Computer News Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group November 16 NVPCUG Meeting

Computer News Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group November 16 NVPCUG Meeting
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Computer News
November 2005
Volume 22, Issue 11
Inside This Issue:
President’s Message
Special Interest Groups
Officers List
October Meeting Review
Membership News
Member of the Year Award
Moderating a Q & A Session
Indexing the Web
Connecting Your Network to
the Internet
Technology and Privacy
Legal Bytes—Trolling for WiFi 10
Bluetooth Revolution
Expect the Unexpected
When Traveling Abroad
Microsoft Is Helping
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. Through
Computers-to-Schools program, members refurbish used
computer equipment for donation
to local schools. Since January
2003 the NVPCUG has donated
364 computers and 109 printers.
DVD Technology to be Discussed at
November 16 NVPCUG Meeting
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, November
16, 2005, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street,
Napa, California.
James Manning, Director of Product Management for the Roxio
Division of Sonic Solutions, will present a primer on DVD technology, formats, compatibility issues, and myths. DVD B originally
named ADigital Video [email protected] and more recently dubbed ADigital Versatile [email protected] B is one of the hottest electronics technologies of the decade.
A DVD optical disc is capable of storing both video and audio information, offers the highest quality recorded video output for consumers,
and can hold from 4 to 28 times as much data as a CD (compact disc).
James Manning
However, the technology can be confusing because there are different,
competing formats and the disc medium can be of several types. Further confusing the
picture, high-definition DVD is arriving with yet another format war, this time between
Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD.
James will also demonstrate one of Sonic=s DVD authoring products and tell us about
creating DVDs of our own. Using DVD products, you can archive your photos and videotapes, create movies and custom music discs, and easily search for and play any selection.
James is a technical expert, so bring your tough questions and expect an evening of DVD
James heads the Digital Home team at Sonic Solutions, one of the world=s leading suppliers of digital media software. During his eight years at Sonic, he has assumed numerous roles. He designed the DVDit and MyDVD product line, oversaw the installation of
dozens of DVD production facilities at customer sites, and is now intimately involved in
planning Sonic=s high-definition DVD strategy. Sonic=s products range from advanced
DVD authoring systems and interactive content delivery technologies used to produce the
majority of Hollywood DVD film releases, to award-winning CD and DVD creation,
playback, and backup products that have become the premier choice for professionals,
businesses, and consumers worldwide.
In the Computer Tutor session prior to the main presentation, Jerry Brown will
show several ways he names and organizes user files on his computer in order to make
finding and retrieving files easier, then open the floor for a discussion of ways that others
have found helpful. Jerry is a retired computer software engineer who was involved for
many years in development and support work for the United States= space shuttle program.
He is a past NVPCUG director, has served since 2000 as our Investors SIG leader, and for
the last two years has moderated the Random Access sessions at our monthly meetings.
Our meeting will begin with Random Access, where you can ask questions about using computer products and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees. 
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 1
President=s Message C
Member Needs and Suggestions
At our October 19 general meeting several attendees expressed their needs for specific computer-related knowledge, particularly concerning
By Orion E. Hill
Windows XP features. Also, a number of suggestions were made about how our group=s activities,
Elections of Directors and Officers
especially our general meetings, could be imAt the NVPCUG Board of Directors annual
proved, including making coffee available, acOrion Hill
business meeting on November 2, our current diquiring a wireless microphone, and having open,
rectors elected ten people to serve as directors durin-depth discussions of preselected topics in place
ing the coming term, which starts in December. Please of speaker presentations at some meetings. Our officers
join me in congratulating these volunteers, without whom have already begun to review your comments and take
our group could not function. An asterisk designates an steps to fulfill your needs and implement some of your
Users Helping Users
Susy Ball
Ron Dack
Orion E. Hill*
Bob Kulas
John Moore
Dick Peterson
John Simcoe*
Jim Stirling*
Roy Wagner*
Dean Unruh
We're very fortunate that four of our current directors
have agreed and been elected to serve for another year.
Among those joining our board of directors, Bob, Dick,
and Ron have previously served as directors of our group.
Bob, who is a founding NVPCUG member, and Ron have
also served multiple terms as president. Susy, who joined
our group last April, has served as director and president
of the Fresno PC Users Group and as president of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups, of which our
group is a member. Dean and John have contributed to
our group=s success by regularly helping with various projects. The experience of all of these officers will help ensure that we have a strong, productive board during the
coming year.
Our new directors will take office at a transitional
board meeting scheduled on December 7, 2005. The board
will then elect new corporate officers B President, Vice
President, Secretary, and Treasurer B and appoint subordinate officers for one-year terms.
Our board is looking for people who are interested in
serving as officers. Please review the list of officers published in this newsletter and let one of our directors for the
coming term know in which position(s) you are willing to
Please note that I=m not a candidate for President for
the coming term. That privilege can be yours. I hope
everyone will seriously consider serving in that key leadership role. New leadership can provide an opportunity for
introducing new ideas and processes that can reinvigorate
our organization.
If you missed our last meeting, you don=t need to wait
for another meeting or for a survey to be conducted to let
our officers know about your needs and ideas. Just call or
e-mail one of our officers, all of whom would be glad to
hear from you. Their phone numbers and e-mail addresses
are listed in all of our newsletters, on our Web site
(, and in our NVPCUG directories.
Our new eBay SIG got off to a good start with fourteen
people attending the initial meeting on October 26 at the
Napa Valley Genealogical Library in Napa. Kay Nagel,
who gave an excellent presentation on selling and buying
on eBay at our general meeting last September, offered
more tips, techniques, and strategies for being a successful
online buyer and seller. She also briefly introduced and
recommended using Craigslist (, an
online community bulletin board on which items can be
bought and sold through free classified ads that attract millions of viewers.
Due to the next regularly scheduled eBay SIG meeting
day falling on the day before Thanksgiving Day, the next
meeting has been rescheduled to Wednesday, November
30, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m., at the Napa Valley Genealogical Library in Napa. For more information, contact SIG
leader Tom Kessler by calling (707) 258-1884 or sending
e-mail to [email protected]
Annual Holidays Potluck Party
Mark your calendars now for our annual holidays potluck meeting on December 21. Don=t miss this great fellowship event. Dick and Sandy Peterson have invited us
again to use the Christmas Tree House at their tree farm on
Darms Lane.
Sound Off!
Got a suggestion for improving an NVPCUG activity?
Want to help with an activity?
Send e-mail to
[email protected] or call (707) 252-0637. 
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 2
Come to the NVPCUG General Meetings
We meet on the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activities Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Special
Interest Groups
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2005
Board of Directors
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.
