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 03
March 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 - Sharing Grant






Rich's Computer Repair
System Diagnostics, Repair & Upgrades
e-mail: Rich

By Dr. John Hanson

   Topics for March

   1.  Improve Win 98
   2.  Avoid Celeron
   3.  Transfer VHS to DVD
   4.  Use LEDs for Flash Pictures
   5.  Rebate Cautions
   6.  LCD Monitors
   7.  Improve your Operating System
   8.  Intel vs AMD
   9.  Irate over Ink Prices
   10. Enlarging Images Greatly
   11. Waiting for Photoshop 8?
   12. New Computer Cases
   13. Should you buy an expensive Digital?
   14. Kyocera SL300R Digital Camera
   15. Extended Warranties
   16. Flash Cards
   17. Color Laser Printers

   1.  Improve Win 98:  Why let Microsoft lead you around by the nose with each change of their OS.  Avoid having all the problems
of XP and stick with what works but make it better.  Smart Computing has a great article on how to do this in detail in their April
issue coming soon.  If you are a subscriber you can go to their web site and read this article and future articles.  The article is
quite good but I don't believe that Win 98 can only use about 350 mb of Ram.

2.  Avoid Celeron:  I've been telling my readers for a long time that you should avoid buying any computer with a Celeron no matter
how fast and the Duron is not too good either.  That is why the Dr. Hanson special computers have always specified an Athlon at the
current sweet spot in speed.  At the moment Athlon 2300 is that sweet spot where you get good speed but without paying a lot for a
higher speed.  For gamers and video editing you may want to go faster.  Read page 158 of March 04 of PC World as it confirms what
I have been saying for years.

   3.  Transfer VHS to DVD:  It turns out that the least expensive video editing program at $90 beats all the other programs tested
by PC World on page 117 of October issue.  Its the AverMedia DVD EZMaker.  While the article is quite useful it avoids the most
serious weakness in that you can only get about two hours on a DVD and all of my VHS tapes are six hours.  It would be nice if
compressing all six hours would result in an acceptable playback.

   4.  Use LEDs for Flash Pictures:  Emmett Ingram and I have been doing research on high briteness LEDs for a few years and I have
built a number of my own flashlites that can last for years.  Now a camera lens for closeups is on the market with 18 LEDs around its
circumference.  You can read about it on page 40 of the March 04 issue of Popular Photography.  The author doesn't seem to know much
about electricity and LEDs but the lens is real.  The new brite white LEDs are very brite and when you pulse them they can be much
brighter.  The reason they are used for closeup is that the light does not carry very far but then the regular flash tubes on cameras
usually are not very effective beyond 10 or 15 feet and drain batteries very quickly.  I think that pulsed LEDs might be useful for
up to 10 feet.  But I don't think it is a good idea to mount them as part of the lens.  I would make a circle that goes around the
lens so in can be replaced easily.  When I have time I will run some experiments.

   5.  Rebate Cautions:  For several years I've warned readers about rebates.  So far I have been successful but I only buy things
which might be a good deal even if the rebate doesn't come thru.  Page 135 of PC World has an article which goes into quite a bit of
detail but they hold back in saying that rebates are designed to defraud buyers.  Try to get all the facts before you pay your money.
Determine what is required and the deadlines.  One of the favorite gimmicks is that you must send in the UPC original code but then
you can't return the product if it is not unsuitable.  Unless you have a lot of time to test the product right away be wary of buying
the product.

   6.  LCD Monitors:  If you are thinking of an LCD monitor be aware that prices have gone up so read the article on page 99 of PC World
with a grain of salt but it's still better than not doing your homework.  I bought a bargain Samsung LCD with a built in TV tuner and
tested it quickly because the time for sending in for a rebate was very short.  The monitor part was not bad but the tuner was terrible
and with very few instructions so I returned it quickly to Best Buy.  When something is not as perfect as the ad return it quickly.  Why
should we waste our tome and money testing their product?

   7.  Improve your Operating System:  The article claims 76 things to improve your system with ideas for 98 to XP.  Some seem worth
while for me but check them out as there might be something useful for you.  It's on page 82 of PC World for March 04.

   8. Intel vs AMD: We are so lucky to have both Intel and AMD as this competition has been good for us.  As expected AMD is still better
than Intel.  How could Intel who was once the top dog let this happen to them?  Page 27 of PC World for March 04 give some numbers and
comparisons so you can decide for yourself.

