Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: August 1, 2001

Welcome to my monthly newsletters. Once again, I delayed the newsletter to mid-month. If you have not seen the July newsletter (it had been delayed to mid-July) please take a look at it in its final format when you have a chance.

I encourage you to browse earlier SCScompA newsletters if you have not already done so, and to send me any comments/questions/concerns that you may have regarding material presented in these newsletters.

Let's begin, as usual, the newsletter with a couple of scanned (I use a Microtek ScanMaker V6upl) comics.

We Don't Always Get What We Want

Well..... we often go to a shopping place (shopping center, Web site, or whatever) wanting something -- and, ending up with something we do not want! I hope this never happens to you!

Deep Thinking

Again: I, for sure, can identify with this comment!


I hope you have a good month of using -- and, I wish you have continued success with -- your home computing systems.

Contact me regarding any matter in this newsletter that causes you concern or you want to otherwise discuss.

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


Some Microsoft Word Items

I use Microsoft Word a lot. I assume that most home PC users who have the product also use it often -- and every PC home-use customer I have worked with over the past couple of years has started to use Microsoft Word.

The purpose of this section of this month's newsletter is to share some common matters that I discuss with new Word users and, in turn, ask you for your comments-back as to what other Word matters you find you commonly use and need. Thanks, in advance, for your comeback/ideas!

Those of you who are familiar with Microsoft Word should just skip to the next newsletter item or browse the following for purpose of getting back to me with comments when you have time. Thanks.

From an installation point of view:

  • I encourage the new PC user to have the new PC's hard disk partitioned (C, D, etc.). (Note: If the user's PC is not partitioned, I recommend using a product such as Partition Magic by PowerQuest to do the partitioning.) Assuming (for this discussion) the Windows' operating system primary partition is "C", I suggest Word is installed on a different partition than C. Why? A number of reasons. Primary one is that if I need to add maintenance to the operating system, it is often necessary to have a lot (I now recommend 1-gig) of free space on the Windows operating system partition. There are other reasons -- but, just, try to put application programs on partitions other-than the "Windows" partition.

    With that said: Microsoft will use some of the "C" disk for Word even if you ask during installation that Word be installed on "D" or some other-than C partition. That is just life....

  • In today's day-and-age, PCs have plenty of hard disk. I encourage asking for a complete installation of the any product, including Microsoft Word. Why not? If you end up "filling up" your hard disk quicker than you like -- it is quite easy/inexpensive to have your local PC dealer add hard-disk space. Or, perhaps, uninstall and re-install selected products - if necessary - later if you can have someone help you do that if you are unfamiliar with such matters.

  • Use the Help of any product. The Help, in most products of current PC-life, are quite good.

After installation: (Note: At the end of this Microsoft Word newsletter, you may click on a link to some panels related to the following matters.)

Each of the following assume you have brought up the Microsoft Word application / panel / window.

  • I recommend early (after installation) that the user click on Tools-->Options and understand matters including:

    Documents. I suggest the user modify this to be a folder/partition particular to the individual user. Since my PC has multiple users and I place the user's folders on a single hard disk/partition, I point the Word "Documents" default location to my "G" disk -- where most of my PC users' folders are located.

    Clipart pictures. If you have installed a separate product of clip art, you might point to that product's folders instead of the default.

    Save --> Save AutoRecover value. Ten minutes, in my case, is OK.

    General. I increase the "Recently used file list" to be nine or, even, a larger number if you tend to use numerous, different, Word files on a regular basis.

    Take a look at and generally understand the other parts of Tools-->Options.

  • Use Format-->Font and find a font and font size you prefer as your default. Use the Default tab to make your choice the default.

  • I prefer to modify the default document setup to have a Heading with the date and page number on it. For this newsletter, I will not mention how to set up this as a default -- but, if you are interested in doing that and are unfamiliar with how to do it: Get someone to assist you or get back to me and I will send you some comments/instructions.

Some Word matters I use regularly:

    Well.... this is too long a topic for a newsletter. However, I intend to once-in-awhile mention in these newsletter additional matters than the following. And, I will include here suggestions/ideas you mention if you forward those commonly-used Word items you feel are worth mentioning. In any case, here are a couple of items for this newsletter items:

  • I use Copy-->Paste into Word a lot. I copy from (for example) eMail and paste into Word for saving the information as well as for printing using Word. I find that printing / re-arranging / combining eMails and other similar matters are easy with Word.

  • I use Tables a lot with Word.

    I normally ask Word to not autofit the table when it is inserted. I prefer to explicitly control the table row/column sizes.

  • I use the Sort support (located off the Table pull down) to sort text lines within a Word document (the text lines may have been copied / pasted from somewhere "outside" of Word).

    I use sort with text in and/or out of a table. The Word Sort option is located within the Table pull down -- but, you may sort text outside of a table.

  • I use WordPad often. Although WordPad is not part of Word -- the text data is quite interchangeable. Why do I interchange sometime? Well..for example... I have some older Word files (non-Word 2000) that once in awhile cause Word 2000 pain. In that case, I open them first with WordPad and save them in WordPad Rich Text format. Then, open the file with Word and (in turn) save them as a normal Word 2000 document. This approach has worked OK for my problem-type documents. You will/would know if you had a similar problem!

  • I sometimes use Microsoft Word support for building Web-formatted (HTM or HTML) files. We have talked about this in the past -- and, in my case, I use "native" HTM approaches more than I use Word. However, for a quick/easy build of a "Web page": Word is fine. Again, as I mentioned, we will talk about Word / HTM / Web pages /etc. a lot in upcoming newsletters as time goes along.

  • There are many more Word matters worth mentioning. In upcoming newsletters we will discuss others.

If you interested in browsing displays/panels I put together as I wrote the above newsletter item, click on: Some Microsoft Word Matters. Use your Web browser's Back button to return to this Web page.

Contact SCScompA regarding the above discussion: I am interested in your comments and in knowing if the topic fits your needs. I also have lab exercises that assist you in better understanding the approaches used if you have need of such assistance.

Update on Last Month's Comments Regarding Unwanted eMail

Last month I mentioned that one of my America Online screen names was receiving some eMail that was objectionable to me. The eMail may not have been objectionable to others -- but, I had never asked for the eMail and did not want the eMail.

My screen names have been in existence for many years and this was the first time I had felt "attacked".

How was the screen name (or any internet ID) decided to be "attacked" is not important for this discussion.

I could have decided to eliminate the screen name and institute another screen name in its place. However, obviously, it may be only awhile (this time it took a few years!) until the new ID was "attacked" so I decided to take another path at the situation.

    Note: I have tried to modify the following displays to eliminate any references other than the screen name I manage.

  • First, we want to find out who sent us the message.

    If you look at the above message, you would suspect/think it came from: Wrong! The sender of the above message modified the incoming message to look as if it was from an America Online user. No! This message did not come from an America Online user. Also, the message infers that it is "feedback" and also copies other users (the other users may or may not be "real" users). Well, believe me, I have never asked the sending eMail address for any feedback!

    Let's scroll down the message and see if we can see where the message originated. Note: If the following information is not shown in an America Online eMail, then the message probably originated at an America Online user. If the message originated from outside America Online, there probably are headers that are formatted similar to the following towards the end of the message. Note: As we have talked about in past newsletters: never click on or download anything from a message you do not know who sent the message or feel the message is objectionable.

    In the above case, the message probably originated at some eMail address located in the Internet identified in the above Return-Path field. (Reminder: I have modified the displays in this section of the newsletter in an attempt to not publicize other-than eMail addresses I manage).

    Ok. I then decide that I do not want to receive any messages from the Internet path identified by the above Return-Path field. Note: The above path indicates the eMail ID in the Return-Path is www@something. I choose to ignore the www@ -- or, any xxxxxx@ and ask America Online to block anything coming to my screen name from the path after the @ symbol. The field after the @ symbol is commonly know as the "network" part of the path. I choose to block the entire network.

    America Online's Mail Controls' support is driven from an America Online "master"/main screen name and once you are on that master/main screen name you find Mail Controls using the America Online Mail pulldown.

