COMPUTER NEWS SnagIt Screen Presentation Program to :

COMPUTER NEWS SnagIt Screen Presentation Program to :
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 23, No. 4
Inside This Issue:
2 President’s Message
2 Special Interest Groups
2 Calendar
3 Officers List
4 March 15 General Meeting Notes
5 Editorial
6 Removing Software and Files
8 Online Coincidences and Trails
9 Back to the Original
12 Test Your Internet IQ
14 Clear Reading With ClearType
16 Windows Tips
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group has served novice and
experienced computer users since
1983. Through its monthly meetings,
newsletters, online forum, special interest groups, mentor program and community involvement, it has helped educate people of all ages. The NVPCUG
provides opportunities for people to
find friends who share common interests and experiences. Through 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.
Like many moth-
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
April, 2006
SnagIt Screen Presentation Program to
Be Discussed at April 19 NVPCUG Meeting
By Susy Ball, Programs Coordinator
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, April
19, 2006, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson
Street, Napa, California.
The main presentation of the evening will be a demonstration of SnagIt 8, a
sophisticated screen capture program, by Mike Moore, NVPCUG
computer tutor coordinator. Using a “Presentation in a Box” (PIAB)
supplied by TechSmith Corporation, Moore will tell why SnagIt has
been a long-time favorite program for authors of manuals and other
documents illustrating computer screen shots, and how it can be useful to anyone who occasionally wants to capture something he or she
sees on the monitor screen. Unlike the ordinary “Print Screen” command, which merely saves a screen image to the software Mike Moore
"clipboard" tool, SnagIt 8 allows a user to capture text and graphics,
then save them to file, edit them, and if desired transmit them in PDF format.
Preceding the main presentation, Jerry Brown will lead the Random 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
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
share it with the group during this session.
Following this, Bernhard Krevet will lead the Computer Tutor session, featuring the Microsoft service called "FolderShare," a leading service in the emerging
area of file synchronization and remote-access technology. It helps customers access information across multiple devices, like a laptop and desktop in the home office, or even computers used in distributed business networks. The product was produced by a firm in Texas until Microsoft bought it recently.
Krevet will also answer questions that people have raised about the Picasa
photo-organizing program he discussed in his March presentation on the topic.
Need practical information that will enable you to make better use of your
computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are welcome; admission is free.
Coming May 17: Susy Ball will make a presentation on the program called “Audacity,”
which will enable you to enter the world of digital music, using your computer. It is a free,
open-source, fully functional, multitasking audio editor that lets you record, play, and convert audio files. Don’t miss it!
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 1
President's Message—
Help Wanted !
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]
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]
by Dianne Prior, President
According to Bill Wheadon, we will again be
working with the Annual Electronics Recycling Event at
Napa Valley College on June 9 and 10. It looks like
there will be some improvements over the last few years
(eg: the Reuse station will be at the start of the traffic
snake instead of next to the Recycle station). Anyone
interested in volunteering to help please contact Bill
Wheadon at [email protected]
Dianne Prior
Our Users Group will be operating on deficit spending if we can’t
bring in some extra money. (We need about $1,000). One fund-raiser
that has been successful is a Computer Equipment Sale. Sales from previous years have netted an average of about $2,000. We have some inventory for an Equipment Sale and lots of experienced people who will
help with such a sale, but we need someone to coordinate the event.
We also need someone to coordinate and facilitate a Special Interest Group for those interested in learning how to use e-Bay.
If one or more people are willing to work on either of these areas,
please contact me at [email protected] or 252-1506.
Based on the response at our March general meeting, the Board approved moving the meeting day to the first Wednesday, beginning in
October. We already have presenters scheduled for the Third Wednesday meetings of August and September.
See you at the meeting on April 19.
Happy Easter
Dianne Prior
NVPCUG Calendar
Wednesdays
April
5
April
10
April
12
April
13
April
19
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 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
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, April 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, Jim Gillespie, Bob Kulas, John Moore,
[email protected]
Dick Peterson, John Simcoe, James Stirling, Dean Unruh
Held the third Wednesday of each month
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
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.
Product Review Coord.
Programs Director
Publicity Director
Random Access Moderator
Special Projects Director
Webmaster
Come to the NVPCUG
General Meetings
Napa Senior Activities
Center
(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
Susy Ball
Marcia Waddell
Susy Ball
John Simcoe
Jerry Brown
Bob Kulas
Ron Dack
224-2540
944-1177
337-3398
252-2060
337-3998
258-8233
254-9607
255-9241
1500 Jefferson Street,
Napa
[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 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, April 2006, Page 3
March 15 General Meeting Notes—
Susy Ball Talks on Digital
Photography
The main presentation of the March 15
evening meeting featured The Digital Photo
Guy, Lee Otsubo, in a workshop on digital
photography that can be accessed online. 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,
introduced the workshop using a presentation
prepared by Otsubo.
Bernhard Krevet Demonstrates Picasa Photo Organizer 2.0
At the NVPCUG general meeting March 15
Bernhard Krevet demonstrated the popular
free photo management program, Picasa. This
program scans your computer for photographs,
then organizes them by date and enables you to
edit them, give them ratings and even share
them on the Internet. It collects not only JPEGs
but also GIFs and most other image formats—
even video files. It has a search tool that lets
you track down old files by keywords, ratings,
and dates. Tools available include adjusting
highlights, shadows, fill lights, and color temperature. You can add many effects, including
sepia, black and white, and soft focus. And you
can crop, straighten, and remove red-eye. And
if you don't like an edit, you can reverse it with
no more than the click of a mouse. The program will also enable you to burn photos onto
CD or DVD disks. And you can also send your
pictures on the Internet with your e-mail client
or use Google's new Web-based e-mail service,
Gmail. This is another demonstration of the
fact that it is becoming more possible to get
quality application programs without spending
a lot of money.
