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Newsworthy

— a potpourri of current events and interesting stuff

Have you come across something newsworthy? Want to comment on a current newsworthy bit?
Drop us a line: hottips@TheNakedPC.com

Current Events and Interesting Stuff

*-* Last year AOL acquired Time Warner; that's old news. The new news is... a $54.2 BILLION noncash writedown by AOL/Time Warner signals how massively overvalued that merger really was.
Click here for more information.

*-* Amazon.com's first quarter financials give the e-tailer a boost. This year's 1Q loss was only $23 million, compared to last year's 1Q loss of $234 million (it's a step in the right direction). 2002's 1Q net sales are up 21% versus the year-ago quarter.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #5.08 - April 11, 2002

*-* At The National Association of Broadcasters 2002 conference, which opened Monday in Las Vegas, MovieLink announced its intent to launch an Internet video-on-demand service using MPEG-4, and perhaps other formats. MovieLink is a joint venture of these five studio heavy-hitters: Sony Pictures, Paramount, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., and Universal.
Click here for more information.

*-* The 7th annual Computer Crime and Security Survey (conducted in part by the S.F. Bureau of the FBI) reports that the cost of computer security incidents rose in 2001 to $456 million. However, only about one-third of victims report such crimes to officials.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #5.07 - March 28, 2002

*-* Hotmail users with free accounts report they are feeling pressure to upgrade to a premium version that costs $19.95/year.
Click here for more information.

*-* Effective April 24th, Yahoo's Mail Forwarding service will no longer be free, instead, Yahoo will charge $29.99/year for the feature ($19.99 for the first year for those who sign up before April 24th). This is one more indicator of the dwindling availability of free Internet-based services.
Click here for more information.

*-* CERT has released a report warning people who use Internet Relay Chat and Instant Messaging to be aware of bogus warning messages that claim to know the user's PC has a virus and go on to insist the user download a fix. The warning is bogus and, of course, the fix is actually a piece of malware, typically one that enables the PC to be surreptitiously used in denial of service attacks. As we here at The Naked PC have been saying for years, if you don't know where a file is coming from and don't have digital proof of who authored it, whatever the source--email, IRC, IM, Web site--don't download it.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #5.06 - March 14, 2002

*-* FDIC issues advisory letter stating that PayPal is not a bank, thereby giving the firm more support in its contention that it should not be regulated as a bank.
Click here for more information.

*-* You've heard it before, now hear it again: when you receive email (or a phone call) asking you for banking or other account information, it's a scam so don't be fooled. Wells Fargo customers are the latest in this masquerade scam.
Click here for more information.

*-* Sun is suing Microsoft for $1 billion. Sun is concerned that Microsoft will extend its .NET framework into a position whereby it holds a monopoly over the Internet, much as it did with operating systems. "We believe Microsoft's ultimate goal is no less than establishing Microsoft-controlled choke points to Internet access," said Michael H. Morris, Sun's senior vice president and general counsel.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.22 - November 1, 2001

*-* If you're scratching your head, wondering about the differences between Windows XP Home and the Windows XP Professional editions there's a good comparison article on the Windows SuperSite.
Click here for more information.

*-* AT&T Wireless Broadband is no more, leaving 47,000 customers stranded and costing the company close to $1 billion.
Click here for more information.

*-* AMD and Intel have reduced prices on their high-end microprocessors. Intel's reductions are the sharpest; the list price of a 2 GHz Pentium 4 chip is now $401 (down 29% from $562), and the list prices of the Pentium 4 1.9 GHz and 1.8 GHz models have been reduced 27% and 12% respectively. AMD's price cuts are not as aggressive, but both manufacturers are responding to an excess supply of microprocessors in the channel, and surely hoping to boost flagging PC sales.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.21 - October 18, 2001

*-* According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft quietly launched Hotmail Plus. The Plus version is a subscription version of the "free" Web-based email service that gives suscribers 10 megabytes of email storage space for $12.95 per year. This is another small shift in the "from free to fee" thinking on the Internet.
Click here for more.

