July 2007

July 2007
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
http://www.
nvpcug.org
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
COMPUTER
NEWS
Volume 24, No. 7
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
2
2
2
3
4
5
5
6
7
8
10
11
12
14
15
NVPCUG SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
NVPCUG CALENDAR
PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE
OFFICERS LIST
MORE THAN 63 TONS OF ELECTRONICS
COLLECTED
FIX THAT FAN
COMPUTING TIPS AND TRICKS
SOFTWARE REVIEW: CYBERLINK DVD
SUITE 5.0 STANDARD
TIPS AND TRICKS
BACK-UPS MADE EASY
WINDOWS VISTA POWER MANAGEMENT
SOFTWARE REVIEW: AVERY DESIGNPRO
FREE ONLINE MAPPING AND DRIVING
DIRECTIONS
MORE TIPS AND TRICKS
INTERNET SERVICES – E-MAIL AND THE
WEB
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 666 computers and 139
printers. Additional equipment
has been given to charitable nonprofit organizations and to disadvantaged individuals.
July 2007
At July 18 Meeting,
Caboodle is Coming!
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
will meet Wednesday, July 18, 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]
Do you collect coins, DVD movies, wines, stamps, dolls, plates, music,
books, military medals, fabric, antiques or something else unique?During the
Computer Tutor session which will follow, Jeff Solomon will be demonstrating
various software programs for keeping track of and organizing your collections.
Our main presentation will be given by
Nick and Kimberly Cavanaugh, co-owners of
Caboodle Cartridge in Napa. Their ink
products are environmently friendly and
Caboodle's remanufacturing and quality
control processes ensure quality that is just as
good as the leading brands. The presentation
will include a powerpoint demonstration about
printing technology, past and present and
some hands on items and product brochures with sample pricing.
The door prize will be provided by the presenter, a $50.00 gift
certificate, redeemable at their Main Street location toward
the purchase of any ink, toner, ribbon or fax
film. 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!.
Caboodle Cartridge® can be viewed at
http://www.caboodle.com/.
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 information.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007
President’s Message
NVPCUG
Special
Interest
Groups
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site, www.nvpcug.org, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Macintosh SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Jim Gillespie
(707) 252-1665
By Ron Dack, president, [email protected], http:/
/www.nvpcug.org/
July 2007, it looks like it will be a hot month so those of you who have not gone
to Alaska the escape the heat should welcome an evening with the NVPCUG in
the air/conditioned Senior Center. When you come to the July meeting don’t
forget to sign up for the annual members’ picnic. So before July 18th you should
think about what you will be bringing and who will be there and be prepared to
fill out the signup sheet. This month we will have as our guest speaker Nick
Cavanaugh, the owner of the local Caboodle Cartridge franchise. Nick should be
able to resolve many of those pesky ink cartridge replacement problems our
printers have developed.
I think that Roy Wagner and I have finally finished filing our 2006 tax forms.
We have still not heard from the unit that is deciding about our final 501c3 status.
Wait a second I just went to the Post Office and there was a letter from the IRS
asking for more information about our funding. I called at 6AM our time and
talked to a very nice lady and answered all her questions. She said we should get
our final ruling sometime in the next three weeks. I for one am anxiously waiting.
Someday we would like to be financially sound enough to participate in things
that will help make the public aware that we exist what we do. Each year there is
an opportunity to participate in the local Public Television Channel 27 & 28 fund
raising telethon. We could also participate in the Napa Town and Country Fair. All
these cost money that we don’t have. One way, to save money, I have looked at
over the years is to go to an online newsletter only. If you aren’t aware of it, I post
our Computer News online every month. It is a full color PDF copy of the current
newsletter can be accessed in several ways. You can go to the main webpage and
click on the Quick Navigation menu and then click on Computer News Archives
in PDF format or scroll down the main page to the section titled ‘About our
General Meetings’ then click the link to read our current newsletter. You can also
enter the URL in your browser (example: http://www.nvpcug.org/
Newsletter/6June07.pdf) and get it that way. Remember each month is
titled similarly with all the slashes and so on. When I get the July computer News
it will be at http://www.nvpcug.org/Newsletter/7July07.pdf
(I do abbreviate most of the months like January (Jan), August (Aug), and so on
if your not successful try one of the other spellings or ways. Those of you who
would be willing to receive a PDF version instead of a printed copy let us know.
If there are more than a few I could send you a PDF via the NVPCUG discount
list. Note also you have access to a complete archive of past newsletters dating
from January 2004.
Well that’s all I have to say for this month other than see you at the meeting July 18th.
Take care,
[email protected]
Ron
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
Wednesdays
July 18
Aug 1
Aug 8
Aug 9
Aug 13
Aug 15
9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
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
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
President
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Vice President Jerry Brown
254-9607
[email protected]
Secretary
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Treasurer
Roy Wagner
253-2721
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Jim Gillespie, Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree,
Dick Peterson, Dianne Prior, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff Solomon,
Dean Unruh
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling Coordinator
Ken Manfree
224-3722
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator
Orion E. Hill
252-0637
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
252-1506
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
Librarian
Dean Unruh
226-9164
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
252-1506
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
259-1712
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
224-2540
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
337-3998
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
337-3998
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
Programs Director
Susy Ball
337-3998
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
254-9607
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
Webmaster
Ron Dack
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 3
NVPCUG
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
94558-0286.
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
noncommercial
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
information.
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
international
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2007
by NVPCUG.
