News Humor Common PC Mac CUCUG
The March 15 gathering will be one of our combined meetings. The focus this time will be on everyone's favorite web sites. Each member is encouraged to bring in the addresses of those web sites they get the most out of to share with everyone else. We plan to wring out the T1 and visit the best you feel the web has to offer.
We welcome any kind of input or feedback from members. Have an article or review you'd like to submit? Send it in. Have a comment? Email any officer you like. Involvement is the driving force of any user group. Welcome to the group.
I spoke with Bill McEwen, and he gave me permission to pass this on to you.
"... Amiga2001 is going to be exciting!
Amiga news you have never heard before.
Amiga products you have never seen before.
Amiga announcements you have been hungering for.
Whatever Amiga shows you have come to before,
whatever shows you missed, this is the Amiga
show you don't want to miss...."
President & CEO Amiga Inc.
P.O. Box 672
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Producers of the Gateway Amiga Shows... the best Amiga shows in the Americas! For more information, check out
Amiga2001 - An Amiga Odyssey
Sheraton West Port-Chalet, St. Louis, MO. USA
Friday March 30 thru Sunday April 1, 2001
Now featuring companies like: Amiga, FWD Computing, Merlancia Industries, Compuquick Media Center, Dan's Deals, Cloanto, individual computers of Germany, the Gateway Amiga Club Inc., Bounce-back Videos, Amigan-St. Louis, Mr. Hardware, the PC Journal, G & G Publishing - producers of The New Amigan Magazine, Brewster Productions, AmiTech Dayton Amiga Users Group, Amiga Active Magazine of the UK, Nova Design Inc., NAG - Northwest Amiga Group, Charles Marks, a noted artist of Claw Marks Productions. He is coming from Jonesboro Arkansas to exhibit his lithographs at his booth. Mr. Marks is also designing the limited edition Amiga2001 show shirt for Amigan-St. Louis as well. Other exhibitors are: Legacy Maker Inc., Downix, Inc. Newest additions to the exhibitor list include the St. Louis Computer User, AmigaZone (Harv Laser's famous Amiga site) and SACC (the Sacramento Amiga Computer Club). More exhibitors are being added each week, so check the web site.
The popular Google search engine and Web catalog, currently our favorite search site, has acquired Deja.com's Usenet Discussion Service, the archive of every Usenet posting since 1995. That accounts for over 500 million messages - a terabyte of discussions. Back when it was called DejaNews, Deja.com initially provided just a Web-accessible archive of Usenet postings, but they caught portal fever and lost focus (and presumably a lot of money - eBay's Half.com acquired Deja.com's Precision Buying Service). Although it will take Google some time to develop the tools necessary to provide a good interface to all 500 million postings, they are making postings since August of 2000 available with a relatively sparse feature set. We're pleased to see Google taking over this essential resource - few Internet companies providing useful services have come close to matching Google's focus on usability, performance, and design restraint. [ACE]
Matthew DeSantis noticed IEE Spectrum Online "has a front page coverage about the history and future of Amiga entitled (as we've all heard before) "The computer that wouldn't die"." He then adds, "in their web feature, just like the mag, they have a pictures page, not only of new Amiga OE, but also the original prototype emulation logic boards of [the] A1000."
"Is it possible that you (Amiga Inc) tell us what you think about all those projects ? Aros, MorphOS..." Fleecy Moss, Amiga Inc. on AmigaOne ML: "As I said, others stepped in to fill the void of there being no owner and no direction. Now Amiga Inc is back, and it will set the direction. We have talked to all of the groups informally but there can be only one direction... anything else is competition. We are working hard to take advantage of a lot of the work done, but that has to fit into the direction of Amiga Inc. itself."
More information on Amiga's future plans will be displayed on Amiga.com, says Fleecy, but they "don't want to pre-empt St Louis". There "will be one direction that the owner provides, and that will be revealed at St Louis." "As for the AROS group, it would be nice to roll a lot of their effort into any future direction."
Amigart website - http://www.amigart.com/
AROS website - http://www.aros.org/
Cinemaware has posted Amiga Disk Images of Lords of the Rising Sun and King of Chicago on their site for free downloading! Also, Cinemaware has online versions of Wings, The Three Stooges and Defender of the Crown that you can play as well.
Registration is required for download or playing, but is free and painless! =)
Check out the details at www.cinemaware.com.
This article comes from Amiga.org (http://amiga.org)
The URL for this story is: http://www.amiga.org/article.php?sid=422
ROY, Utah, March 1 (Reuters) - Portable Zip disk drive maker Iomega Corp. has bought software developer Asimware Innovations, Inc. in a multimillion dollar deal to expand its new software business, Iomega announced on Thursday.
Iomega spokesman Chris Romoser declined to specify the value of the transaction.
"This acquisition is expected to make tangible contributions to our software and CD-RW product lines this year," President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Albertson said in a statement.
Roy, Utah-based Iomega, known for its Zip disks, expected to introduce bundled and stand-alone software and would launch the first Asimware-based products by the fourth quarter of this year, Romoser said by telephone.
"This will be a growth driver for Iomega in the future," he said.
Iomega makes Zip disks and drives, which are high capacity equivalent of the floppy disks and drives, and a variety of other portable storage products, but it has only begun developing software in the last year.
Canada's Asimware Innovations develops CD read-write software, including "skins" software so users can customize the look of the screens, Iomega said.
