dial‑up modem (usually a 56 Kilobits per second, V.90 modem), in the computer that makes a Dial Up Networking (also known as Point‑to‑Point Protocol or "PPP") connection to the Internet.
However, the user of the computer that is modem‑attached to the Internet will have a nominal 56 Kilobits per second connection to the Internet and the user of the DSL‑connected computer will have a nominal 256 kilobits per second or faster connection to the Internet. To prevent this inequity, you would have to either install a router or a hub so that the two computers can share the single DSL jack that is provided by the DSL modem. This configuration has been mentioned in previous articles. We will re‑visit it in future articles.
MORE ABOUT E‑MAIL STRATEGY
In the previous article, I expounded on e‑mail strategy for users of free dialup Internet Service Providers (ISPs). The time limitations that have been initiated by these ISPs will make it harder for you to use the e‑mail accounts that they provide. If you use these freebie ISPs, now is the time for you to get an account on the Web‑based e‑mail services such as Yahoo Mail or Hotmail.
Yahoo Mail is located at
Hotmail is located at
These two e‑mail services have their pros and cons. For me, Yahoo Mail's Web site to be more reliable than Hotmail's Web site.
Since these two e‑mail services are totally Web‑based, you can access your e‑mail from any Web browser that has some sort of connection to the Internet. For both of these e‑mail services, your e‑mail messages are stored at their respective Web sites.
Unlike Post Office Protocol ("POP" or "POP3") e‑mail systems, users of Yahoo Mail and Hotmail cannot download their messages into POP e‑mail clients such as Outlook Express, Outlook, Eudora, or Netscape Message. Instead, you have to use your Web browser to go to a URL in order to read and send e‑mail.
Yahoo Mail users are allowed to download their e‑mail into POP e‑mail clients if they sign up for "Yahoo! Delivers". If you sign up for "Yahoo! Delivers", you are allowing Yahoo to send you one or two e‑mail messages containing advertising each week. In return for this minor annoyance, Yahoo Mail then allows you to treat them like a POP e‑mail account.
To learn more about "Yahoo! Delivers" go to
GOOGLE BUYS DEJA NEWS
Usenet newsgroups provide you a great way to keep up with cutting edge information on any subject matter. Dejanews is a Website that provides easy access to newsgroups on any matter. Google, a search engine Website, has acquired Dejanews.
Dejanews is now known as "Google Beta Groups". The URL of this Website is now located at
This Website provides you with the capability to search and read Usenet newsgroup postings. This activity is also known as "lurking". However, if you wish to actually post messages or reply to messages on a newsgroup, you still have to either use the newsgroup capabilities of a POP e‑mail client (like Outlook Express, Outlook, or Netscape Messenger) or you have to install a newsreader software package into your computer. This is explained at
It is tax season again, even if you are not a Certified Public Accountant. For your Federal income tax return, you can download all the forms and publications that you need from the IRS Website at http://www.irs.gov
For your California state income tax return, you can download forms and publications from
To obtain income tax forms for states other than California, go to a good search engine site such as Altavista at
and search on <name of state> AND income AND tax For example, to search for Pennsylvania state income tax forms, search on Pennsylvania AND income AND tax.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310‑768‑3896.
2. Send me e‑mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send me "snail" US Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504‑0030.
Or sell your computer and take up golf instead !
* * * * * * * *
Intuit’s newest release is an outstanding checkbook program with lots of bells and whistles. Basically, the program has the same look and feel as other version releases in the last few years.
The system requirements are either Windows 98, 98SE, or NT operating systems. Quicken 2001 will not run on Windows 3.1 and does not run well under Windows 2000.
Hardware requirements include a system with 24 MB of RAM and 60MB of available hard drive space.
For me, the installation was flawless and easy. A particularly nice feature it allows you to keep both your older version and Quicken 2001 on the same hard disk partition and to operate independently of one another. This is great in that you can keep the older version as is until you are comfortable with the 2001 version. Your data files are automatically converted from one version to the other depending which version you are currently using.
In my case, I have continually used Quicken version 5, then 6 and now 2001 over the last 6 years. This has been primarily as a check register, entering the checks from my checkbook at the end of each month then reconciling these against my bank statement. This process typically takes between 30 to 60 minutes total.
In addition, I manage several small businesses with Quicken. In the check book registry process each entry is identified with an accounting category and class. Then at the end of each tax year, I utilize Quickens easy built-in report features to generate tax income-expense reports for each business as well as a printout of my entire check-book registry. From these my CPA generates the appropriate tax forms for submittal to IRS. This has been an easy and painless process for both of us.
Up until now, I have not utilized many of the bells and whistles included in the earlier Quicken versions. But after playing with them in Quicken Deluxe 2001and doing a little digging, there is a lot to offer and consider in using these in the new version.
