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 9
Member Dues are Due
Bob Clickís October Deals
Itís Election Time
GSBUG is Moving!
Norton Utilities 4.0
DLL Conflict Troubleshooting Tutorial
Windows 98 Service Pack 1
DSL, Is It worth It?
Bits & Bytes of Info
Software Library News
Member Dues are Due
By Keith Decker, GSBUG, Inc.
Attention! Most members dues for the next year will be due in October. Members are urged to renew their membership by mail if possible. If you are unsure when your dues expire, check the date on your mailing label or call membership chairman Keith Decker at 310-540-0794; E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please add a note listing any changes in your street or E-Mail address.
Dues are: One Year, $36 single, $48 family; Two years, $65 single, $86 family. Make checks payable to GS-BUG and mail to: GS-BUG Inc., P.O. Box 6950, Torrance, CA 90504-0050
Bob Clickís October Deals
Each month, Bob Click finds special deals for User Group members. His articles are made available to us through APCUG. Check the web site
Itís Election TimeGeorge Austin
Elections will be held at the October general meeting, October 27th at the El Segundo Library. George Austin is our nominating committee chairman, so contact him if you are willing to serve on the Board of GSBUG or have any nominees.
We sold all 50 tickets to our raffle and the winner of Microsoft Office 2000 Premium Editon at our August meeting was Sheldon Chelsy.
GSBUG is Moving!
By Rich Bulow
A great leap in technology, a giant step onto a new server. Yes, this is about our Web Site. First a special thanks to "Liz" for finding a new "Host" for our web site, Don from the Tulsa Computer
Society for setting up the server, and APCUG and Vanitye-mail.com (an e-mail service) for sponsoring our site. You can find us at http://gsbug.apcug.org. Yes, that is not a misprint, there is no "www." in the URL. If you use the "www.", you will not find us.
Once you visit our new site you will see a new link to "WebBoard". We now have a newsgroup which is a long awaited replacement for our old BBS. Our board is open to both members and guests. Just create a new login for yourself and get started. Post your questions and responses to the appropriate conference. If you feel any appropriate conference is missing then post a request in the "General" conference with your suggested name and description for a new one. Messages have a limit of one file attachment with a maximum size of 100KB. We recommend that you obtain the "real e-mail address" of the recipient and use it to send larger files. Actually, we suggest that you do this for all file attachments unless they are useful to all members.
We also have a "CHAT" room available. Once you login to our WebBoard, select the "General conference" and you will find a link to "Chat" in the menubar. Once you get into the chat forum just select "GSBUG_Online" and you are ready.
Our web conferencing offers online help for all major features. If you have a question, look for the help button on the menubar or post a message asking for help (Click "Post" on the menubar).
Our WebBoard is not accessible to members using "LAFN" as their ISP. This is not our fault but is prohibited by the "firewall" at LAFN. The good news is that either of the "FREE" Internet services, Netzero or Altavista, will work fine. Enjoy!
GSBUG will hold a special meeting on October 15 at the Salvation Army building located at Earl and Emerald Streets. Symantec Corporation, out of Cupertino California, will be visiting to present their Norton System Works 3.0 product.
Norton System Works contains "fully integrated" "full versions" of Norton Utilities, Norton AntiVirus, Norton Crashguard, Norton CleanSweep, and Norton Web Services. Because this software package contains fully integrated versions of Symantec's award winning products, you know that you will be getting a software package that will be easy to run and maintain.
Symantec will give a full demonstration of Norton System Works 3.0 as well as have software to giveaway, discount coupons on all of their products, and a free gift for everyone in attendance. So don't miss out!
At our general meeting on October 27, Charles Schwab will be presenting.
With so many web sites out there these days, trying to find a reliable source for investment information can seem impossible. When you need fast easy- to-understand, trustworthy tools to help you make wise investment decisions, Schwab.com is your number one resource online.
Schwab offers tools to help you plan
your financial goals, research and manage your investments, and place trades right from your computer. Whether you're a beginner or an expert at investing, an active trader or a long term investor, you can trust Schwab to provide unbiased help and advice to give you the control you need to achieve your financial dreams.
Success starts with an understanding of how to use the tools that have been designed for the task at hand. Schwab has prepared a presentation to educate investors and potential investors about what it takes to invest wisely and successfully.
