[ Home ] [ Site Map ] [ Site Search ] [ Back to last page ]
Since we're stuck in Atlanta,Ga. looking for a load, I
thought I'd get caught up on my email.
I've learned a new 'puter lesson that I'd like to share with
all of you. First, a little background...I tend to build a
new 'puter roughly every year, and the *old* one gets
rotated to someone else, then their *old* 'puter comes back
to me and becomes "spare parts". Since I have such a
wonderful wife (no, really!) and no house payment, or kids
to feed...I get to buy just about what I want ('puter-wise,
that is!). Which means I tend to buy state-of-the-art (at
the time) high end, good quality parts.
Well, in about the last three months a (IMHO) large number
of my spare parts have either out-right died or else started
to behave very oddly. The list includes two network cards
(dead), a motherboard (probable bad L2 cache), a CD-ROM
(random read errors), and now either a bad secondary
controller on a motherboard or a hard drive (we think it's
the motherboard since the massive read errors don't occur
unless the system is "up" for at least 3-4 days without a
reboot...testing is still in progress).
All these parts are less than 3yrs old with the exception of
the CD-ROM. And a few are less that 14 months old! Due to
the quality of the parts, since they didn't die in the first
90 days, it is reasonable to expect all of them to last
substantially longer then they have! And no, forget
lightning, I've been through that and it doesn't apply here.
The only thing ALL these parts have in common is the fact
that they were used by myself for some time prior to getting
a UPS (battery backup).
(NOTE: We all know what a power surge can do to 'puters,
that's why we use surge protectors. But, did you realize
that a minor power sag (voltage drop) that isn't either low
enough or long enough to shut down the 'puter can ALSO cause
damage? That's where a UPS comes in, anytime your line
voltage drops below a certain point (mine switches at 108
volts) you automatically switch to battery. When the
voltage comes back up it automatically switches back to AC
power. You also get another benefit, during a total power
failure, instead of your 'puter crashing, you'll have some
time to save your work and to do a proper shut down.)
To give you an idea how bad it is at my house, in my 'puter
room alone during the 3 weeks we were home for Christmas, I
replaced 5 light bulbs! (NOTE: The room only uses 4) And
they had all been changed recently before we took our
vacation. No, I don't buy no-name light bulbs either!
The alarms on the UPS' (I have two) go off roughly 3-7 times
So (IMHO) I feel I'm seeing the results of damage caused by
minor power sags! Here's some food for thought...You can
get a good quality (APC) UPS at Best Buy for less than $100
bucks. When you think about what you spent on your 'puter
that's pretty cheap insurance! It will replace your surge
protector as well as "condition" your line voltage. So if
you find yourself replacing light bulbs often, or notice
lights dimming slightly every so often, or happen to notice
electric clocks slowly losing time you should seriously
consider buying a UPS. For more info about UPS' go to
Now, on with the good stuff!
FROM the Web Manor http://www.erols.com/hmmd
Consequences of the "Millennium Bug"
The Top 15 Unforeseen Consequences of the "Millennium Bug"
15> The IRS demands a hundred years of interest from stunned
14> "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall" song gets stuck in
13> At the stroke of midnight, Windows 99 turns back into
DOS 1.0, the Pentium V turns back into an 8088, and the Handsome User
is left holding a beautiful glass mouse.
12> Internet Movie Database now lists "1901: A Space
11> Residents of Indiana have to figure out if they're off
by 999 years, 364 days and 23 hours, or 1000 years and one
10> Bob Dole's age erroneously listed with only 2 digits.
9> Mel Brooks's "2000 year old man" skit stops being
funny....Oops, too late.
8> Sales of Coca Cola jumps drastically after original
cocaine-laden formula becomes legal again.
7> Software engineers point out that since computers think
it's almost 1900, we technically have to "party like it's
1899," which, frankly, doesn't seem like much fun.
6> Microsoft declares the year 1900 to be the new standard
of the "Gatesian" calendar.
5> Jesus shows up late for His second coming, blames it on
4> Computers temporarily fooled into thinking Strom Thurmond
is only 103.
3> First Top 5 List of the year? "Reasons No One Would
Ever Assassinate President McKinley"
2> Using a computerized adoption service, Michael Jackson
mistakenly takes home some octogenarians.