*-* The beta release of the beta (free) for StarOffice 6 (and office productivity suite) has reportedly been downloaded over 200,000 times in the first week following availability.
Click here for more information.

*-* Bill Machrone over at PC Magazine has this to say about Windows XP Home edition: "Windows XP Home is essentially a downgrade from Windows 2000, gussied up with pretty icons and trimmed out with multimedia features that were mostly present in Windows Me. It is not a viable choice for most professional or laptop users. Though Windows XP's networking capabilities are the best yet, Windows XP Home Edition is deliberately crippled. It can't log on to Windows 2000 domains, which means that you probably can't use it at work—and may not be allowed to, since it can compromise the security of corporate networks."
Click here for more information.

*-* Expedia Travels magazine is one of the latest casualties of the drop in computer advertising that has been plaguing the computer magazine industry for the last 18 months. This follows the demise of Silicon Alley Reporter, Family PC, and Small Office/Home Office magazine, all of which shut down this summer. Computer magazines have seen their pages shrinking as advertisers start placing their dollars elsewhere. Last year PC/Computing changed its name to Smart Business for a New Economy when it dumped its traditional end-user audience to chase after high-tech ebusiness readers. But they discovered that the "new economy" forgot to factor making a profit into its business model. As the new economy tanked they dropped that part of their new moniker and added "Technology at Work" replace it last May. Clearly, hard copy technology magazines are in big trouble.

*-* Microsoft has released fixes for Excel 2000 and 2002 for Windows, Excel 98 and 2001 for Macintosh, as well as PowerPoint (same versions) for a bug that can allow a spreadsheet or presentation that contains macros hide that fact, bypassing the security settings on the local machine.
Click here to get these patches.


TNPC #4.20 - October 4, 2001

*-* The end of this year will see Microsoft pull the support plug on Windows 95, Windows NT 3.5, all versions of MS-DOS, as well as Windows 3.x products. June 30, 2003 will see life support, er technical support, cut for Windows 98/98SE and Windows NT 4.x. Microsoft knows that it can only keep the cash cow mooing if it get users to upgrade by buying new versions of their software. For more information about Microsoft product lifecycles, visit the Microsoft Web site.
Click here for Microsoft's official blather about "extended" and "non-supported" phases and the link.

*-* A U.S. District court has ordered several thousand Web sites to be shut down in a decision against John Zuccarini. The FTC reports Zuccarini operated over 5,500 Web sites that employed the tactic of using common misspellings for domain names. Once entered, the sites spawn numerous pop-up ads, mainly for gambling and pornography. The sites also override the Back feature to not go back but instead generate even more pop-up ads. The FTC is seeking to have Zuccarini return the estimated $800,000 to $1 million he generated in advertising revenues using these diversionary domains. No stranger to litigation, Zuccarini has lost 53 of 63 suits filed against him in the last two years by trademark owners like celebrities and others.
Click here for more information.

*-* Sun has released the beta of version 6.0 of its free, cross- platform StarOffice office utility package. StarOffice is a free download (true for both its current version 5.2 and the beta v6.0), versus Microsoft Office XP Standard's street price of $424. This huge dollar savings has tempted plenty of folks to give StarOffice a spin. Furthermore, Sun has released the entire source code base for StarOffice. Version 6.0 is scheduled to be released in the first half of 2002. To download the beta of v6.0:
Click here for more information.
To read more about v5.2's features and specifications:
Click here for more information.

*-* This is an engaging, thought-provoking article written by Phillip Zimmermann, the author of PGP (Pretty Good Privacy), regarding his feelings on the recent attacks on America and the possible use of PGP in planning the attacks.
Click here for more information.

*-* We're still tracking the HP/Compaq merger story. In an article by HP CEO Carly Fiorina entitled "Of Myths and Mergers," she works hard to dispel the focus of the press on the merger's PC market consolidation and cost-cutting angles. Lexical note for the discerning reader: Fiorina uses the term "market-unifying" no fewer than five times in this one article.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.19 - September 20, 2001

*-* As repugnant as it may be there are scammers who are spamming online mailboxes with calls for donations for disaster relief in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The "relief" that this scum want you to contribute to is their own pockets. If you want to donate money, make out a check to the Red Cross and give directly to the Red Cross.
Click here for more information.

