PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 31

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Hello everyone,
We're currently in Portland, Oregon looking for a load.

Hopefully in the next few days I'll have some new pages uploaded to
PuterGeek.Com.  These will be in the personal section under a new header
called "Photos".

Since we have a digital camera we'll add photos from the road from time
to time.  Three new pages are almost done...over 100 photos from Idaho
(highway 30) to Oregon (the Blue Mountains aka Cabbage Hill and the
Columbia River Gorge).  The pages will use thumbnails to help the
loading time...and the full images range from 20K to 90K in size.

You're welcome to download any you like but keep in mind that most of
them will be taken from a moving truck, so the quality isn't the

I have gotten a number of emails from new subscribers with negative
comments about the newsletter.  While I always want feedback and
suggestions...flaming is not cool!  I don't want to get on a soapbox
here but some people can't seem to give criticism without also being
rude about it.  Whether it's obvious or not, I do spend a lot of my time
on the website and the newsletter.  No one pays me for it, nor do I
charge anything for it.  My sole reason for ALL of this is to help
people and to learn myself.

As of now, and until further notice...the following is the format of the

Any updates or news about the PuterGeek.Com website.
Any personal news I wish to share.
Any 'puter info I want to share.
Then the bulk of the newsletter will have articles and snippets from all
the newsletters I subscribe to that I feel would be either funny,
useful, and/or interesting to my subscribers.

When I first started doing this it wasn't a "newsletter", it was simply
email I forwarded to people I knew how either didn't have time or didn't
want to take the time to read a bunch of email newsletters to get a few

When I found that I was sending bits and pieces to about 30 people I
decided to save some time by putting all of the stuff I was sending out
into a newsletter format.  Thus the PuterGeek.Com Newsletter was born.

So as you can see this is NOT a newsletter like the Langlist or
Lockergnome, rather it is simply a condensed newsletter of what I find
via the web and email I receive that I think will be of interest to

So for those of you who find that this isn't what you were looking for
when you signed up please feel free to UN-subscribe by either sending an
email to webmaster@putergeek.com telling me so or point your web browser
too www.putergeek.com/res/newsletter/newsletter.htm and fill out the
UN-subscribe form.

When Amy and I finally get off the road (in about 2yrs) I do plan to
expand both the newsletter and the website quite a bit.  But at this
point... what you see is what you get...

Now on with the good stuff...

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

The lost Dr. Seuss Book: I Love My Job.

I love my job, I love the pay.
I love it more and more each day.
I love my boss; he is the best.
I love his boss and all the rest.

I love my office and its location.
I hate to have to go on vacation.
I love my furniture, drab and gray,
and the paper that piles up every day.

I love my chair in my padded cell.
There's nothing else I love so well.
I love to work among my peers.
I love their leers and jeers and sneers.

I love my computer and its software;
I hug it often though it don't care.
I love each program and every file,
I try to understand once in a while.

I'm happy to be here, I am, I am;
I'm the happiest slave of my Uncle Sam.
I love this work; I love these chores.
I love the meetings with deadly bores.

I love my job -- I'll say it again.
I even love these friendly men,
these men who've come to visit today
In lovely white coats to take me away.
And finally, on a slighty more serious note...

I want to be a kid again!
I want to go back to the time when:

Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo."
Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"
"Race issue" meant arguing about who ran the fastest.
Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in "Monopoly."
Catching the fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening.
It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends.
Being old referred to anyone over 20.
The net on a tennis court was the perfect height to play volleyball
and rules didn't matter.
The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties.
It was magic when dad would "remove" his thumb.
It was unbelievable that dodgeball wasn't an Olympic event.
Having a weapon in school meant being caught with a slingshot.
Nobody was prettier than Mom.
Scrapes and bruises were kissed and made better.
It was a big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the "big people"
rides at the amusement park.
Getting a foot of snow was a dream come true.
Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare."
Saturday morning cartoons weren't 30-minute ads for action figures.
No shopping trip was complete unless a new toy was brought home.
"Oly-oly-oxen-free" made perfect sense.
Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for
The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team.
War was a card game.
Water balloons were the ultimate weapon.
Baseball cards in the spokes transformed any bike into a motorcycle.
Taking drugs meant orange-flavored chewable aspirin.
Ice cream was considered a basic food group.
From the Langalist www.langa.com

Web Pages By Email

Reader "Vince" alerted me to an interesting service called
"Web2Mail." It's at http://www.web2mail.com . It doesn't depend on
any weird "channels" or "push" technology, and instead simply
aggregates the web pages you tell it to, and sends them to you by
email as HTML attachments. You can even schedule how often you want
to have the pages mailed to you.

The HTML email contains everything you'd see on the page, just as if
you'd surfed there; and all the links work the way they would on the
live page.

