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September 26, 2002—In this issue:
- Microsoft Newsgroups That Help You Do Your Job
- Take Our Quick Survey and You Could Win a $200 Gift Certificate!
- Subscribe to Business Finance E-Newsletters!
- Featured Thread: Letting Windows Me Users Log On to a Win2K Network
- Tip: Increasing Satellite Connection Speeds
4. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Send Alert Messages Across the Network
- Enhance Your Windows XP
5. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(by David Chernicoff, News Editor, [email protected])
Many readers have asked me for help in solving beta program problems. If you participate in a Microsoft public beta program, remember that no formal support is available for the masses (unless your company is participating in a large corporate beta site program, which might be a different story). However, you can find support from Microsoft's news servers for almost all the Microsoft beta programs as well as support for shipping Microsoft applications.
To access the news server, you need only a newsreader client (Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express are fine) and an Internet connection. Configure the client to point to either news.microsoft.com or msnews.microsoft.com. You won't need a password, but you'll need to configure your system with an email address to post to the newsgroups.
When I checked for support for the Windows Media Player (WMP) 9 beta, for example, I found the newsgroup microsoft.public.windowsmedia.beta, which contained more than 6000 posts covering a wide variety of beta bug problems, many of which readers had told me they had discovered. The newsgroups on the Microsoft servers are frequented by Microsoft employees who collect information about problems and answer questions when they can. Some of the best information you'll find in any of these newsgroups won't be from Microsoft staff but from other product users who want to share their expertise.
I've received responses to some fairly obscure technical questions in just minutes in developer-focused newsgroups, and I receive answers to most questions within a day or two after posting. There's no guarantee that you'll find a solution to your particular problem in these newsgroups, but there's a very good chance you will. In more than 20 years of working with computers, I can count on my fingers the number of problems I've encountered in corporate business environments that were truly unique. And finding someone else who has dealt with similar problems can be a significant time-saver. Microsoft has about 300 newsgroups on its news servers, and many newsgroups are localized for international users—a plethora of information for anyone who cares to look for it.
After you've mastered the Microsoft newsgroups, take a look at the general Usenet (the worldwide network of news servers). For example, the commercial news reader feed I subscribe to carries more than 80 newsgroups dedicated strictly to computer networking, one of my areas of specialization. I subscribe to about a dozen of these newsgroups and scan their contents at least once a week, looking for interesting and informative content.
Commercial news servers (such as Airnews, http://www.airnews.net ) can carry more than 30,000 newsgroups, with multiple terabytes of data available (which is the reason these organizations charge for their services). Most ISPs offer a smaller subset of the available newsgroups to their subscribers at no extra charge, so you have plenty of options for investigating the world of Usenet for both business and personal data needs. Keep in mind that large commercial news server companies retain the data on their servers for longer periods of time than your local ISP is likely to; you'll often find active groups with 70,000 to 80,000 messages available on popular topics.
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Shiva wants to know how to let Windows Me users on a peer-to-peer network log on to a Windows 2000 system across the network. Offer your advice or reader others' suggestions at the following URL:
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])
Satellite Internet access users were happy about the recent availability of two-way satellite service but somewhat frustrated by the slow upload connection speeds available at the consumer and small-business price plan levels. Upload speeds average 33Kbps—basically the same speed you could get from the previous-generation satellite systems that used a modem and telephone-line connection. Windows 2000 users can apply a registry tweak that increases upload speeds into the 70Kbps to 80Kbps range by letting Win2K handle the data streaming more efficiently.
- Launch regedit.
- Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Afd\Parameters.
- Create the registered DWORD (or use the existing) DefaultSendWindow.
- Change the value to b000 (hexadecimal).
- Exit regedit.
- Reboot the computer.
I've tested this tweak with DIRECWAY and seen demonstrable improvements in FTP upload speeds.
4. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Judy Drennen, [email protected])
Smart Software Development announced OfficePopup 1.17, communication software that lets you send messages and alerts to any person on a network. Managers can use OfficePopup to inform employees of important events or incidents by sending messages to entire departments or individual users on the company's network. OfficePopup's local network design and lack of executable attachments virtually eliminate unwanted messages (e.g., spam) and prevent viruses from using the software as a method of propagation. Office Popup 1.17 runs on Windows XP, Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows Me, and Windows 9x. The software costs $59.99 for 10 workstations. Contact Smart Software Development at 866-652-1160 or email [email protected]
Stardock released SkinStudio XP, a program that lets users add, edit, and create new visual styles for Windows XP. The program enhances the appearance of XP by letting users modify visual styles or start from scratch and create their own style. With SkinStudio XP, you can extend the Appearance tab and manipulate the WindowBlinds base visual styles for a new look. SkinStudio XP costs $29.95. Contact Stardock at 734-762-0687 or email [email protected]
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