[abcomputers] ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers, Vol. 30: PowerPoint 2003 and reviews of fun stuff!

  • From: "Linda F. Johnson" <linda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "ABCfreelists" <abcomputers@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 8 Nov 2003 17:56:44 -0500

ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers.  The ezine YOU subscribed to.  If you want to change 
your subscription options or unsubscribe, see the bottom of this email for full 
instructions.  Thank you.

PLEASE NOTE:  I have had SERIOUS problems with my 
website today.  If any links don't work for you or you 
see anything that looks out of sync, just hang on.
I am fixing it as fast as I can.

ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers
Volume 30; November, 2003 - mailed to 4731 subscribers
Please rate this Ezine at the Cumuli Ezine Finder

ABC is also listed at FreeTechMail. Please visit their site 
and rate it there too:
If you would prefer to read the online Web-azine, which 
includes pictures and screenshots and is, basically, more 
user-friendly, follow either of these links: 
(no frames)

or, scroll down to the Contents where you can click on 
over to any individual article 

NOTE:  Unsighted readers or anyone who uses a screen 
reader shoud probably go online and read that version if
my separator lines are making too much "noise".

For definitions of any terms you do not understand, visit 
the GeekSpeak Translator: 

You are receiving this newsletter because you (or 
someone using your email address) subscribed to it 
voluntarily.  If you would like to remove yourself from 
bottom of this newsletter. 

Using the "Reply" function will not unsubscribe you!

My subscriber list is NOT made available to other 
companies or individuals. I value every subscriber and 
respect your privacy.
Most of these have been replaced with SnipURLs
so you shouldn't have to copy/paste URLs anymore, 
unless you have a reeeeaaallly tiny monitor ;-)

So...if the links are longer than a certain amount, I've
"snipped" them.
To help prevent broken links, maximize your email 
window to FULL screen.


Sunday, November 9, 2003

ECLECTIC ACADEMY ~ A Better Choice in Distance Learning

It's the latest rage and it's called Distance Learning. 
Most colleges now offer Distance Learning classes 
because they know some people work hard and just 
can't fit a classroom into their busy lives. But, 
sometimes you don't want to enroll in a full program; 
you just want to take one class.
Eclectic Academy offers a large range of classes to suit
many needs. Go there now and check out their 
curriculum and roster. Classes are only $20 for 6 weeks. 

Here's a sampling of what they offer:
*Art Courses, both digital and traditional
*Business Courses, including all of the MS Office 
Programs (many taught by none other than Linda 
Johnson herself) 
*Graphics Courses - Flash, PhotoShop, Paint Shop Pro 
& more 
*Website Development Courses - FrontPage, 
Dreamweaver, ASP, DHTML, Website Promotion, and 
on and on and on 
*Eclectic Classes - Computer Maintenance, Writing 
Workshops, Feng Shui, Eating Safely - just about 
anything you can think of

Go to Eclectic Academy now and sign up to be notified 
when classes are added or ENROLL NOW in the class of 
your choice. Go there now to enroll in the next set of 
Also, don't forget that Eclectic Academy offers classes
on many different programs and techniques.  As a matter 
of fact, some of the EA staff have put together forums 
on their areas of expertise that you might want to check 
out here:

**************STATION BREAK*****************


Here's another product I have added to my computer.  
Because I own a website and my email address is readily 
available to every spammer on the net, I get over 300 
garbage spam mails a day!  The subject lines in my inbox 
would impress even sailors.  I get advertisements, 
pornography, and "business" proposals from all over the 
world.  I've tried filtering this out with my mail rules, 
blocked senders lists, and even freeware programs like 
Mail Washer and found that none of these methods were 
as effective as I needed.  

But, this one DEFINITELY works.  
And, it's so easy to setup and monitor.

ABC offers inexpensive advertising in this email version.
Full details on how to do this are explained here:
Do you love ABC?  Click here to donate any amount.

Heck! If half the subscribers donated 25 cents each, 
I would be in business. LOL
All contributions are greatly appreciated!
(all links below these items take you to the non-frames 
online versions)

(items with *** behind them include pictures and/or are 
better if viewed online)

1.  Important How-To Message for Reading This Ezine 

2.  GeekSpeak Translation from the Cap'n 
 ~ by Patt Meara

3.   Reviews from Linda 

~~ Customized Keyboards ... very cool indeed ***

~~ FrontLook Addins for FrontPage ... see them in action ***
~~ FrontLook's Screen Capture ... the best I've found so far



4.  PowerPoint 2003: The Other Changes 
~ by Kathryn Jacobs



5.   Points of View in FrontPage - Folders ***
~ by Tina Clarke

6.  The Hard Drive Size Discrepancy: 
When a Byte Isn't a Byte ***
~~ And a handy conversion tool
~ by Vic Ferri

7.  Throwing Dice with Excel: 
~~ Generating random numbers in Excel using only 
built-in functions and eliminating the volatility issues to 
produce a more controllable randomness
~ by Ray Blake

8. Throw-Away Email Addresses
~ by Mike Baynes

9. Photo Retouching and Restoration, Using Photoshop 
Elements ***
~~ Twinkle in your eye gone?
~ by Sara Froehlich
10. My Adventures in Home Computing
~ by John Warner


11.    Assorted Goodies from Linda 
~~ with a little help from her friends

 @ More Excel IF Statement Lessons 
 @ Lotsa Online Games 
 @ A Funny URL Tweak 
 @ Font Optimizing in Windows XP 
 @ Crazy Cursors for Win 2k/XP 
 @ A Belated Happy Halloween 

~ Questions submitted by readers and answered by 
ABC's Fleet of Writers


13.  Subscription Management
14. Contact Information
15. Advertise in ABC

*** means the article includes pictures in the online version 
or is better viewed online 


If you decide to go to the Online "Web-azine" version, 
go here first for navigation instructions:

If you are reading this plain text issue, maximize your 
email window for best viewing.

**************STATION BREAK*****************


Here are two great resources for you and buying either one 
of them will help keep ABC alive!

A Video Tutorial on CD that walks you through it all

An E-Book full of simple, easy-to-follow instructions

Both are still available for Windows 95/98/ME users
More info on them available on my Windows webpage:

(2.)  Cap'n Patt's
 ~ by Patt Meara

Visit the Cap'n's Official GeekSpeak Database at 
If the word you need defined is not there, or the 
definition is not clear, too geeky, or just plain confusing 
to you, email the Cap'n.  He would love to hear from 
you at CapnPatt@xxxxxxx


**************STATION BREAK*****************

Computer Help Central Presents...

Does your computer "scare you" at times? 
Are you tired of not getting answers to your computer 

Don't worry, Mad Mick can teach you 
"How to Solve All Your Computer Problems...
Fast & Forever...Even if You're Brand New to Computers
And Think You'll Never Learn Them" 

He'll Answer Every Single Computer Question You'll Ever 
Have - BEFORE You Even Ask!
(And if he doesn't, you'll have a chance to personally 

Download Mad Mick's 200 Computer Questions & Answers
in pdf format

**includes 30 days of FREE email support**



More and more people are sending me products to review 
in ABC and I'm having a ball. However, I do not write 
negative reviews since these folks are nice enough to send 
me their product for free.  If I don't like it, I let them know 
that privately.  I only review products that I like and use 

The following are three that I REALLY like and recommend.

... very cool indeed 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This review includes pictures and is 
clearer if read online.  You can see the online version here:

@ Do you get frustrated because every program has 
different keyboard shortcuts and you can never remember 
them all? 
@ Are there programs or websites that you use a lot and 
you would like one button keyboard shortcuts that take 
you there instantly? 
@ Are you using cardboard or plastic overlays on your 
keyboard that show you which key does what in a 
particular program and those overlays keep sliding all 
over the place? 

Well, if your answer to ANY of these questions is 
"yes" have I found a treat for YOU!! 

About a month ago, a very nice man named Oren Kramer 
sent me an email and asked if I would like to try out his 
Excel Keyboard.  Well, I had actually been looking at my 
beatup keyboard with the faded keys and was thinking it 
was time to replace it, so I figured "why not?"  So, Oren 
sent me this REALLY cool keyboard.  It is basically a plain 
black base which has changeable keyboards that easily 
snap into place on top of it.  Oren sent me the base and 
the Excel snap-on, but there are many more for different 
programs and games.  If you have the Flash viewer 
installed on your computer, click below to see a little 
movie that shows how they snap on:

Besides Excel, there are keyboard snap-ons for programs 
like Word, Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Flash, as well 
as keyboards for many popular games like Age of 
Mythology and Neverwinter Nights, and even a Crossfire 
keyboard that works with just about any action/shooting 

When you buy the base, it comes with the Windows/
Internet Explorer snap-on, so you can use it as-is, or 
order snap-ons for the particular programs you use most.  
I've found that I can use the Excel snap-on even when 
I'm not in Excel.  As a matter of fact, I'm using it to type 
this article right now.  When using the snap-on within the 
program it was made for, every key on the keyboard is 
clearly labelled to tell you what it does.  When Excel is 
not the active window, the keyboard just works like a 
regular keyboard.

Along with all the special keys built into the snap-ons 
that are linked to keyboard shortcuts within that program, 
you can use the options to customize all the F keys 
across the top of your keyboard, and there are pre-
programmed multimedia keys for easy access to Windows 
media player ... and 10 special keys on the base keyboard 
that you can program to open any file, folder, program, 
or web page of your choice.  I can turn on my computer 
and have Outlook, my website inside FrontPage, media 
player playing my favorite music, and my internet home 
page opened in about five seconds.

And, I am so sick of having to replace my keyboard every 
time one or two keys go bad.  Now, if that should happen, 
I won't EVER have to replace my keyboard ... I can simply 
get a new snap-on, if needed.  And the snap-on is so easy 
to clean...just remove it from the base and shake all the 
dirt out of it.

I love my new Excel Keyboard.  And, I'm patiently waiting 
for my new Crossfire keyboard, which I purchased, since 
I can never remember which keys I have to use to shoot, 
duck, jump, etc. when I'm playing action games, and 
therefore, I always die :-(

Want more info?  Go to the Ideazon Web Store and see 
what they have to offer.
WOW ... READ THIS!!!  

