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May 1998 - Vol 14 - Issue 5

Newsletter - Internet Edition


Table of Contents

Microsoft is ComingThe Internet Auction experience
New Column IdeaDrive Image from PowerQuest
Time transforms role of user groupsGenealogy SIG (GENSIG)
Letters from parents to teachers April Door prizes winners
Spring Internet World - Ken's KornerBackup Blues - Humor
Copyright Notice, Disclamer NoticeWeb Doctor from Blue Sky Software
Internet 911If error messages were written in haiku . . .
Windows 3.x Shortcuts...Modifying the Windows 95 Desktop

Homepage News index

Meeting At 7:00 pm. May - 28


To Arms! To Arms!

Microsoft is Coming! Microsoft is Coming!

By Jon Slough, EPCUG Program Director

That’s right, our friend Clark Miller from Microsoft will be here this month to give a demonstration of Windows 98. This is a very timely presentation since Windows 98 will be coming out in late June. This should help you decide whether to stay with Windows 95, jump to Windows 98, or hold out and go to Windows NT 5.0 that is coming out later this year.

Those of us (at least Cindy and myself) who have worked with the Windows 98 Beta have found it to be much more stable than Windows 95 with software that is larger in size and more complex. I actually loaded a CAD software package on a computer with Windows 98 and it ran better than it does normally on Windows 95. Even though Windows 98 is for Home and stand-alone use, it is able to run complex software.

Windows 98 also come with a different looking Desktop and Explorer. Since access to the Internet is a prime reason to move to Windows 98, everything looks like you are in the Internet Explorer browser. Files can be found and programs activated just like you see them on the Internet.

There are many advancements to Windows 98 over Windows 95 and Clark will be discussing many of the new and advanced features. Microsoft is working to make access to the Internet and using your applications as seamless as possible. It will be a great meeting.

And now that you are all hyped up to come to the meeting, now comes the down side.

We can expect a very full meeting room as it usually is when Microsoft comes. Seating may be at a premium and some of us able-bodied persons may need to stand in the back, or the sides of the room. It will be important that we allow people who have lower vision, and physical disabilities to set up near either the TV screens or in front. This may mean that some of the able-bodied early comers may be asked to give up their seats. In short, if you are able to see well, and if needed to stand, please don’t sit near the front.

I am asking that we all watch for new people who may be attending for either the first time, or for the first time in a long time, and make them feel welcome. Our users group is for users, and if we do not continue to grow, we will soon start to shrink. It is important that everyone try to make everyone welcome.

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The Internet Auction experience

Russ Burke, Director-at-Large

Auctions of all sorts of products have been a most interesting development on the net. You can find sites that specialize in products ranging from Computer systems, components & software, all the way to housewares, sporting goods and clothing. I have purchased many items from the more established sites without encountering any real difficulty. I must also add, however, that on a couple of occasions I have had a horrible, frustrating experience.

Generally, they use an auction format where you will see the item listed showing a starting price that is far below what you would expect to pay. If you are interested in bidding on the item, you must register your name, E-Mail address, etc. You will then receive a password, via E-Mail, which you must use in order to bid. Most of the sites are very swift to provide you with a password. I have never felt uncomfortable providing them with the information, since it is encrypted and even your name is private information. Once you are registered you can bid. Some sites accept your bid as written but there are some which will allow you to list the highest price you are willing to pay. In those cases your bid will be raised by a prescribed amount to be above anyone who bids against you until your maximum is reached.

You will find both new and used items for sale, and some sites will allow you to list items you would like to offer. The description of the item will show if it is a new or used. I have personally bought two 233MMX Computer systems over the net, as well as numerous components. I have been pleased with the quality of the systems. Always remember that since you did not purchase it locally, you can not just unplug it and take it downtown for a free fix. Most sites will provide a warranty (and insist on it) but you must send it to the builder which may be in California, or out east somewhere. One of the computers I received had Windows 95 preinstalled and did not work correctly. After a couple of phone calls, I was instructed to return the whole computer. I was surprised to find that the one sent back to me was not even the same unit. I was sure of that because the one I sent them had a 16X CD Rom, and the one returned had a 24X CD Rom, much to my delight. The serial # was different too.

There are some great buys out there but as with any auction, you must do your homework and be very well versed on the value of the item. I have seen items bid up to prices that are far above wholesale. Keep in mind, you are paying freight also.

The watchwords in buying at auction is, “Do your homework before you bid!!!” Keep that in mind and you should have a rewarding experience.