More than 63 Tons of Electronics
Collected
By Orion E. Hill, NVPCUG Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator,
www.nvpcug.org, [email protected]
More than 63 tons of Some Items Collected for Reuse
electronic devices were Most of the computer equipment dropped off by local residents,
collected at the seventh businesses, and public agencies was more than five years old
annual Napa County and at the end of its usable life. However, NVPCUG volunteers
C o m p u t e r s a n d were able to collect more than a half ton of reusable equipment,
Electronics Recycling including Pentium 4 computers, LCD monitors, and laser
Event held on Friday and printers, for our Computers-to-Schools program.
Saturday, June 8 and 9,
Also, more than 10 tons of computer equipment,
2007, at Napa Valley
including
old computers and CRT monitors, was collected
Ken Manfree surveys a driver.
College=s Napa city
Photo by Orion E. Hill.
by the Computer Recycling Center for reuse. The CRC is
campus, Tim DeweyCalifornia=s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to
Mattia, Napa Recycling and Waste Services= public education
refurbishing and
manager, has reported. The total weight of the material collected
donating working
was only about one-third of the 179 tons collected at the June
equipment to schools,
2006 event. But our local free event, according to Kevin Miller,
c o m m u n i t y
the City of Napa=s Materials Diversion Administrator, is still
o rg a n i z a t i o n s , a n d
the largest per capita event in California. A total of 812 vehicles
individuals in need.
B 323 on Friday, 489 on Saturday B brought electronics this
All of the remaining
year, about half the total number last year.
items were taken by
The Napa Valley
Electronic Recyclers
Personal Computer Users
I n t e r n a t i o n a l f o r Cartons of electronics are
Group was one of several
loaded for transport. Photo by
processing at its Fresno Sara Gallegos, City of Napa.
sponsors of the event,
recycling facility. The
which was organized by
plant recovers plastics, metals, and other materials that can
the City of Napa Materials
be used in manufacturing new products. This recycling is
Diversion (Recycling)
essential for conserving valuable resources and for
Division. Other sponsors
preventing toxic substances such as arsenic, cadmium, lead,
included the County of
mercury, and nickel from contaminating the environment if
Napa, Napa Valley Ray McCann unloads a
dumped illegally in a landfill from which they can leach out
computer. Photo by
College, the Computer reusable
Orion E. Hill.
into the ground and water supplies.
„
Recycling Center, local
waste disposal services, and Electronic Recyclers International.
NVPCUG Members Helped
The drop in the amount of electronics collected at the annual
Twenty-three NVPCUG members helped make the
event this year reflects the huge increase in drop-offs at the
event this year a success. Thanks to the following
Napa Recycling and Composting Facility, near the Napa
members who directed traffic and surveyed drivers:
County Airport, that began after free, unlimited drop-offs were
Susy Ball, Jerry Brown, Al Edmister,* Jim Gillespie,
allowed at the beginning
Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree,* Vivian Manfree,*
of this year. For the first
Dianne Prior, Corinne Rau, Janet Riley, Ray Riley
six months of this year,
Bob Simmerman, Jeff Solomon,* Dean Unruh,*and
about 25 tons of
Marcia Waddell.* Thanks also to the following
electronics were dropped
off each month. Also,
members who identified and pulled reusable computer
about 40 tons of
equipment: Hal Bunnell, James Gray,* Orion E.
electronics were collected
Hill,* Ray McCann,* Don Robertson, Otho
at a free American
Rosado,* Davina Rubin, and Bill Wheadon.
Canyon
event
last
(* - astericks indicate names of member who worked
Otho Rosado loads a
December.
reusable computer. Photo by
multiple three-hour shifts.
Orion E. Hill.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 4
Fix That Fan
By Jim Sanders, Editor, The Orange Bytes, North Orange County Computer Club, California,
www.noccc.org, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Cheap (Sleeve Bearing)
fans die young. Bet on
it. The cheaper the
system, power supply,
cooler, etc., the cheaper
the fan. A cheap ball
bearing fan may be just
as bad. When you hear
that sleeve bearing fan
(or a ball bearing fan for that matter) rattle, notice a fan is
barely turning, or not turning at all, fix it!
As shown in photo #1 of a fan out of a power supply, get
the fan out where you can work on it. On the side where the
wires go into the middle, carefully peel back the label/
sticker that covers the shaft area. The round item in the
middle of the sticker in photo #2 is a metal hole plug. The
better fans have a
rubber plug that seals
well and is almost
invisible at times. The
really cheap fans don’t
have a plug over the
shaft area. If the fan
still turns without
much effort, just oiling
it may make it well again. Apply a few drops of a good light
machine oil such as, 3in1, Singer sewing machine, even
ATF, but not the 30wt for your car engine, in the shaft hole.
Sewing machine oil works well. Be careful not to get any
oil on the surface where the label/sticker needs to be reapplied. This has to be put back in place to cover the
opening and keep the oil in place.
If you get oil on the fan surface, it can be removed with
acetone or MEK. If the label gets wrecked, I have found
that on a clean surface a piece of black electrical tape
works well. If you don’t have a good applicator, see photo
#3, use a toothpick.
Spin the fan some to work the oil onto the shaft. Reassemble and you are likely to have a fan that quietly
moves air again. If the
fan is so gummed up
that it is hard to move
the blades, you will
need to remove the
retaining ring (C-ring)
on the shaft. This
allows the shaft to be
pulled out of the
bearing, see photo #4, so that
both can be cleaned with a
good strong solvent before
oiling. I like the effectiveness
of Methyl Ethyl Ketone or
MEK. A pipe cleaner works
well for cleaning the inside
of the bearing, especially on
the smaller fans.
