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                         Support Alert
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                   Issue 94 - 4th March, 2003

     Support Alert is a 100% subscription-only newsletter.
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Quote of the Week
=================

"Some innovations that would truly benefit consumers never occur
for the sole reason that they do not coincide with Microsoft's
self-interest."

Thomas Penfield Jackson, U.S. District Judge

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EDITORIAL

I've achieved a lifelong ambition.

I've outsourced my brain. What's more, I suspect you have too,
though you may not have even noticed.

My sudden realization that much of my brain was now externalized
came at a dinner party when someone asked me to name the seven
wonders of the ancient world.

Now, a few years back I could have run these off without
thinking. However, on that I night, I got stuck at number four.

Knowing that my host had an always-on Internet connection, I
left the table and typed in a Google query. Less than 20 seconds
later I had the answer. Turns out, there's a whole web site
dedicated to this subject.

That little incident made me realize just how much I am now
totally dependent on accessing information from the Internet. I
no longer need to know things. Instead, I know I can find
whatever I want on the Internet.

This seemingly bland observation belies the fact that we have
all taken part in a silent revolution.

Our brains have in effect, been expanded by being linked to the
Internet. This is truly revolutionary and it has taken place
with such speed and such widespread impact as to be breathtaking.

And the tool that has made this revolution possible has been
Google. Prior to Google, accessing Internet information was a
tedious and time consuming process. Not any more.

Think about how often you now routinely search the Internet.
Over the last week I've averaged more than 40 searches per day!

This is staggering. Even more staggering is the fact that in
just about every case, I found what I was looking for.

Even three years ago, this would have been impossible.

But there is yet more to this revolution.

Consider the precept that "memorizing information is not
important; what's important is knowing where to find it."

This concept has now been realized with a vengeance. But we have
gone further.  Today I don't even need to know where information
is located because, using Google, I can easily re-find it. In
fact, it's often quicker to do a new search than locate
information using a bookmark.

I've now become so dependent on Google that I feel ill at ease
when I'm traveling and don't have Internet access. I can easily
live without having access to my email, but with no Google I
feel part of my brain has been removed.

The Internet as a prosthesis for the human brain.  Now that's a
thought I like. It provides at least some hope to counterbalance
the despair of witnessing my brain cells disappearing with each
passing year ;>)

Gizmo Richards
mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP TECH SITES
 - The Best Way to Find Audiovisual Files
 - Find Email Addresses
 - Send Large Files Easily
 - Configure Windows XP Services
 
2. UTILITIES
 - The Best Screen Capture Utility for Free
 - Free Memory Tester
 - Smart Alternative to Google Toolbar
 - Use Office for Teams Without Exchange
 - Network Reporting and Monitoring Utility
 

3. SECURITY PATCHES, SERVICE RELEASES AND UPDATES
 - Windows Me Vulnerability (MS03-006)
 - Windows XP Patch Fixes SP1 Problem (Q329441)
 - Patch for IE 6 Cumulative Patch (813951)
 - Vulnerability in Sendmail
 - Oracle's Buffers Overflowing
 - Intuit Admits TurboTax Problems

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
 - DVD Drive Reads and Writes All
 - 27GB DVD
 - Why Nerds are Unpopular
 - How to Get Rid of Telemarketers
 

5. FREEBIE OF THE WEEK
 - Free Web Site Ripper
 

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1. TOP TECH SITES
=================

The Best Way to Find Audiovisual Files
After a recent deal with Microsoft, Stingingfish has cemented
its position as the premier search engine for locating audio and
video files and is now "the audiovisual Google."
http://www.singingfish.com/

Find Email Addresses
If you are looking for someone's email address, the bad news is
there's no central directory. However this site offers a meta
search engine that will search many possible sources. Quite to
my surprise, I found my own personal email address.
http://mesa.rrzn.uni-hannover.de/

Send Large Files Easily
Once files get larger than the typical email limits of 2-4MB,
itís not easy to send them over the Internet.  There are many
solutions available to the technically competent but this site
offers a secure and hassle-free solution. They charge you 2c a
megabyte for the pleasure but you get a free $5.00 credit when
you trial the service.
http://www.filecourier.com/

Configure Windows XP Services
Even experienced users find XP Services something of a mystery.
This site provides explanations for all of the services plus
some useful configuration information.
http://blackviper.com/WinXP/servicecfg.htm

Got some top sites to suggest? Send them to
mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com
 

 2. UTILITIES
=============

The Best Screen Capture Utility for Free
I've used over half a dozen screen-capture utilities and none of
them has really satisfied. Until now.  Gadwin screen capture
does exactly what I want in the way I want. Further, it avoids
the trap of providing lots of useless and confusing features.
It's the little things that count like making the hot key PrtSc
so I don't have to remember it, and automatically sequentially
naming the output files for multiple screen shots. Gadwin will
stay on my PC permanently. (976KB)
http://www.gadwin.com/printscreen/?prnscr

Free Memory Tester
Experiencing strange system lockups? Is your well-proven
software suddenly misbehaving?  Faulty memory may well be the
problem.  Give it a thorough checkout with this free utility.
When you first run DocMem it creates a floppy boot disk
containing memory tests, which you can then use on any Windows
PC. You can test memory once or loop through the tests
indefinitely. (297KB)
http://www.docmemory.com/PAGE/products/doc/docinfo.asp

