March 2007
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
COMPUTER
NEWS
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 24, No. 3
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
2
2
2
3
4
6
6
7
8
10
11
12
14
16
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
NVPCUG CALENDAR
OFFICERS LIST
SOFTWARE REVIEW:
ADOBE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS 5
YOUTUBE REVOLUTIONIZES
THE INTERNET!
PANDORA – A FREE MUSIC
RESOURCE
SOFTWARE REVIEW:
REVIEW OF SPIN IT AGAIN
SOFTWARE REVIEW:
THE CHANGING WORLD
MOVING TO VISTA – WHAT
NOT TO DO
WEB TIPS
THE BIG RED X
THINGS, THINGLETS &
THINGASSOS
THE INTERNET, WHAT IS IT?
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group has served novice and
experienced computer users since 1983.
Through its monthly meetings,
newsletters, online forum, special
interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has helped
educate people of all ages. The NVPCUG
provides opportunities for people to find
friends who share common interests and
experiences. Through its Computers-toSchools program, members refurbish
used computer equipment for donation
to local schools. Since January 2003 the
NVPCUG has donated 594 computers
and 136 printers.
March 2007
At March 21 Meeting,
See a Demonstration of How in the
Future Your Cell Phone Can Be More
than a Phone
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
will meet Wednesday, March 21, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at
the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
Ever think of using your cell phone to
give a demonstration? Today, we are
no longer limited to giving Powerpoint
demonstrations on our laptops, or listening to music on our iPods.
Cell phones have come a long way and are capable of more than just
acting as our mobile phones.
Who better to give a demo onsome of our mobile computer age
products than representatives from Verizon, one of the industries top
mobile wireless companies. The Main presentation will be given by
Daryl Michael, Napa Verizon store sales supervisor and Von
Gabriel, one of the senior sales representatives. They will cover use
of PDAs and Air Cards and talk to us about how we as consumers
can use our phones to communicate via the airwaves and the internet.
They are also interested in hearing from us, so bring your questions.
Preceding the main presentation, Jerry Brown will lead the Random
Access portion of the meeting with an open-floor question-andanswer period, during which attendees can ask questions about
computers and computer-related problems and receive helpful
information from other meeting attendees. (Don’t forget that you can
also e-mail your questions to Jerry Brown before coming to the
meeting: [email protected]).
Following this, there will be a Computer Tutor session at which Jeff
Solomon, Computer Tutor coordinator, will discuss online encyclopedias like
Encarta, Wikipedia, and the Britannica and how to get the most out of them.
Could you use some practical information that would help you
make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests
are welcome; admission is free.
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007
President’s Message
NVPCUG
Special
Interest Groups
In SIG meetings you can learn
about a subject in greater detail
than is feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open
to everyone. Meeting times and
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site, www.nvpcug.org, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Macintosh SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Jim Gillespie
(707) 252-1665
[email protected]
By Ron Dack, president,
[email protected]
This month has a couple sad things for me to talk
about. The first is the passing of Harold Walker a
long time NVPCUG member and a good man. Harold will be missed and
my thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s family.
The second is Jim Stirling is moving out of the area. Jim has been a
member of the Board of Directors and the Editor of our Computer News
for the last several years. We hope Jim will enjoy his new home in Santa
Rosa and that he will come and visit us when he can. Thanks Jim and good
luck in your new assignment.
Now on to brighter issues, Susy Ball has stepped up to take over as the
new Editor adding even more to her NVPCUG responsibilities. Thank you
Susy and Mike.
Back at the December Holiday Meeting Susy Ball donated a laptop
computer to the group. This laptop now has an OS and software so it has
been turned over to our Secretary Marcia Waddell to keep NVPCUG
official records and minutes. Thank you Susy for the donation and for
getting the laptop up and running.
At our February meeting I was unable to get to some things I consider
important. One of which is welcoming our guests to the meeting. Before the
meeting starts and during the break I would appreciate any help in making
our guests feel welcome and comfortable. If you see a person wearing a guest
badge please try to talk with them and make them feel at ease. By doing this
it well help us to gain new members and increase the amount of knowledge
and experience in the group. I remember the first meeting I attended and how
it feels to be the outsider and newcomer. Had it not been for the greeter that
night being so nice and friendly I am not sure I would have come back. Even
though Bob and Kathy do a great job it can’t be just one or two people it
should be the entire group that makes guests feel welcome. Don’t be afraid to
step up and say, “Hi, welcome to the meeting.”
Dave Whittle asked that he leadoff the meeting and due to the number of
issues he was talking about and the audience questions he ran a little long.
We will try to have an extended Random Access and Computer Tutor
sessions in an upcoming meeting.
I have several other things to say but they will have to wait because I have
probably gone over my allotted space. See you at the March 21st meeting.
Take care,
Come to the NVPCUG General Meetings
Ron
Held the third Wednesday of each month 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activities Center
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Wednesdays
March 21
April 4
April 9
April 11
April 12
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
6:30-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Computers-to-Schools work parties. To volunteer, contact Orion Hill, (707) 252-0637
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
President
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Vice President Jerry Brown
254-9607
[email protected]
Secretary
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Treasurer
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Jim Gillespie, Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree, Dick
Peterson, Dianne Prior, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff Solomon, James
Stirling, Dean Unruh
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling Coordinator
Ken Manfree
224-3901
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator
Orion E. Hill
252-0637
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
252-1506
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
Librarian
Dean Unruh
226-9164
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
252-1506
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
259-1712
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
224-2540
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
337-3998
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
337-3998
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
Programs Director
Susy Ball
337-3998
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
254-9607
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
Webmaster
Ron Dack
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 3
NVPCUG
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286.
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
noncommercial
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
information.
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
international
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2007
by NVPCUG.
Software Review
Adobe Photoshop Elements 5
By Nancy Dennis, Membership Chair, Sarasota PCUG, Florida,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 is a photo editing and
organizing program that also includes easy to use
features to backup your photos, and really fun creative
ways to show off your photos to family and friends.
Adobe Photoshop is the top of the line photo program
for the professionals and costs hundreds of dollars.
Elements (under $100) has many of the same features
as the professional version with a lot of fun and easy
features added in, making it the software choice for the
non-professional user like you and me.
The software installs the Adobe Photo Downloader in
your system tray and is ready instantly whenever you
plug in your camera or memory card. Your photos are
downloaded into the Organizer where you have easy
access to them for viewing, tagging, creating
collections, printing, emailing, creating all the fun
projects, or switching to the Edit mode for a Quick Fix
or Full Edit. Your photos are identified by Elements in
Catalogs. You can have multiple catalogs for different
users of your computer in the family, or say for photos
that you may use for work which you want to keep
separate from home photos. You can even use the
Organizer to select photos to order prints online or size
and send through your email client. Your photos are
managed by date with a timeline across the top of the
screen that is very easy to navigate when you are
looking for a photo at a specific time on the calendar.