Arguably, this is more
work than it is worth, but it is
not always easy to find a
replacement fan.
The video card fans and the motherboard chipset fans
can be near impossible to locate. Even if you find a
replacement fan, oiling the fan before putting it into
service maybe a good idea as manufacturers seem to be
chintzy about the amount of oil in new fans.
PS - Clean the crud off the fan before you replace it. In
fact, if you have access to an air compressor regulated at
about 90 PSI, it is a great idea to take a blow gun
attachment on the end of an air hose and blow out the entire
system keeping the tip about six inches away from parts.
The little duster cans are better than nothing, but really
don’t have the horse power to do a good job.
„
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).
Note from Editor:
Web sites and e-mail
addresses of all authors are available in the byline of
each article. Also remember that you may get a better
view of graphics on our web site as described in the
Presidents Message.
Here’s an idea: Instead of copying a long URL from
the newsletter why not copy it from the on-line version
of the newsletter, and besides, you will find all web
addresses and e-mails are viewable in RED.
Computing Tips and Tricks
External USB storage devices may
not work when connected to a USB
hub. If the drive isn’t recognized,
directly connect it to the computer’s
USB port.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing.
Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn
what Smart Computing can do for you and your
user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 5
Software Review
CyberLink DVD Suite 5.0 Standard
By Terry Currier, President, WINNERS - WINdows usERS, CA,
http://www.windowsusers.org, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for file. So if the computer crashes you can restore
publication by APCUG member groups.
your data on a computer that does not have the
A do-all suite of products. It has 11 CyberLink programs PowerBackup program installed.
put together into one suite so you can backup, burn, play PhotoNow! is a photo correction program
movies, and music.
which allows the user to resize, crop, remove
red eye, and do so me special effects on photos.
It can also touch up color hue, brightness, and
make a color picture monochrome.
MediaShow 3 helps you create photo
slideshows and is fairly easy to do, with manual
or auto playback of the show. Within
MediaShow you can fix photos and apply
image effects with PhotoNow!. You can add background
music or record audio directly to narrate the slides. One
nice feature is that you can have it saved as a Screen Saver
(.SCR), allowing you to save the file as a desktop screen
saver. You can also save a slideshow as an EXE file,
allowing playback on any computer.
PowerDVD Copy lets you
duplicate non-CSS encrypted
PowerDVD 7 (Express) is really
DVDs. It will auto-shrink 8.5 GB
the best way to watch a movie on
of video to fit onto a standard 4.7
your PC. I have been using it since
GB DVD. There is a preview
version 4. Watching it on a PC
window to view your chapters and
gives the viewer greater control
select to copy all, or some.
than just watching it play on a
Power2Go 5.5 is the disc burning
DVD player connected to a TV.
module, whether it be data or music.
The viewer has more speed options:
Burn data onto Blu-ray Discs, HD
Forward and reverse speeds are 1/
DVDs, DVDs and CDs and you
2X, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 8X, 16X,
can rip CDs to create MP3, or
32X. You can bookmark a scene to
WMA files as well as convert
jump to it quickly. If you have
between file formats. I had a
several bookmarks, pressing the
F2 key takes you to the next bookmark, or use the rightclick popup menu. With PowerDVD you can also capture
(snapshot) what is showing on the screen. I use that feature
to capture images of home movies and print them onto
printable DVDs. Note: my version came with PowerDVD
6, the latest version now includes PowerDVD 7.
PowerBackup 2.5 lets you backup you data easily. I
backed up 7.1GB to an external USB hard drive in 26
minutes, including verifying. You can also bac kup to a
Blu-ray Disc, or any type DVD. It lets you schedule
automatic backups and you can do full, incremental, or
differential backups. Filtering is available to include or
exclude files (such as .doc files.) You can also password
protect archives. When you do a backup it offers a Restore
Tool that integrates the restoration application and your
data, and saves the resulting file as an executable (.exe)
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 6
but the editing is easier. It also has what they call Magic
Fix to stabilize shaky videos and sharpen picture focus.
Magic Style helps create movies with pre-designed
templates automatically. It will put in effects, transitions,
and create the movie using your timeline. Just pick a
template, preview it, and apply the one you want. Note:
the Standard version of CyberLink DVD Suite does not
come with a full working version of PowerDirector. You
have to purchase the Pro version to get it. I have the full
version of PowerDirector 5 which also has more features
such as the ability to put in Picture-in-Picture.
CyberLink Utilities lets you create a image of a disc onto
your hard drive and then burn it onto another disc.
problem with this at first, shutting down when I tried to get
information about the album, but CyberLink had a patch for
it and I had no troubles after that. Which leads us into LabelPrint 2 helps you create labels, covers and jewelcase inlays. It can import photo files for the labels, or even
etch images directly onto LightScribe discs. Two things I
really liked was the ability to import MP3 song titles and
playlist information to put on the label. The second thing
which was great for me was it worked with my Epson
printer to print the label directly onto the CD.
InstantBurn 5 gives the user the ability to use a CD, Bluray Disc, HD DVD or DVD like a super large floppy disc.
Using drag and drop you can easily create an audio CD,
Video DVD, or data disc. You can also copy files from one
disc to another.
