COMPUTER NEWS Napa Valley Personal Computer

COMPUTER NEWS Napa Valley Personal Computer
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 23, No. 3
Inside This Issue:
2 President’s Message
2 Special Interest Groups
2 Calendar
3 Officers List
4 Jim Waddell Remembered
5 February Presentation Report
6 Sony BMG and Rootkits
8 Do Anti-Spam Programs Work?
9. Instant Messaging Safety
10 New Federal Web Site
11 Computer Fact or Fiction?
March, 2006
Getting More Out of Digital Photographs to
Be Discussed at March 15 NVPCUG Meeting
By Susy Ball, Programs Coordinator
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday,
March 15, 2006, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California.
During the Computer Tutor session of the evening, Bernhard Krevet will
demonstrate Picasa Photo Organizer, a shareware photo management program that
enables users to organize, edit and share their digital photos. It makes it possible for
users to move their photos across partitions and file folders, add
captions, pan and zoom, and use lighting and color effects. You can
download it from the Web.
The main presentation of the evening will feature The Digital
Photo Guy, Lee Otsubo, in an online workshop on digital photography. The program originates in Escondido, Calif., and is designed
to help photographers at all skill levels to improve their technique
and get more out of their cameras. Susy Ball, programs director, will
introduce the workshop.
Lee Otsubo
12 Multi-Core Processors
Preceding the two sessions on photography, Jerry Brown will lead the Random
14 How Big Is a 300 GB Hard Disk ? Access portion of our meeting with an open-floor question-and-answer period, during which you can ask questions about specific computer-related issues and receive
16 The Mouse From Hell
helpful information from other meeting attendees. Don’t forget that you can also email your questions before coming to the meeting ([email protected]). If you
have found a novel solution to a computer problem you faced, you might like to
The Napa Valley Personal Computer share it with the group during this session.
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 its
Computers-to-Schools program, members refurbish used computer equipment for donation to local schools.
Since January 2003 the NVPCUG has
donated 401 computers and 124 printers.
Joining/Subscribing to NVPCUG E-mail Lists
By Ron Dack, Webmaster
Over the last few months I have been
barraged with requests to add people to
our News and Members e-mail lists.
Here are a few simple ways for you
to add your name to either or both of
these lists.
First, if you send a blank e-mail to
either of the below-listed e-mail addresses I will be contacted and advised
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 1
that you want to join that list. If you
have not been previously banned from
the list I will authorize your e-mail address to be added to it now.
1. For the Members list: send a
blank e-mail to: [email protected] from the
e-mail address you want to use for
(continued on p. 4 )
NVPCUG Special
Interest Groups
In SIG meetings you can learn about a
subject in greater detail than is feasible at
NVPCUG general meetings. SIG meetings
are open to everyone. Meeting times and
locations occasionally change, so for current
meeting information, see our Web site,
www.nvpcug.org, or contact the SIG leaders.
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
Meets: Time and place to be arranged
Leader: Volunteer needed
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]
Macintosh SIG
Meets:
Monthly, second Thursday
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Jim Gillespie
(707) 252-1665
[email protected]
President's Message—
Internet Safety
by Dianne Prior
Parents and Grandparents in our group will be interested in a free event Cybermill is hosting, designed
to help adults talk candidly to their teens about Internet
safety. The program is entitled “Keep Your Kids Safe
on the Internet,” and it will be held Thursday, April 6,
6:15 to 7:30 p.m., at CyberMill, 3299 Claremont
Way, Napa. Presenters are Mike Parsons, Napa
Dianne Prior
County District Attorney Investigator, Northern California Computer Crimes Task Force, and Sgt. Terry
Dianne Prior
Gonsalves, Napa Police Department. For more information contact Paul Hippauf (258-8884, [email protected] cybermill.org ,
www.cybermill.org).
The Board of Directors of our users group is still in the process of putting together a survey to find out what the members want. Part of the survey will be exploring the possibility of changing our meeting day to the first Wednesday of
each month, to facilitate the task of finding presenters. Be assured that if we do
give serious thought to that we will give everyone plenty of notice and will include it among the survey questions.
We’re still looking for someone to take over the e-Bay SIG. You don’t have to
know anything about computers nor about e-Bay … just have an interest in learning about e-Bay and a willingness to lead the meetings and coordinate a meeting
place with computer access.
See you all at our regular meeting on March 15 at 7:00.
Peace and Good,
Dianne Prior
NVPCUG Calendar
Wednesdays
March
1
March
8
March
9
March
13
March
15
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 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
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
General Meeting, Napa Senior activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2006
Board of Directors
President
Dianne Prior
252-1506*
[email protected]
Vice President
Ron Dack
Secretary
Julie Jerome
224-6620
[email protected]
Treasurer
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
Other Directors:
Susy Ball, Orion E. Hill, Bob Kulas, John Moore, Dick Peterson,
John Simcoe, James Stirling, and Dean Unruh
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Equipment
Sales Coordinator
Computer Recycling
Coordinator
Computer Tutor
Coordinator
Computers-to-Schools
Program Coordinator
Facility Arrangements
Coordinator
Greeter Coordinator
Librarian
Membership Director
Mentor Program
Coordinator
Newsletter Circulator
Newsletter Editor
Product Review Coord.
Programs Director
Publicity Director
Random Access Moderator
Special Projects Director
Webmaster
Come to the NVPCUG
General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month,
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
(Volunteer Needed)
Bill Wheadon
224-3901
[email protected]
Mike Moore
255-1615
[email protected]
Orion E. Hill
252-0637
[email protected]
John Moore
252-3478
[email protected]
Bob Simmerman
Dean Unruh
Dianne Prior
Dick Peterson
259-6113
226-9164
252-1506
259-1712
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Jim Hearn
James Stirling
Marcia Waddell
Susy Ball
John Simcoe
Jerry Brown
Bob Kulas
Ron Dack
224-2540
944-1177
252-2060
337-3998
258-8233
254-9607
255-9241
Napa Senior Activities
Center
1500 Jefferson Street,
Napa
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
*All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News
Computer News (ISS 0897-5744) is published monthly by the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group, Inc. (NVPCUG), P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286. Subscriptions: $30 for one year (12 issues ). Editor: 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 © 2006 by NVPCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 3
E-Mail Lists
(continued from page 1)
sending to, and receiving e-mail from, the
Members list.
