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Webmaster Bulletin # 26  New 06/30/07
  Over the years, I have been urging everyone to be very cautious with their presence on the Web.  In particular with regard to email.  Because of recent events, this would be a very good time to re-emphasize necessary email precautions.  Again, DO NOT OPEN ATTACHMENTS.  The general assumption is that if the attachment is from someone you know, it will be safe.  It is wiser to save the attachment in a Folder created for just this purpose.  Then, you can open the folder and scan whatever the document is individually with your up to date Anti-Virus application.  It may be a duplication of effort, but it is well worth doing.

Lately, I have been receiving some insidious messages that appear to be legitimate.  None of them have been.  Be alert for the following:  (1) An email purportedly from a financial institution (may even be your bank) requesting verification of your account.  Any online message your bank wants to send you will be in your online account.  If you do not have an online account with your bank, you should institute one.  To date, I have received emails from 8 different supposed banks.  (2) An email telling you that a family member, friend, co-worker, classmate etc., has sent you a greeting card or postcard.  Delete immediately.  A legitimate online Greeting Card Company will always notify you using the senders name.  To date, I have received 10 such emails.  (3) An email directing you do download a security fix for any Microsoft application.  Microsoft never, ever, ever does this.  Delete it and go to Microsoft's web site to check for any updates required.

 
Webmaster Bulletin # 25  New 01/30/07
  Congress has instituted a change in the Daylight Savings Time beginning and ending dates.  As a result, any electronic device with a clock that is designed to automatically change with the advent of DST will no longer be able to do so on the previously correct date.  Many devices will require manual adjustments.  With computers the effect will be be manifested differently depending upon the current Operating System.  To assist in determining the parameters involved I have researched available data and created a white paper to enable you to determine what you will need to do in order to maintain your system time correct.

Please review the following PDF document:  Impact of Daylight Savings Time

If you need Adobe PDF Reader click here to go to the Newsletter Archives Page for the link.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 24  New 06/27/06
 

Beginning in June Microsoft implemented the Windows Genuine Advantage Program for WindowsXP.  The program has reverted from opt-in to a requirement for Automatic updates.  I have included the first Q and A from a Microsoft web page.

Q:        What is the Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications program?

A:        Windows Genuine Advantage Notifications is an opt-in program launched by Microsoft in select markets as part of its continued effort to combat counterfeiting and to create a better Windows experience for users of genuine Microsoft Windows software.

Customers will be invited to install WGA Notifications through Automatic Updates (AU) to confirm that they are running genuine Windows. Customers who are running genuine Windows and opt-in to the program will not see any messages. Customers who are using a non-genuine version of Windows will receive a message during logon that their copy of Windows appears to be non-genuine and will be directed to the WGA Web site to learn more. Users who choose not to obtain a copy of genuine Windows will receive periodic reminders. While the program is presently opt-in, as it expands later in the year, it may become a requirement for the AU service. Regardless of genuine status, users will not be denied access to critical security updates. Users who have not validated their computers as genuine, however, will not be able to install many updates, including Internet Explorer 7.0 and Windows Defender.  If your version is deemed to be illegal, you will be given several options to correct the situation.  If you have any questions, contact me:  Webmaster

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Webmaster Bulletin # 23  New 02/22/06
    There has been a change in the way that Microsoft does updates.  Previously, one had to update their version of Windows and then update any other products such as the Office Suite.  A recent change has placed all of the update eggs into one basket.  Just go to www.microsoft.com and click on the Microsoft Update link shown on the left panel of the window.  In the update window, click on the Express Install button and Microsoft will do the rest.  If any priority updates are available, they will alert you so that you may download and install them.  Bear in mind, critical and high priority updates will always be provided.  However, should you have an unlicensed and/or unregistered copy of Windows, there may be a time when you will be asked to verify your copy.  At this point, you will no longer be able to download or install any adjunct upgrades such as Internet Explorer, Media Player, MSN or Windows Messenger and so forth.  While you are at the Microsoft site, check out the other neat features.  Select the "Windows" link and then the version link that you have.  Then look for the "How to" link.  Here you will find many ways to better use your Windows system.  Or, you can click on the "Office" link in the Microsoft Home page.  Click the "Training" link.  There are many training options for the various applications.  Learn all there is to know about using "Word" or "Outlook" or "Excel" even "FrontPage" (which I have").  Best of all, it is all at the very low price of "Free"!  Take advantage.

