Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


June 2008 Issue 313

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: GSPACE & GOOGLE NOTEBOOK

ADVANCED SESSION TOPIC: MICROSOFT POWERSHELL

For our main presentation this month we plan to have John D. continue our introduction to all things Google. We plan to take a look at an add-in called Gspace for Firefox which turns your Google mail into an FTP site for quickly storing files of all types. For more information see http://www.getgspace.com/ .

Time permitting, we'll also take a look at Google Notebook, an ideal way to collect and maintain web research notes to yourself or to gather web clippings for your research whether it is for school or comparative shopping, etc.

For our advanced presentation, John M has been re-scheduled from 2 months ago to introduce us to Microsoft's Powershell software. Yours truly was too long winded last month to allow time for an Advanced Session presentation . Actually, last month's main presentation seemed to be of more interest than usual to everyone so it ran longer than normal. We also started the main presentation quite late.

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 June 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 cant 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: 15 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, May 10th.

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 spoke about Service Packs 1 & 3 for Vista and XP respectively, the update of AVG from version 7 to 8, the Acid3 test for browsers, and the interest some search bots from China have in the club MP3 audio files; Tom J spoke of his experience transitioning from “over the air” analog to digital TV; Rich T discussed his Verizon email issues and again spoke of his on-going Wi-Fi connectivity issues with his HP Vista laptop; Ralph mentioned his Vista SP1 upgrade successes including improved Internet connectivity and shutdown issues; Marty spoke about Brian Livingston, Fred Langa, and his efforts with a bootable USB memory stick; Don asked about Vista shutdown and sleep modes and how to best kill pre-installed Norton software; Pat noted his success with a Linksys Wi-Fi range extender and discussed Wi-Fi interference issues; Layton sought help for his new HD recognition problem; John M brought to our attention Vista's UAC issues and directed us to…

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=436 ;

Peter reminded us of the Babbage difference engine video at:

http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/05/exclusive-video.html ;

and Ed C. spoke about the Trenton Computer Show and his desire to drive an old scanner from his XP operating system.

Main Meeting Program: For the main meeting program John D did a live presentation of WinDirStat using Joan's home computer as Guinea pig. Actually the demonstration presented many issues to consider when trying to identify and reduce disk space usage and recover usable space. The over view of the presentation can be found on the Internet here:

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

What's not included in the overview, but was discussed during the presentation is that Windows has an option to MOVE My Documents to another partition. This can free up significant space on your C drive.

Here are some of the key learnings from the presentation as perceived by me…

Many programs create logs and caches for their files that can occupy significant disk space and users need to review and modify default configuration settings for all programs they use. Most users are unaware of this. Some programs don't limit the files they create or don't cleanup after themselves. An alternative is to use cleaners like CCleaner and Windows Disk Cleanup. These 2 programs compliment each other. Examples of programs that can use a lot of disk space:

1. ZoneAlarm firewall logs 2. Default browser cache sizes 3. Email client databases

The last example can incur a significant performance hit if not properly managed over time as many people tend to keep most of their email forever, including file attachments. When running, your email client will cause a significant system performance hit as the email database gets larger with time. In the case of MS Outlook, the maximum usable database size is 2GB at which point if you're lucky Outlook will post a warning message or just crash or lock up if you're not lucky. As the database approaches 2GB, Outlook will become very sluggish to operate.

At the meeting we were not prepared to discuss proper methods of managing storing email. After the meeting I did some additional research and discovered this web site which discusses how to manage MS Outlook email:

http://www.onecomputerguy.com/app_info/outlook_maintain.htm

Similar issues and methods surely apply to other email clients.

During the meeting there was a quick reference to a web site where a small piece of software will help you determine how much page file (virtual memory) you really need to set aside for Windows. Contrary to the popular guideline of 1.5X to 3X the amount of RAM installed, your page file can be relatively smaller the more RAM you have. On my WinXP PowerSpec with only one user and 3GB of RAM, my page file usage is normally between 50MB and 130MB per session. Only once did I see it increase to 650MB and that was after I used Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. I maintain a static page file size of 1.5GB. On systems with 512MB of RAM and switching between multiple users and editing multimedia files, you may need a page file of 2GB or 4X the amount of installed RAM!

Here's the link to the utility that will tell you what your WinXP page file usage is:

http://www.dougknox.com/xp/utils/xp_pagefilemon.htm

Advanced Meeting Program: Due to a late start of the main meeting and a long winded main meeting presentation, the May (originally April) MS Powershell presentation by John M was postponed until June 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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WINDOWS XP SP3 WARNING from

http://www.tomshardware.com/news/Windows-XP-SP3,5334.html

XP Service Pack 3 Kills AMD Machines

Windows XP Service Pack 3 finally arrived … And is now killing AMD machines.

The problem relates to machines with SP3 installed rebooting and then not allowing users to boot to so much as Safe Mode. The problem is mainly affecting AMD users who bought their machines from HP. The problem is attributed to the fact that HP put the same Windows image on both Intel and AMD boxes. They used the intelppm.sys driver on both types of computers. That driver provides power management on Intel-based computers. On an AMD-based computer, amdk8.sys provides the same functionality.

Some other OEM's beside HP have the same practice, and presumably their users will be seeing the same issue.

HP discusses their fix and has a downloadable patch here:

http://h10025.www1.hp.com/ewfrf/wc/genericSoftwareDownloadIndex?cc=us&dlc=en&lc=en&softwareitem=pv-60484-1&jumpid=reg_R1002_USEN

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A DIFFERENT ANTI-MALWARE

Here's a different and FREE anti-virus (AV) program for Windows users to consider using in conjunction with your current AV and was mentioned by Al G at one of our previous meetings. Like most new AV's it incorporates anti-malware detection along with anti-virus detection. So you can now retire your stand-alone real-time anti-spyware software.

The following information was taken from a May 13th PC Magazine posting at…

http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2008/05/free_security_software.php

ThreatFire 3.5 from PC Tools Most antivirus and antispyware products rely on a database of "signatures" to identify malware. That means a brand-new threat can go undetected until a signature has been developed. ThreatFire detects malware strictly by monitoring how processes behave. In PC Magazine testing it made a clean sweep, preventing permanent installation of every single malware sample. It wasn't so effective at cleaning up an infested system, but that's not its main focus.

ThreatFire 3.5 relies strictly on advanced behavior analysis to identify and remove both known and unknown threats. This free utility should be an excellent complement to your existing malware protection.

Personally, my biggest concern before installing ThreatFire was that it would impose a performance penalty on my system. I had tried another behavior based AV and it put such a noticeable hit on my computer performance that I removed it after a couple of days. Not so with ThreatFire. I ran some benchmark performance tests before and after installation and couldn't detect a noticeable difference.

For more information and a free copy of ThreatFire follow this link:

http://www.threatfire.com/

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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://mlcug.org/

 MLCUG Meetings 2008           Steering Committee Meetings

       June 14				June 18
       July 12				July 16
       August 9		 	        August 13

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/

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 PUBLICITY: Position OPEN!