Issue 173 - February 06, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2312 Subscribers in 61 Countries ====

Welcome to the 173rd 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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Good news... my extensive search to find someone to help me with the PCIN newsletter and web site has come to a successful end. Actually, I didn't look very hard. Many of you have seen the name Chris Empey in the newsletter before. He has sent the newsletter out on my behalf. We've been friends for several years, went to school together, and work together. And now after pestering him for a few weeks, he's agreed to help. We've agreed to each try to have something new done for the web site each week. There will be more new articles, more reviews, and many improvements to the web site. Welcome aboard, Chris. All of the main email for the site and newsletter should still come to, but if you'd like to contact Chris, you may do so at You can reach me (Graham) at the editor email address.

Last week I mentioned that I was having some problems with the FreeHelp Forum. Well, mostly thanks to the efforts of Chris, we have a new forum. The new and improved PCIN FreeHelp Forum is available at It is cleaner looking, easier to use, and looks fabulous. If you haven't checked it out, you're missing out. The old forum will be up for another week or two. If you have posted a question to the old board and haven't had anyone post an answer, then try posting on the new board. Both Chris and I will be active participants.

Lastly, this Saturday I will be sending out a special issue of PCIN that contains the stories of your first computer. I don't normally send out extra issues, but this one was very interesting.

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Microsoft takes a break to clean its code

"After nearly 25 years of writing software code, Microsoft is taking a break to do a little housecleaning.
The company has ordered a temporary halt in the development of new code and has instructed its developers to go back and check for security holes in the piles of ones and zeros already written. The clean-up targets the gamut of Microsoft products from its desktop operating systems to its newly released .Net tools, a Microsoft spokeswoman confirmed Monday. Each division will stop writing new code for about one month."

For more info:

Priceline Names Itself Profitable

"Name-your-price e-commerce company named itself a little pro forma fourth quarter profit (excluding restructuring and other special charges), reporting net income of $3.3 million, or 1 cent per share.
That compares to a fourth quarter 2000 pro forma net loss of $25 million, or 15 cents per share."

For more info:,,4_967431,00.html

Microsoft partners with NBC shows

"In its ongoing effort to strike entertainment and media partnerships, Microsoft's MSN portal will power the Web sites for two popular TV shows produced by NBC, according to sources familiar with the deal.
The deal, expected to be announced Monday, will allow MSN to produce and promote Web sites for the popular 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,'and the flashy entertainment news show 'Access Hollywood.' The Access Hollywood site, which has already launched, will feature music videos, movie trailers and entertainment news headlines. The Tonight Show site will not launch until the spring, the sources said."

For more info:

Monks Modify for Mobile

From the February issue of mBusiness magazine, pg 48:
"Franciscan monks in Assisi, Italy - home of their nature-loving patron, St. Francis - are adjusting their clothing in recognition of modernity. The order is having its robes redesigned with pockets to carry the monks' cellular phones.
According to news site, an Italian designer is producing the new robes, which cost about $150. The monks have ordered 3,000 of the garments, although there's reportedly been some criticism, saying that such accommodations for mobile devices shows that the supposedly unworldly friars are getting into bad habits."

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Do computers make life easier or more complicated?

Easier: 80.33%
More complicated: 18.03%
No Opinion: 1.64%

Total Votes: 61

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

Do you like the look of the new iMac?

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Visit the new and improved PCIN FreeHelp Forum at to post your questions or answer others. Once there are a few more postings to the forums, I will include some of them here.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

PCIN FreeHelp Forum

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Changing Directories Using the Command Prompt

When you try to change directories in Windows 98/ME, you either have to type the entire path in quotes ("c:\program files\microsoft office"), or use the abbreviated DOS name (c:\progra~1\micros~1).
Windows NT/2000/XP don't have DOS, but they do have COMMAND.COM and CMD.EXE which allow you to have an environment similar to DOS. You can change directories, delete, move and copy files, as well as run programs. When in these environments, you can use an asterisk ( * ) to complete names. Rather than typing c:\program files you could type c:\pro* to name the directory. Using this in a CD (change directory) command, you would change to the first folder that started with "pro" in the c: drive. If you ever have to work in these environments, this can be a real time-saver.

Check Your Bookmarks

Recently I was wondering if there were programs out there that would check all of my favourites and eliminate the dead links. I assumed there was, but hadn't spent any time checking. Then a week or so ago, the LangaList newsletter (a great newsletter!) mentioned a couple of possibilities. I downloaded AM-DeadLink 1.31 by Martin Aignesberger and it was a dream come true. I discovered that I had 671 shortcuts. I eliminated duplicates and that brought me down to 659. Then I let it check for dead links, and I was brought down to 529. Still far too many, but by spending 5 minutes using the program, I reduced my bookmarks by 142. Not bad! There are other programs, but I felt this was worth mentioning. You can download it from almost any shareware site (it is freeware), or you can download it directly from

Incredibly Useful Sites?

I've received some unsolicited postal mail from PC Magazine lately. They each contained a small card that lists "PC Magazine's 20 Incredibly Useful Sites".
I don't think the sites are incredible, but it is a decent list. I made a small web page with the links in case you find them useful. Check them out at

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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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