The Bug Report

The only Bug that's good for your computer!
A Publication of the Greater South Bay PC Users Group
Volume 21 Number 11
November 2003

A monthly publication of
GS-BUG Inc. (c) copyright 1996.
Reproduction of any material herein by any means is expressly prohibited unless written permission is granted. Exception: Articles may be reprinted by other users groups in unaltered form if credit is given to the author and the original publication.

Editor - Kay Burton





By Dr. John Hanson

Topics for November

1. HP-49G+ Programmable Calculator
2. Servers on a Rack
3. Digital Camera Histograms
4. Collages and Layer Masks
5. Reasons to Avoid Wireless
6. Avoid Serial ATA Drives
7. Interesting PC World Downloads
8. Windows Shortcuts
9. Time Wasters on the Web
10. Rebates - Caution with Maxtor
11. We Need a New Editor
12. Digital Camera Help
13. Hardware Repair and Upgrade
14. Digital Picture Tips

1.  HP-49G+ Programmable Calculator:  A week ago I had dinner with the manager of HP's Personal Products Division and two of his calculator designers along with PPC members from all over the country.  HP has made amazing progress in what the calculator can do.  It will be available on October 6th and lists for $176 but ou can get it for $160 at  You can program the calculator on your computer and then load the program on the calculator.  It's easier that way.  One of the nice features is the addition of a slot for an SD flash memory card so you can have all sorts of memory.  Unfortunately it doesn't have a volume control so the sound may be too low for you and no contrast control so the display may be hard to see at certain times.  It does all sorts of graphs similar to the Casio and TI graphics calculators.

     A little background information is in order.  About 30 years ago when I joined this calculator club it had 18,000 members all over the world.  It was formed some time earlier by our very own Emmett Ingram.  Some of you may remember the HP+67, 97 and 41c, among others.  Today Emmett and I still use our 32s.  It was with the HP-67 and 97 that I took three years to develop a program to design my Tooties.  Later I moved the program to the Casio 602 which is much better and I still use.

     Before you get a HP-79G+ take a look at the newest Casio.  It has a very powerful graphing feature that is truly amazing.  It has a very large screen vertically.  On the bottom part you write an equation and a graph of it appears on the top part.  Make a change in any part of the equation and the new graph appears but what is truly amazing is that you can modify the graph and the equation changes.  Imagine the benefits for curve fitting.

     One of the major improvements made by HP and perhaps the others is not to use proprietary cpu chips anymore but standard chips and programming with standard languages like C++. Now they can keep manufacturing a popular calculator with the latest chips by just modifying the program slightly.  Older calculators had proprietary cpu chips and once production of that chip stopped the whole calculator design was useless.  That's why companies can't go back and start production of very popular calculators like the Casio 602.  It's a good thing that I bought about 20 of
them before they stopped production.  Not only has the 602 been very useful in the design of Tooties but in my other teaching as well as it is so easy to program and retains its programs when you shut it off.  In a few minutes you can program it for a particular student.

2. Servers on a Rack:  Jack Burton has a rack in his lab for his ham gear.  A rack is a free standing tower about 19 inches wide and six feet high where you can stack all kinds of equipment on top of each other.  When you rent server space you pay by the rack and not by the server so the more servers you can put in one rack, the better.  The unit of vertical space on a rack is called a "U" and is 1 3/4 inches.  Early servers were 4 U high (7
inches) so you couldn't get many in a rack.  New servers are only 1 U high.  I was curious why they were so thin as this is harder to design so now both of us know why.

     For more details see the interesting article in Oct 28 issue of PC Magazine.  Their conclusion in analyzing seven servers in the $5,000 range is that Dell easily is the best leaving behind HP and IBM.

3. Digital Camera Histograms:  The digital SIG people are the ones to ask about histograms but you can get some quite useful information on page 70 of the latest issue of PC Photo magazine.  You will have to do it in Photoshop unless you have a high end digital camera.  The histogram tells you right away if you are getting the optimum exposure.  If the curve is shifted to the left and cutting off some of the curve you are underexposed and vice versa for overexposed.  The ideal curve is one that is not cut off at either side.

4. Collages and Layer Masks:  Many years ago I used to do collages in the darkroom and stay up most of the night but with digital tools it is quite easy.  Page 25 of PC Photo tells in a easy manner how to use layers and layer masks to do this.  A mask hides a part of a layer so the other parts show thru.  The advantage of the mask is that you can redo it any number of times without having to start over with the image if you don't like what you have done.

5. Reasons to Avoid Wireless:  Normally I don't put much credence in what Yardena says but I read her stuff anyway just in case.  On page 140 of PC World of Nov 03 she gives 5 good reasons not to go wireless.  It's more expensive than wire, much slower, less secure and of course interference.  If you are thinking wireless for your home or office read her article.  On the other hand, if you have a notebook and travel it might be useful.

6.  Avoid Serial ATA Drives:  Some of our members are swayed by ads and want to get the latest such as XP which probably crashes just as much as other Windows OS's.  So when they see Serial ATA promoting faster file transfers don't believe them.  Who want to pay more and not get any benefits.  See page 116 of latest PC World.

7. Interesting PC World Downloads:  All are at followed by a number.  I will only give the number for each and a brief description.  37319 on page 106 is Mike Lin's Startup Control Panel where you can uncheck those pesky startups that programs put in and which slow down your boot process.  I use Office 97 so on page 110 go to 38141 for the SR-2b update.  I think it is better to stick with older programs such as Office 97 and Win 98se and update them to get rid of all the bugs rather than always learning a new version and more bugs unless the new version has features you can live without.  38147 is Ken Slovak's File Attachment program on page 114 which forces Outlook to show you all the files attached to your messages.  37610 on page 61 to upgrade your current version of Windows such as RegEditX.  For $25 Win Rescue eliminates all the drudgery of backing up the registry.  If you want to know why your system crashed get a copy of Bug Toaster.  To learn more about the Registry Guide for
Windows go to 37613.  Avoid spyware with Camtech 2000 with Spy Sites.  I am not a big fan of Steve Bass's articles but on page 61 it appears he has done a good job.  He is getting better. Page 51 has some good stuff on how to save of software safely such as an easy program to set up a web page.

8. Windows Shortcuts:   Pages 107,109, and 112 of PC World have some interesting shortcut you may want to copy and keep near your computer.

9. Time Wasters on the Web:  One thing that makes PC World better than PC Mag is that they tell it like it is usually whereas the policy at PC Mag is not to anger any potential advertisers.  Page 108 has some interesting comments such as how to avoid useless searches.

10. Rebates - Caution with Maxtor:  Maxtor used to be highly respected but maybe they have read the Enron book to see how much they can get away with.  If you do get a hard drive with a rebate be very careful and put a reminder on your calender to bug them when the rebate is due.  One member kept calling them and they said it was coming but after awhile Maxtor said the rebate period had expired so the member screamed and yelled on the phone and they said they would make an exception but he is still waiting for the rebate.

11. We Need a New Editor:  Remember about 18 months ago we desperately needed an editor when Vernon Lym had to stop because of work needed on his summer home up north.  Kay Burton was so nice to jump in and learn how to be an editor.  It was fun watching her getting better and better.  Some people had volunteered to help her and now we need them again as Kay's health is not as good as she would like.  I am sure Kay and
others would be glad to help any volunteers get started.  Please take the time to write her a thank you note and say you hope her health improves quickly now that she can relax more.

12. Digital Camera Help:  Bring your digital camera to the daytime hardware SIG and learn how to use it better as well as how to best transfer your pictures to the computer.  Call me in advance, when possible, so I can bring my digital camera so you can have a comparison.  If you don't have a digital camera we can show you how to buy the best camera for your purposes, budget and how to find the lowest price.

13.  Hardware Repair and Upgrade:  Bob Hudak is doing a great job running the hardware SIG with all his helpers but needs more computers to fix, upgrade or make to run better.  Call him when possible so he can bring the necessary equipment.  You can also bring in one so the experts can evaluate it.  No need to bring in the monitor, just the main case, keyboard, mouse and a power strip.

     If you have a battery that needs rejuvenating call me in advance so I can bring in the correct lab power supply and some meters as well as test loads.  Be sure to bring your charger in also.

14.  Digital Picture Tips:  Normally I don't find the articles in PC Phote very useful but the July/August issue is a winner with 27 useful tips to improve your digital images.  I didn't realize that all digital images from your camera or scanner need to be sharpened, at least a little.  Use the unsharp mask filter.  I don't know the reason why they need to be sharpened but it has to do with how the pictures are digitized.  Perhaps another member can enlighten me.

Editorís Note:  John Hanson is the inventor of Tooties, a  superb self-teaching  system used by millions in schools, homes, and  by eye doctors around the world to improve vision.  He also invented a  new form of psychology  called QET (Quick  Effective  Therapy) which  transforms poor students into good students, almost  overnight,  usually  in 5 to 15 days.  He has  also  had  outstanding success  in helping brain damaged people, even years after  their accident.   Why go to therapy for years and spend lots  of  money when  you can improve quite fast with QET?  He uses computers  to document  his cases for his books so that others may benefit  and improve  their  vision and other skills.  Visit his web  site  at for more information

By Frank Chao

Welcome one and all to the 63rd "Internet Talk" article which is part of the nineteenth newsletter that has been compiled by editor Kay Burton. I hope to see all of you at the annual Christmas party on December 1st. Liz will not attend this year, since she will be out of town.


To see a comparison of the various software packages that can block access to pornographic and other offensive material, see
The "Content Protect" software product got the top rating from this Website. See
for a review of this excellent product.
You can buy and download "Content Protect" at


Liz and I decided to try "iTunes for Windows". They sell music for 99 cents per file. Each downloadable file on the iTunes system contains a single audio track which is also known as a "song".  I downloaded a 19.1 megabyte file called iTunesSetup.exe from
There is no charge for this application download.
After installing and starting "iTunes for Windows", I clicked on "Music Store" in the "Source" list and then I proceeded to order and download a Whitney Houston song that Liz wanted to add to her music collection. After the download completed, I clicked on "Purchased Music" on the "Source" list. The new song was listed in the "Play List" area so I double-clicked on the song and it started playing. Then I clicked on the "Burn Disk" button, inserted a blank CD-R disk, and burned the song onto the CD-R in audio CD format. Liz was then able to play the song on her portable CD player. And I did not have to risk a lawsuit from the hungry lawyers that work for the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) !
Technical details:  The music file that I downloaded was called  I Will Always Love You.m4p  This file is in a format called AAC.  AAC stands for "Advanced Audio Coding".  It does a better job of storing music in compressed form than MP3 does.  (To learn about this format, go to
You can get any "genre" of music using "iTunes for Windows".  If you are a serious audiophile and you want store-bought CD quality, you will be disappointed with the audio quality of iTunes. It is better than MP3 but it will still be inadequate for a serious audiophile.  If you are just a casual listener of music, you can use iTunes as an inexpensive means of obtaining music that sounds just fine for jogging with a Sony Walkman.
Also, you can set up an "Allowance Account" from inside the "iTunes" software for your high school or college-aged progeny to keep them from being on the wrong side of a RIAA lawsuit.


Spyware / adware has been rampantly infecting computers belonging to GSBUG members.  One Torrance resident reported that one item of adware turned off all graphics in Internet Explorer.  This nasty item of adware also inactivated the Show Pictures checkbox in Internet Explorer that is located by going to Tools, Internet Options,  Advanced, Multimedia.  Spybot Search & Destroy was used to detect and remove the adware that caused the problem and his Internet Explorer now shows graphics again. Most of you know that the Internet looks pretty dull without graphics.  Lots of software is available for expunging spyware / adware from your computer.  The best spyware/adware remover is "Spybot Search & Destroy".  See for details.  This software utility is free. Download and start using it now.  The second item of software that I recommend is "Spyhunter".  The non-crippled "full" version of "Spyhunter" costs about $30, see   You can downloaded the "crippleware" version of their software for free.  This version does scans but it cannot remove the problems that it will invariably find on your computer.  I recommend both Spybot and Spyhunter. Each can detect and remove problems that the other cannot.  Unfortunately, no single adware / spyware removal utility can zap all of the adware / spyware pests that your computer can contract.  I suspect that you will need a whole arsenal of spyware / adware utilities until someone develops one that is good enough to catch all of the nasty adware / spyware that is now in existence.


To measure the speed of your connection to the Internet, go to


Here is an attempt to show you what a maintenance and security procedure for your computer might look like:

_____  Back up important data files to removable media.
_____   Go to "Add or Remove Programs" and remove anything that should not be there.
_____   Make a list of the software items that should be there so that you can use it for future reference.
_____   Go to "Start" button, "Programs" or "All Programs", "Startup", and use the right mouse button to remove anything that should not be
_____   Make a list of the software items that should be there so that you can use it for future reference.
_____   Start Internet Explorer.  Clear history.  Clear temporary files.
_____   Start spyware / adware utility #1.  Click on the online update button and check for updates.  Start detection.   Start removal.
_____   Start spyware / adware utility #2.  Click on the online update button and check for updates.  Start detection.  Start removal.
_____   Start spyware / adware utility #3.  Click on the online update button and check for updates.  Start detection.  Start removal.
_____   Start antivirus scan.  Start removal process for any virus problems that are detected.
_____  For each hard disk drive or partition, run Scandisk with surface checking, if scandisk is available on your version of Windows.         Otherwise, run disk error checking by right clicking on the drive icon and selecting properties.  Otherwise, run Norton Disk Doctor or similar disk maintenance utility.
_____  For each hard disk drive or partition, run Disk Defragmenter, Norton Speed Disk, or other disk defragmentation software.


In order to network the computers in your home or business together, you now have the following options:
Wired network with Category 5, 5A or 6 "10BaseT" cabling
        (See,,93,00.html  )

Wireless network
        (See  )

Powerline network
        (See  )

"Home Phoneline Network Alliance" network ("HomePNA")
        (See  )

or any combination of any number of the above.

See for comprehensive information on all of the above networking methodologies.


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

1.  Send me e-mail at:
2.  Leave me a voice message at      (310)768-3896.
3.  Send "snail" U.S. Postal Service mail to

 Frank Chao
 PO Box 6930
 Torrance, CA 90504-0030.

Or sell your computer and take up gardening instead !!



I did not come up with any new shareware programs this month. I sent a e-mail to members that have e-mail addresses in our data base about three new CDs in the library that show and tell how to refill ink cartridges. I am putting a copy of the message in my column for those who do not have email yet.  A few months ago we had a presentation on refilling printer inkjet cartridges by Cynthia Hunter from The Ink Dot. One of our members, Fred Gutman, video taped the presentation and put it on CD's. It is a vary good close up on how to do the refilling. It includes voice instructions. Will play on your computer and might even play in a DVD player on your TV. I have not checked that out. There is a separate CD for HP, Epson, and Lexmark printers. Buy a copy of the one you need for only $5.00. You will need to call or email me to order
which one you need. This is a great how-to training CD.

I have one more little fun thing to pass on. It is a puzzle made up of only 9 square pieces. I sent the editor a copy and I hope she can print it in the news letter on the inside last page so you can cut it out without destroying the heart of the news letter. Cut on the lines so you end up with 9
squares. Now arrange the pieces so ALL the icons are put together. Does anyone have a computer program that can solve a puzzle like this. You see this being done on TV shows all the time. Send me a email when you solve it so I know who is good at this. More next month.

A word about the day time Hardware Sig on Tue. afternoon at the Torrance Scout Center. Things have been really slow. Does this mean we have fixed all the members problems? Maybe some members have bought a new system at the low prices that are available and are not having any hardware problems? That is good. If you do need help adding a new hard drive or CD Rom drive or what ever, we are ready to give you a hand. Come on down.



You can stop certain sites from planting cookies on your computer, if you like. In Internet Explorer, click Tools>Internet Options. Select the Privacy tab and click Edit. Enter the address of the Web site and click Block.  In Netscape, click File>Preferences. Under Privacy & Security, click Cookies. Click Manage Stored Cookies. Scan the Stored Cookies list to find the site you want to block. Click Remove Cookie and select "Don't allow removed cookies to be accepted later."
You can also delete all of your cookies. But if you do that, many sites will no longer know you. You'll have to enter passwords, where, before, you bypassed the password requirement. Other sites with which you do business will no longer customize their site for you.   In Internet Explorer, click Tools>Internet Options. On the General tab, click Delete Cookies. In Netscape, click Edit>Preferences. Under Privacy & Security, click Cookies. Click Manage Stored Cookies. Select the Stored Cookies tab and click Remove All Cookies.  If you use America Online, click Start>Control Panel (in Windows 98 and ME, click Start>Settings>Control Panel). Double?click Internet Options. On the General tab, click Delete Cookies.