The President's Message

MAY 2002

Andy Toth

Harley Hahn’s presentation at the April meeting was thought provoking. Just thinking of all the ramifications a simple and yet complicated machine, the computer, has had on the human race is mind-boggling. I am no philosopher. Very seldom do I read anything that is not technical, so I will stop before I wander too far afield. His Web site, , is worth visiting.

Talking about simple yet complicated machines, the computer I am using finally came back from repair. A problem installing the network card was corrected by a simple reinstall. Troubleshooting the problem brought up a myriad of baling wire patches in the BIOS. I originally thought it strange when the repair shop said it was having problems with the BIOS on the warranty replacement motherboard and a factory representative was coming in to help. It is an entirely different motherboard. The original board is obsolete. It appears that the closest manufacture in stock board was used. The machine is functional and the shop upheld its five-year parts and labor warranty. "Parts are parts" does not apply to computers. I have over two years remaining on the warranty. The rate at which the technology is changing a five-year-old computer is an antique and I can hardly wait to see the next motherboard.

Here I am going to digress and talk about something I know nothing about, XP. Lisa, my wife, bought a desktop computer with XP for the operating system. I suggested this based on the average lifetime of a computer. Her systems are generally far less complicated, and her software suite is pretty vanilla. I was hoping not to have to get too involved with its set-up. I’ve gotten more involved with it than I had planned. The Windows navigation is like going into a grocery store you’ve shopped at for years and discovering that the items on every isle have been changed. The freezers were even moved. Where to start when nothing is where you expect it? This is a significant change in appearance, function grouping, and philosophy. As someone mentioned, "It isn't what you expect." It has a you want it to or not. Lisa has had to upgrade a few software packages to use on this machine. I will not say whether it is better or not; it is different.

Toby and Rick will be doing a series of SIGs in the next six to eight months on XP. If you have already upgraded or are thinking about it, these SIGs will provide practical, day-to-day, information.

Also discounts on O’Reiley books are available to club members. See the Web site for information.