OPENING LINES

by Steve Lopez

I'm back from vacation, and while I did get to peruse a few chess books while at the beach, I didn't have time to write up some reviews and recommendations. I hope to have them for you next week.

Also, for Battle Royale readers, I didn't have time to write up this week's game yet. If it's not up on the Battle Royale site by mid-week, I'll post two installments next Sunday.

Sorry about the delays. I, too, hate it when real life gets in the way of chess...


INSTALLING CHESSBASE 7

by Steve Lopez

By far, the most important part of your ChessBase 7.0 update manual is on page 4. It's the grey box in Section 3.1 -- "Installing the program".

As it turns out, if you are running Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3 and you install the "Internet" version of ChessBase 7.0 the installation will render your IE3 unusable. I'll explain why in a moment.

Contrary to what you may have read on Usenet, you are prompted and warned about it on-screen during the installation process. If you click on the "Internet" option, you will see in the lower box a warning stating that using the option will "kill" your Internet Explorer 3.0. This is also stated in Section 3.1 of the update manual.

(And lest a reader or three think that I'm being callous about this, I'm really not. The CB7 beta did not have this prompt at all, and I killed my IE3 by installing it. During the process of trying to fix the problem, I managed to wipe out my Internet connection software as well, so I was totally without on-line access for an evening while I went about correcting the problem.)

Let's take a look at how to install ChessBase 7.0 without creaming your web browser. A couple of screens into the installation process, you'll see a box that looks like this:

Here's a tip that you should remember and follow when installing any computer software (including, but not only, ChessBase 7.0):

When given a choice between an "automatic" setup and a "custom" (user-controlled) setup, ALWAYS select the CUSTOM setup option.

Do not be mislead by lines like "Recommended for advanced users only". You do not have to be a master programmer to install most pieces of software. By clicking on "automatic" setup, you are surrendering control of the installation process to the person who wrote the installation software. He/she has no idea how your computer is configured, has no idea what you want from your program, has no idea what effect the installation of certain components will have on your computer. I can not tell you vehemently enough that using any "automatic" installation is a mistake. I have been put through literally hours of grief and misery by installing programs that had no "custom" option, threw stuff onto my computer (often overwriting newer versions of files with older files that have the same names), and ruined other programs that used the same files. This happened to me several times during the first year or so that I had my computer after I had selected "automatic" installations (because I felt I wasn't an "advanced" computer user). After the third or fourth time that things became bollixed up because the installation process trashed a separate piece of software, I decided that I was "advanced" enough to make my own choices.

Trust me on this. If you're advanced enough to be on the Internet and use Web browsers, FTP transfer programs, newsreaders, chat programs, and chess server clients, you're advanced enough to use a "custom" software installation and decide for yourself what parts of a software program you want to have installed on your computer.

Another BIG BIG tip:

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS read the printed installation instructions that come with a program before installing it.

I worked in software tech support for 3 years. I still help out friends with their computers (and cadge favors and, occasionally, a buck or two) on the side. One thing from my personal experience that I can't stress enough is the old cliche that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". I have a couple of close, dear friends who (infuriatingly) absolutely flat freaking refuse to read ANYTHING out of the software package before slamming that disk or CD into the drive and installing the software seconds after opening the box. It has cost them in both time and money (and I have a couple of nice chess books, purchased at their expense, to prove it).

Please, read the instructions before installing anything on your computer (software or hardware). If you hate every other piece of advice I've ever given (or will give in the future) in ETN, please please please follow this one. I'm begging you. Given the choice between being well-paid to spend the evening at a friend's house trying to straighten out a software problem or sitting at home watching a soccer match on TV and drinking a cold one, I'd much prefer the latter. And I know you, too, would rather be having fun doing something else besides trying to fix a computer problem.

(And, by the way, one of my pet peeves in life is with programs that don't come with installation instructions, warnings, or options that let you bypass installation nightmares. But that's another rant for another time).

Onward...

After selecting "Custom" setup, your next screen will look like this:

If you select "Internet (IE4)", please notice the message under "Description":

"The Internet version installs IE4 components and *destroys* Internet Explorer 3 and WinCIM 3.02!"

No joke. It creams them. Renders them useless. I know -- been there, done that.

Why does this happen?

The guts of Windows programs are files that have the .DLL extension. Every couple of years, Microsoft tweaks these up and releases new versions in their latest development kits for software programmers. As it turns out, three files crucial to Internet Explorer 3 were jazzed up in this way. These new versions of the files are an integral part of Internet Explorer 4 and are in their latest development kit for Windows 95 programmers. Consequently, if you have IE3 and these three files get installed on your computer, your browser is history.

ChessBase programmers wanted to add direct Internet connectivity to ChessBase 7.0 (so that users could download the latest grandmaster games, connect straight to the ChessBase International web site, and download software upgrades). But since IE3 and IE4 are incompatible with each other, they were faced with a choice. They opted to make ChessBase 7.0 compatible with the latest version of Internet Explorer.

So if you have Internet Explorer 3 or Compuserve Information Manager 3.02 and you don't want to upgrade your broswer software, select the "Standard" option. Users of Internet Explorer 4 can select either option with no problem.

If you've not yet installed ChessBase 7.0, I hope this helps you out. Print this page in case you get into a jam later, as a reminder (because you sure won't be able to get back to this page if your browser isn't working): the way to fix your brower is on page 4 of the update manual.

And, please, I'm begging you as a friend: no matter what you install on your computer, whether it's a new modem or the latest 3D shoot-em-up software, PLEASE read the installation instructions first.

Next week, I promise we'll flip through some chess books. Until then, have fun!



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