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 6
By Dorothy O'Brien, GSBUG, Inc.
Adept Computer Solutions has done everything right with this product. Just looking at the box is an informative experience. You know what to expect before buying. What you see (on the box) is what you get. Open the box and you find a small booklet, the Quick Start Manual. If you don't like to be tied to a thick book or lengthy tutorials, this is for you.
Put the CD into the drive and install it into a 486 or better computer, as you would for Windows 3.1, 95, or NT. (No other requirements are listed.) It automatically senses what files to install; you decide how much of it you want on your hard drive. There are people who just want to get started right away and don't care to read about it. (As in "When all else fails, read the manual.") Well, I was able to do everything I wanted with minimal peeking at the "help" available on screen. If you misplace the manual, you will survive.
My daughter has lived in Colorado for 12 years. She recently moved again and, since she likes the country, finding where she lives can be an experience. I wanted to locate her home exactly, compared to where she lived previously, and where my cousin's family lives in Fremont County.
Starting with a map of the U. S., I clicked on Colorado, and dragged a box, in the area of Colorado Springs. I put her address in the "Locate" spot and it appeared on screen rapidly, a cute little house on the block where she lives, with all the streets labeled on the local map. Then I made an area map from Denver International Airport to south of Colorado Springs. It printed fine on a Panasonic 24 pin dot matrix printer. Color would be nicer but it isn't needed.
Since she had previously lived in Sedalia, so small it isn't on a map, I wanted to find it exactly. The road was there, so I printed that map. Sedalia is south of Littleton where she had lived before. Since Littleton is in the news, I printed an area map showing the relationship between the two towns.
Now she is closer to my cousin's family in Canon City and where my grandparents lived and had five children. My grandfather is buried there and the cemetery is on the map. The main road is Royal Gorge Blvd. The Gorge is the local version of a Grand Canyon, and why the city is called Canon (Spanish for canyon). Something that doesn't show is the once Territorial Prison, now state prison, and the largest concentration of prison facilities in the country, I'm told.
Airports are easy to locate. Fremont County Airport shows, east of the city. It is a nice landing spot for private and prison planes. I've landed my Cessna there. For anyone with a desire to know longitude/latitude, it appears in the bottom right-end box.
I made the local street map, then an area map, then a routing guide which includes odometer and timetable, from my daughter's to my cousin's home. It calculated and printed in short order.
I like this program very much. It's great for any business person, traveler, or genealogy hunter. I have all the addresses where my great-grandparents lived in Colorado Springs. I can locate each one on this program; it puts a little house icon on each spot, and then prints a history map. As a teacher I can use this for lessons. You can make good use of it too. It's worth the price, even though there wasn't a price on the
demo version's box. Fry's had a copy for $39.95, but it wasn't version 6.
Adept Computer Solutions
10951 Sorrento Valley Rd., Suite 1G San Diego, CA 92121
(619) 597-1774, Fax: (619) 597-1774 or www.streetwizard.com),
Next month’s presentation will feature Lernout & Hausipie, makers of voice recognition products. The company has provided two product descriptions.
L&H Voice Xpress Professional
Designed for business professionals who use Microsoft Office, L&H Voice Xpress Professional gives users the ability to create, edit and format documents, presentations, spreadsheets and e-mail using continuous speech and flexible, natural voice commands. In addition to allowing dictation to and control of Windows-based applications, the product tightly integrates L&H's NLT with Microsoft Office applications, including Microsoft Word 97 or Windows 95, Microsoft Excel 97, the PowerPoint 97 presentation graphics program and the Outlook 98 messaging and collaboration client. With L&H Voice Xpress Professional, users can issue intuitive commands like "insert a four by five table," "average this row," or "start the slide show." L&H Voice Xpress Professional comes with four specialized plug-in vocabularies: "Leisure," "In the News," "Technology" and "Business and Finance." The product ships with a deluxe microphone and includes support for select hand-held digital dictation devices. L&H Voice Xpress Professional is available at retail outlets for an estimated street price of $149.99.
L&H Power Translator Pro 6.4
Desktop language translation software that automatically translates text in documents, e-mail, Web pages and more. L&H Power Translator Pro is a full-featured desktop PC application for creating draft-quality translations of French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish text to or from English. The product is powered by L&H's proprietary machine translation technology. L&H Power Translator Pro has been optimized to take advantage of advances in the Pentium chip, resulting in translation speeds as fast as 17 words per second.
