Main Line Computer Users Group


Aug 2003 Issue 255

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - AUG 9 th


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
MAIN LINE COMPUTER USERS

Last time, as noted later in this issue, we showed off the club's new computer and finished installing the hard drives (2) that we had not had done by the vendor. For its first performance at a meeting, we partitioned both drives (per the scheme on p.3) to ready it for use.

Hopefully, all who attended got the chance to look the hardware over as much as they wished - tho, there will likely still be opportunity to do so again this time. Since the meeting, we have installed Windows 98 SE in one partition, Windows Me in a second and added Powerquest's Boot Magic to let us switch among the various OSes.

Since most, if not all, members have installed earlier versions of Windows, we opted to do the older versions off-line. But, very few (including yours truly) have installed Windows XP. So, that will be the primary program demonstration for this month. Come prepared with any questions you would like answered - for that likely future time when you'll be installing or using XP in your own computer!!!

As mentioned last time, we think this will be a golden chance for members to get in early on the life of a new system, and see how you might tackle it!!


NOT THE LATEST DRIVE IMAGE?

As most of you are aware, I/we have been promoting - for some time now - the Powerquest utilities, Partition Magic (PM) and Drive Image (DI) - as very useful and dependable tools. PM lets you arrange and partition the space on your hard drive(s) to match your ideas on data arrangement, using multiple operating systems, aiding in your backup process, etc. DI has been a prime tool for backing up your hard drive with images of the partitions that allow you to restore them in a few minutes - as opposed to having to do time consuming, tedious and messy re-installations. It allows you to restore all of a partition or only files that may have got corrupted. Over the last five years or so, Powerquest has made [continued on p.5]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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SECURITY & PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS - since last month's issue we have continued to hear more and more examples of ways for folks' personal information to get acquired by inappropriate people, who aim to do you no good !!!

For the many folks who can not afford a computer and internet access, the local library has been promoted as a good, free, way for folks to get on the so-called information super-highway. Now, we learned that "hackers" have been installing keystroke monitors on these public machines and using them to capture usernames, passwords, account IDs, social security numbers and all manner of similar information! Making for much easier identity theft or worse...

It further indicates your need to be careful, especially where you use a system that is either public or many others have access to. Use 'em with MUCH CARE!

And, if you learn about problems of any kind, MLCUG is a good tool for sharing that info. Our listserv, the meeting discussions and this newsletter provide ample opportunities to share your new knowledge. So, PLEASE DO!

REGULAR REMINDERS - 1) our email mailing list is run for the member's benefit; so please do not hesitate to post notices or problems to it. If we can't solve the problem remotely, we can be alerted to it ahead of a meeting where hands-on may do the job.

2) 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 a CD-R/RW) and get it done there, either before or after the main meeting.

3) 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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MLCUG LISTSERV

by Peter Whinnery, webmaster

Since the startup of our club's listserv last year, we've accumulated quite a bit of stuff in its archives. And, all of it has been archived. Recently, a utility was found, and implemented, to organize the info.

So now we have a web accessable, sorted, indexed archive of the the Club mailing list. Please check it out and send any feedback my way. The archive has no external pointers to it so it can only be reached by accessing the URL in the message. That should help prevent non-members from accessing any info there.

Your club dues still hard at work ;-)

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

If you missed JULY's meeting, you missed a good one! We did have 17 folks make the meeting, however (in spite of vacations or whatever).

We started a bit late since we had to get both our older computer and the new one hooked into the projector, monitor, keyboard and mouse; so we could switch back and forth as the demos proceeded. But, finally, we got all in working order, and started with a round of announcements and a few problems:

One had to do with finding a cheap (but good) ISP to replace AOL. There are all kinds of "free" ISPs and/or low cost ones. Most of these tend to expose you to lots of ads of all kinds, permanently taking up screen acreage. Some reasonably good words were said for Netzero Platinum @ $10 per month and Iexpress (?). I don't perceive that there was any consensus as we just don't have enough folks using such services to have much valid comparison info.

