Main Line Commodore User Group

Newsletter


April 2009 Issue 323

VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, ST. AUGUSTINE CENTER, ROOM 110

MEETING STARTS - 09:30 – APRIL 11th


UPCOMING MEETING

MAIN MEETING TOPIC: TROUBLESHOOTING 101

For this month’s main meeting the steering committee came up with a couple of ideas. At the top of the list because we’re about users helping users, we thought it a good idea to demonstrate basic troubleshooting ideas and techniques.

For a real life demo we thought it might prove helpful if we gave a shot at trying to resolve Wendy’s video problem which she has reported at the last two meetings. We do not in any way guarantee success, but we will give it our best laymen’s effort and hopefully demonstrate a basic troubleshooting concept or two along with a few techniques. We hope that you will take these concepts and techniques with you for use when you are faced with trying to troubleshoot your own technical problems.

Our second idea for a presentation and as a backup plan is to show you at this meeting or a future meeting the current Windows 7 OS candidate. John M will have the honor of overseeing this presentation. If you’ve been considering upgrading your current Windows OS to Vista, but are in no hurry, then you might want to consider delaying your upgrade for several more months.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS & REMINDERS

1) If you are a member and did not attend the December 2008 meeting, then you likely missed out on getting one of the end of year club flash drives with embedded software as a Christmas gift. If so, and you would like one, contact John D to make arrangements to get yours. The flash drives will normally be available to members at our regular monthly meeting.

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: 10 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, March 14th.

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 both his problem with updating Adobe Reader (it was suggested he had a registry problem) and his use of ZyXEL’s 200Mbps power line adapters to extend his network; Rich described his efforts to clean up his daughter’s computer in Florida and setup a Wi-Fi printer for her and noted his problem with Hulu causing his Vista computer to crash (it may be an N-Vidia driver problem); Marty announced an up-coming April 23rd memorial luncheon for Emil V at the West Chester Senior Center (he has since posted the info to the club’s list server) and discussed loading his music on an iPod; Dewitt wanted to know about Light Scribe on his WinPC; Joan showed her efforts to use Photoshop to enhance and modify a set of recent wedding pictures; Wendy sought help to resolve her on-going computer video problems that continue even after installing a new video card, and talked about an email issue; Ted K noted and sought help addressing a shadow effect on his CRT monitor and mentioned his use of Gadwin PrintScreen (http://www.gadwin.com/printscreen/); and Peter spoke about four topics including the Linux Link Tech Show podcasts (specifically the MythTV related podcast of Feb. 25th), replacing your iPod battery for cheap - links here and here, dual booting your iPod with RockBox, and a new Knoppix 6 release - three links: here (1), here (2), and here (3).

Main Meeting Program: This month, John M did the main presentation on the topic of displays and display hardware. In some respects this is a follow-up to last month’s Internet TV presentation and is closely related to this year’s transition from analog TV to digital TV.

Included in the equipment John used for his presentation was an Acer 21” LCD widescreen monitor with a variety of input types including RGB (VGA) and HDMI capable of displaying 1080i HDTV. He also used a Samsung HD/Blu-ray DVD player capable of up-conversion. Additionally, John also used a Toshiba combo player in his demonstration.

John used the CompUSA website to guide us through the technology and linguistics of HDTV. The website includes downloadable brochures on their TV web pages which explain the different technological aspects in detail. Since the website typically promotes a HDTV on their intro page, John just selected that for his presentation. During the presentation we discussed various aspects of display technology including HDMI, the RGB port, TV resolution standards, connection port types, viewing angle, plasma vs. LCD, LCD back lighting, overscan issues, scan/refresh rates, NetFlix and NetFlix compatible devices, and recommended viewing distances.

Here’s a recap of some aspects of the presentation.

wide screen	      minimum	      maximum
diagonal size 	viewing distance  viewing distance
26 inch 		3 ft 		6 ft
32 inch 		3 ft 		7 ft
37 inch 		4 ft 		8 ft
42 inch 		5 ft 		10 ft
47 inch 		6 ft 		12 ft
60 inch 		7 ft 		15 ft
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HOT NEWS

From PC Magazine at: http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/03/mozilla_scrambling_to_patch_ne.php

Thursday March 26, 2009 Mozilla Scrambling to Patch New Firefox Flaw

A newly-revealed "boundary condition error" in Firefox, affecting the current version 3.07, has been released, including proof of concept code for it.

