JUN 2006 issue of TOE - Channel Islands PC Users Group



JUN 2006 issue of TOE - Channel Islands PC Users Group
The Outer E
Newsletter of the Channel Islands PC Users Group
June 2006
Vol. 19, No. 12
Whole No. 230
ISSN 1055-4399
The Friendly Computer Club Helping Make Computers Friendly. On the Web at www.cipcug.org
Attendance at the
May general meeting
79 members and 6 guests
We welcome 3 new members
To Contact CIPCUG
The Outer Edge...........(805) 485-7121
General Information.. . . . . . . (805) 289-3960
Mailing Address...P.O. Box 51354, Oxnard, CA
Photo by Jerry Crocker
Lee Otsubo, The Digital Photo Guy
and our May speaker, shows the
certificate of appreciation he just
received from President Lois Evans
de Violini. The report on his program starts on page 7.
June 2006
C O M M A N D. C O M
By Lois Evans de Violini, President
know that all the officers and board members join me in thanking the
membership for their votes and their confidence. Not only did they
elect everyone again, but they recognized the need for the first dues increase that we have had in many years. The only two votes against the
dues increase were recorded by those voting online. All members at our
annual meeting voted for the increase. A full report from the secretary is
presented elsewhere.
A special thanks to Jim Thornton and Helen Long for a
new Web page devoted to review articles from the TOE.
These articles which have been published in the TOE evaluate the products of hardware and software companies or the
books that help with these products. The reviews page presents these articles in an easy-to-find format so that you can
see if some product really meets your needs.
EVANSThe reviews answer such important questions as ease of
installation, reliability of one manufacturer over another or
quality of the book. All reviews were performed by the fellow members
of the Channel Islands PC Users Group and are presented from the past
12 months as a public service to all computer users. Click on the month
and year of the review and it will open to the page of the review. More
product information can be obtained from the manufacturers’ Web pages
by clicking on the manufacturers’ name.
If you have a product that you find useful and want to share information about it with fellow members, write a review. All will be most appreciative.
The Outer Edge
Page 1
Root Directory
Channel Islands
PC Users Group
Benefits ................................... 19
Coming CIPCUG events........... 3
Command.com.......................... 1
Editor’s corner ....................... 16
Executive Board minutes .......... 5
F1 — Your Help Key.............. 17
Map, schedule ......................... 20
Membership report.................. 18
Program: Lee Otsubo, The
Digital Photo Guy ................. 7
Q&A, business meeting ............ 4
TOE contributors (2006)......... 16
Treasurer’s report.................... 16
Web page news ....................... 11
Obituary .................................... 9
OpenOffice.org announcement
on possible macro virus ....... 12
Penguin’s Lair: Forums
for Linux Help ..................... 11
Review: Windows Defender ... 10
Rick’s rant: What’s the right
thing to do? ............................ 9
Some handy hints.................... 14
Security: More of the latest
problems .............................. 13
Smart Computing tips
and fun facts ....................... 15
Business Mailing Center ......... 13
O’Reilly .................................. 13
Ventura County Computers .... 15
CIPCUG mailing address:
P.O. Box 51354, Oxnard, CA
Executive Board
(Elected officials)
President……………Lois Evans de Violini
…………….………[email protected]
Vice President/Program Chairman
………………………………..Craig Ladd
………………[email protected]
Secretary……………..Martha Churchyard
……………………[email protected]
Treasurer…………….……....…Art Lewis
………………….…[email protected]
Membership Chairman.……...Ken Church
....………………[email protected]
Tech Support…………………..Toby Scott
Web Page Editor……………..Helen Long
…………………[email protected]
Newsletter editor…………….John Weigle
………………………[email protected]
Past President…………...…..David Harris
……...………[email protected]
Ex-officio members of Executive
(Appointed Officials)
Chief Protocol Officer………George Lakes
CIPCUG ISP Signups…………Helen Long
Sound Equipment Technician…..Jim Burke
Legal Adviser………………..John Stanton
Marketing Director………...Ron Pinkerton
Program Chairman……………Craig Ladd
Publicity Chairman…………Jim Thornton
SIG coordinator…………………...Vacant
Past Presidents
Walt Yates………………………1987-1989
Lois Evans de Violini…………...1989-1991
Terry Lee………………………..1991-1993
Jerry McLoud…………………...1993-1995
Robert Provart…………………..1995-1997
Toby Scott………………………1997-1999
George Lakes…………………...1999-2001
Andy Toth……………………...2001/2003
David Harris…………………...2003-2005
(With the exception of the immediate past
president, past presidents are not members of the
Life members
Frank Segesman*
Toby Scott
Lois Evans de Violini
CIPCUG is a member of APCUG,
The Association of PC Users Groups
The Outer Edge
Editor……………………..John Weigle
P.O. Box 6536, Ventura CA 93006
485-7121………[email protected]
The Outer Edge is published monthly by Channel
Islands PC Users Group, an independent, nonprofit
corporation. Contents of The Outer Edge copyright
2001  by Channel Islands PC Users Group.
Permission for reproduction in whole or in part is
granted to other computer user groups for internal
nonprofit use provided credit is given to The Outer
Edge and the authors of the reproduced material. All
other reproduction is prohibited without prior
written consent of Channel Islands PC Users Group.
Opinions expressed in this journal are solely those
of the authors or contributors, and do not necessarily
represent those of Channel Islands PC Users Group,
its officers or membership as a whole. The
information provided is believed to be correct and
useful; however, no warranty, express or implied, is
made by Channel Islands PC Users Group, its
officers, editorial staff or contributors. This
disclaimer extends to all losses, incidental or
consequential, resulting from the use or application
of the information provided.
Channel Islands PC Users Group does not endorse
or recommend any specific hardware or software
products, dealers, distributors or manufacturers. All
trademarked or registered trademarked names are
acknowledged to be the property of their respective
owners, and are used for editorial purposes only.
Advertising in The Outer Edge
Advertising is accepted for computer-related
materials, businesses and services only. Rates are
for Camera-Ready copy (clear, clean black and
white masters). Typesetting and graphics are
available at an additional fee.
FULL-PAGE (9½”H x 7¼”W)................$50.00
HALF-PAGE (4½”H x 7¼”W)
or (9½”H x 3½”W )....…........$30.00
THIRD-PAGE (3”H x 7¼” W)………….$25.00
QUARTER-PAGE (4½”H x 3½W)..........$20.00
BUSINESS CARD ad...............................$15.00
Discounts for multiple issues (3, 6, 9 and 12
Ad copy deadline is the 5th of the month of
Make all checks payable to CIPCUG.
Page 2
The Outer Edge
June 2006
Society news: Programs and SIGs
Verizon to describe new Fiber Optical System
The June program will feature Verizon’s Fiber Optical System (FIOS).
The meeting will be on the fourth
Saturday of the month, June 24, at the
Camarillo Boys & Girls Club, 1500
Temple Ave. (northeast corner of Ponderosa Drive and Temple Avenue),
Camarillo (see map on page 20).
The doors open at 8:30 a.m., and the
Beginners and Internet SIGs start at 8:45
a.m. If you can show up early to help
set up, please do. The room seems to be
different every month, and we have to
move lots of tables and chairs around.
The following information was provided by Verizon:
“Verizon FiOS is the latest in fiberoptic technology. It delivers lasergenerated pulses of light, riding hairthin stands of glass fiber, all the way to
your front door. When FiOS meets your
computer, you can get broadband Internet at blasting fast speed. …
“FiOS is here to stay — poised to
handle the cutting-edge broadband applications of today and the future.”
Other coming programs:
July 22 (fourth Saturday): Linux/
Linspire. Linspire will lead you just
about anywhere in the digital world.
And you’ll be safe from the high costs
and viruses that plague Microsoft Windows-based computers.
Linspire is packed with features: a
full Internet suite; a complete office
suite; digital photo and music managers;
advanced notebook and wireless capabilities; and much more.
Best of all, Linspire will save you
hundreds of dollars with the most advanced digital software delivery service
in the world.
Aug. 26 (fourth Saturday): Intervideo/ULEAD on Intervideo —
WinDVD, which it calls the world’s No.
1 DVD playback software with superior
audio and video technologies, future
proof with H.264, media sharing for
home networking universal player, and
entertaining hits: QuickClip 2, visualization, interactive panel.
June 2006
Sept. 23 (fourth Saturday): Harley
Hahn, author. He provided this information:
“I am a writer, philosopher, humorist
and computer expert. I have written 30
books that have sold more than 2 million
copies. I have also written numerous
articles, essays and stories on a wide
variety of topics, including romance,
philosophy, economics, culture, medicine and money. Much of my writing is
available on my Web site.
“My book, ‘Harley Hahn’s Internet
Yellow Pages’ was the first Internet
book in history to sell more than 1 million copies. Two of my other books.
