Main Line Computer Users Group - Sept 2001 Issue 232

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - SEP 8 th

Come Help and Get Helped!


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
MAIN LINE PC/128/64 USERS - Room 110

We have a number of items to cover, plus allow time for a demo or two - that have been promised for some time. but, we never got around to them...

Beginning immediately below is the summary of the results of last month's "survey". We want to take some time to discuss those results and get member input on them.

One of the queries dealt with networking - so we will get a chance to cover this item that is postponed from last month (including reactions to July's wireless demo).

Don't you have a favorite helper (applications, utilities, whatever)? If so, how about sharing that favorite? For example, might we want to "tweak" our system? Microsoft's techies do it with TweakUI. They've put out a version that works with Win9x/Me. You can download it from the BBS, we'll take a look at it. We didn't make it on this one last time.

Another group I have been attending has put out a CD of such favorites. Time permitting, I'll give us a look at what they have come up with. But, how about YOU? Let's hear from you...

See you on the 8th, and don't hesitate to bring a friend!!!

[continued]


MEMBERSHIP SURVEY

Perennial problems are to decide what the monthly programs should be and how do the members react to what is done? Last month, we passed out some 3x5 cards for attendees to write answers to 3 questions that were posed. Below is a summary of the responses:

#1 - do you have high speed internet (DSL, Cable modem, etc.) at home? If so, any comments?

NO - 11

[survey results continue]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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IT HAD TO HAPPEN - as we announced at last month's meeting, another of the so-called "free" internet services, NetZero, had switched to the "pay for service" business model and were merging with Juno - another formerly "free" internet service. This change has culminated with the following notice sent to Nelson Schrock, an MLCUG member who has been using NetZero:
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"Thank you for being such an important part of the growth ofNetZero. We take our commitment of providing you with the highest quality services and products very seriously.

In order to keep that commitment, we find it necessary to make a change to our NetZero Free Internet service.

Beginning October 1, 2001, NetZero will reduce the number of free hours per household to no less than 10 hours of free access per calendar month. This means that your household will be allowed at least 10 hours of free access to the internet each month. NetZero users who require more access will have the option to either sign up for NetZero Platinum at http://my.netzero.net/nzplat/ptpage.html and receive Internet access with no banner ads for only $9.95 per month or pay $9.95 for an Extended Access Pass for unlimited access for the remainder of that calendar month only. Compare that price with AOL at $23."

CMD ANNOUNCEMENT - see p.6 for some details on the next surprising development in the changes around CMD.

20TH ANNIVERSARY! - in the near future, namely - April 2002 - MLCUG will arrive at the 20th anniversary of the founding meeting, which took place at the Main Line Computer Center (hence the source of our name) in April of 1982. At the June Steering Committee meeting, we decided that it would be appropriate to do something special to celebrate that event. ALL ideas, thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed and most appreciated!

LUNCH - some of us regularly adjourn after the meeting for lunch at the Villanova diner. Why not come join us - and continue the converse?

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WIN 9x TIP FIX

In the August NL, there was a tip on restoring single files from your Windows 98 CD. It depends on a new utility that Microsoft included in that version of the OS.

However, I noted in the book "1001 Windows 98 Tips" that they gave a likely erroneous implementation of that utility.

Specifically, they said to use it: click START, scroll to PROGRAMS, then to ACCESSORIES, then SYSTEM TOOLS, then click on SYSTEM FILE CHECKER

Unfortunately, it is not likely to work, as you may not find it there!

All the default installations of Win98 I've seen do NOT put a shortcut to that utility in the System Tools menu. But, the program HAS been installed on your hard drive.

You can access it the way we suggested in the August NL, or you can put it on your START menu.

To do that, you follow the standard procedure:

     click START,
     scroll to SETTINGS,
     click on TASK BAR & START MENU.
     then BROWSE to the file: SFC.EXE 
      (in the Windows\System directory)
     Select it,
     then click OPEN,
     then NEXT,
     then scroll thru the offered list 
      to the System Tools directory,
     then type a filename like:
      SYSTEM FILE CHECKER 
     and click on FINISH

That should do it, then the program will be in the spot where the book said to look!!

