Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group http://www. nvpcug.org P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558 COMPUTER NEWS Volume 25, No. 4 April 2008 Inside This Issue At the April Meeting, Meet Jonathan Doyle, a self proclaimed Electronic Addict 2 2 2 3 4 NVPCUG SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS NVPCUG CALENDAR PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE OFFICERS LIST PLAIN & SIMPLE — YOUR EASY, COLORFUL, SEE-HOW GUIDE 5 SHORTCUTS 6 HULU OFFERS FREE TV AND MOVIES OVER THE NET 8 HOW TO FORWARD E-MAIL 9 THE SWITCH TO DIGITAL TV 10 CONVERTING CD-BASED MUSIC TO COMPRESSED AUDIO FILES 11 MICROSOFT PATCHES STILL The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, April 16, 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 submitted before the meeting by e-mailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at [email protected] This month there will be no Computer Tutor session, leaving more time for our Q & A session and our presenter may just start early. Any additional questions, comments or suggestions for things you can learn in 10 minutes (like how to rename files and folders, for example), please send your ideas to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon at [email protected] ANOTHER PATCH 12 EVALUATING YOUR ANTI-SPYWARE PROGRAM 15 ZUNE 8 REVIEW 16 HASTA LA VISTA — CUSTOMIZE YOUR DATA LOCATIONS 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. From January 2003 to October 2007 the NVPCUG provided 783 computers and 140 printers to local schools. Additional equipment has been given to charitable nonprofit organizations and to disadvantaged individuals. Jonathan Doyle will be our main presenter. He is an avowed electronics addict. He has been in the field of repairing any thing that plugs into the wall for 30 plus years. His total ambition in life has been to help those who need help and never saying no. Moreover with his visit to the NVPCUG User’s Group of Napa he is looking forward to helping on the topics of Anti Virus structure, Computer Maintenance, and more. Pictured is Jonathan with his daughter Meghan. She grew up teething on computers to the point of building web pages for friends and family for myspace.com, facebook.com, and aol.com. So bring your questions and be part of members helping members. Could you use some practical information that would help you make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always welcome. Admission is always free. Interested in becoming a member? See page 14 for application information. NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008 NVPCUG Special Interest Groups President’s Message In SIG meetings you can learn about a subject in greater detail than is feasible at NVPCUG general meetings. SIG meetings are open to everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d locations occasionally change, so for current meeting information, see our Web site, 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: Ron Rogers (707) 226-5352 ronrogersnapamug @gmail.com By Ron Dack, president, http://www.nvpcug.org/, [email protected] April is here and it is tax time again. The NVPCUG tax form will be a lot easier this year because our 2006 total income, including donations, will fall far below the $25,000 minimum requiring a full Form 990 to file and we have no single person or company that has donated over the cutoff point. So a Form 990-EZ with a couple check boxes marked should handle our filing requirements. The tax filing part of a lack of income is a blessing but the down side is we have much less to work with. As I have reported in previous President’s Messages our expenses were exceeding our income. Thankfully, many of you have opted for the online version of the “Computer News” and that has helped. I am asking each of you who have not done so to opt for this version now. You can do this by sending an e-mail to [email protected] and putting “Opt for online Computer News” in the subject and your name in the body. At the April 2, 2008 Board of Directors meeting the board voted to change to an online newsletter as of January 2009 with an option for a member to receive a printed copy for an additional $1000a year. Even though it costs NVPCUG over $2400 a year to print and mail each member a paper version we could not bring ourselves to charge a member an additional $2400 a year to receive a printed copy. Some members have questioned what we spend their dues on if not the newsletter? That answer is both simple and complicated so I will try to clarify some of this information. Out of the current $3000 dues: If you receive a printed copy of the “Computer News”: Approximately $2400 goes to the cost of printing, folding, stapling, labeling, and mailing the newsletter. The remaining $600 goes for your share of: (many of the listed costs are subject to change) • ITT Hartford Corporate insurance coverage: $35000 • Napa Senior Activity Center rental: $19800 • California State Corporation S-100 fees: $2000 (biennially) • California State Attorney General RRF-1 fees: $2500 • California Department of Justice NPR-1 fees: $2000 • Association of Personal Computer User Groups dues: $5000 • U.S. Post Office (Mailbox): $7200 President’s Message continued on page 4 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 Apr 16 May 7 May 8 May 12 May 14 May 21 Mar 19 Jun 4 Jun 9 Jun 11 Jun 12 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 7:00-8:30 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 7:00-9:00 p.m. 5:30-7:30 p.m. 7:00-8:30 p.m. 6:30-8:30 p.m. NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa Board of Directors 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 Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa Board of Directors meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 2 Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Contact Information Officers for 2008 Board of Directors President Vice President Secretary Treasurer Other Directors: Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Dick Peterson 738-1812 [email protected] Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Roy Wagner 253-2721 [email protected] Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner. Jim Gray 255-6789 [email protected] Appointed Officers Computer Tutor Coordinator Jeff Solomon 553-2114 [email protected] Facility Arrangements Coordinator Dianne Prior 252-1506 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Kathy Slavens 251-9193 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Librarian Dean Unruh 226-9164 [email protected] Membership Director Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Newsletter Circulator Jim Hearn 224-2540 [email protected] Newsletter Editor Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Programs Director Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Publicity Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Random Access Moderator Jerry Brown 254-9607 [email protected] Special Projects Director VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] Webmaster Ron Dack unlisted Sales Coordinator VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] [email protected] • All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707. NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, 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. Plain & Simple — Your easy, colorful, SEE-HOW