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Illawarra Computer Enthusiasts Newsletter

Information, Computer Literacy, Education.

Affiliated with the Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA)

March 2008

Illawarra PC Users Group

















Introducing Mediator, a more

sophisticated presentation program than

PowerPoint, by Kevin Costigan
Setting a Password in XP by Pat Colby


Compressing Pictures by Pat Colby
PDF How, Why & Wherefores? by

Bodo Schwarz



WELCOME It gives us great pleasure to

welcome Bob McKellar and Isabel Pauza as
members of the Illawarra Computer Enthusiasts
and we hope that their association with ICE will
be a long and happy one.




SPONSORS We would like to express our

gratitude to AGA Club Germania, who has
agreed to sponsor ICE for another year.


QUICKIE RAFFLE The results of the

February Night meeting raffle were

3, 8, 9, 10, 12




George Hood 1 GB Flash Drive

Eve Green Personal Organiser donated by
Michael Hickman
Duncan Charig Return to Treasure Island
DVD donated by Bodo Schwarz



February Night meeting
Norm Gadsby McAfee VirusScan Plus

8, 9





February Night meeting

Michael Hickman 125 Internet videos

When? Friday, 28 March 2008,

6:30 pm for 7:00 pm
Where? German Club, Northcliffe Drive, Kembla
Grange (Next to Prime)
RSVP Saturday, 22 March 2008
Contact Bodo Schwarz, 4284 8754,
MARCH 2008


EDUCATION Please add $5.00 to all advertised

course fees, which now includes the manual you
need when attending the nominated training
sessions. Remember that you must complete the
(Continued on page 9)

Vol. 26, No. 2,

1, March

Official Journal of

The Illawarra PC User Group Inc.

ABN: 81 127 508 207

4284 8754 - -

Correspondence to: Illawarra Computer Enthusiasts, 9 Ursula Road, Bulli, NSW 2516



Sharon Bird MP, Member for Cunningham

Noreen Hay MP, Member for Wollongong
Alex Darling AM, The Lord Mayor of Wollongong

Editor, Production, Advertising: Bodo Schwarz
Assistant Editor, Research: Robert Castles
Distribution: Robert Parsons
Contributors: Robert Castles, Robert Davidson,
Keith Dewley, Elwyn Jordan, Olav Lehmann,
Michael McKeen, Gladys Pickering, Alan Slater.

This page is sponsored by Sid & Jan Wilkinson



By Elwyn Jordan, ICE

id you get a new laptop for Christmas?

No, neither did I. Now, it might seem
strange writing about Christmas now, seeing
as itll be March when you read this, but as this
is actually the first column Ive written for the
year, just go with it, okay? And the point is that
laptops are getting down to the sort of pricelevel that could see them being included on
many Christmas shopping-lists. For under
$600 (after cash-back) you can get a brand
new laptop with operating system. As it says in
the catalogue, Cheap as! (Although they dont
say cheap as what! Yes, I know, its a figure-ofspeech; cheap as, quick as, good as, and
so on. I get annoyed at things like that; as
WHAT?! Its another example of how our
English language is being abused by the
masses! Sorry, I digress).

dont know who, or how.

Oh, and (yes, Im digressing again!), whats

with this cash-back thing? I dont get it; who
benefits from that? As an example, a Compaq
laptop selling for $546, after cash-back. You
pay the shop $696 and then claim $150 back
from the manufacturer. Why? Why not just
have the price fixed at what it ends up costing
you? Yes, youve got to contact the
manufacturer and then they get to know your
name and address etc, but they get that
anyway when you send in your warranty
details, (or even from the retailer when you buy
it if they want to). Someone must benefit from
it, because a lot of retailers are doing it, but I

The first thing to realise is that these are

very much entry-level machines. (So, yes,
theyre from the basement in terms of current
computer technology). 512Mb of RAM and an
80 GB hard drive wouldve been pretty schmick
a few years ago, but now theyre very much ho
-hum. Especially when running Windows Vista.
And this is perhaps the main thing; Vista really
needs 1 GB of RAM to operate efficiently. So
performance is going to be slow. The minimal
RAM is the one area where the cost-cutting will
be most noticeable.

Anyway, lets have a look at these laptops.

One of the current letterbox leaflets has two
laptops for under $600. A Compaq, which Ive
mentioned, for $546, and an Acer for $591.
Youve got to admit that is very cheap! I mean,
both come with Windows Vista, so if you just
take the price youd pay for that and deduct it
from the total; youre looking at a very cheap
computer! Seems like an absolute bargain! So,
are they any good? Or is there a catch? Are
they a bargain, or they just the basement?
Well, Ive often discussed in these columns the
principle of you get what you pay for. And
while, at these prices, youd have to say that
youre getting a lot of computer for the money,
there is a bit of a catch.


