COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The December 17

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue The December 17
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 25, No. 12
Dec 2008
Inside This Issue
The December 17th NVPCUG General
Meeting will be
Annual Holiday Potluck Party
for Members
NVPCUG Special Interest Groups
NVPCUG Calendar
President’s Message
Officers List
!Danger: Music Download!
Digital Imagery SIG Report
Chicago Computer Society
Makes History!
The New, The Best,
and The Worst
Laptop Battery Maintenance
TV Converter Box Notes
Roxio Creator 2009 Review
Media Show 4 by Cyberlink
Anti-Virus Virus
Almost everyone needs a little
help with Word 2007
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users
Group will meet Wednesday,
Dec 17 at 6:30 P.M.,
at the Peterson’s Family Tree Farm
(in the Christmas House),
1120 Darms Lane, Napa, California
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.
From January 2003 to October 2007
the NVPCUG provided 783 computers
and 140 printers to local schools.
Additional equipment has been given
to charitable nonprofit organizations
and to disadvantaged individuals.
The Computer Users Group will provide
nonalcoholic beverages, paper plates, cups,
plastic ware, & napkins. At this event we will
introduce the new officers and present the
member of the year award. This is a time to visit
with old friends and make new ones. We hope
to see you all there. The partyis always a lot
of fun and the food is great and plentiful.
Bring a potluck dish (plus BYOB)
(See inside for details)
Could you use some practical information that would help you
make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests
are always welcome. Admission is always free.
Interested in becoming a member? See page 14 for application
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008
President’s Message
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. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site,, or
contact the SIG leaders.
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]
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]
Napa Valley Mac User Group
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Ron Rogers
(707) 226-5352
By Ron Dack, president,,
[email protected]
December 2008
Well another year has passed and we are still here. This feat
was accomplished because of many people who have been
willing to give of themselves and do the things necessary to
keep a group like ours going. Many of these people serves on
the NVPCUG Board of Directors but several did not. I want
to just say thank you to each and every one of them. Here is
a list of all of them that my feeble mind can remember: Susy
Ball, Mike Ball, Jerry Brown, Mel Cohen, Jim Hearn, Jim
Gray, Dick Peterson, Dianne Prior, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff
Solomon, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner. I am not saying that
theses are the only people that served our group but they are the ones that I saw put
in the most effort towards continuing our group. I also want to thank their respective
families and significant others for giving them the time to help. Thank you all!
This year has been a year of making hard choices and the Board of Directors has
been there to do just that. We, like so many other organizations before us, have
found that the financial part of our group has just not kept up with the expenses of
the group. Because we are already charging our members the same dues that most
computer user groups our size charge we could not bring ourselves to raise the
dues to a level that would cover expenses. Because of this we will have to, as
almost every other computer group has already done, stop printing and mailing
our monthly newsletter. Effectively the January Computer News and all following
Computer News issues will be provided electronically only. So update your PDF
reader and if you are a current member you will be getting a link to the current
Computer News newsletter as soon as it is available each month. If you want a
printed copy you will need to fire up your printer, load some paper and print out
the downloaded PDF file.
This month’s meeting is the Annual Members Holiday Party and is for dues
paying members and their guests only. It is a potluck event and a BYOB party.
You must sign up by e-mailing Dianne Prior at [email protected] or you
can call her at 252-1506 and let her know how many are coming and what potluck
dish you are bringing. The 2009 Board of Directors and Officers will be
announced as well as the 2008 Member of the Year. It’s a great party and everyone
who attends has a wonderful time. We don’t meet at the Senior Center instead we
meet at Peterson’s Family Christmas Tree Farm. For additional details see our
website at
As always if you want to help or have any ideas how we can improve the group
feel free to e-mail me at [email protected] For now have a Merry
Christmas and a Happy New Year.
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Dec 17
Jan 7
Jan 12
Jan 14
Jan 15
Jan 21
Feb 4
Feb 9
Feb 11
Feb 12
Feb 18
7:00-9:00 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.
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.
NVPCUG General Meeting + D
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
Board of Directors meeting + B
Investors SIG meeting + C
Digital Photography SIG meeting + B
Napa Valley Mac User Group + A
NVPCUG General Meeting + A
NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 2
Take care,
Meeting Locations
A - Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
B - Piner’s Nursing Home,
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
C - Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
D - Peterson’s Family Christmas
Tree Farm, 1120 Darms
Lane, Napa.
Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group Contact Information
Officers for 2008
Board of Directors
Vice President
Other Directors:
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Dick Peterson
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman,
Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner.
Jim Gray
[email protected]
Appointed Officers
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Kathy Slavens
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
[email protected]
Ron Dack
Sales Coordinator
[email protected]
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 3
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
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
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
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2008
By Berry F. Phillips, a member of the Computer Club of Oklahoma City,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
in getting the project
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
the potential of
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
of San
The Computer Club of Oklahoma City recently celebrated
“Thanksgiving in August” at our monthly General Meeting Francisco. Five learning centers were opened with twenty
when we celebrated all the members past and present who seniors, and computers were furnished by Apple
have given of their time and talents in the evolution of our Computers. Today SeniorNet has won numerous national
computer club. As I was preparing for the General Meeting, awards and has 200 learning centers both nationally and
I thought how far we have come from our humble internationally with a membership of approximately
beginnings in a small house where a few people attended 20,000. SeniorNet is the leading technological educator of
to try to master DOS. Today, the Computer Club of older adults and has benefited millions of seniors since its
Oklahoma City enjoys a high tech facility complete with inception.
