The Bug Report
The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 18 Number 7
By John Sellers
Everything You Need in One Convenient Place
Imagine having one screen on your PC that displays your calendar, contacts, email, portfolio and the latest headlines. Enfish “learns” about your interests and retrieves relevant knowledge from the Internet, your company network or your hard drive. It can alert you to an article about a competitor's latest product, find a restaurant close to your Tuesday lunch appointment, or display an email that you sent last year.
Enfish Onespace is a hybrid of an online service and a downloadable software that helps you stay on top of everything that's important to you. It does this by automatically pulling together all your desktop information, e-mail, documents, contacts and appointments along with relevant information gathered from the Web, enabling you to work with everything you need in one convenient place. Enfish Onespace incorporates Intel® Automatic Organizer Software, a new relevance technology developed by Intel Architecture Labs. The Intel software features advanced search capabilities that enable users to increase their productivity by finding relevant information more quickly. For more information see
by BOB HUDAK
Disk # 28 is this month's got-to-have group of programs! There are three programs in the group. First one is EndALL. This goodie will close all programs that are running or are TSR. This works great when you are told to close all programs before installing a new program . Also when preparing to burn a CD you should close all unnecessary programs. This work so much better than the ctrl-alt-delete route. One click and all programs are closed. The 2nd program is Add/Remove Pro. Maybe no one is like me, but you should see my Add/Remove Programs list. It is full of broken links. There is no need to install Add/Remove Pro. Just run Addrempr.exe. You can run it from anywhere, a diskette, a zip file, or the hard drive. It will show all of the entries in the Add/Remove Programs list of the Registry and if they are valid entries. The third program is WinRescue. Removing entries from the registry will not decrease the size of the registry until the Registry is exported and rebuilt. WinRescue can perform this. It's process for doing this is called RegPack. I recommend that before you do anything to the registry that you back it up with WinRescue. If Windows 98 crashes, WinRescue can restore it in minutes. WinRescue can return the registry to a previous configuration, make and restore backups, and rebuild the registry. By the way, this program is only for Win 98. There is another program for Win 95. If you need this program give me a call and I will prepare a disk for you.
An Interesting Internet Site
I want to pass on information about a internet site that might be of great help to you. It has saved me several hundred dollars in repair bills on my car and truck in the last couple of months. The site, http://www.allexperts.com, has experts in various fields that volunteer their time to answer your questions on many subjects. I clicked on auto repair and selected the make and model that I have. There was a number of mechanics listed with a brief statement of their experience. I picked one and told him of my problem with the transmission in my 1992 Olds. I also gave him an idea of my car repair abilities and asked if the repair was something I could handle. He sent back information on how to remove the transmission pan and find and replace the lockup solenoid that was giving me the problem. Also told me he was sure I could do it. Fixed it without any problems. I went this route after going to a number of shops and getting all sort of prices and what they needed to do to fix the lockup problem .
My second use of their knowledge base was last week to fix the blower motor in my truck. It has four speeds and the low speed quit working about a year ago and I was using the second speed for the AC or heater. That wasn't too bad but when it stopped working and I had to use the third speed, not good. Had to keep turning it on and off all the time for control. Looking under the dash at what need fixing was scare. Back to the computer to log on to my free internet connection and go to the ALLEXPERT site. Gave the problem to the mechanic of my choice and back came a clear message on what needed replacing and where it was located . I was told it was a five minute job. I looked where I was told but was not sure that what I found was the blower resister. One more quick message to confirm and I took my screw driver to the connector. After removing it I seen that indeed this was the problem component. Off to the Toyota dealer to buy a new one. $15.00. Home again and with the help of my screw driver had the new part installed in about three minutes . It is harder to put back then to take out. All speeds worked as they should. I was happy. This does not sound like library stuff but I want you to go to this site and see what they have to offer for free so you might also benefit from their help.
As you can see your computer can help with more then word processing. When you have a internet connection, your computer becomes something like the computers they use in TV shows. They ask their computer any question on any subject and up pops the answer right in the middle of their computer screen. How they do that? You need to grin and bear a bit. After all it is TV. If you are not connected to the world through your computer, you are missing out on a lot. If you think it is more then you can handle, start out small. A modem and a FREE email account with Juno will let you send message to friends and family to get a feel of going on line. At Herman's sig you can watch and learn how to use the internet to find different areas of interest. The Hardware sig can help install a modem for you if you need help. If you are using a older computer, 286, 386, 486 or a slow 586, you will need a hardware e-modem as a Win modem will not work with these older computers. To get started sending email a 14,400 modem will work just fine. You can pick one up for $5.00. I have a couple of them. Sending a few e-mail messages only takes about a minute. That is why a high speed modem is not necessary. You write your messages off line and also read your down loaded messages from friends off line. This way you do not tie up your phone line for much longer then a minute.
