Dennis Faas

Tue
04
Feb
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Data Structures, Arrays, and Linked Lists

I'm finally making some leeway on the web site transformation. I spent a good part of this weekend working on a web script that is going to completely automate newsletter subscriptions and removals, plus allow me to manage changes in subscriptions ... so that I can *finally* implement a text-version of this newsletter. This solution will give readers the choice of receiving the Gazette twice or three times a week! It took me about 8 hours to figure out how to dereference a multidimensional array which points to another array structure in PERL (a web script programming language). This is pretty ... (view more)

Tue
04
Feb
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Disable CD drive Spin Up in Explorer, Part 2

Last week, Rich V. asked: " Is there any way to stop Windows Explorer from spinning up my CD ROM drive intermittently? " My Response: I suggested a buffering program, and also suggested not putting any thing in the drive: but hey -- there's got to ... be a better way! So, I asked Infopackets Readers if they had any better ideas. I only received 2 suggestions. Doug L. was nice enough to recommend DisCD v0.99: " DisCD disables CD-ROM drives, so that they won't spin up on opening of Explorer or similar programs. For Windows NT/2000 only. " http://www.amok.gulli.com/v3.htm Dave G ... (view more)

Wed
29
Jan
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Infopackets.com on Steroids

You may have noticed that the Gazette has been a little late in delivery in the past week and a half. Usually I write the newsletter the night before it is scheduled to go out, in order to have it ready for your morning coffee -- at least, for those ... of you who live in North America. I mentioned in a previous newsletter that I'm redesigning the site. This week I finished and tested a preliminary layout, but it still didn't quite look right -- so I've decided to scrap it and start over. I'm hoping to have the new design ready by next week (keep your fingers crossed!). More changes: additions to ... (view more)

Wed
29
Jan
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Disable CD drive Spin Up in Explorer

Infopackets Reader Rich V. asks: " When I open Windows Explorer or have to select a file location from within a program, there's a long delay as Windows forces my CD ROM drive to spin up in order to view contents of a disc. Is there any way to ... disable this somehow, still use the Auto Run feature, and force a spin up when I explicitly select the drive? " My Response: As far as I know, a disc must be scanned at least once so that Windows "knows" what is contained on the disc -- and to check it for an Auto Run feature. Spin up can take place any time Explorer is initiated. If ... (view more)

Tue
28
Jan
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Using a software firewall and hardware firewall in tandem, Part 3

Last week's question was about using a hardware and software firewall in tandem, and whether or not a [Laptop] PC would be protected through a firewall if it was daisy-chained to another [Desktop] PC which used a software firewal l. Yes -- this is a ... very technical question, but certainly very worth-while to know the answer to. Here is what the connection might look like if it was daisy chained: Internet connection -> Router, 1 port [hardware firewall] -> Desktop PC [software firewall] -> Laptop [no firewall: is it protected from the Desktop PC's software firewall?] This type of daisy ... (view more)

Tue
28
Jan
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Intermittent Media Player Internet Radio sound, Part 2

Last week I generalized how one might go about systematic PC troubleshooting. In particular, I received a question from Thomas V. who was having problems with his Internet Radio (via Windows Media Player) and his CD ROM drive which both produced ... intermittent silence. Thomas suspected that the issues might be one in the same. I suggested otherwise, based on a familiar problem with TCP / IP packet loss that can result in Internet Radio lag. Since this matter is common, I further theorized that these two issues were most likely not related. But, wouldn't you know it? I received emails from ... (view more)

Thu
23
Jan
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Using a software firewall and hardware firewall in tandem, Part 2

I'm stumpe d. A while back I received a question which dealt with anti-hacker protection ... with a bit of a twist. Infopackets Reader John S. asks: " I just had my Laptop networked to my Desktop PC. I'm using a DSL connection to the Internet. I use ... a Linksys Cable/DSL Router, and already have Black Ice (software firewall) installed on my Desktop PC. Should I also add Black Ice to my Laptop? " Something similar to this question was discussed in a previous Gazette issue, way back in November of 2002. RE: Using a Software Firewall and Hardware Firewall in Tandem In brief, this article ... (view more)

Thu
23
Jan
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Intermittent Media Player Internet Radio sound

Today I received an interesting question from Thomas V. in New York. He writes: " Dear Dennis, I would appreciate your thoughts on a problem I am experiencing. Windows Media Player keeps skipping and cutting out intermittently whenever I play ... Internet Radio. The slider is moving, time is advancing, and the readout shows that something is playing ... but I don't hear any sound. I also noticed the same problem some times when I play CDs. Got any ideas? " My response: Off the top of my head, I have a few things that come to mind. Internet Radio suffers from intermittent lulls because ... (view more)

Wed
22
Jan
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Microsoft Scandisk and Defrag replacements

Not too long ago I asked Infopackets Readers for their picks on a good ScanDisk and Defrag replacement for Microsoft since I get lots of emails from folks asking why their Scandisk and Defrag constantly restart (and never get the job done). Here's ... some comments sent in from readers of the Gazette newsletter. Scott T. writes: " Diskeeper is the ultimate freebie Defrag program, as far as I'm concerned. " http://www.diskeeper.com/freeware/freeware.asp Lots of people recommended Diskeeper Lite, in fact. On the other hand, John C. uses the Microsoft Defrag utility from Windows ME: ... (view more)

Tue
21
Jan
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Remove Forwarding Brackets from Outlook Express emails, Part 2

Last week, Frank N. asked: " I save certain email that has been forwarded and contains angle brackets (>), line brakes and extra spaces. Cleaning this mess line by line and each symbol (>) is time consuming but sometimes necessary. Is there an ... easier way to do this? " I suggested that Frank can remove the forwarding brackets by setting a few options in Outlook Express. Unfortunately, this does not remove the existing brackets already present in the email. Of course, Infopackets Readers were on their toes and sent in some really great suggestions: (Popular pick): J.C. Tremblay ... (view more)

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