South County Computer Club's Blog

SCCC is a PC User Group in South St. Louis County. We have a newsletter, and now a Web Blog Site, and we meet at Tesson Ferry Library, 7 PM every 2nd Wednesday of the month. Come join us. Please note: the posts here are in chronological order with the newest here at the top. Scroll down to see previous posts or click on the index links.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Here's Pete acting funny Posted by Hello

Well, here it is meeting night and as usual, I'm not ready (completely). If this is your first time reading posts here, you'll of course notice that these are sort of in "reverse" order... in other words, the latest (newest) words and pictures are here at the top. You can scroll down to see the previous posts or use the handy "previous posts' links... they just take you down the page.

Let's see. With Blogspot you can...

* Easily post some words to your own website. It's got a very easy intuitive interface, and if you know something about coding web pages you can do almost anything you could do with a regular web host and some web page making tool like Frontpage or Dreamweaver.

* You can now add images. You can't place them... they come in as a separate post, but I'd bet you could do some cool stuff if you knew how to change the code.

* You can also easily create hotlinks for your readers to click on to go to other place in your blog or anywhere on the Net.

* You can open the blog to comments from anyone, or just "members" and you can completely lock out all users except the ones you want (providing they know the password and are members of blogspot themselves)

There's much more, but I won't blather about it here... you could read all about it on the instruction pages and in the Help feature here. Like about any other computer related endeavor, you learn this stuff by doing and making mistakes. Remember, this is not in stone, you can get back in and easily change your posts and even delete them or the entire blog and start all over again.

This particular Blogging tool was originally recommended by TechTV (sad to say they've now been 'absorbed' by a big Gaming TV network, and it's not nearly as handy as it used to be. That's from a non-gamer's point of view, but you have to be Windows and hardware saavy to play games effectively, so I don't know what they're thinking taking off great shows like 'Call for Help' and reducing the play time of Screen Savers to one show a day.

I was going to try and put some handy links here in the box off to the right (currently, depends on what template you're running), but perhaps we'll try that and some more picture posts tonight at the meeting.

I will also have an external hard drive and show you how easy it is to back up your system nowdays. See you over there.

Blogger "sign in" page or registration and instructions Posted by Hello

I've decided to also do a bit about backing up your hard drive. There's been so many viruses, worms, etc. over the last couple months (heck, it's been rampant for over a year, but particularly since this new Sasser worm appeared).

But first, lets take a brief look at Blogspot.

You see here the opening screen when you type in as a URL address. Simply follow the simple instruction here (you'll have to make up an acceptable name and password), then you can create your own blog. BUT, that's not all. You can also then join the blog here as a member and add to this thing. You can do that already if you click on the comment link at the bottom of each post.

OK, by tomorrow you will see by article on a backup strategy and hopefully we'll have something for the Site-O-the Month.



Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Well, it's the morning of the day before the club meeting. Unlike the newsletter, I don't have to "finish" this before the meeting in order to "publish" it. I could just as easily notify you by email that this is what we're going to do. That might even happen today if I have the time. Email is getting a bit tedious nowdays. Is that happening to you? Here's what I mean... when I send a group email to SCCC members, I must break it up into three groups of ten or less email names each before I can send it. This is due to something the SBC mail server has done to prevent worms and spammers from using your mail account to broadcast their wares for free and undetected. Some people tell me that they don't have this "problem". I need to try it on some other machines. I might even try from my Yahoo mail and see what it does there.

Well, I've gotta go get to work... I'll be back later with more pictures and a description of how YOU can get your own Blog.


Sunday, June 06, 2004

I don't really have to create a new post after every picture, but it gives me good practice in opening and editing things. It probably helps to know a bit about coding HTML, but you don't really have to know ANYTHING at all. The key, like most anything else, is experience that comes from practice practice practice.

Now, let's see if I can create a link for you to click on to take you somewhere else on the internet. If you click HERE you go to the website to sign up for a free Blog, or to login to ones you've created if you're already signed up.

I've also activated the "comments" feature here. The pictures, comments, and links are all new features since I started this particular Blog. Before, you could do it, but you had to know how to code HTML to do it.

I think we can have a group or team post capability on here as well. To do this, all you need to do is have everyone who desires to be a member register with Blogspot. It also means you could create your own blog or blogs.

I click "Send Picture of Window" to show you last month's newsletter open for editing in Publisher. Posted by Hello

I've decided to make this month's meeting about Blogs and Blogging. Just to show you what you can do with these things. We'll go over the details of creating your own blog at the meeting. Actually, this thing might be ideal if you're traveling on vacation and wanted to show the folks back home all your boring pictures. If I've read the instructions right, they would even be able to comment on the posts you make, sort of like a "board" conversation. The only thing you're going to need to do this is access to a computer while you're on vacation... a laptop, an internet cafe, public computers such as our County Library system has, even an internet capable cell phone or PDA... you can "post" to your Blog via email if you wish (although I'm not quite sure how you might post pictures).

You see here another "screen shot". To do pictures like this, you simply sign up for a "chat" service called "Hello" and the pictures go to Blogspot through it.

You can send a "screen shot". This is my wallpaper. Posted by Hello

I haven't posted here in quite some time as you can see. By accident I came across a free blog tool on Google. I found out that it could support picture posts now, so I dived in. Guess what? It's the same tool I used to create this blog. There are quite a few new tools, such as the screen shot you see here. We can use this to actually post the club's newsletter here, and NO WEB FEES to support and the administration is minimal.

You all can make comments if you want, but judging from the last time I tried this, I'm not going to depend on it. If you want to, send me an email and I'll arrange it.

Well, that's all for this time, but I should be getting something up HERE for this month's newsletter. You won't be receiving an email with an attached newsletter, but rather an email will contain a link to this site.

Good night and happy computing.


Thursday, June 12, 2003

Satisfied now?

Here's a post from Dave.

I hope you're remembering to run Scandisk and Defrag, and remove any TMP files (run Disk Cleanup) after these power outages.

This can be rough on your computer. I recommend that you unplug it from the wall if there's even a hint of a thunderstorm in your immediate area.

Well, more later. I found a good tweak, but I don't know if it'll work for all Windows versions.

I want to go try it on a windows 98 machine first.


Monday, June 09, 2003

I know I'm not posting every day, but what can I say... I've been busy.

I sent a note to a few of you asking you to participate here if you care to. It's easy to do, just read the instructions.

It'd be real nice if you could post pictures here for free, or do some other graphical stuff (I guess you can if you know HTML, but I don't want to take the time). In any case, we're going to have a newsletter any time now ;-)

See you at the meeting!

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Well gang. this should be an interesting post fer ya...

My main computer had a problem Sunday or Monday after my last post. I still don't know what did it, but everything was normal until I did a Restart. The machine wouldn't get to the Windows 'splash' screen, just kept restarting over and over and over. I found I could get to the bios settings without it restarting, I could boot on a floppy or a CD and things would be normal, but I just had some kind of problem with Windows.

There's a feature in the new Windows XP whereby you can put the Windows XP CD in a drive, boot on it, and hit the R key at the appropriate moment to restore a damaged Windows installation. This gets you to a Recovery Console screen that's a lot like booting to a DOS prompt on Windows 98 and down. I got here and did a CHKDSK (Windows XP's version of Scandisk, and a throwback to the old days of DOS for those that remember). Nothing was wrong here that I could detect. I finally did a reinstall OVER what I had on the hard drive, but the system was so SLOW it was actually S L O W . By this time I figured the problem might be a video card or hard drive problem or maybe memory. So, what does one do in a case like this? Take the suspect 'stuff' out of the computer and replace it with known good parts and retry. I did this, one at a time, with no real changes in system behavior.

We're now well into Tuesday and Dave's not having a good time. I had another machine handy so I could still do email and I also had a way to get to the Internet to try and find answers to what was wrong (this is always a big help, so don't throw out that older computer you might have sitting in a basement or closet if it still works and you can go online with it... better still, stay tuned to club reports and I'll show you how to network so you can use that old machine just like I do if you have a Broadband Internet connection (DSL or Cable).

I finally gave up trying to figure out what was wrong with the old box, and I thought I'd try a reinstall to a bare hard drive. The safe way to do this if you don't have a strong backup of your documents, pictures, and email stuff (mine was about a month old), the safe way is to get another drive and just build it up and then put the OLD drive back in as a second drive and pull the stuff you need from it to the new installation. This works if your old drive isn't completely dead... if it's dead, then the only thing you can do is punt it into the trash ** unless the warranty is still active ** and start everything from scratch and use what backup you have. It will be a struggle, but you'll be wiser after you're done, and maybe make a better backup and keep your stuff better organized. Also, having your screen name, email address and settings, passwords, and perhaps a list of the programs you have installed... have that handy on paper somewhere. A good tool (except for passwords which you could then write on the printout) is the Belarc Advisor. Use this to take an inventory of your system every time you make a major change. You could then use this as a roadmap to recover from a disaster.

Well, I'm gonna post now... I'll wax about this a little more later on, and you can be sure we'll be talking about it at future club meetings.


Saturday, May 31, 2003

I'm a little disappointed in the blog tool, 'cause I'm suppose to be able to right click on a web page I've viewing and quote directly from it to this blog. That means I could show you the the techbargains web site [] has a listing for May 30 showing a special sale at Compusa for the following (I did a cut and paste here)

Compusa 160GB 7200RPM 8MB HD $99.99AR (300018)

I was hoping it'd put clickable links and all the text I highlighted.

Would make it very easy for me to show you what I'm looking at without having to open the blogger page and edit stuff, cut and paste, and then post... that's what I've done here. ;-(