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|Vol. 18 No. 2||Supporting PC Platforms||Newsletter:. February 2002|
New meeting space for SFPCC
By Bob Wallace
On only a few occasions have we had the need for putting out more than the usual six bi-monthly newsletter during the history of the SFPCC. Needless to say, the fact that you are reading this issue may suggest that there is good reason for doing so this month.
For several months dating back to the latter part of 2001, the club’s Exec Board has been considering a change of venue for us. One meeting location in San Mateo was visited prior to the holidays, another visited in January. Several other locations were under consideration until the January visit found what will be an excellent room for our monthly meetings, and in an excellent location.
Beginning with the March 14 meeting we will be using the Lounge located in the Retirement Inn of Burlingame, 250 Myrtle Road at the corner of Burlingame Avenue in Burlingame. This is a location very easy to get to, whether driving from home or work, or by taking the CalTrain, which stops only one block from this address.
Getting to the location by auto is easy enough from either direction along U.S. 101, the Bayshore Freeway. From the north, take off at Broadway exit, go to the second traffic light (Carolan) and turn left, following Carolan to the second stop sign. One block beyond that second stop sign is Burlingame Avenue, just across the CalTrain/U.P. train tracks from the Burlingame train station. Turn left and go one block east (toward the Bay) to find the Retirement Inn of Burlingame at the corner of Myrtle Road and Burlingame Avenue. Parking is usually available under the building, aside from several spaces marked as reserved for Inn staff. Other parking may be available across from the Inn near the tennis courts, or on the street close to the location.
Driving from the south is equally as easy. Turn off the Bayshore Freeway at Peninsula Avenue and follow Peninsula to Anita Road (just before the railroad tracks). Turn right on Anita and go to the "T" in front of Washington Park. Turn left there and go one block to Myrtle. The Retirement Inn will be on your left just before the intersection with Myrtle Road. Under-building parking is available, except for those spaces marked as reserved for staff.
Getting into the meeting space will be complicated only by the door to the building being locked each evening at 6:00 p.m. Ring the bell and wait for one of the staff to respond. Meeting space can be found by going straight toward the hall directly ahead of you at the front door, turn right and then right again just a couple of steps later to enter the lounge. One feature of this new room is not having the room divider that sets off the kitchen, as is the case in San Carlos.
Given this change of meeting location as of the March 14 meeting, note that coffee may be available to us in their dining room, depending on how late into the evening they may have fresh coffee available. The usual dessert fare will continue, most likely in the meeting room, although you should be aware that this room has a carpeted floor and about two dozen upholstered chairs. In addition, the room also has a huge television set that may be set up for future presentations, depending on the possible purchase of a card for the club’s computer, and a Mac computer that sits off to the side of the room near the baby grand piano.
By this point you should have figured out that our last meeting in San Carlos will occur on February 14 for those able to get away from loved ones on Valentine’s Day. You might want to snail-mail your Valentine’s card a day or two early this year on account of this happenstance. You may also want to consider candy or flowers, too?
By this point as well, you may have noted that our tentative calendar for January and February has gone in the tank again, not for lack of effort in attempting to lock in specific guests and topics for meetings. Because of these factors, the February meeting will be Open Forum, which will give us plenty of time to discuss the move next month to Burlingame, respond to any questions regarding the location and how to get to it (even El Camino Real isn’t that far away, if you haven’t checked your street map yet), and whatever other questions you may come up with.
Speaking of our calendar, you will note a bit later in this issue that the guests we had expected for January and February will be arriving in reverse order for March and April, according to our Program Chairman, Judy Oliphant, in our new location in Burlingame.
With most of this information detailed at least two times, one further bit of information needs to be brought to your attention. At the Exec Board’s January meeting at Red Robin in San Bruno, your editor was elected president of the SFPCC by unanimous vote of those in attendance that evening: Ernest Hintz, Judy Oliphant and Larry Welling. This change, along with several others, will be found on the mailer page at the back of this newsletter.