By Dr. John Hanson
Hard Disk Caveat
Can you trash your hard disk easily? Yes, you can and I thought the problem of accidentally formatting your hard disk had been solved years ago. Recently I bought a Celeron 466 mc computer with a 10 GB hard drive for only $406. It worked fine and I was loading it with different programs. Then I bought a second hard drive of 27.2 GB for only $140 and installed it as drive D. I always make the CD-Rom drive R, so it won't move around when I add things. Then I formatted drive D, and everything seemed to go well until I tried to reboot. Everything had been wiped out from drive C without any warning. I checked my hardware book and it said to be sure to partition the hard drive first with Fdisk before formatting but it didn't explain the serious consequences if you didn't partition it first. Fortunately it was on my new computer with only a few programs and no irreplaceable data.
What is USB 2.0 ? It is a major improvement on USB speed and its specifications are now finalized so products should be appearing by early next year. You will still be able to use your old USB ports which already were a big improvement over the parallel interface that most current printers use. USB 2.0 was designed to compete with Firewire, also called IEEE 1394, which is very fast but expensive and controlled by Apple.
Allan Haskell already has a Firewire board in his computer and uses it to download images from his new digital video camera. He is delighted with the speed and results. Firewire's top speed is 400 Mbps and the new USB will be 480 Mbps but the Firewire people don't want to be outdone so are planning to double or triple Firewire's top speed this year. Intel is a major backer of the new USB but says it will not be competitive with Firewire but complimentary as USB 2.0 is specific to PC peripherals whereas Firewire spans many consumer devices. We will report on how things are progressing when we get back from Comdex in October. Don't be afraid to get regular USB as standard on the new ATX form motherboards as the new USB will be backward compatible and you can daisy chain the different USB devices together. With the current USB you can't exceed the total of 12 Mbps per port. The first new USB device you are likely to see is a scanner from Microtec here in Redondo Beach but be cautious as Emmett Ingram has not been able to get much help from the company to get his scanner working. They promise but don't deliver.
What is Bluetooth? It is a specification for high speed, low cost, short range wireless communication using the globally available 2.4 GC radio band. It enables digital devices to transmit both voice and data at 1 megabit per second, even with-
out a direct line of sight and it seems like all the big boys have jumped on board.
Want a new Computer? I asked a number of members and did some research on my own. One company near Western Ave. where several members got a very good deal for $500 with a 15" monitor has apparently gone out of business. So my search ended up with a wonderful, small company in San Gabriel named FirstStep Computer. Some people don't like to drive across town to deal with a good company but I do. I got a Celeron 466mc computer with 64 Mb of Ram, a ten gig hard drive and all the other necessary goodies like sound card, CD-Rom, graphics adapter and modem for only $406. Mine was the ATX form motherboard but you can save some money by staying with the older AT style and you still get two USB ports. Ask for the new tower case whose sides are removable. This is much more convenient as you only have to take off one side usually to look inside and the top is permanent which made it easy for me to add a handle at the center of gravity. Talk to Albert or Alfred and you can tell them I am very pleased with my new computer. It is an easy drive up there going up the Long Beach Freeway and going east on the 10 Freeway til exiting on Del Mar. Go North several miles to Las Tunas Drive and turn left for about three blocks. Their phone number is: 626-284-7829 People not knowing any better can easily pay $1500 or more for a comparable system. Ask them to mail or fax you a copy of their latest Computer Show Specials.
Then for only $99 more you can get a fantastic 17" monitor with a Sony Trinitron tube from a company called Jastron. They sell at the Ham Swap Meet and at computer shows like the one in Pomona. It is refurbished but you get a 90 day exchange guarantee. Just tell Jamie or Rita that Dr. Hanson was very pleased with his which had the Apple logo on the front but is so modern it works fine with IBM PCs.
By Frank Chao
Hello. This is the twenty-fourth article in the "Internet Talk" series. This is also part of the third newsletter that is edited by Vernon Lym, our new editor. I am grateful that the club finally has a permanent newsletter editor. He is doing a superb job. Please feel free to bend his ear with your comments and concerns. Also, he is looking for some additional article writers so please consider volunteering to write. If I can do it, anyone can.
