Issue 48 - 15th March 2001
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points you to the best technical support resources
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Check out the following free tutorials available now
* Understanding TCP/IP
* How to Dual Boot Windows 2000
* Understanding the OSI 7 Layer Model
* The Windows Registry Explained
* How to Create Bootable CDs
* IPv6 Tutorial
Plus dozens more.
FROM THE EDITOR
The trouble with laptops is that people treat them like desktops.
This is, it must be said, partly the fault of laptop vendors,
who now like to suggest that using a laptop in the office instead
of a desktop is a good idea. Once you've plugged it into a docking
station, say the vendors, you can have a proper keyboard, a decent
monitor and network access.
But the added benefit, they say, is the portability. If you
to go to a meeting, or you have to work from home or a hotel for
a couple of days, it's no problem to take the machine away with
you in order to have full access to all your files from wherever
you happen to be.
In theory it's a great idea. But in practice, it often causes
problems. Because laptops get lost or stolen. Sometimes a thief
will exchange the machine for money or drugs (the going rate, I was
recently told by a police acquaintance, is 3 wraps of heroin for
a medium-spec laptop). But other times, the data on the machine will
be even more valuable than the hardware. And even if that isn't the
case, losing your office PC is a major disaster, especially if
it contains information that hasn't been backed up yet.
So, you can see why I say that it's unwise to treat desktop PCs
and laptops as the same. A laptop is not simply a desktop PC
that you can walk around with. It needs to be considered in a
different light, and needs to be protected in a much stronger way.
In the past, laptop manufacturers have failed to realise this.
thankfully, the situation is changing. At least one company has
produced a laptop which has extra-strong BIOS password protection
and additional encryption on the hard disk too. And it is
advertising this machine not on the basis of its screen size, weight
or raw CPU power, but primarily on the strength of the security.
This is a good move, and I welcome it. If only the company
together enough to ensure that email to its press office didn't
bounce, I'd bring myself to mention its name. But it clearly
doesn't want any publicity, so I shall keep it that way. Let's
hope that other companies who produce such useful products in the
future are a little more efficient at using technology.
PS: Keep sending us details of your favourite sites, for
inclusion in Support Alert! Our email address is
IN THIS ISSUE
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
- The Best? Possibly.
- New But Thorough
- BIOS Optimisation
- Need to search inside PST files?
- Access To Web
- Remote Control
- Free Image Viewer
- Fax Suite
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
- NAV and Email Conflicts
- Another IIS DoS Patch
- Visual Studio 6 SP5
- IE Cache Problem
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
- Acrobat 5 is Coming
- The Government Has Spoken
- Firewall FAQs
- Free Visio 2002 Beta
- PC Anywhere 10
- Silly but Fun
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
- Windows 2000 Tips
- Playing Games at Work is Good
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
A recommendation from a subscriber led us to discover this
rather useful support site, which will prove a great help if
you're trying to sort out an errant PC.
The Best? Possibly.
If you need an overview of any common IT subject, a site which
calls itself Simply The Best may well have the answer. It's not
quite the best site we've ever seen but it certainly comes
recommended. Lots of useful information, and links to much more.
New But Thorough
Yet another recommendation from a Support Alert subscriber, for
this site which contains a great deal of useful info.
This superb FAQ contains everything you need to know about tweaking
BIOS settings on various PCs in order to speed up the system or
improve its reliability. Well worth a look.
Need to search inside PST files?
If you need to be able to search inside Outlook PST files, a
product called PC Data Finder may be just what you're looking for.
Access To Web
Access2Web is a useful tool that generates HTML from an Access
database. Although this is something that MS Access can already
do, users tell us that Access2Web does it better.
NetOp Remote Control is a tool that allows you to control PCs
remotely over the Internet or a LAN/WAN. Read more about it,
and download a free evaluation edition, from the company's Web site.
Free Image Viewer
Coffeecup Software has released a free Windows app for viewing
all types of image files such as BMP, JPG, TIF etc. Well worth
a look if you need such a tool. It really is completely free.
GFI has launched version 8 of FAXmaker, its network tool that
allows users on a LAN or WAN to send outgoing email as faxes.
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
NAV and Email Conflicts
There's a problem with Norton Antivirus which is causing
many people to lose the ability to read emails. It's due to the
way that NAV filters incoming POP3 emails in order to check
for viruses. If your users are receiving unexpected error messages
when checking for mail, and they're running NAV, check out the
story on Bugnet for details and the fix.
Another IIS DoS Patch
Microsoft has put out a patch for Internet Information Server
to fix a Denial of Service loophole that could allow a remote
hacker to push CPU utilization up to 100% at will.
Visual Studio 6 SP5
Microsoft has released a major service release for Visual Studio
6. Service Pack 5 fixes a number of problems in Visual Basic,
Visual C++, Visual J++ and more. It's a 130 MB download. If you
subscribe to PC Support Advisor you'll find the file on the free
CD ROM that accompanies Update 150.
IE Cache Problem
There's a new patch from Microsoft for Internet Explorer and the
Windows Scripting Host which prevents a recently-discovered
security loophole. The problem could allow a hacker to run
code of his choice on a user's PC.
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
Acrobat 5 is Coming
Adobe has announced release 5 of Acrobat, the platform-independent
tool for document exchange. If you work with PDF files, or
you'd like to, check out this useful run-down of the new features.
The Government Has Spoken
It's not often that the US Government's National Infrastructure
Protection people put out an advisory to all businesses, but that's
just what they did recently. Apparently, a major group of hackers
has been targeting unpatched Windows NT systems all over the world,
especially those in the financial sector. So if you haven't
installed all the critical NT patches on your servers, now might
be a good time to do so. Unless you're already too late.
This excellent site contains lots of useful information
on firewalls, and links to yet more sites.
Free Visio 2002 Beta
Microsoft will launch Visio 2002 in May. If you'd like to try
the current beta, you can order it (but not download it) online.
PC Anywhere 10
Symantec is now shipping version 10 of PC Anywhere. You can
read more about it online.
Silly but Fun
The net is full of sites which start off as a little piece
of fun and rapidly gain cult status. Our favourite this week
is the rampant ramblings of someone who has posted a massive
list of everything he's argued about with his girlfriend. It
doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with IT support, but we
liked it a lot. Print it out and read it at lunchtime.
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES FROM ITP
Windows 2000 Tips
The newest version of Windows behaves differently from its
previous incarnations in a number of key areas. The current
issue of PC Network Advisor has an article which will help
you explain the differences to your users, and assist you
in configuring and supporting this new OS. Read it for free at
Playing Games at Work is Good
Many organisations use role-playing exercises to help staff
learn to deal with situations. And if it's good enough for the
police and army, maybe you should try it among IT support
personnel too. The current issue of PC Support Advisor has
an article on the subject, which you can read online at
ABOUT SUPPORT ALERT
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