Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: November 30, 2002

As I write this, it is the first week of December, 2002. I did not put out an October newsletter. Simply, not enough time. In any case, I hope your end-of-2002 is going well and I wish you well in your home computing!

As of the previous (Sept. 2002) newsletter the material you are reading/viewing is found off of and it is no longer being stored on America Online's member-provided Web space. The search engine pointers to the current Web pages have not all been updated (I have no idea how long that takes -- no doubt, different for each situation). I mention this information in case you have found this Web page in a non-direct manner.

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

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.

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

Depending Upon Where You Live - Clock Setting end-October!

He should have confirmed "back" or "forward" before he acted.

Stopping for a Break

Sometimes non-action is a positive move.


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:


Additional Comments Regarding Use of America Online's Mail Controls and Selected Other Matters Related to eMail

Even if you are not an America Online user, I bet you have a panel with your eMail support that shows you something similar to the following:

In the above, there is only one message I want to read -- and that I have requested / allowed someone to send to me.

It is the one from "counter@list12." with a subject of "Weekly statistics..."

The other messages are "junk" / SPAM and have I have never asked for any data from the senders.

OK. We get such messages. Why? People/eMail-senders are sometimes "strange" and think I want to communicate with them....

What do I recommend persons to do who ask me "What should I do" in such a situation -- and, what do I do?

  • If you don't know the sender as indicated by your eMail provider's panel: Delete the message! Don't even read it. Especially if you are a home computer user. If you don't know the sender's ID: Delete the message. Pure and simple: Delete it.

  • If you feel you must read the message to make sure it is not worthy of your time, at least "pay attention" to the Subject. The person/sender of the message may be (probably is, if you do not know the sender!) trying to "fool" you with the subject -- but, if the Subject is not something you are interested in: Delete the message. Pure and simple: Delete it.

    In the above, I deleted the six messages other-than the one I want (the one with the Counter information).

  • If you decide to Read the message (that is to say, you did not delete the message) and if the message looks at the front of the message similar to the following: Delete the message! Quickly... Pure and simple: Delete it.

    If there are multiple eMail IDs in the message, often the message is junk / SPAM. Delete the message.... it is (probably) going to be a waste of your time reading junk / SPAM.

  • If you decide to Read the message (that is to say, you did not delete the message) and if the message looks at the end of the message similar to the following (or in some other way your eMail provider shows you similar information): Try to pay attention to the shown-with-the-arrows similar data for your message.

    That data may be misleading. The sender may be trying to fool you. However, make note of the similar information and decide if you would like to have your eMail provider (server) stop the sender's identified at the back of your message (or some other way your eMail provider provides such information) from sending you additional information.

  • In America Online, we do this "banning" of sent eMail using AOL's Mail Controls.

    Once in Mail Controls we can tell AOL to stop the incoming eMail from the identified senders. Have someone assist you if you are not certain what the path is within Mail Controls. We have talked about Mail Controls and eMail handling in past newsletters.

    What we want to have is a "clean" eMail set of IDs! In the following, there are no incoming eMail messages for any for the seven IDs.

    If there was an indication of incoming eMail we could transfer to that ID and, in turn, decide if the incoming message(s) should be Deleted -- or, hopefully: Read -- sent to us by friends/family! Not junk / SPAM.

    I wanted to remind you of the above and the following at this time since the junk / SPAM just seems to be an increasing/annoying part of the Internet/Web world.

    Some additional reminders:

    • Always delete (without reading!) a message that in the Subject indicates the message is forwarded (FWD:). Even from friends. I always recommend (and I do the same) that you do not read FWD'd messages. Yes, not even from friends....!!!!

      If the information was important, the sender would get back to you.

    • Never forward a message, yourself. For example, you might use Copy/Paste into a new eMail message. Plus: Use a good Subject!

    • Never respond to any junk / SPAM. Even it they say "Click here" to be removed. Or offer you a free pass on a cruise ship. Or whatever. Never respond. Just delete the message!

    • If you have read the message, take a look at the "where from" information as shown in the above panels and decide if you want to use some sort of Mail Controls to bar the sender using your Internet eMail provider's support.