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It pays to read the newsletter!

Sometimes coincidences are so real that they must be fabricated. But, this time not!!

In July, we published a tip on making sure that Windows knows where you have parked a copy of the install CD on your hard drive - if you did that when you installed windows. It is a good idea to do it, as it avoids the "insert your Windows CD-ROM and click OK" message, followed by your scrambling around for that disk and then having to swap CDs while you're installing something!!

Then, in August, we published another tip on an easy method - in Win98 - of restoring single, damaged files that came originally from your CD.

Here's the coincidence: a member with a freshly installed Win98 SE had a funky CD from some on- line outfit which apparently deleted a key Windows file in an aborted install attempt. The file is called: OLEAUT32.DLL

After this event, he would get a message on bootup saying the file could not be found. When he went on-line, his dialup worked, but Netscape would not load and run giving an error message related to the missing file.

I got called to help.....

When I got to his place, I confirmed the behavior but found that the problem was more profound - you could not get a directory by opening My Computer, nor would Windows Explorer show you anything. Never seen anything like that! But, fortunately, the old File Manager worked and I confirmed that the files and partitions were there, SO windows apps really need that missing file!!!

Following the tip in the July issue, we edited the registry to point to the copy of the Win98SE CD (on his E: drive). No problem.

Then, following the tip in the August issue, we restored that missing file - using the SYSTEM FILE CHECKER, which took only a few seconds!

Then rebooted and everything worked, My Computer, Explorer, Netscape.....

Fingers crossed that no other hidden damage exists, but it was a gratifying few minutes of work.

So, to reiterate, it's a great idea to read the MLCUG newsletter..

****************************************
MEMBER SURVEY (Cont'd.)

  YES  1 iDSL (Conectiv) 144 Kbps - OK
       1 ADSL (Verizon)  384 Kbps
         (gets 50K downloads, max.)

[Comment: if this level of penetration is representative of our membership, then ISPs have a LOT of opportunity ahead of them ]

#2 - do you have a home network? If so, what kind, any comments?

  NO - 8

  YES  3 10BaseT ethernet 
         (2-6 computers, incl Mac)
       1 10BaseT ethernet + wireless 
         (10+ computers, incl Mac)
       1 10Base2 ethernet

[Comment: for folks with more than one computer around the house, some form of networking is taking hold - even for a C-128...]

#3 - why did you come to the meeting?

  Got to!         1
  Comraderie      6 (+1?)
  Learn          10+
  Give help       5
  Habit           1

[Comment: hopefully, we can pursue this issue in future meetings: maybe some additional surveys(?)]

Note: votes can total more than 13 since many had multiple responses.

So, there you have it! Perhaps, it gives some feel for where our members are and provide some insight for future meetings.

****************************************
BJC3000 PRINTER

by Layton Fireng

I had occasion to replace my ink jet printer. I was quite pleased with my Canon 610. The reason that I liked it so much was that it provided for a separate tank for each ink color. There are two advantages to this: 1) any color can be individually replaced or refilled 2) there are inexpensive aftermarket replacement tanks. This means that a good ink supply can be easily and modestly maintained.

I had the opportunity to acquire a BJC3000 for a modest figure. The ink is held in a removable head. Three heads are offered. One holds only a black tank. Another is CYMK, with a large black tank (the same tank as is in the black only head). The third is the photo head. Again it is CMYK, but the black is less black, and the magenta and cyan, are lighter, while the yellow is the same as is used in the standard head. Also the black in the photo head is smaller in size.

The heads are shared with several other models, but the newer models use two heads, one for black and the other for colors. However, the individual tanks are the same.

The printer prints at up to 1400 DPI. It has several different printing modes, depending on the print medium. On some media, the image is water resistant. One unique feature of the print driver is the ability to spread the image over several sheets. The application that is running needs no special adjustments. The printer driver does it all. The feature is called "poster". It allocates a portion of the image to each sheet, providing cut and paste lines. The quality of the paper used determines the quality of the poster. The advantage of this is that a poster can easily be made, from any application. A nice plus, at no additional cost. I do not know how many of the other Canon's have this feature, but I have reason to believe several others do.