2. For the NEWS/Announcement list:
send a blank e-mail to: [email protected] from the email address you want to use for receiving
NVPCUG NEWS and Announcements.
Second, you can subscribe by going to
http://www.nvpcug.org/list.html and entering the e-mail address in the appropriate
box and clicking on the Yahoo Groups
logo.
Remember, the NVPCUG Members email list is only for computer-related messages. No commercial or non-computerrelated messages are allowed. Using this
list for political, commercial, or any other
questionable messages may result in your
being banned from the list.
The NVPCUG NEWS and Announcement e-mail list is just that — you cannot
send e-mails to this list unless you are specifically allowed, such as a SIG leader,
Moderator, or CTS coordinator. Replies to
e-mails from this list also go only to moderators and not to the person sending the
announcement, so if you receive an e-mail
news announcement please do not reply
regarding your availability to participate or
any other matter.
When or if you change your e-mail address, simply update your Yahoo Profile or
unsubscribe using your old address and
subscribe using your new address. If you
are unable to unsubscribe, let me know and
I will remove your old e-mail address. Using any of the above ways, you can then
subscribe with your new address.
With these simple rules in mind, sign up
and start sharing in the knowledge base and
events of the NVPCUG. We welcome your
input and questions on our Members list,
and we will keep you posted as to what is
happening with the group on our NEWS
and Announcement list.
Jim Waddell
Remembered
The NVPCUG lost a valued member
when James C. Waddell, Sr., 84, died at
a local nursing care center on February
22, 2006. Jim, as his friends called him,
was best known as a musician who
played with many Northern California
symphonic groups. He had helped establish the Solano Community Symphony,
and he continued as an active member
until his recent sickness. He also had
been active in horseback riding and ran a
saddlery business with his wife Marcia.
Jim and Marcia joined the computer users group about 1996, Marcia recalls,
because they had heard about the wonders of computers and thought that such
a machine might somehow help them in
their business. They had played with an
Atari 800, and were considering getting
into Windows 95, if they could get some
help from the computer group. They got
lots of advice from many sources, some
good and some not so good.
Marcia adds, “We learned a lot of
useful information and a lot of confusing
lore. It took awhile, but we gradually
came to understand the nature of the
beast and began to tame it. Jim got quite
good at e-mail and Microsoft Word, as
did I. Then age-related problems began
to affect his ability to remember which
buttons to push. He gradually forgot all
he had learned, and the computer became
a mystery to him. I continued to learn
how to manipulate the monster and have
had it serve me well. I hope to update to
a laptop wireless system soon and a better desk monitor. I will continue to use
the club as a great resource for keeping
up on the latest and best programs to accomplish my goals, as humble as they
may be.”
Jim was appreciated by many
NVPCUG members as a good friend,
and Marcia continues to play an important role as Product Review Coordinator.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 4
Jim Waddell
February 15 presentation--
Susy Ball Speaks on
Smart Computing
Susy Ball, programs director,
presented a PIAB “Program in a Box” at
the NVPCUG meeting February 15,
featuring computer magazines, especially
Smart Computing. She pointed out that
this journal supplies more than a printed
magazine; it also has an online service
for answering questions and providing
articles from their Web archives. They
call it a “one-stop shop for computer
problem-solving.” For troubleshooting
they have a tech support service online
with 1,400 questions and answers about
error messages; they also have a live tech
support center for subscribers at 800-3688304. Among the handouts Susy
distributed was a subscription order form
with the NVPCUG name printed on it.
The user group gets a special benefit
when enough members subscribe and
indicate their membership status.
Susy was particularly enthusiastic
about
The Ultimate Computing
Resource, one of the magazine’s
handouts, which lists the steps to be
followed when a subscriber wishes to use
its Internet services. With its aid a
subscriber can locate recent issues of
several computer journals published by
the same firm, Sandhill Publishing and
read or download articles, or save them in
PDF format for reading with a laptop.
Computer Tutor
At the Computer Tutor session
Dianne Prior explained how a computer
user can find and use special characters
like diacritical markings, fractions,
special alphabets, and many others using
the ASCII and ANSI character sets.
.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 5
Bill’s Tricks and Tips
Stop Highlighting New Programs
In Windows XP, after you install a new
program, it is highlighted in your start
menu and a little bubble window will
show up telling you there is no software.
It’s a waste, because you just installed it of course you know there is new software.
You can disable this feature easily:
1. To do this, Click on Start. Rightclick at the top of the Start menu where
your name is displayed, and then click
Properties.
2. In the Taskbar and Start Menu
Properties dialog box, on the Start Menu
tab, click Customize.
3. Click the Advanced tab, and then
clear the Highlight Newly Installed Programs check box.
4. Click OK, then click OK again.
Pause on Restarts
If you need to turn your PC off and
then turn it back on again, it is best to wait
at least 30 seconds before hitting the
power button a second time. The reason
for this is that doing so allows your hard
drives time to spin down and park their
read/write heads before they receive their
wake-up jolt. Doing so will increase the
lifespan of your hard drives.
Powering On and Off
On the general subject of powering
on and off, it is best to leave your PC on
for longer time periods. If you need to use
your PC several times throughout the day,
leave it on all day rather than turning it on
and off each time. This will avoid the
cool-down-heating-up of the PC’s hardware and prolong its lifespan.
Regular article by Fresno Personal Computer Users Group member Bill Myers. Used
Get Text From a Web Page
Have you ever wished you could save or
print the text from a Web site without all
those ads? It’s easy. Just highlight the text,
then on the toolbar click on edit and copy.
This puts the text into the clipboard, so that
you can call up your word processor, click on
Paste, and see the text on the screen. Edit the
text for the portions you want, give it a file
name, and it’s yours.
Sony BMG - Shame on
You!
