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Tips for Internet & Windows new 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

***WINDOWS*** (Click here for Internet Tips)

Running shortcuts from the command line
If you like using the Run command to launch your applications, here's a quick way to do so. First, create a shortcut to your application's executable file. Next, rename the shortcut with a shortcut using one or two easily identifiable characters. Then, copy the new shortcut to the C:\Windows folder. Now when you want to run one of your apps, just press [Window]R, and type the shortcut name. If you're working from a command prompt, you can type the shortcut name along with the .lnk file extension.
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Enabling your computer to receive faxes
By default, Windows 2000 automatically enables your computer to send faxes if it detects a fax-capable modem in your computer. But if you want your computer to be able to receive faxes, you must enable this option. To do so, begin by opening the Fax Service Management console. (From the Start menu, choose Programs | Accessories | Communications | Fax | Fax Service Management.) In the console tree, select the Devices object, and you'll see a list of the fax-capable modems in the details pane. To enable your computer to receive faxes, right-click on your modem and choose Properties. Select the Enable Receive check box, specify the number of rings before your modem should answer, and then click OK. That's it! Your computer is now set up to receive faxes.
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Adding the other editor to Windows 98
Did you know that Windows 98 comes with another text editor besides Notepad? This other text editor has features similar to those in Notepad, yet it offers other features that Notepad doesn't have such as the ability to work with multiple text files and to change the background and text colors. Of course, the text editor that we're talking about is the MS-DOS Editor, which is commonly referred to simply as Edit. While Edit is a DOS-based application, you can easily configure it to work just like a Windows application. To do so, use My Computer or Windows Explorer to locate the Edit.com file in the \Windows\Command folder. When you do, right-click on the file, drag it to your desktop and select the Create Shortcut(s) Here command from the shortcut menu. Once Windows 98 creates the shortcut, right-click on the shortcut icon and select the Properties command from the shortcut menu. Then choose the Program tab and select the Close On Exit check box. To finish, click OK.
Now, you can simply double-click on the shortcut to launch Edit and when you're done using it, you can close it simply by clicking the close button in the upper-right corner or by using the Exit command on the File menu.
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Running Disk Defragmenter in Windows 2000
Unlike Windows 9x's Disk Defragmenter, Windows 2000 Professional's Disk Defragmenter allows you to continue working on your system while the defragmentation process is under way. In other words, it won't stop and start over anytime it senses that a file has been changed. However, the defragmentation process does use a lot of system resources while it's working and if you continue to work on your system while Disk Defragmenter is running in the background, you may notice that both your application and Disk Defragmenter run a bit more sluggishly. As such, I still recommend that you run Disk Defragmenter when you don't need to be using your system.
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Determining if you have administrative rights
An easy way to determine if you're logged on as a user with administrative rights in Windows NT is to right-click on your Start menu button. If you see the options "Open All Users" and "Explore All Users" on the context menu, you have administrative rights on the computer. If you don't see these options, you don't have administrative rights.
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Mouse Woes
At times when I'm using a new computer, I've found that getting the mouse to point to a tiny icon on an Internet web page is nearly impossible. I've removed the ball and cleaned it, checked the rollers, and even verbally abused the device. No dice. Usually, the problem occurs because someone has set the mouse to warp speed, making small intricate adjustments difficult or nearly impossible to do.
To change the mouse speed, open the control panel and select the mouse icon. Under the "motion" tab, the first option is speed. Keep reducing the speed until the movement is more acceptable. (And remember: The mouse pointer trail option is cool for about 30 seconds. Then you want it to STOP!!!
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Restore the Most Recent Copy of the Registry in Windows 2000
When you start Windows 2000, you can instantly restore the most recent copy of the Registry. To do so, restart your system and when you see the Please Select the Operating System to Start message, press [F8] and then use arrow keys to select the Last Known Good Configuration option and press [Enter]. You can also use this quick restore technique in Windows NT.
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Use Windows 2000's Desktop Themes Tool
Windows 2000's Desktop Themes tool allows you to rotate your desktop themes. To do so, you simply select the Rotate Scheme Monthly check box in the lower left corner of the Desktop Themes dialog box. When you do so, the Desktop Themes tool adds a task to the Task Scheduler called Desktop Themes. This new task is configured to randomly change your desktop theme on the first day of every month at 2:00 PM.
