January 2005
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Computer News
January 2005
Volume 22, Issue 1
Inside This Issue:
President’s Message
Holidays Party
New Member
Product Review—Norton
Hard Drive Housekeeping
The Digital Home
New Year’s Resolutions
Google’s GMail
Screen Capture Tools
Computer Necessities
Misplaced Files Tools
Tech News
Mozilla Firefox Internet Browser to Be
Reviewed at January 19 NVPCUG Meeting
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, January 19, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, CA .
Our main presentation will feature Calvin Ross discussing Firefox 1.0, Mozilla’s recently released and
highly rated Internet browser, and comparing its features
to those in Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, the most
widely used browser. Firefox’s speed, pop-up blocking,
security, superior search capabilities, simplified user interface, tab-browsing mode, free distribution, and other
features have won it much praise. Releases are available
for Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems.
Calvin writes a popular weekly computer column for
the Napa Valley Register and teaches computer technology classes in Napa Valley schools.
Calvin Ross
Ergonomics for the Elderly 16
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group has
served novice and experienced
computer users since 1983.
Through its monthly meetings,
newsletters, on-line 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. Through its
Computers-to-Schools program, members refurbish used
computer equipment for donation to local schools. Since
January 2003 the NVPCUG
has donated more than 210
computers and 102 printers.
In the Computer Tutor session prior to the main presentation, Michael
Moore will discuss the use of the Drawing Toolbar in Microsoft Word. This
toolbar provides easy access to powerful tools that let you make, insert, and
move shapes; control fill color; change the line color and style; add shadowing
and 3D effects; and more. This capability can enhance your use of Word and
the presentation of your documents. Mike is a Computer Studies instructor at
Napa Valley College, where he teaches Microsoft Word, Excel and Access
courses. He is also NVPCUG’s Computer Tutor Coordinator.
The meeting will begin with Back-to-Basics, an informative session about
basic computer concepts and skills, and with Random Access, an open-floor
question-and-answer period during which you can ask questions about specific
issues you have encountered in using a computer hardware and software and
receive helpful information from other meeting attendees.
Need practical information that will enable you to make better use of your
computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always welcome.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 1
President’s Message —
puters and funded a $10,000 grant
that helped launch the CTS program.
As an honorary corporate member,
Dey is entitled to designate two employees to be its representatives.
Charlotte Converse, Dey’s computer services manager, and John
Estes, Dey’s director of information
technology operations, are the company’s representatives.
New Beginnings
by Orion E. Hill
Officers for 2005
The NVPCUG’s “2004” board of directors, at its final
meeting on December 1, elected the following people to
serve as the NVPCUG’s corporate directors for the “2005”
term, which runs from December 2004 to December 2005:
Dianne Prior, James Stirling, John Simcoe, Julie
Jerome, Orion E. Hill, and Roy Wagner. At a special
meeting convened immediately after the “2004" board adjourned, our new directors elected corporate officers and
appointed subordinate officers for the new term. By now
you have most likely learned that I was reelected President
and that Julie Jerome and Roy Wagner were reelected
Secretary and Treasurer, respectively. Our newly appointed officers are listed in the officer table on page 3 of
this newsletter.
We are very fortunate that most of our officers for the
past year are serving again this year. Their experience will
help ensure that we have a strong leadership team. Two of
our officers are new: Dianne Prior, who is serving as a
corporate director and as Membership Director, and Bob
Simmerman, who is serving as Greeter Coordinator. In
addition, Marcia Waddell has agreed to serve as Librarian
while continuing as Product Review Coordinator.
Volunteers Needed
Unfortunately, this year, like last year, we are starting
with vacancies in several key positions: Vice President,
Programs Director, and Special Projects Director. We
need volunteers for these positions immediately. Our
other officers don’t have time to handle extra responsibilities. If you would like to fill one of these positions or
serve as an NVPCUG director, please let me know.
Contributions and Support Recognized
In addition to electing directors for the following term,
our “2004” board of directors recognized the outstanding
contributions of Bill Wheadon by naming him Outstanding Member-of-the-Year. The board also recognized
Dey, LP’s continuing strong support by extending the
company’s honorary corporate membership for another
Since October 2000 Dey, a Napa-based developer and
manufacturer of prescription drugs for the treatment of
respiratory-related diseases and allergies, has been a strong
supporter of our education program and a major donor of
equipment and funds for our Computers-to-Schools program. In 2002 the company donated nearly 100 used com-
Membership Renewal Drawing
The early membership renewal drawing announced
last month by e-mail will be conducted at our January 19
general meeting. Everyone who paid or mailed his or her
2005 dues by December 31, 2004, is eligible for the drawing. The drawing winner will have his or her membership
extended for an additional twelve months. Because dues
have been paid on a calendar-year basis during the last two
years, the memberships of most members were due to expire at the end of 2004. At the end of the previous year,
only 35 percent of our active members had paid their 2004
dues, and 37 percent still had not paid a month later.
Thanks in part to our drawing, more than 66 percent of our
currently active members already have paid their dues.
If you have not yet renewed your membership, please
mail your payment, along with a completed Membership
Application/Renewal form immediately. You can use the
form in the back of this newsletter.
Renewing Commitments
One year ago, in my first message as President, I
spoke about my vision of the NVPCUG becoming “a
much more valuable source of information and support for
computer users.” I said my goals were “to ensure that our
educational offerings and services are driven by the needs
of local users, and that every participant in one of our activities will be able to take home more practical information.” During the past year we made some progress toward these goals, although without a Vice President and a
Programs Director during the first three months the journey was very difficult.
Although we are starting this year with those positions
vacant again, as well as that of Special Projects Director, I
hope that we will be able to further improve our meeting
programs and begin offering hands-on workshops and a
greater variety of special interest groups.
Sound Off!
Got a suggestion for improving an NVPCUG activity?
Send e-mail to [email protected] or call (707) 252-0637.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 2
31 NVPCUG Members
Enjoy Holidays Party
On a cool December 15 evening 31
NVPCUG members and guests gathered at the Christmas House of Dick
and Sandy Peterson’s tree farm to
sample delicious potluck food dishes,
talk, work on jigsaw puzzles, inspect
items at a silent auction, compare
recipes for baked goodies on the tables, draw warmth from a cozy fire,
and even listen to our president.
President Orion Hill thanked retir-
Welcome New Member!
by Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Membership Director
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group is delighted to welcome
Claudia Lofing, who joined in December. She is the wife of NVPCUG member Dave Lofing. The Lofings are the longtime owners and managers of the
House of Lights, a well known lighting fixture store in downtown Napa.
