August 2010
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
http://www.
nvpcug.org
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 27, No. 8
Aug 2010
Inside This Issue
2
2
2
3
4
4
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
14
15
16
18
20
NVPCUG Special Interest Groups
NVPCUG Calendar
President’s Message
Officers List
Virtual Magnifying Glass 3.3.2:
Internet Tech Advice
THIS AND THAT – May 2010
Annual Members Potluck Picnic:
August 14, 2010, 1:30 PM
PCmover
Office 2007 - The Missing Manual
A Font of Knowledge
Convert a PDF File to a Text File
Diskeeper 2010 Professional
Zen and the Magic of Photography
ET phone home!
World of Blogging
Backups are essential to protect
your data
Membership
Application/Renewal
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users
Group has served novice and experienced
computer users since 1983. Through its
monthly meetings, newsletters, online forum,
special interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has helped
educate people of all ages. The NVPCUG
provides opportunities for people to find
friends who share common interests and
experiences. From January 2003 to October
2007 the NVPCUG provided 783 computers
and 140 printers to local schools. Additional
equipment has been given to charitable
nonprofit organizations and to
disadvantaged individuals.
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group will meet
Wednesday, August 18th,
7:00-9:00 P.M.
At the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
will be the main presentation
After meeting information by the President we
will have our Random Access, an open-floor
question-and-answer period during which
attendees can ask questions about computers and
computer-related problems and receive helpful
information from other meeting attendees.
Questions may be submitted before the meeting by emailing
them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at
[email protected]
The Computer Tutor session will follow. During
this months session Jeff Solomon will be will be
giving an overview the new Google Earth 5. In
addition of views of the earth, the sky view is
available within the program. Get your own
personal program. It is available at h t t p : / /
earth.google.com/download-earth.html. If you
have a suggestion on which feature he should discuss, please
contact Jeff Solomon at [email protected]
Orv Beach is returning to us as our main
speaker. Orv will be demonstrating how
to install Linux alongside Windows on a
computer, so either operating system can
be selected for use at boot time. If you
have a suggestion on which feature he should discuss, please
contact Susy Ball at [email protected]
Could you use some practical information thSusyou make better
use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always
welcome. Admission is always free.
Interested in becoming a member? See page 20 for
application information.
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010
NVPCUG
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
& MAC GROUP
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general meetings.
SIG meetings are open to everyone.
Meeting times and locations
occasionally change, so for current
meeting information, see our Web
site, www.nvpcug.org, or contact
the SIG leaders.
Inv e stors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
bqandjbb
@sbcglobal.net
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Napa Valley Mac User Group
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Ron Rogers
(707) 226-5352
ronrogersnapamug
@gmail.com
From the Napa Valley Register. Posted: May 25, 2010, 12:00 AM
1931-2010
George Shiffler Jr.
George M. Shiffler Jr. passed away Thursday, May 26,
2010, in Santa Rosa following a sudden illness. He was
born on Nov. 20, 1931, in Pittsburgh, Pa., to George and
Mary Lyon Shiffler Sr. Following graduation from Washington
and Jefferson College, Mr. Shiffler began a long and
distinguished career as an aviator with the U.S. Marine
Corps. During the first of two tours of duty in Vietnam, he
was the recipient of the Silver Star, awarded for gallantry in
action in 1965. He retired with the rank of Major in 1974
after more than 21 years of service to his country.
Mr. Shiffler has been a resident of Yountville since 1990,
where he has pursued his lifelong interests in cars and
photography. He was also an active member of the Napa
Airport Pilots Association.
His survivors include his wife of almost 58 years, the
former Patricia Anne Jones of Yountville, his daughter Inger
Shiffler of Houston, Texas, and a sister, Mary Jane Cavallo
of Tinton Falls, New Jersey.
Friends are invited to attend a memorial service on
Friday at 2 p.m. at Treadway and Wigger Funeral Chapel.
Contributions to a charity of the donor’s preference have
been suggested by the family.
Memories and condolences may be relayed to the family
online at www.treadwayandwiggerfuneralchapel.com „
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each
month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Aug 14
Aug 18
Sept 1
Sept 8
Sept 9
Sept 13
Sept 15
Oct 6
Oct 11
Oct 13
Oct 14
Oct 20
1:30-5:30
7:00-9:00
7:00-9:00
7:00-8:30
6:30-8:30
5:30-7:30
7:00-9:00
7:00-9:00
5:30-7:30
7:00-8:30
6:30-8:30
7:00-9:00
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
p.m.
NVPCUG Annual Picnic + D
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
Investors SIG meeting + C
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 2
M e e ting Lo c ations
A - Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
B - Piner’s Nursing Home,
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
C - Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
D - Peterson’s Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms
Lane, Napa.
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
Officers for 2010
Board of Directors
President
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer
Other Directors:
Director
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
Dick Peterson
738-1812
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman,
Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner.
Jim Gray
unlisted
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
553-2114
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
252-1506
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Kathy Slavens
251-9193
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Librarian
226-9164
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
224-2540
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell
252-2060
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
337-3998
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
254-9607
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
VOLUNTEER NEEDED
[email protected]
Webmaster
Ron Dack
unlisted
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 3
NVPCUG
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286.
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
noncommercial
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
information.
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
international
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2008
by NVPCUG.
Virtual Magnifying Glass 3.3.2:
A free, open source, screen magnifier, for
Windows, Linux, FreeBSD and Mac OS X
By Jim Townsend, Managing Editor, Brevard User Group, Florida, The Bug Newsletter, May
2010 Issue, www.bugclub.org, [email protected]
Awhile ago I installed this program on my notebook
computer, tried it out and forgot about it. I started to
cleanup and defrag the hard drive and came across it.
So of course I had to play with it. The notebook has
an LCD screen with 1280x800 resolution and some
sites are hard to read with fine print, colored
backgrounds and the dimming when it is on battery
power.
When you click on the program to open it you have
four choices to pick from, one of which is the web site.
I clicked on that and read the instructions. Simple and
to the point, “even a caveman could do it.” Once the
program is started, you can click the mouse and it will
drop to the system tray on the task bar, where you can
bring it up when needed. After a reboot you will have to
restart the program again, so a shortcut on the desktop
would be convenient.
The program defaulted to a 3x5 inch box, which I
found could easily be changed, also with different levels
of magnification. You could change the width to read a
line of text and three or four lines in height, then just drag
the box down the page.
Did I mention it was FREE. The author asks for a
donation through PayPal; if you find it useful please
„
consider paying something.
http://www.magnifier.sourceforge.net
Internet Tech Advice
Managing [and deleting] all those web browser toolbars
By Sandy Rand, President, Brookdale Computer Users Group, New Jersey, June 2010 Issue,
BUG Bytes, www.bcug.com, [email protected]
Did you ever notice that your Internet Explorer has
toolbars from such companies as Google, Yahoo, Ask.com,
WebSearch, MSN, The Weather Channel, etc? The list of
these toolbars goes on and on. When I work on my client’s
computers, sometimes I see five or six toolbars on the
same browser window. The toolbars are actually taking up
a third of the space. Most of the time, the client doesn’t use
them and has no idea how they got there. Once in a great
while, I find someone who actually uses one of these bars.
The annoying part of it is that most of the time, they sneak
on. These toolbars are mostly marketing. Somebody is getting
paid to get you to use them. So, how do they get on your
computer? The usual scenario is that you have downloaded
a free program and done a Standard Install. The way to
control what’s happening is to do a Custom Install. With the
Custom Install you step through several screens that give you
choices. With free software, most of the time one of these
screens will ask for permission to install a toolbar, change your
home page or change your default browser. All you have to
do is remove the checkmarks or choose no.
