Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: March 31, 2003

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

Well... I missed February 2003. Time is flying past, too quickly.

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).

What is Not Good For One May Be Perfect for Another

The two boys are happy with pizza! As I am, anytime.


What is good for one person may not be good news for another person.


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:


Calendar and Table Example

I have need once in awhile of a "calendar" to be shown/used on my home computing system. First of all, a few comments -- and then a few images are shown for discussion-sake.

  • There are many calendar-type of PC applications. Certainly, if you are going to use such an application often, look around and find/purchase something that fits your needs.

    Some examples that are available include:

    • Microsoft Word (or some other text editor) and its "Calendar Wizard" support. We discuss this briefly later in this news item.

    • Microsoft Word (or some other text editor) and its support of tables: You build a Word table and, in turn, use the table as a calendar. Again, we discuss this briefly later in this news item.

    • An "Organizer"-type of application such as Microsoft's Outlook or Lotus Organizer.

    • Many calendar applications available from numerous sources. I just did a search on Google for keywords "calendar application" and had 2,800,000 suggested places to go to.

    Or "build" your own calendar approach such as discussed below. I had a reason to do so -- and chose to use the exercise as part of this month's newsletter.

    First, let's take a look at the Word approach that uses a Word product-provided "template" (Wizard) involving a calendar. The advantage of this approach is that it is easy to:

    • Have a calendar available for use with a Word document.

      From there, your Word document could be used by the Word product's DOC -to- HTM support if you had a reason to display your calendar on the Web or on your local computer using a Web browser. Why would you might want the calendar on the Web? Perhaps you are going to take a vacation and you have created a Web page for your use in letting family/friends know your plans and where-abouts. A calendar could be part of such a Web page.

    • Use the built-calendar-Word-Doc as part of another overall Word Doc. Just move the calendar into any "large" Word Doc you may me working on

      For example, a vacation-log Word document.

    First, to use the calendar wizard, we can create a New word document. Clicking on File->New gets us started.

    Our default document to be created when asking for a New document probably is not the one we want that has the calendar wizard, so we click on Other Documents.

    The "Other Documents" include the Word support ("wizards" in this case) that were installed when your Word product was installed. If the calendar (in this situation) wizard support was not installed -- we would need to re-install Word and select the calendar support to be added.

    Single-clicking on the calendar wizard brings forward a preview of what your calendar may look like.

    Double-clicking (or otherwise opening) the calendar wizard icon shows us the first of the calendar wizard's panels.

    From that first panel, we go through a set of panels where we decide what format we prefer for the calendar, the paper-direction, and the timeframe.

    When finished, the calendar is placed into a new Word document.

    The calendar wizard's output looks fine, and this new Word document may be OK for your use.

    If so -- no problem, just place this Doc into any Word Doc you are using, use the calendar in its own Word Doc -- or, even save the calendar wizard's Word Doc as an HTM (Web displayable) document for use with any of your Web activities. For example, you may be using the calendar to show friends/family where you are on particular dates during a vacation (as part of a Web vacation log).

    In any case, the calendar wizard's output from this example is shown below.

    When we try to use the calendar, the "fun" begins. The calendar Wizard has set some defaults that we may want to change. For example, as shown below, the text font within a date's entry may be too large for our needs. As you can see, below, the text placed there is Times New Roman 36 in our example.

    We can use normal Word support (and our mouse!) to select the parts of the calendar wizard's created calendar and, in turn, modify the used-font.

    In our case, we selected the entire calendar's contents and modified that to be a font of Ariel with a size of 12. Then, we entered a few text words into one date's "box".

    We also decide that we want our text-data entered on a new line -- so we press "Enter" to do that.

    Now, are ready to go. We would decide what text font to use for the user-entered data (for example, we might decide to remove Bold indication and have our user data be entered in a non-bold (normal) intensity.


    OK! The above example showed using a Word-provided Calendar Wizard approach.

    Let's move from that to, simply, using a Word Table.

    First, within the page or Word Doc we are currently using, we decide if we want the calendar's page (or the entire document) to be placed Portrait ("high") or Landscape ("wide").

    Next, we ask Word to insert our table.

    We decide that we will have a calendar of seven slots across (seven days in a week... brilliant, huh?) and allow for 6 slots down. One downward slot for a Title row and then allow for five weeks in a month.

    We also choose to have the table's slots be "AutoFit to contents". Instead of this option, we could decide to have each slot be a particular size. For this example, we choose AutoFit.

    The table is inserted. It is a small -- but, we will fill in the slots with data and AutoFit will fix each slot's size.

    Next, we decide to place the table in the center of the page.

    We may set parameters for different parts of the table. The slots (cells), the rows or columns the slots are in, or all parts of the table. There are many options.

    If we highlite the table and click on the Word Table entry as shown below, that is where we can modify the table/cells.

    We took this path to (for example) modify all cells to have a particular width as shown below.

    The following shows some of the options that could be set.

    Now, we are ready to use the table as a calendar.

    Is the "Table" approach any different or more difficult to use than the "Calendar Wizard" approach? Well, I will use the Table approach for my use (one or two months at a time) -- but, I will keep the Calendar Wizard approach as a possibility as calendar needs move forward.

    I will continue this discussion and set of examples in later newsletters.

    I will use my calendar for not only "normal" use within a printed document but, also, as part of a Web displayable HTM-formatted file.

    Let me know what your calendar needs and uses are. I am curious if a home computer user makes use of such word support or normally uses other calendar approaches such as Microsoft Outlook or Lotus Organizer.

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:

  • More Digital Camera Image Examples.

  • Examples of Using PaintShop Pro and its "Snap to Grid" Feature.

  • 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 February/Early March 2003

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    No comments this month.

    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 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 are charged in 2002) has been reliable and much enjoyed. If your Internet connection costs are not time-related, give Web radio a try for your sport of choice.

    • If you are a golfer: In the November/December 2002 USGA's bi-monthly publication "Golf Journal" is a pointer to: and the newly-redesigned Web page related to USGA's handicapping. If you are interested in golf course ratings, golf handicapping, and related information give the page a look. I have only briefly checked it out so far, but it appears to be a lot of information readily available for golf-handicap-information needs.

    • for Web radio baseball! The next season is coming soon. Last year's listening was excellent -- and well worth (to me) the $15.00 USA for the entire year. Assuming the cost does not increase too much in 2003, I already look forward to the 2003 season's baseball-listening on the Web.

    • 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 4.0.4257 dated 04/09/2003.

      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 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 Number: 2349 (Not easy - but fun! - in one deal), 2351 (Easy!), 2392, 2393 (Again: Not easy - but fun! - in one deal), (Each of these had no restarts)
  • Other deals we found interesting this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2356 (1), 2360(1), 2362 (1), 2397 (1 -- A very interesting start/deal), 2381 (2), 2389 (2), 2399 (4)
  • Another different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2384.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 5

  • 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.

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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