press here to print Newsletter
Issue 12 - March 18, 2007
Death by Google:
The best and worst Windows versions ever:
Age is a barrier to computer use!
The German police play dirty: is not just for problems:
More news about computers:
No Sound:
XP-Single user login:
Interesting sites:

Contents:[ TOP ]
1. Newsy stuff from the world of computers and elsewhere.
2. TechTips.
4. Talkback.
5. Great sites.

Editorial:[ TOP ]
The internet allows us access to all kinds of information, some good, and much bad. We can find out how to make bombs, snoop on our neighbours, and as one woman who is currently on trial for murder discovered; how to commit such murders! I cant help wondering whether the liberal ideal of sharing information makes the world a more dangerous place.

Weve thrown in some tech tips, downloads and great sites for you to enjoy, and talkback has another rant about Vista.

Death by Google:[ TOP ]
Melanie McGuire, who is from Nrw Jersey, did a Google search for How to commit murder. Ten days later she shot her husband, and now she is on trial for murder and the evidence of her Googling is being presented to the court. Apparently she also Googled for "undetectable poisons," "fatal digoxin levels," "instant poisons," "toxic insulin levels," "how to purchase guns illegally," how to find chloroform," "fatal insulin doses," "poisoning deaths," "where to purchase guns illegally," "gun laws in PA," "how to purchase guns in PA," and "where to purchase guns without a permit,".

She sounds like one determined woman!

Full story:,129923-c,google/article.html

The best and worst Windows versions ever:[ TOP ]
I daresay weve all had discussions with friends about which version of Windows was the best, well ED Bott (ZDNet) decided to rate them all. Not surprisingly Millennium Edition fared worst, this comment sums it up: it was buggier than a Fourth of July picnic on a Mississippi riverboat. The best was Windows 2000. Take a look and tell us your views:

Age is a barrier to computer use![ TOP ]
Researchers have found that older people adapt less well to technology than the young. The research was well meaning in that it is designed to help develop training programs. However, was it really necessary? We all know that as you get older your joints creak, your memory fades and your eyesight and hearing deteriorate. So what? Many young people struggle with computers for various reasons, and they get IT training from an early age!

Computers have more relevance for the elderly in our society because they offer communication links for the housebound, family links to grandchildren etc. and information and services. My wife works in a nursing home and I asked the head nurse why the residents didnt all have PCs in their rooms; she looked at me as though I was mad and replied They are not interested in stuff like that. I bet if you connected them via webcam to their families they would take an interest.

So, lets stop wasting money on pointless research and start investing in technology for our senior citizens.


The German police play dirty:[ TOP ]
The German police are considering the use of Trojans and other malware to trap criminals. Sounds fair to me, picture the scene: Mr. Big and his gang are huddled round a laptop planning a bank raid. Every keystroke is being sent to detective Schicklegruber who sits with feet up on desk eating a big mac. When hes heard enough, Schicklegruber fires his surprise weapon, a targetted worm with a devastating payload. Mr. Big and the gang raise their arms in surrender as a trio of police effigies appear on the laptop and a voice booms out ello ello ello, what have we here then, in German of course. However, Is this a good idea? Or a potential violation of rights?,129881-c,privacysecurity/article.html is not just for problems:[ TOP ]
Many people signing in to do so because they have a computer problem and we can help. However, there is now much more to our site; we have a lively discussion boards section where you have your say on almost any subject under the sun. Our downloads section has over 150 great downloads, and we feature news items on the login page. We recently started a blog, for up to the minute news and views. All are welcome to join and leave comments and ideas.

You can find all these things in the left pane when you log in, and we will be constantly adding new features during 2007.

More news about computers:[ TOP ]
For those of you who want more news from the world of computing, the following are good sites:

And if you Google for computer news youll find loads more:

There are also news items on which is well worth a visit.

TechTips[ TOP ]
Safe Mode is a way of starting Windows while loading only a minimal set of drivers and processes. It is invaluable in diagnosing certain types of problem. For instance if you have a slow PC, or experience regular crashes, run it in safe mode and do some work, if the performance is good, you have a software issue somewhere and all you have to do is find it!

Most Windows XP users can start safe mode by tapping the F8 key as the system begins to boot. This will give you a boot menu. Here is an article showing how to start in safe mode.

And here is a description of all the safeboot options:

No Sound:[ TOP ]
Losing sound is a common problem with computers, and is usually caused by the sound card driver going bad. Its a simple fix, you find out what type of sound card you have and go get a new driver. To find the make/model of your card:

1. Right click on the My Computer Icon, (on the desktop or start menu), and select Properties.

2. Open the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button.

3. Device manager will open. Scroll down to Sound, video and game controllers, and click the + beside it to expand it. You should see the sound card listed. It may have a yellow question mark beside it.

Now put the make and model of your card into a Google search and add the words driver download. Youll find a driver, download and install it.

XP-Single user login:[ TOP ]
If you are the only user of your pC and want to go straight to the desktop without logging in, do this:

1. Go to Start, Run, and type in:

control userpasswords2

and press Enter.

2.Youll get a dialogue box, uncheck the item Users must enter a username and password to use this computer.

Downloads:[ TOP ] VNC stands for Virtual Network Computing. It is remote control software which allows you to view and fully interact with one computer desktop (the "VNC server") using a simple program (the "VNC viewer") on another computer desktop anywhere on the Internet. The two computers don't even have to be the same type, so for example you can use VNC to view a Windows Vista desktop at the office on a Linux or Mac computer at home. 6,800 free fonts.

Talkback:[ TOP ]
Ken Laninga, from Canada, had nothing nice to say about Vista; although he did express some optimism after he had blown a little steam!

I agree wholeheartedly that Vista is BAD. I got a NEW computer with it pre-installed. The only good thing so far is that it is pretty to look at. I don't need pretty. I need reliability and performance. They have changed things for the sake of change and to rip us all off again. XP is MUCH nicer.

One of their claims is that "UAC" or User Access Controls" will save a lot of trouble but UAC itself caused me so much trouble (Firefox would not open without extra clicking) that I had to disable UAC. So much for that.

If you took a vote of all Vista users, I'm sure you would find overwhelming disgust with it.
Having said all that, Phil, as I learn more about it, I will find more things I do like.

The very last word on political debate in a technology publication goes to John Page.
I think most people who subscribe to the newsletter would prefer not to read political commentary in this sort of electronic publication. Those of us who have strong feelings about these things have any number of print and electronic publications that they read regularly, and don't need to see "off the reservation" comments in a newsletter like yours.

Please put TALKBACK in the subject line of your email and send it to

Interesting sites:[ TOP ]
Twittering is the latest fad to hit the net. It looks daft to me but make your own mind up.

An absolute goldmine for serious PC users:

Credits[ TOP ] Editor: Phil Dodd,

Comments or Feedback:

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