We have not one, but two presenters from Charles Schwab:
Casey Mervine has taught Schwab.com since its launch in the Spring of 1997. As a Senior Investment Specialist, he has been responsible for educating and guiding investors at Schwab for almost four years. Casey is self-taught on computers and admits that he once had a Commodore 64.
Oliver Mueller has been with Schwab for over 5 years and has been teaching computer-based trading classes before the Internet was the way to trade. He realizes the benefits of building relationships without the biases inherent in being a commission based broker.
Norton Utilities 4.0
By Charles Flum
Reprinted from A Bit of a Byte from the Ocean, Toms River, NJ, 6/99
I started computing back in 1987 (it seems eons ago). Being a newbie, I had no idea that there were such things as utilities. Somewhere along the way, someone told me that there were programs that could help manage my computer a lot better than DOS did. At that time, there were two competing utility suites, PC Tools and Norton Utilities. Eventually, Norton bought PC Tools and incorporated it into Norton Utilities. Through the years, the suite has evolved until we now have the latest version, 4.0.
Installation from the CD was as painless as most installations are these days (3 1/2" disks are also included for those few without a CD-ROM, a nice touch).. That is, if you read the manual first. Major warning: read the installation directions of a program before you blindly install it. I had a previous version of Norton on my computer. The installation directions said to uninstall any previous versions of the Utilities as well as Norton Crashguard before installing this one. I shudder to think what havoc may have been wrecked by having two competing Norton's on at the same time.
You are also instructed to have disks ready to make a rescue set. I would very strongly advise you do this. If you do, when (not if) your system crashes, you will be able to get up and running again to fix the problem.
Norton Utilities 4.0 has so many parts to it, that I could fill the whole newsletter talking about it all. So, I'll concentrate on several that have saved me, or been useful, and list the new parts as well.
The most visible manifestation of the utilities is the System Doctor. You can choose how many sensors are showing. If there is a problem, an alert pops up, telling you there is a problem and asking you to click to open the appropriate part of the utilities needed to correct the problem. For example, as I have mentioned at many novice groups, if your hard drive becomes too defragmented, it slows down your access time. You can set the % of defragmentation, say 90%, and when your hard drive reaches that point, the alert pops up directing you to speed disk where you can safely defragment your hard drive.
Virus protection is also part of Norton. System Doctor alerts you when your virus definitions are getting old, so you can connect to Norton's website and download new ones.
Internet access is starting to become a must for anyone doing any regular computing. Live update will check Norton's website to see if any updates to the utilities are available. It automatically downloads and installs them.
Since so many are on the Internet, Norton has developed and integrated into the utilities the Norton Connection Doctor. Norton's literature says it, "...tests your modem to ensure that it's working properly and has no hardware or software conflicts with your PC. Then Norton Connection Doctor uses a troubleshooting wizard to help you quickly solve any problems it finds." When I ran it, I received a message that there were problems, and when I asked for more info, I received the following: "The modem currently set up on your computer is incompatible with the modem you connected to your computer. In order to use the connected modem, you must install the corresponding modem software. Do any of the following: Install the software for the modem you are trying to use. Remove any incompatible modems (applies if you do not want to use the alternate modems again). Set up your communications program to use the correct modem (applies if you intend to use the alternate modem again)." I have no idea why Norton is telling me I have a problem. The modem has worked flawlessly every time I have used it since it was installed.
Crashguard has been a lifesaver. It is much improved over the previous version. Crashguard is supposed to keep your system from freezing up or crashing. Many times in the previous version, Crashguard came on and IT froze. It has come on several times since I installed 4.0, and in every case it has let me safely continue working, or allowed me to save my work and close the offending program. This alone, may make Norton worth having, though you can get it as a stand-alone program.
Have you ever deleted a program to the recycle bin and still not been able to get it back. Norton Protection watches your recycle bin, and along with Norton Unerase will bring back many files you thought gone for good. You can make your files disappear for good with Wipe Info, which TOTALLY removes a file. You can also clean your free space to have it totally clear.
Another new part of the Utilities is the Norton System Check. The manual says: "Give your system a complete checkup with the click of a single button. Norton System Check finds disk problems and Windows problems, it can improve performance, and it can give your computer a preventative maintenance checkup."