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Eliminating Fonts
A while back I did a tip on how you could save some computer power by eliminating fonts, but I failed to mention exactly how to do this. It's really easy. First, go to the control panel and select the "Fonts" icon and open it up. You should now see a HUGE list of various fonts that are available to Windows. My suggestion at this point is instead of deleting fonts, move them to a folder that you have created elsewhere. That way, if you later want to restore a font, you can just copy it back.
A word of warning! You will notice that some of the fonts have a red letter 'A'. These fonts are not to be removed. They are used by the Windows system itself. Leave them alone.
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Rename Your Theme Files for Windows 2000
In some of the older desktop theme configurations, the Theme file uses an abbreviated file extension -- either .THE or .THM. In order to use those files in Windows 2000, you must rename the Theme file with the .THEME extension.
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Defrag Delays!
Defrag is a great tool that allows Windows to have all of the information on the disks in one contiguous space, rather than scattered all over the disk. It makes the disk more efficient, and allows for better swap file performance. One problem often encountered occurs when a defrag is running, and something wants to write to the disk, causing the defrag to stop. Not a big deal, but if you have a huge hard drive, and your drive is really defragmented, it could take hours for the process to finish.
Before running defrag, make sure to close ALL programs. There are many ways to do this, but the easiest is to make sure your taskbar is clear of running programs. You should also right-click all those little icons over to the right and close them out, too, if possible. If your virus program is running, this is usually where you can turn it off.
Another way is to press Ctrl-Alt-Del, and one by one, end tasks until the only one left is Explorer. After closing all programs, deactivate your screen saver and run defrag. You should be able to complete the defrag with minimal delays.
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Deleting a folder and its contents
If you want to delete a folder, including all files and folders within the folder, you can use the rd Command Prompt utility. (This command is very similar to the DOS deltree command.) To delete a folder and all of its contents, type the following:
rd x:\folder /S
Replace x:\folder with the drive letter and name of the folder you want to delete. If you don't want rd to verify that you really do want to delete the folder and everything below it, you can type the following command:
rd x:\folder /S /Q
Adding the /Q parameter runs rd in "quiet" mode-which means you will not be prompted to confirm the deletion of the folder and its contents. (So be careful!!)
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Configuring your modem to dial faster
If you're not satisfied with the speed at which your modem dials phone numbers you can increase the dialing speed. To do so, open your modem's Properties dialog box in the Control Panel and access Advanced Connections Settings dialog box from the Connection tab. Now, type S11=50 in the Extra Settings text box.
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Repositioning the Quick Launch toolbar
If you like using the Quick Launch toolbar but wish that it didn't take up room on the taskbar, you'll be glad to know that you can easily move the Quick Launch toolbar to any other location on the desktop. To do so, simply position your mouse pointer over the vertical bar on the left edge of the Quick Launch toolbar. When your cursor turns into a double-headed arrow, just drag the Quick Launch toolbar to any location on the desktop. You can anchor it to the top, left or right edge of the desktop. Once you have it positioned where you want, you can then right-click on the toolbar and select the Always On Top command so that you can always access the Quick Launch toolbar just like you can the taskbar.
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FAT32: When NOT To Convert!
After hearing all the great things that can happen when switching from FAT16 to FAT32, many people began making the transition. Is this always a good thing? NO! If you own an older PC that does not support LBA mode, then your BIOS will not support FAT32. Older versions of Windows 9x, NT, and 3.x will not support a dual boot. And if your drive is compressed, FAT32 won't work, either.
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Restoring the Windows NT DHCP database
Windows NT stores the DHCP databases in the \winnt\system32\dhcp folder. By default, Windows NT backs up the DHCP databases every 60 minutes-and stores them in the \winnt\system32\dhcp\backup\jet\new folder. If you run into problems with your DHCP database files, you can manually restore the files by first stopping the DHCP Server service and then performing either of the following steps:
--Copy the backup copies of the database files from the \winnt\system32\dhcp\backup\jet\new folder to the \winnt\system32\dhcp folder and restart the DHCP Server service.
--Change the value of \HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services \DHCPServer\Parameters\RestoreFlag to 1 and restart the DHCP Server service. The DHCP server will then restore the database files automatically-and reset this key's value to 0.
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Clean Up Your Windows 95, 98 System Tray
Have you noticed that your taskbar clock has a lot more company lately? That area is called the System Tray, and programs can tell Windows to load an icon there to give you status information and let you right- or left-click to perform operations. This is a handy thing, but it can be done to excess, and too many programs are loading at start-up and slowing down your system.
