Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: July 1, 2001

Welcome to my monthly newsletters. Once again, I delayed the newsletter to mid-month. If you have not seen the June newsletter (it had been delayed to mid-June) please take a look at it in its final format when you have a chance.

July, in this part of the world is hot/humid -- and, wonderful. I hope you are having a good season where you are, as well!

I encourage you to browse earlier SCScompA newsletters if you have not already done so, and to send me any comments/questions/concerns that you may have regarding material presented in these newsletters.

I mentioned in last month's newsletter that my Microtek 3-year-old scanner had given out. I replaced it with a Microtek ScanMaker V6UPL (cost was about $140 USA) and so far I am pleased with it. I had some struggles at the beginning -- but, now it is working as I hoped it would. More, on the scanner, later in this newsletter.

In any case, as usual, another couple of comics from this month (scanned on the Microtek ScanMaker V6UPL).

Take Time to Smell the Roses

I love that expression -- and I try to do that once in awhile -- but, as the following shows: There is a time for not taking time, as well!

Take Time to Clean Up -- Well, I did it Once!

I, for sure, can identify with this comment!


I hope you have a good month of using -- and, I wish you have continued success with -- your home computing systems.

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

Dave Shogren
eMail to:



I am asked quite often why I use Freecell. Well, I enjoy it! A Freecell-break once in awhile never hurt me....

Often, however, people ask me: "What is Freecell? Therefore, I thought that I would take the opportunity of my families' completing the first 2000 (of 32000) Freecell deals as distributed by Microsoft to give a brief description of Freecell in this newsletter.

Just skip this part of the newsletter if you are familiar with Freecell yourself.

Freecell, on the PC, is distributed at no-charge with Windows from Microsoft. In some cases, your PC may not have Freecell if the person who installed the operating system (Windows) chose to not install "games". In that case, you can install the "games" from your installation disk if you know how to do that -- or, ask someone to assist you.

If you are uncertain if you have Freecell, you should be able to see by:

  • Clicking on:

    Start-->Programs-->Accessories-->Games and see if Freecell is listed there.

    If it shows up, give it a click and it will start!

    If the above path is not on your Windows' system, see if someone can assist you by either finding Freecell from another path or copying Freecell from some other operating system to yours.

  • You also (I have never done this, but I have heard it is possible to find different versions of Freecell on the Web) can search the Web and see if you find a non-charge or other version of Freecell you like.

    The rest of this newsletter item assumes you have Freecell from the no-charge Microsoft operating system installation effort.

Once Freecell has started, a panel will appear similar to the one on the left (below) and if you click on Game you will have some different possibilities (New Game or Select Game):

The version of non-charge Freecell from Microsoft that I use has 32000 deals. The good news: If you play a particular deal (such as deal 1) today: It will be the same deal (1) that other persons play.

This allows you to discuss a deal with other friends/family members.

The deal number shown in the above panel is a random number that appeared when I clicked on Select Game.

The deal shown below is when I selected deal 7647. See if you get the same panel when you select deal 7647. You should!

Use Game-->Select Game and select deal 1. It should be the same as the following. (You will be asked if you want to "Resign" the previous game. OK! Resign it!!!! You can come back to it anytime.)

Once you have a deal (such as deal 1, above) you can use the Freecell Help to assist you in getting started. However, a few quick comments:

  • The object is to move all the cards to the upper-right four slots, "stacking" the cards up within their own color/suit starting with the Ace, then the two, then the three, and so on.

    You can only move a card to the upper-right slots if the card is at the bottom of the eight stacks -- or, if the card is in one of the four upper-left slots.

    Once you move a card into the upper-right slots, you cannot bring the card back out of the upper-right slots.

  • The four upper-left slots are work areas. Only one card can be in a work area slot at a time.

    You may bring a card back out of the upper-left slot anytime it is possible to "play" that card. "Playing" a card means, in this case, that it is either:

    • Placed at the bottom of one of the eight stacks.


    • Placed at the top of one of the four upper-right slots.

  • You can "play" a card by placing it in numbered sequence, black/red or red/black as in many games of card solitaire.

  • You may move from the bottom of one of the eight stacks to another of the eight stacks any number of numbered black/red or red/black sequences (multiple cards) with a single move.

    However.... Freecell needs some work area to move multiple cards! Therefore, if you do not have sufficient free upper-left work areas or open stacks (one or more of the eight stacks are empty) Freecell will let you know you do not have enough room for it to move your multiple-cards.

    That is why I often lose.... I am not careful in "saving" room in the upper-left work areas. I wish you better luck.

