Newsletter Comments from SCScompA

Newsletter Date: March 1, 2000

The snow is gone... the temperatures are rising in this part of the world... and the Dogwoods are soon waking up. They are on schedule for their annual April 6 "outing" in the Raleigh area.

From a practical point of view, related to matters I have mentioned in earlier newsletters, three very good things have happened in February for my home system's use:

  1. America Online now has a beta process in place for full support of Windows 2000 and its predecessor Windows NT. As I have mentioned in earlier newsletters I have (and, I assume other Windows' users) have been looking for such a version -- even in beta form -- for some time. I signed up for the AOL Version 5 for Windows 2000 and Windows NT beta during February, immediately downloaded the version of America Online they make available to early testers: And, it has worked fine on both Windows 2000 and Windows NT. My testing has resulted in a couple of matters that I have reported to AOL -- but, no showstoppers. If you are testing America Online beta for Windows 2000 or Windows NT and want to share experiences with me, let me know. AOL does have a beta newsgroup in place and that is a good/the best path for beta users to interact; however, I am interested in knowing if those of you "out there" who are home users of PCs are interested in Windows 2000 support from America Online. I am -- and, I am a happy user so far! I am curious if any of you who are reading this are also interested in AOL and Windows 2000.

  2. Windows 2000 official version (released February 17) installed fine on the PC I use as my primary machine. I have not decided, yet, if I move from Windows NT on my laptop. I am in no hurry -- and, I will be travelling end-March so I may wait. We see how things go between now and end-March.

  3. The floppy-disk driver for my digital camera's floppy disk support was put out in beta form and it downloaded/installed fine. I have not installed the other applications which came with my digital camera and I don't know if I will -- so, at this time, I cannot tell you that all software which came with my digital camera will install/run on Windows 2000. I use the floppy disk support and PaintShop Pro with the digital images and now that the floppy disk support for Windows 2000 works fine (PaintShop Pro has worked fine on Windows 2000 since I started testing Windows 2000) I no longer have to move the digital pictures to my PC in any way other than Windows 2000.

Don't hesitate to contact me regarding any of the above matters. I am interested in what your home computer system looks like and what runs on -- or off of --- Windows 2000!

Below are some additional comments on this month's activities and matters that came up on our home computer systems.

Dave Shogren
eMail to:


America Online and a User's Information Online

This month, I wrote an SCScompA lab exercise which is aimed at assisting an America Online user with something called" "My Place".

America Online provides disk space on the AOL server machine for a home user / small business as part of the monthly charge (in my case, I have full-service -- unlimited number of hours per month -- at $19.95).

This disk space is known as "My Place" within the AOL world.

I assume, if you are NOT an AOL user, your Internet provider provides you with some space on their server, as well.

The disk space could be used by the home user for purposes such as:

  • Vacation plans or in-progress reports the home user wants to share with other family/friends who do not have easy access to the information.

  • Special family events and pictures of those events which the home user wants to share with other family/friends who, again, do not already have access to the information/pictures.

  • Other purposes? Anything you want to share with others and cannot easily pass that information onto them. The disk space that is provided by your Internet provider might be just what you need.

You are now, perhaps, thinking about security.... Well: The Internet-provided space is available to anyone who finds that you have put the information there. You may view the Internet-provided space in a way similar to an outside-your-house storage area that is unlocked. If you place something in your unlocked outside-of-your-house storage area and you tell people where that storage area is: They can get in and look at what you have there. If other people happen to walk by the outside-of-your-house storage area and they want to look in: They can. Therefore, you only put in the storage area things you don't mind other people looking at! The good news: People who look at your storage area cannot modify/change/add-to the things they look at. The Internet provider offers security for "looking" and will not let other than you modify your space.

Also: If you do not "tell" people about your outside-the-house storage area, then the chances for people other-than those whom you DO tell about the storage area may be quite small. Basically, if you TELL people the location of the outside-the-house storage area: They WILL find it. Other people MAY find it -- and, you should keep that in mind -- and only put on the Internet provider's space: Information you are "proud of" and which you believe (and the Internet provider believes!) will not offend other persons.

In any case: This Internet-provided space in America Online is known as keyword: My Place.

To use My Place, the home user -- and the lab featured this month -- could take the following path:

  1. Build a file containing text-type (words) regarding the information you are going to share with others.
  2. Associate pictures with the test-type information.
  3. Move the above two matters to the Internet-provided space (My Place, in the case of America Online).
  4. Back up the information on external media (such as a floppy) in case you need it again and you "lose" (we hope not!) your PC.
  5. Let others know the address of the information you have moved to the Internet-provided space.

The lab aimed at showing the above to a home user can be downloaded from the SCScompA web page. As with all SCScompA labs: Download it, print it off, and if you decide to use it -- send $10 to SCScompA as indicated in the lab information. No-charge eMail or phone support is provided as a result of your doing the above.

Applications I Use on Windows 2000

I know we have discussed these over the past two newsletters. This is the final list I will bother you with. I place it here for completeness since we now have moved fully to Windows 2000 in our home computer environment.
  • Interconnected-PC applications for sharing data and our printer.
  • Reflection FTP support and some standard Microsoft-provided support for FTP (file transfer).

    We use an Ethernet cable environment for our inter-computer connections.

  • Microsoft Word.
  • JASC PaintShop Pro.
  • Microsoft WordPad.
  • Netscape.
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • America Online V5 for Windows 2000.
  • Freelance Organizer.
  • Freelance Graphics.
  • Microsoft PowerPoint.
  • Smith Micro HotFax.
  • DeLorme Street Atlas USA.
  • DeLorme Phone Search USA.
  • Microsoft AutoRoute Express Europe 98. (Map, trip-route program).
  • Microtek ScanMaker E3 product and software support.
  • Caere Corporation's Omnipage support for scanning printed data (OCR-type information).
  • Handicalc Performance Tracker (Golf score reporting and handicap program).
  • Photos. We use and access photos in two ways. One, a scanner of professionally developed photo/prints. Secondly, a digital camera. We normally input the digital camera pictures to our PC by using the digital camera's support for floppy-disk media.
  • Viewing photos or other-such information or documents. I use basic HTML tags to prepare a viewing/"presentation" as part of a family/friend's review of what we are working on (such as a summary of an evening's entertainment or a recent vacation/trip).
  • Wine cellar contents. We have a home wine cellar and we use an "old" program that still works well: WineWin.
  • Games -- Primarily, card games on a PC. Freecell, Sierra Hoyle Card Games (primarily Hearts and Cribbage in my case).
  • Game: Bridge Baron.
  • Computer golf using Links LS 99.

If you want to see the SCScompA lab exercise for any particular lab exercises related to the above, send me a message or give me a call. Once you have the lab exercise and make use of the lab exercise, you send me $10 USA. Once that has happened, you may contact SCScompA for eMail support for lab exercise questions that might come up.

All lab exercises for the above applications, documentation, and support is for your running on Windows 98, Windows NT or Windows 2000.

If you want to have SCScompA work directly with you (up to 3 family members at a time) and you are in the Raleigh NC area, the cost is $25 USA per hour.

If you want assistance in purchasing a home PC for using applications such as the above and getting the PC set up in your home, SCScompA will assist you in this matter. Normal charge for this service is $150 USA. However, SCScompA and you will agree on the exact charge prior to the assistance.

Phone Search USA

I had a number of reasons to use Phone Search USA from DeLorme this month. Why? Well, I had to look up a number of different telephone numbers and I am getting "discouraged" by the fees the telephone companies are charging for information.

I have had Phone Search for awhile (it came with the DeLorme Street Atlas, which we use a few times a year) but had never, up until now, used it for a practical purpose.

I can see that there are reasons for me to keep the Phone Search data I use a lot online. How? One way would be to move the Phone Search data to the PC on hard disk space or on a zip disk. In my case, for all of North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina this looks to be 0.6 gigs of hard disk. I have not, yet, done this -- I have the disk space and I have a zip drive (as would most home users who purchased their machine in the last couple of years) -- but, I am curious to see how many of you home users out there HAVE the Phone Search date online and use it very often?

Let me know your comments on this, when you get a chance.


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. 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 550. 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: 518.
    Number of times I had to re-start to complete in lost-count moves: 6

    Deal 178 continues to be the most difficult one we found in deals 1-550.

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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