It's an interesting (and free) service. Check it out!

Printing Your Folder Contents

Reader Jeff asked:

     Dear Fred.
     I was wondering if there is a way to print out the contents
     of a folder or a list of programs and important things that
     is stored on a disk or CDR so you don't have to keep
     inserting the disk or CD or manually write it down. Thank

One no-software method is to open a DOS box and type

     DIR <put the directory path here>\*.* >c:\text.txt

For example:

     DIR d:\*.* > c:\text.txt

or to just print programs (with the EXE suffix)

     DIR d:\*.exe > c:\text.txt

Now go back to windows, and the c:\text.txt file should contain the
directory information from whatever drive and directory you
specified. You can now edit, reformat and print that text file any
way you desire.

For a more automatic method, check out Karen Kenworthy's Directory
printer applet: http://www.winmag.com/karen/ptdirprn.htm

98Lite's *Fast* Restarts

The discussion on Slooooow PC Reboots at
http://www.winmag.com/columns/explorer/2000/08.htm has turned up a few
more interesting nuggets, including a reference to "98Lite." I'd written
about 98Lite a long time ago (see
http://www.langa.com/newsletters/1999/sept-16-99.htm#98lite ):

     Here's another piece of clever code, this time from Shane
     Brooks. "98Lite" started as a project to disentangle IE from
     Windows itself. It's now grown into a full-featured app that can
     really pare Windows down to its minimum (far beyond what
     Microsoft says is normally possible)-- and result in a faster,
     more-stable system!

     If you're interested in just what's essential in Windows, and
     would like to see what can be done without the bells and
     whistles, check out http://www.98lite.net !

Well, a reader participating in the "Sloooooow Reboot" discussion
pointed out that 98Lite not only speeds up Windows, but also lets it shut down
*fast.* Check it out!

Just For Grins

Reader David Burrows tells us "How To Deal with Telemarketers" It's
- but I laughed out loud at a couple of the items. Now, if I only have
the courage to try some of these...

     1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for
     bankruptcy and you could sure use some money.
     2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "I'm so
     glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I
     have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes
     are sore, my dog just died..."
     3. If they say they're John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to
     spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then
     ask them where it is located, how long it has been in business,
     how many people work there, how they got into this line of work,
     are they married?, kids?, etc. Continue asking them personal
     questions or questions about their company for as long as
     4. This works great if you are male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name
     is Judy and I'm with XYZ Company..." You: Wait for a second and
     with a real husky voice ask, "What are you wearing?"
     5. Cry out in surprise,"Judy! Is that you? Oh my God! Judy, how
     have you been?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief
     moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the hell she
     could know you from.
     6. Say "No", over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each
     one, and keep a rhythmic tempo, even as they are trying to
     speak. This is most fun if you can do it until they hang up.
     7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and
     Friends Plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, "I don't
     have any friends... would you be my friend?"
     8. If the company cleans rugs, respond: "Can you get out blood?
     Can you get out GOAT blood? How about HUMAN blood?
     9. After the Telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to
     marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could
     not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.
     10. Tell the Telemarketer that you work for the same company,
     they often can't sell to employees.
     11. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a
     Telemarketer, set the receiver down, shout or scream, "Oh my
     God!!!" and then hang up.
     12. Tell the Telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask
     him/her if he/she will give you his/her HOME phone number so you
     can call him/her back. When the Telemarketer explains that
     telemarketers cannot give out their HOME numbers you say "I
     guess you don't want anyone bothering you at home, right?" The
     Telemarketer will agree and you say, "Me, either!" Hang up.
     13.Ask them to repeat everything they say, several times.
     14.Tell them it is dinner time, BUT ask if they would please
     hold. Put them on your speaker phone while you continue to eat
     at your leisure. Smack your food loudly and continue with your
     dinner conversation.
     15. Tell the Telemarketer you are on "home incarceration" and
     ask if they could bring you some beer.
     16. Ask them to fax the information to you, and make up a
     17. Tell the Telemarketer, "Okay, I will listen to you. But I
     should probably tell you, I'm not wearing any clothes."
     18. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a
     joke. "Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, how's your
     19. Tell them you are hard of hearing and that they need to
     speak up... louder... louder...louder...
     20. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write
     EVERY WORD down.