For current meeting information, see our
Web site,, or contact
the SIG leaders.
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]
eBay SIG
Monthly, fourth Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Napa Valley Genealogical Library
1701 Menlo Ave., Napa
Leader: Tom Kessler
(707) 258-1884
[email protected]
Investors 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
[email protected]
Vice President
Orion E. Hill
252-0637* [email protected]
(Volunteer Needed)
[email protected]
Julie Jerome
224-6620 [email protected]
Roy Wagner
253-2721 [email protected]
Other Directors:
Dianne Prior, John Simcoe, James Stirling
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling
Computer Tutor
Program Coordinator
Facility Arrangements
Greeter Coordinator
Membership Director
Mentor Program
Newsletter Circulator
Newsletter Editor
Product Review Coord.
Programs Director
Publicity Director
Random Access Moderator
Special Projects Director
Bill Wheadon
[email protected]
Mike Moore
[email protected]
Orion E. Hill
[email protected]
Steve Siegrist
[email protected]
Bob Simmerman
Marcia Waddell
Dianne Prior
Hilton Des Roches
Jim Hearn
James Stirling
Marcia Waddell
(Volunteer Needed)
John Simcoe
Jerry Brown
(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]
*All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
For more information about the
NVPCUG, visit our Web site:
NVPCUG Calendar
November 2
November 9
November 14
November 16
November 30
December 21
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-9:00 p.m.
Computers-to-Schools work parties. To volunteer, contact Orion Hill, (707) 252-0637.
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
EBay SIG meeting, Napa Valley Genealogical Library, 1701 Menlo Ave., Napa
Annual Holidays Party, Peterson Family Christmas Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 3
Meeting Review C
Membership News
NVPCUG General Meeting, October 19
At the NVPCUG general meeting held Wednesday,
October 19, there was a wide-ranging discussion of problems related to the use of computer programs and the
maintenance of equipment. In charge of the Random Access period, Jerry Brown fielded questions on Internet
connections for AOL and Comcast, sending pictures along
with text as e-mail, use of automatic updates (some
download before installing, or wait till they have made
backups), using Spybot for spyware, using a webcam, and
even building a computer from assembled parts. Beth
Pickering, visiting vice-president from the Sonoma Valley
Computer Group, urged us to visit the MacWorld convention that meets in San Francisco January 9-13, regardless
of which operating system we use. Though not a Mackintosh user, she said she saw a lot of enlightening exhibits
and even got some good samples of software and goodies
like a webcam. *
Mike Moore followed with a detailed description of
ways to protect passwords in Microsoft Word and Excel.
This was then followed by a discussion, led by President
Orion Hill, of the general conduct of the computer group
activities through the past year and the need for volunteers
to fill the offices in the coming year.
*Web site of the Sonoma group is (VOM
stands for “Valley of the Moon,” their original name.)
Comment on Meetings and Newsletter
I appreciate what has been and is being done regarding the format of group meetings and coverage in
the newsletter. Members probably represent a very
wide scope of interests, and I respect the efforts made
to cover those interests.
by Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Membership Director
IT’S TIME TO RENEW for many of us whose
memberships expire in December. Your continued
support of our users group allows us to bring you
our various activities, including the newsletter. It
would be very helpful if you would give your dues
to me at our meeting or mail it to me (NVPCUG,
Membership Director, PO Box 2866, Napa, 945580286) as soon as possible. Then I won’t have to bug
you in person. Annual dues are $30 for individuals
(Regular membership), $20 for Students (a full-time
student not eligible for Associate membership), and
$10 for Associates (a family member in the same
household as a Regular member or a family member
who is a full-time student in the same household as a
Student member).
CORRECTION: In the last newsletter it was incorrectly reported that Bill Lowry originally joined in
1955. The date should have been 1995. Glad you’re
back with us, Bill!
Member of the Year Award Nominations
By Julie Jerome, NVPCUG Secretary
At its next meeting the NVPCUG Board of Directors will choose one of our members as the recipient of the Member of the Year Award. We invite you to submit names for this honor. The winner
will be announced at our annual Holidays Party on
December 21.
Please e-mail your nomination, along with a brief
explanation as to why the person should receive this
honor, to: Julie Jerome, [email protected] We
will also provide nomination cards at our general
meeting on November 16.
Bern Klein, NVPCUG member
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 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 68-0069663) 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 © 2005 by NVPCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 4
Moderating a Question and Answer Session
By Bud Bondietti, Editor, Modesto PC User Group
[email protected]
There often are a few thankless jobs within a user
group, helping setup and takedown a meeting, being a
club officer (sometimes) and being a moderator of specific
groups. While attending a user group meeting as a guest, I
was especially interested in the topics brought forward by
the members during their question and answer session.
The group was well attended with a wide range of
knowledge from novice (I disdain the word “Newbie”) to
expert as well as a couple of members who themselves
made their living working with computers. The inevitable
question popped up, “My computer isn’t working
properly, who do you recommend that I get to repair it?”
One of the members jumped up, reached into his wallet
producing a business card, and handed it to the member.
Other members became very silent until the moderator
politely said to the member, “There are a number of
people that I could recommend, and if you see me after
the session, I would be glad to help you out.” Needless to
say, I was impressed with the moderators’ tact. After the
meeting over coffee, I commented to him as to how well
he handled the situation. He laughed a little, then told me
the story of this one member. It seems that he was always
looking for a free plug of his business and that most of the
members overlooked the interruption. I commented that it
didn’t seem fair that he be allowed to continue, but the
moderator said that he’d been doing it so long it became a
“way of the club.”
A little later in our discussion, we got to talking about
newsletters. I had not seen any of their newsletters, so I
didn’t know what they contained. As we compared notes,
I mentioned that we devote one page of our newsletter
strictly for member advertising at no cost to the member.
Sort of a benefit of membership, I stated. He looked as
though the light bulb lit and said, “Maybe that’s the
answer to our problem.” Two issues later I noticed a page
of advertising for member services. Later on I received an
e-mail from him in which he said that the interruptions
had ceased and that when those types of questions came
from the floor, he referred the person to that page.
Problem solved.
A successful moderator, I have found, should practice
two qualities:
1) The ruse of “Dazzle them with brilliance or baffle
them with bull” very seldom works. If anything, it
complicates the problem because the person
doesn’t get the right answers to solve the problem.
2) If you are hit with a question you or anyone in the
audience doesn’t have the answer for, politely ask
the person to see you after the question and
answer session so you can get the question written
down for research. Then, follow up. Nothing will
turn a member against the club faster than not
having their needs met. Be careful not to get
bogged down on one question. Time is short and
you may miss someone else’s need to have an
important question addressed.