I just got an email from Oren Kramer who said he wanted 
to express his gratitude for my review and has made a 
special offer for ABC readers.  From November 11-15, 
if you click on the special Excel keyboard banner on my 
page, you will get a GREAT deal.

He's going to give you the Zboard base for just $19.99 
and include the Excel snap-on for FREE!!  So, mark your 
calendars and bookmark this page and click on the banner 
between November 11 and 15.  You will NOT get this offer 
from Zboard's site ...you have to click on the special banner 
he is putting on my page for this five day period.

This is a GREAT deal!!  Don't miss it!

... see them in action 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Instead of writing a typical review, I 
figured in order to show you what FrontLook can do, I 
would just use it to create this little mini-website and 
you can see for yourself.  So, I HIGHLY recommend you 
go here and read this review online. 
NOTE:  Many of the effects used here require that Java 
be installed.  Because of Microsoft's legal dispute with 
Sun Java, they are no longer allowed to include it with 
Windows, so if you have a new installation of Windows 
and don't see the effects, you will have to download 
Sun Java for free from here:

First off, if you've gone to the page above, you can listen 
to the rain!!  That's part of the java applet you see on 
the left of the screen.  You don't have to include sounds 
with it, but I did, just so you could hear what it can do. 
You can put any text you want in the applet, and also 
include hyperlinks that will connect to other pages or 
other sites.  You can also add status bar text to the 
applet.  Hover your mouse over the word "HERE" in the 
applet and see the text at the bottom of the screen.  
And, click on the word "HERE" to go to my website, 
but don't worry, the applet allowed me to make the 
hyperlink open a new window, so you can just close 
that window and you will be to the review.

Everything in the FrontLook Addins is easy to use. 
No need to understand complex html and java coding.  
FrontLook does it all for you.

Notice the pretty chrome borders and graphics and 
the nice textured brown background.  This is all part 
of one of FrontLook's Super Themes.  There are 
LOTS of them.  Also, see how I added my name as 
a logo in the upper left corner.  All graphics in the 
themes are totally customizable.

And, you can use FrontLook's Chameleons to adjust 
your theme and graphics to your liking.  Click on this 
link to see the rest of this review, since it's impossible 
to do this program justice using plain text :-)

... the best I've found so far

As I said, in the review I did of FrontLook's addins for 
FrontPage, this is by far my favorite FrontLook software.  
I give this one two thumbs up for sure.  

It's a standalone program that requires no other software.

Because I write many tutorials about how to use software, 
I am constantly taking screen shots so I can show people 
how something will look on their computer screen.  Many 
companies offer screen capture programs that are very 
inexpensive or free and I've tried a lot of them, but most 
of them don't offer much more than you get by hitting 
the Print Screen key on your keyboard.  

For those who don't know how to do screen captures the 
traditional way, here's the down and dirty:

@ Hit the Print Screen key on your keyboard to capture 
what's on your screen (or hold down the alt key and hit 
Print Screen to capture just the active window).  This 
saves the image to your Windows clipboard. 
@ Open some program like Microsoft Paint and go to the 
Edit menu and choose Paste to put the capture into that 
@ Save the file with whatever extension you like 
(remember that the Print Screen key produces a bmp file, 
which is not an acceptable format for Web pages and 
generally produces a large file size, so you must choose 
the proper format when you save it) 

OK, so how do these Print Screen programs make this better? 

Well, most of the ones I've tried just eliminate the steps 
of having to open Microsoft Paint and paste, then change 
the format.  What these programs do is automatically 
create the bmp or jpg for you and place it in a folder.

So, if you don't care about the size of the picture, the 
file type, or what's included in the picture, then these 
other programs will work fine for you.  But, in my case, 
whenever I used these programs, I then had to go to the 
folder where the pictures were saved and open the 
pictures in Photoshop so I could resize them and crop 
them.  (I have not yet found any software that makes 
better quality pics at the lowest size [kb wise] than 
Photoshop's Save for Web feature, so I always want to 
save my pics using Photoshop to optimize them.)  So, 
in my case this actually added steps for me.  I was better 
off just hitting the Print Screen key and pasting them 
directly into Photoshop.  

But, that's where FrontLook's Screen Capture program 
surpasses the rest!

FrontLook's Screen Capture gives you many options.  

@ You can CHOOSE the file format you want as your 
@ You can CHOOSE the folder where you want the pics 
@ You can assign different hot keys for different types 
of captures.  By default, you have these: 
  *  Print Screen key captures the whole screen 
  * Alt+Print Screen captures just the active window 
  * And, here's a great feature...Hold down the Windows 
key and hit Print Screen and you can drag your mouse 
pointer to select just the area of the screen you want 
@ You also have options to send the capture right to 
the printer 
@ You also have an option to include your mouse pointer 
in the screen capture 
@ And, you can right click any picture you've captured 
and choose to send it in email and a blank email launches 
with the picture attached. 

So, that eliminates a couple steps for me, but I still want 
to open all my captures in Photoshop so I can use the 
Save for Web feature to optimize them.  

And, THAT is why I love this FrontLook Screen Capture.  

It has an option where I can choose to automatically 
launch Photoshop with this screen capture already inside 
it.  How is THAT for cool?  Of course, if you prefer using 
another program other than Photoshop, you can choose 
any program you want.

So, now, screen capturing is so easy and quick for me.  
I just hit Windowskey+Print Screen, drag a box around 
the part of the screen I want in my picture, release my 
mouse button and Photoshop launches and there's my 
picture and all I have to do is hit Save for Web and 
I'm done.

Yep, I've been reviewing a lot of software lately and 
NONE has pleased me as much as this little program. 

For those of you who want a functional, user friendly 
screen capturing program that costs HALF of what some 
more cumbersome programs like Snagit cost, I highly  
recommend it!!   

Click here to buy Screen Capture or download a 
free trial version

             *****THIS MONTH'S FEATURE*****

~~Kathryn Jacobs, PowerPointAnswers

Last month, we talked about the new Viewer and Package 
for CD. 

These were not the only changes made to PowerPoint for 
the new version. Over the next few months, we are going 
to take a quick look at the changes: 

@ Better research tools 
@ New order to templates 
@ Font embedding changes 
@ Smart Tags 
@ Inking support 

This month, we are going to focus in on the research 
tools and the template changes. I'll cover the other 
changes in future articles.

Better research tools

With PowerPoint 2003, Microsoft has added two tools that 
will make content development a little easier: the research 
pane and the thesaurus.

The Research pane

All of the Office System 2003 products have "improved" 
access to research tools. For PowerPoint, this means that 
with a few quick clicks, you can access a wide variety of 
resources for content expansion, verification and targeting. 
The resources available are limited, but growing. 

The research tools are accessed via the research pane. If 
another pane is already showing, click the dropdown arrow 
in the title of the pane and select "Research". If no pane 
is showing, you can bring the research pane up by either 
alt-clicking on a word on your slide or by using the 
Tools > Research menu item.

The resources available are pretty basic. You have a 
dictionary, some thesauruses, several research sites, 
and some business and financial information sites. 
Expect this list to grow as Office 2003 grows into the 
market place.

(By the way, if you click "Research options" at the bottom 
of the pane, you will find other resources. Most of them 
are international versions of the default resources.)

To do a search, type the words into the search box, 
select the items you want to search from the drop down, 
and off goes the search. For general research, you may 
or may not find what you are looking for.

The reason this tool is worth using?.

One of my frustrations with PowerPoint for years is the 
lack of a thesaurus. Words may not be the only thing in 
a PowerPoint presentation, but they are a major part of 
most presentations. I have long been frustrated by the 
lack of a thesaurus in PowerPoint. Now, we have one. 
Unfortunately, it isn't totally intuitive, but it is there.

@ The intended way to access the thesaurus is by selecting 
the word you want to change and bringing up the 
thesaurus. Either a Shift-F7 or the Tools' Thesaurus menu 
will bring up the Research pane, with the thesaurus 
@ If you already have the Research pane visible, you can 
just type in your word and select the appropriate 
thesaurus from the drop down list. 
@ Once you get your list of results, you can insert one 
of those results into your presentation with a right click 
of the new word. If your original word is still selected, 
it will be replaced by the new word. If nothing is 
selected, the new word will be inserted at the cursor 

Another useful research resource?

Do you do slides with new words? You can use the 
dictionary resources to add the definintion of the word 
to your presentation by looking the word up, selecting 
the definition you are looking for, and copying and 
pasting the definition onto your slide.

Work with many languages? Translate!

The third piece of the research I find most useful is the 
ability to translate individual words or full sentences at 
a mouse click. Select translation from the search list, 
select the original language and the new language 
and the translation appears. 

The translation is split into two pieces: The bilingual 
dictionary for individual words and WorldLingo machine 
translation for sentences.

Template changes

Another of the big changes in PowerPoint 2003 is a 
change to how PowerPoint shows the templates when 
you list the available designs and how you access the 
templates for a new presentation. 

Display order

Instead of being listed in alphabetical order, the 
templates are now listed in a rather unique order that 
you will either love or hate. Templates are now listed 
basically in color order. However, the first two templates 
are not in this order. Confusing? Yeah, but useful once 
you get used to it?.

The first template listed is always the blank template. 
This is the template on your system which has the 
name "Default Design.pot". In the past, this was the 
template that was used for all new presentations. It 
still is, until you change it. If you want to, you can 
select a different template to be your default.

If you have a template that you use all the time, bring 
that template up in a presentation and view the Slide 
Design pane. Right click on your preferred template. 
Notice that there is a new menu item: Use for All New 
Presentations. Selecting this option for a template 
moves it to the second spot in your template list. It 
also tells PowerPoint that when you open a new 
presentation, you want it to use this template.

Next on the list of templates are the most recently used, 
non-Microsoft templates. These templates are listed in 
order of use. Following these templates are the rest of 
the templates loaded with PowerPoint. These templates 
are grouped by color. The basic order for these templates 
is blue backgrounds, green backgrounds, orange 
backgrounds, red backgrounds, black backgrounds, and 
white backgrounds.

Accessing templates

Besides changing the order of templates, PowerPoint 
2003 now differentiates between templates delivered 
with PowerPoint and those you add to your system.

