Newsletter Comments from SCScompA
Newsletter Date: September 31, 2002
Well, the date above is end-Sept. However, as I write this, it is Oct. 30 2002.
If you are reading this, you are reading it from my new "dot com". I have moved the Web page and its related graphic items (JPGs, GIFs) plus any downloadable-by-the-reader files to my "dot com": www.scscompa.com
I plan on briefly discussing my experience in moving the information to my dot.com later on this newsletter. Why would I discuss this? As I have mentioned in previous newsletters, my newsletters are aimed at home computer users -- and, I believe it quite possible that in the near future many home computer-oriented users will find it valuable/fun to have their own "dot com".
In that regard, if you are a home computer-oriented person, I would be interested in your response to the following:
- Assuming you are a home computer user/family who may eventually want to share things such as in-progress summaries of information such as vacation journals, photographs, and scanned items/photos with "friends and family":
- Do you see a reason to have something such as "www.yourown.com" for use in sharing the above? Or for use with a home-business and you think you may someday want information out on the Web?
- If you answer "yes": (If you answer "No" ignore this part of the newsletter!)
- The fee to reserve your chosen "www.xxxxx.com" is about $40 per two-year reservation. There are a number of companies who do this reserving for you (I chose EarthLink because I chose EarthLink to host my material. I signed up with EarthLink to do the hosting for $20 per month and they, in turn, waved the $40 reservation fee). Reserving the chosen "www.xxxxx.com" is a different issue than that mentioned below.
It is possible that someone, for example, could be reserving the "www.xxxxx.com" for possible use 20 years down the line by a grandchild. Also, in fact, the "www.xxxxx.com" may be appended with one of the "new" ".com" appendages such as .biz, .info, .name
- Currently, companies such as EarthLink, charge $20 for hosting the "stuff" you choose to put out to the Web. Yes, these companies also provide "easy to use" interfaces for taking the information from your home PC to the Web-space. No, at this time, I would not say it is "easy" to do this in actuality. It is not difficult; it is, just, not "easy". With assistance/patience it is easy.
- So -- would you think $20 per month is acceptable to your chosen "www.xxxxx.com" objective?
When you get time, think about the above and let me know. Since the Web is only (from our point of view) less than ten years old, I am wondering how home-computer-oriented users currently respond to the above.
In any case, I will discuss my experience with moving to "my own" dot.com when I finalize this month's newsletter.
For now: This month's newsletter is work-in-progress and I apologize for the delay in getting information out.
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.
I Hope He Had Backed Up His Material - Or Had AutoSave Turned On!
We have often talked, in these newsletter, about backing up our material once in awhile as we work on a PC-system. Another feature of many of our important PC applications is AutoSave. Perhaps this is another topic for a future newsletter....
School Attention - Everyone's Interpretation-of-Attention is not The Same
Perhaps the student has a different interpretation of "attention"-span than does someone else.
I have started substitute teaching a couple of days a week in middle and upper schools. I am pleased to say that 99% of the students do their work -- and pay attention!
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.
eMail to: SCScompA@aol.com
Some Final Comments Regarding America Online's Free Web Space as Compared with a "Dot Com"
Last month I discussed this matter from an overview perspective: I discussed AOL's Hometown (AOL's Keywords: My FTP Place and then "joining" Hometown) and mentioned that I am moving my information from AOL's Hometown to my own "dot com".
This newsletter item will close out that discussion.
Some of you are, as you read this, thinking: "Why in the world would SCScompA discuss this here, in this newsletter, aimed at Home Computer users?".
Well, my answer is: Some home computer - oriented users I interact with have reasons to put information on the Web and ask about that topic.
The primary purpose of last month's discussion as well as this newsletter's item that follows is to assist those home computer oriented users who have interest in the "place information on the Web" topic to get started in further discussing the matter with someone. The purpose of this discussion is not to enable someone to actually accomplish their placing information and using that information on the Web. It is, just, to allow the user to get started in discussions. That's all.
Those of you who are either not home-computer-oriented and/or not interested in placing information on the Web: Or are experienced users -- Ignore this newsletter item!
- First, we must have a "need" or a desire to have something to place on the Web. If we don't want anything on the Web -- then this newsletter item does not apply!
