My Personal General Database of Facts

Formerly this was a collection of many hundreds individual emails collected in an email folder. Now it is all in this ONE file, easy to SEARCH and in alphabetical order.

latest update: about 2 minutes ago

32-bit or 64-bit?

If you need to know whether your computer is a 32 or 64-bit machine, in Vista Home Premium, and Windows 7 Home Premium, simply click Start, Computer, and "System Properties."

acronyms, abbreviations and initialisms: This is truly amazing! For Postal Codes and Zip Codes too.

Address book in Outlook Express and Back up Windows Mail Address book in Vista:

I want a print-out of ONLY the names of the people in my address book; here is how:
Open the Address Book and go to: File | Export | Other Address Book. Click on: Text File (comma separated value). Click: Export | Browse | Select a folder | Name and Save. Click Next. At this point you can check what information you want saved. Finish per instructions. You can copy and paste the addresses into your word processing program. I create columns prior to pasting to save space.

To back up your Windows Mail Address Book in Windows Vista, double-click the "Contacts" button so that the addresses all show up; Ctrl-A will select them all. Ctrl-C will put them into the clipboard. Open Windows Explorer and make a new folder called, for example "WinMailAddiesJan10" and go into that new folder. Ctrl-V will paste all of them in there.

Administrator password lost:

You can reset the Administrator password without knowing the current password. There are methods for both XP and Vista.

Windows XP is easy:

Windows XP has a hidden Administrator account. It can be used to troubleshoot the computer's other accounts. That includes changing passwords. To get to it, you'll have to boot your computer in Safe Mode.

First, restart the computer. As it starts, repeatedly press the F8 key. Instead of the familiar Windows screen, you'll see a text-only Advanced Options Menu. Use the arrow keys to select Safe Mode. Then press Enter.

Select the Administrator account. By default on most computers, it requires no password. Once logged in, you can change the password of the account you normally use.

To make the change, click Start | Run. In the box, type "control userpasswords2" (without the quotes) and click OK. Select your normal account name in the list. Click the Reset Password button. You'll be prompted for a new password. You can restart the computer and use the new password on the Administrator account.

Vista is more difficult:

There is a built-in password reset feature. But you have to plan to use it.

When you create the password, make a Password Reset disk. While logged into the Administrator account, click Start | Control Panel. Click Classic View from the sidebar. Double-click User Accounts.

Select "Create a password reset disk." This will open the Forgotten Password Wizard. Insert a USB drive. Click Next. Select your USB drive from the dropdown menu. Click Next. Enter your current account password, and click Next. Finally, click Finish.

Store that USB drive somewhere safe. Dig it out if you forget your password. Try logging into your Administrator account with the wrong password. You'll be notified that the password is incorrect. Click OK.

A new button labeled "Reset password" appears below the password field. Click it. You'll be instructed to insert that USB drive. You'll then be able to reset the password.

Crack the password:

So, let's say you never created a Password Reset disk in Vista. And the XP solution has been disabled. So, that may not work for you, either.

Your only other option is to crack the password. Several programs can be used. Try NT Password and Registry Editor or Login Recovery.
You use these programs to burn a boot disk onto a CD. If you can't download programs in the limited account, use another computer.

Boot from the disk and follow the instructions. You'll be guided through changing the password.

Don't forget again:

Windows can provide you with a password hint. This will help you remember your password if it slips your mind. You'll set it up by managing your password in Windows.

In XP, click Start | Control Panel. Double-click User Accounts. Select your account and click "Change my password." You'll be prompted for a new password. You'll also be able to enter your hint.

In Vista, click Start | Control Panel. Click Classic View from the left sidebar. Select User Accounts. Select your user account and click "Change your password." You'll create your hint here.

If you enter the wrong password, you'll get your hint. Hopefully, the hint will still make sense to you.

You could also use a password manager. These programs allow you to store passwords in an encrypted vault. You'll only need to remember one password to access them all. Three free password managers are Keepass, LastPass and Password Safe.

Air Traffic Control (and listening to them:

Anti-Virus Software:

You can buy a program to take care of the virus problem, or you can get free software to do the same job. I prefer free. At the moment, November 2009, I use ONLY the Microsoft Security Essentials which you can download from Others you can get free are:
- AVG AntiVirus: and
- Avast: and
- PC Tools Antivirus:

Archive of old versions of websites:
e.g. my old page:
and even older:
and the oldest:

Ask Questions, Get Answers: (Leo Notenboom)

Autoplay in Vista: (e.g. when you insert a thumb-drive)

Retrieving the AutoPlay prompt
(Kim Komando) 8/6/2009

Q. Windows used to ask me what to do when I inserted my thumb drive. There was a list of options, like "download photos" or "open folder to view contents." At one point, I clicked on "don't ask me again." Now, I've changed my mind! I'd like to be prompted each time I insert the drive. How do I get the alert back?

A. You're referring to AutoPlay. It controls what happens to media on a drive when you first connect it. You can have videos start playing in Media Player, for example. Have iTunes import CDs automatically. Or, Windows can ask what you want to do.

The prompt is a convenient way to see your options. You don't have to hunt for programs or open Windows Explorer. Besides, having the wrong action occur automatically can be annoying.

Still, AutoPlay is a security threat. As soon as you insert a drive, Windows begins accessing it. This was exploited by Conficker. Other malware programs also use it. So, I recommend disabling AutoPlay.

Some may choose to accept the risks for convenience. If that's the case, make sure your security software is current. Visit my Security Center for some excellent free security programs. You won't need to worry about rogue security programs there!

To change AutoPlay settings in Vista, click Start, Control Panel. Double-click AutoPlay. You'll see a list of media.

You have three options. First, you can change the actions for each type of media. This is helpful if you want to change the picture program, say.

The prompt is the second option. You can also do a combination of both.

Use the dropdown boxes beside each type of media. To have Windows prompt you, select "Ask me every time." When you're done, click Save.

Things are different in Windows XP. Start by connecting the thumb drive to your computer. Then, click Start | My Computer.

Right- click your thumb drive and select Properties. Open the AutoPlay tab. You'll see a list with a number of content types.

Select a content type from the list. Then, click "Prompt me each time to choose an action." Click Apply. Repeat for the different content types. When you're done, click OK.

Autorun.inf Maker:

Autorun.inf Maker is a freeware utility designed to assist in the creation of Autorun.inf files.

Autorun.inf files allow the cd's you create to automatically launch an application when the cd is inserted in the cd player. Simply place the file you create with Autorun.inf maker in the root directory of your cd.

(56k) for Windows 95 or higher or NT
where the link to Tucows is bad; I told them.

This file is not compressed. It is the actual program. From the browser prompt, either select 'Save' to save it to your hard drive or run it from its current location. The latter prompt actually downloads the program to your temporary files area and is no less secure than saving and running the application.

Here is the zipped version:

(21k) for Windows 95 or higher or NT

Autorun.inf Maker requires the Visual Basic 5 runtime (Msvbvm50.dll). If you do not have this file, please download it at

How do I launch an html page from a cd using autorun.inf?
A.K.A.: Browser Call Application Information (Freeware)
(This FAQ also applies to running any file format other than an executable from a cd.)

Where can I find the shortname for an application?

General Autorun
How do I test autorun.inf files without wasting CD's?

Back-up of your Windows computer:

1. drive-imaging software

Drive imaging is a backup technique that involves taking a snapshot of your entire hard drive and storing this snapshot as a compressed file called an image file.

Unlike local file backup and online backup, this approach captures all the data on your computer, not just specific files. That means everything gets backed up, even your Windows configuration itself.

There are several excellent drive-imaging programs available, including Acronis True Image and Symantec's Norton Ghost. A freeware alternative is Drive Image XML.

Among the advantages of disk imaging are these:

DriveImage comes from

2. local storage

Backing up your PC data files to another hard drive or to a CD or DVD is by far the most widely used approach.

Normally, this is done using a specialty data-backup program such as Genie Backup Manager, NTI BackupNow, Handy Backup, Cobian Backup, or any one of dozens of similar commercial or freeware programs. File backup can also be accomplished by using a file-synchronization program such as Microsoft's free SyncToy or Always Sync from Usov Labs.

Until recently, most folks backed up their files to optical media, but external USB hard drives and flash drives are now so cheap that they are fast replacing CDs and DVDs as the backup medium of choice for PC users.

Here are some of the advantages of local backup:

Here are some disadvantages of the local approach:

For Online Storage, see "Cloud Computing" on this page.

birthdate: your age info

Found by Don P. at
Put your birth date in the pop up window.


Let's take just a quick look at the history of baby-having. For thousands of years, only women had babies. Primitive women would go off into primitive huts and groan and wail and sweat while other women hovered around. The primitive men stayed outside doing manly things, such as lifting heavy objects and spitting.

When the baby was born, the women would clean up as best they could and show it to the men, who would spit appreciatively and head off to the forest to throw sharp sticks at small animals. If you had suggested to primitive men that they should actually watch women have babies, they would have laughed at you and probably tortured you for three or four days. They were real men.

At the beginning of the 20th century, women started having babies in hospital rooms. Often, males were present, but they were professional doctors who were paid large sums of money and wore masks. Normal civilian males continued to stay out of the baby-having area; they remained in waiting rooms reading old copies of Field and Stream, an activity that is less manly than lifting heavy objects but still reasonably manly.

What I'm getting at is that, for most of history, baby-having was mainly in the hands (so to speak) of women. Many fine people were born under this system. Charles Lindbergh, for example.

Things changed, though, in the 1970's. The birth rate dropped sharply. Women started going to college and driving bulldozers and carrying briefcases and freely using such words as debenture. They just didn't have time to have babies. For a while there, the only people having babies were unwed teen-age girls, who are very fertile and can get pregnant merely by standing downwind from teen-age boys.

Then, young professional couples began to realize that their lives were missing something -- a sense of stability, of companionship, of responsibility for another life. So they got Labrador retrievers. A little later, they started having babies again, mainly because of the tax advantages. These days you can't open your car door without hitting a pregnant woman. But there's a catch; Women now expect men to watch them have babies. This is called "Natural Childbirth", which is one of those terms that sounds terrific but that nobody really understands. Another one is "Ph balanced".

At first, natural childbirth was popular only with hippy-type, granola oriented couples who lived in majestic domes and named their babies things like Peace, Love, World, Understanding, and Harrington-Schwartz. The males, their brains badly corroded by drugs and organic food, wrote articles about what a Meaningful Experience it is to see a New Life Come Into The World. None of these articles mentioned the various fluids and solids that come into the world with the New Life, so people got the impression that watching somebody have a baby was a bushel of meaningful fun. At cocktail parties, you'd run into natural - childbirth converts who would drone on for hours, giving you a contraction - by - contraction account of what went on in the delivery room. They were worse than Moonies, or people who tell you how much they bought their houses for in 1973 and how much they're worth today.

Before long, natural childbirth was everywhere, like salad bars; and now, perfectly innocent civilian males all over the country are required by federal law to watch females have babies.

Back in 1967, Canada's Centennial year, we decided on a Centennial Project: Dave. First we had to go to 10 evening childbirth classes at the hospital. Before the classes, the hospital staff told us, mysteriously, to bring two pillows. This was the first humiliation, because we had only two pillowcases, and both had cranberry juice stains. It may be possible to walk down the streets of Kuala Lumpur with stained, unmatched pillowcases and still feel dignified, but this is not possible in Grande Prairie.

Anyway, we showed up for the first class, along with about 15 other couples, consisting of women who were going to have babies, and men who were going to have to watch them. They all had matching pillowcases. In fact, some couples had obviously purchased tasteful pillowcases especially for childbirth class; these were planning to have wealthy babies. They sat together through all the classes, and eventually agreed to get together for brunch.

The classes consisted of sitting in a brightly lit room and openly discussing various parts of the human female anatomy. Now I can remember a time, in high school, when I would have killed for reliable information about these matters. The instructor told us all about the spermatozoa which are tiny, very stupid, one-celled organisms. They look all over for an ovum, but most of them would recognize one if they tripped over one. They swim around for days, trying to mate with the pancreas or whatever other organs they stumble into. Eventually, though, one bumps into an ovum and the happy couple parades down fallopian drive and becomes a baby. They showed us actual pictures of a baby before birth. They didn't tell us how these pictures were taken, but I suspect that it involved a great deal of drinking.

One evening we saw a movie of a woman we didn't even know, having a baby. No kidding. Some woman actually let some moviemakers film the whole thing. In colour. Another time, the instructor announced, in the tone of voice you might use to tell people that they had just won a free trip to the Bahamas, that we were going to see colour slides of a Caesarean section. The first slides showed a pregnant woman cheerfully entering the hospital. The last slides showed her cheerfully holding a baby. The middle slides showed how they got the baby out of the cheerful woman, but can't give you a lot of detail because I had to go out for 15 or 20 drinks of water.

When we weren't looking at pictures we practiced breathing. This is where the pillows came in. What happens is that when the baby gets ready to come, the woman goes through a series of what the medical community laughingly refers to as "contractions". If it referred to them as "horrible pains that make you wonder why you ever decided to get pregnant", people might stop having babies and the medical community would have to go into the major appliance business.

In the old days, under Prime Minister Diefenbaker, doctors avoided the contraction problem by giving lots of drugs to women who were having babies. They'd knock them out during the delivery, and the woman would wake up when their kids were entering the fourth grade. But the idea with natural childbirth is to try to avoid giving the woman a lot of drugs, so she can share the first, intimate moments after birth with the baby and the father and the obstetrician and the pediatrician and the standby anesthesiologist and several nurses and the person who cleans the delivery room.

The key to avoiding drugs, according to the natural childbirth people is for the woman to breathe deeply. Really. The theory is that if she breathes deeply, she'll get all relaxed and won't notice that she's in a hospital delivery room wearing a truly perverted garment and having a baby. I'm not sure who came up with this theory. Whoever it was evidently believed that women have very small brains.

So, in childbirth classes, we spent a lot of time sprawled on these little mats with our pillows while the women pretended to have contractions and men squatted around with stopwatches and pretended to time them. The Main Line couples didn't care for this part. They were into bringing little backgammon sets and playing backgammon when they were supposed to be practicing breathing. I imagine they had a rough time in actual childbirth, unless they got the servants to have the contractions for them.

Anyway, my wife and I went along for months, breathing and timing, respectively. We had no problem whatsoever. We were a terrific team. We had a swell time, really.

The actual delivery was slightly more difficult. I don't want to name names, but I held up my end. I had my stopwatch in good working order and I told my wife to breathe. "Don't forget to breathe", or "You should breathe, you know." She, on the other hand, was unusually cranky. For example, she didn't want me to use my stopwatch. Can you imagine? All that practice, all that squatting on the natural childbirth classroom floor, and she suddenly gets into this big snit about stopwatches. Also, she almost completely lost her sense of humour. At one point, I made an especially amusing remark, and she tried to hit me. She usually has an excellent sense of humour.

None the less, Dave came out alright, or at least alright for a newborn baby. I thought I had held up well for the whole thing when the doctor, who up to then had behaved like a perfectly rational person, said "Would you like to see the placenta?" Now let's face it: that is like asking, "Would you like me to pour hot tar into your nostrils?" Nobody would like to see a placenta. If anything, it would be form of cruel and unusual punishment. Without waiting for an answer, the doctor held up the placenta, not unlike the way you might hold up a bowling trophy. I bet he wouldn't have tried that with the people with matching pillowcases.

The placenta aside, everything worked out fine. We ended up with an extremely healthy, organic, natural baby who immediately demanded to be put back.

All in all, I'd say it's not a bad way to reproduce, although I understand that some members of the flatworm family simply divide into two.

Bookmarks (Favorites) and copying from one computer to another:

You have a new computer and then you'd want to move your Favorites from Internet Explorer to the new machine. I just messed with it and learned how; this might be useful to you even if my situation is not quite the same as yours.

- I have a desktop computer using Internet Explorer and it has my "main" list of Favorites.

- I use a Thumb Drive to move files between desktop and laptop 'puters.

- On the laptop, I have both Internet Explorer and Firefox. I need IE for updating Windows XP but most "experts" suggest that Firefox is a safer browser than Internet Explorer.

- What Internet Explorer calls "Favorites" Firefox calls "Bookmarks" (just like Netscape does)

- I want to update the Bookmarks in the laptop, in Firefox, to be exactly the same as my Favorites in Internet Explorer on my desktop.

My steps:
A. Copy the Favorites from IE in the desktop, to a Thumb Drive
B. On the laptop, delete all Favorites in both Internet Explorer and in Firefox (Note 2)
C. On the laptop, import the Favorites from the Thumb Drive to Internet Explorer
D. On the laptop, import the Favorites from Internet Explorer to Firefox (Note 3)

Note 1: the "import" and "export" options are under "File" in IE and in FF.
Note 2: in Firefox, when you delete the Bookmarks, leave the "Bookmarks Toolbar Folder" if you have it.
Note 3: when copying the Favorites to Firefox, copy ONLY the Favorites; not the cookies etc.

