PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 30

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Hello everybody!

Well since I restructured the whole website it's been very quiet.  I'm afraid that a lot of the people that come to PuterGeek.Com via a web search get frustrated by my "404" page, even though it WILL give links to the new page some people bail instead of clicking on the link.  It feels rather weird...email is down and the number of "helpme" emails has dropped tremendously.

So let this be a lesson to all of you with a small "homepage".  It may grow to the point that you find yourself getting lost, and by then it will be a major disruption to reorganize it.

Have you heard of "Real Slide Show"?


Well, it's really a cool FREE program!  You can create slide shows for your website with background music (WAV or MP3) and voice comments to go with the slides.  It's perfect for photos, and I think I'll try a few white papers this way.  Unlike PowerPoint presentations on the web, these slide shows load nicely with a 56K modem.  Please take a look at my first try.  It's on the lighter side...12 of my favorite internet comics.


BTW..I still have some email addresses available, so if you'd like an email address like

yourname@putergeek.com just send me an email for the details.

Now on with the good stuff...

From The Funnies http://www.erols.com/hmmd

What's the most popular pick up line in Arkansas?
Nice tooth.
A husband and wife were having dinner at a very fine restaurant
when this absolutely stunning young woman comes over to their
table, gives the husband a big kiss, tells him she'll see him
later, and walks away.

His wife glares at him and says, "Who was that??!!

"Oh, I'm sorry you saw that." replies the husband,
"That was my mistress."

The wife says, "That's it; I want a divorce."

"I understand," replies her husband, "but remember,
if you get a divorce, there will be no more shopping
trips to Paris, no wintering in the Caribbean, no Infinity
or Lexus in the garage, and no more country club. 
But the decision is yours."

Just then the wife notices a mutual friend entering the
restaurant with a gorgeous woman. 

"Who's that woman with Jim?  " she asks.

"That's his mistress," replies her husband.

"Ours is prettier," says the wife.

And finally, on a more serious note...

Things Are Not Always Black or White

When I was in elementary school, I got into a major argument with
a boy in my class.  I have forgotten what the argument was about,
but I have never forgotten the lesson I learned that day.

I was convinced that "I" was right and "he" was wrong - and he was
just as convinced that "I" was wrong and "he" was right. 
The teacher decided to teach us a very important lesson. 
She brought us up to the front of the class and placed him
on one side of her desk and me on the other.  In the middle
of her desk was a large, round object.  I could clearly see
that it was black.  She asked the boy what color the object was.
"White," he answered.

I couldn't believe he said the object was white, when it was
obviously black!  Another argument started between my classmate
and me, this time about the color of the object.

The teacher told me to go stand where the boy was standing and
told him to come stand where I had been.  We changed places,
and now she asked me what the color of the object was.  I had
to answer, "White." It was an object with two differently colored
sides, and from his viewpoint it was white. 
Only from my side was it black.

My teacher taught me a very important lesson that day:

You must stand in the other person's shoes and look at the situation
through their eyes in order to truly understand their perspective.


From The Langalist www.langa.com

Wow! The First "Shares" Worm/Virus

Talk about lucky timing! If you've followed the four-part security
series that ran on the WinMag site ( see
you can rest easy: You are 100% safe from this particular worm/virus,
and from all the inevitable follow-on hacks that will show up in the

This worm (called W95/Firkin.worm, 911 Share Virus, Bat/911,
Bat/Chode.worm) sniffs the internet for PCs with unprotected "shares".
If it finds one, it loads itself onto the target hard drive. (Note
that the victim doesn't even know this is happening, and does NOT have
to download something, open an email or do anything at all---except
have an unprotected PC!) The next time the PC starts, the Worm does
its thing: It first tries to replicate itself by looking for other PCs
to infect. Then, if it finds a modem, it places a call to "911"
emergency services. It doesn't say anything--- it just places the call-
-- but a call with no voice response usually prompts the 911 operators
to respond by sending the police to the calling address to
investigate. After the bogus 911 call is made, the worm then tries to
erase any hard drives labeled C: through H:. Nasty! (More info? See
http://vil.nai.com/vil/wm98557.asp or http://grc.com/su-911.htm or

But if you've taken the security-enhancing steps I've outlined in the
four-part series mentioned above, DON'T WORRY! This kind of worm CAN'T
harm you. The simple, free steps I told you about COMPLETELY PROTECT
YOU from this kind of problem.

