PuterGeek.Com News
Issue # 54
ISSN: 1533-1938

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PuterGeek.Com News: ISSN: 1533-1938

Hello Everyone!

() Personal Stuff

Amy and I are going on the road today.  It's about time too.  I've been home
since the 15th of December, and it's time to get back to work.

Plus, believe it or not....I'm kind of burnt out on email right now...gee, I
don't know why... maybe it's because I've answered almost 2000 emails in the
last 30 days :-)  As of right now I'm completely caught on my email.  For
those of you that are new to PuterGeek.Com... while on the road it might
take anywhere from 5-15 days for me to answer email.  Just another reason to
check the PeterCam ( www.putergeek.com/petercam/ ).

() Website Stuff

I've added some new information to the "Fan" page www.putergeek.com/thanks/

There's a new page in the Horror section called "Invalid Page Fault Anyone?"
It's written by "Howie"  The author of "The Funnies", check it out it's
quite funny.

I've added a new page called "PuterGeek.Com Sponsors" at
Here you'll find the names and locations of the people who have been kind
enough to sponsor PuterGeek.Com.  If you'd like to find out more about what
a sponsor is and why you might want to become one, simply go to the Fan page
at http://www.putergeek.com/thanks/

() In The News

() From ZDNet www.zdnet.com

On Tuesday, Microsoft privately alerted Whistler testers that it is making
substantial changes to the look and feel of the desktop versions of
Whistler, according to tester reports. But Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) is
taking unusually high security precautions to make sure that testers, the
press and the public don't get to see the interface changes before the
product--the successor to Windows 2000--goes to Beta 2, which is expected to
occur the week of Feb. 12.

The Personal, or consumer, and Professional, or business, desktop versions
of Whistler are expected to ship before the end of 2001, with 32-bit and
64-bit server versions slated to follow several months later. Microsoft
executives have said Whistler will be the company's most important Windows
release since the company delivered Windows 95 in August 1995.

Microsoft sent the first beta release of Whistler to testers in October
2000. During the past few months, Microsoft has released interim beta
versions of the product to its selected beta tester group. In spite of
non-disclosure agreements they signed with Microsoft, testers have been
fairly liberal in distributing information about the various test versions,
including screen shots.

But Microsoft has clamped down in recent days, to the extent that it is not
allowing testers to view the code and interfaces of the most recent updates
in order to keep the interface changes from leaking out, according to

Despite Microsoft's precautions, word is quickly leaking out about the
intended changes.

One tester said Microsoft is changing the Whistler desktop interface by
introducing some type of "extensible shell," or graphical user interface,
based on Microsoft .Net. Microsoft also is readying some type of new Windows
desktop user theme, code-named Luna, as part of its revamp, according to
several testers.

Desktop themes are user-selectable settings that affect the look and feel of
all elements of user's desktop, from the background wallpaper to the cursor.
Microsoft provides a number of themes as part of Windows. Some third-party
software makers, such as Stardock, also provide a variety of themes, or
skins, for Windows.

Microsoft officials did not respond to a request for comment on the
company's interface directions.

Another software company executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity,
said Microsoft has been planning on overhauling the Whistler desktop
interface for several months.

"Microsoft is changing all the Whistler icons, as well as the look and feel
of Internet Explorer," said the software executive. Version 6.0 of the
browser is included in Whistler.

"When you change the theme to Luna in Whistler, it will change the themes
across everything, including IE and other parts of the environment," the
executive said.

Where is IE going?
In recent months, Microsoft workers have been debating the role of Internet
Explorer as an integrated part of its future operating systems, sources have

Different camps within the company favor using different Microsoft browsers
as the default interface for different flavors of Windows.

For example, according to sources, some in the company are backing
Microsoft's use of Netdocs as the default interface for business versions of
Windows. Netdocs, a technology not yet in beta stage, is an
integrated-knowledge worker desktop that competes with Microsoft's Office

Others inside the company favor Microsoft using the MSN Explorer browser,
rather than IE 6.0, as the default interface for consumer versions of
Windows, sources said.

