[UCS Trademark]

Magazine - September  2000

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[Photo of Cliff][Baton Bleu Image]

By Cliff Millward, Editor cliffm@xmission.com

What constitutes a good magazine? 

I guess it depends who you ask. I recently had this e-mail sent to me from APCUG:

From: "User Groups Network Newsletter" <ugnews@lists.usergroups.net>

Subject: Newsletter CONTENT AWARDS

==============================

A number of User Group officers wrote last year to ask that a "Content" category be instituted into the UG Academy Awards... "Content is what it's all about... not a beauty contest" Some of the letters were terse... others were logical and intelligent. A few officers even vowed never to enter again because their newsletter was build [sic] around the content, NOT the good looks.

While the Newsletter and Web Awards have always been "design" awards, the input from the community makes very good sense. This year a CONTENT AWARD department will evaluate the actual content of the newsletters entered, and not the design. Many UG Newsletters have been passed over in the Awards because they were not show pieces. This is not fare [sic.]. The most important aspect of your User Group Newsletter is its content. 

This year, and every year after this, you'll have your chance to show off your writers, editors and contributors. It means more work, but it will be worth it.

At the risk of sounding picayunish and open to criticism, I must state that I believe some members of APCUG believe that their newsletters are better then they really are. A good newsletter is a pleasing blend of graphics and text. In fact, when I took classes in journalism, a page without a graphic was considered a "dead" page. My instructor always insisted that some type of graphic appear on every page. If this was impossible, a "pull quote" was to be inserted to break up the monotony of strident text. (Remember, I am talking about newsletters, magazines, etc., not books or technical journals.) 

Content is most important. No one can deny that fact. However, content in magazine/newsletter genre must be presented in a way which attracts readers! Newsletters with text only present a flat, unappealing format which may appeal to some, but not the general public. After all, we are attempting to attract new members, aren't we? A "plain Jane" approach proffers a drab, uninteresting impression.

Marketing is what sells products. Bill Gates realized this years ago when he began Microsoft. As computer aficionados, we are well aware that the DOS/Windows platform is not the best platform. However, look what happened — Microsoft with its superior marketing technics, swamped the more able competition. 

A well laid out newsletter with a good mix of text and graphics is, in my opinion, the best newsletter. It attracts the most readers and is the most effective in disseminating material. It is a plus if the content is superb and the graphics are of high quality. The "ugly duckling" newsletter is to be abhorred.

Adobe has an excellent magazine — it is "state of the art." Its pages are filled with technical information superb layouts, and breath-taking graphics. This is the pinnacle to which we should aspire.

Most user group editors strive to put together the best magazine they can. Many times the material received is not good writing. We try to make it acceptable and attractive as best we can. One way is to put in relevant graphics. This means getting photos of the product from direct scanning or perusing the Internet. If the story is poorly written, at least the reader can get a glimpse of the package appearance which will assist him in finding it when visiting his favorite computer store. (A picture is worth a thousand words.)

Another method of reporting is using photos only. User group monthly meetings are perfect for "photo-op" stories. Members enjoy seeing their faces in the newsletter and it is good PR for our presenters. 

I hope other user group editors reading this column do not take offense to my comments. Our magazine has plenty of faults, but I am always trying to find, eliminate or change them.

Finally, if content is the only consideration, then I believe we would all be happy with monthly speakers who had no graphic displays. Finè

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[DAVE Image]
 
 

A message from your President
Dave Otterstrom
 
 
 
Once a month I stand in front of the user's group and hope the demonstration for the evening will be befitting the audience. It's not as easy as you think. It can be boring, silly, or so technical no one understands what the presenter is telling us. The digital camera presentation was one of the great meetings. I hope we can have many more great meetings like that in the future. As a matter of fact; I'm looking forward to October's meeting on home networks. It's gonna be fun.

The one thing that I find interesting is the common statement "I never play games on my computer!" I hear this all the time. I remember hearing at a computer show that the most commonly used program in windows was solitaire. I agree that there's a time and place for computer games. The thoughts of having your stock broker, the guy whom you intrust your hard earned savings with, playing EverQuest instead of buying and selling for you is horrifying. Most of you however, would play games, even if only solitaire. 

My son started to play Sim City during the layovers he had while driving truck. He started with Sim City 2000. He created an enormous city, raised taxes too high and had everyone move out. He wondered why the big block he zoned for residential was empty and no one would move in. After much searching he discovered you have to install utilities. Once water and power were installed, it started to fill in.

With Sim City 2000 he got scenarios. That meant he could have disasters of all kinds, like tornados, fires, even Godzilla will come for a visit and stomp most of your city flat. 

Later he moved up to Sim City 3000. This program gave him more control over what was built and what the people wanted. He told me during a town meeting the people of the town kept asking for a baseball stadium. The population of the town was stagnant and everything he did wouldn't make the population grow. Finally he borrowed money and built the stadium. Population shot up immediately. He still plays this version and has some of the most interesting cities I've ever seen.

I'm looking forward to trying to run my own city. How's Davesville for a good name? I have all sorts of games at home and more than enough computer to run them. I'm just not good at shoot-em-up games. I don't have the hand to eye coordination to fly a simulator or drive in a race car game. So I think I should be able to have my own town. I could terrorize the citizens and build unsightly buildings where I'm not supposed to. 