Speaking of changes to be made to the back page, note that our tutorial panel listing has not been updated for quite some time. We will be looking for volunteers to provide assistance to others in the club who may have problems with their computer and/or software from time to time. Anyone interested in helping others with their computer hardware or software problems can mention it to us at any future meeting or via e-mail message. All we need for this listing is name, phone and one or more areas of interest that you can assist others with.
Now that most of the official business has been covered, on with the issues in this newsletter. In our Jan-Feb 2002 newsletter you were introduced to Steve Bass of the Pasadena IBM Users Group. In one of their recent meetings, discussion covered upgrading to Windows XP for those with previous versions of the Win9.x platform that is being made available to computer group newsletters. This piece was written by Carl Siechert and made available by Steve Bass, who also forwarded his most recent article at about the same time. Both are included within this newsletter. Ernest Hintz posted an e-mail message reply that discussed the HP G95/85 printers and thoughtfully offered it for the rest of the club members, and Judy Oliphant has been busy with several pieces. Thanks to each of you for helping to make your editor’s chores a bit less difficult on a spring-like Saturday in February.
Windows XP: Why You Oughta Upgrade
By Carl Siechert, Co-Author, Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out
At a recent meeting of the Pasadena IBM Users Group, Ed Bott and Carl
Why upgrade? At the meeting, several people commented that we didn't
That's because, IMO, there isn't a distinct knock-your-socks-off feature/benefit. Instead, there are a number of minor enhancements that, collectively, make Windows XP a compelling upgrade for me. We tried to dash through them but perhaps didn't adequately demonstrate the benefit. Here's a brief summary of my favorites:
* Stability. Windows XP has the ability to run a large number of apps without running out of resources, without crashing. (If you're running Windows 2000, you already have this, so there's no gain.)
* Security. This is a huge topic that I can't adequately cover in a few sentences; suffice to say that security of your data and your privacy in Windows XP is leaps and bounds beyond anything available in Windows 9x. (Again, if you have Windows 2000, you already have most of the security capabilities of Windows XP.)
* UI enhancements. A variety of changes in Start menu, taskbar, Windows Explorer, and Control Panel make everyday tasks such as launching programs, switching between windows, and managing files just a little bit faster, easier, and more convenient. These features can each be customized, so you can use t he ones you like and change others back to Windows 9x/2000 style. (Similarly, you can banish the new look of Windows XP while still enjoying its other benefits.)
* Fast User Switching. Great for shared computers, FUS lets someone else log on without requiring you to first close all your documents and applications.
* Power management. Standby and hibernation let me save power (on desktop PCs as well as portables) yet still have fast boot time, bringing me right back to where I left off. (That is, all the windows that I left open when the system powers down are already open when I power up.)
* Digital photo support. I was never a fan of digital photography until I got XP because it was such a hassle before. But the support for cameras and scanners, as well as the features built in to Windows Explorer for viewing, printing, e-mailing, and manipulating images have actually made it fun and practical to work with photos in new ways.
* Remote Assistance. The ability to actually see and work with someone else's screen while conversing with them through text, voice, and video chat is a killer feature for anyone who's looked upon as a computer guru and gets calls for support from relatives, friends, and neighbors. (I suspect that includes most PIBMUG members!)
* Remote Desktop. The ability to connect with my home computer from the office (or vice versa) is awesome. It looks and acts exactly as if I'm at that computer five miles away, and I have access to all its files, printers, and other resources. And like remote assistance, it's acceptably fast if you have broadband Internet access. I also use it to work with other computers on my own LAN; that's sometimes easier than hopping back and forth between two computers.
* Better help. It's easier to navigate, integrates information from the Microsoft Knowledge Base, and includes links to a number of diagnostic tools. (Of course, it doesn't have all the answers. You still need our book!)
There are dozens of other enhancements--built-in CD burning, built-in ZIP file support, Windows Media Player, Movie Maker, etc. etc.--but those listed above are the ones that I personally find useful.
What's Wrong with XP? Not Much
What's wrong with Windows XP; we promised to talk about "what
* Windows product activation (WPA). I dislike it on principle,
but in practice it's not a problem for me or for most users. It's
anonymous, and it's a one-time operation that involves clicking Next a few
times to get through a wizard--and then you never think about it again.