  • You lose the game when you cannot move a card from either the bottom of the eight stacks or from one of the four upper-left work area slots and all of the cards are not in the upper-right slots.

  • You win when all of the cards are in the upper-right slots.

Give it a try, starting with deal 1. In the following panel, I started by moving the red 3 to one of the work areas, then the red 2 to one of the other work areas. The game of Freecell then moved the aces to the top-right slots for me and moved the black two to its appropriate ace.

See that a similar action by you ends up as follows.

Now, see if you can complete deal 1. Good luck!

Eventually, when the panel looks as follows, you have won deal 1!

You have, now, only 31,199 left to complete!

I hope that this overview, if you have not used Freecell previously, helped you to give it a try. I use Freecell once in awhile because:

  • It is fun!
  • It has no stress level!
  • It is a good way, when I work with people who are not experienced with using a PC mouse, for them to gain confidence in using the mouse.
  • I want to someday complete all 32,000 deals, keeping track of how many times I had to restart a deal.

    At the end of this Web page and at the end of each monthly newsletter I report Freecell deals-of-the-month in my experience.

    I have never been able to complete deal 598. Others in my family have completed it. Someday, for me!

    Good luck in your use of Freecell. Let me know how you have done.

Contact SCScompA regarding the above discussion: I am interested in your comments and in knowing if the topic fits your needs. I also have lab exercises that assist you in better understanding the approaches used if you have need of such assistance.

Comments on Installation/Use of a New Replacement Scanner

Three years ago I purchased a Microtek ScanMaker E3 Plus scanner. I was happy with Microtek and when the E3 recently had a problem I decided to replace the E3 with a replacement Microtek product.

Why do I mention this? Well, I wanted to mention a few things that happened during the replacement effort. Perhaps you will run into similar things. In summary:

  • The 3-year old scanner gave to me the indication it was not working by reporting to me an error message that resolved down to "Check the Scanner Lamp or the ciruit board" -- and, naturally, not scanning the desired item! I did not know how to see if the bulb was, in fact, the problem -- but, headed down the "see if I can get a new bulb" path. I, for sure, could not check out the circuit board of the scanner.

    I called Microtek after I checked their online error messages / help and asked if they sold replacement bulbs. I was told they did not, but I could send the scanner in for checking/possibly fixing.

    Since the cost of packing/shipping is more than I could justify for a $100 3-year-old product, I decided to see if I could fix the bulb myself, even while knowing it might not be the bulb. (Reminder: Save your PC and PC-connected equipment's boxes if possible -- even for a couple of years -- in case you need to ship something somewhere. Granted, you need some room to save boxes even if you collapse the boxes for storage, but it is convenient to have the original cartons available if needed).

    I removed the bulb from the scanner, following the procedure recommended by information from the Microtek Web page. No problem, in that regard.

    I telephoned local light suppliers and asked if they had a bulb matching the one I removed. I was happy to find one.

    After picking up the bulb and replacing it into the 3-year-old scanner: No luck. The scanner error message was the same: "Check the bulb" -- or, it could be a more severe problem.

  • OK. A more severe problem than the bulb could not be justified to send the 3-year-old ScanMaker E3 Plus back to Microtek and I decided to purchase a new scanner.

    I used the Microtek Web page support to find a scanner I felt comfortable to purchase and telephoned them to do the purchasing.

    I purchased a Microtek ScanMaker V6upl to replace the 3-year-old scanner. Cost, including shipping, was about $135 USA.

  • The Microtek ScanMaker V6upl came with parallel connection support and USB connection. My home PC does not support USB at this time -- so, I needed the parallel support.

    I was able to use the parallel cable I already had. (Reminder: When you purchase a device (Printer, scanner, etc.) to connect to your PC, don't forget to make certain you have cables).

  • I downloaded the latest scanner drivers for the new-to-me Microtek ScanMaker V6upl scanner from the Microtek Web page. (Reminder: I always recommend you download the latest drivers for printers/scanners/etc. when you purchase a new product).

    The sales person had told me over the phone that the scanner I was purchasing would be supported by Windows 2000 Professional. Also, the Microtek Web page said the scanner would be supported.

  • After installing the new scanner and the latest drivers (software), I had some inconsistencies. It seemed to work a couple of times -- and, then not work. I was not sure if the error was something I was doing, something in the Microtek driver I downloaded, or something in Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional.

    I called the sales people from Microtek. They said I would have to talk with product support. Made sense to me -- but, they could not transfer my phone call: I was no longer a pre-sale customer (during the early pre-sale call I was easily transferred). OK.... every company has its policies..... but, I had only purchased my scanner from them a few days earlier.... Anyway:

    Eventually I talked with product support and described the situation -- and was told they had discovered some reasons that the scanner I bought was not supported by Windows 200 Professional at this time! Well, I was not pleased.