CLUB NEWSLETTER IS BACK ON-LINE
The monthly newsletter is back online on the GSBUG Website. In fact during the month of June, we had two versions online: Initially, a text-only version was posted. Then it was embellished with pictures of the various contributing authors. To my biased eye, the second version is better than ever, so be sure to visit our Website at
Also, let me take this opportunity to mention that Rich Bulow has served as our club's Webmaster since March of 1999. He continues to do a great job for us. Let him know how much you appreciate his efforts.
"FREELANE" PROVIDES FREE INTERNET ACCESS
Last month, I mentioned that James Fox (email@example.com ), a GSBUG member, wished to know if anyone has tried "Freelane". No one contacted either one of us so I decided to try it myself. I downloaded "Freelane" software from
about two hours ago. I then ran the software by double-clicking on the "Freelane by Excite" icon on my Windows 98 "Desktop". Account setup worked without a hitch. I then double-clicked again on the icon and voila, I have been dialed up into the Internet without a problem for the past 2 hours. One thing that I like about them is that they have lots of local numbers in our neck of the woods (in and around Torrance, California, United States of America, Earth). Now, my Windows 98 desktop (and the "Programs" portion of my "Start" menu has icons for connecting to the following freebie Internet providers:
Freelane by Excite,
MICROSOFT INTERNET EXPLORER 5.5
"Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5" is available. It has some improvements, especially in it's new ability to run a print preview on Web pages. Some of your may remember that I stated last year that the lack of a print preview feature in Internet Explorer made Netscape Navigator a better bet for printing Web pages. Microsoft has now rectified that problem. I have been personally using Internet Explorer 5.5 for about 2 weeks and do not have any problems to report.
to learn more about it.
NETSCAPE COMMUNICATOR 4.74 IS AVAILABLE
If you are running an earlier version of Netscape, I recommend that you upgrade to this latest production version. Also, I recommend running both Netscape AND Internet Explorer on your computer: I keep running into Websites that work better on one or the other, and I am sure that you will have the same experience. Some Websites will run well on Netscape and give you lots of error messages on Internet Explorer. Other websites will do the opposite. You all know that the Internet is far from perfect so it is best to hedge one's bets. Remember, never tell either browser that it is to be your default browser. This generally causes problems.
FREE ANTIVIRUS SOFTWARE
Several GSBUG members wrote to tell me that they successfully downloaded and installed an antivirus software utility called "InnoculateIT" This free software package can be obtained from Computer Associates' website at
I continue to use it also. It does not have as many bells and whistles as the various flavors of Symantec's Norton Antivirus but the price is right! Please, please use one of these anti-virus software packages, and keep it updated weekly. I continue to receive virus-infested floppy diskettes from my college students so their must be a lot of viruses floating around out there.
WORLDSPY BITES THE DUST
Bob Hudak, our club librarian, reported to me that Worldspy has ceased operations and transferred all of their accounts to Juno Web. If you have been using Worldspy as a free dial-up Internet Service Provider, please go to
to find out how to use the free version of Juno Web. Several club members have lamented the passing of Worldspy, since this was the only freebie Internet service that did not have a banner ad. Also, a word of warning is in order: Juno Web has both a free version and a fee-based version. Be careful to pick the free version!
CAVEAT EMPTOR FOR DEALING WITH INTERNET PROVIDERS
Here are more words for the wise: if you are signing up online for an Internet Service Provider and they ask you for a credit card number, you need to abort, punt, cease, desist, etc., since anyone that asks you for a credit card number will probably be charging you for something sooner or later.
SOME COMMENTS ABOUT LINUX
I mentioned in the previous article that free Internet access is finally available for users of the various flavors of the Linux operating system. Go to http://www.teledyn.com/products/FreeWWW/
for details. I have been using Red Hat Linux, off and on, with varying degrees of success for about 1 1/2 years now. My original interest in Linux was sparked by the need to help a friend teach it as part of a class at El Camino College. Linux, in it's various flavors, is part of the open source software movement. It is an important trend that we computer users should keep up with. It serves to foster competition and to give us viable alternatives. It broadens one's perspective and makes one wiser to avoid getting into a rut: If the world revolves around a particular operating system, say "Microsoft Windows 98", then one's mind tends to become inflexible about other things too. So be brave and try something different.
