September 2006

September 2006
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 23, No. 9
Inside This Issue:
2 President’s Message
September, 2006
Snapfire Photo Software to Be Demonstrated at November 21 NVPCUG Meeting
By Susy Ball, Programs Director
2 Special Interest Groups
2 Calendar
3 Picnic Photos
4 Officers List
5 Basic DVD Recording
6 A Lot of Assembly Required
8 Quality Freeware
10 Loss of Personal Data
12 Antivirus Software
14 WXP and Speech Recognition
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 488 computers and 132 printers.
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will hold a general meeting Wednesday, September 20, 2006, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at the
Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California.
The main presentation at this meeting will be given by Mike Daw, from
the Corel Corporation He will demonstrate Corel’s Digital Imaging line,
including Snapfire and Snapfire Plus. Snapfire is a free download, offering
easy-to- use tools for organizing, enhancing, and sharing digital photos and
video clips. (Download requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 or higher.)
Snapfire Plus includes all these features, along with more advanced features such as Makeover Tools, Picture Tubes, frames and edges, and others,
and offers more advanced video editing, and more elaborate transitions and
effects for Snapfire shows, plus the ability to save Snapfire shows as standard video files. Daw is considered to be one of Corel’s best presenters.
Preceding the main presentation, Jerry Brown will lead the Random
Access portion of our meeting with an open-floor question-and-answer period, during which you can ask questions about specific computer-related
issues and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees. Don’t
forget that you can also e- mail your questions before coning to the meeting
([email protected]).
Following this, in the Computer Tutor session, Bernhard Krevet will
discuss PDF Xchange and PDF Creator.
Need practical information that will help you make better use
of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are welcome; admission is free.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 1
President's Message—
Election, Picnic, Member News
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,, or contact the SIG leaders.
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]
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]
Macintosh SIG
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]
The ELECTION of New Officers will be held at the Board meeting in November. It
is important that many people be willing to serve so NVPCUG can serve you. We‘d like
to have held several computer repair and problem-solving workshops, held a used equipment sale, participated in Napa TV channel 28’s November fund-raiser telethon, gotten
the Mentor program running, and other actions, but we didn’t have the manpower. The
nominating committee will be seeking your participation in putting together a new Board
of Directors. If you would be willing to serve as a Director and help in any of the categories of activities or would like to nominate someone, please call Roy Wagner (253-2721).
PICNIC: We had 32 attend the summer potluck picnic on August 12. A BIG
THANK-YOU to Dick and Sandy Peterson for again hosting the event. They had the
grounds really nice. Plus the weather co-operated; it was neither too hot nor too
windy. Susy and Mike Ball donated tickets for two to ride the Larkspur ferry to AT&T
Park and to attend the Giants baseball game (center club seats) on August 24th . Bob Simmerman won that door prize. The games, coordinated by Orion Hill, were fun, as
usual. The winners were:
Washer Toss: Sandy Peterson
Horse Shoes: Bob Kulas and Dick Wolff
Dart Throw: Orion Hill
CD Toss: Bob Kulas
Bob was the run-away winner of the CD toss. He was the only contestant who was able to
toss more than one CD through a window -- and he got all three through.
RAFFLES: Marcia Waddell won the August drawing for the subscription to Smart
Computing. In the drawing for XP Office Pro 2002, Roy Wagner was our big winner and
Bob Simmerman won a T-shirt. Congratulations, all! The three drawings (including
July’s Smart Computing) added $132 to our coffers.
John Simcoe is in the Spinal Cord Rehab. Center in San Jose. Roberta says he can
now talk. They’re anticipating that he’ll be able to come home on September 19th . She
sends everyone a big THANK-YOU for all the prayers, cards and e-mails. John’s dedication at getting news of our meetings publicized is missed. That was a major source of
getting new members, which brings me to our …
MEMBERSHIP Incentive: Any member who brings in a new (non-associate) member will get an additional five chances at the door prize drawing
See you at the meeting on September 20.
Peace and Good,
Dianne Prior
NVPCUG Calendar
September 6
September 11
September 13
September 14
September 20
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Computers-to-Schools work parties. To volunteer, contact Orion Hill, (707) 252-0637.
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
General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 2
Jaci Tolman and Dianne Prior playing a table game.
Bob Simmerman (from left), Lou Schirm, Julie
Jerome, and Dianne Prior watch one of the elimination
tournaments. Photo by Orion E. Hill.
Photo by Susy Ball
Dean Unruh, (from left), Jerry Brown, Vivian Manfree and
Bev Brown converse after enjoying a delicious barbecue potluck meal. Photo by Orion E. Hill.
Marcia Waddell tosses a washer as Jaci Tolman (left), Ken Manfree, and Sandy Peterson watch Photo by Orion E. Hill.
Amitabh Bedi moves a chess piece as Jim Prior contemplates a response.
Photo by Orion E. Hill
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 3
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Officers for 2006
Board of Directors
Dianne Prior
Vice President
Ron Dack
Julie Jerome
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Other Directors:
Susy Ball, Orion E. Hill, Jim Gillespie, Bob Kulas, John Moore,
[email protected]
[email protected]
Come to the NVPCUG
General Meetings
Dick Peterson, James Stirling, Dean Unruh
Appointed Officers
Computer Equipment
Sales Coordinator
Computer Recycling
Computer Tutor
Program Coordinator
Facility Arrangements
Greeter Coordinator
Membership Director
Mentor Program
Newsletter Circulator
Newsletter Editor
Product Review Coord.
Product Review Coord.
