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            Issue 44 - 15th January 2001

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
special promotional offer and try Support Advisor and
Network Advisor for yourself.

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

               <<<>>><<<>>><<<>>>

FROM THE EDITOR

A huge amount of software passes through the
Support Alert offices.  Some is average, some is
downright poor, and some is actually quite good.
But just occasionally we see something that really
blows our socks off.  And that happened yesterday.

The program in question was Britannica 2001, the latest
Windows incarnation of the eponymous Encyclopaedia.
If you're going to do a full install, it needs around
1 GB of disk space.  Although that might seem a lot,
it's actually only about 2 or 3 times the size of
an Office 2000 install.  And when you consider what
it includes, it's really amazing.

You get the full text of the 32-volume encyclopaedia.
That's some 83,000 articles.  Plus a dictionary.  Plus
thousands of pictures, movies, video clips, sounds,
and more.  It's an incredibly detailed source of
reference material for anyone who ever needs to look
up, well, anything.

And yes, I know that you can browse the text of
Britannica for free on the company's Web site.  But
having the whole thing held locally, with all those
multimedia extras, is superb.  And messing around with
Britannica during your coffee breaks instead of playing
Minesweeper means that you actually learn things too.

A full set of the printed volumes used to cost around
the same as a small car.  The Windows version retails
for less than US$100.

As Jerry Pournelle used to say in his Byte column,
this one comes highly recommended.  And I'm sure
Roberta would find it useful too.
 

Robert Schifreen
 

PS:  Keep sending us details of your favourite sites, for
inclusion in Support Alert!  Our email address is
editor@itp-journals.com.
 

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
    - Snap in a Server
    - Stuffit for Windows 2000
    - Training and Certification Portal
    - New in Windows 2002
    - IT Newsletter Search Engine
    - Windows Supersite
    - Tom's Hardware Page

2. SUPPORT UTILITIES
    - Registry Monitor and More
    - Tech-Tav
    - Breakdown Alert

3. SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
    - Terminal Server Login buffer overflow
    - HyperTerminal Also Affected
    - Acrobat 4.05 Release 2
    - IIS Patched

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
    - Napster 9
    - Free ebooks
    - Security Administrator
    - Eggshell
    - File Funnel Launched

5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
    - Technical Training
    - Preventing Data Loss

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

Snap in a Server
So, you have an NT, NetWare, Apple or Unix network and you'd
like to add an extra file server.  But you only have 5 minutes
to do the job.  No problem, according to the people behind the
Snap Server.  It comes ready-configured, so all you need to
do is turn it on and plug it in.
http://www.snapserver.com.

Stuffit for Windows 2000
Bugnet is reporting the existence of a bug in the Stuffit
compression tool for Windows 2000, which can cause unnecessary
thrashing of the floppy disk.  Details are at
http://www.bugnet.com

Training and Certification Portal
A new portal site specialising in professional technical
training and certification schemes was recently launched.
It covers mostly Microsoft schemes but there are plans to expand.
http://certreview.com.

New in Windows 2002
Whistler is the codename for the successor to Windows 2000,
which is to be called Windows 2002.  Various publications have
produced previews which outline the new features.  One such is at
http://www.entmag.com/breaknews.asp?ID=3604

IT Newsletter Search Engine
Looking for a Web- or email-based newsletter on a particular
subject?  Wish there was a search engine specially designed
to help you find such newsletters?  Well, there is.  It's at
http://www.freetechmail.org

Windows Supersite
One of the best Windows info sites we know of is
the Windows Supersite.  Among the huge amount of
content is currently a review of beta 1 of Whistler,
which will soon be known as Windows 2002.
http://www.winsupersite.com

Tom's Hardware Guide
We haven't mentioned this for a while, so it's worth
repeating a plug for one of the best online guides to
PCs and hardware.
http://www.tomshardware.com.
 

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

Registry Monitor and More
If you need to track down the source of a user's problem,
you probably wish that there were programs to log all registry,
file, TCP/IP, serial port or parallel port access on a Windows PC.
Well, there are.  And they're free.  They're also extremely
useful - we used the registry monitor in the Support Alert office
a few days ago to help solve a particularly frustrating glitch.
You can get more information on the set of tools from
http://www.sysinternals.com.

Tech-Tav
One aspect of MS Word that has consistently caused problems
for users is the master document feature.  It regularly corrupts
files or causes Word to crash.  But check out this document
management suite for a possible alternative.
http://www.tech-tav.com.

Breakdown Alert
IOWatch is a service that monitors your servers by sending
small packets of data to them every 6 seconds.  If a reply
is not forthcoming, the service alerts the operator via
email, or by a text message on a mobile phone.  The
service costs around US$500 per year.
http://www.iowatch.com.

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

Terminal Server Login buffer overflow
Microsoft has fixed a bug in NT4 Terminal Server which
could allow a hacker to crash, or execute hostile code
on, a machine.  More details, plus patch, are available at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-087.asp.

HyperTerminal Also Affected
A patch has also been released for a similar vulnerability in
HyperTerminal, the terminal app which ships with Windows 9x,
NT, Me and 2000.  The patch is on Microsoft's security site at
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-079.asp.

Acrobat 4.05 Release 2
Adobe has issued a minor update to Acrobat 4.05 for Windows,
which fixes a few bugs and prevents some instances of the
program crashing when opening PDF files.  You can download it at
http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/85f6.htm.

IIS Patched
And yet another Microsoft security patch, this time for
Internet Information Server 4.0 and 5.0.  The patch prevents
a problem that could allow a visitor to a Web site to cause
various damage to the server, including running programs
on it.  Read more, and download the patch, from
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/fq00-078.asp.

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

Napster 9
A new release of the Napster client software for Windows has
been launched, and is now up to beta 2 release 9.  If you're a
fan of MP3 files, it offers more reliable downloads.  If you're
trying to keep MP3 files off your company's severs, it spells
yet another app that you need to watch out for on your users'
PCs.  Further details are at
http://www.napster.com.

Free ebooks
Microsoft recently launched the Microsoft Reader, its
answer to Adobe Acrobat, for reading electronic books
on Windows and PDA machines.  A number of companies
have made available a collection of books in Reader
format.
http://www.microsoft.com/reader
http://www.cewindows.net/reader/reader.htm

Security Administrator
A new printed newsletter has been launched, which is designed
for professional IT security administrators.  It comes from
the people behind Windows 2000 Magazine, and costs US$79 per year.
http://www.secadministrator.com.

Eggshell
A new Web browser has hit the market, and initial reports suggest
that it is rather good.  It goes by the name of Eggshell.
http://www.eggshell-interactive.co.uk

File Funnel Launched
The people behind GetRight, the excellent download manager
for Windows, have released a program that allows support for
proprietary protocols to be handled within Web browsers. The
first protocol to be so handled is, unsurprisingly, Napster,
thus making it even easier for your users to fill their PCs
and server space with MP3 file.  Details are at
http://www.filefunnel.com.

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

Technical Training
In the current issue of PC Support Advisor, there is a
detailed article on how to plan, organise and run a
technical training course.  You can read the first
instalment of this 2-part article online now.  The
second part will be available with your next issue
of Support Alert.  The Web address you need is
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com.

Preventing Data Loss
The current issue of PC Network Advisor includes a
comprehensive look at disaster recover plans, and how
to ensure that a network problem won't cause unnecessary
problems in your company.  Read the full article online at
http://www.pcnetworkadvisor.com.

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                  ABOUT SUPPORT ALERT

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

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(c) Copyright International Technology Publishing 2001