Sometimes the program provides a friendly way to clean up the System Tray. Right-click on the program's tray icon to see whether you have the option of turning it off.
If you're running Windows 95: Go to the Windows > Start Menu > Programs > Startup folder in Windows Explorer. You can add or remove programs here for startup.
If you're running Windows 98: Go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information. Then select Tools > System Configuration from the Menu. From that dialog box, click on the Startup tab. Now you can deselect those programs you want to load at startup.
If your program wasn't in the Startup folder, check the Registry. Go to Start > Run and type regedit. Go to the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion section. Look for the Run key, which contains a number of strings--programs Windows loads. You can delete keys at your discretion.
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Just in Case: Create Additional Emergency Repair Disks
As you may know from first hand experience, floppy disks can easily become corrupted. Therefore, itís a very good idea to create a second, and maybe even a third, Emergency Repair Disk as backups in case the original floppy disk ever becomes damaged.
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Unused RAM
If you want to know how much memory is being used and how much is available, the temptation is to go to the "System" in the Control Panel and look at the % used to get an idea of how much is left. It has been my experience that this number is not entirely reliable, nor is it dynamic when you pull it up. Many times, people will look at the % available and think that this memory is sitting idle. However, this is not the case. Windows uses every bit of RAM it possibly can, even if it is sitting dead still.
To get a better idea of how memory is currently being used, use the System Monitor. Here you can pull up all kinds of statistics on disk cache, swap file, virtual memory, and dozens of other useful tidbits.
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Disabling serial port checking in Windows NT
By default, Windows NT attempts to automatically detect if you have a mouse on your computer's COM ports every time you start up your computer. While this is good if you actually do have a mouse connected to a serial port, you might run into some problems with this auto-detection if you have other devices connected to your computer's serial ports. For example, you might use a COM port to connect a UPS to your computer.
You can disable COM port checking by modifying the boot.ini file. Windows NT uses this file during the boot process. Begin by opening Windows NT Explorer and accessing C:\. You'll find the boot.ini file in this folder. Because this file is automatically configured with the Read-Only and Hidden attributes, you won't be able to see it unless you've configured Windows NT Explorer to show hidden files. (If you don't see the file, choose View | Options. Select Show All Files, and uncheck Hide File Extensions For Known File Types. Click OK.) Next, you'll need to remove the Read-Only attribute from the boot.ini file by right-clicking on it and unchecking Read-Only.
You're now ready to edit the file. Double-click on boot.ini-and Windows NT will automatically open Notepad and the boot.ini file. To disable the checking of your serial ports, add /NoSerialMice to the end of each line you see in the [operating systems] section of the boot.ini file. Finally, save the file and close Notepad. Windows NT will no longer attempt to automatically detect devices on your computer's serial ports.
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Taking [Ctrl] of your system
When you're working in a document or with files and need to move or copy text or files, make sure that you take control of your system with the [Ctrl] key. Use [Ctrl]X for cutting, [Ctrl]C for copying, [Ctrl]V for pasting, and [Ctrl]Z for undoing any operation.
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Use the Show Desktop button
As you use Windows 98 day-to-day, it's easy to forget about the little things-like the Show Desktop button. When you need to access the desktop, don't minimize all your open windows one by one-click the Show Desktop button. When you're finished on the desktop, click the Show Desktop button again to return all the windows to the way they were.
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Upgrading to Windows Me from Windows 3.1 or Windows NT
If you are running Windows 3.1/Windows NT, you cannot use the Windows Me Upgrade CD to upgrade your computer to Windows Me. If you have either Windows 3.1 or Windows NT operating systems on your system and want to move to Windows Me, you'll have to get the full install version of Windows Me. You will also have to reformat your hard drive and start from scratch.
However, if you're using Windows 3.1, you could get a copy of Windows 95/98 and use it as a stepping-stone to upgrading your system to Windows Me. You'd first upgrade to Windows 95/98. Then, you could upgrade to Windows Me. Of course this is the long way around and the ability to use this technique would still be subject to the system requirements.
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Updating an Emergency Repair Disk
Each time you make significant changes to your Windows NT system, the information on the Emergency Repair Disk becomes outdated. As such, youíll need to regularly update the Emergency Repair Disk.