O'Reilly UG News—
Southwest User Group
Conference August 11-13 in
San Jose
The Southwest User Group Conference
X3 will be held from Friday evening,
August 11 through Sunday, August 13
,at the Town and Country Resort and
Convention Center in San Diego, Calif..
Activities will include: workshops on
Saturday and Sunday; vendor-sponsored
presentations and meals; a Vendor
Faire; numerous prize drawings; as well
as up close and personat time with participating vendors. In addition, attendees will receive a T-shirt and Welcome
Bag.
For further information see http://
www.swugconf.org/index.htm (and
check often for updates).
Exhibit Hall Passes Still
Available for MySQL Users
Conference in Santa Clara
You still have time to sign up for a
MySQL exhibit hall pass ($25.00). The
hall is open Tuesday, April 25, from 10
a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and then you are welcome to attend the exhibitor reception
—“food and drinks included”— from 6
p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On Wednesday, April 26, the exhibit hall is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The conference exhibit hall, the
biggest one yet, will feature MySQL
and open-source products and services.
You'll also be able to learn more about
worthwhile projects in the DotOrg Pavilion, located inside the hall.
To purchase an exhibit hall pass, go
to: http://www.mysqluc.com/pub/w/45/
register.html
(Sorry, UG discount does not apply
on exhibit hall passes.)
For more information on the
MySQL Users Conference 2006 in
Santa Clara, Calif., go to: http://www.
Mysqluc .com/
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 4
NOTE: NVPCUG
does not endorse any
vendor or product.
Product discount emails are sent to
member groups as
information only.
Editorial
By James Stirling
So it’s almost spring already. You may
have noticed that we are trying out a new,
more open format for the page layouts of our
newsletter. We hope you find it more inviting
and readable. In this issue is a story on how
to do a spring cleaning on your computer,
removing the clutter of unused and unwanted
programs. Gabe Goldberg tells how to check
on the tracks you may have left behind in
your Internet surfing, and tells of amusing
coincidences that may come from name
searching. Pim Borman from Indiana rants
about the annoying junk with which
manufacturers and software producers plague
us, including the stealthy rootkits used by
Sony and evidently others as well. And
Vinny LaBash tells us how to get clearer type
from our monitors.
We hope you find these and other stories
in this issue useful and that you will try out
some of the Web sites the authors have dug
up for you. And when you do so, I would
appreciate it if you keep track of what
happens and let the rest of us in on your
successes or disappointments. Your setbacks
or triumphs may be just what the rest of us
need to get the most out of our computers—
and perhaps help us avoid spending money
on what doesn’t work.
I tackled a few new things over the past
winter, including the free Ubuntu distribution
of Linux, Open Office Write, AVG free virus
checker, Roxio Media Creator 8, Jv 16
Power Tools, and the Apricorn 40 Gig
external mini hard drive system. Time will
tell whether they deliver on their promises.
I found the Ubuntu program fairly
straightforward to load. Part of the process
involved answering questions about things I
was unprepared for, like which “primary
network interface,” I wanted (I opted for
“none”), and my use of the DHCP protocol,
whatever that was. I was also asked for a
hostname for the system. But my guesses
seemed to satisfy the installation driver.
Overall the loading time took longer than the
typical Windows installation. I rejoiced at the
ease with which the Open Office Write
opened, particularly when it assured me that I
could freely copy Microsoft Word into and
out of it. I decided to use it for the newsletter
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 5
articles, only to discover that MS Publisher refused to recognize the kind of
Word files that resulted. Eventually it
got over it. Now I use both, being
careful to convert the Write into Word
for anything going into Publisher. But
I am impressed with this open source
word processor as being as good as
any others I have used.
My first experiences with the 40Gig Apricorn mini external hard drive
powered through its USB port, were
disappointing; When it was connected,
the whole booting up process was
slowed down and stalled. Eventually I
learned that the reason was apparently
that the Apricorn, lacking its own
power supply, was sucking power
from the USB system. Now I wait till
the boot up is finished before plugging
it into the USB port, and it seems to
work OK. Its small size makes it very
handy for transporting data between
computers.
I was very pleased with the performance of the free version of AVG antivirus program; it very diligently on the
job every day with new patches as it
discovers new virus attacks. And now
I am about to tackle income tax preparation, using the system I saw in a
computer magazine last year. It turned
out to be very adequate and for preparation and electronic filing didn’t cost
a thing. I will try to detail my experience this year and perhaps include it in
next year’s newsletter.
So my search is a work in progress.
Trying out any new program takes
time, whether or not the makers talk of
“off the shelf” immediacy. I’ll keep
you posted on what else happens while
I explore other new territories. And
we’d like to hear from you as well.
JS
Do a Clean Sweep of Your Computer
How to safely remove software and files from your PC
By Marc Saltzman, microsoft.com/athome/moredone/cleansweep.mspx
Like many mothers, Andrea Grace will
sit down at her PC to check e-mail, only to
find that her kids, Jason, 8, and Rachel, 10,
have installed some new programs.
"Between those CD-ROM games found in
cereal boxes and downloaded Neopets,
there are now icons all over the place,"
says Grace. "And of course they don't play
half the games. If I ran out of space I
wouldn't know how to delete them," she
admits.
