*Note to readers*
There's a 24/7 fire hose of information on the Web about managing and using your computer, and the Internet. These monthly CyberCoyote issues for the "off-season" naturally grow larger than weekly ones during the season. They just can't help themselves. ;-) I find too many things you'd probably like to know about.
This little garden hose may seem like a flood itself though. I hope it's easy to pick out some links that pay off for you. I won't feel bad if you don't click all the rest. ;-) If you start to feel you're drowning, keep in mind there's a whole month to digest this stuff. And if you have the time, let me know what you'd like less of and what you'd like more of. :-)
http://cybercoyote.org/webwrangler.html -- email me
*Windows XP SP3*
The 3rd XP service pack is now released, but it's already been pulled back because of problems it's exposing. If you just wait though, it will show up on Windows Update if you have automatic updates turned on. This SP3 update is an important foundation for future updates, but don't expect to see much difference on the surface. Personally, I am going to wait a couple of weeks to see what other problems people have before installing it.
If you want to get it now though, or you're just curious, Microsoft TechNet is a good place to start. The download version is 544 MB! (You're almost certainly a "subscriber" so you'll only be able to download it from the Microsoft Download Center.)The Windows Update version of the download will only be about 60 MB, if you've been keeping Windows updated.
http://cybercoyote.org/links/152.html -- Microsoft Technet
http://www.techdo.com/windows-xp-sp3/ -- relevant changes
http://del.icio.us/Snaproll/sp3 -- oodles more
*Windows Vista SP1*
Hopefully SP1 will be a non-event for those of you with Vista. There's nothing dramatic about SP1, but it does set things up better for the future. The Windows Vista Team announced on their blog that Microsoft will dribble SP1 out to users over the next couple of months. Microsoft knows that you may have trouble with SP1. They are offering free phone support for SP1 through March 2009. BTW, I'm pretty sure that I've hiked past that lake.
http://cybercoyote.org/links/153.html -- announcement
http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1290 -- support
http://del.icio.us/Snaproll/sp1 -- more on SP1
*No more Hotmail via Outlook Express*
Microsoft is adding new Hotmail features, but will not update OE to make it compatible with them. They'll simply cut off access via OE. The good news is that Microsoft's relatively new "Windows Live Mail" -- a similar, but updated program -- is compatible, and it's also free.
Don't uninstall Outlook Express before you install Live Mail. After it's installed, Live Mail will seamlessly import your existing messages and contacts from Outlook Express. Windows Live Mail also replaces the Windows Mail client in Vista. You can uninstall Outlook Express after you've got Live Mail set up. [Start > Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs > click Add/Remove Windows Components (on the left) > uncheck the Outlook Express box > click Next, and work your way back out of Add or Remove Programs.]
I'd call them panes anyway, but "tiling" a couple of windows (placing them side-by-side) is a great way to work back and forth between them. It's easy then to compare, copy-and-paste or drag-and-drop contents between windows. I often use this trick when I work with two Windows Explorer windows. It's much quicker, and less confusing.
*Bigger is better*
Google maps are great, but sometimes you wish you could make them bigger. Any six year old could tell you how to do it. First, look carefully for a small, left-pointing arrowhead, located outside and halfway up the left edge of the map. Click the arrowhead and the map should expand to full width. Next, press the "F-ll" function key and your browser will give you more space vertically. Reverse your steps to get back to the original view. :-)
*New computer buyers*
If you have a sluggish Vista computer, or if you're planning to buy a new computer, this article is "must-read". If you want a computer without all the cruft (my new favorite word), there are a few to pick from at Dell. Other suppliers are getting wise too. You might take a look at the computers at PowerNotebooks.com too. That's where 3 laptops -- one for the club and two for other satisfied users that I know -- came from. And they provide 100% free, domestic telephone support!
*Getting ready for launch*
This slide show walks through the steps of putting the pieces together to launch space shuttle Discovery. You'll probably never see a set of pictures like this anywhere else. But to paraphrase Werner Von Braun, "What you see is a marvel of 19th Century engineering." :-)
*Windows Secrets Search*
Windows Secrets (not connected with Microsoft) has a new search engine tuned for Windows-related help, tweaks and tips. Try it the next time you're stumped by a Windows or Internet problem.
*Yet another nasty surprise*
Oh bother. :-( You're probably sick of this kind of stuff, but don't blame me. I'm only the messenger. :-) In a nutshell, cyber crooks have figured out how sneak trip-wired videos and ads onto major, legitimate websites. These parasites silently connect visiting computers to malicious websites, which in turn invade any of them that are vulnerable.
Booby-trapping websites is a booming cyber crime because it's so easy to do. You can protect yourself though, and the solutions are free, if you don't count your labor. :-)
http://cybercoyote.org/links/156.html -- short news story
http://cybercoyote.org/links/157.html -- story and solutions
http://securitylabs.websense.com/content/Alerts/3061.aspx -- example (perfectly safe)
There's great news about protection from this exploding threat. The Big 3 credit bureaus -- grifters at best -- have decided to let people in all 50 states freeze their credit histories. It will cost you $10 at each one to fully freeze your history, but if you will greatly reduce your risk of having your identity stolen. A freeze will also limit the damage if somebody is able to use your identity in spite of the freeze.
Unfortunately, this change of heart by the credit bureaus won't be effective until next fall, but I'll remind you then. Remember, identity theft is life altering, credit-card theft is just an inconvenience.
http://cybercoyote.org/links/158.html -- data theft tripled this year
http://cybercoyote.org/links/159.html -- TransUnion, Oct. 15
http://cybercoyote.org/links/160.html -- Experian and Equifax, early Nov. (?)
http://cybercoyote.org/links/161.html -- dirty little secrets
http://cybercoyote.org/links/162.html -- credit report ripoffs
*Do something with all that Spam*
* Why guys won't ask for directions*
Don't miss the link to the original source after you get there.
*That's all, folks.*