Smart Alternative to Google Toolbar
Daveís Quick Search Bar is a free utility that gives you the
same easy access to Google searches as Google's own searchbar
but wait, thereís more.  It also provides access to the
excellent Teoma, FAST and other search engines. Because it
resides in your task bar, it's accessible from any application.
Comes with a host of other features such as dictionary/thesaurus
access and even a calculator. If that's not enough for you, it's
totally customizable. One cool product. (380KB)
http://www.dqsd.net/

Use Office for Teams Without Exchange
If you use Office but have trouble sharing information because
you don't run an Exchange server, check out 4Team for MS
Outlook. This add-in allows team members to easily share
Contacts, Tasks and other folders by using special email
messages that are sent between team members. It's a clever
solution that works seamlessly and transparently once set up.
Pricing depends on the number of members in the team. A 14-day
trial download is available.
http://outlook.4team.biz/

Network Reporting and Monitoring Utility
TrafMeter is a powerful Windows-based network monitoring utility
that provides an unusual degree of flexibility through user-
definable filters. The filters can be set up for single hosts,
subnets or specific IP addresses. Captured data can be reported
in a wide variety of formats, all of which can be optionally
saved in a Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle or MySQL database. A
powerful troubleshooting tool for small and medium size
networks. Trafmeter costs $49 but a free 30-day trial is
available. (1.2MB)
http://www.lastbit.com/trafmeter/default.asp

Got some favorite utilities to suggest? Send them to
mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com
 

3. SECURITY PATCHES, SERVICE RELEASES AND UPDATES
=================================================

Windows Me Vulnerability (MS03-006)
Microsoft has issued a critical level alert for a buffer
overflow problem in Windows Me that could allow an attacker to
execute code of choice on the victim's machine.  The
vulnerability is exploited using a specially crafted form of web
address that could be used in an email or on a malicious web
site. In some instances it is not even necessary for the victim
to click on the malformed link. Get the patch here:
http://www.microsoft.com/security/security_bulletins/ms03-006.asp

Windows XP Patch Fixes SP1 Problem (Q329441)
Apparently some XP users have encountered problems reconnecting
to networks after a system restore following an XP SP1
installation. A patch is now available.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;329441

Patch for IE 6 Cumulative Patch (813951)
The February 2003 IE 6 cumulative patch (810847) contained a bug
that prevented some users from logging into MSN mail accounts or
certain web sites. A fix is available.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/critical/813951/default.asp

Vulnerability in Sendmail
Security company ISS has released an advisory covering a buffer
overflow vulnerability in the Mail Transfer Agent, a key
component in the widely used Sendmail email server software. The
fault could allow an attacker to craft a special email message
header through which he could gain "root" or superuser control
of any vulnerable Sendmail server. The problem affects versions
5.79 to 8.12.7. All users of these versions are advised to
upgrade to 8.12.8 or apply patches.  More details here:
https://gtoc.iss.net/issEn/delivery/xforce/alertdetail.jsp?oid=21950

Oracle's Buffers Overflowing
After a period of quiet, Oracle has released five alert's
relating to buffer overflow problems in its 9i Application and
Database software. Several of these are rated "critical."
http://otn.oracle.com/deploy/security/alerts.htm

Intuit Admits TurboTax Problems
Claims against the copy protection in the latest version of
TurboTax have been confirmed by Intuit, though its impact has
been downplayed.  The copy protection is intended to limit the
ability to run TurboTax on a PC other than one on which it was
originally installed. However, it writes hidden code in an
inaccessible area of the hard drive and runs a monitoring
process continuously even when TurboTax is not in use.  The copy
protection scheme will be removed from future releases.
http://cl.com.com/Click?q=d6-yw2KQMPJW0my4BcJsORKw0gSyJRR

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

DVD Drive Reads and Writes All
DVD write formats are a mess of incompatible standards. Sony's
new DVD drive cuts through the Gordian knot by reading and
writing all major standards. Add to that the ability to write
DVDs at 4X and a reasonable price and you have a winning
combination. Street price is around $330.
http://www.funkyfresh.com/toys/review_sony_dru_500ax.html

27GB DVD
If existing DVD standards are not confusing enough, a new one is
on its way. Blu-ray is a standard based on low wavelength lasers
that allow 27GB to be crammed on to a DVD. Thankfully, nine
industry heavyweights including Philips and Sony, have signed up
to the just-released Blu-ray standard so we may see product
uniformity yet. The first products are being readied for market
now with writable versions available later this year.
http://news.com.com/2100-1040-984520.html?part=dtx&tag=ntop

Why Nerds are Unpopular
This short and provocative paper is by Paul Graham of Lisp and
Bayesian spam filter fame. Fascinating reading.
http://www.paulgraham.com/nerds.html

How to Get Rid of Telemarketers
This site lists some sensationally effective ways of making sure
telemarketers don't call. The trick that caught my eye was the
suggested use of special "out-of-service" tones on your
answering machine that will fool many automated telemarketing
systems into believing you don't exist. You can even download
the special tones from the site.
http://www.junkbusters.com/telemarketing.html

5. FREEBIE OF THE WEEK
======================

Free Web Site Ripper
Whether you call it a web site explorer or offline browsing
facilitator, this utility is really a web site ripper. It will
speedily download non-password sites in whole or in part to your
hard drive. There are many web rippers but WebReaper is amongst
the best and yet it's free. (966kB)
http://www.webreaper.net/

Got some top sites and services to suggest? Send them in
to mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com
 

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This edition of Support Alert was proof-read by subscriber A.
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