   9. Irate over Ink Prices:  Our members are lucky as they know about Charley's low prices and high quality at CSI on 190th St. but for
users who are not members of computer club they continue to pay high prices.  Even with low prices I think that almost everyone should
have a laser printer for most of their printing and an Epson color printer for pictures.  A good way would be to go to Charley and get a
list of all the Epson replacement ink prices and then among the lowest select an Epson printer.   For longer term availability look for
an Epson whose cartridges are used in other Epson printers.   For more info on ink prices see page 24 of PC World for March 04.

   10.  Enlarging Images Greatly:  When you take a section of a picture and enlarge it substantially you might see it pixilated at some
point as happened when I wanted to enlarge a picture of one of my students stacking Tooties 35 high without crisscrossing them.  My first
lesson is:  Don't crop it with the crop tool but use the marquee tool and then use the menu crop command.  There is a fairly good article
on using Genuine Fractals to get quite good results if you follow some simple rules.  See page 48 of Popular Photography for Mar 04.
Looking at the side by side comparison Photoshop does a quite good job so you may not need Genuine Fractals.

   11.  Waiting for Photoshop 8?  It has been skipped and what has taken its place is CS (Creative Suite).  See page 64 of Popular
Photography for March 04 for details on this new version and talk to any of the members of the Photoshop SIG to see if any of the new
features are useful for you.  Adobe is perhaps the best of the software providers as their quality is always top notch and their marketing
is excellent.  It seems everyone uses Acrobat Reader and it really works great.

   12.  New Computer Cases:  Be careful when removing the front panel of your computer case.  If it won't come off the CD Rom remove the
screws holding the CD Rom and let it slide out with the front panel.  If you try to force it without removing the screws there is a tiny
lip in the front panel that might pull the front of the CD Rom off and ruin it.  These new cases have a perforated blank panel inside so
before you can install another drive that is accessible from the front you need to remove that blank panel and you may need to remove front
panel in order to get access to those shielding panels.  I need to experiment to see if these shielding panels can be removed without taking
off the front panel.  If you do need to remove the front panel there are usually six screw hidden on the inside of the case.  If you plan to
upgrade one of your AT computers to the new ATX format you will need a new case with a power supply.  Then you just add the motherboard and
CPU and transfer your other things.  It's likely that you will have to buy the new DDR memory stick as it is getting harder and harder to
find motherboards that have both DDR and SDRAM slots.  Be careful about buying combo motherboard and CPU from Frys as then you need a fan and
a VGA card.  At the Pomona Computer Fair you can get a combo for the same price with a fan and an integrated VGA which saves money and hassle.

   13.  Should you buy an expensive Digital?  Perhaps but you can get excellent quality around $300 if you look carefully and do your homework.
Be careful when you read reviews as they could be supporting the manufacturer.  One good review for $1000 Sony reveals its problems.  You might
buy it anyway but just be aware of the shortcomings.  This review is on page 58 of Popular
Photography for March 04 and is quite well done.  This gives you a guideline when evaluating other reviews.

   14.  Kyocera SL300R Digital Camera:  When I first heard of this at CES in Vegas I rushed all over to try to see one but there was no listing
for Kyocera in the directory.  I was fascinated with the specs and wondered if it was better than Emmett Ingram's marvelous Minolta XT.  I was
about to give up when I stumbled upon a camera booth that had it but then was disappointed that it didn't have an optical viewfinder and time
would be lost rotating the lens part when you needed a quick shot.  The specs claim the LCD is a new type that is much brighter so it can be
seen in sunlight but there was no way to test it on the floor and using the LCD used up the battery very quickly.  But it has some very good
features like short lag time which could flow over into other cameras.  See page 60 of Popular Photography for March 04 for more details.

   15.  Extended Warranties:  For me I think most are a rip off so I never get an extension.  But after reading an article on page 62 of Popular
Photography for March 04 I think they could be appropriate for some people especially if the warranty is from Mack Camera.

   16.  Flash Cards:  Page 67 of Popular Photography for March 04 has a shallow review on all of the available cards which is fine for beginners.
She was probably limited for space as she should have written more about how you tell which have different speeds.  Perhaps the most useful thing
she said was to format your card in the camera and not erase it from the card reader in your computer.  It might be useful to do both.

