Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group http://www. nvpcug.org P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558 COMPUTER NEWS Volume 25, No. 3 March 2008 Inside This Issue 2 2 2 3 4 6 7 8 9 9 10 11 13 15 At the March Meeting, Daryl Michael of Verizon Returns by Popular Demand NVPCUG SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS NVPCUG CALENDAR PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE OFFICERS LIST ALL COMPUTERS WAIT AT THE SAME SPEED SOFTWARE REVIEW: PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM OBITUARY COLUMN LOOK MA NO HANDS E-MAIL RESPONSIBILITIES IT’S NOT JUST ENTERTAINMENT ANY MORE IRS AGAIN OFFERS FREE ONLINE TAX PREPARATION AND “E-FILING” REVIEW: YEAR 2007 TAX SOFTWARE BENEFITS OF USING A COMPUTER SANDBOX LET’S CLEAN “START-UP” The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, March 19 , 7:00-9:00 P.M., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California The meeting begins with Random Access, an open-floor question-andanswer period during which attendees can ask questions about computers and computer-related problems and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees. Questions may be submitted before the meeting by emailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at [email protected] This month during the Computer Tutor session which will follow, Jeff’s topic will be: Using the Internet to watch full episodes of TV Shows. Any additional questions or comments should be sent to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon at [email protected] 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 752 computers and 139 printers to local schools. Additional equipment has been given to charitable nonprofit organizations and to disadvantaged individuals. Daryl Michael, Napa Asstistant Manager of Sales for Verizon Wireless Communications will return to the Napa Valley Personnal Computer Users Group for, a third time and give the main presentation. He will be accompanied by Monica Nubla, one of his sales representatives. He will not cover what he has covered in previous discussions. Please bring your questions and commments about Verizon Services to the March 19 meeting. Possible New Membership Directory Please update your street address, phone number and preferred e-mail addresses with membership at [email protected] Also include your spouses’ name. ONLY member names, phone numbers and e-mails will appear in the directory and a printed copy of the list will be distributed to current members. It is only for the limited use by NVPCUG members doing NVPCUG business. 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 information. NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008 NVPCUG Special Interest Groups 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, www.nvpcug.org, 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] Macintosh SIG Meets: Monthly, second Thursday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Napa Senior Activity Center 1500 Jefferson St., Napa Leader: Ron Rogers (707) 226-5352 ronrogersnapamug @gmail.com By Ron Dack, president, http://www.nvpcug.org/, [email protected] Goodness how time flies by. Here it is March already and I’m still waiting for winter to get here. OK, so we had a little rain and a few cold days that a winter does not make. We are working hard to connect with some interesting presenters and will be trying to include more Apple related content. I attended the Mac SIG in February and met several people that would be valuable assets to our group. Remember we are the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group and we don’t just represent PC users. If you have any ideas for presentations let Susy Ball know what they are. You can e-mail her at [email protected] To resolve our budget problems and necessary expenses I have been considering a fee for non-members to attend our meetings. For the General meeting it would be $250 and that would entitle the non-member to one raffle ticket for the drawing at the end of the meeting. Each member would be given a ticket for free. If the non-member joined the group at that meeting the fee would be credited to their dues. The time to replace our projector will soon be upon us. We still have too many members wanting a printed copy of the Computer News. In days gone by we would have had a used computer sale to make up the difference but we don’t have that option now so other cuts or sources of income will have to be found by the Board of Directors. That is unless one or more of you have ideas how to and are willing to take on the responsibility of raising money for the group? If you have ideas and want to volunteer contact me at [email protected] I am certainly not looking forward to a year of dealing with budget and expense issues. At the February meeting I mentioned that I don’t do a full system virus scan very often. Upon checking my McAfee settings on my computer I find that a full virus scan is done once a week so I stand corrected. I don’t spend much time on strange websites and I know the NVPCUG site is virus free so I don’t worry much about it. All my e-mails and incoming files are virus scanned by Postini, Norton, and McAfee before they get to my machine so if they miss a virus I guess I will have to deal with it. See you at the meeting on March 19th 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 Take care, Ron NVPCUG Calendar Mar 19 Apr 2 Apr 9 Apr 10 Apr 14 Apr 19 May 7 May 8 May 12 May 14 May 21 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-8:30 p.m. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 7:00-8:30 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 2 Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Contact Information Officers for 2008 Board of Directors President Vice President Secretary Treasurer Other Directors: Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Dick Peterson 738-1812 [email protected] Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Roy Wagner 253-2721 [email protected] Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner. Jim Gray 255-6789 [email protected] Appointed Officers Computer Tutor Coordinator Jeff Solomon 553-2114 [email protected] Facility Arrangements Coordinator Dianne Prior 252-1506 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Kathy Slavens 251-9193 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Librarian Dean Unruh 226-9164 [email protected] Membership Director Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Newsletter Circulator Jim Hearn 224-2540 [email protected] Newsletter Editor Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Programs Director Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Publicity Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Random Access Moderator Jerry Brown 254-9607 [email protected] Special Projects Director VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] Webmaster Ron Dack unlisted Sales Coordinator VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] [email protected] • All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707. NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 3 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: Susy Ball, [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 680069663) 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 © 2007 by NVPCUG. All Computers Wait at the Same Speed By Vinny La Bash, Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida, Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups I first heard that phrase about ten years ago at a geek conference in Seattle. A decade ago is earlier than the Stone Age in computer years. It was probably meant to make fun of the propeller heads that couldn’t live without the fasted CPU on their motherboard. The geeks’ concern with processing speed seemed ridiculous to those who understood that computers spend very little of their time processing information. They spend it waiting for us to tell them to do something. You would certainly find your life very boring if you had to spend 99% of your time waiting for other people to act before you could do anything. What are we talking about? We’re talking about keeping your system properly tuned so that you don’t have to wait while it tries to do its job. It’s no secret that Vista has had performance problems. Microsoft has promised that their upcoming service pack should resolve most if not all performance issues. We’ve heard similar kinds of promises from Redmond before, but this time they say they really mean it. In fairness, not every performance issue can be laid at Microsoft’s doorstep, but it’s always fun to blame them because they’re such an easy target. Vista puts great demands on your CPU due to Aero and other assorted graphical gizmos built into the product. They should have named it the Eye Candy OS. Responding to the user community, Microsoft also added security features and additional functions that were not present in XP. When you ask your CPU to do more, you’re adding overhead. This means you need more CPU power or you live with a slower system. If Vista performance has been less than stellar, the good news is that you can do something about it other than buying a new computer. Here are some of the things you can do to make Vista more appealing from a performance standpoint. You’re probably tired of hearing this one. It’s like mother telling you to eat your vegetables. You know she’s right, but you don’t want to hear it. ADD MORE MEMORY. Vista is hungrier for RAM than any of its predecessors, and with memory as cheap as it is, it doesn’t make sense to keep it on a starvation diet. XP runs great on one gigabyte of RAM. Vista should have two gigabytes as a minimum, and you won’t go wrong by installing even four gigabytes. Even with enough physical memory, Vista can still act like a tired old dog if you have a lightweight video card. Go into the Performance Information and Tools utility in Control Panel, and check out your video card with the Windows Experience Index. You need a video card that’s certified for Vista Premium and supports Direct X 10. Use the money you save on RAM to buy a good video card. Don’t try to do this one on the cheap. A real help to good performance is bringing your power settings to the High Performance option. Do this from the Power Options utility in Control Panel. The default setting is Balanced which is OK for XP but not Vista. The High Performance The PCI Express slot on the motherboard is setting gives used specifically for video cards. If you you full access want to future-proof your graphics needs,purchase a motherboard t o a l l t h e processing that provides a PCI-Express slot and get a P o w e r i n video card that utilizes PCI-E. Graphic from Smart Computing.com the CPU. Turn off the sidebar. While this feature is visually appealing, it has few socially redeeming traits. Turning off this feature can sometimes result in significantly faster startups and shutdowns. Disable the sidebar by right-clicking it. Select Properties, and remove the checkmark in the box that starts the sidebar when Vista wakes up. Fine tune your indexing options. The sidebar is visible on the right. Vista has a great Graphic from SmartComputing.com search feature, but it’s totally dependent on indexing the files and programs on your hard drive. It’s a mixed blessing. You have a fantastic search capability when you index all locations, but you take a performance hit. By indexing fewer areas, performance will improve, but your search feature will be less robust. Vista won’t let you turn off indexing completely, but you can disable indexing for locations that may not be important to you. Do this from the Performance Information and Tools utility in Control Panel. Here’s another “eat your veggies” type tip. Empty the NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 4 Recycle Bin and adjust it so it doesn’t take up more than 2% of your hard drive. Right click on the Recycle Bin, Indication s e l e c t of Low index Properties, and make the necessary adjustments in the dialog box. Don’t forget to defrag your disk once in a while, and empty the Recycle Bin before you defrag, not after. Open My Computer from the Desktop. Right click on the C: drive, select Properties and check how much space you have left on your hard drive. If you’re approaching 90% or more, you need to take non-essential files and move them to another location. Vista needs free disk space to perform certain housekeeping functions, and if it has to hunt around for room or use virtual memory, your performance hit could be enormous. Keep your device drivers up-to-date. Device drivers were designed to ensure that programs or hardware Power Options window under control panel. peripherals could “talk” to the system without problems and do their jobs properly. Newer drivers can improve 3D performance, fix bugs and other graphical glitches in games and video programs. Device drivers can avoid memory conflicts and prevent programs from squabbling over resources. Newer device drivers can support innovative features within applications, and ensure compatibility among different programs. These are only some of the things you can do to improve Vista performance. Removing unnecessary startup programs, preventing spyware and virus infections, and updating old software are additional steps you can take. If your system is frequently hanging up or crashing after doing everything you can do to improve performance, then it’s time to consider reformatting your hard drive and reinstalling everything, but that’s another article. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). All graphics complements of SmartComputing.com. Organize Your Music Files Put all of your music files in one place so you can easily get to your songs to transfer them to your MP3 player. You can let your player software do this for you—-iTunes, WMP, RealPlayer, and others all offer to do so—-or you can be more selective and do it yourself. If you put your files in the My Music folder in Windows XP, you can keep prying eyes and ears away from them by creating a password for yourself via Control Panel’s User Accounts applet. Cool Components Heat is the primary enemy of nearly all A/V equipment. Components give off heat and need vents to properly dissipate the heat. If they can’t, the equipment may fail—just as your computer would fail if it didn’t have fans running continuously to keep temperatures down. Many pieces of A/V gear provide adjustable feet for stacking. Use these feet to help circulate air above and below units. Leave at least 4 to 6 inches between your components and the wall behind them for similar reasons. Some units vent heat in the back, and insulated walls will store this heat and radiate it right back. Two Great Speakers Beat Six Mediocre Ones We all want the full surround-sound experience, but if you have to make a financial choice between buying a lowpriced full 5.1 surround sound setup or a single pair of high-quality stereo speakers for the same price, in practically every case the high-quality pair will give you better sound. Read the dynamic range specs for each of the speakers in both systems and pay attention to the amount of power that goes to each speaker (not just the entire system). Distortion ratings also matter, especially if you’re using your TV instead of an external amplifier to power the speakers. Listen to all the choices, by all means, but listen to crisp, clear, full, undistorted sound to guide your decision. iTunes’ Playlists Apple’s iTunes software contains a neat feature called Smart Playlists. In essence, it turns iTunes into a disc jockey, drawing its material from your downloaded music files. Choose the New Smart Playlist feature from the file menu and select the criteria by which you want iTunes to make its selections. You can have the program search for songs by specific artists, genres, number of times played (you might want it to find some songs you haven’t listened to very much, for instance), or even sound quality. You can further set the number of songs, minutes, or megabytes to keep your playlists manageable. Finally, click the Live Updating box to have iTunes continually change the Playlist as you add new songs to your folders. Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart Computing can do for you and your user group! NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 5 Software Review Photoshop Lightroom: By Tom Ekvall, newsletter editor and “Creative Imaging” columnist, Northeast Wisconsin PCUG, http://webpages.charter.net/newpcug/, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for non-destructive manner, so that .jpg images do not diminish publication by APCUG member groups. in quality over time as editing changes are made. I like the way Lightroom lays out the photo editing tools on the workspace so that everything is at hand. Edits can be undone in the future and new changes made without having to create separate files for each change. Information is stored in a separate file associated with the image. The information is there in a Managed Photos folder whether you import the images into Lightroom’s library or leave them in the original location. Lightroom in fact is a cataloger of your photos, with the user having the choice where to store the images. It will even recognize pictures on removable drives or external hard drives as part of the catalog, something most browsers will not do. I chose to store my pictures in their original location for now. When you start up Lightroom, you will notice a sleek, black interface with photos in the workspace depicted as slides. Do you like to shoot plenty of pictures with your digital camera? If you are like me, storing and organizing them is always a chore so that you can find the right picture when you need it. Enter Adobe Photoshop Lightroom – the new kid on the block for handling your digital workflow. Designed specifically for professional photographers, Lightroom is equally fantastic and impressive for any photo enthusiast. Lightroom is not designed to replace Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. However, it is the perfect complement to the programs, and for some who do not care for doing layers, may become the only product they The concept behind Lightroom is to provide a simplified need for digital imaging tasks. workflow setup from shoot to finish with five modules While Photoshop is designed as a general-purposed tool identified on the top right hand section of the screen: to handle a variety of creative digital imaging tasks, Lightroom has only one focus — providing photographers Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print, and Web. Each module with an effective, streamlined way to manage their photos, has a set of panels with pre-set information on the right process them, and deliver a final product whether a print hand side, task information on the left hand side, photo displays in the center and a filmstrip on the bottom of or web gallery. The product incorporates photos being reviewed. The filmstrip shows all in a many features I enjoy in particular folder, not just those opened up. The Library is where photos are imported and cataloged Photoshop CS3, such as the with the ability to add keyword information, rate the photo state of the art black and on importance, and even mark it for rejection before a final white adjustment techniques deletion. It also includes Quick Develop controls that let and being able to edit JPEG you make simple edits with push button controls rather and TIFF files in a nonthan sliders. Photos can be viewed in tandem to facilitate destructive manner. In fact, everything you do selecting, comparing, and ranking (stars and colors) photos in Lightroom is handled in a for later processing. NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 6 The Develop module is where you do the non-destructive processing of photos including those in the .raw format. Whether you are in the library looking at a set of photos or in the Develop module, a histogram of the picture selected is always visible. This helps in evaluating which picture to keep or edit for printing. The Slideshow provides a way to review photos or show them to someone else in an interesting format with the film strip of all the photos still showing on the bottom part of the screen. The Print module provides all the choices for printing while the Web provides a tool for enabling the pictures to be viewed on the web either in html or in flash formats. I love the way Lightroom is laid out on the screen as you can see from the accompanying image. Everything is so simple to use and user-friendly. I also love the Color Adjustment sliders that adjust both the primary and secondary color ranges (all eight colors) with regard to the hue, saturation and luminance (HSL) characteristics of the image as well as the tonal controls including a new Tone Curve feature. Both allow you to make adjustments directly in the targeted photo. Lightroom can probably handle most of my imageediting needs. However, there is still definitely a place for Photoshop CS3 for those things which Lightroom cannot do. What Lightroom cannot do is apply layers, masks, and selective editing to a photo nor will it allow you to do compositing and montages. It is not a “fix it” program when extensive retouching is necessary, nor does it have filters and brushes to create artistic effects, something I love to do. .Lightroom also does not work with video, which is no big deal to me. Lightroom does provide for exporting the photo to Photoshop, Photoshop Elements or other image editing programs so that further work can be done to the photo. Lightroom sells through Adobe (www.adobe.com) for $299. A 30-day fully functional tryout version is available for downloading from their web site. Final thoughts This is definitely a must-have program for those who want to manage their photos and process them in a nondestructive manner. To me what sets this apart from other organizers/digital asset management programs is the quality and depth of the photo-editing tools. It is obvious the program draws upon the experience of Adobe staff in developing image-editing products such as Photoshop, Bridge, and Camera Raw. The system requirements include Microsoft Vista or Windows XP, 768 MB of RAM (1 GB recommended) and a Pentium 4 processor. I installed the software on an Acer laptop running Vista with Pentium 4 dual-core processors (1.60 GHz speed), and 2 GB of RAM. No installation problems. There are a number of books out on the market to help you learn more about the software. The one I use is Photoshop Lightroom for Digital Photographers Only by Ron Sheppard. I like it for its simplicity in presenting information in an easy-to-understand format. There are a number of other great books out there. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). Obituary Column Robert Eads On the afternoon of February 22, 2008, Robert Charles Eads, Jr. passed away suddenly at his home in Clovis, CA, with his faithful Great Dane by his side. He is a former member and the adult son of member Linda Collison. His memorial services were held on Saturday, March 8, in Fresno, CA. Additional information can be found on the obituaries pages of the Napa Register for March 8 , 2008. Carl Ogan Carl Ogan, passed away at Piner’s Nursing Home on February 26, 2008, at the age of 90. He was the brother-in-law of Ray McCann. Carl was an active member of the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group since 1995 until his infirmities prevented his participation. Ray helped take care of Carl during the last several years. Additional information can be found on the obituaries pages of the Napa Register dated March 4, 2008. NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 7 Look Ma No Hands By Bruce Jacobs, Phoenix PCUG newsletter editor, www.phoenixpcug.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for say and then recomposing it later. Some of this may be publication by APCUG member groups. my fault. I find that I can type up an article by hand and This article was not typed. maintain enough control so that in the end I have I d i c t a t e d i t u s i n g t h e something coherent. When I just speak out what I want speech recognition feature in it does not always make sense. I spend way too much time revising it. Windows Vista Ultimate. O n e o f t h e disadvantages is that you need to spend I have been using this feature on and off for certain a little bit of time training the voice recognition system. applications for a while and The system works best when you are running a very it has its good points and its simple application such as WordPad or Notepad. It can even be used to some extent in Microsoft Word. However bad points. The intent of the software when using an application such as PowerPoint, the is to allow the user to speak program spends so much time trying to figure out what words into the computer and possible commands you might be wanting to perform for the computer to recognize those words, understand and not enough time actually realizing that you are that some of them are commands, and also understand trying to enter words. Another problem is that some of them are input to programs. In other words, homonyms. These are when I say the words “please save me”, the computer words that sound the must decide whether to add the words to the document same but they have I am editing as if I had typed them, or add the word different meanings in “please” to the document, and then bring up the save English except for the dialog box to save the document with the name “me”. possibility of some The program that is attempting to do this has two contextual clues. major hurdles to conquer. It has to recognize the spoken There is no way for words correctly. This is helped by the training exercises. the speech recognition But it has its limitations. software to know whether I want “2”, “two”, “to”, or It must also understand “in context” which of those “too.” During setup the program asks you if they can look words are commands and which of those words are to be at the contents of documents on your hard drive to help part of my document. As time goes on, you learn to you determine what word you used most often and in pause before speaking a command. So in the above what context. This does help it guess which homonym example of “please save me”, I would say the words altogether relatively quickly in order to enter them in you want. The final problem I wish to discuss is the editing my document. If I wanted to add the word “please” to features. Whenever I create a text document I will want my document then save the document, I would speak the word “please”, then pause for a few seconds, then save to fix mistakes. There are some commands in the the word “ save.” This would bring up the save dialog software that will help fix mistakes, but they are limited and clumsy. Some of them will even (in theory) help box and I could continue as if it was a command. As far as the good points prevent mistakes by the voice recognition software in are concerned: If I’m working future. All that being said, I find that editing documents off printed list or when I know using the voice recognition software is very frustrating. for sure what I want to say I always resort to using the arrow keys and the mouse clearly, it can be a much faster to navigate through the document. Vista speech recognition is a helpful tool when way of inputting text than for transcribing printed text or when words have been spoken me to type it. Some of that is into a tape recorder. However for initial composition of due to my typing speed being documents or editing I do not find it useful. I do not believe somwhat slow. I am a faster typist then most hunt and peck folks, but I would never that I could ever learn to use it as a complete 100% be able to keep a job as a secretary. It is also much better substitute for the keyboard and mouse. I would not consider it a replacement if I was disabled. at spelling than I am. If I don’t know what I’m going to say in advance the This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely program does not facilitate me speaking what I want to for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 8 It’s Not Just Entertainment Any More By Gene Komaromi, a member of the Computer Club of Green Valley, Arizona, http:// gvcc.apcug.org/, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. In the past, we’ve commonly thought of computer games, especially those played on game machine platforms, as pure entertainment. Times have changed and many games have become educational as well as physical training devices. Learning has become fun for both kids and adults. Here’s some information that will keep you ahead of the digital gaming curve. DS - Handheld Games for Senior Citizens Nintendo has a hot selling hand held video game machine called the “DS” for “Double Screen.” The device opens with two visible screens, one is a display screen and the other is a “Touch Screen” which serves as the controller interface. The DS has a series of games designed with “older” users in mind. They are Brain Age, Big Brain Academy and Flash Focus. All three have been recommended by AARP, and Brain Age has been shown to improve mental performance in independent tests. Brain Age and Big Brain Academy have a series of games, practice exercises and tests that are designed to improve and evaluate cognitive skills, and best of all “they’re fun.” They chart and graph improvement and will keep records for several individuals. Have you ever had a problem with that vision test on your driver’s license exam? Then Flash Focus was made for you. It too has games and exercises, but instead of improving your brain they improve your eyes. Wii Want to Play The hottest new gaming console is the Wii, another product from Nintendo that has games designed for the older kids, real older kids. The game controller is a little motion sensitive device that straps on the user’s wrist. Participants interact with the game by moving their arms. In the Detroit area, aerobic classes and movies have been replaced by Wii in many senior citizen centers. “Bowling” seems to be one of the most popular games. I’ve played it, and yes, it’s exactly like the real thing. The motion of your arm, as you approach a virtual bowling alley, allows you to curve the ball and add some spin. Wii bowling leagues are springing up all over the country. Nintendo is about to release an exercise program for the Wii that uses a floor pad as a controller. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). E-Mail Responsibilities By Bob Schwartz, a member of HAL-PC, Texas, www.hal-pc.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for snoops tapping your connection. There are innumerable publication by APCUG member groups. ways by which your “private” traffic can go public. So, the BOTTOM LINE is: compose your messages E-mail is a very valuable method of almost instant communication. However, many people operate with care, check the addressees listed, and review the under an illusion that it is private. It is not. Once message before pressing the “SEND” key. Oh, by the way: do not think that once sent and “deleted”, sent, it is effectively broadcast to the world. So one should NEVER send anything that they might that the file is gone from your computer. When you regret. Once it is sent, it is now in other people’s “delete” a file, this DOES NOT ERASE THE FILE. All hands. The recipient may or may not care as much about this does is change the first letter of the file name in the directory. The file, in all its glory, remains untouched on controlling your e-mails distribution as you do. Just suppose you send something clever about someone the hard drive, which is why it is so easy to recover it. you know to a friend or acquaintance and they bring it up Technology has provided a variety of means to recover and on the screen. Then, they take a break and go to coffee, reconstitute “deleted” files. To conclude, e-mail is a tremendously valuable means leaving it on the screen. Another person passes by, snoops, of almost instant communication. Just make sure that you and sees the e-mail. They also think it is clever, and make use it carefully, thoughtfully and wisely. a copy of it and send it to someone they know, etc. Or, the employer records all e-mail traffic passing within Bob Schwartz is a HAL-PC member, retired EE, 14 patents, their company, which they have every right to do, since the technical writer, active in civic affairs: President, Brays equipment is theirs. Bayou Association; Vice President, Marilyn Estates Civic Worse yet, some people send messages that they believe Association; Correspondence Secretary with the Willow are benign and strictly business, yet some self-anointed Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy. “god” thinks otherwise. Yet even sneakier are viruses that can unknowingly, by This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely you, forward your e-mails elsewhere; or, police and other for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 9 IRS Again Offers Free Online Tax Preparation and “e-Filing” By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; radio and Talk Show Host, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for partnership called the “File Free publication by APCUG member groups. Alliance, LLC” where the IRS contracted with several tax preparation WEBSITES: companies to offer free online tax preparation and filing. The Free File http://www.irs.gov Alliance evolved from a “President’s http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/ Management Agenda”, which created 0,,id=118986,00.html - Free File a series of 24 “e-government” page initiatives designed to improve government to citizen http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/ electronic capabilities. Originally, the program was limited 0,,id=118992,00.html – Free File to 60% of taxpayers, but the 2005 contract expanded the Instructions eligibility to 70% of taxpayers. The current agreement http://www.irs.gov/efile/article/ between the IRS and the preparation companies expires in 0,,id=118993,00.html October, 2009. The income eligibility ceiling, currently at Information an AGI of $54,000, is adjusted annually such that 70% of http://www.irs.gov/app/freeFile/jsp/ taxpayers will remain eligible. Members of the Free File index.jsp - List of participating Alliance must conform to strict IRS established security Companies and privacy requirements which insure the sanctity of the http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-efile/ free filing service. free_file_agreement.pdf - Free According to the IRS, there are several advantages and File Alliance Agreement reasons for using the free tax services provided. The IRS http://www.irs.gov/espanol/article/ claims that users can get their refunds in as little as 10 days, if they opt for direct deposit. Unlike commercial tax 0,,id=163297,00.html - Free File preparation offices, the online services are available 24/7, in Spanish Whether we like it or not, April 15 is fast approaching. It and taxes can be completed and filed at any time of the day does not matter if we are due a refund, or owe Uncle Sam prior to April 15. The IRS also claims that the service is a bundle of money, we still must complete our income tax environmentally friendly, in that it saves mountains of forms and file them appropriately with the IRS. This is a paper. Users of the free online services will benefit through task that very few enjoy, and many more do not relish. the automatic checks for accuracy, and will receive a While preparing our tax returns becomes more complex confirmation within 48 hours that the return was received and time consuming, the IRS has once again contracted by the IRS. Users of the free filing service must start at the IRS with a number of tax services to prepare our taxes online for free, if we are eligible. According to the IRS, the goal website, IRS.gov, and initially access the free tax services of the free file program is to enable 70% of taxpayers (97 through the IRS website. Many of the companies that are million people, according to the IRS) to take advantage of a part of the Free File Alliance also offer paid commercial the free online service; for calendar year 2007 (taxes due tax preparation services, and the only way to get the April 15, 2008), the calculated ceiling on eligibility for the service for free is to initialize the process through the IRS free service is an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $54,000. website. The list of participating companies, 19 of them, In addition to preparing federal tax returns for those includes such well known companies as H&R Block, and eligible, the providers will also “e-file” (electronically software companies such as TurboTax. It is the file) the returns at no charge to the taxpayer. It should be responsibility of the user to verify his eligibility both for noted that the IRS does not charge for receiving e-filed the program (up to $54,000 AGI), and for the Free Alliance returns, but does not currently accept e-filed returns directly partner selected, as many of the partners have additional from individuals without first going through a third party eligibility requirements for the free service. The user can service, for which a fee may be charged. There is no e-file either browse the list of individual companies fee for taxes prepared by the free preparers who participate (w w w . i r s . g o v / a p p / f r e e F i l e / j s p / in the IRS free file program. index.jsp), or can use the button “Guide Me To A Company” to narrow down the choices of free tax preparers. The free filing service was created in 2002, and renewed Several of the companies, such as H&R Block’s “TaxCut again in 2005, when the IRS created a public – private NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 10 Free File”, “Tax$imple Deluxe Version”, and “eSmart Tax by Liberty Tax Service” are available to anyone with an AGI of less than $54,000, and who are also aged 50 or less. “TaxSlayer Free Returns” is