Computers and The Internet

Page: 3

Changing ISPs: A good place to start is "The List" at They have a pretty comprehensive data base of ISPs everywhere. You can search with your area code to find the ones that offer local access for your area. They have the basic info including cost and service particulars, plus links to the ISP's site for more info. The nationwide ISPs like Earthlink and others offer easy set up, similar to AOL.

Anne Gerdes

Miniature Hosting Site: I have noticed many comments from several of you seeking inexpensive or free hosting for your miniature web sites. I can not recommend The Miniature Net highly enough. The search engines used to list our sites are great. Any search I run on any site such as Lycos, Google, etc. brings my site up quickly and in the first page of listings. This is important if you want your items to be found. The Miniature Rings provided through this service are excellent. Down time is almost non existent. I also like the idea of miniature sites banding together in one area. I think this benefits all of us.

Becky Holliday

Tips for SS Newcomers: Kay in Ottawa wrote this great list of Tips for SS Newcomers. If you like it, I'll repeat it on a monthly basis. ~anne When you contribute to the Digest, please remember the following:

1. Avoid using the "arrow head" symbols above the comma and period. It does strange things to the text for many readers.

2. Avoid writing in ALL CAPS. It makes text harder to read for most people, and some consider it shouting.

3. Hit "Enter" twice between paragraphs instead of just indenting. A bit of white space between, breaking up long posts, is a *good* thing.

4. Use the subject line to describe what you are talking about. It makes things easier for people who are looking for specific information,
or who are pressed for time and skimming the digest.

5. If you refer to a website, include 'http://' at the beginning of the URL. This will automatically allow most others to just click on it to get

6. If you comment on a website, even if it follows someone else's mention, please give the URL so others can find it. They may have just
joined SS today and not seen the original post!

7. Remember there's no such thing as a dumb question. If you don't know the answer, asking is the intelligent thing to do.

8. However new you are at minis, you know things that other people don't. Please share what you know.

Anne Gerdes

Photo Hosting Sites: Right now the most popular photo hosting sites (strictly photo hosting - not a web site) are Picturetrail, Webshots, and Epson. There may be others I don't know about as well.

The picturetrail site is at: - It allows you to do some interesting things, but I personally hate when people put the optional music on their site. I immediately turn it off, and do the same on other web sites as well. If I can't easily turn off the music, I don't even bother looking at the site. I find it extremely annoying and it can really give you a shock when you aren't expecting it.

Webshots is at: - This site has some nice features as well including a nice slide show program. The albums are easy to load and to work with. Biggest drawback is that you can't stop people from using your images on the stuff they sell on the site such as posters, etc.

Epson is at: They are "powered by Photopoint" and basically look and work the same as photopoint, except they are free. Their galleries are even tied into the photopoint galleries. Biggest drawback on this one is that you can't use it for remote photo hosting (such as linking to eBay auctions, etc.) I'm not sure whether you can do that with the other two sites, either. Never needed to worry so I never checked.

Bonnie Gibson

Printable site: I was browsing through the net and came across this French site that has some nice printable items. In case the URL doesn't work...I will also say, I went to Altavista, scrolled to the bottom where they list countries and clicked on France...which brings up a French search site..then I typed in "Dollhouses" and up came [I think??] about 12 sites and one mentioned something that resembled 'printables' so I went there and this was the result...hope you can find it...

and a later page for the same site;

I find if I go to different country sites and type in either doll houses or miniatures/dollhouses, etc...if they have anything they will tell you...There are some nice Dutch sites, one has a lot of good printables...If you are interested I will locate and post that one too... You may not be able to read the instructions etc. so you may have to just click onto everything they list...but if there is anything there , like printable will find it...and in the meantime, you get to look through some nice miniature displays... The Dutch site has both English and Dutch so it is easy for us who read no Dutch...

Pat Jones in Nova Scotia

more sites to investigate...I am glad that some of you went and looked at the site I posted French printables...and found them as good as I for the Dutch site...I will give two URLS, one is a list of many Dutch sites on miniatures, [and some from all over the world too]...on the right hand side of the list if you scroll down, and will find "printable minis" listed..or a similar phrase, in English so you can find some good sites on there...but I could never find Petra's through that site and she has a great site so I will give her Url second also...

That is for the list...this is for Petra"s

You will find on Petra's site at the top right hand corner a British there for the English version of the site....

Pat Jones in Nova Scotia

I do not think the importance of eBay as a tool for the miniaturist can be underestimated. So many of us are in isolated situations due to location or health. With eBay, SS, and a few chat rooms, we are able to feel a part of the miniature world. With this in mind, I have a few observations:

**It is important to remember that eBay, just like any store we may shop has both good and bad merchandise, steals and deals. The old expression, "Buyer beware" still applies.

