Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 24, No. 6
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group has served
novice and experienced computer users since 1983. Through
its monthly meetings, newsletters, online forum, special interest groups, mentor program and
community involvement, it has
helped educate people of all
ages. The NVPCUG provides
opportunities for people to find
friends who share common interests and experiences. Through
its Computers-to-Schools program, members refurbish used
computer equipment for donation to local schools. Since January 2003 the NVPCUG has donated 660 computers and 139
printers. Additional equipment
has been given to charitable nonprofit organizations and to disadvantaged individuals.
June 2007
At June 20 Meeting,
Ergonomics Presentation
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
will meet Wednesday, June 20, 7:00-9:00 P.M.,
at the Napa Senior Activity Center,
1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California
The meeting begins with Random Access , an open-floor question-andanswer period during which attendees can ask questions about computers and
computer-related problems and receive helpful information from other meeting
attendees. Questions may be submit before the meeting by emailing them to
Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at [email protected]
During the Computer Tutor session which will follow, Jeff Solomon will
discuss what Usenet Newsgroups are and demonstrate how to access, view and
participate in Usenet Newsgroups using Windows Outlook Express and Mozilla
Our main presentation will be given by Ronald
Kleist, president of SmartMotion Technology, Inc.
He will be talking to us about ergonomics. Ronald
comes to us with 35 years experience bringing new
technologies to market for market leaders such as
Instapak/Sealed Air Corporation, Genzyme, Sprint,
OCLI/JDSUniphase. The last 10 years have been
devoted to ergonomics and include development of
mechanisms and finished products that support natural
human motion such as SwingSeat and Clickit!. He is
also involved in a family trading company started more than 65 years ago in
Asia and travels there often.
The door prize will be provided by the presenter. He will bring a clamp-on
version of the 4-ARM Tray (List Price $12900). Note: Members are eligible for
the drawing and if you want to be included in the drawing, make it a point to
attend this months meeting. Your name might be the one that is drawn!
View his websites at and http:// for more details. The site even includes a short
video demonstrating how easy it is to assemble and use the swingseat.
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.
Intersted in becoming a member? See page 14 for application
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007
President’s Message
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site,, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
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
By Ron Dack, president, [email protected],
June already and the waiting goes on. What the h#### is he talking about, you
ask? The final ruling from the IRS on our non-profit status is the answer. Our
paperwork was submitted at the end of March and all appeared to be in order
and it looked like a “slam dunk” to me. We did receive a letter from the IRS
saying they had received our documentation and will be getting back to us
in the next “120 days”. That letter came at the end of April or beginning of
May. In the meantime we sit in limbo. Well not quite.
Our public service project Computers to Schools continues on with more
and more computer systems being donated to schools and other non-profit
organizations around the area.
We still are participating in the Napa City/County Electronics Waste
Recycling event on June 8th and 9th. By the way if you haven’t signed up
to help and you can help please contact our Recycle Coordinator Ken
Manfree at [email protected] to help with traffic control and survey
taking. Or contact our Computers to Schools Coordinator Orion E. Hill at
[email protected] to help sort through equipment to find needed
computers and peripheral devices needed for the CTS program. It is never
too late to help out.
I have finally finished setting up the NVPCUG-DISCOUNT list on
Yahoo Groups and the first discount e-mail has been sent to the list. If
you received an e-mail from me welcoming you to this list that means you
will be receiving discount offers that have been sent to us from venders
of software and hardware. To some of you when these e-mails arrive they
may seem like the dreaded “SPAM” but these are legitimate offers made
through our membership in the Association of Personal Computer User
Groups (APCUG). If you choose not to receive these offers you can email me at my [email protected] address or click on the
unsubscribe link included in each message. Only Susy Ball & I will be
able to post/send messages to this list so no outside spammer can post a
message. To be included on this list you must be a current dues paying
member of the NVPCUG.
Our June general meeting should be a must attend situation for those of you
like me that spend way to much time sitting at our computers and paying with
aches and pains for doing so. As I get older ergonomics takes on a whole new
meaning for me. I hope I am over this bug I have and can attend, so here is
hopping to see each of you on June 20th at the Senior Activity Center 7PM.
[email protected]
Take care,
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
June 20
June 6
June 11
June 13
June 14
July 18
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.
6:30-9:00 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 General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Vice President Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Jim Gillespie, Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree,
Dick Peterson, Dianne Prior, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff Solomon,
Dean Unruh
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling Coordinator
Ken Manfree
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator
Orion E. Hill
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
Dean Unruh
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
Programs Director
Susy Ball
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
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]
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, 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 © 2007
Backing up a computer Cloning VS Imaging
By Al Edmister, member of the NVPCUG,, [email protected]
Backing up your computer has always been
an important and sometimes confusing
subject. As most people know by now
backing up on the same HD only helps
when the main file gets corrupted which
really doesn’t happen very often. It is of
no help when an HD fails. I’ve had two
fail. The first failure was soon after I bought
the machine; the HD was defective. The manufacturer replaced
it and, luckily, files could be copied. But all programs had to be
reinstalled. The second time the HD motor quit. That was hard
to find; HD motors are really quiet and who would think to put
ones head into the box to listen. Anyway all was lost. Well, not
all, because I had started keeping all my files backed up on a
second internal HD so I had everything but an OS and
programs. I bought a new HD and installed an OS and
programs again then copied back my files. Very time consuming.
There had to be a better way should failure happen again.
At one time I thought CD-RWs & ‘READ ONLY
disks would be the answer. In fact, I’m using this
method with another computer which
doesn’t get much action or have big files.
And it doesn’t have space for a 2nd HD.
To clinch it the UBS is a 1 which makes
for slow transfers of big files. But,
with not many transfers, no music or
games, to make, a CD-RW system works fine for us as we only
need to up date them occasionally and we keep photos on a
remote computer and read only disks anyway.
I heard about RAID and found out that it requires a card on
the mother board and two (2) or more HDs depending on the
array. RAID has multiple HDs all running containing the same
every thing; if one drive fails then, without shutting down, you
remove & replace it with a clean drive and RAID recreates from
the remaining drives. No downtime is the key advantage here.