List of my favorite Internet Auction sites:

http://www.haggle.com http://www.onsale.com/ http://www.firstauction.com/
http://www.pc-buyer.com/ http://salamander.ebay.com/ http://www.fairmarket.com
http://www.zauction.com/ http://www.zauction.com/ http://www.accubyte.com/

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New Column Idea

by Sherry Nisly

I have an idea for a column that requires no writing skills, just internet knowledge, and only a little of that. I have a list of sites with tips and short info blurbs. I would like someone who could spend 15-20 minutes each week, or 1-1+1/2 hours a month, I’d estimate, culling some good items from them. You would be responsible for gathering the tips, and keeping track of what you had already submitted and sending them to the editor on time.

That’s it! Send me an email if this is something you would like to do. I have a couple similar ideas if I get more than one response!

Sherry - nisly@skyenet.net

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Drive Image from PowerQuest

by Sherry L. Nisly, EPCUG

Before I start this review, I would like to thank Dave Whittle from User Group Relations for his excellent presentation of the products from PowerQuest and MGI Software. Despite the difficulties Dave had in getting to our meeting (flight cancellation, rerouted thru Kalamazoo, etc.) he did an excellent job of giving us some first hand information with an expertise that let you know, he knew these products well. Thanks, Dave!

Well, I hope this turns out all right. I had an article all written on Drive Image by PowerQuest, but I think the dog must have eaten it. The sad thing is that I don’t have a dog, so I don’t know where it went. I can tell you that it was a really good article as I wrote it while actually using Drive Image the first time. So it was filled with the way things went and what I thought as I was working. But, oh well, I will now go back and try to give you some feel for the wonderfulness of this program without being in the middle of it. Hang on, here we go.

Drive Image can serve at least 3 major purposes for you.

1. Backups are now a quick, easy breeze. Drive Image uses a technology called SMARTSECTOR. This means it copies the used sectors, not the individual files. This cuts your time and saves space.

2. Because it is easier and more convenient to backup your system, you will use it more often and system recovery will be more reliable in the event you “really” need it.

3. Upgrading to a larger hard drive is a snap! This is where I used it before, and am about to use it again.

We did the hard drive shuffle here a couple months ago. That’s where I got a new 6.4Gig and passed my 2.5 to Eric, who kept his 1.6 and passed his 1.0 to Todd who passed his 750 to my Mother and I took her 210 for a second. Now, Eric has a new 6.4 which means Todd can now have the 2.5, Mom can have the 1.6, and Eric can have his 6.4 plus the 750 for an extra.

All this means shuffling of data, of course. And even tho I have done the XCopy thing, I was never comfortable with it, nor was it totally successful every single time. Sometimes depending on your software, you don’t get the hidden and system files when you transfer from one disk to another, and that just doesn’t work.

With Drive Image, you do exactly what the name implies. Take an image of the hard drive. As I said before, you do this sector-by-sector, rather than file-by-file, and the operation is much cleaner, smoother, and more reliable than any other backup, move, copy, or whatever software that I have seen or heard of.

Install Drive Image. Hook up your new hard drive. Run an Image of the original. Restore it to the new drive. But wait. You might want to partition the new drive differently than the old one! Not a problem, Drive Image will even allow you to decide the size of your partitions as you are placing the image onto it.

Tired of using that old tape drive for backups? Use your new fast, Iomega, Syquest, or CDR. Drive Image will span media automatically (that means it will automatically watch for the first disk/media to get full and then ask you for a second and pick up where it left off.)

“But how can I run it if my system breaks down and needs to be totally reinstalled?” Again, not a problem, since you made a Drive Image boot disk when you installed it. You can now just pop in the disk, locate your backup image on the removable media, or other hard drive, and restore it to your main hard drive.

One of the things I like about PowerQuest as a company, besides making software that makes my life easier, is the fact that they go beyond the call of what the software manual requires. They don’t just give you the tools to maintain your system, they give you complete lessons in why you want to use them. They explain partitions, and the reasons for them. They give you, in their manual, some of the common jumper settings. They list numerous hardware manufacturers’ contact information. They have an email newsletter that keeps you up-to-date with their new products, but mostly gives you tips on how to best use them.

I personally appreciate the company and the products, and so far have not had to use their tech support system, but have heard good reports from others on them. So give Drive Image a try, I think you will like what it can do for you.

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Time transforms role of user groups

By Tamara E. Holmes, USA TODAY

USA Today Tech Report
02/24/98- Updated 02:18 PM ET

For years, user groups have lured computer geeks, offering a forum for networking and sharing information about the latest high-tech gadgets and operating systems. But as computer prices plunge and technology becomes more mainstream, user groups are taking on a more mainstream role.

