Main Line Computer Users Group


October 2005 Issue 281

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - OCT 8 th


THIS MONTH'S CONTENTS
UPCOMING MEETING:

Our meeting format of announcement, significant Q&A, main program and advanced topics seems to be going OK. How do YOU feel about it?.

Another go is planned to try to help folks with any problems they may be having. If you are having difficulty, please have as much detail about the circumstances as you can - that will raise the chances that something can be done!

After a short break, the next part of the meeting will be the continuation of the demos and comparisons of the two main drive imaging products (Ghost 9 and True Image 9). You saw Ghost last time; this time Emil Volcheck will demo the brand new version of True Image, which came out after our last meeting; so it is a very new application. The plan is to show how it can be used in backup, restore and rescue modes, comparing it to both the previous version 8, as well as with Ghost 9.

Come noon, another brief break, then to the advanced users. This month may be of interest to more than just the advanced. John Murphy will discuss Home Network Design, Parts 1 and 2. In the first part he will go over picking a router and designing a network around it


OUR COMING NEW YEAR !!

As noted on p.2, we are gearing up for our next (the 24th) year of MLCUG. Your faithful Steering Committee members hope you'll all find it worthwhile to keep up your membership. But, more than that, we'd like to get more input from the members - old and new - on content suggestions for meetings and/or other aspects of the club operation - tell us your thoughts. And, don't forget to tell your friends and acquaintances about MLCUG - we can probably help them, too!! (cont'd on p.2)

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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NEW YEAR A COMING! - we have come round to another year and the time has arrived to start soliciting for renewals for the year 2006! At last month's Steering Committee meeting, we talked over the situation on the club's finances and dues.

As in the previous few years, our expenses have remained below our dues income; so the treasury balance has grown a bit. Since Bee.net has continued its generous support by providing free support for our web pages and the listserv, that has left only one main expense, the newsletter publishing which has more than fit in the dues.

No particularly large expenses are expected, barring a major failure of the club computer or such; so we are holding the dues at the same $15 that we have had for many years now.

How about turning to the last page of this issue, filling out the form and popping it into the mail along with your check for $15 and join us for another year of what we hope will be information, support and a bit of entertainment??

SECURITY (& PRIVACY?) - one of our members 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, I can use just a first name and last initial to provide enough of a clue to members to know who it is, but won't offer much food for the web crawlers. 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, let me know!

OUR WEB SITE (still hosted by Bee.net) - a reminder 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 listserv 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 more 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 CD-R/RW and get it quickly done before or after the main meeting.

3) a half dozen or so of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch at 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 chewing over our common interests.

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

With only 15 folks at our September meeting, we again used the questions/problems, program topic(s), advanced topic(s) format. It also went smoothly. Here are a few of the highlights:

Let's start with fresh coffee (again via the admirable efforts of Joan S and Layton F)! It looks like this will be a fixture for awhile to see if it should become "permanent". Any feedback?

Verizon's FIOS (FIber Optic System) - Emil Volcheck reported that Verizon had hooked up the new fiber optic internet/phone service at his house on 9/9. The service came on line about 4 PM; so as of the meeting time it had been running about 17 hours and was so far, so good. John Murphy noted that his FIOS, now in service for about 3 months has run without a glitch. If anyone else gets the service or has experience with someone else's setup, let us know how things go. This area is right near the leading-edge for this technology...

Photo slide scanning came up - an HP flat bed scanner was mentioned that lets you scan as many as 16, 35 mm, slides in one shot. This makes for a quicker way to go thru a big collection, but it may not be the best way to get high quality prints, should you ever want to do so. To maintain the capability for high quality prints means scanning at high resolution (say about 2400 dpi minimum) which makes for biggggggg files. Lots of them, if you have a big collection...

What's the BIOS and/or registry? - the Basic Input Output System (BIOS) is the code that is permanently stored in chips on the motherboard that is required for your computer to be able to start up. Occasionally, you may have to make changes in the BIOS settings. However, each computer maker tends to provide access in different ways and on newer machines actually hide the instructions for doing so (pressing the DEL, F1, F2 or F10 keys during boot up are common ways to get to it). However, make sure you know exactly what you are doing, as a wrong setting can make it difficult to get your computer working again!

