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Wahoo's Computer & Internet Tips Newsletter - July 2006

In The News This Month...
Hello and welcome to July's Newsletter!

The weather here in little ol' McBride was hotter than the hinges of h-e-double-hockey-stick at the beginning of July. Now, don't get me wrong, I like it warm and sunny but when I'm sitting at my computer, doing bookkeeping for one of my clients, and I'm sweating ... that's just too hot for me!

But now it's been non-stop buckets of rain for the past week. Good for the forest fires, grass, plants, ducks, that sort of thing. But us humans don't do well in the rain. Personally, the rain reminds me of "home." By "home" I mean Vancouver. I was born there and lived there until I was 13. It rained a lot when I was a kid and still does. But everything is lush and green, unlike the Okanagan where everything is brown.

Anyways, enough about the weather, stay safe this summer and have a happy civic holiday in August!

This month I have included 2 articles for your reading enjoyment. First one is MS Excel Tip - Aligning Cells and the second one is What Actually Happens When You Enter That Web Address In Your Browser by John Lenaghan. Hope you enjoy them!

That's that. Thanks for reading!
Wanda Clark
Wahoo Enterprises
820 - 1st Ave., PO Box 946
McBride, BC Canada V0J 2E0
Contact me using the Online Contact Form on the left at the bottom.

Did You Know...?

SUV sales were up 18% in the first quarter of 2004 vs. the same period of 2003, even though gas prices are still skyrocketing. Consumer surveys show that gas prices would have to hit $3.75 per gallon before there will be any real impact on SUV sales.

MS Excel Tip - Aligning Cells

Ever find yourself thinking "That spacing looks funny"? I hate it when things don't look right, especially after you've printed it out!

Anyways, to solve your "funny looking" problem, it could be as easy as a quick alignment adjustment. What that means is, to change the placement of the data within the cell. In addition to the usual left, right, centered, and justified alignment, you can choose to have data aligned to the top, bottom, center, or justified between the top and bottom of the cell.

In other words, pretty much any way you want it, you can have it. You've just got to know where to look and I'm going to show you where to look and how to control it.

The first thing you need to do is select the cell(s) that you want to format. You can select a single cell, highlight a group of cells, select entire row(s) / column(s) or the entire worksheet. It's totally up to you. Once you have your cell(s) selected, you're ready to choose your cell alignment.

In Excel 97 or 2000, you should right click and find the Format Cells choice from the menu. Now go to the Alignment tab. In the Text Alignment section, you're looking for 2 different things.

The first is the Horizontal alignment list. This is your everyday text alignment (left, centered, right, justified). Below that is the Vertical alignment list. This is the placement of the text at the top, bottom, middle, or justified between the top and bottom of the cell.

Make your choices and click OK.

If you're using Excel XP, then you'll find cell alignment to be slightly different.

The first step is the same. Highlight the cell(s) that need the alignment changed. Next you should right click over the selected cell(s). The menu that comes up will contain Cell Alignment as a choice.

Move your mouse over it and you will see 9 little boxes with different alignment choices in each. This submenu lets you choose alignment both directions at the same time via the pictures. Find the alignment that you're looking for and choose it.

The menu will close and the cells will be aligned as you wanted. That's it! Easy!

What Actually Happens When You Enter That Web Address In Your Browser?

Whenever your click on a link or type an address into your web browser you're making a "request" for that particular page. That request is handled by what is known as the Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The request gets routed over the internet to the appropriate server and if everything goes according to plan, that server will send the page requested back to your browser.

HTTP is an integral part of the Internet Protocol (IP) suite. It's used by browser software to connect to the server that holds the website you want to see. The server watched for these requests by monitoring what is called a TCP port (port 80 in most cases).

Transmission Control Protocl (TCP) is the protocol that creates connections between two computer over the internet, allowing them to pass data back and forth. TCP is made to allow the transmitted data to be reassembled into the proper form when it reached its destination.

There are a number of TCP ports that monitor specific protocols. For example, TCP port 21 is normally used for FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and port 80 is normally used for HTTP (web browsing).

If a web server gets a request on port 80 in the form of GET / HTTP/1.1 it sends a response code that tells the requesting computer whether the page is available or not. A typical request will look like this:

GET /faq.html HTTP/1.1
Host: http://www.mywebsite.com

This request is for a web page at http://www.mywebsite.com/faq.html. The "host" is specified to identify a particular website on that server (in the case of shared hosting, there can be many sites on one server).

If the faq.html page is available, the response will be:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Mon, 15 November 2005 13:22:54 GMT
Server: Apache/1.3.27 (Unix) (Red-Hat/Linux)
Last-Modified: Wed, 23 Aug 2005 08:23:33 GMT

...after which the contents of the actual web page will follow.

Let's break that response down...

HTTP/1.1 200 OK means that particular web page is available. Other codes may be returned. For example, the code 404 means the requested page cannot be found. You've probably seen 404 errors when you've clicked a link to a non-existent page or misspelled a web site when you entered in in your browser.

The date is self explanatory and the server is information about the software running on the server that is hosting the web page.

When the web page is being sent to your browser, it gets sent in "packets" of information. The header also contains information that specifies its order in the stream. These packets can be sent through various routes to get to your computer, so they all get reassembled by your browser when they arrive.

This normally all takes place in seconds, so you see the web page as it was meant to be seen even though all the various packets may have taken completely different paths from the server to your computer.

John Lenaghan writes about Unix & Windows web hosting and related topics on the Hosting Report website. Find out more at http://www.hostingreport.org

 

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