The Tags and Collections feature takes a few extra
minutes when you first download the photos, but sure
makes it easier to select certain photos when you are
ready to create a project. Tags can be given for photos
of specific family, friends or places and events.
Collections work in a similar fashion but could include
several different people, say in a vacation.
Since software packages come with little or no
manuals, I find that one of my first places to explore is
the Help feature. The Adobe Help Center, which is on
the Help menu, includes a very extensive index of help
on the program as well as hyperlinks to video tutorials
on the Adobe web site. The Help Center includes a very
good Search tool with easy navigation and even a
Bookmark feature where you can bookmark a topic that
you may want to return to again quickly. I was also
offered free online tutorials from Adobe after I
registered the software. Be sure to take advantage of
this offer. There are eleven video tutorials that give a
very good overview of everything from getting your
photos into Elements to creating fun creative projects.
Another quick way to get to help on any of the tools
on the screen is to hover your mouse over the tool and
a link appears that takes you directly to the Help
Center on that tool. You will find that you don’t miss
the manual with this complete Adobe Help Center.
When the Elements program starts there is a
Welcome Screen where you can choose to open the
Organizer, Quickly Fix Photos, Edit and Enhance
Photos, or Make Photo Creations. Once you decide
which mode you want to begin with you can set the
Welcome Screen to always open in that mode or stay
with the Welcome Screen. Since you need to open a
photo in order to edit it or select several photos for
projects it made sense to me to always open in the
Organizer mode.
With a right click of a photo in the Organizer you can
select the Go to Quick Fix feature as a truly “quick fix”.
With this feature you are able to fix the most common
problems with your photos without having to know any
of the more advanced features. Now mind you the
advanced features are in Elements, but you may find
that you seldom need to go into that mode to get the
results that you want. With Quick Fix mode you have
auto buttons for lighting, color, sharpen and red eye.
Then if the auto button doesn’t quite get the photo like
you want there are fine tuning levers to adjust to finish
the job. If you just can’t get the look you want you can
click the Full Edit tab from this window and go into the
more fully featured mode of Elements to complete the
task.
Some of the new features for editing in Elements
include correct lens distortion, sharpen blurred edges,
fine-tuning with curves, creating dramatic black and
whites and support for raw files. One of my very
favorite features of Elements in the Full Edit mode is
the Artwork and Effects Palette. From this palette you
can pick from dozens of backgrounds, frames,
graphics and shapes. Then select a style for that object
from a dozen more selections and just drag and drop
onto your photo. This palette includes different themes
for effects, filters for effects and text styles, all applied
with a double click. There is even a Favorites area
where you can drag an effect that you especially liked
and want to get back to quickly. A couple other
favorites of mine in the Full Edit mode are the Adjust
Color for Skin Tone and the Spot Healing Brush. If
you have a photo where the skin color just doesn’t
look right you can use the Adjust Color for Skin Tone
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 4
feature to quickly change the skin tone by using the
eyedropper over the skin. If you want the result a little
more tan or blush there are easy adjustments in that
same dialog box. The Spot Healing Brush works
wonders for those marks and blemishes just by clicking
over the area. There is also a new feature called Magic
Extractor that provides an easy wizard to extract an
object (or person) from your photo. Again there are fine
tuning options in this wizard if the extraction is not
quite what you want. I found that this features works
very well. The red eye fix in Elements 5 is by far the
best red eye fix that I have used in a photo editing
program. There is even an option to have red eye
corrected as your photos are being downloaded from
the card reader.
Elements 5 has added a Back-Up and Restore feature
that allows you to back up your photo catalogs to a
server online (you have to sign up for this service). The
online back up service through Adobe Photoshop
Services gives you a 30 day free trial. There is also a
Back-Up feature that will do Full and Incremental back
ups of your catalogs to a CD or DVD, another drive, or
another folder on the hard drive. This feature is Wizard
driven and makes this very important task quick and
easy, without leaving the Elements software. This
feature is right there on the tool bar along with all the
other online services.
Once you have your photos downloaded, edited and
backed up it is time for the really fun part of Elements 5
– creating projects like photo book pages, photo
layouts, album pages, greeting cards, CD and DVD
jackets and labels, slide shows, VCD’s with menus,
photo galleries and flipbooks for the web, photo
calendars, and PhotoStamps. Most of the print projects
can be printed on your own printer or ordered through
an online service that can be set up with a wizard right
in Elements. I didn’t register for the online service but
was very tempted by some of the neat projects that can
be created and then sent off for printing and delivery.
For instance the photo calendar can be created with 12
of your photos and then step through the wizard to
choose the cover, page layout, and title, etc. Then
through the wizard the calendars will be printed, bound
and mailed – what a great idea for Christmas gifts!
I decided to create a slide show with photos taken at
Disney World. After selecting the photos from the
Organizer and then selecting Slideshow from the Create
menu the wizard started with slide show preferences
and then the main Slideshow Editor opens with very
full featured options that are available in most of the
stand alone slide show programs. This feature is like a
program within a program – I am really impressed with
the scope of the Slideshow Editor. There are transition
options, panning and zooming, audio and narration, and
adding blank sides and graphics and text.
Once you have the show the way you like it the
Output feature opens another wizard for options to save
the show as a file, burn to disc, e-mail the show or send
to a TV. The wizard works great burning to a Video CD
format. (The only option that I would like to see added
would be to burn to DVD.) If you have several slide
shows that you would like to burn to one CD you can
select the Create a VCD with menu and the wizard will
allow you to add multiple slideshows and then create a
menu before burning.
The next project I tried was to create a Photo Gallery.
With the same Disney photos selected the Photo
Gallery opens a wizard with three types of galleries;
Web Galleries, Animated or Interactive. With Web
Galleries chosen the wizard asks for arrangement of the
photos on the page and a style with both options
showing thumbnails of how your choice will look. Next
the wizard opens a dialog window with more options to
customize, such as Gallery Title and Slideshow duration
and effects. You then can select where to Share the
gallery; either choose Do Not Share (which saves to
your hard drive), Photoshop Showcase (more about this
later), My FTP Site, or CD. I also tried the Animated
and Interactive galleries with the same photos. The
wizard makes creating these very complex shows a
breeze. If you don’t know how to publish to your web
space a dialog box offers simple steps to help with that
task, or you can register and sign on to the free Adobe
Photoshop Elements Showcase feature. This is an
online community for users of Elements to upload and
share their photos and galleries.
