Bob and Joy
     By Bob and Joy Schwabach

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May 2001, Week 1 -- Flipping Over This


  Mimio flipBook


   Meetings with flip charts are often beyond boring for the audience. Imagine how bad it must be for the person flipping the charts.

    If only people's questions and suggestions for improvements could be incorporated into the charts as they're flipped. There is a way to do this. Virtual Ink has just started shipping its "mimio flipChart." This is a device similar to their earlier note-taker for white boards, but smaller.

   The technology is the same: a bar-shaped sensor is clipped onto the side of the flip card backing board and tracks the movements of special pens used to make notes and drawings. The device itself is about the size of a telephone handset and weighs less than six ounces. A cable connects it to any PC and the software records any notes or sketches made using the special pens. The pens can be either black or colors. In practice, the use of the mimio flipChart is simple and easy. The sensor can detect pen movements across flip boards as large as 3 x 5 feet.


   A big advantage in using the mimio flipChart device is that it records all changes, final or not. Sometimes the final changes made to a presentation are later reconsidered and people think that one of the earlier, discarded suggestions, might be best after all. This often happens with brain storming sessions using a whiteboard or blackboard. But using the mimio device all changes are stored in the computer,and it's no more trouble to go back to an earlier one than take the last.


   The mimio flipChart is $300 list price, from Virtual Ink. All the requisite pieces and cables come in the box. Phone: 877-696-4646; web:


A chest of drawers for the web



   Just as in newspapers and magazines, browsing the web turns up interesting bits and pieces you'd like to keep. Paper pieces can be clipped and put in folders, but what to do with clips from the web?

   "eGems Collector Pro" is a kind of web browser's chest. Find anything you'd like to keep and run over it with the mouse. Drag that over to the eGems icon and it is automatically stored, along with the time, date and Internet address it came from. Related items can be stored in subject drawers.


   eGems Collector Pro is $60 for Windows, from Gemteq Software. Phone: 877-223-4367; web: You can download a 30-day free trial.


Cookie jar


   "Cookie Pal" is a cookie controller from Kookaburra Software.


   "Cookies" are small pieces of computer code that typically track where you go on a web site. Their purpose is to facilitate your next visit. The problem is some sites use them for marketing information and sell your e-mail address use patterns. Cookie Pal lets you look at cookies before they are downloaded to your web browser and decide whether to keep or reject them. Some users think that it's best to simply reject all cookies, but some web sites will not let you browse unless you accept cookies. (Our own site is not one of those, by the way.)


   Cookie Pal is free to try, $15 to keep. Download it from,  and other shareware sites.




--  A huge site, centered on a remarkable service that provides full text access to articles from a list of 3,000 journals and magazines for $20 a month. The publications are relatively obscure, such as the "American Institute of Chemical Engineers," and "Welding Design and Fabrication." But with 3,000 choices there's lots to browse. Some services are free, such as headline news and business stories from around the world, and links and guides for researching companies and technical and business subjects. Astonishing content level.


-- Links to drivers and downloads that should solve many problems. Links are here for any versions of windows. Also has tech support links.

Yukon -- Tombstone Territorial Park


--  A great site for arthritis sufferers. Learn what kind of arthritis you may have and the kinds of treatment available. Tons of information.

--   25,000 small inns and guest houses, worldwide, many with pictures.

Tech Support Tip

   Tech support is circling the drain. Chances of getting someone who knows the solution to your PC problem are slim to none. The pay is not great and the tight labor market means that a lot of these people are marginal hires. Fortunately, when you get a dodo it becomes apparent almost immediately. Our solution is to hang up with some excuse like "This connection is terrible, I'll have to call you back." Since calls are taken in order received, you will usually get a new person. Eventually you get someone who actually knows something.




   Make your own adventure game. "Quest Creator" comes complete with characters and castles and lets you design your own Medieval adventure game. It's downloadable from, and other download sites. Free to try, $15 to keep. (A note here: such "create your own game" programs have been available for many years and if this area interests you, try a more extensive search using key words such as "create games" or "programmable games," etc.)


NOTE: Readers can search more than four years of columns at the "On Computers" web site: You can e-mail Bob Schwabach at  or