Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group http://www. nvpcug.org P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558 COMPUTER NEWS Volume 25, No. 11 Nov 2008 Inside This Issue 2 NVPCUG Special Interest Groups 2 NVPCUG Calendar 2 President’s Message 3 Officers List 4 Pinnacle Studio 12 Review 5 6 Silent Auction Items for November 2008 General Meeting Hacking 101 8 9 Outlook & Xobni, a Good Match Broadsides 10 Ubuntu & Linux Software 12 Google’s New “Chrome Browser” (Beta) 12 Not Yet Ready for Prime Time 13, 14 Holiday Party Reminder 15 Hewie’s Views and Reviews The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group has served novice and experienced computer users since 1983. Through its monthly meetings, newsletters, online forum, special interest groups, mentor program and community involvement, it has helped educate people of all ages. The NVPCUG provides opportunities for people to find friends who share common interests and experiences. From January 2003 to October 2007 the NVPCUG provided 783 computers and 140 printers to local schools. Additional equipment has been given to charitable nonprofit organizations and to disadvantaged individuals. The November 19th NVPCUG General Meeting will be Roxio Media Creator 2009 will be presented The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group will meet Wednesday, Nov 19, 7:00-9:00 P.M., at the Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa, California The meeting begins with Random Access, an open-floor question-andanswer period during which attendees can ask questions about computers and computer-related problems and receive helpful information from other meeting attendees. Questions may be submitted before the meeting by e-mailing them to Random Access moderator Jerry Brown at [email protected] During the November Computer Tutor session, Jeff Solomon, will be demonstrating and discussing OpenOffice.org 3 which is an open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It can be downloaded http:// download.openoffice.org/orhttp://download. openoffice.org/ from and used completely free of charge. If you have an idea or question that the Computer Tutor can demonstrate, please email your ideas to the Computer Tutor, Jeff Solomon at [email protected] The main presenter in November will be our own Susy Ball. She will demo a newly released program, Roxio Media Creator 2009. The presentation will attempt to show some of the mail points of the program: • • • • • • Keep your precious memories safe Edit movies and burn DVDs like a pro Music Photo Sharing Share a lifetime of memories Could you use some practical information that would help you make better use of your computer? Come to this meeting! Guests are always welcome. Admission is always free. Interested in becoming a member? See page 14 for application information. NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008 NVPCUG President’s Message SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS & MAC GROUP In SIG meetings you can learn about a subject in greater detail than is feasible at NVPCUG general meetings. SIG meetings are open to everyone. M e e t i n g t i m e s a n d locations occasionally change, so for current meeting information, see our Web site, www.nvpcug.org, or contact the SIG leaders. Investors SIG Meets: Monthly, second Monday 5:30 to 7:30 p.m Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa Leader: Jerry Brown (707) 254-9607 [email protected] Digital Photography SIG Meets: Monthly, second Wednesday 7:00 to 8:30 p.m Piner’s Nursing Home, Conference Room 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa Leader: Susy Ball (707) 337-3998 [email protected] Napa Valley Mac User Group Meets: Monthly, second Thursday 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Napa Senior Activity Center 1500 Jefferson St., Napa Leader: Ron Rogers (707) 226-5352 ronrogersnapamug @gmail.com By Ron Dack, president, http://www.nvpcug.org/, [email protected] November 2008 This month, I have the sad duty to inform you that a long time active member of the NVPCUG and former director has passed away. Al Edmister was a valued member of our group and participated in most if not all aspects of the group. Al passed away Saturday November 1, 2008 after a battle with cancer. He will be missed. Our group continues to move forward but we are still spending more than we are taking in. The Senior Activity Center has advised us that they will be increasing their rates as of January 2009 but did not say by how much. Each meeting it becomes more obvious that we will need to purchase a new projector. Because of our financial situation it is becoming more likely that we will have to completely discontinue the printed version of our “Computer News” newsletter in 2009. We have been the only computer users group that I know of that has continued publishing a printed version. This is “the” major expense for the group. It costs us over $20 a year to provide a monthly newsletter to each member that currently receives one. With the cost of everything going up we have tried not to increase the membership dues but the choice will be, completely stopping the printing and mailing of a monthly newsletter or substantially increasing the dues of those that want a printed copy. Earlier we had decided to have a surcharge of $10 a year above the regular dues to help offset the costs for those who wanted a printed copy of the newsletter. This now appears to be too little to do the job. It would take a surcharge of over $20 to meet our expenses and keep the group solvent. I also see no reason that members who get their “Computer News” online should subsidize those that demand a printed copy. By ending the printed addition of the “Computer News” it would also substantially reduce the workload on the Membership director and the Circulation coordinator. I am willing to listen to your input on this issue as well as any other ideas about the NVPCUG. You can contact me by e-mailing [email protected] See you at the meeting. 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 19 Dec 3 Dec 8 Dec 10 Dec11 Dec 17 Jan 7 Jan 12 Jan 14 Jan 15 Jan 21 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. 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 + A Board of Directors meeting + B Investors SIG meeting + C Digital Photography SIG meeting + B Napa Valley Mac User Group + A NVPCUG General Meeting + D Board of Directors meeting + B Investors SIG meeting + C Digital Photography SIG meeting + B Napa Valley Mac User Group + A NVPCUG General Meeting + A NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 2 Ron Meeting Locations A - Napa Senior Activity Center, 1500 Jefferson Street, Napa B - Piner’s Nursing Home, 1800 Pueblo Ave., Napa C - Jerry Brown’s home, 23 Skipping Rock Way, Napa D - Peterson’s Family Christmas Tree Farm, 1120 Darms Lane, Napa. Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Contact Information Officers for 2008 Board of Directors President Vice President Secretary Treasurer Other Directors: Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Dick Peterson 738-1812 [email protected] Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Roy Wagner 253-2721 [email protected] Susy Ball, Ron Dack, Jim Gray, Dick Peterson, Bob Simmerman, Kathy Slavens, Dean Unruh, Marcia Waddell, and Roy Wagner. Jim Gray unlisted [email protected] Appointed Officers Computer Tutor Coordinator Jeff Solomon 553-2114 [email protected] Facility Arrangements Coordinator Dianne Prior 252-1506 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Kathy Slavens 251-9193 [email protected] Greeter Coordinator Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Librarian Dean Unruh 226-9164 [email protected] Membership Director Bob Simmerman 259-6113 [email protected] Newsletter Circulator Jim Hearn 224-2540 [email protected] Newsletter Editor Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Product Review CoCoordinator Marcia Waddell 252-2060 [email protected] Programs Director Susy Ball 337-3998 [email protected] Publicity Director Ron Dack unlisted [email protected] Random Access Moderator Jerry Brown 254-9607 [email protected] Special Projects Director VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] Webmaster Ron Dack unlisted Sales Coordinator VOLUNTEER NEEDED [email protected] [email protected] • All telephone numbers are in Area Code 707. NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 3 NVPCUG Computer News Computer News (ISS 0897-5744) is published monthly by the Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group, Inc. (NVPCUG), P.O. Box 2866, Napa, CA 94558-0286. Subscriptions: $30 for one year (12 issues). Editor: Susy Ball, [email protected] The material in Computer News is intended for noncommercial purposes and may not be reproduced without prior written permission, except that permission for reproducing articles, with authors properly credited, is granted to other computer user groups for their internal, nonprofit use only. The information in this newsletter is believed to be correct. However, the NVPCUG can assume neither responsibility for errors or omissions nor liability for any damages resulting from the use or misuse of any information. The NVPCUG is an IRC 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit educational organization (EIN 680069663) and is a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG), an international organization. Donations to the NVPCUG are tax-deductible as charitable contributions to the extent allowed by law. Copyright © 2008 by NVPCUG. Pinnacle Studio 12 Review By Beth Pickering, Sonoma Valley Computer Group, [email protected], www.vom.com/svcg editing that particular section of the orange bar turns green. There are hundreds of transitions on hand. Picking a category brings up a screen with thumbnail “A/B” boxes. Clicking on one activates the A to B transition so you can see how it looks. After deciding which one to use, you simply drag and drop it into place on the timeline. The other features use thumbnails of the image you are editing to show what the final look will be. All you have to do is select the one you want. As you become more skilled you can alter the feature itself. Some (like “Magic Bullet Looks”) have visible boxes to adjust (see above) while others (see Boris Graffiti below) have an advanced mode to select. There are prompts where you can enter text and examples to see what it will look like. Any font that is I I would love to compare video editing programs and would love to compare video editing programs and declare declare Pinnacle Studio 12 the easiest one to use, but to be Pinnacle Studio 12 the easiest one to use, but to be honest honest … this was the only photo editing I have ever done. … this was the only photo editing I have ever done. To be To be precise: I had a precise: I had a borrowed borrowed laptop I had never laptop I had never used used before, a few unrelated before, a few unrelated video video clips (not mine), a few clips (not mine), a few pictures (not mine), less than pictures (not mine), less than 24 hours to make a demo 24 hours to make a demo movie for my presentation, movie for my presentation, and a history of attracting and a history of attracting glitches. glitches. Because Studio 12 is supposed to be easy for a Because Studio 12 is beginner to use I decided to suppose to be easy for a go out of my comfort zone beginner to use I decided to and put this software to the go out of my comfort zone ultimate test: Like many and put this software to the ultimate test: Like many users, I skipped reading the users, I skipped reading the instructions. I have to admit to instructions. I have to admit to a little help. I had seen a live a little help. I had seen a live demo at a convention and demo at a convention and watched some very short watched some very short informational clips on informational clips on www.pinnaclesys.com. The hardest thing I had to do was choosing the options I wanted to use. The closest I got to a glitch was that the video card in my borrowed computer wouldn’t support “Magic Bullet Looks”. Starting with a “Montage”, I began my quest. I already knew image editing had to be done on the main timeline and that any type of image could be used. The numbers showed what image went where. Moving the images around was as easy as drag and drop. “Undo” and “delete” were also handy. Mixing sections from different Montage themes didn’t cause and problems. Leaving Montage boxes empty didn’t either. The playback only showed an appropriately numbered space. With just a click of a button you can review your creation full screen. When you are NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 4 www.pinnaclesys.com. The hardest thing I had to do was choosing the options I wanted to use. The closest I got to a glitch was that the video card in my borrowed computer wouldn’t support “Magic Bullet Looks”. Starting with a “Montage”, I began my quest. I already knew image editing had to be done on the main timeline and that any type of image could be used. The numbers showed what image went where. Moving the images around was as easy as drag and drop. “Undo” and “delete” were also handy. Mixing sections from different Montage themes didn’t cause and problems. Leaving Montage boxes empty didn’t either. The playback only showed an appropriately numbered space. With just a click of a button you can review your creation full screen. When you are editing that particular section of the orange bar turns green. There are hundreds of transitions on hand. Correcting red eye and removing the black bars so your images fill the movie frame can be done with the click of a button. It is possible to interweave up to 18 video tracks in minutes. Pinnacle Studio 12 has two dedicated sound tracks - one for special sounds and the other for background music. You can import songs to use as is, or you can add them to “Scorefitter” – your own original background music composer. It is as easy to use as the image editors. Several choices have been pre-loaded in the software. You simply pick a style, pick a song, pick a version and listen to the result. If you don’t like it, you just start over. The length can be changed by dragging the beginning or ending points. The “song” can be changed at anytime by using the “accept changes” button. I didn’t do it, but I understand that outputting is also easy. You select the media, then the drop down box choices, and click the “Create” button. My experience with Pinnacle Studio 12 was effortless and fun. Users with no experience can easily make professional looking movies while knowledgeable editors can tweak their movies to an all time high. Silent Auction Items for November 2008 General Meeting There will be a table at the back of the room at the general meeting, November 19, 2008, displaying six items that will be available for a silent auction. The items will be available for viewing and bidding before and during the meeting. The six items available will include: • • • • • A mouse pad with wrist pad and storage underneath. Adobe Premiere elements. (new) Sim Safari - “Step Into the African Savanna”. (new) Microsoft Casino. (new) A 2 book set that includes “Murphy’s Law’s of DOS” and “Murphy’s Law’s of Windows” • A Photo Key Ring Kit by pixifun. (new) Minimum bids of each item will be $100 and will be raised in $100 dollar increments, unless otherwise indicated. All proceeds will be collected by Roy Wagner at the conclusion of the meeting and earnings will be added to the NVPCUG treasury. Correct cash is appreciated, checks are also accepted. You must be present and take your purchase home that evening. NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 5 Hacking 101 By Marjie Tucker, Editor, Macon Computer User Group, North Carolina, www.mcug.org, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). We are being bombarded with warnings about securing our data and the entry to our computers. Do you ever wonder what the big fuss is all about? How can a hacker possibly get into your data? And, what would he be looking for? Let’s spend some time answering those questions. How Does A Hacker Get In To Your Computer? When you give your computer access to the Internet, you need an IP (Internet Protocol) address. The IP addresses that we are currently using have 4 octets with periods between them. They will be something like 192.168.100.1. When you access the Internet, that address is read by the router, modem, whatever that links you to your Internet Service Provider. Then it is read by the routers that route all the data through the Internet. This address makes it possible for you to send data, such as e-mail or requests for web pages. And, in turn, that same address is used to direct incoming e-mail and web pages into your computer. There are several websites and programs available that will translate these IP addresses into the name of the company that purchased them. In many cases, like our residential usages, the company name will be the ISP. For commercial use, it will be the name of the company that rents the block of IP addresses. Hackers use this IP address information to find their targets much like we use a physical address to find a house or office. Purchasing A Camcorder What you intend to record will influence the kind of camcorder you buy. If you are planning an extended visit to China, look for a hard drive-based model with plenty of recording time. On a road trip across the United States, you’ll appreciate a lightweight camcorder that’s easy to tote. When you need highquality video and sound for school or work projects, look for an HD camcorder with all of the extras. LCD Size When buying a new digital camera you should take note of the size and resolution of the LCD. Although a 2-inch LCD is perfectly usable, most digital cameras are equipped with 2.5-inch or even 3-inch LCDs, which generally make it easier to compose a shot, read camera menus, and review images. On the downside, Once a hacker finds out your IP address it’s relatively simple to send your computer a Trojan horse program, spyware, or a virus that will open a port that you usually don’t use. Once that port has been opened, he can freely enter into your operating system and browse around just like he was there in person. He would look for programs that store valuable data like social security numbers and credit card account numbers. (Do you have that information entered into your Quicken or Money program?) He would look through your My Documents folder for password lists and search your Internet Explorer favorites for financial sites where you saved the username and password. And, before he leaves he usually plants another Trojan horse that will give him the ability to take control of your computer in the future. Commercial Websites The most common way to hack into a company’s website through the Internet is by using a Denial of Service attack. These DoS attacks use multiple computers to overload a website with bogus requests for information. The hacker usually creates a Trojan horse program that he sends into the computers of unsuspecting people (remember that program that was left behind when your computer was invaded above?) The message that he creates usually contains a header saying that it comes from an IP address that doesn’t exist. When he is ready to attack, he calls up all the computers that he infected with his Trojan horse and tells them to contact a specific IP address. Those computers follow his instructions and send his preprogrammed message to that website. Servers that control websites always check to verify that IP addresses requesting Î larger LCDs will drain batteries faster than smaller ones. Also, check the LCD resolution in pixels; 115,000 is usable, but 235,000 will be sharper. Buying A Laptop Computer The key to buying a laptop is finding a balance between power and battery life. Put simply, the faster the notebook and the bigger the screen, the less time you’ll be able to use it between recharging sessions. If you want to use office applications on a plane or watch an entire DVD on battery power, look into a “thin and light” model or a UMPC (ultra-mobile PC). If you want to transcode video or play the latest games, look into a heavier “desktop replacement” or gaming laptop (and plan to hang out near AC power outlets). Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart Computing can do for you and your user group! NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 6 information or webpage downloads are legitimate addresses. When a server is hit by a bombardment of these false address requests, it tries to track down every one of the fake addresses. Before long the server becomes overwhelmed by the fruitless process and crashes. When it crashes, the website will vanish and the hacker will be given access to a prompt for the server. He can then use Linux or DOS commands to request and view information on that server other servers. How About Wireless? Let’s put this hacker into an airport where hundreds of people are sharing a wireless network. It’s like leaving a child alone in a candy store. In this case the airport’s wireless system usually provides the IP addresses through DHCP and he can easily look at the list of addresses that have been supplied. He can test each of the addresses for available ports and it’s quick work to access the most vulnerable. The same principles apply in hotels and restaurants that provide wireless Internet access. If you have a wireless network in your home, our hacker can drive down your street using a laptop or PDA to search for wireless networks. This process is called Wardriving. If he finds one that has not been secured at all, he doesn’t even have a challenge. If you have added a password, he simply has to crack the password. What Tools Do They Use? It’s very easy for a potential hacker to find the tools of his trade. There are many websites that offer program tools and tutorials for using them. Here are some of the popular: Anonymizers and Remailers — Anonymizers are online services that eliminate the trail of information that is left behind. These sites use anonymous proxies that a hacker can use to access computers and servers without leaving his IP address on any log. Remailers strip the header off a message and replace it with a meaningless header that can’t be traced. Command.com — When this command is typed into a server it will basically give you administrative rights. You can then see all the folders and files. It’s also