Sometimes when downloading programs, you’ll get a
choice between running the installation from the web site
and saving the installation file to your hard drive. You
should always choose to save the file and do the install
from your PC. Otherwise, you may not have an opportunity
to choose the Custom Install. Also, it’s good to have the
install file just in case you have to run the installation
twice.
If you’re actually using one of these toolbars, you
should still get rid of the ones you don’t use. There are
two approaches. In Internet Explorer, just right click in
the menu area. The menu that comes up will list all
toolbars installed on your PC. The active ones will have
a checkmark in the menu. Just click on the check marked
item and the toolbar will close. Use this method if you
might want to use the bar later.
If you’re sure you’ll never use it (which is most of the
time), go to Control Panel, Add Remove Programs and
uninstall the toolbar program. It’s that simple.
There are quite a few free programs that are worthwhile
and the software companies can’t stay in business if they
can’t monetize it somehow. The toolbars are one way
they do it. Still, for the future, you’ll have better control
„
if you always do Custom Installs.
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 4
Dick’s Clicks
By Dick Ramette, President, Computer Club of Green Valley, AZ, Summer 2010 Issue,
Green Bytes, [email protected]
this email has already been successively forwarded
This month I clicked on “email etiquette” in Google, and
several times, each time accumulating long visible
found 163,000 hits, with myriad suggestions for doing the
lists of email addresses of previous recipients.
right thing. I realize that many of you do not need this, but
others, including my own kith and kin, should take note of
Do you take time to check a hoax or urban legend web
these pet peeves. Please take the quiz:
site, such as w w w . s n o p e s . c o m or
1. A friend emails you with the subject “Meg’s birthday,”
www.scambusters.org, to see if this message
and attaches three nice pics of the little sweetie with her
has validity? Most likely you’ll find that it has been
cake and candles. Do you immediately reply and comment
debunked, perhaps still making the rounds after several
on the happy occasion, leaving the subject unchanged?
years. Do you spare others needless anxiety and
wasted time by simply deleting such emails? They’re
2. A month later, when you email this same friend about
meant to deceive gullible readers, which is rather
your successful hip replacement, and you use Reply
funny given that “gullible” is not even in the dictionary.
to get started, do you use something relevant, like
“I’m so Hippy,” instead of lazily leaving “Meg’s
6. When you Forward an email that is legit, perhaps a
birthday” as the subject line?
collection of cute rattlesnake pics, do you delete any
previously-accumulated email addresses? When you
3. When a friend sends you anything welcome, do you
write to multiple email addresses, do you Send using
give them the courtesy of a prompt reply/thank you,
BCC (blind carbon copies)? In both cases, it’s a
knowing that they’ll appreciate that you received it
matter of protecting email address privacies.
and cared enough to respond?
7. For all emails, before clicking on Send, do you read
4. When you Reply, do you delete all traces of the
your composition to find typos, poor phrasing, bad
incoming email, especially any pics or a long attachment,
punctuation and misspelled words? Do you avoid all
thus saving clutter on your friend’s hard disk which,
upper-case words except when you want to be read
after all, already has a copy of what was sent?
as SHOUTING? Do you minimize those !!!!s? It’s
5. Someone emails you a scary warning of impending
all a matter of caring, courtesy and competence.
doom if you get an email with a certain clickable link.
8. Did you get a perfect score, without “No” answers
Or, it might be an amazing come on, saying that
to any of the questions?
Microsoft will pay you cash for every person to whom
you relay this message, so they can check a new Thought of the Month: “Type unto others as you would
method of email tracking. You are begged to forward have them type unto you.”
„
this to everyone in your address book. You notice that
Power Smart Wall
Reviewed by George Harding, Treasurer, Tucson Computer Society, Arizona, June 2010
Issue, TCS eJournal, www.aztcs.org, [email protected] net
This device is a combination surge suppressor and wall standby, the outlet shuts down. Why does this make a
outlet, but there’s so much more!
difference? Just about everything that is plugged in sucks
power, even when turned off. The “green” outlets eliminate
About: Power Smart Wall
this power drain when power isn’t needed. The surge
Vendor: iGo
protection feature is rated at 1080 joules, a good level of
www.igo.com
protection, according to Underwriters Laboratory.
Price: ±$30
That’s not the end, though. There is an indicator on the
The physical object is approximately 5" x 3" x 2", and top of the front side. This can be pressed to restore power
weighs maybe a pound or so. The back side has prongs to immediately to the “green” outlets, if they are off. The
ft a standard wall socket. Both the left and right side have button can also be used to cause the device to recognize
two sockets for three-prong power plugs. Here’s where the power needs of the devices plugged in to it. The unit
the difference begins, though. The plugs on the left side are comes with a warranty for damage to devices plugged in
the usual type and are always “on”, but the ones on the to it. It is good for repair or replacement of damaged
right side are very special. They are “green.” They provide equipment up to $25,000. This is a handy unit, easy to use
power while the plugged-in unit (laptop charger, monitor, and which provides valuable protection.
„
printer and so on) needs power. When the unit is off or in
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 5
THIS AND THAT – May 2010
By Elizabeth B. Wright, Contributor to ccOKC Monitor, Computer Club of Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma, www.ccokc.org, [email protected]
As we get deeper and deeper into Windows7 we find
ourselves spending far too much time overcoming the
things we don’t like about it. Overall, it seems to be a good
operating system but, as usual, it assumes settings which
are not what some of us want. Then it has convoluted the
process of changing those settings so that we are forced
to work very hard to learn how to make our own changes.
With the problems I have had with external hard drives that
won’t work with 7, I was about to revert to VISTA where
those same drives worked just fine. But instead opted to go
forward and try to get things going in 7. But my desktop
was a real visual problem for me. Whoever designed the
new icon/font combination must have been in never-never
land. (That translates to Microsoft). Those hollow fonts
with the drop shadow are not only useless but almost
invisible to anyone over the age of 40. I found I could
change the font for the icons but not the color. That seems
to be controlled by Windows itself. I finally changed the
“theme” to High Contrast/White, and then overlaid that
with the picture of my choice. For now, I have black text
on my desktop. Maybe that is good, maybe not. We’ll see.
But as we all know, there is always the internet. Remember
that following links can be hazardous to your computer’s
health, but hopefully the one below is okay. I found a good
forum site which addressed the problem and I now have
my good old black, 12pt Arial font gracing the icons on my
desktop. I used a website at: h t t p : / /
www.sevenforums.com/generaldiscussion/27473-desktop-icon-fontsunreadable.html.
This immediately told me where to go and how to change
the font. It was located under Start|Control
Panel|System|Advanced System Settings. I decided
to use the custom settings option and actually took out
practically everything. I will probably decide later to
reactivate some of the items, but for now I will see how I
get along without them. You probably should be more
careful, making sure you know which options to uncheck
and which to leave alone, but I chose to be reckless and
uncheck nearly all of the boxes. Since I have toyed with the
idea of reinstalling the operating system anyway, I figured
it wouldn’t hurt it any. Of course, I probably will be proven
wrong. (I know, proven/proved. I am from the “Old
School” of grammar.)
So what else can we disrupt, discuss or dispute? Most
of us have had some confrontation with the people “out
there” who are up to no good. Some hijack your
contacts list, use your email address to send fraudulent
emails bearing your email address, usually wanting
money, and making enough money on the scam to keep
it going, possibly forever. They use a similar technique
on the telephone, claiming some kind of disaster, e.g. a
car accident or some other catastrophic situation, and
needing help. On the phone, the caller usually pretends
to be calling at the request of - “your” daughter/son/
aunt – etc. etc., and asking for money to be sent
immediately to some destination the caller provides.
