TICO BYTE

"Have you had your bytes today?"

Volume 10 Issue 12, December, 2002

 

Educational and Technical Computer Association (ETCA) - PC Club of Costa Rica

List of officers: CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR NEW 2003 OFFICERS

President: Chuck Jennings, 226-0123; chuck@dearbetty.com

Vice President-Technical, Roy Lent - 228-9733

Vice President-Education, Jo Reinmiller 228-4341

Secretary: Jerry Karl, 232-7048

Treasurer: Lee Carey, 282-5321

Membership Chairperson, Gloria Chapin; 224-9926

Fiscal: Natalie O'Mara, 296-3059

Social Director: Bill Lawrence, 228-0190

Tico Byte Editor: Sam Butler, 289-6333; samjcr@pobox.com

 

Club Web Page http://www.pcclub.net

 

The Mission Statement of the Educational and Technical Computer Association: The Association provides its members the know-how to advance themselves in the use of computer technology and communications in a pleasant, social, interactive atmosphere.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: HOLIDAY GATHERING

A Holiday Gathering for ETCA members and guests is scheduled for Saturday, December 7th, 2002 at 1 PM til 6 PM at the home of our newly elected President Chuck and Dianne Jennings, 266-0123. Members are asked to BRING A DISH (salad or dessert) and beverage for the Holiday Gathering. Member Carolyn Reilly, 283-7383 is organizing the event. Rhoda is bringing a hot dish of Chili and Carolyn is bringing a hot Casserole.

 

DIRECTIONS to Chuck and Dianne Jennings home in San Jose de la Montana:

From in front of the MacDonalds in Heredia:

Go past the University for four blocks til it ends in a tee, there will be a big church on your right at that corner. Turn left and go five blocks to the next stop sign. Turn right. You will see the new, large AutoMercado on your right after one block.

 

Stay on that road for a couple of kilometers into Barva. You will pass the main church on the main plaza, you will be on a one-way street as you do. One short and one long block after the church, you will come to where the road is two-way again and has the main traffic that comes into town. You will also see a “Y” to your right; it is a large road with signs that say San Jose del la Montana. Take that road to the right.

 

Proceed three to four kilometers up the hill. The road is newly paved and has strips and reflectors in the middle of the road. (We are very upscale.) Continue until the church in the center of San Jose de la Montana; you will see  the football field directly across from the church. Turn immediately after the church, to your right. There is a brightly painted building on that corner; it is yellow and red. (Old headquarters of Otton

Solis.) Go one block and turn left.

 

You will know you are on the right road because you will pass the Super Santa Monica on your left and the Carniceria El Gallito on your right. Proceed two kilometers up the narrow, paved road, not running over the myriad of people who think the road is for them to walk on and not for cars.

 

After two kilometers you will leave the small roadside houses and come to an area with the vivero “Foliage Incorporated, S.A.” on your left, designated by a yellow and black lettered sign.

 

Our porton is the next one on the right. It has a small cattle guard that you will go over. You are then inside the undersold, spacious housing development where we live. Enjoy the trees. The road will be old broken concrete, with patches.

 

Go about 100 meters to the first possible left. There is a home made street sign that says “Tony Blvd.” Take that left and we are the first house and porton that you come to. There is a hand lettered sign over the porton that says “Quinta Diana.” That’s us. Chuck and Dianne Jennings: 266-0123. SEE YOU THEN. Thanks.

 

PC Club Newsletter

Other monthly MEETINGS WILL BE AT YOUR MEETING PLACE DESCRIBED HEREIN-Saint Paul's College and School in San Rafael de Alajuela, near Panasonic's plant at the cruce between San Antonio de Belen and Santa Ana, 600 meters west of Panasonic at the FRONT parking lot. A bus goes right by Saint Paul's. (One of the Buses says "San Rafael" on the front.) Attendees should grab a chair from one of the classrooms for the main meeting, and return it to the classroom later. Detailed directions to Saint Paul's appear at the end of this newsletter. The timing will be as follows: Monthly meetings start at 9 AM.

 

From Searching for Caeser

by Russell Maier, Tico Times, November 29, 2002

The Internet is all about information. Be it the latest global news or a literary classic, a lot of it is out there- Of course, information as information is of no use to anyone. The value of information depends on whether you can make use of it, or more specifically, find that which you need to know.

 

If you are looking for a copy of  Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, finding the latest transcript of Bush's speech will be intriguing at best. It is essential to know how to use of the search engines that make sense of the vast, unorganized mass of information that is the Internet.

