Computer Users’ Group

December 20, 2006


Internet Explorer 7

Internet Explorer 7. IE 7 is part of Windows Vista due to be released on January 31, 2007 but Microsoft saw a need for a version that will run under Windows XP and offers it free as an update to XP. If you have Auto Updates turned on you may already have had it added to your computer or soon will. It’s, at least in part, an attempt by Microsoft to catch up with Mozilla Firefox. It includes Tabbed Browsing that lets you switch among open web pages in a single window. It also has anti phishing and improved security and support for RSS. It also has a redesigned interface that provides more space for web pages. We’ll look at each of the toolbars to see what they do but things have been moved around since IE 6. The basic toolbars include the Address Bar which is not named in the listing of toolbars, the Menu Bar and the Command Bar which also is not listed. There’s also a location for the tabs that select among pages and to the left of that are the two Favorites Icons. If you have installed IE 7 and decide that you don’t want it, go to CONTROL PANEL/ADD REMOVE PROGRAMS and remove it. That should return you to IE 6.

Tabbed Browsing. Tabbed browsing facilitates moving among pages that you have open. It’s been part of Firefox for several years. Now it will be in IE. Similar to having items shown in the SYSTEM TRAY but somewhat more user friendly. When you start, you’ll have your START PAGE open and identified in one tab and there will be a smaller tab that you can click on to open a new page. Once open, you can select what web site you want to open there. Easier yet, when you click on a link that you’d like to open in a new tab you can hold the CONTROL key down and the new page will open in a new window with a new tab. You can also RIGHT CLICK the link and select OPEN IN A NEW TAB. You can repeat that action to open as many pages as you need. You select which page you want to see by clicking on its tab.

Anti-Phishing. When you click on a link to go to a new web site, if the actual URL for that site does not match what the text says it is, you will get a warning. You may think you’re going to the Bank of America but you’ll end up in Russia.

RSS. Again, Microsoft is trying to catch up with Firefox which has had RSS support for several years. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication and it’s a means of preselecting web sites or blogs that you want to visit but just see a summary of what’s new. IE7 lets you know if it finds RSS feeds on a page by turning the RSS Feed logo red. If the logo is not shown on the right toolbar, right click a blank space on any toolbar and click on CUSTOMIZE COMMAND BAR/ADD OR REMOVE COMMANDS and select the RSS logo to add. Click the logo and then SUBSCRIBE TO THIS FEED to automatically add the feed to your feed list. But it doesn’t recognize all types of feeds so in some instances you may have to do it manually. We’ll demonstrate by going to www.orlandosentinel.com and click on the red RSS icon at the top of the Sentinel page. You will be presented with a page of instructions and a list of RSS feeds that are available. Click on the feed that you want and a new page opens that asks if you want to subscribe. Click SUBSCRIBE and a new page will open showing the title and where it will be placed on your computer. The default is FEEDS but you can create a new folder and name it whatever you want. I accept FEEDS. Now click on the large FAVORITES star, click on FEEDS and you’ll see the feeds that Microsoft included plus whatever you added. Click any one to see the contents and click on any heading to see the entire page. Your old hometown newspaper may have RSS feeds. Subscribing to it will be similar but not always identical to what we covered above so check out the directions for each different web site that you want to view.


Mail Programs

Replying. When you receive a Snail Mail letter from someone, you don’t go to an office store and make a copy of their letter to include when you send back a reply. So why do you include the original letter in an email when you reply? Because Microsoft thought that it was a good idea and made that the default condition. But it’s usually unnecessary and is easy to turn off. Do you even know that you do it? Do you ever look in your SENT MAIL folder so see what you are sending? In Outlook Express, go to TOOLS/OPTIONS and click on the SEND tab. The fifth box down is Include message in reply. Click the box in front to clear the check mark. When you’re dealing with friends it’s best to leave it unchecked but when carrying on a correspondence with a business that gets lots of email, check the box to let your correspondent know the history of the subject. In Thunderbird, go to TOOLS/ACCOUNT SETTINGS/COMPOSITION & ADDRESSING and click to uncheck the box before AUTOMATICALLY QUOTE THE ORIGINAL MESSAGE WHEN REPLYING.

Forwarding. When you forward a message, it’s appropriate to delete the header information from those that forwarded it before. Open the message that you want to forward and click FORWARD. The message is now editable. Swipe across all of the previous name and email addresses and press DELETE. Address the message and send it. But if it contains a warning or unbelievable story, check it out before you send it. In one message that I received, it told of how Target has a policy against Veterans Organizations soliciting on Target property. It went on the say that Target is a French company that collaborated with the Germans during WWII. None of that is true but the many people who had forwarded it before never bothered to check it out. I merely typed Target Hoax into Google and found dozens of places where one could find the truth including the man’s name who wrote the original email in 2002 and his apology to Target for all of the ruckus he had caused. I emailed the person who forwarded the story to me and told him he should delete all of the addresses and check things out before he passed stuff like that on. I haven’t heard from him since.

Security. In Outlook Express, going to TOOLS/OPTIONS and clicking the read tab and then unchecking the box in front of AUTOMATICALLY DOWNLOAD MESSAGE WHEN VIEWING IN THE PREVIEW PANE will not prevent a mail message from opening but it will prevent a Newsgroup message from opening. Unlike Thunderbird, there is no way to prevent a mail message from opening when you click on it to attempt to dispose of it. In Thunderbird, click on TOOLS/ACCOUNT SETTINGS/SERVER SETTINGS and then check the box that says Fetch Headers Only.  Since Thunderbird has a Junk filter, you can just click on a message and then click JUNK at the top of the page. That will move the message to the Junk Folder and will train the Junk Filter to recognize similar messages as junk.


Saving a Web Page

Both IE and Firefox list add-ons or extensions that can make the browsers more functional. In IE7, go to TOOLS/MANAGE ADD-ONS and click on FIND MORE ADD-ONS. There are lots of them listed and you should check them out to see if there are any that interest you. One useful one is located under BROWSERS/OFFLINE BROWSERS and it a free program called HTTrack Website Copier. It will allow you to enter the URL of the website of interest and it will save it for you with all of its links. However, if that website requires a login, then you may not be able to use it. You can try to log in by opening another browser window and copying the resultant URL into HTTrack. Some sites will let you cheat like that. When you open HTTrack, it asks for your proxy. You can tell it you don’t have one. I’ll show an example of a web site I downloaded. Firefox has an even better extension called scrapbook. Goto TOOLS/EXTENSIONS and then click on SCRAPBOOK. With it, you open the page that you want to save, entering the login information if required to get there. Then click on SCRAPBOOK which will be added to the Firefox menu bar. Save as and select the file types you want to include (image, sound etc.) and select the level of links that you want to include. You can also select the Folder that it will go into.

 

Joan asked for help in saving storm pictures from the Kitsap, Washington Sun newspaper. Macromedia’s Flash player is required to see the photos so downloading them was going to be a challenge as there was no direct way to get to the images themselves. I used both programs above and each managed to save 8 of the 33 pictures before encountering an error. In Scrapbook, I had set the levels of links to be downloaded at three and managed to download the entire classified section of the Kitsap Sun. The program does display a list of all of the links that it will download and you can press PAUSE as soon as it starts to download and unchick all of the links that you don’t want (like the entire classified section). But neither program would play the slideshow that used Flash. The solution to that problem was to run the slideshow on the web site, pause each picture and then press CONTROL/PRINT SCREEN and then paste the result into an image program. The slideshow then be run under Windows Fax and Picture Viewer.

 

We also discussed how you can find where your mail messages in Outlook Express are stored and if you want to retain them forever, you can save each folder to a CD. To find the very complicated path to your email folders, go to TOOLS/OPTIONS and click on the maintenance tab. You’ll find a box called STORE FOLDER. Click it and it will tell you where your mail store folder is and allow you to change it to something more sensible.

 

Question: How can you get AOL to stop sending messages that you no longer want when they won’t honor a request to stop.

Answer: Highlight a received message from any sender that you want to block, go to MESSAGE/BLOCK SENDER. You’ll get a message that all email from that sender will be blocked.