For my son's birthday we bought the latest version of the Sim games. Sims is a game where you get to play creator. You start out with what looks like a block of land. Some houses are on the block. You chose people to put in the houses. Whole families. Two girls (roommates) single people and you set them up in the house. 

When he showed the game to me, he had installed a family in a house. Father, Mother, and daughter. The father worked and the car pool would pick him up in the morning. The daughter went to school on the bus, and the mother stayed home. He told me he couldn't understand why after you gave them a drink of water, or a snack, they would set the container down wherever they were and walk off. I told him it sounded like having children. You have to teach them everything, and you have to stay after them to make sure they do the right thing. 

While we were watching the wife interface with the neighbors (you can hear them talking but, you can't understand what their saying. They just wave their arms and make gestures to accentuate whatever it is their talking about.) I noticed one of the neighbors walking into the house. I thought "what's he doing in the wrong house?" My son told me to watch what he was doing. Imagine my surprise when he went in the bathroom and relieved himself. 

After the father and daughter came home the wife went to the kitchen to fix dinner. In about three minutes she had the stove on fire. While trying to put the fire out she burned up herself and we received a death certificate. The father went in the kitchen and tried to put the fire out and guess what, we received a death certificate on him also. In the end the house burned down. He kept the daughter out of the house to save her. (Later we learned that when you set up the house for the family, you should install a phone to call the fire department. We also learned to have the person doing a job like cooking dinner, read a book on cooking.) 

What I'm getting at is, it doesn't make any difference your age or skill, there's always some sort of game to entertain you. Even if it's only solitaire. Not every game involves killing the enemy or blowing something up. A lot of them require thought, patience, and luck to get through to win. 

That's all for now.

Dave

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[Review Image]
August 15, 2000 Dr. Michael Cowpland, (who I have described as like my French-Canadian lumber jack relatives) resigned as President, CEO, and Chair of Corel. Dr. Cowpland will continue as a director and technology advisor. Not so many months back, Bill Gates did much the same, which at the time I suggested was done to take the focus off Microsoft and defuse some of the Bill-bashing. 

I wonder if there are other issues here as there were with Bill Gates and Microsoft? Gates left a very vibrant and feisty Steve Balmer in charge. Cowpland leaves a somewhat unknown Derek J. Burney, Exec. VP and chief technology officer of Corel as interim President and CEO. 

Now is not the time for the chief visionary to leave. WordPerfect and Novell are prime examples of what happens when the visionary leaves with Ashton and Norda respectively. However since this column watches WordPerfect issues, I cannot help but feel there is trouble ahead for WordPerfect AGAIN. 

When the visionaries leave, the product suffers. WP was the result of vision, WP legendary help was the result of vision, and being at one time the dominant word processing application was the result of vision. WP was developed to fill a need for a strong richly featured word processor, not only first on the market, but every release up 6.x for DOS was unmatched for price and performance. 

Then WordPerfect was not able to cross over to Windows, Ashton left when Novell acquired them. Norda then left Novell and the vision was lost until finally 6.1 for Windows was released too late to overcome the Microsoft takeover. When Corel bought at a bargain price WP, it still took Cowpland's vision and feistiness to get WP 7, 8, & 9 back into the mainstream of purchasing. 

Cowpland has been a visionary, especially where WordPerfect was ported over to the Linux platform being more integrated with other Corel products. Does this mean another loss or will WP continue to be the little train which says, I think I can?

Cowpland did state his plans "I am looking forward to dedicating more time to start-up ventures in the Linux arena . . . (many large companies are) endorsing Linux on the desktop. This validates Corel's pioneering efforts to deliver Linux to the mainstream," said Dr. Cowpland. "I will continue to work closely with Corel and its affiliates and I have total confidence in Derek's ability to carry the company forward with vision, leadership and focus." I hope this is true, but I have learned that for WordPerfect to continue, requires a visionary to lead the way for development and marketing success of the product. 

Seemingly emphasizing Linux, on the same day, Corel launched Corel LINUX OS * 2nd Ed. and CorelDRAW (Graphics Suite) for Linux. I hope Dr. Cowpland does not get too far from Corel. If he does, he may not nor his successors be able to lead Corel out of any slumps.

Corel LINUX 2nd Ed. is scheduled to begin shipping this month for a suggested retail price of US $29.99 (Standard Edition) or US $89.99 (Deluxe Edition). A free download is also available at http://linux.corel.com/download/. 

Corel LINUX 2nd Ed. adds server capabilities, enhances GNU/Linux tools and utilities, provides a graphic front end and focuses on the personal computer environment. Corel LINUX 2nd Ed. contains USB support, broader hardware support, improved ease-of-use and an updated kernel. This sounds great to me, especially about the USB support.

The CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for Linux is scheduled to begin shipping by the end of this month for a suggested retail price of US $249. The file formats of CorelDRAW Graphics Suite for Linux are compatible with: Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT® 4.0. A free download of Corel PHOTO-PAINT for Linux is available at linux.corel.com, www.cnet.com and www.tucows.com. 

Until next time, I am on the Watch for WordPerfect. 

