Issue 217 - December 11, 2002

ISSN 1488-3163; PC Improvements © 2002
==== 2246 Subscribers in 56 Countries ====

Welcome to the 217th 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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Most of you received 2 copies of the newsletter last week by accident. I'm testing out a new mailing list service and it was my fault. Other than that, the service works well. But because of this, the subscribe and unsubscribe forms don't work on the web site. If you wish to unsubscribe, please email me directly.

Graham and Chris

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Poetic Justice for Spam?

"You probably haven't thought much about haiku since grade school.
But the people behind Habeas, a startup company in Palo Alto, Calif., have contemplated on the traditional Japanese verses — a lot.
In fact, it's the company's proposed answer to help sort out useful e-mails from the junk messages, or spam.
'Spam has really impacted the way people are able to communicate on the Net, and I think that's wrong,' says Anne P. Mitchell, chief executive officer of Habeas. 'We're going to do something about it.'
Rather than trying to identify spam with an e-mail filter, Habeas' method is concerned with proving that a message is not spam."

For more info:

META Predicts Microsoft Will Offer Linux Software

"In a major strategy shift, Microsoft Corp. will introduce software based on the Linux open source operating system in 2004 for Web services and server software, market researcher META Group predicted on Monday.
Microsoft, which denied that it had any plans to develop software for Linux, is facing a growing threat from the open source software standard as it gains share in the corporate server market used to manage networks and data.
META Group predicted that Linux will be used on nearly half of new servers by 2007, up from its current share of 15 to 20 percent, making it difficult for Microsoft to ignore Linux as a platform for its database, Web hosting and e-mail server applications."

For more info:

How Dell Is Defying an Industry's Gravity in Japan

"IT was perhaps the biggest non-event in the history of Dell Computer. Hiroshi Hamada, the head of Dell's consumer computer sales unit in Japan, designed a Web site to supplement the company's fledgling telephone sales here. It was 1997, after all, and the Internet was fast becoming a viable sales channel in the United States.
Japan, though, was a different story. Computer use and familiarity with the Internet were still low and, the stereotypical thinking went, the Japanese preferred to pay in cash for products they could haul away. Besides, the local giants — NEC, Fujitsu and Toshiba — still controlled the greatest share of Japan's $20 billion computer market. Even in Dell's small Japan office, skeptics thought that a Web site was an adornment, not a big driver of growth.
To almost everyone's surprise, Mr. Hamada's little project turned into a tsunami."

For more info:

Of mice and patents and copyright law

"Don't mess with the mouse.
The little critters are a hot commodity nowadays with just about everyone laying a claim.
Disney is very protective of Mickey Mouse, perhaps the most famous of all rodents. A few years back, the Walt Disney Co. went after a Florida daycare centre because it painted some of Walt's characters on the walls. It has to protect its copyright, after all.
Copyrights are only supposed to last for a limited time. But to stave off losing its exclusive rights to vintage Mickey footage as long as possible, the company dove head first into a campaign to extend the length of copyright protection."

For more info:

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POLL of the WEEK

Last Week's Poll

Do you find software help files to be useful?

No, I prefer a manual in my hands 16.09 % (14)
No, I can never find a good answer 13.79 % (12)
Sometimes 60.92 % (53)
Yes, I use them all the time 6.90 % (6)
I don't ever look for help 2.30 % (2)
Total votes: 87

This Week's Poll

Where do you buy software?

Online store
Online auction
Local retailer
I don't buy software

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


I am running 2 PC's, one with Win98SE and one with WinXP Pro. The Win98SE has two parallel ports, one connected to an Okidata laser printer and the other to a scanner then Epson Color Stylus 900 Pro. The WinXP Pro is connected to a second Okidata laser printer. I want to connect the second PC (WinXP Pro) to the Epson 900 and leave the Win98SE PC connected.
The Epson 900 has three available connections; parallel, USB and Firewire. Can I leave the Win98SE PC connected via parallel and connect the WinXP Pro PC to that same printer via the USB port? I would only send one job to the printer at a time. The default printers on both PC's are the Okidata laser printers, I select the Epson when I want to use the inkjet.
I tried to think it through and I don't see why I can't, as the drivers reside on the PC. Before I ran out to buy the USB cable, I thought I would check with the experts here.
I do not have the two PC's networked.


No responses given yet.

To post a response, visit the General Hardware Help forum at and click on the "Printer Connections Question" topic.

Visit to post a question of your own.

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Check out these new or updated pages on the site:

Object Desktop Software Review

LG GCE-8400B 40x 12x 40x CD-RW Hardware Review Search

Some Useful Registry Tips

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Windows Explorer Switches

When you first start Windows Explorer, it always starts up at either My Computer or the C: drive. It shows you everything. This is the default. But there are many startup switches which will change the way it displays. Visit;EN-US;q152457 for a list of the switches that you can use to customize the display of Windows Explorer.

Microsoft Word Switches

Microsoft Word 2000/2002 also has many startup switches. You can tell it to start without any addins, with a different template, and more. Visit;EN-US;q210565 to learn more.

Technically Challenged?

Subscribe Marg Pinard sent me this:
" So You Think You Are Technically Challenged? Think Again!! Take heart, anyone among you who believes they are technologically challenged, this is an excerpt from a Wall Street Journal" article.

  1. Compaq is considering changing the command 'Press Any Key' to 'Press Return Key' because of the flood of calls asking where the 'Any' key is.
  2. AST technical support had a caller complaining that her mouse was hard to control with the dust cover on. The cover turned out to be the plastic bag the mouse was packaged in.
  3. A Dell technician advised his customer to put his troubled floppy back in the drive and close the door. The customer asked the tech to hold on and was heard putting the phone down, getting up and crossing the room to close the door.
  4. Another Dell customer called to say he couldn't get his computer to fax anything. After 40 minutes of troubleshooting, the technician discovered the man was trying to fax a piece of paper by holding it in front of the monitor screen and hitting the 'send' key.
  5. Yet another Dell customer called to complain that his keyboard no longer worked. He had cleaned it by filling up his tub with soap and water and soaking the keyboard for a day, then removing all the keys and washing them individually.
  6. A confused caller to IBM was having trouble printing documents. He told the technician that the computer had said it 'couldn't find printer' The user had also tried turning the computer screen to face the printer but that his computer still couldn't 'see' the printer.
  7. An exasperated caller to Dell Tech Support couldn't get her new Dell Computer to turn on. After ensuring the computer was plugged in, the technician asked her what happened when she pushed the power button. Her response, 'I pushed and pushed on this foot pedal and nothing happens.' The 'foot pedal' turned out to be the computer's mouse.
  8. A woman called the Canon help desk with a problem with her printer. The tech asked her if she was running it under 'Windows'. The woman responded, 'No, my desk is next to the door. But that is a good point. The man sitting in the cubicle next to me is under a window and his printer is working fine.'
  9. Tech Support: 'O.K. Bob, let's press control and escape keys at the same time. That brings up a task list in the middle of the screen. Now type the letter P to bring up the Program Manager.' Customer: 'I don't have a P'. Tech: 'On your keyboard, Bob.' Customer: 'What do you mean?' Tech: 'P on your keyboard, Bob.' Customer: 'I'm not going to do that!!!'"

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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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