On the other hand, if you blew off that security series because you
thought it couldn't happen to you--- well, maybe you want to think
again. <g> Check out the articles, and make yourself safe, today!

The Evil "Hosts" File Problem

Reader Michael Slaten had a problem that looked like a bad URL:

     Fred, for several months I have been trying to read the
     Winmag columns that you referred to, but I was not able to
     connect to the url. Today, I discovered that while I cannot
     connect to www.winmag.com, I can connect to
     http://winmag.com. Surely I cannot be the only person who
     has had this problem.

And you're not, Michael. Other readers have reported similar problems
with other sites, and even with www.langa.com.

WinMag's Scott Finnie and Jason Levine suggested an answer: Some
internet speed-up software is abusing the "hosts" file in the Windows

The Hosts file is mainly meant to be used on a LAN; it tells your PC
the fixed numeric address of the internal server you need to connect
to. But some less-than-stellar internet speedup software tries to
shave a few fractions of a second off your Internet connections by
placing the numeric IP of external web sites in the Hosts file so your
browser won't have to look up the name and address externally. This
works---as long as the site's numeric IP address never changes.

But IP addresses *do* change--- and they're supposed to be able to.
The Web operates via "dynamic" naming; treating web addresses as
static defeats an important part of the Web's ability to reconfigure

For example, the WinMag site's numeric address changed a few months
ago; Langa.Com's address changed a few weeks ago; BrowserTune.Com and
HotSpots changed even more recently. People with out-of-date addresses
hardwired into their Hosts file can no longer connect to any site
whose address has changed--- the Hosts entry is permanently pointing
them to a dead location! The only way they can connect is by using a
nonstandard form of the address that forces their browser to perform a
normal name lookup; done that way, they connect just fine.

If you have trouble connecting to a site you know should be there, use
NotePad to examine the contents of your Hosts file in the Windows
directory. If you're on a LAN, your system administrator can tell you
if you really need entries in the Hosts file, and what they should be;
delete any others.

And if you're not on a LAN, chances are you don't need the Hosts file
at all. Rename it HOSTSBAK or something similar, reboot, and see what
happens. Chances are, the only thing that will change is that you may
be able to connect to sites that were giving you trouble. But, if it
turns out you do need the Hosts file, just rename it back to Hosts.

(By the way, HOSTS.SAM is a fake sample HOSTS file placed in the
Windows directory by default. It's not involved in any of the
foregoing; you can ignore it.)

The DOJ/Microsoft Ruling

When a judge applies 19th century law to a 21st century problem, it's
not a pretty sight.

Microsoft made mistakes and probably did step over the line of
legality in past years; for that, they deserve legal censure and
punishment.  But I feel the overall ruling was emotional, illogical
and way over the top.

Imagine, a judge referring to how Microsoft's "oppressive" tactics
stifled innovation in the computer industry. How does this jibe with
the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, unparalleled
wealth, all-time stock market highs, record profits, miniscule
unemployment, and lavish governmental budget surpluses, all largely
fueled by the computer industry and its offerings? Gosh, if that's
what an oppressed industry does, maybe all market sectors should be
similarly oppressed.

And who, exactly, were the oppressed ones in the computer industry?
The anti-Microsoft participants such as AOL (now swallowing
Time/Warner and EMI Records to become the largest, richest, most
powerful media company on the planet) and Sun (posting record
profits, and having enjoyed five(!) 2-for-1 stock splits in recent
years?) Gimme a break.

Microsoft deserves to be punished for its wrongdoing, but not for the
insupportable dominance fantasies of its competitors.
Of course, that's just my opinion. For others, see:

So, You Think You Know How To Reinstall Win98?

Just pop in the CD, and go, right?

Wrong! If you've installed a version of Internet Explorer that didn't
come with your original CD, just popping in the CD and starting over
may cause a real mess.

Here's Microsoft's official word on exactly how to reinstall
Windows98 (and Win98SE) in a way that avoids problems with different
browser versions. It might be worth copying this info or bookmarking
the page so you'll have it available when you need it:


ZoneAlarm 2.1.7 Now Available

If you've been reading this newsletter for a while, you know all
about ZoneAlarm a "personal firewall" that not only blocks
unauthorized attempts to hack into your PC from the Internet, but
also can alert you to, and block the actions of "phone home" apps
that surreptitiously try to send data from your PC to some other site
without your knowledge or consent.

