Issue # 44
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Do you want to subscribe to the newsletter?
You may have noticed some info from a new source www.pcin.net
Graham Wing has a website and newsletter that focuses on helping people with their 'puters (sound
familiar?). When you get some time head on over to his fine website and take a look around. His newsletter is one of the top ten at Infojump.com so you know it's a good one!
There's a new poll up! Come on in and tell me who you think our next President should be!
I've added a number of new pages to PuterGeek.Com this week so you'll want to check them out.
You're read about a utility called "ScanReg" and how it can only be ran from DOS in WinME...Well if you want an easy way to run it look at:
I also have a couple of WinME bootdisks in the downloads section at:
If you haven't done so already, be sure to check out our free email at:
Want to put a link to your website on PuterGeek.Com?
Now that the new look for the site is done :-) I want to start adding some more new content. Have you looked at the Horror section?
Well, I'd like to put some more horror stories in this section. So here's your chance to be published! If you have a 'puter related horror story just send it to me in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
with a subject of "New Horror Story". Please tell me if I can use your name and state/country or not. I'm sure you all
have some stories you'd love to tell, so send them in!
I don't know about you folks, but I've been getting a lot of email from *friends* that are forwarding internet hoaxes, false virus alerts, and worst of all....sending an email to many people at
once using CC (Carbon Copy) instead of BCC (Blind Carbon Copy). So what you say? Well check out this page on email etiquette:
Well I killed WinME :-) I don't know how I did it, but I did! My CD-ROMs randomly disappear, yet if I go into device manager and hit refresh they come back...go figure! I've
had three hard locks, and this takes the cake....if I try to create a Windows Startup Disk it locks at 4%! hehe
Out of the eight 'puters I've put WinME on, only my *main* 'puter is foobarred! It's the only one out of the eight with both a SCSI HDD, burner, and CD-ROM...Hmmm...I wonder. Well
that's what Drive Image by PowerQuest is for! I'll just reload my *pure* image (before any other software) and start over.
Now on with the good stuff!
A blonde woman was having financial troubles so she decided
to kidnap a child and demand a ransom. She went to a local
park, grabbed a little boy, took him behind a tree and wrote this note.
"I have kidnapped your child. I am sorry to do this but I need
the money. Leave $10,000 in a plain brown bag behind the big oak
tree in the park at 7AM." Signed, "The Blonde".
She pinned the note inside the little boy's jacket and to told
him to go straight home. The next morning, she returned to the
park to find the $10,000 in a brown bag behind the big oak tree,
just as she had instructed.
Inside the bag was the following note. "Here is your money.
I cannot believe that one blonde would do this to another."
(Editor's note: I believe this is one of the strangiest
and yet, funniest marketing techniques I've ever seen!
It's safe (Yes, it is a toll free call), and I just
could not believe my ears...)
Call National Discount Brokers
1. Dial 1-800-888-3999 (it's free)
2. Listen to the all of the recorded options
3. Pay attention to what option 7 is
4. Hit 7
Every company should have an option 7.
NOTE: You've got to do this! - Peter
A small boy is sent to bed by his father.
Five minutes later: "Da-ad..."
"I'm thirsty. Can you bring me a drink of water?"
"No. You had your chance. Lights out."
Five minutes later: "Da-aaaad..."
"I'm THIRSTY...Can I have a drink of water?"
"I told you NO! If you ask again I'll have to spank you!!"
Five minutes later... "Daaaa-aaaad..."
"When you come in to spank me, can you bring me a drink of water?"
Top 10 Web Scams
"The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Tuesday released details of its legal
crackdown on numerous so-called 'dot-con' operations, along with its list of
the top 10 global online scams after culling together thousands of consumer
complaints through a database called Consumer Sentinel.
The FTC said its efforts have culminated a yearlong coordination with five
U.S. agencies, consumer protection organizations from nine countries and 23
states, all of which resulted in 251 law enforcement actions against
--Install the new, free MSN Explorer and get a chance to win a "Wired Home"
The all-in-one MSN Explorer has everything you need to make communicating with friends and family as well as surfing the Web easier than ever. Install now and enter the MSN Explorer Sweepstakes to
win a "Wired Home" - a $10,000 technology makeover of your home! (U.S. residents only. See site for full rules.)
--Office 2001 for Mac is here!