*-* Paul Thurrott has an in-depth review of the upcoming Windows XP up on the Windows Supersite.
Click here for more information.

*-* Hopefully you've kept up on the latest patches and fixes for your Microsoft products so the Nimda virus/worm did not get a foothold on your system. There's a ton of misinformation going around about this nasty infection which fools Outlook and Outlook Express into running it by masquerading as a wave file. For solid information on Nimda go to the Symantec page.
http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/419/tr.cgi?news_a

*-* PowerQuest announces version 7.0 of its popular PartitionMagic dynamic disk partitioning tool. In addition to its standard features of creating, resizing, merging, and converting partitions on your hard drive, version 7 has these new features: supports Windows XP, merge NTFS partitions, large drive support (up to 80 GB), access/partition external USB drives, and undelete a deleted partition from rescue disks. MSRP is $69.95 and the upgrade price is $49.95.
http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/419/tr.cgi?news1

*-* Hewlett Packard announces that it is introducing new PCs loaded with Microsoft Windows XP starting Monday, September 24. HP is also following Gateway's lead in accepting pre-orders for custom systems starting September 21st (with Microsoft's blessing). This is about one month before Microsoft's announced October 25th launch date for Windows XP.
http://www.TheNakedPC.com/t/419/tr.cgi?news2


TNPC #4.18 - September 6, 2001

*-* What a week. Hewlett-Packard proposes a $25 billion acquisition of Compaq, which would create a very new, potentially very different animal in the #2 spot behind IBM in the rankings of global technology leviathans. Other interesting M&A stats: projected annual revenue of the new entity is $87.4 billion; 15,000 employees are expected to be laid off; Carleton "Carly" Fiorina, HP's current Chairman and CEO, will be at the helm; the ensuing giant HPaq (or is it Compaqard?) will hold 81% of the domestic PC market. Times they are a-changin'. (Note: just kidding about the names, the merged firm's name is reported to be Hewlett-Packard.)
Click here for more information.

*-* Microsoft Windows XP has been released to manufacturing and will be available in stores on October 25, 2001. Here are the official prices (all in US dollars):
XP Home Edition upgrade $99, standard version $199
XP Professional Edition upgrade $199, standard version $299
Click here for more information.

*-* Interested in finding out which Microsoft operating systems qualify for an upgrade to Windows XP (and which flavor)? See it all in tabular format here:
Click here for more information.

*-* Or perhaps you want to scan an executive summary highlighting the differences between Windows XP's Home and Professional Editions:
Click here for more information.


Bonus Tidbits

*-* Microsoft has released a new version of Internet Explorer. Version 6.0 is supposed to be more stable and offer more security.
Click here for more information.

*-* Sun Microsystems is planning to go into beta testing of its StarOffice 6.0 office application suite in October. StarOffice is a freely downloadable suite of programs that run on Linux, Sun Solaris and Microsoft Windows machines. StarOffice 6.0 will be the first modular version of the suite where individual applications can be loaded or unloaded as desired.
Click here for more information.

*-* More from free to fee... DialPad, once the primo place for free long distance PC to phone connections is a "fee" site as of September 5th according to a notice sent to existing DialPad users. While there is no announcement or confirmation on the DialPad site at the time of this writing the new prices start at $9.99 a month, which gives you 400 "anytime" minutes for calls in the USA. Additional programs appear to be in the works and it should all be as hard to figure out as the different cell phone plans that exist in no time. It's the end of an era.

*-* Microsoft has released Windows XP to manufacturing so it looks like you'll be able to buy a copy starting on October 25. Windows XP Home Edition will cost $199 for the full version, and $99 for an upgrade version. Windows XP Professional will sell for $299 for the full version and $199 for the upgrade.
Click here for more information.

*-* If you have or maintain a Web site you should know about TopText and what it can do to your content. Danny Sullivan, Mr. SearchEngineWatch himself, has penned a chilling article about what TopText is and what it can do to you.
Click here to read this article.

