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.
Support Alert is free. If you like it, why not share
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
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
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,
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.
IN THIS ISSUE
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
- Mac Security
- Cleartype Explained
- Online Books
- Cookies And Cream
- HFNetChk 3.3
- Faxmaker 9 for MS Exchange
- Winamp 3 Beta
- WinSettings 4.0
3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
- My Party Pix
- Brainstorm Updated
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
- Penetration Tests
- Office XP Toolkits
- Reducing Helpdesk Calls
5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
- Top Office XP Tips
- All About Biometrics
1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
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.
the small print
Subscribe a friend or colleague today! Send a blank email to
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, where aaaa
is your friend or colleague's email address (you must change
the @ to = in the friend/colleague's email address).
For archives, plus our huge catalogue of the best tech support
sites on the web, visit http://www.techsupportalert.com.
Support Alert is produced by International Technology Publishing,
publishers of PC Support Advisor and PC Network Advisor, the
standard resource publications for tech support professionals.
To unsubscribe from this newsletter, send a blank email
For lots more free IT newsletters see http://www.freetechmail.com.
(c) Copyright International Technology Publishing 2002