Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: August 31, 2002

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

I mentioned last month that I hoped to "catch up" to putting out the newsletters before the end of each month. No luck, in that regard, during August. It is September 16 2002 as I finish this writing.

In any case -

One item in this month's newsletter discusses "dot com". The discussion is aimed at a home computer oriented person and those of you who are experienced in this topic may as well pass on this newsletter -- or browse/feedback any comments you may have.


I discuss the above in this newsletter. If you are interested in this topic (as a home-computer or small business owner who does not have a computer-oriented contact person): Read on!

Otherwise, just ignore this newsletter or, perhaps, go directly to this month's examples of using an HTM-type approach at sharing photographs or other material pointed to later on this newsletter.

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.


Probably, not an option.

Fancy Words

When we hear something, we don't always hear what we think we heard.


I wish you success with your use of 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:


America Online's Free Web Space as Compared with "Dot Com"

As I mentioned in this newsletter's preliminary comments -- and, I have mentioned a few times in previous newsletters, I take advantage-of and use America Online's "free" Web space and support. I use the space for my small business (SCS Computer Assistance) and as a home computer user.

The following image summarizes what happens.

  • AOL provides hard-disk space to its users and this space is kept on -- and maintained (back up, etc.) -- as part of their server's system.

    The space is 2-meg per screen name with no advertising (no banners at the top of the user's Web page), 4-meg per screen name with some advertising (a banner at the top of the displayed Web page), with a possibility of 12-meg per screen name if the AOL user agrees to have all screen names participate in the "advertising". That means that an AOL user who has the maximum of seven screen names can have 7x12=84 Meg "free" disk space on the AOL server for use as Web page and images (for example) related to the Web space.

    Is 84 Meg "a lot"? Well, for a home computer user or, even, a small business (based upon my experience) 84 Meg is quite sufficient. In your case? You decide. For example, 84 Meg would allow for over 1000 pictures (images) if your pictures are similar in quality as to what I use on my Web pages. That's a lot of pictures..... for a Web page.... or for friends/family to follow your travel reports, etc.

  • AOL also provides some assistance to the user:

    Online "Help" with using Web space as part of its Hometown support.

    Listing your Web page(s) in AOL's Hometown Search Engine.

    Easy-to-use panel-driven assistance to move things (Web pages and images) from your PC/system to the AOL server.

    Backup and other general maintenance of your data on the AOL server.

These are "good" things.

One "bad" thing is: The ID of your information on AOL's Hometown includes your screen name. What is bad about that? Well... "spam" people love to know AOL user's screen names. As result of this "badness" an AOL user who is listed in Hometown -- and for that matter listed in other Web search engines -- is a good candidate for any spam sender's material.

I have lived with this -- and, especially if you as an AOL user can "dedicate" only certain of your screen names to be on Hometown and participate in this Web via AOL's "free" Web space -- I am not against Hometown. I think it serves its purpose. I also am quite good/quick in deleting spam messages from my "In" eMail box. I don't look at (open) messages from users whom I do not know -- and I never open a message that has been FWD to me from, even, a good friend / known AOL user. We have talked about this matter in past newsletters.

Publishing an AOL screen name is, generally, not a good idea in today's day-and-age of spammers and other negatives associated with the Web.

In any case, take a look at the following image and see if its contents makes sense to you (if you are not already using AOL's Hometown):

The above tries to show that:

  1. The AOL user's Web material (Web page "HTM" code and related images) is moved from the AOL user's PC/system to the AOL server machine.

  2. The material has a Web id of:'sname and some "appended" information after that.

  3. Any Web user can "see" the information by pointing to the above-mentioned'sname etc.

How does the Web user know the "'sname etc."? Through searching AOL's Hometown Web space -- or you (the "owner" of the "somemember'sname etc." material tell the Web user. How do you tell the information to the Web user? Well, you might simply mention the information in an eMail to friends/family.

You might, as I did, mention the material and the material's address ("'sname etc.") to a Web search engine such as Google. Once your "'sname" is in Google and/or other key search engines: You can/will-be "found" by a Web user who wants to find you!