Programs Director
Publicity Director
Random Access Moderator
Special Projects Director
(Volunteer Needed)
Bill Wheadon
[email protected]
Mike Moore
[email protected]
Orion E. Hill
[email protected]
John Moore
[email protected]
Bob Simmerman
Dean Unruh
Dianne Prior
Dick Peterson
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
Jim Hearn
James Stirling
Susy Ball
Marcia Waddell
Susy Ball
(Volunteer Needed]
Jerry Brown
Bob Kulas
Ron Dack
Held the third Wednesday of each month
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activities
1500 Jefferson Street,
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
*All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
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: James Stirling, [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
The NVPCUG is an IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit educational organization (EIN 68-0069663) 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 © 2006 by NVPCUG.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 4
Basic DVD Recording
By Bob Elgines, Editor, Colorado River Computer Club, Arizona
DVDs are like CDs, but with greater capacity;
you can record sound, video, or data. The latest CDs
allow 700MB of data, or 80 minutes of sound or
video (mpeg1 format) whereas the DVDs allow 4.7
GB or 120 minutes of sound or video (mpeg2 format). Then you have Double Layer DVDs which allow 9.6 GB or approximately 3.7 hours of video. As
we probe into the basics you will find approximately
10 percent of the room on your disk is used by Titles,
Menus, and Directories.
First, for the recording of data and sound we
need the following: a computer with a minimum of 1
Ghz, 512 MB of RAM, 40 GB hard drive, CDR optical drive, video with 32 MB RAM for 1024 x 768
screen mode, and recording software such as
“NERO” by Ahead Software.
Second, for video we need all the above plus
these items: a DVDR optical drive, an input device
such as ADS’ InstantDVD (USB input) or equivalent
for recording from VHS tape, and a VCR. A firewire
input card can be used if you are recording from a
digital camcorder (DV).
To record data and sound on DVDs is very similar to doing so on CDs; but video is different, only
because we use a different format. A CD may be used
with this format and would hold approximately 30
minutes of mpeg2 (MP2) video. This CD would be
called a “VCD” (Video CD) and would be played on
a DVD Player.
There are several different video formats such as
WMV, MPE, MPG, MP1, MP2, MP4, etc. MP1
(352x480) is fine for B&W video, but size and quality is too low for color. MP2 (720x480) is the most
common format used at this time for doing video
DVDs. MP2 can be recorded in low (3382Kbits per
sec), medium (5073Kbits per sec), and high
(9716Kbits per sec) quality.
Before you start recording video, you may want
to shut down all the programs running in the background to gain the maximum amount of System Resources in order to acquire the greatest performance
when recording video. You will use 4 to 20 GB of
your hard drive for recording a two hour video depending on the format you use.
“NERO” (Version 6 or 7) is the cheapest way to
go for software. This program will do just about everything for you (two hours plus on DVD, some editing, excellent recording). I also have used “MyDVD
v4 or 5” by Sonic (easy to use, some editing, up to
1.9 hours on a DVD), “MyDVD v6” by Sonic (up to
3.5 hours on a DVD, but SONY players do not like
the recording format), “Premiere Elements” by
Adobe (easy editing is great, but recording is good for
only one hour; it jumps around with movement and
going more than one hour really destroys it by also
getting choppy), “Movie Factory2” by Ulead (not
bad, but very time-consuming and hard to use, 1.9
hours on DVD) and “Studio Plus 10” by Pinnacle
(very demanding, needs more memory and high quality video card; very hard to use!).
I am using an INTEL P4, 3.06 Ghz, 512 MB
RAM @ 800 MHz, GeForce FX5200 128 MB RAM
video card, and a Digital Research model
DDVD116DL (DVD Recorder with NERO software),
an ADS Instant DVD VHS input device, which converts the antilog video to digital Mpeg2 format via a
USB port, and an IEEE firewire port for my DV Digital Camcorder.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of
Personal Computer User Groups has provided this
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 5
A Lot of Assembly Required
by Karen Rhodes, Honorary Member of the Rochester Computer Society, Inc. waxtadpole(at)
My computer died. It was old, in computer terms, and
the motherboard had had it. It wasn’t much of a task to get
my data files off, as I keep most of my data on Zip disks or
USB portable drives. But it was time for me to get a new
It isn’t my first choice buy an already assembled machine. First, I want on my computer only the software I
will be using, not some techie -nerd’s idea of the latest “in”
thing. Second, I don’t want to have to go round and round
with someone on the other end of a telephone about what
components are available. The bottom line is that I want
what I want when I want it, and nothing more – or less.
My preference for assembling is made much easier by
having someone in-house who is experienced at it – my
husband, who is a computer specialist. He does everything;
he installs hardware, software, LANs, the whole works. He
knows enough to be able to put together a computer -- one
that works. He’s done it before, for himself and for others,
on the job and at home.
He did the shopping for me because I get lost when it
comes to putting one part of the computer in concert with
another, and knowing what is more likely to work with
Having done business with before, he
settled on them. He gave me a list of recommendations. I
ordered; the next week, we had all the parts. That next Saturday, after breakfast, the assembly began.
I’ll go though the process he used, making what I
think are some important points to remember (marked by
• Don’t always settle for the power supply that
comes with your case. I ordered a mid-range case, which
came with a 350-watt power supply. Probably not enough
for my powerful and large genealogy database program.
And the motherboard I ordered states in its manual that it
requires a minimum of 400 watts in the power supply. I
bought 550 watts.
• If you do boost the power supply or you live in a
hot climate (both apply to me), buy extra case fans.
They’re inexpensive, and the extra cooling they provide is
crucial to computer health.
The case came with one fan installed. My husband put
in the two extra case fans first. Then he put in the power
supply (Just PC model JPC-550C-12V). Next he put onto
the motherboard (EPOX EP-8 NPA) the CPU (AMD Sempron 64 3100+), the memory (Corsair, 1 GB), and the
graphics card (MSI NVidia P317). The sound card – sound
chip, really – and the Ethernet card are integrated onto the
All during the installation, my husband used his digital camera to take pictures of each component and of the
process. In addition, for my own file, I made notes of all
the model numbers and serial numbers.
