PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 49

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Hello everyone!

Amy and I are now home for the holidays. YAH!!!  We should be home until the
5th of Jan.  We take 3 weeks off at the end of the year for vacation.
Between the bad weather and lack of loads it doesn't hurt us too bad.  We
generally stay out during all the other major holidays.

() New Poll at http://www.putergeek.com/index.shtml#poll

()  Wanna chat?

In case you don't know, PuterGeek.Com has it's own "chat" room.  It's an IRC
(Internet Relay Chat) channel that's served from my home.  Simply go to;
http://www.putergeek.com/chat/ with your web browser and follow the
instructions to use the Java program.  Be sure to say yes when it asks you

If you have your own IRC client, you can use it instead.  Simply put in the
IP of my server (currently it's or go to;
http://www.putergeek.com/server/ to find out if it's changed.  The port
number is 6667.

If you feel like chatting with the PuterGeek... come on in!  You might want
to check the PeterCam (my webcam) to make sure I'm home, it's at:

I'd like to invite all of you to join Amy and I in the PuterGeek.Com
chatroom this coming Saturday 12/23/00 from 8pm to 10pm Eastern time.
(GMT -5hrs I think)  It'll be a chance to get to know each other as well as
ask either Amy or myself any questions that you've been dying to know.  This
will also be a great time to talk to some of the other subscribers, so if
you don't have any family/holiday functions to go to come on in and say hi!

()  AOL Conspiracy Theories

Remember all the stuff lately about AOL from Langa and others?  Well here's
part of an email I got from subscriber S. K.

"Dear Fred and PuterGeek

re: AOL6 and VPN,

If you remember a month or so ago the "Carnivore" that the FBI wants to
install on all ISP's?  Well, think about being connected to the (I think)
US's largest source of Emails, addresses and buddy lists.  What a source of
data!  Think about being able to VPN directly to someone's computer HDD!  I
wouldn't put it past the FBI to try something like that."

(Speaking of "Carnivore", I have it from a good source, that this software
most be installed by EVERY ISP in the US!  Sure it's being fought about, but
it's still reading your email...Peter)

()  Time to upgrade?

I just got done SPECing out a new 'puter for a friend of mine.  Unless
you've been watching prices lately, you'd be shocked about what you can buy
today!  Here's just some of the items I've found;

P-III 750 Boxed Intel  $221.99
(2) Maxtor DiamondMax Plus hard drives 7200 RPM ATA 100 $407.98
512 meg of ECC PC100 memory (Corsair) $467.98
Viewsonic PF790 19" monitor $471.99

and the list goes on!  If you're thinking about an upgrade, or a new
system...now is the time to do it!

()  WinME - Is it for geeks?

I'm only gonna tell you subscribers about this.  It won't be on the website,
so be sure to read this.  When WinME came out I said on both the website as
well as to all of you that I thought that WinME was a "must have" upgrade.
Well, I need to modify that statement!  While I still feel the same about
all the good changes, I'm beginning to feel that it's a bad upgrade for the
knowledgeable user.

Even geeks can use features like "System File Protection", but the bloat and
slightly "beta" feel to it made me wipe it off my production box.  I'll
still keep it on my laptop though.  I've found WinME to be more stable on
the whole... plus it does have some nice minor features as well.

Win98SE is faster, cleaner, makes more sense (IMHO) in how it does things,
is more compatible with hardware, and finally... I can tweak it more to my

I DO feel that for the majority of users WinME makes the best sense, but if
you feel reasonably comfortable with your 'puter (including a wipe every
6-12 months) I think you'd be better off waiting for "Whistler".

()  Now on with the good stuff!

From the Funnies http://users.erols.com/hmmd

* Holiday Shopping Rules

Rule No. 1: When waiting for a parking spot, stop in the middle of
the road, don't signal, and orient your car diagonally to prevent
others from passing.

Rule No. 2: Always park on the lines, taking up as many spots as
possible. Diagonal parking is preferred.

Rule No. 3: In a crowded parking lot, if you find a spot and have the
opportunity to pull through to an adjacent one, drive up halfway and
stop on the line, taking both.