   Have you ever tried to contact a business by phone and were required to listen to numerous options without getting a real HUMAN response to your call?  Like Credit Card Companies, Utilities, Insurance Companies and so on.  Well, there are ways around the menu's.  To find a list of the known methods, visit: http://gethuman.com/us/ and hopefully, the one you need will be available.  I am going to add this link to our links page so that you will have it when needed.  Good luck.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 22  New 10/13/05
    It has come to my attention while reviewing the various mailboxes for the Whetstone.net email that some of the members with email addresses are not checking their email.  I am aware that there has been a problem with spam and In addition to increasing the spam filtering capability, I also removed some from various mail boxes.  Most of you should be able to access your Whetstone email using either Outlook Express or Outlook.  Other email clients will work as well.  If you have set up the client you use, receiving messages should not be a problem.  Sending email using this address can be problematic with most "Internet Service Providers".  Due to filters that the ISP uses, sending email using a host other than the ISP, outgoing mail will not be sent.  However, this filter may be bypassed if you request the ISP to do so.  The procedure may vary from provider to provider.  Check with yours.  In the event that you are still unable to send emails, all of the Whetstone email may be accessed from our site host.  Click here; Webmail Login, save the page as a shortcut to your desktop, enter your Whetstone email address and password.  Click "Login" and read to your hearts content.  We also have a few slots remaining for any member that would like a Whetstone email address.  Go to this page; Email Address Registration complete the form and submit it.  If there are any other questions regarding email on the Whetstone.net please do not hesitate to contact me.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 21  New 02/28/05

  Well, I guess it is time again for my Annual, Semi-Annual and/or Quarterly advice on "Internet Security".  Keeping your PC safe helps all of us keep ours safe.  Be sure that you have installed all of the Windows Updates for the version you have.  For XP users install the SP2 if you have not already done so.  I encourage everyone to install the AVG Anti-Virus application.  There is free and the latest version is easier to use, more inclusive, self updating and it is excellent.  Regardless of you Windows version you should also install the Free version of Zone Alarm.  Particularly if you have a high speed internet connection.  These two will work seamlessly with WindowsXP-SP2.  The new Microsoft Anti-Spyware should also be a must do.  I have installed it and it found several Spy intrusions that other similar applications had missed.  Finally, I highly recommend an email reviewer that allows you to view your email before you download it to your email client.  It is also free for use with 1 email address.  As I recommend having several, one for friends and family and one or more for surfing and shopping, you would be better served by purchasing the Pro version.  Check out Mailwasher.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 20  New 07/06/04
 

The latest upgrade to WindowsXP® has led many of the experts in the field to declare that this change, listed as SP2 (Service Pack-2) should in fact, be a new "Version" release.  It is that extensive.  If you are not using WindowsXP® I highly recommend doing so if your Computer supports it.  Professional is the preferred edition.  Before installing SP2 please note these two "CAUTIONS".  One, Back up your entire Hard-Drive.  Two, (this is most important) DO NOT install SP2 if you are not using a legal version of WindowsXP®.

Windows Firewall
In retail boxes, Microsoft is enabling its revised Windows Firewall software firewall utility by default.  If you have a Broadband connection, a Firewall is a must.

   So the firewall is on. Turn it off if you're running another one. Microsoft provides a new Windows Firewall Control Panel just for that purpose. There are also some advantages of a firewall onboard. Windows Firewall offers solid basic protection; it's better than ICF (Internet Connection Firewall, the utility it replaces), and it's a lot better than nothing. Windows Firewall is easier to configure, and more important, it's better about staying out of the way of your applications. It also now has improved protection during boot and shutdown, something all top-notch software firewalls provide.

   For my money, either ZoneAlarm 4.5 or 5.0 Pro or Symantec's Personal Firewall 2004 would be better bets for protecting road warriors out in the wild. On the other hand, Windows Firewall is about to be onboard, and you already paid for it.


   Internet Explorer
The Windows XP Service Pack 2 version of Internet Explorer 6 may be the largest bone of contention for companies. Test it first, and expect Microsoft to do its utmost to clear the way for major incompatibility issues with enterprise Web apps.  For the home user there should be fewer problems if any.

   One of the best new features of SP2's Internet Explorer is the Add-On Manager, available from the Internet Control Panel's Programs tab. It gives you a way to enable, disable, and configure ActiveX controls, browser help objects, and browser extensions. The primary purpose of this tool is to provide a user interface for controlling things that have already been added to your Internet Explorer installation. When, for example, you have already said yes to an ActiveX program Information Bar query and later decide you don't want that program on your computer, the Add-On Manager is the tool that solves that problem.

   When you disable an ActiveX applet and you visit a site that wants to use it, the IE status bar shows a balloon pop-up informing you that the program is disabled and can be re-enabled in Add-On Manager. Add-On Manager is a very useful addition to Internet Explorer.

   SP2 also provides a new Attachment Manager that works with Outlook Express, Windows Messenger, and Internet Explorer by identifying and preventing potentially unsafe attachments during the opening process. When this occurs, the attachment is prevented from opening and a pop-up is offered to both warn you and offer options for controlling it. IE also has download monitoring that offers the same sort of protection for downloads from Web sites.


   Windows Security Center
The most visible new feature in Windows XP Service Pack 2 may well be the least important for most IT people and their organizations. Still, Windows Security Center may be the right tool for some users' desktops.

   Windows Security Center is a new Control Panel applet with system-tray notification whose sole purpose is to ensure that you're aware when your computer is not adequately protected by a firewall, antivirus software, and the latest Windows and IE updates. At its heart, WSC is three sensors that check your security configuration and indicate visually when your computer's protection isn't up to snuff. The antivirus sensor is the most complex. It's designed to check whether an antivirus program is installed, whether that program is running, and whether it's updated with the latest antivirus definitions.

   When any of the security checks for antivirus, firewall, or critical Windows updates aren't met, Windows Security Center alerts you with system tray pop-up notifications that open the large WSC Control Panel. A colored light system--not unlike the U.S. government's terrorist-threat-level warnings--gives you instant feedback about whether your system is good to go.

   So far so good, but in all major prerelease versions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, the ability of WSC's security sensors to accurately detect mainstream third-party security programs was seriously lacking. The desktop security products of vendors that have the largest installed base of users, Symantec and Zone Labs, aren't properly detected by the RC2 version of SP2.  However, the Grisoft antivirus AVG program is recognized and it is expected that the remaining programs will be recognized by the time SP2 is released or shortly thereafter.

   Safer Message Handling
  
Many viruses spread through file attachments to email and instant messages.  Virus writers capitalize on people's curiosity and willingness to accept files from people they know or work with, in order to transmit malicious files disguised as or attached to benign files.

   Service Pack 2 introduces the new Attachment Execution Service (AES) to control the viewing and execution of files attach to messages whether in Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Messenger or other messaging applications.  AES looks at a file and determines whether it is safe to view or execute based on several criteria.  First is looks at the file extension.  It knows it can trust text files (.txt), JPEG images (.jpg), and GIF images (.gif).  It can look up the associated application for a given MIME (you do not have to know what MIME means just that it is a necessary part of the internet) type and file extension, an make sure the two are consistent.  It can decide whether a given association is safe or dangerous, based on a list.  It can make sure that an antivirus is active and up-to-date before allowing the user to view or run unsafe files.  It can also check the current security zone of the message source to control its policy.

   This will not relieve you of the need to be cautious with attachments.  If you should slip though, it won't hurt to have a fallback.  When AES is called to determine if the attachment is safe and finds it completely safe it will be completely available.  If the attachment is clearly unsafe, like a binary executable, it will be blocked: the user will not be able to open it at all, but will se a notice of the blockage.  If the attachment might be safe and might be dangerous, the user will see a warning prompt when attempting to drag, save, open, or print the file.  If the user accepts the option (and this is neat), the file will be handled in a way that is guaranteed to trigger any active antivirus program.

   Automatic Updates
  
Microsoft makes the Automatic Updates critical security patch online updating tool more aggressive in Service Pack 2. The goal is to make less-experienced users turn this feature on, and that's a good thing because if they're protected, we're all a little better protected, too.

    There is an annoying aspect of Windows XP Service Pack 2's enhanced Automatic Updates feature. Service Pack 2 automatically installs patches in certain conditions when you power down your computer.

   The way it works is this: When you have pending critical updates for Windows that haven't been installed, when you shut down (not restart) Windows, the operating system installs the patches before it powers off. If patches are already downloaded, it usually takes only a few minutes to install them. But in tests of SP2 RC1, it has been found that it could take more than half an hour for your computer to turn off because of this feature.

   To understand why (or at least the probable reason why), you have to understand the new Automatic Update options. The new Automatic Updates Control Panel is a solid improvement over the controls found on the Automatic Updates tab buried in the System Control Panel in previous versions of Windows XP. The new Control Panel offers four options:

bullet Automatic (recommended). Automatically download recommended updates for my computer and install them [on this user-specified schedule, defaults to daily at 3 a.m.].
bullet Download updates for me, but let me choose when to install them.
bullet Notify me but don't automatically download or install them.
bullet Turn off Automatic Updates.

   When you choose option 4, there's no automatic installation of patches when you power-down your computer. But your computer also is unprotected against the most recently discovered Windows vulnerabilities. Except in the case of a computer whose system updates are being managed in an organizational setting, no one should choose the fourth option.

   If you choose either option 1 or 2, available critical updates for your Windows installation will be already downloaded, so at shut down it'll take a little time for the patches to install before your computer turns off, but not usually long periods of time. (It'll also make your next Windows start-up take longer because part of the patch-installation process occurs on the subsequent restart.)

   With option 3, "Notify me but don't automatically download or install" security updates. What apparently will occur is that, since available critical updates aren't already downloaded on the computer, Windows SP2 RC1's Automatic Updates code downloades available critical updates and then installs them before the computer turns off. The process could take over half an hour to complete.

   It should be noted that even though this background download and installation of critical updates is a little heavy handed, it's possible to defeat the annoying aspect. In RC1, the shutdown "Turn off computer" box offers you the option at the bottom to "Click here to turn off without installing updates." My guess is that most people will miss this fine print at first. Of course, for all I know, this user interface has changed. Since there are no updates available, the "Turn off computer" box doesn't show the fine-print option.

   Nit pick or Not
   In most regards, Automatic Updates is a boon to Windows users. In fact, Microsoft's ability to automatically update millions of Windows PCs around the globe is especially well handled. You may snicker and say, well, they had to do it, right? But while you may have long since decided that Windows isn't very well engineered, I would have to disagree with you on that point. Windows is simply the only seriously interesting target for hackers, virus and word authors, and spammers.

   To be sure, Windows is hampered by a huge installed base of Windows versions that barely gave a passing thought to security. But five years from now, that picture will look a lot different. It's as much the user-experience expectations of the people who use Windows that have to change as it is the code that underlies this widespread operating system.

   So the Automatic Updates user interface is vastly improved. Another difference from previous versions of XP is that during the SP2 installation, Microsoft also urges (but doesn't require) users to turn on option 1, the most aggressive Automatic Updates setting, the one that automatically downloads and installs critical updates on a daily schedule (or a schedule of your choosing). Even if you go along with Microsoft's recommendation, you can easily change it later. This is intended to get less-experienced people who might never on their own turn on Automatic Updates to turn it on. Since it's not mandated, it's a good thing, because if they're protected, we're all a little better protected, too.

   Microsoft also is working on the 5.0 version of Windows Update, its Windows-updating Web site, which handles a lot more than just critical updates. It's primarily a user-interface update, but one of the underlying improvements is that you'll no longer be required to restart your computer so often after applying updates. Windows is now able to wait to install patches on the next restart. Windows Update also is now able to make incremental installs ("delta installation" in Microsoft parlance). This should be of special benefit to dial-up users. Instead of installing the same patches over a patch that's already installed, Windows Update and Automatic Updates are able to install only updates that aren't already on a specific system.

   Overall, Automatic Updates has been positively redesigned. In many ways, it's one of the best reasons to install Service Pack 2.


   Wireless Networking
   The rest of what's new in Windows XP, highlighted by a new wireless networking client and setup wizard, is only marginally security related. Find out about the rest, and what we ultimately think about Windows XP Service Pack 2.

   Windows XP includes a new wireless LAN client that provides a much better interface designed to help you understand and work with both secured and unsecured wireless networks. There's also a new Wireless Network Setup Wizard that let's you add a wireless network to your system either with or without security. On the face of it, this interface is much better than original Windows XP and Windows XP SP1 versions of the wireless networking client. And there's nothing wrong with the upgrade. My only problem with it is that it doesn't go far enough

 Release Notes

These release notes apply to Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) Release Candidate 2 (RC2). You can use the RC2 version of SP2 to update the following operating systems:

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition

Microsoft Windows XP Professional

Microsoft Windows XP Tablet PC Edition

Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition and Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004

If you install the RC2 version of SP2 on a computer running Windows XP Media Center Edition, your operating system is upgraded to Windows XP Media Center Edition 2004.

These release notes also apply to the following products in which the RC2 version of SP2 is integrated with the operating system:

Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition with the RC2 version of SP2

Microsoft Windows XP Professional with the RC2 version of SP2

The entire section of release notes may be obtained at:

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/winxppro/deploy/relsprc2.mspx

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Webmaster Bulletin # 19  New 05/06/04
 

Are you using the same old tiresome Internet Explorer or Netscape browser?  There are updated versions which are much better.  Although, I am still not too fond of Netscape.  At this point, I will not even install it even though I should in order to test the website pages.  The past problems are not worth the aggravation in my humble opinion.  And now, there is a better browser available!  It is called "My IE2" and it looks like this:

Click on the image for a larger view.  One of the best features is the tabbed view.  For each new site you visit from within a site there is a new tab added at the top of the page.  Instead of hunting with the back button you are able to click on the tab to return to the original page.  MyIE2 also supports the "Google" Tool Bar.  If you are like me and have multiple email addresses as well as multiple log-ins and passwords you will find that the "RoboForm" fill in and password keeper "Plug-in" has been specifically  designed to work with MyIE2.  AdHunter, which suppresses "Pop-ups", "Flash Ads", "Floating Ads" and other annoying background ads is included.  There are several other neat functions which can make your web surfing easier and safer.  It takes a little bit of learning but is well worth the effort.  Go to www.myie2.com and take the tour.  It is a free application unless you decide to donate to the cause.  An added bonus is that your visit to the "Whetstone" will be easier than ever.  And, if you are having a problem reading some of the articles in the "Newsletter(s)", MyIE2 has a "Magnifying" feature that makes it easier to read.  This, in itself, is worth the cost (FREE).  Also, I suggest that you review Bulletin #18 and implement as many of the suggestions as you are able.

For those who need a second email address, we have a few usswhetstone.net addresses available.  For those who already have one, we can now change yours to whatever you would prefer.  In either case, email me at webmaster@usswhetstone.net.  Include your name, address, last four digits of your service number and your desired contact name.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 18  New 11/06/03  (A long one)
 

There you have it!  Our revered and venerable President has been bitten by the ether virus and the spam man.  As have all of us I am sure.  Your webmaster receives 50 or more spam emails each day.  Twice a many on Sunday.  We will devote this Bulletin to some facets of PC Security and fighting spam.

First, we will tackle the spam.  There are three basic types.  Electronic, Postal and POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service).  We have suggestions for each.

  1. Electronic:  Primarily in the form of email.  There are many free spam fighters available such as: SAproxy or Spamihilator for Outlook Express and other email clients.  There is the SpamBayes plug-in for Outlook.  (Do a Google search to find these)  I use a program called MailWasher which allows me to select the items I want Blacklisted and Bounced before I download any email.  The free version will only accept one email address.  The Pro version is about $30.00 and will cover all your addresses.  Find it at www.firetrust.com.  If you are currently experiencing a plethora of spam I suggest the following.

  1. Change your current email address.  Notify everyone of importance what the new address will be and that you will start using on a specific day.  On that day, change to your new address with your provider and cancel the current one.

  2. If your ISP allows more than one email address have one for your contacts and add a second for visits where you have to supply an address on a web site.  This will be the one that attracts the spammers and you can arrange your email client to handle them separate from your contacts.

  3. Install an anti-spam application.

  4. A word of caution.  When you open a spam email, DO NOT click on the link they provided to "Unsubscribe".  You are only verifying that yours is a good, active address.  Also, you most likely will receive more spam from others.

  1. Postal:  When you get those unsolicited offers (Postal spam) with return postage paid envelopes don't throw them out.  Shred the forms and drop the envelope in the mail along with any advertisement or letters (if they do not contain your name or contact information).  It costs the sender 50 cents when these envelopes are returned.  It may not cut down immediately on what you personally receive but at some point the cost will affect how solicitation recipients are selected.

  2. Telephone:  This is the fun one.  If you have not already done so, sign up for the Do-Not-Call list.  Until all the bugs are worked out, the lawsuits settled and full implementation takes hold, do this; When a telemarketer (Phone spam) calls and you answer the phone, be pleasant.  Respond by stating: "I'm so glad you called, give me a minute while I turn off the bath water".  Lay the phone down and forget about it for a few minutes.  Than hang up!  Fun Huh?

Included in the spam arena is a little bug within Windows®It is a little know feature that is useful in networks but not home PC's.  The FTC has just charged a company in San Diego with using this feature to place "Pop-ups" on the screens of unwary people and suggest that by paying them for their product you can eliminate this annoyance.  It is not necessary to do so.  This feature is called Windows Messenger Service.  It is not related to MSN or Windows Instant Messenger.  So, it can be safely turned off.  To do so, use this procedure:

Disabling Windows Messenger Service

Pop up spammers are exploiting a feature of the Microsoft Windows operating systems known as Messenger Service. Despite the name, Windows Messenger Service doesn't have anything to do with instant messaging. It is designed to provide users on a local- or wide-area computer network with messages from the network administrator. For example, a company's network administrator might send a message to all its users that the company's network will be shutting down in five minutes. If your home computer is connected only to the Internet, you may not have any practical uses for Windows Messenger Service. If your computer is on a business or home network, however, shutting off Messenger Service might not be the best approach. Your network should be protected by a firewall.

Disabling the messenger service will prevent the possibility of pop up spam. To disable the messenger service:

bulletClick Start, and then click Control Panel (or point to Settings, and then click Control Panel).

 
bulletDouble-click Administrative Tools. Double-click Services. Double-click Messenger.
In the Startup type list, click Disabled. Click Stop, and then click OK.

Finally, there are the personal responsibility issues of PC security.  We have gone over them in previous Bulletins.  Use an anti-virus and keep it updated.  I suggest that you schedule a specific day each week for this task.  As most viruses and Trojans are generally sniffed out in the first part of the week and fixes are quickly generated, the best day for this is Thursday.  By the weekend, these things begin proliferating.  If you have a "Broadband" connection, get a hardware firewall or, at the least a software one.  If you are online with dialup for extended periods, get a software firewall.\

If you go to Webmaster Bulletin #16 you will find the links for most of what we covered in this bulletin.

On a personal note, our site has received many commendations since we started.  As the "Webmaster" I feel that we can make it even better.  Thus, I have been training on a new web design application.  However, the cost of the program and my budget will make it difficult to purchase and implement.  So, if you have enjoyed your visits and would like to see an even better "Rolling Stone" Online, send a website donation to Marion Goble and help us progress.  Thank You.

One final thought.  If you have not added the "Google" tool bar to your browser you are not taking advantage of an excellent way to block "Pop-Up Ads".  Plus all of the other good stuff.

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Webmaster Bulletin # 17  New 05/16/03

Even with all of the trials and tribulations of correcting the problems with the site, the webmaster has found a few goodies.  If you like short-cuts and hate playing with the mouse, these are for you.

Want to type in an address for a web site?  There is an easy way.

  1. Hold down the "Alt" key and tap the "d" key.  The address bar will now be highlighted.  Then:

  2. If the Address is a .com address, just type the name of the site.  Hold the "Ctrl" key and tap the "Enter" key.  The www and the .com will be auto inserted and the site will be dialed.

  3. If you use a link in a site and want to go back just tap the "Backspace" key.  This will work as long as the "Back Button" is highlighted.  It sure beats using the mouse to do it.  The Webmaster is using this feature more often than not.  But old habits are hard to break.  Let me know what you think!

Here is one for the mouse.  If you are on a "web-page", "email", "word processor", or any other page that has the option to change the "Text Size View" you can increase or decrease the "text size" easily IF you have a wheel mouse.  Just hold down the "Ctrl" key and rotate the wheel.  Don't know if the application you are using will allow for this?  Find out by clicking on "View" in the "Menu" bar and if there is a "Text Size" option this little trick will work.

Do you "click" on the X in the upper right corner of an application to close it?  A better way is to hold down the "Alt" key and tap the "F4" key.  If you have some Applications opening in a reduced mode and you have to expand them, they will continue to do so if you close using the "X".  Using Alt + F4 will change this if you have first expanded  the screen.  Although you may have to do so several times in succession.  If you are at your Desktop, Alt + F4 will invoke the Shutdown window.  Any questions?

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Webmaster Bulletin #16  New 01/21/03

 

Trouble right here in River City!  And, some "Good News" as well.

Actually, where I reside was once referred to as the "Forest City".  Hasn't been called that in quite some time.  And for sure, not since the river burned.  Anyway, the webmaster has encountered some troubling events during the past few months.  More often than I would like, I have received email from various sources, laden with a virus.  Fortunately, I maintain an up to date anti-virus and have escaped the scourge of the dreaded KlezH.  Consequently, I think that it is again, time to alert our members to the need to have their PC's protected.  I am sure that the attacks I have encountered can be traced to a site other than that of a member.  And, several which were traced went back to commercial sites.  One can never be sure where an attack will originate.  The sagest will insure they are safe.

I would like to recommend that everyone use the following three Security applications on their personal PC's.

  1. The AVG Anti-Virus.  Download from www.grisoft.com.  It is free for personal use.  Virus definitions are timely and also free.  Don't get mail without it.

  2. Sygate Personal Firewall 5.0.  Download from www.sygate.com.  The personal version is free.  It is not difficult to set-up and is often higher rated by the experts than some of the high priced products.  For those using WindowsXP Professional©, this is more capable than the one XP provides.  Protection is in both directions.

  3. Mail-Washer.  Download from www.mailwasher.net.  Again, free.  However, with a $20 registration you get some enhancements.  What makes this a great little utility is that it checks your email and lets you know what is in the pipe.  Spam can be deleted, bounced and black listed before it ever reaches your PC.  It will also detect some virus patterns.  You can preview all of your mail and only download the ones you want.  Those marked for processing are left somewhere in the ether.  A little patience is required for set-up and if you forgot your email passwords there is a problem.  Still, it is worth the effort.

Now, the good news!  The webmaster found a neat inexpensive little application for displaying photo projects.  And, now that we have a new provider for the server host service, we have an abundance of space for the "Rolling Stone Online".  Consequently, I have reposted the 2000 Reunion in an exciting format.  Check it out on the "Reunion News" page and let me know what you think.  And while you are at it, send a note of thanks to Jim Dunn for making the change to the new hosting service possible.

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Webmaster Bulletin #15  New 12/11/02  Amended


“Old soldiers never die.”.........  “They just fade away.”

We saw these words when we visited the McArthur Museum in Norfolk, Virginia during the 2002 reunion.  Today, old soldiers do die.  It is their benefits that fade away.

 My navy enlistment was in December of 1956.  It was a voluntary enlistment, so the recruiter did not have to give is hard sell speech.  He did so anyway.  Initially he said something strange.  “Congress controlled the purse strings and therefore, servicemen were only paid if Congress decides to do so.”  “Don’t worry” he said, “the armed forces have always been paid”.  “And, if you serve twenty or more years you are guaranteed a pension”.  “In addition” he remarked, “you will have fully paid medical benefits for life”.

 Later, while I was being processed for separation in 1961 there was a standard retention pitch. A pension after twenty or more years, lots of sea duty and health benefits. I honestly do not remember if the health benefits were a lifetime guarantee at this time. But, as this was detailed when I enlisted I was under the impression it would be so.  There were also the enticements such as reenlistment bonuses, pet programs of the day and so on.  I declined and accepted my discharge.  Many others, before and after me, did not.

 Today, they are seeing the true worth of those recruitment and retention promises. They were made for more than twenty years and are now deemed worthless. Congress, in its wisdom, has decided that Medicare is the responsible body. World War II and Korean era retirees were no longer able to depend on treatment in military hospitals if the illness is not service related. The promises were made, they were real and they should be kept.  Last year Congress restored these rights.  However, these Veterans had paid Medicare premiums from 1995 through 2002 when the legislation was enacted.  Now they need to be reimbursed! 

 I invite all members and anyone else reading this to contact their Congressman and Senator. Demand that action be taken to insure that these men may be restored their rights and dignity in full. Talk to everyone you know, urge them to follow suit.  Understand, the contentious fact is, a cost factor being inserted when the promise should not allow for this.  The Medicare requirement is a cost borne by retirees and thus, there is no longer free care.  Tricare is for today's retirees not those who should have been grandfathered out.  While Congress has heard the rulings, shifted their position by voting to allow all enlistees prior to 1957 to receive the care as promised they left open one problem.  Reimbursement.

Note: The U.S. Court of Appeals based in Washington, D.C., ruled that the government, in recruiting efforts, promised free lifetime health care to enlistees who served at least 20 years. According to the court, that promise created a contract that the government breached in 1956.

D. A. Vydra, RD2, Webmaster

Note: Please review Webmaster Bulletin #9 in the Archives.

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Webmaster Bulletin #14  New 05/20/02


WASHINGTON, May 14, 2002 -- The Department of Veterans Affairs has made its comprehensive benefits guide available for free on the Internet.

Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependents:

http://www.va.gov/pubaff/fedben/fedben.pdf is a 100-page handbook describing benefits provided by the VA and an overview of programs and services for veterans provided by other federal agencies.

VA official’s estimate most of America's 25 million veterans qualify for at least some VA benefits, but many are unaware of their entitlements. This handbook includes a listing of toll-free numbers, World Wide Web information resources and VA facilities.

Most veterans are eligible for healthcare and burial benefits. Many are also eligible for home loan guarantees, educational assistance, vocational rehabilitation, life insurance, and compensation for service-connected disabilities.  This guide explains how to access many of these benefits online. For instance, it provides a Web address and instructions for enrolling via the Internet into the VA healthcare system. The book describes in detail the priority for care and services available. Separate sections describe specialized services available to Gulf War veterans and those exposed to Agent Orange or radiation.

The Montgomery GI Bill and other education benefits are explained in depth. Burial benefits and employment service are also covered, as are rate charts for the various forms of compensation VA provides.  The book can be purchased through the Government Printing Office for $5 for U.S.-based customers and $6.25 for those overseas by calling toll-free (866) 512-1800. By providing it online at www.va.gov/opa/feature/, the VA hopes to make the information available to more veterans.

 By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

Thanks and a hand salute to Donald E.  Leach YN, 1959-62

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Webmaster Bulletin #13  New 09/01/01
Many of America's Veterans were being buried without Military Honors.  Traditionally, there had been an unwritten expectation that the U.S. Government would, upon request, provide military honors for any deceased veteran.  But as America's veteran population aged, the demand for military burials outstripped what the Department of Defense could provide.  The American Legion began lobbying the government to provide burial honors for all honorably discharged veterans.  In January 2000, the National Defense Authorization Act became the first law to mandate the Department of Defense's responsibility for burial details through its "Honoring Those Who Served" program.  For more details on this program visit: www.militaryfuneralhonors.osd.mil/  There is also a link on our Links Page.

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Webmaster Bulletin #12  New 07/18/01

Attention: Shipmembers and any Service Veteran.  Did you participate in Operation Dominic?

Am trying to organize a reunion cruise for Dominic Vets and notice the Whetstone was there.  This will be a 12 day cruise on the Crown Princess 11/25/01 from Honolulu to Hilo, Maui, Kauai, Christmas Island, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete overnight and ending 12/7/01.
I was in Navy Patrol Sq. 872 and we flew the patrols for the tests from
Christmas and Johnston Islands.

Could you pass the information along?
Thanks,

Stan Alsing
Tel: 760-952-3852
Email: SRALSING@aol.com

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Webmaster Bulletin #11    New 05/08/01
Your Webmaster has a healthy respect for the destructiveness of computer viruses. I attempt to keep updated on all of the latest attacks as well as detection methods. Though it is most unlikely, keeping viruses from becoming accessible from our site is a prime responsibility. Anti-Virus protecting is important, even more so if a computer is connected to the internet. Most viruses are proliferated by email and are almost always received third hand or later. I follow specific procedures to insure a possible virus is detected before it is able to infect my systems.

What might you do to protect yourself? First, install an Anti-Virus (AV) program. The best of those commercially available is Norton AV. Another is Inoculate by Computer Associates. Or, there are several "Free" programs that can be downloaded and which will provide timely downloadable updates and notification of new virus profiles. I have mentioned AVG from www.grisoft.com and use it on one of my computers. It works very well and will sit in your email application to catch incoming viruses. Another free AV is InoculatePE from www.cai.com. This is also very excellent and is very unobtrusive. Updates are also downloadable and timely. I also use this program on another computer. Both may be setup to schedule checks for updates by the user.

Secondly, an AV program is not an end all be all for virus protection. There are other procedures to be taken which will help ensure a virus free environment. Follow these steps: Create a new folder in My Documents or other folder of your choice. Name this new folder "Virus Vault. Save any attachment you receive via email to this folder. When you click on the "Paper Clip" in MS Outlook or Outlook Express or the icon for attachments in any other email program such as Eudora or Netscape Mail (I don’t use those) you will have the option to save the file or open it. Your choice should be to save. You will be asked where you want to save and your choice should be the Virus Vault. When you want to open the attachment go to the Virus Vault and right click on the file. A drop-down box will allow you to select the option to scan with your AV. Select this and the AV program will scan it and advise you whether or not the file is a virus. If no virus is detected you may safely open the virus. There are three file extensions you should never open unless you have scanned them first. These are the DOS extensions.exe, .vbs and .com. (Note: .com is the DOS based command extension and not the internet based extension).

Now, it’s time to test your AV program. Take this link: www.eicar.org/anti_virus_test_file.htm and do the four downloads in their prescribed order. There is an abundance of information to read before you reach the four downloads at the bottom of the page. The instructions for the download procedure are contained in this information. Two of the files are Zip files and will hang around in the unzipped folder until you delete them. The first file should not be downloadable at all if the AV is working. The second or the zips should also be saved to a floppy disk so that you may test the AV’s ability to catch viruses on disks in the floppy drive. Do the same for any other removable drive you may have.

That’s it, Happy Computing.

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Webmaster Bulletin #10    New 04/26/01
Your webmaster received a copy of this letter in an email.   My response upon reading it was; "So true".  I feel fairly sure that most of us will find the same reaction to be heartfelt.  Read and find the memories.

by V. Adm. Harold Koenig, USN (Ret)

I like the Navy.

I like standing on the bridge wing at sunrise with salt spray in my face
and clean ocean winds whipping in from the four quarters of the globe -
the ship beneath me feeling like a living thing as her engines drive her
through the sea.


I like the sounds of the Navy - the piercing trill of the boatswains
pipe, the syncopated clangor of the ship's bell on the quarterdeck, the
harsh squawk of the 1MC and the strong language and laughter of sailors
at work.

I like the vessels of the Navy - nervous darting destroyers, plodding
fleet auxiliaries, sleek submarines and steady solid carriers. I like the
proud sonorous names of Navy capital ships: Midway, Lexington, Saratoga,
Coral Sea - memorials of great battles won. I like the lean angular
names of Navy 'tin-cans': Barney, Dahlgren, Mullinix, McCloy - mementos of
heroes who went before us.

I like the tempo of a Navy band blaring through the topside speakers as
we pull away from the oiler after refueling at sea. I like liberty call and
the spicy scent of a foreign port. I even like all hands working parties
as my ship fills herself with the multitude of supplies both mundane and
exotic which she needs to cut her ties to the land and carry out her
mission anywhere on the globe where there is water to float her.

I like sailors, men from all parts of the land, farms of the Midwest,
small towns of New England, from the cities, the mountains and the prairies,
from all walks of life. I trust and depend on them as they trust and depend
on me - for professional competence, for comradeship, for courage. In a
word, they are "shipmates."

I like the surge of adventure in my heart when the word is passed "Now
station the special sea and anchor detail - all hands to quarters for
leaving port", and I like the infectious thrill of sighting home again,
with the waving hands of welcome from family and friends waiting
pierside. The work is hard and dangerous, the going rough at times, the parting
from loved ones painful, but the companionship of robust Navy laughter, the
'all for one and one for all' philosophy of the sea is ever present.

I like the serenity of the sea after a day of hard ship's work, as
flying fish flit across the wave tops and sunset gives way to night. I
like the feel of the Navy in darkness - the masthead lights, the red and
green navigation lights and stern light, the pulsating phosphorescence
of radar repeaters - they cut through the dusk and join with the mirror
of stars overhead. And I like drifting off to sleep lulled by the myriad
noises large and small that tell me that my ship is alive and well, and
that my shipmates on watch will keep me safe.

I like quiet midwatches with the aroma of strong coffee - the lifeblood
of the Navy - permeating everywhere. And I like hectic watches when the
exacting minuet of haze-gray shapes racing at flank speed keeps all
hands on a razor edge of alertness. I like the sudden electricity of
"General quarters, general quarters, all hands man your battle
stations", followed by the hurried clamor of running feet on ladders and the
resounding thump of watertight doors as the ship transforms herself in a few brief
seconds from a peaceful workplace to a weapon of war - ready for
anything. And I like the sight of space-age equipment manned by
youngsters clad in dungarees and sound-powered phones that their
grandfathers would still recognize.

I like the traditions of the Navy and the men and women who made them. I
like the proud names of Navy heroes: Halsey, Nimitz, Perry, Farragut,
John Paul Jones. A sailor can find much in the Navy: comrades-in-arms,
pride in self and country, mastery of the seaman's trade. An adolescent can
find adulthood.

In years to come, when sailors are home from the sea, they will still
remember with fondness and respect the ocean in all its moods - the
impossible shimmering mirror calm and the storm-tossed green water
surging over the bow. And then there will come again a faint whiff of
stack gas, a faint echo of engine and rudder orders, a vision of the bright
bunting of signal flags snapping at the yardarm, a refrain of hearty laughter in
the wardroom and chief's quarters and messdecks. Gone ashore for good
they will grow wistful about their Navy days, when the seas belonged to
them and a new port of call was ever over the horizon. Remembering this,
they will stand taller and say,

"I WAS A SAILOR ONCE. I WAS PART OF THE NAVY & THE NAVY WILL ALWAYS BE PART OF ME."

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