I suggest you take a close look at this printer if you are in the market for a new one.

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
****************************************

August's meeting had 13 attendees, mainly the usual crowd. Those who did not make it did miss a quiet tour de force...

The discussions, announcements and some problem solving kept us engaged until around 11:00, when we had to cut it off to make room for our main event...

During the discussions:

- Layton F mentioned the virtues of the BJC-3000 printer he had acquired (see his summary elsewhere in this issue)

- Peter W gave us some highlights of his updated personal website. We called it up on the club computer and Pete pointed out the items key points, as we scrolled thru the page. A brief summary of his comments AND the URL are elsewhere in this issue. Take a look at the site - Pete does some neat work (it might persuade you to attend one of the theater productions that his lighting designs are part of .....

- John M noted that the emulator guys continue their efforts and the WinVICE folks have released v1.7 their versatile Commodore emulator for the PC.


Notes on Picture Project

by Tom Johnson

[Some remarks from Tom on the major project that he told us about in the August meeting - using the CD that he has built up from only about two months worth of effort!]

Objective: to amass an historical conglomeration of all pictures collected over 50 years, which covers five generations of my family. Pictures are arranged alphabetically by their titles, designed to describe the contents of the graphic images. This is an ongoing project, which will grow and mature over time.

Pictures are kept a on separate drive partition (so C drive knows nothing about it.) Backed up on CD-RW disk. As of the meeting demo, the CD contained: 2309 picture files (337 Megabytes) which had been scanned in using a UMax Astra 2100U Scanner, with most of the image work being done with Irfanview.

The disk contains two folders, a copy of the Irfanview image reader, and a Notepad READ ME direction file. Tried to make this as easy as possible to use, but the plans of mice and men can be tumbled by the laws of Mr. Murphy. Sent a copy to my cousin in Indiana - as a test case - and she could not get Irfanview to run. She tried to download a fresh copy from the Internet, but could not get that to work either. The problem seems to be with the networking of the two computers in her house. After a few trials, she was able to open the alpha files and graphic files successfully.

Old pictures and articles present a treasure trove for the genealogist.

(DEJ Folder - Ashgrove 1 Helfrich) shows Dad's grandmother, my great grandmother, my nephews' great, great, grandmother.

DEJ Family 1: Several old pictures in DEJ folder.

In the Pictures Folder, the first two files are of family trees. The NOTES & Biog Folder contains two biographies, about 150 pages, which explain quite a few of the pictures of relatives & non-relatives.

Historians would profit from this collection. Calf US Naval Hosp - Picture of Naval Hospital, where wounded troops from the Pacific theater returned.

DEJ's Grandmother Helfrick - This is a picture that was isolated and enlarged. Some of the old black and white photos enlarged nicely, some fall apart, depending on how much they are enlarged.

Elnora Johnson 7th grade - shows highlighting.

Ginn, Maggie, enlargement, and Ginn, Robert Obit - from original, almost black with age.

Johnsons, Death of Pearl Graves (grandmother's sister) - Articles preserving history.

Show some of Rose Johnson pictures and articles.

4 or five as Rose Johnson as a child - off a postage stamp-sized picture embossed on cardboard.

Our thanks to Tom for showing off this developing work that represents an incredible amount of effort in a very short time period!!!]


Meeting Items follow-up

by: Peter Whinnery

The Web Page Follow up

One of my latest web publishings can be seen at:

dolphin.upenn.edu/~pacshop/Theaters/hh.html

I point this out as an example of "how I use my computer". It contains images created by my Virtual Lighting Design tools as well as plan, section, and a 3D view of one of our campus theater spaces. It is a static information type page designed for a high turnover audience (college students).

A number of different tools went into creating this page.

  1. Emacs text editor (linux) to compose the html. I prefer to do all my web pages by hand, instead of using web page software (ie FrontPage and Netscape Composer.) Emacs has a html- helper mode that I find quite useful.