• Document, document, document! You’ll be glad
you did when a tech support person you’re talking to on
the phone about your misbehaving computer asks you for
the serial number on your hard drive. You’ll have the information right in front of you, either in a paper file or in a
photograph, and won’t have to open up the case to get the
serial number!
When my husband installed the motherboard into the
case and tried to hook it up to the power supply, we hit a
• Understand that the connector on one part that is
supposed to connect to another part may not match up and
may need an adapter.
In my case the power supply connector was 20-pin
and the motherboard’s corresponding connector had 24
pins. No panic yet – there was an adapter in with the motherboard. But when my husband tried to hook it up at the
power-supply end, the connector wouldn’t connect. It was
∗ Understand that there are going to be snags and
that you just have to accept them when they happen, and come up with solutions.
∗ Understand that nature always sides with the hidden flaw.
The next day, Sunday, my husband and I made a 60mile round trip into Jacksonville to CompUSA for another
adapter. He had been told on the telephone that morning
that they had 20 of the item in stock. Fine. We got there,
carrying with us the faulty adapter and the case’s original
350-watt power supply as a test bed, since it had the same
type of connection. Which leads me to:
• Be prepared. If you need to go to the store to replace a faulty component, take the bad one with you!
Don’t try to remember what type, brand, number or placement of pins… you never will. And telephone ahead, and
make sure you talk to someone who knows what he’s talking about, or should!
We looked all over the store, ending up at a rack right
beside a help station. A young woman came to the counter.
We asked her about the adapter. Her first answer was the
wrong one: “We don’t have those.” I informed her curtly
we had been told over the phone they had 20 of that item
in stock. She then gave some lame routine about not having been there long and something about some boxes just
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 6
having come in. She looked to her left, at the rack where
we ended up, and said, pointing, “There they are, right
• Do not take nonsense from store personnel.
Speak plainly and to the point. Go to the next level, if
you have to, repeating that subroutine as many times as
necessary, until you get satisfaction.
We wanted to open the package and see if the
adapter therein would fit the power supply. We didn’t
want to make another 60-mile round trip. The young
woman said we’d have to pay for it first, then take it to
Customer Service and talk to them about opening and
testing it. Thence we went. Two young men confirmed
what we’d been told, then gave us a look that said,
“Okay, go away.” Not me. I took out my money,
plunked it down on the counter, and said, “There’s my
green.” I took the receipt, and then we opened the package, took out the adapter, and tried it. It fit.
• Always ask for what you want. Be firm, even
adamant, about it.
I could have ordered another of the adapters from, I’m sure. But there would have been several days’ wait, and I wasn’t willing to do that when we
could find one near and in a short time. The thing only
cost $7, and I probably would have paid that much just
in shipping!
Back home, the assembly proceeded: hard drive
(Western Digital Caviar RE 160Gb), DVD-RW (LiteOn
SHW-160P6S), DVD/CD-ROM (LiteOn SOHD6P9SV), card reader (Arrow Micro AICR-01), and the
old 3.5" floppy drive from my old computer. He set it all
up with the monitor (Samsung Sync-Master 740N), the
keyboard (LiteOn SK-1688U), and the mouse (Radio
Shack optical mouse 26-592, which I already had), and
tested it.
It all worked!
I had followed all of my husband’s recommendations except for one.
∗ Even if someone who knows more than you
makes recommendations, check them out.
∗ When making my hardware selections, I had
gone online to and read the reviews and specifications for the components
my husband had picked out. I agreed with all
except one: the keyboard. The keyboard he selected was criticized in user reviews for sticking keys (which was why I had trashed my old
keyboard) and for having too short a cord. I
need a longer cord in my setup, so I selected
another keyboard, which I’m happy with.
We set up the machine at my desk. We looked at
the BIOS and set it up the way I wanted it, which didn’t
involve many changes. Then it was time to install Windows XP professional (SP2 ). It seemed to go well, by all
appearances. And it wasn’t long until we found out we’d
hit another snag. Somehow the OS had set itself up to
think the C: drive was a removable drive that had no
disk in it, and it wanted to call the hard drive “local
drive I:.” That would not have worked with some software that insists it be placed on Drive C:. This snag also
caused the persistent appearance of an error message
telling me that there wasn’t a disk present in C: when I
knew there jolly well was.
• Murphy loves operating systems! Whatever can
go wrong, will.
Here I will make a long story short: we used a software program my husband has (Darik’s Boot and Nuke)
to wipe the hard drive and start all over again. It took
two more tries installing Windows XP Professional before the stupid software decided to give the drives their
proper names.
• Be patient, persistent, and courageous when installing software, especially the operating system. It is
going to fail a few times before succeeding, trust me!
The computer works well, all things considered. I
am not able to play a couple of my games, for evidently
they require Intel rather than AMD chips. I haven’t yet,
but I’ll go to the respective Web sites and see if there are
any patches for us orphaned AMD users!
• No matter how well the installation goes, no
matter how well the computer is working, there will still
be problems. They’re inevitable; get used to it or go
back to the mid 20th century!
The important thing is that it will run my genealogy
software (The Master Genealogist), word processor
(, e-mail program (Pegasus), and
browser (Firefox), and other things vital to me. As well,
it will run some of my games, so I’m happy with that.
• Once you get it going – enjoy it!