Sources said Microsoft had contemplated not releasing IE 6.0 as a
stand-alone product and only making it available as part of Whistler. But
now it sounds as if Microsoft has reconsidered that plan and will make IE
6.0 available as both a stand-alone download and part of some, if not all,
Whistler versions.

() From Excite www.excite.com

SEATTLE (AP) - A Microsoft technician's error jammed company computer
systems responsible for directing online traffic, resulting in hours of
problems for people trying to access some of the software giant's Web sites.

Microsoft Corp. said Wednesday evening it had fixed the problem, which began
late Tuesday.

The temporary predicament was caused by a foul up with Microsoft's
domain-name servers - the computer hardware that matches Web surfers with
particular addresses on the Internet, Microsoft said.

Among the servers affected were the ones handling Microsoft's home page,
meaning that customers had problems logging on to several Microsoft Web
sites, including MSNBC.com and MSN.com.

Microsoft said the problem began after a technician reconfigured the network
equipment that directs Internet traffic at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

That caused many of Microsoft's sites to be unreachable Tuesday night and

"This was an operational error and not the result of any issue with
Microsoft or third-party products nor the security of our networks,"
spokesman Adam Sohn said.

The mistake was fixed at about 5 p.m. PST Wednesday, making all sites
available once more.

Microsoft's sites are listed third on Media Metrix's Top 50 Digital
Media/Web Properties At Home & At Work in the United States. Media Matrix's
Web site says Microsoft sites had 53.8 million visitors in December.

The biggest effect of this week's glitch may be embarrassment for Microsoft,
experts said.

"You can have a company full of technical people but it doesn't mean that
you are going to get everything right," said Paul Robertson, director of
risk assessment at TruSecure, an Internet security company based in Reston,

()On With The Good Stuff!

() From The Funnies http://users.erols.com/hmmd

* Witty Words of Wisdom

Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the

Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle
of it.

Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors, and

Cooking lesson #1: don't fry bacon in the nude.

Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.

Eat a live toad in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you
for the rest of the day.

If life gives you lemons, squeeze the juice into a watergun and shoot
other people in the eyes.

If you're not part of the solution, be part of the problem!

If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.

If you can't beat your computer at chess, try kickboxing.

If you lend someone $20, and never see that person again, it was
probably worth it.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of
car payments.

If you try and don't succeed, cheat. Repeat until caught. Then lie.

It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a
warning to others.

Never buy a car you can't push.

Never eat yellow snow.

Never pet a burning dog.

Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you
don't have a leg to stand on.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the

Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

The early worm gets eaten by the bird, so sleep late.

There are very few personal problems that cannot be solved through a
suitable application of high explosives.

There are very few problems that cannot be solved by orders ending
with 'or die.' - Alistair J.R. Young

When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

You are what you eat. So stay away from the jerk chicken.

Be nice to the nerds and geeks in high school -- you'll be working
for them in the future.

() From PCIN www.pcin.net

Running out of IP Addresses
Whenever you are on the Internet, you have been assigned an IP address. This
is a necessity. Any computer that uses the Internet actually becomes part of
the Internet, and you must have an IP (Internet Protocol) address in order
to do this. The problem is, this protocol (version 4) has been around for 20
years, and 20 years ago no one could have dreamed that we'd have so many
devices that access the Internet. The current protocol supports 4 billion
addresses, and it is projected that by 2005 the numbers will run out.
Since the early 90s, various organizations have been making proposals on how
to fix this problem. The probable answer is version 6 of this protocol. It
will allow for 340,232,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IP
addresses (340 duodecillion, or 34 trillion trillion trillion, or 3.4 x 10
to the power of 38). This is all pretty technical, but when (or if) it
happens, it could affect all of us (since we all use IP addresses).