By Bob Hudak
I ran across a program called NoteTab. NoteTab is an award winning text and HTML editor for Windows 95, 98, and NT4. It comes in two flavors: NoteTab Pro and NoteTab Std/Light. The main difference between the two variants is the input control used for displaying and editing documents. The two programs have very different capabilities in the way they treat text.
Unlike MS-Notepad that comes with Windows, NoteTab lets you edit documents of virtually any size. Furthermore, you can open as many documents as your system's memory will allow, each with its own button in the tab bar. NoteTab is not your typical text editor and it is currently unrivaled in the range of useful features it offers. You can, for example, open links in your default browser, calculate mathematical expressions, create simple outline documents, convert text files to web pages, strip tags from HTML documents, send documents as e-mail, capture text copied to the Clipboard, view detailed text statistics, etc.
One of the most original features which NoteTab was the first program to introduce is the Editor Clipbook. This is a flexible tool for handling text clips, which can be anything from a single character to a large "boilerplate" chunk of text. Of course, NoteTab also offers the features you expect to find in a good text editor such as Find/Replace in all open documents or disk files, read and write files in DOS/UNIX/EBCDIC/Mac format, sort/join/split/indent lines, change character case and text alignment, convert between ASCII and ANSI, spell check, thesaurus, automatic indentation, etc. NoteTab is very customizable. You have a selection of more than 90 commands for the toolbar and the main shortcut menu.
NoteTab Pro (Commercial version) works under Windows 95, 98, and Windows NT4, or higher. It can edit files up to 16 MB each. It has a very fast multi-level undo/redo, a Show/Hide nonprinting characters, and a line-count ruler. It supports fixed-pitch OEM fonts, bookmarks, URL and HTML tag highlighting. It has a spell checker and thesaurus; can search/replace text in files on disk; and has options for word wrap at column, tab types, etc. Cost: $19.95 USD (maintenance updates are free)
NoteTab Standard (Commercial version) works under Windows 95, 98, and Windows NT4 or higher. It can edit files up to 2 GB or as large as memory permits. It has a spell checker and thesaurus. NoteTab Light is a freeware version that we have in our software library. It has the same features as NoteTab Std except those listed below: No spell checker or thesaurus. Can read NoteTab outlines but cannot create or modify them. No command for reformatting or justifying lines. Many programmable features are not supported. Can search for text in disk files but can't perform replacements. Cost: free!!!
The full version is available as a demo which times out in 30 days. Most of the info above was from their web site. What sounded good is that the program can edit out all the hash marks in the margin of e-mail messages that have been passed around for awhile. I have been bringing these messages (mostly jokes) into my word processor for cleanup. All the short lines need fixing. This editor takes care of it. Give it a try.
There are a number of new things happening on our web site. All members should set their browsers to start at our site: www.lafn.org/community/gsbug If you do, you will see any late breaking news on the opening screen. Check out some of the new links: members web pages, favorite places, members helping members etc. There are items of software and hardware that are listed that you can obtain for a few dollars donation to the club. These items were donated to the club by members. If you have anything computer related that you no longer need, give it to the club. Bring it to the general meeting or call me for a pick up time.
By Frank Chao GSBUG, Inc
Hello. This is the 11th article about Internet and how it can be of use to you. The ways that you can contact me are located at the end of this article. Please note that my e-mail address has changed.
Web Development SIG
The Web Development SIG continues to meet on the third Wednesday of each month. In the current month, we had even more fun than in previous months: John Sullivan has been experimenting with various modifications to the image of Bob Hudak’s dog which is at http://members.tripod.com/BobHudak/
When you visit this page, you will now notice that the dog’s jaw is busy moving, as if the dog is barking. John also integrated a
barking sound to the movement of this image. The various iterations of this sound-enabled canine image can be seen at John’s Web page. See
Most of these pages load real slowly so make sure that you have plenty of time before you try them. John has also been demonstrating his graphical wizardry at the DIG SIG. If you have any interest in how Web pages are developed, feel free to join this active group of creative people.
Enhancements to the GSBUG Web Site
In the present month, Rich Bulow has continued to enhance the club’s Web site, which is at http://www.lafn.org/community/gsbug
Rich has added a Web page called "Members Helping Members" our Web site. This page is located at memshelp.htm
This page has three features that might benefit you: You can buy computer hardware and software and the money that you pay will be donated to the club. You ask technical questions for other members to answer. You can answer technical questions that are asked by other members. Take a look at this new page. Rich always has lots of good ideas and this is one of them.
