COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 27, No. 6
June 2010
The Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group will meet
Wednesday, June 16th,
7:00-9:00 P.M.
Inside This Issue
NVPCUG Special Interest Groups
NVPCUG Calendar
President’s Message
Officers List
Linkscanner – Free Protection
from Web Threats
This and That
What Are Hashtags And How Do I
Use Them?
Eliminating Obsolete Windows
Device Drivers
Net Neutrality
MP3 Tag - A Useful Utility
Convert a PDF File to a Text File
Windows 7 Tech Tips
When is a dSLR NOT a dSLR?
Upgrade Your E-mail Activities
Discovering Windows 7 – Part 3
“2010: A Live Chat Tech
Support Odyssey”
Editorial Bits
Premiere Elements 8
24 Membership
Look for this
graphic on
Page 4 to find
out more
about how it
may affects
At the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
Lapworks will be the main presentation
After meeting information by the President we will have
our RandomAccess, an open-floor question-and-answer
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]
The Computer Tutor session will follow. During this
months session Susy Ball will be demonstrating how to
use Blind Carbon Copy, better known as BCC when
forwarding an email to multile email addresses. If you
have a suggestion on which feature he should discuss,
[email protected]
Beth Pickering, from the Sonoma Valley Computer Users
Group, will give a presentation called “Must Do Projects”. One
for your community, one for recgonition, and one
for youeself, your family and friends.
She, and possibly Susy Ball and Marcia Waddell will
also be sharing some of the information from the recent
Southwest Computer Conference they attended.
P.S. Beth and Susy drove the 1000+ miles to and from San
Diego last week.
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 24 for
application information.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010
Jaci Tolman
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general meetings.
SIG meetings are open to everyone.
Meeting times and locations
occasionally change, so for current
meeting information, see our Web
site,, or contact
the SIG leaders.
Inv e stors 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
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
From the Napa Valley Register. Posted: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 12:00 am
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Jaci was a long time member of the Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group and she will be missed.
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
Jacqueline Tolman, a breast and lung cancer survivor,
succumbed after a brief battle with lung disease.
She passed away peacefully at her Napa home on
April 28, 2010.
Born in Edmonton, Jaci grew up in Canada and
Alaska, lived and worked in the San Francisco Bay
Area for 30 years and in Napa for 15.
In her youth, she cut a stunning figure, won beauty contests and
worked for Hugh Hefner. She held a variety of exciting jobs and
hobbies and, among them, enjoyed flying small aircraft in the Yukon.
Later, she was a powerhouse in commercial real estate development
and management, served over a year as general manager of Oakland’s
Hamilton Hotel and ran several small businesses in the North Bay,
including a popular candy shop in downtown Napa.
Jaci was active in many organizations and served two years as a
Napa county commissioner, where she had special responsibility for
women and children. She was an officer on the Board of Newport
North Homeowners Association. As well, she was a former officer
in the Republican Women’s Club and Toastmistress Clubs in both San
Francisco and Napa.
She is survived by her brothers, Donald and Douglas, along with many
nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews. She was
preceded in death by her parents, her brother Ralph and sister Joan.
Her strength, her courage, her mischievous sense of fun and her warm
and amazing heart will be remembered by all who knew her.
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
Jun 16
Jul 7
Jul 12
Jul 14
Jul 15
Jul 21
Aug 4
Aug 9
Aug 11
Aug 12
Aug 18
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
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, June 2010, Page 2
M e e ting Lo c ations
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 2010
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]
[email protected]
Membership Director
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
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
[email protected]
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, 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
Linkscanner – Free Protection from Web Threats
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio Talk Show
Host, [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).
Many of us have felt secure while surfing the web, safe in
the knowledge that our PC security software will protect
us from all of the threats out there. Initially, in the early days
of PCs, we came to understand that
a good antivirus program would give
us all of the protection that we
needed. Later, we learned the hard
way that antivirus software by itself
would not protect us from the thencurrent threats, so we needed a
firewall and anti-spyware software. The major publishers
of security software obliged us by producing and selling us
better, and more comprehensive protective software,
culminating in today’s typical security suites. Sadly, the
miscreants that create the threats to our computing safety
are often a step ahead of the security software publishers,
and manage to craft new categories of threats that are
explicitly designed to penetrate our protective shields, or
even bypass them altogether. This makes us vulnerable to
attack, even though we blissfully surf the net, oblivious to
these new threats, confident in the knowledge that our
security software will forever protect us. Regrettably,
many of us will find that our personal computing has been
compromised by malware from which our security suites
provide little or no protection, leaving us open and vulnerable
to attack.
According to published reports, as many as 95% of the
new online threats are now coming from the websites that
we visit, and are often undetected by our existing security
software. This means that the blind
trust that many of us have in our
security software, regardless of the
brand, may be unfounded, as our
computers may be substantially
unprotected from this new vector of
attack. According to a recent article on the subject on
ZDNET, “The most dangerous page on the web may be
the one you are about to click on.” As many as 100,000 to
150,000 legitimate websites, often those of national brands
and companies, are compromised every day, and are
“poisoned” in such a way that innocent visitors to those
web pages unknowingly load malware onto their computers,
bypassing the antivirus and anti-spyware software installed
on the computer to expressly protect against such malware.
This malware, when loaded on the victim computer, can
open the victim to identity theft or other damages to his
privacy or the sanctity of his data.
Traditional whitelists (directories of
safe sites), and blacklists (directories
of dangerous sites), while widely
used by conventional protective
products are ineffective, as 60% of
the poisoned websites are dangerous
for less than 24 hours, many of those malignant for only a
few hours. This threat is real, and according to security
vendor AVG, “One in eight web users will unknowingly
come across a poisoned page at least once a month.”
The European computer security company AVG
(formerly known as Grisoft), has an excellent reputation in
the industry, and currently has over 80 million registered
users of its software. While the AVG
Antivirus software is among the most
widely used free antivirus software
in the world, AVG also publishes
comprehensive commercial security
suites that have a loyal following in
the millions. AVG has always been considered as a leader
in security technology, as demonstrated by a feature
included in its top commercial security suite, Linkscanner.
The Linkscanner technology has given AVG a strong
competitive edge when compared against many of its
commercial competitors, as it provides substantial protection
from the web borne malware that would possibly slip by
competitive products.
Recently, AVG released a free version of its Linkscanner
software which I immediately downloaded and installed on
several computers. Linkscanner installed smoothly on
each computer except one, that one computer having a
security suite that was incompatible with Linkscanner
(Trend Micro Internet Security Suite 2009 Pro). According
to the AVG webpage, this conflict was unusual, as
Linkscanner was tested and found to be compatible with
almost all other security suites available.
Linkscanner, available for free download at, scans each webpage as it is
downloaded to your browser, looking for dangerous content,
and blocking the loading of the
webpage if malware is found. This
prevents the web borne malware
from being installed on the computer
as it is stopped before it is effectively
downloaded. Linkscanner does this
so quickly, and utilizes minimal system resources, such that
there is no noticeable effect on the speed of websites
loading and being displayed in the browser. Linkscanner
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 4
works well with Internet Explorer
and Firefox browsers, and will run
on most current versions of
Windows, including 32 and 64 bit
operating systems. Except as
mentioned above, Linkscanner will
generally not interfere with other security software and
runs in addition to it.
There are two components to Linkscanner, SearchShield and Active Surf-Shield. Search-Shield works
with the major search engines, such as Google, Yahoo,
and MSN, and displays a safety rating for links displayed
during a search. If a website is known as safe, and is
free of malware, Search-Shield will display a green star
with a checkmark adjacent to the site name. Websites
known to harbor malware will be displayed with a red
“X”, warning the user not to go there. By knowing in
advance which websites are safe to go to, or should be
avoided, the user can search with a high degree of
safety. While not a scientific study, I compared load
times with and without Search-Shield running, and I
could not notice any difference in the time to load and
display Google and Yahoo search
The second key feature in
Linkscanner is Active Surf-Shield,
which scans the webpage behind
any link click on, or web address typed into the browser.
If Active Surf-Shield detects that the page has been
“poisoned”, the continued loading of the page is stopped,
and a large red warning window is displayed. Again, in my
non-scientific tests, I did not notice any difference in the
load times of web pages with and without Active SurfShield running, and it appeared that the results were
displayed almost instantaneously.
Linkscanner ( is listed as
“free forever” when used on individual personal home
computers, and provides a valuable and worthwhile adjunct
to the security software that we already have on our
computers. Since as much as 95% of the contemporary
cyber threats are web borne, and Linkscanner explicitly
protects against those threats that may slip through our
antivirus and anti-spyware software, Linkscanner should
be installed and used as appropriate.
C a n’t driv e y o urs e lf t o t h e N a p a
S e n i o r A c t i v i t y C e n t e r,
1 5 0 0 J e ff e rs o n S tr e e t, N a p a for
th e m onthly g e n eral m e e ting?
