Issue 197 - July 24, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2412 Subscribers in 57 Countries ====

Welcome to the 197th 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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Still no news on the baby front. We had 30 friends and family guess when the baby would be born, and the last guess was for yesterday. I guess the baby wanted to be independent.

We've finished several reviews over the last few weeks (see the Update section below). We are now in the process of obtaining some new products to review. We'll let you know of products as we get them

Graham and Chris

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Lawyers discover eBay as legal-evidence bazaar

After a heated bidding war on eBay, Mark Lanier recently paid $2,125 to win a 1941 Naval Machinery manual.
It sounds like a peculiar collecting hobby, but to Lanier it was serious business. The Houston lawyer, who sues companies on behalf of asbestos-exposure victims, was bidding against a defense lawyer to get his hands on an evidentiary trophy filled with details on where and how asbestos was used aboard ships.
eBay might be known best as a place to buy bobblehead dolls, ancient Roman coins and millions of other idiosyncratic collectibles, but the world's most famous Internet auction also has become an unlikely source for legal evidence. It's a place where a growing number of lawyers bid - often against each other - for everything from smoking-gun documents to killer products.

For more info:

PC sales still slow, Dell closes in on new HP

"PC sales declined for the fifth quarter in a row, dashing hopes for a speedy recovery in computer sales, according to data published Thursday by two research companies.
Worldwide PC shipments for the second quarter of 2002 were down 0.5 percent from a year ago, to 31.1 million units, according to data from IDC, in Framingham, Mass. Shipments also were down from the immediate prior quarter, by 7.8 percent, IDC said."

For more info:

The Wonderful Wizards of Google

"Amidst a crowd of competitors, Google stands alone in many respects. From its Zen-like, uncluttered homepage that has only a smattering of words to its Google Answers feature, the search site has won the respect and admiration of legions of users and analysts.
As it continues to introduce new features, Google seems destined to remain the search engine with the largest reach on the Internet. Already, the company boasts more than 3 billion indexed documents, including 2 billion Web pages.
Relying only on minimal ad placements and sparse public relations, how does Google continue to pull in more users? By keeping it simple, according to analysts."

For more info:

EBay Earnings Up as Revenue Sets Record

"The online auction giant eBay Inc. continued its lonesome Internet success story, announcing higher second-quarter sales and profits yesterday, with strong growth in the United States and overseas markets.
'I am very excited about eBay's future, because the company has a lot more room to grow,' Margaret C. Whitman, the chief executive, said during a conference call."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

Have you ever been to a PC industry trade show like Comdex?

Yes   18.75 % (9)
No    81.25 % (39)

Total votes: 48

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

What is the most time you've spent at the computer for personal use?

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Visit the new and improved PCIN FreeHelp Forum at to post your questions or answer others.


I keep getting people advising me about security issues and privacy issues; including possibility of hackers and also issues about Internet sites/visits being recovered or identified by family members, friends , colleagues, etc etc.
As I have two teenagers aged 16 and 17 and I know that at least one of them has visited "porno" sites, I feel uneasy that all this history and files etc can be held indefinitely on hard drive and within cookies index and windows95 system.
Do I have to pay out for software like Internet eraser or can I manually delete whatever I want from my system permanently? Any advice or enlightenment please?


I want to make sure I start off with my view clear : if you are running windows and are currently doing nothing in terms of security and are not worried about it let me tell you this "You are wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide open to attack".
My suggestions :
1) Dont use internet explorer, use mozilla or opera. Opera give you the most control over what data you accept to store and send to others ( but note it won't let you log in to pcin )
2) Delete cookies regularly, like daily. There are nifty little scripts you can make that can do this automatically. Opera and mozila do this automatically. IE ( internet explorer ) also lets you do this, after navigating several windows. you can also do a file search for "cookie" which might be the easiest short term solution.
3) Install software firewall. this is probably the most important - so i really shoulda put this first, but i only just got up so give me a break :). I recommend ZoneAlarm. its' free and easy to use. ( note : it will ask you lots of questions when you first connect to the internet, as your programs try to access the internet, but all you do is have to say yes to the programs you are trying to use ).
4) install another email client ( get rid of any microsoft email program ). almost all viruses only infect microsoft software, and email are a _big transmitter of the worst ones. eudora is a good 'email only' program. and again, mozilla and opera both have emailing built into them.
5) education. people will always try to take advantage of others ( at least for the foreseeable future :). having done all this work make sure that everyone accessing the internet through your computer is aware of the security tools you have and are able to compentently use them. thankfully most of what's above doesn't need to be touched by them.
6) update, update, update. seriously, update everything, especially windows. you may be working with a leaky boat but you may as well patch what you can.
as aside to internet specific issues, i would also recommend installing antivirus software. most of this is commercial, but some is free. i wont recommend anything here because there are so many choices, including many good free ones. i suggest searching at for "antivirus"
please also note that there is no need to pay for any of the above. there is a _lot_ of excellent free software out there, search on google. there is also some dodgy free software out there, but better to get dodgy software free rather than pay for it. besides, spend an hour to get somthing for free and save $30, who wouldn't wanna get paid $30 an hour ??

To post a response, visit the Software How-To forum at and click on the "Internet security?" subject.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Outback Plus 3.0 Software Review

Microsoft Office Keyboard Hardware Review

VMWare Workstation 3.1 Software Review

Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer Hardware Review

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Finding Files

The My Documents folder on my computer is huge. I've got so many files in it, and most of them are well over a year old. I've been meaning to go through all of the files, but it is just to difficult. One way that might help though is to use the Find Files feature of the operating system (this will work in any recent version of Windows). You can search for all files (*.*) in the folder that you want to search and be sure that you include sub-folders. This will give you a list of all of the files in the folder and sub-folders. You can then sort by date, file size, or file type. It can be very handy.

VMWare Workstation 3.1 Software Review

"Virtual Computing is growing more popular among computing enthusiast as it allows them to test or use multiple operating systems, or different versions of the same OS on one single physical computer. For developers testing new products, system administrators supporting multiple platforms, or power users who wish to have multiple computers without the space and cost constraints associated with that, virtual computing is the way to go. VMWare 3.1 provides this freedom to users at an acceptable cost."

Read the full review at

Preview Your Installed Fonts

There are a lot of utilities that will let you preview the fonts that are installed on your system. One of the best (and it's free) is by Karen Kenworthy of fame. She has many great programs on her site, but Karen's Font Explorer is fabulous. You can preview all of your fonts in regular, bold, italic, or a combination. You can print individual samples or print the entire list. If you design a lot and print a lot, then give it a try. You can find it at

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

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Chris Empey can be reached at

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