[Peter Henderson, San Francisco Bureau 415 677-2578
Casady & Greene has released Conflict Catcher 8.0.8, adding support for Mac OS 9.1. Specifically, the new version adds Mac OS 9.1 All and Base sets, and updates the Clean Install System Merge for Mac OS 9.1. In addition, you can define a default set for use under Mac OS 9 running in Mac OS X's Classic mode. The update is free for registered users of Conflict Catcher 8 and is a 1.4 MB download. [JLC]
At his keynote address at the Macworld Expo in Tokyo, Steve Jobs continued Apple's move to CD-RW as the media device of choice in new Macs. Apple's iMac line still includes Indigo and Graphite models, and adds psychedelic Blue Dalmatian and Flower Power designs. Available in a basic 400 MHz model ($900, with CD-ROM drive) and higher-end 500 MHz and 600 MHz models ($1,200 and $1,500 with CD-RW drives), the iMac family is now at the core of Apple's "digital lifestyle" push. Interestingly, no iMacs currently offer DVD-ROM drives, though the low-end 450 MHz Power Mac G4 Cube ($1,300) retains one, and they're available as build-to-order options on Power Mac G4s and G4 Cubes. New G4 Cube models at $1,600 and $2,144 (with 128 and 256 MB of memory, respectively, compared to 64 MB for the base model) sport CD-RW drives, and the high-end unit also packs Nvidia's GeForce2 MX video controller and a 60 GB hard disk.
Apple announced a $1,000 price cut in its 22-inch flat-panel Cinema Display, now a mere $3,000. Jobs also unveiled Nvidia's GeForce3 graphics processing unit (GPU), a high-end chip appearing first on the Mac that performs over 800 billion operations per second to render 3D objects; it will be available as a $350 build to order option on Power Mac G4s in April. Almost lost in the shuffle was word that Apple's top-of-the-line 733 MHz Power Mac G4 minitower, with the CD- and DVD-writing SuperDrive, is now shipping. [MHA]
Living up to its promise at last month's Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Apple has rolled out iTunes 1.1, improving stability, adding keyboard controls, and providing support for burning audio CDs using more than two dozen third-party CD-RW drives. iTunes enables users to burn audio CDs based on playlists of MP3 files (or other audio formats supported by iTunes); these audio CDs hold only up to the standard 74 minutes of audio, but they can be used in any standard audio CD player. Although it's possible to store many hours of music in MP3 format on the 650 MB available on a data CD and play those in computers or specialized CD-MP3 players, iTunes can't create data CDs. For that you'll need to use Apple's Disc Burner (for recent Macs with Apple's internal CD-RW) or third- party software like Roxio's Toast or CharisMac's Discribe (for all other third party CD-R and CD-RW drives). iTunes 1.1 is available for free from Apple as a 3.6 MB download; it requires at least Mac OS 9.0.4 (Mac OS 9.1 for burning CDs). [GD]
For those who only want the "power to burn" CDs, Apple Computer introduced a cheaper version of its fastest desktop computer Thursday.
The new version of the 733MHz Power Mac features a CD-rewritable drive, instead of a SuperDrive that can read and write both CDs and DVDs. The new model sells for $2,999, $500 less than its SuperDrive-equipped counterpart.
Apple has been selling a similar model for $3,099 since February as a special build-to-order option on its Web site, an Apple representative said late Thursday.
Apple said the move comes amid a greater-than-expected availability of the 733MHz G4 chips from Motorola.
"With available quantities of the 733MHz processor now surpassing those of the SuperDrive, Apple is offering this new configuration with a CD-RW drive to provide its highest performance system to a wider audience, sooner," the company said in a statement.
The new Power Mac will be available next week from resellers and Apple's online store.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs used the phrase "power to burn" when he introduced the original 733MHz model at the Macworld Expo in January. The company started shipping the new model in February.
The other three Power Mac models introduced in January, which range from 466MHz to 667MHz, already offer a CD-RW drive.
For those who follow Apple, which has been stung by a weak PC market, Thursday's move is significant.
David Bailey, an analyst with Gerard Klauer Mattison, said the fact that Motorola has been able to produce so many of the speedy chips is good news for Apple. Bailey added that demand for Apple's latest Power Macs appears strong.
"It should help the company as they head into the last month of the quarter," he said.
Apple has said it expects a slight profit this quarter, amid a slew of new products, including the Power Macs introduced in January and the new iMacs and Power Mac G4 Cubes announced last month at Macworld Expo in Tokyo.
The improved supply of fast chips from Motorola also could mean Apple will be able to continue ratcheting up the speed of its fastest machines.
"It holds out promise that they will be able to do that," Bailey said.
Advanced Micro Devices cut prices on its desktop processors this week, although some customers can actually buy the chips for a lot less than the "official" wholesale price.
After price cuts by rival Intel over the weekend, AMD cut the prices of its Athlon and Duron chips for desktops by around 20 percent this week. Under the new cuts, the 1.2GHz Athlon with a 266MHz system bus sells for $294 in quantities of 1,000. The 850MHz version drops to $120.
The cuts will help pave the way for the introduction of a 1.3GHz desktop version of Athlon, which sources say will be unveiled at the CeBit computer trade show from March 22 to 28 in Hannover, Germany. In addition, the first version of Athlon for notebooks will arrive March 19, according to sources.
Processor price cuts usually lead to lower PC prices. But when it comes to AMD computers, the discount is often larger than expected. That's because AMD's distributors and computer dealers often don't pay the company's official wholesale price for chips. Instead, they pay a negotiated price, leading to retail chip prices that are often far lower than the official wholesale price.
"Price is set with negotiations with each customers," said Drew Prairie, an AMD representative. "If they buy more than 1,000 units, they can negotiate price individually."
Excess processor supply can also lead to deeper cuts in the AMD system, sources have said.
Rob Guella, president of RB Computing in Nepean, Ontario, for example, pointed out that his company plans to sell the 1.2GHz Athlon for the equivalent of $245, or $50 below the official wholesale price.
"AMD is getting pretty popular up north," Guella said, in part because of the price.
With the hidden discounts, the discrepancy between AMD and Intel chip prices can get substantial. Computer dealers are offering the 1GHz Athlon for $167 to $175, while the 1GHz Pentium III sells for $250 to $260. An 800MHz Intel Celeron at retail can be found for around $120, while the equivalent AMD Duron starts in the $60 range.
In contrast to AMD's methods, Intel sells its chips at prices that derive from a formula correlating to volume purchases. Big customers get larger discounts, but the discount is related to how much the customer buys, not the tenor of negotiations. The more formal approach comes as a result of Intel's large market share and as a way to avoid potential antitrust issues.
Prairie would not comment on the exact release date of the 1.3GHz desktop Athlon or the new mobile chips, but indicated that they both would appear this month.
"We haven't been shy about saying (the 1.3GHz Athlon) is coming this quarter, and it makes sense to align it with a major industry event," he said.
CeBit is the world's largest computer trade show.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Descrambling DVDs just got even easier, thanks to a pair of MIT programmers.
Using only seven lines of Perl code, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz have created the shortest-yet method to remove the thin layer of encryption that is designed to prevent people -- including Linux users -- from watching DVDs without proper authorization.
Their "qrpff" program is a more compact cousin of the DeCSS utility that eight movie studios successfully sued to remove from the website of 2600 Magazine. But unlike DeCSS, qrpff is abbreviated enough for critics of the Motion Picture Association of America to include in, for example, e-mail signature files -- and many already have.
"I think there's some value in demonstrating how simple these things really are and how preposterous it is to try to restrict their distribution," says Winstein, a 19-year-old MIT sophomore computer science major.
Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?
Why is a boxing ring square?
Why is it called lipstick if you can still move your lips after you use it?
Why is it necessary to nail down the lid of a coffin?
Why is what doctors do called "practice"?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the third hand on a watch called a second hand?
[Source: From the Amiga Groups of the Metroplex Commodore Computer Club newsletter, "AmigaMCCC News" March, 2001. MCCC's address is P.O. Box 813, Bedford, Texas 76095. On the web it's http://www.amigamccc.org .]
Computer sales may have dipped industry-wide, but the popularity of Palm handhelds is looking up - two stories up, to be precise. At Macworld Expo 2001 in San Francisco, Palm's booth featured not only a contingent of Palm OS developers and Palm's lineup of devices, but also a two-tiered presentation stage with balconies that inspired at least one attendee to exclaim, "But, soft! what backlight through yonder window breaks?"
Not to be outdone, Palm OS licensee Handspring dazzled attendees with a large main screen and video displays set behind huge mock Visor handhelds. In addition, there was a color Visor which - if it were functional - could have been dubbed the organizer that fits in the back of your pickup truck.
Why so much size for products that fit into your hand? We've seen large booths before - for example, Power Computing's 1996 massive military outpost was a study in brilliant last-minute exterior decorating (after Apple bought NeXT instead of Be, the choice Power Computing had anticipated) as well as being a promotional tool - but this year the spaces occupied by Palm and Handspring were clearly built to accommodate the crush of curious attendees. Standing room only during presentations was the norm, with Handspring's crowds completely blocking a side aisle at times.
Seeing Palm devices in use is now commonplace at Macworld; I was privy to a few spontaneous "pick-up beams," or small knots of people swapping their favorite games and utilities (one new treasure is PicChat, a collaborative drawing program for multiple IR-enabled devices). Of course, folks were also beaming their business cards back and forth; I even created a Zoos Software E-Card with some general information and tips from my Palm Organizers Visual QuickStart Guide.
The large booths held more than eager attendees: both companies featured pods where a number of developers could showcase their Palm-related products.
Talk to the Hand(spring)
Probably the most notable trend on Handspring's side of the floor was the fact that Springboard modules - expansion devices that snap into a slot on the Visor - are actually shipping. A year ago, modules were just a promise. The showcase module was Handspring's VisorPhone, an attachment that turns your Visor into a GSM-compatible cellular phone. Folks who typically carry multiple electronic devices finally have the chance to merge the handheld and phone.
The VisorPhone does everything a cellular phone does, but with a usable interface. Say goodbye to using a numeric keypad to choose letters: just add new phone numbers by writing them in Graffiti. Having an actual interface also means some tasks are much easier. At a Handspring user group breakfast, Handspring CEO Donna Dubinksy demonstrated how to set up a three-way call: call one person, tap his name to put him on hold, call the other person, then tap the 3-Way Call button. All the contacts in your Address Book are available for dialing, and when you receive a call the Caller ID feature searches your records to display the caller's name and number. And of course, you can use your Visor normally while talking to someone when you plug in a hands-free microphone or earphone.
The VisorPhone is also capable of transferring email and accessing the Web, though Handspring isn't emphasizing these features given the data speeds of cellular networks. Handspring did promote SMS text messaging, a quick way to send short text messages to other GSM-enabled phones that becomes a lot easier when you can write messages in Graffiti. Also, since GSM is far more widespread outside the United States (where GSM coverage is unfortunately spotty), Handspring will soon be pushing VisorPhone use around the world. The device costs $300 when you sign up for a calling plan, or $500 without a plan (if you're migrating your existing GSM service).
You Are (Always) Here
Another Palm trend picks up on the ever-shrinking technology of GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers (see "Feeling Lost? An Overview of Global Positioning Systems" in TidBITS-388_). The most promising (though largest) device was GeoDiscovery's $290 Geode Springboard module. It includes two "MultiMedia Card" slots for adding memory to the unit, allowing you to store more map data than will fit in the Visor's memory. As the cost of expansion memory comes down, you could keep chips containing your favorite locations and swap the appropriate one in when you arrive at your destination. A future update to the software will also let you use the cards as regular memory for other Palm data.
Nexian demonstrated its less expensive HandyGPS device, which at $150 provides basic GPS service in a smaller Springboard profile. Magellan was also showing off its forthcoming GPS Companion for Visor.
Wireless Internet Access
Of course, no self-respecting handheld developer in 2001 would fail to have some type of wireless Internet access on display. OmniSky showed off the Springboard version of its wireless device, which feels less bulky than the Palm V modem that's been available for the last year. The OmniSky modem so far seems to be the best wireless method of getting onto the Internet from a Palm, offering decent speed and a slew of Palm applications for accessing email and the Web. (The Palm VII, conversely, only offers features mediated through the Palm.net service.)
Taking a slightly different approach, Palm was demoing its Palm Mobile Internet Kit, a software package that enables any current Palm device to get onto the Internet by connecting through a cellular phone. Be sure to check out Palm's list of supported phones, however, since some phones can set up an infrared connection to the Palm, while others require a separate cable to work. Also on the software front, Palm showcased its recently acquired MultiMail email client.
Talk Back to Me
One surprising trend was the presence of multiple digital voice recorders for Palm devices. LandWare has previously offered the $65 goVox, a recorder whose only connection to the Palm is the fact that it doubles as a screen cover. Targus was showing Digital 5's $100 Total Recall recorder, a Springboard module for Visor that uses the Palm interface to organize and play back your flashes of brilliance. The nice thing about the Total Recall is that you can use it as a recorder when you don't have your Visor handy or are using another Springboard module. Shinei International also showed its My-Vox recorder, which plugs into the Visor's Springboard slot.
Keep Those Pod Bay Doors Open, HAL
Palm is clearly enjoying success in the market, but it's good to see that Palm recognizes where much of that success comes from: outside developers. Palm's presentation pods offered space to established companies like AvantGo and DataViz (showing the professional edition of Documents to Go), but also smaller niche developers. For example, Sunburst has developed Learner Profile to Go, a Palm program that enables teachers to evaluate student progress over time, then generate reports on the desktop based on data collected on the handheld. ImagiWorks had more of their intriguing data acquisition devices on display, such as temperature and water probes that replace traditionally bulkier equipment. These are the types of products that give the Palm world variety and depth, much as the education pavilion and developer areas of the Expo remind us that there's more to the Mac market than image editors and word processors.
Motorola says it's moving full speed ahead with the new PowerPC chip that powers Apple Computer's latest Macintosh desktops.
The new chip, called PowerPC 7450, is the latest offering in Motorola's fourth generation, or G4, of PowerPC processors, and it promises much higher clock speeds and overall performance--if Motorola can meet delivery expectations. Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the new Power Mac models Tuesday at the Macworld Expo.
When it comes to the new chips, "I'm kind of cautious," said Kevin Krewell, senior analyst at Microdesign Resources. "Motorola's ability to deliver in the past has been sort of troublesome."
Motorola's PowerPC troubles erupted in the fall of 1999, when the company was unable to supply 500-MHz PowerPC 7400 chips to Apple because of design glitches. Motorola shipped chips at other promised clock speeds, but the 500-MHz drought lasted until January 2000.
Motorola executives on Wednesday said that the 500-MHz shortage is just a bad memory.
The new chips began production last December, and processors in all four new clock speeds are now shipping, said Brian Wilke, general manager of Motorola's Computing Platform Division.
"When you launch a really successful product, one of the challenges is shipping enough of them fast enough," he said. "I would expect that this launch is no different."
"It's not a case where we're having manufacturing glitches of any kind," said Will Swearingen, communications director for the Computing Platforms Division.
Despite bearing a model number close to that of the PowerPC 7400, the 7450 chip sports a brand-new architecture.
Motorola designed the 7450 chip with higher clock speeds in mind and added a number of tricks to boost overall performance.
The most important design feature is a longer pipeline. By lengthening the pipeline, a structure that prepares instructions to be processed, a chipmaker can boost the processor's clock speed.
The longer pipeline, "really lets us turn up the clock and the performance," Wilke said.
Motorola upped the PowerPC 7450 design to seven pipeline stages from the four used in its PowerPC 7400 chip. As a result, the company got a 233-MHz boost in clock speed, initially, and will likely see more jumps in the future.
The chip saw "a significant increase in clock speed, but more importantly, it's a significant increase in doing real work," Wilke said.
The chip is available in four new clock speeds, ranging from 466 MHz to 733 MHz. Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple is now taking orders on Macintosh desktops with 466-MHz and 533-MHz PowerPC 7450 chips.
While lengthening the pipeline can yield greater clock speed, it can also hurt overall performance, so that the clock speed gains are not in line with actual performance gains. Analysts at Microdesign Resources, which publishes the Microprocessor Report, have taken to calling this the pipeline tax.
"There's certainly some tax in there, but even at this clock frequency, we're running a significantly shorter pipeline than the other desktop guys," Wilke said.
Indeed, the pipeline of Intel's Pentium III is 10 stages. The Pentium 4 doubled to 20 stages but paid the tax, showing only a small improvement on every day applications, with larger improvements coming on some multimedia applications.
"The more stages, the more you can stall your execution. But you can also get it right," said Mike Feibus, principal analyst with Mercury Research in Scottsdale, Ariz. "You can point to (Advanced Micro Device's) Athlon as a source of the inverse. I don't see anyone complaining about Athlon performance."
Meanwhile, Motorola brought the 256KB of Level 2 cache onboard and increased front-side bus speeds to 133 MHz, two measures aimed at increasing data throughput to the processor. Additionally, the company doubled the amount of AltiVec multimedia instructions its four AltiVec engines can process per clock from one to two. The result should be performance increases when it comes to processing multimedia content such as video.
Citing a desire to not set undue expectations among customers, neither Swearingen nor Wilke would comment on future clock speeds for the PowerPC 7450.
However, executives did say the PowerPC 7450 would be succeeded by a new line, code-named Apollo.
Apollo, announced at last fall's Microprocessor Forum, will pair the PowerPC 7450's design with a new manufacturing technology, called silicon on insulator (SOI). SOI works to decrease capacitance or electrical resistance inside a chip by isolating the chip's transistors from their silicon bed.
The resulting effect is greater performance for the same amount of power consumed or much lower power consumption at a lower clock speed.
Apollo chips will hit 1 GHz, the executives said.
With its low power consumption, thanks to SOI, Apollo will also make for a good chip for Motorola's main PowerPC market, embedded devices. But at the same time, it will also make for an excellent PowerBook processor, the executives said.