Usually the destination is out of town, sometimes in a
foreign country. Always check with the person you are
supposed to know or be related to who is mentioned in
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 6
Annual Members
Potluck Picnic:
August 14, 2010, 1:30 PM
the scam before forwarding any money to anyone
claiming to be that person’s representative. There don’t
appear to be any remedies for these problems, so just
keep your guard up and try not to get scammed. As for
the email problems, I, for one, do not keep a contact list
on my webmail account. It just seems too easy for other
people to hack into it from there. But even that is no
guarantee of privacy.
„
Game Prizes
Thank you to Dick and Sandy Peterson for again
hosting our August Members Potluck Picnic. The
location is in the redwood grove by the pond at
Peterson’s Family
Christmas Tree Farm,
1120 Darms Lane in
Napa. The date is
Saturday, August 14th
from 1:30 - 5:30 PM.
Appetizers and games
willbeginat1:30andMike
Ball will oversee the
barbequing of NVPCUG
supplied steaks & chicken at approximately 3:00. With
the group will also provide nonalcoholic beverages
& ice, paper plates, cups, plastic ware, & napkins.
Alcoholic beverages are BYOB. There will be
games including horseshoes, washer toss and floppy/
CD throw with prizes awarded to the winners and a
doorprize.This is a time to visit with old friends and
make new ones.
Signups will be available until our August 11th. You
may
e-mail
me
before
then
at
[email protected] with “NVPCUG Picnic”
in the subject, telling me the member’s name, who
will be attending with you, what you are bringing for
the potluck (we need some appetizers), and if you
can help with setup at 1:00 or cleanup after.
The potluck picnic is always a lot of fun and the food
is great and plentiful. We hope to see you all there.
Coordinator Dianne Prior (252-1506),
[email protected]
„
Door Prize
$160 Value
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 7
PCmover
By George Harding, Treasurer, Tucson Computer Society, AZ, The Journal of the Tucson
Computer Society, January 2010, www.aztcs.org, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Laplink has had PCmover available for many years. Its
purpose is to successfully transfer your data and programs
from an old computer to a new one. The data part of the
transfer is easy enough, in fact, Microsoft has an application
called Easy Transfer that will do that part. However, to
transfer the programs part is difficult. You usually have to
install the original programs on the new computer, and then
update them as necessary, which may take a long time
The PCmover process has been adapted to include the
tricky process of upgrading from XP to Window 7. As you
probably know, Microsoft requires you to do a “clean”
install (format the hard drive, then install) if you are running
XP, then reinstall and update all your programs. I tried the
PCmover process in an update from XP to Window 7.
Overall, I would say it was a remarkable success. Before
you start doing an upgrade, it’s wise to run Microsoft’s
Upgrade Advisor, available at Microsoft’s site.
The first step, of course, is to make at least one complete
backup of your system – not just the data files, but the
entire partition in which XP is running. Some tech people
even advise making two complete backups and having
them verified by the backup software.
The next step is to download and
install PCmover. You can download
it at www.laplink.com/PCmover.
Once downloaded, you install it
just like any other application.
Laplink advises that you turn off
any screen savers and powersaving settings. For laptops keep
the power plug in. Your computer
must stay awake during the entire procedure. They also
recommend disabling anti-virus, spyware and similar
applications because they probably won’t be transferred
correctly; you’ll have to reinstall them after the upgrade.
Next, you run PCmover. You will need a serial number
in order to run the program, which you should get when you
download the program. The next screen of the program
shows several choices for method of migration. You should
choose the Windows 7 Upgrade Assistant method.
You can choose to migrate all users or only chosen ones.
You’ll usually choose all. Next, you’ll be presented with a
list of all your hard drives and partitions. You’ll only want
to migrate the partition/drive which has XP. Next you can
exclude certain file types. You probably won’t want to
transfer the listed types, but it won’t hurt anything if you do
transfer them.
Next is a scan for applications. You’ll get a list of all the
applications on your computer. I got 112 in my list. You may
deselect any of these which you don’t want to migrate. I
left them all checked.
The next step creates the list of applications you have
chosen, and then asks you what name to give it and where
to save it. You should save it on a different drive/partition
from the one you are migrating, or on an external hard drive.
You can give it any name you want. I called mine “upgrade.”
Now, PCmover creates the Moving Van, the file that
contains all the info to be migrated and saves it where you
specified. This may be quite a large file. Mine was over 7 MB.
Now you upgrade to Windows 7 by selecting the Custom
method. This will take a while, but your input will not be
needed. Once complete, you reinstall PCmover on the
upgraded computer, run it, find the Moving Van file and let
PCmover migrate your applications and data. This transfer
may take quite a while.
When completed, you should have all your applications
and data that you wanted migrated available and working
in Windows 7. There may be some of your applications that
do not work in Windows 7. I had a few, but the problem was
with Windows 7, not PCmover.
I found this migration assistant to be easy to use and quite
effective to migrate applications and files.
About: PCmover
Vendor: Laplink
www.laplink.com
Price: Ranges from $20 to $60 for a single license „
Solar Power
Solar panels aren’t just for the roof of your house.
Now, solar-powered electronics and accessories are
produced with eco-conscious features, designed to
harness the power of the sun. Laptop cases, Bluetooth
car kits, and radios with built-in solar panels help your
devices stay charged via the sun’s energy.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 8
Office 2007 - The Missing Manual
By George Harding, Treasurer, Tucson Computer Society, AZ, The Journal of the Tucson
Computer Society, January 2010, www.aztcs.org, [email protected] earthlink.net
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s refer to these sections to see how to efficiently perform in
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
Excel 2007.
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
O’Reilly Publishing has a series
of “Missing Manuals” that are
described as “The book that
should have been in the box.”
These books give you a detailed
and complete description of all
you could possibly want to know
about the application in question.
In this case, the book deals
with the major components of
Office 2007: Word, Excel,
PowerPoint and Access.
Microsoft provides several versions of Office, all of which
include Word and Excel. PowerPoint and Access are
included in some versions.
The book is extensive, being nearly 800 pages long plus
two appendices and several indexes. It starts out with
some of the rationale for the ribbon system used in Office
2007. It explains the Quick Access Toolbar and how to
customize it. The book spends little time on the Office
button, which is unfortunate. This is a major area for
customization of your version of Office. There are four
major sections: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access, plus
the initial section of the Office Toolbar and ribbon.
PowerPoint
There are nine sections: Creating a Basic Presentation;
Editing Slides; Formatting and Aligning Your Text;
Formatting and Laying Out Your Slides; Editing Your
Slideshow; Adding Charts, Diagrams, and Tables;
Delivering Presentations; Printing Presentations; Images
and Transitions.
This portion, as well, shows you in detail how to construct
a PowerPoint slide show. You can find out the details behind
any facet of the procedure, but in terms of using the ribbon.
PowerPoint has been improved quite a bit and made easier
to use. Reading the sections will be worth your while.
Access
There are nine sections: Creating Your First Database;
Building Smarter Tables; mastering the Datasheet; Blocking
Bad Data; Linking Tables with Relationships; Queries and
Reusable Searches; Creating Reports; Creating Simple
Forms; Importing and Exporting Data.
Access has been expanded in several ways. If you are
a master of Access in prior versions, these sections will
show you the many improvements in Access 2007. If you
have not or rarely used Access, these sections will give you
a good introduction to this powerful and versatile program
There are two Appendices, one covering “Customizing
Word
the
Quick Access Toolbar,” the other about “Getting
There are eight sections: Creating, Opening and Saving
Help.”
Help includes not only the built-in Help, but also the
documents; Entering and Editing Text; Formatting Text
Microsoft
Office website, and the several tutorials at
Paragraphs and Headings; Setting Up the Document;
Themes and Templates; Spelling, Grammar and Reference Microsoft’s website.
