Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: March 31, 2002

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

Spring is arriving very nicely in this (Raleigh NC USA) area. It will be interesting to see how next year's "El Nino" Spring will come about -- but, we need not worry about that now!

I will be "on the road" quite a bit in April, so the April newsletter will not be available until mid-May. I realize this (late newsletters) is getting to be a habit -- but, someday I hope to get back on a more-prompt schedule.

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.

I hope you all are having a good start to 2002.

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

Person-to-Person Communication Is Often a Difficult Matter

I guess that we should always say exactly what we mean!

Should We Look For a Trade?

I am not sure we want to know the answer to each question.


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:


Comments Regarding Digital Camera and Laptop/PC Use

Many times -- I know that many of you would tend to feel too many times -- I discuss my use of digital camera and laptop while I am on a vacation/trip.

As a review, the following figure is a summary:

Some comments on the steps I will take during an upcoming vacation/enjoyment trip as relates to the above:

  • First, I will make a decision about how much "detail" I want to use for pictures taken during the trip using my digital camera.

    This trip, I will use the maximum "detail" that my camera allows. (I put detail in quotes -- since there is more to "detail" than I want to include in this month's newsletter. Anyway --) My camera has two settings that account for the level of detail I want to use. In the past, I have used the lowest setting.

    My camera has two settings.

    One is called Standard Quality (SQ) and saves digital pictures at 0.3 megapixels. This is the level I have taken pictures on previous trips.

    The second setting is High Quality (HQ) and saves at 1.2 megapixel detail.

    Your digital camera may have (probably does have! -- my camera is over 3-years old) higher settings than 1.2 megapixels.

    In any case: I will use, this trip, the highest setting.

  • Secondly, I find a picture to take! No problem, in that regard. All I have to do is look around and remember to hold the camera steady!

    The digital picture is stored (by Olympus Camera, in my case) on the camera's digital storage space.

    My deciding to store the pictures in 1.2 megapixel detail affects the camera by limiting me to 36 pictures at a time before the pictures need to be downloaded to my laptop or deleted from the camera if I believe the quality of the picture is insufficient.

    In the past, when I used the lowest setting I could take 110 pictures before having to download the pictures.

    Was it a good decision (from the above point of view) to use the higher level of detail (megapixels)? I won't know until after the trip!

  • Thirdly, I will move the pictures from the digital camera to my laptop. I will probably do this on a daily basis. After all, 36 pictures is normally a full day's worth.....

    However, sometimes I take "panorama" pictures by moving the camera slightly and taking a wide view. Will 36 pictures be sufficient for a day? I won't know until the end of the trip.

    I plan on being more selective about taking pictures...

    Moving the pictures to the laptop may take me more time than in past years, since the size is higher this year. We see if the additional time is justified.

    I will, when I have time during the trip, look at the pictures on my laptop. I normally (for a quick peak) use Olympus' Camedia application to view the pictures in slideshow fashion.

    I modify the pictures as necessary (we have talked about that in the past) using JASC's PaintShop Pro application.

    I may, also if time allows, point to using HTM (we also have talked about this in other newsletters) and view the pictures using a local Web browser directly on my laptop.

    I will also use Microsoft Word and/or WordPad to keep a journal regarding the trip as well as for documenting the pictures I have taken with the digital camera and moved to my laptop. I always keep a journal -- and, sometimes, key pictures taken during the trip are part of the journal. However, normally, I do not complete the journal and pictures until I return home and have access to my primary PC's resources.

    During the trip, the backup of the journal and pictures take some time/effort/resources. In the past (using the lowest setting my digital camera offers) I have had success using floppies. When I got home, I had a manageable number of floppies. I use WinZip for backing up.

    Will the larger detail for the pictures be easily backed up during this trip? Stay tuned...

    Will the larger detail for the pictures "fill up" my laptop's hard disk? Stay tuned....

  • Fourth, after the trip, I will move the pictures and the journal to my home PC.

    My home PC has more resources than does my laptop.

    If I had sufficient space on the laptop's hard disk to save all the pictures: Terrific. I can move the pictures from the laptop to the PC using my local LAN (network). If I have to save some of the pictures on floppies or some other media and erase them from my laptop's hard disk for space reasons: OK -- I can move the data from that media to my home PC.

  • Fifth, now that I have the full resources of my home PC I can easily:

    • Modify as needed the pictures using PaintShop Pro. View them in slideshow format using Camedia.

    • Document the pictures using Word and/or WordPad as needed. I can also write text on the pictures using PaintShop Pro if I decide to do that.

    • Create an HTM (Web browser displayable) file for sharing the information with family and friends.

    • Sixth, I can move part/all of the HTM file and its pictures to the Web (I use AOL's "free" space provided to users for this purpose.).

      The pictures are going to be larger in size than previous-year's since I have decided to use the higher detail for this trip.