Each project that you create and save is added to the
Organizer at the top. If you want to edit a project you
just double-click the project file and the wizard that was
used to create it opens. All of the print projects like the
Photo Book Pages, Photo Layouts and Album Pages,
are saved (with multiple pages when applicable) with a
Software Review, Elements cont. on Page 13
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 5
Pandora – a Free Music Resource
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS, www.compukiss.com, [email protected]
likable mix of music.
The Internet is filled with free resources, but some are
Pandora is pretty smart. Typing in The Christmas
better than others. Here is one of the best free music
Song and choosing Diana Krall as the artist gave me a
resources on the Web.
whole station of mellow Christmas music which is just
Pandora is one of my favorite music websites. Just
surf over to www.pandora.com and type in a song or what I was looking for. Typing in The Nylons and Take
6 gave me a nice selection of acappella and harmonistic
an artist that you like. Pandora analyses your choice
music.
and creates a music station with similar-sounding
Pandora also lets you bookmark songsor artists so you
music. It will then play comparable songs that it thinks
can remember what you liked.
You can look up
you will like. You can add more music and/or artists to
more information
about artists and
the station to refine your choices. You can also tell
s o n g s
right on the site.
Pandora whether or not you like the song that is
Two clicks will
playing. It uses your likes and dislikes to refine the
lead you to iTunes
songs it chooses.
or Amazon where
You can create up
you can purchase the
to 100 different
music. You can also share
stations with
your music by emailing your
different types of
stations to friends.
music.
Pandora is ad-supported so you will see
Pandora was
ads for everything from gym shoes to cell
created by the Music
service. I found the ads to be unobtrusive, but if
Genome Project, a group of
you want to get rid of them, you can pay to eliminate
musicians and music-loving
them. For $36, you get 12 months of unlimited use with
technologists who have broken music into hundreds of
services exactly the same as the free version, but
music attributes or “genes” such as melody, harmony,
without the ads.
rhythm, instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement,
Since the ads don’t bother me, I’ll continue to use the
lyrics, and harmony. They then use high-tech
free version of Pandora. It’s an entertaining website that
methodology to analyze the musical qualities of each
provides much listening pleasure to keep me company
song and rendition.
when I am working on the computer.
The results are uncanny. I created several music
If you are into music, you may also want to check out
stations with different genres that I like and in almost
two other music resources. MusicIP Mixer and
every case I was presented with similar music that I
found very pleasing. You can experiment with different Goombah. Like Pandora, both of these sites provide
intriguing music adventures.
combinations. For instance, putting James Taylor and
„
Willie Nelson together gave me an interesting, but
YouTube Revolutionizes
the Internet!
By Linda Gonse, Editor & Webmaster, Orange Country IBM PC Users’ Group,
California, [email protected], www.ocropug.org
Just when I thought creative ideas were running out for
ways to use the Internet, along comes YouTube,
www.youtube.com. Its content includes movie and
TV clips, music videos, and amateur works — such as
video-blogging. The innovative site’s popularity is
staggering. Almost 20 million visitors browse YouTube
each month, according to Nielsen/NetRatings. And, in
confirmation of YouTube’s originality, Time magazine
named it the “Invention of the Year” in 2006.
Although I only discovered YouTube in December
2006, it was founded in February 2005. In about a
year and a half, YouTube has been so successful
Google sealed the deal to buy it in November 2006
for $1.65-billion! Not bad for a site that was launched
with a video of a co-founder’s cat playing with a
dangling string!
Now, “Users upload 6500 new videos to the site
every day,” according to a January 2007 Time
magazine article. Many of the videos are taken with
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 6
YouTube cont. on Page 13
Software Review
Review of Spin It Again
Convert vinyl records and cassette tapes to MP3’s and CD’s
By Rod Rakes, APCUG Advisor; President & Editor, Gwinnett SeniorNet PC Users
Group, Georgia, http://www.gsnpcug.com/; Editor & Webmaster, Huntsville PC
User Group, Alabama, http://www.hpcug.com/
What is it? Spin It Again by
Acoustica is a software
program that will make it easy
to convert your collection of
cassettes, 33’s ,45’s and even
78’s to MP3/WMA/WAV files
or directly to CDs. Some folks
have even used the program to
rip 8-Tracks. Remember those?
Cost? $34.95 retail, but $27.96 for User Group
members. This 20% discount is available online from
the link above. You must use the code “CLUB2007.”
You will receive a registration code via email. But, you
can try it free for three times. (3 albums).
Where do I get it and/or read more?
http://www.Acoustica.com The program is an
8+ MB download.
System Requirements: If you have a Windows
computer with a soundcard you’re ready to
use the software!
Recommended? YES!
How good is it? REALLY
GOOD! First off, I was
impressed by the voice
instructions when the program
starts. There is a Hookup
Wizard with photos of how to
connect to your amplifier,
cassette player or turntable. Songs are
automatically divided into files based on the lull between
songs. A Level Wizard sets the volume level automatically
based on playing a portion of your loudest song in an
album.
You can save the files as MP3, OGG, WMA or WAV
files. A variety of choices are available to clean up the
recordings, e.g., Damaged Record, Damaged Tape, Tape
clean with Equalizer, Tape Noise Begone, Warped record,
even a No-preamp blues setting, etc. Someone referred to
this as a Mikey cereal eater that eats Snap, Crackle and
Pop. Accept the defaults and it’s very easy work.
I recorded three record albums and two cassette tapes
of music using a stereo amplifier, cassette player and
turntable. The result was free of any clicks, pops and
hiss of the original recordings, at least to my ears. The
only “problem” I had was a song by Judy Collins that
had long silent passages which fooled the software into
thinking there were several songs. But, it was easily
fixed with the Merge options. (Be sure to read the
tutorial.) I chose to save the songs in MP3 format and
gave each a name in the chart before actually hitting the
Save/Convert button. You can embed in the files the
Artist, Title, Genre, Year and add comments. On the last
test I chose to record an album directly to CD using the
Spin It Again software. It worked like a charm with no
need to make a later recording from the MP3’s using
Nero, Roxio, etc.
I had a priceless cassette tape of family nonsense that
had been re-recorded from reel to reel tapes from long
ago when my children were small. The volume varied
greatly. I placed the cassette tape in a small inexpensive
hand held player (Walkman type) and connected a cable
between the speaker jack and the Line In
jack in the back of my computer.
This meant I could adjust the
sound during the low and high
volume sections of the tape by
using the player’s volume
control. That worked
satisfactorily since the tape was
not perfection in the first place. The
recording was even better than the
original with little or no hiss and a more
consistent volume level! There is an option for
auto-leveling the volume for a given song to eliminate
distortion on high peaks.
