PC Alert
Pointing you to the information you need to know
Issue 4  : 30th November to 13th December 1998

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Essential Internet

Our list of sites with important new PC information,
helpful resource files and other items of interest.

Convert IE Favorites to HTML
The trouble with Internet Explorer is that it keeps users' bookmarks in a proprietary format.  If you need to extract them as an HTML file, perhaps to include in a communal file or even in order that you can check them for decency, URL2HTMK will do it nicely.  Type the program name into the search entry box at www.shareware.com and you'll be taken straight there.
http://www.shareware.com

Corel WordPerfect for Linux coming soon
The free version of WordPerfect for Linux isn't ready yet, but will be soon.  If you want to be informed by email as soon as it's ready, register on Corel's Web page.
http://linux.corel.com

10-day Eval of Ventura 8
Corel's latest incarnation of the industry's oldest and best DTP package is available as a fully-functional 10-day evaluation version.  If your technical people are still using Word or Pagemaker for producing long documents and manuals, do them a favour and let them try Ventura 8.
http://www.corel.com/products/graphicsandpublishing/ventura8/index.htm

World News On the Line
Stuck at your desk and want to know what else is going on in the world apart from computer stories?  The BBC will know. Or for IT news, try Silicon News.
http://news.bbc.co.uk
http://www.siliconnews.com

Are you using all the latest versions?
This useful Web page has links to some of the best software on the Web, both shareware and commercial. It also includes details of current version numbers, so it's easy to find out whether you have the latest release of PaintShop Pro or the most recent set of Windows 98 patches.
http://www.wopr.com/wwinfo/update.shtml

Windows 98 Updates
And talking of Windows 98 patches, you can upgrade a user's PC to the latest patch level by simply going to the Windows 98 Update site.  Though this can cause support problems if each user has a different version of a core DLL, so the use of such a facility should be considered carefully.
http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com

Want the Office 2000 beta?
We all know that Microsoft makes us pay for unfinished software.  Now, the company is making it official.  If you've got a credit card handy, you too can try the Office 2000 beta.
http://www.microsoft.com/office/2000/office/cpp/preview.htm

Find it on the Web
Yet another way of finding something on the Internet, this time with a convenient front end to most of the major search engines.
http://www.locate.com

About to buy a CD-R or CD-RW drive?
Here's a useful resource if you're looking to source writeable CD-ROM drives for corporate use.
http://www.goldenhawk.com/support/faq.htm#cdr

Calendar From Anywhere
This is neat, but rather a security risk.  An online diary and scheduler, which you can access from anywhere via the Web.
http://www.when.com

Benchmark your PCs
About to buy some new kit for users and want to ensure you're getting the best performers?  Or you've got a user who claims that his or her PC is much slower than all the rest?  Ziff Davis's benchmark suite will let you find out.
http://www.zdbop.com

Need a map?
So marketing need a map of Sardinia or Sumatra or Sydney or Singapore for their latest brochure?  And they've asked you to find one on the Web.  The answer's easy.
http://www.maps.com

Finally Amazon.com has a rival
If you want to compare prices for books on the Web, you need at least 2 sites.  Just when you thought http://amazon.com had the market to itself, along comes another big name.
http://www.barnesandnoble.com

Splat those Web ads
Fed up with ads on Web pages that slow down the loading of the information you really want?  This might be what you're looking for.
http://www.adfilter.com

OK we surrender, mostly
Microsoft says that it will comply with the injunction won by Sun so watch out for big changes to all Microsoft products featuring Java, such as Internet Explorer and Visual J++.
http://www.microsoft.com/java/issues/sunsuit.htm

Clean up your Browser History
Complete Cleanup is a utility which wipes all traces of your browsing history from Windows and your browser, so no one who has access to your PC can see where you've been or what files have been cached from the session.  A useful tool if you use a Web browser to view confidential data on the Internet or an intranet.  Just don't let your users know about it, or it won't be as easy to find out who's been visiting playboy.com again during the lunch hour.
http://members.aol.com/softdd/cookie/index.htm

Online Address-book Conversion
Now this is clever.  An online utility that automatically converts your address book between various formats, including cc:Mail, Microsoft Exchange, Outlook, Netscape and Eudora.
http://www.interguru.com/mailconv.htm

Free Year-2000 Tester
A free software tool that tests a PC to ensure it's Y2k-compliant.  Do it now, before the price of hardware skyrockets this time next year.
http://www.btinternet.com/~friends4ever/y2000.htm

WinZip 7
The best unzipper for Windows.  Distribute software to users with ease, and cut down the amount of Internet time or LAN bandwidth your users require.
http://www.winzip.com

VirusScan 4.0
Network Associates has finally released its latest virus scanner, the detection engine of which is based on Dr Solomon's antivirus toolkit (which NA purchased earlier this year).
http://www.nai.com

Security News
West Coast Publishing are the people behind Secure Computing magazine (known nowadays as SC, following legal action by a well-known firewall vendor).  If you're after up-to-date news from the world of IT security, the magazine's Web site is a good place to start.
http://www.westcoast.com

