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      <<< Where to find the Best Support Information on the Web >>>

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          Issue 20 - 1st December 1999

 

Welcome to PC Alert Pro, the email newsletter that keeps you informed of the best new support resources on the Internet.

This special edition Pro edition of PC Alert is provided free to subscribers of PC Support Advisor and PC Network Advisor and includes additional material not available in the public edition of PC Alert.

IN THIS ISSUE

1. NT4 Service Pack 6a

2. Just How do you Keep Up with those Fixes?

3. Office Goes Online

4. Top 400 Products

5. Learn HTML Online

6. Don't take a PC, take a keyboard.

7. Microsoft Security

8. Internet Explorer 5.01

9. Partition Magic 5

10. Someone to watch over me for $34?

11. The Register - the Best Insider News

12. Download Corel Linux

13. Web Gateways to Usenet

14. The NT FAQ

15. More Driver Sites

16. Acrobat Proceedings

17. Security Portal

18. Anonymous Email

19. Acrobat 4.05 Free Upgrade

20. How to do CD-R

21. Threat Lab

22. PC Guide

23. Win95/98 Remote Crash

24. BIOS Codes Interpreted

25. CSS Hacked

26. Windows Annoyances - the Book

27. EXE Online

28. Web Enabling Cobol Applications

29. Supporting Windows CE

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1. NT4 Service Pack 6a

No sooner had Microsoft released Service Pack 6 for NT4 than the bug reports started arriving. Most serious is the one which prevents users from logging into Notes databases unless they have full Administrator rights. SP6 has been replaced with SP6a, and there are also separate patches for original SP6 for those who now regret their eagerness.

http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/q245/6/78.asp

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2. Just How do you Keep Up with those Fixes?

Microsoft seems to roll out security and other fixes on a daily basis. Should you roll out every one of them to all your users? If not, how do you manage the whole process and decide which to adopt and which to ignore? Windows NT Systems magazine has some useful advice.

www.ntsystems.com/db_area/archive/1999/9912/312fe1.shtml

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3. Office Goes Online

Remember the mainframe, where everything was centralized? Remember the launch of the PC, which meant a move away from all that? Well, we're going back to the mainframe culture, with thin clients and Web-hosted applications. Even Microsoft has announced a version of Office that will run over an IP network and all that the user needs is a machine with a Web browser.

www.winntmag.com/Articles/Content/7687_01.html

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4. Top 400 Products

PC World magazine continues with its rolling reviews of products, and its Web site has the top 400 products, in various categories, designed to make buying and evaluation easy.

www.pcworld.com/top400/

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5. Learn HTML Online

It does seem rather ironic that you have to buy a printed book in order to learn HTML, even if you *can* buy it online. Actually, you don't even have to do that. There are some excellent HTML reference guides and tutorials on the Web. Quite why this one is named after an Indian dish, we've no idea. Makes a change from coffee puns, though.

http://vzone.virgin.net/sizzling.jalfrezi/

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6. Don't take a PC, take a keyboard.

You're going to a meeting and you want to be able to take notes. Don't take a notebook PC or even a palmtop. Just take your keyboard! Well you could, as long as the keyboard had a 4-line LCD screen for text entry as well as its own RAM and some battery backup. Then, when you get back from the meeting, plug the keyboard back into your PC and it feeds your notes to the app of your choice.

www.chromasonic.co.uk

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7.Microsoft Security

Microsoft and Security. Two words that go together like, er, two words that don't go together very well. Still, they try. And when they get it wrong they release patches. And then issue patches for patches. We should at least be thankful that all major Microsoft security patches are together in one place, which makes it easy to keep a lookout for new ones.

www.microsoft.com/security

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8. Internet Explorer 5.01

IE 5.01 was released last week, with another raft of bug fixes. Assuming you have 5.00 on your users' machines, with all the major security patches installed, there's no need to roll out an upgrade. But if you're about to move from IE4, it's well worth getting 5.01 And if you're about to install Office 2000, put IE 5.01 on first, otherwise the version of IE5 that Office insists on installing will be a downgrade.

www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.htm

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9. Partition Magic 5

Powerquest is now shipping version 5 of Partition Magic, the indispensable tool for support staff who need to do non-destructive adjustments to hard disk partitions. The latest version will even change NTFS partitions back to FAT.

www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic/index.html

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10. Someone to watch over me for $34?

The trouble with programs that monitor a PC's usage is that they tend to be expensive. And if you want them to monitor all the URLs (and page titles) of Web sites that get visited, the price goes even higher. Boss Everywhere is shareware, so you get to try it free for a month. If you carry on using it, the fee is US$34. Its reports can be exported to spreadsheets and databases, and it'll even encrypt its output if you want.

http://1.digital.cnet.com/cgi-bin1/flo?x=doooEuYguwghEhuY

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11. The Register - the Best Insider News

For insider news about the IT industry, The Register is hard to beat. We, and thousands of other people, happen to think it's excellent.

www.theregister.co.uk

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12. Download Corel Linux

Right, this time it's really going to happen. Linux *is* going to change the world and make Microsoft really worried. Or is it? Corel's new friendly Linux package complete with GUI, one version of which is downloadable for free, might just do it. There again, maybe it won't. If it doesn't, this could just be the end of Corel as we know it.

http://linux.corel.com

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13. Web Gateways to Usenet

The trouble with Usenet is that the reader clients are horrible and you end up downloading thousands of message headers but only finding one message that's potentially of interest. If you've always wished for a way of browsing and searching Usenet via a Web browser, your wishes have been granted. There are a handful of Web-based front ends to Usenet that can be accessed free of charge.