The moderator should make it a habit to repeat the
question for two reasons:
1) It assures that the question is correctly stated.
2) It helps those who are hard of hearing know what
the question is and the resulting answer.
Utilize a microphone if need be; otherwise talk clearly
and slowly. We often rush to get our answers, and people
miss the point. If there is more than one “expert” in the
group, utilize their talents to help solve questions. Be
aware of sideline discussions within the audience, they
hamper others from hearing what’s going on and thus
create a need to repeat the question and its answer. There
is a wealth of knowledge in our groups, even from the
novices. Above all, learn that patience is a virtue. When
you show patience, more people will ask questions and the
session will flow evenly, sometimes past the time to close
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal
Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 5
Indexing the Web: Spiders, Web Crawlers & Bots
By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Sarasota PC Monitor, Sarasota FL, PC Users Group,
Have you ever wondered how search engines such as
Google manage to get the answers to your queries so rapidly? How could they search the Web that fast, I mean
usually less than one second to find the words you ask
for? Well --- They don't. Actually the searching goes on
constantly, 24/7. And, the mechanism they use is just a
modification of what you use for browsing the Web.
Although you may have heard about spiders, Web
crawlers and Web bots, they don't actually traverse the
Web any more than does your Web browser (Internet
Explorer or Firefox or whatever browser you use). Instead
they download Web pages that are then scanned and the
significant words added to an index.
To simplify the terminology, I will refer to all the Web
searching programs as “spiders”. (It takes less space and
is easier to type.) These spiders are programs designed to
find Web addresses (URL's) and to download the pages.
Some also do the indexing of the words on the page.
However, Google uses a separate indexing program and
stores the downloaded pages for future reference. Now if
a single spider were being used to locate and download
pages, the task would really be impossible. Sergey Brin
and Lawrence Page, the originators of Google, published
a paper while they were graduate students at Stanford that
utilized three spiders. Each spider kept about 300 connections open simultaneously. With four spiders they could
download about 600 pages per second. This paper referred to the prototype that became the commercial
Google enterprise. Even with the prototype system they
were able to download and index 24 million pages in a
week. Their current methodology is proprietary and so is
not public, but it is probably a significant improvement
over their prototype system.
We can use the original Google system as a model of
what could be used by search engines to prepare the index
and database of Web pages that you access when you
send a query. The first step is to send a list of URLs to the
spider to download. This is done by a server that maintains a list of URLs. The spider will download pages and
also follow any hyperlinks to other pages. Addresses of
pages that were linked to the original search list are also
sent back to the server to be checked to see if they were
already on the list. If not, they are added to the URL lists.
Not every spider uses a URL server. The spider will continue crawling the Web until it reaches a dead end or a
page with no further links.
As I mentioned earlier, a spider isn't just working with
one page, but has hundreds of connections open to different pages. Given that there are billions of pages on the
Web, even with thousands of spiders collecting information, only a small fraction of the entire Web is scanned.
Some Web sites, such as those with news or rapidly
changing information, are visited hourly. Every spider
has a re-visitation policy that determines how frequently a
page will be revisited and checked for changes.
There is another general policy that is usually programmed into these spiders. That is called the
“politeness” policy. This is used to prevent the overloading of Web sites. After all, there is a finite limit to bandwidth and it would be possible to overwhelm a Web site
with visits from multiple spiders in a short period of time.
This policy provides for an interval of time to elapse between accesses by a spider. This time interval seems to
vary from 20 seconds to 3-4 minutes. This would be the
case where multiple pages need to be downloaded from a
single server. Revisiting indexed and stored Web sites
occurs at less frequent intervals.
However, even this politeness policy is sometimes inadequate. Frequent visits by spiders may result in complaints being sent back to the owner of the spider. So it is
also possible to enter code on a Web page which asks the
spider to not access or download a page or pages. This
can be done by the addition of meta tags in the page
header or by a robots.txt file placed in the root directory
for the Web site. This is especially appropriate for game
pages. These pages use a dynamic format that changes
when pages are viewed or links are followed. When a spider downloads these pages the game program may respond as if a very high-speed player were logged on. This
can create problems for the program and may result in
crashing the game server. So we now have the robot exclusion protocol being used by owners of Web pages that
do not want their pages included in the search engine indexing.
In the original Google system the Web pages were sent
to another program referred to as the indexer. This program sorts through every word on the page and stores
them in a database. The exceptions are the simple words
such as a, an, the. However, simply entering the words
into a database is not sufficient. They have to be identified to the particular page from which they came, the location on that page and a relative ranking in importance.
The frequency with which they appear on the page as well
as the position on the page may be used in determining
the weight or relative rank. Words in the title or near the
top of the page may be ranked as more important. So the
storage of the words include the URL, and a calculated
weight in an encoded format.
The word database is then indexed to speed the retrieval of the information. This is usually done by the
building of a Hash Table. Hashing evens out the alphabetical sections so that it takes no longer to find a “z”
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 6
than it does a more popular letter like “m.” It also separates the index from the actual entry for the word. This
improves the efficiency of the storage of this information.
The indexing and the Hash Table also speed the overall
retrieval of the information. The complete Web page is
also stored in a separate location. Once the indexing process is completed, the information is available for your
Given the size of the Web and the continuing changes
to Web pages, the spider's search is never ending. It may
also be one where we will never have every page indexed.
One other aspect of the size of the Web and the time required for the crawling process is that broken links will
always occur. If a page is not re-visited frequently, it may
still be in the index and the database long after it has been
removed from its server. Another situation may be where
the URL has changed and the new location has not yet
been crawled. So, the process is not perfect by any means.
The other aspect of searching the Web is the design of
the query you want to submit to a search engine. As I'm
sure you know, you can simply list a few keywords in the
search engine and hope you will get a useful result. Many
times you will also get results that have no relationship to
the information you are seeking. In some of these cases,
you need to try the advanced search or learn to use Boolean operators. Those most frequently used are:
• AND – all the terms joined by “AND” must appear in
the pages or documents.
• OR – at least one of the terms joined by “OR” must
appear in the pages or documents.
• NOT – the term or terms following “NOT” must not
• Quotation marks – Words between quotation marks
must appear as a phrase.
• Followed By – one of the terms must be followed by
the other.
• Near – one of the terms must be within a specified
number of words of the other.
Generally, search engines can use these Boolean operators to provide results more closely aligned to the topic
you are trying to locate.