Diskeeper 4
This well-known disk defragmenter for NT is now on version 4.
http://www.serverxtras.com/productmain.asp?prodid=1157

Free guide to planning large-scale Web projects
Planning a big Web site or e-commerce project?   HAHT software has a guide on how to do it, available free from the company's Web site.
http://www.haht.co.uk/evalcentre/evalcentre.html

Motherboard Troubleshooting
Problems with a user's motherboard?  Need diagnostic information?  If it's an Intel motherboard, try here.
http://www.intel.com/design/motherbd

What now for Netscape?
Keep up to date on the fate of your favourite browser, now that Netscape belongs to AOL..
http://www.aol.com
http://www.netscape.com

MS Office for free?
No, but StarOffice looks and feels rather like Microsoft's offering.  It's totally free for individual use and licences for corporate use start at US$40 and go downwards.
http://www.stardivision.com

Nokia 9110
Is it a mobile phone?  Is it a dumb terminal?  Is it a Web browser?  Is it a personal organiser?  Yes, all of those and more, and it's top of everyone's Christmas wishlist this year.
http://www.nokia.com/sensations/9110.html
 
 

Essential Reading

Our pick of the best of the world’s IT press articles.

Head-to-head comparative reviews
6 digital cameras Internet Magazine (UK), December 1998) www.internet-magazine.com
5 digital camcorders Personal Computer World (UK), January 1999 www.pcw.co.uk
10 image-editing software packages Personal Computer World (UK), January 1999 www.pcw.co.uk
5 video capture cards Personal Computer World (UK), January 1999 www.pcw.co.uk
5 video conferencing setups Personal Computer World (UK), January 1999 www.pcw.co.uk
40 corporate PCs PC Magazine, 1st December 1998 www.pcmag.com
4 Network-based PC management suites PC Magazine, 1st December 1998 www.pcmag.com
12 Internet search engines PC Magazine, 1st December 1998 www.pcmag.com
24 3D graphics cards PC Magazine, 1st December 1998 www.pcmag.com

EDI across the Internet
With the right software, you can do business-to-business e-commerce across the Internet and cut down on all that paperwork. Web Techniques, November 1998, explains how it's done.
www.webtechniques.com

NT In Depth
The November 98 issue of Windows NT Magazine has in-depth features on SMS security, MS Exchange directory replication, migrating NDS to Active Directory and NT5 Network Management features.  Plus, how to use NT's event viewer to diagnose and prevent problems.
www.winntmag.com

Scaling for Enterprise
So, you've set up a prototype e-commerce site and it seems to be taking off.  How do you scale the back-end DBMS so that it can cope with thousands of transactions a day rather than just a handful? Web Techniques, November 1998, explains how.
www.webtechniques.com

Tips and tricks for supporting Windows
The December 1998 issue of  PC Computing also includes a free pocket-sized 90-page Windows Superguide. "Hundreds of undocumented tips and tricks", says the blurb, "for kicking Windows 95, 98 and NT into high gear".  It does seem useful, and covers crash proofing, registry editing, speedups, registry corruption survival techniques and more.
www.pccomputing.com

Uh oh, the hype has started
"The easy crash-proof Windows you've been waiting for", says the cover of the December 1998 issue of  PC Computing, which has a preview of an early release of Windows 2000.  Of course, the press said that about Windows 3.0 and Windows 95 too.  At least, those magazines who were given advance copies by Microsoft did.  Surely Microsoft wouldn't be so manipulative as to only give early copies to those magazines they know will praise the product?
www.pccomputing.com

Special Unix Backup Issue
SysAdmin is the monthly magazine for Unix system administrators, and the November 1998 issue is all about backup.  Read all about backup and disaster recovery in general, plus managing multiple filesystem backup, network backup configuration, televaulting and LAN backup.  Plus, creating user accounts, and the art of port scanning.
www.samag.com

First Look
The 1st December issue of PC Magazine has first looks at new laptops from IBM and Toshiba, a new release of Windows CE, Adobe Illustrator 8, NAI VirusScan 4, a USB V.90 modem, HoTMetaL Pro 5, IBM's NetFinity 7000 M10 and Intel's ProShare 500.
www.pcmag.com

Handheld PC Torture Test
You expect a handheld PC to be treated more roughly than a desktop.  Sometimes a user will drop the machine.  Or perhaps they'll leave it in a freezing or baking car all day or night.  PC Computing's December '98 issue puts 13 machines through their paces in freezers, ovens, against brick walls, in buckets of water, etc.  Read this review and ensure you buy only the most hard-wearing hardware.
www.pccomputing.com

NT4 Terminal Server
The December 1998 issue of the Microsoft Systems Journal has a detailed article on Windows NT Terminal Server, albeit from a software development angle.  If you're considering using thin-client servers and writing your own software, this article is very much recommended.
www.microsoft.com/msj
 

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PC Alert is published fortnightly by Email by International Technology Publishing.  Its function is to save PC and networking support personnel the tedious task of browsing the Internet and wading through magazines just to find the occasional item of interest.

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This compilation copyright International Technology Publishing Pty Ltd 1998.