Windows 98 - Netscape Communicator 4.76 - Netscape 6.0

Bob Ross, 1944.

I have received many emails asking how to do various things and when I replied, ask for opinion of adding a "TIPS PAGE". All said "DO IT". So, here it is. If you know all this, just ignore. I hope it will help some of you.
Should you have a good tip to help others learn their way around, email it/them to me.

Just click on any link name and that subject will come to top of the page.

Back in the Stone Age, Ancient Man used to send documents or pictures of his family through a primitive system called "snail mail." To open these documents, you ripped open an envelope, and there they were.Now, however, Modern Man sends the same documents or pictures through e-mail, by means of something called "attachments." The problem is, sometimes the darn things don't "open."

What is an attachment? Put simply, an attachment is any computer file that is "transported" through the Internet within (that is, "attached") to an e-mail.

Attachments usually show up in your e-mail with a paper clip symbol and icon describing the type of program used to create the file that is attached. More about this in paragraph two below.

Problems arise mainly for four reasons:

1) Attachments are too "big." Back in the Bronze Age, when software designers were creating today's dominant E-mail programs, few people foresaw that e-mail would be so popular, nor that it would be common to use attachments. As a result, large attachments coming down a 56K connection tend to "choke" your modem or E-mail software before the download can be completed. The result is a "stuck" e-mail. Generally speaking it is unwise to send an attachment much over one megabyte (MB).

If an E-mail refuses to download over and over again, it may be "stuck" because of a large attachment. If you suspect this is happening, call up our Tech Support Department at 1 888 376 5638, and we will delete it from our servers. Deleting stuck e-mails is usually the only way to resolve the problem.

(There are ways to send big files across the Internet, using such programs as FTP, File Transfer Protocol, but that is another subject.)

2) The file may be incompatible with the software on your computer. If someone sends you a document created with Microsoft Word (regardless of whether you are using a Windows or Mac machine) but you don't have Word on your computer, the file may show up as a page of computer code, or not open at all.

If the attached file is a sound or moving picture, you may need what is called a "plug-in" to open it. A "plug-in" is a mini-program that often is built into your browser to "play" sound and picture files. These mini- programs "plug-in" to your existing browser, but may be absent from older versions.

Among the most common plug-ins are the Microsoft Windows Media Player (which comes with Windows 95, 98, and NT) and Real Player, available at http://www.realplayer.com/

As we mentioned above, attached files show up as icons in the body of your e-mail. Often the program is identified by name, but sometimes not. The identification may be limited to the "extension," those three letters after the dot (.) in file names (such as .xxx). Here are some common file extensions and the programs required to open them:

.exe This extension identifies an "executable" file. This means a program that will run on your machine if you click on it. Be careful with these files. They sometimes can be used to install viruses on your computer. Know who is the sender or what the program is about.

.txt -- This identifies a simple text document file. The simplest word processor will open these.

.doc -- A document created by Microsoft Word. If you don't have "Word" on your machine, it may not open.

.xls -- A spreadsheet created by Microsoft Excel. You will need Excel to open it.

.wpd -- A document created by Corel Word Perfect. You will need WP to open it.

.wav -- A audio file format created by Microsoft. If you have a sound card and speakers on your machine, Windows will open these.

.mp3 -- The latest compression format for sending digital audio files across the Internet. You may need the latest versions of the Windows Media Player, Real Player, or a similar program to open these.

.jpg -- The recommended file format for photographs. Windows and Macs will open these.

.gif -- The recommended file format for graphics and icons, opened by Windows and Mac machines.

These are the most common file extensions you might encounter in an e-mail attachment, but there are many, many others.

To avoid incompatibility problems altogether, you might want to invest $59 in either of two programs: Keyview (available at http://www.keyview.com) or Quick View Plus (at http://www.jasc.com). Both of these programs will open hundreds of different types of file formats, although they will not allow you to edit or change them.

3) A third problem with attachments is encoding in the E-mail. Encoding means repackaging a file as simple text so that it can travel easily across the Internet.