Books, e-Books and online Books:

This section was getting better and better; longer and longer so when I got my first Kindle, I moved all this useful data to my Kindle page; you can find it at

Browser problem:

For a long time I had a problem nobody could solve for me. SOME of the time, when I clicked a link in an email, the website would try, unsuccessfully, to open in Internet Explorer. Firefox is my default browser and I could not understand why it would not just open in Firefox. I tried this to fix the problem. I use Windows VISTA.
- in Firefox, click "Tools" and then "Options."
- Select the Advanced tab.
- Click "Check Now."
- put a checkmark beside "Always check ............." and click OK.

Then I went into Windows (this is for Vista and Win7) itself and:

- click "Start"
- click "Control Panel.'
- double-click "Default Programs."
- click "Set your default programs."
- click "Firefox."
- click "Choose defaults for this program."
- click "Select All."
- click "Save"
- click "OK" and close the 2 windows.

UPDATE: That did NOT work and I'm looking for a solution.


Get the value (and a lot more) of a vehicle at

Other Useful Car Sites
Jeff Ostroff, host of CARBUYINGTIPS will teach you how much dealers pay for cars, and how to formulate your best offer. Free guides on this site claim to help you save $2000-$4000 off MSRP, learn how to buy new cars and avoid scams, get the best car loans, and navigate the used car auctions. See also the "Annual Top 10 Car Dealer Scams" at this site:

AUTOBYTEL gives you access information on pricing and specifications, safety data, manufacturer incentives and vehicle reviews to help you make your buying decision. When you're ready to buy, you submit a request for the car or truck you want to buy, and a rep from a nearby AutoByTel affiliated dealership will call you within 24 hours:

CARS.COM is billed as the most comprehensive car information Web site, providing users with comprehensive inventories of new and used vehicles. You can use the Web site to help you find a vehicle that is right for you by using the site's extensive tools, such as automotive reviews, model reports, advice, dealer locator,
financing information and much more:

The Kelley Blue Book site provides the legendary Blue Book values on used cars and trucks.

Dealers: (Edmonton: 1-800-661-3965) (Edmonton: 1-877-623-3611) (Edmonton: 1-800-363-4332) (RVs) (Sean Sargent?)
Woody's RV World, Red Deer; lots of motorhomes.


Harvesting Drying Teas:

When collecting the leaves for tea, pick the most perfect and clean leaves. If you want the best medicinal value, pick the leaves right before the flowers are about to open, on a warm and sunny day. Dry the leaves on a clean surface, paper or napkin. Spread them out and keep them in the shade because the sun will destroy their medicinal qualities. There must be low or no moisture so that the leaves won't get moldy. When they are dry, the leaves will crumble easily. Store the leaves whole in airtight jars, preferably made of dark glass, or airtight tins. Keep them out of direct sunlight and store in a cool, dry place. Catnip tea sells very well. You may buy the empty tea bags to put the crushed leaves in or put the crushed leaves into a nice sized plastic bag and sell it loose. Catnip Toys: For catnip toys, the easiest way to harvest the catnip is to cut it at the base of the stems.
Catnip is most potent right before it flowers but harvest it for catnip toys anytime once the plant is mature.

To dry:

1. Put it in an onion sack, or any plastic webbed bag, and hang it in a shady, dry place.
2. Place the catnip upside down in a paper bag. Let a bit of the ends of the stems stick out and tie the bag and the stems together and hang.
3. Spread the catnip out on a newspaper.
4. Tie the ends of the stems together and hang.

I do not recommend drying any herbs in the oven or microwave. The quality is much lower and it tends to lose its scent. If the stems break easily, then the catnip is dry and ready to be stored. Remove the leaves whole from the stem. Do not crumble the leaves until you are ready to use them. Throw the stems into the garden/compost or give them to your cats. Store the leaves in glass jars, plastic containers, plastic bags, or paper bags until you are ready to use them. If you have more catnip than you have time to make catnip toys, sell the dried leaves in bulk to other crafters.

Medicinal Value Warning: The information in this section is based on the research of the author, and is primarily for research purposes. It is not a substitute for a physicians advice. The author will not be held responsible if you decide to exercise your rights.

Catnip comes from Europe where it has been grown as a seasoning and medicinal herb. Its leaves and flowering tops contain vitamin C. Because of its mildy hallucinogenic properties, the dried leaves were smoked in the past to produce euphoria and visual hallucinations. Catnip is best used as a tea. For one cup of tea, put one teaspoon of dried or one tablespoon of fresh catnip into a teapot. Pour one cup boiled water over the herb, cover, and let sit for three minutes. This is called infusion. Catnip is used for colds and fevers because it produces sweat but does not raise the body temperature. It is a mild sedative and is said to reduce anxiety and induce sleep. It is also used for headaches, upset stomachs, bronchitis, diarrhea, colic, and irregular menses. Since catnip is antiseptic the infusion may be used on the skin to treat acne. The leaves may also be chewed to relieve the pain of toothaches. During the summer, I make iced tea with fresh catnip leaves. It's minty flavor is refreshing and soothing during those hot, irritable days.

The plant is said to deter insects such as ants and flea beetles as well as rats and mice. (The idea behind it being a rat repellent is probably based on the plants attraction to cats.) A strong infusion can be used to repel fleas from carpets or the fur of animals. An extract from the leaves (called nepetalactone) has herbicidal and insect repellant properties. The freshly harvested flowering tops contain 0.3 - 1% essential oil by distillation. It is mainly used for medicinal purposes. The dried leaves retain their fragrance and can be used in pot-pourri.

picture and more at plus packet of seed for US$1.59.

more info and Pic and seeds at

Growing Catnip

(from Karen Robinson's post on rec.pets.cats)

I grow my own catnip and dry it. Here's how I do it.

Get a packet of catnip seeds and sow a few in the early spring in your outdoor garden. They need/like lots of sun. Catnip is a member of the mint family and is a perennial herb which will grow back each year if the winter is not too severe.

Seeds will not germinate for a couple of weeks, or longer. You will think they are dead. Be patient.

Thin the plants to one plant every 15 inches-these suckers get BIG ! Let plants grow until they just start to show signs of flowering. Then cut all the stems off to about 6-8 inches above the ground. My first cutting of this year is just about ready (my plants wintered over from last year). My plants are currently about 3 feet tall. First year plants you should be able to get two cuttings, wintered over plants should yield three cuttings. Always harvest when the leaves are dry, to avoid problems in drying them.

After cutting, the catnip plants will grow new stems.

Most commercial catnip you buy contains the whole stalk ground up-- stems and leaves. The good stuff is in the leaves. To dry, my first step is to snip off or strip off by hand the leaves only, and discard the stems. Spread the leaves on a tray (or in my case several trays !). They do not have to be single layer. My trays are usually 3-4 inches deep in leaves. Set the trays somewhere where they will get good air circulation. On top of the refrigerator is good (as long as your cat can't get up there). Once or twice a day, "stir" the leaves with your hands.

After a couple of weeks (or more, depending on room temperature and moisture conditions). The leaves should start to get brittle and crumble. They should get to the point that you can take a handful and roll them between your palms, making flakes. Or you can mince them in a food processor.

After they are flaked, store in a jar or ziplock bag.

Are you still looking for catnip seeds? We have organic catnip seeds for sale.... If you are interested, please check:

Cell Phones:


There are a few things that can be done in times of grave emergencies. Your mobile phone can actually be a life saver or an emergency tool for survival. Check out the things that you can do with it:

FIRST Subject: Emergency
The Emergency Number worldwide for Mobile is 112. If you find yourself out of the coverage area of your mobile; network and there is an emergency, dial 112 and the mobile will search any existing network to establish the emergency number for you, and interestingly this number 112 can be dialled even if the keypad is locked. Try it out.

SECOND Subject: Have you locked your keys in the car?
Does your car have remote keyless entry? This may come in handy someday. Good reason to own a cell phone: If you lock your keys in the car and the spare keys are at home, call someone at home on their cell phone from your cell phone. Hold your cell phone about a foot from your car door and have the person at your home press the unlock button, holding it near the mobile phone on their end. Your car will unlock. Saves someone from having to drive your keys to you. Distance is no object. You could be hundreds of miles away, and if you can reach someone who has the other "remote" for your car, you can unlock the doors (or the trunk). Editor's Note: It works fine! We tried it out and it unlocked our car over a cell phone!"

THIRD Subject: Hidden Battery Power
Imagine your cell battery is very low. To activate, press the keys *3370# your cell will restart with this reserve and the instrument will show a 50% increase in battery. This reserve will get charged when you charge your cell next time.

FOURTH How to disable a STOLEN mobile phone?
To check your Mobile phone's serial number, key in the following digits on your phone: * # 0 6 # A 15 digit code will appear on the screen. This number is unique to your handset. Write it down and keep it somewhere safe. When your phone gets stolen, you can phone your service provider and give them this code.
They will then be able to block your handset so even if the thief changes the SIM card, your phone will be totally useless. You probably won't get your phone back, but at least you know that whoever stole it can't use/sell it either. If everybody does this, there would be no point in people stealing mobile phones.

And Finally....

FIFTH Cell phone companies are charging us $1.00 to $1.75 or more for 411 information calls when they don't have to. Most of us do not carry a telephone directory in our vehicle, which makes this situation even more of a problem. When you need to use the 411 information option, simply dial: (800) FREE 411, or (800) 373-3411 without incurring any charge at all. Program this into your cell phone now.

This is the kind of information people don't mind receiving, so pass it on to your family and friends.

Child Pornography:

If you find any of this, please report it at

Clipart or Clip-art and photos: (links)

Clipboard Extenders:

I tried MiniClip and Yankee Clipper and deleted both for various things about them that I did not like. From and

At this point, I find Clipboard Magic fast, easy and small:

and more listed at

Cloud Computing:

Bob Rankin of "Ask Bob Rankin" fame went into this at and after reading that, I got the impression that at this time, the best place to store your files online is at

College Admission:

The author of this essay, Hugh Gallagher, now attends NYU.
I am a dynamic figure, often seen scaling walls and crushing ice. I have been known to remodel train stations on my lunch breaks, making them more efficient in the area of heat retention. I translate ethnic slurs for Cuban refugees, I write award-winning operas, I manage time efficiently.Occasionally, I tread water for three days in a row. I woo women with my sensuous and godlike trombone playing, I can pilot bicycles up severe inclines with unflagging speed, and I cook Thirty-Minute Brownies in twenty minutes. I am an expert in stucco, a veteran in love, and an outlaw in Peru. Using only a hoe and a large glass of water, I once single-handedly defended a small village in the Amazon Basin from a horde of ferocious army ants. I play bluegrass cello, I was scouted by the Mets, I am the subject of numerous documentaries. When I'm bored, I build large suspension bridges in my yard. I enjoy urban hang gliding. On Wednesdays, after school, I repair electrical appliances free of charge. I am an abstract artist, a concrete analyst, and a ruthless bookie. Critics worldwide swoon over my original line of corduroy evening wear. I don't perspire. I am a private citizen, yet I receive fan mail. I have been caller number nine and have won the weekend passes. Last summer I toured New Jersey with a traveling centrifugal-force demonstration. I bat .400. My deft floral arrangements have earned me fame in international botany circles. Children trust me. I can hurl tennis rackets at small moving objects with deadly accuracy. I once read Paradise Lost, Moby Dick, and David Copperfield in one day and still had time to refurbish an entire dining room that evening. I know the exact location of every food item in the supermarket. I have performed several covert operations for the CIA. I sleep once a week; when I do sleep,I sleep in a chair. While on vacation in Canada, I successfully negotiated with a group of terrorists who had seized a small bakery. The laws of physics do not apply to me. I balance, I weave, I dodge, I frolic, and my bills are all paid. On weekends, to let off steam, I participate in full-contact origami.Years ago I discovered the meaning of life but forgot to write it down. I have made extraordinary four course meals using only a mouli and a toaster oven. I breed prizewinning clams. I have won bullfights in San Juan, cliff-diving competitions in Sri Lanka, and spelling bees at the Kremlin. I have played Hamlet, I have performed open-heart surgery, and I have spoken with Elvis. But I have not yet gone to college.


I called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist, to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.
A few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that appears to go all over the place, at one point passing briefly through Minneapolis.
Then Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner.
I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, 'HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BEHIND!'
I left Andy's office with some written instructions, and a prescription for a product called 'MoviPrep,' which comes in a box large enough to hold a microwave oven. I will discuss MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to say that we must never allow it to fall into the hands of America 's enemies.
I spent the next several days productively sitting around being nervous.
Then, on the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor.
Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes - and here I am being kind - like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
The instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by somebody with a great sense of humor, state that after you drink it, 'a loose, watery bowel movement may result.' This is kind of like saying that after you jump off your roof, you may experience contact with the ground.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a space-shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt.
You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet. After an action-packed evening, I finally got to sleep.
The next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was very nervous. Not only was I worried about the procedure, but I had been experiencing occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage. I was thinking, 'What if I spurt on Andy?' How do you apologize to a friend for something like that? Flowers would not be enough.
At the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging that I understood and totally agreed with whatever the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a room full of other colonoscopy people, where I went inside a little curtained space and took off my clothes and put on one of those hospital garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more naked than when you are actually naked.
Then a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein in my left hand. Ordinarily I would have fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was already lying down. Eddie also told me that some people put vodka in their MoviPrep.
At first I was ticked off that I hadn't thought of this, but then I pondered what would happen if you got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom, so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose Mode.
You would have no choice but to burn your house.
When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point.
Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand.
There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was 'Dancing Queen' by ABBA. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, 'Dancing Queen' had to be the least appropriate.
'You want me to turn it up?' said Andy, from somewhere behind me.
'Ha ha,' I said. And then it was time, the moment I had been dreading for more than a decade. If you are squeamish, prepare yourself, because I am going to tell you, in explicit detail, exactly what it was like. I have no idea. Really. I slept through it.
One moment, ABBA was yelling 'Dancing Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,' and the next moment, I was back in the other room, waking up in a very mellow mood.
Andy was looking down at me and asking me how I felt. I felt excellent. I felt even more excellent when Andy told me that IT was all over, and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I have never been prouder of an internal organ.

On the subject of Colonoscopies...
Colonoscopies are no joke, but these comments during the exam were quite humorous.
A physician claimed that the following are actual comments made by his patients (predominately male) while he was performing their colonoscopies:
1. 'Take it easy, Doc. You're boldly going where no man has gone before!'
2. 'Find Amelia Earhart yet?'
3. 'Can you hear me NOW?'
4. 'Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?'
5. 'You know, in Arkansas, we're now legally married.'
6. 'Any sign of the trapped miners, Chief?'
7. 'You put your left hand in, you take your left hand out...'
8. 'Hey! Now I know how a Muppet feels!'
9. 'If your hand doesn't fit, you must quit!'
10. 'Hey Doc, let me know if you find my dignity.'
11. 'You used to be an executive at Enron, didn't you?'
12. 'God, now I know why I am not gay.'
And the best one of all:
13. 'Could you write a note for my wife saying that my head is not up there?'
Writer Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist for the Miami Herald.

Computer Password:

If you are the only user of your PC and want to go straight to the desktop without logging in, do this:

1. Go to Start, Run, and type in:

control userpasswords2

and press Enter.

2.You'll get a dialogue box, uncheck the item "Users must enter a username and password to use this computer".

If you don't have any password in the "Advanced | Manage Passowords" then the check-mark won't make any difference.

Cookies (as in "Internet Cookies")

Kim Komando has more about cookies here:

Start | Control Panel
double-click "Security Center" and then "Internet Options" and choose the "General" tab.
Under "Browsing history" click "Settings" and then "View objects"
That should show all your cookies in IE but when I tried March 9, 2007, there were none; I had not browsed the www with IE yet.

You can also use Internet Options settings to block third-party cookies. Select the Privacy tab. Then click the Advanced button. Mark the checkbox labeled "Override automatic cookie handling." This opens options for blocking first-party or third-party cookies.

Open Firefox. Click "Tools | Options." Select the "Privacy" tab. Click the "Show Cookies" button. You'll see options to delete individual or all cookies.

Firefox 2 dropped the menu option to block third-party cookies. With a little work, however, you still can apply the block. In Firefox's address bar, enter "about:config" (without the quotes).

Double-click the listing named network.cookie.cookieBehavior. You'll be prompted for a value. Simply enter "1" (without the quotes). Then click OK.

Fred Langa, Jan. 26, 2005:

2) More On Spyware Hype Vs Real Threats

I kinda knew that "Spyware Hype Vs Real Threats" ( ) would generate mail.
Here's one of the gentler responses:

Hi Fred, Thought you might be interested in this: knowledgeable people have taken issue with your stance onanti-spyware software. ---Louis

Well, not exactly. My "stance on anti-spyware software" is simple: Use it! No controversy there. It's my stance on how serious a threat cookies and web bugs are that's the issue. But even there, there's more agreement than not.

For example, one of the posters said "It is true that tracking cookies are only plain text and thus harmless. They are not a security threat but they are indeed an invasion on privacy. But Ad-Aware and Spybot do much more than track down cookies...."

That's mostly true, and that's why I recommend Ad-Aware and Spybot, among other tools. But the question I was answering in "Spyware Hype Vs Real Threats" was not about malware threats in general, but very specifically about tracking cookies and web bugs.

The overwhelming majority of cookies *are* utterly harmless. But that doesn't mean (and I never said) "stop using your security tools" or "all online threats are imaginary" or "no cookie has ever caused a problem. "What I said was not to worry when your security tool bleats when it sees a "tracking" cookie from a reputable site: Almost always, it's nothing to be concerned about: Odds are, the cookie is just counting noses, or visits, or something equally benign.