very easy for the hacker to create a new administrative account that he can re-use in the future. Password Crackers — These programs try random passwords at lightening speeds. They are usually very successful. Key Loggers — Hackers frequently install these on computers, especially public PCs. The programs actually record every stroke that you make. Hence, when you type in a username and password, it has been captured. Port Knocking — This is a method of externally opening ports on a firewall by mimicking the process you normally use to add a port to your firewall. Wireshark — This popular program captures and analyzes the data on a network. It’s used by hackers to find information they want and it’s also used by network administrators to manage networks. Aircrack — This program is used to crack wireless WEP and WPA passwords. Metasploit Framework — This is a tool that can be used by hackers to search the Internet for sites that have dubious code. These are the sites that are the easiest to hack — especially when this program does the searching for you. Networks identifying the types of data and the internal addresses of this data. It’s a valuable tool for administrators, but can save a great deal of time for a hacker. NMAP — This is a port scanner. Since a hacker knows that he needs to use a port to access your computer or network, he can use this program to see which ports you have open. NetStumbler — This program finds any wireless networks that are in range. Wardrivers drive through residential neighborhoods using NetStumbler to search for available wireless networks. Kismet — This program takes NetStumbler one step farther. It searches for wireless networks that are not broadcasting their SSID. NSLookup — If you type a domain name into this program, it will give you the company’s IP address Traceroute — This is a very valuable troubleshooting tool for technicians. It will trace a packet on its route through the Internet. It shows every IP address it visits along the way. Snort — This is an open-source intrusion detection system. It shows traffic analysis and packet logging on networks. TCPdump — This is the most widely used network sniffer/analyzer for UNIX networks. Net Cat — This has been called the Swiss army program for hackers. It performs many sniffing and cracking tasks. This was really just some of the basics. But, if we know why security is so important, we may remember to take the right precautions. Hope your web surfing stays secure. NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 7 Outlook & Xobni, a Good Match By Vinny La Bash, Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida www.spcug.org, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). a blank email which is nice. For you organizational types, the second option lets you send meeting requests. A real time saver is the simultaneous display of open time slots that Xobni drags from your Outlook calendar. Your contact profiles display at the top of the Xobni panel with pictures if one is in the profile. That’s followed by the phone number and a thread of any conversations you’ve had along with files you’ve exchanged. Specifics topics are quickly found with Xobni’s search tool, and there is a handy slider that exposes or hides lines of email text. While it appears you could be getting bogged down in details, the material is organized so that navigating through the information is an easy, pleasant journey filled with discovery. Skype’s VoIP service integrates with PC, Xobni quite well. A mouse click on a phone number within a Xobni profile generates a SkypeOut call. You can use Xobni for simple searches within Outlook, and Xobni searching is lightning fast in comparison. That’s probably because it’s integrated within Outlook rather than running on top of it like most third party applications. Xobni gives you more than express searching. It organizes social information logically with additional functions that Outlook simply can’t match. How often have you given up searching with Outlook because the program lacks even the simplest logic for intelligent searching? Instead of treating mail conversations, contacts and calendars as separate entities, Xobni weaves them together in a responsive, intuitive interface. It’s hard to go wrong with this tool. Go to www.Xobni.com and get started. Xobni is Inbox spelled backwards, but there is nothing backward about this free plug-in module from www.xobni.com. The more email you receive, the more you will like and appreciate Xobni. The program works as a data mining machine for your stored emails. Without Xobni, the best you can do with Outlook is to organize your email by folders, messages, and dates. With Xobni, you can organize your email by people, email histories, and personal, social or business relationships. You need Outlook 2003 or 2007 to use Xobni. Either XP or Vista will work fine with the program. The folks at Xobni are also working on versions for other email programs such as Gmail and Yahoo Mail. How long this will take is unknown. Downloading and installation is quick, easy, and seamless. The program requires some time to synchronize itself with outlook. The amount of time will be determined by the size of the email data base you have accumulated. I had slightly over two thousand emails in eighteen different folders, and that took about ten minutes. If you keep a lot of information on your contacts, it’s difficult to extract that information in a way that can be useful with Outlook. All that changes once Xobni is installed. Changes begin with an attractive panel that sits on the right side of your Outlook screen and doesn’t infringe or interfere with any of Outlook’s standard functions. The panel interface slides open when you need it, and discretely closes when you don’t. You get two options within this panel. The first brings up The more RAM you have, the less often your CPU will have to tap the slower hard Notebook Memory drive or SSD (solid-state drive) for data. Granted, there's little advantage in having too much memory, but you'll have a vastly slower notebook if you don't buy enough. Consider 2GB the bare minimum you should buy. And if you're getting Vista, go with 3GB or 4GB. Choose the fastest RAM available for your notebook, such as 800MHz for DDR2 memory or 1,600MHz for DDR3. Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit www.SmartComputing.com/ Groups to learn what Smart Computing can do for you and your user group! NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 8 Broadsides By Ron Broadhurst, a member of the Space Coast PC Users Group, Inc., Florida, www.scpcug.com, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). These ideas are compiled from years of accumulations from various magazines, books, on-line sites, and my own personal experience. I claim neither originality nor ownership to any of its contents. My only intent is to share the various “tips, “tricks”, & “hints” in hopes of helping & maybe enhancing your computing experiences. They are all intended for anyone who uses a PC. It is for beginners as well as advanced users. Enjoy and use as you will. Ron Broadhurst How To Get Rid of “SEND ERROR REPORT TO MICROSOFT • Right click My Computer on the desktop or in the Start menu. • Click Properties. • Click the Advanced tab. • Click the Error Reporting button at the bottom. • Click Disable error reporting. You can select the checkbox under it if you still want to be notified when errors occur. • Click OK. Note that you can disable error