Karen Rhodes is not a techie, but she does appreciate a well-put-together computer. She’s had many careers, some of them quite brief, and is currently studying
genealogy through the distance learning facilities of the
University of Toronto. She lives in Florida with her husband, her younger daughter, and a calico cat named
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 7
Quality Freeware
by Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Member of the Sarasota PCUG, Florida
I found an article in the July Monitor on “CostEfficient” software by Joseph Moran to be quite interesting but noticed that much of the software had a price associated with it. So I thought I'd let you in on the absolutely
free software I have been using for the past 2-5 years. In
every case I have used it as my standard application for the
purpose and, in many cases, totally removed any commercial software that carried out the same function. I have also
upgraded the free software when the upgrades became
available. All of the software in this article can be obtained
without charge by downloading from the various Internet
sites I have listed. In every case there is no “trial” period
The foremost item on my list is OpenOffice. I am currently using version 2.0. This version includes word processing, spreadsheet, drawing, database, and presentation
software. All of these applications produce documents that
are interchangeable with their equivalents in Microsoft
Office. OpenOffice will also export documents in either
PDF or HTML format. You don't need any PDF software
to produce documents that are readable by Adobe Reader
(formerly known as Acrobat Reader). Unfortunately it can
not open or edit PDF documents. It can open and edit
documents in over 25 different formats including HTML,
Word Perfect, Word, Adobe PhotoShop, etc. You can obtain your free copy of this software from
I also recommend Firefox and Thunderbird as free
replacements for Internet Explorer and Microsoft's Outlook Express. With the latest versions of Firefox I have not
run across any Web sites that it cannot render correctly.
That's not to say that some may exist, I just haven't found
them. Firefox will transfer your favorites (bookmarks)
from Internet Explorer. As for Thunderbird, it is similar in
many ways to Outlook Express, but it includes an RSS
Reader that I have found useful. It also filters junk mail
and places it in a special folder where you can review it if
needed. Otherwise it will be automatically deleted at an
interval that you can set. It doesn't remove 100% of the
spam, but it does detect about 99 percent of what comes
into my computer. One of the latest additions to Thunderbird is anti-phishing protection. Thunderbird warns you if
it suspects that the message might be a scam. Thunderbird
can import your address book from Outlook Express. Both
Firefox and Thunderbird can be downloaded from .com or if you prefer, from
As for antivirus software, you can't beat Avast for
ease of use and automatic updating. After downloading
and installing the software it asks you to register. That
simply includes giving up your e-mail address, name and
postal address. You receive a license to use the software
for a year for personal use. At the end of the year you reregister and get another year's free use. Avast is free for
personal use, not for businesses or other organizations.
However, non-profit organizations can buy Avast at a
greatly reduced price. I have used Avast for several years
and have installed it on more than 100 other personal computers. In no case have the users had any problems with
this software. In addition, Avast does not sell your e-mail
or postal address so you get no spam from this registration.
Avast quietly updates itself frequently in the background
while you continue to work. Then it simply reports that an
update has taken place. I have seen days when I have had
3-4 updates in the same day. If you use a dial-up connection instead of cable/DSL, Avast will attempt to update
whenever you go on-line. Since the downloads are usually
less than 100 KB, they occur rapidly, even on a dial-up
connection. The Home edition of Avast can be downloaded
from I recommend using this site instead of as your antivirus database will be more current.
For a good, reliable firewall I recommend
ZoneAlarm. It is also free for personal use. I admit they
will try to sell the Pro version when you install it, but the
free version is really all you need. That is, assuming you
have anti-virus and anti-parasite software installed on your
computer. It used to be that dial-up users didn't really have
much need for a firewall. However, in today's Internet
world, I wouldn't want to connect to the Internet without a
good software firewall. While traveling with my laptop, I
kept both my anti-virus and firewall updated and running
for every connection. ZoneAlarm can be downloaded from Click on the download link and then
the ZoneAlarm tab.
As for anti-parasite software, Ad-Aware SE and Spybot S&D are two that I keep on both my computers. But
that isn't enough. You have to run them regularly to ensure
you are not infected. I run mine a minimum of once each
week. Both of these can be downloaded from Spybot also has an immunization function
that can prevent some parasites from installing themselves
on your system. Another immunization application that I
use is Spyware Blaster. It makes changes to your registry
that prevents parasites from installing. At the present their
database lists more than 5,000 items. Using these three
anti-parasite/anti-Trojan products will certainly upgrade
your security, and they are all free. Spyware Blaster can be
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 8
For general photo editing I use Google's Picasa.
It is not just a photo organizer. I use it to download
photos from my camera and organize them into folders. It can also be used to edit photos, print photos and
e-mail them. You can make CDs, add captions or post
photos on Web sites. The advantage of Picasa over
other photo software is that it is free. It can be
or It does not have all the bells
and whistles of applications like Photoshop or
ULEAD’s PhotoImpact, but it is more than adequate
for most nonprofessional purposes.
You may not need screen-capture software very
often, but when you do, you really need it. I use
MWSnap. It allows you to capture an entire screen or
part of it. What you capture can be saved to a file,
printed, or edited. It may take you a little time to get
accustomed to the interface. But you can't damage
anything by playing with it. Once you are familiar
with all the controls, it really does copy any part of
your screen. Again, this is freeware and can be
d o w n l o a d e d
f r o m
Have you ever considered that you might need an
inventory of the items in your home for the purposes
of making an insurance claim? Considering that we
live in Florida where there are many electrical storms,
to say nothing of hurricanes, damage to your home
could occur at any time. Can you list the contents of
every room and the value of each item? Well, the Insurance Information Institute provides free software to
assist you in making an inventory and a photographic
record of the contents of your house. This software is
very easy to use and very important to any homeowner. The software also includes typical lists of
things in each type of room. You don't have to use
these as you can enter anything you have. You can
include place of purchase, date and price, if you have
that info. Pictures of items or general pictures of a
room can also be added. This software can be
downloaded from
There is one more significant software package that I use that is freeware. That is NVu, Webauthoring software. Linspire, the company that produces the Linspire Linux software, publishes it. It has
a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get)
as well as direct editing of the HTML language. It includes the tools for publishing the pages to a Web site.
