========================
                         Support Alert
                       Supporter's Edition
                    ========================
                    www.techsupportalert.com

                 "Your pointer to the very best
                  Tech information on the Web"

                   Issue 100 - 21st August, 2003

    Support Alert is a registered online serial publication
                         ISSN 1448-7020.

                        <<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>

Quote of the Week
=================

"Sometimes you have a programming problem and it seems like the
best solution is to use regular expressions; now you have two
problems."

From the gnosis.cx web site

<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>
 
EDITORIAL

It's official.

I'm appointing you President for the day.

The occasion is the 100th issue of this newsletter and I'd like
you to decree to me the future direction of this newsletter.

If you want it to be more technical, just command me.

If you want it to feature more Linux articles then declare it so.

If you hate my editorials than please order me to desist.

I'm in your hands. But so are you. I'm promise to give you
exactly what you tell me.

So if you want future issues to consist entirely of knitting
patterns or handy golfing tips then make sure you have your say
;>)

All it takes is 3 minutes.  Just click here:

http://techsupportalert.master.com/texis/master/search/+/form/decree.html

And thank you Mr. President, for your support over the last five
years.

Gizmo Richards

mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com

P.S. My grateful thanks to those who have donated to the
newsletter to keep it going. Without their assistance, this
newsletter would have ceased publication long ago.

If you haven't yet donated, why not take this special
opportunity to do so? In return, you'll get the special
"Subscribers' Edition of the newsletter which contains many more
articles plus a copy of my "Desert Island Utilities" report.

BONUS!  One of those who donate this week will also receive a
free copy of the TDS-3 anti-trojan suite, rated the number one
anti-trojan by http://www.anti-trojan-software-reviews.com.

Come on guys, your chances of winning are pretty good. Click
below to donate $10 and get the Supporters' Edition now. Donate
by check, Postal Order or credit card.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/se-edition.htm

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SUBSCRIBER QUIZ
===============

LAST ISSUE’S QUIZ: - "A subscriber gets an error message
whenever he right clicks on any icon and select "properties"
The message reads "RegOpenKeyEx: the specified module could not
be found." When he clicks OK everything works fine. What’s
wrong?"

ANSWER:  Here's the winning answer from Ken Hayes, a systems
programmer from Chicago: "The function RegOpenKeyEx()is used to
open a Registry key specified in the argument list. Unlike the
RegCreateKeyEx function, the RegOpenKeyEx function does not
create the specified key if the key does not exist in the
Registry. So the subscriber's error message is almost certainly
caused by the fact that the key does not exist. The fact that
the error is produced when "properties" is clicked suggests the
most likely culprit is a failed installation of a Support Pack
or Windows Update though a faulty installation and de-
installation of an application could also be a possibilty.
Fixing will unfortunately involve uninstalling all updates,
reverting to a prior system check point or a full Windows
reinstallation. As no harm is being done, it may be better to
live with the problem."

Nice work Ken, your copy of PestPatrol is now on its way to you.

THIS ISSUE’S QUIZ: Win a free copy of PestPatrol!

"Is it possible to boot Windows from a USB drive when there is
no motherboard USB drive support?"

Send your answer to the address below and win a copy of
PestPatrol. If you also correctly identify what caused the
problem, you'll get a bonus prize: a free subscription to the
Supporters' Edition of this newsletter.

mailto:editor@techsupportalert.com.   Use the subject line "The
Subscriber Quiz".
 

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>

IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP TECH SITES
 - Update Your CD/DVD Drive Firmware
 - Web Site Critiquing Service
 - Protected Documents Unlocked
 - Find that File Easily
 - Regular Expressions Explained
 - Excellent HTML Resource Site (SE Edition)
 - Insider's Tips for Better Rankings in Google (SE Edition)
 - Help for Users with Dynamic IPs (SE Edition)
 - Make Web Site Maintenance Easier (SE Edition)
 
2. UTILITIES
 - Free Swiss Army Knife Utility
 - Tool for Managing Text Snippets
 - Power to Word Users
 - The Best Tabbed Internet Explorer Version for Free
 - Minimize Applications to the Taskbar
 - Read Linux ex2fs Files in Windows
 - Monitor Registry Changes (SE Edition)
 - Impressive Suite of Network Tools (SE Edition)
 - Low Cost Acrobat Creation Program Impresses (SE Edition)
 - Free XML Editor Shines (SE Edition)

3. SECURITY PATCHES, SERVICE RELEASES AND UPDATES
 - Revised Patch for Flaw in Windows NT 4.0 (MS03-029)
 - Flaw in Cisco Aironet Aironet 1100 Access Points
 - Flaw in Oracle Business Suite and Database Server
 
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
 - Cheap USB Wireless Adaptor
 - Calculate Using Google
 - When is a ZIP not a ZIP?
 - Tech Support Failure
 - Word Documents Pose Hidden Security Risk
 - Wireless LAN Access for Cheapskates (SE Edition)
 - How to Properly Backup MS Outlook (SE Edition)
 - Solve the IE Window Size Problem (SE Edition)
 - Excellent Free Outlook & Outlook Express Guide (SE Edition)

5. FREEBIE OF THE WEEK

 - Make AVI Videos of Your Desktop
 - Industrial Strength File Hiding and Encryption (SE Edition)

Items marked "SE Edition" appear only in the special Supporter's
Edition of this newsletter. This edition is reserved exclusively
for those generous individuals who have donated to this site.