W h y n o t e m a i l y o u r r i d e -s h a r e
request to the N VPC U G
m e m b e r-t o- m e m b e r
e m a il lis t a t:
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 5
This and That
By Elizabeth B. Wright, Contributor to the Computer Club of Oklahoma City newsletter,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s
located on a floppy disk, a camera memory card (either in
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
a card reader or in the camera itself), or from some other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
form of removable media no longer accessible by the
You never know what your program will remember when computer. If a file can no longer be physically accessed,
you close it.
many programs go into an endless loop trying to find it,
For that reason, if the last file you used in the program causing your program to appear to be failing.
happened to be on removable media which has been
If you are lucky, using every trick you can think of, you
detached from the computer, you might face a real might get the program to respond to a command to open
problem the next time you turn on your computer. So, a file on the hard disk. My all-time-favorite, Paint Shop
before terminating whatever program is using a file located Pro went to a “White Screen Of Death” recently every
on the removable media, CLOSE the file located on that time I tried to use it. When my brain’s memory kicked in
media. Next, still in the program you have been using, I remembered the last thing I had done before closing
locate on your internal hard disk any file which that PSP earlier was to download pictures from my camera’s
program will recognize. Open it. You don’t have to work memory card. The memory card had been in a card
on the file, just open it and close it so that the last file used reader and was removed to put it back in the camera
by the program was from the hard disk. You don’t AFTER I closed PSP. Downloading the camera photos
necessarily have to do any editing of the file, but you can was the last work I did before closing PSP. When next
re-save it as an added step to help the program remember opening the program and getting that “WSOD” (see
where it found the last opened file, or you can just close it above), I found that even though various messages told
without re-saving it. On my C:\ drive I keep a text file me the program was not responding, the mouse would
created in MS Notepad titled freecell. You guessed it, that still operate and I was able to get “File/Open/ etc. etc.”
is where I save a list of the games I have failed to win (in to open a photo located on my hard drive. Problem solved,
other words, LOST). It isn’t particularly important, so if it at least for that incident.
somehow becomes corrupted or deleted, it can always be
Of course, you can never count on anything happening
replaced with new information. This file is easily accessed
and opened, after which, for a little added security, I re- exactly the same way twice. So maybe, instead of “Death”
for PSP it should just be “White Screen Of Coma.” But
save it before closing it.
your program might just stop working with no change in the
Hopefully this satisfies the computers lust for usable screen at all. Quoting one of our knowledgeable members,
information. I have spent too much time thinking a program
“it all depends” on how the programmers wrote it.
had taken a permanent dive before remembering that the
last work I did before turning off the machine was on a file
What Are Hashtags And How Do I Use Them?
Question: As someone who’s just getting started on anyone searching Twitter) to find your public
Twitter, I’d like to know more about hashtags. What are contributions to the discussion on that particular topic.
they and how do I use them?
Here are some tips for you:
• In order to get tracked via a hashtag, you need to optAnswer: Hashtags are a
in and follow Every time you
community-driven way to label
make a post in Twitter that includes a hashtag, it will
tweets (posts made to Twitter).
show up as a real-time post on
They begin with the hash mark
• If you visit, you can click on any tag and
(#), followed by a word,
it will show you all of the posts that have been tagged
phrase, or abbreviation.
with that keyword.
Examples of hashtags are
• You can search for hashtags on Twitter by using the
#americanidol and #lakers.
search box on the Twitter sidebar.
When you insert a hashtag in
your post, it makes it easy for
• You can also subscribe to any updates that contain
Twitter users who don’t already follow you (plus
a tag by visiting, entering in the tag you
want to follow, and then clicking “subscribe.”
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 6
Eliminating Obsolete Windows Device Drivers
By Vinny La Bash, Regular Contributor, Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc.,
Florida,, [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).
1. From the Start Menu, right-click on Computer.
2. Select Properties at the bottom of the list.
Device drivers are programs that are designed to control
(drive) specific types of hardware (devices) that are
attached to your computer. These devices can be attached
through wires or by wireless connections. No matter how
the device is attached you need a program to tell it how to
interact with the computer. An operating system such as
Windows comes with myriads of device drivers built into
it so when you bring your new computer home, attach your
printers, external drives, etc., most of them work fine.
The caveat is that drivers are hardware dependent and
operating system specific so your external CD-ROM, which
worked flawlessly under Vista, may not work with Windows 7
until you install an updated device driver designed for the new OS.
Every operating system directs device drivers to communicate
with their devices through the computer bus or a communications
subsystem. It is a process which is largely invisible to those
trying to get work done on the computer, much like the internal
workings of an automobile are largely invisible to a driver trying
to get from home to the grocery store.
The invisibility of device drivers is a good thing when
everything is working smoothly, but it tends to hinder
troubleshooting when trying to track down the cause of a
problem. When you upgrade or change hardware, Windows
doesn’t usually delete the old device drivers. Sometimes these
obsolete programs can cause hardware conflicts. Seemingly
unrelated quirky behavior on the part of the computer can often
be traced to a no longer used device driver.
Resolving device driver problems in Windows can be
difficult. In this article we’re going to focus on finding outdated
device drivers and eliminating them from your system.
Manually searching for device drivers on a Windows
system can be frustrating, time-consuming, and mostly a
waste of effort. Conveniently for us, Microsoft has provided
a way to locate unused device drivers and remove them.
The directions herein are designed specifically for
Windows 7, but the general process will work for Vista and
XP. There are slight variations in the process with each of
the operating systems; just be careful when reading each
screen. Let’s get on with it.
The Device Manager as it comes from Microsoft is not
set up to display device drivers that are no longer being
used. The Device Manager has to be configured to show
obsolete drivers so we can remove them. You need to add
something called a special Windows Environment Variable.
This is a text string that contains a path, file name or drive.
Programmers refer to this as a system property. We don’t
really care what they call it as long as it works.
3. From the System window, select Advanced
system settings.
4. From the System Properties dialog box, select the
Environment Variables button. (See illustration)
5. The Environment Variables dialog box contains
two panels, User variables and System variables.
6. Click the New… button.
7. In the New System Variable dialog box, type
8. Type 1 in the Variable Value text box.
9. Close all the dialog boxes.
In most cases there is no need to restart the system. Let’s
test the results of our labor.
1. Access the Start Menu.
2. Right click Computer.
3. Select Manage.
4. When the Computer Management window
appears, select Device Manager.
5. Open the View menu and select Show Hidden
From now on whenever you open a branch within the
Device Manager tree structure and device icons are
“grayed out” or appear faded, these are the unused
drivers. You can safely delete them. Whenever you add,
remove or change your hardware configuration, always
check for left over drivers and avoid problems.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 7
Net Neutrality
I have taken pride over the years that I have written this
column to offer my readers a non-political and nonpartisan break from the political tribulations of the day.
Unfortunately, sometimes politics and technology clash,
with each side having an argument supporting its opinions,
and expressing why the other side is wrong. A long
standing dispute rages in the technology world about the
internet, and who should control the access to it. This is not
some type of political censorship like what we often see in
totalitarian regimes, but an economic issue where strong
powers on both sides of the issue are taking a stance on the
future of the internet. This is not a classical Democrat
versus Republican, or liberal versus conservative squabble,
but a dispute about the potential revenue streams and the
use and control of the bandwidth that we have available.
This often heated discussion has made it to the halls of
Congress and to the bowels of the regulatory agencies,
with heavy input from the participants, all of whom are
trying to protect their turf. While the issues are complex,
and I will try to explain both sides of the issue in an impartial
manner, the name of the controversy carries the simple
moniker of “Net Neutrality”.
According to Wikipedia, “At its simplest, network
neutrality is the principle that all Internet traffic should be
treated equally. Net neutrality advocates have established
three principal definitions of network neutrality: Absolute
non-discrimination; Limited discrimination without QoS
(Quality of Service) tiering; and Limited discrimination
and tiering.” The expression “Absolute non-discrimination”
was defined by Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu
By Ira Wilsker, [email protected]
as “The idea is that a maximally useful public information
network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms
equally.” The part about limited discrimination without
quality of service tiering basically means that while
internet services providers can offer different levels of
service (speed and volume) to their customers at different
prices, they should not charge special fees for a higher
quality of service, or priority in delivering information.
University of Michigan Law School professor Susan P.
Crawford “believes that a neutral Internet must forward
packets on a first-come, first served basis, without regard
for quality-of-service considerations.” “Limited
discrimination and tiering” means that there can be no
exclusivity in service contracts, and that internet service
providers and carriers cannot charge users for exclusive
access to another’s content. This concept is not some
new creation of the internet age, but a well established
150 year old legal principal. Again, according to Wikipedia,
“In 1860, a US federal law was passed to subsidize a
telegraph line, stating that messages received from any
individual, company, or corporation, or from any telegraph
lines connecting with this line at either of its termini, shall
be impartially transmitted in the order of their reception,
excepting that the dispatches of the government shall
have priority … An act to facilitate communication
between the Atlantic and Pacific states by electric
telegraph, June 16, 1860.”
Google has published a policy statement (
help/netneutrality.html) that says, “Network
neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in
control of what content they view and what applications
they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated
according to this neutrality principle since its earliest
days... Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access
to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should
not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate
against competing applications or content. Just as telephone
companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they
can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should
not be allowed to use their market power to control activity
online.” Google is not alone with this concept, and has been
joined by many large content providers, including Yahoo!,
Vonage, eBay, Amazon, EarthLink, and others
What is happening today is that some internet service
providers (ISPs) are either hindering access to popular
online video and audio services, or implementing a special
fee or charge to the user in order to be able to access these
services at the users’ normal access speeds. Some of the
carriers engaged in these practices cite the infrastructure
cost that this high bandwidth usage incurs, and that it is only
fair to charge a premium price to those who are taxing the
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 8
capacity of the systems. According to the website, “… cable and telecommunications
companies such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time
Warner of wanting “to be Internet gatekeepers, deciding
which Web sites go fast or slow and which won’t load at
all. These companies want to tax content providers to
guarantee speedy delivery of their data … to discriminate
in favor of their own search engines, Internet phone
services, and streaming video while slowing down or
blocking their competitors.”