Rule No. 4: As you pull into a spot, if you see that the space ahead
of you is empty and you see another driver signaling to take it, pull
though and take it from him.

Rule No. 5: Always park close enough to the adjacent car so that the
other driver must grease up with Vaseline to squeeze into his or her

Rule No. 6: When getting out of your car, hit the adjacent vehicle
with your door really hard.

Rule No. 7: When driving through the parking lot, ignore the painted
lanes and drive diagonally from one end to another at a high rate of

Rule No. 8: When stopped in front of a store and waiting for a
friend/relative to make a purchase, make sure that you are stopped in
the middle of the road. The same rule applies to picking up and
discharging passengers.

Rule No. 9: When a vehicle from the opposite direction is signaling
and waiting for a parking space, position your car so that you are in
his way and let the car behind you take it.

Rule No. 10: If you have handicapped license plates, use up a regular
parking spot.

Rule No. 11: If you hit the adjacent car with your door and leave a
dent, wait for a car, which is painted the same color as yours, to
drive down the aisle looking for a place to park. Then back out,
giving up your spot like "Mr. Good Guy," and park somewhere else.

Rule No. 12: If the vehicle in front of you stops to let a pedestrian
cross or another vehicle turn, pull into the lane of opposite traffic
and attempt to pass him.

Rule No. 13: When exiting a shopping center into a busy road, exit
through the narrow "ENTER ONLY" driveway, stick the nose of the car
into traffic, and wait.

Rule No. 14: When driving through a parking lot with alternating
one-way aisles and angled parking spots, drive the wrong way. Then
when you see a parking space, take 20 minutes to do a 12-point turn
to pull into it.

Rule No. 15: Always leave your shopping cart behind or tightly
between parked vehicles.

Rule No. 16: Empty your ashtrays on the ground in shopping center
parking lots. While you're at it, dump out all the garbage, too,
including that Wendy's or McDonald's bag sitting in the back seat
from breakfast.

Rule No. 17: If you are forced to change an infant's diaper in a
parking lot, leave the soiled diaper under the car next to you.

Rule No. 18: When another vehicle is waiting for you to pull out of a
spot in a crowded parking lot, take your time. Adjust the mirrors,
your seat, and the radio. Roll down your window, light a cigarette,
and eat your lunch. Feel free to go through your shopping bags and
look at what you just bought.

Rule No. 19: When pulling into a parking spot, if there is a shopping
cart in the way, lightly tap it with your bumper and send it rolling
into another car. Then, when you step out, if the cart is still too
close, push it down the parking lot aisle and let it go. While the
cart is flying solo, turn around and walk toward the stores.

Rule No. 20: When walking back to your car in a busy shopping center,
gesture to other drivers waiting for a spot to make them think that
you are getting in the car and leaving. Then walk between the cars to
the next aisle and do it again.

Rule No. 21: When shopping at the mall, which requires you to load
your bags into the car and go back in to do more shopping, do NOT
tell the driver who is sitting patiently watching you load your car
and signaling for your spot.

Rule No. 22: When walking back to your car, if you notice other
shoppers walking past your car to get to theirs, press the buttons on
your key chain remote so that your car's alarm makes a sudden loud
"BLOOP BLEEP" that scares the crap out of them.

Rule No. 23: If you don't see a speed limit sign posted in the mall's
parking lot, there isn't any!

Rule No. 24: If you back into a parked car, and the driver isn't with
it, take out a piece of paper and start writing. This is especially
effective if there are 15-20 witnesses. On a piece of paper write,
"There were ___ witnesses when I hit your car. They think I'm writing
my name, address, and phone number."

