Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


May 2008 Issue 312

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - MAY 10th


UPCOMING MEETING

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: TRACKING YOUR HD USAGE WITH WINDIRSTAT OR KDIRSTAT

ADVANCED SESSION TOPIC: STEERING LIST SERVER UPDATE & MICROSOFT POWERSHELL

For our main presentation this month we plan to have a live demonstration with John D walking through the process of troubleshooting a full (nearly full) disk drive.

You may recall from last month’s meeting that Joan S mentioned that her C drive was nearly full and she was experiencing slower performance than normal. After last month’s meeting John D scouted the Internet for a utility that would help troubleshoot Joan’s problem and discovered WinDirStat. WinDirStat is a Windows implementation of the functions found in KDirStat for Linux. For an introduction to these two utilities, check these web links:

http://windirstat.info/

http://kdirstat.sourceforge.net/

With WinDirStat, CCleaner, Windows Disk Cleanup and some other methods we hope to demonstrate how one might free some disk space on a nearly full disk.

We’ll also discuss why a full disk can reduce the performance of a PC and the things that can possibly be done to regain some of that performance. Some of this discussion will touch on performance issues that are not directly related to a full hard drive, but caused by memory limitations related to available real memory. So we should have some potentially useful information for everyone, not just Joan.

For our advanced presentation, John M has been re-scheduled from last month to introduce us to Microsoft’s Powershell software. In addition, we expect to have a brief update from Peter W on the status and changes that were made to the Steering Committee list server.

Powershell is essentially for us CLI / Shell / scripting geeks who need a way to get the near impossible done and make the easily done even easier. At least that’s the way it seems to me in my own preliminary overview. Hopefully, John M can show us some practical examples of how we might put Powershell to use in our day-to-day computer operations. At the very least we will become aware of its capabilities and potential use.

For a peek at Powershell’s features take a look at this link…

http://commandwindows.com/powershell.htm

So come out and join us for our May meeting. It’s a chance to learn how others are using and managing their computers and digital equipment.

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THIS ISSUE OF THE NEWSLETTER

This issue has been put together by the club treasurer, John D, who has become acting editor in Emil’s absence. Please excuse the changed appearance and content of this newsletter during this time.

Emil has been experiencing health problems which keep him from participating in the normal club activities. Please pray for his return to good health.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

1) If you are a member and did not attend the December meeting, then you likely missed out on getting the end of year club DVD. If so, and you would like a copy, contact John M to make arrangements to get the DVD. (See the LAST MONTH’S MEETING section of the January newsletter for more info about the DVD.)

2) Club membership entitles you to receive a copy of the newsletter and access to our email list server, which is run for the benefit of our members. Please do not hesitate to post club and computer related notices and problems to it. If we can’t solve your problem remotely, we can be alerted to it ahead of the monthly meeting where more hands-on may help resolve your problem.

3) A few of the regular attendees usually partake of lunch at the Country Squire Diner in Broomall near the intersection of Routes 3 and 320. So, after the meeting, why not join us? It’s an opportunity to get more help and to discuss our common interests.

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LAST MONTH'S MEETING

Attendance: 11 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, April 12th. We gained one new member, Don W. I wish to extend a warm welcome to Don.

Main Meeting Q&A: We began last month’s meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements, John D mentioned that he was now a Mac alpha software tester for the Sondigo Sirocco remote Wi-Fi sound card and had purchased a couple of Apple Airport Express modules so he could network sound everywhere throughout his house using AirFoil software on both his Mac and PC; Ralph H showed his massive printout of the Open Office manual (obviously he and Marty have a contest going to see who can printout the most documentation or break their printer first, ) and spoke of some of his Vista issues; Don W spoke about Vista security and his endeavor as a new user trying to come to grips with computer terminology; Marty C told us about his research into a flash drive booting Windows XP and that he would be turning 90YO in the next week (Happy Birthday, Marty!) and spoke of one of his favorite techs at Micro Center; Pat S sought help with his True Image Backup issues and AOL service termination; Joan S described her issues with full hard drives and slow system performance; Ted K said he could not find a free version of UBCD4Win and showed us an old TR80 manual; and Bill D asked for clarification concerning browser tabs and setting up a default printer.

Main Meeting Program: For the main meeting program John D introduced us to Google Docs. The presentation was the result of a joint effort between Peter W who took sick just before the meeting and John D. Both used the online collaboration feature of Google Docs to prepare and finalize the presentation which can be found on the club website here:

http://www.mlcug.org/Google_Docs.pdf

One of the things we learned during and after the meeting is that Google tends to announce new features before they make them truly available across the web. By that, I mean they roll out access to a new feature in stages. Just prior to last month’s meeting Google announced the availability of a new feature called Google Docs Offline, but it was not accessible at the time of the meeting. Apparently a small portion of those on the web had access to the feature at the time of the meeting as part of a pilot rollout. About a week after the meeting, I discovered I finally had access to Google Docs Offline.

The other important learning to take away from the meeting is that Google continues to roll out new features and functionality for Google Docs all the time. It is an online application suite in constant slow motion development. If you try it out today and discover it is not to your liking because it lacks certain functionality, then check back in a month or so and you may discover the functionality you want has been implemented.