(Continued on page 3)
MARCH 2008

(Continued from page 2)

Processors in these machines arent exactly

state-of-the-art either. The Compaq runs a
Celeron M540 1.86 CPU, and the Acer a
Celeron M530 1.73 unit. Any half-decent
machine these days runs a dual-core
processor; so again, performance is going to
be limited by the low-power specs. Its a
combination that inevitably keeps a tight rein
on what the computer will be able to do; a
(comparatively) low-power processor with a
very basic amount of RAM.

Speaking of the operating system, you dont

actually get a Windows Vista DVD either. What
you get is a recovery disk; which is the
manufacturers own packaged version of Vista.
Thats not such a bad thing though, because
you get all the drivers included. So should the
whole thing crash, or need re-installing,
running the DVD restores the system to how it
was when you brought it out of the shop. So as
I said, not such a bad thing really.
Now, if these particular machines look a bit
more basement than bargain, you can
always spend more to get something better. As
always, spending a few more dollars rewards
you with worthwhile gains in specification. Pay
just $834 (yes, after the usual cash-back) and
Acer gives you a dual-core Pentium processor,
1 GB of RAM, and a 120 GB hard-drive.
Comparatively, I suppose thats a significant
increase in price, but its still a very cheap
computer! Look further into the glossy recyclebin fillers and youll find a lot more machines,
at more normal prices. And when you go into
the shops, they do tend to favour the more
expensive models in their displays.
Anyway, back to the under-$600
specials. Forget about them, right? Well, no,
I still think theyre actually worthwhile
considering, provided you know what youre
getting. The thing is, computers these days
MARCH 2008

Ive seen a couple of these tested in

computer magazines, and the reports werent
as condemning as you might think. The
Compaq (perhaps typically of the brand) is
reported as being fairly slow, but the Acer they
reckon is actually not too bad.
The bottom line is that for light use, to carry out
just basic computer tasks, really these
machines are quite adequate. So they are both
bargain and basement. And if I had a spare
$600 lying around I think Id buy one myself.
Now, Im off to write a quick letter to Santa. If I
get in early, who knows?

Office Picture Manager

image as described above, right-click
them and choose Send to > Mail Recipient.


hen you go to print something, you probably go to File, Print, choose all of the
settings you want and then click on the Print
button to get the process going. Well, what if
your print job is going to take a long time? You
don't want to have to sit there and wait on it, do
you? But then again, when you come back,
wouldn't it be nice to be able to check the status of it? If that sounds good to you, there is a
way to do it. Here's how!
Once you click on the final Print button that
gets everything going, an icon will appear in
the bottom right hand corner of your taskbar
(the same place where the clock icon sits). You
can then double click on that icon to see the
progress of your print job. The icon looks like
this (only much smaller), depending on the kind
of printer you happen to have:
Now, when you double click on the
icon, you will see such headings as
the name of the document you're
printing, its status, the number of
pages it is, the size of it and when it
was submitted. You can also use the icon to
cancel or pause a printing job.
To do that, just click on the Document
menu and choose Pause, Cancel, Resume,
etc. There's also a Help menu, just in case
you run into any other problems.


This page is sponsored by Penny Ferguson

Having the operating system included at this

low price (laptops usually come with an
installed operating system) certainly adds to
the value of the whole deal, but it also means
that youre stuck with Windows Vista, whether
you like it or not. Yes, I know, Im famously
antagonistic towards Windows latest operating
systems, (I usually start liking them after the
next one is released!), but Vista seems to have
attracted more than its fair share of criticism.
And when you buy one of these machines you
buy into the world of Vista, as I said, whether
you like it or not!

are so powerful, compared to machines of

just a few years ago, that even these
basement models are quite capable. And
when youre paying what is virtually 2nd-hand
price for a brand new machine, then they
start to look like worthwhile bargains.



he easy, but costly, solution is to sign up

for a faster connection from your Internet
Service Provider (ISP), but before you commit
to the extra expense, why not try to squeeze a
bit more out of your existing connection by
using download accelerator software?

invaluable for downloading large files.

Tabbed downloading - track multiple on
current downloads under separate tabs in
the main window.
Scanning of downloads by built-in
ZoneAlarm security software.