Finally, in a departure from traditional indices, there is a
Tools; Printing; and Planning with Outlines.
separate
index for Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access
Each of these sections gives explicit instructions for
doing a particular task; this is done in terms of the ribbon, The last page of the book points out that more material is
its menus and submenus. If you are familiar with prior available. If a CD-ROM had been included, it would have
versions of Word, you will understand the function, but various references, which are bookmarked at the O’Reilly
may not know where in the ribbon to find the tool you need. page for this book. Many of the references are to Microsoft’s
The sections will lead you to the proper place in the ribbon. site, but they are nonetheless helpful. This is a very helpful
book either for the new user of Office 2007, or those that are
transitioning from a prior version of Office to 2007.
Excel
About: Office 2007 The Missing Manual
There are eight sections: Creating and Navigating
Authors: Chris Grover, Matthew MacDonald,
Worksheets; Adding Information to Worksheets; Moving
E.A. Vander Veer
Data Around a Worksheet; Managing Worksheets and
Workbooks; Formatting Cells; Viewing and Printing
Publisher: O’Reilly
Worksheets; Building Basic Formulas; Tables and Charts.
Web site: www.oreilly.com
Here, too, the book gives you explicit instructions about
ISBN 10: 0596514220
performing a given operation by using the tools in the
ISBN 13: 978-0596514228
ribbon. If you have used Excel before, you will need to
Price: $34 00, $23 09 @ Amazon
„
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 9
A Font of Knowledge
By Dave Chrestenson, Member, Fox Valley PC Association, Illinois, May 2010 Issue, Fox Tales,
www.fvpca.org, [email protected]
Have you ever gotten a small print from your camera or fifty. But how about upper and lower case. Add another
cell phone and thought it looked pretty nice? And decided 26. Small caps. Another. But just 14 special characters?
to have an 8x10 made? And discovered that diagonal Did you know there are four different dashes? And points
lines stair stepped across the page and everything else of ellipsis. And umlauts. And so on. In fact, one of the
looked like they were made of colored Legos? And formats for storing fonts can contain more than a million
realized why that happened? It’s because all pictures are characters, and it’s not uncommon for a well designed
made out of pixels, this is called bitmapped, and there font to have over one thousand.
were not enough pixels in your image. So, when it was
Back to you pressing a key. What happens? First, the
enlarged, you saw the individual pixels. Now, try an character formulas are selected. Then a kerning table
experiment. Open Word (or your favorite
that’s also built into the font is read. This
word processor,) select Times New
compares the character you selected
Roman, size 6 point, and put an “s” on
with the character immediately before
a page. Now change the size to 60 point
it. Certain combinations of characters
and put another “s” on the page next to
have to be printed closer together or
it. Now add a third “s”, this time at 600
farther apart to look correct; this is the
points. Now print the page out. Look
function of the kerning table. Next
Ma, no pixels! What happened? Why
another table is checked. It’s been found
don’t characters pixilate also? Welcome
that if exactly the same shape of
to the wonderful, and confusing, world
character is printed in two different
of typography. Let’s see why, and learn
sizes they won’t look the same to the
a bit about what’s going on.
eye. So this table looks at the point size
you selected and adjusts the character
First, a given character set, or typeface,
thickness appropriately. (Larger sizes
is contained in a file and is called a font.
are thinner and closer together.) Then a
Now, if you’ve ever thought about it, you
“hints” table is referred to. This is used
probably assumed that there was a bitmap
for each character in the font, and when you pressed a key when the character is going to a device with low resolution,
the system found that bitmap and printed it. Not so easy. such as a monitor. (It adds anti-aliasing to reduce the
If that were the case you would get pixilation. And that was “threshold effect.”) It also makes adjustments to the
the way it was done, once upon a time, and there are a few character to make it display more legibly. Finally, after
cases where it is still useful. (I’ll get to those later.) Instead, some more manipulation which I won’t take the space to
each character is stored as a set of formulas, or equations. go into here, your character appears somewhere.
If you remember your analytic geometry you will know
Now, all of this is the responsibility of the font designer.
that any equation can be plotted as a line or curve. So, for And good ones take all of the above into consideration. It’s
a character, there is a set of equations, each of which certainly possible to skip some of the above. Ever seen
defines a part of the outline or the character. A straight these CD’s “Thousand’s of fonts for $29.95?” I seriously
dash would be easy, four equations, one for each side. A doubt that they’ve put much time into each of the above
dollar sign would be more complicated. When you key in factors. You get what you pay for.
a character the equations are adjusted to define the point
And lastly, I had mentioned above that there are still a
size you specified, then the outline of the character is few bitmapped fonts around. Why? Because regular fonts,
created, then it is filled with the color you selected. (For no matter how well designed, have problems with legibility
those seeking more enlightenment, Google “Bezier when displayed at small sizes on a monitor. This is a
curves.”) But it gets a lot more complicated. For each common problem in web design. Bit-mapped fonts are
character there is more than one set. Bold type is not just specifically designed for this purpose. So, the next time you
fat type, if so the “counters” (the little openings in letters key in “Dear Sirs,” take a few seconds to think and
like e and o) would get filled in. So the typographer has appreciate the over-worked, under-appreciated font
to design an entirely unique shape for each bold character, designer who spent many sleepless hours to let you make
one that looks like the normal one, but is heavier. Italics? your document look pretty.
Same thing. Another design. Italic Bold. Yep, another
Still curious? There are many books on the subject; the
design. And so on. And how many characters are there?
one to start with is “The Complete Manual of
Well, let’s see. There’s the 26 letters of the alphabet of
Typography” by James Felici.
„
course, 10 digits, and, say, 14 special characters. That’s
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 10
Convert a PDF File to a Text File
By Sr. Dorothy Robinson, Newsletter Editor, The OMUG News, Olympia Microcomputer User
Group, Washington, http://olymug.org/, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s down list. The second choice is to save the file, and if
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
you choose Save the file, your download manager will
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
save it to the default location—or you might get a Save
Have you been wishing you had a piece of software that as dialog and choose where to save it. One caution:
would convert PDF files to text files that you can edit? opening the file directly rather than downloading it got
And maybe also didn’t cost an arm and a leg?
me a Read Only file, which of course I couldn’t edit. So
BCL Technologies has such software called for editing purposes, save the file before opening.
easyConverter Desktop that costs about $20. That
Make your choice by clicking a radio button, then
sounds like a good buy to me. But it only works with click OK. You now have a text file you can edit. And
Windows (2000, XP, Vista and Win 7). So that leaves a the quality is very nice, too—for mostly text documents.
lot of people, namely Linux users, out in the cold.
I tried a PDF file that I had originally created in
The good news is that BCL also has a free, online utility OpenOffice Writer which contained a calendar in a
that does the same thing. And your operating system table. The results were not pretty! And for a postal PDF
doesn’t come into it. Open your browser and go to which was a requisition form using tables, the results
h t t p : / / p d f o n l i n e . c o m / p d f 2 w o r d / were somewhat better but still unusable since the tables
index.asp and take a look.
overlapped, hiding some of the text.
On the left side, under a header that says “Convert
On the other hand, I made a list of data (several
PDF to Word for Free” you’ll see a place to browse your rows and columns) in an OpenOffice spreadsheet,
computer and select a file. Note that there is no need to exported it to PDF, then uploaded it and converted it.
provide your email address, since you’ll just download When I downloaded this file, it was perfect—and
the file directly.
perfectly editable.
Find your file and double click it (or click once then
For me, using Ubuntu Linux, this free, online version
click Open), then click the Upload and Convert button. is a good thing. Windows users have a choice of the
Press it only once, and wait; larger files may take a web version or the computer application. And
while to upload. The conversion is pretty fast, under a pdf2word gives the best results I’ve seen for this kind
minute for the one or two page files I tried. There is a of web application.