It's not perfect, but it's the best personal firewall I've found,
especially because a personal use copy costs exactly $0.00! (Business
use costs $20 per copy---still cheap.)

For more info, use the search function at www.langa.com and look for

Or, just click over to http://www.zonelabs.com and grab yourself a

Just For Grins

"Stinkycheese" (http://www.stinkycheese.com/) is back:

     Signs Your Co-Worker Is A Hacker:

     -Everyone who ticks him or her off gets a $26,000 phone

     -Has won the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes three
     years running.

     -When asked for their phone number, they give it in hex.

     -Seems strangely calm whenever the office LAN goes down.

     -Somehow gets HBO on their PC at work.

     -Mumbled, "Oh, puh-leeeez!" 295 times during the movie "The

     -Massive 401k contribution made in half-cent increments.

     -Their video dating profile lists "public-key encryption"
     among turn-ons.

     -Instead of the "Welcome" voice on AOL, you overhear, "Good
     Morning, Mr./Mrs. President."

     -You hear them murmur, "Let's see you use that VISA card
     now, Professor "I-Don't-Give-A's-In-Computer-Science!

Curing Sloooooooow Restarts

Ever wonder why some PCs start up in what seems like seconds, while
others grind on for minutes before they're ready to use? "Sleep Mode"
and "suspend" features help somewhat, reducing the time from when you
sit down at the keyboard to when you can begin working, but everyone
needs to fully reboot from time to time, and it can be excruciatingly

Some parts of the boot process depend on how the PC and its BIOS (the
"Basic Input/Output System that controls the lowest level of hardware
functionality) work together, as designed by the manufacturer: As
such, some parts of the boot-up are beyond end-user control.

But other parts---including some BIOS functions--- *can* be
controlled, and can make your PC much faster starting. I'll present
some of the most universally applicable Windows 9x speedups in my
WinMag.Com column this week, and I invite you to join the discussion
to share brand- and model-specific tips and tricks to make our PCs
start faster. By the time we're done, we could have quite a
collection of speedup tips!

Here's one small example: Sometimes the fastest way to restart an
already-running PC is simply to bypass completely all the low-level
hardware checking that normally bogs down a restart. And although
this trick has been around forever, amazingly few people know of it.
Here's how it works:

Next time you need to quickly restart Windows (when your PC already
is running) go to the Windows Start button and select Shut
Down/Restart as you normally would. But before you click "OK," press
and hold the *left shift key*; keep the left shift key depressed
until you see the words "Windows is now restarting." This one little
trick alone can shave as much as a couple of minutes off the reboot
time on slower systems!

Click on over to http://www.winmag.com ; the new column should be
posted late in the business day (EST; UT-5) on Monday April 10th,
2000. Join in!

OR...how about a tiny FREEWARE program that you just double-click on to do the same thing?  The zip file is only 27K in size and Norton says the file is virus free.  You're welcome to go to my download/geek_stuff folder on my FTP site to download it.


It's called "restart.zip"

Host File Culprits

Wow! A lot of you were having trouble with your "Hosts" files! (See
http://www.langa.com/newsletters/2000/2000-04-03.htm#5 ) For example,
reader Lynn A. Johnson writes:

     Since last SEPTEMBER 9th, I have been unable to get into
     the sign-in pages for Yahoo and Netscape. I've contacted
     both places for support and the systems administrator at my
     ISP for support in trying to fix this problem and no one
     had any idea as to what the problem was.

     I tried going to all the on-line "HELP" websites and I've
     lost count of how many "experts" that I've asked about this
    and no one could help. I went into newsgroups and told of
     my problem and no one had had the problem themselves. I was
     resigned to just "living" with the problem until..........
     Your Langalist on April 3rd. and the article #5 - "The Evil
     'hosts' problem."

     I decided to just give your suggestion a try (never
     expecting for it to work in MY case) and went to the
     C:\windows000\hosts file and renamed it hosts_bak and

     My first stop was Netscape to see if I could access my
     webpage for the first time since September 9th. BINGO!
     First shot and I was in. Next stop - Yahoo. Same thing.
     While I was there I deleted 287 email messages that had
     filled my email box since September 9th. I continued.....C-
     net, www.com, and on and on and on. I could get into all
     the websites that had said (since September 9th: "The
     server is not responding or could be down. Contact the
     systems administrator for details".

