Issue # 45
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Hello everyone from rainy and cold Jackson, MS!
It's 37 degrees and raining as I write this newsletter. I would have wrote it earlier this week but thanks to some good PR from the Langalist
and BestEzines www.bestezines.com
I've been swamped trying to add some 300 new subscribers to the list while being on the road with a
At home I'm spoiled, I have a fairly fast cable modem. But when Amy and I are on the road I have to use a rather slow dial-up connection. For you geeky types...hehe...this means an
average ping of 1000+ms to PuterGeek.Com or Microsoft, which means a very slow surfing experience! I tend to get dropped at least 3 times per hour on the average. But as a truck driver
going all over the place I can't be too choosey.
I want to welcome all the new subscribers to the PuterGeek.Com News newsletter! I realize some of you are also Langalist subscribers. You will notice that I put in many articles from
the Langalist. Hopefully you'll find other info in my newsletter to make it a worthwhile read to you.
I'd like to encourage all of you to surf over to www.putergeek.com/newsletter/
and read some of the back issues. You never know what
For those of you that are new to PuterGeek.Com...
PuterGeek.Com has over 140 pages on the website! I've tried to make it as easy as possible to find your way around but the site map makes it a snap to see what's on the website.
Remember, PuterGeek.Com isn't just a place to come when you need help with your 'puter anymore! From free email, to our user-to-user message board, to our hilarious Never Ending Story,
you'll find plenty of reasons to come back often!
If you're like me, you're always searching for a better OS (Operating System). While Linux is the fastest, most stable OS you can get (IMHO), it is not easy to learn or to use. Well
Apple has decided to change all of that! www.apple.com
Go read about their new Apple OS called OsX, it's based on BSD- which is Unix (most of the internet runs on
Unix). The GUI (Graphical User Interface) is pure Apple, but the underneath the GUI is a version of BSD! Based on what I've read so far, this could be a Microsoft killer!
Think about it....what to you get when you cross one of the most stable crash free OS's with ultra user-friendly GUI? If Apple does it right, I'll probably switch over myself!
Granted, at this point it means buying a Mac, but the new "Cube" is really cool! Should you rush out and get a Mac, nope! But you should put this new OS on your watch list, there's a
lot of very knowledgeable people that are really hot about this, and they're not all Mac people either.
After much hesitancy on my part, I've put up an "awards" page on the site. Here you'll find some of the awards PuterGeek.Com has won as well as some comments I've received about the
website and the free help I offer. I kind of think it's like blowing my own horn, but as Amy (my wife) has pointed out, people want to know if I'm any good before asking me for help, or before
following a suggestion I make....so here it is: www.putergeek.com/awards/
A lot of people have been asking this question again, why do you offer free help, and what's the catch?
Here's why, I believe "What goes around, comes around!". Plus, by helping you, I get to polish my tech support skills, learn new stuff, and re-learn stuff that I've forgotten! Also, I plan
to get a 'puter related job when Amy and I get off the road in about 17 months, and I'm going to use PuterGeek.Com as my resume since truck driver for the last 14yrs won't help me get a 'puter
job. So by helping you I'm really helping me!
So what's the catch? There is really no catch at all. My website, helpme email, and phone help are free...period! If you find that you like what you read, and/or the help that
you get, there are many ways to show your support. A simple email thank you, voting in the poll, taking my survey, telling a friend about the website and newsletter, and offering me a job
(grin) are great ways to say thanks! Since I'm not a millionaire...hehe..yet...if you feel the need, you can go to: www.putergeek.com/thanks/
get my address if you want to snail-mail me something.
Now on with the good stuff!
A farmer got pulled over by a state trooper for speeding,
and the trooper started to lecture the farmer about his speed,
and in general began to throw his weight around to try to make
the farmer uncomfortable.
Finally, the trooper got around to writing out the ticket, and
as he was doing that he kept swatting at some flies that were
buzzing around his head.