Here's what most of the anti-cookie fanatics are forgetting: In most cases, a cookie can only contain information that YOU PROVIDED. For example, if you fill out a form on a web site and add your name, address, shoe size, pet's name, and favorite American Idol star, that information can (theoretically) be stored in a cookie. But if you don't give the site any information, all the site really knows is that you showed up at a certain time from a certain address, clicked around (or not) and left a while later. That, and generic software compatibility information provided by your browser, is all you gave the site, through your clicks, and so that's all the site can store in any cookie.

The idea that cookies "invade" your privacy is plain paranoia. A cookie can only contain what you told the site. How can it be an invasion if YOU voluntarily provided the information?

Some of the irrational fear of cookies dates back to several years ago when there was a rash of cases where unscrupulous site operators or groups of site operators gathered private and personal user info under false pretenses and then used that info, sometimes combined with other info the users entered on other sites cooperating in this scam, for spamming and such. The actual evil was in the fraudulent information- gathering (via normal fill-in-the-blank forms) and misuse of the private customer data.

Oddly enough, the cookies were actually kind of a hero in the story, because it was through examining the plain-text cookies that users discovered that sites were doing things with their data they didn't really need to. But somehow, cookies got the bad rap, instead of the fraudulent information-gathering that was the real problem. Blaming cookies is kind of like shooting the messenger; but people did.

That kind of scam has mostly stopped--- though others certainly persist. Today, overt "phishing" and other scams are far more lucrative for the ethically challenged than is playing with cookies; and malware and other active data-mining worms, viruses and trojans are a much greater threat to privacy and security than passive, plain-text cookies are or ever were. Some of these malware nasties do use cookies as part of their operation, but again, the problem isn't the cookie--- it's the malware that's creating the cookie. These far more serious malware threats do require constant vigilance, which is why we discuss security in almost every issue of this newsletter. But in guarding against the high-order, serious threats, you automatically guard against the low-order, low-risk threats. Cookies, per se, simply aren't that big a deal.

In any case, it's easy to guard against cookie abuse: Use the basic security tools we repeatedly recommend (e.g. see the list in this item: ), and know the sites you're dealing with. The movement for sites to post a clear "Privacy Policy" was, in fact, a reaction to the early information-gathering abuses: Today, sites that behave honorably and ethically will have a clear, no-nonsense policy stating exactly what information they do and do not collect, and what they do with any such information. (You can see the Langa.Com privacy policy here: ). A posted privacy policy is a form of contract--- a legal promise by the site to behave as they say they will.

If a site lacks a clear Privacy Policy, or if the policy contains items you think are not in your favor, take your clicks elsewhere: There are plenty of other sites online, and there's no need to do business with a site that seems shady or sleazy in any way. If you leave a site without having provided any personal information, the security risk is essentially zero--- the site can't know anything important about you. In short: You're safe.

When you think it through, you'll see that cookies, per se, simply aren't much of a problem any more. They're very low-order threats, easily managed; and, when so managed, are almost always completely harmless.

Keep your security tools up to date and deployed; use caution in what sites you give information to; and you'll be fine. Common sense, really.

Cooking problem:

You probably have some food in the house that you really would like to use up in some kind of a recipe, but you don't know what recipe you can use it in. Here is the answer:

Crown Assets Distribution:

Links to information on the distribution of federal government surplus goods are accessible from "What's For Sale" section of the Public Works and Government Services Canada's Crown Assets Distribution Web site at the following URL:
(Scroll down to the "Crown Assets Distribution Centres" heading.)

Data DVD creation in Vista:

Insert a blank DVD into your DVD burner drive.
Open Windows Photo Gallery and select the photos you want on the DVD.
Click on "Burn" in the command bar, then click on "Data Disc…"
Click on the "Format Disk" button.
Type a title for the disk and click "Next".
Wait for the files to be copied to the disk. When it is finished, a window will open displaying all your photos.
Close the DVD window. If you still have room on the disk, repeat steps 2, 3, and 6 to add more photos to your disk.
When your disk is full, or you are simply done adding photos, close all windows.
Click on "Start" then click on "Computer".
Right click on the DVD drive containing your disk.
Click on "Close Session" in the context menu. This will make your disk readable in any computer with a DVD drive.

If you need a free DVD Burner, get it from .

Dead Pixel Tester:

Diamond Willow:

The largest supplier of Diamond Willow sticks in the world happens to be my Home Page at

DLL files and Drivers: (from Don Pratt)

Doctors (Medical) and grading them:




Domain Names:

You can search for the availability of a domain name at: but they don't do .ca ones. You'd have to get that from a Canadian registrar.

ICANN controls domain names at and at and there are thousands of "registrars" who actually "buy" names for you and keep them registered and bill you when the renewal date comes along. I have one registered for 1 year and the other for 5 years.

If I go to and enter conniesclaycreations then I get: and type=domain
and it cannot find it. If, however, I put .com on the end, it finds it.

find out everything about any domain at


Does your dingle dangle, or did you mean dongle?
If the dingle dangles at an angle, it could be a new fangled dingle
that cannot mingle with other dingles.
But if it's really a dongle, you could have inserted it wrongle.
And if your dingle or dongle jangles, remove the unnecessary bangles.

e-mail blue lines from forwarding; how to remove:

I got an email with a list of photos inserted and some text; there were numerous long vertical lines down the left side, showing it had been forwarded many times.
- click "Forward" and enter the address(es)
- right-click the first image and choose "Copy" and then tap "Del" on the keyboard to remove it.
- move cursor to the top of the e-mail, above the blue lines, and Ctrl-V will paste it there
- with the second and subsequent images, hit "Enter" twice after pasting to add some blank space between images
- repeat with each image and also with any text
- with cursorjust above the blue lines, hold down the left mouse button to and scroll down to select all the material in the blue lines section and tap "Del" on the keyboard to remove all the blue lines and material beside them.

e-mail caution:

From: "Jim Littleton" 3/31/00 8:19 PM "Ken Laninga"

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Laninga
To: Jim Littleton
Date: Friday, March 31, 2000 9:53 PM
Subject: Re: Jim Littleton wrote:

Jim Littleton
1206 Pearl Way
Newport Tn., 37821
Ph:856-623-4509 im located in Newport wondering if you might be in this area ? maybe gatlingburg are or close by to where i could come see ? letme know.thanks a bunchJim

No, Jim, I am *far* away........... in Grande Prairie, Alberta, CanadaBUT you can come and see my sticks if you like.......!!
Ken Laninga (Canada)

From: "Jim Littleton" 3/31/00 8:29 PM To: "Ken Laninga"

MY GOD KEN. I SCREWED UP BIG TIME. THERE HAS BEEN THIS GAY GUY CAUSING ME TROUBLE. I CLICKED ON THE WRONG MESSAGE AND REPLYED TO YOURS INSTEAD OF HIS. IM SO SORRY MY FRIEND. HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND. Im disabled aslo like you and have a very hard time trying to make my days go by as they are very long with nothing to do but sit in my chair. so i was thinking maybe i could give away some sticks to people who might need them
here. i live in the Smokey Mts. close to Gatlinburg area, Piegon Forge area and would be just great to get some great sticks for the haNDYCAPED. so im very sorry about the mail to the wrong one ? LOL funny but it happens sometimes and i cant handel the gay croud. how he ever got my mail address ill never know but he is close by here. ill get rid of him if he mails back. so God bless you and yours and nice to meet you and hope you understand i got to witness for my saviour when i can. Psalms 55:7
my heart is fixed Oh God my heart is fixed, i will sing and give praise. i play bluegrass gospel all over the south with the (Gospel Strings) from my chair. see ya and dont forget. i goofed.


If you find it interesting to check on earthquakes, here's the Rest of the Story:


Easter was early in 2008.

Easter is always the 1st Sunday after the 1st full moon after the Spring Equinox (which is March 20). This dating of Easter is based on the lunar calendar that Hebrew people used to identify Passover, which is why it moves around on our Roman calendar. Based on the above, Easter can actually be one day earlier (March 22) but that is pretty rare.

Here's the interesting info. 2008 is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

1) The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

2) The next time it will be a day earlier, March 22, will be in the year 2285 (277 years from now). The last time it was on March 22 was 1818. So, no one alive today has or will ever see it any earlier than this year!

The latest date Easter can fall on is April 25th...

Enlarging a Photo or other image:

If you are not satisfied with the way your preferred image editor enlarges your images, then I can suggest two alternatives:
enlarge it online at or download the free tool from . One user told me: "Compared it with my Unregistered Reshade. SmillaEnlarger compared well at 200% and 400%. That is, it's almost exactly as good. SmillaE has hidden settings that make it quite equal. On the Parameter Tab drop box, choose Sharp. Makes both programs just about equal!!! Except: SmillaEnlarger is completely free; so it saves without a nag Watermark. It accepts pasted(or dragged) images. I like the Smilla user interface better. It lets you save custom settings; but the default sharp seem to work well as it is."

Erase a disk permanently: I did not like this one BUT Fred Langa reported "it's confusing to nontechies, and clumsy even for techies." You can get it also at Didn't clear all it should have. and catid=27 and oskey=2

Favicon or icons:

Put this into the HEAD section of the website and call the icon "favicon.ico."
link rel="shortcut icon" href="favicon.ico"

create icons online at:
or use Irfanview from

good info at

Firefox Bookmarks suddenly disappeared:

Here is how I fixed it. I right-clicked the taskbar on the desktop, the Windows taskbar that is, and chose Task Manager. Then in the "Processes" tab I saw FOUR (!!) "Firefox.exe" processes. I clicked each one, followed by "End process" and confirmed that. That closed FF. Then I restarted FF and they were back.

Fitna; the anti-islam movie:
The Dutch politician (Geert Wilders) is being prosecuted for speaking his mind.

The short film is available, yet, at and it is shocking. I found that to SAVE it, install the RealPlayer (which most folks have already) from and that will cause a "download" button to appear on top of the video. You don't even have to run RealPlayer; as long as it IS installed, that button pops up. I saved it but could not find it on my desktop so I started RealPlayer, looked at "my library" and found it there; then I clicked "Locate file" and found it so I could copy it to wherever I wanted it.

It may soon disappear; the muslims are fighting it; even the Official site at no longer has it.

"It boggles the mind to imagine it: a lawmaker in a Western country being brought up on what amounts to criminal blasphemy charges. It is infuriating to watch the politically correct Dutch establishment sell out the right to free speech to appease an obstreperous minority."

The contact page for Mr. Wilders is at and Itemid=107

A movie along the same lines is at

Flash Drive comes with pre-loaded junk:

got a flash drive but it had a bunch of stuff I did not want already on it. Could not even format it.

Posted a question at a forum: and plckForumPage=ForumDiscussion and plckDiscussionId=Cat%3a8ff0ed66-fa72-4beb-b157-441575b43d4cForum%3a10240d2e-860b-4341-802a-2d5e609b9934Discussion%3a48bd4166-531e-4a0a-b0a8-05103ed43e08 and plckCategoryCurrentPage=0
and got this reply:

Go to the Sandisk website and download the U3 Launchpad Removel Tool:
Then, once you have removed U3, format the drive.

It left a few folders and one text file but I simply deleted them.

Flash Drive; Windows won't recognize it:

Find the right driver:

You can force Windows to try recognizing your flash drive again. Start by connecting the flash drive to the computer. Click Start | Control Panel. Double-click System. Select the Hardware tab. Then click the Device Manger button.

In the list of devices, look for an entry labeled Other Devices. If your flash drive is unrecognizable, it should be listed there. If so, right-click it. Select "Scan for hardware changes."

Windows XP has built-in drivers for USB 2.0. While that covers nearly all USB devices, it's not perfect. If Windows still doesn't recognize your flash drive, check the manufacturer's Web site for drivers or updates for your model.

If drivers are there for downloading, be sure to select one designed for your version of Windows. A Windows 98 driver, for example, can make USB devices unrecognizable to XP.

Change a duplicate drive letter:

Another possible problem is that Windows may give your flash drive a drive letter that's already been used. To find and solve this problem, first click StartRun. In the box, enter "diskmgmt.msc" (without the quotes). Then click OK.

You'll see a list of drives including your hard drive and CD or DVD drives. Your flash drive will also show in the list when it's plugged in. Right-click it and select "Change Drive Letter and Paths." Then click the Change button.

You'll see a small drop-down menu that allows you to pick a new letter for the flash drive. You can select from nearly every letter of the alphabet. After you have chosen a letter, click OK. Then click OK on the next windows as well.

Use a different computer:

If all else fails, borrow a friend's computer and connect the flash drive. If it works, you can erase the data on the drive. If not, the drive is likely dead, which is almost as good as erased.

Flash drive Damage:

A guy put his card thru the laundry. When he tried to use it, it wanted to format the card.

Kim suggested using (free)

or (free)

or (free)

Fonts: and verThumbs=1 and letra=w (NICE website)

Free Alternatives to Commercial Software:

Fruit Flies problem:

A friend told me "By the way, I also want to thank you for an email you sent a while ago. One of my friends was complaining about the vast number of fruit flies she had in the house. I remembered your email about them, so I passed the recipe to her. Within hours there were fruit flies around the lip of the cup. But by the next day, the cup was full of dead flies. She was overwhelmed with what she called, "the carnage." And she thanked me over and over." So here then, is that recipe for YOU:
*To get rid of pesky fruit flies, take a small glass, fill it 1/2' with Apple Cider Vinegar* *and 2 drops of dish washing liquid; mix well. You will find those flies drawn to the* *cup and gone forever!*

FTP software:



after making a stash, make a website.

Get even:

For all of you who occasionally have a really bad day when you just need to take it out on someone!!! Don't take that bad day out on someone you know, take it out on someone you DON'T know. Now get this. I was sitting at my desk, when I remembered a phone call I had to make. I found the number and dialed it. A man answered nicely saying, "Hello?"

I politely said, "This is Patrick Hanifin and could I please speak to Robin Carter?"

Suddenly the phone was slammed down on me! I couldn't believe that anyone could be that rude. I tracked down Robin's correct number and called her. She had transposed the last two digits incorrectly. After I hung up with Robin, I spotted the wrong number still lying there on my desk. I decided to call it again.

When the same person once more answered, I yelled "You're a jackass!" and hung up.

Next to his phone number I wrote the word "jackass" and put it in my desk drawer. Every couple of weeks, when I was paying bills, or had a really bad day, I'd call him up. He'd answer, and I'd yell, "You're a jackass!" It would always cheer me up.

Later in the year the phone company introduced caller ID. This was a real disappointment for me, I would have to stop calling the jackass.

Then one day I had and idea. I dialed his number, then heard his voice,"Hello." I made up a name. "Hi. This is the sales office of the telephone company and I'm just calling to see if you're familiar with our caller ID program?"

He went, "NO!" and slammed the phone down. I quickly called him back and said, "That's because you're a jackass!"

The reason I took the time to tell you this story, is to show you how if there's ever anything really bothering you, you can do something about it. Just dial 823-4863

- Keep reading, it gets much better - The old lady at the mall really took her time pulling out of the parking space. I didn't think she was ever going to leave. Finally,her car began to move and she started to very slowly back out of the slot.

I backed up a little more to give her plenty of room to pull out. Great,I thought, she's finally leaving. All of a sudden this black Camaro come flying up the parking isle in the wrong direction and pulls into her space.

I started honking my horn and yelling, "You can't just do that Buddy! I was here first!"

The guy climbed out of his Camaro completely ignoring me. He walked toward the mall as if he didn't even hear me.

I thought to myself, this guy's a jackass, there sure are a lot of jackasses in the world. I noticed he had a "For Sale" sign in the back window of his car. I wrote down the number. Then I hunted for another place to park.

A couple of days later, I'm at home sitting at my desk. I had just gotten off the phone after calling 823-4863 and yelling, "You're a jackass!" (it's really easy now that I have him on speed dial)

I noticed the phone number of the guy with the black Camaro lying on my desk and thought I'd better call this guy too.

After a couple of rings someone answered the phone and said, "Hello." I said, "Is this the man with the black Camaro for sale?" "Yes it is." "Can you tell me where I can see it?" "Yes, I live at 1802 West 34th Street. It's a yellow house and the cars parked right out front." I said, "What's your name?" "My name is Don Hansen" "When's a good time to catch you, Don?" "I'm home in the evenings"."Listen Don, can I tell you something?" "Yes" "Don, you're a jackass! And I slammed the phone down. After I hung up, I added Don Hansen's number to my speed dialer. For a while things seemed to be going better for me. Now when I had a problem, I had two jackasses to call.

Then,after several months of calling the jackasses and hanging up on them, it just wasn't as enjoyable as it used to be.

I gave the problem some serious thought and came up with a solution:

First, I had my phone dial Jackass #1. A man answered nicely saying, "Hello" I yelled, "You're a jackass!", but I didn't hang up. The jackass said, "Are you still there?" I said, "Yeah" He said, "Stop calling me."I said, "No." He said, "What's your name pal?" I said, "Don Hansen" He said, "Where do you live?" "1802 West 34th Street. It's a yellow house and my black Camaro is parked out front" "I'm coming over right now, Don. You'd better start saying your prayers" "Yeah, like I'm really scared, Jackass!" and I hung up. Then I called Jackass #2 He answered "Hello." I said "Hello jackass" He said "If I ever find out who you are..." "You'll what?" "I'll kick your ass" "Well here's your chance. I'm coming over right now Jackass!" and I hung up.