As of the end of December 2004, the NVPCUG had 116 active members. A
year ago our group had 118 active members.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2005
Board of Directors
ing officers for their work through
the year and introduced the new officers. He also presented Bill
Wheadon as Outstanding Member of
the Year.
The silent auction attracted atten-
tion as many useful items were displayed. Treasurer Roy Wagner reported that it netted a total of $101.
The NVPCUG thanks the Petersons for allowing our group to use
their Christmas House for our annual
holidays party for a fifth straight
Vice President
Orion E. Hill
(707) 252-0637
(Volunteer Needed)
Julie Jerome
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Other Directors:
Dianne Prior, John Simcoe, James Stirling
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling
Bill Wheadon
Computer Tutor
Mike Moore
Orion E. Hill
Program Coordinator
Facility Arrangements
Steve Siegrist
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman
Marcia Waddell
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
Mentor Program
Hilton Des Roches
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
Newsletter Editor
James Stirling
Product Review
Marcia Waddell
Programs Director
(Volunteer Needed)
Publicity Director
John Simcoe
Random Access Moderator Jerry Brown
Special Projects Director (Volunteer Needed)
Ron Dack
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
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: James Stirling, [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 cannot assume responsibility for errors or omissions nor liability for any damages
resulting from the use or misuse of any information. The NVPCUG is a nonprofit IRC 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt 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. Copyright © 2005 by NVPCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 3
Cautions for the Unwary
By James Stirling, Editor
As we start the brave new year
with hopefully new and improved
gadgets to make life easier and more
productive, we find the world of
computing increasingly more scary.
Some of the articles in this issue,
taken largely from the PUSH service
provided by the Association of Personal Computer Users, are not happy
ones. Lee Schwab details the merits
of a new version of antivirus security. Dennis Schulman exhorts us to
run a "housekeeping" routine every
day to get rid of viruses, cookies and
spyware. Fortunately, he tells us in
detail, step by step, how to do so.
Then Ira Wilsker weighs in with a set
of New Year's resolutions to make
sure again that we brace ourselves
for the onslaught of viruses, worms,
Trojans, spam mail, hoaxes, hijackers, and spyware. Herbert Goldstein
introduces us to Google's Gmail,
something wonderful that was new to
me, then points out the incipient danger in our having a gigabyte of email messages or Web searches that
will be at the disposal of marketers,
government agencies, and anyone
else who can persuade Google to
furnish them. (Incidentally, since
Goldstein wrote his article Google
has increased its storage of personal
data to 2 gigabytes, and other ISPs
like Yahoo have followed suit.)
And Sue Crane reports on studies
suggesting that nearsighted people
who spend all day before a computer
monitor may increase their risk of
getting glaucoma.
On the other hand, there is some
good news. Sherry Zorzi paints a
joyous picture of home life filled
with entertainment at every turn, as
well as access to the Web, all
through local home wireless networking. In yet another article Ira
Wilsker summarizes preliminary
steps to preparing and using a new
PC . Through his detailed instructions he makes it sound easy. In
two articles Gabe Goldberg takes
up techniques that do what many of
us have wished for: one, for practical screen capturing for the printer,
and another on finding misplaced
files. And Sue Crane also tells us
that wearable technology is coming
to market, including a 1.9-pound
computer with an 8.4-inch touchable screen, and MP3 players built
into sunglasses.
So, is the computing world getting better or worse? Whichever,
we are becoming more and more
dependent on the gadgets. But let's
still be wary.
We were pleased to get a letter
from a reader pointing out a
needed correction to an article in
last month’s newsletter. We
hope other readers will make use
of this forum to tell us what they
think of this issue of Computer
News and what they would like
to see in future issues. E-mail
your comments to [email protected]
For more information about
visit our Web site at:
Letters to the Editor
Setting Your PC Clock
First of all I’d like to say how
much I enjoy the NVPCUG Computer News. Your selection of articles has been timely as well as varied
and I find something of interest in
every issue.
I’d like to comment on the article
“What Time Is It? Set Your PC
Clock” in the November issue on
page 8. I am a strong believer in
having your computer(s) running at
the correct time for all the reasons
mentioned in the article and have
been using AboutTime for a number
of years with great success. Near the
end of the article Mr. Wilsker recommends using the time server
tick.usno.navy.mil. I have found that
there are primary and secondary time
servers as well as open, closed and
restricted servers. Ordinary folks like
us should be using secondary servers
(which get set from the primary servers) to reduce traffic/load on the primary servers. In addition some time
servers would like you to request
permission to use them, and others
don’t seem to mind anyone using the
service. Some are restricted by the
organization operating the server to a
particular group of folks (the government). The time server listed in the
article is a primary, closed, restricted
server, so on all three counts we
should not be using this server. I
have been using clock.sjc.he.net
( and
( and found them
reliable and accurate. More information about time servers can be found
at http://ntp.isc.org .
Tom Dowd, NVPCUG member
NVPCUG January Calendar
January 5
January 10
January 12
January 19
7:00 p.m.
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, Napa
5:30-7:30 p.m. Investment SIG, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
7:00 p.m.
Digital Photo SIG, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
7:00-9:00 p.m. General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 4
Product Review—
Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2005
By Lee Schwab
Though Symantec’s Norton Internet
Security 2003 was working fine on
my PC and protecting it from viruses,
I was concerned about spyware.
When I read somewhere that its 2005
upgraded version includes antispyware software I had all the impetus that I needed to get the new version.
Symantec’s Norton Internet Security 2005 is an integrated security
package that protects your computer
from the most common Internet
threats. If you like statistics, you
would really like all the data that it
recorded for me about its success..
Below is a brief description of this
comprehensive security software and
some examples of what it did for my
Outbreak Alert informs you of
rapidly spreading threats and ensures
that your computer is protected
against them. It saved me from
[email protected] and
[email protected]
Personal Firewall protects your
computer from unauthorized access.
Mine was last attacked on: 12/14/04,
Intrusion Detection can automatically detect and block Internet attacks.
Recent intrusion attempts on my ma-
chine numbered 2, and the most frequent attacker was:
Norton AntiVirus protects your
computer from viruses (Trojan
Horse), worms (i.e., Blaster, Sasser),
and spyware. Norton AntiVirus can
be set for automatic updating when
you are connected to the Internet. It
scans e-mails and eliminates the risk
of sending viruses to others. A full
system scan is recommended at least
once a week to ensure that your computer stays safe. If you forget, it will
remind you and tell you when you last
did such a scan.
Norton AntiSpam helps eliminate
unwanted and annoying e-mails, ads,
spam, pop-ups, etc., before you see
them. It can use your outgoing e-mail
to improve spam filtering. On my machine, it blocked 0 cookies and permitted 203. It also blocked 240 Web
Privacy Control helps protect
your personal information. It cannot
be accessed on your computer without
your knowledge. Thus far it hasn’t
been invoked on my machine.
