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December 2002 Issue


Below, find our archived issue of the 5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter.


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5 Star Support Monthly Newsletter

December 2002 Issue

Inside this issue:

1) Notes from the editor
2) Industry News
3) Helpful Web Sites
4) The Optical Mouse
5) Liquid Crystal Display (LCD)
6) Tips and Tricks
7) Problems and Solutions
8) Contact Info - Unsubscribe
[1] Notes from the editor:
by Vince Underwood

Welcome to all new subscribers and welcome back to all of you loyal 5 Star Supporters! I hope that you all will find this newsletter helpful and informative.

5 Star Support has past a milestone in the month of November. We exceeded 100 volunteer technicians. It's just simply amazing how these computer experts love to give their time in helping others that may not be able to afford computer help. I'm proud to be affiliated with each of these quality people! You can view their profiles at:

5 Star Support now offers Live Assistance ( We have had this feature open for about a month. The kind folks at "NetConverse. com" ( have agreed to sponsor this for us. There are many of you that may benefit from their affordable services. Give them a visit and let them know that 5 Star Support sent you.

Want a discussion forum to talk about various computer issues? Well, we now have that too ( This discussion forum is hosted for free but has popup adverts that are very annoying. So...Jack (one of the volunteer techs) and myself, donated the necessary $6.95 each so that this board can be popup free for two months. Thanks a lot Jack! If any of you would like to chip in a little bit to keep this a banner free environment it would be very appreciated! Just visit the forum and at the bottom of the window you'll see the "Donate" button. Or, you can always donate directly to 5 Star Support and in the notes, just let me know that you are donating for the popup free forum.

Visit the forum regularly to view the writings of these very talented people.

There is lots more that will be happening at 5 Star Support but I'll save it for the upcoming issues. Now...just sit back, relax and enjoy your newsletter!

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[2] Bush signs bill to improve computer security:

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush on Wednesday signed a bill authorizing $900 million in grants to spur federal agencies, industry and universities to devote more energy to cyber security research.

The five-year program would require the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology to bring industry and academic experts together to fund new research and to help attract top researchers to the field. It also would encourage efforts to recruit new students into cyber security programs.

Senate proponents of the legislation were Sens. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and George Allen, R-Va.

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[4] The Optical Mouse
by Vince Underwood

Developed by Agilent Technologies and introduced to the world in late 1999. Optical mouse sensor technology works by taking thousands of digital pictures per second with a resolution of up to 800count/in to determine the movement of the on-screen cursor. These individual images are then sent to the digital signal processor (DSP), which compares each picture with the last to detect movement. In doing so, the processor executes 18 million instructions per second. The mouse then outputs the signal to the computer via a USB or PS/2 port, and the software handles the rest of the work. What this translates to is a more accurate representation of the mouse's movements and a more accurate implementation of what the user wants to do with the mouse. Gamers will reap the benefits of these mice as they are very quick and accurate in their aiming ability.

Optical mice eliminate the need for a mouse pad and offer more precise pointing and movement than mechanical mice. You just don't want to put this mouse on a surface that reflects or shines. The mouse needs to report back to the processor with comparison images, so placing it on a reflective surface or even a glass surface will produce the exact same images when moved across this surface.

And because optical mice have no ball or cavity, no cleaning is necessary, making them more reliable and longer lasting.

It provides automatic power conservation during periods when the mouse is not moved, and controlled drive for the LED light source.
It operates on a single power supply (3.3V typical, 3.6V maximum) and features on-chip LED drive and power conservation mode during times of no movement.

I have seen the optical mouse selling anywhere from $19.95 US to 79.95 US.

互户互户互猾せカせ  [Top]

[5] Liquid Crystal Display:

A Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) is a "passive" device. That is, an LCD does not generate light but rather manipulates the ambient light around it. There are many variations of Liquid Crystal Display technology but the most common of these is the Field Effect Twisted Nematic Liquid Crystal Display (TNFE LCD). 

Liquid Crystal materials are a group of organic molecules that exhibit three phases or states of matter. These three states are the Crystalline or solid state at very cold temperatures, the Isotropic or liquid state at rather high temperatures, and the Nematic state. The Nematic state is the state of matter that occurs when the LC materials are at the temperatures in between the Crystalline and Isotropic states and exhibits properties of both liquid and Crystalline states. 

The nematic state of liquid crystal materials is the normal operating temperature range of a TNFE LCD. The nematic to isotropic transition temperature (N-l) is the upper temperature operating limit of an LCD. At this point the LC molecules become disordered and become non-functional until such time that the material is cooled below the N-l point. The Crystalline to Nematic point (C-N) defines the melting point of the LC materials but not necessarily the lower operating temperature limit. LC materials super-cool, that is, as temperatures decrease to and below the C-N point, transition to a solid does not necessarily occur at a given point. Exposure to temperatures below -60癈 for an extended period of time may be required to completely freeze the material. Therefore LCD's will operate below the C-N transition temperature, but because the viscosity of the material increases and significantly slows the response time of the display, this usually determines the lower limit of practical operation of the Liquid Crystal Display.

The Twisted Nematic Liquid Crystal structure has the ability to rotate polarized light as it passes through the molecular layers of the LC material. The rod-like molecules form a very orderly 90 degree helix pattern from the front plate of a Liquid Crystal Display to the rear plate. When linear polarized light is aligned to this helix with the aid of linear polarizers, the polarized light will follow the helix through the 90 degree twist and on through the rear polarizer as illustrated on page 3. Note that the rear polarizer is positioned 90 degrees out of phase form the front polarizer in order to accommodate the rotation of the light through the liquid crystal molecules. If a reflector were to be placed behind the display, the polarized light will return along its entry path and again be rotated 90 degrees as it follows the liquid crystal molecules. 

If an electrical field were applied to a Liquid Crystal Display, the liquid molecules in the center of the field will align with the field and interrupt the helix. The polarized light entering the front of the display will not be rotated and will pass through the crossed rear polarizer and be extinguished. Therefore the display will appear dark in the areas where the field is applied. When the field is removed, the molecules will return to its normal helix formation. The electrical field described is defined by overlapping conductive areas of the pattern electrode and the common electrode of an LCD. By using crossed polarizers (eg., horizontal front polarizer/vertical rear polarizer), a display will have dark characters on a light background for a positive image. If a display were to employ parallel polarizers, an inverse format is achieved. That is, the activated areas will appear light on a dark background. This is referred to as a negative image display. 

A Liquid Crystal Display is a relatively thin, glass sandwich employing the previously described operating principles. The transparent conductive Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) electrodes are patterned on the flat glass substrate through standard photolithography procedures. Each plate is then coated with a thin polymeric alignment layer, which is then striated to give the liquid crystal molecules a preferred direction of orientation to establish the necessary 90 degree twist. A conductive crossover is applied to an appropriate spot on the common electrode to make an electrical connection to the common contact pad on the segment plane glass. This eliminates the need to make contact to two different surfaces in the end application. Precise cell gap is achieved by the use of spacers applied between the two glass plates. (Typically 8 microns or less.) A perimeter seal holds the glass substrates together and encapsulates the liquid crystal fluid. The cells are then vacuum filled with the liquid crystal fluid and the end fill port plugged. To finish the display, front and rear polarizers/reflectors are carefully laminated to the assembly. DlL pins may also be applied to the display for ease of connection by the end user. All displays are 100% screened electrically and visually before shipping.

互户互户互猾せカせ  [Top]

[6] Windows 95/98 Tips and Tricks:

<> Application Jumping:

If you are running many applications at one time like many of us do, there is a fast way to jump between applications using the keyboard. Just hold down the Alt key then the tab key. Depressing the tab key again will move the cursor and it will then surround the next application. When you let go of the Alt key, Windows will bring up the application that was last surrounded by the cursor. 


<> Play your own sounds: 

If you are tired of the same old Windows sounds that your computer makes, why not change them. It is a simple process and if you've ever recorded or downloaded a WAV file, then you have what you need to begin.

1] Create a directory anywhere you like and call it something like WAV_FILES so that you know what it contains. Save your files here. 
2] In the Control Panel, select Sounds and Multimedia or Sounds depending on which version of Windows you're using. 
3] Scan down the list and find something you want to play with. 
4] Use the Browse button and find your file. 
5] Click on the WAV file you want to use. 


<> Windows Login Password:

If your computer came with Windows 98 installed, you may be prompted for a User ID and Password when you start Win98. This allows separate users to define special desktop configurations. If you are the only user of the system and you don't want to enter a User ID and Password, you can disable the Password Dialog box at Windows startup.

1 - Right-click the Network Neighborhood icon on your desktop and select Properties from the resulting menu.
2 - Click on the Configuration tab and select Windows Login from the Primary Login menu.
3 - Click OK and when prompted to restart your computer, select "NO".
4 - Click Start >Settings >Control Panel and double-click the Passwords icon.
5 - Click the User Profiles tab and select "All users of this computer use the same preferences and desktop. settings."
6- Click the Change Password tab, then the Change Windows Password button. Enter your password into the "Original" password text box but Do NOT enter a new password, click OK to save your settings. 
Note: If the "Change Password" tab is not there, you must first log into Windows at the login prompt. If you cancel or "X" out of the Login prompt, the "Change Password" tab will not appear.

The next time Windows 98 is started, the password prompt will no longer pop up.


<>Updating your system:

To obtain free updates to programs and find some fixes for that bug infested software, connect to Microsoft's Windows Update Web page. The Windows Update Wizard will show you what is available.

1. Click Start, then choose Windows Update to go to the Windows Update Web page.
2. Click Update Wizard
3. Click Update
4. Select the Update that you want.
5. Read the description and click Install
6. Follow instructions to complete installation. 

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[7] Problems and Solutions:
Generated from 5 Star Support E-mail Support

<> Problem:

I could not access Microsoft Update site for updates. I would get an error page saying that because of a particular error, (code given) the system would not work for me.


I had a different problem between Internet Explorer and Outlook Express, where if I had both IE and Outlook Exp. up at the same time, when I logged off Outlook Exp. it also terminated my DSL connection and IE. The tech at SBC, my DSL provider, had me access Control Panel, Add/Remove program, Internet Explorer, and this gave me an option to run a "Repair" routine for IE. This fixed the problem with Outlook Express logging me off my DSL connection, and whatever it repaired, I can now access the Microsoft Update page and get the latest updates. Even though it was a tech person elsewhere, I was very pleased with the help Lisa gave me and the quickness of her replys. Thank you so much

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<> Problem:

On bootup, after desktop is complete, a small dialog box appears, entitled "Setup Error 530", and carrying a lower-case "i" inside a balloon on the left side of the box. In the box are the words: "This is an invalid command line action: UNKEY" . 

When the "OK" box is clicked, that dialog box disappears and a larger box appears, entitled "Setup-Usage", and also carrying the lower-case "i" in a balloon. In this box are the words:

"Usage setup [/A] [/G filename] [/Q[0|1|T]] [/R] [/U[A]] [/X filename] [/Y]

/A Administrator mode
/G filename Generate logfile of installation activity
/Q[0|1|T] Quiet install mode (0 shows exit, 1 hides exit, T hides all display)
/QN[1|T] Quiet install mode with reboot suppressed
/R Reinstall application
/U[A] Uninstall application but leave shared components (/UA to remove all)
/X filename Set Network Log Location for tracking install instances
/Y Install without copying files"

If the "OK" box is clicked, this box also disappears, and I can then use the computer without any obvious effect on usability. 

Thus, this occurence is not harmful, but it is VERY annoying. Can anyone tell me how to get rid of this irritating set of dialog boxes?

Thank you. 

<> Solution:

Download "System Mechanic" from, use it to clean registry of unnecessary files and re-start. It worked.


<> Problem:

clearing address bar without loosing history.

<> Solution:

download Freesurfer and it will do all this for you.
this is the link for it.


<> Problem:

couldn't get computer to recognize hard drive

<> Solution:

put BIOS primary master on auto and primary slave on auto and move jumper on hard drive to master. it worked great.


<> Problem:

Q#W3-8987 Laptop Upgrade

I just bought a Toshiba 2105CDS for my daughter and I want to upgrade the computer, but I have no idea where to begin. I prefer using XP, but I don't know if I can upgrade this laptop enough to run it. Anyway, I don't know where to begin for upgrading. It's not like I'll be running video editing software, but probably photo editing and graphics programs. Are there any sites or books that offer direction?

<> Solution:

The computer as it stands will be able to run all of the graphics software available at the moment. Windows XP on the other hand will run slightly sluggish and have problems opening certain programs due to having 64mb ram. 
Books that will help you in deciding upgrades would be PC world and computer shopper. and are good online resources. 

In my opinion, upgrading to 128 or 256mb ram would be your first upgrade. Then, depending on the size, upgrade the hard drive and the cpu. If your video card is 2mb or below and not support 3d acceleration, upgrading that would be my next choice. If there is no particular reason why you want to run windows XP try using Windows 98 SE as this will improve the system performance. 


<> Problem:

When I try to access Outlook Express, I get the message "Outlook Express could not be started because MSOE.DLL could not be loaded".

<> Solution:

I just reinstalled IE6 from Windows Update website and that fixed it. Thanks to all you guys for your help. Much appreciated


<> Problem:

I was wanting to format a CD-R for use by a backup program. It was to be used as a write-only floppy. I was hoping that a shareware program could do this, or that Nero could.


I'll put a copy of Roxio, back on the computer and hope that it doesn't conflict with Nero. Thanks for the quick and thorough replies. I new Direct CD would do it, but was told that it should be uninstalled before the new Nero installation. Cheers, Ron N.
互户互户互猾せカせ [Top]
[8] Contact Information:

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