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The Naked PC - http://www.TheNakedPC.com What You Need to Know about All Things PC Publisher: Lee Hudspeth and T.J. Lee Editor in Chief: Dan Butler Contributing Editor: Al Gordon This issue is for Thursday, July 20, 2000 - Vol. 3 No. 15 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Table of Contents ** 01. Letter from the Publisher ** 02. PayPal Revisited (by Dan Butler) ** 03. Of Palms and Pocket/PCs (by Al Gordon) ** 04. IntelliMouse Optical vs. Explorer (by Lee Hudspeth) ** 05. Microsoft Email Bug - The Big One! (by T.J. Lee) ** 06. Featured Web Page - Scott Crevier's Home Automation Site ** 07. Featured Book - How Computers Work: Millennium Edition ** 08. Featured Product - Tellme ** 09. For Recent Subscribers ** 10. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and interesting stuff ** 01. Letter from the Publisher Hey, did you notice that TNPC's two-year anniversary quietly came and went last week? Happy Anniversary to us! And thanks to all of our subscribers for keeping this entire project interesting. Jim would like to thank all the readers that sent him their own horror stories about fighting the elusive carpenter ant. The saga continues and he promises to let us know how it all turns out. Meanwhile, Al Gordon is out this week recovering from knee surgery but nevertheless sent in a piece on Palm Pilots and Pocket/PCs. Lee is on vacation (there's that word again, I'm really going to have to look that up one day), and Dan has an update this issue on PayPal that anyone wanting to accept credit cards in their business but who doesn't have a merchant bank account will find most interesting. With Lee and Al out it's just Jim and Dan holding down the virtual fort here at the Underground Labs. And since Dan is on baby watch with number 7 (or is it 8?) on the way it may just wind up being Jim. If you find any mistakes in this issue be a sport and keep'em to yourself. Jim's a CPA by original training and while good with numbers he never knows if he's left a participle dangling or not. A goodly number of sharp-eyed TNPCers noticed that the book Dan recommended in the last issue (TNPC #3.14) which he called "The Magic Book" is actually titled "The Magic Show." Our apologies to the author Mark Setteducati. The good news is that even despite the title snafu all the mail received was positive due to the fact that this is a truly amazing book. It's a book on magic that is actually a complete magic act with the book itself becoming the tricks. You have to see it to believe it. Fun stuff. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?amazon1 As always, reader support is what keeps TNPC free, so PLEASE help us and pass a copy of TNPC on to co-workers and friends (no spam please!) and remember to always say "I saw it in TNPC!" +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ >> PROTECT YOUR SYSTEM! DON'T LOSE VALUABLE DATA! 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You might also want to note that PayPal now insures each account for up to $100,000 against unauthorized transactions. http://www.thenakedpc.com/t/315/tr.cgi?paypal1 PayPal lets you send to, and receive money from, other PayPal users via credit cards but without exchanging any credit card information. This is typically done through email but there are other ways. For example you can use a Palm handheld device to pay or receive monies via PayPal. The PayPal service is free for both the sender and the receiver making it a very handy and economical way to make and/or receive payments. The geographically scattered TNPC staff has used the service without a hitch since it was first offered. PayPal has become very popular on auction sites like eBay enabling people to accept payment via credit card without the hassle of having to get a merchant bank account or processing the credit card transactions themselves. PayPal has finally come out with its highly anticipated "Business" account. There are a number of major differences between PayPal's new Business account and it's traditional Personal account. First things first - PayPal is still limited to US customers. We know this is a sore spot with our overseas subscribers and PayPal says they are working on extending their service international in the future. But for now it's strictly limited to US residents. The main difference between the Business account and the Personal account are the charges associated with the Business account. While it is still free to send money from either type of account there's a fee of 1.9% on monies you receive into a Business account. However, 1.9% is an excellent rate and is generally lower than that charged by most merchant banks on transactions. PayPal also charges for the optional automatic daily depositing of your received funds into your bank account. There is a 0.6% transaction fee for this service. While a handy feature it is an option and you don't have to use it with your Business account. Of course the downside to all this is that many people either don't use or don't want to use PayPal to make payments for goods and services. With a PayPal Business account there's a $10,000 limit on the amount you can receive in a single transaction (the Personal account has a default starting limit of $500), plus you get 24/7 call-in customer service center. With a Personal