Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: December 1, 2000

A calendar year has slipped by. Year-end holiday season is nearly in full swing and I know you will have a busy time. I wish you a terrific end of year.

I have enjoyed writing the monthly newsletters and have appreciated the feedback from you. It is always nice to hear your comments and ideas. I look forward to the same in 2001.

As usual, I wish you good luck with your home computing!

I hope you take the time to share your thoughts, ideas, and other matters with your family -- and, not let cell phones, computers, and other such things get in the way of your family interactions! I thought the following Blondie comic strip item I scanned from the Dec. 3, 2000 issue of the Raleigh News-Observer newspaper was worth sharing with you. Take the time once in awhile to turn off the cell phones, the computers, and other things that may interrupt your family/friends interactions.

Example of Not Taking Time for Sharing Discussions

Take some time for each other -- and have a wonderful start to 2001.

Contact me regarding any matter in this newsletter that causes you concern or you want to otherwise discuss.

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


Miscellaneous Comments Regarding Home Computer Use Matters that Came Up in November

  • Updated Comments Regarding My home PCs and Windows Millennium.

    As I mentioned in last months SCScompA newsletter, I moved the Windows 98 side of my dual-boot home PCs (including my laptop) to Windows Millenium.

    Although I do not use Millenium a lot (I use Windows 2000) I did use Millenium sufficiently to comment that it seems, in my case, more stable than was Windows 98 Second Edition. I have not, so far, found a reason to be discouraged from updating to Millenium from Windows 98. Likewise, I have not found a reason to say "Make the move!". Basically, if you have sufficient hard disk space on your PC/laptop and you are finding times that Windows 98 "locks up" or causing you other PC pain: Then, I would upgrade from Windows 98 to Windows Millenium (if you do NOT want to upgrade to Windows 2000!). On my system, with my applications, Windows Millenium has performed fine. I still, however, would recommend you run a dual boot home PC system with a default of booting Windows 2000. I find Windows 2000 the best Windows operating system for me home PC/laptop and their applications.

    If you are upgrading to Windows Millenium I recommend you have about 1-gig free hard-disk on the drive you are running your system disk on prior to the upgrade. This would be, for example, your C-disk. If you do NOT have 1-gig free, try to free some space up prior to the upgrade to Windows Millenium.

    When you are finished with the upgrade to Windows Millenum, try to maintain 0.5 gig free space on the drive you are running your system disk on prior to the upgrade (for example, your C-disk). See my following comment regarding C-disk-type of space as a result of upgrading to Windows Office 2000.

  • One Week's Experience with Microsoft Office 2000 Standard.

    I had a reason to upgrade from Microsoft Office 97 to Microsoft Office 2000. So far, I am not a "happy camper" with Office 2000 -- but, I forge ahead in hopes that I will become more comfortable with its use. I was a satisfied user of Office 97 -- but, I had reasons for moving to Office 2000.

    I selected Office 2000 Standard. Why? I needed Word, PowerPoint, and Excel and they are included in Office 2000 Standard. I did not need (nor, did I want!) other parts of Office. The price for Office Standard seemed reasonable -- and, I chose that.

    The cost I paid for Office 2000 Standard for my home PC/laptop was $170 for the upgrade, with a mail-in rebate for an additional reduction of $40. I have mailed in the rebate: I will let you know if I ever get the credit! (Those of you who have mailed in rebates and have never received a credit, understand this comment).

    I immediately had a few problems with Office 2000.

    1. Install hard-disk space. As with many Microsoft programs, the install of Office 2000 took more hard-disk space than they imply in their documentation. I recommend, even if you are asking Microsoft to install the products on a different-than-the-operating-system disk (for example: Assume the operating system is on your "C" disk and you want Office installed on your "D" disk), leave about 200 meg free on your operating system disk ("C" in this example). I had an interaction with the Microsoft support people as to why Office, in the year 2000, is not capable of using less operating system hard disk space: And, I had zero success with an answer. So: Keep about 200 meg free on your Windows operating system hard disk prior to installing Office. Note: Remember -- I recommended you have 500 meg free if you were running Windows Millenium. Therefore, try to have 700 meg free on your operating system hard disk prior to installing Office -- even if you are asking Microsoft to install the product on other-than (for example: "D") your operating system disk.

      As I have mentioned earlier, this "hard disk" space matter is often more of a concern for laptops than for current home PCs. However, keep the matter in mind if you are upgrading from Office 97 to Office 2000.

    2. Office 2000, upon installation, installed other parts than WOrd, PowerPoint, Excel. OK.... I understand that Office is "more" than simply those applications. However, I would like to know if there is a way to ONLY have the three applications I want installed by the install process -- and, I have not found a path to do that. So, once again, I have more hard-disk space used than I would like (on my laptop...).

      Also: The "other matters" that Office installed, without my asking it to, "stole" some filetypes for it to use at automatic open of those files' time. For example, after install of Office, the automatic open of a JPG (JPEG) file was no longer PaintShop Pro -- but, rather, Open found an Office application. I did not appreciate this -- and, I changed the automatic open back to the previous default (PaintShop Pro).

    3. The very first file I tried to use with Word 2000 failed. The file was from Office 97 Word 97 -- and, it was not able to be processed by Word 2000.