And the Number 1 Unforeseen Consequence of the "Millennium
1> Unexpected demand for COBOL programmers results in severe
understaffing of fast-food restaurants.
Two little kids are in a hospital, lying on stretchers next
to each other, outside the operating room. The first kid leans over and
asks, "What are you in here for?"
The second kid says, "I'm in here to get my tonsils out and
I'm a little nervous."
The first kid says, "You've got nothing to worry about.
I had that done when I was four. They put you to sleep,
and when you wake up they give you lots of Jell-O and ice
cream. It's a breeze!"
The second kid then asks, "What are you here for?"
The first kid says, "A circumcision."
And the second kid says, "Whoa! I had that done when I was
born. I couldn't walk for a year!"
A SHORT HISTORY OF MEDICINE:
"Doctor, I have an ear ache."
2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"
FROM the Win letter www.winmag.com
A friend of mine tells me a depressing story about Apple. He
owns a high-end custom software shop, earned a Ph.D from Columbia,
and has been in the peripherals business himself, so he knows the
ropes. He bought an iMac DV from apple.com, but it arrived with a DVD
drive that ate a disc and simply won't disgorge it. He wants to
send it back and get a replacement.
Sounds reasonable, right? Except Apple won't take it back.
The company is insisting that he bring it to the local CompUSA
(whose techs are on vacation for the next two weeks) for repair. At
this point, he doesn't want the machine fixed, he wants it gone.
But Apple won't take it.
First of all, isn't that illegal? Second of all, isn't that
really dumb customer relations? And third of all, wouldn't most
online vendors act somewhat better?
TAKING THE COLLAR
Gamers are going to love this.
Sennheiser, the German manufacturer of mics and headphones,
has introduced the Surrounder 3-D Sound Collar. This is a gadget
that sits around your neck, with the left and right channels on
either shoulder, the rear channels behind you on either side. It
plugs into a sound card or Dolby Surround decoder, and lists for
The only thing that's missing is a Force Feedback client for
that complete whiplash experience.
FROM the Langalist www.langa.com
In the first issue this year, I talked about how I'd gotten
a ton of mail after I colloquially referred to the last issue of 1999 as
the "last of the millennium." In the Jan 3rd issue (see
00.htm#1) I made the point that the common calendars we use
are all arbitrary anyway, and the nit-picking about "the millennium doesn't
start until 2001" is, well, a little silly.
Although my original use of "millennium" got a lot of mail,
my explanation of calendrical silliness got even more, but from the opposite
camp! Here are two sample letters:
A response to your comments in the LangaLetter
regarding those who claim the millennium doesn't end until 12-31-00. I've
been dying to get this off my chest, and you seem like you might be a
sympathetic ear, judging from your comments.
All those pinhead, know-it-all whiners who claim the
millennium didn't just end don't know what they're talking about!
The word millennium simply means 1000 years, but that 1000-year
period could start or end ANY time. One particular millennium ended
the year I was born, in 1956. It started in 957. So if you REALLY
wanted to get technical, there is no such thing as THE millennium!
Obviously, the millennium that all of us are talking
about is the one that ended in 1999. Evidently, it started in 1000.
The millennium before that ended in 999, and evidently IT
started in 1BC. This is where those pinheads would pitch a fit. But
I'd like to respond to their screaming by calmly pointing out that
nowhere does it say when "the" millennium has to start, so it's up
to us to say.
And "they" might want it to have started in 1 AD, but
there are FAR more of "us" that want it to end in 999, and 1999,
etc., so that the millennium change matches the digital rollover from
1000's to 2000's.... so I say We Win, A New Millennium Just
Started, and Stop Whining!!!!
And as far as I'm concerned, your comments about the
uncertainty of the calendar fit right in here perfectly, too. Thanks
for letting me get that off my chest! --- John Ratzlaff
Loving/Hating Windows 2000
First impressions are lasting ones. Win2K is due out in a
month, and based on late betas, I've already developed a
list of likes and dislikes about the new operating system.
(Maybe you have too.) In this week's column on
InformationWeek Online, I focus on five things I like a lot
about the new OS, and in the next column, I'll tell you the
five things I most dislike.
One of the things I like most is the relative speed and
stability. Merely being fast isn't enough: A system that
runs and crashes at lightning speed is hardly worthwhile.