By John Brewer, December 2005 eMonitor,
Computer Club of Oklahoma City
Computer users may have noticed the
recent brouhaha about Sony music CDs. Is
there a valid issue or simply a lot of heat
with no real threat?
The issue developed from the desire of
Sony BMG to copy-protect its music CDs.
When the music CD is played in a personal
computer, and the “accept” button is
clicked, software known as XCP is installed. XCP reportedly uses “rootkit” technology. Wikipedia states that a “rootkit is a
set of software tools frequently used by a
third party (usually an intruder) after gaining access to a computer system. These
tools are intended to conceal running processes, files or system data, which helps an
intruder maintain access to a system without the user’s knowledge. Rootkits are
known to exist for a variety of operating
systems such as Linux, Solaris and versions
of Microsoft Windows.” The rootkit concept is the dominant controversial aspect of
the 2005 Sony CD copy protection controversy, which has made the previously obscure concept of a rootkit much more
widely known in the technology community, and to the general public.
The technical issues seem to be rather
complicated, but a survey of the articles
available on the Internet is disturbing. Apparently, rootkits install a backdoor to the
computer and are difficult to remove. Apparently, there is a patch available from
Sony that may or may not remove the Sony
software. Personally, I think the only alternative is to avoid Sony CDs or to avoid
playing any Sony CDs on a personal computer. The music industry is very serious
about copyright violations and may think
that the “end justifies the means’ in this
particular matter.
The following is a portion of a Sony
response dated November 18, 2005. “You
may be aware of the recent attention given
to the XCP content protection software
included on some SONY BMG CDs. This
software was provided to us by a thirdparty vendor, First4lnternet. Discussion has
centered on security concerns raised about
the use of CDs containing this software.
We share the concerns of consumers
regarding these discs, and we are instituting a mail-in program that will allow
consumers to exchange any CD with
XCP software for the same CD without
copy protection and receive MP3 files
of the same title. We also have asked
our retail partners to remove all unsold
CDs with XCP software from their store
shelves and inventory. Please click here
for exchange program details.
“Our new initiatives follow the
measures we have already taken, including the voluntary suspension of the
manufacture of CDs with the XCP software. In addition, to address security
concerns, we provided to major software and anti-virus companies a software update, which also may be
downloaded at http://cp.Sonybmg.com/
xcp/engiisWupdates.html. We will
shortly provide a simplified and secure
procedure to uninstall the XCP software
if it resides on your computer.”
Sony sounds like it is trying to respond in a responsible manner. However, this type of response is also an
attempt to institute damage control.
Sony has been sued by the Electronic
Frontier Foundation and the Attorney
General for the State of Texas regarding
this practice.
EFF filed its complaint in a California state court on November 21, 2005.
The EFF Web site states that “by including a flawed and overreaching computer program in over 20 million music
CDs sold to the public, Sony BMG has
created serious security, privacy and
consumer-protection problems that have
damaged music lovers everywhere.
“At issue are two software technologies: SunnComm’s MediaMax and First4lnternet’s Extended Copy Protection
(also known as XCP), which Sony
BMG claims to have placed on the music CDs to restrict consumer use of the
music on the CDs, but which in truth do
much more, including monitoring customer listening of the CDs and installing
undisclosed and in some cases hidden
files on users’ computers that can expose users to malicious attacks by third
parties, all without appropriate notice
and consent from purchasers. The CDs
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 6
also condition use of the music on unconscionable licensing terms in the End User
Licensing Agreement (EULA).
“After a series of embarrassing public
revelations about security risks associated
with the XCP software, including warnings
issued by the United States Government,
Microsoft and leading anti-virus companies, Sony BMG has taken some steps to
respond to the security risks created by the
XCP technology. Sony BMG has failed,
however, to address security concerns
raised by the MediaMax software or the
consumer privacy and consumer fairness
problems created by both technologies.”
The Attorney General of the State of
Texas has also filed litigation regarding the
same spyware from Sony. The Web site for
the AG addresses the litigation. Today
[Texas] “sued SONY BMG Music Entertainment as the first state in the nation to
bring legal action against Sony for illegal
‘spyware.” The suit is also the first filed
under the state’s spyware law of 2005. It
alleges the company surreptitiously installed the spyware on millions of compact
music discs (CDs) that consumers inserted
into their computers when they played the
CDs, which can compromise the systems.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges
the New York-based company violated a
new Texas law protecting consumers from
the hidden spyware. The company accomplished this by using new technology on
certain music CDs to install files onto consumers’ computers that hide other files installed by SONY. This secret “cloaking”
component is installed without the knowledge of consumers and can cause their
computers to become vulnerable to computer viruses and other forms of attack.
“Sony has engaged in a technological
version of cloak and dagger deceit against
consumers by hiding secret files on their
computers,” said Attorney General Abbott.
“Consumers who purchased a Sony CD
thought they were buyiiig music. Instead,
they received spyware that can damage a
computer, subject it to viruses and expose
the consumer to possible identity crime.”
Sony insists on its Web site that it has
recalled all affected CDs. However, Attorney General’s investigators were able to
purchase numerous titles at Austin retail
stores as recently as Sunday evening.
According to Sony’s Web site, the company recently distributed millions of CDs
across the nation on 52 CDs by various artists.
These CDs contained embedded files used for
copy protection — or XCP technology. The
files prompt consumers to enter into a user
agreement to install Sony’s audio player. By
opting into the agreement, which Sony represents is the only way a consumer can listen to
these CDs on a computer, the consumer is unaware that Sony secretly installs files into the
computer’s Microsoft Windows folders. Consumers are unable to detect and remove these
files.
Sony BMG claims on its Web site that this
XCP technology merely prevents unlimited
copying, is otherwise passive and does not
gather personal information about a computer
user. However, the Attorney General’s investigation into this technology revealed that it remains hidden and active at all times after installation, even when Sony’s media player is
inactive, prompting concerns about its true purpose.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit also alleges that a phantom file is installed to conceal
the XCP files from the user, thus making it difficult for the user to remove the files from his
or her computer. Moreover, recent news accounts allege that newly created viruses that
exploit this phantom file have been spreading.
