Tips for the average person
about his computer, software, and the internet.


Ray's Computer Tips
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Published by
Super Win Software, Inc.
May 2006 - Issue #11
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Software Tip - The Earth at your Fingertips

        How would you like to go anywhere you want on earth? Now with Google Earth you can do exactly that without leaving your computer.
        See instructions at the end of this article for downloading Google Earth.
        Google Earth is a program which shows satellite images of the world and information to go with it on your computer. It starts out with a picture of the Earth. Drag it around until the location you want is in the middle of the screen. Right click and drag down or push up on the zoom switch (on the lower panel) to zoom in closer. As you move and zoom, the program will automatically get the images that you need from the internet (so if the image is blurry, wait and it may clear up when the image is loaded). In some locations you can see houses in others you can just see burry spots (half of my block is one blurry spot). These are not necessarily up-to-date images.
        The bottom panel gives you quick access. Click on any of the checkboxes on the lower panel to add in places of lodging, roads, terrain, dining locations, borders, and buildings. It also has navigation controls, like rotate left and move up, down, left, or right.
        An impressive tool, unless you are somewhere flat like Kansas, is the tilt control. This turns the picture on its side so that you no longer are looking at it from straight overhead but instead from an angle or from the ground. You can actually see the individual mountains and valleys of an area.
        As you delve further into its features, you find out that it is much more than a play toy. On the Fly To tab of the left panel, you can enter longitudinal and latitudinal settings and it will take you to that part of the world. Under this is a Places list where you can save your favorite places and later go to them with a click of the mouse and a Layers list which allows you to add items like, map features, popular places, and statistics to the image.
        On the Local Search tab you can enter a word that you want to search for in the area shown, like pizza, and it will show those items. Yes, I did enter pizza and found that it listed everywhere where pizza is sold in our small town, including the local convenience store.
        On the Directions tab you can enter where you want to start and where you want to end, and Google Earth will give you directions on how to get there.
        Google Earth is free. To get it, go to http://earth.google.com/download-earth.html and click on the Download Google Earth button. When you run out of places to visit in Google Earth, go to their website (at http://earth.google.com) and you can download lists of places to go.
        Have fun traveling the world!


Website of Interest - This is Broken

        Every month Popular Science has a picture of a computer or internet message that just is not right. For example, it shows a picture of the Microsoft Word spell checker that shows "well-being" marked as wrong and suggests "well being" to be used, but also shows "well being" marked as wrong and suggests "well-being" to be used. Popular Science gets these pictures from the This is Broken website.
        The This is Broken website (at www.thisisbroken.com) bills itself as "A project to make businesses more aware of their customer experience, and how to fix it." The top links tell about the author Mark Hurst and his GEL (Good Experience Live) conference. On the left side are ads. But if you exempt those things, this website is really a gathering place of reports on broken things which are often amusing.
        The most recent reports are shown on the front page. Each report has a picture, a short explanation, and links to the topic and to the full report with comments. The comments consist of usually comical remarks and votes as to whether the reported item is actually broken or not broken.
        If you scroll down on the left side below the ads, you will find topic links and monthly issues. At the top you can subscribe to their newsletter and RSS Feed.
        The ironic thing is that while I was at this website I found something that was broken. I clicked on a video clip. A window popped up to display the video and an error also popped up which said, "Click to run an ActiveX control on this webpage". I clicked on the icon...Nothing. I clicked on the message...Nothing. What do I click on? Finally, I clicked on the OK button and the video started. Actually, I was not really confused about what to click on even though the message did not say to click on the OK button. But another problem with the message is that it did not have any other button, just an OK button. If I click on the X in the upper right corner of the message, the video still starts, so what exactly is the purpose of the message anyway? Surely, that is broken.
        Go ahead and check out the This is Broken website. Who knows what you will find.