Likewise, a system isn't very useful if it offers rock-solid
stability but is as sluggish as the proverbial molasses in
winter. But Win2K offers speed *and* stability--- and
that's a welcome combination.
Even in beta, Win2K is noticeably faster than NT, and it
seems significantly faster than Windows 98, too: In fact,
Microsoft claims it's up to 40% faster than Win98. In any
case, Win2K performs admirably on relatively inexpensive
Celeron-class systems with 64MB RAM or more.
As for stability, Win2K has reduced the need for reboots
after system configuration changes, has better protection of
kernel-mode writes, and has a new driver-verification tool
that should help prevent errant third-party drivers from
NT was already more stable than its Win9x cousins; Win2K ups
the ante and looks as if it just may be the most stable
But what's your take? What are the things you most like
about the new OS?
What are the most-welcome (or most-needed!) improvements
over NT4 and Win9x? Come check out the rest of the column,
and then voice your likes and dislikes about the new OS---
in the discussion area.
Click to http://www.informationweek.com/langaletter !
Speaking Of Hackers...
Reader Ian Sorensen used a port monitor and saw someone
trying to hack into his system. He asked:
Can you please advise where I can find out the owner of an
IP address and where I can report a possible hack into my
The answer to the first question is to use a "whois" site;
the one I usually go to is http://www.allwhois.com/ .
"Whois" is a command that tells you "Who Is" behind a web
site or registered IP address. If you get spammed, or are
hacked, or have trouble with a site, you can use a whois
lookup to see where the spam or hacker came from, or to
track down a contact for a web site.
Then, you can write either to the listed contact or to any
of several common addresses (such as "webmaster," or
"abuse," or "sales") at the spammer/hacker's ISP or website
to communicate your problem to a human.
The Leap Year Rollover Bug
Just when you thought it was safe for forget about
date-related bugs, along comes the leap year. Yes, this
year's February has 29 days, but no, your software and
hardware may not know that!
There are actually three rules for figuring leap years.
(Most people only know the first or second rule.)
A year is a leap year IF:
1) the year is divisible by 4
2) UNLESS it's also divisible by 100, in which case it is
not a leap year;
3) UNLESS the year is also divisible by 400, in which case
it *is* a leap year.
All this is due to rounding errors caused by the untidy fact
that while the true year is about 365.2422 days long, our
calendars can deal only in whole numbers. The addition of
the extra day every four years makes the calendar year
effectively equal to 365.25 days long, and that helps keep
things in synch.
But 365.25 still isn't 365.2422, and the small residual
difference means we need further fine adjustments. That's
where Rules 2 and 3 came from.
Alas, Rule #3 is not well known, and many programmers used
only Rules 1 and
2 in designing their hardware and software. This led them
to the INCORRECT conclusion that the year 2000 is not a leap
Systems with the leap year bug will fail to recognize
February 29, 2000 as a valid date; they'll roll over from
February 28th to March 1st and thereafter permanently will
be off by a day. (Even if you reset the clock to the
correct date, the day of the week will be incorrect.)
Most Y2K fixes included a fix for the leap-year bug, so if
you got through Y2K all right, you're probably OK for the
leap year bug.
But why guess? It's easy to check on your own: Just use the
procedures detailed in
http://www.winmag.com/library/1999/0101/fea0061.htm but use
Feb 28th as the critical date, instead of Dec 31. If your
system is OK, you'll roll over to Feb 29th with no problem.
There are other problem dates coming up too: See
http://www.winmag.com/library/1999/0101/fea0061k.htm for a
list of some of the biggies.
Just For Grins
Reader Donald.Jewell sends this along: "Why Engineers Don't
Chocolate Chip Cookies Ingredients:
1.) 532.35 cm3 gluten
2.) 4.9 cm3 NaHCO3
3.) 4.9 cm3 refined halite
4.) 236 cm3 partially hydrogenated tallow triglyceride
5.) 177.45 cm3 crystalline C12H22O11
6.) 177.45 cm3 unrefined C12H22O11
7.) 4.9 cm3 methyl ether of protocatechuic aldehyde
8.) Two calcium carbonate-encapsulated avian albumen-coated
9.) 473.2 cm3 theobroma cacao 10.) 236 cm3 de-encapsulated
legume meats (sieve size #10)
To a 2-L jacketed round reactor vessel (reactor #1) with an
overall heat transfer coefficient of about 100 Btu/F-ft2-hr,
add ingredients one, two and three with constant agitation.