The birth of the personal computer was due to the
a computer lab and is partnered with Senior Net.
of the microprocessor, a single chip with all
The first computer club was the Homebrew Computer
formerly occupied large cabinets. The
Club which had its humble beginnings in a garage in the
were called microcomputers
Silicon Valley in California in March 1975. The club was
an informal group of electronic enthusiasts and technically- and were sold as electronic kits with programming done
minded hobbyists who gathered to trade parts, circuits, by toggle switches and output was provided by front panel
and information pertaining to computer devices. The club indicators such as neon bulbs. One remembers the Altair
evolved rapidly to a large auditorium. The 1999 made-for- which you couldn’t do much with but was of interests to
television movie “Pirates of the Silicon Valley” (and the hobbyists and technicians. Today due to the considerable
book on which it was based, “Fire in the Valley: The evolution of the personal computer in 2008, one billion
making of the Personal Computer,” describes the role of were sold worldwide and a projected two billion by 2014.
I am reminded of the Virginia Slim commercial, “You
the Homebrew Computer Club in creating the personal
come a long way, baby!” I wonder how often do we
computer. Engineers working on very expensive main
of the thousands of our fellow citizens who have
frame computers in those days dreamed of developing a
with the development as well as the teaching
personal computer that would be so affordable that almost
everyone could have one in their home. The rest of course of how to use these amazing technological devices that
have so transformed our lives and indeed become a
is technological history.
SeniorNet was founded in 1986 by Doctor Mary Furlong necessity and our very windows to the world? Perhaps, it
in San Francisco, California and was later moved to Santa is time to celebrate together a well deserved
Clara, California. Dr. Furlong believed that “Computhanksgiving.”
Happy Thanksgiving from the Computer Club of
telecommunications could enhance the lives of older adults.
Oklahoma City.
!Danger: Music Download!
By Mike Morris, Editor-in-Charge, Front Range PC Users Group, Colorado,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s of America) activities, with many references.
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other Lawsuits filed by the RIAA over the past five years
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
have resulted in severe financial hardship to
“On September 8, 2003, the individuals that were targets of RIAA legal action —
recording industry sued 261 and some of those defendants claimed that they were
American music fans for not aware that they had violated the law.
sharing songs....”
Legal consequences for anyone caught in a violation
That partial quote is from of copyright infringement laws have now increased.
an Electronic Frontier
On October 13th, 2008, a new law, the Prioritizing
Foundation article ( Resources and Organization for Intellectual
riaa-v-people-years-later) that provides
an in-depth description of RIAA (Recording Industry
!Danger: Music Download! cont. on page 5
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 4
Digital Imagery SIG Report
Chicago Computer Society
Makes History!
Digital Imagery SIG’s Meeting for June, 2008
By Irene Ganas ,Chicago Computer Society ,, [email protected]
History was made by the Chicago Computer Society, as its
Digital Imagery SIG, hosted by Sanford Kolinek, gave its
first Main Presentation at our local meeting by its presenter
from two thousand miles away.
As one of the largest member turnouts this year assembled
in their seats in Lisle, Sanford passed the popcorn for all
to enjoy and Jack Jackson, a long-time member of the
Chicago Computer Society who now lives in Utah,
presented his slide-show of gorgeous photographs of
Goblin Valley and Arches National Park with his live
narrative from his home in Utah. Assisting Jack at the
meeting were Alvin Reisbeck and Jerry Sass.
Here is how this unique program came about and was
done. Jack had mailed me a DVD of his photographs that I
took to the February Digital Imagery Meeting for Showand-Tell. We had a beautiful show but no tell and our
members discussed how nice it would have been had we
been able to learn more about how to make such wonderful
images by being able to ask Jack about his camera, the
settings he chose and why, what post-processing he did, etc.
That led to the idea of using Skype at our meeting. Jack
mailed several more DVDs to Alvin and Jerry. Jack
downloaded the latest Skype from
and then Sanford, Jerry and Jack worked out and practiced
the details ahead of time which made the evening’s
presentation run perfectly.
The DVD was run from Jerry’s notebook PC on site at
!Danger: Music Download! cont. from page 4
Property Act was signed that provides new federal
enforcement powers and higher penalties for
copyright infringement.
For details, see this CNET news story:
Briefly, (from the CNET story © — used with
permission from CBS Interactive, Inc., copyright 2008,
all rights reserved) “...the law consolidates federal
efforts to combat copyright infringement under a new
White House cabinet position, the intellectual property
enforcement coordinator, who will be appointed by
the president. ... The law also steepens penalties for
intellectual-property infringement, and increases
resources for the Department of Justice to coordinate
for federal and state efforts against counterfeiting and
the meeting. A small “eyeball” video camera connecting to
Jerry’s notebook allowed “Utah Jack” to see Jerry and
a video cam on Utah Jack’s computer allowed Jerry to
see Jack. When Jerry’s notebook was connected to the
projector and sound system at our meeting, all of us at the
meeting could see and hear Utah Jack.
Here’s the fun part: when the video cam “eyeball” was
turned around and passed around, Utah Jack was able to
see all the members at the meeting to “Howdy” us, each by
name because he could see each of us.
