The Monitor

August 2000



Windows 98 Is Backward Compatible!

or How I Was Driven Crazy and Learned to Love Microsoft

by Frank Howden

Rochester Computer Society

     Though I should have known better, I volunteered to install Windows 98® on a friend’s old Pentium® 100 MHZ computer. Since I have had zip experience with 98, I had no little difficulty configuring the modem port [com 2] as the old FVDSP modem is not plug & play. With the significant help of Joe Varga and Sound Bytes, I finally cleared that hurdle. But as I ran the manufacturer’s install disk, Windows halted with the message, “file ‘filexfer.cnt’ is missing from E:\Win98...” What to do?

            Reasoning that since the modem setup in 95, the file must be on the Win95 CD‑ROM; so I removed the Win98 disk from the drive and replaced it with the Win95 disk. Then clicking <start> I went to ‘Find Files or Folders,’ typed in the file name and vollá. There were three files:




            Figuring that both the first two would be needed I copied them to a 3½” disk, which I them swapped for the install disk, ran the program again; and when it halted, I swapped in my new 3½” disk and directed install to look on A:\ for the file. That worked well enough, but guess what? I was directed to place the Win98 in the CD‑ROM drive [E:] and click <next> This brought me to the notice that 37 percent of the install was completed. Woop-de-doo!


            The install immediately halted for the next missing file which had to be in place for loading to con­tinue:


which, in case you haven’t guessed, is a help file, forgodsakes! After repeating all of the swappings in both A: and E: one more time, I arrived at 43 percent in­stalled and halted for:


            This was not so easy to find on the Win95 disk. I had to search all files with the extension .dll to locate it. Swap disks in A:, download the file, swap disks in E:, load the file from A:\, swap the disks in A:, and continue loading. If the reader is a little lost now as to just what the process was, that is nothing to what was going on with me. By now it was 10:45 p.m.

            Loading proceeded by increments halting to find and load: vvexe32.exe, and then wsvv.vxd, and finally vtdi.386. Wow! Then the only remaining things to do were to close com 2 (which 98 had opened,) remove the modem and reinstall it. This only required swapping the disk in A: once while the 98 disk remained in E: the whole time.

            After suffering such major angina in the gluteus maximus, I have a much increased appreciation for those ‘negative blessings’ found in Scripture. The one that best fits Mr. Gates is repeated several times in the Pentateuch, “May the Lord do likewise unto you, and more also.”

Ken’s Korner

Check Out WordWeb 1.61

Free Dictionary, Thesaurus

by Ken Fermoyle

Do you ever get stuck for the meaning of a word, or grope for a synonym that eludes you completely? The handiest tool I’ve found for such occasions is a software program called Word­Web for Windows.

            In fact, I count it as one of the most valuable utilities currently installed on my computer. And the basic program, Version 1.61, is free for the downloading! There is one version for Windows 95/98/NT and another for Windows 3.1. Sorry, DOS diehards, there’s no version for you.

            As a writer, avid reader and major crossword fan, I’ve depended on dictionaries since childhood. I taught my kids to use them from the time they were very young, often much to their chagrin. (“Dad, how do you spell ____?” “Look it up; you know where the dictionary is.” “Aw, Da‑a‑d, do I hafta?”) But they’ve thanked me since for that training.

            In the five months since I discovered WordWeb, I find myself making fewer trips to the bookshelf for my hardbound Webster’s University dictionary or to the big Webster’s unabridged version on its own stand in the living room. Instead, I click on the WordWeb icon on my desktop or, if I’m using Word, I simply open the Tools menu and select WordWeb from it.

            Version 1.61 contains definitions and synonyms for 120,000 root words, 100,000 synonym sets, many antonyms, a host of proper nouns and more. It also has an installation feature that allows you to tie it to Word, as mentioned above. The Setup program asks if you want to include a template to make WordWeb available from within MS Word.

            (I only wish a similar option was available for WordPad, which I use for a lot of my writing, but I guess that might be difficult.)

            I’ve tried WordWeb on several of my computers and it runs fast on all of them, even the oldest model with a 225MHz cpu. It not only comes up fast when using it on a stand‑alone basis, but pops up definitions and synonyms in its own window from within MS Word in a hurry, too

            All you have to do to get a definition or synonym while in Word is highlight or just click your cursor on the word you want to check. Then open the Tools menu and click on the WordWeb icon.

            At the top of the WordWeb dialog box is the Lookup line, which contains the word you want defined. (If you use WordWeb outside of MS Word, you must type in the word at this point.)

            Below that line is the definition window, then comes a series of tabs: synonyms, antonyms, types, etc. You click on whatever tab you want to get additional information about your Lookup word.

            It’s even simpler than it sounds, actually. You can download the program at:

            Developer Antony Lewis also offers two other programs, including WordWeb Pro, which adds several features to the basic utility:

1. Wildcard word searches. For example ??d??ek would find the word midweek.

2. Find straight and multi‑word anagrams. For example WordWeb Pro finds powder brow + many others.

3. You can edit and add to the diction­ary/thesaurus as well!

            The first two items are especially important to crossword fans (like me!) and the latter is a big benefit for anyone.

            Cost of the Pro version is just $18.

            The third program Lewis has written is Cross­word Compiler, which turns you into an instant crossword puzzle constructor. This one costs $45 for the full version but a demo version, restricted to 10x10 squares, can be downloaded for free.

            Lewis also offers various word and language lists to add to the programs, as well as assorted bundles.

            I started with the free WordWeb utility, then upgraded to the Pro version. I like the “add and edit” feature, and the wild card and anagram features are helpful when you’re trying to solve a really tough crossword puzzle. WordWeb Pro takes up 7.74 MB of hard drive space. The base version is about 1MB smaller.

            Frankly, I think the free version of WordWeb is one of the best deals you will find on the Internet but check it out for yourself at the URL given above.  

                Copyright 2000 by Ken Fermoyle, Fermoyle Publications. Ken Fermoyle has written some 2,500 articles for publications ranging from Playboy and Popular Science to MacWeek, Microtimes and PC Laptop. Ken’s Korner, a syndicated monthly column, is available free to User Groups.


by Roger Carlyle

Cajun Clicker Computer Club

Make free calls from your Computer to any tele­phone in the USA.

            How much do you pay for long‑distance calls — 10¢, 7¢, 5¢ cents per minute. How about FREE from your computer to any telephone in the USA. That’s right! If you have a computer with access to the inter­net you can make calls to any telephone in the USA free, and the recipient of your call does not have to own a computer. Pretty neat huh? I made test calls to Texas, Wisconsin and locally, and all were successful. You will need a PC with a sound card and of course you will need a microphone to plug into your sound card. The best thing is to get a set of earphones with a boom mike attached. There is no charge for this useful service.

            You simply logon to www.dialpad com and fill out a registration form. You will have a User ID and a password that is needed each time you pull up DialPad to make a call. There is some sacrifice in sound quality that varies with each call depending on time of day, location of call, etc. — but definitely worth putting up with for those free long‑distance minutes. Go to www, sign‑up and give it a try. Free is as cheap as you can get.