The farmer said, "Having some problems with circle flies there,
The trooper stopped writing the ticket and said-"Well yeah, if
that's what they are. I never heard of circle flies."
So the farmer says "Well, circle flies are common on farms.
See, they're called circle flies because they're almost always
found circling around the back end of a horse."
The trooper says, "Oh," and goes back to writing the ticket.
Then after a minute he stops and says, "Hey...wait a minute,
are you trying to call me a horses rear end?"
The farmer says, "Oh no, officer. I have too much respect for
law enforcement and police officers to even think about calling
you a horses rear end."
The trooper says, "Well, that's a good thing," and goes back to
writing the ticket.
After a long pause, the farmer says, "It's *real* hard to fool
them flies though."
A grandmother is giving directions to her grown grandson,
who is coming to visit with his wife:
"You come to the front door of the apartment complex. I am in apartment 14T. There is a big panel at the door. With your elbow push button 14T. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is
on the right. Get in, and with your elbow hit 14. When you get out I am on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell".
"Grandma, that sounds easy, but why am I hitting all these buttons
with my elbow"?
"You're coming empty handed"?
Editors note: Second most often received submission this week:
Subject: Revocation of American Independence
To the citizens of the United States of America,
In the light of your failure to elect a President of the USA and thus
to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties
over all states, commonwealths and other territories. Except Utah,
which she does not fancy. Your new prime minister (The rt. hon. Tony
Blair, MP for the 97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that
there is a world outside your borders) will appoint a minister for
America without the need for further elections. Congress and the Senate
will be disbanded.
A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether any
of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following
rules are introduced with immediate effect:
1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up "aluminium", "colour", "harbour", "cheque". Check the
pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have
been pronouncing the English language. Generally, you should raise your
vocabulary to acceptable levels. Look up "vocabulary".
Using the same twenty seven words interspersed with filler noises such
as "like" and "you know" is an unacceptable and inefficient form of
communication. Look up "interspersed".
2. There is no such thing as "US English". We will let Microsoft know
on your behalf.
3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. Even the New Zealanders know how to spell in
correct English even if their accent is a bit so-so.
4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as the
good guys. Although it comes as a bit of a shock, the USA did not pilot
the "Battle of Britain" spitfires during the war against Germany.
Likewise, Rommel was defeated by the British & Australian Armies in
Africa,.... not Sylvester Stallone & Bruce Willis. Probably your biggest
shock will be the fact that the US didn't enter World War 2 until
halfway through the war when the Germans mistakenly sank a few US ships.
By then the war was decided by the Commonwealth countries troops.....
and your guys just helped to speed the end up.
5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want you
to get confused and give up half way through.
6. You should stop playing American "football". There is only one kind
of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a very
good game. Another shock to you Americans will be the fact that "The
World Series", is only played by American teams. Men in other countries
do not play girls games and bill them as the "World Championships".
The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your
borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.
You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play proper
football with a round ball.
Initially, it would be best if you played "proper football" with the
girls. It is a difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in
time, be allowed to play Rugby Union or Rugby League (which is similar
to American "football", but does not involve stopping
for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like
nancies). We are hoping to get together at least a US rugby sevens side
by 2005. Forget any ideas of playing these games against the Aussies or
Kiwis until your intending American future players have had a crash
course in self-survival. Likewise any beer drinking sessions after the
games.... until you become more accustomed to our stronger brews.
7. You should declare war on Quebec and France, using nuclear weapons if
they give you any merde. The 98.85% of you who were not aware that
there is a world outside your borders should count yourselves lucky.
The Russians have never been the bad guys.
8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 8th will be a new
national holiday, but only in England. It will be called "Indecisive
9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are garbage and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand what
10. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
Thank you for your cooperation. NB.
MP3.com Continues On...
After agreeing to settlements and licensing deals worth about $20 million
each with 4 major record labels, MP3.com has settled with the last one,
Universal Music Group for about $50 million. All indications were that the
judge was going to order MP3.com to pay about 5x that.
In other MP3.com news, they have announced that they will restart their
My.MP3.com service. There will still be a free service (supported by
advertising) that will have limitations on the number of songs you can
upload. There will also be a pay service, but there were no details on how
much, or the frequency of the payments.
WINDOWS KEYBOARD ENHANCER. Copernic offers a free download at
which allows creating shortcuts with the
Windows logo key, using some 200 possible key combinations. This handy
application provides a shell extension to access system folders or Web
pages and start favorite applications.
TIME CAVE. A free service at http://www.timecave.com
allows you to
compose email and program a future time and date for sending it. You
can use the service to send reminders to yourself as well, if you find
the string around the finger doesn't work.
SELECTIVE QUOTING. Netscape's email doesn't support this, but it
seems most other email programs will. Before replying to email, you
can quote any part of the message by simply selecting (highlighting)
that portion desired before clicking on Reply.
THE DAWN OF IE 6.0
I bet you're not going to be surprised when I tell you that
Microsoft isn't resting on its Internet Explorer laurels. Early
this month the company launched the initial test phase, according
to published reports. Microsoft isn't speaking much to the press
on this point. About all I can get out of the company is this
"IE 6 will build on IE 5.5 to provide the platform for a new
Internet experience. For advanced end users, IE 6 will provide
access to exciting and dynamic multimedia content in combination
with the versatility to offer users their own customized Internet
experience. For corporations, IE 6 will provide the best, most
robust platform for line of business applications. For
developers, IE 6 will be the proven technology to develop web-
based applications quickly and easily."
According to a November 4, 2000, story published by Paul
Thurrott: IE 6 will add "new Explorer Bars that will make it
easier for users to work with digital media such as music, video,
and images." Hmmm, expanding the Explorer Bar area (such as
Search, Favorites, History, Folders) might be seen as a move to
intercept Netscape 6's My Sidebar. And Thurrott reports that the
new Explorer Bars will be Media and MSN Instant Messenger. The
Media bar will house a new version of Windows Media Player. This
arrangement would make IE 6 something like a grown-up version of
the recently released MSN Explorer, which, by the way is also
The truly ironic part about all this is that Microsoft has a
somewhat vestigial structure in place within IE for showing
horizontal bars of Web-based content, called Web Accessories:
The whole notion of "pushing" Internet content to people's
desktops died an ugly death back around 1997, when it became
clear there was neither a business model nor a strong enough end-
user need (nevermind the bandwidth) for pushed content. These
days, the computer industry is struck dumb by even the mention of
the term "push." But like a lot of ideas in history, it might
have been the right idea at the wrong time. Something to think
You might have read in Winmag.com's coverage of Windows
Whistler Beta 1 that IE 6 will be in Whistler when it ships.
Microsoft says that's true. Unfortunately the version that's in
Beta 1 of Whistler is IE 5.6, not IE 6. Perhaps that'll change
with Beta 2. In any case, Microsoft will be conducting separate
beta trials of IE 6, and possibly a public beta as it has done in
the past. The current expectation (though not confirmed from
Microsoft) is that IE 6 will be available in final form at the
same time Whistler is shipped.
I'd like to thank readers Jay Revell and Paul Nagel for
helping me ferret out the truth about what IE 5.5 SP1 really
consists of. Some major Winmag.com competitors wrongly reported
lists of new features in IE 5.5 SP1. None of that is true. IE 5.5
SP1 consists of 14 bug fixes, and does not add any functionality
to Internet Explorer. The proof of that point is Microsoft
Knowledgebase Article Q276370:
I also have Microsoft on the record verbally about this. So don't
go looking for new features.