The Next Free Seminar
The next free seminar at the Tarzana Regional Medical Center will be held in September. I will provide you with details when they become available in August.
NetZero Is Alive But..
NetZero, the totally free Internet Service Provider is alive and reasonably well. Some of their members have complained about getting a lot of busy signals when they attempt to use NetZero during the "prime time" evening hours. But I get the same complaints from members of AOL, Los Angeles Free-Net, Earthlink, Pacific Bell Internet, etc., etc. In other words, almost every Internet Service Provider is overloaded at times, so don’t let a few squawks keep you from taking advantage of the only Internet access that has ever been totally free.
If you want to give them a try, either go to
to download their software or purchase their software from Bob Hudak, our club librarian.
If you have a personal Web page somewhere on the Internet, you can join the "NetZero Now" program by going to
After filling in an on-line form, you would then place their "NetZero Now" icon on your own Web site and hyperlink this icon to NetZero’s Web site so that people who browse your site can get to NetZero’s site with ease.
Another Great Place to Put a Free Web Site
I found yet another great place for you to put a free Web site. It is called "Fortune City" http://www2.fortunecity.com/downtown/index.cgi As most of you know, I now have my personal home page at six places and I have not paid a cent to anyone for these services. You can do the same for yourself.
Web Pages Maintained by the Web Development SIG
Effective immediately, the Web pages that are being maintained by the Web Development SIG will be relocated again !! See
The pages that are located at these two places are: Members Web pages, Favorite Web sites, and Internet Talk articles
Pac Bell’s "FasTrak DSL" Service
Pacific Bell’s "FastTrak DSL" ADSL service is now ready for most of Torrance and areas near Torrance. To find out more about it, see
At this Web site, you can tell them your home phone number and they can determine if this service is available for your home yet. If it is available, Pac Bell can provide your house with a super fast connection to the Internet at a surprisingly low price. Once you have this service, your computer(s) will think that it has an Ethernet always-on connection to the Internet but one that is nowhere near the Ethernet speeds of 10 MBs per second. But one that is a whole lot faster that the nominal 56kbps "V.90" dial-up modem connections that most of you currently have.
Netscape Communicator/Navigator and Internet Explorer
I want to state again that you can run Netscape Communicator and Internet Explorer on the same computer. I cannot get through a calendar month without this question being asked of me by a club member. Once you make a connection to the Internet, you can run both of these Web browsers at the same time. They will NOT harm each other. I do it all the time. Each browser does some things better so I use each for what it does best. You can do the same thing.
However, if you are developing a Web page, you will find that the "File, Save As" feature of these two browsers work differently. For people with more than one dial-up Internet Access Provider (ISP), each browser handles "profiles" differently. I will expound about these technical details in future articles.
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 email@example.com
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 skiing instead !
By Stephen Morgan, Plateau PC Users Group
The estimated number of Internet subscribers recently hit 83 million people, up 20 million in the last six months. The introduction of good, inexpensive computers with modems will cause 1998 and ‘99 to be the years that people will look back on as the start of the "connected" lifestyle.
Looking back over the last five years, it is mind-boggling how much has changed. Faster modem speeds, increasingly better Internet browser software, and an explosion of content available for viewing has made the Internet the biggest event of the 90’s. What is going on now, and what will happen in the future? And what will be the effect on how Americans communicate and conduct their daily lives? This article tries to cover the present and point out how today’s trends could influence life in the year 2005.
Online Communities – The Internet is quickly becoming the favorite meeting place of the world. Students, Parents and business people log on for hours a day, talking to others in chat rooms and also by using the "buddy software" that lets you know when the people you want to communicate with are online and allows you to have conversations with them anytime. Before, you were limited to talking to 1 person at a time on the telephone. Now you can converse with dozens of people at a time.
Online gaming. – There are dozens of online area’s to play games against others, the amazing thing is that several of them average over 100,000 users at one time! Whatever kind of game you play, you can now join with others on the Web and play anytime! No worry about getting a partner, there are always thousands of other people to play. No worry about wanting to leave early or late, there is always someone willing to take your place.
