Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


August 2008 Issue 315

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 - AUGUST 9th


UPCOMING MEETING

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: MS POWERTOYS - TWEAKUI

For our main presentation this month we plan to have John D present an overview of Microsoft PowerToys. Specifically we will do a detail review of the MS PowerToy TweakUI for XP after doing an over view of all the PowerToys. The XP PowerToys have been around for awhile and the Steering Committee has several times thought we should sometime do a related presentation. Well that time has come.

TweakUI is a utility for modifying various parameters of the Windows XP User Interface. For the most part TweakUI adjusts registry settings which are otherwise not easily modified by the user. I hope you will find some of these tweaks make Windows more convenient to use.

For more information on Windows PowerToys check out this Microsoft website: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/default.mspx

One other thing we plan to do at this meeting is survey those in attendance to find out if you do or do not backup the information on your computer. We’d like to know how many of you do backup your information, what software and hardware you use, what information you do backup, and how often you backup. All this will be done so that we can prepare a future (September or October) presentation that will provide a club recommendation addressing issues you may not have considered in your backup and restore strategy for your particular operating system (OS).

As of right now, we do NOT plan on holding a formal advanced session at noon. However, if someone raises an advanced session issue we will be only too glad to try and address your issue at the noon hour.

Come out and join us for our August 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: 13 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, July 12th. Those notably missing in action were Ralph H and Bill D.

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 how the recent week MS update broke ZoneAlarm’s firewall and how PC Tool’s Threatfire sometimes caused system problems;
Tom J noted that he had removed ZoneAlarm’s firewall and was now using the MS firewall;
Rich T finally told us in person of his SP3 update problem and True Image issues and noted how a complete system restoration had resolved his previously reported monitor problem;
Marty reported his experience with his iPod and a visit to the Apple store and mentioned his ear-bud problem;
Don W reported on a missing update control file;
Joan noted that her computer hard drive crashed and she spent some effort trying to recover her email;
Layton spoke of his problem with AVG 7 support;
John M reported on his FIOS speed upgrade;
Al G spoke of the Copernic desktop search software (http://www.copernic.com/) and Comcast issues;
and Ed C mentioned his issues with Yahoo! mail.

Main Meeting Program: For the main meeting program Layton honored us with a presentation on basic scanning issues and insights. For the presentation he used an inexpensive Canon flatbed scanner which can be purchased at Micro Center (http://www.microcenter.com/single_product_results.phtml?product_id=0214272) and elsewhere for about $50.

Layton addressed several different issues including scanning bad newsprint in gray scale to produce a clean and legible black and white (bi-tonal) text document; scanning a newspaper picture and processing it so it no longer looked like pixilated newsprint, but instead looked more like a black and white photograph; scanning and correcting color pictures to compensate for poor contrast or color quality; and scanning a formatted text document using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) so the hardcopy information could be edited in a word processor or spreadsheet.

Advanced Meeting Program: No activity no report.

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'S 2-WAY FIREWALL

Did you know Vista comes with a 2-way firewall built-in? Well it does, but Microsoft did not see fit to limit outbound traffic probably because they never created a friendly GUI interface that the AVERAGE user could easily manage – my opinion. Instead, Microsoft did create interfaces more appropriate to IT professionals.

As a result, at least one third-party has created a FREE user interface geared toward the AVERAGE user. Check out this link at PC World magazine:

http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file/fid,64950-order,4-page,1/description.html

The PC World magazine editor's review states,

"Microsoft has been touting the new Windows Firewall in Windows Vista, which it says for the first time includes an outbound filter as well as an inbound filter. Outbound filters are important, because if you've been infected with a Trojan or similar software, it makes an outbound connection without your knowledge, letting someone else take control of your PC. Some malware can also turn your PC into a spam-spewing robot, sending out email without your knowledge.

"Unfortunately, the outbound filter in Windows Vista is, in essence, turned off by default. And as a practical matter, it's impossible to manually configure it to block malware making outbound connections. That's where the free Vista Firewall Control comes in. Install it, and whenever an application tries to access the Internet, a screen pops up, with the application name, the publisher, and similar information, as well its path and file name. You can enable or disable inbound or outbound connections it tries to make, either permanently, or just this one time.

"If you're not sure if the program is malware or not, go to www.processlibrary.com and do a search for the file name, for details. All in all, Vista Firewall Control is a great way to make sure your PC isn't making unwanted outbound connections."

The FREE user interface is limited to providing these features:

There are several versions at cost with many more features. For a complete over view of this third-party software, go to:

http://www.sphinx-soft.com/Vista/order.html

By default the Vista firewall is configured to:

* Block all incoming traffic unless it is solicited or it matches a configured rule.

* Allow all outgoing traffic unless it matches a configured rule (but none are apparently configured by default – ed).

If you would rather take a look at the Microsoft provided interfaces before doing the PC World download, you would do well to take a look at this Microsoft web page:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb877967.aspx

To plagiarize some from the above link…

You can configure the new Windows Firewall with the Windows Firewall item in Control Panel, which displays the same set of configuration options as for the current Windows Firewall. You can configure basic settings for the new Windows Firewall, but you cannot configure enhanced features.

Because of the number of advanced configuration options and the value of having the same GUI for both local and Active Directory Group Policy-based configuration, the new Windows Firewall can also be configured with an MMC snap-in named Windows Firewall with Advanced Security, which is available in the Administrative Tools folder.

For command-line configuration of advanced settings of the new Windows Firewall, you can use commands in the netsh advfirewall context. This context does not exist for computers running Windows XP with SP2 or Windows Server 2003 with SP1.

The following rules can be set:

To configure advanced settings for the new Windows Firewall, from the Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 desktop, click Control Panel, click System and Maintenance, click Administrative Tools, and then double-click Windows Firewall with Advanced Security.

(Whether the above pathway is available in all versions of Vista, I don't know – ed)

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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
	August 9		August 13
	September 13		September 17
	October 11		October 15

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

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MLCUG LISTSERV: for members only... OUR WEB PAGE: http://mlcug.org/

MLCUG STEERING COMMITTEE;

 
PRESIDENT:  Emil Volcheck 	610-793-5156
TREASURER:  John Deker 		610-828-7897
WEBMASTER:  Peter Whinnery 	610-284-5234
DATABASE:  Layton Fireng	610-688-2080
SECRETARY:  Position open
PUBLICITY:  Position OPEN!
AT LARGE:  Tom Johnson		610-896-2434
AT LARGE:  Al Gottlieb		215-793-9725
AT LARGE:  John Murphy		610-935-4398
VILLANOVA SPONSOR:  Prof. Frank Maloney, Dept. of Astronomy