You can test the pages against a browser on your computer to insure that everything works properly. It also
allows you to add Javascript either directly or in a
separate file to your pages. There is a complete tutorial
for NVu included on the Web that can be downloaded
and printed. There is also an NVu users forum which
can be quite helpful. If you have never created a Web
page before, I think you would find NVu to be just
what you need. If you want to see a Web site created
with NVu, check out NVu
can be downloaded from
There is one other specialized software package
that I have used that some may be interested in trying.
This is the Personal Ancestral File (PAF). This is free
genealogy recording software provided by the LDS
Church (Church of Latter-day Saints). Their Web site
also allows users to search online files from the family
history archives in Salt Lake City. Although I am not
currently using PAF I did use it for a few years before
switching to a commercial package. PAF is certainly
quite useful for beginning family historians and it can
be expanded by purchasing the PAF Companion. If
you are interested in trying PAF, download it from
Now that you have all this downloaded freeware,
you should make backup copies on either a CD or
DVD. Well, for that we have another freeware package, CDBurnerXP Pro. This software will burn CD-R,
CD-RW, DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW. It will burn
and create ISO files. It will burn audio discs from
mp3, wav, ogg and wma files. It will convert (rip) files
on audio discs to wav, mp3, ogg or wma files. It also
works with most IDE, USB, Firewire and SCSI burners. It can be downloaded from or This software does
not have a trial period. It is yours for however long
you wish to use it. I have been using mine for over
two years and have obtained several updates, one of
which added the DVD burner capability
As you can see from this there is a lot of quality
freeware available. If you are interested in finding
more, check out the listings at Just be
cautious, because many of their listings are trial packages only. You are expected to purchase the total
package before the end of your trial period. But there
are many “nuggets” on their very extensive Web site.
So if you are interested in saving money, try some of
these quality freeware items.
Dr. Lewis is a former university and medical school
professor. He has been working with personal computers for
more than thirty years. He can be reached via e-mail:
bwsail @
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 9
Are You Concerned About Loss of Personal Data?
By Carlisle Barnes, Newsletter Editor, Bowling Green Area Microcomputer User Group, Kentucky
The advanced state of Information Technology is
one of the great blessings of modern times. Today it is
built into our economy, and it would be hard for both
individuals and corporate America to do without it.
However, along with the blessings to us have come
curses. These curses are going to get considerably worse
unless some dramatic changes are made in the way
stored information is handled by the majority of organizations.
Computer spam, pfishing/phishing schemes and
other e-mail con games, as well as a multitude of everchanging computer viruses are obvious curses to everyone using a computer online. Great effort is being expended to get these curses under control. Very good and
still improving antivirus programs are available. Bill
Gates said recently that spam will be completely under
control within two years. The point is that something
positive is being done to correct those Internet curses.
However, one of the worst of current IT curses is
identity theft, and very few positive things are being
done to stop it. Identity theft is not associated with the
Internet, as are many other IT curses, but it has become
very much associated with computers because of the
casual way in which CD’s, laptop computers, and portable hard drives are often handled. People who would
never ever consider leaving a collection of gold coins in
the back seat of a car, or leaving a thousand-dollar bill
on a table while going to get another cup of coffee, seem
to have developed very little concern about leaving a
portable computer, a container of CD’s, or even a portable hard drive in all sorts of places where they can be
easily stolen. (Even at home.)
Unlike sensitive data handled by military or military
contractor organizations, the personal data stored in files
of civilian government organizations, major universities,
insurance companies, credit card companies, etc., are
often treated as casually as advertising material.
A recent extreme example is shocking and deserves
examination. Not long ago, a Veteran’s Administration
senior analyst took home electronic data from the office
to do after-hours work on his personal computer. He had
done this numerous times before. The data included
names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth on
26.5 million veterans. These data list essentially all military personal who have served following the Second
World War. The analyst’s laptop and a Governmentowned external hard drive (along with all the data under
discussion on it of course), were stolen in a May 3 burglary of his home. He reported the theft within an hour
of discovering it. VA Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim
Nicholson made a public announcement of the theft on
May 22.
Jim Nicholson appeared before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to explain the situation. While
accepting a certain amount of personal responsibility for
the data breach, Nicholson expressed anger toward the
analyst who took the data home “without permission.”
Further, he said "As a veteran myself, I have to tell you
I'm outraged. Frankly, I'm mad as hell." Afterward, he
fired the analyst involved. For what appear to be justifiable reasons, the analyst is now suing to be reinstated.
What Nicholson did not report, and later insisted
that he did not know, was that the analyst had been taking data home as part of his regular work routine since
2003. Furthermore, existing documents dated September
5, 2002 show that the analyst -- lead programmer within
the Policy Analysis Service -- was officially permitted to
take the external hard drive home for "work-related projects." Specifically, he had a property pass allowing the
laptop and accessories to be removed from the building
and also a permit allowing him to access any Social Security numbers on the hard drive. It later turned out that
there was yet a third document allowing him to remove
various materials from the VA building.
A certain amount of security could have been provided for these “take home” documents, by encrypting
them. However, a reasonable up-front cost for the systems, services, processes, and procedures to encrypt
100,000 or more customer records is estimated to be
about $500,000. VA working personnel probably couldn’t justify that sort of expense to their budget group.
Once files have been stolen, it is difficult to determine if the data have been used illegally. The computer
and VA hard disk have now been returned, apparently
without data loss, but if it is eventually considered necessary to contact all affected veterans and to provide
them with credit-checking services, then there will be an
estimated taxpayer cost of at least $100 million.
The fiasco was not quite finished when Nicholson
appeared at the congressional hearing. It was revealed at
that hearing that Pedeo Cadenas, the VA's chief information security officer, had resigned by e-mail 30 minutes before the proceedings began. Nicholson said he
was completely unaware of Cadenas’ intentions. Evidently, Nicholson has learned many things rather late.