*-* Not really a computer subject per se, but fascinating nonetheless, is this article on why the United States cranks out a few stellar scientists while the mass of people moving through the educational system largely remain ignorant of science.
Click here for more information.

*-* If you've been putting off that purchase of a LCD monitor you should know that prices for 10-inch and larger LCD monitors fell to less than $300 in the second quarter in the United States. That's a 28.4 percent drop over a year ago.
Click here for more information.

*-* Netscape has posted version 6.1 of its browser for download.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.16 - August 9, 2001

*-* In an effort to prevent any government agencies from preventing Windows XP from going ahead as planned, Microsoft asked the Supreme Court to take its antitrust appeal. Microsoft also asked the Court of Appeals to stay the order that would return the case to the trial court for further proceedings later this month.
Click here for more information.

*-* Related to the previous Newsworthy bit, Microsoft is advancing the release schedule to ship Windows XP ahead of any possible injunction that would delay the new operating system's debut. Microsoft has apparently given PC makers the go-ahead to ship Windows XP as much as one full month before the operating system's official October 25 launch date, sources have told CNet.
Click here for more information.

*-* Our colleague Rob Rosenberger wants there to be an advisory board for the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center to help curb official cyber-incompetence. We agree and can't think of anyone more qualified than Rob to be on that board. You can help in that regard. We urge our readers to support Rob as a candidate for serving on just such an advisory board.
Click here to see how you can help achieve this.

*-* K-mart is offering unlimited dial-up Internet access for $8.95 a month through its BlueLight.com subsidiary. They've got a special on until August 31st where you can get the first three months for only $6.95. As you might expect there's a lot of limitations and fine print but it's still a killer price.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.15 - July 26, 2001

*-* Be advised that the "Sir_cam" worm-virus (without the underscore) is making the rounds. Here at TNPC's underground lab we've seen the incoming messages generated by the virus side of this nasty increase over the last two weeks so it appears to be picking up speed. Of course if you just delete every goofy message you get from anyone (especially people you know) that has an attachment you were not expecting, you shouldn't have to worry about getting infected.
Click here to see what this virus is and does.

*-* PC phone home! Phone home! New technology launched down under will let a stolen computer drop a dime to the local constabulary so the cops can drop by and recover the machine.
Click here for more information.

*-* Snap! Crackle! Pop! Music companies are implementing technology in new CDs that prevents you, the consumer, from copying the CD disc to your computer.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.14 - July 12, 2001

*-* Showing no fear and taking no prisoners Microsoft had thrown down the gauntlet right into the face of Kodak. When Kodaks new digital camera software was installed on a PC running a beta of Windows XP Microsoft's own photo software popped up when a digital camera was plugged in. What's more the Microsoft steered orders for picture prints to companies that would have to pay to be listed in Windows, and that these companies also would be asked to pay Microsoft a fee on every photo sent through Windows.
Click here for more information.

*-* Peter Coffee is of the opinion that the recent ruling by the Court of Appeal does not get Microsoft off the hook at all.
Click here to read Peter's thoughts on this topic.

*-* Napster is all but dead but that's not to say that you can't still get music files off the Internet. Gnucleus is a free software program that works with the growing Gnutella network. Gnutella's decentralized network architecture makes it impossible for the government to shut the service down without changing the basic way the Internet operates or violating long-established constitutional protections against illegal searches and seizures.
Click here for more information.

*-* Will California be the next state to ban talking on handheld cellular telephones?
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.13 - June 28, 2001

*-* Microsoft's new product-activation technology, which locks Office XP or Windows XP to a particular PC hardware configuration, can deactivate unexpectedly, rendering the software useless until a code number is obtained from Microsoft.
Click here for more information.

*-* Looks like Microsoft is being plagued around the work with something called Office XP Gangster Edition. It's a pre-activated English version of Office XP on sale in Europe and Asia for only a few dollars.
Click here for more information.