The above summary, hopefully, gives you some understanding about AOL's Hometown support. I use that support and have appreciated the fact that it is "free" and useable. It has served me well and, again I mention: I am not against the approach!

However, what if I do not want my material known on the Web as:

  • "'sname etc."?

    And I want the information known on the Web as something similar to:


    In other words: "I want my own!"

Let's, now, discuss this approach. (Note: The following is a summary as I see the situation. Make certain you go to the official Web page: for specifics and for better/more exact information.)

  • Assuming we want to have a ""! Why might me want our own

    Perhaps we want to, even as a home computer user, place information regularly on the Web. What information? Anything.... Vacation summaries/pictures, family-related information for non-local family members that have access to the Web, some organization (such as school group, church, or athletic) that you are "in charge" of and want to share information with our people.

    A lot of possibilities. It is important, however, that the home computer user understand that what is placed on the Web is (generally) available to any Web user -- not only the persons for whom you may intend the information. I say "generally" because it is possible to password-protect the information, but managing that password-type of situation is something that we as home computer users tend to find not interesting.

    Perhaps we are a small business and we want our own "".

    Perhaps we want to reserve the "" name for some use in the future! For example, we know of someone in our family who may appreciate a "" name reserved for their use someday.

    Yes, as we discussed earlier in this Web page we may have Web space provided by our Internet provider (such as America Online's Hometown and/or My Picture's space) -- but we want the name for the location of the material to be a "" name rather than something complicated. (Note in this regard: Search engine listings may alleviate the complicated-name situation; but, in any case, the complicated-name situation bothers some people.)

  • We need to register the name with some central group! As the following image shows, that group is known as: "ICANN".

    The name need not be a name ending in ".com". It may be a number of appendages such as ".name" or a number of other ".somethings".

    Having a central group manage these names is necessary and is a practical matter.

    Once you have reserved the name (at a nominal cost) the name is "yours" until you terminate (by not renewing the nominal cost). I recently reserved my ".com" name for $40 USA for two years. In two years I will have to pay a similar amount to renew the name.

  • The above-reserving the ".com" or ".name" (or whatever) is one step.

    The next step is to find a Web hosting "spot" for your material.

    How to find such a place? One way is to ask a friend you trust who knows a Web hosting service. One way is to go to a Web search engine and enter keywords such as "Web hosting" and find a place you are comfortable with.

    In my case, I contacted EarthLink (MindSpring). They had something that seemed reasonable to me and I will use them.

    Cost: First, they take care of registering my chosen name with ICANN (making certain that my name was not previously reserved). They took care of this for me and, in addition, "forgave" the $40 USA fee I previously mentioned if I use their (EarthLink) service for a few months. Since I plan on using the service for awhile, this was not a problem.

    From a monthly cost point of view, I selected the EarthLink offering that costs about $20 USA per month.

  • After the above is taken care of - you can begin using the Web space you have reserved. I will start doing this over the next month.

The next image summarizes the above.

Summary of the above:

  1. I want a "". I contact some group who is authorized to register a "" with ICANN. My chosen group (I chose EarthLink) contacts ICANN with my hoped-for "" name. ICANN lets them (EarthLink in my case) know if the name is available and, if so, it is reserved. My chosen group (EarthLink) lets me know I am successful!

    I have a "".

    This reservation step cost me, using EarthLink, $40 for two years. However, in my case: EarthLink "forgave" the $40 initial reservation fee since I signed up with them as my Web hosting site.

    I have not made use of my "" -- until I find a Web host site (or build my own.... which, certainly, a home-computer oriented person or small business would not do..).

  2. I move my Web-type information ("HTM" files and images) to the hosting site I chose. Again: EarthLink in my case.

    The cost, from EarthLink, for their hosting my material, providing the tools to help me in moving/managing my material, etc. is about $20 per month.

    EarthLink provides assistance and some tools to do the "moving" from my machine to theirs. I have not done that yet -- I will start doing that soon.

  3. Once the information is moved to the Web hosting site: Any Web user may access the "" material that has been moved to the site.