Just For Grins

Several readers sent in various version of the following item: "How to
Please Your I.T. Department"

     1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to
     leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures,
     stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's
     art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to
     catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
     2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error
     messages from here.
     3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for
     coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password.
     It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.
     4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's
     keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you
     can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on
     at all.
     5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance,
     delete it at once. We're just testing.
     6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right
     in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.
     7. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it
     up and flags it as a rush delivery.
     8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support.
     There's electronics in it.
     9. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T.
     person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description
     of the problem. We love a puzzle.
     10. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't
     have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.
     11. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly,
     reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do
     you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.
     12. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20
     times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
     13. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the
     job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to
     14. Don't learn the proper term for anything technical. We know
     exactly what you mean by "My thingy blew up".
     15. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

From the Win Letter www.winmag.com

It's tempting to read about Napster and its kin Gnutella, and then
just shake your head and turn the page while musing vaguely about how
the music industry is suddenly at the mercy of a bunch of teenaged
hackers. Well, the music industry is always at the mercy of a bunch
of teenagers -- 'N Sync, anyone? -- and if any business should know
how to get inside the heads of kids and influence their behavior, it's
this one.

But that's not my point, not the least because my editors have quite
reasonably threatened to kneecap me if I write about music business
again anytime soon. Rather, my point is that you ought to be looking
at Napster and Gnutella very closely indeed, because they are in fact
transformational tools that may change the way you work on the Net.

Napster and Gnutella work approximately the same way: they turn a
folder on your system into a file server, then publish a table of
contents of that folder to the Net at large. Other people search all
the tables of contents that have been similarly published; if someone
likes what you've got, they can reach into your system and download
it. The software hopes to steer clear of obvious copyright violation
by touching only the table of contents, not the material itself. You
want to break copyright, that's not Napster's business.

Because Napster is specifically geared toward swapping MP3s, the
recording industry's trade association is suing the company, claiming
that the software contributes to infringement. And the issue is
sufficiently sensitive that Gnutella, which was produced by a team
owned AOL, was immediately disavowed by the media behemoth -- which
happens to own a bunch of record labels, you'll remember...

But if you squint a little, Napster and Gnutella are neat business
tools. They let you pretty painlessly set up what amounts to an FTP
server on your computer, from which you can let people pull whatever
files you make available. Security? Well, no. But since it was first
posted and then yanked, Gnutella has become open source, so it may
not be long before someone adds reasonable security to the product.

Why not the Web? Because setting up and administering a Web server
is fussy work. Same with an FTP server. Gnutella and Napster are
easy and fast.

Check 'em out, and tell me what you're using them for.



What do *you* think? Let me know!


There's this company called Netpliance that sells an Internet
terminal called the i-opener. The gadget is pretty straightforward:
a small keyboard, and LCD screen, and a modem. You use it to send and
receive e-mail and some rudimentary calendaring. Kinda cute. You buy
the i-opener for about $100, and pay Netpliance a monthly fee for
e-mail service. It's the classic razor/razor blade model that King
Gillette perfected so long ago. Sell the machine at a loss and make
money on the service contracts.

Enter the hackers. Seems that the first run of i-openers could be
modified to act like a real if underpowered PC running (what else?)
Linux. Mind you, it takes some considerable soldering skill and
technical knowledge to do it, but it could be done.

Netpliance, rather than realizing that the population of hardware
hackers is really quite small, responded by redesigning the
i-opener so that it's now supposedly hack-proof, pointing out that
the hackers' brief moment in the sun "has not had a material impact
on its operating results or general product availability." Killjoys.


NOTE: I have a friend that did just that.--Peter


I guess when you sleep in all day, you don't generally keep close
tabs on the sun.

There apparently is a little problem in Microsoft's World of
Nature for Windows, part of its Explorapedia series. Ask to see a
picture of the Earth spinning, and you'll see the world rotating
in the wrong direction.

Turns out that it's not an uncommon mistake. I remember seeing
the first demo of Apple's Quicktime, mumblety-odd years ago. That
demo, too, had the earth spinning east-to-west. And ABC News,
just in the last couple of weeks, acknowledged that it had the
earth in its logo going the wrong way.

I bet the Britannica wouldn't get it wrong.


Most of the viruses you hear about are targeted at Windows. This
makes perfect sense, since most of the desktop computers in the
world run Windows. But as more and more desktop systems run the
open-source Linux, it makes sense that we're going to see an
increasing number of Linux viruses.

Symantec and Bell Labs sense a market opportunity (yet one more
way to make money off free software). For Symantec's part,
there's now a Norton Anti-Virus for Linux. And Lucent
Techologies's Bell Labs has released software that keeps
intruders from overflowing an application's buffer memory -- a
favorite way hackers can get control of Linux machines. The Labs
is talking to major Linux licensees about encorporating the
software -- called Libsafe -- in standard Linux distributions.

Why is this important? Because for Linux to succeed, it's going
to have make significant inroads in corporations. And no
corporate IT department is going to allow Linux near its systems
without (among other things) a reasonable expectation that it's
safe and someone to blame if something goes wrong. Norton and
Bell Labs are both blue chip brands with a long track record.
Having them in the Linux camp can only help.



So this one looks pretty cute.