The video cam eyeball was then positioned to “look at”
the screen so that Utah Jack could look at the same show
that all of us at the meeting were seeing. It was this setup
that enabled Jack to present his live running commentary
on the slide show. During the show, people asked Jack
questions about everything from the technical aspects of
his photographs, the music he chose for the show,
commented on “his house” and laughed together about it
because it was a photograph of an historic log cabin at a
park in Utah.
This historic technical event and the hot popcorn
compliments of Sanford made the evening one of the
most enjoyable meetings of the year. We anticipate another
great meeting next month at Brookfield Zoo, the site of
this year’s Digital Imagery SIG’s Annual Summer Outdoor
Event. Hope all will join us. See you there.
piracy. The so-called Pro-IP Act passed unanimously
in the Senate last month and received strong bipartisan
support in the House.”
We often forget that under our legal system,
ignorance of the law is no defense. For those readers
with family members, friends and acquaintances
that are casual computer users, now may be the time
for a reminder that, however tempting, free music
downloads may result in serious legal problems.
And, for any member of those same groups that use
the internet as their primary source of music, that
reminder may be an absolute necessity.
To paraphrase a different warning, “free music
downloads may be injurious to your financial
h e a l t h . ” Yo u , y o u r f a m i l y, f r i e n d s a n d
acquaintances all need to be informed consumers
before downloading “free” music or sharing
music files.
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 5
The New, The Best, and The Worst
September 2008
By Pim Borman, Webmaster, SW Indiana PC Users Group,,
[email protected]
to do with it? I tried to
Could Cuil Cool Google?
retrieve the full article, but the link was dead and the cache
Let me digress.I suspect that most of my readers, like was empty. None of the other Google retrievals mentioned
myself, have reached that stage in life when our wisdom anything about activation time.
exceeds our wits. To make sense
I recently read about a new
of our surroundings we must keep
inc-Air batteries, as used in hearing search program, called Cuil
our glasses clean and a fresh
aids, are great performers in (pronounced “cool”), meaning
battery in our hearing aid.
comparison to other types of “wisdom” in Gaelic. Reportedly
Recently my son, Mike, and I
batteries. On an equal weight basis it improves on Google by scanning
were watching a DVD from his
they carry 4-5 times as much articles for organization of ideas,
vast collection (Batman Begins, charge as lead-acid, nickel-cadmium and instead of number of links. It was
in case you’re wondering). Mike nickel-hydride batteries, and 30% more mostly created by former Google
turns on the subtitles for me, so it than lithium ion batteries. They maintain a employees and can be accessed at
wasn’t until we took a break for constant power output over better than
some light refreshments that I 85% of the time to full discharge. Because
Early reviews of Cuil have been
noticed that my hearing aid of inexpensive ingredients: zinc, aqueous
so I thought this was a
battery had died. As I proceeded caustic, carbon and some plastic
to give it a try.
to insert a fresh battery, Mike membranes, encased in a metal container,
As a result of my query about
marveled at the tiny disk that they are inexpensive to manufacture. The
i n c a i r b a t t e r y, ” C u i l
successfully powers a small in- batteries are non-toxic and pose no danger
exactly 8 results,
ear hearing aid for several weeks. to the environment on disposal. They are
virtually identical
I told him that they are unlike not a fire hazard, like lithium batteries.
ones from a single vendor site,
watch batteries and that they are
They have two major shortcomings: a
air-powered to the best of my limited life time when air is admitted, and w w w . b a t t e r i e s p l u s .
c o m / . Not very helpful. So
recollection. Before the first use, they are not rechargeable.
much for Cuil, as it stands now.
they are activated by removing a
Zinc-Air batteries are fuel cells that
The same query on Yahoo
small foil tab to admit air. Mike
consume zinc. In comparison to the muchyielded 4,270,000 results, with
appeared to question my wisdom,
ballyhooed hydrogen fuel cells, zinc is
the first page mostly from hearing
if not my wits.
inexpensive, easily transported and
Just to be sure of the facts, back stored, non-hazardous, and the spent fuel, aid battery sellers that probably
home I fired up Google and zinc oxide, is easily regenerated paid to be listed first. The teasing
reference found earlier with
searched for “zinc air battery.” electrically from renewable sources.
was listed by Yahoo at the
That yielded 433,000 results,
L a r g e - s c a l e e x p e r i m e n t s h a v e bottom of the page, but it also
confirming that my recollection
demonstrated that the batteries can power ended in 5... (what?).
of the technology was correct.
city buses for a full day’s use, using
I went back to Google and
One of the results made me sit up
recyclable zinc-electrolyte cartridges for
the search to “zinc air
and take notice:
fuel. The US Army is a large-scale user of
battery activation.” That yielded
Zinc-Air batteries in battlefield operations.
the mysterious reference right on
Zinc Air Batteries.
They provide 4 to 6 times the run time of
With the removal of a sealing tab, conventional batteries, and are used with top, adding that the activation time
oxygen from the air is introduced portable equipment, in locations where was 5 seconds.
Well, it takes longer than 5
into the cell. A zinc-air battery reliable electrical power is not available.
seconds to insert the battery and
usually reaches full operating
check the hearing aid by holding it in the closed fist and
voltage within 5 ...
I often have trouble getting a new battery to work right listening for its feedback squeal.
With a magnifying glass I detected 3 tiny air holes under
away and have been scratching the electrodes with a pen
knife to assure good electrical contact. The incomplete the tab in the positive top of the battery. Certainly, it would
reference snippet teasingly suggested that the battery take some time for sufficient air to diffuse through those
simply needed 5 somethings (minutes maybe?) to activate. little holes to activate the battery. I ran a quick experiment,
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 6
checking how fast the voltage builds up in the hearing aid
battery after removing the seal tab, and found that it took
about 1 1/2 minutes. With the battery under load in a
hearing aid it may well take a little longer than that.
