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Dux Computer Newsletter
June 1, 2001; Vol. 1, No. 4

Recent News and Commentary
Tech Tips
Around the Internet

Recent News and Commentary.  Well, I just absolutely could not resist.  Microsoft Office XP arrived on store shelves yesterday and Big Bill's propaganda had me chomping at the bit for the FrontPage 2002 Upgrade.  I have been using FrontPage to manage and write pages for my web site since day one (don't call me a wimp; I can write in HTML).  So, I sent The Wife an E-Mail where she works yesterday and conned her into buying me a copy at Staples during her weekly shopping trip from Maine to New Hampshire for groceries (we live 25 minutes from the boarder of that wonderful, no sales tax state).  She arrived home empty-handed!  The store had marked the shelves containing both the upgrade and full versions with the same full version price and the sales person wasn't much help.  'If you bring us a copy of the Staples web page you saw with the upgrade price on it, we'll sell it to you for that price.'  I went through the overhead, called the store, and asked for the manager.  I now feel a little bad about telling him how to manage a store in rather strong language because he personally dropped a copy of the upgrade off at my home today.

 I've only had time enough for a quick first look.  For heavy FP users, the new publishing features are worth the price alone (although, in my considered opinion, Microsoft should have fixed the very incomplete web publisher a long time ago and made it a free download).  Besides the publishing features in the old version, you can now drag and drop individual or groups of pages between the local and remote server versions of your web site.  Switching back and forth between open pages is now much easier to do with tabs along the top of the page display, much like those along the bottom of Excel 2000 used to switch between spreadsheets.  Removing the underlines from hyperlinks no longer requires editing the HTML and adding style="text-decoration: none". just click the U button in the menu bar as you would for any other underline.  It looks like the new web site hit statistics will be a very nice feature, but, alas, the FP 2002 server extensions have to be installed before it will work.  Despite the fact that I begged them repeatedly, it took my web hosting service, pair Networks, about 1 ˝ years to install the FP 2000 extensions.

As far as the rest of Office XP is concerned, I'll pass for now.  My learning curve still has not caught-up with Office 2000... ah, 98, 95. without adding more unneeded bells, whistles, cost, and confusion.  Besides, one cannot buy FrontPage 2002 as part of the Office XP Upgrade without forking over  $479 for the Professional Special Edition or $549 for the Developer's version.  No way could I do a stealth purchase of something that expensive and get it past The Wife.

When you buy XP software get something akin to pair of tin snips to go with it.  I have never seen software packaged like this before: extremely thick, hermetically sealed plastic.  Getting FrontPage out the package is almost as hard as taking a notebook computer apart.  Maybe, with the new licensing provisons, they are planning on a long shelf life?

Primarily a hardware manufactures' fest, Computex starts next Monday in Taipei, Taiwan and with it there is the typical flurry of new product announcements.  Finally, many of the things in my Christmas Wish List for 2000, penned 10 months ago, will come into fruition.  MSI is really cranking-up big time for the event with 12 product announcements, including seven new motherboards.  The MS-6367 Socket A Athlon/Duron motherboard is the first motherboard I've seen with the new nVIDIA Crush chipset (now called nForce)...  'When used with 2 DDR memory modules, the 128-bit TwinBank Architecture is twice as fast as other DDR platforms.  It also implements AMD's HyperTransport...'  There will be over 100 motherboard manufactures at Computex.  Many of them have product info with pictures on the Computex web site.  Click "See All Category" on the left menu of the site to find them and much more.

Intel's long awaited, 64-bit Itanium processor has been released and Computer manufacturers are expected to introduce initial Intel Itanium-based servers and workstations in June.  Expect some them to début at Computex.  See the news section of our web site for more coverage.

Look for AMD to announce Workstation/Server versions of the Athlon with the Palomino core and the dual-processor AMD 760MP chipset at Computex, probably Monday.  They will should also announce a 1.4 gig Athlon and a 950 Mhz Duron at the same time.  Motherboard announcements from Taiwan motherboard manufactures are keyed to this event.  Desktop versions of the Athlon with the Palomino core should ship late this Summer according to latest AMD Processor Roadmap and confirmed by AMD today.

The computer price wars go on and prices on PCs, processors, memory, etc. keep falling as Tech Sector spending drops for the sixth straight month.  I won't bore you with too many details (which are in the news section of our web site), but you can now pick-up 128 Mbytes of PC133 memory for about $25 U.S.!

Tech Tips.  If you need to test or troubleshoot a MODEM (and a serial port and cable), download ModemDoctor and see our recently updated MODEM FAQs.

Allan McComb's ICSConfig is the easy way to configure Windows 98 SE/Me Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) for games, etc.

Want to connect that old DOS computer to a Windows Network?  The MS-DOS client for Microsoft Networks can be downloaded from ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/bussys/clients/msclient.  Download dsk3-1.exe and dsk3-2.exe, double-click to expand, and run setup.  It is also available on the Window NT Server CD at D:\CLIENTS\MSCLIENT where D: is your CD-ROM drive letter.  Yes, there are people still using and networking DOS-only machines.

When a telephone doesn't work the most obvious cause that comes to mind is that a phone line is down (or the bill wasn't paid).  I sometimes wonder why technicians don't always think of the same reason when a computer fails to connect to another computer on a network, and why they don't always start at the hardware level when troubleshooting network problems.  Broken, disconnected, improperly terminated (coax), or miswired cables are responsible for over 70% of all LAN problems.  With most Ethernet networks there are few quick steps one can take to gain a reasonable assurance that the hardware is working at the lowest level:

1) Check the cable to see if it is fully plugged-in at both ends.

2) Most network adapters, hubs, and switches have LEDs.  If there is a Link (or LNK) LED, it should be on solid.  No Link LED, no network; however, the converse is not always true.  If there is an Activity (or Act) LED, it should be blinking.  If the Link LEDs are off, the cause is usually a bad cable, bad adapter, or bad port on the hub or switch.  If the cable is connected to a hub or switch, try another port on the hub or switch.  Try another cable if that doesn't work.  If the computer is connected to another computer with a custom crossover cable, it is the likely suspect.  Inspect the ends of the cable with plugs up and clips facing away.  If the ends are identical, you have found the problem.  It isn't a crossover cable.

3) A diagnostic program can usually be found on one of the floppies that come with most network adapters.  Run this program to verify that the adapter is good.  The loopback test will fail without a loopback plug connected to the adapter, but the other tests will indicate whether or not the rest of the card is functioning.

To learn more about installing and troubleshooting networks, please see our How to articles and networking FAQs.  If you need help with a networking (or computer) problem, please visit our Forums.  You will find answers in the 6,725 messages there.

Around the Internet.  How to Connect Remote Users to Your NetworkPowerArchiver, an excellent, absolutely free, archive utility that does not advertise or prompt you to register (I like it better than WinZip).  Atomic Clock Synch is a very simple, no frills, absolutely free, non-advertising, easy to use way to synch your computer clock with the exact current time.  It also has a link to an easy way to find out what time it is anywhere (that could be called advertising; I call it useful).


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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.