I have a couple of software recommendations for you lot, for your bag 'o bugs you call a Wintel box.
1) For popup window killing and so much more, I *highly* recommend *Naviscope 8.70*. Boy, it doth rock unto the out, and it beith unto free. Just get it, install it, configure it(easy. peesy) and shut the hell up, wouldja? ;') http://www.naviscope.com
2) For a free firewallin' good time, try *Tiny Personal Firewall". Aptly named, the author(s) took the time to write an easy to use rules-based firewall that is(gasp!) *TINY!* Runs as a service or you can run it as an app, will work on NT/2000 and it rocks. Can't beat the price none, either. Tiny is available at:
On your desktop, click My Computer.
In View, select Toolbars.
Select Standard Buttons and Address Bar.
Select Address bar, then clear Links and Text Labels.
Drag the address bar to the left edge of the window, directly under the menu bar.
Drag the standard-buttons toolbar to the right of the address bar.
This should clean up your Windows Me toolbar mania into the old style, cleaner Windows 95.
Adding the desktop toolbar to your Windows taskbar does two cool things:
Gives you quick access to all desktop icons right from the taskbar. You don't have to minimize all of your open windows just to access your desktop.
Adds start menu-style navigation to My Computer, Recycle Bin, Network Places, and any folders that may be located on your desktop.
How to add the desktop toolbar
Slide the desktop toolbar as far to the right as possible so only the word "Desktop" is visible. It takes up very little space on your taskbar!
Next to the word "Desktop" is a sideways chevron that you can click to expand the desktop toolbar list. Click on the desktop toolbar's chevron to display the list of desktop icons/files.
The best part of this tip: Click on the chevron and mouse up to My Computer. Notice how quick and easy it is to navigate the files on your hard drive from here!
Windows Key Shortcuts
How many times has this happened to you? You have several windows open on your computer, but you need to access a shortcut on your desktop to open another program. You drag the cursor to the top right corner and minimize window after window. You're well on your way to carpal tunnel syndrome.
Try this instead. Press the Windows key (found on your keyboard between CTRL and ALT) and the letter M at the same time. Voila! All windows are minimized and you're looking at your desktop.
You can also press the Windows Key and the letter E at the same time to open Windows Explorer.
The windows key plus the letter R opens the Run dialogue box, allowing you to run programs.
The windows key plus the letter F opens the File Finder.
[Editor's Note: Kevin Hisel notes as an addendum to the Windows - M/minimize all tip: Hit Windows-Shift-M again to put all your windows back to where they were. This can also be done with only a mouse click by going to the "Desktop" icon in the Quick-Launch area of the Start Menu (if you have IE5.0 or better installed). Each click toggles the desktop view.]
Setting up a new PC is scary enough without having to decide what to do with all the bundled software.
New PCs often come with a bundle of programs already installed. Besides Windows, this bundle normally includes a word-processing program, a spreadsheet program, an Internet browser, and a financial program. It may also have bonus programs like card makers and games, cluttering up your PC and stealing precious memory.
Some of these may interest you, but what if you're not sure?
Instead of uninstalling all of the programs you are unfamiliar with, you can file them in a folder called Miscellaneous (or as I call the folder on my computer, "Huh?"). This will reduce clutter in your program menu.
To do this, follow these four steps.
Open Windows Explorer.
Name folder and press enter.
Drag any unfamiliar programs into the new folder.
To drag a folder:
Left-click on the program;
Move the mouse to the new folder and release.
As you become more familiar with your PC, you can integrate some of the unfamiliar programs. If you decide you can't compute without a certain program and need it out of the miscellaneous folder follow these steps.
Open Windows Explorer.
Open the new folder.
Left-click the program and drag it to the appropriate location, such as Programs or Accessories.
Be sure to uninstall the programs you decide not to use. This frees up precious disk on your computer, so you can download the latest version of Quake.
A good rule of thumb for these bundled programs: If you don't miss it, you probably don't need it.
Is your PC slower than molasses? Do most files take forever to open up? If you've answered yes to either of these questions, then your computer could have a case of the fragmented blues.
We recommend a Windows application called Disk Defragmenter to increase performance, reliability, and speed.
The more you use your computer, the more scattered files become as they get rewritten to your hard drive. Disk Defragmenter will optimize your hard drive by efficiently reordering the data. Once started, the utility will run by itself for a few hours, so don't plan to compute during this process.
To run Disk Defragmenter, follow these directions:
Single-click the Start button, mouse-over Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then single-click Disk Defragmenter.
Select the drive you'd like to defragment and hit the Settings button.
On the Disk Defragmenter Settings menu checkmark "Rearrange program files so my programs start faster" and "Check drive for errors." Hit OK to go back to the first screen.
Hit OK to begin the process.
For a graphical representation of how it works, hit the Show Details button.
Come back in a few hours after the process is finished.
If you use your computer often, run Disk Defragmenter every three months.
[Source: The Commo-Hawk Computer User Group newsletter, "The File" February, 2001. CHCUG's address is P.O. Box 2724, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52406-2724.]
Much is made of the Macworld Expos in San Francisco and New York, but Macworld Tokyo 2001 drew roughly twice as many attendees than this year's record-breaking Macworld San Francisco (181,000 vs. 93,000). This was my first time with a digital camera, so I didn't take the Psion Series 3mx with which I usually take notes. I figured I'd rely on brochures and my own pictures to remind me of all I'd seen. This approach didn't work quite as well as I thought, but it wasn't a total disaster, as you can see from the images in the page linked below (Ringo MUG, Tokyo's English- language Macintosh user group, also posted some pictures, along with other information about the show). I've included URLs to products and companies which particularly caught my eye, but note that some of these pages are in Japanese and lack English-language equivalents.