Like everything else related to computers, Web indexing and searching are not static technologies. The search
engine companies are researching “natural language” queries such as those handled by “Ask Jeeves”. Currently,
these queries can accommodate only relatively simple
phrases. However, there is heavy competition to develop
an engine that can work with much more complex queries. Another area that is being pursued is “conceptbased” searching. This would use a form of statistical
analysis to determine if the page fit your query. And, as
you may have read, Google has plans to put the content of
the world's libraries on the Web.
Just imagine what it would be like if we didn't have
these search engines to help us find information on the
Web. So good searching, and I hope you find what you
are looking for. 
Dr. Lewis is a former university and medical school
professor. He has been working with personal computers
for more than thirty years. He can be reached via e-mail:
bwsail at
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
Tech Tips from Smart Computing
• Use Safe Mode To Remove Spyware - The most
important point about spyware removal is to do it in
Windows Safe Mode. This prevents almost all spyware
from loading at startup and makes removal more reliable.
At bootup, press F8 after the BIOS screen. Choose the
second option, Safe Mode, with networking. You’ll need
to connect to the Internet to install and update the
definitions for the spy checker’s Web Security.
• Isolate Your Online Purchases - Whenever you
enter information to register or purchase something at a
Web site, the site often keeps quite a bit of that
information on file, in case you return later. Sometimes
you will have an option for the Web site to remember the
credit card number. For security’s sake, it’s best to enter
your credit card information each time. You’ve no doubt
seen the news stories about the dozens of serious security
breaches that have exposed thousands of credit cards for
use by criminals. To create a “financial firewall” you may
want to consider getting a credit card that you use only
for online purchases.
• Stay Up-To-Date On Microsoft Fixes - If you're also
interested in knowing the latest updates to Microsoft’s
database, the site can really help. This site
will email you links to any updated pages in categories
that you choose. You can also determine whether you
want daily or weekly updates. It’s an effortless way to
keep yourself up-to-date on bugs and fixes. 
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 7
Connecting Your Home or Office Network to the Internet
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; radio & TV show host
shares the same 2.4 GHz digital frequencies of many
On my weekly radio show (KLVI 560AM 1-3 pm Satcordless phones and other household electronics, which
urdays) I am frequently asked questions about connecting
may possibly cause some interference with the wireless
an Internet source to a home network, such that several
connection. Under ideal conditions, 802.11b can transfer
computers can simultaneously share the Internet connecdata at a rate of up to11 megabytes per second (Mbps).
tion. This type of home networking is typically only
The newer 802.11a and 802.11g stanpractical if there is a broadband source, and
dards offer higher transmission speeds,
generally impractical if the source is dialup,
and will likely encounter less interferand a voice phone line is to be shared for
ence from household appliances, but
Internet access.
some interference is always a risk.
Basically, there are three good options
available, and each has its relative advanTo connect computers to a wireless nettages and disadvantages, and varies in terms
work requires a wireless router, and a
of cost effectiveness based on individual cirdevice called an “access point” for each
cumstances. The three basic methods or
computer. The main advantage to a
technologies available for home or small ofwireless network is the ease of installafice networking are wired, wireless, and
Ira Wilskey
tion, and the flexibility of not being con“homeplug.”
nected to a wire while surfing the net. The wireless router
Wired networking is a viable choice if it is practical to
is connected to the broadband input, and an antenna on
run a network cable between computers. The cable,
the router broadcasts the signal to the access points.
which can be relatively inexpensive if purchased in bulk
Range is a function of building construction and interferfrom electronics or home/hardware stores, but somewhat
ence, but at typical household and small office distances
pricey if purchased in pre-cut sections at retail stores.
and construction, a single router is typically adequate.
Cable can be run through an attic, suspended from cup
Users should be sure to follow the instructions included
hooks along a ceiling, run along baseboards, or other
with the router in terms of placement in order to maximethods that comply with appropriate safety and electrimize the signal. Many wireless routers include some
cal codes. Other than running the cable, the installation
form of hardware firewall, but again a software firewall
of the network is fairly simple, and requires readily availon each computer is generally recommended. “Access
able and generally inexpensive hardware, manufactured
Points” are generally small devices that attach to a comby countless companies. A device called a router is conputer either through a USB port, or to the network input
nected to the broadband input, and the computers are conon the computer. As they are radio transceivers, placenected via network cable to the router. Most wired
ment will affect performance. It is imperative to note that
routers come with a floppy or CD with simple configuraunless the integral encryption and other security options
tion utilities that allow the network to be setup and funcoffered by the router and access points are implemented,
tioning within minutes of connection. Wired routers can
there can be some serious security issues with wireless
be purchased from discount stores, electronics stores, ofconnections, in that it is easy for unauthorized persons to
fice supply stores, and a variety of other sources. Since
access the network.
almost all contemporary computers, both desktop and
Wireless routers and access points are readily available
notebook, come with an integral network connector, genwherever electronics are sold, including discount stores,
erally no other hardware is required other than the router
warehouse clubs, office supply stores, and other retailers.
and cable. In terms of security, wired is generally the
As the technology has been improving, prices have been
most secure method of networking. Many of the inexpenplunging. Some provisos are in order at this point; first,
sive wired routers include some type of hardware firewall
be sure that whatever wireless hardware is purchased, be
to protect the network from intrusion, but it is still genersure that it is compatible, in that the suffix “a”, “b”, or “g”
ally a good idea to have a software firewall on each commatch, although much of the hardware available today
will work with any standard, often listed as “a/b/g”. A
One of the most popular methods of home or small
second proviso is the “weakest link” factor, in that a wireoffice networking is wireless, often referred to with its
less (or any other network) connection is only as fast as
industry standard designation, 802.11, with a letter suffix,
the slowest segment. If a broadband connection is runsuch as an “a”, “b”, or “g”. The suffix indicates which
ning at 2Mbps, a faster wireless connection may be
version of the standard hardware complies with in terms
wasted unless files or hardware (such as printers or video)
of frequency, and bandwidth. Generally, the least expenare being shared among the network. It should also be
sive and most widely used type is the 802.11b, which
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 8
noted that many of the new home theater devices now
coming on the market utilize the same wireless interconnectivity and hardware as computers, and may require the
newer and faster standards of connectivity.
There is a third technology available for home and
small office networking that is still in its infancy, but
holds a promising future, and most of the major networking hardware manufacturers such as Belkin, Linksys, GigaFast, IOGear, Netgear, and others are producing compatible hardware.
This technology, called Homeplug” (, can safely utilize the existing
household electrical wiring as an already wired network.