PowerProducer 4 allows you to record high-definition
video content directly from a camcorder to disc. Bringing
video into the program you can edit by cutting it to a
desired length or splitting it into chapters. Working with a
video you can edit, cut, rearrange and merge to get exactly
want you want. You can add photos to create a slideshow
within the video, and add background music to a video
clip. PowerProducer will do just about everything you
need, but if you want to do more, click on the Advanced
Editing button and it takes you to PowerDirector 5 (SEP version) is the big brother of
PowerProducer. It can do everything PowerProducer does,
Tips and Tricks
Conclusion
This is a great selection of programs for a good price $4995
for the Standard, but I highly recommend you opt for the
Pro version for $8995 which includes PowerDirector. The
only downside is on the PowerDVD and PowerDirector
they include lite versions (SEP), but these will do just
about everything you could want to do.
http://www.cyberlink.com/
„
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All
other uses require the permission of the author (see
e-mail address above).
picture. Shoot at higher resolutions for larger photos.
Clear Paper Path
Garbage In, Garbage Out
It’s great to take pictures at low resolution because you can
cram more photos in your camera’s memory. But with all things
PC, the GIGO (garbage in, garbage out) rule applies. Lowresolution photos are ideal for posting to Web sites or emailing,
but not for printing, unless you’re willing to keep the size down
to roughly passport-photo size or smaller. Let’s say your printer
works best at 200 pixels per inch. For a good 4- x 6-inch photo
you need 800 x 1,200 pixels; double that for an 8- x 10- inch.
Low resolution for today’s cameras usually means 640 x 480
pixels, not nearly enough for anything above a 3- x 5- inch
Whenever you print a photo, make sure there’s nothing blocking
the paper path. If the paper slows down even a fraction of a
second, you can ruin the photo by altering how the colors blend
and how the image lines up. If you’re using expensive photo
paper, feed the sheets through one at a time. You’ll also want to
stand there and watch to make sure the paper goes through
smoothly and consistently.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit
www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 7
Back-Ups Made Easy
A new solution for an old problem
By Carey Holzman, Co-host: www.computeramerica.com, www.careyholzman.com,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
By now you’re probably well aware of the importance of
making copies of your valuable data (referred to as ‘backingup’). You’ve probably read numerous articles about ways to
back-up your data and prevent disaster. The problem is, most
advice offered on this subject is not truly complete and many
of the ‘solutions’ offered are expensive and time consuming.
There are numerous ways you can lose your data in spite
of backing-up regularly. How you back-up, what you
back-up, when you back-up and where you store your
back-up are just a few important variables that come into
play on that miserable day that you require it.
Still, that’s better than eight out of ten customers that
approach me for PC repairs who do not have any kind of
back-up. After all, any form of back-up is better than no
back-up … but just barely.
First it’s important that you understand the existing
problems with the back-ups most people create.
1. External hard drives: There are many problems with
backing up your important data to an external hard drive.
Since most people keep their external hard drives next to,
or in the same building, as their computer, any fire or
flood will render both the PC and back-up useless. Also,
if you are a victim of theft, the crook now has all of your
data, and it’s probably not encrypted or protected in any
way on your PC or your back-up device. Since your
back-up device is also a hard disk drive, there is a good
possibility that it will fail and need to be replaced. Ironic
since that it what you are protecting your data from. If
you always leave your external hard drive hooked up to
your PC for automated back-ups, then it is prone to
viruses and other malware that may cause the loss of data
that you are attempting to protect yourself from! Then
there’s the high cost of around $150 for these devices.
2. Internal hard drives/RAID: Some people have a
secondary hard drive or partition in their computer and
simply back-up from one disk to the other. Here again,
viruses and malware will render both drives useless at
the same time. Fires, floods and thefts also leave you
with no back-up source. This back-up is only useful if
your internal hard drive fails. But as you can already
see, hard drive failure is not the sole cause of data loss.
Also, a RAID MIRROR (where one drive constantly
mirrors what the other drive is doing) will not help if
you accidentally delete a file. The RAID MIRROR will
simultaneously delete that file at the same time.
3. Drive images: Some people believe an image or ‘clone’
of their entire hard drive onto an external drive or DVD
is a good back-up, but it’s not. If your computer has a
serious component failure, such as a motherboard, or if
your computer is stolen or lost in a fire or flood, you’ll
have to replace it. Once you restore your drive image,
your new motherboard will most likely require different
hardware drivers and Windows will most likely not start.
All you’ll get is the Blue Screen of Death. Sure, your data
is theoretically fine and well, it’s just too bad you can’t
get to it. Because full images copy everything on your
hard disk, they tend to be very time consuming and, as a
result, are not done often enough to be current.
4. Flash Drives: Flash drives are more reliable than CDs,
DVDs or external/internal hard drives, but they are very
slow and very limited. Flash drives are also prone to
theft and being misplaced. Most people do not encrypt
their data and, as a result, may have inadvertently just
given some stranger all of their personal data simply
because the flash drive fell out of their pocket somewhere
or they can’t remember where they left it.
5. Tape drives: Seriously? Does any consumer still use
tape? Next to the floppy drive, it’s the most unreliable
way to back-up data and tape drives require a special
reader and software to restore the data. In case of data
loss, just get your back-up tape, reinstall Windows,
reinstall your tape back-up device, reinstall your tape
back-up software and then you can start to restore
your data. That is, the data not damaged on the tape.
What’s Left?
Why will you need a back-up? What will happen? Will
your hard drive fail? Will your PC be stolen or will your
PC just stop working one day? Will you be involved in a
theft? An earthquake? A fire? A hurricane? A flood?
We can’t answer those questions without a time machine,
but we do know that even in the best of circumstances, all
hard drives eventually fail. It’s not a question of “IF” but
a question of “WHEN?”
If you only have one hard drive, then you only have one
hard drive that can fail. Backing-up your data to another
drive doubles your chances of experiencing a hard drive
failure in addition to not guaranteeing your data will be
there when you need it for the reasons listed above.
