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. 11
November 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
people to find friends who share
common interests and experiences.
From January 2003 to October 2007
the NVPCUG provided 752 computers
and 139 printers to local schools.
Additional equipment has been given
to charitable nonprofit organizations
and to disadvantaged individuals.
At Nov. Meeting,
Use of Excel Spreadsheets
The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
will meet Wednesday, November 21, 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 emailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown
at [email protected]
During the Computer Tutor session which will follow, Jeff Solomon,
our Computer Tutor, will be discussing his recent experience in
switching from a traditional telephone service to Comcast Digital
Voice Service and demonstrating the online interface used with the
new phone service. This was supposed to be the topic for last month,
but it was postponed. Any additional questions or comments should be
sent to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon at [email protected]
Ken Manfree will demonstrate some of the
features of the Microsoft Office Excel Program.
First he will address the questions sent prior to
the November 21 meeting. Questions should be
sent toSusy Ball at [email protected]
The program will then set basic guidelines required
to perform calculations. The discussion will then focus on the proper
formatting of add, subtract, multiple and divide strategies of Excel.
Excel provides an excellent method to explore “What If” analysis.
“What If” can be used to plot a course of action. An analysis will be
used to plot changing interest rates.
Excel has some excellent features to track the stock market. A sample
portfolio will be demonstrated as a means of keeping track of stocks
and their value.
If time permits using Excel to store and size photos will be discussed.
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, November 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]
I am glad that Orion, Bill, Ray, and the others involved decided to continue
the computers to schools program as its own entity. Orion informed me that
they have established a group named Napa Valley Computers To Schools
(NVCTS). I want to thank all who participated in the NVPCUG Computers
to Schools program during the last 5 years. I wish the new Napa Valley
Computers To Schools group all the luck in the world.
At the General Meeting on October 17 several people were nominated for the
2008 NVPCUG Board of Directors. The nominations were closed at the
board meeting on November 7th and the 2008 NVPCUG Board of Directors
were elected and approved. At the December 5, 2007 board meeting both the
2007 NVPCUG Board of Directors and the 2008 NVPCUG Board of
Directors should attend. A NVPCUG member of the year will be chosen and
the current board will turn over the gavel, keys, and helm to the new board.
During the 2008 Board of Directors meeting the officers who will lead the
group in 2008 will be elected.
Even if you are not serving on the board there are many jobs you can do or
help do. As the webmaster I am looking for someone who would be willing
to assist me in maintaining our “New Hot Links” page on the website. That
job would entail checking e-mail for link requests, determining if the
requestor site is OK, checking for duplication, placing the link into one of the
categories on the “New Hot Links” page and adjusting the background color
to stagger the links. If you are interested in learning some basic HTML and
assisting me in maintaining our links page let me know. You can e-mail me at
[email protected] or [email protected]
Our November 21, 2007 meeting should be really interesting. Considering all
the questions Ken Manfree was getting during the Computer Tutor session
at the September meeting I figure that many of you would like to learn how
to use Microsoft Excel in various ways. Ken will be there to show you how
and answer your questions. I know when I am having a problem with Excel
Ken is the first person I call and he has always been the last I needed to call. I
hope to see all of you at the meeting.
Don’t forget the Holiday Party Potluck dinner is coming on December 19,
2007. So let Dianne Prior know if you are going to attend and what you are
bringing to share. See the article on page 4 for details. You can contact
Dianne at [email protected]
Take care,
NVPCUG General Meetings
Held the third Wednesday of each month, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
NVPCUG Calendar
Nov 21
Nov 14
Nov 15
Dec 5
Dec 10
Dec 12
Dec 13
Dec 19
7:00-9:00 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
5:30-7:30 p.m.
7:00-8:30 p.m.
6:30-8:30 p.m.
7:00-9:00 p.m.
NVPCUG General Meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa
Digital Photography SIG meeting, Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., 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, canceled
Macintosh SIG meeting, Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson St., Napa
NVPCUG Holiday Pary, Peterson’s Family Christmas Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 2
Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group
Officers for 2007
Board of Directors
Vice President
Other Directors:
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell 252-2060
[email protected]
Roy Wagner
[email protected]
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
[email protected]
Computer Tutor Coordinator
Jeff Solomon
[email protected]
Facility Arrangements Coordinator
Dianne Prior
[email protected]
Greeter Coordinator
Bob Simmerman 259-6113
[email protected]
Dean Unruh
[email protected]
Membership Director
Dianne Prior
[email protected]
Mentor Program Coordinator
Dick Peterson
[email protected]
Newsletter Circulator
Jim Hearn
[email protected]
Newsletter Editor
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Product Review CoCoordinator
Marcia Waddell
[email protected]
Programs Director
Susy Ball
[email protected]
Publicity Director
Ron Dack
[email protected]
Random Access Moderator
Jerry Brown
[email protected]
Special Projects Director
Jeff Solomon
[email protected]
[email protected]
Ron Dack
• All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 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
of the Year
Members of the
Napa Valley P. C.
Users Group
What Annual Members
December Potluck Party
When Wednesday, December
19th at 6:30 PM
Where Peterson’s Family
Christmas Tree Farm
1120 Darms Lane, Napa
Bring a potluck dish
(plus BYOB)
R . S . V. P. t o D i a n n e P r i o r a t
[email protected] or 252-1506
If sending email put “NVPCUG Picnic” in the subject area
Let Dianne know your name, how many people are
attending with you, what you are bringing for the potluck,
and if you can bring extra folding chairs or help with setup
or cleanup.
• The Computer Users Group will provide
nonalcoholic beverages, paper plates, cups,
plastic ware, & napkins.
• At this event we will introduce the new officers
and present the member of the year award.
This is a time to visit with old friends and make new
ones. We hope to see you all there. The party is
always a lot of fun and the food is great and plentiful.
