PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 60
ISSN: 1533-1938

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The PuterGeek.Com News (PGCN)
Issue # 60

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!

We're in Phoenix, AZ visiting with my folks. It's about 80 degrees and
sunny here.
Amy and I are both doing well and I have some time to get all caught-up on
email and website duties.


You only have two weeks left to submit your buttons! April 15th is the cut-off date. Here's your chance to show your artistic talents. While I will become the owner of all submissions, the winner (and your website, if you have one) will get permanent recognition on PuterGeek.Com.

Go to <http://www.putergeek.com/button/> for all the details. Voting for  your favorite button will start on April 16th and will last until April 30th.  This is a critical Issue to me and I hope that you will all take the time to vote.

The "Current News Stories" page at < http://www.putergeek.com/current_news/> has a few new items added to it. You can now read Lockergnome's current "Tip Of The Day" and the "Joke Of The Day". These and all the news stories are updated
every day. I created this as a way for me to get the news, then others said they wanted the link to it. Take a look, you *might* want to make it your start page.

I've got some ideas for another new section for the website, it'll be called "PuterGeek Speaks". I plan to do reviews, rants, and generally give my opinion about 'puter related stuff. Stay tuned for more info on this upcoming section.

The new "Life On The Road" section is doing well. The new newsletter has 70+ subscribers now. If you're interested in trucking, or what kind of daily life a husband/wife team has, you might want to join the list. Go here to take a look and get more info. <http://www.putergeek.com/trucking/>

I'm still working on the format of the newsletter, sorry about the growing pains.  I am now manually formatting as I go. Even though I think it's a bad idea, I've added a "Contents" section at the top of the issue. Many of you have requested this feature so here it is.

The downside of a contents section is (like me) you'll look there first, read only the stuff the catches your eye, and skip the rest of the newsletter. The problem is that I'm not very creative so the headers in the contents won't be very descriptive. We'll
see how it does.

Please take a moment to tell me if you like or hate the way this issue looks. Does it view ok in your email client? If not, what are you using? Is this easy to read? If not, why isn't it? Send email to:


All you regular readers can skip this section :-)

From time to time a new subscriber has a question or problem with PuterGeek.Com, the newsletter, or how to get ahold of me.

Last week I sent out a "Flash!" issue of the newsletter. I didn't have time to create a full issue, but I really wanted to let all of you know about the beta release of IE 6.0. The problem is that 5 people unsubscribed complaining that the newsletter
was too short, and I didn't give very much info. Hehe...gee, most complaints I get are saying that this is too long :)

So here is some info for all of you...

From time to time I *may* send out a "Flash!" issue. These tend to be very short, they will NOT be posted on the website, and they are extra issue.

Some people ask how big is my staff. My staff is comprised of me, myself, and I.  Amy gives me feedback and spell-checking, sometimes I'll have a guest author submit a page for the website, Howie is in charge of "Howie's Corner", and Amy takes care of "Amy's Corner". I count on you folks to send me tips, interesting web pages, and news (I can't find it all). I always give credit to my source.

Please feel free to contact me anytime. I do get a fair bit of email, plus I can't always check my email every day. I do promise to answer every email I get.

Please send me email in "plain-text" only. Please don't send me any attachments without asking me first, unless you know I'm at home. My net connection is lousy when we're on the road so anything to make it smaller helps.

When you reply to me, please always quote the whole email in your reply. My memory is rather short at times and this way I won't have to search for the prior emails on this thread.

For more info about email, please take a look at this web page:

Here are the email addresses to use:

For personal stuff ONLY crockett@putergeek.com

For help requests please use the form at
<http://www.putergeek.com/help_request/> or email helpme@putergeek.com

For website and newsletter stuff webmaster@putergeek.com

You're welcome to give me a call anytime you can see me on the PeterCam
( http://www.putergeek.com/petercam/ ) at 330-837-2789 (Ohio)

I'm here to help, but I don't know everything...really, I don't :-)

I don't get paid for maintaining the Putergeek.Com website, creating web pages, writing the newsletter, or answering the hundreds or requests for help I receive.

I do accept ads for both the website and the PGCN newsletter. Plus the PuterGeek.Com Sponsors help me to defray the costs I incur. If you'd like more info please go to "Fan" page at <http://www.putergeek.com/thanks/>

Many people ask me "Why do you do all of this?". The short version is that "What goes around, comes around.". Plus, when Amy and I get off the road I hope to get a job in the tech support field, and this is my resume :-)

3) FROM THE FUNNIES <http://users.erols.com/hmmd/>

1. Sag, You're it 
2. Pin the Toupee on the bald guy. 
3. 20 questions shouted into your good ear. 
4. Kick the bucket 
5. Red Rover, Red Rover, the nurse says Bend Over. 
7. Simon says something incoherent. 
8. Hide and go pee. 
9. Spin the Bottle of Mylanta 
10. Musical recliners. 

