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Issue 51 - 1st May 2001
Welcome to Support Alert, the email newsletter that
points you to the best technical support resources
on the Internet.
Support Alert is free. If you like it, why not share
the good news and email a copy to a friend or work
Support Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and
PC Network Advisor, the standard reference sources for
Check out the following free tutorials available now
* Understanding TCP/IP
* How to Dual Boot Windows 2000
* Understanding the OSI 7 Layer Model
* The Windows Registry Explained
* How to Create Bootable CDs
* IPv6 Tutorial
Plus dozens more.
FROM THE EDITOR
You've probably heard of Moore's Law, which is named after
the founder of Intel. It basically says that the power of
processors will double every 18 months. And ever since the
launch of those very first 8086-based PCs from IBM in 1981
it has held true. Just compare the raw speed of a 1.7 GHz
Pentium 4 with the power of an 8086 at 4.77 MHz and you'll
agree that the difference is incredible. Imagine trying to
run Windows XP on a 1981-vintage machine!
But surely Moore's Law can't continue to hold true for too
many more years. There are connectors on the P4 which are
less than a micron in thickness. And at some point in the
very near future, surely we'll reach the point at which we
can't get processors to run any faster without breaking at
least one fundamental rule of physics.
It has long been obvious to me that the future for top-of-
the-range PCs will be based on multiple processors. After
all, if you need more power than a 1.7 GHz P4 will provide,
there's nothing to stop you putting 2 or 4 or 8 or 1000 of
them in a single box. Such machines are already available
to anyone with the money. But multi-processor machines on
users' desktops are still a rarity except in very specific
cases such as real-time video editing, or high-performance
Much to my surprise,Intel reckons that Moore's Law is good
for another few years yet. The Pentium 4, says the company,
will continue to get faster. And the 64-bit successor to
P4, namely Itanium, is all set to improve things further.
So if you've been looking forward to the idea of a multiple
processor machine being installed on every desktop, I guess
you've got a few years to wait. It may happen, but not yet.
As for what comes after Itanium, no one is yet saying. But
if Itanium II (whenever that arrives) can continue to keep
Moore's Law alive, it'll bring us new applications that we
can today only dream of. The future will be fascinating.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
- John's Computing
- The Doctor Has Moved
- Security Links
- MS Office Email
- Updated Windows Hardening Guide
- Web Mail via POP3
- Ghost 7
- New Acrobat Reader
- Control Those Surfers
- The Template Zone
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
- Beware This Site
- New from Novell
- WebDAV Weakness
- ISA Server 2000 Fix
- VB6 Runtime SP5
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
- No NT4 SP7
- Outlook 2002
- Windows XP Embedded
- Mega Script Site
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
- So what is a VPN really?
- Flash 5
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
This excellent free site offers tech support information
for Windows and also includes a messageboard, newsletter,
lots of tips, and more. Check it out.
The Doctor Has Moved
The "Ask Dr Tech" support site has moved, so you'll need to
update your bookmarks if you intend to continue accessing
this excellent site.
The annual Information Security show recently took place
in London. If you didn't manage to get to the show, you can
still check out the official Web site, which contains hundreds
of useful links and articles on all aspects of IT security. You
can also read the results of a recent survey into IT security
breaches within major European companies.
MS Office Email
TechRepublic runs a free email newsletter full of tips for MS
Office users. It's published every Wednesday and Friday, and
subscriptions are free. Why not sign up online right now?
Updated Windows Hardening Guide
Last time, we mentioned an excellent online guide to hardening
Windows 2000 against hackers and crackers. The guide has
recently been updated, and a few inaccuracies fixed. If you
don't have the latest version 1.1 of the guide, we'd recommend it.
Web Mail via POP3
This excellent utility will collect your Web mail from
sites such as hotmail whenever you pick up mail from
your standard POP3 boxes. Ideal if you have a Web mail
address for use when travelling and you want to easily
check it from home or office on a regular basis.
Symantec has released version 7 of Ghost, its excellent
tool for copying one hard disk to another. Read all about
New Acrobat Reader
Adobe is now shipping Acrobat v5, and the free PDF file
reader has also been updated. If you need to view PDF files,
get the update now to avoid problems with PDF files that
are incompatible with v4 of the reader.
Control Those Surfers
SurfControl is a tool that helps you enforce corporate Web and
email usage policies. It blocks chain letters, spam, jokes,
moneymaking schemes, porn, and much more. And you can get a
free 30-day demo copy too.
The Template Zone
This excellent site contains loads of MS Outlook templates,
to help you create top-looking company stationery, invites,
newsletters etc. If you want to jazz up your email, check it out.
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
Beware This Site
One of the industry's biggest players in the Spam market
is now upsetting Web surfers, according to a recent report
on Bugnet. If your users receive an email from a friend
or colleague urging them to check out passthison.com, you
should advise them to do no such thing. The site leads to
dozens of unwanted pop-up pages which attempt to elicit
personal information. This is best avoided, and you may
wish to configure your firewall accordingly.
New from Novell
Novell has a host of new fixes available for download. Among
them is NDS 8.5.1, Plus, DirXML is a data sharing service
that enables the networking of application data through NDS.
Microsoft has released a patch for Windows to fix a security
problem that could allow a malicious script on a Web page
to access unauthorised resources.
ISA Server 2000 Fix
Microsoft has issued a security fix for ISA Server, its
recently-launched firewall product. The fix concerns a
potential Denial Of Service attack, in which a hacker could
crash the system by sending a particular data packet to it.
VB6 Runtime SP5
Microsoft has issued a patch for the Visual Basic 6 runtime
module. If you develop code in VB6, you may wish to roll
out the latest runtime to your users.
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
No NT4 SP7
Microsoft will be issuing no more service packs for Windows
NT v4.0. SP6 was the last, and SP7 has been cancelled.
In a move that has angered major NT users, Microsoft confirmed
last week that it wants to move companies to Windows 2000 and
XP rather than have them remain on the NT platform.
A cautionary tale. If you release a Word document to the
press, make sure you've not used the revision tracking
facility during the creation of the file. If you have, copy
and paste the text to a clean file. Otherwise you'll end up
telling the press much more than you intended, as happened
recently to Alcatel.
Office XP ships on 31st May. Among the more useful online
articles which cover forthcoming attractions in the new
suite is one entitled "The scoop on Office XP and Outlook 2002".
Check it out for yourself.
Windows XP Embedded
Microsoft will be launching Windows XP shortly. The product
will also be available in an embedded version, for inclusion
in such items as dedicated print servers and firewall appliances.
Check out all the facts online.
There's lots more to malware than simple viruses and trojans. If
you're clever, you can come up with something even more devious.
Thankfully, this one was written by the good guys!
Mega Script Site
Need a script for your Web server, to do just about anything?
There's a pretty good chance you'll find it here, for free.
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES FROM ITP
So what is a VPN really?
May's issue of PC Network Advisor has just been published.
Among the articles you'll find a run-down on Virtual Private
Networks. Just what is a VPN, and how do you set one up?
Read the full article online for free, right now.
In the latest issue of PC Support Advisor, articles include
a look at Macromedia Flash 5. How can you use this tool
to produce top-quality animations for your Web site? Read
this article now, online, free of charge.
ABOUT SUPPORT ALERT
Support 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.
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(c) Copyright International Technology Publishing 2001