Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Because they're still evolving? Having trouble climbing down from the trees? Or just don't believe in science?

Reading further, are Republicans actually regressing? One might be forgiven for thinking so.

The Bible relies heavily on allegory and parables, similitudes, and metaphors
to convey its messages, and it isn't always meant to be taken literally. It is meant for our spiritual guidance, not our scientific education. God assumes we have enough intelligence to know the difference. Unfortunately, some of us don't.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Mars Curiosity Rover: wheel damage

These are holes in the aluminum of the left front wheel on the rover, after just slightly less than three miles of travel over the rocky Martian surfaces. Sharp rocks have punctured the aluminum wheel.

Today's Question Everything is: "Why weren't these made stronger for a car-sized one-ton rover?" We ought to get more than three miles out of a set of
wheels, especially considering the expense and the remoteness of this project.
It's not like we can call triple-A for a tire replacement here. Were they aware that the success of the whole project depends on these wheels doing their job?
One wonders.

The lack-of-snow report...

This slide area on the side of a nearby mountain (about four miles away) should be covered by several feet of snow by now, and as we see, it's mostly bare. Local ski hills are reported to be depending on man-made snow, because there just isn't enough of the regular variety. It's one of those years, I guess.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

What's with Julia Roberts lately?

Has Pretty Woman morphed into Julia of Suburbia? First came 'Eat, Pray, Love' which seemed to wallow in guilt, and now 'August: Osage County' giving us two hours of dysfunctional family. 

I grew up in and surrounded by dysfunctional family, so why in hell would I want to pay to watch one in action? I could write a book about it, and you'd better hope I don't.

I've always enjoyed Julia's movies, until just lately, and I just hope she knows where she's going with all of this. And I wish she'd tell the rest of us.... and enough already with dysfunctional families. We see enough of those in real life. 

More from Mars

This is why I think something extremely serious happened to Mars billions of years ago, like it says in 'The Larousse Guide to Astronomy' on page 184, where it talks about volcanic actions and 'a major tectonic event', including evidence of a meteoroid between 100 and 200 km in diameter puncturing the crust.

That puncturing of the crust probably resulted in an unbelievably violent explosion within the molten core, and in support of that theory I offer the above photo. Please show me where there's any unbroken or uncracked bedrock in that picture. Everything appears to be fractured, very likely from underneath, by some huge explosion, as might happen if a frozen meteoroid punctured the crust and entered the molten core.

I don't think Mars always looked like this. I think this is the result of a planetary disaster of almost unbelievable proportions. And I think there's a lot more to this story if only we can connect the dots. And I think we should try.

Friday, December 27, 2013

The news from Far Out, Baby...

This goes on for several screens, purporting to establish a connection between magic mushrooms and our experience of God, and it doesn't make it because its information sources are mostly lost in the mists of time.

I don't think religion got started by the ancients using hallucinogens or psychedelic drugs, so much as it did by people's natural fears and superstitions being played upon by smoothies who became shamans because they realized the possibility of power and riches from controlling people's beliefs, and pretending to be able to communicate with God on our behalf.

But on the other hand, I have to admit that a reading of the Book of Revelation might easily give one the suspicion that whoever wrote that (St. John the Divine, we're told) might have been "on something" at the time, because he paints some really strange pictures in there.

And you don't need drugs to communicate with God, however you think of that being. You only need to believe, be sincere, be respectful, be grateful, and try to be quiet about it. Let me quote from the ancient Egyptian 'Book of the Dead', which was their version of The Bible: "The house of God what it hates is much speaking. Pray thou with a loving heart the petitions of which all are in secret. He will do thy business, He will hear that which thou sayest and will accept thine offerings." 

That's worded a little awkwardly, but we're translating here from hieroglyphs, and it was done long ago, not in modern English. But we get the message just the same. And those who think the ancient Egyptians were godless pagans probably have more to learn about them. Both God and religion are older than most of us can imagine.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

About this "Message from Webpage"

I'm still getting this while using Internet Explorer 10 in Windows 8 Pro....

And this is in spite of just having done all of the following using an Administrator Command Prompt, prior to which I had turned off Internet Explorer in Control Panel, and had rebooted the PC to remove it. I then did the following....