In a second 2-L reactor vessel with a radial flow impeller
operating at 100 rpm, add ingredients four, five, six, and
seven until the mixture is homogenous.
To reactor #2, add ingredient eight, followed by three equal
volumes of the homogenous mixture in reactor #1.
Additionally, add ingredient nine and ten slowly, with
constant agitation. Care must be taken at this point in the
reaction to control any temperature rise that may be the
result of an exothermic reaction.
Using a screw extrude attached to a #4 nodulizer, place the
mixture piece-meal on a 316SS sheet (300 x 600 mm).
Heat in a 460K oven for a period of time that is in
agreement with Frank &Johnston's first order rate expression
(see JACOS, 21, 55), or until golden brown.
Once the reaction is complete, place the sheet on a 25C
heat- transfer table, allowing the product to come to
WARNING! The "Upgrade of Death"
Long-time readers may remember my first experience with AOL
5.0 (when I tried to upgrade a system from AOL 4 to AOL 5).
I'll spare you the details, but after trying every trick I
knew to get the system working properly after the upgrade,
the punchline was "Format C:\"
I wrote about my unhappy experiences in this newsletter (see
was amazed at the flood of mail I got in reply from readers
whose experiences were as bad--
-or even worse!--- than mine.( See
With all that, I decided simply to try avoiding AOL, but
it's a marketing behemoth that just won't quit. Day after
day, readers would write to me or to the WinMag staff
complaining about AOL5.0. Then, last week, with the
announcement of AOL taking over Time Warner and becoming the
largest online/content source on the planet, it became clear
I needed a closer look:
Because I knew from reader mail and from painful personal
experience that upgrading from 4.0 to 5.0 often brought
major trouble, I decided to try a clean install of AOL 5.0.
It was eye-opening. In all, I found AOL had added or
altered 229 files on my system, including over 4.5MB of
Windows system files! It significantly (and unnecessarily)
altered my networking setup. It even diddled with Power
Management settings in my Registry!
I'll detail everything--- including what files were altered,
how you can tell what files and settings AOL altered on your
machine, which kinds of users and systems AOL is good for,
and which it's really bad for--- in this week's column on
the WinMag.Com site. (The full column is far too detailed
to present in an email, such as this newsletter.)
In the end, I did get AOL installed and running. If you're
even thinking about using AOL5.0, please check out the
column first: It may save you a ton of headaches.
If you're already using AOL5, then the column will help you
determine exactly what the software already did to your
FROM the Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com
TClockEx v 1.3.3 [136k] W9x/NT FREE
I admit it... I wanted to look at this program a few weeks
ago, but didn't get around to it. I assumed it was another
"silly" clock program--but I couldn't have been MORE wrong!
This is exactly what Microsoft should have done with their
System Tray clock! You can configure what data shows up in
the Tray (and ToolTip) as well as how it appears: day,
month, year, minute, second, week, time zone... even display
basic system resources. Everything imaginable is
configurable to your liking. I can't think of any reason you
wouldn't want to use this. Two o'clock thumbs up!
Microsoft Windows 98 Update Downloads
Enough people complained to Microsoft about not being able
to save the WindowsUpdate downloads to disk for installation
at a later time. This page should be bookmarked so that
every time you reinstall Windows 98, you don't have to keep
heading back to the WindowsUpdate site for system patches.
It even includes the Zero Administration Kit for Windows 98!
Message Manager Lite v1.04 [156k] W9x FREE
Ever run into a dialog box that made you laugh? What about
one that almost made you pee your pants? Well, you haven't
lived until you've created your own dialog box to elicit
such responses. And now you can with this amazing little
gizmo (although the program actually has no representative
icon). You can use this for graphics on your web pages...
giving visitors the idea that they're actually running into
a real choice (and you could IMAGEMAP the buttons). Or, set
it up to run on your friend's computer on Startup. It's
quite configurable, and so much fun!
Description of the Windows 95 and Windows 98 Setup Switches
"This article describes switches you can use with the Setup
program in Windows 95 and Windows 98. Note that some of the
switches can be used with both Windows 95 and Windows 98,
and some can be used only with Windows 98." This appears to
be the mother of all listings, gang.