Spreading the Word
>From the February 2001 issue of M-Business Magazine, pg 11:
"All over the media these days is the idea of using church steeples as cell
phone antennas. Makes sense: There's at least one house of God in
residential neighborhoods throughout Europe and North America, and lots of
them are pointy on top.
The Church of England has written all of its parishes, asking them to
consider concealing antennas in their belfries - for which the churches can
expect $7,000 or more per year, according to London's Guardian newspaper.
However, uptake elsewhere is proving a bit tricky. A year ago, a church in
San Francisco withdrew plans for cell antennas and its steeple (although
other San Francisco Bay Area churches have, in true Silicon Valley style,
welcomed antennas for cash). And cell phone protestors in Germany have sued
local churches for hosting antennas.
If the church-tower trend does manage to catch on, cash-strapped local
churches might have an easy source of income. If it fails, well, maybe it
just wasn't meant to be.
by Dan Leide"

For more info:

Mafiaboy Pleads Guilty
"The 16-year-old Canadian hacker known only as Mafiaboy yesterday coughed to
bringing down 50 big-name Web sites.
The servers hosting Yahoo, Amazon, eBay and many other high-profile sites
were sent crashing early last year through massive DDoS (Distributed Denial
of Service) attacks.
By April, the FBI, the Department of Justice and the Royal Canadian Mounted
Police had tracked the attacker down to Quebec. The teenager goes by the
hacker alias Mafiaboy. Under Canadian Law his real name cannot be made
public. He was arrested on 15 April 2000, charged four days later then
released on bail.
Yesterday, in a Montreal courtroom, Mafiaboy pleaded guilty to 50 counts of
'mischief to data'. Two counts, against CNN.com, were cited in last year's
bail-setting trail. Sixty-six further counts were added to the list at a
court hearing last August. However, ten of them, against a single site,
@Law, were later dropped.
Mafiaboy is expected to be sentenced on 17 April. He faces up to two years
in jail."

For more info:

() From Mike's List http://www.elgan.com/mikeslist/default.htm

High-Tech Trash
The City of Barcelona is rolling out 18,000 trash cans with built-in
microprocessors that tell collectors if the can is full, when it was
emptied and whether or not it needs to be painted. Sanitation workers use
handheld computers to communicate with the trash cans.

Suing Now Easier Than Ever!
The Sacramento, California, Superior Court now enables small claims
lawsuits online. The cost is $20 for every dozen lawsuits, and you can
charge it to your credit card!

Are you an evil genius looking for high-tech prank ideas? Here's a site
built just for you.

() Tips and Tricks! chimneygod@putergeek.every1.net

We are born naked, wet, and hungry. Then things get
It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way
you carry it.

I had a reader suggest that I talk about virus hoaxes.
Since I get tons of these a day, that's what we're
gonna do. Why do I get tons of false alarms in my
e-mail every day? Simple. People don't check to see if
the alert is a hoax or not. So, if you get a virus
alert that you feel everyone in your address book
needs to be aware of, check it out first. It'll save
you the headache of getting tons of e-mail back
telling you that it was only a hoax. Check out today's
cool site(s) for a some resources that can help you
determine if you have a hoax on your hands or not. And
as always, just because it comes to you via e-mail,
that doesn't mean it's true (well, unless it comes in
THIS newsletter :-)
Virus Hoax Sites:
Symantec Hoax Page

Urban Legends:
About.com's Urban Legends & Hoaxes:

WINDOWS Transfer Files from Your Old PC to Your New
One: Here are some suggested ways to copy files from
one PC to another.

Openhack Challenge III: Come And Get It
The invitation to hack is back, as ZDNet's IT Resource
Centers invites you to delve into four servers that
are accessible from the Internet. Plus, you could win
up to $50,000

(NOTE: I like the Tips and Tricks! Newsletter, most of the newsletters I
subscribe to are rather technical while this one offers a wide variety of
useful stuff.  Give it a shot you might get hooked!
chimneygod@putergeek.every1.net -Peter)

** Just a Reminder**

Want to refer a friend to PuterGeek.Com?

Want to refer a friend to PuterGeek.Com News?

If any of you haven't rated this newsletter on Infojump.com www.infojump.com
please do so now.  Think of it as a way to thank me for putting out this
newsletter.  You can either click on the link here;
Or, if you'd rather give me a lower score, you can find the rating link on
the top of most any page on the website :-)

() From Woody's Office Watch www.wopr.com

  Whenever we write about viruses in WOW we get a lot of
  feedback.  Some of it is from rightly confused and worried
  people and others are from people complaining that our
  coverage wasn't sufficently accurate.