An MP3 file of LaPaloma had a loud click at the 51second mark that could not be cleaned properly even
with the special peak click filtering after manually
isolating the click. I was finally able to eliminate the
click but each side of the original click had a warble
that was worse than the click. The Help file said if this
happens, try to make a better recording somehow. Since
it was only one click, I would guess there was a spot of
something on the vinyl surface or a pin point gouge.
You can’t make a purse out of a sow’s ear, huh?
One of the fun and useful features is the ability to
adjust the speed of a recording. I recorded several old 78
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 7
Spin it again cont. on Page 13
Software Review
The Changing World
A Review of Vista
By David Steward, APCUG Advisor, Region 8 and Program Chair, Alamo PC
Organization, Texas, www.alamopc.org, [email protected]
The title of this article explains a lot. With the release of
Microsoft’s newest iteration of Operating Systems,
Vista, we are going to be making a lot of changes in
how we perform day-to-day tasks on our computers.
For once, I think they actually got it right. With a more
intuitive interface, a lot less cluttered desktop, easier
networking and a much more robust security system,
Vista will indeed go a long way in making the lives of
us who spend a great deal of time staring at a computer
screen easier and more exciting.
Getting Started
The first thing that you will notice when opening the
box is that Vista is shipped on a DVD instead of a CD,
as all of the previous operating systems from Microsoft
have been. There are a couple of reasons for this. The
first is that Vista is packed with much more content
than has been available in the past. Things like
Windows Defender, Sidebar, Snipit ( a screen capture
utility and more ), built-in Fax and Scan, and Windows
Live Meeting all of which are designed to make life
easier.
The second is that regardless of which version (see
below) you purchase, all of the versions are included on
the DVD. The version that loads depends on the
installation key that you receive with the purchase.
What does this mean to us, as consumers? It means that
you can upgrade the OS version any time you want, and
the media is already on the disc. All you need to do is
the purchase the upgraded “key” and the system will do
the rest.
As mentioned above, Vista is being offered in many
different versions. Each version is, of course, designed
around a specific type of user. At the time of this
article’s writing, the following versions are being
offered:
Vista Home Basic – Basic package. Contains all the
usual things that you would expect to be included in an
operating system plus many new enhancements.
Vista Home Premium – Adds support for the Media
Center PC, the Tablet PC, automated backups, Windows
Areo and Glass, built in DVD authoring, and much
more.
Vista Business – Version scaled for business use
Vista Ultimate – The whole enchilada. Contains
everything including support for multiple processors.
For a detailed description of each version, and to help
decide which is right for you, visit http://
www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/
getready/editions/default.mspx.
On a little side note here, I want to caution the readers
to not think only in today’s terms when deciding which
version of Vista to choose. With the advent of the
multiple core processors and initiatives to put more
processors on the motherboard, each with multiple
cores, you might want to consider the Ultimate edition,
as it directly supports multiple processors, up to 128
gigs of memory ( on 64 bit machines ) and makes use of
the higher buss speeds associated with multiple cores.
Plus, as you will see later, it grows with your system.
Entertainment
As I said previously, Vista is designed to make your life
easier. Plus, a lot of the OS has been wound around the
entertainment capabilities of today’s PC. With built in
DVD, CD and TV ( with tuner card installed ) support,
any PC can be turned into the main entertainment
center of your house.
Most of us have grown up using a PC for normal
things like word processing, spreadsheets, digital
photography, listening to music, email, and surfing the
web. Basically, everything that we can do while sitting
about 2 feet from the computer screen. Well, a new
“buzz’ word in the industry is the “10 foot” experience.
It encompasses things that we can do away from the
computer. This includes experiences like storing all of
your DVD’s and videos on your computer’s hard disk,
and viewing them from anywhere in your house. Being
able to show slideshows of your photos on your TV in
the den, listening to your music files in the bedroom
including changing the playlists a you desire. Vista
makes this possible. And, Vista’s Media Center
capabilities will couple with your Xbox360 and use it
as a media extender.
If you want to see if your computer is Vista capable,
visit the “Vista Upgrade Advisor” at http://
www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/
getready/upgradeadvisor/default.mspx.
The Upgrade Advisor will perform a very thorough
search of your system’s hardware and installed software
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 8
and let you know what needs to be changed before
upgrading to Vista.
The Meat
Let’s get to the actual operation of the software. Before
I installed Vista, I ran the included Upgrade Advisor,
which informed me that I needed to remove the “Nero
Burning Rom” software before I could install Vista. In
addition, it cautioned me that although Vista would run
on my system, I would not achieve the full performance
of the graphics engine due to the installed drivers for
my video card. Specifically, I would not be able to run
the Aero or Glass enhancements. At the time, I did not
consider that a good enough reason to rush out and
purchase a new high end graphics card, so I went ahead
and installed Vista, after removing Nero. I chose to
upgrade my existing system, as I have a ton of
programs installed, and did not want to have to reinstall all of them. So, after entering a few basic pieces
of information, including the “key”, Vista took off and
performed all of the upgrade functions without any
further input from me. This is good as it took almost 2
hours to completely install and upgrade the system. At
one point, I thought that it was stuck and that I would
have to start over, but it wasn’t. It just took that long to
load the features and enhancements, and upgrade the
existing programs.
This might be a good time to point out that I am
performing this review on a 2 year old Sony Vaio
Media Center PC, which has a Pentium 4 running at 3.4
Ghz, 1 GB of RAM, a 320 GB drive, and a 64 MB on
board graphics card. I have partitioned the drive into 2
partitions, a 80 GB program partition, and a 240 GB
data partition.
Finally, the upgrade finished and the system rebooted
into Vista. The first thing that you see is a screen titled
the “Welcome Center”. From this screen, you setup all
of the basic things like security, users and internet
settings. This is all accomplished by wizards that lead
you through the process step-by-step. You can also
view some very informative videos that introduce you
to the features of Vista. It also gives you the
opportunity to register and go online with Windows
Live, a place where you can setup your own
personalized start page with Live Mail access, news,
weather, RSS feeds, etc … however you want it to look.
After you finish setting up all the necessary features,
it is time to explore and have fun. I am not going to
write about every feature and function, as I would have
to write an entire book to cover it all, but I am going to
highlight a couple of things that I think will be of
interest to us all.
First, Vista has a ton of informational type of screens
that tell you a lot about your particular system and
hardware. One of these is called “Performance and
Information Tools” which is accessible from the
“System and Maintenance” button on the Control Panel.
This is where you can find out what your system
experience rating is. This will let you know how Vista
will perform under different conditions, and whether or
not you can take advantage of some of the
enhancements like Aero or Glass on your desktop. My
particular system rating was 2.8. The reason for the
mediocre rating was because of the graphics chip that
was on the motherboard. Everything else had a rating of
4.2 or above. I really wanted to use the Aero on my
desktop, so I rummaged around in my computer room,
and found an nVidia 6600 graphics card. After
installing it, I re-ran the performance rating test, and my
system rating increased to 4.1, which allowed all of the
included enhancements. It was well worth the time.
Another feature that is accessible from the Control
Panel is the “Problem Reports and Solutions”. This area
keep track of every time a program stops running for
any reason, or has a problem installing, and logs it into
a database. From time to time, you should check this
area and see if a fix for a particular problem has been
released. Vista will automatically download the fix,
apply it, and test it on your system. Why is this
important? It means that you do not have to wait for a
service pack to repair individual problems.
There are many more features on the Control Panel
that you will want to explore and play with, including
the ability to change the partitioning of your drive,
schedule tasks and view event logs. Believe me, Vista is
an information geeks dream.
Another new addition is Windows Mail, which
replaces Outlook Express. I used to prefer Outlook
Express over Outlook because of it’s ease of operation
and Windows Mail has not changed my mind. Windows
Mail operationally looks like Outlook Express with one
major enhancement. It has an automatic spam and
phishing filter integrated in the program, and it works.
It is so nice to look at my messages and not have to
wade through 200+ messages wanting to sell me stock
or change my anatomy.
Getting back to the desktop, one of the features that I
really wanted to see was the new Aero feature. Aero is
the high performance desktop experience that has been
introduced in Vista. Basically, it allows a much more
robust and dynamic view of the desktop and the
components running on it. For example the Glass
feature turns the individual windows translucent so you
can see what is going on in windows under it. The Flip
3D function allows you to quickly “flip” through all of
the open windows until you find the one that you want.
In addition, when a window is minimized, you can
hover your mouse over the button on the taskbar, and
see exactly what that window looks like. Plus, Aero
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 9
Vista Review cont. on Page 10
Vista Review cont. from page 9
gives everything a much smoother appearance making
it easier on the eyes. It is hard to describe Aero in
words, but trust me, you will like it.
Another new feature is Gadgets. Simply put, they are
little gadgets or programs that you can place on your
desktopn to help you. Things like a clock, news feeds,
stock tickers, RSS feeds, or even games. Now, this is
what Active Desktop really means. <G> You can adjust
the transparency of each of them so that they do not
distract from the workspace.
Ultimate Extras
For those of you that take the plunge and opt for the full
blown Ultimate version, there is a bonus. Microsoft has
announced the Vista Ultimate Extras program. This
entails new additions to the Ultimate package that will
be added as time goes on. Things like new gaming
experiences with Windows Hold‘em Poker, added
security with the bit-locker encryption system, and my
favorite, Dreamscape, which turns your desktop
background into a true “active” desktop by allowing
motion video to be run on the desktop. It is truly an
unbelievable sight. And, more will be added in the
future, allowing your system to grow as time goes on.
For the gamers reading this, Vista is going to change
the way that you play games on the PC. Microsoft has
included DirectX 10 with the shipping versions of
Vista. DirectX 10 is a much more robust API that
allows a more realistic appearance in games. In
addition, you can use your Xbox360 controller on your
PC now, and it will take advantage of all of the
controller features like vibrate and positive feedback.
Having said all of this, I do want to note that I did
have some problems while running Vista. I have had a
couple of programs that flat refuse to run in Vista,
specifically shareware video editing and video
conversion programs. I am presently working with the
support engineers to rectify this. I also found that
although Microsoft says that Vista will run well with 1
GB of memory, and it does, Vista really wants as much
memory as it can get. I noted a significant improvement
when I install another gig of memory. Same thing is
true about the graphics adapter in the system. I
recommend at least a 128 MB card, and preferably a
256 MB card if you want to run Aero and Dreamscape.
This will ensure that there is no noticeable loss of
system performance.
I know that this is supposed to be a review of Vista,
and it has ended up sounding like an advertising blurb
about the product, but I am very excited about the new
Operating System. I truly believe that Microsoft has
finally listened to the user community, and has made a
concentrated effort to include the enhancements that we
have been waiting for. I am actually enjoying sitting in
front of the screen again.
Next time I will review Vista on a laptop, and I
promise that it will be shorter <G> Until then, ya’ll
have fun.
„
Moving to Vista – What Not to Do
By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS, http://www.compukiss.com,
[email protected]
Microsoft’s long-anticipated new operating system,
Windows Vista, is finally here. After months of testing I
can say that it is a stable program and is more secure
than any previous version of Windows. It also has a
great new look and some wonderful new features. Just
remember that there are always gotchas with a new
operating system. Here are a few of the “don’ts” when
moving to Vista.
First, five different flavors of Vista are available in
the US: Home Basic, Home Premium, Ultimate,
Business, and Enterprise. Don’t bother with Home
Basic. It doesn’t have “Aero”, the rich new visual
interface. It doesn’t have the advanced multi-media
features for photos, movies, and television. It doesn’t
even have the cool new chess or mahjong games. All of
this is missing, but Microsoft is still selling the Home
Basic upgrade for $99. The full version of Home Basic
is $199. If you buy a new computer with Vista, make
sure that you get at least the Home Premium version.
You can get a comparison of the different versions of
Vista and what they offer at the Microsoft website.
Another don’t….don’t try to upgrade without a large
hard drive and at least one gigabyte of memory. You
can use the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to
determine if your computer is ready for Vista. Most
older computers will come up lacking. So, you may not
want to upgrade at all. Although Vista’s better security
is enticing, if you are happy with your Windows XP
machine you may want to keep using it a bit longer
because it may be not be economically beneficial to
upgrade. The Vista product upgrade can cost several
hundred dollars. That plus the cost of extra memory
and/or other hardware upgrades may make it wiser to
just purchase a new computer with Vista preinstalled.
Don’t expect every software program to work with
Windows Vista. Intuit, the makers of the popular
Quickbooks program have notified their users that no
older versions of Quickbooks will run on Vista. Only an
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 10
upgrade to Quickbooks 2007 will let Quickbooks users
run the program on a Vista computer.
Because of the major security changes in Vista, most
antivirus programs will also need an update to be able
to run on Windows Vista. If you purchase a new
computer it may come with a trial subscription to
Symantec or McAfee that will get you started but you
will have to purchase a new version in the future or
move to a free antivirus program. Again upgrading an
old computer may be problematic because the old
antivirus software will need to be removed before the
new version is installed. Experience has taught me that
it is often difficult to remove all the various pieces of an
existing antivirus program. This is one experience you
may want to avoid.
