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#31457 - 03/06/03 12:53 PM Re: computer help?
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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I'll have Professor Frink check on this thread -- I'm sure he'll have some useful advice. He probably won't be able to get to it until the weekend, though.
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#31458 - 03/06/03 02:32 PM Re: computer help?
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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There's a new one of these little evils that comes as a pop-up, and pretends to be one of those "you need this program to view this site, download?" and if you click yes it takes over IE. It opens all kinds of IE windows all over your computer, changes your home page and preferences, and eventually, if you don't fix it, fills up your hard drive with crap. (That's like weeks or months, not days.) The really fun part is that you can get it from having the ad show up in a banner on a website. One of Mr D's friends had that happen in the background on his open AIM window. The only cure for that one is to wipe your system and reinstall everything.

The way we deal with this? Use a different web browser. It means some of the seriously Microsoft-centric sites don't load right and are unreadable, but I'd rather not be able to read Microsoft's web site than have to rebuild my computer. I think this one is called Sapphire as well as something else.

Don't ever expect security from Internet Explorer. If you're using Windows XP and are online, your computer is reporting your every move back to Microsoft. Read the licensing agreement. In order for that to be possible, the security has to be lower than I would consider acceptable. I use Opera, which is free and open source, even though I'm still on Windows 98. I will not upgrade my home computer to XP. I'm moving to Win2K, and when that ceases to work I'll be on Mandrake (which I currently have as the other half of my dual boot so I can get used to it).

I don't mean to sound like the anti-Microsoft harbinger of doom. Really I don't! I am fairly certain this new business is covered or close to covered at the link Helina gave (great link, by the way). I just know two people who've had to rebuild their systems already. Neither of them is particularly net savvy, so that might play a part.

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#31459 - 03/06/03 06:47 PM Re: computer help?
miercoles Moderator
Ching Shih


Registered: 10/29/00
Posts: 877
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI

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For web browsers, I would heartily recommend Mozilla . Netscape 7 is based on it, so it's a familiar interface, and about 99% of webpages look and function the same in Mozilla as in IE. The only trouble I've had with it is on my home computer (still running windows 95 -- I know, I know), where it tells me I can't view certain documents (ex: adding to amazon.com wishlist) because of some Personal Security Manager that I don't have. I have not found the PSM for Windows anywhere. I also run Mozilla at work (Red Hat Linux), and have never had any problems.

As for the evil ads, Glark linked to Ad Aware some time ago in the TWoP forums. This should clean your harddrive of most programs that have leeched onto it, although you may also need to uninstall some of the software they arrived with (Morpheus was a big offender for me). One of the really insidious things that these programs can do is steal amazon.com kickbacks. I have no clue how that's legal, by the way.

If you want file-sharing without the spyware and ads, I've had luck with KaZaA Lite .

Edited to note:
 Quote:
There's a new one of these little evils that comes as a pop-up, and pretends to be one of those "you need this program to view this site, download?" and if you click yes it takes over IE.
Wow, the Evil Empire sure is sneaky. I've seen some of those, and never downloaded them, but always assumed they were for some font on the webpage that I didn't have.

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#31460 - 03/12/03 12:12 PM Re: computer help?
Professor Frink Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/28/00
Posts: 52
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Hi all. Thanks deborah for kicking my butt into this thread. I'll try to respond to a bunch of things now, and hope it's of some use to y'all.

1. cat - as you discovered many moons ago, it's no big deal to convert a footnote to an endnote, and vice-versa. Whenever you're trying to do things in bulk, you should consider recording your actions as a macro (Tools -> Macro -> Record New Macro; you can't use spaces in the name, and you must use the keyboard or menus for your actions). This allows you to repeat the action rapidly with minimal hassle, once the macro is set up. If you're not familiar with this procedure, let me know, and I can usually write macros to do most things in MS Office products (hey, it's part of how I make my living), and I'd be happy to whip up small ones for you gratis. Another alternative is to assign your own keyboard shortcuts to the commands you find useful. If you don't find yourself pressing, say, CTRL-M often (left indent), feel free to make it your own! (Tools -> Customize -> Keyboard button -> pick a command and assign a shortcut; if it's already assigned, it'll tell you, and you can try again or override it.)

2. della femina - I'd be happy to answer your Excel questions. Excel kicks some serious butt. Learn it, and you'll never look at numbers the same. It does for numbers what word processors do for words - frees you up to play.

3. nanliza - Kazaa Lite is what I've been using for some time now, and have avoided "upgrading" to regular Kazaa. You want file swapping, and nothing else. As to the virus question, it's entirely and absolutely possible that any program/document file you download is infected. Always scan everything with the latest definitions, even if you've scanned it earlier. Worms and trojans are other matters entirely. Worms take advantage of open ports on your machine and operate without any action your part. Get a firewall (e.g. ZoneAlarm ) and check yourself out using Steve Gibson's Shields Up! . Trojan Horses are programs that do exactly what they advertise (e.g. a little greeting) and other, sinister things happen by design in the background. These can't easily be caught by the average anti-virus program, because they're not infected. They're just evil. Be highly suspicious of any software you download.

4. graceless I - MSN sucks. Do anything you can to avoid them, AOL, or anyone else who wants you to install software. The ONLY thing you need is a connection, be it dialup or high-speed. Anything else you get on your machine creates an irritation (and possibly foul-up) layer. Anyone who says "but you have to install our software" is lying, except for AOL, who are AOL-holes anyway. (Biased? Me? Why do you ask?)

5. graceless II - what do you mean by "stopped working"? There are quite a few symptoms that could be associated with this condition. Sounds like your tech support just said "I don't know what's going on, but I know that my supervisor wants me to tell the user to reinstall software to bypass truly solving the issue". Are things behaving now? If so, what solved it for you?

6. ken_m - spyware is an unfortunate reality. Make sure you get a firewall, as mentioned above. Ad Aware is an excellent tool (thanks miercoles), which comes highly recommended by many. Pest Patrol is another one. Technically, it's possible to do anything to your computer if it hasn't been explicitly considered and safeguarded. The reality of it is, that that's an impossible situation. (Like guarding against using passenger planes as weapons.) The spyware writers' motivations are simply to know what you're doing. If they can get a handle on your habits, they can sell things to you. (That's drastically oversimplified, but it's the basic idea.) Thanks Helina for the parasites page. Good one!

7. FishDreamer - your comment regarding pop-ups is worth noting. More and more places are using pop-ups to carry out evil actions, and it's tough to avoid without disabling JavaScript and/or ActiveX. Mozilla (thanks again miercoles) and Opera are excellent alternatives. With respect to how much IE and WinXP are reporting back to the mothership, there's some debate as to the volume and nature of that info. It certainly isn't every move though, as that would create a huge data problem. The EULA is deliberately vague, as they of course want to allow themselves any possible action in the future. I've been using Windows XP for some time now, and overall find it to be easily the best OS that Microsoft has released (notice my qualification there). Win2K is good, WinXP is better. It's so much easier to deal with, and so much easier to configure. And if you're on a laptop, jumping from network to network, it's just fantastic.

Good lord. Did I get everybody?

P. Frinky

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#31461 - 03/12/03 12:14 PM Re: computer help?
Professor Frink Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/28/00
Posts: 52
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Oh yeah - if "you need this to view this website," consider whether you truly need to view this website. If you don't know what it is, don't ever download it. Check all the links regarding authenticity and verification on that dialog box. Answer NO anyway. Then if the page truly doesn't work, and you really need to see it, reload it.

As far as I'm concerned, the folks at Comet Cursor can just bite me.

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#31462 - 03/12/03 03:04 PM Re: computer help?
deborah Administrator
Chief Bibliofreak
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/27/00
Posts: 3901
Loc: Funkytown

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Dude, you're not supposed to double-post. You're supposed to edit your first post.

I'm just saying.

But, um, thanks for all the advice.

You people have no idea how lucky I am to have such incredible in-house tech support. There wouldn't even be any Chicklit.com without him, because I would have completely and absolutely refused to spend so much of life struggling with computers and tech BS, and I'd have smashed my computer with the nearest sledgehammer. I'd be grinding out a zine somewhere instead.

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#31463 - 03/13/03 12:09 AM Re: computer help?
FishDreamer Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 08/27/01
Posts: 2804
Loc: Windy City USA

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I think I have something of an idea, Deborah, since almost everything I posted up there I heard about first from Mr D. He builds my computers, too, even when I don't think I need them. (I have a new computer! Yay! It is enormous and has excellent video so I can play Dungeon Siege with Mr D.)

The MS license agreement pretty much also states that the terms can be changed at any time without notice or warning and you are still bound by it. I believe this is the basis of at least one of the lawsuits.

My big complaint about it is that I've been using their products since 1986 or so, since the very first version of Word, and all the cool things that I know how to do in Word and Excel and File Manager are disappearing. Someone else has decided what my experience should be, and they are catering to the people who don't really understand computers. My computer is my friend, and I'm not afraid of it.

Mr. Frink, I stand in awe. I was afraid I came off like the AntiMicrosoft, which really I'm not. I just don't like the direction they're headed.

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#31464 - 04/17/03 03:12 PM Re: computer help?
Kristin K
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: Durham, NC

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I'm hoping someone in this forum can help me with a question about databases and bibliographies.

I write a lot of scientific papers, many of them using the same references. For example, right now I am writing a review manuscript that has over 200 citations; I've used most of them before. I have heard that programs exist (like Endnote) that allow you to import bibliographical material automatically from online databases, save the references, organize them to your liking, and then create the bibliography automatically.

Does anyone have any experience using these type of programs? I specifically would like to know the following:

1) Does the program allow you save multiple types of materials (e.g. books, book chapters, journal articles, technical reports) in the same database?

2) Can you upload previously used references from Word files without excessive cutting and pasting? What about uploading from Access?

3) Are there tools in place to allow you to keep track of the order of the references in your text (i.e. can the program share info with Word?)

4) Does the program allow you to have full control over all punctuation, capitalization, etc. in the final program? How easy it it to set different punctuation "rules" for different types of materials?

Right now, I maintain an Access database of my references and I use a mail merge in Word to create my bibliography. However, I have to maintain separate databases for each type of research material. Moreover, there is no flawless way to keep track of the necessary reference order.

I'd appreciate any advice you guys can give me!

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#31465 - 04/17/03 06:22 PM Re: computer help?
Professor Frink Administrator
Ching Shih


Registered: 05/28/00
Posts: 52
Loc: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Hi Kristin. I wish I had experience with EndNote to share, but unfortunately do not. You mention you're currently keeping your references in Access and you have to maintain separate databases. How come? I don't know tonnes about citations in scientific papers, but don't they all follow a similar data structure? If so, it's not immediately obvious to me why they're separated. (I assume you mean they're all in one Access database, an .MDB, but in separate tables within.)

Oh yeah, FishDreamer, you didn't come off as anti-MS to me; just exasperated and annoyed with the stupid things that happen in a huge corporation where the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing and that all motives are profit-driven. (I happen to generally believe that infrastructure-level commodities should be publicly owned and managed, and that improvements or luxury items be the realm of the private industry.)

P. Frinky

(Does the 'P' stand for PINKO COMMIE???? :-)

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#31466 - 04/21/03 10:53 AM Re: computer help?
Kristin K
Ching Shih


Registered: 03/31/03
Posts: 109
Loc: Durham, NC

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Hi P. Frinky-

You are right... I did mean that my citation information is stored in different tables within a .MDB file. I keep journal articles, books, contributed book chapters, and technical reports in separate tables mostly for convenience, since they vary somewhat in the fields that need to be stored. For example, only journal articles have associated inclusive page numbers, and only contributed book chapters have a corresponding list of editors. Therefore, I have to create a different merge document for each type of citation, reflecting the punctuation and organization required by the editors of the publication for which I am writing. For example, in the format of the journal I am writing for currently, the merge document for book chapters looks like

«Author_1», «Author_2», «Author_3», «Author_4», «Author_5», «Author_6», «Author_7», «Chapter Title», in: «Book_Title», Eds: «Editor_1»,«Editor_2», «Editor_3»,«Editor_4», «Editor_5», «Publisher», «City», «Year».

and the merge document for journal articles looks like

«Author_1», «Author_2», «Author_3», «Author_4», «Author_5», «Author_6», «Author_7», «Author_8», «Title», «Journal», «Volume», «Start_Page», «Year».

I suppose I could save everything in one table, leaving the fields that are not common empty, but I would still have to perform separate merges on each of the individual publication types.

As it stands now, I have to manually combine the resulting separate catalogs into a single list. This is one of my main frustrations with my method. In addition, because of the variation in the number of authors and editors, I wind up having to go in manually and remove the extraeous punctuation. (That is, I create the merge for the maximum number of authors and editors and then remove the unneeded commas). When I am required to list publications by their order of reference in the text, I have to go through the manuscript line-by-line and determine the citation order. This method makes revisions within a manuscript quite tedious. For example, after I revise a manuscript, I have to either 1) resort the database to reflect the change in reference order, remerge, and manually refix the punctuation or 2) resort everything manually.

I am not an Access expert- do you have any suggestions for me? I am wondering if there are any features that I'm not taking advantage of. I have also wondered if using endnotes within Word could help solve any of these problems. However, I think I would still have to perform a mail merge in order to get the citations into the desired format, and then copy them one-by-one into endnotes. I also remember that problems can arise in Word if you want to use the same endote more than once (which happens often in my papers).

I know this is a long post, but I swear this is a huge issue for me. I am currently first author on a review manuscript that contains material from 4 other authors and over 300 citations. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time on sorting, ordering, and revising the bibliography. I am wondering if EndNote or ProCite is going to make the situation any easier, or if I am going to run into the same issues.

Thanks so much!!

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