It can get expensive.
There’s all kinds of RAID arrays. One of them is with 2 HDs
& is called “striping” where info is written alternately to the
disks. Makes for much faster read & write & is really helpful
when doing videos.
I also heard about Zip drives. Never used them but I think
they came into use before there was UB 2
and before large HDs. A Zip drive is
removable and contains compressed
files. It is handy not only for same
computer back up and additional
storage but as a system to transfer
files from one computer to another.
But you can’t get a ‘full’ back up.
That’s when I heard about cloning and
imaging. Cloning of an HD vs Imaging it
had not been settled, at least not for me, until
recently. The following may not be
everybody’s take but it works for me. Cloning
is making an exact, complete, bootable copy;
imaging is making a compressed bootable
copy where the files are compressed versions
of the original in a dedicated file format. It
can then be used to create a working duplicate
of the original on a blank HD disk. The clone or image can be
externally USB connected or internal.Aclone takes up less space
on a disk than the original as does an image but more space is need
for an image, at least when using True Image ! ver. 10.0 by
Acronis (
), because each time you do a back up it is what
they call an incremental back up or a ‘slice’
and needs it own space. Programs like True
Image can keep you automatically up dated
on a scheduled basis or you can do an update
when you feel it’s necessary and you have the
but I have no idea how. They are “just there” for use in
recreating an HD.
But I wanted a duplicate, bootable HD running as a
D drive in case my C drive fails. That is, I want a clone of my
HD not a image. I already had and keep via “save as” all my files
on my D drive. I mean all! But, I did not have the OS or
programs on it. Also, I wanted to switch D & C as disk now in
D is bigger and better suited to be in the C position where I can
put large temporary files. I have no need of partioning, so
neither drive is partitioned.
I tried Casper XP by Future
Systems Solutions (h t t p : / /, a really
good cloning program.
Unfortunately for me, there is a
conflict with the way Casper works & something in my
computer that prevents it from functioning completely. This
very likely is an isolated problem; but still, even with Casper’s
built in history & status utilities I, & their tech, could not find
it. I was impressed with their tech guy. I got prompt answers and
personal help. He even called me the first morning after I had
emailed a help request and I have his direct line number.
Emailing the self-generated reports was easy and we were able
to remove some old W98 fragments. But the conflict remained.
We gave up. I gave my copy of Casper to Diane Prior.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 4
I then went to True Image 10.0, which, at first I thought only
did imaging. I gave it a try imaging my C drive to an external
USB connected H drive. That took seven hours and I have yet
to figure out the restore process works because their restore
page doesn’t use the terms “source” & destination” but
something obscure to me. Anyway I have an image on a
removable drive ready if I should need it.
Note: In addition to the three products I used were Casper
Xp, Maxtor & the one by Acronis, but you can find several
additional back up products by doing a GOOGLE search
for backup programs.Among the 10,000.000+ entries
on the words backup programs, I was reminded
that Windows Backup System (part of XP) and
Norton Ghost are both backup program available.
For the next part, I wanted a cloned back up
running as a second HD as I intend to keep
using “save as” as I go along rather than wait for a
scheduled time. My work is important to me and even losing
a few minutes of effort is not acceptable. I also
wanted a bootable 2nd HD fully backed up
(OS, all programs, settings as well as files) in
case my C drive failed. Tucked away in
True Image 10.0 is a button to go to clone,
any disk to any disk. True Image 10.0 did
the job and in less than an hour I had moved
over 30 GB of OS, programs and files to a
bootable drive.
I opened up my computer case; switched C & D and turned
on the power. The cloned drive (old D) came up as if it were
always there as a C drive. Everything was exactly as I had left
it even the partially filled Recycle Bin. Great, now for checking
out the drive in D, which now held my old C drive. No drive
could be found. It just wasn’t there. I opened the computer &
checked the connections & pining; they were fine. I then went
to with the problem. Back came a
reply to go to disk manager and send a screen shot. While there
I saw that the drive had not been assigned a letter. Which I
thought XP did automatically. I entered the letter D and went
Raffle Prize for June
A Digital Photography Basket
Basket Includes:
back to see what had happened. I was in
business. All drives function as
intended. I was as happy as a
mosquito in a blood bank.
The future might be in flash drives already
available as thumb or flash gizmos. They are getting
bigger, over 2GB ones are available, and are great
for transferring files. Hang one around your
neck on a lanyard or just stick one in your
pocket, these drives are smaller than a disposable
cigarette lighter, so they travel well. No moving
parts is a huge advantage as there’s no mechanism to
fail. Internal HDs might eventually be made similar to
flash type drives. But before this can happen, they will have
to be over 200GB to take the market.
There is a new wrinkle to cloning an HD that I just discovered
and used. My ‘new’ computer, while a definite upgrade in
speed, has space for only one HD which was an 80GB. That is
actually big enough for my purposes but I wanted a second
bootable HD for back up even though I’ll have to run it as an
external drive in a USB port. Therfore, recently I bought a
160GB Maxtor drive.
It came with the usual installation disk, but
it included a feature I wasn’t aware of until
opening it. I put the drive into my external
drive holder, plugged everything in
and began with the configure then
the disk copy. Forty minutes later, I
had a cloned disk which I then put in
my computer pinned as master and I
am up and running again. This time it
is on a 160GB (120GB available) and
I have the old 80GB HD as a bootable
HD in the external case as back up.