„
2 MB limit on uploads, so really big files
won’t work.
This part is where, if you wanted to do a
lot of files, or large ones, it would be great
to have an application on your computer to
do it — thus eliminating the time to upload.
The next step is downloading the text
file. I’m not sure why the instructions say
to Right Click on the link to download the
file, because for me at least it didn’t work.
I Left Clicked instead and the download
dialog opened.
You’ll see that the file is a rich text file
(.RTF or .rtf) which can easily be opened
by Word, OpenOffice Writer, Abiword,
or other word processors or text editors
and be available for editing. When you
save it you can save it as a .doc if you
like.
The dialog asks, What should (your
browser) do with this file? The first choice
is to open the file with the default
application (mine showed OpenOffice)
or you can choose another from a dropNVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 11
Diskeeper 2010 Professional
By Terry Currier, President, WINNERS, WINdows usER Group, California, WINNERS
Notepad, February - March 2010 Issue, http://www.windowsusers.org/,
[email protected]
• applications. Utilizing a specially formulated
technology, I-FAAST closely
• monitors file usage and organizes the most
commonly accessed files for the
• fastest possible access, up to 80% faster.
The defrag that comes with Windows works okay, but is
slow. Plus with Vista or Windows 7 I don’t get a visual of
Other features of Diskeeper include:
what it is doing so I don’t know how long it will take. I just
Paging File Defragmentation - defragments the
get the message that it can take minutes or hours. Enter
paging file. You can help maintain peak Windows
Diskeeper to speed up the job and I can see what it is doing.
performance, and help Diskeeper run better at the
With the new 2010 there is a new feature they call
same time.
IntelliWrite technology to prevent fragmentation even
Master File Table (MFT) Defragmentation before it begins. I will tell you that I tried it first my main
defragments the Master File Table (MFT). The
computer with XP. It has RAID 0 on it (not my choice), but
MFT is used by the NTFS file system to locate
something was wrong with its compatibility. It kept accessing
files on a volume, so fragmentation of the MFT
the drive, and it was not the IntelliWrite. When I was trying
slows the retrieval of files on the disk, whether
to find the reason I turned it off. It still happened. I thought
these files themselves are fragmented or not.
I had an answer in taking out System Mechanic. It did
Defragmenting the MFT will improve the overall
work for a while, but still came back. How do I know it was
performance of the volume.
Diskeeper? Well when I did brought up Task Manager and
ended that process it stopped each time. I did a search to
see if anyone reported such a problem, but no one did, and
there was only praise of Diskeeper.
Now when I switched it over to my other computer with
Windows 7, no problems. It is running smooth and I even
have the IntelliWrite feature turned on. After recording a
TV show in HD (10Gb file) and then deleting it, I like go
in and defrag that large gap. The three main features:
IntelliWrite™ fragmentation prevention technology
prevents up to 85% of the fragmentation every
system suffers from. It intelligently writes contiguous
files to the disk so system resources are not wasted
If you scroll down on Diskeeper you will see
creating fragmentation.
more information. The Dashboard tab displays
InvisiTasking® technology is a real-time background
details about Fragmentation Prevention and
processing technology that allows Diskeeper 2010
Automatic Defragmentation, the health of your
to defragment your system as fragmentation occurs,
volumes, the idle resources that Diskeeper uses to
even during heavy traffic times - without using
accelerate volume performance, and other useful
active system resources. InvisiTasking eliminates
defragmentation information.
the need for scheduling and administrator attention.
The Dashboard tab includes
I-FAAST® 2.0 (Intelligent File Access Acceleration
these sections:
Sequencing Technology)
• accelerates file access times to meet the
System Improvement
heavy workloads of file-intensive
This section of the Dashboard tab relates to your entire
system and shows the percentage of improvement
Diskeeper has provided in file read and write access time
since the previous day.
•
•
•
•
•
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 12
IntelliWrite™ Fragmentation
Prevention
This section of the Dashboard tab explains that IntelliWrite
increases system performance by preventing fragmentation
before it happens.
System Fragmentation Prevention
Graph
This section of the Dashboard tab shows system
fragmentation prevented by IntelliWrite in real-time. In the
graph, fragmentation prevented every second, within the
last minute, for your entire system, is displayed in green.
The scale on the left side of the graph pertains to the
number of fragments that have been prevented and the
scale along the top of the graph pertains to the seconds in
the last minute.
Idle Resources Used by Diskeeper
This section of the Dashboard tab shows the idle resources
available, the idle resources used by Diskeeper for both
Automatic and Manual Defragmentation, and the resources
used by other process on the computer. This graph clearly
illustrates how Diskeeper I-FAAST Performance Gains
and Throughput Rates
Displayed only on Diskeeper editions that include IFAAST®, Intelligent File Access Acceleration Sequencing
Technology feature, this section of the Dashboard tab
provides statistical information about I-FAAST
Defragmentation Jobs and the related performance
improvement. The values shown in this section are based
on measurements taken during I-FAAST processing, and
they show the potential performance gain you can expect
from the selected volume, as well as the actual measured
throughput rates for the volume.
You can download a 30 trial of Diskeeper or purchase it
for 59.96 at www.diskeeper.com.
„
Windows 7 Shortcuts
Statistical Information for Selected
Volume(s) Since the Previous Day
This section of the Dashboard tab shows statistical
information for selected volume(s) since the previous day.
The columns of the table include the name of the selected
volume(s), whether or not IntelliWrite and Automatic
Defragmentation are enabled, the number of fragments
prevented, the number of fragments eliminated and file
read/write time % improvement.
Volume Health and Recommendations
This section of the Dashboard tab includes an evaluation
of the overall health of the volume, the reasons for that
rating, and recommendations for improving or maintaining
the reliability of the volume.
Automatic and Manual
Defragmentation Status
This section of the Dashboard tab shows when either
Automatic Defragmentation with InvisiTasking®
technology or Manual Defragmentation are active on
any volume on this computer. When the indicator light
is green Diskeeper is actively processing files on one
or more volumes.
Some of the cooler Windows 7 windows management
tricks involve docking windows to the left or right half
of the screen. This feature expands or contracts the
current window to half the Desktop and pins it to the
edge of your display. Press WIN (the Windows logo
key)-Left arrow or WIN-Right arrow to dock the
current window to the left or right side of the screen,
respectively. If you continuously press WIN-Right
arrow or WIN-Left arrow, the current window will
cycle between its original size and placement and
being pinned to the left or right half of the display.
Workout Podcasts
Whether you need a little musical motivation or you
want to keep your mind off of the miles you’ve logged
during a run, a free workout podcast can help you
complete a great workout. Some workout podcasts
offer motivation prompts from a coach, whereas
others are music mixes meant to last you for an hour.
Look for free podcast downloads like these in music
stores, such as iTunes, and use them to your advantage.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 13
Zen and the Magic of Photography
Reviewed by Jorga Riggenbach, a member of the Tucson Computer Society, Arizona, June 2010
issue, TCS eJournal, www.tcsaz.org, [email protected]
“enlightenment.” The word literally means “understanding.”
About: Zen and the Magic
Satori translates as a flash of sudden awareness, or
of Photography:
individual enlightenment, and while satori is from the Zen
Learning to See and to Be through Photography
Buddhist tradition, enlightenment can be simultaneously
considered “the first step” or embarkation toward nirvana.
Author: Wayne Rowe
Satori is typically juxtaposed with a related term known
Publisher: Rocky Nook
as
kensho, which translates as “seeing one’s nature.”
www.rockynook.com
Kensho experiences tend to be briefer glimpses, while
ISBN-10: 1933952547
satori is considered to be a deeper spiritual experience.
ISBN-13: 978-1933952543
Satori is an intuitive experience and has been described
Price: $24.95, $16.47 @ Amazon
as being similar to awakening
What an interesting book. This
one day with an additional pair
concept of being in the moment
of arms, and only later learning
and totally “there” when you are
how to use them.
photographing is something I try
Studium: According to
to teach in my classes. Teaching
Barthes, studium is an extension
the technical details of digital
of our field of knowledge and
photography, composition and
cultural information. It is by
related concepts is relatively easy.
studium that we take an interest
Inspiring photographers to be
in photos that refer to a classical
transported and completely
body of cultural information....
absorbed in the moment is difficult.
Studium, Latin. Zeal,
The author of Zen and the Magic
eagerness,
application,
of Photography, Wayne Rowe, is
enthusiasm; devotion to, goodwill
a brave writer to attempt to convey
towards a person or cause;
such an ethereal concept to paper.
application to learning, study.
Exploring Zen and Satori and how
Punctum: According to
it is related to exceptional
Barthes,
punctum “will break or
photography isn’t easy.
punctuate the studium. Punctum has the power to expand
and provoke satori.” A Latin term meaning puncture or
Some of Rowe’s primary points:
Zen: Zen is a school of Mahayana Buddhism, translated wound, used by Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida (1980),
from the Chinese word Chán to Japanese. This word is in to describe how he feels touched by certain photographs,
turn derived from the Sanskrit dhyana, which means because of incidental details which trigger emotionally
charged personal associations, unrelated to the meaning of
“meditation.”
photographs as culturally determined.
Zen emphasizes experiential prajña, particularly as
As a whole, the book is lovely. I was a bit put off in the
realized in the form of meditation, in the attainment of
beginning
by British-style punctuation. The periods and
enlightenment. As such, it de-emphasizes theoretical
commas
were
outside the quotation marks. In American
knowledge in favor of direct, experiential realization through
punctuation,
commas
and periods are always inside the
meditation and dharma practice.
quotation marks. Rowe also used many ellipses and they
The establishment of Zen is traditionally credited to be in
were periods with no spacing and three instead of four in
China, the Shaolin Temple, by the South Indian Pallava
the body of a sentence. This may be another British-style
prince-turned-monk Bodhidharma, who came to China to
convention. Yes, I know this is picayune, but it still bothered
teach a “special transmission outside scriptures” which
me at first. I mean, we are talking about Zen and awareness.
“did not stand upon words.”
Not to worry, after a couple dozen pages, I got over it.
The emergence of Zen as a distinct school of Buddhism
Basic Ideas in the book:
was first documented in China in the 7th century AD. It is
1. Open yourself to the light, images and reality around
thought to have developed as an amalgam of various
you.
currents in Mahayana Buddhist thought.
2. Open yourself to feeling. Look with your capacity to
Satori (Chinese: pinyin) is a Japanese Buddhist term for
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 14
feel and you will experience and become part of the
NOW, Reality, Being: the “isles” of the moment.
Always follow your feelings.
3. Experiencing real moments will lead you to a
culminating moment of Satori – a moment when you
hear the light: the image sings, and form, content and
feeling are one.
4. You will, by virtue of being in the moment, improve
the quality of your art.
5. The more you actively look, the more the action will
become intuitive and natural, subconscious and
effortless, and with practice, your eye will be
intuitively and subconsciously drawn to the light, and
the light will be drawn to your eye.
I was especially pleased with the author’s style of using
detailed illustrations of his ideas. For instance, using a 1955
photo of James, there is an in-depth analysis of the
symbolism in the photo. Truly, I’ve looked at this photo
many times in passing and I saw nothing more than the
superficial information that I acquired with a quick glance.
When I had finished reading, I saw the photo in a
completely different light. In fact, it was as though I was
seeing it for the very first time. The ultimate result for me
is that I see more thoroughly and compose more carefully..It
is an ongoing process.
Rowe discusses his concepts in relationship to many
great photographers: W. Eugene Smith, Ansel Adams,
Lucien Clergue, Ernest Haas, Edward Weston, Manual
Alvarez Bravo, Joel Meyerowitz, Minor White and others.
On the other hand, he uses many Pop Culture movie
references. In the conclusion of Part II of the book he says,
“Zen and the Magic of Photography has stressed the
interconnections between three forms of the photographic
image: the still photograph, the photo essay, and the motion
picture.” The author pulls together threads that many
photographers may never have considered.
Whether or not you agree with all or most of Rowe’s
conclusions, his ideas and illustrations are provocative and
interesting. Admit it, isn’t that what we, as artists and
craftsmen need, often need the most: fresh ideas,
approaches and exciting and inspiring perspectives? „
ET phone home!
By Berry F. Phillips, a Member of the Computer Club of Oklahoma City, May 2010 Issue of The
Monitor, www.ccokc.org, [email protected]
SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, is an
exploratory science that searches for evidence of life in the
universe. The current understanding of life’s origin on Earth
suggests that given a suitable environment and sufficient time,
life will develop on other planets. Of course, whether evolution
will give rise to intelligent, technological civilizations is open to
speculation. SETI has developed signal-processing technology
to detect alien civilizations which may offer our best opportunity
for discovering extraterrestrial life in the near future.
From 1994 - 2004, SETI was funded entirely from
individuals and grants from private foundations. In 2005, a
NASA grant was awarded for work on signal detection for
the Allen Telescope Array. Donations and non-governmental
grants still comprise the vast majority of funding.
The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) is a “Large Number of
Small Dishes” (LNSD) array now operational and was
designed to be highly effective for simultaneous surveys of
conventional radio astronomy projects and search for
extraterrestrial intelligence observations. The first phase of
the ATA now operational was funded by Paul Allen, the
cofounder of Microsoft, which has 42 antennas approximately
twenty foot in diameter. The Allen Array is located at Hatfield
Creek Observatory and is a joint project of the SETI Institute
and the Radio Astronomy Lab of the University of California
Berkeley. Additional phases projected, depending on funding,
will eventually be developed to 350 dishes greatly expanding
research capabilities. The ATA will then be able to monitor a
very wide range of radio frequencies larger than any other
single radio telescope or radio telescope array.
[email protected] was launched in May 1999 to analyze radio
telescope signals. A giant virtual super computer composed
of hundreds of thousands of Internet-connected computers
harnessing their spare power, via a screensaver, was created
in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. You can use
your computer in this exciting research and join some 5.2
million users worldwide by downloading http://
setiathome.berkeley.edu/.
In 1977, Contact (a motion picture), starring Jodie Foster,
was based on a book by Carl Sagan that his wife finished
after his death. Contact was based on SETI research. SETI
Institute supports the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life
in the Universe. The center directed, by Dr. Frank Drake,
brings together leading researchers in a field often called
“astrobiology,” the study of life in the universe. “Our team
focuses on a wide set of disciplines ranging from observing
and modeling the precursors of life in the depths of outer
space to studies of Earth, where we are attempting to learn
more about how life began and how it may diverse forms
have survived and evolved.” How did life begin on Earth?
How many stars have planets and how many of these planets
might support life? Scientists in the SETI Institute’s Carl
Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Universe explores
these and other fundamental questions through various
projects and research into a field often known as astrobiology.
While no evidence to date has been received of an
advanced civilization, research at SETI is intensifying due to
continued technological developments. In 1982, in the
motion picture ET, The Extra-Terrestrial, directed by Steven
Spielberg, we learned that ET phones home. When ET
phones, SETI will be listening!
„
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 15
World of Blogging
By M.L. Giggleman, a long-time member of HAL-PC, Texas, May 2010 Issue,
HAL-PC Magazine, newsletter of the Houston Area League of PC Users,
Texas, www.hal-pc.org, [email protected]
This is the first in a series of how-to articles to introduce you to the blogging. In this article, we created
world of blogging using Google’s Blogger.
a
new
Gmail
account
First of all, what is a blog? A bit of history on the origins of the term ([email protected]) just for
weblog and blog: Jorn Barger coined the term “weblog” on
our new blog. Publishing your email address is optional and
December 17, 1997. The contracted form, “blog,” was coined by
Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word ‘weblog’ into the you can have comments to your blog sent to you via this
phrase ‘we blog’ in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April email.
or May 1999. This was quickly adopted as both a noun and verb. Once you have a Google Account set up, you are now
Used as a noun, a blog is a type of website where entries are ready to create a new blog.
made, usually daily, to serve as a public-accessible journal or diary.
Basically, most of us will use a blog to publish our thoughts and
interests. Entries are displayed in a reverse chronological order,
that is, with the current date on top. Readers can post comments,
but only if you allow it.
Used as verb, blog means to maintain or add content to a blog.
You can post text, links, photos, video clips, sound clips, etc.
A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs and/
or web pages, and other media related to its topic. Most blogs are
mainly textual, although some focus on photographs (photoblog),
videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting).
Google’s Blogger defines “blog” this way:
“In simple terms, a blog is a web site, where you write
stuff on an ongoing basis. New stuff shows up at the top,
so your visitors can read what’s new. Then they comment
on it or email you. Or not.
Since Blogger was launched…blogs have reshaped
the web, impacted politics, shaken up journalism, and
enabled millions of people to have a voice and connect
with others. And we’re pretty sure the whole deal is just
getting started.”
Now, what is a blogger? A blogger usually refers to the person who
blogs, but it can also refer to the software tools used to create and
publish a blog such as Google’s Blogger, MySpace, LiveJournal.
(For different blogger software and links, visit Wikipedia’s “Blog
Software” page or http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Blog_software.
We are going to be dealing specifically with Google’s
Blogger, which is very popular, easy to use and free.
Blogger has an about page or http://www.blogger.com/
about if you want to learn a bit about its development from
the three friends at Pyra Labs.
To create a Blogger blog, you must have a Google Account.
You may already have an account for one of the many
Google products: Gmail, Docs, Earth, Mobile, YouTube,
Picasa, Tool Bar, plus many others.
You can create a Google account by signing up for any of
the above products, or go to https://www.google.com/
accounts/NewAccount.
You also need an existing email address to create a blog.
Opening a Gmail account will take care of both requirements.
Many people create a special email account just for
This is the Blogger Home Page (http://www.blogger.com/
). You can sign into your Google account from this screen.
Or, if you need to create an account, just click on the Sign
In button, with both fields empty.
This page also presents links to information and learning
tools for Blogger.
Now you are only three steps away from creating a
Blogger blog: sign up, select a name, and select the
template.
To get started, click the Create A Blog button.
You should be on the Sign Up page. If you are already
logged in, your email address and name will be filled in. To
the right is a link if you want to use a different account. If
you are not logged in, you will be prompted to do so.
You will fill in a Display Name. This is the name that will
be used to sign your blog posts.
You can check the Email Notifications box if you want to
receive periodic announcements from Blogger.
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 16
Finally, click on the Terms of Service link to view and then
check the box to accept.
When you are finished, click on Continue to go to Step 2
and give your blog a name.
Blogger Resources
And For more,
Next, you select your Blog Title and the Blog Address or URL.
The Blog Title will appear at the top of your blog. It can be
changed at any time. The Blog Address is a standard URL
used to link to your blog. It cannot be changed. It must
be a unique name. Once you make an entry, click on the
link below the box, Check Availability, to see if your
choice is in use. We entered “mlg-halpc-testblog” and
then clicked on “Check Availability”. It responded that
this address was not in use and available. The URL used
to access this blog will be http://mlg-halpctestblog.blogspot.com/.
Click on Continue to go to the final step in creating a blog,
selecting a template.
All Blog Tools
BieTemplates
BTemplates
Blogger Buster
Pyzam
Jackbook
www.allblogtools.com
www.bietemplates.com
www.bttemplates.com
www.bloggerbuster.com
www.pyzam.com/
bloggertemplates
www.jackbook.com/category/
blogger-templates-gallery
Getting Help Blogging:
The template defines your blog’s look and feel. It can be
changed later. Blogger gives you a few choices and there
are numerous third party templates available. There are a
few of the most popular listed in the sidebar to this article.
Use the vertical slide bar on the right to scroll up and down
the page to view all the available templates. Under each is a
“preview template” link – click and it shows a sample to give you
an idea what each template looks like with information entered.
Once you select a template, click on the “Continue” arrow.
You will see a final screen stating that you successfully created
a blog.
That’s it. The blog has been created.
To begin blogging, click on “Start Blogging”. We will begin
here in the next article, where we enter text and photos using the
post editor.
Again, to access this blog, use the URL http://mlghalpc-testblog.blogspot.com/. Here is the newly
created blog.
For more, Google blogger help
Blogger Status http://status.blogger.com
Blogger Help http://help.blogger.com
YouTube Help www.youtube.com/
bloggerhelp
Google Group http://groups.google.com/
group/blogger-help
About the Author: ML Giggleman is a long-time
member of HAL-PC. She assists KC, a Tough-A**
Tortie, run The Cat Blogosphere, a website devoted to
blogging cats and their people. (h t t p : / /
www.blog.catblogosphere.com/) KC shares a
blog with her sisters Missy Blue Eyes and Faith
Boomerang, and brothers Sol, Smokey and BJ.
( http://missyblueeyes.blogspot.com/ )
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 17
Backups are essential to protect your data
By John Weigle, Editor, Channel Islands PCUG, California, April 2010 Issue, The
Outer Edge, CIPUCG, www.cipcug.org, [email protected]
This report is based on the backup presentation by Toby Scott makers, Seagate and Western Digital, Scott said — it’s just a fact
and Michael Shalkey at the March CIPCUG meeting, and a of life. If the drive dies, and you’d want to just buy a new drive
handout that Scott prepared for a similar presentation he made to and get back to work on the computer as quickly as possible, a
a genealogical society. Scott is the UGs technical advisor and co- drive image, along with current data backup, would be the choice.
owner of Ventura County Computers. Partners Rick Smith and The drive image would alleviate the need to reinstall Windows and
Scott are both Microsoft Certified Professionals and along with all your programs, although some updates might be needed
Michael Shalkey have a passion for computers. All three are depending on when you made the image.
fascinated by computers, spend most of their spare time playing
Backups can be made on flash drives, a second drive in the
with them and care deeply about getting them to work correctly computer, a USB hard drive, Network Access Storage (NAS),
No matter how often they’re warned that hard drives fail, many tape drive and online. What you use will depend on the amount
people never back them up or back them up so seldom that they of data you’re backing up and what device you’ll keep using.
lose months or even years of work when the drives do fail. And
A 256 GB flash drive is available for about $300 and is
then they cry when they’re told that their family pictures, e-mail, sufficient for most users, Scott said, especially if they back up
vacation pictures and financial information either can’t be photos, video and music separately to CDs or DVDs. The cost
recovered or will cost thousands of dollars to recover.
is a bit high right now, “but it’s certainly better than losing your
Businesses are often as bad as home users, and the statistics data,” Scott commented. Scott said he copies his photos to
are against the owners who ignore the advice to back up: 60 multiple CDs or DVDs and then removes them from his hard
percent of businesses that lose their data to computer failure, fire, drive. “It’s only backed up if it is in two different locations, he
theft or natural disasters don’t reopen, and 93 percent are out of said. “I’ll take one of the CDs to work, leave the other at home.”
business within two years.
