Computer News Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Inside This Issue:

Computer News Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Inside This Issue:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Computer News
August 2005
Volume 22, Issue 8
Inside This Issue:
President’s Message
2
Special Interest Groups
3
Membership News
3
Officers List
3
Calendar
3
29 Useful Bookmarks
4
Canned Air Maintenance
6
Speech Recognition Products Will Be
Demonstrated at August 17 NVPCUG Meeting
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, August
17, 2005, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson
Street, Napa, California.
Scott Horton, business manager at CompUSA in Vacaville, will give an overview
of
current
speech recognition technology and demonstrate leading products, including
How to Thank Leaders
7
ScanSoft=s Dragon NaturallySpeaking 8 and IBM=s ViaVoice 10. These products allow
Dual-Core Processors Coming
8 users to easily dictate and edit documents, complete forms, and control most applicaPhishing and Pharming
9 tions by voice. Also, Scott will show some of the special things, such as Internet surfScrapbooking
10 ing, that can be done by simply speaking.
In the past, speech recognition by computers was not known for great accuracy. In
Handiapped Independence
11 recent years, however, the technology has been greatly improved B delivering up to 99
Program Transfer Problems
12 percent accuracy B and now can be used reliably to capture textual data. This is especially important for medical, legal, and business professionals who regularly dictate nuSharing With Blogs
13
merous notes and letters, and also for people who have difficulty using a keyboard or
How Spammers Get Addresses 14 pen or who have poor vision. Most important, speech recognition enables much faster
data entry than typing.
Scott has more than twenty years of experience in computer sales. As the business
Annual Picnic
16
manager at CompUSA=s Vacaville store, he handles all sales to corporations, small businesses, and government agencies in his store=s service area and regularly makes product
presentations.
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group has
In the Computer Tutor session prior to the main presentation, Roy Wagner will
served novice and experienced
present a short tutorial on creating movies on DVD media from images taken with digicomputer users since 1983.
tal camcorders. His presentation will feature a short movie he made about the annual
Through its monthly meetings,
polar bear migration to Hudson Bay in Canada. Roy has been making home movies for
newsletters, on-line forum,
many years. An NVPCUG member for more than 12 years, he has served as our
special interest groups, mentor
group=s treasurer since 2003.
program and community involvement, it has helped eduOur meeting will begin with Random Access, a period in which you can ask quescate people of all ages. The
tions about specific issues you have encountered while using computer products and
NVPCUG provides opportunireceive helpful information from other meeting attendees. Questions may be submitted
ties for people to find friends
in advance of our meeting by e-mailing them to Random Access Moderator Jerry
who share common interests
Brown
at [email protected]
and experiences. Through its
Computers-to-Schools program, members refurbish used
computer equipment for donation to local schools. Since
January 2003 the NVPCUG
has donated more than 323
computers and 102 printers.
.
Need practical information that will enable you to make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always welcome.
NVPCUG Annual Picnic Set for August 20
See Back Cover for Details
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 1
President’s Message —
August Highlights
By Orion E. Hill
August General Meeting
Don=t miss our August 17 meeting. Scott Horton=s presentation on speech recognition technology
should be very interesting and may convince you that
it is time to try this leading-edge technology. Speech
recognition has been hailed as the next big advance in
data entry and application control for more than a
decade, and the technology has finally reached the
point where it can easily keep up with typical conversation speeds of 120 to 160 words per minute (wpm).
By comparison, it takes a typing speed of at least 40
wpm to get a secretarial job, and most untrained typists struggle along at less than 20 wpm.
I understand that CompUSA is going to provide
one or more items for a drawing at the conclusion of
Scott=s presentation.
If you know people who have special business or
personal needs for speech recognition technology, be
sure to invite them to attend our meeting.
Annual Picnic
I hope that every NVPCUG member will be able
to attend our potluck picnic on August 20 in the redwood grove at Dick and Sandy Peterson=s Christmas
tree farm on Darms Lane. Featuring great food, competitive games, prizes, and plenty of time to socialize,
our annual picnics are always lots of fun. For more
information about this event, please see picnic coordinator Dianne Prior=s article on the back cover of this
newsletter.
ment and supplies, barbecuing
meat, coordinating games, and setting up and cleaning up. If you
will be attending our picnic, please
let her know how you can help by calling (707) 2521506 or sending e-mail to [email protected]
“Build Your Own Computer” Workshop
Arrangements for a computer-building workshop
are still being made. Dick Peterson, who is coordinating the activity, has informed me that Intel is expanding its kit offerings to include Aeverything from
high-end machines, like the one I discussed at our
June (2005) meeting, to low-end machines that can be
upgraded later, as each owner decides whatever else
he or she [email protected] If you are interested in this workshop, let Dick know by calling (707) 259-1712 or
sending e-mail to [email protected]
Volunteers Are Still Needed
The NVPCUG board of directors is still looking
for volunteers willing to serve as Vice President, Programs Director, and Special Projects Director and to
help our current officers plan and administer our
group=s activities. Please contact me to discuss how
you can contribute to the success of our group, even if
you can devote only one hour each month.
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.
Dianne is looking for volunteers willing to handle
various picnic activities, including procuring equipComputer 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, August 2005, Page 2
Membership News
NVPCUG Special
Interest Groups
By Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Membership Director
The NVPCUG currently has two special
interest groups. By attending SIG meetings, you can learn about a subject in
greater detail than is feasible at
NVPCUG general meetings and can
share your knowledge with other people.
SIG meetings are open to everyone.
Meeting times and locations occasionally
change. For current meeting location
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]
The Napa Valley Computer Users Group welcomes new
member John Pitt of American Canyon.
We are sorry to hear of the death of member Ray MacWay Dianne Prior
on April 7, 2005. Condolences to his family.
As of July 31, 2005, the NVPCUG had 117 active members. A year ago
we had 108.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2005
Board of Directors
President
Vice President
Secretary
Treasurer
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
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]
For more information about
the NVPCUG,
visit our Web site:
http://www.nvpcug.org
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
Bill Wheadon
224-3901
[email protected]
Mike Moore
255-1615
[email protected]
Orion E. Hill
252-0637
[email protected]
Steve Siegrist
Bob Simmerman
Marcia Waddell
Dianne Prior
Hilton Des Roches
259-6113
252-2060
252-1506
224-6170
Jim Hearn
James Stirling
Marcia Waddell
(Volunteer Needed)
John Simcoe
Jerry Brown
(Volunteer Needed)
Ron Dack
224-2540
944-1177
252-2060
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
1:30-6:00 p.m.
258-8233
254-9607
[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.
NVPCUG Calendar
Wednesdays
August 3
August 8
August 10
August 17
August 20
[email protected]
Computers-to-Schools work parties. To volunteer contact Orion Hill.