We did not talk about the Registry; so maybe we can cover it a bit next time. It too is another area that requires real knowledge of what you're doing before fiddling with it!

Memory Testing - Layton reported that he had got onto a good memory testing utility and will get the info to us; so the word can be spread!

After these and quite a few other topics had passed by, we took a short break (to refill the coffee cups!). Then, about 11A, we got into:

Today's Topics - beginning with Layton's postponed demo from last month. He fired up a tutorial CD that comes with the new version of Photoshop (CS 2) and ran 3 short video clips for us that illustrated some of the "wow!" capabilities of this newest version of the premiere image manipulation software. I think we were all suitably wowed. Tho, considering the very high cost and extremely steep learning curve for the program, I'm not sure Layton made any converts .

Then, Tom Johnson took over center stage. He took us thru a demo of making a disk image using the newest version of Symantec's "Norton Ghost", version 9. This version is based on the program called "Drive Image 7" got from their purchase of Powerquest. This version appears to combine some of the "system administrator" features of Ghost, with the more user friendly aspects of DI. The main code base seems to be largely DI's.

Firstly, Tom installed Ghost 9 on the club PC. Because of the program's registration/activation feature, it would only work for 30 days; but then he only needed a half hour!

Note: Ghost 9 only works with Windows XP; so if you are running 98 or Me, you'll have to use Ghost 2003 that comes in the box with Ghost 9 (it does not have many of the features that 9 has however, so it is a big cost for these OS users).

Once installed, Tom briefly reviewed some key features, with a handout he gave out, then fired Ghost up and made an image of one of the partitions on the hard drive. For illustration, he picked one that did not have a lot of stuff on it; so the actual image production would not take too long. Ghost produced the image, then verified it. Tom commented on what to do to either restore the image or to restore individual files and/or folders - this latter is done thru a companion utility called "Image Explorer" (another component from Drive Image). One piece Tom did not have time to comment on - other than to acknowledge it was there - is the ability to make incremental additions to the image to cover changes that have taken place over time. This can be set up on a regular schedule, so every Friday evening while you are at the corner bar, your friendly Ghost will update its images incrementally.

Note: Ghost runs around $70, but so you should watch for rebates or sales.

By this time, noon had rolled around; so we postponed until next time, the demo of Ghost's chief competition, Acronis Software's "True Image". A review of this product will be scheduled to be done by Emil at the October meeting. So, you might want to hold off a purchase until you see them both in action.

Time for another break then on to the final phase. [Emil Volcheck]

ADVANCED TOPIC

A volunteer for the AT had been solicited, but none had surfaced until the night before the meeting, hence the lack of preannouncement! The volunteer was John Murphy, who has been using the new wave of internet telephone service, specifically that offered by VONAGE.

John reminded us that the small company he works for had been bought out and the new owner opted to close the local office and consolidate in the mid-west. So, John and a cohort are working out of their homes - but the cohort is now in North Carolina. One of the things they looked for to make this splintered operation work was lower long distance costs.

John dove into internet phone service (so-called VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol). For the meeting, John brought the special router (made by Linksys for VONAGE) and the phone he uses with it. He plugged the router into the Villanova LAN and was up and running.

Anywhere that you can get a fast internet connection, you can plug the router in and you are communicating! John described the operation of the technology, how he and his partner are using it and demoed the use. Everything worked just fine. I think all those still attending were pretty impressed with VoIP's capabilities!!!

John noted that he and his partner are very pleased with the system - and recommend it for serious consideration. He'll be happy to provide anyone interested with more detail if they think this technology might be of use to them.

Our thanks to John for another neat demo that again worked!! [Emil Volcheck]

MISS THE MEETING?

Remember that recordings of the whole meeting (made and worked up for the web by John Murphy) are online for you to download and listen to. Just go to our web site (mlcug.org/) and scroll a bit down the page to locate the audio files. The three September files total about 24 MB, as MP3 files. Then, you can give a listen.