guide Microsoft Windows Vista Review by Marcia Waddell, Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group, www.nvpcug.org, [email protected].com Book by Jerry Joyce and Marianne Moon Have you found that you needed some system information and discovered that you don’t remember where to find it? Have you typed in a short cut and discovered that in Vista it doesn’t work? Do you want to synchronize your contact list with your phone or PDA? This book provides you with simple procedures to get the job done without long-winded discussions or explanations. This three hundred forty nine page book is a real gem. Like a rough diamond, it doesn’t look like much from it’s cover. This book is simple in its layout, color coded in chapter groups, and easy to follow. Most of all, it has little or no “geek speak” and has easily understandable illustrations. I forget passwords and procedures between my laptop running XP and my new Dell running Vista. This book is a must have for people like me. One page shows you how to create a password rescue disk with a simple wizard. You always have access from a USB thumb drive or a CD to log in. You won’t lose your settings or certificates as you would if you reset from scratch. Vista provides other settings and tips that this book points out. You would likely never find them otherwise. Plain & Simple wasn’t meant to be read cover to cover, but to act as a quick reference guide. It does the job for which it was designed simply and elegantly. I recommend this book for any level of Vista user. For those of you who wish to purchase the book, the recommend price is $2199 and the ISBN is 9780735622685.Vista loves passwords, permissions, and procedures. This book gets my work done faster and makes my day shorter. The only drawback I can find is the binding. If publishers put plastic spiral rings on these reference books, they would lie flat on a desk. Otherwise, the glue weakens and pages fall out. President’s Message continued from page 2 • • • • • • 97 Domain Name fees: $74 (triennially) Recognition Award (member of the year): up to $7000 Misc. postage and supplies: $5000 Postage to mail reports and payments to required agencies, flyers for advertising the group, etc. Holiday Party: up to $10000 Picnic: up to $10000 Total of listed items $107000/year We have other expenses but I am not going to list them all. If you want to look at some of our past Treasury Reports that can be arranged. As you should have noticed your dues, when receiving the printed newsletter, doesn’t come close to covering the group’s expenses. Without the expense of the printed newsletter we “might” be able to replace the projector in a couple years, and hopefully before it dies. We may also be able to buy a decent laptop for our presentations someday so we don’t have to borrow Jeff’s or some other’s laptop. If you have any suggestions or ideas about this or any issue feel free to e-mail them to me [email protected] or any board member. I look forward to seeing each of you at the April 16th meeting. Take care, Ron NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 4 Shortcuts By Mike Moore, Editor, Bowling Green Area Microcomputer User Group, Kentucky, Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. Why do some icons on your desktop have a little white arrow embedded in the picture? These are shortcuts (sometimes called links). They are small files that represent and “point to” the real thing. When you double -left-click on a shortcut icon, Windows reads the location of the file to open from within the shortcut file, then opens the target file. Shortcuts are, in the lingo of computer programmers, symbolic links to actual files. They don’t contain any of the file’s information—they just point to it. In real terms: if Peoria, Illinois was a file, then its shortcut would be the map telling you how to get there. Why do we use shortcuts? Why not just put the real, actual file on your desktop? There are several reasons. First, since a shortcut does not contain any of the target file’s information, it can be deleted without damaging the file it points to. Therefore, placing shortcuts on the desktop (or in any directory) is safer. Accidental deletion of these links will not affect anything other than you may lose track of where your file was! The other reason is that you can have many shortcuts and place them anywhere you might need quick access to your file. For example, when we give away computers, we organize the software links in various folders on the desktop. There’s a folder for Educational software and Game software www.bgamug.org, [email protected] links, and for the software that is both Educational and Fun, we put links to the same program in both the Educational and Game folders. You can rename shortcuts to anything you want, and it won’t affect the real name of the file they point to. Shortcuts are also portable! If I know for sure that a program will be in a certain place on nearly every PC, I can e-mail a link to someone and tell them to place it on their desktop. Doubleclicking on it should open that file on my recipient’s PC! E-mailing a link is much more of a sure bet than e-mailing an executable file—because most email servers just won’t allow executables (files ending in .EXE) to be sent! How does one create a link? The best way is to find the file you want the link to refer to, then do a single rightclick on it. This brings up a context menu where you can create the shortcut. Once the shortcut is created you can move it to any directory or to the desktop. For creating desktop links, Windows provides a shortcut wizard that allows you to create a shortcut for any file type including a web page or another folder. From anywhere on the desktop, right click and select ‘New’ and then ‘Shortcut’ to activate this wizard. 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). Important Board Decision It was moved that the newsletter be electronic only, beginning January 01, 2009, unless a member orders a printed copy for an additional annual charge of $1000 to help cover postage and printing costs. NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 5 Hulu Offers Free TV and Movies over the ByNet Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio and TV Show Host, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. WEBSITES: http://www.hulu.com http://www.hulu.com/browse/ alphabetical/tv - TV Shows Alphabetically http://www.hulu.com/browse/genre/tv - TV shows by Genre http://www.hulu.com/hd - HD Videos http://www.hulu.com/browse/network/ movies - Movies by Studio http://www.hulu.com/browse/genre/ movies - Movies by Genre http://www.adobe.com - Adobe Flash Player (Free) One of my readers recently emailed me about an offer he received via email (probably a spam email) about a $50 program that will allow him to view what was described as satellite TV over the internet, without paying a monthly fee. According to the email, with this program, he could discontinue his cable or satellite service, and watch over 3000 channels on his computer. I researched the product he referenced and found that it was a multilevel marketed program that was, in my opinion, deceptive in that it did not offer real satellite TV, but instead only offered a software utility that could receive the thousands of streaming videos already available for anyone to view for free, and that often required no special software to view. I strongly recommended to the reader that he not purchase the product, and instead just search for streaming video, and to keep his current TV provider. In researching this service I came upon a recently released and legitimate way to view thousands of TV programs and movies over the internet, for free, and only using any of the common internet browsers. This free service (registration required) is the Hulu service available online at www.hulu.com. Hulu was founded in March of 2007, and is a joint venture owned by NBC Universal, and News Corp, and financed by $100 million of venture capital. As I type this, Hulu is offering advertising supported content from over 50 sources, such as Fox TV, NBC, MGM, Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, and other providers. The content available for viewing includes TV shows, full length feature films, and clips. Several full length, prime time shows are available on Hulu the morning after they air, and include such popular shows as The Simpsons, and The Office. There are also dozens of classical TV shows, available as full length episodes, including such favorites as Miami Vice and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If users are willing to put up with unobtrusive ads, often in the lower right corner of the image, or standard TV type commercials, they can watch for free such full length feature films as Ice Age, Three Amigos!, and many others. Hulu is headquartered in Los Angeles, with research and development being done in China. NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 6 Hulu will play on almost all current browsers as they are currently configured, and require no special software or add-ons to utilize the service, and requires a broadband connection to view the videos. Almost all computers already have Adobe’s Flash Player installed, but if not, Flash Player is a free download from Adobe at www.adobe.com. Once registered at hulu.com (free registration), a broad selection of videos becomes available for viewing at will. As I type this, there are about 11,200 full length TV episodes and feature clips available, with more being added daily. Currently available for viewing are almost all of the episodes of The Simpsons, 30 Rock, The Office, Knight Rider, House, Medium, Bionic Woman, American Dad!, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 24, Prison Break, Heroes, about 160 full length children’s cartoons (Woody Woodpecker, Spiderman, Astro Boy, and many others), and other TV shows of all genres. For those partial to Saturday Night Live skits, there are about nearly 500 available, including such contemporary issues as presidential politics. TV wrestling fans would appreciate the over 300 matches available for viewing, while NBA fans can view over 140 clips from professional basketball games. A collection of recent (2008) full length college football games, including many of the bowl games are available for viewing, including the 2007 and 2008 Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, and others, enough to satiate any college football fans, and keep them glued to the computer screen for days on end. Soap opera addicts will appreciate the well over 100 clips from Days of Our Lives. In total, Hulu lists 25 different TV genres for every taste, making something available for everyone. The large assortment of TV shows (and movies as well) can be displayed by clicking on “Type” (TV or Movie), and then “Genre”; this will display only those selections that meet both criteria. Simply clicking on the image of the selection will play that selection. All of the TV shows can be displayed in one window alphabetically at www.hulu.com/browse/alphabetical/tv, and can be run by clicking on their titles. All of the TV shows can also be displayed in one window, sorted by genre at www.hulu.com/browse/genre/tv. Hulu is not just about TV, but also full length feature films, clips, and trailers. As I type this, there are 760 movies available, of which 80 are full length feature films, the remainder being shorts, clips and trailers. According to Hulu, the most popular full length films viewed by members are Ice Age, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, The Girl Next Door, The Jerk, Usual Suspects, Planet of the Apes, Weekend at Bernie’s, Dragon – The Bruce Lee Story, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Three Amigos!, All Dogs Go to Heaven, and dozens more. Movies are divided into 10 genres, including action and adventure, animation, comedy, crime and mystery, documentary and biography, drama, family and kids, horror and thriller, music, and sci-fi and fantasy. Movies can be selected by genre, or by studio. Opening www.hulu.com/browse/network/movies will display movies alphabetically by studio, with full length features being clearly indicated. Each of the movies shown is hyperlinked (click on the title) directly to the movie. Similarly, all of the movies can be sorted by genre, and displayed in one window at www.hulu.com/browse/ genre/movies. Hulu is about to roll out “HD” (High Definition) videos, and currently has 20 HD movie trailers available to demonstrate the service at www.hulu.com/hd. Since HD video caries more data then conventional video, the system requirements are higher to view HD. In order to view the HD videos, the computer must have a minimum of Flash Player 22.214.171.124 (a free download from Adobe, available for most operating systems), a 2.5Mbs or faster broadband connection (many of the basic broadband services are incapable of operating at this speed, and a premium or upgraded broadband may be required to view HD), a fast processor (3Ghz minimum for Windows or Linux, or a 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo for Mac). Almost all modern computers of recent manufacturer meet the minimum RAM and video requirements to view HD videos. While not a substitute for cable or satellite TV, Hulu can provide countless hours of entertainment for free. Since new content is frequently added, and additional providers are being solicited, Hulu has the potential for becoming a major entertainment resource. 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). Editors Note: This is one of the programs that Jeff Solomon, our Computer Tutor, discussed two months ago when he talked about viewing TV programs over the Internet. Balance Power & Features The coolest CE devices always seem to run on batteries. Unfortunately, battery life plummets when you turn on features such as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Also, the faster the processor in a device such as a notebook PC, the shorter the battery life. If you need a long charge time to get you through frequent airline flights, for instance, opt for a lighter feature list and powersaving capabilities. If you need something more powerful, say to replace your desktop PC, you’re talking about a heavier device that will keep you looking for a wall outlet. 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, April 2008, Page 7 How to Forward E-mail By Vinny La Bash, a member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida, www.spcug.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. Let’s examine a typical email scenario. After opening your email, you find a message that you simply must share with all your friends. You press the “Forward” button and one way or another get all their email addresses in the “To:” box. Feeling quite satisfied after pressing the “Send” button, you sit back and take satisfaction in the joy you are sending to others. You should be ashamed of yourself. You have just exposed everyone on your mailing list plus any people who received the email ahead of you to unending streams of spam, spyware, viruses, and other assorted electronic junk and mischief that hackers are prone to these days. What you have done is prove conclusively that you don’t have a clue about the proper way to forward email.Your license to compute should be revoked immediately. As messages get forwarded in this way they move along the internet, and the list of email addresses embedded in the note gets longer and longer. All it takes is for just one of these folks to get a virus or some other kind of malware, and everyone who has their email address in that list can be infected. Anyone can take those email addresses, sell them or send out their own junk mail. Assuming you are a mature responsible adult, you most likely would not want to harm anyone, even inadvertently. What does a conscientious person do to stop or better yet, prevent damage? When you click the “Forward” button you enter the edit mode of your email client. Before you do anything else DELETE all the other email addresses appearing at the top of the message. Let me repeat. DELETE them by highlighting them and THEN pressing the Delete button on your keyboard. It doesn’t take long. When you’ve finished, delete any other junk that isn’t actually part of the message, such as information about the original sender. Delete anything that is not part of what you want to send. If you’re sending the message to more than one person, do not use the To: or Cc: fields for adding email addresses. Always, always use the BCC: (blind carbon copy) field for listing the email addresses. The people receiving the message will see only their own address. Some email clients don’t automatically show the blind carbon copy option. If that’s the case, click on where it says To: and your address list will appear. Highlight the email address and choose the BCC: option. It’s not much effort, and it eliminates the possibility of someone using the email addresses inappropriately. When you send using the blind carbon copy, everyone receiving the message will see “Undisclosed Recipients” in the heading information. If your email client requires that something be in the To: field, send the message to yourself and use the BCC: field for everyone else. Remove any FW in the subject line. Better yet, clean up the subject line completely by fixing any spelling or grammatical mistakes. Why let someone else’s errors appear as your own? Sometimes you will receive an email that is a petition. It states a position and directs you to add your name, address, and sometimes other information. Then you’re supposed to send it to as many people as possible. If enough people do this, an email can contain hundreds if not thousands of names and addresses. The longer the list gets the more valuable it becomes to a spammer or hacker because the names and email addresses are valid. If you really want to support the idea behind the petition, a personal letter to the eventual recipient carries a lot more weight than a piece of paper with a long list of names. When you think about it, lists like these can be generated from telephone books. Do you really think that a member of congress is going to pay attention to something that could be so easily faked? Sometimes these petitions come with statements or warnings that the emails are being traced. Don’t believe it. While technology is constantly improving, there is still no way to trace emails through the internet. One kind of really annoying email is the one that promises that something wonderful is going to happen, but only if I forward the message to at least ten people in the next ten minutes. However, if I fail to do so, some unspeakable evil will surely befall me. I always fail to do so, and nothing bad has happened yet, but I wonder if this could be the reason I haven’t won the lottery. Before forwarding some version of an Amber Alert, take a little time to check out the story behind the message. Most of these messages have been circulating around the internet for years. Some of them have been around for a decade. Almost all of them are much less than they seem. Some sites that will help: www.hoaxbusters.com http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/ internet/a/current_netlore.htm http://ciac.llnl.gov/ciac/bulletins/ h-05.shtml http://www.snopes.com/snopes.asp http://www.vmyths.com/ You may not be able to stop this stuff on your own, but you can stop contributing to it. 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, April 2008, Page 8 The Switch to Digital TV By Sandy Berger, CompuKISS, www.compukiss.com, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. The switch to digital is on the way. On February 17, 2009, U. S. broadcast stations, who are currently broadcasting in both analog and digital, will turn off their analog signals and will transmit only in digital. What’s this mean to you? Most consumers who get their television from a cable or satellite provider won’t notice a difference. Cable and satellite companies are not required to make the transition, so they can continue to broadcast in both analog and digital. Eventually, though, if your cable company moves to all digital, you will not be able to get the cable straight from the wall, but will need a box from your cable company. Most cable customers already have a cable television box, anyway. Don’t worry about that now, your cable company will notify you, if and when that happens. And it may be years down the road. The people who will be most affected by the transition to digital are those who get their television “over the air” with rabbit ears or an antenna in the attic or on the roof. Older analog televisions will not be able to pick up the digital signal. You don’t, however, have to go out and buy a new TV. You simply will need to add a digital-to-analog converter box to your television. These boxes are already available in stores like Wal-Mark, Best Buy, Circuit City, RadioShack, and Target. They will be priced between $40 and $70. Luckily for those with rabbit ears and old televisions, the government has created a $1.5 billion coupon program to subsidize the cost of the converter boxes. This program is being overseen by the National Telecommunication and Information Administration agency. Each household, regardless of how they receive their television, is eligible to receive two $40 coupons. The coupons are available now. As I write this, over 5 million coupons have already been requested. To g e t a c o u p o n y o u c a n a p p l y o n l i n e a t www.dtv2009.gov or call the 24-hour hot line, 888-DTV-2009 (888-388-2009). You can also mail a coupon application to P.O. Box 2000, Portland, OR 97208-2000. The program itself expires on March 31, 2009. The government is trying to get everyone ready as quickly as possible, so be aware that the coupons expire three months after they are mailed to you. Since many television stations are already broadcasting in digital, you can use the converter box immediately. If you are still asking why we are doing this, the official government explanation is that switching to digital TV will free up parts of the valuable broadcast spectrum for public safety communications such as police, fire departments, and rescue squads. The bigger reason, though, is that some of the spectrum will be auctioned to companies for advanced wireless services. This, of course, will be very lucrative for the US Government. It may also be a good thing for consumers, as well. With the digital converter box, even your old analog television may give you a better picture. You will also be able to see more channels as some broadcasters will choose to multicast programs. Multicasting means that a broadcaster can split up its signal into several channels, each with a different set of programs. This type of programming is only available with digital broadcasting. One thing to remember is that digital television is not high-definition television. Although high-def TVs will display digital television, you do not need a high-def TV just because of this transition. Digital broadcast television includes both Standard Definition (SD) and High Definition (HD) formats. You can watch both standard definition and high definition programming on an analog TV hooked to a digital-to-analog converter box, but the high definition won’t give you the full high definition quality that you would receive on a high ZIf you have a newer TV that you purchased in the last few years, it my already support digital. Look at the markings on the television to find out if it has a digital tuner built-in. Words like “Digital Tuner or Receiver”, “DTV”, or “HDTV” indicate that it will display the digital programming. However, if your television says “HDTV Monitor”, “Digital Ready” or “HDTV Ready”, you may still need a converter box. If you need more information on the move to digital television, check out the Federal Communication Commission’s DTV Web site at www.dtv.gov. They have done a good job explaining everything you need to know. 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, April 2008, Page 9 Converting CD-based Music to Compressed Audio Files By Mike Moore, Editor, Bowling Green Area Microcomputer User Group, Kentucky, Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. I spent the equivalent of two or three days in January, working a few minutes at a time, converting all of our CDs to MP3 format. I had been dreading this project, thinking that it would take too much time, but it really was not that bad and the results are going to be worth it. A few years ago I purchased a 400-CD jukebox type CD player. This device does has the capability of displaying a short line containing the album’s title, using a standard PC keyboard, but the process is complicated with problems. It’s easy to get CDs in the wrong slot and of course, you can only play them in the room where you’ve physically situated the jukebox unit. In the past few years, we’ve been getting away from the album and becoming more focused on individual songs. This lamentable trend has been fueled by the 99 cent price point associated with downloading music by the song. Artists and producers alike have vilified this process, claiming that the artistic sum worth of songs on an album is greater than the tunes taken as individual songs. I can buy into this sadness, to a point. I remember the smell of vinyl LPs, unwrapping the cellophane outer wrap, and the incredible detail the producers went into in packing artistic value into the finished product, right down to the order the songs appear on the album. These days, you just Google the album or artist title and download the Jpeg, that’s about it. For a fee, a program called iTunes will do this for you automatically. So why would a guy spend the time to rip (compress) the tracks of a CD or other ancient audio product to MP3 files? There are a few good reasons to do this. For one thing, the devices that play music have become decentralized. What I mean by that is if you can imagine your computer as the “record player,” then it’s not much of a stretch to think of playing music anywhere in the house, car or workplace. Doing this in the past meant locating the song you want (which may or may not be an easy task), finding the CD (or tape, or LP) it’s recorded on, and hoping that it’s not damaged. Then once you’ve got it, you carry it to where ever you www.bgamug.org, [email protected] want to hear it. For me, this was often the car, and a car is a great place to scratch or otherwise ruin a CD, and I’ve also known friends whose entire CD collections have been stolen from vehicles. Physically moving music and other files from player to player is sometimes humorously referred to as “Sneaker Net” But once you begin to think of your songs and other media in terms of compressed MP3 files, they become at once more searchable, more replaceable, and more portable. Compressed audio files, though the wonder of a shared internet database called Gracenote (formerly CDDB), contain informational tidbits that can searched. On the other hand, ordinary music tracks on a Compact Disc have no information associated with them at all, not even the name of the song. By converting CD-ROM music to MP3 files, your database can pull up a playlist for you using information encoded in the MP3 file. Most ripping software (such as C-Dex, available at http:// cdexos.sourceforge.net/) will query the CDDB so that you won’t have to manually type in the names of the songs or the name of the CD. Compressed audio files can be stored on any hard drive in the house and can be made available on inexpensive MP3 players, iPods, and Multimedia computers that attach directly to your sound system. There is usually no special hardware to buy - you can just feed the stereo output from your computer’s sound card to the audio input on your TV or stereo amplifier. Most of the MP3 player devices out there do not require a lot in the way of software — you generally plug them into a computer, they assign themselves a drive letter, and you can just copy your songs to the devices as if they were another hard drive. There are even self-contained wireless hard drives (see: http://www.apple.com/ airportexpress) that will broadcast your music wirelessly to any networked computer in the house! Compressed audio files cannot get scratched like CDs do, and if your iPod or MP3 player is stolen or accidentally formatted (happens all the time!), or even if your entire CD collection is stolen, it’s no longer the end of the world. You just re-copy the files back to another device and you’re good to go. NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 10 Though not exactly small, compressed audio files do lend themselves much better to e-mail. A typical MP3 music file is around 3 to 6 megabytes, which is just under the threshold of being too large to send to someone using dial-up internet. If both ends of the connection have highspeed, it’s no problem at all, as this amount of data can be transmitted by most DSL and cable internet services in about 10 or 20 seconds. The MP3 compressed format is “lossy” in the sense that some of the music data is lost during compression, compared to the original recording, however I’ve never been able to tell the difference between a compressed song and a non-compressed track on a CD. The data you lose is not data that manifests as part of the music. By the way, the songs as recorded on CDs you buy are very large — 50 to 80 megabytes would not be uncommon. For those of you audiophiles who need compression but don’t want any data loss, consider using the FLAC mode of compression (See http:// flac.sourceforge.net for information). FLAC stands for “Free Lossless Audio Codec” So, there are a host of reasons why we would want to compress our audio collection, but what is the downside? The only problem I can think of is that most automotive and older CD players cannot recognize the MP3 or any computer generated music format. Some of the newer CD players can, but it’s not something that people generally know. So, for example, when I transferred an audio book selection to CD for my wife, she found that the CD player in her car refused to play the media, even though her car is not that old. My car, a Chevy Monte Carlo, played the disk without a problem even though it’s an older car than hers. So in this situation you may want to take advantage of software that does the reverse of ripping - it would take MP3 files and lay them down on the CD as if they were ordinary Audio CD tracks. iTunes and many CD-writing utilities such as Nero will do this for you. Now does anyone wanna buy a used 400-CD jukebox player? 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). Microsoft patches still another patch By Bob de Violini, a member of the Channel Islands PCUG, CA, www.cipcug.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. From the once is not enough department, Microsoft has, again, patched a patch. This time, it involves patch number MS07-069, which is a cumulative security update for Internet Explorer 6 installed on Windows XP Service Pack 2 only. Apparently the initial patch released on December’s patch Tuesday caused computers to experience an unexpected crash or hang upon launching Internet Explorer. If you, like I, have updating set to notify but not download and install, or if you visit the Windows Update site on your own once a month instead of using Auto Update, then by all means please go to the Windows Update site and grab the fix as soon as you can. The fix doesn’t require a reboot; it just makes a minor registry entry to prevent IE6 from crashing again. Internet Explorer and G-mail Rolling right along, there was some debate during December with regards to a “vulnerability” that exists when visiting Google’s web-based e-mail site, Gmail, with Internet Explorer. When the “bug” was pointed out to the computer industry media, both Microsoft and Google denied the root of the problem was with theirs. Apparently, an investigator has claimed that IE improperly stores files in its cache and that the scripting of Gmail allows this to be exploited, which would allow someone to steal any user names and passwords for Gmail that have been entered since the last time the IE cache was purged. The simple way around this is to use a browser besides IE when you visit Gmail or, if you must use IE for checking your mail with Gmail, first purge the cache and all cookies and then log in to the site. To purge IE’s NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 11 Microsoft continued on page 12 Microsoft patches continued from page 11 cache, inside IE go to the Tools drop down menu and select Internet Options. Now, in the middle of the Internet Options box, click the Delete Cookies button and click OK in the box that pops up. Next, click the Delete Files button and click OK in the box that pops up. Now click the OK button at the bottom of the Internet Options box, and you’re all set. There has been no other news about this issue, so using another browser or purging IE’s cache is the only solution for now. By the way, the biggest risk for this behavior appears to be if you’re sharing computer access such as that which is available at a public library or a shopping mall where you pay for a few minutes of high-speed Internet access. Critical Updates for QuickTime For those of you who are fond of using Apple’s QuickTime media player, there have been a couple of updates released in December to fix a few critical security vulnerabilities. If you only updated QuickTime once during that timeframe, you might want to visit Apple’s site to get the latest update. The most recent version of the player (without the I Tunes add-on) is 126.96.36.199. While you’re at the Apple site, you might want to download and install the Apple Software updater, which makes it very easy to keep QuickTime updated. Just click on it and watch it do its thing. HP computer vulnerabilities For those of you who have Hewlett Packard laptops and desktops, there is a vulnerability in HP’s Software Update software. This vulnerability can allow an attacker to turn your computer into a useless collection of metal and plastic that’s completely unbootable. HP rushed out a fix in around four days, and it’s now available for your download. Computer security experts suggest installing it even if you don’t use the HP Software Update function at all, as just having the software on your computer makes it vulnerable. One catch — you have to run the vulnerable software to get the update to fix it. HP has had no comment about it at all, and there’s no mention of it on its Web site. Please keep in mind that the HP Software Update software is completely separate from, and unrelated to, any other updating software that is installed on the computer like Windows Update or Microsoft Update. Windows Vista change Shifting gears toward Vista, Microsoft has announced that, effective with Service Pack 1 for Vista due out in the first quarter of this year, those with cracked or counterfeit copies of Vista will no longer have their machines made to run in reduced functionality mode by the Windows Genuine Advantage validation tool. Instead, they’ll just get nagged about once an hour to get a legal copy of Vista on their machines. Microsoft has said that this new stance is in response to customer and partner requests. Time will tell just how well this new policy goes over. Adobe Flash patch coming This next item pertains to a good number of folks reading this and deals with an application that runs within the vast majority of the Internet browsers in use that’s called Flash. This application enables you to see animated ads and other “mini movies” within your browser. There have been a couple of very widely publicized bugs in it, one of which has been patched. The other one is under investigation by Adobe, which has pledged a fix early this year. The way I read the security bulletin, it will probably be out by the end of January, and may already be out by the time you’re reading this at home. As of this writing, the latest version of the Adobe Flash player is 188.8.131.52. This version number will, no doubt, change as soon as the second bug is patched. The Adobe security bulletin about the second patch can be found at http:/ /tinyurl.com/2kktqs. When you get there, you’ll find it on the technical side of things, but there’s a section titled “Preventative Measures for End-Users” which spells things out in plain English for the rest of us. 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). Evaluating Your Anti-Spyware Program By Vinny La Bash, Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., www.spcug.org, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for The developers of spyware didn’t want to damage your publication by APCUG member groups computer. They wanted only to sell you something. That For many years the most acute danger to your computer may be annoying, but there is nothing criminal about it. was some kind of destructive virus. Today the danger has A Trojan Horse is a program that pretends to be something shifted from software that is programmed to destroy files, other than what it really is. For example, a screensaver could corrupt programs, and disable systems to something more be designed to install a program that will take over your insidious, and perhaps even more treacherous. This threat system to forward spam to other machines. Trojan Horses comes in two broad categories known as Spyware and have been used to initiate denial of service attacks, where Trojan Horses. the target such as a bank, credit card service or other high Spyware started out as a stealth program surreptitiously profile web site becomes so saturated with external installed on your system to track your web surfing habits. requests that it cannot respond to legitimate traffic. Î NVPCUG Computer News, April 2008, Page 12 When selecting an anti-spyware program, start out by selecting one with a comprehensive signatures database. The best anti-spyware programs have databases that can recognize more than 750,000 different kinds of spyware and Trojan Horse programs. Read the documentation or call the company. This is important. The best signatures database won’t do you any good if it isn’t updated frequently. The bad guys never seem to rest. They release new poison daily. Don’t buy any solutions that require manual updates. You have better things to do. Insist on automatic updates. Another important capability is active monitoring of your system. Wouldn’t you rather prevent a malicious program from installing rather than removing it after the damage has been done? Avoid any program that removes infections found only after conducting a manual scan. This probably means avoiding some otherwise adequate free programs. There’s an old saying about getting what you pay for. The best anti-spyware programs prevent spyware and Trojan Horses from ever being installed on your system. Go for a program that allows you to customize your scans. We don’t all use our computers in the same way. Some people require more comprehensive scans than others. If you are constantly browsing the internet, you are likely to benefit from a daily scan that checks active memory, system folders, the registry, and all hard drives. If you rarely use the internet or find yourself visiting the same six sites over and over, a weekly scan may be all you need. You should be able to schedule unattended updates and scans. Your machine should be yours to use as you wish. Any decent anti-spyware program should be able to run in the background unattended, and not require interrupting your activities. The program should work according to your preferences, not the other way around. Choose a program that permits unattended maintenance and administration. It’s also important that an unattended scan can quarantine infections without requiring intervention from you. Why do some anti-spyware programs ask if you want to remove infections? Of course you do! Of all the features in antispyware programs, that is the dumbest. There are innumerable derivations and iterations of spyware being created. This makes it difficult for even the best anti-spyware programs to catch and destroy them. If you open the Processes tab in Windows Task Manager, you will observe the Process Manager in action. You will see a list of objects running on your system. Some of them are applications like word processors. Others are mysterious entities that don’t provide a clue as so what they do, but you can’t run Windows effectively without them. Among them would be Windows Explorer, Internet Explorer, Media Center, Windows Mobile Control Center, and many others. Beyond shutting down a process or resetting its priority, there isn’t much a non-specialist can do with this feature. Clever programmers can create spyware that won’t show up in the Process Manager. Any decent anti-spyware program has to have its own built-in process manager that will recognize, track down, and eliminate malevolent software that may not even be in the signatures database. Anti-spyware programs should be able to monitor programs that load when Windows starts up. There are many very sophisticated spyware programs that to not show up in the Process Monitor or in Control Panel’s Add/ Remove section. If your anti-spyware program lacks this capability, find another one. Assuming your anti-spyware program has the capabilities mentioned above, it is an excellent choice for individuals. However, businesses or organizations with multiple computers will require even more. Whoever is in charge of PCs will not have time to manually monitor or administrate individual machines. It is simply impractical in a large organization for support staff to visit every workstation, apply updates, schedule scans, and ensure that infestations are removed. If this applies to you, look for a program with a centralized administration console. This capability has the unfortunate drawback of being quite expensive, but the time saved generally justifies the cost. 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). Requirements For Web Radio You will need a player, a software application capable of playing back Internet radio streams. Popular players include Microsoft Windows Media Player 9, RealNetworks RealPlayer10, Apple iTunes, and many MP3 music players. We will focus on using Windows Media Player 9. You’ll also need an Internet connection. A dial-up connection is sufficient for reproducing audio with AM radio quality. Many Internet radio stations offer streams designed for dial-up users. If you have a broadband connection, you have a wider choice of playback quality. Some radio stations offer near CD-quality streams, although often only as part of an added cost subscription package. Depending on the format, even lower bit rate broadcasts can sound remarkably good. With a broadband connection, you have your choice of any of the available stream bit rates. Finally, your computer system needs a way to play the streams. This can be as simple as a sound card and desktop speakers or headphones or as complicated as using a high-quality sound card to connect to your stereo system. 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, April 2008, Page 13 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 ! 947 Lincoln Avenue Napa, CA 94559-5066 3148 Jefferson Street • Napa, California 94558 707/257-6260 • fax 707/257-8741 [email protected] http://napa.minutemanpress.com (707) 299-1000 www.napanet.net • [email protected] Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Offering Financial Services throughout the Napa Valley; with offices in American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena and Yountville 800-869-3557 www.wellsfargo.com Thank You ! 