Main Line Computer Users Group


July 2002 Issue 242

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JUL 13 th

Members Helping Members!


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

For July, we'll start off with a brief round of announcements and/or tidbits. Then, we'll take time for Q & A related to the new MLCUG mailing list and the file download area being hosted by our webmaster, Peter Whinnery. What have folks experienced with them, or help is needed to maximize their utility. We are especially interested in feedback from our new/novice community!!!

Then, we'll finish up our viewing of "Discovering Your Hard Drive" with, probably, two short pieces that cover "Backing Up Your Hard Drive" and "Securing Your Hard Drive" at 10 and 8 minutes. Hopefully, we can then have some round table discussion of what folks learned, or need clarification on from the CD.

If desired, we can give a look at the latest versions of Partition Magic and Drive Image - the main tools that are covered in the CD's recommendations on managing your hard drive.

For the remainder of the meeting, we should have more than our usual recent time allotments for questions, problems and problem-solving! If any of the members are getting eXPerience with the new Windows XP, please be around to share how you feel - pro and con. I'm mulling over installing a demo of XP on the club computer - input is solicited.


INFECTED !!!

Have you heard of computer viri (or viruses?)? Well, then you know about having your computer infected by one (or more).

The be all, end all, for me was to learn a few days ago that a friend had 9000 (yes, that's nine thousand) infected files on his home PC!! Can anyone top this?

I have not learned which virus (or viruses) did it, but they DID it...

Just a gentle reminder - for all of us - to make sure we have an updated virus checker and use it (that reminds me to update, too).

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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INTERESTED? - last month, we had the second installment of a very informative "training" CD, called: "Discovering Your Hard Drive". In all, it has some seven presentations on various aspects of hard drive useage aimed at helping you to "Organize, Backup and Secure" your hard drive's contents. It does emphasize the use of software by Powerquest to do this, but the material is far more than a product endorsement. If anyone is interested in getting a personal copy of the CD, we can order them thru the author, Gene Barlow of User Group Relations, out in Oregon. They are available for $20 and we'll have the info at the next meeting for folks to sign up, if they'd like a copy.

In addition to this CD, the UGR offers several PowerQuest and other products at substantial discounts. Info is at the meetings, in case you'd like to take advantage of them or you can contact Emil (610-388-1581 or emilv@ccil.org) any time to get an order blank.

NEW/NOVICE USERS - as is evident elsewhere, we have started some new ways of trying to provide more assistance to our N/N members. But, we are sure there will be other things, too. So, after trying out the changes, give some thought to other ways of giving that help. If you have any suggestion(s), please bring them up at meetings (the sooner, the better) or get them to a steering committee member (see p.7 for names).

USEFUL BOOTABLE CD-R - a recent message on the listserv mentioned the idea of designing (and distributing?) a useful, emergency boot CD-R (as an alternate to the floppy boot disk which has very limited capacity). The question then arose of what utilities should be added to make a bootable CD useful? That may be a topic for discussion in upcoming meetings; so give it some thought and pass on the ideas.

REMINDER - Attendees know that we have a very fast internet connection from the VU meeting room! So, if you have a very large download, you could bring along a zip disk (or maybe a CD-R) and get it done there, either before or after the main meeting.

LUNCH - a half dozen or so of the regular attendees, usually partake of lunch at the Villanova Diner after the meeting. Why not join us? It is a good time to get a little more help (or give it) and just to have fun talking about our common interests. The food is pretty good, too!

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New MLCUG Mailing List

A goodly portion of our members have now got tuned into our alternate communication medium for MLCUG members (only) - at least for those who have internet access and an active email account. Reproduced below is the notice sent out by Peter Whinnery, our webmaster, as the monthly reminder to list members:

"This is a reminder, sent out once a month, about your MLCUG mailing list membership. It includes info on how to add and delete names from the list and some tips on using it.

You can add or delete an address from the list by sending your request to: whinnery@pobox.upenn.edu.

Replies to messages will normally be sent to only the author of the message. Be sure to include the list address either in the To: field or the cc: field of your mailer if you want your reply to be seen by the ALL list members.

This note is generated by a perl program that is run as a cron job on the Xth of the month."

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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Well, after the comings and goings, our June meeting garnered 18 (at least) folks who came to the meeting - for the great pleasure of fighting for a chair!

I neglected to mention, at the start, to welcome folks to Meeting #1 of the YEAR #21 of the Main Line Computer ('nee Commodore) Users Group. So, belatedly, WELCOME !!!

After our usual round of announcements, our treasurer, Stew Stewart, gave us an update on the club finances. They do not move very fast, as we have only a couple of regular expenses - the newsletter and the BBS phone line. And, only the former was paid in June.

Then, we picked up the topic, continued from last month, of ways to assist new/novice (and other) members of MLCUG beyond what we have been able to do at meetings and thru the newsletter and BBS.

The first way resulted when we confirmed that, almost without exception, members have access to internet-based email accounts. Thru the good offices of our webmaster, Peter Whinnery, the mailing list tool was quickly activated (less than a week after the meeting; so thanks and congratulations are due to Pete). We very much hope that it will provide a way to get help, give help or to alert us to topics and problems to address at meetings. We, obviously, will not solve all problems by exchanging email messages (even on a list).

