Support Alert




                Your pointer to the very best

           tech support information on the Web.


                Issue 69 - 1st February 2002


Welcome to Support Alert, the email newsletter that

points you to the best technical support resources

on the Internet.


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the good news and email a copy to a friend or work



Support Alert is sponsored by PC Support Advisor and

PC Network Advisor, the standard reference sources for

support professionals.


Check out the following free tutorials available now

at http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com


* Understanding TCP/IP

* How to Dual Boot Windows 2000

* Understanding the OSI 7 Layer Model

* The Windows Registry Explained

* How to Create Bootable CDs

* JavaScript Tutorial

* IPv6 Tutorial


Plus dozens more.






I've received a few emails recently accusing me of

anti-Microsoft bias.  Surely, said one message in

particular, Microsoft got where it is today because

of its top-quality products and excellent marketing,

and people like me shouldn't criticise an organisation

that's doing so well.


Maybe.  But I've been in this business for almost 20

years and I've seen Microsoft do some pretty unfair

things in its fight for the top spot. And when I see

such things, I like to tell people.  That is my job. 


Still, there's been some good news out of Redmond

recently. A "leaked" memo sent by Bill Gates to all

staff makes it clear that security and reliability is

now more important than simply adding yet more new

features to software.  Hooray!  Finally Microsoft has

realised what its customers, especially the larger ones,

really need.


Let's just hope that the company will be able to deliver

on its promises.  Millions of people rushed to upgrade

to Windows XP and Office XP because Microsoft kept going

on about the hundreds of new features that had been added.

Would just as many people have upgraded if the products

had been advertised as having no new features but being

the most secure and stable version ever? Sadly, I don't

think so.  Still, if Microsoft keeps its promise we'll

soon find out, when the next versions of Office and

Windows hit the streets sometime next year.



Robert Schifreen









    - Mac Security

    - Cleartype Explained

    - Online Books

    - Cookies And Cream



    - HFNetChk 3.3

    - Faxmaker 9 for MS Exchange

    - Winamp 3 Beta

    - WinSettings 4.0



    - My Party Pix

    - Brainstorm Updated



    - Penetration Tests

    - Office XP Toolkits

    - Reducing Helpdesk Calls



    - Top Office XP Tips

    - All About Biometrics







Mac Security

We tend to concentrate on Windows and PCs mostly, but

occasionally we come across a great Mac site.  And here's

one, which contains everything you need to know about

security for Apple Macs.



Cleartype Explained

Microsoft's "ClearType" technology is a way of controlling

the red, green and blue components of pixels individually

in order to produce text that's easier to read on screen.

It only works on LCDs though, as CRTs don't allow this

degree of control.  If you've ever wondered precisely how

it works, here's a great site that tells you.



Online Books

If your ISP refuses to carry alt.binaries.e-books then

here's a great source of online reference books.  More

than 15,000 titles.



Cookies And Cream

This excellent site has had a facelift recently and now

contains even more great stuff.  Not only does it tell

you everything you need to know about web cookies, but

there's also lots of news stories related to privacy and

security.  Definitely recommended reading for IT support

professionals and interested amateurs.






HFNetChk 3.3

Microsoft has released version 3.3 of its command-line

tool which checks servers and reports on which security

fixes are installed. This useful free tool is the easy

way to ensure that your machines are running all the

latest patches and that you haven't missed any. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/release.asp?releaseid=31154


Faxmaker 9 for MS Exchange

GFI has launched version 9 of its Faxmaker software,

which is billed as the first fax software to require

zero administration. And there was us thinking that fax

was obsolete.  Clearly not quite.



Winamp 3 Beta

The world's best-known MP3 player for Windows is currently

at version 2.78.  However, a major new release, 3.0, is

currently in beta.  You can find out more, and download

the latest version, from the Web site.  And best of all,

Winamp is ad-free freeware.



WinSettings 4.0

FileStream's WinSettings program is now on version 4.0.

It runs on 9x/Me/NT/2000/XP and lets you tweak just about

every aspect of the operating system.  You can also manage

the Recent Documents menu, wipe Internet Explorer history

logs, change file associations, and much more.



3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES =======================


My Party Pix

A new virus is doing the rounds.  It goes by the name

of MyParty, and comes in the form of an email message

asking you to click a URL to see the pictures from the

sender's recent party.  However, that URL is not a URL at

all.  It's an executable file, which will infect your PC

when you run it.  It works because Windows supports

program files with extensions of .EXE or .COM.  And .COM

is also what you typically find on the end of URLs. 

Sneaky.  Update your scanner today.



Brainstorm Updated

Our favourite outliner application, Brainstorm, has had

a bit of a makeover, as has the program's web site too.

So if you're looking for a Windows app to help you organise

your thoughts, you can download a free 30-day trial right now.






Penetration Tests

So you've installed a firewall, and the manual says that

your network is now secure.  But is it?  Automated tools can

help you check the security, but for ultimate peace of

mind you need a regular penetration test.  Vigilent is a

new venture from a group of experienced security

professionals, who will test your system security and produce

a comprehensive report on any weaknesses discovered.  And,

of course, how to fix them.



Office XP Toolkits

Microsoft has released 2 free toolkits for Office XP

professionals. The Web Services Toolkit and the SmartTag

Enterprise Resource Toolkit help companies make better use

of the major new features in Office XP.



Reducing Helpdesk Calls

Help desk company Touchpaper has put together 5 useful tips

which will help you reduce the number of calls to your company's

IT help desk.



5.  TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES FROM ITP ============================


Top Office XP Tips

If you've just started using Office XP, you really must read the

brand new collection of tips and tricks in the latest issue of

PC Support Advisor.  It'll help you get the most from all the

Office XP apps.  And even if you're not a PCSA subscriber, you

can read the article for free online.



All About Biometrics

The latest issue of PC Network Advisor, which has just been

published, includes a look at the current market for biometric

security products.  Is fingerprint recognition the way to go if

you want something more secure than passwords?  What about hand

geometry or voice analysis?  This article has everything you

need to know.  And you can read it for free online, even if you

don't subscribe to PCNA.





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