Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 2003 / 11 Tishrei, 5763

Device let you bypass scanner to convert slides; messages from Microsoft that aren't; how do I get rid of the non-stop stream of annoying pop-up ads?

By James Coates | (KRT) Q. Apart from hiring a professional, what ways are available for converting 35 mm color slides to digital form for storage on CDs?

Richard Baker, St. Louis

A. Mr. Baker of St. Louis, meet Bob Donner of Felton, Calif., a man with what I consider the easiest, if not absolutely most sophisticated, solution to this huge problem you share with millions of others. We all would like to make the stacks of slides taken in the past into the digital images that work with computers.

Most experts suggest buying a scanner with special slide attachments and then feeding slides into it three at a time to create digitized copies of each image. Without an adapter you can just put a piece of white paper on top of the negative or slide and scan, then use the scanner software to make a properly sized image.

These work great, but I'll wager there are those who went off the deep end after spending impossible amounts of time feeding slides into a scanner, waiting 90 seconds for the scan and then using a mouse to move the digital copies into a folder on the hard drive.

Donner fixes the problem with lumber. That's right, boards.

He has built a special box designed to hold a traditional slide projector and beam images onto a letter-size projection screen. Also on the box is a mount for your digital camera. You just flash a slide on the screen then click the camera to make a fine--for most purposes--copy that can be moved onto the computer just as you transfer other digital photos from the new cameras.

Donner admits that you could build the same sort of device on your own but also notes that at a suggested price of $50--and on special now for $40--it would probably cost as much to buy and assemble the parts. I tried a sample and must report that the results were a tad inferior to a properly scanned digital file, but they certainly were good enough for showing on computer screens or television sets.

Keep in mind too, that while the celluloid film used for slides is prone to color loss now and decay later, digital images will last far longer.

Check out where you can either order one of Donner's boxes or see how to make your own.

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Q. Good morning, Jim! I have picked up two nice tips from your column today. Thank you. I want to ask you about a message that is on my desktop constantly. It is from Microsoft and it states that someone is trying to access my e-mail; if I don't want it check No, etc., etc. Well, I've checked No a long time ago and this message alert just will not go away! It has been on for at least 3 months.


A. Your bedevilment, Mr. S., stems from a category of heavy-handed Internet carnival barking known as messenger ads.

These are extremely nasty pitches that pop up from the Windows XP system tray in the lower-right corner of the monitor and try to look as though they are part of the operating system's dialog boxes. Yours purports to be a warning about somebody trying to swipe your e-mail. Others do stuff like say your computer's IP address has been detected and is giving out information that can be stopped by buying something. Others offer to bring you weather data, sports scores and whatever.

The idea is to fool folks into clicking for all sorts of nasty stuff, like installing browser tracking spyware, keystroke loggers and such.

There are two ways to disable this nasty attack, starting with one that works for folks with most Internet service providers except America Online. AOL incorporates pop-up stoppers and message attack shields on its own.

Others should activate the Internet Connection Firewall built in to XP. Click on Start and My Network Places and then give a right-click to the icon for your Internet connection. Pick Properties in the pop-up box then open the Advanced tab on the next display. Check the box to activate the firewall, and those messenger boxes will be stopped at the gate.

If your computer has the XP Network Bridge activated, click on it instead of the icon for your connection to find the Advanced tab.

The other way to pop the messages is by disabling what is called the Windows XP message service, which was designed to let network administrators pass notes to individual workstations. (This is not Microsoft's MSN Messenger feature used to exchange real-time chat.)

To disable the message service, click on Start and Run then type in the command services.msc and tap Return. The box that comes up includes all of the Windows services listed alphabetically, so scroll down to the M's and nuke that nasty little devil.

If you decide that you need the service, you can backtrack and order it reinstated. This can be necessary in some instances when running virus-removal software.

Q. Let me start with the fact that I absolutely love your column. It is pure genius. My question is one that I know you have addressed before but was never relevant to me until now. Something is wrong with my computer--how do I get rid of the non-stop stream of annoying pop-up ads?

Jean Clewlows

A. No matter how much of a self-styled genius that a mope like me might claim to bring to the table, that one small question can have a great many answers and they're always changing, Ms. C.

That's because the proliferation of those outrageous unsolicited pop-up advertising pitches now polluting the Internet have prompted a passel of entrepreneurs to launch a similar proliferation of programs to fix the problem.

I have written about some of them but not all. Intermute's Ad Subtract ( solves the problem for $30 and offers a free trial of its pop-up stopper. Another $30 fix is the original one in the field, Pop-Up Stopper from Panicware (www Iolo Technologies LLC ( also offers solutions.

Lately, however, the operators of the Google search engine have added a really fine pop-up stopper to the Google toolbar. The toolbar ( works as a plug-in to the Microsoft Internet Explorer Web browser and not only stops pop-ups, but also counts them and reports numbers killed. Happily, when you decide you want to accept pop-ups from some outfit, you can hold down the Shift key while clicking on the address. Some Web sites use pop-ups to do stuff like display stock prices, show times and sales items, so this option is quite handy.

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James Coates is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. Let us know what you think of this column by clicking here.


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