Online shopping – It has come down to this, anything you can buy at a store, can now be bought online. Cars, computers, clothes, appliances, books, music, antiques, pharmaceuticals, travel, jewelry¼ the list is endless. Since the merchants offering the products do not have brick and mortar stores to maintain, often the prices are less expensive then at traditional retail stores. There are even merchants that offer prices that are below their cost just to have you come to their sites and see the advertising.
Online news – Almost every newspaper in the country is also being published on the Web. It is now easy to keep up on news from your hometown, even if it is located 2000 miles away. Not only can you take your pick of any or all of the major newspapers, you can arrange to have them downloaded to your computer during the night, so that you can read them that morning.
Online Radio – Listening to the radio on the Internet has become so popular that Microsoft’s newest web browser comes with a listing of all radio stations that offer Internet broadcasting. It even comes with a "radio tuner" that you can dial and get different broadcasts just like on your radio at home. At the present time, quality is good with voice radio; a fast modem is needed to hear true stereo music.
What can we look forward to during the next 5 years? Here are some predictions:
The number of users of the Internet will climb to 80% of the USA population, or roughly 240 million individuals.
Pocket-sized computers with wireless Internet access will be available to everyone. This Summer IBM will introduce its new MicroDrive that fits 340 megabytes on a hard drive the size of a townhouse cracker. The next advance will be in 2001 when Optical Drives will store 20 Gigabytes in an area slightly larger than a postage stamp. Speech recognition software will become 99% accurate and will be the primary way to interface with all your computers. Combine all this with cheap access to nationwide digital cellular service and the ingredients for a truly connected society come together.
The Internet will be everywhere, a central part of every day. 95% of the population between 8 and 70 will have personal Internet access. Schools will become wired for the Internet and wonder how they taught without it. Homes will have computer access in several places, allowing the whole family to be connected.
Forty percent of all purchasing will be done on the Internet. During the next five years look for a large number of business’s to close their doors because of inability to compete with web merchants. A huge benefactor of Internet sales should be anyone that delivers items bought on the Internet.
Call me a dreamer, but I believe that with the Internet available to all, more and more issues will be debated and resolved on the Internet. The near instantaneous nature of Internet communication means that policies can be proposed, debated and voted on within weeks. Imagine what the effect would be if new laws were proposed on the web, emailed to each person, debated on bulletin boards and then each person made a decision and sent it to their elected official! I believe that this will be especially useful for local communities to find out what residents want.
I have always believed that while not all change is good, without change, things will never get better. We are looking at changes in the next five years that will totally transform the way everyone will work, play and manage their lives. Our challenge is to make sure that we seize this opportunity to make our lives better.
This article is furnished as a benefit of our membership in the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization to which this user group belongs. The author, Stephen Morgan has been watching and participating in the advance of computers since 1976 when he got hooked by one of the first Multi User Dungeons (MUD) available through the Minnesota Educational Internet System. He is currently the program chair for the Plateau PC Users Group in Crossville, TN and the Northwest USA advisor for APCUG.
Burn Baby Burn!. ..... CD's that is!
By William C. May
Reprinted from Blue Chips Magazine, January 1999
691 South Milpitas Blvd.
Milpitas, California 95035
Windows 95, Windows 98 or Windows NT 4.0, 17 MB free hard disk space Supported:
CD-Recordable (CD-R) or CD-Rewritable (CD-RW) drive Recordable (CD-R) or Rewritable (CD-RW) CDs
(1) sound card (16-bit or better) and analog source (LP, cassette, DAT tape, or CD) attached to stereo receiver with line-out capabilities for CD Spin Doctor.
Easy CD Creator Deluxe version 3.0, from Adaptec, Inc., contains an assortment of programs that allow you to produce and copy various types of CD related material. The main program, Easy CD Creator, can copy and produce data, audio and mixed media CD's with an easy to use interface. Easy CD Creator has a quick copy utility that copies CD's without much user intervention and it also has a sophisticated interface that has all kinds of bells and whistles you can use to create your CD's in various formats. The main program, which supports all basic recording modes plus the more exotic types such as CD Extra, bootable CDs, and Video CD, can operate in manual mode or "wizard" mode which will walk you through the process step by step. You can copy existing data CD's, program CD's, music CD's and if you have a CD rewriter you can use the same CD over and over. The program has many safeguards built in to stop you from making an useless CD (which is very easy to do) such as the "verify layout" option that can check your CD layout and tell you if it is going to work or not. Easy CD Creator can also be used to make bootable CD-ROM's. This can be very useful is you have a CD-ROM and computer that is capable of booting up from a CD. Another program included in the package is called CD Spin Doctor which allows you to record and process audio from analog sources (such as records and cassette tapes) and put those analog signals into a digital format on a CD (this is very cool if you want to preserve your LP or cassette tape collection). Easy CD Creator also has a nifty CD label and jewel cover printing utility for making your own layouts for you CD's and jewel cases.
