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Welcome to Bo's Useful WebSite of the Month


United States Chamber of Commerce


{Organization Web site} I know we have readers outside of the United States who may not be thrilled to see a US-specific Web site. However, it has useful tools for the small business owner on starting, managing, and expanding a business. In the resources section, there is also a section on International and Trade Programs. Under Government & Legal is an issues index, which gives a summary of the issue and the Chamber's stand on the issue. In the same section is Legislation, you can view a table of current legislation with a link for more details and the Chamber's position.

For the month of June 2001  

If you have a dialup ISP (Internet Service Provider) and a 28 kbs to a 56 kbs modem you need to know how your modem is doing right? This site will test a number of things that you do on the internet every day and return a result which is then explained.

Also, with Windows 98 through Me you can tweak your COM port settings to get a better performance form you connection. Check out ZdNet's
Getting the most out of your 56K modem connection
By Greg Shultz, The Windows Wizard, Help & How-To

Stuck without a cable modem? Learn how to optimize your 56K modem for a quick, reliable connection to the Internet. Click here to learn more. For example:

Tweaking the COM port

You can tweak the COM port settings from within Device Manager, which you can access by right clicking on My Computer and selecting the appropriate tab. Then, scroll through the list and double-click the Ports branch. Now, double-click the communications port to which your external modem is attached. At this point, select the Port Settings tab to access its settings, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A: On the Port Settings tab, you'll find some of the settings you can adjust for the COM port.

As you can see, the default value for the Bits Per Second setting is 9600, which controls the rate at which data can flow through the port. As you can imagine a setting of 9600 is fairly slow and represents a big bottleneck. To crank up the rate at which data can flow through the port, choose a value of 115200. Keep in mind that while you can select higher values than 115200, doing so won't offer any additional benefit, as the highest speed that the chip running the COM port can handle is 115K.

You should leave the default values for the Data Bits, Parity, and Stop bits settings as they are. These values represent standard settings and will work fine for all your communications needs.


Flaws in your computer software and hardware are an open door to intruders. This essential guide will walk you through checking and fixing your system for the latest bugs.

April 2001

All you ever wanted to know about everything.

Buy, drive,fix...
Treatments, diets...
Dogs, cats, ferrets...

Crafts, arts, collecting...
Dating, marriage, babies...

Hardware, software...
Cultures, etiquette...
Bike, golf, run, surf...

Invest, save, budget...
Fix, plant, grow...
Places, planning, tips...

Basics, 900 recipes...
Personal Care/Style
Fashion, hair, makeup...
eHow Book
Places, planning, tips...

For March 2001



You probably wouldn't consider going anywhere near our monolithic federal bureaucracy without at least a trail of breadcrumbs, but here's a site that tries to simplify those often fruitless attempts to get information from the government. Oddly enough, the page seems easy to use, and it isn't designed with traditional governmental counter-intuition. There are lists of interesting topics, from arts and culture to science and technology. You can learn about the three branches of government, check out federal asset sales, or for the real fun, check out U.S. Government for Kids, which will provide all the interactive games you'll ever need.

This Month's Useful Site:  LiveManuals


Find Help for Your Gizmos So many gadgets, so little time. and most of us don't bother to keep all those instruction books. In a pinch, visit LiveManuals, where you can search by manufacturer or product name to get an online manual for that inscrutable device—whether it's a video camera, cell phone, or microwave oven. If you need more than just a manual, you can also check out product simulations (if you download the LivePlayer application). You'll never have to hunt through drawers looking for an instruction book again.

Free Online Attune PC Support Seervice

Attune is a free, pre-emptive PC support service that makes your entire computer friendlier and easier to use. Attune alerts you to potential issues - such as bugs or system conflicts - before the problem can negatively impact your computer. Attune may also let you know when you need a specific product, service or upgrade to optimize the use of your computer.

How can they offer such a valuable service for free you ask? Attune solicits PC vendors and software marketers. If, for example, Attune discovers that you are getting low on printer ink, Attune will give you an Intelligram which will inform you of it. That being done the Intelligrams will suggest marketers of that particular product. If you choose to buy through Attune, they get a percentage of the sale. At present Attune doesn't have that many affiliates so the program is limited. In time though, you can expect more services to be offered. The program to attach to the AVEO website. is only about 750 KB. Just click on the download button and follow the onscreen prompts for installation. http://www.aveo.com/

Attune runs silently in the background and automatically updates when you connect to the Internet. New Intelligrams are stored on your computer, filtered there for relevancy, and only displayed to you if the situation requires it -- for instance, when you are about to install something that will cause a problem on your computer. You may not see Intelligrams from the Attune Service every day, but when you do, you can be assured that the message will be timely and relevant. 

Got a Mystery File? Find out what it really is. Read Below

Have you ever come across a file on your drive that you're sure must be important but you can't even figure out what program to use to open it?  The start of figuring out what the heck the file is, of course, to figure out what the file extension is telling you.  There are a couple of web sites that are invaluable in that regard.  ExtSearch has a database of 1,605 extensions - the information provided is fairly minimal but is usually enough to identify the program needed to open the file.

For much more extensive (and technical) information on extensions, The Programmer's File Format Collection usually has links to the actual file format specification for the mystery file.

An extension like .dat that is used by many programs is not handled so easily or so well by either of these sites but the first site has a bulletin board section where you can post questions if you can't get enough information from the database.


Yes, you can find Windows drivers for that video card you bought last week but can't seem to get to work this week. But if you think that is all this site offers, you are missing out on a great experience. Tons of stuff here from Computer Humor, and oh yes computers are funny, to tech support. You owe it to yourself to jump on over to this site. It is a winner and will hold an honored position in your favorites or bookmark files. Check it out.

  Home Repair, Improvement and Decorating Tips for Do It Yourselfers

Are you a do-it-yourselfer? Then go to the "Do It Yourself Home Repair, Improvement and Remodeling" site at http://www.doityourself.com/ . It includes tips on everything from finding a reliable wallpaper contractor to removing rust stains from concrete. There's even a section on lawn and garden care.

  The Guinness Book of World Records

is finally online at http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/home.asp  

If you ever wanted to see what some people will do to get their name in print, check out this site for people who collect airsick bags, Barbie dolls, earrings or credit cards.   The latter record holder also, unsurprisingly, has the world's longest wallet.

An interesting competition is running for people how have a distinctive or enthusiastic hobby, like one lady who has visited over 300 cathedrals around the world.

Plus all the standards: biggest, smallest, longest, widest and so on.  Check out the largest disco ball or the smallest whiskey bottle.

last Month's site:

Update Your PC!

Update Your PC!
Is Your Software Out-Of-Date?
Keeping your software updated has never been easier. My Updates is your
personalized list of updates and upgrades for software installed on your PC.

Launch My Updates
Launch the Hardware Advisor
Launch the Window Me Upgrade Advisor
Launch the Windows 2000 Upgrade Advisor
Scan your PC for any
out-of-date software.
Determine if your PC's
hardware is up to par.
Windows Me is coming!
See if your PC is ready for it.
Check to see if your PC is
ready for Windows 2000.

I know, we reviewed this site a year ago, September 1999. It bares repeating though especially if you are planning on updating to Windows Millennium. Update some of your software or check out your Hardware for updates or better hardware.

Convenient, and FREE!
Why waste your time and money going to arcane sites that say they offer great updates at a yearly premium, when you can do it for free. Take another look, it deserves your attention.

Personnel depository for those Updates you did not have time to get.
You also get My Updates for your convenience. with this Update.com stores the updates it finds in a cookie file so you can go back to the site at anytime to grab those downloads you were not able to get to today.

My Update List
Got a special piece of software that updates often or one or more that you want to keep tabs on? Wouldn't it be nice to be notified by email everytime a program is updated? With the email Notify list you can have Updates.com inform you by email everytime there is an update for the software you add to the list. Just a few simple clicks and your done. Whenever there is an update, you will be made aware of it right in your done. Give ZdNet's Update.com another chance. Your software will be glad that you did.

For past months useful sites check out the Useful Sites Archive

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