The cable and telecommunications companies are
represented by the US Telecom Broadband Association
( and the National Cable and
Telecommunications Association , (,
which have aptly presented the side of the big carriers.
The design, construction, maintenance, and upgrading of
the intranet infrastructure are very capital intensive, and
the demands on the networks are increasing dramatically.
As stated by Wikipedia, “… telecom providers should have
the ability to provide preferential treatment in the form of
a tiered services, for example by giving online companies
willing to pay the ability to transfer their data packages
faster than other Internet traffic. The added revenue from
such services could be used to pay for the building of
increased broadband access to more consumers.”
The NCTA, on its webpage ( says, “There
is no evidence that consumers are being prevented from
accessing any lawful content on the Internet, nor are
broadband providers impeding customers from subscribing
to broadband applications that don’t harm the network.
The best consumer protection is a vibrant marketplace in
which choice for providers exists and allows subscribers
to switch if they’re not satisfied with the current service.
The biggest risk of Internet Regulation is that it will freeze
investment and innovation in further broadband deployment
and development.” USTelecom, representing the broadband
providers, states on its webpage (,
“This unnecessary intervention would slow broadband
deployment and the arrival of a wide variety of proconsumer advances. Regulating the Internet would delay
the arrival of life-enhancing technological advances in
health care, education, the economy and beyond by sending
a distinct chill through the investment climate. This ‘about
face’ for U.S. innovation policy would undermine the
critical progress being made in today’s competitive Internet
marketplace, where adoption is accelerating across
demographic groups and nearly 1,400 companies are
racing to extend broadband’s capacity and reach throughout
our country. Instead of slamming on the brakes of our
information economy and slowing the arrival of new
innovations in our lives, our government should stay focused
on broadband deployment and pro-investment policies that
bring the high-speed Internet and its many possibilities to
all Americans.” According to Wikipedia, “John Thorne,
senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Verizon,
… has argued that they will have no incentive to make
large investments to develop advanced fibre-optic networks
if they are prohibited from charging higher preferred
access fees to companies that wish to take advantage of
the expanded capabilities of such networks. Thorne and
other ISPs have accused Google and Skype of freeloading
or free riding for using a network of lines and cables the
phone company spent billions of dollars to build.”
None of the combatants in this battle are claiming that
the internet should be fiscally free, or that it is wrong for
the ISPs to charge different rates for different speeds and
bandwidth limits. What is in dispute is whether all content
should be treated (and charged) equally in terms of
bandwidth and speed used, and whether the users of heavy
content providers (such as streaming DVDs by Netflix)
get equal access to the capacity the internet. Hypothetically,
an ISP could charge a user a premium price for priority
access to streaming DVDs, and thus transmit that data
ahead of his neighbors’ email, or offer faster speeds to
users of its own content than it does to other providers.
Another consideration under dispute is whether an ISP
should be able to provide a higher quality of service and
speed to its own digital phone service than it does another
digital phone service, such as Vonage or Skype.
Discrimination of these types is contrary to the concept of
“net neutrality”.
This is a tough issue with valid points made by both sides.
Hopefully the above content and links will provide the
reader with adequate information and resources on both
sides of the debate such that he can make his own decision.
As the technology advances, and our demands on the
internet infrastructure increases, we as a society must
come up with some viable way to ensure that the capacity
is there when and where we need it.
Computer S i z e References
From Andy Marken at [email protected]
• Byte - smallest tracked amout of data - basis
for all discussion (want more details on
that size check Wikipedia)
• Kilobyte - 10 to the power of three bytes
• Megabytes - 10 to the power of 6 bytes
• Gigabytes - 10 to the power of 9 bytes
• Terabytes - 10 to the power of 12 bytes or
• Petabytes - 10 to the power of 15 bytes
• Exabytes - 10 to the power of 18 bytes or
• Zettabytes - 10 to the power of 21 bytes
The next higher capacity: Yottabytes?
If you would like to receive his weekly newsletter
please contact him at [email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 9
MP3 Tag - A Useful Utility
By Phil Sorrentino, President, Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida,, [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).
As I have said in the past, “Utilities are usually small
programs that are intended to do a specific task or a small
range of tasks.” And I have also directed you to the SPCUG
Monitor Computer Buffet, where you can learn about
various free utilities (and even find a website from where you
can download the utility). However, keep in mind that when
you download something from the internet, you could get
something you were not expecting; so be very careful. With
that said, I’d like to discuss a free utility that allows you to
modify the MP3 Tag information that is used by MP3 players
like Windows Media Player or iTunes.
The reason you might want to use an MP3 Tag utility is
because these types of media players depend on the Tag
information to organize the tunes they find in your music
folders. If the Tag information is not what you expect, the
tune will be put in a location that might make it difficult for
you to find. It doesn’t matter what the file name is, the tune
will be put in a sequence depending on the Tag information,
only. Is it “The Beatles”, or “Beatles”, “The Kingston Trio”,
or “Kingston Trio”? When I put all my tunes together, I
found both versions of artist names. Also, sometimes the
tune comes from a compilation of artists. In this case it
probably goes into the “Various Artists” category, instead of
the “artist’s name” category.
MP3Tag is a free metadata editor that supports the MP3
audio format as well as many other formats such as AAC,
FLAC, MPC, OGG, MP4, WMA, and others. It runs under
Microsoft Windows XP and Vista (and probably Windows
7). MP3Tag allows the user to modify the ID3 tag data that
is created along with the MP3 file when a tune is initially
created, or ripped from a CD. It allows information such as
the title, artist, album, track number, or other information
about the audio portion of the file to be stored in the file itself.
By the way, there are many MP3 Tagging utilities available,
just Google MP3 Tag and you’ll see all the possibilities.
This may be too much detail, but there are two unrelated
versions of ID3: ID3v1 and ID3v2. (If this is too much
detail, skip this paragraph entirely.) ID3v1 was the original
attempt at capturing data about the tune. ID3v2 followed
shortly after and is very different from the v1 version.
ID3v2 is fairly complex, but suffice it to say that it includes
all of the pertinent information, and then some, relating to
the specific tune. ID3v2 has been modified and improved
over the past few years and is currently at ID3v2.4. For
those of you who asked “What the heck is metadata?, here
is a brief discussion that comes from Wikipedia. Metadata
(or sometimes metainformation) is “data about other data”,
of any sort in any media. An item of metadata may describe
an individual datum, or content item, or a collection of data
including multiple content items and hierarchical levels. In
data processing, metadata provides information about, or
documentation of, other data managed within an application
or environment. This commonly defines the structure or
schema of the primary data. For example, metadata would
document data about data elements or attributes, (name,
size, data type, etc.) and data about records or data
structures (length, fields, columns, etc.) and data about
data (where it is located, how it is associated, ownership,
etc.). Metadata may include descriptive information about
the context, quality and condition, or characteristics of the
data. And there you have a description of metadata.
MP3Tag is very easy to use. First, I have created a folder
called “FixThese” in my “MP3Music” folder, where I put any
tunes that I think need to have their ID3 tags modified. Then
I setup MP3Tag to use this folder. This way, I do my work in
a specific folder so I don’t upset anything in the folders that
contain all my music. Also, it is easier to work with a folder
that has a handful of files rather than thousands of tune files.
(The folder to be used is setup by clicking “File” and then
selecting “Change Directory”, then navigating to the directory
of your choice, “D:\MP3Music\FixThese” in this case.)
The MP3Tag window has two panes. The right-hand pane
shows the files in the designated folder. The left-hand pane
shows each of the specific ID3 data items that can be
modified. (By the way, default values can be setup for each of
these items, but I have left the default to “keep”, so that I
preserve the values when a tune is selected. These default
values can be setup in the Tools-Options-Tag Panel window.)
When you select a tune in the right-hand pane, the appropriate
values show up in the ID3 tag items on the left. Once the tune
selection is made, the values on the left can be changed to your
desired values. In the example shown above, the tune “Ventures
– Hawaii Five-O.mp3” has been selected. The Title is “Hawaii
Five-O – The Ventures” which is the file name. The title of the
tune should be only “Hawaii Five-O”, so I would change the
title to be such. The Artist: name is “Various – Adult” which
I would want to change to “Ventures”, or possibly “The
Ventures” if that is how you are referring to this artist. Other
information such as Album, Year, and Track may be correct
as indicated and will probably be left alone. Genre is an item
that is not as well defined as the other tags and therefore I have
found it to be less useful. Genre has some general meaning but
the meanings may vary a lot from person to person. There are
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 10
some fairly specific meanings for genre such as “Rock &
Roll”, “Country”, “Classical”, but many other meanings are in
the grey areas such as “Popular” and “Easy Listening”. If you
want to employ this tag to any degree of usefulness, you’ll
have to make your own definitions and then categorize all your
tunes according to these definitions. Otherwise, you’ll get
whatever the recording studio used for their definitions of
genres. After you are satisfied with the changes you have
made, click “File” and then select “Save tag” or just click on
the icon that looks like a floppy disk, to save the tag
information with the tune.
MP3Tag is a useful utility if you are accumulating a large
music collection and you have some specific ideas about
how you would like the tunes to be organized. MP3Tag has
a lot of additional features. I have described the ones that, I
feel, are basic to organizing a music collection. Music
collections have a way of growing in all directions and using
an MP3 Tag utility is a way of controlling that growth. !
Convert a PDF File to a Text File
By Sr. Dorothy Robinson, Newsletter Editor, The OMUG News, Olympia Microcomputer User
Group, Washington,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s another from a drop-down list. The second choice is to save
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
the file, and if you choose Save the file, your download
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
manager will save it to the default location—or you might get
Have you been wishing you had a piece of software that a Save as dialog and choose where to save it. One caution:
would convert PDF files to text files that you can edit? And opening the file directly rather than downloading it got me a
maybe also didn’t cost an arm and a leg?
Read Only file, which of course I couldn’t edit. So for editing
BCL Technologies has such software called purposes, save the file before opening.
easyConverter Desktop that costs about $20. That sounds
Make your choice by clicking a radio button, then
like a good buy to me. But it only works with Windows click OK. You now have a text file you can edit. And the
(2000, XP, Vista and Win 7). So that leaves a lot of people, quality is very nice, too—for mostly text documents. I
namely Linux users, out in the cold.
tried a PDF file that I had originally created in OpenOffice
The good news is that BCL also has a free, online utility Writer which contained a calendar in a table. The
that does the same thing. And your operating system results were not pretty! And for a postal PDF which
doesn’t come into it. Open your browser and go to http:// was a requisition form using tables, the results were and take a look.
somewhat better but still unusable since the tables
On the left side, under a header that says “Convert PDF overlapped, hiding some of the text.
to Word for Free” you’ll see a place to browse your
On the other hand, I made a list of data (several rows and
computer and select a file. Note that there is no need to columns) in an OpenOffice spreadsheet, exported it to
provide your email address, since you’ll just download the PDF, then uploaded it and converted it. When I downloaded
file directly.
this file, it was perfect—and perfectly editable.
Find your file and double click it (or click once then click
For me, using Ubuntu Linux, this free, online version
Open), then click the Upload and Convert button. Press it is a good thing. Windows users have a choice of the
only once, and wait; larger files may take a while to web version or the computer application. And
upload. The conversion is pretty fast, under a minute for pdf2word gives the best results I’ve seen for this kind
the one or two page files I tried. There is a 2 MB limit on of web application.
uploads, so really big files won’t work.
This part is where, if you wanted to do a lot of files, or
large ones, it would be great to have an application on your
computer to do it—thus eliminating the time to upload.
The next step is downloading the text file. I’m not sure
why the instructions say to Right Click on the link to
download the file, because for me at least it didn’t work.
I Left Clicked instead and the download dialog opened.
You’ll see that the file is a rich text file (.RTF or .rtf)
which can easily be opened by Word, OpenOffice Writer,
Abiword, or other word processors or text editors and be
available for editing. When you save it you can save it as
a .doc if you like.
The dialog asks, What should (your browser) do with this
file? The first choice is to open the file with the default
application (mine showed OpenOffice) or you can choose
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 11
Windows 7 Tech Tips
By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Regular Columnist, Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group,
Inc., Florida,, [email protected]
This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s systeminfo command gives you a summary which is
permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other
printable in one page.
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
There is another use for system information. If you
Have you ever wanted
this “system information” command into the Startor needed information
box, it will bring up a list of applications before
about the hardware in
typing. Select “System Information” from the
your computer? Did you
on it. You now have a double pane window
know that Windows 7
contains a command that with a tree of topics on the left and an information
can provide you with a window on the right. The first item is a general summary
list of your hardware of system information similar to the information we
components including obtained in the command window. But there are other
memory information? It more detailed topics under the headings in the tree list.
does and it is very easy For example, hardware resources, components and
to explore and to save software environment. Under components you will find
to a file. There are other a very important topic – problem devices. Hopefully, at
helpful little bits of this point there will be nothing listed when you highlight
information hidden in the this topic. But if there are, it can lead you to solutions for
recesses of Win7, so some of your hardware problems. Under software
let’s take some time to environment you will find a topic called Startups. This
explore a few of them. lists the applications that are loaded into memory when
your computer starts. Always something worth knowing.
First let’s check out the system information command.
Another interesting item under Software
Go to Start and type “cmd” in the Search box (without the
is Windows Error Reporting. This gives
quotes), then press Enter. This will open a command
list of applications that have “misfired”
window in which you can type “systeminfo”, also without
hang-ups. This can be useful
the quote marks. Press Enter again and you will get a
with either Windows or thirddetailed profile of your computer. This list will include the
the errors I found on my
processor, BIOS version, operating system and updates,
both installed and available memory and much more. In system were related to missing drivers that I had to
all, there are thirty-two categories of information provided install after installing Win7. Once that was completed
by this command. You can scroll up and down through this the errors disappeared. Yes, I said that with crossed
information. Then, if you want to save this info to a disc fingers – no use asking for bad luck, right?
If you haven’t backed up your computer recently,
file, type the command “systeminfo /FO CSV >
systeminfo.csv”. Again, without the quotes. This file will then you should try the backup built into Win7. In
be saved in the directory shown at the beginning of the previous versions of Windows the backup application
command line. So be sure you remember this location provided by Microsoft was very slow and some versions
when you go to look for the file. A CSV file can be opened were very limited in the media to which they would
in a spreadsheet or a database program. Now you will write the backup file. It was also useless when you
have a ready reference for the components which make changed your Windows version as the file formats in the
up your computer. It’s not a bad idea to create this file and backup file were not compatible with the newer version.
In the Win7 help files there is information on how to
keep it for reference purposes.
Of course, if you are a frequent reader of Dr Herb’s restore a backup made with Vista to Win7. So at least
“Computer Buffet” you would have seen references to the latest versions should be compatible.
These latest versions of the backup applications are
“Belarc Advisor”. This free program gives you a profile
of all the hardware and software on your machine. It much faster than previous versions. To try the backup
also highlights problem areas such as non-working applications, open the Control Panel and select System
applications. The software information can be quite Security, then backup and restore. Here you have
extensive. The last time I ran this application on a several options. You can do a complete image of your
Windows machine I had more than eight pages of hard drive, just backup your data, or make a system
information. Far more than I really wanted. The repair disc. If you did not get a Windows installation
disc when you purchased your computer, then the first
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 12
thing you should do is make a system repair disc. All
you need for this is a blank CD and then just follow the
on-screen instructions. The next step would be to
make a complete image file, preferably on an external
drive. It’s really not a good idea to put it on the same
drive you are imaging even if it is a separate partition.
Why? Because when the drive fails you won’t be able
to access the image file to restore anything to a new
hard drive. Even if you do have a Windows installation
disc the repair disc plus the image file are a better
solution for restoring Windows and your files after a
drive failure. The image file you create will be more
current than the original installation disc when it comes
to Windows updates. It will also include the installation
of all the applications you added after you purchased
the system or upgraded to Win7.Once you have the
repair disc and the image backup you can start doing
data backups, or you can create new image files
periodically. There is no need to make image files
unless you have added applications or made substantial
changes to your system. Windows file backup can be
set to run automatically to save your data files. It will
also add new folders and files to the backup list when
you create them. I would also recommend that this be
saved to an external drive.
Do you have a need for a system to remember user
names and passwords? Win7 has a credential manager
which can be used for storing user names and passwords
in an encrypted file. This application can be found in the
Control Panel under User Accounts. If you can’t find it,
try searching within the Control Panel.
Dry Out That Cell Phone
Cell phones are tougher than they look. Although most
mobile phone manufacturers don’t claim that their phones
are water-resistant, many phones can undergo a quick
dunk. “The key is to minimize the time the phone is wet
and the time the battery is on the phone while it is wet,”
says John Wernecke, spokesperson for Motorola.
“Remove the battery. Give it time to dry before replacing
the battery. Some have reported that wrapping the phone
in a thick towel to absorb liquid works very well.”
In our own experience, we’ve found that phones often
need as much as 48 hours to completely dry. Once
you’ve dried and then reassembled the phone, power it
on and place a test call to make sure the phone works
properly. If your phone displays problems (or doesn’t
power on at all), it’s probably time to find a new phone.
Software For Students
Students all across the country are getting ready to start
school, or maybe they already have. Consider what
software they’ll need to make this year a success. A
word processing program is a must for students of any
I frequently have a need to write down short notes
or references to information I found on the Internet or
in other sources. This is where Sticky Notes comes in
quite handy. You can run this application by typing
“stikynot” in the Start – Search box and clicking on the
program that shows in the popdown menu.
Alternatively, you can go to All Programs – Accessories
and click on Sticky Notes. These can be placed
anywhere on your desktop. You can also pin the
application to the taskbar so it will be readily available.
Just right click on the menu item or one of the sticky
notes and select “pin to taskbar”.