    They said I could ship the product back to them within 30 days.

  • I am happy to report, even though they said the scanner I purchased would not work/be supported on Windows 2000 Professional, it ends up that I was able to get it to work fine and it has been working fine for the past three weeks.

    How did I get it to work consistently? I don't know! I removed and re-installed the same drivers/software and it worked.

    Summary: Try to get the correct driver/software for any new devices and, then, when you get the product to work: Try not to change things other than "normal" Microsoft Windows' updates. Also, when you have new hardware connected to your PC, try to have someone assist you who knows how to download the latest support from the Web, etc.

    So far, so good!

  • The Microtek ScanMaker V6upl has support for a "Go" button. In theory (I guess! I do not use the button) the Microtek software together with the Microtek hardware is intended to make things easy for the user: Just place the scanned item in the top of the scanner -- and press the Go button.

    Also, if the scanner is turned off, the new Microtek support application has Windows "pop ups" that popped up on my display if I turn the power off on the scanner. Well, I happen to often turn the power off of my external devices. So --

    I do not like that approach. I prefer to have "control" when I use a scanner and not use a "single button".

    If the Go button support works for you: Fine.

    However, what I ended up doing was find the Microtek-provided support for monitoring the status of the connected scanner and stopping that support from working.

    I, then, use the Microtek ScanMaker V6upl in a similar way as I did my 3-year-old scanner. I drive the scanner with an application I choose to use, rather than the software provided by Microtek for the Go button. I use PaintShop Pro for scanned items/photos and I use Caere Omnipage Wizard for scanning text. These two applications call the Microtek driver/"low-level" support to do the scanning.

The intent of the above is only to pass on some matters that came up as I replaced my scanner. If you run into similar situations with a new scanner you install, I encourage you to (if needed) have someone who knows a little about hardware/software/Windows to assist you.

One last matter related to my new scanner:

  • We have talked in past newsletters about "DPI" (Dots Per Inch") and levels of scanning details. In the current Microtek support, they use the term "PPI" (Pixels per inch) instead of DPI.

    I use 100 PPI for most scanned work.

    I use 300 PPI for photos and other matters I want to scan in detail.

    I, personally, am OK with a maximum of 300 PPI and it works for my home-computer use and online/PC display of scanned items and printing of scanned items.

    The Microtek ScanMaker V6upl supports additional levels of detail -- but, the scanned items over 300 PPI simply are larger in size/detail than I need.

    Let me know what level of detail you use for your scanned work.

Contact SCScompA regarding the above discussion: I am interested in your comments and in knowing if the topic fits your needs. I also have lab exercises that assist you in better understanding the approaches used if you have need of such assistance.

This Month's Example of Viewing Scanned and/or Digital Camera Pictures using HTM (Web page) parameters.

In many of my newsletters, I show a few examples of using an HTM-type approach at sharing photographs or other material including scanned images with family/friends.

To see this month's example click on: This Month's Photograph Examples from SCScompA.


If you clicked on the above, let me know what the download/display times are. I try to keep the displayable time to be less than 5 minutes with a 56KB Internet connection modem. Naturally if you have a high-speed connection: Great!

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

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

  • Miscellaneous matters.

    • Unwanted eMail.

      In a few other newsletters, I have discussed eMail courtesy and some other related matters.

      Unfortunately, we cannot assume all people who use the Web/Internet and eMail are courteous. In fact, we cannot assume anything about people who use the Web/Internet and eMail.

      What we can, for certain, know: There are some people who use the Web/Internet who try to do things we would prefer they not do.

      Recently I have been receiving unpleasant eMails from places/IDs that I, for certain, have never visited Web-wise or otherwise.

      I cannot understand why someone/someID with whom I have never interacted with - nor invited - feel they need to cause unpleasantness. I fully understand that what is "unpleasant" to me may not be unpleasant to them. Yet, there is an understanding of what "decency" is (at least in my family/friends' circles). I know such a definition is difficult to come up with for all persons. Why someone tries to force their "decency" definition on me is a question I will never get an answer to nor wish to discuss with them. It would be a senseless discussion, I am quite sure.

      Based upon the approach the strange-to-me eMails use, I am guessing that the senders of the eMail find the America Online IDs I control and, in turn, send unwanted eMails and hoped-for-comebacks-from-my-IDs. How they "discover" my America Online IDs is not important. They do.