Windows does NOT phone home on its own at any time to confirm your
If you want to avoid activation altogether, get XP preinstalled on your
next computer from a major OEM vendor like Dell. Those versions of XP do
not have product activation, so it'll never kick in when you change a
number of components in your system--one of the major flaws in the
* Price. Now that MS is enforcing the one copy/one machine limitation (it's always been part of the license agreement, but they've never had a way to prevent people from copying to all machines until WPA), I think the price--at least for copies after the first one--should be significantly lower, say $50-75 for Home, twice that for Pro. OTOH, it is a pretty good value, even at $100/$200.
* Messenger and Passport in your face. I use them constantly, so it doesn't bother me that they always start. But I'd be frustrated if I didn't want to use them and discovered how difficult it is to vanquish them.
* UI is too chummy in some respects. Wizards have replaced some dialog boxes, advanced options are now further buried, etc. As a power user who knows his way around, these slow me down. Fortunately, there aren't many of these impediments in the areas that I use frequently.
* Support for "legacy" hardware. Some people mentioned HP products in particular, but there are a number of unsupported products that are not that old. Microsoft has always left device driver development to hardware manufacturers, and it supplies plenty of support to manufacturers. It's clearly in Microsoft's best interest to have all hardware supported.
Manufacturers, however, don't have any incentive (other than the wrath heaped on them by disgruntled customers) to provide drivers for discontinued products; they'd prefer that you buy their latest and greatest. Regardless of whose fault it is, it's a real problem that affects all of us consumers.
* Networking. It's a little difficult to set up a mixed network--one with Windows XP and Windows 9x workstations. (But it's not impossible, and the steps to successful networking are fully document ed in our book!) Windows XP Home Edition uses only the Simple File Sharing model, which is indeed simple, but also somewhat inflexible. You can set up a folder to be private (so that only your user account can access it, either when logged on locally or o v er the network) or you can share it with everyone. But you can't, for example, easily set up a shared folder that you and your spouse can access but your kids cannot. (As we mentioned, there is a workaround-- detailed in the book--that lets you set up more complex security arrangements using Safe Mode.)
Which Version is Best for You?
Home Edition or Professional? The essential differences are these:
* You can't use Remote Desktop to connect to a computer running
* You can't use Home Edition on a multiprocessor system.
* With Home Edition, your computer can't join a Windows NT/2000
* With Home Edition, you're essentially stuck with Simple File Sharing. You can are/protect only at the folder level, and you can only make a folder private or share it with everyone. The Windows 2000 security model that's available in Professional offers granular security control that lets you assign specific types of access to specific users for specific files. (Most home users won't need this level of control .)
* If you install Professional now, you won't be able to upgrade to the Home Edition of the next version of Windows, so you'll pay an extra $100 now and again the next time you upgrade Windows.
Pro includes everything that's in Home. If you're unsure ab out which to get (that is, the points above don't seem to apply to you), try Home Edition. Worst case: you later decide to upgrade to Pro. The Home Edition-to-Professional upgrade is $125, so you're only out an additional $25 compared to purchasing Pro initially.
You can find Microsoft's advice on this choice at
What's the Bottom line?
* If you're buying a new computer, get XP. (Before you do that, however, run the Windows XP Upgrade Advisor on your current system. Be sure that any software or peripherals you plan to use with your new system will work with XP, or can be inexpensively upgraded.) Don't fret too much about the learning curve for a new OS and its new features; nearly everything you know about your current system can be applied to Windows XP, and you can learn about the new features as you need them.
* If you're using Windows 9x AND if your computer has the
* If you're using Windows 2000 and you're happy with it, hold off on upgrading until you get your next computer. If one of the nifty features like Remote Desktop, Remote Assistance, or digital photo support would make your life easier, pop for XP now.
I've decided that XP Professional is right for my newest systems (the rest run Windows 2000), but I don't mean to suggest that it's right for everyone. Besides, Ed and I have written books about earlier versions of Windows too. We'd be just as happy if you bought one of those books. :-)
Get Some Help
Here are a few URLs that'll help you with the upgrade:
Microsoft Product Lifecycle: This site tells you when support dries up for each version of Windows.