A user unfamiliar with installation — and removal — of this technology may be vulnerable
to new security risks and possibly identity
theft.
Because of alleged violations of the Consumer Protection Against Computer Spyware
Act of 2005, the Attorney General is seeking
civil penalties of $100,000 for each violation of
the law. attorneys’ fees and investigative
costs.”
Sony BMG — shame on you!
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 e-mailed 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 APCUG has
provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 7
Anti-Spam Programs – Do They Really Work?
by Vinny La Bash, [email protected]
Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc.
February 2006 issue of the Sarasota PC Monitor
www.spcug.org
Among the most effective anti-spam
programs are the ones that use some kind
of approval-based e-mail management
system. They work by constructing a
“white list” of permitted e-mail addresses, accepting mail from anyone on
the list, and rejecting everything else.
The program initially sniffs through your
contact list, inbox, and other e-mail folders, organizes the e-mail addresses it
finds, asks you if you want to add or
change anything, and the list is complete.
From that moment on, any incoming
e-mail that is not on the list is considered
to be spam, and is automatically exiled to
a quarantine folder or wherever you decided it should go during installation.
The programs do work as advertised,
which is both their greatest strength and
their greatest weakness. Here’s what you
need to know before installing one of
these puppies.
Scenario 1: A friend you have lost
contact with over the years sends you an
e-mail. That friend’s e-mail address is
not on your white list. Unless you have a
quarantine folder where unapproved email is sent without automatically deleting it, you will never see this e-mail.
You have to check your quarantine
folder, at least occasionally, to see if
there are any false positives residing in
there with all the junk. How much time
will this take? Who knows? None of the
programs mention this in their promotional material or specification lists.
Scenario 2: You install a new program or device and run into difficulties.
The troubleshooting guide sends you to
an e-mail address where you can get a
solution to your problem. You remember
to add the e-mail address to your white
list. You wait for a reply, and wait, and
wait. What happened?
Your problem was given to a technical representative who has an e-mail address different from the general support
address. You don’t see the reply unless
you check the quarantine e-mail folder,
assuming that in your efforts to rid yourself of all spam you did not specify that
anything not on your white list be automatically deleted.
Scenario 3: You order something
from an online merchant and before your
order is shipped the merchant e-mails you
to ask whether you want the white one or
the black one. The query has been rerouted to the quarantine folder because
the person trying to contact you has an email address that is not on your white list.
Scenario 4: Your spouse sets up a
Yahoo e-mail account for the sole purpose of sending you a surprise Valentine’s Day e-mail. For no apparent reason you are getting the silent treatment.
You ask, “What’s wrong?” Your spouse
replies, “Nothing.”
Scenario 5: Your granddaughter just
got an e-mail address of her own. She
sends you a message, and can’t understand why you won’t answer. She asks
her parents “Why doesn’t grandpa love
me anymore?”
We could go on, but you get the general idea. Some 99.99 percent of all real
spam will be banished from your sight,
but the very few legitimate emails identified as spam will very likely be the ones
you most want or need to see. Some antispam programs have a “sender confirmation feature” that automatically sends a
personalized notification to anyone
whose message has been quarantined.
Simply replying to the challenge causes
the original message to be moved to your
inbox, and allows their e-mail address to
be added to the white list. Legitimate
senders can respond to these challenge
messages, but suppose that for whatever
reason they don’t. Does a seven-year-old
grandchild really understand why she
needs a grandparent’s permission to send
an e-mail?
What you end up with is a time-
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 8
The programs do
work as advertised, which is
both their greatest
strength and their
greatest weakness.
Even after being married to
me for 38 years,
my
wife
still
can’t read my
mind. How do I
expect a dumb
computer to do
it?
consuming process of back and forth emails. Why should every e-mail first contact have to be sent twice? What a waste
of time. This might be acceptable if your
e-mail volume is very low, but who are
we kidding? Simply establishing an email account anywhere will get you a
boatload of spam. ISP-level filters are a
joke. How many essays do you want to
compose explaining why someone needs
“permission” to send you an e-mail? I
don’t respond to challenge e-mail. Why
should anyone respond to mine?
You can check your quarantine folder
regularly, but with the huge quantity of
genuine spam generated and thrust upon
us daily, it’s too easy to overlook a legitimate message. When you finally delete
the spam, there is a good chance that
among the junk a valuable note is lost forever.
After using one of these programs for
several months, I decided that I would
much rather delete spam manually, rather
than run the risk of missing an important
legitimate e-mail. No computer program,
no matter how expertly crafted or trained,
can ultimately determine what e-mails I
do or don’t want to read. Even after being
married to me for 38 years, my wife still
can’t read my mind. How do I expect a
dumb computer to do it?
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has
provided this article.
Sound Off (or On) for Capitals
By Susy Ball
Have you ever been typing away and
suddenly discovered that you were typing
all-caps, because of accidentally touching
the Caps Lock key? So then you had to hit
it again and retype in lower case. What a
waste! I have found a solution that will
work for you. In Windows XP, go to Programs>Control Panel>Accessories> Accessibility> Accessibility Wizard>>Set Wizard
Options. Then click on “I have difficulty
using the keyboard.” Then go to ToggleKeys and click on Yes. That will give
you a distinctive tone whenever you hit the
Caps Lock key, one you can hear whether
or not you have speakers attached. Most
other Windows versions have similar
choices.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 9
How Safe Is Instant
Messaging?
Smart Computing Daily Tip, From Feb. 2,
2006.
Instant messengers are very popular
programs, but they can become a security
risk if you're not careful. To protect yourself when you use IM programs, make
sure your software (browsers and e-mail
programs, as well as IM clients) is up-todate. Monthly updating is the minimum
requirement for safety, and if you hear of
a new worm or virus, check for updates
immediately. Always use antivirus protection and, if possible, a software or hardware firewall. (This is especially important for broadband users.)
To be safe, disable file sharing completely. If you don't want to lose filesharing capabilities, never open attachments (even if they appear to be from a
friend or your IM host) unless you confirm their validity via email or telephone.
