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|Vol. 17 No. 2||Supporting PC Platforms||Newsletter: Mar-Apr.2001..|
New Meaning for 'March Madness'?
By Bob Wallace
Each year at this time we hear probably far more than we'd like about March Madness, the annual blitz of college and university year-end basketball all around the country. Unless, that is, you're in a frame of mind similar to mine, meaning that you're far more likely to be interested in the last month of the National Hockey League's regular season leading up to the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Finals, then March Madness takes on a quite different meaning.
This year may add yet another defi-nition to the term March Madness, as
this month appears to mark the 12th month of a recession that had its
beginnings at least one year ago, if one
Politics and economics aside for the moment, the past few months have
seen the beginning of the decline in dot-com businesses around the San
Francisco Bay area, and declines in some of the larger firms with much
longer track records than the dot-com
Last week's San Francisco Chronicle had nearly one article each day
detailing how this or that dot-com was closing its doors; or over the past
month or two, how someone like 3Com, Intel, Cisco or Oracle was making
"adjustments" in its overall business strategy to make
themselves leaner for the near term, and keeping
Just within the past couple of weeks, some number of computer-related
businesses have been in the news because of layoffs being announced that
will affect hundreds or thousands of employees, depending on the overall
size of the business making the
Unless we're about to see a major shift in this part of the computer business in Silicon Valley as well, those being laid off have had new positions to fit into within hours or days of getting their pink slips until relatively recently. Depending on how managers view this recession and their company's prospects for weathering it will determine whether out-of-work computer employees will continue to find new workplace assignments within hours or days of being laid off elsewhere.
Added into this mix at the moment is what happens with the energy situ-
ation in California. Some number of Silicon Valley manufacturers have
suggested that they will build their own generating facilities to continue
having a dependable supply of elec-tricity at their worksites. If unable
to do that, some have already suggested that other areas of the U.S. may
be interested in having them move in, meaning moving out of California and
In fact, some number of states around the country have started
addressing this issue directly by mailing promo-tional material to
computer businesses in California, noting that they have plenty of
affordable electricity avail-able within their state, making it
This month of March may provide some indication of just where the
The next step is to change the outlook of people around the country from being pessimistic about the outlook for the economy to being optimistic-again. Making that change can change lots of numbers in future news reports as well as economic reports.
For some reason it seems longer ago than just last June that we learned of the Love Bug e-mail problem, but only eight months later we're getting pelted with something named as the "Kourni-kova.jpg.vbs" e-mail 'bug'. Perhaps not inundated to the same degree as was the Love Bug problem, due in large part to early detection of this latest attachment being potentially a problem for e-mail users with the Microsoft Outlook program on their computers, and using the address book within that program.
Given yet another situation of this sort, however, makes it a good
moment to focus on this type of problem for com-puter users. While
attaching files to messages is relatively routine for most
If you're not familiar with Visual Basic Script, or VBS, become aware
of it just as quickly as you can! Such files are similar to DOS Batch
files, although many computer users never bothered with them, which
may explain the vulnerability that comes with the VBS
Activating a VBS file that goes into your computer's Outlook address book and sends a message to everyone listed within that book may gum up the works at your local ISP for a period of time, but instructions can also be placed within the attachment that tell your computer to do things to the files on your hard drive without your being aware of it until after the fact. Retriev-ing such files can be relatively easy if you have backups available to help you recover, or time-consuming and expen-sive if you need outside assistance to get files restored that were not backed up somewhere.
Any time you receive a message with a file attached that you're not expecting, be very careful with that file, particu-larly if it has the ".vbs" extension at the end of it as was the case with the kour-nikova.jpg.vbs attachment last month. If you have any question about clicking on any attachment, check it twice to be sure of its name before clicking on it, not try to stop some-thing after you clicked on it to begin whatever process it's been instructed to do.
Also understand that file attachments such as the Love Bug and Kournikova are being forwarded to you in e-mail without having been authorized by the individual named as the sender. This type of e-mail message is automated by the 'bug' you received from whomever it was that apparently sent it to your computer simply by locating the Outlook program and its address book, going into that list of contacts and sending a similar message to every name found in that book.
Sending 'automated' messages serves only to make it more disarming to
anyone not expecting a 'bomb' to arrive via e-mail, given that the name of
the sender is someone you may know quite
Which brings up a serious question about Microsoft's Outlook program. Given all the problems related to just this one MS product, why do so many people seem almost automatically to use such a program? Is it simply the convenience of it, it's already there and available; or the idea of having a pro-gram that "seamlessly" fits in with everything else on the hard drive?
For whatever reason it's used by so many computer users, this one e-mail program has been tied to several file attach problems within just the last year. Strange as it may seem, neither your editor nor his wife have had such attachments arrive via e-mail message. Not that we're sorry, please understand, but both of us use a program named MR/2 ICE, one being the OS/2 version, the other the Windows version. As a practical matter, the only one of two computers here likely to be affected by such an attachment is the Windows computer used by Lois, and only then if the Outlook program is used to pick up messages for some reason.
Both 'flavors' of this program were just recently updated as of
February 23, 2001. Not that this should be taken as a ringing endorsement
of any e-mail program in particular, just that it's
Losing track of files on your computer can be very frustrating. Often, people hit the panic button, walk away, look at the window, see how many stories it would fall out of, then a smile comes over the face; or walks away from the computer, says some not so nice things back at the computer and then decides against tossing it out the window. Why not have a garage sale and make it a sale item?
The good news to all of this? Your files aren't really lost on the
computer; often they are just hiding somewhere you would not expect them.
But if you would do a search, you would find them. And this is easier then
you would think. Easier than putting the
Yeah, I hear you all saying, "Sure it is easy, Judy, but I can't find my files/work." Stop, don't hit that panic button yet, or toss the computer out the window. Here are some handy dandy steps to finding your files/work.
Windows 98 comes with a very handy dandy tool called Windows Explorer/ tools/find.
1. Click on your Start button.
2. Click on Windows Explorer.
3. Go to Tools pull-down menu; you will see Find. Click on find/folders or files.
4. Search by name: type in all of the name of the file, making
sure the spelling is correct. Computers are only as smart as you telling
it what is the name of the file. They are not good at
5. Make sure that you say all sub-directories as well when you are doing your searching. You want it to search the entire C: drive and all of the subdirectories.
What if you wanted to find the files by date? Find can do that as well.
Just click on the "by date" tab at the top of the screen. Make
sure that there is a black dot in the "all files" button.
And you thought it was difficult to find your files or work. It's easy!
[One other method of checking files on your hard drive was looked at
recently by your editor. My wife lost track of a file that may have been
edited using WordPerfect. A quick check with the web site
www.shareware.com located a program named Witzend. As the name implies, by
the time you look for this program you're just about at your wit's
end! If you can recall a word or two that may be in the file you're
attempting to locate, tell this program
By Bob Wallace
One of the new tricks being attempted here at your editor's abode is to get OS/2 to run a Win3.x application, as that Win app was intended to run under Windows 3.x. Not a problem, as WordPerfect 6.1 for Windows was designed to operate under Win3.x, not necessarily under OS/2. Certainly not directly under OS/2. After installing WP 6.1 in a Win-OS/2 window, how- ever, the next step, maybe even steps, is to figure out how to get WordPerfect to 'talk' to the printer, which at the moment is not happening. Getting to that point would allow for editing and printing on the same computer, rather than having to copy to diskette and move from one computer to another, crank up WordPerfect there and insert each file into the document. As is said frequently on radio and TV, stay tuned.
This month of March marks a full year since the club's BBS computer was turned off. That means a computer taking up space here in the office. Any interest in a 486-compatible running the AMD K5-133 CPU with 4 megs of RAM included? This in a desktop configuration, along with the EGA monitor attached.
March 8: TBA
April 12: TBA
May 10: TBA
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