PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 59
ISSN: 1533-1938

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                   The PuterGeek.Com News (PGCN)
                                    Date 03/21/2001
                                        Issue # 59

 A casual newsletter that goes out 1-5 times per month.
 It contains excerpts and articles from all the newsletters I
 read condensed down to a manageable size. Plus info about
 PuterGeek.Com, as well as various tips and tricks I've learned.

Hello Everyone!
There's a lot to tell you so sit tight and open up a browser 'cause you're gonna need it!
Amy and I are at home until at least Friday AM.  I've been doing a lot of small tweaking to the whole website, lots of little changes...a smaller "footer" page, the major links are a bit easier to click on now, and PuterGeek.Com now offers THREE e-mail lists!
That's right!  You're getting the main one right now and you probably know about the Sponsor list...but since so many of you have asked for it...We now offer the "Life On The Road" e-mail list!  Now you can get a regular dose of both Amy and I...tips, stories, rants, and general blather about our life on the road as a husband/wife long-haul trucking team! http://www.putergeek.com/trucking/mail_list.shtml NOTE: This is for adults only due to mild profanity.
If you already know that you want on this new list, just email us at
Plus there is a new section at PuterGeek.Com, the "Life On The Road" section. http://www.putergeek.com/trucking/
Here you can learn about our truck, read a glossary of trucking terms, hear stories of our trucking life, read what most drivers think about 4-wheelers, and get some safety tips on sharing the road with the Big Rigs.
Amy has a new page up in "Amy's Corner".  It's called "Help!! I'm A Geek".  Husbands should take note: Get your wife hooked on 'puters, and she'll never say no to your new 'puter toys! (grin)
THERE"S A NEW POLL UP! http://www.putergeek.com/index.shtml#poll
In the last two issues of the newsletter I've been talking about a way to print just a section of a webpage, instead of the whole page.  Well I'd thought we'd just about covered it til this came in :-)
Subscriber "Timo A." wrote:
"Just thought I'd let you know that if you want to print a selection from IE 5.5, and perhaps earlier versions, just highlight the text you wish to print, press Ctrl-P and choose Print Selection. Ctrl-P is the standard Windows print command, and will bring up the Print Dialogue box in any Windows compliant program. Try it, you'll never go back to the menu, or the icon."
Subscriber Stan a. wrote this:
running IE 5.5.2 on 1Ghzhp WinME and Lexmark5770  "Neither of the print suggestions worked for me..indeed i also got grayed out boxes either way!!"  BUT  many thanks as a 1394 user i appreciated the download many thks.
That's another great way to get to the printer screen!  This is an area that is a great sore point to novice Windows users.  For just about anything that you want to do, there are at least 3-5 ways to achieve your goal.  Most novice users get stuck on "Which is the right way?".  That's the whole point!  There is NO RIGHT WAY!  Amy loves to use the mouse, while I love keyboard shortcuts.  Give them all a try and do what works best for you.  Just remember, when it comes to the OS we love to hate...there are no guarantees that a tip will work for you!
Lots of folks buy a 'puter thinking that they'll just muddle their way through it.  After a couple of weeks they're about ready to take the darn stupid thing back to Best Buy!
Now that both my folks AND my in-laws have just gotten their first 'puter, this point is really coming home to me right now.  Well, here's how I learned about 'puters...remember, I'm just a dumb truck driver...I bought me some books!
While the name strikes some as offensive, I can't recommend this series enough.  It's the "FOR DUMMIES" series. http://www.dummies.com/  They not only have many great easy to read books, they also have "DUMMIES DAILY eTips" on over 40 subjects!
Here's what I suggest...
BOOK ONE: PCs For Dummies. http://catalog.dummies.com/product.asp?isbn=0764505947
BOOK TWO: Windows 98SE (or your version of Windows) For Dummies
http://catalog.dummies.com/product.asp?isbn=0764501801  Win95
http://catalog.dummies.com/product.asp?isbn=0764502611  Win98
http://catalog.dummies.com/product.asp?isbn=0764507354  WinME
Then, we you think you're ready for the good stuff...get what I consider the bible for your operating system:
"Windows ME Secrets" http://www.davisstraub.com/secrets/
  Windows 98 Secrets
  Windows 95 Secrets
I have personally read and own all the above books.  When you're ready for some more just send me an email and I'll be happy to suggest some more.
Well, thanks to the Langalist (thanks Fred!), I decided that enough was enough for me.  While I have never had any problems with Outlook Express, it has (what I feel) many glaring shortcomings!  Here's just a few:
No way to archive mail.  When a folder in OE gets really big, it becomes *very* slow to open.  My "sent items" folder has over 16,000 emails in it and on my laptop it takes almost 60 seconds to open.  The only option is to save EACH email as a text file...who are they kidding?!
No easy way to backup your email.  Sure, you can copy all the files in the storage folder, but then what?  Do you have any idea just how long it takes to merge them back in?  For me it took just under 4 hours!!  What if you want to save all your settings, email, and address book because you're about to wipe your 'puter?  Again, there is NO easy way to do so.  Yes, I know all the tricks...grabbing stuff out of the registry and so on...but that's just_plain_nuts!
So anyway, I've been looking at a number of different email clients.  Believe it or not, I own a copy of Outlook 2000 and I refuse to use it.  For just plain email  it is too darn bloated!  Plus it doesn't offer near the feature set of some of the other guys.
Here's my preliminary thoughts so far...
Eudora:  While everyone *says* it's the best...I cant stand the GUI (graphical user interface).  So that killed that one.
Pegasus:  I tried really hard to like this very_powerful_client...but again, the GUI killed it for me.
Poco:  It has some nice features, but it's too "cutesy" for me AND it's not too stable if you leave it open for many hours like I do.
The Bat!:  At first I thought this was a contender!  Lots of really slick features and very quick to boot!  Ease of use, plus all the bells and whistles a power user could ever want...except the ability to archives.  That and the fact that the uninstall routine is messed up.  On two different 'puters I could_not_get_it_to_uninstall!
Calypso:  http://www.calypsoemail.com/  This is the one I've landed on.  While the jury's not in yet (I need to use it for a couple of months first), I'm ready to buy it and give it a go.
It uses less memory than OE (about 8 megs less), it stores everything in ONE FILE!  All you settings, your email, your address box (yes, you can use an external address program), and it is too simple to move it to a different 'puter or a fresh reinstall.  It's easy to use.  It's great for the power user.  I left it open for 40+ hours with no memory leaks.  It'll do automatic backups.  It has templates for repeat emails.  It can archive email to a "plain text" file.
While I'm not telling to rush right out and buy it, they do offer a 30 day trial with a decent uninstall routine.
5)  FROM THE FUNNIES http://users.erols.com/hmmd
An unemployed man goes to try for a job with Microsoft as a cleaner.  The manager there arranges for an aptitude test (Section: Floors, sweeping and cleaning).  "After the test," the manager says, "you will be appointed on the scale of $30 per day.  Let me have your e-mail address, so that I can send you a form to complete and advise you where to report for work on your first day."
Taken aback, the unemployed man protests that he is neither in possession of a computer nor of an e-mail address.  To this the MS manager replies, "Well, then, that really means that you virtually don't exist and can therefore hardly expect to be employed."
Stunned, the man leaves.  Not knowing where to turn and only having about $10 left, he decides to buy a 10-pound box of tomatoes at the supermarket.
Within less than 2 hours, he sells the tomatoes singly at 100% profit.
Repeating the process several times more that day, he ends up with almost $100 before going to sleep that night.  And thus it dawns on the man that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes.
Getting up early and earlier every day and going to bed late and later, he multiplies his hoard of profits in quite a short time.  Not too long thereafter, he acquires a cart to transport several dozen boxes of tomatoes, only to have to trade it in again shortly afterwards on a pick-up truck.
By the end of the second year, he is the owner of a fleet of pick-up trucks and manages a staff of a hundred former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.
Considering the future of his wife and children, he decides to buy some life insurance.  Calling an insurance adviser, he picks an insurance plan to fit his new circumstances.  At the end of the telephone conversation, the adviser asks him for his e-mail address in order that he might forward the documentation.  When the man replies that he has no e-mail, the adviser is stunned: "What, you don't even have e-mail?  How on earth have you managed to amass such wealth without the Internet, e-mail and e-commerce?  Just imagine where you would have been by now, if you had been connected from the very start!"