   17.  Color Laser Printers:  Review what I said last month about the Minolta 2300 I bought.  It is listed as number eight among the top ten
printers on page 163 of PC World for March 04.  I think it is marvelous so now I have to be careful in believing what PC World says in their
listings.  One of the secrets about the veracity of reviews is to see who the author is but these reviews have no designated author so be cautious.
Some authors such as Neil Randall are very good and some are consistently poor. So when you go to the next page that reviews their top ten of
digital cameras read it with a grain of salt.

    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 everyone ! This is the 67th "Internet Talk" article and it is part of "The bug Bulletin", a monthly publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group.


I look forward to working with Sharon Grant who is the new GSBUG newsletter editor.  The paper version of last month's (February) newsletter brought raves from everyone that Liz and I showed it to. Please feel free to contact her at  with your ideas, comments, and article submissions. She has a lot of ideas for improving the monthly newsletter and brings a fresh viewpoint to how it should look.


Juno and Netzero continue to offer totally free dialup access to the Internet.  Several GSBUG members have indicated to me that they have free accounts at both Juno and Netzero:  With 10 free hours offered by Juno and 10 free hours offered by Netzero, these frugal users of the Internet get a total of 20 free hours of Internet access in a calendar month. Once you use up all 20 hours, then you cannot get onto either Juno or Netzero until midnight on the 1st of the next calendar month.


The minimum requirements for Juno are at  According to this web page:
<start of quote>
To install and use Juno 5.0 , you need a computer with the following:
Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT4/XP, 90MHz Pentium processor, 8 MB RAM, 20 MB free disk space, 14.4 modem, VGA monitor (800x600 screen resolution).

Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT4/XP, 200MHz Pentium MMX processor, 32 MB RAM, 20 MB free disk space, 56K modem, SVGA monitor (800x600 screen resolution), sound card and speakers, Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher.

<end of quote>

The minimum requirements for Netzero are at  According to this web page:

<start of quote>

To install and use Netzero 7.0 , you need a computer with the following:
Minimum Requirements:
90 MHz Computer Processor, 64 MB of RAM, Windows 95 with Service Pack 2, 28.8K modem, At 12 MB of free disk space, Internet Explorer 5.0.1
Recommended Requirements:
Pentium III processor or higher, ,128 MB of RAM, Windows 98 or higher, 56K modem or higher, At least 20 MB of free disk space, Internet Explorer 6 or higher

<end of quote>

Before loading the software for Netzero and/or Juno into your computer, make sure that your computer meets at least the minimum hardware requirements that are listed above.


Both Juno and Netzero have free AND non-free options so be sure to select the free options when initially installing their software. You can always upgrade to a non-free option at a later time.

If you are starting installing Juno and Netzero into a computer that has never been connected to the Internet before, we recommend that you start by installing Netzero first. Then you should install Juno only after you have made a solid, dial-up connection to the Internet with Netzero. This is because the Netzero system is much simpler and takes up a lot less space on your computer's hard drive than Juno. It is sort of like the idea that you have to learn to walk before learning to run.

The installation software for Netzero only takes up 566 kilobytes of disk space and can be transported on a floppy disk.  In contrast, the nstallation for Juno takes up 7.64 megabytes and can only be transported on a CD-ROM or Zip disk.

The 24 hour by 7 day tech support phone number for Netzero is 1-800-654-5866  and the 24 hour by 7 day tech support phone number for Juno is 1-800-586-6889.

Check with Bob Hudak--our club librarian or Herman Krouse--our Internet SIG leader, if you need help obtaining the software for either Juno or Netzero.


"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

Now that we have a paper newsletter again, Rich's ad will be distributed to all GSBUG members as part of the newsletter each month . However, his e-mail address was not printed in the February issue, so we are hereby providing it to you for your convenience.


Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) consists of a modem that sends a high frequency signal on your landline phone line.  With DSL, you can connect to the Internet with your computer(s) while talking on your phone line at the same time. The two signals, analog voice communications and DSL Internet pass over the single copper pair between your home or business AND your local telephone exchange and the signals pass each other like ships at sea in the night, without interfering with each other. In other words, with DSL installed at your home or business, you can have one computer accessing the Internet through your DSL modem and another connected with a dial-up modem and both signals can be on the same single phone line.

Cable modems use the optical and coaxial cable television system to connect your home or business to the Internet.  The cable television service in many communities offers cable modem Internet access as a service in addition to their television programming.