Computer Parts - CD/DVD Drives - Part 3

        It has taken three articles on CDs and DVDs to finally get to talking about the drives themselves. That tray that you may be using as a cup holder (you really should not do that) is part of either a CD or DVD/CD drive.
        If you have a DVD/CD drive (which most DVD drives are), both CDs and DVDs can be used in it. But if you only have a CD drive, even though DVDs are the same size and will fit in the drive, DVDs will not work in it.
        To use the drive, press the button on the front of the drive to eject the tray. Insert the disc so that it lines up with the indent in the tray, and either push the tray back in or press the button again. Each of these closing methods can be used. Contrary to a common misconception, giving the tray a push to begin the retracting process does not damage the drive.
        There are two basic types of CD/DVD drives: players and recorders. Readers are called CD-ROM and DVD-ROM drives (notice the letters, ROM). They only play the disc. They cannot record to it. Recorders, on the other hand, can both play and record. Recorders are called burners, CD-RW and DVD-RW drives (notice the letters, RW), DVD Rewritable drives, and CD and DVD writers.
        The speed of CD/DVD drives are specified with a number and the letter x. For CD drives 1x is the rate that a music CD goes at when it is playing music (150 kilobytes per second). 8x is eight times faster than 1x. The faster the drive is, the quicker your computer will access the data on the disc. DVD speeds are not the same as CD speeds. They are faster. 1x on a DVD drive is 1.32 megabytes per second compared to 1x on a CD drive which is 150 kilobytes (more than 10 times slower).
        Player drives have only one speed rating (which is the speed for read-only operations). Burner drives have three: one speed for write-once operations, one for re-write operations, and one for read-only operations. They are usually listed in that order. So a 12x 10x 32x CD drive can write to CD-R disks at 12x speed (1.76 megabytes/s), write to CD-RW discs at 10x speed (1.46 megabytes/s), and read from CD discs at 32x speed (4.69 megabytes/s). When you buy a drive and only one speed is listed, that is a good indicator that the drive is not a burner.
        There is a lot more to know about CDs, DVDs, and their drives, but I don't want to bore you. The content provided in these three articles is enough to help you understand them and to give you an edge the next time your grandson starts talking about computers.


Tech Tip - The Prt Scr Key

        You may have seen this key on your keyboard. Since I don't use it that often, I never remember exactly where it is. So when I want to use it, I usually have to put my reading glasses on and hunt for it. It is located near the right end of the top row of keys on your keyboard. On my keyboard it is above the Insert key.
        Though seldom used, it can come in handy if you know how to use it.
        Prt Scr stands for Print Screen. When you press this button (Compaq computers may require also holding down on the Fn key), it doesn't seem to do anything, but it does. In the olden days it printed the screen out on the printer. Today it puts a copy of your screen in Windows' clipboard. If you open Paint (you can find Paint on the Start menu, under All Programs then under Accessories), go to the Edit menu and select Paste, an image exactly resembling your screen is put in Paint. Why don't you try it right now and see what it does?
        In Paint or any other graphics editor you can crop, resize, and edit the picture. Then you can save it to a file.
        Here is an extra little tip: if you hold down on the Alt key as you press the Prt Scr button, it will only capture the active window instead of capturing the entire screen.
        Most keyboards also have Sysrq on the Prt Scr key. In the olden days this stopped run-away programs in DOS. Today, in most cases, it does nothing.
        If you put your mind to it, you can come up with some good ways to use Prt Scr. I used it to get the pictures of our programs which are on our website. Some people use it to report problems in my programs (I would rather that you write a good explanation, but sometimes a picture helps). Though it can be illegal, some people use it to get pictures from the internet. It is also a quick way to transfer pictures to a file.
        Prt Scr is not a key that will get worn down from over-use, but it is a good key to know about.


