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Contents Copyright 2005 by Christopher Plummer

Issue # 79, 12/12/05

OBLIGATORY ADVERTISEMENT...   :-)  Ready to go 'wireless'? Share your iTunes Playlists with other computers on your LAN? Have someone load your CD collection onto your iPod? Or just get the inside info on how your Mac can "Play Nice" with Windows users? HIRE ME! I can do this for you or show you how. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>  Enjoy the newsletter! :-)

Contact me in iChat! Put me on your Buddy List! <>

This Issue
It's our first HTML issue and the last issue of 2005!! We've got actual links, and with this format, we hope to rejuvenate the Unpredictable web site and actually keep it CURRENT in 2006. Our new format is best viewed with Apple's Mail program, and of course, best viewed on a Macintosh! Are the fonts too small? Too big? Be sure to take a look at TIPS (below) where we remind you the many ways to adjust viewed font sizes! And then tell us what you think. Your feedback is welcome! It's been a busy year with UNPREDICTABLY few issues, but there's still time to shop for Mac and iPod holiday items using the links in the Shameless Holiday Commerce section. ;-)  If you don't hear from us before it's over, enjoy the holidays! And thanks to all our loyal readers and customers!!  As usual, there's plenty here...fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit! 

        GEEK SPEAK REVIEW - Twistie, About This Mac, Proxy Server, BDC
        UPDATES - Apple, Office, Omni, more...
        NEWS - I want my Mac TV
        WEIRD NEWS - Apple Causes Stock Market Decline
        Tiger Hunting - Uh, my Mac doesn't connect to the Internet... 
        Know the Difference - Mouse Hunt
        The Jive Award for Bad Design - And the winner is...
        Podcast Review - Avoid and Try!
        TIPS - Safari Tab Tips!
        Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Bigger, Smaller, etc.
        Shameless Holiday Commerce - Support Unpredictable

Geek Speak Alert!    Read the GSR to understand the GS in the articles!

Geek Speak Review
Definitions full of ® fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit!


The little right-pointing-triangle that appears in Finder List views—and other places in other programs. It means, "there is more to see", that is currently hidden. Click the 'twistie' and it points down, revealing the otherwise unseen contents of a folder, paragraph, outline, etc. Click it again, and the details disappear. No double-clicks please!!

Apple Key
Mac oldsters will correctly proclaim, "It's the 'Command Key' dammit!!"  Once also known as "the Clover Leaf", this keyboard element was one of the few familiar items to safely travel from the Apple // to the Macintosh. Is being right worth being misunderstood? 'All Things Must Pass', as the prophet wrote, and we are better off accepting change than fighting it. The Mac users of the New Millenium call it "the Apple Key", and so it shall be known. Sorry, geezers.

About this Mac
You want to know how much memory you have? What version of the OS you are using? How fast is your Mac running, and with which processor? This information is easily available to you (even if you still have Oh Ess Nine,  GOD FORBID) by selecting the first item that appears under the Apple menu. Want more information? Click [More Information] to launch the System Profiler, which will give you a complete report. Just watch out for the 'Software' twistie, which will give you more information than you may ever want!

Proxy Server
A proxy is a controlled bottleneck. A security device, similar to a Firewall, in which requests from one computer on the 'inside' are passed to another computer (the proxy server) on the "outside". The proxy passes the requests for information (web sites, usually) to the Internet, and when the responses come back from the outside, the proxy hands them back to the computer on the inside. The proxy has various methods for maintaining security, verifying recipients, blocking sites and/or protocols, and caching data. If you've ever used a firewall, you will be disappointed with a proxy.

Apple Updates - Tiger 10.4.3. Quicktime 7.0.3 - necessary for the video-supporting new version of iTunes, iTunes 6.0.1 - Bug fix to the original video-supporting version 6.0, Backup 3.0.1 - Much improved release offering incremental backups and much more flexibility. Formerly only available to .Mac members. You still need to be a .Mac member to get full functionality. And various Security and Java Updates. Use the Software Update System Preference and GET CURRENT.