A very good Linux users group meets on the second Saturday of each month. They usually meet here in Torrance. To learn more about it
With all of my other activities keeping me busy, I have been unable to participate but I intend to do so in the future.
FALL SEMESTER AT EL CAMINO COLLEGE
Starting in the middle of August, I will be teaching 2 classes at El Camino College. Both of these classes meet one evening a week. One meets on Mondays and the other meets on Wednesdays. The name of the course is "Computer Information Systems 3 -- Introduction to Computers". Hopefully, Keith Decker will continue to provide me with copies of this monthly newsletter to distribute to my students. Many of them live in the South Bay/Torrance, California area and are prospective members for GSBUG.
Most of the computer labs in this college have been upgraded to Windows 98, with Microsoft Office 2000 as their "office suite" software. Formal, college-level training on computers is a great way to make a quantum jump in your level of computer expertise. If anyone is interested in these classes, or any other classes at the college, please feel free to contact me.
LOS ANGELES WINDOWS 2000 USER GROUP
The "Los Angeles Windows 2000 User Group" has moved their general meetings from Manhattan Beach to:
5230 Pacific Concourse Drive Suite 390
Los Angeles, CA
Their new meeting place is near where the 405 and 105 freeways intersect. For details, see
Their meetings are very technical, relative to the meetings of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group, but some of the members of the GSBUG, might want to attend some of their meetings.
WAYS TO CONTACT ME:
If you have any questions or problems, I can be
contacted by the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-8951.
2. Send me e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Send me "snail" US Postal Service mail to
PO Box 6930
Torrance, CA 90504-0030.
Or sell your computer and take up fishing instead !
By Charlie Paschal
If you're a parent with a child in school, you might want to consider seeing if the child has any talents in the PC area, because jobs in that field are booming.
According to the annual Cyberstates report, California remains the nation's main technology powerhouse, even though other states are reporting gains in tech jobs. The U.S. high-tech industry employed five million workers in 1999, more
than twice the number of people employed in auto manufacturing services.
And, this report says that average tech wages are now 82 percent higher than the average U.S. private-sector wage. Other states booming include Washington, Kansas, Colorado and Georgia.
Although this report doesn't break the jobs down, you can bet that many of those jobs include connections to the Internet. Since there's so many "free" deals out there for Web development, it's a field that's easy for any parent to get a child started. Example's include:
* Netscape comes with a free What You See Is What You Get (WYSWYG) editor.
* 1st Page 2000 is a free text-based editor.
* Notepad comes free with Windows.
Most likely you also have a connection to the Internet, meaning you have a wealth of information available about construction and designing Web pages at your finger tips. Of course, there are also many other tech careers available, such as working for ISP's (Internet Service Providers), configuring equipment for Web companies or writing software.
Early on, try to get your children well acquainted with PCs and how they
process information. It might also help if you could build a PC from scratch so they will understand the mechanics of how they work. This might spur interest in the hardware side of the business. Make books and manuals available to them, such as programming manuals, books on DOS or books on Web design and HTML.
Just as we introduce sports, such as baseball and basketball to young
children, introduce them to computers, too. Show them how they work and show
them the ways they can be used to create things, such as spreadsheets and
databases. Of course, not all children will want to dive into such stuff, but not all
of them like baseball or football do they? I know several children who have their own Web pages, pages that they have built from scratch. They update and design these pages themselves. You can even make online sites available to them.
For example, Xoom and Geocities allow free Web pages. Point this out to them and give them the tools needed to do their own pages!
I know one lady whose had her own page since six -- she's now 10. Will she ever enter the tech field? I don't know, but it could be like youth baseball: She will play with it until she gets older and decides she wants to do something else. That's no different than being involved with a sport as a young person and discarding it later.
All you can do is make the tools available to them and see what plays out.
As a parent, you're opening the door of opportunity; it's up to them to walk
I want you to consider these three resumes from Business Week:
*Rishi Bhat, born 1984, currently a high school sophomore in Chicago.
Child actor, starting in the Hollywood movie, The Indian in the Cupboard.
Second career: Developed privacy software he sold for $40,000, 30 percent
of the first-year profits, and the right to "performance shares." Preferred
reading at age six: His mom's MS-DOS manual.
* Paul Dini, born 1980. High school dropout, later got
high-school-equivalency degree. Career so far: configures routers and
switches for Interland, an Atlanta (Ga) Web-hosting company.
Prized possessions: Four cars, include a Jaguar and an '81 DeLorean.
