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           Issue 34 - 15th August 2000

Welcome to PC Alert, the email newsletter that
keeps you informed of the best new tech support
resources on the Internet.

PC Alert is free. If you like it, why not share
the good news and email a copy to a friend or
colleague?

PC Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and
PC Network Advisor, the standard reference sources
for support professionals.  Find out how much
easier your tech support job can be - get free
copies of PC Support Advisor and Network Advisor now.
Just point your browser at http://www.itp-journals.com.

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FROM THE EDITOR

Speech recognition is in the news again, with the
revelation that the next release of Microsoft Office
will be able to do it.  But if you're looking forward
to being able to dictate your letters rather than
typing them, prepare to be disappointed.  Our
understanding from beta testers is that, although
you'll be able to drive the applications with
voice commands, full-featured dictation capability will
be missing.

It's more than 20 years since speech recognition for
personal computers was first launched.  Indeed, I have
a magazine in front of me right now, from September 1979,
advertising a card for the Apple II that supported a
vocabulary of 32 words.  Judging by Microsoft's stated
plans for Office, it looks like it will be at least
another 5 years before keyboard manufacturers really
have to start worrying.

In this business, a month sometimes seems like a lifetime.
But occasionally, 25 years seems like a month.
 

Robert Schifreen

PS:  Do you have a favourite site that you'd like to
see featured in PC Alert?  If so, send details to me
at editor@itp-journals.com.

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
    - Focus on PC Support
    - SearchWin2000

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
    - PSPro 7 in Beta
    - IE 5.5

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
    - Win2k SP1
    - ZoneAlarm Patch
    - IIS Patch

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
    - Adobe Demos
    - Free Book
    - Windows 2000 Migration Toolkit

5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
    - Digital Dashboard
    - Online Backup Providers

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1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
====================

Focus on PC Support
At http://pcsupport.about.com/compute/pcsupport/mbody.htm
you'll find an excellent portal site for all PC support
issues.  Although aimed primarily at enthusiasts rather
than professionals, the information is thorough, comprehensive
and very well presented.  If you have a problem to fix, or
you need a link to a driver file, you're more than likely
to find the answer here.
PC Alert Rating:  Highly Recommended

SearchWin2000
We've mentioned an excellent site called Win2kWorld
in this publication before.  Now, the site has
merged with another Win2k enterprise to become
http://www.searchwin2000.com.  And it contains everything
you need to know about troubleshooting Win2k machines
and hunting down useful patches.  Well worth a look.
PC Alert Rating: Highly Recommended

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
====================

PSPro 7 in Beta
PaintShop Pro is one of the best-known image editing
tools for Windows.  And it's also one of the most
useful tools for support staff, as it lets you
convert between literally dozens of graphics file
formats.  In addition, it's superb for examining
suspect files found on servers, on users'
workstations, or in email attachments.  Download
version 6, or the beta of version 7, from
http://www.jasc.com.

IE 5.5
Internet Explorer 5.5 is now released.  Users running
5.0 or earlier will automatically be asked whether
they wish to upgrade.  It's worth being aware of this,
if only so that you can warn your users not to
accept the 18 MB download and to wait until the
support department rolls out the upgrade to them.
If you want a copy for yourself, see the Microsoft
site at http://www.microsoft.com/ie.
 

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
===============================

Win2k SP1
Microsoft finally launched Service Pack 1 for
Windows 2000 recently.  It's an 83 MB download, and
can be had from http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000. If
you subscribe to PC Support Advisor you'll find it on
the PCSA 144 CD-ROM.  Initial reports suggest that the
service pack is relatively stable and bug-free.

ZoneAlarm Patch
A patch has been issued to fix a problem with ZoneAlarm,
which fails to work under Windows 2000 if you install
Win2k Service Pack 1.  You can get the patch from
http://www.zonelabs.com.

IIS Patch
Microsoft has issued a patch for Internet Information
Server, which fixes a hole that could allow hackers to
gain access to prohibited files.  You can download it from
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-057.asp.

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
=====================

Adobe Demos
Adobe has made available some demo versions of its latest
products, including Illustrator 9 and InDesign 1.5.  These
are full-featured products with no timeout date, except
that they lack the ability to save, print or import files.
Go to http://www.adobe.com to download them.

Free Book
IBM has recently published the second edition of an
excellent book about tuning Windows NT and 2000 for
optimal performance.  Best of all, you can download
the full book as a PDF file of some 7 MB.  The address
is http://www.redbooks.ibm.com.

Windows 2000 Migration Toolkit
IBM has released a free migration toolkit to assist
companies switching from NT to Win2k.  Download from
http://www.pc.ibm.com/ww/solutions/enterprise/lccare/sit.html.

5.  TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
==========================

Digital Dashboard
If you're involved in IT support, you should know about
Microsoft's Digital Dashboard.  It allows you to create
highly customized applications for your users, based
on the Outlook engine.  The current issue of PC Support
Advisor has full details, and you can read the article
online at http://www.itp-journals.com.

Online Backup Providers
A plethora of companies are now offering online
backup services, which allow you to copy your
critical files to and from a secure site via
a remote telecomms link.  Although the service is
often costly, the advantages over keeping backups
on site are clear.  Read all about the subject
in the current issue of PC Network Advisor, or see the
full article online at http://www.itp-journals.com.

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                  ABOUT PC ALERT

PC Alert is produced by International Technology
Publishing, the publishers of PC Support Advisor
and PC Network Advisor, the standard resource
publications for tech support professionals.

PC Alert is free. If you like it, why not share
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