Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: August 28, 2003

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

Well... Nearly-monthly. I miss a month once in awhile -- I missed July and most of August, this time.

In any case --

Many of you may have just started down the path of home computing, and if you are in that set of people: I encourage you to browse earlier SCScompA newsletters if you have not already done so.

All of you: Don't hesitate 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. (I show these as a sample of scanning material and using the results of the scanning process. The scanned image has been adjusted with PaintShop Pro. For example, the scanned material ends up in the computer with a "grayness" the color of the newspaper and PaintShop Pro is used to "swap" that color with "white". Also, writing on a scanned image is shown. Your home computer system's image-processing application may be used to do similar functions).

How Do They Know?

Some of us go to the state/county fair and have come across this situation.

A New Game!

From computer to non-computer.

I wonder if FreeCell would be fun played without computer involvement.


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:


More Pop-Ups.... Than Desired?

If you use the Web, you probably have been presented some "popup" panels. Sometimes, this type of panel is presented. Have you ever had one suddenly show up on your PC system?

The above is known as a "Messenger" popup, as it makes use of a Microsoft Windows' product service known as Messenger.

Note: In the above Messenger popup I have modified the panel to make some of the information unreadable. No reason to publicize such matters!

Yes, they are a pain -- in most cases. I assume that some users acknowledge and/or click on information provided in a popup panel. I, certainly, never pay attention to a popup and immediately close/delete a popup from my computer screen and recommend any home computer user totally ignore popups.

With regards to "Messenger" popups we can attack them and "stop them from arriving". I say this in quotes -- since -- who knows what will happen as time goes on in the area of popups....

In any case, as of now, if you are getting Messenger popups give the following a try and see if you stop them from coming to your PC system. (Needless to say, as we have talked about many times: Use your latest computer system's security support including a firewall. If you are not certain about how to use your security support/firewall: Have someone who does know give you some assistance).

America Online (AOL) has, by using the AOL keyword: Messenger Popup, the following information:

    Is Your PC Networked With Other Computers? Disabling this feature of the operating system may break programs that rely on internal networking. Most home users will be unaffected.

    More Information

    Who Is At Risk? Anyone who has a connection to the Internet and who is using Windows XP/2000/98/95 with this networking feature installed.

    To Disable the Messenger Service Manually
    -- Click on the Start button in the taskbar
    -- Open Control Panels
    -- Go to "Administrative Tools" (XP users may need to go to "Performance and Maintenance" first, then "Administrative Tools")
    -- Double-click on "Services"
    -- Scroll down to "Messenger"
    -- Double-click on "Messenger"
    -- Change the Startup type to "Disabled"
    -- Click "Stop" to stop the service

    To Re-Enable Manually: Follow the above steps, but change the Startup type to "Automatic," then click "Apply," then click "Start" under Service Status.

    Note: You must be logged on as an Administrator for the automatic fix to work.

I noticed today (mid-August, 2003) that AOL also provides a "clickable" solution of the above (again by going to keyword "Messenger Popup").

What I did on my systems is shown, below.

First I access the Control Panel by going to My Computer. However you get to Control Panel is OK! I, just, happen to use My Computer.

Within My Computer, go to the Control Panel. (Your system may have a different path to Control Panel! If you need assistance finding the Control Panel -- ask someone to assist you).

Within the Control Panel, find Administrative Tools.

Within Administrative Tools, find Services.

Within Services, find Messenger.

If you see that the Messenger service is "Started", double-click on Messenger and open its properties' panel.

Once there - Click on the pulldown and select Disabled (for subsequent system starts), then click on Stop followed by OK.

You will see that the Messenger service has been stopped and disabled.

Now, you should not see any more Messenger popups!

Good luck to you -- and to I -- as we "combat" the people/systems who try to make the wonderful/useful Web experience part of their "playpen" of idiocracy.

Comments Regarding: Upgrading AOL Versions

Those of us who are America Online (AOL) users, may be running one of the versions whose main panel is shown below.

The above-shown main panels may be tailored by the user as offered by AOL's options -- and this "tailoring" has changed the most with Version 8 and Version 9 of AOL.

One matter common to all releases is: We cannot totally-remove the Welcome panel. If we "X" it out (ask Windows to close it), the panel is "minimized" as shown below.

Do we (as AOL users) normally "X" it out each time we use AOL? No... I think most of us live with the Welcome panel being there and, generally, ignore it.

The top part of the panel is where many of us spend most of our time. We can go to addresses we have placed in the Favorite's area (pulldown) or place an address in the "Go To" box (left of the "Go" button) to bring up a Web page of our choice. Read our Email, be presented the Write eMail panel, and so on.

