[Ed. Note:  There were two Tico Bytes issued in March of 2003, one on the 3rd and another on the 9th.  Both have been included here, separated by a horizontal line. Click here to jump to the 2nd Byte.]

Dear PC Club members and trial members,

Below is your Tico Byte for the week. I hope you enjoy it.



Mar 3,  2003

1. What's new in computing
2. Information you can use
3. Just for fun
4. Social we are
5. The Linux world
Official items

1. From Roy:

The Lowly LED Raises its Beautiful Head.
Roy Lent

The LED or Light Emitting Diode stated out in the 1960s as a pin point of
redish light mainly used for on/off lights in fairly dark places. It was used to
replace grain-of-rice bulbs and other very small filament type bulbs. These
filament bulbs had a serious defect; they tended to burn out. The LEDs had a
defect; they gave off little light, but they lasted almost forever.

The struggle up to the 90's, with LEDS, was to increase the light output and to
make them in different colors, especially white. Now they are coming of age
and beginning to have more uses than just pilot lights. Of course there is an
infrared LED in all those remote control units for TVs and such too. And the
brightest white bulbs are showing up in things like flashlights, but multiple bulbs
must be used to get really enough light.

However, in laboratories there are now fantastic new advances:

1) There are now LEDs and LED pairs that can be made to change color by
changing the voltage and frequency of the current. There are even experimental
one bulb traffic lights!

2) They now can print sheets of microscopic LEDs. One applies current and the
flexiple sheet lights up. Of course, if these can be made to change color and
intensity independently, it’s easy to see how paper thin sceens can be made for
TVs and computers!

3) And finnally the iceing on the cake: there now are commercially available
LEDs that produce ultraviolet light. These will be the secret of the next great
revolution in lighting which are sceduled to completely replace flourescent
lighting by 2006.

A flourescent tube has close to a vacuum inside with a tiny amount of mercury
metal. The filaments on the ends heat the mercury which, in the near vacuum,
form mercury vapor. An electrical arc crosses the tube in the vapor and
produces lots of untraviolet light. This untraviolet strikes a layer of phosphors
coating the inside of the tube and cause it to glow very brightly.

Well, a sheet of millions of tiny ultraviolet LEDs fastened to a sheet of
phosphor material could result in a flat sheet lighting fixture as bright as a
flourescent but far cheaper and more reliable as well as using less current. And,
as we get into nanoLEDs we will be able to paint our lighting fixtures on the
ceiling! And, of course at this point, incandescent lamps will have the same
appeal that whale oil lamps have today!

For far more information, I strongly recommend the LED Museum!


  Information you can use

From Sam:

To avoid the accumulation of the (>>>) symbol in forwarded e-mails  in Outlook Express:

1.- Click in "Tools"

2.- Click in "Options"

3.- Click in  "Send"

4.- In the part below is "Configuration" of format for sending e-mail, click in "Text without Format"

5.- Below to the left eliminate the check mark for items selected (./)  and Accept. 

Sam Butler's permanent e-mail address is samjcr@pobox.com


Some readers are confused between "Explorer" and "Internet Explorer." It's
understandable, as Microsoft has blurred the line between its
folder/file viewer and its browser:

The Windows folder/file viewer (what used to be called "File Manager" in
older versions of Windows) is called "Explorer" or "Windows Explorer;"
the web browser is called "Internet Explorer."

The naming is confusing enough, but it gets even funkier because they
share some features and functions, and can encroach on the other's turf:

For example, Explorer normally views local files and folders, but also
can access and display pages on the web. Conversely, Internet Explorer
is mainly intended to view web pages, but also can and will display
local folder and files on your system, if you ask it to.

But for all intents and purposes, when you hear the term "Microsoft Explorer", they are probably talking about the browser function: a read only program that goes out on the Internet to do your bidding.

3. Just for fun

     If Microsoft had been the first to invent books:

     1. Before you can open the cover of your new book, you must
     obtain a book activation code by phoning Microsoft.
     2. Sorry, only one person may ever read your book.
     3. It's full of spelling mistakes and typos.
     4. When you're reading your book, the type can mysteriously
     5. Libraries, which are for sharing books, are illegal.
     6. You must acknowledge you have read and understood the Book
     License Agreement Hype (BLAH) before you can read your book.
     7. Microsoft has the right to enter your premises to conduct
     book inspections to make sure your book is being read in
     accordance with the BLAH.
     8. The Book Users' Group General Alliance (BUGGA) calculates
     that the annual loss of revenues to Microsoft arising from
     BLAH violations in 2001 was $10.97 billion.
     9. There are two versions of your book - the "Standard" and
     the "Pro" versions. In the standard version, those pages
     containing the most useful information have been stuck
     10. Confidential information is inexplicably in bigger type
     that can be easily read by anyone glancing over your shoulder.

4. Social we are

Come to the monthly meeting of the PC Club on March 15th and enjoy your friends and neighbors who also sit in front of these monitor screens to communicate with the world and do their work. They are just like you ...and they can be great to know.