Additional programs for backup,
security, the Internet and disk organization can be
purchased by user group members from
$ 8 0 00
Va l u
Tickets will be available at the
General Meeting
for $100 each or 6 for $500
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 5
Secure Your PC
An Antispyware How-To Guide
By Thor Schrock, from Smart Computing Magazine, General Computing • May 2007 •
Vol.18 Issue 5 • Page(s) 39-40 in print issue
At this very moment, the latest installation wizard is fairly straightforward, requiring you
spyware threat may be silently to accept the terms of use before you continue. Click the
slicing through your computer’s Next button through a series of screens. On the final
security defenses, infecting installation screen, click the Finish button. The Ad-Aware
your PC with pop-up ads or help file will open, an update will automatically occur, and
programs designed to steal your a system scan will begin.
passwords and other sensitive
With thousands of spyware
threats on the Web, it is
important that you know how
to detect and remove these pests from your PC. Over the past
few years, spyware removal has gone from a technical
nightmare to a simple, automated process thanks to the
multitude of antispyware applications in the marketplace
The Ad-Aware Scanning Results screen gives you a
summary of the items found on your computer and lets you
But before you decide to purchase an off-the-shelf product,
manually select which items to remove.
you might be surprised to know that there are free, easy-toThe Ad-Aware Scanning Results screen gives you a
use programs offered on the Internet that will remove these summary of the items found on your computer and lets you
threats from your computer. While there are many programs manually select which items to remove.
available to remove spyware with ease, there are two
The time required for the full-system scan will vary based
applications in particular that stand out as safe, secure on the size of your hard drive and the number of files stored
programs to clean hidden spyware from your PC.
on it. Once the scan completes, click the Next button to see
Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware ( and what Ad-Aware found on your computer.
Patrick M. Kolla’s Spybot Search & Destroy (www.saferThe Scanning Results screen shows each infection that are both excellent, free applications was found on your computer. You can use the associated
for removing spyware. While each application accomplishes checkboxes to select which items to remove. All checkboxes
similar goals, they are slightly different in how they update are blank by default, but we recommend selecting every
and how they scan for and remove threats. In this article, checkbox to remove all existing threats. To do so, you can
we’ll show you step-by-step how to install each application select each checkbox individually, or you can simply rightand use it to remove any spyware that may be sneaking click the list of critical objects and choose Select All Objects
around on your hard drive.
from the context menu.
Click Next to begin the automated removal process. AdAd-Aware SE Personal
Aware will begin removing the infections and will display a
More than 231 million users have downloaded Lavasoft’s progress bar to indicate how much work remains to clean
Ad-Aware to clean spyware from their PCs. Ad-Aware runs your PC. After the progress bar reaches 100%, you will either
on all versions of Windows from Windows 98 through be returned to the original Ad-Aware start screen, or you may
Windows Vista Ultimate. It is also compatible with all receive a dialog box informing you that some infections
major antivirus applications and can be used in conjunction could not be removed. It will ask you if you would like these
with other spyware programs.
infections removed the next time your PC is rebooted. We
Yo u c a n d o w n l o a d A d - Aw a r e b y v i s i t i n g recommend you select Yes and then reboot your PC. Go to the Products section, select
After the reboot, Ad-Aware will load automatically, and
Ad-Aware SE Personal, and click the Download link. You you will need to run another full-system scan. The process
will be redirected to to obtain the you went through with the first scan repeats, and a new
free download.
Scanning Results screen is displayed. After the removal is
Once you have downloaded the installation file to your complete and you exit Ad-Aware, your system will continue
computer, open it to begin the installation process. The to boot normally.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 6
Because an antispyware program is only as good as its
latest update, we recommend you regularly check for
updates before you start a new scan. To manually check for
updates, launch the Ad-Aware program by double-clicking
the icon on your Desktop. Once the program is loaded, click
the blue Check For Updates Now link. When the WebUpdate
box appears, click the Connect button to start the update.
(You must be connected to the Internet to perform an
If there are new definitions available, you will see another
window with an OK button. Click the OK button to download
the updates. After the download completes, click the Finish
button. If no updates are available, you will see a window
telling you that there are no updated components available.
If you see this window, click OK because you already have
the most recent updates.
Ad-Aware SE Personal does not offer real-time protection,
so spyware threats are removed only when you run a manual
scan. Lavasoft has commercial versions of Ad-Aware that
offer real-time detection and removal available on its Web
site starting at $26.95.
Spybot Search & Destroy
Spybot Search & Destroy is a pioneer
in the antispyware field. Although
the software has fewer downloads
than Ad-Aware, it does have a
different interface that some users
may find slightly easier to use.
While Spybot S&D runs on all
versions of Windows from Win98
through Windows Vista Ultimate,
users installing Norton AntiVirus
may be asked to remove Spybot
S&D, citing compatibility issues.
Our tests indicate that reinstalling
Spybot S&D after installing Norton AntiVirus has no ill
effects on either application.
Spybot S&D also has a wizard interface that makes
installing and configuring the application easy for first-time
users. After you download and run the installation file from
the Spybot S&D Web site, you will click through a series of
Next buttons. You will be required to accept the terms of use,
and then the installation will continue.
Once the installation completes, Spybot S&D should
automatically open to its configuration wizard. This wizard
will allow you to back up your Windows Registry and check
for and download updates and install them.
After you have backed up your Registry and clicked the
Next button, you can click Check For Updates in the
configuration wizard. A new Spybot S&D window will
appear showing you the latest updates available for download.
The Spybot S&D updates interface is more complex than the
Ad- Aware interface, so it is important that you select each
checkbox to the left of each update to ensure you have
everything you need to complete a scan of your PC. After
selecting all of the checkboxes, click Download Updates.
After the updates have downloaded and installed
successfully, click the Finish button to automatically launch
Spybot S&D. Click the Check For Problems button and the
scan will begin. Critical items that are discovered will appear
in red in the results window as the scan progresses. You may
notice some green items in the list, as well. These items
represent usage tracks, and are not spyware by definition. You
can remove them to protect your privacy or leave them so
Windows and other programs can try to predict what you will
want to open next, etc.
Once the scan is complete, you will be able to remove the
items that Spybot S&D discovered. Unlike Ad-Aware,
items in Spybot S&D are automatically chosen for you, so
you do not have to select each item manually for removal.
However, if you want to see for yourself what each selected
item is, you can click the entry and a pop-up window will
display a description of that item. Simply click the Fix
Selected Problems button to remove the detected spyware
from your PC.
As with Ad-Aware, there will be times that Spybot S&D
is unable to remove a particular infection without rebooting
first. If you receive a message that
says an item needs to be removed after
reboot, click Yes and reboot your
computer. Spybot S&D will load first
and will automatically initiate a scan.
When the scan completes, simply click
the Fix Selected Problems button to
repair the infection.
