ELECTRONIC T-NOTES


CHESSBASE USA'S WEEKLY ON-LINE NEWSLETTER


FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 13, 2002


OPENING LINES

by Steve Lopez

If you're reading this on the old ChessBase USA website (www.chessbaseusa.com), this will probably be the last issue of ETN you'll see here. No, I haven't been canned and I'm not retiring. We've moved our pages to a new host site and ETN will henceforth be available there.

The last two months or so have been an exercise in chaos as far as ETN is concerned. While I've been steadily plugging away with new ETN issues since the beginning of August (between frequent Civil War battlefield hikes/mapping expeditions, an article I'm writing about Antietam, and the launch of my new online magazine The Kamikaze Times; I lead a busy life), they've not been appearing at the new site. You know how moving can be -- everything's a mess and you can't find a thing. After a couple of months of "growing pains", the move is close to completion and the newer ETN issues should be fully available at the new site by the time you see this.

You'll notice some differences with the new page. First of all, you'll need to register to be able to read ETN. All you need to do is fill out the form on the main page with your e-mail address and a password that you choose. There's a short questionnaire to fill out in which you can optionally answer most of the questions; these concern your chessplaying and reading habits. The info is strictly confidential and is designed to help ChessBase USA/Chess Digest serve you better. After you've registered, all you need to do to access ETN is login with your password and then click the "T-Notes" tab near the top of the page.

Unlike the old ETN page, links to all issues of ETN (going back to 1997) will be available on the page -- no more .zip files for the old stuff. However, you'll need to be patient while the page loads; I've written over 250 weekly ETN issues over the last five and a half years and it takes a while for all of those links to load.

A major bonus to the new page is that back issues of ETN are now fully searchable. You can type in a word or string of text and receive a list of links to all issues in which that word or phrase appeared. This will make it much easier to find the information you need. However, please don't do a search for the word "dang" or smoke may come rolling out the back of your computer.

Also, when you click on a link to view an ETN issue it will open in a new browser window. This makes it easy to view multiple issues online since you won't have to be waiting for the "Table of Contents" page to refresh each time you want to back up and look at a different issue of ETN.

A downside to the new page is that I'll no longer be able to just send a clickable link to an ETN issue as a reply to e-mailed questions; users can't go directly to ETN via an e-mailed link without logging in first. Instead, I'll be sending issue dates as replies. While this requires a bit more effort on the part of users, it will still allow me to answer questions more quickly and easily (and more thoroughly) than I could if I was required to (re)type multi-paragraph answers as part of my e-mail replies.

Hopefully the advantages of the new page will outweigh that disadvantage; I believe the searchability of the new page will definitely add to its functionality. In fact, I've noticed about a 40% decline in the number of e-mail support questions I've received since the feature was introduced. The vast majority of the questions I'm asked are actually answered in existing ETN issues, so it would seem that many users are now better able to find their own answers using the new search functions.

At any rate, I hope you enjoy the new look and new features of ETN on the new host site!


THE PANES MENU IS YOUR FRIEND [FRITZ7]

by Steve Lopez

One of the dangers of "clicking around" in a program is that you can accidentally undo something and not know how to go back. I'm an avid "program explorer"; I'm always right-clicking on stuff or looking at various dialogues and menus to see what you can do differently with a program. But once in a while I mess something up and find myself backtracking to get the program back the way it was before I started clicking around.

I strongly suspect that a lot of Fritz7 users are fellow program explorers, judging from some of the questions I'm asked in my tech support role. One such question that comes up pretty regularly is, "I've lost the Notation pane and I don't know how to get it back!"

Not to worry. It's very easy to replace any panes that you accidentally hide. The solution is in the Window menu at the top of the screen. Select it, then select "Panes" from within the dropdown menu, and you'll see a submenu that looks like this:

This allows you to display or hide any of the panes listed in the menu. If a pane has a check next to it, it's presently selected to be displayed. No check means that the pane is hidden. So if you ever accidentally hide the Notation pane (typically by right-clicking within the pane and selecting "Close" from the popup menu), you can easily get it back by clicking on "Notation" in the Panes submenu shown above.

In case you don't know what each of these panes do, here's a quick guide to the functions of each of these panes:

So there you have it. Not only can you get "lost" panes back by using this submenu, but you can also display additional informational panes.

Note that the more panes you display the less room you have for the chessboard on the screen, so don't go hog-wild with these displays. The "tips" I gave above (as well as a jot of common sense) will give you some guidance on when you should hide a pane when it's no longer needed.

You can resize and rearrange panes on the screen and even save multiple configurations as personal standard layouts. This technique was discussed in a previous ETN issue (October 1, 2000).

Note that ChessBase 8 also has its own Panes submenu. I may descibe these panes at a later time, but for now just remember that "lost" panes can also be redisplayed in ChessBase 8 by using this submenu.

Until next week, have fun!

You can e-mail me with your comments, suggestions, and analysis for Electronic T-Notes.