 

In my last column (TT, Oct. 25), we reviewed the first steps to reeling in the information you seek. In many ways the task is similar to that of a hungry fisherman. Before casting out for your digital repast, it is valuable to choose the right rod for the type of fish you seek, in other words, the search engine for the query.

 

FOR example, commercial engines like msn.com or yahoo.com are great if you are looking for a product or a service to purchase. Sites such as these feature companies that pay to be well listed in the search returns. On the other hand, a non- commercial engine (like google.com or metacrawler.com) is appropriate for academic topics. Going straight to a specialized Web site (i.e. microsoft.com or web. monkey.com for computer information) can make your catch that much faster.

 

But there remains the right hook. For any Web search, the words one chooses are the final determinant of success. Let us take for example the search for an essay on Shakespeare's view of war in his play Julius Caesar. First, you select the appropriate search page -in this case Google.com (casting off in hopes of a non- commercial university or academic site).

 

It is then helpful to pose the object of one's search in the form of a question: "What is Shakespeare's view of War in the play Julius Caesar?" From my question, I select the most important terms, or key words: Shakespeare, view, war, Julius Caesar, play (search engines are indifferent to capitalization).

 

Before releasing any lines however, it also wise to take careful aim! Even with those thought-out words, one may chance upon something quite different, such as a history of the real Julius Caesar. To avoid reeling up from the depths unwanted old tires, it is valuable to know several symbols that search engines recognize as keyword modifiers.

 

Quotation marks tell the search engine that "Julius Caesar" is to be treated as a single term. Likewise, you can indicate that you want only pages containing both "Julius Caesar" and "Play" (and not those that contain one or the other). To indicate this, a "+" sign can be used. Finally, if you want to limit your returns to university Web sites, you can tell the search engine to restrict itself to academic page with the .edu domain. This is done by typing "site:edu" at the end of the keyword1 You can make use of other top level

domain names in the same way (such as site:com; site:ca for only Canadian Web sites; or site:mil for military sites, etc.);" An excessively refined search string, would look something like this: Shakespeare "Julius Caesar" + play + "view on war" site:edu

 

Not even the biggest library is of value without a card catalogue! When if comes to the Web, being able to access powerful search page, is just as important as knowing how to make use of it. Russell Maier is Web director of R.NetInternational esign and Consulting. Web & Life has its own Web page at www.rdotnet.com/weblife.

 

Watch out for e-mail Christmas Card viruses and Trojan horses

Forwarded by Jim Anway, from an e-mail by S. Jack Lewtschuk, Monterey Bay Users Group

Electronic Greeting Cards - Fun or Fraud?

We've all enjoyed sending and receiving virtual greeting cards through services such as Yahoo! and Blue Mountain. Unfortunately, now, some companies are using the popularity of these greeting cards for a much different purpose. Some people are using e-greetings to install spyware (software that collects information on what you're doing on the Internet and sends it back to them), marketing software that bombards you with popups, or viruses that send 'greetings' to everyone in your email address book.

 

One company even boasts that you can purchase its software, create an e-greeting, and send it to an unsuspecting victim so you can spy on them around the clock. Presumably, this is to catch cheating spouses, or monitor children's Internet activities. But to us, it's a very disturbing invasion of privacy.

 

As far as we can tell, these disreputable e-greetings are sent as attachments - usually with an .EXE extension. Most of them will only work on Windows, so Mac and Linux users are safe for now.

 

We don't want to tell you not to open any virtual greeting card - the ones that link to Yahoo! or Blue Mountain seem safe. But beware any attachments promising animated Santas or other holiday fun - you may just get a 'gift' you can't easily return. For more information on this scam, see http://www.techtv.com/news/security/story/0,24195,3406838,00.html

 

FINALLY A MUSEUM DEDICATED TO THE STONE BALLS

by Karen Butler and Professor Ivar Zapp

The National Museum of Costa Rica has planned for a long time the construction of a Regional Museum in the Palmar Sur area of Costa Rica in which not only would the huge stone spheres be exhibited in their original places but also the other archaeological objects the surface in the excavations in this region. Now after years of planning the project is taking place. After Professor Ivar Zapp published his book "Atlantis in America," in which a plausible ancient function of these singular and beautiful stone objects is proposed, Samuel Green, who heads the "Landmarks Foundation" of NY recommended the content of the book to Professor Danna Tomlin of the University of Pennsylvania for a possible subject for research by his students.

