October 8, 2008

Virtual image of a network cable
Virtual image of a network cable


Why is sending and recieving email to and from a friend no different than driving to Mexico from Los Angeles and back again?

My friend wanted to show off his new spaceship, uh sports car, by inviting me to a trip from Los Angeles to a little sea port village south of Tijuana. His enthusiasm for the fun we would have was quite comical especially the part when he said we would be back the next day.

Did he know it was a weekend? yes.

Did he know it was also a holiday? yes.

Is he crazy? No. He did not understand how traffic flows and the obstacles that he would face, obstacles that he was totally unaware of.  

Did I go with him? No. Did he go anyway? Yes. Did he have any fun? He said he did but sitting for 10 total hours stopping and going at 3 miles an hour in a spaceship no matter how luxurious is not my my idea of fun. 

What was the problem? Going from one network of traffic to another, the border wait. IF you ever have driven to Mexico then the following pictures should trigger your memories of frustration and discomfort.

crossing the boarder to Mexico

crossing the border to Mexico


How about coming back?

Leaving Mexico
Leaving Mexico


What does this have to do with email?

Well internet traffic is designed after the same model of highways, freeways, roads and border crossings that cars, trucks and motorcycles travel by. 

IP packets and vehicles
IP packets and vehicles

Just like trucks and cars and motorcycles ip-packets that carry your data though the internet are of different sizes and travel different speeds. Remember the anger you felt after 2 hours of waiting at the border to see a motorcycle shoot past your car and all the other motionless traffic to take first place at the border exit? Or maybe you have been stuck behind a slow moving semi and finally were able to accelerate around him and proceed at a faster pace. Or just for fun you wished you had a police interceptor and to go flying down the freeway, way past the speed limit with the siren and lights blaring?

If we imagine that every firewall and router as a border crossing and each motorcycle, car and truck as an IP packet carrying data then we begin to see where the problems can and do happen.

Let me introduce the CHP vehicle of the internet “ping”. “ping” does not behave as other vehicles (IP packets) his job is to patrol the internet when called upon to report access and destination status. He travels at top speed and has total clearance through border crossings (firewalls and routers). 

If you click the  start icon and then left click on run then type in cmd, a black window appears. Type in “ping yahoo.com” then press enter.

You get a report like this:


Ping reports that yahoo.com is the ip adress of and it took anywhere from 19 ms( miliseconds) to 23 ms (miliseconds) average speed 21 ms.

So then 21ms is  the speed your data moves to get to yahoo and back?  No!

It’s like being a police interceptor with lights and sirens blaring, that is not normal traffic, this is “ping”.

Now lets check the border crossings i.e. the routers and firewalls.

We will now simulate a packet of data and report the wait time at each border (router and firewall) on the way to yahoo.com

In the same window now type “tracert yahoo.com”.

As it goes through each border (firewall and router) it reports the wait time.  

tracert for Yahoo.com
tracert for Yahoo.com


The three columns are the three times it is tried.  

Notice it took 31 ms to leave San Diego but it took over 106 ms to get through Los Angeles!

Also notice the first attempt to get through router  in Los Angeles (line 8 ) took 260 ms !

What if we drove across the borders in a semi instead of a cobra sports car (tracert)  would the times be different?

What do you think happens when we add pretty graphics with fancy fonts for our email and attach multiple photo images with sound? Does the word “18 wheeler” mean anything to you?  🙂

IF your vehicle (ip packet) is suspected of carrying contraband (viruses and spyware) it will be rerouted to a different gate to be inspected ! That inspection could take forever! Worst yet your vehicle (ip packet) could be confiscated!

Will I go to Mexico with you?

Only if we travel light and ride motorcycles! 🙂

Where is ñ on the keyboard?

July 15, 2008

I know that you have been caught trying to type on the computer a Spanish name or word and have been very fustrated in your attempt tried to find the ñ on the keyboard. I know that you saw the n key and the ~key and wondered how do you put the one above the other.  Or after it was printed with just an “n” you went back over it with a black pen and put in the tilde (swiggly line) Well you are not alone.  It seems to be a secret that those who know how to find it don’t like to tell others how to do it.