This page is sponsored by Computer Fairs Australia

Sometimes called an online optimiser,

download accelerator software doesn't require
faster connection or even a faster computer.
Instead, it uses a collection of software tricks
and shortcuts to pack more information down
the same internet connection. These tricks
include special compression techniques and
downloading simultaneously from multiple
server sources.

Previewing downloads - watch the movie or

see what's in the compressed Zip file while
you download it. This helps avoid
accidentally downloading and saving the
same file twice.
The free version isn't exactly free - it
includes advertisements, which display in
an information window.

You don't have to put up with the

advertisements in the full, paid-for version of
DAP. It also claims other features such as
faster acceleration, better management of
completed downloads, the ability to extract as
well as preview Zip files while downloading,
privacy tools such as securely deleting
unwanted files and traces of downloads from
your computer, downloading in the
background, support for 'skins' that change its
appearance, and technical support.

The boom in video sharing websites

like YouTube and Google Video has
made broadband internet essential for
many people. But even with
broadband, which isn't available to
everyone, it's sometimes not fast
enough. Online movie clips can stall
and stutter as the computer struggles
to download a video or media stream.

One of the best known download accelerators

is the aptly named Download Accelerator Plus
(DAP), which claims 140 million users. DAP
promises downloads up to 400% faster, but the
key words here are 'up to'. As with most
download methods, the speed increase can
vary dramatically, depending on the servers
involved, the time of day, the speed of your
local connection and other factors.
DAP comes in two versions: a free version
and a premium version, which costs about $43.
What it does
Apart from the speed claims, DAP has some
very useful features, including:
Managing downloads - keeping track of files
in a central location and providing a
download history that shows what you've
already downloaded, or partially
downloaded and when.
Resuming broken downloads - if your
download is interrupted by a broken
connection you can pick up where you left
off, rather than having to start again,

How it works
DAP was introduced in 1999 by Israel-based
company Speedbit and works by taking
advantage of the fact that files on the internet
are usually hosted on many different servers
around the world. DAP locates the fastest and
nearest servers and connects to multiple
servers at the same time to download the file,
which evens out the load and can reduce
Internet bottlenecks.
If you download DAP you can also opt to
install the Speedbit Video Accelerator software.
This takes a different approach to speeding up
web video, but still uses the multi-connection
idea. It has been adapted to improve delivery
of online video services by YouTube,
Metacafe, Dailymotion, Grouper and iTunes
(premium service only). Speedbit has
announced future support for services
including Reuters, CNet, Bebo, ESPN and
The free DAP is a 6.5 MB download and
works with Internet Explorer, Netscape, Opera
and Firefox browsers. It's available in multiple
languages and can be used with PCs running
(Continued on page 5)


MARCH 2008


Security experts are warning about a stealthy Windows virus that steals login
details for online bank accounts.

online banking systems of one of more than

900 financial institutions.

Many are falling victim via booby-trapped

websites that use vulnerabilities in Microsoft's
browser to install the attack code.

The Russian virus-writing group behind

Mebroot is thought to have created the torpig
family of viruses that are known to have
been installed on more than 200,000
systems. This group specialises in stealing
bank login information.

n the last month, the malicious program has

racked up about 5,000 victims - most of who
are in Europe.

Experts say the virus is dangerous

because it buries itself deep inside Windows
to avoid detection.
Old tricks
The malicious program is a type of virus known
as a rootkit and it tries to overwrite part of a
computer's hard drive called the Master Boot
Record (MBR).

"If you can control the MBR, you can control

the operating system and therefore the
computer it resides on," wrote Elia Florio on
security company Symantec's blog.
Mr Florio pointed out that many viruses
dating from the days before Windows used the
Master Boot Record to get a grip on a
Once installed the virus, dubbed Mebroot by
Symantec, usually downloads other malicious
programs, such as key loggers, to do the work
of stealing confidential information.

Between 12 December and 7 January,

iDefense detected more than 5,000 machines
that had been infected with the program.
Analysis of Mebroot has shown that it uses
its hidden position on the MBR as a beachhead
so it can re-install these associated programs if
they are deleted by anti-virus software.
Although the password-stealing programs
that Mebroot installs can be found by security
software, few commercial anti-virus packages
currently detect its presence. Mebroot cannot
be removed while a computer is running.
Independent security firm GMER has
produced a utility that will scan and remove the
stealthy program.
Computers running Windows XP, Windows
Vista, Windows Server 2003 and Windows
2000 that are not fully patched are all
vulnerable to the virus.

Most of these associated programs lie in

wait on a machine until its owner logs in to the

Source: BBC News

Submitted by Robert Castles, ICE



the speed boost and other features in the free

version of DAP.