Toshiba's been bidding for a comeback in the laptop business.
It's not like they've been out of the business, but it's been a
while since Toshiba has been, y'know, cool the way IBM and Sony
are. (And we all know how important coolness is...)

Anyway, the Toshiba Portege 3440CT has a 500MHz Mobile Pentium
III, a 6GB hard drive, the usual proliferation of ports, and an
11-inch TFT screen. But what grabbed my attention was its 3.4-
pound weight and its thickness of about three-quarters of an
inch. It costs around $2,500. The floppy and CD/DVD drives are

From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com

How to Disable the Find Fast Indexer
Unearthed by Dennis Hutchins


"When you install Microsoft Office 97, a shortcut called Microsoft Find
Fast is automatically added to the StartUp group. This allows Find Fast
to run whenever you start the computer. After Find Fast is started, it
automatically builds indexes and updates them in the background. If you
attempt to disable the Find Fast control panel by simply removing the
Microsoft Find Fast shortcut from the StartUp group, the following
problems may occur..."

Coming from the "Who's Got Mail" department, Lockergnomie Mike Saul
discovered that change is good. You may still be in the process of
finding the right mail client for your needs. If you're frustrated with
the lack of functionality, then switching to a newer (or possibly older)
program may be worth your while. However, you'll need to "notify" your
browser of this change. In IE, select 'Tools' then 'Internet Options.'
Flip to the Programs tab (if it exists in your version). At this point,
you're able to select a default (installed) mail client. Failing to do
so may cause errors (or non-desired programs to launch) when you click
on any 'mailto' hyperlink.

WinMorse v1.01 [189k] W9x/2k FREE


{Turn text into Morse code} When traditional lines of communication
break down, Morse code comes in to save the day. But few of us have
mastered the art of dots and dashes. Sending a message just got simpler;
enter the chosen text into a field and this will create a 'Morse code'
WAV file for you to use virtually anywhere! Use it to bone up on your
skills, send messages to friends, or make your HAM radio experience that
much more exciting.

Unearthed by Roger Ferraro


{Shared live e-mail message service} Zip over to this site without
trepidation; it's one of the most useful I've ever encountered. Finally,
HTML e-mails with a purpose! For small groups of users, you can create
discussion groups, schedules, contact lists, invitations, and more -- in
your Inbox. The message will be updated with fresh (live) information
every time you open it. This is too cool for words; you MUST give this
sucker a spin TODAY.

How to Manually Uninstall Windows Media Player v6.4


"You may want to uninstall Windows Media Player for one of the following
reasons: you want to return to a previous version of Windows Media
Player or Media Player; a bad installation of Windows Media Player 6.4
occurred; a file associated with Windows Media Player is damaged or
corrupted; you are unable to uninstall the program using the Add/Remove
Programs tool in Control Panel." Gretchen's PC was having problems with
WiMP, so we had to fix things "by hand." I figured someone else could
use this info, too.

Windows 2000 Performance Tuning v1.0 [357k] W2k FREE


"This white paper provides information on how to tune the Windows(r)
2000 operating system to achieve optimal performance. It also provides
useful information on how to test the performance capabilities of
Windows 2000; presents data generated using various IBM Netfinity
servers and industry benchmarks that show the performance capabilities
of Window 2000 when running in an optimized environment; and, finally,
shows how to use the integrated performance monitoring tools in Windows
2000 to eliminate potential performance bottlenecks."

LAN-Mail v1.3b3 [1.2M] W9x FREE


{Rudimentary intranet mail client} Local 'Microsoft' networks don't
always need an Internet connection. Winpopup (an internal network
communications tool) is installed by default, but its options are
lacking. Want a souped-down Inbox of sorts for a four-person network?
This way, you can 'talk' with others and save their messages for future
reference. The GUI is intuitive and system response is immediate; it's
not the be-all, but it works.

MaxDIR v2.22 [24k] W9x FREE


"MaxDIR shows you a directory of files, alphabetized and colored by file
type, and in 4 columns, which utilizes the entire screen to show you up
to 200 files at a time. Since you'll know what the color is for each
file type, and you'll know they are alphabetized, you can look at a
directory listing and instantly find what you are looking for. It shows
each file's size, Bytes Free on the disk, the Disk Type, the space used
by the files listed, and how much of your disk the files actually used."

Trace.bat v2.0 [183k] W9x FREE
Unearthed by Carl Van Buren


"TRACE.BAT is an MS-DOS batch process which uses standard network query
utilities to work up a handy report on a given Internet address. It does
so automatically and fairly quickly, in a simple format and in a logical
sequence. It provides a report in plain text which it opens in Notepad
when done. It gives some screen feedback while in process. Because the
Tracer performs extended domain registration lookups, encompassing the
shared .COM, .NET and .ORG registries and more than 70 countries, it is
a sort of super-WHOIS utility."