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Annual Picnic, Peterson Family Christmas Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 3
29 Useful Bookmarks
By Richard Johnson, TUGNET, www.tugnet.org
The Web is a marvelous resource, and most of us come
nowhere near tapping its full potential. I've attempted here
to list 29 websites that without any necessary downloading
provide exceedingly useful free non-specialized services
and tools, yet require no particular knowledge except how
to navigate the World Wide Web.
1. Time Cave
www.timecave.com
2. Memo to Me
www. memotome. com
Using these two e-mail reminder services, you'll never
forget another upcoming activity or event. Time Cave allows you to schedule incoming messages by interval (so
many hours, days, weeks, months, or even years away) as
well as by date and time. Memo to Me allows editing of
content and date. With Time Cave you can choose your
own subject line and send reminders to others, but Memo
to Me will charge you for those features. On the other
hand, Time Cave charges for the ability to repeat messages
(monthly, weekly, etc.), standard with Memo to Me.
3. Way Back Machine www.archive.org/web/web.php
Is a website you're seeking no longer around? If it was active as late as 1996, you'll probably find it easily in this
huge archive.
4. Centerwatch Clinical Trials www.centerwatch.com
Gives information on more than 41,000 active clinical trials in which you could participate. (Some compensate you
handsomely for helping, along with free medical monitoring.) Includes a notification service, for trials in areas of
your interest. Also describes the newest drug therapies.
5. Objectgraph Dictionary
www.objectgraph.com/
dictionary
A combination standard dictionary, technical dictionary,
and thesaurus. (There's also a dictionary of chemical elements, of rather limited interest). A unique feature is the
site's ability to “read your mind” if you're not sure of the
word you're thinking of—or its spelling—or if you just
want to save typing.
6. Myway email
www.myway.com
An excellent Web-based e-mail provider with an exceptionally clean interface (no banner ads or pop-ups). Unlike
the case with competitors like Yahoo mail, Myway will
respond to support inquiries. (It also has a terrific weather
page -- see link #7 following.) [If you prefer Gmail,
equally clean-appearing, I can get you an invitation.
7. Myway weather
weather.myway.com
The best weather page on the Web. Even though its
weather information is from weather.com, you'll see when
you use it that the interface is much cleaner (and loading
therefore faster) than if you were to bring up either
weather.com or one of its competitors. You can personalize the weather according to your home town or zip code;
the page you'll want to bookmark is that personalized
page.
8. Past Weather
www.weather.com/activities/other/
other/weather/yesterday.html.
Use this site to compare today's forecast with yesterday's
weather. There's also interesting historical data and a graph
showing the weather for the past seven days. The past
weather information can easily be compared with the forecast from Myway weather (link #7), which derives its data
from the same source.
9. Furl
www.furl.net
Bookmarking is useful, but what do you do when you find
that a bookmarked page has disappeared (left the Web)?
Or maybe it's still there, but—as with many newspaper
sites—you can't read it without going to a paid archive.
This won't be an issue if you've Furled the page. Furl allows you to create a set of special bookmarks that can be
easily searched or browsed—or shared with others—but
whose contents are permanently stored on your hard drive.
(If you feel the need to save parts of a page, try Net Snippets Free at www. netsnippets.com/basic. This does require a download.)
10. Gold Star Events
http://snipurl.com/bl9o
Gold Star enables admissions to a large variety of live
California productions at 50 percent off or better. After
your (free) registration, you'll receive regular e-mail notices of well-described shows in the zip code areas of your
preference. There's a small per-ticket service fee, usually
between $3 and $7.
11. Password Generator
http://mistupid.com/
computers/passwordgen.htm
Random characters compose the safest passwords. This
tool will create a password with random characters according to your specifications. On your instructions, it will
even avoid ambiguous characters [o and 0, 1 and I].
12. Zap2it
www.zap2it.com
With Zap2it you can check out both TV and movie schedules. Various options let you permanently personalize each
set of listings, to give you just the information you need, in
the format you prefer.
13. Acronym Finder www.acronymfinder.com
Don't be baffled by acronyms and abbreviations you encounter on the Web and elsewhere. This site offers definitions for over 398,000 such terms. Optional downloading
of any of a number of search tools (for various browsers)
will allow you to view a definition almost instantly.
14. Restaurant health ratings (LA County).
http://lapublichealth.org/rating
Avoid traveling to an appealing restaurant only to find that
its health rating is below the level with which you're
comfortable.
15. Translation Wizard.www.faganfinder.com/
translate.
The Translation Wizard uses other sites' services to ease
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 4
the process of finding a translation—that otherwise might
require visiting ten or more sites to find the language of
interest! It also has a neat button to identify a mystery language.
16. Anybirthday. http://anybirthday.com
A fun site that can divulge your friend's birthday or even
tell you where to mail the card.
17. TrackEngine
www.trackengine.com
This notifies you via e-mail of changes in Web pages that
you select. You can preview the changes or view the
whole page via e-mail, with changes highlighted. Choose
the Web address of a neighborhood theater, to see what
plays are coming up. Or see every new installment of a
favorite newspaper column, without having to buy the paper.
18. GovBenefits.gov http://govbenefits.gov
A source of information on over 400 government-funded
programs that extend benefits for which you may qualify,
including compensated volunteering. Features a confidential questionnaire designed to point you to the most likely
matches.
19. AddALL
www.addall.com
Use this site to find the very best price for a book you
want to buy. Unlike most other comparison sites, it figures
in shipping costs for your location. Links will take you to
pages for magazine subs, music CDs, and videos.
20. Jux2
www.jux2.com
Jux2 lets you receive and compare search results from two
or three different search engines, or see what you're missing from your regular search results. (According to the
site, competing search engines typically share fewer than 4
out of their 10 top results.) Still in development, it's currently limited to Google, Yahoo, and Ask Jeeves.
21. Medem Medical Library www.medem.com/medlb/
medlib_entry.cfm.
Searchable and browsable medical library, organizing contributions from 45 medical societies. Features a complexity indicator for each article, from “introductory” to
“professional.”
22. Metacritic www.metacritic.com/film
Metacritic is an excellent source for movie critiques. For
each film, it arranges its large variety of reviews from
most to least favorable, and then tabulates the opinions, for
an overall “metascore.” (Additional Metacritic pages
cover videos, music, and games.)
23. Kids-in-mind
www.kids-in-mind.com
For evaluating movies for children, or if you have a concern about violence, sex, or profanity, Kids-in-mind will
rate and describe each film's content in those three areas.
24. CardRatings
http://cardratings.com
This site maintains information on over 700 credit cards,
and will suggest the best cards in a variety of categories—
low or no credit, no annual fee, low interest, rewards/
rebates, etc.
25. The California Patient's Guide
www.calpatientguide.org.
A well-organized extensive guide to Californians' health
care rights, and what you can do if they're compromised.