Some programs will also have trouble with Windows
Vista new user controls which make it more difficult to
make changes to your computer. This bolsters the
operating system against hackers, but can confuse some
existing programs. Simple changes or work arounds for
these types of problems can easily be found on the Web.
For instance, I couldn’t run Adobe Photoshop CS2 upon
installation on my Vista machine, but a few simple
changes which I found documented on the Web, solved
the problem quite easily.
Also any specially written or high-end software
programs may not work with Vista. This will not affect
the average user, but if you have any unusual or
specialty programs you will want to check out
compatibility.
Much of today’s current hardware will work with
Windows Vista. Of course, you may want to check the
manufacturer’s website to be sure before you make that
assumption. You may need to update a hardware driver
or two. If you have older hardware, some may not work
with Vista. So check it out before you move to Vista.
Of all the hardware problems, you can expect the
most problems with audio equipment. Windows Vista
has a new audio stack which means that it handles the
audio data structure differently than older versions of
Windows. Also this audio change was made quite late
in the Vista development process, so audio
manufacturers may not have caught up yet. While this
will probably not impact the average computer user, if
you have any high-end audio equipment, make sure you
check our compatibility before you migrate to Vista.
One last don’t … don’t worry about the 64-bit version
of Vista. If you have a 64-bit processor on your new
computer like the Intel Core2 Duo or AMD 64-bit
processors you may be thinking about trying out the 64bit version of Vista. Don’t do it unless you want to be
on the “bleeding” edge of technology. Most hardware
does not currently have 64-bit drivers and the 64-bit
version of Vista does not support the widely used 32-bit
drivers. Also there is currently very little software that
actually takes advantage of the 64-bit system. So leave
the 64-bit version as something to dream about. It will
be more secure and faster, but it is not yet ready for
prime time.
However the 32-bit version of Vista is ready for
immediate use. The best way to move to Vista is to buy
a new computer with Vista preloaded. Just be sure you
check out these gotchas before you put your money on
the counter.
„
Web Tips
From Smart Computing,Plugged In,
April 2007 • Vol.18 Issue 4
Shop Like A Star
Problem: I saw a celebrity wearing a cool
accessory. How can I track down a similar item?
Solution: Search engines are good for searching,
but they’re not really the best when all you want to
do is browse. Any window shopper will tell you
that online shopping, while convenient, is not
nearly as fun as strolling through the mall. But
check out the new visual shopping technology from
the folks at Like.com (www.like.com). Still in
alpha (that’s prebeta) as of this writing, the
Like.com site looks fairly usable and fun. Browse
through images of celebs and click their shoes,
earrings, sunglasses, or shirt. The site will then take
you to a page with the actual accessory to
purchase, along with a list of similar—and often
cheaper—choices.
A Handmade Treasure Trove
Problem: I’m a bit of a flea market hound. I used
to love eBay, but now it’s harder to find the gems.
Solution: If by gems you mean inexpensive, artsy,
handmade items, then work your way over to Etsy
(www.etsy.com). Furniture, candles, knitting,
jewelry, and screen-printed paper products are all
on sale. And if you have some gems crafted by
your own hand, you can sell them on Etsy (for a
20-cent listing fee and 3.5% sales fee).
The Funny (Web) Pages
Problem: I love to read the funny pages in the
daily newspaper, but my city’s edition doesn’t
carry all of my favorite strips. Where can I find
them on the Web?
Solution: You can customize your MyYahoo! or
Google home page to display a small selection of
syndicated comics, but for a much broader
selection, visit these two must-bookmark sites for
comic strip lovers: Comics.c....
„
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 11
The Big Red X
By Vinny La Bash, a member of the Sarasota PCUG, Florida,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
Email, along with the spreadsheet, is one of the greatest
computer applications ever developed. Along with its
usefulness are a few minor, but irritating
inconveniences. The one we’ll address in this article is
the frustration with observing a red X where an image
should appear.
There are several possible causes for pictures failing
to materialize. They are not particularly difficult to
correct, but the method is far from obvious. Start by
right-clicking the red X and from the popup menu
select “Show Picture”. If this works, consider yourself
blessed. More likely is that either your email setup is
not allowing the picture to be viewed or the sender’s
options are not allowing the picture to be sent. Let’s
make sure that your setup isn’t causing the problem,
and then we’ll figure out what to do with the sender.
If the problem is at your end, it could be caused by
having Internet Explorer’s email settings too restrictive.
To reset the default settings for Internet Explorer 6.0
open Internet Explorer, click Tools from the top menu
bar, and select Internet Options.
1. Click on the General tab to make sure it’s active.
2. Click Delete Files.
3. Check Delete All Offline Content, and click OK.
4. Click the Delete Cookies button, and click OK.
5. Click the Settings button.
6. Set cache to 25 MB or less, and select Every
Visit to Page, then click OK.
Next, make the Security tab active by clicking on it.
There are four zones listed on the security tab: Internet,
Local Intranet, Trusted Sites, and Restricted Sites.
1. Click Internet.
2. Click the Default Level button.
3. Repeat the steps for each of the remaining
zones.
Third, click on the Privacy tab, and click the Default
button. If the Default button is grayed out, ignore this
step. Now click the Connections tab.
1. Click the LAN Settings button.
2. Make sure nothing is checked, and click OK.
Last, click on the Advanced tab.
1. Click Restore Defaults.
2. Click Apply and OK.
Internet Explorer 7 is similar, but there are enough
differences to warrant its own set of instructions. Open
Internet Explorer, click Tools, and select Internet
Options.
First, look at the General tab.
1. Click the Delete button.
2. The Delete Browsing History
dialog box appears. Click the
Delete Files button.
3. Select Yes in the confirmation box.
4. Repeat step 2 for the Delete cookies, and Delete
history buttons.
5. Click Close.
6. Click the Settings button in the Browsing
history section.
7. Select “Every time I visit the webpage,” then
set the “Disk space to use” value to 50
Megabytes or less.
8. Click OK.
Next, click the Security tab. There are four zones listed
on the security tab: Internet, Local Intranet, Trusted
Sites, and Restricted Sites.
1. If the Set all zones to default level button is
not grayed, out click it and you’re done with
this section. Otherwise continue with step 2.
2. Click Internet.
3. Click the Default level button (if it is not
grayed out).
4. Repeat the steps for the remaining zones.
Click on the Privacy tab, and click the Default button
unless it’s grayed out. Then click the Connections tab.
1. Click the LAN settings button to activate
another dialog box.