Starlight v1.1 [393k] W9x/2k FREE


{Hot and spacey screen saver} It was once crucial to prevent burn-in.
With newer monitors, this hasn't been so much of a concern. Would
somebody please save my screen from these boring images? I think a
cricket said: "When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true." I
wished real hard, and now I'm flying through an ever changing galaxy.
These special effects are better than those I've seen in the most Sci-Fi
movies. It's inner outer space.

From Microsoft www.microsoft.com

Windows 98 Display Frequently Asked Questions

Windows 98 Multimedia Troubleshooting Page

Problems Joining Games Using Internet Connection Sharing
Internet Explorer on the following platforms: Windows 95, Windows 98 and
Windows NT(r) 4.0
Internet Explorer Browsing How-To Guide

Internet Explorer Browsing Error Messages


From the Windows Insider www.winmag.com

Inside Windows Me Beta 3

According to reliable sources, Microsoft completed Windows Me
Beta 3 and made it available for download to official beta
testers late last night. I'm due to get the code on CD from
Microsoft in a few days.

In the meantime, I've got two views of Windows Me Beta 3 to offer
you. The first is my own view, and it seems to be shared by many
of my counterparts at competing computer magazines and online
pubs. In a nutshell, Windows Me is getting better. No serious
problems. Installed well, runs pretty well, if a little
laboriously in spots -- in short, typical of any OS beta. In
recent weeks I've worked with builds 2470 and 2499.3. The latter
was provided me directly by Microsoft last week. I see real
improvements in this build, especially in the area of networking.
Of course, Windows Media Player is also built into it, as is
Windows Movie Maker. In case you missed it, I recently wrote an
in-depth review of Windows Media Player 7:


I plan to do a full Beta 3 review of Windows Me within the next
couple of weeks. That will appear in the Windows section at
Winmag.com: http://www.winmag.com/windows/

So, that's the first view of Win Me in its current form. The
second view comes from Windows Me beta testers and people who
attended Microsoft's eXtreme event at 20 cities around the
country last weekend, where Windows Me was demonstrated. One
eXtreme attendee wrote to Winmag.com that Microsoft had three
different problems during the demonstration. The most severe came
with the demo of System Restore. Our reader wrote: "Two
demonstrators were having a race between fixing a system files
problem on separate Win98 SE and Windows Me machines. The guy who
was showing the 'old way' of fixing the problem on Win98 SE was
clearly stalling, but System Restore failed twice in a row

I talked with Microsoft's Windows Me Product Manager, David
Ursino, today, and he acknowledged the problem at the eXtreme
event. He also said that Microsoft found the cause of that
problem, which was minor, and it is implementing the fix --
possibly in Beta 3.

Several beta testers have written to say that recent builds of
Windows Me were very problematic for them. According to one:
"Restore doesn't restore ... at least it hasn't for me yet. It
just crashes. Recent weekly builds have resulted in good, working
Lucent modems no longer working after Me installs some strange
driver on top of a known, good working driver -- making it very
tough to get the LT modem working again. Trouble with USB has
been evident from the beginning, and still aren't fixed."

To be fair, Microsoft notes that it has made improvements to both
device and USB support in Beta 3. Also, it's important to keep
this in perspective, Windows Me is very definitely still a beta
product, even if it is supposed to be late beta at this point.
The point of the beta process is to identify problems like these,
and fix them. Very often the thorniest troubles remain until
toward the end.

--- What's New in Beta 3 ---
What will, I think, be more disappointing about Windows Me Beta 3
to most people when it eventually ships is how little there is
that's new about it. At this point, Ursino confirms that the
product is close to being feature complete in Beta 3. It's still
possible Microsoft will add something or other, but they've met
their existing feature goals by and large with Beta 3. Not a lot
to write home about.

But then, Microsoft never really promised us a brand new Windows.
Its primary goal from the start was to improve reliability and
workability. And for quite some time we've known that no serious
user interface or functionality enhancements were expected. The
biggest features continue to be what Microsoft calls PC Health,
which include System File Protection, System Restore, and the
Help Center, which combines answers to questions with built-in
troubleshooters that pop up in context. For example, when you
enter Safe Mode in Windows Me, you'll find the Safe Mode
Troubleshooter, which guides you through the process of
discovering, and hopefully resolving, the problem that got you
there to begin with.