Yes every keyboard can do the ñ as well as the ¡ and ¿ .  Many think the answer is using the character map program located in  Start  then Programs then Accessories then System Tools, but that is rather cumbersome and time consuming. 

Is there a quicker way?

YES, the keyboard doesn’t just have 101 character keys it has 256 characters built into it. You see every time you press a key it transmits a 4 digit numerical code to the computer which then reproduces the corresponding character on the screen. The letter “a” is 0097. Guess what the letter “b” is. You got it, 0098. This is the hard one …. what is the letter “c” , I know, duh 0099.

But bear with me now.

Did you ever wonder what the “Alt” key on your keyboard was for? It is for  the alternate method of accessing  characters , not only the ones you see but also the ones that are not on your keyboard! Remember there are 256 characters. On the right side of your keyboard is a numeric keypad, press the NumLock key once; a light should come on telling you that your keypad is in the number mode. Now hold down the Alt key (next to the space bar, left side). Keeping it depressed punch in the numbers 0097 then let go of the Alt key What did you get ? If you didn’t get anything, you have to be in notepad or MS Word or a text file or any word or text processor. Sorry I thought it was pretty obvious 🙂

With everybody in notepad or MSWord, what did you get? You got the letter “a”.  Pressing the alt key  with a four digit number you are doing what the keyboard does when you press a key.

Here we go now…. holding the alt key down, punch in 0241 then let go on the alt key and presto you get an “ñ

Try the alt key with 0161 and then 0191 isn’t that cool ?!

Here is the test…… what number keys did I press with the alt key to get the following?



Here are the answers but they are not in the correct  order

0153   0174   0169   0190    0189   0188   0247   0165   0128   0163   0162

But my favorite is


 (alt with the 1 key)

Enjoy !

Real and Virtual Memory (The True Fairy Tale)

June 19, 2008

I was quite overwhelmed by the responses I received from the last email I sent out. 

It has taken me sometime to read them all. There are so many different questions, but a common thread is the apparent misunderstanding of the word “memory”.  So to undo all the confusion about virtual memory, processor memory, and the hard drive, I made this video which should answer all your questions in that area.  I would like very much for you to email me with your comments on how you enjoyed the video.  This is for you, so if you have more questions or specific things you would like to learn please email them to me and I will do my best to provide the answers in the upcoming training videos.

So here it is Real and Virtual Memory (the True Fairy Tale)

 http://s3.amazonaws.com/SDIC/VRTLM/vrtlm.html  <– click here

 Enjoy !

A special thanks for their quick and detailed response to my email:  

Tina at Design Perspectives, www.designperspectives.net

Janine at Riopelle Development, www.riopelledevelopment.com

A Little Star Trek Magic

June 4, 2008

Enterprise D


Remember on a Star Trek TNG episode, to prevent a warp core breech, Data reconfigures his tri-corder and scans a Romulan quantum singularity and instantly they go 15 minutes back in time and prevent the core breech!

Did you know your computer is equipped with the same thing?
Well not really  🙂

But you can go back in time in your computer to undo your last action.
Does this sound familiar?
You spend 30 minutes typing up and email message, get ready
to hit send, your hand slips, and the message disappears.
You feel a rush of anger, fear and sadness in your gut, take
a deep breath, and start typing again.
Do this instead:
Next time something like that happens, just hit the “Ctrl+Z”
keys and it should undo the last action you took in a web
browser, form, word processor, spreadsheet or virtually any
other Windows application.
I can’t tell you how many times “Ctrl+Z” has pulled my bacon
out of the superheated plasma fire when I accidentally hit the wrong button or key.

Here is another…
Captain Picard is not answering his hale. Commander Ryker summons the shipboard computer to locate the Captain, to which the computer responds that “the captain is in his quarters”.

Did you know your computer is equipped with the same thing?
Well not really. 🙂
Does this sound familiar?
The more you use your computer, the more files you seem to
create and collect.
Often, finding files you already created rates harder than
just creating a new one, especially after any significant
length of time passes.
Two shortcuts can help you quickly find the files you need
with just a few keystrokes.