Next time my hearing aid needs a new battery I may only
need to wait a few minutes for it to get up to speed.
Meanwhile I’ll stick with Google for my searches until
Cuil has added more wits to its wisdom.
Desktop Publishing With Scribus
Now that the format of this newsletter
is no longer restrained to eight
Xeroxed pages for mailing, I will add
some color and variety to the layout.
That requires switching from the
OpenOffice Writer word processor I
have been using to a desktop
publishing program, preferably
inexpensive and easy to use.
I considered my old copy of MS PictureIt! Publisher, but
that uses a proprietary file format not easily converted to pdf.
I found an offer of a free desktop publishing program
online, PagesPlus, list price $129 99, with a special download
offer for only $10. Inexpensive enough to be worth a try.
I paid my dues, downloaded and installed the program.
The interface was not very intuitive, so I started with
chapter 1 of the tutorial. That pointed me in the right
direction and I eagerly went on to chapter 2. Surprise! The
rest of the tutorial required downloading or ordering a CD
at a cost of $99 99! I quickly lost interest.
I am much in support of OpenSource (free) programs,
many of which are quite sophisticated, such as OpenOffice
Writer and The Gimp. At one time I had looked at Scribus,
an Open Source, full-featured desktop publishing program,
available in versions for Linux, the MAC and Windows. At
the time I was scared away by its extensive set of icons and
cascading menus since I could not find a helpful manual.
I decided to give Scribus another try and went looking
for online help. Happily I found an excellent tutorial at
Get_Started_with_Scribus. I am still learning as I am
writing this, but if the newsletter looks different when you
read this you’ll know that I learned at least the basics of
Scribus and desktop publishing. As usual, it all seems so
simple when you follow the tutorial, but when you are on
your own the feared unintended consequences rear up.
Fortunately there is a lot of helpful information to fall back
on in the aforementioned reference, so I’m getting there.
Of course, the desktop publishing program is only a tool,
and it will require new skills to design attractive layouts.
Suggestions are more than welcome!
© 2008 Willem F.H. Borman. This article may be reproduced in its
entirety only, including this statement, by non-profit organizations
in their member publications, with mention of the author’s name
and the Southwestern Indiana PC Users Group, Inc.
Apple Bytes
Laptop Battery
By Norm Kronenberg, Macintosh
Director, Hilton Head Island Computer
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all
other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail
address above).
Standard Maintenance
For proper maintenance of
a lithium-based battery, it’s
important to keep the
electrons in it moving
occasionally. Apple does
not recommend leaving
your portable plugged in
all the time. An ideal use
would be a commuter who
uses her MacBook Pro on the train, then plugs it in at
the office to charge. This keeps the battery juices
flowing. If on the other hand, you use a desktop
computer at work, and save a notebook for infrequent
travel, Apple recommends charging and discharging
its battery at least once per
month. Need a reminder?
Add an event to your
desktop’s iCal
Calibrate battery
PowerBook G4 (15-inch Double-Layer SD),
MacBook (all models), MacBook Pro (all models),
and MacBook Pro (17-inch) (all models).
The battery calibration for the PowerBook G4 (15inch Double-Layer SD) and any model of MacBook
or MacBook Pro has been updated because of a new
battery released with this
computer. With these
computers, follow these
steps to calibrate your battery:
1. Plug in the power adapter
and fully charge your PowerBook’s
battery until the light ring or LED on
the power adapter plug changes to
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 7
LaptopBattery cont. on page 9
TV Converter Box Notes
By Mike Morris, a member of the Front Range PC Users Group, Colorado,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Regarding video (and
audio) hardware, I have
to admit to being an Old
Analog Guy (the
acronym = OAG and is
pronounced “ogre”). I
have 2 old analog TV’s.
I don’t intend to buy a
new HDTV until they
both quit working. I
don’t intend to sign up
for satellite or cable TV.
I don’t, actually, watch
very much TV (or
movies), and I am not
interested in computer games. For the “Digital TV Transition”
coming in February 2009, a TV converter box is the solution
for me; especially now that I have my two $40 coupons.
The question is, which converter to buy?
There are 52 DTV converter box models from 33
manufacturers listed on the
enclosure that came with my
converter box coupons (and many
more listed on the website
provided at the end of this article).
Not all converters are equal. It is still “Buyer Beware,” so you
need to decide what features and specs you want (and/or don’t
want), and then check the specs
of each unit carefully.
Perhaps there are a few others
like me, who are considering buying a converter box. For my
fellow OAG’s (male or female), I have collected links to
information on 6 of the converters that I will share with you.
Do check prices, with reputable online sellers and with
your local big box or electronics store (local or national).
Prices vary widely. I have picked some
prices in order to provide an
approximation of the “MSRP
(Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail
Channel Master CM-7000
A recent price: $7999 (less $40 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search: 3860 hits
A few of those pages were investigated. One with
information and specifications is Channel Master 1.
Channel Master is part of Andrew Corporation (known
for its antennas, among other things), which is now part of
CommScope. The CommScope HQ are in North Carolina.
For more information on these companies and their
products, connect to CommScope.
Check out the discussion of this unit on
AV Science Forum:
This is part of a message posted in March of 2008:
• “The specifications on page 2 of the information sheet:
• Demodulator input for 1080i, 720p, 480i, and 480.
• Video output is 480i ONLY.
• 480i is Standard Definition DTV only. The CM7000’s claim to “Get Free HDTV
• Without Monthly Fees” is inaccurate.”
Echostar TR-40
A recent price: Unofficially, $40, which means, effectively,
free with the coupon.
Exact phrase Google search: 10,100 hits
Lots of information on this unit on the AfterDawn
website. This website also provides comparisons to other
similar units.
Digital Stream D2A1D110/20
A recent price: $6999 (less $40 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search: 2 hits, plus 2 ads. None of
the links from the Google search provided information on
the model number listed above.
There are four other Digital Stream model numbers
listed in coupon enclosure, one of which is described at
GE 22729
A recent price: $7999 (less $4000 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search: 39,200 hits
For (limited) specs connect to this After Dawn web
Insignia NS-DXA1
A recent price: $5999 (less $4000 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search: 44,700 hits
Check out the information on the World-Wide TV-FM
DX Association website.
There is also a detailed CNET review.
From the spec sheet: “(This unit) ... displays digital TV
at standard-definition (480i) screen resolution.”
Magnavox TB-100MG9
A recent price: $7999 (less $4000 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search: 999 hits
You will find some information on this unit at Solid
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 8 There is also a discussion of this product on
the AV Science Forum.
LaptopBattery cont. from page 7
A recent price: $49 (?) (less
$4000 coupon)
Exact phrase Google search:
412 hits
There are two versions of this product:
the 800Aand the 800B.The difference is the tuner manufacturer.
For more information on this, connect to the AV Science Forum
and scroll down to posting #39.
Remember this acronym,
courtesy of the late Robert Heinlein
(Science Fiction author): TANSTAAFL.
That translates to “There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free
Lunch.” If you have decided to stay with your old analog TV,
and you do not plan to sign up for satellite or cable TV, then you
must do your homework in order to find the right product
before spending your hard-earned
money on a converter box.
Remember also that the word
“converter” has real meaning in
this context. The converter box
is converting an HDTV signal
into something an old analog
TV can display. That “something an old analog TV can
display” is definitely NOT HDTV (no matter WHAT the
advertisements say).
You will likely find one other obvious difference between
using your old analog TV to receive analog broadcasts,
and using your old analog TV with a converter box. If you
tuned (or tried to tune) to a distant station with your old
analog TV, you would get a terrible picture (lots of noise,
etc.). With the converter box, you simply won’t know a
weak station is even there. You need a strong signal—the
converter boxes have a “threshold” effect. With a strong
signal, everything looks good. With a weak signal, you get
a black screen. So, when you are setting up your converter
box and TV, you may want to move your antenna (or
Rabbit Ears) around to get the maximum strength signal
For more information on digital TV, connect to this
Wikipedia article.
For more information on the TV Converter Box Coupon
Program, connect to:
For an up-to-date list
of qualifying products,
connect to: https://
green and the onscreen
meter in the menu bar
indicates that the battery is
fully charged.
Allow the battery to
rest in the fully
charged state for at least two hours.
You may use your computer during
this time as long as the adapter is
plugged in.
Disconnect the power adapter with
the computer still on and start running
the computer off battery power. You
may use your computer during this
time. When your battery gets low,
you will see the low battery warning
dialog on the screen.
Continue to keep your computer on
until it goes to
sleep. Save all your
work and close all
applications when
the battery gets very
low, before the computer
goes to sleep.
Turn off the computer or allow it to
sleep for five hours or more.
Connect the power adapter and
leave it connected until the battery
is fully charged again.
New iPod Touch
A Computer in Your Pocket
The iPhone 3G has gotten all of the attention, but the
new iPod Touch is a powerful
touchscreen computer, with
Wi-Fi access to the Internet,
but without the cell phone
feature or GPS. It is available
in 8-, 16- or 32 MB
capacities. Connect to the
Internet wherever there’s a
wireless network. Surf the web and send email from
any Wi-Fi hotspot. Get directions, check the weather,
follow stocks, watch YouTube, and more.
The 3.5-inch touchscreen display is perfect
for surfing the Web, watching movies and
playing games.
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 9
Roxio Creator 2009 Review
By Susy Ball, member of the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group,,
[email protected]
• Internet connection required for registration, product
I reviewed this
updates, and some features. Any Internet charges are
product on a 1.60
the user’s responsibility.
GHz Toshiba laptop
with 2 Gig of DDR2
RAM and a 160 GB Recommended
drive. For those of
Intel or AMD dual-core processor
you who did not see
the presentation at
DVD recordable drive
Hard drive with at least 10 GB free space
NVPCUG general meeting and for those who would like
to see more about the program, here is a written review.
