COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue

COMPUTER NEWS Inside This Issue
Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558
Volume 24, No. 9
September 2007
Inside This Issue
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
p e o p l e t o f i n d f r i e n d s w h o s h a re
common interests and experiences.
T h ro u g h i t s C o m p u t e r s - t o - S c h o o l s
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.
At Sept. 19 Meeting,
Ergonomics Presentation
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
will meet Wednesday, Aug. 15, 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 submited before the meeting
by e mailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at
[email protected]
During the Computer Tutor session which will follow, Ken Manfree
will give a short presentation on Microsoft Excel. He will show how to
set up a basic spreadsheet and how to set up formulas (mathematical
equations that do all the work) He will also seek suggestions from our
members as to what they would like him to cover in a lengthier future
Microsoft Excel presentation. Any questions or comments should be
sent to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon at [email protected]
Our main presentation will be given by Ronald Kleist,
president of SmartMotion Technology, Inc. He will be
talking to us about ergonomics. Ronald comes to us with
35 years experience bringing new technologies to market
for market leaders such as Instapak/Sealed Air Corporation,
Genzyme, Sprint, OCLI/JDSUniphase. The last 10 years
have been devoted to ergonomics and include development of mechanisms
and finished products that support natural human motion such as
SwingSeat and Clickit!. He is also involved in a family trading company
started more than 65 years ago in Asia and travels there often.
The door prize will be provided by the presenter. He will bring a
clamp-on version of the 4-ARM Tray (List Price $12900). Note:
members are eligible for the drawing and if you want to be included in
the drawing, make it a point to attend this months meeting. Your name
might be the one that is drawn!.
View his websites at and http:/
/ for more details. The site even includes a
short video demonstrating how easy it is to assemble and use the
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, September 2007
President’s Message
In SIG meetings you can learn about
a subject in greater detail than is
feasible at NVPCUG general
meetings. SIG meetings are open to
everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d
locations occasionally change, so
for current meeting information, see
our Web site,, or
contact the SIG leaders.
Investors SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Monday
5:30 to 7:30 p.m
Jerry Brown’s home,
23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Leader: Jerry Brown
(707) 254-9607
[email protected]
Digital Photography SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday
7:00 to 8:30 p.m
Piner’s Nursing Home,
Conference Room
1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Leader: Susy Ball
(707) 337-3998
[email protected]
Macintosh SIG
Meets: Monthly, second Thursday
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center
1500 Jefferson St., Napa
Leader: Jim Gillespie
(707) 252-1665
[email protected]
By Ron Dack, president, [email protected], http:/
Whew, what a month this has been. Suspending activities at the Computer to
Schools program until we could work through several problems not the least of
which included finding a solution to a huge tax dilemma relating to the large
donation that Dey, L.P. wanted to make to CTS. This donation would have
changed our status to a Private Foundation and possibly cost us our tax-free status.
After just going through the paperwork, forms, accounting, and filing of our
IRS Form 8734 to obtain the final decision as to whether we are considered a taxexempt organization this spring. Finally receiving the letter confirming us as a
Public Charity in July.
Then the filing of our 2006 Form 990-EZ for our 2006 taxes in April, only to
be notified we had filed incorrectly by not including a Form 990 Schedule B.
Reading several hundred pages of twenty or so IRS publications and instructions
to find out first what the “hell” is a Schedule B and what has to be included on it.
Reading several hundred more pages of additional IRS publications to try and
be up on what is coming and what we will need to report in the future I discovered
that if Dey, L.P. donated the 300 to 400 laptops they intended to donate to our
group it would thrust us into a whole new category called a Private Foundation.
Because we don’t have the public support to offset that type of donation we could
not accept the laptops. To hold our IRC 501(c )(3) Public Charity status we would
have had to receive over $19,000.00 in other public donations to offset the laptop
donation Dey, L.P. wanted to make. I had hoped that the good work done by our
group, the CTS volunteers, and the positive impact on the school systems, it
would bring our group some semblance of public support but I guess that was too
much to ask for. On the other hand we did not want to deprive the students of the
Napa area schools the use of these laptops.
In an effort to resolve this issue I decided to see if we could arrange with Dey,
L.P. to donate the laptops to the schools and just have our CTS program refurbish
and distribute them for Dey, L.P. I arranged a meeting with Charlotte Converse,
Computer Services Manager, Dey, L.P. Present at that meeting were NVPCUG
Directors Susy Ball, Marcia Waddell, Roy Wagner, and I. Computers to
Schools Coordinators Orion E. Hill, Ray McCann, and Bill Wheadon. After
discussing the issues it was decided that our Computers to Schools program
would take the laptops and refurbish and distribute them to the schools for Dey,
L.P. That way Dey, L.P. would remain the owner and be the donor to the schools.
With the approval of Dey, L.P.’s Legal Department this agreement has been made.
There are still issues regarding NVPCUG’s donation policies and procedures to
be worked out but with this decision our immediate crisis has been resolved.
Finally at this month’s program I will get to see and maybe try an ergonomic
chair. I have been at my computer so much lately that I know I need one. I hope
to see each of you at the September 19th meeting and remember: Bring a friend
they might find something interesting at our meetings.
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
Take care,
NVPCUG Calendar
Aug 15
Sept 5
Sept 10
Sept 12
Sept 13
Sept 19
9:30 a.m.-12:30 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.
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
Investors SIG meeting, Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Vice President Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
Other Directors: Susy Ball, Jim Gillespie, Bernhard Krevet, Ken Manfree,
Dick Peterson, Dianne Prior, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Jeff Solomon,
Dean Unruh
Appointed Officers
Computer Recycling Coordinator
Ken Manfree
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator
Orion E. Hill
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
Dean Unruh
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
Programs Director
Susy Ball
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
Ron Dack
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 3
Computer News
Computer News (ISS
0897-5744) is
published monthly by
the Napa Valley
Personal Computer
Users Group, Inc.
(NVPCUG), P.O. Box
2866, Napa, CA
Subscriptions: $30 for
one year (12 issues).
