Main Line Computer Users Group


Sept 2002 Issue 244

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - SEP 14 th

We'll get going on Time!


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

John Fried's column on Sunday, Aug. 18, carried the title: "Dealing with worms, viruses that refuse to die". Very appropos! (Unfortunately!!).

At the September meeting, we will be following up on this topic, beginning with the anti-virus demo that we did last month.

Then, we'll move onto some more 2-way discussion (I hope!) on the topics of: a) Spyware and b) firewalls (both soft- and hardware) as tools to help deal with all the troublesome activities infecting internet users.

We will NOT have the chance to deal with SPAM! But, if you do not like that form of repast, perhaps we can devote some time in a future meeting!

If you have malware (short for malicious software) problems, or any questions on security or privacy, please come and air them.

AND, if you have something specific that you know of ahead of time, please post the topic on the email list, before the meeting. That will give us a head start!

We have a couple more tutorial items to look at, if time: 1) a set of videotapes and 2) another CD-based program.


SECURITY & PRIVACY: The Klez Story

In a recent PC World, there is a two-page spread on the Klez virus/worm/Trojan Horse (that we had dealings with the last couple of months) - a very versatile beasty!!

The subtitle reads: "Already the most prolific virus ever, Klez continues to wreak havoc". The article gives some detail about how this sophisticated piece of malware works. [cont. p.2]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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MIKE STRIKES! - well, for the third time in recent weeks, member Mike Byrne made the newspapers again. This time with the arrest of a Mr. Pacinelli for a Ponzi scheme that took a million+ $$ from "investors". Maybe Mike can give us some account of his activities as Director of Enforcement for the Pennsylvania Securities Commission. Thanks Mike, we can all use such help!!!

NORTON ANTI-VIRUS - have one OEM CD of Norton Anti-Virus 2002 left for the princely sum of $10. Anyone interested?

UTILITY CD - all the copies are spoken for. But, more can easily be ordered, for $10 also, just let me know. I'll have the contents list of this CD at the next meeting.

NEW/NOVICE USERS - we are now into our third month of the emailed MLCUG list server. Some of you are making use of it, I hope the rest are reading and benefiting from it. If you have any suggestion(s), on how to improve things, please bring them up at meetings (the sooner, the better) or get them to a steering committee member (see p.7 for names).

REGULAR 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 quite good, too!

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The KLEZ story

There is also a set of Safety Tips:

More at the September (and future) meeting! Don't hesitate to ask questions, this is becoming an increasingly tricky arena!

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Wireless Networking
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by Peter Whinnery

Some of you have heard me bemoan the fact that my wireless network connection has been less than ideal lately. I had heard from a number of sources that an antenna could be constructed out of a Pringles potato chip can. I did some digging on the Internet and found the Pringles can design as well as a number of others. One of the best finds was:

www.turnpoint.net/wireless/has.html

The 802.11b Homebrew Antenna Shootout - 2/14/02. This page listed a number of designs and the results of some field testing. Turns out that the "winning" design is much simpler to build than the Pringles can model.

So I ordered the requisite parts (the pigtail that connects the antenna to the Orinoco wireless PC card and the fitting for the antenna itself) and gave it a go. The results are great! Signal strength increased 200% to 1000%! I built 2 - one for the laptop and one for my Orinoco receiver.

As one would expect the best results come when the 2 are pointed directly at each other. I also get respectable results w/ only one antenna, connected to either the laptop or the receiver. I am impressed with the initial tests. I plan on doing some more extensive testing (a la the type described in the Shootout) and see how I compare w/ the author's results. BTW my design uses 28 oz. baked bean cans, one B&M, one Bushes.

Show and tell will have to wait until the September meeting - I will be out of town for the August meeting.

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TIP: QUICK SHUTDOWN

by Al Severn

If it is a quick shutdown of your system that you are after then try this:.

Go to your WINDOWS folder and look for "run32dll.exe" (without the quotes) and create a shortcut icon of it on your desktop. Name it whatever you care to. I christened mine "SHUTDOWN" (simple). Place it in a convenient spot since you will be using it frequently.

Now, whenever you are finished, for the day, just double click the left mouse button on that icon and say goodnight to the computer.

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LAST MONTH'S PC/128/64 MEETING
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The August MLCUG meeting was attended by 15 folks - filling up all the chairs (got to get more chairs!!). We got a bit of a late start, and I'm afraid we are drifting into the "late meeting start" syndrome. I plan to make a special effort to start future meetings on time! So, please make your effort to be there by 09:30.