‘Harley Hahn’s Internet Insecurity’ and
‘Harley Hahn’s Internet Advisor’ have
been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.
These books, along with others, have
made me the best-selling Internet author
of all time.
My work and my papers — including a complete set of all my books — is
archived by the Special Collections Department of the library at the University
of California at Santa Barbara.
“I have a degree in mathematics and
computer science from the University of
Waterloo, in Canada, and a graduate
degree in computer science from the
University of California at San Diego. I
also studied medicine at the University
of Toronto Medical School. I have been
the recipient of a number of honors and
awards, including a prestigious National
Research Council (Canada) postgraduate scholarship.
Oct. 28 (fourth Saturday): Corel.
The company provided this information:
“Corel has lots of programs that will
cover your every computer need. Check
out the Web site and see for yourself.
The company’s product portfolio features well-established, globally recognized brands including CorelDRAW
Graphics Suite, Corel WordPerfect Office, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Corel DESIGNER Technical Suite, Corel Painter,
and iGrafx.
Nov. 18 (third Saturday): MindShare, which provided the following
information: “MindShare enables hightech companies to adopt, implement,
The Outer Edge
Door prizes
The club door prizes for this month
were not available by the deadline for The
Outer Edge.
We have two types of raffle tickets:
one for prizes offered by the presenter and
one for club-provided prizes. The tickets
for the presenter’s prizes are free and
limited to one per member.
The tickets for the club-provided prizes
are $1 each, $5 for six tickets, $10 for 13
tickets and $20 for 26 tickets and are
available to anyone.
Consignment table
A consignment table is set up at every
meeting. Anyone can buy, but only members can sell. The club gets 10 percent of
the sales price. A tag with the seller’s
name, CIPCUG membership number, item
name, item description and price must be
placed on each item. Sold items must be
picked up at the end of the day’s meeting.
Any items not picked up will become the
property of CIPCUG and will be subject to
disposal at the club’s discretion.
CIPCUG is not responsible in any way
for items bought or sold at the table. Each
item is sold as-is unless otherwise stated.
Meeting, SIG notices
If you would like e-mail notices of
regular meetings and SIGs, go to
www.cipcug.org, where you’ll find a link
on the home page to sign up. The URL is
You will need your membership
number, which is on your TOE mailing
label, to complete the sign-up.
and support technologies with greater
speed and confidence. This is accomplished by listening to customers, determining their needs, and working to fulfill their requirements; writing books to
communicate new technologies world
wide; creating superior presentations
with excellent technical content; hiring
and developing the industries’ best engineers/presenters; providing consulting
“MindShare Inc. has provided innovative courses for dozens of companies
since 1988. MindShare was founded by
(Continued on page 4)
Page 3
Society news: Business meeting, Q&A
Officers re-elected; dues increase approved
By Martha Churchyard
Annual meeting
President Lois Evans de Violini
called the annual meeting to order. The
club officers gave their reports. Treasurer Art Lewis, still recovering from his
accident, gave the treasurer’s report.
Coming SIGs were announced. Helen
Long and Ken Church gave their reports, which appear elsewhere in the
TOE. John Weigle reported on the status
of the outsourced TOE mailing, which
seems to be going well.
Lois read the slate of candidates for
club officers for the coming year: VicePresident, Craig Ladd; Secretary, Martha Churchyard; Treasurer, Art Lewis;
Membership Chair, Ken Church; Technical Adviser, Toby Scott; Webmaster,
Helen Long; and John Weigle, Newsletter Editor. Lois will be serving her sec-
ond and last year as President, and
David Harris will complete his two-year
term as Immediate Past President.
There were no nominations from the
floor. Toby Scott moved that the candidates be accepted by acclamation, and
Martha Churchyard seconded the motion. Lois called for a show of hands,
and the motion passed unanimously.
The second item to be voted on was
the increase in club dues of $5 in each
membership category. For some time,
expenses have been exceeding income
by a small amount. Now that the club is
paying for the meeting place, the shortfall needs to be addressed before it becomes critical. Helen Long moved that
the dues increase be accepted, and Michael Shalkey seconded the motion. The
increase passed by an overwhelming
majority of those present at the meeting.
There were two “no” votes received on
the Web site balloting.
Unless otherwise noted, Toby Scott,
a partner in Ventura County Computers
and our technical adviser, answered
questions. Michael Shalkey also contributed and handled the demonstrations
projected on the screen.
Windows Update is now called
Microsoft Update
Toby: We were talking about Windows Update, which, of course, no
longer exists. Now it is called Microsoft
Update, which consolidates the separate
Windows, Office and Developer updates. The Microsoft standard is that the
critical updates will be things that are
critically important to end-users. However, in April they snuck in a critical
(Continued on page 5)
More programs and SIGs ...
HTML, CSS and Web design.
President Tom Shanley “out of sheer
Third Thursday: Open.
frustration with boring, dry technical
Fourth Thursday: Linux
classes that had no value to anybody.”
Fourth Saturday (or after the reguMindShare has grown to a core team of
Michael Shalkey’s SIG at
5 expert instructors.”
CompUSA in the Shopping at the Rose
Dec. 16 (third Saturday): TBA.
center in Oxnard.
Details on the June SIGs :
Special Interest Groups
June 14 (second Wednesday): Toby
Unless otherwise noted, Special Scott on HTML, CSS and Web design. We
Interest Groups (SIGs) run from 6:30 to will start at the beginning with an intro8:30 p.m. at Ventura County Computers, duction on basic HTML and CSS, and
2175 Goodyear Ave., Unit 117, Ventura; create a very basic Web page.
phone 805-289-3960. From the 101
June 15 (third Thursday): Open.
Freeway, exit at Telephone, take
June 22 (fourth Thursday):
Telephone south to McGrath, turn left
Bill Wayson.
and go one block. Turn right on
24 (fourth Saturday): MiGoodyear and then right again into the
SIG at CompUSA in the
second driveway. Unit 117 is the back,
Rose center in Oxnard.
right corner of the industrial building.
Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo. The
The SIGs are sponsored by CIPlatest in must-see Web 2.0 sites. This
CUG and led by volunteer club memwill be a re-introduction to Web 2.0
bers. There is no charge for members to
Web sites. What makes them different?
How can I use them? Including a list of
The general schedule follows:
the most-visited Web sites on the InterSecond Wednesday: Toby Scott on
(Continued from page 3)
Page 4
The Outer Edge
net and a brief explanation as to why.
As of TOE’s deadline, only partial
information was available for the July
Wednesday, July 12: HTML /
CSS. Moderator: Toby Scott. Subject
Saturday, July 22: Internet and email, Toby Scott; and Windows XP for
beginners, David Harris. Topic: How to
save a file to a flash drive and then the
sixth in a series of seven sessions
(Creating A Shortcut in Windows Explorer) which will be repeated. Both of
these are before the regular meeting at
the Boys & Girls Club of Camarillo.
After the meeting, Michael
Shalkey’s SIG at CompUSA in Oxnard
from 1:15 to 3:30 p.m. Forget to set your
VCR? Don't worry, download that program from the Internet. Downloading
Video (TV and movies) to your computer legally. We’ll even cover uploading your home movies to the Internet.
Thursday, July 27: Linux. Moderator, Bill Wayson. Subject TBA.
June 2006
More on Q&A: Outlook Express and attachments
(Continued from page 4)
update the only purpose of which is to
double-check that you have a legal copy
of Windows. If you aren’t legal, you are
opening yourself up to hackers, because
you can no longer update to plug holes
that have been found.
Do I really need a critical update
for Flash?
Q: A week ago I got a critical update
notice for Flash. Do I need that? Does
Flash do anything besides make it a little
easier for advertisers?
A: Flash can be used creatively on
Web pages. If you are going to install
Flash, you should definitely do the updates. If there are vulnerabilities in
Flash, it becomes another way into your
computer. If you have it, either uninstall
it or do the update, but don’t leave it
Q: Is there anything strange about
uninstalling Flash?
A: No, it’s trivial.
A Microsoft.NET update failed;
what do I do?
Q: This has never happened to me
before, but an update failed. The one
that failed was called Microsoft.NET
framework 1-1 service pack 1. It tells
you to go to your update history to find
out why, and the history doesn’t tell me
A: Yes, frequently it won’t. When
the .NET framework has a problem,
about all you can do is go to Add/
Remove Programs, and remove the
whole .NET framework and then reinstall it. I don’t know of any other way of
getting that to work. The other thing you
can try — and it may work — is to sim-
more than one computer?
A: You can buy what is called a site
license, usually bought by companies.
The minimum purchase is 10 — you get
one CD good for 10 installs. The licensing on those is pretty strict. Each install
has to be registered with Microsoft, and
Does the new update prevent use
if you exceed your licenses, you will
of old Office CDs?
hear from them, and you will have to
Q: When you update, is this a ruse
pay another fee.
from Microsoft to keep you from using
one of your old Office CDs on a new Outlook Express no longer opens
any graphics
Q: In Outlook Express, when I open
A: Not that I know of. There are no
issues with Office. It only affects Win- my e-mail, I can’t open any graphics any
dows XP and Server 2003.
A: In Outlook Express, go Tools >
We have had several computers in
the shop with a failed hard drive, or for Options > Security and uncheck these
whatever reason need a reinstall of Win- two items: “Block images and other
dows, and it has become much more external content in HTML mail” and
difficult to get authorization from Mi- “Do not allow attachments to be opened
crosoft. When you call, they ask ques- or saved that would potentially be a vitions about what happened, to verify that rus.” This will work. But you need to be
it is legitimate. So what I want to say is, very careful what you open. There is a
if any of you have pirated copies of lot of junk out there.
Q: Will those changes stay there, or
Windows XP — and I know that there
are some here — the time when you can do you have to go back and uncheck
use those is rapidly disappearing. If you them every time?
A: They will stay until either you or
have an illegitimate copy, you can make
it legitimate for $150. Microsoft will Microsoft’s next security update
allow you to update, no questions asked. changes them back again. This was a
With Vista, illegitimate installs will be security fix, and they didn’t warn anymuch more difficult. And they have one about it.
stopped all support for Windows 95, 98
Is the updated XP a download
and Me effective the first of July. There
or do you buy a disk?
is an estimate that around the world oneQ: You said you could update your
third of the installed copies of XP are
Windows XP for $150. Do you
download it online from Microsoft, or
can you buy a copy, like an upgrade
Is it possible to get an XP CD that
copy from Best Buy.
works on more than one computer?
A: Be very careful about buying an
Q: If you buy a Windows XP CD,
(Continued on page 6)
can you buy a version that will work on
ply upgrade to .NET 2. You can find the
download in the additional updates section. It is more powerful, so you will
need more resources, but it may solve
your problem. If it doesn’t, then you will
have to uninstall both.
Executive Board meeting of May 2006
By Martha Churchyard
The CIPCUG Executive Board
meeting was held on May 30, 2006, at 7
p.m. at the home of Lois Evans de Violini in Oxnard.
Present: Ken Church, Martha
Churchyard, Lois Evans de Violini,
David Harris, Art Lewis, and Helen
June 2006
The officers gave their
usual reports, which appear elsewhere in the
TOE. Craig Ladd was not
but his report will
the TOE. Jim
Thornton submitted his
Publicity Activity report via e-mail.
The Outer Edge
The recent CIPCUG elections, dues
increase, and the status of the ISP were
discussed. The sound system seems to
be working well.
Helen and Toby have implemented
Jim Thornton’s suggestion to create
Web site links to specific reviews in the
online TOE files, and a possible problem was discussed.
Page 5
More on Q&A: e-mail print previews
(Continued from page 5)
upgrade copy. You may have real problems copying that over your existing
Windows. Since the copy you have is
not legitimate, it is not an upgrade, so
you need a legitimate Windows 98 or
2000 disk to satisfy the update requirement. Some upgrades will only upgrade
from Windows 2000. In addition, it will
want to reinstall it, so that will overwrite
a lot of your settings and so forth. If you
go to the Web site, you can do the $150
update online, and they will mail you a
disk and the COA — the certificate of
authenticity that you stick on the side of
your computer. That will make you legitimate. The updates will cost about
$150 anyway, so I strongly encourage
you to just work with their moratorium
and be done with it.
Is looking at an e-mail message
in Print Preview dangerous?
Q: Going back to the e-mail, if there
is an e-mail that I am not sure of, if I
look at it in Print Preview, is that a safe
way of looking at it without opening it.
A: (Demonstrating) If you can see
the picture in the message preview pane,
you will not get a virus just scrolling
through it. What you are not safe doing
is clicking on the picture and saving it to
your hard drive. If you don’t know what
it is, don’t save it. Be very careful of
pictures from friends or family in a message that just says, “This is really neat!”
or the like. It could be a virus using your
friend’s address book. The message
should be something personal enough
that you know that they really meant to
send that particular attachment to you.
Do not rely on the fact that the name of
the sender is a name you know. That is
not enough.
Q: But what about Print Preview?
A: That is not safe, because Print
Preview opens up the picture. It actually
does some processing before it previews, and if there is anything embedded in it — they can embed viruses in
JPEG files, that is the issue. However,
Microsoft supposedly got rid of all the
vulnerabilities in 2001 that would allow
something to sneak in, so you shouldn’t
get any in preview mode now if you
have done your updates.
Page 6
means if you are in California, you save
it to a server in Ohio — someplace very
far away. If you have a catastrophic loss
here, your data is probably safe somewhere else. You can harden the access
to the data so you are pretty sure that
nobody else can steal the data. There are
tools out there that allow you to do that.
If you are dealing with a reputable company, it works and it works well.
Once you have done that, companies
go out of business, servers go down, etc,
so the same caveat applies. Just because
you are backing up to the Internet doesn’t mean you can skip local backups to
your flash drive, USB drive, Zip drive,
or CD. If you want to restore data because your hard drive died, it is going to
be a lot quicker and more convenient to
restore the data from a local backup than
from some storage place over the Internet.
Remote storage is disaster recovery;
it is not a substitute for a backup program. If you have important data, it is
certainly worth it to back up away from
your home or office. You have to decide
how much your data is worth to you.
But it is very important to have a plan,
How safe is it to back up data
because your hard drive will fail. For
on the Internet?
local backup, I strongly recommend a
Q: I keep seeing ads for backing up
USB external hard drive. It works very
all your data on the Internet. Do you
well except for fire, earthquake, flood,
have some comments on that? It sounds
kind of insecure to me.
A: Let’s talk about backups for a Does Ghost back up everything,
few minutes. We all know that the hard including Windows settings?
Q: I put things on a CD, but I am
drive you are storing your data on is
going to die sooner or later, probably wondering about Ghost. Does that back
sooner. If you have something you up everything, including XP and your
really want to keep — pictures of the programs, so that you can restore everygrandkids, your financial records, what- thing if the hard drive actually crashes?
A: If you use something like Ghost,
ever you have that is important data —
you have to back it up. Period. Now, it makes a complete image of the C:
how do you do that? You can back it up drive on another hard drive.
If your C: drive dies, you remove the
onto a CD, or a USB external hard
drive, a flash drive, almost anything you dead hard drive from the computer, then
have. That works fairly well. The take the drive you have been ghosting
chances of the flash drive dying at the to, change the hardware settings so that
same time as the hard drive on your you can mount it as the C: drive and
then boot to that device. It would be an
computer dies is pretty close to zero.
It works pretty well until your house exact copy as of the time you did the
burns down, your office burns down, or ghost. If you did the ghost three weeks
there is a flood. Now, how do you get ago, all your data for the last three
your data? The answer is to save your weeks will be missing, but you will
data to a remote location — remote have everything else.
Q: If you don’t run as administrator,
which I think is recommended, are you
protected when you open an attachment? Is it a good general rule just not
to click on attachments?
A: It is a good general rule not to
click on attachments. That is why Microsoft keeps turning it off. The other
thing is if you run as a limited user
rather than administrator, if you get an
executable that tries to install something
on your computer, it will be blocked.
But if you have a script virus embedded
in a JPEG or some other type of file,
most scripts will run regardless of what
your permissions are. You are safer not
running as administrator, but you are not
entirely safe.
Q: That message preview window at
the bottom that Michael is demonstrating, is that the same as double clicking
up where the message header is and then
double clicking on the attachment?
A: Definitely not. That is much safer
than even just double clicking on the
message to open it in a separate window. And clicking on the picture is tripling your risk.
The Outer Edge
June 2006
Program: The Digital Photo Guy
Otsubo explains how to get ‘photo you want’
By John Weigle
[email protected]
ee Otsubo, The Digital Photo Guy,
explained “Digital Photography by
the Numbers” at our May meeting —
and the key number is 3.
“This rule of 3’s derives from something I learned in my graduate program,” he said, “and that is, whenever
you’re trying to learn something new,
whenever you’re trying to solve a problem, whenever you’re just trying to understand what’s going on here, what’s
the situation, there are usually three important things you need to know. If it’s
Number 4 on the list, it’s not important.”
The presentation is based on what’s
usually a three-hour workshop, he said,
so only one of the three topics — preparing the digital camera — could be
covered. The other topics are composing
great pictures and sharing memories and
are available on CD (see box on page 8).
The advantage of digital photography, Otsubo said, is that “you can have
the photo that you want, not the photo
that you took.”
But there is a caveat: “You can do all
these cool things with your digital photos inside your PC, but it’s always better
to take the best photos to start with. If
you start out with a good photo, you can
make it outstanding. If you start out with
a crappy photo, it’s hard to make it just
The first set of 3’s: accessories
Even a snapshooter needs more than
just a camera body and lens, he said:
batteries, memory cards and cases.
Without batteries, “you’re just carrying around dead weight,” he said, so
always carry spares.
Rechargeable batteries come in two
types: lithium-ion batteries or nickelmetal-hydride (NiMH). Alkaline batteries can be used in a pinch, but they have
less power and can not be recharged.
Lithium-ion batteries are proprietary,
meaning they fit only a few cameras and
are more expensive than the nickelmetal-hydride batteries. The nickelmetal-hydride batteries come in a standard AA size, which means they’re
June 2006
Photo by Jerry Crocker
Lee Otsubo, The Digital Photo Guy, left, our May speaker, is introduced by President Lois Evans de Violini.
cheaper and work in more cameras. He
recommends Thomas Distributing on the
Web (www.thomas-distributing.com/
index.htm) as the best place to buy the
NiMH batteries even though the prices
might not be the cheapest.
If you use the camera regularly,
Otsubo recommends the nickel-metalhydride batteries.
Memory cards come in several varieties: Compact Flash, XD Picture Card,
Secure Digital, Small Media, and Memory Stick. Generally, he said, speed of a
memory card doesn’t matter to snapshooters, so don’t let yourself be talked
into buying the fastest available.
“Never rely on one big honkin’
card,” he said. “Get yourself two or
more moderate cards” because cards,
like floppy discs, can fail. If a card fails
on a vacation and it’s the only one you
have, you have to reformat the card and
lose all the pictures already taken, stop
taking pictures or set the problem card
aside and insert one of the extras.
When you get home, use a program
like Photo Rescue to salvage the photos
that can be saved. You can download a
trial copy at www.datarescue.com/
The Outer Edge
photorescue to see what pictures can be
recovered. You won’t be able to save
high-resolution pictures until you buy
the $35 program, but at least you’ll
know what can be recovered and if it’s
worth it.
A moderate size card depends on
how many pictures you take, he said. To
determine what’s best for you, “sooner
or later you will have to read your manual.” Find the capacity table in it to find
out how many photos can be stored on
different size memory cards.
The cases are for the accessories and
batteries, although a case for the camera
is not a bad idea, he said. Use the antistatic cases or envelopes that came with
the memory cards or beg or buy some
anti-static bags to protect the cards from
“When it comes to batteries, the
cases will protect you from damage,” he
said. Shorting out the batteries can start
a fire. “You want to make sure that you
keep these things protected and separated,” he said. Most lithium-ion batteries come with a protective case or cap.
Sandwich baggies will work for the
(Continued on page 8)
Page 7
More on The Digital Photo Guy ...
(Continued from page 7)
nickel-metal-hydride batteries.
Lee Otsubo’s CDs
Second set of 3’s: quality, resolution
It’s not always necessary to buy a
camera with the greatest number of
megapixels (mega means million; pixel
is a contraction of picture elements), he
“The only thing that the megapixel
specification tells you is how large you
can print the photo,” he said, offering
this guide for what you need:
■ Your pictures are typically printed
at 4-by-6 inches or less: 2-3 megapixels.
■ Your pictures are typically printed
at 5-by-7 or 8-by-10: 4-5 megapixels.
■ Your pictures are typically postersized: 6-8 megapixels.
The best value, he said, comes in the
4-5 megapixel range, adding, “Most
consumers will never need much more
than that.”
Whatever the figure, set your camera
for the highest number of megapixels
possible, he said. “You pay for all this
performance; use all the pixels available
to you.” If you want to store more pictures, buy a larger memory card, don’t
cut back on the original quality, he emphasized. Using the highest setting possible also means you’ll be able to crop
photos and still have enough detail
available to print large photos.
Most cameras, he said, are set for a
middle range to make the puny memory
card that comes with the camera look
good, so you’ll probably need to set the
camera to the highest resolution and buy
a bigger memory card.
“You want to leave it at the largest
size, the highest quality,” he said, because if you don’t, sometime you’ll forget that you made a change, not change
it back and take a lot of low-quality pictures that you won’t be able to do much
with. Camera controls vary, so you’ll
have to read the manual for your specific model to do this.
Advanced cameras may allow TIFF
or RAW formats, he said. “If you have
TIFF or RAW and you are a snapshooter, my recommendation is don’t go
there.” Both formats create huge files,
and RAW requires specialized equip-
Digital Photography: Lee’s
Rules of 3’s
Digital Cameras for Newbies
Digital Cameras: Knobs, Dials,
Switches & Menus
Shareware and Tutorials (35
Page 8
He also offers live online Webcasts and will do user group presentations that way, too.
All can be obtained at his Web
site: www.thedigitalphotoguy.com.
For the user group discount,
enter the code DISC06.
ment and software. Stick with JPEG, he
Third set of 3’s: the three key controls
The key controls are mode, shutter
release and lens control. But first, become familiar with the “uber control,”
which is a four-way navigation switch.
It has an up, down, left, right and OK
For picture taking, it will offer flash,
self timer, macro and exposure compensation modes so you’ll have direct access to them.
In the review mode, the right button
will take you to the next photo, the left
button will take you to the previous
photo and the up and down buttons let
you navigate within enlarged photos.
The mode dial generally offers auto,
manual and preset positions.
The auto mode makes all the decisions for you so you just point and
In the manual mode you make all the
In between is the preset, which is the
place to learn how to use the camera.
Preset offers portrait mode (usually designated by a head), which sets a shallow
depth of field; landscape, which sets a
deep depth of field; and macro, which is
for extreme close-ups.
Others include night and sports and
A night mode is used when everyThe Outer Edge
thing is dark; it opens the shutter, exposes the background and then fires the
The sports and action mode can be
confusing because of the delay caused
by the shutter firing. The key is to prefocus on something your subject will pass,
gently press the shutter release until
autofocus kicks in and press the rest of
the way when the subject enters the area
you focused on. “You really need to
know how to use the preset modes to get
the best out of your camera,” Otsubo
The shutter can be controlled in three
ways: single shot, burst (several shots in
a row), and video mode (to shoot freeform events in which the action is not
predictable). The downside of video
mode is that most cameras can’t handle
video in high resolution.
Video players generally will let you
move forward one frame at a time to
find the image you want. When you find
it, hit the Print Screen key, which saves
it to your clipboard, and then open your
imaging program, paste the picture in
and work with it.
Otsubo recommends using the selftimer feature in the macro mode. It lets
the camera focus, jiggle and settle down
before the shutter is fired.
He recommends using a monopod if
tripods aren’t allowed or a string pod,
which he has heard about but never
seen. The string pod screws into the
tripod spot, and the photographer stands
on a string to hold it tight and eliminate
As for lens control, you want optical
zoom, not digital zoom. Digital zoom
simply degrades photos, and you should
never use it, Otsubo said.
For close-ups, you must know the
minimum focus distance and be inside
that distance. If you don’t understand
the minimum focus distance, “all you’re
going to be taking is blurry close-up
He also showed X-tend-a-Slide,
which can be used with a digital camera
to copy slides. Just attach it to the camera, put a slide in and fire away at the
rate of 3-5 seconds per slide. It can be
found at www.photosolve.com.
June 2006
Rick’s rant
What’s the right thing to do?
By Rick Smith
[email protected]
ne of the things that I don’t like to
do is to talk badly about individuals. Well, except mainly for Toby. But,
with that said, I do have my standards
— well, maybe that’s debatable, too, but
nonetheless I don’t like to hurt people’s
feelings. I talk in generalities and about companies,
but this time is an exception. I helped get someone
fired and hurt her feelings,
too. I don't feel good about
this, but I think it’s for the
best and I’ll explain why.
We buy most of our
products from a multinational distributor that sells mostly to
North and South America. We could
buy our products from more vendors,
but our prices decrease with volume, so
we try not to split it up too much. I
ranted last year how our vendor
switched our sales team to Canada to
save money. I fought it as much as one
person could, but, alas, there are not
enough people in the world like me so
not enough people complained, and it
stuck. Needless to say, the quality of the
sales staff decreased as well as my ability to banter about things United States.
I say that because we forget that we are
not the only “Americans.” The sales
team changes occasionally as all businesses do. Our team got a young lady of
Indian descent. We shall call her Marigold for the purposes of this article.
MARIGOLD was, in our opinion, either
incompetent or not trained properly for
the position. Occasionally, even I don’t
have all the information I need to order
the proper item for a customer and need
help finding it. I called our sales team,
and if they don't have the information
we can get someone from pre-sales support to assist us. Years ago, they allowed us to get to them directly, but
because so many customers would use
the service and then buy the product
cheaper online or such they discontinued the service except for their biggest
clients. Well, MARIGOLD told me that
she does not look up items for which I
do not have the part number. Perplexed,
I asked a few questions and immediately
came to the conclusion that she really
wasn’t very knowledgeable about the
products they sell. I realize that the
computer technology field is so large
and diverse that anyone with lots of
knowledge will not be sitting there waiting for me to call to show me what they
know, except maybe for Toby. Our team
is composed of five people, and you
would think that we would get each
person about 20 percent of the time. Not
so; we seemed to always be getting
MARIGOLD, and things just got worse.
You would think that someone would
improve over time, but this was not the
case. Upon getting price quotes, we
would call back and get lower prices
from another salesperson, and upon asking her about it, as always she didn't
have a clue. I called and complained to
customer service a few times, but nothing changed, and the pricing issue was
the last straw so the only thing left for
Toby and me was to hang up! We had
politely and respectfully asked her to be
transferred to another salesperson. She
said that was not possible, and we
would have to call back. Well, guess
who answered the phone again? I refuse
to settle for second best for my customers, and I have been a good customer for
over 10 years and refuse to accept such
poor service. So we regularly would
hang up the phone when MARIGOLD
answered. It was all we could do, as
every other angle was exhausted, including us. Toby recently ordered a custom file server for a client and had a
crucial e-mail with the specifications to
the salesperson. MARIGOLD received
the e-mail and told Toby she would forward it to the correct person, who was
off that day. It never arrived because she
deleted it and lied to Toby.
Incompetence is one thing, but lying
about it is inexcusable. Upon placing an
order with a new team member, I asked
who she replaced, and she said Marigold! I asked why, and she said that she
not only quit the company but also went
back to India. I had to tell her that I wish
no ill on anyone, but I was frankly quite
relieved to hear she was gone and mentioned all our troubles and how we finally had to deal with the situation. She
said “Oh, you were the ones who would
hang up on her.” She said it bothered
her tremendously and really hurt her
feelings and subsequently caused her to
discuss the situation with her supervisor,
and everyone agreed that the job was
“not the right fit” for her.
So almost single handedly Toby and
I caused this young lady to return home
from an unfriendly and uncaring Western world. For this, we are regretful and
wish things could have been different,
but we had to do what was right for our
business and our customers. We wish
the situation could have resolved itself
with her feeling getting hurt. But she
created this, and we just finished it.
Practice safe computing: Back up, back up,
back up
(And then test the backup to be sure it worked)
June 2006
The Outer Edge
Martin Eager “Marty” Willson, 88,
a 20-year resident of Oxnard, died Saturday, May 6, 2006, at St. John's Regional Medical Center after a longtime
battle with congestive heart failure and
diabetes. He joined CIPCUG in February 2000. We extend condolences to
his family.
Page 9
Review: Windows Defender
This program is writer’s anti-spyware choice
By Jim Thornton
[email protected]
ne of the lesser-known spyware
detection and removal programs is
Microsoft’s Windows Defender. This
freeware program was previously
known as AntiSpyware and is available
from the Internet by doing a Google
search for Windows Defender. Don’t be
alarmed that this is a beta version as the
program is still in its testing phase. Microsoft plans to release its finished version in the near future. Freeware is a
computer program that the developer
and/or company doesn’t
charge for, in contrast to
shareware programs. There
are some rumors that the
finished version of Windows
Defender will not remain a
freeware program but will be
THORNTON offered commercially.
On the Windows Defender
Web site before you can download the
program, Microsoft will remotely verify
that you are running a genuine copy of
Windows and not a pirated one. Now
the 5,668 KB file can be downloaded
and installed with the recommended
After the installation is finished, you
will see two new icons on your desktop
— one in the main screen area and the
other down in your System Tray.
One of the user-friendly features of
Windows Defender is its ease in setting
up its automatic scanning schedule. All
you do is select the frequency (daily or a
specific day of the week), time of day,
and type of scan (Quick or Full) that
you want to run. Microsoft recommends
that the program be run daily. Of course,
be careful not to conflict your scheduling of Windows Defender with any of
the programs running under the control
of Windows’ Scheduled Tasks or any
other program schedulers like Norton
AntiVirus, etc.
have, Windows Defender can restore the
program. In its Tools features, Windows
Defender lists your Startup, Currently
Running, and Network Connected Programs, as well as your Winsock Service
Providers and provides a detailed listing
for each program that includes its file
name, description, publisher, digitally
signed by, file type, file path, and nine
You computer is running normally.” If other items of information.
threats were found, then the Names of
Microsoft is also offering memberthe individual threats, their Threat Level ship in its SpyNet, an online community
(Severe, Elevated, High, Moderate, and to assist you in how to respond to potenLow), and Recommended Action tial spyware threats. There are two lev(Remove, Quarantine, or Ignore) would els of members — the basic member,
be displayed. Remove means to perma- who receives information about detected
nently remove the threat from your items and the actions to be taken and the
computer, Quarantine means to isolate advanced member receives the same
the threat and to prevent it from run- information but also participates with
ning, and Ignore comes in two versions Microsoft in assigning the alert levels
— Always means to never identify this and actions to be taken.
threat again while Ignore means to overPC World, a popular monthly comlook the threat until next time the Winputer magazine, has recently rated Windows Defender is run. My preference is
dows Defender as one of its top choices.
to always Remove.
An interesting measurement of a
The minimum computer hardware
is in comparing the size of its
requirements are an Intel Pentium comHelp
— the Windows Defender
puter running at a speed of 233 MHz or
KB, which is average of
higher, with 64 MB of RAM or greater,
Another meas10 MB of free hard drive space, and a
users have
28.8 Kbps or higher Internet connection.
from PC
The operating system must be a MicroWorld’s
soft Windows XP with Service Pack 2,
Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4, or
Windows Server 2003 with Service is the lowest.
Should you discover that
you removed a program
and you shouldn’t have,
Windows Defender can
restore the program.
Pack 1 and running Microsoft Internet
Some computer radio program hosts
suggest that you should run Windows
Explorer version 6.0 or higher.
Some of the more interesting fea- Defender followed by another similar
tures of Windows Defender are that you antispyware program. My experience is
now have Real-Time Protection in when I run another spyware detection
blocking spyware and other unwanted program after Window Defender, nothsoftware before it’s installed. It prevents ing is ever found.
unauthorized changes to your Internet
Windows Defender is my spyware
Explorer settings and the collection and detection and removal program of
transmission of your personal informa- choice. I like it for its speed, being usertion.
friendly, running automatically, and it
Windows Defender also maintains a has the support of the Microsoft Corp.
record of the threats that it found as well behind it.
their alert level, action taken, date, and
Jim Thornton’s reviews of other
Hopefully, after you run a scan, you status.
anti-spyware programs can be found at
will see the results stating “No unShould you discover that you re- www.cipcug.org on the new Reviews
wanted or harmful software detected —
moved a program and you shouldn’t page. — Editor
Page 10
The Outer Edge
June 2006
Web page
New page has direct links to TOE reviews
By Helen Long
[email protected]
im Thornton suggested a new web
page that would contain the Hardware and Software and Book Reviews
that have appeared in TOE. Did the
whole world except me know that you
could link to a specific page in a PDF
file? I didn’t know that,
but when I posed the
problem to our HTML
expert, Toby came up
with the formula. The
page is titled TOE REVIEWS and is accessible
from the Web site. When
you click on the third
column, it should open up the newsletter
and go directly to the proper page. I
have heard differing opinions on
whether this is the way it works. Both
Toby and Jim Thornton suggest it is a
problem within Adobe, but if anyone
asks me it’s a problem with the very
bloated XP that I just gravitated to.
Because I feel so sorry for the dial-up
people, I am considering redoing the
page with direct links to the reprinted
article instead of viewing it via the
TOE.pdf file. Please let me know if this
would make the page more viable for
you than the way we have it now.
Jerry Crocker mentioned a neat tip
if you are having problems with a
sticky keyboard.Try going to
I haven’t had any problems so I
haven’t tried it, but I can imagine that it
sure can be a pain in the neck to deal
with. Try it and let me know if it works.
Hope you all have upgraded your
operating systems from WIN 98 and
Me. I tearfully gave up Me and am
struggling with XP. My main complaint
is that I T I S S O S L O W. I am
doing better and clicking and waiting
before I click on something else. Me
was always much more forgiving. And
if I have to reboot XP, it takes forever. I
have learned which actions take longer,
and I get up and walk away from the
computer to get a cup of coffee or brush
my teeth, or, heaven forbid, clean up my
computer room.
The pictures are not up, but I am
sure they will be long before the June
meeting. Jerry sent me one picture that
he took with his cell phone. Looked
pretty good and I will be sure to post it.
