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Published 14-Mar-2002

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webWiz Online is published fortnightly, usually a fortnight before publication in print in The Waranga News.
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© webWiz Online 2000-1

  Hotmail - keep control  

The layout of Hotmail has improved over the past twelves months or so. It's now easier to create new folders, move emails to various folders for storage and keep an address book.

One of easiest filters to apply to incoming mail is to make entries into your Hotmail address book and apply the rule that your inbox only receives mail from these addresses. Otherwise, mail automatically is sent to your Junk inbox.

Unfortunately, Hotmail automatically will put posts from other Hotmail or MSN accounts into your inbox and many spammers use this weakness to fill up your inbox, especially over weekends. You can minimise the chance of this type of spamming by certainly never replying otherwise it seems all the spammers pick up on your address.

Note that there's a limit on the size of posts you can send. When you want to post photos to others, it's probably better to begin your own free community website which is part of owning a Hotmail account. Store your photos there so others can view them in their own time. Keep in mind the quality of your photos (scanned or retrieved from a digital camera) only need to be of Web quality, thus cutting down on size.

  Modem talk  

Once your modem has dialed your ISP's phone number, it's modem answers and both modems have a little chat about how good the telephone line connection is between them. Usually they're fairly optimistic and decide that they can talk at, say, a speed of 31200 bits/second for a 33.6K modem or faster for a 56K modem.

So that speed will be your modem's connection speed and you can see its value by hovering your mouse over the little icon in the system tray at bottom right of your screen, or you can click this icon to read the message box. However, as time passes while you're online, the two modems may decide to lower their connection speed and, if your computer is fitted with an internal modem, you won't know about the value of this lower speed (it's fairly rare to have an improvement in speed!). For those with an external modem, a quick glance at the lights on the front of the modem soon indicate a dropoff in speed.

Let's leave aside the times of day when an ISP's computer servers are overburdened by users and response time drops off. When you suddenly experience a drop-off in connection speed, possibly over a few days, then it's most likely something detrimental has happened on your phone line. At this stage, write down your connection speed each time you go online, noting date and time as well.

Now the trouble begins to try to get your phone line looked to. In webWiz's case, he had to wait until the line was completely dead so couldn't make a phone call. After two months of complaining, it was discovered the voltage on the line was too low. Just persist, once you know it's the phone line and can't be your modem at fault for poor connection speeds.

  Rushcomhouse My Internet  

This week the first course to introduce the Internet and email comes to a conlusion. Last week, the participants spent some time to set up their own Web sites where they'll present ideas on various topics and invite others to share with them. After filling in some information, it wasn't long before text, pictures and colour were being used to make striking sites.

Beginning last evening (Wednesday, March 13), webWiz will be at the Community House from 7.30 pm to 9.30 pm for those who wish to use their RushComHouse account in an informal setting to draw on his Internet experience. It may be you're considering creating your own Web site, or you want to find alternatives to search for particular references and information, or just make better use of what the Internet offers.

  Train simming  

As happened with Microsoft Flight Simulator, a very large community of designers has grown to offer their wares for free. As well, others contribute by answering questions from new train simmers who want to know how to properly use a loco's brakes or what various signal aspects indicate.

As well, there are those who have devised new ways of saving disk space because there are so many free downloads of locomotives, passenger cars and freight wagons. Depending on your particular interest, whether it be North American railways, European or Australian, you'll find more than enough to add to the collection of rolling stock installed as part of Train Simulator.

webWiz has no design talent at all, much less in three dimensions (it's nothing to do with being left-handed). So he's put together several pages of information, offering tips for the best downloads and what free tools are essential to keep the trains running on time.

  Google Whacking  

All you have to do is choose two words, enter them into the Google search engine and get one match. Then you've got a Google Whack. Already there are over 500 pairs of words listed at the Google Whacking site, so out with the dictionary and test your vocabulary.

Here are just a few pairs of words that are in the Google Whack list: snorkelling and dadaist, tetrahedral and esculent, anatrophic and goldfish, straitlaced and weathervane, riparian and steeplechases.


The airwaves are full of people ringing in with their recipes. The local Goulburn-Murray ABC site is writing up those from its listeners and for the children, there's Kid Chef to visit for ideas.

Other sites listed in this week's snippets include a digital archive of images and a youth's discussion circle of September 11.

Ned Kelly stories will be never far away now that the Public Records Office of Victoria has made available all Ned's own writings, stories of those around him and others.

webWiz's favourite site is the book-in-a-minute of classic literary books. It's amazing how hundreds of pages can be condensed into just a couple of sentences to give the heart of the story. Students, your English teachers may not agree.