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CHIPS Articles: How Can I?, January-March 2001

How Can I?, January-March 2001
By CHIPS Magazine - January-March 2001
Ask the experts at the SPAWAR Systems Center Charleston Technology Training Center Norfolk. The training team shares field experience, provides high-quality training and technical support. Service to customers includes answering users' questions. Some of the most recent inquiries are listed below.

Thanks to the following instructors for their input: Kay Beasock, Greg Browing, Dallas Budden, Alice Butler, Paula Fairbrother, Steve Penn and Leasa Perkins.


QUESTION: How can I tell which version of UNIX I am using?

ANSWER: Use the following command:

This command will produce a line with a result much like this:
SunOSouter 4.1.3_U1 4 sun4c
HP-UX sscttcB.11.00 A 9000/725 2002363610 32-user license
Linux homepc 1.2.7 #1 Tue Jul 4 11:05:37 PDT 1999 i386.

These examples show that SunOS (Sun) , HP-UX (HP) and Linux (x86) is running respectively. The first field of the output gives the operating system type.

QUESTION: What is a "tar" file and how do I use it?

ANSWER: tar is a UNIX archiving utility, which can compress several files into one.

To see what's in the tar file, use this command:
tar tf file.tar
To extract the files from the.tar, use:
tar xf file.tar
To create a tar file use:
tar cf mytar.tar file-list
There file-list is the name or names of files to be archived.

QUESTION: I have several tmp directories on my system. Which is best to use?

ANSWER: Within a system, it is not uncommon to have different tmp (temporary) directories:


But which is best?

/tmp on most flavors of UNIX will be part of the root file system and have a limited amount of disk space. It also has the potential of filling up the root partition. Some System V flavors create separate /tmp file systems so the root partition will not be affected. The contents of this directory could possibly be erased the next time the system is rebooted.

It is a good idea to have these linked together with a soft link, /usr/tmp/ & /var/tmp-many times these tmp directories are soft links pointing to a large partition within the system. Since files do not get erased at the next reboot, watch the size of these directories. Users and applications love to exploit this directory.

Note: Never link /tmp to /usr/tmp or /var/tmp.

Microsoft PowerPoint

QUESTION: Is there any way to reduce the size of my PowerPoint presentations?

ANSWER: If your PowerPoint presentations include a number of graphics and embedded objects, then you know that the file size is large and requires a substantial amount of disk space. One way to reduce the file size is to include a blank slide at the beginning of the presentation. Although it seems that adding a blank side would increase file size, this technique actually creates the opposite effect. The blank slide serves as the preview image PowerPoint displays when you select a file in the Open dialog box. Since a blank slide is far less complex and contains less formatting than the actual first slide, the preview image that is stored as part of the file is much smaller, thereby reducing the overall size of the presentation file.

Microsoft Outlook

QUESTION: How can I know when someone has read my Outlook message?

ANSWER: To request a delivery receipt for a specific message, follow these steps:

On the View menu of the message, click Options.
Under Voting and Tracking options, click to select "Request a delivery receipt for this message" and click Close.

To request delivery receipts on all messages you send, follow these steps: On the Tools menu, click Options.

On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options and then click Tracking Options.
Click to select "Request a delivery receipt for all messages I send" click OK.

To request a read receipt for a specific message:

On the View menu of the message, click Options.

Under Voting and Tracking options, click to select "Request a read receipt for this message" and Click Close.

To request read receipts on all messages you send:

On the Tools menu, click Options.
On the Preferences tab, click E-mail Options and then click Tracking Options.
Click to select "Request a read receipt for all messages I send" and click OK.

Windows 2000

QUESTION: We are now beginning to use Windows 2000 Professional, and I hate having to use the all-too-familiar CTRL-ALT-DEL then ENTER to lock my workstation. Is there an easier, more convenient way?

Answer: Using a short program, you can use the following command:

rundll32 user32.dll,LockWorkStation

Note: This command is white space and case sensitive-there must be a space as indicated, no space near the comma, and LockWorkStation must be capitalized exactly in that manner.

To create a LockWorkstation Shortcut: right click on a blank space of your desktop and select New: Shortcut. Type in the command as shown above and name it something useful (I called mine "Lock"), then hit Finish. The shortcut, when double clicked, will immediately lock your workstation and password protect it.

To make this even more useful, create a ONE button lock. Right click on the shortcut you created, select Properties, and click in the Shortcut Key area. Select any non-assigned key (e.g., the minus key on the numeric keypad). You will see the entry change to "Num -". Click on OK. Now hit the minus key.

This key isn't one you'll accidentally hit, but saves you from having to use both hands to lock up before you walk away.

To accomplish this is Windows NT, see the Microsoft Support Article "How to Lock a workstation from the Command Line" Q262646. NT makes it more difficult but it is still possible.

QUESTION: How can I see what is inside a document without opening it?

ANSWER: This will work in both Office 97 and Office 2000 for Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Choose File
Select Open
On the Look in Toolbar
Click on the View button
Select the Preview option

QUESTION:How can I compare an original version with an edited version in Microsoft Word 2000?

ANSWER: Before you begin editing a document:

Choose Tools
Select Track Changes
Select Highlight Changes
Click on Track Changes while Editing
Click on Highlight Changes on Screen
Click OK

Now you are ready to edit your document and if you do not like the changes, you can:

Choose Tools
Select Accept or Reject changes
Now you can revert to the original version.


QUESTION: How can I print just the last four numbers of the Social Security Number in a report?

ANSWER: Use the following statement in the Control Source for the field on the report:

=Right([SSN], 4) The Right function will display the last 4 characters of the SSN field.

QUESTION: How do I show a date as a Julian date in Access?

ANSWER: The format of the Julian date asked for has the last digit of the year followed by the three digit day of the year (1 January is day 001). Thus 10 Jan 1999 would be displayed as 9010. That means we need to first be able to show the last digit of the year and then concatenate that to the day count. We'll look at this as a series of steps.

In this example, we are assuming a date field named "dateStart".

To show the last digit of the year:

To show the first of January for the date in question:
CDate("1/1/" & Year([dateStart]))

To calculate the day and show it with three digits:
Format([dateStart]-CDate("1/1/" & Year([dateStart]))+1,"000")

To put it all together, set the ControlSource of a text box =
Right(Year([dateStart]),1) & Format([dateStart]-CDate("1/1/" & Year([dateStart]))+1,"000")

Microsoft FrontPage 2000

QUESTION: How can I make sure that the colors I use can be seen on all browsers using FrontPage 2000?

ANSWER: There are dozens and dozens of different browsers out there and not all of them use color (or even graphics), but for those who do, you need what is know as a "Web Safe Pallet."

Select the Color Options anywhere from within FrontPage:
Select the More Colors option will get you the More Colors Dialog Box.
All the colors in this box are Web safe and will work on any browser that allows color.

QUESTION:I like using the themes, but want to customize one for my organization. Can this be done in FrontPage 2000?

ANSWER: Yes, in FrontPage 2000, you can use one of the more exciting options available to edit an existing theme or create a new one from directly within the FrontPage program.

You'll notice that there is a Modify button at the bottom of the Themes dialog box. Clicking it will open up three options for editing: the Colors, the Graphics, and the Text.

Modifying the Colors lets you either pick a scheme for your Theme or lets you pick colors for the Color elements modified by a Theme. Don't worry the color options are all on an Internet safe palette.

Modifying the Graphics gives you a chance to replace or modify any graphic element on the theme. You can create your own elements in whatever graphic program you choose.

The final option, Text lets you modify or create the text elements of your Theme.

Once you are finished modifying your Theme (or creating a new one), you simply click the Save As... button in the bottom of the Theme dialog box name and save your file.

Tip for Office 2000: Themes can be used in Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc. Consider using your new theme in everything you do.

QUESTION: How can I publish web pages from my Windows 2000 Professional workstation?

ANSWER: First you need to install Internet Information Services on your computer. While logged on with Administrative privileges go to:

Start/Settings/Control Panel
Add/Remove Programs
Add/Remove Windows Components
Check Internet Information Services (IIS)
When files have been installed click Finish
Now you will need to install FrontPage Server Extensions if your Web page is going to have any forms or dynamic links.
Go to: Start/Run and type MMC to open the Microsoft Management Console
If a console has been previously established choose:
Console/Open or Console/New to create a new MMC console
Choose Console/Add/Remove Snap In...Click Add...
Scroll down and highlight FrontPage Server Extensions and click Add Click Close Click OK Choose Console/Exit and click Yes when prompted to save console settings
Install FrontPage 2000
Once FrontPage has successfully installed go to Start/Programs/Administrative Tools/Personal Web Manager. Ensure web publishing is started, if not, click Start.
Note the location of your home page and your home directory.
Open FrontPage 2000 and create a Web page.
Publish the Web:
Click File/Publish Web... publish the Web to your home page in a sub folder of your choice. Example: http://stu113/MyWebPage Publish.

Your Web page is now viewable on your intranet.

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