Volume 3 Number 24Click here to return to the back issues page.
Click here to return to the main newsletter page.
The Naked PC - http://www.TheNakedPC.com What You Need to Know about All Things PC Publisher: Lee Hudspeth and T.J. Lee Editor in Chief: Dan Butler Contributing Editor: Al Gordon This issue is for Thursday, November 30, 2000 - Vol. 3 No. 24 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Table of Contents ** 01. Letter from the Publisher ** 02. Safely Testing Your AntiVirus Package with the EICAR Test File (by Lee Hudspeth) ** 03. "T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth's Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades" (by T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth) ** 04. Registry Toolkit by Funduc Software (by Al Gordon) ** 05. PayPal vs. The Freebie Seekers (by Dan Butler) ** 06. Featured Book - "Java Examples in a Nutshell" by David Flanagan ** 07. Featured Web Site - The British Library ** 08. Featured Product - Twinklebulbs ** 09. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and interesting stuff ** 01. Letter from the Publisher We hope all our readers in the USA had a nice Thanksgiving holiday. Thanks for all your feedback on the TNPC Web site's new look. It appears that you all like the new layout and find the navigation easier with the new menus. Remember that the main page is designed for folks new to TNPC. If you're looking for TNPC content, articles, back issues, and the like then you need to either (a) click on the home page link that says "Click here to enter the TNPC Web site...", (b) click on the "The Naked PC" logo at the top of the page, or (c) bookmark this page: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/index2.html We are especially thankful for all the TNPCers who stopped by the TNPC Store over the long weekend and purchased Micro-Lights. You can find reader comments about their shopping experiences here: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?letters1 In this issue Lee points out how to use a perfectly safe and standardized test file to make your anti-virus package think your system is infected with a virus. Why? To see if the package is as good a watchdog as advertised. T.J. and Lee proudly announce their brand spanking new... BOOK! With the longish title "T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth's Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades," it is long on productivity enhancement, short on fluff (there's none, we guarantee it), and has been printed and is working its way through the warehouses to bookstores everywhere. So we encourage you to order your copy online today (you can read more about it in this issue's article #3): http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?amazon2 Al knows good software when he uses it, and use it he does; this time he covers Funduc's Registry Toolkit, Shortcut Doctor, and Search and Replace. Meanwhile, Dan contemplates the future of the Internet and e-commerce ("profits matter") in the context of PayPal and the controversy surrounding their new "business" accounts. Jim and Lee are looking for folks to beta test new Office 2002 versions of their PRIME for Office add-ins; for more information see the third sponsor slot in this issue. Finally, we'd like to know if any TNPC AOL users are using the new version 6, and if so how the links in TNPC work for you in the new software. Drop us a note at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org As always, reader support is what keeps TNPC free, so PLEASE help us and pass a copy of TNPC on to co-workers and friends (no spam please!) and remember to always say "I saw it in TNPC!" http://www.TheNakedPC.com/refer/ +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ PHOTON-MICRO LIGHTS MAKE GREAT GIFTS! It's time to start thinking about the Holidays and how our Photon Micro-Lights (the BRIGHTEST lights for their size in the WORLD) make great Christmas gifts! These little key chain lights offer reliable, incredibly bright light for any situation. We also sell lanyards, clips, batteries, and nifty Accessory Kits to go with your Micro-Light. Comes in your choice of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Turquoise, Blue, and White. Visit the TNPC Store today! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?sponsor1 +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ** 02. Safely Testing Your AntiVirus Package with the EICAR Test File (by Lee Hudspeth) Have you ever tested your anti-virus software? I recently upgraded from Norton AntiVirus 2000 version 6.0 to Norton AntiVirus 2001 version 7.0. While configuring the new version, I remembered having previously tested one or more anti- virus packages using the EICAR anti-virus test file, and set about to remember what it was I did before. ("EICAR" stands for European Institute for Computer Anti-Virus Research.) Sadly, Norton's help file doesn't get you very far on search terms like "test", "probe", or "validate". You have to open up the Readme.txt to find it. That file states, "To create a harmless text file that will be detected as a virus, which you can use to verify detection of viruses, logging, and alert functioning, visit this site:" http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?eicar1 Also, a quick search on the Internet like this: +"anti-virus" +"test file" will take you right where you need to go. As you read the aforementioned Web page, you can learn about the history behind the obvious need for an innocuous anti-virus test file. The really fun part is downloading the four versions of the EICAR test file and scanning them to see how well your anti-virus program performs. Here are descriptions of the four files, and the test results on my production PC. (Test configuration: Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 A and Norton AntiVirus 2001 version 7.00.51F with auto-protect and email protection features turned on.) 1. Eicar.com -- a legitimate DOS program that actually produces sensible results when you run it; it contains the EICAR test string. RESULT: Norton passed. When I started the download Norton correctly halted the download, produced an alert that the file was infected with "EICAR Test String.68", and recommended that I repair the infected file. 2. Eicar.com.txt -- a copy of EICAR.com with a different filename; according to EICAR, "[provided because] some readers reported problems when downloading the first file, which can be circumvented when using the second version." RESULT: Norton passed. Immediately upon renaming the file to EICAR.com, same results as #1 above. 