If you want to see the minute by minute performance of
your computer, try typing “resource monitor” in the Start
- Search box. The complete term will show up before you
have completed typing and you can then click on the item.
This brings up a window in which you can view the
memory utilization, cpu utilization and other resources as
you use your computer. It’s a great way to see which
applications are using the most memory.
By playing around with the Control Panel and other
aspects of Windows 7, you can find many helpful builtin functions. You can also query the Help files. On my
system the Help response is much quicker than it was
in Vista and XP. I also found that many subjects are
better explained and more detailed. So if you are stuck
on something, try the Help application that’s on the
Start menu. The more you play with Win7, the more you
will find that may be useful.
Dr. Lewis is a former university and medical school professor of
physiology. He has been working with personal computers for over
thirty years, developing software and assembling systems.
age. Also consider educational games for young ones;
CD burning and photo-editing software for middle and
high schoolers; and design and video-editing software
for an up-and-coming graphic design major or
videographer. An antivirus or security program is a must
no matter what age.
Bluetooth is a wireless networking standard that lets
your phone communicate wirelessly with other devices.
The standard isn’t as robust as wireless networks for
PCs (many Bluetooth devices have a range of only 33
feet), but it easily handles data transfers between
nearby devices. Wireless headsets are the most popular
Bluetooth-based phone accessories.
Don’t buy a new phone simply because your existing
phone lacks Bluetooth, however. Many headsets
include a Bluetooth adapter that you can plug into your
phone, and you can store an adapter with your headset
until you’re ready to plug in.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 13
When is a dSLR NOT a dSLR?
By Jerry Schneir, Member of the Los Angeles Computer Society, 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).
Simple question but
very indicative of
what the future holds
for some of us photo
buffs. In simple terms,
it is a camera that is
devoid of a mirror box
assembly. In other
terms it is an
interchangeable lens camera, but unlike a single lens
reflex (SLR) it does NOT have a mirror to redirect the
light from the lens to the optical viewfinder. All SLR
cameras, digital and otherwise, use a mirror assembly
to intercept the light that comes through the lens and
redirects the incoming light to the viewfinder rather
than to the film (or sensor) at the back of the camera.
Generally the light will also pass through a prism or
fixed mirrors at the top of the camera on its way to the
viewfinder. It is this complex configuration that gives
a SLR a distinctive look. It is also this configuration
that gives a SLR a distinctive sound as the mirror
swings out of the path of the incoming light and then
returns to redirect the light back to the viewfinder.
To answer the question we need to go back in time.
The entire dSLR world started changing in September
of 2004 with Olympus’s introduction of their E300
dSLR. Here was a camera that didn’t look quite like
anything else, not SLR nor rangefinder. It sported a
mirror that worked different, didn’t have the traditional
top bulge and was based upon the Four Thirds sensor
design. In September of 2005 Olympus came out with
their E500 a dSLR looking camera and then in January
of 2006 they introduced the E330, another dSLR type,
but a camera with “Live View”, the ability to see the
image on the LCD before the shot was taken.
That feature caused
an uproar among the
In February 2006
Panasonic introduced
their unique looking L1
which was also based
upon the Four Thirds
sensor. While the L1
still incorporated a
mirror it did not have the look of a SLR, but more
closely the rangefinder cameras of the ‘1950-1960
period. That camera bombed primarily because of
cost. In August of 2007 Panasonic introduced the L10
which now resembled the traditional look of the SLR
and had Live View but again did not do as well as hoped
for by Panasonic.
In September of 2008 Panasonic brought forth the
G1 a Micro Four Thirds camera that looked like a
dSLR in that it had the characteristic bulge on the top
of the camera, had interchangeable lenses, but it did
NOT have a mirror box assembly. In the GI, light
passed directly through the lens onto the imaging
sensor. This was a much different camera. The camera
was different for several other reasons. It was based
upon the Four Thirds
sensor size introduced
several years earlier,
but used Micro Four
Thirds mount lenses,
and used an electronic
viewfinder (EVF) in
place of the traditional
optical viewfinder of
the digital single lens
reflexes (dSLR)
cameras. Though it
looked like the smaller dSLR cameras, Micro Four
Thirds cameras are not dSLRs. They are also smaller
because they don’t house a dedicated autofocus image
sensor. The autofocus on the G1 uses the Four Thirds
image sensor. This is exactly like autofocus on a
compact camera. But here, autofocus is speedier
because on the Micro Four Thirds cameras they use
both a faster autofocus algorithm and a faster processor.
This makes autofocus feels faster and more like a
dSLR, at least on some cameras.
Up to this time, two companies, Olympus and
Panasonic had adopted the Kodak developed Four
Thirds sensor design. The major advantage, and to
some old diehards, the only advantage, was the
reduction in both size and weight of the lenses and to
a certain extent, the size and weight of the camera
body as well. But these earlier cameras although
smaller and lighter in weight, still could NOT do what
every point and shoot camera could, show the image on
the LCD or EVF before taking the picture and shoot
movies. The GI still lacked the movie ability. The
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 14
movie mode was just
peeking its head up in
regular dSLR at about
that time with “Live
View”. Panasonic
changed that with the
arrival of the GH1
in March 2009, a
new movie mode had
been added.
Up to this point in time, all these cameras still utilized
the mirror box, nothing really had changed until the
earth shattering (somewhat an exaggeration)
introduction of the new mirrorless cameras in 2009, the
Olympus E-P1. This was a rangefinder looking camera,
albeit, without a rangefinder but having the rangefinder
look. However, this breakthrough camera lacked two
important built-in features, no flash and no viewfinder
of any type. Olympus partially corrected this “whoops:
with the introduction of the E-P2 in November 2009.
This camera had a port for connecting a high resolution
EVF. In February of this year, Olympus announced its
newest edition to this family, the E-PL1. This camera
had a built in flash and a port for connecting the EVF.
Panasonic finally took the plunge into a rangefinder
style camera with the introduction of the GF1 in
September of 2009. The GF1 uses an optional EVF and
has a built-in flash unit. In March of this year, Panasonic
announced two new cameras, the G2 and the G10.
These are almost identical cameras resembling SLR
designs more than anything else. Interchangeable
Micro Four Thirds lenses but no mirror boxes.
But this question
about dSLR cameras
doesn’t end here,
other cameras with
lenses but lacking a
mirror box have been
introduced, have been
announced, or are
rumored to be in the
works. I have deliberately skipped talking about Leica
cameras since, IMHO they are just largely rebadged
Panasonics. Sony showed their non-working prototype
based upon full APS-C sensor. Ricoh’s GXR comes
with interchangeable units containing a lens and a
sensor in a rangefinder style camera. Can’t say much
about the sensor size since it is dependent upon the lens
that is part of the system. I have strong reservations
about this concept.
The Samsung NX10 is a rangefinder style camera
using a new lens format called NX. What is most
interesting about this camera is that it uses a APS-C
size sensor, that is about 1.5x that of the Four Thirds
sensors. Of course, this means larger and heavier
lenses than that of the Panasonic or Olympus cameras
of similar designs. While Canon and Nikon have said
nothing, rumors are rampant. I suspect that we will see
new mirrorless digital cameras from these mammoths
of the industry in the later part of this year. I suspect
that the designs will be that of rangefinder styles
reminiscent of earlier Nikon RF cameras of the 19401960 and the same with Canon except they may base
it more on their popular G series of cameras such as
their G11.
So here we have it, a whole new class of cameras,
you might say SLR cameras minus the R. I prefer to
say RF style since in my mind they are truly reminiscent
of cameras from the 1940-1960 time period. The
advantage to this new group of cameras is smaller size
and lighter weight while maintaining the excellent
image quality associated with the dSLR cameras.
Disadvantage, fewer lens choices and, for the time
being, relatively more expensive. Some of these
cameras tend to be slower focusing but that is changing
in the newer models.
BCC For Privacy?
Some people suggest that you send emails to more
than one person using the BCC option (blind carbon
copy) to protect the privacy of the recipients.
The general idea is that when you put a recipient’s
address in the To field or the CC field, you are sharing
private information without the owner’s consent. For
example, if you include your sister and your coworker in the To field, you have given your sister’s
address to your co-worker without her permission.
When your co-worker forwards the message to
everyone in his fantasy football league, all those
people receive your sister’s address. You can read
more about the BCC for Privacy campaign at:
There is a downside to using BCC, which is that many
spam filtering services consider a message more
likely to be spam if it is sent BCC.
Reprinted with permission from Sierra Tel
E d i t o r’ s N o t e : Come to the June general
meeting and learn more about this subject.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 15
Upgrade Your E-mail Activities
By Ron Hirsch, Member and Contributing Editor, Boca Raton Computer Society, Florida,, [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).
It’s probable that 99% of computer
users use e-mail in their daily lives. It
has been my observation that the
majority of users do a less than perfect
job of writing and handling their mail.
The purpose of this presentation is to (hopefully) give you
tips and hints on improving your activities in this area.
We all make typos occasionally, and an occasional typo
is no real tragedy. But, sometimes we forget that spelling,
punctuation and grammar, and form should be a part of
everyday e-mail activities. We should also remember that
e-mail can be a mirror of who and what we are, especially
to those with whom we have little or no direct personal
contact. For these reasons, it behooves us to take more
pains in the area of our e-mail. The offenders are not only
the newbies. Advanced users are often the worst culprits.
