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 04
April 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 - Sharon Grant





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

By Dr. John Hanson

    Topics for May

   1.Minolta Digital Camera
   2. Air Force Calculators
   3. 2nd Computer Vendor
   4. Detecting Spam
   5. Fotos for Ebay
   6. Xerox 8400 Printer
   7. Black Magic
   8. Buying Old Software
   9. HP Color Laser
   10. Xerox LCD Monitor
   11. Scam Artists
   12. Gateway Collapsing
   13. Editors Choices
   14. Wierd Happenings
   15. Fujitsu S7000 Notebook

   1.Minolta Digital Camera:  About two years ago Emmett Ingram wanted a digital camera so I did some research and recommended a Minolta Xt.
He raved about how good it was and the great pictures it took so a couple of weeks ago I decided to buy a similar one from Minolta.  The closest I
could find was the X20 and it had an advantage that Emmett's didn't have in that it used two AA NiMH batteries instead of a Lithium Ion.  Since I
take hundreds of pictures on my work during each session and more with my two other digital cameras I need to be able to replace batteries quickly
and not wait for recharging.  It's pictures are really fantastic and can be blown up to 8 x 10 even tho it's only 2 megapixels.  It's a good lens that
counts as on my 2 mp Olympus.  But it has one serious flaw that I discovered at the air show in Riverside.  Outdoors you can't see any image on the
LCD and there is no viewfinder.  This camera fits easily in a shirt pocket so if you decide to get one be sure to get the one with a viewfinder.  I need
to get a bellows like Jack Noble has to keep outside light from washing out the picture.

   2. Air Force Calculators:  Air shows always remind me of my days designing missiles and radar and telling the test pilots what I wanted.  Actually, I
asked them if it were possible to do what I wanted safely.  That's much better than telling.  As I toured each of the cargo planes I asked the load
master how he calculated where to put the loads.   Years ago, before calculators, each type of cargo plane had a special slide rule for calculating
loads.  I was surprised to discover how backward the air force was leaving it up to individuals to find their own calculator and some were very simple.
Some had a palm pilot they had programmed for their plane.  It is hard to believe the air force doesn't have a specialized programmable calculator for
each type of plane.

  It reminds me of the days Emmett Ingram started a calculator club with some 18,000 members around the world.  During one of the airplane sub
hunter exercises an admiral wondered why one plane got much better results than the others, mission after mission.  It turns out one of the crew
members was a member of our club and had programmed his calculator to find the subs with less effort.

   3. 2nd Computer Vendor:  Buying anything on the Internet can be risky unless you are very careful.  Rich Bulow, our computer repair expert,
discovered one that was more honest than the others so Rich, Emmett and I went to see them in person and were impressed.  The site is
<a href=""></a>.  When you learn to play the game you will discover that it's possible to get a computer very cheaply there providing you don't make any changes.  You can make the changes later at the Hardware SIG.  You order on the Internet and pay cash when you pick it up.  If you bring a disk with Win 98 on it they will install everything and make sure it works for only $25 extra.  The name of the sharp young man is Raj and some of
the extras are quite reasonable.  Now you have a choice of Raj or Advanced Computer.

   4. Detecting Spam:  I have been spared for a number of years ut recently I have been bombarded with 200 or more spam emails.  It is laborious to
erase them and more laborious to make sure I not erasing someone valuable as I have customers all over the world.  Page 72 of PC Mag for May
4th has an article on Bayesian filters that appears quite interesting when I have time to try it.  If anyone trys it please let me know.

   5. Fotos for Ebay:  If you sell things on Ebay you are likely to get a better price if the picture is good.  Page 68 of PC Mag for May 4th starts a
useful article on how to get a good picture.

   6. Xerox 8400 Printer:  On page 65 of PC Mag for May 4th John Dvorak is recommending this printer but I have checked it out and
don't agree with Dvorak.  This means you should always be suspicious when Dvorak recommend something and check it out carefully for yourself.

   7. Black Magic:  Just before page 65 of PC Mag for May 4th is an ad for Black Magic by a very respected designer of hard drives as well as the
early floppy drives.  It sounds very useful in finding stuff on your hard drives.  Has anyone tried it?  If so let me know.  Go to <a href=""></a>.

   8. Buying Old Software:  When you buy new software the large box is essentially empty and weighs very little.  All it contains is a CD and very
brief instructions.  Compare that with a heavy box with two great manuals.  I just got one for invoices designed for Win 95 but it works great with Win
98.  Even if you have a newer version of a program get the older version just to get the books and usually for no more than $5.

   9. HP Color Laser:  I love my HP-4+ laser printers but HP can make lousy equipment like anyone else.  It all depends on who is in charge at the
time.  David Stone usually does a good job reviewing products but I would be very leery of the HP 3700n at $1,600 when for $600 you can get a
Minolta like mine that works perfectly and has network, USB and parallel connections.  Besides, the Minolta looks better and everything is easy
after you understand their complex instructions.  When John Dvorak recommends something be especially suspicious.  He is suggesting the Xerox
8400 which is a solid ink printer.  When I did my analysis I decided it would not be good for photographs among other weaknesses.

   10. Xerox LCD Monitor:  When a magazine says a product is good you need to be skeptical but when they say it is bad you can believe them.  On
page 48 of PC Mag for May 4th the writer tell you why he thinks the Xerox LCD monitor is so bad.  Do read the article so you know what to look out
for when you buy a monitor.

   11. Scam Artists:  I visited one of my neighbors and noticed a new computer for their children with a whole book of software disks.  They told me
they paid $2,000 on a plan of $100 a month.  It is embarrassing to tell people that they have been taken but I told the mother not to pay any more
than the $200 she has already paid and let the vendor come and take it back.  Whether she will follow my advice is another question.

   The first thing I noticed was a lousy BenQ CRT monitor where the letters were almost unreadable.  The daughter told me it was very slow.  I did
check the size of the hard disk with ChkDsk and discovered it was only 10gb.  For $200 total they could have
bought a much better one at the place Rich Bulow discovered in Signal Hill.

   12. Gateway Collapsing:  For years I and other members of the Hardware SIG have been warning members not to buy Gateway computers as well
as HP and Dell, etc.  The worst was Packard Bell.  There is much better value elsewhere.  Recently Gateway declared bankruptcy so imagine what
might happen if you buy a computer they still advertise.

   13. Editors Choices:  Use these selections as starting points but be very wary of the choices.  Do your homework and check reviews on the Internet
but even there you must be careful.  At the moment Smart Computing and PC World seem to be the best and the worst is Consumers Union when it
comes to technical things.

   14.  Weird Happenings:  Old reliable Control something sometimes acts up and you must reboot.  Whenever you have functions that sometimes
give trouble you should always press the save key just in case so you won't lose your work.  With keyboards so inexpensive these days it is possible
that a key is not functioning.  Try the other control key and see if it is more reliable.  You may remember the early days of calculators when the keys
were the most expensive part of the calculator and then the display.  I still have a Royal calculator that doesn't use keys.  It has a gold plated spot
for each key and with a gold plated stylus you touch it to get a number.  It only displays 4 digits at a time so you touch another spot to see the rest of
the number.  And at the time it was a very expensive but reliable calculator.

   15.  Fujitsu S7000 Notebook:  I bought one of the latest Fujitsu notebooks about a year ago after careful study and it has turned out very well.
Like any company they can make quality when they want to.  I gave it to my cousin in Spain who is studying engineering.  He is so proud to have a
notebook more powerful than all of his peers.  The article on page 44 of PC Mag for May 4th says the keyboard is flimsy among other problems so
if you are looking for a notebook you should read this article.

   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  for more information at
<a href=""></a>

By Frank Chao

This is the 68th "Internet Talk" article for "The Bug Bulletin", a publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group (GSBUG).  Liz and I hope that you are getting along with your computer and it's Internet connection.  If you need help, we recommend that you attend the various information Special Interest Group ("SIG") meetings including Herman Krouse's informative Internet SIG.


Every month, a few nice folks contact me by e-mail or phone and tell me that they belong to GSBUG when they either have never belonged or have not renewed their membership.  Our librarian Bob Hudak asked me to remind those folks to pay up and renew their memberships. The GSBUG deserves your financial support; it cannot survive as a viable organization when people do not keep their memberships current.
To renew or start a new membership, print the official form at  This form tells you how to write your renewal check and where to mail it


see Joyce Oliver at any General Meeting and give her a personal check.  Joyce has been serving on the GSBUG Board of Directors in charge of membership for about a year now. She has been doing a fine job for us.


The documentation on the Juno CD-ROM disks that are sometimes available at Best Buy stores do not mention that Juno offers you totally a free Internet access option with 10 free hours a month of dial-up Internet access. However, if you insert the CD-ROM disk into your computer and the Juno installation program starts up, you will be offered a "free" option. I recommend that new users of Juno start off with the free option in order to learn more about Juno before upgrading to the one of the more expensive options that Juno offers.
If you need a Juno CD-ROM and cannot find one, you can order one for about 10 dollars by phoning 1-877-665-9995 or you can order online at

Juno has been around since 1995 and they provide both free and non-free dial-up Internet access and e-mail service.


If you are installing Juno or Netzero or any other Internet service and the installation software asks you for a credit card number, then you have inadvertently started the signup process for an Internet service that will charge your credit card.  In other words, whenever you are asked for a credit card number and you do not intend to pay for something, exit out of whatever software is demanding a credit card number and re-start the installation setup process (when you are in a more alert state).


All of the free anti-virus software utilities continue to do a poor job of detecting and eliminating spyware and adware.  In order to detect and remove spyware / adware, you probably need to run two free software utilities:

"Spybot -- Search & Destroy" can be obtained from  And also get Lavasoft's "Ad-aware" from

Warning:  there are both free and non-free versions of "Ad-aware" at the latter Web site.  "Spybot.." and "Ad-aware" do not seem to eradicate and delete the same computer spyware / adware items so you have to run both software utilities to keep your computer free of these digital pests.  If you have both "Spybot.." and "Ad-aware" installed into the same computer, you will get the following warning when you start "Spybot":

<Start of quote:>

"You have AdAware installed.
If you have the AdAware option to scan inside archives enabled, AdAware may find files in the Spybot-S&D folder. Spybot-S&D does not contain any spyware, but it creates backups of everything you fix (until you remove those backups from the Recovery list), and AdAware complains about these backups. You can safely ignore these backups found by AdAware.

<End of quote>

If you have enough RAM in your computer, you can run both "Spybot.." and "Ad-aware" at the same time. Other that the above-mentioned possibility, they seem to get along well with each other.  Finally, do not confuse "adware" with "Ad-aware". "Adware" is annoying and possibly harmful software that various Websites put into your computer to cause ads to pop up while you are browsing the Web. In contrast, "Ad-aware" is a great, free program that helps you get rid of "adware" and "spyware".


Many of you have stated that you prefer to use the free versions of anti-virus software. None was available for a few years. Fortunately for us, several totally-free anti-virus software utilities are now available.  Here are six that are currently available:


Also known as "AVG Free Edition", this free software application is a comprehensive, full-function anti-virus utility. The developer of this software is a company called Grisoft. You can download this anti-virus utility at   This software utility can perform manual, on-demand, user-initiated scans of a Windows computer. It is capable of removing/cleaning any viruses and spyware / adware that it detects. It also runs in the background at all times as a memory-resident program and detects viruses and adware / spyware whenever your computer is powered up. This software is totally free for "single home users". For your information, "single" refers to the fact that Grisoft expects you to pay them, if you use more than one copy of this software product. This software utility is not available for use by organizations.


"Avast! 4 Home Edition", also known as "Avast! 4 Home", is a free software application that is a full-function anti-virus utility.  It is a product of Alwil Software.  It can be downloaded from  It can perform manual, on-demand, user-initiated scans of a Windows computer.
It can remove any viruses and spyware / adware that it detects. It runs in the background at all times as a memory resident program and detects viruses and adware / spyware whenever your computer is powered up. This software utility is not available for use by organizations.


"Panda ActiveScan" is a free Web-based anti-virus application.  Go to  to run this application. This Web-based anti-virus application can scan for, detect, and remove viruses from your computer.  It appears to be available for free for both home users and organizations. The disadvantage of the free version of Panda is that it is not capable of constantly running in the background to protect your computer from viruses and adware / spyware. Only their paid, non-Web version is capable of performing this constant, memory-resident scanning for you.
To keep yourself as safe as possible from computer viruses, you need to have an anti-virus software utility that does constant background scanning for viruses, not just when you are running the manual, on-demand, user-initiated virus scanning feature of your anti-virus software.  This disadvantage of the free version of Panda can also be used to your advantage. Since they do not run in the background (in RAM as a "process"), you can utilize the free version of Panda ActiveScan in combination with other (non-Web) anti-virus software applications such as AVG Free Edition or Avast! 4 Home Edition without conflict.


"Housecall" is a free, Web-based virus scanner from Trend Micro. It  is available at  This Web-based anti-virus application can scan for, detect, and remove viruses from your computer.  It appears to be available for free for both home users and organizations.
The disadvantage of Housecall is the same as for Panda ActiveScan:  It does not work in the background to constantly scan for viruses and spyware / adware. It only does manual, on-demand, user-initiated scanning for viruses and spyware / adware.  Like Panda ActiveScan , this disadvantage can also be used to your advantage. Since it does not run in the background, you can utilize the free version of Housecall in combination with other (non-Web) anti-virus software applications such as AVG Free Edition or Avast! 4 Home Edition without conflict.


Here two additional anti-virus programs:
Name of software: Antidote for Viruses - SuperLite  Name of software developer:  Vintage Solutions, Inc. (Japan)  It is free for use for apparently anyone, including organizations. According to their Website:
    "We provide this program as "freeware". Anyone is welcome to use it without any registrations.
   This is not a full-function anti-virus utility:
       It can only do manual scans for viruses and spyware / adware.  It cannot delete any viruses and spyware / adware that it finds.  It cannot run in the background to check for viruses  and spyware / adware.  The Website for download of this software utility is located at

Name of software: Antivir Personal Edition  Name of software developer: H+BEDV (Germany)  It is free for  "..private and individual use..".  It is apparently unavailable for use by organizations under the terms of it's software license.  The Web site for download of this software utility is located at

      This appears to be a full-function anti-virus utility.  Free virus definition updates have started appearing at the developer's Web page.


All of the six above-mentioned free anti-virus utilities are available for private home use by individuals who only use a single copy. If you have more than one computer at your place of residence, you might wish to run AVG 6.0 ANTI-VIRUS FREE EDITION on one computer and AVAST! 4 HOME EDITION on the other computer.  If you have a third computer at  your home, you might wish to run "ANTIVIR PERSONAL EDITION" on it.  By running all three applications on your home network, you would minimize your chances of being victimized by software viruses and spyware / adware, since the three free anti-virus utilities do not detect the same viruses.


Of the six, above-mentioned antivirus utilities, only the following appear to be available for use by organizations:
Panda Activescan
Antidote for Viruses - SuperLite

None of these three utilities are capable of doing background, memory-resident scanning for viruses and spyware / adware.  If you manage the computers for an organization and you have no budget for purchasing antivirus software, I recommend that you run the three above-mentioned antivirus utilities and that you run them regularly: weekly, daily, or hourly, depending on the frequency of virus and spyware / adware infection that you are experiencing. Not having budget for antivirus software seems to be a "penny wise, pound foolish" situation but many administrators of computer systems in organizations apparently find themselves in this predicament.  Also, since Antidote for Viruses - SuperLite is unable to remove / delete any viruses and spyware / adware that it detects, I recommend Panda Activescan and Housecall rather than Antidote.  The only disadvantage to Panda Activescan and Housecall is that they are Web-based applications that will only run on computers that have a solid Internet connection.  You might have to make configuration changes to your software and/or hardware firewall in order to get these applications to run.

If you have to use free anti-virus software on the computers for your organization and you do not have a good Internet connection, your only option is to run Antidote for Viruses - SuperLite. Then, if this software utility detects a virus, your only option is to format the hard drive and reload Windows and all applications from scratch.  Please contact me if you have any additional ideas about free antivirus and anti-spyware / adware software solutions.


Do not install more than one antivirus utility that has background scanning into any single computer.  If you install "AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus Free Edition" into a computer, make sure that "Avast! 4 Home Edition" is not already installed.  If "Avast! 4 Home Edition" is already installed into a computer and you wish to install "AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus Free Edition", use "Add / Remove Programs" in the Windows "Control Panel" to remove "Avast! 4 Home Edition" before installing "AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus Free Edition".  The same goes for Symantec Norton Antivirus and McAfee Viruscan. If either of these applications are already installed into a computer, remove / uninstall them before installing "AVG 6.0 Anti-Virus Free Edition".  However, if you already have an antivirus program that has background scanning installed into a computer, it is still safe to run a Web-based antivirus utility such as "Panda ActiveScan" or "Housecall".


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 fishing instead !!


A couple new programs were added into the Library this month.  The first one is Memory Test. It tests the Random Access
Memory (RAM) on your computer for errors. If you aren experiencing problems while running Windows, you can use
this diagnostic program to determine whether the problems are caused by failing hardware, such as RAM or the memory system
of your motherboard. If it reports any errors, then one or more memory components is failing. There is a readme file
that you need to read and maybe print before you use this program. The program in the library is on a bootable floppy
disk. Use Explorer to view the disk and read the readme file first. This is not some program you will need everyday but if
your computer is acting up, this program might find the problem. Checking memory takes more then the quick check that
is performed at the start of booting up your computer. The next small program is Hard Disk Indicator. This is a small
and simple tool, yet very useful for those who need it. It runs in the system tray and visually indicates hard disk
activity on any selected drive(s). If you have your computer under your desk somewhere and the hard drive indicator light
is hard to see, you might be interested in this little program. I believe it only works with Windows XP or Windows
2000. I tried to use it with Windows 98 and it did not work.  I do not have a computer with Windows XP so I was not able to test
it. The third program is a copy of Netzero 7.1. Last month Frank Chao told you how to use it and pointed you to
the Library to get a copy. So I went and got the program for anyone who is interested. I have been using the free version
for a long time. I am using version 4 of the program and it works fine. If your computer is older and does not have the
recommended minimum hardware, use a older version of the software. Works for me. Question for AOL users. Is it
possible to retrieve a email message that you deleted from their server before reading it? If so, let me know how.

Hardware Sig on Tuesday afternoon has open time to help you with your computer hardware problems. I am going to try to
bring you a TIP OF THE MONTH. If you have a tip or question, send me a email. Greg Neumann will help come up with some
tips. I would like the PhotoShop Sig to put together some hints and how to do articles for the Bug Report. OK so here
is this month's help tip. I run into this question on a regular basis at the Hardware Sig. How do you get rid of all
the icons in the tray on the right hand side? These icons represent programs that are running in the background which
are loaded at startup. Most programs that you load want to put themselves in the start folder because they think you
want to use them each time you boot your computer. So here is how to put an end to them loading at startup. Go to Start, Run,
and type MSCONFIG on the command line. Then click on OK. The screen will open with the System Configuration Utility screen.
See the screen capture graphic with the tabs across the top. Now click on the STARTUP tab on the right hand side. Look at the
Startup graphic. All the items with a check mark in the box on the left side will be loaded when booting up. Remove the
check marks from all the items you do not want to load. You only need System Tray. Now click on APPLY at the bottom of the
screen box and then OK. If you change your mind about any item you can come back to this screen and put the check mark back.
Before doing this go to My Computer icon on the desktop and right click it. Click on PROPERTIES at the bottom of the drop down box. The
System Properties screen will come up. Now click on the PERFORMANCE tab. Look at System Resources. The higher the percent the better.
Should be in the high 90's. Mark down the number so you can compare it after you clean up your Startup folder. One more thing to check
first. Press Ctrl, Alt and Delete keys at the same time. A box will come up and show you what programs are running. You only need
Explorer and Systray. Check it again after going to Msconfig and cleaning out your unnecessary startup items. Use a program that is in
our Library called EnditALL to temporally cancel programs that are running when you are going to burn a CD or load a new program. I know
most members know all about this but I am writing it for the ones that do not.



Bagle, Melissa, MSBlast, Beagle, IloveYou, MyDoom, Nachi, and worst of all some Windows source code is openly available on the internet. All of these and many thousands of security threats over the last few years has finally prompted Microsoft to become more proactive. There have monthly updates with the newest patches for security problems. However, February 10, Microsoft issued a critical alert for the most recently found serious security hole, fortunately not yet taken advantage of yet. Finally, for those customers with dial-up slow connections or no internet at all, Microsoft is offering a free Windows Security Update CD. Order your CD in less than a minute at

The Windows Security Update CD will be shipped to you free of charge. This CD includes Microsoft critical updates released through October 2003. The problem of course is that some of the newest and more serious security patches came after October. This CD is only good for Windows 98 and upwards.

The Windows Security CD will also have trial anti-virus and firewall software. Again this whole issue is about keeping up to date with patches, firewall, and virus definitions. No matter the source, if you surf the net or just connect for mail, you need to have protection

Preston Anderson gave me the heads up on this ruling form February 20th. “It Looks like 321 studios lost it’s case. Interesting that the case was not lost on the point that it is within a user’s rights to make a backup copy of a DVD. It was lost due to the circumvention of the DVD encryption and thus violates the DMCA. Lovely how the DMCA whittles away at fair use rights we have enjoyed since the 1984 Betamax case”.

The federal court ruled that 321 Studios (makers of the DVD-X-Copy software) must stop making software that allows users to copy DVDs, ”This court enjoins plaintiff 321 Studios from manufacturing, distributing, or otherwise trafficking” with software that bypasses the encryption, Judge Susan Illston, U.S. District Court, San Francisco.

The lawsuits are based upon the 1998’s DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), which was written to protect copyright owners from illegal copying. In the MPAA case, preventing illegal copying of movies and television. As mentioned in last month’s article on CES, 321 Studios philosophy is “Continuing with the concept that having spent money to buy an expensive media, the consumer should have to right to preserve their media with an archive process.”

Movie studios and their trade group MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) claimed the industry loses as much as $3 billion a year from the copying of analog videotapes; and claimed even more would be lost due to 321 Studio’s type of software. However, the MPAA’s main argument was that 321’s software bypasses the special encryption codes that keep DVDs from being copied. MPAA contends that bypassing the encryption violates the DMCA.

This ruling purely approached the decision, as Preston stated, as a violation of encryption to prevent copying. The problem that I see with this is that the older very well established “Fair Use” laws and traditions are totally set aside by this DMCA interpretation. The enactment of the 1978 copyright laws gives the copyright owner 75 years exclusive rights to: reproduce; distribute; prepare derivative works; publicly perform; and display. These rights, however, are made the subject of numerous limitations, one of the most important being “fair use,” which is not considered an infringement (see ). A copy purchaser has the right to preserve their copy of the work. Since most makers of CDs or DVDs do not warranty discs to be free from scratches after purchase, the purchaser can either make a copy for archival use or continue to buy a copy every time a disc becomes unusable.

For another take on DVDs and Fair Use, read “DVD Owners: Fight the Power!” By Jim Lynch at,3973,1537630,00.asp

The United Kingdom courts have another case against 321 Studio. August 2003, the MPAA via MPA (international markets) filed the case. But in the UK, 321 Studio lacks the legal defense of ‘Fair Use’. The MPA’s lawsuit relied on the UK’s Copyright, Designs and Patents Act of 1988 which, among other things, makes it illegal to make copies of CDs, DVDs or videos – even for personal use.

The confusion factor is that the MPAA is after 321 Studios because of their ability to decrypt the encryption software referred to as CSS (the anti-copying protection in DVDs). The encroachment of CSS (Content Scrambling System) technology has been prosecuted by the DVD CCA (DVD Copy Control Association). Software code known as DeCSS, widely available on the internet, can be used to break the anti-copying protection in DVDs known as CSS.

DeCSS was co-authored by Norwegian Jon Johansen at the age of 15, who claimed to have written the software to allow him to play his own DVDs on his Linux-based PC. The Linux operating system is incompatible with CSS. DVD CCA took action in 1999 against people and businesses that had published the DeCSS code on the internet, claiming that they had illegally misappropriated a trade secret. No decision has been handed down on those cases. DVD CCA announced January 2004, that it was dropping the lawsuits over DeCSS. On dropping the case the DVD CCA explained that it would be taking other measures to protect its anti-copying software. The other measures - file lawsuits against companies like 321 Studio. The message given is: if you are geek enough to use any of the various tools available on the internet, you can rip and burn high quality DVD copies; the lawsuits will not bother you. However, if you are an average USA consumer, paying a fair amount of money, and (struggling sometimes) technically installing sometimes conflicting software; now you are a criminal if you have used that software to make a backup to your purchased discs.

Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil rights group involved in this action said: “DeCSS has been available on hundreds if not thousands of websites for four years now”. She added, “We’re pleased that the DVD CCA has finally stopped attempting to deny the obvious: DeCSS is not a secret.”

If you feel strongly about the above DVD copying wrangling, contact your Federal legislators.



Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. - Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how is manifests itself:

I decide to wash my car. As I start toward to the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car.

I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trash can under the table, and notice that the trash can is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first, but then I think that since I’m going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the can of Coke that I had been drinking. I’m going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the Coke aside so that I don’t accidentally knock it over.

I see that the Coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the Coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye -- they need to be watered.

I set the Coke down on the counter and I discover my reading glasses that I’ve been searching for all morning.

I decide I’d better put them back on my desk, but first I’m going to water the flowers.

I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water, and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table.

I realize that tonight, when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it’s on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I’ll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day; the car isn’t washed, the bills aren’t paid, there is a warm can of Coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren’t watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can’t find the ‘emote, I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t remember what I did with the car keys.

Then, when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I’m really baffled because I know I was busy all day long and I’m really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I’ll try to get some help for it, but first I’ll check my e-mail.

Do me a favor, will you? Forward this message to close friends you know, because I don’t remember to whom it has been sent.

Don’t laugh -- if this isn’t you yet, your day is coming! And if I have sent this to you before, well, now you know why you’re getting it again.