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|Vol. 17 No.4||Supporting PC Platforms||Newsletter:.July-August 2001|
This is the early edition!
By Bob Wallace
As has become the custom over the past few years when my wife's AIFD Symposium does not convene in San Francisco, this edition will arrive one week ahead of time. This year's annual meeting of floral designers is being held in Chicago, which means your editor will be on the 7:00 A.M. United flight out of SFO to O'HareAirport on Tuesday morning, July 3, to cath up with his better half.
Results of student competition are already in for this year's gathering, and again at least one student has won first prize for College of San Mateo! This is becoming almost routine, which is when one ought to start watching over one's shoulder to see if anyone may be gaining on you. Fortunately, the retail floristry instructor at College of San Mateo is an excellent floral designer in her own right, and is quite capable of training her students to be some of the best not quite in the business yet.
In fact, some number of her students are taking the course for their own reasons, with no intention of going into the retail business as a floral designer. Not unlike some of us in this computer club who tinker with bits and pieces of the hardware to see what our systems can do, take the time to install software other than Microsoft DOS and/or Windows to learn what those other operating systems are capable of doing, yet have no intentions ourselves of going into the computer business. It's all for our own amazement, perhaps even our own amusement. It's our in-vestment of time and money with whatever rewards we get from it.
On to other issues in this issue of our bi-monthly newsletter. Following up on all the discussion over the past year or more on digital cameras, an Internet site has been found that will post your digital pictures, so you'll find a piece on that subject, and Judy Oliphant has a thought-provoking piece on where this computer club appears to be from her perspective, and the direction she'd prefer that it go in.
Add to this the usual odds and ends that tend to make their way into a
given issue and we'll have another July-August edition of the newsletter
on its way to you, so long as you keep in mind that you don't have to jump
into the family gas guzzler and head for San Carlos until next week. And
your editor will keep in mind that he'll spend the Fourth in a toddlin'
town that will be sure to have its own fireworks display, although he'll
have to 'suffer' through another annual dinner and dance with the
American Institute of Floral Designers, or AIFD, as
they're known, before traveling on to Michigan and Canada for a few days
in each place. We'll see you for the Potluck dinner in August.
California's energy crisis may change the way many of us do our computing activities. Having a limited amount of electricity during hours of the day when we might normally expect to work at our electronic devices means finding an alternative to what we've become accustomed to.
Desktop computers have served us well when there has been a sufficient
number of kilowatts available with which to use our systems. Now that it's
reasonably clear that we may be into a
In one sense, moving to laptops at this juncture may be a good choice. Laptops have increased both in computing power and hard drive storage space at just about the right moment in time. New systems are available now that have extended battery power to keep your keyboard up and running while neighbors are finding some other way of keeping themselves busy while enduring the latest rolling blackout.
One of the latest such laptop computers is Apple's new iMac, reviewed in the San Francisco Chronicle less than two months ago, advising that their battery would reach up to five hours of use before quitting. The reviewer noted that he managed about four hours of use right out of the box, while a later attempt after charging the battery up again managed nearly 4.5 hours.
International Business Machines (IBM) sent out a mailer just a few weeks ago that included several models of their laptop computer line, a quick browse of it showing that even IBM's laptop computers are getting somewhat better battery life than earlier models had been capable of.
The Compaq LTE 5100 being used at the moment to edit this piece can get
about two hours of useful work before shutting down, and even as this is
being written, continues to go into 'sleep'
Moving from desktop systems to laptop computers may also change the
nature of the way in which we work. Running energy-intensive spreadsheet
programs or database queries will almost surely need wall outlets that are
active, mean-ing no rolling blackouts while this sort of heavy duty
computing is going on. Using a computer to do word process-ing is nowhere
near as energy-intensive as either of the two applications noted above,
but will still deplete your battery at some point to such a degree that a
wall outlet will be needed to continue working while at
the same time
Depending on the application you're going to use may also require that
you change the basic setup within your computer to avoid going into
'sleep' mode while running spreadsheet or
One item worth noting for you in the IBM mailer noted earlier is that
IBM now offers laptop computers with the 3.5-inch diskette drive being
optional equipment while the CD drive is included. This is one option I
would insist upon having -- the diskette drive. Not everything I might
choose to install on a laptop is on a CD disk just yet, and may never get
there. While some may
For at least the past year if not longer, we've had discussions about
the use of digital cameras, which make and/or model is the better choice
for what the average picture taker might use such
Lexar Media in Fremont has a web site available that will provide at least one or two answers to these questions at their Printroom.com Internet site. Your editor learned of this site from the graphics firm located in San Mateo who did much of the work on his wife's "Feng Shui Seika" floral design book last year, including text and graphics displays.
Getting on the Printroom.com site is easy enough, simply type in the name noted here after you get on the world wide web. Lots of questions are possible with such a site, and they have their own FAQ file available with some number of answers to those questions. Joining their site is easy enough, too, as you simply click on the "Join Free" button, follow the few lines of information they'll need from you to assign you a location on their server. Among other things, this will obviously include your user name and a password that will identify you to their system. The rest of it includes your home address, voice phone and fax, and your e-mail address.
Once you get a 200MB space assigned to you, and this happens almost as quickly as you can post your infor-mation on their server, you can upload your pictures for viewing by yourself and any of your friends and relatives. If someone else has already taken the user name you choose, the server will advise you right away of that fact, allowing you to supply an alternate name before giving you space on the server.