Assembled by medical, legal, and consumer experts, and
published by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights.
26 CheckFree
www.checkfree.com
There are a host of good reasons for paying your bills
online. It saves time, saves the cost of stamps, reduces the
chance of late payment, extends the time in which you can
use your money, cuts down clutter, eliminates the danger
of checks lost in the mail, and facilitates tracking. With
CheckFree you'll be able to pay many or most of your bills
online, and the service is free to the payers.
27. Bug Me Not
www.bugmenot.com
This site and the one following save you time and trouble
while helping you cut down on spam. Bug Me Not keeps
on hand log-in data (passwords with user names) for a
huge number of sites that require registration. If you want
access to such a site (like latimes.com), but don't want to
bother registering, just visit the Bug Me Not site and log in
easily.
28. Spam Bob http://evil-wire.luvfeed.org/cache/1269
Spam Bob offers a choice of three e-mail addresses that
you create, to protect your privacy. [email protected] is a phantom address, messages to
which disappear into the ether. Use [email protected] if you'll want to check on a reply
message. (This is handy for registrations that require confirmation.) And you may want to use [email protected] for all your correspondents. Mail
from each such “net” address can be forwarded to you, and
if it starts generating spam, just cancel the forwarding order!
29. Google Maps
http://maps.google.com
Head and shoulders above the competition, these maps are
much larger and far easier to configure. Zooming in and
out is quick as a bunny, and re-centering is instantaneous.
You can locate by category businesses in the map area,
along with their phone numbers. Note that (at least as of
this writing) these maps are not implemented in the regular
Google search results, which will still point you only to
Yahoo and MapQuest maps.
Richard Johnson is a writer and editor, and is founder/
administrator of FREE FOR ALL The Skills Pool, a 29-year-old
membership organization (http://theskillspool.org). He is a volunteer with TUGNET HelpContact for assistance with Internet
Explorer, Outlook Express, and Gmail. You may reach him at
[email protected]
This article has been provided by the Editorial Committee of
the Association of Personal Computer User Groups.
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 5
Canned Air Computer Maintenance
By J. Kohr, from Tech-Tips, Computer Geeks.com
Many people don’t think of their
computer when doing a bit of cleaning around the home, but perhaps they
should. We’re talking about an effort
far less unpleasant than doing windows or cleaning the bathroom, and
the use of a can of compressed air can
take care of the bulk of the work for
you.
Cleaning your system on a somewhat regular basis can easily help extend the life of components, increase
system stability, and reduce noise.
This Tech Tip will take a look at a
few areas to focus on, and all you
really need to do is open your case
and pull the trigger!
tect fingers from the spinning blades.
Keeping these clear will allow the
maximum airflow for efficiently cooling the components, as well as cutting
down on noise created by the air trying to flow past a restricted opening.
Some case manufacturers now include removable filters in front of
their case fans in order to make maintenance easier. These filters can then
be removed and blown clean, while
the fans and case internals remain
relatively dust free. For those without
such a thoughtful feature included in
their case, fan filters are available in
standard sizes to be added to just
about any fan.
Case Fans
A well-designed computer case
will have at least two (sometimes
many more) case fans in order to exchange air with the room and thus
cool the Internal components. With
the typical home computer being installed in, well, the typical home, it is
reasonable to expect things like dust,
hair, pet fur, and so on to be drawn
into these fans.
The blades of the fan, as well as
the walls of the fan’s frame, can grab
hold of this debris, which creates a
thin film that can eventually grow in
thickness. As it does, the cooling performance of the fan will decrease and
more than likely the noise produced
by the fan will increase. In addition,
as the fan motor has to work harder to
overcome the extra load and resistance created by the debris, the life of
the fan can be expected to be cut
short. A healthy blast of canned air
will knock a good deal of this dust
and debris away, and if the fans are
running while the blast is administered, they will hopefully eject all the
dust out of the case. If not, it should
settle to the bottom of the case, and a
cloth can be used to wipe it clean.
In addition to gunklng up the fans,
dust can also cover the fan grills, or
other types of guards, intended to pro-
Heat Sinks
Heat sinks are necessary for cooling the heat-generating chips inside
your computer, and keeping them
clean will help them keep your machine running smoothly. Whether
we’re talking about a CPU heat sink,
or something like a VGA heat sink,
dust and debris can not only cling to
the blades/walls of the fan, but can
also become trapped between the narrow fins of the heat sink body.
As with case fans, a dirty heat sink
fan will suffer a drop in cooling efficiency, create more noise, and perhaps have its life shortened. The heat
sink body, generally constructed of
aluminum or copper, is the means by
which the heat from the chip is transferred to the air. A layer of dust will
act as a blanket and insulate the heat
sink, thus preventing it from freely
exchanging heat with the air.
Keyboard
Keyboards seem to suffer most
when it comes to accumulating the
debris of everyday usage. Not only do
they gather dust and hair like most of
the other components discussed, but
they seem to be magnets for crumbs
of food, cigarette ashes, and just about
anything else that can slip down between the cracks. Eventually a key-
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 6
board may look too gross for you to
stand, and you may even find that the
key action is less responsive or even
blocked by items under the keys.
A sweeping blast of canned air
will work wonders to eliminate the
debris, and for best results hold the
keyboard upside down while doing
so. It might not hurt to give the keyboard a good shake while it is upside
down, but be prepared, as you never
know what might fall out.
Mice
Optical mice may be more immune
from dust than the old roller ball
mice, but both styles are still prone to
diminished performance caused by
dust. Roller ball mice require fairly
frequent cleanings in the socket
around the ball, as it can sweep just
about anything you roll over up into
its mechanism. Optical (and laser)
mice have a smooth bottom surface
that may not have anywhere for dust
to gather, but there are still places for
it to settle elsewhere.
The buttons on either type of mice
are generally not sealed, and junk can
get into the small cracks around the
edges, potentially interfering with the
click action of the device. In addition,
the area around scroll wheels can easily become gunked up with dust and
debris, which a blast of canned air can
alleviate.
Power Supply
Power supplies are much like heat
sinks with respect to keeping them
clean. The housing of a power supply
features a fan (or two) used to cool
aluminum heat sinks found inside,
and the same issues that impacted the
performance of a chip’s heat sink and
fan will be found in a power supply.
Overheating power supplies can be a
major cause of system instability and
failure, but it seems like they receive
the least attention when it comes to
prevent system maintenance. A good
blast of air through each of the fan
openings and vents on the side can
help keep these critical components
operating well.
The componentrs of a power supply
run hot because of the resistance in the
process of converting the 120V AC
power to the various DC voltages
needed inside the computer. Power
supplies with better efficiencies are
now available that reduce the heat generated, but keeping the fans and heat
sinks free of dust will greatly prolong
their usefulness.