*-* If you or your company is planning to stick to good old Office 2000 better stock up on copies NOW! Microsoft stopped selling volume licence copies of Office 2000 at the end of May and single licence copies will be removed from Microsoft's price list at the end of July.
Click here for more information.

*-* Get a $50 rebate coupon on Office XP from Microsoft. Limited time offer (and limited to buyers in the USA) can currently be found on the Microsoft Web site.
Click here for more information.

*-* In October, a moratorium on new Web sales taxes here in the USA expires. If the moratorium terminates without new regulations to replace it, states, cities and other local entities will be free to add their own tariffs on Web transactions.
Click here for more information.

*-* Maybe the fix is in and Microsoft knows that nothing will come of the Justice Department's antitrust decision because their recent actions are being called "agressive" and by reference "monopolistic" by a former Justice Department official.
Click here for more information.

*-* From the Search Engine Watch is the observation that the new version of Internet Explorer to be included with Windows XP will force keywords on any Web site to automatically become a link back to a Microsoft site thereby encouraging users to visit Microsoft sites. This is all done under the guise of "helping" Web surfers. Web developers will have to recode there pages to prevent this "helpful" feature so that readers of their pages won't be encouraged to leave their page for a Microsoft page.


TNPC #4.12 - June 14, 2001

*-* With the storm clouds of a Government enforced breakup of Microsoft dissipating the Redmond company is no longer playing "Mr. Nice Guy" according to this article on ZDNet that says Microsoft is back on the attack.
Click here for more information.

*-* Windows XP may require as much as 256 megabytes of RAM to run comfortably according to hints and speculation surrounding the upcoming uber-operating system. Microsoft is saying that you don't really want to try to run WinXP on any system that's a year old or older. MP3 encoding support may not make the final cut into WinXP either.
Click here for more information.

*-* Do you now, or have you ever used Alexa? If you have then you may be entitled to receive $40 as part of a proposed settlement to a class action lawsuit over Alexa's encroachment on user privacy.
Click here for more information.

*-* The media is all a-twitter with the release of Office XP. But there still office suite alternatives to the one from Redmond. Corel's WordPerfect, Lotus's SmartSuite, and Sun's StarOffice are all still alive and kicking, they just don't have market share.
Click here for more information.

*-* In an effort to get everyone to upgrade, and hence keep the money rolling in like the tide, Microsoft has discontinued free technical support for its Office 97 product suite.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.11 - May 31, 2001

*-* The good news is that the Usenet archive is online again. The bad news is that searches are not sorted by date. Google acquired the Deja Usenet archive in February and there is now a beta interface for searching the terabyte of data that makes up the archive.
Click here for more information.

*-* The FBI busted sixty-two people for bilking tens of thousands of consumers out of $117 million through Internet scams.
Click here for more information.

*-* Having doubled in just over five years it's been reported that three-quarters of U.S. businesses now electronically monitor employees in some fashion. Web and e-mail monitoring software make it easy for employers to see how much time is wasted in non-official uses of the Internet. Voice mail retrieval software lets your telephone use be monitored as well.
Click here for more information.

*-* If you like to stay up on the coming trends in hardware be aware that IBM has a new technology that it predicts will make 400 Gigabyte drives commonplace within two years.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.10 - May 17, 2001

*-* Microsoft will release Windows XP on October 25th of this year according to the software giant. Ready or not here it comes!
Click here for more.

*-* According to Paul Thurrott, Microsoft won't be offering an Office XP subscription service here in the USA after all. Seems that they're not too sure about the ASP market and will "test market" an Office XP subscription service in what it's calling a "few select locations" before making it generally available here in the States.
Click here for more.

*-* The popular search engine GoTo is one of the few Internet businesses that's making money but critics are not happy about how that money is made. When you use GoTo to search the Internet the pages returned are based on which site is paying the most for the keywords you typed into your search.
Click here for more information.

