This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

October 15th, 2001

Tecky Talk

As publisher of Fly Anglers OnLine part of my job is maintain this website, make sure all the pages come up when they are asked for, trim use logs, and check for errors created for whatever reason. Yes, there really is a log that keeps track of every error - ones made by someone typing in something wrong, perhaps by old bookmarks (favorites on Microsoft Internet Explorer) or a poorly configured search engine. They really do exist.

I know for a fact there are people who come to Fly Anglers OnLine (FAOL) and see pages which no longer exist! How can that be? What happens is your computer stores pages you view. When you call for that page again, you may not be getting it from FAOL at all. It may be coming from your own computer - or if you are signed up with some of the major services, they 'save' the page and 'serve' it back to you when you ask for it. That sounds complicated, but it is a pretty common practice. I have people asking for the old bulletin board we had three years ago!

Here's the problem. If the service provider doesn't come to FAOL to get whatever you ask for, you may get an old page - not what is currently up. The same thing can happen if you don't 'clear your cache.' The 'cache' is where your own computer stores the pages you use. You should be able to get any new page of FAOL by clicking your mouse on a page, using your right hand mouse button and clicking on 'reload frame' (Netscape) or on Microsoft Internet Explorer, "refresh."

If you don't clean the cache out on a regular basis, you can store up a huge amount of information (pictures take up a lot of space) and your computer slows down. If you have ever had a warning come up on your screen to the effect that you are running out of memory, it doesn't mean you personally have 'old-timers' disease. It does mean you need to do some maintenance on your computer.

Here is how you do that:

  • In Netscape 3.xx go to the "Options pulldown menu" and select "network preferences" and then clear both "memory and disk cache," click on "ok" then come back to this page.
  • In Netscape Communicator get the "Edit pulldown menu," then to "Preferences," you will see a + sign next to "advanced," click on the plus sign, then "Cache," it will allow you to clear memeory and disk cache.
  • In Explorer (AOL) go to either your "Control Panel Internet Icon" and in the portion under "Internet Temporary files" there is a "delete files button." Or under Microsoft Internet Explorer "Tools"(or "View" on older ones) menu, go to "Intenet Options" and under "Internet Temporary files" there is a "delete files" button which will clear the cache.

You will find your computer runs better if you do this on a regular basis. Some browsers allow you to set how often your computer will automatically clear the cache. If you have that option, choose 'once per session.'

One more piece of business, you MUST have a good virus program on your computer, and use the regular updates all of the good programs provide. The idea of folks passing on garbage virus by email is ridiculous and the number of people allowing it to happen because they refuse to take proper precautions is nearly criminal - in fact it may be, since it causes others sometimes very great expense to have their computers repaired. Our tecky friends tell me the time is coming when people without virus protected computers will be unable to connect to the internet at all.

I know many of you consider yourselves 'computer challenged' but if you can't personally figure out how to download a virus program (some of the best are FREE) then call your local internet service provider (listed in the phone book), or computer store - or any high-school student and ask for help.

We recommend a free virus program, AVG by Grisoft as well as the Norton and McAfee programs. The Grisoft program is very simple and can be done by "computer challenged" users, just follow the directions.

If you are on computer you have the responsibility to be reasonably informed. That doesn't mean you need to be able to decipher computer code, just sensibly maintain your computer. You will be a happier user - and with your computer virus protected you won't be sending on destructive viruses to others. And that's a really good thing. ~ LadyFisher

If you would like to comment on this or any other article please feel free to post your views on the FAOL Bulletin Board!

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