Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio on April 3, 2000 · 34
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Dayton Daily News from Dayton, Ohio · 34

Dayton, Ohio
Issue Date:
Monday, April 3, 2000
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4E DAYTON DAILY NEWS MONDAY, APRIL 3, 2000 DR. BOMBAY Follow the steps for reformatting TECH TOOLS Evolution is tough on fans of DOS Here of late I've gotten lots of mail from computer users who are being dragged kicking and screaming, or at least reluctantly, from good old days of DOS into the bewildering modern world of Windows. One fellow, as I mentioned recently, was trying to figure out how to print a DOS test file with the DOS PRINT command through an MS-DOS window to his dot-matrix printer. The PRINT command no longer seems to be available. I couldn't help him because I can't remember how to create a DOS text file assuming I ever knew. The logical thing, it seems, would be to see if the file can't be called up in Word or Wordpad and printed. Another gentleman has two computers the one he uses, on which he still runs some version of MS-DOS, and another on which some version of Windows is installed and which he evidently avoids as much as possible. Framework, he says, does everything he needs to do. He's wondering, however, whether he could install Framework on the Windows machine and somehow run it there. Framework? How many of you even remember Framework? It appears only dimly through the haze of my memory. It was one of those multifunction DOS-based programs that worked from a central point and provided word processor, spreadsheet and database. Framework never really made a big hit. Its publisher, once a major player, sank below the waves of Windows long ago. My best advice to him was, if the Framework disks would fit in his newer computer's drive, to go ahead and try it. Either it will run or it won't, and I would bet on the latter. I think I understand his position. Getting around in DOS wasn't an easy thing to learn. The programs that ran under its aegis generally were pretty thorny, too. But once you learned DOS and its commands, you could deal with problems that arose. You could do some serious trouble-shooting. You were a pretty good shade-tree mechanic, and if a system gasped and died you could usually get it back on the road pretty quickly. Then here comes Windows, which at first was just a poor imitation of the Macintosh interface. It didn't really start running very well until version 3. You still had DOS, pretty well intact, down under the crankshaft, and WINDOWS.INI and SYSTEM.INI were easy to deal with. The engine compartment was a lot more complicated and it was stuffed full; a lot harder to work on, but it could still be done if you wanted to make the effort. Most people did. Some, however, looked at the new models and applied a curious kind of logic to the situation. They thought, "What can this thing do for me that I need done?" To some, the answer was "nothing. There's nothing I want to do that I can't already do." That flies in the face of American consumerism, and it might be subversive, but so far there's no law against it. However, it can get sticky after a while. Programs still run, but the hardware and peripherals they require become more of a problem. The programs may not wish to share space with modern versions. The Frameworker may have to either jump into the modern world of the Registry, which is in no way as easy to deal with as DOS or earlier Windows versions, or just wipe all that stuff off his new computer, install MS-DOS V.6, and keep on truckin'. Jack Warner writes for Cox News Service. He can be reached at Kim Komando's column will return next week. DEAR DR. BOMBAY: For reformatting a hard drive, I have been told that a CD of Windows 95 or 98 is needed, as well as a floppy with a CD-ROM driver thaf loaded first Is this true? What is your reformat procedure? Clean Sweep DEAR CLEAN: First, I prepare a very large pitcher of extra-dry martinis, because I know it's going to be an extremely long and frustrating" day. In fact, I've found that on more than one occasion this approach results in me forgetting why reformatting seemed like such a good idea to begin with. Nuking your drive is a major undertaking, and you'd better be prepared. Not only will you be wiping everything off your disk, you'll have to reinstall Windows, then Nothing mousy about the Boomslang Cox News Service Where Microsoft's "IntelliEye" reinvented the mouse by replacing the intrinsic track-ball with an optical laser sensor, Kama has improved on the original mouse concept by using a laser to read the track ball. Kama's Razer Boom-slang 2000 ($100; www.razerzone .com) offers a frightfully fast and accurate interface for any PC video game using the mouse and keyboard, such as first person shooters. As a USB device, the sexy-looking Boomslang is able to transmit more input information faster, its controller chip has a much higher reading resolution at 2000dpi (400dpi is typical in a typical mouse) and can cover the screen in about one-fifth the motion. The trackball of the Boomslang is placed near the heel rather than dead center, proffering finer poise as it practically hovers under your hand. The Boomslang also offers on-the-fly, "in game" sensitivity adjustment via a button and the SWAP: Consumers comfortable with cashless exchanges Continued from Page IE At WebSwap, which went into operation last October, curious swappers can pick from categories like coupons, clothing and video games. The pages listing each category are organized by Haves, on one side of the screen, and Wants on the other. Clicking on a 2-year-old computer in the Haves category, for example, will display a brief description of the item and the approximate dollar amount that the owner thinks it is worth. To find out what the owner wants in exchange for the computer, swappers click on the owner's screen name to reveal a list of the owner's Wants. The swapper can then click the Make an Offer button and offer something on the owner's Want list or cash. WebSwap then notifies the owner that an offer has been made, and it acts as a go-between for further negotiations. Once an agreement is reached, WebSwap sends each swapper the other's address via e-mail. The swappers pay for shipping the items. But can you really trade a pair of old skis for a Cuisinart? For now, finding someone who wants what you have and vice versa is daunting. One WebSwap user, for example, includes a "98 or newer" Sea-Doo personal watercraft on his Wants list But his Haves list includes his collections of Chevy car parts and baseball caps. Not exactly even-steven. People seem to be most comfortable trading similar items. Amanda Mack of Durham, N.C., swapped an envelope of balloon-flower seeds for an envelope of marigold seeds with a woman in Fort Wayne, Ind., via WebSwap. "I was kind of chuckling because I didn't think anyone would want them," Mack said. "But this woman's grandmother had planted balloon flowers years ago, and she'd been looking all over for them, so she was very excited." reload any application programs, then hope you remembered to back up your data files so you can stick them back on the computer. I usually start by making a big, long list of all the programs I'm going to have to reload, and I make sure I have the installation CDs or floppies in a safe place that I can find after two martinis. My work space tends to degenerate into unfathomable disarray the minute I start one of these jobs. Next, I start backing up installation files and data that exist only on my hard drive. This is where a CD burner, a Zip drive or tape backup comes in handy. In my case, I make a CD with everything I could possibly need during the reinstallation process. Oh, I know I'll probably forget something, but at least it's all scroll-wheel and, ultimately, gives gamers much more refined and varied control by greatly reducing the throw of the mouse, allow ing greater range of character movement and aim without the need to reset re-center. Watch your frag count soar. Mack, who logged on to the Internet for the first time last October, said she was still uncomfortable about online transactions. "I can't believe people buy things over the Internet," she said. "But this was fun, and if she hadn't sent us the seeds it wouldn't have been the end of the world." Although WebSwap features high-ticket offerings like vacation time shares and cars on its site, items that carry less risk if the swap goes sour, like video games, paperbacks and trading cards, account for more activity. Martin DeBono, a senior analyst at Gomez Advisors, an Internet commerce research company, said that low-risk items seemed "to appeal to people who wouldn't feel comfortable buying at auctions." "The mentality is that you wouldn't want to give out cash for something you're not certain about" DeBono continued. "The risks are lower, so the appeal is greater." Swapping sites could become as popular as auction sites, DeBono said, as people become more comfortable assigning values to their unwanted items. "As more people do it, the valuations will become more robust, and people will have more information going into it," he said. One company,, is focusing on people who would prefer to conduct swaps in person rather than sending bulky items in the mail and waiting for the other end of the bargain to appear ( When the site opens in mid-March, consumers will be able to create Haves and Wants lists for larger items, like musical instruments and strollers, then exchange them in person with people in their area. Chris Perkett, a spokeswoman for ExchangeAnything, said the company was talking with fast food companies and mall owners about providing coupons and other incentives on its site to encourage people to make swaps at their stores. in one spot If I can still find my Sharpie after martini No. 3, 1 label the CD and stick it with my other installation materials. Now comes the fun part You'll be wiping out everything on the hard drive, which includes the drivers that make your CD drive work. Without those, you won't be able to reload Windows from the CD. Luckily, Windows 98's Setup Disk utility (in AddRemove Programs in the Control Panel) will make a bootable floppy with generic CD drivers on it. You'll also need to copy the file to the floppy. Boot with the floppy, and make sure the CD drive is working. About now, I'd freshen my martini, because there's no turning back. At the A: prompt, type in Format C: u and let 'er rip. Say so long to RAZER BOOMSLANG by is a USB device that gives gamers greater control and aim. SwitcHouse, which began operating under the name last July, focuses on music CDs because they are easy to swap and ship, said Michael Lin, the company's chief executive. The company is expanding the site to include books, videos and video games. "I'm kind of addicted to it it's my version of day trading," said Mannie Rabara of Pleasanton, Calif., who has swapped about 25 CDs on and who has 15 more in his queue. "And I'm definitely buying fewer CDs." Bad swaps are more the exception than the rule. "So far, everyone's been really honest," said Alison Shelton of Olive Branch, Miss., who has traded 12 music CDs on "Everything I've gotten has been in very good condition. It's sort of restored my faith in people." But as they state in their user agreements, none of the sites will accept responsibility if participants do not uphold their end of the bargain. Although, a site designed for children, boasts that "you'll get the goods, guaranteed," the fine print says the company cannot guarantee that anyone will complete a trade. John-Paul Springer of Spring HilL Kan., discovered the no-guarantee policy when he traded a Gameboy for a Furby that would not talk when it arrived. "He said it was in excellent condition," Springer said, "but we've tried different batteries, and it won't work. We sent him a note, but we haven't heard from him." ended up sending Springer a $25 gift certificate toward the purchase of a new Furby. It said it would handle problems like these on a case-by-case basis. One recourse swappers have if they feel cheated is to give the other swappers a bad rating. All the sites, except, allow for ratings, similar to the participant ratings at eBay and other auction sites. said it would offer a ratings system in the near future. Xarna V. v or xSv y J everything on the drive. When the format finishes, you'll have a machine that's capable of almost nothing. You still need to load the operating system, Windows. Aren't you glad you made sure the CD drive was working? You'll need the full version of Windows, too, not just the upgrade. If you didn't get one, your manufacturer may have included a restoration CD (it's supposed to make things just like they were when you bought the computer) or some sort of utility that will build a set of installation floppies. By the time Windows has finished installing itself, I'm usually ready for a nice, long nap. Not because of that second pitcher of martinis, of course. I simply realize that after I get my Internet and QuickCam Pro sees all, shows all Cox News Service Digital communications being what they are, one could be considered a dinosaur if not equipped with real-time video con ferencing. Logitech leads the multime- dia pack with its million-seller PC Web cam, Quick-Cam Pro ($150; m). ' The unob- trusive little tiltableswivel- able USB camera comes bun dled with all the necessary software for cyberspace video conferencing (no longdistance charges!) plus an array of related soft THE QUICKCAM PRO by Logitech. ware allowing for moviemakingvideo-editing, direct-to-e-mail videos (or , snapshots), integrated Web-page building and even Digital Radar II, which uses the QuickCam's innate characteristics for video surveillance, complete with motion sensor capability. With Logitech's exclusive "Pic-tureSmart" technology, the Quick-Cam Pro offers surprisingly sharp picture quality and color balance at more than three times the resolution and twice the picture size of the industry standard. The downside? QuickCam owners ... -Mh I - O f) i t i H w 1 V. f? if- h .! .; it $ i - i' i '' n H it u i THE STOWAWAY is a full-size keyboard for hand-held devices that can fold into a packet the size of your PDA. Go along for the ride with NewKidCc's 'Mulan' Cox News Service Though this NewKidCo. product is, indeed, a PlayStation CD-ROM, Disney's Mulan ($38; is not a video game per se; it's more of an interactive plaything from the Disney's Story Studio line that encourages and coaxes kids through various problem-solving and motor- skills lessons. Terrific and friendly voice-over work blends story development with pleasant tutorial as players guide Disney's cross-dressing heroine through a series of activities, such as bathing and get ting dressed, playing Mah- jong and a game of dodge ball as Mulan makes her way down an avalanche-plagued slope in her backyard. Ultimately, with no way to lose and with all the problems and conundrums completed, Mulan is crowned the Imperial Storymaker and can henceforth create her own network stuff working again I'll be spending about a day downloading and installing Windows updates and the latest drivers for all my hardware. At long last it's time to start reloading all my programs and data. I think that calls for another martini. I know what you're thinking, but I can quit reformatting any time I want to. Twelve steps just aren't enough. Dr. Emilio Bombay is In desperate need of a reliable 24-step program. Send your recommendations to; snail-mail: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Box 1870, Fort Worth, Texas 76 1 0 1 ; or fax: (817) 390-7257. In real life, Dr. Bombay Is Michael Gerst, editorial systems manager for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. must always keep their hair combed and we home-office QuickCammers are no longer afforded the luxury of working in our underwear and bathrobes. FULL-SIZE KEYBOARD FIT FOR A PALM The Palm Pilot and the funkier Handspring are among the ' coolest things ; to ever hap- ' pen to busi- ; ness people. : With the advent of the . ) PDA, they could now carry addresses, ..' notes and other neato ' applications and games in one small handheld unit. ! Unfortunately, with , the blessing of the Palm also came the curse: It was near impossible to pen extensive notes or - - complicated addresses with the stylus. v Enter Think Outside's Stowaway Keyboard ($100;; for the Palm and the Handspring). The Stowaway is a full desktop-size keyboard that folds into a packet the size of a PDA. The Palm simply , snaps onto the keyboard and you're on your way. The Stowaway works great and . can fit in tiny places when it's time to take long notes from the boss. 0 if I if II il m l 0 t O i ii i v ,i t it h i if sM stories, play sing-along Karaoke-style or paint her own storyboards. Harmless and pleasant interactive fun from the preeminent early childhood Zen masters at NewKidCo.

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