Wednesday, September 8, 2010

No Really - This Is About Folders & Files

Next I want to discuss organizing the information you will gather and want to keep in your My Documents file folder.

You will use the same process that you would use to set up a filing system in your office. If you don’t have a filing system and don’t set one up on your computer then every file you create or save will show up in one huge group when you open you’re my documents file.

If you have varied interests and do research or write about things or take pictures and want them on the computer you will need to think about making folders with unique names and possibly even folders within folders.

In my home office file cabinet I have hanging folders with titles like Finances, Wills, Owner Manuals, Insurance, Medical, Writing, Publishing, etc.

Within Finances, I have twelve pendaflex folders named by month. I put my receipts and monthly finance information into these folders and at the end of the year I go through them for tax information. I have a thirteenth folder at the back of the Finances folder called Taxes which is where I keep my income tax information for a few years.

The same thing exists on my computer I am a published author. I’m currently writing two new books. I use a word processing program on my computer and I’ve set up a folder called Writing and Research. Within that file folder in My Documents I have several other files one each by book title, one for Research and so on. Like this:
  • Inside Writing and Research are the sub files:
  • And within each of these file folders are individual files, emails and some pictures and audio pieces to support the writing that I do.
I love Railroads, I worked for one for many years and one of my new books is set in a railroading community. So within My Documents is Writing and Research an within that is Railroads and inside that is the word processing file I created last month for the website.

This is just one way in which you can set up organizational file folders and files on your hard drive.

I have many interests and am active in many things. To keep my life somewhat orderly, I have a Calendar, File folders set up for various kinds of information like my writing.

I find if I am thoughtful when I create a file folder within My Documents and then even more thoughtful about the sub folders and their contents my information is compact and organized just like in a folder in my file cabinet. I can grab a folder by copying it onto a portable device such as a USB drive (finger drive) and take it with me to another computer for instance if I want to use the information somewhere else.

It just takes a bit of mindfulness to make your computing life as harmonious as the rest of your life.

Are You Ready For The Internet?

Last month we talked about the basic elements of your computers and how to do disk cleanup and defrag.

This month I want to talk about checking for internet readiness.

I know many biofeedback practitioners who have been told not to put anything onto their computer and never never to use the internet from their computer, except for the technical assistant who told one person that they could always go to this one place on the internet and that wasn’t using it at all.

Well, hmmmm. What you have that is the house for all the screens for the programs running with your device is a computer. Simple. All it is capable of is adding numbers very fast. That’s it. In these times, the computer and software for it has become more graphic and we demand to see pictures that are movie quality. We want games we want our financial software to show us pie charts in full color and on and on. We want to see what’s on the internet – we want information. Well sure we do and we can have it at our fingertips.

I’d say that most of the computers which have come loaded with the software for your devices are already set up to seek internet connections.

The computer I have was built for me by a company which specializes in creating computers for our special market. Just to the right of the on/off button is a silver button that has a slanted line through a ball on the icon. That button is what turns on and off the computer’s internet seeking capability. If you have a different computer, just go to an internet ready cafĂ© or the center of your town maybe and turn on your computer. It will probably find a connection that you can use.

Before you do that it’s a good thing to think about protecting your computer with a good anti-virus software package. There are several available and many are free. You will need to ask someone you trust to know about these things to find the one for you or do your own research from a library internet ready computer or someone else’s computer which is protected by an anti-virus program.

When you find what you want you can buy it in a box from a store or download it directly from the internet and it pretty much sets itself up for you. Mostly what you have to do is tell it when and how often you want it to scan your system and look for it’s own updates to keep it current of virus treat names.

Check your computer’s “Security Center” which is located from

             SECURITY CENTER

Click on the red, green, blue and yellow shield icon entitled “Security Center” and then you will see this screen.

You can manage security settings for: Internet Options, Windows Firewall, and Automatic Updates. They are displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Internet Properties allows you to set the security levels by moving a slide bar from one priority level to another. You will see a definition of the consequences of each level so you can choose which one you feel most comfortable with. Windows always gives you a hint as to which is the most common one to use.

The Connections tab shows you how you are connected to the internet. In this example there are two types of connection to the internet because I have one by cable in the house and I have a USB internet connection device commonly called an “Air Card”. If there is nothing here, then you need to choose an internet connection and set it up. If you have a telephone in your office you can use a DSL line, or you can call one of the cable companies in your area and set up a very inexpensive internet connection. If you don’t have these things available to you then you might want to investigate one of the cellular phone internet devices available, like the air card I mentioned above.

