The Worm Turned - On Me!
Getting a new PC in August offered the opportunity to network my new and old machines together. I hauled them to NCTCUG, and the gang helped me get the XP Athlon 2100+ talking to the PII 400, using a single LAN cable between the computers. I managed to work out the network printer install options for the old machine to share the new machine’s printer. I was able to scan a document with the old machine, and print a copy through the new machine.
That was, until the old machine got infected with the “W32.Opaserv.Worm.
” Once connected to the Internet, the computer would carry on seemingly endless exchanges over the modem with servers unknown. I updated the Norton Antivirus definitions, and the scan popped up with this nasty worm. I used the Norton inoculation tool, and downloaded a special, single purpose disinfectant program from Symantec’s web site. However, every time I went to the ‘net, the same modem exchange was observed, and the ‘worm warning’ would pop up from NAV.
I decided it was time to put the old horse out of its misery, and hauled the computer into another meeting, where the gang helped me blow away the old Win95SR2, and install Win98SE. The worm seems to be gone, but I’m planning to take the computer back to the next meeting for some additional tweaking. While the networking between the two machines seems to be recognized by both, I haven’t been able to share files or print, so it’s time to get some hands on training by the experts.
I’m also having trouble with the HP ScanJet 5100C, which can’t seem to find the proper drivers. This uses a parallel port SCSI connection, some in the group denigrate as a vile kludge. It worked well for me, although I managed to hose it up for some functions with the installation of OCR software under the old Win95 operating system. The doubters have been advising an upgrade to a USB scanner, but I tend to be loyal to the old solutions, and would like to get some more use out of the scanner before sending it to the bone yard. Besides, I need my “copy machine” function back for recording rebate coupons and sales slips !
Technotoys and Rebates
Around my house, the highlight of the week is the plastic-wrapped package of ad inserts for the Washington Post. I’m not sure we’d miss the Sunday paper, but the ads - man, call out the bloodhounds! “Let’s go to lunch, uhhh, do you mind if we stop off at (XYZ techtoy store) on the way?”
At the end of November, I ran out to take advantage of a deal on Adobe Photoshop Elements, Version 2
. CompUSA had it on sale for $60 (pennies discarded), and the package contained a $30 coupon for upgraders. The next day’s ads had a number of solutions to problems. We now have upstairs and downstairs offices, and since we spend lots of time on-line, communications has been shouted back and forth, since the phone lines are tied up. On to Google for a seach of the ‘net for a Ten-Code list, then off to Staples for a couple of Cobra FRS walkie-talkies, complete with rechargeable batteries, and a dual unit recharging stand. Twenty bucks, after 10 clam rebate. “How about a 10-7?” “10-4, I’ll 10-21 Domino’s!”
In the same flyer was the answer to a number of needs. Our 17 year old dinner-time sanity saver (answering machine) had been getting gratchy. An AT&T branded unit
, complete with 900 MHz portable handset, after $20 rebate, was thirty bucks. The new answering machine talks - “Machine On, two calls, yada yada.” Why, we can even have three mailboxes - “Press One for Ma, Two for Pa, Three for Fido!” And, now, I’ve got five devices with buttons on the coffee table that look like the TV remote, or the phone handset, take your pick! Staples lets you register for rebates on-line, and track the status thereof, but you still have to wait for the snail mail delivery of the sales receipt and UPC code to the rebate processing center. (This unit died in less than a year - replacement under warranty was dead on arrival.)
For a number of years, we’ve used a Marriott-branded credit card, that accumulates points with our purchases, the idea being, of course, that we’d use the points towards staying in Marriott hotels and resorts. At the beginning of the holiday season, we got a brochure with an alternative way of using the points towards merchandise from Hammacher Schlemmer, Sharper Image, and similar sources. Low and behold, there were several digital cameras to choose from, the perfect stocking stuffer! The UPS guy in a Santa hat rang the bell about eight days after web order - this Marriott Rewards system doesn’t compete well with most web merchants on processing order to delivery times, but I became the proud owner of a Sony DSC-P71 without direct cash outlay.
Now came the real push to scrutinize those ads for bargains. As the pixel count of digital cameras have increased, I’m not sure that every manufacturer has provided a reasonable media storage option in the base package. To their credit, Sony provided a 16 meg Memory Stick with my 3.3 megapixel camera - that provides 10 pictures at highest resolution. I’ve seen many cameras outfitted with only an 8 meg storage option out of the box.
Surprisingly, the Christmas Day ad from Radio Shack seemed to provide the best local deal for additional Memory Sticks. I picked up 128 and 64 meg units for $50 and $30 after $20 and $10 rebates. Radio Shack also had a Dazzle USB reader
that accepts 6 different types of camera media. Since I also use a camera on the job that records on Smart Media, the Dazzle unit was a good match for my needs, and was $30 after a $20 rebate. Media readers are great - downloading images directly from the camera to a computer takes far too long, and is a notorious battery eater.
I was chagrined to discover that my new camera would not accept alkaline batteries - although it accepts two AA sized cells, only nickel metal hydride batteries may be used. The camera included a charger and two cells, but no camera case. Sony offers an accessory kit, that includes, a camera case, two more cells, a fast charger (seven times faster than the included charger - there’s the hook!) but the tab is fifty dollars. I found a Ray-O-Vac
package at Circuit City with four nickel metal hydride cells, charger, case, and a mini-tripod for twenty bucks. Granted, it’s not a fast charger, and the cells are rated 1600 mahrs rather than 1750 for the Sony branded units, but I think this kit will meet my needs very nicely.
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Copyright © 2003 NCTCUG, Inc. and Paul L. Howard