Your pointer to the very best
tech support information on the Web.
Issue 59 - 1st September 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
While researching Support Alert we look at literally
thousands of Web sites every month. Most of them are
fairly average, but some stand out. And those are the
ones that you get to read about in Support Alert.
Recently I came across something particularly clever.
And it wasn't just the technology that impressed me,
but the novel way of using it that one particular
person had discovered.
If you've ever used Google then you'll know all about
its sponsored links. Search for "fishing rods", for example,
and you'll get thousands of links on the subject. But
on the right hand side of the screen you'll also see
some sponsored links, leading you to sites which various
sellers of fishing rods have paid for the privilege of
Google calls this system AdWords, and the clever bit about
the technology is that you can set it up yourself. If you
sell fishing rods, for example, then you specify "fishing
rods" as the search term which will result in your
sponsored link being displayed. Google charges your
credit card around $15 for every thousand times the advert
is shown, and you can specify a limit after which your
campaign is considered closed.
Remember not to specify "sex" as your keyword, of course, or
you'll reach your spending limit in a matter of seconds!
Anyway, here's the clever bit. A friend of mine (let's call
him Fred) did some work for a company (let's call them XYZ).
Fred sent XYZ a bill for the work, but XYZ never paid it.
So Fred set up a sponsored AdWords link on Google. Whenever
you search for XYZ, you'll see a sponsored link which says
"We did a lot of work for XYZ but they never paid their
bill". You can then click on the sponsored link itself, which
takes you to Fred's page that goes into more detail.
I have yet to find out whether XYZ finally paid Fred the money
they owed. But Fred's idea was brilliantly simple, and cost
him just $15 for up to 1000 hits. That's 1000 people who
went to Google with the specific intention of locating XYZ
but who were then faced with a very strong reason to take
their business elsewhere.
Revenge is not only sweet, it can also be extremely cheap.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
- Is your PC ready for Windows XP?
- Programs Programs Everywhere
- Online Security Info
- PDA Buzz!
- Understanding ADSL
- Updated Nero
- ZoneAlarm Updated
- GIF Animator
- Check your Site
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
- Great new Microsoft security tools
- NNTP Leaks
- Problem with Outlook View Control
- GroupWise Strengthened
- IIS Cumulative Patch
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
- My Communicator
- Beta Place
- Rodential Remembrances
- Need a Counter?
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
- Port Scanning Tools
- Hard Disk Partition Managers
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
Is your PC ready for Windows XP?
Microsoft has published a list of PCs which have been certified
as being "Ready for Windows XP". These are machines which meet
the minimum required spec, and for which all the necessary
drivers are available (or for which the default drivers have all
been tested and found to be OK). So if you're looking to buy
one or more new PCs, it's probably a good idea to glance
at the list before you make that purchase.
Programs Programs Everywhere
You're looking for a utility to perform a specific task. You
just know that someone somewhere has probably already written
such a thing, but you don't know where to find it. Sounds
familiar? Before you go reinventing the wheel and writing
your own version, check out this site. They've probably got it.
Online Security Info
This superb site has articles on dozens of topics related
to online security, from how to configure ZoneAlarm to how
to turn off browser cookies. Highly recommended.
Looking to buy a PDA? Need to weigh up the pros and cons
of Palm vs Nokia vs Handspring and all the others? These
excellent sites have the answers you need.
No, this site is nothing to do with anyone being a lover
of ads! It's actually a rather good overview of ADSL,
which explains why it's so much better than a modem but
why it's still not the total panacea for internet users.
Nero, the best shareware software for burning CDs, is now
up to version 5.5. (Nero? Burning ROM? Gettit?) If
you're unhappy with your CD burning suite, or you have
an older version of Nero, then get Nero 5.5 now.
There's a new version of ZoneAlarm available, which fixes
a few bugs and is now compatible with Windows XP. If you're a
user of this fine software firewall, you can download the
CoffeeCup Software has released version 6 of its tool for
creating animated GIFs. It'll even save your creation
in Flash! format.
Check your Site
WebTrends is the best-known supplier of tools to analyse
the stats from your Web server. Check out the latest trial
downloads now, to see what the company has to offer.
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
Great new Microsoft security tools
Microsoft recently released 2 handy security tools. They are
designed for checking your PCs and servers and to report
which security patches you have installed and which ones
are missing. BugNet has full details, or check out Microsoft's
own security site if you're not yet a BugNet subscriber.
There's a memory leak in the NNTP service in Windows NT 4 and
Windows 2000. Microsoft has released a patch to fix the
problem, which you can now download.
Problem with Outlook View Control
Microsoft has issued a patch for Outlook 98, 2000 and XP which
fixes a serious loophole that could allow hackers access to
a user's PC. The problems was first reported in July, when
Microsoft released details of a workaround. Now a proper
patch has been created. Read more about it, and download it.
Novell has issued a patch to improve the security of GroupWise
5.5 and 6.0, for both servers and workstations. Novell has not
released details of the problem which the patch fixes, but
has hinted that the problem is serious and that customers should
install the patch as soon as possible.
IIS Cumulative Patch
Microsoft has released a patch for Internet Information Server
which contains 5 separate fixes in a single bundle. If you're
running IIS, Microsoft recommends that you download and apply
the patches as soon as possible in order to close some major
weaknesses in your Web server security.
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
Sometimes we come across a support site that stands head
and shoulders above anything else. And this is one such
site. If you use a Nokia Communicator (9110 or 9210) then
check this out, for the best collection of tips and tricks
you've ever seen. Under the hood, the Nokia 9xxx phones
are actually pretty powerful general-purpose computers, and
this site shows how to make the most of yours.
Microsoft has a little-known web site which acts as a home
for all its beta test programmes. Currently under way is
beta testing for Windows 2000 Service Pack 3. Although
the site is password-protected, there are links to find
out more about the beta programmes and how to apply for them.
If you're a fan of online dating sites and you've been
looking for a Windows tool to help keep track of the people
you meet online, then DaterFile is it. Now you've no excuse
for not having anything to say to someone, or for forgetting
what you chatted about last time. And it stores pictures too.
Have you heard of Doug Engelbart? He, apparently, is the man
who invented the computer mouse. Read all about him, and
mice, and hypertext, on this fascinating site.
Need a Counter?
Building your first Web site? Need things like a free
hit counter and other cgi scripts? These sites will help you.
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES FROM ITP
Port Scanning Tools
The September issue of PC Network Advisor has just been
published. This edition includes an article on port scanning
tools for Windows and Linux. If you look after a network
and don't know what port scanning is, you really need
to find out. Before the hackers do. Check out the
article online, for free. You'll also find articles
on iSCSI, the Microsoft Data Engine, server benchmarking suites,
a review of a major helpdesk product, and much more too.
If you haven't subscribed yet, check the Web site now.
Hard Disk Partition Managers
The latest issue of PC Support Advisor has just been
published, and includes a great collection of tips and
tricks for Excel, a review of Borland Kylix, a close look
at AMD's Hammer processors, and much more too. There's
also a thorough round-up of hard disk partition manager
software, which you can read 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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