For those who already have children past this age, this is hilarious.
For those who have children this age, this is not funny.
For those who have children nearing this age, this is a warning.
For those who have not yet had children, this is birth control.

The following came from an anonymous mother in Austin, Texas.

1. A king-size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 2000-sq.-foot house 4
inches deep.

2. If you spray hair spray on dust bunnies and run over them with roller
blades, they can ignite.

3. A 3-year-old's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.

4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong
enough to rotate a 42-pound boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is
strong enough, however, if tied to a paint can, to spread paint on all four
walls of a 20x20-foot room.

5. You should not throw baseballs up when the ceiling fan is on. When
using the ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you
get a hit.  A ceiling fan can hit a baseball a long way.

6. The glass in windows (even double pane) doesn't stop a baseball hit by
a ceiling fan.

7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words "Uh-oh,"
it's already too late.

8. Brake fluid mixed with Clorox makes smoke, and lots of it.

9. A six-year-old can start a fire with a flint rock even though a
36-year-old man says this can only be done in the movies. A magnifying glass can start a
fire even on an overcast day.

10. Certain LEGOs will pass through the digestive tract of a

11. Play-Do and microwave should never be used in the same sentence.

12. Superglue is forever.

13. No matter how much Jell-O you put in a swimming pool, you still can't
walk on water.

14. Pool filters do not like Jell-O.

15. VCRs do not eject PB&J sandwiches, even though TV commercials show
they do.

16. Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.

17. Marbles in gas tanks make lots of noise when driving.

18. You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on. Plastic toys do not
like ovens.

20. The fire department in Austin, TX, has a 5-minute response time.

21. The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earth worms dizzy.

22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.

23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy..

4) TIPS AND TRICKS!! chimneygod@yahoo.com

Did you know There are about 350 different species of sharks, which are
divided into 8 orders and 30 families? Want to know more? Check out this shark
site for more FREE shark facts, shark coloring pages, shark puzzles and classroom

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a
valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it
was a valuable plant. 

>From Thrifty Tips: 
BOILED POTATOES AND EGGSHELLS After you've boiled the potatoes for dinner,
instead of pouring the water down the drain, why not save it to use the
next time you need to make a soup or stew.

Or after it's cooled, us it as a fertilizer for your houseplants. It seems
that ferns really like it! While we're on the subject of recycling foods, save your
eggshells for the garden. Roses love the shells and they help to keep snails away.
(The environmentalists will love you!) 

Remember, it's time to "Spring Ahead" this weekend and turn your clock
ahead one hour before you go to bed on Saturday night. How I hate to lose that hour!
(NOTE: This is for the US. And not for every state - Peter)

5) IMPORTANT NOTE!! <http://www.winmag.com/>

Publication of the Broadband Report, MS Office Beat, Power Tools, Power
Win2000, Tip of the Week, Windows Insider, Win Letter, and Winmag Preview
newsletters has been suspended. 

But you can stay on top of developments in desktop technology by
subscribing to the PlanetIT Desktop Newsletter. For late-breaking IT news, subscribe to
TechWeb News Daily Update. And for the best of the TechWeb sites, try TechWeb This

To subscribe:
(NOTE: This really sucks!! - Peter)

** Just a Reminder**

Want to tell a friend about PuterGeek.Com?

Want to tell a friend about PuterGeek.Com News?

If any of you haven't rated this newsletter on 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 :-)

Want to say Thank You to the PuterGeek? Just point your web browser
at <http://www.putergeek.com/thanks/> to find out what you can do to
help me. Info on how to become a PuterGeek.Com Sponsor can be found
here as well.

6) FROM PCIN <http://www.pcin.net/>

Spam Blocker Wipes Out E-Mail
"Up to two weeks' worth of e-mail from customers of EarthLink Inc. have
been accidentally deleted by America Online Inc. trying to block junk e-mail.
'The problem first came to our attention about a week ago,' said Arley
Baker, EarthLink's director of corporate communications. 'We were getting
some e-mail from customers saying, 'Hey, I'm trying to e-mail someone at
AOL and they never got my message.''

Filters used to block junk e-mail, known as spam, from AOL accounts were
set to delete any e-mail coming from an EarthLink address."

For more info:

Microsoft Posts Warning on Downloads
"Downloaders beware -- someone out there could be masquerading as
Microsoft, the software company warned yesterday.
VeriSign, the company that issues the digital certificates used to
authenticate the sources of software on the Internet, accidentally issued
two certificates to someone who fraudulently claimed to be a Microsoft
employee, according to a security bulletin issued by Microsoft. That
unknown person could now post viruses or other malicious programs on the Web
disguised as Microsoft software."

For more info:



First 'Napster-proof' CD set to burn
"If all goes as planned, Charley Pride will make music history in April.
After selling more than 70 million records, Pride - one of the last great
figures from the pre-Garth, twang-box radio glory days of country music -
is set to release America's first copy-protected compact disk. A tribute to
singer Jim Reeves, who died in a plane crash in 1964, Pride's CD will
incorporate technology that, in theory, will stop listeners from ripping
its tracks into MP3s. If it works - a hotly disputed question - copy protection
will change the terms of the battle over online music."

For more info:

7) FROM WOODY'S OFFICE WATCH <http://www.wopr.com/>

Copies of the "gold" version of Office XP are just beginning to hit
WOWsers' desks, and the bug reports are starting to come in. As
discussed last week, I'll be tracking them down, confirming the ones
that are replicable, and kvetching about the ones that aren't.

I'm just starting to go through my list of problems - the stuff I
happened to bump into while working on "Special Edition Using
Microsoft Office XP" with Ed Bott. I won't bore you with all the
details (yet!), but let me give you one simple example.

If you can get your hands on any version of Office XP, from lowly Beta
2 to the RTM release, start FrontPage. Click on Insert | Picture |
Clip Art. You get the Insert Clip Art task pane, way over on the
right, correct? Good. That's the way it should work - the way all the
other Office XP apps work.

Now, click File | New | Page or Web. See how the task pane turns into
the New Page or Web task pane? Yep, that's great, too. Precisely what
FrontPage should be doing. Fantastic.

Next, click the down-arrow to the right of the New Page or Web title
bar on the task pane. Switch to the Insert Clip Art task pane you saw
just a second ago and...

Oh. What's that you say? Golly. The Insert Clip Art task pane isn't
even listed? Hey, how about that. It isn't listed in my copy of Office
XP either. Guess Microsoft must've plumb forgot it. Funny. If you do
something similar in Word or Outlook or Excel or any of the other
Office apps, the Insert Clip Art task pane appears on the drop-down
list, like it should. But it's missing in FrontPage. Sunuvagun.

I chose this little omission as my first, fledgling WOW XP buglet for
you readers because it's short and sweet and easy to replicate with
any version of Office XP. In and of itself, it's no big deal: you can
always get to FrontPage's Insert Clip Art task pane via the menu. But
it sure does make you wonder what else they missed, eh?

Keep those bugs a'comin'! When you hit something in new version of
Office that goes bump in the XP night, run over to
http://www.woodyswatch.com/office/XPsurvey.asp and fill me in on all
the details. You'll remain completely anonymous, unless you
specifically type in your email id. With your help, I'll keep all
200,000 of you readers apprised of the results, every week, right here
in WOW.

By the way... I have NOT seen any show-stopper bugs in Office XP yet.
There appear to be lots and lots of problems with Outlook 2002, but
the worst Office XP bugs I've seen so far fall into the "really big
pain in the posterior" category, as opposed to the "it died and
swallowed my data, and I can't get my work done" kind. All of that
could change as the final version of Office XP becomes more widely
available, of course, and your reports keep rolling in. It's still too
early to bet the farm on OXP, one way or the other. Stay tuned.

8) MIKE'S LIST <http://www.mikeslist.com/current.htm>

Robot Acts as Family Counselor
A robot from NEC called PaPeRo can sense when families are arguing and
step in as a kind of robo-referee, according to company. The 11-pound
robot sports two digital cameras, four microphones, five sensors and a
3,000-phrase vocabulary. The company claims PaPeRo can even recognize 650
facial expressions.

Winmag.com Crashes and Burns
CMP Media executed a controlled descent of Winmag.com last week. The
editorial operation mostly burned up in the atmosphere. Massive chunks of
supersonic flaming metal struck several employees, however, while others
survived by entering the Mother Ship. Some of my fellow WinMaganaut
contributors, editors and writers have posted web sites (some about the
disaster), including John Woram, Fred Langa, Karen Kenworthy, Scot Finnie,
Dan Rosenbaum, Warren Ernst, Jason Levine, Dave Methvin and Serdar
Yegulalp. It's the end of an era.

A company called Idea International plans to start selling alarm clocks
next month that wake you to the sound of your own MP3 or WAV files. It
sports a USB port for downloading songs from your PC.