Penguin’s Lair
Linux support forums offer some of the best help
By Bill Wayson
[email protected]
n two installments of the Penguin's
Lair (see the May and June, 2004,
editions), I discussed various sources of
help for the Linux and Free and Open
Source Software (FOSS)
user. These articles
showed that help is available in several places:
Books, magazines, your
PC, and the Internet are a
few of them. This month
will be a more focused
survey of some support
forums for Linux aficioWAYSON nados.
I have mentioned several times, here and at the Linux SIG
meetings, that for the user of FOSS and
Linux, the Internet is your most valued
June 2006
friend. I continue to believe this as
much as ever and encourage the users of
FOSS to hone their search skills and use
the Internet to find the answers to their
questions. Free and Open Source Software like Linux is truly communitysupported software, and the Internet is
where the largest number of members of
each community will congregate. Not
only is it a fertile place to find many
people who are willing to help you with
your FOSS problems, but it is also a
place where you, as a community member, can help FOSS users resolve their
problems. The Internet is the town
square of the FOSS communities. If you
want to converse with your FOSS
neighbors, the Internet is the place to
meet them.
Of all the places to go in the cyber
town square of the FOSS community,
support forums are an especially valuThe Outer Edge
able meeting ground for users with
problems and solutions. If you use
FOSS, you really should find and frequent one or two support forums or
more if you heavily use a particular software package. This month we will run
down a short list of support forums for
the Linux user. Pick one of these sites
out, or another site you may discover,
and dive in with your questions. But
don’t stop there. Be sure to read through
the messages posted by others. If you
find one that you think you know the
solution for, by all means post your response. The more you help, greater are
the numbers of members of the FOSS
community who are helped.
Since the majority of Linux users
have installed a specific distribution of
Linux, a natural place to look for sup(Continued on page 12)
Page 11
More on Penguin’s Lair ...
(Continued from page 11)
port forums is your Linux vendor’s
Web site and Web sites set up by other
users of the distribution. Debian users
can start at lists.debian.org/debianuser/. While not a forum site per se, it
is the place where you can subscribe to
the debian-user mailing list. Subscribers to the mailing list can post their
questions via e-mail to the list. Your
question, and responses to it, are sent
to all subscribers to the list. Thus, all
subscribers are party to several ongoing, communitywide e-mail conversations. The other resource that can be
found at this site are archives of all the
mailing list threads (the conversations)
going back to 1995. If you have a
problem, the archives are a good place
to start. Your problem could very well
have already been posted and solved.
Fedora Core users can start at
www.fedoraforum.org/. This site not
only provides links to a support forum,
but it also provides Fedora-oriented
news, FAQs, and blogs. If you use
openSUSE, the place to start is
en.opensuse.org/Communicate. Here,
too, are pointers to mailing lists, forums, wikis, blogs, and other cyber
support resources. If you have purchased Novell’s SUSE Linux, you
have several sources of Web-based
support. One is at www.novell.com/
coolsolutions/linuxnewbie/. The site
offers news, how-to articles, and a
place to search them along with documentation and a knowledgebase. You
should also look at support.novell.com/
forums/2su.html, where you will find
links to several support forums for
Novell and openSUSE users.
Vendor-specific support resources
are invaluable primarily because they
are frequented by people all of whom
are using the same distribution. The
chances of your problem being resolved and of you being able to resolve
someone else’s problem are greatly
But vendor-neutral support sites
should not be ignored. Many of the
problems FOSS users experience are
with a particular program or utility
which rarely appears on only one vendor’s distribution. They’ll be in use
across many Linux distributions, if not
all of them. Many of the larger or
widely used applications have their
own support communities. For example, users of the KDE (K Desktop Environment) can find help at www.kdeforum.org/; Gnome (the Gnu Network
Object Model Environment) users have
gnomesupport.org/; and Enlightenment
u s e r s
c a n
m e e t
a t
Community/. If you use one of several
other desktop environments, just
Google “<your_environment_name>
support” to find your starting point.
Similarly, users of popular software
packages, like the Firefox Web
browser, OpenOffice.org office application suite, Apache Web server,
MySQL database, and others can find
fellow users and support by Googling
the name of their application along
with “support.”
Other vendor-neutral support sites
are also application-neutral. They are
sites where the members can be using
any distribution of Linux or any FOSS
The LinuxQuestions.org site
(www.linuxquestions.org/) has been
around for a long time. Besides an active support forum, here you will find
tutorials, wikis, blogs, reviews, pod-
casts and much more, making it a
popular site for Linux users. Also
(www.justlinux.com/) for more support
forums; tuXfiles (www.tuxfiles.org/)
for tutorials, documentation, and tips;
the Ultimate Linux Newbie Guide at
www.linuxnewbieguide.org/; and the
Linux Newbie Administrator guide at
lin u x.ab o ut.co m/o d / e mb ed d ed /l/
This list and the search suggestions
given should provide anyone using
Linux or FOSS a place to start their
search for a support community.
While everyone starts out as a newbie,
also known as a “noob,” and pretty
much only needs help with their problems, if you actively use a support forum it won’t be long before you read a
question and say to yourself, “Hey, I
know what they need to do!” You will
soon expand your activity in the community by providing the solution to
another member’s problem. When this
happens, you will certainly make
someone very happy and the community stronger, smarter, and more useful.
If you have questions or would like
to learn more about Linux and FOSS,
come to the June Linux SIG meeting at
6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, at Ventura County Computers in Ventura.
This month we will connect the Knode
network news reader to the openSUSE
support forums and learn how to navigate and use them. See the CIPCUG
Web site for more information.
If you have a question or topic you
would like the Lair or Linux SIG to
cover, drop me a line at [email protected]
Until next month, happy computing.
OpenOffice.org issues statement on macro virus
From The OpenOffice.org Team
There has been press comment recently about a “proof-of-concept macro
virus” affecting OpenOffice.org and
reported in a blog at an anti-virus company.[1]
Macros are a useful part of any of-
Page 12
fice suite, allowing users to automate
repetitive tasks. These tasks include
potentially destructive actions such as
modifying and deleting files, which is
why macros are of interest to virus writers.
The “proof-of-concept macro virus”
The Outer Edge
showed that it is possible to write a simple “virus-like” program using OpenOffice.org’s macro language. This is a
known risk with any capable macro language. To mitigate against this risk, by
default OpenOffice.org detects if a
(Continued on page 13)
June 2006
Instant Messaging can bring malware
By Bob de Violini
browser and tries to uninstall it, he or
she discover that it isn’t listed on the
“Add/Remove Programs” list in the
Control Panel. The icing on the cake is
the fact that the malware also changes
the default homepage of Internet Explorer to the Safety Browser’s special
To quote the late night infomercials,
“but wait, there’s more!” Just to make
sure you know you’re infected, the
worm will also play some very loud
music with very poor guitar routines and
drum solos whenever you start the fake
browser it installs or when you start the
infected computer. This piece of malware has been labeled as a virus, so you
should be safe if you’ve kept your antivirus program fully updated. If you
haven’t, and wind up getting infected,
the worm will proceed to send itself to
everyone on your contact list disguised
as a message from you.
[email protected]
his month, we’re going to start off
by expanding a little on something
that’s been brought up before … Instant
Messaging clients. While they can be
really useful for instant communications, they can also be an avenue for
Trojans, worms, and other types of malware to infect your computer. All it
takes is a little bit of trust on your part.
The latest in the parade of this type
of infection involves Yahoo! Instant
Messenger. The offending piece of malware arrives disguised as an instant message from one of your contacts with an
attachment that is supposed to be a
“safety browser” to help you browse the
Net safely. What it really winds up being is a worm that installs its own special browser with an icon that looks
similar to the Internet Explorer icon.
This browser takes the user to sites
that then proceed to infect the person’s Zango hard to get rid of
The next item is one I have some
computer with various pieces of adware
and spyware. It gets even better. Just recent experience with. No, my comwhen the user’s had enough of the puter didn’t get infected with it, but one
I tried using was very heavily infected
with it. I just spent three weeks in Hawaii at the Pearl Harbor Naval Station
on duty with the Navy Reserve. While
there, I took advantage of computers
that were set up with high speed Internet
access. Now, the computers were underpowered by today’s standards for all the
applications they were required to run,
but some of them ran especially slow.
While seated at one, I noticed it had
Spybot and AdAware installed on it so I
decided to take advantage of their presence and see what they could find. Three
hours later, I was done. The one piece
of malware they kept finding was one
from 180solutions called Zango.
As it turns out, these computers are
set up for anyone to use, especially those
who may be far from home to be able to
stay in touch with family for next to no
cost. I also noticed several people using
them to go to the Web site called
MySpace. After I returned home, I did a
little reading and found that there’s a
(Continued on page 14)
More on OpenOffice.org announcement ...