User groups are organizations that bring computer enthusiasts together to learn more about technology and share their experiences. One of the basic premises of user groups is that members help one another master technology.

But times are changing, says Sam Gardner, a member of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups, an organization that works to facilitate communication and education among user groups.

Years ago, user groups consisted mostly of diehard techheads who seemed more willing to spend endless time helping each other. Today, people come to user groups to hear a one-hour lecture, and “basically want to be entertained.”

Not only is the culture changing, but also the reasons people are turning to user groups. While traditionally a source for high-tech answers, many user groups are now expected to provide the type of guidance that was once the exclusive domain of manufacturers’ support lines.

“The relative lack of customer support that many software companies are providing today” is driving many people to turn to user groups, says Chris Sypolt of Harrison Township, Mich. Sypolt says he joins user groups because there’s no other way for advanced computer users to get their questions answered.

But despite the changes in user group demographics, the groups themselves tend to be receptive to tech newcomers, says Gabriel Goldberg, a member of the Capital PC User Group in Washington, D.C. Part of the reason, he says, is because people in user groups have different levels of technical knowledge. One can always find someone who knows more and someone who knows less.

While most user groups are thrilled to attract new members and the membership fees they bring in, some members worry that an increase in size will lead to a decrease in the sense of community and intimacy.

Such concerns have sparked the popularity of special interest groups, or SIGs, which are subdivisions within user groups that are dedicated to specific topics.

“Special interest groups help people focus on their interests... since no one is interested in all topics,” says Goldberg, who also chairs the group’s Internet SIG.

Because they are specialized, SIGs tend to be small groups, often creating a stronger bond among members. Computer novices may, in fact, be more comfortable in SIG gatherings than in the more formal setting of general meetings.

It’s almost impossible to pin down exactly how many user groups there are since new ones are always forming. The topics they cover range from the Internet to the COBOL programming language, offering something for everybody.

A good place to look for one is on the Web site of the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (www.apcug.org).

“I advocate user groups whether you’re a hobbyist or a serious professional... (They) can accommodate people of diverse interests,” Goldberg says.

Copyright 1998, USA TODAY. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This article is not included in any article exchange program, reprint permission must be obtained from USA Today.

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Genealogy SIG (GENSIG)


by Gloria Savill

Our April meeting was pushed back to the 18th because of the Easter weekend and the KKK rally in town. For those who made the meeting, we enjoyed learning about the publishing of your genealogy efforts in book form presented by Leon Morris and Esther Glick.

Esther has written “Descendants of Frederick Swartzendruber 1825-1895 and Sarah Yoder 1829-1867” and Leon Morris has written “Morris Fork Kentucky”. Two very different books written in two very different ways. Some of the suggestions given by Esther and Leon are:

Decide what kind of book you want to write. This includes the content (what to include or exclude), how big a book (size wise), whether to pre-sell the book if possible or sell after printing, how much to sell for, and how many to print.

Keep a separate bank account. This will help you keep track of expenses.

Select a publisher. Leon used Franklin Press and Esther used Evangel Press, both local publishers. Leon said that although Franklin Press is not a genealogy book specialist they did a terrific job. Both publishers used different methods, paper, binders, layout and both had good and bad points. It was suggested that you roam the bookshelves looking at various written genealogies and write down what you like and don’t like. Then keep these points in mind when you are looking for the right publisher and the items you want included/excluded from your finished book.

Set deadlines. Including when to stop researching and adding information, when to have the finished product photo or camera ready, a date to deliver the book to the publisher, a date to make any final changes, and a date for when you want to receive the finished book from the binder. A meeting with a publisher will help you with these dates along with the size of book, paper selection, layout design, cover design, etc.

Select a title and cover layout. This is very important. Your book must be something a stranger wants to look at, and read and the title and cover is the first thing seen.

Cost of book is determined by the size of the book printed, how many will be printed, soft-cover or hardcover, and final cost of inserting special items such as pictures and special inserts. Cost of pictures varied by publisher so ask detailed questions about the cost per picture versus per page. Esther said her pictures were $10 a piece and Leon’s was $10 per page, a big difference if you can get more than one picture on a page. But pictures help tell the story so you have to decide how many and which ones to include in the book.

Other details to think about are selling the book whether by word of mouth, family reunions, letters, e-mail, etc.; adding a postage and handling fee; and how to deal with state taxes.

As you can see, publishing a book is a time consuming endeavor but well worth it. Thanks Esther and Leon for your presentations. Another group member has suggested a good how-to book—”How to Publish a Quality Family History” by Pat Laws Hatcher.