(windows logo key)+F for FIND

This combination of the Windows logo key (the key with the picture of the Mirosoft flag  at the bottom of your keyboard left side) and the F key at the same time launches the Windows Search
This enables you to search for files based on partial
filename (because if you could remember the entire filename,
you would have found it already), file type (all your MP3
files), contents of the file (I know the spreadsheet
contains these words), creation date (I created this file
last month), and more. (try it now!)

(windows logo key)+E for EXPLORE

(windows logo key)+E – This allows you to open up the Windows
explorer feature in Windows to explore your hard drives,
memory sticks, CD and DVD drives.
Windows Explore makes it very easy to get your hands on a
file if you know where it is (or, at least where it should
be the last time you used it). (try it now!)

Here is another…
LT. Cdr. Warf at the bridge console informs the Captain that sensors are picking up a unidentified contact at bearing 45 mark 70. The Captain orders it to be placed on the viewer. It is too small to be visual on the screen. The Captain then gives the order to Magnify and the contact is totally visible, filling the screen with its detail.
Did you know your computer is equipped with the same thing?
Well not really. 🙂
Does this sound familiar?
Your looking at a spreadsheet or on the internet and you just can’t make out what is written or what the image is.

(COTROL KEY)+Mouse Wheel

You can solve this problem with (CONTROL KEY)+Mouse Wheel.
Just hold the key down and roll your mouse wheel up
and down to adjust the zoom.
This little shortcut works in many applications, including
Word, Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Excel. (try it now!)

Here is another…
While about to beam an “away team” back to the Starship Enterprise an approaching alien ship triggers an automatic response to “Red Alert” bring up all shields and arm the Photon torpedoes and phasars; cutting off the beam-up of the “away team”.
The Captain immediately orders cancel “Red Alert” and then gives the order “DROP SHEILDS” and the beam up is resumed.
Did you know your computer is equipped with the same thing?
Well not really. 🙂
Does this sound familiar?
Ever look down at your task bar and see 20 open windows and
realize you need to make your way to the desktop in a hurry?

(WINDOWS LOGO KEY)+D for DROP shields oops I mean windows
(WINDOWS LOGO KEY)+D will minimize all open windows on your computer
giving you direct access to the surface of the planet , uh, your desktop.
Hit the keys again and your open windows spring back to life
and allow you to continue working. (try it now!)

Here is another…
Remember how many times Commander Ryker heard the words “You are now promoted to the rank of Captain”. Then before the episode is over he is returned to Commander.
Did you know your computer is equipped with the same thing?
Well not really. 🙂
But like the imaginary Commander/Captain/Commander Ryker your text can with a simple command convert text to all CAPS, or change to Title Case, or convert to all lower case?
(SHIFT KEY)+(F3 KEY) for Promote or Demote
Simply highlight the text in your word processor and hit
(SHIFT KEY)+(F3 KEY) to cycle between all caps, lowercase and title
This shortcut rates very handy when you don’t want to retype
blocks of text.

Did you know that Commander Data uses these commands on his computer while in his quarters?

Well not really. 🙂

R. Frank Tulak

Outlook Tutorial

May 14, 2008

Its here; I finally finish the training tutorial for outlook. If your asking does it have everything in it, the answer is no, but it answers the majority of all the questions and problems our people have.

I did it at 2:10 a.m. in the morning.

I don’t have a lot of time during the day so the only time I have is at night. Also I am fairly new to the video capture software so I promise the next videos will get better and more entertaining for you as I get better.

The video starts off slow but picks up until I hit some snages. There is a lot of great information in this video so please endure my fumbling, it was late at night and I was a little tired but we really want you to benifit from the information. Please allow it to buffer before you click on it to play.

Here is the first tutorial on Outlook (ignore the popup it is unavoidable at this time)

Next Tutorial:

Overview of the “NEW” SDIC site and how to control and access your email and your personal spam filter on our server before it get to your computer.


Table Top Computer for your fingers !

Here is Microsoft’s amazing new Interface called “Surface Computing” it uses the Intel quad core processor. It is truely jaw dropping and available now (but not for home yet).




by R. Frank Tulak