Once you have your storage space set up, you can send your pictures to
their server for posting. Given that it's only been since June 30 that our
site was begun, I'm still figuring out how all of this works while
attempting to inform you at the same time. More checking on this as we go
along here. Giving you our user name and password would allow you to
modify any of the text
One thing quickly becomes apparent with Printroom.com, that being that you can only upload 36 pictures at one time, although you'll still be able to get additional pictures sent so long as you stay on the connection, or go back to that same album at a later time. For anyone using a dial-up modem connection to get on the Internet, 36 will be about as many pictures as you will want to send at any one time, given that your 28.8 or 33.6 connect will take some time to send as many as 36 pictures over to Printroom.com's server. Having a cable modem gets them there much quicker.
Getting that many pictures moved over to Printroom.com does take a bit
of time, but then you can easily add more pictures to that specific
"album," unless you choose to add a second "album"
Whether you need that much space or not, be aware that 47 picture files
in JPG format were uploaded to Printroom.com on
June 30, a total of 12,365,293 bytes. Depending on how efficient
Printroom.com's server soft-ware is in making use of storage
Getting on Printroom.com's site early on Sunday morning, July 1, comes
up with the following information. You can search for a picture album by
clicking on the magnifying glass icon, then supplying "Scotland
vacation" within the album name frame. Their
Last year found my wife Lois working extra hours to finish up text for
a book tied to Feng Shui, the Oriental
phil-osophy that all things interrelate, that making a modest adjustment
Next year is the next Floriade event (www.floriade.nl) in The
Netherlands, an event that takes place once every ten years, this next
occasion marking the fifth such. Even as this is being written, people in
Holland are busy moving dirt one way or another to put it all together. As
a result of next year's
While this would not be notable in most instances, it was this
connection between Lois, the local travel agent and the floral expert in
Holland that brought us one of those nasty e-mail attachments by way of
Microsoft's Outlook Express program. Our notice of it also brought along
the typical additional message from the travel agent who discovered that
their computer system had forwarded some number of messages along with the
offending executable program to our computer, among whatever number
The saving grace for us is that we do not use the Outlook or Outlook
Express program, so no address book on Lois's computer to forward yet
another copy of that executable to those with whom we exchange messages on
nearly a daily basis. The only problem, such as it was, was having
that EXE file begin to run on Lois's system, search for any
Outlook/Outlook Express address
Forwarding that same message and file-attach to my OS/2 Warp 4
com- puter had no effect either, given that Windows was not up and running
under OS/2, nor is there any address book available for it to post
messages to others with. Had the Win-OS/2 'window' been up and running, it
might have been interesting to see what the results of that executable
running in a Windows 3.x environment might have been. At best, it may have
As has been noted on previous occasions, getting a file attached to any e-mail message may require some degree of luck for the average com-puter user to avoid getting caught forwarding a message to those with whom you pass e-mail messages back and forth with, without much need to worry about getting 'bugs' coming your way from such exchanges.
Depending on how early in any given day your correspondent gets started for that day may make the difference in which way you learn of an attachment being sent to you without the know-ledge of your computer pen pal. In our case, the warning message came along right behind the file-attached message, giving us a heads-up that something might not be quite what we expected.
For the vacuous pissants putting these irksome programs together, three
cheers for their programming skills. But I'd much prefer to see them
exercising their skills in a direction far more likely to be beneficial to
all computer users, not the simpleton exercises they're doing at the
What you've been reading in this bi- monthly edition of the SFPCC News- letter has been done in large part on the Compaq notebook computer, most of the time running with its power supply firmly attached to the wall outlet behind me. While the battery is good for about two hours of doing some-thing, not being in any rolling blackout warning state means that the electric power from the outside line is being utilized fully.
One thing California's energy crisis has done for the bi-monthly newsletter is to get us to thinking about getting started on each issue at least one full week ahead of what had been our pre- vious schedule. That's not too difficult to do, so long as our schedule at home and work will allow for it. Over the past few months, weekends have not been all that agreeable for doing news-letters or much of any other computing activities.
As you may have noted, the most recent newsletters have been put
to-gether on your editor's OS/2 Warp 4-based computer using WordPerfect
for Windows v6.1, running in a Win- OS/2 'shell' under OS/2 Warp 4. Aside
from that OS/2 status line sticking up
You should also note that address labels no longer are being printed on
a dot matrix printer, that 'antique' also going the way of the dinosaur
several months ago. That 'old' Epson 9-pin
Either before or right after the news-letter is printed, address label pages are placed on the printer for printing, the several pages of newsletter taken to Kinko's for duplicating, collating and stapling before having the address labels affixed to them back at the house. Then it's off to the closest open post office to get them sent on their way to clubmembers.
As you might surmise from what's gone previously in this portion of the
news-letter, your editor is now using three different word processing
programs at one time or another: Perfect Writer, the
On those occasions when submitting articles for the bi-monthly newsletter, make a mental note to save it as "plain" text, by following whichever key-strokes your word processor might use to leave out all the extra bytes in your document. Getting those submissions to the editor is reasonably easy, using either snail mail, or attaching it to an e-mail message sent to email@example.com. Messages are checked here on at least a daily basis when we're home in most instances, but not while on vacation.
July 12: ActiveWorlds
August 9: Potluck dinner
Suggestions for future monthly presentations can be sent to:
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