      I contacted Microsoft support, explained the situation to them and they responded "change the file to text format" and it will be OK! I was quite surprised they could not find the reason for the Word 2000 problem.

      I investigated, and the error is related to the way I defined the header. I modified the header to meet what Word 2000 could handle and will eventually see if Microsoft can come up with a better answer for me.

    4. Other than the above Word 2000 problem with my header definition, the products Word 2000, PowerPoint 2000, and Excel 2000 seem to run fine. We see..... later.

  • Maintenance matters that came up this month.

    Some matters worth mentioning include:

    1. I had to send a display back to the display manufacturer. I had owned the unit for about two years and it had a three year warranty. The display was from AOC corporation and I am happy to say that they handled the matter fine and the cost to me was as I expected: About $35 shipping one way from Raleigh to Atlanta.

      Note: It is worth saving, if you can, computer boxes and shipping material from key products you own. I know, in some case, it is difficult to store such material -- but, if you can: Do it! It will make things easy if you need to ship something back for warranty reasons.

    2. America Online: I am not having any luck with America Online's current version 6 on Windows 2000 in the area of Address Book upgrade from version 5. Although version 6 seems to run OK, I will stick with version 5 until the Address Book matter is fixed. Let me know if you are running America Online version 6 on Windows Professional and you successfully upgraded your version 5 Address Book.

      Note: When you upgrade an America Online version, check your "MY AOL" Preferences. I normally have to reset some of the options. Take the time to check your upgraded values.

      Reminder: Don't forget that you can ask America Online to not bother you with window "pop ups" and selected other marketing information. Go to My AOL, Preferences, Marketing.

      Another reminder: Don't forget to modify My AOL, Preferences, Download to point to a directory you prefer the downloaded files to go to. For your info, this is also the default directory America Online will use if you are using the Web space America Online offers you through its My FTP Space support.

Contact SCScompA if you have any comments or questions about the above.

Another example of Viewing Digital Camera Pictures using HTM (Web page) parameters.

I am sure that many of you will be using your camera as year 2000 ends. I am also sure some cameras will be digital. Or, some of your paper/photographer-developed pictures will be determined something you want to scan. In either case, the pictures could end up on your home PC.

Once on your home PC you may decide to point to the images by using a basic HTM-format file. The entire "package" of images and the HTM-format file that can be used to easily view the pictures could be placed on some Web space your Internet provider (in my case: America Online) offers free to you and, in turn, other friends/family that have access to the Internet could easily view the pictures and share discussions/thoughts with you.

Or you could simply send (using a mailed floppy disk, for example -- or as an eMail attachment) the complete package of your images and the HTM file to your friends/family for their viewing on their home computer.

As I have mentioned and demonstrated in earlier newsletter, this process is very doable by a home computer user and I encourage you to give it a try. Remember: SCScompA has a lab exercise you may use to assist you in learning how to do this if you need assistance.

To see this month's example of pictures shown by a Web browser processing a basic HTM file, click on: Selected Holiday Pictures Nov-Dec 2000.

Don't hesitate to contact with any comments on the above or for any related discussion.


Freecell Game/Deal of the Month

We continue, in our household, doing Freecell deals from 1-to-32000! We will NOT accomplish this task. We know that. However, as we go along in our for-fun-effort, yet frustration... I will mention once in awhile specific Freecell deals we find challenging.

Note: If you are running your PC on Windows 98, it is possible you have to specifically install Freecell. Just install Accessories/Games.

Let me know if this Freecell game and the number of times we had to restart to solve the deal is about what you find. If you are going to attack deals 1-to-32000 and want to interact with us in that regard, let me know what thousand-or-so you are going to start with. We have completed deals through 1200. Now, we are attacking 1001-to-2000 and I would recommend you start with 2001! At the rate we are going (a little more than 100 deals a month) it will only take us 24 more years to complete the 32000 deals without your help. If you let us know what you have completed, it will take us less time!

I am adding to this column in the newsletter a few "easy" games that we found during the month.

    Deals we completed in one start and view as "easy"-but-still-fun games this month:

  • Freecell Deal Numbers: 1373, 1375, 1466, 1528
  • Other deals we found interesting-and-not-too-hard this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):

  • Freecell Deal Numbers: 1418(1), 1413(2), 1441(3), 1515(4)
  • A different type of deal was:

  • Freecell Deal Number: 1506.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 7

    A tough set of deals, we found this month, are deals: 1481-thru-1488. It took us seventeen restarts to complete the nine deals, with three of the nine deals requiring no restarts. If you try this stretch of nine deals, let me know if you can complete the nine deals with less than seventeen restarts and how many deals you find in the nine deals you complete without a restart.

    Deal 598 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-1006.

    Deal 1123 is the easiest deal, in our opinion, that we have found so far.

Let me know how YOU do!

If you want to see our list of Freecell Deals 1-thru-what we are working on now and our comments on how many times we had to restart the deal to find a solution, let me know -- or click on: SCScompA Freecell Table of Completed Deals

To contact me about anything on this Web page, please: send mail to:

Or send snail-mail to:

P.O. Box 58223
Raleigh NC 27658


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