Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: June 30, 2003

Welcome to my monthly newsletters.

Well... Nearly-monthly. I miss a month once in awhile. More often, recently, than not! Someday I catch up.

In any case --

Many of you may have just started down the path of home computing, and if you are in that set of people: I encourage you to browse earlier SCScompA newsletters if you have not already done so.

All of you: Don't hesitate to send me any comments/questions/concerns that you may have regarding material presented in these newsletters.

Let's begin, as usual, the newsletter with a couple of scanned (I use a Microtek ScanMaker V6upl) comics. (I show these as a sample of scanning material and using the results of the scanning process. The scanned image has been adjusted with PaintShop Pro. For example, the scanned material ends up in the computer with a "grayness" the color of the newspaper and PaintShop Pro is used to "swap" that color with "white". Also, writing on a scanned image is shown. Your home computer system's image-processing application may be used to do similar functions).

A Legal Move and It Even Makes Sense Sometimes!

Although we hardly-ever "go backwards" intentionally.... sometimes it may be a good move. This player believed it to be so!

Good luck this summer with your decisions and moves.

We All Have Our Missions

Sometimes, our "boss" asks us to do some challenging things.


I wish you success with your use of 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:


Using a Second Computer in Your Home Computing

As the years go by, our old-faithful home computing system may be still running -- but, we decide to replace it with a newer system.

We could, before we replace it, choose to upgrade the currently installed system. After upgrading, it may serve as a wonderful "second system" for the home computer user.

Why have a second -- or third -- system? A number of reasons, including:

  • Backing up your user data from your primary machine. Yes, you need to backup your information externally (for example on CD/RW or ZIP disks). However, if the second machine is still usable, I find it convenient to store information there in-between external backup actions.

  • Using the second system for "overload" when other in-your-home users need the system for the Internet, games, report/document-writing, or other use when the primary system is being used. Yes, the second system (probably) will be slower than the primary system. However, in many situations the "slowness" is better than not being able to use a home computer system at all.

One important comment related to use of the second system: The computing use that the home computer user needs while using the second system needs to be available on that system! This is an obvious comment -- but sometimes we have a software application (game, word processing, Internet access) or hardware (for example a scanner or a particular printer) that a user becomes used to when working on the primary home computing system and, when he/she moves to the second system the expected application/hardware may not be available. Yes, we can "share" in some/many situations information across multiple home computer systems. Through local networking, it is very easy/straight-forward to share data files and printers. For scanners? Well, it is possible to get a hardware switch setup that assists in moving the scanner between systems (if the two systems are within hardware-connection reach!), but I personally do all my scanning on one system.

It is often difficult to share applications. I do not mean the "data" (for example, a Word document); I mean the application itself (such as Microsoft Word or a particular game your home-users are fond of). As a result, for a number of reasons not gone through as part of this newsletter item, I recommend just installing the key applications on both home computer systems. When doing this, it may be necessary to contact the application owner (for access to install keys) -- but, generally, for a home user it is possible to do this. If not, for those applications that the application-writer does not allow you to install on two systems (I have one such application....) it is necessary to purchase two copies of the software. A pain -- but, in some cases it is safer/more cost effective to simply get two copies of the application rather than "fight" a sharing/multiple-install battle.

One thing about most Microsoft products: As long as you are "one" home computer system, many applications are allowed to be on multiple PC systems in your home. Their install/verification procedures (telephone call for getting final install codes are cooperative/reasonable.

An overview of the second-machine environment is shown below. First, we show the existing "old" system. We have a access to the Internet, a printer, a scanner, and some applications that are important to us.

Next, we see that (on the left, shown below) we replace our "old" primary computer with a new computer -- and "move" the old computer somewhere that can be used in a backup (and/or as-needed) situation.

We make certain the new computer works with our Internet, the printer, and the scanner.

Then we check out the old computer in its new role. In this example, we make sure the applications are installed on both the new and the old computers while defining "production" folders for user data on the new machine. We install some sort of home computer network (such as an Ethernet Hub or a phone line network -- we have talked about these in other SCScompA newsletters) and copy the user data from the old system to the new system.

We can use the data (user data) primarily "on" the new system by sharing the new system's folders between the two computers by use of home networking approaches.

To use the second machine as a "backup" (data-wise) and for a spare "user system" when the primary machine is busy, it may be necessary to upgrade the old machine. Cost for the upgrades can be very justifiable -- and reasonably priced. Upgrade for the second (old) system might include:

  • Hard Disk.

    The newly-installed system's hard disk space is probably greater than your older system's. You don't need as much space on the "backup" (old system) as you have on the new. You only need to have space for online backup of key data from the new/production system -- and you only need that space for the period of time between offline backups. In my case, I backup my home computer system's key hard disk data folders once a month. So, in theory I need my "online" backup only for 1-month or so.

    However, since hard disk space is quite inexpensive, think about upgrading the backup system's hard disk space when you move it into a backup scenario.

    I do not backup my operating system or "Program files". If necessary (not often, we hope!) I just re-install the operating system and application programs if the primary system fails. Actually, as we have talked about in earlier newsletters, I should say "when" rather than "if". The primary system will fail. At the worst possible time. That is why we have a backup system/approach.

  • Memory.

    Again, the newly-installed system probably has additional memory than the older/backup system. However, again: Memory prices are not too bad just now -- so, if you have application programs that you find running slower than you would like on the backup system, consider an increase in memory before getting too frustrated with your "old" system.

  • Connection approach to your primary system.

    Your new system should already include a device for interconnection to other systems. Many users are going to a wireless network - and are doing so successfully. Many of us still use cable(s) and Ethernet. Some of us use in-house/wall-phone-wiring. Whatever you decide to us to interconnect your two systems, the approach may require you install something on your old system. Cost (especially for cables/Ethernet and an Ethernet hub for use in the home network) is not prohibitive -- and, it is necessary. In addition, the home network can be fun and a time-saver!

  • External storage/backup approach.

    Your new system probably has CD/RW. I, personally, would include a ZIP disk for backup on the new machine for a home computer user -- but, that is just something I prefer (in addition to CD/RW). Although your second (old) system need not have an external storage/backup capability: It may be a "nice to have" matter as time goes on. Again: Price is not a significant issue here.

Other matters could be discussed regarding your old/"backup" system (such as use of an "old" printer) plus the technique you choose for sharing/using the Internet with multiple home computer systems (that is a topic for upcoming newsletters when I have time) -- however, in summary:

  • When you are thinking about getting a new home computer system -- and, although my system(s) are all 4-years-old-and-still-running-fine, I certainly recommend taking advantage of today's technology and price-performance -- think about "saving" and perhaps upgrading your old/existing system and:

    Certainly, interconnect your multiple home computer systems (including your laptop!).

Don't hesitate to contact someone you trust for advice with the above matters as you move your home computer environment forward.

Shortcut Keys - Revisited Once Again

We have talked about shortcut keys in previous newsletters (see January, 2003), but the topic comes up enough as I discuss home computing with users, to mention this month as well.

Important, primarily as an ease-of-use matter. Most/all of any shortcuts may be done without the use of shortcuts. However, if your use of the computer system/keyboard is becoming more familiar to you and you have not tried using shortcut keys: Give them a chance to assist you.

Let's review what shortcut keys are: (Note: Those of you who are familiar with shortcut keys, just skip by this newsletter item.)

  • A combination of pressed keyboard keys that may be used in place of:

    A mouse click


    Other multiple keyboard strokes.

An easy (and often used!) shortcut key is for copy/paste. Assume that your keyboard is similar to the following. Holding the shown-keys down when Copy is needed and, later, then Paste is used - does the "work" of multiple mouse clicks.

Ctrl and C result in a Windows-supported Copy action.

Ctrl and V result in a Windows-supported Paste action.

Many applications support these two "standard" shortcut keys.

If you wish to, you can test the above by doing the following:

  1. Let's assume you are using a Web browser (as you read this Web page) that supports the shortcut key for Copy. (You may check this by seeing if the Web browser's Edit "pull down" shows Ctrl-C as supported for Copy as shown, below.)

    If the Copy (as shown above) does not show "black"/highlighted/active, then you have not identified anything in the shown-panel to Copy. In that case, left-button click and "hold down" the button as you identify something in the Web page (or whatever panel you are using for the test) you want to Copy. An image or some text. Whatever you prefer, for this test.

    If the Copy field in the Edit pulldown is highlighted, you have identified something to copy.

    Press, at the same time, the Ctrl and C keys.

  2. Move to another window (panel) on your desktop. For this example, let's use Microsoft Word or WordPad as the window.

    If the Paste field in the Edit pulldown is highlighted, you have previously copied something!

    Press, at the same time, the Ctrl and V keys -- and you will see the information you previously copied, now "in" the "pasted-to" application!

    You might do this, for example, to save an eMail message into Word or WordPad and, in turn, re-format the message's information (or, more likely: Part of the message's information) to be something that fits your needs and then print or save the information for later use.

    Summary: To do the above-shown copy and paste, after highlighting some information I Copy by Ctrl and C pressed at the same time, and I Paste by Ctrl and V pressed at the same time.

See the January 2003 for additional information on shortcuts. However, from that news item I repeat the following as a reminder of many shortcuts:

The shortcut keys I find that I use the most include:

  • When in a Web browser panel:

    • Alt+Back Arrow - To go Back one panel.
    • Downward Arrow - To move the panel down one line at a time ("Scrolling")
    • Upward Arrow - To move the panel up one line at a time ("Scrolling")
    • Page Up - To scroll up faster than with the arrows (more of the panel per scroll)
    • Page Down - To scroll down faster than with the arrows (more of the panel per scroll)

    Try the above on the Web page you are viewing now -- or, later!

  • When using Microsoft Word (or some other "data entry" application such as WordPad that supports the following "standard" keyboard shortcuts/hot-keys:

    • Assuming you have selected ("highlited or darkened") some text or image: Ctrl + C - Copy the selected text or image to the "Clipboard".
    • Assuming you have copied something to the "Clipboard": Ctrl + V - Paste the contents of the "Clipboard" to the current-place in the current application (such as another Word document, an eMail, or another place in the currently-worked-on panel/file).
    • Ctrl + A - Select All of the file you are working on. Handy when you want to copy all the information from your current file to another (For example, copy all the information from an eMail message and then paste all the information into a Word or WordPad document for printing/saving) or if you want to "clear out" (cut/delete) everything in a file.

    As discussed earlier in this newsletter item, there are many more of these keyboard-type (data entry) shortcuts. If you are not yet using shortcuts, try using the above when you are in Word or WordPad.

  • When I am using PaintShop Pro I use the following keyboard shortcuts the most:

    • Whatever is selected (par of an image or the entire image): Ctrl + C - Copy the selected text or image to the "Clipboard".
    • Assuming you have copied something to the "Clipboard": Ctrl + V - Paste the contents of the "Clipboard" as a new image.
    • Assuming you have copied something to the "Clipboard": Ctrl + E - Paste the contents of the "Clipboard" into the current (active) image. The newly-added "part" of an image is a new layer to an "old" image!
    • Rotate the image (or selected part of an image): Ctrl + R
    • Undo the last action: Ctrl + Z
    • Un-Select the current selection (Select "none"): Ctrl + D
    • Save the current image: Ctrl + S

Good luck with your use of shortcuts/hot-keys.

If you have any comments regarding this topic or any newsletter item, don't hesitate to contact me using

This Month's Example of Scanned Material and/or Digital Photographs

In most 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.

This month I discuss/show examples of:

  • A set of vacation-oriented images.

  • This month's Great Golf Hole.

To see this month's example click anywhere on the following image, or, on the link below the image.

Link to This Month's Photograph Examples from SCScompA (if you did not click on the above image).


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

Miscellaneous Comments Regarding Home Computer Use Matters that Came Up in June 2003

  • Miscellaneous Matters.

    Firewall "Pop ups"

    Sometimes I "take down" the Firewall. Why? A few reasons, not worth pointing out just now. Naturally, I re-start the Firewall application as soon as I have completed the task for-which I stopped the Firewall.

    In such a situation, when I start some tasks after the Firewall was restarted, I get a popup panel similar to the following:

    What do I do in such a situation?

    • Don't get nervous! Since I have a firewall application, I am happy to see that it "checks with me" before allowing an application to use the Internet (cross the firewall, in my case / this example). View the panel as a help -- and after reviewing what the panel says: Take some action.

      Pay attention to (perhaps write down for later use) the identified-in-the-firewall-panel application name. In the above example, it is: H:\WINNT\system32\services.exe

      Decide if I want to allow the application to "cross the firewall". In my case, I make the decision that if (just prior to seeing the above panel) I did something that requests the Internet -- such as start America Online -- I choose either "Yes, this time only" or "Yes, always". If I had not (within a few seconds) recently started an application, I select "No, never". If I ever select "No, not this time" I make certain that I have made a note of the application name and date/time the popup was shown -- and see if the same application comes up repeatedly.

    • If I select "Yes, always", I can choose to go to my firewall application's support panel and add the application to a list of applications that I choose to allow to cross the firewall without the firewall application warning me. An example of that panel is below:

      Although you may not be using the same Firewall application that I am, the methodology of adding/controlling "trusted applications" may be similar as McAfee's.

    What do I do if you get an application (in the popup from your Firewall application) that I am not familiar with?

    • Turn down the request! I may see later that the application's access to crossing the firewall was necessary -- but, in the meantime: I turn the application's request down.

    • Try to do some research and see if I can find out what the application's purpose-destination was.

      Yes, I may need (probably would need) some assistance in this regard.

      If the application's request comes up more than once and I cannot determine what the request is for, I make sure I have run my latest virus scan and, in turn, see if McAfee's Web page talks about this specific situation/application.

    Summary: Use your Firewall application, don't panic if you are asked about an application trying to use the Firewall, make note of applications that can be identified as trying to cross the firewall, and ask for assistance from someone you trust if there are continued challenges!

    Good luck with your use of the firewall "control" actions on your home computer system.

    Some Web pages used this past month:

    The following is a repeat from previous months. I don't have anything particular to add at this time.

    As a reminder, to those of you who are new to my newsletters, I use the following regularly (I am intentionally not making the following information clickable. Just enter the addresses into your Web browser's "go to" field if you wish to go there now. Perhaps use copy/paste from this Web page's following information). In any case, for information, my most-used Web pages this month include:

    • for USA's top Pro baseball listening. The audio, this year, is around $20 USA for the entire season (as compared with $13 a year ago). For me? It is a good investment! I enjoy listening to the Web radio broadcasts of baseball and if you are a baseball fan I can recommend it. I use my laptop in the evening and my primary PC for day games. I listen to about an hour a day of over 100 games a year (primarily the Minnesota Twins' games).

    • for USA's top Pro American-football game listening. I listen to the Minnesota Vikings each time they play and I am on the Web. The Web radio support for the games (no fees are charged in 2002) has been reliable and much enjoyed. If your Internet connection costs are not time-related, give Web radio a try for your sport of choice.

    • If you are a golfer: In the November/December 2002 USGA's bi-monthly publication "Golf Journal" is a pointer to: and the newly-redesigned Web page related to USGA's handicapping. If you are interested in golf course ratings, golf handicapping, and related information give the page a look. I have only briefly checked it out so far, but it appears to be a lot of information readily available for golf-handicap-information needs.

    • Search engine of my choice: Primarily, Google:
    • USA Newspaper (Minneapolis Star Tribune):
    • Europe Newspaper in English (Edinburgh Scotland, Scotsman):
    • Europe Newspaper in German (Zurich Switzerland):
    • America Online's support for: "Business News", My Portfolios", "Movies" (Reviews), "Top News".
    • Weather:

    There are, naturally, other Web pages I used as the month went by -- but, the above I use on a daily basis.

    Let me know what Web pages you use on a daily basis.

    Maintenance Matters.

    This area is a repeat from previous newsletters -- but it is worth continuing to include in current newsletters as well. I apologize for the repetition, but the topic is important.

    • As mentioned earlier in many of my newsletters: I recommend you have the latest vender-recommended software (operating system and primary applications) maintenance and security support. If you need assistance in this topic, don't hesitate to ask someone you trust.

    • Once again, nothing "dramatic" came up this month maintenance-wise on my systems. As a reminder, however:

      Backup any of your user files / folders that contain information that you do not want to recreate. Remember: Your PC and/or its hard disk will break... You will have to, eventually, (probably at the worst possible moment!) recreate your user-data from your backup media.

      Backup your key user-data on external media -- and, once in awhile store that external media "offsite" in case of a major disaster at your home. I realize this sounds extreme -- but, I recommend you take the time for offsite backup of your user data every six months or whenever you feel comfortable doing so. Where? Perhaps at a friend or relative's house that you trust will not be bothered by the material. I even know of some users who place the backup data once a year-or-so in a safe deposit box. Offsite backup is not a casual matter to either ignore nor "manage". However, I recommend you do it if your home computer system involves user data that you do not want to start from scratch recreating.

      • I use a second PC (an older system that I use primarily for saving data) for backing up daily information.
      • I use a ZIP disk as my backup media for external backup.
      • I backup daily any file I work on (such as a Word presentation) more than 1 hour.
      • I backup monthly all my user files/folders.
      • I backup monthly all other family member's user files/folders that are on my PC.

        I remind other family members who use our family PC that if they want more-than-one-month backups of something they are working on, they need to ask me to back up specific files/folders.

    • The latest McAfee XDAT (file for use by McAfee in identifying viruses) I have downloaded and installed use virus definitions 4.0.4279 dated 07/09/2003.

      I recommend that whatever virus protection service you use, you check at least once a month for virus updates.

    • For Microsoft Internet Explorer, I have installed the latest security fixes from the Microsoft Web pages for IE6.

    • For Windows 2000 I installed SP3. Make certain you check with the Microsoft Web page and the Security section once in awhile. Have someone assist you if you are not interested in this topic but feel you should be more security conscious than you currently now are!

      I recommend if you are running Windows that you upgrade to Internet Explorer V6 if you have not already done so and, in addition, try to keep up with Microsoft's security updates for Internet Explorer V6 as well as for your operating system.

      I also installed the made-available end-August 2002 Microsoft Office application update.

      Have someone assist you if you are not certain how to obtain/install the latest updates, pointed to by the Microsoft home page.

    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 these FreeCell games 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 "special" 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 Number: 2773, 2798 (Both, we found, quite easy - but fun! - in one deal). Other deals that had no restarts but were interesting included: 2723, 2756, 2762, 2775, 2795, 2799.
  • Other deals we found interesting this month (number of times to restart is in parentheses):
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2735, 2753, 2766, 2777 (1), 2739, 2780, 2781 (2)
  • Another different type of deal was:
    FreeCell Deal Number: 2772.
    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 1-2000. I have met someone who completed this in 1 deal! Congratulations!!!! I have never completed it.

    Deal 1941 has become "famous" to me. If you have not tried it, give it a try and let me know how many tries it takes you to complete it.

  • Deal 1123 is the easiest deal, in our opinion, that we have found so far, with 2018 being second-easiest in our opinion. Another easy deal in our experience is: 2597

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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