Grace isn't alone—it's not uncommon to
fill space on a hard drive with games, productivity programs, or files, such as music,
digital photos, and video clips. Some technology analysts believe that we use less
than 10 percent of the programs installed
on our computer.
So, considering you're likely to do
some spring cleaning in the coming months
by removing old and unwanted clutter from
your closets and garage, why not tidy up
your computer as well?
While deleting programs is relatively
easy, many novice computer users believe
they can be removed by simply deleting
their icon on the desktop. This does not
work, as it's only a shortcut to the real program that consists of many files. And keep
in mind that you can do damage to your
PC's performance by deleting from your
hard drive an entire program folder that
you don't realize you do need .
The following is a look at how to
safely—and easily—remove old or unused
programs from your Microsoft Windows
XP-based computer. Much of the advice is
also applicable to older versions of Windows.
Decide which programs to purge
The first step is to decide which programs you no longer need. Try to keep
only the programs you use regularly, as it's
easy to become a digital packrat. If it helps,
make a list of programs you want to keep
and others you can do away with.
Has it been a year since your child
touched that action game? Chances are you
still have the original CDs anyway (should
you want to reinstall it in the future), so perhaps it's time to wipe it off the hard drive.
Have your music tastes changed since
you went through that Country and Western
"stage" in 2002? You can easily delete
downloaded MP3 files—or at least burn
them to a CD to free up space on your PC.
If you're unsure about a program that's
on your hard drive, you can always do a
search at your favorite search engine (e.g.,
MSN Search) to see what it is. For example,
if you don't plan on buying a camcorder,
remove any preinstalled video-editing software that may have come bundled on your
PC.
Ready, set, "Start"
The easiest way to remove a program
from your hard drive is to look for an
uninstall or remove option from within its
program group. You will find this by clicking the Start menu, then All Programs (or
Program Files), and then choosing the program you want to uninstall.
Once inside this program group, you will
usually see an icon to launch the program, a
ReadMe file (documentation that tells you
how to use the program), and, for our purposes, an option that enables you to remove
or uninstall the program. Click this and follow the onscreen wizard to safely remove
the program from your PC. You may be
asked to reboot your computer. Only click
to do so once you've saved everything that's
open at that time.
Quick tip: If you want to free up even
more room on your hard drive, go to My
Computer or Windows Explorer and rightclick on the letter associated with your hard
drive (usually C:). Click Properties, then
click Disk Cleanup. Check off the desired
boxes, and it will tell you how much space it
can free up.
When uninstalling a program, you may
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 6
also get a message that says the program
can remove a file that may be shared by
another program. To be safe, keep these
suggested files on your PC (they shouldn't
take up much room on your hard drive,
anyway). Similarly, when you uninstall a
game, the program may ask if you want to
keep saved game files (i.e. a bookmark of
your progress). If you think that you will
reinstall and play this game again, you can
choose to keep these files.
Sometimes
the program group may be the company's
name. Move your mouse over the name
and it will reveal which program(s) are
inside.
Quick tip: If you download a .zip or
.exe file from the Web and then install the
program to the hard drive, you can delete
the original file once it's successfully installed.
Keep in mind that your PC automatically creates restore points while you're
using your computer. That way, if you accidentally delete a program that you want
to keep, you can revert your PC back to an
earlier time. To do so, click the Start menu,
then All Programs (or Program Files), then
Accessories, and then System Tools. Click
System Restore and the program will guide
you through the steps.
Take "Control"
Some programs do not give you the
option to uninstall them from a program
group. No problem. You'll need to go to
the Start menu, select Control Panel, and
then Add or Remove Programs.
It may take a few seconds for this page
to load, but once it is finished, it will display a long alphabetical list of installed
programs. Once you see the name of a program you no longer want on your hard
drive, click it, then click the tab to the right
of it, which will say Remove or
Change/Remove, and follow the prompts.
A progress bar will show you how long it
will take to safely remove the program.
When it's finished, you will see the list
once again.
other to run—a rule of thumb is to ignore
it, especially if it doesn't take up too much
space on your hard drive (you will see how
many megabytes on the right-hand side of
the program name). If the program is spyware or adware (such as SuperShopper
Toolbar), then you may want to leave this
for your spyware/adware program to sniff
out and safely remove. Two good free programs are Ad-Aware and SpyBot, both of
which are available at Download.com. You
can also download the free new Microsoft
Windows AntiSpyware (Beta).
Quick tip: This article focuses on uninstalling entire programs, but it's even easier
to delete individual files. Once you're inside My Computer or Windows Explorer,
simply highlight the files you no longer
want on your hard drive and tap the delete
button or right-click and select Delete. This
will send all unwanted files to the Recycle
Bin for safekeeping—until you're sure that
you no longer want them.
Article written by Marc Saltzman and
adapted from an original piece in Microsoft
Home Magazine. Reprinted by permission.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups has provided
this article.
———————————————--
How to Rename a Series
of Files
By Dave Gerber
If you have a series of files you want
to rename, but want to keep the sequence
intact, here’s how: Using Windows Explorer, locate the files. Be sure you’re in
“Details” mode. Go to the last file in the
sequence and select it. Hold down the
Shift button and select the first file in the
sequence. All the files should now be
highlighted. Go to File/Rename. You
should now be able to rename the first
file. Be sure to keep the file extension.
All the files should now be renamed in
sequence with the new appellation.