Because some malicious software has no
apparent ill effect on a PC, be wary of
programs written by unknown authors,
even if a friend or associate recommends
them. That person’s PC may already be
part of a remote attack, though he may not
yet realize it. Check the settings of your
IM client to ensure it is not set to accept
incoming messages or download files
automatically, even if the sender is on
your accepted list.
Always terminate your IM session
when you leave the computer. Additionally, because instant messages are sent in
plain text across an insecure network, it is
not difficult for hackers to intercept them.
Don’t ever reveal sensitive information,
such as credit card numbers, business
data, or vacation plans in an instant message. Finally, avoid using the Web-based
IM clients that most IM services offer.
These are handy because you can log on
anywhere from any browser, but they also
offer fewer security protections.
New Federal Web Site Provides Internet Security Information
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; radio & TV show host Iwilsker(at)apcug.net
WEB SITES:
http://www.onguardon
line.gov
http://www.onguardon
line.gov/quiz
http://www.onguardon
line.gov/stopthinkclick.
html
http://onguardonline
.gov/filecomplaint.html
http://onguardonline
.gov/tutorials
The media has recently been rife with
stories about Internet scams, frauds, identity
theft, pedophiles, and other malevolent occurrences that have happened on the Internet.
While there are many online resources providing informational Web sites to help prevent us from falling prey to internet victimization, a consortium of federal agencies has
created “OnGuard Online” at www.onguard
online .gov. This consortium consists of the
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS),
United States Postal Inspection Service, the
Department of Commerce (DOC), and the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Materials are provided on this Web site
to inform and educate the computer user
about several of the most nefarious threats
that commonly assail us as we enjoy the
abundance of the Internet. Topics currently
covered are spyware, identity theft, phishing,
spam scams, online shopping, P2P (Peer-toPeer) file sharing, and VoIP (Voice over
Internet Protocol – internet telephony). There
are also a series of online quizzes
(www.onguardonline.gov/quiz), where the
user can test his knowledge on the security
risks associated with these topics. A series of
videos and tutorials on related topics, such as
“Viruses and Worms” and “Protect Your Privacy, Family, and PC,” are also available at
this site (onguardonline.gov/tutorials). For
those who have been victimized by Internet
miscreants, a resource is available to show
the user where and how to file complaints
with the appropriate federal and other agencies at onguardonline.gov/filecomplaint.html.
Spyware is defined at this site as
“software installed on your computer without
your consent to monitor or control your computer use.” Spyware can be used to steal your
identity or capture your usernames, passwords, and account numbers (keyloggers);
compile personal surfing profiles for directed
advertising or other purpose (some forms of
tracking cookies); display unwanted pop-up
ads, which may be pornographic (ad-ware),
redirect the browser to other sites (browser
hijacking); install unwanted links on the
desktop or in the “favorites” or bookmarks;
and a variety of other unwanted and possibly
dangerous web related items. OnGuard Online
provides links and information on removing
spyware, and protecting your computer from
spyware.
Identity theft is a scourge that may impact
as many as 10 million Americans each year,
according to some sources. The incidence of
identity theft through internet tricks, such as
“phishing” (typically e-mails directing the user
to an authentic looking but counterfeit website
soliciting credit card information, PIN numbers, etc.); “pharming” (changing data files or
“hosts” on the computer to redirect intentional
visits to financial or commercial sites to counterfeit sites where valuable personal information is illicitly obtained) accounts for an increasingly significant portion of identity theft.
OnGuard Online provides information on how
to protect yourself from phishing scams, and
how to protect your identity while online, as
well as instructions on dealing with identity
theft if victimized.
Some Internet security companies report
that the amount of spam, or unsolicited commercial e-mail, can easily amount to 60 to 80
percent of all e-mails sent. According to this
Web site, details are provided on the major
spam scams currently in circulation. The top 10
spam scams are: The “Nigerian” E-mail Scam
(may also appear to be from Russia, Columbia,
England, or other sources); Phishing; Work-atHome Scams; Weight Loss Claims; Foreign
Lotteries (Congratulations, you are a winner in
the Spanish / British / Canadian Lottery!);
Cure-All Products; Check Overpayment Scams
(I have a large cashier’s check – cash it, keep
some, and wire me the difference); Pay-inAdvance Credit Offers; Debt Relief; and Investment Schemes (buy this penny stock – it
will quintuple in a few days). Sadly, many gullible Internet users still fall for these scams,
enriching the crooks and typically receiving
nothing worthwhile in return.
Millions of Internet users shopped online
during the holiday season, and still continue to
do so at online retailers, or at popular auction
sites such as Ebay. While most online shoppers
have been successful and had few problems,
there are also thousands who have been victimized to some degree by Internet crooks. This
site explains a series of safe shopping tips, in-
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 10
cluding “Know who you’re dealing with; Know
Computer
Fact or Fiction?
exactly what you’re buying; Know what it will cost
Tech News
By
Laurianne
McLaughlin
(including shipping, taxes, and other charges); Pay
By Sue(Reprinted
Crane, Vice
President
and
Editor,
from PCWorld.com
Feb.Big
23, Bear
PC Myths,
by credit or charge card; Check out the terms of the
Computer Club used
[email protected]
by
permission)
deal; and Print and save records of your online
One thing is true about urban legends: People
transactions.”
love
to repeat them. Better yet, they love to e-mail
“Peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing allows users to
them.
share files online through an informal network of
Did you see the picture of the 4500-pound, mancomputers running the same software.” People, eseating alligator caught in New Orleans after Hurripecially children and college students, use these
cane Katrina? Turns out he's not quite that big, and
P2P networks to exchange software, music, videos,
he's never been on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
and other files. While there is much material that
More recently, maybe you received an e-mail
can legitimately be exchanged, P2P is also often a
warning
you about an Olympic Torch virus making
source of spyware, viruses, and illicit and illegal
the
rounds
that would "burn" your computer's hard
copies of pirated software, music, and other inteldrive. Don't get hot and bothered over this one—it's
lectual property. This site lists many of the risks
also a hoax.
common with these P2P services and how to safely
In fact, owning a computer opens the door to a
utilize such services.
host
of myths and tall tales about the care and feedYou have likely seen the ads on TV, as well as
ing
of
your pricey info system. And because a comdisplays at the electronics and mass merchandising
puter
can
be an expensive, mysterious piece of
stores for “VoIP,” services that allow the broadband
equipment, many cautious people take some of this
Internet user to make local and long-distance phone
maintenance "advice" as fact. But rest assured,
calls over the Internet for a flat monthly fee. While
most of it isn't.
expanding on popularity, the path has been bumpy,
Here's a simple true-false quiz designed to help
as some subscribers have been dissatisfied with the
get
to the bottom of common computer misconcepservice. Issues and service such as “911” calls,
tions.