A major component is Norton Win Doctor. This analyzes and fixes many Windows problems you may not even be aware of. Registry problems, hardware conflicts, clutter from failed installs, and more. Click to activate it, let it do the checking, and click Repair All to automatically fix any problems.
If you are computing without a recovery package like Norton Utilities 4.0, you are on a highwire without a safety net. Symantec has very graciously extended a special offer to all user groups who publish a review that you can purchase Norton Utilities 4.0 for $29.95, $10 less than you can buy it with the current rebate. As soon as my email is back up, I will be getting an 800 number for you to call to order your copy. I'll email it to those who I can. If you don't get the email in a few days, call me to get the number.
DLL Conflict Troubleshooting Tutorial
Stop! Donít wipe that hard drive, thereís a better way!
By Rod Ream
Whatís a DLL?
Dynamic Link Library
What does a DLL do?
DLLs are best thought of as programmerís toolkits. They contain programming code that is often re-used from one application to another. Some DLLs have one or two routines, while others may have a hundred or more. Rather then re-invent the wheel, a programmer will use a DLL containing optimized code for the task at hand. Dialing your modem, selecting fonts and colors or quickly sorting lists of information are examples of the types of work they perform.
Why do they cause problems?
There are two types of DLLís:
∑. Shared or common Ė Used by many programs.
∑. Proprietary Ė Used by one program or by one software publisher
With the earliest versions of Windows, Microsoft established the \windows\system folder as the designated storage place for DLLs that are common. The proprietary DLLs were supposed to be installed in the programís own folder. As new and improved versions of DLLs were released it was intended that the updated version would replace the earlier version and that the DLL would be backward compatible. In a perfect world youíd have just one copy of a shared DLL on your system and it would be available to any application that needed it.
The Windows operating system (any flavor) allows only one copy of a DLL to be in memory at any one time. The DLL will remain in memory until itís no longer needed.
Letís start by looking at the following common scenario:
1. A program is launched from your Startup group or folder when you boot your system. That program was distributed with an early version DLL, which is stored in the programís local directory. The DLL has 20 internal functions and is loaded into memory.
2. A few minutes later you load a recently released program. That program needs the same DLL (by name), but is supposed to utilize the newer version that has 80 internal functions.
3. Since the early version DLL is already in memory everything may seem to be OK, when the program is first launched.
4. However, As soon as the more recent program asks for one of the 60 missing functions youíre in trouble. You may get a complete crash, a lockup or a message blaming something thatís completely unrelated.
The most common DLLís are those that are part of a programming language such as C++, Visual Basic, etc. These DLLís provide the same "run time" environment as the developerís own system, but donít allow you to edit the program. Software publishers must include these critical DLLs with their programs because they canít assume you already have the right one on your system.
Software publishers often seem to be careless or unable to follow the rules. In some cases, they just donít know better. Both small and large publishers are guilty of not keeping their programming utilities up to date, this results in distributing DLLs that are several years old. Distributing a new program with old DLLís has the same effect as loading an old program on your system.
Microsoft has incorporated several features into the Windows 98 operating system that help to resolve the problem of an old DLL being installed into a shared directory; however it doesnít always work. The worst offenders are installation routines that donít do any version checking and simply unzip files directly into the shared directory, overwriting whatever is there. In many cases W98ís System File Checker can recover the correct version. Having a current backup is still the best protection.
One of the most common mistakes made by a programís installation routine is to place a common DLL in the programís own folder, rather then put it in the system folder where it belongs. Thatís the easiest thing to fix, if youíre careful and follow some simple guidelines. Programs bearing the MS Windows 9x logo on the box generally donít cause problems as they have to meet some very strict and recently revised compliance standards. Iím guessing that the right to wear the logo doesnít come cheaply either.
Searching the system
The following process is intended to let a user check their own system for DLL version conflicts. Before doing so, I strongly recommend that any patches and updates available from MS be installed. Installing these updates will put the newest versions of the most problematic DLLs on your system and give you a valid reference point for whatís really old on your system. The most critical DLLís are available in 3 updates: "Windows Library Update"
"Windows 95 Service Pack 1"
"OLE 32 Update to Service Pack 1"
If you are running Windows 95, youíll find these updates at
If you are running Windows 98, click on the Windows Update in the Start menu and youíll be taken to MSís semi-automated update site. If youíre not sure whether the update is installed on your system or not, install it anyway! It doesnít hurt to be sure.