Laptops
Laptop computers can benefit
equally from a cleansing blast of air.
For example, the integrated keyboard
and pointing device can get the same
crud behind them as a desktop version,
and inverting the laptop and giving it a
blast can set this debris free.
The processor in a laptop may not
be as readily accessible as in a desktop,
but there are vents in the housing that
lead to it. One set of vents allow a
cooling fan to draw air in, and another
set of vents allow ths heated air from
the processor to be expelled. Giving
these vents a puff of canned air will
help ensure that the pathway doesn’t
become insulated by a layer of dust.
Final Words
A can of air won’t take care of all of
your computer maintenance needs, but
one can really make keeping key components running at their best a breeze.
Available at most consumer electronics
and office supply stores, the (low)
price of a can of air is well worth it to
help maintain the large investment you
have in your computer.
This article is taken from Geeks.com
Tech Tip 38. Used by permission.
How to Thank the Leaders of Your Computer User Group
By Phil Shapiro, member of the Capital PC User Group, Virginia Macintosh Users Group, Washington Apple Pi,
Young Hackers and Scholars Libre Users Group
If you have found benefit in belonging to a computer user group,
there are many ways of thanking the
leaders of the group. Sure, you can
always walk up to them after a meeting and shake their hand. But there
are more meaningful things you can
do, too.
You can thank them by moving the
club forward in countless small ways.
You can drop off membership flyers
at the local computer stores and public libraries. You can offer a smile
and encouraging word to people who
show up to meetings.
You can answer—or ask—
questions on the club's e-mail list.
You can exhibit patience with computer beginners—answering their
questions in ways that benefit them
the most.
You can offer some computer item
you're no longer using to another
member of the club. (If you're giving
away commercial software, make sure
you delete the copy on your own
computer.)
You can also spread the word
about the club around town. Be careful not to oversell, though. When I
explain about the benefits of the local
user group, I spell out honestly what
the club can offer and can't offer. You
would be doing no one any favors if
you raise false expectations in the
minds of prospective club members.
You can write an article for the
club's newsletter. Articles can be on
almost any topic you think would
bring value to club members. You
don't need to be a computer expert to
write an excellent article.
You can talk to your local public
librarians about the benefits you've
encountered in your user group. Librarians are the intellectual hub of
any community and can pass on information to anyone who inquires about
computer user groups.
And now here are some unexpected ways. You can show up at the
club meeting with an unexpected door
prize. Perhaps buy a pair of new
computer speakers, some headphones
or a computer microphone. Stop by a
bookstore and buy a copy of a new
how-to computer book. Offer to be a
"club driver"—so if someone calls the
club and says there is a sick child or
adult who could use a computer at
home, you'll be there to deliver that
donated computer on behalf of the
club. Bring homemade cookies to
club meetings.
Offer to be a "computer mover,"
so that if someone in the club isn't
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 7
able to move their computer from one
room of their house to another, you'll
be there to help them do that.
You can start a scholarship program for five families/year in your
community. Interested families could
apply to the club to get a donated
computer and 1/2 off the annual dues
of the club.
Get creative in how you thank the
leaders of your computer club. Behind the scene many hours of work go
into making computer clubs work.
Club leaders are not paid a dime.
They do it because they get a thrill
from seeing people help each other,
from people increasing in their learning and computer confidence.
Surprise them in the ways you say
thanks. You may even want to say:
"I'm ready to work. I'd like to offer
my time to help."
A grateful handshake is a good
starting point. A grateful action is an
appropriate follow-up. Actions speak
louder than words.
Find a need. And then fill it.
[email protected]
This article has been provided by
the Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups.
Dual-Core Processors Are Coming!
By Timothy Everingham, Member of TUGNET, California, www.tugnet.org
[email protected];
Both Intel and Advanced Micro
Devices (AMD) are screaming,
“Dual-Core Processors Are Coming.” They say they are the future of
microprocessors for computers. With
both companies planning to introduce these processors in the next few
months, it is important to understand
the significance of this development.
So what is a dual-core processor?
Basically it is two microprocessors
on the same integrated circuit or
chip. Having more than one processor in a computer has been around
for a long time. It is normal for servers to have them. Multiprocessor
workstations (high-end desktops) are
used mostly for scientific, engineering and digital content creation for
TV and movies. Dual-core is not
Intel's hyperthreading, which is on
its Pentium 4s and which lets the
operating system think it has two
processors rather than one. In a dualcore processor there are two actual
processors, each one having its own
L1 and L2 caches.
Why are we going to dual-core
processors? One of the main reasons
is heat. The higher a processor's
clock speed, the more heat it produces. The 3.6 GHz Pentium 4 did
have heat problems. Of course, what
we have been doing is just putting
more than one processor on a motherboard to increase performance beyond what you can get with a single
processor (The general rule has been
that adding a second processor improves computer speed by 60 percent
over a single processor of the same
speed.) However, to make this more
cost effective, use less space, and
reduce power requirements, putting
two processors together on one chip
is better. This is especially true in the
desktop and notebook markets. As
we move to high-definition TV resolution video on computers, the need
for the average computer to have
very high processing speed will appear, leading to dual-core processor
computers being dominant a few
years from now. But can you upgrade your current system to a dualcore processor? If you have an AMD
socket 939 motherboard you can upgrade to an AMD Athlon 64 dualcore processor with only a BIOS upgrade. The same is true for AMD
Opteron socket 940 motherboards
for Opteron dual-core processors.
Intel said last fall that some Intel
LGA 775 motherboards would be
able to use their dual-core processors, called “Pentium D”, but they
now say the first generation of them
will have to use a modified LGA 775
socket. This, of course, means getting a new motherboard.
For an application program to
take advantage of multiprocessor
systems, both the operating system
and the particular application you are
running have to have the ability to
use more than one processor (multithreaded program). If the operating
system is able to take advantage of
more than one processor, but the applications you are running are not;
you may get different applications
running on different processors, but
each will only use one processor.
Windows 98 and ME are designed
for only one processor, so they can
only use one even though there are
two processors on one chip, real or
virtual. Windows XP Home can use
only one processor chip, but up to
two processors on that chip. Windows XP Professional is designed to
use up to 2 processor chips and up to
2 processors on each chip. Novell's
SUSE Linux is already prepared for
dual-core processors, and Red Hat
Linux soon will be. Both are multithreaded and multiprocessor chip
operating systems.
Most current multithreaded application programs are mid-high end
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 8
scientific, engineering, CAD/CAM
and digital content creation programs. This includes video editing
and 2D and 3D animation and image
creation/editing programs. However
there are some home applications
that already have this multi-treading
capability, such as the Adobe Premiere Elements video-editing program. The first programs for the
home user to go multithreading
should be content creation/editing,
multimedia, and games. There seems
to be an expectation by Intel that the
transition over to most programs being multithreaded will be three years
from now. However, some software
companies base the licensing fees of
some or all of their programs on the
number of processors using the program. The question then becomes,
Will software companies start charging licensing fees per processor core
on the current per processor chip?