Go through the list, but leave those programs that you are unsure of. Remember—
you may use Microsoft Word all the time
so do not uninstall Microsoft Office, as
Word is part of it. Some programs may not
be familiar to you but are required for anNVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 7
Being Online Brings Coincidences and Lasting Trails
By Gabriel Goldberg, APCUG Advisor; Columnist, AARP Computer Technology Website, www.aarp.org
A song written by Peter Mayer, a
great singer I've just discovered, is
titled "Earth Town Square." Describing
how technology and travel have shrunk
the world, Peter lyrically observes "Now
it's feeling like a small town, with six
billion people downtown, at a little sidewalk fair, in Earth Town Square." Even
though all six billion of us aren't (yet!)
online, the Internet as a meeting place is
certainly one of the engines making the
Earth seem smaller. While it was once
exotic — or alarming — to have a longdistance telephone conversation, chatting
electronically with people half a world
away doesn't raise my pulse.
A decade ago, early in my use of the
Internet, I was astonished by its ability to
create coincidences. This is a true story. I
was consulting for an online service that
gave me an e-mail address used only for
their work. I received a note at that address with the intriguing subject, "I am
you" from another Gabriel Goldberg.
Nowadays, that's the sort of spoofed email I'd likely delete without reading. He
had checked his entry in the service's directory and found my entry next to his.
We exchanged pleasantries, described
ourselves, shared wonder at having found
each other, and he mentioned that he was
a music student in Boston.
Later that week, I received another
note at my regular e-mail address, from a
woman who said that she'd known a Gabe
Goldberg years earlier, the last she'd
heard from him he was going to Boston
to study music, and was I that person? I
replied to her, copying the other Gabe,
that either they were playing a joke on me
or we had a mighty powerful coincidence. Truth is stranger than joke — they
were former high school sweethearts who
had drifted apart. In the same week they
both found my name and two different email addresses, and for very different reasons, they contacted me. I later heard
from her mother, who thanked me for
reuniting them! Remarking on the coincidence of names, the other Gabe wondered
"how do guys named Jim Smith handle
all the coincidences?"
Participating in mailing lists, newsgroups, and Web sites leaves online footprints and makes us visible. The bad
news is that's one of the ways spammers
find targets, but the good news is that
being visible makes it easier for lost
friends to track us down. Soon after 9/11
I heard a voice on the phone I hadn't
heard for nearly 30 years: my college
girlfriend. She'd searched Google (often
called "Googling") for me, found me, and
called. We've stayed in touch since, have
gotten together several times, and shared
news of our respective families. And just
recently I used Google to contact an elementary school friend after hearing of her
taking a new job in San Francisco.
Amidst the fun of unanticipated connections and reestablished friendships,
there's a cautionary note: information
online has a long memory. Web sites like
Google always cache (retain) Web pages
even after they're deleted from their original Web locations. Postings to mailing
lists, Web forums, newsgroups, and other
online venues are usually retained indefinitely. It can be unnerving to discover
that items posted in the heat of the moment or as youthful indiscretions can be
retrieved years later by potential employers or new acquaintances, or just by
someone snooping for unpleasant reasons.
Just as it's worth checking your
credit report periodically, it's a good idea
to occasionally check out what online
trails you've left. My current favorite
surfing tool is Google, so I search for
"Gabe Goldberg" and "Gabriel Goldberg." The quote marks bind the first and
last names together so that only Web
pages having the exact full name are
found. I search on Gabe and Gabriel because I've used both names. If your name
is closer to Jim Smith's — offering
56,000 hits rather than the more manageable 182 for my name — you can tighten
the search by adding terms such as a middle initial, state of residence, hobby, employer, etc. But don't make the search too
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 8
Participating in
mailing lists, news
groups and Web
sites leaves online
footprints and
makes us visible.
It’s tedious to
erase tracks from
an online history.
. . . It’s much better to avoid saying anything
online that might
return to haunt
you.
narrow, or you may miss genuine references.
It's tedious to erase tracks from an
online history. It requires contacting each
site that hosts material you'd like to delete,
perhaps following instructions and filling
out forms. Some mailing list sites refuse
as a matter of policy to delete list postings, reasoning that doing so would distort
a list's historical record. The government
has made serious efforts to sanitize the
Web by removing content deemed dangerous, such as plans for water and power
systems. Even when successful, scrubbing
data off Web sites often doesn't really
make it unavailable, it just slows people
from finding it. It's much better to avoid
saying anything online that might return to
haunt you, than try to clear the record after
the fact.
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
gabe(at)gabegold.com when you use it, or
for permission to excerpt or condense.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups has provided this article.
Windows Tip—Back to the Original, by Dave Gerber
We’ve all done it. At some time or
another we’ve all inserted a picture into a
document, worksheet or presentation and
started altering its appearance. Let’s make
it larger... no smaller... no wait, we’ll
stretch it only vertically. And let’s lighten
the colors and crop it a bit over here. Next
thing you know you’ve got a mess and
you’re looking at the undo button thinking “How far back do I have to go to fix
this one?” Or maybe you figured that it
would be faster to delete the destroyed
picture and re-insert the original.
Both of these ideas work, but there’s a
quick and easy one-button solution to
your problem. Interested in the “how to”?
Yeah, I thought you might be.
When you have a picture selected, the
Picture toolbar should open. If it doesn’t,
don’t panic!