2. Make sure nothing is checked, and click OK.
Finally, click on the Advanced tab.
1. Click the Restore advanced settings button.
Don’t, repeat don’t click the Reset button as
that will delete any forms and passwords saved
through auto-complete.
2. Click Apply and OK.
That takes care of your browser. If you’re using
Outlook or Outlook Express, you need to check several
more options that control how images are received or
sent. There are two ways to send pictures in Emails.
You can imbed the picture in the email or you can send
the picture as an attachment. Whichever way you
choose, you need to set your email client so it can
handle pictures, and you do that by setting your email
to work in HTML format. We’ll start with Outlook
Express and finish up with Outlook.
We’ll make a big assumption that all of your
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 12
recipients are set up to receive their Email in HTML
format. You need to make sure that you have Outlook
Express set up to send Email in HTML. Service Pack 2
should be installed on your system. Because of its extra
security features, you need to avoid blocking
attachments when you send or receive email.
1. Open Outlook Express, go to the Tools/menu,
and click “Options”.
2. Click the “Send” tab, and then select “HTML”
as the format to send mail.
3. Click the Button to the right that’s named
“HTML Settings”, and put a check in the box
that says “Send Pictures with Messages”. Be
sure that “Quoted Printable” is the selected in
the “Encode text using” box.
4. Click OK.
5. Click the Read tab.
6. Confirm that the “Read all messages in plain
text” is not checked.
Your machine is now setup to correctly send and
receive images. If people who are receiving your email
complain about red Xs, send them these instructions. If
you want to check out your system, try sending some
emails to yourself.
If you’re using Outlook, perform the following check.
1. Open Outlook and select Options from the
Tools menu.
2. Select the Mail Format tab.
3. In the “Message format” section select HTML
from the drop down menu.
4. Click the Internet Format button
5. In the HTML options section, confirm there is
no checkmark in any of the boxes in the dialog
box.
6. In the Outlook Rich Text options section, select
“Convert to HTML format” from the drop
down menu.
7. Click OK to save the settings.
8. Click OK to exit.
Other possibilities that could prevent pictures being
displayed in your email are your anti-virus and firewall
settings. You may need to relax the security settings on
these programs. We can’t provide instructions for this
because we don’t know whose software you’re using.
You may need to contact the producer of the software
for information.
If you create and send an email with a photo image or
forward an email with a photo in it and the recipient
gets a red X instead of the picture, you can be fairly
confident that their email, firewall or anti-virus setup is
preventing the picture from being seen. Send these
instructions to them.
„
Software Review, Elements cont. from page 5
.pse extension. The print projects are wizard driven and
offer step by step selections for size, layout, theme and
then additional options depending on the project
chosen. I decided to make a print project of a CD cover
and label for the Disney slide show that I created
earlier. The wizard walked me through the entire
process opening Elements in the Full Edit mode with
my selected photo and all the layers in the layer palette
created – it truly seemed like magic. Since you are left
in this mode you can then adjust or fine tune the project
before saving and printing it.
One feature that I was not able to try but may be of
interest to some reading this review is the ability to
download and upload photos from a mobile phone.
I highly recommend Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.
There is an upgrade rebate in the box of $20, so if you
are using an older version you can take advantage of
that. The price today at Amazon.com is $69.99 with
free shipping and your $20 rebate makes the total
price $49.99. There are other special offers at local
stores and online. Visit Adobe’s web page
www.adobe.com for system requirements.
„
YouTube cont. from page 6
home camcorders and cell phones. In fact, videos that
showed L.A. police repeatedly punching a suspect on
the ground, a college student being tasered, and an
outraged comedian yelling disparaging ethnic
descriptions, were shown on television news after first
being uploaded to YouTube. These homemade videos,
which were a sensation on the news, initially prompted
me to check out the site.
Incredibly, YouTube viewers watch 100 million
videos each day — up from 10 million last year. The
most-watched clip, with over 36+ million views is a
compilation of head-butt animations inspired by the one
Zinedine Zidane administered in the 2006 World Cup
soccer game.
YouTube is free. You only need to sign up if you want
to leave comments about the videos, rate them, or
upload your own.
Choose videos from categories like Recent Videos
below, which include viewer ratings, video length,
and description
„
Spin it again cont. from page 5
RPM records using the 45 RPM speed of my turntable
and increased the speed accordingly using the drop-down
menu until it sounded normal. I’m trying to find my 78
RPM copy of Roy Acuff’s “Sixteen Chickens in a Frying
Pan.” Everybody needs to hear that.
For the tinkering types out there, many tweaks are
available including a change in sampling rates,
sensitivity of track detection, recording levels, etc.
Highly recommended. Rod Rakes
„
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 13
THINGS, THINGLETS & THINGASSOS
Written by S. Jack Lewtschuk, Monterey Bay Users’ Group-PC Columnist,
www.mbug.org/, [email protected]
In addition to Windows, “switch-hitters” can download versions
WORDS OF WISDOM
of KeePass for Macintosh, PocketPC, Palm and Linux. You can
If builders built houses the way programmers build computer
also take KeePass with you on a thumb drive by copying two
programs, the first woodpecker to come along would destroy
files onto your thumb drive. One is the KeePass program
civilization!
(KeePass.exe), and the other is the file containing your
KEEPING TRACK OF MULTIPLE PASSWORDS
passwords (the default is called Database.kdb).
Passwords are a part of our everyday life: we use them for eBACKING UP OUTLOOK CONTACTS
mail, online banking, stock trading, shopping, blogging, etc. For
Outlook stores all data in a single file called a “.PST file”. This file
good security, you should have a different password for each
contains your contacts, e-mail, calendar items and tasks. It’s
website you enter. But how can you remember so many
easy to back up your entire Outlook .PST file—just locate it and
passwords?
copy it as you would any other file. Backing up individual folders
A password manager is a great way to consolidate all your
within Outlook is also easy, so you can export your entire
passwords without compromising security. Generally, a
“Contacts” list. Simply highlight “Contacts” in your Outlook
password manager is a program that stores all of your
passwords for you. All of your passwords are kept secure with— folders list. Then click “File,” and “Import and Export” to open the
“Import and Export Wizard.” Select “Export to a file” and click
you guessed it—a password.
“Next,” to choose from a list of options (I recommend Microsoft
The key advantage to using a password manager is that you
only have to remember one password. That’s not too bad. Then Excel as the best one to choose in order to export all your
contacts into a nicely ordered spreadsheet). After making your
you can retain unique passwords for each of your various
selection, click “Next.” You’ll be given the option again to select
accounts without taxing your memory.
the folder you want to export. Highlight it, click “Next,” and
There are several pay programs that work this way. Before
specify the name and location where you would like to save your
buying one, try KeePass (http://
file (use the “Browse” button if needed), click “Next” and then
keepass.sourceforge.net/), a simple, free
click “Finish.”
password manager. It can help you organize your passwords
You can use the same procedure with other items in the
and also enter them into log-in forms.
