You may get ads popping up on your screen through the “Messenger Service” built in to Windows. It is a rarely used service that probably should have been disabled by default. Now it’s being misused by spammers.

Please note that this is NOT the instant messaging product named “Windows Messenger” or “MSN Messenger.” […] continued

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The FCC is preparing to move forward with regulations to support the embedding of a “broadcast flag” to encrypt digital television signals. This is a complex issue but it may directly affect your pocketbook and your life for years to come.

Here’s a helpful FAQ by Cory Doctorow about the broadcast flag and the likely consequences if it is imposed on us. […] continued

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The buzz is rising to deafening levels for Skype, new software for making telephone calls over the Internet. It’s a new project from the Swedes who invented Kazaa, and in the last two months it’s been downloaded at a dizzying pace, setting new download records.

Skype is free software and the concept is familiar – armed with speakers and a microphone, you can “call” and talk to anyone else in the world who’s on Skype. […] continued

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Norton Antivirus 2004 cannot be used until the product is “activated,” just like Windows and Office. That means a separate copy has to be purchased for each computer – you can’t run around with a single CD installing it all over the place.

I noticed an interesting twist. The regular version of Norton Antivirus 2004 costs about $45 and can only be installed on a single computer. […] continued

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Microsoft Office 2003 goes on sale this week.

If you’re using Office 2000 or Office 97, there are improvements throughout the programs in the suite that make upgrading worthwhile. And Outlook 2003 has significant changes that deserve a look regardless of what version of Office you’re using. Here’s an article about the new features and changes in Microsoft Outlook 2003. […] continued

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Microsoft released a batch of security updates for Windows 2000 and Windows XP. If your system notifies you that it has downloaded new updates, be sure to install them. Or go to Windows Update and install all “critical updates.”

These updates are now a routine part of computing, just like updating virus definitions. […] continued

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I stumbled on a web site full of wonderful photos – Molecular Expressions, devoted to the world of optical microscopy. Hundreds of photos of common objects viewed on a microscopic scale, weirdly beautiful.

If you find something you like, don’t forget you can set any online picture as your desktop wallpaper by right-clicking on it and clicking on “Set as background.” […] continued

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It’s increasingly common to feel the need to be able to access Outlook remotely. Maybe you want to check your mail or do some work from home, or maybe you want to stay in touch while you’re travelling. It’s always frustrating to tell people that Outlook is designed to deliver mail and hold information on a single computer. […] continued

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Pogowave Communications delivers wireless Internet communications to rural Sonoma County. Prices are reasonable and the Pogowave tower can reach areas not served by DSL or cable.

I signed up with them and I have broadband at my home for the first time in 12 years. They worked hard to get my house set up and put in overtime when there were some thorny technical problems – they stayed on it until the problems were resolved. […] continued

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The handheld market slumped this year. Prices are down, speed and usability are up, but not very many people are buying.

After a few buyouts and burnouts, Palm and Sony are the only companies still making handhelds based on the Palm operating system. Palm has sexy new models hitting the market. […] continued

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Quickbooks Customer Manager is an inexpensive new program aimed squarely at the market previously dominated by Act. It integrates with Quickbooks and Outlook and presents all the information about a customer in one place – address and phone numbers, account history, invoices and balances, linked documents, phone notes, and more. I haven’t seen any reviews or feedback yet, and like any new product it might be buggy. […] continued

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Here’s a glowing review for Norton Antispam 2004 – high marks for the interface and for its effectiveness. At $40, it’s more expensive than competing programs like IHateSpam, but Norton’s reputation carries considerable weight.

More and more programs are being locked down so they cannot be installed on multiple computers. […] continued

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The Federal Communications Commission is requiring that beginning Nov. 24 cellular companies offer customers the option of taking their phone numbers with them when they switch carriers. Here’s an article summarizing the status of the FCC guidelines and the games that have delayed implementation of this requirement for years.

The cell phone carriers hate this concept – they have a huge amount of churn in their customer base already and they’re afraid this will make it worse. […] continued

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APPLE iTUNES FOR WINDOWS reported today that Apple will announce its iTunes software and music store for Windows on Thursday, October 16, ahead of schedule. It’s been possible to make an iPod work with Windows for a while, but this will boost iPod visibility and sales, in addition to the revenue generated by the music downloads. […] continued

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Do your shopping early and avoid the crowds. And remember – this offer is NOT available in stores!

[…] continued Read more