Try a right click on the picture and
choose Show Picture Toolbar from the
menu or use the View menu, Toolbars
submenu, Picture choice. At any rate,
once the toolbar is open you’re only one
button away from a reset of the picture to
its original state. The button you’re looking for is on the far right end—the Reset
Picture button. Click it and Poof! Your
picture is restored, no undo or re-insertion
required. As you’re browsing Web pages
with Internet Explorer, you may come
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 9
upon some sites that offer graphic images
for downloading, for example .. “Dave
Bytes.” You can save Web graphics on
your computer hard drive in one of the
following three ways:
1. As a graphic file for viewing a
printing in the My Pictures folder. To
do this, right-click the graphic and then
click Save Picture As on the image shortcut menu.
2 As the wallpaper for your desktop. To do this, right-click the graphic
and then click Set as Background on the
image shortcut menu.
3. As a Desktop item that appears
on your computer desktop. To do this,
right-click the graphic and then choose
Set as Desktop Item on the image shortcut
menu.
Note that if you save a Web graphic
as the wallpaper for your desktop, you
have a choice between tiling the image
(that is, duplicating it across the entire
desktop), centering it in the middle of the
desktop, or stretching it so that it fills the
entire desktop (which most often results
in a severely distorted image). Also note
that some Web graphics (photographs and
works of original art, usually) are copyrighted, and Web designers do have a way
to disable your right-click function while
you’re surfing their Web sites.
The New, the Best, and the Worst
Collected by Pim Borman, SW Indiana PC Users Group, Inc.
Rants
:
It is a dark, dreary, drizzly day
in mid-January as I write this, perfect
for contesting a will (as they say in my
native Holland) or protesting the peccability of PC peddlers.
Rant #1 concerns the software Dell
installs on new computers, whether
you want it or not. James Derk, computer columnist for Scripps Howard
News Service, wrote recently about the
effort it required to remove all the extraneous junk from someone’s new
Dell system: “Dell is on the list this
year for adding so much junk to their
new PCs that it takes a trained technician to remove most of them. Their
‘starter’ edition of QuickBooks is the
most annoying...even popping up reminders to try the program long after
you’ve deleted it. I know Dell sells 80
percent of its PCs to businesses, but
there’s no reason to have such an invasive product and selling tactic. Most
large businesses don’t use QuickBooks,
most small businesses already have it
and consumers don’t want it. Editing
the Windows Registry should not be
needed to remove it. (Dell gets an honorable mention for charging $25 for a
USB cable to connect their “free”
printers to their computers.)”
(http://snipurl.com/derkcolumn2).
Elsewhere Derk mentions the desirability of removing the pre-installed temporary version of McAfee anti-virus.
He wrote: “If you have McAfee preinstalled on your new PC, I would
uninstall it immediately and install a
free product. It’s not just a bias...in my
computer repair business I have seen
dozens of PCs with McAfee installed
that are riddled with viri. Something
either about McAfee’s online-only
product or the configuration just lets
viruses pass through.” (http://
snipurl.com/derkcolumn).
As luck would have it, my
neighbors asked me soon thereafter for
help with the installation of their new
Dell computer. The recently retired professional couple had been using a MacIntosh computer for the past eight years
and were unfamiliar with MS Windows.
Remembering Derk’s comment, I suggested we remove the McAfee program
and install Norton Internet Security.
Tough luck! As I attempted to remove
McAfee via the Control Panel’s
Add/Remove feature, I kept getting error messages that part of the program
was running and could not be removed.
I did everything I could think of to
stop/disable McAfee, but nothing managed to kill it dead. I did a Google
search later on and found that usually
there is no simple way to get rid of it. A
“help” page on the McAfee page provides pages of procedures to “try,” all of
them obscure and nonintuitive. An unwanted program that cannot simply be
uninstalled is malware, in my opinion. If
Dell is unwilling to sell computers without all the junk, the best solution may be
to reformat the hard drive and reinstall
the desired programs only. Or choose
another vendor. It is hardly an attractive
option for new Windows users.
Rant #2 Sony BMG recently got
caught using rootkits to provide copy
protection on CDs they sold. Rootkits
are programs that hide on your hard
drive, out of sight of Windows. They are
an open invitation for virus writers to
invade your system and are hard to remove without damaging Windows. Sony
was forced to apologize for its error,
recalled the CDs involved, and published a patch to remove the rootkits
from the customers’ computers.
According to an article in eweek
,com, the rootkit trick is being used by
other companies also http://snipurl.com/
lis7). Norton SystemWorks is specifically mentioned. Symantec explained
that they used the rootkit to prevent users from accidentally removing the file,
but offered to relocate it with a program
update. According to eweek.com there
are other instances of rootkits being
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 10
used, but no specifics were mentioned.
My Norton Internet Security subscription is about to expire. I already had
planned to try the ZoneAlarm Security
Suite, based on a recommendation in PC
Magazine (12/27/05) that included it in
their list of Best of the Year Products (but
that also included McAfee Antivirus!). But
then Linda Gonse, editor/ webmaster of the
Orange County IBM PC Users' Group,
wrote that the ZoneAlarm Security Suite
interfered with her ftp program and mangled the files she uploaded to her Web site.
She had a dickens of a time trying to
uninstall the program. However, she never
had a problem with the plain, free
ZoneAlarm firewall. I concluded that my
best bet was to use free ZoneAlarm as the
firewall.
I chose a separate antivirus program,
f-prot from Frisk software (http://www.fprot.com/ products/). I used that program
years ago in the DOS days, and more recently I have been using it on my Linux
computers. Their technical support is outstanding, as I mentioned in a previous column. F-prot, based in Iceland, was one of
the first to spot the rootkits and to provide
an uninstallation patch. They update their
database as soon as they add new data, usually several times a week. The Windows
version costs $29 per year, but a trial version is available to make sure the product
fills your needs.