We also know that most data is irreplaceable. Whether it’s a
database of your customers, your personal finance, photos
from your vacations or of family and friends, your music
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 8
collection, your email, favorites and address book, once it’s
gone, it’s gone.
Hard drive data extraction services can help recover data
from a failed hard drive and even hard drives damaged by
flood or fire. Expect to spend $800 - $2500 and expect to
wait from two to four weeks with no guarantee which or
how much data can be recovered.
Carbonite offers a free 15-day trial and no credit card is
required to take advantage of the free offer. As if that
wasn’t enough, I have a secret for you: Use the code word
“AMERICA” and your 15-day free trial is extended to 30
days! If you choose to purchase a year of Carbonite
service, the code word will also extend your subscription
an additional two months at no additional charge!
Say Hello To My Little Friend!
Is This A Paid Advertisement?
I wear a lot of hats as a computer talk show host, author,
instructor, technician and business owner. I like to think that
being a consumer advocate is a hat that firmly sits upon all the
others. If you’re familiar with any of my work, then you’re well
aware of my passion for free and helpful software and services.
However, very rarely a product comes along that is not free, but
is still such a bargain I am compelled to write about it.
Allow me to introduce you Carbonite.com at http:/
/www.carbonite.com/. Carbonite is a small,
downloadable application for
Windows XP and Vista (Mac
version coming soon) that uses
your high-speed Internet
connection to automatically
upload your selected data
securely, off-site and in
background.
For $4995 a year, Carbonite
offers UNLIMITED storage
space. That’s right, you can store
as much data as you want.
Installation is quick and easy.
Carbonite’s online backup
service starts automatically and
works quietly and continuously in the background while your
computer is on and connected to the Internet.. If you’ve
accidentally erased something, don’t worry; you can restore
deleted files with just a few clicks on your PC. If your PC
crashes, just visit their website to recover your lost files.
Your data is stored safely - No one can see your data but you
because your files are encrypted twice before they leave your
computer using a combination of encryption techniques similar
to those used by online banks and financial institutions.
Carbonite online back-up software is always looking for
new or recently changed files on your PC. The moment you add
or modify files, Carbonite swings into action. Whenever your
PC is connected to the Internet (at home, the office, a hotel or
airport, etc …) Carbonite automatically and continually backsup all your files (but not system files or applications by
default.). And it will never slow down your PC or Internet
connection.
Once you install Carbonite, simply tell it what you want
backed-up and you never have to think about it again. Set
it and forget it. It’s not loaded with tons of bells, whistles
and features because it’s designed to be simple and do just
one very important thing: keep your data safe.
Whenever I get passionate about a product that is free, no
one asks me if I am being paid to promote it. I see customers
everyday who lose data due to unforeseen circumstances
and lack of a proper back-up. I like Carbonite.com and I
use it myself. In fact, it’s running and backing-up my data,
securely and off-site, as I type this! I like this product so
much, I’ve asked the folks at Carbonite to sponsor my radio
show and to offer our listeners and readers a discount to help
encourage proper, secure, automated, off-site back-ups.
Skeptical? Try it for yourself,
free for 30-days! Read more
about how Carbonite works
h t t p : / / w w w .
carbonite.com/
howitworks.aspx?.
Most people with highspeed Internet connections
barely use them. Since your
Internet Service Provider is
charging you the same,
regardless of how much or
how often you use it, why
not take advantage of that
and utilize your unused
bandwidth for backing-up your valuable data?
„
I welcome your comments and feedback concerning
back-ups and this article.
Carey Holzman (http://www.careyholzman
. c o m / ) is the co-host of the nation’s longest
running, nationally syndicated radio talk show on
computers, Computer America (h t t p : / /
www.computeramerica.com/). Computer America
airs Monday through Friday, 7pm to 9pm Pacific time,
10pm to midnight Eastern. To find a
station near you or listen online, visit http://
www.computeramerica.com
Carey is also the author of The Healthy PC (http://
www.amazon.com/Healthy-PC-PreventiveRemedies-Computer/dp/0072229233/
ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-8912461-3768745?
ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1179135453&sr=8-1),
published by McGraw-Hill and is a freelance writer for numerous
web-sites and computer-related publications.
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other
uses require the permission of the author (see
e-mail address above).
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 9
Windows Vista Power Management
By Vinny LaBash, Regular Columnist, The Sarastoa PC Monitor, Sarasota PCUG, Florida,
www.spcug.org, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for High performance does exactly what it says, but don’t
publication by APCUG member groups.
expect to be able to watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy on
your laptop on battery power.
Examine the dialog box and you will notice that each of
the power plans has a Change plan settings link. Any of
these will take you to another dialog box where you can
change the default settings. The defaults are reasonable and
make sense. Change them if you must, but not because you
can.
You can refine your setting further by selecting the Change
Advanced Power Settings link. The number of power
Those of us who drive laptops are usually more aware of
power management than the desktop jockeys. When you’re
running on battery power only, you want to have your laptop
running as efficiently as possible. In Vista, you can optimize
settings to conserve energy, go for flat out performance or
achieve some kind of sensible balance between the two.
Activating power management is simple, and you have
two paths to take you there. If you like living in the past and
have set Control Panel to Classic View, simply open the
Control Panel and then open the Power Options icon. If
you’re more up-to-date, open Control Panel, then System
and Maintenance, then select Power Options. Either way
you’re looking at very similar screens.
Vista gives you a web-like interface that’s easier to use
than the usual tabbed dialog boxes in XP. You have three
power plans to work with, and if your PC is a desktop the
right column will read “Energy Savings”. You don’t have
any head scratching involved to determine what each
selection controls.
