Bits & P.C.s: Important upgrade information

Bits & P.C.s: Important upgrade information

By Richard Heller

This week is going to be more of an “upgrade advisory” for various products. We won’t cover every item that has an upgrade, just some of the ones that seem the most important.

If you are using a DVD writer manufactured by Pioneer, they have released a mandatory firmware upgrade that you must download and install. The official word from Pioneer is:

“In tests to check the operation of these new high-speed recordable disks, Pioneer has discovered that the DVD-R/RW writers (DVR-A03, DVR-A04, DVR-104) may malfunction, if used with new high-speed DVD-R/RW disks. This issue is caused by the device’s inadequately programmed software, which may cause damage to both the device and the inserted high-speed disc.”

The update is available for download from the Pioneer Web site at Please note—the URL is correct, it is wwwbsc with no period in the middle. If

you use the new high-speed (4X) media in a drive that has not been updated, you may destroy the disk and/or the drive. The drives may have been installed in your computer system or purchased under the Pioneer or other brand names including Apple and Compaq.

Another DVD writer manufacturer, Cendyne, has also released firmware updates for its products to correct essentially the same problem. These updates are for DVD writers only; they are not necessary for DVD readers or

CD writers/readers.

If you have purchased one of the new Sony DVD writers, you should download the latest firmware upgrade from its Web site. The upgrade offers better compatibility with media and adds support for creating DVDs at the 4X speed. There have also been some software updates released for the software that ships with the drive.

If you are using the DSL Internet service provided by SBC Ameritech and are not using a router, then you should download the latest EnterNet 300 v1.5b software upgrade. It corrects numerous bugs that have been discovered since the new operating system was released over a year ago. The pack also corrects a major security flaw in the product. The download is more than 100MB. Some retailers will install the upgrade for you, or you may purchase an upgrade CD from Microsoft for a shipping/handling charge.

Both AOL and MSN have released version 8 of their software, adding “new” features. I would not advise you to download the update because of the size

and the amount of time it takes to download. A free CD can be found at many retailers and the post office has the AOL disk available at the counter.

And, finally, WalMart has introduced a dial-up Internet service. For $10 a month you can get Internet access, e-mail and instant messaging. A disk with a free trial offer is available in their stores.

Richard Heller is an independent computer specialist who specializes in repairs, installation, upgrades, technical support, Internet sharing, data recovery and diagnostics. If you have any computer or service-related questions, please send them to The Rock River Times or e-mail

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