** It is our responsibility to ask the right questions and read the posted terms of sale. Keep asking questions until you have enough information to make an informed decision. This is not a place for impulse buying, even if it is an auction site.

**To blame eBay for our own errors in judgment seems a bit harsh. We are each responsible for our own actions. I doubt that any of us refuse to eat a hot dog, ever again!!!! just because we were served a bad one from one vendor.

**If items are selling for an idiotic amount of money - quit bidding. Wait for another day and another opportunity. On the same line of thought, remember that one persons trash is another's treasure. Do not belittle or degrade what is irrelevant to you. Another may feel it is the most important find they have ever made. If my great grandmother had a tiny white glass hen and rooster that she allowed me to play with as a child and I found a similar set on eBay, they would be worth a great deal to me. The memory they would represent would outweigh the price. To another they might just be a piece of plastic hardly worth the price of shipping.

**If we can find the item offered for sale in a store near us, consider the individuals who do not have that store near them but would like to have the same opportunities we have found. The potential buyer may be from a country or a part of the USA that does not have the same retail opportunities. Because we have easy access to some items does not mean that another individual in another part of the world would not pay double, even triple just for the opportunity to join in the fun the rest of us talk about. The Michael's hutch's are a good example of this.

**The seller can not offer it for no profit irregardless of how dedicated they may be to furthering the cause of miniaturing. If the seller is starting the auction at 4 or 5 times the retail value of an item, consider emailing the seller and discussing the matter. To email the bidder may risk your right to buy or sell on eBay. I would read their guidelines carefully.

**To refuse a seller because you find a negative comment in their feedback is not very realistic. Even eBay goes to great length to discuss this point. A negative response on a sellers feedback could indicate a lack of judgment, inexperience or just plain bad humor on the part of the complainer. View the negative as a part of the whole. I for one, have never known a business that didn't have one or more cranky customers looking for a reason to fuss.

**Be aware of the confusion you create for the seller when you have one name as your eBay User ID, another name for your email address and a third name for your true self. Some of you have a fourth business name. ALWAYS refer to your eBay User ID and the auction number. Remember to add this information to your check or money order. This is how eBay records all information about a sale for both the buyer and the seller. This confusion can play a large part in slow communication on the part of the seller. It is entirely possible they don't know who you are.

**It is best to wait until you have corresponded with the seller before making payment by PayPal or any other means. It is very easy to forget the shipping costs or other charges. This makes double bookwork and ample frustration for all.

**Gail and Bobbie have a very good idea if Noella and the gang approve. I too would like to add "member of Small Stuff - order with confidence" to all my future eBay auctions, but will refrain from doing so until the ladies make a judgment call.

**To suggest that SS be used to validate items offered for auction seems problematic to me. I don't think eBay would approve of being juried by any group. I think Anne, Noella and Joy would have to make an executive decision on that matter. I'm not sure the ladies would be willing to become a judge and jury. They carry a very heavy load now. I can see emailing an SS member whose judgment you trust and asking them to view an item for you. I just have a problem with SS becoming a forum for eBay.

Becky Holliday

Making Animated gifs: Photoshop 5.5. Just make up a document with for each position in the animation you wish to make. Then jump to Adobe Image Ready and create your animation. You can then save it as an animated gif, or even a QuickTime movie! Have fun! I do, and it's part of my job.

Dave Pierce

Archiving SS Digest & other information - I copy and paste the info I want to keep into a Microsoft Word document. This prevents me from using a lot of ink for printing and having tons of notebooks full of stuff I may not need just yet. If you click, hold and drag your mouse pointer over text, it will be highlighted. To copy, press and hold the Ctrl key then press the C key and let them go to copy this info into the computer's memory. In your word processor, position your cursor where you would like the text to be pasted.

Press and hold the Ctrl key then press the V key to paste. One or many documents (by subject) can be created. If using one document (I'm sure mine will get too large and eventually I'll have to break it into several), the Table of Contents feature can be used. Once a Table of Contents is generated, you can click on an entry in the Table of Contents and you are taken to that location in the document.

Pictures can also be pasted into your document. Place the mouse pointer over the picture on the web page and right click. Click on Copy. In your Word Processor, click on the Edit menu heading, click on the Paste Special command, then double-click on bitmap image. The image can be resized in the word processor if it is too large or small.