     Thank you, Fred. You've solved a problem that's been
     plaguing me since September 9th, 1999.

Glad it helped!

Many other readers wrote in too, and some named names regarding the
software that had diddled with their Hosts file. I have no personal
experience with any of these programs, but the ones readers most
frequently pointed the finger at Modem Booster, Download Accelerator,
Fastcar, and Fastnet.

Your mileage may vary--- but I think it's dumb for any software to
try to treat the dynamic addressing of the Internet as if it's
static. It ain't static, and as we've seen, static Host addresses
often cause nothing but trouble.

From Microsoft www.microsoft.com

Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition
How to Enable Universal Serial Bus (USB) Support (Q258773)

Fourth and Fifth Mouse Buttons Not Recognized by Windows (Q254660)

How to Troubleshoot Windows 98 Second Edition Shutdown Problems (Q238096)
Internet Explorer on the following platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT(r) 4.0
How Can I Check my Internet Connection?

Explanation of User Interface (UI) Skins (Q253739)

How to Clear the History Entries in Internet Explorer (Q157729)

From the Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com

NetClip v1.0 [168k] W9x/2k FREE
Unearthed by Rick Downes


{Remote clipboard viewer} Now that I'm working on a home network, moving files between each computer is easier than it was with the "sneakernet." However, I found it slightly frustrating that I couldn't share a clipboard between all (or certain) machines; thank goodness this gnomie kept his eyes peeled. I'm sure many of you will find this proggie indispensable (as I have). Copy data from point A to point B via point C: a mighty fine point!



{Web-based Linux account} Quick GAWKing; don't be BASHful. Whether you're a MAN or a woman, you can have access to your own Linux account online. Some USR decided that geeks would KILL to have one; he (or she) was correct. In fact, some of us are downright TOUCHed. But WHOAMI to say what you need? Although, you'll probably ECHO my sentiments. ZDIFFerence between this and the traditional command line is negligible. WHATIS you waiting for?

From Woody's Office Watch http://www.wopr.com

  If you're trying to work out what is happening with Office
  2000 Service Release 1 (SR-1), then spare a thought for
  WOW's Editor who has the job of trying to work it all out.
  There's a lot more you need to know than what's on the
  Microsoft web site - promised changes haven't appeared as
  we write this.

  Just as he thought the job was over, Microsoft is about to
  release an update to SR-1 to fix some of the more glaring
  installation problems.  So it's back to the drawing board
  for Peter - who's holed up in a Denver hotel living on a
  steady diet of Coke and room service until the job is done.
  I've told him that time spent with Office service releases
  is time off in purgatory <g>.

  Given all the problems with past SR's - we decided to be
  patient and unravel all the mess for our readers instead of
  rushing into it.  Some articles on SR-1 elsewhere have been
  wrong or incomplete.  I know you expect more from WOW.

  I hope most of our readers have taken our advice and held
  off getting SR-1 for the moment.  It is worth getting, but
  not rushing into.  If you have tried SR-1 and it installed
  OK then you're OK - as usual it is the installation /
  upgrade part of SR-1 that is the problem.  Peter has some
  interim advice for anyone who has tried SR-1 and is stuck:

  - If you're seeing a message box asking for an 'Office 2000
    SR-1 CD' don't worry, it's a bogus message.  Just insert
    your original Office 2000 CD and it will be accepted.

  - If you have Windows 2000 that was installed over NT4
    workstation then don't try SR-1 yet.  Microsoft belatedly
    found a problem.

  - Sometimes SR-1 installs OK but when you try to start
    Office it shuts down immediately.  There are various
    causes of this, but the most common is the use, at some
    stage, of a pirated copy of Office 2000 (even if your are
    legal now). The solution is to uninstall Office 2000 and
    reinstall a legal copy.

  The WOW special issue on Office 2000 SR-1 will hopefully be
  out later this week - once the dust has settled from the
  latest Microsoft induced collateral damage.

From The Windows Insider www.winmag.com

Netscape 6 Is Here!

Netscape 6 Preview Release 1 is up and ready for your free trial.
I've tested it personally, and I think you'll have good
experience beta testing yourself, if you're so inclined. For one
thing, it installs in its own directory, leaving your existing
Communicator installation untouched, and fully operable. It also
doesn't mess with Internet Explorer. So, go ahead try it. The one
thing to note is that this PR1 release (the first of probably
multiple public betas) lacks an uninstall routine. But just
deleting program directory does the trick. I've noticed no
Registry side-effects, and I've been testing the product for
about a month.

