Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: January 1, 2000

Have a great start to 2000!


Left-Over Comments from Dec. 1999 Newsletter Topics

Last month, I discussed some of the application we use at our home as part of our home computer use.

The applications, in summary, were:

  • Interconnected-PC applications for sharing data and our printer. For printer sharing, we use Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows 98. Until we complete our complete switchover to Windows 2000 we use Windows NT as our primary home user computer support system.

    We use the Reflection FTP support for moving data between multiple PCs. Naturally you can/should/etc. use Windows services for some of this data-moving purposes and you would use Windows services for data sharing purposes.
    I only need, from a home-use point of view, the ftp client/server support. And, I demonstrate to my customers who have multiple PCs the Reflection client support (the server support is not "visible" to the normal customer I have). Up until now, the "normal" home-use customer I have does not use/see-the-use-for ftp. They will! It is, just, a little early for my customers.
    As the 2000s move along and the multiple PC-laptop environment in the home explodes, the client/server needs for a home user will become more important and more visible to the user. Operating system functions (such as Windows' networking services) will naturally be used by the home user with and without the home user "seeing" the service. To supplement the "hidden" support offered by the operating system the home user will benefit by products such as the Reflection client/server support as the home systems expand to include multiple operating systems, for example, Windows 2000, Windows 98 and its follow-on, UNIX-type systems such as Lynux. Operating systems residing on phones, TV/cable units, and appliances within the home and which interact with PCs will require and challenge home users to enter the client/server world. The Reflection ftp client/server support has proven very usable and valuable as my home of multiple PCs expand and I will continue to advise my limited customer set to consider use of the Reflection ftp client/server support.

    We use an Ethernet cable environment for our inter-computer connections.

  • Microsoft Word.
  • PaintShop Pro.
  • Microsoft WordPad.
  • Netscape.
  • America Online.
  • Games -- Primarily, card games on a PC. Freecell, Hoyle Card Games (primarily Hearts and Cribbage in my case).
  • Computer golf using Links LS 99.

I mentioned in last week's newsletter that if I had time I would add to the list of applications that we use on a regular basis. Here are some of those applications in summary form:

  • Freelance Organizer. Used for keeping track of family appointments such as upcoming vacation dates, eye doctor appointments, and other such matters. Also, keep track of addresses and phone numbers.
  • Freelance Graphics. Prepare presentations for use in school, business, or just for family discussions (believe it or not!).
  • Microsoft PowerPoint. Used by some of the family members instead of using Freelance Graphics.
  • Game: Bridge Baron. A nice, relaxing way to play bridge. Also, a good way to learn or improve your "expertise" with the wonderful card game.
  • HotFax. Sometimes we get into a situation where we need to -- or, desire to -- send or receive a fax. We use HotFax for this and it works quite well.
  • Photos. We use and access photos in two ways. One, a scanner of professionally developed photo/prints. Secondly, a digital camera. Whichever approach we use (scanning a developed photo or putting into our PC a photo from a digital camera) the program we use to initially view and prepare the photo for our use is PaintShop Pro.
  • Viewing photos or other-such information or documents. I use basic HTML tags to prepare a viewing/"presentation" as part of a family/friend's review of what we are working on (such as a summary of an evening's entertainment or a recent vacation/trip).
  • Wine cellar contents. We have a home wine cellar and we use an "old" program that still works well: WineWin. WineWin, once the home user inputs to the program the wine bottle entries, is used to present reports of locations/values of wine within the cellar, keeping track of when a bottle of wine should be drank (when this should be done is a discussible matter!) in the opinion of "wine experts", and as a collection place for wine tasting and dinner notes we write after special dinners/parties (what we ate, who attended the dinner, etc.).
  • WinZip. For compressing/backing-up data or preparing data for offline storage -- and, for actually backing-up that data on 1.5 meg floppies or 100 meg (or more) zip disks such as iomega zip disks.

I have been asked a number of times: "What age family member can or should use the applications and techniques such as you mention that your family uses"? Well, in my opinion: Any age..... If the family member can use the keyboard, has some patience, and is willing to experiment: All of the applications I mention above may be used by any age family member. Certainly, family members would use the applications to different abilities/degrees, but all family members can and should use the home PC for applications such as the above. I cannot think of any application listed above I that I would put an age limit on.