If you go to the "New Presentation" task pane, you 
will see three sections: 

@ New 
@ Templates 
@ and Recently used templates 

If you use any of the first three elements on the New 
list, you will be selecting from the templates delivered 
with PowerPoint. If you want to select from a template 
you have added to your system, you need to click the 
On my computer item under Templates.

Further, if you click Blank presentation after having 
chosen a default template, you will not get a blank 
presentation. You will instead get a presentation 
whose background and masters are set up as defined 
in your chosen default template.

One thing to keep in mind?

Just because a template is shown in one color doesn't 
mean you can't use it in another color. Each of the 
Microsoft templates still have various color schemes 
associated with them. What you are really seeing in the 
template list is the colors that Microsoft believes will be 
used most often for that template.

Confusing? Yes. Useful? Yes.

While this change seems to be very confusing to the 
new PowerPoint 2003 user, it is actually quite intuitive 
once you play around with the new order and options. 
If you have a template you use all the time, you can 
set up your default and never change. If you need to 
find a template, you look at the others of the same 
colors and pick the one that you like best.
Kathryn Jacobs, Microsoft PowerPoint MVP
Get PowerPoint answers at 
Cook anything outdoors with 

Kathy is a trainer, writer, Girl Scout, parent, and whatever 
else there is time for.

I believe life is meant to be lived. But, if we live without 
making a difference, it makes no difference that we lived.

**************STATION BREAK*****************


We can convert your Powerpoint presentations into stand 
alone exe files that will play on all the major Windows 
platforms without the need for a Powerpoint viewer.  
More info here:
Email: pptexe@xxxxxxxxxx


~~Tina Clarke, AccessFP - FrontPage Resource Centre

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article includes pictures and is 
clearer if read online.  You can see the online version here:

NOTE FROM LINDA: to see all of Tina's previous 
FrontPage tips, click HERE:

Folders View - not to be confused with the Folder List

The 'Folders View' shows a directory level representation 
of your website and a properties list for each folder or 

If all your folders are not showing it might be because 
they are hidden, to enable them do the following:

@ Go to the Tools menu and select  Web settings | 
Advanced Tab.   
@ Make sure the 'Show documents in hidden directories' 
box is ticked.  
@ Press ok. You will be asked to refresh the web. 

The 'Folders View' in conjunction with the 'Folder List' 
enables you to work more easily with the folders and 
files and do sorting you can't do in the 'Navigation View'. 
Click the top of the columns in the right hand pane, for 
example 'Name' to sort the folders and files 
alphabetically, or the 'Modified Date' to sort by date . 
If you click 'Type' this will enable you sort the file 
extensions into groups: a great boon, enabling an 
easier search for a file.

When you click a folder it will open and the contents will 
be displayed in the right hand pane. If you right click in 
the pane you can select the option 'Up one level'.

If you wish to select a number of files that are not all 
next to each other at once, hold down the 'Control' key 
on the keyboard and make your selection one by one, 
you can then right click and have a number of options
from the pop up box. 

To select files next to each other hold down the 'Shift' 
key on the keyboard and click the top one you want to 
select and the bottom one you want to select, the files 
in between will be automatically selected. Now you can 
either right click for options or drag the files to a new 
location, even to another open copy of FrontPage. To do 
this, just hold down the left or right mouse key and 
drag your selection and hover the mouse pointer over 
the other FrontPage you have open in the Windows 
taskbar and it will open up that FrontPage where you 
can drop your files. Depending on whether you used 
left or right click: with right click you can move or copy 
the file; with left click the file will just be copied.

More on the other View Panes next issue.
Tina Clarke is the Webmaster of AccessFP - FrontPage 
Resource Centre http://accessfp.net/ and 
http://addonfp.com She is also an editor of AnyFrontPage 
Bytes Ezine.  Subscribe to the ezine
and get FREE FrontPage E-Books upon joining. 
Tina is also an artist and owner of

**************STATION BREAK*****************

Are you thinking about building your own website but you
don't have a clue how to get started?  Then, The Newbie 
Club's FIRST WEBSITE BUILDER is the package for you!

The Brand New First Website Builder V2.1 contains ...

** FOUR specially created Newbie Club Software packages 
Worth $89.90 from our soon to be published Newbie 
Software Library.

** THREE updated ebook tutorials, by Famous Newbie 
Club authors.

** 24 part HTML Course

** HTML Editing Software

** Stunning Web Building Tips book by Dennis Gaskill

** Links to an abundance of free graphics, software 
and more

------- "Believe Me, This is Really Special!"
Only $39.95 and you will be building websites with ease!

Check it out here:

When a Byte Isn't a Byte
~~Vic Ferri, WinTips and Tricks

EDITOR'S NOTE: Vic has made us another handy conversion 
tool that you can use to convert bytes to kilobytes, 
megabytes, and gigabytes, and vice versa.  It's included 
in the online version of this article here:

A common marketing ploy by hard drive manufacturers 
is to calculate the size of a hard disk by using the 
decimal 10 system of 1000 bytes = one kilobyte, instead 
of the binary system  where 1024 bytes = one kilobyte
 (your PC only knows binary). This rounding off practice 
means you end up with a hard drive with a capacity  
less than what is indicated on the label. For example, 
a true 80 GB hard disk can hold  85,899,345,920 bytes, 
but by using the base 10 formula,  80 GB comes out 
to only 80,000,000,000 bytes  Do the simple subtraction, 
that's  5,899,345,920 bytes less than the true value.  
Now calculate what 5,899,345,920 bytes converts to by 
entering 5899345920 in the Byte box on this page. 

You will find that it translates to a  loss of 5.49419 

To perform the calculation manually:

True Size:   80 x 1024 X 1024 x 1024 = 85,899,345,920 
False Size:  80 x 1000 x 1000 x 1000= 80,000,000,000 

And there you have the reason for the size discrepancy 
when you correctly install a hard drive in Windows and 
its Properties report it to be smaller than what you 
thought. A PC only understands binary, 0's and 1's, and 
that's how Windows calculates your hard drive size. 
This means that an  80 GB drive, figured using the 
decimal 10 system, would only show as about 74.5GBs  
in Windows.  A 40 GB drive would only show as about 
37.2 GB  The difference works out to about 7% less.

If you want a simple way to confirm this for yourself, I'm 
going to give you something to try. But before starting, 
you must understand that the definition of ONE BYTE is 
8 bits which equals a single plain text unformatted 
character.  Anytime you press a character with your 
keyboard you are using one byte. So, with that in mind, 
let's first begin by confirming that fact. We want to 
confirm that when we add a byte, Windows will see it 
as a byte and then we can see just how many more 
bytes we need to add to make a kilobyte.

@ Open up a new notepad document and  type the letter A 
(or any other letter).  Just a single character.
@ Save the file, and then right click it and go to Properties 
to see the Size. It should indicate one byte (the size 
indicated in brackets is always the the true size in 
bytes). Go to the online version of this article to see 
a picture of how your Properties box should look.

Ignore the "bytes used" size - it doesn't pertain to this 
test - the bytes used just refers to the cluster size - 
i.e., how much space the file actually uses up on your 
hard drive.

Now close it,  delete it, and open up another new text 
document, full screen, with Word Wrap On.  Enter 1,024  
continuous characters to give you 1024 bytes.   

Note - every key press takes up one byte of memory so 
if you hit any other key like Enter, CTR or Shift, you will 
be adding bytes and your count will be inaccurate. 

To make it easier, below  are 100 characters.


NOTE FROM EDITOR: If your email program wrapped 
that line, it may have a space in it.  If you copy that 
line into notepad, remember to remove any spaces.

First, copy and paste them into your new text document, 
save it,  close it,  and look at the Properties to make 
sure you pasted correctly. File size should read 100 
bytes.  Then reopen it, and continue pasting the 100 
character line 9 more times without pressing any other 
keys or leaving any spaces, so that you will have exactly 
1000 bytes.  Then type in 24 more characters to bring 
the total up to 1024 bytes.

Once you've entered your 1024 characters, save and go 
to Properties again to look at the size. As you can see,  
1,024 bytes is equal to exactly 1.00 KB

Now open up your 1.00KB text document, highlight  24 
characters and delete them to make it 1000 characters. 
Save it and look at the size again in Properties.

Now you see that 1000 bytes is only .97KB and this 
illustrates how using the decimal system to calculate 
a kilobyte is inaccurate.

The 1000 bytes you used does not translate to a full 

If you were to market that 1000 byte file as 1 KB, your 
customers would be getting ripped off by 24 bytes on 
every 1 KB purchase.

I really don't know which hard drive makers - if any - 
use the the binary system to calculate hard drive sizes, 
but recently a lawsuit was launched against Dell, 
Gateway, Apple, HP, and others over this matter.  
See here for the story:

Bits and Bytes for Newbies:

BIT - the smallest unit of information a computer can 
use, either a 1 or 0, and all it knows how to use!

BYTE - consists of 8 bits which patterns one character 
which can be a letter, number or symbol  For example, 
01000001 = A

Kilobyte  - consists of 1024 bytes which equals 1024 
characters which equals about a page of double spaced 

Megabyte - consists of 1,048,576 bytes which is enough 
bytes to hold a book of maybe 500 pages or more or a 
50 page book if it contains graphics.   A floppy disk can 
hold 1.44 Megabytes.

Gigabyte - consists of  1,073,741,824 bytes which is 
enough bytes to hold a complete set of encyclopedia 
including graphics, audio and video.

Terabyte - consists of one trillion bytes (1000 Gigabytes)

And if you think no one could ever need  terabytes of  
storage, then think again.  Less than 4 hours or so of 
digital video can eat up a whole terabyte.  Over 4.5 GB 
per minute is needed to achieve the DV quality standard 
which is 720x480 resolution and a 5 to 1 compression.

NOTE: If you are new to all this and would like to learn 
more about bits and binary, look for my article  
"Just A Little Bit" in my TechTrax archives here:
Vic Ferri owns the very popular WinTips and Tricks 
email group 
He is also in charge of the Printing Tips page at
Linda's Computer Stop.