1. Open "My Computer" by Right clicking on the icon and selecting "Explore". Change your view to "Details"
2. Open the \windows\system folder and check that you can see files with a DLL extension. If not, you have to turn on the "view all files" option in Explorer.
3. Tap your F3 key to bring up the search window
4. In the "Named" field enter *.DLL
5. In the "Look in:" field open the drop down and select "My Computer" or "Local Hard Drives" if you are on a network.
6. Make sure the "Include subfolders" box is checked.
7. Click the "Find Now" button.
Be patient, this may take a few minutes on a large or slower system.
8. When the search is completed, click on the "Name" button (at the top of the "Name " column) to sort the entire list, alphabetically, by name.
Donít be surprised by the number of DLLs on your system. In a new system, with little more then Windows98 installed youíll probably have three or four hundred of them, but on a large system like mine, thereís nearly five thousand!
Look through the list for duplicates. The ones that cause software conflicts are those with copies in the \windows\system folder and one or more copies somewhere else on your system. The most critical DLLs have a backup copy in \windows\sysbckup Ė thatís a new safety feature introduced with Widows9x and these files are usually the same version. Check the search listing for files beginning with: BWCC, CO, CTL, MFC, MSV, OLE
The following is intended for experienced users only . Some people may wish to contact a consultant or system specialist who is experienced in dealing with software conflicts.
Donít get carried away in the following process. We are only concerned with duplicates that meet the following criteria:
A copy in \windows\system
A possible copy in \windows\sysbckup
A copy that is anywhere else
Example: (using mfc42.dll)
C:\someprogram\mfc42.dll v4.25, old version (rename)
C:\windows\system v6.00.8267.0, Higher version, shared directory
C:\windows\sysbckup v6.00.8267.0, Safety copy, donít touch
1. Right click on each of the duplicate files, beginning with the copy in the system folder, and select "Properties". In most systems you can speed this up by holding down the ALT key while you double click.
2. Click on the Version tab and make a note of the version number, it will be highlighted.
3. Repeat this for each of the duplicate files having the same name. Double check your work, some file name s are very similar.
4. You only need to keep the DLL having the highest version number and that copy should be the one in the shared \windows\system folder.
5. Do not delete any files!!
6. If any of the duplicates is in a programís own local folder and has an equal or lower version number then the copy in the \windows\system folder, change the file extension from DLL to D_L. This will stop the older version from loading and force it to look in the \windows\system folder for the file.
7. If you are a neat freak, you can consider deleting the renamed duplicate
file when you are sure that everything is working properly. Because of the close similarity to some of the file names itís very easy to tag the wrong file!
8. Do only a few files at a time, until you are comfortable with the process. Reboot your system and run the programs where you may have disabled a DLL in a programís own local folder. If you are sure that everything is working, you can then delete the renamed DLL.
9. Some files that are currently active, in memory, may not permit renaming. In most cases, you can temporarily disable programs that in are in your Startup folder to complete the operation. In other cases you may have to reboot and perform the rename after starting the system at the DOS command prompt.
This troubleshooting process is not intended to solve all conflict situations. It does however, eliminate the most common problems. Duplicate DLLís, where no copy is in the common \windows\system directory, are a completely different situation and beyond the scope of this article. For those situations a thorough understanding of the operating system and a backup plan are required. I strongly advise the reader to leave these files as-is. In most cases they will not cause system problems, unless both programs are being run at the same time.
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, Rod Ream is a full time, independent, PC Consultant and is also the Director of Technical Services for the Pasadena IBM Users Group (PIBMUG). His base is in Alhambra CA and he can be reached at rodream @techie.com.
Windows 98 Service Pack 1
Reprinted from Valley Computer Club Newsletter, 8/99
If youíre not interested in Windows 98 Second Editionís new features but youíd like to freshen up your original version of Windows 98, there are some ways you can. You can get the Windows 98 Service Pack, which resolves several minor issues associated with Windows 98, and you can also upgrade to Internet Explorer 5 and get the latest Internet Tools for the best Internet technology available. For details, check below.
Windows 98 Service Pack 1
The Windows 98 Service Pack 1 includes several minor fixes plus Year 2000 updates for the original version of Windows 98, but it does not include any of the new features that come with Windows 98 Second Edition. You can download the Service Pack from Windows Update or order the Service Pack on CD. (There is a $5 shipping fee.)