InfoRapid Search & Replace v3.0c [752k] W9x/NT FREE
Unearthed by Terry McMillan
Seek, and ye shall find. Find, and ye shall be pleasantly
surprised. The Windows Find applet performs basic search
functions, but it could be built a bit better. InfoRapid
steps up to the plate and allows you to search AND replace
terms not only in ASCII documents (TXT, HTML, etc.), but
binary files as well (XLS, DOC, etc.). Sure, you could
always do these operations by hand, but these results will
appear in a straightforward list, with hypertextual links
and highlighted entries. Plus, the interface is familiar.
FROM Microsoft www.microsoft.com
Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer
"The Windows 2000 Readiness Analyzer tool analyzes your
system and reports potentially incompatible hardware devices
and software applications. The tool matches the devices and
applications on your system against a list of known
problems. This check also occurs during Windows 2000 Setup,
but you can download and run the tool before you install
Windows 2000 to help ensure your installation will be
successful. The Readiness Analyzer will display a list of
your hardware and software that it detects may present
Windows 2000 compatibility issues. You can save or print
this report for your reference."
Error Message: Hardware Error. DriHwp32.dll Not Found or
Winipcfg/Ipconfig Incorrectly Display Adapter DHCP
Documentation Errors in the Network.txt File in Windows 98
Documentation Errors in the Network.txt File in Windows 98
ICS Does Not Route IP Packets with Mismatched Static IP
APM Computer with Battery May Stop Responding During
IDE Controller Is Disabled in Device Manager (Q245682)
Scanning Stops Using NEC Open Host Controller and HP USB
Update for 1394 Storage Peripherals in Windows 98 Second
Computer Hangs When Removing DVD-ROM Drive From Bay
Internet Explorer on the following platforms: Windows 95,
Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0
Internet Explorer for Macintosh May Not Be Displayed as
Wininet: Dates and Times May Show Up Incorrect in FTP
Internet Explorer Help Does Not Work on Terminal Server
Internet Explorer 4.5 Root Certificates to Expire 12/31/99
Map Images May Not Print Properly When Using Internet
Err Msg: Iexplore Caused an Invalid Page Fault in Module...
Error Message "0x8007007a" When Using Task Scheduler
Problem Accessing HTML Files in an Exchange Public Folder
Microsoft Date/Time Picker Control Is Not Initialized
Cannot Run Two Instances of the Same Java Program (Q242167)
Wallet May Not Work with Proxy Requiring Basic
Error Message Attempting to Download .pdf File (Q231296)
GP Fault Error Message When Running JScript (Q216286)
Auto-Proxy Functions Supported by Internet Explorer
Error Message While Installing Year 2000 Resource CD-ROM
"Short Date Style" Setting May Not Maintain 4-Digit Year
Don't Be Alarmed by These Hoaxes
These are the most widely reported hoaxes currently
circulating related to Microsoft products:
US Institute of Y2K Readiness Hoax
Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT Year 2000 E-mail Hoax
Y2K Virus "Y2Kcount.exe" Market Bulletin
Save Your Microsoft Word Documents to the Web - Fast
Learn how to turn your Word documents into Web pages for an
intranet site, or place them on the Internet free of charge,
with this step-by-step guide.
Need Help but Don't Know What to Ask? Then Ask Maxwell
This new online question-and-answer service helps you find
technical support information by asking questions in "plain
English." Once you have submitted your question (for
example, "How do I install programs on Windows 98?"),
Maxwell compares your questions to an existing knowledge
base of questions and answers. He then returns with a list
of questions that most closely resemble your original
inquiry. You simply click on the best match and Maxwell
guides you to your answer.
The Web Site of Bill Gates
Learn about Microsoft's CEO and Chairman.
Bill Gates steps down as CEO
In a surprise move, Bill Gates announced this week that he
will be stepping down as Microsoft's CEO. Steve Ballmer will
assume the role as CEO, while Bill Gates himself will focus
on "technologies for the future" and added the new title of
chief software architect.
Many believe this to be a preemptive strike at the US
government which is seriously considering a breakup of
Microsoft. It has been the view of many observers that Bill
Gates' ego played a big part in the failure so far to come
to a settlement.
That's it folks! Till next time....
Peter Crockett - webmaster
>From somewhere on the road...
[ Home ] [ Site Map ] [ Site Search ] [ Back to last page ]