 
1. TOP TECH SITES

=================

Update Your CD/DVD Drive Firmware
Most users know that they can update their BIOS but not many
know that they can also update the firmware of (most) CD and DVD
drives. This site has full details plus some handy tips for
overcoming the region locking on your DVD drive.
http://forum.rpc1.org/portal.php

Web Site Critiquing Service
Like to know how your website stacks up? AbleStable offers an
independent assessment service covering usability, navigation,
content and visual design.  I trialed their cheapest service
which costs $50, and their comments, while not flattering, were
both insightful and accurate and an excellent basis for further
improving the site.
http://www.ablestable.com/critique/critique-hub.html

Protected Documents Unlocked
The latest versions of MS Word offer strong RC4 password
protection of documents.  Don't feel too smug though about the
security of your documents as this site offers a 5-7 day
guaranteed decryption service. The site also offers dozen of
password breaking tools for specific products.
http://www.lostpassword.com/word.htm

Find that File Easily
Looking for a particular file? Try searching at FileWatcher
where they claim they index over 300 million files on FTP and E-
Donkey. If you still can't find what you want, try the FTP
search over at AllTheWeb.
http://filewatcher.org/
http://www.alltheweb.com/

Regular Expressions Explained
Sooner or later every techie runs across "regular expressions"
either in programming or embedded in a software tool. This
excellent free tutorial explains what they are and their use.
http://gnosis.cx/publish/programming/regular_expressions.html

** Bonus Items for Supporters **

Excellent HTML Resource Site
An enormous repository of HTML resources: scripts, tutorials,
tips and more. All free.
http://www.htmlgoodies.com

Insider's Tips for Better Rankings in Google
GoogleGuy is a legend. He's the anonymous Google employee who
frequents the search engine forums over at seochat.com and puts
to rest the various myths, rumors and general hysteria
surrounding Google search rankings.  Here's a recent post
outlining GoogleGuy's suggested do's and don'ts.
http://forums.seochat.com/t4211/s.html

Help for Users with Dynamic IPs
Many ISPs allocate users different IPs each time they start a
session. Such users face real difficulties if they want to host
their own web site, email server, FTP server or play
collaborative games. Hosting company TZO provides a service that
overcomes this problem by supplying you with a fixed IP that
redirects dynamically to your ISP provided IP.  Various packages
are offered from $24.95 annually.
http://www.tzo.com/

Make Web Site Maintenance Easier
Server Side Includes (SSIs) are one of the most powerful ways of
dynamically controlling web page content yet they are vastly
under-used. If you run a web site, I really recommend you bring
yourself up to speed by reading these free tutorials:
http://www.bignosebird.com/ssi.shtml
 

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

 2. UTILITIES
=============

Free Swiss Army Knife Utility
Most utilities fall into a category but WireKeys does so many
different things that it's really in a class by itself.  It's a
Windows tray minimizer, a screen grabber, a clipboard utility, a
desktop switcher, a fast shutdown utility, a volume control and
about a dozen more things as well. All of the functions work
well though some not quite as slickly as the best specialized
utilities. However the fact that you can replace many utilities
with one is the real attraction here. (466KB)
http://www.wiredplane.com/wirekeys/info.shtml

Tool for Managing Text Snippets
Clipboard extenders fall into two categories: those designed to
handle multiple cut and paste operations and those designed to
handle the insertion of multiple snippets of boilerplate text or
code. SupaClip is definitely in the latter group and includes
some excellent facilities for serious boilerplate users
including the ability to classify your snippets under different
categories. It's well priced, too, at a mere $10.00 (735KB)
http://www.hi5software.com/supaclip.php

Power to Word Users
A lot of folks spend the greater part of the day working with MS
Word.  If you are in that group, you should check out WordWare
2002, a collection of over 40 productivity tools for the power
user. I particularly liked the project management utility which
allows you to conveniently group together and manage documents
relating to a single task or project. Wordware costs $39.95 and
there is a free trial version available. (2.82MB)
http://www.amfsoftware.com/word/wordwareinfo.html