reporting for the operating system only, or for programs only, by unchecking the appropriate box under the Enable error reporting option. You can also configure error reporting only for specific programs by clicking the Choose Programs button. Alphabetize Start Menu Lists When you install a new program on your system, it will often appear at the end of your Start menu. Reorganizing files alphabetically in the All Programs menu does not affect how they appear in your start menu. In order to alphabetize your start menu, you’ll want to click Start and select All Programs. On any file or folder right-click and then select Sort By Name. Now all of your Start menu programs are in alphabetical order. You can also sort subfolders in your Start menu the same way. Make Your Quick Launch Icons Bigger • • • • Unlock the Toolbar Right click the QL toolbar Select the View tab Select large icons Pin an Application to Start Menu The Windows XP Start menu includes an area where two or more Microsoft applications, usually Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, are permanently positioned for easy access. You can add your favorite application to this same convenient location. Open Windows Explorer and locate the executable file for the application. Right-click the file and select Pin To Start Menu. The application will now appear in the Start menu. To remove an application, locate it, right-click it, and select Unpin From Start Menu. Alternatively, you can right-click the app in the Start menu and click Unpin From Start Menu. Change System Sound Through the Control Panel you can change your system’s program event sounds. Click Start and Control Panel. If you’re using Category View, click Sounds, Speech, and Audio Devices; and Sounds and Audio Devices. If you are using the Classic View, click Sounds and Audio Devices. This loads the Sounds and Audio Devices Properties dialog box. Choose the Sounds tab. Select the sound you’d like to change in the Program events box, and then select a new sound from the Sounds drop-down menu. Or select a sound you’ve saved to the hard drive by using the Browse button to navigate to the sound file. Change as many sounds as you like. Save your changes as a sort of theme from the Sound Scheme drop-down menu above the Program events box. (Select the blank line and click Save As.) You can also choose to disable program event sounds. When you’re finished click OK. Saving E-mail Messages To save e-mail messages highlight the message you want to save, then click on File -Save As. Select where you want to save the message and then save it as a txt file. If you’re using a compact camera, you’ll likely be limited to its onboard capabilities regarding magnification and focusing at close distances. However, many of them also have macro presets that let you get as close as an inch away from your subject. Just be sure to frame your shot using the display screen rather than the optical viewfinder, if the camera has one. On a compact model, the viewfinder sees things from a slightly different perspective than the lens. When you’re extremely close to your subject, a shot that looks properly framed in the view-finder will end up shifted over and down, perhaps cutting off part of the subject. Macros Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart Computing can do for you and your user group! NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 9 Ubuntu & Linux Software By Brian K. Lewis, Ph.D., Member of the Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group, Inc., Florida, www.spcug.org, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s applications was much easier than installing drivers for permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other the accessory hardware. uses require the permission of the author (see The first step in installing any application is to go to the e-mail address above). Applications — Add/Remove menu. When this application I suppose some of you might be runs it provides you with a list of all the software available wondering why I have been writing about through Ubuntu and its third-party providers. On the left the Ubuntu Linux operating system and side of the window are listed various categories that you Linux software. As I noted in last month’s can highlight and the appropriate applications are then article my laptop is now my sole computer. Although it has a Pentium 4 listed on the right side. When you highlight a specific processor it only has 512 MB of RAM. application, a description appears in the lower portion of Naturally, that means it is incapable of the window. There is also a search box that you can use to running Windows Vista. But it does easily run Ubuntu find a specific program or a group of programs. Since I maintain my financial records on my computer with more than enough memory to do multi-tasking with no reduction in speed. I also know that there are a number I wanted a financial program that ran under Ubuntu. Not of the members of the SPCUG that use computers that are knowing the specific name, I just searched on the term running Windows 98 or Windows XP. The point is, that it “finances”. This brought up a list of financial software. is not necessary to try to upgrade these computers to run One of the interesting aspects of the Add/Remove Vista or to buy a new computer. Instead you have the free application is that programs are rated based on feedback alternative of installing Ubuntu or another version of from users using 1 to 5 stars. There was a 5 star application Linux. This article will discuss some of the range of free listed, GNUcash, which can import files in the Quicken format. So I put a check mark in the box by the application Linux software and how easy it is to install it. name and then clicked on the The original installation CD of “Apply Changes” button. This Ubuntu included the OpenOffice brought up another window for software. OpenOffice includes a verification of the changes to be word processor, spreadsheet and made. After clicking on “OK”, the presentation applications. These application was downloaded from the Internet and installed are fully compatible with the components of Microsoft Office. I frequently receive documents prepared in MS on the hard drive without any further action on my part. A Word and they open directly into OpenOffice Writer. I can shortcut icon was also added to the Office portion of the edit, comment and save a copy in the OpenOffice format. applications menu. There was no reboot required to Then I can return the modified document to the originator complete this process. After the installation, the “Add/ in MS Word format with all the edits and comments intact. Remove” application reported the successful installation The same is true for spreadsheets. The OpenOffice and remained open in case I wanted to use it further. My Windows financial software was Microsoft Money. presentation application (Impress) reads, writes and modifies PowerPoint files as easily as Writer works with Supposedly it will export its data files in the Quicken documents. OpenOffice also includes a Drawing format. I did that and then copied the files from the application. Drawing is an application that I haven’t used. Windows partition to the Ubuntu partition. However, the Other included software with Ubuntu are Ekiga (internet import into GNUcash was not really successful. I’m not phone software), Pidgeon (internet messenger), Evolution sure why but I suspect there was information missing (e-mail), and a remote