By Cliff Millward, Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
Ever been in a car or train looking out the window and something close to the car or train whizzed by blurring your perception? Your first reaction, probably, was to lurch back far enough to gain a better view of the rocketing object. Only then did your senses succeed in perhaps recognizing the entity.
Every get that same feeling when you read or talk to someone about the recent advances in computing? If you are like me, I'm sure you have been in this situation many times.
My youngest son is in charge of networking for a small company. I remember telling him when he was in high school to go into computing. He used to come to me for computer instruction and solutions. Now I go to him! To me, networking is language from another planet. Fortunately, he interprets for me so that I gain a limited understanding of what is happening.
I recently attended a meeting of the Salt Lake Chapter of the International WebMasters Association. Again, the information whizzed by me so fast that I felt like the frustrated road-runner in Disney cartoons. The "meep, meeps" got me!
I, however, handled the situation in cavalier fashion by remaining silent. Therefore, I believe I was thought of as wise and adequately informed (little do they know!) At least I shook my head knowingly several times when convincing statements were made. Fortunately, I was asked no questions.
I have been in similar situation when gathering information for my radio show "Internet Insights." I visit several web sites and am amazed at the wealth of information I receive. I try to stay informed so that I can pass on information to the listeners, but sometimes I am at a loss to interpret what appears on my monitor. What a situation to be in! I am supposed to be the teacher and I feel I know less and less every day.
With all this frustration, a question suddenly popped into my mind, "Where can I go to gain a better understanding of this new terminology and information?" The Internet is a good source, but I don't want to take the time to search for it. I must admit I want quick and accurate answers!
The answer suddenly came to me. It should have been obvious all the time, but it wasn't. I can get this information from my fellow members in Blue Chips!
In this age when you can get voluminous information on the Internet, it is, many times, still faster to ask a knowledgeable Blue Chip Member. That's one of the benefits of belonging to a user group It is also rewarding to the person giving the information you feel as though you have really helped someone and you really have! As you grow older you begin to realize that one of the greatest and rewarding things you can do in this life is to help a fellow human being!
Another thing I believe is a gem of wisdom is to admit it when you don't know something. Why put on a facade? People will quickly ascertain your ignorance if you do. Also, you will be continually in the dark regarding the information you seek. Shakespeare said it a long time ago, "To thine own self be true."
The points I am trying to maker are:
1. User Groups are valuable resources
The recent shooting at a high school near San Diego is a monstrous tragedy. Something must be done to curb this epidemic of senseless violence. What that is, I cannot speculate. However, one other item about this event disturbs me further.
The newscasts reported that the police confiscated many items from his home including his computer. The news media made specific references to his computer. Are we being lead to believe that somehow the computer is responsible for these crimes?
Why is it in our society that we always seem to make excuses or find scapegoats for our imperfections or stupid actions? Are we being brainwashed that we are not responsible for our own actions? Are computers responsible for all our devious deeds really?
In an effort to bring you guys the best information available, Colleen and I went to several places to get the latest deals on computers. I've put them together in a table so we can look at the good and bad things about everyone's deals. They're listed by the stores, brand, size and speed, as well as price. After doing this I'm starting to understand why so many people are confused about what they're buying. In all the stores we went to, I think we only saw the same model twice. It's like the stores purposely sell different models with different packages to keep you from comparing apples to apples.
I tried to treat it as if I was a person looking for a computer for normal use. The only place anyone seemed interested in what we were writing down was RC Willey. The thing that drew my attention was everyone has a deal on a closeout computer _ one being replaced by another, newer one. What I noticed was the price on them wasn't that good. It's as if the machine was a better deal simply by putting a larger price tag on it that stated "Closeout," regardless of the fact that the price wasn't any lower than originally.
Another thing that's becoming common is the fact that most manufactures have integrated the sound and video on the motherboard. This is a cost saving effort. It costs less to manufacture a motherboard with built in peripherals than to have to purchase and install items separately. I used to think that wasn't any good, if you lost a video device you had to replace the whole setup, not just the video card. Now it's impossible to get a new motherboard without onboard IDE and Floppy. The parallel and serial connections built in. it's not expensive to buy with all the stuff on board and if you have a special Video card or ATA drive card, you can disable the onboard devices in the setup without major problems. I'm up in the air about which is best so I'll just sit back, take what I can get and wait to see what wins.
Check out the table we made to compare computer deals. I'm not going to toot Totally Awesome Computers horn, (they do a pretty good job of that themselves!) but all the places we went, no one told you as much about the computer you were looking at, as they did.
In the next issue I want to compare some computers with test software. I know some of the store's Management personnel, and I think they will let me run some tests to get an idea of what's out there. If they don't, I'll find another way to do it.
After the meeting Wednesday, several members came up to me and told me they had a good time and we should have more meetings like this. If most of you feel that way, we as the board of trusties have done the job we were elected to do for at least another month.
The struggle to find guests for our meetings is never ending and sometimes thankless. But when you get someone like Richard Bliss, Matt McCann, or Gene Barlow, it seems to make up for all the times we've been disappointed. When a vendor tells you, "you don't have enough members attending your meeting for them to present at one of your meetings," it takes the wind out of your sails. More and more we're being told the number of people at one of our meetings has to be above 100 for a company to send a representative out to demonstrate something for us. That leaves us with the local companies, which I personally really enjoy.
I haven't said much about this, but I received a call from the NEW New Horizions Learning institute the other evening and it might be possible to set up a meeting with them presenting.
I think the upcoming meetings will bring a smile to faces. In April Dave Whittle will be with us to show us more of MGI's products. And at March's meeting Weldon told me he could show us more about digital photography. So in May we get to learn more about Digital photography with Weldon and the guys from Picture Line. If you were with us for the March meeting you may have noticed at the end of the meeting that Richard Bliss turned to me and said he only got about halfway through what he wanted to tell you. Sharpy that I am I asked him if he wanted to do the other half at another meeting. How's June sound??? He's willing, but I'd like to know from the members how they feel. Let me know. Let me, or James know and we will set it up.
|Type||MFR||Mhz||Ram||Hd Dr||DVD||CD RRW||Video||Sound||Monitor||System||Cost|
|Comp USA||Desktop||HP||933||128||60||yes||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 800.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||HP||800||128||20||yes||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 850.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||HP||766||64||30||no||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 800.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Sony||800||64||30||no||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 800.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Sony||700||64||20||no||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 250.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Compaq||933||128||40||yes||yes||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 849.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Compaq||750||64||30||no||no||integrated||integrated||no||ME||$ 700.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Apple||466||128||30||no||yes||?||?||no||system 9||$1,700.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Apple||450||56||20||no||yes||?||?||no||system 9||$1,000.00|
|Comp USA||Desktop||Apple||400||56||10||no||no||?||?||no||system 9||$ 900.00|
|RC Willys||Desktop||HP||766||64||30||yes||yes||integrated||integrated||integrated||ME||$ 800.00|
|RC Willys||Desktop||HP||700||64||20||no||yes||integrated||integrated||integrated||ME||$ 550.00|
|RC Willys||Desktop||Sony||800||64||30||no||yes||integrated||integrated||integrated||ME||$ 800.00|
|T Awesome||Desktop||Custom||866||128||30||yes||no||AGP4X||SB Live||17" Sony||98 SE||$1,500.00|
|T Awesome||Desktop||Custom||700||64||20||yes||no||AGP4X||SB Live||17" ADI||98 SE||$1,250.00|
|T Awesome||Desktop||Custom||633||64||20||no||no||AGP 8Mb||SB AWE64||15" Sony||98 SE||$1,000.00|
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OmniPage Pro 10
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March 2001, I wrote about my concerns over losing Information Technology jobs and how that would impact us as consumers/customers of these companies. The consumer or business buyer will continue to see more product for less money. However, we will pay for this is in less or inferior customer service. Over the last eleven years of doing reviews and leading SIGs, I have needed to use technical support (also customer service) for a variety of software and hardware products for an even wider range of problems. As a result of these experiences, I feel that I have become an expert at evaluating technical support and customer service quality.
All of us have used products that without serious help are difficult to impossible for us to use, thus the need for customer service and of course user groups. Technical Service/Customer Service has changed in format and style over the past decade, reflecting changes both in technology and in business practices. Until the mid-1990's, after some not so well written user manuals, most useful customer service was done by telephone, with minor help on a BBS (dial-up servers at long-distance telephone rates) and early Internet ftp (file download) sites and chat-rooms. I recall at the 1989 FOSE (Federal Office Systems Exposition) the joke of the week was: Q. "How can you tell it is going to be a bad day?" A. "The voice on the other end of the telephone said `Good Morning, Ashton-Tate.'" (Ashton-Tate was the publisher of dBase IV - a DOS based program which was as strong as much as it was complex and buggy.) At that same FOSE show, the wonder and number one selling product due to its legendary support (good manuals, tutorials' materials, telephone support with the great wait DJ, and even built in product help systems) was WordPerfect. Many federal offices still use WordPerfect as a result of that free customer support which assured that every user (licensed or not) would be able to use every single feature the WordPerfect product offered.
Unlike the DOS world, the Windows and similar OS's allow a program to do only certain functions with display, printing and communications being handled by the OS or other software/hardware products. This introduces a new aspect to customer service - finger pointing or blame casting without solutions. These do not result in customer satisfaction. Customer service, sadly has not been satisfying lately. In past months, I have needed customer support from several companies, but each experience has been different. Here is my take on how to rate if companies can provide customer services and how to evaluate their service based on your circumstances.
Manuals - most are so narrowly and poorly written, that installation problems cannot be resolved especially when in conflict with other products. Besides 20 to 36-page pamphlets do nothing to explain most five to four hundred megabyte programs on the hard disk. Telephone - Sometimes useful, only if the staff is experienced and competent. This is supposed to be better if you pay for support, but some companies are so service poor, that you might get better help by asking random strangers on the street for answers. Product Help systems are useless for installation problems, because you have not gotten the product installed. Then there is the Internet. And this is where I want to provide a check list of what works and what fails. Many companies use their web site for customer service. Sadly many customers do not get served by a company's web site. Here is my Pass Fail list:
1. Can I use any browser on the site? Sites that say only one brand of browser works, are telling you they are doing business without a concern for your needs or wants as a customer. Those that enforce only one type of browser, you should take the product back for a refund.
2. Is there a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page for Installation problems? That is the point of trying to get to the website before deciding to spend money for third party support and help or get a refund, before your time limit expires. (This is on the same order of going on the Internet with a non-functioning modem.) Installation FAQs should identify specific OS problems or hardware conflicts. Does the FAQ cover your version of the software?
3. Are there FAQs on problems using the most common or major features of the product? Or known conflicts with other products during operations? Is there an on-line forum where users can discuss problems about the product?
4. Does the company actively seek customer feedback on how to make the product better? And do they acknowledge that they got my feedback?
5. Are there other means of contacting the company, without having to do a multi-element search of the Internet? If email is involved, how long will I wait to get a response? (Disney took more than three weeks to respond to my email, and then told me to call a telephone number to get help! Some companies have never responded to me.) I expect some signal back within three business days.
6. Is the web site only for sales information or contacts? Some companies have web sites with only one goal sell more product. Get a refund, and click over to their competitors.
7 Is navigation smooth, intuitive (what it says is what it means, e.g.; a patch is a file to fix a problem, not a clown's or a dog's name), all the links work, and little or no secret handshake tricks to use the site? Lost links and page errors convince me there is no maintenance going on. Time to click over to a competitor after you have your refund.
8. If there are chat rooms, etc., then who are the monitors/moderators, and/or guides on the site? Do they work for the company? (Good or Bad) Do they use the product regularly? (Can you trust them if they do not use the product?)
9. Does the site provide a troubleshooting guide for the customer to identify early what the problem is? ? Are there diagrams or flowcharts for more complex systems?
10. Is the web site easy to find and use? One of my pet peeves is the site that requires you to destroy a small grove of trees in order to print out instructions needed to get the help needed from a website. Is the site printer friendly?
11. Do I have to appear to be a zillionaire to get service? Does the company respond to me as a valued customer or just another irritation? Does the company understand my technical level, or do they treat me like a moron?
Evaluation: if you have problems with three or more of these, unless you are a prisoner to the company, get a refund and click over to the competitor's website, to see if things can get worse.
Till next time you drop by the Back Porch, have a good time. And remember, help another PC user out whenever you can. Send questions or subjects you would like a Back Porch opinion on to -- email@example.com
The Slow Death of
WordPerfect not only provided the exemplary telephone customer support, but also helped set the standard with program help and well-written documentation for the user. Mid-1990's the layoffs started, the support started declining, and the product developers lacked skills to change over to the new Microsoft Windows OSes. Other products which made successful crossovers to Windows, began to take market share, despite a lack of customer service. WordPerfect did venture into an Internet support option with service provider SpaceWorks. SpaceWorks provided a forum for WordPerfect users to discussed problems and solutions which proved to be useful, even though telephone support was withering due to fewer personnel. Eventually, WordPerfect's new owner felt the money spent was unneeded, and so the contract was dropped. Corel had a different view about on-line support, and so WordPerfect support was partially revived. The Corel web site provided great support in file downloads and user chat forums where sometimes a WordPerfect programmer or independent guru would drop in to offer valuable tips or solutions
Johnny Duran Comments...
Free is Good! -- Free is Good!
We often say the best things in life are free. But when someone wants to give us something for nothing, we're skeptical, suspicious, dubious, and just plain wary of getting ripped off. The Web is a source of all sorts of free things, but you do have to exercise some caution and common sense before you take what's up for grabs.
Internet services, software, music, information, and coupons are just some of the freebies you'll find on-line, if you know where to look. And in most cases, they'll cost you nothing more than your e-mail address and a little information (just be prepared for a new flow of junk e-mail.).
LAWS OF THE LAND OF THE FREE
Keep these rules in mind, and you can enjoy the free services and products you find on the Web without feeling like your life has been laid bare?
1. Don't volunteer any information you feel is private. If you're not comfortable telling someone your birth date, for instance, don't. You can probably find a similar free product elsewhere.
2. Don't give out your credit-card number until you're ready to buy something. A company needs your credit-card number for only one thing: to charge you for something. If you're just browsing and not buying, keep the card in your wallet.
3. Don't sign up for everything in sight, be selective. This way if you receive unwanted information, you'll know whom to contact to stop it.
4. Don't give out your Social Security number Unless it's a government agency, the company doesn't need it.
5. Remember one thing: A Web site cannot tell if you're lying.
6. Expect lots of e-mail. These companies are "giving" things away because they want to sell you something. They always ask for an e-mail address to send their offers and announcements. Don't use your business e-mail account. (Your boss won't appreciate it.) Sign up for a free e-mail service and use that address when you register for free stuff.
MUSIC FOR A SONG
Admit it-when we said "free," the prospect of snaring some free music probably came to mind. Napster's peer-to-peer file-access scheme (and those of Napster's cousins, such as Aimster and Gnutella) have made it possible for millions to share music stored in digital format on their hard drives. MP3, a highly compressed file format, made all this possible by squeezing songs down to manageable file sizes. (MP3 files are still fairly large, though, and downloading a few can easily clog a connection for you and everyone else on your network.)
Napster, however, has faced legal challenges from the music industry. Although it's legal to make limited copies of music you purchased for personal use, it's illegal to distribute copyrighted music to others. Fortunately, you can still find plenty of legal, free MP3 files. You can use your favorite search engine to turn up dozens of free-music sites. (Try searching on "free music" AND MP3.) But first, try these popular sites.
Legally challenged MP3.com (wwwmp3.com) still offers a large selection of free music. Apart from a few big names, such as David Bowie and Santana, the recording artists tend to be on the obscure side, but who knows, maybe your download will help propel The Muckrakers to stardom. The site's My.MP3.com provides a place for you to store your selected songs and create playlists.
All Free ClipArt
www.allfreeclipart.com is another great resource. All the images here are available without restrictions, so you can use them on personal or commercial sites. The collection is huge, and the individual pieces have a professional look.
1001 Free Fonts
www.1001freefonts.com is another site for a bunch of free fonts. Enjoy browsing this site. It is a great site for different types of FONTS.
What follows below are the must programs to have on your computer when browsing the web or listening to music, videos, reading PDF files or being attacked by a virus
FREE SOFTWARE FOR VIEWING AND PRINTING PDF FILES.
Adobe? Acrobat? Reader? Version 5.0 is free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files on all major computer platforms, as well as fill in and submit Adobe PDF forms on-line. An expanded version of Acrobat Reader for Windows offers additional functionality, including support for the visually impaired and the ability to search a collection of Adobe PDF files. Go to the web site www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readermain.html to download version 5.0
Listening to MP3s is easy. You just need to download a player, a software application that lets you hear music on your computer. Go to the web site www.mps.com.. Download the player and have fun. Also, in the same web site you can download mp3 songs.
This Player gives you amazing audio with new RealAudio, enjoy brilliant full-screen video with RealVideo 8, Listen to your choice of 2500+ radio stations and optimize your audio/video experience with picture controls and a graphic EQ. Go to the web site www.real.com. Download the player and have fun. Also, in the same web site you can download songs and videos.
Windows Media Player 7
Note Windows Media Player 7 should NOT be installed on computers running Windows? 95 or Windows NT? 4! Welcome to a new digital media world! Microsoft? Windows Media? Player 7 offers you the first complete all-in-one player that is so easy to use. It also offers the best experience for the discovery, download, personalization, and playback of high-quality Windows Media audio and video, and the popular MP3 format. Windows Media Player 7 breaks new ground in four key areas:
All-in-One Integration easy-to-use
The Best Audio and Video Experience More Personality Windows Me Users! Get even more functionality and features in Windows Media Player 7, such as CD burning capability, when you download the latest version of the Player. Web site is: www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/en/software/Playerv7.asp
GET QUICK TIME
QuickTime 4.1.2 is the latest version of Apple's complete technology for handling video, sound, animation, graphics, text, music, and even 360-degree virtual reality (VR) scenes. A gateway for rich media including images, music, MIDI, MP3 and more, QuickTime lets you experience more than 200 kinds of digital media with your Mac or PC and it offers unparalleled quality, ease of use and functionality.
QuickTime users have been enjoying quality digital video since 1991. Today, QuickTime is rapidly becoming the most popular distributed media technology for Windows and Mac OS-based computers.
Learn more about QuickTime and find out why top computer entertainment companies use QuickTime to deliver digital media. Only QuickTime provides such a high level of performance, compatibility and quality Web site is: www.apple.com/quicktime/download/
** NEW ** SONIQUE 1.90 .
Sonique is the Web's hottest media and MP3 player. It features support for all the latest audio formats, a killer user interface, customizable skins and visuals, and built-in access to music resources on the Web. Sonique 1.9 is chock full of extra swoobiness! This fabulous release includes an updated MP3 decoder (AE4.8), a PCM Equalizer, Pentium III & Athlon optimizations, an integrated tag editor, updated EQ load/save, updated Spectrum 2 visual, a new .wav writer, and a number of fixes. Sonique supports MP3, WMA, OGG, S3M, MOD, IT, XM, WAV, and CD-Audio formats. You can customize Sonique by downloading plug-ins and skins. See the "whatsnew" file for a complete list of new features. WEB site is: sonique.lycos.com/
DON'T FORGET THE VIRUS PROTECTION PROGRAM
Here are a few name bands that can be found on the Internet by searching for them under their names? McAfee VirusScan Norton Antivirus Dr. Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit VirusScan 3.0 for Windows 95 VirusScan Deluxe for Windows 95 Dr. Solomon's Software, Inc. F-Prot Trend Micro Command Software Systems
Well, until next month's article. Help me out with E-Mail on some interesting Free stuff on the web. E-Mail Address.
JGDURAN@NETZERO.NET Have a Nice Day !!
Submitted by Stuart Gygi
The meeting was convened by UCS president, Dave Otterstrom.
Elections were held and the following were elected to the board for two-year terms:
The following were elected as alternate board members:
Mike Crawford (1st alternate)
The board met immediately after the meeting and elected
Dave Otterstrom - President
Eric Browning, who hosts the radio show Internet Insights with Cliff Millward and Preston Anderson on KALL 910, demonstrated the Apple Titanium G4 notebook computer which has a 17" screen. He showed some movie trailers which were readable far back in the meeting room, which was amazing. The machine cost about $2800 dollars with most features you would want.
The main presentation was by Richard Bliss who owns his own company by the same name. Richard has extensive experience in writing and setting up email systems. His main focus was on how easy it is to tap into email. Email has been around along time as is probably the single most used Internet application. Growth recently has been explosive growing by more than 60% to 890 million mailboxes.
Richard explained the basics of email which operates over the standard Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). The record format contains simple text which makes a mail record readable by anyone who retrieves it. Although mail can be encrypted, it isn't included in the SMTP protocol and requires a higher level application to do it.
In last month's magazine, Cliff Millward discussed in some detail Richard Bliss's five points you should know about email. In this month's presentation, Richard reiterated those principles and offered some suggestions for protecting ourselves.
His first suggestion was to never respond to spam. You don't know who is sending it or what their purpose is. Responding identifies your email address as active and a potential recipient of more spam. If you do decide to register at some site, use a fake email address such as a HotMail account. When you send email to someone you know and copy others' you don't know, use the bcc option for specifying the carbon copy recipients. Your email address will not be passed to them. If you receive an .exe file as an attachment to an email, don't run it unless you know what it is and who sent it to you. It is an executable file and most likely a virus.
If you are looking for some privacy in your email, look at PCP the Pretty Good Privacy application. Just remember that both ends of the connection must be using it.
For more information, check out www.richardbliss.com.
Microsoft Visio 2000 Pro
|Reviewed by James Alexander|
CPU Pentium 200-MHz or higher
Visio has been the leading PC flowcharting software product for several years. (There are flowcharting packages which are based in the Unix/Linux worlds which are highly preferred by main-frame programmers.) Starting in 1997, Visio demonstrated its ability to work very well with Microsoft's Office Suite, then as now it does work well with most full featured word processors and spreadsheets. Visio was to first to offer multiple shapes and intuitive connectors which adjusted for movement of the attached shapes. The number of shapes has expanded greatly as well as the types or groups of shapes available. Flowcharting allows you to visually communicate your everyday work to others. Whether you manage people, projects, or networks, there is a chart that will do the job: Organization Chart; Network Diagrams; Logic charts; Floor Plans; Web Site Map; brainstorming; and business processes of all types.
Artists and engineers are not required to use the product to get great-looking results. The tools are easy to use, and in most cases, users can use the product with little or no help. Create any kind of chart by dragging pre-drawn Visio SmartShapes onto your page. The best part is that the SmartShapes can be edited and customized for your special needs. There are several Stencils in the program, containing from a few up to as many as fifty or more shapes and connectors. A recent change, that I noticed, was a new stencil called Document Stencil, which shows every shape that has been used in the chart, regardless of the stencil it came from. That plus the custom stencil that have been in the product for some time. The default installation left me with stencils which I felt lacked the better and more robust selection of earlier versions of Visio. I had to search to find some of my favorite shapes and connectors.
The difference between Visio 2000 Pro and Microsoft Visio 2000 Pro (SR1) is Microsoft branding. After Microsoft acquired Visio Corporation, Visio 2000 was re-released by Microsoft Corporation with an Office user interface. Actually, there are a few other differences which were not apparent to me, but programmers and developers might notice. The Microsoft Visio 2000 SR-1 Update is a planned service release that provides the latest product updates to Microsoft Visio 2000 following Microsoft's acquisition of Visio Corporation. If you already have Visio 2000, you can order the SR-1 CD to update your product. Microsoft Visio 2000 shares the familiar MS Office toolbars and menus (a view option in the earlier Visio version 4.0 and up)
Create organization charts and flowcharts from information that already exists, by importing data from text files, spreadsheets, or databases. Exporting the data as well as the chart is equally easy. Visio saves to several easy-to-use formats, including .bmp, .cgm, .eps, .pct, .pcx, .tiff, .wmf, and .gif, .html, .jpeg, or .vml files for the Internet.
In relationship to help, Microsoft has a fine in program help system as well as an excellent Web site. Internet Help page/reference for Visio contains some useful FAQs & samples for Visio users. The page content covers the following topics or links (which I found to all work): Common Issues; Knowledge Base Search; Contact Microsoft; Downloads/Updates/Utilities; Instructions/How-tos;
Troubleshooters (both print and software helps); and several Related Sites
If you need a flow charting product, this is a great one to get. However if you already have Visio 4 or higher, there is not a great deal of improvement worth upgrading for, unless you want the full integration with the MS Office 2000 suite.
A Survey of T-Shirts.............
1. Frankly, Scallop, I Don't Give a Clam. (seen on Cape Cod)
TOP 20 Bumper Stickers for Women
20. So many men, so few who can afford me.
- Take One
Two engineering students were walking across campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?" The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday minding my own business when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike. She threw the bike to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The second engineer nodded approvingly, "Good choice; the clothes probably wouldn't have fit."
- Take Two
To the optimist, the glass is half full. To the pessimist, the glass is half empty. To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
- Take Three
A pastor, a doctor and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with these guys? We must have been waiting for 15 minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such ineptitude!"
The pastor said, "Hey, here comes the greenskeeper. Let's have a word with him."
"Hi George, say, what's with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The greenskeeper replied, "Oh, yes, that's a group of blind firefighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."
The group was silent for a moment.
The pastor said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. And I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist buddy and see if there's anything he can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't these guys play at night?"
- Take Four
Q. What is the difference between Mechanical Engineers and Civil Engineers?
A. Mechanical Engineers build weapons; Civil Engineers build targets.
- Take Six
"Normal people ... believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet." Scott Adams, The Dilbert Principle
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"From the desk of the President" - Special Reprint
(ed. note -- This article is from the March 2001 edition of the magazine of the Central Texas PC User's Group.)
From the Desk of the President
In my President's column last month, I talked about the financial situation of the Club. That is an issue that I will come back to in future columns, but this month I wanted to talk about a computer issue:
Setting up a home network.
Whenever you have two computers in a home or an office, you start to think about networking. It makes no sense having two printers, two modems and two Internet accounts. It makes much more sense to tie the computers together and share these resources. What has always held me back is the fear it would not work, and I would not know where to turn for help. After all, we do not have a networking SIG. I am setting up my network, and I have reached exactly that point. For several months, we have been trying to find a speaker to talk to the General Meeting about home networks. Wireless technology promises to allow you to connect two computers in different rooms in a house. A number of companies say that you can create a network through the phone lines in your house without interfering with the telephone calls. Both sound better than trying to string coaxial cable between the two rooms to set up a traditional network.
I bought a new computer late last year, and the Dell website offers the option of installing cards to connect your new computer with your old computer through the phone line. I was skeptical about this actually working so I spoke with the Dell sales representative. She assured me that it does work and said I could call Dell technical support if I had any problems. I decided to give it a try so I ordered a new computer with a card to establish a home network through the phone line.
When my new computer arrived, there was no card to put in the old computer. I called Dell to say that I would return the computer, and the customer service representative assured me that I had not been charged for the card so I must have neglected to order it. She said Dell could send me the card, and they would even give me a break on the shipping. I decided to keep the computer and wait for the card. By the time it arrived and I tried to install it, the 30-day return period had already expired.
My old computer did not recognize the card so I called Dell's "award winning" technical support. After half an hour on hold, I reached Jason who provides technical support. When I explained my problem, he said, "Dell does not supply technical support for home networks. We would have to have 250 network Engineers to do that. I told him that Jana in sales had assured me I would have Dell support if I bought the cards from them. Jason told me I should contact Jana's supervisor because she should never have made that offer.
I finally got my older computer to recognize the new card. Now, the Microsoft Home Click Networking Software tells me that there is no problem with the Network settings on either computer. The trouble is, neither of the computers can find the other. Now, if I could just find someone in technical support that could tell me that I should do to fix this. I got myself exactly in the position I feared I would be.
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letters to the editor . . .
I enjoyed your reference to Johannes Gutenberg and the first renaissance in the 15th Century. During grad school I took some directed readings including several prized volumes on this man. We know a lot about him, but the books are tragically out of print. The court records in Strasbourg, France, then Germany, revealed a lot. His fiancee sued him for alienation of affections because he would not give up that thing he was working on instead of just marrying her.
The second was his partner, Peter. Johann had the idea and the press Peter had the money for paper and ink and labor. As true then and now, partnerships are wobbly and Peter sued. The court gave him everything, including the presses the 100 bibles and supplies.
Johannes went crying to the unsympathetic Bishop, who simply said, go do it again.
He did, and his first printing job was another 100 bibles, of which six still exist, one being in the Library of Congress. No record of the first 100. Gone!
After printing jobs, he got the idea to sell his presses all over Europe and possibly in England. Who knows, Martin Luther's "Semper Reformanda" may have come from a Gutenberg press. Between the two, the dark ages were eventually eradicated.
Our revolution is amazing. Would not Johannes be absolutely awestruck at 600 thousand pages on a CD Rom and the ability to format a font so easily and effectively?
Elman K. Ellsworth
ed. note -- I am a bit surprised that modern historians seem to diminish the importance of Gutenberg, but I presume we will always have revisionists trying to rewrite history.
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E-Volve-or-Die.com: - Book Review
Written by Mitchell Levy
This is a must have book. I have rarely raved about a book or business seminar as I have about this book. If you are a CEO, CIO, owner with Internet dreams, consultant, web site designer, or upper management; you must study this book. The
material is the most current business textbook I have found, with full integration to the general technology of the Internet and e-commerce. The targeted reader is the business executive who needs to be aware of how business fits into the Internet and succeed. The technologist also needs to read in order to become aware that if the business objectives are not met, there will be no commerce to pay for the Internet.
If a business has no customers or clients, what is it? DEAD. In the Internet Age, failure to change with and for customers will provide the same answer. The title E-Volve-or-Die.com, is a clear statement about how the world of business is being changed by the very dynamics that customers see and want daily on the Internet. True, the vast majority of the world's people do not use the Internet, however, the most affluent portion of the world's population does use the Internet, and with the trends today in the world, in twenty years, there will be a vast majority who have Internet access. It is this trend that Levy's insightful and challenging book addresses. There are three ideas that are repeated throughout: ECM - E-Commerce Management driven by customers; CRM - Customer Relations Management; and Customer Satisfaction for Lifelong relationships.
COMDEX Fall 2000, pure huckster advertising drew me to a seminar on the future state of the Internet in the year 2025. Shiny metallic space clothing and curious references to multiple e-type personas were the props used by Mitchell Levy to preview his book E-Volve-or-Die.com. Using ideas and concepts found in chapter 14 of the book, Levy demonstrated how the concepts in his book combined with the trends of the Internet culture of today would create a fantastic and plausible future.
Mitchell Levy comes to this work with excellent credentials and work history. Presently, he is the founder and program coordinator for San Jose State University's Professional Development Electronic Commerce Management Certificate Program ( http://ecmtraining. com/sjsu ). He also has a consulting business which can be examined at ( http://www.ECnow.com ). Previously he had worked at Sun Microsystems managing the e-commerce component of Sun's supply chain.
The book is organized in a near normal book format. The introductions, notes, and prefaces are normal, but exceptionally there are twelve Forewords. Each of the Forwards were authored by business leaders who have had some involvement with the book's creation. In some respects each foreword is a short lesson or strong advice on how the reader would benefit the most from E-Volve-or-Die.com.
The book is made up of five parts containing unequally fourteen chapters plus appendixes & a glossary. Each chapter in the book, can stand on its own, which does get a little boring if you read all of the chapters in full. (Repetition of good ideas is worthwhile.) Additionally, each chapter has a summary or checklist of the main concepts at the end of the chapter serving as a review for the reader.
Part I, Identifies the author's perspective on what constitutes the Internet age and how the new E-Conomy is developing. I take exception with the author's jump from Industrial Age to an Internet Age, without giving credit to the Information Age which gave us data processing and individualization of the microcomputer which were essential to develop the Internet Age. However, I agree hardily about how the Internet Age has made changes in society and in the nature of doing business; and the influence of consumer needs, wants, and demands. One phrase that was vivid for myself, was that for most customers on the Internet, your competition is only a click away.
Part II, Explains how to start-up new an Internet business, or how to convert part or all of a brick & mortar business into a brick & click business. Customer service and satisfaction are major issues through all of the book, but in this Part you will be introduced to the term customer touch points which is part of how your business needs to design and build customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Part III, Addresses how to maintain and improve the technical issues of E-Commerce, without losing sight of the first two parts.
Part IV, Addresses the role of regular and sudden changes both in technology and in customer relations. This is of course where Levy has lead the reader, to take a view of the future, working to meet future customer needs, and working to maintain quality in future customer relations.
Part V, The appendixes, case studies and glossaries are how the reader can obtain more in-depth review of how Levy's book has been used to solve management and leadership issues for now and the future of Internet commerce and customer relations.
Levy's book is not a secret recipe, nor a guide to sudden success. There is no magic tree or wand. The book prescribes hard work, critical self examination, and planning to be able to meet the basics of this book. I am convinced, if you want to be a success in E-Commerce, whether as a business, web designer, or even a presence on the Internet; you need E-Volve-or-Die.com. This is the essential tool and guide to Internet success. Be warned, reading this book can cause changes of mind and acceptance of totally new concepts. Even customers can get a lot from this book. The BackPorch article for this month with a checklist on using WEB help sites was developed using E-Volve-or-Die.com concepts and ideas.
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By John Ogilvie
During "discovery" opposing parties in a legal dispute exchange information before submitting their dispute to a judge or other authority for resolution. Discovery is meant to help the parties separate the facts they agree on from those they see differently, to help each party identify the strengths and weaknesses in its own position and in the opposing position, to encourage settlement, and to prepare the case for review by the appropriate legal authority if no settlement agreement is reached.
Discovery happens most often as part of a lawsuit. But discovery also occurs during arbitration, during opposition and cancellation proceedings on the right to use or register a trademark, and during patent "interference" proceedings to determine who first invented a claimed invention.
Different rules govern discovery, depending on the type of proceeding. But in general these rules control the kind and amount of information that can be obtained. The rules also specify procedures for transmitting requests for information and responses to such requests, time periods for responding to discovery requests, and procedures for resolving disagreements about discovery requests. The legal authority overseeing the dispute will normally set a discovery schedule specifying the deadlines for making discovery requests, or at least require the parties to set such a schedule.
During discovery, information is exchanged in several ways. First, in many lawsuits and in some other proceedings as well, each party is required to promptly provide certain information without being asked. These "required disclosures" may include the identity of each person likely to have relevant information, copies of certain documents, and lost profit or royalty computations.
In most proceedings, each side can send "interrogatories" asking the other side for information. The number of interrogatories allowed may be limited. Each side must respond as candidly and completely as it can to each interrogatory or risk losing credibility with the judge. In addition, each side can usually ask the other side to "produce" documents and other things by making them available for inspection. In a trademark proceeding, for instance, it may be necessary to produce samples of the products bearing the disputed trademark. If many documents are involved, one side may choose to simply specify which documents are involved and then require that the other side send their attorney to inspect the documents on site or nearby, instead of sending copies to the other side. Finally, each side can normally put witnesses under oath and take their testimony in the presence of a court reporter (but without a judge or jury) during a "deposition."
Some of the information sought during discovery need not be provided. In many situations, attorney work product and privileged attorney-client communications need not be provided, although it is generally necessary to produce a log identifying such information. Other information will be provided only after a protective order from the legal authority is in place to restrict use of the information and protect its confidentiality. Trade secrets, pricing, mailing lists, and similar information might be protected in this way.
There is much more to discovery than this brief description can provide, so you should work closely with your attorney to improve your understanding of discovery. Most disputes settle before trial, but many go through at least some discovery. The more you know, the better your chance will be for a favorable outcome.
John W.L. Ogilvie is a Registered Patent Attorney and founder of the Computer Law++ law firm. He can be reached at (801) 355-0828 or jwlo@LAWPP.com. More information is available at http://www.lawplusplus.com. COMPUTER LAW++, LAWPP, and LAW++ are federally registered trademarks of John Ogilvie. Copyright 2000-2001 John Ogilvie; All Rights Reserved.
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