The first selection, Balanced power provides total
performance when you need it while saving power during
idle periods. The Power saver option reduces system
performance to give laptop users maximum battery life.
setting adjustments you can make to your computer in this
dialog box is nothing short of mind boggling. You can
regulate power consumption for USB devices, hard disks,
displays, and even wireless devices. It’s easy to get carried
away.
Scroll down to the Sleep option, open it and you will see
a new Vista option called Hybrid sleep mode. This mode
combines the power savings of the Hibernate mode with the
revive speed of the Standby mode. In practice you get a
coma-like hibernation state combined with a jump start after
pressing the spacebar.
The Sleep after and Hibernate after settings are nothing
exciting and are very similar to the XP options that allow you
to specify how much inactivity time you will allow before
telling the system to take a nap.
At the bottom left corner of your screen is a new orb graphic
that replaces the XP Start button. Left-click on the orb and
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 10
inspect the bottom of the Start menu. By clicking on the
rectangular orange shut-down button, you can quickly induce
Hybrid Sleep mode. Keep in mind that Hybrid Sleep is not
a true shut down. The best way to completely shut down the
computer, aside from pulling the power cord, is to access the
Shut Down from the fly out menu.
Vista provides an intelligently designed method of regulating
power consumption by offering a balanced variety of methods
with a web style interface to help you select and configure
various power plans. Use them wisely.
„
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).
Software Review
Avery DesignPro
By Ronnie Ugulano, Editor, Fresno PC User Group, www.fresnocomputerusers.org,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Last month when I walked in for the FPCUG meeting, I was
met by an old friend, a very familiar piece of software - Avery
DesignPro, the software that is specially designed to be used
with Avery cardstock and labels. A stack of the software was
sitting on the table as I entered and was given to members as
long as the stack lasted.
Over the years, I have used this software many, many times
for a long list of printing projects. As a homeschooling parent,
I’ve used the software to design student and teacher
identification cards, bookmarks, T-shirts and certificates. As a
housewife, I’ve created distinct address labels and business
cards for each family member, get-together invitations, thank
you and other occasion cards, and wish-you-were-here
postcards to send to friends and family. As a soapmaker
hobbyist, I make labels for the lotions, soaps, and bath salts I
make for myself and others. As a computer geek, I fire up
Avery DesignPro to create labels for the CDs I burn, and the
occasional floppy.
So, you might say, I use Avery DesignPro a lot. Over the
years, I’ve collected enough cardstock, artwork and cute
sayings that I can whip up something for nearly every occasion
that comes along. Who needs Hallmark?
But I wouldn’t be able to be so glib with the printer unless
DesignPro was easy and dependable. It’s one thing to cheerfully
tinker with computer hardware or software-gone-wrong for
fun. It’s another thing to need a really nice card to go with a
baby shower gift at the last minute, only to find that the
software doesn’t do what you need it to do - yesterday.
Once you learn your way around DesignPro’s simple
interface, it’s no trouble at all to whip up what you need, when
you need it. When you open the program, you have the option
of making something new, or opening a project you have
previously used. If you are creating a new project, the tools for
placing text and pictures is easy and intuitive. You can choose
whether to make many copies of one design, or unique designs
for each item. Fonts can be scaled as small as 8 or as large as
72, and graphics can be sized up or down to the size of the
cardstock, or limit of the resolution of the graphic. There are
even options for text direction, serial numbers and UPC codes
- all push-button easy, using similar conventions as you’d find
in Microsoft Word, only with much more in the way of options
and flexibility for this specific series of jobs.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s free? Yep, some Avery labels
come with a disk enclosed (see specially marked packages) or,
you can download the software from Avery’s website (http:/
/avery.com/us/Main?action=software
.AverySoftwareDetail&catalogcode=WEB
01&softwarecode=3200). If you choose to download, I
recommend that you select the stand-alone version, the one
that does not integrate into Microsoft Word. It’s leaner, cleaner
and less clunky.
So, if you missed out on the stack of DesignPro disks at the
last FPCUG meeting, a simple download will allow you to join
the club.
„
© Ronnie Ugulano 2006 Permission granted to reprint
as part of a computer-user newsletter
This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All other
uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail
address above).
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 11
Free Online Mapping and Driving
Directions
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director, www.apcug.net, www.gtpcc.org/, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
WEBSITES:
http://maps.live.com
http://maps.google.com
http://maps.yahoo.com
http://www.mapquest.com
Many of us like to use maps when we travel. Maps can be
used to display driving directions and points of interest.
Fortunately there are several excellent and free mapping
utilities available on the internet, such as those provided
by Microsoft’s “Live” service, Google, Yahoo!, and AOL’s
Mapquest.
Mapquest (www.mapquest.com) has the honor of
being one of the oldest online mapping services, and
during its tenure has earned a large following. The interface
on the startup page is simple, giving the user the options
to enter the “Maps” option to display the image of a single
location, or “Directions” to calculate driving directions.
Maps generated can be displayed either in traditional
graphics format, or as an aerial image with key streets
labeled. If an individual map is selected, a bar at the top of
the screen allows the user to locate and select from a
lengthy list of local facilities including restaurants, banks,
pharmacies, colleges
and universities,
hospitals, auto repair,
and several other
options. Any of the
attractions listed
have a link to “map”,
“directions to”, and
“directions from”
such that the user can
easily find the
desired destinations. This feature can be invaluable to
travelers and locals alike to find points of interest. Since
most hotels currently offer internet access to guests, the
ability to locate any activity or points of interest using the
internet can be a major contributor to the joys of any trips.