(Continued from page 12)
document contains macros, displays a
warning, and will only run the macro if
the user specifically agrees. This behavior conforms to industry best practice.
The OpenOffice.org engineers take
the security of the software very seriously, and will react promptly to any
new issues. This “proof of concept” vi-
rus is not new information and does not
require a software patch. Technically, it
is not even a virus, as it is not “selfreplicating” — with OpenOffice.org’s
default settings, it cannot spread without
user intervention.
However, the OpenOffice.org community repeats the consistent message
from security experts that users should
never accept files from unknown
sources. For any security issue, please
visit OpenOffice.org’s Security Team
page[2] and send a note to [email protected]
[1] www.viruslist.com/en/weblog?
[2] www.openoffice.org/security/
June 2006
The Outer Edge
Page 13
More on security ...
(Continued from page 13)
type of chain letter, or bulletin, going
around amongst the MySpace users that
allegedly informs them of a program to
help them see just who’s viewing their
personal profile pages. After clicking a
few links, the users are brought to a site
called Myfriendspy dot com, which tells
them about an alleged tool to help them
see just who’s been viewing their individual profile. Once the person tries to
get the software, the Web site says that
the software’s not yet ready for use and
offers them links for other free stuff
instead. These links then proceed to
download more ad ware from
Zango/180solutions that further slows
their computer by displaying large numbers of pop up ads.
MySpace phishing scam
MySpace has also been the recent
target of a phishing scam, which was
dealt with swiftly. The scam worked by
sending a Myspace user a link via one
of the popular instant messaging systems, such as AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). The message is usually from
someone in his or her contact list and
asks him or her to click the link to log
on to Myspace to view some photos.
Clicking the link took them to a fake
login site, which harvested their login
info and then logged them into the regular Myspace pages. With the login info,
the perpetrators then had access to any
personal info the victim had stored on
the Myspace site.
And now we have ransomware
How would you like to have your
files taken hostage? Probably not at all,
but that’s just what a new type of malware is doing. This new type is being
called ransomware, because it hides
several of your files of a given type or
several types and then displays a banner
telling you to fork over a given amount
of money to a certain Web site or payment service account in exchange for
letting your files go free again.
There was one victim here in the
U.S. back in March, and there has just
been another victim in the UK last
month. In that one, a lady’s files were
held hostage until she visited a Web site
that sold prescription medications. It
told her not to go to the police because
they would be unable to help her, and
that she would never hear from the perpetrators again, rendering her files useless. Thankfully, she ignored the threats
and went to the police. She also turned
her computer over to a local expert who
was able to discover the password to
unlock her files and remove the malware from her computer.
Although these types of attacks are
still fairly rare, they are on the increase,
so they bear mentioning. As each type
of ransomware is discovered, the signatures of anti-malware programs are updated to help the end user deal with
these new threats. One such company
has posted the key to unlock the latest
one that struck last month prominently
on their Web site, in the event someone
else gets infected with it and isn’t running an anti-malware program. By the
way, the woman in the UK infected her
computer by simply clicking on a pop
up ad on a Web site she thought was
above board, but had never visited before.
Another phony Microsoft message
Finally, to wind things up this
month I have a bit of news, about Microsoft. The news is old news but has
resurfaced again.
There’s a Trojan going around in an
e-mail that is disguised as a security
warning from Microsoft. Now, most of
us know that Microsoft NEVER sends
end users security patches as attachments to e-mails. But that’s just what
the latest batch of e-mails preys on.
They include a link to the supposed
patch that you must click on to install
the patch on your computer. The patch
is supposedly for a bug in the Windows
logon service. The Windows logon service is what you use to log on to your
computer with Windows NT, 2000, and
XP, but it has no bug or vulnerability in
it. Clicking the link in the e-mail installs
a key logging Trojan that logs your keystrokes and sends them to a hacker’s email account.
There’s also a variation of this scam
that’s in German and is supposedly from
the Windows Update folks. It works in
much the same way as the one in English does. Remember, Microsoft never
sends out patches or software updates as
attachments to its security bulletins in
Until next time, please remember
what Helen always says at the end of
her articles, and keep your anti-virus
and anti-spyware programs up to date
for safe and happy surfing!
Some handy hints from your computer club
By Jim Thornton
[email protected]
Microsoft Mouse — Did you know
that your Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer Mouse, the optical one with four
buttons and a scroll wheel, has a cord
problem. Typically after several years,
the individual electrical wires inside the
cord will become frayed and your mouse
will start acting up — not responding,
Page 14
etc. There is a five-year guarantee on
this type of Microsoft mouse and Microsoft replace your mouse at no charge. In
addition, you don’t need to show any
proof of purchase nor return the mouse.
All you need to do is to photocopy the
bottom of the mouse where the label
information is located, include your
name, address, telephone number, and email address, and fax the photocopy
with the request information – (To) AtThe Outer Edge
tention: Supplemental Parts, (Subject)
Part Number B75-00057, at (716) 4477330. Within several days, you should
receive the replacement mouse. What I
did was to use my flatbed scanner to
scan the bottom of the mouse, send the
copy to my Microsoft Word program,
type the requested information on the
same sheet of paper, and then fax the
(Continued on page 15)
June 2006
Smart Computing tips and fun facts
Reprinted with permission from
Smart Computing. Visit http://
www.smartcomputing.com/groups to
learn what Smart Computing can do for
you and your user group!
Recovering A Deleted File — If
you recently deleted the file, you are
using Windows 95 or newer, and you
haven’t performed many other tasks on
the PC after deleting the file, try undoing the deletion. In the program window
from which you deleted the file, click
the Edit menu. If you see an Undo Delete command available, click it to restore the deleted file. Depending on
which tasks you performed since deleting the file, you might see another type
of Undo command, such as Undo Rename, under the Edit menu. If so, you
might be able to click it and work backward through the various Undo commands to reach the Undo Delete command. If the Undo command is dimmed
and unavailable, you’ll have to try another step: Check out the Recycle Bin.
What To Do If Your Monitor
Won’t Turn On — If your monitor
doesn’t turn on, check the power first.
Assuming the CPU itself is working
(can you hear the computer running or
see lights on the PC’s face?), a totally
dead screen usually indicates a power
problem related to the monitor. The
power issue may lie within the computer
or monitor, but before looking for a
complicated fix, consider all the external cables and switches. It’s quite possible that you or someone else accidentally bumped a cable loose.
Bootup Problems? — Most hardware-related boot problems can be
avoided with a little preventive care.
Make sure you install new hardware
correctly and that your PC is wellventilated, as excessive heat can damage
PC components. So can electrical
surges, so it’s a good idea to invest in a
surge protector or UPS (uninterruptible
power supply), which will help protect
your PC. Take care of your computer,
and it should take care of you.
More helpful hints ...
(Continued from page 14)
single sheet off to Microsoft. My replacement is a newer model than the one
I had. I had previously tried to order a
replacement cord without any luck, so I
sent my old mouse off to mouse heaven.
Irfanview — This is a neat little
freeware program that displays more
June 2006
than 40 types of photographs, images,
etc., and is also an audio player that
plays 15 file formats. I reviewed this
program in the July 2001 newsletter
with an update in December 2003 issue.
The current version 3.98 has a small bug
problem — the Add All feature doesn’t
work when temporarily adding photo-
The Outer Edge
graphs into the slideshow feature of the
program. Irfan Skiljan, the program’s
designer, is aware of this problem and
has a quick fix. Just download and install the revised version from irfanview.tuwien.ac.at/iview398.exe>. There
is no need to uninstall the existing version.
Page 15
Editor’s corner
Membership numbers
are back in addresses
K, I admit I haven’t paid much attention to the information that’s supposed to be in the mailing address,
but several people — and I apologize for not remembering
who — pointed out that the membership numbers were no
longer being listed, even though you need one to sign up for
notices of SIGs and general meeting. We got it fixed in the
last issue, and it should be fine from now on. I
apologize for any inconvenience and am glad
folks are keeping an eye on things to alert me to
such problems. I generally don’t read the
mailed version of TOE, having read it all as I
put the issue together.
I announced at the last meeting that our
printer can’t do with machines what we did
with people power at the monthly folding party:
fold copies of TOE thin enough to pass the
USPS test for the letter rate (the official term for what we
paid to mail TOE the old way). Now, we have to mail them
as flats (another USPS term, but the meaning is pretty clear),
which costs more but which makes the issue easier to open
when it arrives and prevents damage from the tabs. As far as
I know, no one has complained about damaged copies, and I
hope our luck will continue
Toby Scott discussed Windows Update (now Microsoft
Update) at the last meeting (see the Q&A on page 4). I had
an interesting experience with Microsoft Office 2003 and
Windows Defender recently when the updates wouldn’t
install for either program.
