The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 17 Number 5
May 1999


Microsoft Office 2000 and Works

Aqcess Technologies

Software Library News


What Should I Buy?!

Internet Talk

Famous Members

Bits and Bytes of Info

Be OS Demo Tour

There's a New OS to Replace Windows

Miscellaneous Useless Facts!

Eliminate the Office Assistant for Good! Really!

Recommended Web Sites


Microsoft Office 2000 and Works

Reprinted from User Friendly,

The Journal of the Los Angeles Computer Society, 5/99

On June 10th, Microsoft expects to release its newest version of Office. On Tuesday, May 11th, Microsoft representative Scott Burmester will let us have an "early look" at what to expect. (Editor's note: This is a meeting of the Los Angeles computer Society, not GSBUG). Scott did a great job in January showing us some of Microsoft's "fun stuff" and we really enjoyed and appreciated his clear style and his ability to communicate.

The new Office 2000 suite has many features that make it easier and faster to use. Some new self-repair capabilities have been designed into Office 2000 so it can recover from the loss of some essential files.

The Office 2000 Clipboard has been improved so you can accumulate up to 12 pieces of text or images from various sources and paste them into any Office application, all at once or individually.

E-mail has been integrated into each of the Office 2000 applications, making it easier to send Office 2000 documents electronically.

The new features of Office 2000 are too many to discuss here, but a lot of "webifying" has been done to make it easy and quick to publish your work on the Internet or a corporate intranet. Come along to the meeting and get the whole story (see previous editor`s note).

Works can be thought of as the "little brother" of Office. Many of us had Works, in one form or another, already on our computers when we bought them. Some of you have suggested that you want to know more about it and what it can do. Scott Burmester will include Works in his presentation.

Works 4.5 was the most commonly seen version until recently when the new Microsoft Works Suite 99 appeared. These notes refer mostly to Works 4.5, since that or an earlier version are probably most relevant to our members.

Works 4.5 contains a word processor, a database and a spreadsheet plus other tools such as a phone dialer, mortgage estimator, envelope addresser and label producer. Task wizards guide you through many common tasks including mail merge, calendar and letter preparation. The program includes several form letters and other model documents.

Works isn't Office but it does a lot of the things many of us need to get jobs done and is a good way to become familiar with many basic "office and business" tasks. Then you may want to "step-up" to Microsoft Office 2000 when you have to do some "heavy-lifting".


Aqcess Technologies

By John Sellers, GSBUG



"Aqcess Technologies, at our June meeting, will be presenting their light-weight, compact computing product which provides users with the advantage of mobility without sacrificing processing power, screen size or ease of use. Their flagship product called the Qbe (pronounced "Cube") is a fully-integrated pen-based computing solution using Intel CPU's, RAM expandable to 256 MB, an array of hard drives and screen sizes from 10.4 to 13.3 inches XVGA active matrix displays.

Added features include digital video camera, touch panel for handwriting recognition, hot-swappable device bays for storage media modules, a noise-canceling microphone for speech recognition, input/output ports for VGA, USB, Ethernet, wireless infrared and wireless HISS for throughput rates up to 10 MB. For more information regarding Aqcess Technologies or Qbe, you can check out their website at or call Kain Johnson one of the Principal's of the company at 888-240-2823."


Software Library News

By Bob Hudak




I'm falling down on the job. The only new program I looked at this month is called Mo'Slo. When speed kills your old software, bring it back to life with Mo'Slo. If your new fast computer makes some of your applications run too fast, Mo'Slo might help. Some games are speed-sensitive and may not work unless you slow down your PC. You use Mo'Slo to load and run your program; when you exit the program, you exit Mo'Slo and normal system speed is restored. Virtual speed is adjustable from 99.9% down to 0.1% of normal. Supports Intel compatible CPUs through 450MHz on DOS compatible platforms through Win 98. I have the evaluation version available for you to try. It lacks some of the convenience features of the deluxe version, but the slowdown engine is similar. It works!

I have an old game called SubChase that the grandchildren loved to play. On my new computer it is impossible to play. It was developed in the days when a XT was king of the hill. Well, I used Mo'Slo and it worked just like in the old days. Sunk all those bad subs. It is a small program so I put it on Disk # 92 along with the latest version of PrintKey. This is a tray-based Print Screen program for Win 95-98 that captures your screen to printer or disk. These programs are really nice to have. I did not make a new collection of programs on a CD this month. I do have copies of the first two CDs that I made.