EarthBrowser- 2.8.2 Our favorite water planet information catalog and viewer now features satellite overlays of 250 Meter per pixel, and improved performance. Use the special gift link to give EarthBrowser to a friend!<> 

Hewlett Packard HP PSC 1600 Printer Driver Update 2.0[I love this all-in-one printer, but I hate the error!-Chris] Excerpted from their page: "HP PSC 1600 The HP All-in-One device may eventually cause the following error message that can not be resolved without replacing the color or black print cartridge: The color/black cartridge is not intended for this product, Remove and Check Color/Black pen, Incorrect pen cartridge, 'Scanner Failure. Turn Power Off Then On' message. You may get this message when scanning at a high resolution (4800 or higher), or when your original is greater than 8.5 inches long."

Microsoft Office Update - It's generally a good idea to apply any update to Office, since they almost always quash a large number of bugs and OCCASIONALLY add new features. Use the built-in software update function. (From any Office App, go to the Help menu>Check for Updates.

OmniOutliner 3.0.3 - The outlining program that comes free on Mac PowerBook (and other?) models has a free upgrade. The current version does not work with versions of Oh Ess TEN earlier than Panther.<>

TypeIt4Me 2.2.2 - This release has been around for awhile, but I just found it! Bug fixes and Tiger compatibility in this useful utility that can insert pre-defined text into just about any program. Use it for signatures, date entry, anything repetitive that uses a lot of keystrokes. <>

Check for more updates at <>.

I want my Mac TV!!! - Can you keep up with Apple's new products?? The iPod line: The Mini is dead, long live the Mini. The NANO Nanoo, is 'in'. My gosh it's cute! Thin. With a color screen and the ability to do photos! No hard drive to fail either! And speaking of failures, I hear that MINI scroll wheels are dropping like flies! Go to the Apple Store, ask them to fix it, I tell people!! (Ignore Apple's pathetic 1 year warranty!). Do they? NOOOOOOOO. They just shell out the dough and buy a Nano as soon as they see one. Claims of market saturation don't apply to a product when everyone HAS TO HAVE the newest model!! The newest, of course, is the 'new' iPod (not-to-be-known-as-"Video iPod"), with its big 2.5 inch color screen and 30 or 60 Gig hard drive, and the ability to do video! (More on this, next issue!)

iTunes  and iTunes Music Store - Video content is pouring out from everywhere! TV shows and Music Videos for $1.99 each. FREE video Podcasts... Tivo has announced they will soon have a cheap utility (or upgrade?) to convert Tivo-recorded content to iPod acceptable Quicktime MPEG.

More? Oh sure. They've enhanced the iMac line yet again. No more modem. Instead you get a built-in iSight camera (that should help iChat video take off!), a bluetooth remote control, and 'Front Row', the software that the remote uses to give you GIANT onscreen menus for all your iApps and DVD player!

Finally (for now) the upgrades to the G5 desktop line. More power, better video, etc. etc. Now with a 'dual core' G5 processor, which roughly means they cram two processors into one chip. So they can advertise that the old 'dual' processor G5 now can sport FOUR processors. Not exactly true, but who's arguing?


Old Weird News
Apple Causes Stock Market Decline - Once again, irresponsible Apple Computer has failed to conform to analysts expectations. Apple, the only innovative company in the computer business and the major innovator in consumer electronics, maker of the wildly popular iPod series, recently announced record profits, high margins, and the sale of over 6 million iPods and 1 million Macintoshes in the last quarter. A day later, as the price of Apple stock fell on this disappointing news, Steve Jobs announced the 'new' iPod—a thinner, color screen version capable of playing movies. Also announced, a new version of iTunes, which will include the downloading of video media from the iTunes Music Store, and an update to the iMac, adding to its ample capabilities a built-in iSight camera for video chatting, a 'remote' so that the beautiful flat-panel can be easily used to display DVDs as well as other rich media, and all for the same price as the previous model. The oracles of Wall Street, shocked at this disastrous development, proclaimed that Apple has now set itself up for a new decline, since it couldn't possibly continue this 'pace of innovation'. Apple stock tumbled again, by five points or so, dragging with it the entire stock market. [This is 'Old Weird News' because Apple has already left it in the dust. At this writing, Apple stock is at $74 and climbing on news of more TV content on the iTMS. OH if only I had bought a few hundred shares when it tumbled down to $45!!—Chris]

More News: <>

Unpredictable Reader Feedback
Welcome to new subscribers Marc & Karen, proud owners of a new iMac G5 (good choice!), and Max, who caught me writing this newsletter at Starbucks!