The first hour of the meeting was devoted to announcements, questions and problem-solving. The problems covered, as usual, a wide range of difficulties - including recalcitrant hard drives, zip drives, external USB drives, some software problems and some networking.

We are getting a slow increase in the number of members who have either some form of DSL or cable modem service. So, it may be useful to have folks tell us about their experiences with the services - to help others decide whether the time has come for them to make the move. For some, it will not be possible because none of the services are actually available to you. For others, it will be whether the extra cost is worth it.

Yours truly recently made the switch from iDSL (a low speed, 144 Kbps, version) supplied by Cavalier Telephone to cable modem from Comcast (who else!). This will reduce the monthly cost from $60 to $45 ($40 for cable internet, plus $5 to rent the cable modem). The switch not only saves a few bucks but offers higher speed (tho at some loss in reliability, hard to determine just how much, tho). But, until about two months ago, iDSL was the only high speed service available in my part of Chester County.

After the problems, we turned to the first planned meeting demo -the installation of Norton Anti-Virus 2002 on the club PC.

The meeting was adjourned at this point and we were out of time to do either of the other demos that had been mentioned in the meeting notice in the newsletter. So, we have a number of future items for meeting topics.

Remember, your input on meeting activities is always welcome. You can contact the steering members directly or post to the mailing list, or leave them on the BBS.

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Those TEMP & TI Files
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We talked some about this subject last month, but a couple of recent references popped up: so I thought I'd pass them on as reminders. First are a couple of "typical" queries. These are followed by two (2) responses dealing with "Temp" files and "Temporary Internet" files. Look this over and, if you still have questions, bring them up at the meeting.

Windows temp files - "I am looking to free up memory in Windows 98SE. Can I safely delete the contents of the Windows Temp folder? Not the Internet temp files, but the folder in the Windows directory. thanks, bill"

Temporary Internet files - "What exactly are Temp. Internet files. I looked at them and there are hundreds and if I click on any of them I get a message that it may be unsafe to open. Can I totally delete this file? Is there any problems I may encounter by doing this. Is there any other memory hogging files that I can delete."

"I'm still living with a 1.2 gig hard drive with W-98 SE so space is at a premium. I periodically push all the right buttons to clean out the Temporary Internet Files (among other things) and when viewing the Temporary Internet Files folder all that's there is a hundred or so Cookies. However, when I look at the Properties of this folder it says I've got 500 files and 13 folders, using a little over 6.5 megs of space. Where are all these files and how do I get rid of them? Thanks in advance, See ya, Lip"

RESPONSES:

"Yes Bill, you can delete the files in the temp subfolder of Windows. (If any programs are running that have temp files open at the time you delete, you'll get an error message indicating that you can't delete those files.)

A good rule of thumb is that your system hard disk (C:) should have at least twice the amount of your computer's RAM memory free in order for Windows 98 to work properly. (Example: on a system with 64 MB of RAM, the C: drive should have at least 128 MB free -- which is very little free space in today's world!).

If your hard drive has many gigabytes of free space, in most cases you'll find that deleting the contents of the Windows temp folder doesn't free up a significant percentage of space.

By the way, deleting files from the hard drive does NOT "free up memory" in Windows. -- Compu- Doctor David Keller"

"Temporary Internet files are web pages, graphics, audio files, etc. that are cached (stored) on your computer('s hard drive). When you visit a web site your browser caches (stores) the data; so that if you browse the same page again later, it already has part of the data it needs without having to re-download it from the web. Essentially, it speeds up browsing, especially when browsing static web pages or sites that use the same graphics on several pages.

You can delete the Temporary Internet Files, although they will promptly show back up as soon as you start browsing the web. I don't recommend messing with them unless you really need to. Instead, you may want to consider just limiting the space that they can use. Personally, I limit the space to 30MB; but that is very small compared to the default setting (which is usually a certain percentage of your hard drive).

If you want to limit the size:

(1) Click START>SETTINGS>CONTROL PANEL >INTERNET OPTIONS

(2) In the "Temporary Internet Files" section, click on SETTINGS.

(3) Change the limit to whatever you want. 30 MB is what I would consider minimum. If you are using a modem, I'd make it larger.

(4) After you have set the size, you'll be back at the INTERNET OPTIONS page Click on the "Delete Files" button.

This will delete what is in there and limit (future) disk usage to whatever value you (just) set. Now, that amount of space will always be taken up, so don't bother to keep deleting the temporary Internet files after that. Of course, if you have a new computer with a very large hard drive, all of this is not an issue.