Is your *other* computer a Macintosh? Office 2001 for Mac is a great way for Macintosh users to get their work done more efficiently. The suite features Word, Excel, Entourage, and PowerPoint, along
with a new interface with a modern Macintosh look, and takes advantage of key Apple technologies such as QuickTime and Mac OS innovations such as Navigation Services.
THE REAL 'WHISTLER' STANDS UP
Last week Microsoft gave me and several other people in the
press, including Winmag.com's Serdar Yegulalp, advance pre-Beta 1
copies of the next version of Windows, code-named "Whistler." We
were given the go-ahead to write about it after hours Tuesday
evening, and Winmag.com posted an introductory news story about
Beta 1 that you should take a quick glance through:
The usual suspects at Winmag.com -- Serdar, Dave Methvin,
and myself -- are working on large, pictorial special report on
Beta 1. That should arrive late next week, or early the following
one. Keep an eye on the Winmag.com home page for that. In the
meantime, Serdar and I will be covering parts of the new Windows
in our newsletters. Serdar writes Power Win2000, and his first
coverage of Whistler begins next week:
Since most of you are probably far more expert than most
about the various Windows versions, I'm going to use a little
shorthand that will sum up for you just exactly what Windows
Whistler is: Windows 2000 + Windows Me = Windows Whistler.
That's right. Take all the new consumer features from
Windows Me, including Windows Media Player, Windows Movie Maker,
System Restore (doesn't appear to be in Beta 1), System File
Protection, My Pictures, and all the rest, and graft them onto
the Windows 2000 client operating system, and that's 80 percent
of what Microsoft has done in Beta 1 of Windows Whistler. This
first widespread beta is by no means feature complete, though,
and I expect Microsoft to add some additional features.
For home users and anyone who doesn't opt for the Pro
version of Whistler, or put it another way, for Win9x upgraders,
the consumer version of Whistler is potentially a mega-bargain
because it marries the consumer features with the reliability of
Windows 2000. Therein lies a large challenge for Microsoft,
however. The Win2000 security features, logon, and networking
setup features are far more robust than Win9x/Me, but also far
more difficult to master. Microsoft has made a stab at improving
the Windows Logon dialog in Beta 1. I think they have more work
to do there. I think Microsoft will also rest on its Win2000
laurels with the way Network Properties are configured. That is
going to wind up being a major mistake that Microsoft will end up
having to rectify in a subsequent release.
There's another key point Microsoft must address with the
final product: Hardware and software compatibility. Shawn
Sanford, Microsoft's top product marketing manager for consumer
Windows, says that Microsoft expects 300 applications to be
certified as compatible for Windows Whistler. A lot of those will
be consumer applications, such as games. Sanford specifically
mentioned Tomb Raider and NBA Live to me. There's also a feature,
reminiscent of features first appearing in Windows 3.x and
Windows 95, called AppFixes, which can fool older applications
into working properly under Windows Whistler. Some apps, for
example, detect the operating system version, and won't work
under unknown versions. AppFixes would solve that and similar
compatibility problems for some programs.
I'm going to save the user interface stuff for when I can
show it to you in a guided tour feature. But suffice it to say
that there are many small features, including a new My Music
folder and also the disappearance of most icons from the desktop.
I welcome that last change, although among those that leave is My
Computer -- something not everyone is happy about. The new folder
views offer a lot of flexibility. Although we're not all that
keen on the increased reliability on "Web View" hypertext links
on the left side of the folder screen, which soak up screen real
---- Deeper into Whistler ----
Off the beaten path are some features that actually sound pretty
darn cool. Some of these aren't fully operational in Beta 1.
Microsoft plans to implement, and support on the backend, the
ability for Windows Setup to actively reach out and find the
proper hardware driver from Windows Update when its driver pack
doesn't match up with the hardware it's installing on. Similarly,
Whistler will be able to actively self-update with operating
system patches as the end-phase of the Windows Setup, so you
start out up-to-speed.
Or how about this. A new feature called Device Driver
Rollback can automatically return Windows to the previous device
driver in the event that you install a new driver and it doesn't
work properly. Good idea, Microsoft.
The last feature I'll introduce this time is Remote
Assistance. We're still testing this feature at Winmag.com, but
the idea is interesting. Remote Assistance can be applied in
several ways. One scenario involves a somewhat inexperienced
relative or friend who often calls you for tech support. With
Windows Whistler, he or she could let you examine and make
adjustments to his or her PC via an Internet connection. The
person needing help would send you an e-mail message with an
attached token you would click to start remote access
automatically to his or her computer. The access can be password
protected and restricted both to a number of accesses and a time
limit after which all access would be cut off -- unless they sent
you another token.
AOL 6 vs. MICROSOFT MSN EXPLORER 6.0
Whistler isn't the only major new product over the last couple of
weeks. The final versions of the America Online 6.0 software and
Microsoft MSN Explorer 6.0 are now freely downloadable from the
AOL and Microsoft Web sites. I've been working with both
products, and I'm pleasantly surprised by my first impressions of
The very best thing about AOL 6.0 is that, for me at least,
there were zero installation hassles. I just said "No" to AOL 5.0
because of the many problems reported by Winmag.com readers who
installed it. Of course, your mileage might vary. And I did get
an e-mail from one Insider reader who ran into some trouble.
Still, my gut tells me that AOL 6.0 will be more reliable than
the one it replaces.
I did not do an upgrade-installation of my existing AOL 4.0
setup. Instead I opted to install the new AOL 6.0 software on a
recently clean-installed Windows Me machine. The AOL 6.0 download
was 35MB (good thing I have a high-speed Internet connection). I
installed MSN Explorer, a 4.95MB download, on the same machine. I
had previously installed and uninstalled MSN Explorer Preview 2
on this same machine. It's possible that having run the beta on
the test PC caused the final MSN Explorer installation to go more
smoothly than it might have otherwise. All I can say, though, is
that MSN Explorer setup was smooth as silk. Much easier than the
betas. It was over really before I knew it had started.
The biggest hassle with either of these programs is dealing
with usernames, screen names, passwords, passports, and the like.
Microsoft seems doggedly determined to make the same mistakes in
this realm that AOL has made over the years. With Microsoft, the
key is to fill out the Microsoft Passport sign-up. You don't
absolutely have to have Hotmail. I don't, and I'm not a big fan
of Hotmail; in fact, I recommend against using it. I do have MSN
though, and that mail worked similarly. Even so, Microsoft's
biggest mistake in MSN Explorer is that it provides only manual
storage of mail locally on your hard drive. On the other hand,
for the first time, Microsoft is finally beginning to get the
hang of writing software for consumers.
But there's one missing element. Part of what makes the
consumer experience is understated power. In other words, there's
an easy way to look up instant messaging "buddies," which isn't
the case in the Microsoft product. You can just type the first
part of the e-mail name (without the domain name) to initiate a
message without having to set anything up. Despite its many
flaws, AOL is an integrated and evolved system that works very
well for its users. I'm nevertheless impressed by how far
Microsoft has come with this new product. It is far better than
anything any of Microsoft's ISP competitors, such as
Mindspring/Earthlink, have come up with.
Because the last issue of Insider covered MSN Explorer in
some detail, I'm going to focus a bit more on AOL 6.0 today.
Here's what I wrote about MSN Explorer last time:
---- AOL 6.0 ----
A lot of what's new in AOL centers around making the service's
e-mail more habitable. You can sort your mailbox by date, e-mail
address, or subject, and save messages more easily to a local
store on your hard drive. Your AOL address book is also now
local, so you can open and edit it offline.
My two favorite new e-mail features didn't even make it into
AOL's literature, though. AOL 6.0 sports full support for
receiving HTML e-mail. That means AOL 6.0 users can finally
receive the HTML versions of newsletters like this one. In fact,
I looked at the HTML e-mail version of the Windows Insider under
AOL 6.0, and it worked as well as it does in other e-mail
programs. The only thing missing in the AOL window is a back
button. There isn't even a Back option on the context menu when
you right click the message itself. Other than that, AOL 6.0
displays my HTML newsletters perfectly.
My second favorite new e-mail feature is that people sending
hypertext links to AOL e-mail addresses no longer have to encode
the links to AOL 6.0 users. If your e-mail package can make such
a link clickable (as Eudora does), then -- finally -- you can
send a simple Web link to an AOL 6.0 user and not wonder whether
they'll be able to click it. Ironically, when AOL users type URLs
in messages they send to anyone inside or outside AOL, those URLs
are not clickable. You can drag and drop any AOL window's heart
icon (which signifies a bookmark or favorite) into an e-mail
message to create a link to it. That works even with off-AOL Web
pages, so it'll mostly work. Bottom line: Once AOL 6.0 is
installed by the majority of users, newsletter authors like me
will no longer need to create a separate version just for AOL
users. And that means more time that I can spend working on what
I'm writing, instead of the formatting stuff.
Other new features in AOL 6.0 include "Broadband support."