5. The Linux world

Although Linux was the idea of a Finnish grad student looking for a stable PC operating system for his own desktop back in 1991, the most used aspect of Linux is for computers that are servers on the Internet and in businesses. The stability and dependability of Linux makes it so.

Linux runs 65% of all Internet computers, in comparison to 15% running Windows servers. Today, migration across platforms is in the direction of Linux for businesses due to the reputation of Linux to save businesses money and provide long term reliability and savings.

An example of the dependability of Linux is something I ran into just two weeks ago, here in Costa Rica. When asked to help install Linux on two new servers for a government agency, I discovered that the two men in charge of this agency's servers didn't know anything about Linux. Yet it was running their two computers that do mail and Internet connection for their 80 computers. It turns out that someone had installed Linux on their servers 5 years previously and the two techs had no knowledge of how to work with Linux because it had never failed.

This is the kind of reputation that Linux has earned over the years. And it appears that it just keeps getting better and better.  Here is something I lifted from the net from last weeks Linux conference in New York:

"Unisys, the last large server hardware vendor to maintain a Linux-free set of product offerings, will be supporting the United Linux-based SCO Linux 4.0 on its high-end ES7000 series servers. The servers have up to 32 IA-32 processors and 64GB of memory, and they can be split into up to eight partitions.

SCO currently is qualifying Linux on next-generation, Itanium-based Unisys servers. The SCO announcement represents a significant course correction from the company's earlier, unsuccessful efforts to promote the ES7000 series as a solution for only Microsoft Windows in the data center. "We're always keeping an eye on things. We're not stupid", said Derek M. Rodner, Senior Manager, Enterprise Server Marketing."

6. Classifieds

(As members of the PC Club, you have an opportunity to place classifieds for anything you may want to offer to other member

Apartment for sale in Rohrmoser. 2 br, 2 bath, patio, automatic garage door opener, guarded, $110.000. By appointment only. 296-3059

Computer training, system repairs.
Private training - 6,000 colones/hr. Physical repair/system work - 10,000 colones/hr. Call Chuck at 266-0123

Organic fertilizer compost machines for sale.
See at www.dearbetty.com or call Chuck at 266-0123

7. Official items

The Take Apart Group had our final meeting last Wednesday at Pat and Norma Latouf's home and we all passed the exam.

As you can see: Arnold Owens holds the RAM, Pat took out the network card, Norma ripped out the hard drive, Dorie has her favorite piece, the floppy, and Jim knows where that CD-ROM goes.
We all had a great time. Thanks to all.
Next class will be a "roll your own" building a computer from scratch group, if anyone is interested. Just let me know.

The next meeting of the club will take place on March 15th. We are negotiating as to whether we will use the usual facilities of St Paul's High School or not as there are problems with using their labs. We will keep you posted on this and let you know as soon as we know.

That's it for this week.


Sam Butler's permanent e-mail address is samjcr@pobox.com

Dear members and trial members,

Below you will find this weeks Tico Byte. Enjoy!

IMPORTANT NOTICE: We are in the midst of changing our meeting place for the meeting next weekend. I will send out location information asap.

And now:


Mar. 9, 2003


1. What's new in computing
2. Information you can use
3. Just for fun
4. Social we are
5. The Linux world
Official items

1. What's new in computing: This week from Roy:

Blog It, Man, Blog It!
By Roy Lent

You too? I kept hearing the word “bloggers” on the Internet. Didn’t really know what it was. “Just one of those ‘kiddy’ thingies, I guess.” I mean a 71 year old doesn’t really need to keep up with new slang. Makes him look weird for his age!

But the use of the term persisted and grew. “Got to find out.” OK, I’m at the point of starting one myself. It’s the height of intellectual some thing or other. Any who, here it is.

The original term is “Web Log”, which has been contracted and ‘slangized’ down to “Blog”. It is usually a one person web site where the writer rambles, comments, puts out articles and observations, normally where his readers can comment back to him (and the public) with said comments shown after his missive. There are untold thousands of bloggers out there. They are normally disrespectful, use whatever words that they feel like and make it clear that they don’t give a damn what other people think of them. In a word, Interneters, or better, “bloggers”!

So let’s examine a few blogs just to see what’s up. First drop in on:

http://www.nycbloggers.com   This is a site for New York City bloggers and has, of all things, a subway map to show where New York’s bloggers are! One of the new ones listed is:  -- Low Grade Panic: Discrete, individually wrapped packets of uneasiness culled daily from the monotonous media hum. -- Get the idea? Now see the following blogs:





A Web Log is sort of an evolution of the old personal home page but must be kept up to date. They can be clumsily beginnerish or polished professional work, humorous or serious, trite or deep. It is an expression of the author. Oh yes, there are also commercial or organizational Blogs. No real rules you know! I’ll post a notice if and when I get a blog up & running.

2. Information you can use:

No. 1 tip:

Have Your Original and Change It Too! - MS Word

You may find that sometimes you need to make changes to a document, but don't want to loose the original document. The fastest way to accomplish this is to open the document as a copy, which you can alter and save without affecting the original.

To open a copy, open your Word program, then single-click on the <File> menu with your left mouse button. Now single-click on the <Open> option.

In the Open Window, right-click on the document that you want to copy and in the shortcut menu that appears, single-click on the <Open As Copy> option.

A copy of the original document is created. The name of this new file is "Copy of", followed by the name of the original document. You can make changes to this copy and save them without affecting the original. If you want to save your changes to the original document, single-click on the copy's <File> menu, then single-click on the <Save As> option. When the Save As Window opens, click on the original file to select it, then on the <Save> button.

No 2 tip:

Organizing Your Sheets - MS Excel

By default a new Excel spreadsheet starts with three worksheets (which can be accessed by single-clicking on the tabs at the bottom of the page with your left mouse button), but for many of us, three worksheets just aren't enough. Fortunately, it's easy to add new ones and move them to where you want them.

To add a new worksheet, single-click on the <Insert> menu with your left mouse button, then single-click on the <Worksheet> option.

So far so good, until you notice that your new worksheet (sheet 4) appears out of numerical order on the tabbed worksheet list at the bottom of the screen.

To fix this problem, single-click on <Sheet 4> with your right mouse button. In the shortcut menu that appears, single-click on the <Move or Copy> option.

In the Move or Copy Window, single-click on the <(move to end)> option located in the "Before sheet:" section, then single-click on the <OK> button. Sheet 4 will now appear in order.

and No. 3 tip:

Q: Somehow I have messed up my e-mail window. I used to have a list of folders such as 'Sent Items' and 'Deleted Items' that appeared down the left side of the screen. I could drag any of my e-mail messages over to those areas, but now my incoming e-mail fills the whole page and I cannot figure how to put back that column. Can you help me?

A: You may have accidentally closed off the "Folder List" as it is named in Outlook Express. If you're not using Outlook Express this may not be what that 'column' is called but the same instructions should apply.

To get your 'List' back, single-click on the <View> pull-down menu with your left mouse button. Now single-click on the <Layout> option.

The Window Layout Properties Window opens. Under the Basic section, single-click inside the box marked <Folder List>. A small checkmark will appear inside the box to indicate that you have activated this feature. Now single-click on the <Apply> button, and single-click on the <OK> button. Your Folders List should reappear.

3. Just for fun

What Caused that Error Message?

what caused that error message?
i'm sure it wasn't me.
now there is another one -
and i didn't touch a key!
i bought a brand new program,
hope it didn't have a bug.
i think it's much more likely
it was caused by a mug.
the screen is black, the cursor's gone,
someone must have hid it.
aha, now it's back again -
but i don't know how i did it!
i'm sure that this computer
has a mind of its own,
so until i find an expert
better leave the thing alone!
well, now i'm on the internet,
i wish i had been told -
that all my little problems
would increase a thousand-fold!
i dialed up my home page,
just to have a look around
at anything of interest -
but the server can't be found.
finally it's working,
i access many sites,
got lots of information -
downloaded megabytes.
but how many bugs and cookies?
and they now know where i am,
so they'll use their planted spyware
to send me lots of spam.
i've had to quickly shut down,
'cos something froze the screen
and when i turned it on again
everything was green!
now having trouble starting up,
must be worse than it looks.
is it a virus or a worm?
oh well, back to reading books!

4. Social we are

Come to the next meeting and meet your friends. There will be time to chat, live and in person.
As this unidentified man is doing:

5. The Linux world

"Motorola, the world's number two cell phone manufacturer after Nokia, recently announced that all of its basic and mid-range phones will be based on the Linux operating system, with Java applications running on top.

"Although Motorola remains a key member of the Symbian consortium and will continue to use Symbian's operating system for high-end 3G handsets, the company said Linux and Java will be used in more and more upcoming phones, and will likely become its dominant platform.

"Motorola is not alone, experts say. It is merely the first mobile giant to go public about using Linux/Java. According to MontaVista Software, Motorola's embedded Linux supplier, half-a dozen handset manufacturers are evaluating the free operating system, though none have yet admitted to doing so, with the exception of Japan's NEC.

"But the cell-phone industry is so fiercely competitive and the economics so harsh, many may be forced to go the same route. MontaVista predicts Linux is poised to become a major force in the cell-phone industry..."

The complete story is here: http://www.thefeature.com/index.jsp?url=article.jsp?pageid=3271

6. Classifieds

(As members of the PC Club, you have an opportunity to place classifieds for anything you may want to offer to other members. Just drop me a line at chuck@pcclub.net and I will see that it gets in the Tico Byte.)

Apartment for sale in Rohrmoser. 2 br, 2 bath, patio, automatic garage door opener, guarded, $110.000. By appointment only. 296-3059

Computer training, system repairs.
Private training - 6,000 colones/hr. Physical repair/system work - 10,000 colones/hr. Call Chuck at 266-0123

Organic fertilizer compost machines for sale.
See at www.dearbetty.com or call Chuck at 266-0123

7. Official items

The official items are that we will notify you of the changes in the meeting place for next Saturday.

Also: The March class by Jay and Grace
Fernandez will be on "Making and Using Databases".

That's it for this time.