Homeplug compatible hardware is priced about the same
as wireless, but is not yet as readily available as traditional
wired or wireless hardware, but it may be worth the effort
to shop for it. The standard, which meets UL and other
safety requirements, is possibly the easiest to configure,
has a 14Mbps bandwidth, and is more secure than wireless. To connect broadband to Homeplug, the broadband
input is plugged into a Homeplug input device (similar to
a router), and that device is then simply plugged into a
standard wall electrical outlet. Any computer in the home,
as well as many of the newer entertainment devices, are
then connected to any other electrical outlet in the house
via an adapter that connects to the computer with a traditional USB or network plug. In terms of security, the
broadband signal does not typically pass through the
household junction box, making it extremely difficult for
neighbors and others to access the connection or network.
As with all other forms of networking, a software firewall
is still necessary on each computer.
If a user is bearing the cost of broadband, and has more
than one computer in the home or office, then one of these
networking technologies may be a useful method to connect those computers to the Internet. 
Web site:
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer
User Groups has provided this article.
What Your Technology May Be Telling About You
WXPnews E-Zine of November 8 had some comments
on how the machines we use for our normal home or office activities may contain elements that tell their makers
--or others--what we are doing and who we are. Makers
of color laser printers may embed tiny yellow dots into
the printed documents to make it possible for someone to
track the origins of a document. This was done ostensibly
to help the Secret Service track down currency counterfeiters. Last month the Electric Frontier Foundation was
able to crack the code for Xerox DocuColor printers and
discovered that they imprint the serial number of the
printer and the date and time when the document was
printed. Other printers likely do the same.
Information Week carried an article on November 4
about the growing use of RFID (radio frequency identification) chips and the efforts being made by manufacturers
of the chips to enhance their image in the eyes of the consuming public. RFID Ltd., one of the producers, is seeking to place several papers with Google to refute the allegations detailed in a recent book called Spychips, written
by Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. As the use for
RFID chips grows, they may take the place of bar coding
in stores. Unlike bar codes, the chips do not have to be
close to a reader; they can be “scanned” at a distance of
several feet, and the consumer may not even be aware of
their presence. Wal-Mart is beginning to mark its merchandise with the tags, which may vary in size from that
of a credit card to one as small as a mere dot.
Last spring the Real ID Act was passed by the U.S.
Congress and signed into law by President Bush. It requires state-issued driver’s licenses and ID cards to have
“machine-readable technology” in order for them to be
accepted for air travel, banking and entering federal
buildings. And in October the U.S. State Department laid
out rules for embedding RFID chips in U.S. passports
issued after October 2006.
Many cell phones have built-in Global Positioning
Satellite (GPS) transceivers that can pinpoint their locations.
New cars contain “black boxes” (Sensing and Diagnostic Modules or SDMs) that record data about travel
speed, heading, location and even the number of occupants and whether they’re using seatbelts.
Cameras are watching and recording our actions in
stores and office buildings, at red lights and toll booths,
and even on public streets. And New York is planning to
add cameras to their subway system.
As WXPnews points out, any one of these things
would seem to be pleasantly harmless. But when they are
brought together in a society, privacy becomes an illusion; we can be under constant surveillance. The European Commission is proposing to keep detailed records of
phone calls made, e-mails sent and Web sites surfed by
all 450 million EU citizens.
Is this the price we must pay for living in high-tech
times? RFID Ltd. is trying hard to make us like it. 
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 9
Legal Bytes: Trolling for Wi-Fi -- Is It Legal?
by John Brewer
Computer Club of Oklahoma City eMonitor, October 2005
Local area networking has experienced a profound
change in recent years. Wired networks are still the norm,
but wireless networking is popular at homes and businesses. There are several issues worthy of exploration
regarding this topic, and this column will explore these
issues in some detail in this and future columns. One issue
is the legality of accessing an “open” wireless network,
and the other issue is the necessity to protect a wireless
Legality of accessing a WiFi network
Wikipedia states that “wardriving” involves the use of
an automobile and a Wi-Fi-equipped computer, such as a
laptop or a PDA, to detect Wi-Fi wireless networks. It is
also known as "WiLDing" (Wireless Lan Driving), originating in the U.S. with the Bay Area Wireless Users
Group (BAWUG). It is similar to using a scanner for radio. Many wardrivers use GPS devices to measure the
location of the network, then find and log it on a Web
site. For better range, antennas are built or bought, and
vary from omnidirectional to highly directional. Software
for wardriving is freely available on the Internet, notably,
NetStumbler for Windows, KisMac for Macintosh, and
Kismet for Linux.
Wardrivers make identification and access of wireless
networks a sport, but is the sport legal? Is there a clear-cut
answer or does it depend on the facts?
A recent Florida case provides some guidance. A Florida man, sitting in his SUV and using a laptop, was accessing wireless networks in a residential neighborhood.
The St. Petersburg Times reported the matter and made
the observation that “a drive through downtown St. Petersburg shows how porous networks can be. In less than
five minutes, a Times reporter with a laptop found 14
wireless access points, six of which were wide open. I'll
guarantee there are tons of people out there who have
their wireless network being exploited but have no idea.
And as we see more people utilizing wireless, we'll see
more people being victimized." The Florida man was indicted and convicted.
Wireless fidelity, or “Wi-Fi,” has enjoyed prolific
growth since catching on in the year 2000. More than 10
million U.S. homes are equipped with routers that transmit high-speed Internet to computers using radio signals.
The signals can extend 200 feet or more, giving a person
the ability to use the Web in the backyard of his Crescent
Heights home, but also reaching the house next door, or
the street.
The expansion of Wi-Fi hot spots is part of this phenomenon. With a wireless-capable laptop, it is possible to
access the Internet at places called “hot spots,” and they
are everywhere. Some charge for access, but many provide it free . There is an inherent risk in this technology.
The router that provides the wireless access point has an
identifiable Internet protocol (IP) address. Anyone accessing the Internet through that router will appear to be authorized to use that IP address. Someone with a nefarious
intent can create a possible legal nightmare for the person
responsible for that IP address. The ability to look
through the IP address and identify the computer behind
the DHCP server is more difficult.
A recent case in Michigan involved the unauthorized
access of an unsecured Wi-Fi network at a Lowe's home
improvement store to steal credit card numbers. A 20year-old and a friend had stumbled across the network
while cruising around in a car in search of wireless Internet connections – wardriving. He was convicted.