* Michael Furdyk. Born 1982. Education: Completed 11th grade. Business:
Sold his first Web site for more than $1 million, then started a Web
comparison-shopping service. Also a Microsoft consultant. Whom he reports to: No one, except his dad, whom he brought in as CEO. Biggest problem with his age: Must take cabs on business trips because he's too young to rent a car.
* In addition, I know one University of South Carolina graduate who started an
ISP company as soon as he graduated just a few short years ago. He's now
retired -- at less than the age of 30!
This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization to which this user group belongs.
Charlie Paschal is a native of the Carolina's and has worked in Journalism for the last 33 years. He has had his articles published by Knight-Ridder newspapers and also works as a web designer for the University of South Carolina. Charlie is the editor of the Palmetto Personal Computer Club.
Compiled by Greg Lenihan,
Just before the new year, when W2K concerns were still being hyped, I decided to make the switch from Win95 to Win98 (2nd Edition). Windows 95 still did everything I needed, but I kept reading and hearing about new utilities that were built into the new operating system that looked like good troubleshooting aids. Each of these utilities can be accessed by typing the commands below into the Start -->Run box.
You can get there the long way by going to Start-->Programs-->Accessories-->System Tools-->System Information. What you get is information about the hardware and resources used, software components installed as part of Windows, and software currently loaded and running (called the Software Environment). To view any of these areas, click on a plus sign next to the heading shown in outline form. If you look under the Tools menu, you can launch other Win98 utilities, such as the System Configuration Utility, System File Checker, Registry Checker, and Dr. Watson. Want to know how long your system has been running since turned on? Look for the Uptime value in the right panel.
System Configuration Utility
This is a handy utility used to modify many of the settings for Win98. Individual lines can be turned on or off in your config.sys, autoexec.bat, system.ini, or win.ini files. You can use it to turn off the annoying Scandisk function if you are forced to shut off your system, and can turn off any program starting at boot up. The command msconfig.exe is found in the c:\Windows\system directory where you can create an icon for it on your desktop. It's a very handy tool for troubleshooting startup problems.
System File Checker
The System File Checker verifies the integrity of your system files in Win98. Running this file will determine if any of your system files have been replaced or corrupted. It will then prompt you to replace them from your install CD. A nice feature of the utility is that by running it after installing new applications, you can find out what system files that application has installed or changed.
Version Conflict Manager
This utility enables you to revert to newer versions of certain files that are replaced when you install or reinstall Win98. An install of Win98 will overwrite DLLs and other files even if they were newer than those installed by Windows. Launching the Version Conflict Manager will display a list of possibly troublesome files that you may then fix with the click of a button.
This tool can provide clues to software-related problems. Typing drwatson into the Run command box won't launch to a main screen or dialog box like the other utilities. Instead an icon will appear in your system tray. Right-clicking on it will display the user interface. To be effective in troubleshooting, Dr.class=Section2>
Watson should be running in the background when you are testing problems. That way you can look at log files generated and maybe get some meaningful error messages about what occurred to your system. This may mean loading it at startup so it can try to interpret why a problem or crash occurred.
Hardware Diagnostics Tool
Command: hwinfo.exe /ui
The Hardware Diagnostic Tool provides the same information as the Microsoft System Information Tool, except it is color coded to display problem areas and potential problems. Bright red displays problems and blue is for potential problems. Open the Run box in the start menu and type it in with the /ui switch. It will not run without the switch.
Automatic Skip Driver Agent
When a software driver prevents the system from booting properly, this tool can help determine which driver is having problems, and how to fix it. Make sure two consecutive restarts were attempted whereby the same driver doesn't load. After typing in the command, a listing of all drivers not loaded should appear along with advice on what to do.
Link Check Wizard
This wizard is found on the Windows98 install CD in the directory \Tools\Reskit\Desktop. It scans all of the shorcut files on your system, and checks to see if the link points to an existing application or document. If the associated application or document is not found, it lists that file as a dead link, giving you the option to remove it. Copy Chklinks.exe to your Windows directory and create an icon on your desktop to use it.
IP Configuration Tool
This tool provides the current information about your IP address assigned when you connect to your Internet Service Provider. It includes your subnet mask and the gateway your ISP is using. This information can be helpful in connecting your system to other computers on the Internet. IP Config is found in your c:\Windows directory.
[Greg Lenihan is the newsletter editor for the Pikes Peak Computer Application Society in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This article is brought to you by the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an International organization to which this user group belongs.]