To update the Emergency Repair Disk, youíll access the Run dialog box and launch the Repair Disk Utility. However, when you see the Repair Disk Utility dialog box this time, click the Update Repair Info button. When you do, the Repair Disk Utility will prompt you to update the contents of the C:\Winnt\Repair folder with the most current information and then prompt you to create a new Emergency Repair Disk.
Itís a good idea to update the Emergency Repair Disk when you install applications, alter network configuration, add new hardware, install a service pack, or alter the hard disk with the Disk Administrator.
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Cache Flow
Even if you know how Windows is using its Virtual Cache memory, it would be nice to control how much of your memory is actually dedicated to cache. Well, you can control how much Cache Windows will use. Edit the System.INI file, and find the [vcache] section. Add the following two lines (substitute the correct number for the formula):
MinFileCache=0
MaxFileCache=[((Total MB of RAM / 16) * 4)*1024]
For example, if you have 96 Megabytes of RAM, then the formula would look like this:
((96 / 16)*4)*1024) which would give you 24576.
So, using the above example, you would enter the following:
MinFileCache=0
MaxFileCache=24576

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***INTERNET*** (Click here for Windows Tips)

Split comma-delimited strings into an array
As you may know, the split() function splits a string into pieces dependant on a delimiter character you specify. For example, with this function, we could create an array from the list: Joe, Alfred, Julie. To do so, you'd use the following code:
stringNames = "Joe, Alfred, Julie";
arrayNames = stringNames.split(",");
Under these circumstances, the arrayNames variable would contain three items. In addition, none of the array items contain the delimiter character. So, the code:
alert(arrayNames[1]);
would display the string Alfred in a message box.
This function comes in handy when you want to break apart a string, format items individually, and then combine them back into their original string. For instance, suppose you wanted to take any sentence and initial cap every word. The split() function makes it that much easier to do so, as shown in the following function:
function changeToProperCase(sentence)
{
    var fullSentence = new String();
    var word = new String();
    var splitSentence = sentence.split(" ");
    var x;
    for (x=0; x<splitSentence.length; x++)
    {
        var word = splitSentence[x];
        var firstChar = word.charAt(0).toUpperCase();
        word = firstChar + word.substr(1).toLowerCase();
        fullSentence += word + " "
    }
    return fullSentence;
}
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Manage Web-based email accounts offline
Web-based email accounts make it easy to check your email from any computer that's connected to the Internet. However, you end up spending a lot of time online managing these accounts, be it reading, composing, moving or deleting messages. If time spent online is a concern for you, you may want to take advantage of an offline email manager for your Web-based email accounts. There are dozens of these types of programs available on the Internet as both shareware and freeware. Some of them simply check your Web-based accounts for new messages, while others work as POP accounts, downloading your messages to an offline email client such as Outlook Express, where you can manage them at your leisure. To find a program that suits your needs, visit a software library such as ZDNet at http://www.zdnet.com/swlib, TUCOWS at http://www.tucows.com, orNONAGS at http://www.nonags.com. Mostsites will store these types of programs in their email categories.
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A FrontPage 98 form validation bug
FrontPage 98 has a minor, but frustrating, bug that affects form validation. When you reopen a page (in FrontPage) that includes validation of radio buttons, the validation gets turned off. Before you resave the page, then, you must reactivate validation.
Doing so is easy. Double-click on one of the radio buttons in the group to access the Radio Button Properties dialog box. Click the Validate button and enable the Data Required check box. Click OK twice to return to your page. Repeat these steps every time you reopen the page.
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Gator
A reader wrote to express disbelief that we could mention the complications of online passwords without mentioning Gator. Gator, "your smart online companion," is freeware that "fills out forms and remembers passwords." It's secure -- all private information is stored on your own PC, not a Web site. It also "helps you save money on the products and services you want to buy" -- such as offering coupons to e-commerce sites. The site boasts that "over six million people" have downloaded Gator. It's free, so check it out yourself!
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How To Add Files in Go!Zilla
Download files with GoZilla the easy way. Here are two ways to do it:
Browser Integration. Netscape, Internet Explorer and Mosaic support Browser Integration. With Browser Integration on, when you click on a download file, Go!Zilla will capture it for you. You can turn this feature on and off from the Auto Menu.
Drag and Drop. You can drag and drop files from your browser to the Go!Zilla Drop Target. Do this by holding down the mouse on the file link and then dragging the file to the Drop Target.