Let me know what programs you would like included in the next CD I put together. Talk to me, send e-mail or call. I can add a special request to one of the CDs for you. Just let me know. If you have discovered an interesting program, pass a copy to me for the library. How about a little writeup of it for our newsletter? Or, if it is small, I'll slip it into this Library column. Join in the fun of passing along information.

I'm still trying to get everyone on line with at least an e-mail account. If you are using Win 95/98, get one of the club CDs with NetZero on it and install it. It is FREE to use. I have a help program on the CD that will help you set it up.

If you are using Win 3.1, see me for a copy of Juno. Juno gives you a FREE e-mail account. You do need a modem to use these programs. Modems are sooooo cheap today that there is no reason not to be enjoying the internet. There's so much information to be had. You could log on to my web page and see my dog. Or listen to music or radio stations in far away cities. Our VP, Herman Krouse, can guide you to many interesting sites at his internet SIG.



By John Sullivan, GSBUG, Inc.

I maintain a web site for a non-profit organization in Long Beach, and lately they've been wanting to put their newsletter up on the site, complete with photographs that appear in the printed newsletter. The computer that I'm typing has USB ports, but I never bothered with them; I never had a need to. Until now. I don't own a scanner, and my printer is a trusty old dot matrix that prints very nicely in one shade of black, on tractor paper.

Now I have a reason to buy a scanner. BUT that doesn't mean that I have to buy a USB type! Although there are many brands of scanners on the market, they all connect to the computer either through the parallel port (printer port), the USB port, or through a SCSI port (which most computer don't have). My choices came down to either parallel port type, or USB. The parallels are cheaper, but the USBs are faster. Also, although the parallel port types are designed to co-exist with any printer that might also be using that port, they sometimes do not, and you have to figure out why.

The USB types are more expensive, but they're reported to be totally "plug and play"; you can plug them into the computer without powering down, the computer will "instantly" recognize them, and you continue right on working. So I decided to spend the extra money for a USB type, just to see what would happen.

After searching the magazines, I was able to narrow my choices down to either a UMAX brand, or a Visioneer One Touch. The UMAX is a heavier unit, and feels better constructed, but the Visioneer has buttons on the case itself that run most of the functions. With only "One Touch" of these buttons, you can Scan, or E-mail (scan, then send the image via e-mail) or Copy (scan, then print the image on your printer). Other scanners don't have these function buttons; when you install the software that came with the scanner, you run the scanning program and then make all the choices there. You can do the same thing with the Visioneer, but the external buttons make it more interesting.

In order to use USB, you really need to be running Windows 98. Windows 95 came in many different versions, and some of the later versions could use USB depending on how well the software was written that came with the USB unit. Still, even with Windows 98, I had to install the scanner software before the computer would recognize the scanner, you can't just plug it in and go. The instruction pamphlet that comes with the scanner tells you not to plug it into the computer until you run the software. During the installation process, the software will tell you when to plug in the scanner! (It's a good thing I read the directions, I usually don't...especially when something is supposed to be "plug and play").

Here's how it went:

Thursday night-

bought the scanner, brought it home and unpacked it, read the instructions, went to bed.

Friday night-

5:33 p.m. Windows 98 already up and running. Inserted scanner software (CD) in CD drive.

5:35 Read "Readme" file

5:38 Started Install process

5:40 Cancelled "Auto Registration" process

5:40 Software said "Connect the scanner now.."- crawled under desk to do same.

5:45 Finished connecting power and USB cables

5:46 message: "Remove disks and click `Finish' to restart" - did that.

5:46 1/2 message: "error: Can't read CD in E:!" - no kidding? *#@&! You told me to remove it, remember?

5:47 "Click ESC to cancel" - did that.

5:50 Scanning my first image! It's perfect!

So, would I recommend USB to you? Definitely yes. Would I recommend Visioneer? Definitely. I've used it a number of times, and it works very well. Is USB worth the extra money? That depends on how much you use it. It's faster than parallel port types, but if you only scan stuff occasionally (or if you're running Windows 95), you may not mind being a bit slower to save some money. And although many parallel port scanners have problems existing with your printer, most do not. The ones that do can probably be corrected by contacting the manufacturer, who should be able to provide you with software drivers to fix the problem.


What Should I Buy?!

By John Sullivan, GSBUG, Inc.

Two friends of mine, whom we'll call "Jim and Lisa", were each considering buying new computers, and I thought some of you might benefit from what they talked about, so they gave me their permission to reprint it here.