AOL uses a modified version of Internet Explorer. Does that bother me? Only when they cause me "pain" by modifying the shown Web page information to fit AOL's purposes. This happens, sometimes -- for example, in the recent USA PGA golf tournament, I found that the AOL-presented "modified for AOL's purposes" presentation of player's scores was not working properly and I re-opened the Web page using a Netscape browser "outside" of AOL. Not difficult to do - but, it was unfortunate that it was necessary to do so for my full enjoyment of a set of Web pages. However, I realize that we (as AOL users) "need" the advertising and "paid to AOL by partner's-to-AOL" bonuses for our going to their Web page from AOL. Having these "partners" assists AOL to keep the cost of AOL relatively low (in USA $ about $20-22 per month; many of us do not have additional costs for the telephone call). Therefore, generally, I (as an AOL user) "put up" with AOL's sometimes-unfortunate coding errors that show up with their-used/modified browser.

If we do not want to use AOL's modified browser, it is possible (starting with AOL V6) to use another browser by simply bringing up the browser and minimizing the AOL panel. I suspect that few AOL users do this -- we (AOL users) simply live with the AOL-modified browser support.

Note: The $20-22 mentioned above is for dial-up connection. I still use dial support and up to this point see little/no reason for me (as a home user-oriented Web user) to pay double that cost per month for high-speed connection. Simply, this is my opinion for my use of the Web.

As with any Internet Provider (IP) and/or primary Web page service (Web Portal), AOL provides many "canned" sets of routines to assist the AOL user in enjoying/using the Web.

So - given the above - what are some reasons for AOL bringing out a new version? In my case, I still use V6 on my primary system. I use V7 on my laptop. I use V8 on my secondary machine and I participate in the AOL Beta program that, currently, emphasizes V9.

Some reasons (in my opinion) for AOL to bring out a new version include:

  • Attempt to enhance the end-user's experience by making the "main panel" easier to use. AOL, as a "Web Portal" will benefit (and, thusly - in my view - keep its cost-to-me reasonable) if we go to Web pages from its main panel. Therefore, it is important that they make the main panel easy to use.

  • Software maintenance. Taking advantage of operating system and increased hardware capabilities require modifications to software code. Modification, generally, means (eventually): A new version!

  • Increased offerings that a user may pay extra for. Normal business for a product vendor.

OK! AOL has new versions and the reasons for a new version make sense -- at least, to AOL! Should I move to the new version?

My answer to people when they ask the question is: If you are happy now.... only move to a new version if you feel that you need to! If you want to address any of the above-mentioned "reasons": Then move to a later version.

Up until V9 I, personally, have not seen reasons to upgrade. There have been some -- and, as I mentioned: I do use V7 and V8.

However, the current "press" reviews of V9 and my own experience with the V9 Beta has been adequate enough for me to consider moving my primary system to V9.

A recent user sent me a note that said "I LOVE AOL V9!". I asked the user to send me a further comment and the comeback was:

    The last version that was downloaded for me was #7, so I suppose some of my 'likes' may have already been addressed in #8. I should also say that I have not investigated all the possibilities and different icons but my favorites so far are:

    - Spam delete
    - Spam custom word to control senders
    - Graphic at the top of the screen to show new emails or IM
    - Expanded screen when reading email
    - TV guide for the day
    - Signature on file
    - New categories for managing mail
    - Instructions readily available to understand some of the icons
    - Lighter, brighter screen
    - Remind Me option

I appreciate the user sending me the above -- and I pass the comments onto you if you are an AOL user and are considering moving to V9.

In my case, I found the capabilities of V9 for File Cabinet use of saved eMail of value.

Note: If you have multiple AOL products on different systems (for example, I use a primary PC and a laptop the most) you may need to copy the AOL Organize file from one system to another. Why? The Organize file has saved eMail information. If you are in this situation, be aware that the Organize file's location has moved in V9. It is easy to find out where, using the AOL Help. If you have any concerns/problems in this regard, ask for assistance from someone you trust.

Let me know (if you are an AOL user) if there is value in an upcoming newsletter showing some experiences/examples of AOL V9.

Good luck with whatever Web support that you use!

If you have any comments regarding this topic or any newsletter item, don't hesitate to contact me using

This Month's Example of Scanned Material and/or Digital Photographs

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:

  • Continue with examples of images and modified (using PaintShop Pro) images.

    • Merging Separate Images Into One - And Adding Text
    • Example of Scanned, Small Non-Flat Items and Further-Related Comments
    • Photos as Compared With Scanned Images
    • Other Examples of a Close-up Photos

  • 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 2003

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    Comments Regarding Upgrading PaintShop Pro - August, 2003

    Those of you who follow my newsletters, know that I have used JASC's PaintShop Pro for years. I am, definitely, a PaintShop Pro "backer".