Parental Control helps block inappropriate information. You can customize Internet access for everyone
who uses your PC (i.e., child or supervisor).
Unfortunately, unscrupulous people are continually creating and
spreading viruses or trying to hack
into your computer. Many viruses are
spread from Web sites using ActiveX
and Javascript, so think twice before
downloading anything from a Web
site. Even though you may keep this
newest version updated, new viruses
can infect your computer. The best
protection is to update this software
almost every day, do a complete system scan once a week, back up your
important files often, and have a recovery disk.
For more details on Symantec’s
Norton Internet Security 2005, surf to
symantec.com. Minimum operating
system requirements are Windows
XP, 2000 Pro, Me, or 98. For the
complete program 200MB of available hard disk space is needed. It also
needs Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5
or later, and a DVD or CD drive.
Lee Schwab was an active
NVPCUG member from 1988 through
2003. During that time, she served as
Newsletter Editor (1989-1997), President (1991), Vice President (1992),
Program Chair (1995), and Public
Relations Director (1997). We look
forward to Lee and her husband
James renewing their memberships.
Bill Wheadon Named Outstanding Member of the Year
Bill Wheadon was recognized as Outstanding Memberof-the-Year at the NVPCUG holidays party on December
15. President Orion Hill presented to Bill a gift certificate
for dinners at the nationally known Mustards Grill in
Yountville. The selection of Bill was made by the 2004
NVPCUG board of directors at its final meeting December 1.
The naming of a member-of-the-year followed the
board’s adoption of Orion’s proposal for such a recognition award. Bill, who has been a NVPCUG member since
1991, was selected for his outstanding contributions not
only during 2004 but also during previous years. Since
2002 he has devoted hundreds of hours to our Computerto-Schools program, for which he serves as assistant coor-
dinator, provided free workshop space for the CTS program, coordinated our participation in the 2004 Napa
County Computer and Electronics Recycling Event, assisted with our used computer
equipment sales, served as corporate director, and
quick to volunteer for many
small projects, even before
being asked. Bill is a retired
United Airlines pilot. He and his
wife Janice reside in Napa.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 5
Bill Wheadon
Hard Drive Housekeeping Is Vital
By Dennis Schulman, Tampa Bay Computer Society, FL
For those of you who surf the net
on a regular basis - and that includes
those who use dialup access as well as
cable or DSL - it is absolutely crucial
that you take your hard drive housekeeping more seriously than you ever
thought necessary. Many users think
that by having a suite of utilities, such
as Norton or McAfee, that you are
protected. You might be, but I seriously doubt it for so many reasons I
won't go into it now except for three:
You use auto update and auto scan.
This requires that your computer be
online at the time to run the auto update. In the case of cable or DSL, that
is possible, but the computer has to be
on at the time also. In the case of
dialup, the computer won't go online
unless your password is saved and
used automatically. That, of course,
defeats keeping friends and annoying
children from messing up the computer without your knowledge. So,
you might want to run your antivirus
update manually, just to make certain
it worked and there were no errors.
The second reason is based on the
fact that if you did not clean house
before scanning, you risk the possibility of the antivirus finding a virus it
could not delete or quarantine and you
did not know it. You also risk the possibility of not knowing if the auto update was not run successfully for one
of many reasons (and time and space
won't permit that discussion at this
time) and consequently your subsequent full system auto scan may not
be able to recognize the latest nasties
you have managed to acquire.
There is a third, more obtuse, reason. If you don't really know if your
system is truly clean and clear of all
the bad stuff, how will you know
what to do when you get a message
that says something to the effect: "It
has been determined that your computer has been sending messages infected with the ______ trojan horse
virus to what appears to be the email
listing of your address book. If you do
not take appropriate action immediately, your email service will be discontinued. If your anti virus program
has failed to protect you, please
download the following trojan horse
removal tool and run it immediately."
So, here is a housekeeping procedure I use - which is manual - because
then I am more certain that I know the
status of my files than most of the
"suite" programs. And it doesn't use
much - if any - of my system resources except when I use it. Just in
case you think you have all the utilities you need, let me comment that I
am not an expert on your system, but
I spend more time now than ever before on systems that have too many
over-burdensome utilities that are
truly unnecessary and in some cases
more dangerous than what they
claimed to be designed to do. What I
am proposing is basically using 3 little free utilities that only work when
invoked, along with utilities that already come with your computer.
Run Disk Cleanup (under System
Tools under Accessories on the Programs menu) and process all options
(don't worry about compressed files,
but do them at a later time when you
have nothing else to do, since it could
take quite a while if you haven't done
it the first time).
Clear your browser cache. (In
Internet Explorer go to Tools, Internet
Options. Delete cookies and delete all
offline files. In Netscape Communicator go to Edit, Preferences, Advanced,
Clear Memory Cache and Clear Disk
Open Windows Explorer (rightclick on My Computer, select Explore), Select the Folders/View option
and select Show all files except system files (You can leave it this way.)
Find any folders called tmp, temp, or
cookies. Unless you have a good
working knowledge of which cookies
you need or do not need, you proba-
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 6
bly don't need the contents of any of
the temp, cookies, or temporary internet folders except the index.dat file.
(You might want to save the contents
of the History folder).
Empty the Recycle Bin
Update and run the latest core version of Ad-aware SE Personal Edition
(currently version 1.05). Once the
scan is complete, click on an object
found, right-click a lined item and
select all, click next and remove all.
Update and run the latest version
of Spybot (currently version 1.3.)
Before running the scan, run immunize. Then run Look for Problems.
Once problems are found, select them
all and click on Fix Problems.
Note: Some spyware may be associated with programs you want to use,
so read the help section for a further
understanding of the features and options on both of these programs.
These spyware objects detector utilities can be downloaded from
download.com or majorgeeks.com.
There is a third utility, called a
hijack remover. There are many available, but I like CWShredder.exe
(current version 2.00) (use
www.google.com to find the program)
Just make certain you are not online
and that your browser is not open
when you run it. You may be surprised and pleased if it finds something and fixes it (generally really bad
stuff).at its best.
Now you should be able to update
and run your antivirus more successfully than ever before. The only catch
is that it takes time. Once you figure
out about how much time each step
takes, you can determine whether you
can walk away and come back later
when it is done.
I recommend running HouseKeeping at the end of every day you
go online - if you can manage it. Otherwise, run it every 3 days for certain.