  Added to the mix is the confusion in the industry itself.
  The same virus isn't given the same name consistently (not
  everyone uses the CARO lists of viruses).  Worst of all are
  the misleading, innacurate and self-serving press releases
  from some anti-virus companies.

  So it was last week that you would have seen a rush of
  warnings in the media last week 'new' variants of the
  Melissa virus.  This most recent incident was an outbreak
  of a year-old variant, correctly known as W97M/Melissa.W
  but detected by some virus scanners as Melissa.X (or
  "Melissa-X"), which explains at least some of the

  The key to this latest virus scare was the part about
  cross-infection with the Macinosh version of Office / Word.
  Here we get to a mistake by Microsoft that has lead to a
  increase in virus incidents - and it is a mistake not
  picked up in the general media.  See the next section for
  details on the latest virus spreading snafu from Microsoft.

  But the main message stays the same - keep your anti-virus
  software up to date and use it!  We get many messages from
  readers who have lost data and/or work time because of a
  virus infection - invariably they either don't have
  anti-virus software or just installed it and forgot about
  Despite what you may have read the recently publicized
  round of macro viruses was not because this latest round of
  infections and mass-mailings was caused by a Mac Word
  document, but specifically that it was in a Word 2001
  format document.  The format should be the same as Word for
  Windows, but it now turns out that it isn't.

  Word 97, 98 and 2000 for Windows can all open Word 2001 for
  Mac documents.  Macros in those documents will run properly
  on those platforms so long as they do not depend on
  features of newer versions of VBA (or operating system
  specific features / functions).

  So, why should a copy of a Word 2001 document infected with
  a year-old Melissa variant cause trouble in a Word 2001

  In short, because Microsoft accidentally (and unknown to
  its own developers!) altered the document file format that
  Word 2001 was supposed to use.

  As we understand it, Word 2001 was supposed to use the
  "Word 8" (ie Word 97) document format.  Microsoft, however,
  changed the compiler it uses to build Mac Office between
  the Office 98 and Office 2001 releases.  This was
  responsible for a field changing in one of the many
  internal structures in the Word document format.  Minute
  changes in the structure of Word documents usually don't
  concern us lay users, but are vital for anti-virus
  companies to be able to do their job.

  Unfortunately, many antivirus products depend on the item
  that changed in Word 2001 for Mac to locate the compiled
  macro code in Word documents.  Word 2001 happily reads its
  own files (because they are "self-consistently broken" if
  you like) but because there are different VBA versions
  between all those Word versions, the non-2001 versions of
  Word do not try to find the compiled macros.  Instead, they
  unnecessarily re-compile the macro source code.  Thus,
  non-2001 versions of Word do not "notice" the broken value
  in Word 2001 format documents.  If the macro it compiles is
  a virus then it's an opportunity to spread.

  As you can imagine, this document format change meant that
  virus  scanners dependent on the changed file format
  structure would have to  be updated so they could properly
  handle what is effectively a new document format.  Few of
  the affected virus scanners have been suitably updated yet,
  mainly because Microsoft has only recently revealed it's
  blunder to the people who need to know.

  Thus, when Melissa.W (which runs fine under Macintosh
  versions of Word) got onto a Mac, into a Word 2001 document
  **and was sent to a Word for Windows user**, there was a
  good chance it would not have been detected (because the
  error by Microsoft means the AV software can't properly
  detect that there are macros to be checked).  If that user
  enabled macros, or had previously been infected with a
  macro virus and not re-enabled their macro virus protection
  (Word 97) or macro security (Word 2000) settings, they
  would have started a Melissa outbreak (assuming they had
  Outlook installed and configured for use).

  This isn't the first time a blunder by Microsoft has caused
  a spread of viruses, but as usual the company gets off
  lightly.  Anti-virus companies are unwilling to get
  Microsoft off-side by going public with this inforrmation,
  so instead you get talk about 'new' viruses without better
  informatio on the true culprit.