ACRONIS TRUE IMAGE 9

This latest version of the backup/imager was released since our last meeting. To provide some background for that review, here's an infomercial from the "User Group Relations" firm:

User Group Customers, this excellent backup utility just got significantly better! The new version of this award-winning backup utility is a major step forward for end-user backup software, with many excellent new features to make this the product that all end-users should have on their personal computers.

Before Acronis True Image 9.0, users needed two different backup utilities to adequately backup their hard drive. First, they needed an imaging backup utility like Acronis True Image 8.0 to backup their entire hard drive, operating system, application programs, settings, and data files. Acronis was the best of breed utility in this backup category and won numerous awards for its excellence. Unfortunately, imaging backup software required that you backup the entire hard drive, even if you only need to backup one or two critical data files. So, second, users were forced to run a file backup utility to backup their important data files on a more frequent basis than they needed to backup their full system. File backup software was good at backing up individual files and folders, but were very poor at backing up your full system. So, two types of backup utilities were needed to do a thorough backup of your computer. These two backup utilities often worked very differently and running them together was somewhat of a challenge. Acronis True Image 9.0 incorporates both a full system backup imaging utility and a specific file or folder backup utility in one easy to use package. All of your backup needs can now be handled with one excellent product.

When backing up individual files and folders with Acronis True Image 9.0, you simply provide a list of your important data files that need to be backed up frequently. To make this process much easier, you can list entire folders and then exclude certain types of files that you would not want to backup this way. For example, any temporary or system files that might be in the folder you indicated. When you backup these key files, you do not have to close down the use of your computer during the backup. Acronis True Image 9.0 has the technology to backup open files or actively used files on your computer. Hence, you can accomplish this file backup without interrupting the normal use of your computer.

The image backup side of Acronis True Image 9.0 was not left out of some exciting new technology. With this new release, you can make full backup images of your entire hard drive. You can also make incremental backup images of any changes to your hard drive since the last full or incremental backup to save time and space on your backup drive. To these two standard methods of doing image backups, Acronis has added to Acronis True Image 9.0 the ability to do differential backup images. With differential backup images, you initially create a full backup image as the basis for the differential images. Then each time you make a differential backup image, it consolidates all of the changes to the hard drive since the initial full backup image was created. Hence, you only keep the full backup image and the most recent differential backup image to rebuild your hard drive from. Using the incremental backup approach, you need to keep the initial backup image and all incremental images that follow it. Hence, differential backup images can save space on your backup device.

Other exciting improvements are also included in Acronis True Image 9.0 that users will love. Briefly, they include the following items:

Enhanced Scheduler - The scheduler tasks has been significantly enhanced to provide many more options and capabilities than the earlier release. This feature will let you schedule your important backups to run automatically, so you can forget them and still be protected.

Acronis Snap Restore - Users of the Acronis Secure Zone can now setup Acronis True Image 9.0 to restore the operating system immediately, when you are restoring your main hard drive; and you can actually start to use your restored computer in seconds after you start the restore process. The rest of the main hard drive is restored in the background while you start to use your computer productively. You no longer have to wait for the restore to complete before you can start using your computer.

Manage Windows System Restore - With the new version of Acronis True Image 9.0 you can backup your key Windows system files as well as your important data files. Hence, you may find that the Windows System Restore function is a duplication of what True Image can do. So, you can turn on or off the Windows System Restore function directly from within True Image and not have to go looking for where to turn off this redundant function.

Improved Interface and Performance - Many other changes have been made to Acronis True Image 9.0 that makes the product easy to use and quick and responsive to your backup needs. Ease of use and performance have always been key reasons that users prefer True Image over other backup utilities. Now, with these new enhancements, Acronis True Image 9.0 is even better. By Gene Barlow, User Group Relations.

Come see at October's MLCUG meeting!!

RELIEF FROM COMPUTERS!

[Courtesy of Joe Pizzirusso]
PC/128/64 Meetings  2005  Steering Committee Meetings

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

		* = SECOND Wednesday		** = FOURTH Wednesday