On June 28th, not quite two months after they were
stolen, the computer and external hard drive were turned
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 10
in to the FBI Office in Baltimore, Maryland. A tipster, in
response to the $50,000 reward being offered, had let a US
Park official know that the equipment might be recovered.
Quickly then, the stolen items were turned in to the FBI.
The tipster was not identified, nor was it clear if either he
or anyone else would receive the $50,000 reward. Furthermore, no one has been arrested for stealing the equipment,
unless that particular information is being held secret for
some reason.
Inspection of the hard drive by the FBI does not indicate access to the data during the time that the drive was in
the possession of the thief. Superficially then, no data
were compromised and there is perhaps nothing to worry
Unfortunately, if the thief was a computer expert,
knew what he had, and wanted to make illicit use of the
data, then he could have transferred everything on the external hard drive to another hard drive without leaving a
record. While that is possible, it seems improbable and it
seems unlikely that there is reason for continued concern.
However, can we be absolutely sure?
Those of us who served in the military or worked for
military contractors are quite well aware of the way in
which sensitive intellectual material is handled by these
organizations. While current practices are unknown to the
author, not very many years ago there were at least five
security levels. Restricted meant that the information was
not to be given to unauthorized people, was certainly not
to be made available to newspapers or to other media, and
was not to be left anyplace where it might be stolen. The
only people allowed to see the material were those with a
need to know about it. Confidential material classification,
one step up from Restricted meant that the material was
not to be made available to anyone not having appropriate
clearance, i.e., clearance by appropriate investigators. Except when being used in a cleared area by cleared personal, the material was to be locked in a desk or file cabinet with a safety bar and a combination lock. All desks
and cabinets were to be regularly checked by guards. Secret material was to be handled in somewhat the same
way, but clearance was more difficult to obtain, storage
was in a secure safe, not in cabinets or desks, and material
was to be guarded twenty-four hours a day, and seven
days a week. Top-secret material was of course even more
closely guarded, and investigations for personal clearance
were carried out by FBI personnel; in general, all security
was substantially tightened. Then there was “Special
Clearance” which need not be discussed here, but which
was very tight indeed.
It is absolutely shocking to note that as serious as
identity theft can be, hardly anyone handling social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, medical history
facts, educational information, etc., is required to treat personal information in their possession with a level as high
as military Restricted. As this article was being written,
yet another security breach occurred at Ohio University,
Athens, Ohio. There were several resignations from the
school staff as a result, but it is one more case of “locking
the barn door after the horse is gone.”
If current sloppy handling of private data continues,
then it is only a matter of time until identity theft becomes
a disaster.
This article by your newsletter editor is as close as you
will get to a BGA-Bytes editorial. However, your editor
considers the matter to be a lot more serious than it is being treated by many people and particularly by most public officials.
If you would like to encourage your congressmen or
other public officials to put some teeth into privacy laws
and into laws concerning the handling of private information, then may I encourage you to write and let them know
how you feel.
To help you get started in sending letters, here are
three addresses of interest. There are numerous others on
the Internet.
U. S. Senator Mitch McConnell, 361A Russell Senate
Office Building, Washington D.C . 20510.
U. S. Senator Jim Bunning, 316 Hart Senate Office
Building, Washington D.C. 20510.
U. S. Representative Ron Lewis, 2418 Rayburn House
Office Building, Washington D.C. 20515.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 11
Tech Tip 94 - Antivirus Software, Protection for Your PC
By Jack M. Germain (from Smart Computing)
In previous Tech Tips we covered the steps for
building a computer, installing peripherals, and installing the Windows XP operating system. In this
Tech Tip we will discuss the need for an antivirus
software program, and how to find a good one without going broke.
Installing computer security software is the most
important task you can do after getting the operating
system up and running. If you bought a computer
rather than built it, the same urgency exists. It is absolutely critical that you protect your computer from
viruses and other harmful attacks before you install
any other programs or connect your computer to the
Let’s start with the definition of a computer virus, a harmful program written by hackers to sneak
commands into your computer. Trojan horses and
worms, though technically different, are for all practical purposes the same as a virus. In other words,
they install and spread without your knowledge, and
do bad things to your PC without your knowledge or
permission. These rogue commands perform functions that range from mildly annoying displays on
your computer screen to more serious activities. A
virus can interfere with how applications on your
computer perform. Even worse, viruses can destroy
data on your hard drive and even make it easier for
hackers to steal your personal information. Some
viruses can even turn your computer into a
“zombie”, controlled remotely by hackers, usually
for the purpose of sending spam email. Worried yet?
You should be!
A virus can enter an unprotected computer and
spread by copying its code to other files. They also
can attach to executable files, e-mail, graphics and
video files. Viruses can enter your computer while
you are connected to Websites. No computer is immune from a potential virus attack, but you can protect yourself. A good antivirus software package will
not only block viruses from entering your computer,
but will also find and remove viruses already present.
Antivirus Plus Firewall Protection
If you are using a version of Windows earlier
than Windows XP, you also must include a firewall
program that blocks unauthorized access to your
computer and prevents hackers from taking control
of your computer. This is a very real risk if you use
high-speed cable or DSL to connect to the Internet.
Dial- up access does not keep the computer connected to the Internet all the time, so chances of an
unauthorized intrusion are very low. Once you are
done accessing the Internet, you should always end
your dial- up connection to close the gateway and
prevent others from attempting to access your computer.
Windows XP includes a firewall program to protect your computer. You can turn it on by going to
the Security Center of the Control Panel. The Microsoft built- in firewall is not as rigorous as third-party
firewall products, however, so you should consider
one of the free or commercial firewalls for enhanced
protection from intrusion.