account you are limited to email for support and it can be very slow getting a response, presumably due to the rapid growth PayPal experienced. PayPal is promising additional features for sometime in the future. These include interest earned on your fund balances, downloadable payment histories, checking accounts, debit cards, and more. Most of these services will be the result of PayPal's merger with X.com, the popular online bank. However you can get all of these features right now and for free by signing up with X.com. I personally transfer my money from PayPal to X.com and let it accrue interest until I need it back in my PayPal account. What are the downsides to using the new PayPal Business accounts? The big unknown at this point is how chargebacks will be handled. With a normal credit card transaction a purchaser can tell their credit card company to not pay an item that appears on their statement. Or if a customer complains about a transaction sometimes the vendor will simply issue a credit on their charge. The PayPal Personal account user agreement precludes chargebacks. In other words you can't call your credit card company and ask them to stop payment on a charge you authorized through PayPal. It remains to be seen how PayPal will handle complaints and chargebacks against merchants using their Business account now that those merchants are paying to use the service. Since PayPal works outside of existing accounting systems it may not be worth the extra time for business selling small ticket items or are already set up to take credit cards. On the other hand, if your customers are very Internet savvy they may prefer this system to sending you their credit card information directly. Check out PayPal's Business and Personal accounts here: http://www.thenakedpc.com/t/315/tr.cgi?paypal2 You can reach Dan Butler at: mailto:danbutler@TheNakedPC.com +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ *****************FREE DirecTV GIVEAWAY!!!***************** Two former Dell Executives want to give you an opportunity to earn extra cash and A FREE DirecTV system! If your neighbors, friends and business associates ask you for free advice about computers and technology products, wouldn't you like to get paid for all the FREE advice you have been giving away? Find out how to profit from your computer knowledge. Details at: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?sponsor2 +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ** 03. Of Palms and Pocket/PCs (by Al Gordon) Sometimes I really wonder whether people who write about technology actually use the stuff. This was brought to mind the other day when I was reading a series of stories about handheld computers, comparing the relative capabilities of the products on the market. Among other things, it was written over and over again as if it were one of the Laws of Nature that Microsoft's Pocket PC/Windows CE operating system is more troublesome than the Palm OS and that Pocket PC devices are overpriced compared to Palms. Apparently, when a myth gets repeated often enough, it comes to be considered a fact. I just finished reporting a feature story on the latest generation of the handheld devices for eBay Magazine. In putting the items to the test regarding their capabilities for handling Internet communications and light-duty document work while traveling, I found the Pocket PC devices to be very stable while Palm OS units repeatedly generated fatal errors and required resets. Here's a little secret of handhelds: Pocket PC devices make for ridiculously expensive and entirely overcomplicated Palms, and Palms make for horribly overtaxed and deceptively expensive Pocket PCs. The beauty of the Palm is its elegant simplicity. It performs its core functions -- address book, datebook, to-do list, and memo pad -- efficiently and nearly flawlessly. While its monochrome LCD display could be more readable, that is an acceptable trade- off for the long battery life of Palm devices. It is the pocket electronic organizer that I want -- and have -- in my pocket. The only real negative is that its synchronization software for communicating with desktop applications is mediocre. The first thing I advise any Palm user to do is by a copy of Pumatech's IntelliSynch software: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?amazon2 Or, if you use only Microsoft Outlook, DataViz's Desktop to Go. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?amazon3 However, once you start to add more complicated functions to it - - Internet access, email, Web browsing, word processing, book reading, spreadsheets, color displays -- that simplicity is lost. The Palm OS does not provide for multitasking, nor was intended for heavy lifting. Moreover, the Palm applications universe is mainly shareware, some of it exceedingly sophisticated; some not. Palm appears to be making a strategy out of buying up the leading software providers... does this strike a familiar note?... and bringing the products in-house. Because of short supplies of its hottest products and other marketing moves, Palm has been able to prop up the prices of key models: the 8 MB Vx and the color IIIc, for instance, are $399 and $449 pretty much everywhere. Throw in the purchases of the additional software you need to use a Palm for "road warrior" purposes, and the price difference from Pocket PCs is minimal. Handhelds with Microsoft's OS, on the other hand, are a really neat travel companion. Their crisp color displays are very readable, you get decent handheld translations of Word, Excel, Outlook, and Internet Explorer, and you can use them as MP3 music players and voice recorders. You wouldn't want to use them instead of a notebook on a business trip, but if you are away from home or office and want to check your email or do some simple document work, Pocket PCs are fairly cool. BUT the idea of paying $500 or $600 for electronic calendar would be ludicrous. Compaq's iPaq comes close to being Palm-sized, but generally Pocket PC devices are bigger and heavier. You would more likely slip them into a briefcase than into a pocket. And when you use them, you have no doubt you are using a Microsoft product. They reflect Redmond's traditional philosophy that "you'll never use 80 percent of the functions, but since we can't predict which 20 percent you actually will use, we'll give you them all." The market that is capturing everyone's fancy is the use of the handhelds for corporate purposes. Neither technology has any real advantage as a platform for customized applications. The Palm OS needs to be much more robust, and Pocket PC needs to be less Microsoft-centric. Maybe Compaq has the right idea: it just announced that it will experiment with iPaqs that use Linux. You can reach Al Gordon at: mailto:al@TheNakedPC.com ** 04. IntelliMouse Optical vs. Explorer (by Lee Hudspeth) Some sharp-eyed readers wrote in asking Lee to double-check which mouse model he was recommending in TNPC #3.13, the Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer or the IntelliMouse Optical. Answer: he bought the IntelliMouse Optical. He promises (and has the box to prove it)! He has researched the differences for you. Handed-ness: The IntelliMouse Explorer ("Explorer") is designed exclusively for right-handers. The IntelliMouse Optical ("Optical") is designed for both left and right-handers. Warranty: The Explorer has a lifetime warranty. The Optical has a five-year warranty. Price: The Explorer will set you back $74.95 (figuring retail as what it's listed for at Microsoft's online store). The Optical goes for twenty greenbacks less: $54.95. On all other dimensions, the two are the same. Both models are heavily discounted on Amazon.com as you can see below. Get the IntelliMouse Optical at Amazon.com for $49.94: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?amazon4 Get the IntelliMouse Explorer at Amazon.com for $51.94: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?amazon5 You can reach Lee Hudspeth at: mailto:leehudspeth@TheNakedPC.com +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ >> Get up to 100MB of FREE webspace! X:drive gives you your very own Free Internet Hard Drive to securely store, access and share all your files from any computer, anytime. With X:drive You Can: - Store, Share and Access Up to 100MB of Files Online. - Retrieve Your Files Instantly from Any Computer, at Anytime. - Secure Your Documents & Keep Your Files Safe and Private - Share Your Docs, Presentations, and Photos with friends. - Collaborate with co-workers from multiple locations. Get Yours Today at: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?sponsor3 +++------------------------- sponsor -------------------------+++ ** 05. Microsoft Email Bug - The Big One! (by T.J. Lee) FLASH! LATE BREAKING NEWS! It's been reported that a bug has been discovered in Outlook and Outlook Express. Wait, this is news? Well, yes, because it looks like somebody has finally found out how run malicious code on your Windows computer by simply sending you a message. You don't have to open the message, preview it, double-click on an attachment, nothing. Just receive the bloody thing. A South American outfit called (get this...) the Underground Security Systems Research, or USSR for short supposedly discovered the bug and blew the whistle with Microsoft. This was back in early June. News leaked out but everyone agreed to keep it quite until Microsoft could come up with a patch or patches. But it's hard to keep the lid on this stuff and the news came out by way of an alert posted on the NTBugTraq mailing list. So now the secret is out and everyone is scrambling. It's a weird situation made more complicated since Microsoft has innovated the goulash of "integrated" code that blurs the natural separation of operating system and applications. For whatever reason you want to ascribe to Microsoft, Internet Explorer has been hopelessly scrambled into the Windows operating system and it turns out that while Outlook is the application that leaves your computer vulnerable to destruction it is really the fault of Internet Explorer. Huh? Seems that IE has its hooks into all things Microsoft and some shared components are at the heart of the problem. Microsoft is burning the midnight oil to come up with a patch but for now here's what MS says will solve the problem: *-* You're safe if you've installed the IE 5.01 Service Pack 1. *-* You're safe if you're installed IE 5.5, except if you're running Windows 2000. *-* If you are running Windows 2000 you have to install the Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 in order to (as MS phrases it) "upgrade the Outlook Express components". Check out the official MS