Which verified the completeness and integrity of the system files on the PC. Then I went back into Control Panel > Programs and Features > "Turn Windows features on or off" and re-activated Internet Explorer 10. This presumably restores it to its original mint condition. Since the system files have also just been confirmed as being complete and correct, I have to conclude that this error message from Google's Blogger webpage is itself the problem, meaning that this problem is originating with Google, and not with the Internet Explorer browser.
So Google, get your act together! I'm not switching to Google Chrome just because you can't stand the competition from Microsoft. I tried Google Chrome and I didn't like it. Twisting my arm isn't going to change my mind.

A search on this computer for *.gwt.xml found absolutely nothing.

What's with Pop Music these days?

It seems everywhere we look at the Pop Music scene, it resembles a visit to the local strip club or peeler parlor. And some of those places have better looking women.....

For example, this kid - we're glad she's discovered the joys of being young and horny and desperate, but a world-class looker she isn't, and in the skin game, you'd better have something to brag about, or keep your clothes on.
And you don't get a second chance to make a first impression either.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A couple of computer notes...

If you're getting an annoying pop-up on your Blogger or other Google sites, with a blurb about your "gwt.xml module" it isn't your gwt.xml module, because you haven't got one. It's a Google problem that they say they are fixing, but talk's cheap, and nothing's been happening yet to get rid of it. The work-around seems to be to switch to another browser, from Internet Explorer. Microsoft doesn't have any remedy for this, because they say it isn't their problem, and I believe them. Google is famous for starting something, and then stopping for coffee or lunch, and never coming back to it. And we're showering the bastards with nothing but money! Are we stupid, or what?

And if you're discovering some hard-to-remove adware called OpenCandy, it's an adware distributing bloatware frequently packaged with other freebie programs that you might really want, such as ImgBurn, that formerly-great burning freeware that many of us have liked until now. If you read the fine print in the agreement you have to accept, you'll see that there's no way you can avoid accepting OpenCandy if you want the program. And to get rid of it, you need something like SuperAntiSpyware or Malwarebytes Chameleon to find it and remove it. Trying to use the "custom install" feature for the freebie program will not help, because it doesn't show as an option you can remove. And it's definitely something you don't want, because it is spreading your information to others you don't know about and shouldn't be sharing with.

A little piano music...

This isn't Christmas music, but just watch and listen....and enjoy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Been there & done that....

Would you buy a car if you couldn't repair the damned thing? With this online download and no option to convert it to an ISO which could be made into a disk for installation or repairs, this is the operating system you can't repair, so when your system files get damaged or corrupted, or you have a terrible accident and want to re-install this, just what do you do? Do you buy another copy so you can get something that works? Or do you throw this out and replace it with your good old Windows 8 Pro that you have on a disk for just such an emergency?
I threw mine out and replaced it with Windows 8 Pro.

If you're having a problem finding a start menu or button, download the freebie program 'Classic Shell', and if you want the Sidebar and more gadgets than you had with Windows 7, download the freebie '8gadgetpack', and dress up your Windows 8 with more goodies than comes with the 8.1 version. Works for me! 

The pilots' explanations ought to be interesting...

The Late Show...

This, as many of you probably already know, is a hell of a good movie, and I'm an old softie for these romantic comedies about the problems of love and the battle of the sexes. Probably because none of my grand love affairs ever worked out in the end. Diane Keaton is terrific in this movie, and it's her show all the way. Jack Nicholson, the consummate womanizer, even turns into a nice guy by the end of it. If only real life could turn out like this movie.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


But not exactly new - there are references on YouTube to this from 2009/2010.

Google still has a problem...

This keeps popping up in my blog, as I'm trying valiantly to get signed in and onto the page for composing new content. It's very annoying, and as we can see, it isn't any webpage of mine that is originating this - It's a Google page.

I've searched this computer's registry, and it has nothing named "gwt" or "gwt.xml module", and neither does my Windows\System 32, both of which were recently re-installed, and confirmed as verified correct by Microsoft's scans. So this isn't my problem. And Google has had users complaining about this for literally years, and they haven't done anything about it. Why not? Are they trying to drive away users and annoy people who are generating traffic for them? It certainly looks that way.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas once again...