Finally, here's some information you can feel
while addressed in regulations, are still not univergood about e-mailing to your friends.
sally implemented on many VoIP systems. The
OnGuard Online Web site also explains what many
True or false? My PC will start behaving worse
local VoIP users painfully found out during the rethan
a tired toddler if I don't power it all the way
cent spate of hurricanes and other storms, that if
down
at night, every night.
there is no power, or Internet service is otherwise
False.
Your PC doesn't need to be shut down
inaccessible, the VoIP services generally do not
fully every day to stay healthy. Many people hate
function, leaving the user without phone service.
to wait for Windows to shut all the way down. And
The OnGuard Online site “Stop – Think –
they really hate to wait for it to boot all the way up
Click: 7 Practices for Safer Computing” (onguard
again. The more programs and utilities you have
online.gov/ stopthinkclick .html) reiterates the oftrunning, the worse that boot time becomes. One
stated common-sense warnings that all computer
answer: Use Windows XP's Hibernate option (look
users should be aware of, and implement:
for it in your Control Panel under Power Options).
1.Protect your personal information. It's valuable.
This will make your PC go to sleep instead of shut2. Know who you're dealing with.
ting all the way down.
3. Use anti-virus software and a firewall, and
update both regularly.
True or false? If I spill a drink on my keyboard,
4. Make sure your operating system and Web
it's
totaled.
browser are set up properly and update
False.
A desktop computer's keyboard will usuthem often.
ally survive a spill (though you Big Gulp types
5. Protect your passwords.
should be extra careful). Turn the keyboard upside
6. Back up important files.
down on top of a kitchen towel and leave it alone
7. Learn who to contact if something goes
for a while. Then you can wipe the top of the keys
wrong online.
down with a slightly damp cloth and be back in
If we use the information on the OnGuard
business.
Online Web sites, we will all have a safer and more
enjoyable Internet experience.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups has provided this
article.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 11
Multi-Core Processors
By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., member of the Sarasota PCUG, Florida
February 2006 issue of the Sarasota PC Monitor
www.spcug.org
When I first started researching central
processing units (CPUs) my idea was to try to
make some sense out of the naming/numbering
schemes currently being used by Intel and AMD.
This turned out to be an almost impossible task.
Did you realize that Intel has more than 50 different Pentium 4 CPU models? That in each
speed range there can be a dozen different models. They vary by cache size, socket size, hyperthreading or not, 64 bit or not, voltage and other
parameters. As just one example, Intel's 3.2 GHz
processor has 12 different models. AMD is just
about as bad when you try to analyze their nomenclature. So, for the moment, I have given up
on trying to find a simple way to categorize the
currently available CPUs. Maybe next month.
Since the upper end of the CPU production
now seems to be aimed at producing processors
with more than one central core, I decided to
look at that topic. So what does it mean that a
CPU has more than one core? You can think of
it as a single chip containing two or more central
processors. It is like having two (or more) computers in one box. That said, I have to admit that
it doesn't double your processing speed. At least,
not yet.
Servers and workstations used in business
have had multiple processors for a number of
years. Mainframe computers with multiple processors have also been around for years. In order
to take advantage of multiple processing your
operating system must be capable of recognizing
and using multiple processors. Windows has had
that capability since Windows NT/2000 and it is
included in Windows XP. Intel introduced Hyper-threading technology in 2002. That allowed
two different “threads” to be processed almost
simultaneously. Going the next step and putting
multiple processors on one single chip is the idea
behind multi-core processors. The AMD64 chip
was originally designed to have a second core
added at a later date. This became the current
Athlon 64 X2 dual-core processor. Intel's Pentium D is also a dual-core processor. In any
multi-core processor each core is seen by the
operating system as being a discrete processor as
if the motherboard had two or more separate
CPUs. Ideally this allows the computer to process more work within a given clock cycle.
The question is, why would Intel and AMD
want to complicate CPU design by putting these
processors onto a single chip? The design is
more expensive to produce. The primary answer
to the questions is heat. In the fall of 2002 Intel
indicated that it had a 4.0 GHz processor in production. That processor never reached the market. There was also talk about processors reaching 10 GHz. That has all changed and primarily
due to the difficulty of reducing the heat output
of these processors. When you have 125 million
transistors in a very small space, as in Intel's
Prescott processor series, there is a lot of heat
produced. In fact, it takes special cooling to keep
the processor from overheating and essentially
burning itself up. I have a 3.0 GHz Intel
“Prescott” processor in my computer and it runs
at a consistent 400 Celsius (1040 F). That's only
because I have an over sized copper heat sink
and very large CPU fan. Ideally it should be running in the low 30's, which would be about 50
percent of the maximum temperature.
Another problem is current or electron leakage. As the processor die size decreases and the
number of transistors increases, there is a greater
problem with leakage. Electron leakage from
one pathway to another can result in data corruption. Die sizes are currently 90 nm and are anticipated to drop to 65 nm this year. Finally the
power requirements increase with the increase in
transistors. The increase in power is another
component in the increasing amount of heat produced by the CPU.
Dual-core processors are designed to run at
lower clock speeds than the fastest of the single
core processors. This reduces the heat output
even though the dual core processors currently
have 230 million transistors in a smaller space.