Most E-mail programs now are smart enough to recognize encoding so that you don't have to worry about it. Attachments are usually encoded in one of three standards: MIME, BinHex, or Uuencode. Rarely you might get a file in the MIME format that turns up as gibberish. It must then be decoded. If you have the option, and don't want to learn about decoding and don't want to bother with downloading decoding software, the most practical advice is to ask the sender to fax you the document.

4) The fourth common problem with attachments is compression. For a lengthy explanation of compression, please see our Tip last week at http://www.erols.com/erols/news/0799/07-23-99.html Basically, it means squeezing the extra data out of a file, like water out of a sponge, so that it becomes smaller, easier to transmit, and faster to download.

If an attachment contains a compressed file created by a Windows program, it will be decompressed automatically if you have already have installed a program like "WinZip" (see below) and your e-mail program is set "not to prompt" when it sees a .zip file. The icon signifying the attachment icon may show the extension .zip (for "zipped"). On Macintosh machines, the .sit extension indicates a compressed file.

Attachments are not automatically decompressing, you may need special software. For Windows programs, try "PKZip" (available at http://www.pkware.com) or the Winzip program (available at http://tucows.erols.com/). For Macintosh machines, try "Stuffit Expander" (available at http://www.aladdinsys.com/expander).

Finally, some things to remember about attachments:
-- Know the Sender Rarely an .exe file in an attachment will contain a virus, so before opening it, make sure you recognize the sender.
-- Don't send big attachments or multiple copies of attachments. As noted above, attachments above 1 MB in size may clog the server or E-mail program of a person using a 56K dial-up connection. Also, if you send a large attachment to 250 people simultaneously, that might clog mail servers and could also be considered spam.
-- Let people know what's coming. In the text part of your E-mail, tell the recipient:
a) what you are sending, pictures or whatever;
b) what program might be needed to open the attachment;
c) the size of the file in case they don't want to be stuck
with a long download.

Erols Tips 7/30/99

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Speeding up your boot time.
We all know how annoying it is to watch that little hourglass while your computer loads programs. You may be able to speed things up by cleaning up your start menu. Your computer may be loading many little mini-programs that run in "background" mode without your knowledge. These programs all have to load each time you boot, and each takes up valuable memory.

Calendars, reminders, virus checkers, fax software are all types of programs that run in "background." You can run these on as-needed basis from your desktop rather than load them every time,

To check this out, go to "Start |Programs," and then scroll down the programs menu to the folder labeled "Startup." You may find programs you did not know you were running. Remove items you don't need at startup; they will still available on your program menu.

If you plan to be away from your computer for short periods, you can avoid time-wasting bootups by simply leaving the machine running. The computer will not "wear out." Its only moving part is a tiny fan that cools the insides. When machine is not processing data it costs less energy to leave it sit for a while than to reboot it.

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Sometimes this works, sometimes it dont. Dont cost anything to do it. I do it soon as I log in each morning.

From Your HomeoPage:
Click on File
Click on Preferences,
Click on Advanced
Click on Cache.
Memory Cache- To Right click Clear Cache
Disk Cache- To Right click Clear Cache
Under Documents in cache.
Click circle by Every Time.
Click OK.

Sometimes this helps speed up loading of pages.

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I have had several e-mail asking how to get to the various ships pages as there is no list of ships on the page..
No problem -- I'm glad to help as I had to learn how to get around on the internet also.

What is a Link?
A link is a group of words or a picture. When the mouse is placed on the words a hand will appear.
If the Left button is clicked, the page that is "linked" to those words or picture will come up.

Links are usually a different color, and are underlined. The mouse pointer becomes a hand when the mouse pointer moves over it..

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There are several steps to improve your performance, speed and clear up wasted disk space.
Check your different folders for junk - Unused or old documents and photos. Delete them to the Recycle Bin folder, (Located on your desktop).
To delete, just hi-lite and hit delete key.
After getting rid of unwanted files, go to desktop, click on Recycle Bin. When open, click on File, then Empty Recycle Bin. Click ok when ask if you want to delete.

In your Mail Box, Check each folder. If you want to keep any from a friend or company, create a folder and move it there. If you do not want the message, hi-lite (click on it) and hit delete key. They go to the trash folder.
After getting rid of unwanted mail, click on "File" then click
"Empty Trash on Local Mail"

OK... you cleaned up the unused files/mail.

