Windows Client UPDATE--Using RSS Feeds to Stay Informed--April 13, 2006
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- Using RSS Feeds to Stay Informed
2. News & Views
- Monthly Security Release Includes Critical IE Patch
- Tip: Solving the Problem of a Windows XP SP2 Uninstall
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4. New and Improved
- ElasticLogic Global Clipboard 2.0
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==== 1. Commentary: Using RSS Feeds for Staying Informed ====
by David Chernicoff, [email protected]
Most readers would probably agree that staying informed isn’t as simple as it once was. Since you’re reading this email newsletter commentary, it’s likely that you regularly use email for information-gathering purposes. And email isn’t a bad choice.
I get an average of 5000 email messages per week: 60 percent is spam, which is handled by filters and various antispam tools; the other 1500 to 2000 messages I get each week are messages that I need to at least skim for content, which means I spend about two hours daily dealing with email. However, my point isn't about how to deal with email but rather how to efficiently gather information. For me, the most efficient way is to join email membership lists, read blogs, and keep track of news sites. To do so, I use a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) client and RSS feeds.
RSS clients provide you with an easy-to-scan list of headlines and links to information posted to sites, blogs, and newsgroups that you've subscribed to. Although you'll still receive unwanted information from many publicly subscribed feeds, you can easily scan the headings to choose the data that you find useful. The information in a feed can range from complete news stories or technical bulletins to a simple notification of a Web site update.
Google, MSN, and Yahoo! offer the ability to link RSS feeds to your personal pages on those sites. Therefore, you can access the information feed from any computer connected to the Internet, and you don't need to use an explicit RSS client. Personally, I use an RSS client because it gives me more detailed control over the feeds and it's easier for me to use and navigate, but plenty of folks are happy with the Web-based approach. Adding and deleting RSS feeds from your client is easy, and it's much simpler than subscribing and unsubscribing to email lists.
Microsoft offers a guide to using RSS for Microsoft feeds, and you can access it at the URL below. The site also has links to a few RSS readers that Microsoft has tested with its feeds (and with Windows) to assure that they work properly. Many other RSS readers are available, some as freeware and others as commercial products, so you can pick the levels of features and functionality you want in your RSS client. I've listed another URL where you'll find more information about RSS, as well as links to RSS feeds about Microsoft products and technologies. I've also listed a link to RSS feeds for "Windows IT Pro" columns, news, and commentary. As a consumer of Internet-based information, you owe it to yourself to give RSS a look.
Microsoft RSS feeds: http://www.microsoft.com/communities/guide/rss.mspx
Information about RSS and specific Microsoft RSS feeds:
"Windows IT Pro" RSS feeds for columns, news, and commentary:
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==== 2. News & Views ====
by Paul Thurrott, [email protected]
Monthly Security Release Includes Critical IE Patch
On Tuesday, Microsoft issued fixes for 14 software flaws in five separate security bulletins Tuesday as part of its regularly scheduled monthly security patch release. The most important patch of the bunch fixes a widely publicized Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) exploit that has been victimizing users for weeks. In total, 9 of the flaws were rated as critical by the software giant, so users should install the patches as soon as possible.
The IE patch, MS06-13, fixes several bugs, but the most notable is the so-called "create TextRange()" bug, which hackers first exploited last month. This bug was considered so severe that several security vendors, including Determina and eEye Digital Security, actually released their own patches ahead of Microsoft. Previously, Microsoft had described only a workaround for the flaw, in which the user could disable IE's Active Scripting feature.
IE detractors will note that MS06-13 fixes a total of 10 software flaws in the much-maligned Web browser; you'll see a separate but related patch for a flaw that tricks Windows Explorer--IE's cousin in the Windows shell--into browsing malicious remote servers. MS06-13 also includes a design change that alters the way IE interacts with ActiveX controls. Microsoft made this change to adhere to a ruling in the Eolas Technologies patent case.
Some hope that IE 7, due in late 2006 for Windows XP and also shipping as part of Windows Vista, will turn around IE's long-lasting security ills. However, only the Vista version of IE 7 will include the most dramatic security gains, thanks to its integration with low-level Vista-specific security features.
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==== 3. Resources ====
Tip--This week, I was able to solve a problem that one of my clients was having with the Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2) uninstall process. Despite assurances from both the software vendor and me, my client was sure that the SP2 update was causing his business software to misbehave. So, on his own initiative, he decided to start removing SP2 from his computers.
I got involved when I received a late-evening plea for help over the phone. It seemed that after the uninstall, my client's computers were rebooting to a screen with no taskbar. A little research showed me that this was a known (and easily solved) problem.
Apparently, SP2 uninstall fails to correctly rewrite data on a specific registry key. Writing the correct data to that key solves the problem.
In the absence of a taskbar, launch your registry editor by using the Task Manager File | New Task (Run) command.
1. Open HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\RpcSs
2. In the right pane, double-click ObjectName.
3. Change the value data from NT Authority\Network Service to LocalSystem.
4. Click OK.
5. Exit the editor, and reboot.
For what it's worth, removing SP2 didn't solve my client’s problem; the cause turned out to be a driver problem.
--Submitted by David Chernicoff, [email protected]
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==== 4. New and Improved ====
by Caroline Marwitz, [email protected]
ElasticLogic announced Global Clipboard 2.0, software that lets you copy multiple fragments of text, images, sound, and file and binary data, and paste them into documents or other files. Version 2.0 adds Text Accumulator, a feature that lets you gather all copied material in one fragment, then paste all the pieces together into a separate document or save them as a single document or file. A description of each copied fragment displays customizable details. You can also edit fragments--for example, you can convert text case and rotate and flip images. Customizable hotkey combinations help you to copy and paste, as well as manage the fragments. You can automate some clipboard operations, too, such as launching Web browsers or opening email programs. At system shutdown, the program saves multiple fragments that you're still working with, so you can access them again at system startup. The program, which costs 19.95 for one license, runs on Win98 and later. To download a 30-day trial version, go to the Web site at http://www.globalclipboard.com.
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