A Google search brought me the answer for Microsoft
Office, and I’ll share it with you in case you have the same
problem (maybe writing it down will help me remember it
the next time I have the problem). For Office updates to
install, the Office Source Engine must be running, and mine
had been turned off (I’m not sure if I was experimenting or
if I blindly followed someone’s advice about unnecessary
services). Turning it back on solved the problem. To do that,
go to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Services, find
the listing and enable it.
The Windows Defender program wouldn’t install updates until I had the program open and running. Maybe
that’s a “Well, DUH” to everyone else, but it wasn’t to me.
I’m guessing that this one won’t matter much for long because when I was in Office Depot in Oxnard today, I saw
the stand-alone version of Windows Live OneCare on the
shelf. It includes antivirus, antispyware, a fireall, performance tune-ups and data backup and restore, so I doubt that
Windows Defender will be around for long.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to other
vendors’ similar products if Microsoft packages OneCare
with Vista.
— John Weigle, editor
Page 16
The Outer Edge
By Art Lewis
[email protected]
April 2006
4-1 through
4-30, 2006
Category Description
Coffee income
ISP Income
Membership Income
New members 120.00
Corporate Expenses
ISP Expense
Rent Paid
Unrestricted Funds
Restricted Funds
Bank Balance 4-30-06
Year to Date Income
Year to Date Expense
2006 contributors to The Outer Edge
Your name can appear here, too. Share your knowledge
with other members by sending an article, letter or computer tip to [email protected]
Orv Beach
Ken Church
(Microsoft Mindshare)
Martha Churchyard
Toby Scott
Bob de Violini
Smart Computing
David Harris
Rick Smith
Art Lewis
Jim Thornton
Andy Toth
Helen Long
Alyson Munroe (APCUG
Bill Wayson
John Weigle
To avoid all kinds of problems, update
your operating system, antivirus and
anti-spyware programs regularly.
June 2006
Bob de Violini
Bill Robinson
Bart Wood
David Minkin
Jerry McLoud
[email protected]
389-2997 (b)
[email protected]
482-4993 (e)
469-6970 (cell);
484-2974 (home);
[email protected] or
[email protected]
(818) 889-6176 (e)
Jim Thornton
F1—Your Help Key
(Revised June 6, 2006)
World Wide Web
987-1748 (d)
[email protected]
Michael Shalkey 483-9921, ext 142 (d)
[email protected]
Robert Provart 498-8477 (b)
Trish Zakas
985-8519 (b)
Phone: (d) = days; (e) = evenings; (b) = both
If you would like to volunteer to help others, please send
your contact information and programs you’re willing to
help on to <[email protected]>.
Outlook Express
Poco Email
Paint Shop Pro
Print Shop
Microsoft Excel
Quattro Pro
Norton Utilities
DM, JT (and Anti Virus)
Microsoft Word
Windows 98, 95
Windows Me
Windows 2000
Windows XP
June 2006
DM, JM, MS (98)
Annoyances Central blog (from authors of the O’Reilly
Anno yances ser ies, including Steve Bass) :
Steve Gibson: grc.com/
Kim Komando: www.komando.com
Fred Langa: www.langa.com
Leo Laporte: leoville.com/
Jeff Levy: www.jefflevy.com
Microsoft: www.microsoft.com/
Microsoft Windows XP The Official Magazine (UK):
PC Pitstop: pcpitstop.com/
PC World: pcworld.com/
SANS Institute — Computer Security Education and
Information Security Training: www.sans.org/
Smart Computing: www.smartcomputing.com/
Spyware Warrior: www.spywarewarrior.com/
User Group Relations (Gene Barlow): ugr.com/
Ventura County Computers (Rick and Toby’s shop):
Virus Bulletin: www.virus-bulletin.com/
ZD Net spyware blog: blogs.zdnet.com/Spyware
If you have a favorite help site on the Web, please forward it, so we can expand the section.
The Outer Edge
Page 17
Membership report:
Is it time to renew?
By Ken Church
email address: [email protected]
New Members: Harry Altman, Vee
Johnson, and D.A. Salerno
Attendance at the May 2006 General meeting: 79
Members + 6 guests
Total membership: 278
$25 for single membership,
$30 for two or more family membership.
$35 first year for single membership,
$50 first year for two or more family membership in same household.
Please send your renewal payment to:
P.O. BOX 51354
OXNARD, CA 93031-1354
Or bring your payment to the sign in table for
the June 24, 2006 Meeting.
April 2006 renewal payment due:
Mbr# Last Name First Name Pd to Dt
0547 Creasap
0916 Jensen
0202 Kleeburg
0768 Nifong
0142 Peck
Last Name
First Name
Pd to Dt
June 2006 renewals payment due:
Last Name
First Name
Pd to Dt
May 2006 renewals payment due:
Imagine if, instead of cryptic, geeky text strings,
your computer produced error messages in haiku
Windows NT crashed.
I am the Blue Screen of Death.
No one hears your screams.
A crash reduces
your expensive computer
to a simple stone.
Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost data.
Guess which has occurred.
Stay the patient course
Of little worth is your ire
The network is down
Yesterday it worked
Today it is not working
Windows is like that.
You step in the stream,
but the water has moved on.
This page is not here.
Page 18
The Outer Edge
June 2006
Why join Channel Islands PC Users
Group (CIPCUG)?
Please make checks payable to
Every month, members of the
Channel Islands PC Users Group have
access to:
♦The Outer Edge newsletter, which
includes a list of members willing to
help other members.
♦The general meeting, featuring a
question-and-answer session and
program on new software or hardware.
♦Special Interest Groups — special
meetings held several times a .
♦Door prizes at the regular
Other benefits include:
♦Special user group discounts on
books and software.
♦An Internet Service Provider at a
large discount (see next column).
♦A chance to make friends with
people who have similar interests.
♦The ability to put your knowledge
to good use by helping other members.
The whole concept of user groups is
members helping members.
Dues for new members
Individual member, $40.
Family membership (same address),
Renewals are $30 and $35 per year
You may make payments in threemonth, six-month or annual increments.
We also give a 12-month subscription if
prepaid in advance at the 11-month
price of $165. Many of our club members are electing to do this to keep Helen
from nagging them for money.
Renewals can also be mailed to
Treasurer; just be sure to mention the
dates that your check is to cover.
There is no program to install; you
will use programs that are already on
your computer. It’s simple to talk you
through the set-up, but if you’re the least
bit timid about setting up your
computer, a club member will come to
your house and make the necessary
arrangements. Our agreement will also
give you a 5 MB Web page allowance.
CIPCUG members are eligible to
sign up for the group’s Internet Service
Provider (ISP) at the low price of only
$15 per month plus a $15 processing
To sign up, contact one of the club’s
techies (see next column). Call one of Helen Long, 642-6521
them you may know or one in your area,
[email protected]
and they will be glad to provide you David Minkin, 469-6970 (cell), 4842974 (home)
with the details necessary for signing up.
Checks should be made payable to
[email protected] or
CIPCUG and sent to Treasurer, c/o
[email protected]
Please clip the coupon below and send
CIPCUG, P.O. Box 51354, Oxnard CA Bob Thompson, 647-2287
with payment to CIPCUG-Membership,
93031. Don’t forget to include the $15
P.O. Box 51354, Oxnard, CA 93031set-up fee in your first sign-up check.
Phone (Home): ______________(Work): ______________
Amount enclosed: ____________________________
E-mail address: ________________________________
Please Print the following information:
User level: Novice ____; Intermediate _____; Advanced
Name: _______________________________________
Can you help the club as a volunteer? If so, what would you
be interested in working on?
Address: ______________________________________
City: ___________________________, State:________
ZIP Code: _______________________________
Date __________________
June 2006
The Outer Edge
Member # ____________
Page 19
Channel Islands PC
Users Group Inc.
P.O.Box 51354
Oxnard, CA. 93031
Please Do Not Delay
If the number above your
name is 200606, your
membership dues are
payable in June 2006.
June 2006 Meeting
Of the Channel Islands PC Users Group
Saturday morning, June 24, at
the Boys & Girls Club,
Ponderosa Drive and Temple
Avenue, Camarillo, Calif.
The map shows
the easiest
route to the
Boys & Girls
Club, but if you
prefer, you can
take the
Carmen Drive
offramp to
Drive, which
leads to
Page 20
Meeting Schedule:
8:30 a.m. Doors open
8:45-9:30 Beginners SIG, Internet SIG
9:30-10:30 Business meeting, Q&A
10:30-11:00 Break — Please contribute requested
amounts for coffee and doughnuts
11:00-12:00 Program (Verizon FISO),
1:15 p.m.
SIG at CompUSA at Shopping at the
Rose at Highway 101 and Rose
Avenue in Oxnard
The Outer Edge
June 2006