It is easy to get started in using Quicken. There are wizards and neat calculators for almost everything from creating an account register, recording paychecks, budgeting, retirement planning, children’s college expenses, reducing your debts, portfolio management, and so forth. And there is a lot more.
However, importing data from other applications or moving from Microsoft Money can be troublesome. It is best to start over by reentering the data directly into Quicken from the beginning of the year etc.
For small businesses that use cash basis accounting methods, have only one or two employees, and do not have to worry about payroll, preparing invoices, tracking corporation or partnership equity, receivables, and payables etc., this may be the program for you. Otherwise, Intuits QuickBook programs or the Peachtree Accounting program may be more suitable choices.
A great feature in this version, is the QuickEntry program which you do by double-clicking the shortcut icon on the desktop. This is just the bare-bones register entry program without the bells and whistles and other clutter. It gets the job done fast and simply.
Much is made of the Online Account Access and Online Bill Payment features. These are arguable. There is nothing like having a printed Bank statement in your hand to reconcile against. Having the bank pay your bills is not cheap and there is additional mailing delays. Then there is the worry as to how well your bank supports Quicken as well as the uncertainty of internet service provider disconnects.
The Help menu goes into great depth in each of the Index items. This should provide the answers that most users will need. As in the old saying “when all else fails, go to Help”.
On the other hand, the manual leaves much to be desired. However, the third party book, Quick 2001 for Dummies by Nelson ($15 to $20), is great and leads you through each feature, step by step. It should answer 95% of your questions as well as being humorous to read.
You should get Quicken Deluxe 2001 if you do not have Quicken or a fairly recent version. The checkbook features alone including reconciling checkbooks, keeping track of your expenses, budgeting income and spending are well worth it. Depending on the needs of the user the other features may or may not be of value. The price ranges from $27 to $60 depending on where you buy it.
By Fred Vogel, GSBUG, Inc.
Photoshop, version 6 is a professional level photo and image editing program developed by Adobe Systems Inc., San Jose, California, Nasdaq: ADBE. The full version street price of this program is approximately $600 and the upgrade from previous versions range from $170 to $200. The program has been in existence for over 11 years and is upgraded every couple of years. There are over 326 books that are listed on the Amazon Web site devoted to this program and 44 devoted to Photoshop 6 exclusively. Adobe also offers less expensive versions of this program for under $100. They are Adobe PhotoDeluxe version 4 meant for typical consumer use and Adobe Photoshop LE which is designed for the prosumer market for those on a limited budget. Neither are as comprehensive as the full version of Photoshop but will provide an excellent entry into the Photoshop world of image editing. The Adobe Web site is www.adobe.com. This site offers free program upgrade downloads, product information, tutorials on line, a searchable technical data base, and user forums.
Because of the size and complexity of Photoshop, and the fact that working with large bitmapped images requires a lot of computing horsepower, older and by definition slower computers, will not provide a satisfactory working environment. A Pentium, preferably a P3 or higher processor or equivalent PC, equipped with any of several versions of Microsoft Windows, or a Power Macintosh computer running OS 8.5 or later processor, with ideally 256 MB or more of RAM is desirable. The program, though, will run on any Pentium PC or equivalent processor with 64 MB of RAM — but you may not be satisfied with the program’s performance attributes. For example a 8” X 10” 600 DPI (dots per inch), 36 bit image can easily reach 40+ MB in size. Slow PCs may take too long to process files that are this large. In Photoshop 6 this is not considered an uncommon image file size. Another advantageous accessory with any image processing / editing program is a large screen monitor – preferably a 17” or larger coupled to a fast video card with lots of video memory.
It is almost impossible to overstate the importance of Adobe Photoshop 6 to professional and amateur computer graphics artists and photographers. Despite hefty competition over the years from a diverse variety of image–editing programs, ranging in price from virtually free to a few thousand dollars each, Adobe has managed to capture more than eighty percent of this market. As a result, Photoshop rides a self–perpetuating wave of industry predominance. The Adobe Website states that this application is “the world‑standard image‑editing solution, and even this is an understatement. Photoshop is used in everything from print and Web authoring, to video, and feature film work. It is one of the significant reasons why darkroom and film photography is rapidly changing from chemical (wet) processing to electronic imaging.
The value of this program is that it can and does appeal to every user regardless of their graphics experience level. Due to the depth and complexity of Photoshop very few users have thoroughly mastered this program. Photoshop 6 is truly an intellectual learning challenge. Yet, with minimal study, inexperienced users can make use of the basic portions of the program in order to manipulate and edit photographs or create ‘art’ renditions with relative ease.