desktop viewer. Graphics software which resulted in misidentification of some of the accounts. includes the F-Spot photo manager, GIMP Image Editor Anyway, I selected an arbitrary date and entered opening and Xsane scanner software. Also, there is a CD burner, balances for that date. So now, it is working perfectly and is in agreement with my bank balances. Using it is even movie player for DVDs and two music players. I grant you that the included software doesn’t always somewhat easier than working with either Money or meet all the needs for many users. So Ubuntu has several Quicken. Plus, the price is right. Another application that I needed for Ubuntu was a ways of installing additional software. I mentioned last genealogy program. Here again I was able to find a five star month about installing the drivers for my printer, scanner program, GRAMPS. (Very appropriate name I thought.) It and the wireless modem. This month I will continue with was also available through the “Add/Remove” application other applications that are the equivalent of those that I so installation was completed quickly. GRAMPS imports used under Windows. The installation of these NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 10 GED files as do many genealogy programs. So I exported my files from my Windows software in the GED format then copied the GED file to the Ubuntu partition. The import into GRAMPS was essentially a two-click operation. Everything, including notes and references, were now available in an Ubuntu application. GRAMPS also has more report formats than my Windows software included. So I consider it a very successful replacement. For quite some time I have used a PDA, specifically a Sony Clie which runs Palm Pilot software. The Sony CD loaded the Windows version to the hard drive and also included software to synchronize with the PDA. Since I have considerable contact information in the Clie along with many memoranda, I really wanted to be able to run this under Ubuntu. In the System-Preferences menu there is a selection for PalmOS devices. Now that sounded like it would be quite simple to install the applications necessary to run the Clie. Clicking on the selection runs the Gnome-Pilot application which helps the user to determine the settings for synchronizing with the Clie. Unfortunately, it could not find the Clie PDA. So I had to go back online to the Ubuntu forums to see if I could find the secret. It turns out that getting a PDA recognized and synced with Ubuntu is not always simple. After spending considerable time reading various solutions I came across a command line entry that showed the entries where my Clie was being recognized by Ubuntu. The PDA was properly identified by vendor and product ID’s. Now all the information I had gathered indicated that the PDA should be listed as using a USB connection and usually ttyUSB0 and ttyUSB1. Much to my surprise my printout showed the Clie as using ttyUSB9 and ttyUSB10. The Gnome-Pilot software refused to accept either of these as valid locations. However, another application, JPilot, accepted ttyUSB10 and synced with the Clie when the sync button was clicked. The synchronization transferred all of my information directly into the J-Pilot software. This software works on the desktop in a very similar manner to the Clie and Pilot software I had used under Windows. Successive synchronizations have also been successful. So that was one less application that would need to run under Windows. There has been one big disappointment in the hardware setup. I have a multi-function media card reader built into the laptop. It reads SD cards as well as xD, MMC, and memory sticks. This reader works great under Windows as a way to transfer photos from my camera to the computer. However, there is apparently no driver available for this to work under Ubuntu. The card reader is manufactured by 02 Micro and they apparently don’t believe Linux is here to stay so they have no plans to create Linux drivers for any of their products. At least that’s the quotation from a response to a query from a Ubuntu user. So when I have photos to transfer to my computer I can either reboot into Windows, or I can connect the camera with a USB cable. The USB cable works fine as Ubuntu recognizes the camera right away. It also opens the F-Spot Photo Manager which allows me to choose the pictures and the location where I want them saved. One of the applications included with Ubuntu is Brasero, a CD/DVD burner. When I first tried to use it, it refused to recognize my DVD+R discs. It would read and write DVD-R/RW with no difficulty. Since I had a supply of the +R discs I decided to look for other DVD burning software. In the ADD/Remove application there were several CD/ DVD burners listed. One of them was five star application called K3B. It was written primarily to work with the KDE destop that is an alternative to the GNOME desktop. The KDE desktop comes with Kubuntu and has an interface that is closer to the one found in Windows. Anyway, K3B will work with GNOME, so let ADD/Remove install it. Any software that you add through Add/Remove can be removed simply by locating it in the list and removing the checkmark that indicates it has been installed. So now I have both Brasero and K3B installed. I also found, the next time I wanted to burn a DVD, that Brasero would now work with my external burner and the +R discs. I do like the interface for K3B better than Brasero, but they both work. As you can see one of the nice attributes of using open license software is the ability to install it and use it at no cost. If you don’t like it, you simply remove it. It’s certainly not that simple in Windows. So, if you want to try a Linux OS on your computer download a “Live CD” and try it out. Also check out the online help forums. I think you’ll find them easier to understand than much of the material Microsoft makes available. Whatever you decide, enjoy your computing! Dr. Lewis is a former university and medical school professor of physiology. He has been working with personal computers for over thirty years, developing software and assembling systems. Wireless Speakers If you’re an audiophile, listen to wireless speakers before adding them to your entertainment setup to make sure you’re comfortable with the sound quality. Some listeners prefer wired audio because it consistently delivers audio to the speakers. Keep in mind that although you can buy wireless speakers at any point, you can’t easily wire your home for wholehouse audio after construction completes. Reprinted with permission from Smart Computing. Visit www.SmartComputing.com/Groups to learn what Smart Computing can do for you and your user group! NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 11 Google’s New “Chrome Browser” (Beta) Not Yet Ready for Prime Time By Ira Wilsker, APCUG Director; Columnist, The Examiner, Beaumont, TX: Radio & TV Show Host, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s browsers, especially its obvious permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other target, Chrome’s nemesis, uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). Internet Explorer. WEBSITE: http://www.google.com/chrome Chrome (beta) was fast As I type this, the national media is playing up the fact that and easy to download from today is Google’s tenth anniversary. In that time it has www.google.com/chrome, and effortlessly installed become the predominate player in the search industry, on my XP machine. During the install