Now, if you know your computer is
clean and pure, then this is the only
condition to justify running the
defragmentation utility (once a
week or twice a month). Defrag
does not "fix" anything. It enhances the performance of a
healthy environment. If you attempt to defrag a "sick" system,
you could make it worse to the
extent that the computer will fail to
boot or run. If you have Windows
2000 or Windows XP, you can run
defrag directly. If you have Windows Me, 98, or 95, run it in Safe
Mode. I prefer running Defrag in
Safe Mode as I have a UPS and the
computer can complete the defrag,
even if the lights go out in the
Now that you have successfully
learned the housekeeping routine
and understand its importance
without the need for complex and
sometimes dangerous free software
utilities that can cause conflicts,
you can set up the program scheduler to run your housekeeping routine for you and just check up on it
from time to time to see that it is
accomplishing your wishes.
Feel free to e-mail me for further details and other fine, free
utilities available for keeping your
hard drive and system performing
at their best.
Dennis Schulman, known as the PC
Miracle Man, has been a practicing
field consultant in Largo, Florida for
over 22 years. He has been a member
of the Tampa Bay Computer Society
for over 15 years and was the editor of
its sometimes 40-page newsletter for 5
years. He can be contacted at [email protected]
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups, an international organization
of which this group is a member,
brings this article to you.
The Digital Home
by Sherry Zorzi, Cajun Clickers Computer Club, Louisiana
Will 2005 be the year your
home entertainment goes digital? For
many families, it will be. Welcome
to the Digital Home!
In the digital home, you can listen
to your PC’s digital music on your
stereo or home theater system, on
your portable music player, or on
your wireless notebook computer. In
the digital home, you can view the
photos stored on your PC on your TV
or home theater, on your wireless
PDA or wireless notebook computer,
or on a digital picture frame.
In the digital home, you can access your broadband Internet connection from any PC in your home, or on
your TV or home theater. In the digital home, you can access the videos
or home movies from your PC or its
DVD drive and watch them on your
TV or home theater, or on your wireless PDA or notebook. In the digital
home, you can view a video feed
from a home webcam on your PC, a
wireless PDA or notebook, or any
Internet connection.
In the digital home, you can record live TV on your PC. You can
program the PC to record every episode of a particular show or every
show that features your favorite actor. You can pause and playback live
TV. In the digital home, you can
play multiplayer online games wirelessly on your gaming console, PC,
and notebook computer.
Does this sound like a futuristic
dream? Well, the future is now, and
it’s surprisingly affordable! Here’s
what you’ll need to make your home
a Digital Home.
Start with a PC with an Intel P4
processor with HTT (hyper-threading
technology.) This will give you the
power needed to drive all that multimedia. The hyper-threading technology allows for parallel processing,
making it speedy as well as robust.
Use Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 as your PC operating sys-
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 7
tem. This gives you a simple, built-in
interface for all your digital media
experience and can be controlled by
wireless remote.
Make that PC the hub of your
home network. It’s powerful enough
to handle the digital entertainment,
the network, and still be used for running regular computer programs –
email, Internet browsers, wordprocessors, and the like. You can
have other PCs and notebooks connected to it with a wireless network
router, or you can use a wired connection to other PCs. You’ll need a
broadband Internet connection for
accessing online TV guides, digital
music and video download sites, and
online radio. Add a TV tuner card
for connecting to your TV or home
theater system.
You’ll want a DVD burner if
you’d like to burn recorded TV to
DVD so you can take it with you for
viewing on a notebook computer. A
Digital Media Adaptor will allow you
to stream your music, photos and
video to any room in your house.
You can use your current TV and
stereo system so long as they are not
To top it all off, throw in a portable MP3 player and PDA so that you
can take all that media with you as
you travel.
The beauty of the Digital Home is
the seamless connection of the personal computer, Internet, TV, stereo
(or home theater system), laptops and
portable music and PDA devices.
You can access any media over any
device in any room at any time. Now
that’s entertainment!
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups brings this article to you.
New Year’s Resolutions for Computer Users
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Board of Directors
This is the season when we are often asked about our New Year’s resolutions. We should also resolve to be
better cybercitizens and practice “Safe
HEX”. Here are some suggested
1. Update antivirus software at
least daily – new viruses, worms, and
Trojans are appearing at a rapid pace,
so antivirus software that has not been
updated at least daily may be worse
than no antivirus software at all. We
may have a false sense of security
using non-updated software, so we
click on any interesting e-mail attachments, and insert that questionable
floppy in our computers, a dangerous
practice. Considering that there are a
variety of free antivirus products
available, and commercial antivirus
software is reasonably priced, there is
absolutely no reason why not to have
current antivirus software that is updated at least daily.
2. Spam mail – Delete them without opening them, period. As 2004
came to a close, estimates are that up
to 80% of all e-mail is spam. Never
purchase anything that is advertised
by spam e-mail. Never click on a link
in spam e-mail, as many links may
load Trojans on your computer, or
result in identity theft. Never disclose
any personal information such as account numbers, passwords, social security numbers, PIN numbers, etc. in
response to an e-mail. This illicit and
criminal practice is a method of identity theft called “phishing.” Many
who market via spam mail are scammers and thieves who make unverifiable claims about their products, sell
pirated software, or who will take
your hard-earned money and send
nothing useful back in return.
3. Never click on a popup ad.
While many are legitimate sellers,
many are also scams. As long as we
click on them, and sometimes make
purchases, the popup purveyors will
continue to plague us with their material.
4. Practice good email etiquette,
also called “netiquette.” If forwarding
e-mails to others, do not simply hit
“forward” and enter names from your
address book. Having a lot of headers,
those lines of others’ e-mail addresses
and routing information, as well as a
lot of “>” (greater-than) symbols
makes e-mail difficult to read. Strip
off any useless header by highlighting
and deleting them, and delete the “>”.
Another beneficial piece of netiquette is to be sure that attachments
are reasonable in size. Since many
newer digital cameras can take postersized images; users should reduce the
size of e-mailed images to a reasonable size, such that they can be easily
viewed. It would also be a good idea
to save the image in the universal JPG
or GIF formats, rather than the sometimes-default BMP format, as the JPG
and GIF formats greatly compress the
file, making it a much smaller
download. I sometimes resent receiving a digital photo taken at
2560x1720 or larger, when trying to
view it. Recently, someone proudly
sent me a 4 megapixel photo of his
new grandchild to view on my
800x600 monitor. When I first loaded
the image, all I saw was a huge eye,
and with red-eye at that. Not just was
the file size huge and slow to
download, but the image was
several times the size of my screen,
requiring me to scroll to see the image.
