Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: June 1, 2000

I hope your summer is starting out well! (Now that I said that, I guess where you live you may be starting the winter!).

Here, in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA we are just starting the really warm part of the year (average daytime high temp is 90 deg. F).

In any case -

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

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


Some Comments Regarding Getting Started with the Internet and eMail

The lab exercise I updated this month was "Examples of Getting Started With and Using America Online and the Internet". As I worked on the material, I also updated the following comments. Let me know your view/opinion of the comments. I use the material as an introduction and talk/discussion session early in the lab exercise. The discussions of the matters can be quite interesting since the matters have a number of interpretations.

From the SCScompA Lab Exercise 10: "Examples of Getting Started With and Using America Online and the Internet":

The following matters are intended as a checklist as you begin using America Online or some other Internet service. Browse the following and discuss any of them which are not clear to you -- or, for any other reason you may wish to discuss them -- with your lab support person. Discussion of the following is not critical to completion of the lab exercise - but, your understanding of these matters are important to your successful use of the wonderful world of the Internet and eMail! Contact SCScompA for further information.

Comments Regarding Internet Use and eMail

  1. Although this item is not limited to the Internet and eMail matter: Backup your user data often. Included in this user data is not only your "file" data (such as Word documents, pictures you have saved, and other non-Internet-related matters) but, also, eMail you have received/sent and important data you have downloaded. You may need the eMail and download information for home business reasons at a later date. Use as a guideline: “The PC system will break/crash today and I will lose whatever is on the system”. Backup your user data offline and even, sometimes, offsite to the PC. Use backup media such as Zip disks, writeable CDs, or even 3 ˝ inch floppies. Re-building your PC in a disastrous situation is easy from the operating-system point of view. Your user data (including "old" eMail, address books, favorites, etc.) is the critical and often less-paid-attention-to item PC users take care of.

  2. When using America Online or your Internet provider, use the rule “No”, “Cancel”, “Not Interested” as a default when asked for any marketing information or products online that you have not asked for. There are exceptions, naturally, but generally: Say no! Use as a guideline how you respond to non-solicited telephone calls.

  3. If you have an eMail incoming message in your mailbox and you do not know the sender: Delete it. Don’t even open it up. Use as a guideline what you do with mail that arrives at your home’s post box. Do you open a letter from someone you don’t know? There are exceptions to this “never open” rule, but use it as a guideline. Basically, if the message was important and you eventually know the sender, they can easily resend the message to you.

  4. If you open an eMail incoming message from someone you do not know: NEVER download something that is attached to the eMail message. No matter what the eMail message says: DO NOT download anything attached to a message if you do not know the sender who was identified when you open/read the message. There are exceptions to this “never download” rule, but use it as a guideline. If the downloadable file was important and you eventually know the sender, they can easily resend the message and file to you.

  5. When you "go to" the Internet and access a Web page, be very careful about using your credit card for purchasing something. Use as a guideline: "Do I know/trust the owner of the Web page? Would I purchase something from this owner using a credit card if he/she was located in a local store and I walked into his/her shop?" This situation is similar to what exists when you are giving your credit card number over the telephone. Again: If you know/trust the person "at the end of the line" you normally are OK.

  6. When you “go to” the Internet and access a Web page, be aware that if you are asked for your eMail address, you will probably be receiving later some unsolicited eMail. Your ID may, also, be sold to other companies. Normally, you can “turn off” unsolicited eMail later on if it bothers you, but you can limit this situation by using as a guideline: “Do I want the person asking me for my ID to send me, later, an unsolicited/marketing message or sell/give away my eMail ID?” If so, then letting them know your eMail address is normally OK. This situation is similar to how you handle telephone calls/solicitations at your home. Use similar guidelines when you are on the Internet.

  7. If you enter an Internet chat room, always use as a guideline whatever is your rule for talking with strangers. A chat room environment is often similar to your walking into the shopping mall of your town, sitting at a bench, and talking to whoever sits next to you or walks by.

  8. When you set up your Internet provider’s (such as America Online’s) environment and user defaults, consider the “Childproof” options for user IDs and Internet connections. Discuss with other family members some considerations for Internet and chat room use. Use as a guideline the discussions you have within the family for behavior and access to any public place such as shopping centers, anywhere discussions can take place between family members and strangers, and bookstores. It is important the home user of the Internet discuss these matters and parents use what controls are reasonable in their view. It is also important that younger family members participate in discussions for setting up any controls and that family members understand why any decisions about controls are being made. Keys: Reasonableness, Discussions, and Understanding. The environment is similar to what the family members participate in when going “on their own” to shopping malls and other public places. Internet access is quite the same.

  9. When you set up your Internet provider’s (such as America Online’s) defaults, ask for no unsolicited marketing information.

Understand, and use, the above guidelines -- together with your common sense -- and you will be able to fully enjoy and appreciate Internet, the Web, eMail, and related matters.

If you have any comments/questions or want the SCScompA lab exercise mentioned above, let me know (

Using the PC to Store/Save/Look-at Old Family/Other Photographs and Other-Such Material

This month we had occasion to go through some material that resulted in my finding some old photographs. Photographs that are put into a drawer, box, or album on a shelf somewhere are saved and are valuable treasures for the family and other interested persons. I do not mean to imply that having some/all of the families' photographic treasures stored on and accessible by a PC can replace "the real thing". However, there are some advantages and reasons to try to save/place such items on the PC. Some reasons include:
  • It may be easier to find something (a picture, etc.) on a PC -- if your PC is organised!
  • It may be easier to show/share something (pictures, etc.) with other family members and friends -- if you make it easy to share the information. For example, through an HTM file (you are pointed to an example, below).
  • It may be easier to pass on something (pictures, etc.) with upcoming generations of the family if you have the material in machine-readable (PC-type) format. Especially if you write something as you take the time to store the material on your PC.
  • It may be easier to store something (pictures, etc.) on a PC to supplement (NOT TO REPLACE!) the "real thing". Nothing can replace touching/holding/sharing the memories of actual photographs or other family treasures. The PC -- and, for example, an HTM file pointing to the PC material -- can be of value. It CANNOT replace any "real thing".

    Important note: After you store the material on the PC, make certain you BACKUP the stored material on external storage such as a ZIP disk or a writeable CD. Also, do this backup on a regular (at least once a day) basis as you do your scanning and documenting. Save the backed-up material OFFSITE sometimes!

  • It may be FUN to gather/store/comment-on something (pictures, etc.) external and put it on the PC.

    Even if no one else, immediately/or ever!, looks at what you have done!!!

A few things are needed to store something (pictures, etc.) on the PC.

  • PC. If you have purchased a PC similar to what we have talked about in earlier newsletters, you have the PC and necessary software.
  • Scanner. An inexpensive item ($100 -to- $300 depending on what you purchase). I use one in the $100 range.
  • Time. Well, we all have time.... it is TAKING the time to do things (on rainy days, etc.) that is the challenge. Plus, we don't have to be in a hurry! We are doing this for ourselves -- and, if anyone else (family or friends, etc.) wants to view what we have done: OK! However, saving "old stuff" is generally something we do for ourselves!
  • PC-knowledge enough to do the scanning, storing of the scanned images, and writing an HTM file or something to show/comment-on the material. I, personally, have not met the PC user who could NOT do this, with some help. I believe anyone who can operate a PC could do this -- with some help to get started. Age -- young or old -- any family member who can operate the PC could do the scanning, saving, and even the HTM work (possibly, without a lot of comments on what the photographs/material includes). I believe this is NOT an age-restrictive matter!!!
  • Knowledge of the material for the comments on what is scanned/stored. This is a challenge - and, can contribute to the fun aspect. If knowledge about the material is not available: We just leave the comment blank!
  • A backup media and taking the time to backup what is scanned/documented. I know that I mention this a lot -- but, backup is very important. It is not fun to do things multiple times because you neglected to backup! Just do it.....

To see an example of the results of doing the above for a few photographs we ran across this month as we went through some family treasures, click on: Family Treasure Examples


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. For now, we are attacking 1-to-1000 and I would recommend you start with 1001! We are up to deals around 600. 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!

  • Freecell Deal Number: 530.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 4

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

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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