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Hard-Copy Journal

March 2000, Volume 16, Number 3

North Shore Chapter

By Helen Gallagher

Our first meeting of the year on January 18, 2000 was opened promptly at 7:00 PM. Anna Loudon, our new North Shore Chapter Coordinator, spoke of the need for volunteers in the Chicago Computer Society.

After researching an open question from last month’s meeting, Anna advised that the limit to the number of people who can be in an AOL group is 102. She also generously offered to assist people with similar questions; they may do so by contacting her via phone or email. Also, when you get stuck, remember to use the Help Line, a long list of volunteers who can answer questions on specific problems. Help Line is in the back of Hard-Copy each month. Anna can be reached at annaloudon@aol.com.

Open Forum

Q. Where can I check for price/earnings ratios for stock indexes?
A. Try morningstar.com and companysleuth.com.

Q. How can I find good medical reference information on the web?
A. Member Barbara Kanter shared her experiences with us, and is happy to help others. She relies on her Wilmette reference librarian to get her started, and now accesses their databases via her home computer. If you want to learn more, contact barbkanter@aol.com.

Presentation: Chicago Computer Exchange

Upgrade, Repair, or Dump?

Paul Robertz, from the Chicago Computer Exchange, brought loads of ‘antique,’ circa 1988. PCs all the way from his Hyde Park shop, which was started in 1987, matching buyers and sellers of used computers. Paul and his partner, Paul Erling, discovered that the demand wasn’t just for a middle-man to find used computers and match them with buyers. Instead they got busy helping people find parts to upgrade and repair computers.

As the computer industry moves faster and faster, people have come to dread the release of new software. It often requires an upgrade to their old hardware, expensive calls to tech support, and worry over how to transfer data. Until two years ago, it often made more sense to upgrade a typical PC to run current software than to trade it in.

This has changed greatly due to the economics of the business. Hardware is no longer so profitable as it once was. There is intense competition and price-shopping on the Web, and memory chip prices are no longer stable.

Allowing us to examine the old PCs Paul brought, he demonstrated how easy it may be to upgrade a fully IBM-compatible clone, such as an Everex 286. Because there is nothing proprietary in it, every component can be replaced with industry-standard parts.

By comparison, in looking into a Laser 486, Paul stated there was no math co-processor, so it could not be upgraded to run Windows 98. Because it is a proprietary system, with 16-bit expansion cards, there is no hardware to work with it, and even if you tried to add a Pentium II motherboard, the case configuration would not allow it.

The recommendation was to inventory the system, pull out the hard drive, CD-ROM and floppy drives, and put it all into a new standard case with new motherboard.

PC surgery is performed daily at Chicago Computer Exchange, located at 5225 South Harper in Chicago’s Hyde Park. The phone number there is 773 / 667-5221 They have done repeated upgrades on now-custom PCs, all with industry-standard components, for at least 3 of the editors of Hard-Copy to their general delight, pleased with their work, reasonable advice and pricing and their knowledge of options, implications, and coming trends and consequences.

The North Shore Chapter meets the third Tuesday of every month at the Skokie Library, at Lincoln and Oakton. Join us, and learn something new. :

Helen Gallagher owns and operates Computer Clarity, in Glenview, IL; the firm has a newsletter, does PC-related consulting and installation, and can be reached at 847/998-6240 or by e-mail at cclarity@netpad.com or at Website www.cclarity.com.

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