9) FROM MICROSOFT <http://www.microsoft.com/>

More and more publishers are creating Microsoft Reader eBooks every day.
On the Reader website you can see the latest books and download Microsoft
Reader with ClearType(tm) display technology FREE today.


Download this file to resolve registry problems.



Use these handy tricks to make your computer faster, easier, and more fun.
Activate hovering mode, adjust multimedia options, set accessibility
options for the keyboard or mouse, and much more. 


10) FROM THE LANGALIST <http://www.langa.com/>

3) Road Runner, Verizon, @Home Email Problems

Speaking of email... many readers' email accounts have been broken
lately, and some may not even realize it.

You see, most people assume email is as reliable as paper mail (and
postal jokes aside, paper mail is extremely reliable). But email is not
particularly reliable. As a recipient, you can't know what email you
*didn't* get because any bounce/error message goes back to the sender,
not to you. And depending on what the error was and how it's handled,
the sender may also never see the error message: Emails can be sent---
and just vanish into the void.

For example, just in the last week or so, a large number of Texas
"RoadRunner" cable modem subscribers failed to get all or some of their
email due to server problems. There was a second, lesser group of
"@Home" customers, mostly clustered in Florida, that had similar
problems. And Verizon customers in a variety of locations also lost
email for a while.

And these were just the most recent large-scale email problems: Problems
like these happen regularly, and there are even larger numbers of people
who have spot outages from time to time. No mail system is immune. Even
highly-reliable systems with 99.9% uptime, for example, still will
experience about *9 hours* outage per year... more than a full business
day's worth!

One simple way to test your own email is to maintain a separate account
on one of the free email services, and use that account to send your
primary email address a message whenever you suspect that primary email
may be having trouble. That way, you'll see if your main address is
working, and also get an idea of how long it takes for mail to get

On the sending side, you can use the "return receipt" option for
important email: This is a feature (supported by all major email
clients) that triggers an automatic reply message to you when your email
is opened by the recipient. While this certainly isn't a failsafe
measure (and can be overridden on the recipient side), it gives you at
least a tiny bit of feedback about the delivery--- or nondelivery--- of
important email.

But the main thing is simply to be aware that email is not a highly
reliable (nor secure) form of communication. It's a sad fact of online
life that some small but nontrivial percentage of emails you send--- and
that others send to you--- simply aren't going to arrive. The more email
you send or receive, the more likely that "small percentage" is to
become a meaningful factor in your online correspondence.

1) Windows XP Preview

Microsoft has once again decided to offer a for-a-fee "preview" (beta)
version of an upcoming product. This time, it's the "Windows XP"
operating system. Later this year, XP will replace all current versions
of Windows with a unified operating system (based on Windows 2000) that
will come in at least three major flavors targeted ( respectively) for
home, business, and server use.

I'm ambivalent about for-a-fee beta programs. It can be good to get an
early look at new software--- if you know what you're doing and know how
to recover from inevitable serious bugs (this is unfinished software,
after all). On the other hand, Microsoft is making a profit off a beta
product, and that seems kind of sleazy.

If you order XP on CD, it costs $20(US). That's profitable, but not
insanely so. But Microsoft wants to charge you $10 even to download the
software. To me, that's just plain gouging.

Should you order it? If you need to know about XP early (say, if you're
responsible for determining if a large number of systems should upgrade
to XP, or if you know you will be upgrading and need to get a jump on
working out the procedures); if you have a spare PC to try it on; or if
you are sufficiently fanatical about your backups so that the inevitable
crashes and bugs won't cost you valuable files or data; if you don't
mind a certain level of frustration in dealing with the rough edges of
unfinished software; and if you don't mind spending the money; then:

Otherwise, wait for the final version, and even then, let those in the
above "yes" category be your guide: Their opinions---far more than
Microsoft's --- will tell you what the new OS is really like, and
whether it's worth the change. (I'll be testing XP, and will share my
results with you, for example.)

If you're happy with what you're now using--- if it runs well and lets
you do what you need/want to do with your current hardware--- then the
answer should be an emphatic: No. The days of needing to "keep up" with
every new version that comes along are long past. Most OSes now,
including Windows, are relatively mature, so incremental releases are
not revolutionary and certainly not mandatory.

And the Windows ME fiasco proves that some "upgrades" are actually
really, really badly done.

If all the above hasn't scared you off <g> and you still want to give it
a try, get your credit card ready and click to
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/preview/order.asp .