For more about what's in Netscape 6, see my Winmag.com news
story, which went up earlier today:


The best thing about Netscape 6 may just be what it isn't. This
is no longer the bloatware, everything-including-the-kitchen-sink
product that the Netscape 4.x series was. It's far lighter to
download than its predecessors. According to Netscape, the
minimum download size of the new Netscape 6 Navigator is just
5.5MB. If you download everything, including Sun's 7.5MB Java VM
and a bunch of other components you may not need, you're still
under 20MB. Typical download is probably around 10MB. All these
sizes are subject to change in the final version of the product.

--- Downloading Netscape 6 ---
I successfully downloaded and installed Netscape 6 PR1 this
morning. To download it for yourself, visit the Netscape 6
Preview Release 1 site and follow the directions there:


If you have trouble with that page, perhaps because of download
traffic, 32-bit Windows users should click this link:


Then click to download the 214K "NetscapeSetup.exe" file. Once
that's down, double-click it to run the combined download and
installation. Note: Opting not to install Sun Java support will
significantly reduce the download. Choose the Custom option to
make download selections.

NOTE...I have installed it myself with no ill side affects...take

a look if you're interested!--Peter

From the Win Letter www.winmag.com


All of us computer fans worship at the altar of Smaller Faster
Cheaper Better. But sometimes you hear about something that
leaves you gasping at the efficiencies of some parts of this

Canon this week introduced a color ink jet printer, the BJC-2100,
with five page-per-minute monochrome output, and a resolution of
720 x 360 dots per inch. Pretty good specs.

But look at the price: $69 (after a $30 mail-in rebate). You want
a scanner? Snap in the $19 scanning head.

As a friend of mind recently commented while we were standing in
line at Staples, consumables prices are not inconsiderable. But
less than $70 for a color printer that'll run on either the Mac
or Windows? I'm impressed.

Canon BJC2100


One more AOL item.

You probably heard about how dreadful the AOL 5.0 software is. AOL
and Gateway announced here at the show a line of AOL Anywhere
connected appliances: a counter-top appliance with an LCD touchscreen,
a wireless Web pad, and a "desktop appliance" that's larger than the
other two and that looks more like a conventional PC.

No pricing was announced, and availability is expected later this year
or early next year. Oh yes -- they're based on Linux. Maybe AOL's
really serious about this open-source browser stuff.

Best part about this? It means you won't need to load AOL's awful
software on your computer.

VMware Signs on With Microsoft

VMware has decided to deal with the devil by signing an OEM agreement
with Microsoft which allows VMware to include Windows with the
distribution of VMware's software.

From MaximumPC www.maximumpc.com

VMware Signs on With Microsoft

VMware has decided to deal with the devil by signing an OEM agreement
with Microsoft which allows VMware to include Windows with the
distribution of VMware's software.

Complete story:


Recovering Your System

When your system decides to give up the ghost, beforehand preparation is
the key to getting back on track fast. Tech Extreme shows you just how
to do so with a bad ass system recovery method.

Complete story:

. W I N D O W S T I P O F T H E W E E K:
Windows Tip:
Resolve The "Floppy Seek" Annoyance in Windows Explorer

When launching Windows Explorer for the first time after booting Win98,
you are delayed about two or three seconds while Windows searches your
floppy drive looking for a disk. You can change all that quite easily:

*Launch Regedit and drill down to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ Software\
Microsoft\ Windows\ CurrentVersion\ Policies\ Explorer and look for a
DWORD whose value is "NoDriveTypeAutoRun"=dword:00000091.

*If the value is there and you'd like to stop this behavior you can
delete it. However, it is always prudent to back up any value you delete
(or alter) by first saving or exporting it to a REG file.

*To do so, just highlight the DWORD value and then choose the Registry
pull down menu and then click the Export Registry File... item. Type a
name you will remember and save it in an easy to get at place. If you
don't like the results of the modification, you can undo the changes by
simply double clicking the REG file in Windows Explorer. The deleted
DWORD value will be replaced as if never gone.

*This Registry modification should also allow you to disable autorun for

That's it for this one!

Peter Crockett - webmaster
website: http://www.putergeek.com
mailto: webmaster@putergeek.com
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Last Revised: 10/23/2000