Editor’s Comments

By William LaMartin, Editor, Tampa PC Users Group

Amazon Link If you are going to make a purchase through Amazon.Com, don’t forget to go there through the Amazon link on our home page. If you then make a purchase, the TPCUG gets a 5% commission at no extra cost to you.

FACUG Web Site Contest Our humble TPCUG web site placed fourth in the annual Florida Association of Computer User Groups home page contest. In order, the winners were

  1. Greater Tampa Bay PC User Group http://members.cftnet.com/gtbpcug/
  2. Sarasota PCUG http://www.spcug.org
  3. PCRAMS Computer Club (West Palm) http://www.pcrams.org
  4. Tampa PC Users Group http://www.tpcug.org/

I was quite pleased with my fourth place prize of Adobe PhotoShop 5.0. Now I have a new program to learn. It will be interesting to compare it with the CorelDraw Package I have been using. You will probably see a review of it in the future.

Genealogy from last month Last month I mentioned my effort to get my Family TreeMaker (FTM) data into a Microsoft database. I accomplished that and showed the results to the VB SIG, since I had created a VB program to import the data from a FTM GEDCOM into Access. However, most of the work was in creating queries, form and reports in Access to replicate the way FTM allows you to display data. The most difficult part was creating the query and report to display an individual’s ancestors or descendants for up to 10 generations. I did the above for two reasons. First, it gave me some VB practice (but taught me nothing new), second, it not only gave me practice with Access, but I actually learned a couple new techniques. That is how I learned Microsoft Access—by creating database applications that solve problems in which I have an interest.

New Laptop I have a new laptop passed on to me by son when he purchased a still newer one. It is a ThinkPad 385XD-LEU with 233 MHz processor, 3.2 hard drive, 32 MB RAM and a 12.1" screen. What surprises me is that it is a little more than 7 months old, was a new model at the time of purchase, but is now no longer made. IBM has a new model in its slot—at a considerably lower price. Laptops are now truly affordable, have large hard drives, fast processors and fairly large screens.

It came with Win 98, and I had a question about something which led me to click on Help. I got a message saying that Win Help had some fatal problem. So the only way to get help was to reinstall Win 98, and that reminded me of one of my main complaints concerning computer makers—many do not provide a true copy of Windows on a CD. They either provide a "recovery" CD and/or have Win 98 installation files in a folder somewhere on your hard drive. With a recovery CD, you can only reinstall Windows 98 by restoring the original preloaded image from the Recovery CD. This will wipe out everything else on your drive and replace it with whatever software originally came with the computer. Not a very good option. With a Gateway laptop I recently worked on, you had a recovery CD, but it also allowed you to browse through its files, and there was a Windows 98 directory for which you could run the Win 98 setup program to reinstall if you wished. Not so with the ThinkPad. None of the files made any sense. There were only 10 of them, and they appeared for the most part to image files, I assume, of various directories that would be placed on your hard drive.

So I ran the Win 98 setup program from the Win 98 folder on the hard drive—an option that would not be available if you somehow had corrupted it. When finished, Win 98 help now functioned. But, as you might guess, that is not the end of the story.

I had the Win 98 laptop and a Win 95 computer connected via a LAN with network cards with no problems. After the reinstall of Win 98 on the laptop, the Win 95 machine didn't show up in the network neighborhood in Windows Explorer of the Win 98 machine. You could, however, find it from "Tools | find computer." But once found, a double click on it produced a message that the win 95 machine was not accessible--not logged on. Additionally the log on screen that had appeared for Windows networking during the boot up of the win 98 machine no longer appeared.

At first I had no problem seeing the Win 98 computer from the Win 95 computer. But then to try and solve my problem, I went into the network properties and, under file and printer sharing for Microsoft networks, enabled browse master on the Win 95 machine since I had read that this might help. All it did was make it so that the Win 98 machine now didn't show up in the network neighborhood of the Win 95 machine. Luckily I could still do a "tools | find" and get the Win 95 machine, where a double click on it produced all the shared folders. Removing the browse master feature did not return things to their previous state either. Seems things can only get worse—not better.

I then removed and reinstalled basically every adapter and protocol I could in Network Neighborhood to no effect. I was sure it was something simple but could not find the answer. I then noted that if I clicked on start, one of the options was to log off. I did that. And guess what, my network log on screen appeared asking me for a username & password. A click on OK got me back to Windows--and now the Win 95 computer showed up on the Win 98 one and vice/versa. Furthermore, if I now clicked Start, I had the option of logging off LaMartin. Apparently the reinstall of Win 98 caused 98 to start up with another user other than me--once I logged off that user, I had all my network functionality back.

Another half-day wasted to discover that a simple click of the mouse produced the desired result. The final problem was how to make it log me on at the beginning? The solution came from where many of my solutions come from—a Usenet Newsgroup. I had posted my problem to the comp.os.ms-windows.networking.win95 newsgroup, and a fellow named Steve Winograd posted the following solution: "The most likely fix is to delete this registry key HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Network\Real Mode Net\AutoLogon. See this Microsoft Knowledge Base article for more information: No Windows or Network Logon Dialog Box at Startup http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q141/8/58.asp." I had searched Microsoft but had found nothing myself. I cannot recommend the Usenet newsgroups enough as sources of solutions.

If you noticed that there are few graphics in this issue. The reason is that there was too much text, so I put a few of them in the background. u