There is no real-time protection
available with Spybot S&D, and there
are no commercial versions of Spybot
S&D that offer increased functionality.
The makers of Spybot S&D accept
donations from satisfied customers on their Web site and let
you “decide if and how much it is worth to you.” (We
recommend that, if you like Spybot S&D, you throw a little
money in the pot. Your donations help shareware developers
to continue providing good software.)
Affordable & Effective
With tens of thousands of existing spyware infections on the
Web today and new ones popping up by the hour, it is more
important than ever that you take the steps necessary to
protect your PC against online assaults.
Luckily, free tools such as Ad-Aware and Spybot S&D
offer affordable protection that effectively removes almost all
spyware infections with little or no technical knowledge
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 7
Finding Ghosts In Your Computer
By Mike Morris, Editor, Front Range PC Users Group,,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
You think I am kidding? The Microsoft Knowledgebase
article on this subject refers to “…”ghosted” devices…”
and “Phantom devices….”
Before we get started with an explanation, four facts
need to be identified:
1. I owe a thank you to fellow Front Range PC Users
Group member Howard Norlin for suggesting this
2. This article is based on the Microsoft
Knowledgebase Article ID 315539 for Windows
XP Home and Professional. Connect to http:/
/ to
locate the article. Enter the article number,
315539, into the search field and GO. The
article has the long title of: “Device Manager does
not display devices that are not connected to the
Windows XP-based computer.”
3. Under the “STATUS” heading of this article, you
will find this statement: “This behavior is by
design.” [Note: that means that “(t)his behavior…”
is a feature, not a bug].
4. Yes, I am aware of the famous movie about finding
and destroying ghosts. Even I am aware of that
movie and I haven’t been to a movie in a theater in
decades. I decided not to use the movie title in this
article in order to avoid any potential copyright
The Device Manager feature in Windows can be used for
several purposes. Perhaps one of the best known uses is
troubleshooting. Here is one method of obtaining access to
Device Manager, using a series of mouse clicks:
Click on Start/Click on Control Panel/Double click on
Administrative Tools/Double click on Computer
Management. Then, under System Tools, click on Device
Manager. A list of device categories is displayed.
NVPCUG Editor’s Note: If this does not work to
get to Computer Management , go to Help and Support
and type Administrative Tools, then go to Suggested
Topics, Overviews, Articles and Tutorials, and finally
Using Computer Management.
It may not be obvious at first glance, but not everything
is displayed that you might expect. On the Computer
Management Menu Bar, click on View, then on “Show
hidden devices.” Examine the result:
Look carefully, and you will see the “Printers” category
has been added.
One may speculate—and debate—why the printer
category is classified as a “hidden” device. The point is,
selecting the “Show hidden devices” option still does
NOT provide a complete list of hardware or software items
that are—or have been—connected to the computer. That
result is the origin of the phrase “ghosted devices.”
Why should you care?
Perhaps for the majority of users, knowledge of this
issue is not critical. However, as mentioned earlier, Device
Manager can be used as a troubleshooting aid. For example,
if I click on the + sign to the left of Disk Drives listed in
the right panel of Device Manager, and then double click
on the device displayed, a device-specific window is
The window offers several options for troubleshooting
a malfunctioning device.
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 8
There is another type of “ghost’ revealed when using the
procedure described in the Microsoft article. If you have
been using your computer for any reasonable length of
time, the probability is high that you have installed/
uninstalled hardware and software since the original
purchase. Using the “show_non_present_devices”
command will reveal leftover drivers that were not (but
should have been) removed during the uninstall process—
”ghosts” hiding in your computer.
It is time to answer the two questions I am certain
everybody has:
· Q: Did I try the procedure?
· A: Yes.
· Q: Did I find any “ghosts”?
· A: Yes. I found a driver from a virus protection
software package I uninstalled a long time ago.
It was listed under the “Non-Plug and Play
Drivers” category.
I wonder if I can now join the ranks of “Ghost B______.”
There—I (almost) said it.
If the malfunctioning device is not listed when the
“Show hidden devices” option is selected, it is time to use
the procedure described in the article 315539. Note that
the article makes reference to USB devices and docking
stations for laptop computers.
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All
other uses require the permission of the author (see email address above).
St. Helena School District Grateful for Computer
Equipment Donations
The St. Helena Unified School District Board of
Education at its May 17 meeting formally thanked the
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group for our
group’s contributions of refurbished computer equipment
and funds to the district’s schools and recognized Orion
E. Hill, the coordinator of our group’s Computers-toSchools program, for his leadership. SHUSD Assistant
Superintendent Robert Haley and SHUSD Network
Specialist Steven McElroy noted the importance of our
donations, which greatly benefit students. Since April
2005 our group has donated 97 multimedia computers —
the majority with Intel Pentium 4 processors and only
four years old — as well as monitors, printers, and other
computer peripherals. Last March our group provided
$1,072 to defray the licensing costs of essential application
software for some of the computers.
In accepting the school district’s certificate of
appreciation, Orion highlighted the teamwork of the
more than two dozen Computers-to-Schools program
volunteers who have devoted
thousands of hours to
refurbishing reusable
computer equipment. The
equipment has been given to
our group by Napa County
businesses, government
agencies, and individuals or
collected at local computer Orion E. Hill (left) accepts
Haley’s thanks
and electronics recycling Robert
while Steven McElroy
looks on.
Since the launch of our Computers-to-Schools program
in September 2002, the NVPCUG has donated 660
refurbished computers and 139 refurbished printers to
public schools throughout Napa County. Additional
equipment has been donated to not-for-profit
organizations or given to disadvantaged adults and
students. More equipment is now being prepared for
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 9
The Top 25 Web Hoaxes and Pranks
These online spoofs and shams have made the rounds on Web sites and through
e-mail. Perhaps you even believed one or two of them yourself.
By Steve Bass, PC World Columnist and Author,,
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for doesn’t contain any mention of Craig Sherwood or a “most
greeting cards received” record, presumably because the fine
publication by APCUG member groups.
Though some of these deceptions originated years ago, the folks at the site don’t want to encourage anyone to try to break
originals—and dozens of variants—continue to make the rounds. his mark. (Astonishingly, Guinness doesn’t have an entry for
If you keep a patient vigil over your e-mail, you too may eventually world’s stoutest person, either, but it does honor the World’s
spot a message urging you to FORWARD THIS TO EVERYONE Largest Tankard of Beer.)
Fortunately, doctors succeeded in removing the tumor, and
YOU KNOW!!! And if you haven’t had enough when you finish
is now a healthy adult, but his appeal for cards has turned
reading this article, take a hoax test at the Museum of Hoaxes, and
hoax that won’t die. Variations on the theme include a
then hop over to Snopes, the premier myth-dispelling site for
sick girl dying of cancer, and a little boy with leukemia whose
coverage of zillions of other falsifications.
dying wish is to start an eternal chain letter. A recent iteration
Hoaxes 1 Through 5
From the supposed last photo taken at the top of the tells a tragic tale of a girl who supposedly was horribly burned
in a fire at WalMart, and then claims that AOL will pay all of
World Trade Center to the endlessly revised request
for assistance from a Nigerian functionary, here are
her medical bills if only if you forward this e-mail to
our top five Web and e-mail hoaxes.
EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! Okay, enough already.
1. The Accidental Tourist (2001)
Quite possibly the most famous hoax picture ever, this gruesome
idea of a joke traveled around the Web and made a grand tour of email inboxes everywhere soon after the tragedy of September 11.
It depicts a tourist standing on the observation deck of one of the
World Trade Center towers, unknowingly posing for a picture as an
American Airlines plane approaches in the background.
At first glance it appears to be real, but if you examine certain
details, you’ll see that it’s a craftily modified image. For starters, the
plane that struck the WTC was a wide-body Boeing 767; the one in
the picture is a smaller 757. The approach of the plane in the picture
is from the north, yet the building it would have hit—the North
tower—didn’t have an outdoor observation deck. Furthermore, the
South tower’s outdoor deck didn’t open until 9:30 a.m. on weekdays,
more than half an hour after the first plane struck the WTC. The
picture is a hoax, through and through—and not a particularly
amusing one, under the circumstances.
Image courtesy of
3. Bill Gates Money Giveaway (1997)
No, it’s true. I thought it was a scam, but it happened to a buddy
of mine. It seems that Microsoft is testing some new program
for tracing e-mail, and the company needs volunteers to help
try the thing out. He forwarded me an e-mail that he received
from Microsoft—and get this, from Bill Gates himself! Two
weeks later, as a reward for participating, my pal received a
check for thousands of dollars! Sure he did. Another version of
this hoax claims that AOL’s tracking service is offering a cash
reward. Tell you what—when you get your check, send me 10
percent as a finder’s fee, okay?
4. Five-Cent E-Mail Tax (1999)
Image courtesy of
2. Sick Kid Needs Your Help (1989)
This gem had its roots in reality. It all began in 1989, when nineyear-old cancer patient Craig Shergold thought of a way to achieve
his dream of getting into the Guinness Book of World Records.
Craig asked people to send greeting cards, and boy, did they. By
1991, 33 million greeting cards had been sent, far surpassing the
prior record. Ironically, however, the Guinness World Records site
“Dear Internet Subscriber,” the e-mail starts. “The
Government of the United States is quietly pushing through
legislation that will affect your use of the Internet.” It goes
on to reveal that “Bill 602P” will authorize the U.S. Postal
Service to assess a charge of five cents for every e-mail sent.
Not a bad way to cut down on the number of dopey e-mail
chain letters and lame jokes people let loose on the world.
But credulous curse averters and connoisseurs of boffo laffs
can relax: This e-mail alert, which popped up in 1999 and
comes back for a visit every year or so, just isn’t true. Still,
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 10
it sounded plausible enough to fool Hillary Clinton during
a 2000 debate when she was running for the Senate.
5. Nigerian 419 E-Mail Scam (2000)
“DEAR SIR,” the e-mail starts. “FIRSTLY I MUST FIRST
PROPERLY…” I’m sure you’ve received one of these—a
confidential, urgent e-mail message promising you a reward of
mucho dinero for helping this person convey money abroad.
All you need do in return is entrust your name and bank account
number to the government bureaucrat (or his uncle, aunt, or
cousin, the ostensible “credit officer with the union bank of
Nigeria plc (uba) Benin branch”) who needs your help.
It’s the Nigerian con, also known as an Advanced Fee Fraud
or 419 scam (so called because of the section number of the
Nigerian criminal code that applies to it). Ancestors of these
scams appeared in the 1980s, when the media of choice were
letters or faxes—and they’re still wildly successful at snagging
people. In fact, Oprah recently featured a victim of the Nigerian
scam on her show. And if you think that smart, educated folks
couldn’t possibly fall for it, you’ll be surprised when you read
“ The Perfect Mark,” a New Yorker magazine article profiling
a Massachusetts psychotherapist who was duped—and lost a
To see how the hoax works, visit Scamorama, a fascinating
site that features a progression of e-mail messages stringing
along 419 scammers, sometimes for months at a time. Finally,
check out the 3rd Annual Nigerian E-Mail Conference, an
absolutely perfect spoof.
6. It’s Kidney Harvesting Time (1996)
The subject line is laden with exclamation points: “Travelers
Beware!!!” If that’s not enough to get your attention, the
chilling story certainly will. The message warns that an organharvesting crime ring is drugging tourists in New Orleans and
Las Vegas, snatching their “extra” kidneys, selling the organs
to non-Hippocratic hospitals, and leaving the victims to wake
up in a bathtub full of ice and find a brief note that explains the
situation and conveniently identifies the phone number of the
nearest emergency room. Hey, maybe they’ll get lucky and the
hospital will have a compatible replacement kidney on hand.
But travelers, fear not!!! According to the National Kidney
Foundation, this scenario has never actually occurred—though it does have the makings of a great horror flick.
(Freddy’s Last Harvest, anyone?)
7. You’ve Got Virus! (1999 and on)
There’s isn’t a Teddy Bear virus. Nor is there a sulfnbk.exe or
AVirtual Card forYou (“the “WORSTVIRUS EVER!!!…CNN
YOU KNOW!!!”).
The jdbgmgr.exe hoax (also known as Teddy Bear because
the jdbgmgr.exe file is represented by a teddy bear icon)
warned recipients of the e-mail message that they were at risk
of infection from a virus sent via address books or Microsoft
Messenger, and that they should delete the file immediately.
But in reality there was no virus—and unfortunately, jdbgmgr.exe
was a necessary Java file. The sulfnbk.exe hoax nailed even
advanced users with its insistence that the file—a legit one that’s
used for fixing long file names—was a virus. Lots of people
removed it.
Similarly, A Virtual Card for You claimed that McAfee had
discovered a virus that, when opened, would destroy the hard drive
on an infected system and would automatically send itself to
everyone on the user’s e-mail contacts list. Of course, it didn’t do
anything except scare people. So before you forward an e-mail
virus warning to anyone (especially to me), look it up on Sophos
or Vmyths to make sure it isn’t a fraud.
8. Microsoft Buys Firefox (2006)
Talk about scaring the entire open-source community. In October
2006, a previously unknown Web site popped up, announcing
Microsoft’s acquisition of Firefox and promoting the company’s
new Microsoft Firefox 2007 Professional. The site talks glowingly
about the browser’s new features and provides a video advertisement
for the product. It was a great prank, and the image of the Microsoft
Firefox 2007 box was so elaborate and professional looking that
the blood pressure of real Firefox users went sky-high.
9. The Really Big Kitty (2001)
There are big cats and then there are even bigger cats. This one,
reportedly tipping the scales at almost 90 pounds, was enormous.
The claim seemed plausible and even snookered a lot of e-mail
cynics (I’m raising my hand)—until they read the accompanying
copy, that is. With nonsense about the owner working at Atomic
Energy of Canada Limited, and more balderdash about nuclear
reactors, the jig was up. Eventually, the cat’s owner fessed up to a
creative Photoshop session, though he claimed that he never
expected anyone to believe the photo was real.
Image courtesy of
10. $250 Cookie Recipe (1996)
The woman loved the cookie she had just nibbled at a Neiman Marcus
cafe in Houston, so she asked her waiter for the recipe. “Two-fifty,” he
said, and she agreed without hesitation, instructing him to add it to her
tab. But when the woman’s Visa bill arrived, it read $250, instead
of $2.50. Bent on revenge, she proceeded to ask you to blast the
recipe to—okay, ready?—EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!! Like
many hoaxes, this one predated the Internet, only to resurface in the
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 11
Steve Bass cont. on page 12
Steve Bass cont. from page 11
14. Real-Time GPS Cell Phone Tracking (2007)
electronic age. It appeared in a cookbook in the late 1940s as the
$25 fudge cake, popped up in the 1960s as the Waldorf-Astoria
red-velvet cake recipe, and re-emerged in the 1970s as the Mrs.
Fields cookie recipe.
Hoaxes 11 Through 15
This group of five begins with a phony e-mail
message promising money and other prizes from
Disney, and ends with the classic deaf-to-reason
arguments of the Apollo moon landing deniers.
Have you heard about the Web site that can track the location
of your cell phone in real time? It uses satellite GPS in
combination with Google Maps, and it’s amazingly accurate
(not to mention a disturbing invasion of privacy). Go ahead,
check it out yourself by going to the SunSat Satellite Solutions
site and tracking your own cell phone’s location. Select your
country, type in your cell phone number, click the Start
Searching button, and wait for it. (This is one of the year’s best
pranks. And I won’t give away the ending.)
11. Free Vacation Courtesy of Disney (1998)
Dear Goofy… Forward this e-mail chain letter to everybody
under the sun and, once 13,000 people have received it, Walt
Disney Jr. will send five grand each to 1,300 lucky people on this
list. And “the rest will receive a free trip for two to Disney for one
week during the summer of 1999.” Is that Disney World,
Disneyland—or Walt’s house? The “Jr.” after Disney, in reference
to a nonexistent person, ought to have been the first clue that this
was a hoax. And the misspelling of “receive” was the clincher
(remember, hoaxters, “i” before “e” except after “c”). Yet people
forwarded the message around the world using the time-honored
e-mail chain letter adage: I’m sending it to you… just in case it’s
12. Sunset Over Africa (2003)
Now that’s a dazzling photo of Africa and Europe, taken right
around sunset from the Space Shuttle Columbia. What makes the
image especially amazing is that, while London remains in
daylight, night has fallen in Italy (a little to the southeast) and the
bright lights of Rome, Naples, and Venice are blazing. Too bad it’s
a digitally altered photo, most likely layered from multiple
satellite images. To see an accurate, computer-generated
illustration, check out the World Sunlight Map.
15. Apollo Moon Landing Hoax (1969)
You’re aware that we never landed on the moon, right? It was
all just an elaborate hoax designed to score Cold War points for
the United States against the Soviet Union in a world of falling
dominoes. The whole lunar landing thing? It was a video staged
at movie studios and top-secret locations.
Okay, you can stop laughing now, but some sites, such as
Apollo Reality and Moon Landing, still insist that the Eagle
never landed. Of course, enemies of Flat Earthism will point to
the Rocket and Space Technology site, which does an in-depth
job of debunking the hoax. But true disbelievers should check
out this terrific video spoof, complete with outtakes showing
lights and cameras.
Hoaxes 16 Through 20
The world of weird eBay auction items starts off
this page, which concludes with a photo hoax
purporting to show a 1950s-era vision of the
home computer of tomorrow.
16. Sell It on eBay! (1995)
Image courtesy of
13. Alien Autopsy at Roswell, New Mexico (1995)
Roswell, New Mexico: ground zero of UFO controversy. It’s also
where the movie of the Roswell alien autopsy was filmed 60 years
ago. The story goes that a UFO crashed at this site, and the U.S.
government performed a hush-hush autopsy on the dead alien. In
the mid-1990s, unnamed individuals “discovered” the secret film
and posted it for the edification of a disinformed public. Looks
pretty real, right? Now fast-forward to 2006 and a conspiracydeflating admission: The movie is a hoax created in 1995 by John
Humphreys, the animator famous for Max Headroom, in his
apartment in north London. …Or was it???
You won’t believe what people have sold on eBay—some of
the items pranks, some of them for real, and some, well, it’s hard
to tell. For a sampling of the weird, you need look no further
than a haunted tree stump and a pork chop shaped like a grizzly
bear. The Internet itself once went on the market at a modest
starting bid of a million bucks, as have a dozen spontaneous
images of the Virgin Mary (on toast, on windows, and heaven
only knows where else). Bidders have also had a shot at
someone’s soul, a guy’s virginity, and a human kidney, with the
price of this last item having reached $5.7 million before eBay
pulled the plug. (Hey, guys, don’t you know that what you lose
in Las Vegas is supposed to stay in Las Vegas?)
But my favorite eBay offering involves a tattooed guy who,
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 12
as a joke, dressed up in his ex-wife’s size 12 wedding gown and
put it up for auction. Only, the dress ended up selling for $3850,
and the guy got five marriage proposals. Nice.
17. Chinese Newspaper Duped (2002)
Information on the Internet may want to be free—but if it’s
posted by a for-profit publisher, you’d better take it with a grain
of salt. That’s the lesson learned by China’s Beijing Evening
News, which was taken in by the Onion’s Capitol Dome spoof.
Famous for its authentic-sounding but tongue-in-cheek articles
steeped in the language of the Associated Press, the Onion
reported that Congress had threatened to leave Washington,
D.C., and head for Memphis unless the District agreed to erect
a new domed Capitol building with a retractable roof and
luxury box seating. Having accepted most of the Onion article
at face value, the Chinese newspaper at first stood by its source
in the face of international derision and refused to back down.
When it finally published a retraction, it blamed the Onion for
the confusion: “Some small American newspapers frequently
fabricate offbeat news to trick people into noticing them with
the aim of making money.” Right.
18. The Muppets Have Not Already Won (2001)
In early October 2001, just prior to the U.S. invasion of
Afghanistan, protesters at an anti-American rally in Bangladesh
showed their support for Osama bin Laden by marching,
chanting, and waving placards. One of the posters captured on
film by Reuters News Agency was a photo-montage of the AlQaeda leader, and in one of the shots a yellow felt puppet to his
right glowers furiously at the camera. It’s...Bert of Sesame
Street. Originally a Zelig-inspired creation of San Francisco
Webmaster Dino Ignacio, the satirical Web site Bert Is Evil
depicted Bert hobnobbing with the worst of the worst in history,
tormenting his roommate Ernie, and generally reveling in
wickedness. After Ignacio retired from active efforts to expose
Bert’s career of evil, others filled the Photoshop void, capturing
the cone-headed miscreant with all the latest baddies-du-jour.
Evidently, the company responsible for printing the proOsama poster found the doctored dual portrait irresistible,
although (according to the Urban Legends References Pages)
its production manager claims to have produced about 2000
copies of the Osama-and-Bert poster without realizing “what
they signified.” Well, if you can’t trust pictures you find on the
Internet, what can you trust?
19. Chevrolet’s Not-So-Better Idea (2006)
The ad folks at Chevrolet thought they had a winner: Let site
visitors create their own 30-second commercial for the company’s
2007 Chevy Tahoe SUV. It’ll be fun, they probably thought. We’ll
give them a choice of video clips and soundtracks, and let them
add their own text captions. Yep, viral marketing at its best.
Unfortunately for Chevrolet, a few pranksters decided to use
the opportunity to express what they thought of the SUV. One
commercial said, “Like this snowy wilderness? Better get your
fill of it now. Then say hello to global warming.” Another
lambasted the SUV as a gas guzzler: “Our planet’s oil is almost
gone. You don’t need G.P.S. to see where this road leads.”
20. Rand’s 1954 Home Computer (2004)
This intriguing image of a room-size computer made the rounds
of the Internet, accompanied by a breathless blurb: “This article
is from an issue of 1954 ‘Popular Mechanics’ magazine forecasting
the possibility of ‘home computers’ in 50 years.” The steering
wheel in the picture is the predecessor to today’s mouse, and the
keyboard looks like those on teletype machines. It even comes
complete with a guy right out of the Eisenhower era.
Cool stuff, and easy to believe—but it’s not a 1950s Rand
Corporation mockup of what a prototype home computer might
look like. It’s actually a shot that was taken of a submarine display
at the Smithsonian Institution and subsequently modified for
inclusion in a image-manipulation competition.
Hoaxes 21 Through 25
Our final five takes you from the ultimate instance
of Microsoft hubris to an ill-conceived experiment
in Internet democracy (or is that Internet
21. Microsoft Buys Catholic Church (1994)
More than a decade ago, an e-mail press release—from Vatican
City, no less—landed in my inbox. Microsoft was announcing
that it was in the process of acquiring the Roman Catholic Church
in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of Microsoft
common stock. The story was a prank, but it sure looked real,
circulating for months and perhaps worrying residents of the
Holy See.
Just think: If the press release had been true, it might have
stopped the Vatican from using Linux. And no, I’m not kidding
about the Linux part. Watch this video interview with the woman
who helped build the Vatican’s Web site.
22. Hercules, the Enormous Dog (2007)
Wow, that dog’s almost as big as the horse. That’s what I thought
when I first looked at this e-mail. The picture depicts a couple, one
walking a horse, the other holding the leash of Hercules, a 282pound English Mastiff and “The World’s Biggest Dog Ever
According to Guinness World Records.”
Horsepucky. Here’s my analysis of the Photoshop modifications.
First, take a close look at the grass under the people and the
animals. The area has been subtly lightened in order to make all
of the shadows match and look authentic. Next, examine the
shadows and you’ll notice two anomalies: First, the shadows of
Steve Bass cont. on page 14
Image courtesy of
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 13
Steve Bass cont. from page 13
the dog and the man start at their feet, but the same doesn’t hold true for the horse. Second, the woman’s shadow is missing
altogether; instead, the man’s shadow extends in front of her. Oh and by the way, the Guinness World Records site doesn’t have
a listing for Hercules or for the world’s biggest dog. Okay, okay, so the pictures of the big kitty and the big dog are both fakes—
but have you seen the shot of Craig Sherwood riding the world’s largest jackelope?
23. Hurricane Lili Waterspouts (2002)
It’s weird, it’s disturbing, and it’s
seemingly plausible—all of the elements
necessary for a successful e-mail
forward. The image shows three dark
waterspouts in the distance. The subject
is “here comes lili,” and the e-mail began
appearing in inboxes at about the same
time that Hurricane Lili started battering
the Louisiana coastline. But three
waterspouts, all neatly lined up?
According to, the National
Weather Service labeled the picture a
hoax and said that it was a modification
of a genuine photo taken in 2001 by a
crew member of the Edison Chouest
Offshore supply boat.
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24. Lights-Out Gang Member
Initiation (1998)
People have a tendency to believe email messages that come from authority
figures. In 1998, a message purportedly
from a police officer working with the
DARE program circulated around the
Internet. It warned recipients not to flash
their lights to inform oncoming cars that
their headlamps were off. According to
the message, a recently devised gang
initiation ritual involved having new
gang members drive at night with their
headlights turned off until an oncoming
car flashed its lights at them; then, in
order to become initiated, they were to
shoot everyone in that car. It’s just
another urban myth—and about as silly
as the one claiming that gangs mark off
Steve Bass Concluded on page 14
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their territory by hanging sneakers from power lines.
25. Pranks Shut Down Los Angeles Times
Wiki (2005)
It seemed like a bright idea. The LA Times’ “A Wiki for
Your Thoughts” fandango asked readers to chime in on the
newspaper’s editorials via a Wiki. In their explanation of
how it would work, the editors even acknowledged that “It
sounds nutty.” Yet they went ahead with it—and achieved
disastrous results. The Wikitorial (the name was nearly as
dumb as the scheme) brought out the best and then the
worst in readers. On the first day, an editorial about the war
in Iraq prompted civil and thoughtful contributions. On
day two, pranksters littered the unmoderated Wiki with
rude comments, pornography, and profanity. The
Webmaster removed the offending entries, but only after
they were available for public viewing. By the next
morning, the publisher had dismantled the Wiki.
Copyright 2007 Steve Bass and PC World. This column
originally appeared on PC world online. Read Bass’s
blog at and his
previous newsletters and print columns at: http:// Subscribe to his weekly
newsletter at
Steve Bass is a Contributing Editor with PC World, a
23 year veteran of PIBMUG, and a founding member
of APCUG. He’s also the author of PC Annoyances:
How to Fix the Most Annoying Things about Your
Personal Computer, O’Reilly Press. It’s still available
on A m a z o n a t d i r t c h e a p p r i c e s . h t t p : / /
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All
other uses require the permission of the author (see
e-mail address above).
Internet Addressing
By Hilton Kaufman, a Member of the
Chicago Computer Society,,
[email protected]
(This is the third article in a series explaining the Internet.
The previous articles provided a general overview and
explained how the system is hooked together.)
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Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Each individual or computer on the Internet has an
individual and unique address in the system. Part of this
address might reflect how messages to and from this address
are routed, but it is possible to buy or rent what is known as
a domain name. Within the system, everything is routed by
numbers, but there are tables available to many servers that
translate the easier for mere humans to understand names to
the proper routing numbers.
Internet Addressing cont. on page 16
NVPCUG Computer News, June 2007, Page 15
Internet Addressing cont. from page 15
There is a regular
hierarchy to how these
names work and are
assigned. Generally if you
control a domain name,
you can control the
individual names under
it. There are individuals
who only use one
individual name under a
domain name. This might
be done to advertise a
company or service. An ISP might have thousands of
names under its domain.
An international agency, called ICANN, that is subject to
control by the U.S. Department of Commerce if it gets out of
line, assigns the high level domains, such as .com. There are
between 100 and 150 of these high level domain names. An
authority for each of these high level names registers the
specific domain names. Every nation-state has its own high
level name, such as .de for Germany (Deutschland). Some are
general or for certain types of users, such as .com and .edu.
ICANN also arranges for several high level servers in
different locations to have the master list for the system. I
believe that there are currently seven of these servers. If one
is lost or compromised, the others can still function and
quickly correct the data on the other ones. Much of this
information is also fed down the line to other name translation
servers on a regular basis.
The rules as to how a domain will be issued under a
specific high level varies with the issuing authority. They
may contract the administration out to a service, such as
VeriSign, that does this for a profit. Sometimes the rules are
strict and might require an actual presence, type of entity
and/or citizenship to use a domain name with a particular
national high level name. In other cases, it may simply be
whether or not one is willing to pay the required fee. The
small pacific island nation of Tuvalu covers much of its
government expenses by selling .tv domain names through
VeriSign. Tuvalu is not even mentioned in the online
advertisement for .tv domain names.
Specific names work a bit different for e-mail than for the
World Wide Web. Typically an individual will have an e-
mail address, but not a uniform resource locator (URL) for
the Web. The e-mail format is a bit easier to explain, so I’ll
start with it.
In an e-mail address, the individual name is to the left of
an at “@” symbol, which separates the two parts of the
name. Immediately after the @, the specific part of the
domain name follows. A dot, or period, separates this from
the high level domain name. An example might be something
like [email protected] There may
or may not be dots and capitals in the individual part of the
name. There is always at least one dot in the domain name.
The individual web site services that go through the
consumer ISPs as a free feature are a bit weird looking. Any
business would probably have and use its own domain
name. With web sites the domain name comes first, followed
by a slash and then the individual part of the name. You can
control the specific page naming from whatever level you
are able to work. It will probably not have names of
individuals. It may or may not start with www. If it is
directly at the domain name level, it might default to a
specific page name, such as index. A technical requirement
of the web sort of requires that http:// appear before the
actual URL. The frequently seen www is not required.
Letters such as httm or htm, to indicate how the site is coded,
are at the end. An example might be http://
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
(The remaining two articles in this series explore services
available over the Internet. The first will cover e-mail and
the World Wide Web. The second lists many of the less known
services that are available to those who might be interested.)
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
Address Services Requested
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