A firewall by itself will not block or remove viruses. Likewise, antivirus programs by themselves
will not prevent unauthorized access to your computer. Having a combination of firewall and antivirus
protection is a necessity. Some software security
products, known as an Internet security suites, contain both types of protection in a bundled package.
Getting Antivirus Protection
One of the easiest ways to get antivirus protection is from your Internet service provider. Dial- up
provider America Online distributes an installation
disk with free virus protection software provided by
McAfee. Cable television and phone companies that
provide Internet connection service also provide free
security programs to subscribers. For instance, Comcast allows its subscribers to download free versions
of McAfee antivirus programs and other security
products directly from the McAfee Web site.
You can download free trial versions of antivirus software from vendor Websites, or purchase a
fully functional program online. You can also find
reputable antivirus software in the electronic departments of some stores.
When you install an antivirus product, check if
the software vendor provides automatic signature
updates. Many antivirus programs let you set a time
and frequency for automatically checking for new
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 12
virus signature updates. Be sure you activate this setting. If the product you use does not automatically
check for updates, be sure that you do this task yourself every few days.
Hackers create hundreds of new viruses daily,
and antivirus product vendors constantly research
identifiable elements in newly discovered viruses so
they can add this information to their detection databases. If an antivirus program does not have the latest
detection database, known as a signature file, the program will not be able to protect your computer
against the newest virus threats.
You can visit vendor Web sites to learn more
about antivirus software and download their products.
The following are some leading antivirus software
vendors. Most of these vendors offer both stand-alone
virus protection and security suites:
Symantec’s Norton Antivirus ; McAfee; Panda Software; Sophos Software; F-Secure; Microsoft; EZ
AntiVirus by CA Software
Free Antivirus Software
Why pay for antivirus protection when it is available for free? Free virus protection software did not
use to measure up to its commercial counterparts.
This is no longer true. Many very reputable software
manufacturers use free trials or free products as marketing strategies to attract new customers to other security products.
Even with trial software that starts out as a free
product, subscription renewals are eventually required
to keep the software updates current. Do not make the
serious mistake of continuing to use an antivirus
product that no longer provides signature updates because you did not pay the annual subscription fee.
Another strategy besides free trial software is to
switch to a completely free virus protection product.
Many of these free products provide stiff competition
to their commercial counterparts and come highly
recommended. Here are some free antivirus software
vendors: Bit Defender; Avast!; AVG, by Grisoft Software; Avira AntiVirus; Kaspersky Lab.
slowing down the computer and even causing it to
lock up.
If your new computer has a pre- installed antivirus software product, make sure you activate it.
Some installations require you to click on the program icon to uncompress the program and fully install
it. Also remember to configure the settings for automatic signature updates. When the free trial period
expires, be sure to pay for a renewal or uninstall the
program and replace it with another security product.
Installation Tip for Infected Systems
If you are installing an antivirus product on other
than a new computer, check the installation directions
for use with a possibly infected computer. Putting an
antivirus product on a computer that already has one
or more viruses can disrupt the program and render it
Special directions will take you step-by-step
through a process of rebooting your computer from
the installation disk. This will allow the computer to
load in a special way that will avoid running the usual
programs that start at boot up. Doing this interferes
with the virus and allows the antivirus product to scan
the computer for signs of virus infection.
If the virus scan detects an existing infection, the
security software can often remove or quarantine the
virus and continue with the rest of the installation. If
it cannot remove the virus, the installation directions
will tell you how to continue manually.
For more information on specific viruses and
how to remove them if need be, visit the Symantec
and McAfee Websites.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you.
Pre-Installed Software on New Computers
New computers often come with more than one
antivirus software program pre-installed. Never run
more than one antivirus software product on your
computer at a time. Running more than one software
solution can create serious performance conflicts,
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 13
Windows XP and Speech Recognition
By Vinny La Bash, Member of the Sarasota PCUG, Florida [email protected]
I used to watch Star Trek in envy as the ship’s
computer “listened” to the crews’ instructions and responded with perfect understanding. Speech recognition is not there yet, but why let lack of perfection stop
us from trying?
Speech recognition has come a long way since it
was first introduced to personal computers. On a basic
level, speech recognition is the process of converting an
acoustic signal, captured by a microphone, and transforming it into words on a document. The procedure is
highly technical, but you don’t have to understand its
inner mysteries to use it, any more than you need to
know how an automobile is designed in order to drive
Many of those who have Windows XP installed
believe that speech recognition is built into XP. That’s
because many PC vendors install Microsoft’s speech
recognition software along with XP as a convenience to
customers. Click on the Start button and go into Control Panel. Locate the Speech icon and open it with
your mouse. A dialog box will appear. If it has a
Speech Recognition tab, the program is already installed.
If speech recognition is not installed you have several options. You can buy Microsoft Plus! for Windows
XP for about $30. This is the least expensive option.
You get some additional goodies with the package for
your money, but they’re not important to our discussion.
If you have Microsoft Word or Office installed, and
you don’t have the Speech Recognition tab in the
above-mentioned dialog box, the program was not installed by default. Fortunately, it’s easy to install from
Word. From the Tools menu open the Speech option.
Choose Yes when you’re asked if you want to install
the program. You will probably need the installation
You didn’t think you were finished, did you? The
program needs to be trained like a puppy dog. It won’t
mess your carpet, and you don’t need to take it for a
walk, but you do have to show it how to speak appropriately. The program will assist you with the proper
position of your microphone, and it will help you create
a profile.
The profile stores your unique speech patterns
and any pronunciation quirks you may have. You can
use one of three different voices as your default, Michelle, Michael, or Microsoft Sam. They could all
stand some improvement, but I prefer Sam.
All that’s left is for you to “train” the program to
convert your speech into words on the document. Start
the training from the Speech option in the Tools menu.
You will be offered a selection of different texts to read,
ranging from Bill Gates’ book “The Road Ahead” to
Edgar Allen Poe’s “Fall of the House of Usher.” The
more text you read, the more accurately the program
will convert your speech to text. In time, you can experience an accuracy rate better than 98 percent.
Get a high-quality microphone.
A noisecanceling headset can be purchased for less than $50.
Speak naturally, the same way you would speak to another person in a normal conversation. Don’t try training the program as if it were a child or an obstinate pet.
That produces very poor results and needless frustration.
Even with all the progress in the last decade,
speech recognition is still far from perfect. So why
bother using it? It’s an excellent tool for creating the
first draft of a manuscript of any length. Dictation is a
lot easier than using the keyboard and mouse to make
text entries. If you take the time to learn how to correct errors through the program’s editing utility, you
will save time, especially if you fall into the camp of
lousy typists, as most of us do.
Speech control allows many people access to computers who could otherwise not use them through the
conventional keyboard and mouse interface. Those
who suffer from visual impairments, repetitive strain
injuries or other physical limitations have found new
opportunities through speech recognition. You may be
amazed at what you can accomplish when you unleash
the power of your voice.
There is no reason why speech recognition has to
be confined to computers. This technology is slowly
finding its way into homes, automobiles, factories, and
wherever the marketplace dictates.
Speech recognition, like video editing, requires a
lot of computer power. Have at least one gigabyte of
memory and a 2.0 MHz processor as a bare minimum.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups has provided this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, 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
Membership Application/Renewal*
G New
G Renewal
G Information Update
Please Print
Full Name: _____________________________ Nickname:___________
Dey, L.P.
Pharmaceutical products for the treatment of
respiratory diseases and respiratory-related allergies
2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa 94558-6268
Street/PO Box: _____________________________________________
City: ____________________ State: ____ ZIP Code: ________-_____
Phone (check preferred): G Home: (_______)________-___________
G Work: (_______)________-___________
E- mail (check preferred): G Home: ____________________________
G Work: ____________________________
707-224-3200 •
Occupation/Profession: ________________________ Retired? ______
Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e- mail lists?
News and announcements:
General discussion of computer-related topics:
G Yes
G Yes
G No
G No
If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e- mail address
published in the NVPCUG Directory, which is for the exclusive use of
NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es):
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • • [email protected]
3148 Jefferson St., Napa, CA 94558
707-257-6260 • 800-550-6260 • fax: 707-257-8741
[email protected] •
G Do not list phone number
G Do not list e- mail address
Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members:
(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their
sponsors, except for receiving newsletters)
Full Name
E- mail Address
Annual Dues:
$30 Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
$20 Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate
$10 Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
Make check payable to Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group.
Mail application/renewal to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group,
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your
dues payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application/Renewal form, e- mail:
[email protected]
Revised 8-19-05
Offering Financial Services throughout the
Napa Valley, with offices in Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 •
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit our
Web site:
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 15
(Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart)
By Sandy Berger. Compu-KISS
Have you ever tried to sign up for a message board or
Web service and been presented with an image with letters
and numbers which you are asked to read and type into the
Web form? While the shape, size, and background of the
image varies it always has contains a series of letters and
numbers, usually on a graphic background.
Often the letters and numbers are distorted and you
have to struggle to recognize them, making you wonder
why the Web site is making you go through this extra step.
Don’t blame the Web site. This image-recognition routine
is something caused by cousins of the nasty spammers
who have permeated our email.
The mechanism that makes you type in this information is called a CAPTCHA. If you know what those letters
stand for, you will have a pretty good idea of why this
mechanism is being employed. CAPTCHA stands for
Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.
Here’s the story. Spammers have completely infiltrated
the world of the Internet. In e-mail they try to get you to
buy their wares. On message boards they list links to their
Viagra and pornographic Web sites so that they get better
positioning in the search engines. They overload online
opinion polls and they sign up for free e-mail accounts
which they use to send out more spam.
For the most part, all of this spam activity is done automatically. The spammers send out what we call “bots.”
These are actually software programs that search the Internet and imitate the behavior of a human. These bots are
smart enough to fill out registration forms, so they can
automatically register at a variety of Web sites.
We recently had an attack of these automated bots on
our Compu-KISS message boards. After years of being
unaffected, we suddenly had hundreds of postings that told
off-color jokes and led to pornographic and drug-selling
Web sites. We moved the Web site to a new area
(, but were still inundated by
these automated postings. So we installed a CAPTCHA.
Now when a new person registers for the message board
they must type in the five letters and numbers that they see
on the screen to prove that they are human. Since the
CAPTCHA is a graphic image, most of the bots cannot
read the text like humans can.
The CAPTCHA that we use has letters and numbers that
are undistorted, so it is easy to use. If, however, we are
attacked by some of the smarter bots that are out there, we
will have to distort the letters and numbers slightly to
make it even harder for the bots to register.
Although a slight inconvenience to the average user,
the CAPTCHA is a real roadblock to vision-impaired
Internet users who use screen readers which, like the bots,
are unable to read the text on the CAPTCHA.
It is extremely unfortunate that we all have to be inconvenienced because of the activities of Internet spammers. I
really hated to have to install this software, but I had no
other choice. The same is true of many other Web sites
and Web services. So when you encounter a CAPTCHA,
don’t blame the Web site, blame the spammers!
The Compu-KISS Message Boards can be accessed at
Sandy Berger, The Compu-KISS® Lady, nationally respected computer authority, journalist, media guest,
speaker, and author is a seasoned 30-year computer expert. Sandy is a consumer advocate promoting simplicity,
ease-of-use, and stability in consumer technology products. She works with hardware and software developers to
help them make their products more user-friendly.
The Editorial Committee of the Association of Personal
Computer User Groups has provided this article.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286
Address Service Requested
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2006, Page 16
Return to Newsletters
Return to NVPCUG
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF