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Help Page for ClearStar
Courtesy of Herb Bindel - CSM2064

This page is designed to address the most frequent problems and questions,
if you have questions that are not answered please feel free to
CONTACT CSN
The terms "post" and "message" are used interchangeably throughout this help page.

Help Menu

Basic Information

Viewing Information

Posting Information

Computer Information

Advanced Information

 

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Basic Information

General Information

The Main Message Page of each Forum lists messages posted during the last 10 days or so. To list messages covering a longer time frame would make the size of the page very large and slow-loading.

Older messages with lasting technical value are archived. To view these messages - click on the word "Search" on the blue Navigation bar found on most CSN pages.

Older messages of a more transient or whimsical nature are deleted to save space. Read them while you can :-)

If you have a particular security related question check out our Search Feature and our Resources both are very helpful.

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Anonymous Posting & Common Courtesy

Please do NOT post anonymous messages!

To do so is considered an insult to those who use this Inter-Active feature of ClearStar.

Strong opinions are not objected to. You are free to discuss just about anything here, whether it pertains directly to locksmithing/security or not.

What IS objected to are...
1) Anonymous posts, and
2) Attacks on the character of fellow users

If you have a bone to pick with another individual, then by all means send them an email message and talk it out. It is a disservice to the others who use this forum to use the forum for selfish personal attacks.

Check out the definition of Netiquette (originally designed for newsgroups)

 


Libel: a legal definition...

A malicious lie disseminated to the public in printed words or in pictures and whose purpose is to humiliate a person, tarnish his or her reputation, or expose the person to negative public sentiments.

Those who engage in libel do so at their own peril.

The statements and opinions expressed by the users of ClearStar Security Network are strictly their own. CSN assumes no responsibility for the statements and comments published by individuals on CSN.

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Navigating the Forums

The Forums Page is where you can gain access to the ClearStar forums. Clicking the word "Forums" on the long blue horizontal Navigation image-bar (as at the top of this Help page) will take you there. If you are already viewing a post on one of the forums - clicking on the "All Forums" link at the top-left of any post is another way to gain immediate access to the Forums Page.

On the Forums page you will see the following images...
 

There are 2 basic ways and 1 alternative way to navigate the Forums at ClearStar. The first basic way shall be referred to as the "Legacy Format" method, only because it is the way ClearStar started out and remained so for 15 years. Clicking on any of the icons in the graphic above will take you to what is called the "Main Forum Page" for that forum. On the main forum pages are the listings of the "threads" and their corresponding "posts". A thread can be thought of as a conversation and is started by one member filling out and submitting the form at the top of the main forum page. It is typically a question or some information that a member wants to share with the other members.  The result of submitting the form is called a "post" or a "message". The first post and the "follow-up" posts all taken together are referred to as a "thread". The threads are listed chronologically with the most recent thread always placed at the top of the listings. This enables members to look at the top of the page for the most recent material instead of always having to scroll to the bottom of the page to see what's new.

When the title of any post in the listings is clicked, the content of that post is then displayed on the screen. If there are follow-up responses to the post they are listed not only on the main forum page but also below the content of the post when it appears. To get back to the main forum page you can either use your browser "back" button repeatedly or click on the link indicating the name of the forum at the top of the post you are reading. There are also links within the post being read that can take you to the post immediately above it in the tree, or to the very 1st post of the thread being read, the post that initiated that particular conversation. Thus, by repeatedly clicking back and forth between the posts and the main page, the threads of that forum can be read. This takes care of the basics in explaining the "Legacy Format" method of navigating the forums.

The second basic way to navigate the forums shall be referred to as "Frames Format" and became available in 2010. Clicking on any of the icons in the graphic above takes you to that "Forum Main Page" in the Frames Format.  The listing of the threads and posts are in the left-hand frame. Clicking any post will display the content in the right-hand frame. There is no need to use the browser back button at all. The listings always remain visible. To choose a different forum simply click a different icon in the top horizontal frame, which also remains always visible. Any of the borders of the frames can be clicked on and dragged to whatever position you are comfortable with. By dedicating one tab of your browser to Forum Frames Format and other tabs for anything else, the settings you choose for the Forum Frames never need resetting. To leave Frames Format click on the "OFF" light switch graphic in the top frame.

To go to any area of ClearStar NOT in a frames format you can "right-click" a link and choose "Open in a New Tab". This concludes the basic description of navigating the ClearStar forums with the "Frames Format". It is by far the easiest way NOT to get lost.

There is yet a 3rd alternative way to navigate the postings on ClearStar and that is by utilizing the "Today's Posts" program. The link for that is again found on the Forums Page along with some other links as in the image below...

"Today's Posts" is a listing of all the posts of the day listed forum by forum. As in the first method a lot of clicking back and forth is involved. The advantage of using "Today's Posts" is it gives you an immediate overview of ALL the forums at once, with the most recent post in each forum at the top of the listings for that forum. Some members actually like to have the posts listed with the older posts first. In that case you would click on the "Today's: Older 1st" button.

 It is even possible to view "Today's Posts" in the "Frames Format". For that option, while in Frames Format, you click on the icon of a newspaper in the top frame next to where it says "Today's Posts".

It should now be evident that there are several ways to navigate the ClearStar Forums. You are encouraged to experiment in order to find which way or combination of ways works best for YOU. If you have questions on any of this you can always ask your questions on - the ClearStar Forums, where else? :-)

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Use of the Back Button

Using the Back Button of your Browser after viewing a message is the fastest way to get back to the main Message Page. If you click on the
"Forum" link (2nd from right at top of every post), the whole Main Page will reload. This may be what you want if you haven't refreshed that page in awhile - but it is slower.

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Email Addresses

When you view a message you may wonder where the email address of the person who posted the message is.

If you pass your pointer over the highlighted name of the person who posted the message you will see their email address at the bottom of your browser. Their highlighted name is actually a mailto link. If you click on this link - an email dialog box will pop up with the email address of the person already filled in. Note: all @ symbols have been changed to AT for your protection.

Sending the email requires that your browser be configured properly - see Configuring your Browser to send E-mail

If your browser isn't configured to send email you can write down the E-mail address that appears at the bottom of your browser screen for use in a separate email program.

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Copy and Paste ( Cut and Paste )

When dealing with text it is very useful at times to "Copy and Paste" or "Cut and Paste".

Simply highlight the section you want a copy (by holding the left mouse button and dragging over the text desired) then press <CTRL> and <c> at the same time, then go to where you want to copy the text and press <CTRL> and <v> at the same time.

For a full tutorial please follow this link...Copy and Paste tutorial  

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Viewing Information

 

First time loading of a forum Main Post-Listing-Page

The Main Message Page of each Forum is a large file, usually between 75 and 500K. The first time you go to each Main Page it's best to let the whole page load before actually clicking on any of the listed posts for viewing. That way, when you go back to the Main Page (using your Browser Back Button) the page won't have to reload.

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Viewing Messages (Posts)

To View a Post on a Main Page - just click on it.

To view only those messages posted today - click on the "Today's Messages" link on the Inter-Active Forums Page.

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Opening a New (additional) Window

For browsers that support this feature...

An alternative way to view posts (instead of clicking back and forth between the Main Page and each post) is to "right-click" on a post you want to read. Your browser will then pop up a list of menu choices - one of which is to "Open a new window". Clicking on that choice will open the post you want to read in a new browser window. When you're finished reading that post and follow-up posts - you can simply close the window.

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Posting Information

 

Posting a new Message

There are 2 ways to Post a new Message...

a) Fill out the form on that forum's Main Page. When you're finished - hit the Submit Button, right above the "Message" box. You will then have the option of viewing the message you just posted.

b) Clicking on the "Start NEW Thread" link at the top of any post, will bring up a form for starting a new thread on that Forum.

If you hit the Back Button of your Browser to get back to the Main Page (the fastest way) YOU WILL NOT SEE YOUR MESSAGE LISTED. Be assured - it is there - but you won't see it listed until the page is reloaded. If you want to see it listed, then once you get back to the Main Page of that Forum - you can hit the Reload Button of your Browser to reload the Main Page.

Please DO NOT double post by hitting the Submit Button a 2nd time.

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Including an Image or PDF file with a Message/Post

To include an image with a message the Optional Image box must be filled in - right under the Subject box. There are 2 things to note:

1) The image must already exist somewhere on the Internet. It can't simply reside on your hard disk.
 The image may be ANYWHERE on the Internet - either your own personal web page or any other web page on the Internet.
 However, it is strongly recommended that you upload the image to ClearStar. That way the images in archived posts will always be available in the future.

To upload images or pdf files to ClearStar - see the help section immediately below, titled Uploading Images or pdf Files to ClearStar

2)The entry in the Optional Image box must be of the form...

http://www.etc.etc./imagename.gif
or
http://www.etc.etc./imagename.jpg

This is referred to as the Address of the image.

see also Advanced HTML (Image Insertion, Hyper-Link Insertion)

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Uploading Images or pdf Files to ClearStar

On the Member Services page is link called Upload Images or pdfs.
The instructions there will enable you to take a file from your computer and upload it to ClearStar. If the file is an image it must be in .jpg, gif or .png format. If it is a pdf it must be in the .pdf format.

Any uploaded file must be 500 Kb or less in size or the upload will fail.
See the help section immediately below if you need to reduce the file size of the file before uploading it.

When the file completes uploading, another page will appear detailing how to include
the image or pdf with a post you make on ClearStar or an item you sell on our Auction site.

There is also a Directory of Your Files. The link to the directory in also on the Member Services page. The listed files in the directory are only the most recent files uploaded to ClearStar - usually about the last 45 days worth. Files that were uploaded earlier than that are in the ClearStar archives IF the post containing the images or pdf was archived. The basic criteria (not strict) for archiving posts is that the postings have lasting technical or business management value.

Archived posts can be accessed by clicking the "Search" menu item on the blue
navigation banner found on most pages of ClearStar. None of the posts from the
Non-Tech Forum get archived. So if you have valuable information you would like preserved on ClearStar, use one of the technical
Forums to post it in.


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Resizing Images

It is always recommended that you pre-size your image BEFORE uploading. If you don�t check to see that your image is the right size before uploading it,  you may be surprised with a large or small image when you submit your post.

How do I know how big an image is?

If the image you want to check is displayed in Internet Explorer, the process is easy. Point your mouse over the image, and click your RIGHT mouse button. A drop down menu will appear. Click on the BOTTOM menu button marked "Properties." This will display a window that tells you the image type (such as GIF, PNG or JPEG), the image dimensions and the size of the image.

How do I resize (or resample) an image?

There are several software products available in stores and on the Internet that can help you resize your images. Some common editing software packages are PhotoShop, Photo Paint, and Paint Shop Pro. If you have a digital camera, it probably came with some kind of imaging editing software.

Where can I get a free image resizing tool?

There is a tool called IrfanView and it is available for download at http://www.irfanview.com. IrfanView works with Microsoft Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000 and XP.

Please note that the link to IrfranView is being provided solely for your convenience. We cannot make any Guarantees regarding the software or its performance. Other free image tools may be available elsewhere on the Internet.

Resizing pictures with IrfranView View is easy. Open up the image you want to resize by clicking on the "File" menu button and selecting "Open." Select the image you want to resize from your computer files. After the image is open, click on the "Image" menu button and choose "Resize/Resample." Type in the new pixel dimensions and dpi in to the appropriate fields, and click OK. To save your new picture, choose "Save As" from the "File" menu. Give your new image a different name than the original so you don�t write over the original copy. Remember to check the file properties to make sure it is small enough to upload but big enough to see.  As far as ClearStar is concerned only the file size of the image is important (300 Kb or less), not the pixel dimensions or dpi.

Posted by Bob DeWeese, CML, CJS - Baltimore, MD

If you are running Windows - You can use the "Paint" program...

To Reduce Size

Click on:

�Start�
�Programs�
�Accessories�
�Paint�
�File�
�Open�

Under File Types select �All Picture Files� and then find the file you want to open and click on it so that it appears next to �File Name� then click �Open�

Click on:
�Image�
�Stretch/Skew�

Under �Stretch" change the percentage to a lower number than 100% (try 75%) Make sure BOTH horizontal and vertical are the same number. Then click on �Okay�

To Rotate

To rotate a picture so it�s right side up, click on �Image�, then �Flip/Rotate�. Then Choose �Rotate By Angle� then choose �90 Degrees�, then click �Okay�. Repeat until picture is setting the way you want it.


To Crop (Cut out unwanted part of picture)

To crop the bottom and right side of the picture, move the mouse curser to the lower right hand corner of the picture until you see a double arrow. Hold the left mouse button down and move the curser to crop out what ever you want to remove from the right side and the bottom.

To crop top and left side of the picture click on �Image�, then �Flip/Rotate�. Choose �Rotate By Angle� then choose �180 Degrees�, then click �Okay�. Move the mouse curser to the lower right hand corner of the picture until you see a double arrow. Hold the left mouse button down and move the curser to crop out what ever you want to remove from the right side and the bottom. The Rotate back 180 Degrees to the original position.

To Save

Click on:

�File�
�Save As�

Select the folder you want to save it in on your hard drive. Next to �File Name� type in whatever you want to call it. Then click on �Save�

Now you should be able to upload the image to ClearStar. If it�s still too big try reducing it a little more.

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How to find the address of an image

Whenever you see an image on a page you are viewing with your web browser...

a) With the pointer over the image - right-click the mouse.

b) On the pop-up menu select and click on "View this image" (image name).
The image will now be the only thing on the page and the address of the image will appear in the Location: box, near the top of your browser.

c) Move the cursor anywhere over the address and click the left mouse button.
The image address will now be high-lighted.

d) At this point you can do a ctrl-insert keyboard combination to copy the address to the clipboard memory.

e) Finally, you can do a shift-insert keyboard combination to paste the address into the Image box when you get there.

The image will now appear along-side your posted message.

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Link to Older Posts or other pages

Sometimes when starting a new thread it is useful to provide a link to an older ClearStar Thread (post). To achieve this useful feature simply go to the old post you wish to reference (use the ClearStar search feature if needed) Cut (copy) the URL (http address) from your browser location bar, then start your new thread and Paste (copy) the URL (http address) into "Optional Link URL:" and give it a name in the "Link Title:" section.

Example...

this would provide a link to ClearStar Search

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Posting a Reply / Follow-up to a Message

To Post a Follow-up to an existing Message...

Click on the message you want to follow-up. This brings up the message along with its text. At the bottom of the page you are reading is a follow-up form. Just fill in the form and click on the "Submit Follow Up" button.

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How do I add information to the resources

If you would like to submit information for ClearStar resources feel free to email the information (CONTACT CSN ) as a file attachment, we will review the information for posting.    

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Computer Information

 

Configuring your Browser to send E-mail

Click "Options" on the menu bar at the top of your Browser - then click on "Mail and News Preferences".

The most important items to complete are in the "Identity" and "Servers" tabs. Some of this information is the same as that needed to configure your separate E-mail program, like Eudora for instance. You may need to contact your ISP for the rest of the information. It's worth the effort to get it right. Once you do, whenever you see an email link on any web page you'll be able to send an email right from your browser.

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Optimizing your Browser for faster Forum Loading (pages are slow)

If you are not getting the most up-to-the minute content from the forums, or your pages are loading too slow, you may need to refresh the pages cached in your web browser. If simply clicking your "Refresh" or "Reload" button doesn't work, try this:

If you want to see what you're getting rid of you can use this method as well...

 


Advanced Information

 

Basic HTML (Font changing (color, size, type) )

If you would like to add basic HTML to your Forum post to convey your message a little better you may. If you do use a code to create a effect, it's important to turn it off as well. A mistake can screw up an entire thread (or page.) If you do use HTML codes, make sure you check the preview screen to see that they are working as intended and that you turned them off.

Here are some basic examples of some HTML script to help you do so.

Sample Script

<p><b><font size="5" color="blue">blue</font></b></p>

The Result

blue

How it breaks down

the <p> tells it that you are starting a paragraph. </p> at the end finishes it.

the<b> lets the box know to begin BOLD. </b> at the end stops BOLD.

<font size="5" color="blue"> sets the size and color. </font> stops the font.

    <font color="color">text</font>

blue green red yellow black magenta

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    <font size="#">text</font>

Standard sizes are

1 ( same as 8 point)    2 (same as 10 point)    3 (same as 12 point)

4 (same as 14 point)    5 (same as 18 point)

6 (same as 24 point)

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NORMAL     BOLD     ITALICS     UNDERLINE     ALL THREE

<b>text</b> makes it bold

<i>text</i> makes it italics

<u>text</u> underlines your text 

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Examples...

This Yields...

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Advanced HTML (Image Insertion, Hyper-Link Insertion)

If you do use a code to create a effect, it's important to turn it off as well. A mistake can screw up an entire thread (or page.) If you do use HTML codes, make sure you check the preview screen to see that they are working as intended and that you turned them off.

<img src="address"><br>

Example

<img src="https://www.clearstar.com/locked/tempimg/2064a.jpg"><br>

<a href="address">link text</a>

Example

<a href="https://www.clearstar.com/ascii.htm">Ascii special character insertion</a>


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How to Input Special Characters (copyrights, cents, Etc..)

Many times it is useful to use a special character in your text, these include but are not limited to � � � � � � �.

to utilize these symbols make sure your "numlock" is on then using the number pad on the right of the keyboard,  simply hold the <ALT> button down and type the ASCII code for the symbol

� = 0153 �=0162 �=0169 �=0174 �=0188 �=0189 �=0190

left">for a full tutorial please follow this link

ASCII special character insertion

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All Subjects

  1. General Information

  2. Anonymous Posting & Common Courtesy

  3. Navigating the Forums

  4. Use of the Back Button

  5. Email Addresses

  6. Copy and Paste ( Cut and Paste )

  7. First time loading of a forum Main Post-Listing-Page

  8. Viewing Messages (Posts)

  9. Opening a New (additional) Window

  10. Posting a new Message

  11. Including an Image with a Message

  12. Resizing Images

  13. How to find the address of an image

  14. Link to Older Posts or other Pages

  15. Posting a Reply / Follow-up to a Message

  16. How do I add information to the resources

  17. Configuring your Browser to send E-mail

  18. Optimizing your Browser for faster Forum Loading (pages are slow)

  19. Basic HTML (Font changing (color, size, type) )

  20. Advanced HTML (Image Insertion, Hyper-Link Insertion)

  21. How to Input Special Characters (copyrights, cents, Etc..)

 

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