Windows XP Upgrade Advisor: The program available at this site checks your computer for hardware and software that may be incompatible with Windows XP. When available, it includes links to upgrade information for the incompatible components.
Copyright ©2001 by Carl Siechert. Reproduced with permission. Article
reproduction coordinated by Steve Bass, Pasadena IBM Users Group. Reaching
Ed Bott and Carl Siechert is easy. Ed's site is http://www.bott.com and
Carl's company site is http://www.swdocs.com. Discussions, links, tips,
and other good things are at http://communities.msn.com/
WindowsXPInsideOut and, as you'd expect, at each site you'll find
links for ordering the book online.
By Ernest Hintz
The HP printer I was talking about is HP's PhotoSmart model 100. Here
On your question about price for the photo paper, it was 8 bucks for 20
Do know however that the HP G95 does a super job. Peggy used the G95
For those that are not familar with the G95, it is essentially the same
as the G85 you see at Costco, except it comes with JetDirect (print server
for network printing) and 2-sided addition (allows for printing on both
sides of the paper mechanically). What the G85 or 95 is, it is HP printer
that copies, prints, scans and faxes in both black & color. For
example if you have color fax, then we can send you a color fax from our
G95. Negatives about this printer is that it holds small amount of paper
(hate printers that do not hold at least half or full ream - all this talk
We have 18 month experience with the G95 and other than the above
By the way, if you're using the G95 or 85 with direct connection to parallel port you need to use ECP mode to be able to use all the functions. These printers can also be connected via USB. For more info, check out the hp.com website.
If I had to purchase this unit today, I would purchase the G85 from Costco, especially Costco customer return policy if you have a problem, and purchase a HP x170 JetDirect. Throw this on your little network at home or office and everyone has access to it easily.
One personal comment, we recycle paper in our office at home, by reusing good used one-side-printed paper (printed non confidential or private stuff goes in the shredder). Our experience has been that the HP III gives little paper jams with used paper, where as the G95/85 being an INKJET printer it is really not ideal for recycling paper in this manner. Also the G95/85 cartridges are expensive in comparison to the HP III (laser printer) cartridges, cost per page wise. We have maintance done on the HP III about every 3-5 years which is about 250 bucks, worth every penny. No idea if anything similar is available for the G95/85.
By the way, I have written and talked with various HP department heads about the stupidity of printers not holding a ream of paper. Their line is, well the big office printers hold a ream and more. My response has been ok, so average user, home or home office or little office gets a ream of paper then puts parts and pieces into the printer. In the meantime the rest of the ream sits somewhere else, collects dust, uses storage space and then little more gets put in, and for the benefit of the printer the 1st page that was exposed should be thrown out. UH? Well you do not have to throw the 1st sheet out, but the dust and dirt collected can not be good for the printer. I told marketing, just think, you could use it as marketing spin.
By the way, if you have figured it out, I dred the day our G95 goes
into the shop for maintance. By the way I could write more, telling you
how the software allows you to update the speed dial fax numbers
automatically or the software tells you what level of ink is left in the
InkJet container or that I use fast print 98% of the time since the black
quality in fast print mode is NEARLY equal to the LaserJet print. Oh, and
OCR software comes with it, but I have not used it, other than testing it
orginally. HP also has updated drivers for XP if they are even needed,
since they should be part of XP. Am I crazy about the G95. Yes. Only
Remind me (you know how bad my memory is) and once we have some experience with the HP PhotoSmart 100 I can write a finger flying report also. Sure is a cute little printer.
[This originated in an e-mail message. We'll make a mental note to remind Ernest to get some experience with the HP PhotoSmart 100, and then to write about it. -Ed.]
When to decide if a trip to Target is a better bet
I don't have a good head for numbers, so double-check these figures for me, okay? I went online, pressed a few buttons, and two minutes later, bought a bottle of multivitamins for $10 and some Folic Acid for $3. Shipping was $3 so the entire bill was $16, right?
Nope. It cost me closer to $152 and two hours of futzing.
Raise your hand if you think shopping on the Internet can save you money. No doubt it can, provided you use it efficiently.
