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            Issue 41 - 1st December 2000

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
colleague?

Support Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and
PC Network Advisor, the standard reference sources for
support professionals.

What's the secret?  What is it that thousands of
support staff in 16 countries know, that you don't.

Find out now. Take advantage of our current US$29.95
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Network Advisor for yourself.

Just point your browser to http://www.itp-journals.com
and discover the secret.

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FROM THE EDITOR

If you've ever looked closely at the licence agreement that
comes with your software, you'll know that you don't
actually own the software.  When you hand over your hundreds
of dollars for CorelDRAW, MS Office, Windows 2000, Lotus
Notes, or any other package, all you own is the cardboard
box and the CD-ROM.  As for the code itself, you are simply
buying a licence to use it.    This is all quite sensible,
of course, and totally understandable.

But one fact has always been true in the PC world. Well, at
least 99.9% of the time.  When you hand over your money for
a licence, that licence lasts forever.  Sure, beta software
stops working after a few months, but that's different.  And
some shareware also refuses to run after 30 days if you fail
to register it.  But that's different too.  Paid-for
software in a box runs forever, and never expires.

Until now.  Microsoft is changing the rules.  And it's not
some unknown utility that will work according to the new
model, but Office.

Yes, version 10 of Microsoft Office, due some time next
year, will not run forever.  At least, not all versions
will.  The consumer version, aimed at end users who buy
single copies as a stand-alone box or preinstalled on a new
PC, will still run forever.  But businesses which buy
multiple copies of Office will be offered a special version,
at a discounted rate.  Quite what the rate will be,
Microsoft is not saying.  But the important point is that
the discounted version will expire after 12 months, after
which you will need to order another year's service by phone
or online with your credit card.

You will still be able to use an expired copy of Office to
view and print files, but you can't edit or save them.

It remains to be seen whether this drastic new business
model is seen as acceptable by users.  If it is, it could
change the way we buy software forever.  Assuming, of
course, that no one manages to crack the system and find a
way of making discounted copies of Office continue running.
My own feeling is that such a hack will indeed be developed,
and well within the first 12 months of Office 10's
availability.  I guess that only time will tell.
 

Robert Schifreen

PS:  Do you have a favourite site that you'd like to
see featured here?  If so, send details to me
at editor@itp-journals.com.

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
    - Patching IIS
    - Shush That PC
    - New NetWare Service Packs
    - All about Javascript

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
    - Ecora
    - Asset Control
    - Corrupted Office Fonts
    - How to write Word macros
    - Real Last Logon

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
    - Exchange 2000 Security Fix
    - Domain Account Lockout
    - ASX Buffer Overrun Patch
    - Web Server File Request Parsing

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
    - Pentium 4
    - Free Guide
    - The Register
    - Xara 10
    - Winamp 2.7
    - Netscape 6

5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
    - Microsoft .NET
    - Windows 2000 Group Polices

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1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
====================

Patching IIS
The excellent NTBugTraq site has put together a definitive
list of the security patches that you need to apply to a
Microsoft IIS installation in order to make sure that it's
running at maximum security.  If you're running under NT,
see http://ntbugtraq.ntadvice.com/IIS4Fixes.asp.  If you're
using Windows 2000 you need
http://ntbugtraq.ntadvice.com/IIS5Fixes.asp.

Shush That PC
We've written about this company before, when mentioning
them as a supplier of extra-quiet fans for PCs.  But the
company now has other products in its catalogue too, all of
which are designed to make a PC quieter.  For example,
there's a special acoustic enclosure for hard disks.  If you
want a more peaceful life check out http://www.quietpc.com.

New NetWare Service Packs
Novell has released 3 major new service packs for NetWare
4.11/4.2, 5.0 and 5.1.  You can get them from
http://support.novell.com, but be aware that the largest
pack (for NW 5.1) is a whopping 282 MB.  If you subscribe
to PC Network Advisor, you may wish to wait until we include
them on your CD-ROM.

All about Javascript
If you want to know how to write Javascript, or you want
a ready-made script for a specific purpose, check out the
excellent site at http://www.katungroup.com/javascript.htm.
 

