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ImageDr. Digit 'Splains It All

For our first issue I thought the technology column should be about using the Star. It is easy for us to say that it is "easy to use" and "intuitive," because we have been experimenting with the technology since February. But acknowledging that most people aren't nearly as geeky as we are, this column will talk about technology in English that we hope everyone will be able to understand. And if you have computer or technology questions we are hoping you will send them in to be dealt with in a future column.

That said, let's look at the Star and how it works...

First we hope you will support our advertisers, who are supporting us so we can bring you "All the News From Home." When you see their ads in the Star click them. When you do this another browser window opens to display their web site or an informational page about them. It's a great way to find out about their products or services, or just to find out when they are open or where they are located.

The Menus

There is a small menu at the top of each page.  One of the buttons is labled "How to Use."  you can always find hints on using the Star there.

Let's look at the left hand column on the Star web site. This includes all the important elements you will need to find what you want in the Star. When you first visit you will see a short menu, the blue buttons with white text on them. Below that is a Log-in space.

What is a Log-in?

The Star offers free log-in accounts. All you have to do is set up a user name and password. Your "user name" is a short name (or your own name) that you type into the "Username" space, and your password insures it is you logging in. Each time you visit the site you should log in. When you first set up your subscription we also ask for your e-mail address. You are sent mail to this address with a confirmation link -- just follow the instructions in the mail to complete setting up your subscription.

You are also sent "alert" mail to remind you when a new issue has been published. You may opt out of the alerts by logging in on the web site and clicking on "Your Details" on the expanded menu.

When you log in the menu gets bigger. Logging in gives you access to all the stories and features in the Star. Why do we require a log-in? It insures that real people who are interested in Lansing news are reading the paper. We occasionally ask you to "renew" your subscription just so we can keep track of how many people are really reading the Star. Subscriptions will continue to be free -- this is not a "limited time offer."

What if I Forget My Password?

Click on "Forgotten Your Password" and you will be prompted for your e-mail address and Username. The system will look these up and if they match it will send you a new password to your e-mail address. You can always change it to something easier to remember by logging in and clicking "My Details."

Using the Menu

When you log in the menu expands and the main section headings (buttons) are displayed. The main content sections are the front page, "News," "Sports," "Around Town," "Entertainment and Arts," "Business & Technology," and "Classified Ads." There are other features as well, such as "Message Boards" and "Archives."

When you click on a main section button you are taken to that page, and if there are other pages in that section you will see new buttons below the main section button. For example, when you click on "News" new buttons appear for "Weather," "Editorials," "Obituaries" and other pages. Or when you click on "Around Town" you will see buttons for "Schools," "Worship," "Kids" and "Lansing Stars."

Click on these buttons to go to their pages.


You will notice bold orange text in articles and elsewhere in the paper. These are links (which is short for "hyperlinks"). Click on them and they will take you to places in the Star or elsewhere on the Web. As I mentioned before, clicking on ads has the same effect -- it will take you to where you can find out more about the advertiser.


You can "bookmark" the Star Web site or an individual page by clicking on the links provided. Sometimes "bookmarks" are called "favorites" or "Favorite Places." In a browser such as Microsoft's Internet Explorer click on Favorites to find the Star again. In Mozilla Firefox click on Bookmarks to find the Star.

Search: In the upper right corner is a space that says "search..." Type a word or phrase you want to search for and press the "Enter" key. Alternatively you can click the "Search" button on the menu and type the word(s) you want to search on, then click the "Search" button.

: In the upper right corner is a space that says "search..." Type a word or phrase you want to search for and press the "Enter" key. Alternatively you can click the "Search" button on the menu and type the word(s) you want to search on, then click the "Search" button.

Here's a trick you can use to find all the articles from a particular issue. Every issue has a volume and issue number that is used as a search term in each article. For example, the first issue ever is Volume 1, Issue 1 so the search word for its articles is "v1i1" (without the quotes). So if you type "v1i1" into the search field the resulting page will show links to the all articles in that issue including this one.


If you are an AOL user you will have to view the Star using Internet Explorer (the big e icon).  For some reason the AOL software does not handle the Star's technology correctly, but you can view it in an external browser, even when AOL is running.  We don't know why, but there it is!


On the bottom of the right hand column you will see a calendar. Click on a day on the calendar and the events listed for that day will be shown. If you have logged on to the Star you will also see a menu item labeled "Events Calendar." Play around with this and in no time you will be finding events in the future, present and past. (Use the "Contact Us" page to submit events that are of interest to the community at large.)


One of the buttons on the menu is for viewing the "Archives." One of the features of being online is that you can search for past articles by date.


The "Links" button in the menu is a handy place to find other web sites of local interest. The town, the Village of Lansing, the school district and many local businesses and organizations all have web sites that are interesting to visit.

Now You're an Expert

That's all for now. You're now an official expert on navigating the Lansing Star Online!

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If you have a question about technology, computers or the Internet, click here to submit it.





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