01. PACK LIKE A PRO. Peak travel season is approaching so take a
look at http://www.bhg.com/bhg/category.jhtml?catref=C29
where Better Homes & Gardens gives advice on lots of things to make your trip preparation more
complete and enjoyable. There's even an interactive packing list to help you decide what to take along.
02. MY-CAST. A free service at http://www.my-cast.com
provides personal weather forecasts by Web and email (HTML or text) within the 48 contiguous
states. These are created every three hours within a four-mile grid, more specific and frequent than information received from the National Weather
Service. You identify those indoor and outdoor activities that are important to you, and the service reports the affect the weather will have
on those activities.
03. SHRED 2. You may know that deleting a file from one's hard drive
doesn't really destroy it. Only the reference to that file is immediately
deleted and the file itself remains until the contents are overwritten by
other data. Anyone with a bit of computer savvy may be able to retrieve your sensitive information. Shred 2, on the other hand, destroys the
file's contents before removing the reference to it. This version at http://www.pcmag.com/article/0,2997,s=1478&a=17456,00.asp
supports Windows 95/98/NT4/2000.
04. READERS WRITE. A reader suggested an option for weeding out
offensive sites. She goes to MS Internet Explorer settings at Tools|Internet
Options, clicks on the Security tab, then in Restricted Sites she enters the URL of those sites she no longer wants to access.
05. MORE ON OPENING IE WITHOUT DEFAULT HOME PAGE.
A reader responded to our recent item suggesting a command line to open MS
Internet Explorer without defaulting to the home page. Why not place this
tip on a desktop shortcut for easy access? Why not, indeed. Right click on an open
desktop space and select New|Shortcut. In the command line, enter (with quotes
"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\IEXPLORE.EXE" NoHome to create a shortcut on the desktop. You can rename it as desired.
06. FASTER DEFRAG. In response to comments about the unreliability
of the onboard Windows defrag utility, a number of readers recommended the Microsoft WinMe Defrag. It reportedly works not just with WinMe but with
Win95 and Win98 as well. It's a small download at http://www.tonkco.com/computercoach/WinMe_Defrag.zip
07. SHEDDING THE LOGO - PART 2. On our Bulletin Board, Dana Cardwell recently shared his recipe for changing the Win98SE logos. He suggested
renaming the files in the event you want to return to the old logos. Find the startup logo in the root folder (C:\) as Logo.sys and rename it to
Logo.old. The shutdown screens are in the Windows folder (C:\Windows) as Logow.sys (Windows is shutting down) and Logos.sys (It's now safe to turn
off your computer), and should be renamed to Logow.old and Logos.old. Then, use Paint or any graphic program to replace the Startup
and Shutdown screens. With Paint, you can import the graphic desired, select Attributes, set the required size of 320 pixels wide X 400 pixels
high, then save as a bitmap file. Replace your art work with the file names
Logo.sys, Logow.sys, or Logos.sys (depending on the screen to replace) and place them in the same place you found the original splash screens. To
return to the original screens at a later time, just delete or rename the current logo and rename the old files from .old to .sys and save them as
such. Note: This will not work for pre-packaged systems like Dell or Compaq as they have already changed and moved these logos to replace with
08. CLOCKRACK. Another timekeeping utility, ClockRack at
provides a wide array of clocks from its database of world locations in
digital or analog format. As with most of these clock applications, you can expect automatic time setting on line using the services of the National
Institute of Standards and Technology.
09. EPROMPTER. We reviewed this email retrieval program many months
ago but it's updated and worth another look. EPrompter retrieves email from up
to 16 accounts ranging from AOL to Yahoo and nearly everything in between. Use it to compose, forward, reply to messages, and schedule email
updates. It supports hyperlinks, standard firewalls, and proxy servers. EPrompter features optional notification screensaver and audio prompt
alerts when email is received. The setup is a breeze. It's a free download
at http://www.eprompter.com .
10. NETCRAFT. Not your ordinary search engine, Netcraft at
http://www.netcraft.com examines a Web
site you specify. From its database of about 38 million sites, the service reports information about the host's
operating system, server, last date a change was made, the IP address, etc. Netcraft also provides uptime data and plots a graph; or, if no data
is available, it will begin to monitor the site and provide statistics in a few days.
11. INTERNET CONNECTION SPEEDOMETER. The upside of this site at http://promos.mcafee.com/speedometer/test_0600.asp
is the report that lets you know how fast your Internet connection is. Of course, there are
several such resources on the Web. The downside, at least on one particular visit, was the deluge of pop up ads that were hard to
escape. Such is the Internet. One must often tolerate annoyances for the service a site has to offer, for free.
12. MINIMIZE IN A HURRY. If you're working with several open windows
and want to quickly close them, one method is to right click on the blank area of your task bar. Selecting Minimize All Windows should do the trick.
13. THANKS BUT NO THANKS. The Internet offers a great value to us
but some things you just have to question if the old non-tekkie way is better. Take, for example, the Paperless PO Box at http://www.paperlesspobox.com
.. As we understand it, if you're on the road a lot, you subscribe to this
service and they take your snail mail, open it up, scan it, and send it to
you by email so you can get your junk mail with your spam. The service is $30 a month if you're content to read your scanned mail in drab black and
white or $40 a month if you must have it in color. If you have more than 500 images, want them to archive all that stuff on a CD, or sort through
your mail and send you only the good stuff (first class mail), there's an extra charge. While this may be a valuable service, we'd opt for the
slower but cheaper mail forwarding done by our old non-tekkie post office.