      There probably is a law against what they are doing, but trying to enforce such a law is very difficult in the world of the Web/eMail/Internet.

      It appears, from the eMail messages that I have been getting unsolicited over the past two weeks, that the applications/strange people who generate the unsolicited/unwanted eMails not only want to cause inconvenience but also want the user of my IDs to "get back to them" with some comment. No way!

      In the case of America Online, the America Online Mail Control's path is of value in these cases and I make use of that. It takes some time, and I wish it was not necessary, but as a reminder to you in case you also run across unwanted/unasked-for eMail at your IDs:

      • Never respond to their eMail.

      • Assuming you can find the sender of the eMail's address without responding to them: Make a note on paper of their address.

      • If you are on America Online, use the path of:

        Mail-->Mail Controls and from there, block their IDs from sending you further messages. You can, even, block their "internet domain" from sending you messages. I do that, in some cases.

      I will not, for now, publish in these newsletters what IDs I block. I am considering doing that -- but, first I want to see if this pattern of unwanted/unsolicited eMails continues. I have been using the Web/Internet/eMail for many years and this is the first time I have been attacked in this way.

      America Online also has told me that if I want them to investigate such messages to Forward the messages with a small comment to the America Online id: TOSEMAIL1. I do that, when I feel the unwanted/unsolicited eMail is not only unfortunate -- but, also is illegal. If you want more information about TOSEMAIL1 and you are an America Online user you may use keyword TOSEMAIL1 for that additional information.

      Enough unpleasantness. Let's move on to other matters!

    I only mention the following items in brief. If you want more information or to discuss any of the items in more detail with me, don't hesitate to contact me by eMail.

    • A good Web page I used this month:

      Nando times. I have mentioned in other newsletters that I read the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper's Web page daily -- and, I sometimes browse my local newspaper's (Raleigh News&Observer) Web site . This month, I had a reason to look at the Nando Times' Web page. Nando Times is the Web "master" for both the Minneapolis and Raleigh paper's Web page and, as I expected, the Nando Times was a well-organized, easy to use, news resource. Give it a look when you get a chance:

    • Other Web pages I use and can recommend:

      I made good use of the official Web page for the British Open golf tournament ( I continue to be happy with how the real time scoring and news is handled by the major golf Web pages and I will use the USA's Web page during August for the USA's PGA golf championship.

      I also continue to make good use of Web radio by listening to the Minnesota Twins' baseball games using RealPlayer Plus and its relationship with If you work on your PC and have some good headphones, I can recommend an hour-or-so of USA's baseball games once in awhile! Why not?

      I had occasion to use Land's End's Web page and its use of a "Virtual Model" to assist in clothes/product choice. If you have not tried one of these virtual model approaches, try it sometime. Lands End's is at Once there, look for the Virtual Model path.

      Contact me if you have need of additional information or otherwise want to discuss any of the above items in more detail.

  • Updated comment on mouse-clicking and Enter key,

    I mentioned this matter last month. As I went along with my PC use since that time, I find myself more-and-more using the Enter key to initiate items that I have single-clicked on. Why do I mention this again this month? Well, last month I should have mentioned the following:

    • If you have a panel showing on your display and the panel has multiple options for you to choose, you will often find that the default option is "highlighted". In many cases, the options are offered are buttons. If the button that you want is outlined or otherwise highlighted, you may press Enter rather than mouse clicking. Or in some cases you may use the tab key to move the option from one button (option) to another prior to using the Enter key.

      Or, use the PC mouse!

      The following shows a couple of these situations.

      Pressing the Enter key in the left-side situation will result in Word closing the current document. Pressing the Enter key in the right-side situation will result in a Blank Document being opened and OK being the selected option. If I pressed the Tab key prior to pressing the Enter key I would be offered the chance to Cancel the frame.

    I, just, find myself using the keyboard more than I used to rather than the mouse. Perhaps, it is just me!

  • Maintenance matters that came up this month.

      Other than encouraging you think about backing up your user-data (remember: Your PC will break some day), nothing came up this month other than replacing my scanner -- and, we talked about that earlier in this newsletter. So: Back up your user data if you have not already done so!

    Have a good, maintenance-free time until we talk again.

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


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 2000. Now, we are attacking 2001-to-3000 and I would recommend you start with 3001! At the rate we are going (a little more than 100 deals a month) it will only take us 22 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: 1968, 1988
  • Other deals we found interesting-and-not-too-hard this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):

  • Freecell Deal Numbers: 1997(0), 1971,1989(1), 1967,1976,1995(2)
  • A different type of deal was:

  • Freecell Deal Number: 1980.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 7

    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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