Our May 9th meeting will be on “Getting Organized” in preparation for our field trip to the Ft. Wayne Public Library on May 23rd. We’ll provide tips and tricks to keep in mind when you make that research trip, whether to the Ft. Wayne or other library, courthouse, archives, etc. We will leave for Ft. Wayne at 7:00am from the parking lot of the Courthouse across from the Elkhart Public Library.

Coming up June 13th will be an open meeting where we will discuss our trip to the Fort Wayne Public Library. Bring an item you found at the library to share with us. From this question and answer session we can find out want you are researching, any problems you may be having and where else to look for missing information, and maybe we can get ideas for future topics.

I still have some 12 Generation Pedigree Charts left (cost is $1.10 each) and will bring them to the next meeting.

Dates to keep in mind— May 28th The Elkhart County Genealogical Society Genealogy Fair. The South Bend Genealogical Society has a one-day seminar June 6th. The Internet SIG meets the 3rd Saturday of each month at Davenport College from 1pm-3pm.

New websites to check out:
http://www.inlink.com/~nomi/vitalrec/index.html - Vital records information index, click on state to get name, address, cost for a copy or search of vital records.
http://www.census-online.com/links/index.html - Census Online links to census sites on the web by state.
http://primenet.com/~jlangford/ships - Plantations and colonies.
http://www.familytreemaker.com/8_mgpal.html - ships and passenger lists.

Look for these sites and our other favorite web sites on the Elkhart PC Users Group Genealogy Page at: http://www.epcug.org/places/p-gen.htm.

The Genealogy SIG meets at the Elkhart Public Library at 300 S. 2nd St. from 10:00am to Noon the second Saturday of the month.

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It has been reported that the following are actual letters from parents to teachers.

1. My son is under a doctor’s care and should not take P.E. Please execute him.

2. Please excuse Lisa for bing absent. She was sick and I had her shot.

3. Dear School: Please ekscuse John for being absent on January 28,29,30,31,32, and 33.

4. Please excuse Robert from P.E. for a few days. Yesterday he fell out of a tree and misplaced his hip.

5. John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face.

6. Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels.

7. Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhea and his boots leak.

8. Irving was absent yesterday because he missed his bust.

9. Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday.

10. Sally won’t be in school a week from Friday. We have to attend her funeral.

11. Please excuse Jason for being absent yesterday. He had a cold and could not breed well.

12. Mayann was absent December 11-16, because she had a fever, sore throat, headache and upset stomach. Her sister was also sick, fever and sore throat, her brother had a low grade fever and ached all over. I wasn’ t the best either, sore throat and fever. There must be something going around, her father even got hot last night.

13. Please excuse Jimmy for being. It was his father’s fault.

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Door Prize Winners

Video Wave
Jack Rowe
Drive Image
David Troyer
Eudora T-Shirt
Keith Meade
Eudora Pro
Net Nanny
Thanks to:
UGR, PowerQuest, and
MGI Software

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Spring Internet World:

Business, Boners & Rebuffs

by Ken Fermoyle

Spring Internet World furnished more evidence of three major trends in computing today:

1. The ascendancy of big business and commerce on the Web,

2. How wrong the pompous prophets and corporate suits can be,

3. How little concern many in the industry have for grass-roots computer users.

Also, Apple was practically invisible.

Buzzwords like “e-commerce,” “enterprise solutions,” “intranets” and “mission-critical applications” echoed through the halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center, site of the March show. Comparatively little was heard of Push technology, the darling of Spring iWorld 97, or “thin clients,” biz-speak for Net Computers (NCs), those sealed, diskless, near-brainless boxes some zealots were touting as replacements for real computers not too long ago.

(Purpose of NCs, by the way, was to reduce the TCO, or total cost of ownership, of PCs to corporations. Sun’s Scott McNealy, Larry Ellison and other backers of the no-brainer boxes, which are supposed to download applications as needed from the Net or a company network, have been quoting the annual cost of a PC to a firm at close to $10,000. Even with training and support, that’s hard to accept, unless they’re tacking part of the huge, multimillion-dollar CEO salaries onto each system! Please excuse the digression, but wouldn’t you love to have 10 grand a year to buy and “administer” your PC? And can you imagine having to download programs from the Net every time you wanted to use it? Boggles the mind!)

“Put the Net to Work” was the theme, and the whole show focused on doing business on the Web.

Which is understandable; this was a trade show, after all. Thing is, even trade shows used to have at least a little something for individual, non-corporate users. You could poke around the small booths against the back walls and find treasures from small companies, often just one or two dedicated people. Then there were happenings like the Computer Faire in San Francisco, my all-time favorite. It’s founder, Jim Warren, a former 1960s hippie and a member of the Bay-area Homebrew Computer Club, set the tenor for the funky, low key (but high fun quotient) Faire. Jim oversaw activities at his creation as he roller-skated up and down the aisles, enjoying himself every bit as much as the attendees, it seemed to me.