http://www.supernews.com

http://extra.newsguy.com/article.htm

http://www.news2web.com/

http://news.ausmail.com/

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14. The NT FAQ

John Saville's Windows NT FAQ goes from strength to strength and is one of the best resources for solving NT problems. Download it in .HLP or .HTM format, or search it online. The FAQ also features regularly on the PCNA CD-ROM, free to all PCNA subscribers every month.

www.ntfaq.com

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15. More Driver Sites

Yet another site offering links to lots of hardware drivers for Windows. Unlike the others, this one also has a message board where you can post "Desperately seeking..." messages.

www.driverguide.com

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And yet more. Here's yet another site with links to all the drivers you could want.

www.driverforum.com

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16. Acrobat Proceedings

The British Computer Society's specialist group on electronic publishing recently held a seminar to discuss Adobe Acrobat and PDF and its use in publishing. You can download a report on the day's events, as a PDF file of course.

www.ideography.co.uk/epsg/

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17. Security Portal

Looking for good information on IT security? This new portal site will be of interest to you.

www.securityportal.com

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18. Anonymous Email

Those free Web-based email services such as Hotmail are great, but what's to stop someone hacking into the server and reading all the mail? Nothing. Unless it's encrypted, which is the way that privacyx.com claims to work. Might be worth a look if you're sending private stuff back to the office from a business trip. Assuming that privacyx isn't a front for some weird intelligence agency, of course.

www.privacyx.com

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19. Acrobat 4.05 Free Upgrade

Adobe is now shipping Acrobat 4.05. The company was originally charging US$15 for the upgrade from 4.00, but customer pressure has resulted in a U-turn and the upgrade is now free. Invoices which have already been sent will be cancelled, says Adobe. Such is the power of the Internet, and of having the newsgroups filled with people saying rude things about your company.

www.adobe.com/acrobat

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20. How to do CD-R

Looking to use CD-R or CD-RW to create CD-ROMs for data distribution or backups? The net, as always, has the information you need, so long as you know where to look.

www.cd-r.com

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21. Threat Lab

The company behind MIMEsweeper, which checks email messages for viruses, has set up a lab to research and monitor future IT security threats. Content Technologies also has a Web site on which, it says, it will post details of its research and of any threats it discovers.

www.mimesweeper.com/threatlab

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22. PC Guide

PC Guide is a useful Web site containing lots of tips and tricks for anyone who looks after PCs.

www.pcguide.com

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23. Win95/98 Remote Crash

Microsoft has issued a patch for Windows 95 and 98 which fixes a problem that could allow a machine to be crashed remotely via the Internet. The problem could also allow the affected machine "to run arbitrary code", which is Microsoft's way of saying that a hacker could write a program, download it to another PC, and run it.

www.microsoft.com/security/bulletins/MS99-049faq.asp

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24. BIOS Codes Interpreted

You need to know which BIOS is in a PC, in order to find out whether it'll support such-and-such device or whether it's about to fall over with Y2K problems. But you don't really want to take the machine apart and look.

No problem. Make a note of the BIOS ID codes that appear on screen when the machine boots, then look up the details at this site.

http://ping4.ping.be/bios/numbers.shtml

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25. CSS Hacked

The Content Scrambling System, which prevents piracy of DVD movies, has been cracked. It's always been possible to copy a DVD movie onto a hard disk, but the file wouldn't play unless the original disk was in the DVD drive. Not any more. So start checking your servers to ensure that no one's storing pirated movies on there. Large files with a .VOB extension are a giveaway.

www.wired.com/news/digiwood/0,1412,32249,00.htm

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26. Windows Annoyances - the Book

Windows 98 Annoyances is an excellent book by David Karp on how to get Windows 98 to do what you and your users want it to. The rather useful CD which comes free with the book is also downloadable from the Web, albeit in a 40-day trial version.

www.oreilly.com/catalog/utilwin98/features

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27. EXE Online

A decade ago, this writer used to edit a programming magazine called .EXE. The magazine is still around, although the dot has been dropped. And the magazine now has a Web site, from which you can download lots of interesting technical articles, old interviews with Bjarne Stroustrup, and read the hilarious adventures of Ms Verity Stob.

www.exe.co.uk

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28. Web Enabling Cobol Applications

Strange but true. Find out how, in this article from PC Network Advisor on our Web site.

www.itp-journals.com/nasample/p1515.pdf

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29. Supporting Windows CE

You might not like Windows CE but you still have to support it, Learn the tips and tricks from this article from PC Support Advisor on the ITP web site.

www.itp-journals.com/sasample/wince.pdf

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ABOUT PC ALERT PRO

PC Alert is produced by International Technology Publishing, the publishers of PC Support Advisor and PC Network Advisor, the standard resource publications for support professionals.

PC Alert is free to subscribers of PC Support Advisor and Network Advisor

To unsubscribe, send a blank email to pcalert-pro-unsubscribe@itp-journals.com

 

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In the current issue of PC Network Advisor (issue 112), featured articles include:

<> Examination of the removeable storage market

<> How to choose and install email packages

<> Optmising network security

<> Web-enabling Cobol applications

<> How other companies manage network support

 

In this month's issue of PC Support Advisor(issue 132):

<> Preventing computer-related health problems

<> How to write Excel macros

<> How to make better use of Internet search engines

<> Supporting Windows CE devices

<> Virus precautions that you should take.

 

Copyright International Technology Publishing 1999

 

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