Both DSL and cable modems are considered to be "broadband" Internet access.


Most DSL or cable modem customers will install their fast Internet service by using a "self install kit". Most of these "self install" kits will consist of the following:

DSL modem or cable modem ("broadband modem"), installation CD-ROM, network adapter for a single computer, cables for connecting the modem to the network adapter, firewall software such as "Zonealarm" (which is usually included on the "installation CD-ROM"), and
technical literature to help you with the installation.

Some of the more expensive "self install" kits now come with a additional home network kit that consists of the following:
firewall/router/network hub device, additional network adapters (for additional computers in your home or business) additional cables, for connecting additional computer to your home network.

Most new customers of broadband cable modems will opt for the simpler "self install" kit. As a consequence, when performing a "self install", most new customers will end up with a single computer connected to a broadband modem, with Zonealarm or other software-based firewall keeping out the hackers that lurk on the Internet.

When they wish to connect to the Internet, these broadband subscribers have a "PPOE" icon on the "Windows desktop" that they have to click on.  This icon opens up a dialog box that asks for a "username" and a "password". Once these items are entered, the computer is connected to the Internet for fast Web browsing.
"PPOE" stands for "Point-to-point over Ethernet".  This button will be available to you in different forms depending on the specific broadband Internet service that you are using. For example, for users of "SBC Yahoo! DSL", there is an icon on the "Windows desktop" by that name. After clicking on this icon, a "Connection Manager" box opens up. Inside this box, there is a "Start/Stop" button that you click on to connect your computer to the Internet.

At this point, you will have the following configuration:
Windows computer with a network adapter connected by means of a cable to the customer "jack" of the broadband modem.


If your "self install" kit did not come with a firewall/router device, you can only connect a single computer to your broadband modem at any single time.   If you have more than one computer, you will eventually want to connect additional computers to your broadband Internet service so that they can all access the Internet at the same time.  The best way to connect additional computers in your home or business to your broadband Internet service is to install a firewall/router device ("router").

This router device will do the following for you:

1) The "Wide Area Network" ("WAN") or "Internet" jack will provide you with a cable connection to the "customer" side of your broadband modem,
2) A hardware firewall that will block the hackers that lurk out on the Internet,
3) Two or more Local Area Network ("LAN") connections to connect to the network adapters of two or more computers.

Many brands and models of such devices are now available for below $100. For an excellent example of one, see
Many GSBUG members have this exact model of router installed in their broadband-connected home networks.

After installing the router, you will have the following configuration:
Each computer has a network adapter.  This network adapter connects by means of a cable to the LAN side of the router.  The router has a WAN or "Internet" jack.  This WAN or "Internet" jack connects by means of a cable to the "customer" jack of the broadband modem.

After hooking up your router, you will have to re-configure each connected computer and the router before you have access to the Internet:

1) Step 1:
Remove any software firewall (such as "Zonealarm") from each computer that is connected to the LAN jacks of the router.

2) Step 2:
Using the manufacturer's instruction booklet for the router, configure the router:
Boot up one of the computers that is connected to one of the LAN jacks of the router.  Start "Internet Explorer" or any Web browser.  Go to the URL for router configuration that is mentioned in the instruction book for your router.  For example, if you have a  Linksys BEFSR41 router, you will go to
Follow the additional instructions in your instruction book:
Make sure that the LAN side of your router is set for "DHCP" ("Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol"), which should be a default setting.  When you arrive at the PPOE setting, make sure that it is "enabled".  After enabling it, put in the "username" and "password" that you originally used with the "PPOE" button back when you had a single computer attached to the broadband modem.  After making any changes on any screen, click on the "Apply" or "Setup" button to activate the change.  Then click on the "Continue" button to move to the next screen.  If you are connecting to your business Intranet by means of a VPN (Virtual Private Network), enable "PPTP" ("Point-to-point Tunneling Protocol") when you arrive at the appropriate screen.  Continue through all additional configuration screens, accepting all defaults.  Follow the manufacturer's instructions to exit out of the router configuration screens.   Close your Web browser.  Perform a shutdown of your computer.  Reboot your computer.  Do not start your "PPOE" software.  Start a Web browser such as Internet Explorer.  At this point, you should be able to access any active Web site on the Internet.

When accessing the Internet with a computer that is connected to the router, do NOT use the "PPOE" software icon that you originally used before the router was installed. As long as the router is working, any computer that you connect to the LAN jacks of the router and boot up should automatically connect to the Internet.  For example, if you are a subscriber of "SBC Yahoo! DSL", you no longer have to click on the "SBC Yahoo! DSL" icon on your Windows desktop after you have your router installed, since your router will automatically act like your computer and make a "PPOE" connection to your broadband Internet service provider.


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 !!!!


The best news this month is that our president, Garry Sexton, with the approve of the board, named Sharing Grant our news letter editor. She is also a member of the board of directors. I know this news is on the front page but I still wanted to  let you know this is her second Bug Report. GREAT JOB.

I know a lot of members are using digital cameras to take a lot of pictures. Most of the cameras are automatic for most of  the settings. How would you like to know what the settings were on some of those shots? I have a new program in the library called Digi-Info that can help you find out.  There's quite a bit of hidden information in pictures taken with your Digital  Camera and Digi-Info will extract that info so you can view and save it.  Types of information include Camera make and model, Orientation, Resolution, Exposure Time, Date, Time, Shutter Speed, Aperture Value, Subject Distance, Metering Mode, Light  Source, Flash on/off, Focal Length, Width, and Height, among others. I believe it depends on which camera you have as to how much of this information is stored. I have tried it on pictures taken with several cameras and it work well. You can print out the info and stick it on the back of your picture. Just like we used to do with some of the film camera shots we took
that required the exposure information. Pick up a copy at the library table. It will open your eyes as to what that camera is doing.

Last month I told you about TaxAct and the special offer extended to club members. A really good deal. Since that time I have installed the program on my computer. It went quick and easy without any problems. I imported last years file which fills in all the items that do not change. Name, SS #, address, banks and stock broker accounts, etc. This worked perfect also. This feature saves a lot of typing that is a source of errors. Of course you need to use the same program each year. This is not a problem because the price is right and the program works great. I have a copy of the free standard version in the library. You can register and receive a unlock code for it if you want to. It prints out great clean copies of the forms that look just like the IRS forms.

The Hardware Sig on Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 to 4:00 is open to help you with your hardware problems. Sometime we can't solve it right off but we do the best we can. I say "we" because there are a number of members pitching in to help resolve the problem.  The other week we could not get Bill Champlin's computer going but we had a good idea what the problem was by the end of the day. Bill went home and read the manual that came with the hard drive. Found out it need two jumpers instead of one. That did it. The drive was recognized by the BIOS and the rest was down hill. It was good to get a email from Bill saying it was working. Had a printer problem. Printer was not used for quite a while and when started up it sounded like there was someone inside with a hammer making noise. Cleaning the rod that the ink cartridges ride on and then putting on the slightest amount of thin oil with fingers made it work nice and quite. The oil in the bearing settle out from sitting. Another success story.  Then there was the laptop that needed just a little software help. I do not like to work on software but was able to slow down the mouse and something else in just a short time.  Another happy member. So bring in your hardware problem and we will try to help.


By GSBug Member at Large Jack Noble     310~543~5403

   A friend in need is a you know what – we’ve all heard this expression for years.  But, what does one do when he or she thinks his or her life is about to end?  Life as a digital graphics person that is.
   Here’s what happens.  You snap a flock of priceless photos with your trusty (?) digital hi-tech, piece of . . . art camera – you know the one – its supposed to do ‘everything’?
   Then you slap the images into your faithful (?) computer.  Next you burn them into a CD or two (if you’re smarter than moi, that is).  After the little beauties are carefully tucked away from the clutches of your trusty evil & treacherous computer you can then, ‘safely’ stuff ‘em into Adobe PhotoShop, or whichever other graphics program you might happen to have, and begin messing with them.
   OR – you could do as I have done (twice, so far) and try to immediately copy and move the little rascals directly into your hard drive before burning CD copies (dumb – that’s with a capital ‘D’ of course).  Because whenever I’ve done it this way – I loose images and pieces of my life.
   Now, here’s where the silicon meets the road - - - IF you have not jumped into formatting your flash card, memory stick, microdrive or other media prior to making copies – no worries.  Just resubmit them into your graphics program and wail away.  IF, on the other hand, you have followed my bad example by not making copies, and something crashes, what can you do?  Well, you can either put a slug of lead between your ears OR, you can get hold of a ‘rescue disk’.
   Enter ~ ~ ~  Super Bob – Hudak, that is.  I strongly recommend that you do this immediately – don’t wait ‘til it happens to you.  I know – you’re thinking . . . “This can’t possibly happen to little ol’ me.”  That’s what I used to think.
   Please believe me, the CD that Bob has for a measly $5.00 is far superior to even the Norton Utilities recovery system that I’ve also tried.  It’s far, far easier to use and you can’t beat the price.