PC Health also includes the removal of real-mode support,
hibernate/resume features, the AutoUpdate version of Windows
Update, and other features. Taken as a whole, this is really the
biggest advancement in Windows Me. Windows Media Player is cool,
but you'll be able to download it separately anyway. I covered
the PC Health features and about half of the Digital Media
features in my Beta 2 Test Drive story, which you might want to
look at to get a leg up:


--- Windows Movie Maker ---
Windows Me's Digital Media features sum up this way: Online
gaming, image acquisition and management, music and video
playback and management, and video editing. That last feature is
provided by a new program that comes with Windows called Windows
Movie Maker, which has only appeared in the Windows Me weekly
betas over the last month or so. I'll get into this in more
detail in the future, but Windows Movie Maker aims to vastly
improve the process of importing, managing, and editing video
footage on your PC. Among other features, Windows Movie Maker is
able to automatically locate the separate "cuts" (the places
where you stopped and then later restarted the camera). And it
lets you treat each cut as an object that you can move around or
adjust separately. I have yet to test this personally, but it
sounds very interesting.

Finally, to the many of you who have written me asking whether it
might be possible to take part in the beta process. Unless you
signed up quite a while ago, the answer is almost certainly no. I
asked Ursino about this again. At this time, Microsoft does not
have any stated plans to publicly offer access to Beta 3 (as it
did with both Win95 and Win98) for a nominal fee to cover the
cost of disc production and shipping.

--- Defeat that Annoying Recycle Bin Prompt ---
Recycle Bin has an annoying habit of needlessly prompting users
with "are you sure?" each time you attempt to deposit file refuse
in it -- even when you've unchecked the "Display delete
confirmation dialog" on its properties screen. To workaround it,
place a shortcut to the Recycle Bin in your \Windows\SendTo
folder. To delete something in blessed, prompt-less silence, just
right-click it and choose Send To > Recycle Bin. Don't forget
that you can also bypass Recycle Bin's protection entirely by
dragging and dropping something to Recycle Bin, or by selecting
the object for deletion and holding down the Shift key while your
press the Delete button.

Link of the Week
One of the more creative anti-Microsoft Web sites I've yet come
across. If you're ardent pro-Microsoft person, take it in fun. If
you're a Microsoft hater, hey, it's not *that* funny:


From Woody's Office Watch www.wopr.com

  Among the recent arrivals on the Microsoft web site is the
  'Save My Settings' wizard.  It is a 275kb download from

  . It will collect all your Office 2000 settings into a
  single file and copy them to the Microsoft web site.  The
  idea being that you can retrieve the settings to another
  computer or the same computer after a crash.

  According to Microsoft the settings collected include "The
  data in your Office settings includes your Passport ID and
  your MS Office personal settings.  Included in your
  personal settings are customized templates, custom
  dictionaries, menu and toolbar layouts and customizations,
  and types of clip art."

  On the face of it, not a bad idea. But as is so often the
  case with these freebies from Microsoft, the utility has
  various shortcomings and hidden conditions.

  The main shortcoming is that you can only save the settings
  to the Microsoft web site.  This must be a deliberate
  choice and it's a curious one.  There is a utility just to
  save the settings to a file and nothing more - it's in the
  Office 2000 Resource Kit.  As mentioned in WOW months ago,
  you'll find it at

  as a small part of the 9MB download of tools.

  Whether or not you trust Microsoft to keep your settings
  confidential is a personal choice.  The company gives their
  usual assurances in that regard.  In our opinion this
  utility should have options to save the settings to any
  drive you nominate plus a web site, web folder or the space
  Microsoft has provided.

  We wonder why the MS Passport ID is included in the saved
  settings?  It has nothing directly to do with Office 2000
  and isn't required for it to run.  Nor is the Passport used
  to authenticate your access to the saved settings (it
  could, but doesn't.  Your email address and password are
  used instead).

  The other major limitation is hidden away until after you
  have save your settings to the Microsoft site.  When you
  reenter the wizard you're given the option to save,
  retrieve or delete the profile.  Under that you'll see the
  first mention that your settings are only saved for 3
  months before deletion and you'll get a notice by email 2
  weeks before that occurs.

  We have no problem with the time limitation, without it the
  Microsoft web site could get overwhelmed with settings ad
  infinitum.  But the poor standard of notification is hard
  to accept.  We could find nothing on the Microsoft web
  site about this.

  It is entirely possible that you could save your settings
  to Microsoft and unless you re-enter the wizard those
  settings will be deleted after 3 months.  Sure you get an
  email message, that may arrive when you're on vacation or
  be overlooked.

  The most obvious place to notify customers of the time
  limit is when they save the file - not later when they want
  to retrieve it.

  You should also be aware that if you select the option to
  retrieve your settings it will not only get the settings
  from the Microsoft site but attempt to reapply them to your

  Also be aware of the changing terminology.  It is called
  the 'Save my Settings' wizard but in the wizard itself it
  talks about 'profiles'.  A profile in this situation means
  a collection of settings as defined by Microsoft above.  It
  has no relation to the user profile you may be used to on a
  Windows network.  So 'profiles' and 'settings' are
  interchangeable in this context - you wish Microsoft could
  have chosen a term and stuck with it.

  Now you know the secrets behind the 'Save my Settings'
  wizard you can choose to use it or not.  It's a pity that
  once again WOW has to provide the disclosure that Microsoft
  is unwilling or unable do themselves.

OFFICE 2000 SR-1
  And speaking of disclosure ... Office 2000 Service Release
  1 is still in the repair shop.  When it reappears it will
  be called SR-1a.

  If you have SR-1 installed already then you are OK - the
  problem, as usual, is with the application of the patch.
  The end result is OK as far as we know (note the caveat

  The people in the most trouble are those who had a Windows
  2000 system that was installed over NT4.  Amazingly, some
  key files were not registered properly in this common
  scenario.  If you have that configuration and have applied
  the SR-1 patch you should download the Microsoft Office
  2000/Windows 2000 Registry Repair Utility


  that will apparently undo the damage Microsoft has done.
  More details at

  Last we were told only some problems will be fixed - unless
  Microsoft has a change of heart there will be at least one
  major problem remaining on the "won't fix" list for this
  Service Release.  It is a problem that has already vexed
  many people and likely to confuse most Office 2000 users -
  furthermore it is easily repaired if Microsoft had the
  desire to do so.

  We continue to recommend that people stay well clear of the
  Office 2000 Service Release.  Despite the fact that the
  company continues to promote a known faulty patch on their
  web site - we do not consider it at all prudent to apply
  it.  The fixes contained in the patch are important but
  they will wait until such a time as the update is more
  reliable than at present.

  WOW will have it's long awaited SR-1 issue once Microsoft
  has released the final SR-1 and we've had a chance to
  examine it for ourselves to verify what is actually
  happening.  As you can imagine neither Woody nor Peter are
  pleased - we had heard and wanted to believe Microsoft's
  assurances of quality in this Service Release (color us
  optimists if you wish).  But events have shown that behind
  the rhetoric and facade the same lackadaisical attitude

  There's another new download from the Microsoft Office web
  site.  The 'Personal Update for Outlook 2000' is a
  replacement Outlook Today page.  We'll have a full report
  in next weeks WOW but from our first tests we suggest you
  avoid it - like SR-1 it needs to go back for repairs before
  being used by an unsuspecting public.

  It's great to finally see some effort by Microsoft to make
  use of the customizable 'Outlook Today' feature that was
  first introduced in Outlook 98.  The 'Personal Update for
  Outlook 2000' (or 'MSNBC and Outlook', this download has
  various names) is a way for you to see some news headlines,
  stock prices and weather in Outlook together with your
  calendar and task list.

  Outlook Today is actually a web page and with the right
  knowledge and patience you can make it show anything you

  Sadly this feature didn't get much use in Outlook 98 or in
  Outlook 2000 when it originally came out.  In a typical
  Microsoft reaction to the lack of interest in customizing
  Outlook Today they gave it a new name; the 'Digital
  Dashboard'.  A set of tools were released with the focus on
  corporate use, see
  .  All this is fine but avoids the problems with the
  current implementation of Outlook Today.

  The 'Personal Update' is the first release of a different
  Outlook Today / Digital Dashboard for general use, an
  overdue but welcome expansion of the concept.  Sadly it
  only serves to highlight the shortcomings of Outlook 2000
  in this area.  It has no proper documentation or help and
  is buggy to boot.

  For a download of 155kb (not the 124kb stated on the web
  site) you can get the 'Personal Update' free from
  .  Your choice of news and stock info is done online before
  you get the download.  Your news choices are: News,
  Business, Sports, Health, Technology, Living/Travel, TV
  News, Opinions and Weather.  You can also enter up to a
  dozen ticker symbols for stocks or mutual funds.  In
  addition you can select a city for your local weather to be
  displayed.  Aside from the last feature (which has a wide
  range of cities around the world) the rest has a North
  American bias, as you'd expect from NBC.

  You can install the update at any time but it won't appear
  as your Outlook Today until you restart Outlook 2000 (just
  one of the things Microsoft forgot to tell you).  After
  Outlook 2000 has started click on the Outlook Today icon in
  folder view or choose from the menu View | Go To | Outlook
  Today.  You'll see a two-column view of details of tasks,
  calendar and weather on the left with news and stocks on
  the right.

  Assuming you get that far -- when we first tried to view
  the Personal Update we got the alarming warning that "...
  the software on the page might be unsafe.  It is
  recommended that you do not run it."  It would seem to be
  related to the Internet Explorer security levels, though
  they were set to the default Medium level.  Perhaps the
  intelligence of Microsoft software has extended to
  protecting itself from the produce of their own makers <g>?