Vic has also created a program which allows you to 
Lock & Hide desktop folders in Windows 9X/ME.  
Read more and get the free demo here.

And, he now offers a service to convert PowerPoint 
presentations to .exe files which can be viewed on 
computers which do not have PowerPoint installed.

**************STATION BREAK*****************

Are you into Video Computing?

VIDEOMAKER is the world's most popular monthly 
consumer video production publication and covers the 
use of digital video editing, camcorders, cameras, and 
desktop video and audio production for novice and 
expert enthusiasts alike. Its articles teach production 
techniques, survey and review the latest equipment, 
and explain the newest technological advances.  
Published monthly, and is available on select newsstands 
and to subscribers.  In addition, you receive a password 
giving you full access to Club VId, Videomaker's vast 
online resource of information about making video.
And the best part is, it's CHEAP! Only $14.97 for 13 issues!  

And, our own multimedia expert, Vic Ferri wants to tell you 
about the great offer being made by VideoMaker Magazine. 
You can now get a free trial issue and free Ulead CD of 
video editing software. No obligation, no cost.

NOTE - the free CD is for US only. Other countries, free trial 
issue only. 

More info and instructions from Vic here: 

Generating random numbers in Excel using only built-in 
functions and eliminating the volatility issues to produce 
a more controllable randomness
~~Ray Blake, GR Business Process Solutions

There are times in Excel when you need to generate 
random numbers. For instance, I had an Excel workbook 
which ran a skills assessment centre, on which each 
candidate had to be allocated a case study randomly 
from a bank of 5 such cases. All I needed to do was 
provide a random integer between 1 and 5 inclusive, and 
then an INDEX function would read the appropriate case 
study name or reference from a separate table. 

Excel makes it quite easy to generate a random number, 
and my first attempt at a function to produce what I 
needed was quite straightforward:


Nothing too tricky here; this formula produces an integer 
which is either 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5. The two arguments define 
the lowest and highest numbers you want to be returned. 
As formulae go, it's pretty simple. But it has a problem. 
If you've tried typing it into a worksheet, you may have 
found the result appeared as:


This is an Excel error code, generated because Excel does 
not recognise the RANDBETWEEN formula. This is because 
it is not one of the standard, built-in functions of Excel; 
rather, it is one of a set of extra functions wrapped up in 
something called the 'Analysis ToolPak' which Microsoft 
provides alongside Excel. Most installations of Excel will 
have it available, but it may not be enabled in every 

Here is how to enable it.

1. From the 'Tools' menu, select 'Add-Ins'
2. Find the reference to 'Analysis ToolPak' and put a tick 
in the box
3. Select 'OK'

And now you're up and running.

But I still had a problem. I was writing my application to 
be run by other people, on a number of different desktop 
and laptop PCs. Some might not have the Analysis 
ToolPak installed, and this was a complication the users 
could probably do without.

I determined to find a way to achieve the same thing 
without having to resort to the RANDBETWEEN function. 
Fortunately, there is a way. One of Excel's built in 
functions is RAND. It takes no arguments, and simply 
produces a random number which is a fraction. That is 
to say, it produces a number which is higher than 0 but 
less than 1. It takes the form:


Here's the formula I used to turn this into an integer 
from 1 to 5:


Here's how this formula works:

1. RAND() produces a random fraction between 0 and 1
2. It is then multiplied by 4 (i.e. 5-1)
3. To the result is added 1
4. It is rounded to the nearest integer, with no decimal 

Let's follow this through imagining some actual numbers. 
At step 1, a number from - let's say 0.00001 to 0.99999 
is generated. These aren't actually the extremes, but 
they're near enough. Let's look at each of them over 
the 4 steps of the calculation.

STEP 1. RAND() produces a random fraction between 0 
and 1 
MIN RESULT 0.00001
MAX RESULT  0.99999 

STEP 2. It is then multiplied by 4 (i.e. 5-1) 
MIN RESULT 0.00004 
MAX RESULT 3.99996
STEP 3. To the result is added 1 
MIN RESULT 1.00004 
MAX RESULT 4.99996 

STEP 4. It is rounded to the nearest integer, with no 
decimal places. 

The ROUND function will always round to the nearest 
integer. For fractions of less than 0.5, this means it will 
round down, whilst for 0.5 and above, it performs a 
rounding up. Here lies the reason why the number we 
need at step 2 is 4 rather than 5. I've kept it as 5-1 to 
show the relationship with the maximum number (5) 
that we want to generate.

This formula can be adapted to work just like 
RANDBETWEEN on the following basis:

=ROUND(RAND()*([max number]-1)+[min number],0)

Note that the RAND formula, which at first, taking no 
arguments, appears very limited, can produce far more
flexible results than RANDBETWEEN, which looked like 
the best solution. However, as is often the case in real 
life, the obvious choice of RANDBETWEEN came with a 
sting in the tail, requiring an add-in to work.

Now I was there; I had a formula which would generate 
my random number in all versions of Excel without 
needing the Analysis ToolPak. But I still had a problem.

RAND is a volatile function. This means that it keeps 
recalculating, at the drop of a hat. Every time I open, 
save or close the worksheet, every time the worksheet 
is recalculated, it gives a new random value. This may 
be OK for some applications, but for mine this was 
awkward. I wanted to keep a record of what case study 
version was used, and with RAND being so volatile, that 
simply wouldn't work.

What I needed was a way to get a random number 
calculated on demand, which would then stay as it was 
until I asked for a different one. In other words, I wanted 
a dice that I could throw, but which would never be 
thrown by accident.

Here's how I did it.

In cell B2, I had my formula:

= ROUND(RAND()*(5-1)+1,0)

I started the Macro Recorder, named my new Macro 
"RandomiseNow" and recorded the following actions:

1. I selected cell B2
2. I copied it to the clipboard using CTRL+C
3. I selected cell B3
4. From the Edit menu, I chose 'Paste Special'
5. I selected the 'Values' option in the Paste dialogue
6. I clicked 'OK'

Cell B3 now contained a number, which was the number 
created by the formula in Cell B2. But the B3 formula was 
just a number, not a volatile formula. The worksheet 
could update any number of times, and although the 
value in B2 would change, that in B3 would not. (You 
can test this by forcing a number of worksheet 
recalculations. Just press F9 repeatedly, and see what 

This is perfect, because it is the figure in B3 which I 
can then use to look up the case study reference or 
name, knowing that it will not change when I'm not 
looking! When a different assessment centre group 
arrives, I can roll the dice again as it were simply by 
running the "RandomiseNow" macro. In fact, I put a 
button on the sheet to run the macro, which is much 
easier than using the Macro dialogue, particularly for 
the novice users who would be using my application.

So there we are. We have found how to generate random 
numbers using the RANDBETWEEN function from the 
Analysis ToolPak, how to recreate this functionality 
using only Excel's built-in functions, and finally how to 
work around the volatility of these functions and control 
precisely when a random value is updated.
Ray Blake lives in England and spent 15 years training 
people in the financial services industry there. He had 
always used PCs in his work, and gradually realised he 
might make a career out of them. He and his business 
partner set up GR Business Process Solutions 
( http://www.grbps.com ) which specializes in innovative 
IT to support knowledge testing and skills assessment. 
Although he spends a lot of time these days developing 
in VB and Access, Excel remains his favourite development 
tool, because, as he says, 'It can do everything; there's no 
computer application you can think of that you couldn't 
develop in Excel.'

**************STATION BREAK*****************


Check out OVER 80 INSTANT GUIDES to your DREAM JOB or 
LIFESTYLE, by real world been-there, done-that authors. 
Click here to get YOUR REAL LIFE moving NOW: 

Including Linda Johnson's 
"How to Get Started as a Software Trainer"


~~Mike Baynes, MikesWhatsNews

Now why would you want a 'throw-away email address'?

Have you ever wondered how your email address ended 
up a spammers list?

Often we buy a program or hardware for our computers.  
Of course we register it and provide our email address,
 but did you read the fine print?  Did you consent to 
receiving promotions from their 'partners'.

Despammed is the Internet's premiere Unsolicited 
Commercial Email (UCE) filtering service.
" With a Despammed email alias, you can register at 
Web sites, post on newsgroups and sign guestbooks 
without worry. "

Frequently what they consider partners are what we 
consider spam.  This is where the throw away address 
comes in handy.  It is an address that you sign up for 
from a site providing 'free email addresses'.

Free Email Address Directory -
"Welcome to the best email resource on the Web! You'll 
find reviews of hundreds of free email services and 
for-fee email services, advice on using email, a guide to 
setting up your own email service and more."

There are also sites which provide time-limited addresses 
which you use specifically to register for sites that you 
suspect may not respect your rights to privacy.

Most email addresses @lte.gremlin.ca expire after a set 
period of time (usually 7-14 days). 
"If you have been directed to this page by an error 
message in a returned email, it is likely that the email 
address you sent your message to has expired."

There are also email forwarding services, which will allow 
you to use a free address which will forward the email 
to you.

Bigfoot Email Tools
"Your permanent home on the web that provides a 
comprehensive range of leading-edge email management 
services for life."

You can use one of these, and have your regular email 
program set up to automatically discard the messages 
from that address.  Actually you can set up your email 
filters and rules to automatically discard any messages 
sent to your 'throw away address'.

See Email Filters and Rules:

Of course, there are robots that can scan web pages to 
obtain email addresses, so use a graphic for your email 
address, then the 'bots' can't see it. 

Another method of obtaining email addresses is to take 
your address out of posts to online lists and groups.  
Be creative - use your Yahoo, Hotmail, or other throw-
away address.
Mike Baynes is the editor of MikesWhatsNews.  
To subscribe, send a blank email to 
mikeswhatsnews-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word 
"subscribe" in the subject line (without the quotes)
See Mike's Anti-Virus pages ~ http://virusinfo.hackfix.org
To subscribe, send a blank email to:
virusinfo-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with subscribe in the subject.

**************STATION BREAK*****************
                                  from Vic Ferri
High level desktop folder security for 
Windows 95/98/Me

Keep your personal and most valuable files locked 
and hidden from prying eyes, viruses, and other users 
of your computer.  Easy to use and extremely secure.

Lock&Hide is an  extremely easy to use  program that 
allows you to lock and hide any folder on your desktop.  
Folders secured with Lock&Hide cannot be seen, found, 
or accessed. Your folders remain totally invisible and 
highly secured, yet can be accessed quckly and easily 
at any time!

More Info here:

Screenshots and instructions here:

Or download the free demo here
(the demo does not include the "Restore All" feature
or the password protection utility.)

~~Sara Froehlich, Northlite Designs

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article includes pictures and is 
clearer if read online.  You can see the online version here:
This is an excerpt from one lesson of the next level in my 
series of Photoshop Elements courses: Photoshop 
Elements Retouching and Restoration. You can enroll in 
Level 3 by going to the class description page here and 
clicking on the Enroll Now link at the bottom of the 
Completion of previous levels is a requirement to take 
this class. You may register for the other Elements 
classes as well by following this link:
Photoshop Elements Courses at Eclectic Academy

The classes progress as follows:

@ Photoshop Elements From the Ground Up 
@ Photoshop Elements Level 1 
@ Photoshop Elements Level 2 
@ Photoshop Elements Level 3: Photo Retouching and 

The next session starts November 9, 2003!

Twinkle in your eye gone? 

Sometimes during correction or because of lighting, eyes 
don't have that natural twinkle that makes a photo come 
alive. Here's how to get it back. In the online version of 
this article, there is a detail of a retouched portrait of 
my daughter. Find a photo of your own where you want 
to put the twinkle back in the eyes.

Step 1 Open the photo in Elements and duplicate the 
layer by dragging it to the new layer icon at the bottom 
of the layers palette. 

Note: There always seems to be confusion in these 
classes if your layers are not exactly like mine. This time, 
please note that I started with a photo that had already 
been retouched, and the photo did not have a background 
layer, but a real layer, and is named Layer 1. Yours might 
be called background; and in that case, your duplicate 
layer will be called Background Copy. In this series of 
classes you may not always have the same thing as I 
do, because we will be working on different photos.

In the online version of this article, there is a close-up 
of the eyes area, at about 50%. Since it was done for 
print, it's too large to show here at 100%.

Step 2 Make your view 100% size. When sharpening, it's 
often very important to be able to see the effects full 
size. On the duplicate layer, run Filter > Sharpen > 
Unsharp Mask at about amount 88%, Radius 1, threshold 
4. These settings are common ones shared with us by 
Scott Kelby in his book "Photoshop Elements for Digital 
Photographers". Click OK to sharpen the whole photo.

Step 3 Cmd/ctrl+F two times to apply the unsharp mask 
twice more. The photo will be very over-sharpened. In 
fact it will probably look pretty bad overall, but don't worry 
about that. You are on the duplicate layer.

Step 4 Hold the cmd/ctrl key and click one time on the 
new layer icon on the bottom of the layers palette. This 
will create a new blank layer right under the selected 
layer (the duplicate, sharpened layer). 

Now click on the sharpened layer again (mine is layer 
1 copy) in the layers palette to make it the active layer 
and press cmd/ctrl+G to group the layers. The visible 
sharpness disappears, but that's ok, that's what's 
supposed to happen. Basically we have "faked" a layer 
mask like Photoshop has.

Step 5 In the layers palette click on the blank layer to 
make it active (it should be in the middle). We will be 
painting on this layer. 

Step 6 Press D to set the colors to default black and 
white, switch to the brush tool and choose a soft edged 
brush that is smaller than the person's eyes from the 
options bar. "Paint" over just the irises and pupils of the 
eyes to reveal the results of the eye sharpening, making 
the eyes sparkle. Make sure you are painting on the 
blank layer!

Step 7 Merge all layers. See how easy that was?
Sara Froehlich of Northlite Designs, 
http://www.northlite.net is an instructor with Eclectic 
Academy, where her online courses include Macromedia 
Fireworks and  FreeHand 10, Creathru House Expression 
and 4 levels of classes in Adobe Photoshop Elements, 
along with several classes in Photoshop filters. Coming 
In January: Canvas 9! 
Go to http://www.eclecticacademy.com enroll in one of 
her classes.  

She also is an instructor at LVS Online, where she teaches 
intermediate Adobe Illustrator and intermediate 
Macromedia Fireworks classes. 
Go to http://www.lvsonline.com to enroll in one of her 
classes there. 

For more information on all of the classes Sara teaches, 
go to http://www.northlite.net/classes.htm 

Expression Tips and Tutorials: 

Illustrator Tips and Tutorials:

(10.)  My Adventures in Home Computing
~~John Warner

Keep in-mind that I wrote this essay in the early 90s. 
Some of the opinions are a bit dated but, I think, the 
events of the last 5 or 6 years serve to confirm my

My daughter was in dire need of a filing system to keep-
track of her customers. She needed to print labels for 
mailings and log clients' visits to her store. She went 
into Circuit City and walked-out with a laptop computer 
she was sure would automate this tedious chore. She 
didn't have the time to do it herself so she dropped the 
thing in my lap. (No pun intended) I looked-up at her 
with a classic "Who, me?" stare.

Where do I start? How do you turn this thing on? Where's 
the instruction manual? "Boy, Do I Feel STUPID"! And so, 
I was introduced to the "computer age."

Not really "Introduced", for you see, we had met before! 
By the time I was finished this task, after many hours 
spent staring at a blinking cursor, I would recall all my 
earlier brushes with technology. I would come to realize 
that I wasn't as stupid as I first thought. You see, I had 
given-up in frustration in all those prior encounters 
because I thought I was "thickheaded" or worse! 
Unbeknownst to me, NOBODY knew anything about PC's!

It was the "late 70's" and I had just bought the neatest 
piece of electronic gadgetry I had ever seen, "The 
Commodore 64"! In order to make this "baby" do anything; 
you had to learn how to give it commands. The "language" 
that the thing understood was something called BASIC. 
The person who invented BASIC wasn't a member of 
some team of Ph.D. Electrical Engineers from a "think 
tank" at MIT, but a 17 year old named Bill Gates, whose 
only other accomplishment, up to this time, was scoring 
high enough on the SAT's to get accepted at Harvard. He 
was one of those "nerdy types" that no one wanted to 
socialize with because he approached every parlor game 
as if the fate-of-the-world depended on whether HE 
WON or not! One of those "Dungeons and Dragons" 
weirdoes on college campuses, that you used-to hear 
so much about, back then.

After going back and re-reading this description, it 
sounds a bit harsh. I would explain by saying that I was 
quite annoyed that such a travesty of justice could take 
place and I felt sorry for the true inventors of the point
-and-click operating system.

Gates started-out selling Basic to Ed Roberts, of MITS, 
who is credited with inventing the first PC, The Altair 
8800. Gates was 19 years old and he, and a high 
school friend named Paul Allen, wrote the "code" that 
was used to run Altair. The year was 1975, and Allen 
and Gates needed a name for their two-man company, 
so they could open a bank account to cash the checks 
from MITS. They called their newborn enterprise, 

I learned BASIC well enough to write a simple program, 
maybe that wasn't fun; can you say SYNTAX ERROR? I 
got frustrated with the lack of memory on these early 
computers, and the "snails-pace" retrieval rate of the 
old "portable tape decks" that they used for storage. 
These early computers had no "hard drive" (storage) at 
all. When you shutdown the computer, RAM goes POOF! 
Into thin air.

Some years later, the Freshman Class at Drexel 
University was the beneficiary of a "promotion" being 
run by Apple Computers. Each student would have their 
own "personal" computer. It was a stroke of marketing 
genius on the part of the computer manufacture's young 
management team. There were three schools chosen for 
the experiment: Drexel, Stanford, and another that slips 
my mind. They were selling, at cost, their newest 
creation, "Macintosh." A revolutionary, new Personal 
Computer that had an "operating system" that even a 
child could use. This system incorporated a device that 
you "ran around" on your desktop called a "mouse." 
The "mouse" was electrically connected to an arrow on 
the monitor screen. You simply directed the arrow to 
point at an "icon" on the screen and "clicked" the 
mouse, and the computer would do something! No need 
to type-in any "commands." The concept was not lost. 
It put-into-practice, for the first time, the prospect of 
each person having their own computer, instead of 
sitting around a library waiting for a turn. Their bold 
business plan worked like a charm...but not for them! 

It was 1984, and I "fiddled" with the thing a few times 
but never really had the time to get-into it.

The people behind the "Macintosh" (Apple Computers, 
Inc., Macintosh Apples, does this all sound silly?) 
weren't those MIT Ph.D.s that I spoke of earlier, or even 
the name that is synonymous with the word "computer", 
IBM, but rather, two college students named STEVE! 

Not the "Dungeons&Dragons" types, Steve Jobs and 
Steve Wozniak spent their leisure time engaged in 
another pursuit, with a "touch of larceny" to add 
excitement. Jobs had discovered, in a hidden-away 
corner of the Library at Stanford, a small tech manual 
issued by ATT. The manual described a "new" dialing 
system that they were experimenting with that would 
replace the old "clicking" system used by "rotary" 
phones. The new system, a series of "tones", would 
be much faster, as everyone now knows. 

Sounds like "old news", however, also in the manual 
was the formula for deciphering the entire system, 
worldwide! Jobs asked Wozniak, the electronics wizard, 
and Steven King look-a-like, to design a device that 
would match the frequencies of tones listed in the 
manual, and emit those tones. This was a relatively 
simple task for Wozniak; knowing which tones to "play" 
was gleaned from the manual, and soon they began 
using what they had named, " the blue box." (because 
it was in a blue box).

They didn't use the device for profit; it was mostly a 
"prank". College kids calling home for free or asking an 
Apothecary in Sussex, "If they had Prince Albert in a 
can?" Once, Wozniak said, he called the Pope, using 
the name Henry Kissinger. He didn't get to speak to 
the Pope, but he was told that someone was going to 
wake him up!

The lesson here, not wasted on Steve Jobs, was that 
they could manipulate a billion dollar infrastructure like 
ATT. So, when he asked Steve Wozniak if he could 
miniaturize a computer, that Wozniak had been "toying 
with" at hobbyist meetings, to a point where it could be 
packaged and sold on-the-market, Apple, Inc. was born!

Apple I was nothing more than a circuit board, no case 
or keyboard. They manufactured them in a garage. Fifty 
units were sold to hobbyists for $600 each. Jobs could 
see the possibilities. He went to Venture Capitalist, 
Arthur Rock, and got backing for a new creation, Apple II. 
They debuted the Apple II at the "1st Annual West 
Coast Computer Faire." The II was an instant success, 
it was the first "real" PC, and they turned-out 1000 
units a month. He was 19 years old.

For all its success, the Apple II was still just a toy! It 
needed an application that would make it DO SOMETHING 
USEFUL. The PC was the product of the "flower-children" 
of the West Coast. The "hippies" thought it was 
"groovy", but the application that would launch it into 
the billion-dollar business, that it was to become, was 
on the blackboards of the Harvard Business School. An 
MBA student named Dan Bricklin, who had some 
programming experience, was working on a program 
to automate the laborious calculations needed to "run 
the numbers", using the accepted Harvard Business 
School tables, to workout profits and expenses in 
business. All the values in the tables are related to 
each other, and so, changes in one year will "ripple"
through the table and affect the prices and profits in 
subsequent years. Since all the values in the table are 
related, one mistake could mean disaster! 
He enlisted the aid of a friend, Bob Frankston, to write 
the code. They called the program The Visible Calculator, 
or VISICALC, and began to give VISICALC to anyone who 
wanted a copy. The first copies went on sale at Marv 
Goldschmitt's Computer Store in Bedford, Mass. in 
October, 1979. 

They were idealists, they said they were trying to 
improve the lives of the "bean-counters" of the world, 
and were not in it for the money. Bricklin tells a story 
about a demonstration he was giving to some 
accountants, when one fellow came up to him and, with 
tears in his eyes, explained how he would labor for a 
week, missing dinner with his wife and kids, to "run the 
numbers" that VISICALC just ran in 5 minutes! They 
NEVER COPYRIGHTED their invention, the FIRST 
SPREADSHEET! (This would be the first in a series of 
unbelievable circumstances that would create "openings" 
for the opportunist Bill Gates that would catapult him 
into notoriety as the richest and luckiest man in the 
world!) He would later use the application as the 
template for Excel.

It was the beginning of the Reagan Years and money 
was everything. Greed was Good, and the Whiz Kids of 
Wall St., fresh out of college, were making millions. The 
spreadsheet was the big businessman's "Crystal Ball." It 
answered all those, " What If ", questions. How will 
future profits be affected by different business scenarios? 
A 24 year old MBA running Visicalc on an Apple II 
computer could use two pieces of dubious data to 
convince his corporate managers to loot the company's 
Pension Fund and do a leveraged buy-out! Apple, Inc. 
went Public in 1980, and on his 23rd birthday Steve Jobs 
was a Millionaire.

On his 24th he had $10 Million, and by his 25 birthday 
he was worth 100 Million Dollars! And Apple was yet to 
introduce the most revolutionary computer of all time, 

All this excitement was drawing the attention of the 
"sleeping giant." The company known as "Big Blue" had, 
heretofore, dismissed the PC as a "gadget" and ignored 
the possible market. But IBM, the name that "means" 
computer, was beginning to rethink its position. In the 
boardrooms of IBM the unthinkable was being asked. 
"Had one of the leaders in the corporate world made a 

Perhaps, but they were about to make, what is described 
by some as, the BIGGEST mistake in the history of the 
business world! There are many lessons to be made of 
this story, not the least of which is expressed in this 
axiom: " In business, as in comedy, TIMING is of the 
utmost importance."

IBM decided that they would get into the PC 
marketplace, but there was one problem. The staid and 
conservative leader of the computer industry knew full 
well that the length of time it needed for research and 
development, tooling, design and manufacture of it's 
PC would be so great that the "market" for PCs would 
be "saturated" by the time their version was released. 

With that, IBM decided to buy, from electronics 
manufacturer's stockpiles, all the components needed 
to assemble their version of the Personal Computer thus 
saving the time of designing their own. All they needed 
to do now was "buy" an Operating System. A good idea, 
except for one hitch: Since they were not inventing it, but 
merely assembling it, they could not patent such a device!

When the IBM Execs showed-up on Bill Gates' doorstep 
he almost "wet himself." They wanted to know if he had 
an Operating System that they could buy and install in 
their new PC. Perhaps they figured that he was an 
electronics nerd who got high off the smoke of his 
soldering iron and wouldn't be "tied-in" with any 
existing computer companies, and they would be able 
to dictate terms to him. Well, he "took the lump" and 
sent them off to see someone that he thought was 
better equipped to help them. 

A fact that came to light years after I wrote this essay 
was that Gates' mother sat on the board of United Way, 
where she, a lawyer, was friendly with the CEO of IBM. 
Does that sound like a coincidence of enormous 
proportions? "Boy I guess!" 

Luckily, the people he sent them to see were making 
too many demands for IBM and, as hard as it may be 
to believe, they came back to see him again. This was 
all the break he needed and I guess he felt like a man 
who had been raised from the dead! He knew he didn't 
have the system they needed, but he told them he did! 
"Flying by the seat of his pants", he signed a contract 
with them making Microsoft the exclusive provider of the 
Operating System for the PC in exchange for his 
guarantee that he would not sell the system to anyone 
else. He put his head together with a colleague, who 
had been working on several different operating systems, 
and they "threw together" QDOS, an acronym for "Quick 
and Dirty Operating System." Their inside joke was the 
forerunner of MS-DOS. The only "unique" component of 
IBM's PC was the "brain" of the machine. That part which 
connects the "hardware" to the "software", the Operating 
System to the Central Processing Unit or CPU, known as 
the "ROM BIOS." 

Someone bought an IBM PC, took it home and took it 
apart, and found that as long as they bought the 
components from the companies that held the individual 
patents on each component, anyone could assemble 
and market IBM PCs under their own name. That 
"someone" was COMPAQ COMPUTERS. The only obstacle 
was: IBM's ROM BIOS. 

Here's how they got around that obstacle: A patent 
attorney assembled a team of Electrical Engineers. He 
videotaped each interview in which he asks each one 
if he or she has ever worked for IBM or Microsoft. He 
then has them swear that they had never seen the 
insides of IBM's PC nor did they ever see the operating s
ystem known as QDOS. 20 people are hired and put to 
work "reinventing" IBM's ROM BIOS. They are given 
complete documentation describing the hardware and 
what it does when instructed by the operating system. 
The team of E.E.s is able to "reinvent" IBM's ROM-BIOS 
in 4 months time.

Now there are two companies that own patents on a 
ROM-BIOS that "runs" IBM's PC. Compaq wants to start 
selling their PC so they order Operating Systems from 
Microsoft. Bill Gates' lawyers (probably his mom or dad) 
tell him that if it was legal for Compaq to "clone" the 
PC, then it is also legal for Microsoft to sell DOS to the 
cloners. Perhaps, in a "last ditch" effort to have some 
control over the PC Market, IBM begins selling THEIR 
Rom Bios, thereby licensing anyone who wants to 
"clone" their PC and the "blunder" is complete! The 
company that proved they could "respond quickly" to 
grab a share of the personal computer market by 
"slapping together" a machine that would outsell the 
Apple Home Computer succeeded in making money for 
everyone but themselves!

Gates knew he needed a simpler Operating System 
than DOS. It still required you to have the knowledge 
of BASIC and the ability to write code. PCs would not
 sell when the world got a look at the Macintosh OS. It 
is said, (mostly in Gates' autobiography) that he knew 
of the Mac OS and advised Jobs to patent it. When Jobs 
procrastinated Gates stole it! He modified it into an 
APPLICATION that ran within DOS, and began including 
it WITH the operating system he installed into every PC. 
For anyone (me included) who ever saw Macintosh 
BEFORE they saw WINDOWS, the similarity was 
astonishing! To a person, they asked themselves, 
"How could he have gotten away with this?" 

Bill Gates and Microsoft "set the world on its ear" when 
they release the revolutionary operating system 
WINDOWS. They took all those "inventions" from the 
Macintosh Operating System: the Windows themselves, 
the Mouse, the Icons, and the Menus., and just like 
Chubby Checker stole "The Twist" from Hank Ballard, and 
Liz Taylor stole Eddie Fisher from Debbie Reynolds, 
Microsoft "blows Apple, Inc. out of the water." Not 
because they had a "new message" but just because 
they "said it louder." Gates capitalized on the name 
IBM, who had no more to do with the development of 
the PC than Gates did, but who gave it their famous 
name, IBM Compatible! If you were going to, "plop-
down" your hard-earned dollars for a computer, and the 
man in the store had one named IBM and one named 
APPLE, which one would you buy? So did everyone else!

In the end, the hippies' contempt for convention, would 
prove to be their un-doing! Every couple of days I read 
an article about the trials and tribulations of Apple, Inc. 
They are STILL at it, concentrating on the "high-dollar" 
personal computer market, and their machine is STILL 
better than the competition's! When I made the analogy 
of a saturated market I never knew that the computer 
manufacturers would "pace themselves" in releasing 
faster and faster machines. Avid users buy a new 
computer about every TWO years! It's an absolute 
stroke of business genius combined with uncanny luck 
and all the ruthlessness necessary to have stolen all 
the major components for success!
John Warner is a frustrated, opinionated, blue-collar, 
quinquagenarian, wannabe-wordsmith who has 
managed, during some of his few-and-far-between 
stretches of lucidity, to string together a few hundred 
intelligible words suitable for publication in the Events 
Business News Magazine (and for a fee, no less).

These words come from John ... not me ;-)

~~ with a little help from her friends

First off, let me tell you I wrote a follow-up article about 
Excel IF statements for TechTrax ezine, and you can see 
them both here in my TechTrax Author Archives.  
If you like what I wrote there, please send some 
feedback to TechTrax and tell them you heard about 
their ezine here.
And, the next goodies I want to share come from my pal 
Mac Bagwell who owns a great website called Martha's 
Web at http://www.keyboardpower.com   

One Saturday nite, a few members of the 
Computer Help and Discussion group
were kinda bored and sharing different sites we frequent 
and Mac sent us a few free online games that are lots of 
fun, so I thought I'd share them with you.

@ Letter Lasso 
@ Online Yahtzee 
@ Butch Mushroom 
@ The Office Space 
@ And Mac's "personal favorite".... Marbles

Thanks to Mac for sharing these.  I recommend you 
all go to Mac's website for lots of other great stuff.
This next one is VERY funny, I think.  Subscriber 
Jeremy F. sent me this one:

Hi Linda.  My friend just taught me a new trick and 
I don't know if you know about this one or not. If you 
add the text ".mirror.sytes.org" (without the quotes) to 
the end of any URL, you sill see a mirror image of the 
website.  You know, backwards.  Try it with your own 

Is that cool or what?  And, I see that if you click on any 
of the links on my home page, those pages come up 
backwards too. LOL  I also learned that you have to put 
the ".mirror.sytes.org" immediately after the site's 
extension (.com, .org, .edu, etc.) and NOT after 
something like .htm.  

For example...

brings you to a "page not found"

shows my Library page completely backwards.  Notice 
even the pictures are backwards...and the text in the 
title bar too.

Lotsa fun, Jeremy.  Thanks for sharing it with us!
This next one was something we discussed in Hal 
Cardona's WinXPHelp group .  

Someone was having problems with blurry fonts and I 
sent them to this page.  I was surprised to hear many 
people don't know about this page.  It's Microsoft's 
Clear Type Fonts Optimizer  It's made for LCD monitors 
and it only works if you are using Windows XP, but I've 
found it works with my regular CRT screen also. So, if 
you are having problems seeing your fonts clearly 
onscreen, give this a shot. What you got to lose?
This is one that ABC Fleet member, Mike Baynes 
included in his great newsletter, MikesWhatsNews, 

Stardock CursorXP free
A program that lets you use and create incredibly cool 
looking Windows mouse cursors.   It does this by taking 
advantage of the new visual effects features of 
Windows 2000 and Windows XP.  

This one is great, Mike.  I downloaded the free version 
and I'm having so much fun with it, I bought the pro 
version.  Right now my mouse pointer is a Heineken 
bottle with bubble trails. LOL 

I downloaded the Heineken bottle here:
But you need the pro version for the bubbles.
And the last little goodie is a belated Halloween gift 
from me.  If you read my review of FrontLook's FrontPage 
addins, you may have already seen this, but if not, 
here's a little Halloween ditty I made:

Thanks to all that send me stuff.  If you have anything 
fun to share with ABC's readers, just drop me an email 
and I will check it out.

Linda Johnson is a college instructor of all of the 
Microsoft Office Programs, as well as Adobe PhotoShop 
and Windows. She also teaches online distance learning 
classes in Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, and 
Word at Eclectic Academy. 
She has worked helpdesk and teaches and lectures at 
Many local businesses and tech schools in her area. 
Support this newsletter by checking out Linda's website 
and her ebook series, MS Word MAGIC!
Part I: Fonts, Fun & Formats 
Part II: Table Wizardry 
AND, How To Get Started As a Software Trainer:
If you have been interested in taking any of Linda's 
Online Classes but don't want to wait six weeks to 
complete all the lessons or don't have the desire to be 
part of an online classroom, why not 
Check out the eBook .exe versions of all of Linda's 
classes here:

Only $15 each!!  Where else can you master a software 
Program for that price?  

Separate eBook tutorials on Access, Excel, Outlook, 
PowerPoint, Publisher, and Word.  Terrific value!!

OR BUY THEM ALL ON ONE CD  Only $45.00!!
Order online or by regular mail
Details here:

Download the free Sample Version at CNET:
And PLEASE rate it there for me?  Thanks!!
 ~ Questions submitted by readers and answered by ABC's 
Fleet of Writers

NOTE FROM LINDA: First, let me apologize to anyone 
who tried to submit a question this month and got a 
"FrontPage Error".  Evidently my FrontPage extensions on 
my website had gotten corrupted and therefore my forms 
were not working.  I didn't realize this until someone 
tried to send me the actual webpage and I replied asking 
her why she was doing that.  She replied and told me she 
couldn't use the form becuz she got an error, so she just 
sent me the whole page.  Thanks to Cosma Ann Ballew 
for bringing this to my attention.  If anyone tried to send 
a question and got this error, please try again.  The 
problem has been fixed.  Thanks for your patience. 

So, since we are a little light on questions this month, 
I grabbed a few from my MSO support group and 
included them here, along with the few I did receive 
via ABC's form.  :-)

QUESTION submitted by Mike:

I am not a computer programmer (though I have a little 
knowledge, which I suppose makes me real dangerous), 
but rather an intelligence analyst who works for U. S. 
Marine Corps Forces, Atlantic. I have been teaching 
myself Front Page using Front Page 2000 at work, and 
FP 98 at home. For the most part I have been fairly 
successful - and have built my organizations web page 
(unfortunately it is not available in an unclassified 
version - its on SIPRNET if you know the term).  I have 
ran into the preverbal brick wall (hurts when you do that) 
with two problems. I have researched the help function 
on both programs, and several books and papers I have, 
but have not discovered an answer to these questions. 

Problem 1: I want to use drop down menus to direct 
users to other sites (URL's), and in doing so spawn a 
newpage (_blank) for that site to appear on. Problem is 
I cant seem to do it.  I have no problem building the 
drop down menu (I mean all you have to do is point and 
click - cant get in any trouble there)  Then using the F
orm Field Properties function, I set the hyperlinks - again
 that doesn't represent much of a problem. However 
when I enter target="_blank" A new page does not 
spawn, and the user must use the back key to return 
to the initial page. 

I know that 
<A HREF=http://www.example.htm target="_blank" 
works, but not if you input it in Form Field Properties.  

Question: How do I get a new page to spawn with a 
given URL when I use the Form Field Properties function?

Problem 2: There are times when a given Site/URL is 
down or the URL has been changed (and the web meister 
hasn't redirected the URL.) When that happens - after 
what seems to be an interminable time - the system 
returns an error page (Cannot find server or DNS Error, 

Question: If it is determined (by the system) that the 
site/url is not functional/available, is there a way to 
redirect the resulting generation of a system error page 
to one of my own design?  Any help/direction you can 
provide will be more than gratefully accepted. 

ANSWER from Linda Johnson:

Hi Mike....you need to use specific javascript to get 
dropdown links to open in a new window. Here's some 
sample code to show you what you need...

<form method="post" action="" name=""> <select name="select15"
<option selected>Choose One</option>
<option value="http://www.yahoo.com";>Yahoo</option>
<option value="http://www.msn.com";>MSN</option>

I put it up on my test page so you can see it works...
go here:

Now...as to your question about designing your own 
error page...   This only works for links that are bad 
WITHIN your website ... You have no control over the 
error that is generated when OTHER websites are down.  
And, this can only be done IF your web host accepts 
"custom 404 pages".  If so, then you can design the page 
any way you want and find out from your host, where you 
need to put this page and what you need to name it...
in my case, my host, Hostway DOES support custom 404 
pages and I just had to make my page and name it 
"missing.html" becuz that's the one that Hostway 
recognizes...and I had to put it in the root of my web and 
EVERY subweb in order for it to work. The name and 
location of the page may differ, depending on your 
host's setup...and some hosts just don't allow this, 
so you would have to check with them.

If you click on this, which points you to a page that does 
not exist on my website, it will redirect you to the 
custom 404 page I created, which is named missing.html 
and located at the root of my web...try it:

Hope this helps you.


QUESTION submitted by Beth Lee (in MSO):

I'm using Publisher 2002.  I had found the Tools --> 
Commercial Printing Tools --> Fonts path, but the Font 
Substitution button is dimmed, even when I click on a 
font to select it, and even when I've tried various 
combinations of choices for embedding.  Any ideas why 
this is so?

ANSWER from Linda Johnson:

The Font Substitution button is only used when you want 
to globally replace a font that is MISSING in your system 
with one that you have...if the offending font you are 
trying to get rid of is NOT missing, this won't work.

BUT...I discovered a little workaround (my specialty lol) 
and it worked.

Here's what I did...I put some text in my Publisher 
document and used a font called Felix Titling (yes, I 
actually seem to have that font LOL) Then I went to my 
Windows control panel and double clicked on my Fonts 
folder...in there I grabbed my Felix Titling font with my 
RIGHT mouse button and dragged it out of the Fonts 
folder onto my desktop and chose "move here" (since the 
fonts folder won't let you cut/paste like other folders)...
this moved it out of my fonts folder so Publisher now 
saw it as a missing font....so, I went back into the 
Publisher document and now the Font Substitution 
button was lit up and I easily substituted it...then, when 
I was done, I just dragged Felix Titling back into my fonts 
folder. I know, I know .. it's weird...but it DID work. 


QUESTION submitted by Don (in MSO):

I was thinking that if my computer crashed at work I 
would have to be put in an insane asylum. I have spent 
a multitude of hours getting Excel as I want it. What files 
should I back up. If you can lead me to a website that 
explains such things that would be good also. I have a 
personal.xls, which I assume I will be able to search out 
on the hard drive. I have several custom toolbars and the 
original toolbars are no longer "original". I would 
appreciate information on any and all pertinent files that 
are worth backing up for customization purposes, 
including things like quick correct (if possible). If I lost 
it, it would literally take months to reproduce.

ANSWER from Linda Johnson:

Hmmm...let's see...  If you have made templates, search 
your hard drive for *.xlt and back up all of them And yes, 
definitely back up personal.xls.  Toolbar files have an xlb 
extension, so search your hard drive for *.xlb and back 
them up also.  Autocorrect files have an acl extension so 
search your hard drive for *.acl and back them up too.  
And, if you have anything in your XLStart folder, you 
might want to back that up also ... search your hard drive 
for XLStart and back up the whole folder ... of course, if 
you have shortcuts in there to launch addins when Excel 
starts, you would also have to reinstall the addins if you 
had to reinstall Excel.  I *think* that about covers it.


QUESTION submitted by Diane:

Please try and just bare with me, but what I am wanting 
to do is learn how to Tag, and I am the type of person it 
has to be Very Simple. Any Advice would be greatly 
appreciated.  Thanks alot

ANSWER from Cap'n Patt, our GeekSpeak Translator:

I was just sitting here reading the mail when your 
question popped up and my first reaction was, Oh! Boy! 
The reason being that I?d like to be able to tag too. I 
can?t, probably never will.  Let?s face it, I?m big on 
definitions but not on what to do with the end result. 
Since you say that you?d like to learn to ?TAG? you are 
probably aware that a ?TAG? is a command inserted into 
a document which dictates how a certain portion of that 
document is to be formatted.  The major obstacle seems 
to be, first you must learn HTML (HyperText Markup 
Language) which is used almost exclusively for laying out 
web pages for the internet, or SGML (Standard 
Generalized Markup Language) which lays down the rules 
for tagging elements. It?s large and unwieldy and not 
widely used on personal computers.  In short, although 
I may be wrong, and you?d be surprised how often I am, 
it would appear that first you learn HTML and in the 
process pick up the knowledge required to create and 
insert a TAG in the document you are preparing.  You 
say it has to be ?Very Simple? it doesn?t sound that 
way to me. Hope it does to you.


QUESTION submitted by dtrickman:

Tabs are not available in Word 2000. Will not allow tabs 
to be selected and set.  Question: How do you make 
tabs availabe to set?  When opening up the Word 
program, this happens in all documents and when 
opening a brand new blank document also.  When I go 
out of Word and reboot the computer they become 
available temporarily. As I continue to work they start 
this greying out again as I open different documents. It 
seems as though there is a problem in the actual 
toolbar or maybe the normal.dot template? 

ANSWER from Linda Johnson:

Yes..it sounds that way to me too, if it's happening in 
all Word files....go here for my Word Troubleshooting 
instructions and read the part about normal.dot.  

However, if that doesn't fix it, then I would think your 
Data key in your registry is corrupt, since the data key 
is what controls everything in your toolbars and menus
...instructions for fixing that are here...

Good luck

REPLY from dtrickman:

Thank you very much, I will try this. I appreciate your 
website and have found many helpful tips!  Keep up the 
great work!


QUESTION submitted by Cosma Ann Ballew:

Can I freeze web pages that are open so they will stay 
open all the time?  When I open another webpage it 
opens in "one" of my already open pages.  I have several 
that I want left alone and stay open, like when I am 
doing an online virus scan.. Then I open something and 
it chooses that page to use and I lose my scan.. kapish?

ANSWER from Renée Atkinson (Renée is a training 
specialist for a hospital, training over 1500 people on 
Microsoft Office and enterprise software.  Renée's 
philosophy for this job is "Staying in touch so you don't 
have too..."):

When you hold down the shift key and click on the url, 
it will open in a new window. Is this what you mean? Or 
right click and choose "open in new window". I've not 
tried it but I wonder if the options from any icon on your 
desktop where it has windows open in different window 
would work here? Not tried that!

ANSWER from Hal Cardona (Hal Cardona, PC Sleuth
http://pcsleuth.com serves as tech support and/or offsite 
Sys Admin for over 200 clients around the US.  He designs, 
builds, and troubleshoots networks and builds custom 
computer systems.):

To force Internet Explorer to use a new window when 
clicking a link from outside Internet Explorer (like from 
e-mail or your desktop): Go to Internet Options and on 
the Advanced Tab uncheck "Reuse windows for launching 
shortcuts". You can get to Internet Options by right 
clicking on Internet Explorer in the Start Menu, From 
the Control Panel or while inside Internet Explorer, drop 
down Tools and select Internet Options.  This won't work 
for links inside Internet Explorer, for links inside Internet 
Explorer right click on the link and select Open in New 


QUESTION submitted by Michael@AOL:

In Excel, I want to find the total # of hours between 
Mon 9:00am and Wed 3:00pm. I cant find a way. Can 
you explain how to get Excel to tell me the total # of 
hours difference ?

ANSWER from Linda Johnson:

Hi Michael.  You need to use a combination of date/time 
formats to do this and you must use dates, not days. 
Here's a simple example:

Open a new blank sheet and try this, so you can see 
how it works

Highlight cells A1 and B1 and go to the Format menu and 
choose Cells.  Click on the Number tab and choose Date 
from the list on the left, then choose the format that 
says 3/14/01 1:30 PM from the list on the right....
OK your way out

In A1, type this, EXACTLY as I show it here, using 
correct spacing, etc.:
10/3 9:00 am

See that Excel changes it to 10/3/03 9:00 AM (if Excel 
doesn't change it to that, you didn't type it correctly, so 
type it again)

In B1, type this
10/05 3:00 pm

Excel changes it to 10/5/03 3:00 PM

In C1, type this:

Excel will give you some incorrect time, so highlight C1 
and go back to Format>Cells.  This time choose Custom 
from the list on the left. Then in the small white box at 
the top right, type this 


Now you should get 54, which is the number of hours 
between Monday at 9am and Wednesday at 3pm

If you want hours and minutes, use this custom format 

If you also want seconds, use this one:

QUESTION submitted by dweiner:

In PowerPoint 97, can I animate the bullets so that each 
bullet changes color after it animates. I know that I can 
do this in 2000 if I choose custom animation, effects, 
after animation and then choose a color. When I do the 
very same thing in 97, nothing happens.

ANSWER from Kathy Jacobs (Kathryn Jacobs, Microsoft 
PowerPoint MVP. Get PowerPoint answers at 
http://www.powerpointanswers.com  Cook anything 
outdoors with http://www.outdoorcook.com  Kathy is a 
trainer, writer, Girl Scout, parent, and whatever else 
there is time for.):

In PowerPoint 97, the exact process is:
Slide Show --> Custom Animation
On the Effects tab, select an entry animation (I chose
"appear"). When this is selected, "After Animation" 
becomes available. In that drop down, either select a 
color from the 8 sample squares or click "More Colors" 
and pick a more custom color. (The eight squares are 
the colors for the color scheme.)

Next, on the left side of the Effects tab, make sure that 
"Grouped by" is checked and that the paragraph level is 
set. You can even set the reverse order and it works. 

Finally, click OK to close the window.

Test it and it should work.  No matter what I set for 
entry animation, the color change works. I am not sure 
what you might be doing wrong.

REPLY from dweiner:

Thanks for getting back to me. I figured out my problem. 
I followed your directions and it worked as long as I did 
not start animation automatically.  Evidently, this type 
of animation requires a mouse click. I can not seem to 
find a way around this.  Your help was greatly appreciated.

ANSWER from Kathy Jacobs:

You are right. The color changes in PPT 97 only work on 
next mouse click, not with animated entrances. They 
work the way you expect in 2000 and later. I did a quick 
check of the MS site and found that there is a relevant 
KB article (number 189554):

I don't think there is a PowerPoint 97 fix for this. You 
are going to have to live with it or upgrade.

REPLY from dweiner:

Thanks again. I have 2000 at home but 97 at work and 
upgrading is not my decision but I will pass this along.
Thanks to all who submitted questions this month.  If you 
submitted a question and did not get an answer, and the 
problem still persists, try going here and submitting it again.
Just remember that we cannot guarantee that we will answer 
every question, though I think the Fleet did a bang-up job 
this month!  Thanks to all of the Fleet for your expert advice 
and your valuable time :-) 


Well, gang.....that's about it for this edition of 
ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers. I sure hope you enjoyed it! 
If any of it was over your head and you need some 
clarification from one of the Fleet, just send me an 
email to linda@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx and I will 
pass it on to them. Remember that they do this in their 
spare time on a voluntary basis, so you might have to 
wait for an answer.  To make all things work more 
quickly, include as many details as you can in your 
email and make your questions as specific as possible. 
Also, feel free to write to me and let us know what you 
want the Fleet to teach you. This is YOUR newsletter!
Happy computing, my friends!
Linda Johnson
If this newsletter was forwarded to you and you would 
like to subscribe, send an email to 

To unsubscribe, send an email to

Or, you can go to the homepage for this text newsletter 
and subscribe, unsubscribe, or change any of your 
subscription preferences: 

This FREE publication is sent ONLY to people who have 
requested it.

Note: My subscriber list is NOT made available to other 
companies. I value every subscriber and respect your 

Do you know anyone who might be interested in 
receiving this newsletter? Please feel free to forward it 
on to them and invite them to subscribe.
Routine Disclaimer: Although I make an effort to check 
out every advertisement and link, I cannot assume 
responsibility for the actions of my advertisers, or the 
availability of links. You use the information provided at 
your own risk, it is always wise to back up your data 
before editing.

All advice given in this newsletter/ezine or at Linda's 
Computer Stop is given with the best of intentions and 
should only be taken as a suggestion and not a definite 
fix to a problem. 

ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers and Linda's Computer Stop 
are the property of Linda F. Johnson. The views 
expressed by readers or contributors are not necessarily 
those of Linda F. Johnson and, as editor, she reserves 
the right to deny inclusion of any contributions if she 
feels they could be harmful to someone's computer. 
However, just because she allows it to be included, 
does not mean she is responsible if it causes problems. 


Please help promote ABComputers by linking to my sites. 

or, click on these links to become an affiliate under me 
and you will earn money if you sell any of my ebooks 
(or any other books published by these companies, 
for that matter): 

Thank you for reading "ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers".

(Copyright) 2001, 2002, 2003 - ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers, 
Linda F. Johnson, MA. 

ABC may only be redistributed in its unedited form. 
Written permission from the editor must be obtained to 
reprint or cite the information contained within this 

Please feel free to forward this newsletter to any of your 
associates who might benefit from this information. 

If you are receiving this issue as a forward, and would like 
to get your own free subscription, please see subscription 
management above, or visit 
to see back issues.

ABC accepts advertisements and our rates are 
Go here for details:


Thank you and I hope to continue to bring you a 
newsletter that you will actually want to read.

Linda Johnson


You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to it, either through 
YahooGroups, Freelists, Ecumuli Ezine Finder, or FreeTechMail.

If you no longer want to receive it, go here to unsubscribe or set yourself on 
vacation (which is Freelists' version of "no mail").


Other related posts:

  • » [abcomputers] ABC ~ All 'Bout Computers, Vol. 30: PowerPoint 2003 and reviews of fun stuff!