Intel has also announced another dual core processor to be on the market this summer that will
have 1.7 billion transistors! Their literature says
they anticipate that by the end of 2006, 70 percent of their desktop and mobile processors will
be dual-core. By the end of 2007 fully 90 percent of Intel's processors will be at least dualcore. AMD is moving just as fast in producing
dual-core processors. As the number of cores
increase on a single die there will definitely be
increases in heat output. Cooling requirements
for these CPUs will definitely increase. The future of CPU cooling would seem to be watercooled systems, even for the home desktop market. Unless there is some technological breakthrough, that will reduce the heat problem.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 12
There are other bottlenecks that will become more important in multi-core systems.
One is the bus that transmits information from
the core to other components. With two or more
cores sending information over the bus, both
speed and bandwidth will have to increase to
handle the increased load. The CPU depends on
the computer RAM for the source of its data
and instructions. Therefore memory speed is
also important and will need to be increased.
Finally, information is read from and written to
the hard disk. Even with the increased speed
and bandwidth associated with SATA drives,
this can be the largest bottleneck in the system.
So these problems can prevent the user from
gaining the maximum advantage provided by a
multi-core system. All that said, I have to admit
that there will be some definite gains in processing speed with the multi-core systems. This
has already been demonstrated by a number of
third-party testers. However, it will be some
time before a dual-core system will function at
twice the speed of a single core system.
I keep talking about “threads” without
really giving you any explanation of them. I
don't think you really want to go into the programming background for this, so I will try to
give you the simple explanation. A thread is a
series of sequential programming steps or operations. In some instances, programming steps
can be executed simultaneously. However, the
program must be designed to allow this to happen. There are also problems associated with
multi-threading that can slow down the overall
operation. One problem is called “deadlock”.
This is when two threads are each waiting for
the other to complete its operations. This can
result in neither thread reaching completion.
For software developers, multi-threaded applications have much higher development costs
than the current single-threaded applications.
Although Intel's hyper-threading CPU's have
been around for several years, very little software has been written to take advantage of the
dual-thread processing. Both Intel and AMD
are working with software developers to produce more multi-threaded software applications. But it may be some time before the majority of software applications can take advantage of multi-core processors.
Intel has another technology it has developed for use in its multi-core chips. This is
called “Foxton.” This allows a processor to adjust its speed and power requirements based on
its processing load. Each process will have a
base or minimum clock speed and a maximum
speed. When the load is low, the processor can
raise its clock speed up to a maximum level.
This gives the processor more power for faster
computing. If the load or the power requirement
rises too high, the processor slows. All of this is
more technology to simply reduce the system
heat to manageable levels.
As I was writing this, Steve Jobs, at MAC
World in San Francisco, announced the introduction of Intel-based Macintosh computers
using the Intel Core Duo processor. This processor was developed for the mobile computer
market. It uses clock speeds from 1.6 GHz to
2.1 GHz. Although it has a lower clock speed,
the dual processor will provide some performance gain. There will also be a lower drain on
the battery. Several other companies have produced Windows-based laptops using this same
processor.
So how will multi-core computers affect
the individual computer user? It should improve
the efficiency of your computer by improving
its multi-tasking ability. Since each core is essentially a separate processor, at least two applications can be run simultaneously. If the dual
core also supports hyper-threading, as some of
the Intel Pentium D CPUs do, then it could handle four applications or four threads in multithreaded applications. Now you may think you
really don't do any multi-tasking. However, it
you are running an anti-virus program, a firewall, or any other application in the background
while you also do word processing or emailing,
then you are multi-tasking. A dual-core CPU
would permit this to happen more efficiently, if
not more quickly. Frequently, I am writing,
checking a spreadsheet and pulling data off the
web. This is also multi-tasking.
I suspect that if you plan to replace your
computer within the next year (or two), you
will have a dual-core 64-bit processor in your
system. With a couple of Gigabytes of RAM,
you'll be all set to run Windows Vista as a 64bit operating system.
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 at bwsail(at)yahoo.com.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups has provided this
article..
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 13
How Big Is a 300 GB Hard Disk?
By Jim Sanders, Editor, Orange Bytes, North Orange County Computer Club
www.noccc.org / [email protected]
I recently acquired a 300 GB hard disk for
$110 after rebates. When I look at that 3.5-inch
hard drive that is one inch high and easily held in
my hand, I find that trying to put all those gigabytes of storage in perspective is a little tough. I
thought about the first Z80 CPM system I built in
1977 from a Cromemco kit that I had to solder
together. It used 8-inch floppy disks that held
128,000 bytes. Each byte represents an alphanumeric character (alphabet or numerical digits).
The diskettes were easily damaged, and it was
a good idea to keep them in storage boxes. I
made some good money selling the SRW Computer Products plastic storage boxes at a great
ACP Swap Meet for a discounted price of $2.00
each. They were designed to hold 10, but you
could get 2 or 3 more in if you were careful! I
wondered how many such floppies my 300 GB
would be, since each gigabyte represented a billion bytes. So I punched the numbers into the
calculator, to find that 300,000,000,000
bytes/128,000 bytes = 2,343,750 diskettes. I
don’t know how to visualize that, but I did calculate that it would take $468,750 worth of those
boxes to store them all. I then remembered that
the average price at that time was about $3.50 a
diskette. Again the calculator: 2,343,750 diskettes x $3.50 = $8,203,125. Wow! That is a number that I don’t want to think about if I am talking
about a hobby.
Another way to wrap your mind around huge
numbers is to start small, with something that
you can relate to, and work your way up. Now
we know that one byte equals one character of
the alphabet. The common Courier 10-point type
has 10 characters per inch. So, if we have 120
characters/bytes in a row, we have one foot.
There are 5,280 feet in a mile. So 5,280 x 120
gives the number of characters or bytes that
would be on a mile- long ticker tape that was being printed with 10-point type; that would mean
633,600 bytes in the mile. Compared to the 300
gigabytes on the hard disk, 633,600 bytes is not
much. To find out how it compares, we can take
the 300,000,000,000-byte capacity of the hard
disk and divide it by the 633,600 bytes in a mile.
The result is the equivalent of 473,485 miles of
ticker tape.
To put that into perspective, let’s take the circumference of the earth (nominally 25,000 miles)
and divide that into our answer. So, 473,485 /
25,000 = 18.93. If we could find a big enough roll of
ticker tape, printing all the information on that hard
disk would wrap around the equator of the earth 18.93
times. That sounds impressive, but how many people
can really visualize that? Besides, I don’t know anyone
who has a big enough ticker-tape printer. Another
thought, that ticker tape would be 5,000 miles short of
stretching from the Earth to the Moon and back.
But let’s try it with regular 8.5 x 11-inch paper.
Again, standard printing would be 10 point type, 10
bytes per inch, and 6 lines per inch. Most people leave
at least a half inch margin all the way around the page.
So that means each line will be 7.5 inches, or 75 bytes,
and there will be 60 lines per page. So each page will
use 75 bytes x 60 lines, or 4,500 bytes. First, let’s take
1 of the 300,000 megabytes on the disk and see how
many pages that represents. 1,000,000 / 4,500 = 222.2
pages. We still have 299,999 megabytes left and, using
them, the total number of pages comes out to
66,660,000 pages.
That is also a little hard to imagine, so let’s see how
many reams of paper that is. Take 66,660,000 pages,
divided by 500 sheets per ream = 133,320 reams of
paper. Again, a little hard to visualize.
A lot of things have their volume given in cubic
feet. That’s 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches or 1,728
cubic inches, or 1 cubic foot. I measured one case of
paper at 11.25x9x17.5 inches, or 1,771 cubic inches.
Let’s be generous and round that off to one cubic foot.
So at 5,000 sheets, or ten reams per case, we divide the
133,320 reams that we came up with by 10 to get
13,332 cases, or that many cubic feet of space.
Stipulating that an average house is 1,400 square
feet with eight-foot-high ceilings, then the average
house has 11,200 cubic feet of space, ignoring the
walls. If you filled up your house, wall-to-wall, floorto-ceiling, with cases of printed paper, you would still
have 2,132 cases left over. If you are in better shape
than I am, there is still room to get one car in that two
car garage. That’s 10’x20’x9’ = 1,800 cubic feet, so
that still leaves us with 332 cases of paper. We could
take all of the junk out of the other half of the garage,
lay down a two foot thick layer of paper and put all the
junk back in on top of it. That’s how much the 300
gigabyte disk holds! So, unless you are planning on
taking out a home improvement loan, don’t buy that
400 gigabyte disk.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article..
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 14
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
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NVPCUG Computer News, March 2006, Page 15
The Mouse from Hell . . . . Hardware Review. . . or Sort of
By Ann Moore, Topeka PC Users Club, Personal Computer Newsletter, February 2006
Several months ago, I sent the following e-mail to
“Answerperson” concerning a tragedy in my life:
“Dear Answerperson,
“When I started my computer this morning, my
mouse showed no sign of life. Its heart (red light) did
not flicker nor did it feel warm to my touch. It was
stone cold dead. I tried to revive it by performing an
uninstall-reinstall, to no avail. A check of outlets and
wiring found them intact. How do I determine the
cause of death? There were no early signs of malfunction. If it were an animal, I could have a necropsy performed. Must I disassemble it to determine the cause
of death? I cringe at the thought of disemboweling my
friend. My mouse was not extraordinary in any way –
it was not wireless nor was it ergonomic, just a simple
mouse that I loved and cherished. Every day for four
years, I held this inanimate object in my hand, caressed
it, and knew every curve and indentation intimately.
We were as one.
“I have accepted the fact that I must now lay it to
rest, but where? Is there a cemetery for computer
mice? Should I have it cremated or do I put it in a box
and bury it in my backyard under the lilac bush? What
will become of my dear friend? Is there a computer
mouse heaven? This has never happened to me before
and I am devastated. Please no cards or flowers.
There will be a memorial fund set up in the name of
‘Ann’s Mouse’ and donations may be sent to [email protected]”.
Answerperson offered his deepest sympathy and
suggested that I put my sorrow behind me, go on with
my computing and find a new mouse. I visited Best
Buy in search of a replacement and found no sympathy
there. Their only concern was to sell me a very expensive replacement. In my vulnerable state, if the clerk
had shown a little compassion, I might have purchased
a more expensive model, but because his attitude was
cold and unfeeling, I left the store with one of their
cheapest models. There is an old adage: “You get
what you pay for,” and that is exactly what I got – in
spades.
I doted on my new mouse, showering it with an
abundance of TLC. I never mistreated it by applying
any unnecessary pressure, jerking or pulling. In spite
of all my efforts to maintain a close personal relationship, it soon became apparent that we were not compatible. The erratic behavior of the mouse became
noticeable following surgery on my right shoulder. I
was forced to change the mouse settings to accommodate my left hand and the mouse began to balk at every
command. Although I moved it around very slowly, it
would take off and race around the screen leaving me
breathless in my attempt to keep up with it.
In October, I purchased a new LCD 19-inch monitor and the mouse went ballistic. It refused to leave
the confines of its colorful, soft pad. Trying to reach
the far corners of my monitor with my cursor became
almost impossible. The mouse resisted my every effort to control its actions. Every day was a tug-of-war
and I was losing my patience. I had serious work to do
and no time to play games. I needed a good, reliable
mouse. I decided that this obnoxious, malevolent, detestable little rodent had to be eradicated. It was time
to go cordless.
Completing a jubilant trip to Best Buy, I came
home with a Logitech cordless mouse. I could hardly
wait to start using it. What a different a cord makes!
This Logitech moves like a dream and is a pleasure to
work with. It takes me everywhere I want to go.
Truly, a match made in heaven. I am certain that I
have found a new reliable friend.
What do I do with this evil, malicious, wicked little
devil that made my life a living hell? No sad songs or
mourning for this monster. I had visions of snipping
off its tail to make it impotent, then dropping it on the
floor and stomping it to death. I even considered calling “The Terminator.” What I will do is wrap it up in
colorful paper and donate it to the club for a prize at
the next Christmas party. I am hoping it will fall into a
strong masculine hand that will teach this contemptible, spiteful, despicable creature how to behave in the
presence of a lady.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
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