Irfan's reply about the camera cards

Now that he mentions this, it makes sense, because it works the same for disks or USB flash drives. I just never thought of it. But if you already have some other program like Zoombrowser, or the built-in Microsoft Photos handling program installed, one of those will grab the camera card's images first, and the folder shown in the system drives window will be empty. To have the images appear in there, it would first be necessary to disable the other photo-handling programs, or at least change the settings, so that the card wouldn't have its images deleted automatically after download.

Here's an example of what Irfan said above, showing the window displaying the computer's drives, and one of the images from the camera card, shown as a removable drive (F) on the right. With Irfan's program set as my default for images, the photos on the card can be seen in his program, where they can be edited or resized, or whatever, and then filed as usual. And all this time, I've been making the process more complicated than it needs to be, with other programs that we have been talked into using for this. And I can't imagine why I hadn't thought of this until Irfan mentioned it. I'm lucky I've got friends who don't mind my stupid questions, because this is how I learn things.

A digital camera with good night vision

Our recent models of digital cameras have a lot better night vision than they had five years or so ago, and this is a look at the neighborhood about 3:00 a.m. with it snowing lightly. It looks a lot like Christmas out there, doesn't it? I like a picture like this, because nobody has messed it up yet with tire tracks or footprints.

And here's the daytime view of it.....

Confirm your Windows installation is OK

This shows how to use your Administrator Command Prompt to verify that your Windows system is OK. I did this because I had just removed several gigs of unused "Windows.old" files, and wanted to be sure everything was OK after.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Also updated today...

Just updated....

Just received Irfan's latest newsletter informing us that he has just released a new update to his famous program, so get yours from the website, and don't forget that he accepts donations. This is an excellent program and you should have it on your computer.

Email between Irfan and I today.....

Did I get up on the wrong side of the bed?

Perhaps  my previous post might make it seem that way, but not really. But lately, a couple of things have bugged me. First of all, that thing I mentioned in the previous blog about the unfixable pop-up I see here while trying to get started, and secondly, my usual pinging on Pingomatic isn't working lately. Instead of sending out pings as usual, I get a blank page with only the words "No blog url?" when in fact there is the URL shown in its usual place on the form. I don't know what's going on there, but something is. Fortunately, there are other pinging services to alert folks to my updated content. Services like Pingoat or Pingler. The latter being limited for freebies, and graduated for the paying customers on monthly subscriptions.

At my age, I tend to shy away from monthly subscriptions, because those might last longer than I do.

Something you may find handy...

Its many features may seem a bit intimidating at first, but take your time, and read the manual you can download as a PDF. And speaking of PDFs, if you're still using Adobe Reader with its large and clunky files, and its tendency toward picking up malware, maybe you should try a smaller and less vulnerable one called SumatraPDF, or just Sumatra for short. It also reads some eBooks.

And if you're worried about the safety of a website, here's an online scanner that may be helpful. But I should mention here that it sometimes has a problem with the "http" or the "www" parts of a URL, and you may have to add or subtract those while getting it to do its thing, instead of showing "Whoops!".
At least they've got a sense of humor. One would assume, though, that an outfit like the famous AVG, while making a website scanner, would make sure that it could recognize a website's address, wouldn't you think?

All of which prompts me to say that this whole internet and computer thing lately has been rapidly losing its charm. There's so much malware out there these days that can't be discovered by our rather expensive security programs that it is taking all the fun out of it. We shouldn't need several specialized or extra security programs on our computers, just to make sure our regular security hasn't missed something, or couldn't remove it and needs help. And some of those specialized ones can chew up parts of your regular programs that you don't want to disable. I found that out yesterday, when one of them removed part of the latest driver update for my graphics card. I'd only got that just a couple of hours before, so I was naturally a little upset. Luckily, it's fixable or I'd really be choked.

But this is the problem. There's a war going on out there, and we're the ones getting caught in the crossfire. And some of the big guys, like Google, who could be doing something about it, are ignoring some of it because they're more into making money from their ads and their snooping. What am I talking about? There's a pop-up lately showing on my Google-operated blog here that says something's wrong with my ".gwt.xml module" and my browser versions on file don't agree with what I'm using.

 Here's what GWT is, and I've never had any of it on my computer. On the other hand, Google has had problems with users reporting difficulties with these pop-ups for years, and still they haven't fixed it. There's nothing you or I can do about that, except to be annoyed by the problem.