BUT, this list will not do its maximum good unless it is a two-way street for all the users.

There are a few rules for use of the list, to make sure it runs smoothly. Pete noted that he had already planned to send out, monthly, a reminder of the rules of operation to keep folks on track. As we use the system, we can update the reminder to reflect our experiences.

We mentioned that there was already some interest in archiving the list (which actually each participant could do - how depending on the email client they use). But, the idea of editing the archive to make sort of an FAQ that could be obtained by members and searched for problems and proposed (or real) solutions came up. For this we need a volunteer who will do that editing to make the smallest, but useful FAQ list. Anyone??

The second way was to create, with the cooperation of our sponsor Prof. Frank Maloney, a download space on our webserver to place generally useful (mainly freeware) applications and utilities. Webmaster Pete set this up as a subpage on the MLCUG website. While we can not - as currently implemented - make it a "members only" spot (like the mailing list), we will not put a link on the MLCUG homepage. Users will need to have a separate bookmark, or favorite, to the downloads subpage - different from that for reaching the homepage (and, I'm sure ALL of our internet users do have MLCUG bookmarked, right?!). A separate message was issued on this tool.

Following this discussion & demo, we returned to the training CD that we used at the last meeting - "Discover Your Hard Drive" - and ran the presentation entitled "Upgrading Your Operating System". This roughly 30-minute segment discussed the authors philosophy on upgrading your operating system to a new one (exemplified by going from Windows 98 to Windows XP). While the main objective was HOW to upgrade any version of Windows to any other, Gene Barlow also gave his assessment of many of the pros and cons of the specific upgrade To XP.

In the course of this discussion, he also expounded on his ideas on dual hard drives, dual booting and other matters. A bit on the wordy side, but I think his points of view are well taken.

At next month's meeting, we'll probably take a few more minutes to cover one or two more short topics still left on the CD. They include: "Backing Up Your Hard Drive" and "Securing Your Hard Drive" at 10 and 8 minutes, respectively.

The author is a promotor and distributor of PowerQuest products to user groups; so we handed out order blanks for members interested in getting their own copy of the CD, or of Partition Magic or Drive Image - featured in his presentations. His prices are as good as, or better than, those I've seen elsewhere.

We may solicit for a bulk order. If we do, we'll announce it to the list.

The final action of the meeting was to have a go-round of problems and (hopefully) solutions. As a result of this exercise, there have been a couple of messages posted on the mailing list to "archive" the info provided at the meeting.

See you all next time. Hope our members take advantage of the new tools that we presented and reviewed.

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FILE BACKUPS

by Emil Volcheck

If you generate many files - with your word processor, spreadsheet, database, digital camera or such - then you might like a handy way to back up those files to a floppy, zip disk or other removable media. This article offers, for your consideration, a simple option for doing that.

First, tho, it is much easier if you have arranged your hard drive so that the files that you'd like to back up are not hidden away in various subfolders all over the drive.

Having your data files in a common folder (with multiple subfolders) like the ubiquitous "My Documents" folder, makes the backing up a bit more straight forward.

Ideally, your data files are in a separate drive/partition, such as, a D drive. If you arrange it so this drive becomes the "My Documents" folder, then most Windows applications will store their data files in the folder - which is really your D drive.

NOTE: you can do it most readily by:

1) right-clicking the My Documents icon on your desktop, 2) selecting "Properties", 3) editing the "Target" box to read "D:\" (without the quotes)

Second, you'll need to prepare a "batch file" to handle the actual backing up task. See the next section of this article on how to do that.

Third, when you want to perform a backup, run the batch file and it will ask you to insert your removable backup disk and then back up your new, or changed, files. Unless you generate massive amounts of data, this will be a pretty quick and easy process.

Next are the instructions for the batch file prep. If you have questions, about any part of this process, bring them up at the meeting, or post them to the MLCUG Listserver.

See you on July 13th!!

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Preparing a Backup Batch File:

Using notepad, edit or other PLAIN text editor, prepare a batch file - named something obvious, like "backup.bat" (make sure of that file extension!); and store it in a spot that will be easy for you to remember when you wish to run it.

The following suggested batch file assumes you'll be using a Zip disk as your back up medium and that your zip drive has the letter F:


[Batch file begins]
@ECHO OFF
rem   Backup files to a ZIP disk
rem   Updated: 7/4/02

D:
rem   switches to your data drive
CLS
rem   clears the screen
ECHO .
ECHO .
ECHO  Insert Zip backup disk in drive
ECHO .
ECHO .
PAUSE
rem   the above asks for your backup
rem   disk and and waits for a keypress
rem   to acknowledge

CD\00
XCOPY32 *.* F:\00 /S/E/V

CD\01
XCOPY32 *.* F:\01 /S/E/V

rem   for each folder of data files,
rem   you'll need a pair of statements
rem   like the above two examples.
rem   the "xcopy..." line will back up
rem   all the new or changed files in
rem   the designated folder, and all of
rem   its subfolders and VERIFY the
rem   quality of the back up copy

CLS
ECHO .
ECHO .
ECHO Backup completed ...
ECHO .
ECHO .
PAUSE
CD\
CLS
rem   the final set of commands lets
rem   you know the job is done, waits
rem   for a keypress, then exits back
rem   to Windows
[End of batch file]

NOTE: you must make sure that your back up disk has a folder on it that corresponds to each folder that you wish to back up on your data drive. If a folder is not present on the back up disk, you'll get an error message to let you know of your transgression (and may miss backing up some files)!