(from February, 1999)

LISA: Before I left on vacation, you e-mailed me with info on computer brands. I still have not made my purchase. I was considering Compaq, but will take your advice and not. At this point, I'm looking at Gateway and Dell. 350Mhz price range. I just need to decide how big a hard drive, RAM etc. The technology changes so fast.

JIM: You seem to really want to buy that Gateway that you saw with the little speakers. Gateway makes good stuff, just not the highest rated. If you like it, buy it. Just remember you can buy speakers anywhere, and you should look at the machine as a whole. How does the rest of the computer suit your needs? Gateway has a local store and you don't have to ship it back if it breaks down, like you would with Dell or Micron. On the other hand, Dell and Micron have excellent support, and would probably send someone to your home or work location, if you wanted them to. I'd like to see you buy something which is, first of all, dependable, and that would be Dell, Micron, NEC or HP, all of which seem to get good reports.

LISA: Jeff Levy mentioned on his show today (Radio station KFI 640 am, Sundays 9-Noon) that the Gateway modem is the cheapest available. So I wonder if they're skimping on parts elsewhere, too. I'm going to look at Dell. I was planning to wait for the 500Mhz Pentiums to come out as Jeff Levy was expecting the 350 and 400Mhz units to drop dramatically in price after Feb 28th. Frankly, I'm tempted to just go with the "e-Machine" he talks about so much. He mentioned saving money by buying the e-Machine and replacing the "winmodem" with a better one for about $70 more. Maybe when the prices drop, the e-Machines will have one with a Pentium II processor. I don't know that I really need a $1600 system even if I do a little photo editing.

JIM: My friend Nathan has advised me to wait for the new AMD K6-III. He says Intel came out with the Pentium III in response to AMD's K6 back when they added "3D Now", whatever that is. Now AMD is going to leapfrog Intel again with the K6-III. I just got a copy of the latest PC World magazine with an article about that. The article reviewed the Pentium II (noting that, if you look at the CPU casing, it actually says "Pentium !!!, not Pentium III" )...they went on to say in a sidebar that they had not received an AMD K6 III machine in time to review it, but they will have an article on it next issue (which should be available before press time at ...They also mentioned that AMD will be releasing a K7 model this summer, which is probably worth waiting for.

LISA: I absolutely must make a decision on a new computer when I get back from vacation. I figured I would wait until the Pentium III came out, and for the price of the Pentium II to drop, then buy the Pentium II. Problem is, it is hard to resist having the latest and the greatest! So, tell me. Why on earth do I need a Pentium III?!!

JIM: Truth is you don't need a PIII....and neither do I...but the money is burning a hole in my pocket. (It's nice to know I'm not the only one.) The Pentium III has new functions (built-in code) that will make it run video and 3D animations faster, but the software that will take advantage of these new functions isn't on the market yet. It basically won't run any of your current software any faster than a comparable speed Pentium II would. Meanwhile, AMD is coming out with a K7 processor which is supposed to have a bus speed of 200 Mhz (the connection between the CPU chip and the memory). That is due out in June. On the one hand, I'd like to go with Intel and the Pentium III, on the other I'd like to wait for the K7. Meanwhile I'm in the same boat as you: can't justify buying either!

LISA: I'm back! I was actually back on the 28th of March, but this is the first chance I've had to check e-mail. This whole computer purchase thing is getting really comical. I started out wanting a laptop. That was at least a year and a half ago! My latest scenario is...My cousin works at Best Buy, but I don't like any of their prepackaged systems. No one knows exactly what brand modem, CD-ROM, etc. is inside. So, I'm thinking I'll buy the basic system from Dell (Pentium III?) and buy the monitor, CD-ROM or DVD, modem, Super Disk 120 and printer from Best Buy with her discount. Then I'll know what is inside.

So far the money is still in my pocket and I'm using my daughter's laptop!

JIM: Regarding what CD-ROM you get, you probably don't have to worry too much because they've been on the market so long they're all pretty much the same, and you probably won't get a much better unit by buying a NEC than you will with whatever comes in the box.

The monitor is VERY important, and you might want to think about buying the monitor separately if you order from mail-order. Any monitor that has a "tron" tube (Diamondtron, Trinitron, etc.) will have one or two thin gray lines across the screen. They are shadows cast by the support wires that hold up an internal aperture grid. Sony is most infamous for this. The Sony (Trinitron) monitors are beautiful, but once you notice the two gray lines, you can't put them out of your mind. Mitsubishi also has this problem with their Diamondtron monitors. Any monitor that you look at that has a "tron" tube, take a look at it while it's running a white screen, and you'll see them. Maybe they won't bother you, but once I knew they were there, I couldn't forget them.