The more interesting story is how IE 5.5 SP1 has performed
for people who've tried it. And let's cut to the chase, should
you install this bug-fix on your computer? The short answer is: I
don't know yet. Some people report very positive results, while
others report very negative ones. There's no reason to rush into
this update. Windows Me users are the least likely to have
problems, although they're not immune. If you currently have IE
5.5 installed, and it's running well, hold off. If you're running
IE 5.01 Service Pack 1, leave well enough alone. If you're
running IE 5.5 and *are* have problems with it -- some people
have reported that IE 5.5 SP1 solved their problems. No promises
Even from people who say they've experienced no significant
problems, or seen positive results, a common refrain is that IE
5.5 SP1 alters your Security settings, including the loss from
some versions of the browser of the Delete Cookies button.
Several other installers report the loss of saved login
names/passwords for specific Web pages. Another common refrain
is: Nothing happened, there's no change. On the plus side, people
report that issues with remembering window size and position are
improved. Also, the problem of windows closing spontaneously
after you click a download link appears to be resolved.
Hint, hint - Peter
MP3 ON BOARD
Mazda claims to be the first automaker that will let you order an
in-dash MP3 player with your car.
The Kenwood eXcelon Z919 will play conventional CDs as well as CD-Rs
containing MP3 music files. It will be available as an option in the
youth-oriented Mazda Protege MPS sports sedan -- along with a
terrifying set of speakers that includes a 100-watt 10-inch
Pricing and availability were not announced.
.COM MONOPOLY MONEY
I surely wasn't the first person to think that the dot-com revolution
is being funded with Monopoly money, but it's comforting in an odd
way that Hasbro thinks so, too.
The makers of Monopoly, who have been expanding the franchise with
city-specific editions for some time, have come out with a dot-com
version. If you have enough megabucks, you too can own Amazon.com,
iVillage, or eBay.
Railroads have been replaced with AT&T, Sprint, MCI Worldcom, and
Nokia. Utilities? Instead of the Electric Company and Water Works,
you can own Sun Microsystems and Linux, which isn't a company but
let's not pick nits. Chance and Community Chest are now E-mail Just
In and Download.
And currency is denominated in million-dollar increments. You get
$200 million for passing Go. There appears to be no provision for
IPOs, but you can buy Yahoo (in the Boardwalk position) for a mere
$400 million. Rent at Yahoo with four households and an office runs
a steep $2,000 million.
You can buy this version at major toy stores for $29.99. Presumably,
it'll be available online, too.
How to Repair the Registry in WinME
WinME requires slightly different handling of ScanReg because it doesn't
easily "drop to DOS." In fact, Win98 is much easier to work with in that
regard; it will automatically run the DOS-level ScanReg /Fix if it
detects a Registry problem at boot; and the CleanAll.Bat file (
) automatically runs the DOS-level
ScanReg /Opt for you.
But now WinME users have an easy means of doing something similar. Nice!
Netscape 6 Finally Ships
The extreme delay in shipping the browser may mean this is Netscape's
last chance to be a dominant player in the browser wars. If they got
N6 right, and the browser really is the smallest, fastest, most-
compliant browser out there, then maybe Netscape can get back in the
race. But if it's buggy or falls short in important areas, then the
computing community may give up what hope remains for this browser.
AOL' s involvement is a complicating matter. Because of a deal it
struck with Microsoft, AOL uses a modified (some might say "degraded")
version of Internet Explorer as its default browser; in return, AOL
gets its setup software shipped with every copy of Microsoft Windows.
If AOL terminates its deal with Microsoft, AOL could make Netscape its
default browser and force-feed it to all AOL users, perhaps as one of
those involuntary software updates AOL users suffer through. AOL's
membership size would make Netscape an instant force in the browser
market--- but at the cost of AOL losing its association with Windows.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. In fact, it's
*already* having an effect, as several other browser-related items in
this issue will show.