Disconnect for the internet.
Close all open applications.
(Task Bar is empty except for Shortcuts)
Click on "START"
Click on "RUN"
In box that opens type in "scandisk" or 'SCANDISK' dont matter.
Press OK. Scandisk window opens.
The THOROUGH dot is tagged.
I suggest that you tag (click the dot by Standard) the "Standard" for now. It is much faster. You can do a "Thorough" scan at a later time. If you dont have anything to do, just click start and go find something else to do. It may take sometime to scan your disk, depending on how large.
Click box beside Auto Fix errors.
Click "START". Scandisk checks your files for errors.

OK, SCANDISK did its thing, fixed any errors it found on your drive.

After Scandisk, we are now going to DEFRAG the drive. This means take all your files that are scattered all over the drive and put them together.
THIS CAN TAKE UP TO TWO HOURS... Depends on how big your Hard Drive is, and how often you defrag. The first time, it may take longer.


From Desktop, Click START, Run,
In Run Box type: defrag or DEFRAG
When window comes up, Drive "C" should be in window box.
Click on "Settings"
Put check mark in front of box 1, 2 and 4. Click OK.
Defrag window up, Click OK.
Go get lost for awhile, or sit and watch by clicking on Show details.

ScanDisk and Defrag completed. You should notice an improvement in how fast you bring up your files to work on.

I suggest you do this once a week.

Will tell you how to have it done automatically every week in another tip later on.

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This will allow you to schudule various task to keep your 
computer in tip-top running condition. How you schedule task depends on 
how much time you want to wait for the action to be completed.  It can be 
done all at one time, or at various times.
   There are several ways to run these.  The setup I am giving is to make 
it fast so you can play.
Click on Start - 
   Programs - 
      Accessories - 
         System Tools - 
            Schedule Task.
In the schedule task window, 
	Click on -"Add Scheduled Task"-- click next.

1. DISK CLEANUP is first selection.
In the dropdown menu scroll down to find:
	DISK CLEANUP.  Click to hilite. Click next.
	Click "When I Log On", Click Finish.
   This will clean up your disk when you turn on your
   pc.  It only takes seconds, and you will loose no
2. TUEN UP APPLICATIONS. is second selection.
	Same procedure. 
	Click "When I log on" Click Finish.
3. ANTI-VIRUS PROGRAM is third selection:
	Same procedure.  Find your Anti-virus program.
	Select "When I log on"

4. SCANDISK is fourth selection.
	Prior to running you should delete all files and old email as 
        outlined in "CLEAR CACHE" tip.
	You should not have any applications open nor logged on to internet. 
        This can take a few minutes
	Same procedure.
	Click on when you want to run. 
	(Weekly suggested. Day & time is when you want
	it to run) When selected, click finish.

5. DEFRAG is fifth selection:
	Prior to running you should delete all files and old email as outlined 
        in "CLEAR CACHE" tip.
	You should NOT have any applications open or be logged on to internet. 
        This can take a few minutes
	Same procedure.
	Click on when you want to run. 
	(Weekly suggested. Set Day & time at least 30 	minutes after 
SCANDISK run time.
	When selected, click finish.


MAINTENANCE WIZARD - Optional choice	 
	Same procedure.  
	This will run Disk Cleanup, Scandisk and Defrag.
        This could take awhile, but if you have the time, a good choice. 
	Schedule to run 1 day of each month.
An improvement in how your PC runs should be noticed. Back to Table of Contents

Email Signature 6/20*****
Do you add your signature to your outgoing email?
This will automatically add it to every outgoing email you send.  

	2. Type your signature as you want it to appear
at the end of each message.  
	3. Save as TXT.  = mysig.txt
		Example: Bob Ross, SR.
Open your email page.
	1. Click on Edit.
	2. Click on Prefererences.
	3. Click on Identify.
	This is where your info goes.
	a. Your Name
	b. Your email address.
	c. Organizations you are in if you want to.
	d. Signature File:  
	   Enter the location for the mysig.txt file
	   here.  (Click on choose and locate where 
		   you saved it to.)
	e. Click box to left of "Attach my personal..."
	f. Click Edit Card.
   A. Page comes up with tabs Name, Contact, Notes.
	1. Name: Enter data you want others to see.
	2. Contact: What you want to show.
	3. Notes: What you want others to know.
	   Your web page url,  Clubs you belong to,
	   whatever you want others to know.
      Click ok when finished.
Identify page up.  Click on OK.  
Thats it.  Your Email page comes up.

To test:  Click on new message.  
	  Put your email address in.
	  Subject line:--  put test
	  In text put test.
You can click send message,  or -- 
Click on File, - Click on Send later.  
  Message will move to "Unsent Messages"
Click on UnSent messages.  Message goes to windows where
incoming mail comes to.
  Click on the message.  It opens.  
Your signature should be added with two boxes.
  View completed card.  Click that box.  It opens, The info you 
entered will appear here.  Verify.  
Click box again and it closes.
  Click on Add to Address book.  
    A New Card window opens with most info completed. 
Close the new card window.
Click on the message again,  Hit Delete key to delete
or you can send it to yourself. 
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Load Email Folder 8/28*****



This applies to NETSCAPE ONLY.  

If you have to open your email seperately after logging on, this may speed things up for you.

After logging in and your HomePage is up, do whatever you do to open your email folder.

The NETSCAPE local mail Email folder is open 
Click on Edit,  from the dropdown menu
Click on Preferences.

When this opens, on left side
At top of section  is:
	On Startup.
Click to put check in front of Navigator.
Click to put check in front of Messenger.

	Next is Show tool bars as:
Click to put dot in front of Picture & text.

Click OK.  You are back to Local Mail folder.


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Save E-Mail Addresses 2/16-1

Can you afford to lose your e-mail addresses?
You can easily back up this critical data onto a removable diskette.
The procedures are essentially the same for Netscape and Internet Explorer.
To back up your Address Book in Netscape 2.01 and 3.01, follow these steps:
1. Put a formatted blank diskette in your a:\ drive (or Zip drive).
2. Open the Netscape browser
3. In the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) left-click on Window | Address Book
4. In the window that opens, left-click on File | Save As
5. In the "Save In" box, enter the a:\ drive (or Zip drive) and click "Save."

To back up your Address Book in Netscape Communicator (4.0 to 4.08)

1. Put a formatted blank diskette in your a:\ drive (or Zip drive).
2. Open the Netscape Communicator browser.
3. In the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) left-click on Communicator | Address Book
4. In the window that opens, left-click on File | Save As
5. In the "Save In" box, enter the a:\ drive (or Zip drive) and click "Save."

To back up your Address Book in Netscape Communicator 4.5 (and up):

1. Put a formatted blank diskette in your a:\ drive (or Zip drive).
2. Open the Netscape Communicator browser.
3. In the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) left-click on Communicator | Address Book
4. The Address Book opens. Highlight the directory "Personal Address Book."
5. In the top menu, left-click on File | Export
6. In the "Export as" window that opens, give the file a name.
7. In the "Save In" box, enter the a:\ drive (or Zip drive) and click "Save."

To reverse the process, to recover a saved address book, in each instance instead of left clicking on File | Save as, make it a left click on File | Import. Find the saved file on your a:\ drive (or Zip drive) and click "Open" to bring it back.

To back up your Address Book in the Outlook Express mail program built into Internet Explorer 4.0 and 5.0, follow these steps:

1. Put a formatted blank diskette in your a:\ drive (or Zip drive).
2. Open up Outlook Express.
3. In the top menu (File, Edit, etc.) left-click on File | Export | Address Book
4. In the Address Book Export Tool window that opens up, highlight (select) Text File (Comma Separated Values) then click "Export"
5. In the window that opens up, under "Save exported file as:" put in the drive address, A:\ (or Zip drive) and a name for the file to save.

To reverse the process, to recover a saved address book, in each instance instead of left clicking on File | Export | Address Book make it a left click on File |Import| Address Book. Find the saved file on your a:\ drive (or Zip drive) and click "Import" to bring it back.

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Links to other pages

Computer Tips#2 Page
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