eScams - Yahoo Service

        Yahoo has some wonderful free services, but I would like to give you one bit of advice when it comes to Yahoo: Don't purchase anything from them.
        I purchased a domain from them. Because it was so cheap, I bought 5 years of it. I saw the warning during purchase that they do not give refunds, but I didn't think anything of it. I have had domains with many other companies for many years and have never had a problem, so I was sure that I would not have a problem with Yahoo. I was wrong.
        Six months into the five year period, Yahoo shut my domain down and also shut down my ID. I had received a couple of emails from Yahoo but they looked so much like spam emails, that I thought that was what they were. When I received them I went to my Yahoo account to see if it listed any problems. It didn't. Then one day the domain and Yahoo account quit working.
        When this happened I learned firsthand about Yahoo's Service. What a nightmare! Yahoo does not give out their phone numbers or email addresses on their website. There is just a Help section and a place to leave a message. If the Help section said that someone would contact me in 24 hours, it took 48 hours. And if it said 48 hours, it took 4 days.
        When they did send me an email, it was a form email that did not answer my question. We sent emails back and forth for two weeks (it takes at least 24 hours for them to respond each time). Some of my emails they lost, some they forgot and asked for the same information again. Finally, after two weeks, I was told that they could not help me and I was given a telephone number.
        I was excited when I called the number and someone answered. No waiting. But that person could not help me, so I had to be transferred to someone else, and then someone else. After two days of talking on the phone, I found out that my account cannot be reactivated and I am out 4 and a half years of domain service. The last person did file a complaint with the higher ups at Yahoo for me. I have not heard anything since then.
        One of the problems with Yahoo is that no one really knows anything. If you ask them a question that is not in the list of questions that they can answer, they will put you on hold and later come back with an answer that does not answer your question. When that does not work, they transfer you to someone else who knows nothing.
        I have never dealt with a more incompetent support staff (and I have dealt with many).
        Yahoo does well with their support of their free services, but many of their pay services are rather new and they have not developed good support strategies for them. One strategy that they seem to have is that no matter what, do not give the money back. Since the amount of money is not high, people in time give up. The only option I was left with was to sue them but that would have cost me at least a hundred times more than what I had lost.
        They have a very general Terms of Service agreement which is so general that anyone could be accused of breaking them. Everytime I asked what I had done wrong, they gave me the URL address of their Terms of Service leaving me to guess how I had violated them.
        I know that Yahoo does not intend to scam people, but for me (and I assume, for many others) it has turned out to be a scam that took my hard earned money. If you plan to purchase something from Yahoo, BEWARE!


Featured Discussions


Windows XP System Restore not working

Find this on our board at
http://www.regvac.com/forum/m-1137992481/

  • pakkap2 - My "System Restore" isn't working. I'm running Windows XP Home Edition w/SP 2..Anybody got any suggestions?

  • Jogor - Have you been into System Properties/System Restore and cleared the box that says " Turn off System Restore "

  • pakkap2 - Yes, I do have it cleared. What's next?

  • Jogor - Go to Start/Run, type in Services.msc, OK, when that opens scroll down the list to System Restore Service and make sure it it set to Automatic.
            If still no joy have a look at http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/plan/faqsrwxp.mspx maybe you will find some help in the trouble shooting section of that page. You could also try http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/xp_tweaks.htm line 278 left hand side.


    How to change size of browser when opened

    Find this on our board at http://www.regvac.com/forum/m-1141081789/

  • billrobb - When I open up a web page I most often get the image about 2/3 the size of my screen. I can click the upper right corner to enlarge it, but can I ask for the full screen all the time without any further manipulations. Thanks

  • dlwolff0 - If you drag the edges of the page out to full screen, normally it will continue to open at that size.
            There is also a free program that will cause all pages to open full screen. I can't remember where I saw it, but a google search should be able to locate it

  • Ray - I agree with dlwolff0. I think that Internet Explorer remembers the size that it was when it was last closed and opens at that size. So if you resize a Internet Explorer window to full screen and then close it, it should open up at that size.
            I think that whether that works or not depends on how Internet Explorer is opened.
            I thought that that program which causes all programs to open full screen (maximized) was mentioned in a post in this discussion board but I could not find it.