You can download from this address:
The Windows 98 Service Pack 1 includes:
Windows 98 System Update, which addresses an Active Accessibility Update, USB Updates, Networking Updates, and other fixes and Updates.
Internet Explorer 4.01 with Service Pack 2, which includes security fixes, Internet-related updates, and the latest version of Internet Explorer 4.01.
Windows 98 Year 2000 Update, which corrects several minor issues associated with generating dates on your computer on or after January 1, 2000. They include leap-year calculations in particular circumstances, handling of some date/time settings, and correct logging of on-line calling.
Windows 98 Year 2000 Update 2, which corrects several additional minor issues associated with generating dates on your computer on or after January 1, 2000.
Outlook Express Year 2000 Update, which addresses a Year 2000 issue with Outlook Express 4.01.
DSL, Is It worth It?
By Sue Smith, Editor
Reprinted from Valley Computer Club Newsletter, 8/99
A few of the VCC members have acquired this new technology and the numbers am growing daily. Aaron Epstein e-mailed me in April to say he had got his DSL service installed in case I wanted to come over and check it out. Harry Bieker and Penny Rieger were a couple more early birds. We didn't go check it out because at the time we were waiting for our own, thinking it was going to be "any day" now. The only part of this whole experience that was bad was the time it took for PacificNet to get things going. We wanted to stay with our same service to keep our e-mail address the same. It was new and they had some "bugs" to work out. Not with thie DSL, but with their way of setting up the accounts. It was certainly worth the wait though.
The first stop is to contact the Phone Company to see if DSL is available in your area. If yes, contact your service provider to see if they offer it. You can go to the service provider of your choice who offers DSL or let Pacbell handle the whole thing. Right now the end result is the same, $49.99 per month. It might seem like a lot, but you do get much more than just faster connect speed. DSL service eliminates the need for a second phone line. The DSL technology is laid over your existing phone line. You can then search the Internet and talk on the phone at the same time, on the same line. If you currently have a second line for your computer or FAX machine, thatís an expense you can get rid of. Most companies seem to be offering the same deal right now. They are waiving the setup fee, no charge for the required Network card or the installation of it, an external DSL modem for $189.00 with $49.99 a month for the service. There might be a place or two that will throw in the modem. It pays to check around. It's a hot thing right now and they all want your business. Some might require a one year agreement. That seems to vary. We have our computers already Networked so we didn't have them install the network card, just plug the DSL modem into our existing hub. PacificNet allowed us to get extra IP addresses so we can be online with two or three machines at the same time and still be able to use the phone or FAX. The Windows 98 second edition is supposed to allow modem sharing without having separate IP addresses.
Now for the good stuff. If your computer is on you are always connected. No more connect time. It is so easy to switch back and forth to writing a document in Word and then check the Internet for information. We no longer have to worry if the other person is online. It will slow things down a bit if you are both downloading files. But if one is surfing and the other is downloading, you don't even notice. The increased speed is what really got to us. We purchased the least expensive DSL level service, which quotes seven times faster than a standard connect time. We used to download at 4-5kbs, now we average about 40kbs! We have seen 150kbs a few times and many times at 90-1l0kbs. The speed will blow your mind. Some pages and downloads are still slower, it depends on so many factors. For us though, it has been the change with the biggest impact that we have made to our computers to date. Is DSL worth it? In my opinion, YES!
Bits & Bytes of Info
By William A. Parradee, GSBUG, Inc.
MS Web Site for Year 2000
Microsoft has a new Web Site to help consumers check software, hardware, and personal data for proper operation after the end of this year. It includes a product guide that describes how most MS software applications handle dates.
You can download the MS Year 2000 Product Analyzer, which can scan your hard drive and make a compliance status report for your system. Go to
Searching Multiple E-mail Attachments
One genealogy group sends e-mail up to three times each day. Each message contains up to 20 attachments. Most attachments are messages which ask for or give information on one or more names. Some attachments are general information for the group. Reading the messages individually takes a lot of time and it is easy to overlook a desired name. Searching the attachments one by one wastes time and fails to search the headers. The search program in Internet Explorer 4.0's Outlook Express usually fails to remember the name, which must be typed again after opening each attachment.