Right now it looks like the trend says
No. Microsoft has already said that
for its programs that are licensed on
a per-processor basis it will continue
doing so and not go to a perprocessor-core basis. Also to consider in upgrading both Intel and
AMD systems, you may have software you have to activate that logs
the system components. Upgrading
processors and motherboards can
cause these programs to say that this
is now a new computer you are running the program on, which you are
not authorized to do, and refuse to
run. This could include your operating system. Check with your program's publisher/manufacturer to see
what their policy on this is. Home
and office use policies effectively
have been known to be different.
So when will these marvelous
dual-core processors appear? For
Intel it will be the second quarter of
2005. For AMD it will be mid-2005
(Continued on page 9)
First Phishing, Now Pharming
By John Pearce, Pikes Peak Computer Application Society, Colorado Springs, Colorado
First, there was phishing, trying
to collect personal information. A
newer attack, called pharming, is
trying to do the same thing in a more
technologically sophisticated way.
You need to be on guard, but neither
phishing nor pharming should keep
you away from the Internet. Let’s
take a quick overview of both.
Phishing starts with an e-mail,
typically from a financial institution,
with a message that some dire consequences will happen if you don’t
immediately verify your account
information. A Web site link is conveniently provided for you in the email.
(Continued from page 8)
for the high level Opterons and second half of 2005 for the desktop
Athlon 64s. As normal the price
should originally be high, but then
drop significantly over time.
We are moving this year to dual
core processors. They will improve
the speed of computers, and reduce
the related heat and power requirement issues. They will be originally
for those high-end power users, but
over the next few years they could
easily become the norm. They will
be in a computer store near you later
this year.
Timothy Everingham is CEO of
Timothy Everingham Consulting in
Azusa, California. He is also Chair
of the Los Angeles Chapter of ACM
SIGGRAPH. He is also part-time
press in the areas of high technology, computers, video, audio, and
entertainment/media and has had
articles published throughout the
United States and Canada plus Australia, England, and Japan. Further
information can be found at http://
home.earthlink.net/~teveringham.
This article has been provided by the
Editorial Committee of the Association
of Personal Computer User Groups.
The provided link is to a Web
page that looks like the real Web site
but is actually one controlled by the
bad guys. The fraudulent Web page
asks you to enter credit card and billing information or possibly user
name and password information.
You can imagine what the bad guys
are going to do with the information
they collect.
Pharming is a way for the bad
guys to redirect your Web browsing
to a site that they control. Pharming
is also known as DNS (Domain
Name System) cache poisoning.
DNS is what converts human
friendly names like webboard.apcug.org to numerical addresses like 192.160.122.122. The
bad guys want to impact the largest
number of Internet users possible, so
ISP’s and large corporations are the
most likely targets of pharming attacks. One goal is to download spyware or adware to your PC.
Protecting yourself from phishing
attacks is as simple as ignoring the email. All but one of the dozen or so
phishing e-mails I have received
have been from banks where I don’t
have an account. If you get a similar
one, just delete the e-mail and go on
with your life. If you have an account with the financial institution
and are concerned, use the telephone
and ask to speak with their Internet
security department. If you go to the
Web site to log in, type the web site
URL into the browser—do not use
the link provided in the e-mail.
Protecting yourself from pharming attacks takes a little effort. Start
by keeping your browser updated
with all the security patches. Next,
you should be sure the padlock icon
is displayed on any page where you
enter personal information such as
username, account number, or password. The padlock icon indicates
you are connected to the legitimate
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 9
owner of the URL and the data you
enter is protected by SSL encryption
during transmission. The bad guys
would have to know the private key
of the site in order to make the padlock appear. You can view the security information by double-clicking
the padlock icon on your browser.
You can also use a tool like SpoofStick to confirm the URL of the web
page you’re viewing.
Two other exploits are worth a
quick mention. The first is an instant messaging worm that changes
the content of the host’s file on your
PC. This is effectively the same as
DNS cache poisoning. The other
exploit is domain hijacking, which is
done by manipulating the domain
name registrars. Domain hijacking
is what happened to Panix, a New
York ISP, in January.
Being aware of phishing and
pharming, along with a little care
and caution, will keep your Web
browsing safe from the bad guys.
This article has been provided by the
Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups.
For more information about
the NVPCUG,
visit our Web site:
http://www.nvpcug.org
Scrapbooking Hobby/Craft Rescues Baby Boomer Memories
By Gabe Goldberg, APCUG Advisor and Columnist, AARP Computers and Technology Website
As a baby boomer, I'm hardly
unusual in having a large box of
photographs in my closet. Also
likely common is my photos' diversity: fading Polaroid baby pictures,
travel shots, family gathering commemorations, images of people and
places I can't identify, some professional photography, and quite a lot
of etc. In addition, I have a few
photo albums -- created when my
parents thought I was cute and when
I worked to record and remember
vacations.
But the years have generated a lot
of unorganized pictures, and I'm falling further behind in making sense
of them. Worse, the photographs
suffer from improper storage: being
folded, fading, cracking, sticking
together. Even the ones supposedly
preserved in albums are being damaged by invisible hazards.
An antidote to my generation's
mistreating photographs and neglecting family histories may be
"scrapbooking." This inclusive term
can mean anything from arranging
pictures in scrapbooks (what albums
are called when they contain pictures) to using computers. Whether
high- or low-tech, it includes rescuing pictures from hostile environments. Old-style photo albums with
adhesive corners or sticky pages can
damage pictures. Scrapbookers use
acid-free archival-quality paper and
supplies (photo-safe adhesives and
pens), aiming to produce material
that lasts for generations.
Some people come to scrapbooking with organized materials, with
pictures already sorted and documented. Others are in my camp, with
a chaotic and ever-growing stash of
family snapshots. Either way -- and
especially if starting from scratch -there's a fleeting opportunity for this,
as memories and generations are
lost.
I'm told that most scrapbookers
are women, many of whom start as
girls, assembling books about
friends and activities, then continue
as young mothers recording their
children’s growth, and as grandmothers making scrapbooks about
their extended and extending families. But technology also draws men
into the hobby, especially with improving capabilities and lowering
costs of digital equipment such as
scanners, cameras, and printers.
Pixifun's [http://pexagontech.com/
pixifun/] child- and budget-friendly
kits for creating keyrings/magnets/
stickers/badges/CDs include software and parts for creating instant
photo keepsakes.
If you've collected a
box of unorganized pictures; if you're falling
behind in preserving
your and your family's
memories; if your photos suffer from being
folded, fading, cracking,
and being badly
mounted -- the hobby
and craft of
"scrapbooking" can get
you organized and preserve/share your
memorabilia.