  2. AutoCad (dos) was used to edit and manipulate 2-d architectural drawings into a 3-d model. The plan, section, 3-d view, and lightplot are all generated from the same 3-d drawing of Houston Hall. I then used a 3rd-party add-on to Autocad to translate the Autocad model into Radiance format.

  3. Radiance and homemade tools that use Radiance (linux) were then used to generate the photo- realistic examples of the light-plot. Each thumbnail image is a link to a larger version.

  4. Image tools (linux) to translate the output from AutoCad and Radiance high res to web-res formats. The smaller the file size the faster the page loads!

  5. Browsers to test and proof the page. Tested w/ Netscape, Mozilla, Konqueror, and Opera - all under linux.
So here we have a project that involves multiple Operating Systems, html authoring, CAD, raytracing, programming, and publishing. Fun stuff indeed!


CMD GOES TO MAURICE!!

As a couple of recent notices have made clear, there have been a couple of sea changes in the Commodore support scene. The most influential new product producer of the last decade - CMD - has got completely out of the Commodore business in a couple of steps. Software went to Centsible Software and, most recent and very surprisingly, their hardware design and manufacturing went to:

"Click Here Software Co (that is Maurice Randall's one-man show!) has finalized a deal with Creative Micro Designs (CMD) to take over the licensing, manufacturing, and distribution of their entire Commodore-related product lines. We intend to keep these hardware and software products available for many years to come in addition to continued support for all the existing products through new and exciting upgrades.

On July 12, I left Charlotte, Michigan to begin the trip to East Longmeadow, Massachusetts to visit the CMD facility. I was to spend several days learning everything I would need to know to continue the production of these products. I arrived home early Sunday morning, on July 22, with a trailer loaded full of everything CMD had that was Commodore related.

I'll be posting a complete article with pictures here [meaning his website:EJV] as soon as I get everything organized and laid out. In the meantime, Sean Roe has set up a site with the complete text of my journey. It contains the messages that I had posted to the Homestead mailing list for each day while I was gone. You might find some interesting reading there.

Rod and Gaelyne Gasson are currently working on a web site for me also. This will contain a web store for the CMD products along with all the software products I'll have available. There will also be tech information about each product and some other stuff. I'll post a link to it as soon as it's ready.

CMD has provided us with some products that no other company could do, or was willing to do, for us. I want to personally thank them for that and I plan to continue to provide the Commodore community with all the support I can.

Here's a look at some of the new products I'll be introducing once I'm all set up and running..."

Next month's issue will have more details on what Maurice intends to offer in the way of new products, but the more interesting ones are: A NEW HD-DOS, with many new features; A NEW HD-ZIP DRIVE, which is based on the CMD-HD design and HD-ZIP KITS, which will be aimed at those Commodore users who already have a CMD-HD and want to add to its capabilities. Stay tuned! DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The 8-bit and PC sessions will be meeting in Room 110.

[Map goes here]

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the 2-level parking building adjacent to St. Augustine, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building.

NOTE: maps on our webpage - http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/


64/128/PC/Amiga Meetings  2001  Steering Committee Meetings

September 8 September 19 ** October 13 October 17 November 10 November 21

* = first Saturday ** = at Tom Johnson's home *************************************************************************************** EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr. 1046 General Allen Lane West Chester, PA 19382-8030 (Produced with C-128D/SCPU 128, RAMlink, HD-40/85, 1571, FD-4000, THE WRITE STUFF 128, XETEC Super Grafix, Canon BJ-200ex, Swiftlink and Motorola 288 modem)

MLCUG BBS: 610-828-1359 ( 300 --> 33600 bps ), 24 hr/day WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/ PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058 DISK ORDERS: Charlie Curran 610-446-5239 VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610-446-5239 TREAS/MEMBERS: Dewitt Stewart 610-623-5145 SYSOP/AMIGA SIG: John Deker 610-828-7897 INTERNET/Linux:Peter Whinnery 610-284-5234 DATABASE: Layton Fireng 610-688-2080 AT LARGE: Tom Johnson 610-525-3440 AT LARGE: John Murphy 610-935-4398