Photoshop 6 ships with a printed tutorial and a CD that contains a 448 page Users Manual complete with a index and a cross referenced table of contents plus a 6 page Reference Guide in Adobe Acrobat PDF file format. The Reference Guide graphically describes the program’s applications tools and speed keys. Also included is version 4 of Adobe Acrobat reader, which is a PDF file viewer, just in case you did not have access to this program. The CD also contains 80 MB of stock art, sample images, image enhancement tools and accessories such as different size paint brush files, texture files and actions files which are Photoshop macros. Included in the CD are Adobe program tryouts such as Pagemaker and Premiere. The CD contains many third party limited time use programs that are related to improving your Photoshop working experience.
Because Photoshop 6 is so comprehensive, and this release is such a radical overhaul to the previous versions 5.0 and 5.5, I thought it would be best to review the major imaging tasks that this program can handle. I will also highlight most of the new features included in this release.
Once an image is converted into digital format the process of adjusting and manipulating it in Photoshop 6 allows you to perform many if not all of the standard ‘wet’ darkroom techniques like spotting, cropping, dodging, burning, changing the color balance, contrast, and so on, digitally. You can use a variety of adjustment, layer, selection, and feather techniques to isolate portions of an image for change without affecting the rest of the image. All of these manipulations can be done in such a way that you can show many variations and yet always undo or change any effect. Not only are digital images easier to create, but with Photoshop 6 they are now much easier to change and to show variations in technique.
In addition to the standard darkroom techniques that are available to the user, there are hundreds of special effects available in Photoshop 6 that can also be applied to your image like posterization, rotation, skew, solarization, stretching, perspective, edge effects, sharpening, distortions, applying patterns and textures, blending, plus many more. In Photoshop 6 many of these special effects are called Filters. And if these effects don’t offer enough diversification to satisfy you Photoshop allows the use of third party programs, called plug–ins. These provide you with even more image special effects. Many of these plug–ins are either available as shareware, or are nominally priced.
With Photoshop 6 you can use layers, adjustment layers, layer masks, channels, and other techniques to create knock–outs, drop shadows, and special lighting effects, as well as to combine images in any way that you want. These changes are easy to set up and you can turn them on and off in order to see the difference that they make to your image.
Adobe Photoshop’s 6 painting tools can be used to retouch, colorize, add to, and modify your image.
If you are going to output your digital images to video, the Web, digital printers, or to color transparency film, Photoshop 6 requires that the digital file needs to be in RGB (Red, Green, Blue) format. Most desktop scanners scan in this format. If you are going to print your final image on a press the image needs to be converted into CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) format. Photoshop 6 allows you to do these and many other types of conversion including changing color photographs to a black and white (Grayscale) image easily.
Photoshop, until this version was released, was considered a bitmapped image editing program. This is a category of software that works with pixels and is commonly called ‘paint’ software. A pixel stands for Picture Element and is the smallest part of an image, as displayed on a monitor or written as information to a bitmap file. The size and shape of a pixel is relative, when measured dimensionally by height and width or can also be measured by the number of bits of information attached to the pixel. If image dimensions are measured in inches and image resolution is measured in pixels per inch, both the file size and the pixel dimension will change when you alter image resolution. As an example a color image that is 640 by 480 pixels (307,200 pixels), multiplied by 3 for it’s red, green and blue color channels will generate an image size of over 900 KB. If you have ever used Windows Paint, which is available as part of the normal Windows 3X/9X program, you have created art with a bitmapped image based application.
Photoshop 6 comes packaged with a companion program called ImageReady, version 3. This program has the look and feel of Photoshop but is used to render images for Web page publication. It has limited value for prepress users or print makers. It was originally packaged by Adobe as a stand‑alone program and sold as a companion to Photoshop, but with the advent of extensive Web publishing activity becoming an integral part of many Photoshop user’s needs, the company merged the two applications into one combined but independent set of programs.
Although there are lots of new features in Photoshop one of the more important changes in this version is the addition of vector based graphics. This type of graphic is commonly used in ‘drawing’ programs and is the type that you are most likely to see packaged in CD format as clip art. Vector images uses numbers to describe the image shape. Also image files sizes are considerably smaller than bitmapped images and they can be resized either larger or smaller without image distortion. As an example a 1 MB 640 by 480 pixel bitmapped based image rendered as an equivalent vector image might be as much as 10 times smaller in file size.
Although there are a multitude of changes in Photoshop 6 the most significant ones are:
_ Vector based drawing with resolution independent scalable output. Essentially you can do almost anything that you can do in Adobe Illustrator inside Photoshop 6. This includes styles to apply in shapes, define new vector shapes, trim, intersect, weld options with paths, and many other vector based options.
_ Tight integration with ImageReady version 3.0. Lots of RAM will be required in order to run both programs. Built in web design and publishing features like slices, hotspots, rollovers, web export preview, and image optimizing are provided.
_ On‑canvas text entry and advanced formatting. In earlier versions of Photoshop when you made text you could not edit it after your image was flattened. Also you can create curved text, and text in many different styles, and still go back and edit it. Photoshop 6 provides more control over the appearance of text than many word processing applications do, including precise control over spacing, width, and height of letters, space between lines, and text orientation. Support for individual colored characters is now provided.