    If you are not familiar with Mail Controls and want to see how it was used to block incoming eMail from the network shown in the above case, click on: An Example of Using America Online's Mail Controls Support. Use your Web browser's Back button to return to this Web page.

It is unfortunate that there is a need for such support as Mail Controls -- but, it is important that we understand and exercise use-of such support in today's Internet world.

Again: Contact SCScompA regarding the above discussion if you have any concerns or questions.

This Month's Example of Viewing Scanned and/or Digital Camera Pictures using HTM (Web page) parameters.

In many of my newsletters, I show a few examples of using an HTM-type approach at sharing photographs or other material including scanned images with family/friends.

This month I discuss/show examples of:

  • Scanning at various levels of details.
  • Another example of a scanned postcard.
  • Putting multiple pictures together into one image and adding some text.
  • Another "Great Golf Hole".

To see this month's example click on: This Month's Photograph Examples from SCScompA.


If you clicked on the above, let me know what the download/display times are. I try to keep the displayable time to be less than 5 minutes with a 56KB Internet connection modem. Naturally if you have a high-speed connection: Great!

Don't hesitate to contact with any comments on the above or for any related discussion. -----------------------------------------------------------------

Don't hesitate to contact with any comments on the above or for any related discussion.

Miscellaneous Comments Regarding Home Computer Use Matters that Came Up in July/August

  • Miscellaneous matters.

    • I have, in previous newsletters, mentioned that I hold to my belief that if you keep to a budget of $3000 USA for a home computer system you will end up with a good machine that will have a life of 3-to-4 years.

      I still believe that! Even in today's day of reduced PC prices.

      An example is a machine I configured this month for a customer home computer installation. The scenario was:

      Configure, using the Web page, from a reputable online PC sales company. I chose Dell. The home use-oriented configuration included:

      • Pentium 4 Processor at 1.3 Ghz
      • 256 Mb memory
      • Windows ME with WinXP Home Upgrade
      • 19" .26dp Monitor (18" viewable)
      • 40 GB Hard drive
      • 3.5" Floppy
      • 16X DVD-ROM Drive
      • 16X/10X/40X CD-RW Drive
      • Internal IOMEGA ZIP Drive with three 250MB Zip Disks
      • 56K PCI Data Fax Modem
      • Integrated 3Com EtherLink 10/100 Controller
      • SB Live! Value Digital Sound Card with Harmon Kardon Surround Sound Speakers
      • HP 952C Printer and 10' IEEE Parallel Printer Cable
      • HP ScanJet 4400Cse Scanner
      • APC Back UPS for power protection
      • 3 Year Ltd. Warranty, 3 Year At Home Service, Lifetime 24x7 phone support

        Cost from Dell: $2500 USA plus any local tax.

        Recommended by me additional software:

      • Paint Shop Pro V7 from JASC Software ($100 USA)
      • Bridge Baron 11 (The customer is a bridge player!) ($60)

      Then, I asked the customer to bring the above configuration to the customer's local PC store to see what they recommended. Unfortunately, the configuration from the local PC dealer was not as robust as the above and the cost, although less than the above Dell $2500 was not a sufficient reason to accept the local dealer's advice. I can understand that, in today's market. It is difficult for the local dealers to compare favorably with the large dealers such as Dell.

      The above system is "in the mail" and I hope to let you know next month how the overall installation went. I will be assisting the customer "from afar" via the phone. We see how that goes!

      The customer has confirmed with the local dealer that they will assist the customer if necessary at a charge of $49 USA per hour at the customer's home. I charge $25 per hour for local support here -- but, I also understand that the customer/dealer in another location than where I am located have different costs than do I. As long as the customer discusses "hands-on" support costs prior to getting started and understands/accepts those costs: Terrific! I wish everyone good luck in their support and fully understand/agree that sometimes it is very necessary to have onsite support. Especially in the first month or so of a home computer user's experience.

      Following the installation, the customer will make use of my hands-on Lab exercises and off-site support from me/SCScompA.

