Main Line Commodore User Group


September 2009 Issue 328




IN ROOM 210 !


For our September meeting John M will walk us through the process of selecting a new computer that meets the needs of the buyer. In many ways his presentation format will likely mimic his March presentation on selecting a video/TV display.

This presentation comes at an ideal time considering the imminent release of Windows 7 on new computers and Christmas which will be just a few months away by the time of September's presentation.

Hopefully John's presentation will clear up and answer your questions and concerns as to how to tell whether that $400 computer is a good buy for you versus the $500 computer sitting next to it. And, if you buy the $400 computer, will you be able to expand it to meet future needs or will it quickly become obsolete?

If you are confused by computer technical terminology, this meeting is your chance to ask questions and hopefully get your confusions dispelled.



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.



Attendance: 10 people in all attended the meeting on Saturday, August 8th.

Main Meeting Q&A: We began last month's meeting with our normal round of questions and announcements. Among the questions and announcements, Tom J had a tongue-n-cheek complaint about Open Office Writer not being able to automatically complete documents he had started; Bill D was still trying to resolve his Dell video display issues (we showed him how he might use his model info to find drivers on the Dell web site); Don W had complaints about changes to the Verizon webmail site and noted that the LED on his HP laptop caps lock key no longer worked (a possible driver problem?); Marty called to our attention that his website name was already being legally challenged even before he had the website up and running (a big long discussion ensued over domain names being legally challenged -- RALPH we needed you!); Pat was having problems installing a Canon photo program for Windows on his one computer as the computer insisted on recognizing only the Mac file system on the multi-formatted CD (we suggested trying to install in Safe Mode or using MSConfig to control startup software -- see p.4); Ted K had encountered a DVD that wouldn't load on his computer, but would load on other computers and he was seeking advice; John M brought to our attention Amazon's ``take back'' of George Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm books from Kindle owners without any due process and in apparent violation of their own licensing agreement as described at:

(a big long discussion ensued over digital rights, privacy rights, and license agreements -- RALPH we needed you again!); and Wendy mentioned her concern for moving away from the old Mozilla client to read her email (we did some Googling to point her in a potential direction).

The legal related topics elicited quite a bit of discussion and we soon discovered we had run out of time for the main meeting program.

From some of the discussion during the session, it also became obvious that we should sometime spend some time discussing drivers and the difference between email clients and webmail and possibly what features to look for in an email client. It is my hope that the steering group can figure out how to assemble these topics into useful presentations.

Main Meeting Program: As mentioned in the previous section we literally ran out of time for the main meeting program and used up the entire period for the round table discussion. This is not a bad thing as we were likely discussing topics that were of significant interest to the majority of those in attendance.



I thought I would include a section on web links related to some of the subjects we discussed during our round table discussion. Hopefully these links are especially useful to those individuals who broached the subjects. Some of the links are those we showed during the discussions.

OpenOffice user guides by chapter:

Dell support services:

Googled ``domain name legal rights'' search results:

Amazon's Kindle ``Orwellian'' issue:




Boxee for Windows

I've mentioned the free Boxee media center before. When I did I told you that Boxee was only available for Mac and Linux (ubuntu 32bit only) computers and that a Windows alpha version was of limited availability to specific testers.

In late June an alpha version was released to the general public. The initial release was a heavy CPU user and did not run well on my 2003 2.6GHz PowerSpec machine. A second release ran much better, but be aware initial setup is still very CPU intensive as Boxee immediately starts searching for media files. In any case for best performance Boxee needs a broadband connection, preferably high-end DSL, or better.

The web link for Boxee is:

To download Boxee requires that you first signup by registering. So look for the signup link on the above web page.

For additional info related to Boxee check out the following links:




``Boxee is a social media center. With Boxee you can play videos, music and pictures from your computer, local network, and the Internet. You can also share with your friends what albums you're listening to, what movies and TV shows you're watching, send recommendations and more.''


About this utility:

How to use MSConfig:

At our August meeting Pat spoke of his problem with a multi-formatted CD/DVD and how his Windows system was automatically recognizing the Mac portion of the CD disk instead of the portion with the Windows files. He mentioned that he may have installed 3rd party software that facilitated the recognition of the Mac portion of the disk at the loss of recognizing the portion that contained the MS Windows files. It was suggested that he try the disk in Safe Mode, but the problem is that Windows turns off some services in that mode that may be needed for the Windows compatible files to install. What other options might be available?

One option might be to use MSConfig to control what services and programs start in normal mode. One option might be to set MSConfig at its General tab so Windows boots in Diagnostic mode. However, in browsing the Internet I noticed complaints where there were problems returning to Normal boot mode after using Diagnostic mode. So, I don't recommend this option unless you maintain a full image backup of your system.

Instead, I recommend that Pat try setting MSConfig by going to the Startup tab and disabling ALL startups and then going to the services tab and after hiding all Microsoft services disabling the remaining services. After Applying and clicking OK, the computer will want to reboot.

Pat, do so, and then try to install the software from the Canon disk again. If the install goes OK, you'll know that something in your Normal startup is modifying your system. Through a trial and error process of re-enabling services and startup programs and trying to mount the Windows portion of the CD, Pat should be able to ID the offending software which is causing his computer to recognize the disk as a Mac disk.

To run MSConfig, go to Start | Run and type msconfig at the prompt. In Vista you can just type MSConfig in at the Search prompt to run it if Run does not show up in your Start list.


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 -

MLCUG Meetings 2009      Steering Committee Meetings
    September 12		September 16
    October 10			October 14
    November 14			November 18
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