Technical tips

home   newtech    guest book   link already visited   link not yet visited  


There are many operating systems around, of which the most popular are Windows from Microsoft and Linux from a community of unpaid enthusiasts. Windows is very easy to instal and can be very robust, but if you are a sophisticated user and like to rewrite parts of the operating system Linux is better. Windows is an IBM, MSDOS type system. Linux is a Unix C type system.

Windows 98 second edition is the most useful and powerful of the many variations of the windows operating system. It is still supported and provides a very stable environment and almost never crashes. It is a little less user friendly than Windows XP.

Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP are all the same family and support multiprocessing (more than one Pentium in your system)such as most web servers will contain. The latest Pentium IV, 3 GHZ, 478 pin chip contains 2 microprocessors. It requires one gigabyte of memory to function, that is 1000 megabytes. Remember when Bill gates said that one megabyte of memory was more than enough for everything? The Pentium IV 3GHZ runs very hot and requires very good cooling (fans). It is still very new and very expensive. Better to wait a little. It also requires a motherboard which supports hyper threading and an operating system which supports more than one processor such as Windows XP. It is not clear what is the problem that this configuration is designed to overcome. The system speed is largely detemined by the speeds of the various internal busses, typically 333MHZ for the fetch and execute cycle to and from the memory (DDR333).

Windows ME was a breakaway from the Windows NT line and contained some applications which are now a part of Windows XP. It was unstable and seems to be quietly dieing out.

Most web servers run the Linux operating system, because the whole internet culture derives from the universities who run in a Unix or C type of environment. Windows ME is not recommended. Neither is Windows XP, yet. Windows ME tries to be very user friendly but succeeds only in being very buggy. Most of the bugs have been removed in Windows XP but it is very complicated to use. It is over friendly and treats the user like an idiot. With service pack 1 Windows XP is getting better and crashes less often but it still has a way to go. An operating system should be just that and not support video cameras and household appliances which is the job of an application program.

Microsoft have realised that windows users frequently corrupt their systems by installing applications which interfere with each other by overwriting parts of one with the other. Formerly the solution was to back up your system, format C: and reinstall windows. But now regular updates are offered online to Internet Explorer, which also update the operating system. Thus problems seem to disappear. Both Windows 98SE and Windows XP now offer a reporting system for errors which can send back a report to Microsoft for analysis. The system even tells you which application caused the fault (not always correct). Microsoft offer a system for software certification. They offer to test new software before it is launched to see if it is compatible with Windows whatever. Not all developers do this. Either they do not want big brother to know what they are doing or the software is not that good.

Linux is the best operating system ever but it is difficult to install and does not support many devices. You really do not know what you are buying when you visit your local computer shop. You find out later the good and bad points of your video driver, sound card, modem etc. Many devices do not have drivers for Linux. Anybody out there know what is a pivot point? Those who just want email and to surf the internet should look at new Linux systems which can be very cheap at only US$250 to US$350 and run Lindows (a sort of windows for Linux)

How to setup a Local Area Network (software)

This is a very complicated subject but this is a very clear explanation that works!
We are talking about Windows 98SE
It is much easier under Windows XP. There are step by step instructions called wizards, but you still need to set an IP address (see below).
This simple step by step was lifted from
First plug in the hardware (LAN cards and LAN cables) and install the drivers (easier said than done).
Also check your earth connections. If they are bad or non existent join the cases with a wire.
This system is not ideal but better than nothing. A desktop computer is fitted with a switch mode power supply, which can cause the cases to float at up to 100 or more volts, and not in sync with each other.
This can confuse the network cards such that they cannot read the pulses sent down the network cable.

Settings Check for Windows 98/ME:

Right click on Network Neighborhood/My Network Places and go to Properties.

Select TCP/IP -> 'Your Network Device'
Go to properties
Select 'specify IP address'
Fill in IP address:

(Note: The IP address should be the same on both computers except for the last number, so in this case, computer 2 will have IP address

Fill in 'subnet mask'
Click on 'ok'

(Note: If you are intending to set up Internet connection Sharing (ICS) over a peer-to-peer network then we would advise that you leave these entries set to 'obtain an IP Address automatically'.)