*-* Microsoft has changed their licensing programs for their corporate clients (corporations that buy software from Microsoft at a discount). Included in the new programs are maintenance agreements and corporations get future upgrades as part of the deal, but will pay 25 to 29 percent of the purchase price every year for this perpetual license--whether they want the new software or not. And they have until October 1st to get "current" defined as running either Windows 2000 on all their systems or having an agreement to purchase Windows XP when it's available. Oh, and they have to run Office XP as well.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.09 - May 3, 2001

*-* There's talk that Windows XP may be delayed until late this year or even until sometime in 2002. Could be because of the compatibility issues that may prevent a number of applications from working on the new operating system.
Click here for more.

*-* Windows 2000 server software running version 5.0 of Internet Information Server (IIS) has what is being called "a serious vulnerability." Seems a bug has been discovered that affects servers with Internet printing turned on, which is the software's default setting. By sending a specially formatted string of characters the printing module can be made to give the remote user full access to the Web server. Microsoft has posted a patch and is seriously encouraging systems administrators to fix their servers, pronto.
Click here for more.

*-* EarthLink is jumping onto the broadband wagon. They've announced a new satellite service that costs $69.95 per month for downstream speeds of up to 400Kbps and upstream speeds of up to 128Kbps. There is also a charge of $649 for the equipment and $250 for professional installation.
Click here for more.

*-* In what may be an unsettling trend AT&T is increasing the price for its high-speed Internet services. With DSL competition being squeezed and the remaining DSL providers starting to increase their prices, AT&T will be raising rates for its AT&T@Home and Road Runner access services.
Click here for more.

*-* In the wake of the Napster debate and the movie industry's concern over DVD encryption-breaking, companies like Havenco.com, Zero-Knowledge Systems and FreeNet are thinking the anti-piracy crowd is going too far. They're working on technologies that will prevent ISPs from monitoring what you download.
Click here for more.

*-* TNPCer Patrick T. points out that X-Drive, I-Drive, and FreeSpace are switching from a "free" to "fee" model. X-Drive has dropped all their freebie offerings and some, like FreeSpace, are phasing in fee packages while keeping the low-end free deals. This is another indication in the trend we've been following on the Internet. With .COM advertising a thing of the past companies are struggling to come up with profit models that will allow them to survive.


TNPC #4.08 - April 19, 2001

*-* Microsoft has announced that it won't support USB 2.0, the next version of the USB specification, in Windows XP but will instead increase support for Firewire.
Click here for more.

*-* There's a proposed settlement in the Iomega Class Action Lawsuit. If you purchased an Iomega Zip drive between January 1, 1995 and March 19, 2001 your rights, including claims for damage to your Zip drive and/or losses from the corruption or loss of data as a result of such damage, may be affected by the settlement of the Class Action. Best check it out if you fall into this group.
Click here for more information.

*-* "One of our Servers is missing!" The University of North Carolina had a network server that went missing for four years. Seems that during some construction work the server closet wherein the machine resided was "lost" behind some new drywall that was put up. Following a cable that mysteriously led into a wall, IT staff found the missing server still humming right along.


TNPC #4.07 - April 5, 2001

*-* In case you haven't heard, some hacker convinced Verisign to give them two Microsoft digital certificates. MS has come up with a patch to Windows (every version since Windows 95 running any version of IE no earlier than 4.01 Service Pack 2) that will warn you if you try to accept these one of these bogus certificates.
Click here for more information and to install the patch.

*-* If you're thinking about getting the IE6 beta you can read a review of the latest release over at eWeek.

*-* Is Microsoft trying to guide PC hardware makers towards a more Microsoft centric design of the PC itself? Better check out what Peter Coffee is saying on this topic.

*-* If you're using Internet Explorer 5 and your network is running Microsoft’s Exchange 2000 server there's a newly discovered bug you should know about. Georgi Guninski, bug hunter extrodinarie, has discoved a way malicious Web page creators could lay a trap for unsuspecting surfers that could give them access to email folders on the Exchange 2000 server.
Click here for more information.

*-* Microsoft has released Internet Explorer 6 Public Preview beta. You can download this new version of IE, which will run on Windows 2000 Professional, Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Service Pack 6a (SP6a), Windows Me, and Windows 98. New features include new toolbars, integrated ICQ like instant messaging, image resizing, and some enhanced privacy features. Unless you must live on the bleeding edge we suggest you wait for the final release and forgo the betas.
Click here for more information and to download the beta.