A question I had prior to investigating this matter was: May I easily modify the situation regarding my Web hosting site (for example, move "off" of EarthLink)? The answer is "Yes". All you do is find another Web hosting site and, in turn, let them know your "" name and that you want the new site to host your material. (Naturally you have to move your information to their site!).

And: You need to renew your "" reserved-name with ICANN before it expires (two years, in my case).

In upcoming newsletters I will discuss the "moving" of Web-related information to the EarthLink-hosting-site from the standpoint of a home computer user.

We have discussed in previous newsletters how/why a home computer user would "build" HTM files and associated images. Of course, that step is necessary in addition to the above-discussed "How to get a".

I hope the above discussion gives you a little insight on this topic if you feel you have need of or interest in such a matter.

Again: I encourage you to visit for specifics and for better/more exact information on the process of obtaining a "".

If you have any comments on this topic, don't hesitate to contact me using

In most 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:

  • A Camera Tripod.

  • Scanned fabric and a picture taken of a small quilt.

  • This month's Great Golf Hole.

To see this month's example click anywhere on the following image, or, on the link below the image.

Link to This Month's Photograph Examples from SCScompA (if you did not click on the above image).


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

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

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    • A "Slideshow" Application

      If you have been following my monthly newsletters over the past couple of years, you know that I make use of many images/pictures in my home computer-oriented world.

      I have used Camedia as a slideshow application to review/show images/pictures. Camedia was made available to me as part of my purchase of an Olympus camera a few years ago.

      Camedia works fine, but I have been looking for another slideshow-type application to see if there is something even "better".

      I noticed on the JASC Web page (JASC's main product that I use is PaintShop Pro) they had something called "Media Control Center".

      I downloaded their demo version and have started using it. After my brief/initial look I intend to investigate it in more detail.

      Their Web page states the cost is around $30 USA -- or "free" as part of any purchase of the Anniversary version of PaintShop Pro. Since my purchase of PaintShop Pro pre-dated the anniversary version I will have to pay the $30. Will I? Do I think it necessary or is Camedia sufficient? We see. Stay tuned!

      Let me know if you are a JASC Media Center user and, if so, what key features you use the most.

      If you think you have need of a slideshow-type application for displaying images/pictures and you do not have such an application: Give JASC Media Center a try.

    • My first newsletter a couple of years ago mentioned my "$3000" rule for home computers. In summary, the rule is: If you are purchasing a home computer system that you intend to keep for four years or so, budget yourself $3000 and go to a computer seller you trust -- and purchase:

      A computer system that is mid-range from a "speed" point of view.

      Get as much "memory" as you can afford and seems reasonable. For now? 512 Meg.

      Get a hard disk that is mid-sized.

      Get two CDroms at least: One, a DVD and one a CD/RW. I also prefer a ZIP-type disk. That, is, just one of my strange preferences.

      Get a reasonable-to-nice quality display of at least 15-inch diagonal measure.

      Get color-capable printer. I use $150 and an HP-type printer as a guide.

      Get a scanner. I use an Microtek $100-to$150 as a guide.

      Get a good sound system.

      Get an Office (Microsoft Word, etc.) type of product.

      Get whatever PC Operating system you like. I prefer (even for a home computer user) Microsoft's current "Professional" product.

      Add about $250 for applications (for example: PaintShop Pro is around $120 USA and you no doubt have some other favorites.)

      I went to the Dell Web page and came up with something I would purchase if I needed/wanted to at this time. Here is the configuration: (Provided as a guideline and for discussion. Go to the Dell web page for additional information and latest prices.)

      The download size of the following image is: 268Kb

    The $3000 USA rule still holds..... Yes, you could configure/purchase something less expensive. Just, remember that you are trying to purchase something that will last/etc. for four years or so.

    The above does not include a I-recommend-one-now digital camera. A very usable one can range in price from $200-to-$700 depending upon your needs. If you don't know: Buy an Olympus or something comparable for around $300 from a photo shop you trust.

    Some of the features (such as the "free" America Online 6-months) you may not need. However, the above would no doubt be a system I would enjoy/use for at least four years as a home computer user.