Let's assume, for example, we have three pictures (images) on our PC. The pictures are on our PC (for example) from our digital camera or from our scanner -- or from both. Somehow we have three pictures. Those pictures are (for this example's sake) in a PC folder called: "Example Web Stuff".
And, let's assume we have coded some way to display the pictures.
Example HTM Code
Note 1: In the following HTM code, the pictures to be displayed by the HTM tags are: Pic1.jpg, Pic2.jpg, and Pic3.jpg
Note 2: The following HTM code would be built using WordPad or something similar. The resultant file would be saved as "somename.htm".
Some explanation of the HTM tags:
<br> says - Print the line of information on the next line.
<p> says - Skip a line before your print the line of information.
<h2> says - Print a heading.
<img> points to the picture (image). ./ says the image is in the current folder.
The tags may be confusing at first -- but, they are not too bad in the long run! Have patience and give the tags and the approach a try.
<Title>Some Picture to Share With Someone via the Web
Selections of What We Have
A Day at Jai Alai
The game begins!
<p align=top >
<IMG SRC="./Pic1.jpg" >
Nature is amazing.
<p align=top >
<IMG SRC="./Pic2.jpg" >
Coming Out From Hiding
It gives a smile to anyone who sees it.
<p align=top >
<IMG SRC="./Pic3.jpg" >
This was a small example -- Did it make sense to you?
At this point, we have four files. Three pictures and one HTM (text) file. The files are located in some folder/directory on the user's PC. The following tries to show this. The picture on the left shows the folder where the four files are located, the picture on the right shows the folder's contents. The folder is on the user's PC.
So: We have four files (three pictures and the one file of HTM text) on our PC. We want to move this data to the Web to allow other Internet/Web users to see the information by opening (pointing-to) the HTM file.
The remaining challenge is to place the information out on the Web server.
We may do this in a few different ways. This newsletter will show two ways:
- Panel-driven. This, at first glance, appears "easy" -- at it is for some users.
- "DOS"-based, using what is known as "FTP". This is the approach I use the most -- but, I have experience in using FTP. Many users would choose the panel-driven approach.
I will show a brief example of both approaches.
Note: As I mentioned earlier in this newsletter, the purpose of discussing this matter and showing the panels, etc. is to give you a basic understanding of what is involved. It is not intended that you could/should accomplish moving information from your PC to a server solely based upon the following! It is, just, intended as an overview.
Panel Driven - America Online
You go to the area in America Online pointed to be the keywords "My FTP Place". Once there, you click on "See My FTP Space".
Once in "My FTP Space" you will click on Upload to move the data from your PC to the server. I do not show the resultant panels -- they are quite self-expanatory. If you are an AOL user, give it a try sometime if you have not already done so.
Panel Driven - Earthlink
From any Web browser you go to: http://cc.earthlink.net and once there, sign in.
Once signed in you will click on File Manger to be presented with the panel that will assist you in moving the data from your PC to the server.
Once in the EarthLink File Manager you will click on Upload Files to move the data from your PC to the server. I do not show the resultant panels -- they are quite self-expanatory.
Naturally, you would use other parameters/options provided by the panel-driven support of your chosen Web server (in the above examples, America Online and EarthLink). Also, obviously, there are many Web server companies you may choose to use.
The above panels and brief discussion, hopefully, gives you (as a home computer-oriented users!) some ideas. It will remain to be seen when such efforts and Web server space/use becomes the norm for a home computer user. Time will tell.....
DOS-based FTP - EarthLink
Again: Some of you are thinking as you read this: "Why in the world would this Web newsletter show a DOS-based FTP matter to a home computer-oriented user? Well, my answer is: "I think that if a home computer-oriented user headed down the path of PC-->Web server, the user would end up sometime using/seeing/discussing FTP from a "DOS" point of view.". If I am incorrect, OK -- I just waste a little time showing the following. In any case -
- First we get a DOS window.
- Then we position that DOS window at the directory (on our PC) we are working with.
- We then start FTP. We ask for FTP to our Server. In this case, Earthlink's FTP Server.
- We log in (sign in) to the Server.
- We position ourselves at the correct directory on the Server. If necessary, we create that directory first.
- Once positioned, we use "ascii" (text mode) for transmitting the htm file. It is text-readable data!
- We transmit the picture images in "binary" mode. The pictures are not text-readable, so they are not "ascii"!