One of the most useful features of any mapping website
is the creation and printing of driving directions. Mapquest
offers a fully featured driving direction service where up
to 10 intermediate points or stops can be selected. Options
include the choice of shortest distance or shortest time,
avoiding busy highways, and avoiding toll roads. For
those
who
prefer detailed
return directions
there is a
selection
“Reverse
Route” which
will generate
d e t a i l e d
directions back
to the starting
point. One very
good capability of the Mapquest driving directions is the
easy option to create turn-by-turn maps to go along with
the driving directions. When the driving directions are
displayed on the screen, each segment has a “Map” option
on the right edge of that segment. If “Map” is selected, a
detailed map of just that segment will be inserted showing
that turn in great detail. When the “Printer-Friendly” link
is clicked, the resultant map printed will include the
directions along with any map segments selected, along
with a large map displaying the entire route, with smaller
maps detailing the starting point and destinations.
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 12
The newest entry into the online mapping fray is
Microsoft’s Live service at maps.live.com. Microsoft uses
maps created with its “Microsoft Virtual Earth” using
street data NAVTEQ. One interesting feature of Live maps
is the ability to show both aerial views as well as hybrid
maps which combines the aerial view along with the street
map. Much of the aerial imagery is from the United States
Geological Survey (USGS). Live also offers a most
interesting service, a 3-D “birds’ eye view” where images
can be displayed in a virtual 3-D window, complete with
buildings and major landmarks that can be displayed from
any perspective, from straight above to any selected angle.
The search bar
at the top of
the page can
display the
location of
any points of
interest, such
as restaurants.
Live offers
detailed
d r i v i n g
directions
using either
the flat 2-D
maps, or the more sophisticated 3-D maps. When printed,
the output includes detailed directions along with detailed
maps. One interesting feature on Live is a display of realtime traffic conditions for major cities. As I type this, Live
is displaying a Houston area map with some “moderate”
incidents displayed on the map, but the color code for the
Houston area highways indicates that traffic is flowing
smoothly around most of the city.
Yahoo! has recently upgraded its mapping function
(maps.yahoo.com). For those who may prefer the
older format, but still very usable maps and directions,
Yahoo! offers a link
at the top of the page
“Dial-up Map
Original” which will
open the prior
mapping service.
The new Yahoo!
Maps offers a choice
of a traditional road
map, satellite view,
or hybrid combining the roads with the satellite image.
Options to display attractions such as restaurants and
hotels are included in Yahoo! maps.
Yahoo! offers driving directions either direct or by
adding desired stops or waypoints, and the printed output
contains very clear text along with a detailed route map.
Yahoo! also displays real-time traffic conditions for major
cities showing incidents and average speeds along the
major roadways.
Google also offers a competitive mapping service at
maps.google.com. As with most of the others’ services,
maps can be displayed as a road map, satellite view, or
hybrid. Google merges its popular search engine with the
ability to locate
attractions and local
points of interest. As
is now common,
Google offers road
maps, satellite
images, or hybrid
maps. Google also
offers real time traffic
conditions.
Google was recently rated as the most popular source of
driving directions, and its printed directions are among the
most precise and easiest to read. Small maps display the
details of the starting point, destination, and route summary.
With the summer upon us, and as we enter the peak
driving season, a good map or two may be most helpful
on our journeys. With near universal internet access in
most hotels, local information can be just a few
keystrokes and mouse clicks away, by utilizing these
services. I would suggest that readers experiment with
two or more of the above mapping services to determine
personal preferences, and print driving directions from
one or more of the services.
„
This article has been
provided to APCUG
by the author solely
for publication by
APCUG member
groups. All other
uses require the
permission of the
author (see e-mail
address above).
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 13
More Tips and Tricks
Text In Vista
You can make the overall text size in
Vista larger or smaller by rightclicking an empty portion of the
Desktop, clicking Personalize, and
clicking Adjust Font Size (DPI) on the
left column. Click the Larger Scale
(120 DPI) radio button to make text
larger or click the Custom DPI button
and use the slider to fine-tune text.
Click OK to accept your changes.
Slow Computer?
If your computer is running slowly,
you don’t necessarily need to reinstall
your operating system. make sure
that you don’t have unwanted
programs hogging your memory. Do
thorough spyware and antivirus scans,
and then uninstall any unnecessary
programs. Check your system tray.
Are there a lot of programs running?
Disable anything that you don’t
actually need, then see if your system
Cell Phone Case
You’ll find some universal cell phone
cases, but typically, cases are made to
fit certain models of phones. Make
sure the case you have your eye on
will accommodate your cell phone.
For instance, the phone-fitting Body
Glove Scuba II Cellsuit ($24 99 ;
www.bodyglove.com) will protect
your Motorola RAZR V3 from
scratches and splashes, although you
won’t want to immerse your phone in
water. You can use your phone while
it’s in the case, too.
Reprinted with permission from
S m a r t C o m p u t i n g . Vi s i t
www.SmartComputing.com/
G r o u p s to learn what Smart
Computing can do for you and
your user group!
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Monitor Online Activity
The inexpensive but time-consuming
way to monitor children’s online
activity is to sit by their sides or look
over their shoulders - if they’ll let
you. Some parents are content with
reviewing their children’s site history
from time to time; however, techsavvy children can easily erase any
evidence of their visits to forbidden
sites. Most parental monitoring
programs have varying degrees of
Internet activity monitoring, but a
more extensive monitoring tool is
SpectorSoft’s Spector Pro ($9995;
www.spectorsoft.com). Install
this $100 software on your children’s
computer, and it will record their
computer activity, including IM
sessions, email sent and received, Web
sites visited, programs launched,
keystrokes typed, and files searched
for and/or swapped. It will even record
and let you play back actual timesliced screen shots of their time on the
computer.
performance improves. If all these
fixes don’t help, and it’s been at least
a year since you got your computer or
you reinstalled the OS, then your PC
might be a good candidate for
reinstalling the OS.