    I only mention the following items in brief. If you want more information or to discuss any of the items in more detail with me, don't hesitate to contact me by eMail.

    • A good Web page I used this month:

      • NOAA. See their page at:

        Give it a look when you get a chance: It is of value not only for its storm reports (we are just entering the prime/active hurricane season in our part of the world) -- but it has some interesting/fun pictures as well.

        Once you are there, see if you can find the following picture by the path:

        Satellites->NOAA Operational Significant Event...->Volcanoes->Sicily and if you see some JPGs, give them a look!

        Here is one I found that was also printed in our local newspaper:

        Now: That, is some volcano!

        In any case, take a look at the NOAA Web page if you are interested in such matters.

      • Other Web pages I use and can recommend:

        Puzzles. In the Minneapolis Star and Tribune Web page this month, I read a reference to a PC puzzle. I had purchased one a couple of years ago and use it once in awhile on my laptop -- but, the free trial from the Star-Tribune-referenced Web site was worth a look. If you are interested in this, give a look at: from Rhode Island Soft Systems. You can get there also by

        I also took a look at a crossword puzzle Web page this month. I am not "into" crossword puzzles -- but, if you know of a good crossword puzzle page let me know and I will reference it in an upcoming Web page.

        I also continue to make good use of Web radio by listening to the Minnesota Twins' baseball games using RealPlayer Plus and its relationship with If you work on your PC and have some good headphones, I can recommend an hour-or-so of USA's baseball games once in awhile! Why not?

        Take a look at the 2001 winner's referenced at: The Webby Awards and its Web site has a lot of good information/pointers in it. Take a look, when you have some time to browse around.

        Contact me if you have need of additional information or otherwise want to discuss any of the above items in more detail.

  • Maintenance matters that came up this month.

      Once again, this month, I am running out of time for getting the newsletter out and this section is going to have to "take a back seat". I do not mean to imply that maintenance is not important! Take the time to keep your key applications up to date (reference the applications' Web sites)

      Yes, I updated my home computer system (it runs Windows 2000 Professional) as per Microsoft's provided Code Red alert.

      As usual: I encourage you to back up your user-data! (Remember: Your PC will break some day).

    Have a good, maintenance-free time until we talk again.

Contact SCScompA if you have any comments or questions about the above.


Freecell Game/Deal of the Month

We continue, in our household, doing Freecell deals from 1-to-32000! We will NOT accomplish this task. We know that. However, as we go along in our for-fun-effort, yet frustration... I will mention once in awhile specific Freecell deals we find challenging.

Note: If you are running your PC on Windows 98, it is possible you have to specifically install Freecell. Just install Accessories/Games.

Let me know if this Freecell game and the number of times we had to restart to solve the deal is about what you find. If you are going to attack deals 1-to-32000 and want to interact with us in that regard, let me know what thousand-or-so you are going to start with. We have completed deals through 2000. Now, we are attacking 2001-to-3000 and I would recommend you start with 3001! At the rate we are going (a little more than 100 deals a month) it will only take us 22 more years to complete the 32000 deals without your help. If you let us know what you have completed, it will take us less time!

I am adding to this column in the newsletter a few "special" games that we found during the month.

  • Deals we completed in one start and view as "easy"-but-still-fun games this month:
    Freecell Deal Numbers: 2007, 2015
  • Other deals we found interesting-and-not-too-hard this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    Freecell Deal Numbers: 2001(0), 2017(1)
  • A different type of deal was:
    Freecell Deal Number: 1996.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 5

  • Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-2000.

  • Deal 1123 is the easiest deal, in our opinion, that we have found so far.

Let me know how YOU do!

If you want to see our list of Freecell Deals 1-thru-what we are working on now and our comments on how many times we had to restart the deal to find a solution, let me know -- or click on: SCScompA Freecell Table of Completed Deals

To contact me about anything on this Web page, please: send mail to:

Or send snail-mail to:

P.O. Box 58223
Raleigh NC 27658


Use your Web browser's Back button or to go to SCScompA's main Web page and other newsletters, click on: SCScompA main web page or go to any of the pages pointed to in the SCScompA frame at the left of this panel.