                Article courtesy of Roger Carlyle, Newsletter Editor, Cajun Clicker Computer Club, Baton Rouge, LA.


A Hard Lesson

by Steve Vance

Golden Gate Computer Society

Experience is a dear teacher, and only fools will learn from no other.” –Benjamin Franklin “. . .and sometimes not even then.” –me. I have been in the “computer biz” for over twenty years now, and I have owned my share of hard drives. The first ever, in a PC of my own, was 20 megabytes. Not very much, but I had been using a personal com­puter for a couple of years before that with no hard drive! So it seemed like an almost infinite amount.

There have been dozens more since then, and several of them have “crashed”. If you have never experienced a disk crash, you are lucky.

            Hard disks, even modern ones, have a limited lifespan. The average, according to the manu­facturers, is about five years. Some go for years and years without a hiccup, and others experience “infant mortality,” dying while still under warranty. Some fail a few sectors at a time, giving you read errors and write errors to warn you they are going bad. But, especially nowadays, hard disk failure is usually sudden. Your hard drive becomes com­pletely unable to do its job of storing and retrieving data. It becomes an inert blob of metal. Your computer will not even boot up. This happened to me again, in late April, to one of the computers I use on a regular basis.

            The screen of the computer froze, and when I turned the power off and back on, the hard drive made strange clicking sounds. The computer would not boot. I took the drive out and tried it in another computer, to see if maybe my power supply had gone bad, but the clicking sound happened there, too. Although this has happened to me before, I am pretty casual about backing up my data. I had not backed up this drive since January. Since this was one of the machines on my desk at work, I spend a lot of time working on it, and I figured that it would be the equivalent of about a 40 hour week to recreate what I had lost. I looked in the back of Microtimes, and called a couple of the Data Recovery services listed there. The one in down­town San Francisco had free esti­mates, and they were recom­mended by one of my co‑workers. They said it might be as little as $200 to get my data back.

            Before taking it over there, I called Drive Savers, the com­pany in Novato which has given presentations to the GGCS a couple of times in the past. When I told the “counselor” about the clicking noise, he said that it would cost me $1,750 to make the attempt to get the data back, and it was not guaranteed that I would get anything. My data was valuable to me, but not that valuable. I decided to go to the San Francisco place instead. I got a call the next day confirming that my drive had a “hardware” problem of some sort, just as the noises had led us to suspect. The $200 figure for recovery is a “best case scenario,” when your drive has a “software” problem. This can occur if part of your drive’s File Allocation Table is overwritten with bad data somehow — a program bug, or a power surge perhaps, or some kinds of computer viruses do that kind of damage. Using software programs like Hard Drive Mechanic  it is possible to rejuvenate your FAT and get access to your data.         In extreme cases, a drive recovery service can read the drive, sector‑by‑sector, and piece together parts of your data back into the contents of some of your files — hopefully the important ones. With a hardware problem, my drive would have to go into their “Clean Room,” to be taken apart. I paid them $260 to have them do this, still with no guarantee that I would get anything back. The next day, more bad news. Two of the nine platter surfaces of my drive had been scratched by the read‑write heads.

            The possibility of recovering any data was remote. I paid them another $180 to give it a try. They took the read‑write heads from another drive like mine, and installed them on my drive. If there were any hope of getting some of my data back, this would be it. I got the call a couple of days later. No luck. My drive was completely dead. A new disk drive cost me $125, and the unsuccessful data recovery attempt cost me $440.

            The moral of this story: back up your hard drive. If you don’t have a good way to back things up (such as a tape drive or Jaz drive), at least copy the important files off your hard drive onto floppies every so often. Keep telling your­self that if something hap­pens to your hard drive, your data could well be gone for good. Tape drives are good for backing up, in that they allow you to restore your hard drive to the exact state at the time of the back­up, but they are slow and I have had reliability problems with several different brands of tape drive. Also, the capacity of tape drives seems to be outstripped by the size of hard drives, so plan on having to buy a new tape drive every time you buy a new hard drive.

                Steve Vance has been a computer programmer since before Bill Gates went to Harvard. He is currently Disk Librarian, Web­master and Treasurer of the Golden Gate Computer Society, San Francisco, CA.


USB is Great

by Alex Dumestre

1960 PC Users Group

What is USB?

        The short answer is that it is the abbreviation for Universal Serial Bus. Whoopee! Another abbreviation for us poor computer users to be confused by. While it’s true that dozens of new abbreviations seem to come along with each new model year, most of which are only interesting to certified geeks, this one should catch your attention if it hasn’t already. Let’s state right up front that you need Windows 95 OSR2 or, better yet, Windows 98 (or later) to use USB.

            USB is an external bus standard that was first intro­duced in 1996 and for three or four years only made itself known by showing up in ads for computers (“The Compu­Tech 366 Q comes equip­ped with two USB ports!!”) and by actually appearing (al-though rather inconspicuously) on the back panel of computers. Big deal! There was nothing to plug into them. Then, starting about in 1998, a few peripherals started appearing that made use of USB and by late 1999 there was a flood of such external peripherals — scanners, printers, cameras, keyboards, mice, tablets, modems, external drives, even speakers and microphones. By mid 2000 it has become difficult to find some types of peripherals — scanners for example — that use the older parallel or serial ports. In fact some computer manufacturers are producing models that do not have any serial, parallel or even PS2 (key­board and mouse) ports at all. Also, some computers are placing USB ports on the front for easier access.

       What has caused this accelerated rate of adoption? The biggest reason is probably because that users like you and I learned to love it as soon as we had our first experience with it. What, I can hear you say, is there to love about a simple piece of cable? I’ll list several things:

            Small and limber com­pared to clunky printer cables for example.

            Hot swappable. Not only can you plug/unplug devices from your computer without turning the computer or the device off (and the subsequent reboot), but the computer recognizes when the device appears or disappears and responds appropriately (e.g., by installing a needed driver).

            No more running into conflicts with IRQs when installing a new device. PCs have had a severe shortage of IRQs ever since users began wanting to hang more and more goodies on them. Resolving IRQ conflicts is something best left to the geekier types.

            No more running out of physical ports. If your computer has one parallel port and you have two devices that you want to plug into it there is no longer a need for some messy workaround.

            Fast. At least fast by com­parison to serial and parallel ports. Try loading pictures from a 32 Mbyte digital camera card into your computer via USB after having experienced doing the same through a serial port. More about speed later.

            There is only one style of cable and the two ends are visually quite different. This makes for less fumbling when trying to make a connection in a dark corner. There are no screws or clips needed to hold things in place. Actually, there are two types of cables avail­able — the regular A‑B cable (the A connector is the nar­row rectangular connector that plugs into the com­puter and the B connector is the almost square one that plugs into the device) and the special A‑A extension cable (which has a male A on one end and a female A on the other end). Figure 1 shows the connectors.