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
====================

Ecora
Ecora is a tool that automatically documents a Windows NT
or 2000 network.  It also identifies potential security
holes.  Read all about it at http://www.ecora.com.

Asset Control
Richmond Systems, best known for its remote control apps for
Windows, has a new product called AssetControl which helps
you manage your asset database.  Read all about it at
http://www.richmondsys.co.uk.

Corrupted Office Fonts
If you run Office 97, you may have occasionally encountered
a problem whereby the font used for screen menus and dialog
boxes becomes corrupted.  A fix is imminent.  Meanwhile, see
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q162/6/31.asp.

How to write Word macros
If you want to know how to write Word macros, check out the
samples which come with Word and start by tailoring them to
your requirements.  There's a good Knowledge Base article at
http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q237/3/56.asp.

Real Last Logon
You have an NT network and you want to know when was the
last time that a certain user, or all users, logged on.  But
each domain controller holds a different time and date, and
you'd normally have to sort through them all manually to
work out which one really was a user's last login time.  If
you want to automate the whole process, you need Real Last
Logon.  Get it from http://www.nttools.co.uk.

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
===============================

Exchange 2000 Security Fix
Microsoft has issued a security fix for Exchange 2000 Server
which patches a problem that could allow a hacker to
remotely log into an Exchange server.  The patch is online,
along with a full description, at Microsoft's security site at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-088.asp

Domain Account Lockout
Microsoft has issued a security patch for Windows 2000 which
fixes a problem whereby a hacker could bypass the auto-
lockout feature and guess a password by brute force.  the
patch is downloadable from the Microsoft security site at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-089.asp.

ASX Buffer Overrun Patch
Another security patch from Microsoft - the 90th patch
issued by the company this year.  This one fixes a problem
in Windows Media Player which could allow a hacker to run
the program of his choice on another user's PC.  The patch
is for WMP v6.4 and 7, and is on the Web at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-090.asp.

Web Server File Request Parsing
Microsoft has updated a security patch issued on 6th
November, which fixed a problem in IIS.  The new release,
dated 21st November, amends the patch to take into account
that a larger number of NT releases are affected by the
problem.  If you run Web-facing NT servers you should check out
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-086.asp.

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

Pentium 4
No, not the Pentium IV but the 4.  Presumably Intel doesn't
trust its customers' knowledge of Roman numerals.  Still,
the news is that the successor to the Pentium III has been
announced.  Apparently it's not necessarily faster than the
PIII in all cases yet, but this will change when the first
native software titles start to appear.  More details are
at http://www.intel.com of course.

Free Guide
Verisign, makers of PKI stuff and other high-class security
software, is giving away a free downloadable guide to
securing Intranet and Extranet servers.  Get it from
http://www.verisign.com/cgi-bin/go.cgi?a=e075917870150000.

The Register
Need a regular dose of IT gossip and some juicy news?
Check out The Register, at http://www.theregister.co.uk.

Xara 10
Despite the expiry of the marketing deal with Corel, the
excellent Xara drawing program for Windows is not dead.
Indeed, a new version has just been announced.  Full
details, and a 30-day eval copy, can be had from the Web
site at http://www.xara.com.  And it's only 7.3 MB.

Winamp 2.7
A new release of Winamp, the best MP3 player for Windows,
is now available.  Get it from http://www.winamp.com.

Netscape 6
Netscape's new browser is finally out of beta, and you can
download it from http://www.netscape.com.  Netscape 6
(they've skipped 5) is a full-featured browser, available
on a variety of platforms, and here in the Support Alert
office we were suitably impressed.   Check it out for
yourself by downloading it, or you'll find it on the CD-ROM
accompanying PCSA 147 and PCNA 127.

5.  TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
==========================

Microsoft .NET
At the heart of Microsoft's strategy for the next few years is
the new .NET technology.  The latest issue of PC Network Advisor,
which has just been published, includes an article which explains
just what .NET is.  Read it online at http://www.pcnetworkadvisor.com.

Windows 2000 Group Polices
Among the articles in PC Support Advisor's December issue, which
has just been published, is a detailed examination of group policies
in Windows 2000.  If you need to know about them, you can read
the full article online at http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com.
 

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                  ABOUT SUPPORT ALERT

Support Alert is produced by International Technology
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