  So we told Outlook to display regardless of the warning
  message not to run it.  The Personal Update page displayed
  but only the calendar and contacts, and none of the MSNBC
  sections appeared because the page mistakenly thought we
  were not connected to the Internet (the system was
  connected since other IE windows were open and getting

  So we re-booted the computer and now we could see the
  Personal Update page with MSNBC content.  But the left hand
  column weather section could not show any details for the
  cities we selected.  Supply of data for non-US cities seems
  to be irregular.

  We next tried clicking on a news section to see more
  details, only to be greeted with script errors.  In all our
  tests the Personal Update page would generate errors and
  not display anything more than the topics.  We tested it on
  Windows 2000 Professional with the supplied version of
  Internet Explorer 5.01.

  Unless you check out the bottom of the FAQ page
  http://www.msnbc.com/m/olk2k/faq.asp ,  Microsoft doesn't
  tell you but the up and down arrows at the top of each
  section let you change the order of the sections in that
  column.  A nice feature, it would be even better if it was
  documented more prominently.  You can't change the column
  that a section is in.

  Nor can you customize the display of Tasks or Calendar
  items as you can in the original Outlook Today page that
  comes with Outlook 2000.

  If you'd like to look at the code behind the Personal
  Update (remember it's just a web page) you see it at
  \Program Files\MSNBC\Outlook\Client\default.htm . You can
  even view that page in Internet Explorer separately.  We
  tried that and though we could not see the Outlook info
  (tasks etc) we didn't have any trouble with the MSNBC
  content that we had when the same page was displayed inside
  Outlook where it is supposed to be.

  It is understandable that the Personal Update needs an
  Internet connection to get information, but in practice you
  need a permanent connection.  When you're offline this
  MSNBC offering doesn't hide itself in favor of other local
  content - instead you get an error message and an unused
  half of the window.

  Because the settings are changed online, if you copy the
  downloaded file to another machine it will install OK but
  when you view the web page the MSNBC categories will be
  empty until you click on 'Change my choices'.

  Since the Update is just a web page, you can make it the
  home page for any Outlook 2000 folder.  Right mouse click
  on a folder (in folder view) and choose Properties.  Under
  the Home Page tab enter the location of the Personal Update
  page (eg c:\Program
  Files\MSNBC\Outlook\Client\default.htm).  If you select
  'Show home page by default for this folder' the MSNBC
  offering will be displayed whenever you switch to this
  folder.  Otherwise you'll have to select View | Show Folder
  Home page.  If you don't want your normal Outlook Today
  disturbed you could make the Personal Update the home page
  for another Outlook folder, or create a new folder just to
  be a holder for it.

  To uninstall this Personal Update you have to go to Add /
  Remove Programs on the Control Panel.   One of the
  shortcomings of Outlook 2000 is the lack of easy switching
  between Outlook Today pages.  It would be nice to have a
  small library of pages that you can switch between easily -
  but instead you have a cumbersome install/uninstall

  As you can probably guess, we're less than excited with
  this offering from MSNBC and Microsoft.  It has all the
  hallmarks of a hastily conceived marketing item probably
  dreamed up by people who had no idea of the real
  shortcomings of Outlook Today.  Presumably this dubious
  download satisfies some relationship between Microsoft and
  MSNBC, but the bugs and limitations make it a poor
  ambassador for Redmond's content partner.

  Reluctantly we have to recommend that you should steer
  clear of this download; it is not worth the trouble.

  We're still waiting for the revised Office 2000 Service
  Release to make an appearance.  That's not to say we're
  impatient - Microsoft can take all the time it wants to fix
  the mistakes they made or ignored the first time around.

  The delivery of SR-1 CD's has been delayed until SR-1a is
  out - but you can still place an order for the free CD that
  will be filled when it is ready.

  To Microsoft's discredit, it continues to promote the
  download of SR-1 even though they know it is faulty and
  requires patches in some instances.  Don't be fooled by the
  prominent promotion of SR-1 on their web site and via email
  newsletters - SR-1 isn't ready yet.  Even though the SR-1
  patch is still made available we feel it is improper for
  the company to go out of its way to promote it to
  unsuspecting customers.  A responsible approach would be to
  discontinue promotion of the patch until the revised
  edition is released.

  Our recommendation remains unchanged - wait.  Once SR-1a is
  released we'll have a close look at it and publish our
  findings in our long gestation SR-1 special issue.  That
  issue all written, we have only to verify what Microsoft
  does in the revised patch.

  If you have already installed SR-1 and it is working OK
  then don't panic.  You should be OK so there's no need to
  be concerned for the moment.  Wait until the dust has
  settled to see what, if anything, you need to do.

That's it for now...Please vote in the poll!

Peter Crockett - webmaster
From somewhere on the road...
website: www.putergeek.com
mailto: webmaster@putergeek.com

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Last Revised: 10/23/2000