Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


June 2006 Issue 289

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - JUN 10 th


UPCOMING MEETING:

We won't neglect those questions and problems; so bring them along for every attendee's chance to get theirs tackled by the 'experts'.

As mentioned later, we plan to have a quick rerun of the VMware Player demo - to show just how well Win 98 can run on your Win XP box

Then, Emil V will take the stage to show off a truly powerful aid to setting up, protecting and recovering your PC. It is the Acronis Bootable Rescue disk that combines the "True Image 9" backup program, the "Disk Director" partition utility and the "OS Selector". Come see!

Time permitting, John M will show off the Microsoft Recovery Console you may have heard of but never seen on your Windows CD.

After a break, in the Advanced session, Pete W will take up a demo of a Linux box running the VMware Player and Windows OS. [EJV]


Charles Curran, 1918-2006

It was our sad task to report to our members that long-time MLCUG member, Charlie Curran died on May 12, 2006, at home. Charlie had been fighting several severe ailments for over two years, in and out of the Delaware Memorial Hospital several times. He was an instrument technician by trade, having done that kind of work for Merck at their Westpoint facility for many years. It was there that he got interested in computers and their use in instrumentation in the mid 70s. And that interest grew. I hope next month to have a fuller account of his life to pass on to you. [Emil Volcheck]

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & COMMENTS
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CHARLES CURRAN LOSS: I am trying to gather information on Charlie's work and hobbies to produce an account for the club.

So, if you knew Charlie, or had worked with him, I'd appreciate hearing any accounts of his activities that you feel would be a contribution to his history. Please call me, 610-793-5156, or email me, emilv@ccil.org. And, thanks in advance. [Emil Volcheck]

WELCOME TO NEW MEMBERS: we want to extend a welcome to two new MLCUG members. Both Ed McFalls and Jane Skurecki claim to be newbies at the computer hobby; so we hope this will be a good way for them to get more value from their investment of time, dollars and brains! Hope to see you as regulars at our future meetings!

NEW STEERING COMMITTEE MEMBER: I'm pleased to report that member Al Gottlieb has agreed to join the MLCUG Steering Committee, those folks who pull together our monthly programs. He has been added to the list on page 7. So, add him to your list of contacts for feedback and to make suggestions on activities for the group.

OUR WEB SITE (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 things you feel will help make it better.....

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

This month turned out to be a time of a real visit by Murphy - but a bit about that later! We began with a round table discussion on announcements, questions and some answers. A few I noted include:

Marty C broke the news to us that long-time member, Charlie Curran had dies the day before on May 12th, at home after a long illness.

Al G mentioned several web sites and web utilities that he has found to be very useful. After the meeting, Al sent an email to the MLCUG listserv where he gave specifics on them (see his May 13 message for details). Marty C also mentioned a source of phone directory assistance that does not charge. He had tried it and could find no hooker in the deal. If anyone tries 1-800-411-SAVE, let us know your experience.

John D mentioned a freeware utility called "CCleaner" (short for 'Crap Cleaner') that lets you manage cookies in Internet Explorer. IE, unlike Mozilla and Firefox does not have a 'cookie manager'; so you may find this a good adjunct if you use IE for your web browsing.

Ralph H asked about any good books or manuals to help getting a leg up with the new powerful competitor to MS Office, freeware called "OpenOffice.org" or OOo. Now in version 2, this is an incredible package of power and FREE! Its popularity is on the rise and there are now quite a few tutorial and reference texts (including, OOo for Dummies, OOo All-In-One, OOo2 All-In-One and Point & Click OOo2). I have all of these and can bring to a meeting for folks to look over. I'm certain there are more and the number will increase as the product is improved and the number of users increases.

Ed C had attended the recent TCF (Trenton Computer Festival) and was the only member who had. It had actually moved back to its original home at Trenton State College. Ed has been a faithful attendee for at least 15 years and indicated that it still has a pretty good outside flea market, but the inside, commercial show was about on a par with local computer shows. The seminars were also good. But, he expressed less enthusiasm for future attendance. Next year?

The time had come round to shift to the main program topic; so we did!