>From PCIN www.pcin.net

Top 50 Web Sites (of the month)
When you look at the link below that lists the top 50 web sites, it is
interesting that the top 10-20 is the same ones that we've been seeing for
2+ years. Are these sites that good, or is there nothing else worth
For those who don't check out the links, here is the top 10:
Rank / Web Site / Unique Visitors (000)
1 / yahoo.com / 64,127
2 / aol.com / 52,441
3 / msn.com / 46,587
4 / microsoft.com / 39,236
5 / geocities.com / 36,370
6 / passport.com / 35,227
7 / AOLProprietary.aol / 30,688
8 / amazon.com / 26,302
9 / ebay.com / 23,703
10 / lycos.com / 23,084

For more info:

From Microsoft www.microsoft.com


Surprise a friend with a free animated Egreeting. All you do is choose a
card, add your message, and click send!

--Come home to a Windows Me manual
You'll find everything you need to know about Windows Me in David Pogue's
"Windows Millennium: The Missing Manual." This guide addresses all the
important new features of Windows Me with detailed instructions on carrying
out each operation, including DOS applications, customizing toolbars,
organizing folders, setting up a home network, and more.

--Put your desktop in the holiday mood
It's that time of year again when we deck our halls with boughs of holly.
Don't forget your computer! Get into the holiday spirit with these fun
downloads that put snowflakes, lights, and holiday tunes on your desktop.

From the Win Insider www.winmag.com

It's here. Just in time for the holidays. The Essential Guide to
Installing Windows Me, by Neil Randall, is being posted today at
the Winmag.com Web site:



Your e-mail to Windows Insider matters! Two weeks ago I wrote a
diatribe about how Microsoft was planning to ship Whistler
without any provision for making boot floppy disks in the event
that your PC couldn't boot the Whistler CD. Windows Whistler is
the first version of Windows to be CD-bootable, but Microsoft was
too quick on the draw in killing off the traditional floppy boot
alternatives to making it installable:


     At the end, I asked you to send me mail about the subject.
We got literally hundreds of e-mails from you, and we forwarded
them all to Microsoft. And that tipped the scales. As my
colleague Serdar Yegulalp, who writes the Power Win2000
newsletter, wrote: Microsoft changed its mind:


It's not often Microsoft changes its mind about things like this.
It's a very good sign that they're listening, and making the
right decisions.

** Just a Reminder

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If any of you haven't rated this newsletter on Infojump.com www.infojump.com
please do so now.  Think of it as a way to thank me for putting out this
newsletter.  You can either click on the link here;
Or, if you'd rather give me a lower score, you can find the rating link on
the top of most any page on the website :-)

From the Langalist www.langa.com

Announcing: "LangaList Plus! Edition"

I hope you noticed two things about today's issue. <g> First, it's the
same LangaList you've come to know, with its full, normal content
covering all the things the LangaList usually covers: security threats,
OS and applications issues, free tools and tips, reader interaction,
maybe a small grin or two, and more. Second, this newsletter is now
called "The LangaList Standard Edition."

That's because, next month, I'll be launching additional versions of
this newsletter and some new services, all under the heading of
"LangaList Plus!"

Nothing--- except adding "Standard Edition" to the name--- is changing
with this version of the newsletter. If you're happy with things just
the way they are, rest easy: Nothing's changing here.

But if you *do* like what's here, you may *really* like what's in the
Plus! offerings, which give you *more* of what you've come to expect,
plus new options, new formats, and new services.

In fact, I can think of a dozen reasons why you might want to
switch to LangaList Plus! Please click over to
http://www.langa.com/plus.htm and check 'em out!

(NOTE:  This is a great deal!  I've already signed up - Peter)

AOL Responds!

In the current "Explorer" column (at
http://www.winmag.com/columns/explorer/2000/25.htm ) I examined the many
changes that AOL6 effects when it's installed, and (among other things)
speculated on why AOL *requires* the use of an unusual, complex and
potentially-insecure Virtual Private Networking setup. I had to
speculate because AOL's support areas and live human help couldn't or
wouldn't offer any explanation.