Solution: save the entire message as an .eml file. Open it with Notepad, Edit, or any viewing program that can search. Now, the search covers all attachments and their headers in addition to the contents of the main message.
IE 5 Security
In early July two security problems in IE5 were announced. One involves Web site icons that can be purposely designed to run code on your computer. The second problem involves an ActiveX control that can be set to read your hard drive in IE4 or IE5. You can get a patch for these problems at http://microsoft.com/insider/mi/pfpatch.htm
More About IE5 Security
This may or may not be related to the second problem above: If you do not inactivate ActiveX controls when using Outlook Express to read e-mail, a message could wipe out the entire hard drive or put files on it. Bulgarian computer consultant Georgi Guninski says this does not appear to work in IE4. It is said about a dozen other ActiveX Controls written by Microsoft also need to be fixed.
IP-Security Glitch Revealed
A hacking group says Windows 95, 98, and 2000 and two other operating systems have a security problem. Hackers on the same network as the victim can reroute or modify outbound traffic, or deny service. IRDF (Internet Router Discovery Protocol) is part of the problem.
This gives unauthorized access to banking and credit card information. IRDF is turned on by default in Windows 95 and 98. It stays on even when a user configures a system to turn it off. Microsoft says IRDF is required by the industry standard.
IE 5 May Expose Passwords
A security hole in IE5 causes the user name and password to be exposed when downloading a file from an FTP password-protected site. Users must type their password to log on to such FTP sites. During downloads the user name and password appear at the bottom of the screen as: "ftp://UserName:Password@test.com/filename.txt." Test.com is the FTP site and filename.txt is the name of the file being down
loaded. The user name and password may be exposed for long periods when downloading large files. Microsoft is said to know about the flaw but has no plans to correct it now. A correction may be included in IE updates.
512 Root Directory Entries Allowed
Windows 95 allows 512 entries in the root directory. It will accept that many files and directories only if their names are short. Extra directory entries are used for long file names and yet another one is used to give the short name alias for DOS.
Any file, whose name contains more than 13 characters, requires 3 or more directory entries. When the root directory is full, you may get one of the following messages:
* Cannot make directory entry.
* This filename not valid.
* Unable to create
* Make sure the disk is not full or read-only.
Windows 95 Emulator for Linux
One person found a Windows 95 emulator for Linux in this newsgroup:
comp.emulators.ms-windows.wine Since old messages are usually deleted you may need to send one asking for information on the emulator.
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Starting Windows Computers in DOS
There are two ways to make a Windows 95, 98, or 2000 computer start at a DOS prompt.
The easiest way is to press the F8 key when the Starting Windows 95 message appears during start up. Select Command Line Prompt from the menu displayed. This method is best if a DOS prompt is only wanted occasionally.
You need to modify the MSDOS.SYS file to make the change permanent. Go to the root directory (usually C:\) and at the command line type: attrib -s -h -r MSDOS.SYS <Enter>. Then type: EDIT MSDOS.SYS <Enter>. In the line BOOTGUI=1 change the 1 to 0 (zero). Save the file. The 1 causes the computer to boot in Windows 95. The 0 makes the computer boot to a DOS prompt. Finally, type: attrib +s +h +r MSDOS.SYS <Enter>. The computer should now start at the DOS command line each time.
Old Bios Y2K Fix
SetYear v1.0 corrects the year 2000 bug in the BIOS/Real-Time Clock of older machines. At startup the 4 year digits of system time are set to a command line value. In the year 2000 you will use "setyear 2000" in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. In year 2001 use "setyear 2001" to get the correct year for your machine.
There are three versions for DOS/Win 3.1, Win9x, and a Win9x command line tool. Get the 7168 byte freeware file, syear10.zip, from:
Software Library News
By Bob Hudak, GSBUG, Inc.
I put together a CD for you this month that has three programs that will get you on the internet for free, clean up your computer registry files and let you send voice messages by e-mail.
The latest version of NetZero or Free_I or AltaVista Freeaccess will let you surf the internet for FREE using a local telephone number. You do need a modem.
RocketTalk is the program that lets you send a voice message to family or friends. All you need is an internet connection and a sound card. It works great with NetZero. You can record your message offline if you like and then play it back to make sure it sounds OK. Then log on to the Internet and your messages will be sent. It works great and is a lot of fun.
