Calgary Community Network Association CCNA News!
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Email: ccnanews@calcna.ab.ca
Vol. 1, No. 7,
October 15, 1999
In This Issue:
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We've Moved!
IP Committee
Tales From the IT Crypt
Did You Know?
Member Discount
Hallowe'en Stuff


We've Moved!!!

On Thanksgiving Monday, the CCNA office moved from the main floor of the Central Library to a cozy corner on the fourth floor.

The Calgary Public Library, needs the main floor space for their new Information desk. Last week they offered the fourth floor southwest corner as an alternative. The benefits to CCNA include all the PAT terminals situated together instead of split to two floors, plus now there is room for three graphic terminals.

Thank you to Wendell, Ralph, Sanjay and Don for giving up part of Monday for this relocation and to the Public Library for the electrical work done to accommodate our terminals.

So come give us a visit -- fourth floor, southwest corner at the downtown Central branch of the Calgary Public Library.


CCNA Members!!

Rent
two videos for the price of one
at
Casablanca Video!


(See the Casablanca discount page for more information.)

IP Committee vs Godzilla!

* * * A recent meeting of the Information Provider (IP) committee was interrupted by a giant escapee iguana. It took a nectarine, and two guys (one with a broom, one with a cardboard box) to capture the five foot reptile from the apartment parking lot. Thoughts of changing IP to Iguana Patrol aside, the Information Provider program is one of the Community Network's more interesting endeavors, for many reasons.

The purpose of the Information Provider program is to help non-profit organizations develop an Internet presence. Non-profit organizations are offered considerable disk space for their site and considerable expertise from Community Network volunteers.

Some 26 groups presently use the Community Network server including Amnesty International, Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre, Alberta Family History Society, and the Calgary Area Outdoor Council. A number of groups have tested the Internet waters with us. Groups such as Volunteer Calgary, Alberta Science Foundation, CBC Radio One (Calgary) put their first web pages on our server.

Many organizations have information to put on the World Wide Web. The Information Provider program can match up such an organization with a volunteer from the HTML Committee who transforms the organization's information into a web page. Mentors will advise the organization on the Community Network policies and help answer questions about how to set up their existing web page on our server.

If you would like to be a mentor or help set-up a web page drop the Information Provider Committee a note. E-mail: infopro@calcna.ab.ca.ca. If you think your organization might benefit from the Information Provider Program, see our new web page.

(Bring your own iguana.)



HALLOWE'EN APPLES!!

The Calgary Community Network Association gives out freebies all year round.
Inquire about our Public Access Terminals or Telnet access.



Tales From the IT Crypt
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Bringing Your Computer back from the Dead

Why would anyone want to bring an old computer back to life? Perhaps you have information to retrieve, maybe you want to extend its life by reusing it for a single program, or maybe you would like to give it to someone who needs computer "output" but who doesn't need a state of the art model.

Any computer (yes, even a 286) can be used for word processing, emailing (with a text web provider like the CCNA), surfing the net (with the CCNA), to store and backup information, to learn computer programming, or simply to learn the basics about computers. Before buying a brand new computer, learn with an old one, you can save a lot of time and money when you know what you really need.

Do the following symptoms match those of an old computer you have?

  • The computer fails to turn on.
    The power supply is most likely dead. A power supply can be replaced for $30-$50 or replaced by a used one. [DETAILS]

  • The computer starts but Windows, MSDOS, boot disks...nothing shows up.
    Most likely, the only thing wrong is that the computer's battery is dead. [DETAILS]

  • I cannot use my computer after turning it on because a 'System Not Found' message appears.
    Somehow the command.com file has been erased from the hard drive. You will have to reinstall Windows or MSDOS. [DETAILS]

  • Everything is working but the monitor. The monitor works on other computers but not mine.
    This problem is common if the monitor video cable has been unplugged and plugged often. The video card most likely has been slightly pulled out of its socket. Open the computer case and gently push it back in place.

  • My monitor flickers or simply doesn't turn on.
    The most frequent monitor problems occur because of a dead power supply that can be replace for $30-$50. Flickering occurs because of 5 year old voltage caps that can also be replaced for $30-50.

  • My computer seems to be running slower as time goes by.
    A computer like any machine needs software maintenance or it will stop working properly or not at all. [DETAILS]

  • When running Windows I get blue screens, system errors, and system glitches.
    Most likely, after installing and uninstalling software through Windows, the computer is looking for old files that no longer exist. [DETAILS]

  • I haven't been able to access information because my hard drive is dead.
    The hard drive may be mostly dead. Mostly dead is different from completely dead. It is possible to retrieve the data before it becomes completely dead. [DETAILS]

  • I receive "out of memory" messages.
    Out of memory messages can occur because you have too many programs running at once. Out of memory messages can also mean that it's time to add more physical memory. [DETAILS]

  • Sounds are choppy.
    Sounds are choppy because your computer cannot process the information fast enough. There are ways to improve this speed cheaply.[DETAILS]

  • I get "cannot access CDROM" messages.
    CD-ROM problems are frequently solved by keeping CDs and CD-ROM clean, updating the CD-ROM drivers, and making sure that the CD-ROM meets software speed requirements. [DETAILS]

Remember to check for the obvious: loose power cables, monitor cables, keyboard cable, leaving a floppy in the floppy drive, and a monitor contrast dial turned low. When all else fails see if the manual can help.



Viruses

Probably the greatest computer terror is catching the black plague or red death of the Internet -- a virus.

Anti-virus programs are one form of protection. With an average of 300 new viruses coming out every month, though, anti-virus programs can be useless if they're not updated every month.

Still, no anti-virus program can foresee a way to find new viruses, so there are virus scanners. Virus scanners each have unique advantages measured in how many viruses it can detect and how well the scanner can repair the damage.Their disadvantage is that they take computer resources, resulting in lowering computer efficiency.

Purchasing original software rather than copying from a friend or downloading is one way of preventing a virus infection. Viruses cannot write themselves to CDs

One more precaution, make a bootable floppy "emergency" disk so that if you do get a virus, you can at least get into your computer system to run a virus scanner and then to backup that important piece of information.

So where does this leave us? If you're a hermit, you don't need to protect yourself from viruses. If you have a public life then protect yourself by gathering the facts about the new rules that come with new technology, and show no fear.



My Friend's Sister's Boyfriend Told Me...
Urban Myths

Everyone has heard urban myths like the alligators living in the New York sewers, right? There are LOTS of them out there, and they seem to spread even faster since the popularization of e-mail. You can often tell if a story is a myth or legend if there is no way to verify where it happened or who to - remember hearing about the tourist in South America who woke up missing a kidney?

Computers and their programs have also spawned dozens of myths about fake viruses or computer problems.

Here are several good sites for learning about urban myths:




[The CCNA is not responsible for any conclusions drawn from the views, suggestions, or recommendations expressed in these articles. If you are unsure with how to deal with your computer's condition, please take it to a qualified computer technician.]

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*Out of Curiosity...

In the September 15 issue we asked what you thought was the best plural form for computer mice. Aside from mice, mouses or mouse, we received a suggestion of meeses!

Now we ask -- if you could redesign the CCNA web site what would you do?




Hallowe'en Stuff!!

It's time to pull the alter ego out of the storage trunk! Vampires, witch wannabes, aliens, monsters, devils (cute little and other) will all be out in a couple of weeks to entertain passers-by or claim booty at your door. If you're having difficulty getting into the spirit of things have a look at some of these links (for kids of all ages):

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*Did You Know?

OVERFLOW - A common nightmare for a people who just can't part with their e-mail or put a smidge too much on their homepage or have friends that like to send monster size files.

Directory space builds up until it exceeds disk quota and you're unable to log on.

According to Don Ingram, the CCNA Systems Administrator, a person only loses their ability to use PPP until the OVERFLOW is cleaned up. They can dial up the system using a non PPP connection and are presented with a menu of three choice's of what to do. And if they don't know how to dial up with a non PPP dialer then they can go to the LIBRARY or any other PAT site and fix the problem from there. Once they have done the required they can logoff and get their PPP options back.

The better solution is to keep only regularly used files in your Home Directory, download any thing else to your own computer or print them, and clean out old e-mail regularly.

See the August 15th Did You Know for an easy way of cleaning out your Home Directory.



*So how are we doing? Should we return the mummy to the crypt? Want to unravel? Drop us a line at: ccnanews@calcna.ab.ca

All e-mail received by the CCNA News will be considered newsletter fodder unless requested otherwise by sender.



Tune in to the next issue where we look at:
  • Education on the Net
  • More Freebies
  • Getting Postal Codes and Addresses

Coming November 1




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The CCNA Newsletter Committee is:
Heather Richards, Peter Williams and Wanda Martin
Email us at:
ccnanews@calcna.ab.ca


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