Here's a 'shout out' to long time reader and graphic artist, Pat, who visited with me briefly at the Shoprite.

Tiger Hunting 
(part 1 of at least 2)
When I do an "About this Macintosh" on my Powerbook, I get "10.4.3" as the Mac OS X  Version. That puts me at TIGER, two maintenance releases down the pike. And what does that mean, really? Have you upgraded to Tiger? Did you get Tiger on your new Mac? If you don't have it, are you thinking about clicking the link on the Unpredictable web site to buy Tiger for your Mac? Go ahead, go to Apple's web site to find out about all the cool stuff. We're going to look at what Tiger doesn't do. The stuff not everyone will tell you. We're talking ISSUES here.

It's time to acknowledge that those Unix folks at Apple re-wrote big junks of the networking pieces that worked great under Panther. WHY? Why, did they do it? I can't tell you, but I can tell you there's networking stuff that just doesn't work so well. For example, much of the connectivity you need to work at a Big Dumb Corporation (BDC) using hopelessly Microsoft-oriented network servers.

The MICROSOFT PROXY PROBLEM - Whatever Apple did with Tiger and the new version of Safari, it broke the seamless way that Macs worked with Microsoft ISA Proxy Server.  I spent HOURS on the phone with Applecare trying to get them to acknowledge the issue even existed, because of course, it didn't happen to EVERYONE. And they were quite sure that it didn't occur on Macs that had a brand new clean install of Tiger. "Why don't you try a brand new clean install of Tiger?" They asked. And I'd answer, "Because I BOUGHT A MACINTOSH. NOT A WINDOWS BOX." You see, brand new clean installs of Windows are performed all too often by Windows users for virtually every kind of problem on the planet. Can't share your data? Can't connect to your printer? Can't get your wireless network to work? Bogged down by spyware? Overrun by viruses? Can't get your iPod to synch? Can't get Word to do a spell check?? The answer for all these problems is "re-install Windows". To the Tech who recommends it, a brand new clean install of Windows isn't a big deal, but to the average computer user who has to not only re-install Windows, but restore all of his data, re-load all his applications, and re-configure his network and all his peripherals, it's a NIGHTMARE. And an all too common nightmare. Can you actually say you've NEVER heard someone proudly complain, "I've spent all night/the last 3 days/last month re-installing Windows on my PC." These people think they should get some kind of award or badge for their perseverence. I think they should get a Mac.

Which brings us back (eventually) to my original point, that I shouldn't have to do a brand new fresh clean re-install of the Mac OS to fix a problem that didn't exist before I upgraded to the latest hot new cool version of the Mac OS!! Was my issue fixed by Apple? Sorry! I can't tell you, because at my BDC, the Network administrator eliminated the proxy server as part of a plan to switch to a new internal network. As soon as he did that, Safari went back to good ol' uninterrupted web browsing.

Moral: Often even when it's Apple's fault, eliminating a Microsoft product is a good way to fix a problem.

Next time, Windows File sharing (and if we get to it, printing).


Know the Difference
Mouse Hunt (Part 1 of 2) - "I've tried and tried but I just can't remember what they're for.." So wrote the poet, and that is the question for the overly-staffed Apple Mouse Design Department. Contemplate it please. What the heck is a mouse for? In the old days, it was point and click. With one button. Because Steve said so. In those Macieval times the MDD designed the old one button mechanical mouse for old Macs, REALLY old Macs, twenty-year old Macs—the design dictate goes back at least THAT FAR. Who could argue then? If the Mac had a one button mouse, so what? It also had a bitty 9" screen, and icons, and all kinds of WHACKY other stuff! But nowadays, the mouse, it's a whole lot more. It's point, click, scroll, right-click, scroll-click—at least if you use a Windows PC, a Sun Workstation, a Unix or Linux box, or on a Mac, a third-party, non-Apple mouse. Because, to the benefit of mouse-making companies everywhere, Apple has stuck stubbornly to The Steve's original demand that a mouse should have ONE button. Period.