5. Do not forward hoaxes and
urban legends. These may be cute, or
we may feel that we are really warning others about some perceived
threat, but please check out any e-mail
which says “forward this to everyone
you know” as it will most likely be a
hoax or urban legend. Sites such as
www.snopes.com are excellent resources to debunk hoaxes and urban
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 8
legends. Be aware that you can not
get rich or get gift certificates by forwarding e-mails, and that the poor
dying kid in Georgia wanting postcards has long since recovered. Save
yourself some potential embarrassment and e-mail bandwidth, and refuse to forward these messages without first verifying their authenticity.
Smart people can be duped too, so do
not automatically trust the sender.
6. Kill Spyware. According to
many cyber security experts, spyware,
software that can gather and send information of the users’ activities, may
be a greater threat than computer viruses. Spyware is used to steal passwords, account numbers, and other
personal information, as well as generate obscene popup ads, redirect purchases and searches, and several other
undesirable acts. Also referred to as
“malware,” spyware is dangerous.
While there are several decent
commercial anti-spyware products on
the market, there are also some excellent free ones, such as Spybot Search
and Destroy (www.safernetworking.org) and Ad-Aware SE
www.lavasoftusa.com). Never respond to the scam popup ads that tell
you that your computer is infested,
and “click here.” Many of those supposed anti-spyware products are
scams themselves. Install legitimate
anti-spyware software, update it and
run it at least weekly.
7. Participate in National Cyber
Security Awareness Month - October 2005. Put it on your calendar and
go to http://www.staysafeonline.info/
to find out how you and your User
Group can participate in this important event.
All of the resolutions above are
necessary, and easier to keep than
losing weight.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups brings this article to you.
by Dr. Herbert A. Goldstein, Editor, Sarasota PC Monitor
Sarasota FL PC Users Group (www.spcug.org - [email protected])
Gmail is a new, free, Web-based
e-mail service from Google, the people who brought us that remarkable
search engine. Gmail, as offered today, is an experiment in a new kind of
e-mail. Similar to Hotmail, it has
some important differences. Its foundation is the concept that e-mails need
never be deleted, and you should always be able to find any message at
any time by searching for it.
There are several major reasons
why Google's concept of how e-mail
should work is suspect. You get one
gigabyte of storage space for your
Gmails. No other Internet Service
Provider offers even one-tenth of this
amount. With so much space available, deleting mail seems less urgent.
In Outlook, when you delete an email message, it really isn't deleted.
You're simply transferring it to another folder. Deleting it permanently
from that folder requires confirmation
on your part. Outlook doesn't make
you go to the Recycle Bin to finish
the job, but some Internet Service
Providers aren't so considerate.
With Gmail it seems much easier to
let the messages accumulate, and use
the search feature to find what you
want when you need it. Even if you
decide to delete the message, it may
not be gone. Google says that deleted
messages will remain on the system
for as long as it cares to keep them.
Because of a new law in California,
Google was forced to admit that the
company will be pooling any information you give them from any of
their services. They will not only
keep this information as long as they
wish, but they reserve the right to
give it to whomever they wish. Don't
worry, however. Google probably
has confidence that its intentions are
good. Its corporate motto is “Don't be
evil.” It says so in their corporate
IPO filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Upon close examination, Google's
privacy policies aren't any different
from Amazon, Microsoft, and others.
Their good-guy image derives from
their unconventional corporate culture
and their successful search engine.
Most people have no idea what's in
the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, and why not? Most people
aren't legal scholars. One of the Act's
provisions says that after 180 days, emails are no longer protected. Their
status reverts to just another record in
a database. Any level of government
can force Google to release your records armed with only a subpoena.
Google has never issued any statements about its relationships with
other countries, and this should give
you cause for concern. Check out the
language in the agreement you have
to make with Google when you sign
up for Gmail. You are giving permission for Google to release your Gmail
records to any official from any government, U.S. or otherwise, who requests it for any reason. Would you
even want to send an e-mail to someone who has a Gmail account, knowing that your e-mail may be examined
by a foreign government?
Google has also stated that your email will be scanned so that you can
receive advertising and links to relevant Web sites. This applies to both
incoming and outgoing e-mail. Nothing in any of Google's policies or
public statements applies to those of
us who don't have Gmail accounts.
There is nothing in Google's privacy
policy that would prevent them from
storing a list of keywords scanned
from incoming e-mail, and associating these keywords with the incoming
e-mail address in their database.
Google has promised their advertisers
won't receive any information that
would allow personal identification,
but what's to stop Google from keeping this information for some other
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 9
future use? No one except Google
knows if the company has deleted any
of the data they've collected. The
cookie they dropped on your hard
drive doesn't expire until 2038, and
it's kept track of every search term
you've used. How's that for scary?
We don't know for certain if
Google will build a colossal database
derived from keywords associated
with e-mail addresses. If that does
turn out to be the case however, there
is incredible potential for abuse. The
RIAA has sent out thousands of “John
Doe” and “Jane Doe” subpoenas to
Universities and Internet Service Providers to identify people who
download MP3 files illegally. If the
RIAA can force AOL to comply, they
can do it with Google.
Would an intelligence agency make
anything sinister of keywords like
“Send us the secret Martha, it's only a
recipe, not a nuclear launch code”?
Much more ominous would be combinations like jihad coupled with assassination. All kinds of patterns can be
generated from keyword combinations. We're beginning to sound like
paranoid conspiracy theorists, but the
potential for abuse is real and should
not be ignored. What makes Gmail
appear so suspicious, sinister, and
frightening is the enormous storage
capacity that Google offers, combined
with its super-efficient search engine.
There is also the problem of inappropriate ad matching. Stories abound
about on-line merchants who send
themselves e-mail for testing, and
discover that something in their emails generates ads for their competitors. The “Backspace” section of the
October 5, 2004 issue of PC Magazine shows a juxtaposition of an advertisement for an all-inclusive vacation in the Caribbean along with an ad
that says “Just say no to allinclusive.”
Gmail was launched presumably as
a response from Google users complaining about the poor quality of
their current email services. Be careful what you wish for.
The APCUG brings this article to you.
Screen Capture Tools Put Windows Data at Your Beck and Call
By Gabe Goldberg <[email protected]>
When you have a problem with
your car, you bring it to the repair
shop. When you're sick, you visit the
doctor. But computer problems sometimes show up as nasty messages
plopped in the middle of the screen.
So it's hard to capture information
needed to research and fix the problem. And someone trying to help you
via email or phone may ask questions
about system settings or application
options which may be tedious to record and communicate. A previous
article describes information that's
useful for solving problems.
But sometimes the best information
is a picture of what happens or what's
The good news is that all Windows
versions provide basic tools to capture
the entire screen or just the active application window.