Another related to being unable to complete defragging because of errors showing up - which scandisk is reporting as "surface errors". First advice was to start looking for a new backup hard drive, in case this is a first sign of croaking! We did not mention the possibility of being able to refurb the drive with an appropriate low level formatting tool - which cause one to lose everything; so a prompt and thorough data backup seems essential at this point so as to be prepared for drive failure, or need to low level format.

Next, we had some discussion of recent news items on industry's increasing efforts to identify and go after copyrighted music and software downloaders. And, also, discussion about industry efforts to track your internet activities to find out what YOU do and, then, target ads, etc. to get your business - they are getting better and better at this; so maybe a future meeting topic could be devoted to protecting your privacy - if there is enough interest (so if this is a topic of interest, please sound off!).

Then, we turned to our new club PC - the BTO system that was described in the July newsletter. John Murphy opened up the box (which is a beauty!) and went thru its features, including its easy drive mounting, cooling arrangements, component line up and the various motherboard features.

He, then went thru the installation of the two hard drives - an 80 GB Maxtor that is the primary master drive (and will contain the various Windows operating systems, data files and installed applications) and a 20 GB primary slave drive (that will hold the Linux operating system and backups). The drive installation was quick, as the cage for the hard drives just slips out; so you can easily mount the drives, then slip it back in and connect the cables.

After all the questions about the box were finished, the fun began! We slipped in a boot floppy and turned on the power. The system booted up and a quick run with "fdisk" showed that both hard drives were recognized by the motherboard; so we were off to the races.

THE FUN BEGINS!

I then rebooted the computer with Partition Magic 8 - which also identified both hard drives and correctly sized them. So, I undertook the partitioning. Since this is to be primarily a demo system, rather than one for every day use, the partitioning scheme we selected is rather complex. The final layout is:

Master hard drive (80 GB)
Primary  1	2 GB for Windows 98
	  2	3 GB for Windows Me
	  3	5 GB for Windows XP
Unallocated	10 GB
Extended 	56 GB
Logical   4	16 GB FAT32 data (Win 98 & Me)
	  5	16 GB NTFS data (for Win XP)
	  6	24 GB FAT32 programs & pagefiles

Slave hard drive (20 GB)
Primary  1	3 GB for Linux
	  2	16 GB for Backups
Once we had instructed Partition Magic as to what we wanted, all the stuff was put in place as we watched. Less than two minutes for the small drive and less than 5 for the big drive. Quite a nice demo!!

We then rebooted with our boot floppy and checked for the presence of the appropriate drives - all were there as expected. Good show!

By this time, noon was rolling around; so we decided to postpone til next meeting, the installation of the Windows XP OS. Since almost none of the attendees had ever done, or seen, an XP install, we figured folks would really like to see the process rather than have it done between meetings and simply see a fait accompli. So, that's what we'll do.

I want to commend John Murphy for a very well done show-and-tell on all the nice features of the hardware. And to Partition Magic for making a snap of readying the hard drives for a pretty complex installation.

Hopefully, even more of you can make the next meeting and observe the installation of our new Windows XP Home Edition OS...

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AOL FALLOUT

Well, the final whackage happened this morning...

No more Netscape client!!!

Of the handful of apps people left three I know of (Seth included) were transfered to Photon (AOL Communicator), the rest laid off. The Gecko team (backend), which mostly survived the December cuts, was dismantled. A lot were cut, a few found other jobs in AOL, none are going to be working on Gecko.

Mozilla development is now going forth under a new "Mozilla Foundation" -- see the mozilla.org site for details. AOL's kicking in a chunk of change and some machines to get it started, and then it's on its own.

The evangelism team was cut in half and dispersed, so the revamped devedge.netscape.com site is now dead.

There will not be any more Netscape releases. When asked about security firedrills execs said they'd assemble a "SWAT team" to address it and possibly push out a bug fix, but I'm guessing the PR would have to be pretty bad for them to go to that expense.

Dunno what happens to the newsgroups. I suspect they're already unofficial and function only because Markus makes time for it every once in a while.

Good luck to us all, - Dan Veditz (this was spotted by Nelson Schrock as a post to Netscape.com 7/15/03)

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COMMODORE STILL LIVES!!??

