The President's Message

December 2009

Rick Curry

I do not have a lot to tell you about Ventura area events this month beyond the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights on the 18th and 19th. Happy yuletide to all!

Our thanks to Gene Barlow for demonstrating how we can keep our old Windows XP while trying out Windows 7 and how the Acronis products can assist in that process.

I found out more than I wanted to about Firefox this weekend. The short version is that Firefox (and the latest version of Seamonkey as well) have problems printing; especially printing to older printers. Some people get a blank spot on the sheet where text should be, some people get characters that look like they are random (and have been referred to as hieroglyphs). The characters are not random as it turns out. They differ by 29 from the correct codes. I have filled out a report at bugzilla, where there is significant discussion of the problem. Interestingly, they do not seem to think it is important enough to announce that it is a known issue on the front page when you download the package!

Probably the most important thing to say is that Toby's suggestion of using the IE tab add-on works just fine. If you are using Firefox, I strongly recommend it, and not just for a work-around to the present printing problems. You'll find it at https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/1419.

I received a suggestion that a good topic could be a discussion of hardware for club members thinking of buying machines. I like the idea (I recall it being referred to as "the good, the bad, and the ugly" list), and I have not gotten anything together yet. I did run across a sweetheart of a machine for someone on the go that might be a good stocking stuffer.

It is called an Eee PC, and it is manufactured by Asus. At 2.8 pounds, it is smaller and lighter than a standard laptop (it is a Netbook), but large enough that I did not require a magnifying glass to read the screen. The keyboard is a little bit smaller than standard, and I was able to touch-type on it. It is definitely a specialty item for someone who travels and will find advantage in the small size.

A really great feature is a 1.3 Megapixel camera built into the lid, so that if you are sitting at the keyboard, you are on the camera. This feature in conjunction with the built-in wireless networking system makes it perfect for teleconferencing while traveling.

Since I received the Netbook from a relative asking me to remove a nasty virus infestation, the feature I liked the best was the simple operating system restore. If you press the correct key sequences during boot, the system will restore the operating system from a hidden partition.

Everything added, such as pictures and music, is lost in this sort of an operation, so I did have to copy personal data off first (and check it separately for viruses), but otherwise it was a very painless procedure.

They are selling for around $350 at various places online. Until next month, happy computing!