You may have tried to use the
PrintScreen (or PrtScr on some keyboards) key and not seen anything
happen. This is because that key doesn't really *print* anything, it simply
copies the entire screen (or just the
active window if you press Alt-thenPrintScreen keys) to the Windows
clipboard (an invisible Windows area
for storing temporary data). Here's a
tip: if you're capturing the entire
screen and you'd like to date-stamp
the image, move the mouse cursor
over the time shown at the right side
of the Windows taskbar. That will pop
up the date, which will be included in
the captured image.
While you can't see the clipboard,
you can paste the captured image
from it into a word processing or
graphics program from which you can
print or save it. Open an application
you like—Microsoft Paint or its
equivalent (included with Windows),
Microsoft Word, or any graphics program. Position the cursor where you
want to place the image and press
Ctrl-V (Ctrl and V keys simultaneously). The image will appear. If you
like, you can add descriptive information such as the date, the nature of
your problem, your Windows version,
applications which were running, etc.
You can now print the image from
the application (click File and Print);
you're also close to being able to save
or e-mail the captured image! To save
it, within the application click File
and Save As. Specify a location (hard
drive, floppy disk, USB key, etc.).
Programs may offer different choices
of file type for saving. Common
choices are JPG (good for photographs, can be compressed), PNG
(new/free standard format, good for
non-photos), GIF (commonly used,
produces relatively small files, limited
to 256 colors), and BMP (produces
large files, Windows-only format,
usable if files won't be transmitted).
Once the file is saved you can attach
it to an e-mail.
But Windows' built-in screen capture is primitive and inflexible. That's
led many people and companies to
develop tools providing more functions. Searching Google for "screen
capture" produced about 227,000
choices! Many of these are free, available for download. You can find good
choices at Web sites such as Tucows
Downloads www.tucows.com]. Some
are shareware—free to try, priced to
continue using. A modestly priced
choice that is powerful and easy to
use is CaptureWizPro from PixelMetrics [www.pixelmetrics.com].
Costing $30 and requiring a onemegabyte download, it provides a
small toolbar that allows capturing
any part of the screen, not just the full
screen or the active window. The toolbar can be docked anywhere on the
screen edge. It will hide until you
mouse near it, then several selection
tools (area, frame, scroll, etc.) allow
precisely selecting what to copy.
Area selection allows simple selection of a rectangular section to copy.
Frame selection displays rulers that
show the selected area's size in pixels
and inches; the frame border opens
fast, remembers its position, and lets
you interactively prepare applications
below it. Scrolling selection tools let
you solve a nasty problem: how to
capture an image that doesn't fit on
the screen. You can select a scrollable
area, energize Full AutoScroll, and
the image will scroll before your eyes
as CaptureWizPro collects it.
Once an image is captured, you can
copy it to the clipboard for saving as
described above, or you can do many
more fun things with it: save it directly to a disk file, print it directly,
make an on-screen PostIt-style note
out of it (to keep visible something
needed for reference), e-mail it directly, manipulate it with a built-in
editor, etc.
CaptureWizPro installation offers a
friendly list of tips for use. It also
does something I wish more applications did: allows printing a one-page
guide including capture basics, Q&A,
and suggested uses. The tool is handy
for recording configuration changes,
comparing results of testing applications, sending information to people
who don't have the same applications
as you, creating paper checklists from
screen lists, etc. A little imagination
will suggest many more uses for the
friendly fly-out capture tool bar.
No matter how you capture information—with Windows' built-in
PrintScreen handling or any of the
many add-in tools—you'll never have
to describe what you saw on the
screen; you'll be able to show it.
You'll never laboriously transcribe
option settings to report to a help
desk; you'll send a picture. You'll
wonder how you did without this
powerful and simple tool.
This article appeared originally on
AARP's Computers and Technology
Web site, <www.aarp.org/
computers>. (c) AARP 2004. Permission is granted for reprinting and
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 10
Necessities for That New Computer
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Board of Directors
no protection from power problems.
Once the computer is assembled,
plugged into an appropriate protective
device, and turned on, other threats
and needs appear. First is antivirus
protection: many new computers come
with a short-term trial version of an
antivirus program, installed with the
hope that the user will pay the annual
registration fee prior to expiration. I
have had users tell me that they do not
need antivirus software because they
never go on-line with that computer,
and that can be a dangerous misconception. Computer viruses can also be
transmitted by infected floppies, CDs
and DVDs, necessitating an updated
antivirus product. Several antivirus
products are available at retail and by
download. Before purchasing antivirus software, consider the free antivirus software available from a variety
of sources, including the free antivirus
software that some of the Internet service providers give their subscribers.
One decent free program is the EHZ
Trust Suite, consisting of antivirus
software, a firewall to restrict hacker
access, and a popup blocker, can be
downloaded at www.my-etrust.com/
Relatively few users do not go online, and since almost all do, Internet
access will be required. Almost all
new computers come pre-installed
with a variety of software from several
national Internet service providers
(ISPs). Microsoft tries to push users
into using its MSN paid Internet access, and AOL, EarthLink, and others
are commonly installed and featured
on the desktop. The smart user desiring dial-up Internet access can probably save money and get superior service by using a local ISP for Internet
access (such as Eonet, or EXP), rather
distribution by nonprofit organizations
than the big national carriers. If the
with text reproduced unchanged and
user subscribes to a local ISP, then the
this paragraph included.
directories containing the software for
The Editorial Committee of APCUG
the national carriers can be safely debrings this article to you.
leted from the hard drive. If the user
Recently, I noticed a lot of people
were buying new computers for the
holidays, either for themselves, or for
gifts. In overhearing some conversations at a variety of local stores, I gathered that some computers were intended to replace older models, and
others were for “first-time” users, both
youngsters and senior citizens. If you
as a new user, or even an experienced
user, would follow some simple steps
and obtain and use some necessary
hardware and software, then you will
likely have several years of happy
computing. If you fail to heed safe
computing guidelines, you will likely
come to be dissatisfied with the new
First, do not plug that new computer directly into the wall socket. It
is imperative that the new computer be
plugged into either a surge suppressor
(the minimum protection) or a good
uninterruptible power supply with
automatic voltage regulation (UPSAVR), of appropriate capacity, which
would be ideal. Users need to be
aware that the warranties of most new
computers do not cover damage from
power-related problems, and plenty of
users have had their new computers
“fried” by power surges or spikes.
The resistance to power surges and
spikes is measured in joules, and generally the more joules the better. A
good UPS with AVR that has adequate
capacity to power the computer for
several minutes generally offers far
superior protection to a surge suppressor. If a surge suppressor is selected,
be sure that it has a UL1449 rating at a
minimum. Some users think that a
common inexpensive power strip is
adequate, but other than maybe having
a circuit breaker, a power strip offers
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 11
will be using the Internet extensively,
then high-speed "broadband" Internet
access would be desirable. Choices of
broadband providers include cable,
DSL, and satellite broadband. They
are generally price competitive with
each other, but some offer better service than the others, and this varies
locally. One warning: be sure that you
understand any contracts that may be
required, as some broadband providers
have a hefty cancellation fee for terminating an account prematurely.
A printer will be necessary to print
documents, photos, and other items.
Almost all modern printers will do a
decent job for household use, but be
aware of what new inkjet or laser cartridges can cost. The user can save a
lot of money by recycling and recharging his used inkjet and laser toner cartridges (such as from Laser Recon), or
by purchasing refilled or generic cartridges. Be aware that inexpensive but
good quality generic cartridges are
generally available for some brands
(Epson, Canon), but difficult to find
for others (Lexmark, HP). A good
deal and a high rebate on one brand of
printer may turn out to be a false economy when the cost of replacement cartridges is factored in to the overall
The user replacing his old computer
with a new one may want to move
files and programs to the new computer. Data files can be copied to CD,
or moved via a direct network connection, but program files can generally
not be simply copied from one computer to another. It would be best to
reinstall desired programs from the
original discs; but if they are not available, a utility sometimes included with
new computers, or a utility such as
“Aloha Bob,” can move program files
Enjoy that new computer, but be
sure to practice “safe hex.”
The Editorial Committee of APCUG
brings this article to you.
Simple But Powerful Tools Find Misplaced PC Files
By Gabe Goldberg <[email protected]>
As PCs have gotten more powerful in every dimension – faster processors, larger memories, and
(especially) giant hard drives -- software developers have kept pace by
bloating their applications. Where
PCs once ran happily with 10 megabyte (not gigabyte!) disk drives, now
most applications are many times that
size, containing hundreds or thousands of files. As applications proliferate and users create their own blizzards of data files (documents, pictures, sound and video files, etc.) PC
files become needles in a haystack.
Or, more annoyingly accurate, PCs
are like gigantic haystacks hiding needles, since a PC's pile of files is always much more visible than the one
file that's missing. Windows versions
include a built-in tool for locating
files. It's sometimes called Search and
sometimes called Find; I guess that
Finding sounds more optimistic than
Searching. But they share problems:
they don't search inside all filetypes
(files' types are the second part of
their names, what follows the dot,
such as "doc" for Microsoft Word
files), they don't always find all copies of files, they may completely skip
files, and they run slowly.
Picking a file search tool is like
choosing a Web browser or your favorite ice cream flavor: a matter of
very personal taste. The search tool
(or browser or ice cream) you favor
matters less than your knowing about
Sometimes it's hard to escape an
already made choice, to try the unfamiliar -- though the pleasure of discovering a new favorite flavor helps
the process along. This article describes two powerful utilities that can
be your PC's lost-and-found. But remember that many other choices are
available on software download sites
such as www.tucows.com/.
Agent Ransack (a free download)
and FileLocator Pro ($25), near-twinbrother file-find utilities, greatly sur-
pass Windows' native tools: they're
faster, friendlier, more flexible, and
more accurate. Both programs are
easy downloads (less than two megabytes) and install by simply executing
the downloaded .exe file. They offer
many tasty features. For example...
1) They display file lines containing your search string with their filenames: an overdue facility, and much
more useful than displaying only filenames!
2) They can search multiple unrelated (non-nested) folders: what a
concept, and so much better than having to repeat searches!
3) They can save and reuse search
criteria. So if you ever repeat file
searches—for example, to find all
files containing your family name—
you'll save time.
4) They allow saving and printing
lists of files found: very helpful if a
file search is the first step in a larger
process which manipulates found
5) Both programs provide basic and
expert interfaces. This choice allows
using only simple search functions or
enabling more detailed search criteria.
6) The programmer's tool "regular
expressions" provide a more powerful
wildcard notation than "*" for specifying matching search strings and
filenames. Nearly everyone gets along
just fine without using these, but people who like them *really* like them.
You'll be encouraged to register
Agent Ransack. This is optional but a
friendly gesture towards the developer who makes the program available.
Big brother FileLocator Pro—whose registration cost includes a
year of updates—adds several features: it searches additional filetypes
(PDF, ZIP, etc.); it displays found file
lines as they appear in the file, with
customizable numbers of lines above
and below each one; it allows immediate inspection of found files with a
built-in viewer or tailorable external
editor; it provides a detailed status
line with found-file statistics; and it's
programmable via scripting and plugins.
While it's perhaps a little unfashionable, I appreciate the 24-page
FileLocator Pro manual. Full of
screenshots illustrating basic and advanced facilities, it's a quick read revealing tips and nuggets that might
otherwise be missed.
After paying for and downloading
FileLocator Pro, you'll be given a
registration key that enables using the
program past the free evaluation period. You'll apply the key by executing a small registry update file or by
copying a string from an e-mail into a
dialogue box. Note that while you're
safe executing the registry update file
from a trusted vendor, caution is required with such files and they should
*not* be accepted and executed from
A minor oddity is that invoking
either product via right-clicking a
folder in Windows Explorer—a handy
facility—starts a new copy of the
search tool rather than making an
open copy the active window.
Until PCs can read our minds and
do what we want without detailed
instructions, tools like Agent Ransack
and FileLocator Pro are great productivity enhancers. And don't neglect
options available in Windows built-in
search tools: they can tailor and refine
searches to be more effective.
Company: Mythic Software
Programs: Agent Ransack, FileLocator Pro
URL: www.mythicsoft.com
Price: Free (Agent Ransack); $25
(FileLocator Pro)
OS: Windows 95 or newer.
This article appeared originally on
AARP's Computers and Technology Web
site, www.aarp.org/computers. (c) AARP
2004. Permission is granted for reprinting and distribution by nonprofit organizations with text reproduced unchanged
and this paragraph included.
Brought to you by the APCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 12
Tech News
by Sue Crane, Vice President / Editor, Big Bear Computer Club, CA
U.S. dictionary publisher MerriamWebster says "blog" topped the list of
most looked-up terms on its Web site
during the last 12 months. The word
will now appear in the 2005 print version of Merriam-Webster's dictionary,
defined as "a Web site that contains
an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks." However, Oxford University
Press says "blog" is already included
in some print versions of its Oxford
English Dictionary and has entered
mainstream usage. According to an
Oxford U. Press spokesman. "Now
we're getting words that derive from it
such as 'blogosphere' and so on." According to the Pew Internet & American Life project, a blog is created
every 5.8 seconds, and blog analysis
firm Technorati estimates that the
number of blogs in existence now exceeds 4.8 million.
CDW, a national technology solutions provider, recently announced its
Tech Twister technology makeover
contest. The company's teaming up
with IBM, Intel and Linksys to offer
small businesses a chance to win a
complete technology makeover. Tech
Twister is open to any small business
with five to 100 employees. Go to
CDW's Web site and fill out the
online application to enter the contest
land/page/techtwister_110804.asp .
All entries must be completed and
received by 5pm PST on February 15,
2005. The winners will be chosen during the months of December 2004,
January 2005 and February 2005.
In a sign that wearable technology
is gaining greater acceptance, the Gap
on Thursday introduced a fleece
jacket with a built-in radio for kids.
The Hoodio has a control keypad located on the sleeve and a hood that
conceals the speakers. Xybernaut sells
a wearable, 1.9-pound computer with
an 8.4-inch touch screen. And MP3
players are now in sunglasses. Oak-
ley's Thump line is available in seven
combinations of lenses and colors.
The shades have earphones and lenses
that flip up and down. Meanwhile,
NanoHorizons has developed socks
containing silver and gold nanoparticles, which kill foot odor and bacteria.
NanoDynamics has come up with a
golf ball that can correct its own flight
path so it flies straighter than conventional balls. The design of the ball-and the materials it's made of--serve
to better channel the energy received
from the club head and thus correct a
wobble or slight drift. The company
believes the ball complies with the
rules of the United States Golf Association. It will provide samples for
testing and USGA approval in January or February. Earlier this year,
Easton Sports announced it was developing a set of bike components
made from carbon nanotubes that
would be stronger and lighter than
conventional parts. And 0ther companies have developed nano tennis balls
that don't lose air and golf shafts constructed with nanomaterials.
During the string of hurricanes that
hit the U.S. last summer, satellite
phones were often the only reliable
means of communication, because
they use orbiting satellites rather than
landlines and cell towers to transmit
signals. "They cover such a broad
area, I can use it anywhere," says one
Iridium customer. "The call may get
unclear, but if you wait about five or
six seconds, it gets better. A cell
phone would just drop the call."
Microsoft's new small business
software gives you financial info at a
glance. Looking to offer small businesses an integrated approach to accounting, contact management and
general productivity, Microsoft announced that a beta version of its
newly announced small business management product is now available for
Kawada Industries in Japan has
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 13
been putting the final touches on a
large biped robot that can do what no
humanoid its size has done before: lie
down, get up, and help a human carry
light loads, like suitcases and briefcases.
Passwords will soon be a thing of
the past according to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Gates predicted that
people will soon rely on other ways of
verifying their identity. "A major
problem for identity systems is the
weakness of passwords," Gates said.
"Moving to biometric and smart cards
is a wave that is coming, and we see
our leading customers doing this."
Japanese electronics giant TDK has
developed a tough new coating named
Blu-ray that makes DVDs scratchproof. In a test conducted by CNET
News.com, a DVD treated with
TDK's coating survived a determined
attack with a screwdriver and a
Sharpie permanent marker, with no
effect on playability.
Researchers at the Toho University
School of Medicine in Tokyo have
found that long hours spent in front of
a computer screen may increase the
risk of glaucoma in nearsighted people. The research is based on a study
of 10,000 workers in Japan, with results correlated to data on how many
hours were spent on the computer and
pre-existing visual problems, such as
myopia. Scientists said they believe
the optic nerve in myopic people
might be more vulnerable to computer-caused stress.
Watch for hefty increases in annual
subscription rates for antivirus software as major Security companies
encourage subscribers to upgrade to
full Internet Security Suites which
include firewall, anti-spam and antispyware as well as antivirus.
The Editorial Committee of the Association
of Personal Computer User Groups, an international organization of which this group is a
member, brings this article to you.
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 14
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Membership Application*
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Make your check payable to Napa Valley PC Users Group.
Mail application to Napa Valley PC Users Group, Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 94558-0286
*For a Corporate Membership application, contact Dianne Prior, Membership Director, (707)252-1506, or e-mail [email protected]
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NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 15
Ergonomics for the Elderly
By Dr. Herbert A. Goldstein, Editor, Sarasota PC Monitor,
Sarasota FL PC Users Group (www.spcug.org - [email protected])
As baby boomers reach retirement age, the ratio of
employees to retirees will equalize over the next twenty
years. When you consider that the foundation of Social
Security benefits is generated from the workers, it is
evident that benefits will be inadequate for future retirees. In order to endure, the elderly will be forced to keep
working beyond the current retirement age.
As our increasing knowledge of the aging process
brings about breakthroughs in life-extension technologies, the elderly will come to play a greater role in the
productivity of our economy. Upcoming ergonomic developments will be critical in order to accommodate the
elderly as viable and productive members of the workforce.
With the physical restrictions that naturally come
with age we can expect that many elderly would be regarded as having disabilities, and the ones who are not
technically disabled could be considered physically and
mentally compromised to some degree. Therefore, any
workplace modifications that serve to overcome limitations in strength, coordination, endurance, sight, hearing
and shift adaptability will accommodate the elderly into
the workplace.
Visual restrictions can be overcome with a greater
dependence on verbal communication with regard to
instructions and assistive technology such as audio recorders. Labels should be in large, clear print, with
large, high-resolution computer monitors. Voice recognition software is also helpful. Other modifications include paper holders and bookstands that allow for optimal positioning of written materials, voice mail systems
for messages and raised edges along the sides of work
surfaces to prevent objects from falling off.
In personnel with hearing limitations any audible
information should be supplemented with some form of
visual presentation. Whole body vibration transmitted to
chairs should be minimized by utilizing anti-vibration
seating surface. Ambient noise should be minimized
through workstation design, isolating noisy printers,
sound dampening etc. Workers should have vibrating
pagers, visual call indicators and sound amplifiers on
The elderly should have their work environment arranged in such a way as to avoid unnecessary reaching,
lifting and carrying. Storage systems with pull-out
shelves and workstation carousels help to keep frequently used materials within 18 inches of the body.
Containers should be provided to break loads into manageable units and the employee should have the means
to slide any materials over 2 pounds. Mechanical reaching devices should be available for accessing supplies
beyond the reach of the worker.
With the preservation of their mental faculties and
the advent of ergonomic innovations for staff, the elderly will find themselves continuing to play a dynamic
and productive role in society into the later years.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups, an international organization of which
this group is a member, brings this article to you.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
NVPCUG Computer News, January 2005, Page 16
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