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                      Support Alert
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                www.techsupportalert.com

                Your pointer to the very best
           tech support information on the Web.

                Issue 70 - 15th 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
colleague?

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.

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FROM THE EDITOR

Do you remember those extraordinary technicolour Web sites of
the mid 1990s with their luminous yellows and greens, flashing
fonts and oscillating colours? Some so bright and lurid that you
couldn't view them without sun glasses.

Well they may be back.

That's the conclusion I came to after completing a new series of
reviews of Tech Support Sites. I visited lots of sites and detected
a definite swing in design back to more brightly coloured designs.

No, it's not a return to technicolor, these new "retro" sites are
more restrained and cleverly designed to provide a level of visual
appeal that is lacking in many of today's plain "no-nonsense" web
designs.

The site at http://itp.supportfreaks.com is a good example of modern
retro - check it out.  And here's an example of the plain
"no-nonsense" style: http://www.liverepair.com.

I clearly prefer the first site. But what about you? Do you like
the bright and more visually attractive retro style or do you
prefer the business-like nature of the plain style? I'd love to
hear what you think.

Just email me your preference at mailto:design@techsupportalert.com.
I'll publish the findings in a future issue.
 

Robert Schifreen
editor@techsupportalert.com
 

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IN THIS ISSUE

1. TOP SUPPORT SITES
    - Commercial Tech Support Services
    - SQL Server Mag
    - Great Security Site

2. UTILITIES
    - PC Booster
    - SmartBoard XP
    - Zone Labs Integrity

3. BUGS, SERVICE RELEASES AND PATCHES
    - IE5 and IE6 Security Rollup
    - SNMP Hackable
    - Getting Past the Defender

4. OTHER USEFUL STUFF
    - Free shrink-wrapped software!
    - Free Internet Security Report
    - Free E-Books
    - Not Safe After All

5. TECH SUPPORT RESOURCES
    - Making Accessible Web Sites
    - How to plan a Data Centre

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

Commercial Tech Support Services
I've just completed a new series of reviews of commercial
web-based technical support services and the results are now up
on our web site. If you are in the market for tech support, you
really should read this.
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best_paid_tech_support_sites.htm

SQL Server Mag
Microsoft's SQL Server has its own independent magazine, and
the magazine has its own very useful Web site.  So if you run
SQL Server and you're after help and information on all aspects
of the product, you'll find it here.
http://www.sqlmag.com

Great Security Site
The name of this site may lead you to assume that it's
obsolete and covers only Windows NT.  But you'd be wrong.
Whether you're running NT, 2000 or XP, you'll find links to
dozens of useful security articles and tips here.
http://www.ntsecurity.com

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

PC Booster
Here's a new utility which, it's claimed, helps speed up your
PC by optimizing Windows's settings to suit the user's specific
needs (eg word processing, games, Web surfing etc).
http://www.inklineglobal.net/products/pcb

SmartBoard XP
Oakley Data has launched the latest version of its Windows clipboard
extender.  If you thought that the clipboard technology in Office
XP was a vast improvement over the Office 2000 version, just
wait until you see what SmartBoard XP can do!
http://www.smartcode.com

Zone Labs Integrity
The company behind the incredibly successful ZoneAlarm software
firewall has launched a new product.  Integrity is a centrally-
managed security tool for PC networks to protect workstations
from hackers and trojans.  The company is also putting the
finishing touches to ZoneAlarm Pro 3.0, which should be announced
later this month.
http://www.zonelabs.com

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

IE5 and IE6 Security Rollup
Microsoft has issued an important security megapatch for Internet
Explorer 5.01, 5.5 and 6.0.  It contains all the patches issued
to date, and six (yes, six) new ones too.  If you run IE5 or IE6
you really should get this.  It's a 2.5 MB download.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/downloads/critical/q316059/default.asp

SNMP Hackable
There's a big hole in SNMP, the protocol used for remotely
managing computers, routers and other devices. Read all
about it at this site, then panic.
http://www.cert.org/advisories/CA-2002-03.html

Getting Past the Defender
ISS has issued a patch for BlackIce Defender, its software
firewall.  This fixes a problem that could allow hackers
to crash a machine running Defender 2.9.
http://www.iss.net/security_center/alerts/advise109.php

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

Free shrink-wrapped software!
At this site they are attracting visitors by literally giving
away commercial software. The exact software varies from time to
time but when I checked they were giving away Quicken 2000 Deluxe.
You don't have to buy anything to get the software but you do need
to pay the $8 shipping fee.
http://www.qksrv.net/click-630765-1155794

Free Internet Security Report
The Royal Bank of Canada has put together a very impressive
200-page report on IT security, aimed primarily at its
large business clients.  It's an excellent document, and
well worth reading.  And it's free, too.  It's a 10 MB file,
in PDF format, so you'll also need Acrobat Reader.
http://www.rbcdrw.com/security

Free E-Books
So you've downloaded an e-book reader such as Acrobat or the
Microsoft Reader.  But where do you find some free books to
read with it?  Here, perhaps.
http://www.cyberread.com/free_ebooks/free_catalog.asp

Not Safe After All
SafeWeb is supposed to be a way of surfing the Web anonymously.
But researchers have discovered that the service isn't as
secure as its marketing literature would have you believe.
http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,50371,00.html

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

Making Accessible Web Sites
Just because your site looks great on the machine in the marketing
department doesn't mean that it will look as good everywhere else.
You need to think carefully about browser compatibility, default
font sizes, etc, in order to ensure that everyone can view it.
Thankfully, everything you need to know about how to do this
properly is in the latest issue of PC Support Advisor, and you
can read the article online right now.
http://www.pcsupportadvisor.com

How to plan a Data Centre
If you're relying on e-commerce to make your business profitable
then the data centre is the critical component.  If you don't
plan its construction, commissioning and staffing correctly,
you'll soon be out of business.  Read how to do it properly
in February's issue of PC Network Advisor, or check out the
article online right now, free of charge.
http://www.pcnetworkadvisor.com

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