Issue 170 - January 16, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2229 Subscribers in 58 Countries ====

Welcome to the 170th issue of the PC Improvement News. PCIN consists mainly of news and tips. There is something for everyone, and if this is your first issue, I'm sure there will be something for you. If you give me two or three issues, I know that you will come back for more!

You can reach me at with any suggestions or comments.

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OK... Let's try one of those special issues that I mentioned last week. I would like to know about your first computer. What kind was it? Why did you get it? How much was it? What did you do with it? How long did you keep it for? What was the first truly useful computer you had? Send me your stories to and I will include them in an upcoming issue.

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Jokester serious about taking on Microsoft

Ken Belanger's Pocket PC may be a gag, but his lawsuit against Microsoft is not.
On Tuesday, the entrepreneur sued Microsoft in small claims court in San Francisco, claiming he created a Pocket PC 17 years ago, and therefore has rights to the name the company has given its handheld computer.
Belanger's product is not a computer at all but a decidedly low-tech joke gift poking fun at tech industry hype. People who shell out $9.95 for the device receive a box slightly bigger than a deck of cards that contains a poker chip and a set of instructions telling them how to use the chip to make important business and other decisions by flipping it like a coin.

For more info:,4586,5101509,00.html

Judge Rejects Microsoft's Class-Action Settlement Offer

A federal judge today rejected Microsoft Corp.'s billion-dollar plan to settle more than 100 class-action antitrust lawsuits filed against the company.
U.S. District Court Judge Frederick Motz refused to endorse the settlement proposal, which would have concluded a bevy of lawsuits stemming from allegations that Microsoft used its monopoly power to overcharge consumers for its software products.

For more info:,4586,5101599,00.html

Number of Viruses, Flaws Rocket Skyward

The number of viruses and other types of attacks making rounds on the Internet, and the number of security vulnerabilities discovered in software, climbed dramatically in 2001, according to newly issued statistics by the Computer Emergency Response Team Coordination Center (CERT/CC).
CERT's statistics, issued Friday, indicated that the number of incidents rocketed from 21,756 reported in 2000 to 52,658 reported in 2001. For comparison's sake, CERT said there were 9,859 reports in 1999, 3,734 in 1998 and six in 1988. To be clear, an incident may involve one site or thousands and may take place over a long period of time.

For more info:,,10_953241,00.html

Lindows pleads for technical dismissal, a software startup sued by Microsoft last month for alleged trademark infringement, is hoping to have the case thrown out of court on a technicality, its chief executive said Friday. is developing a version of the Linux operating system that can run applications written for Microsoft's Windows operating system, as well as for Linux.
Microsoft, in a lawsuit filed in December with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, asked for an injunction that would prevent from releasing a product that uses the Lindows name. The Redmond, Washington, software maker argued that the yet-to-be-released operating system, to be called LindowsOS, would create confusion for consumers in the marketplace.

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Do you subscribe to any computer magazines or newspapers?

Yes: 61.97%
No: 38.03%

Total Votes: 71

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

Do you use your computer more at work or at home?

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Visit the PCIN FreeHelp Forum to post your questions or answer others. Each week I highlight a question, and where to go to get the answer.


Subscriber Kay Hill emailed me this:
I received a Panasonic Ipalm digital camera for Christmas and learned very quickly that I need some type of storage for the pictures. I'd like to keep it under $150 and as simple and easy to operate as possible (the camera is enough to deal with right now!) Do you, or any of your subscribers have a recommendation?

Send your recommendations to and I will post them all in next week's PCIN.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

WE Compute Magazine's Cheap Tricks of the Week
(The entire collection is in Microsoft Word format and currently has 100 tips and tricks. You can download the file from here)

Windows Registry Tips and Tweaks
(The entire collection is in Microsoft Word format and currently has 85 registry tips. You can download the file from here)

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Cheap Trick of the Week

Playing postman

If you have Outlook 2000, you can uncover and play a cute little hidden game,
Open Outlook, type Ren Hoek (capitals are not necessary) in the Find a Contact bar at the top and press Enter. If you get a message saying no such contact can be found, click OK and continue.
Under the Tools menu, select Macro and then, in the submenu, select Macros. In the Macro Name box, type OL2KROCKS (lowercase is okay) and click the Create button.
When the About Microsoft Outlook window appears, hold down the Ctrl, Alt and Shift keys while clicking OK.
You'll be treated to a game in which you move a mailbox up and down with the Arrow keys to catch envelopes as they fly across the screen bearing developer credits.

Get your own copy of "The Little Black Book of Cheap Tricks: 2001" by visiting

How to Please Your I.T. Department

A coworker and subscriber Marg Pinard sent me this:

    1. When you call us to have your computer moved, be sure to leave it buried under half a ton of postcards, baby pictures, stuffed animals, dried flowers, bowling trophies and children's art. We don't have a life, and we find it deeply moving to catch a fleeting glimpse of yours.
    2. Don't write anything down. Ever. We can play back the error messages from here.
    3. When an I.T. person says he's coming right over, go for coffee. That way you won't be there when we need your password. It's nothing for us to remember 700 screen saver passwords.
    4. When you call the help desk, state what you want, not what's keeping you from getting it. We don't need to know that you can't get into your mail because your computer won't power on at all.
    5. When I.T. support sends you an E-Mail with high importance, delete it at once. We're just testing.
    6. When an I.T. person is eating lunch at his desk, walk right in and spill your guts right out. We exist only to serve.
    7. Send urgent email all in uppercase. The mail server picks it up and flags it as a rush delivery.
    8. When the photocopier doesn't work, call computer support. There's electronics in it.
    9. When something's wrong with your home PC, dump it on an I.T. person's chair with no name, no phone number and no description of the problem. We love a puzzle.
    10. When an I.T. person tells you that computer screens don't have cartridges in them, argue. We love a good argument.
    11. When an I.T. person tells you that he'll be there shortly, reply in a scathing tone of voice: "And just how many weeks do you mean by shortly?" That motivates us.
    12. When the printer won't print, re-send the job at least 20 times. Print jobs frequently get sucked into black holes.
    13. When the printer still won't print after 20 tries, send the job to all 68 printers in the company. One of them is bound to work.
    14. Don't learn the proper term for anything technical. We know exactly what you mean by "My thingy blew up".
    15. Don't use on-line help. On-line help is for wimps.

Play Arcade Games

Visit to play some fun arcade games made with Flash or Shockwave. Bubble Trouble is a lot of fun 8-)

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PCIN is brought to you by PC Improvements. The opinions expressed are those of the editor, Graham Wing. PC Improvements and Graham Wing accept no responsibility for the results obtained from trying the tips in this newsletter.

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Graham Wing can be reached at

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