Then I picked up the phone and called the police. I told them I was at 1802 West 34th Street and that I was going to kill my gay lover as soon as he got home.

Another quick call to channel 13 about the gang war going on down on W.34th Street.

After that I climbed into my car and headed over to 34th Street to watch the whole thing.

Watching two jackasses kicking the crap out of each other in front of 6 squad cars and a police helicopter was one of the greatest experiences of my life! Names withheld to protect the guilty.

Garden Insect Repellants:

Insect repellant...Mix a few drops of dishwashing liquid and a few drops of cooking oil in a gallon of water. This mixture will smother insects such as spider mites and aphids.

One tablespoon dishwashing liquid mixed with one gallon of water can be sprayed on dahlias, geraniums and hibiscus plants every two weeks to keep them fly-free....

Plant garlic near your roses to deter Japanese beetles.

If bugs around your garden are a problem, try planting basil and parsley with your vegetables to act as a natural repellant. Marigolds are also a natural repellant and can be planted around your gardens.

Almost all plant eating insects and also rabbits will not go near plants if you grind 3 or 4 very hot peppers, such as haberneros or serranos and one or two heads of garlic.
Steep these ingredients in two quarts of boiling water. Leave the mixture sit overnight and then strain the next day. Add enough water to the liquid to make a gallon and
spray on plants and vegetables.

Beer placed in shallow empty lids around plants will kill snails. They basically get blotto and drown. Copper also repels them and a little copper banding around plants will
keep them away from plants.

Slugs will be extinct if you plant a two-inch border of cracked eggshells around your plant.

Gasoline price comparison; USA and Canada:

Conversion is a bit tricky.

one US $ = C$1.23161, so C$0.824 = US$0.669354.
One US Gallon = 3.785 liters, or 1 liter = 0.26 US Gallons.

So our price is 66.9354 cents (US) per .26 (US) gallon.

That means 66.9354 / .26 = 257.44 cents per US gallon, or US$2.57 per US gallon.

Gold Pans:


Hard Disk crash:

Hotmail Address:

If you ever had a Hotmail (free) email account you may have found, as I did, that it is virtually impossible to close it. I thought I had and then happened to find it someplace, still in place and still working fine. This was indeed weird, I thought. By great coincidence, very next day I got my usual email newsletter from Leo Notenboom where he addressed that very situation; see his explanation at

Income Tax Links: (Canadian:)

meals and vehicle rates for 2008:

Forms listed by form number
search for form:

freeware tax-form-preparation:

C$ vs US$ exchange rate average for the year (change the "08" to "09" for 2009):

Interest on your Savings Account:

and see

Commonwealth Credit Union: ("Servus")

and their GIC:

President's Choice Financial:




Royal Bank:

Bank of Montreal:

ATB (Alberta Treasury Branch):

Western Financial Group:

HSBC Direct:

Peoples Trust:

Go Banking Rates:

For a list of all those covered by CDIC (Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation) see:

Incidentally, I do not see President's Choice Financial on the list of members, but its banking services are provided by the direct banking division of CIBC so apparently that covers them: EOE ;-)

Internet Connection Speed:

Investing grief:


Here is just about what Abe did at Fort Providence in June 2003:

heat the oil in a large cast-iron fry pan (I'd use olive oil rather than his
mix of Canola Oil, margarine and lard)

Sprinkle the pieces with:
- regular salt
- Lowry's salt
- black pepper
- Back Eddy's seasoning salt ( )

in a bag make a "shake and bake" mix:
- flour
- shake and bake -fish and chicken
- Cajun Fish Crisp (very little) (other flavors available)

Then deep-fry it.

Julius Caesar:

from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault,
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honourable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill:
Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honourable man.
You all did see that on the Lupercal
I thrice presented him a kingly crown,
Which he did thrice refuse: was this ambition?
Yet Brutus says he was ambitious;
And, sure, he is an honourable man.
I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,
But here I am to speak what I do know.
You all did love him once, not without cause:
What cause withholds you then, to mourn for him?
O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,
And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;
My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,
And I must pause till it come back to me.

Keyboard Problem; cannot type a Question Mark (?):

This happens to a lot of good, hard-working, clean-living people. So sad. They are typing a perfectly normal e-mail to a close friend and want to ask a question. As usual, they hold down the left "Shift" key and type the question mark and are shocked to find that what they have actually typed is an UPPERCASE, French letter "E" with an accent mark over it. Then they try to type an apostrophe and get that same symbol in lower case. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, but just before rushing out and buying a new laptop computer (or keyboard) they suddenly find THIS Page and THIS tip, and they simply hold down the CTRL key and press the SHIFT key on their keyboard and all is back to normal again. They tell all their friends to look up THIS page at to find answers to all life's horrible problems.

Land Values:$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd1504?opendocument$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/sdd1537?opendocument

Laptop Black Screen:

My lappy slowed to a crawl; I did a RESTART but got a black screen while the machine was still running.

No way could I get anything on the screen at all. Dave's suggestion (Aug. 26, 2006) worked:

OK it is unplugged but still running; I can hear (yes!) the fan running. It appears that, in spite of a black screen, it is running and I can in no way turn it off.

UNPLUGGED the power cord

1. waited 5 minutes........

2. Held down the power button 30 seconds and

3. plugged in the power cord

.......... and.......

At the 6 second mark (step 2) it turned OFF

When I plugged it in, (step 3) nothing, and I clicked the ON/OFF button again and..... IT booted up FINE!

Another time this sort of thing happened, all it took to fix it was to remove the battery for a moment

Large Files: Sending them:

Many e-mail programs can be configured to split large files into a number of manageable chunks, which will be re-combined when they are received. This is how it's done using Outlook Express and Windows Mail.
1. On the Tools menu, click Accounts.
2. click the email account you want to use and click Properties.
3. On the Advanced tab, select the Break apart messages larger than x KB check box and then enter the maximum file size the server will allow or that you wish to send.

A useful limit is 500KB, meaning a 5 MB file would be split into 10 pieces. One advantage of this is that you can send the file to a large number of people with a single e-mail.

An attractive alternative when sending large files to friends is to use a free service such as these:

Link or connect two computers; Network:

(from Kim Komando) I want to link my laptop and desktop PCs. USB ports are on both PCs. So I was thinking some type of USB cable would work. Do they even make something like that? Am I off base, or is this a cheap way to link PCs?

USB (Universal Serial Bus) was not designed for networks. It is used to connect peripherals - cameras, drives, memory card readers - to computers. A PC-to-PC connection using a male-to-male USB cable will damage both computers.

However, USB bridge cables allow direct connections. Some are called USB link or network cables. They have a sizeable node at the midpoint of the cable. The node contains extra circuitry for a safe connection.

I found them online for less than $10.

The more common way to link computers is Ethernet. On desktops, Ethernet ports are standard issue. Most laptops, however, provide only wireless connectivity.

You can add an Ethernet port to your laptop with a USB Ethernet adapter. Most adapters are short cables, while others resemble USB flash drives. Adapters are easier to find than are bridge cables. The typical USB Ethernet adapter sells for $25.

Connect the computers with an Ethernet crossover cable. I found them at several online retailers. They should be available in local stores, too. Expect to pay less than $15. Regular Ethernet or Cat 5e cable is not designed for PC-to-PC connections.

Finally, you could go wireless. If your laptop has built-in Wi-Fi, you have a couple options. First, you could get a wireless router. Most routers include Ethernet ports for wired computers like your desktop.

A basic wireless router goes for about $40. If you set up a router, keep freeloaders off your network by using encryption.

The other option is a USB wireless adapter for your desktop. With an adapter, your desktop and laptop can communicate without a router. This type of wireless connection is called an ad hoc network. Some USB wireless adapters are as low as $20 online. You still need encryption.

Once you've got your computers connected, you can share your documents.

The files are in the desktop 'puter and I want the laptop to have access so I can copy them into the laptop.

On the laptop I have a folder "Shared stuff" on the desktop, for folders which are in the desktop 'puter.

So, in the DESKTOP, in WinExplorer, right-click the main folder ("Websites") which has many subfolders and sub-subfolders, and choose "Sharing and security." There, under "Network sharing and security" put a check beside "Share this folder on the network." Click "Apply" and "OK." I saw nothing about giving it a name.

Then, on the laptop, in "Start" and then "My Network Places" choose "Set up a home or small business office network."

That should show the new folder. Drag from here to the "Shared stuff" folder.

NOW: Printing:

printer is hooked up to the desktop 'puter downstairs. Laptop, upstairs has no printer but wants to print something:

on the desktop:
Control Panel
Printers and faxes
Right-click the printer you want to share
"Sharing" tab
choose "Share this printer" and type a name for it
Apply and OK

on the laptop:
virtually the same steps as above.

On my Acer laptop with Vista HP, I had all my data files on "D" which is a partition on the HD.
I want to move all those files to my Toshiba laptop via my wireless LAN.
We tried to set it up so that the Tosh could simply access the Acer but that would not work.

On the Tosh, make a folder: "Backups from Acer"
On the Acer:
- open two instances of Windows Explorer; side by side; one shows the folders in "D" and the other shows the folder on the Toshiba; it's path is:
C:\Network places\Toshiba name*\

*where "Toshiba name" is the name given originally to the Toshiba; you can find the name on/of the Toshiba at:

Start | Control Panel | System
and see the tab "Computer name"

INFO at;en-us;304040

Links to your website:

To see who has linked to you, go to
When I tried this August 7, 2009, for I got 328 hits.

lost files:

from Kim Komando:

Q. I'm running Vista Home Premium. I accidentally wrote over the contents of an important file on my computer. I desperately need to go back to the earlier version of the file. Is there anything that can help me? What about Shadow Copy?

Shadow Copy is one of the new features in Vista. It is available in most of the versions of Vista. However, it is not part of Vista Home Basic or Home Premium.
Shadow Copy creates previous versions for each of your documents. It is intended to help out people who are in a similar situation as you.

Now, since you're using Vista Home Premium, you don't have access to Shadow Copy. But, not all hope is lost. You still may be able to recover the previous version of your file.

Why is that? Shadow Copy is really enabled on all versions of Windows Vista. However, on the home versions, the Shadow Copy interface isn't available.

This means that previous copies of your files could be on your machine. You just can't access them.

There is a solution to that. You can upgrade to a different version of Windows, say Vista Ultimate. That's a costly proposition. And you run the risk of deleting everything on the drive when you upgrade.

Well, I have a much better solution. And it won't cost you a dime. It's called ShadowExplorer.

Once you download this small program, you'll get access to all the Shadow Copies stored on your computer. I'll give you a quick rundown of how it works.

Open the program and click the dropdown box at the top of the screen. You'll see a list of drive letters and dates. Start by looking for the drive letter where the file is located. In most cases, this will be the C: drive.

Next, look for a date before the content of the file was overwritten. You want it to be the latest version of the file before it was changed. Select the time by clicking on it.

Now, you'll see a list of the folders on the drive you selected on the left side of the window. Click a folder, and the contents appear in the right side of the window.

You'll have to do some work to find your file. Likely, you'll want to start in the Users folder. So, click it on the left side of the Window.

Now, look for your screen name in the right side of the window. Double-click it to see the files associated with your account. You should see the Documents, Music, Pictures and other folders. Double-click the one containing your file.

When you find your file, right-click it and select Export. In the box that opens, specify where you'd like to save the file. Click OK.

Once you recover the file, review it carefully. Hopefully, it is the version you need. If it isn't, don't worry. You can repeat the processing using different dates to find the version you want.

Low-Level Format:

(from Kim Komando)
I bought a Canon S5 IS and a new memory card. I put the card in the camera to format it. I was given two choices: format or low-level format. I've never heard of low-level format. The manual recommends selecting low-level format if the card's speed drops. It stated that a low-level format could take several minutes. What is the difference between format and low-level format?

When you get a new memory card, it is usually formatted for you. I really don't recommend formatting the card again.

But sometimes you need to format memory cards. With new cards, choose a regular format rather than low-level. Doing a regular format simply cleans out the card's file allocation table. The file allocation table tracks clusters of data on the card.

The file allocation table can tell which clusters belong to which files. It essentially helps the computer or camera assemble data into usable files. When you format and clean out the file allocation table, data remains. It is overwritten as space is needed.

A low-level format is completely different. It removes and recreates markers that organize the data on the memory card into clusters. All of the data on the card is erased. Retrieving it is very difficult.

Why would your camera give you the option of performing a low-level format? Sometimes things go wrong with memory cards. This type of format can help solve certain problems.

For example, sometimes people try to format memory cards on their computer. This frequently leads to problems when the card is placed in a camera. In these situations, a low-level format may be in order.

Now, just remember that memory cards have limited read and write cycles. The same goes for USB drives, which use the same type of flash memory. Low-level formatting is harder on your card than regular formatting. So I would avoid it unless it is necessary.

Magazine Covers with YOUR picture on them:

There are websites which offer free, online tools to help you put any of your own pictures onto the cover of a simulated magazine cover or similar. I like these two; if you know of another, please let me know:

Make $$ with online surveys:

ACOP: for Canadians and US residents

FGI Research:
They told me: "The majority of our surveys are for US residents, however if you are not a US resident we will send you any available surveys that we have." for Canadians
but it seems they do not pay; only put your name in for a draw. US res only

Opinion Outpost, good in Canada and the USA:

your2cents, good in Canada and the USA:
It has been taken over by TOLUNA:
Note: Canadians, enter your complete Postal Code in the first of the two boxes, no space.

I read about surveys here:
specifically here:

You will not get rich doing these surveys and some ask for more information than you will feel comfortable in sharing with them. I tried a few, got a few dollars and then quit them all.

Malt Syrup from Barley:

To make barley malt syrup, barley grains are allowed to sprout, or germinate. The resulting sprouted barley is dried, often in a kiln or quick drying oven. Next, the sprouts are slowly cooked so that they form a sweet, dark syrup. The syrup is strained to remove impurities and then it is bottled or canned. I tried but made a big stinky mess.

Mayo Clinic Online:

Regarded as one of the premier medical centers in the U.S., the Mayo Clinic is a leader in the global effort to cure deadly diseases such as Cancer. The Clinic's official website is a free online resource filled with valuable information and tools to empower people everywhere to live healthier lives.

Browse the site and you will find a wide selection of topics, including "Diseases and Conditions", "Treatment Decisions", "Health Tools", and a section where you can "Ask a Specialist". Visitors can also access all of the website's useful features such as the "Symptom Checker", a virtual "First-Aid Guide", videos, slide shows, and quizzes to help people live well, a BMI Calculator, and much more.

Mendocino Motor:

The Mendocino motor is a solar powered magnetically levitated motor.
Youtube video at which has links to:

if you Google: Mendocino Motor you get lots of hits.

video of another version:

series of 81 pictures:

A wood base is illustrated at
The mendocino motor is a magnetically levitating, solar powered motor. The motor was invented by Larry Spring of Mendocino California in 1992. In my Principles of Technology class students have been building the motor since 1999. The motor project introduces students to a variety of important processes, techniques and tools.

The way I teach the project, first students learn a Computer Aided Design software package such as ProDesktop or Sketchup, then they design the parts of the motor, building each part to the measurements, then assembling the parts into a final document. Next students are introduced to measuring and cutting with a hand saw, then a cutting with a power miter saw. When the base and upright are cut, they then use the router table to cut grooves into the base. The upright is butt jointed to the base, then a little light sanding followed by a few coats of polyurethane.

During the periods that the base is being polyurethaned, students make the rotor block using a special jig for the router table. The block is 2 inches long, 1 x 1 with quarter inch grooves on each corner. Next students measure out 2 50 foot lengths of magnet wire by wrapping it on a 1 foot paddle. The block gets a 3/8" hole in the center, then a 8 inch dowel is inserted into the hole.

Wrapping the motor with the magnet wire involves carefully wrapping the wire in the grooves around the block 100 times in sets of ten alternating on each side of the dowel. The wires are then labelled and confirmed with a continuity tester.

Solar cells are then glued and taped into place on the sides of the block. The cells on opposite sides are soldered to each other, front to back and front to back. Each end of a wrap wire is soldered to a connection of solar cells.

At this point, there needs to be a bearing in the end of the end of the dowel. Using the drill press, students put a hole in the end of the block, then a brass tack is put into the hole.

At this point, the motor is ready for assembly and testing. Glue a mirror to the upright, then put the ring magnets into the grooves. The magnets probably will not sit in the grooves, so you shim them into place with paper. The magnets need to be south pole facing in, you determine the polarity of the magnet with a compass.

The magnets will not stay in place without a little tape on the dowel. The front magnet on the rotor is centered on the front magnet on the base. The rear magnet on the rotor is centered on the center of the pair of magnets on the base.

Next is balancing the rotor. If the rotor is out of balance, it will not have enough energy to lift the heavy side, so it will not spin on its own in the light.

Test the balance by turning the rotor 1/4 to a half turn and letting it go. Spinning the motor doesn't tell you much. When you let the rotor go, it will probably settle down consistently with the heavy side down. Add a little solder to the area that is at the top. Having some tape around the cells comes in handy here, because you can slide the solder between the wrap wire and the tape. Add enough to make it balanced, but not so much that you overcompensate.

When the balance is about right, put it into the light. Incandescent light works, but flourescent doesn't. If it doesn't work, check the MendoTroubleshooting guide.

Get the motor running right and it should spin on its own whenever it is in the presence of sunlight or incandescent light.
9" inches long
3 3/4" wide
3/4" high
3/8 depth of grooves
1/2" width of grooves
2 1/4 distance of groove from end of base
Save as basewithgrooves.skp

3 3/4" square
3/4" inches thick
save as upright.skp

3 3/4" square
1/8" thick
save as mirror.skp

1 1/8" diameter
3/8" hole
1/4" thick
1/16 chamfer on edges
save as magnet.skp

Rotor post
3/8" diameter, 8" long
.03" hole in each end, 3/8" deep

Rotor block
start with a 1" square
3/8" hole in center
5/16" depth of grooves on all 4 corners
1/4" width of grooves on all 4 corners
2" length of extrusion for block

See also:
Mendocino Motor Information

Meteor Showers:

Meteorite Hunting and Metal Detectors: discussion (if you think you found one)
(note the machine he is pulling with his ATV)
at the bottom is a link to instructions for making a detector

THREE kinds of detector:
Very low frequency (VLF)
Pulse induction (PI) for depth, apparently.
Beat-frequency oscillation (BFO) explains the PI type Gary Hedley, B.C. and he recommended to me and file=projects.dat and file=main.dat
"Most DIYers are building PI detectors because they are relatively easy to construct (including the coil), and a homebrew can give pretty decent performance." and file=projects/kreiger/index.dat
PDF file with instructions

and see this one for an article I've been saving from the September-October 1980 "Elementary Electronics" magazine: and file=projects/houndog/index.dat

Money Software: FREE:

I have not personally tried any of these.
Money Plus Sunset Deluxe from Microsoft:
Money Plus Sunset Home and Business:
AceMoney Lite:

Movies on the web and saving them:

Install RealPlayer from and videos will show with a download button on top, once the cursor is on the image. Click "Download this video" and the "Realplayer Download and Recording Manager" dialog box will appear. On that, you will see the name of that video. Click "View My Library" and Real Player will list it and any other videos you have saved. Right-click on your new clip and choose "Locate file." Then you can drag/drop the file wherever you like.

The last one I saved (from YouTube at ) like this was an .flv file. That file could not be imported into Windows Movie Maker. Irfanview played it just fine.

I was able to convert the .flv fileto .avi online at and that loaded into WMM just fine.

For a LOT more on this, see my page at

Some movies on websites are Adobe Flash movies; right-click on the movie to see if it is. If it is, you can save it. Get this plugin for your FireFox or MIE browser: "Download Helper" from With that in place, you will see an animated icon in your browser toolbar.

If you want to save the soundtrack ONLY, from a movie on YouTube, get the "Free YouTube to MP3 Converter" from

Here is one more easy way to save YouTube movies:
1. Suppose you are viewing this video:
and want to save it.
2. Go to the address and "select" the part up to and including the y, so you have this part selected:
3. now type the number 3
4. Then press Enter
That brings up the option to save as MP4 or FLV.

This site may not be running at the moment, so here is one more way to save a video:
when the movie is playing, grab the URL and paste it into the box on

Or this might do the trick for you:

And here is one more free tool for downloading movies; I have not used it but my cousin tells me that "it works like a charm." It is Freecorder4, and you can get it from

Another option is to use the free tool from or

Music online:

(can probably record with Audacity while it is playing) (music starts playing automatically) (music starts playing automatically) (music starts playing automatically) (seems to be online live radio) (lyrics)

use Google to search for Mp3s. It is like turning Google into the Napster of 2000. More info at

The following is a Google search string for searching open web directories containing downloadable Nirvana music files. Substitute the term Nirvana in the search string for any other band of your liking. You can always bookmark the search result for future use.

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" + "last modified" + "parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Nirvana"

With some very slight modifications the same search string can easily be used to search for ebooks in DOC and PDF format:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" + "last modified" + "parent directory" +description +size +(pdf|doc) "george orwell 1984"

Or perhaps you're looking for some specific video file:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle: "index of" + "last modified" + "parent directory" +description +size +(mpg|wmv) "towelie"

You can check the official Google Advanced Search Operators page for further details on editing this search string to meet your specific needs.

I even got hits trying this:

-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Let-there-be-peace-on-earth"

If you're frustrated by the DRM protection roadblock, check out a big list of audio converters here:

Just type in any song that was ever played, and see what happens. Then, following the end of the song, it will keep playing songs of the same era forever.

Music in an email:

and how to save the music:
close the email with the tune in/on it.
In Outlook Express, click TOOLS and then OPTIONS and then click the "Read" tab.
In that dialog box put a check-mark beside "Read all messages in plain text." Click "Apply" and "OK."
Open the email again. Note the line with attachments; it should show a file ending in ".mid" and that is the song.
RIGHT-click that song filename and choose "Save as" and save it with some name wherever you like.
Now go back and remove that check-mark.

New Computer Setup:

Setting up your new Windows computer: These are my notes; YMMV.

We'll deal with a laptop here instead of a desktop.

If you got a new lappy, no doubt you had the foresight to get the longest possible "extended warranty" on it; probably about $250 for 3 years on a lappy costing under $1,000. Strongly recommended! No doubt you'll ask the salesman for an "Easy Transfer Cable" to connect your old and new computers to transfer files etc.

If the salesperson tries to sell you a "package" which is supposed to 'get it ready to use' then probably, if you look at precisely what you will get for your money, you will decide you best NOT go for that, but use these notes instead.

We'll assume the new computer runs Windows 7.

To get maximum life out of your battery, ask the salesperson or check the owner manual about how to treat it. Usually a battery needs to be charged up fully, then run up and down a couple times. It typically won't achieve it's full potential till it's gone through a few cycles.

1. after plugging it in, make sure it works as it should. Then have a look at the "Getting Started" options offered by Windows 7. Click Start and then "Getting Started."

This might be a good time to delete some of the "free 30-day trial" software that came with it. IF you bought a "netbook" IOW a very small lappy, then be sure to play with it a LOT right away to be SURE you'll be happy with it. I've owned two and gave both away as being far too tiny for serious use. I gave a third one to a friend and find it also far to small to use.

2. after it has been plugged in for a day or so, unplug it and run it on battery-power to see how long it runs; compare this with the advertised length of time.

3. To get it online, either plug it into your router or modem, or do so wirelessly if you have a router plugged into your modem. Click START, then "Control Panel" followed by "Internet Options" and then click on the network you want to connect to, enter your "Security Key" also known as "Network Key" or "Encryption Key" and click OK.

4. Update Windows to get the latest fixes. Set the computer to update automatically.

5. Install security; I like to use ONLY the FREE "Microsoft Security Essentials" which you can download from

6. Install the FREE Firefox browser so that you will not need to use the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser to surf the web. Get it at Note that you can get LOADS of free extensions for Firefox to make it sing and dance the way you like best.

7. To open PFD files, forget that huge, awkward Adobe Reader; get the tiny, FREE Foxit reader from You can transfer files, folders, email settings, addresses and messages, user accounts, internet settings, pictures, movies and music.

8. Plug in your printer and scanner and try both to be sure they work; you may have to dig out the CD that came with them, to install the drivers.

Now you'll want to transfer files and settings from your old computer; Microsoft provides information on this at You'll need a "Easy Transfer Cable" to connect the two computers. Of course you can use CDs or a USB flash drive or maybe your wireless network to make the transfers.

9. Transfer your Bookmarks (or "Favorites") from the old computer's browser to the new one. Assuming you were already using Firefox in the old computer, "Bookmarks/Organize Bookmarks" and then choose "Import and Backup" and "Export HTML" and then save that on a USB Flash drive. Put that drive into the new computer and "Import" the Bookmarks.

10. Next is email. Windows 7 does NOT include any email software so you have a choice as to which one to use. I found "Windows Live Mail" to be less than "nice to work with" and personally I plan to get Thunderbird email when I move to Windows 7. Thunderbird comes from Mozilla, the same people who did such a fine job on Firefox. Get T'bird at Then enter your "Accounts" information so the new computer can connect to your Internet Service Provider to get your email and send your mail. To make this job easier, I took pictures of every dialog box with the data filled in; for the password which shows only as dots, I used Irfanview to type the password above the dots. In case of a crash, this set of pictures is most helpful. If you want to import numerous email folders from Vista, this tutorial might be helpful:

11. Then it will be time to copy your email addies and mail folders; I have not yet done this so cannot yet comment on that part of the job. Presumably, if your old computer was running Windows Vista with Windows Mail, you would, on that computer, go into the Address Book, File, Export and export the file as a WAB file onto your flash drive, and presumably on the new Windows 7 computer, you could go into your Address Book and "Import" that file. If you chose to use T'bird, then this would be different, but probably similar. To put the mail FOLDERS onto the flash drive, make the necessary folders on the flash drive and copy the mail messages into those folders.

12. Pictures need attention. Maybe later you will want something more sophisticated, but for a small, FAST, FREE image too, get Irfanview from and also get the plugins. My personal page ABOUT this super free tool is at

13. If you have a website, it will be important to install the file uploading tool; I use WS_FTP LE for that. To make that job easier, I took pictures of every dialog box with the data filled in; for the password which shows only as dots, I used Irfanview to type the password above the dots. In case of a crash, this set of pictures is most helpful.

14. Go through all your installed programs on the old computer to see which ones you cannot live without, and install the latest version of each on the new computer. A good example is the FREE Office Suite from

15. Sit back and ask yourself if this new 'puter is all you thought it should be. If not, consider discussing with the salesman your options. Maybe you'll want to take it back.

16. If you find that static electricity is a problem and fear that it might wreck your computer, you might try what I did. I took an electric 3-prong plug and connected a wire ONLY to the ground prong; leaving NO wires attached to the other 2 prongs. I ran that wire to a piece of tin cut from a tin-can and soldered it there. Then I taped that piece of tin beside the computer with a note on it saying "Touch me FIRST." When I sit down at the lappy, and touch it, I always get a schock, even through a piece of paper which might be laying on the tin. This way I dissipate that electricity.

17. Now you can see about getting all kinds of other FREEWARE. I have a long list of 80+ on my pages starting at In particular, I think you "need" items 17, the Power Point Reader from, the Real Player from so you can save videos from the web, item 70 and item 87 on my freeware site.

18. Now that all is running as it should, you might be well-advised to think about the laptop battery. These babies are expensive and should be looked after. I found a good explanation of this at Be sure to read the suggestion about removing the battery when on AC power.

19. I like to run the FREE "decrapifier" to remove a lot of JUNK that typically comes with every new computer; companies, particularly "Oberon" must pay to have this crap put on new machines. You can get it from

Newsletters online and how to start one:
Your newsletters might look like spam to e-mail providers. You'll need to contact them so your e-mails actually reach the recipients. Three you will almost certainly have to deal with are AOL, MSN and Yahoo!

Oil companies on private land in Alberta:

I wrote this:
From: Ken Laninga []
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 11:49 AM
To: Laurice Block
Subject: Oil Companies on Private Land

Hello, Mr. Laurice Block, Head, Exploration Unit, Lands Division of Sustainable Resource Development in Edmonton.

I am concerned about surveyors crossing private land and even putting markers onto private land as this happened on my farmland at S19-83-8-W6M some time ago. Seems to me that permission should ALWAYS be requested BEFORE accessing ANY private land so I asked Mr. Morton.

I got this email from MLA Ted Morton: (in part)

"My department has the mandate to approve seismic exploration programs within Alberta and my staff will certainly look into this situation in further detail. Before they can do that, some additional information is required, such as land location, diameter of the holes drilled, etc. To discuss this matter further and the additional details required, I encourage you to contact Mr. Laurice Block, Head, Exploration Unit, Lands Division of Sustainable Resource Development in Edmonton, by e-mail at , or by telephone at (780) 415-4656 (toll free by first dialing 310-0000).
I appreciate being made aware of your concerns.

Ted Morton
Minister "

Mr. Block, please tell me what the rule is here. Thank you.

they replied:

Thanks for you email

Legal land surveyors can enter onto private land but they must attempt to contact the landowner prior to entry

For most geophysical operations legal land surveyors are not used and as such cannot enter without landowner permission.

If this occurs and the trespassers are
not legal land surveyors,
working or surveying for a geophysical operations

Then they may be in breach of the Exploration Regulation.

I will have a geophysical inspector contact you today if you would be so kind as to provide me with you contact information

Laurice Block

Head Exploration Unit
Land Management Branch
Lands Division
Sustainable Resource Development
Office: 780 415 4656
Fax: 780 422 4251
Email address:

Online Storage"

See "Cloud Computing" on this page.

Open Office Org: and tutorials at

Optical Character Recognition:

Suppose you have scanned some TEXT into an image, e.g. a JPG. Now you want that image converted back into TEXT. You can scan it but you can also do it online at

Or this one but WATCH that the filesize does not exceed 2MB! I did find that my text needed a LOT of fixing after this though.

Here is one I have not tried, but it looks excellent:

Here is one more online converter that worked for me:

If you have Irfanview, you can get a plugin to do OCR; see details on my Irfanview page at


check THIS out............... (JOHN's) (Ken sitting on the potty) and:

Pain Relief:

B. M. wrote:
"I met a fellow down here in Calgary who does what is called 'Body Talk'... All I can say is that BT works."

My own page about Raynaud's is at

Paintshop and Photoshop alternatives:


or from,23351-order,1-page,1-c,alldownloads/description.html?tk=hsx
and see


Parents: Helping them learn how to use their computers:

You can send them a very short video on numerous subjects, FREE. Go to the Google page at

Partitioning your Hard Disk:

This can be a very tricky business so have a look at this website for a free tool: Be sure to look at the comments in the FORUM; I found that to be absolutely necessary.

In Windows 7 part of the utility is built into Windows. Simply open the Control Panel, and type "partition" into the Search box. That opens the "Administrative Tools" window. There, click "Create and format hard disk partitions." In the Disk Management dialog box you can right-click on one of the partitions to shrink or enlarge it. In my own situation, I wanted to move space from "C" to "D" and I shrunk C but that added a third partition between C and D. No good. I wanted to add that third partition into "D." After struggling with this some time, I got the tool mentioned above and completed my job in a few seconds.

Note that if you search Windows 7 HELP for "iso" you will find more info about this.

The free version of EaseUS might be handy too, from

Passwords in Firefox and Vista:

in Firefox: Tools | Options | Security | Saved Passwords

Password to get into a computer running XP:

I want to have the prompt to ask for a password on boot-up.

Here is what I did:

Press the power-on button
as soon as the ACER logo/picture/text comes up, press the F8 key
that brings up a black screen with white text ("dos mode")
Using the keyboard "Up-arrow" key, move the "selected" to "Safe Mode" so that is black text on white
Hit the ENTER key on the keyboard
It will probably show "Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition" selected, as black text on white; hit ENTER again
This might result in a lot of text filling the screen; just wait
Then the "Log On to Windows" dialog box comes up with a "User name" in it.
Change the "User name" to "Administrator" and leave the password line blank; hit ENTER
Now you get a warning with YES or NO buttons
Click the YES button
Now you have a desktop with some icons all on a black background; the START button is there too.
Start | Control panel | (and double-click "User Accounts"
click the icon which has your name beside it
I changed the password for (user) to "letmein"

Password Crackers:

You can test the strength of a password at

PDF files:

OpenOffice can save files in PDF format.

Adobe Reader is a free program that lets you open, but not create, Adobe Acrobat files [PDFs].and you can download it at but it is a very large program.

OpenOffice will open PDF files but I found them somewhat garbled, even with the Java extension installed.

Foxit might be nicer, from The installer is only 3.57Mb.

People Finders:


http://search.infosp (finds email addies too)


unknown: (have to sign in)

and see:

Phone Book:

If you don't have a phone book handy here's a number worth putting in your cell phone, or your home phone speed dial: 1-800-goog411 (1.800.466.4411)

This is an awesome service from Google, and it's free -- great when you are driving on the road with no pen, pencil or paper handy. Don't waste your money on information calls and don't waste your time manually dialing the number. I am driving along in my car and I need to call the golf course and I don't know the number. I hit the speed dial for information that I have programmed.

The voice at the other end says, "City & State." I say, " Garland , Texas." He says, "Business, Name or Type of Service." I say, "Garland Golf Course." He says, "Connecting" and Garland Golf Course answers the phone.

How great is that? This works in Canada and the USA and it is absolutely free!

Click and watch the short clip for a quick demonstration:

Photos: Doing all kinds of things with them:

Each of these has its own unique features; I won't try to suggest which is best; only YOU know what you need to do with your photos; as time permits, try them and see which ones are FOR YOU.

FREE tools which you install:

2 Pic:

Canon Utilities PhotoStitch:

Card Creator:



EXIF Image Viewer:


Image Composite Editor:

Image Optimizer:

see my page at:

JPG Cleaner: Cleaner

Luminance HDR: Cleaner






Picturenaut 3:




Shape Collage:


VicMan's Photo Editor:

Ultimate Paint:

Online fixers:


see Image Optimizer, above

NOT free:

Corel Paintshop Photo Pro:


Morpheus Photo Morpher:

Photoshop (Elements):

Photos / images and selling them online:

IS (iStock) was begun in 2000 by some designers in a garage in Calgary as a file sharing site because they could not afford to pay the very high prices for images on Getty Images, the world's largest provider of images for advertising and media use. More and more people began to upload images and as the years went on digital cameras became better and the image quality kept getting better. The prices increased and the library grew. Because of the low cost IS and followers were called Microstock companies. IS particularly, along with other sites began to give some problems to the traditional stock sites of Getty and Corbis. In 2005, Getty Images purchased IS for $50 million! There are now over 5 million images on line. The highest royalty you can receive is $28 if you are exclusive (don't contribute to other sites) and have reached 40% royalty (after 25,000 downloads). There is a lot of information on the site about how to apply, standards of submissions, releases, etc. You can look at some of the Forums where questions are asked and answered by contributors and administrators. Every image is inspected at 100% resolution and has to be technically perfect, i.e. no noise, no artifact like chromatic aberrations, well composed, well lit, and properly released. There can be no labels, logos, or other kinds of branding. You need to be reasonably good in Photoshop as most images need some post-processing.

You will get out of it what you put into it. Mostly people are successful by putting up a lot of images with a lot of variety. But there are a number of very successful contributors with small portfolios of specialized or "niche" images.

provided by Dr. Jan Tyler, PH.D. who added: "THIS URL will take you to my portfolio on iStockphoto:"

Postal Codes and Zip Codes:

If somebody tells you what his/her ZIP Code is, in the US, seems to me you can find out more about where they live, if you Google:

locate zipcode 60415

That tells me the guy is in Chicago Illinois.

In Canada, with a postal code like mine:

locate area code "T8V 0B6"

tells that it is in Grande Prairie, Alberta.

Posters; making Large Posters:
free, online
or download the free software from

Powerpoint (pps and ppt) files and making them:

How to make a Powerpoint (.ppt) file using only the FREE OpenOffice Presentations.
This is a very condensed procedure; you can choose all sorts of options once you have the basics running.

put your JPGs into a new folder and reduce their size and maybe their quality (I use Irfanview for this)

Open the OpenOffice Presentation program

In the Presentation Wizard, use "Empty Presentation", mark "Preview" and click Next.

Use all the defaults after that and come to the main Presentations window.

Insert | Slide
Insert | Picture from file
Repeat these two steps until you have all your pictures embedded

File | Save As
and enter a filename and use the .ppt extension.

"Keep the Current Format."

PPS or PPT file attachments in email will not open:


My edited version of the above:

Unable to open .PPS attachments directly from Windows Mail in Windows Vista
By Ramesh Srinivasan
Published Feb 25, 2007

When you open a .PPS file that came as a mail attachment in Windows Mail, you may see the Open / Cancel dialog box. When you select Open, the following error may be displayed:

This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Set Associations control panel.

This may happen even though you have PowerPoint Viewer 2003 or 2007 installed. However, the same file may open correctly when saved to disk, and then viewed. Note that this problem does not occur if you have Microsoft Office or PowerPoint installed.

This article is applicable for Windows Vista, with PowerPoint Viewer 2003 or PowerPoint Viewer 2007 installed. For a Windows XP version of this article, see article Unable to open .PPS attachments directly from Outlook Express?
This happens if the Open command is missing for .PPS and/or .PPT file types.

To resolve the issue, follow these steps:

For .PPS files (Microsoft PowerPoint Slideshow)
Click Start, type regedit.exe and press ENTER
Navigate to the following branch:

Right-click Show (the folder in the LEFT pane) and click Rename
Type the word Open so that Show is replaced by Open command (hit Enter on keyboard)
If you have PowerPoint Viewer 2007 installed, repeat the above steps in this key, as well:

After changing Show to Open, close Registry Editor window. (File | Exit)
For .PPT files (Microsoft PowerPoint Presentation)
Click Start, type regedit.exe and press ENTER
Navigate to the following branch:

Right-click Show and click Rename
Type the word Open so that Show is replaced by Open command
If you have PowerPoint Viewer 2007 installed, repeat the above steps in this key, as well:

After changing Show to Open, close Registry Editor window.

PPS or PPT files in Windows:

I have a folder with some PPS files so double-clicked a few, then tried to right-click and "open with...." and even though it "suggested" opening it with Internet Explorer, it would not open.

AND, in my Programs list I did not see the Microsoft Power Point Viewer.

SO, I went to
But that did not mention Vista so I went to
and got that one; a download of 25.8Mb. Installed it and deleted the downloaded file.
Well, double-clicking the file STILL did not open if even though in my Programs list I see the Microsoft Power Point Viewer 2007 listed.
So, I right-clicked the pps file and chose "open with" and browsed to the pp viewer in Windows Explorer. I set it to always use that program to open that kind of file.

Prescriptions in Canada

Printer Sharing:

this one from Kim Komando October 25, 2008:

All you need to do is enable printer sharing on your desktop computer. Then, you specify the network path for the printer on your laptops.

On the desktop, click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Printers (Printers and Faxes, in XP). Right-click on your printer and select Properties. Open the Sharing tab and choose "Share this printer." Enter a name for the printer and click OK.

Now you're ready to add the printer to your laptops. In XP, Click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Printers and Faxes. Click Add a Printer. Click Printer Connection.

Browse the network for your printer and select it. You should be able to use the printer as if it were connected to your laptop.

Adding a printer is a little different in Vista. Click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Printers. Click "Add a printer." Click "Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer." Click Next.

You should see a list of printers. Select the printer and click Next. Name your printer and click Next. Click Finish.

This setup doesn't cost anything at the outset. However, it could prove to be more expensive in the long run.

That's because the desktop must be turned on for the other computers to access the printer. You'll use more energy. It will also contribute to wear and tear on the desktop computer.

A better solution is to use a print server. This connects your printer directly to your network. All the computers on your network can access the printer. No single computer needs to remain on.

You'll find both wired and wireless print servers. Expect to pay about $50 for a wired model. Wireless ones start around $65. Make sure you buy one with the right type of connection for your printer.

But, before you purchase a print server, take a look at your router. These days, many include built-in print servers. A USB port on your router is a good sign of a built-in print server. Check the manufacturer's site if in doubt.

Another solution is to use a Bluetooth printer adapter. When connected, this adds Bluetooth functionality to your printer. Your computers can print over the Bluetooth connection.

A Bluetooth adapter probably isn't the ideal solution, though. First, each computer needs Bluetooth. Some laptops have built-in Bluetooth.

Otherwise, you'll need to purchase Bluetooth dongles. These are about $20 each. A printer adapter will run about $100.

That costs can add up quickly. Besides, Bluetooth has a limited range. Wi-Fi offers a much better coverage area.

Next time you purchase a printer, add wireless connectivity to your list of must-have features. More and more printers feature Wi-Fi. You don't need to worry about cables or print servers!

and this older one:
Sharing a printer without a print server
I want to share my printer over my wireless network. I don't want to shell out for a print server, though. Is there any way for me to share the printer? My desktop machine runs Windows XP. My laptop runs Vista.

If you want to share a printer, a print server is the way to go. It connects your printer to your wireless network. All computers can access it. You don't need to leave a computer running.

But I can understand wanting to save a little money. So, you can leave the printer connected to your desktop. Then, share it with the other computers on your network. The computer must be turned on in order to use the printer.

Obviously, you'll want to connect the printer to your desktop. I assume you already have the printer up and running. If you need help setting it up, consult the manual.

You're ready to set up print sharing on the XP desktop. Click StartControl Panel. Double-click Printers and Faxes. Right-click the printer and select Sharing.

In the box that opens, select "Share this printer." Click Apply. Your other computer can now access the printer. That is, provided printer sharing is enabled on your network. Let's take a look at that.

Click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Network Connections. Right-click your network connection and select properties.

Make sure "File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks" is selected. Click OK. You may need to reboot for the settings to take effect.

Now, you need to add the printer to your laptop. Click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Printers. Click "Add a printer."

In the box that appears, click "Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer." Vista will start searching for printers. Click "The printer that I want isn't listed."

Select "Select a shared printer by name." If you know the network address for the printer, great! Go ahead and enter it.

However, you'll probably want to use the Browse button. It will let you search the network for the printer. Select the printer. Click Next and follow the rest of the steps in the wizard. That's it!

Now, you opened your desktop up for file sharing as well as printer sharing. That means you need to be extra cautious. If others can access your wireless network, they can grab your files.

Privacy and Echelon:

When I use Internet chat rooms such as Eyeball and Yahoo, I chat happily away in "Private Messages" and tend to forget about security. Are these texts safe, or are they archived anywhere?

Nothing goes unobserved in these digital days... I suspect that Yahoo! archives chat messages typed in the public forum, though I'm not sure about personal messages - there could be a law about privacy in America that I'm not familiar with. However, for things like emails, companies tend to archive the past few month's worth - ISPs are obliged to do things like this in case there's an investigation launched into one of its users - it has to supply information like previous emails, dates logged on, sites visited etc... Usually nobody ever sees any of this.

You also have to bear in mind one of the most well-known-about secrets in the world, Echelon. This is (at least) one huge computer system, monitoring ALL electronic conversation world-wide, run in tandem by the British and American intelligence departments. All emails, telephone conversations, text messages are monitored and scanned for a long list of keywords, plus context-sensitive text, and if more than x amount appear in the same email a human operator is flagged to review the message. There's many army listening posts in countries both at home and abroad which aid Echelon in monitoring all communication - there's one army base quite near me that is used solely to monitor transmissions.

So, in THAT respect, nothing is sacred any more - not to your government. ;) But yes, generally on the Internet most text chat is archived at least, some larger chat services have a selection of popular rooms (especially those frequented by younger people) which are monitored by human 'moderators'. But when it comes to private one-on-one messaging, it's usually private in the sense that nobody will read it unless something like a court of law or a police force demands all information about an Internet user - in which case all services and communications that they've made would have to be dredged up. Of course, your country's privacy laws have to be taken into consideration as well.

This was from
A warning about Echelon is at

Privacy and Google:

Google launched what it calls interest-based advertising. Basically, Google sets a cookie on your computer. It then tracks your searches and page views. This information is used to serve targeted ads to you.

Google says it will not track certain sensitive interests. However, privacy advocates are concerned. And many say Google is acquiring too much data on surfers.

Fortunately, you can opt out of the tracking:

Processes in Windows:

From Kim Komando, July, 2009

Every computer has background processes running at all times. Most are necessary or beneficial.

To see processes, click Ctrl+Alt+Delete on your keyboard. Select Start Task Manager. Click the Processes tab.

Process names usually give you virtually no information. So, you can turn to the Internet.

Uniblue's Process Library is a great resource. You can look up any process. It'll tell you which processes are necessary, superfluous or malware. You'll also learn how to remove unwanted processes.

Or get the Process Library's ProcessQuickLink program. It puts all the information in your Task Manager window.

You could also try PC Pitstop's Quick Program Scan. It will tell you what processes are running. Descriptions are available for all of them. but you need to use IE, not FF for this one.

Quinnware Media Player (VERY nice player) (FREE)

forum at

Converting MIDI to WAV is a frequent task when working with MIDI format files. Here is how to get it done quick and easy. Actually, MIDI can't be "converted," since MIDI isn't digital audio Simply stated, MIDI files have to be recorded.

One way to do it, without additional software:
play the MID file with WMP, so that you can hear it from the laptop's speakers*
record it with the Windows sound recorder (Start | Programs | Accessories | Sound Recorder
*you can make the speakers the "default" for Playback: Start | Settings | Control panel | Administrative tools | Personalization | Sounds
and then the Playback tab.

It can also convert from one format to another, e.g. WAV to MP3. To convert to MP3, simply put the WAV file into the Playlist, right-click, choose "Convert" and then "Convert selected to" and choose "Mp3 Audio." It will automatically save the MP3 file to C:\My Documents\ My Music (you can change that default).

You can play MIDI but not convert MIDI to MP3.

You can pick a bitrate of anywhere from 8kbps to 320! To do that, click the "down-arrow" in the top-left corner, i.e. the "Main Menu" button, and pick "Preferences." There, click the "Configure Format" button and pick the one you like. For this WAV file, voice (no music) I chose 24000Hz - Mono and 32kbps (constant) and then clicked "Save and close" and then, in the Playlist, right-clicked the song and chose "Convert" and then "Convert selected to" and chose "Mp3 Audio."

The result was an MP3 file of only 19Kb.

There are 3 skins with it; Kong shows bitrate.


Suppose you have bought a nice new fancy range finder and now you want to know just exactly how HIGH that big tree it. Hah! Not quite as simple as seeing how far it is from yourself TO that tree. Here is how you figure the height:

Assume the distance from yourself, horizontally, to the tree is 14 yards and you are holding the range finder 5 feet up off the ground, and the distance to the top of the tree is 20 yards.

Use the Pythagorean Theorem: Z^2=A^2+B^2 . The hypotenuse and one leg is known. To get the other leg:
Subtract B^2 from both sides to get Z^2-B^2=A^2
We know Z=20 yards and B=14 yards.
20 squared is 400
14 squared is 196
400-196=204 Square Root is 14.282 yards or 42.848 feet, add the 5 feet to the bottom of our right triangle and I get 47.848 feet for the height of the tree.

The same could be done solving the triangle in feet, the numbers would be bigger, but you should get the same result. Thanks to LaFarr Stuart for the help with this.

The Pythagorean Theorem, as you will remember from high school, goes "The square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides."

Long ago there was an Indian Chief and he had 3 wives; one was his favorite. He traded some beaver pelts with the man at the Trading Post, and got a hippopotamus hide and two buffalo hides. He gave the hippo hide to his favorite wife and the bison hides to the other two wives. A year later, the favorite wife had twins and each of the other two wives had one child. Moral: The squaw on the hippopotamus is equal to the sum of the squaws on the other two hides.

Recover Lost Files:

recovering photos: lots of info about recovery (free)

EasyRecovery: 1-800-645-3649 But it costs $1,300!
Alert or CBL: 1-800-551-3917
DriveSavers: 1-800-440-1904
Excalibur Data Recovery Inc: 1-800-466-0893
File Scavenger: $40,
GetDataBack: $69,
File-Rescue Plus: $40,

and search Google with:
undelete photo flash stick recover
"digital image recovery" +freeware

Registry Cleaner:

Fred Langa suggested:

Remote control of a computer:

Remote Assistance. That was introduced in Windows XP. It will let you log on to another machine.

To set it up, click Start | Control Panel. Double-click System and open the Remote tab. Select "Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer." Click Advanced and select "Allow this computer to be controlled remotely." You can also set a time limit after which an invitation will expire. Click OK | OK.

To send a Remote Assistance invitation, click Start | Help and Support. Click "Remote Assistance: Invite a friend to connect to your computer." Then click "Invite someone to help you."

Both parties can use Windows Messenger or Outlook/Outlook Express to communicate. On the next dialog box, you can send an invitation to a contact in Outlook/Outlook Express. Or, you can use Windows Messenger. Once it is received, the remote work can begin!

Things are different in Vista. To get started, click StartControl Panel. Double-click System and click Remote Settings. Select "Allow Remote Assistance connections to this computer." Click Advanced and select "Allow this computer to be controlled remotely." You can specify an expiration for the invitation if you choose.

Also, you can select "Create invitations that can only be used from computers running Windows Vista or later." This might be handy; Vista's settings are very different from XP's! Click OK | OK.

To send a request for help, click Start | Help and Support. Click "Use Windows Remote Assistance to get help from a friend or offer help." Select "Invite someone you trust to help you." Click "Use e-mail to send an invitation." Enter a password and then confirm it. Click Next. An e-mail will be generated with an attached file. Enter the recipient's e-mail address.

Do not confuse Remote Assistance with Remote Desktop. These are different tools, although they both allow you to access a computer remotely.

Right-Click problem with images:

You know how sometimes you right-click on an image on a website and you cannot copy it? Yes, maybe you can:

You can use SHIFT+F10 or the "context menu" button on your keyboard to bypass blocking before. Here's another possible route (at least, for images): left click to select and hold it, tap Windows+D to bring up your desktop, then drop the object anywhere. Failing that, you could also try viewing the source for the Web page to find the direct URL for the image.

Scanner: HP Scanjet 5370C and Vista:

DRIVER NEEDED: Hewlett Packard (HP) ScanJet 5370C (Windows Vista x64) [USB]
Since HP wont make a VISTA driver for the 5370C try this (i read it on the net and it worked for me):
1. Install XP driver (from CD / HP site / whatever) (on VISTA PC)
2. Download a generic scanner program called Vuescan (trial version for free) from + install (you wont want to use this because it puts "$ $ $" all over the scanned image)
3. Use the "HP PrecisionScan Pro" shortcut / icon (from the XP driver installation) as the scanner buttons wont respond anymore (but who cares, the scanner now works and it did not cost me a cent)
P.S. Re Vuescan.

After testing my scanner i uninstalled the Vuescan (trial) (which requires manual deletion of the Vuescan folder) and my scanner continued to work fine.
or try

Second Monitor for a Laptop:

So, laptops usually include a VGA or DVI port. Others may have an HDMI port. You just plug in your external display. Then, you make some quick changes to your computer's settings.

Unfortunately, things may not be quite so simple in practice. I assume you want to extend your desktop onto the second display. That way, you have much more room to work. That's what most people want from a second display!

Some laptops won't let you extend the desktop onto a second display. Rather, the second display mirrors the laptop's. Both show the same thing. It's less than ideal for most people.

You can get around this limitation, for a small price. You need an external video card or multi-monitor adapter. Expect to pay $60 to $100.

The external cards will require a USB 2.0 port. These ports look the same as USB 1.1 ports. But they're much faster. Your laptop should have USB 2.0 ports. If not, you'll need to add them. You can do this via your laptop's PC or PC Express slot. The USB 2.0 card will cost about $50.

You may not need the second video card (or the USB 2.0 card). Try setting up the monitor with your laptop first. If your laptop won't extend the desktop, then get your external video card.

This may help:


A quick check

There's a quick way to check if your laptop supports Dual Monitor mode in Windows XP. Right-click on the desktop and select Graphics Options | Output To. Look for Extended Desktop. Select it if you find it.

In Vista, click Start | Control Panel. Double-click Windows Mobility Center. Click Connect Display; Vista will detect the projector. Select "Show different parts of my desktop on each display." Click OK. Select whether you would like to extend your desktop to the left or to the right. Click Apply and OK.

Hopefully, Dual Monitor is available. You can set it up so only the program would open on the laptop. It's fairly easy to do.

You may need help specifying particular settings for dual monitors in Windows. Read my free tip to learn how to do this without any hassle!

Free download

Speaking of running more than one monitor on your laptop, this might help:, you can give each monitor an additional taskbar. Each taskbar shows only the application on a particular monitor. Plus, it makes it easy for you to move windows between monitors.

As I said, some laptops don't support Dual Monitor mode. On a desktop computer, the solution to that would be fairly simple. You'd just add a second video card to your computer. Or, you'd upgrade your current video card to a dual-head one.

Things aren't so easy with a laptop. Laptops generally don't leave much room for upgrades. You can add RAM or a bigger hard drive, but that's about it.

Use an adapter

Adapters are available to extend your laptop's desktop onto the projector. Some run well over $1,000. Others are more reasonable at around $100.

The less expensive adapters will entail sacrifices. The video quality probably won't be as great. And the resolution may be limited. Also, the cheaper adapters don't look as elegant. But do you really care about that? I didn't think so.

IOGEAR, Memtek and Sewell make adapters that connect to a laptop's USB port. The prices range from about $100 to $150.

Watch the connections

When selecting an adapter, look at the type of connection it provides. Some have VGA ports, while others have DVI ports. Make sure the connection matches your projector. You will also want to look at the maximum resolution. A higher resolution is better.

All of the adapters I saw only work with USB 2.0 ports. Check your manual. If your laptop doesn't have USB 2.0 ports, you can add them. An adapter that fits your PC Card slot would run about $30.

Selecting (text) on a website will not work:

When you want to grab some text on a website and cannot Select it, e.g. hold your cursor down on the red "False" and drag UP to select the text ABOVE the red text, then Ctrl-C to copy it to your clipboard, then, in your other application (email, notepad, whatever) Ctrl-V to paste it there. Then put the cursor back on the red "False" again and drag DOWN to select the text below the red "False." Then copy and paste that part.

Also, you may be able to Ctrl-A to select ALL, then paste it all to Notepad and copy the parts you want from there.

in Firefox, try "File" and "Save Page As" and for "Save as file type" choose "Text Files." That will give you a text file of all the text, omitting all the images. If you want the images, you can right-click on each and choose "Save Image As..."

In Chrome, right-click the page, choose "View page source" and in that source, which opens in a new browser window, find the text you want (Ctrl-F) and select it with Ctrl-C and paste it into Notepad (Ctrl-V) and then clean out all the HTML tags to leave clean text to copy wherever you need it.

If you want to make (part of) a website such that the visitor can NOT "Select" (and copy) the text, as Snopes does, check out the explanation here:

Social Insurance Numbers (Canada)

As an example, we will check this SIN: 193 456 787, which has the check digit of 7; the right-most number.
Make a number from the 'unit' position and each alternate position to the left: 9 4 6 8
Add that number to itself: 9 4 6 8
total is 18 9 3 6
Cross add the digits in the sum: (1 + 8 + 9 + 3 + 6) = 27
Cross add the intervening digits: (1 + 3 + 5 + 7) = 16
total is 43
If the total is a multiple of 10, the check digit is 0 (zero), otherwise subtract from the next highest multiple of 10, in this case 50
Check digit is 7

Song lyrics and MID (MIDI) music:

The songs play too, on the site, in MIDI format; DOUBLE-click them though.

Sound (Audio) problems in Acer Aspire 5100 laptop with Vista:

The problem was that no sound came from the speakers nor headset plugin when playing a music CD or an online video.

Testing the audio, though, showed NO problems and both worked fine; the test:
right-click the speaker icon in the systray, choose "Sounds."
click the "Playback" tab
click the "Speakers" part
click "Configure"
click "Test"

I asked Acer what the problem might be. Ebony Johnson replied: (my comments in red)

Adjusting the volume with hotkeys Yes, this works when music is playing but there is no VISUAL confirmation of it; no problem.
1. Press the Fn key + the up arrow key. This will turn the volume level up.
2. Press the Fn key + the down arrow key to adjust volume levels down.

Checking volume control for muted input/output devices
1. Go to Accessories
2. Click Entertainment, Volume Control No "Entertainment" on that list
3. Ensure that all volume control levels are raised and any mute boxes unchecked, with the exception of the microphone.

Checking Sound Effects Manager
1. Go to Control Panel
2. Double left click on the "Sound Effect Manager" icon, this will open up the AC97 Audio Configuration" window. NO "Sound Effect Manager" on that list
3. Under Environment, make sure None is selected. Sometimes if other environments are chosen (such as Stone Room) you will hear echoes or other sound effects. Can't find Environment

Reinstalling the sound device THIS DID THE TRICK FOR ME!
1. Go to Control Panel.
2. Click on System
3. Select Device manager
4. Click on the "+" next to 'Sound, video and game controllers'.
5. Right-click on the audio device then click uninstall.
6. Click 'Ok' to exit out of all open windows.
7. Restart computer.

Special Characters:

You can type special characters which do not appear on your keyboard. For example, suppose you want to use the "degree" symbol to type that the temperature is -45 degrees Celsius. You want to type -45° using that little circle. Easy; just hold down the SHIFT key, and on your number pad, press the numbers 0176 and then release the SHIFT key. You can find all the details at

Speed of your internet connection:

Speech Recognition:

I had a lot of very old, hand-scribbled notes and I wanted them in my computer in text form so I could edit them, put them on a website, email them etc. etc. So I went looking for a tool to use. Then I found that my Windows 7 Home Premium *HAS* that tool in it. It is hard to find though. Here is how to find it: Start - All Programs - Accessories - Ease of Access - Windows Speech Recognition. My findings: (a) You MUST go through the entire Tutorial; it helps YOU to learn how to use it AND it also helps the computer to learn to recognize your voice. I'd suggest going through it more than once. (b) print a list of the verbal commands to keep at your fingertips when dictating. (c) Right-click the black area in the little window with the microphone icon, to bring up a long list of options. (d) You can get help with it and all aspects of Windows 7 at the "Windows SevenForums" at (e) You can put a shortcut to this tool in your Taskbar; simply browse to it in Start etc. and then right-click on it and choose "Pin to Taskbar." (f) I made a printout of the commands; you can download it here.

incredible freeware to draw them and for making animations.

Storage - online:

See "Cloud Computing" on this page.

Stirling Engines:

These are incredible projects:

StudioTax software for Income Tax:

and the FAQ is at:

Apr. 24, 07 I had this problem:
Hi; I just downloaded the latest; version and it won't work. I got to the dialog box where it asks for my address etc. in the Wizard, but at the bottom, the "Next" button is not active, even after I entered EVERYTHING that needed to be entered there. Hitting "Refresh" did nothing. Even the red "X" in the top-right corner did not close that box.

reply: "Try re-select you province of residence and see if the Next is enabled. The other thing you can try is to press Back and then Next."

About that: "Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1" file:

or Control Panel, Automatic Updates and near the bottom click the link to "Microsoft Update website" which takes you to the same place:

Super Websites:
Just put your mouse on a city and that city's newspaper's headlines pop up... Double click and the page gets larger....
Airbus 380 cockpit:
Just go here and sit back:
girl falling through a maze of balls; you can drag her out when she gets stuck
move cursor swiftly left and right to slap the guy's face
Just watch and let it run.
(pop bubbles in the bubble wrap)
just a LOT of "annoying" backgrounds
fireworks over statue of Liberty in the dark
digital clock; handwriting
------------------- (click the little guy with the thumb)
you write down a 3 or 4-digit number, mess with them, choose one and type in the result, and it tells you which number you chose.
similar at
and these are similar:
(crystal ball guesses
the number you calc)
There is but a handful of possible numerical results when you do the arithmetic:
If the original number is 10*M+N, the result is 10*M+N-M-N = 9*M, so the only possible results are 0,9,18,27,...,99. If you look closely at the screen they display, ALL these numbers are associated with the same symbol !! ... All the other numbers can have arbitrary symbols, since they will never be the "chosen" symbol, if you do the arithmetic right. ... Note that every time they display the screen, it is different, with randomly selected symbols, subject to the constraint that all associated with 0,9,18,
etc., are the same.
another explanation:
This is yet another clever variant on a mathematical processcalled "casting out nines" which school kids, in the daysbefore calculators, used to use to check for mistakes in bigmultiplication problems.

Casting out nines is essentially the remainder you get when youdivide any number by 9. "Casting out" means to keep subtractingnine until you can't and still have a positive number. That'sthe same as division. Take the number 1947, for example.
Dividing it by 9 gives you 216 with a remainder of 3.

But you can also get that remainder a simpler way, that is,keep adding the digits of the number until you get a singledigit. That digit is the remainder you would get by casting outnines. To wit, with our example:

1+9+4+7 = 21 2 + 1 = 3

If you get 9 as the result, there was no remainder (or, if youwill) the remainder is zero.

You can use this as the basis of a whole host of mathematical'magic' tricks by embedding the process in the middle of a bunch of other manipulations, like your trick (which I admittook me a little while to figure out) to cleverly disguiseit....
You can change hi face, neat!
Here's one of those mindless little games that will drive you to distraction. You have to click and drag a red square, avoiding the blue blocks. The game is over if you leave the white area or get hit by a blue block.
suggestion: DON'T go here unless you have a half hour to waste. AMAZING stuff.

Art meets animation at Nobody Here, an eccentric design site supported by the Netherlands Foundation for Fine Arts, Design, and Architecture. The high design concepts on this site may make it a bit confusing at first, but it is well worth taking the time to figure out this amazing Dutch designer's domain. Visitors to this artistic website should take their time to check out the many interesting features, including sections such as 'Toes', 'Apologies' and 'Problems'. The designer uses impressive graphic creativity to convey his personal emotions and frustrations. If you want to participate, just apply by choosing one of the 'bug' identities and crawl around the website chatting with other insect visitors. This is a very cool online experience.
This Japanese (Taiwanese??) IQ test might drive you will rack your brain, BUT it can be done!
**To start click on the big blue circle on the right.
***To move the people click on them. To move the raft click on the pole.
Here are the rules:
1. Everybody has to cross the river
2. Only 2 people on the raft at a time
3. The father cannot stay with any of the 2 daughters without their mother's presence
4. The mother cannot stay with any of the 2 sons without their father's presence
5. The thief (striped shirt) cannot stay with any family member if the Policeman is not there
6. Only the Father, the Mother and the Policeman know how to operate the raft
(no, that little boy on the far right is NOT peeing on the grass)
The "Falling Sand" game
Use the mouse to zoom in and in and in, or out and out and out forever.
This is the most amazing collaborative graphic art project.
You'll see a strip of text and instructions to click on the bottom......Then there is a scene. Click and drag upward very slowly and you'll move forward. Drag down and you'll move back. This is a loop so you will eventually end up back where you started. About the 3rd time through you'll want to stop very frequently to take a good look. Absolutely Amazing.
zoom into a collage
------------------- This one is extra nice if you use 3D glasses! Be sure to view their other pages, e.g. See their "Lab" for more.
------------------- Type in your address and see your street!
Another, similar, but with a larger picture:
------------------- Draw a stickman and see what happens!

SWF files and how to save them from websites:

Method 1:

This *might* work:

Don't need any software to save a .swf file from a website, when you have FIREFOX.

When you have the swf file running (in Firefox of course) simply:

Page info
Media (tab)
Save as
select the files

Method 2:

Assume we're using Firefox, not IE, with VISTA: (this may work the same with XP; I don't know)

in the "address" line where you type URLs, enter "about:cache" without the "" marks.

That brings up this window:

Memory cache device

Number of entries: 400
Maximum storage size: 23552 KiB
Storage in use: 27862 KiB
Inactive storage: 0 KiB

List Cache Entries

Disk cache device

Number of entries: 1617
Maximum storage size: 50000 KiB
Storage in use: 13736 KiB
Cache Directory: C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\sj2ch5ct.default\Cache

List Cache Entries

Offline cache device

Number of entries: 0
Maximum storage size: 512000 KiB
Storage in use: 0 KiB
Cache Directory: C:\Users\Owner\AppData\Local\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\sj2ch5ct.default\OfflineCache

List Cache Entries

Under "Disk Cache Device" click the link "List Cache Entries" and that brings up a huge list of items.

Now click "Edit" and "Find" at the top of the browser window to bring up the "Find" line at the very bottom. In that, type "swf" and look for the swf file you want. Keep clicking "Next" until you find the one you want. You MIGHT be able to save it from there but I could not.

Method 3: get Download Helper from


How to handle telemarketers...How to handle telemarketers... 1. If they want to loan you money, tell them you just filed for bankruptcy and you sure could use some money.

2. If they start out with, "How are you today?" say, "Why do you want to know?" Alternately, you can tell them, "I am so glad you asked, because no one these days seems to care, and I have all these problems; my arthritis is acting up, my eyelashes are sore, my dog just died..."When they try to get to the sell, just keep talking about your problems.

3. If they say they're John Doe from XYZ Company, ask them to spell their name. Then ask them to spell the company name. Then ask them where it is located. Continue asking them personal questions or questions about their company for as long as necessary.

4. This works great if you are male: Telemarketer: "Hi, my name is Judy and I'm with XYZ Company..." You: Wait for a second and with a real husky voice ask, "What are you wearing?"

5. Cry out in surprise, "Judy! Is that you? Oh my Goodness! Judy, how have you been?" Hopefully, this will give Judy a few brief moments of terror as she tries to figure out where the hell she could know you from.

6. Say "No", over and over. Be sure to vary the sound of each one, and keep a rhythmic tempo, even as they are trying to speak. This is most fun if you can do it until they hang up.

7. If MCI calls trying to get you to sign up for the Family and Friends Plan, reply, in as SINISTER a voice as you can, "I don't have any friends...would you be my friend?"

8. If the company cleans rugs, respond: "Can you get out blood? Can you get out Goat blood? How about Human \ blood?

9. After the Telemarketer gives their spiel, ask him/her to marry you. When they get all flustered, tell them that you could not just give your credit card number to a complete stranger.

10. Tell the Telemarketer that you work for the same company; they often can't sell to employees.

11. Answer the phone. As soon as you realize it is a Telemarketer, set the receiver down, shout or scream "Oh my Goodness!!! And then hang up.

12. Tell the Telemarketer you are busy at the moment and ask them if they will give you their HOME phone number so you can call them back. When the Telemarketer explains that they cannot give out their HOME number, you say "I guess you don't want anyone bothering you at home, right?" The Telemarketer will agree and you say, "Now you know how I feel!" Hang up. (thanks to Jerry Seinfeld and his show for this one)

13. Ask them to repeat everything they say, several times.

14. Tell them it is dinnertime, BUT ask if they would please hold. Put them on your speakerphone while you continue to eat at your leisure. Smack your food loudly and continue with your dinner conversation.

15. Tell the Telemarketer you are on "home incarceration" and ask if they could bring you some beer.

16. Ask them to fax the information to you, and make up a number.

17. Tell the Telemarketer, "Okay, I will listen to you. But I should probably tell you, I am not wearing any clothes."

18. Insist that the caller is really your buddy Leon, playing a joke. Come on Leon, cut it out! Seriously, Leon, How's your momma?"

19. Tell them you are hard of hearing and that they need to speak up..louder...louder...louder...

20. Tell them to talk VERY SLOWLY, because you want to write down EVERY WORD!

My own personal way to "fix" telemarketers: throw out the phone and use SKYPE. I did, years ago! Skype is a FREE program you can download from You can talk with anyone, anywhere, anytime, as often and as long as you like, FREE as long as both parties have installed the FREE software. And the audio is better than a telephone and you can use video too. ALL FREE. Check the Skype site to see what features DO cost money.

Thunderbird Email:

replacement for Outlook or Outlook Express or Windows Mail

forum: and sid=824b3270fdb677b5f3d427b935eb2d00

True or False?

We all get those emails from well-meaning friends who want to share the latest, greatest news with us. Unfortunately, many of such friends forget to check to see if the information is true before they send it on; it LOOKS like it is probably true, so it probably is. Maybe not. Before YOU pass on said email, maybe check to see if it is true or not. Use these websites to find out more:
Skeptical Inquirer
About Urban Legends
Break the Chain
Sense about Science
Improving Medical Statistics

Urban Dictionary:

I added 3 words:

Vacations to Go:

I asked Holland America Lines:
At this site: and d=253
I see this line regarding a 33% discounted price on a cruise:
#27713 Info 7 Sep 3 Vancouver, Canada Holland America / Ryndam 4.5 $2,859 $1,919 33%
Mindy, is that valid, or some kind of scam?
I get a regular email with this kind of information, from (

and they replied:
Hi Ken, Vacations to Go is a legitimate agency, one that we do a lot of business with. Usually, they hold group space with HAL and then sell it as an outside consortium. They might be trying to sell that space as soon as possible, as that cruise is sailing so soon. My system shows that voyage is sold out, but they could still have the space in the group.

Vehicle Leasing:

Dealers and leasing companies are quick to tell you the benefits of leasing a car. You'll have lower monthly payments. You don't need a big down payment. No worries about trade-ins or selling a used car. You'll hear these and other arguments in favor of leasing. What they won't tell you is that it's common for people to spend $2,000 to $4,000 more than they need to over the length of their lease agreement.

Let's begin our adventure by walking through what actually happens when you lease a car. The Leasing Company purchases the car from the dealer. In some cases both the seller and the Leasing Company can be doing business at the same location. They may even be owned by the same people.

The Leasing Company is then going to rent the car to you for a certain period of time. At the end of the lease they will then sell the auto on the used car market. The Lease Company must make money on the deal to stay in business. They make money from your lease payments and by selling the car after the lease is over. They spend money when they buy the car.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what's going on, let's find out where most people get fleeced on their lease. As you might expect, the biggest variable in the deal is the originalpurchase price of the new car. You would never buy a car without negotiating the best price first. Yet, many people go into leases and never even ask what the purchase price of the car is.

We're all familiar with 'sticker' price or M.S.R.P. (Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price). You'd be embarrassed to tell your friends that you paid 'sticker' for a new car. Often leasing deals won't even tell you what price the Leasing Company is paying for the car. That makes it very easy to jack up the car's price to 110% or even 120% of sticker price. Sneaky, huh?

Next, there's the question of what interest rate you're paying. When you borrow money to buy a car you're told the rate of interest on the loan. It's a legal requirement in most places. Yet, when you lease a car don't expect to see an interest rate. In fact, if you ask you'll probably be told that there's no interest rate because you're 'renting' the car. Baloney! If you look at the contract you'll probably find the interest rate hidden under another name. Some have "monthlylease charges". Other's have a "service charge or fee". They can call it whatever they want or not even mention it at all, but the effect is the same. They're taking money out of your pocket and putting it into theirs.

Once again, let's stop and think through what's happening. The Lease Company will spend say $15,000 today to pay for the car you're about to drive away in. If they put that money to worksomewhere else it would earn interest. They know what rate they expect to earn on that money. Suppose they expect to earn 5% simple annual interest. That means they'd have $17,365 in three years. But if they expect to earn 15% each year, they'll have $22,813 in three years. In financial circles this is called the 'future value' of money.

So they'll need the payments from you plus the sale price of the used car be greater than the future value to make the lease worthwhile. The higher the assumed interest rate, the greater thefuture value the Leasing Company will need to recover. They may not tell you what the interest rate is, but you can bet that they know exactly what it is.

Finally, let's look at the third major piece of the leasing puzzle. How much is the car going to be worth when the lease is over. Let's imagine you were buying or selling a used car today. How would you determine what it's worth? You might go down to a used car lot and see what the asking price is on other similar cars. That would be 'retail' price. Or you could take your carin to a lot and ask them what they'd be willing to pay you for it. That would be 'wholesale' price. You'd expect that there would be some difference between wholesale and retail.

What does that have to do with your leasing deal? Well, the Leasing Company is going to sell your car when the lease is over. Remember that they make money from your monthly lease payments plus what they can get by selling the car. So if they figure that the car will be worth more at the end, you'll have to pay less each month.

But how can the Leasing Company figure what the car will be worth in two, three or four years? They have some fairly sophisticated methods for estimating what your car will sell for at the end of the lease. But there is some risk for them. They want to assume as low a sale price as possible. That way they won't have any bad surprises. If they do better than planned, well that's just extra profit for them. But since they assume a lower sale price, you'll be paying more each month to 'rent' that car.

How do the Leasing Companies get by with all of this? They present the whole deal as if there's no room for negotiation. They'll tell you not to worry about the price of the car or the interest rate. In fact, they'll tell you that's an advantage to leasing a car. All the worry is removed for you. Yeh, right!

When you don't understand what's happening in a deal is the exact time to be worried. Someone's hand is on your wallet! But don't expect to win any friendship awards when you start to ask questions. You may even find that the Leasing Company would rather not do business with you than explain what you're paying for the car and other pertinent details. If that's the case, just say goodbye to that deal. It wasn't good anyway.

OK, so now we know how to spot a bad leasing deal. But how can you find a good one? Well, that's the topic for the next Dollar Stretcher. Don't miss it!

The salesperson smiles at you like he's your oldest school buddy. In front of you is a lease agreement that's paragraphs of unintelligible gibberish in print so small you need a magnifying glass to read it. He hands you a pen. You pause. "How do I know that this is a good deal for me?" Good question! Let's see if we can't answer it.

We'll assume that you've already checked to make sure that you're not being taken. The purchase price and residual price on the car seem reasonable. The interest rate being used to calculate your payments isn't unreasonable. So you at least know that the deal isn't a real stinker.

But, now let's find out if the deal is a good match for your specific needs. Begin by considering the trade-in allowance for your existing car. Is the offer fair compared to what you could get if you sold the car yourself? You'll also want to see where in the transaction the leasing company is giving you credit for your trade-in. Remember, it's just as if you gave them cash for the value of your old car. Make sure that they're not giving your credit at the end of the lease or in some complicated formula.

Is the car you're about to lease a good 'lease car'? Not all cars are created equal here. You want a car that will hold it's value well during the lease period. Some cars depreciate more than others in the first few years. Suppose you're about to lease a mini-van. There are two easy ways to do a comparison. Take the wholesale value of a three year old Voyager and divide it by the cost of a similarly equipped new one. Now do the same for a Chevy Lumina. The ratio you've calculated is the percent of purchase price that the car maintains after three years. You'd be surprised at how often the percentages vary significantly from model to model. The higher the ratio, the better your lease deal will be.

You can do the same thing by comparing the purchase and 'residual value' in two lease greements for different models. It's best if you can do this using leases from the same company. Again, the cars may cost nearly the same now, but be worth very different amounts in three years.

Next, take a look at the down payment. It shouldn't be much more than two times the monthly payment. One of the advantages of leasing is that you don't have a big 'up-front' cost. The salesman will tell you that a large down payment will reduce the car's 'capitalized cost'. That's true. But you can also reduce that capitalized cost by negotiating a lower original price for the car, too. I'd rather negotiate than write a bigger check!

Now we need to get personal. How do you use your car? You'll need to know if you're going to find the best lease deal. If you're not 'typical' or 'average' you won't find a lease that matches your needs without shopping around. Leases are written to accommodate average drivers and give a margin for error to the Leasing Company. As the ads say, 'your mileage may vary'. Let's see how that makes a difference.

First, how long do you want to keep a new car? No, I didn't ask how long the lease was. When do you expect to want to replace this new vehicle? And why? Perhaps you're the type who likes the smell of a new car every three years and you have the income to do it. Ok, go find a three year lease.

But, if you're watching your pennies, you need to ask some questions. Is there anything that could cause you to want to get rid of the car (or the payment) before the lease is up? A lostjob, new baby or who knows what could cause you to want out. If that's a possibility make sure you negotiate a good 'termination clause' or choose a different length lease.

Maybe you expect to drive the car longer. A longer lease would lower your monthly payments. Or you could buy the car at the end of the lease. In either case, now is the time to think through the alternatives and make sure the lease meets your needs for the future.

One other major ingredient in any lease agreement is the mileage charges. It's easy to assume that a large annual mileage allowance is best. After all, that way you won't have to pay permile charges. But let's think about what really happens here.

Suppose the Leasing Company gave you a really generous 25,000 annual mileage allowance on a three year lease. "Boy, I'll never go over that!" you think. But the Leasing Company is assuming that you're going to use all 75,000 miles. So they're going to figure that the car will be pretty well worn when you turn it in. And the residual value will be lowered accordingly. And, yes, you guessed it...your monthly payment will be higher!

The best lease is going to match the mileage that you really will use. Consider the car you're replacing. How many miles have you put on it in a similar amount of time? What changes inlifestyle would cause you to adjust that number up or down? You'll do better if you work with the Leasing Company up front. Don't try to fool them. The best deal will allow just a few milesmore than you really use over the whole lease.

Now is also the time to find out about 'excess wear and tear'. Understand what is meant by the term, how it will be calculated and how much it could cost you when you turn the car in.

'Gap Insurance' is another decision you'll need to make. It covers you if you total the car and your regular auto insurance doesn't cover the whole amount you owe the Leasing Company. It'spossible that the difference could run into the thousands of dollars. Now's the time to consider how you'd handle this unexpected event. Buying insurance to cover the gap could be your best solution.

You can find a good lease agreement. Wading through all the fine print and legal-speak is possible. Begin with an understanding of your needs. Then add some research and a bit ofnegotiation. You'll end up with an auto lease arrangement that you won't regret later.

Very Large Pictures:

Don suggests increasing the resolution in Paintshop first, in the "Resize" part, e.g. change from 72 to 300 pixels / inch.

Then, to "chop" the picture into pieces, use this freeware: It produces a set of PDF pages, each with part of the picture. Works well.

Websites and who owns them:

Here is one place you can find out:
Karen Kenworthy has written a very nice tool for this and it is free; get it at

Windows 7 search:

To search for a file in your computer, you normally click START and type what you are looking for. This can produce far more "hits" than you want, for various reasons. To do a quick study on how to search easily and effectively, see the notes by Woody Leonhard at

Windows Key Lost:

This retrieves your windows and .NET Product keys from the registry.

Windows Shortcuts

SHIFT+WIN+M - Undo minimize all windows
CTRL+WIN+F - Display Find: Computer
WIN+BREAK - Display the System Properties dialog box
WIN+TAB - Cycle through buttons on the taskbar
WIN+F1 - Display Help
WIN+D - Minimize or restore all windows
WIN+E - Display Windows Explorer
WIN+F - Display Find: All Files
WIN+M - Minimize all windows
WIN+R - Display the Run command
WIN - Display the Start menu

Windows Explorer Shortcuts
ALT+SPACEBAR - Display the current window's system menu
SHIFT+F10 - Display the item's context menu
CTRL+ESC - Display the Start menu
ALT+TAB - Switch to the window you last used
ALT+F4 - Close the current window or quit
CTRL+A - Select all items
CTRL+X - Cut selected item(s)
CTRL+C - Copy selected item(s)
CTRL+V - Paste item(s)
CTRL+Z - Undo last action
TAB - Move forward through options

More Windows Explorer Shortcuts
ALT+RIGHT ARROW - Move forward to a previous view
ALT+LEFT ARROW - Move backward to a previous view
SHIFT+DELETE - Delete an item immediately
BACKSPACE - View the folder one level up
ALT+ENTER - View an item's properties
F10 - Activate the menu bar in programs
F6 - Switch between left and right panes
F5 - Refresh window contents
F3 - Display Find application
F2 - Rename selected item

Internet Explorer Shortcuts
CTRL+A - Select all items on the current page
CTRL+D - Add the current page to your Favorites
CTRL+E - Open the Search bar
CTRL+F - Find on this page
CTRL+H - Open the History bar
CTRL+I - Open the Favorites bar
CTRL+N - Open a new window
CTRL+O - Go to a new location
CTRL+P - Print the current page or active frame
CTRL+S - Save the current page
CTRL+W - Close current browser window
SHIFT+CLICK - Open link in new window
BACKSPACE - Go to the previous page
ALT+HOME - Go to your Home page
HOME - Move to the beginning of a document
TAB - Move forward through items on a page
END - Move to the end of a document
ESC - Stop downloading a page
F11 - Toggle full-screen view
F5 - Refresh the current page
F4 - Display list of typed addresses
F6 - Change Address bar and page focus
ALT+RIGHT ARROW - Go to the next page
SHIFT+CTRL+TAB - Move back between frames
SHIFT+F10 - Display a shortcut menu for a link
SHIFT+TAB - Move back through the items on a page
CTRL+TAB - Move forward between frames
CTRL+C - Copy selected items to the clipboard
CTRL+V - Insert contents of the clipboard
ENTER - Activate a selected link
HOME - Move to the beginning of a document
END - Move to the end of a document
F1 - Display Internet Explorer Help

Windows Live Mail:

If you use Windows Vista and prefer to continue to rely on Microsoft for free e-mail, Windows Live Mail is your only choice. Windows Live Mail looks a lot like Outlook Express and Windows Mail, but underneath the covers it's considerably more complex and more robust. The program runs fine on XP, Vista, and Windows 7. More importantly, Microsoft actually supports Windows Live Mail. Novel idea, that.

Here's how to add Windows Live Mail to your PC without gumming it up with the other "Live Essentials" junk — which is neither Live nor Essential, by the way:

Step 1. Go to Microsoft's Windows Live Essentials download site and click the Download button.

Step 2. Double-click the downloaded installer and select the box marked Windows Live Mail. Deselect all of the others, unless you want a specific program (Live Photo Gallery ain't half bad). Click Continue.

Step 3. When the installer comes up for air, it has the audacity to ask whether you would mind if Microsoft hijacks your browser's default search provider (did I hear a loud "Bing" out there?) and resets your browser's home page. Uncheck all the boxes and click Continue.

Step 4. The installer then asks whether you have a Windows Live ID. Get one if you don't have one already — remember that you don't have to provide Microsoft with any personal information that you prefer not to share, and creativity counts. Finally, click Close and Windows Live Mail will be ready to run.

The first time you open Windows Live Mail, the program offers to import your contacts and old messages. Most of the time, the import is successful.

Keep in mind that installing Windows Live Mail doesn't uninstall your old e-mail program. If WLM fails to pick up contacts or e-mail messages from OE or WM, take a look at a post on the Windows Live forum for a tip on clicking and dragging mail from Outlook Express to Windows Live Mail.

What to do if the transition falls to pieces

So what do you do if you install Windows Live Mail and you can't live with it? Surprisingly, uninstalling WLM is relatively easy via Windows' Add or Remove Programs applet in the Control Panel. (In Vista, the applet is called Programs and Features.) If you encounter any problems, check Microsoft Knowledge Base article 938275 for possible solutions.

Windows Live Mail uses .eml files. Surprisingly, Outlook Express can understand .eml files. To copy messages from Windows Live Mail back into OE, just drag the .eml files into OE. Details are provided in a Windows BBS forum post.

If all else fails, you can use a third-party program such as Static E-mail Backup to transfer contacts and mail from OE or WM into Windows Live Mail. You'll find a download link on the vendor's site. Sadly, the free version won't translate from one program to another, but the $50 version of the app will do the trick.

Windows 7 Explorer:

"Windows Explorer" is, imho, a poor name; it tends to confuse noobs with "INTERNET Explorer." A far better name, I think, would be "File Manager." Uncle Bill; are you listening? Anyway, Windows Explorer IS a VERY important item and frequently used so I put a shortcut in my Taskbar to it; requiring only one click to open it. BUT, when it opens, it opens to my "Library" which I never look at. That means I have to browse to my D: folder where all my files are. I have now speeded this up a lot. Now, one click of the icon in the Taskbar takes me directly to my D: folder. Here is what I did:
- right-click the icon in the Taskbar and wait a second for the context menu to appear
- right-click on "Windows Explorer" and choose "Properties"
- go to the "Target" line where you will see text with % marks and backslashes etc
- select all that text and type this: %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe D:\
- click "Apply" and then click "OK." All done.

When you saw the context menu, you might have noted a list of items; you can add to the TOP part of that list, shortcuts to specific folders you like to go to. To do that, browse to the folder which you want to add to the top of the list, and drag it to the Windows Explorer icon in the Taskbar; drop it there.

Windows 7 "Aero Peek" Frustration:

One of the new features of Windows 7 frustrated me; I posted this on the forum: "I have my Firefox browser window open on my external monitor and Windows Live Mail 2011 open on the main monitor of my lappy. When I move my cursor to the taskbar, and over the email thumbnail on the taskbar, the larger thumbnail comes up. FINE; but WHY does it make the browser window disappear? I believe this is a new "feature" of Windows 7 but so far I don't like it and would like to turn it off if possible. I want the browser window to STAY as is." A gentleman named "Bongo" gave me the answer in minutes: "Try this click on Start button right click on Computer, go to Properties, go to Advanced system setting, Advanced tab under Pereformance hit Settings button, Visual Effects tab uncheck Enable Aero Peek then hit OK close windows.

Windows XP "Rebuild" command:

World Factbook by the CIA