- After we have transmitted the files we want, we exit FTP (using the "bye" command.
After the above: Anyone on the Web who goes to our htm file (in this case):
will be presented with the information we place into and point-to using the htm code.
The following are the potential FTP commands, with the ones we are going to use, circled in red.
Browse the following DOS panel of information and see if it makes any sense to you (if you are not familiar with DOS and FTP).
As I mentioned earlier, it is hoped that the above discussion assists you (if you are a home computer-oriented user) and, someday, you decide that you want to have information you have on your PC on a Web server for others to share/view. We see, when that day comes for you! It is, here, today for many of us.
There are many companies/products/applications aimed at making matters such as the above easier for you/home computer persons. There are "different ways" to attack the challenge.
Good luck as your PC <-> Web server activities move along.
If you have any comments on this topic, don't hesitate to contact me using SCScompA@aol.com.
If you want to see the three pictures/photos and the output of the Web page in this example, click on: (Use your Web browser's Back button to return to here):
Link to The Above Sample from this Month's SCScompA Newsletter.
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.
- Miscellaneous photos that are in contention for my personal "Favorite Photos of 2002" collection.
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments regarding the above or for any related discussion.
Miscellaneous Comments Regarding Home Computer Use Matters that Came Up in August/September 2002
- Miscellaneous Matters.
- Comments regarding a recent hardware/software problem on my main PC.
The reason for discussing this is aimed at summarizing some steps a home computer user may have to take in order to recover from a hardware/software failure.
What happened was, of all things: My primary PC's network (Ethernet) card began to show up incorrectly in Windows. What I mean by this comment was, the card worked -- I could interact fine with my existing home network -- but I could not re-configure the card and the connected-network on my primary PC's Windows 2000 Pro system. When I tried to configure the card, Windows 2000 would not allow me to do that. I checked a lot of Windows' parameters (security, permissions, etc.) and used various IDs (Administrator, etc.) -- but I simply could not modify the installed card's existing parameters.
I ignored the situation for a few weeks. I did not have a solid-enough reason to modify the card.... but, eventually I had to attack the problem.
First, since my main PC is a dual-boot PC, I booted Windows ME and confirmed all was fine there. I suspected it would be, but checked that path anyway.
Next, I re-booted Windows 2000 Pro and tried a number of things.
- Uninstall/Install the network card.
- Download the latest drivers for the network card.
- Buy a new network card.... a different vendor... and insert the new card into a different PC slot... and into the same PC slot.
Nothing worked. I could use the network card with the existing parameters but I could not configure the card with new parameters.
I resorted to getting quite technical..... I used some DOS-type commands to try to eliminate the current card. I would not recommend such a thing -- but went that path anyway.
No luck. In fact, things got to the point where I could not use my network card at all -- and, likewise, could not use a new network card in my main PC.
Solution: I reinstalled Windows 2000 on my main PC, asking the install to do an "upgrade" install of the Windows/applications. Success, with regards to my network card! The "upgrade" from an installed Windows' application point of view was less successful -- I had to (for example) totally reinstall a few applications and reconfigure some other applications. Now: I am back in business....
I should have, as it turned out, done the reinstall/upgrade earlier in the exercise. I would have saved some time/frustration.
Why do I mention the above? Here is why:
- Be prepared for reinstallation of your home PC/system. I was prepared -- I had (for example):
- Install/upgrade Windows media (CDs).
- Appropriate install "passwords" and codes.
- Backup of my user data in case something happened and I could not save my hard-disk partitions.
- Time to do the re-install.
- Make sure your user data is located on a Windows disk other than the one your Windows is located on. If your Windows is on "C", I recommend you keep your user data/folders on (for example) "D".
- After you install your PC or add/modify hardware on your PC, have a backup of the Windows' "Last known configuration". I had not done this.... but, I suspect it would have helped me. I have, now, such a backup if/when I need it. If you have no idea what this comment means, discuss the matter with someone who assists you with PC matters.
- If you are not experienced with Windows, have someone available to assist you in case you need to re-install or upgrade your Windows' system at short notice. If that "someone" is a computer store (for example), know ahead of time what the cost per hour/support is. It may be a nicer discussion before the matter becomes an emergency.