Each CD-R or CD-RW can hold 640 megabytes of information if you copy the CD all at once. If you do multiple copies until the CD is full (called multiple sessions) you lose approximately 15 MBs of storage per copy session (it is lost to partition table information, etc). CD-R and CD-RW are both very good for backing up and CD copying but with CD-R if the process is interrupted and done incorrectly the CD-R is toast (CD-R media is write once, read many and CD-RW media is write many and read many). There is no saving CD-R media or reusing it. Even if you wrote only 5 megs of info to the disk and something goes amiss during writing, the disk is useless. A year ago wasting disk was more of an issue as the cost of CD-R media was much higher than it is now, but it is still very irritating to lose a CD after waiting for an hour or so for it to copy. Because of this great irritation I went to the newer
CD-RW machines and I use the CD-RW rewritable media to test out my CD copies before I commit to using a CD-R. If I mess up the CD-RW I just erase it and start over. This does require me doing most CD copies twice but my CD disaster pile has stopped growing.
The Good: Easy to use drag and drop interface. Easy to use wizards for most operations. Verification tools to check my work. Won't let me try to copy too much data to too little space on the CD. Will copy almost any CD. Can chose different formats to target the operating systems that will be reading the CD's. Has built in diagnostic tests to test your CD burner setup before actually copying any CD's. Works with almost every CD burner out there.
The Pearls of Wisdom: Read the manual first Be prepared to mess up five to ten CD-R's before you learn what not to do. If you have trouble getting through a session without getting errors, my coping the entire CD that you are trying to duplicate to your hard drive and copy it from there instead of from CD to CD recorder. Do not "dose out" CD's (make it impossible to write more data to it later) unless you are positive you are done writing to it.
Remember that files with the same names will replace each other on the CD if you are doing multiple copying sessions (be sure you want this to happen). Putting your files in directories on your CD and not just in the root directory will minimize unintentional File overwrites. Always "import" previous sessions or they will "disappear" after adding new files. Get a CD-RW if you can and play with the CD-RW's first (you can recover from mistakes with these babies).
I have tried several CD burning programs but Easy CD Creator is the easiest and most reliable I have used so far. I haven't used the CD Spin Doctor so I can't tell you if it is any good from personal experience but other reviewers have very good things to say about it. I have created about 30 data CD's, copied 25 music CD's, and copied a dozen CD programs with a only a few disasters that were mostly my fault. Most of my problems are probably related to my errors and the drive compatibility with my computer system not Easy CD Creator. Version 3.5 is out now and as I understand it the core program (Easy CD Creator) is basically untouched but the CD Spin Doctor program has been significantly altered and a new program that handles photos and video is now included (you can make your own photo CD's). If you want to just do data CD's version 3.0 is just fine. If you want photo an video capabilities thrown in then get version 3.5 (owners of version 3.0 can get a free upgrade to 3.5 also).
Copying CD's is fun and can save much more reliably than magnetic media can. Happy CD burning ....
By Robert Banasik -- http://www.dacs.org
Electric Danbury Area Computer Society February 1999
Have you ever gotten a file from someone that you wanted to open on your computer only to find out it was a Mac file, or a file in some other foreign format? It doesn't happen often at my business, but when it does, it can be frustrating. We end up going to another computer, trying a different application, or, God forbid, trying one of those utilities that can open anything-or so they say! If these problems sound familiar to you, have I got a surprise! I have actually found a software package that not only does what is says it can do but actually does more!
Conversions Plus Version 4.0 from DataViz has proven to be just such a delightful program. I say that because I've become used to disappointments from new software packages. You know what I mean: They usually exhibit strange anomalies during installation, and generally barf, hiccup, and puke all over your hard drive before you actually get the thing installed fully. Then there is the obligatory "proofing" of the user's manual to decipher what the designers really meant for you to know. After digesting that, you actually get to use the program-and also the company's tech support for the next few hours until you have been "re-trained" in the use of your computer.
