Bits & P.C.s: XP Patch, V.92, and a surprise
By Richard Heller
A couple of weeks ago, I reported that Microsoft had released Service Pack 1 for Windows XP. One of the things that this SP corrects is a critical security flaw that would allow a hacker to delete most, if not all, files on your computer. Microsoft had known about the problem for months before they took the steps necessary to correct it. Unfortunately, the SP is 130MB in size and can take 10 hours to download.
Now, Steve Gibson, through his site www.grc.com, has released XPdite, a 30KB program that patches the security flaw. The nice thing is that the file will download in less than a minute, and it can also update copies of XP that are on a network. Steve also has other security-related utilities available for download on his site, and most of them are free (and small in size).
If you watch TV, you will have seen the ads for the products that allow you to answer the phone while you are on the Internet. In order for them to function, you have to have call waiting on the modem line. There are a couple of other options that will accomplish about the same thing and may be less than the $50 or more that the device sells for.
If you have a second line or a cell phone, you can contact the phone company and see if call forward on busy is available. This service allows you to specify a number that your calls will go to if the line is busy. This applies whether you are talking on the phone or are on line. This is not the same service as call forwarding and should be at a fairly low monthly charge.
Many of the modems that have been sold or installed in computers over the past six months adhere to a standard called V.92. Some of the features of this standard are faster upload speeds, connection to the web being quicker, and the ability to place the modem on hold and to answer the call that is on call waiting.
The best thing to do is to check the documentation that came with your computer or modem and see if V.92 is mentioned. Many of the modems can be upgraded to the new standard by updating the drivers for the modem from the manufacturers web site. If your modem does not support V.92, you can purchase a new modem that does support it for $30.
Many Windows users are not aware how closely Internet Explorer is integrated into the operating system. If you are a Windows 95/98/ME user, you can try this test. Double click on the My Computer icon. You should open a box that shows the various icons including those for your disk drives. You should also see a white box that says Address and usually will have My Computer in the box. Click on the box and delete the text that is shown, and then type in www.rockrivertimes.com and press enter. Surprise! Is that the AOL or other Internet dialer window that just popped up on your screen?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.