Membership Application/Renewal *
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NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es):
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Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members:
(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their sponsors,
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Annual Dues:
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Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
‡ $20
Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate
membership.
‡ $10
Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
memberships.
Make check payable to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Mail application/renewal to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues
payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
Revised 4-23-07
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 14
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the support
provided by the following companies:
Dey, L.P.
Pharmaceutical products for the treatment of
respiratory diseases and respiratory-related allergies
2751 Napa Valley Corporate Drive, Napa 94558-6268
707-224-3200 • www.dey.com
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000
www.napanet.net • [email protected]
Fr om Copies t o Full Co l or Printing
we ’re your
sou r ce for all your printed needs .
Also come see us for your Pr omo tional Items !
3148 Jefferson Street • Napa, California 94558
707/257-6260 • fax 707/257-8741
[email protected]
http://napa.minutemanpress.com
Offering Financial Services throughout
the Napa Valley, with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 • www.wellsfargo.com
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit
our Web site: http://www.nvpcug.org
Internet
Services –
E-mail and the Web
By Hilton Kaufman, a member of the
Chicago Computer Society, Illinois,
www.ccs.org,
[email protected]
(This is the fourth article in a series of articles
explaining the Internet. Previous articles
provided a general overview of the Internet,
explained how the system is hooked together,
and provided some idea as to how the messages
are routed to the right place.)
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
The Internet is a network of networks used to transmit
messages, which might be web pages. Somehow things
arrive at where they are supposed to go. It is the services
that go over these networks that make the Internet useful.
The two best known services today are e-mail and the
World Wide Web.
Different Internet connections work in different ways. If
your computer can get to the Internet, it will most likely
have a piece of software known as a browser. The browser
helps make the connection to the Web and translate a
bunch of code into what looks like a web page. It is
possible to work without a browser, if you know a bunch
of Unix commands and do not want anything fancy.
The best known browser is Internet Explorer. It comes
with most PCs today. Macs from Apple come with a
browser called Safari. A PC might also come with a
browser called Netscape. A computer that I bought a few
months ago has both Internet Explorer and Netscape
There are other browsers that you can purchase or
download, such as Opera, that are reputed to work better.
I find that Internet Explorer works fine for me.
The http:// of a web address might not have to be typed
into the browser and tells the Internet that you want
something on the World Wide Web. Letters, such as htm
at the end of address indicates that the site follows a
standard type of coding. Most browsers will assume you
want the Web unless you enter something different and
automatically insert this coding. It is not necessary to type
in some of the stuff at the very end of the address. Usually
browsers are not used to get to other Internet services.
The World Wide Web is a way to find and send pages of
information. People, businesses, schools, government
agencies and others establish their presence and put up
sites with whatever they want. Some are reliable and some
NVPCUG Computer News, July 2007, Page 15
are pure junk or worse.
Many ISPs will allow
subscribers to put up
personal web pages,
which are usually pretty
identifiable as personal
pages.
Colleges, universities,
and government agencies
will usually maintain
websites as part of their
mission. These tend to be pretty
reliable sources of information. Stores and other business are
usually advertising what they sell and are good in their way.
There are also spoof pages that may look like the real thing or
go to places such as porno sites. Much of the information on
the Web is advertisement supported. The World Wide Web is
a wild place with some good stuff and some horrible things.
There is so much out on the Web that special services
known as search engines are used to find information. At
one time, there were a number of these engines, each with
its own quirks. A few years ago, one called Ask Jeeves was
considered pretty good. Now most people use either Google
or Yahoo. Microsoft is also pushing one that they have, but
it has not yet grown as popular as the others. You type in a
word or two and some hits appear. If you are lucky, the first
hit gives you what you want. On the other hand, you may
get thousands of hits, with none looking very likely.
In addition to the browser, some software also usually
resides on a computer to allow for special features of Web
sites. These are things such as Flash, QuickTime, and
Adobe Reader. They might allow for movements on the
page, video clips, stable or locked pages of text and
graphics, and similar things.
E-mail is a message system that holds items on a central
server until requested. If you want, this server could be in
your house, but is usually at an ISP or similar location. A
computer being used as a server must remain on constantly.
Anything sent to you, is held on this server until you
request it. You send messages in the other direction by
using someone’s e-mail address. Those messages will go to
the server for that person.
If someone is online, a message might reach the intended
party in seconds. If the person is not online, it can sit on the
server indefinitely. A message and response can take under
a minute if both parties are available.
One can use a mail reader, or client in Tech-speak, to
receive, read, respond to, and send e-mail messages.
Usually, a mail reader will accept all messages on the
server. Another way to get the messages is go to a special
web site and select the ones that are wanted. If you get 30
messages, 20 of them might a type of junk known as spam.
You can open the 10 that you want and delete the 20 that
you do not without them ever being on your machine. With
the web site method, messages can be retrieved from the
server from any computer, even in a foreign country.
The most common e-mail reader is
probably Outlook Express from
Microsoft. It comes with the
operating system on a PC or a
download of Internet Explorer.
I even used it when I had a Mac
a couple years ago. There are
others that are fancier and do
some things that Outlook
Express does not do.
„
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, advises 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.
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).
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
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