I was given the with a market share of about two-thirds. By more than option to import bookmarks (favorites), cookies, and coincidence, Google also recently announced the public passwords from Internet Explorer, which I chose to do. release of a beta version (pre-release) of its free new While unstated by Google, it appears obvious that later browser with the moniker “Chrome”. It is no secret that versions of Chrome will be able to import data from Google is in a competitive war with some parts of the Firefox. Chrome will also run on Vista, and versions for Microsoft dynasty, and Chrome is intended to be a Mac and Linux are in the works. competitor of Internet Explorer (IE). By design, Chrome After reading about Chrome and its features, I was may be a superior browser to IE, but in the few days that excited about its potential. It is written in open source code I have used it, I have to conclude that the current beta using some of the best features of other open source version is “… not yet ready for prime time.” Several of the products such as Firefox and Apple’s WebKit. The code is websites that I routinely visit, including two different tight and compact, and when it works, appears to load and webmail accounts, My Yahoo, my weather page, and some display websites much faster than IE. Some of the technical other sites would partly load and display, and then disappear websites have actually tested the load times of popular with a black window with a white font and graphic websites, and Chrome may be the fastest browser available. displayed. The graphic is of a frowning web page, and the One feature about Chrome, which I was especially expression “Aw Snap! Something went wrong while interested in, was its default display of thumbnails of the displaying this webpage. To continue press Reload or go websites most frequently visited by the user. Clicking on to another page.” Reloading would not fix the problem on the thumbnail would instantly open the website either in any page where the error appeared. This is why I believe that this beta version, while fast, attractive and feature rich, is not quite ready to take i t s p l a c e as a primary or secondary browser. For the record, every page that failed to load in Chrome, loaded flawlessly in IE and Firefox. Despite this nagging bug, Chrome is still a worthwhile free download, because it has several interesting features lacking on the c o m p e t i n g NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 12 that window, or in another tab (window) at the user’s discretion. The appearance of the Chrome browser is clean and uncluttered. Each Chrome tab or window is loaded in a virtual “sandbox” such that if one web page crashes, it will not take down the entire browser, but instead only close the affected tab. More and more applications are being integrated, many of which can be run directly from Chrome. Clicking on the control icon on the toolbar of Chrome gives several options, one of which is to create instant application shortcuts which can load applications into Chrome. An icon is created and placed on the desktop by Chrome, and clicking on that icon directly opens the application in a Chrome tab, even if Chrome is not loaded or is offline. This can give near instant access to such services as Gmail, Google Calendar, or most other applications. Utilizing a concept “one box for everything” enables the traditional address bar of the browser to perform several simultaneous functions. As information is typed in the address bar, Google (by default) will identify previous websites visited as well as suggested search topics which become more detailed as more is typed. While Google is the factory default search setting, it can be easily changed to other major search engines, such as Yahoo. Multiple sites, such as EBay, Amazon, and others can also be selectively searched as determined by the user. Chrome uses tabbed browsing long a staple of Firefox, but fairly new in IE. The tabs are dynamic, in that they can be dragged changing their order on the top of the screen, or into a window creating a new window. This gives the user total control over the appearance of the pages displayed for comparison or other purposes, and is an attractive feature. Another useful feature in Chrome that also previously appeared as a default in Firefox is a safe browsing function. Chrome dynamically checks websites entered in the address bar against a continuously updated database of malware and phishing (identity theft) websites, and displays the following in a red warning window in a large font, “WARNING: Visiting this site may harm your computer!”. Many users like to create lists of bookmarks and favorites, and Chrome makes book marking sites very fast and easy. There is a small star on the address bar, and clicking on the star creates the bookmark, with the option to modify the bookmark. Another common task that Chrome handles very well is downloading files. Rather than using a download manager, Chrome displays download progress in the bottom of the window. When completed, the downloaded file can be dragged to the desktop or elsewhere, or opened directly by clicking on the filename in Chrome. Chrome has been a lot of fun to play with, despite my frustrations trying to open some web sites. Google will be releasing frequent updates, and hopefully the page loading bug will be quickly remedied. If you want to try the latest in browser technology, being fully cognizant that it is currently a beta version, then Chrome may be a worthy browser to download and install. Chrome coexists just fine with IE and Firefox, and does not interfere with them. YOU’RE INVITED Members of the NVPCUG Annual Holiday Potluck Party for Members When: Wednesday, December 17th at 6:30 PM Where: Peterson’s Family Christmas Tree Farm (in the Christmas House) 1120 Darms Lane, Napa Bring a potluck dish (plus BYOB) R.S.V.P. to Dianne: [email protected] or 252-1506 What: Put “NVPCUG Party” in the subject area. Let me 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 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. NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 13 Fr om Copies t o Full Co l or Printing we ’re your sou r ce for all your printed needs . Also come see us for your Pr omo tional Items ! 947 Lincoln Avenue Napa, CA 94559-5066 3148 JeffersonStreet • Napa,California 94558 707/257-6260 • fax 707/257-8741 [email protected] http://napa.minutemanpress.com (707) 299-1000 www.napanet.net • [email protected] Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Offering Financial Services throughout the Napa Valley; with offices in American Canyon, Calistoga, Napa, St. Helena and Yountville 800-869-3557 www.wellsfargo.com Thank You ! The Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group is grateful for the support provided by the afore mentioned businesses. Membership Application/Renewal * New Renewal Information Update Please Print Full Name: _________________ Nickname: _______________________ Street/PO Box: ________________________________________________ City: __________________ State: ______ ZIP Code: ________ - ______ Phone (check preferred): Home: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________ Work: ( ______ ) _______ - _______________ E-mail (check preferred): Home: __________________________________ Work: __________________________________ Ocupation/Profession ____________________________ Retired? ______ Do you want to be added to the following NVPCUG e-mail lists? News and