Optional device support:
The program does
not require all that
• DVD recordable drive
space to operate. In
• iPod
fact the Add or
• iPhone
Remove program
• Windows Media Portable Device
list shows that it
takes less than 1.5
• 3GP Mobile Phone
GB. For a program
that can handle most
• TiVo® requires a TiVo® Series2™, Series3™, TiVo®
of your media needs
HD DVR or other TiVoToGo compatible DVR
from ripping and
connected to your home network, and TiVo Desktop.
burning CDs and DVDs, handling audiobooks, editing
Does not work with DirecTV-provided TiVo DVRs.
music, video and photos, handling batch conversion and
See for more information.
transfer to assembling panoramas and also for sharing
• For video playback: AMD graphics processor with
media productions, whether it be on CD, DVD. Or the
Aviv support or nVidia graphics processor with
Internet, that is definitely not much space. Below are the
PureVideo support
minimum requirements for the program along with the
• For video capture: OHCI compliant IEEE 1394
recommended hardware and the optional device support
FireWire card (for use with DV camera) or analog
video capture device
Minimum System Requirements
In addition to making normal CDs and DVDs this program
Roxio Creator 2009 Suite
can handle HD and blu-ray needs for when the DVD player
• Microsoft® is upgraded or if I should decide to burn a disk in blu-ray for
Windows Vista someone who does have blu-ray capability.
Home Basic,
Users will especially like the programs step-by- step
Windows XP approach to all the tasks it will do. All one has to do is follow
SP2 or SP3 (32 the directions and then click NEXT and the program walks
or 64 bit) with you through the process will still allowing for personalization
1 GHz processor of the step. Just by following the directions, I was able to
and 512 MB create a 4 picture panorama in a matter of minutes and I liked
the results better than the program I have on my computer
• 1024x768 DirectX 9 compatible graphics card with that is dedicated to making panoramas.
at least 16 bit color setting; 24-bit or 32-bit true color
• Windows compatible sound card
• DVD-ROM drive
• Hard drive with at least 3 GB free space
• Windows Media Player 10
• Internet Explorer 7
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 10
Another nice feature is the ability to edit your music
information. By spending a little time and filling in the
blanks my music that is labeled “TRACK …”
From LP to Computer MP3 file
In a manner of a short
time, this program
will even allow
you to digitalize
(computerize) your
LP collection. Boy,
putting all my music
onto computer will
save a lot of room.
When copying you
LPs you should save in WAV format because WAV is better
for editing because it contains more information, but
remember that a WAV file will take up about 10 times more
space than a MP3. In the interest of saving time, I had
someone else put the LPs on CD, so I just had to import
tracks from the CD. Each side of an album was saved as one
track, so I had to each track into the five or six songs that was
recorded as one. The program not only allowed me to clip
the individual songs, but it also allowed me to add all the
information you would normally find one a tagged CD like
title, artist and even the year it was recorded. Then I just
saved the resulting clip as an MP3. When all the songs had
been separated from a track, I simply deleted the track from
the computer.
In addition to
ripping music, one can
even make playlists
and with the aid of the
beat matching feature,
the rhythm will
automatically be
synchronized from
song to song.
cropping, red eye correction, scratch removal and you can
even add a number of special effects. So weather you want
to add special effects to your photos or you simply want to
enhance your existing pictures.
From the Roxio site ( Video Capture
USB is available for $4999. This little device will VCR tapes,
Hi8 and V8 tapes to a digital format that can be preserved
much longer and transferred to digital media such as DVDs
As I mentioned earlier this program is capable of outputting to
high definition and blu-ray disks. However it is necessary to get
the High-Def/Blu-ray Disc Plug-In that is available for $2999
If there are any questions about step-by-step process or one
has any questions that cannot be find enough help in the
HELP section that comes with this robust program, Online
HELP both as PDF files and video are available if one has
an internet connection. Don’t forget that there might also be
help in a GOOGLE search for your particular question.
Video to finished Production
With the video editor, I was able to edit and even combine
movie files, then add music, narration and still photos; all
held together with any one of a number of transitions
provided with the program. I could create and overlay text,
add music either that provided with the program or from my
own music collection. After everything was to my liking I
was able to export the production to CD or DVD depending
on the size of the video and the quality I wanted it saved as.
Or I could have decided to export my production with
YouTube without even leaving Roxio Creator 2009.
You can buy the program from and
many other sources. The cost of the program through Roxio
is a mere $9999. Shopping around, I found the program for
as low as $7999.
Most of us do not like to do complicated and time consuming
edit to our photos. Roxio Creator 2009 contains a new
version of PhotoSuite that will perform many edits from
What I liked most about this program was that is a one-stop
shop for all your media needs, so that you do not have to
have who knows how many media programs on your
The main problem I had was figuring out where I wanted
to begin. With a minimum amount of reading, I was able to
use the program to generate almost any media creation I
could imagine. I have a two suggestions, have fun with the
program and do not misplace your original disk.
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 11
Media Show 4 by Cyberlink
A review by Terry Oden, President, Macon Computer User Group, Georgia,,
[email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
There may be hundreds
of ways to gather, store,
view, edit and show off
your pictures and videos.
This is one of the best
and easiest I have found
s o f a r. Yo u r o w n
operating system will do
a fairly good job of
getting your pictures and videos into your computer for you.
On the net you also have programs that are free like Picassa,
Flickr and You Tube which all do a very good job of storing
and displaying your own work to family and friends.
One of the things that I
liked best about Media
Show was ease of
operation. There are only
5 buttons to control the
whole program. Below
you’ll find a screen shot
of the second screen
you’ll see select the
Pictures button.
Starting with the # 1 button, or the Home button here you
can see all of your different folders and how many pictures
or videos you have in each folder.
For the # 2 button you have Create. Here you can do things
like make your own Screen Saver, compose a movie or DVD.
You can print your own pictures or order prints on line.
Next you have the # 3
button or the Share button.
Here you can share your
pictures with friends and
family or up-load them to
Flickr. Also, you could
upload them to U-tube with
a single click of your mouse,
if desired.