As expected, replacing Norton Internet Security with ZoneAlarm and f-prot was
not without problems. I downloaded the
trial version of f-prot without difficulty and
stored it, ready for use. Getting the free version of ZoneAlarm was a different story.
Rant #3 If you make a free, limited
version of your software available for
download, don’t play silly games trying to
hide the download button, hoping that the
prospective customer will finally give up or
make an error and order your paid-for version. It may work sometimes, but you lose
every last bit of goodwill you may have
worked years to earn. Is that worth it? After
struggling with ZoneAlarm for 20 minutes
trying to download the free program, I simply copied an older setup version that was
still on my other Windows computer and
installed that. ZoneAlarm then promptly
offered to update that version, and I was in
business. Installation of f-prot went without a
hitch.
Tech News
Although I had uninstalled Norton
By Sue Crane,
Vicewith
President
and Editor,
Big Bear
Internet
Security
the Control
PanelComputerroute,
Clubit was
[email protected]
Add/Remove
evidently not quite
dead yet. ZoneAlarm started telling me that
Norton was still trying to access various parts
of my computer, which I blocked. Soon
thereafter everything froze, and I got the
Blue Screen of Death. It took two cold restarts to get everything back up and running,
and my first action was to have ZoneAlarm
block everything with the Norton label. That
seems to work thus far.
As every successful business, from
Wal-Mart to General Electric, knows, your
most important asset is customer goodwill. A
happy customer is a return customer. Over
the years Dell has built up an excellent reputation for product quality, price, and service.
They stand to lose all that for a few bucks
they make as “partners” with the likes of
McAfee and Quick Books. It isn’t worth it.
The same goes for Norton, known since DOS
days for its reliability and excellence of technology. Avoid exasperating your customers
and they’ll keep coming back.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups
has provided this article.
Killing a Window
By Dave Gerber
Have you ever had one of those windows that misbehave? By “misbehave,” I
mean you cannot get it to Maximize or Minimize. Sometimes Web programmers want to
splash a screen onto your PC with no controls and will use this technique so that you
can’t get their junk off your screen. For some
bizarre reason they think this is a good thing.
Anyway, you do have some control with the
standard Windows window control options.
Click anywhere in the misbehaving window
and hit Alt + Spacebar. On the resulting
menu, you can choose Close and kill the window.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 11
Test Your Internet IQ: Top Security Myths
By Kraig Lane, Group Product Manger, Symantec Corporation
The Internet is crawling with risks. If you
bank or shop online, or even just surf the Web
and send e-mail, you are exposed to hackers,
thieves, and con artists. And today's bad guys
don't need to pick your locks or break your windows; they can attack you and your family over
the Internet. Are you prepared?
Every day, many of us use the Internet without really understanding that if we can get out to
the world from our home computers, the world
can get it. By testing your knowledge of home
computing security issues, you might be surprised by some commonly held misperceptions.
Myth 1 – I have antivirus software—that's all
I need. This is the most common Internet myth.
Yes, antivirus protection is important and you
need it. But just having the software isn't
enough. New viruses emerge all the time, so you
need to update your virus definitions regularly to
make sure they're current or, better yet, use software that does that for you automatically. Furthermore, antivirus software provides only one
type of security (stopping viruses from infecting
your system) when you go online. But hackers
are also a threat, and antivirus software can't deflect a determined hacker (see Myth #4). You
need a firewall to stop hackers from getting into
your system and to make sure your personal information doesn't go out without your authorization.
Myth 2 – There's nothing on my computer
that a hacker would want. Most of us believe
this to be true. But a hacker could want the private data you store on your computer. Hackers
might search for personal information stored on
your system—your Social Security and bank
account numbers, for example—which they
could use to make fraudulent purchases in your
name. Identity Theft is the fastest-growing
white-collar crime in the U.S. today. And even
if you don't do any financial work on your home
computer, you may keep a resume on your hard
drive in a desktop file conveniently named
"resume." Your resume lists your name, address,
where you went to school, your work experience. That's exactly the type of information you
need when you apply for a credit card or a loan.
Once hackers get hold of your personal data,
especially your Social Security number, they can
do all kinds of damage.
Myth 3 – Only big corporations—not home
computer users—are targets for hackers.
This is another common myth. "Why would they
bother with me when all I do on my home computer is play games and send e-mail?"
Hackers usually are looking for easy prey, and your
home computer is much simpler to break into
than a large corporate network would be. Hackers can infiltrate your system by using a number
of tools readily available online. Broadband connections are particularly vulnerable because they
have an "always-on," static IP address that can
more easily be accessed, and it might take you a
while to realize you've been hacked. If your
home computer is always on and you don't check
it frequently, you could be an ideal target.
Big corporations, on the other hand, have invested heavily in their Information Technology
departments. They have huge antivirus programs
on their gateway and very effective firewalls. In
other words, they are harder to hack.
Myth 4 – It takes a lot of technical knowledge
to be a hacker. Contrary to popular belief, you
don't have to be a genius to hack into a computer. Hacking actually takes very little technical
knowledge, because any search engine queried
about "hacking tools" will list site after site. The
tools are readily available and can be
downloaded in a few minutes. They even come
with directions.
Myth 5 – My ISP provides protection
(antivirus and/or firewall) to me when I'm
online. ISPs rarely provide comprehensive protection, but for some reason users think that they
do. So you might want to check with your ISP
and ask how safe you are from viruses and hackers. And even if your ISP does provide a certain
amount of protection, you should still install
good antivirus software on your own computer.
Why? When you're online you're vulnerable
to downloaded viruses, because your ISP probably screens email only. That doesn't protect you
from a virus you may download inadvertently
yourself.
Myth 6 – I'm using dial-up, so I don't need to
worry about hackers. It's true that broadband
users are more vulnerable to attack. A high-
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 12
speed (broadband) connection means you have
a static Internet Protocol (IP) address, so once
hackers know where to find you, they can come
back. They know where you live.
Unix-based. Unix computers have been around
for so long that many of the hacking tools available to Unix users are now applicable to Macintosh.
With a much slower, dial-up access, your IP
address is changing all the time. This random
access address allows dial-up users to enjoy a
false sense of security, but that doesn't mean
hackers can't find you anyway.
Protect yourself
And if you have a dial-up connection, a
hacker who does break into your system could
install a back-door Trojan Horse, which lets the
hacker see you each time you log in. The Trojan flashes a beacon that says, "Hey I'm here,
come and get me"—so they know you're online
and vulnerable. It's also possible to pick up a
Trojan Horse through an e-mail virus, or you
might download it in an infected Internet file. If
you've picked up a Trojan Horse, it doesn't matter whether your connection is broadband or
dial-up.
Myth 7 – I have a Macintosh. Mac users often feel safe because most viruses are designed
for Windows-based platforms. But to a hacker
it doesn't matter. A computer is a computer.
They don't care what platform you're using,
t h ey ju s t l o o k fo r o p e n p o r t s .
Many Mac-specific hacking tools are readily
available on the Internet. Also, the new OS X is
Be smart. Install an antivirus program to
safeguard your computer from virus attacks and
to be sure you don't download a Trojan Horse
or other "back-door" program. It's also important that you keep your virus definitions up-todate. Some antivirus programs do this for you
automatically, so your protection stays current.
And use a firewall program. It protects you
from hackers trying to scan your personal files,
steal data, or damage your system.
About the Author
As group product manager at Symantec
(www.symantec.com), Kraig Lane is responsible for the overall management of Symantec’s
consumer Internet security solutions. He works
to define product objectives and strategies for
Norton Personal Firewall, Norton AntiSpam,
and Norton Internet Security, cornerstones of
Symantec’s thriving consumer business. Lane
also utilizes his vast knowledge of the Internet
security space to drive the development and
introduction of new solutions to tackle emerging online threats.
Computer Tips and Tricks, by Dave Gerber
Shortcut Labels
The solid box behind a shortcut label can be
very annoying, especially if you have dozens of
icons on your desktop.
It doesn’t take much to change this. Rightclick “My Computer” and choose Properties (or
hold down Alt and double left-click “My Computer”), to bring up the Systems Properties window.
Select the “Advanced” tab. Under Performance” click the “Settings” button. This will
bring up the Performance Options window.
Under the “Visual Options” tab, click the
“Custom” radio button. You’ll see a list of
check boxes. Check off the one that says, “Use
drop shadows for icon labels on the desktop”.
Then “Apply” or “OK” to make the change.
When you go back to your desktop the labels
should be clear. Now you can see your wallpaper better.
How to Find Out What Programs Are Installed on Your
Computer
Here’s an easy way to get a list of all the Microsoft programs that are installed on your
computer: Click Start | Help and Support. In the
left column of the Help and Support window,
under Pick a Help Topic, click Windows basics. In the left pane, click to expand Core Windows tasks. Click Searching for information. In
the right pane, under Pick a task, click Get information about your computer. In the right
pane, under What do you want to do?, click
View a list of Microsoft software installed on
this computer. The list can be copied and
pasted into another document.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 13
Clear Reading With ClearType
by Vinny La Bash, Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida, www.spcug.org
My students know why LCD displays are superior to
CRT monitors. When one of them complained to me that he
found text difficult to read on his new 21-inch LCD monitor, I told him it was probably because the screen resolution
made the text too small to read easily. He didn't think so,
because his teenage granddaughter also thought the text
wasn't clear. His comment made me think.
Flat panel LCD Monitors are designed to display information at a specific resolution known as the "native resolution." Manufacturers refer to them as "fixed-pixel displays"
because they are limited to displaying only one resolution.
If they receive an image signal that is either higher or lower
than the native resolution, they convert or scale the image
automatically to fit the native resolution.
If the incoming source has more pixels than the display's
native resolution, you will lose some visible detail and
sharpness. Very often you will need to carefully compare
the images side by side to see any difference. Only the most
exacting applications will suffer from this small constraint.
If the incoming source has fewer pixels than the native
resolution, there is no benefit from the higher resolution.
Extra pixels will not improve the appearance of a lowerresolution source.
Converting images from either a higher or lower resolution to the LCD's native resolution hardly affects the quality of graphic or video images, but it can make text appear
blurry. Early LCD displays had no ready solution for this
problem. All one could do was experiment with various
font styles and sizes until an acceptable compromise was
reached.
Microsoft didn't want to keep its customers waiting
while it found an answer, so it licensed TrueType fonts
from Apple. The advantage of TrueType fonts was that text
could be made larger or smaller with little distortion. Text
became easier to read, and Microsoft made some improvements to the technology; but TrueType proved to be an interim response.
While Microsoft was working on Windows XP, it was
also developing a new software technology designed to enhance text readability on flat-panel LCD monitors, laptops,
PDAs, Pocket PCs, indeed any device that used an LCD
screen, no matter how big or small.
