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Windows Client UPDATE--PDAs Come of Age--December 23, 2004

Windows Client UPDATE--PDAs Come of Age--December 23, 2004

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The Key to Stopping Email Attacks: Sender ID Can't Do It


1. Commentary: PDAs Come of Age

2. News & Views

- Microsoft-Based Subscription Music Services to Expand

3. Resources

- Tip: Enabling a Connection's Properties Menu with AOL

- Featured Thread: Wscript.exe Causing Problems in Windows XP Pro

5. New and Improved

- LAN-Based Instant Messaging

- File Management Made Easy

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

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==== 1. Commentary: PDAs Come of Age ====

by David Chernicoff, [email protected]

Lately, I've been doing something I never expected: I'm using a PDA. That probably doesn't sound worth mentioning, but I've never been a big fan of PDAs. I'd either manage to break them, or they'd run out of power just when I needed them. And they always fell a little short of the functionality I've needed to make them useful.

However, the recent availability of PDAs with 640x480 (VGA) screen resolution and the added functionality of Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition gave me the impetus to invest in a Dell Axim X50v. And after a few weeks of use, I'm glad I did.

The device's wireless connectivity (802.11b) and usable screen size has made the PDA handy for tasks that used to tie me directly to a computer console. The built-in RDP client lets me access servers in my network via Terminal Services, and the 640x480 screen (Windows Mobile 2003 SE allows the screen to display in landscape format, like a typical computer screen, as well as in typical portrait mode) gives me enough screen real estate to perform management tasks. The Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) implementation lets me use Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA) and other Web-enabled email systems to check and send email--and works far better than using my cell phone to browse the Web or with Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) to access email.

As I prepare for a trip to a major trade show, the common PDA activities--synchronizing my Microsoft Outlook calendar to track the vendor appointments and events I have scheduled over the first week in January and downloading notes and reference information to the 1GB Secure Digital (SD) card I'm using for extra storage--are just as simple as I remembered from past PDA experiences. Because the PDA's OS includes Windows Media Player 10 (WMP), I'd probably be adding music to another 1GB SD card if I didn't already have a 20GB Dell Digital Jukebox to handle music for the trip. I downloaded some ebooks from Baen Publishing's Web site in Microsoft Reader format in order to have some reading material available on the cross-country plane trips--the PDA's screen resolution makes reading books on the device a pleasure.

For sheer novelty, when I bought the device I also ordered the Dell GPS Navigation System, a combination of Global Positioning System (GPS) and mapping software. Surprisingly, the navigation system has proven very useful over the past few weeks as I've made trips to some new client sites. The directions the system provides are reliable, the maps are easy to follow, and the fact that the small GPS device connects to the PDA via Bluetooth means that I don't have even more wires running between devices in my car. The GPS system includes a mount for the PDA, and although my car is beginning to resemble my desk with all its electronic gadgetry (I also use the music player and its cup-holder mount), the GPS and directions functionality was unobtrusive and practical to use.

Although the PDA doesn't take the place of my Windows XP notebook when I'm traveling on business, the current incarnation of Windows Mobile and the hardware technology available has me convinced that practical PDAs are possible. Now, if the prices would come down just a bit....


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==== 2. News & Views ====

by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]

Microsoft-Based Subscription Music Services to Expand in Early 2005 While Apple Computer's iPod garners all the publicity this holiday season, Microsoft and its partners are planning to expand the Plays For Sure campaign in early 2005, hoping that the campaign will eventually tilt consumer favor in their direction. Currently, only Napster and a few hardware makers are taking advantage of Microsoft's latest Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology, which lets users copy subscription-based content onto portable devices. But in early 2005, the ranks of compatible services and devices are expected to swell dramatically. To read more, click the URL below.

==== Announcements ====

(from Windows IT Pro and its partners)

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==== 4. Resources ====

Tip: Enabling a Connection's Properties Menu with AOL

(contributed by David Chernicoff, [email protected])

I recently conversed with an IT staffer who mentioned that his company had been having a problem with its remote-access dial-up since upgrading client notebooks to Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Users were complaining that right-clicking the Dial-Up Networking connection wouldn't open the Properties dialog box, so they couldn't modify the Windows Firewall settings.

I asked a few questions and determined that users were using AOL for their dial-up access. This is a longstanding problem with that particular provider. When the AOL client is installed, it often seems to disable the Properties context menu for connections. Here's a simple workaround to allow the Firewall applet to run:

1. From the Start menu, click the Run command.

2. Type


and click OK.

If your Group Policy implementation doesn't let users open the Control Panel directly, they can alternatively run the Windows Firewall applet directly from the Control Panel folder.

Featured Thread: Wscript.exe Causing Problems in Windows XP Pro

Forum user "cooldude2002" is looking for a solution to problems he's been having with the wscript.exe file. He reports that the file has been hanging system shutdown and freezing his Webcam installation process. The wscript.exe process is also slowing down his entire system; when he kills the process, the system immediately speeds up.

If you can help, join the discussion at

==== Events Central ====

(A complete Web and live events directory brought to you by Windows IT Pro:

Stop the "Silent Killer" Unleashed by Spammers

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==== 5. New and Improved ====

by Barb Gibbens, [email protected]

LAN-Based Instant Messaging

Softros Systems announces Softros LAN Messenger 3.5, Instant Messaging (IM) software for LANs and WANs. LAN Messenger offers plain text communication and file transfers in both direct messaging and broadcast modes. The product doesn't require a dedicated server and stores messages with time stamps for future reference. LAN Messenger costs $10.95 per running copy; volume discounts are available. For more information, visit the vendor's Web site at the following URL:

File Management Made Easy

Enriva Development announces Magellan Explorer 3, software for managing local and remote files. Magellan Explorer integrates FTP and Zip clients and an image viewer, letting users open Zip files, publish Web pages, and view images all from one place. Completely customizable, the product lets users quickly print the contents of files, synchronize folders, time stamp and clone files, and display the sizes of folders. A browser-like interface simplifies navigation beteween local folders, FTP sites, and Zip files. Magellan Explorer sells for $39.95 and runs under Windows 95 and later. For more information, email [email protected] or visit the vendor's Web site.

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