Outlook
folder list. This is handy if you only want to export
How does KeePass work? After you download and install it,
certain
parts
of your Outlook data file. You can use the files with
there are several easy steps to setting it up. The first time you
other
programs
such as a “Database.” You can also use it to
open it, you have to create the file that will store your
share
information
with other people. Say you want to share your
passwords. Click the “New” button at the top left of the window
contacts with friends or coworkers: just export them, and others
which will prompt you for a “Master Key.” Make it one that you
can import your list into their Outlook program.
can easily remember, but which someone else can’t easily
To import a file, click “File,” and “Import and Export.” Select
guess (e.g., your birth date, your spouse/child’s/pet’s name),
“Import from another program or file,” click “Next,” and select the
because it’s the password you’ll use from now on to unlock all
type of file from which you’re importing. In this case, select
your other passwords.
“Microsoft Excel” and click “Next.” Click “Browse” to locate the
KeePass includes categories for online functions such as efile you wish to import, and then select your import options. You
mail, home banking and others. To put a password into
may want to allow duplicates, or you may wish to replace
KeePass, select a category and then click the “Add Entry”
button. You’ll be able to enter a title for the password, which will duplicates with imported items. You can also specify that
duplicates not be imported. Click “Next,” select the destination
help you easily identify where the password is used.
folder, click “Next” again, and finally, click “Finish.”
Let’s take Hotmail as an example—an effective title for a
Hotmail password could be simply “Hotmail.” You could also
NOVICE CORNER
enter the web address where the password is required.
Starting Your Computer in “Safe Mode”
KeePass automatically fills the password box with a random
At some point in time you may need to start your computer
password. Chances are that it’s stronger than the password you
in “safe mode.” You should print these instructions before
already use for Hotmail, but to make it work, you have to log into
continuing as they will not be available after you shut your
your account and change it to match KeePass.
computer down in step two.
If you want to keep things simple, erase the pre-filled box and
Click
“Start,” click “Shut Down,” and then in the drop-down
put in the password that you already use and click “OK”. Do the
list
click
“Shut down.” In the shut down window dialog box,
same steps for all of your everyday passwords and take a load
click
“Restart,”
and then click “OK.” When you see the
off your memory. You can drag and drop passwords directly
message
“Please
select the operating system to start” or
from KeePass. Click the password you need from KeePass and
“Windows”
appears
on the screen, press the “F8” key
move it to the blank form on a Web page. The password will
several
times.
Use
your
arrow keys to highlight the
appear in the blank.
appropriate “safe mode” option, and then press “ENTER.”
KeePass keeps your entire password file encrypted. The only
If you have a dual-boot or multiple-boot system, choose
way to open or read it is with your master password, so don’t
the installation that you need to access using the arrow
lose it!
keys, and then press “ENTER.”?
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 14
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the
support provided by the following
companies:
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
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which is for the exclusive use of NVPCUG members,
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$20 Student Member - a full-time student who is not
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$10 Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or
Student member. Associate memberships run
concurrently with sponsors’ memberships.
Make check payable to
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Mail application/renewal to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit
organization. Your dues payment may be tax-deductible as a
charitable contribution.
Offering Financial Services throughout
the Napa Valley, with offices in Napa, St.
Helena and Yountville
• To request a Corporate Membership Application/Renewal
form, e-mail:
[email protected]
Revised 8-19-05
800-869-3557 • www.wellsfargo.com
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit
our Web site: http://www.nvpcug.org
NVPCUG Computer News, March 2007, Page 15
The Internet, What Is It?
By Hilton Kaufman, a member of the Chicago Computer Society, Illinois,
www.css.org, [email protected]
(This is the first of a short series of articles explaining what the Internet is.)
The Internet is one of those
things that is a bit tricky to
define and explain. It is a
network of computer networks
that provides various services,
such as e-mail and the World
Wide Web, with a hierarchy of
naming conventions to
consider. No one can tell
exactly how many computers are part of the Internet at
any moment as individuals are constantly signing on
and off.
There is also the historical aberration that the
intended structure of the Internet is not how it works
today. It was supposed to be a bunch of independent
connections and multiple possible routings so that if
one part went down, say the area in lower Manhattan
about five years ago, messages could go through on
another route. Now everything goes across country on a
backbone consisting of maybe five or six parallel main
trunk lines.
It also was once for government and educational use
only. Many government functions now use newer
networks with connections totally separate from what
we know as The Internet. They may or may not permit
connection to the Internet for routine matters, but
severely limit who can get into the secure internal
networks. Schools seem to find that the Internet works
fine for them. Much of the Internet involves
commercial entities today.
While the Internet was originally designed for use
within the United States of America, it is quite
international in scope. How it works in various
countries may or may not be subject to various controls.
However someone with the right equipment might be
able to tap into a satellite that carries Internet signals.
Yet a very great portion of Internet traffic is in or at
least involves the United States
It is the services on the Internet that make it
interesting to the ordinary user. Historically it was used
for short messages and moving files from one location
to another. The messages might be nothing more than a
notice that a file was ready to be transferred or that it
had been successfully received. It grew into something
in which anyone could bring useful files to their local
computers and send complex messages with files often
attached.
The technology for providing and receiving
many services has changed and made more
complex, yet more user friendly. Internet
capable technology is often used in local
networks called Intranets, which may or may not
be connect to the overall Internet. Different
individuals work with the Internet in ways that
may be unique to them. The ordinary person
does not know or care how it works, just that he
or she can use it for the desired services, such as
sending e-mail messages.
The Internet can be something mysterious and
quite technical. It can also be something that
appears easy to use. This may depend on what
one wants and what is loaded on a particular
computer. Very often a company that one uses to
connect and receive services tries to make things
look as simple as possible to the end user.
„
(Future articles in this series will explain how the Internet
is hooked together, the addressing system that sends
things to the right place, and some of the services
available over the Internet.)
Hilton Kaufman serves as the technical support person for
the procedures writing unit of an Illinois state agency,
where higher level technical support personnel are
concerned with the details of Internet connections and
services. As such, he uses the software provided to him to
create forms, convert documents into PDFs, advise
members of his unit as to how to use the available
software, and similar tasks. For his home computer, he
can go all out and get a powerful machine that allows him
to do things like playing games and surf the web without
getting in trouble. He has prepared a number of articles
aimed at novice users on the basics of standard computer
programs.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
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