If you are looking at air cards, check do an analysis of all the phone companies in your area to see which one has the most cell sites and the best offerings and price for their air card. Some of them offer you the moon but have no coverage. Be cautious and really do the research to get the best price and package you can.

The General Tab lets you choose a home page or some other internet page to be displayed for you whenever you log on to the internet. You don’t have to have anything selected here. Some people like to have the home page of their internet provider page displayed if that is where they have their primary email account.

I have two emails set up to display and a search page. So I have three internet addresses or URL’s which I copied and pasted into the box from the address bar of the website I wanted displayed when I log on to the internet.

You might want to choose a news account like CNN or a local television station or NOAH. The choices are endless and you can customize your online experience by selecting something that you are interested in to display to you when you log on.

When you click on the Programs Tab you have the ability to select your primary email ISP, the programs you want to use for your primary calendar (if any) or contact lists. I have an office software package which I do use here for calendar, contacts list and to use to create files which I can copy to my website like this one.

You don’t have to set up anything here – when the computer was set up at the factory or by your system technician this screen would undoubtedly have be set up for your system. You have the ability to change and customize the programs you want to use for yourself on this page.

So far we’ve talked about preparing for using the internet, selecting an anti-virus package to protect your computer while you are on the internet or whenever you receive files or programs from another source and just a minimal amount of discussion on setting up your internet.

Tea Pot - Computer - Boat Anchor???

I’m a little tea pot
Short and stout
Here is my handle
Here is my spout

I told them I wanted movies and songs and
News at my fingertips all day long
I told them I serve a biofeedback user
I wanted graphics and internet – I’m a computer!

This may all sound very silly comparing teapots to computers. But! The only difference between one and the other is a software program that runs when the power is turned on to the computer. People used to use words like “boot” the computer. That came from an old saying of pulling one’s self up by their boot-straps. Basically that is what happens with a computer. It doesn’t know it is a computer until enough electricity is given it to activate a small program which tests its parts and pieces until it gets the word that this is indeed a computer and not a teapot. Until you see the Operating system icons come into view, i.e. XP or Vista or whatever you are using for an Operating System, effectively the thing is a tea pot. Or, as an old friend of mine used to say ….it’s not a computer it’s a boat anchor.

When your computer has shown the Operating System Screen it takes anywhere from a minute to all day depending on how old it is, how frequently or infrequently you use clean up and defragmentation programs which reside on your computer to “boot up” and become the computing tool which it was intended to be by the manufacturer.

Your computer is unlikely to burn up or blow up unless you get frustrated and do it to it. The only time in my years of computing that I ever smelled smoke was when I was manufacturing computers for desktop use and I bought five new cases from my parts supplier. Three of the power supplies were bad. When I turned the power on to those three units, there was smoke and noise and lights! I returned them as defective, changed parts suppliers and never had that problem again. And mind you, this happened before the parts could be called a computer at all.

I have been hearing recently that some technical help people are actually telling people they should never access the internet (except for one particular “safe” site) and that they need no Virus protection or a Firewall set up to protect their “not on the internet” computer. Hmm.

I’ve been a computer Manager and Consultant for a combined total of thirty-five years. I’ve been a biofeedback Specialist for four years. I can tell you with all authority that if your computer has the capacity to “go to” one place on the internet, you are connected to the internet completely and you do need virus protection software and someone to explain to you the difference between being “on” the internet and not being able to connect to the internet.

If your CLASP32 software (biofeedback) is loaded on a portable computer (laptop) and your laptop has the ability to detect a WiFi (wireless) network near it then it will seek that connection and attempt to use it. If the wireless connection is “open” like some coffee shops, the downtown portion of most cities and many hotel/motels, then when you turn on your internet ready (WiFi) computer you will see some indication that you have the ability to start your “browser” like IE (Microsoft’s Internet Explorer) or some other ISP (Internet Service Supplier) and go to your favorite webpage or pages, check your email or set up an email account and then check it, etc.

My intention in writing these few articles on my own website is to create a “safe place” for people to learn about their biofeedback computer, the device attached to it, the software which shows you the screens we call biofeedback and more.

You have paid a lot of money for these pieces of equipment and the software to run them. You have a right and I’d say an obligation to yourself to understand at least enough about your devices to get the most out of them you want to get.

I use the internet right along with the CLASP32. When I feel like checking a word or concept I go to my browser and search for the word or concept I want to know more about right there in the moment while I’m still working on a client. I have Microsoft Office with the Word program on my computer and I Open a Word File or “Pile” as a friend once termed it and many people now call their word processing documents a “Word Pile” and in my case I use my Word File to make notes or take information (copy) into the CLASP32 while I’m working on it. It saves time to have a file of information which you use routinely to copy and paste into the biofeedback programs instead of remembering them and typing them in every time you do a session.

Life and work just gets easier the more you learn about your computer and the software installed on it for your use.

So, you have many components to what some people call their “biofeedback system.”

    a. You have a computer (usually a laptop)
    b. You have a Biofeedback device
    c. Possibly a USB backup “finger drive”
    d. Possibly an external USB mouse
    e. Possibly a printer or printer/fax/phone
    f. Possibly a headset and external speakers
    g. Possibly an external Backup device
    h. Possibly a digital camera
    i. Possibly a digital phone recorder which captures teleconferences for you to copy onto your computer.


a. You have one of the largest “medical” software packages on the market – the CLASP32 version???? (new versions seem to be released every two or three months and have been since I bought my system in 2006).

b. BODYVIEWER, is packaged along with the CLASP32 and as of the IRB studies of 2009, you must click that you accept the running of this piece of software during your biofeedback session.

c. IRIDOLOGY, is packaged along with the CLASP32 and as of the IRB studies of 2009, you must click that you accept the running of this piece of software during your biofeedback session.

d. DISEASE DICTIONARY, is packaged along with the CLASP32 and as of the IRB studies of 2009, you must click that you accept the running of this piece of software during your biofeedback session.

e. There are many other pieces of software “bundled” within your CLASP32 Biofeedback “system” which you don’t see in each session and don’t need to know much about.

There are many things you do need to know about your “set up” to keep it running smoothly and to use it to its’ fullest capacity.

How do you find out what software applications are loaded on your computer? Click the START button then click on ALL PROGRAMS and take a look at what you have available to use. Do you see an Office-like program; Word or Open Office for example? Do you see Games?

Click on the:


Look down the line of programs from SYSTEM TOOLS until you see DISK CLEANUP and DISK DEFRAGMENTER. These are cleanup and maintenance tools you need to use at least monthly if not more regularly.

When you click on DISK CLEANUP it begins to interrogate your hard drive and when it is finished it gives you a checkbox of items to remove from your drive. Most of the ones you do want to clean up are already checked so you really don’t have to do much except say OK. See the small box in the picture below. Do that often and your computer will run more efficiently.

When DISK CLEANUP is finished it goes away like magic.

Go again through the steps to SYSTEM TOOLS and click on DISK DEFRAGMETER. Sounds ominous, like an action figure. Well the truth is Windows/DOS-based machines like XP is rather like going into a library and checking out a book only whoever puts the book back has a strange way of thinking.

It’s like this:

You create a WORD file (.doc or .docx) to write a shopping list. After putting ten things on the list you need to leave and come back later. You Save and Close the document and go away. When you return to add to the list you Open the document and do more work, add more things. When you are finished for awhile you Save and Close again. You might do this over and over until you have the list you want.

What the computer does is this:

The first time you save the document it is stored somewhere on the hard drive by the program. When you “check it out” again, add to the file and then close it again it might not fit where it was originally because another file has been created by someone else and the space of the original file is too small for the new copy of the file. So, the computer creates a series of “links and chains” connecting the second and every other fragment of the file until you are ready to print it and go shopping.

This happens over time with every file that is added to by any piece of software on your computer. Over time your hard drive is full of bits and pieces of files connect by links and chains. If this goes on long enough without running the DEFRAGMENTER the Operating system can forget where it put all the pieces and that file may become corrupted and you will never get it to open again.

DEFRAGMENTATION takes all the parts and pieces of every fragmented file and copies them into enough space to hook them all together again or re-concatenate the file, making it whole and in one place on the drive. Wiktionary gives this definition of concatenation: A series of links united; a series or order of things depending on each other, as if linked together; a chain, a succession. So if things are connected by links or chains making an order or series of pieces of a file then re-concatenation is how the file pieces are put back together again into an integral whole. DEGRAGMENTER is the phrase folks came up with when they got tired of using re-concatenation. It means to take fragments and make them whole again.

Long story - simple concept; if the computer is allowed to become infected with too many fragments of files it will forget that it is a computer and become a teapot once again. Defragmentation or DEFRAG for short takes awhile to accomplish now that we have hard drives counting in the hundreds of gigabytes but it is vital to the continued functioning of your DOS-based Windows computer.