      Plus, I will print selected pictures and the trip's journal.

    As I said earlier in this newsletter item: Was it a good decision (from the above point of view) to use the higher level of detail (megapixels)? I won't know until after the trip!

    From a "quality" of pictures as viewed from the Web and/or locally on a PC display -- will the additional level of detail be noticeable? We see.

    Will the additional level of detail be justified for the no-doubt improved printing of selected pictures? We see.

    I will discuss my opinions on this in the May newsletter.

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

Example of a Cooking Recipe in HMT (Web Displayable) Format

Recently I had a reason to see about a recipe for Cornish Hen. We wanted to give a try at cooking Cornish Hen and took the following approach at doing so.

  • Check our cookbooks! We have a number of them, but it turned out we did not have a recipe for Cornish Hen.

  • Instead of buying a new cookbook: Check the Web!

    • Use a search engine. I use, most of the time: Google. They are at (I intentionally do not make links in these newsletters clickable. Why not? My Web page is aimed at home computer users and I like to have "new" home computer users get used to entering values rather than clicking).

    • Search on "Cornish Hen" or "Cornish Hen Recipe" and see if something looks interesting.

    • Print that (found-to-be-interesting for this particular use) Web page.

    • Review the recipe with other family members. Primarily: The person who will supervise the cooking!

    • Modify the recipe as needed. In our case, we slightly modified the recommended stuffing and adjusted the provided-recipe for two cornish hens as compared with the recipe's ten hens.

    • Prepare the meal!

    • Enjoy/critique the recipe's results.

    • If we enjoy the recipe, move the used-recipe (modified for our use) into our personal cookbook.

      This "personal cookbook" is in Word format. However, I often place the information also into HTM (Web-displayable) format. Why? For ease of sharing with other friends/family members -- I can easily place the HTM information and any images onto the Web (I use America Online's "free" provided-to-their-user's Web space) and, in turn, point friends/family to the HTM Web page for their info and criticism/recommended improvements.

    To see the results of this exercise, click on: Example of a Recipe Moved to HTM (Web-displayable) Format

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

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

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:

  • Pictures taken at 0.3 megapixels and 1.2 megapixels

  • This month's Great Golf Hole.

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


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 February/March

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    • Web Radio and USA Major League Baseball.

      As I mentioned in earlier newslettes, I listen to many Minnesota Twins' games using Web radio. The cost this year (used is $14.95. I think it unfortunate that's price is not competitive with I wish that would have offered a "break" in their monthly fees for baseball users as they did last year. I think the cost of $4 per month for Web radio baseball is reasonable and I could not personally justify's cost of around $10 per month.

      Let me know if you have any thoughts about "costing"-per-month for home computer user's Web baseball radio listening.

    • Junk/"Spam" eMail.

      In the Raleigh newspaper, Mr. Paul Gilster has a weekly column that I often read. In his column published Wednesday March 6, 2002 in the Raleigh The News & Observer he titled the article "Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, ...". You can find the article on the Raleigh News & Observer's Web page, but I take the liberty of summarzing some of his points here. We have discussed this matter quite a bit in earlier SCScompA newsletters, but the topic is worthy of further discussion. Here is a summary of selected points that Mr. Gilster made in his article:

      • ...Spam is no laughing matter.... (spam) can put a huge load on Internet service providers.

      • (spam can cause delays) ... causing some ("real") messages to take a day to arrive.

      • (some clients report) ... spam has all but doubled in the past year and is now about 20 percent of all email.

      • One cardinal principle about spam should guide you: Never respond to it.
        Note from Shogren: I contend, never even open it! If you receive an eMail from someone you do not know, simply delete the message without opening it. Yes, there may be some exceptions -- but, if you are a home computer user: I recommend you just delete messages from users you do not know. Just do it... and eventually if the eMail was important the sender will find you some other way than an eMail that you are not sure about.

      There were a number of other matters discussed in the article and I encourage you to read the above-mentioned entire article. Also, make certain your home computer users are clear as to your guidelines for "spam" and other unknown messages that appear in your home computer "in" basket.

    • Some Web pages used this past month: for Web radio baseball! I know I mentioned that earlier in this newsletter -- but the good news (that the service is back and the price is reasonable: less than $2 per month of the baseball season) is worth repeating and I highly recommend you listen an-hour-or-so-a-day if you are a baseball fan! It is a nice way to follow your favorite team -- and you can even play Freecell while you are listening to the game. Or, perhaps, do something more practical...

      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:

      • 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.

      • As mentioned earlier in this newsletter: 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 4.0.4193 dated 03/22/2002.

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

      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: 2061, 2062, 2065
  • Other deals we found interesting-and-not-too-hard this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Numbers: 2063(also zero restarts - but a nice game!)
  • A different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2064.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 2

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


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