line on this at: http://www.microsoft.com/technet/security/bulletin/MS00-043.asp MS says they'll have a patch that won't require going the service pack install route or upgrading to IE 5.5 available shortly. We'll have more on this next issue. You can reach T.J. Lee at: mailto:tj_lee@TheNakedPC.com ** 06. Featured Web Page - Scott Crevier's Home Automation Site Ever wanted one of those cool George Jetson houses? Where the lights come on when you enter the room and the stereo goes off by itself if you wander off to a different part of the house? Well, Scott Crevier is a self-taught guru on home automation and has jazzed up his house with more clever gadgets than you can shake a soldering gun at. You can learn a lot about what you can do with X-10 technology and a computer by checking out his site. Scott has written a browser interface to control his X-10 devices and you can download it to use with your own X-10 set up for free. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?fpage ** 07. Featured Book - How Computers Work: Millennium Edition This is an expanded of edition of Ron White's classic book on how computers work. Updated, and expanded with incredible illustrations, the 5th Edition of How Computers Work will explain in clear concise prose how your computer does what it does. Tired of not knowing how the basic audio and graphics technologies work? This book will give even a complete beginner a solid understanding of what's going on inside the putty colored box. If you feel like your PC is a magic box of unfathomable mumbo jumbo this is a must have addition to your library. It covers the basic components of the PC plus the bewildering peripherals that you can hook up to your computer system. Comes with a multimedia tour of computers on CD-ROM. This is a great book! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?fbook ** 08. Featured Product - Tellme Tellme is an attempt to take some of the information resources of the Internet and give them to you over the telephone. Need a traffic report? Want to find the nearest Thai food restaurant when you're on the road in a strange city? How about finding out where that new movie is playing? You call Tellme's toll free number (again limited to US residents at this time) and simply say what you want. For example, from the top level menu say "restaurant", Tellme automatically zeros in on the locality you're calling from but you can change cities by just saying the name of the city you want. You can say the type of food you're interested in if you know the keywords that Tellme recognizes or say "Tell me my choices" to have Tellme recite the list for your. Pick the type of food you want and get a listing of the restaurants in that category. Pick one and Tellme can connect you instantly so you can make a reservation. You navigate by saying "next" "previous" or "go back" and you can always return to the top level menu by saying "Tell me menu." Get the latest winning lottery results, play blackjack with the Tellme computer over the phone (it's more fun than it sounds), get stock quotes, check the 5 day weather forecast, or check your Horoscope. It's free and additional services are planned. For more information and to register to use services like Tellme Phone Booth (get a free 2 minute long distance phone call) check out their preview page: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?fprod Otherwise call 800-555-8355 and try using Tellme right now. +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ WANT TO GET YOUR WORD OUT? Classified ads in The Naked PC can be yours for ridiculously low prices. Get your message out to over 53,000 TNPC subscribers. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpcadvertising.html?v3i15 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ ** 09. For Recent TNPC Subscribers TNPC has been adding nearly 1,000 new subscribers to our readership list every issue, so a lot of our current readers may not be aware of some of the articles that have appeared in past issues of our newsletter. Here is a quick recap of some all-time winners that you may find interesting if you missed them the first time around. *-* Annoyances Alley - Drag-and-Drop Mouse Tricks (TNPC #1.07.04) An excerpt from one of our books, this article will show you how to improve your productivity by getting all you can out of your mouse when editing in Microsoft Office applications. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?archive1 *-* Low Tech Solutions for High Tech Problems (TNPC #1.11.02) A look at one some of the lowest tech solutions that can pay off with the highest increase in computer productivity. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?archive2 *-* Low Tech Solutions - For Whom the Bell Tolls (TNPC #2.13.03) Do you have a home office or just work in the den evenings and on weekends? In this Low Tech article find out how a trip to Radio Shack can save your sanity. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?archive3 Remember, you can find a listing of all prior TNPC article at: http://www.thenakedpc.com/articles/index.html ** 10. Newsworthy - a potpourri of current events and interesting stuff *-* Cell phone spam has become an unwelcome reality. Representative Rush Holt (D-New Jersey) is currently drafting a bill similar to a law prohibiting unsolicited junk mail on fax machines that would make cell phone spamming illegal. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news1 *-* Are AOL and Netscape guilty of spying on your software downloading habits? Christopher Specht thinks so and has filed a class-action lawsuit against both companies over the SmartDownload feature that he claims puts unique cookie identifier on your system making it possible to track every download you make, and what site you download it from. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news2 *-* Paul Thurrott of WinInfo points out the latest service pack for Internet Explorer (IE) 5.01 Service Pack 1 (SP1) breaks the help system in Office 2000 (and Office 2000 SR1a). http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news3 *-* Microsoft admitted to what it calls a data spill that sends Hotmail subscribers' email addresses to online advertisers. If you use Hotmail you'd best check this out. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news4 *-* Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 5.5. New features include Print Preview and a radio toolbar so you tune in Internet radio broadcasts "as you work". http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news5 *-* Maybe when your email client software fires up it should take a hint from movie theaters and flash the message "Shhhhhh, the FBI is Listening." The FBI guys are scrambling to explain their "Carnivore" system that they install at your local ISP office that filters all the email traffic (can you say wiretap?) looking for evildoers. http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?news6 Hey! Have you come across something newsworthy? Drop us a line: mailto:hottips@TheNakedPC.com **PLEASE SUPPORT TNPC BY VISITING OUR ADVERTISERS** +++----------------------- classifieds -----------------------+++ ~~~~~ MaxPatch Ink Supplies ~~~~~ High Quality Inkjet Cartridges and Refill Kits Super Savings! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Free printer utilities! BizRate.com Customer Certified 4.5 Stars! 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Click NOW for complete details... http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?class3 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ >> ********** FIND OUT ANYTHING ABOUT ANYBODY ********** Background Investigations, Criminal Records, Vehicle Ownership, Military Records, Business Directories, Adoption Resources If you're looking to find them or find out about them this is the tool you can't do without! http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/315/tr.cgi?class4 +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ NEED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES? I'm offering professional services for contract work in the areas of documentation, end user application and web site review and project management. If interested contact Rolston Resources via email at: email@example.com +++-----------------------------------------------------------+++ DISCLAIMER Personal computers are individual machines with performance that can vary with components, software, and operator ability. The Naked PC is not responsible for the manner in which the information presented is used or interpreted. Also, although we work hard to provide you with accurate Internet links in The Naked PC, we are not responsible for Internet links herein that represent sites owned and operated by third parties. We are not responsible for the content, accuracy, performance, or availability of any such third-party sites. Warranty does not extend to drive train, plasma armor, or that tacky wallpaper you put up in the den. Especially not those silly singing bass. REDISTRIBUTION POLICY We encourage you to forward this newsletter to your friends, associates, and colleagues for their review and enjoyment. However, please do so only by sending it in full, thereby keeping the copyright and subscription information intact. We do request that, once they've reviewed an issue or two, they subscribe independently rather than continue to receive issues from you. This helps TNPC grow and prosper, thereby funding its continued publication. Also, if you wish to post this newsletter to a newsgroup or electronic discussion group, you may do so if you preserve the copyright and subscription information. Thanks. SUBSCRIPTION SERVICES To subscribe or unsubscribe, surf on over to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/subscribe.html To make comments or suggestions, surf on over to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpfeedback.html or send email directly to: mailto:tnpc@TheNakedPC.com Get back issues from our Mailbot by sending email to: mailto:mailbot@TheNakedPC.com WEB BULLETIN BOARD Check out our 24x7 Web bulletin board. If you've got a technical question about PC issues, or suggestions of your own, this is the place to hang out: http://www.PRIMEConsulting.com/annoyanceboard/ ADVERTISING To advertise in TNPC go to: http://www.TheNakedPC.com/tnpcadvertising.html Mail services provided by Blue Horizon Enterprises, one of the very few "Mom and Pop" operations left on the Web: http://www.bhorizon.com Copyright (c) 2000, PRIME Consulting Group, Inc. and Dan Butler. All Rights Reserved. The Naked PC is a trademark of PRIME Consulting Group, Inc. ISSN: 1522-4422
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