Then, in the last issue, I presented the educated guesses of some
readers as to why AOL used so complex a networking setup. But it appears
all our guesses are wrong: I heard from the Corporate Communications
people at AOL; they set up a conference call featuring a half-dozen AOL
execs and software engineers so they could explain why AOL6 does things
the way it does. Their explanations:

--->VPN: The VPN networking lies dormant for the vast majority of users.
The VPN setup is active only for people who are using AOL's own
broadband services (AOL/Time Warner). For everyone else--- everyone
using dial-up, and everyone connecting via other, non-AOL broadband
media (non-AOL cable, DSL, etc), the VPN stuff is installed, but not

--->The AOL Adapters: Similarly, all the added AOL-specific adapters
normally lie dormant. They're used only in cases where other means of
connection fail; and then they're used as a fall-back means to connect.

-->Complexity: There are two issues here. We'll deal with the
philosophic one (should unneeded networking components be installed in
the first place?) later. But there's also a practical issue: In AOL5,
the software was already so complex that some setups exceeded the
ability of Windows to provide the needed number of connections, causing
some people simply to lose connectivity. (See
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q230/2/33.ASP )The AOL
execs explained that although AOL6 installs a far more complex
networking setup than did AOL5, AOL6 correctly modifies system software
and NETTRANS.INF to ensure that there's an adequate number of available
TCP connections. (See
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q217/7/44.asp )

--->Security: AOL doesn't alter or guide the Windows networking setup
process at all, mainly for fear of breaking things. Instead, AOL6 allows
Windows to use its defaults when the AOL software requests that the OS
install additional networking components, and that's how non-Internet
protocols (such as IPX) and potentially dangerous bindings (such as
Print and File Sharing) can end up attached to the AOL networking
additions. AOL knows that IPX and Print and File Sharing don't belong on
their connections, so they filter out those packets with a server-side

--->Lack of Documentation: AOL strives for "black box" operation: "Just
plug it in and go." AOL felt that adding installation options about VPN
and such would interfere with the ultra-simple user experience they're
trying to achieve.

--->The Rationale: AOL assumes that their users are probably non-
technical; that their users are with AOL for the long haul; and that
everything should be optimized to make AOL work properly regardless of
what connection type the user has now or may have in the future. That's
why AOL6 installs everything for everyone. Although you may not need
*any* of AOL's additional networking components, you may someday sign up
with AOL/Time Warner broadband, so therefore you get VPN; because DUN
may not work correctly at some point in the future, you get the AOL5-
style "AOL Adapters" installed now; because AOL assumes you don't know
about or don't want to be bothered with security, AOL allows potentially-
insecure connections to be created, but then supplies security filters
on their end of the connection.

OK, that's all internally consistent: As long as you agree with AOL's
assumptions, it all makes a kind of sense.

You'll have to decide for yourself if it makes sense for *you.*

As for me: I told you my biases. In the column cited above, I state that
"The key to system stability and security often lies in avoiding
needless complexity." Layering in all this networking stuff because some
of it might someday be needed by some users seems rather, er,  heavy-

--> My Take:

  I believe AOL chose the wrong path by installing networking
     components on a "just in case they might be needed someday" basis
rather than as-needed and when-needed. Needless extra complexity is never a
     good thing in PC setups.
  I believe that networking security should be established at the PC
     side of *any* outbound connection, and should not rely on a distant
     server to try to correct security flaws in the connection because the
     flaws may remain---and be exploitable--- when you're NOT connected to
     the server that's trying to protect you.
  I believe that AOL should tell interested users what it proposes to
     do to a system, a priori, and then tell those users after the fact what
     it actually did. (To preserve the "black box" user experience for
     newbies, this detailed information could be made available under an
     "advanced user" option at install-time.)
  And finally, I believe there's no excuse for AOL's own tech support
     staff and systems not to have a clue about any of the above. If you
call and specifically ask about this stuff--- which is in every copy of
     -- you ought to be able to get an answer.

But that's me. What's your take? Now that you've heard AOL's side of the
story, does it make you more likely to try the software? Less so? Why?
Please click over to http://www.winmag.com/columns/explorer/2000/25.htm
and join the discussion!

LangaList Plus! Gift Subscriptions

Along with the thousands of readers who have signed themselves up for
the new LangaList Plus! edition, some have asked about giving
subscriptions as gifts. What a great idea!

If you know someone who wants to get more from their hardware,
software and time online--- a friend, colleague or loved one who could
benefit from the tons of tips, tricks, free downloads and other
information in the LangaList Plus! Edition--- sign them up for their
own copy!

The Plus! edition carries the full content of the Standard Edition
plus more content, more options, and more benefits. Here's a quick
summary of the benefits:

They Can Choose Among Multiple Formats (incl. HTML)
They'll Get No Ads!
They'll Get Extra Content In Place Of Ads!
They'll Enjoy Earlier Delivery!
They'll Be First In Line For Linked Sites!
They'll Be First In Line For New Downloads!
They'll Receive Special Issues!
They'll Get Their Own Private Copy Of The Complete LangaList Archives!
They'll Be Able To Join Real-Time, Live,  Private Online Chats About
LangaList Topics!
...and more!

In addition, the signup is quick, easy and affordable ($10 for a full
year's subscription). Your friend, colleague or loved one will
automatically get a personalized note from you (the note is fully
customizable, if you wish), informing them of your gift within minutes
of your signing them up--- no last-minute gift-delivery worries!

You'll find full instructions on the Gift Subscription process at

And if you need more info on the Plus! edition, or would like to sign
up for your own copy, please see the pages at
http://www.langa.com/plus.htm .

>From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com

College Alarm Clock v1.02 [133k] W9x/NT/2k FREE


{Wake up to music} I've always been amazed by how people sleep. Some people
wake up at the slightest noise, no matter how soft it might be. Other people
can sleep through a fireworks show and circus parade. So, it seems
reasonable that not everyone is equipped to react to a typical alarm
clock -- especially college students who might have been up all night
drinking... er, studying. Or studying their drinks, perhaps? Who better to
respond to this crisis than a fellow college student? He designed something
to play a CD track at different times (depending on the day of the week).
Try sleeping through AC/DC on Mondays and Anne Murry on Fridays. Either way,
your dormitory will hate you.

Am I Hot or Not?


{Let strangers rate you} Has voyeurism finally gone out of control? Nah,
it's just good clean fun. If you're wondering where you stand on the
"hot-o-meter," submit your photo and let folks judge your appearance on a
scale of 1 to 10 (with '1' NOT and '10' HOT). I would hope that certain
surfers aren't using this as a true measure of their image, since I'm sure
there are many jokesters out there who would vote "NOT" no matter how good
looking the person is (or was). I mean, you've seen the Lockergnome
Webcam -- is that not the face of a young Robert Redford? Women are
approaching me all the time, asking about the Sundance Film Festival. No
kidding. This is nothing like amigeekornot.com. Nothing.

Snowflake v1.0 [42k] W9x/NT/2k FREE


{Make a flake of snow} They say that no two snowflakes are alike, but how do
they know? Is someone keeping track of these things? Does NASA have a
satellite orbiting the planet which tracks every flake that has fallen since
the beginning of time? Well, now I know where all my tax money is going.
Maybe no two flakes are alike when it comes to real snow, but with this
wintery program, you can create hundreds of snowflakes that look exactly
alike... or hundreds that look nothing alike. You control the parameters
(depth, size, angle, color, etc.). They won't melt on your computer screen
even after you copy them, thank goodness. Now when people tell you that no
two flakes are alike you can prove them wrong... or right.

How to Manually Uninstall and Reinstall Outlook Express 5


"Copy all *.dbx files and the *.wab file to another location (such as the
desktop). If there are multiple identities, back up each identity to a
separate folder. WARNING: Do not delete the actual Outlook Express folder.
Doing so may cause Outlook Express to install to "\Program Files\outloo~1".
Outlook Express will not function if it installs to outloo~1, and renaming
outloo~1 to "Outlook Express" may not work. Delete the Outlook Express
registry keys. To do so, run the Outlook Express 5 RegClean utility or
delete the keys manually. OE5RegClean.exe is available for download."

That's all for now...

Peter Crockett - webmaster
website: http://www.putergeek.com/
mailto: webmaster@putergeek.com
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Last Revised: 12/21/2000