Scrapbookers develop unique
styles and personalities, matching
goals and resources available. Some
keep things simple, using pictures,
decorations, and a little labeling to
tell visual stories. These scrapbooks
are great for documenting oral history and reminiscing. They can follow themes such as genealogy,
school events, family milestones,
travel, etc. Beyond pictures, scrapbooks can contain anything meaningful, such as mementos, postcards,
clippings, cartoons, tickets, etc. This
can be supplemented by decorations
made with tools such as circle-cutout
tools, edge scissors, and lettering
stencil templates; accessories including colored and patterned pages,
border trims, themed stick-ons; and
stamped images. Some enjoy feeling
connected to the past by producing
final works from physical memorabilia rather than working with images.
Scrapbookers call telling a narrative story "journaling," finding this a
way to create meaningful and longlasting collections. Examples are
keeping chronological scrapbooks of
and for family and children, and creating time-capsules for events such
as the new millennium. Pages can
combine photos, captions, and decorative material so that each tells a
visually appealing story. Alternatively, some people build pages with
single images surrounded by cutouts,
stickers, decals, lace, etc. -- less interested in telling a story than creating a picture. There's no rulebook,
no single right way to scrapbook!
Scrapbooks can be wonderful
gifts, conveying connections and
feelings beyond those of any store
bought gift. A dedicated scrapbooker
I know is happy that her children
will be able to leave home with their
own history books.
Higher-tech approaches include
using a digital camera or scanning
original images into computer files,
using photo-editing software to improve their visual characteristics or
create effects such as the antique
look, creating photo-montages
blending multiple scenes, and producing "scrapbooks" on printed
pages, CDs, or the Web. This tech-
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 10
nique protects precious -- and often
fragile -- records, while allowing
viewing and handling easily recreated
digital replicas. And we've all seen
"mini-scrapbooks" produced by technology: photo collages used as family
holiday cards. Digital technology
lends itself to producing multiple
scrapbook copies -- for wedding
guests, for example, or even as commercial ventures.
Techno-scrapbookers often use
Adobe [www.adobe.com] Photoshop
Elements and Photoshop software
products; the vendor features kid- and
adult-friendly tutorials. Click the link
and search for "scrapbook". Other
popular software includes Corel photo
products [www.corel. com], Macromedia Dreamweaver [www. macromedia. com], and Pinnacle Systems
Studio 8 [www.pinnaclesys.com]. As
photo capture/editing/printing demands increase, so do hardware requirements. One 20-year veteran
scrapbooker suggests a flatbed scanner with minimum 600 ppi (pixels per
inch) without interpolation; a slide
scanner for negatives and slides; 80
GB hard drive; 512 MB RAM or
more; high-end graphics card with
expandable non-shared memory; CD/
DVD burner and minimum P4 processor. She uses a multimedia PC, digital
camera, and camcorder to go beyond
photo basics, adding design touches
like antique finish and repairing defects such as tears and scratches.
Useful resource sites are Scrapbooking Top50 [www. scrapbookingtop50.com], Stamping Top50 [www.
stampingtop50.com], and Digital
Scrapbooking [www. digitalscrapbookplace. com]. Stores frequently
mentioned are Michael's and Craft
Country.
People discover scrapbooking by
accident or design -- some take
classes at community colleges or recreation departments, others discover
commercial sites such as Creative
Memories [www. creativememories.com] or see friends' scrapbooks.
Whether your taste runs to scissors or
scanner, paper album or CD, narrative
or decorative scrapbooks -- get out
those picture boxes and preserve
those memories! 
This article originated on AARP's
Computers and Technology Web site,
www.aarp.org/computers, 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.
This article is provided by the Editorial
Committee of the Association of Personal
Computer User Groups.
HandiApped Independence: Part 1
by Frank Petrie, Freelance writer, Macsimum News contributor, Curmudgeon
I am a Mac user. I am a reviewer
for Macsimum News and numerous
newsletters. I also suffer from multiple sclerosis.
Recently, after a fall and a fourday stay in the hospital, I viewed my
environment with new eyes. I realized
that I needed to pace myself in a more
efficient manner. I was pushing too
hard.
So I started to monitor my daily
activities and evaluate the layout of
my house. I noticed that I used about
80 percent of my energy getting
across the carpets. Wasted energy. I
had set my drinking glasses out of
reach, my food on pantry shelves that
were too high. More wasted energy.
Clearly I had to completely rethink
my procedures.
How could I create an environment to facilitate my independent lifestyle without unnecessarily wasting
energy getting to things?
My daughter is an avid fan of
those shows where friends exchange
houses for a weekend to renovate one
or two rooms. Once I told her about
what I had been doing since my return
from the hospital, she was all aglow.
Here was her big chance to do like the
TV shows without the fear of someone destroying her room.
Well, obviously, I use my computer the most, so this would have to
be the focal point of my renovation.
What I hadn't counted on was that
most of my life, work and play involved my computer. Then it hit me!
My computer was my robot! It helped
me shop, pay bills, keep photo albums, and talk to people face to face.
It saved my failing legs a lot of mileage. My computer/robot is an important part of my independent lifestyle.
This will hopefully be a series that
goes beyond the ergonomic charts
that we have all seen, and instead focuses on hardware and software
(including OS X's Universal Access)
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 11
that can benefit the handicapped and
the retired. We'll revisit our workspaces, look at special mice and keyboards, the benefits of Bluetooth and
dictation software for those with arthritis or dexterity problems. In short,
how to lay out your office for maximum workflow and the least amount
of physical discomfort.
So, here's your first assignment.
For the next several weeks, keep a
mental or physical diary of your habits and routines. Notice where you
spend most of your time and where
your paths intersect most. Then we
can think about how to make the best
use of what we have.
Oh, and please post comments.
Let's begin a dialogue and share
ideas. Reach me at [email protected]
com, Subject: HandiApped.
This article has been provided by the Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups.
Why Can’t I Just Copy My Programs to My New Computer?
By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Sarasota PCUG, Florida, www.spcug.org
Let’s start this with a discussion of
imaging software, something that
many of us use to back up our hard
drives. Imaging software makes a
very complete “bit-mapped” copy of
your hard drive. Bit-mapping means
that everything contained on the hard
drive is being copied, usually to a
compressed file. Generally, imaging
software also backs up open files,
those that are currently in use on your
computer. Most, but not all, regular
backup software can only make copies of files that are not in use at the
time of the backup. Thus it is very
easy for a standard backup to miss
some files or to produce a backup of
your hard drive that is incomplete,
especially with regard to files currently in use by your Operating System (OS). Imaging software overcomes this problem.