Or, giving a true rebuttal to the adage that "you can't take it with
there's CasketFurniture at http://www.casketfurniture.com
. Your sofa for just $2500 can convert to a casket when the time comes. Or use it as a
phone booth now and deposit your mortal remains later for just $2800.
entertainment center/casket is $2250. Fido hasn't been neglected and you
can make his final resting place from a pet bed or coffee table. Now, we
believe in recycling, but this is stretching it a bit.
14. REGISTRY BACKUP. Install on your desk top a backup copy of that
all-important Registry File. Click on Start and Run and enter "regedit"
(without quotes) in the open field. Clicking OK will bring up the Registry
Editor window. Click on Registry and from the drop-down menu, click on
Export Registry File. In the File Name field, type "backup"
(again without quotes), in the Save In field select Desktop, in the Export Range group box
select all, and click on Save. A backup of your Registry now appears on
your desktop and if you ever need to restore the registry, double click on it.
15. INDUSTORIOUS CLOCK. We've featured a number of timepieces in
issues of Neat Net Tricks, but perhaps the most ingenuous is the one by
Yugo Nakamura at http://yugop.com/ver3/stuff/03/fla.html
. It requires
Flash 5.0, a quick download in the unlikely event you don't already have it. Industorious Clock then displays the time in a rather unconventional
16. HYPERSNAP-DX 4. We yearn for the days of DOS when the Print Scrn
actually sent the screen image off to the printer. Now, without help, it
only copies the image to the Clipboard, and other software such as Paint or
Word is needed so the image can then be pasted and printed. A graphics
editor is needed if changes must be made in the image before printing. A
screen grabber utility makes the job a bit easier, and there are lots of
them available. But HyperSnap-DX 4 captures the desired image and
editing, annotation, and manipulation as well. More than 20 image formats
are supported with a lot of automated features and customizable user
interface. Download it free at http://www.hyperionics.com
and pay $35 to
register it and remove a print overlay. And, speaking of registering,
kudos to Hyperionics for a slick registration procedure. Simply copy the
script they provide to your Clipboard and the software reads from that to
automatically complete the process. Other software producers should take
note: easier is better.
17. READERS WRITE. Several readers suggested an improvement in the technique to determine drive space occupied. We suggested entering
(without quotes) after reaching the C:\Windows> prompt in DOS. Our
ever-alert subscribers suggested adding switches and viewing the whole
drive instead of just the Windows directory and without regard to their
hidden or systems status. While in DOS, go to the root directory (e.g.,
c:\) and enter after the prompt (without quotes) "dir /a /s" .
reader suggested using SequoiaView for a visual display of drive
contents. We've mentioned this utility before, but if you missed it,
download it at http://www.win.tue.nl/sequoiaview/
18. WHO'S BEHIND IT. Two quick ways to determine who can be thanked
or complained to about a Web site. While at the site with Internet Explorer
click Tools and Show Related Links. Or, go to http://www.better-whois.com/
and enter the URL there.
19. VIEWLETBUILDER. A neat idea for promoting products or using the
Web as a training medium, the ViewletBuilder at http://www.qarbon.com
create animated online demonstrations. You can use their product free with
ads, or the paid professional version removes the banners. There are a lot
of customization features and no plug ins are required.
20. ADDRESS BAR ON TASK BAR. As a matter of convenience, you might
consider placing an address bar on your task bar for ease of
surfing. Simply right click on the task bar, select Tool bars and check
the Address option.
21. RESTRICTED SITES. A reader suggested controlling pop up ads with
Internet Explorer security settings. She goes to Tools|Internet Options|Security|Restricted Sites, clicks on Add and enters those URL of
sites most persistent with their ads.
22. CLEANING OUT THE HARD DRIVE. An excellent visual for tips on clearing
up space on the hard drive is at
.. Just sit back as it plays and take notes.
23. LAN SUITE. We'll save the best for last, but for starters, the
LAN Suite easily installs in less than 10 minutes to provide a secure mail
server, virus and spam resistance, and automatic download and sorting of
email from remote POP3 and local mailboxes. A Web mail interface can be
customized for text signature, email preview, ZIP support, spell checking,
shared address books, delivery notification, and the list goes on. It
supports Windows 98/ME/NT/2000/XP. And the best we promised? The
version is free at http://www.software602.com/free/
and you have to admit,
that's a very good feature in itself.
24. TAMING THE PAPER TIGER. It's spring again, at least for many of us,
and with the season comes housecleaning time. That likely should include
your desk and computer clutter as well. Taming The Paper Tiger, described
as "The Painless Way To Manage Paper", is an electronic system that
your files based on keywords and provides easy retrieval when you need
them. The package works with Windows 95/98/2000/ME/NT and more information
is at http://www.thepapertiger.com .
Doug makes no endorsement or warranty, expressed or implied, with regard to
featured products or services. Results may vary based on operating systems
and other variables beyond our control.
Contact Doug at PC
Computers Coach today and
start learning what you'll need tomorrow!
( click on email
button on the left )
PC Computers Coach
23497 Co Rd 10
Loretto, MN 55357
(612) 205-3788 (Cell)