Also, just to clarify: these are NOT "memory hogging files". They are simply taking up hard drive (storage) space, not system memory. Dwayne Alton"

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AUDIO vs. DATA CD-R DISKS

Here's a query posed on one of the listservs that I patronize:

"I have been using CD-R discs to save AW files, with fairly good results.

I just found out that there are 2 types of CD-R blank discs, one for data and one for music. Is there any significant difference in these discs? Is it necessary to only use data type CD-R's for burning discs with files? Jerry G"

Here are a couple of responses to Jerry's query. Both convey the same basic info, tho the second is a bit more uninhibited :

"Andy McFadden's CD-Recordable FAQ at: http://www.cdrfaq.org/ is a very good source of info on this subject. Although it's written from a PC users standpoint rather than Mac most of it is applicable to either platform, David.

In reference to your particular query, here is a quote from it: --------------------
Subject: What's the difference between "data" and "music" blanks? (2001/12/18)

"Consumer" stand-alone audio CD recorders require special blanks. See section (5-12) for details. There is no difference in quality or composition between "data" blanks and "music" blanks, except for a flag that indicates which one it is. It's likely that "music" blanks are optimized for recording at 1x, since anything you record "live" is by definition recorded at 1x (though some dual-drive systems allow track copying at higher speeds).

You don't have to use "music" blanks to record music on a computer or on a "professional" stand- alone audio CD recorder. Nothing will prevent you from doing so, but there's no advantage to it.

The "music" blanks are more expensive than the "data" blanks because a portion of the price goes to the music industry. The specifics vary from country to country. In the USA, the money goes to the RIAA, which distributes it to artists who have navigated through a complicated application process.

Some manufacturers have on occasion marked low-quality data discs as being "for music", on the assumption that small errors will go unnoticed. Make sure that, if you need the special blanks, you're getting the right thing." --------------------
Subject: Re: CD-R's for Files

"The only difference between 'music' and 'data' CD-Rs is that the 'music' CDs cost more. The music and recording industry lobbied in the US because of their fear of losing $$ from people copying music to CD. A 'tax' was levied as a sort of royalty to the recording industry, which is why the 'music' CDs cost more. Same CDs as the 'data' CDs. I've put data and music on 80 minute CD-Rs with the same excellent results. No need to pay the extra $$ unless you're really bent on giving the recording industry money.

Can't quite figure this out, though. The recording industry wants copy protection on music... but also wants a royalty on the blank CD-Rs that people use for copying music. Must make sense to someone. Namaste, Kathe"

A RANDOM THOUGHT:

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us. --Unknown"

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FREEWARE

We all like freeware! Especially, when it is a competent and thoughtful product, that is truly useful. Here are a couple of nominations for this month:

Space Odyssey - found another Freeware program that looks like a winner. "Space Odyssey 2.0" is a program that searches out files that your computer is no longer using and allows you to compact them and store them, ready for deletion, if you are satisfied they are trash. The first run on my computer found 800 files, no longer associated with current programs. I was amazed - most of the files were associated with programs that were deleted over a year ago. No other cleaning program has found these. The computer now runs as fast as it did when it was new. The difference is astounding. Again, the price is right - FREE! There are many sites which offer it. PCWorld is one of them.

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file description/0,fid,20440,00.asp

Let me know what you think, Tom Johnson

Free anti-virus - here is an address for a free antivirus program which is good. At home, you may be highly susceptible to viruses. You can obtain the free AVG software for legal home use directly at http://www.grisoft.com/html/usdwnl2.htm When you register and download, they will immediately email you a registration key to unlock it. As with any antivirus product, you should update it at least weekly. Stan Grabowski

[From ejv: anyone in the group using this product? If so, let us know about your experience.]

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TIP: SAVING WEB PAGES

by Stan Grabowski

A feature of Internet Explorer is that it allows you to make an offline copy of a web page so that you can view it even when your Internet Connection is missing. There are several options available that can make this feature even more useful.

First, navigate to the web page you want to make available, then click the Favorites menu, then Add to Favorites..., then check the "Make available offline" box, then click Customize. From the customize dialogue box, you can choose whether to also make linked pages available offline, so that you can browse even more when your Internet connection is not there.

You can also create a synchronizing schedule so that the offline copy of the web page(s) will be updated periodically.

If the web page requires a username and password, you can save that information with the offline copy as well.

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.

[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/

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PC/128/64 Meetings  2002  Steering Committee Meetings

                      September 14                      September 18
                      October 12                        October 16
                      November 9                        November 14

     * = first Saturday     ** = second THURSDAY 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