For those of you who think some of the material below
makes me a snob, maybe that’s so. But like it or not, we are
judged by our e-mail, just as we’d be judged by our snail
mail. Many who are very careful
when they write a normal letter to
be mailed, have utter disregard for
the appearance of their e-mail.
There are many different programs that
are used for e-mail. Some of the most
widely used are probably Outlook
Express, AOL, G-Mail (Google), and
Hot Mail (Microsoft). They all have
their own idiosyncrasies, but there are
many common elements that all share which
many people just don’t
bother to learn or use.
This is OK, as the
capabilities are there
when one decides to take advantage of them. But regardless
of what program you use, or what features you take
advantage of, the suggestions below are still applicable.
I happen to be a fussbudget. In most everything that I do
in life, I always seek to make things as perfect as possible.
Then when the normal course
of events occurs, and
perfection is compromised, at
least I’m left with a respectable
end result. Of course, if I should
start off with mediocrity, then the normal course of events
will give me a pretty poor final result.
Here’s a list of suggestions to make your e-mail
better. There is really nothing earthshaking or new
here. But from my observations over the years,
many people tend to ignore many of these elements
1. Don’t run everything together into one long paragraph
for the whole e-mail message.
2. Use double spaces between paragraphs.
3. Keep the salutation on a separate opening line, and
double space to the start of the message body.
4. Use a “pleasant” font. This makes reading your
message more pleasant. I personally use a font that
is installed by Windows called “Comic Sans MS”.
Don’t use a harsh or overly styled font
5. Capitalize the start of each sentence. Don’t make
single sentences extend beyond a reasonable length.
6. And, use proper punctuation. Don’t use all CAPS.
This is interpreted as “shouting.”
7. If your e-mail software has a spell checker, use it,
and also proofread your outgoing message for
typos, content, and grammar, before sending it.
Of course, spell checkers can’t pick up errors like
those below, as the words are correctly spelled,
they’re just not the right word. Don’t get sloppy with
your grammar and use of contractions. I continue to
see the following very often in mail. I’m sure that
most of you know the proper usage, but just get
a. Using “your”, instead of “you’re”, and vice
b “It’s” for possessive . “It’s” is a contraction for
“it is” - it is not a possessive form
c. Using “their” instead of “they’re”, and vice
d. Using a lower case “i” instead of an upper case
“I” for the personal pronoun.
e. When you want to send someone a copy of
something from another piece of e-mail, I feel
the cleanest approach is to copy and paste from
the other message. If you don ‘t know how to
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 16
copy and paste, it’s probably time you learned.
8. Copying and pasting is a very basic Windows function,
applicable to just about every program in Windows.
This was reviewed in earlier “Basics” articles.
9. Every time something is routinely copied from another
e-mail message, it probably carries along with lots of
unwanted formatting, and “garbage.” If the copy
and paste material is short, manually clean out all the
extra spaces, carriage returns, and symbols such as
“<“ and “>”. I’ve seen such messes created when
I’ve been sent material that has been copied/
forwarded several times that I just refuse to read it.
10. There are a many freeware and shareware programs
out there which will clean up situations like this.
NoteTab, which is the finest text editor out there
offers a freeware version, and several shareware
versions. It has a built in feature that will clean up
most of the weird spaces and carriage returns in
such situations. For my own personal use, and for
other WordPerfect users, I wrote a macro that does
an excellent job of “cleaning up” such situations. It
even gets rid of the < and > characters. Anyone
using WordPerfect and wanting a copy - e-mail me
a request at [email protected]
11. It seems that the much of the e-mail out there is
people sending jokes to their friends. Depending
upon the e-mail system you’re using, the incoming
message can end up being pages and pages of
headers from all the previous transmittals. I once got
such a message that had 14 long headers at the
beginning, with each header containing dozens of
names. And, the actual area with the jokes was just
about unreadable by the time it reached me. I politely
asked the sender to take me off his mailing list.
To do the cleanest possible job, the best way is to cut and
paste (and clean up the formatting after pasting) into a
new message. You say that’s a lot of bother - maybe so.
But, the people who receive your mail will be thankful to
you, and also be impressed with the “quality” of your
work in this area.
If the recipients of your
mail can handle HTML,
and you have HTML
available to you in your
e-mail program, try
using colors, and other
text formatting. In
Outlook Express, this is accessed via the top menu using
FORMAT>RICH TEXT (HTML). Using this format
allows the user to use colored text, add in photos, and in
general, make a message much more attractive.
For example - when someone sends me a message with
a number of questions, I like to insert the answers to each
question immediately following that question, and color my
response text to make it clearly visible. This makes it much
easier for the reader to read the answers to the questions.
There are two basic ways to send photos. If your mail can
handle HTML, they can usually be inserted or pasted right
into the message. Or, they can be sent along as a file
attachment, which can then be saved and viewed on
another computer using a suitable image viewing program,
which virtually all computers have available.
To do a more careful job of
generating your e-mail messages,
especially when they’re long or
complicated ones, consider
generating them offline in a word
processor or text editor. You can
then take advantage of the spell
and grammar checkers which are
available in programs like WordPerfect and Microsoft
Word. And, it’s usually much easier to write and review
things, especially when the messages are long. When
completed, you can then copy and paste the message into
your e-mail message.
I’m sure that there are those who feel “fixing up” their email is a waste of time. After all, if people can manage to
read and understand what you write, what’s the big deal
anyway. Well, here’s an analogy. Would you go to a party
in torn clothes, with your hair messed up, and your hands
and face dirty? If you answer “yes”, then don’t bother with
anything I’ve said in this article. However, if you answer
“no,” then you accept the fact that you will be judged by
your appearance. And, your e-mail is definitely an
appearance that you will be judged by, like it or not.
If you find this material useful, you may want to download
this article in PDF format, from our web site This allows readers to keep the material
either as a PDF file, and/or print it out, and place it in a
loose-leaf notebook for future reference.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 17
Discovering Windows 7 – Part 3
By Neil Stahfest, Librarian, Tacoma Area PC User Group, Washington,,
[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).
save all your system information. In other words, you have
to be there for the entire process, to insert new blank disks
as they are needed.
I know many of you are in the process of Upgrading to
Now let’s get to the process we are going use to backup
Windows 7. As you’ve probably figured out, the more
carefully you plan for this the easier it will be. It’s also our computer. Windows 7 Home Premium edition, unlike
important to make a backup copy of your important files previous versions of Windows, comes with a complete
before you start the upgrade. After you’ve installed backup program built into it. All you have to do is click on
Windows 7, you’ll want to verify that your hardware was the “Start” button and type “backup” in the “Search box.”
automatically configured (i.e. printers, scanners, etc.) and Near the top of the list of options that appears you’ll find
install your favorite application programs. Remember, “Backup and Restore.” Click on it.
unless you are using the “Upgrade” installation method to
migrate from Windows Vista to Windows 7 (or Laplink’s
PCMOVER program), you will need to reinstall your
applications programs in Windows 7 to get the required
program information into the Windows Registry.
With the effort it took to setup your computer and install
any programs fresh in your memory, this might be an
excellent time to think about backing up your system. A
good backup can make recovery from a hard disk failure
or a vicious virus infection a simple process that usually
takes less than an hour instead of many hours or even days.
Before we talk about how to backup your system, we
need to think about what media we will backup to. Logically,
Awindow like this will appear. You can backup or restore
you won’t want to store a system backup on drive C. If
your computer from this window. It also shows if you’ve made
your hard drive were to crash or become infected your
any backups and allows you to schedule automatic backups.
backup would be at risk.
When you click on “Create a system image” your
In my opinion, an external hard disk drive that connects
to your computer with a USB cable is the best place to computer will search for drives where you can store your
backup your system. Currently (February 2010) you can backup and ask you which drive you are going to use. After
find 320 megabyte to 1 terabyte (1000 megabytes!) external selecting your destination drive, you will see a window like
hard drives on sale for less than $100. When selecting a the one below, where you can select which drives to
hard drive, my advice is to go with a larger size rather than backup. Once you’ve selected you source drive(s), you’ll
a smaller one. What seems adequate today will probably be taken to another window to start your backup.Assuming
that you’re using a destination drive large enough to hold
seem small in a year or two.
your entire backup, you can go get a cup of coffee (or two)
You should be able to backup your entire system several while the backup program runs to completion.
times on one of these drives and yet they are small enough
If this is the first time you’ve made a system backup, you
that you can fit one in your pocket and take anywhere. You
will be asked to “Create a system repair disk.” This is a CD
can also use one external drive on more than one computer.
which will enable you to boot your computer in the event
Alternately, most backup programs will allow you to save of a hard drive failure that prevents you from starting your
your information to CD or DVD disks. You almost certainly computer. Once the computer has started, using the repair
already have a CD/DVD drive installed in your computer CD, you’ll be able to access your system image (created
(unless it’s a mini-laptop like a net computer). Once the above) to automatically restore everything (including
data is burned onto them, you can store the disks any place, Windows, all your programs, files and settings) on your
including in another room, with a friend or even in a safe hard drive.
deposit box (where they will be safe from a home disaster).