So when you buy, build or upgrade
to a new computer, why can’t you
simply use your image file to transfer
all of your programs and data from
one computer to another? The basic
answer is related to the difference in
hardware between the two computers.
If you are just replacing a hard drive
in your computer, you can use the
image file to move everything to the
new drive. Some imaging software
allows you to “clone” the old hard
drive to a new drive. That is, providing both drives are connected to the
same computer. However, when you
change to a new computer with a new
motherboard, the CPU, chipset, USB
ports, sound and/or integrated video
are different and require new drivers.
The image file contains a complete
copy of the registry that has all the
settings needed to connect to your
hardware. It also has all the settings
for the software installed on your hard
drive. These settings are references to
the files on your hard drive that are
absolutely essential for the proper
operation of both hardware and soft-
ware. On Windows versions prior to
WinXP/Win2K, the registry was contained in two files: system.dat and
user.dat. In Windows XP this has
changed greatly. The registry is now
found in files in hidden folders within
the System32 folder and the Documents & Settings Folder. Presumably
this is to prevent users from deleting
vital files. You can examine the registry by running “regedit”. However, it
is not advisable to make changes to
the registry unless you are a very experienced user. It is quite easy to corrupt the registry and find that your
computer will not run.
The registry has five main
branches in WinXP/Win2K. In earlier
versions there were six. These are
identified as keys. The most important
are HKEY_ CLASSES_ROOT,
which has all the file types used by
your software, and HKEY_ LOCAL_MACHINE, which contains all
the information on the hardware and
software in your computer.
So if you used the image file to
transfer everything from your old
computer to your new one you would
overwrite the registry settings for the
hardware and pre-installed software
on your new computer. This would
very likely prevent it from completing
a boot-up. It is really not practical to
try to selectively transfer items from
the registry on the old computer. This
would introduce other problems. I did
a search in the registry for items related to one application. The search
found 128 entries. This may not have
been all of them. Considering the
number of programs you might have
on your hard drive, the total number
of entries to be transferred is mindboggling.
Another example, the Windows
folder contains many Dynamic Link
Library (DLL) files that are associated
with the particular version of Windows you have been running. There
are also many shared DLL’s used by
Windows and your application software. How do you know which ones
should be transferred and which ones
will create problems with your new
OS or your new software? Finally, the
motherboard, chipset and CPU in
your new computer require driver
files that are specific to them and very
likely are quite different from the drivers
used on your old computer.
Faced with this problem, what do
you do? The most commonly used
solution is to dig out all the original
disks for your application software.
Find the serial numbers and/or other
information needed to do a new installation on your new computer.
Once you have the programs installed
you can transfer the data files for each
application. This gives you a clean
install for your software and, if the
programs are compatible with the new
OS, you will have no problem running your applications.
This, however, can be a long and
tedious process. Also, what happens
when you can’t find an original program disk? Maybe it was downloaded
and you didn’t keep the install file or
make a copy of it. Or maybe you can’t
find the serial numbers you need to
install some of your programs. Then
you have to ask the software manufacturer for help, providing you registered the software when you first installed it. There is another option.
I got into all this because I have
just built a new computer and needed
to transfer all, or most all, of my software to a new computer. I had used
two different transfer programs in past
upgrades and found them to be somewhat lacking in both accuracy and
speed. Since my new computer is running Window XP Pro I also looked at
the “Transfer Files & Setting” Wizard. This transfers the Internet
browser and e-mail settings between
the two computers, providing you are
using Internet Explorer and Outlook
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 12
or Outlook Express. It will also transfer the contents of your “My Docu
ments” folder. It will not transfer any
applications. For me this was useless,
since I don’t use IE or OE.
In my searching for possible solutions I found a program called MoveMe from Spearit Software. It is the
first transfer program I’ve found that
uses network connections to move
programs, data files, settings, etc.,
between your old and new computers.
It can also use the USB ports or the
parallel ports. These are much slower
than a LAN connection. Move-Me
also works with removable media that
can be read by both computers. Now,
before you get too excited, this is not
a free program. It will cost you
$39.95 for the Internet download version. You can download a trial version that has all the information and
help files. It just will not do any transfer until you enter the serial number.
That you get only after paying for it.
The only thing that makes me nervous
Thunderbird. Those I had to transfer
manually. Once I found the instructions on the Mozilla websites, the
setup went quickly.
The point of all this is, if you buy a
new computer, try to get the dealer to
transfer your old software as part of
the deal. If you do it yourself, a file
copy won’t work. You need special
transfer software like Move-me or
Aloha Bob’s PC Relocator. However,
if you don’t have a LAN connection
between your computers, expect to
spend 1 hour per gigabyte for a USB
2.0 transfer and much, much more
time with a parallel port transfer.
about the whole process is that you
have to turn off your software firewall
and virus checker during the serial
number validation process. This validation requires that you be connected
to the Internet. In my case I still had a
hardware firewall in my router, but
that’s not always sufficient protection.
But I went ahead and ran the software. (You know the saying “Fools
rush in……)
Yes, it did work, but with some
glitches. First let me say it transferred
over 12 gigabytes of programs and
data from the old to the new in just
over 1.5 hours. Now that is a definite
time saving. I had estimated it would
take me more than a day to reinstall
all my software and move the data
files. Only a couple of applications
and my external devices needed to be
reinstalled after the move. By that I
mean printers, scanner and external
drive. The big exception was the
Bookmarks for Firefox and the e-mail
address book and mail settings for
Dr. Lewis is a former university and medical school professor whose e-mail address is. [email protected]
This article is provided by the Editorial
Committee of the Association of Personal
Computer User Groups.
Sharing Your World
Vinny Labash, Sarasota PCUG, Florida
If the thought of overcoming technical hurdles has deterred you from
creating your own Web-based journal,
stop fretting. Modern web tools make
creating your own blog easier than it’s
ever been. The term blog is nothing
more than a shortened version of Weblog. The term "weblog" was created
by Jorn Barger in December 1997,
and Peter Merholz introduced the
short version “blog” in 1999. Blog
came to be interpreted also as a verb,
to blog, meaning "to edit or post to
one's weblog."
The world’s most gigantic digital
conversation was born six years ago
when blogger.com was started. At
first, hardly anyone noticed. Thousands of Web sites come and go all
the time, but blogger.com offered
something unique. Anyone who
wanted a blog could have one free.
There was no charge to access the
blog creation tools, and the site pro-
www.spcug.org
[email protected]
vided free space to anyone who
wanted to host a blog. Once discovered, millions logged on and created
their own web logs.
Blogs have changed the way educational institutions do research. Traditional journalists have been blasted
out of their comfort zones, being continually challenged to defend their
printed statements. They are now
being held to the same standards of
accountability they have long demanded from others. Families are
using blogs to keep in touch in ways
that were never before possible. Politicians and political organizations are
using blog sites to raise funds.