In the next few minutes, I'll show you the mistakes I've made (hey, I'm not as bright as I look, okay?), how you can avoid them, and maybe stave off a few gray hairs in the process.
The trap I always seem to fall into is spending a few minutes trying to
find the best deal on the Internet. (Computing minutes, as you may have
Oddest thing, I muttered, is how these darn Favorites have a way of
getting disorganized. I mean, what was I thinking when I combined DVD
Of course, an interesting thing happened while cleaning and dusting my Favorites. I noticed the "Free Stuff" folder, the one with coupons, discounts, and giveaways. Right, I think, I'd better stop by there first and see if Drugstore.com or MotherNature.com is offering free shipping. My first stop is to couponsforyou.com. Nothing for me there because it's a dot.gone. So were four other coupon sites. I hit the jackpot with www.dealofday.com because drugstore.com offered free shipping and a free diaper travel bag with any $20 order. Cool, I could use the diapers for buffing the car and I'd find something to do with the bag. And free shipping will put $4.95 in my pocket.
So What's the Deal?
The deal wasn't difficult to handle. Do all your shopping, stick the code into the special box on checkout, and shipping was deducted from the total. I did all my shopping, clicked done, and drugstore.com gleefully greeted me. "Yo! Steve-o! Welcome back buddy. Good to see you! But listen, the free shipping, and diaper deal? New customers only. Sorry, pal." Busted.
I couldn't just let that go. It was a challenge to my hacker mentality
"Hey, Frank, when did you move in with Bass?" Around ten this
I was busted again and chose not to play around with drugstore.com's
So I open a fourth browser window, navigate to the site, and find I was
Stay Calm, Okay?
By now I'm feeling a little antsy so I head back to AdvanceRX to place the order and get on with my life. At this point, you're probably one step ahead of me. I faced a really dumb problem: After all my futzing elsewhere, AdvanceRX timed out. The shopping cart was empty, my patience was fading, and I was in dire need of a psychotropic drug. Try clicking IE's Back button, I thought and Windows applauded my decision with a General Protection Fault. With all the B vitamins I'd depleted, I didn't think it made sense to bother rebooting.
I asked my wife if she'd like to make a quick trip to Costco. She did, we found the vitamins (about $2 more than online, not including the stress formula I felt a need to buy); we also bought $100 of stuff we really didn't need and went out for lunch.
Next month? Shopping Tips for Internet Shopaholics.
Steve Bass is a Contributing Editor with PC World and runs the Pasadena
Movie Works 5.2 is launched
By Judy Oliphant
Movie Works deluxe 5.2 is now available for Windows and Mac 8/9 and Mac OS X Many of you enjoyed so much the meeting that we had last year on Movie Works. I thought I would give you an update on their program.
Perhaps we can invite them back to our club and learn more about this
So what's new with this new version of Movie Works here is a list of some of the changes that they have made. You can logon to the Movie Works main web site and down load the update. By logging onto www.movieworks.com look for the down load tab at the top of your screen and then select to download the update.
Here is a brief list of the changes they have made.
General reliability improvements
Screen reduction optimizations leading to faster editing and importing
Importing from a music CD in Windows version now the same as the Mac version directly into Movie Works instead of going through a sound editor.
Smart Quick Time for Windows install. If Quick Time is not detected on
You can find out more about the new version of Movie Works by logging
Grin and Share it
By Judy Oliphant
When you add a digital camera to your PC with any Printer, you're
This provides an element of freedom you just can't get when someone
You'll never again have to wait and see what develops. Makes prints anytime you want and any size you want. Share pictures with family and friends online in e-mail and photo-sharing programs just as Print Room and Flip Photo there are many of them out there. Create yourself a calender, photo greeting cards, t-shirts. The only thing that it needs is your imagination and your own personal touch.
Explore the ideas and the information that is out there. Here are a few
of the many questions that are asked. Remember there is no such thing as
How do I use a Digital Camera?
Answer: It's not much different then using a film camera. You will just
What is a pixel? I have heard that word so many times, what is it?