  Microsoft will say the error was unintenional, and we have
  no doubt that's true.  But the fact that it wasn't
  deliberate doesn't mean that the company can totally
  disclaim responsibility.   With the smart people, resources
  and large customer base that Microsoft has comes the
  highest duty of care.  Any change can have consequences
  that reaches far beyond Microsoft's traditionally myopic

  The change of complier should have directly led to a
  scrupulous checking of document structures among many
  things - these checks were apparently not done or done
  incorrectly.   The failure to notice the effect of the
  change demonstrates that Microsoft doesn't include in their
  testing any decent checks for compatibility with existing
  anti-virus products.  It also demonstrates, yet again, that
  anti-virus issues have too low a priority at Microsoft.

() From the Langalist www.langa.com

General DMA-dness Continues

When 150,000 readers start digging for information on a  topic, you
*know* they'll turn up some interesting stuff!

     Hello Fred, I've found the absolute ultimate FAQ for people
     with CD-Writers. It's incredible (and even addresses DMA
     )). The URL is below. Oh, and if you do use it and
     accidentally-on-purpose insert my Web site link as well,
     I'd be terribly grateful ) The FAQ:
     ---Loadstar (his site: http://www.loadstar.prometeus.net/ )

     [A]s reported the DMA setting can affect CD Writers as
     documented in several Roxio (Adaptec) EZ CD Creator and
     Soundstream articles. You can search (for "DMA") in their KB
     http://ask.roxio.com/cgi-bin/roxio_tic/search ---Paul

     A good tool to check transfer rates and cpu consumption is
     "diskspeed32" which can be found at
     http://www.iop.kiev.ua/~vgrin/DiskSpeed32/ --- Phil

Of course, other drive speed testing tools include WinTune (
http://wintune.winmag.com/ ), PCpitstop ( http://www.pcpitstop.com/
), and a variety of shareware/freeware tools at

You may already have some basic drive speed testing tools on your
system, too. For example, Norton's "System Information" has a built-
in drive speed benchmark test.

Thanks to all who write in, both to me directly, and in the
discussion area associated with the original article on DMA I posted
at http://www.winmag.com/columns/explorer/2001/02.htm

                                 Click to email this item to a friend

2) ... And Don't Forget Win2K/NT

Although fewer LangaList readers use Windows 2000 and NT than use
Win98, the Win2K/NT crowd tend to make up in savvy what they lack in
raw numbers. 8-) Here's a sample of what Win2K-using readers dug up
about DMA on their systems:

     Perhaps the easiest way to examine DMA access in NT (and
     who knows, maybe in other OS's as well) is to get DMACheck
     from MS...
     --- Ed

     I recently finished building my first PC for home and ran
     into some problems with DMA on ATA100 HDD's. I run 2 Maxtor
     7200RPM ATA100 Hard drives. Device manager always showed
     the drives to be in PIO mode. Finally, searching thru MS
     knowledge bases I found
     This article explains the problem and gives some
     information on contacting MS for a hotfix (
     http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q260/2/33.ASP )
     that is due with SP2. The Plus edition is great. Glad
     I signed on.---Ben Turner

     I was reading your latest newsletter on DMA when I
     remembered an extra step I had to do when setting up my
     win2k machine. UDMA66 mode, with intel chipsets, is
     disabled by default and requires an edit to the registry to
     use. So just choosing enable DMA when available will not
     mean you're gonna get UDMA66 mode. Here's the MS knowledge
     ---Ben Driskill

Reader William Robison found these troubleshooting links helpful:

     Clarification of Enhanced IDE under Windows NT 4.0 -  Q152307

     Stop 0x0000000A in Atapi.sys (Post SP2) with DMA Enabled - Q174232

     STOP 0x0000000A or Difficulty Recognizing IDE CD-ROM Drives- Q177257

     How to enable / disable IDE DMA Bus-Mastering using ATAPI.SYS - Q158873

Thanks, guys!