I bought a 19" Viewsonic, and it's problems. (not a tron tube). Optiquest is their economy line.

Shamrock monitors are supposed to be good, plus there's lots of other ones out there that are good monitors. Mostly you have to judge them by eye, and if you like it, buy it.

The Super Disk 120 is made by Imation....I'm not sure if there is another manufacturer of these or not...maybe Sony, but both should work well for you. Pretty much if a system you buy has a Super Disk 120, you shouldn't have to worry about the quality...I haven't heard of any cheap Super Disk clones, yet..

Same with DVD, I don't think you need to worry about cheapos yet, but I could be wrong about that one. Make sure it's DIVX compatible if you buy one. I think 6X is the fastest DVD out right now...

Printer is a definitely don't-buy-included, you will be much happier spending a bit more for a good one rather than settling for what's included in the package deal.

Myself, I'm looking at the Micron 500 Max, but want to get it without the monitor, and with a few other changes....but the price is HOT ($1900) it's Micron!

I've been holding off until I read this month's PC World magazine because they were going to have updated information re: P III vs. AMD K6-III, and they do....Synopsis is that the AMD's run business programs faster than P III, meaning a 400 K6-III runs like a 450 P III. But for multimedia/graphics/animation, the K6-III is about 44% slower than a comparable speed Intel P III.

The article is probably online at their website ( if you want to read it, but the last paragraph tells all:


If you want a blindingly fast machine to run your business applications, you can't do better than a K6-III 450 Mhz system. For less than the cost of a Pentium III 450 PC, you'll get the performance of a Pentium III-500. Of course, if all you're running are business applications, you probably don't really need that much power to begin with, and a Celeron-400 or 433 will do just fine." (and be a lot less expensive)

"And if you're addicted to computer gaming, or otherwise need fast and wonderful 3D graphics, you may want to shell out the big bucks for a Pentium III system."

It sounds to me like there's no real market for the K6...if someone wants high speed graphics, buy a PIII...Business-only people will probably be delighted with the new Celerons, and save a bunch of money over the PIII, too!

LISA: Unless you have a compelling reason, I've decided against getting a DVD-ROM. Most of the software won't be available for a year. I expect the DVD-ROMs to come down in price and, probably, be improved by then. Plus I don't buy much software. There is so much to investigate on the internet. If I want to watch a movie on DVD, I would rather buy a DVD player for my TV system. The CD-RW is interesting. Dell offers it for $80 more. Micron only has a rewriteable CD and is too rich for my blood.

Remember when I was waiting for the PIII to come out so I could buy the PII at a discount?!! I went to and read up on the PIII. It sold me! The PIII is supposed to be markedly faster on the internet. That is a priority for me. I hate waiting for the graphics to come up every time I change the page at a web site.

JIM: I don't know why Intel is claiming that! That's only true if the CPU you're using is the cause of your Internet slowness. Most often the cause of slow surfing is busy Internet sites, poor phone lines, ISP incompatibilities, etc etc, and not the speed of the computer. So buying a fast computer may or may not increase your Internet speed, depending on what the cause of the slowdown was originally. If a person is using a Pentium computer at about 166 or 200Mhz (or more), going to a faster machine probably will not increase Internet speeds. Adding more memory to a machine that only has 16 MB will help, but a machine that already has 32 MB is good enough.

LISA: Anyway, these systems are way more than I had intended to spend, although they do include the printer ($300). I had planned to spend $1,600 with a tops of $2,000, w/o the printer.

With these systems I will feel like I am driving a BMW, but I wonder if I will have "Buyer's Remorse" every time I open my checkbook. I don't want to buy features I will never use. I want to use MS Office, the Internet, Quicken, Print Master, and down the road, buy a scanner and maybe do some photo editing. I have a camcorder and I've done video editing on a Sony VCR with editing capabilities, which turned out pretty well, but it took a lot of time. I'm not sure if I would pursue this on the computer unless it was a lot easier!