Nelson Schrock picked this one up. Amazing that there are still some C= assets with any value!!!

IRONSTONE PARTNERS For Immediate Release - July 16th 2003

Following the press release issued last Friday 11th by Tulip Computers N.V, we are pleased to confirm that Ironstone Partners Ltd has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing deal for the Commodore 64 and associated products.

Through this agreement we intend to grow the Commodore 64 community both by supporting the existing loyal user base and developing new ways to bring the enjoyment of the Commodore 64 experience to an even wider global audience.

Ironstone recognises and applauds the tremendous achievement of the existing Commodore 64 community and the web sites that have allowed it to flourish. Consequently it is our wish to work with and support these sites and it is not our intention to stifle any of the current activities that support the Commodore 64 community.

Our mission is to bring the C64 and the Commodore brand back towards the mainstream and extend its appeal. We will not compromise the values that have made Commodore 64 the tremendous and enduring success it has been in the past and will build on these strengths to take them forward into the future.

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WINDOWS XP TWEAKS

Continuing from July, here are a couple more of the tweaks for XP from Fred Langa:

3) Customize the Taskbar Right click on an empty spot in the Task Bar (the bar next to the Start button). Uncheck Lock the Taskbar. This lets you resize various portions of the taskbar the way you want them. Now, explore the other Taskbar settings to see if any will work for you.

One I always select is Toolbars/Desktop. I place the new Desktop toolbar far to the right on the Taskbar, over by the clock area. Whenever I want access to something on the Desktop that's covered with open windows, I can use this new Desktop toolbar as a shortcut to get to the item on the Desktop without having to close or move any open window.

4) Just Say "No" To Phoning-Home By default, XP wants to contact the Microsoft servers to auto-search for patches, downloads, and updates. It also wants to send Microsoft information about any crashes you experience. The former can be an annoyance if the auto-update cycle kicks in at an inopportune time. The latter is a potential security hole, because the crash-reporting information includes a mini-dump of XP's memory contents; it can include snippets of open documents, passwords you've recently typed, and so on.

You can turn off both behaviors by right clicking on My Computer, selecting Properties, and first choosing the Automatic Updates tab. Select either Turn Off or, minimally, Notify me.

Now select the Advanced tab and click on Error Reporting. Check "Disable error reporting," but leave "notify me when critical errors occur" checked.

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SEE THE "SUPER COMMODORE"

The CommodoreOne, aka "C1" is a new PC-style board that could be called a "Super Commodore" in that it runs as a Commodore computer but with enhancements in virtually every regard. It is reconfigurable in that it can be updated by "flashing" its CompactFlash card with improvements. In fact, it can even be flashed with other 8-bit computer systems and run as an Atari 800, Texas Instruments TI-99, or Apple II. There is even talk that it can be flashed to be an Amiga 500/2000 computer. Jeri Ellsworth, the designer of this remarkable piece of hardware, will have a C1 system set up at the Fresno Commodore User Group table (at the "Classic Gaming Expo, August 9-10, Las Vegas NV) and will entertain all questions pertaining to the C1 and gaming on it.

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POWERQUEST

[continued from p.1]

steady improvements in the capabilities of both these utilities. They have now issued new versions - PM 8 the better part of a year ago and DI 7 in the last couple of months. Both of them have been made fully compatible with Windows XP - and taken on the "look and feel" of Microsoft's latest OS.

However, all is not favorable with the new versions, especially the newest DI! When I read the first description of DI 7, I got a bit bothered by what looked to be some significant limitations.

Almost simultaneously, the internet columnist Fred Langa, publisher of the "Langa List" advised his readers NOT to buy either of the products until he had a chance to get a much more detailed look at them. Fred is a pretty well respected reviewer of things in the IT world and I have appreciated many of his publications, hints, tips and other advice to both the experienced and the novice in computing ranks. As it turns out, I had already purchased both programs - and had been using PM 8, primarily in its "rescue disk" format of two floppy disks that make it very helpful for setting up new systems and trouble-shooting others.