5) "Tiny Firewall" Set Free

We discussed the Tiny Firewall ("Tiny" is the name of the company, as
well as a description of the size of the software) when it was in beta
in http://www.langalist.com/newsletters/2000/2000-11-27.htm#4 . Then, we
said it looked promising, with:

Rules-Based Intrusion Detection
Trojan Horse/Phone-Home Application Filter
Information Is Logged
Allows You To Set "Trusted Addresses"
Remote/Secure Administration
Time-Based Rules Activation
Works on Win9x/NT4/2000/ME

Readers had some mixed reactions to the beta (See "Readers' Yeas and
Nays Re: Tiny Firewall" at
http://www.langalist.com/newsletters/2000/2000-11-30.htm#5 )

When it shipped, the Tiny Firewall cost $29, but personal use of the
Tiny Firewall is now free, and business users may evaluate it for free.
If you'd like to take a look, it's at http://www.tinysoftware.com/pwall.php

8) Woram's "Rogue's Gallery" Grows

The site shutdown at Winmag.com is nearly done, and just about all the
old content is now currently unavailable. (Sigh.)

It should become available again--- in some form--- in a week or so, and
I'll give you a URL as soon as I know it. Even then, you'll probably
have to use Techweb's less-than-elegant search facility to dig out the
stuff you want. (I hope CMP will open the pages to "spiders" from the
major search engines; if they do, then it won't be so hard to find the
moved material, once the search engines update their links.)

Meanwhile, WinMag ex-columnist John Woram's "where are they now?" page
of WinMag refugees has grown to include links to Scot Finnie Serdar
Yegulalp and Jason Levine in addition to those former WinMag staff,
columnists and writers he'd already posted last week: If you want to
track where your favorite WinMag author ends up, see

11) FROM LOCKERGNOME <http://www.lockergnome.com/>

CD Freaks 


{Burn your CD knowledge} CD, CD-ROM, DVD, CD-R... some people really live
for this stuff. No one seems more maniacal about this technology than the
folks at CD Freaks. Learn how to make the most out of those shiny discs
with a little help from your digital friends. If you have extensive
knowledge of burning, ripping, and all that fun stuff, you can join their
legion and share your insight with visitors-at-large. Stay up-to-date on
all the latest news (ripped from the headlines, so to speak). They'll even
let you know about the newest hardware and software releases. Freaks, I
tell ya! FREAKS! 
Tech Comedy 


{Tales from tech supporters} This site is hilarious! Okay, we've all had to
call tech support at one time or another (myself included). Most of us know
the routine: be in front of the computer, have your serial number ready,
etc. But, when you're answering hundreds of calls a day, you're bound to
have some interesting stories to relay. This site has ROTFL tales and audio
clips from those poor souls in tech support. It's great for an honest
laugh. Mind you, some of those audio clips can get nasty; they weren't
encoded for the sensitive soul. Geek or otherwise, you'll chuckle. 
Solitude v1.52 [3.6M] W9x/NT/2k FREE 


"The current release of Solitude contains 91 distinct Solitaire (card)
games with tons of new features. Included are: Aces Up, Alhambra, Amazons,
Auld Lang Syne, Baker's Dozen, Baker's Game, Batsford, Beleaguered Castle,
Betsy Ross, Black Hole, Blind Patience, Bowling, Bristol, Calculation,
Canfield, Carpet, Chameleon, Clock, Contradance, Cribbage Solitaire, Cruel,
Deuces, etc." My favorite is Golf. 
IrfanView v3.33 [694k] W9x/NT/2k FREE 


"[This] is a very fast graphic viewer. Supports: Thumbnails, Preview, Drag
& Drop Support, Print Support, Scan (TWAIN) Support, Slideshow, Batch
conversion, change the color depth, audio CD player, Capturing, Cut/Crop,
Effects, etc." Even if you already have another imaging application, give
IrfanView a spin; the author's been developing it for years. 
(NOTE: I install this on every 'puter I work on! GET IT!!! - Peter)
Support for ATA 100 (Mode 5) in Windows 2000 


"Windows 2000 does not support ATA 100 (Mode 5) for IDE hard disks. All ATA
100 IDE hard disks that are used with Windows 2000 default to ATA 66 (Mode
4). A supported fix is now available from Microsoft, but it is only
intended to correct the problem described in this article and should be
applied only to systems experiencing this specific problem. This fix may
receive additional testing at a later time, to further ensure product
quality. After you install this hotfix, you may notice an incorrect "PIO"
value displayed on the Advanced Settings tab for an IDE device in Device
Manager. This does not mean that the device is functioning in "PIO" mode.
Windows 2000 is displaying an incorrect value." 

Til next time...

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Last Revised: 03/31/2001