    Good luck with your eMail and Web access. If there are multiple eMail users in your family who use your home computer system, I recommend you discuss this matter with each of them.

If you have any comments on this topic, 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:

  • Scanning to Obtain a Particular Image.

  • Selected Photos of Starting the End-2002 Holiday Season.

  • 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 October/November 2002

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    Selected reminders regarding home computer system purchase/installation:

    It may seem that I discuss this often in my newsletters -- and, I do! It is, simply, a popular topic that I see written about and discuss with home computer users.

    In any case:

    • Yes, you may purchase a quite inexpensive and usable home computer system for less than my still-recommended budget of $3000 USA.

      Before you get unhappy with my $3000 guideline, I include in this figure:

      Home computer system aimed at being usable 3-to-4 years or more.

      Nice monitor. I prefer 15" to 17" vertical display area with as high quality as your budget allows. Personally, I budget about $400 for the monitor and purchase whatever display card the monitor connects to on my system that has "good" display-card-memory and features. What is good? Depends upon your needs/plans for the next 3-to-4 years. If you are uncertain, buy a mid-of-the-price-range display card.

      Printer. I prefer whatever HP is marketing at purchase time for about $150 USA. Yes, cartridge cost per 6-months-or-so at a time is a concern..... but, I have had good luck with HP and recommend starting with the $150 USA HP features as a starting point and decide a printer manufacturer that fits.

      Scanner. I prefer whatever Microtek is marketing at purchase time for about $135 USA. Check the features and decide a manufacturer.

      Home networking "Hub" and wiring or wireless equipment. Allocate about $200 USA and have someone help you. If you get by less expensive: Terrific!

      Software (Windows). I recommend (for PCs) Microsoft XP Professional (even for a home user). I use Windows 2000 Professional and will stay with that for the next few years -- and if "pushed" in the discussion would recommend Windows 2000 Professional. This is a personal decision. It, just, continues to work fine and performs well. So, I would probably stay with Windows 2000 Professional even though XP Pro may be a better long term investment. Allocate, in any case, about $200 USA for the operating system.

      Software (Other). I allocate about $600 USA for this. Includes (for my situation): Microsoft Office Standard, PaintShop Pro from JASC, and a $200 budget for additional software the family may choose (For example, a game or two -- I use Hoyle Classic Card Games and Bridge Baron the most).

    Add the above budgets:
    $400 (Display + possible enhanced graphics card),
    $150 printer,
    $135 scanner,
    $200 home networking/cables and/or wireless,
    $200 Windows,
    $600 software (Office, graphics/etc. support, some $200 left for other software) and

    You have a total so far of: $1685 USA (and we have not talked about a digital camera.... if had, I would tell you to get the specs for an Olympus that costs around $400 and find something with some manufacturer you like that has similar specs or is within your budget).

    In any case, for the $3000 - $1685 = $1315 USA I know you can find a nice PC!

    I went to Dell (as an example) and selected this one today (Dec. 4 2002). I also went to a local PC store's Web page and configured a machine there. Browse the following -- and if you are considering a home PC system soon -- printing off the following and taking it to either a local PC dealer and/or company such as Dell or Compaq for their "matching"-type system should give you a very nice home system for the next 3-to-4 years.

    The budget (the $3000 USA I use for planning such a system) holds true. Some adjustments -- such as not using "all" the budgeted operating system/software costs I put in the budget -- may have to be made. Generally, though, the following would be systems I am quite sure would work fine! They would, certainly, with my home computing applications.

    Good luck and good home computing!

    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 season is over -- the 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 4.0.4235 dated 11/27/2002.

      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 Q328970 that was available in November.

    • For Windows 2000 I installed Q329414 that was also made available November 2002. Note that this recommended fix is for other operating systems than Windows 2000 -- so, please try to keep up with the security as recommended by Microsoft; go to their 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: 2250, 2258, 2272, 2292, 2299 (no restarts)
  • Other deals we found interesting this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2261, 2264 (one restart)

  • FreeCell Deal Number: 2333 (two restarts)
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2301 (four restarts)

  • Another different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2306.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 6

  • 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. 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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