The next button # 4 is the View button, here you can
adjust the size of your thumbnails or add any captions to
your pictures. You can also change the color of the skin of
the program (appearance).
The last button or # 5 is the Folder Tools button. Here you
edit, sort, locate, delete or hide some pictures if you like.
This Media Show 4 is one of the top programs when it
comes to ease of operation, not to mention what the
finished product will look like. To create a movie or
slideshow with sound and motion, fading or
cell you only have to make about three
clicks of the mouse. First you have to decide
if you want background music or not, next
select what format you want to use, and
where to save your work in your computer.
Yes, you do have to tell it what pictures or
videos to use! At last, all you do is click the
Burn button and that’s it. Zap you’re done!
Yes, you do have to tell it what pictures or videos to use!At last,
all you do is click the Burn button and that’s it. Zap you’re done!
To create a DVD it’s very
easy. First decide a name for
your DVD. Then pick out a
menu style for your DVD. Now
comes the hard part. You must
decide which videos you want
to use and if you want any still
pictures in it or not. Yes, once again you have to tell the
program which videos or pictures you want to use.
Next. click on the preview button to see what your work
looks like. If you like it, click on the burn button and
you’re done.
System Requirements
Operating System- Windows Vista / XP (with Direct X
9 or above)
2. Screen Resolution- 800 x 600
3. Printers- All
4. CPU- Intel Pentium D 3.0 GHz, AMD Athlon 64
3500+ or above
5. Sound Card- PCI sound card or on-board audio
6. M e m o r y - 5 1 2 M B R A M m i n i m u m ,
1GB recommended
7. Hard Disk Space- 1 GB required, 20 GB recommended
for DVD production
8. Graphics Card- Intel 945GM or above-64 MBVRAM
or above
9. Optical Drive- A DVD burner (DVD+R/RW or DVDR/RW) is required to burn content onto DVD’s
10. Import Devices- Cameras via removable
disk interface-Cameras support Windows
Portable devices interface-Camcorder DV
devices via IEEE 1394 (Firewire)
11. Internet Connection- An Internet
connection is required for some upload/
download features.
As for the overall way the program works,
I’ve not found a program this large at this
cost that operates so easily and simply. I
have found no shortcomings with this
program yet. This is the best program for the
money that can be found, under $50 00. „
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 12
Anti-Virus Virus
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
I hate writing about computer viruses. It always reminds me
of how many unscrupulous, money-hungry people there are
in the world. Yet, there are times when I feel that I must write
about a certain virus because it is causing so much havoc for
everyday computer users. Unfortunately, that time has
come again. In the past two weeks, my company has
removed a very bad group of viruses from six different
computers. So I feel it is time to send out a warning.
There are many different variations of this virus and its
cousins. They have many different names, including
Antivirus 2008, Antivirus 2009, SpywareScanner 2008,
and AntiVirXP08. Some experts are calling them viruses.
Some are calling them malware. Symantec calls them
misleading applications. McAfee lists them as a PUPs
(potentially unwanted programs). Whatever you call them,
they are terribly invasive.
By most accounts, these awful applications piggy-back
on programs that are downloaded from the Internet.
However, some experts are warning that your computer
may become infected by simply visiting certain websites,
especially if your operating system and/or antivirus
software is not up-to-date.
The gist of the matter is that once your computer is
infected, you will begin to see pop-up windows that give
an exaggerated report of the number of threats that your
computer is infected with. The window may say something
like “Your computer has become infected with 231
computer viruses and spyware.” These pop-ups try to
scare you into purchasing their antivirus or antispyware
software. If you purchase it, they send you a registry key,
but it doesn’t work because the program they sell you
doesn’t exist. These viruses are also being spread by
malicious websites that sell fake antispyware software.
On top of that, there are many other viruses or pieces of
malware that can piggyback on the main virus. So this
malware can dramatically slow down or even stop your
computer. The infections being caused by these viruses
and malware programs are extremely harmful and can be
very difficult to remove. They often require a cleanup by
a professional or a complete reformatting of the hard drive
and reinstallation of the software.
As an everyday computer user, you need to be very
careful about the software that you download from the
Internet. Make sure that it is from a source that you
know to be reputable or a website that has been
recommended by a trustworthy source. You can also
use a program like the McAfee Site Advisor to help you
assess the validity of the website before you download
the program. McAfee’s Site Advisor is a small program
that is used by your Internet browser to indicate the
safety of websites. It is a free download available at and it is a
valuable tool.
Also, as usual, be sure that you update your operating
system and antivirus software regularly. Don’t fall for
any program that pops up on your computer trying to
scare you into purchasing antivirus or antispyware
Yes, the bad guys are out there and they have a lot of
computer savvy. So we all need to be smart about the
software we download and the websites we visit.„
What’ss Behind The Batter
Batteryy Cover?
A digital camera’s power comes from either a proprietary
rechargeable battery or one or two pairs of AAs. There
are advantages and disadvantages to each setup:
With the proprietary option, the battery and its
charger are included with the camera and should last
for years. On the downside, after the battery is depleted,
the camera is out of commission until the battery
recharges, unless you’ve bought a spare, which could
run several dozen dollars.
With cameras that take AAs, you can buy batteries
anywhere and always have inexpensive spares on
hand. But for economy and convenience, you’ll need
to supply your own rechargeable batteries.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 13
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NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 14
Almost everyone needs a little help with
Word 2007
By Linda Gonse, Editor and Webmaster, Orange County IBM PC Users’ Group, California,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
Bear with me while I quote John Dvorak from his August
2008 PC Magazine column, then I will tell you what my
point is.