This is not the case with Conversions Plus. I installed the program in a flash. In fact, I found myself looking around my Windows to make sure there wasn't a wayward error lurking somewhere. There was none. Instead, all I had was a successfully installed program that didn't seem to do much. It didn't even open itself when I rebooted---or so I thought.
I scratched my head and decided to bring up File Manager. Yes I know, Win95 likes Explorer, but I'm an old dog: I still like the extra features of Winfile.exe and tend to stay with it. Anyway, up comes the File Manager screen and there I sat with my insidious Mac Zip Disk. This is a scenario that I have repeated often. In fact, I think I've tried all the possible scenarios. There was the Here & Now product that could read a Mac floppy but would barf on a SyQuest Cartridge. There was Transfer Pro that could look at a Mac 88MB SyQuest but not at a 44MB or a 200MB. And there was the Mac 'n DOS-well, don't even ask about that!
Undeterred by past frustrations and ever being a glutton for punishment, here I was again gingerly inserting strange media into a reading device
just waiting to eat it up. I really didn't think I was going to get anywhere because I hadn't even opened the program yet. I was just going to make sure that it was, indeed, a Mac disk that I couldn't read, and then try it with the new program. I was really shocked to see nothing in my File Manager window but, yes, you guessed it, files. No strange characters, no resource forks---just a list of files. Heck, I figured it must have been a PC disk. I ejected it and took it over to another PC. Wow! There was the typical window yelling about unformatted media and asking if I would like to format it. It really was a Mac disk after all!
Conversions Plus is a truly remarkable program for this day and age of conflicting everything. My "Tower of Babel" computer can now read just about anything. I've since tried floppies, other Zip disks, and even a 200MB Mac SyQuest! CP read all of them without a flinch. I actually think I shed a tear or two from the sheer joy of first-time success at anything involving a computer.
As far as I'm concerned, this was plenty of magic for one program. But as I promised, this one does more. If you have image files you're not quite sure of, Conversions Plus can open them. It won't allow you to open a CorelDraw! File with Quark, but it will open most any standard raster image such as .bmp, .jpg, .tif, or .wmf. And it can even open e-mail attachments that appear as garbage text at the end of your messages. In addition, it can decompress any archived file such as a ZIP, and view and print files when you don't have the program that created them.
Folks, this file conversion program is a real keeper. Version 4.0, which I reviewed here, is already outdated. Go figure. The new Conversion Plus version 4.5 is similar, but in addition to Win95 and WinNT compatibility, it is now Win 98 compatible as well. Also the new version offers compatibility for the Office98 Suite for Mac and a handy new Name Doctor feature that fixes illegal characters when converting from one format to another. Oh, did I mention that this program can also format Mac media and convert PC to Mac as well? I could go on, but you get the idea. I liked it-a lot. Street price is around $99, a great value! Check out the DataViz Website at www. dataviz.com.
Robert M. Banasik is president of BestPhoto, a quality photo lab in Brookfield, CT. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Dennis Stacy
Reprinted from PC Alamode, 6/99
It’s amazing what a hundred dollars will buy these days: Twenty five cups of coffee at Starbucks, ten pizzas, or a color scanner. While I was out spending my wife’s hard. earned money on a new computer I thought I might as well get a new scanner, too. (My last color scanner already had a thin layer of dust on it.)
So I strolled over to the scanner aisle and picked me up a Visioneer PaperPort OneTonch 5300 Scanner, the 30odpi by 600dpi kind. There’s a doctorate thesis our there for somebody willing to figger out how come computer companies are always coming up with these duplex product names and then jamming them into one.
But there are some things that money can’t buy, too. In the case of the PaperPort OneTouch (hereinafter the OneTouch) that would include the ability to scan legal-size documents, a simple two (or three) prong plug-in, and an On/Off switch.
Instead of a prong plus-in, the OneTouch comes with one of those bulky power adapters that eats up real estate on your surge protector. On the other hand, I carry one of these things in my purse at all times. When swung at high speed at the end of their cord, they’re quite the lethal weapon. In self defense only, of course.
