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APCUG Reports
April-June 2005

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PERT PC User Groups, Perth
Armadale Daytime SIG by Joy O’Grady

At one of our meetings, Colin Russell demonstrated Print Master v12 Silver – showing us how to make Return Labels and Business Cards. This software is about $20 and has Australian Avery numbers, which work better on our size paper. It also makes Advent Calendars. The extra benefit of this program was that it auto-matically puts in a graphic on your return labels without any real effort – as is the case with Word. These personal labels would make a very much-appreciated gift. He did suggest though that if using the software for Xmas Cards and sending over the net, they can’t be read by those who don’t have Print Master – Creatacard utilized Word and more people had that program. Exe files are also a no no over the net and if you need to send such files – first zip them up or they are blocked.

Bob Hunt mentioned there was a problem with the Ad Aware prior to the SE version and he had swapped to Spybot from Google, which he found very good. In Advanced mode it can actually monitor spyware while you are on the net. It is a free program – those wanting set up instructions can e-mail Bob. He also gave us a warning on a program called Coolweb Search, which is in the Windows XP no. 6 magazine. It is supposed to improve searching the web but sets up its own Home Page and causes a lot of trouble. It is then almost impossible to remove.

Joy and Connie gave a demonstration of Stationery in Outlook Express. Joy had included a scrolling file into the program. The result was a row of sleighs with galloping reindeer that rolled up the page and some very pretty twinkling stars. In order to see these in action it is important to insert Text from File and under Files of Type choose HTML to view with Preview every time. You could also add background sound with a WAV file or alternatively add your own voice by using a microphone. The gif files used need to be animated and can be found via Google – some are free. If you receive something you like in an e-mail you can acquire it easily by right clicking it and save as.

Colin told us about a small program called Santa’s Email Express 1.5 he had found on a magazine disk - it lets you send an e-mail to Santa and get a response straight back.

Guilderton and Districts SIG – by Anne Stroud In our WORD tutorial we listened to the part on Format Painter and Hyphenation. It turned out nobody in the room knew about Format Painter so that was a good start! This is a tool that allows you to copy the formatting of your text from one paragraph to other paragraphs - a big time saver. It is the paintbrush icon.

The afternoon’s theme was to answer questions anyone had on the use of Windows itself. Often the concept of Windows remains a mystery while users concentrate on their bought application software or the Internet. The first question was how to put the taskbar in a different position. By right clicking on an empty space on the taskbar a drop down menu appears. There is an option to lock it, which prevents any movement. Plenty of other options to look at here.

For most problems you encounter the first place to click is the HELP & SUPPORT button, found in the START menu. Here you should be able to get tutorials and instructions on most things WINDOWS can do, and it is far more comprehensive than we all first imagine. I am sure not everyone is at all aware of all the functions. We are too quick to go and purchase software when

WINDOWS has a feature that will do the same. Movie Maker is a prime example. Practice on that before spending a lot of money, to see what it can do with home movies.

On that note we discussed Windows XP Service Pack 2. I recently sent away for the CD, which came free of charge. Not only did it install a firewall but it also gave me Movie Maker 2 which is far superior to previous versions. As a lot of our members are wary of or can't download files from the Internet, this CD is now making the rounds of various members. Members that do have the new update are finding that you cannot connect to your server from Outlook Express anymore, presumably a new security measure. It is a good idea to have an icon on your desktop that connects to your server and use that.

Russ reminded us at that when you buy a new computer you must keep the CD's that come with it. A year or two down the track if a problem arises you will need those CD's. He showed us how to remove programs we no longer use in Control Panel / Add & Remove Programs, by highlighting and clicking either change or remove. One member was having trouble with a scanner installation; this seems a common problem and the advice is really to follow the manufacturer’s instructions step by step as one false move can muck it up! Another member had lost his Home Page on Internet Explorer. This can be caused by a virus and Russ cautioned against a beginner trying to find it in the registry of Windows. Other club members suggested a local computer technician who had helped in the past.

Last but not least Russ showed us an easy way to eliminate those annoying >>>>>'s when you want to forward an e-mail. Highlight the message, Press Ctrl + C to copy the whole text. Open a Notepad file and paste the e-mail in, use Edit / Find and Replace. Find > and replace with nothing - not a space, just nothing. All you have to do then is open up another email and paste the new text into it.

North Of The River SIG by Rick Short

Our first demonstrator was Peter Moran. He showed us a new program called Skype that can give you National and International telephone calls, with another Skype client, for the price of a local call. You can also make phone calls to fixed handsets for a very reasonable charge.

This is a freeware program that can be downloaded from http://www.skype.com. For a freeware program it’s noteworthy that there are no Ads or Pop-ups. You can only receive calls if you are online and Skype is sitting in the System Tray – or is it the Notification Area – waiting for a call. One of the Options is as to whether you want Skype active whilst on the net. If not then only activate it when you wish to receive calls. When you’ve finished your call, don’t forget to go to File | Log Off.

The second demonstration was of Gordon’s Epson CX6500 Multi- Function Centre that costs $345.00. It can be used as a Printer, Copier, Scanner and (by using a fax program like WinFax) a Fax machine. The straight copying function can be used without the computer being switched on. Using the SmartPanel software, select the ‘Scan to email’ button.

The email program will then open with the attachment in place ready for you to enter an address and message. The MFC has a built-in keyboard and screen. Using the ‘new’ keyboard, you can edit the size of the preview photo by a fixed percentage. This saves opening a graphics program and changing the dpi.

The device comes with ABBYY FineReader software that is an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) package. It opens automatically in your word processing program. It has inputs for three types of digital camera cards to upload via MFC to computer, then prints selected images. It also has four individual color cartridges that means it’s cheap to run and you won’t waste a drop of ink.

South Of The River SIG by Abbe Harman

Jeff Orr started off the meeting by giving a demonstration on good housekeeping, which was very informative. Jeff suggested putting documents inside clearly labeled folders inside My Documents rather than just saving individual letters or other documents straight to My Documents which then become a bit jumbled. For example, you could make folders for LETTERS, BACKUPS (of Outlook Express accounts, email and address book), RECIPES, COMPUTER (maybe inside computer you might have other folders that refine your filing system – for example PPCUG), PHOTOGRAPHY (or whatever your particular interest is) and so on.

There is a program called QuicKeys, which allows you to set up shortcuts on the keyboard. For instance you could set up F2 (leave F1 for help) to always display your address. There is a myriad of other shortcuts etc that you can do with this program. It was previewed in one of our magazines some time ago.

Abbe demonstrated a few tips and shortcuts in Photoshop. She showed how to make a vignette and also how to change a color photo into black and white and then colorize a part of the image.