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Standard Windows Key Shortcuts

by Allen Severn

Regarding the recent discussion here (on the MLCUG listserver), I am adding some additional information:


 Windows Key + D:     Show Desktop*
 Windows Key + E:     Windows Explorer
 Windows Key + F:     Find Files or
                      Folders
 Windows Key + M:     Minimize All
                      Windows
 Windows Key + R:     Run...
 Windows Key + Tab:   Select Task
 Windows Key + Break: System Properties
 Windows Key + F1:    Windows Help

* Requires Internet Explorer 4.0 Desktop Update.
Should be useful to some folks. I have found it so.

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Comparisons Are Interesting Now!

by Emil Volcheck

The information below was taken from an article in MODERN PHOTOGRAPHY magazine, February 1986, p.43.

In the 16 years since then, you can compare how current digital imaging NOW compares to film technology THEN.

For their series of test images, Kodak technicians photographed a scene with a 35mm camera, disc camera, 110 camera and as the equivalent of a still video image. These images (which I usually bring to meetings) were reproduced for viewing. They showed you graphically how far behind video quality was in 1986, even compared with disc film imaging (then the bottom of the heap in film format quality).

They asked: "When will video catch up?"

And, opined that most technicians then did not think it will be a viable system for camera fans until perhaps 2000 AD.

If you look at the numbers below, those technicians did not miss the mark by more than a smidgen, I feel. So, here are the results:

Comparison of Electronic Imaging & Silver Sensitive Systems Based on Pixels or Pixel Equivalents

Since electronic images can't be compared directly with film in terms of graininess, pixels (electronic image information points) are used instead. Film pixel counts (below) are approximate equivalents.


  System                  Resolution

  Sony Mavica                 280,000
  Panasonic Camera            300,000
  Canon Video Camera          400,000
  Disc Film Negative        1,500,000
  110 Film Negative         2,500,000
  Kodacolor VA 100         18,000,000
  Kodacolor VR 200         13,220,000
  Kodacolor VA 400          7,180,000
  Kodacolor VR 1000         3,830,000

NOTE: as you can readily see, even modern high end consumer digital cameras - in the >6 megapixel range are a long way from equalling what good old ASA 100 film could do in 1986. I imagine that film emulsions have got at least some better, NOT worse.

So, when you see claims of "film-like" quality, or "near film-like" quality or "at last digital cameras are equalling film", let them show you the numbers!!!

One More Thing:

What about what you see on that super VGA, or better, monitor that we all spend so much time eyeing? Just for kicks, take a look at these pixel count numbers:


  Monitor Type      Resolution

  C64 320x200         64,000 
  C-128 640x200       128,000
  C-128 640x400       256,000
  VGA 640x480         307,000
  SVGA 800x600        480,000
  SVGA 1024x768       786,432
  XGA 1280x960      1,228,800

You see where you need to be to have even the resolution of a low-end digital camera (mine is about 1.3 megapixels or about like XGA)...

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FRONTIER OF SCIENCE

And finally, with the discovery of new types of matter comes the reminder from http://www.ahajokes.com/sci78.htm1 of:

Administratrium, The New Element

AMES, IA - The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by materials researchers at IPRT/ISU. The new element, tentatively named Administratium, has no protons or electrons, and thus has an atomic weight of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 125 assistant neutrons, 75 vice neutrons, and 111 assistant vice neutrons. This gives it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together in a nucleus by a force that involves the continuous exchange of particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratium is totally inert. However, it can be detected chemically, since it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with. According to its discoverers, a tiny amount of Administratium caused one reaction to take over four days to complete; the normal reaction time is less than one second.

Administratium has a normal half life of approximately three years, at which time it does not actually decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which neutrons, vice neutrons, and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Studies have shown that the atomic mass usually increases after each reorganization.

Research at other laboratories indicates that Administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate at certain points, such as government agencies, large corporations and universities. It is always found in the newest, best appointed and best maintained buildings.

Scientists point out that Administratium is known to be toxic at any level of concentration and can easily destroy any productive reactions where it is allowed to accumulate. Attempts are being made to determine how Administratium can be controlled to prevent irreversible damage, but results to date are not promising.

DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

Meetings are in the St. Augustine Center at Villanova University. The regular monthly sessions will be meeting in Room 110.

[The 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/


PC/128/64 Meetings  2002  Steering Committee Meetings

July 13 July 17 August 10 August 14 ** September 14 September 18

* = first Saturday ** = second Wednesday 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