An emerging threat is the "evil twin" attack. A person
with the proper equipment sets up a local hot spot and
overpowers the Wi-Fi network. Any computer user who
accesses the bogus Wi-Fi network is then at risk by the
evil twin. The Wall Street Journal has reported an evil
twin setup at a technology conference in London. Hackers
set up evil twins that infected other computers with viruses and gathered information on the users.
Protecting the WiFi network
It is apparent that security is an important issue in a
wireless network. The original standard was called WEP
(wired equivalent privacy). WEP is a form of encryption,
but the level of encryption is relatively weak. An improved form of encryption for wireless networks uses
AES (advanced encryption standard). AES is strong encryption.
There are ethical issues in accessing a wireless network unless one has specific authority. Is it similar to a
form of electronic trespass? Does it constitute a form of
theft from the Internet service provider? One can argue
both sides of these questions easily.
The next column will investigate the legal issues of
these questions in more depth. In the interim, owners of
wireless networks should consider the security of their
networks. Improvements can be made to the wireless network fairly easily. A company by the name of Force Field
Wireless has some excellent suggestions regarding wireless security. See Some of
the tips are:
Enable WEP. Make sure you use the largest WEP
key that the equipment supports.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 10
Change the SSID (Service Set Identifier) to something nondescriptive. Do not give a name, address, or
any other useful information to potential hackers. Do
not use the default SSID.
The Bluetooth Revolution
Change the default password(s) on the access point.
The default passwords of most network equipment
are well known and could allow an intruder to gain
access to the access point.
Disable Broadcast SSID. If the access point supports
"closed system" or allows one to "disable broadcast
SSID," use this feature. This will make the network
essentially invisible to almost all scanning methods.
Update the firmware and drivers on access points and
wireless cards. It is always wise to use the latest firmware and drivers on access points and wireless cards.
Manufacturers commonly fix known issues, security
holes, and enable new features with these updates.
Enable MAC-based filtering. This feature limits access to unique wireless cards.
Turn off access points when not in use.
Try to position access points in the center of the
house or building. This will minimize the signal leak
outside of its intended range.
Bluetooth is a compelling wireless technology that enables the passing of information securely between paired
devices within 30 feet of one another. Developed by a
consortium of leading high-tech companies, Bluetooth
wireless technology is similar to IR (infrared) or Wi-Fi
(802.11) in that it eliminates the need for cables to allow
communication and data exchange between devices.
Bluetooth, however, fits a niche between IR and Wi-Fi
that has triggered a recent explosion in the consumer
adoption of Bluetooth-enabled products. Bluetooth devices
don’t need to be pointed at each other and don’t need an
uninterrupted line-of-sight. They can be securely paired
such that communications are protected by safe 128-bit
encryption and can be as far as 11 yards apart. And even
though the range and data rate of 1 Mpbs (megabit per
second) for Bluetooth wireless technology can’t begin to
match Wi-Fl’s range and data rate (802.lla has a range of
100 feet and a data rate of up to 54Mbps, while 802.11 b
can transmit 300 feet at a speed of 11 Mbps), Bluetooth
devices use far less power than Wi-Fi, so they are even
more serviceable for basic networking and Internet access.
Given its advantages, then, consider whether any of
these more popular uses for Bluetooth technology might
help you get more out of your computer. Just look for the
Bluetooth logo on each of the devices you’d like to use for
exchanging data. 
Prudent use of security features in a wireless network
can prevent misfortune. 
John Brewer practices law in Oklahoma City, is a member of
the Governor’s and Legislative Task Force for E-Commerce,
and enjoys issues relating to eBusiness and cyberspace. Comments and questions are welcome and can be emailed to
[email protected]
In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a
prior interest in receiving the included information for research
and educational purposes. The article may contain sources for
content as attributed within the article.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User has provided this article.
For more information about
visit our Web site:
From Smart Computing Tidbits, June 2005
Compiled by David Whittle
Foxfire Becomes Target for Viruses
For a long time Mozilla’s Foxfire has been chosen by
many computer users over virus-targeted Internet Explorer, but its growing popularity has now attracted the
attention of virus producers. A series of attacks on Foxfire
has required Mozilla to take note of “holes” in their code
and issue patches to remedy them. Foxfire users are now
warned to look for updates.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 11
Expect the Unexpected When Traveling Abroad
By Lynn L. Kauer, Editor
Saginaw Valley Computer Association [email protected]
My wife and I recently went on a river cruise from
Vienna, Austria, starting with the Danube River. As we
continued our trip on the Danube through Germany, we
connected with the Main River. That allowed us to travel
over the mountains and connect with the Rhine River.
The trip ended in Amsterdam in the Netherlands
(Holland). This trip was for a period of three weeks and
was on a boat that only held 150 persons, including the
crew. We are more accustomed to the ‘big’ ships with
upwards of 2,400 passengers, with amenities like an onboard shop to download the photos from the digital memory cards onto CD’s. I knew that this service would not be
available on the riverboat and became oncerned about
what I would do if I ‘filled’ all of my digital storage.
My camera is a Sony DSC-F717 and uses “Memory
Sticks” for digital storage. (Other cameras may use Secure Digital, Compact Flash Cards or XD cards, depending on the manufacturer.)
Although the camera is capable of taking photos at 5
megapixels (2,560 x 1,020 JPEG image size), I adjusted
the settings downward to 3 (2,048 x 1,536 JPEG image
size). I also adjusted the setting to ‘fine’ mode instead of
‘standard’ mode. These settings allowed me to save approximately 80 photos on a 128MB stick instead of only
the 50 I would have if I were to shoot at the five-megapixel setting.
I own thirteen memory sticks—ten 128MB and three
256MB, capable altogether of storing 1,280 photos. While
that may seem like a lot, it really is not. I used almost all
of their storage capacity on a previous two-week trip to
the Mediterranean while visiting Italy, Greece, Turkey
and Croatia.
On that trip, we sailed miles off the coast, and there
was no opportunity to take photos until we landed ashore.
On the river cruise we would be traveling through the scenic vistas of three countries, plus having stops along the
way. I was concerned with having enough storage for
the three weeks.
After the first day I quickly learned that there are a lot
more things that one should worry about than digital storage. Some of the things contained in this article will surprise you and hopefully give you some insight as to what
you should think about when traveling abroad, whether on
ship, train, bus or car.
Camera Resolution
Though my camera was set to three megapixels, a
fellow passenger with a camera like mine told me that he
had recently purchased the camera with its included
stick, and expected to get “almost 800 photos on the
stick.” And that was his only stick. This is when I learned
that the salesperson had changed the resolution on his
camera to the lowest possible setting. In other words,
Internet resolution. When I asked him if he intended to
make prints he replied, “Oh yes. But none larger than 8 x
10.” He was the type who knew everything about everything, so I found a way to leave him while he snapped
away with his camera.