There is a small program on the CD that will help you calculate what your download speed is. Check out DLCalulator.
Regclean, Eclean and RegEdit+ will help you clean up your registry files. The System Registry holds a huge amount of essential information and settings. Some can be viewed and modified through Control Panel applets or utilities such as TweakUI.
However, many settings only can be accessed through RegEdit, the powerful and dangerous Window Registry Editor. Changes made using RegEdit can cause far reaching problems. Also, it's tedious to open a lengthy key in RegEdit, as you must painstakingly locate and click on every element of that key. Registry Editor Plus (RegEdit+) makes RegEdit both safer and easier to use. To open a key in one step, type its name into the key list, or select it from the pull down list of recently visited keys. You can save frequently used Registry keys as Favorites. When you use the SafeEdit functions in RegEdit+ to rename, delete, or modify a key or value, the data to undo that change is recorded in the History list. RegEdit+ was written by Neil J. Rubenking.
The other programs were described in past issues of the newsletter. Partition Manager will make a backup of your boot record in addition to making partitions. This is a great little feature. NoteTab Light is a versatile text editor with time-saving productivity tools. It opens multiple documents up to 2GB each and uses a convenient tab bar to switch between them. It has many features, including clip libraries, flexible search & replace, web enabled, drag-and-drop, strip HTML tags, text to HTML, detailed statistics, Favorites, etc. FREEWARE!!!
Lucky Sheldon Chelsy was the winner of the MS OFFICE 2000 program raffle. Sheldon is a long time member of our club who has helped in many ways. He was the club president a few years ago and now does a good job of conducting the RAM session at the general meetings. He has said many times, "It pays to belong to GS-BUG".
The Board decided to upgrade the club computer with an AMD K6-III 450MHz CPU. This CPU was given to the club to evaluate by AMD. We need to buy a new motherboard to do this. So here is a chance for some lucky member to upgrade their system with the motherboard and CPU that we are taking out of club machine. We have only been using it for six months. Very little use at that. It is an ATC-5200 board with VIA MVP3 chipset running at 100MHz. It has an AGP video card slot. The CPU is a WinChip 225. It has a fan and all the paperwork. Weíre selling it for $50. If you need help installing it, bring it to the Tuesday afternoon hardware workshop at the Torrance Scout center and we will install it. You can see how it works running Office 2000 and other programs on the club machine before we take it apart. See me quick about this outstanding deal.
By Frank Chao, GSBUG, Inc.
Hello again. I am pleased to report that, at the present time, free and low-cost Internet access is proliferating at an exponential pace. I predicted that we were entering an exciting era of low-cost and free Internet service when I started this series of articles 14 months ago. As of this month, I can now state that my prediction has become reality. Even if you are a dyed-in-the wool fan of a commercial, full-cost Internet Service Provider (ISP), you owe it to yourself and your wallet to investigate the free ones. And please spread the word to those who are less financially fortunate that yourself. Letís work together to bring about universal access to the wonderful resources of the Internet.
"Altavista FreeAccess" Provides Free Internet Access
A third free ISP is now providing dial-up access in the South Bay area where most club members live. Their web site is located at http://www.microav.com/ If you do not already have Web/Internet access, you can purchase a copy of "Altavista FreeAccess" from Bob Hudak, our club librarian.
"Netzero" and "FreeI.Net" Also Provide Free Access
"Netzero" and "FreeI.net" were mentioned as free Internet services in previous articles in this series. The software for these two ISPs and the software for "Altavista FreeAccess" can successfully reside on the same computer. In other words, you can obtain accounts on all three of these free services and run them all from the same IBM-compatible personal computer. In order to do this, you have to be running either Windows 95 or 98 and you have to use either Netscape Communicator (or Navigator) 4.x, or Internet Explorer 5.x.
In order to have super reliable Internet access for free, I recommend that you use at least two of the three free Internet services that are now available as local toll-free phone calls in our South Bay area. There is no ISP, even full-cost commercial ones, that do not occasionally have busy signals. If you use at least two of the free ISPs, then, when one gives you a busy signal or some other impediment, you can hop on itís competitor.