announcements: Yes No General discussion of computer-related topics:Yes No If you do not want your preferred phone number and/or e-mail address published in the NVPCUG Directory, which is for the exclusive use of NVPCUG members, check the appropriate box(es): 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 Mark your calendars for the upcoming Holiday party on December 17, 7:009:00 p.m., at Peterson’s Family C h r i s t m a s Tree Farm. For more information about the NVPCUG, visit our Web site: http://www.nvpcug.org 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 membership. $10 Associate Member - a family member of a Regular or Student member. Associate memberships run concurrently with sponsors’ memberships. Make check payable to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Mail application/renewal to: Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group Attn.: Membership Director, P.O. Box 2866 Napa, CA 94558-0286. The NVPCUG is an accredited IRC 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your dues payment may be tax-deductible as a charitable contribution. * To request a Corporate Membership Application / Renewal form, e-mail: [email protected] Revised 4-23-07 NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 14 Hewie’s Views and Reviews By Hewie Poplock, Windows SIG Chair, Vice Pres, Past President, The Central Florida Computer Society (CFCS), www.cfcs.org, [email protected] This article has been obtained from APCUG with the author’s each for shipping. One of the mice worked great and the permission for publication by APCUG member groups; all other other was DOA (dead on arrival). When I e-mailed the uses require the permission of the author (see e-mail address above). seller, they offered to credit my account if I returned the Welcome to this issue of Hewie’s Views & Reviews. Be bad one. That’s nice of them, except the shipping would sure to visit Hewie’s Favorites at http:// equal the refund, so I kept the useless unit. www.hewie.net/. At a tech meeting that I attended (The Tech SIG of CFCS), • My iPhone choice I talked about the situation and mentioned that the good mouse • When a Special isn’t and really is or My Homer didn’t have a battery and wondered how it worked. Everyone Simpson Moment said that it must have a battery. I searched Google for the model • New additions to Hewie’s Favorites to see if I could find a manual. The mice were shipped in plastic zip-locked bags with no documentation or product information. September, 2008 I not only couldn’t find any info, but found that the model was My iPhone choice a Canadian unit, and not available in the US. When the good Recently the new iPhone 3G was released. mouse died, I decided to open one of them. I pushed and pulled Since I have one of the original units, I all of the buttons and cracks and a cover came off. Inside, there watched with anticipation for news about was a battery. I replaced the battery and the mouse again was the new units and services. With the release, working. the faster web speeds was enticing, but I then retrieved the other mouse from the throw-away box spending more for the same service just and opened it up. There was no battery inside and inserted the didn’t pass the justification test. one AA needed. When I connected it to my laptop, the DOA I have decided to keep using my iPhone mouse worked! “Duh” was my reaction. 2G. (I don’t know if that is an accurate I want to publicly apologize to 1saleaday.com (http:// description.) There are several reasons for www.1saleaday.com). They were generous in offering my decision. With the new phones, came me a refund and I was being a Homer Simpson by not realizing an updated operating system, which is a there should be a battery inside and to check it. I guess that’s free upgrade for my unit. Even though why tech support always asks if the computer is plugged in there were some Apple system-wide down times, I was able to before trying to solve a problem. upgrade my unit from version 1.1.4 to 2.0.0 on the release day. New additions to Hewie’s Favorites I did get some errors and had to try a second time, but it There are more new sites this issue, because we skipped a upgraded successfully. month. With the upgrade, I have much of the same functionality of the new 3G phones. I can download and install any of the third USA.gov party programs that are now available. The new 3G is not http://www.usa.gov/ U.S. Government’s Official Web Portal for all government needed to use them. I will discuss some of those programs in transactions, services, and information. It provides direct a future column. I don’t have the increased connection speed of the 3G online access to federal, state, local, and tribal governments. network, but much of Florida is not covered anyway. The I-4 HP Smart Web Printing corridor from Daytona to Tampa has 3G coverage, but if I get http://h20247.www2.hp.com/hho/cache/ a few miles off of the Interstate, I will not be able to take 482779-0-0-225-121.html advantage of the new speed. Software to print usable web pages without cut off edges The older unit cannot do GPS, but does access Google maps and blank pages and I have a separate GPS unit, anyway. Other than it being by-expression newer, the iPhone 3G holds no advantages for me to pay an http://by-expression.com/content/ extra $10 for the same service. If I want to keep the 200 per resources.aspx month text messages there is an additional $5, plus the $199 or Expression Web forum and tutorials. $299 for the phone. I will keep using my original iPhone. Spam Return When a Special isn’t and really is or My Homer http://www.spamreturn.com/ Simpson Moment Protect your privacy and avoid spam. Use Spam Return Last month I talked about the 2 Logitech USB optical mice where no registration is required No Sign-up that I bought from 1saleaday for about $5 each plus $5 NVPCUG Computer News, Nov 2008, Page 15 Elance Volition® http://www.elance.com/p/landing/ buyer.html Outsourcing to freelance programmers, web & logo designers, copywriters, illustrators and consultants http://www.volition.com/index.html Oldest Free Stuff site on the Internet. Includes Coupons & mystery shopping info timeanddate.com http://www.passwordchart.com/ Convert an easy to remember password. It works anywhere on any computer or offline & done in your browser http://timeanddate.com/ Info that is time and date related, such as yearly and monthly calendars, countdown counters and world clock which shows current time in cities all over the world. 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Zamzar supports conversion between a wide variety of different file formats http://www.thinkerer.org/SLintChan/ SLintroch.htm Wordle http://wordle.net/ Generate “word clouds” from text that you provide to use however you like. PlanningWiz Online Room Planner http://v3.planningwiz.com/ Software for Furniture Retailers and Manufacturers, Building Contractors, Realtors and more bobble yourself http://www.xmbaseball.com/ Create a bobble head of you Picnik http://www.picnik.com/ Edit photos the easy way - online in your browser Napa Valley Personal Computer Users Group P.O. Box 2866 Napa, California 94558-0286 Address Services Requested What you need to know to get started in Second Life. Lots of good help. Buzzillions http://www.buzzillions.com/ Product reviews from Verified Buyers about Digital Cameras, Sporting Goods, Appliances, Mens and Womens Shoes, Toys and Video Games, and more. 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