I also bumped into another poor fellow who had a real
problem. He had bought his camera really cheap in a
pawnshop a week before the trip. The camera stored
everything on a permanent chip inside the camera. The
salesperson had told him that all he had to do was to go
into any photo store, and they would be able to transfer
his photos to a CD with no problem. At this point, only
three days into a sixteen-day cruise, his camera was full.
Worse, he could not find a store that could provide the
service for him. Onboard the ‘big’ ships the service is
readily available for a fee. On the riverboat, they had no
provisions for this service. The crew attempted to help
him by downloading the photos onto their computer, but
they too bumped into a brick wall. He never received the
instructions or the CD that contained the necessary software with which to unload the photos to a computer. His
photo shooting days ended early.
In my concern for storage space on my camera chips
(I shot almost 1,000 photos), I thought I would get an
adaptor that would allow me to download the photos onto
a laptop computer. However, this idea was short-lived
because carry-on luggage space is limited. International
flights allow the passenger one piece of carry-on luggage,
and the size is restricted. Secondly, carrying laptops
through airport security is a royal pain. Therefore, I decided that I would become a ‘selective’ photographer and
not try to capture every photo opportunity I saw.
When traveling in Europe one must keep in mind that
110-volt power is not available. All of the electrical
power in Europe is 240-volt, and not all of the receptacles
are the same from country to country. My first purchase
was to buy a transformer to adjust the voltage for a 110volt external battery charger. It’s about the size of a small
flashlight, costs less than $25, and allows me to use it in
any country.
This is where I bumped into the first problem. I didn’t
read all of the instructions that came with the transformer.
The first occasion I had to use it was while in the hotel in
Vienna. That is where I learned that the voltage was 240volt and 50-cycle. The instructions clearly stated to not
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 12
allow it to be plugged into the outlet for more than an
hour, lest it become overheated and possibly damaged.
Therefore, I would plug the transformer into the outlet
and let the camera battery recharge for shorter periods.
When we boarded the ship the only two outlets available
were in the bathroom—one for use with an electric razor,
with 110 volts, and the other for 240-volt appliances. I
used the 240-volt outlet with the transformer for one-hour
periods to recharge the camera batteries. No problem.
Alas, two of our shipmates were not so lucky. One
plugged his charger into the 110-volt outlet and failed to
pay attention to the time. Two hours later, when he entered the cabin, he found his charger smoking. The problem is the 50-cycle current. It burned it up. The other
shipmate was less fortunate. He plugged the cord into his
camera to recharge the battery. It also caused damage to
the built-in charger, and he now had a dysfunctional camera. I make it a practice to never use the camera to recharge the battery unless it is absolutely necessary.
Internet Cafes and Keyboards
While in our hotel in Vienna I found a computer that
one could rent for Internet access. The rental rate for this
was three euros for fifteen minutes. This means $4.95 per
quarter hour, or about twenty bucks an hour.
Because of the committees Crystal and I are involved
in, we wanted to know what the latest information was.
This is when we learned that attachments do not get transmitted overseas. This was very frustrating, because we
attempted twice later in different cities with the same result.
The interesting thing I learned on the first attempt was
when I tried to send an e-mail to the sender that had the
attachment. When I typed the message a lot of the letters
were mixed up. For example, the S key would be displayed as a “&”, the “P” key would display as an “X” and
the “R” key would come up as a “>”. The keyboard layout doesn’t match that of ours!
When I got it cleaned up and attempted to send it I
received an error message that I had been logged off,
meaning that I had spent five bucks for nothing. This wasn’t unique to the hotel’s computer. It was common at
other sites as well. The result was that we were out of
contact with anyone online for a month, because things
just don’t interface as we expect them to.
I had bumped into the keyboard layout problem a couple of years earlier in England, but it wasn’t as complex
as being in Germany. Imagine what it would be like in
China or some other remote country.
The connection speeds were a step back in time. While
some sites boasted cable and broadband access, the speed
was similar to 56KB modems. I should have realized
what the differences were, as almost every home had a
roof antenna!
How Do You Spell Relief?
What do you do when you get sick in a foreign country? You call your doctor, right? Nope! Our shipmate had
had quadruple bypass surgery a couple of years earlier.
About halfway through the trip, he got a sore throat and a
severe cold. He failed to bring medication along to take
care of this condition. This became a big problem for him.
Since the time differential was six hours, and he got sick
on a weekend, he was unable to contact his doctor in the
states. He sent a fax to his doctor’s office, only to learn
that the office staff turns off the machines when they
leave work. Thus, while for us it was noon, it was 6:00
p.m. at his doctor’s office and it was already closed.
While ashore this same shipmate tried to make a phone
call, but his doctor’s answering machine told him to call
another number in the event of an emergency. The other
number had a message to the effect, “The doctor is not in
right now. Please leave a phone number where he can
contact you.” Since we were “at sea so to speak” there
was no way for the doctor to call back.
After two days, while the ship tied up in port it managed to contact his doctor, who faxed a prescription via a
satellite link. However, when the man took it to the pharmacy, the pharmacist refuse to fill it because it was written in English and not by a doctor recognized as being in
Germany. So, what’s the point? When traveling abroad
try to anticipate the unexpected for medications that may
require a prescription.
In my case, I became ill during the second week, having caught the ‘cold’ of the fellow trying to contact his
doctor. My only alternative was to talk to a pharmacist for
some ‘over the counter’ medication. It didn’t work very
well. When I arrived home and found myself unable to
sleep in a bed I dozed all night on the recliner. The next
morning I met with my doctor and showed him the medication I had bought in Europe. He pulled out the instructions from the package and exclaimed, “Everything is
written in German. Why don’t they write in a generic language, in English, so that we could understand what they
are telling us?” I replied, “Doc, we were in Germany.
How many ‘over the counter’ medications in our country
are written in German.? He looked at me with a sly grin
and realized the folly of what he had asked.
From now on, when we travel abroad we will take
some of the OTC medications that we use from time to
time with us. We found aspirin a bit difficult to find, as it
was ‘blended’ with other unpronounceable things. The
rule to follow is the same as going to a cheap party—
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bottle). In this case, BYOM
(Bring Your Own Medicine). 
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 13
Netiquette Equals Friendly Online Neighborhoods
By Gabe Goldberg, APCUG Advisor; Columnist, AARP Computer & Technology Website,
Etiquette -- proper behavior in various situations -- has
concerned humans through the ages. Google
[] turns up references to early telephone
manners, proper Medieval-era knightly behavior, and how
shells and sharp stones became today's knives and forks
(and, of course, which hand to hold them in).