    I also strongly believe that when a major application comes out with a new revision that requires the user to pay for the revision -- we (the user) should do that, assuming the cost for the new revision is within the user's budget.

    JASC's PaintShop Pro recently went to a new version (V8) and required a payment for the version that was within my budget.

    Prior to general release of V8, JASC offered users to participate in early testing of V8 as a beta user. Many/most software developers offer that -- and, again, I agree with and appreciate such as practice. If a user has time to participate in a beta: Good! I had some time -- and, did participate in the JASC V8 beta for PaintShop Pro. I did not test all aspects of PaintShop Pro, but I did sufficient testing to have a general idea of what JASC was trying to do with PaintShop Pro V8.

    So: I ordered V8, installed V8, tried V8 -- and on my PC systems: Have backed off to the "old" V7.

    Primary reasons include:

    • I had a few situations when using V8 that the product "stopped"/died. This never happened with V7 or earlier versions of PaintShop Pro.

    • I have found that, taking the defaults offered by PaintShop Pro for images that I work with (JPGs), V8 does not save the images with sufficient quality as compared with V7 and prior versions of PaintShop Pro.

    • V8 is "slower" to manipulate / work with than V7.

    It is very possible that the above reasons are influenced by how I (specifically) use PaintShop Pro and by the fact that my PC system(s) are small/"old". The systems that I use range from only 96 meg to 192 meg and are less than 300 MHz Pentiums. Perhaps JASC's V8 PaintShop Pro requires more resources than my systems offer.

    However, up until now: I will continue to use V7 of PaintShop Pro and wait until an update to V8 is available to give it another try.

    Why did I mention this in my newsletter? As I mentioned earlier in this newsletter item: I am a PaintShop Pro "backer" and my newsletters mention PaintShop Pro quite often. I am interested in your (the reader of this newsletter) reports of experiences with V8 of PaintShop Pro. If I read/hear that you are pleased with V8 -- that will cement my current feeling that perhaps my old/small home computer system(s) are, just, too small/antiquated to support PaintShop Pro V8.

    If you are a PaintShop Pro V8 user: I would appreciate hearing from you. In the meantime I will continue to use V7 -- it works fine for my use. Will I ever use V8? Yes. When? I don't know.

    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 USA's top Pro baseball listening. The audio, this year, is around $20 USA for the entire season (as compared with $13 a year ago). For me? It is a good investment! I enjoy listening to the Web radio broadcasts of baseball and if you are a baseball fan I can recommend it. I use my laptop in the evening and my primary PC for day games. I listen to about an hour a day of over 100 games a year (primarily the Minnesota Twins' games).

    • for USA's top Pro American-football game listening. I listen to the Minnesota Vikings each time they play and I am on the Web. The Web radio support for the games (no fees were charged in 2002) was reliable and much enjoyed. It looks like 2003's games will be charged $35 for the season. I will "pass" on that. If they had charged $15 I would have done it.

      If your Internet connection costs are not time-related, give Web radio a try for your sport of choice.

    • 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 second PC (an older system that I use primarily for saving data) for backing up daily information.
      • I use a ZIP disk as my backup media for external backup.
      • 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 4.0.4285 dated 08/13/2003.

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

    • I use Microsoft's WindowsUpdate (see their Web page) on a regular basis and update my three home computer systems security-wise. I recommend you do this as well.

      It takes me about 2-hours per machine each time I do this (I am not on a high-speed Internet connection). I know this sounds like a lot of time (for a home user) -- but, if someone in your home is computer-oriented it is time worth investing.

      I do not update Window's service packs using WindowsUpdate. I will get the CD version someday for Windows 2000 SP4.

    • For Microsoft Internet Explorer, I have installed the latest security fixes from the Microsoft Web pages for IE6.

    • For Windows 2000 I installed SP3. Make certain you check with the Microsoft Web page and the Security section once in awhile. Have someone assist you if you are not interested in this topic but feel you should be more security conscious than you currently now are!

      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: 2811, 2818 had no restarts but were interesting.
  • Other deals we found interesting this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Numbers: 2802, 2816, 2828, 2834 all had one restart -- but were challenging. 2800 had three restarts; give it a try and see if you get it quicker.
  • Another different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2801.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 7 It nearly drove me to give up.... I thought for awhile I had another "598" (I have never completed that one).

  • Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-2000. I have met someone who completed this in 1 deal! 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 deal in our experience is: 2597

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


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