    If you take a configuration similar to the above to a local computer store for their comparison/recommendation from their point of view: Great! Just keep in mind that you would like a warranty and other matters discussed above. Sometimes, things get lost in translation.

    I wish you "Good computing"!

  • Some Web pages used this past month:

    The following is a repeat from previous months. I don't have anything particular to add at this time.

    As a reminder, to those of you who are new to my newsletters, I use the following regularly (I am intentionally not making the following information clickable. Just enter the addresses into your Web browser's "go to" field if you wish to go there now. Perhaps use copy/paste from this Web page's following information). In any case, for information, my most-used Web pages this month include:

    • for Web radio baseball!

    • Search engine of my choice: Primarily, Google:
    • USA Newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune):
    • Europe Newspaper in English (Edinburgh Scotland, Scotsman):
    • Europe Newspaper in German (Zurich Switzerland):
    • America Online's support for: "Business News", My Portfolios", "Movies" (Reviews), "Top News".
    • Weather:

      There are, naturally, other Web pages I used as the month went by -- but, the above I use on a daily basis.

      Let me know what Web pages you use on a daily basis.

  • Maintenance Matters.

    This area is a repeat from previous newsletters -- but it is worth continuing to include in current newsletters as well. I apologize for the repetition, but the topic is important.

    • As mentioned earlier in many of my newsletters: I recommend you have the latest vender-recommended software (operating system and primary applications) maintenance and security support. If you need assistance in this topic, don't hesitate to ask someone you trust.

    • Once again, nothing "dramatic" came up this month maintenance-wise on my systems. As a reminder, however:

      Backup any of your user files / folders that contain information that you do not want to recreate. Remember: Your PC and/or its hard disk will break... You will have to, eventually, (probably at the worst possible moment!) recreate your user-data from your backup media.

      Backup your key user-data on external media -- and, once in awhile store that external media "offsite" in case of a major disaster at your home. I realize this sounds extreme -- but, I recommend you take the time for offsite backup of your user data every six months or whenever you feel comfortable doing so. Where? Perhaps at a friend or relative's house that you trust will not be bothered by the material. I even know of some users who place the backup data once a year-or-so in a safe deposit box. Offsite backup is not a casual matter to either ignore nor "manage". However, I recommend you do it if your home computer system involves user data that you do not want to start from scratch recreating.

      • I use a ZIP disk as my backup media.
      • I backup daily any file I work on (such as a Word presentation) more than 1 hour.
      • I backup monthly all my user files/folders.
      • I backup monthly all other family member's user files/folders that are on my PC.

        I remind other family members who use our family PC that if they want more-than-one-month backups of something they are working on, they need to ask me to back up specific files/folders.

    • The latest McAfee XDAT (file for use by McAfee in identifying viruses) I have downloaded and installed use virus definitions 4.0.4220 dated 08/28/2002.

      I recommend that whatever virus protection service you use, you check at least once a month for virus updates.

    • For Microsoft Internet Explorer, I have installed Q323579 that was available end-August 2002. Windows 2000 I installed Q326830 that was also made available end-August 2002. I recommend if you are running Windows that you upgrade to Internet Explorer V6 if you have not already done so and, in addition, try to keep up with Microsoft's security updates for Internet Explorer V6 as well as for your operating system.

      I also installed the made-available end-August 2002 Microsoft Office application update.

      Have someone assist you if you are not certain how to obtain/install the latest updates, pointed to by the Microsoft home page.

    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 these FreeCell games 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: 2233, 2234, 2135 (no restart -- but somewhat tricky!), 2236, 2248, 2250 (Another tricky one -- but fun.)
  • Other deals we found interesting this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2240 (two restarts), 2224 (four restarts)
  • Another different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2241.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 6

  • Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-2000. I have met someone who completed this in 3 deals! Congratulations!!!! I have never completed it.

    Deal 1941 has become "famous" to me. If you have not tried it, give it a try and let me know how many tries it takes you to complete it.

  • Deal 1123 is the easiest deal, in our opinion, that we have found so far, with 2018 being second-easiest in our opinion. Another easy one is 2034.

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.