Though the Internet became generally accessible about
ten years ago, academics and researchers had used it for
decades before that. Just as civilization accommodated
sudden widespread automobile and telephone usage, developing common practices (stop for red lights, answer
telephones with "Hello"), new online technologies created
the need for corresponding innovations in manners.
Called Netiquette ('Net + etiquette), the new discipline
really just requires using old manners in a new setting.
But since going online is like traveling to another country,
a guidebook is useful.
The first and simplest chapter is simply "Follow the
Ethic_of_Reciprocity]: Treat people online with the same
courtesy you expect. Without normal conversational cues
such as body language, facial expression, and tone of
voice, it's easy to misunderstand someone's meaning. You
may remember Emily Litella on classic Saturday Night
Live television, mishearing the need to reduce TV violence as "eliminating violins." Even stranger miscommunication occurs online, so give others the benefit of the
Out-of-control ranting is sometimes called "flaming."
Before responding angrily, consider how you'd react to
receiving the note you're about to send. Remember that
once sent, e-mail and other online communications take
on a life of their own, being forever retrievable with your
name attached. And asking "Did you mean..." can avoid
having to give Emily Litella's trademark "Never mind" if
your interpretation was off target. Replying calmly often
gets a conversation back on track without anyone suffering a "flame war," an unproductive exchange of angry
E-mail is likely the most commonly addressed Netiquette area. Searching Google for email + netiquette provides an encyclopedia of advice, some general, some for
personal use, and much for business settings. Common
tips are DON'T USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS (it's hard
to read and is considered "shouting"); be brief; use meaningful subject lines; quote just enough from what you're
answering to provide useful context; don't forward to everyone you know jokes, rumors, hoaxes, chain letters,
charity appeals, and such, even if an arriving note tells
you to do so; don't send "Me too" notes to discussion
lists; don't send attachments without getting the recipient's
permission; send plain-text e-mail unless all your addressees prefer HTML-format; etc.
Accept and cheerfully answer questions asked by people newly online -- remember that we all started with basics. Interesting e-mail tips are available at places like
Writers Write [
pirillo1.htm], [],
and Yale University Library [
Not all tips are "Don't"!
If you receive multiple replies to a question you ask
online, it's advisable -- this will make people love you -to summarize answers for everyone else who saw the
question. Be careful with humor: what's obvious and sidesplitting to you may baffle or annoy someone else. When
appropriate, and sparingly, use "smileys" -- symbols
like ;-) -- to show that you're not serious. And if you receive what seems to be an unlikely rumor, do the sender a
favor by checking it out at a site like
[] and reporting what you find.
The Netiquette Home Page [
netiquette/] is an entertaining and informative reference.
It notes that Netiquette covers both common courtesy
online and informal cyberspace "rules of the road". The
site lists and explains rules with friendly illustrations. It's
interesting that not only do the rules all agree with that
Golden Rule mentioned earlier, they're often different
ways of giving the same advice. For example, using the
same standards of behavior online that you follow in real
life is an easy way to make yourself look good online. 
This article originated on AARP's Computers and
Technology Web site,, and is
copyrighted by AARP. All rights are reserved; it may be
reproduced, downloaded, disseminated, or transferred,
for single use, or by nonprofit organizations for educational purposes, with attribution to AARP. It should be
unchanged and this paragraph included. Please e-mail
Gabe Goldberg at [email protected] when you use it,
or for permission to excerpt or condense.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 14
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2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa 94558-6268
E-mail (check preferred): G Home: ____________________________
G Work: ____________________________
707-224-3200 •
Occupation/Profession: ________________________ Retired? ______
Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists?
News and announcements:
General discussion of computer-related topics:
G Yes
G Yes
G No
G No
If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address
published in the NVPCUG Directory, which is for the exclusive use of
NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es):
G Do not list phone number
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • • [email protected]
G Do not list e-mail address
Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members:
(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their
sponsors, except for receiving newsletters)
Full Name
E-mail Address
Annual Dues:
$30 Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
$20 Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate
$10 Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
Make check payable to Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group.
Mail application/renewal to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group,
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your
dues payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application/Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley, with offices in Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 •
Revised 8-19-05
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit our
Web site:
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 15
Microsoft is Helping
By Bob Elgines, Colorado Computer Club of Lake Havasu, AZ
[email protected]
You may have noticed in your Windows XP/2000
updates that you have updated the MS Malicious
Software Tool (MSRT). Don’t bother to look for it on
your computer; you won’t find it. You will see a
window only if you have or had a problem.
What is malicious software? Malicious software
(also called "malware") is software that was developed with the intention to cause harm. Malware can
include viruses, worms, spyware, and other destructive programs that can hide on your computer and
can slow its performance to a crawl. Even more
alarming, malware can be used to monitor your
browsing habits, steal passwords, and even allow an
attacker to gain control of your system. Malicious
software either installs on your computer without
your knowledge or can be installed with a program
you intended to download.
The MSRT checks for and helps to remove specific, prevalent malicious software infections. If detection and removal has accrued, a display window
indicates which malicious software was picked up.
Each month, after the second Tuesday, Microsoft
will provide an updated version of this tool that removes malicious software that is found to be prevalent for that month.
Getting the Malicious Software Removal Tool
There are two ways you can get the Malicious
Software Removal Tool. Microsoft recommends that
home users either turn on the Automatic Updates
feature in Windows XP, or run the tool online.
1. If your computer is running Windows XP,
you can get the latest version of the tool online from
Microsoft Update. To have the tool automatically
delivered and installed each month on your computer
without having to take further action, simply turn on
Automatic Updates.
2. If your computer is running either Windows
XP or Windows 2000, you can run the tool directly
from an easy-to-use online wizard available at:
How do I verify whether the removal tool has run
on a client computer?
There are two ways to check:
1. You can examine the value data for the following registry entry to verify the execution of the
tool. You can implement such a check as part of a
startup script or a logon script. This will prevent the
tool from running multiple times.
Every time the tool is run, independent of the results
of the execution, the tool will record a GUID to the
registry to indicate that it has been executed. The following table lists the GUID that corresponds to each
release. [Editor’s note: Contact the author at [email protected] for the table.]
2. Using Windows Explorer, look for the log
entitled “mrt.log” located under your “Document”
files or in this folder: C:\Windows\Debug\mrt.log.
Another similar tool is written by McAfee called
Stinger. It is updated approximately every three
months and can be downloaded at: http://vil.nai.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2005, Page 16
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