3. Eicar_com.zip -- contains the test file inside a zip; use to test your anti-virus program's ability to see a virus inside an archive. RESULT: Norton passed. When I scanned the folder containing the archive, Norton correctly reported an infection with "EICAR Test String.68". Clicking the "Virus Info" button reports, "THIS IS NOT A VIRUS. The EICAR Test File is an internationally recognized, non-virus code string included for analysis purposes only. Again, THIS IS NOT A VIRUS." 4. Eicarcom2.zip -- contains the third file (EICAR_com.zip) inside a zip; use to test your anti-virus program's ability to see a virus inside a multi-level archive. RESULT: Norton passed. When I scanned the folder containing the archived archive, Norton behaved correctly just as it did with file #3. Drop me a line and let me know how your anti-virus program fares against these EICAR test files. Norton Anti-Virus at Amazon.com: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?amazon1 You can reach Lee Hudspeth at: mailto:leehudspeth@TheNakedPC.com +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ARE YOU AT RISK?? Don't be a victim of the hype and high-pressure tactics at your local computer retailer! Arm yourself with the answers you need BEFORE you ever leave the house to go shopping. Buying the wrong computer can cost you plenty! Get the RIGHT information NOW in "Buying a Computer Made Easy!" on sale at www.FirstStepBooks.com (a great gift idea for your parents too!) http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?sponsor2 +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ** 03. "T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth's Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades" (by T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth) The latest book from the publishers of TNPC hits the bookstores this month, "T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth's Absolute Beginner's Guide to PC Upgrades." This time we've tackled the problem every PC user faces... do you upgrade your existing system or bite the bullet and buy a new one? And if the decision is to upgrade, how do you do it yourself? The good news is that you can successfully upgrade a variety of your computer's components and live to tell the tale. In this 578 page book from QUE, Lee and I show you how to figure out when to upgrade and when it's time to get a new system. We cover a plethora of upgrades and walk you step by step through performing them yourself. We cover how to prepare a system for an upgrade, finding out the exact make and model of all your components, opening up a system, and more importantly all the tips and tricks you need to get the system put back together again in working condition. Each chapter starts off with a checklist of everything you'll need to have on hand and what you'll need to do before you open up your computer case. The book lends itself to going right to the upgrade you want to perform and gives you what you need to know to get your upgrade done with little or no pain and suffering. We help you figure out when to avoid a "do it yourself" upgrade and instead call in a qualified professional. From sorting out RAM types; CD and DVD upgrades; updating your BIOS; swapping out the motherboard; adding new disk drives; adding USB; upgrading to a new scanner, printer, monitor, uninterruptible power supply, practically any peripheral you can think of... we cover it in this guide. We even delve into upgrading your software and operating systems, and running multiple operating systems on one PC. You can order this book now from Amazon and it should ship any day now. The book experienced a title change late in its development cycle and Amazon still has it listed under its original title ("T.J. Lee and Lee Hudspeth Teach PC Upgrades"). The publisher moved the book from the QUE series "Teaches" to the "Absolute Beginners" series, thus the title change. (Just so you know, PC book authors rarely have any input or control over a book's title or which series it goes into. That's why there isn't a book with the name "The Naked PC!" At least not yet...) But the links to Amazon will get you to the right page and the book cover picture displayed there shows the correct title. We worked hard--REAL hard--on this tome and believe you will find it both interesting and extremely useful. Upgrading your PC will breathe new life into an aging system and give you the latest bells and whistles - no matter how old or young your computer is, while saving you a pile of cash. We're confident that we've made it possible for any user to successfully perform his or her own PC upgrades. You can find more information about our new book here: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?teachpc Or you can go straight to Amazon and order a copy here: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?amazon2 You can reach T.J. Lee at: mailto:tj_lee@TheNakedPC.com You can reach Lee Hudspeth at: mailto:leehudspeth@TheNakedPC.com ** 04. Registry Toolkit by Funduc Software (by Al Gordon) Funduc Software is a veritable treasure trove of useful utilities. Three of the most valuable are Registry Toolkit ($25), Shortcut Doctor ($15), and Search and Replace ($25). I use Registry Toolkit constantly for its search and replace capability in the Windows Registry. It's essential to tidy things up if you rename or move a program directory or file, for example. Toolkit can search for your string in the Registry keys that are saved in binary format, handy for finding those values that software vendors try to hide from you. It allows you to move or copy keys--say, if you want to move something from the current user to local machine, as well as import and export. It can be used to browse through the Registry, but that is not a strong suit, as it is slower than RegEdit for that function. Registry Toolkit (95/98/NT/2000) is especially valuable for users of NT4/Win2K, for which Norton Utilities does not include its Registry search and replace tool. Shortcut Doctor (95/98/NT/2000) will both verify and edit your shortcuts. Point it toward a path of your choosing, and it will scan the shortcuts therein. Another key tool if you rename or move files and directories. The utility also will clean out your recent document folder so you don't go chasing after often-broken links there. Search and Replace (95/98/NT/2000) is a seriously cool utility that checks inside files for specific text and can then change it. Among its multiple applications is to search across a Web site for items to fix. But it can also be used for more simple tasks. It is generally faster at a text search than Windows and your search can be given more parameters. Ever discover that you have misspelled a word or name throughout a document, or made some similar mistake throughout a series of documents? Search and Replace will find and fix your errors without requiring you to open up each document in the program that created it. Especially handy if, say, you need to find the same text string in both Word and Excel documents. For power users there are scripting and command line functions. All and all, a valuable tool. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?funduc You can reach Al Gordon at: mailto:al@TheNakedPC.com ** 05. PayPal vs. The Freebie Seekers (by Dan Butler) PayPal, the online money exchange service that we've reviewed and discussed in past TNPC issues, is taking some serious flak from the auction community. Among the first to embrace PayPal which let them accept credit cards in payment for their online auctions they now feel they've been lied to, cheated, and otherwise treated unfairly by PayPal. We've been promoting PayPal since it began and have given you periodic updates. Here's our latest take on Internet freebies in general and PayPal in particular. The main problem people are having with PayPal is the charging of fees for services they think should be free. Granted PayPal built their customer base by giving out free services. That business model is old hat. We called it "The Puppy Dog" when I was in sales. Let the customer take the cute little puppy dog home for the night and chances were they would become attached to it and buy it. Same with cars and other products in the off-line world. In the online world you see free services offered to gain customers all over the place. But the PayPal model was not a scam. They provided free PayPal accounts (and still do) and said early on that they would be offering "business" accounts in the future. The future is now and the business accounts are not free. I always knew, and PayPal was open about the fact that they would charge for business and other enhanced services in the future. Most of the auctioneers on services like eBay are upset that they're being classified as "businesses." Can you still get a free PayPal account? Absolutely, but given all the people who have quit their day jobs (maybe they've just retired?) to trade on eBay how do you tell the personal users from the business users? PayPal opted for putting limits on how much money you can process from credit card activities. You can have a free PayPal account; you just have limits on how it can be used. Above the limits and your ability to take credits cards is restricted. To go above the limits you must open a business PayPal account and pay service fees. It does appear, from my vantage point, that PayPal is trying to encourage bank transfers over credit card payments. I would assume that bank transfers cost them less thereby increasing their profits. PayPal's fee structure is changing so frequently now I won't try to quote their current rates here but their fees for accepting credit cards are now just a bit higher than what I pay offline. Have we stopped using PayPal? No, some of our customers still prefer to pay using that service. Sure it costs us a few cents but that's the way it goes. It would cost me more than the few cents in my time to try and talk those customers into a different mode of payment. Another complaint is that PayPal (and some other similar services) now require you to use a valid bank account for verification. This is how PayPal hopes to knock out the credit card scammers in the very virtual world in which online transactions operate. To verify with a bank account you authorize PayPal to make direct transfers to and from your bank account. They deposit some change in your account and you have to verify how much was transferred. Weird but true. Personally I'm uncomfortable using my main bank account to verify PayPal (or anyone else's) service. You may be comfortable with that, I'm not. However, I did not cancel my PayPal account or rant and rave about this new policy of theirs. I just set up a free bank account strictly for the purpose of this verification process. Whether you like or hate PayPal, the bigger message here is that the Internet is changing. We're seeing a shift back to standard business procedures like "profits matter." Companies are going to find a way to make money on their online products and services so you have to be a responsible and wary consumer. The most important thing you can do when signing up for a new online service is to actually read the Terms Of Service (TOS) documentation. Print it out and mark it up with a pen. Email for more clarification on anything you are unsure of. Don't sign up with any service unless you are satisfied that the TOS works for you. If you decide to join, take the printout and write the date on the top along with the username you choose for your account. Basically this is a record of what you are signing up for. When the TOS changes in the future make a decision as to whether you will still use that online service. If you stay with the service print out the new TOS, date it, and file it. Don't throw out the old TOS printout just yet! Keep them around so over time you can see trends in the direction a particular company may be headed. And expect the TOS to change. Many online companies have grown so fast they simply are trying to catch up with themselves. Many policies and modes of operating are changing frequently as companies try to get a handle on this beast called the Internet. Most of these changes will be in the direction of turning a profit so expect fees and fee increases over time. If a company is changing their TOS for legitimate business reasons you can be sure that similar changes will occur with other services in due time. Remember, there is no such thing as a "free lunch." We've mentioned in the past how you will see more and more Internet services moving from free to paid. Yahoo! has been talking about how it may move to a fee model. The major search engines either already have or now are adopting some soft of fee structure for listing pages. And this is all happening for a reason. The fact is that advertising-based revenues for Web sites aren't paying the bills. Fewer and fewer people click on banner ads and many, present company included, run programs to prevent ads from being displayed. While we may not like having to pay for our services it may become a fact of life. The structure of the Internet hides a lot of costs from the end users. You can reach Dan Butler at: danbutler@TheNakedPC.com +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ PRIME for Office 2002 Beta Program Here at PRIME Consulting Group we're actively upgrading all our existing PRIME for Office 2000 add-ins to the next version of Microsoft Office: Office 2002 (also known as Office 10). We need testers to help us review these updated products (basically, to use the products mercilessly and report their likes and dislikes to us in a private newsgroup). Beta testers who are active will receive the product(s) they test free of charge. For some products we are looking for Office 2000 *and* Office 2002 testers, so even if you aren't currently in possession of the Office 2002 beta, fill out our beta tester application form anyway. It's fun, it's exciting, it's... PRIME! Please note that beta tester openings are limited and are provided on a first- come, first-served basis. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?sponsor3 +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ** 06. Featured Book - "Java Examples in a Nutshell" by David Flanagan "Java Examples in a Nutshell" makes a very slick follow up to O'Reilly's "Java in a Nutshell" tome. The examples in this book provide much more depth to those in the earlier Java book. David Flanagan believes that people learn best by example and we heartily agree. As a teaching tool this book serves well and covers a very impressive range of Java topics; from Java Basics to Graphical User Interfaces to Servlets and much more. With 150 examples and close to 18,000 lines of code we found the book a handy addition to our reference library. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?fbook ** 07. Featured Web Site - The British Library In a fascinating use of modern technology, the British Library has put two Gutenberg bibles online. Using spy satellite technology the library photographed two different editions of the Gutenberg Bible printed around 1454 AD to 1455 AD. The photographs do make for some very large downloads but the detail is incredible. We're big fans of old books but on our own would never get the chance to thumb through these beautiful volumes. But online we can flip through them to our hearts' content. Other neat items on the site include leaves from Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?fsite ** 08. Featured Product - Twinklebulbs This is the perfect holiday accouterment for your computer monitor (that we first featured in TNPC #1.13). Display flashing, colorful holiday lights just like those you'll be hanging from your tree and the eaves of your house this Christmas season. String these virtual lights on or around your Windows desktop, select various bulb sets (from over 165 sets) and colors for the bulbs, add background holiday music, snowfall screen savers and more. Get yourself in the spirit with this $15.00 shareware program. Be the bane of Grinchs everywhere. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?fprod +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ WANT TO GET YOUR WORD OUT? Classified ads in The Naked PC can be yours for ridiculously low prices. Get your message out to over 60,000 TNPC subscribers. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpcadvertising.html?v3i24 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ ** 09. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and interesting stuff *-* Microsoft has released the second Service Pack for its flagship Office product. Office 2000 SP-2 can be downloaded (30MB for the Administrators version, 9MB for the end-user version) direct from Microsoft. You must have the previous SR-1a (Service Release 1a) installed. SP-2 includes all individual fixes since SR-1a (eight, to be exact). However, given Microsoft's track record for having to fix a Service Pack shortly after releasing it you might want to wait a few weeks before going with Office 2000 SP-2. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news1 *-* Computer Associates has released their anti-virus software for the Palm OS handheld computer. This software is available for free download. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news2 *-* Amazon has FREE (standard) shipping on all orders over $100 shipped to a single USA address for a limited time only. See the notice in the upper right hand corner of the Amazon main page. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news3 *-* Netscape has released Netscape 6, their latest incarnation of the popular Web browser. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news4 *-* Microsoft has released DirectX 8.0, the software giant's multimedia graphics driver for Windows. Click here to download or read more about this latest release. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news5 *-* OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration here in the USA) has just released a sweeping rule aimed at repetitive stress injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, tendonitis, lower back pain, and sciatica. The rule is already under fire from business groups. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?news6 Get more Newsworthy bits on the TNPC Web site: http://www.thenakedpc.com/newsworthy/ Have you come across something newsworthy? Drop us a line: mailto:hottips@TheNakedPC.com **PLEASE SUPPORT TNPC BY VISITING OUR ADVERTISERS** +++----------------------- classifieds -----------------------+++ **NEED INK? SAVE 40-70% OVER RETAIL!** High Quality Inkjet Printer Cartridges, JetPaks, Refill Kits. Super Prices! Your Satisfaction IS Guaranteed. * FREE Printer Utilities! * MaxPatch Ink Supplies http://www.thenakedpc.com/t/324/tr.cgi?class1 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ >> "Find out THE TRUTH about ANYONE" Background Investigations, Criminal Records, Vehicle Ownership, Military Records, Business Directories, Adoption Resources If you're looking to find them or find out about them this is the tool you can't do without! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?class2 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ National Associations of At-Home Mothers Are you an At-Home Mom? Would you like to be? AtHomeMothers.com offers support for the career choice of at-home parenting. Membership includes subscription to our magazine and newsletter, support groups, discounts and special offers, eligibility for cash grants to start a home business, and more! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?class3 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ STACKS AND STACKS The ultimate home and office (and home office) organizer superstore! Get everything you can thing of: bins, boxes, crates, desks, organizers, computer stands, filing cabinets and systems, CD and DVD racks, TV carts and stands, folding carts, recycling bins, you name it and we can help you stack it! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/324/tr.cgi?class4 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ DISCLAIMER Personal computers are individual machines with performance that can vary with components, software, and operator ability. The Naked PC is not responsible for the manner in which the information presented is used or interpreted. Also, although we work hard to provide you with accurate Internet links in The Naked PC, we are not responsible for Internet links herein that represent sites owned and operated by third parties. We are not responsible for the content, accuracy, performance, or availability of any such third-party sites. REDISTRIBUTION POLICY We encourage you to forward this newsletter to your friends, associates, and colleagues for their review and enjoyment. However, please do so only by sending it in full, thereby keeping the copyright and subscription information intact. We do request that, once they've reviewed an issue or two, they subscribe independently rather than continue to receive issues from you. This helps TNPC grow and prosper, thereby funding its continued publication. Also, if you wish to post this newsletter to a newsgroup or electronic discussion group, you may do so if you preserve the copyright and subscription information. Thanks. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES To subscribe or unsubscribe, surf on over to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/subscribe.html To make comments or suggestions, surf on over to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpfeedback.html or send email directly to: mailto:tnpc@TheNakedPC.com Get back issues from our Mailbot by sending email to: mailto:mailbot@TheNakedPC.com WEB BULLETIN BOARD Check out our 24x7 Web bulletin board. If you've got a technical question about PC issues, or suggestions of your own, this is the place to hang out: http://www.PRIMEConsulting.com/annoyanceboard/ ADVERTISING To advertise in TNPC go to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpcadvertising.html Mail services provided by Blue Horizon Enterprises, one of the very few "Mom and Pop" operations left on the Web: http://www.bhorizon.com Copyright (c) 2000, PRIME Consulting Group, Inc. and Dan Butler. All Rights Reserved. The Naked PC is a trademark of PRIME Consulting Group, Inc. ISSN: 1522-4422
TNPC Hot Tips: