Main Line Computer Users Group


September 2005 Issue 280

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - SEP 10 th


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
UPCOMING MEETING:

Last month, we ran the meeting to better try to handle a variety of interests. It seemed not a disaster; so we'll work in that same vein for our August session.

The first part will be aimed to deal with the questions, problems, tips, tricks and so forth, to assist the less experienced folks. This will require input from them.

After a short break we'll cover a couple of program topics: firstly, Layton will show us the Photoshop amazing capabilities with some video clips so we can see the software working in expert hands (last month's problem has been resolved; so we should be go this month).

Secondly, we'll do a side-by-side demo of imaging software. Tom Johnson will show us the latest version of Norton "Ghost 9" which incorporates their Powerquest acquisition, while Emil will demo Acronis "True Image 8". Hope you'll absorb these potent backup tools!

Around noon, another brief break, then the advanced users come. Note: volunteers for subjects for this session are needed. So, let me hear before the meeting!!!


SCAMMERS FIRST ON THE SCENE!!

Unfortunately, some of the earliest developments on the scene of the massive tragedy in the Gulf Coast of the US were the criminals. No, I don't mean the looters, who got out early and often. I'm speaking of the internet scammers who were busy within about 24 hours of Hurricane Katrina's landfall with enticing email messages sent thru the usual spam email lists. (continued)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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SCAMMERS - (from p.1) The messages came as appeals for aid - with clickable links. The links either downloaded malware of one kind or another or took one to web sites where donations were solicited for apparently legitimate causes, but responding would send your $$$$$ to them! I guess we'll have to get used to (and very wary of) the speed with which scamming takes advantage of the speed, promptness and ubiquity of the internet! Too bad.....

SECURITY (& PRIVACY?) - I got a call from one of our members who told me that a reference to him in one of our newsletters, of a few months ago, had been picked up by the internet search engines; and he was concerned and asked that his name not be used in the future. In case other members may be similarly concerned, one option is to use a first name and last initial. That might provide enough of a clue to members to know who is being referred to, but won't offer much food for the web crawlers (unless you have a very unusual combo, like "Hiram Z"!). For folks who have been only rarely referred to in the past, I've adopted that strategy in this issue. For those who've appeared numerous times, it won't help; so I'm not doing it for them. If any member wants to remain totally unnamed, tell me.

OUR WEB SITE - just a note that our faithful webmaster, Pete Whinnery, has been updating the web page format and will be most appreciative of feedback on it. Also, he'd like ideas to further improve this web site; so don't hesitate to suggest (he says he's still learning, after all these years !).

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 (we have hit 800+ KBps, that's really moving - tho past performance is no guarantee of the future!). If you have a BIG download, you can bring along a zip disk (or a CD-R/RW) and get it done before or after the main meeting.

3) a half dozen or so of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch. We have now transferred our affections to the Country Squire diner in Havertown at Route 3 and 320. So, after the meeting, why not join us? It is a good time to get a little more help (or give it) and just have fun talking about our common interests.

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

With 16 folks attending our August meeting, we which used the questions/problems, program topic(s), advanced topic(s) format. It went a bit smoother than our first try at it in July. I've covered some of the items elsewhere in this issue, but here are a few other highlights:

A favorable mention was made of a web site that handles used hardware. Check it out at: http://www.retrobox.com/rbwww/home/

Linux-interested folks will be interested in help for those things that they need to run in Windows because a Linux version is not available. Bill T got a copy of "Win4Lin" which when running under Linux lets you install a real version of Windows so your Windows app will be running in the real thing. He's been pleased.

One problem that came up related to the use of "packet writing" software to enable using a CD-RW (or even a CD-R) just like a "mini hard drive". Usually, this type of app is bundled with CD writing software. As a reminder, Ahead Software (Nero) uses InCD, Roxio (Easy CD Creator) used DirectCD, which became Drag and Drop, while Veritas (RecordNow!) used DLA (for Drive Letter Access). However, Sonic Solutions bought Veritas and now markets the RecordNow!/DLA package. But, more recently, they also bought Roxio; so they also market Easy CD/Drag and Drop. Who knows what will be on the market in a few months!!!

After this go round, we took a break for coffee (and donuts!), thanks again to Joan and Layton.

For the main meeting program, we had a couple of items on the docket, beginning with John and Pete, who gave us an update on how the recording of the meetings has developed. John described the various microphone setups he tried and where that evolved to. He has been using a mixer to allow using two mics and making it sort of stereo. Then, he reviewed the use of the Audacity software, running on one of his laptops, to do the recording, as well as final editing and saving the audio files. He has been placing those fairly good sized MP3 files (in the 8-10 MB range) on his web host.

Pete picked up the story here. His part is much shorter, as once John gives him the location of the files, Pete then edits the web page to point to those files where they can be downloaded and played on any setup that can handle MP3 format files.

Then came our glitch! When Layton fired up his Photoshop tutorial disc to show us some neat stuff, they display did not correspond to what he had seen at home; so we had to punt. (As Murphy would have it, we figured the problem out right after the meeting adjourned - figures...).

At this point, we were hovering around the noon hour; so we broke and moved on to the advanced topic session - see next item. Remember that links to the audio files of the whole meeting happenings are at: mlcug.org/ [Emil Volcheck]

ADVANCED TOPICS

Following a short break, those who wanted to stay for the "advanced" session sat back. For this time round, we actually had two topics: the first, a shorty was by Emil, the second by Pete (even tho we were trying to give him a rest!).

Emil had brought in a recently purchased 1 GB flash drive (a very small "Micro Cruzer" from the Sandisk folks). Installed on it were 4 "portable" software applications. In this context, portable means that the apps will run directly from the flash drive without having to be installed on a computer (shades of DOS!!). All of them came from John Haller's web site and included: Portable Firefox, Portable Thunderbird, Portable Sunbird - all from the Mozilla folks; plus Portable OpenOffice from OpenOffice.org. Emil ran Firefox and OpenOffice just to show their operation (they load a bit slowly because of coming off the flash drive, even thru the USB 2 route. With all the room on the drive, you can carry your apps with you, along with their data and just plug it into a computer at home, at work or at ??? and away you go with no hassle.

If you'd like to take a look, get to: http://johnhaller.com/jh/mozilla/ which take you to the first 3 apps, with a link on the page to the OpenOffice page.

Even tho Pete's was the long topic, I'm not going to attempt to cover it in detail. His topic was "Secure Shell" of "ssh". This a system for secure (encrypted) transfer of info across the internet; so that listeners-in will not be able to decipher the info as it goes by. The technology includes secure telnet, secure file transfer (ftp) and the client and server programs to implement them. Pete covered some of the details in getting one's own systems (like a personal server) set up to do this kind of data transfer. For those who missed the show but want more info, you can download the audio file (Part 3), and Pete's notes (see the "Using SSH" link), from our web site. [Emil Volcheck]

BOOKMARKS AND FAVORITES

From August's meeting: we had a substantial discussion on transferring bookmarks or Favorites from one machine to another. There's no standard way to do this, but for common web browsers, we looked at:

Internet Explorer - open IE, then click the "File" menu, then click "Import and Export". You'll get a wizard that guides you to exporting and/or importing your Favorites or Cookies (not sure why you'd want to transfer your cookies to another system, but you can.

Mozilla - open Moz, then click the "Bookmarks" menu item, click "Manage bookmarks"; in the window click the "Tools" menu item, then click "Export" (or "Import").

Firefox - open FF, then click the "Bookmarks" menu item, click "Manage bookmarks"; in the window click the "File" menu item, then click "Export" (or "Import").

You'll have to be a little bit careful about what you transfer from and to. Going from Win 98 to XP, or vice versa, or from a very early version of your browser to the latest; may give hiccups!

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COMMODORE ACTIVITY!

There is still an active clique of folks in the US (as well as abroad) who keep working at their Commodore systems. About a month or so ago, one of the "conventions" was held. Here's an email on that event (check the web site):

CommVEx web site updated with some pictures

"Hard to believe that it is 2 weeks since the CommVEx (i.e. Commodore Vegas Expo) already but my week of vacation, traveling home from Las Vegas, is over and I have been back at work for a week as well.

So today I finally had time to get my pictures sorted out and put them up on the CommVEx web site http://members.shaw.ca/commvex05

Maybe not so surprisingly but I seemed to be quite busy with organizing and selling raffle tickets and talking with people and never had the time to take as many pictures as I would have liked to. Hopefully other pictures will start showing up on sites soon too. Bruce Thomas"

DIRECTIONS FOR ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER MEETING ROOM

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


PC/128/64 Meetings  2005  Steering Committee Meetings

			September 10 			September 14  *
			October 8			October 19  **
			November 12 			November 16  

		* = SECOND Wednesday		** = FOURTH Wednesday
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MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE:

PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck 610-388-1581 SECRETARY: Charles Curran 610-446-5239 TREASURER: John Deker 610-828-7897 AMIGA GURU: John Deker 610-828-7897 WEBMASTER: 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