A second drive in the computer is good for one backup, but
There are many ways to back up, and the key is to find a it’s of no value if your home is destroyed by fire or other natural
system that works for you. It has to be easy enough to set disaster or if your computer is stolen.
up and use that you won’t just throw up your hands and say,
USB hard drives as large as 2 TB are available and can back up
“It’ll never happen to me.”
several computer systems, but they must be on a network or
A backup is a copy of files on your computer on a different moved from computer to computer to perform the backup, and
storage device. “If you don’t have a backup and your hard they could also be destroyed by disaster or theft.
drive dies, you have lost all your data,” Scott noted on the
Network Access Storage devices, as the name suggests, are
handout. “How badly would it hurt if you lost everything on part of a computer network. They come in several forms and
your computer?”
numbers of hard drives. Those with two drives generally mirror
There are several types of backups, he said: the drives, meaning the same material is on both drives so that if
one fails, the user can switch to the other one immediately. With
• Drive image: This backs up everything on the drive, three or more disk drives, the devices generally configure a RAID
including the operating system, program files, data and (striping the data so if any one drive fails the data can be re-created
temporary files. It’s ideal to quickly restore a computer if from the remaining devices). NASs can be plugged into your
the hard drive crashes.
router to be available on the network. Single drive devices cost
• Full system backup: It’s similar to a drive image, but it can about $200, with multiple-drive devices costing more. All
be added to as you change files or add programs. It’s “ideal computers on the network can use a NAS for backup. Again, they
for continuous backup of data, but can be a bit more would be destroyed in a disaster or could be stolen.
complicated to restore.”
One approach, if you have a home network and the spouses
• Data backup: This includes user-created data but not the have their own computers is to back up to each other’s
operating system or programs. It takes less space than a computers — that is, the husband’s computer is backed up the
drive image or full system backup.
wife’s computer and vice versa. “It’s very easy to do network
Picking the kind of backup to make depends on what you want backups,” Scott said, but you might not want to do it if the
to do, Scott emphasized. If your hard drive died, would you second computer is a laptop. If the laptop is stolen, all your home
want to replace it but keep the rest of the computer, or would data would be vulnerable.
you start over again with everything new? If you wouldn’t keep
Tape drives are available, and tapes can be stored offsite, but
the computer, you don’t need the drive image or full system they’re not used much anymore even by businesses.
backup, just the data backup, he noted.
Online backups, with Carbonite and Mozy being the most
All hard drives will die, but you don’t know when. Some die heavily advertised, are the protection against disasters and theft.
on the first day out of the box, some die in the first week and They often charge a fee, and some of the companies that have
others last for years. A drive failure doesn’t necessarily mean that offered free storage have suddenly disappeared, leaving users
people are selling bad drives — there are basically only two drive unable to recover their data.
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 18
DropBox at www.dropbox.com is free for up to 2 GB.
DropBox creates a “My DropBox” folder on your computer,
and everything you put in it is moved to the DropBox server.
Because of that, you want to put copies of documents in the
folder, not the originals, Shalkey said, to stick with the rule of
having an original in one location and a copy in another.
Don’t drag documents into the My DropBox folder, Shalkey
warned, because that moves the original document rather than
copying it. Copy the file and paste it into the folder. Or use a
tool like SyncBack to make automatic copies in the background.
Carbonite can’t copy some open files, Scott noted, so users
have to close their e-mail programs to have the e-mail saved.
No matter what device you use, you should implement a 32-1 strategy, the two said, meaning that you have the original
copy, a backup copy and a separate backup copy at another
location. To emphasize the reason, Shalkey told the story of
Francis Ford Coppola, who was in Argentina in 2007 when his
computer and its backup device were stolen from his home
there. The devices had all his material for a movie he was
working on, along with years of family photos and other
material. He appealed for the return of the backup device,
according to reports at the time.
Because of the possibility of earthquakes, floods, fire and
theft, Scott said, “If your backup is in the same place as your
original, you’re not really backed up very well, are you?”
He uses Carbonite for online back-ups, he said, but wouldn’t
recommend that a user happy with Mozy switch. For most
individual users, though, it’s more expensive than Carbonite, he
said. Carbonite can be reached from any computer, he said, and
added that several other firms, including Norton, offer similar
services.
Scott has talked to many of his business customers and has
decided that many are overinsured for fire and theft protection
and underinsured for data protection, especially considering the
consequences of losing business data. Carbonite Pro is available
for businesses but isn’t needed for home users, he said.
In answer to a question, he said that deleting a file on your
computer does not delete it from Carbonite. He also said that
Carbonite is secure and warned that even the Carbonite
techs can’t crack the passwords, so it’s essential to remember
your password.
Many things can defeat a backup strategy,
Scott and Shalkey said. They include:
•
•
Bad planning: Default settings might not work for
programs like Quicken, iTunes and some others that
don’t store their document files in My Documents or
its equivalent but rather put them in the programs’
own folders. Be sure that you are backing up everything
you think you are.
Inattentiveness: Users attach an external hard drive
with a backup program but never set up the program and
think they’re protected. Or they don’t read error messages
(out of space, copying failed, etc.) or ever check to see
that backup has occurred. “If you back up and can’t
restore, you’re not really backed up,” Scott said.
Backups at same location: As noted above, keeping the only
backup with the computer means they can both disappear to
theft, fire, earthquake, flood and other disasters.
Backup device doesn’t work: Users either ignored warnings
or never checked to be sure the device and the backup software
are working.
Version errors: “Most of us have modified a file and
introduced errors into it by accident,” the handout says. “Unless
we spot the problem immediately, the back program may write
the mangled copy on top of the good copy and we’ve lost data.”
Windows 7 has an excellent backup program built in, Scot said,
branding the backup programs in earlier versions as not very good.
Rebit, a separate program available at www.rebit.com, is
the easiest of the other programs to use, he said. Rebit backs
up to an external hard drive and locks that drive so no other
program can use it. It works in the background at startup
unless it finds flaws in the drive it’s backing up to, in which
case it will warn you.
Users with more than one computer in the house should
buy a separate version of Rebit on each computer or
purchase a large hard drive with a six-user Rebit license. The
disadvantage here is that the user has to remember to attach
the Rebit drive to all the computers in a timely manner. Rebit
keeps versions and when the backup drive fills up, it will
start dropping off the earliest versions of files to gain space.
How to protect against backup failures
•
Restore regularly: Move a file to a different location
and then start the restore process for your backup
program. Tell it to restore just the one file you moved.
If the file doesn’t get restored, your backup isn’t
working properly.
• Check the file dates regularly: If he backup stops
backing up, the dates on the backup files won’t
change. Regularly check the report logs for the
backup program. If that doesn’t work, just open up
Windows Explorer and look at the dates in the backup
folders.
Pay attention to error messages: Don’t automatically
click on the X when error messages pop up. Be alert.
Get data offsite:
a.) Swap drives: If you are backing up to flash or
USB drives, have one copy at home and take the other
to work, to a relative’s place or other safe place.
b.) Subscribe to an online backup: Carbonite and
Mozy cost about $55 per year per computer and are
pretty simple to set up.
c.) Exchange data: Do you have relatives doing
genealogy? Send a copy of your data file regularly and
allow them to send you a copy of theirs. Even if you are
using different programs and can’t read each others’
data, you can be an offsite depositor for each other.
• Versioning: Most backup programs are able to
restore the version from last week (or other previous
date), if they are set up correctly. This requires
having a larger backup device than the original. „
NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 19
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley; with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga,
Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
800-869-3557 www.wellsfargo.com
(707) 299-1000
www.napanet.net • [email protected]
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NVPCUG Computer News, Aug 2010, Page 20
Revised 2-14-2010
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