Pointing you to the information
you need to know
19th April to 2nd May 1999
sites with important new PC information,
helpful resource files and other items of interest.
Last time we recommended the statmarket site as a good place to find out various statistics about the Internet. For a more general set of figures, relating to all aspects of the computer industry past and present, the CIA site (no, not that one) makes fascinating reading.
Studying for an MCSE or other Microsoft exam? There are lots of useful sites on the Web that have details of past questions, "brain dumps" from people who have previously taken one of the exams, etc etc.
Tips and more Tips
Windows International magazine has a regularly-updated collection of tips for users and support staff on its Web site. Well worth looking in frequently to see what's new.
Need a bigger display than your monitor can provide? Upgrading a machine to a larger monitor isn't the only answer. You could use two smaller, cheaper monitors, and a multiple monitor card to split the standard Windows display between the 2. Appian Graphics makes just such cards.
So, you've a load of PCs linked to the network and you want to know which BIOS they have, in order to sort out possible Y2K issues. CTBIOS is a program that will dump the BIOS id data to a text file, which you can put in your users' login scripts and then interrogate from the server. You'll find it, and lots more useful BIOS-related stuff, at this site.
Y2K Home Page
And if you've a NetWare server that may or may not be Y2K compatible, Novell's Y2K home page will tell you how to find out the good (or bad) news.
IE4 is an intrinsic part of Windows 98 and you can't install the OS without the browser. True? No. This site shows you how to do it, and thus save lots of your users' hard disk space. Not to mention avoiding the awful Active Desktop, which turns your users' desktops into something completely non-standard.
A to-do list program is one thing, but many users also need a pop-up reminder program to help prevent them missing appointments. Here's one of our favourites.
of Good Software
ASP is the Association of Shareware Professionals, and some of the best and cheapest software (especially utilities) can be found on its main site.
Windows is supposed to manage memory itself, shuffling unused blocks around in order to ensure that the maximum amount of RAM is always available to applications. But FreeMem claims to be able to do it better, leading to more free memory and thus faster execution of programs.
Got users who are setting up intranet pages or a Web site? Among the dozens of programs designed to make the process easier is SiteAid. Which, we reckon, is actually jolly good.
Documents - Making it Work
The Master Document feature in Word 97 is, in theory, great. It lets you split large documents into multiple files, and recombine them for printing etc. But it doesn't work, and often leads to crashes and/or data loss. This replacement for the feature is excellent, according to a number of our correspondents.
Microsoft has a collection of free utilities to aid users of its Office package.
So whatever happened to MS-DOS? It got cloned, and turned into free software. Need an OS for an embedded project, or to run on that 386 that you rescued from the skip? No need to pay - this'll do. Or, of course, put Linux on it and turn it into a firewall.
Reader Is Clean - it's official.
There were reports last week that the final version of Acrobat Reader 4, released by Adobe, was infected with the Netbus trojan. Turns out to have been a false alarm.
We've had text search engines and MP3 music search engines. Now it's picture search engines. So if Marketing want a picture of Van Gogh, or a rat, or Titanic, this'll find it for you. Whether it'll be copyright-free, and thus permissible to use, is another matter entirely.
The NT Bug Traq site, an incredibly useful resource for NT people, now has information on the Melissa virus. It did, until last week, have the commented source code too, but the source was removed following complaints. The comments are still there, though, as are pointers to the source if you really want to see how it worked. Oh, and that warning that was doing the rounds last week, about a virus that downloads Linux in the background and "upgrades" your PC from Windows to Linux? It was a hoax.
Another day, and another bug in IE5. This one, apparently, "allows reading and sending local files to a remote server".
If you need to convert a screen display to a graphic, for inclusion in a document, the official way is to use a screen grabber such as the excellent PaintShop Pro. But this means that the graphic's resolution will be no higher than that of the screen. Much better is to use a printer driver that produces TIFF files directly.