TNPC #4.06 - March 22, 2001

*-* Microsoft wants you to trust the firm with your phone book, calendar, and other personal information as part of their new HailStorm initiative. But it's okay because Microsoft officials say they won't mine, sell, target, or publish any of the HailStorm data. If this is not scary enough, Bill Gates has said, "No Microsoft software is required on any client or server that accesses HailStorm." Be afraid, be very afraid.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.05 - March 8, 2001

*-* This story had us checking the date to see if it was an April Fools gag, but apparently it's on the level. In a very weird turn of events strict Internet copyright laws, which have just gone into effect throughout Australia, make it illegal to forward an e-mail memo without the author's permission. We're not sure how this will work our or be enforced but it should be amusing to watch.
Click here for more.

*-* Hotmail users are also finding out that the shift from "free" to "fee" is underway. Microsoft, is divulging Hotmail subscribers' e-mail addresses, cities and states to a InfoSpace's Internet White Pages directory that combines the information with telephone numbers and home addresses. This makes the Hotmail account susceptible to spammers.
Click here for more.

*-* Has Office XP been rushed to judgment, er manufacturing? Within days of the "preview" program for the next version of Microsoft Office the gold code has been released to manufacturing. We can only hope that Microsoft's internal testing is working better than it has in the past. But market forces (read MS's need to turn a quick buck) have caused MS to speed up the process to get Office XP out the door.
Click here for more.

*-* If you use Juno, the free email service, you MUST read this article by Fred Langa about the changes in Juno's terms of service contract. In another example of going from "free" to "fee" Juno is trying to come up with ways to make a buck and what they've come up with can leave you holding the bag.
Click here if you use Juno.

*-* There's a new Outlook email virus making the rounds. This one has a subject line of: "My baby pic !!!" and contains the text "Its my animated baby picture !!" in the body of the message. The attachment is an executable file named "mybabypic.exe" and if you run it not only do you get to see a gag graphic of a baby with adult genitalia, you get infected with the virus which not only replicates itself by sending itself to the email addresses in your Outlook address book, but it then starts corrupting your data. Beware.
Click here for more information.


TNPC #4.04 - February 22, 2001

*-* Psst, hey buddy, is your house hot? The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case on appeal wherein the police did a thermal scan of a person's house. The house was hot, not stolen but literally hotter than the houses around it and so they checked electricity records and eventually got a search warrant. Inside they discovered more than 100 marijuana plants growing under high-intensity lights. The lights were heating up the entire house. The high tech question is can the police use technology like a thermal scan or does that invade privacy and constitute an illegal search.
Click here for more.

*-* Sheesh, this is so un-newsworthy but here it is anyway. Yes, there is a worm/virus making the rounds (so new?) and it purports to be a picture of some tennis babe. No, please don't email everyone in your contact list to warn them about it because emailing everyone in your contact list IS WHAT THE WORM DOES! Here's your defense... don't open files that are sent with stupid messages like "check this out". Duh! Don't open any files that you are not expecting to get from the person what's sent it to you period. Delete them and go about your business people.

*-* You can catch a few screen shots of the new Windows XP (imagine all the bad Jimi Hendrix "Are you experienced?" jokes we'll have to endure) user interface up on the Microsoft site. Click here to get eXPerienced.


TNPC #4.03 - February 8, 2001

*-* Representative Gene Green, D-Texas, has introduced "The Consumer Online Privacy and Disclosure Act," to the US Congress. The bill would require Web sites to ask permission before placing cookies on a surfers hard drive. Sure.
Click here for more no matter how silly it may sound.

*-* Paul Thurrott has details on the new Windows XP (Whistler) and Office XP (Office 10) copy protection scheme. The new versions of Microsoft's mainstay applications will be restricted in how many times you can install them. Further, it seems that MS is taking the position that software is licensed to the machine not the user so once you install it on a particular computer that's all there is and you can't legally move it to another PC.
Click here for more.

