Issue 199 - August 07, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2427 Subscribers in 57 Countries ====

Welcome to the 199th 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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Andrew is in my arms right now as I type one-handed. He's doing just fine. Lisa and I really appreciate all of the kind words that you sent. Remember that you can see pictures at

Last week both Chris and I received a copy of Object Desktop by StarDock. For those of you who don't know, it is a complete suite of programs that let you "skin" virtually every aspect of Windows. It is remarkable! You can totally make your desktop, windows, and icons look like a Mac. Or you can download skins based on your favourite movies, or colours, of other cool things. We'll use it for a few weeks and then post a review. We'll keep you updated.

Graham and Chris

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MPAA Targets ISPs

The MPAA, an organization that represents such studios as Sony Entertainment and Universal Studios, has sent out more than 100,000 legal notices -- cease and desist letters -- to ISPs such as Speakeasy, ordering them to contact persons unlawfully downloading films.
"The fear is the Internet provides a worldwide capability to disseminate product stolen from our member companies," said Ken Jacobsen, senior vice president of worldwide anti-piracy efforts for MPAA. "It's instantaneous, it's digital, it can be very high quality, and it's very difficult to address because it covers the entire world."

For more info:,24195,3394325,00.html

IBM gives Honda a voice

Can't find a restaurant? Running out of gas? Down to your last dollar?
Tell it to the car.
IBM said on Monday it signed a deal with Honda Motor that will make it easier for drivers to find the closest gas station or restaurant by asking the car's computer for help.
IBM said Honda will offer in its 2003 Accord models, for sale in September, a navigation system that is integrated with voice recognition software and a small touch screen.

For more info:

iVillage to Quit Pop-Ups

Web publisher iVillage (Quote, Company Info) said on Monday that it would cease selling pop-up ads, citing research that suggests its chiefly female audience despises the format.
The New York-based company said a survey conducted on the site by site design researcher Vividence found that 92.5 percent of iVillage's female visitors said pop-ups were the most frustrating feature of the Web.
Additionally, while many in the industry believe that pop-ups generate high brand awareness, iVillage said its study indicated that the formats actually hurts the advertiser's image.

For more info:

Taming 'Occupational Spam'

It's the bane of any modern office worker. After a week of restful vacation away from the job, they come back to a computer littered with literally hundreds of e-mail messages.
Welcome back to electronic message hell - a phenomenon that's hitting corporate workers of all levels.
Christina Cavanagh, a professor of management communications at the Richard Ivey School of Business in London, Ontario, says that the average North American worker now gets almost 50 e-mails a day - a 33 percent increase over the amount of daily messages from just a year ago.

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Here are the responses from the last poll:

How many emails do you get a day?

0        0.00 % (0)
1-10    18.48 % (17)
11-20   20.65 % (19)
21-30   10.87 % (10)
31-40    9.78 % (9)
41-50    6.52 % (6)
> 50    33.70 % (31)

Total votes: 92

Visit to participate in the new poll this week:

What is the youngest age that your child was able to use the computer?

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


had problem with cpu, sorted it, formatted hard drive to install win98. It will not accept boot disc or cd, the hardrive was successful in being formatted.


Note : unless the cd-rom / floppy you are using is the original disk you cannot be sure that it is bootable. If your CD_ROM or floppy consistantly cannont find a bootable disk this may be why.
If this is the case try the disk on another machine, or borrow a friends disk that you know works.
Also, for the very old cd-roms that run off sound cards you will need a special boot disk before the cd-rom is even usable. These floppy disks mention the acronym DSP in their title.

To post a response, visit the Software How-To forum at and click on the "repairing one of my cpu's" 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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Clear the Clipboard

The Windows clipboard only stores one thing at a time. When you copy something, it is stored in memory and is available in almost any other program that you use. You may find from time to time that after you have copied a large image or a large selection of text that your system is sluggish. This could be a result of what is in the clipboard. If you don't need what is in the clipboard anymore, then copy something else that is much smaller (even as small as a single word on a web page or other document). This will replace the large copied item with the smaller item and may help the performance of your system.

Always Win at Minesweeper

This is from one of the newsletters I subscribe to (I can't remember which one):
"You can configure Minesweeper to display either a white or black pixel on screen, depending on if the cursor is over a mine (black) or not (white) by following these steps:
1. Start Minesweeper.
2. Type xyzzy then press Shift+Enter.
3. Minimize all windows and begin play.
The pixel in the top left-hand corner of the desktop will be black if the cursor is over a mine square or white if the cursor is over a safe square. This trick works on all versions of Minesweeper supplied with Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT 4.0, and Windows 3.1."

Use the System Configuration Editor

Last week I shared a tip about the System Configuration Editor (sysedit.exe). I knew that it was available in Win9x, ME, 2K but wasn't sure about WinXP. Subscriber Jack Carlson email to let me know that "Yes, XP has sysedit, and it appears and functions much like Win98." Thanks Jack.

Organizing the My Documents folder

A couple of weeks ago I shared a tip regarding using Windows Find to sort through the My Documents folder and sub-folders all at once. Subscriber Philip Galon sent the following:
"I have/had the same problem, not only with My Documents, but with my email folders, too. Now, just after the first of the year, I create new folders, such as 'My Documents 2001', 'Inbox 2001', 'Sent Items 2001', etc. Then I move all of the documents/mail/whatever for that year into the new folders. They remain easily accessible, but it cleans out the original folders, making it easier to find the things."

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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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Graham Wing can be reached at
Chris Empey can be reached at

Copyright 1998-2002, Graham Wing. All rights reserved.

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