"Caveat Emptor" for Free Internet Service
Please be careful when you see an ad that says that a certain Internet service is "free". Some of them are services that are free for a finite period of time and then revert back to charging you by the month, usually 30 to 60 days after you sign up with them. Some of them claim to be free after you pay some sort of a startup fee. If you are signing up for an Internet service and it asks you for a credit card number, then it probably is not free.
MSN Has Discounted Rates
You can now get onto MSN, Microsoftís Internet Service, at a discounted rate. See their website at http://www.msn.com for details.
Relocation and Enhancements to GSBUGís Web Site
As requested by our Board of Directors, our talented webmaster, Rich Bulow, has moved our clubís home page to a new location: http://gsbug.apcug.org The former location at http://www.lafn.org/community/gsbug will cease to exist in a month or two. He has continued to apply his programming magic to the clubís web site. Read all about it in his article in this newsletter. I wish to express my appreciation to Rich for his unending stream of enhancements to the clubís Web site. Even if this is the only web site that you view each month, free and low-cost Internet access is well worth the effort.
Still Not Ready: "Tritium Network"
"Tritium Network" is yet another free Internet service that will soon become available. You can learn about them at http://www.tritium.net They finally have dial-up phone numbers in our area. However, they have not activated any user accounts in our area yet. I will report about their progress next month.
Yet Another Reminder About Multiple ISPs
Please remember that if you have more than one ISP, you have to set up your computer for a "multiple ISP" configuration. For lots of technical information about this, see http://www.lafn.org/webconnect/multiple.txt In a nutshell, use the latest version of the two web browser, in order to take advantage of their advanced features for handling multiple ISPs.
Letís be realistic. A lot of these freebie Internet Services will start up and then bite the dust during the next two years. So, if you donít want to lose your e-mail, I strongly recommend that you use "Yahoo mail" instead. It is Web-based and not "Post Office Protocol"-based and this means that it is easier for you to set up and access. Using Yahoo mail, when your favorite free ISP goes belly up, you will still have an active e-mail account on the Internet. Your Yahoo mail account can be accessed from any ISP. To get an e-mail account from them, go to http://mail.yahoo.com Most of you are aware of the fact that Yahoo has plenty of competition in web-based e-mail. However, Yahoo mail seems to outshine the rest in terms of features and reliability.
Changes to the Los Angeles Free-Net
The Los Angeles Free-Net (LAFN) will make massive changes to their system on two upcoming dates. A large number of changes will occur on October 2 and even more changes will occur on December 31. They anticipate various unforeseen problems. The LAFN remains a great deal if you wish to access the Internet without receiving a blast of advertising, which is what you will get from the totally free Internet services. If you start having problems with LAFNís service, you may wish to contact your dedicated Internet SIG leader Herman Krouse.
Two Reasons to Use Both IE5 and Netscape 4
There are two reasons for using both Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape Communicator (or Navigator) 4 on your computer. Sometimes, you will go to a website and it only lets you into itís inner subpages if you have one web browser but not the other. It is one of those things that happens once in a while, but it does happen. The second and less important reason is that various features of these web browsers differ slightly and each of the two Web browsers does things slightly differently. For example, Netscape Communicator prints long URLs at the bottom of printouts of web pages more reliably that IE5. Another example is that IE5 does a better "save for off-line viewing" of web pages than Netscape Communicator. If you install both web browsers into your computer, be sure to refrain from telling either web browser that it is to become the default web browser for your computer.
Use "WhaleMail" to Transfer Large Files
In the article by our Webmaster, Rich Bulow, this month, he mentioned the limited file transfer capability of the bulletin board system in our clubís new web site. If this is a problem for you, I have a great deal for you. There is a a free web site called WhaleMail that helps you send large files up to 50 MBs in size to anyone that has Internet access and an e-mail address. To learn more about them go to http://www.whalemail.com This web site provides temporary storage for any files that you want to send to someone. You then tell this site who it is that you wish to allow to download your file.
Use "Freedrive" to Store Files
How would you like to have a free place on the Internet to store 20 MBs of your files. A web site called "Freedrive" allows you to do just that. This web site stores your files and allows you to get to your data files from any Internet-connected computer in the world. You can get an account with them at http://www.freedrive.com/
Hope you get the pattern by now: More and more free services are becoming available. They are all supported by advertising. Donít miss out!
Ways to contact me
If you have any questions or problems, I can be contacted by one of the following methods:
1. Leave a voice message for me at 310-768-8951.
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.