After a moment's silence, the tomato millionaire replied:
"Sure!  I would have been a cleaner at Microsoft!"
Morals of the story:
1: The Internet, e-mail and e-commerce do not need to rule your life.
2: If you don't have e-mail, but work hard, you can still become a millionaire.
3: Seeing that you got this story via e-mail, you're probably closer to becoming a cleaner than you are to becoming a millionaire.
4: If you do have a computer and e-mail, you're already being taken to the cleaners by Microsoft.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound..
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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6)  FROM THE LANGALIST http://www.langa.com/
Duck And Cover
In "Space Stations Keep Fallin' On My Head..." ( http://www.langalist.com/newsletters/2001/2001-03-12.htm#9 ) I mentioned how the Russian Mir station will be deorbited soon (as of now, it's scheduled for this week).  If all goes according to plan, many tons of high-velocity, incendiary rubble will splash down in the South Pacific.
(The bigger chunks will not burn up in the atmosphere.)
It's actually a dicey gambit: Mir--- the earth's first and still-largest space station, launched in 1986 and now limping along a decade past its designed five-year lifespan--- has suffered crashes, depressurizations, fires, computer outages, environmental system failures, jammed air locks, shortages of maneuvering fuel and sundry other problems.  It's even home---or host--- to an unusual "space fungus." ( http://www.space.com/news/spacestation/space_fungus_000727.html )
Although Mir has far exceeded its mission goals of exploring the mechanics and human factors of long-duration space flight, it clearly has become senescent and unreliable.
But Mir was never designed for re-entry.  It's asymmetrical, totally unaerodynamic, and surely will veer and tumble as it encounters the upper atmosphere.  While parts of Mir are lightweight and will burn up due to atmospheric friction, other massive components--- docking collars and the like--- are beefy enough to survive reentry: These will impact as high-speed, high-temperature debris, carrying a huge amount of kinetic energy.
In any case, nothing this large has ever been deorbited before.  It's a first, filled with uncertainties.
I listed a few Mir-tracking sites in the above-cited issue, but the more I dug into it, the more I found.  After wading through literally hundreds of sites, I ended up with a list of about 40 great sites, each with something unusual or even unique to offer.  These sites feature up-to- date predictions of the actual splashdown time and locale, and a huge array of ancillary information about Mir, its history; its successors such as the International Space Station; and much more, including a huge range of general science and astronomy topics.
Mir's spectacular end is likely to be a once-in-a-lifetime event, so it's worth more than passing notice.  I assembled my list of "top 40"
sites into a full-length Byte.Com "Monitor" column that will run a week earlier than usual so that you can have the list of sites early--- and in time to use them to enrich your experience as you track Mir's final fiery moments.
While tens of million of others will content themselves with mass-media news reports, *you'll* have links direct to the right parts of the Russian Space Agency, to specialty NASA sites, to high-grade tracking and observation sites, and more--- all from your PC.
The column should be available Monday March 19th via Byte's home page at http://www.byte.com/ or by clicking directly to the Monitor index at http://www.byte.com/index/monitor .  Check it out!  Chances are, nothing this large will *ever* deliberately be deorbited again.
7)  FROM LOCKERGNOME http://www.lockergnome.com/
Vascam v1.0 [2.7M] W9x/NT/2k FREE
http://www.digitalsecurity.uk.com/cctv_system/download/vascam10.exe http://www.digitalsecurity.uk.com/ http://screenshot.lockergnome.com/vas.png {Motion detection for Webcams} Home security makes me feel so...  secure.  This tool will keep an eye out for intruders -- or things that go bump in the light.  Ya know, like burglars, peeping toms, the Easter Bunny, etc.  See, it detects motion and snaps a picture when it sees something lurking in the shadows.  "Sprocket, what were you doing with that knapsack?
And why were you wearing a ski mask?" You can monitor images from the Web or FTP site, control how many images the camera takes before it stops, and change sensitivity so the camera doesn't start shooting whenever the lights flicker just a little.  Of course, I'd never change my own sensitivity.


Peter Crockett - webmaster
website: http://www.putergeek.com/
mailto: webmaster@putergeek.com
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Last Revised: 03/21/2001