  • Jogor - Do as Mr. Wolf says then hold down the Ctrl key and click on the X in the top right hand corner, then reopen the page.
            You can also go to Start/All Programs, right click on Internet Explorer/Propertied and in the Run window set it to Maximised, Apply/OK

  • sfy4m - The freeware program you are looking for is "IE Maximizer". It can be found here: http://www.jiisoft.com/iemaximizer/download.asp The thing I like about it is that it also works on outlook express windows.


    Clicking mpg file closes Explorer

    Find this on our board at http://www.regvac.com/forum/m-1138631069/

  • rainer - Does anyone know of a fix for Windows Explorer (XP version 5.1, Build 2600, SP2) bug that closes Explorer when selecting an .mpg file? The message is "This program (Windows Explorer) had to be closed due to security reasons"....

  • Ray - I also have the same problem, but I don't remember always having it. Have you tried searching for that error message on http://search.microsoft.com? If you find a solution, please post back on this list with the answer.

  • dlwolff0 - This article in the knowledge base seems to apply to your problem. http://support.microsoft.com/?scid=kb;en-us;878461&spid=1173&sid=global The article deals with HTML files, but the security feature in it seems the same as the one blocking your mpg files.

  • Ray - I tried the knowledge base article that dlwolff0 suggested and it did not work for me. But while I was there I did a search for Data Execution Prevention (which is new feature, "bug", which is causing my problems) and found the following article - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/875352         Data Execution Prevention is new in SP2 and is set up in the boot.ini file after the command, /noexecute=

  • rainer - Same with me. Changing the Registry (like described in dlwolff0's entry) did not help. I guess I'll change them back to the original values. Changing the boot.ini entry (like described in Ray's entry) from "/NoExecute=OptIn" to "/NoExecute=AlwaysOff" did help.
            Thank you, very helpful forum


    RAM Upgrade

    Find this on our board at http://www.regvac.com/forum/m-1140979736/

  • Robspace1 - I have a new custom system with 1 gig of ram and I just noticed that there are no more slots available-there are 2- 500 sticks now being used-I want another gig-where would it go?-are there expansions for ram that would allow another gig to be installed-this is new equipment and I don't want to throw out the ram in there to replace more-any ideas?

  • dlwolff0 - First confirm that your motherboard will support 2 GB of RAM.
            Unfortunately, if you want more you will have to replace the modules you now have with larger ones. As far as I know, there is no way to add more expansion slots without getting a new motherboard.
            The good news is that you could probably sell the old RAM modules to someone else.

  • FWBOPP - Go to Newegg.com or Zipzoomfly.com and look under memory. You are probably using DDR ram with 184 pins. You can purchase a 2 GB pack containing 2 1 GB sticks for about $200. This would be dual channel ram so if your new custom PC has hyperthreading you will get really good responce.
            I build custom PC's and install SOHO networks on a limited basis. My test machine for trying new products has a P4 3.2 Ghz CPU with 2 MB cache and 4 GB DDR400 dual channel ram. I do a lot of digital photo work like converting from RAW to TIFF and this works fast.


    Which first? RegVac or A1Click

    Find this on our board at http://www.regvac.com/forum/m-1141162138/

  • houseplant - I have Reg Vac and A1Cleaner. Does it matter which one I use first? I usually do all my housecleanning (including the computer) at the same time.

  • Ray - It does not matter. I run both at the same time at startup.

  • Citigh - I run A1 Cleaner then Regvac each night during the shutdown process.


    Questions on our Discussion Board

  • cursor jumps
  • I can't send emails in Outlook Express
  • encyclopaedia britannica 2006 and A1Click
  • XP freezing
  • Auto Sign-In & Administrator Problems
  • Getting rid of trial software on New computer
  • getting rid of Norton
  • short path names in EZ File Transplanter
  • Upgrade to USB 2
  • Address bar disappeared in MS Explorer
  • Computer Time Wrong
  • Error loading at startup
  • Error Killer
  • Choosing disk file system
  • Unwanted background programs
  • Programs running in background
  • Transition program WANTED!
  • deleting the trash for my email, There is over 2 mi
  • Churning at startup



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    Thanks for reading,
    Ray Geide


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