Not only is the camera
missing from this tripod
But it is also missing from the
December Calendar. All SIGs will be
held as normal in December except
for the Digital Photo SIG. I am giving
you some extra time for those photo
projects you might be making this
I know I have one group of 17
calendars to make and another group
of 4. So it is time to get the printer
At its next meeting
NVPCUG Board of
Directors will be ch
one of our members
as the
recipient of the MEM
d. We
invite you to submit
for this honor. The w
will be announced at
annual Holidays Pa
rty on
December 19.
Please email your
nomination along w
ith a
brief explanation as
to why
you think this person
receive this honor. Se
nd your
e-mail to: Dianne Pr
[email protected]
. We will
also provide cards at
meeting on Novembe
r 21,
for you to write your
Garbage In,
Garbage Out
It’s great to take pictures
at low resolution because
you can cram more
photos in your camera’s
memory. But with all
things PC, the GIGO
(garbage in, garbage out)
rule applies. Low-resolution
photos are ideal for posting to
Web sites or emailing, but not for
printing, unless you’re willing to keep the size down
to roughly passport-photo size or smaller. Let’s say
your printer works best at 200 pixels per inch. For a
good 4- x 6-inch photo you need 800 x 1,200 pixels;
double that for an 8- x 10- inch. Low resolution for
today’s cameras usually means 640 x 480 pixels, not
nearly enough for anything above a 3- x 5- inch
picture. Shoot at higher resolutions for larger photos.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 4
Computers-to-Schools Earns its Wings
By Marcia Waddell, member of Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group, member of
NVCTS,, [email protected]
In October 2002 the Napa Valley Personal
Computer Users Group, or the
NVPCUG, created a program called
Computers-to-Schools. The
intent was to refurbish older
and unwanted computers and
distribute them to the Napa
Valley schools. Equipment
that was unsuitable for
schools was to be given to small
non-profit organizations, and
disadvantaged individuals. Older and obsolete
equipment could be sold for operating expenses.
In the five years of the program,
hardworking people and volunteers
have repaired and donated
hundreds of computers for the
Napa Valley.
T h e N a p a Va l l e y
Personal Computer
Users Group on October
16, 2007 elected to return
to its original mission of
computer users helping computer users.
It was felt by the NVPCUG Board of
Directors that the Computers-to-Schools
Program overwhelmed the original mission. As
Photo Resolutions
A good rule of thumb is to shoot for around 300 pixels
of resolution per inch of printed photo. For example,
to get clear 4- x 6-inch prints, select the resolution
closest to 1,800 x 1,200 (which turns out to be 1,600
x 1,200 on most cameras). Similarly, use the settings
closest to 2,100 x 1,500 for 5 x 7 photos and 3,000 x
2,400 for 8 x 10 photos.
Use Your Own Photo As Background
Right-click any blank area of the Desktop and choose
Properties. Click the Desktop tab, click the Browse
button, find the picture you want to use, and choose
Open. From the Position drop-down menu, choose
Stretch, Center, or Tile; then click OK.
Photo quality is a matter of opinion
Just because a printer claims it can produce photoquality output doesn’t mean every page it prints looks
like a photograph. And you won’t get photo-quality
with any group there are
frustrations and arguments on
both sides. There had been
unsettling concerns
with governmental
regulations, tax status and
toxic waste, the left some
board members uneasy.
However, it was resolved.
The result is a new
Napa Valley Computers-to-Schools (NVCTS)
group that will take its place among the
computer user community. It is made of strong
stuff and is enthusiastic about its goals. They
are not leaving; just reorganizing. The local
schools and non-profits will continue to benefit
from their work.
There is ample room for both organizations.
NVCTS will look foreword to the cooperation of
the Napa Valley Personal Users Group as a
partner and peer.
It wants to stretch its wings and fly but not be
in competition with its parent NVPCUG. Both
groups can share their enthusiasm, resources, and
talent making a win-win situation for all the Napa Valley.
Personally, I think that is a good thing. Don’t you?„
prints using regular paper. You need special
photographic paper, available at office supply stores
or online for as much as $1 a sheet. You also need to
print using your printer’s highest resolution. Generally,
a midrange inkjet printing on photographic paper at a
resolution of 1,440dpi or higher will produce prints
that look like photographs.
Focus Your Test Shots
Your camera’s autofocus system might not work very
well when it doesn’t have well-defined subjects to
target, so make sure you know how to use the manual
focus capabilities. To do this with most point-andshoot models, you have to turn off the autofocus and
then use one or two control buttons to adjust the focus
on your own. After you take a couple of test shots, use
the playback mode and zoom in on your images to
make sure they’re sharp.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 5
Get your Computer News On-line Newsletter
What’s so great about getting your
newsletter on-line?
There are several reasons. Let us look at some of
the advantages:
• Foremost, we are a computer group and therefore
we should make use of our computers as much as
• With rising costs, we need to cut our expenses as
much as possible. By receiving the newsletter on
line you are minimizing the cost to send you a
monthly publication. We have checked the printing
costs and the postage and got them as low as
possible without reducing quality and it appears
that each individual issue that we mail costs the
NVPCUG approximately $130. That’s over $1500
per individual for a year.
• You can print the newsletter in color or simply
enjoy it on your monitor.
• You have it is your hands much sooner than the
mail. Example being: I sent this to the printer on
November 12. The webmaster usually has it on-line
within a day or so and then a notice is emailed to
[email protected] so
you have a direct link to all newsletters on our site.
(if you wish to view past issues, go to our home
page and then
move your mouse down the list under the QUICK
NAVIGATION tab to Computer News Archives in
PDF format and left click or you can go to
Newsletter.htm. If you receive the newsletter
via snail mail it may take up to a week to receive it
in your mailbox and you may not even receive it
until after the general meeting.
• You may have noticed all the links in the last
paragraph. If you get an on-line newsletter, you
simply highlight the link and then paste it in your
browser. You don’t even have to worry about
missing a letter or symbol or misspelling.
On most of the articles the website and the email
address can be found in the byline. Well now you
would have an opportunity to easily and quickly
contact the author for a question or comment.
• Colored graphics are more interesting than black
and white and can even be enlarged on the monitor
screen to make for easier viewing.
• The computer programs of today make it much
easier to create a PDF of a publication, no matter
which program the publication is made. So have no
fear, you will not lose your editor because it is the
same to create the newsletter
as an on-line document that is printable on
8 ½ x 11 from a PDF as it is to send the PDF
to the printer. It just takes less time to get it
in your hands.
Because also every cost seems to be increasing we are
considering raising the dues to meet those rising costs. Right
now the dues are at $3000 and the board is considering raising
the dues to $3500 for those paying after February 1. However
there would be a clause added that those members that agree
to receive an on-line newsletter instead of a mailed one would
receive a $500 discount in dues. Therefore their dues would
remain at $3000, where they are now.
Dues are needed to pay for things, such as, a presentation
laptop (so we do not need to use individual member computers),
a new projector, (the bulb in our machine needs replacing
soon and with today’s modern technological advances in
projectors it would be cheaper to buy a new model that has
more advanced features than it would be to replace the light
bulb). Presentation materials, so the group can give additional
demonstrations other than general meeting and advertising
group at places like a booth at fair, so we can potentially get
new members. Postage other than the newsletter and presenter
gifts, such as wine which must be purchased if it cannot be
donated by local wineries. Let us not forget the facilities, such
as, the Napa Valley Senior Activities Center where we hold
our monthly meeting. Also supplies for social events, such as,
summer picnic and the holiday party.
Now that you have read and maybe even seen some of the
positive reasons for getting your newsletter on-line instead
via snail mail, it is time for you to take action.
• By December 31, 2007 contact me at
[email protected] with your comments.
• Sign up now to begin receiving your newsletter online. Take action and do this at the next general
meeting or contact [email protected]
and let it be known that you wish to receive your
newsletter on-line and not get a hard copy mailed to
you anymore.
Remember if you had gotten this newsletter via email,
you would have already read this article.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 6
ru XPerienced?
By Lee Reynolds, a Member of the Boca Raton Computer Society, Inc., FL,,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Yes, the title of the column is a play on the old song by Jimi
Hendrix. But in this case, what is being asked is this: do
you know everything you need or
want to know about Windows XP?
If not, then join me in learning all
about it together...
If you have ever had a corrupted user
profile and then had to create a new
account, when you tried to access the
folders or files used by the old account
in order to transfer them to the new
one, you might have encountered a
problem: Windows won’t let you.
Or, you might have had to reinstall XP over itself and
establish new accounts. Even if all names, passwords, and
settings are identical to the previous ones, you will not be
able to access the old ones because each account is given
a new SID (Security ID) and Windows compares the SIDs
and not the account names.
If you take ownership of the old folders or files, as
explained in the following article from the Microsoft
Knowledge Base, you should be able to access them:
HOW TO: Take Ownership of a File or Folder in
Windows XP
· You must be logged on as an Administrator to
take ownership. If you’re running Windows XP
Home Edition, you must first start in Safe Mode
and log in as an Administrator. Otherwise, you
won’t be able to access the Security tab of a file
or folder’s Property page. Also Simple File
Sharing must be disabled. (Other articles in this
series detail how to boot to Safe Mode and
disable Simple File Sharing.)
· In order to take ownership of a folder, start up My
Computer or Windows Explorer, right click the
folder, and then choose Properties from the
Context Menu that scrolls out.
· Click the Security tab of the Property page that
opens, and click OK on any Security message
that appears.
· Click the Advanced button, then click the Owner
· In the Name list, click whatever is appropriate to
the case: your user name, Administrator if you are
logged in as Administrator, or the Administrators
· If you want to take ownership of the folder, click
to put a check mark next to Replace
owner on subcontainers and objects.
· Click OK. A message appears:
“You do not have permission to
read the contents of directory
<folder name>. Do you want to
replace the directory permissions
with permissions granting you Full
Control?” All permissions will be
replaced if you press Yes.
· Click Yes. Then click OK and
reapply any permissions or security
settings you want for the folder and
its contents.
· The method for taking ownership of a file is quite
similar to the case for a folder. Again you must
be logged on as an Administrator.
· Right click the file you want to take ownership
of, and click Properties from the Context Menu
that scrolls out. Click the Security tab, click OK
on any Security message that appears, click the
Advanced button, and then click the Owner tab.
· In the Name list click the appropriate item (as
above, for folders.)
Now you can reapply any permissions and security
settings you want to the file.
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).
Video Editing
If you’re sending home movie DVDs or video clips to
family and friends, leave out all but the cutest, funniest,
and most interesting moments. Every single minute of
your toddler’s screen time may be precious to you, but
you won’t hold your audience’s attention with long
stretches when not much is happening. Keep a pristine
copy of your raw, unedited video for posterity but edit
what you share with people. Get to the point!
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing.
Visit to
learn what Smart Computing can do for you and
your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 7
Additional Backup Approach Comparisons
By Gene Barlow, User Group Relations, Copyrighted January 2002, Revised July 2007,, [email protected]
Last month I highlighted four of the most common backup lists of valid backup approaches. It is a partial backup solution
approaches used today and compared them to show you at best and the number and size of the files that can use this
why the Perfect Backup Approach is the best way to do approach is limited. If you are still interested in this approach,
backups. You can read that article titled, Backup Acronis True Image 10 Home has the ability to do backups to
Approaches Compared on my web site at
FTP (Internet) sites, but pick another approach and you will
nl0507b.html. As soon as I sent this article out, I got
messages from users asking why I had not included other be better off.
backup approaches in my article. So, this month, I will add
two additional backup approaches and try to explain where
they fit in the comparison.
Internet Backup Approach
Let me start with a fairly new approach to backups
that you may have heard about. Using this
approach, you backup a few of your key data
files to a storage location on the Internet. If
something should happen to any of these data
files, you can retrieve them from their Internet
location. At first glance, this approach seems
attractive and some have tried it. However,
there are problems with this approach that you
should be aware of.
First, it is by no means a full backup solution
for your computer. You will only be able to
backup a few of your data files using this approach and
not your entire hard drive. So, if your hard drive should crash
on you, your internet backup of a few data files will not help
you to get your system back up and running. You will need to
do a total rebuild of your hard drive including the operating
system, all of your application programs, your setting files,
and any of your data files that you did not store on the Internet.
This rebuilding process could take you days or weeks to
complete and you may never get your computer working
again the way it was before.
That places the Internet Backup approach close to the File
Backup approach in the comparisons, but with more restrictions
on it than the File Backup approach. Transferring files to the
Internet is a very slow process. Also, you will be limited to
saving fewer files on the Internet than on an external hard
drive. A minimal amount of Internet space may be provided
for free, but additional space will cost you each month to use
it. Files stored on the Internet
will not be quickly and
readily accessible like the
files you store on an
external hard drive.
Finally, the Internet
has too many security
issues for my
important files to be
placed there.
In summary, I would
put the Internet Backup
approach at the bottom of my
Differential Backup Approach
Another backup approach I forgot to include was the
Differential Image backup approach added to Acronis True
Image 9.0 a couple of years ago. This approach is
quite similar to the Incremental Image backup
approach I recommend in the Perfect Backup
Approach. So, let me explain what this
approach is and how it is different from the
Incremental Image backup approach.
With the Incremental Image backup
approach you use True Image to create a full
backup image file of your entire hard drive at
the beginning of each month. Then at the end of
each week during the month, you create an
incremental backup image file of just the changes
that have occurred to your hard drive since the last
time you backed it up (a week ago). At the beginning of
the next month, you create a new full backup image file and
follow it with incremental backup image files each week.
For each month, the full backup image file combined with
the 3-4 incremental backup images files make up what is
called an image set. The image set can be used by True Image
to put the hard drive back together as it was at the last backup
or at any week during the month (or at any week in prior
months). True Image also gives you the ability to retrieve
individual files or folders from any of these backup points.
This is the power and flexibility that you get with the
recommended Incremental Image backup approach.
The Differential Image backup approach is very similar to
the incremental approach. At the beginning of the month,
you create a full backup image of your entire hard drive.
Then at each following week, you create a differential
backup image file that includes the contents of the last
differential image file plus any changes that have occurred
to your hard drive in the past week. The prior differential
image file is left on your hard drive for you to delete after
True Image creates a new differential image file. An image
set using the differential approach includes just two files, the
full backup image file and the latest differential image file.
You will notice that the differential image file is a growing
file that collects all of the changes to the hard drive after the
full backup image is made at the beginning of the month. To
make this differential backup image approach work best,
you must delete the prior differential image file as soon as
True Image creates the new differential image file for you.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 8
How does the differential backup image approach
compare to the incremental backup image approach? The
advantage most sited for differential backup images is that
the file space to store the one differential image is less than
storing several incremental images. As a practical matter,
the difference in size is relatively small and so this is not
a big savings. Another advantage sited for differential
image files is that they are faster to restore since the
changes are already merged together into one image file.
In reality, True Image can merge 3-4 incremental images in
just a few seconds, so the time savings on the restore would
be just a second or two. Not enough to worry about. The big
disadvantage with the differential image approach is that
you loose the flexibility to restore to a weekly backup point
like you can do with incremental images. With differential
images, you can either restore to the one differential image
file timeframe or back to the full image taken at the
beginning of the month. This is a critical weakness of the
differential image approach and is the main reason I
recommend doing incremental images instead.
To overcome the flexibility limitation of the differential
backup image approach, some users will not delete the old
differential image files, but will let them collect on their
external hard drive, much like you collect the incremental
image files. With many differential image files to select
from, you can pick the exact backup point to restore your
files from like you can do with incremental image files. So,
how does this modified differential backup image approach
now compare to the incremental backup image approach?
It costs you space on your backup hard drive. The first
differential image file contains the changes for week 1.
The second differential image file contains the changes for
week 1 and 2. The third differential image file contains the
changes for week 1 and 2 and 3. I think you get the picture.
The result is that the space on your backup external hard
drive is being wasted and hence you cannot save as many
backup images as the incremental backup image approach.
Although the differential backup approach is pretty good,
the incremental backup approach is better in all cases.
Backup Approaches Compared
So, let’s summarize the backup approaches listed in this
article and in the prior article. I will list them along with a
ranking from 1 to 10 of the effectiveness of the backup
approach. That should show why the Perfect Backup Approach
(Incremental backup images) is the best approach to select for
your backup plan.
Partial Backup Approaches
Full Backup Image Approach (effectiveness: 6) A full backup
solution that can save a few backups on one backup drive.
Differential Backup Image Approach (effectiveness: 8) A full
backup solution that is fairly efficient on backup hard drive space.
Lacks restore flexibility.
Incremental Backup Image Approach (effectiveness: 9) A full
backup solution that is very efficient on backup hard drive space.
The Perfect Backup Approach.
Acronis True Image 10 Home
Acronis True Image 10 Home is the one backup utility on the
market that can do all of the backup approaches mentioned in
these two articles. That lets you use one product and try the
various approaches to find the one that best fits your needs. For
this and many other reasons, this backup utility has become the
highest rated backup product on the market by PC Magazine, PC
World, and many other industry experts. You can’t go wrong with
this outstanding product on your system.
To o r d e r t h i s e x c e l l e n t b a c k u p u t i l i t y, g o t o and click on Acronis True
Image 10.0 Home. You can purchase this product at our user
group discount price of only $29 as a download or $33 on a
CD. If you order the CD, you also get our Perfect Backup
Approach tutorial and some technical papers on how to install
and use the product. The order code to use when placing your
order is UGNL0707.
I hope this information helps you to understand the various
ways that you can backup your computer. Using Acronis True
Image 10.0 Home edition and an external hard drive is the best
way to go. If you have questions about this article or the use of
your True Image software, please send a note to [email protected]
and I will try to assist you.
This is one of a series of monthly technical articles that I
distribute to those that have subscribed to this newsletter.
You can subscribe to this informative newsletter at
Watch for them and learn more about your computer and
its hard drive. User group newsletter editors may print this
article in their monthly newsletter as long as the article is
printed in its entirety
User Group Relations
PO Box 911600
St George, UT 84791-1600
Note: For the latest version of Acronis True
Image 10 Home go to the website.
Set A Power Plan In Vista
Internet Backup Approach (effectiveness: 1) A partial backup
solution that is slow and costly.
File Backup Approach (effectiveness: 2) A partial backup
solution that is a bit faster and less expensive.
To establish energy-saving settings, open Control Panel,
double-click Power Options, and select the Preferred
Plan radio button you want to use. Advanced options are
available on the left.
Full Backup Approaches
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing.
Visit to
learn what Smart Computing can do for you and
your user group!
Clone Backup Approach (effectiveness: 3) A full backup
solution that takes up one hard drive for each backup. Very
inefficient hard drive space usage.
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 9
Tales from the Kingdom of the Ordinary User
Of Avery, CDs, Squaring the Circle, Selected Greek
Classics, and Tantalus Plus a Resolution
By David D. Uffer, a Member of the Chicago Computer Society,, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for case label if I wanted to
venture further. But, in
publication by APCUG member groups.
We have all heard of the name Avery, the global leader in actual use, all the
assorted office supplies, self-adhesive labels (but probably templates allowed was
not yet the US Postal stamps), dividers, markers, and such. an image without a
You may not have heard of Paxar, whose Monarch Division central hole. Worse still,
seems to be the culprit behind those wonderful price and info all the patterns for the
tags attached to clothing and other goods and hanging by circular disk were
tough, tiny plastic strings you cannot break or pull loose but square.
must cut and then seek the remaining portion which is often
OK, so maybe Avery
inserted out of sign, waiting to annoy you further by scratching wants users to use Avery’s printing software. It is available
your skin if not removed. Well, Avery just acquired Paxar in online, for free. So they claimed. A slightly larger version
a deal worth 1.3 billion bucks. Such is the price of the right with more graphics is also offered for sale. Both would do at
annoyance. SoAvery deserves respect, maybe even reverence least some graphics as well as a blank face for imprinting just
if judged by revenue. It is after all the standard index referred text. So they claimed. I’ll spare you the details of repeated and
to by more reasonably priced packs of blank labels for use in finally successful attempts to secure the software. Guess
PC printers. But this user may have lost some respect for this what. It was the same as what I found earlier online. I could
global leaderBas if they careBbecause of a wild, redundant print text all over a solid square to go onto a holey disk. A
search they placed in my path.
square on top of a circle. Not right. No help.
In an effort to avoid losing sight of most other users’
Now, squaring a circle is one of three classical problems in
progress, I tried to catch up to a common practice in this age the early development of Greek geometry. (The other two
of proliferating digital photos. I collected some pictures taken were doubling the cube and trisecting an angle.) It was known
in Greece onto some CDs, learning how to do it by trial, error, to be difficult and proved impossible in precision in 1882
and reading instructions when desperate. Results were because it involved the imprecise term, pi, though a near
impressive. Buoyed up by approaching the League of the Big approximation could get the job done for those who were
Guys, I wondered why their handwritten CD content titles interested. One of the sites referenced in Google for squaring
were so curt and scruffy when labels were available to display the circle delivers a 7-page article replete with a barrage of
more readable and detailed information. A single label might real and legended ancient Greek names. [If you enjoy their
conceivably cause imbalance problems as a CD revved up its rich pronunciation, you may be amused by the names pun
speed as the drive’s internal laser moved to the outer tracks. near the end of this tale.]
But a pair of properly placed labels could offset each other for
So it would seem that Avery has squared the circle, at least
a smoother spin. OK, two labels could also display more to their own satisfaction. Now if they could only work it in the
information than one, fine. But Avery makes these disk- other direction, circling the square to the users’ satisfaction
shaped labels with the core hole to cover the entire disk and and punching a hole in the center, it might increase my respect
display anything the user wants to fit in the still larger space, for this global leader. Indeed, in consideration of my pain and
even graphics. Finer, better. Big league catchup.
suffering, if Avery were to send some workable software a
Beset by pride and hope of grandeur, I bought a set of holey minute share of 1.3 billion this direction, that wavering
Avery disk labels. Swallowing my pride, I looked at the respect just might become a bit reverential. That upgrade in
instructions. Those that came with the labels explained the regard seems unlikely since it appears they think a square is
technique for correctly applying the label to the disk, center the working equivalent to a circle with a center hole. There
holes exactly aligned. Neat. The package and online directions, may be some hidden transformation formula there. If so I
showing an imprinted disk, said to use an indexed template, consider it well concealed. It does offer Options, which
Avery’s # 8931 or 5931, in Word or WordPerfect. Each had 2 merely present other Avery patterns, none applicable to the
variants, CD face and CD case. AlI I wanted at the time was problem at hand. For that matter, Avery’s CD/DVD patterns
the round disk face, maybe later for the almost square disk
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 10
weren’t either so one could say the others were no worse.
But yet all their promotional illustrations show attractive
disks with text and graphics plus a range of alternates, all
just out f reach. This user is reminded of the mythical Greek
god Tantalus, a son of Zeus, who must have messed up pretty
badly since he was later doomed to the Underworld, up to
his chin in water with delicious fruits
just out of reach. That’s the origin of
tantalize, which also applies to
Avery’s promo pictures of decorated,
circular disks in your dreams.
However one thing becomes clearer,
why I had seen the hand-written CD
title inscriptions. We are not alone, as
they say, just ignored.
[There is this two-word pun on
classic Greek names which has a man
showing his torn pants to a tailor who
asks, “Euripides?”. The customer nods
and replies, “Eumenides”].
offered The Print Shop software, now in version 22. It is
now substantially more than the basic graphic printing
application it was originally but remains readily available
and reasonably priced. In the last few years they began
enabling printing your choice of graphics and text on CD
and DVD labels. No hype, no fanfare, just competent
performance, good to know, and a
pleasure to use. So, you can buy
your blank CD and DVD labels from
Avery but print them with software
from the brethren.
Dave Uffer is a member of s o m e
s t a n d i n g i n t h e Chicago Computer
Society. Originating in Colorado deep in
the last century, he arrived in the Midwest
and settled in the Chicago area where he
has held a variety of honorable but not
especially honored positions in computerrelated fields. He and his wife are now
retired, children grown and away; he
sometimes writes about the often
neglected concerns of real PC users.
As it usually happens in children’s books and sometimes
in real life there is a happy ending to this tale of corporate This article has been provided to APCUG by the author solely
woe. It comes from Broderbund (A Band of Brothers in for publication by APCUG member groups. All other uses
a loose translation of mixed Swedish, Danish, and require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above).
German). Now spelled more simply as Broderbund and
part of Riverdeep, they have over 20 years developed and
Discover Your Driver Status
When you encounter difficulty with a device, one of the first
things you should do is confirm that you have the most
recent driver installed. You can do this by comparing the
driver version on your system with the most recent driver
version available from the manufacturer’s Web site. The
most recent drivers are usually available for download
under the Support, Drivers, or Downloads section of a
company’s site. Most companies will list the version number
with the download so you can easily see which version the
company offers. You may also want to check the company’s
News and Support pages for any notices about bugs in the
company’s drivers. Occasionally, a driver may conflict with
certain computer components or installed software. When
this happens, a manufacturer usually provides a workaround
on its Web site or offers an earlier driver for download so
you can revert to an earlier driver that works with your
system. The company should provide installation instructions
for such anomalies. Windows 9x/Me. To check a driver in
Win9x/Me, you’ll use the Device Manager. Click the Start
menu, Settings, and Control Panel. In the Control Panel
window, double-click the System icon. This will open the
System Properties dialog box. Click the Device Manager
tab. Make sure the View Devices By Type radio button is
selected and then browse the list of device types for the type
of device you want to check. Click the plus sign (+) next to
the device type and then double-click the device you want
to check. For example, if you want to check the installed
driver for your mouse, click the plus sign next to Mouse to
expand the view. Then double-click your mouse from the
list under Mouse. This will open a Properties window for the
device. Click the Driver tab. You can check the version and
the issue date for the driver by looking for the Driver Date
and Driver Version. Windows 2000/XP. It is fairly
straightforward to identify a driver in Win2000/XP. Click
the Start menu, Settings, and Control Panel. WinXP offers
two views of the Control Panel. The default is Category
View, and Classic View is also available. If you use Win2000
or WinXP in Classic View, double-click System. If you use
WinXP in Category View, click Printers And Other Hardware
and then click System under the See Also section on the left
side of the screen. In the System Properties dialog box, click
the Hardware tab and the Device Manager button. You’ll
notice that there is one extra step compared to opening the
Device Manager in Win9x/Me. In Win2000/XP, the Device
Manager doesn’t have its own tab but is instead accessible
through a button on the Hardware tab. In the resulting
Device Manager window, click the View menu and make
sure that Devices By Type is selected. If not, click Devices
By Type to switch to the proper view. Click the plus sign next
to one of the listed device types to view an expanded list of
devices. Then double-click the device for which you’d like
to check the driver. In the resulting Properties dialog box for
the device, click the Driver tab. You’ll see the Driver Date
and Driver Version listed.
Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit to learn what
Smart Computing can do for you and your user group!
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 11
How to use Google Street Views to see…
streets, places, routes and faces!
By Linda Gonse, Editor and Webmaster, Orange County IBM PC Users’ Group, CA,, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Beyond the curiosity of the new panoramic on-the-road
reality shots, Google’s detailed Street Views give you a
feel for really being where you want to go. Although only
a handful of large cities are represented in these views, it’s
still likely you will want to look for destinations in them
If you aren’t familiar with Street Views, go to and click on Maps, a link at the top of the
s c r e e n . Ty p e i n a
location of a street or a
city. If one of the boxes
Figure 3
at the top of the map
the meantime, a different type of map searcher is
shown says “Street
the privacy controversy caused by Google Street
View,” click on it.
Figure 1
A map looking like a plate of blue spaghetti View’s high-quality, crystal-clear, panoramic photos, and
are magnifying certain side-of-the- road scenes they find
shows where panoramic shots were taken. (Figure 1.)
and sharing them online!
Zoom in to see streets
What they’ve found falls into categories, which include
outlined in blue. (Figure 2.) A
actual lawbreaking or crimes in progress, people doing
“person” icon (that’s you) is
ordinary things that seem extraordinary when you know
facing in the direction you are
that people worldwide will be seeing them; surreal sights
heading. You can move the icon
caused by the panoramic camera being halted or later
to wherever you wish to go, or
photo-stitching in an editing program; visual commentaries
simply double-click on one of
about places and people; and street views divulging the
the blue-lined streets.
Figure 2
homes of the famous, or landmark homes and places. Map
You can enlarge a panoramic
searchers uploaded these mini-slices of life to
shot to full screen, so you don’t have to squint to see into
a little peek-a-boo window.
Check out the maps and see what you can find. Maybe
Other handy features allow you to zoom in and out, and
you’ll even see yourself in one of the shots!
to “drive” along a street or freeway by clicking on an arrow
with your mouse. You can look in all four directions, of This article has been provided to APCUG by the author
course, and the names of the streets and the routes are solely for publication by APCUG member groups. All
superimposed on the photos. (Figure 3.) You can even other uses require the permission of the author (see email address above).
email the view to family or friends.
How To Find Podcasts
By Mike Lyons, President Orange County IBM PC Users’ Group, CA,,
[email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Download the free 7.3 iTunes program from and install. Now, all you
need is an mp3 player, and you’re all set to download
podcasts and listen to them on the go.
When you first open iTunes, click on the
“Podcast Directory” at the bottom next to
“Report a Concern.” That actually takes you
to the Apple Store. In the upper left corner is a
magnifying glass and a space to search for a word or
phrase. Type in “computer.” The Apple logo in the
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 12
top center area changes to a candy cane-striped bar as it
searches. The bar will turn solid and display the results:
Name, Time, Artist, Album, Price, Popularity and Genre.
Next to the name is a grayed-out circle with an arrow in
it. This leads to more information about the podcast. It
includes a description, user reviews, a list of the last 20
podcasts and a list of 5 “Listerners also subscribed to.”
Headings are sortable by clicking on them, so if you
click on Price, all the free ones appear at the top.
Some of the stuff is pretty explicit, that’s why they call
it the “wild, wild web.” Podcasts are labeled “clean,”
“explicit,” or blank which means the rating hasn’t been
I look to see how often and consistently the podcast
occurs (some really good ones haven’t been updated since
2006), check customer comments, and the “Also subscribed
to” list.
If you want to subscribe, simply click on the “subscribe”
button. To go back where you were, under the Apple logo
on the left is a small button with a left pointing twirly.
Click on this to get back.
After downloading podcasts, connect your mp3 player
to a USB cable and right click on the file. Select “Send to”
and click on the drive letter of the mp3 player to transfer
podcasts to it from your computer.
Besides the iTunes Podcast Directory, you can find
podcasts of Computer America shows at
Archives/cc.shtml and National Public Radio at
w w w . n p r . o r g / r s s / p o d c a s t / podcast_
There are even locally-produced user group
podcasts. The Los Angeles Computer Society has
podcasts of their main meetings at
You don’t have to have an mp3 player to listen to
podcasts, though. If you left-click on the mp3 title, it
plays right in your browser. Or, if you right-click on
the title, select “Save Link As,” and you can save it to
a directory on your computer.
Besides playing podcasts in mp3 players and
browsers, mp3 files on your hard drive can be burned
to a CD. Then, you can play them in your car. Just burn
them as a music CD instead of a data CD.
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).
Fake Check Scams on the Internet Explode
By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX; Radio & TV Show
Host,, [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the
author’s permission for publication
by APCUG member groups.
You may remember the recent case of
a local woman who responded to a “work at home”
opportunity where she would accept payments from the
customers of a business, deposit the checks, deduct her
generous commissions, and then wire the balance elsewhere.
Recently, in my High Tech Crime Consortium (HTCC)
listserv, an investigator posted the following inquiry
(redacted): “Is anyone working a case involving a fraudulent
check from XXX Bank on the account of YYY Financial
Trust Company, a supposed winner of a drawing scam. My
victim received this letter and check, deposited it and XXX
BANK told her it was good so they put the money in her
account. Turns out it was not. She of course was told to wire
“taxes” in the amount of $4425.00 to a subject XXXXX in
Houston, Texas, but the money gram was picked up in
Recently, (October 3), the Reuters news service ran a
story “Spam-scam crackdown
nets $2 billion in fake checks”.
The story goes on to explain,
“An international crackdown on
Internet financial scams this year
has yielded more than $2.1 billion
in seized fake checks and 77
arrests in the Netherlands, Nigeria
and Canada, U.S. and other
authorities said on Wednesday. The scammers, often West
African organized crime groups, use ploys such as “spam”
e-mail offering to pay recipients “processing fees” for
depositing checks, which later turn out to be phony, and
sending the ostensible proceeds to the scammer, authorities
said.” Demonstrating how prevalent this scam is, the Reuters
article goes on to say, “Two-thirds of Americans said they
received at least one potential scam contact per week, and
18 percent said they or a family member had fallen for one,
in a survey conducted for an alliance of banks, consumer
groups and the U.S. Postal Service. Grant said complaints
to her group about fake checks have risen 60 percent this
year, and the average victim loses about $3,000 to $4,000.”
In a parallel news story at (October 3),
“Postal Service Declares War on Nigerian Scam”, in
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 13
Fake Checks cont. on page 14
Fake Checks cont. from page 13
discussing the same seizure writes, “So
far this year, an average of more than
800 people a month have filed
complaints about such scams. Hoping
to stem the losses, the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service announced an
international crackdown Wednesday in
which more than 540,000 fake checks
with a face value of $2.1 billion have
been seized.” The financial and
emotional impact of being a victim can
be disabling, “Retired people have lost
their nest eggs and young families have
been defrauded of their savings for a
If 800 people a month report losses
to the Postal Inspector, one may wonder
how many other victims are too
ashamed or embarrassed to report the
crime which victimized them.
You may have noticed some TV
commercials warning about these
scams, another indication of the degree
of the threat. The commercials are
promoting a consumer education
website, a creation of
the National Consumers League, and
sponsored by groups such as the
American Bankers Association,
American Express, Capital One, JP
Morgan Chase, Visa, Western Union,
and the United States Postal Inspection
Service. The meat of the website is a
curt warning that says, “There is no
legitimate reason why anyone would
give you a check or money order and
ask you to wire money in return.”
The major types of scams that use
these methods are foreign business
offers, rental schemes, love losses,
sudden riches, overpayment, and work
at home scams. The common thread in
all of these is that in response to an
email, phone call, or letter, the victim
received certified or cashiers’ checks,
or money orders, and was directed to
deposit them in their personal bank
accounts. Immediately after depositing
the instruments, the victim was directed
to deduct his commission or fee, and
then wire the proffered balance (often
via Western Union) to the crook. The
checks and money orders would bounce
as they were typically counterfeit,
forged, or otherwise phony, leaving
the victim with the financial loss for
Many of us have received the
ubiquitous Nigerian 419 scam from
the relative of some oil minister who
was killed in a plane crash, and the
widow needs help in investing the
money. In the original scam, still
circulating by the millions, the victim
is to wire money to Nigeria or some
the amounts wired to the crook. The “barrister” in London in order to pay
proceeds of the wired funds are often the taxes and fees to release the funds,
picked up overseas, and not at the for which the victim is to receive
a generous commission. In a new
address stated in the original offer.