Microsoft claims that its development people spent two
years studying typography and the psychology of reading to
create ClearType. Instead of affecting individual pixels that
are either treated as "on" or "off," ClearType works with a
different type of pixel that is constructed of three individual
pieces tinted with red, blue, and green stripes. The technol-
ogy varies the brightness of the sub-pixels, making the
screen characters appear smooth, clean, and sharp
around the edges.
Now that you know what it is, how can you use it?
You have three ways to turn on or "enable" ClearType
for your LCD display. Let's start with the easiest way.
Go to http://www.microsoft.com/typography/ cleartype/tuner/Step1.aspx. Follow the online directions to
enable ClearType on your system.
Another way is to download the PowerToy version
of the online tuner. This lets you do the same thing
that the above procedure does, but you do it by accessing the Control Panel and activating the ClearType
settings from there. Then you can go to
ttp://www.microsoft.com/typography/ ClearTypePowerToy.mspx. Follow the online directions to download,
install, and use. It's easy.
Finally, for the propeller heads and bit twiddlers in
the audience, you can access the Registry. To enable
ClearType for all users of your system: From the Start
button, select Run, and type Regedit in the Text box.
(As if you didn't know). Navigate to
HKEY_USERS/.DEFAULT/Control Panel/ Desktop.
Create or Modify the Data Type and Value Name as
detailed below.
Data Type: String Value
Value Name: FontSmoothing
Setting for Value Data: [Set Value to 2]
Data Type: Dword
Value Name: FontSmoothingType
Setting for Value Data: [Change Value to 2]
Exit Registry and Reboot.
Enabling ClearType only for the current user instead of all users is identical to the above procedure
except that instead of HKEY_USERS, work with
HKEY_CURRENT_USER.
When you're finished, check the Desktop and examine the icon titles. Open the Start menu, while
you're at it, and observe the readability of the text.
You may find the text too small to read even though it
is sharp and clear. If this is the case: Right click on the
Desktop. Choose Properties from the popup menu.
Click the Appearance tab. Click the Advanced button
and make changes there.
Decide which technique is best for you, and enjoy
text that is clear, crisp and sharp.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal
Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 14
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the support
provided by the following companies:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
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(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their
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$30 Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
$20 Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate
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$10 Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
memberships.
Make check payable to Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group.
Mail application/renewal to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group,
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your
dues payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application/Renewal form, e-mail:
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Revised 8-19-05
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For more information about the NVPCUG, visit our
Web site: http://www.nvpcug.org
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 15
Windows Tips
By Dave Gerber
Making Your Multimedia Editing Programs
Run Faster
Everything these days is digital -- digital
video cameras, digital still-shot cameras, digital
audio recorders, digital mixers, and so on. All
that digital equipment stores tons of information and can plug into your computer. Everyone
wants to store, edit, play, and share all that digital information. New software is appearing all
the time, promising the ability to slice and dice
multimedia information 12 ways to Sunday.
The problem with having all that digital information on your computer, of course, is that
the files created for digital multimedia are huge,
huge, huge! Many things can affect the size of
multimedia files, including quality, resolution,
and audio or video speed. CD-quality audio can
take 50KB of disk space per second. Video
throws the storage needs through the roof:
every second of video can require 6MB of file
space. That is huge!
Say that you shoot two hours of digital
video of your parents’ 50th anniversary. You
get everything -- the grand entrance, the arrival
of the siblings, the arrival of your aunts and
uncles, the arguments, the food fight. Hmmm...
Let’s see; that’s 7,200 seconds, or anywhere
from 36 to 44 GB of data. Ack! Just for a single
event!
As you can imagine, programs that allow
you to fold, spindle, mutilate, and otherwise
process such huge files can place quite the burden on your computer system. Top-notch programs push the envelope, trying to squeeze all
the performance out of your system that they
can.
The following points are the best two ways
to speed up those programs:
1. Make sure you have lots and lots and
lots of RAM in your computer. The more
memory you can install, the better. If your
motherboard can handle it, install 1GB or
more of RAM. Windows XP can handle the
added memory just fine, and the addition
helps with editing Mom and Dad’s anniversary party, so it doesn’t show when Uncle
Joe showed up with his walker and his surprise twenty-something bride.
2. Make sure you’re using the fastest
video card you can, along with a fast hard
drive designed for multimedia use. Yes,
they do make hard drives just for multimedia use. If you have one of these babies,
you won’t be sorry when it comes time to
doing gymnastics with gigabytes of data.
Stop Printing That Document
Sometimes you begin to print a document
and then change your mind. How do you stop a
print job? Because your program simply passes
off its printing jobs to Windows, there is no
obvious way to cancel printing. It can be done
if you’re crafty, however. Follow these steps:
Locate the printer icon located on the task
bar at the bottom-right of your screen. (Look
near the current-time display.) This printer icon
appears only when Windows is sending something to the printer. Depending on how much
you’re printing and how fast your printer is, you
may not even see it at all. If you don’t, you’re
out of luck and you may as well quit right now
and eat some ice cream.
Double-click the little printer icon. Click the
name of your document “job” in the Print Manager’s list. Choose Document-->Cancel Printing.
You may be asked whether you really want
to terminate the employee, er, print job. Click
OK. If you’re using a network printer, you may
not be able to cancel the document. Oh well.
Choose Printer-->Close. You are zapped back
to your program, ready for more editing action.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
Return to Newsletters
NVPCUG Computer News, April 2006, Page 16
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