The way it's going, the whole internet is going to die in a pile of its own crap, and that's a shame, because it has so much potential, if only.....

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

This is handy....

Especially on these long winter nights when the sky is clouded over. This is a nice program. You can even set other planets as your home location for viewing
the sky, if you want a different view of it. Your own planetarium in real time.

I get mail....

I don't often check my Hotmail, because I normally use another popular webmail, but today I looked at it and found an email from Microsoft, thanking me for trying out Windows 8.1 Enterprise.

In the first place, it wasn't the Enterprise version I tried, and in the second place, I wasn't impressed by the online download method of receiving it, because there's no way to make a hard copy of it for use when repairs are needed, or for when something unexpected happens, and maybe you need to do a complete re-install of it. What do you do then?

I tried Windows 8.1 for a couple of rather frustrating weeks, during which I was getting told by 'sfc /scannow' that it found corrupted files but was unable to repair all of them. I discovered the reason for that, but not until after I'd decided to dump it. Running the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool using the command "DISM /Online /Cleanup-Image /RestoreHealth" corrected the misinformation in the component store, and allowed Windows Resource Protection to run a successful scan of the integrity of the system files.

I wish that worked as easily in Windows 7. Speaking of which, Windows 7 on the other partition here shuts down and reboots much quicker than a recent install of Windows 8 Pro. The Windows 8 is taking nearly a minute sometimes to close its open programs before rebooting, in spite of the Shutdown.exe being set for
the force-close option and a time delay of five seconds. I've never had problems like that with Windows 7. I'm sure this isn't normal for Windows 8 either, but I don't know how to fix it, short of re-installing it again, and that's a lot of bother, restoring all the programs and files again.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

More about Shutdown.exe...

I'm sure many of us know how to make a desktop shortcut for Shutdown and Reboot, but how many of us have any idea how many other options go along with the Shutdown feature? You might be surprised.... Here's page one of two:

And here's the second page, continuing that opening part. I didn't have room to fit it all into one window. This illustrates what we can learn by using  a /? in the Command Prompt window when using it in Admin mode.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Comforting news...

This is comforting news, after I've just been in the registry, fine-tuning a couple of its settings for Shutdown.exe. It now seems light-years from the days when I was afraid to touch anything in there, in case of the Blue Screen of Death. But I'm over my fear of flying, and I'm used to living dangerously and learning things by just doing them instead of only reading about them. As little Pogo in the comics once said, "We have seen the enemy, and he is us!"

Is this fear-mongering ?

Has someone been manufacturing news again? This reports on a discussion between a couple of 'experts' who are talking about how something might destroy your computer's BIOS data, and thereby render your computer useless.

I have some news for those 'experts'. I accidentally destroyed the BIOS data on this computer that I'm writing this on, and I was able to use a bootable flash drive with a copy of the required BIOS information on it to 'flash' (update) its BIOS, and restore all that to its normal and healthy condition. I am not a computer technician, but simply a self-taught computer user, and if I can find out how to do this, then so can anyone else, assuming of course that not all computers get shut down at the same time.

So getting back to my opening here, is someone manufacturing this news, or are they just trying to scare the shit out of you? Either way, you shouldn't panic, because all is not yet lost. Do a little homework on how to update your BIOS and find out if in fact your own computer still uses it. There are newer systems that don't depend on having a BIOS, and yours might be one of them. And it has nothing to do with the operating system you are using, such as Windows, or Mac. It's all about the computer's motherboard and how that's been designed and built, and how it needs to be powered up for use. Google 'BIOS Update' and do some reading about it. And don't believe everything you see in the news. Some of it is a 'make-work' project, and some of it is pure unadulterated BS.

Today's 'Question Everything' is -

When did the loaves and fishes become fruitcake ? What got lost in translation?

Fine-tuning my PC...

Perhaps I'm getting too enthusiastic about this fine-tuning. I checked a website a while ago for tips on speeding up the starting of Windows, only to find out that I already knew just as much about it as the guy who wrote that article. And one of the tips he offered can actually interfere with the boot-up process if followed.

And there's one disadvantage to having a dual-boot setup consisting of Windows 7 and 8. Doing a full scan of the drive takes two hours and three minutes and involves over 610,000 files - and these two operating systems were just recently re-installed following a problem, so neither of them has been fully fluffed up yet with all my favorite third-party freebies and add-ons.

I've recently made one discovery, though. The Firefox browser seems to be more easily infected with malware than some of the others, in spite of it having several security add-ons that others don't offer. Evidently, there's holes in it.
Too bad, because it worked so well for years. No matter what your browser of choice, I recommend the Web of Trust add-on, better known as 'WOT'. It shows red, yellow, and green doughnuts in the upper right for the safety rating of sites. The McAfee SiteAdvisor also is a handy add-on. And while we're on this topic, let's not forget DuckDuckGo - and no, I'm not trying to be funny. That is actually its name, and it's a search-engine add-on that is heavily into anonymous surfing, and doesn't save its tracks. You should check it out...

This is DuckDuckGo when added to Internet Explorer, and it really works....

Sunday, December 15, 2013

CMD Prompt is very educational...

It's surprising what you can learn using a forward slash and a question mark in CMD Prompt. There's a wealth of information in there, with directions on how to use it, if we aren't afraid to ask. I'm sure most of us have no idea what's hidden inside Windows in places like this. We ought to familiarize ourselves with it, because it can solve problems for us if we know how to use it.

The above is just an example of what I mean. Ask a question, get an answer, and then use that to solve a problem. Works for me... and incidentally, the guy who wrote the list of these commands and their meanings made a mistake in saying that the Bootsect command is only available from the Command Prompt during System Recovery Operations. As you can see, I've just used it, and I'm not in recovery from anything except a bad case of boredom... so if you think your Boot Manager or Master Boot Record needs a tune-up, feel free.

The Command Prompt and its commands

Here's where to find a list of commands for Command Prompt, for whichever operating system you are using. And Yes, Virginia, you can change its colors...
for example, like this...

Rather than doing this with numbers from within CMD Prompt, I've just found an easier way, and it changes the defaults instead of only temporarily as above.
*Open CMD Prompt, and right-click on its name in the title bar for a drop-down.
*Choose Defaults, the second from the bottom of the list, and click on it.
* Select the Color tab, choose your colors, and when done, click OK. These will be your new default colors.
While on the subject of CMD Prompt, just in case anyone isn't aware of this, if there is something in there that you would like more information on, or a more complete description of it or what it does or how to use it, just enter its name after the cursor, leave one space, then add a forward slash followed by a question mark, as in /? and that will bring up answers.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Another Windows 8 Fix.....

If you have a problem like this, as I have lately, then this should help you...

I haven't been rebuilding my PC, but I have been getting this story about the corrupted files from running "sfc /scannow". And this recommended remedy
worked for me this morning, so I'm passing it along, in case it may help you.

I used the "copy and paste" method of adding that line of instructions in the Admin Command Prompt, to make sure I didn't get it wrong. This command starts the Deployment Image Servicing and Management tool, which takes several minutes to do its thing, and as it is working, it will display a series of dashes along a line between a set of brackets, along with a number for the percent it has completed. As I said, it takes a while, so don't get impatient.
It will finish, and it does work, as you can see from my screenshot above.

This time, when 'sfc' came to corrupt files, it fixed them. What that really means is that it found updated information in the component store, and corrected its own to match, and now presumably, peace has returned to the valley. And my thanks to that Microsoft Engineer for his informative solution. This installation of Windows 8 on here is barely a week old, so I couldn't believe there was anything seriously wrong with it just yet. I simply haven't had time to screw it up yet, so that whole thing puzzled me. I'm glad I found an answer for it.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Making my own icons....

This is my icon-making program, called IcoFX, and if you look at my icons on the left of the desktop, you'll see its own little icon there. I've used it to make most of my own icons. It can use almost any image or one you draw yourself to make icons for Windows or Macs, and it works like a charm. I got this when it was still a freebie, before it went commercial, so my version dates back to the 18th of November, 2008, and I'm still using it in Windows 8 Pro, and it still works just like it always has. If you want one now, it's about $30 for the home
version, and about $50 for the business version. I think it's worth it, because as I said, it really works, unlike some of the others. Here's more about it.....

Question Everything: The Music Industry....

What's it all about - talent ? - or soft porn ? Color me "Confused". If you have to practically bare all to sell an album, is it the music or the skin you're hustling?
Is this because suddenly everyone is trying to match Miley's 'Wrecking Ball' performance, or some of the stunts of Lady Gaga? Personally, I'm disappointed.
I though Beyoncé had more class than that. We already knew she's gorgeous. She doesn't have to prove it to the unwashed masses. If they couldn't tell already, then hitting them between the eyes with it isn't going to help them.

Today's Windows Hint...

If you're looking for where to change your system icons, like Control Panel, etc., then click on the indicated words in the left-hand column in Personalization, which you get to by right-clicking anywhere on your empty areas of Desktop.
It's the last item in the little drop-down menu and is the same place you go to change your desktop themes.


This was made from seven images dumped into Image Composite Editor, and really I didn't expect it to be able to do anything with them, but it did...


As I said the other day, Microsoft Research's Image Composite Editor is the best panorama composing program I've ever seen. It does the impossible easily.

My Windows Experience Index for Windows 8

And here's an important note about this, before I start yapping...


  • The Windows Experience Index base score typically ranges from 1.0 to 7.9. However, if your PC has a 64-bit processor and 4 GB or less random access memory (RAM), then the Memory (RAM) subscore for your PC will have a maximum of 5.9. This means that the overall base score will also be limited to 5.9.

In view of the above, since this is a 64-bit processor with 4 GB of RAM, and it is now over four years old, I think these readings are quite good. Perhaps I should add that the operating systems (2) on here are both 32-bit, but that shouldn't make a lot of difference, because a 64-bit processor can easily handle 32-bit programming. You just can't run 64-bit stuff on a 32-bit system. But I don't want to do that anyway, because the 64-bit stuff requires twice as much RAM to run properly. So I get a lot better bang for my buck by running 32-bit on the 64-bit system. It works for me, and it will for you too.

I ought to mention that shortly after getting this rig, I took it back in for a change of the graphics card, to put in one with 1 GB of its own memory, and that's what makes a big difference in these ratings. So if yours tests with a low score, you can probably improve that with a new graphics card.  And if you're inclined to dabble with Unix or Linux then I recommend an nVidia card, because those work better with operating systems like PC-BSD 9.1. It doesn't like my ATI Radeon HD 5450, and won't run all its graphics features on it. Instead, it switches to its own generic version, which doesn't have the same oomph at all.
Which explains why I switched back to Windows. 


Someday, I'm going to buy a book and learn how this works!
Meanwhile, I continue to be a dedicated fumbler learning from my mistakes.

I mention all that because I have questions. For example, this machine is configured with a dual-boot setup consisting of Windows 7 and Windows 8. If I try to use an Admin Command Prompt to run CheckDisc (chkdsk) on one of the partitions, I get an apology from it saying it couldn't run because there's another process already using this drive. It offers to run at the next restart, presumably before system files get loaded into active memory, but I graciously decline that offer, because I'm not sure how long that whole thing might take before I could use it again. But I'm wondering - are those processes which are preventing chkdsk from running perhaps these time and weather and CPU gadgets on my desktop? These naturally have to call home for updated information or are steadily scanning my system for what's happening. Is that why I can't run the disk checker? I suspect it probably is. And is the answer to this worth $30?

It's going to be much cheaper just to accept CheckDisc's offer to do this during the next reboot.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Writing other languages on US Keyboards

For a while now, I've been wondering how to add the correct accents to letters while writing foreign language phrases on a standard US Keyboard. Today, I found some helpful information...

The above is one method, but it seemed too cumbersome to me, so I didn't hunt for the rest of those four-digit codes, but instead found this next method:

This one (above) changes your keyboard to the international format, and then you can get the right results by typing first the accent, then the letter. The accent won't appear until you do the letter. Pablo tells us everything except how to type that acute accent, and that one isn't on the keyboard, at least not obviously. To do that one, use the quotation mark symbol along with your desired letter. And now, at last, I can write "I haven't a clue" in French with the proper punctuation, as in....

Je n'en ai pas la moindre idée.

Aren't computers fun? Whatever did we do without them - besides having a hell of a lot more time on our hands? Sacré mon Dieu!

Here's what I meant by ''cumbersome'' in that first illustration up top....

Who wants to memorize that whole list? And it doesn't make nice wallpaper... but if you're absolutely desperate, and don't want to switch to the international, this can do it, if you hit the right numbers. But I can't imagine doing much this way before becoming a babbling basket case.