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crescent moon and 

I spent much of the last month on business in Australia and New Zealand, with a schedule of meetings and facility tours that left little time for web browsing (or much else, either). I did need to deal with email daily, however, and wasn't particularly pleased with the communication speeds I was able to get. My PC has a built in 56K modem, and although all three hotels in which I stayed offered phones with built-in modem and data ports, I had to disconnect the phone lines from the terminal and plug them into my modem port to get a proper connection, and only got connection speeds ranging from 14.4 to 26.4. Adequate for email, but certainly not impressive. The IR keyboard equipped web-browse-by- TV systems were all ugly to watch and unintuitive to use...and expensive.

One positive thing is that somehow the problem with Netscape Communicator's email reader, that I mentioned last month, mysteriously vanished as soon as the trip started. No problems at all now, and it's certainly not due to anything that I was able to do. Maybe it was the Coriolis Force, or something.

Also mysterious was the reason for last month's newsletter coming out almost entirely in italics. It didn't look like that when I printed the proofs from the files i gave the printing company representative. Some incompatibility in the selected printers and their respective drivers, I assume. Although I apologized for the unexpected look at last month's meeting, I was more than a little bemused to receive a compliment on the look from a couple of members, who evidently thought it had been done in a cursive font. Go figure.

Come to think of it, this has been quite a month for mysteries. An unusually large number of 419 scam messages have reached me lately (you know, the ones from people claiming to be relatives or the lawyers of -- usually deceased -- African politicians with fortunes salted away in accounts needing my help to access, and offering huge cuts in the loot). There's nothing new there, but what I find mysterious is the greatly increased number and the greatly decreased overall quality of the messages. How anyone could possibly fall for one of these is a real mystery.

As is a message I received as I was typing this. Did anyone else in the TPC get this message with the subject "Aliens or Time Travelers PLEASE HELP!", and beginning with "If you are a time traveler or alien disguised as human and or have the technology to travel physically through time I need your help!"? The message ends with "Please do not reply if your [sic] an evil alien! Thanks"'re welcome, but I'm sorry I can't help. The message addressee isn't me,'s another name and email address entirely, but with the same ISP. I had to think for a few seconds -- I've had a bad cold and I've been taking some powerful medication -- but, nope, I'm not an alien, evil or otherwise, or a time traveler, nor am I the person to whom the message was sent.

Mike at work The final mystery for this month is the abrupt and unprovoked refusal of a recently purchased RPG game to work. It was working last week, and nothing has changed on the system, but even after being reinstalled it just refuses to run. I don't have time to experiment with the system and see what the cause is for the next couple of weeks, so this will have to remain unsolved for a while. Maybe by next month I'll figure it out.

Meanwhile, once again I'd like to encourage you to visit the newsgroups often to keep in touch between meetings, and be sure to contact me with newsletter article ideas and Andrew Shuttleworth with proposals for topics and/or people to do presentations at the monthly meetings. Stay tuned.

© Algorithmica Japonica Copyright Notice: Copyright of material rests with the individual author. Articles may be reprinted by other user groups if the author and original publication are credited. Any other reproduction or use of material herein is prohibited without prior written permission from TPC. The mention of names of products without indication of Trademark or Registered Trademark status in no way implies that these products are not so protected by law.

Algorithmica Japonica

April , 2002

The Newsletter of the Tokyo PC Users Group

Submissions : Editor

Tokyo PC Users Group, Post Office Box 103, Shibuya-Ku, Tokyo 150-8691, JAPAN