Editor: Susy Ball,
[email protected]
The material in
Computer News is
intended for
purposes and may not
be reproduced without
prior written permission,
except that permission
for reproducing articles,
with authors properly
credited, is granted to
other computer user
groups for their internal,
nonprofit use only. The
information in this
newsletter is believed
to be correct. However,
the NVPCUG can
assume neither
responsibility for errors
or omissions nor liability
for any damages
resulting from the use
or misuse of any
The NVPCUG is an IRC
501(c)(3) tax-exempt
nonprofit educational
organization (EIN 680069663) and is a
member of the
Association of Personal
Computer User Groups
(APCUG), an
organization. Donations
to the NVPCUG are
tax-deductible as
charitable contributions
to the extent allowed by
law. Copyright © 2007
Dey, L.P. Honored for Support
By Orion E. Hill, NVPCUG Computers-to-Schools Program Coordinator,,
[email protected]
In grateful appreciation of Dey, L.P.’s generous Foundation of the Napa Valley, to cover the costs of
donations of reusable computer equipment and funds software licenses for donated computers.
in support of the Napa Valley Personal Computer
Prior to the launch of our CTS program in September
Users Group’s Computers-to-Schools Program 2002, Dey provided older equipment, generally unsuitable
and educational activities since 2000, Dey has been for schools, which we sold at our first two used computer
honored by our group with the presentation of a plaque.
equipment sales. The fall 2000 and
The plaque was presented
spring 2002 sales raised funds for
to Charlotte Converse, Dey’s
our group’s computer education
Computer Services Manager, who
program, including funds used to
has facilitated her company’s
purchase a new computer display
equipment donations, by Orion E.
Hill, the coordinator of our group’s
Dey, LP, is a Napa-based developer
Computers-to-Schools program, at
and manufacturer of pharmaceutical
Dey’s quarterly employee meeting
products for the treatment of
on July 24, 2007.
respiratory diseases and respiratoryDey has been the largest single
related allergies. The company
source of computer equipment for our
currently has about nearly 1,000
Computers-to-Schools program, Charlotte Converse accepts plaque from
about 650 of whom are at
Orion Hill.#
through which we accept, refurbish,
its Napa facility, making Dey one of
and donate equipment to Napa County public schools. the largest private sector employers in Napa County. In
Dey has provided 1,084 computers — most only three or recognition and appreciation of Dey’s outstanding support,
four years old — as well as 193 printers and many other the NVPCUG conferred honorary corporate membership
items. Most of the machines have been refurbished by our on Dey in 2002.
CTS program volunteers, while others have been salvaged
Since the launch of our Computers-to-Schools program,
for parts used to repair other machines. In the fall of 2002 the NVPCUG has donated 666 refurbished computers and
the NVPCUG also received a $10,000 grant from the Dey 139 refurbished printers to public schools throughout
Community Fund, a component fund of the Community Napa County. Additional equipment unsuitable for schools
has been donated to not-for-profit organizations and given
to disadvantaged adults and students. Thanks to Dey’s
donation of 386 notebook computers for our CTS program
last March, many more refurbished computers will soon
be donated to schools.
Used Computer
Sale Coming
The Napa Valley PC Users Group
would like to have a Used
Equipment Sale in 2008 to raise
money for NVPCUG. We need
items that we could re-sell
at a Used Equipment sale. If
you have any old computer
equipment that you want to
donate such as laptops, monitors.
keyboards, mice, hard drives,
software, printers, etc..Please
contact Jeff Solomon at our
regular meeting or send an
e-mail to [email protected]
Presented to
Dey, L.P.
In grateful appreciation of
your generous donations of
reusable computer equipment and
funds in support of our
Computers-to-Schools Program
and educational activities
since 2000.
Napa Valley
Personal Computer Users Group
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 4
July 24, 2007
By Coordinator Dianne Prior, [email protected],
The weather was perfect for this year’s
official rules for this game so we made some up.
picnic held at Peterson’s Perfect Picnic
4. Other games being enjoyed by our members and
Place (a.k.a. Peterson’s Family
guests were dominos, chess and cribbage.
Christmas Tree Farm). Thank you, Dick
The soft drinks and supplies were provided by NVPCUG
and Sandy, for hosting us.All 34 people
except for the generous donations of beef & chicken by Ron
seemed to have a good time and there
Dack, plates/cups/napkins by Susy Ball and charcoal by Dick
was plenty of good food. It’s been said
that we should make Mike Ball our
I also want to thank Susy Ball for getting the prizes together
permanent cook. Thank you, Mike, for
contributing in so many other ways to the success of this
grilling the steak and chicken to perfection and also to Ron
Thank you Bob Simmerman and Kathy Slavens for
Dack for marinating the beef.
taking care of nametags and signin sheets. Much appreciation
We had a special treat this year with Mel Cohen playing his
goes to EVERYONE for pitching in to help set up and then clean
accordian. Thanks, Mel, for those delightful sounds.
up the picnic site.
Thank you to Jeff Solomon who
Some of the comments made are:
organized the games. They
œ “The picnic and the holiday party are the best parts of
were fun to play and fun to
being in the group,”
watch. We had three major
“Such a lovely location in the shade of the redwood
competitive games with
prizes awarded to the
œ “The organizers were very good at getting everyone
involved. It is the first time I have stayed for the whole
1. The Washer
Toss had eight
teams of two
œ “I liked the music in the background,”
persons competing. It was
œ “Enjoyed the picnic very much. It was great. I think
after the second round play-offs that first place was
there was enough of everything that should have made
taken by the team of Mike Ball and Dick Peterson.
us all happy.” „
To find more about this game go to or
2. The Horse Shoes Champ with the most leaners and
ringers was Dean Unruh. For official rules on how to
play Horse Shoes see:
3. The Floppy Toss game top scorer was Lou Schirm.
The floppy toss actually uses old CD’s, as we no longer
have a large supply of old floppies. There are no
Updating Antivirus Software
How often you update can depend on how you use your PC.
Antivirus software developers frequently update their
applications and signature files, so it’s worth your time to
check the antivirus software’s site every one to two weeks for
updates. If you hear about a dangerous new virus outbreak,
check for emergency or priority updates right away. Many
antivirus applications include an automatic updater or utility
that checks the software’s site for you. For example, Norton
AntiVirus provides a Live-Update feature that will prompt
you to download updates as they become available. As for
scanning your system, most users only perform a complete
system scan once when they initially install an antivirus
application. After that, the antivirus application resides in
system memory where it continues to scan downloads, emails,
macros, and other potential sources of infection on the fly.
Even so, if your antivirus software runs in memory, you
should think about performing a complete system scan at
least once per month, as well as when there’s a major update
to the software and/or if the system starts behaving strangely.
If you don’t run the antivirus software in memory (maybe you
have a limited amount of system RAM), you’ll need to
perform a complete system scan much more frequently, such
as once a week.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 5
ScanSoft PDF Converter
Professional 4
from Nuance Communications Inc.
By Ron Dack, president,, [email protected]
PDF Converter Professional 4 is a program I wanted to
try because it renders many different file types into PDF
format documents and can convert a PDF document into
an editable Microsoft Word document as well as several
other programs including Microsoft Excel, Corel Word
Perfect, and generic RTF files and back again. For a long
time I have used Adobe Acrobat but it will not convert
PDF files into an editable Microsoft Word or other
I found that as NVPCUG’s Webmaster, I needed to edit
PDF files more frequently. On several occasions I tried
using the Edit Text and Touchup Text tools in Acrobat but
found they were only for tiny alterations of the document.
By being able to convert a PDF to an editable document I
can make the changes and then simply render the document
back into a PDF.
The installation was quick and simple although there was
the usual archaic serial number, web activation and
registration. After rebooting and enabling my antivirus
and firewall I started the program. I noted an easy to
understand toolbar system with many similar tools I was
familiar with from using Acrobat.
My next move was to see how it rendered an existing
PDF file so I opened our July Computer News. It came
right up and appeared to be everything I had hoped for.
I did note as I scrolled through the pages that when
moving the pages seemed to vibrate but when I stopped
scrolling they cleared immediately. Then I reached
our page 15 of 16 and everything went askew. See
photo titled PDF Converter Professional 4. I then
opened the page using
Adobe Acrobat and
it rendered correctly. See
photo titled Adobe
Acrobat 6 Professional.
I then opened our June
Computer News and
scrolled to page 15 of 16
and found almost the
identical results. I called
Susy Ball the Editor of
Computer News and
asked her if she would
check to see if there was
Adobe Acrobat 6 Professional
some reason (like hidden code) that this was occurring.
After checking the original file Susy called and informed
me that the Minute Man Press advertisement on page 15
was a “postscript” file. After removing this file PDF
Converter Professional 4 rendered the page perfectly. So
it appears there may be a “postscript” file issue with PDF
Converter Professional 4.
I then opened my Outlook
program and was notified that
Wo r d h a d e n c o u n t e r e d a
problem and had to shut down. I
don’t know if this was a result of
the installation or not.
When I tried to open Word
outside of Outlook it opened
about 5 instances of the program
with recent documents. After
closing several I found a blank
one. I noticed that Adobe still Computer News - Page 15
had PDF buttons in the toolbars. The button issue was
easily solved by going to the Microsoft Word View
menu/Toolbars and selecting ScanSoft PDF instead of
PDFMaker6. I did note that there were between one and
seven instances of PDF Converter Professional 4’s
toolbar consisting of four buttons each displayed every
time I started Word. At least it now only opened one
instance of Word so I decided to let this go for awhile and
just use the program.
PDF Converter Professional 4 easily created a PDF
from a Word document so the next thing I wanted to try
was converting a PDF into a Word document. I first tried
a simple PDF and the conversion worked perfect so I
moved up to a much more complicated PDF and once
again a flawless Word document was the result.
Now I was getting really interested so I took a PDF form
document and put it to the test. The original document was
created in Microsoft Publisher 2000 and there was no
listing to save it as a .pub file so I chose to convert it to a
Word document. It rendered in Word partially skewed. I
do have Publisher 2000 installed on my system but that
choice is not one of the available file types.
My next venture was unlocking a secure PDF. I opened
a PDF that I had created in and secured using Acrobat. It
took me a few seconds to find the document’s security info
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 6
and with the password PDF Converter Professional 4
unlocked the document and I was able to make any
modifications I chose.
It will take me a little time to get comfortable with PDF
Converter Professional 4 but it offers a lot of functionality
that other PDF programs don’t. Some of the things I like
about it already are: The ability to convert files from PDF
to other formats. It has a built in OCR function. It will
create a PDF from Excel, PowerPoint, and Word. It will
convert those PDFs back again. PDF Converter
Professional 4 can combine different files and different
file types into a single PDF.
After using PDF Converter Professional 4 for a few
weeks I decided to call their tech support about the
“postscript” issue and the numerous instances of their
toolbar that show up on my Word toolbar. After the usual
phone menus I talked to a gentleman named “Albert” who
told me that they were aware of the “postscript” issue and
were working to solve it. They did offer a work around that
consisted of first saving the “postscript” file as a document
and then converting it to a PDF. Albert then walked me
through the process of updating my file and
after a few tries the multiple toolbar issue was solved.
Nuance’s Tech Support gives you one free phone
support session and after that it is $19.95 per session.
I don’t particularly care for that especially when they
don’t offer a toll free number. They do however have
quite a lot of answers online for free at
The minimum system requirements for
PDF Converter Professional 4 are:
Minimum Intel® Pentium® or higher processor
Microsoft Windows® 2000 (SP4), Windows XP
(SP1, SP2), Windows XP 64-bit Edition, Windows
2003, or Windows Vista™
Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 5.1 or above
Microsoft Office® 97, Microsoft Office® 2000
with SP3, Microsoft Office® XP with SP3 or
Microsoft Office® 2003 with SP1
128MB of memory (RAM),
256MB recommended
160 MB of free hard disk space for application files
10MB working space during installation
10MB for Microsoft® Installer (MSI) if not
present. (This is present as part of the operating
system in Windows 2000 and Windows XP)
SVGA monitor with 256 colors, but preferably 16bit color (called High Color in Windows® 2000
and Medium Color in XP) and 800 x 600 pixel
Windows-compatible pointing device
CD-ROM drive for installation
Internet connection required to activate
Of course it will work a lot faster if you have a better
system than the minimum. I am running an Intel P4 Dual
Threading with 1GB RAM, NVIDIA GeFORCE FX5200
with 128MB VRAM, and a Princeton 19" Digital flat
screen monitor. Windows XP SP2, IE7, Microsoft Office
2000 Premium.
The price is really good too when you consider the
price of comparable programs like Adobe Acrobat
Professional. PDF Converter Professional 4 is just
$99.00. If you want more info you can find it on their
pdfconverter/professional/. I am now
looking forward to trying Nuance OmniPage 16.
Maybe I can get it for my next review project.
Dial-up Modem
If you try to connect to the Internet with a dial-up
modem and are told there’s no dial tone, there are
several things that might cause this problem. First,
check the phone line itself. If your phones get a dial
tone but your modem doesn’t, check your modem’s
connection to the wall jack. Make sure it’s tight. If you
have an external modem, check your modem’s power
cable and power supply. If they all check out, you may
have too much line noise in your connection, or your
modem itself may need to be replaced.
Outlook Settings
My version of Outlook always launches to the Outbox.
How can I make it launch to see my daily tasks? To
change the option Outlook lauches to (for example,
daily tasks instead of your outbox), with Outlook
2000, click Tools and Options, click the Other tab, and
click the Advanced Options button in the General
area. In the Advanced Options dialog box, select
Tasks from the Startup In This Folder: drop-down
menu. Then click OK and Apply. You can also opt for
other startup locations for Outlook (such as Calendar
or Contacts), depending on your needs.
Hotmail Via Outlook
More recent versions of Outlook allow you to set up
accounts for your Web-based email. This gives you
the convenience of accessing your email anywhere
you have Internet access, while still using a standard
tool such as Outlook to organize and manage your
mail (provided you have your computer with you or
follow these instructions on a friend’s computer).
With Outlook 2002 running, click Tools and E-mail
Accounts. Select Add A New E-mail Account and
click Next. Choose HTTP and click Next. Enter your
Web-based account information (including logon
credentials) and click Next. Now click Finish to set up
the new account, which appears in the Folder List.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 7
Backing Up to External
Hard Drives
By Gene Barlow, User Group Relations, copyrighted May 2003,
revised July 2007,, [email protected]
Backing up your hard drive: This article is a sequel to
one that I wrote last year titled, “Backing Up Your Hard
Drive”. I would suggest that you read that article before
continuing with this one (you can read all Gene’s
articles by going to
TrueImage.html). This article will cover a new area
in backing up hard drives that has
opened up in the past year with the
introduction of many external hard
drive models. Together, these two
articles should give you a thorough
examination of the important area of
backing up your hard drive.
External hard drives are the ideal
backup media: While external hard
drives have been around for many
years, it has not been until the past few
months that these devices have
become popular and low enough in
price that everyone can afford them. The variety of models
available today is wide and the choices are many. Hopefully,
this article will help you to decide which external hard
drive will best fit your needs as a backup device.
There are several ways you can attach an external hard
drive to your computer. The two most common ways are
USB2 and Firewire. Most computers today are built with
USB2 ports. So, if your computer already has a USB2 port
that will probably be the best type of external hard drive to
buy. Just be careful that the port you have is not one of the
older USB1 ports, as these can be very slow. If your desktop
computer does not have a USB2 port on it, you can add one
for $20 or so. You can also add a USB2 port to your laptop
computer for about $40 using a PC Card type of device.
If you have a digital video camera and edit
your videos on your PC, then you may
already have a Firewire port on your
computer. This port can also be used
to attach an external hard drive to
your computer and the performance
will be about the same as the USB2
port. You can also add a Firewire
port to your desktop or laptop
computer for a few dollars more
than similar USB2 port additions.
Since the performance of these two
ports are about the same, the
decision comes down to whether
you currently use or plan to use a digital video camera with
your computer. If yes, use a Firewire port. If no, then a
USB2 port will probably be less expensive to purchase and
you will have a few more devices to choose from.
Once you have an attachment to your computer, then you
need to shop for an external hard drive. These also come in
either a USB2 or Firewire version.
Get one to match your attachment
port on your computer. You can find
80GB and 120GB external hard drives
for $50 to $100. Watch the ads and
you may find a real good deal on one
of these drives. You can purchase
external hard drives that are 300GB
or larger for a higher price. Again,
external Firewire drives will cost you
a few dollars more than a USB2 drive
of the same size. I would suggest that
you get an external hard drive that is
about the same size as your largest hard drive in your
computer. That would leave you with plenty of room to
backup your main drives to the external hard drive.
You can also find empty external hard drive cases that you
can purchase and then mount a standard internal hard drive
inside the case. This gives you a couple of advantages. First,
you can pick and choose which brand and model hard drive
you want to use. A second advantage of getting an external
hard drive case is that you can remove the hard drive from
the case if anything happens to your main hard drive. Then
you can mount it inside your computer and be able to use it
like any internal hard drive. It is possible to boot from
external hard drives, but this may only work on more recent
computer systems. These external hard drive cases also
come in both USB2 and Firewire versions and cost about
$40 or so. Since a 80GB internal hard drive will cost less
than $50, the total cost would be about the same or slightly
less than buying the combined external hard drives. This
way you have a few more options to choose from.
For more information on the differences between USB
and Firewire devices, I would suggest you read the February
24, 2003 issue of PC Magazine, which has an excellent
article comparing these two attachments.
The problem with external hard drives: While it
appears at first glance that an external hard drive is the
ideal backup media for your main hard drive, there is one
very big problem that you need to be aware of. External
hard drives were developed very recently and the
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 8
manufacturers of these drives have only provided Windows
device drivers for them. They felt that DOS device drivers
would not be needed. So, as long as you stay in Windows,
you can access your external hard drive. But, if you should
ever need to access your external hard drive while running
DOS, you would not be able to see the drive or retrieve
files from it. This is a serious problem, especially if your
main hard drive with Windows on it should
crash on you. This may leave you with an
external hard drive and the only way to get
to it is through DOS.
Using Acronis True Image with
external hard drives: Fortunately, True
Image does not need to boot into DOS to
run, but completes its backup in Windows.
If your main hard drive containing your
Windows operating system should fail
on you, True Image provides a way to
boot that will still recognize your
external hard drive and be able to restore
your image files from these devices. To
do this, you would boot from a rescue
CD or diskettes that you have created
using True Image. This makes
rebuilding your main hard drive on an
empty drive quick and easy to do.
True Image and external hard drives make an ideal
combination: If you follow the steps outlined in this
article, you will find that using Acronis True Image and an
external hard drive is the ideal combination to do backups.
Shop for a good price on external hard drives and order a
copy of True Image at the user group discount price of only
$33 on a CD ($29 as a download). To get your copy of
True Image, access our secure web order form at Click
on the yellow “Buy Now” button next
to the product you wish to purchase.
Complete the form including the special
price code of UGNL0503. Submit it and
your products will be shipped the
following morning via US Priority Mail
(Global Priority Mail to Canada). You
should have your copy of True Image in
2-3 days (slightly more to Canada). I
know you will enjoying using Acronis
True Image with your external hard drive
and you will be able to sleep well
knowing that your hard drive is
adequately backed up and protected.„
Copyright ©2007, by User Group
Relations, all Rights Reserved. For questions,
problems, or comments regarding this website, please
send email to: [email protected]
File Extensions
By Fran Damratowski, Refurbishing SIG Chair, Chesapeake PC Users Group, MD,,
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for .b1s: BookSmith
publication by APCUG member groups.
.b3d: BDE Multipath Movie Digital Viewer, 3D
Have you ever wondered what the three alphanumeric
extension at the end of a file name mean. (MS-DOS .b8:
Piclab raw graphic file
required filename to limited to eight characters for the .bad: Unknown Apple II file, Oracle BAD file.
base or root name and three characters for the extension.
bag: AOL 6 Organizer,
Windows 95 and above no longer have that limitation.)
The three or more letters or numbers are a way for the
instant messenger buddy list, http://
computer user, software, and operating system to
differentiate between and identify the program used to
create a file (document, spreadsheet, database, etc.). We
Emperor: Battle for Dune Archive, Infinity
are all familiar with .exe for an executable file, .txt for a
game engine
text document, and .pdf for a PDF file. There are many
other file extensions. The same file extension may be used
for more than one program. There is no standard or .ban: Sierra Print Artist banner, Creatacard banner
organization for creating file extensions.
Here is a sampling of the B list of some of the extensions .band: GarageBand song
and the file types they represent.
.bar: Age of Mythology
.b!k: Flight Simulator scenery file
.bas: basic
.b&w: Atari Black and White Graphics, Atari Black
.bat: batch
and White Graphics
File Extensions cont. on page 12
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 9
File Extensions cont. from page 11
Deluxe Paint image file
.bcc: C++ File/Makefile, Calendar Creator 8
Turbo Pascal DOS file
dBASE application generator batch process
.bck: backup
.bckp: Ad-Aware quarantine file
Compaq Easy Access keyboard driver, Works
communications file
Bitstream Fontware
.bdc: West Point Bridge Designer
.bex: British National Bibliography file
Bitstream fontware
Brother Embroidery software font
detaillist.php?extdetail=BG Lotus
agenda file
Chat background graphic
.bib: bibliography
pcAnywhere host file
GroupWise initialization file, http://
binary information file
.bin: binary file; macbinary
.biz: Creatacard Business CardpProject, http://
PrintMaster Gold Document
.bks: Windows 2000 scheduled backup script, Works
spreadsheet backup
.blb: DreamWorks resource archive
Corel Flow Image File
.bmk: Help Bookmark
.bmp: bitmap (bit-mapped graphics)
bitmap graphic
SimCity game file
.boo: book
C Makefile
.brx: browse index ound on multimedia CD-ROMs.
.bsn: MIDI File
.btm: 4NT batch file
.bw: black and white image file
If your file extensions are hidden see the March issue of
The Printer (
for instructions related to making them visible.
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).
Set Up Outlook To Download IMAP & POP Mail
Click Tools and Accounts. Once the dialog box has been
displayed, go to the Mail tab and click Add Mail. Follow
the prompts, adding the required information. When the
Wizard asks you for your email server name, you will need
to know whether your email is POP3 or IMAP; select the
appropriate option from the drop-down menu. The
Incoming server is usually the name of your ISP proceeded
by POP3 or IMAP (for example,
or and the outgoing (SMTP)
server is normally the ISP name preceded by SMTP
( Your ISP will provide you
with your incoming and SMTP server information. Your
account name is the part of your email address before the
@ symbol. After you click finish, you can compose, send,
and receive email from Microsoft Outlook.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 10
Configuring Outlook Express
By Dick Maybach, Columnist, Brookdale Computer User Group (BCUG) Brookdale, NJ,, [email protected]
“move it to the specified folder” and “stop processing
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for more rules”. (Click on specified and select an existing
publication by APCUG member groups.
folder or create a new one.) – you probably won’t need
You can greatly improve your e-mail experience by any exceptions. Screen 5 – give the rule the same name as
properly configuring Outlook Express, which is the default the folder. Repeat this until you have specified folders for
Windows e-mail client. Outlook, which is included with all the people from whom you regularly receive mail.
MS Office, is a completely different program, but it has a
By default, Outlook indicates junk mail by showing it in
similar user interface for e-mail. The two programs are gray and adult content in purple. (I love that we use the
similar enough that you should have no trouble adapting new-speak term “adult” to describe content that most of us
these procedures to your version. You should modify them lose interest in by the time we leave adolescence.) To get
as you get more experience with your particular mix of e- rid of it, set up the following rule. Screen 1 – “Check
mail messages.
messages when they arrive”. Screen
2 – “suspected to be junk e-mail or
By default, Outlook Express has X
Junk Senders”. (You will see a
folders. You should add to these to
message asking if this is to be applied
organize your e-mail messages to
to every message you receive; select
make them easier to find in the same
“Yes”.) Screen 3 – “move it to the
way that your organize your file
specified folder”, probably “Deleted
system by using folders there. Set up
Items”. Screen 4 – no exceptions.
a separate folder for each major
Screen 5 – name it “Junk Senders”.
category of e-mail that you send and
Repeat this procedure, but for screen
receive. With Outlook running, click
select “Containing adult content
on “File”, select “New”, and then
click on “Folder …”. Put the desired name in the “Name:” or from adult content …”.
box and select “Personal Folders” in the “Select where to
You will probably find that these filters are not very
place the folder:” box. Move the messages in your Inbox effective. The following step is quite effective in eliminating
to the appropriate folders. While you’re at it, delete any spam, but it deletes all messages sent to you on a “copy to”
you don’t need. You will probably find some messages (cc) or “blind copy to” (bcc) list. I use bcc routing on the
that don’t belong in any folder; just leave these in the Roundtable and Hardware SIG meeting notices. Unless
Inbox. Consider having Outlook Express empty the Deleted you have set up a rule to route messages from me to a folder
Messages folder every time you exit the program.
and then to stop processing other rules, Outlook will delete
You will now set up a series of rules that tell Outlook these meeting notices. Repeat again but select “Where my
where to place incoming messages, using the following name is not in the To box” in screen 2. Monitor the results
procedure. Click on the Organize icon and then the Rules of this rule in case you need to add exceptions. Note also
Wizard menu item. Click on the New … button to create that if you don’t have your incoming mailed sent to folders
a new rule or the Modify… one to change a rule. Assuming as above, your will need exemptions for every
you are creating a new rule, the first screen asks you what correspondent that uses cc or bcc routing.
kind of rule you want, which is usually “Check messages
If you follow my suggestions, you are sending all
as they arrive.” At the bottom of each screen is a window suspect e-mail to the Deleted Items folder. On my PC,
showing the rule as you’ve defined it so far. You can click everything in this folder is erased each time I exit Outlook,
on any underlined terms in the rule to change them. (When which means that you should look before you exit, at least
you are defining a new rule, you must define these before for a month or so. By the way, I find that many such
you can go the next screen.) The second screen lets you messages attempt to access the Internet when you open
specify for which conditions you want to test. In the third them. I think that they are just downloading graphics, but
screen you set what to do with the message, and the fourth I don’t want to take a chance that they are doing something
one lets you add any exceptions. Finally, name the rule. sneaky. After I download my e-mail I disconnect so I can
First, establish the rules to move incoming messages to abort such actions. (If you have high-speed access you
the desired folder. Make the following choices for the probably can’t easily do this.)
rules screens. Screen 1 – “Check messages as they arrive”.
Your last step is to order your rules list. The rules moving
Screen 2 – “from people or distribution list”. (Select the the desired e-mail to the correct folders should appear at
names from your address book.) Screen 3 – select both
Outlook Express cont. on page 13
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 11
(Approx. 1,560)
What is PCI Express?
By Brian K. Lewis, PhD, Regular Columnist, The Sarasota PC Monitor, Sarasota PCUG,
Florida,, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the number of high-speed peripherals being added to
t h e a u t h o r ’s p e r m i s s i o n f o r computers quickly saturated the PCI bus and it remained
publication by APCUG member a data transport bottleneck. Additional problems arise as
communication can only be made in one direction at a
Let’s start this off wi time. Today, many communications networks utilize
an explanation of PCI (Peripheral bidirectional traffic.
In 2004 the PCI Express (PCIe) bus started showing up
Component Interconnect). These are
the slots in the motherboard of your on computer motherboards. This is quite different from
computer used for connecting the original PCI bus and in the strictest definition is not a
peripheral devices directly to true bus. It is described as a high performance, scalable,
computer bus. Now you’re asking what is point to point serial bus. Now, that statement requires
the computer bus? Essentially, the bus is the electrical some further explanation as I’m sure it is not immediately
means for a peripheral device to connect to the computers clear to all of you. It certainly wasn’t to me the first time
chipset. The chipset is the interconnection between the I read it.
peripherals, the main processor and system memory. (Got
First, consider the “serial” relationship. In a serial device
all that?)
the data is transmitted in a single stream rather than in
The original PCI bus released in 1992 had a maximum several parallel streams. This is like reducing a multi-lane
communication rate of 33 MHz. This allows data highway to one lane in each direction. That should slow
transmission at a maximum rate of 133 megabytes per things down instead of speeding it up! But in PCIe the clue
second (MB/sec.). The bus is used by such things as the is that you now have a point to point relationship. That
sound system, video card, network adapters, parallel and means the device is connected directly to the chipset and
does not have to share bandwidth with other devices. It is
serial ports.
In the PCI system all data are transmitted in parallel. In like having a high speed commuter corridor that bypasses
parallel transmission many “wires” or connections are all the slow traffic on the rest of the multi-lane highway.
required for each PCI slot or integrated device. For example, You may have multiple PCIe connections to the chipset.
if you have a 32 bit data transmission path from the PCI To prevent problems the connections occur through a
slot to the chipset, this requires 32 connecting wires just system similar to a router. This router passes the data
for data. Additional wires are required for control signals. packets from each device in an ordered manner with a
With six PCI slots you can have more than 1,000 wires minimum of delay and contributes to the speed and accuracy
required for the connections. Each wire should be exactly of the transmission. Because this is a point to point
the same length so that all the data arrive simultaneously. connection with each device having its own pathway, this
However, in a computer it is impossible for each wire to be is not a bus under the strict definition of a computer bus.
exactly the same length. So as the speed of devices It is also important to note that PCIe transmission occurs
increased, data started arriving out of order. Therefore, the in data packets.
The connections are in dual pairs so there is a possibility
receiver had to delay until all the data were available
before it could be processed. Another aspect of PCI is that of a simultaneous bidirectional transmission. One pair is
all the devices share the bus at the same time so the actual used for transmission and the other for receiving. As
data rate per device will be significantly less than the mentioned above, data is transmitted in packets, rather
maximum rate. It’s like having a speed limit of 65 miles than in a continuous stream. Each packet contains an
per hour on a multi-lane highway. When all the traffic identifier so the data can be reassembled at the receiving
lanes are full, everything slows down. Think Chicago or end. This allows the receiver to work with multiple inputs.
The data is
Atlanta in rush hour!
Shortly after PCI was introduced, the arrival of 3-D e n c o d e d i n
video cards made PCI obsolete for graphics purposes. what is called
That resulted in the development of the AGP slot in the 8b/10b. This
motherboard for AGP video cards. AGP uses a separate m e a n s t h a t
bus and this freed up bandwidth on the PCI bus for other eight data bits
peripherals. The AGP-8X system can transmit data at the are packaged
rate of 2.134 gigabytes per second (GB/sec.). In spite of w i t h
the removal of the data intensive video card transmissions,
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 12
bits in a ten-bit package. (See how much simpler it is to call
this 8b/10b?) Also consider that this is the method used for
data and voice transmission on the Internet. Hard drives
have moved to an SATA interface that is a serial connection
instead of the parallel IDE connection. Gigabit ethernet
cards are also designed with a serial connection. More
devices are moving to serial connectivity to gain additional
speed and reliability.
The scalable part of the PCIe bus is in its ability to work
with more than one pair of connections. These are called
x1 (or times 1), x4, x8 or x16. The x1 version (two data
pairs) can transmit the encoded data at a bidirectional rate
of 500 MB/s or 250 MB/s in each direction. The x16
version (32 data pairs) can transmit at a rate of 8 GB/s. This
is the combined bidirectional rate. The rate in one direction
is half this figure. There is a second version of PCIe in the
works, PCIe 2.0. This is expected to double the current
transmission speeds and provide other benefits.
PCIe slots in the motherboard come in various sizes
depending on the number of lanes they use for connection.
These vary from the smallest connector for the x1 version
to the largest for x16. It is the 16x version that is currently
found on new motherboards which supports the latest
graphics (video) cards. Unlike the AGP slots, the x16 slot
can be used for peripherals other than the video card.
Another interesting aspect of PCIe is one means by
which it achieves its high data rates. It is called “lowvoltage differential signaling”. Another phrase that I had
better explain a little more. As I mentioned earlier,
connections occur in a pair of “lanes” in each direction.
One of the lanes carries a “positive” image of the data and
the other carries a “negative” or “inverted” image. The
transmission of the data follows strict rules such that any
noise that occurs will affect both lines. When the data is
reassembled at the destination, the receiver collects both
signals, inverts the negative back to positive and sums
both signals. This effectively removes the noise from the
PCIe is also backward compatible with PCI devices and
software that uses PCI devices. The configuration space
and programmability of PCI Express devices are unchanged
from traditional PCI. In fact, all operating systems can
boot without modification on a PCI Express architecture.
Programs originally written for PCI devices can run
unchanged on PCI Express devices because the PCIe layer
is transparent to the application software. This provides
benefits to users who don’t have to upgrade software
applications to work with newer hardware.
PCIe has another characteristic that greatly improves on
PCI. It has an active power management (APM) system.
When a PCIe link is not in use it does require that the link
remain active so that the transmitter and receiver remain
synchronized. It is the role of the APM to reduce the power
level whenever the link is inactive. The catch is that when
data needs to be transmitted there is a recovery time to
allow full activation of the transmitter/receiver. The longer
the recovery time, the lower the power usage. Overall, the
systems are designed for the lowest power usage with the
shortest recovery time.
There is a gradual transition from the motherboard with
combined PCIe/PCI slots to those that will have only PCIe
slots as more PCIe plug-in cards become available. This
will also affect the size of the motherboard and the
ultimate size of the computer. The specification for the
PCIe mini-card allows for a card half the size of a standard
PCI mini-card. Most of these mini-cards may be destined
for laptop computers. However, some desktop designs
that take advantage of all PCIe input are far smaller than
the standard desktop computer. Some of the new small box
computers utilize these smaller motherboards.
So when you get your next computer you should now
have a better understanding of the role of the PCIe slots it
Dr. Lewis is a former university & medical school
professor. He has been working with personal computers
for more than thirty years.
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).
Outlook Express cont. from page 11
the top of the list. Since they stop checking other rules
after they move a message, they will prevent the spam
filter rules from throwing out messages from people
with whom you regularly correspond. To do this, click
on “Rules Wizard …” and use the “Move Up” and
“Move Down” buttons to sort the rules. You will have
to reorder the rules each time you add a new one.
You will probably find that some spam still gets
through. You can add to your junk senders list by right
clicking on the message, selecting “Junk e-mail, and
clicking on “Add to Junk Senders list”. However,
many spammers change their e-mail address with each
message, making this ineffective. In such cases, see if
you can identify the junk in some other way, perhaps
by looking for specific words or in one of the fields
(address, header, etc.). Keep in mind however, that
your goal is not to completely eliminate spam, but to
reduce it to a manageable volume. Don’t let yourself
become obsessed.
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, September 2007, Page 13
Join Newsgroups With Outlook
By Mark Scapicchio, Smart Computing, Windows Tips & Tricks, April 2006,Vol.17, Issue 4,
Page(s) 82-83 in print issue,
In PC parlance, the word “newsgroup” is a bit of a misnomer. A newsgroup is an online discussion group focused on
a particular topic. Because there are tens of thousands of newsgroups, together they cover just about every topic under
the sun. And because most are frequented by gregarious experts who delight in answering the most vexing questions
you can devise, the right newsgroup can be an indispensable resource for solving your toughest problems.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
With a couple of
carefully chosen
keywords, you can
quickly filter tens of
thousands of
downloaded newsgroups
to the few that match
your interest.
Membership Application/Renewal *
‡ New
‡ Renewal
‡ Information Update
Please Print
Full Name: _________________ Nickname: _______________________
Street/PO Box: ________________________________________________
City: __________________ State: ______ ZIP Code: ________ - ______
Phone (check preferred):‡ Home: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________
‡ Work: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________
Of course, newsgroups aren’t some
sort of cyber-utopia. The language is
uncensored and can get rough; even
the names of some newsgroups aren’t
for the faint of heart. And not all
newsgroup participants are helpful and
courteous. Some, in fact, contribute
nothing but vile verbal attacks on
others who unwittingly ask a silly
question or breach newsgroup
etiquette (more on that later).
If you decide newsgroup plusses
outweigh their minuses, you can use
software you already own—Outlook
Express—to find, explore, and
participate in the newsgroups that
interest you most.
Connect To A Newsgroup
To start using newsgroups, you first
need to find a newsgroup server. It’s
highly likely that your ISP (Internet
service provider), the company from
which you get your Internet access,
has its own newsgroup server you
can connect to at no additional
charge. To find out if your ISP has a
newsgroup server, visit your ISP’s
Web site or call its customer
service line. In the unlikely
E-mail (check preferred):‡ Home: __________________________________
‡ Work: __________________________________
Ocupation/Profession ____________________________ Retired? ______
Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists?
‡Yes ‡ No
News and announcements:
General discussion of computer-related topics:‡Yes
If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address
published in the NVPCUG Directory, which is for the exclusive use of
NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es):
‡ Do not list phone number
‡ Do not list e-mail address
Family members whom you want to sponsor as Associate Members:
(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their sponsors,
except for receiving newsletters)
Full Name
E-mail Address
Annual Dues:
‡ $30
Regular Member - an individual who is not a full-time student
‡ $20
Student Member - a full-time student who is not eligible for Associate
‡ $10
Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student
member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’
Make check payable to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Mail application/renewal to:
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
Napa, CA 94558-0286.
The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues
payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution.
* To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail:
[email protected]
Revised 4-23-07
NVPCUG Computer News, September 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 •
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • [email protected]
event that your ISP doesn’t have a newsgroup server,
you can subscribe to a newsgroup server for prices as
low as $6 per month: Just type newsgroup servers into
Google ( or Yahoo!
( for a long list of providers.
Get the address for your newsgroup server (typically
something such as Then start
Outlook Express. Choose Tools and Accounts, select the
News tab, and click the Add button. Or, if Outlook Express
displays its Welcome page at startup, just click Set Up A
Newsgroup Account.
When the Internet Connection Wizard appears, enter the
name you want to appear in your newsgroup postings—
this can be your real name or a nickname—and click Next.
Type the address you’d like people to use when they
contact you via email (which they will do when they want
to send a message to you alone, so the rest of the group
can’t see it) and click Next. Enter the name of your
newsgroup server; if your newsgroup server requires you
to log on using a username and password—and most
will—select the box below and click Next. In the Account
Name and Password fields, insert the appropriate
information. In the unlikely event that your provider
requires secure password authentication, select the
corresponding box below. Click Next and then Finish.
A box should appear and ask if you’d like to download
newsgroup servers from the account you just created;
click Yes. As the dialog box warns, downloading all the
available newsgroups—there are tens of thousands of
them—takes a little time, so be patient.
Find, Subscribe & Start Reading
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]
Offering Financial Services throughout
the Napa Valley, with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 •
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit
our Web site:
When Outlook Express finishes downloading all the
newsgroups, the Newsgroups Subscriptions dialog box
appears, listing every single one of those newsgroups on
the All tab. Find the groups that focus on topics that
interest you. In the Display Newsgroups Which Contain
box, enter (in lower case) one or two keywords related to
your topic of interest. (The search is case-sensitive, and
because all newsgroup names are in lower case, keywords
in upper case will yield no results.) For example, to find
newsgroups for Microsoft Publisher, we typed microsoft
publisher. After you enter the keywords, the All list
displays a short list of groups meeting your criteria.
Scan the list for newsgroups to which you’d like to
subscribe. (You can always unsubscribe from any
newsgroup you don’t like.) You can rule out some lists by
name. For example, because we don’t speak Japanese,
German, Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch, we were able
to rule out the groups containing the initials jp, de, es, fr,
it, and nl. And because we’re not programmers, we were
able to rule out microsoft.public.publisher.programming
and so on. To subscribe to a newsgroup, select it and click
Subscribe; an icon will appear next to that newsgroup.
Join a Newsgroup cont. on page 16
NVPCUG Computer News, September 2007, Page 15
Join a Newsgroup cont. from page 15
Repeat for each newsgroup to which you want to subscribe
and then click OK. Your newsgroup server and newsgroups
appear in Outlook Express’ Folders list.
To start browsing a newsgroup, click its name in the
folder list. In a second or two, the right pane will fill with
the most recent 300 headers, or original posts, in the
newsgroup list. (If you want to load more or fewer
headers, choose Tools and
Options, click the Read tab,
and under News, set Get To
A Higher Or Lower Number,
and click OK.) Headers with
a plus sign (+) next to them
indicate a thread of responses
beneath; click it to expand
and view the thread. To read
any post, double-click it just
as you would an email, and
the post appears in its own
window. (We recommend against using the Preview pane
when browsing newsgroup posts because it requires you
to click a link before viewing the post, which defeats the
purpose and convenience of a preview. If your Preview
pane is open, choose View and then Layout, deselect
Show Preview Pane, and click OK.)
Once you open the first post in a thread, you can save
yourself a lot of clicking and a litter of open windows by
using the Next and Previous buttons to navigate to the next
and previous messages, respectively.
choose Message In This Folder, enter appropriate keywords,
check Search All Text In All Downloaded Messages, and
click Find Next. Outlook Express will highlight the first
post it finds containing your keywords; press F3 to go to
each successive post containing the keywords.
To be even more thorough—and to avoid getting anyone’s
dander up with your first post—you can take the extra step
of searching the entire newsgroup, beyond what you’ve
downloaded. A great tool for doing this is Google Groups,
a free service that, though
still in the beta test phase, has
pretty much become a staple
for newsgroupies. To use it,
surf to
advanced _search. In the With
All Of The Words field, enter
your keywords, set the
adjacent drop-down to 50 or
100 messages, and in the
Group box, enter the name of
your newsgroup and click Google Search. Google will
return all the posts that contain your keywords, and you
can click to see if your question has already been answered.
When you are ready to post, you have three choices. To
introduce a new discussion header, click the New Post
button, enter a subject, enter your message, and click
Send. To reply to a post with another post, first open the
post, click Reply Group, enter your reply, and click Send.
To send a private reply to the author of the post, click
Reply. A warning box will appear because you’re trying to
access Outlook Express’ email functionality, something a
virus might try to do; check Allow Access For, choose a
time, and click Yes. Type your response and click Send.
So long as you’re considerate of fellow newsgroupies’
time and feelings—and have a thick enough skin to ignore
the few who aren’t—you’ll find your newsgroups to be
some of the best sources of information online.
Once you’ve subscribed to your
newsgroups, choose any one from
Outlook Express’ folder list (left
pane); click the plus sign (+) next
to any header posting to reveal all
the replies in the thread.
Ready To Post . . . Almost
Once you start perusing posts in a thread, you’ll probably
have the urge to respond with your own wisdom or your
own questions. Resist the urge. One of the cardinal rules
of newsgroup etiquette is that one should not ask a
question that someone else has already asked, especially
if someone has answered that question. When you first
subscribe to a newsgroup, it’s best to read all the posts
thoroughly before making a post or reply of your own. To
be extra sure that your question hasn’t been answered, you
may want to run a quick search over the postings you’ve
downloaded: Click the arrow next to the Find button,
Editors note: In Vista, Microsoft
built-in email client is called
Windows Mail and Outlook Express
no longer exists.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
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