The truth is that AOL has long offered support for most TCP/IP
style connections to the service, so this isn't about connecting
to AOL. But the somewhat revamped interface serves up "AOL Plus"
content to broadband users, which include sound and video stuff.
There's also the AOL Media Player, which is sort of ho-hum. There
are several minor improvements to the integrated Buddy List
instant messaging. AOL's standalone client AIM Windows client is
still a better choice for that application, however.
Finally, according to Insider reader Chuck Mekbel, who
installed AOL 6.0 on a Win98 SE PC, the AOL 6.0 software upgraded
his Internet Explorer installation from IE 5.01 SP1 to IE 5.5
without asking. While he doesn't appear to have any problems,
he's wondering if there's a way to revert. I don't have the
Let me know your experiences!
The new front-end to all the above is at
And best of all--- unlike some, such as
those mentioned in item #5--- I won't track your downloads. <g>
The New AOL6 & MSN Explorer
Have you tried either the new AOL6 or the new MSN Explorer?
Although I've gotten some emails from users who have successfully
installed either or both, I'm also getting reports like these:
Hi Fred, just thought I'd mention what a MISTAKE I made
going with the new (beta) version of MSN. I use MSN as my
ISP, and thought "hey, generally, I have found Microsoft
products have really improved my productivity, so I'll give
it a try". Boy, did that mess things up. While they warn
you that once you switch, you won't be able to use MS
Outlook or Outlook Express again, they fail to warn you of
other problems. Specifically, I sometimes email work home
that may in some cases be more than 1 meg. Not anymore.
Because the new version of MSN uses Hotmail, I cannot
receive attachments of that size. I also cannot create nice
HTML emails like I used to, nor can I forward them when
logged in away from home. Also, many times I will be
working at home and have an email message open while I find
work related material on various websites.... While doing
this, this new beta version of MSN Explorer stopped
responding and locked up, and because my email is now
integrated, everything I had worked on was lost! Or, in
some cases, an error would occur and MSN Explorer would
tell me "We're sorry, but an error has occurred and this
program will be shut down. Would you like to tell MSN about
it? (or something like that)" And again, all of the browser
windows I had open would close, and I would lose all of the
sites I had found. This SUCKS! PLEASE WARN ALL OF YOUR
READERS NOT TO DOWNLOAD THIS PROGRAM - I WISH I HADN'T! ---
I've been reading your column for a long time. I even
survived the AOL 5.X upgrade on all my computers without a
problem. Until yesterday. AOL 6.0 installed flawlessly on
my win98 computer but on my win95 laptop, total disaster
struck. It downloaded so many Win95 patches for dialup and
TC/IP that my computer got stuck in an endless loop of
rebooting. Finally failing to load win95 because of
corrupted io file. In safe mode I uninstalled AOL 6.0 but
the damage was already done and I had to reload windows95.
I still have problems with it as my acupoint mouse no
longer will drag and drop anything! And a few other Toshiba
Utilities are unworkable even though reloaded. I threw
caution to the wind since the WIN98 upgrade went so well
and did not backup my Windows files or settings. If AOL had
left well enough alone with the connection upgrades I am
sure I would be doing fine right now.--- Brad Haugen
I haven't heard from enough people yet to have a clear sense of
whether these problems are flukes or are common. I'll be trying both
apps soon myself, but in the meantime, if you've tried either, please
let me know your experience--- good or bad! Please write to
and share your experiences! I'll
gather the results, and present them in a future issue. Thanks!
Windows 2000: Performance Degradation When Heap Is Fragmented
"An application that frequently allocates or frees memory (directly or indirectly) may experience serious performance degradation when the heap is fragmented. This behavior occurs because an
internal algorithm in finding the free blocks does not perform well when the heap is fragmented. A supported fix that corrects this problem is now available from Microsoft, but it has not been fully
regression tested and should be applied only to computers that are experiencing this specific problem."
History Book for IE5 [9k] W9x FREE
"[This] reads all the URL information from the IE history database and [creates] an HTML file (which includes hotlinks)." For those of you wanting quick and easy 'History' archival, it won't get
much simpler (or smaller) than this. Use it to retain records of your family's surfing habits; system administrators might use it to troubleshoot employee surfing "problems," too. Unfortunately, this
binary will not work on NT or 2000; since it was released only a few weeks ago, extended OS compatibility could eventually come.
That's it for this issue! Til next time...
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Last Revised: 10/23/2000