I arrived just after the published opening time, expecting to go straight into the show. It was only later that I re-read the announcements and realized my error. At previous Expos, the general public has been let into the main hall at the same time the keynote speech starts. This gives everyone a chance to either see the speech on the huge screen set up in the center of the hall or get a start on looking at the booths before the crowds arrive - or, of course, do a bit of both. But this time the doors didn't open until after the keynote at 11:30 AM. I could have tried to sneak into the back of the hall where the speech was being held, but that would have meant I'd still need to register afterwards anyway.
Instead I experienced several joys, starting with lining up in front of the ticket counters until 10:30 AM, while being constantly harangued by various young megaphoned gentlemen - YMG - who insisted loudly we have exactly 2,500 yen ready, although the woman who took my money wasn't the least bit irritated at my 10,000-yen note. Next, we lined up in an enclosure in front of the reservation desk until 11:00 AM (and were constantly nagged by more YMG to stand closer together in five lines); then we lined up in more enclosures in front of the doors until 11:30 AM (and were nagged by yet more YMG to scrunch into four lines). Luckily, I'd thought to add a book to my bag, even though I usually try to arrive light in preparation for all the paper I expect to pick up during the show.
It might have been a mistake to bring a list of products to check out, because I treated it like a shopping list. I have a theory that a full wallet sends out a signal which befuddles the owner and screams, "Here comes a sucker!" to every loose item of merchandise within range. That may be why I zigzagged towards the T-Zone booth and bought a far more powerful Sonnet G3 upgrade package than I'd intended, because it was one of only five special packages bundled with the video adapter that I correctly thought might be necessary for our Power Macintosh 7100. And that meant, of course, that I was lugging around a bulky package for the rest of the day. Not smart.
Fortunately the U.S. keyboard that my husband wants for his PowerBook G3 is still too expensive for our budget and I couldn't find any of the other things he wanted, so my wallet's signal faded away, and I was free to enjoy the rest of the show.
I feel a little guilty admitting this, but I find smaller companies exhibiting at Macworld Expo to be far more interesting than the large ones, especially when the smaller companies have created niche markets exploiting areas that Apple has left open. I know big companies contribute the most towards Macworld Tokyo - they pay for the biggest booths and provide reasonably comfortable seating for the Expo-weary. But their flashy, noisy presentations tend to leave me cold.
One of these smaller companies is Id East End, who turned up last year with various keyboards and accessories for PowerBooks, and this year were showing off their Arch 43: it's a keyboard shelf which lets you tuck your keyboard under your monitor (and out of your way) when you're not using it. The Arch 43 isn't like the clunky metal keyboard shelves I've seen before - it's an elegant arch of shaped wood, either blond or dyed a lacquer red, which spans an area large enough to hold a keyboard when it's not in use, and which also sports two indentations on top for the front legs of Apple's Cinema Display monitor and two holders for speakers. It's a sleek piece of furniture that wouldn't be out of place in a living room. [Information on the Arch 43 hadn't been posted to the company's site as of TidBITS's publication time, but there's a picture in Louise's photo collection, above. -Geoff]
I was also intrigued by the Matrox Millennium G400 for Mac, a two-connector video card that enables G4 Cubes to support multiple monitors - a boon since smooth support for multiple displays is one of the biggest productivity advantages of the Macintosh. The second connector can also be used for TV output.
And then there are all the third-party keyboards (including one with dingbats on the keycaps - fun, but probably not very useful). I don't fully understand why Apple Japan provides only JIS keyboards. JIS stands for Japanese Industrial Standards and thus JIS keyboards ought to be ideally suited to this market, but few people seem to enjoy using that horrible layout, judging from the number of companies making alternatives. I have seen some third- party JIS keyboards, but not many. Most alternative keyboards are either U.S. standard, or U.S. standard with combination kana/ASCII keycaps. Eleking was there as usual, selling various kits to convert JIS keyboards into closer approximations of the U.S. keyboard, including a bag of loose keycaps to replace kana-marked ASCII keys with plain ASCII ones.
I'm also fascinated by applications that I would probably never have seen if I hadn't gone to Macworld Tokyo - such as a CCD camera that mounts on top of a microscope to relay the image to a Mac, or CD-R disks small enough to be printed up as information-packed business cards, baseball cards, or wedding commemorations.
For instance, this was the first time I'd seen SoftMac 2000, a Mac emulator for Windows machines, with the demonstrator proudly showing off the smallest "Mac" in the world - a Sony Vaio C1 PictureBook. It's being sold in Japan through Amulet, who had their usual booth with the usual skillful-looking lad doing on- the-spot PowerBook upgrades.
My PDA of choice is a Psion, but the most recent Psions don't interface well with the Mac at the moment, so I'm still using the older 3mx and regretting the lack of Japanese on it. I have bought a Japanized Palm clone, but I haven't got the hang of using it, which means that although I do look at Palm products, my interest is mostly academic.
The cute little MicroPower "super mini portable AC/DC adapter" attracted my attention, together with a backup module for Palm devices called MemorySafe. Those products may have pulled me more towards the Palm, a feeling reinforced by gMovie Maker - but why on Earth would I want to run movies on that tiny screen?
There were also attachments to turn the Palm into a gaming machine, such as the Visor GameFace, a joystick/button combination that fits over the existing buttons. I need to forget about those quickly, which is why I didn't pick up brochures.
Demonstrating a product is a strange job - not one I could manage myself, so I feel sympathy for people who find themselves stuck in it. Some just chat with friends and ignore potential customers, while others pounce on passersby - which scares me off. In between the two extremes are the smooth operators who manage to both attract my attention and draw me in.
My first good demonstrator experience was at the SoftPress Freeway booth. I was looking at the displays and the man asked whether I'm interested in putting up a Web site. My answer was intended as a brush-off: yes, but I'm not going to make things more difficult for myself by learning how to do it all in Japanese. Whereupon he said that Freeway 3.0-J can switch to the original English menus, and sat me down to demonstrate that feature. He then went on to show how easy it is for someone with QuarkXPress experience to set up a master page, and then individual pages. I could feel myself being led on, but it was an enjoyable experience. I'd had vague ideas of maybe cobbling together some sort of Web site for my photos, but I assumed I'd just have to learn how to hand-code the HTML. He's got me thinking it'd be a good idea to invest in a dedicated software package. There are lots of packages out there, of course, but the Freeway rep caught me first.