Once you have a total system backup, I recommend
The problem with using these disks, even high capacity
making additional total system backups at least once a
dual layer DVDs, is that it will take more than one disk to
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 18
month. This will keep your system backups up to date
(you’d be amazed at the number of files you add or change
(pictures, emails, etc.) in a month. This will give you extra
backups in case one backup is defective for some reason.
Port Problem Or Hardware Problem?
Because you use ports to connect peripherals such as
printers and keyboards to your computer, inoperable
hardware could be a symptom of a port problem. Try
resetting the port by restarting your PC and
reconnecting the device. If this doesn’t work, it’s time
for some trial-and-error troubleshooting.
To try to determine whether the port or a malfunctioning
device is causing the problem, connect the hardware
device to another computer. If it works, the problem
may be related to the port. If you don’t have another
computer available, you can try plugging a different
device into the port. For example, if you plug a
keyboard into a USB port and it’s not working, try a
USB mouse or flash drive. If it works, you can focus
on troubleshooting the nonworking peripheral device
and not the port.
Display Issues
The Windows 7 backup program also allows you to
make quick backups of selected folders, such as your
documents, music or pictures. This is a useful way to make
backups of file areas that change between your scheduled
full system backups.
PC World Magazine has an excellent video which
describes the backup process at the web address below:
Of course you don’t have to use the Windows 7 Backup
program. There are a number of excellent third party
system backup programs, such as Acronis True Image,
that work as well or even better. You can find them in
stores or through Internet distributors. One advantage of
a third part backup program is that you don’t need to buy
Windows 7 to get it. Plus, you can use these third party
programs with other versions of Windows.
POST SCRIPT – Several days after writing this article
the hard drive on my desktop PC started to malfunction.
Fortunately, I had routinely made full system backups. It
only took 15 minutes to physically replace the hard drive.
Using my repair disk and the backup file which I had saved
to an external hard drive, it took less than an hour to
completely load Windows 7, all my programs, files and
settings on the new hard drive and restored full operation
to my computer.
Yes, hard drives do fail! Manufactures say they have a
life of 5 to 10 years. Other factors, such as power surges,
may cause early failure. Play it safe and make a backup!!
If the images on your computer screen are fluctuating
(one second they’re there, and the next they’re not),
check your connections. If the connection between
your PC and your monitor isn’t perfect, the data may
have difficulty making its way from the computer to
the screen. Take a look at the cable running between
the PC and the monitor. Is it bent or crimped? Are the
pins not straight? Are the connectors loose? If you
answer yes to any of these questions, you may need to
replace or secure the cable.
Need A Boost?
If your computer is running slower than it used to, and
you’ve increased your use of high-performance apps,
you’ll probably benefit from more memory. Often,
computers come with enough memory to let you do
basic tasks, such as email and word processing, but
more memory is necessary to run lots of programs at
once, particularly ones with intense graphics or
demanding tech specs. Ask your local CE retailer
what amount of memory is best for your computer.
Convenience In The Car
Finding the ideal spot to secure your portable GPS
(global positioning system) device in your car so you
can easily view and access the mapping system is
important. GPS mounts provide a stationary location
that allows for a convenient positioning close to the
driver. Different mount styles are available, including
ones for your dash and ones for the windshield. Some
windshield mounts feature a 360-degree rotating ball
head. Be sure to find out if your state allows drivers to
use windshield GPS devices.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 19
“2010: A Live Chat Tech Support
By Gay Jenson,, [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).
My experience with computers began professionally
and personally at the same time: 1984. George Orwell
would have been quite proud, particularly if he could
have read this article.
I don’t know how many people in this big, web-wide
world of ours have ever had the unusual experience of
utilizing an “online tech support chat” service, whether
it be for help with purchasing an item from a catalog,
filing your income taxes, or simply downloading a
program necessary for your computer. Until recently,
I hadn’t had this unique opportunity of the 21st century
version of “letting your fingers do the walking.”
It began simply enough; my husband and I had
experienced marked slowness in our operating speed
for Windows XP (yes, we’re still in that mode), and
Norton products had issued us several friendly reminders
that our computer was low on memory (as, I might add,
are the two of us). This, they explained, might help our
computer open programs easier, download quicker,
and in general, simply improve the overall speed and
function. Sounded logical. Sign us up.
In the past, when we’ve purchased/updated our
security, anti-virus, anti-spyware, etc. type programs,
it’s usually been done by ordering and paying online,
and then simply downloading from their site. No
problem. However, this time, there seemed to be a
vicious cycle running against us…we’d try to download
the program (for which we had already paid), and yet,
because the program wasn’t downloaded yet, the
computer’s memory was still too low, thus creating a
bottleneck usually reserved for matters of Congress.
And so, the decision was made to go ahead and use the
online tech support service, in its “friendly chat format.”
If you have not gone through this before, a brief
explanation of the “chat”: it is exactly like Instant
Messaging (IM), in that you and the other person on
the other end of the chat are typing back and forth in
real time. The difference would be that in a tech
support situation, you have no idea with whom you are
chatting, or if it’s even a person, for that matter. In my
instance, my tech support representative’s name was
“Chithra,” and I don’t know if that’s a male or a female,
but I decided it was a woman and left it at that. For
some reason I felt more nurtured that way, even as a
47-year-old wife and mother myself.
In a way, it’s a bit like the ultimate blind date: neither
of you have a clue as to the other’s actual range of
understanding, what you look like, how you like your
coffee in the morning, and so on. And so, as what I
thought was a bit cheesy, the grand marshal of the
technical support site announces (in typed form) that I
(Gay Jenson) have now entered the Chat Room. I felt
a bit like Elvis. And then it waits.
Now, at this point, I’m wondering if I should do the
polite thing and figuratively shake my hand and introduce
myself? No need, as it turns out, because now, my
“date,” Chithra, has done just that. She introduces
herself and asks me what my particular problem is
(which I had already done in the previous section, but
that’s okay, I’m willing to go over it once more for the
sake of problem-solving). Chithra understands
immediately and is quite willing to get started on this as
soon as possible. Would that okay?
Well, yes, I believe it would, I typed back to Chithra.
Automatically, I’m assigned a case number, so that
if our blind date gets cut short by some power surge,
I can bring them back up and get started again. Now,
at this point, Chithra is rapidly typing me, giving me
the appropriate links that should get me where I need
to go in order to download this additional memory
program….and of course, the same problem occurs,
it won’t download. Chithra—the ultimate chatty cathy
— has now offered (or asked permission) to simply
take it into her own tiny hands and handle it herself.
This is the part I have never done before…I’d
participated in online chats with tech support before,
but never had I simply handed over the keyboard
keys to the kingdom! Such trust, such blind faith, such
fear of major security breach! I began searching for
a paper bag in case I began hyperventilating at some
point. I doubt Chithra needed one.
While I reluctantly agreed, I sat back and was
amazed at how quickly Chithra’s fingers flew across
my screen….it was quite disconcerting, and I was
almost afraid to look at my keyboard for fear that I
would see the keys moving as well, like something
from an old late-night movie where the invisible ghost
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 20
is playing the massive organ but no one can see the
hands….just the keys moving….
Chithra not only typed at lightning speed, she was
also bringing up windows right and left, up and down,
resembling a CNN news story during an earthquake
report or election night results. I decided to throw in
a little levity by sending Chithra a quick note in the
chat room: “Thank goodness I don’t have ADD, with
all these windows popping up, right and left,” I wrote,
laughing to myself at the cleverness of my remark.
Chithra did not respond. Worse yet, my innocent
action of using my mouse to direct it to the chat room
box, and then actually type, caused Chithra to quickly
regain control of the process. This was a stern reminder
that I was no longer in control here. I began looking
around my home office for evidence of tiny cameras
and/or listening devices. They could have been in the
tissue box, or the stapler! You never know!
By now, it had become clear to me, as well as poor
Chithra, that this wasn’t going to be as smooth as she
thought it would be. And so, she had to go to another
chat room (presumably one with more fresh air and/or
cubicles), and then once again, introduced herself to me
and announced to everyone that Gay Jenson had entered
the room. Elvis again. And, what’s worse, Chithra and
I both seemed to be in 3 rooms at once: she in her office
(presumably, again); me in mine; and then our “chatbodies” in two separate chat rooms. Those are quite a
few places for a person to be at once.
So, at this point, Chithra is once again on overdrive,
now in the second chat room, opening, closing, pointing,
clicking, dragging, deleting, busting through her own
firewalls, and in general, just really making a name for
herself in the world of online tech support chat rooms.
I continued to watch in careful amazement, not wanting
to touch anything and risk the wrath of Chithra, should
I throw her off her game. I did sneak over to the first
chat room to see if she had responded to my ADD
joke, but still hadn’t.
Okay….now we had gotten to the point where it
appeared that it had been successfully downloaded,
and she told me that it would be necessary for me to hit
“restart” after her final process concluded. So, while
there was still a bit of time left on the clock, I switched
over to the first chat room to see if she’d ever answered
the ADD joke….and she swiftly moved my curser
back to the window where that final process was
counting down the seconds to the restart. “Stay
focused!” is what it seemed she was telling me. I
decided no matter what, I would NOT touch that
mouse again unless it was time to restart.
The clock winds down, I’m poised to hit “restart,”
and wouldn’t you know it, but good ole’ Chithra had
beaten me to the punch and did it for me after all. She
never did trust me. “Can’t trust those humans, after all,”
is what she was probably saying to her counterparts.