*-* Big Brother is watching! Police tested a new technology using photo imaging and high speed computers at the recent Superbowl here in the USA. As each patron filed into the stadium, their picture was surreptitiously snapped, fed into a computer, and compared to a database of known criminals and terrorists.
Click here for more.

*-* There may a quantum leap in the storage capacity of DVDs. InPhase Technologies has a new technology called holographic data storage that allows recording through the entire thickness of the disc medium. This could mean storing 50 movies on a single disc instead of just one.
Click here for more.


Bonus Tidbits

*-* Those of you thinking about a hard drive upgrade be aware that older system BIOS's (pre 6/1/1999) have problems recognizing drives larger than 32 Gigabytes. And Windows 95 won't work with them either. Maxtor has a bulletin about this problem. IBM has a bulletin about the AWARD BIOS 4.5x which they claim has a capacity limitation of 33.8 Gigabytes.

*-* Cringely tries out a new satellite ISP to try to solve his Internet connection problems. Unlike DirectPC with this service the connection uses the satellite both ways; no phone line required.
Click here to read more.

*-* Disney is pulling the plug on Go.com so if that's one of your favorite search engines you'd best start looking for another. If you want to get into the search engine game Disney may sell off the InfoSeek engine in an effort to untangle itself from it's Web related business committments.
Click here for more.


TNPC #4.02 - January 25, 2001

*-* There's new hysteria over the Melissa virus. Get the straight scoop from Rob Rosenberger on why the anti-virus vendors have declared this a new virus when evidence is that it's the same old virus from last year.
Click here for the straight word from Rob.

*-* Lots of hoop-la over Microsoft's announced Visual Studio.Net that will be comprised of the .NET versions of MS's current suite of development languages. But all is not happy in the Visual Basic world. VB.Net is so different from Visual Basic that developers have said that trying to convert an existing VB application would take longer than just rewriting it from scratch.
Click here for more information.

*-* It's been called revolutionary, it's been said that cities will be build around it. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it the next big thing for the high-tech industry? Code-named "Ginger" just what the heck is it? It's the brian child of inventor Dean Kamen, he's the guy that invented a wheelchair that can negotiate stairs, and Dean isn't saying. But we've received a hint from a connected TNPCer - think scooters.
Click here to see what the rumored "Ginger" may be all about.


TNPC #4.01 - January 11, 2001

*-* In an amazing example of "take aim at foot and fire" logic, eBay decided to change the preference settings on nearly 6 million user accounts opening them up to a flood of telemarketing because the original setting on the preference form defaulted to "no" when it should have defaulted to "yes". So millions of eBayers were sent a confusing notice telling them that they had to change their preference settings to "no" if they meant "no" because they were being reset to "yes" because they should have been "yes" so that they would have to have been changed to "no" originally. Got that? eBay users are not happy campers over this.
Click here for more.

*-* Microsoft announced it will release a version of Mac OS X Office in the fall. Microsoft becomes the first significant software developer to back Apple's next-generation operating system.
Click here for more.

*-* There's a bill before the United States Congress that would make it a criminal act to send a solicitation to a wireless device without that individual's express permission. They're trying to keep wireless devices like cell-phone spam free.
Click here for more information.


Bonus Tidbits

*-* Is your a mobile consumer connectivity unit, er, I mean your car, equipped with built-in DVD player, voice-activated navigation unit, or perhaps a laptop? Check out what's going on at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in Detroit and find out why your next car may be sporting these features.

*-* Bill Gates unveiled the new Microsoft Xbox at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft is spending $500 million in advertising alone to try to gain control of the living room game market.
Click here for more.

*--* A number of 7-Eleven stores were hit by the Y2K bug (guess it's more of a millennium bug since it waited for the actual start of the new millennium). Cash registers came online after the New Year rollover thinking it was 1901. 7-Eleven spend over $8 million on Y2K bug fixes and still got bitten.
Click here for more.

*--* That Y2K bug may yet rear its ugly head... in Norway the national railroad company reported it's newer trains refused to start Sunday morning because of the date change.
Click here for more.

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