            But I only have two USB ports on my com­puter. How am I going to hook up all of the devices that you mentioned? Seems to me if I have a USB keyboard and a USB mouse, I’ve already saturated my computer.

            That’s a good question to lead into the next neat thing about USB. You can daisy chain several devices on one port. For example, many USB keyboards come equipped with multiple USB ports built in. You plug the keyboard into one of your computer USB ports and then plug your mouse and your graphics tablet and your PC camera into the keyboard. See Figure 2. You can plug as many devices as you wish into the more conveniently located keyboard rather than crawl behind the computer to do the connecting. When you run out of slots, you can

buy a USB hub. A hub has one down­stream (B) connector and multiple (3, 5, 7...) upstream (A) slots. If you eventually run out of slots on the hub you can buy another hub and plug it into the first one. There must be a limit to this somewhere, you say. Yes there is, a single USB port on the computer can handle only 127 devices. What about IRQs for all of these devices? There is only a single IRQ required for the entire chain! Isn’t that nice?

         Hot Swap­ping. It is almost eerie the first time you accept the assurance that it is OK to plug a peripheral into your com­puter without powering it down. Let’s say you bought a new USB‑equipped scan­ner and installed its soft­ware. Later you are in the middle of typing a document in MS Word and decide that you need to scan a graphic and you plug the scanner in for the first time. At the time that you insert the USB cable into the computer a window pops up telling you that Windows has detected a new device and that it is loading its driver. After a few seconds the window goes away and you are back typing in Word — and your scanner is ready to go. Sure beats powering down and rebooting.

            Power. A USB cable has only four wires. Two of these are a twisted pair for the data and the other two are there to carry 5V power to the peripherals. That’s right, the computer can supply power to peripherals (as long as they don’t require too much power). Devices like printers and scanners are power‑hungry and require their own power plugs but devices like keyboards, mice, digital cameras, etc., can get by with power supplied over the USB cable. Of course, if you hang 127 low power devices on the same port, you would overload the computer’s power supply and also the current carrying capacity of the USB cables but that isn’t likely to happen because most hubs that you buy can be plug­ged into a power receptacle if the devices plugged into them require power.

            Speed. I men­tioned that USB is speedy. It (USB v1.1) runs at 12 Mbps but has another mode that will enable devices that do not require a high through­put (e.g., a keyboard or mouse) to use only a 1.5Mbps channel. Compared to a Serial or a Parallel port (0.1 Mbps) this is fast. Compared to Apple’s FireWire ( Mbps) this is sloooow. Firewire (official name — IEEE 1394) currently runs at 400 Mbps and is heading to 1600 Mbps in the future! However USB has speed improvement plans as well, but nothing like the speed of FireWire. USB 2 specs have already been published and Intel and HP have already demonstrated prototypes.

            USB 2 will support transfer speeds up to 480 Mbps for peripherals designed for it and will be backward compatible to work with existing USB 1.1 peripherals (and run them twice as fast as USB 1.1). I’ve seen reports that USB 2 should start showing up on computers this year and that peripherals will start dribbling out late this year and next. I’ve also seen reports from the usual nay‑sayers that mixed v1.1 and v2 peripheral chains will difficult to set up and will be unreliable. Maybe they are right but we have to remember that “them new‑fangled electric starters” did really replace the “old reliable hand crank.”

            Speaking of FireWire. Should you hold off to see if FireWire beats USB in the marketplace? While there was a lot of talk last year about one or the other winning in the race for broadband peripheral bus, that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer. They haven’t made peace, they just naturally divided up the market. It appears that Fire­Wire’s niche is really highspeed throughput needed for realtime video and audio while the “I just like things to go as fast as possible” part of the market goes to the less expensive USB. It is likely that top‑ of‑the‑line computers in the not too distant future will come equipped with both. We should get used to speaking of USB as a medium speed bus.

            Speaking of Price... What does it cost to go USB? Assuming your computer has USB ports then we are not talking much money. USB peripherals (unlike SCSI drives and peripherals) don’t seem to cost any more money than older style models and the cables are cheaper than parallel and older serial cables. The first real expense that you will get into is when you run out of built‑in ports and have to buy a USB hub. I’ve seen these advertised for $40 or so but when I went to by mine locally at a big computer store I ended up paying $69 for a 5 port model. Prices should drop as USB becomes more common. Check out this table for prices of related items that I found on the Web in May, 2000.

USB Hubs: 4 Port: $35‑40; 7 Port: $65

PCI Expander Cards: 2 Port: $24

Cables A‑B: 3 foot $4; 5 foot $7

Cables A‑A: 6 foot $6; 9 foot $7

Adapter Cables: 7 foot $37 (e.g. for bi­direc-tional parallel printer to USB port)

FireWire Cables: 6 foot $18; 15 foot $29 (for comparison)

   Look for the distinctive logo on the boxes your peripheral is packed in and you won’t be disappointed.

                Alex Dumestre has been associated with computers since the mid ‘60s, most of that time developing geophysical applications for use on main­frames, minicomputers and work stations. He is a bit of a nut about graphics but is a perpetual novice on PCS. He is a member of 1960 PC Users Group and can be contacted by e‑mail at


Shopping Tips

or I Can Get it for You Wholesale

by Frank Howden

Rochester Computer Society

My penny‑pinching Scots heritage has been pointed out to me more than once. How­ever that may be, I have never had lots of money; so I always try to do things as cheaply as possible. Long years of doing things this way has left me somewhat suspicious of “good ideas” that seem somewhat pricey. A good example is the cans of compressed gas that our two Joes used to blow out the printer in last month’s article.

            These gas cans contain a fluorocarbon that easily vaporizes at room temp to provide a pressurized gas. (This is not the dreaded chloro‑fluoro‑carbons that eat ozone; but, containing only fluorine, is relatively unreactive.) The problem is that the cans of gas cost $8.+ each. If one is blowing out printers once every couple of years, fine. But if one blows out a printer, a computer, a TV, etc. and so on more often, lots of money will go up in smoke, as it were.

            One solution is to find alternative cans of pressurized gas (like the ones used for hand held fog horns. But Be Careful.

            Some of these may contain fuel gases such as propane. Needless to say, flammable gas should ever be used indoors or around electronic equipment

       Another solution is small cylinders of carbon dioxide, which are relatively cheap to refill at your local welding supply company. They also can easily be fitted with small orifice nozzles that produce a high velocity stream needed for removing particles from the innards of equipment. Carbon dioxide has the added advantage of absorbing heat and is often used to identify com­ponents that have intermittent operating problems due to over heating. (One sprays one component at a time until one hits the one that, when cooled, restores normal operations.) The only difficulty is that high pressure cylinders are somewhat pricey and require hydrostatic testing every ten years. By the way, CO2 fire extinguishers are generally more expensive to refill than plain cylinders.

            Another possibility (and the one I use) is to buy an air tank of the kind carried in the back of road service trucks. A five- gallon tank (weight 13 lbs. empty) from some company like Harbor Freight Tools ($18.95 plus $3.95 shipping if your order totals less than $50). This can be refilled free by anyone you know with an air compressor. (Compressors used for painting or operating machinery  usually have moisture filters.) If you use one of the small coin operated machines at service stations to fill your tank, do so at a time when the humidity is low. Moist air will not help electronic equipment.

            While we are at it, most mechanical equipment (save small household appliances) have parts lists and service manuals that can be purchased from the manufacturer or service center. Only you can decide whether winding up elbow deep in small parts is worth it to you.


Clean up Your E-Mail

When we forward a message we receive we pass on the e-mail addresses of everyone who has received it in the past as well as those we have added. Finding such a list is a spammers dream.

            To forward a message without forwarding the e-mail addresses of every recipient you can remove all e‑mail addresses that were forwarded on the message. After you hit the forward key use the editing functions on your e‑mail program to delete them.

            Enter the name of your recipient by using the Bcc (blind carbon copy) key to address the mail. The mail will list only the name of the person who receives it. Nobody else’s e‑mail address will be shown. If you add names from your address book you can click Bcc instead of To from there as well.

            Now your e‑mail message won’t have dozens of addresses at the beginning and no one will have to scroll through lists of addresses to reach the message.


Product Review

The Master Genealogist

by Barbara Nuehring

Tucson Computer Society

I’m impressed. The Master Genealogist (TMG) is not just another pretty face among 12 other major genealogically based software programs. It is a very powerful database that is a research aid and information manage­ment tool, as well as a recording device and report/chart maker. TMG is so powerful in fact, that it would take at least a year of dedicated usage to take advantage of all the features.

            But to a genealogist, neither a year nor dedication is ever a problem. The beauty of this program in my mind is twofold: it grows from basic to expert along with the user’s experience in genealogical research; and it handles research problems like uncertain data, conflicting events, adoptions, and name varia­tions.

Getting Started

            The first surprise I got was when I opened the large box in which the soft­ware is packaged. The contents were not a lonely CD suspended in a cardboard sleeve. There were actually two bound books. One was the Getting Started Manual (a.k.a. a tutorial) and the other was a 386 page Reference Manual.

            Two CDS came in the Gold Edition. The first CD is the operating program and the tutorial. The second CD contains six databases including the two most commonly‑ used genealogical reference books The Source and The Red Book. TMG loaded with­out a problem onto both our computers (one with Windows 95 in­stalled, and the other with Windows 98).

            Although TMG is Win­dows 95 and 98 compatible, it does not claim to be compliant with Windows 95 and 98 conventions. This is obvious in that the close box (X) in the upper‑ right‑hand corner of the screen is not active. This was not a problem for me as there is an exit/close/OK button on every screen for closing it.

            The basic functions of the program are quite intuitive. Although the TMG screens are busy compared to other genealogical databases, once I had been through the first two of the six chapters of the tutorial, I became comfortable with them.


            The terminology for the different fields threw me at first, such as flags, tags, and data sets. However, it wasn’t long until I found that with the power of this software, such designations make sense. Data set is just another term for database file. I maintain nine separate data sets — one each for the ancestral families of my four grandparents, one for my children’s paternal ancestors, and one each for the ancestral lines of my hus­band’s four grandparents. That way my data sets stay at manageable size and if (heaven forbid) one data set becomes corrupted, only one branch needs grafting (read: reconstructed) and I haven’t lost the whole tree. TMG has the provision to merge data sets, so if the time should ever come that I want to do all the families that make up me, I can do that without replanting the forest.

            Flags are one‑character fields for classi­fying the people in the data set. Flags appear on the right side of the main data‑entry screen.

            When a flag is created, a list of predetermined values is developed, such as ?/Y/N or ?/M/F or rankings of ?/½/3/etc. This ensures consistency. There are seven preset flags: Sex, Living, Birth Order, Multiple Birth, Adopted, Ancestor Interest, and Descendant Interest. Custom flags can be easily added. I found this particularly helpful for filtering work requirements and have added flags to indicate whether I’ve cleaned up an individual record of an imported file and whether a full source review has been completed.

            Tag is the name for a data field which stores the personal information, activities, relationships, and historical events about an individual. Tags, the heart of the documenting process, show up as a chronological list on the Person View screen. TMG has allowed great flexibility here as there must be over a hundred different preset tags and the user can add more. What I really like is the ability to use multiple tags for the same data. This includes names.

            Often a person goes by a different name than is recorded on official vital records and/or baptismal certificates. On TMG I can record every name. I just have to designate one as the primary tag. That will be the information printed on reports. I can do the same if I have more than one birth date. Tag titles are only limited by the imagination of the researcher. Some of the preset tags include such events as multiple marriages and divorces, employment, immigration, census, probates, and deeds. Using a drop‑down menu, I was able to make a tag to accommodate the recording of a Significant Other — there are several, two generations back and some in the next generation in my family tree. That moniker was a bit long so I called it “Companion,” and classified it as a marriage. This allows for full documentation of a Companion as a member of the family. Name change is always optional.

Three Main Screen Views

            Data entry can be made in any of the main views which are accessed using file‑folder‑looking tabs. Any of the views can easily be redrawn for any individual on that screen by highlighting that person and pressing or double clicking the mouse:



3.       The Tree View is the traditional four‑generational pedigree chart augmented with boxed listings of siblings and children of the primary individual. This view provides a convenient method for navigating through the family tree. Of course, there is an index of the people in the data set. Known as the Pick List, it has filter and sort capabilities for any number of configurations. By highlighting and double clicking on a name, the screen changes to The Person View of the selected individual. 


            Navigating though TMG is easy using the mouse, keyboard or a combination of the two. A long time ago, I left the keypad in favor of the mouse for navigating through other programs and assumed that the mouse and icons with occasional visits to the Drop Down Menu would continue to be my preference when working in TMG How wrong I was! I have found that there is a place for all depending on what I want to do.

            One of the true tests for me on a program is whether I can customize the icon bar(s). This can easily be done in TMG and I have added an icon to take me directly to The Master Source List, which I use frequently. Double clicking on a name takes me to that person as the subject. Double clicking on tags or flags will take me to the edit screens for these fields. There is a screen (used for selecting other parent screens when adding a child) that will not understand that my middle button on my mouse is a double‑click and I actually have to hit the left key twice to make it understand.

            Hot Keys (simultaneously depressing the Ctrl key and a letter key) enable the user to quickly bring up a specific data entry screen or to jump to various views. I use this method when adding tags, rather than having to click on an icon, scroll through options and click on select. For instance, the +B takes me directly to the Birth Tag. Another handy one is the +L which jumps me back to the last screen I was on. Then of course, there are the Function Keys. All are preassigned for functions, such as F2 to search, F3 to repeat, F10 to exit and save and F12 to create/edit a research log. TMG’s Bookmarks, as the name implies, allows the user to bookmark up to ten individuals for a quick move to a specific ancestor.

            TMG also makes good use of ID numbers. Each individual has his own ID number which helps to distinguish between family members with the same name or identify a specific individual that may have several names. It is also an expeditious navigation tool. Although TMG automatically assigns a number to each new individual, the genealogists does have the capability to renumber ancestors as they wish.

Functions And Features

            TMG has some very interesting functions and sound research features that not all genealogical software programs have. I have focused on those that help me be a better researcher and I am very pleased with the outcome.

            Sources and Citations: The user decides the format to be used for citing sources. One can design his own or use templates designed to support the formats and categories derived from Cite Your Sources by Richard Lackey or Evidence!: Citation and Analysis for the Family Historian by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I chose the latter. The TMG templates will ensure that I cite my sources in a consistent manner.

            Surety Rankings: Not all sources are created equal. The Surety field in TMG permits the evaluation of evidence. Numeric values are assigned to indicate the quality and reliability of each element of information within the source. For instance, date of birth and name of parents on a birth certificate issued by the state would be reliable, recorded at the time of the event and a primary source. But the birth date on enlistment papers in World War I is entered long after the fact and may be hearsay, for many a young man who lied about his age in order to fight in the war to end all wars. Therefore, on their own the surety value for the date on the birth certificate would be 3 (the highest ranking) and the enlistment papers would be 2 or 1. But comparing the two documents, the surety value of the enlistment papers for birth date would be changed to a minus (‑) thus designating that the source is known to be erroneous. Thus, the date, although incorrect, can still be recorded, as all military documents would carry this date and effect other events like the onset of pensions.

            Sort Date: This feature allows me to enter an arbitrary date for an event when I have no earthly idea when it happened, but logic tells me it had to be after or before another event. Thus the event is listed in chronological order, but no date appears on any view or report.

            Exhibits: We all know that genealogy without documented evidence is mythology. TMG’s Exhibits feature allows for the electronic storing of evidence in a form as close to the original as possible, whether it be a digital photograph or scanned image, an audio clip or an O.LE. Research Tasks and Log: The name really says it all. With this function, I do not have to maintain other software files or find scraps of paper where I jotted notes. This function allows me to record tasks and attach them to a person, event, source or repository. Then I can sort or filter the tasks by any of those fields to create research plans. A Research Log icon will glow green on the related view/screen to alert me that there is work to be done.

Three Ways To Begin A Data Set



3.       TMG has gone a step further and has developed GenBridge™ which allows the import of data directly from the most popular genealogy programs. Because of this direct transfer, not only names, standard events and relationships are imported, but also notes, sources, citations, and user‑defined events. I used this method to import a data set from Family Tree Maker Version 4.4 and it came through just fine. Of course, with transfers between software programs, there is always a need for review and correction of data that has “slipped between the branches.” 

Umpteen Reports, Narratives, Charts And Displays

            Umpteen is probably an understatement when discussing the types of printed outputs that are available. And that number is squared when you add the Custom Report Writer feature to the equation and take into consideration that the default reports are customizable. Reports is a generic term for narratives, standard charts, lists, and statistical reports. Some of the default reports include Ahnentafel Linear or Narrative, Pedigree Charts in several different formats, Descendancy Charts, Family Group Sheets, Audit Reports, GED­COM Export format, and lists generated from most data fields.

            What I really like is that narratives may be sent to my word processor including footnotes, a bibliography, and the embedded codes for the development of Tables of Contents and Indexes.

Not Really Problems, but.....

            A sibling of an ancestor cannot be added if a parent is not known. To get around this, I created a father with the same surname and no first name. This gave me a parent, so that I could list known siblings. When a first name is not entered, views and reports show (?) in the first name field. A feature in another genealogical software program that I really liked and was not offered in this version of TMG is the auto‑fill of certain data fields, (such as surname and city, county, state) when the first few letters are typed. However, TMG remembers the last 15 entries in each filed. And by pressing the last entry will be inserted into the current field. Additional hitting of the key will cycle through the last 15 entries.


            TMG is user friendly for the hobbyist or professional genealogist having any level of computer experience. There is a tremendous support system for TMG users. In addition to the huge Reference Manual and the Tutorial, there is a Web Site, a knowledgeable Tech Support staff, an active listserv, a well written Help file, and a local TMG Users Group sponsored by the Arizona State Genealogical Society. Now that I have been working with my data in TMG for a couple of months, I find that everything I have needed is there. And there are features I haven’t yet explored. Because TMG is such a powerful program, I’m living the advice of a good friend, “go slow ... there’s no need to learn it all at once.” TMG seems to have the ability to provide users with what they need at the level they need it. Interesting concept.

System Requirements

CPU: 486 or higher; Graphics: VGA Color; Operating System: Windows 3.x, 95, 98, NT

Purchase price direct from manufacturer: Wholly Genes, Inc., 5144 Flowertuft Court, Columbia, MD 21044, 877‑864‑3264. Gold Edition: $99.00 plus shipping and handling; Silver Edition: $59.00 plus shipping and handling.

                From the June 2000 issue of the Tucson Computer Society Journal.

Printers are Cheap

It’s the Ink that’s Expensive

by Jim Harty

Hilton Head Island Computer Club

Printer manufacturers have taken a lesson from Gillette. Give away the printer and make your money on the ink.

            I can remember paying over $6,000 for a printer several years ago. Today you can buy a printer with a superior print quality for $150.

            Several things have occurred. One, there have been major improvements in the technology, but more importantly there are a great many more buyers out there. When I purchased my $6000 printer, the manufacturer had to make their money on the printer because they weren’t going to make a lot of money on ink refills.

            Things are different today. When you purchased your computer you may have gotten the printer for free. A $150‑200 printer is a nice incentive.

            When you went out to purchase replacement ink cartridges for the first time you found that a black and a colored cartridge were going to cost you around $50. That’s 25 percent‑30 percent of the cost of the printer. You suddenly realized how much all of those colored pages you kids were spitting out were costing. As a result, many households have a print in black only rule or an empty colored cartridge in their printer.

Off‑brand Cartridges

            There is an alternative. You have a great printer; you should use it and encourage your kids to use it. One of the alternatives to the cartridge supplied by the manufacturer is off‑brand cartridges. I have used many different brands for over 25 years and have never had a problem. Typically off‑ brands sell for about half the price of the name brand. That will cut you cost per sheet in half. One local supplier advertises regularly in Island Computing. Wal‑mart, Target and other discounters usually carry an off‑brand in addition to the OEM brand.

This Is the Age of Do it Yourself

            One of the reasons there are so many off‑brands is that even at a 50 percent reduction in price, its still very profitable.

            You can reduce your cost by about 90 percent by buying the ink in bulk and refilling your empty cartridge yourself. Now you are paying only 10 percent of what the OEM cartridge cost.

It Can Be Messy

            My solution to that messy problem is lots newspapers and a pair of throw‑away gloves.  (Remember, your father used to get ink on his fingers when he filled his Waterman fountain pen). The cost of refilling an empty black cartridge is less than $2. If you’re interested goto: http://www.oddparts .com/ink. They provide complete instructions.

            Try the black first, and then graduate to the colored refill.

            There are several other sites that sell ink. This just happens to be the last one that I used.


From the Dealsguy

by Bob Click

Greater Orlando User Group

More UG entries are listed on my distribution page. Evelyn Hagfeldt, President of Northland Microcomputer Users Group found the time to send me the information on her group, and Bill DeLucia from Central New York PC Users Group also sent information for their listing. Thanks for the help.

            I have also added Sunland Village Computer Club and Colorado River Computer Club. They don’t carry my column, but did publish my article “To Surge or Not To Surge.” Keep ‘em coming.

            The Best Buy dispute is still ongoing, but I hope to have it concluded next month. The only thing we can’t agree on is a new established purchased price for the new computer, which was what began this action in the first place. They are steadfastly refusing on that and we are about on the courthouse steps, but they’ll find I am serious, win or lose.

            In response to my comments about “paid referral” URLs sent to users group members who don’t actually know the reason, I was not surprised to receive e‑mail from people who disagreed with my opinion of people sending them to others for their own income. They said the recipient has no money obligation so why should it matter, even though it is without their knowledge. They mostly said “What they don’t know won’t hurt ‘em.” My answer is that I think deception has no place in users groups, or anyplace else.

            In fact, a few readers pointed out that there was such a URL to order the book in the last couple of my columns. True, but that is the ordering URL, what can I do, unless I leave that item out. I felt few people would go there unless they were ordering the book. Ira also pointed out the code for the Amazing Mail in that column, which he called “commission/referral code,” whatever that is. Have you been keeping en eye on how many of the URLs you see with number strings? The Central Florida Computer Society BoD uses “” a lot for internal communication and it often has these paid referral URLs in their ads. More on that next month as I learn more.

            On the other hand, Elkhart PC Users Group actively promotes a paying URL, urging the members to use it every day, even giving them numbers on how much money their treasury could receive from only a few pennies per hit (even more if you make a purchase). That sounds like a good plan since it is with the member’s knowledge, but I couldn’t help notice there is also just a bit of resistance to it.

            In my discussion about being careful of clicking on attachments with a .EXE, a friend pointed out that there are also .COM .OVL .DLL, and now .VBS (visual basic script)! Besides all that, there are the macro viruses embedded in Microsoft docs, etc. I even read about JPEG files that it was said could hide a virus. Best policy, he said, is to always use your virus detector and update it every couple of days.

            I thought I’d pass on this item that several people sent me. I have condensed it and left out the URLs with a number string:

Problems with Pentium IIIs

            Intel announced that Pentium III motherboards equipped with it’s “memory translator hub” (MTH) may be sensitive to system noise, and may even reboot or crash with no warning. If your Pentium III (w/Intel motherboard purchased after Nov. ‘99) is affected, Intel will refund or replace both your motherboard and your RAM, replacing your current RAM with 128 Mb of RDRAM (very expensive RAM). If you think you have one of these, check with where you purchased it.

            Only computers containing Intel’s 820 chipset, a 133‑MHZ system bus and a Pentium III running at 533 MHZ or greater are affected, and if yours has RamBus memory, you’re OK. Intel has created a MTH Reboot Issue Page at [http://www] Click on the “Am I Affected” link for another page where you can download a free utility that will tell you if your Pentium III has an MTH controller. Also, go to [] and search for MTH for more information (If its still on there).

Adobe Reminder

            I publish these from time to time, mostly for members new to the users group community. These specials are ongoing but can end at any time. Adobe is one of our best supporters, hence the reminder. Check the Adobe Web site for descriptions if you don’t know what it is.

            Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Business Edition,  Win­dows/Macintosh UG price $69.00 Adobe PhotoDeluxe, Home Edition 4.0, Windows  UG price $39.00; Adobe Photo­Deluxe 2.0,  Windows/Macintosh UG price $39.00; Adobe PageMill 3.0, Win­dows/Macintosh  UG price $69.00. They say supplies are limited. Order by calling 1‑800‑888‑6293. Provide your user group name and the offer #35701.

            If you own Adobe Acrobat version 4.0, have you asked for the free update? It fixes a few problems discovered after its initial release and includes a few enhancements. Call 1‑800‑272‑3623 to see about the free version 4.05 update if you’re a registered user. Have the serial number for your Acrobat ready.


Magazines “On The Cheap”

            Herb Goodman from the Boca Raton Computer Society tells me he has been offering discounted magazine subscriptions to many users groups for eight years. I asked him for more information and he is making the discount available for my users group readers only (not to the public). I only subscribe to free ones (mostly trade magazines) so I’m not an authority on subscription prices. I’m cheap, so be your own judge. In fact, I feel that with the amount of ads contained in most of these magazines, especially Computer Shopper, they should be free. However, that is not the case for most.

            Here are the magazines Herb now offers: Computer Gaming World, Computer Shopper, Dr. Dobbs Journal, Family PC, Home Office Computing, Mac Home Journal, Mac World, Maximum PC, Microsoft System Journal, Mobile Computing, PC Computing (now named Smart Business), PC Portables, PC Magazine, PC World, Publish; Wired, and Yahoo! Internet Life.

            An example is PC World for one year at $14.95, three years for $40.95. I did notice three magazines on that list that I happen to receive free, and I have no idea why, except that they may also be trade magazines. Print the list each month in your newsletter if you prefer, or save the space in the newsletter and make the information available on a printed sheet, but NOT on your Web site, because it is too easily accessible to the public.

            If your users group is interested in offering this discount to your members, e‑mail Herb Goodman at [HGOODMAN] for complete information. He will also send references if you want to know more about him. Who knows, with your help to improve his volume, he can probably work out more deals with publishers for discounts on other magazines (just my thought, there’s power in numbers).

An Old Company is Still Around

            How many remember “Arts & Letters”? The newbies won’t I’m sure, but this company has been around for a long time. However they have never been all that aggressive. I received a solicitation call from them the other day to upgrade and convinced them to offer my readers a deal.

            Arts & Letters “EXPRESS” is an excellent graphics program and I have an excellent price. Many of the new features in EXPRESS 7.0 facilitate the development and use of graphics on Web sites, and for interactive presentations. Also included is a CD containing 10,000 Web graphics and a convenient viewer/browser. Version 7.0 users can now connect directly to a special Arts & Letters Web site (access is limited to users of EXPRESS 7.0 and greater). From this site, users can download a variety of content and support materials including clip art, fonts, animated GIFs, sound effects, templates, utilities, news, special offers and documentation. There is even a message board for exchanging ideas and solutions with other users. By the way, tech support is free and unlimited.

How often do you get that these days!

            There are too many features to include here so I suggest you visit their web site at

[http://www.arts‑] for all the information. If you like what you see or want more info, call them at 1‑972‑661‑8960, extension 15, and ask for Mel Calderon. Tell him you read it in Bob

Click’s Deals column. Then you will be entitled to buy Arts & Letters version 7.0 (full version, two CDS) for just $89.95 (regular $139.95) + $8.50 S&H. Canadian S&H is $20 but there is a way Canadians won’t pay tax. Ask Mel about that.

            They have Windows 95/98/NT/2000 versions. Mel noticed I hadn’t received the free 6.2 update so he sent me that one and I will get 7.0 when it is introduced in July.

            That’s it for this month. Meet me here again next month if your editor permits. This column is written to make user group members aware of special offers I have found or arranged, and my comments should not be interpreted to encourage, or discourage, the purchase of products, no matter how enthused I might sound. Bob (The Cheapskate) Click [dealsguy@mindspring .com]. Visit my Web site at [http://www] for past columns. 


Collecting E‑Mail

While Away from Home

by Stan Johnstone

Melbourne (Australia) PC User Group


Going traveling and need to keep up with the news? This is one of the most frequently asked questions by Melb PC members who are embarking on their travels and still want to keep up with their normal e‑mail.

Hotmail (and other free e‑mail services)

            The preferred method is to open an account at or a similar free e‑mail service. There are hundreds of sites offering this type of e‑mail service, with Hotmail being the largest and best known. These services are accessed using a regular browser — not a specific e‑mail program. This means that you can borrow a friend’s access through his Internet browser for a short time, and without any alterations to his settings catch up with all your e‑mail that is waiting to be read. Not only that, you will be responding directly from one of your own addresses.

            Because access is obtained by simply using a browser, this means that all your friends, Internet cafes, those Internet coin‑in‑the‑slot machines you’ve seen at airports and even the local library, are all potential sources for sending and receiving e‑mail.

            It is a matter of a few minutes to open a Hotmail e‑mail ac­count and to all intents and purposes, the following remarks apply to other similar services.

            Open your browser, go to http://www and follow the instructions for a new user.

            First of all they will ask you a number of questions about your­self and invite you to choose a username and password. If the username has already been allocated you will get a response inviting you to choose one from a list of suggestions offered. Thus it be­comes a matter of choosing a user­name that is acceptable to both Hotmail and yourself.

            Next comes a list of suggested topics or mailing lists you are invited to add your name — after all, they have to pay for the service in some way — although there is no obligation to choose any. They require that you accept their Agree­ment; they also call for the account to be accessed with­in the following 10 days and again within 60 day intervals.

            Each mes­sage can be opened and read by a simple double click of the “From” list, and then answered, copied or re­directed as in normal e‑mail use. Using the Com­pose button fresh e‑mail may be sent to any other address as you would normally.

            However, one of the most powerful features is found under the Options button. Amongst the other services provided is a heading for POP Mail. Clicking on this opens a new window that enables you to nominate and configure up to four regular e‑mail addresses, and then access each of these through your Hotmail ac­count.

            On the main Hotmail screen with the list of your mail headers, on the left hand side under Services appear the words Pop Mail. A simple click on this link will provide you with direct access to your Melb PC or other e‑mail account, again with the ability to Open and Read, Reply Copy and Forward exactly as though you had con­nected direct.

            So there you have it — the ability to have mail addressed to you at an address which can be accessed and read worldwide and in addition, access and work with your e‑mail that is being sent to your “normal” address.

What Are the Costs?

            Even though accounts such as Hotmail are provided free, you will get some junk mail. Perhaps a more significant problem is that it can be slow, and this can vary quite significantly depending on the time of your access. All the Hotmail e‑mail is located on the one site, and with literally thousands of users the seeking their e‑mail at the one time, identifying and listing your e‑mail can take some minutes and then after that, it has to be downloaded to you.

Leaving Mail On the POP Server

            There is a check set against “Leave messages on POP server.” Generally speaking it is always advisable to leave your normal mailer program to the default setting which will remove mail from your provider’s server after a successful download. Occasionally users change this setting and most often it results in their mailbox becoming overfull, it slows down while the server sorts through all your read and unread messages until finally everything grinds to a halt.

            With the Hotmail access there is the ability to read your e‑mail but still leave it on the server. This means that upon your return home you can use your normal mailer program and download all the mail that came in while you were away and although previously read, you can now have the original copies stored on your own PC for future reference. This is about the only time that facility should be used.

What About Another Account?

            Although not part of this subject heading, Hotmail and other free similar e‑mail services can be used to allow each member of the family to create their own, unique (Hotmail) e‑mail address. Having done this, each can receive their own e‑mail through the family’s web browser while still keeping the independence and confidentiality they would like.

                Stan Johnstone has been a member of the Melb PC Internet team for over six years, in addition to providing the main e‑mail assistance directed to Reprinted from the July 2000 issue of PC Update, the magazine of Melbourne PC User Group. He may be reached at


Photo Recall Deluxe

by Charles Flum

Computer Club of Ocean County (NJ)

If you are at all interested in computer graphics, you probably have a whole  library full. The problem is, how do you find what you want? That is where Photo  Recall Deluxe can be a wonderful aid.

            First the basics. What are the requirements? Minimum is a 486/66, Pentium recommended; 16 MB RAM, 32 recom­mended; 20 MB free disk space; CD‑ROM needed for installation; 256 color (or higher) graphics adapter, SVGA monitor with 800x600 resolution; Win95 or NT 3.51 or later. Optional: Sound card & speakers, printer, Twain scanner or digital camera, ISP, MAPI enabled e‑mail client. In other words, it is not a big resource hog.

            Photo Recall Deluxe allows you to place photos and graphics in libraries in any order which makes sense to you. You then add whatever key words you wish to make searching easier. The pictures can be on your hard drive, on CD‑ROM, on a floppy, or even on the Internet Find some you like on the net, catalog them as to where they are, and save disk space.

            One major problem is the manual. For example, the manual say you can e-mail a picture to someone but it does not give step‑by‑step instructions on how to do it. .

            I found the program to be fairly easy to use. However I suspect a novice, without a clear manual, would have a great deal of frustration.

            Would I recommend the program? Yes, to more experienced users. With a well written manual I would  recommend it to anyone who needs to catalog graphics.

            Photo Recall Deluxe is produced by G & A Imaging, of Hull, Quebec, Canada. www


Society News

President’s Message

from Joe Varga

Last month Joe Pia said goodbye. This month, Joe Varga says, “Hi There!”  +You say goodbye, I say Hello, Hello, Hello….+

            We all have many great things planned for the club in the coming months and years. I believe this “new arrangement” of the board, chair people, and coordinators will help this club to continue growing stronger every day.

            As usual though, even though we do have a strong leadership team in place, we are still in need of volunteers. Please, if you have even one hour per month to offer us some help in any area of club responsibility, contact me at your earliest convenience. The first and most important position we need to fill is that of Communications Coordinator. This person would handle phone calls, e-mail, and snail mail communications for the club and SIGs. The estimated time spent per month for this position is only about two hours maximum; most often, less than an hour. OK, enough of that for now….

            We do have some exciting programs scheduled for the fall and winter and we will have more for the spring and many months to follow. Joe P. is really getting his group going with the computer training classes. I think this will be a terrific asset to the club.

            Don’t forget that the picnic is this month (on the 27th at 2 p.m.) and we will have a copy of Windows 98 SE Upgrade to give away (call Steve Staub at 429‑9877 to warn him you’re coming — he’s buying the food!).

            There will not be a regular club meeting in August. Our September meeting has been changed to September 24 at 2 p.m. (back at East High School) to accommodate a Micro­soft presenter who will be showing us Windows ME. Be sure to mark those dates on your calendar.

            I also want you all to remember that as your president, I am always available to you for club and computer related questions. You can contact me by e-mail at jrvarga @rochester or or by phone at 233-7841


Program Meeting Minutes

July 11 ,2000

by Charles Grover, Secretary

At the end of Helps Half Hour, led by Ron Matteson, Greg Wolfe agreed to lead the session at the September meeting.

            Joe Varga opened our business meeting at 7 p.m. This was his first time acting as President. He had no business to introduce, but invited items from others. Steve Staub, Treasurer, brought us up to date on plans for the picnic, Sunday, August 27, at 2 p.m., and the need to let him know in advance if you’re attending. 

            Joe had two software disks to give away after the program; no review required this time.

            After a break during which Joe Pia and Judy Trabert set up the room, we reconvened for our program at 7:15. Judy and Joe engaged us in sharing how we learned to use computers. Information gathered will help in planning the Computer Society’s training programs for new computer users.

            The possibility of Dick Comegys doing a New Deal Office program came up; perhaps in the fall.

            We gave Judy a round of applause in thanks before adjourning at 8:25.


Planning Meeting Minutes

July 19, 2000

by Charles Grover, secretary

President Joe Varga convened the July, 2000, Planning Meeting of the RCSi Board at 7:15 p.m. at the offices of Heveron & Heveron, Rochester. Also present were Steve Staub, Treasurer; Frank Howden, Ron Matteson, Larilyn Bauer, Jim McGrath, Joe Pia, Sally Springett, and Charles Grover.

            Joe Varga announced that the leased booklet maker has arrived — a machine to fold and staple the Monitor.

            Steve brought us up‑to‑date on the picnic.

            Fall program plans were presented, beginning with Joe Varga’s announcement that Ms Sonal Shaw of Microsoft will speak about Windows Millennium Edition in September.  The September meeting will be held not on the regular date but on Sunday, September 24, at 2 p.m.

            Steve pointed out that it is time to contract with the school for meeting space for the coming program year. Joe Varga will follow up.

            Two short program are scheduled for October. Merrill Lynch will give a 20 minute demonstration of their services and plan also to provide refreshments and a Palm Pilot as door prize. A representative from Frontier will talk about DSL (Digital Subscriber Line, a high speed Internet service available over telephone lines in some locations).

            Further possibilities mentioned are New Deal Office (by Dick Comegys) and Star Office.

            The board accepted with regret Joe Pia’s resignation as Vice President so that he could concentrate on fulfilling a new appointment as Special Projects Coordinator. This will enable Joe to develop education programs for new computer users.

            Frank, serving as Software Coordinator, will be writing to software manufacturers to request review copies.

            A few items related to finances were noted: we have about 125 paid‑up members, some bills are due to be paid, $5 was spent to provide a mail box key for Sally’s use. 

            Joe Pia reported for Judy Trabert and himself that the material from the last program meeting is being reviewed in order to plan the educational programs for new computer users.

            There will be no planning meeting in August. We adjourned at 8:20 p.m.


Treasurer’s Report

by Steve Staub


            Picnic                                         $80.00

            Machine lease                               87.00

            Membership                                  60.00

            Total income                             $227.00


            Post Office (annual fee)              $300.00

            Heveron & Heveron                     658.00

            Copier rental                               100.00

            Folding machine lease                   87.00

            St. Stephens                                 15.00

            SOFCO (copy paper)                      38.53

            Total expenses                        $1,212.53

Balance as of 07/25/00                         $1,780.77


The Lighter Side

Solitaire 2000 Sneak Preview

Solitaire 2000, yet to be released, is one of Microsoft’s best kept secrets. Or at least it was. This README file for the program was smuggled out of Redmond for all to see.

Microsoft Solitaire 2000

README file, v4.3



            Welcome to the wonderful world of Microsoft Solitaire 2000! This classic game has been a Windows fixture for many years, and after a long period of development, we are pleased to announce that it has been updated to take advantage of many exciting, Microsoft‑pioneered technologies, such as “long filenames!”

            For years, our users have made demands, and Microsoft has listened. You told us that you wanted an operating system in which Solitaire was a seamless, integrated component. You wanted to blend in Solitaire with how you worked, how you played, and in general, you wanted Solitaire to *define your computing experience.*

            Solitaire 2000 brings this dream to a blissful reality.

System Requirements:

            266 MHZ Pentium II or better

800 megabytes of free hard drive space (2.1 gigabytes recommended)

            128 megabytes of RAM

            (256 megabytes for Vegas scoring)

Installation Procedure:

1.       Insert the CD‑ROM entitled “Micro­soft Solitaire” into your CD‑ROM drive. You will need to make sure that the drive door is open before you place the disc in the tray.

2.       An installation dialog box should appear on your screen. If it does not, you may need to purchase more memory or a larger hard disk drive. See your local Microsoft‑certified dealer.


4.       Insert the CD‑ROM entitled “Micro­soft Solitaire, Disc 2" into your CD‑ROM drive. As before, ensure that the drive is open before inserting the disc in the tray.

5.       An installation dialog box should appear on your screen. If it does not, you may need to upgrade to a Micro­soft “Natural” keyboard, which you can obtain from your nearest dealer. As before, follow the onscreen instructions.

6.       After the installation program has completed, check your “Programs” menu for a new Solitaire 2000 entry. If the program entry was not successfully created, you may need to uninstall all local copies of Netscape Navigator and/or Communicator and restart the Solitaire installation process from scratch.

Playing The Game:

            Assuming that Solitaire 2000 has been properly installed, you should be able to find it in your “Programs” menu (you should have verified this as part of the installation process). Microsoft recommends that you shut down all other programs that may be running on the system before starting Solitaire 2000.

            To start the game, simply select it from the “Programs” menu. If the game does not start within five to seven minutes of selection, you may need to upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office to ensure that your system has the proper DLLs that Solitaire needs.

            For game rules, refer to the .hlp files for the Windows 3.1 version of Solitaire. If you don’t have these files, you can purchase them online from Microsoft at very competitive rates.

            [You may delete the millions of blank lines added to balloon the README file up to Microsoft’s mandatory one‑megabyte minimum file size at this time.]