A couple of weeks after his initial warning, Fred came back with his recommendations. In brief, he said PM 8 had moved into the "bloatware" arena and had very little to offer to upgraders. But, he did not say "don't buy".

However, for DI 7, here's what he had to say: -----
"Summary Recommendation: And now that I've had more time to explore the products in question, I can say that indeed, I think the new PowerQuest Drive Image is NOT a worthwhile product; and that I recommend *against* buying Drive Image 7."

Here are his reasons, which I've condensed down by pulling tidbits out of his column. The quote below is synthesized from the tidbits and has had a few items of speech added to make it read a bit smoother:

"I've been a fan of PowerQuest's Drive Image for years, but the product seems to have peaked in v5 which was robust, relatively simple to use, and which could work on almost any OS. Although it had a Windows-based front end, the actual product was DOS-based, and ran outside a PC's normal OS. This ensured that the main OS was not active during the imaging process--- there could be no files-in-use to cause trouble--- and it also meant that DI could image disks containing almost any operating system, including Linux. DI5 also fit on two floppies, although you could squeeze it onto one with some manual tweaking. This made it a breeze to use: Pop in the floppy, reboot, and you could make your image of any drive or partition in your PC, regardless of what OS or OSes it contained.

But, DI 7, is intended (only) for the later versions of Windows. AND, DI7 requires that Microsoft's ".Net framework" be installed; DI7 won't run at all without it. .Net is a Microsoft initiative that so far offers almost nothing at all for end users, except the hassle of a huge, 40MB install! DI7 itself is a porker, weighing in at 45MB, so an installation will actually take an incredible 85MB when you include the mandatory .Net installation.

And there is no floppy option. Instead, the DI7 CD itself is bootable It's a *recovery* environment only, designed to let you restore images that were previously made inside Windows. You cannot make new images from the DI7 bootable CD; rather, to make a new image, you *have* to run DI7 from inside Windows. This makes DI7 less flexible than its forebears, and also means it's a poor choice if you now have, or ever might have, a multiboot system, where you'll also have other OSes to back up.

There are other problems too, such as the choice PowerQuest forces on you of slow, anemic basic tech support--- or better support at $30 per call. Give me a break!" ----- As you can see, this is a pretty unfavorable review!

And, for a bit of followup, I went back thru the manuals for this latest round of PQ products, with the following hard disk needs for them:

Partition Magic 8 70 MB Boot Magic 8 17 MB Drive Image 7 45 MB MS .NET 40 MB

Therefore, the total disk space for these two apps is 172 MB !!!

And, given the limitations as listed by Fred Langa in his "Langa List", I've decided to stick with DI 6 (aka 2002) UNLESS PQ changes course markedly.

PM 8 still works from the pair of floppies (boot & program disks) as we demonstrated at the July meeting. But, so did PM 7 and 6. PM 4 worked from ONE floppy and is still useful for a LOT of tasks. So, anyone having PM 4-7 may not have much motivation to go up, to PM 8.

I have not really compared DI 5 and 6 (2002), but both work from floppies and allow making or restoring images - which DI 7 does not. So, either of them is an OK product.

I'll be waiting eagerly for more followup on a couple of alternate products (BootItNG and Acronis).

If anyone has questions, we can discuss this at the August meeting. [Emil Volcheck]

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 the St. Augustine Center, 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  2003  Steering Committee Meetings

			July 12				July 16 **
			August 9				August 20 **
			September 13			September 17 **

	* = first Saturday	** = THIRD Wednesday at Tom Johnson's homee
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EDITOR:  Emil J. Volcheck, Jr.   1046 General Allen Lane    West Chester, PA 19382-8030
(Produced on a home-built PC: 233 MHz Pentium, 128 MB RAM, 20 GB hard drive, Epson Stylus Color 740 printer, HP Scanjet 6300C, CD-RW drive, DVD-ROM drive and 250 MB Zip drive)

      MLCUG LISTSERV: for members only...
                 WWW: http://astro4.ast.vill.edu/mlcug/
           PUBLICITY: Robyn Josephs 610-565-4058
   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/AMIGASIG: 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