The Best Tabbed Internet Explorer Version for Free
Tabbed IE variants seem to be proliferating wildly and with good
reason. The one that I like most is a freeware product called
MyIE2. It works as a small efficient shell that sits over IE.
The advantage of this approach is that normal IE plug-ins like
the Google toolbar work fine in all the tabbed windows. The
longer I use MyIE2 the more I like it. In fact, when I go back
to the normal IE, it feels painfully cumbersome. It's freeware
so don't expect a lot of documentation but if you read the FAQ
from the support forum (see below) you'll have no problems.
There's no installation required as no registry changes are made
so it can happily co-exist with IE. (0.56MB)
http://www.webattack.com/get/myiebrowser.shtml
http://www.overseasky.net/myie2/forum_new/forum_topics.asp?FID=12

Minimize Applications to the Taskbar
No doubt about it, the ability to minimize any application to a
task bar icon is extremely handy.  In fact, it's a real pity the
capability is not built into Windows. However there are many
third party utilities that will do the job. I've tried most and
each has its strengths and weaknesses.  Most notably, some
utilities cause instability while others don't work when
minimizing specific applications. I've had neither of these
problems with Actual Windows Minimizer.  On top of that, it also
has the handy feature of optionally minimizing to a screen edge.
Overall, a contender for best-in-class. Shareware, $17.95. A
full functioning trial download is available. (1.3MB)
http://www.actualtools.com/windowsminimizer/

Read Linux ex2fs Files in Windows
Readers running dual boot Windows/Linux systems will appreciate
this free utility which allows you to read, from within Windows,
files in ex2f partitions or on Linux formatted floppies. (356KB)
http://uranus.it.swin.edu.au/~jn/linux/explore2fs.htm#Download
 

** Bonus Items for Supporters **

Monitor Registry Changes
When installing new software it's often valuable to know exactly
what changes have been made to the Windows Registry. RegShot is
a tiny free utility that takes a before and after shot of the
Registry and then exactly identifies what has been changed.
Another useful free utility for your toolkit. (34kb)
http://regshot.ist.md/

Impressive Suite of Network Tools
Netscan Tools is a formidable collection of Internet information
gathering utilities presented in a convenient tabbed window.
Uses range from information gathering to detailed diagnostic
testing. Some time ago we gave high praise to the free version
of Netscan Tools but the Pro version is better yet. Like the
free version, it offers 34 tabs on a single dialog box, but with
the Pro, each tab has many additional functions. Performance
too, is better. All the major and many lesser Internet protocols
are handled by NST and there's a terminal window included so you
can connect to any host/port combination. The program has many
useful tools built-in: a web page retriever, a time
synchronizer, an open SMTP relay tester and tools for SNMP, ARP,
RPC and WOL.  NST can perform NETBIOS enumeration, validate an
email address and fingerprint the OS of a host.  The “standard”
network and port scanners are included, along with a tool to
open sockets on the local computer as tripwires. Promiscuous
packet sniffing is supported and local TCP connections can be
watched and closed in real time. There are some minor user-level
bugs but these do not detract from the fact that NST Pro is a
valuable tool for Windows network administrators. Pricing from
$195. (2.0MB) - D.R.
http://www.netscantools.com/nstpromain.html

Low Cost Acrobat Creation Program Impresses
Creating PDF files couldn’t be easier using RoboPDF 3.0 (even my
mother could master this program). Just drag n drop your
document into an open RoboPDF window or right-click on your
document and select "Convert to PDF using RoboPDF".  If you
prefer, choose "Convert to PDF and Email using RoboPDF" to send
it post haste.  This program integrates with MS Office so you
can also create your PDF's from within MS Word, Excel or
PowerPoint.  Most of the features of the big "A”, including 128-
bit encryption, and it's a "steal" at US$49.95. (8.3MB)- A.S.
http://www.ehelp.com/products/robopdf/

Free XML Editor Shines
XmEdiL is a free full featured XML editor with inbuilt
validation against W3 schemas.  The feature list is impressive:
browser preview, undo-redo, bookmarks, right-click tag editing,
templates, bookmarks, customizable syntax highlighting,
extensible custom language support, docking code-helper and
more. It's one of those rare products that that is suitable for
both inexperienced and expert users. It's currently at the beta
stage but proved quite stable on my Windows XP machine. (4.9MB)
http://www.xmedil.com/
 

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

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

No new Microsoft alerts have been issued since the last issue,
just a revision of a previous alert. Not surprising given all
the "publicity" they received over the Blaster worm ;>)

Revised Patch for Flaw in Windows NT 4.0 (MS03-029)
Microsoft has issued a revised patch because of "... a problem
with the security patch which specifically affects systems
which have the Remote Access Service (RAS) enabled on them. This
causes RAS to fail when the system is rebooted after applying
the patch."
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/ms03-029.asp

