AnyPoint helps computers make connections

Help Line

June 12, 2000|By James Coates | James Coates,CHICAGO TRIBUNE

How about some help with connecting two computers together? I just received my new laptop computer. I also have a desktop computer attached to a printer. The laptop will be placed in a different room.

So I don't have to get another printer, is there a way I can network the laptop to use the desktop printer?

Intel's new AnyPoint radio network uses a broadcast station for desktops that hooks into the USB port; laptops are supported with a PCMCIA card. Range is about 150 feet and since there are no wires, this setup is great for laptops. Look to pay $130 for the laptop card and $120 for the desktop USB device.

A cheaper alternative is the AnyPoint device ($80 or so apiece) that does the same thing when you plug each computer into a phone jack. These networks use either the USB or the printer (parallel) ports to connect to the phone lines and are extremely easy to set up.

Readers who have a mix of Macintoshes and PCs should consider a competing and equally easy-to-use system from Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. that, unlike Intel's products, networks PCs and Macs.

We can't seem to fix a problem with Microsoft Word 2000: When we try to open individual documents by clicking on their icons, we get an error message and the program won't load.

These same files work fine when we just open Word and use the Open command under the File toolbar. The error message says: "MICROSOFT VISUAL BASIC Run-time error `5' Invalid procedure call or argument." Any help you can give would be much appreciated.

The problem is that somebody created a subprogram in Visual Basic for Applications, which is intended for advanced users. Subprograms usually do things like check the hard drive or the Internet for new information each time a document is opened.

Your easiest solution is to reload the Word software from the original CD.

If you don't have the CD, you might be able to fix the problem by disabling all Visual Basic elements in each of these files. Click on Tools and scroll down to the Visual Basic command in your version of Word. In the Visual Basic window that opens, select Add-Ins and then look to see which programs are on your machine. Highlight each of them and right-click on the mouse to order them unloaded, and you should be back in business.

I need help moving four years' worth of very large data files created in the Quattro Pro spreadsheet onto a new computer that comes with Microsoft Excel as the spreadsheet. I have essentially been told by Microsoft and Corel that it is not possible to import files from Quattro Pro into Excel. Microsoft says that the only way would be if I can convert them into an HTML format. I know nothing at all about what they are talking.

Does this mean that I have to always keep using Quattro Pro and never be able to export my files to someone using Excel or else have to spend days or weeks in retyping all the data which I now have in Quattro Pro into Excel format?

It's not exactly a cakewalk, but there are several ways you can move those big data files into Excel without resorting to complex HTML (hypertext markup language) tricks. The easiest is to open each file in Quattro Pro and then use the Save As selection to save as Quattro Pro for DOS files with the .wq1 extension. Excel will import this format.

Another choice is to use that same Save As selection to save the data as comma-delimited data in files with the .txt extension. This saves every cell in Quattro Pro as a set of words or numbers separated by commas, and Excel will import these files and restore spreadsheets cell by cell.

Send e-mail to jcoates@tribune. com.

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