The advisory also calls this a memory corruption vulnerability and adds that: "An attacker can exploit this issue to execute arbitrary code within the context of the affected browser. Failed exploit attempt will result in a denial-of-service condition."

Mozilla is working on the problem which they call both "critical" and "FIXED". A report in Computerworld says that Firefox 3.08 will be released soon to bring us the fix.

Hat tip to ZDNet.

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FYI…

From PC Magazine at: http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/03/when_safe_mode_isnt_so_safe.php

Monday March 16, 2009 When Safe Mode Isn't So Safe

Windows has, for many years, come with a special mode you can load at boot called Safe Mode. The idea is that non-essential services and software don't load in safe mode and so it can be useful in diagnosing system problems.

You might assume that it can be useful in fixing malware infections and you'd be right, but not in all cases. As McAfee's Avert Labs points out in a blog entry, it's possible for malware to set itself up to load even in Safe Mode.

The software and services designated to run in Safe Mode are listed in these registry keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Minimal

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SafeBoot\Network

McAfee says that malware can set itself through these keys to load at boot time even in a safe boot. They don't list any specific malware which does this.

What can you do to protect yourself? McAfee refers to their "safe surfing" guidelines. I would also say that this is another good reason to run with least privilege access, meaning that you should run normally as a standard user, and that this is most effectively done on Windows Vista. ____

From PC Magazine at: http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/03/beware_of_more_twitter_abuse.php

Thursday March 26, 2009 Beware of More Twitter Abuse

Twitter abuse is nothing new; even President Obama has been hit. But it does seem to be getting more popular.

F-Secure is reporting on a wave of spammed tweets with links to casino sites and the like. They followed and got other followers within seconds. One of the automated follower-bots was taken down quickly, which indicates that Twitter is on to them. Read the F-Secure link, it's entertaining.

Another Twitter scam in the form of a fake Austin Police Department account was taken down recently. The page now leads to Twitter's standard "suspended" page which states that the account "has been suspended due to strange activity." ____

From PC Magazine at: http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/2009/03/all_future_versions_of_windows.php

Thursday March 12, 2009 All Future Versions of Windows Will Be Minor Revisions of Vista

One of the many interesting points in the transcript of a Microsoft Virtual Roundtable, "Windows 7: To the Beta and Beyond" hosted by Mark Russinovich has to do with internal version numbers of the operating systems.

A good deal of the discussion has to do with efforts they took to ensure application compatibility, so that if something works on Vista it will work on Windows 7. One thing they did towards this end was to fudge the internal version number. The internal Windows version number (what applications get by calling the GetVersionEx API) for Vista is 6.0. Logically, for Windows 7, you'd think it would be 7.0, but instead they made it 6.1. This also happens to be the number for Windows Server 2008 R2.

Russinovich:

..., the version number change is actually one of the biggest impacts on application compatibility. When we moved to Windows Vista from XP going from a version number of 5.1 to 6, actually breaks [sic] lots of apps that check for the major version number. So a lot of people look at the version number and try to read something into it.

As Mark Minasi, also at the roundtable, noted: "So version 18 will be 6.1.1.1.1.1". If this works, Microsoft has a clear incentive not to change the major version again, unless it wants to break old apps, which it never wants to do. --------------------------------------------------------

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 2009      Steering Committee Meetings
      April 11			April 15
      May 9			May 13
      June 13			June 17
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: John Deker 		610-828-7897	
V.PRESIDENT: Al Gottlieb 	215-793-9725
TREASURER/SEC: John Deker 	610-828-7897	
DATABASE: Layton Fireng		610-688-2080
WEBMASTER: Peter Whinnery 	610-284-5234	
AT LARGE: Tom Johnson		610-896-2434	
AT LARGE: Wendy Emery		215-765-3328
AT LARGE: Nelson Schrock	610-834-0117
AT LARGE: John Murphy		610-935-4398