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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, April 2008, Page 14 Zune By8AshReview Nallawalla, APCUG Director and member of the Melbourne PCUG, Australia, www.melbpc.org.au/, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for close-ups of performers but it would not be fun to watch publication by APCUG member groups. a full-length movie on this model. During music playback, Thanks to good friends in the Microsoft Windows the backlight disappears and helps to conserve battery group in Redmond, I received a shiny new, red 8 GB life. Zune during CES. It has a beautifully engraved The USB cable acts as the media conduit to and from “www.zuneusergroup.com” (my site) on the back. the PC and also charges the battery. There is a small, Here is my assessment. recessed set of holes to take a wrist strap, which is not supplied. Packaging The compact packaging of the 4/8 GB Zune does not contain a software CD like the original Zune. You get a manual, a USB cable and a set of earphones. The box comes in a soft pouch and could be mistaken for a perfume box. FM Radio Setting Up Sound Quality You first set up the Zune software on the PC by going to www.zune.net/setup. You get to choose between the “full Zune experience” and simply downloading the software. I already had the latest software on account of my old Zune 30, so I explored the Zune.net site. There you set up a Zune account, if you don’t have one. This enables you to give your Zune a name and buy music from the Zune Marketplace, an online music store. You can customize your Zune at zuneoriginals.net. The Zune 8 refuses to work until you have installed the Zune software on the PC and connected the player at least once. When you connect the device to the PC, it proceeds to update the firmware. This was painless. The sound quality is fine too, just like the original Zune 30. There is a good selection of pre-loaded media. The supplied earphones do a basic job, but as with all players, you need to buy high-quality headphones to get optimum sound. There isn’t an equalizer (EQ) control or preset, so you cannot customize the sound to your liking. This option is present on the old Zune 30, so its omission seems to be a deliberate decision. Why hobble sound quality? Software The Zune software is easy to use and is intuitive. It was able to find all my music, video and images and sync them to the player. I can also sync my podcast subscriptions automatically. Unless it was a coincidence, the software showed both my Zunes in their correct colours - a nice touch. Controls The main input on the player is the Zune Pad, a rounded rectangular touch-sensitive button. You change the volume and select options by rubbing your thumb from top to bottom or left to right. The default touch sensitivity was fine for me, unlike the over-sensitive controls of the original Creative Zen, which tended to overshoot the desired selection. Display The tiny 4.5 cm (1.8-inch) scratch-resistant, glass-covered screen is watchable for short music videos that have The FM radio displays RBDS data, so you can see the name of the radio station and the song being played. You cannot record a radio program, as you can on some Creative units. The tuner picked up all my local stations. Sharing The latest 2.3 (1145) firmware is common to all models and renames “Community” to “Social”. You can share a song by sending it to a nearby Zune (that is turned on and has wireless enabled). The other Zune has to accept it and will get three plays (the three days limitation has been removed). Other Zune models There is a new 80 GB model (only black) that works just like the 4/8 GB versions except that it contains a hard drive, not Flash memory and has a larger screen. The 4/ 8 GB models come in pink, red, green and black. Conclusion The Zune 8 is light, easy-to-use, has a good battery life, feature set, and great sound quality. The software is a testimonial to Microsoft as a leading software company. In conclusion, the 8 GB Zune is a fine multimedia player and you will not regret buying it (about $185 online). Well done, Microsoft. 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, April 2008, Page 15 Hasta la Vista — Customize Your Data Locations By Lee Reynolds, a member of the Broward Personal Computer Association, Florida, www.bpca.com, [email protected] Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups. I’m told the literal meaning of “hasta la vista” in Spanish is “until the seeing.” Or maybe a more adequate translation is “see you later”. But in this column, I’m using that phrase to invite you to take a look at Microsoft’s latest version of Windows: Vista. If you take a look at the new Vista Start Menu, one change from Windows XP you will see is that there is a link at the top of it which is your account name. If you click on that, you will open up a Windows Explorer window, which shows all your user folders, such as: • Favorites • Documents • Pictures • Etc.. • Music • Desktop In Details view, this is handy since one column shows the Folder path for each of these. Most of the folders will be on your boot drive (normally, C:) in this path: C:\Users\<AccountName>, where <AccountName>, of course, is your account name. There are several entries in this list which have the little “shortcut” arrow in their icons, for example: • Application Data • My Documents • Start Menu • Recent • Cookies • Templates • Local Settings • Send To If you click on any of these shortcuts, except Recent, you will immediately be presented with an error message: “<folder path> is not accessible Access is denied”, then you have to click the OK button to dismiss the message. All of those shortcuts are there for compatibility reasons, in order for the system to be able to access certain locations that were used in Windows XP. The actual path of each of those locations has changed in Windows Vista. For example, the folder that was accessed in this way in Windows XP C:\Documents and Settings\<AccountName>\My Documents is now here in Vista: C:\Users\<AccountName>\Documents. Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558-0286 Address Services Requested Backup and Partitioning I like to backup my entire system periodically with a drive image program from Acronis called True Image. However, I also like to try and keep most of my data separate from the program files and windows system files making up the boot drive. I took advantage of the built-in drive partitioning software of Vista (more about this in another article), in order to create several other partitions on my C: drive, and one of these is reserved for storing the contents of such folders as Documents, Favorites, Music, and Pictures. (I did something similar for an old computer using Windows XP.) This not only reduces the size of the backup image of my boot drive, it also makes it much easier to backup my rapidly changing data to CD-RWs or DVD-RWs. In Windows XP, in order to move the data locations to another partition, I was forced, in some cases, to edit the registry. In Windows Vista, this is no longer necessary. There is a Windows user interface to change folder locations of your user account profile. Just right click on your Documents folder, for example: Select Properties from the context menu, and then you will see a new tab in the folder properties windows called Location. Click on that tab, and you will now see this message: You can change where files in this folder are stored to another place on this hard drive, another drive, or even another computer on your network. All you have to do is type in the new location, and click OK. You will then be presented with a message, asking if you want to move all of the files from the old location to the new location, and recommending that you do so, or else you will see two of the designated folders in your profile. 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).