JIM: I know what you mean! Also, about some of the other things you brought up:

-re: DVD, I've come to the same conclusion as you... If I want to watch a DVD movie, I'll buy a DVD player that I can plug into the TV, rather than sit in front of this computer to watch it! (and I will probably be buying one soon)

-re: 7200 rpm hard drives, they're better for playing back video on the computer, and that's why they were make playback a little faster. They're designed for someone who is going to do a lot of playing back video from the hard drive, but for someone who is not planning to do that, or not much of it, they are an excess expense, and are not necessary.

-re: CD-RW. You know there's CD-R and CD-RW, and they're not the same, right? CD-R's can't be erased, so once they're full, that's it. But the blank disks are a lot cheaper than CD RW, and so if you mess one up, you just throw it out and start over.

Also, CD-R can be read by regular CD-ROMs, but CD RW cannot, so that's something to keep in mind if you want to make disks that you can send to your friends. Also, there are different standards among CD RW, and I'm not sure if they're universal or not, yet.

-re: Diamond Viper vs. nVidia : both are excellent cards, and which is better depends on who you listen to. Also depends a little on what games you're planning to play, some are written to play better on one card rather than the other. Outside of playing games, you probably won't notice any difference in the two. Again, it depends on who you listen to.

re: Dell vs. Micron...this month's PC World had an article where they polled 10,000 users about their satisfaction with computer makers' service, etc. Dell got excellent grades; Micron got fair to poor grades as far as telephone tech support. Dell got the best grades on everything, so it sounds like they are the better way to go.

re: .26 dpi vs. .25dpi...smaller is better, but .01 dpi difference you probably won't notice. You might actually decide you like a worse-dpi monitor better than another because of other factors that contribute to overall picture. Dpi's above .28 should be avoided, except perhaps on larger monitors (21" and up). DPI is the spacing between the colored dots that make up the image, so naturally, on a bigger monitor, the dots are going to be further apart. Therefore it requires more precise technology (more expensive) for a 21" monitor to have a low dpi, like the 15" and 17" do.

LISA: I'm going to look at monitors today and try and get this thing wrapped up. We have two Dell monitors at work. One is a Trinitron at .25 dpi and the other is a generic Dell at .28 dpi. Despite the lines on the Trinitron, which I have to really strain to see, the Trinitron has better color and definition. I hope to take a look at a Viewsonic which is .27 dpi.

I would like to get the CD-RW. Cost is the consideration, but I like the function. I like the Micron system I'm looking at, but they throw in all those premiums like their Micron U. I don't know if I'll use it much. Dell includes a 3 year warranty. Micron charges $99 for year 2 & 3, but throws in a year of Earthlink Internet service.

At the Internet SIG, they said picture quality is also a function of the graphics card. Everyone I talk to recommends the Diamond.

A guy at NexCom that I talked to recommended going with a Celeron processor. He said all the guys at their shop have Celerons and find a 400 Mhz Celeron equally as fast, if not faster, than the 400Mhz PII. Saving $200 is enticing. I can get the other things I want without the terrible "Buyer's Remorse"!

Also, I talked to my cousin's friend that works in the Best Buy Audio Dept. He said something the article in Computer Currents didn't mention. Best Buy was selling the CD-R disks for about $1 apiece and got many returns as they did not work for audio recording. They now offer special CDs for recording music for $3. That's no big deal. The other issue is that these "music" CDs may not work on older CD music players. That's a big deal! From the article and other things I had heard, I had thought the compatibility problem was mostly with the rewriteable CDs. I'll have to look into this further. Also, the guy at NexCom highly recommended getting the regular CD-ROM drive, too, as it is so much easier to put the record-from CD in the CD-ROM and record to the CD-RW, rather than having to save it to the hard drive first and delete later. It would have been nice to have the CD-RW for backup and also be able to have the "whistle and bells" feature to record our own music mixes. My daughter has quite a large music collection and if the CD-RW system worked well, I think she would have really enjoyed that feature. We'll see.


(next day)

LISA: All I have to say is.....IT'S ORDERED!!!!! ETA - April 29, 1999!

(a few days later)

LISA: By the way, the Micron system arrived today and I'm using it right now! It's great! It will be even better when I get my data transferred from the old system. Thanks so much for helping me sort out all the options so I could make a decision! What about you? Did you ever make up your mind what to buy?

JIM: As a matter of fact, yes. As you know, I've been using a Pentium 200 (no MMX) for a couple of years, and had already added a good Creative Labs sound card, an All In Wonder Pro video card, and a 6 GB hard drive. A lot of new systems being sold don't include components like these, so I decided just to upgrade my computer, rather than buy a new one. I'm typing this note on my new Pentium III 500 Mhz, with 128 MB RAM, a new case and power supply. By using my "old" hard drive, floppy drive, CD drive, video card, sound card, modem, keyboard and mouse. I spent only $1100 for a Pentium III 500, and all my data is already on the new system, because it's the same hard drive, and I didn't have to re-install anything!

Also, I've still got my "old" Pentium 200 as a backup system. Over the years, as I've upgraded it, I saved the old components (hard drive, video card, CD drive, etc.), and only have to pick up a few things at the swap meet to make it complete.

I don't see any speed increase in any of the stuff I do, well, maybe a little in Tomb Raider III, but not enough to justify buying the PIII. I just had the money at the time, so I spent it. At least I should not have to upgrade it for awhile; a year or so, I hope.

Well, looks like we both got what we wanted. See ya around!


Internet Talk

By Frank Chao, GSBUG, Inc






Hello. This is the 10th article about how you tap the vast resources that are on the Internet. I hope that you enjoy these articles as much as I enjoy writing them.

Netscape Communicator 4.6 is Available

Netscape 4.6 is finally available. It has many new and improved features. You can learn all about it at Netscape's Web site. Go to to learn more about it and to download a copy. Download their tiny "smartdownload" file first. It is called sd_ccthree2e46en.exe Place it on your Windows 95 or 98 "desktop". Then use it to download the actual copy of "Netscape Communicator 4.6" to your hard drive. When you do this "two step download", you can re-start where you left off if you lose your modem connection during the download. Both Netscape Communicator 4.6 and Internet Explorer 5 have their pros and cons. They can both be loaded on the same computer and they can be used together in such a way that you have more fun and are more efficient than if you only had one or the other by itself. I will expound on this matter in future months.

Web Development SIG

The Web Development SIG continues to meet on the third Wednesday of each month. In the current month, we had lots of fun.

Just for this meeting, John Sullivan created a masterpiece of artistic Java Script ingenuity. It is located at This Web site is a demonstration of using Java Script to make graphics files appear, change shape, and then disappear when one's mouse cursor is moved over the location of these files. You have to see it. Warning: it loads real slow so you cannot be in a hurry when you attempt to access this Web site.

We made massive enhancements to Keith Decker's Web site at

We placed links to two fabulous archives of music MIDI files at Keith's site. We also placed a link to the "South Bay Camera Club".

We added two music *.RMI files at Joyce Oliver's site at

The Web sites of other SIG members can be found at

Also, at this meeting, I demonstrated Windows 98's capability to run three monitors at the same time. Various club members have been trying to get a "patsy" to try this feature out for about three months. They found one - me! However, I don't exactly recommend this configuration: It took me 30 minutes of re-booting to get Windows 98 to recognize all three video cards. And after running in this configuration for two hours, our computer locked up and Windows 98 quit working. I will probably have to re-load all of Windows 98 in this computer. This is a bit too much work for one SIG meeting !! We have learned our lesson; we will not be attempting to compete with the Hardware SIG in future months.

All GSBUG members are welcome to participate in the Web Development SIG: If you don't have a web page somewhere on the Internet, we would be happy to help you set one up. If you already have one, we would be glad to help you modify it.

The GSBUG Web Site is Alive Well

Contrary to rumors, the club's web site is alive and well at Take a good look at it. Our member Rich Bulow and his sidekick Bob Hudak are taking good care of this site. Please send comments and suggestions to either me or to them directly.

The Los Angeles Free-Net Will Host Another Free Seminar

The Los Angeles Free-Net(LAFN), a non-profit, low-cost Internet Service Provider (ISP), will host a free seminar on Internet access. The public is invited. Here are the details:

Date: Sunday, June 6, 1999

Time: 1:00 pm to 3:30pm

Location: Tarzana Regional Medical Ctr, 18321 Clark Street, Tarzana, CA

Room: Auditorium (Follow the paper signs.)

Directions: Clark Street is one block south of Burbank Blvd. and one block north of Ventura Blvd. The hospital is in the middle of the block between Reseda Blvd. on the west and Etiwanda Ave. on the east. From the Reseda Blvd. off-ramp of the Ventura (101) Freeway, go south (toward Ventura Blvd.), drive past/through Burbank Blvd., then turn left at Clark Street. Proceed 1/2 long block past Gelson's Market (on the right/south side of Clark Street) and then the hospital will be on the left/north side of Clark Street. Park in the multi-story parking structure. There is no charge for parking there. The Women's Pavilion is just east of the parking structure.

The audience members will range from people who have just purchased computers for the first time ("newbies") clear up to rocket scientist types ("geeks", "nerds"). We provide information to accommodate all levels of expertise. You can see my agenda and notes for this session at We will hand out paper copies of this document at the seminar.

NetZero Is Better Than Ever

Netzero, the totally free Internet Service Provider is better than ever. You can learn all about it and download their proprietary dialer software at It is a stellar example of the vitality of the free enterprise economic system in this country. They have upgraded their system massively and these upgrades are automatically downloaded to their users. However, remember, to use both them and another Internet Service Provider (like LAFN) on the same computer, you have to set up for a "multiple Internet Service Provider" configuration. To learn more about this, see

Web Pages for the Web Development SIG

The Web pages that are being maintained by the Web Development SIG are now located at For technical reasons, this re-location makes these pages easier to change. The pages that are located here are: Members Web pages, Favorite Web sites and Internet Talk articles. The attendees of the Web Development SIG would greatly appreciate comments about any of the Web pages that are located at or hyperlinked to their Web site.

Ways to contact me

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

1. Page me by phoning 800-516-3104 and leave a voice message.

2. Send me e-mail at

3. Send me "snail" US Postal Service mail at Frank Chao, PO Box 6930, Torrance, CA 90504-6930.

Or sell your computer and take up skydiving instead !


Famous Members

Our own GSBUG Secretary, Tom Tucknott, recently had his picture published in the Daily Breeze. Tom has volunteered his time preparing web pages for HELP, a community funded organization that provides legal and health care information to the elderly. The group's web page is

Another Board Member, Virginia Pfiffner, also had her picture in the Daily Breeze about a month ago. Virginia was one of eight women inducted into El Camino College's Women's Hall of Fame. Virginia was included in the group picture.

Our librarian, Bob Hudak, saved these articles and you can peruse them at the library table at the general meeting.


Bits and Bytes of Info

By William A. Parradee, GSBUG, Inc.



Many interesting tips can be found while snooping around news groups; some may lead you astray. Here are some examples of the tips found in news groups and information found on the Internet.

Make a Single HTM File From Several

This was in the Internet Explorer 4 (IE4) News Group. One person asked if there was software to join several *.htm files into one. He was advised to use either of the following methods from the DOS command line to do that. The first method includes all HTM files in that folder (directory). The second method joins only the files named on the command line.



I tested both methods to see how well they worked. The second method worked fine. The first method was tried three times. The first time it included two copies of each file. The second time a single copy of each was included. The third time three copies of each file were included. During the first and third trials, it copied each file then repeated the process one or more times before finishing.

Methods for saving single HTM files and including pictures were discussed in a previous GSBUG Newsletter article.

Finding Official State Web Sites

The Web site at is said to have direct links to every official state Web site, to sites for Canadian provinces, Puerto Rico, and other places. First click on the state wanted in the pulldown list, then on the state's flag. Some of these Web sites are quite slow to open.

Free Technical Help

If you have a PC problem you cannot solve, several sites offer free help. Others charge for it. I will include only the ones said to be free.

Ask-A-Tech is said to offer free advice by e-mail.

Experts Exchange is known as a "knowledge-sharing community." 70 message boards help them.

World O' Windows run by Frank Condron has the informal support of other users. They also have information on hardware drivers that are hard to find.

Tom's Hardware Guide (Tom Pabst) has message boards with advice on hardware topics, i.e. the latest CPUs.

There may be other free sites. At sites that charge for help, the cost runs from $20 a question at one site to $2 a minute at another.

New e-mail virus

An e-mail virus New e-mail virus was discovered by Network Associates. It is similar to the Melissa virus but is believed to be more dangerous.

Second Edition of Windows 98

Microsoft planned to send Windows 98 Second Edition to manufacturing in early May. It should be available in June or July. The Second Edition of Windows 98 includes Internet Explorer 5.0 and several other useful additions. It fixes a bug discovered in March that sends your system hardware to Microsoft when you register new software online; it affects only users of Ethernet adapter cards. A bug that caused Windows 98 to crash after running for 49.7 consecutive days was fixed. The updated version will cost $19.95 on CD-ROM for existing users of Windows 95 and Windows 98.

Windows 98 Service Pack 1 will be available free on their Web site. It is mainly bug fixes that are included in Windows 98 Second Edition.

Is Exporting Encryption Legal Now?

An appeals court recently ruled that restrictions on encryption export are illegal. It made Daniel Bernstein happy. The Department of Justice is expected to appeal that ruling. The ruling, if it stands, will permit export of other kinds of software that are now restricted.


Be OS Demo Tour

A representative of the Be Operating System, Victoria Huntzinger, recently contacted our program chairman, John Sellers, by e-mail. Portions of her e-mail are excerpted here:

"We'll be in the Los Angeles area in July, for a meeting with the LA Computer Society. Our meeting is scheduled for July 13th, from 7-9pm. Your User Group is more than welcome to attend. For more information, you can contact myself, or We will be giving a demo of the BeOS, answering questions, and providing items for a raffle."

"I will send you a review copy of the BeOS, a demo video, and a press kit for your User Group to take a look at and share. I have your User Group's information in our database, and when we are planning on being in your area again, I will be sure to contact you."

A related article on the Be Operating System is provided below from a local San Fernando Valley User Group.


There's a New OS to Replace Windows

By Fred Langa

Reprinted from TugNet Newsletter

It's been a long time since any operating system gave me an honest-to-goodness "WOW!" experience. I'd had high hopes for Linux but the Version 5.1 version of Red Hat Linux was more of an "OW!" than a "WOW!" It also had numerous rough spots and incompatibilities. Notes: For details, refer to my articles:

http:/ and


The name of the new operating system is BEOS (that is: BE Operating System). Be, Inc. has been lurking in the background of the computer industry since its founding in 1990 by former Apple executive, Jean-Louis Gassee. With the new Release 4.0, the BEOS is finally hitting its stride. I installed the BEOS on the same Intel-based system that had given Red Hat's Linux implementation so much trouble, and-surprise-the BEOS recognized and worked with all my system peripherals. The BEOS also avoids many of the other problems that Linux presents, and is, all in all, a nicely polished, fully commercial-quality operating system with enormous promise.

A full version of the BEOS Version 4.0 costs $100, but you can test drive a BEOS demo for just $4.00! ($9.95 if you're outside the US.) At that price you can at least afford to take a look You'll find lots more info, including links for the $4.00 demo offer and other goodies. For additional information refer to my Fred Langa's column in Information Week starting Wednesday, 13 January I'll continue to explore and discuss the BEOS this week, but I'd love to hear your opinions too. Grab a demo CD from

http:/ and join in the discussion at


Miscellaneous Useless Facts!

Reprinted from Brevard Users Group Newsletter, 4/99

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink, mead is a honey beer, and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the "honey month" or what we know today as the "honeymoon."

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts. So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them to mind their own pints and quarts and settle down. It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's."

Many years ago in England, pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim or handle of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. "Wet your whistle," is the phrase inspired by this practice.

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes-when you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. That's where the phrase, "good night, sleep tight" came from.

The phrase "rule of thumb" is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn't beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.


Eliminate the Office Assistant for Good! Really!

By Ron Ogg, DVPC

Reprinted from Diablo Blue, 5/99

Saying Goodbye and Good Riddance to the Office Assistant

I absolutely HATE the Office Assistant in Microsoft Office 97. It annoyingly pops up when I start any of the Office programs, and makes me turn it off. Even if I disable all of its options (by clicking on the little beast, selecting Options, and unchecking everything) it perversely persists on popping up at the most inopportune moments.

If the Office Assistant gets on your nerves too, here's how you can disable it semi-permanently so it won't ever pop up to annoy you again.

First, disable all of its options as described above. Then, move all the Actor files (*.act) in the Actors folder (you'll probably find them in

C:\ProgramFiles\MicrosoftOffice\Office\Actors). Don't delete them: move them to a separate folder where you can keep them but prevent them from working. No more Office Assistant! Huzzah! If you ever want to restore the Office Assistant, simply move the files back to the Actors folder.


Recommended Web Sites

By John Sullivan, GSBUG, Inc.

Video Cards

Looking to buy a new video card, but can't make up your mind because of all the different brands and choices? The LA Times ran a good article on the subject, why not check it out? Get on the Internet and go to:

Making Your Own Web Page

Want to have your own web page on the Internet but missed Frank Chao's meeting? Read the following article on the LA Times website, and you'll get an idea where to start. Log on to the Internet and go to:

Editor's note: LA Times articles are only available on the web for a few weeks, unless you have a subscription.