Flaw in Cisco Aironet Aironet 1100 Access Points
Cisco has released patches for two flaws in its 1100 series
wireless access points. One flaw would allow an attacker to
discover valid user accounts.  The other could cause the access
point to crash and reboot.
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/cisco-sn-20030724-ios-enum.shtml
http://www.cisco.com/warp/public/707/cisco-sa-20030728-ap1x00.shtml

Flaw in Oracle Business Suite and Database Server
Oracle has released three advisories and fixes for its products.
Two relate to the Oracle Business Suite and the third to a
serious buffer overflow problem in the Database server that
could allow an attacker to execute code of choice.
http://otn.oracle.com/deploy/security/alerts.htm
 

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

Cheap USB Wireless Adaptor
The tiny Linksys WUSB12 is little bigger than a USB flash drive
yet, with its popup aerial, achieves solid 802.11b wireless
performance. The USB connection is more flexible than a PCI or
PC Card solution yet has a street price of less than $60.
http://www.linksys.com/products/product.asp?prid=519&scid=36

Calculate Using Google
Google has now added a calculation function to its ever growing
list of features.  Type something like 2+2 in the search box and
you'll see the calculator in action.  More details here:
http://www.google.com/help/features.html#calculator

When is a ZIP not a ZIP?
Vendors WinZip and PKWare have each released new versions of
their zip compression programs featuring improved encryption.
Unfortunately, the key standards are incompatible. This means
that from now on, there will be no guarantee that you can read
any ZIP file using any ZIP unpacking utility. Full story here:
http://news.com.com/2100-1046-5062423.html?part=dtx&tag=nhl

Tech Support Failure
Consumer Reports Magazine is carrying an article claiming that,
according to a recent survey of 10,000 consumers, about one
third of computer tech support issues never get resolved.
Computer tech support rates close to bottom of the barrel, even
worse than cell phone support. The moral would seem to be that
consumers should take support quality more into account when
they buy software - not just price and functionality.
http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/ptech/08/07/software.glitches/index.html

Word Documents Pose Hidden Security Risk
Now here's an interesting twist. MS Word and other editing
programs embed in their files, hidden information about recent
document changes, even though this information is not displayed.
However this "hidden" information can be retrieved using special
software. So, if someone posts their resume as a Word DOC file
but with their social security number deleted, it could easily
be recovered. Actually this threat covers all Word documents,
not just those posted online. Full story here:
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994057
 

** Bonus Items for Supporters **

Wireless LAN Access for Cheapskates
OK, you've got a wireless laptop and you want to connect it to
your Ethernet LAN but you don't want to shell out for a wireless
access point or router. It is certainly do-able and this article
from Tom's Hardware shows you how using Windows 2000 or XP.
http://www6.tomshardware.com/network/20030807/index.html

How to Properly Backup MS Outlook
Many users regularly back up their Outlook .PST files but aren't
aware that they really should be backing up their rules and
other settings as well. Discover how from this useful MS
Knowledge Base article.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q196492

Solve the IE Window Size Problem
Most Internet Explorer users have experienced the situation
where IE locks into a certain window size and can't be persuaded
to change.  This fix from PC magazine works in most cases.
http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,4149,1191762,00.asp

Excellent Outlook & Outlook Express Guide
TechRepublic is offering an excellent free set of tips and
tricks for Outlook users. This 100+ page Word Doc file is 3.6MB.
http://www.techrepublic.com/download_item.jhtml?id=r00320030703det01.htm&fromtm=e103-1

 
 

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

Make AVI Videos of Your Desktop
Screen grabbers are useful but sometimes you need to capture
what you are actually doing on the screen.  That's exactly what
you can do using the free utility "Buleny's Screen Recorder." It
will "film" all the action from your desktop or specific windows
to an AVI file and optionally include cursor movements. Just the
thing for making small tutorials.  (548KB)
http://abone.turk.net/bulentb27/index.htm#screenrecorder

** Bonus Freebie for Supporters **

Free Industrial Strength File Hiding and Encryption
bmpPacker is a free utility that allows you to send confidential
files over the net securely encrypted using a bmp image file as
a container. bmpPacker supports Blowfish, Twofish and Rijndael
encryption with a key length up to 256 bits. The latter two
methods are believed to be uncrackable with today's technology.
To decode the information, the recipient will need a copy of
bmpPacker and the key. How you securely get the key to the
recipient is another issue. Note: Use of this product may be
illegal in some countries.  (1.1MB)
http://www.goedeke.net/bmppacker.html

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

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
==============
Thanks to the following volunteer reviewers for their efforts:

Daniel Rose (D.R.)
Annie Scrimshaw (A.S.)
Jeff Partridge (J.P.)

Reviews written by Annie, Daniel and Jeff are indicated by their
initials at the end of the review.

Thanks too, to A. Belile for proofreading this issue.

(c) Copyright TechSupportAlert.com 2003