One other thing seems noteworthy, at least to me. It seems the preferred browser for Google Docs is Firefox. The browser add-ons seemed to be developed for Firefox before other browsers. Could this be because Firefox is very much cross-platform available and easily extensible?

Advanced Meeting Program: Due to low attendance, the April MS Powershell presentation by John M was postponed until May when we will try again.

Miss The Meeting? NOTE: Recordings of the meetings (made and edited 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 Archives. The audio is accessible from the web site as MP3 files. You can download and listen to them as you choose!

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VISTA TIDBITS

Google Desktop in Microsoft Vista

Why should I enable the Google Desktop search index in Microsoft Vista?

Enabling the Google Desktop search index helps to improve your desktop searches. You'll be able to view previous versions of your documents and also search additional items such as your web history, Gmail and PDFs. When you do searches, you'll get high quality snippets to help you understand why a given result is relevant. You'll also see thumbnail previews of your search results for images, videos and your web history. While enabling the Google Desktop search index requires additional computing resources, these additional features help to make searching your computer as easy as searching the web with Google.

[Editor’s Note: The above explanation is from Google. Personally, I’m a person who rarely uses the search feature in an OS. In fact I’ve turned off the indexing services on my Mac and Windows computers for all, but one hard drive. I personally think these search engines are a waste of resources and would definitely never run Google’s indexing service in parallel with the Vista or the Mac Leopard search engines. I’d run one or the other, but not both! Since the Vista and Mac Leopard OS search engines are much improved over their previous respective OS search engines, I would opt to not implement the Google Desktop search function for these operating systems.]

NetStumbler for Vista

Are you a Wi-Fi addict looking for a NetStumbler equivalent for Vista? NetStumbler works under Windows XP, but not Vista. So what to do? Try ViStumbler. It can be found here:

http://www.techidiots.net/project-pages/vistumbler

Numbing Down Vista's UAC

Here's an interesting insight into Vista’s User Account Control annoying popup messages and security...

http://www.tweak-uac.com/

Two points are made by the above link article. UAC does basically 2 functions. They are:

1. Protect the OS from Malware by having you give an application permission to run. This feature has also been added to XP during one of Microsoft’s patches.

2. Protecting you from yourself by trying to make you think twice about an action you are about to take.

Apparently Tweak-UAC enables you to dumb down the second pop-up while leaving the first pop-up in place. If you’re new to computing, I suggest you do not use Tweak-UAC! However, if you have been using computers extensively for quite some time and feel confident in your computing abilities, then consider using Tweak-UAC to numb down Vista’s UAC by putting UAC into quiet mode.

What is TweakUAC?

TweakUAC(TM) is a free software tool that you can use to quickly turn UAC (User Account Control of Windows Vista) on or off, or to make UAC operate in the quiet mode.

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WINDOWS XP SERVICE PACK 3

This is just a friendly reminder that Service Pack 3 (SP3) for Windows XP is due out in the near future if not already out when you read this. MLCUG’s official recommendation is to take a wait and see approach before allowing your OS to install this update. Allow a couple of weeks or more before letting your system install this update to see if there is a large scale report of problems due to bugs or over sights in the programming. If you are an early installer, make sure you have a recovery plan if something goes wrong.

XP SP3 includes all previously released updates for the operating system since SP2, similar to earlier service packs. It also includes previously released updates to the latest versions of some system components, as well as functionality that makes it easier for enterprises to co-manage both Windows XP SP3 and Windows Vista PCs within the same corporate environment. The latest SP3 Release Candidate (RC2) version released last month includes fixes for common Windows Update issues, and the inclusion of support for HD Audio. For more recent info check out:

http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/04/xp_sp3_is_out.php

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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.

Enter from the ITHAN AVENUE main gate, then proceed to the upper level of the 2-level parking building adjacent to the St. Augustine Center, on the Ithan Avenue side of the building. NOTE: maps on our web page - http://micug.org/


MLCUG Meetings 2008      Steering Committee Meetings
    May 10			May 14
    June 14			June 18
    July 12			July 16

EDITOR: Emil J. Volcheck, Jr.   1046 General Allen Lane    West Chester, PA 19382-8030
ACTING EDITOR: John W. Deker, Jr.  2210 Lantern Lane  Lafayette Hill, PA 19444-2211

Produced with PowerSpec 8922a: 2.6GHz Pentium 4, 3GB RAM, 640GB HD cap, Brother HL-5250DN laser printer, CD-RW/DVD±R/RW drives, Windows XP Home OS, MS Office XP, Ghostscript 8.54 & Bullzip PDF Printer software

MLCUG LISTSERV: for members only... OUR WEB PAGE: http://mlcug.org/ PUBLICITY: Position OPEN! VILLANOVA SPONSOR: Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy
MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE;
PRESIDENT: Emil Volcheck   610-793-5156	
TREASURER: John Deker 	   610-828-7897	
WEBMASTER: Peter Whinnery  610-284-5234	
AT LARGE:  Tom Johnson 	   610-896-2434	
SECRETARY: Position open
DATABASE:  Layton Fireng   610-688-2080
AT LARGE:  Al Gottlieb	   215-793-9725
AT LARGE:  John Murphy	   610-935-4398