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Comments by Dick Curry – February 19, 2004

There are three issues I would like to address in this column – all three I addressed in our February 19 meeting.  They are: 1) a proposed trip to see the Computer History Museum in Mountain View; 2) some interesting websites; and 3) how to “dress” up Windows Explorer and your desktop.

The Computer History Museum.  This museum is a multi-story museum located in its own building on Shoreline Blvd in Mountain View, CA.  The first phase of this museum was opened in June 2003.  The first exhibition (the only one currently open) consists of over 9,000 sq. ft. of open space exhibits presenting information and actual equipment depicting the development of computer technology from ancient to the present time and reflecting the development in technology from gears to vacuum tubes to exotic semiconductors.  Should there be sufficient interest within our group it is my intent to arrange a private tour of the museum facilities following our April 15 meeting.  We will car pool from the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church departing following our meeting at 11:30 a.m.  Those attending can obtain lunch at one of several sandwich shops in close proximity to the museum or bring a box lunch and eat on one of several tables that are just outside the main entrance to the museum.  It is my intent to arrange the start of our tour at 1:00 p.m.  The tour should last from 1 to 1½ hours.  After the tour we can stay longer, if desired, to spend more time viewing the exhibits.  Photography is permitted for personal use.  For more information please visit their website at http://www.computerhistory.org/

If you are interested in going, please advise me by e-mail at racorinda@pacbell.net.  Also let me know if you can car pool and how many people you can take.  The number the museum will accommodate on a private tour is limited so please let me know soonest.

Interesting Websites.  These are must sites for do-it-yourselfers and wannabes.  I have these sites listed for Home Improvement projects in my Internet Explorer’s Favorites list.  However, if you search for Home Improvements Projects at www.google.com you will receive over 4 million links and that should cover most any project.  But my favorites (in no particular order of preference) are: 
http://www.doityourself.com/
http://www.essortment.com/in/Home.Repair/index.htm
http://www.bhg.com/(Better Homes & Gardens main page.  Click on the Home Improvements link.  Check the Lowe’s Home Improvement library while you are there).
http://directory.google.com/Top/Home/Home_Improvement/(this link is case-sensitive)
http://www.hometime.com/

How To Dress Up Your Desktop.  There are a number of changes I have made to the way I view my desktop and my Windows Explorer program.  These changes provide me with the same effect I have when viewing a webpage – that is, when my cursor passes over an icon, the icon is highlighted and underscored and when I single click, the file/program is launched.  In Windows Explorer I have the same webpage effect, but I also have a lot more detail.  For example, the screen is a lot less cluttered and there is a lot more detail presented.  The extensions on all file names are listed.  The file size is shown, as is the file type, and when the file was last modified or created.  Also, the file attribute is provided.  And I see all my hidden folders and files.  These are not the default settings so if you would like to have your computer desktop and Windows Explorer function like mine you need to make the following changes:

     1).  Launch Windows Explorer (WE).  Click on the WE icon or right click the Start button and click on “Explore”.  Click on the “View” menu bar.  Click on the word “Details”.  This will provide you with a number of columns in the right hand window of WE including the file name, size, type, Date created/modified, and Attribute.

     2).  The action taken in step 1) will close the “View” window so go back and click on the “View” menu bar a second time.  In Windows 9X and ME you will see a command titled “Folder Options…,” click on it.  In XP look under the other menu bars until you find the same command and click on it.  Now click on the “General” tab.  Click the button “Custom, based on settings you choose:” and click on the “Settings…” bar.  Check each of these buttons:  “Use Windows classic desktop”, “Open each folder in the same window”,  “For all folders with HTML content”, “Single-click to open an item (point to select)”, and “Underline icon titles only when I point at them”.  Click “OK”.  This will return you to the main page of the “Folder Options” window.

     3).  Click the “View” tab.  Uncheck the box titled “Hide file extensions for known file types”.  Now, if you want to see a complete list of all folders and files including hidden ones you must perform the next step; however, the reason they are hidden, by default, is to prevent your accidentally or unintentionally deleting one of these hidden files (usually a system program) or in some other way corrupting them.  So be forewarned.  To view a list that includes hidden folders and files click the button titled “Show all files, under the heading Hidden Files”.  Click the “Apply” bar. 

     4).  Now click on the bar titled “Like Current Folder” at the top under the heading “You can make all your folders look the same”.  Now click OK.

If you want to be able to “preview” your graphics files in WE, after you finish step 2 click on the down arrow to the right of the “View” icon on the Tools bar (the row with the back, forward arrows on it) and click on the line titled “as Web Page” (leave the line titled “Details” also checked).  

Okay.  I think you will like the new look to your WE and desktop.  However, you remembered to back up your registry and took notes on how each page looked before you changed it so that you can go back to the way it was if you decide you don’t like the changes.  Good on you, mate!

Hope this helps and may all your computer experiences be pleasant.

Dick Curry

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