- - As for web site addresses I want to revisit, I have an extensive Microsoft Access database (I'd offer to share, but I'm not an Access whiz & the database is not particularly user friendly at this point). I never use the favorites or bookmarks feature in my internet access package as they can easily be lost (when changing software, hard drive crashes, etc.) and are hard to categorize without creating bunches of folders. However, Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Word would also be help in this area. For Microsoft Outlook, copy and paste (as described above) company names, addresses, web site addresses, email addresses, etc. from web sites into Contacts (one contact per web site address). For Microsoft Word or any other word processor, copy and paste the information into a document.

These methods CAN and DO fill your hard drive (my 8 gig hard drive is always full), so be sure to back things up. I move my stuff to CD with a CD burner then copy to the hard drive to add and delete information. CDs take a lot less space than notebooks in my over-busy computer/office/craft room.

Robin Konn

Printer ink cartridges: In reading and enjoying the latest edition of the Dictionary, I saw a reference to a post that I miss. It was an inquiry as to whether there it a tiny printer policeman who knows if you are using a refilled cartridge. The answer is YES. When you put a new cartridge in, the holder has to punch a hole into the cartridge. That bit of resistance tells it that this in a filled cartridge. If you refill a cartridge, of course you don't have that resistance to notify the printer that it has been refilled. PUT A PIECE OF SCOTCH TAPE OVER THE HOLE. Makes enough resistance to let the printer know everything is OK and doesn't affect the functioning of anything. Take it off and put a new one on the next time you refill.

Jeanne, San Anselmo, CA

Ebay: Ebay is like any other auction. I've been ripped off at auctions too. The rule is ; "Caveat Emptor," buyer beware. It is up to you to make sure everything is kosher. If the seller then sends you something that wasn't like the photo, or is broken, then you have the option to put a negative comment on their record, which is more than you can do for ordinary auctions. And yes, I've had the odd rip-off. I just don't deal with that person again. All I can say is the majority of transactions have been great fun and I've got some real bargains. There was one person who delivered a dh to my door and didn't charge me postage for it!

Just remember to check the prices with a catalogue and check the seller's record, if you haven't dealt with them before. Remember that every transaction is a risk.

Lynne Connolly

The Source: Spencer-Little is publishing The Source - A Worldwide Guide to Dollhouse Miniatures, and listings are free. I don't know the deadlines. The mailing just caught up with me at my new address and I'm sending my info today. If anyone else is interested, their website is

Dona Vaughn

Neat Free Shopping Cart: I just came across something that I think will benefit so many of us. I just found a shopping cart FREE that works with PayPal so that you don't have to have a merchant account!!! Just a PayPal account. YEAH! The BASE shopping cart is totally free and is fully functional, but for $10.00 a YEAR, yes, that's right, not a month, but for the YEAR you can get a few more features that are nice. The nice thing is that you don't have to be computer software engineer to do it. Plus, you don't have to have anything but the buttons ("shopping cart buttons" and "check out buttons") which is all I have on my website because I already had the site all set up and didn't want to start from scratch.

So if you want to see what it looks like with just the buttons, you can play around on my website at And, Well, HEY, if you see something while playing with the buttons, that you simply must have...Well I won't argue with you!! LOL : )

You can get details for the shopping cart at

I'm willing to, to help if you need it...I had to do a little debugging, because Netscape browser doesn't something weird with the info, but the website for the shopping cart does discuss this problem in FAQ's and that's how I fixed it.


Web Sites For Newcomers






Karolyn (Plymouth Ma)

Computer stuff: Someone was asking about scanning vs digital cameras. I work as a computer trainer for realtors in Northern VA and have had a bit of experience w/ this question. The thing that you have to decide about one vs the other is: What are you going to do with it? If it is to make 2D "printies", then a scanner is a good idea. I have at home the printer - HP DeskJet 870Cse Professional Series. This is a color printer that we have used to make very good quality photographs. We use a digital camera because most of the medium of pictures is a three-D image (people, landscapes, dollhouses and dollhouse accessories). The scanner we have at work is also an HP. I would recommend not a combo printer/scanner as then each only works half as well. And quite honestly, I'd get a digital camera instead of a scanner, digital cameras are selling for $200-$300 for a Good camera.

I also noticed that several of the people that post messages have asked for links and websites because their computers have crashed. One of the things that you need to do, at least once every three months (and some of you might need to do it every month) is to BACK-UP your files. What this means is make copies of your links and e-mails that you want to keep to a word document, make it into a file and save it on a diskette. That way, if you have computer problems, you have everything you need on that diskette. And if it is too big for a diskette, put it on a CD (if you have a CD-writer).

Laura C. Jevtich

SCANNER Quits: A tiny hint about maybe fixing your flat bed scanner.... if it stops... but sounds like it wants to go... unplug it, take the cover off. Unscrew two screws near the cover hinge and lift off the glass scanning bed. Look inside and you will see a chrome rod that the scanning mechanism rides on. Rub your finger on it and see if it feels dry. If so, get some 'White Grease' (comes in a tube at most hardware stores). Rub a light coating of this on the rod. Gently (Very Gently) pull the notched rubber belt with one hand and assist (Very Gently) the scanning mechanism to move forward. (This is a tight belt, and sturdy mechanism, use a bit of muscle, but be slow about it). There are a series of plastic gears that assist this process. Keep all your movements very gentle and slow. Grease behind the stopping place for the mechanism... lightly. Then clean the glass, replace the scanning bed, re-screw and plug back in. If that was the problem. . . it normally is... you're back in business! You've just saved yourself about $35 in tech charges for fixing something the factory should have seen to in the first place. Dry sliding rod and tight fitting cork bushing makes the scanner mechanism stick!! I even found dirt on the rod and some lumpy sticky stuff just where the mech. was stopping. . . this is the reason for that LOUD Clicking sound when you scan too!! The belt is slipping over the cogs. . as it scans. This will ultimately wear out the belt and damage the gears. Grease it!

Judie - Daytona Beach, FL

List for Aussie's to swap and trade? Sue here, Well, I did it, we now have a swap and sell list for people in Australia and New Zealand. All are welcome, please feel free to join us, its an open list. list website page is at Group home page: Group email

Sue Maynard, Founder

Fuzzy paper. I recently received a package of 'Micro format fuzzy paper' from The Imagination Gallery. This paper can go through your printer without leaving any little 'fuzzies' to gum it up.

I used Paint Shop Pro to print out some small scale rugs on it, and it worked wonderfully. (They also have something called 'Fabric Carrier' which I thought at first was some kind of tote bag...but no, it's a paper that you can back your thin fabric with, put it through the printer, print on the fabric, and then peel off the backing. Sounds very interesting to me, and I think I'll order a package this week.) They have a lot of other papers and decal makers that might be of use to us miniaturists too.

Kaye in L.A.

How to become computer-self-sufficient without becoming a computer geek:

1: Get a how-to book. Really. There are a couple of different series, but I'm most comfortable with the "________ for Dummies" series, since everything is so easy to find. The first time I worked in an office with a PowerMac (this was several years ago, but then all I had ever used were PCs and an old black and white 'breadbox' style mac), the "Macintosh for Dummies" book was so helpful, and kept me from feeling like an idiot. Many libraries have these, but they are so useful I recommend getting one for yourself.

2: Keep your computer and printer and scanner and whatever else manuals in a convenient place. I keep mine in a file folder in the front of the file cart, so they are easy to find. Highlight the help-line phone numbers, and note whether they are free or not. Read through them a couple of times, just enough to get a sense of where everything is so you can find it when you need it. If they have troubleshooting charts, flag these with tape so you can find them immediately if there is a problem.

3: Keep your software manuals on a bookshelf within reach of your desk (these are usually actual books, rather than slim booklets), and do the same sorts of things with them. Flag any quick-start guides in the manuals.

4: keep a little notebook of stuff that you do often or need to remember how to do. Writing things down helps to get them into memory - - I do this in my work room and the kitchen too! Also, a little flashlight can be a lifesaver if all that's happened is a loose cable.

5: If anything came with special hardware, cartridges or cables (like a digital camera), and they don't always plug into the back of the computer, set aside a special place to keep them. Our digital camera and all its little bits and bobs live in a little plastic shoebox on the file cart.

Maura Bass

A few computer tips: I've heard a few list members say that they are computer newbies. Since I can't offer any miniatures tips, as I am a 'mini-newbie', here are a few computer tips.

1. Install a good antivirus program and update it frequently. Since most viruses come to home users via email, look for one that has an email scanner. I use AVG Free Edition, which updates its virus database automatically, scans incoming and outgoing email, and has an Outlook Express plug-in. It's available at

2. To make sure new diskettes are usable, format the disk. Here are the steps in Windows: insert the diskette in the drive, open "My Computer" on your desktop, right mouse click on the "A" drive icon, and select "Format disk" from the menu. I don't have a re-writable CDROM drive yet, but I'm sure there are ways this function can be performed on new blank CDs.

3. Maura gave good advice on organizing your workspace; organize your computer as well. Only keep shortcuts on your desktop to those programs you use frequently. Organize your Start menu into categories and move all programs that created their own entries on your start menu into the appropriate categories. Close or minimize all windows except the one you are currently working on.

4. Do not delete any system files. If you're not sure what these are, there is an option you can select to hide system files so that you can't accidentally click on them. When in doubt, don't delete!

5. Just as in miniatures, the best way to learn your computer is to play with it! Click on buttons. Consult help files. Experiment with programs. Have fun!


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