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
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(Associate Members have the same membership rights as their sponsors,
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Make check payable to:
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Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866
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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:
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Revised 4-23-07
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 14
iteration of
the scheme,
the victim
receives an
email or
letter that
alleges that
the crook
claims to
have a check which can be used to pay the taxes and fees,
and in exchange for depositing the check and wiring the net
proceeds to a third party, the victim can withhold a generous
commission. Of course, the check is worthless.
In another version, also distributed in the millions, the
victim receives an email, letter, or fax claiming that they
have won an international lottery. In the past, the victim had
to come up with the taxes and fees on his own, and wire the
money to the crook in order to collect the winnings. Now the
scheme sends the victim an authentic looking check which
is to be used to pay the foreign taxes and fees on the prize
winnings. The victim deposits the check, which may also
include a small percentage of his winnings, and wires the
taxes and fees to a third party. The check bounces, and the
victim is out the proceeds, often in the $3000 to $4000
I have actually had students who advertised their cars
online, and received a call or email from a barrister in
London representing a client who wanted to buy the car for
the full asking price. They would then overnight a certified
check to the seller for more than the selling price of the car,
and ask the seller to wire the balance back to London,
sometimes after deducting a generous fee or bonus. A
bonded courier will be by to pick up the car. Of course there
is no courier, and the check is no good, leaving the seller
with his car plus a several thousand dollar loss.
Another student
recently brought
me an email where
she could make
hundreds of dollars
accepting checks
and money orders
from a seller that
needed an American presence, asking her to deduct her
20% commission, and then wiring the proceeds to some
distant place. The scam is obvious.
Greed and gullibility can affect all races and religions.
The website may provide a valuable
warning to those who might fall victim. If the Postal Service
can seize 540,000 fake checks worth $2.1 billion, one may
wonder how many were not seized, and made it to the
victims. One can only wonder how much more was lost by
the victims, often those who can least afford 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).
Thank You !
The Napa Valley Personal Computer
Users Group is grateful for the support
provided by the following companies:
947 Lincoln Avenue
Napa, CA 94559-5066
(707) 299-1000 • [email protected]
Fr om Copies t o Full Co l or Printing
we ’re your
sou r ce for all your printed needs .
Also come see us for your Pr omo tional Items !
3148 Jefferson Street • Napa, California 94558
707/257-6260 • fax 707/257-8741
[email protected]
Offering Financial Services throughout
the Napa Valley, with offices in American
Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena
and Yountville
800-869-3557 •
Congratulations to its new officiers.
Orion E. Hill
[email protected]
Co-Vice Chair: Ray McCann
[email protected]
Bill Wheadon
[email protected]
Marcia Waddell
[email protected]
For more information about the NVPCUG, visit
our Web site:
NVPCUG Computer News, November 2007, Page 15
After Retirement, Who Are You?
By Gabe Goldberg, Advisor, Region 2,; Columnist,; [email protected]
Obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for
publication by APCUG member groups.
Retirement — even temporary job loss — can trigger
discomfort with one’s changed identity. Especially for
those who have been strongly career oriented, the simple
question, “What do you do?” can lead to fumbling for an
answer. And when socializing or doing business or
volunteering, it can be awkward not having the usual
trappings of the grown-up world such as business cards.
Though called “business cards”, they’re hardly restricted
to that context. Stay-at-home spouses, volunteers, and
other folks often need a quick way to provide identification
and contact information such as email address or Web site
URL. They can also list concise emergency information
and instructions such as medical history, allergies,
medications, and someone to contact.
But with modern proliferation of such data — landline
telephone number, cell phone number, instant messaging
screen name, LinkedIn or other social networking Web
site address, Skype number, etc. — it’s a challenge
conveying one’s whole story quickly.
Designing and purchasing cards the traditional way,
using a real-world printer, can be a nuisance or daunting
challenge, not to mention expensive. And personally printed
cards — whether laser or ink-jet — never seem quite as
polished. For an online alternative, visit
VistaPrint,, a user-friendly
and economical source of personalized cards and many
other customizable products.
Among VistaPrint’s many attractive bargains is the
opportunity to order 250 cards for free, paying only
shipping. The small “catch” is that there will be a small/
tasteful VistaPrint ad on the cards’ back. But for a small
fee, the ad can be omitted. And larger quantities can be
ordered for rates far below those of local print shops.
These bargain cards aren’t limited to boring just-thefacts designs; more than 40 backgrounds cater to the most
Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group
P.O. Box 2866
Napa, California 94558-0286
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serious or the most fanciful among us. My cards are
businesslike, while my wife’s show a more flowery and
artistic personality. Having browsed the site’s design
spectrum I occasionally recognize fellow VistaPrint
customers from their cards! More elaborate designs are
available at slightly higher prices and custom designs can
be uploaded to the site.
VistaPrint runs occasional sales and promotions, during
which other products (sticky notes, T-shirts, desk calendars,
invitations, announcements, notepads, letterhead, etc.)
are offered for just the cost of shipping or at greatly
reduced prices. I’ve gotten essentially free personalized
rubber stamps and refrigerator magnets showing my
business card design. And the site offers a small bonus for
referring new customers.
A very convenient feature is the site remembering
details of orders for reuse or modification. So when I’ve
moved or changed contact information, I haven’t needed
to redesign my cards from scratch: I simply update the
information and reorder.
Having cards handy in pocket or purse eliminates having
to scribble contact information on scraps of paper, and avoids
someone having to later puzzle what’s written. One warning
applies, though: Consider how much information to reveal.
Telephone number and email address, perhaps with city and
state, may suffice without compromising privacy.
This article from the CompuKISS Web site,, is copyrighted by Gabriel
Goldberg. It may be reproduced, for single use, or by
nonprofit organizations for educational purposes, with
attribution to CompuKISS. It should be unchanged
and this paragraph included. Please e-mail
[email protected] when you use it, or for
permission to excerpt or condense.
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).
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