(Continued from page 4)

from windows 98 up to Vista. A version is also

available for Apple computers running the Mac
OS X operating system.
Should you try it?
Even if you only have a dial-up connection, the
free version of DAP is probably worth having
for its file management capabilities alone,
particularly the ability to resume interrupted
downloads. But the download acceleration
makes it a must-have.
If you only download files occasionally and
aren't a heavy user of online video services like
YouTube, you'll probably be happy to settle for
MARCH 2008

If you do a lot of downloading you'll

appreciate the extra speed and security of the
paid-for premium version. Both are available
for download from
Check each step carefully as you install
DAP so you can uncheck automatic inclusions
such as Google Toolbar if you so choose.
Create a restore point on your computer
before you install the software. If you don't like
the software or experience conflicts you can
simply roll your computer back.
Source: Choice, September/October 2007
Submitted by Keith Dewley, ICE


This page is sponsored by Robert Parsons

This is where a computer looks when it is

switched on for information about the operating
system it will be running.

Security firm iDefense said Mebroot was

discovered in October but started to be used in
a series of attacks in early December.


another branch or using off-street ATMs in

banking lobbies;

Subject: PIN Number Reversal

Do remember that EFTPOS can be used to

withdraw cash at many other places, like
supermarkets and service stations.

Hi Bodo
This is an extract from a statement issued by
the Australian Banking Association in August
2007 in reference to PIN Number Reversal.
The Australian Bankers Association (ABA)
says information circulating in an e-mail about
the use of a reverse PIN at an ATM is false.
From time to time, an e-mail containing
incorrect information circulates in the
community. This fact sheet has been prepared
advising the community about this urban myth.

This page is sponsored by Gladys Pickering

The e-mail claims that by entering your PIN

in reverse into an ATM will summon police.
This claim is false.

This e-mail claiming that entering your PIN

in reverse will summon police to an ATM and
the withdrawal will be successful is totally false.
The PIN has only one function to allow
the customer to access their account and it
must be entered correctly each time and
kept confidential.
If a customer enters a PIN in reverse they
will receive an error message and be prompted
to provide the correct PIN.
Safety Tips at ATMs
It is important to note that customer safety and
crime prevention are key considerations when
siting ATMs. ATMs are located in well-lit areas
that are highly visible to passing traffic.
Robberies at ATMs are rare, but wherever
there is cash, it pays to be careful.

Subject: Mail Box Full


This can happen with most ISPs but never

happens with Gmail where the allowance is
over 6 GB. There are other online E-mail
providers and they all provide storage far in
excess of the popular ISPs. A big advantage of
the huge storage of Gmail is that you never
have to delete e-mails. This means you can
search easily and archive e-mails and have the
ability to retrieve them when and if needed.
I just got an email returned because the
recipients mail box was full.
Robert C

Subject: ICE item?

Hi Bodo

Minimise your time at the ATM by having your

card ready when you approach the machine;

If you don't feel comfortable using a

particular ATM, consider continuing on to

This link may be of help to our members.

These general rules should be followed for

ATM safety, especially at night:

Once you've completed your ATM

transaction, put your money away
immediately and leave. It's best to count
your money later;


Do you get mail returned with the reason that

the recipient's mail box is full?

The Personal Identification Number (PIN)

is a number that only you should know which
is entered at an ATM or an EFTPOS terminal
to give you access to your money in your
bank account.

Take a look around as you approach the

ATM and if there's anything suspicious,
don't use the machine at that time (report
any suspicions to the police);

Phone: 02 8298 0417 Fax: 02 8298 0402

Subject: ICE Education

Hi Members,
Many of our courses are now available, and
nine of those have been allocated dates.
A number of you have already signed on for
them but there are still vacancies, so please
have a look at them at the next meetings to
make sure you do not miss out.
We are open to suggestions regarding
shorter courses lasting two hours each
aspects of computing that will help you achieve
(Continued on page 10)


MARCH 2008

Robert Castles

Special Event Videos

4267 3232 0409 902 838

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New & Used Printer Sales.
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AGA Club Germania Ltd

636A Northcliffe Drive
4271 5011
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424 Princes Highway, Corrimal, NSW 2518

Just South Of The Police Station
1300 139 419 or 4284 0022


/ 02 4227 1620





Resellers For:

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Family Restaurant
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101 Kenny Street
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4226 4255
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MARCH 2008

370-372 Princes Highway,

Woonona NSW 2517
4285 6248

4285 6251

This page is sponsored by George Hood


NSW 2500



By Alan Slater, ICE

here are a number of sites you can go to

download templates to use with the
Microsoft Office Suite programs.
However, you should be aware that some
do come with spyware. A reliable place to
download templates is directly from the
Microsoft Web site itself.
The next time you're looking for some sort of
template to use, try this link: http://
There you will find templates for a multitude
of topics, including stationary, cards, rsums,
presentations, invoices, budgets, flyers and
forms, just to name a few.
So, if you're looking for a template, you'll
definitely want to give this place a try!

A simple way to activate Help is to
press F1.

Being normal is driving me crazy!

This page is sponsored by George Hood

This is our Secretary during the lead up to the

Telstra Connected Seniors workshop.

Sales - Rental - Service

Wholesalers &
ABN 32 114 315 123

Of Quality

24A Anzac Street



02 9709 5367
02 9708 6342
0414 740 729
0433 287 344

ABN: 82 119 434 623

Call Goran or Adrian on
4229 9333

: 4229 9966



Zoom Computers & Services Pty Ltd

ABN 90 575 997 191

Illawarra TAFE Student Association

Inc Bookshop
Textbooks, software and
technical equipment
"Serving the students of the
Illawarra Institute"

Parts, Repairs &
Ink Cartridges

Shop1/263 Princess Highway

Corrimal NSW 2518
4283 3323
4283 3367

4229 0529
4226 4285

MARCH 2008



(Continued from page 1)

enrolment form included in your Members Kit

and pay all fees before commencing your
chosen training course.


he ICICLES Yearbook can be

ordered by interested members by
pre-payment of $15.00.
Again as last year, the yearbook will
be produced in colour as the monthly
issues appear on the ICE website.
You can place your order at the
reception desk at our meetings.

Also a trainers Kit has been developed and

will be circulated to all trainers in due course.
Speaking of trainers, we are still in need of
members that are willing to attend the Train
the Trainer course. This course is free to
members and the training manual is included
in the package. All we expect in return, is that
take on some training sessions.


the committee to ask you if you are willing to
demonstrate your favoured programs, or tell us
how you solved a problem or some of the tricks
you developed; it only needs to be 5-10
minutes long. If you can do this, this would
mean (to quote Shoalhaven PCUG motto)
Users helping users and it would make our
lives (the presenters that do it all the time)
easier and their meeting more enjoyable. So
how about it.
10:00 am 2:30pm, Level 1, 280 Pitt Street,
Sydney. RSVP to Secretary by 15 March 2008.
This meeting is going to be an Open Forum.
There will be no invited guest speakers; it will
be an opportunity for Clubs to speak.

e still have two vacancies, either as a

committee member or volunteer:

Marketing Officer, who is able to promote

products to members and the general public
that ICE may have to sell from time to time, eg.
ICE CD, ICICLE Yearbook, Take the Teacher
Home, etc.
Berkeley Markets Co-ordinator, who is able
to co-ordinate the clubs activities and arrange
for the assistance of members at the markets.
Save your money for a rainy day or a new computer!
MARCH 2008


Q: I need to know how to change a file
extension. Can you please help me?
A: That's an excellent question and I'm sure
you're not the only one who has wondered
about this in the past! I mean, file extensions
are a big part of our computing lives and every
file we work with has its own special extension
and format. So, if you've ever needed to
change an extension and you're not sure how
to do it, keep reading to find out!
First, let's go over some examples. You may
have even experienced these before. Maybe
you have a document that is in an .htm (HTML)
format, but you'd like to view it under a .txt
(text) extension. Or, maybe one of your friends
e-mailed you a picture, but instead of it being a
JPEG format like you're used to, it was sent as
a GIF or maybe even as a PDF. So, how can
you change those to be the formats you want?
It's pretty easy, so let's get to it!
First, you need to make sure your system is
set up to allow file extension changes. To check
on that, go to your Start menu, choose Run, type
in "explorer" (without the quotes) and click OK.
Once the new window opens, go to the Tools
menu and click on Folder Options. Next,
choose the View tab and find the option that
says "Hide extensions for known file types."
Make sure that is unchecked and then click OK.
Now, you're all set!
Next, go to the file you want to change, right
click on it and choose Rename. You can then
rename the file with the new extension you
prefer. Once you're done, just hit the Enter key
on your keyboard and it will be saved. Then
you can go and open the file again, but this
time, it will be the way you want it.


This page is sponsored by Norm Gadsby

The main three trainers are starting to feel a

bit jaded and may eventually lead to dummy
spits. Remember we all do it for the love of it,
but remember the famous straw that broke the
camels back. I can recall from personal
experience, when all the training was left to me
about 8 years ago; eventually I had enough
and no training was offered for about 4 years.
Im sure none of us want to see this happening
again. So please give this some serious hard
thought and make yourself available for the
next Train the Trainer course.



(Continued from page 6)

This page is sponsored by M & P Haane

the literacy you desire. Just let us know. There

is a sheet out on the education table asking
you to list any courses you would like us to run.
Please help us to help you.

By Mary Ann Richardson

We want more trainers this is a free course

to encourage members to actively participate in
either doing a presentation on some topic of
their choice or to help tutors. We need new
approaches and fresh ideas.

ou want the numbered list in your Word

document to start at 1, but it keeps starting
at 4, even if you select Restart Numbering from
the shortcut menu. Rather than try to
renumber, follow these steps:

I also feel I need to train someone to one

day take over as Education Coordinator.
The work is quite rewarding and worthwhile.
Any volunteers?


As you no doubt know a special drop in day

for club members and interested seniors who
want to learn how to use the Internet is taking
place on Saturday 23rd February, from 1 p.m. to
4 p.m. Four interesting presentations will be
given and there will be free 30-minutes lessons
in our Computer Laboratory on how to open an
e-mail account. Booking is essential.

When you set the Set Value text box to a

number, your list will start with that number;
when Restart does not start with 1, its best to
check and reset the Set Value text box
according to the steps above.

When I first joined ICE I was a true

beginner worried about what-if aspects of
the computer. I found members who were
always ready to help me overcome what I
thought were insurmountable problems. I am
grateful to all the members who have helped
me over the years.
We look forward to an interesting year with
regard to the courses on offer.

The Set Numbering Value will also correct

instances where clicking Continue Numbering
will not work for example, when you want one
list to continue numbering from another above
it. Follow these steps to correct this situation:
1. Right-click the numbered list.
2. Click Set Numbering Value.
3. Click to select the Continue From
Previous List button and then click OK.
Source: TechRepublic, 22 January 2008

Dont hesitate to contact me if you wish to

know anything further.

SORT IT OUT Re-order data
in a sheet by highlighting the
data to sort and picking Data > Sort.

See you on the 23rd.


Subject: Internet Shopping - Bargains online

Hi Bodo,
I must confess to doing most of my banking
online, booking many holidays in Australia,
New Zealand and UK through internet travel
sites, and buying a range of goods from online
traders, more especially through the fun and
challenge of eBay auctions. Recently I even
made my first sale on eBay to a buyer who
waited till the final 60 seconds to enter his bid
and snap up a bargain.
I'm not planning an online home loan
because we moved house last year and
need to wait another 36 years to justify the
next move.

Right-click the numbered list.

Click Set Numbering Value.
Select the Start New List button.
In the Set Value text box, type 1 and then
click OK.

Perhaps I'll pick up some wine in the future

but I've yet to be tempted to pay for online
music downloads.
So far I've never been ripped off, cheated or
defrauded through online transactions of any
kind and I 'm aware of safety issues which
mean taking no unnecessary risks.
ICE readers will be sure to find some
helpful information for online dealing in the
attached article.
Cheers :)
Michael McKeen
Editors Note: The article in question is
Therere Bargains by the Byte-Load on the
facing page.


MARCH 2008


By Anthony Keane

MARCH 2008


This page is sponsored by Fred and Lorna James

hopping for bargains is

popularity in recent years
Internet shopping growth is
no longer limited to the
offering at-call interest rates
increasing as a safe,
post-Christmas and mid-year
way above those people can
reliable, convenient and
stock take sales. Thanks to
get in everyday transaction
the internet, huge discounts
accounts. The highest
on consumer goods and
interest currently paid by
services can be found all the time if you know
these accounts is 7.5 cent per annum by
where to look. Almost everybody has heard of
Brisbane-based SunCorp and Perth-based
eBay, the world's biggest source of new and
BankWest according to financial services
second-hand goods online, but there are plenty comparison website
of other Internet shopping destinations.
Theyve grown massively because they offer a
very simple solution for people, Infochoice had its origins as an
general manager Denis Orrock said. They are
eBay seller but went solo in 2004, and today
also very convenient, he said.
has more than 500,000 customers. It sells
everything from cotton sheets and kitchen
scales to electric guitars and pet carriers, and
As share market investing has boomed in
most items are at least 50 per cent off
popularity in recent years, so has the use of
recommended retail prices, before shipping
online stockbrokers. The biggest - Commsec
costs. Some items can be a little quirky, such
and Etrade - account an 80 per cent of the
as the $9.95 authentic CDs from pop stars
market combined and allow investors to buy
such as Fergie, Gwen Stefani and Mika that
and sell shares for about $30 per trade.
come with the warning you may find some
You can get some online brokers for $19 or
Chinese writing in addition to the English
$20 a trade, as opposed to a full service broker
writing on the cover of the CD and in the
which would be about $150, Mr Orrock said.
Of course, doing it yourself online rather than
using a stockbroker means you are given no co-founder Paul
advice on what stocks to buy and sell, but you
Greenberg said orders had doubled in the past
12 months. "It's a trend that's happening
do have access to financial data, analyst
across the nation as Australians realise in
forecasts and other information.
massive numbers that there are safe, reliable
Home Loans
ways to go shopping online," he said. Safety is
There are growing numbers of so-called online
a key concern among would-be internet
home loan providers, but Mr Orrock said we
shoppers, and major online players such as
were still a long way away from a true online
eBay and have easily
home loan. "Online providers are growing
accessible information and advice for
slowly - one of the issues is the process. We
newcomers (refer ten tips).
are still paper based," he said.
Today Smart Money outlines some of the
The cheapest variable home loans,
key areas where online bargains can be found.
according to, include
RateBusters at 7.65 per cent per annum and
Sites such as and
One Direct at 7.88 per cent. But the interest offer a wide range of
rate is not the only measure of a loan. You
accommodation options complete with
need to look at features, fees and service, Mr
photographs and detailed descriptions often at
Orrock said. "Look at ongoing fees for the life
heavily discounted prices. All major car hire
of the loan and also the cost if you leave the
firms have plenty of information and online
loan," he said. Many cheap home loans have
booking systems; as do the airlines.
break fees that can run into thousands of
Independent sites such as allow dollars if the borrower switches providers or
travellers to compare prices among different
sells their home within a few years.
airlines and then add hotels, cars and
insurance to their bookings.
U.S. computer giant Apple transformed both
the music industry and its own fortunes when it
Savings Accounts
Online deposit accounts have soared in
introduced the iPod in 2001. Today there are



(Continued from page 11)

many sites where people can buy music and

download it to their computers and digital
music players.

This page is sponsored by Elwyn Jordan

Today the popular iTunes website sells

songs for $1.69 each, but it is not alone. Digital
music downloads can be purchased for similar
prices at many sites including and
However, there are some complex issues
surrounding digital music, a recent report by
consumer group Choice warned. "Music
purchased online includes technical
restrictions, called digital rights management,
that are built into the file to limit the number of
times the track can be copied, transferred or
burnt to CD," Choice says. "Expect DRM to be
included in most music you buy online." Choice
said information about DRM was usually buried
in the frequently asked questions, help or
information section on music websites.
Wine has been pretty cheap to buy amid the
wine glut of recent years, but those heading
online can purchase it even cheaper. Big
discounts can be enjoyed by those who buy in
bulk or by the bottle from auction sites such as and
A quick check of the Sterling website last
week found bids for 1990 Penfolds Grange at
little more than half their estimated value of
$500-$650 a bottle. On a cheaper note, bids
for $30 bottles of wines in an auction closing
this week were at just $10 late last week. Even
cheaper still, a $9.95 bottle of Angove's
Butterfly Ridge Merlot Cabernet 2006 is just
$4.95 at
However, buyers should beware of
additional costs such as freight, insurance and
re-packing which can cost between $10 and
$20 a carton.
Ten Tips for Secure Shopping in Cyberspace
Arrange a special credit card for all your ontine shopping, with a low Limit such as
$1000, to reduce your exposure.
Shop at trusted destinations. Although
small businesses and websites can offer
great value and service, it is safer to shop
at well known and respected websites.

icrosoft says hackers have found a way

to use some older versions of its Excel
spreadsheet program to take over control of
people's computers.
The software giant said yesterday it was
investigating reports of such attacks, but had
not yet determined whether it would patch the
hole, or when.
People who open a specially-crafted Excel
file from an e-mail attachment or visit a
compromised website could be inviting hackers
to take over their PCs.
Source: The Daily Telegraph, 18 January 2008

Ask questions - email the customer service

link to get comfortable with the merchant.
Only shop on Australian sites - except for
Amazon - and avoid the temptation to buy
from Hong Kong and Eastern Europe. Many
sites are fine but it's better to be safe than
sorry. Shop with a local supplier that you
can follow up.
Start with small purchases, maybe Less
than $20. Once you get comfortable with
the website you can increase your level
of spending.
Make sure that shipping costs are fair in
relation to the size of the purchase and
include insurance for damage and loss
in transit.
Don't give out unnecessary personal
information - your name, address and credit
card information is all that is needed to
process a purchase.
On auction sites, don't let the "win" factor
take over your common sense with
responsible spending. Be careful and check
sellers' reputation - find a friend who is an
experienced buyer on these sites, because
you don't know who you are buying from.
Shop around - compare prices for the item
you want to buy. The beauty of the internet
and search engines like Google is that
comparative pricing is only a click away.
Source: The South Australian Advertiser, February 2008
Submitted by Michael McKeen, ICE, South Australia

If you are still nervous, find websites that

offer traditional payment methods such
as Bpay.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Instead of selecting the Edit menu
and copy, simply use Ctrl + C to
copy text/files to the clipboard.


MARCH 2008

Submitted by Robert Davidson, ICE


By Bodo Schwarz, ICE

lettering an authentic icy appearance.

se filters and other effects in Photo Shop

to make letters take on the characteristics
of the word they spell, such as ICICLES.
1. Create new Photoshop document with a
black background and enter some text in a
heavy font (eg Ariel Black), font colour
white and a large point size. For this
example we are typing ICICLES since we
wish to create the icicle effect.

Click OK (see illustration below) for the

selections to take effect.

2. Select the Text layer by clicking on the layer

thumbnail in the Layer palette. In the Menu
bar click on Layer, Rasterize, Layer; the
layer is now rasterised and the text you typed
in the layer will appear in the layer thumbnail.
3. Ensure that the former Text layer is still
selected; you open the Filter menu, click on
Noise, Add Noise and click OK. Still in the
Filter menu, click on Pixelate, Crystallize,
choose a small Cell Size (eg 5) and click OK.
4. To create the icicle effect, turn the Text
layer on its side by choosing the Edit menu,
Transform, Rotate 90 CW. In the Filter
menu, select Stylize, Wind and in the
resulting dialogue box set the Method to
Wind and the Direction From the Right,
and then click OK. Reapply the filter several
times by pressing Ctrl + F and watch the
icicles grow.
5. Rotate the Text layer back to its original
orientation and add a Hue/Saturation layer
to reduce the red hues in the text and
increase the blue hues slightly to give the

To get something done, a committee should
consist of no more than three men, two of
whom are absent. Robert Copeland
Submitted by Alan Slater, ICE

Disclaimer: The Illawarra PC Users Group Inc. disclaim all responsibility for any losses or damage which may be
attributed to the use or misuse of any material published in this Newsletter.
The ILLAWARRA COMPUTER ENTHUSIASTS NEWSLETTER ICICLES is published by the Illawarra PC Users Group Inc.,
9 Ursula Road, Bulli, NSW 2516
MARCH 2008


This page is sponsored by Lorraine and Lynnette

To do this you select the Layer menu, New

Adjustment Layer, Hue/Saturation
Click OK in the resulting New Layer
dialogue box, a Hue/Saturation dialogue
box will appear. Make sure the Colorize
and Preview boxes are checked, set the
Hue to 173, the Saturation to 35 and the
Lightness to 0.

This page is sponsored by Bodo Schwarz

Sunday, 2 March 2008

Kanahooka Road, Berkeley
Sunday, 16 March 2008
Foleys Road, Gwynneville

Licence No. 2TA4622. A Travelworld Franchise
Office owned and operated by Keith and
Ann-Maree Scott.

See Ann-Maree and Keith

for all your travel arrangements
0425 211 965

Why are skeletons usually so calm?

Nothing gets under their skin

Shop 9B
Thirroul Plaza
Thirroul, NSW 2515
4267 4011
4267 4125

If undeliverable return to:

Illawarra Computer Enthusiasts
9 Ursula Road, Bulli, NSW 2516

Meetings are held every second Friday, 7:30 pm, and

fourth Saturday, 1:00 pm (February to November), of the
month at the Unanderra Community Hall (Rear Hall),
corner of Factory Road & Princes Highway, Unanderra.

Your key to the Internet

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Waples Road, Unanderra
0414 961 117

1300 HOTKEY (1300 468 539) for both

Accounts and Technical Help

A Printer Cartridge Recycling Station

is now located in the foyer of the small
hall of the Unanderra Community
Centre for your convenience.

Box 350, Petrie Qld 4502 (Accounts)

We wish to thank


MARCH 2008
for their support