It's the smallest part of a digital photograph you can think about it
What about resolution? You can get to control the number of
pixels depending on what you are doing with your pictures. Most cameras
nowadays have settings for low, medium and high resolution. Just e-mailing
And last but not least, the Memory Card? I have heard a lot about
This takes the place of film. The memory card is reusable and comes in a variety of sizes measured in megabytes: 8MB, 16MB, 32MB, etc. The higher the number, the more photos you can take before downloading them to your computer or printing them out.
When you download the pictures to your computer you will want to organize them somehow, some way. My digital camera, like most, came with some photo editing software within. In this software came a place for all of my photos to be stored easily.. Where I can edit them, save them and restore them as well.
Or you can create a folder yourself and store all of your photos there. Just be sure to name that folder something like myphotos be specific with the name. Want to find Martha wedding photos, it is easier to find that picture that you are looking for if you organize them properly. It is easier to find Martha wedding in a folder called Martha Wedding then one called Summer Fun No more shoe boxes of negatives that you are just going to lose any way.
[FYI, digital cameras, at least the Olympus digital used by your editor for the past 19 months, store pictures in a numbering format that gives the same "filename" to a picture on the memory card as the previous picture with that same filename on the card earlier, and the same filename that will be used on subsequent pictures stored on that memory card with the next round of pictures. In other words, using the method used by Olympus, picture 1 on the memory card will be numbered as P1010001.JPG, #2 as P1010002.JPG, etc. Despite your being able to format the memory card after copying the current contents to your computer’s hard drive, the same naming plan is used with the next round of pictures. Each time you copy pictures from the camera’s memory card to your hard drive, be sure to put them in a different "folder" or subdirectory. Copying each group of pictures into the same "folder" or subdirectory will over-write what you copied in there previously. -Ed.]
Photo Size Guide
Photo size wallet/email Bitmap file
8"x 10" 1536 x 1024 pixels
One place that you can upload your pictures to and create an album is
By Bob Wallace
As noted earlier in this newsletter, our thanks to those who contributed pieces for this issue. Helps save the fingertips of your editor, particularly when doing the one extra or special issue per year per millennium as provided for in the club’s contract with newsletter editors.
One followup to "Windows XP: A first look" in the Jan-Feb 2002 issue. It was noted for your information that MS-Word under Windows XP utilizes two link files to tell it where to look for the TINY.DOC file used in the example. After doing that newsletter, and on a day when there was a bit of extra time to be had between everything else going on, a check was made of this same setup under Win-98 SE on Lois’s computer. MS-Word still chewed up lots of hard drive space for that very small text file (all 34 characters of it!), but added only one link file to help in locating the file. Makes one wonder if progress can now be defined as using "file inflation" from one version of any given program to the next? Stay tuned!
Also meant to bring to your attention in the Jan-Feb 2002 issue that a browser is making the rounds that looks very much like the Netscape browser, as well it should, given that this is based on the open source version of Netscape 5, being modified on a schedule by an outfit named Mozilla.org. You can get the latest version available by going to www.mozilla.org and clicking on the download button, then going to the Windows link. The one function to be found in this browser that disappeared in Netscape 6.0 is the Print Preview, one very good way of saving paper. You might also be pleasantly surprised by the look of this browser on your monitor. For anyone already using an OS other than Windows, it’s also available for several other operating systems, including Linux and Mac.
Ernest Hintz has suggested an article on software versus hardware firewalls. At this juncture, I’m not sure just how quickly getting up to speed on some of the terms used in this specific area of computing can be caught up with, but this is one item on the agenda to have a serious look at in the weeks ahead.
Following up on the driving directions to our new meeting location, you
can also get there from El Camino Real in Burlingame by turning onto
eastbound Peninsula Avenue, going across the railroad tracks to Anita Road
and turning left to Burlingame Avenue. Turn left again for the one block
to Myrtle Avenue where the Retirement Inn of Burlingame will be located on
your left. Printed copies of this newsletter will have a map on the next
page for your benefit, thanks to our DeLorme Street Atlas program.
February 14: Open Forum
March 14: Chris Havnar on Genealogy.
April 11: Hank Skawinski, on almost everything related to computers.
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