Finding those small treasures took some doing at iWorld, but I managed to corral a few.

One was so deceptively simple it seemed almost ridiculous was a set of WristGliders from Ingenious Solutions (www.wristgliders.com). Designed to provide ergonomic wrist support that “can minimize or eliminate effects of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS),” WristGliders look like slightly deformed yoyos. I’m something of a nut on CTS because my wife had it bad: disabling pain, two operations on her right wrist and extensive rehabilitation. She still has some pain today. So I pay particular attention to products that offer relief from or protection against CTS.

(Another digression: I urge everyone with CTS symptoms to seek early treatment and exhaust the possibilities of exercise and therapy by a skilled professional familiar with the problem before opting for surgery. Surgery is not always successful and may even do more harm than good, as my wife learned. And never use a keyboard in a situation (pull-out drawer or too close to the edge of a desk) that doesn’t provide good support for your wrists.)

I’ve been using a WristGlider for several weeks under my right wrist in conjunction with my Logitech TrackBall (I have a full-keyboard-width padded wrist support for typing). It took a short time to get used to, but I find it comfortable, though I haven’t tried it with a conventional mouse. Price are: single WristGlider for use with mouse, $9.95; set of two for typing, $16.95; set of three, mouse and typing, $23.95. A 30-day guarantee offers a full refund it you’re not satisfied.

Several of my favorite iWorld products came from Canada and StarTech Computer Products, London, Ontario (www.startechcomp.com). They were all low-cost items that allow multiple users to access the Internet simultaneously using just one ISP account, one dial-up phone (or ISDN) connection and one modem! This will be a real boon for Small Office/Home Office (SoHo) users like my wife and me.

StarTech’s Internet Sharing Software ($19.95 US) is the key to sharing the Internet. This is all you need if you already have a peer-to-peer network. The software and a 2-computer networking kit for Windows 95 (with two Dual Combo Ethernet LAN adapters, cables, connectors and terminators) goes for $99.95. This is a real bargain; you’d pay as much or more just for a second modem, let alone the $20 per month cost of a second ISP account.

Coming soon from StarTech, perhaps by the time you read this, is Cyber Cable, which will allow two computers to share one Internet connection at the same time with a single, easy-to-install external able. It will sell for $39.95, Internet Sharing Software included.

Another one you can check out for yourself is Alexa, a freebie download from www.alexa.com that helps you surf the Web faster and smarter. It’s a neat little utility.

I plan to report more completely on these products in an upcoming column, so watch for more details.

There were a few other products that I’m currently checking out: Surf Express, software that speeds up Web surfing (www,connectix.com); Internet PhoneJACK, plug-in card to enhance long-distance telephony via the Net (www.quicknet.net); and Eudora Pro CommCenter 4.0 which is another winner from Qualcomm. (The latter will be covered in a special review very shortly, but I can already tell you I love it!)

Oh sure, there was more from such industry stalwarts as Microsoft, IBM and Hewlett-Packard, plus some of heavyweights of little interest to thee and me (Novell, Cisco Systems, Sun, Oracle). Other familiar vendors of products we DO buy were absent: Adobe, Corel, Epson, and many more.

I might have dug up more interesting stuff but I gave up after just one day. Last year, to give you an idea of how things have changed, I spent three days at iWorld, and could have used another one there. This year, the focus on business was so much tighter that it was almost stifling for a non-corporate type like me. How to make money on the Web seemed to be the overriding issue.

It does not make one feel all warm and fuzzy about the future of the Net, not to me, at least. How about you?

Copyright 1997 by Ken Fermoyle, Fermoyle Publications. Ken Fermoyle has written some 2,500 articles for publications ranging from Playboy and Popular Science to MacWeek, Microtimes & PC Laptop. He was cohost/producer of a radio show on computers and a partner in a DTP service bureau during the ’80s. Fermoyle Publications offers editorial, consulting & graphics design services, and Ken’s Korner, a syndicated monthly column free to User Group newsletters. For permission to reprint this article, contact kfermoyle@earthlink.net

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Backup Blues To the Tune of “Yesterday”

Submitted by an EPCUG member

Sung To the Tune of “Yesterday”

All those backups seemed a waste of pay
Now my database has gone away
Oh, I believe in yesterday.

There’s not half the files there used to be,
And there’s a millstone hanging over me
The system crashed so suddenly.

I pushed something wrong
What it was, I could not say.