James

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Look Out New Job, 

Here I Come!
Reviewed by Ren Shore

Manufacturer:
Individual Software, Inc.
4255 Hopyard Rd., #2
Pleasanton, CA 94588-9900
Phone: 925.734.6767
Fax 925.734.8337
gprine@individualsoftware.com
System Requirements:
Microsoft Windows 9x or NT
Pentium Class PC or Higher
40MB Hard Disk Space
12MB for Career Planner
16MB RAM
2x Speed CDROM Drive or Higher
Speakers or Headphones
256 Color VGA Display
Sound Card and Mouse

Recommended: Internet Connection and Fax Software

So you're looking for a new job? I've found a great piece for software that can help make it easy for you.

Individual Software certainly lives up to its reputation of "Empowering Minds," in their new ResumeMaker Deluxe.The program maks it very easy for a job seeker to: Create a resume, Submit a resume, Write a cover letter, Use interview techniques, Negotiate a better salary, Define the right career for him/her, and Search more than 80 classifieds and 15 job search sites. (Ed. Note: Add JustComputerJobs.com, "Technology Specific Jobsites," to those selfsame 15 job sites. Contact Randi Curtis, Director of Operations whose e-mail address is: for further information. We even have one of their Geek T-shirts to give away in the DYP-DYF Fund Raiser at the September UBC meeting). 

The Career Planner will help you narrow down your career choices to something that will keep your interest. It asks questions to put together a really detailed profile of who you are and what you like doing.

ResumeMaker guides you through the process of creating more than 15 different resumes. It offers you advice every step of the way and you merely highlight your experience and talents. For someone with little experience in creating a resume, this is a painless way to put yourself on paper.

ResumeCaster is the component that helps put you in your prospective employers "face." You can submit your resume to every major job site. There is a privacy feature that will keep your personal information confidential. This blends well with the ResumeMaker's job search agents which allows you to submit your name and email address to receive alerts about new jobs in your area of interest.

Once you have you resume out there and companies are contacting you, ResumeMaker's contact manager will help you keep track of all the companies lining up to hire your talents. There is also a guide that takes you through the process of creating letters for accepting your new job, negotiating salary and resigning from your current job.

Are you weak in the interview area? Take a virtual interview to tighten up your skills. Learn the areas to be strong in and what not to say to your future boss.

The Expert Advice Sections are loaded with tips on resumes, cover letters, interviewing and searching. For a first time with a resume program, this was a really good experience.

Some tips on creating your resume I would suggest are: 1. Quickly create your first resume to get a feel for the program; 2. Plan on creating different resumes for different employers; 3. Allow ResumeMaker to help you; and, 4. Use spell check before sending any resume.

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Secure Clean

Reviewed by Don Nendell

Manufacturer:
AccessData Corporation
2500 N. University Ave. Suite 200
Provo, UT 84604
Web Site: 
Phone: 801.377.5410
Fax: 801.377.5426
E-mail: info@secureclean.com
Suggested Retail: $49.95
System Requirements:
Windows 95/98/2000/NT
CD ROM drive

Note: Some personal awareness of the Danger You're Currently In? (Paranoia Maybe? Common Sense?)

"What if . . . ?" "If only I'd known/done/(fill-in-your-own-blanks here) . . . ?" "Looking back now, I can clearly see . . . ?" "If foresight was as good as hindsight . . . ?" "The saddest words . . . what might have been?" And, on and on it goes - ad infinitum, ad nauseam. A perfect example immediately comes to mind. Oliver "Oly" North is still muttering to himself, "If only I'd known about SecureClean™, I'd be a General now?" Monica - yes that one - might never have become so well known, given that she was the primary focus of interest in "The" Sensation of 1999, when she was (and, just like 99+% of all Windows users still are) ignorant of the fact that Windows does not erase the contents of deleted files - yes, they have been "deleted" but, they are still totally recoverable as our protagonists herein so tragically found out. The world is replete with such sad stories, any one of which should be enough to show just how important SecureClean™ (plus file encryption) is to a person's complete privacy? Expressed more succinctly, "You have none with the likes of programs such as Norton's Undelete, PowerQuest's Lost & Found, et al.!"

I first became aware of AccessData Corp. in an insightful, delightful and educational article by Vince Horiuchi in the Saturday, March 4, 2000 Salt Lake Tribune, Tech Connection Section (pg. D-12), entitled "Cracking The Code." In the article, "AccessData says it is the only one in the country that makes its bread and butter on the fact people forget their passwords." Thoroughly intrigued, I visited AccessData, a couple of months ago, was totally convinced of their veracity, and I've been using SecureClean™ ever since. "I love this thing!"

The "Oly" and "Monica" episodes mentioned above are merely the tip of the iceberg really. For example, did you know that even after reformatting your hard drive, anyone with access to your computer can recover your e-mail, personal documents, and sensitive files - this includes unauthorized persons/employees, corporate intruders/bosses, or possibly even the person who just bought your old computer? I've mentioned encryption above because programs such as: (The FBI's) Carnivore, Napster, Trojan Horses, Worms, Hackers, et al., literally own your PC. Then, there's the ever-faithful trusted insider - current and former employees, temps, onsite contractors, consultants, partners and suppliers - who represent the greatest threat to corporate intellectual property, says the 1999 ASIS Survey. Then too, the 1999 CSI-FBI Survey reported fully, "61% of surveyed corporations experienced . . . unauthorized use of computer systems," and that, ". . . disgruntled employees or former employees who seek to damage the company in some way or who sell corporate information are the greatest sources of stolen corporate secrets and data."

Still need more to convince you? OK! Completely unbeknownst to the naive PC user, Windows™ simply does not provide the security you'd expect. Every Windows™ O/S stores unwanted data in various locations on your hard drive like: Swap files, RAM slack, File Slack, Free Space, Temporary Files, Spool Files, File Names, Recycle Bin and Heaven only knows where else? So how can you protect yourself in all this mess? How do you decrease the risk of intellectual property loss? How do you continuously eliminate data liabilities? The simple answer is, use SecureClean™ religiously (and add file encryption to all your other important/private "stuff"). It's the safe, effective and thorough way of keeping your system clean of unwanted PC data.

The kicker to all this diatribe? I personally heard, "Get Insurance," mentioned more than a few times at the July 2000 USA Black Hat Briefings in Las Vegas. So, contrary to what you've ever thought, or not thought, or been taught, "You're PC is not safe - never has been." Said, period.

Bottom line? Your best bet for security, I feel, is to get and use SecureClean (and other safety measures, like using file encryption and the Virus and PC Firewall protection in eSafe Desktop, or use ZoneAlarm (both are "Free" ). Note: I still have CD's of eSafe Desktop available. Pick one up at the DYP-DYF fund-raising table and buy a ticket while you're there). SecureClean completely solves the biggest part of these security problems by removing the deleted data, files and folders you specify quickly, easily and permanently, while everything else remains safe and untouched.

That's the "Why?" you should use SecureClean - or its benefit(s) - here's the nitty-gritty on it being Reliable and Comprehensive — It is easy to Use, Highly Secure and has Automated Cleaning Options.

Reliable and Comprehensive. SecureClean: Securely eliminates ALL previously deleted and unwanted files; Cleans all PC media (ZIP, JAZ, Syquest, SuperDisk, Tape, Floppy, Hard Drive, et al.); Cleans compressed or uncompressed FAT and NTFS drives; Cleans free space, file slack, RAM slack and swap files; Eliminates deleted file names and folder names; Securely deletes individual files on a network.

Easy to Use. Features and benefits such as: There is a Special trash bin on the Desktop for easy drag and drop file deletion (even from the Recycle Bin itself); Quickly clean a file, folder or drive with a simple right click of the mouse; Easily discover and view where deleted data is stored; and, It is very simple to install (even on a network), to use, customize and uninstall (should the need arise). 

Highly Secure. SecureClean: Cleans without risk of damage to the file system integrity (no direct disk writes); Has adjustable data overwrites corresponding to Department of Defense standards; and, has been tested by computer forensic specialists.

Automated Cleaning Options. SecureClean: Automatically empties the Recycle Bin, Temp folder, Spool folder and other User selectable locations during cleaning operations; Can be scheduled for automatic system cleaning; and, Can automatically clean at shutdown or log off. (Insert SecureClean1.tif)

Just like all other SecureClean capabilities, it's as easy as 1-2-3-4 to Secure Zap(ping) Files and Folders Using the SecureClean Zap Icon (on the Desktop): 1. Open Windows Explorer and select the files or folders you want to destroy; 2. Size Windows Explorer so you can see the SecureClean Zap Icon on the desktop; 3. Drag the selection onto the desktop SecureClean Zap Icon; and, 4. Follow the prompts for destroying the files. Warning: When you Zap a file, It's gone forever! Viola. 

I have been giving away Demo versions (three uses only) of SecureClean at the monthly UBC Meeting "Double Your Pleasure - Double Your Fun!" (DYP-DYF) fund-raising table, and still have a few more Demos to give away for those sporting types playing DYP-DYF with me.

Challenge to Members: I will include one (1) very graciously donated shrink-wrapped copy of the Personal Edition (Version 2.1) of SecureClean as one of the products we will be drawing for at the end of the September UBC Meeting if, repeat if, we can go above the $50.00 donation mark for the evening. Otherwise, it will become part of the products for the October UBC Meeting DYPDYF Fund-raiser.

Be sure to get, and use, this very valuable product designed with your safety in mind. You'll be very glad you did. Or, then again, maybe you'd like the notoriety given to Monica, Oly, and those yet to make the list? Ciao!

P.S. AccessData Corporation specializes in: 1. Password Recovery (with PASSWORD RECOVERY Windows95/98/2000 NT 4.0 Software which recovers passwords for PKZip, WinZip, Word, Excel, WordPerfect, Lotus1-2-3, Paradox, Q&A, Quattro-Pro, Ami Pro, Approach, QuickBooks, Act!, Pro Write, Access, Word Pro, DataPerfect, dBase, Symphony, Outlook, Express, MS Money, Quicken, Scheduler+, Ascend, NetWare, and Windows NT Server/Workstation); 2. Cryptographic Design; and, 3. Forensic Investigation (with its brand new comprehensive computer crimes investigation tool, the FORENSIC TOOLKIT), as well as File Security with SecureClean , that is, if you have the need of such things? If so, please contact: Amber Schroader, the General Manager (see data above), whose E-mail address is: amber@accessdata.com.

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Minutes by Stuart Gigi

Tonight s' presenter was Microsoft. Theresa Jacobs showed Windows Millennium Edition (ME), the successor to Windows 98. The next version is expected to be the merger of Windows and NT.

ME's new features focus on two main areas:

1. An improved user experience. ME includes a new checkpoint/rollback feature that saves the state of the registry at scheduled intervals. The registry can be restored to any checkpoint. Once restored, the rollback can be reversed. ME also includes enhanced home networking which is easier to setup with its new wizard and allows multiple, networked computers share one Internet connection. Each computer can have its own IP address. Help is supposed to be much improved and also provides vendor specific help to be merged with Windows Help. The improved Windows update feature will download updates in the background and wait for the user to request the installation.

2. Improved digital media support. ME has built-in a new camera form called "Windows Acquisition Format." It supports only a USB bus attachment and requires support built into the camera. This new format allows PC control of the camera and can be extended to support of a VCR and other computer controlled features in the automated home. With an infrared connection to the home PC, a hand-held PC could be used to control everything. ME's Media Player feature allows the user to combine several media sources very simply. Sources include audio, video and Web provided radio and CD. Included in the Media Player are equalizer controls found in hi fidelity audio equipment. Besides supporting all the current major media formats, Media Player introduces a new format called Window Media Format (WMA) which achieves better compression than MP3. The MovieMaker allows construction of movies from pictures and video clips. One segment can be faded into another very easily. Voice narration can be added. The movie can be compressed and sent via email to friends, relatives, etc.

An upgrade called the Step-up SKU will be available in stores soon for Windows 98 users only for $59.95. The offer is supposed to be available till the end of the year. Also, Microsoft.com/mindshare/ has a special for user groups.

An interesting new device for ME is a voice headset which can be used to chat over the Internet while playing games. Presumably the chatting is with your opponents.

Open Access

During the Open Access period Dave Otterstrom asked for recommendations on trade schools for his son. John Movius asked if anyone was using Paint Shop Pro 7.0.

Also, someone suggested a meeting featuring home networking.

Announcements

SIG meetings will resume September 23. A new OS SIG will be run by Rex Andersen and Bob Beaudoin. There will a number of different operating systems examined including BEOs and Linux. Another new SIG will feature digital Cameras.

The presenter for October will be Quicken. November's presenter will be PowerQuest.

The drawing was held and many went away with new product.

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FREE IS GOOD!

By Johnnie G. Duran

You want FREE Lunch? Okay, you've got it 

More for your hard earned free buck.. get more for your FREE buck…

NeoPets

NeoPets.Com ™ is the greatest new Virtual Pet Site on the Internet for kids or adults. This is a community of virtual pet owners, and offer cool things such as games, auctions, shops, postcards, and much, much more. Also when you sign up with Neopets by filling out a short form and once you've got a username and password you can log on and start creating your very own Virtual Pets and sharing it with other virtual pet owners. NeoPets has a cute screen saver for WINDOWS USER that you can download and gives the history of each virtual pet, plus gives you the option of uninstalling screen saver. Best of all it's completely 

FREE! WEB SITE:

www.newpets.com

WeatherBug 

Want to know your local weather? Boy, did we find the hottest weather program available! WeatherBug streams live, up-to-the-minute neighborhood weather on your PC desktop direct from AWS Worldwide School WeatherNet, part of the world's largest automated real-time weather network. Once you install the program, you will have live, local weather conditions, continuously updated local forecasts, immediate storm warnings and alerts, local radar pictures, up-to-the-minute InstaCam images and cool weather and news links. The program will place an icon in the Menu tray for easy access. It's FUN…it's FREE….It's the only safe weather Bug on the `Net. 

CATCH THE BUG….

All the weather information you need including temp, winds, currents, high/low, forecasts, sunrise/sunset and the moonphase are all on the WEATHER BUG dialog window. 

As you can see on the weather BUG windows for West Jordan got up to a temp of 100 F that day. This program is great to keep track of your local weather. Try it you'll like it…

WEB SITE:

www.weatherbug.com/aws

ReRequirements: Windows 95/98/NT/2000 Download Size: 3.0MB
SHAREWARE: Free to try! Free to keep! 

The site for free stuff 

WEB SITE:

www.freebyte.com

Here are 26 FREE Sites to access from freebyte. ENJOY:

For Free on-line dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, scientific reference (biology, chemistry, linguistics, physics, mathematics, space, etc.).

www.freebyte.com/reference/

Page listing freeware, utilities and games for the Psion Palmtop computer series. Created by Gary Ewer. 

www.prosoft.force9.co.uk/freebyte.html

General News sites, specialized news sites (science, sports, weather, humor, etc.), news subscription services. American, English, French, German, Brazilian, Italian, Dutch, Spanish, Chinese, South African, etc. newspapers and news sites.

wwww.freebyte.com/news/

Freebyte has opened a new section, with very useful free CAD, CAD/CAM, Physical and thermal Modelling applications, etc. etc. 

www.freebyte.com/cad/

The free software page lists a variety of quality utilities and programs for Windows 95, 98 and NT, all available at no cost, of course, and easy to use.

www.freebyte.freeware/

Free web browsers, plug-ins, news readers, FTP, chat and email programs.

www.freebyte.com/freeware/clientwebprograms.html

FREE $$$MONEY$$$

What? I don't believe in FREE $$$MONEY$$$ just like I don't believe in alien existing . . . Here are 5 Sites that might be a possible way for FREE MONEYs: CHECK IT OUT…?????

Here are 5 sites to access with netigator. 

http://home.netvigator.com/~artyeung/free/money.htm

Get Rew@ard Credits by receiving Ad. emails , read the mail and get more Credits, response to mail and you get even more Credits. Use Credits to exchange for cash coupons or other gifts.

www.bonusmail.com

Sign up surveys and you will get cash, home computer equipment or home entertainment products.

www.greenfieldonline.com/cgi-bin/websignup?bhccho

Earn cash by viewing Ads. The rewards are usually $1 or $0.5 depends on the size of the Ads.

www.cybergold.com/

BRAND INSTITUTE frequently conducts on-line surveys as well as BRANDCHAT creative brainstorming groups. The typical survey or brainstorming group takes approximately one hour to complete. Respondents are compensated for their time and participation. 

www.brandinst.com/online.htm

Enter the sweepstakes to win a $1000 prize monthly and earn points to spend on your choice of CDs, books, movie tickets, videos, on-line games and other rewards, just by answering questions. 

www.questions.net/

FREE ACCESS of PUBLIC RECORDS 

FBI Records Search

The Center 2000 has developed this free service to make users aware of the ease to retrieve personal information on almost anyone. This service accesses the CRC database in New York, NY and pulls up information on all unrestricted fields. This includes general information like street address, past employers, driving record, most criminal charges and other valuable information. This system is still in Beta and we are hoping that this will not be abused. Please ask for permission first from the person if you are requesting information for other than you own. Thecenter2000.com will not be liable for misuse of this system or the accuracy of the results. By using this service, the user also agrees that they have read and accepted the privacy statement that can be found at the link above. This service is (c) copyrighted and shall not be re-distributed without prior consent by the author author@the center2000.com Questions, comments or concerns can be directed to our forum after the search is conducted.

www.thecenter2000.com/access_public_records.htm.

Well I hope this will help in the search for FREE IS GOOD.. Until next month articles. ENJOY AND HAVE FUN!!!! 

P. S. If you have any ideas, tips or insider info on FREE IS GOOD contact me on my FREE E-MAIL address.. . HAVE A NICE DAY!!!

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EZDock USB 200

Reviewed by Don Nendell

Manufacturer:
Mobility Electronics, Inc. - Headquarters
7955 East Redfield Road Scottsdale, Arizona, 85260
Telephone: (480) 596-0061
Facsimile: (480) 596-0349
E-mail: mobility@mobl.com
Technical Support: (800) 474-7593
Customer Service: (800) 588-4593
Email: Presales@mobl.com
Suggested retail: $199.95 (
System Requirements:
Windows 98, 98SE, Millennium, or 2000
USB Port.

Note: However, It is designed especially for Laptop/Notebook computers that need an Ethernet (RJ-45) connection, but certainly "perfectly" usable with ordinary Desktops

Just as I promised in the June Blue Chips Review of the EasiDock® USB 200, here is my review of the epitome of USB Hubs, the EasiDock® USB 200E. If the EasiDock® USB 200 is the Ferrari of USB Hubs, then the EasiDock® USB 200E is most assuredly the Lamborghini of USB Hubs. Pssst! Have you priced one in real life yet? Check out the $255,000.00 US (Sale Price?) of this little beauty?

Just in case you missed my June EasiDock® USB200 review, I'll save you the trouble of switching back and forthbetween the two reviews. The EasiDock® USB200 and EasiDock® USB200E are virtually identical except for the "E" letter designation and the Ethernet (RJ-45) port on the face of the EasiDock® USB200E.

For openers, "There are USB hubs, and then there is a true family of Universal Docking Stations, `The USB Hubs.'" For the uninitiated, USB is another of those computer acronyms that stands for Universal Serial Bus, the newest, latest, greatest, "Just Gotta Have" computer "Stuff." All the new notebooks and desktop computers are shipping with USB ports to support this new technology. Over the next few years, USB is expected to replace legacy ports such as 9-pin serial ports and 25-pin parallel ports. So get ready. That means you old-timers will have to go down to CompUSA, like I did, and buy an internal PCI card that adds 2 USB Ports to your PC, that is, if you want to connect a couple of easy-to-use USB peripherals and/or the EasiDock® USB 200E with its five USB ports.

INTRODUCTION TO EasiDock® USB 200E 

From the leading manufacturer of docking solutions, Mobility Electronics, Inc., we have ourselves one beautifully designed USB masterpiece. The EasiDock® USB 200E, which looks like a space age bobsled, is the first in a series (EasiDock® USB 1000, EasiDock® USB 2000, EasiDock® USB 3000 and EasiDock® USB 5000) of true Universal USB "Docks" which allow you to instantly connect USB devices and legacy peripherals. This ingenious capability enables you to configure any portable/notebook and/or desktop computer system (with the mandatory USB Port) that meets your individual requirements, specifications and preferences without having to reach over to the back of the computer, through that maze of wires each time you need to make a change - you get the ugly picture. Think of it? Flexibility, Universality and Speed and Ease of use (with its parallel printer port, a serial port (but, not for a serial mouse), two PS/2 connections, four USB Ports (one more in back), and the Ethernet (RJ-45) port - all on the face of the EasiDock® USB200E), all in one hub. Optimally, this adds a whole new range of plug-n-play options without adding a single IRQ squabble to the mix.

Duh! It just dawned on me that USB is an advanced technology very similar to, better than, as expensive as and as misunderstood as SCSI technology. I would describe the difference as basically USB is an unlimited "hub" technology whereas SCSI is a semi-limited "daisy-chain" technology. However, with both you have great technologies where you can have your cake and eat it too! Get out your check book, sports! Now is the time for all good persons to upgrade to the best!

The Technology

Mobility's flagship universal docking stations are based on its proprietary, patented Serialized PCI Serial Bus Split Bridge™ technology (Split Bridge) which is 100 times faster than USB. Split Bridge allows Mobility to move the PCI bus of any computing device to a smaller (than standard Docking station) remote device (up to 15' away) without performance degradation or any unique software. As a result, the remote location (docking station, for example) performs (over a high speed cable) as if it is physically mated to the computer. This revolutionary technology, the heart of EasiDock® USB 200E, won PC Week's "Best of COMDEX" Award for "Best New Technology" at COMDEX/Fall 99.

The Technology Benefits

As with all their EasiDock's (call now for their free Product catalog 2000), the integrated EasiDock®/EASIPOWER USB 200E Hub (for Notebook Computers) complies with USB 1.1 specifications and is compatible to USB peripherals such as: Input Devices, Digital Cameras, Audio Speakers, Graphs Tablets, CD-ROM, CDRW Drive, Zip Drive, Joystick, Scanners, PS/2 Mouse (but not a serial mouse), full-size Keyboard, LAN (available in EasiDock® USB 200E only), a Laser Printer, and many more of the 127, or so, USB products now on the market. And, because it's Plug-n-Play, e.g., with NO complex installation or IRQ's to fiddle with, you can connect some, all (up to five USB's total), or as few as one peripheral to the EasiDock® USB 200E, without the hassle of turning off your notebook. (Or, "shame on you," your desktop PC Computer, if you should ever sacrilegiously decide to use the beauteous 200E with such. Even the box it comes in is too pretty for just any common Desktop PC - think first class here with Laptops.)

In a Nutshell: What's the difference between EasiDock® USB 200 and EasiDock® USB 200E?

EasiDock® USB 200 comes in two flavors: EasiDock® USB 200 and EasiDock® USB 200E. While both models are: 1) All-in-One - USB Hub and Dock; 2) Universal, e.g., Will work with any computer with USB support running Windows 98 (or higher); 3) Instant Access to Multiple Peripherals Easy Setup - Plug-n-Play; and, 4) Each has 5 USB Ports, 1 Serial Port, 1 Printer Port and 2 PS/2 Ports available to your (Notebook) PC, only EasiDock® USB 200E has the capability to connect to a LAN.

I looked all over COMDEX/Fall 99 and NETWORLD + INTEROP 2000 for a USB Hub that could replace my Ethernet Hub (which runs my small SOHO networked system), and couldn't find a single one - not even at either of the mighty BELKIN booths, et al. But, the EasiDock® USB 200E is just what I have been looking for, that is, until the "true" USB Hub (to replace my Ethernet Hub) comes along (Hint, Hint, Mobility? I'm still stuck with having to transfer data via USB between computers with Entrega's USBnet Adapter). The EasiDock® USB 200E certainly is the "first" of its kind - but for that neat LAN capability you will have shell out 50 bucks more than the EasiDock® USB 200. But, for my money, it's well worth the price difference. Which calls to mind a recent episode wherein this "more mature" gentleman was "draining" the Chevron Service Stations' gasoline storage tanks into his humongous motor home gas tanks the other day who shared this thought with me? "If you're worried about the price of gas, you shouldn't be driving one of these?" There's a moral in there somewhere: Humongous motor homes, Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, and EasiDock® USB200E's? Said, maybe, "1st Class?"

Installation:

The directions are simple, straight forward and accurate (had to be - you know me - I still haven't changed yet!). The 32 page manual that comes with the EasiDock® USB 200E (and the EasiDock® USB200) consists of with a grand total of nine pages in English, three blank pages, with the rest divided into equal parts of (alphabetically) French, German, Italian and Spanish instructions. I didn't get the Printer to work initially because I didn't have the right IEEE-1284 compliant (bidirectional printer interface) cable like the manual said I should have had. I don't have mine yet, but is everyone ready for USB Printers? Meanwhile, the rest of the component installations worked like a Champ "purring" around the Monte Carlo 24-hour Rally.

Product Highlights

Here's what you get: Compatible with Widows 98/98SE and 2000 … Supports currents and future operating systems with USB; Hot-Docking & Hot-Undocking … No need to turn your computer on or off when adding or removing up to five USB peripherals; Easy Installation … Hassle free installation, plug in the unit and follow the instructions on the screen; Compact Space-Saving Design … Professional Industrial Design to fit in any environment; Compatible with Notebook & Desktop PCs … Designed for use with a notebook or desktop computers; For Office & Home Use … Perfect for Home or Office use; Eliminates Cable Hassles … No need to spend 10 minutes connecting individual cables; Per-Port Switching … Protection against failure, should one USB port malfunction all others will operate as usual; Use as Hub and/or Dock … Product can be used as a simple USB hub or as a full featured Port Replicator; Agency Certifications . . . CE, CSA, C-Tick, FCC Class B, UL & cUL, and VCCI & T-Mark; and, 1 Year Limited Warranty … Designed and Engineered in the USA. This baby is class with a capital "K."

Yeah Sure! But, How Does it Work?

Like a dream come true! Even though the EasiDock® USB 200E is slightly larger than all the other USB Hubs I've seen, this "Beauty" found a home right beside Donna's Laptop (you know, the one I take and use on my out of town trips for my Company's (serial port) product demonstrations?) For sure, you may never be saddled with the same kinds of computer problems I am confronted within those selfsame product demonstrations, but the EasiDock® USB200E sure "saved my bacon" on my just completed trip to the UK. Ordinarily I'd have to take two laptops with me in order to make a smooth product demonstration of my "two different" 9-pin serial port devices - one per computer. Otherwise - using one computer - if I wanted to "risk" breaking the presentation spell I was attempting to weave, I'd be "forced" to disconnect and reconnect the second serial device, and then, I had to reboot the Laptop each time I changed between the devices. Never again with my EasiDock® USB 200E. Here's my solution. I used the serial port (Com Port 2) on the Laptop and also the serial port on the EasiDock® USB 200E (Com Port 3) and didn't even have to reboot the Laptop during my demos. I even had five more Com Ports available for my USB stuff. All that was plug-n-play too! Really neat, Eh? Oh yes! As to why I'm so ecstatic over a USB Hub, and not just any `ol USB Hub at that? Have you ever had to face the prospect of every day for a week "lugging" two Laptop computers and a 60+ pound suitcase all over the UK - "up and down" the London Underground (subway) steps, and dragging all that stuff in and out of numerous interconnecting train stations, let alone the airports? Not likely - nor hardly? And, as I strike my defiant NRA pose (with my EasiDock® USB 200E held high), I can proudly paraphrase their motto, " . . . you'll have to pry it out of my dead hands."

Oh! I've still got to share the EasiDock® USB 200E with Donna for her Paint Shop Pro (graphics) SIG classes (she can hook into the LAN in her classroom there) plus her Digital Photography now and then naturally, but I can live with that. ;-)

I've finally got my 200E? 

Varooom! Varooom! I'm outta here! Screeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeech!

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Mobility Electronics is offering all their EASIDOCK and EASIPOWER* products at a reduced rate to Blue Chip Members Simply go to:

mobilityelectronics.com and enter "utahug" in the preferred customer code section of the order screen and receive an immediate 20% discount on all Mobility Products.

(Offer good through Dec. 31, 2000)

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Swap Meet Planned

The final Blue Chips Computer Swap Meet of 2000 will be held on Saturday, September 16th, 11 AM to 4 PM at the usual location, the building at Taylorsville Park, located on the SE corner of the intersection of 4700 S & Redwood Road.

A wide variety of computer goods will be sold by several local dealers and fellow computer enthusiasts. You can save big bucks, ask questions and help support community interest in Blue Chips. If you can come early, between 10 11 AM we can always use a hand with setup or be there after 3:30 and help clean up.

This will also be the last swap at that venue as the city is tearing the building down. We need a new location! If you know of a space that is indoors, has electricity, can accommodate up to 50 people, is on a major street somewhere in the Salt Lake Valley, has parking and is available free/cheap PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Mike Crawford

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Understanding

The Patent 

Cooperation Treaty

by John Ogilvie
As international sales become an ever-increasing part of the revenues of many U.S. companies, interest in obtaining foreign patent protection has also increased. There is no such thing as a worldwide patent. The geographic scope of any given patent is generally limited to a single country. However, steps can be taken to reduce the time, effort, and expense of filing patents in more than one country. One of the major tools for pursuing patent protection in multiple countries is the Patent Cooperation Treaty, generally referred to as the "PCT". The PCT is a multilateral treaty which began operating in 1978. It is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization, which is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Not every country is a member of the PCT. However, many countries of interest to computer software and hardware vendors are PCT members, as well as many countries which are important to other industries. For instance, PCT membership currently includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, all Western European nations, Russia, mainland China, Japan, North and South Korea, Australia, India, and many African states. 

The PCT makes it easier to obtain patent protection in PCT member nations by allowing a patent applicant to file a single international patent application instead of filing several separate national and/or regional patent applications. The international application may designate member countries and/or member regions (such as Western Europe). It is still necessary at some point to pursue individual national patents based on the international application, but several important steps in the patent application process can be carried out once on the international application instead of being performed several times on national or regional applications. This tends to both simplify the application process and to reduce its cost when several countries are involved. 

For instance, formalities such as the format requirements for text and drawings are checked by checking the international application. A single international patentability search is performed, and the results are made available to the individual patent offices of the designated countries. Optionally, an international patentability examination is also performed. National filing fees, translation costs, and related expenses can also be deferred without losing the benefit of one's priority date.

Additional information about the PCT is available on-line from the United States Patent and Trademark Office at: 

http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/dapps/pct/

And from the World Intellectual Property Organization at: 

http://pctgazette.wipo.int/

 

John W.L. Ogilvie is a Registered Patent Attorney and founder of the Computer Law++ law firm. He can be reached at (801) 3550828 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 19982000 John Ogilvie; All Rights Reserved.

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