Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on October 27, 2002 · Page 42
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 42

Indiana, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Page 42
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E-6 — Sunday, October 27, 2002 LEISURE ,3lnbiana (gazette Survival kits keeps computer running By BILL HUSTED Cox News Service When I lived in Oregon, winter trips out of the valley where I lived were often over icy mountain roads. Because of that, there was a survival kit in the trunk of my car that could have stocked a small general merchandise store. There was a blanket, some chains for the tires, a first-aid kit, an ugly hat (ugly hats are the warmest kind), an aging bag of chocolate candy, water, sand, a shovel and two flashlights. Other than the chains, I never needed my survival kit. That was fine with me. I gave the aged candy away on the HaJloween I left the state. I think there are still warrants outstanding. Today we'll construct a survival kit for computing. I hope you never need it. But ignoring the danger is asking for trouble. Just as my car trunk offered a security blanket that relaxed me on icy roads, your security blanket for computing can do the same thing on late nights when you have a couple of hours to finish a crucial project. And if you really do hit an icy spot while computing, it can be a lifesaver. Almost everything here is available free. So all I'm asking for is a little of your time. Here's what you need. • Create a recovery disk: If you Once you have put together your survival kit, you may want to take a look at Sony's new Personal Entertainment Display, a 17.1- inch wide display monitor. It is the latest in a legion of thin design liquid crystal displays. (AP photo) use a computer long enough, there will be a morning when it will refuse to start. A recovery disk will start your computer, even if the hard disk dies. So let's make one. If you have a version of Windows that predates XP, making a recovery disk is easy. Go to the Control Panel, click on Add/Remove Programs and then to Startup Disk. Follow the on-screen directions. For Windows XR you will need to download some stuff from Microsoft. To make it easier to find what you need for XP (and for all the other versions of Windows as well) try this great Web link furnished by a reader: naLhtm. • Back up your important riles: Hard disks are remarkably sturdy, less likely to fail than a floppy disk or a CD. But eventually they do die. When that happens, you'll lose all your data. That's why it's important to have: a backup copy of all the information on the hard disk that is precious to you: word-processing documents, tax records, e-mails, everything you've created. With me, I simply copy important files onto a CD! If you want to get fancy, computer stores are full of commercial backup programs that will automate the process. • Store your CDs: We've backed up the data that you created. But if disaster strikes and you have to start over again with a new hard disk, you'll also need to reinstall all your programs. So you will need all the installation CDs. That starts with the installation CD for Windows but also includes the CDs for every program you use. If you don't have a plastic file cabinet for these disks, spending $10 to $20 on one is a bargain. Make sure you keep any information —like an activation code — that you will need to reinstall your programs. Putting everything in one place really helps when panic sets in. I've spend many a night nervously searching drawers and cabinets for CDs that I needed. Don't forget, by the way, to include installation CDs for printers, modems and digital cameras. • Start a library: It's easy to lose the manuals that come with hardware and software. Find a small box or file cabinet and use it for each bit of documentation. Don't rely on the manufacturer's Web site or the electronic help files built into programs. Remember, if you need the manual because your computer doesn't work, or because it won't connect to the Internet, all this electronic help is worthless. • Build a maintenance kit: Stock it with a few cotton swabs, a bottle of alcohol (the denatured variety), a few screwdrivers, a can of compressed air that you can buy at a camera store and a couple of aspirin. You'll need the cotton swabs and alcohol for cleaning the rollers inside a mouse. (Just remove the rubber ball and use the swabs-to de- gunk the rollers you'll see inside.) The screwdrivers are for opening up the computer case. The compressed air is for blowing dust off the circuit boards. If you mess with computing on a regular basis, you'll figure out what to do with the aspirin without my help. Bill Husted writes for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. E-mail: bh usted@ajc. com NEWS QUESTIONS Cox News Service Q: Now that we're all using spray with DEBT to ward off mosquitoes that may be carrying the West Nile virus, what are the long-term effects of the chemical on our bodies? A: The Environmental Protection Agency, which has conducted extensive toxicity testing, says normal use of insect repellents containing DEET doesn't present a health concern. But consumers are cautioned to follow label directions and avoid long-term exposure to DEET. Health officials also say repellents with DEET shouldn't be used on infants, and children should use repellents that contain less than 10 percent DEET. (On the Net: cides/citizens/deet.htm.) Q: New Jersey Democrats want Frank Lautenberg to replace incumbent Robert Tomcelli on the Nov. 5 ballot. News reports say Lautenberg served in the Senate for 18 years. Why did he leave? A: Lautenberg, now 78, retired in 2000, saying the daily pressures of campaign fund raising would take him away from his legislative duties. Q: We know there's no prize money for the golfers who participate in the Ryder Cup, but who pays SMART MONEY expenses such as room and board, caddy fees and travel? A: PGA of America takes care.of the expenses for the team members, their wives or significant others, and the caddies, said PGA spokesman Julius Mason. That includes air fare, accommodations and all other costs. While there's no prize money as such, PGA of America makes some money available to the team members. "They're allowed to direct $100,000 to the charity or charities of their choice, and another $100,000 to a university of their choice where we implement a program called 'Golf: For Business and Life,'" Mason said. Q: Rep. Jim McDermott went to Iraq recently and, when he returned, called for Washington to exhaust every diplomatic effort before resorting to war with Saddam Hussein. Is he the same congressman accused several years ago of leaking a private telephone conversation between House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other House Republicans? What was the outcome of that incident? A: It's the same Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. The outcome of the 1996 Gingrich case finally was determined in May Get your own lawyer DEAR BRUCE: We will be selling a piece of land privately. My husband wants the buyer to suggest a lawyer in the county where the land is located and both buyer and seller go to his office and sign the papers. I am reluctant to do this. What would be the best way to handle this? — K.P. DEAR K.P.: Your husband is way out in left field. To have the buyer choose the attorney to represent the seller is absurd. One attorney is prohibited from representing both the buyer and the seller. On a rare occasion, such as between mother and child, this will be proper. In this case, there would be a clear conflict. If there was a problem with the property, for example, a toxic dump a half-mile away, it might not defeat the sale, but both should know this information. When you are selling property, an attorney who only serves you and your husband's interests should represent you. DEAR BRUCE: My grandparents leased a vacation lot in Idaho 35 years ago. My 90-year-old grandmother has given the lease to my brothers and me. We paid to have her name removed, and our names added. I need to know if we are liable for a gift tax or an inheritance tax. The land's value could be between $100,000 and $200,000, depending on the current demand. I was told that it has no value until it is sold. If we sell the lot, will we be liable for taxes? We may purchase this land, if it's affordable. Most of the land in that area is priced out of our reach. — J.D. DEAR J.D.: First of all, inheritance tax is not an issue since Grandma is alive. Inheritance tax only kicks in after death. If there is value here, you would not be liable for taxes, but Grandma might unless she claimed against her lifetime estate, which should have been done. An accountant should take a look at that issue.'The likelihood is that there would be some tax liability, depending upon the basis that was used when the land was transferred from Grandma to you. This is another case where representation by an appropriate attorney and an accountant would be the Bruce Williams proverbial, "a stitch in time saves nine." I urge you to get some advice quickly. It would be in your best interest. DEAR BRUCE: I saw your response to a question posed by a person from Nevada. I just wanted to add a quick comment. Viaticals and life settlements are not an investment for the faint of heart. Just like the insurance business, its success depends very heavily on the law of large numbers. Anyone investing in these vehicles should be prepared to purchase literally hundreds of these policies in order to have actuarial accuracy. We are an institutionally funded purchaser of life settlements and own hundreds of millions of dollars of these policies. I just don't want to see any small investors hurt in this marketplace.— L.S. DEAR L.S.: Thank you very much. Everything you say is true. Viaticals are indeed a relatively new form of investment, and one that has to be looked at very carefully. Professionals like you know this, and oftentimes the amateur investor is misled. DEAR BRUCE: What happens if a parent dies, and all of his assets are sold, but there is still remaining debt? Does the child inherit the debt? DEAR C.S.: While there may be an exception, the fundamental answer to your question is no. Whatever the estate has will be parceled out among the creditors. If you are the executor of such an estate, be certain to receive proper counsel so that you settle the debts in accordance with the laws of your state. With one or two exceptions, unless the child has signed for the obligations, they are not responsible. 2001, when the U.S. Supreme Court effectively ended a lawsuit that pitted Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, against McDermott over disclosure of the secredy recorded cell-phone call. Without comment, the Supreme Court canceled a lower-court ruling that would have let Boehner's lawsuit continue. The high court pointed to its own ruling a week earlier that a radio host couldn't be sued for playing a tape made illegally. like McDermott, the radio host who ultimately made the conversation public wasn't the person who made the tape. Boehner alleged McDermott broke the law by leaking the contents of the Gingrich conversation. McDermott contended he couldn't be sued because he received the tape from someone else. Boehner sued after a Florida couple, Alice and John Martin, used a scanner to record a December 1996 conference call in which Boehner, Gingrich and other House leaders discussed strategy involving the announcement of an ethics committee finding against Gingrich. The Martins later pleaded guilty to unlawfully intercepting the call and were fined $500 each. Q: An item about Alan Greenspan's receiving an honorary knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II mentioned that several other U.S. citizens had been similarly knighted, including Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and former Presidents Bush and Reagan. Have any people of color been so honored? A: Yes. British honors are awarded on merit, for exceptional achievement or service, without regard to ethnicity or gender. Over the years, numerous people of color from certain Caribbean countries. Commonwealth members and the United Kingdom have received various honors, the British Consulate says. And some Americans, such as Secretary of State Colin Powell, who, like Greenspan, was awarded the title Knight of the British Empire. The queen chooses recipients on the advice of the prime minister, to whom recommendations are sent by government ministers or by members of the public. Q: A recent article said the Shroud of Turin had undergone restoration "with explicit Vatican permission." As I recall, scientists using carbon dating tested a piece of the shroud a few years ago and determined that it couldn't have been the burial garment of Jesus. True or false? A: True, but as World Book Encyclopedia states, some historians and scientists have challenged the conclusion. In the 1970s and '80s, scientists tested the shroud, a linen cloth that many people believe was Jesus' burial cloth. In 1978, researchers found.that bloodstains on the cloth appeared to be human blood. The team concluded that the faint image of a crucified man probably was produced by a human body. Other scientists found that pollens and limestone dust from the cloth could have come from the region of Palestine where Jesus died. In 1988, scientists from three laboratories in different countries used carbon-14 dating on postage stamp-sized pieces of cloth from the shroud to determine its age. The tests indicated the shroud dates to between 1260 and 1390. The Roman Catholic Church accepted the results and announced that the shroud wasn't authentic, but the church encouraged Christians to continue venerating the shroud as an inspiring pictorial image of Christ. Check out the sites Cox News Service • In like Fig: Known as the face behind the drums on "Late Show With David Letterman," Anton Fig is also an accomplished studio musician. Read his bio, discography, drummer tips and a "Late Show" playlist at this site. • Along came a cider: Pull out a tankard and log onto this site for a look at ciders throughout the world, how ciders are made and links to various beverage-related sites. • Fruity facts: Collect produce news, recipes and a slew of cooking and produce links at this site, hosted by TV pitchster and "Produce Man" Michael Marks. • Vice, revisited: Still miss Crockett andTubbs? Get twice the "Vice" at this "Miami Vice" 1 tribute site, which includes an episode guide, series history, awards and collectibles. www. miam ivice. com • Falling for you: Known as the "Icebox of the Nation," International Falls also gave the world football great Bronko Nagurski. Learn more about this Minnesota city's attractions, climate and people at this site. • Spice it up: Is that coriander or cumin in the sauce? Find out more at Spices Etc., which includes a view from the warehouse, a spice Q&A, storage tips and related food sites. • The bean scene: Find fiber and more at the American Dry Bean Board site, which serves up bean profiles, nutrition tidbits and recipes from soups to Berry Bean Blast. www. american • Learn about the burn: Here's a place Sparky the Fire Dog would love. Check out the National Fire Protection Association site for fire prevention tips, wildfire data, Halloween safety hints and links to professional resources. • Life with Diego: His life with painter Frida Kahlo and his colorful murals made Diego Rivera a legend. Visit this site for a look at his bio, murals, home movies and more. www. diego rivera. com • Nutty nuggets: According to the Georgia Pecan Commission, an acre of "well-maintained pecan trees cart yield about 1,000 pounds of nuts. Learn other trivia, recipes and storage tips at the commission's site. 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