Now all my data’s gone
and I long for yesterday-ay-ay.

The need for backups seemed so far away
I knew my data was all here to stay
Now I believe in yesterday.

Courtesy of TEKNOIDS

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Copyright Notice, Disclaimer Notice, and
Content & Distribution Information

All articles are the copyright property of the authors and/or the publications in which they were originally published.

Permission is granted to other computer users groups and nonprofit organizations to reproduce in whole or in part, for nonprofit use, any articles written by EPCUG members published in this newsletter, provided that credit is given to The Elkhart PC Users Group and to the authors of the reproduced materials. This permission does not supersede the rights of the authors of copyrighted material. An email notifying EPCUG of the reprint is appreciated, and a copy of the publication sent to EPCUG to be given to the author is encouraged.

Articles reprinted from other sources or authors are not included in any article exchange program with which EPCUG may be involved. Reprint permission for those articles must be requested from the original publication and/or author.

The EPCUG Newsletter contains both locally contributed articles and reviews on a variety of topics of interest to computer users as well as reprints from other newsletters & sources.

The deadline for articles/materials and advertisements is always 12:00 Noon on the Saturday following the General Meeting regardless of publication dates. Please see Meeting Schedule for a list of meeting dates.

EPCUG does not offer payment to article authors or submitters, and reserves the right to reject any material submitted for publication. Any information which may be presented in the articles of this newsletter is believed and intended to be correct and useful. However, neither EPCUG, its Editors, nor its Officers can assume any responsibility for the consequence of any action taken based on the information provided within this newsletter.

Unless specifically stated otherwise, the opinions expressed in any article or column are those of the individual authors and do not represent any official or unofficial position or endorsement by EPCUG, its Editors, nor its Officers. EPCUG is not affiliated with, nor does it sponsor or endorse, in any way, any software or hardware developer or manufacturer, nor any vendor, distributor, or store of any kind unless expressly stated and verified.

EPCUG’s Newsletter is published 11 times a year and is generally mailed to members to arrive just prior to the General Meeting. Through our complimentary distribution list, we place the newsletter in several public libraries, area schools, colleges, and businesses. We also participate in newsletter exchanges with other user groups across the country.

Vendors seeking more information about Distribution, or Advertising in The EPCUG Newsletter, please contact the Advertising Director or any other Officer.

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Web Doctor from Blue Sky Software

by Sherry Nisly, EPCUG

Do you have web pages that you design and maintain? Then this may be something for you to look at. Web Doctor is a program that you run on your pages, after you have completed them, to find errors and get information.

After completing your project, run Web Doctor on the directories that hold it. It will check for missing or broken links and missing or incorrect graphic references. It will make a list of all the URLs referenced in the documents, this gives you the opportunity to make sure you didn’t miss something, such as your copyright link at the bottom of the page or a link back to the home page.

If you are like me, you sometimes change your mind on which graphic you use. I never remember to remove the old one when I add the new one. Web Doctor will make sure that all the files in your directories are referenced to on some page, if not it will list it. You may have a good reason for wanting a particular page or graphic left in your active directory, but if not, it will remind you to remove it so as to save space on your web server.

It will give you an alphabetical listing of all your HTML pages and all the .gif and .jpg files. It will also approximate the amount of time it will take to load each document in your project at four common connect speeds. I like this feature because it would help me decide if what is on that page is going to be important enough to make the visitor wait for it if it takes too long. Granted this is not a truly accurate figure, due to outside influences such as the server might be very slow at one point making a download time much different one time than another. Intermediary server points could also backlog the download time.

The learning curve for this program was extremely low. There was very little need to consult the manual other than slight references. It installed nicely and worked without any complications or interferences to other programs. I liked it and thought it was a good program.

There are two things I didn’t like. One is the price. I’m sorry, but it is just not worth the asking price. There are sites on the net that will do most of what this program does and do it for free. Granted, you have to input more time and effort, but for the price that’s being asked? Maybe a corporate with huge intranets would appreciate this, but for the small business that has a dozen or fewer pages, I could never see it. And strike two, there are no editing capabilities in Web Doctor. If it came with a built-in HTML editor also, or as a plug-in to an editor, maybe. But I have to go from it to my editor to make the corrections, and that is annoying.

So I have mixed emotions on this product. I really wish it were available for the small businesses and individuals, but at the price Blue Sky is asking, I don’t see it happening. For the corporate with dozens of pages, it is an excellent program that your web designers will appreciate.

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Internet 911

by Elizabeth Crowe

Originally appeared in Computer Currents Magazine, http://www.currents.net Copyright 1998 Computer Currents Magazine Plublishing

Internet 911 by Elizabeth Crowe was removed from the web site due to Copyright problems
Check out the above web site.

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If error messages were written in haiku . . .

submitted by Marty Roth, Connecticut PC Users Group

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
Seeing my great fault
Through darkening blue windows
I begin again
Printer not ready.
Could be a fatal error.
Have a pen handy?
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.
This site has been moved.
We’d tell you where, but then we’d
have to delete you.
ABORTED effort:
Close all that you have.
You ask way too much.
With searching comes loss
and the presence of absence:
“My Novel” not found.
The Web site you seek
cannot be located but
endless others exist
A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that
You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Hal, open the file
Hal, open the damn file, Hal
open the, please Hal
Having been erased,
The document you’re seeking
Must now be retyped.
Rather than a beep
Or a rude error message,
These words: “File not found.”

Reprinted from the February 1998, Vol. 16, No. 7 issue newsletter of The Connecticut PC Users Group - http://www.ctpc.org/public/default.htm

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Windows 3.x Shortcuts...

by M. L. Giggleman, Hal-PC member

Making the keyboard work for you

(Editors note: Although these are 3.x tips, Windows 95 users will discover many of them work also.)

Cycle between open windows: Alt+Tab, Alt+Tab, etc.
Cycle through open windows and minimized programs: Alt+ESC
Quickly minimize or maximize windows: Double-click on the Title Bar to minimize or maximize, depending on the current state.
Quickly move open windows: Position the mouse cursor anywhere on the Title Bar, press down on the left mouse button, hold and drag to the desired location and drop.
Quickly arrange open windows: SHIFT+F4 = TILE - arrange open windows so all are visible and there is no overlapping. Quickly arrange open windows: SHIFT+F5 = CASCADE - stack open windows so only the title bars of all but the top window are visible.

Windows: Reserved Character Codes For Paintbrush, Notepad And Cardfile

Microsoft included a list of reserved character codes for use in printed output for Paintbrush, Notepad and Cardfile:

&dcurrent date
&fcurrent filename
&pcurrent page number
&tcurrent time
Formatting codes include:
&ccenter text
&lleft justify text
&rright justify text

Windows Write: Quick Text Selection

All commands below are used with the mouse pointer positioned to the left of a line. The mouse pointer is positioned correctly when it appears as an arrow rather than an I-beam. Many of these commands will also work in other Windows applications.

To highlight Action
one line of textmouse pointer to left of line, click once
entire line plus lines belowas above, hold down Shift key while clicking
paragraphmove mouse pointer to left margin of paragraph, double-click once
paragraph plus paragraphs belowas above, hold down Shift key continue double-clicking
entire documentput mouse pointer in left margin, press Ctrl key while clicking

The following keystrokes may be used to select items in any document window:

To highlightAction
one line of text UPSHIFT+Up Arrow
one line of text DOWNSHIFT+Down Arrow
current position to beginning of documentSHIFT+Ctrl+Home
current position to end of documentSHIFT+Ctrl+End

Windows Clipboard: Manipulating Selected Items

Once selected items are marked, use the following commands:

Cut highlighted area to clipboardCtrl+X or SHIFT+Del
Copy highlighted area to clipboardCtrl+C or Ctrl+Ins
Paste contents of clipboardCtrl+V or SHIFT+Ins
Copy entire screen to clipboardPrintScrn
Copy active window to clipboardAlt+PrintScrn
Undo last editing actionCtrl+Z or ALT+BakSpce

Note that ‘Cut’ removes the highlighted area from the source, while ‘Copy’ does not.

Windows: Closing Windows And Quitting Applications

Quit Windows (if in Program Manager) or to quit an applicationALT+F4
Close active document window or group windowCTRL+F4

Windows Write: Keystroke Shortcuts To Position Pointer

To move toAction
Next sentence5+Left Arrow
Previous sentence5+Right Arrow
Next paragraph5+Down Arrow
Previous paragraph5+Up Arrow
Next page5+PgDn
(works only if document has been paginated)
Previous page5+PgUp
(works only if document has been paginated)
Note: Use 5 on the Numeric Keypad ONLY with NUM LOCK off.

Windows Write: Insert Manual Pagebreak

Position cursor where the Page Break should occur and press CTRL+Enter.

