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Windows Client UPDATE--Get Creative with Acrylic--July 7, 2005

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1. Commentary
- Get Creative with Acrylic

2. Reader Challenge
- June 2005 Reader Challenge Winner
- July 2005 Reader Challenge

3. News & Views
- Microsoft Ships IE Flaw Workaround

4. Resources
- Tip: Solve a File Association Problem with the Fax Service in Windows XP
- Featured Blog: Any Problems with Win2K Update Rollup 1?

5. New and Improved
- Block Intrusion Attempts
- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: Get Creative with Acrylic ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

For those of you who enjoy playing with betas of the latest Microsoft software (and I know that many of you do, according to the email I receive from readers), check out the new Microsoft Acrylic Technology Preview. Acrylic is the code-name for Microsoft's first full-blown illustration and graphics tool and is based on the Creature House Expression software and technology that the company acquired in 2003. The software is intended to be a professional design tool, and judging by this beta version, seems targeted at graphics designers who work with the Web and interactive media. Microsoft posted the beta in June, and it will be functional through October 2005. Support is available only through the Microsoft forums for the existing Expression software.

Acrylic developers haven't optimized the code yet, so the software isn't very fast, and you need a high-performance computer to use it comfortably. Pixel-based painting and editable vector graphics are best done on computers with fast processors and good video cards, which the target audience typically has available. I don't recommend attempting to run the application on the minimal supported configuration (733Mhz processor, 256MB of RAM, and 800x600 monitor resolution with 24-bit color).

Although the Acrylic beta provides minimal documentation (limited to the Help files in the application), the "Creature House Expression 3 Tour" ( ) gives a brief description, with examples, of many of the features of the earlier Expression version of the software. The site will give the user a good idea of what the Acrylic beta can do.

Acrylic isn't a general-purpose graphic tool; it's an illustration and design product. You wouldn't, for example, use it to edit the digital images you take with your camera. But for creating images from scratch for use in documents, presentations, and Web pages, it works well. If you haven't used this type of image-creation software before, many of the concepts and functions of the Acrylic beta will be unfamiliar. And because the software isn't designed to teach you the concepts of graphics illustration and design, it isn't really appropriate for inexperienced users. However, if you're interested in this type of software and want to give it a test run, the 77MB download is available at . You must be running Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2).

==== 2. Reader Challenge ====
by Kathy Ivens, [email protected]

June 2005 Reader Challenge Winner
We had a great many correct responses to our June Reader Challenge, and all but one lacked names and addresses. So, congratulations to Todd Siemesko of Minnesota, who solved the challenge and followed instructions. Todd requested a copy of "Running QuickBooks for Nonprofits" (CPA911 Publishing). If we don't have your name and address, we can't send you a prize, so your answer is eliminated from the pool of correct answers.

July 2005 Reader Challenge
Solve this month's Windows Client challenge, and you might win a prize! Email your solution (don't use an attachment) to [email protected] by July 20, 2005. You must include your full name, and street mailing address (without that information, we can't send you a prize if you win, so your answer is eliminated, even if it's correct).
I choose winners at random from the pool of correct entries. I'm a sucker for humor and originality, and a cleverly written correct answer gets an extra chance. Because I receive so many entries each month, I can't reply to respondents, and I never respond to a request for a receipt. Look for the solutions to this month's problem at on July 21, 2005.

The Challenge:
An acquaintance who just started a new job at a large multinational corporation called me twice in one week. See if you can answer her questions.

Question 1:
"Help, I received an email message to join a manager's meeting through Windows NetMeeting. The meeting is scheduled to start in 5 minutes. Where's the NetMeeting program? I've looked in every submenu on the Start menu." She's running Windows XP. Why can't she find a program shortcut to Net Meeting?

Question 2:
"I just noticed that there are some duplicates of subfolders in my user folder (under Documents and Settings). For example, an Application Data folder, with Microsoft subfolders, exists directly under my LoginName folder, and a duplicate set of these folders exists under a subfolder named Local Settings. Which set of folders do I use to copy some Microsoft Word templates I created?" I told her to use the Application Data folder that's under her LoginName folder, not the one under Local Settings. Do you know why there are two Application Data subfolders, and what the difference in behavior is between them?

==== 3. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft Ships IE Flaw Workaround
Although Microsoft will ship a true patch at a later date, the company this week shipped an installable workaround for a recently revealed Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) security flaw that its discoverer describes as "extremely critical." The workaround modifies Windows registry settings, a solution Microsoft described in a security bulletin about the vulnerability. But because many Windows users aren't sophisticated enough to make this change manually, the company has shipped a software-based workaround that does it for them. You can read the complete story at the following URL:

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==== 4. Peer to Peer ====

Tip: Solve a File Association Problem with the Fax Service in Windows XP
(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

A reader emailed me about a problem he was having with the Fax Service in Windows XP. He'd been using it successfully for about a year but recently found that he couldn't view fax documents from the Fax Console application. This is an easy-to-solve problem that occurs when the file association for .tif files has been changed. In this reader's case, he had installed a graphics package that took the .tif association for itself, apparently without prompting the user. To get the correct file association so that the Fax Console can open fax documents, you need to associate .tif files with the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer. To do so, perform these steps:
1. Right-click a .tif file.
2. Select "Open with" from the context menu.
3. Click Choose Program.
4. Select the "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file" check box.
5. Select Windows Picture and Fax Viewer from the list of programs.
6. Click OK.

Featured Blog: Any Problems with Win2K Update Rollup 1?
Check out the latest post to the Security Matters blog at the following URL:

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