The next version will be posted on
Saturday 16th March 2002 - I hope

Lots of folk write and ask me for advice, instructions and general information. I decided that I would put a place on the internet that allows them to visit and see what mischief I am (or have been) up to. Hopefully it will be appreciated - please feel free to press Ctrl + End and go to the bottom of this page and give me some feedback. If you think that it is worth it, please tell your friends, if not, please tell me - thank you.

It is my intention to add something here every 7 to 10 days - the most recent stuff will always be at the top of the page to save you time. Sometime in the future, I have decided my policy and techniques for removing stuff from the bottom - there will only ever be two weeks information shown in this page. At the bottom there will be a link to an index of earlier pages. This way, it will stop the page from becoming too long and unwieldy !

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Friday 8th March 2002

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Feedback
Lots of folk have visited - more than I expected - gives me the encouragement to carry on. About a quarter of the visitors gave some feedback - most of it is complimentary. Looks like it might be an interesting venture - whoopee !!

The most frequent comment came from folk that have know me from face to face meetings. It was "as we read it, we can hear you talking". I'm not sure if that is a good thing in the written word - but there you are - I am what I am - hehehe!!

Another question that came more than once, was "why isn't it wider?". The answer is so that it fits OK on the smaller monitors used on older PCs. Everybody sees it the same this way, the automatic re-sizing can cause some unfortunate effects.

A reader refered to the complimentary comments made in last weeks issue about an hotel and said the more cynical readers will ask "what is in it for Byers". It is a fair question and the answer is simple - nowt and that is how it will always be. In fact if I were offered something, it is likely that I would report the offer in here     !! If I accepted any such (unlikely) offer, I would most certainly report it in here    .


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This weeks purchase
I told you last week about a visit to PC World - I didn't tell you that while I was there, one of the things that wanders about in the back of my mind was active. Well it was . . . .

I wonder and worry about the security of the information on my various Computers. In past times I have used Magnetic Tapes, more recently it has been "prayer" and occasional copies to PCMCIA cards. Now I have discs on which the capacity is measured in GigaBytes rather than Kilo or MegaBytes, the problem is one of a different dimension !!.

I saw a 20 GigaByte external hard disc costing around 350 quid - the connection method was FireWire (one of the facilities that I do not have - otherwise I would have bought it !! The tiny Grey Cells had been stimulated once again so I took to browsing my Action catalogue (you can get one by ringing 0800 333 333 - they are a huge Mail Order Computer Supplies company - they also have a Web Site http://www.action.com but I have to confess that it is a bit hard work for a dimbo like me) - I found a 60 GigaByte USB External Hard Disc USB or Parallel connection - cost around £210 + VAT + around £22 + VAT for the parallel lead.

I bought it - plugged it in and it worked - by brain is now at rest - please don't anyone mention the word TeraByte    !!


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Searching
I was once told that having a connection to the internet is like having a telephone without a telephone directory - that was followed by the comment that this was what search engines are for.

I am sure that that is true, but which search engine is best, which one should you use. Well there are hundreds of them and I don't have a clue what the answer to that question is. I avoid the question and use a program that sits on each of my several PCs - it is called Copernic.

It takes your keywords (or even your question) and submits them / it to lots of search engines simultaneously, it gives the replies in a standard (but customisable) format. The words best of all worlds come to mind. It is a brilliant program - really is a "must have".

You can pay for a copy or download it for free from http://www.copernic.com/ I really do urge you to get a copy !!


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This weeks hotel
This week, I spent two nights in a lovely place not far from the city of Hereford

The Steppes
Ullingswick,
near Hereford,
Hefefordshire,
HR1 3JG,
Telephone 01432 - 820 424
Their website is at http://www.steppeshotel.co.uk
Their EMail address is info@steppeshotel.co.uk
If you want to "climb off the world" and into the bargain "go to heaven", this is the place to do it.

You can either "luxuriate" in the lovely comfortable rooms or go walkabout in the peaceful real (not plastic) countryside. No phones, No Newspapers - do not go here if you do not want to be incommunicado    
(I suspect that the owners Henry and Tricia Howland will not love me for say that tho' !!)

Tricia is as finer cook as I have ever met - or tasted food from - sorry if I should have said Chef, or Chefess - anyroad up it is really fantastic food!!

I spent two brilliant nights there.

I defy you not to love it - I have no hesitation in commending it to you.
(....and the prices are more than reasonable.)


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Links
Sadly it seems to me that readers have seen the links but not followed them. If it is blue and is underlined, do try pointing to and clicking on it - I promise that I never intend to point you to any "rubbish" pages!! The magic trick in last weeks links really is very very interesting - show it to your kids (even adult kids) - see how long it takes you to work out how it is done !!

A friend of mine was having difficulty persuading one of his ECommerce sites to go back to the proper page after updating / showing the shopping basket.
I wrote a page for him - to describe a technique for doing it. It will not be of much use to Butchers, Bakers or Candlestick Makers, but it may be of help to Web Designers - click here to see it.

I was drug up in a very agricultural part of Lincolnshire - a pleasant but unremarkable village called Metheringham. I was delighted recently to see that a very pleasant web site has been created for it it is at http://www.macla.co.uk - you might find it an interesting site to visit.

Enron, Microsoft, finance - "watered stock fraud"
All very complicated, if you are interested (and I'm not sure that I am) and want a fairly understandable explanation (I nearly understand it    ), follow this link http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=9726 I hope that it helps you.

If you take an academic approach to the internet, you might find http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk interesting


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Recommendations
When I make a recommendation, it is done on the basis of my own experience. That way, I do not drop too many clangers. For example, I have known J A Andrews and sons for over 50 years, know three generations of the Andrews family - in other words, I really know them!!

I met MacBeths at an exhibition at Olympia in London (I think) several years ago and have bought several boxes of meat from them - I guess that means I sortov know them a bit !!

All of this does NOT mean to say that all others are rubbish - I believe that a stranger is a friend that I do not know !!

Someone gave a feedback to last weeks publication (they did not give their name - but I think that I can guess who it was   ) it was suggested that I should give www.glenfernate.com a try - I probably will, but at the moment, I do not know them so I cannot yet recommend them.

Please, oh please do tell me who you are if / when you give your feedback    .

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Thursday 28th February 2002

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PC World
PC World is probably the biggest UK superstore chain that sells computer stuff. Every time I have visited one of their stores I have left thinking that the staff were indifferent and not helpful and that it is difficult to buy stuff (even if I have found and bought what I was looking for.

Last saturday, a new store was opened about a mile from my house. I still am not quite sure why I succumbed but I did, and followed the crowds. To my eternal shame, I drove my car instead of walking. When I got there at 9 OClock, the car park was full and I had to park on a nearby service road. There was music, heaps of people and a sort of party atmosphere. There were loads of staff, seemed liked hundreds, most of whom seemed knowledgable, most were very helpful - despite being harrassed.

I bought three items, the first two were:-

I had seen something that I liked, didn't need, just fancied rotten - asked about six staff for the sight of a technical specification - they all said something like "no such thing". No spec - no sale !! Tried twice with two very senior staff at the exit doors - the first one failed - the second got and showed me a tech spec - I bought it - hehehehe (should it be so hard to give them money ? It was:-

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ViaVoice
Good lord how voice recognition has changed - it is simple to install - is easy and interesting to train - I love it.

I must learn how to use it better (but Rome was not built in a day!!) - at the moment over 85% accurate - far better than my one finger typing. Love it to bits

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XML in a nutshell
Brilliant - worth every penny

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TFT Monitor
It is great - what a looney I am - when can I justify using it - but, I don't care !!


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Shopping
One of the joys in my life is a shopping. There is nothing the that I like better than to wander into a shop and enjoy a conversation with the shop keeper. Old grocery corner shop's used to be my best special favourite, sadly most of them seem to have disappeared. Now such joys are more restricted one category of a shopping - that is in butcher's shops!

My real best favourite is so a shop in it my home village of Metheringham - the details are:-
J A Andrews and sons.,
High Street,
Metheringham,
Lincoln,
UK.
Telephone 01526 - 320 462
Their bangers are to die for !!

Another of my joys is to deal with a company called MacBeths, it is in Scotland and it sells absolutely top quality meat. You can find their details on their website:-
http://www.macbeths.com/

I actually prefer to telephone them and to chat to them just like I was chatting to a butcher in a real butcher's shop (they will not thank me for suggesting this!!) but the method of ordering that I prefer is to telephone them - they are so easy to chat to, you could get carried away and start to beleive that you were standing in a real top class Scottish butchers shop - and the meat will be delivered by courier the next day, or on a day of your choice, in perfect condition.

You may think they are little expensive but in this life you get what you pay for. When you receive the meat you will realise that it was worth every penny that you paid for it.

Try it!! - tell your friends about it too - it really is a joy.


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Hotel
Another joy in my life is visiting and staying in hotels. I will from time to time be telling you about my stays in a various hotels. One the most recent ones that I stayed in is in the Yorkshire - its details are show below

Waterton Park Hotel,
The Balk,
Walton,
Wakefield,
West Yorkshire,
WF2 6PW,
Telephone 01924 - 257 911
This is a really great place at which to stay !!

It's a bit like a secret place.

Find your way to Walton in West Yorkshire

Then look for as street called The Balk - follow that - when the road bends to the right, you go straight ahead.

Pass the Golf Clubhouse - over the hump backed bridge - be prepared to be astounded.

See the spectacular old stone house surrounded by a moat - it really is spectacular.

The place is great, its rooms are good, the staff are brilliant and breakfast can be spectacular.

I spent two brilliant nights there.

I defy you not to enjoy it - I have no hesitation in commending it to you.
(....and the prices are more than reasonable.)


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Good Links
A great magic trick on the web http://cs.bluffton.edu/~scoffman/magic.html - go on, give it a go, I wonder how many times you will need to do it before you realise hop it is done..

Do you need a spell checker for use outside of MS Office ? - you can find one at http://www.geocities.com/anything4laughs/life/spell.htm - I have been using it for years and I do really commend it !!

A brilliant man called Steve Gibson writes loadsof useful programs, most of them free - see them at http://grc.com/freepopular.htm have a look, you may find something of interest.

For the technically minded among you, you may find http://grc.com/dos/drdos.htm interesting - if you want to understand how the communicating is done on the internet this page could help you along that road. Have a look !!


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Assist
I am thinking of starting an EMail viral campaign (amazon did it with great success - why not me !!) to promote two of my web sites.

I plan to send EMails to about two hundred or so of my contacts and tell them something like:-

Hi
May I ask for your support and assistance for 
two or three minutes and about five mouse clicks.

I have attached a file called:-
                assist.chm
would you please save it and then double click on it.
When you get it, please maximise it - it looks horrible
if it is not maximised.

When it is opened, please follow your nose, by clicking
on the links in it.

It would really be appreciated if you could forward the
EMail to lots of your friends.

If you do not want to attach the file, you could ask them
to download the file from:-
                  http://195.99.184.152/assist.chm

Thank you for taking the time to read this EMail.

Peter Byers
		

I would be delighted if you could find the time to have a look at this file and give me some feedback on the approach in general and on the detail / content.

The technically minded readers may be interested to know that until very recently, I would have used a .HLP but now have switched to use .CHM files. If anyone is interested in the reasoning behind that move, please let me know and I will try to put some words together for a later issue.

Thank you for your interest


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tele2
Some days ago, I received a "Junk Mail" flyer - I don't know why I didn't bin it !! I read it and found that it was offering to install an ADSL link for me free for a one month trial. The thing that made it interesting was that it uses a wireless (radio) connection. If I do not want to keep it after the month, they will come and de-install it at no cost. There is confidence for you !!

After a lot of "humming and hawing", I decided to give it a go. I will report how it goes in later versions of this page.

Tele2 can be seen on their Web Site http://www.tele2.net.uk if you live in the UK, it might be worth your time to take a look


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training
You may be interested to know that I have just started to write an OnLine Training Package - it is called Creating and Managing Web Sites - it will be from novice to journey man - my guess is that it will consist of at least 600 web pages. A real "opus magnum" !!

I will report how it goes in later versions of this page. If you are interested in watching it as it is developed, let me know


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Web Page Design
A couple of organisations have asked me to develop web sites / pages for them. If they are interesting, I will and will let you know when they are open to the public.