Corporate entities are using blogs
to find out what excites customers,
and to track what they really think
about the company and why. Wisely
used, blogs could become the ultimate
marketing tool, free of all the negativity associated with spam.
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 13
Starting your own blog is no
longer a formidable task. If you are
simply curious and want to see what
it’s like to have your own blog, the
only investment you need to make is
your time. If you have an irrepressible urge to share your ideas, philosophy, comments or conclusions with
everyone else on the planet, you are
merely a few short easy steps away
from making this happen.
Pay homage to the original by visiting http://www.blogger.com and follow directions. Another direction is
to go to Google and search on
“starting a blog.” Your only difficulty
will be deciding when, not how, to
start.
This article has been provided by the Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups.
Figuring Out How Spammers Get E-Mail Addresses
By Dave Gerber, Editor Dave’s Bits & Bytes, and Director of the Sarasota PC User Group, Florida, www.spcug.org
Spammers employ a variety of
methods to acquire e-mail addresses.
Some methods take advantage of the
e-mail addresses readily available on
the Internet, whereas others employ
different levels of trickery, from harvesting to outright stealing.
Harvesting from the Internet.
While harvesting requires a lot of
bandwidth, it is ingeniously simple:
download the right pages from select
Web sites and extract the e-mail addresses that are there for the picking.
Some of the tools and sources employed in harvesting include the following:
Web spiders: Spammers employ
Web crawlers and spiders that harvest
e-mail addresses from Web sites. It's
common for Web sites to include
mailto:URLs as well as unlinked
[email protected] addresses. Put your email address on a Web site, and
you're spam bait. Yahoo, Google, and
others scan the Internet's Web sites
with the aid of spiders and crawlers
in order to keep Web search indexes
fresh. But e-mail address harvesting
spiders are up to no good. And where
do these spiders get domain names?
With over 90 million .com domains
in existence, it's easy enough to just
guess domain names in order to come
up with quite a few.
Newsgroups: It's a straightforward
task to harvest e-mail addresses from
Usenet newsgroups: Just pull in a big
news feed and extract the e-mail addresses with a simple shell or Perl
script. Newsgroup volumes are still
increasing exponentially—at a rate of
at least several gigabytes per day.
This means lots of e-mail addresses
are there for the taking. Any spammer with enough bandwidth can slurp
up all those bits and just sift out the
e-mail addresses.
Groups, blogs, and discussion
boards: Yahoo! and Google have
their groups and mailing lists, many
of which make their members' e-mail
addresses available. There are thousands of blogs and discussion boards
out there, too, that contain easily acquired e-mail addresses.
Test messages: In this method,
spammers send test e-mails to recipients whose addresses they simply
guess—so-called test e-mail messages sent to addresses like [email protected],
[email protected], [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] Spammers at one time could
reliably conclude that, if they receive
no "bounce-o-gram" back from the
domain, that the e-mail address must
be legit. This is because e-mail servers used to routinely send nondelivery receipts (NDRs) back to the
sender of a message sent to a nonexistent address. But that isn't necessarily so any more: More servers are
opting to stop sending NDRs.
Unsubscribe links: Many spam messages include an opt-out or unsubscribe link so that the recipient can
request not to receive more spam.
However, often the real purpose of
unsubscribe links is to confirm a
valid, active e-mail address.
Malware: Spammers sometimes use
Trojan horses, viruses, and worms to
extract e-mail addresses from individual users' computers. If massmailing worms can extract the contents of a user's e-mail address book
for the purpose of propagating spam,
then it's going to be easy to perform
the same extraction and simply send
the list back to the hacker's lair. This
would probably be easier, in fact,
because this activity is far less likely
to be detected than a mass-mailing
worm.
Unsubscribe requests: A good number of spam messages contain
"unsubscribe me" links that a user
clicks to opt out. However, many
spam operators actually continue to
send spam to e-mail addresses submitted to "unsubscribe me" links.
When a user submits such a request,
the spammer knows that the address
being sent is a valid e-mail address.
Do you think they'll actually stop
sending spam to a known valid address? Not on your life!
Buying and stealing addresses:
Among spammers and e-mail address
brokers, e-mail addresses are a traded
and sold commodity. If you know
where to look, you can purchase CDs
and downloads containing e-mail addresses by the hundreds of thousands
or millions.
And of course, everyone has heard
the stories of Web sites that collect
your e-mail address and promise not
to sell it (ha!). But they sell, trade, or
give away e-mail addresses anyway,
even when their privacy policy says
they won't. A few high-profile companies have been prosecuted and/or
fined for this practice.
Business and service provider email lists are also stolen and sold to
spammers. In mid-2004, a former
AOL employee was charged with
stealing 90 million screen names and
30 million e-mail addresses from
AOL and selling them to a spammer
for $100,000. This is not an isolated
case, but it is a noteworthy one because of the size of the heist. So
much for privacy, eh? 
Listen to “Dave’s Bits & Bytes” radio
show archives at www. davebytes.com;
subscribe to his newsletter by sending an
e-mail to dave_bytes @comcast.net.
This article has been provided by the
Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups.
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 14
Thank You !
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Membership Application/Renewal*
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the support
provided by the following companies:
G New
G Renewal
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Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists?
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If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address
published in the NVPCUG Directory, check the appropriate box(es):
G Do not list phone number
947 Lincoln Avenue & 1130 First Street
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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)
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Annual Dues:
Home of the 59-cent Color Copies
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$30.00 Regular Member—an individual who is not a full-time student
$20.00 Student Member—a full-time student not eligible for Associate
membership
$10.00 Associate Member—a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
memberships.
707-257-6260 • 800-550-6260 • fax: 707-257-8741
Make check payable to Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group.
[email protected] • napa.minutemanpress.com
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:
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Revised 8-9-05
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley, with offices in Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 • www.wellsfargo.com
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 15
NVPCUG Picnic Set for August 20
By Dianne Prior, NVPCUG Picnic Coordinator
Dick and Sandy Peterson have again graciously offered to host our annual potluck picnic.
The location is the Peterson Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa. The date is
Saturday, August 20, from 1:30 p.m. Signups will
be available until the general meeting on Wednesday, August 17, but you may e-mail me before then
at [email protected] telling me the member’s name, how many people are attending, what
you are bringing for the potluck, and what you will
.
help with as far as setup or cleanup. Extra chairs
are needed also.
The NVPCUG will provide barbecued beefsteaks and chicken. The group will also provide
nonalcoholic beverages, ice, paper plates, cups,
plastic ware and napkins. Alcoholic beverages are
BYOB.
There will be games and prizes as well as time
to visit with old friends and make new ones. We
hope to see you there. The potluck picnic is always a lot of fun and the food is great and plentiful.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
NVPCUG Computer News, August 2005, Page 16
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