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Disgruntled.com
The "Wall Street Journal" reports that Disgruntled.com, an online vent for disgruntled employees, is seeking a buyer, supposedly because its creator doesn't have the time to keep up with it, not because of rising worker contentment or a lack of suitable material. For five years the site has carried employment horror stories. Disgruntlement has its facets, too -- not everyone who has a problem with his or her job is "disgruntled." I'm reminded of the P. G. Wodehouse line: "I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled."
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AskJeeves.com
Yesterday we invoked British comedy writer P. G. Wodehouse's wisdom. Wodehouse invented Jeeves, the famous butler in the hilarious Jeeves and Bertie stories. Jeeves had a ready answer to every question. There's a search engine named for the servant-savant, AskJeeves.com. It lets you phrase queries in "natural language" -- like "I say, Jeeves, where can I find some of those ripping purple socks Chuffy had on at the Drones' Club last night?" Jeeves queries various other search engines and delivers the appropriate answers in easy-to-use groupings. It also queries directories, online shopping sites, and a wide variety of other sources.
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The Ultimate Argument Solver
There is no need to argue endlessly with your friends over the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse (it's Victor) or the first man in space (Gagarin) or even the answer to life, the universe and everything (it's 42, isn't it?). Nor must you lie awake, wondering why you can't put a name to an actor's face, or why you can't remember some other trivial fact that you are perfectly certain you know.
Not with the Net in the house. The Internet is the ultimate argument solver. Take the movies, for example. There's no need to argue or worry about film-related trivia when you have the Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB) on tap. OK, so there's really no need or reason to argue or worry about film-related trivia in the first place, but that won't stop us. The IMDB is the biggest and best film and TV reference available, and it's a click away. You can search titles, actors, producers, other crewmembers, awards, trivia, quotes, and more. It's essential.
Find the answer at the Internet Movie Data Base!
http://us.imdb.com
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What Is DirecTV?
Frustrated with cable? A digital satellite may be the answer you seek.
Being the biggest doesn't necessarily guarantee that you have the cutting-edge sewed up. Take DirecTV, Inc., the largest provider of digital satellite TV in the U.S. with over 8 million subscribers. While it's true that the MPEG-2 digital picture streamed to earth by DirecTV's satellites provides the same stunning image quality as EchoStar's DISH Network system, DirecTV has lagged behind in offering an integrated digital Personal TV Recorder a la the DISHPlayer 500 system.
DirecTV plans on remedying this situation when it begins to sell a combined satellite receiver/TiVO some time next year. The combined systemódemo'd publicly for the first time back in January 2000 at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is an offshoot of DirecTV's 10% ownership in TiVO. While no pricing has been released, the unit probably won't cost more than the similar DISHPlayer 500.
The DirecTV/Tivo combo, when available, will free DirectTV from using a phone line to download program listings. DirecTV will be able to allocate a slice of its satellite download bandwidth with data and video content. For example, with this "fatter" bandwidth, TiVo's popular "Showcases," which are simply static text descriptions of movies with the occasional still picture, will soon include full-program previews and movie trailers.
DirecTV has also unveiled a pumped up dish that can receive signals from multiple satellites simultaneously. The DirecTV PLUS System (also known as DirecTV PARA TODOS) uses a larger 18 x 24-inch oval dish to receive signals from all three of DirecTV's orbit locations talk about multitasking!
DirecTV and American Online have also joined forces to tie DirecTV into the Internet and America Online's own singular chat and instant message services. Dubbed AOLTV, the service reformats AOL's community-related services for best viewing on your TV. Included in the unit will be a Web browser, an Intel CPU, 56K modem, and hard drive along with a DirecTV receiver. Like existing WebTV boxes, a wireless keyboard will be available. If reasonably priced, AOLTV and DirecTV/TiVO sound like a serious one-two satellite punch coming out of DirecTV's corner. Stay tuned, because round three in the digital satellite boxing match is coming right up... after these words from our sponsors.
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Get Schedules
Nowadays so much information is on the Web that chances are good you can get a lot of local information there. I'm talking bus schedules, train schedules, school pageants, yard sales, town meetings, etc. If you ride the bus, chances are you can get schedules and other information with a few clicks instead of waiting for an operator to finish assisting another caller. A quick search often works, or you can try to find a good local site with lots of links. Schools, fire departments, municipal governments, theater groups, sports teams, cinemas, parks -- lots of local organizations and entities have their own Web sites these days, and more go online every day!
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Trim connection charges revisited
In a recent tip, we explained how you can minimize connection charges from your ISP by composing email messages offline and then sending them as an attachment. Since then, many of you have mentioned that you can do yourself and others one better by copying and pasting your offline composition rather than sending it as an attachment. When you send an attachment, the message recipient must have a compatible application that's associated with the attachment file type or they won't be able to view it. In addition, many people use email clients that don't support attachments at all. So, to trim connection charges AND guarantee that your message recipient can view your message successfully, compose the message offline in a text editor or word processor. When you've finished, create a new email message, cut or copy the text from your offline source, and then paste it in the new message. When you've finished, send your message on its merry way. Thanks to all for your prior feedback!
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Washing out a background image in FrontPage
In a previous tip we described how to add a background image to a FrontPage Web. While the technique is easy, it's important that you select the right image: one that's light enough not to distract from the text on the page.
A great way to get just the right effect is to washout the image using FrontPage's Washout tool. Once you've inserted the normally-colored background image, click on your page so that no foreground images are selected. Then, click the Washout button on the Pictures toolbar (Image toolbar in FrontPage 98).
If you don't see the toolbar in FrontPage 2000, choose View | Toolbars |Pictures. If you don't see it in FrontPage 98, choose View | Image Toolbar.
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Unicast vs. Multicast
Unicast traffic is strictly a point-to-point communication between two computers, for instance a file download from the Internet. When the user requests the download, the file is copied from an Internet server to the local computer. If other users request the same file, each request is handled as a separate download. Similarly, if this file were on a video server on your LAN, 10 requests to view the file (say, a video clip) would result in 10 individual video streams downloaded to the 10 clients. Too many such user requests could cripple your network.
Unicast can deliver multimedia, but it must be well-managed. For example, the network administrator may limit the maximum number of video streams for a particular multimedia application. Typically, video clips (in the form of AVIs or MPEGs) and many videoconferencing applications use unicast.
In contrast, Multicast delivers a single video stream to multiple computers. It's somewhat like the broadcast traffic used on all networks, except that multicast goes only to clients requesting the stream. Network servers regularly broadcast information about services available to the network clients. Though all clients receive the broadcasts, the data involved is tiny. But if a 2MB multimedia application were to be broadcast in this fashion, every client would have to process that fairly large application.
Multicast avoids this problem by delivering only to clients requesting the video stream. (The request is made by launching a multimedia application.) In multicast operations, the server distributes a single video stream to multiple clients, saving network resources.
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Convert GIF images to PNGs in a single batch operation
Amidst all the hubbub between the DOJ and big ol' Microsoft, you might have overlooked another flap brewing on the Internet. It seems that an ancient, crotchety company called Unisys has rescinded its earlier decision to let freeware and non-profit companies distribute the LZW compression algorithm--which Unisys owns--without a license. As you probably know, the LZW algorithm is the cornerstone of GIF creation in all graphics software. As a result of Unisys' decision, your web site may be using illegal GIFs if the owners of your graphics software haven't purchased the license.
As an alternative to GIFs, many sites have moved to a combination of JPEGs and PNGs, the W3C's image specification. You may have considered doing the same, but balked at the idea of manually converting the thousands of GIF images you may already have posted on your sites. Fortunately, there's a tool called gif2png that can make the conversion process a piece of cake.
This batch program, available at www.tuxedo.org/~esr/gif2png/, works on Unix, Linux, MSDOS, and Windows systems. Frankly, though, if you're strictly a Windows person, this program's installation procedure for that OS is a real pain. As an alternative, we recommend the GUI version of gif2png, available from
www.eisa.net.au/~nigels/exorcist/Exorcist.html.
In Linux, once you install the application's RPMs, you use gif2png directly from the command line, such as
/usr/bin/gif2png Image1.gif
which would convert Image1.gif to a PNG file. To convert more than one image at a time simply separate the filenames with a space.
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How To Avoid Jitter and Latency on Your Network
The two most common problems are jitter and latency. Jitter is a variable delay on the network: Sometimes network performance is good; other times it's miserable. Latency is consistently sluggish delay. It may result from an overall shortage of bandwidth or a bottleneck at a particular piece of networking equipment.
To avoid jitter and latency, you can introduce buffering to your network. Hardware and software buffering smooths out load and helps multimedia applications look better. You should design your video servers to buffer data in their VGA, codec, and network adapter cards. You can also introduce buffering and packet prioritization in routers to improve QoS. This should also be an essential part of your configuration over WAN links that support multimedia.
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Internet Music Over Your Stereo
The Internet has become a huge source of music. The current Napster controversy is probably the biggest Internet issue just now. The law and ethics of downloading copyrighted material aside, there's lots of free and legal music available right now. It's easy to hear Netmusic over your stereo. You need a cable running from your sound card's output to an input on your stereo system. Most PCs have loudspeaker systems, but your home stereo probably sounds better. All you have to do is send the cable to your home stereo instead of your PC's speakers. This will typically involve an adapter or splitter with a stereo mini-jack at one end -- like on your Walkman headphones and two RCA plugs on other. These left-and-right plugs are like the connectors.
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How To Increase Multimedia Application Efficiency
Multimedia apps can add from 100Kbps to 100Mbps of traffic. To anticipate their impact, you must estimate the increase in demand, starting with your current average and peak load. You must then account for existing and planned applications, type of content, number of users, frequency of use,growth plans, even network topology. The topology and particular configuration of hubs, switches, and routers can have a dramatic impact on performance.
One way to increase the efficiency of your multimedia applications is to create smaller networks. Although this increases the administrative configuration required, it builds a more scalable network, better able to handle multimedia. Separat ing a network of 30 users, for instance, into two or three subnets reduces network traffic on each. Many switches even let you create multiple virtual LANs (VLANs). VLANs on a switch decrease the number of clients on a subnet. One switch with 24 Ethernet ports can contain multiple VLANs or subnets.

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How To Improve Bandwidth using Multimedia Applications
Multimedia traffic can reduce quality of service not only by soaking up bandwidth (the amount of data that can be pushed across your network in a given time), but also by clogging hubs and routers. Every application uses some bandwidth, obviously, but even without the applications, your hubs, switches, and routers use up bandwidth as they communicate with one another, maintaining the network.
An obvious way to improve bandwidth is by upgrading from 10Mbps to 100Mbps Ethernet (if you haven't already). Also effective is changing from Ethernet hubs, which are shared networks, to Ethernet switches, which aren't. If neither option is within your budget, consider lower-quality applications that use less bandwidth, or add multimedia capabilities on a slower schedule.
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Online Gaming
No, I don't mean "gambling," though "gaming" is the euphemism-du-jour for gambling these days. I mean game-playing -- multi-player, multi-role, online, real time game playing. You can compete against other gamers, participate in teams, learn tricks and tactics, and generally enhance the computer gaming experience in ways you can't on your own. You can play the latest games, sometimes with features and versions not available elsewhere. Battling other gamers instead of your processor adds to the realism and randomness, too -- some opponents are unpredictable! Online gaming is growing in popularity as Internet connection speeds increase. It's the wave of the future. To find online games and gaming sites, you can go to your favorite game's Web site, or the developer's site, or one of the many online gaming community sites and portals out there. A quick search will set you on the right path to glory or destruction!
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5 Tips for Being Smart on the Job
Worried about getting fired for encouraging impure thoughts about Betty Rubble?
Well, before you start downloading prehistoric porn, heed the voice of expert reason.
"I have three words of advice: Don't be stupid," says Eric Rolfe Greenberg, author of the American Management Association survey that found that nearly 75 percent of all major companies monitor communications that take place via telephone, computer files, the Internet, or e-mail. "Do you order dope delivered to the office? No. Do you call your bookie from the office phone? Of course not."
In other words, common sense will go a long way. Here are some simple steps you can take to ensure your privacy:
*Think before you send. Don't use the company e-mail system for any correspondence you wouldn't feel comfortable putting in your boss's hands. Instead, sign up with one of the many free e-mail accounts from Hotmail, Excite, or Yahoo!
*Think before you dial. If you think your phone conversations might be recorded (and even if you don't), keep all but the most justifiable personal calls (doctor's appointments, PTA meetings, bus schedules) off the company lines. Cells, and your old pal, the pay phone, both do the trick.
*Cache out each day. You probably can't help but use your company's computer for noncompany matters. But you can clear your browser's memory cache at least once a day. It contains a defined number of Web pages that you visited in your last session, a track record of your virtual meandering. In Internet Explorer, go to Tools > Internet Options and under the General tab click Delete Files. For Netscape Navigator, go to Edit > Preferences, and under Category choose Advanced, then Cache. Click Clear Memory Cache and Clear Disk Cache, and start each day with a clean travelogue.
*If you don't know, ask. If your company's monitoring policy is vague, or lacking altogether, ask the information technology or human resources department what kind of surveillance is taking place. Knowledge is power, and in this case, knowledge is also privacy.
*Take it home. Eric Semel, director of employee relations for a publishing company, recalls one corporate privacy policy that left nothing to chance: "Don't have anything on your computer screen that you wouldn't want on the front page of the New York Post." This may sound extreme, but until the law forces companies to alter their policies, your safest route to workplace privacy is to realize that, in Semel's words, "you don't have any."
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The Amazing Netscape Fish Cam
If you like Easter Eggs, secret mini applications hidden within an application, then you'll enjoy the Amazing Netscape Fish Cam. To access the Fish Cam, open Netscape Navigator and press [Ctrl][Alt]F. When you do, Netscape jumps to the Amazing Netscape Fish Cam site where you'll see photos and live camera feeds of Netscape's giant tropical fish tank. If the real fish aren't interactive enough for your taste, you'll find a link to Netscape's Dynamic HTML Fish Tank where a school of animated fish performs synchronized swimming routines for your viewing pleasure.
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Cleaning up Word text in FrontPage 2000
If you paste content from Word 2000 into FrontPage 2000, you also paste a lot of extra formatting codes. To see these codes for yourself, switch to HTML view after pasting.
To avoid these extra tags, don't choose Paste from the Edit menu. Instead, choose Paste Special. In the dialog box that appears, choose Normal Paragraphs and click OK. Your text will appear, minus the extra formatting tags. You'll have to redo the formatting in FrontPage itself, but the technique can still be a timesaver.
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Don't let your script bomb an XML document
When you add script to any XML file, you'll always need to enclose it in <![CDATA[ ... ]]> tags. Under normal circumstances, XML either doesn't accept or misinterprets many of the special characters found in script languages. When you enclose the code in the CDATA tags, XML ignores the characters inside, leaving them to be interpreted by the user agent's script engines. The CDATA tag should go after the opening <script> tag, but before any actual code, like so:
<script language="javascript" type="text/javascript">
<![CDATA[
var sMsg = "Spooky!";
alert(sMsg);
]]>
</script>
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Secure Yourself: Tips to Make Surfing Safer
Simple things you can do to safeguard your privacy.
Surf Secretly. Start your surfing (or searching) at SilentSurf or Anonymizer in order to move around the Net anonymously and prevent sites from collecting info about your Net hangouts and habits.
Opt-Out. Check the box that prevents a company from gathering information about your surfing and buying patterns.
Build a Wall. Have a DSL or cable connection? Install a basic firewall program such as Norton Personal Firewall. Stop hackers from infiltrating your computer using Back Orifice or other programs.
Test Yourself. Take the Shields Up! diagnostic, software developer Steve Gibson's free online test of the vulnerability of your machine.
Block Ads. Go to Junkbusters and get Guidescope, which blocks cookie-dropping banner ads, thereby speeding up your surfing.
Get Smart. The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Electronic Privacy Information Center provide solid privacy information. For kids or Net newcomers, an overview on protecting online rights can be found here at Site Seeing On The Internet.
Be Paranoid. Use software such as Tweak UI to clear your tracks automatically every time you log on to Windows. Click Start at the bottom of your screen; select Settings, then Control Panel. Click on the Tweak UI icon, and select the Paranoia tab for a host of options.
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Ditto.com, an Image Search Engine
Ditto.com is a nifty image search engine. It will search the Web or news groups and display the results in thumbnails. You can configure how it displays the results. It has other interesting features, like browse-able categories. Image search engines are still in development, so to speak, but ditto.com is a little better than the few others that have survived their betas. I typed in "Duke Ellington" and was rewarded with pics aplenty of the ducal one. "Aldrin" and "moon" yielded equally fine results. An image search engine like ditto.com makes a lot of sense -- it's faster and more specific than regular search engines, and the thumbnails help a lot. It's a great help for preparing reports and such, but where it really shines is in finding just the right picture to illustrate an e-mail. It cuts down on reply time by finding you the visual aid you need to make you point.
Ditto.com: http://www.ditto.com

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