If you want to see the SCScompA lab exercise for any particular lab exercises related to the above, send me a message or give me a call. Once you have the lab exercise and make use of the lab exercise, you send me $10 USA. Once that has happened, you may contact SCScompA for eMail support for lab exercise questions that might come up.

If you want to have SCScompA work directly with you (up to 3 family members at a time) and you are in the Raleigh NC area, the cost is $25 USA per hour.

If you want assistance in purchasing a home PC for using applications such as the above and getting the PC set up in your home, SCScompA will assist you in this matter. Normal charge for this service is $150 USA. However, SCScompA and you will agree on the exact charge prior to the assistance.

Following, are additional comments for this month's first-of-the-year-2000 SCScompA newsletters.

Dave Shogren

Comments on my Initial Use of Windows 2000

First, you may be asking: "Why Windows 2000"? or "Why are you using a Windows NT - based Windows' system and not Windows 98"? And: "You are a home user of PCs -- shouldn't you be using Windows 98"? Well, I answer with: I used Windows NT in my previous job (with IBM). I became confident about Windows NT and found it more stable than I found Windows 98 for my families' use of a home computer. Some applications (in my case, especially American Online) currently work better on Windows 98 than on an NT-based system: but, with the exception of America Online I have found Windows NT to be a solid and well-performing operating system. That is what I want: A solid operating system which lets me do my home computer applications without causing me any operating-system pain. In my experience, with applications I use (again: with the exception of America Online) I am pleased with Windows NT. Therefore, I will use its successor: Windows 2000. When? We see. So far, on my PC, I am encouraged.

You say: "On my PC"..... What does that mean? Well, each PC is built "special" for the user. You may not think so; you may believe that a "Dell" PC is a Dell PC, a "Gateway" PC is a Gateway PC, and so on. However, there are (primarily hardware) reasons that PCs differ. To run (drive) your PC (again: primarily the hardware) there is software from the equipment manufacturers which is necessary to run/drive your PC and its equipment. Equipment means your disks, your display, your printer or printers, your scanner, your CD-ROM, your DVD, and so on -- and even your keyboard and your mouse. Some persons will tell you that I am leading the home user down a wild path with Windows NT and, now, Windows 2000; there may not be drivers for your PC equipment and setting up the equipment is, just, too complex for the home user. All I can tell you is -- I believe, based upon my experience: Windows NT and, now, Windows 2000 is worth your time to install/use and I am willing to assist you in attacking that challenge. Also, I would encourage the home user to have multiple boot PCs: In my case, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows 98. I will, eventually, settle on two boot possibilities: Windows 2000 and Windows 98. Those of you who are "confused" by this -- don't worry, when you and your PC-support-person have a chance to discuss matters, all things which you discuss will become clear/understandable!

With regards to America Online on Windows NT: I use it "all the time" -- and, up until now, I have lived with its limitations on NT. However, as I have not been able to find out when America Online will be fully supported on NT, I have decided to get 'around" the current limitations of America Online in Windows NT by adding an internet support "under" America Online. This allows me to continue to use America Online for non-internet-browsing reasons and use another web browser (Netscape or Microsoft Internet Explorer) for the internet-browsing functions. This is an additional cost for me (about $24 USA per month) and I do not recommend it for my customers -- except, if they "do not mind" the additional $24 USA per month. Assuming they DO mind the $24 USA: I tell my customers to continue using Windows 98 and, for now, ignore Windows NT and Windows 2000. This advice will change when America Online supports Windows 2000. When? I don't know.

If you can accept that I use Windows NT (why should YOU care?.... what I use.....!), then you will accept that I want to use Windows 2000. Windows 2000 is Microsoft's "next" operating system, being released to the world on Feb. 17, 2000. Is it better than Windows NT? Is it better than Windows 98? Well, all I can say now is: It looks good so far, in my home use, and I certainly wish Microsoft "well" as it forges ahead with its operating systems' plans. I am reliant on Microsoft and their operating system and, up till now, I want to use their best operating system -- and, that is currently Windows 2000.

My current PC environment:

  • 200+ MHz PC engine (30 months old Pentium)
  • 128 meg memory
  • Sufficient hard disk (multiple gigabytes free)
  • Ethernet connection to a local Ethernet hub.
  • Two modems for connection to the internet. One internal, one external.
  • Scanner
  • Printer
  • Dual-boot capability to a non-Windows 2000 system if needed.

    I may boot-up Windows NT or Windows 98 on the same PC as exists Windows 2000 for situations (applications) which do not run on Windows 2000.

The easiest for me to tell you about my Windows 2000 experiences in January, 2000 (a month-or-so's use of early versions of Windows 2000 Professional) is to mention, first, what I have NOT been able to get to work correctly. In most of these cases, I am currently going on the assumption it is a software driver reason (you obtain software drivers from the application vendor and I have not contacted all application vendors I will eventually need, to see when/if they support Windows 2000). Applications not working for me on Windows 2000 Professional up until now include:

  • America Online Version 5. I have America Online Version 4 working as it does on Windows NT (previously discussed in this newsletter). I need/want, eventually, a current American Online release to run on Windows 2000. When will this happen? Hopefully, within my lifetime.
  • Hewlett Packard DeskJet 832C in "native" mode. I do not have the correct driver for Windows 2000, so the printer is running as a different-than-832C. I assume that HP will have a correct driver soon for Windows 2000. This is not a "show stopper". The printer runs fine with the non-832C driver I chose. It is, just, something that will eventually sort itself out.
  • Support for the Olympus Digital Camera Camedia Floppydisk Adapter. I need this for getting the digital pictures from the camera to my PC. I have not, yet, tried the direct-download from the camera on Windows 2000; I prefer the floppy disk adapter approach. I will, someday, try the direct-download software.

The above are the main matters I have not been able to get to correctly work with my early version of Windows 2000. When I need to use any of the above (and that is often!) I shutdown Windows 2000 and boot up Windows NT. Yes, this is a "pain" and not realistic for a normal home user environment and, until the above are supported: I will not "turn over" Windows 2000 to the rest of my family's PC users.

Following, are what I have tested in my home PC environment and have been happy with using Windows 2000 Professional:

  • ATTnet, using the normal AT&T Global Network Dialer. The dialer and my modem under both Windows 2000 and Windows NT only connect at 33600 bps instead of something around 56kbps. This is (probably) due to a driver reason -- but, I have downloaded the latest driver (I have an external Wisecom 56000BPS Voice Fax Modem) and still only get connected at 33600. I have suspicions that the Dialer is having some trouble with the fact I have two modems (the internal modem is slower than is the external modem); the dialer works fine with a laptop I have that has only a single modem. America Online connects at 50+kbps when I use it "outside" of the AT&T dialer. Someday I will sort this out (I hope!).
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.00.2919.3800 using the ATTnet dialer/network.
  • Netscape Communicator 4.7 using the ATTnet dialer/network.
  • PaintShop Pro V6.01
  • Microsoft Word 97 SR-2, Microsoft Excel SR-2, Microsoft PowerPoint SR-2
  • Reflection FTP Client. When using Reflection FTP Client from another system, it connects fine to the Windows 2000 FTP server that is provided on Windows 2000 Professional.
  • WinZip 7.0
  • Internal 100mb zip drive and iomega zip disk read/write.
  • Microtek ScanMaker E3 Plus.
  • Games:
    Freecell. Well, I enjoy it!
    Hoyle Classic Card Games. We use Hearts and Cribbage the most.
    Bridge Baron 9. We enjoy bridge -- and, sometimes the PC bridge program Bridge Baron is used when I don't have a bridge foursome!
  • HotFax. Although we use it only once a month or so, it (so far) works fine with Windows 2000.
  • Microsoft AutoRoute Express Europe 98.
  • CDrom-Music/Sound

    One last comment on this topic for this month: I have been participating in the Newsgroups that Microsoft set up for Windows 2000. I have benefited from those newsgroups and have appreciated the newsgroup people who have contributed items in the newsgroups. To see the Windows 2000 newsgroups, while they are still provided by Microsoft, go to:

Other Comments

  • I started using ATTnet "under" America Online.

    Yes, this is an additional cost. However, I needed a more solid connection and web browser than currently exists in America Online on Windows NT and Windows 2000. The additional cost of using ATTnet is around $24 USA per month.

    I don't know, yet, how many months/years it will be until America Online is better used (from an internet access point of view) on Windows NT and Windows 2000. Until then, I am "forced" to use an application such as ATTnet and, since I still want to use America Online (I like it!) I will accept the additional cost.

    At this time, I am quite pleased with the combination of the ATTnet internet connection in conjunction with America Online. I wish I was not spending the extra $24 USA per month for ATTnet as a connection for America Online -- but, for now, I am pleased.

  • Warranty and Shipping of laptop and/or PC.

    My laptop "broke". Well, actually, what broke was a part on the modem. This was my first experience with warranty service for my laptop. I was, at first, unhappy and surprised that I had to mail my laptop in; that I could not take it to a local shop (I had been told that I could do that, when I bought the laptop and the warranty). And.... the laptop would be out of action for 4-to-6 weeks. Well, I decided that I would "play their game" -- but, since it was only the modem: I sent the modem in and after two weeks the modem returned, fixed, and I am pleased to say the warranty/mail-in approach was OK. (Note: I had a second modem I could use on the laptop while the warranty modem was being mailed/fixed). They shipped me a box and paid for the shipping both ways. Solution to my unhappiness? Have two laptops..... one that you can use during the time the other one once every two years or so has to be mailed in! Seriously (the previous comment was somewhat of a jest) -- think about, when you purchase a laptop, what you will do when it needs service. It WILL eventually need service (as do all PCs or other equipment).

  • Scanner copies of home documents.

    I am asked once in awhile to give some examples of scanned documents that I use for home use. The primary use is photos -- but, I use the scanner for other matters, as well. Basically, any sheet of paper/etc. that you consider taking to a copier for copying, you may use the scanner for. Once scanned, you may include the scanned image in something you write (such as using Word or any word processor or a presentation package such as Freelance or PowerPoint. Or, simply, keep the scanned image as documentation for future use. Or, naturally, within a "simple" htm-displayable file as shown in the below clicked-on item. (Note: htm-displayable files may be shown on your local PC; htm-displayable files need not be on the Internet. Talk to your PC-support person if you have a question on this matter). To see a few scanned images and photograph examples, click on:
    Some Examples of Scanned Images from SCScompA.

  • A nice web page I visited this month: King Arthur Flour

    If you are not familiar with web page organization -- or if you are interested in baking! -- I thought the web page: was quite good. Give it a look sometime.

  • Some PC "bugs"/"frustrations" which came up this past month.
    • America Online under NT. This continues to be a pain, as I have mentioned many times. However, since I intend to include in these newspetters some "bugs"/"frustrations" and I hope to hear from you about YOUR PC bugs/frustrations: This is my number one entry and I put it here. I have attacked and alleviated-some this bug/frustration by adding AT&T's support "under" AOL (at a cost of $24 USA per month). Things work better.... but it is a cost/frustration.....
    • Search engine listing for my web page. I have tried to get listed on Yahoo for 6-months. No luck, so far. If Yahoo would have told me "Your web page is not good enough to be listed" or anything: OK. I could understand/believe what they say. However, I hear NOTHING from them. Perhaps they are too busy... or I am too small. I even wrote a snail-mail letter to them asking for their comment. No response.
    • No other PC matters, this month, worth mentioning!

Freecell Game/Deal of the Month

We have started, 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. 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. For now, we are attacking 1-to-1000 and I would recommend you start with 1001!

  • Freecell Deal Number: 178 (The most difficult one we found, deals 1-300)

    Number of moves for me to complete it: Again, I lost count....
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 9

Let me know how YOU do!

If you want (at no charge) a list of Freecell Deals 1-thru-300 and our comments on how many times we had to restart the deal to find a solution, let me know.

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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