There are, I am sure, other comments I should make on this matter - but, I hope the above triggers some thoughts/action on your part in advance of a home-PC "disastor".
- Example of using WineWin.
WineWin is a PC application that assists in "managing" a home wine collection. By "managing" I mean that it allows you to:
However, I have had a few discussions in 2002 about this matter with home computer users -- and, so, I place my comments here.
WineWin is an "old" application that as of today (Oct. 2002) I still use on my Windows 2000 Professional system and, I am quite certain, will still work on current Windows 98/ME systems. I tried to install it a few months ago on a Windows XP system and was not initially successful. If you have ever used WineWin on an XP system, please let me know.
In any case, the reasons for showing examples of WineWin are twofold:
- I know that there are other newer applications similar to WineWin. However, I have never user any of the newer similar-to-WineWin applications and, perhaps someone of you who have used such an application will let me know if you are pleased with the newer-application's usage. Using something like WineWin is enough of a "commitment" (effort/etc.) that, in my case, I do not want to convert to a new application until absolutely necessary. I would appreciate any of your comments about a new "WineWin"-type application, if you are using something other than WineWin to "manage" your wine cellar`.
- I was recently asked if I would make my version of WineWin available to someone who contacted me. This newsletter item is resulting from my doing that. I was/am a licensed user who paid for WineWin when it was available. Since I can no longer contact WineWin authors/creators/developers -- and I am quite sure WineWin has zero "support": I see nothing immoral/wrong in making it "generally available" upon request to me. If you have a comment on this - let me know.
Summary of WineWin and a Few Examples of Using WineWin
Install of WineWin
I do not show the install actions of WineWin here, but I do give a few comments: The product originally came on three floppies. The product installed using an application the WineWin people provided (INSTALL.EXE) that ran as a normal Windows' application. They also provided a serial number and a "last name" of the user was required to be entered as well. At the end of the installation on the later operating systems (I currently use Windows 2000 Pro) the INSTALL.EXE gave an error message that I simply ignored and have not found that ignoring the error caused problems.
After a successful install and configuring the icon for WineWin, the icon may look as:
Main WineWin Panels
The main WineWin panel points to the major matters you would do as a WineWin user.
Before doing anything with WineWin it is necessary to go through the Nouveau step. There, you acknowledge that you have browsed the various capabilities of WineWin. You may not have to / want to use all the options -- but it is a good idea to have at least seen what is possible.
Within the Nouveau Rack Configuration step, you describe the physical aspect of your wine cellar: The racks/bins where you store your wine. You may use any naming approach you wish to, with WineWin. The description need not match exactly the "actual" racks where you store the wines -- it, just, is necessary for you to be able to relate the PC/WineWin description to reality. Otherwise it may be difficult to find a wine in either place (PC or actual wine cellar)!
Once you complete the Nouveau step and have the racks/bins described to the PC/WineWin application, you may start documenting the wines and where they are located in your racks/bins.
Eventually you will want a report of what you have entered into the PC/WineWin application. A number of reports are possible and you may customize some of the reports.
The report may be viewed on the PC display and/or printed.
For some wines, after you have tasted them, you may want to add something in the tasting notes.
The backup function is used to ensure you save your PC/WineWin application entries in case you need to restore them -- or, in my case, for use on my laptop in addition to on the home PC.
I hope that the above gives you some ideas of what a wine cellar management application could be used for on your home PC. Let me know if you have comments on the above or have a wine cellar management application on your PC that you use and enjoy.
- 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:
- MLB.com 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: http://www.google.com
- USA Newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune): http://www.startribune.com/
- Europe Newspaper in English (Edinburgh Scotland, Scotsman): http://www.thescotsman.co.uk/
- Europe Newspaper in German (Zurich Switzerland): http://www.tages-anzeiger.ch/portal/tagi/portal.htm
- America Online's support for: "Business News", My Portfolios", "Movies" (Reviews), "Top News".
- Weather: http://www.intellicast.com/
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.
- The latest McAfee XDAT (file for use by McAfee in identifying viruses) I have downloaded and installed use virus definitions 4.0.4228 dated 10/09/2002.
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 Q323579 that was available end-August 2002. Windows 2000 I installed Q326830 that was also made available end-August 2002. 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.
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: SCScompA@aol.com
Or send snail-mail to:
P.O. Box 58223
Raleigh NC 27658
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