My next experience was a guy demonstrating a basic CD-label printing package, one of five that have recently been introduced by Hisago - a pack of special paper together with a CD-ROM containing templates that the user can customize with different colours, patterns, and images. He was so enthusiastic he nearly tempted me into buying a couple of the packages there and then, even though my elderly HP printer probably couldn't cope with the glossy paper.
Then there are always the weird encounters. As the Expo progressed, I realised I had taken plenty of pictures of booths, products at booths, demonstrators at booths, and backs of customers at booths, so I went looking for something different - preferably cute. Unfortunately, a little girl punching a foil balloon was moving too fast for my non-flash shutter speeds. Then I saw a torpid dog, lounging on a high-chair at a booth - ideal shutter fodder. So there I was, taking several photos of the dog while the booth personnel made noises to persuade him to look alive. I thanked them and moved on, then looked back and saw the big screen behind them, showing what looked like an array of thumbnail images. They had seen I had a camera and that I was clicking the shutter several times - which surely should've suggested I had a large Compact Flash card in the camera and hence a need to catalog those shots. So why didn't they talk about the product, instead of showing off the dog?
Time to Go
Before leaving, I played with the Titanium PowerBook G4 (which induces minor lust: I like it a great deal, but I don't _need_ it) and had a look at the new Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMacs. They boggled me slightly, since I thought part of the iMac's appeal was the seductive way in which you can't quite see the innards through the semi-transparent casing. So what's the idea of making the casing opaque, and with those patterns?
This year's Macworld Tokyo wasn't a major event for the Macintosh industry, but it wasn't a bad Expo either. It was simply proof that there are many serious Mac users in Japan. There seemed to be a wider range of people attending this year - more older people, suits, and young families. In fact, on my way into the show, I wondered whether I'd come on the wrong day because the crowd looked to be made up of so many everyday people. But in many ways, that range of users is precisely what Apple needs, both here and throughout the world.
[Louise Bremner is a freelance technical translator (Japanese-to-English), based in Tokyo.]
Feb. 15, 2001 - President Jim Lewis began the meeting with our traditional introduction of officers. He then briefed everyone as to what the SIGs would be doing this evening. Next, he lead a discussion of the new meeting room at the ITC in Savoy and we took a vote as to whether to move our meetings permanently to this site. The vote carried for the move.
The floor was then opened up for a Question and Answer Session.
Rich Hall had a question about getting a CDROM burner: "Do I need a Mac specific drive?" Richard Rollins said "No," that "HP makes a nice CD burner that'll replace the drive in your machine." He commented that the HP models 9600i of 9650 are good buys. He suggested looking on Outpost.com or SmalDog.com for the best deal on those drives. Richard said you can get a 12X SCSI burner for about $200. He noted that "You'll need Adaptec's Toast software in order to burn CDs." Other voices said you can get a 2 port USB card from MacSense.com to take advantage of the new USB drives.
Edwin Hadley related a story about the problems he had installing a CD burner, going from an 68 pin to 50 pin SCSI adapter. His drive has 68 pins, while his card is a 50 pin. Edwin said there just wasn't enough room.
Other information that popped up during the discussions was the meaning of AHA. AHA means Adaptec Host Adapter. A good source of information can be found at MacGurus.com . Norton Virus Autoscan, version 6 and 7 cause problems when burning CDs. McAfee on the PC causes problems too.
Kevin Hisel reported that he had finally gotten his first virus in 21 years - the MTX virus. It was quickly dispatched, but he felt "so violated."
Discussion turned to memory. Crucial Peripherals is a real good source of memory. It has a lifetime warranty. RamJet is a good source locally.
Kevin Hisel reported the trouble he and about the whole Mid West has been having with @Home's mail service. The problem has been linked to a DHCP failure. The Server serving all of Illinois went down. Kevin recommended getting a Hotmail account. He said, "Don't even use @Home's mail service". Kevin said he had to work his way all the way to the TCI.com web page to get any useful help.
Jim Lewis noted that PrairieInet is improving. They have added bandwidth, but their bandwidth is unreliable. Someone noted that Quest, who provides the pipe for PrairieInet, has 5 or 6 hops within their own network, which is totally unacceptable.
In answer to a question from Kevin Hisel, it was found that nobody in our group is running a DSL.
Kevin Hopkins brought up the topic of Napster. Many of the "active" members mentioned Napigator. It was said that there's a million Napster replacements, just no single clearing house now.
Someone reported that Microsoft is unveiling of Windows XP, a new replacement for the commercial Windows ME. It's based on NT.
This evening's Mac SIG was attended by ten members. (The PC SIG had seven in their group.)
Jack Melby brought up X Windows on his G4 running OSX. This was a development that actually got Harold Ravlin, our resident Unix maven, up out of his seat to investigate. But, due to compiler problems, Jack and Charlie were unable to come up with any applications to run on X Windows. So, the demonstration was somewhat stillborn.
Jack showed the key combination of Command Option A that switches back to the Mac OSX screen.
In the discussions that followed. Harold said if you run X, you need to turn on some minimum security. Xhost was mentioned.
Also mentioned was that X Windows lets you use some real good software - Unix software - that has been improved and proven over many years. One such program is GIMP, the free Photoshop clone.
Later, Jack showed Linux running on VirtualPC 4.0. He said he has been able to run Windows 95, Windows 98 and Linux all at the same time, but then, he does have 768 MB of RAM on his machine.
When asked about some of the requirements of upgrading to OSX, Jack said OS X with OS 9.1 for Classic mode wants 1.5 GB of hard drive storage space.
