Study extensions at Web site, create your own for convenience

Help line

April 03, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,Chicago Tribune

You answered a question about files of .xls and .pps extensions. Where do you obtain your knowledge of file extensions?

You can point your browser to www.acronymfinder.com. There you will find that .ffl probably refers to fantasy football league files from a computer game and .jpg is a type of graphics file. Files ending .sit are archives, usually for Macintosh machines, while .cabs are Microsoft compressed files.

Computer Currents magazine has posted a superb but more technical file-type dictionary at www.currents.net/resources/dictionary/filetypes.html

You also should know that programmers often make up their own file extensions, as in fantasy football. Also, you can set a computer to associate an extension you make up with whatever program you like.

To do this, click the My Computer icon in Windows, then pick View and then Folder Options, which will bring up a menu with the choice New Type.

I used this to create a file type (.jim) for personal text files. I could find my personal stuff by searching for files using the Windows wild-card command .jim instead of looking for them under .txt, which includes far more than just my personal files.

After owning an Apple Macintosh Performa 638, I bought a Windows-based Dell. I had been told that I would be able to read on a PC my old programs that were written in ClarisWorks 5. So far I have not been able to do this.

While Macintosh computers can read Windows-formatted disks, Microsoft has seen fit not to build similar cross-platform courtesy into its operating system. Mac reads and writes to Windows disks, but Windows won't recognize Macintosh-formatted disks.

You need to retrieve that Performa, or borrow someone else's Mac, and save those Claris files onto Windows-formatted floppies in text or ASCII format.

How do you create the degree symbol in Windows 98? In Windows 95, it works with the Alt button held down and entering 248.

Your note puzzled me, because while your solution works, it's not how Windows is designed to work.

You are supposed to hold down the Alt key and type 0186 on the keypad. You will note that your Alt+248 gets a symbol that is always in lightface, while Alt+0186 uses the exact font in bold or light.

The character map is found by clicking Start, then Programs/Accessories and then System Tools. It should answer the questions many readers have about getting various languages and symbols to look right in their documents.

After returning from a long trip, I logged on and got "error 2003 Winsock problem" when I tried to load Quicken 6. I contacted AOL and have received three responses, none of which solves the problem. I went to Quicken and was told no one follows this product. When I try to update stock quotes for Quicken 6, the program no longer recognizes AOL as the carrier and I get "Winsock problem."

You have a plumbing problem with your Internet connection, and you may have the devil's own time fixing it.

I'd bet that while you were gone the software that AOL continually updates on subscribers' machines was changed several times, and since you never ran AOL or Quicken, your machine is out of sync with the Winsock software.

Winsocks are programs that Internet service providers use to make the connection to the Internet; Winsocks change as software develops.

About all you can do is go back to the original version of the AOL software you had installed when you first loaded Quicken. To get rid of the offending Winsock, you need to uninstall your current version of AOL using the Windows Add/Remove software function: Click on the My Computer icon on the Desktop and then choose the Control Panel, where you will find the Add/Remove choice.

Once AOL is gone, reinstall it from your original disk and reload Quicken.

This should put AOL and Quicken back in sync.

Every week or so I upload an HTML page to AOL and have been doing this for several years, About 5 percent of the time the result is hash. The upload appears to go just fine, but when I turn on a browser to look at the result, it's garbage. This happens both on straight dial-out and on TCP/IP. Suggestions? Explanations?

HTML, the Hypertext Markup Language system that contains the text commands that cause Internet browsers to display Web pages, is just as cranky as any other programming language. This means that a bollixed command at the top of your program can knock off all of the stuff below it, making hash out of the display.

So, save your last page that works and then use it to compare the code for pages that flop.

Another possibility is that you are forgetting to save your HTML documents as text and thus are sending them to the Web site as formatted word processing files (such as the .doc or .rtf style) that would be unusable by browsers looking for a text HTML file.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune.com

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