available to anyone aged 25 to 68, or active military who meet the income requirements. “TurboTax Freedom Edition” is free to anyone with an AGI of less than $30,000, or active duty military with an AGI of up to $54,000. “Complete Tax” will do any age with an AGI of $12,000 to $54,000, while “Free TaxAct” will do anyone aged 19 to 54 who has an eligible AGI. Other free preparers have different eligibility requirements, including several that will prepare taxes for people for any age, but have geographic restrictions, in that they only prepare taxes for residents of specific states. Some of the preparers, such as “Online Tax Pros” specify that they also prepare taxes in Spanish. While not a requirement covered in the agreement with the IRS, many of the preparers listed will also prepare and file state income tax returns for residents of states that have a state income tax (Texas does not have a state income tax). While a few will prepare state income taxes for free, most have a nominal charge to prepare and e-file state taxes. Once the taxes are prepared and completed online through one of the free providers, the returns are electronically checked for accuracy, and then e-filed directly with the IRS. The preparer will receive an electronic confirmation from the IRS that the return was received, and forward that confirmation to the taxpayer, typically within 48 hours of filing. If the taxpayer is due a federal refund, and selects direct deposit, the refund is deposited to the taxpayer’s specified account in as little as 10 days. The IRS is to be commended for coordinating this service, available to nearly 100 million taxpayers. One improvement to the service that I would like to see is to allow those of us who prepare our taxes ourselves with commercial software, to be able to upload our returns directly to the IRS without having to go through a third party. That would be a great service to the millions of us who choose not to use, or who are not eligible for, the free filing programs, but would like the convenience of e-filing without sending our personal and private information to a third party. For the eligible 70% of taxpayers who can utilize the free service, there are few good reasons not to use the service. The price can not be beat. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). Review Year 2007 Tax Software By Milton G. Gugenheim, Jr., a member of HAL-PC, Texas, and an AARP Tax Aide Instructor and Local Coordinator for over 12 years, www.hal-pc.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for internet connection is required to obtain updates as the publication by APCUG member groups. software is released in December, before the IRS has completed all the forms, etc. Personal Software Even if you think that you need the skills of an Most of us seem to put the dreaded tax experienced CPA in the preparation of your return, either chore off until the last moment and of these programs will help you to become better organized then find ourselves faced with and possibly keep accountant fees to a minimum. incomprehensible IRS forms, shoeboxes I found the following software tax packages for the 2007 of receipts, check registers, antacids and tax year: TurboTax Basic, TurboTax Deluxe, TurboTax headache pills. The return must be filed by Tuesday, Premier, TaxCUT, TaxCUT Deluxe, and April 15, 2008 (you can file an extension to delay TaxCUT Premier, for Windows 98, 2000, ME, filing until August 15, 2008. But payment, XP. Vista and MacPowerPC processor. Most without P&I, is due April 15, 2008 – the IRS of the local office supply stores and other is nice, but not that nice!) retail and software outlets stock the software. Fortunately help is on the way in the form There are free tax preparation programs of a couple of good tax preparation programs on the web. Go to a search engine and enter from Intuit – TurboTax, H&R Block – “free federal income tax programs”. TaxCUT and 2nd Story’s TaxACT. This TaxACT is a good free program. The program review covers the two most popular programs. is easy to use and includes forms most tax In addition to well-crafted interfaces and good payers require. A paid version is also available for online help, both TaxCUT and TurboTax include more complex returns. Microsoft’s Internet Explorer Web browser for seamless integration with the World Wide Web for updating. An Tax Software Review cont. on page 12 NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 11 Tax Software Review cont. from page 11 Features TurboTax Basic is the basic package needed to file all individual returns including professional or sole proprietor, and includes Internet Explorer on the CD. TurboTax Deluxe includes all the features of TurboTax Basic and one free e-file (after rebate). Plus extra help for deductions – the deduction finder (library resources, tax planner, on-screen references and IRS publications, video advice and a financial planner). TurboTax Premier includes all the feature of TurboTax Deluxe plus help for investments, complex taxes, Schedule C business and Rental Property. TaxCUT Deluxe is almost identical to TurboTax including Internet Explorer 6 on the CD. TaxCUT Deluxe includes all the features of TurboTax Deluxe, tax tips, on-screen IRS instructions and publications. All the programs will import financial data from most popular financial programs, and include details on preparing a return, reviewing a return, electronic filing (e-file) via a second party, planning for next year, plus help locations. Installation All packages were easy to install following the given directions. TurboTax Basic requires 175 MB of disc space without the installation of Explorer. TaxCUT Deluxe requires 170 MB of disc space without the installation of Explorer Manual Both TurboTax and TaxCUT include an on-screen user guide with typical screens of the described function. All the usual files, edit, forms, tools and help are in the tool bar. TaxACT has almost as much onscreen help. General Overview All of the packages have an easy step-bystep program to walk the taxpayer through the various steps required to do a return. The experienced taxpayer may prefer the forms method after completing a basic information page. The taxpayer selects the form and fills in the required information. Some have supplemental sheets for recording information, which is then transferred to the form. Help is available from any screen. All programs import from Quicken and Microsoft Money. Details The latest tax changes are incorporated in the packages (at the time of release). Each package allows the taxpayer to enter data on various forms after completing the basic information sheet. The return is then saved. Be sure to give the file a name if more than one return will be prepared using the same program. The programs may be used whether you are the organized type or the shoe box type. The shoebox type should organize the various types of entries first. Printing TurboTax and TaxCUT allow you to print an IRS return or select a form or schedule to be printed. The current computer printer setup does not have to be changed. Check to be sure you have the latest updates prior to printing the return for filing. Print a return for filing and a return for your records. The record return will contain detail sheets. I have no experience using these programs to e-file. Summary The Basic package of TurboTax or Deluxe of TaxCUT is more than adequate for most users. The upgrade packages are great for users who like the “bells and whistles” that include lots of helpful literature, suggestions, etc. The street price for the basic packages is around $20, TurboTax Deluxe, and TaxCUT Premier is about $40 Each company has an extensive business program for about $70 +. A new program is required for the each tax year. TurboTax and TaxCUT sites, each sell the programs and it will cost more than the local stores. Helpful Hints: I suggest the return be prepared in all caps since this is preferred by the IRS. All returns are mathematically corrected based on the input data. Most of programs have promotion tie-ins, such as a money program, anti-virus, etc. Read carefully the conditions before buying the program. TurboTax, for more info goes to: www.turbotax.com/support. Block TaxCUT. For more info go to: www.taxcust.comand for TaxACT go to: www.taxact.com. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 12 Benefits of Using a Computer Sandbox By Gene Barlow, User Group Relations, Copyrighted January 2008, www.ugr.com, [email protected] A computer Sandbox is newer technology that is not very computer. Other users may change your computer to well known, but, it can be quite useful in many situations. match the way they like to use computers. For example, By using a Sandbox utility, you can place your computer many of us have grandkids that come to visit and want to in a protected state where you can try some rather risky play on our computer. They may download games they things on your computer and not have your computer like, change your wallpaper and default font sizes. They damaged in the trials. Once you place your computer into may pick up viruses in the process of getting your computer Sandbox mode, you can safely run anything on your changed to their needs. When they leave, your computer computer, knowing that all changes to your hard drive will no longer is the same as it was before they arrived. It may not be permanently made to your computer. While in take you days to get it working again like you want it to. Sandbox mode, your computer runs as if all changes to the With a Sandbox, you can place the computer in Sandbox hard drive were actually made to your system. But, at the mode before they arrive and then let them play on your end of using the Sandbox, you can throw away these computer to their hearts content. When they leave, you changes, putting your computer back exactly the way it simply exit the Sandbox and throw away all changes that was before entering the Sandbox. they made to your computer. It is instantly back the way it Let’s take a look at some real life situations to better was before they started to use it. understand the benefits of using a Sandbox utility. Computer Labs and Classrooms Installing New Software Everyone knows that when you install a new software product on your computer, parts of the product are placed all over your computer’s hard drive. Entries are made to the Windows Registry, special supporting files are place in certain directories of the operating system, and other shortcut and setting files are scattered in various places on your hard drive. These are in addition to the main folder that is installed on your hard drive with the software programs. Most software will uninstall easily, but often pieces of the product are left behind on your hard drive. These leftover pieces of orphaned software can build up and slow down your computer. Some software products include hidden viruses or other bad programs as you install them. The end result is that installing new software on your computer can be a risky thing to do. Using a Sandbox to install and test new software is a much better approach. With a Sandbox, you put your computer in Sandbox mode before you downloaded and installed the new software. Since the Sandbox lets you use the newly installed software just as if it had been permanently installed on your computer, you can run the new software to try it out and see if you like it. You can also run virus utilities to see if the installation gave you a virus you were not expecting. If you find viruses on your computer or just decide you do not like the newly installed software, you can get out of the Sandbox and throw away all traces of that software product and any hidden virus that came with it. Letting Others Use Your Computer User groups that have computer labs or classrooms have a similar situation. The classroom computers are setup carefully by the instructors before the class begins. Once the students have used the computer throughout the day, the computers are different and modified from what they were in the beginning of the day. This may cause problems for the students that follow them, so the instructors will often restore the computer’s hard drives to put them back to normal. With a Sandbox, this long restore process is not needed. Instead, put the computers in Sandbox mode at the beginning of the day before the students arrive. Then at the end of the day, exit the Sandbox and throw away all hard drive changes made by the students. The computers are quickly returned to their normal state as you exit the Sandbox. Browsing the Internet Much of the Spyware that you pick up on your computer comes from simply browsing the internet. Some web sites are designed so that simply passing your cursor over a part of the screen is enough to activate a download of Spyware to your computer. Not only that, but your privacy is at risk when you browse the Internet. Windows automatically saves all of the places you browse to and all of the screens you see on the Internet. Browsing the Internet in a Sandbox is a much better approach. Place your computer in Sandbox mode before you start to browse the internet. Then browse all of the sites you want to. When you are done browsing the internet, exit out of the Sandbox and throw away all Spyware and traces of web sites you may have visited. We offer three excellent Sandbox products that you may want to use on your computer. Let’s look at each of Another reason to use a Sandbox is to let others use your NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 13 Sandbox cont. on page 15 Fr om Copies t o Full Co l or Printing we ’re your sou r ce for all your printed needs . Also come see us for your Pr omo tional Items ! 947 Lincoln Avenue Napa, CA 94559-5066 3148 Jefferson Street • Napa, California 94558 707/257-6260 • fax 707/257-8741 [email protected] http://napa.minutemanpress.com (707) 299-1000 www.napanet.net • [email protected] Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Offering Financial Services throughout the Napa Valley; with offices in American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena and Yountville 800-869-3557 www.wellsfargo.com Thank You ! The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group is grateful for the support provided by the afore mentioned companies Receive your newsletter online and save the NVPCUG the expense of mailing your newsletter. Contact Dianne Prior at [email protected] and request to receive your newsletter online. (Each persons newsletter that is printed costs the group over $24 annually.) For more information about the NVPCUG, visit our Web site: http://www.nvpcug.org Membership Application/Renewal * New Renewal Information Update Please Print Full Name: _________________ Nickname: _______________________ Street/PO Box: ________________________________________________ City: __________________ State: ______ ZIP Code: ________ - ______ Phone (check preferred): Home: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________ Work: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________ E-mail (check preferred): Home: __________________________________ Work: __________________________________ Ocupation/Profession ____________________________ Retired? ______ Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists? News and announcements: Yes No General discussion of computer-related topics:Yes No If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address published in the NVPCUG Directory, which is for the exclusive use of NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es): Do not list phone number Do not list e-mail address Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members: (Associate Members have the same membership rights as their sponsors, except for receiving newsletters) Full Name E-mail Address __________________________ ______________________________ __________________________ ______________________________ Annual Dues: $30 Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student $20 Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate membership. $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: [email protected] Revised 4-23-07 NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 14 Sandbox cont. from page 13 these briefly to help you decide which one would best meet your needs. StorageCraft ShadowSurfer The smallest and least expensive Sandbox we offer is ShadowSurfer by StorageCraft Software. This product is the quickest product to install and the easiest product to use of all of our Sandbox products. With ShadowSurfer, all changes to your hard drive are always thrown away when you exit the Sandbox, which is what you want in most cases anyway. This excellent product runs on Win2000 and WinXP systems and is available from us at the discount price of just $20. This is an excellent beginning Sandbox product for most home users. Acronis True Image 11 Home Try&Decide The next step up in ability and price is a feature that Acronis has added to their new True Image 11 Home backup utility. This feature is called Try&Decide and it is a Sandbox feature built into this award winning backup utility. Try&Decide requires that you create and use the Acronis SecureZone on your hard drive to contain the temporary changes to your hard drive. When you exit the Sandbox with this product, you can choose to keep all changes to your hard drive or throw them all away. This excellent product runs on Win2000, WinXP, and WinVista operating systems and is available from us at the discount price of just $29 for a download or $33 on a CD. This is a very good Sandbox feature that comes with an outstanding backup utility. StorageCraft ShadowUser Pro The most advanced Sandbox utility we offer is ShadowUser Pro by StorageCraft Software. This is a professional-level Sandbox product that has many options and features to it. With this product, you can password protect the controls of the Sandbox, so that nobody can disable the Sandbox unless they know the password. Perhaps the biggest differences between this product and the other two Sandbox products is that you can pick and choose what files to throw away and what files to keep as you exit the Sandbox. This top of the line Sandbox product runs on Win2000 and WinXP operating systems and is available from us at the discount price of $47. This is the product you should use if you are running a public computer workstation that needs tight controls. A Sandbox offers you a new way to protect your computer from damage from the software you install or access on the internet. It also keeps your hard drive safe from damage caused by others using your computer. The selection of Sandbox products we offer lets you pick and choose which one is right for your needs. To order your Sandbox product, go to www.ugr.com and find the Sandbox product you are interested in. Then click on the Buy Now button on that product page to place your order using our secure web shopping cart. As you complete your order indicate the order code of UGNL0108 to qualify for these excellent discount prices. If you have questions about this new technology or about any of these products send an email to [email protected] and I will try to help you. Gene Barlow User Group Relations PO Box 911600 St George, UT 84791-1600 This is one of a series of monthly technical articles that I distribute to those that have subscribed to this newsletter. Watch for them and learn more about your computer and its hard drive. You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to it or have purchase products from us. To subscribe to this newsletter, send me an e-mail ([email protected]). User group newsletter editors may print this article in their monthly newsletter as long as the article is printed in its entirety and not cut or edited. Please send me a copy of the newsletter containing the article so that I can see what groups are running the articles. Let’s Clean “Start-Up” By Bob Elgines, Editor, Colorado River Computer Club, AZRCC Editor, www.crccaz.com/, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups Does your computer boot-up or run slow? Maybe there are too many programs running in the back ground. Let us do the following check first. • Hold your CTRL & ALT buttons and press the DELETE button. • • Click on the PERFORMANCE tab, is your CPU Usage running more than 10% or is your Physical Memory being in total use? Go to START then RUN, type in “msconfig” which stands for Microsoft System NVPCUG Computer News, March 2008, Page 15 “Start Up” continued on page 16 “Start Up” continued from page 15 • • Configuration. In Windows VISTA you can find RUN in the ACCESSORY folder under PROGRAMS. The System Configuration Utility windows will come up. appear, then hold down left mouse button and move it to the right. This information tells you where it is located and in some cases which program is using it. Uncheck those in question, you can put them back in later if you need too. Do not uncheck you Antivirus or Spyware programs. Next go to the tab on top labeled SERVICES, this show all of the programs running now. You do not what to uncheck those labeled Microsoft under the MANUFACTURER column, so to start off, lets put a check mark in the box below labeled “Hide all Microsoft Services”. The SERVICES tab will lookvery similar to the START UP tab. • Your Startup Configurations tab will look comparable to this one. • First go to the upper right tab labeled STARTUP, here you will see the list of items that load during startup. Of course some you want, some you don’t. In the first column labeled STARTUP ITEM gives a very rough idea to what it is referenced too, but the second column labeled COMMAND, is much more useful. Too read it better, widen the column out by holding your mouse symbol over the vertical line located before the next column label. A double arrow will Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558-0286 Address Services Requested Now while you are reviewing the other programs running in the background note the forth column labeled STATUS. If it says STOPPED, then don’t worry about it. We just want to stop the strange ones that are RUNNING. You can uncheck those that you are not familiar with, here again you may bring them back in later. • After un-checking all those items under tabs STARTUP & SERVICES, then click on APPLY and CLOSE. • The System Configuration Utility will now ask you to RESTART (or Boot) your computer. After restarting a window will come up stating System Configuration Utility has been changed, be sure to put a check mark in the bottom left (labeled “Don’t show this message or launch …..”) before clicking OK. If you improved your operation of your computer, you can put back in the items one at a time until you find the program that was slowing you down. This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
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