NT Service Pack 4 is now available in Terminal Server flavour.
Got an HP laserjet or deskjet printer? Web Printsmart, downloadable for free, lets you catalogue and manage downloaded images.
Update On the Way
Microsoft is currently updating RegClean, its free tool for tidying and cleaning corrupted and stuffed Windows registries. When it's ready, it will be made available for free download.
A new site of interest to Visual Basic programmers is now online.
Want to share modems under Windows 9x? Windows doesn't do it by default, but Wingate will add this facility.
Want to know whether you're using the latest version of a popular Windows app? There's a big list at www.updates.com that'll help you find out.
Dug out an old Mac? Need an OS for it? All MacOS versions up to 7.5.5 are downloadable.
All the medical information you could ever need. Now you can become the office medical guru too.
Our pick of the best of the worlds IT press articles.
Head-to-head comparative reviews
|6 500 MHz Pentium III desktops||Computer Shopper, April||http://computershopper.com|
|2 Celeron notebooks||Computer Shopper, April||http://computershopper.com|
|4 Windows CE (Professional edition) HPCs||Computer Shopper, April||http://computershopper.com|
|2 21" monitors||PC Magazine, 20th April||http://pcmag.com|
|29 LCD monitors||PC Magazine, 20th April||http://pcmag.com|
|5 Enterprise servers||PC Magazine, 20th April||http://pcmag.com|
|2 tape backup software packages for NT||Windows NT Systems, April||http://www.ntsystems.com|
Setting up one workstation with an operating system and a set of core applications is relatively painless. Rolling that configuration out to 399 similar workstations is harder. Well, not so much hard as time-consuming. There are many applications designed to help, and April's issue of Computer Shopper looks at a variety of them. Recommended reading for any support person who's short of time.
In the May issue of Digit magazine, which covers all aspects of graphic design, the cover-mounted CD-ROM includes a full version of NetObjects Fusion 2.0.2, the Web design suite. Well worth a look if you're currently putting together a Web site.
Also in May's issue of Digit, a review of Adobe's InDesign DTP package, designed to see off the competition from QuarkXPress.
In the April 20th issue of PC Magazine, a very readable supplement on network storage. Got a LAN server that's short of space? If so, this is required reading.
Also in the April 20th issue of PC Magazine, a good look at methods of achieving fast Internet connections, such as ADSL, leased lines, cable and satellite "modems", and other technologies.
In April's issue of Windows NT Systems, a good feature on the tools available for managing NT-hosted Web and intranet sites.
Also in April's issue of Windows NT Systems, an article on how to do remote printer installation, ie configuring workstations to use a networked printer.
Also in April's issue of Windows NT Systems, a review of Robomon from Heroix, a systems management package for NT servers which monitors domains and workgroups for errors. In many cases, the program can even fix the error before it becomes a problem.
us a Tune
Here's a good one that we missed last time. In Windows NT Magazine, March '99, a useful collection of articles on tuning Windows NT systems, including general tuning of disk systems and optimizing NTFS drives.
In Windows International, April, there's a special feature on fixes. This includes details of how to fix the 15 most common Windows problems encountered by users, and how to fix the problems introduced with NT by Service Pack 4. (Incidentally, SP5 is currently in beta - subscribers to PC Network Advisor will receive it on their monthly CD-ROM once it has been officially released).
Microsoft may have the largest market share, but that doesn't necessarily mean that its software is the best. April's issue of Windows International has a preview of WordPerfect Office 2000, and general opinion is that it's fab. It's just a shame that Corel doesn't have Microsoft's marketing budget.
If you're in London this week, Intranet Expo takes place on April 20th and 21st. Internet Business magazine, in its April issue, has details of what's being presented and launched at this event.
security and Y2K
March's issue of Network Magazine, which appears to be still on the shelves, has good in-depth articles on making NetWare Y2K compliant and on ensuring the security of a NetWare 5 server.
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