So what can a mouse with one button do? What is it for? Steve wouldn't tell those plucky Mouse Designers. You just don't ask STEVE to explain that kind of thing! Either you GET IT, or you DON'T. The 1983 Apple MDD had to design it with one button. And they did. It was tan, it was linear and boxy. And it had one big rectangular button. By 1998, Apple was ready for a NEW wave of innovation. It was almost a new millennium. It was iMac time. Can you imagine those AppleSerfs getting pumped up by Design Guru Jonathan Ive?  "You are challenged. Challenged! Challenged to dig deep into the creative well and pull forth a beautiful one button mouse! A different one-button mouse! A truly APPLE one-button mouse that dares to brave the crowds, with a beautiful, new, one-color Apple logo emblazoned on it's back!!". And they did. When the iMac came out they GOT CRAZY with the original iMac totally ROUND "hockey puck" mouse, so symmetrical you often couldn't locate it's single button! It was, well, it was a winner of the "Jive Award" for Bad Design at Apple.

A year or two later, without acknowledging that nearly EVERY iMac owner on EARTH had replaced the hockey puck with a third-party mouse—or converted it with an ingenious third-party mouse cover—Apple wowed the MacWorld Expo crowd with the first Optical NO-button see-through plexiglass mouse. It really didn't have a button. The WHOLE mouse was a SINGLE button! Whoa! Unfortunately, the best thing about this mouse, besides its looks, was that it was free for anyone at the Keynote. Once you actually started using one, you realized, sadly, it was just a NICE one-button mouse. At some point the see-through with black interior evolved into the see-through with white interior, and Apple produced several variations of non-see-through solid WHITE plastic one-button mice, all with essentially the same design.

In 2003, as the company began to embrace BlueTooth wireless technology in the G4 FlatPanel iMac, the MDD introduced a WIRELESS Apple keyboard and mouse! Wow, now that was innovation!! It looked just like the other one-button Apple mice, but gosh darn it, it was wireless, and it had, (have I hammered this point home yet?) one button!! But, hey, it was wireless!

Now, it's 2005. A FEW things have changed in the last twenty-one years, and FINALLY Apple has changed the mouse. Sort of. So take a look at the Jive Award (below) for our review of the quasi-multi-button "Mighty Mouse".

Next time, Mouse Hunting for third-party mice!


And That's The Difference. 

The Jive Award
It's time once again for the Jonathan Ives Award for Bad Design at Apple. The award goes, quite simply, to the "Mighty Mouse". The FIRST Apple product I have ever returned because it's performance was so utterly miserable. I am not kidding. Apple should be ashamed to be putting this thing on new Macs!

Here's what's wrong: The "Right click" and "Left click" buttons are not really buttons. They are 'touch sensitive' underneath the one piece plastic cover. They do not work well, and not consistently. "Right click sometimes" is a frustration no Mac user should endure. Then there's the "Squeeze" button, which requires too much force. Although this appears to be two separate buttons on the sides of the mouse, it only functions as a single button which activates when you squeeze both sides hard. And I mean hard. They could give these things away as stress-relieving hand-clench exercisers. No click to indicate feedback, so you are totally dependent upon it working, seeing a result on your screen. Please. This is ridiculous!! But, but what about that cool scroll button that works in every direction?? What about it? The 'scroll pea', as some have called it, works sort of. There's a speaker built into the mouse that makes you think the pea is clicking as you scroll. It's very easy to slip your finger over the surface of the pea and get no action on screen. You push down too hard, and it doesn't scroll far enough. You have to develop just the right touch, then it works pretty well. Until you try to use it in iPhoto (and maybe some other apps?). In iPhoto, when you are viewing a screen of ten or twenty photos, it scrolls inconsistently. Sometimes it scrolls up but not down. If you fiddle with the image sizes, you can get to a point where the pea only scrolls up, never down. How useful is that??? I found this so hard to believe that I demonstrated it to the Apple Person at the Apple Store. And she agreed.

Another generation of 'one button' Mac mice creates a new layer in the local landfill. For Apple, it's a new Jive Award and a hearty, "Get Ye Back to the Drawing Board!!" Go to it MDD. Fix that meager mouse, that measly mouse, that miserable, mysteriously miserly, misshapen mouse. Innovate!!


Podcast Review
AvoidiTunes New Music Tuesday I tried to like this!! After all, I am a big fan of the iTMS. I could almost tolerate the whole TOP 40 approach of the show—there is some occasional good music here—but then there's 'Roxy', our hostess. In her banal, insincere way, she likes everything, whether it's Rock, Country, Classical, or icky Pop. That's her job, to promote it ALL. But it doesn't work for me. Too fake. Thumbs down.

TryOn The Media with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield. There's a TON of Public Radio content, with new podcasts added all the time. This show is clever, perceptive, and funny. They usually cover at least two or three interesting topics related to the media, and provide "in-depth analysis" you won't find elsewhere. Bob asks tough questions and gets answers without completely alienating the people he interviews. From WNYC. Go for it.

The content is out there—send me your suggestions, or reviews!

Safari Bookmark Secrets!—Tabbed windows clean up your workspace by layering information in a single window. They are especially useful for laptop users who have less space to clutter up. Safari provides 'Tabbed Browsing' if you tell it to. Instead of opening a new separate browser window, you create another web page on top of the previous one. Use the tab at the top to click from one page to another. As usual, you need to do this yourself to see just how handy it really is.

1) Go to Safari Preferences [Apple]+[,].  2) Click on the [Tabs] icon.  3) Enable tabbed browsing and put a check in "Always show tab bar". Now open a couple of sites in Safari and get familiar with tabs!

Danger!!! If you have one browser window open with four of the five sites on different tabs, and you close the window instead of the tab, guess what? They're all GONZO!! Be careful to close just the tab, by clicking on the little X in its corner.

More Safari tips next issue!

Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
Changing Viewed Font Sizes—An oft-forgotten capability in quite a few programs is the ability to change the size of viewed fonts for better readability. For those of you NEW to the Mac world, the "Command" key, as we Mac oldsters correctly identify it, is also known as the "Apple" key, or "Clover leaf" key. Let's face it, anyone can figure out what key we're talking about if we call it "the Apple key". And if you're using a Mac, this symbol-->  [?] should give you an even better idea of what the Apple key looks like. So "Apple Key" it is!

The majority of programs use [Apple] and [+] to increase font sizes and [Apple] and [-] to decrease sizes. (Too bad everyone can't play nice and agree on a SINGLE way to do this!!)

Safari - In Apple's web browser use the [Little a] and [Big A] buttons on the Toolbar to increase or decrease font sizes. From the keyboard, simply type [Apple ] + [+] to increase text sizes. Use [Apple ] + [-] to shrink.

Firefox - The "Mozilla" browser uses the same key commands as Safari.

Preview - Apple's PDF (and other) viewer also uses [Apple ] + [+] to increase image sizes. Use [Apple ] + [-] to shrink.

Adobe Reader - Uses [Apple ] + [+] to increase image sizes and [Apple ] + [-] to shrink. Adobe also provides the Magnifying Glass (Zoom) tool, and the Percentage +/- tool on the toolbar.

Dreamweaver - Also in the same camp, Dreamweaver with Zoom In as [Apple ] + [+] and so on.

Mail - Although I couldn't find it documented, [Apple ] + [+] and  [-] also works when viewing a message in Apple Mail.

AppleWorks - Anybody still use AppleWorks? Use the [small mountain] & [Big mountain] buttons. (I know it's a weird name, but you'll know exactly what I mean when you see them!)

PowerMail - In PowerMail, use the [small mountain] & [Big mountain] buttons at the bottom of the document window.

Microsoft Entourage - When viewing a message, click on the [Small a/Big A] button in the upper right corner of the 'header' panel of a message. Don't confuse this button with the [a b] HTML button. Click [Option]+[Small a/Big A] to reverse what you have done.  [I'm no Entourage user. The response seemed awful slow, and occasionally inconsistent. So tell me a better way!]

Microsoft Word - Use the "Zoom" (Percentage) tool on the Reviewing Toolbar.

Microsoft Excel - Use the "Zoom" (Percentage) tool on the Standard Toolbar.

TFSB!! And Happy Holidays!!




Shameless Holiday Commerce
** BUY these OCCASIONALLY recommended items using the links below (or even use these links to make other purchases) and help SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE! Need anything else? Send me an email

Buy My Sweet Powerbook!! NEVERMIND.  IT'S SOLD!!

Buy my phone! the Sony-Ericsson T616 (AT&T). is a bluetooth camera phone that works great with the Salling Clicker. Send text messages from your Mac keyboard using the Address Book. Uses a SIM card, so you can easily plug in your existing service.  Buy mine used for $40.

MS Office 2004 Student & Teacher Edition This is the highly recommended and inexpensive way to get Microsoft Office for your Macintosh. And by default, can be used on up to 3 Macs in your family.

Apple iSight Camera - Join the iChat video revolution!

iPod Mini - And other iPods and iPod goodies.

Why not buy your next Mac OS HERE!!
TIGER (Oh Ess TEN 10.4), free shipping and SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE!

TIGER FOR YOUR FAMILY - Put it on up to 5 Macs -  get free shipping, and support your favorite FREE source of Mac and iPod information in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey!!

.MAC - Synchronize bookmarks, address books, keychains, and more across several Macs and more! JOIN and SUPPORT UNPREDICTABLE!

MEMORY - NEED RAM?? 4AllMemory has a configuration page that helps you identify just what to buy.

Hire me! My Services and Abilities are NOT Unpredictable
I am a consultant and am available to help YOU on a one-to-one basis. Remote support available.

Macintosh Consulting - Interested in help from a long-term MAC Professional? Macintosh Wireless Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training. As a rule, I don't do Windows, but I know a lot about getting your Mac to work in PEACE and HARMONY with the Windows world. And I do iPods too.

Lotus Notes and Domino Administration, Development, and Support - Serious corporate consulting. I may be glib and witty here, but I can put on a suit and speak geek with the best of them.  :-)  I'm looking for 1 month or longer projects or even full-time employment, preferrably in Western Central New Jersey. I'm a "Global Groupware and email Administrator and Architect"; I specialize in IBM Lotus Notes and Domino. Certified R6.5 IBM Professional Administrator. I'm a Project Manager and implementation specialist who has managed local, national, and global roll-outs of hardware and software.

Writing and Editing - I would love to write for your publication or edit your work! I tend to do a lot of Technical Writing, but I have plenty of samples of all kinds of writing.  If you need this kind of help, or know someone who does, please contact me. Reasonable fees. Satisfaction Guaranteed. < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

iPod Loading! And support. Now that you have your iPod, you discover you are too busy, or your time is worth too much to spend it feeding your Mac one CD after another for HOURS. Can't someone do it for you??? Of course!! HIRE ME!! For a minimal fee I'll load your iPod from your (commercially manufactured) CDs. And of course this service is available to both Mac and Windows iPod owners. Other options include custom playlists and DVD backup. Email me now and put "LOAD MY IPOD" in the Subject: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>   :-)

**Chris’s UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users ** 

Oriented towards, but not exclusively for Mac Users in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey.
Since 2000, Published Whenever - About Whatever!

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full credit is given. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy or URL.) Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies.

SEND requests and feedback to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>. Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues are available at the Unpredictable Archive: Keeping the archive current is a never-ending task. If you need to GET CURRENT, subscribe. If you need an issue that is not on the Unpredictable site, send me an email. If you'd like to help with the site for absolutely no compensation other than my gratitude, send me an email.



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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)