 

Many months later Dr. Tomlin contacted Samuel Green last year and informed him that, indeed, he would organize a project for his students. The goal was going to be to propose to the Costa Rican authorities a design for the Museum of the Megalithic Spheres, and promote a rescue project for the archeological legacy found in the Palmar Sur region. Last July, Dr. Tomlin brought to Costa Rica the Project from the University of Pennsylvania and presented it to the Minister of Culture Guido Saenz. Dr. Francisco Corrales of the National Museum is now in charge of the project that hopefully soon everyone can enjoy. If you want to participate and help in this project you can do so by calling Dr. Francisco Corrales Ulloa (506) 233-0679 or write to corralesulloa@yahoo.com .

 

Professor Ivar Zapp will be giving lectures with slides on the research about the possible function (Editor’s note-be prepared to be surprised!)of the megalithic spheres of Costa Rica and how it led him to write "Atlantis In America." On Sunday, December 8, his lecture in English will be at the Unity Church Satellite Center in Bello Horizonte at 2:30 PM (Tel. 228-7389). (From the entrance in Escazu of Bello Horizonte, 150 meters South, right side-sign in front says “Harmony”, across the street from the 4 white towers called “Condominios Bello Horizonte”). His lecture in Spanish will be on Sunday, December 15, at 2:30 PM at Centro Alquimia, Pavas (Tel. 231-0014). (Please see Weekend Calendar Section for further location information.)  At a later time, Professor Zapp also plans to conduct tours to the Palmar Sur area.  You can ask questions at his e-mail ivarzapp@racsa.co.cr and you 

 

Feature: Scams Abound On The Internet

XP NARRATOR I continue to be impressed with some of the slick features of Windows XP. You probably won't care for Narrator unless you have a visual impairment, but for many it's a godsend. Depending on options selected, Narrator announces events on screen, reads text, and moves the mouse pointer to the active item. Enable it by clicking on Start|All Programs|Accessories|Accessibility|Narrator.

STARTUP CONTROL PANEL is a nifty control panel applet that allows you to easily configure which programs run when your computer starts.  It works with Windows95/98/98SE/ME/NT4/2000/XP.  More details are at the download site. (http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml )

NEWSGROUP READER.  There's a wealth of information - and unfortunately trash - in Usenet (newsgroups).  A good free service at Newsone (http://newsone.net/ ) allows you to browse, read, and post Usenet articles around a hierarchy closely resembling a news reader.

WINDOWS ASSISTANCE.  At this site (http://www.windowsreinstall.com/ ) you'll find information to assist in installing, upgrading, repairing, and troubleshooting Windows 95/98/XP/ME/NT/2000 along with other useful hints.

 

From Editor of Neat Net Tricks Premium

I must look like an easy mark. My email box holds new surprises every day, but I can bet that at least one instance of the following will appear there:

An unsolicited letter from Nigeria arrives purporting to be from a high government official or officer of the Nigerian National Oil Company asking me to help him transfer tens of millions of dollars out of the country. In return for my assistance, I am told that I may keep multi-millions of dollars. It seems that all I have to do is give this gentleman all my financial information and an "advance fee" to pay for transfer costs.

 

I am pleased to learn that I can earn thousands of dollars a month working at home.  My efforts in writing this column haven’t returned such wealth so I’m tempted to respond to the writer, who of course asks that I make a small deposit to learn just how this wealth can be amassed. I wonder though, if it were possible to make the amounts claimed, why wouldn’t this scammer be doing the work himself instead of cutting me in on the action?

 

Then there’s the service that offers to remove damaging information from my credit report, for a fee of course.  I believe I can safely pass up that offer, because I remember reading somewhere that I can correct erroneous credit information at no cost through the credit reporting agency. If the adverse information truly belongs there, I can get assistance, again at no cost, in rebuilding my credit reputation through nonprofit organizations. Researching this scam, I also found that the Federal Trade Commission is interested in these shady offers and details of their investigation can be found at their site.

 

Well, this looks like fun.  I can go to Hawaii for two whole weeks for just $350. Perhaps this should raise a red flag though, I must get them the money within the next 24 hours and I can’t help but wonder why the rush. Hawaii has been around for quite a while and the chances are rather slim that it’s going to disappear overnight. We have some reputable travel agencies locally, so a check with them might be wise.

 

Black Law’s Dictionary defines a “con” as “a knowing misrepresentation of the truth or concealment of a material fact to induce another to act to his or her detriment.” While it’s true that the Internet has become a fertile ground for the con artist’s enterprise,  con games date back to the Roman Enterprise and are the stuff P.T. Barnum referred to in his oft-quoted statement “There’s a sucker born every minute.

 

While the Internet has fueled opportunities to relieve us of our hard-earned cash, it provides many tools to educate us and enable us to deal with fraud, on line and off.

 

The U.S. Attorney General’s Office provides what to look for and how to deal with con games, including schemes in telemarketing, credit cards, sweepstakes, promotions, contests, home improvement, investments, work at home, and others. And if you feel you’ve been taken by one of these con games, the Attorney General also provides an online Consumer Complaint Form and even a form to directly submit junk email complaints to the feds; however, don’t get too excited about that one. The Attorney General will intervene only if the spam is commercial, the sender or recipient is located in Washington, D.C., and the email header is forged or the subject line is misleading.  Unfortunately, that criteria eliminates most spam.

 

In fact, don’t be overly confident that anyone can help you if you’re victimized by the shysters who lure you toward bargain prices on the Internet. I remember a segment the TV evening news recently about a family who chose a moving company through a Web site because of the low price of $3,000 to relocate them.  Once the furniture was loaded and out the drive, the price went to $31,000.  The family had to pay to regain possession of their household goods after a barrage of complaints to government agencies failed to gain any support.  The victims were told “next time get it in writing.” Better advice might be to deal only with reputable companies, on or off the Internet.

 

The Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C).  IFCC's mission is to address fraud committed over the Internet. For victims of Internet fraud, IFCC provides a convenient and easy-to-use reporting mechanism that alerts authorities of a suspected criminal or civil violation. There is a central repository for complaints related to Internet fraud and the IFCC works to quantify fraud patterns and provide timely statistical data of current fraud trends.

 

If someone rips you off, report their con game to the police, your city or state consumer protection office, district attorney's office, or a consumer advocacy group. If you suspect fraud, call the National Fraud Information Center at 800-876-7060, 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST. And to find out more, visit their Web site, Don't feel foolish. Reporting is vital. Very few frauds are reported, which leaves the con artists free to rob other people of their money - and their trust.

 

DIRECTIONS to Saint Paul's Colegio in San Rafael de Alajuela

W here the provincial borders of Heredia and San Jose meet. South of San Antonio de Belen.

FROM THE CARIARI OVERPASS: For those taking a BUS, there is a bus stop available one block downhill - for example, the editor has been told that the bus that says "San Rafael" on its front will get you right to the meeting place.

BY CAR from the Cariari Overpass: continue on the main road downhill toward San Antonio de Belen, past the Fruta Warehouse about 100 meters and then turn right, you have to anyway because of a No Hay Paso sign and oncoming cars, go 1 block and turn left, (following signs to San Rafael and Santa Ana) continue down to the center of San Antonio de Belen past the church, and one block into the Soccer Field turn right, go one block and turn left, follow the street (you are going toward Santa Ana) (the road will wind a little, stay to the right when there are choices.) You are on your way to the Panasonic Plant, you pass a reverse Y-continue on past the reverse Y about 500 meters, and you will pass the Panasonic Plant. Continue straight past the Panasonic plant, go 600 meters to Saint Paul's School FRONT parking entrance.

FROM SANTA ANA: turn right at the Red Cross facility, as if you are going to the Airport. Go all the way straight until you come to the Panasonic Plant Intersection. Turn Left. Go 600 meters to Saint Paul's School FRONT parking entrance.

 

List of current ETCA, PC Club Members:

President: Chuck & Dianne Jennings

Vice President-Technical: Roy Lent

Vice President-Education: Jo Reinmiller

Secretary: Jerry & Yvette Karl

Treasurer: Lee Carey

Fiscal: Natalie Omara

Membership Chairperson: Gloria Chapin

Tico Byte Newsletter Editor: Sam Butler

ETCA Membership 2002

Dave Brothers

Jorge Codina

Charles Coiro

Dorie Dawson

Bonnie Dumas

Dorothy Elstun

Bob Farrar

Don Federspiel

Jay & Grace Fernandes

George Fernandez

David Fogg

Bob Halstrum

Ann Harrison

George Horly

Bill Lawrence

Helen Marek

Matt Mathis

Sid Matthews

Desmond McReynolds

Paul Miller

John Montgomery

James Moore

Wes Nash

Georges & Rhoda Obolensky

Gary Pitts

Rich & Jean Redmond

Carolyn Reilly

James Riedy

Loreno Rocchi

Phil & Wils Rogers

Stanley Sainsbury

Gerry Sen

Bob Sharkey

Claude Thomas

Dan Walker

Alan Weeks

Paul Williams

Herb Wish

Shirley Yamada


Thank you and Happy Holidays