MAIN MEETING

Here's where our friend Murphy first entered the scene. Our presenter, Pete Whinnery, tackled the topic of 'virtual machines' (VM) a way for a computer running one operating system (OS) to also run one or more other OSes with out the major slowdown that takes place when one OS emulates another (in the emulator the OS reads the instructions, or code, of the other, translates it into its own code set, then executes it - much more compute intensive than the VM approach where the other OS code can be run directly).

At last month's advanced meeting, Pete had done such a demo. For this meeting, the plan was to make it a lot easier and persuade other members to give it a whirl. We had downloaded the key tool for this task - a freeware utility called the "VMware Player". We had also put on the club PC, a copy of a Windows 98 SE image that the player could read and run Win 98 in a Window on the regular Windows XP desktop. Getting that all running appeared to go OK.

But, unlike his experience with the same files elsewhere, the Win 98 was glacially slow and no obvious reason for it was evident or could be figured out in the heat of the meeting.

We reckoned that we had not made many converts to trying this when the demo went so badly. However, later that day after the meeting was well past, the problem was run down. It turned out to be due to an error in one line of the startup file that the VMware Player uses.

So, as you may have seen on p.1 of this issue, we plan to a quicky rerun to show the operation as we had hoped it would do! Then, we hope more of the members will give it a try.....

ADVANCED MEETING

After taking a short break around noon, some of us regathered for the advanced session - which was really a continuation of the main topic. While we had been using Windows XP Home to run a virtual machine of Windows 98 SE, this session was aimed at showing a Linux computer with the Linux version of the VMware Player also running Win 98 SE. For this one, Emil had brought in his new Powerspec model 1415 computer which comes NOT with Windows but with a version of Linux, called "Linspire". This OS has been sold on computers from Walmart, TigerDirect, MicroCenter and others.

You can learn more about it at their web site: http://www.linspire.com. With some patience, you may even be able to download a free copy of the Linspire OS to try out on your computer. Like many other versions of Linux, Linspire has a 'live' CD version which you don't have to install, just run it off the CD, like Knoppix that we have had at several past meetings (and which was our MLCUG Christmas CD or DVD 2005).

Murphy's entrance was when we tried to get and install the VMware Player for Linspire, which we had info indicating it could be got for free from the Linspire software archive. That info turned out to be wrong - they were apparently "considering" offering the player, but did not have it yet. Pete tried to install the player via an alternate route, but Murphy flummoxed that try, too. So we bagged it and headed for the Country Squire for lunch and commiseration! [EJV]

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MISS THE MEETING?

Remember that recordings of the meetings (made and worked up for the web by John M) are online for you to download and listen to. Go to our web site (http://mlcug.org/) and scroll a bit down the page to locate the audio files. As of this writing, these audio files from last August to May 2006, and they are accessible from the web site, as MP3 files. You can listen any time you choose! Thanks to John M for the yeoman efforts he puts in to get these files available very soon after the meeting itself (typically it's only a couple of days). [EJV]

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WHERE'S THE CLIPBOARD VIEWER IN WINDOWS XP?

For some reason, Windows XP messed up the Clipboard Viewer. It's barely listed on the Help menus, and it isn't installed automatically when you upgrade to Windows XP. Even when you tell Windows to install it from its CD, it doesn't put a Clipboard Viewer icon on the menu. And that's a shame, as the viewer is a handy way to see exactly what's on your clipboard.

Windows XP's Clipboard Viewer is called the "Clipbook Viewer," and although flawed, it lets you see what's on your Clipboard. Here's how to put Windows XP's Clipbook Viewer onto your Start menu.

  1. Click the Start button then My Computer.
  2. Open your C drive
  3. Double-click the Windows folder. (You might have to tell it to let you see what's inside.)
  4. Double-click the System32 folder. (Again, you might have to tell it to let you see inside.)
  5. Scroll down the page to clipbrd.exe
  6. Drag and drop the file onto your Start button.
Just let go of your mouse button when it's pointing at the Start button; that drops a shortcut to the Clipbook Viewer onto your Start menu. When you open your Start menu, the Clipboard icon will appear near the top. [you will want to rename it : ejv]

Whenever you want to see exactly what's being stored on your Clipboard, click that icon. The Clipbook Viewer will appear, letting you peer inside at the Clipboard's contents.

NOTE: Microsoft seems to have stripped the Clipbook Viewer of the advanced features found in older versions. You can't "stockpile" multiple clips, for instance, or swap clips with networked computers. (The program's Help menu still says you can do these things, oddly enough.) But if you just want to see what's on your Clipboard, the stripped-down Clipbook Viewer works fine.

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ANNUAL BUYING GUIDE: ENSURE NEW PC CAN USE WINDOWS VISTA

Part 2, continued from last month: Some computers will carry "Vista Capable" stickers, and Microsoft has a Web page on Vista-capable hardware specifications at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/hardware/vistarpc.mspx But be careful. Some "Vista-capable" machines, especially those under $600, may run Vista only in stripped-down mode.

Memory: Microsoft suggests 512 megabytes of memory, or RAM, for stripped-down Vista, and it will probably recommend one gigabyte of memory for full Vista. But based on experience with the company's guidelines, I strongly suggest doubling those amounts. Even on a cheap machine, I'd get one gigabyte of memory, and if you want to run Vista with all its features, I suggest two gigabytes.

Video: Stripped-down Vista can run on any graphics hardware that can support what's called SVGA, or a resolution of 800 by 600. The hardware should also support a Microsoft technology called DirectX 9. This includes many integrated graphics systems, which do away with a separate video card in favor of graphics chips bolted to the mother board.

Full Vista will be best with a separate, or "discrete," graphics card that has at least 128 megabytes of dedicated video memory. These cards also need support for DirectX 9. In addition, however, they must also support Microsoft software called "WDDM" and "Pixel Shader 2." If your eyes are rolling right now, don't fret. Microsoft officials say nearly all discrete graphics cards on the market today meet these specs, as will the latest integrated graphics systems, such as Intel chip sets labeled 945 up.

Processor: For stripped-down Vista, a processor running at 800 megahertz or faster should be sufficient, according to Microsoft. For full Vista, the speed rises to one gigahertz. I'd edge higher if your budget allows, but you don't need the fastest processor. Hard disk: Disk storage is already copious enough for Vista, and buying large amounts is cheap. For stripped-down Vista, I'd go for at least 60 gigabytes of hard-disk space. For full Vista, I'd boost that to 160 gigabytes, to accommodate lots of music and video.

If you don't care about Vista at all and just want to keep running Windows XP, you can refer to my 2005 spring buyer's guide at: http://ptech.wsj.com/archive/ptech-20050407.htm.

Either way, happy shopping. [Walt Mossberg]

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Five-Second Word Tricks

By Steve Bass, PC World magazine.

3) Instantly Strip Formatting and Styles

If you need to dump a bunch of formatting, say, bold or italics, highlight the bothersome text, press Ctrl-Space, and you're back to plain vanilla. It's just as easy to get rid of the underlying Style with Ctrl-Shift-N anywhere in the troublesome paragraph. [Thanks, Carl.] 4) Zap Irritating Hyperlinks

The text looks normal, except that it's blue, underlined, and incredibly annoying. I'm talking about hyperlinks, embedded URLs. Accidentally click on one in a Word doc and Internet Explorer pops open to the linked Web page. It drives me nuts.

But there's a way to remove hyperlinks from Word docs: Move the cursor over the hyperlink, right-click it (careful, don't left-click), and select Hyperlink, then Remove Hyperlink.

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How To Use CDs....

Unlike DVDs which have several different formats, we don't have to worry (much) about what kind of CD-R or CD-RW media to buy. The only reason I added the (much) is because manufacturers use different kinds of inks to make CD-Rs (some are colored dark blue, some are greenish, and some are goldish). I've not paid much attention to CD-RWs in years since their value (to me) became moot with the tremendous drop in the cost of CD-R media.

For the most part it just doesn't matter which you buy - but there are two possible exceptions. First, if you are burning audio CDs, you'll want to use the more reflective (less dark) CDs. I've found that many car CD players just won't accept anything else. Second, if you are making archival copies of important stuff, like photos, you should know that the least expensive CDs often begin corrupting in as early as a year. Sony, and a few other companies sell CDs that are billed as archival quality. [david, on the ClarisWorks listserv]

        MLCUG Meetings  2006           Steering Committee Meetings

	June 10 				June 21  
        July 8                                  July 19
        August 12				August 16
  
   * = SECOND Wednesday		** = FOURTH Wednesday