Once “we” restarted, it did seem, at least in the
beginning, that things were starting up more quickly at
this point—perhaps downloading the extra memory
was worth it after all. But then, OH NO!, Chithra hit a
brick wall, too. Now from where I was sitting, I don’t
think she was going to take that lying down, and I
certainly wasn’t going to get in her way. A few wellplaced keystrokes later, and she had that thing up and
running in no time.
I may have forgotten to mention this earlier, but in the
beginning of the “chat,” Chithra had asked for my
telephone number, so that they could call me if anything
else was necessary in human form. I can’t imagine what
that would be, but I gave in. So, afraid that someone
might call at the same time as Chithra, I decided to take
preemptive strike and I texted both my mother, my
husband and my daughter to let them know I was under
home-computer arrest, and needed to keep the landline open for the time being. In all actuality, I was
joking, but figured it was kind of funny….until the
phone rang….and it was Chithra! (or at least it said the
name of the organization on the Caller ID) I quickly
answered, nervous and worried that I had somehow
given away the secret recipe for tomato soup, but no
sooner had I answered, than she (?) hung up on me!
The nerve! And not even an apology in either of our
chat rooms.
And still no recognition of my ADD joke, which
frankly, wasn’t all that funny, but sometimes you just
want to be noticed.
Well, fast-forward, and in conclusion Chithra did get
the program downloaded, we have a lot more memory
now (more than I have in my head, which is kind of sad),
and Chithra assured me that she knew I was valuable to
their company and that my time should NOT be wasted!
I felt this was a very thoughtful thing to chat.
In the distance, my television was on, and the old
classic Stanley Kubrick movie, “2001:ASpace Oddessy”
was playing. I wonder if Chithra knew HAL? What I do
know for certain is that I couldn’t have outwitted Chithra
the way the Kubrick’s astronaut did with HAL. Chithra
was way onto me from the very beginning.
Gay Jenson is a published author of Mirror Journals-Reflections of
a Father-Daughter Journey of Hope, a memoir of a cancer survivor
who resides in Phoenix, AZ with her husband Paul, one dog and
three cats. Gay is also the daughter Elizabeth Wright, a member of
the Computer Club of Oklahoma City.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 21
Editorial Bits
By Patrick Libert, Editor, Danbury Computer Society, CT,,
[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).
How cool is this! How many times have you opened the
link to a web page and seen a gobbledygook of mixed
messages and ads surrounding the article you really want
Computers and Healthcare
to read?
We have all probably had it “up to here” with the health
Install this free bookmarklet in your browser’s bookmark
care debate. Medicine is in the twenty-first century; bar, click on the bookmark after you have chosen the page
medical record keeping in the nineteenth!
you want to see. Abracadabra! All the clutter on the page
Pet peeve? When I visit my physician’s office, a new is removed.
computer monitor adorns the exam room. Is it used to
Many of you may already be aware of this site http:/
access my medical history during my visit? Not in the least! / Kim Komando has a syndicated
It’s much easier to leaf through a copious file folder, unable nationwide radio show and columnist. Her site has a multitude
to find (once again) whether or not I had a recommended of useable information for all computer users, PC or Mac. I
exam the previous year. Time wasted: several minutes have bookmarked many links found on her web site.
which could have been better utilized to discuss current
health topics.
In my opinion, the only in way in which we are going to (
accelerate this modernizing process is to use the populist I have been experimenting with the free version of
approach. Tell your doctor(s), your hospital, your medical Snowtape. This software allows me to listen to a radio
insurance company that you demand an immediate stream and record at my choosing any portion of the
improvement. You will be pleasantly surprised at the power broadcast. It then transfers automatically to my iTunes
of a letter or of an email. I do it all the time; so can you! music gallery for future listening. There are other similar
applications but, so far, this is my favorite.
Social Networking
That relatively new phrase now permeates our daily
conversations and actions. The press sometimes depicts
this new web-based activity as a waste of time, a fad which
will eventually disappear. On the contrary, this is a
technological evolution which can help everyone.
Whoa! Hold on for a minute. Let’s not just think of this
as an online dating service, or an activity reserved for
teens. On the contrary, social networking is a remarkable
way to communicate with existing and long-lost friends and
family with little delay.
In my case, having several siblings and friends in Europe,
we are now able to rapidly exchange comments, photo
albums and various files thanks to social networking sites
such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. I would even
include Skype as a form of social network because we can
speak to and see each other and bring our family
communications to a degree never before possible without
crossing the Atlantic.
Were I not retired, I surely would be actively participating on
LinkedIn to broaden my professional knowledge and network.
New and Notable Readability!
Browser Speed
Being primarily a Mac nut, my principal browser is Safari.
I also use Firefox and Opera 10.10 regularly. Less frequently,
I have used Flock and, very recently, Chrome now that I
have an Intel mac.
I like Firefox but find it to be at times a little slow
compared to Safari 4. There appears to be a lot more going
on in the background with Firefox which may explain the
speed differential.
Chrome is mean and lean. It is very fast on my Mac
and as it adds more functions and extensions, I may use
it more often, ever mindful that as a Google product, it
probably is the equivalent of having a spy cam watching
all my actions.
Opera continues to amaze me with its multiple capabilities
allowing the browser to serve as your email program, your
RSS reader and many other functions integrated in the
browser. The latest release is version 10.10 but there is
much more coming from the developers. I have been a beta
tester for Opera since mid-2003 and I can tell you that this
is an exciting venture. The speed of the latest version
matches that of Chrome but in a much more complex
offering. Stay tuned.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 22
After reading last month that Apple had bought lala, I
joined their site and began to delve into their music
library. According to some, Apple’s motivation for this
investment was to have the capability of having
members not only download their mp3 music but to
have the option of assembling a music collection “in the
cloud.” Great idea!
Lala has an extensive music library which one can
download to one’s computer or, at a much lower cost, buy
and add to one’s lala “cloud” collection. I used the free 30
song credits offered for joining to save many different
songs in my new account. I can sign on to my account on
the site, access my “collection” and play it through
my computer. If networked to my home audio system, I can
listen to this music in different rooms.
The cost? The price to download a song varies from
$0.79 to $1.29. However, adding a song to the cloud
collection: TEN CENTS! In my opinion, that makes it a
very attractive way to compile a substantial collection of
one’s favorite music.
Premiere Elements 8
By Louise Maye Huddelston, a HAL-PC family member and partner of a graphic outsource
company,, [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).
Premiere Elements 8 is the companion software to
Photoshop Elements 8, and this is the video editor and
“movie-maker” software. If you like to take videos or
make slide shows with effects, music and more advanced
direction, this is what you need. You can buy Premiere
bundled with Elements or separately. This review is about
Elements, so this part is brief.
Premiere 8 has serious problems
that have been traced to conflicts with
Realtek Audio drivers and Nvidia
graphics driver installation software.
Suggestion: download the free 30 day
trial version to test compatibility with
your PC.
I am having an issue with some of
the rendering and converting to certain
formats while I can render and upload
to YouTube. The troubleshooting is a
complex series of tests and definitely
pushing my patience, as it will probably
take me more than a few hours.
I found this software absolutely
intuitive and even as a total novice to
video production, I made several A/V
productions and I was very happy.
Not perfect, but I could to do some
cool things with sound and transitions
that were beyond my usual slideshows with Photoshop
Elements. There is Instant Movies, to process a video clip
for you with pre-packaged templates, based on one of
several themes; this is a life-saver.
Auto Analysis is a new feature that takes in image
content (including face recognition) and allows you to do
Smart Tagging of various aspects, including video quality,
date, subject and much more.
Help: As far as help goes, the tutorials are somewhat
limited unless you pay for the Plus Membership. There is
excellent help online and I had occasion to use it.
Remark: I have heard that some users have crashes,
freezes, etc. I think this is not so much the program but the
user’s computer resources – mediocre operator, insufficient
RAM and/or CPU speed.
I expected that I would be able burn
a DVD in the AVCHD format and then
play it on a Blu-Ray player. I discovered
that Premier Elements 8 does not
support burning AVCHD format
DVDs! Most competitive software will
burn AVCHD format DVDs. More
successful results from Microsoft’s
Movie Maker Live, which is free.
Another cool technology from Adobe
stable in Premiere 8 is “Object
Tracking”. You have to use it to believe
it! You select a person/moving object in
the video & drop a clip (rain, lightening,
bird etc) on the object.
General: Contacting Adobe support
is another exercise in patience. Send
them an e-mail, wait 2-3 days for a
response is canned, wait another 2-3
days for another response. If you’re in
any kind of hurry, forget it. Adobe support just isn’t the
quality it used to be. Bottom line, for the money Premiere
is the best video editor I have tried.
The practical value of Premiere 8 is the incredibly rich
feature set, the sophisticated, yet simple user interface,
and the wealth of content, add-ons, and tutorials. Just put
it in a sufficiently powerful engine!
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 23
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley; with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga,
Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • [email protected]
N apa V alley Personal C omputer U sers G roup
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with sponsors’ memberships.
Make check payable to:
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Mail application/renewal to:
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Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues payment may be tax-deductible as a
charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail:
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NVPCUG Computer News, June 2010, Page 24
Revised 2-14-2010
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