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February 2002 Issue

 

Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.

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August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 November 2000 December 2000 January 2001
February 2001 March 2001 April 2001 May 2001 June 2001 August 2001
September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002
March 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 December 2002 February 2003
April 2003 June 2003 December 2003 January 2004 March 2004 April 2005
May 2005 July 2005        

5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter  

February 2002 Issue

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the editor
2) Industry News
3) Helpful Web Sites
4) Moving into a new PC
5) Misc. Tips and Tricks
6) HTML Tips
7) Problems & Solutions
8) Contact Information

[1]  Notes from the editor:
by Vince Underwood

Welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back all of you loyal 5 Star Supporters!  I hope this newsletter finds you all healthy and happy!

I would like to take a moment to introduce the new volunteer technicians that came to us last month.  They are listed in the order in which they joined.

1) Mark Wilson
2) Matt Bartenhagen
3) Dave K
4) Bob Sitors
5) Paul Grover
6) Zuckerman Moran
7) Louis Klink
8) Tigh Rombough

Welcome to all new techs.  I know that all of your efforts a very appreciated!  I hope you all learn a lot while you're here.
If you would like to view the profile of each of these and the other techs, please go to:
<http://www.5starsupport.com/techs.htm/>

Please remember to visit the 5 Star Store.  I have some product listed on there that helps me to offset the cost of publishing this very time consuming and expensive endeavor. 

Many thanks for subscribing to the 5 Star Support Free Monthly Newsletter!

Kind regards,

Vince Underwood
President, 5 Star Support
______________________________________
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[2]  HP/COMPAQ: Hewlett claims large IT mergers fail
By Ashlee Vance
1 February, 2002 8:11 SAN FRANCISCO, U.S.
Source: Computerworld

Hewlett-Packard shareholder Walter Hewlett Wednesday launched his latest offensive against the proposed merger between HP and Compaq Computer, saying large mergers between computing companies often fail. HP quickly countered with a statement that traced the benefits of some mega-mergers.

Hewlett, the son of one of HP's founders and a company board member, made a new filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), detailing his latest objections to the proposed multibillion-dollar deal. Entitled, "Large Computing Mergers Have Consistently Failed," the filing traced problems associated with Compaq's 1997 acquisition of Tandem Computer Inc. and its 1998 acquisition of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC). Hewlett also critiqued the 1986 union between Burroughs Corp. and Sperry Corp. to form Unisys Corp.

"HP's stated rationale for the proposed acquisition of Compaq is remarkably similar to the strategic rationale put forward for each of these failed transactions," Hewlett said in a statement on the filing. "Bigger did not prove better in any of these cases, and in each transaction, integrating the two large companies was a major stumbling block to the creation of stockholder value."

HP and Hewlett have engaged in a fierce, public battle over the merger. Although Hewlett once voted in favor of the deal, he later changed his position to oppose the merger and is the only dissenting board member. Hewlett, the Packard family and related organizations control close to 18 percent of HP's stock and plan to vote those shares against the deal in a vote expected to take place in March. Both Hewlett and HP have filed numerous documents with the SEC stating their positions on the merger.

Hewlett argued in his filing that large mergers between similar companies causes customers to flock toward competitors due to uncertainty about the direction product lines will take and disorder caused by the companies' reorganization. The IT industry, in particular, evolves quickly, which exacerbates these transition issues, Hewlett argued. In addition, he charged that financial benefits cited by management for mergers often end up below expectations after the deal is completed.

HP countered Hewlett's filing with a statement that charges he holds a "static view" of the technology industry in his report. The company claims that the technology landscape has changed since Compaq's acquisitions and that large mergers often succeed.

"This is precisely the time to do a merger of this magnitude because valuations are better, customers are placing major IT purchases on hold, competitors are in a holding pattern, and it offers time to execute and integrate," the company said.

HP has argued that the deal will provide benefits to its high-end hardware products, software business and services organization.

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[4]  Moving into a new PC - How to tackle the daunting job of shifting programs, files and personal settings.
BY SAM DIAZ
Mercury News

There's something refreshing about unpacking a new computer system, plugging in all of the cables and pressing the power button for that first bootup.

This new computer is clean -- free of the little quirks and virus remnants that made the old machine crash every now and then. But it's also free of your Internet bookmarks, your Oakland Raiders screen saver, your collection of MP3s and those crucial Quicken files.

Suddenly, you find yourself confronting a machine that's useless without all your old data, wondering how you're going to get all those old files transferred to the new machine.

The process is called data migration -- and anyone who has ever purchased a second or third home computer knows what a time-consuming hassle it can be to move stuff from one machine to another.

But there are ways to reduce the pain.

One approach for Windows PCs is software programs such as IntelliMover by Detto Technologies ($50 for the parallel version, $60 for the USB version at www.detto.com), PCsync by LapLink ($60 for a downloaded version, $80 for the parallel version at www.laplink.com), PC Relocator by Alohabob ($40 for a downloaded version, $50 for a parallel version at www.alohabob.com) or PC Upgrade Commander by V Communications ($40 for a downloaded version, $50 for a parallel version at www.v-com.com).

In each case, the software must be installed on both the old and new PCs. They scan the hard drives, folders and subfolders of your old computer to inventory the data and after a few more clicks on the old PC and another click or two on the new machine -- and of course, linking the two machines through a parallel port, USB or network connection -- data starts appearing on the new machine.

Sounds easy, right? Well, consider these caveats:

In most cases, these programs want to move all the contents of your old PC to the new machine. That's great for Word documents, photos and MP3s. But, moving programs -- Quicken, MusicMatch Jukebox or Microsoft Office, for example -- gets trickier because older versions aren't supported by Windows XP. Transferring a Windows 95-era program to a PC preloaded with the Windows XP operating system could be a problem because many of those programs haven't been upgraded to run on Windows XP.

When you move the full contents of a computer system, everything moves over, including those obscure files that had your old PC running sluggish in its final days.

Moving data through a USB cable isn't the fastest way to go -- but it beats the pants off data transfer through a parallel port. We migrated about eight gigabytes of data via parallel cable from a Gateway Performance PC with a 10-GB hard drive and a Pentium III chip to another Gateway machine with a 20-GB hard drive and a Pentium 4 chip. After three days -- yes, days -- the migration process was complete. Using a USB cable would have cut the transfer time from days to hours, depending on the number and size of data files being transferred.
Fred Broussard, a senior analyst with research group IDC, suggests data migration software is a better solution for large companies with hundreds or thousands of machines than for everyday home users.

The tech department employees in corporate America are trying to keep thousands of users up and running, without compromising settings and networking capabilities. It's in their interests, he said, for those folks to use migration software.

To a certain extent, we agree with Broussard. We'd rather load the latest version of MusicMatch Jukebox, for example, to the new machine and then transfer over the actual MP3 files, maybe using floppies, Zip disks, burned CDs or even an external hard drive -- something that can be used more than once.

External hard drives have come down in price in recent months, and finding a 10-GB USB-powered drive for less than $150 isn't impossible.

But Larry Mana'o, CEO of Detto Technologies, defends software programs such as his IntelliMover product for consumers.

He argues that consumers maintain control over the migration by allowing them to pick and choose which types of files will be transferred -- maybe MP3s, but not Excel files. Likewise, the software's file transfer utility allows file transfer between the two machines long after the initial migration process.

And, he says, consumers today have more files than they think -- especially given the growing popularity of digital photos and music.

A few years ago, most home PC sales were to consumers buying their first systems and therefore had no previous data to migrate. Today, most consumer PCs sold are the second or third machines in the home.

Still, if home users took the time to go through their computers and get rid of old stuff -- that 1997 letter to Grandma or the invitations for the 1999 New Year's Eve bash -- Broussard says they may find themselves moving only a handful of crucial data files.

``When it really comes down to it, you look at the files that are 5 years old or 2 years old and ask yourself, `Do I really need these anymore?,' '' Broussard said. ``The bulk transfer issue makes sense if you don't want to go through the screening.''

After filtering out the throw-away stuff, you might end up migrating data that could have fit on two or three floppy disks, he said.

Using floppy disks isn't always a bad idea -- and it's one that the folks at Iomega are building on with their larger capacity Zip disks.

Iomega is pitching its XP Data Migration software, a newly released Zip software product (www.iomega.com) that pops into the Zip drive, scans the old system and then tells the user how many Zip disks are needed to hold and transfer the data. If you're not a regular Zip user, this will get costly.

The software itself is free with an Iomega moving kit -- about $125 for a 100-megabyte starter kit that includes a Zip drive and disks for $150 for the 250-MB version.

Germaine Ward, an Iomega vice president, uses the same analogy of moving to a new home to explain the product's advantages.

``When you move from one house to another, you want to pack up everything, put it on the moving van and then unpack it. And you want it to be done as seamless as possible,'' she said. ``This packs everything up and takes it to the new machine, recognizes the new boxes that need to be opened and puts everything away where it should go. You don't have to be a computer scientist to figure it out.''

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[5]  Misc. Tips and Tricks:

<>Play A MIDI File At Startup:

Normally at startup, Windows will play a WAV file designated by the settings created within the Control Panel. You can, however, play a MIDI file within Windows 98 instead of the WAV file to make your startup more entertaining.

To do this, go to the Control Panel and select the Sounds Icon. Find the Windows Startup icon and select 'None' as the sound. Apply the changes and exit out to the desktop. Now, create a shortcut to your MIDI file within the Windows Startup folder located within Windows/StartMenu/Programs/Startup. Right-click the newly created shortcut and select properties. Select the Shortcut tab and within the Target box type:

C:\windows\mplayer.exe /play /close <location>\filename.mid

The location is the 'path' to your file. For example: c:\my folder\my music\boom.mid. In the Run box, select minimized. Apply the changes and reboot. Your file should play when Windows restarts.

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<> When an Outlook Express HTML Message Won't Print:

Users of Outlook Express and Internet Explorer 5.0 (or earlier) users may come across blank pages being printed. Microsoft has fixed this problem with Outlook Express 5.5/Internet Explorer 5.5. However, if you have such problems, here's Microsoft's suggested fix for printing an OE HTML formatted message:

In MS IE, OE or Exchange click the View menu -> point to Encoding -> clear the Auto-Select box.

Note: Before modifying your registry, you should always make sure to create a back up copy.  Modifying registry settings is not for the novice and may cause problems so we advise all novice users to learn more about the registry before attempting any registry changes. Advanced users proceed with caution.

Run Regedit and go to:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Main

In the right hand pane look for the "Use StyleSheets" String Value.

Create it if not present, or edit it to change its value from no to yes to enable the use of Style Sheets.

Then try to print a web page from Windows Explorer, MS IE or OE.

If the printing function is still disabled, if you get a blank page, or if your printed page(s) look garbled, delete the "Use StyleSheets" value altogether. Exit the Registry Editor when done.

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<> File Size

You can determine the size of all the files on your hard drive from within Explorer by left-clicking the drive in the left pane, left-click the first file or folder in the right pane, scroll all the way to the bottom, and while holding Ctril+Shift, right-click the last file or folder. Within the menu that appears, click Properties. Depending upon the number and size of files and the speed of your computer, this might take some time. The numbers that appear will give you the files, folders, and space used in one easy-to-read window.

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<> Copy Disk

In Windows Me, you can quickly copy a floppy disk by right-clicking the floppy drive within My Computer after inserting the disk, and click Copy Disk.

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<> Removing Unwanted Fonts:

Did you ever try to select a font in your application, only to find oodles of font names to scroll through before finding the one font you want to use?  How much time do you waste scrolling though all those unwanted fonts? 

When you install programs onto your Windows 98 computer, the application you are loading often installs fonts into the C:\Windows\Fonts folder.  The more programs you install, the more unmanageable this Fonts folder can become.  You'll probably never use most of these fonts, which take up valuable disk space and clog the Font menus of other Windows applications, making it harder to find the fonts you DO want to use. 

To get rid of the fonts you don't want, do the following:

1 - Click the Start button.

2 - Choose Settings/Control Panel.

3 - In the Control Panel window, double-click the Fonts folder.

4 - Find the fonts you want to remove and double-click on its icon to preview the font to make sure that this is the font you wish to discard.

5 - When you're sure the font is one you want to delete, close the
preview window and press the Delete key on your keyboard.  Confirm the deletion.

6 - Repeat the steps above for other unwanted fonts.

WARNING: Do not remove any of the following fonts!
- Times New Roman
- Arial
- Courier New
- System
- Symbol
- Wingdings
- Any font whose name begins with "MS"
- Any font whose name begins with the name of another software manufacturer (for example, "LotusWP Times")

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[6]  Can I create an invisible link?:

Almost.

Textual links are made visible to users in three ways: they are usually in a different color, they may be underlined, and the mouse cursor usually changes shape when it passes over a link. For links that are represented by images, the image will be surrounded by a colored border and the mouse cursor will change shape just as it does when passing over a textual link.

To make a link invisible, you must eliminate as much of this behavior as possible.

For textual links, use the link, alink, and vlink attributes with the tag to force the links to be the same color as the regular text on the page. By default, the text is black unless you changed it with the text attribute. Thus, this tag forces links and text to be the same color:

Unfortunately, you cannot eliminate the underlining behavior; this is controlled by the user's browser preferences. And you cannot stop the mouse cursor from changing as it passes over your links; this is hard-coded into the browser itself.
In general, creating invisible text links is not realistic.

Invisible image links are easier. Begin by creating an image containing exactly one color and sized to match the area you want selectable by the user. Make the image transparent. Create a link using the image and set the image border to zero:

     <img src=5star border=0>

Again, you cannot disable the mouse cursor changing as it passes over the link, but other than that clue, users will be completely unaware that a link has been hidden on the page.

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<> Image Tag & Attributes:

<img> does not require a closing tag.

Attributes:

src="URLofImage"
This attribute contains the url location of the image.
width="n" height="n"
In these two attributes "n" is the size of the image specified in pixels. Use of these attributes will help with page load time. They can also be used for resizing an image.

alt="image description"
Adds a description of image for browsers with graphics turned off.
When using an image as a link anchor a short description of the linked page can be placed in this attribute.

border="n"
You can add a border to an image, "n" equals size of border in pixels. When using an image as a link anchor border="0" will eliminate the border when cursor is placed over image.

align=""
This attribute will align an image on the page. Commands are "left", "center", and "right", default is to the left. The <center></center> tags can also be used to center an image on the page.
Note: when using the align="left" and align="right" attributes with the image tag text will align differently around the image.

hspace="n" vspace="n"
These attributes will create an additional blank space area around an image, "n" is specified in pixels.

Example of a complete image tag:
<img src="http://www.5starsupport.com/directory/imagename.gif" width="XX" height="XX" alt="Image Description">

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<> Hide your JavaScript code:

<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript">

  <!--

  ... your JavaScript code goes here  ...
  ... this code will be hidden from   ...
  ... non-JavaScript enabled browsers ...

  //-->

</SCRIPT>

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<> Who's using that Java Applet?:

Wondering who's using a particular Java applet you're interested in using yourself? Here's a simple way to find out:

Go to the AltaVista search engine page at: www.altavista.com

Type "applet:" (without the quotes) followed by the name of the applet you're interested in. For example, to find out who's using an applet named "ColorMenu" type:

applet:ColorMenu

Press ENTER (or start the search)

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<> How do I add space around my image?

You can increase the amount of space around your image, this will enhance your web page, and make it easier to read.

How to do it:

There's 2 way's of adding space to your image, to the sides of the image, and to the top and bottom of an image, heres how to do both.

Adding Space To The Sides:

To add space to the sides of an image, just place HSPACE="?" into your <IMG> tag.

Then replace the ? with the amount of space you want added to the left and right side of the image in pixels.

Your code should look something like this:

<IMG SRC="YOUR IMAGE.GIF" ALIGN="LEFT" HSPACE="AMOUNT OF SPACE GOES HERE">

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[7]  Problems & Solutions:

<> Problem:

Can't uninstall windows XP and format HDD

<> Solution:

Go to www.bootdisk.com and get a bootdisk for Win 98ME. Extract utility to floppy and restart the computer. Boot to a: and run fdisk. Enable large disk support. Select option [3] and delete current partition. Create new primary dos partition. Exit fdisk and reboot to enable changes to take effect. Boot to a: again and type 'format c:'. That's it!!
(as submitted by the guest using the "Solution Form")

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<> Problem:

5 Star Support Q#W1-3650 FDISK Won't Format HD

I'm getting an 80 gig HD and found after that Win9x FDISK would't work on a HD beyond 62 gigs.

<> Solution:

Fdisk Does Not Recognize Full Size of Disks Larger than 64 GB
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;q263044 .........

Make partitions smaller than 62GB. Your cluster size would be huge. Unless you are planning using an NT based OS.  So smaller partitions, better organization and FDISK can do its thing.

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<> Problem:

How to get AbiWord to be the default txt editor.

<> Solution:

Do a search on your computer for winfile.exe. Double click that and go
to file. Choose associate. Put txt in the extension window. Scroll down in the lower window till you find the program you want to use for text files. Highlight it and click OK. That should do it. Let me know if there are problems. You can use this old windows program to change any association

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<> Problem:

Windows XP Excel(contrary to my previous Windows Excel application) would not allow me to customize to the Rolodex 3X5 size. The closest fit was 4X6

<> Solution:

Click on File, then Page set up, then click on the Page tab.  In the Index card box choose "U.S. Index Card 4X6", which is as close as to a 3X5 size as one can get. Then click on the Margins tab and set the top margin to 1.0". Then similarly set the right hand margin.  Load the upper right hand corner of the printer's paper tray with 3X5 Rolodex cards, and you're ready to go.  It's not a very elegant solution, but it works.

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<> Problem:

When using the Microsoft Media Player, some of the information that identifies .mp3 songs is missing from downloaded songs.  Nor can this information be added to the columns displayed in MS Media Player.

<> Solution:

To change that information in the media files you need to edit a thing called the ID3 tag every mp3 has one this is how they are identyfied.
To edit these tags go to www.cdngo.com and download CDnGo, this program will allow you to edit these tags so Windows Media Player can read them.
Once downloaded in the main screen, open the directory where the MP3's are stored and click on one and put in the information in the given boxes and press save.
THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT, ITS EASY

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<> Problem:

"Not enough memory" error while trying to install Office 2000.

<> Solution:

I have 1 gig of RAM in the system and am running Win 98.  The problem is that Win 98 does not recognize more than 512 RAM in a system.  Although your computer will show the correct amount of RAM under your system info.  It really cannot handle more than 512.  Therefore, the solution was to remove half the RAM I had and problem solved!

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<> Problem:

Multiple PowerPoint presentations with different backgrounds/layouts need to be played as a single show.

<> Solution:

Set up all shows as you normally would, with slide transitions/animations. (note: you will have to have at least the first slide of each new show set to automatic transition.  Also, the last slide of each show should have no transition, as this will be handled by the first slide in the next show.)
then do the following:

1. go to the last slide of the 1st show
2. on the Insert menu, click "object"
3. click the "create from file" radio button, click "browse", and select the 2nd presentation you wish to show.
4. Make sure the "Link" box is checked. (this is important! If it is not checked, and you wish to make changes to any slide, you will have to redo this process on all shows!)
5. Click OK.
6. You will see a snapshot of the first slide of the next show.  Shrink it down to a manageable size and move it into the gray area off the slide.
7. right click on the snapshot, and click "custom animation"
8. On the 1st tab ("timing"), set the radio buttons to "animate" and "automatically after ___ seconds". fill in the time as desired.
9. On the 2nd tab ("effects"), select "appear" in the drop-down box.
10. on the 4th tab ("play settings"), select "show" from the drop-down box.
11. repeat on each presentation.

It sounds more complicated than it is. I did this with 23 consecutive shows, works like a charm! :) just remember to put "no transition" and deselect automatic slide changes, otherwise you will suddenly see all the last slides in rapid succession.

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[8]  Contact Information:

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Thank-you for subscribing to the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.

Regards,

Newsletter Staff

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