Returning to Unix topics, FSCK, the Unix file system checker was discussed. Harold talked about directory information being in memory. For recovery efforts, he said don't turn the machine off, the file system on disk is not up-to-date.
Feb. 20, 2001 - The February meeting of the CUCUG executive board took place on Tuesday, February 20, 2001, at 7PM, at Kevin Hisel's house. (For anyone wishing to attend - which is encouraged, by the way - the address and phone number are both in the book). Present at the meeting were: Jim Lewis, Dave Witt, Emil Cobb, Rich Hall, Richard Rollins, Kevin Hopkins, and Kevin Hisel.
Jim Lewis: Jim stated that they had an interesting meeting on the PC side this last time. There had been lots of questions. Jim noted that they had an "advanced" crowd.
Dave Witt: Dave said he had been surprised by the advanced system features that Jim had shown, many of which he is now using. He also said he loved the T1 connection that the new room provides. A discussion of T1 followed.
Emil Cobb: Emil reported that 17 people attended the last meeting. Emil expre4ssed his dissatisfaction with the Lobby as a meeting site, as it was cold and the Mac SIG experienced several interruptions from other tenants in the building passing through.
Emil asked when the next Social was to be held. The whole concept of Social meetings was discussed.
Rich Hall: Treasurer Hall said he had nothing to report. There were no membership renewals this month.
Rich said he was a little disappointed in the Mac demonstration this month since it turned into more of as discussion than an actual demonstration.
Richard Rollins: Richard said he he really appreciated the information provided by Jim Lewis and Kevin Hisel at the last meeting. He especially liked NotePad and TextPad. Kevin Hisel reiterated that TextPad is the best editor on the PC, calling it "The Filter" for it's ability to handle just about any kind of text. Kevin said the only thing it lacks is editable macros. DME on the Amiga still reigns in that department, but TextPad is very good. Information on TextPad can be found at http://www.textpad.com/ .
Richard then delivered the results of his research into purchasing a new Mac for the club. He stated that our current Mac 8600/200 is worth between $731 and $893 with an average price of about $812. A barebones 8600/200 goes for about $520. The machine is still very desirable because it is video ready and has lots of expandability.
Currently, the G4/400 Mhz with 64 MB of RAM he is looking at goes for around $1279 to $1299, although a refurb can be had for about $1099. The machine he would recommend has a 20 GB hard drive, NIC, a 56K modem, plus 128 MB of additional memory.
The membership will be asked to vote on approving the purchase.
The Board debated how best to dispose of the 8600. It was thought that it should be offered first to club members for somewhere around $600, as a benefit of club membership. Then, if there are no takers, offer it to outside interests for $800.
Moving on, Richard said he'd like to do a Palm demo. He'd also like to see a demo of VNC. Richard could do a demo of the Palm emulator for a combined meeting.
Kevin Hopkins: Kevin delivered the membership database update. Kevin reported that current membership stands at 32. Kevin will give Kevin Hisel a list of local members that didn't renew their membership this year.
Kevin stated that he too found the Mac SIG meeting disappointing. He then addressed the problems of the Lobby as a meeting site. Seating was cramped. The temperature was cold. There was noise distractions from a train going by outside to the phone ringing at the receptionist's desk. Lastly, there were interruptions from other tenants in the building passing through our area. They were polite, but they were still there.
There was a discussion about getting wire and an Ethernet hub so that an Internet connect could be available for the Lobby group. Jim Lewis said he would deal with this.
Kevin bought up the desire to publish a phone number that anyone wanting to contact someone at our meeting could use in case of an emergency. This was discouraged, as many members there already have cell phones. Other arrangements could be made. This prompted a discussion of wireless phones.
Kevin Hisel: Kevin said that the experience of the Mac SIG at the last meeting had been expected. However, this points up the need to emphasize combined meeting topics. We should explore split demos on similar subjects, say, first the PC slant then the Mac slant of the same issue - so that no one has to leave the main meeting room. We should concentrate on using the main room and plan out our meetings seasonally if we must use the Lobby. With that in mind, Kevin suggested that we do a "Bring your favorite web sites" for the next meeting. The Board agreed that this would be a good idea for March.
Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Illinois Technology Center. The Center is located at 7101 Tomaras Ave in Savoy. To get to the Illinois Technology Center from Champaign or Urbana, take Neil Street (Rt 45) south. Setting the trip meter in your car to zero at the McDonalds on the corner of Kirby/Florida and Neil in Champaign, you only go 2.4 miles south. Windsor will be at the one mile mark. Curtis will be at the two mile mark. Go past the Paradise Inn/Best Western motel to the next street, Tomaras Ave. on the west (right) side. Tomaras is at the 2.4 mile mark. Turn west (right) on Tomaras Ave. The parking lot entrance is immediately on the south (left) side of Tomaras Ave. Enter the building by the front door under the three flags facing Rt 45. A map can be found on the CUCUG website at http://www.cucug.org/meeting.html . The Illinois Technology Center is also on the web at www.IL-Tech-Ctr.com .
Membership dues for individuals are $20 annually; prorated to $10 at mid year.
Our monthly newsletter, the Status Register, is delivered by email. All recent editions are available on our WWW site. To initiate a user group exchange, just send us your newsletter or contact our editor via email. As a matter of CUCUG policy, an exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.
For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):
President/WinSIG: Jim Lewis 359-1342 email@example.com Vice-President: Emil Cobb 398-0149 firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary/Editor: Kevin Hopkins 356-5026 email@example.com Treasurer: Richard Hall 344-8687 firstname.lastname@example.org Corporate Agent: Jim Lewis 359-1342 email@example.com Board Advisor: Richard Rollins 469-2616 Webmaster: Kevin Hisel 406-948-1999 Mac SIG Co-Chair: John Melby 352-3638 firstname.lastname@example.org Mac SIG Co-Chair: Charles Melby-Thompson 352-3638 email@example.com
Surf our web site at http://www.cucug.org/