Regarding Vista, he said: “Vista isn’t completely unusable;
It’s simply hard to use. Menus have
been reorganized for no apparent
reason, features of XP appear to be
missing or need to be turned on from
some remote directory, and basic
functions are now obfuscated.
“In a nutshell, Vista manages to be
more complicated than XP, performs
more poorly than XP, and is more
expensive than XP.”
Now, substitute Word 2007 for Vista
and Word 2003 for XP and my point is
made. Compared with Word 2003,
Word 2007 is an involuntary learning
experience for anyone already proficient in Word and
productive with one or more of the features. To name a
couple I use often, are: Mail Merge, tables, labels, and fields.
But, first users have to discover where basics like Help, Save
As, Print and Close are.
To say Word 2007 has a steep learning curve may not scare
everyone. But, to say it has a
steep learning curve for
experienced Word users should
scare everyone, as well as be a
cause for serious concern.
Unfortunately, I didn’t fully
understand how an Office 2007
upgrade for Office 2003
functioned. If you haven’t
taken the step, yet, let me
caution you. The upgrade
wipes out Office 2003 and you cannot downgrade. I believe
this step was automatically taken by the installation. Perhaps
with a full version, you would be given a choice to install the
newer version into another directory, leaving the older
version intact.
The first thing you notice when you open Word 2007 is the
highly touted “ribbon.” Nine tabs take the place of menu
items across the top of the window. The tabs do not have the
same names as the old menu items. In fact, a couple of the
tab categories—Home, References and Add-Ins—are
enigmatic. And as they say on “Dancing With The Stars,”
the tabs “are in no particular order.”
Clicking on a tab opens a segmented
toolbar of options across the top of the
window that relate to that tab’s
category. Although you may want to
add to or rearrange the commands on
the Ribbon or change or remove a
command or group on the Ribbon —
as you might have done with the menu
and toolbar of earlier Word versions
— you cannot.
And, you can forget about being
able to revert to Word’s old style
toolbars and menus. But, Microsoft
helpfully advises that if you are fluent in XML programming
code, you can add tabs to the Ribbon.
In Photoshop, the ribbon concept is intuitive and natural,
and actually speeds up productivity. In Word, it can be
chaotic and time-wasting.
Now, that you have this background in mind, you will
better understand the images and steps that follow which is
a short tutorial for simplifying Word 2007. My suggestion
for anyone using the new Word version is to first set it up to
make the features you need easy to locate.
With that in mind, I’ll show you how to create a custom
toolbar for the tasks that you
need to perform most often. It
will help to take the
aggravation and time-wasting
practice of hunting around and
calling on Help to figure out
where things are and how to
use them.
Incidently, speaking of Help,
here’s a tip. When you need to
turn to Help, don’t look for a tab
NVPCUG Computer News, Dec 2008, Page 15
or menu item. Just as in the old days of DOS,
you must press the F1 key to make it appear!
In the upper left corner of the Word
window is a round Windows logo, called
the Microsoft Office Button. It will remind
you of the Start button in Windows. Click
on this button, it is a kind of command
center temporarily until you get Word
customized the way you want it. Or, it’s
possible, you may prefer to use it, rather
than the Quick Access Toolbar. (Nah.)
The Quick Access Toolbar is just to the
right of the Microsoft Office Button. It can
be likened to the Quick Launch Toolbar in
Windows. (Do you see a pattern here?)
When you first open Word, the Quick
Access Toolbar is empty. Click on the
down arrow a slight distance away from
the Microsoft Office Button. A dropdown
list appears, similar to the ones you saw at
the end of toolbars in Word 2003. It contains many of the
general commands that you might use frequently.
Click on the commands that you want to be on the Quick
Launch, er … Quick Access
Toolbar. The icons will be added to the bar and available
to you with one click.
It’s almost too easy isn’t it? Well,
keep in mind that with this Word
version, whatever effort you save in
one area, you are going to earn by
working harder somewhere else.
You may want to fill in the basic
commands on the Quick Access
Toolbar with different commands
not on the dropdown list. In that
case, right click on the down arrow
for the dropdown menu and go to
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P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
Address Services Requested
More Commands… at the bottom.
There are five categories, so click
through them to see what they offer.
You’ll be surprised. In each category,
there are dozens of commands for just
about any task and circumstance.
When you find a command you want to
use, click to select it in the left window (see
screenshot below) and click on the Add
button with the arrows to move it to the
right window.
Alternatively, you can click on the
Microsoft Office Button. At the bottom of
the dialog box click on Word Options.
Then, in the list that appears on the left,
click on Customize.
A familiar box with a double window
will open. It is the same box that you can
open from the down arrow next to the
Quick Access Toolbar.
My Quick Access Toolbar has several preset command
buttons and one macro that I recorded (to add the pathname
to the bottom of documents). Without intentionally doing
so, I nearly recreated the Standard Toolbar offered in earlier
versions of Word.
The commands that I found useful
to add were Open, Blank Page, Save,
Undo, Redo, Page Setup, Print
Preview, Print, Show/Hide,
PathName (the macro), and Close.
Although a couple of the
commands are available by
clicking on the Microsoft Office
Button, it is still faster and less
distracting to have them at the top
of the window and only one click
away, rather two or more.
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