WinME "System Restore" Tips
Several readers--- Leslie Smith was first--- wrote in about an item
called "WindowsME Resurrects Viruses/Worms/Etc.?" in a recent issue
) in which
"System Restore" kept reinstalling a virus a reader was trying to
eradicate. Leslie suggested an easy workaround for that problem, and
also offered other tips on managing the System Restore function:
In the 11-9-2000 edition, a reader wrote in saying that
WinME had added a virus to his System Restore archives and
was in danger of reinfecting his computer. Microsoft may
need to tweak System Restore a little more, but the very
fact that it doesn't try to pick and choose what to save,
instead saving everything system related, is actually a
plus. (Imagine WinME scanning your registry every time you
booted up and deciding what it and not you considered
important.) His solution was to completely overwrite his
WinME install with a fresh one. Bad idea and time consuming
too. A quicker way would be the following
1. Go into the Control Panel and click on the System Applet.
2. Click first on the Performance tab, and then on the File
3. Then click on Troubleshooting and put a check beside the
Disable System Restore.
4. Close the applet and reboot when prompted.
The Restore folder is now completely flushed out on reboot.
(On my system its reduced to about 10kb with no System
saves. And no place at all for viruses to hide. I've
experimented.) Alternatively, if you find that your Restore
folder is starting to bloat (It will use any space you give
it.) but you want to keep your last System Restore files,
just go back into the System applet and then back to the
File System button. Look underneath the Read Ahead
Optimization slider and move the System Restore Space Use
slider all the way down to the bottom. Your hard drive
should now start thrashing like mad if your Restore folder
has gotten huge. Now put the slider all the way to the top
and close the applet. Only the most recent files (and System
saves.) will be in your Restore folder. A handy trick before
that defragmentation or thorough Scandisk session.
But wait! I'm not finished with the Restore folder yet. If
you find that you're getting bogged down by frequent disk
access from the automatic System Restore saves or have
limited disk space you can obviously turn off the System
Restore altogether. Just be careful though because when its
off completely, so is Fusion. What's that you ask? Fusion is
a little talked about system Microsoft first started adding
in small chunks way back in Windows 95. Its job is to try to
not overwrite older versions of files on top of new ones.
Now you might have heard that this is a big feature in WinME
and its one of my favorites. But no one tells you that its
tied directly into System Restore. (If System Restore is
completely off you'll still get warnings if you try if
install an older driver on top of a newer one, but your
DLLs, .COMs, etc., won't be protected anymore.) A better way
if you dislike the frequent disk access of System Restore is
to just turn down the System Restore Space Usage as
mentioned above and things will quiet down a lot.
Thanks Leslie--- and all who wrote in!
Small Networks Made Easy
More and more people now have more than one PC at home, and almost
all offices of any size have multiple PCs. Reader Jordan Freedman
asked an increasingly-common question:
Fred, Maybe you would point me in the right direction. I'm
looking to build a small network at home between WIN98SE,
WIN95C and NT4 SP4 server. I would like to put a cable modem
on the line. What type of additional software, hardware and
other considerations must I consider? Thanks for a great
Building a small network requires no deep-geek rocket science, but it
does involve a number of small steps that must be done right for the
whole thing to work. It's the sort of task that, while not hard, can
be somewhat exacting and tedious.
<curmudgeon mode on> I was glad to see that the author of that last
tutorial is--- as am I--- a fan of simple, cheap, hubless coax
networks for small-scale LANs where all you're doing is stringing a
few PCs together. Alas, these nets are out of fashion, and the more
common approach these days for nets of any size is to use phone-style
cabling and a "hub." I know the advantages of this approach, but for
small networks doing limited file- and print-sharing, or sharing an
Internet connection that's almost surely gated or throttled to 10Mb/s
or less, nothing's cheaper or faster than a small coax-based network.
But I know I'm in the minority in holding that view. </curmudgeon mode
In any case, if you're looking to build a small LAN, the links above
will get you going.
NOTE: I hope to have my step-by-step network page up by xmas - Peter
That's it for this issue!
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Last Revised: 10/23/2000