_ Layer styles and new effects. This feature allows you to apply effects to portions of your image that can be easily removed without changing the area they previously affected. Layers can be grouped into unique sets as folders. This allows applying a layer mask or a transform to an entire folder full of layers at one time.
_ Image warping and distortion effects.
_ Color management has been enhanced to help ensure consistent color throughout the production process. The Adobe Color Engine (ACE) brings together everything that you need to manage color space settings and ICC profiles within the new unified Color Settings dialog. This process is now supposed to make the color management process intelligible to the average user.
_ Interface enhancements including a new context‑sensitive tool options bar and preset manager.
_ Integrated toolbars have eliminated many of the pop up windows of previous versions in favor of keeping the settings all on a dynamic toolbar at the top of the screen. The bars content change depending on which tool is in use. Changing settings and properties can be done more quickly and easily.
_ Extensive PDF workflow including shared PDF annotations. This now means that you now have the ability to create documents that can be read on virtually any computer anywhere at a consistent quality. Also full support for duotones, spot color channels and layers is available. It appears that Photoshop’s native PSD format will eventually merge into the PDF format.
_ Brushes tool has been expanded with many more available and plenty of brush options including a maximum size of 1,000 pixels. Also you can set the mode of painting such as normal, multiply or screen.
_ Other features include new selection tools, more color palettes and choices, better layout management, liquefy effect, and the annotation tool. The latter tool will allow you to jot down design notes and reminders just like using Post–It notes. Also support for 16 bit color is provided, and an unlimited number of graphic layers is now allowed. A new cropping tool which has been promoted to it’s own slot, is available to provide a real–time cropping preview, as well as the ability to crop any selection.
If you are interested in getting started with this fascinating and challenging program I am recommending that you consider purchasing the following books;
Both the Photoshop 6 Dummies and the Photoshop 6 Idiot soft cover books are excellent for introductory understanding and learning purposes. This is a good choice of a first book set that will allow you to get acquainted with the Photoshop 6 program. These books sell for approximately $18 to $20 dollars apiece.
Photoshop 6 for Windows Bible by Deke McClelland. This is a 939 page reference manual written in an easy to understand and humorous manner. A CD with a complete PDF version of the book is included plus 3 additional chapters that were not part of the printed version have been added. The cover price of this book is $39.99
Inside Adobe Photoshop 6 by Gary & Barbara Bouton. This book contains 1002 pages that is easy to follow and which can be used as a self–teaching guide and practice tool. Included with the book is a CD with images that are used for teaching examples. An excellent glossary of hundreds of terms related to both digital imaging and Photoshop is included. The CD contains many Photoshop third party shareware programs and stock art files. The cover price of this book is $44.99. Incidentally, the Tuesday DIGSIG is using the Photoshop 5 / 5.5 version of this book for their weekly lessons and find it to be an invaluable aid in the learning process.
Photoshop 6 has over 300 shortcut or speed keys. Learning these shortcuts will help to minimize repetitive mouse clicking fatigue and speed up program entry information. I am also recommending one last soft cover book to add to your learning arsenal; Photoshop 6 Power Shortcuts by Michael Ninness. Mr. Ninness is a Product Manager at Adobe Systems. The cover price of this reference manual is $24.99.
All of these books are available for 10% to 30% less than the listed cover price if you watch the Fry’s ad specials. Also COMP USA carries some of these books with favorable discounts. For on–line shopping Amazon.com is also a good source of discount priced books.
Finally, just when would you use Photoshop? The answer is when you are creating and editing the following kinds of artwork:
_ Scanned photos, including photographic collages and embellishments that originate from scans
_ Images captured with any type of digital camera
_ Still frames scanned from videotape or film
_ Realistic artwork that relies on the play between naturalistic highlights, midranges, and shadows
_ Impressionistic type artwork and other images created for purely personal or aesthetic purposes
_ Logos and other display type featuring soft edges, reflections, or tapering shadows
_ Special effects that require the use of filters and color enhancements that can’t be achieved in a drawing program
Photoshop 6 provides more instant gratification features than any previous version. It offers a broad collection of both basic and esoteric tools for creating and manipulating images. Becoming a skilled Photoshop user involves getting to know those tools, how they interact, and when to use them. The best way to do that is through use, experimentation, exploration, and play.
Photoshop 6 is so comprehensive that a considerable investment of study time and experimentation to understand and appreciate it thoroughly is required. I have been working with this program for the last several months and I am indebted to the multitude of comprehensive Photoshop World Wide Web resources available, to Deke McClelland’s books and the Bouton’s books for helping to further my Photoshop knowledge base, and finally to the Tuesday DIGSIG workshop participants.
* * * * * * * *