Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: January 1, 2001

Happy New Year 2001!

I hope that 2000 was a good year for you -- and, for your family -- and that 2001 is even better. Each year, hopefully, is even a better year than the last: That is about all that one can ask for.

In the Raleigh News-Observer this month was the following. It brings forward the concept of "being careful" about thinking there is a good deal when there may be a reason you are getting a good deal! Let's hope in 2001 we always get a fair deal.

This Month's Cartoon -- That Sometimes Happens


I wish you have continued success with your home computing.

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

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


Another example of Viewing Digital Camera Pictures using HTM (Web page) parameters.

As I mention each holiday season, I am sure that many of you use your camera during the holiday -- and, I am also sure some cameras will be digital. Or, some of your paper/photographer-developed pictures will be determined something you want to scan. In either case, the pictures may end up on your home PC.

  • To see this month's example of pictures shown by a Web browser processing a basic HTM file, click on: Selected Holiday Pictures December 2000.

  • Each end of year holiday season brings us a jigsaw puzzle exercise. This year's puzzle is shown below.

    This Holiday Season's Crossword Puzzle We Completed

    If you want to know more information from the above jigsaw puzzle exercise, click on: Additional Details Regarding Annual Jigsaw Puzzle 2000. -----------------------------------------------------------------

    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 December

  • Updated Comments Regarding Experience with Microsoft Office 2000 Standard.

    As I mentioned in December, I had a reason to upgrade from Microsoft Office 97 to Microsoft Office 2000. I am happy to report that Word 2000 seems fine, with the exception of:

    • When I upgraded (as I mentioned last month) the very first file I tried to use with Word 2000 failed. The file was from Office 97 Word 97 -- and, it was not able to be processed by Word 2000.

      I had contacted Microsoft support, explained the situation to them and they responded last month "change the file to text format" and it will be OK! I was quite surprised they could not find the reason for the Word 2000 problem. I heard back from their problem-management-following team and they mentioned that they would get back to me later to work with me on the problem.

      I am happy to say that Microsoft Word tech support DID get back to me. Their follow-up problem management worked -- and, I am glad that part of the situation worked. Sometimes, when one works with a software or hardware tech support group they give the "illusion" of support. In this case, Microsoft tech support DID get back to me and provided support.

      The problem I had with the Word 97 --> Word 2000 file has not shown up in my other Word files (yet). Microsoft tech support person pointed me to a bypass path that solved the problem.

      1. Open file with Word 2000.
      2. Save the file in "rtf" format (Rich Text Format). This format may remove some optional features in the Word 2000 document -- but, the document I was working on did not seem to be negatively affected.
      3. Re-open the "rtf" file and save as a Word 2000 document.

        All seems fine with this. Thanks, Microsoft Tech Support!

    • I also used PowerPoint 2000 quite a bit in December and am happy with that at this time.

    As I mentioned last month, the cost for Office 2000 Standard for my home PC/laptop was $170 for the upgrade, with a mail-in rebate for an additional reduction of $40. I also mentioned last month that I would let you know if the mailed-in rebate was successful: I am happy to report that I promptly received the mail-in rebate from Microsoft. I think the $130 was well spent. However, as usual, I have now seen advertisements for Office 2000 Standard upgrade for less than $100! Oh, well, we home computer users often purchase items at less than the ideal price.... But, if we are pleased/productive with the product: OK.

    Let me know your experiences with Word 2000, PowerPoint2000, and Excel 2000 as compared with the products of Office 97.

  • An Experience with Moving CD-music to PC.

    OK. You have purchased a PC system and you have been told it has "fantastic multimedia" capability. Congratulations!

    Perhaps you want to play music CDs on the PC. No problem -- with most installations, all you have to do is load your music CD into the CDrom drive and listen away! You might, eventually, decide to use headphones instead of the speaker system -- depending on the type of music you prefer as compared with other family members who are within listening range of your "fantastic multimedia" system.

    Listening to the music in the background as you work/use the PC and the Web can be enjoyable.

    In any case, you eventually may decide that you do not want to be continually loading music CDs into the CDrom drive -- and, you have sufficient hard disk space to store the music from the CDs onto your system's hard disk.

    So: You may choose to do what I did this past month. I moved some CD music from the CD to my PC system's hard disk. I had multiple CDs that I wanted selected track's music saved in the PC system. Then, when I want to listen to that music: I start an application in the PC and it brings the CD music off the hard disk into my "fantastic multimedia" system -- and I listen to the music using either headphones or speakers. I can play the tracks in any sequence once they are saved on the hard disk. Country music, followed by classical, different artists, and so on.

    If you are interested in more information regarding the example I discuss here, click on: One Example of Moving CD Music to a PC System's Hard Disk.

    Let me know if you are using your PC system for music -- and, how you are doing that. I know there are many applications and many approaches for doing this; I, just, am not sure how many persons actually do this (use the hard-disk-to-music approach) very often. I am curious -- so, let me know if you are active in this area.

  • Shortcut Key Use Examples in Place of Mouse Clicks.

    I find that I often use shortcut keys in place of the mouse. I find it quicker/easier in some cases. Comments related to the more prevalent keys I use instead of the mouse follow, here:

    • The following figure shows some of the keys I use quite often. While you are in your Web browser (you are there, if you are reading this text!) try to use the Web Browser Up/Down arrows instead of using the mouse/vertical scroll bar.

      Hint: Sometimes, you need to make the current Web page "active" for the Up/Down arrow keys. If the keys are not active (the panel you are viewing is not going "up" or "down"), left-button click on the scroll bar or on an open space in the panel and you will see that the Up/Down arrow keys come active. Note that I said on an open space -- or, the scroll bar -- sometimes I find myself meaning to click on an open space and I click on something in the Web page that heads off to some link/etc. Just, in that case, use the Stop loading button/keystrokes or the Go Back button/keystrokes. It sounds confusing -- but, I recommend you give shortcut keystrokes a try in your Web browsing work.

      Other shortcut keys I use quite often are:

      • When I have selected, for example, some text or a picture and I want to place the selected data into the Windows clipboard for use by a second application or window, I copy that information using:

        Ctrl + C for Copy

        Ctrl + V for Paste

      • When you start using an application such as PaintShop Pro, I recommend you use the application's Help panels and see if they describe what shortcut keys they support.

        The following panel is from PaintShop Pro's Help as of January 2001. Naturally, see their latest version for the actual supported shortcuts. I use most often: Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-E, and Ctrl-H with PaintShop Pro. Let me know, if you are a PaintShop Pro user what shortcut keys you use the most. I may be missing a good idea!

        If you have not taken a look at shortcut keys for other applications such as Microsoft Word, go to the application's Help and see if you can easily find a list of shortcut keys for your use.

  • Using "Web TV"

    I had occasion to use Web TV at a friend's house this month. Based upon my VERY limited experience, I can see people using it for eMail access and for general Web use. I found the system I ran on limited somewhat for Web searching (it was a MSN Web TV). Web browsing was quite slow/limited -- but, I did not ask the person what speed Web TV modem he had. Again: I thought the Web TV I used was quite usable for eMail -- but, I was not overly impressed with the Web support. From an eMail point of view, I think the lack of local disk space would be a big negative for any intensive use of Web TV I would try.

    Let me know if you are using Web TV and, if so, if you are a happy Web TV user! I can, certainly, see a place for it in some homes. Me? For now, I stick with multiple PCs always powered on and ready for use -- and, interconnected.

  • Maintenance matters that came up this month.

    Some matters worth mentioning include:

    1. I mentioned earlier in this newsletter that I recently moved to Office 2000 from Office 97. In so doing, I had to mail in a refund application. I made use of my scanner (I do not own a copier) to copy the necessary paperwork and, in turn, once the information was scanned I was able to easily save and -- if necessary -- later on refer to the saved refund information. The same would be true for warranty information.

      Yes, scanning is probably slower than copying. However, it works and having the information "in"/saved/accessible using the PC works nicely for me.

    2. I was asked a few times this month about eMail printing and the information you may not need from the eMail. Just, get used to copy/paste from eMail into an application such as Word or WordPad. You will save yourself some frustration and often save explanation if you are giving the printed eMail to another family member.

    3. Don't forget to backup your important PC hard disk folders!!!! Back the information up on an external storage media such as a ZIP disk, a CD/RW, or -- in some cases -- 3.5-inch floppies. Use WinZip or something similar.

    4. America Online: I am still not having any luck with America Online's current version 6 on Windows 2000 in the area of Address Book upgrade from version 5. Although version 6 seems to run OK, I will stick with version 5 until the Address Book matter is fixed. Let me know if you are running America Online version 6 on Windows Professional and you successfully upgraded your version 5 Address Book.

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 1200. Now, we are attacking 1001-to-2000 and I would recommend you start with 2001! At the rate we are going (a little more than 100 deals a month) it will only take us 24 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 "easy" 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: 1580, 1585, 1586
  • Other deals we found interesting-and-not-too-hard this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):

  • Freecell Deal Numbers: 1587(1), 1592(2), 1588(3), 1515(4), 1589(5)
  • A different type of deal was:

  • Freecell Deal Number: 1599.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 7

    A tough set of deals, we found this month, are deals: 1587-thru-1592. It took us thirteen restarts to complete the six deals, with two of the six deals requiring no restarts. If you try this stretch of six deals, let me know if you can complete the six deals with less than thirteen restarts and how many deals you find in the nine deals you complete without a restart.

    Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-1006.

    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


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