   By-the-way, all net proceeds from copies of the club’s library go directly into the GS Bug treasury –Bob’s time is gratis.
   Bob Hudak, our club librarian, has a slew of great and useful (naturally) special software/tools to help us get out of jams or just plain make computing simpler and far more productive.
   Do yourself a favor and contact Bob at –     310-323-0579.



From Blue Chip Magazine Dec. 2003 By James Alexander

Here I am at the closing weeks of 2003, doing what parents can for the family wish lists versus budgets. I think of all the new geek toys that will not get off the wish list for me, but I am cheered up by the thought that prices continue to drop and performance improve for many of those toys. Mentioning toys, next month I will revisit the DVD market with software reviews and updates on DVD hardware.

October 21, Microsoft’s new Office 2003 was launched. Then November 4, Microsoft released an update for Microsoft Office 2003. This update fixes a problem that occurs when you try to open or to save a PowerPoint 2003 file, a Word 2003 file, or a Excel 2003 file that was previously modified and saved by an earlier version of Microsoft’s Office applications. The following symptoms may be encountered:

 * The document may not open completely.
 * The document may be corrupted.
 * The document may open but with missing content.
 * You might receive an error message about filename being wrong.

The Office2003 Fix 1 is available at;en-us;828041 Download the 892Kb file, then follow the instructions for installation on the web site.

There is an alternative, if MS Office is too much for you or your hardware. This alternative was released about the same time(Oct 9) as Microsoft Office 2003. Sun Microsystems’ StarOffice 7: runs on MS Windows, Linux, and Solaris; is able to import and export MS Office file formats, as well as exporting to Flash, PDF, and documents readable on Palm-OS and Pocket PC devices; supports Asian language fonts in the same package; and lower cost, ranging from free to about $80.

Recently, there have been a variety of ads and warnings about Identity Theft. Please pay attention. In the year 2002 alone, 9 million Americans were identity theft victims. The dollar loss was over $40 billion, and the loss of 200 million hours in trying to repair the damages. I hope these numbers worry you, they scare me. If you want more information on Identity Theft there are two sites to visit: for the 2003 CSI/FBI Survey; and on the ID Theft link). Perhaps, if there is enough interest, we could bring in a presentation on the subject in the future. (Hint! If you are interested, let us know.) Prepare for Identity Theft, by keeping records of all financially related events in your life. Create a backup plan, and update it regularly. (Does this sound familiar?) When discarding records assure they have been destroyed before throwing records out to the world, or for that matter out on the web. There are only two scenarios: those who have lost the financial identity and those who have not yet lost it.

That naturally leads to one of the oldest and unfortunately most successful of computing experience - viruses. Virus was first described in 1984 as a self-propagating program which posed or may pose a threat to the operation of software or hardware. But in fact, the birth of computer viruses may have been during the 1950’s with the work of von Neumann and Turing which also gave birth to artificial intelligence. Interestingly, it was in games that some of the earliest viruses were created. The 1961 game “Darwin”, had Robert Morris, Sr’s digital evolving creature create serious no fun to play feelings. (Robert Morris Jr.’s worm dragged the Internet to a crawl-still in 1988.) The early 1970’s UNIVAC systems game “Animals”, had its demise starting in 1975 with a game copying program called “Pervade”. “Pervade” self propagated itself by copying to UNIVAC systems directory format, which caused many UNIVAC administrators to worry about resources being consumed with out permissions. A Unisys 2200 system administrator indicated recently that “Pervade” still ran on that system. Proving viruses could live a long time. From about 200 viruses identified by the end of 1990, to today’s more than 70,000 viruses, it is easy to conclude there has been a strong growth in this threat to your computing experience. For a more detailed and fascinating view of the growth of viruses go to “The computer virus--no cures to be found” By Robert Lemos, CNET News

Till next time you drop by the Back Porch, have a good time. And remember, help other PC users when ever you can. Send questions or subjects you would like a Back Porch opinion on to: