Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

electric pi


Other Developments

by Washington Apple Pi Labs

Lest our members think we deal only in the exalted world of Macintosh computers and Mac OS software, we present some new developments from outside our normal range of activities. But first, a disclaimer:

Washington Apple Pi Labs did not generate any of the illustrations for this article. In a break from past practice, we didn't test any of this, either. All of the illustrations were sent to us via electronic mail, usually without attribution or, in some cases, even without an accompanying message. We did, however, receive multiple copies of all illustrations. In one case, 27 copies of the same illustration. We thank our loyal readers, and sincerely hope they remove us from their address books.

The first item of interest is a satellite keyboard for use on Wintel computers. This clever item, attractively priced just in time for the holidays (Valentine's Day?), allows a Windows user to easily press the three most commonly used keys on a Wintel computer: Control-Atl-Delete. A careful examination of the photo, using high-powered, exotic software (the magnifying glass in Adobe Photoshop 5.5), reveals that, alas, this can't be used on a Macintosh, even with Virtual PC: the connector looks something like an ADB plug, but is actually a PS/2 connector. One rumor (which we just started) suggests that Microsoft might create a cross-platform USB version, for use on Wintel machines and USB-equipped Macs running Virtual PC.

The next item really isn't a product so much as a discovery: secret settings that control fundamental actions in Word 97 and Word 2000 on Wintel machines. Since Word 97 under Windows and Word 98 on Mac OS share many common characteristics, we can only assume similar settings are available on the Mac version. So far, we've failed to find such settings, but we have discovered several really funny suggestions to certain names using the Word thesaurus.

The next item is another discovery: where Spam comes from. This secret dialogue box, allegedly common to Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, clearly reveals why your E-mail address is in the hands of every Spammer on the planet. For those unfamiliar with Windows terminology, GPF stands for "General Protection Fault," otherwise known as the "Blue Screen of Death." Note that the Blue Screen of Death has been eliminated in Windows 2000: it is now a red screen.

Another hidden settings box, allegedly common to both Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000, explains why Microsoft is the most highly valued company in history. Note, for example, the easy-to-use setting for increasing the cost of patches. No wonder Microsoft is an industry leader!

We hope you found these tidbits as interesting as the several dozen people who sent them to us. No need to thank us; keep those cards and letters.

Return to electric pi

Revised March 17, 2000 Lawrence I. Charters
Washington Apple Pi
URL: http://www.wap.org/journal/