Tweaks Times Three, With Two For Free

A recent item in the Plus! edition on removing "ghost" entries in
Control Panel's "Add/Remove Software" applet--- entries for software
you no longer have installed--- triggered a mini-flood of email, so
much so that it's worth opening the discussion to the wider newsletter

     Langa List Plus rules! Thanks, Fred... TweakUI works for
     eliminating those "ghost" entries, if you have it installed
     on your system, and it is far less daunting than facing the
     Registry! Simply open TweakUI (
     http://www.winmag.com/help/sbs/2000/tweakui/default.htm )
     from your Control Panel, click on the Add/Remove tab, click
     on the entry you want to get rid of, click Remove, and
     that's it! You'll get an "Are You Sure?" warning message,
     but we are all used to them by now!---Catherine Kaye (first
     of *many* readers with that tip!)

     Have you seen "Reg Cleaner" (this is not Microsofts's Reg
     Clean) by Jouni Vuorio, a young Finn. Go to
     http://www.jv16.org/ and take a look at this wonderful
     FREEware. It'll remove ghost entries and a lot more. If you
     haven't seen it, you must download this small program (464
     Kb) and explore it's capabilities. If you know of it but
     haven't seen it in a while, take another look. Jouni works
     constantly to improve the program. The only problem with
     that is that he sometimes posts new versions 2 or 3 times a
     week. In my opinion, this is one of the best freeware
     utilities available. ---Russell W. Coover

     I just came across this [$10] software for changing a lot of
     Windows settings called TweakIt Gold
     http://www.gpsoftuk.com/ from Green Point Software. It even
     allows you to easily change the Title Bar on Internet
     Explorer if it's been customized. It mentions several
     settings that I'm not comfortable changing like FIFO disk
     access and Processor priority. Thanks for the wonderful &
     practical newsletter! ---Joe Davis

Thanks to all who wrote in!

() From Lockergnome www.lockergnome.com

Windows 2000 Step-by-Step Guides
Unearthed by Van Stanley


Begin with the Infrastructure Step-by-Step Guides. These allow you to set up
a common configuration that all of the guides use and build on. Then,
proceed through those subject areas that interest you. Be sure to complete
the guides in the order shown. Prerequisites and any special requirements
are identified in the introduction to each guide. Microsoft Management
Console, Usability Improvements in Windows 2000 Professional, Understanding
the Group Policy Feature Set, User Data and User Settings, Software
Installation and Maintenance, Remote OS Installation, Installing and Using a
Smart Card Reader, Internet Protocol Security (IPSec), Encrypting File
System (EFS), Common Infrastructure for Windows 2000 Server Deployment, etc.

Unearthed by David R. Patterson


{The art of being nice} The Internet is bringing together people who would
never have met otherwise. It's actually pretty cool when you stop and think
about it for a second. The problem is: face-to- face interaction doesn't
happen all that often in cyberspace. Words won't always convey true meaning;
it's not a bad idea to bone up on your netiquette. Ya know, online courtesy.
Don't abuse e-mail, don't type in ALL CAPS, don't post without lurking...
but remember that everyone else is a person -- just like you. Well, maybe
not JUST like you (but a person, nonetheless). Check out what Virginia Shea
has to say. Even if you know the unspoken rules, you probably know someone
who doesn't know.

Micro Net Utilities v0.12 [1.4M] W9x/NT/2k FREE


This program includes: WHOIS (for discovering domain name registration
information quickly), FINGER (for checking a user's server profile), DNS (A,
PTR, MX), IP Monitor (for making sure that an IP address is still alive and
kicking), PING (for testing a connection to any given IP address), Trace
Route (for tracing the connection between your computer and another), Port
Scan (for checking open ports), IP Scan (for scanning a range of IP
addresses), Net Stat (for listing all established network connections), Time
synchronization (for matching your system clock with an atomic one), and a
Notification system (Windows NT/2K). "The IP Monitor will do a persistent
ping; the System Tray icon can be disabled; and the Port Scan can scan an
unlimited number of ports.

()That's all for now!

Peter Crockett
website: http://www.putergeek.com/
mailto: crockett@putergeek.com

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Last Revised: 01/26/2001