Windows Paintbrush: Keystroke Shortcuts

Simulate MouseAction
Move cursorArrow Key
Click leftIns
Click rightDel
Double-click leftF9+Ins
DragIns+Arrow Key
Moving aroundAction
Left side of drawingSHIFT+Home
Right side of drawingSHIFT+End
Left one screenSHIFT+PgUp
Right one screenSHIFT+PgDn
Down one screenPgDn
Up one screenPgUp

Windows Program Manager: Keystroke Shortcuts

Moving aroundAction
Between groupsCTRL+F6 or CTRL+Tab
Between items within a Group WindowArrow Key

Windows: Keystrokes To Switch Between Applications

To switchAction
Between applicationsALT+Tab
To next applicationALT+Esc
To previous applicationSHIFT+Alt+Esc
To Task ListCTRL+Esc
To DOS Box: toggleALT+Enter

M. L. Giggleman is a HAL-PC member who works contract as a PC Systems Specialist/Network Administrator. This article is reprinted from the August 1997 issue of Hal-PC Magazine, published by the Houston Area League of PC Users. All copyrights reserved.

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Modifying the Windows 95 Desktop

Start Menu to Desktop
Gordon L. Hostetler, EPCUG Director-at-Large

A new computer with Windows 95 has a screen (desk top) with some icons on it. At the bottom of the screen is a Taskbar with ‘Start’ in the bottom left. Click on start and some more menus pop up from the start button, with something called Programs as one of the menu items. It is all very mysterious. Can you add others, or change what is there? The answer is yes and it isn’t too tough to do.

Right click on the Start button with the mouse and you will see a menu pop up. One of the items on this menu is Explore. Left-click Explore to open Windows Explorer. Look in C:\Windows. If C: is not expanded double left-click on it and the folders (directories) under C:\ will fold out. Double click on Windows and the folders in Windows will fold out. The two folders we are going to talk about are Desktop and Start. Double left-click on Desktop and you will see the names of all of the icons that are on your computer’s opening screen.

Double left-click on Start Menu and the items in the Start menu will fold out. One of these items should be Programs. Double left-click on Programs to see its contents. All of the programs that are listed under Programs from the Start menu on the desktop will be there.

If you would like to copy one of the programs that is in your Start menu to the desk top, open Explorer and go to Start\Programs. Reduce the Explorer window by clicking the double box in the upper right hand corner of Explorer. (You can have more than one copy of Explorer open at any one time. This is helpful if you want to move things by dragging from one folder to another.) Then press down the Control key, move your mouse to the program name you want to move to the desktop and hold down the left mouse button and then drag the mouse to the Desktop screen that you exposed when you reduced the Explorer window. When you are on the Desktop, release the mouse button and you will see that the icon has been copied there. If you don’t hold the Control key down when you do this you will move the icon from the Programs folder to the Desktop. Right clicking on the icons or program names also shows a menu with options to cut, copy, paste, delete, etc. These menus can be used to change things around too.

This is a start. Practice a few things. If you move when you wanted to copy, just move back or copy back. You won’t delete anything unless you do it purposely.

Change Desktop and Other Items’ Appearances
Sherry L. Nisly, EPCUG member

Display Properties
To change the way the items on your desktop look go to Display Properties:

Right mouse click on an empty area of your desktop
Choose Properties from the pop-up menu that appears
Click the Appearance tab

If you want to change the appearance of only one screen element, click that element in the Item list. (Or click the item if it is showing in the display window, such as the Active Window Title bar.) Then change the settings in the Item Size and Color and Font Size and Color areas.

If you want to change the appearance of all screen elements simultaneously, click an appearance scheme in the Scheme list.

If you change individual settings and set the desktop up the way you like it, you can save the collective changes by clicking Save As and then typing a name for the scheme. That name will appear in the Scheme list, so you can easily restore the settings later if something causes Windows to reset them. Or set several and give your desktop a makeover when you need a change!

ToolTips - Make Them Easier to Read
What are ToolTips you ask? They are the little boxes with descriptions that you see when you hold your mouse over an icon, the Taskbar, help sensitive spots in programs, etc in Windows 95. You can change the font, font size and color, bold or italic, and the background color. You can do this to make it easier to read, or just to make them look more colorful.

Right mouse click on an empty area of your desktop
Choose Properties from the pop-up menu that appears
Click the Appearance tab
In the Item list box, click the drop down arrow
Slide down and select ToolTip
Choose the background color (the first color choice)
Choose a new font, size, color (the second color choice), bold or italic, etc.
Preview your selections by clicking the Apply button.
When you are done, click the OK button.

Extra Icons
Once you’ve created those shortcuts on your desktop, don’t settle for just the plain ordinary icons that you are given to choose from. For starters instead of selecting from the primary choices the program or Windows 95 gives you, be sure to look at this file:


Remember, too, that they have programs for extracting and editing icons from within the .exe and .dll files on your computer.

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Comments, corrections and suggestions to EPCUG Webeditor

Revised 14-Nov-98