Select in the same window 'following network components are installed' File and Printer sharing for Microsoft Networks

Click on 'properties'. Select 'Browse master' and make sure this is set to 'enabled
Select 'LM Announce' and make sure this is set to 'yes'
Click on ok.

The Primary Network Logon:' should be set to: Client for Microsoft Networks.

Click on 'File and Print sharing' and make sure that both options are 'ticked'

Click now on 'identification' on the Top.
Make Sure that there are no spaces in the 'computer name', 'workgroup' and 'computer description'.
Make sure the 'workgroup' is on both computers exactly the same. (This is case sensitive as well)

Click on Access control on the Top
Select 'share level access control'
Click on OK

Restart the computer if Windows asks you to do so.
After restarting the computer (Windows 98) you will be greeted by a password login box asking you to 'Please Enter Your Network Password'. Essentially this is to enable you to log onto your Workgroup. As a default there is no password specified so you should simply click 'OK'. Clicking 'CANCEL' will not log you on to your 'WORKGROUP' and you will not therefore be able to see the other Computers in that Workgroup.

Sharing Files/Providing Access:

Click on 'My Computer'

Right-click on your 'C: Drive' and go to 'Sharing'
Make sure the C: drive is:
'Shared as 'C'
Access is 'Full'

Do this on all computers.

Good luck!

Return to top

How to access the internet from a hotel room.

Even today and with all of the publicity about the internet most people and most hotels are scared of technology like the internet.

If you are lucky and can dial out of your hotel room without a switchboard then it is possible. But do not forget to tell your laptop to dial 9 (or 0 or whatever) for an outside line or the receptionist will become very upset.

Also allow enough time for the hotel system to allocate an outside line for you.

Go to Start, Settings, Control Panel, Telephony, To access an outside line: For local calls, dial 9,,, (or whatever).

3 commas define a pause usually sufficient for the hotel system to allocate an outside line.

If you are unlucky and need to access a switchboard then the cooperation of the operator is required and may not be forthcoming. If the operator is willing he or she needs to make the connection to your room before the telephone is answered and you the user need to configure your machine for manual dial.

Start, Control Panel, Internet Options, Connections, Settings, Properties, Configure, Options, Operator assisted or manual dial.

It can be done.

Many like to wait until a voice answers your call and then ring you back. Of course your local ISP (Internet Service Provider )will never answer with a voice, and the sound reminds them of a fax machine so they become perplexed and obstructive. There really is no way around this Return to top

How this web site was created

This web site was created by John Black using Notepad running under Windows 98 and sometimes PC Write under MSDOS. and now Ultraedit.

The essence of an HTML page is very simple but it can include many powerful features of increasing complexity to create almost any effect the author wants.

The world wide web system was designed by Tim Berners Lee at CERN in Switzerland to enable scientists to send and receive text and pictures from one computer to another usually by a telephone connection. He got no money for it and still drives an old VW Beetle.

The HTML programming language was designed by Dave Raggett at the university of Illinois and he got no money for it either. He likes to receive postcards.

None of the multimillionaire users of the system are willing to put money into it and hence it has just evolved with all of its idiosyncrasies.

When you log onto the internet and download your homepage what you are downloading is a chunk of text known as HTML (hyper text markup language), which a program called a browser can interpret for you as text and pictures, called a web page.

The most popular browser is Internet Explorer version 6 which was derived (copied) from Netscape Navigator, which was derived from Mosaic created at the University of Illinois.

Click on Stop, View and then Source and you can view what you have downloaded. Try it on this page.

The HTML language uses start and end tags to create a particular effect.

<HTML> is a start tag which starts all web pages. </HTML> is a tag which ends all web pages.

Within an HTML page there must be a <HEAD></HEAD> followed by a <BODY></BODY> which contains most of the action. Take a look at this page to see it.

It is very difficult to place text and pictures exactly where the author wishes.

So the <TABLE> tag needs to be extensively misused and is. Take a look at any professional page such as and you will see <TABLE><TABLE> <TABLE>. This tag was intended for displaying tables of numerical results but now appears everywhere.

Another anomaly is that all spaces and carriage returns are ignored, so that sometimes &nbsp; is needed to insert a space and <BR> to insert a new line.

This web site was hosted free of charge by a division of The author wouldrecommend everybody to YAHOO. It is a great service and a great organization.

A few tips to remember when using Geocities :-

  • The masterpiece you created offline may not look the same online.
  • The web server is case sensitive so that Bounce.gif and bounce.gif are two separate files. Under Windows 98 they are the same file. It is best to use lower case filenames and folder names throughout. Most web servers run Linux for speed and efficiency. Linux is a Unix or C type environment, and hence case sensitive.
  • Hold the shift button down while previewing your masterpiece or your browser will reload your masterpiece from its internal buffer which was before you corrected the error, so it would appear that the old version has not been updated.
  • Make your photographs as small as possible or they will take forever to download and you visitors will be bored. A definition of 36 pixels per inch is approximately the definition of an average computer screen. A higher definition is a waste of time. You can alter the resolution of your photographs with Microsoft Photo Editor supplied free with Windows 98. There is no need to buy expensive software for this. Adobe is very good

This web site was then hosted in Australia by Spacenet a part of the Eftel group. They were some of the nicest people you could hope to meet, but Spacenet are now Eftel and deal mainly with the corporates and so the personnal service is not what it was.

This web site is now hosted by from Columbus Ohio, who offer an advanced web service at a very reduced price, while still providing customer support. Notice that the 'www.' prefix is now optional! They provide a user setup menu which gives the webmaster full control of the website with facilities such as 50mb of storage, US$45 per annum, free domain name, PHP, SQL, top level domain names like and of course Perl/CGI, etc. They also invite webmasters to become salesman by purchasing 100 or more web sites to resell to clients. The webmaster would need to offer support to the clients.

The author outgrew Geocities, when they decided to redefine the way they calculate the number of megabytes of storage your web site is using. Spacenet allocate only 10 megabytes of storage, yet this site uses at least 20 MB, and someone let slip that a client is using 120 MB. Within reason nobody seems to mind too much.

Geocities allow up to 15 MB of storage and the author religiously kept to this. Then overnight his storage increased from 14 to 17 MB without any action by the author. Despite frantic emails no explanation was available. The explanation seems to be that Geocities decided to include the slack bytes at the end of each file.

Typically a hard disk is clustered to 2048 bytes, which means that a one byte file occupies 2048 bytes, while a 2049 byte file occupies 4096 bytes. Thus the more files you store the more bytes you are in fact using.

This new policy made the web site impossible to maintain and so it just sits there.

For more information about the syntax and use of the HTML programming language do visit David Ragett's excellent web site at

Return to top

How to remove those little arrows from the icons on your desktop.

Removing the Arrows from Shortcut Icons, page 371 Windows 98 by Paul McFedries

If you use shortcuts regularly, you know that Windows 98 displays a small arrow in the lower-left corner of the shortcut icon. If you normally leave "Shortcut to" as part of the shortcut's name, you might prefer not to see the arrow. To tell Windows 98 not to add the arrow to your shortcuts:- Start, Run, regedit, OK, then browse to the following Registry key:


In the Settings pane, find the IsShortcut setting and rename it (to, say, IsShortcutNot). Exit the Registry Editor to put this change into effect (you don't need to restart Windows 98).

In fact the change will happen only after restarting Windows 98. Shortcuts to MSDOS programs will retain the small arrow.

This works also under Windows Millennium Edition.

Return to top

How to change the icons of your .bmp files to pictures.

Using a Bitmap File's Own Image as Its Icon, page 373 Windows 98 Unleashed Paul McFedries

Because bitmap files are associated with Paint, they're displayed in Explorer with Paint's icon. Wouldn't it be nice if, rather than the generic Paint icon, each bitmap file used its own image as its icon? With the registry all things are possible.

Open the following Registry key:


The default setting for this key should have the following value:


This is telling Windows 98 to use the generic Paint icon. Change this setting to %1. With this value, each BMP file uses its built-in icon handler to generate its own icon. This technique is normally used with EXE files that have icons embedded inside them. Because a BMP file doesn't have an embedded icon, it just uses its own image.

After you've changed the default setting, the new value goes into effect immediately. Switch to Explorer and select View | Refresh to update the display. For each BMP file, the contents of the file are used as the icon.

This works also with Windows Millennium Edition but the default setting for the key will be different. As always back up your registry before changing anything. With Windows 98 it was necessary to use import and export but Windows Millennium Edition has a facility to bookmark a configuration (System Restore) and then to restore it in case of trouble.

Return to top

Use synchronize to download your favorite web pages while you sleep.

'Synchronize' web sites to your hard drive.IE's synchronize feature is a real 'find'

Random Newsbytes by Tony Waltham, Bangkok Post, Database, Wednesday November 1st 2000

A personal computer today comes with an operating system and applications packed with so many features that it is impossible to learn or to use more than a small percentage of them.

The secret, of course, is to quickly learn and master the powerful shortcuts, the ways to achieve results within an application quickly, so that you can get on with your work and be productive. Every so often, however, you will probably discover a new way of doing something: a quicker or more effective way of organizing your data, for example.

The problem with a PC today is that there are usually at least two or three ways to achieve the same result, and while this allows for different approaches to things, the best way is not always obvious or intuitive.

Take someone who is researching information on the web. This typically requires going to a search engine and then investigating several sites that would appear to have promising data.

Every so often, however, and usually after searching fo a while, you will find a rich "lode" of information, a site where you mutter "great" and you click on the Favorites or the Bookmark tag or reference this.

Once you have built up a set of bookmarks, you find yourself repeatedly revisiting these book marked sites for additional information, doing this much like you would pick up a book, frequently bringing it down from a shelf (the web) to refer to.

For several years, I have been saving interesting or useful pages from my sites that I have visited to my hard disk by clicking on the file menu and then "save as," which saves the web page in its original form as an HTML file.

Then, I can access this information by using the file menu by browsing through a directory for the file I was looking for. That was my approach until the other day, at least, when I discovered the Synchronize feature and its off- line viewing option in IE5 - and I dare say that my web surfing will never be quite the same again.

This little tool or "Wizard", in Internet Explorer will run in the background and bring a web site to your desktop, up to three levels of links deep, while you get on with something else - or go out and party.

Or you might just go to sleep, knowing that after you come back all the content of the web site in question should be securely stored on your computer.

From that point onwards, just click on "work off-line" in IE and then the "web site" can be accessed from your Favorites menu - and there is no need to visit the "World Wide Wait" for this information.

For example, you could go to an encyclopedia site and, if you wanted to, download its entire online reference material to you hard disk (this might take some time however).

After which, this information is available instantly from your desktop - and sure beats the time connecting, negotiating to the ISP and braving the traffic on the web to access a remote site.

Here is the procedure:

Click on Favorites and then "Add to Favorites" and then click "Make available off-line"; Click Customize and then click on Next. Click Yes to the question: "if this page contains links to other pages, would you like to make those pages available off-line too?"

Click "download pages 3 links deep from this page" (or two if you want fewer pages).

Then there is also a synchronization scheduler by which you can ask the Wizard to automatically check your downloaded web pages to see if they have been updated online, and if so to update your version as well.

There is even a provision to connect to the web in order to do this if you are not online at the time. There's also a provision to store a password for a particular site, if one requires this.

The only constraints to working offline here would appear to be the time that it may take to download some large web sites - you can figure on downloading around 20 megabytes of data an hour over a dial-up modem, but some sites can be thousands of megabytes (for example, the encyclopedia site mentioned).

So the time you will need to make this once-only initial download is a factor - think perhaps in terms of overnight transfers, while your online connect charges should also be a consideration.

You will want to be fairly selective in choosing which sites to download in the background as you will pretty much be in the dark about the content behind these links, since time connected to the Internet is money (although the rates have gotten a lot better of late.)

If your ISP has discounted access rates late in the night, this option would be worth taking advantage of. You will probably get higher download speeds then, when Internet traffic is lower.

Clearly, this approach will benefit a few a lot - those learning and who are looking to the web for reference information, while others who are seeking updated news or entertainment content on the web may find this feature to be of less interest.

However, everyone can probably benefit from having ready access to reference information of some sort and this feature can transform your desktop PC into a library of information on any topic you choose.

So, let IE 5's synchronization wizard go data mining for you - and maybe it will be time soon to invest in that second hard disk. Around 20 gigabytes sounds like a good size.

Tony Waltham is editor of Database. Email:

Return to top

Out of space on your hard drive ? Which files to delete.

After upgrading from an Amstrad 1512 with a 20 MB hard drive to a Twinhead P88T laptop with a 4GB or 4000MB hard drive you would have thought that one could never run out of disk space again but programs and data seem to expand to fill the space available to contain them so now after upgrading to a 6GB hard drive and then to a 20GB hard drive the problem remains the same.

Storing movies at 700MB per hour or backup copies of software installation CD ROMs all consume large amounts of disk space. And if you like music, and who does not, the problem multiplies.

Proceed as follows:-

The author offers his own masterpiece TREEDEV for you to download and possess free of charge. There are 7 years of development work in it. It has been tested on up to 10,000 folders and 20GB of storage. Click on it and in about one minute it will create a file called TREE.TXT, probably on your desktop, containing a list of all the folders on the hard drive sorted in descending order of magnitude. Click on TREE.TXT to view the contents. At only 4240 bytes long it is almost too small to fit a virus, but as with all downloads it is recommended to use virus scanning software. The best and cheapest (free to private users) is FRISK from Iceland. Then unzip the file with WINZIP and you are ready to click on the program file F-PROT.EXE. It runs in MSDOS mode and is really fast. Or see below and download and   from the web site.

Download now free (only 4k should not take more than 20 seconds)

Download now FRISK free antivirus software - runs all the time and checks everything
guard against all virus entry (only 760k should not take more than 1 minute)

Visit the FRISK web site

If you do not have it you will need Winzip to unpack the zip file. The trial version can be downloaded from here.
Click on it and it will unpack itself.
Download winzip81.exe now - Winzip trial version to unpack a zip file

Return to top

How to save time when starting up your machine.

Computer Currents by James Hein, Bangkok Post, Database, Wednesday November 1st 2000

A common query I get is where are the programs stored that kick off as the machine boots up? The answer is in a number of places. The first place I have people look is by right clicking the Start button, then Open, Programs Startup. Any program or startup you find there will be loaded as the machine boots.

This area is a carry over from the older days and the majority of the startup programs are stored in the registry. The Key is HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run. But if you are going to play around in here I recommend you backup this area of the registry first. You do this by highlighting the key and then selecting Export Registry File under the File menu. Once you have saved this somewhere safe, you can start deleting the things you don't want. I recommend you don't delete anything else unless you know what it is.

Another place to look for files is under the RunServices key, which is where you will find programs like VShield and other anti-virus products. The less of these programs you have in these three places the faster your computer will boot up.

If you mess this up in anyway simply use the Import selection from the File menu to reload the exported key you saved.

Return to top

How to create a shutdown icon on the desktop

In order to shutdown windows it is necessary to click on Start then Shut Down and then again shutdown and finally OK. It is possible to shutdown windows directly by creating a shortcut on the desktop:-

Right click on the desktop
C:\WINDOWS\Rundll.exe User.exe,ExitWindows
Shut Down

Then to select an icon:-

Right click on the default icon you have created
Change Icon

Click on any icon you fancy.
The inventor suggested the traffic lights for shutdown
and the aircraft in the clouds for restart.


Now double click on the icon and windows will shutdown.

In order to create another icon to restart windows repeat the process but with the command line:-

C:\WINDOWS\Rundll.exe User.exe,ExitWindowsExec

Both the shutdown and restart shortcuts work with Windows 98. Only the shutdown shortcut works with Windows Millennium Edition.

home   newtech    guest book   top   Page created on September 27th. 2003 and updated on February 14th. 2014. You are visitor number   number of hits