To keep costs down, the OneTouch is a parallel port scanner with a pass through parallel port to which you attach your printer. The OneTouch has no On/Off switch of its own, which means it needs to be plugged in all the time if your printer is to operate properly, regardless of whether or not you’ll be using the scanner at all that particular day. Interestingly, as computer expert, bon vivant, and wine cork connoisseur Dave Barry would say, even when you initiate a scan with the scanner already on, a window pops up on your screen counting down a 45-second warm-up period before the scan even starts! I think this means the OneTouch has what is called a cold tube, although the power adapter itself remains quite warm to the touch.
And I think we all know what this means for the planet as a whole. More coal consumed by your local utility company, resulting in rising ozone levels. Eventually, El Nino acts up. The drought in West Texas deepens. Beef prices plummet. The ozone hole over the Antartica widens. The Ross ice shelf breaks off, flooding low lying areas worldwide like Bangladesh and the Olmos Basin. The monarch nesting area in the central highlands of Mexico is adversely affected, leading to a die off of millions of migrating butterflies. Well, I think you get the picture and it’s not a particularly pretty one, is it? And all because the OneTouch doesn’t have an On/ Off switch. Who would have thought?
But these minor drawbacks need to be kept in perspective. What we’re talking about here is scanning documents and pictures, and at that the OneTough is pretty good. It also has built in Optical Character Recognition (though you have to pay extra for the pro version).
The OneTouch gets its name from five little raised buttons on the front of the case, Custom, Copy/Print, Fax, Scan, and Stop/Cancel. If you want to automatically scan a photograph, for example, simply place it face down under the cover and hit the Scan button. A review I read in one of those fancy, slick newsstand computer magazines said the OneTouch wouldn’t let you adjust the scan zone, but that’s not true. To do so, you have to bypass the Sean button and open the OneTouch using the PaperPort software program. Select the Twain option and move the dotted lines to your heart’s content and then select Scan.
One oddity I did encounter, though. The OneTouch seem to work upside down. Every other scanner I’ve worked with, ‘top" is away from you, at the back of the scanner, back there with the ports and cables. Not with the OneTouch. This is disconcerting at first, but I suppose you could get used to it—heck, you can live with a bigger ozone hole if you just slop on more sun screen—although I doubt you’d subscribe to a magazine that printed all its pictures upside down.
Enlisting the OneTouch as a personal copier represents a bit of a compromise, too. When I stuck a letter in the scanner and hit the Copy/Print button the result printed out in a landscape format. Odd that, I thought. When I tried the same operation using the PaperPort software approach the results displayed in the Preview window onscreen were so sketchy that I thought I hadn’t captured anything. But after the manual scan the thumbnail looked pretty good so I went ahead and printed it out and an appropriate portrait format copy appeared, in default 200dpi. Go figure. I can’t.
Anyway, remember we’re only talking about ten pizzas with pepperoni here. A Real personal copier is still gonna set you back about 40 or 50 of those suckers and that doesn’t include the sun blocker and anchovies.
Dennis Stacy is a San Antonio writer, Email address email@example.com.
By Terry Houle
Reprinted from The Digital Viking, Februrary 1999
A Systems on Saturday SIG digressed a bit (as usual) and got into some questions regarding email. Some web based email systems were brought up and the suggestion was for a newsletter article on them, hence this column.
There are many web-based email systems that are available and many are fairly full-featured with a lot of bells and whistles. The price is right and they can be used anywhere you can access the World Wide Web. Usually they are free and the only thing required is to provide some information. This is generally name, address, interests, income level, and other types of demo-graphic information.
They can be great as a second email address, for other family members to have their own email if you have an Internet Service Provider (ISP) already. You can also pick up your email on them from home, work, library, or anyplace you can log onto the web.
If you have a regular POP 3 mail account with your ISP you can also log on and check for messages from your primary email account on your ISP. You can then either download and view those messages or choose to leave on the server for when you return home to your regular email account. At work they would provide more privacy in sending personal mail since your employer would not have the mail message stored on their system and thus prevent them from viewing. Of course, accessing the web at work might still involve restrictions and time frames when you could do this.
Depending on which provider you have, there could be many different options, but many have the same basics. You can set things like full headers, forwarding to another account, reminders, mail blocking, group distribution lists, and many other things depending on the provider. They also provide for a personal address book so you can store recipient addresses.
Of course, Web-based email accounts all have some restrictions such as you are not allowed to send junk mail on them, no swearing, and they have a certain mailbox size. Generally this is just good netiquette and most mailbox sizes are more than adequate. This is also not to say that you don't receive some junk mail on them. Most even provide for attachments of word documents and pictures.
Once you realize what they are you will notice the vast number of them that are offered. One of the bigger ones is Hotmail, which was recently acquired by Microsoft. Most of the major search engines provide some type. To name just a few there are: Yahoo, AltaVista, Excite, Hotbot, Lycos, and KMSP TV and the list goes on.
Before you try one you should give some thought as to what you would like your address to be. After the "@" symbol will probably be the provider name such as Hotmail.com. You will have to choose what you want your address to begin with. If it is "j smith" it is probably already taken and they may have some other restrictions on length, symbols, numbers etc. Yet you may be able to select "jsmith 18231" if they al
low alphanumeric and that number of characters. So, it is good to give it a little thought beforehand and have second and third choices.
Web-based email can be ideal if you subscribe to a listserv and get a lot of email messages and you don't want to download them to your home system. It is also great if you do not want to give out your primary email address to someone, but they are not generally anonymous accounts.
Web based email can also be good if you travel-so if you can access the Web from a library or a friend's or relative's house you can send and retrieve your email from there.
All in all, Web based email is a pretty handy tool-you don't even have to own a computer but you can still have access to personal and private email.
Terry Houle can be reached at houle@hotmailcom
Upcoming APCUG Events
The Association of PC User Groups has two major upcoming events: Southwest Regional Users Group Conference in San Diego on July 9, and Annual User Group Summit at Comdex in Las Vegas on November 13. See President Gary Sexton for information.
Local PC User Group Invitation
Bob Holden passed on an invitation from the Los Angeles Computer Society to attend their meetings. Their meetings are held on the second Tuesday of each month, unless otherwise noted. Guests are permitted free (in fact, they're encouraged - as many as one may wish to bring).
On July 13, the presentation will be about the Be Operating System, as mentioned in last month’s newsletter. Meetings run from 7-9 p.m. and the location will be available on their web site at www.lacspc.org or you can call (310) 471-2726. They will not be meeting at their usual high school site due to construction.
Free VBA Tutor
One of our members passed on this free training offer.
Office workhorse VBA Tutor illustrates how to use Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) in Microsoft Office 97. VBA is a powerful programming tool for automating daily tasks and building custom Office solutions. This two-part tutorial includes 17 lessons and several programming exercises. VBA Tutor, Windows 95/98/NT Freeware:
Part One: http://www.softseek.com/files/review?PRTU15042sw
Part Two: http://www.softseek.com/files/review?PRTU24561sw
Peachpit's User Group Program
Bob Hudak passed on an offer from a publisher of computer books.
Volume Discount: Any user group order which is composed of eleven or more titles receives a 40% discount (shipping and handling charges are $.50 per book; and tax is applicable based on your county). Quantity user group orders should contact me directly (see below for relevant contact information).
You can fax the order, email the order, call in the order, or even mail the order to my attention and I'll set up your account with our parent company, Addison Wesley Longman Inc., who handles all processing and shipping. Peachpit requires "one method of payment only" for all orders: i.e., one ship-to and bill-to address, one credit card number, or one check for the full amount. We break down shipping costs so it's easier for you to charge your members an exact amount for shipping costs.
If you prefer net-30 billing, I'll need a contact name and address for shipping, and if different, the same for the billing address. All orders are shipped via UPS ground service and take about 10-12 business days, including processing time, or less depending upon your proximity to the AWL warehouse in Indianapolis.
Fewer Item Discount: individual user group members automatically receive a 20% discount when ordering up to ten titles at a time (s/h = $4 for the first book, additional $1 for each book thereafter; plus tax). Individual user group members should call our general customer service number at 1/800-283-9444 and specify they're a user group member seeking the special 20% discount.
Catalogs: full-color catalogs to pass out to user group members are always free and always available at the asking. Just ask! See also www.peachpit.com.
Please Note: Peachpit Press is a division of Addison Wesley Longman, Inc. and that all US orders are fulfilled through AWL. Non-U.S. user group orders (including Canada) must contact their AWL-affilated office and place book orders with those satellite offices. Peachpit strongly encourages all AWL offices to honor its user group discount policy, but cannot require any office to do so.
JimBo Norrena, academic marketeer/user group coordinator Peachpit Press, 1249 Eighth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 Phone (800) 980-8999 x114
Fax (510) 524-2221
For those DIG SIG members and other learnings the ins and outs of scanning, a useful site might be www.scantips.com